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Sunday, August 14, 2016

"Celebration of Love" Day Seven - SURPRISE!!!

I was challenged by Amanda Barone to participate in a seven-day "Celebration of Love." Being the idealist that I am, I took the liberty of altering the conditions of the "challenge" before passing it on (read more here).  I'm inviting those I tag to spend seven days celebrating anyone who makes your life richer -- your friends, your kids, your siblings, your co-workers, and sure, your spouse!  Or, do nothing except know that I am celebrating you!

SURPRISE!!!  Eric & I found out a little while ago that our family is going to be expanding this coming January!  We had talked about the possibility of having children of our own, but we weren't set on it, and either way we had thought we would give it a few years first.  But life doesn't always unfold according to our timing, does it?

The day we found out we sat on one of our love seats in shock for hours and binge watched Halt & Catch Fire, too dumbfounded to say or do much else.  We did not see this coming and the timing seemed rather inconvenient for multiple reasons.  Eric & I both moved about in a fog for the next few days, but as reality sank in, shock began to give way to love.  When we announced our news to my family a couple weeks later during a pre-planned trip to Reno, their joy multiplied our own as we grew increasingly excited about our little nugget.

I've been reflecting with amazement on how much love I already feel for this tiny little human despite the fact she or he is still only as big as the palm of my hand and we haven't even met yet.  It has caused me to think of the love my own mother must have felt for me when I was still so small, and it has stirred feelings of awe & gratitude as well as sadness in me -- awe & gratitude at the concept of being loved so deeply by someone, and sadness at the recognition I haven't always been loving toward the one who loved me that way.  I know we're all human and we all let each other down.  And if we're healthy, we forgive & forget & grow & move on.  I know this baby will one day let Eric & me down, and we will do the same.  But this doesn't diminish the love in my heart for this little one even in the slightest.  It has been so amazing to me to recognize this aspect of parenthood, even this early on.  What an incredible gift!


So today I am tagging my mom & my dad, who both have loved me so deeply for the past 35+ years, as well as my brother, who they also have loved just as deeply, and who, along with his beautiful wife, now deeply loves three precious little boys of their own.  I am crazy grateful for the family God gave me.  We are not perfect, but we have managed to love each other throughout the course of our lives despite the hardships & disappointments & frustrations & trials any family might face.  And I couldn't be more grateful that this is the family we get to bring our little one into.

With all this said, I cannot write this post without acknowledging that there are people who crave but lack the things I'm celebrating today -- both the joy of a child & the warmth of a loving family.  I have dear friends who have ached to have a baby of their own yet haven't been able to do so, and I know they represent so many others in the world who share the same struggle.  I also have friends who ache for a mother and/or a father who genuinely, demonstratively shows love & support but face the reality of absent parents or parents with whom the relationship is strained.  I just want to take a moment to tell those people my heart hurts for you, and I pray with & for you for the miracle you long for.  Sometimes our hearts break living in a broken world where our bodies can work against us and our relationships can go unresolved.  To you, I echo the words I extended in my first post toward people who long for a healthy marriage but don't have one:

You are not forgotten.  You are seen.  You are loved.

I pray you find peace in your journey and resolution for the aching places in your heart.

Reflecting on so many different people in my life over the past week has been something I've treasured.  Despite the late nights I've spent writing out some of my posts, it's been a gift to be reminded of how many wonderful characters God has placed in the story He's given me -- and I didn't even get to all of them!  I want to make clear the fact that my life is not without struggles or disappointment.  If it seems like I've spent seven days writing only about good things, it's not because that's all there is; it's simply because I've learned through the years to look for the silver linings, to find things to be thankful for, and it has created in me a sense of deep & authentic gratitude for the good even when there is also bad.  I believe there is always beauty to be found if we just keep looking for it.  Thanks to all the people I've tagged this week as well as the many others I count as friends & loved ones for being reflections of beauty in my life even on dark days.  I love you all dearly.

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