Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Beginning of Summer

**First and foremost, thank you for all of the birthday love yesterday. Through texts, emails, calls and Facebook, Instgram, and blog comments, I felt it. So, thank you! It was a very happy day :)


Time seriously flies! As of yesterday, Little Dude is a kindergarten graduate!





























And today, he boards a plane and flies to Utah to spend half of the summer with his dad. The boy can hardly contain his excitement!

For me, however, it has definitely taken some time getting used to him being away. And I know it can be difficult for other moms out there too because as summer approaches, I've been getting asked questions about how to cope when the kids are away and how to prepare.

So!

I thought that while Little Dude is enjoying his time away, now would be a perfect time for me to write about and share with you the ideas and concepts that have gotten me through these times. Plan to see this topic, as well as some blending family ideas because that has been asked too, next week on the blog :)

In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy our last day together, I'm going to smother him with kisses and hugs (even though he's totally over my kisses and wipes them off now :-/ ), I'm going to pack his little backpack and prepare him to fly alone, and I'm going to remember that I can do hard things.

XOXO

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Happy to be 30!

I can't believe it's here.

I am celebrating my 30th birthday today!

And I wanted to celebrate by sharing with you the most hilarious picture taken of me…. ever.





























This was how 4th grade looked for me, people.  I can't be wearing shoulder pads in this silky Oz-like shirt, can I? It sure looks that way. Regardless, this has to be my all-time favorite adolescent photo in the history of me :)

I remember walking into 4th grade thinking I looked amazing. And then someone said I looked like I had been struck by lightning. Sometimes the truth hurts. Ha! But I am in love with this photo. Every ounce of it.

I can't not smile when I see it :)

So anyway, it's my birthday and as I sit here, I remember exactly where I was on my 20th birthday. I was studying abroad in London for 6 weeks and was ecstatic thinking about what my twenties would hold. I had such visions of grandeur. A perfect life was in store for me.

I honestly cannot believe that was 10 years ago! A whole decade of life whizzed by. And I'll be honest, my life looks a whole heck of a lot different from what I thought it would be. But you know…. I think it's better than I could have ever envisioned.

Two weeks ago, I took on the daunting task of reorganizing my picture albums. I laughed and I cried happy tears because I have had so many wonderful opportunities and hold so many fond memories in the last 10 years.

I cherish the good times with such nostalgia.

But I also looked through some photos and my heart hurt. Instantly, I was placed back into the sadness. I remember the persistent achy feeling in my stomach. Certain captured moments reminded me of when I felt I couldn't possibly handle any more. There is no beating around the bush here…. the last 10 years have also brought me immense pain, and much change.

But as I look back on my twenties, I am so glad they are mine. I am so glad these 3,650 days were all mine because I am such a better person because of them.

Since I was rummaging through pictures the last few weeks, I thought it'd be fun to share with you some of the highlighting moments in my twenties :)

I studied abroad in London and Ireland, May 2004















I got married for the first time, March 2005 (these gals are still my besties)
















I carried life for almost 9 months, December 2007




I gave birth to my Little Dude, February 2008




Being a mom was the best, yet hardest thing I had ever done, May 2009



















My life changed forever in one day and I started blogging, I began making and selling headbands to keep me company in the loneliness of the night, and I became a modern-day pioneer woman, February 2010














I survived what felt like hell and became a single mom at the young age of 26, October 2010




I met wonderful new friends and tried so very desperately to find my self worth, May 2011















I dated some dudes I wasn't impressed with, I decided to ditch the fakeness and worked on my own healing, and then joined Match.com and met this one-of-a-kind fellow, August 2011



















We were quickly glued at the hip, dated for one year before he popped the question in September 2012, and we were married 3 months later, December 2012














We have slowly and so far successfully blended a family, October 2013





























And now I am taking on many new challenging, yet AWESOME adventures (with both the non-profit and many other exciting things I can't tell you about quite yet :)

This last decade of life, I have been incredibly enriched with the steadfastness of my amazing family, the love and support of my loyal friends, and the blessed sisterhood that has since come to fruition.

So bring it on thirties!

I am looking forward to seeing what you have in store for me :)


**I'm celebrating the day at Little Dude's kindergarten graduation this morning, we'll have a celebratory lunch for his success afterwards, and then later Seth, Little Dude and I are having dinner at a place we saw on  Diner's, Drive-in's and Dive's-- just the three of us.

Ain't life grand? :) :)





Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Man-hater


Image Credit

There's a term I've come to know and I know that you've all heard it before.

"Man-hater" 

It is often times used to mockingly, or very seriously, describe women who have been betrayed in some form or another and/or who end up divorced. It's a term that is also usually accompanied by words like "bitter, angry, depressed" to name a few.

I've been called a "man-hater" a time or two (or three), and each and every time it burns.

I feel so misunderstood.

I feel like the women I've come to know are so misunderstood.

You see, since I have been on this journey, I have heard the stories of hundreds of women.

Incomprehensible stories. 

Unimaginable stories. 

Stories that you can't seem to wrap your brain around.

There is betrayal.

There is abandonment.

There is deviancy.

There is disease.

There is bankruptcy.

There are drugs.


There is bestiality.

There are prostitutes.

There is child pornography.


There is physical abuse.

There is rape/molestation.

There is prison.

So many horrendous and unfathomable things are happening to good women and ordinary families and unfortunately,  I've noticed a trend: the women who try to be open and forthright about their painful reality, the TRUTH of what has happened in their lives, are often perceived as "man-haters" by people on the outside.

"If they'd just stop being so bitter. Stop assuming the worst. Move on with your life already!"

When a woman gets this type of response, she's going to retract. Plain and simple.

Because no matter how stalwart and brave she is, when she gets shot down like that, there is no other place for her to go but back into the cold and scary world that seems to only exist and be acknowledged in shame and secrecy; behind closed doors where no one else can see the reality. This isolating place harbors a deafening silence that she grows accustomed to. She cries herself to sleep in this place.

And when she suffers alone, for so long, she then begins to feel like maybe her story is a reflection of her. And when she contemplates this, it sparks more thoughts of self destruction and pretty soon, she's flooded with confirmations that it IS a reflection of her. Except now, it's not just a feeling anymore, it's a belief. A conviction. She wholeheartedly believes that she ISN'T worthy of love or care or support, because no one can handle the truth of what she really endured.

And when that happens?

She crumbles.

I'm not good enough, I'm not worthy of anything.

Thus, the vicious cycle of covering up the truth, pretending it's really not that bad continues. And so does the viscous cycle of women deteriorating

Dying inside.

But here's the most incredible and interesting part of the whole thing.

In all of my experiences in the last 4 years, after all of the shocking and devastating stories I've heard, I can't think of one woman, not one single woman, who is honestly and truly a "man-hater". 

Not one.

I do, however, know hundreds of women who lives are (or have been) severely crippled in insurmountable measures by the choices of a man in her life. How do I know? Because I hear from these women when I open my inbox and the emails from beautiful wives, mothers, daughters are waiting to be read. They write to me, and write to many other women in this growing community, because they feel like for the first time ever, there is a safe place/person that they can talk about their tragedies as what they really are- tragic and difficult. They can talk about their hell without rose-colored glasses on and without censored words. They don't have to slap on a fake smile and an elegant facade and pretend like everything is peachy keen. They can be authentic. They can say it like it is.

And they are heard.

In all their agony and embarrassment, they are heard.

We are not "man-haters".

We are lovers.

We are incredibly strong vessels who are trying to rebuild the life we thought we had. We are trying to make sense of the things that make absolutely zero sense. We are trying to find balance and trust again, when it was so abruptly ripped away from us. We are trying to scrap up any love we have for ourselves, so we can keep giving love to all those around us.

I know this because if we sincerely hated men, or life, or love, we would just give up. We would wither away in our sadness and pain. We wouldn't be fighting to reclaim our worth, we wouldn't be fighting for the safety and happiness of our children, we wouldn't be fighting to strengthen our families, we wouldn't be staying, fighting, healing and recovering in our marriages,  nor would we be dating and trying again, or learning to believe and trust in our second marriages (if we ended divorced the first time).

And that's why the pain of this type of betrayal is so, so, SO, horrific.

Because we love.

That's what we do.

We love.

We believe in love.

And we know that in the end love prevails.

Are there times that it will seem impossible to reclaim the love in all the places it was lost in our lives?

Absolutely.

But please… pretty please… never forget that the women around you who are enduring difficult times… the women who seem negative and bitter and sad…. the women you think could be classified as a "man-hater"….

She's not a hater.

She's a lover.

And she's doing everything in her power to redeem and redefine that love.

So be patient with her and for the love of all things, please remove the "M" word from your vocabulary. 

It contradicts everything we really are.


*And to all those out there who are reading and have been labeled a "man-hater" in the past, please don't be discouraged. I know it's hard not to be, but remember that if you do everything with dignity and class, whilst being true to who you are and what you believe, you are a lover, not a hater. And breminded that your experiences, as hard and uncomfortable and sometimes disturbing as they are, can make a positive difference. Together can break the cycle of toxic shame and we can bring our stories into the light, so that other's won't suffer as we once did.



Wednesday, May 21, 2014

FIGHT FOR LOVE!






























I made it back from D.C., the End Sexual Exploitation Summit, and let me tell you something… it was incredible.

Incredibly hard.

Incredibly dark.

But let me tell you something else… it was also incredibly empowering.

Incredibly healing.

Incredibly beautiful.

Men and women from all over the nation, and many parts of the world, joined together for the common good, for the GREATER GOOD, to fight sexual exploitation and all of its roots. Men and women of all different faiths and political beliefs, scholars, experts, doctors, lawyers, scientists, and in all different areas of concern, came together to fight for goodness.

Truthfully, more than anything else, I'd like to say that we fought for LOVE; to rebuild LOVE.

***

When I arrived in D.C. late Thursday evening, I sat in the airport for over an hour waiting for my shuttle to arrive. A beautiful woman, with the most genuine smile on her face, greeted me. She was headed to the same place I was. The Summit.

I asked her which organization she was with.

She timidly told me she was speaking.

"Oh! Wonderful! What will you be presenting on?" I questioned.

"I'm a survivor." She said nervously. Her voice shook.

My heart froze.

Her answer took me by surprise and I inconspicuously gulped.

Here stood a woman who had experienced the brutal, physical, violent, SLAVERY side of this whole thing.

She had lived it.

I immediately hugged her. We sat in the airport and we cried together. She told me her story- one that very few people had ever heard before. And yet, there she was. Bravely. Beautifully. Boldly. She was there to share her scary reality, one that still haunts her to this day.

And this was the most defining moment for me, one that set the tone for my visit to D.C.  It all became even more real than it had ever been before. As I sat and held hands with a survivor of pure hell, trafficked into sex slavery and being drugged, abused and filmed against her will, everything I knew was confirmed:

Porn kills love.

And that is why we were all there. To fight for LOVE.

I wish I had everything that was said to share. I wish I would have taken better notes. I wish you could have all been there with me. I wish I had more time this morning to gather every ounce of resources that were shared. But for now, this will have to do.

If you haven't already….

1) Get filters on your computers! 

As Gail Dines said in her opening presentation, it would take 10-15 minutes of navigating around to actually find "soft porn" on the internet.

10-15 minutes!

This means that if your child curiously/innocently wants to search for "boobs", or types the wrong word in the search bar (boyz vs. boys), he/she won't find "soft porn". Infact, the top 3 results will be violent, degrading, and hardcore pornography. It's called gonzo and it's really horrific. I don't remember the exact examples Gail used in her keynote (I didn't really want to write them down to be honest) but I know one titled read "Choke me and fu** me".

My stomach felt queasy when she read the top results. Forget prancing around the subject delicately. She was saying it like it was.

This is what our children are being exposed to. They're not going to find the patience to click around and find what is considered "soft porn", they're going to click on the top. And this what their innocent eyes will see. "Fu** me and choke me." For many, this is their initiation into sex, this is what they think sex is or what sex should be. A sobering reality. One that is hard to fathom,  one that makes me terrified to be raising children in this day and age.

So start protecting your home and your beautiful children by getting a filter on your computer.  

Go to *Net Nanny* and sign up today! 

They're awesome! I have personally worked with Russ Warner (the owner) and he is offering a 20% discount to anyone who signs up through my blog (offer expires September 30th, 2014)

How awesome and generous is that? 

Use the word "JACY" in Net Nanny's promo code and you will get 20% off!

And you can share this promotion with anyone and everyone-- so spread the word! Let's make our computers a SAFE place that can be used for GOOD!

That's the starting place.

Then…

2) Talk about it! 

Talk to your children, your spouse (wife or husband), your family members, your friends, your neighbors about the reality. Don't think that it's too dirty to talk about, or too uncomfortable. That's the whole problem… with this whole thing…. No one is TALKING about it and yet, IT IS EVERYWHERE.

Gail also talked about how these 3 A's are the components that are leading to an ensnaring trap; one that is destroying the lives of too many men, women and children.

a) Affordability
b) Accessibility
c) Anonymity


These 3 A's are killing us and like Dr. Doug Weiss said:

"You can't heal unless your secret is out." 

This applies to all of us: addicted, tempted, struggling, using or none of the above.

Because NONE of us can heal, or protect ourselves if we keep pretending that it's not happening, or it's not that bad. Start talking about what healthy sexuality *IS*, instead of avoiding it and hoping everyone around us just figures it out. Get the dialogue rolling with your children, young and old. Ask the hard questions.

A dear friend of mine, Mrs. Melody Bergman has been working so diligently with Morality in Media to create website with almost everything you need to get the facts, find resources, and start making a change.

It's called:

http://endexploitationmovement.com

Please check it out! Please check it out! Please check it out!

This is the place where you can find everything to help you FIGHT FOR LOVE.

L: Me M: Shelley Lubben, a former porn star, founder of Pink Cross Foundation  R: Melody Bergman




















***

This is just a short and sweet recap of my experience in D.C. It was life changing for me. Eye-opening. Heart-wrenching.

But there is hope. There is light. There is love.

It was nothing short of an honor to be there.

It was also humbling and wonderful that of the 200 guests in attendance, all working to do good, Togetherness was selected to be one of 5 organizations from around the country to be highlighted in front of everyone. I nearly slipped on the stage as I walked up (woopsies! :) but what a marvelous experience it was to bring to light, to the BEST in the world, the work we are doing to help women heal.

I still cannot believe how much my life has changed in just one short year; how much is truly possible if you put your heart and mind to something and go for it.

After being highlighted, I returned to me seat and within 20 minutes 4 different women approached me. They, too, had felt alone and hopeless as they dealt with the pain of someone's addiction/infidelity. And that is why I do what I do… this is why the Togetherness team devotes HUNDREDS of hours… so that we can give back…. because there is community, there is hope, and there is love.

This is also message I was able to share in an interview/PodCast with Matt Fradd, as well. (I'll let you know when that goes live so you can all hear :)

But we've got to start TALKING about it and being HONEST about it, first.

My heart is full for the enlightening weekend.  Thank you again Patrick Trueman, Dawn Hawkins and everyone at Morilty in Media for believing in me.

Morality in Media's very own, Dawn Hawkins





I WILL ALWAYS FIGHT FOR LOVE!
www.togethernessproject.org

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Weekend in D.C.




















This morning, I am packing my bags and headed to the airport for a once in a lifetime opportunity in Washington D.C.

I was in D.C. just 6 months ago, and it was a wonderful, freeeeeeezing, Thanksgiving holiday with some of the people we love the very, very most.

But this time, I'm going for a completely different reason.

I'm going because I have been offered an all expense paid trip so that I can attend the 2014 SUMMIT: Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation.













Holy cow! I'm ecstatic!

After much conversation in the last 5 months, the amazing people at Morality in Media felt that it was incredibly important for me to attend on behalf of The Togetherness Project, and represent and spread the good work we are doing to help women. And so, I was offered a generous sponsorship that would allow me to meet and collaborate influential people in the fight and learn from the leading experts in the field.

To say I am honored to attend is an understatement.

A BIG thank you to the donor who made it possible for me to attend, and to Dawn Hawkins and Patrick Trueman for believing in me, and the mission of Togetherness.

D.C. here I cooooooome! 

That being said, I'll be away from my computer for the next little bit, but if you're interested, you can keep up with what I'm up to on Facebook or Instagram.

Have a wonderful May weekend, everyone.

Thank you for believing in me.

XOXO

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Q & A: "How does your love exist after a love you freely gave was so completely betrayed?"

Image Credit



A few weeks ago, this particular question was sitting in my inbox:

"I know this sounds like flattery but I mean it sincerely. How are you able to have such a big and open heart after having such a devastatingly broken heart? You seem so happy to greet new people who comment on your blog. You hugged me the moment when I met you in person and I asked you, "Are you Jacy?" You knew nothing about me. You seem to easily and sincerely tell people that you love them. I admire your ability to love but I wonder how it exists after a love you freely gave was so completely betrayed?"

I'll be honest… I had to sit on this question for a little while…. It's a tough one, because it brings back so many emotions.

Good and bad.

You see, I have been criticized in the past, by people I loved, of being a fake. A phony. Insincere.

Words that are really hard to just get over.

I wasn't sure what to do with those perceptions of me because in all honesty, the only person I was being was meAnd for someone who is a people pleaser, who doesn't like confrontation, and who wants everything to be rainbows and butterflies all the time, this became one of my biggest, and most challenging of hurts.

Not being liked.

Being misunderstood.

Perceived as something I wasn't.

Then in 2010,  as you already know, my world completely turned upside down.

I lost everything-- or at least it felt like I lost everything-- and I went through a long phase of darkness.


Good didn't exist anymore.

Love sucked.

Families were a scam.

All men were liars.

Dreams were meant to be broken.

Life was unfair.

I was a big failure.

I wallowed in my anger, I soaked in the hard and to be honest, there were days that I secretly hated my life.

Why me?

But this caused a serious conflict within me because I felt extreme guilt for hating anything. My personality type wanted to be happy, I needed to be happy, and I was going against my core feeling anything other than happy. Unfortunately, the feelings I was experiencing were the furthest from rainbows and butterflies. These feelings were about as destitute as they come. And that's where the real pain flourished, because I felt shame for feeling sad, angry, hurt, betrayed, confused, etc.

So, back to the question:

"I admire your ability to love but I wonder how it exists after a love you freely gave was so completely betrayed?"

The answer is actually very simple.

It was in my darkest hours, the moments that felt like a living hell, the moments when I blamed God for allowing this to happen, the moments when I felt more shame and humiliation and defeat, the moments when I felt weak and hopeless and bleak and worthless, the moments when I literally felt like every ounce of love had drained from my soul…. 

It was in that moment, when I was only seconds away from believing that love was nonexistent, it never was real and that it would never be possible again, that is was all a big, giant LIE


It was in that moment, when I didn't think there was any love left to feel, I realized that love was actually the only thing I had left.

The truth was, I had lost everything…. everything except love.


I think that love is innate. It can never completely leave you, even when you think you don't have any left or that it's impossible, love is what makes us. It builds us. It's what keeps us moving.


Love is all I needed to overcome the most horrific blow of my life.

And so, I built on that itty, bitty, teeny, tiny spark of love.


Love for my son.


Love for my family.


Love for my close friends.


And once I built on that, it was easier to start working on loving myself.


And once I built on that, I found strength to start working on rebuilding my life with love.


And once I built on that, I found strength to connect with others in similar situations who offered me so much healing and hope.


And once I built on that, I found strength to reach out to others in similar situations and hopefully offer them what I had been so blessed with.


And once I built on that, I was able to laugh without guilt, I was able to smile without regret, I was able to enjoy the good/happy parts of my life.

And once I did that, I found strength to accept that my love had grown back. It had most definitely changed, and my love was different, deeper, more compound, but it had grown back.


I think sometimes it's easy to feel like once we've been betrayed or burned or hurt, that we have to stay burned forever. Because if we move on, we'll forget the reality of the burn. And if we forget, we're susceptible to the heat of the fire again. 
Well, I couldn't live that way anymore. I will never forget the sizzling fire,  but I simply couldn't live with a broken, blue heart forever. Because hanging onto the destruction of the fire was doing me no good, it was continually burning me.

In my experience, it takes the same amount of effort *not* to love, as it takes to build on and redefine your love. For me, I'd rather work on loving, than not loving.

And so, dear reader who wrote in and asked the question…

You're right.  In that moment when I hugged you and told you that I loved you, I knew hardly anything about you. But when you came up to me and asked "Are you Jacy?" at the Utah Coalition Against Pornography Conference, I instantly knew we were sisters. I just knew. And I simply cannot deny the love that I have for my sisters who are enduring or have endured similar pain.

I've come to this painful, yet enlightening, conclusion that this level of hurt/betrayal can either change us for the worse, or shape us for the better. But if we can sort through and work on healing from the worst parts, but keep love as our ultimate goal, we can be molded into something so much better than we ever were before.

I doesn't mean that I know the right way to love, it doesn't mean that everyone will like the way I love (or feel comfortable with it), and it doesn't mean that I've got this whole love thing figured out.-- far from it, truthfully.  But what it does mean is that I am loving the way I know how, and when I love the way I know how, it helps me heal. It helps me make sense of the things that make absolutely no sense. It helps me find reason in why things are the way they are.

And whether or not people agree with how I love or whether or not they like the way I love or whether or not they think I'm disingenuous honestly makes no difference to me. 

Because I'm not doing it for them, I'm doing it for me.

When the rug was pulled out from under me, and it felt like I had literally lost everything, love was all that I had left; to feel it, to receive it, and to give it.

The simplest way to say it:

Love makes me feel better.












Monday, May 12, 2014

A Sentimental Bedroom Make Over


For the last 18 months my bedroom has looked like a college kid's dorm room. A man room, really (because it was all Seth's stuff, ha!).

There was nothing wrong with it… and honestly, I kind of grew used to the no rhyme nor reason to it… (because I didn't have to do ANYTHING whatsoever to keep it up… you know, like make my bed in the morning), but I just couldn't take it any longer. I had to settle in and make our room, OURS.

So!

When Seth went out of town on his most recent business trip, I just went for it. I didn't ask, I didn't tell, I JUST DID IT and I had an absolute BLAST doing it!

 And if I do say so myself, it came together quite nicely!

First and foremost, do you remember the quilt Seth's Grandma Sophie gifted me? The beautiful, beautiful, beautiful patchwork of art and cherished memories? You can read about it here.

Well… we had it made into a headboard! And once we picked it up and got it all secured, it was more incredible than I ever thought it could be!

Stunning is one of the only words I have for it.






























But it proved to be quite tricky to design around because it is so bright and vibrant and has every color imaginable in it. So I had to build the whole room around it. I had to be very careful, tasteful and soft with my selections, to ensure that I highlighted the masterpiece quilt, rather than have it be a loud and an over-the-top mish mash.

Once the headboard was hanging on the wall, I knew the only color of bedding I could do was white (which I didn't mind because who doesn't love white!?). So I bought the cheapest white bedding I could find at Target, dusted off my design skills, and went to work.

I tossed around the idea of a few colored pillows to make it pop, but decided to pull out the neutral gray/earth tones of the 200 year old Kentucky Tobacco barn wood that framed the quilt instead. (I know the horizontal pillows look purplish in the photos…. don't worry, they're more gray.)


































I bought a little linen patterned throw for the end of the bed to tie in the base color of the quilt, and then I brought it all back together with a muted teal/green ottoman at the end of the bed and at the last minute, I threw a basket of whimsical books on there.

I'm not sure it'll stay there, but whatever. It looks cute for now.





























I think our bedroom on a budget turned out really well…. but the best part is what it means to me.

On Friday, Grandma Sophie's husband (Grandpa Jack) passed away peacefully in his home. He was 89 years old, he was Second in command when he retired as a San Francisco Fireman, and he lived a good, long life. I only had the privilege of meeting this very special man a few times in the last few years, but he was true hero in every sense of the word. Loving, kind, full of stories, an all around genuine man.

And because of that, it is an honor to hang something so beautiful, something so exquisite, and something of so much special meaning in my house.

We love you Grandma Sophie and Grandpa Jack! And now, we will think of you every single day as your memory and goodness not only lives on in our hearts, but is now part of our home.

XOXO

**What do you think? Do you have special treasures from the generations before you? Are any of them showcased in your home? I'd love to hear!





Sunday, May 11, 2014

My Mom


Today, I'd like to share with you a story of resilience and strength.

A story of a woman who has 6 children, but only 2 are living.

A story of a woman who carried and delivered 5 babies, but only 1 survived.

A story of how one very special woman never gave up.

***


A young woman, newly married and excited for her hopes and dreams to begin, delivered her first baby, Jeanette, at 32 weeks. The little baby girl weighed little over 4 pounds and was born with a hole in her diaphragm that required a necessary surgery. Because Jeanette was so small, however, she didn't survive the surgery and lived less than one day.

A funeral and burial followed.

Devastated and broken hearted, but yearning to be a mother so desperately, the young woman found the strength and courage to try again.

During her second pregnancy, at 21 weeks along, the contractions started and she delivered a sleeping little boy. Stillborn. They didn't give him a name.

Completely devastated and broken hearted, again, she decided to give it another try.

Getting pregnant was never the hard part. 


Her third pregnancy made it a little bit further…. and a little boy, Jared, was born at 29 weeks and weighed a little over 2 pounds and was 12" long. He did very well for the first 3 days of his life but one evening, the hospital called and said that they didn’t think the baby would make it through the night. The parents rushed to the NICU but by the time they arrived, Jared had already passed away. He was 6 days old. The doctors told them he had suffered an aneurysm and nothing could have prevented it from happening.

A funeral and burial followed.

Yet again, devastated and broken hearted, she wanted to try again but this time, she and her husband decided to go a different direction. 

Adoption.

A lovely new daughter, Jennifer, was placed in the loving couples arms when she was just 3 weeks old. What a blessing she was! 




Because spirits were so high after this beautiful baby girl came into their lives, and after enjoying a few years together as a family, the couple decided to try for another baby in hopes of giving Jenny a sibling.

During the fourth pregnancy, at 22 weeks, history repeated itself and another sleeping baby boy was delivered. Stillborn. They didn't give him a name.

Devastated and broken hearted, the difference this time was that she had a beautiful daughter waiting for her at home. After grieving her fourth loss, but still reveling in her role as a mom, somehow this young woman found the unbelievable courage and strength it took to try one last time.

During her fifth pregnancy, at 29 weeks along labor started and shortly after a little girl was born. She weighed barely over 2 pounds and spent the first 6 weeks of her life in the hospital.  After life flights and scary emergencies, the little baby had a tracheotomy put in from the time she was 6 months old, until she was 3 years old. It was a treacherous, scary, and very uncertain journey.



That little girl, the fifth baby, was me.

And it is with great privilege and honor to be able to tell you that this story is about my Mom. 

I've told this story over and over in my life… I've said it so many times, it just sort of comes easily… but when I really think about it…. About what my mom endured as a young woman, and how horrific and lonely and scary and unbelievably HARD that must have been, I simple cannot begin to imagine the reality of what that must have been like.

I cannot imagine losing one baby. It's truly unfathomable.

My Mom carried, delivered and lost 4 babies.

4 babies.

But the most amazing part of this story is this:

All those who know (or have ever known) my Mom would tell you that she is one of the (if not the) most positive and loving and happy person they've ever known.

This is not an embellishment. 

This is fact.

My mom is a ray of sunshine.

My mom has been to hell and back, she has grieved the loss of 4 children, she has felt the sort of pain that you just can't describe, she has dealt with difficult and serious medical issues (between my sister and I) and yet, after all the hard my Mom is happy.

My Mom is the epitome of optimism.

My Mom is an example and courage, faith and resiliency.


She loves magnificently.

She gives and gives and gives, until there is nothing left for her to give. And then she keeps on giving.



She glows unlike anyone else I've ever known; she's a bright star.

She believes in the good and that she will be with her children again someday.

She rises above things that would debilitate most.

She is always always always rooting for the underdog.

She lives a beautiful, happy life; one that is an example of kindness and compassion to all those around her.

I've never known someone to just be loved by every single person she meets-- from her family members, to her close friends, to her neighbors, to the A.C. maintencance guy, to the baggers at the grocery store. Where ever she goes, who ever she crosses paths with, she can always bring a smile to the face of others.

And this is why I believe my Mom to be the greatest woman to ever live.


I know everyone says this…. but she is truly the world's very best.

***

Mom,

Thank you for giving me life, for raising me with so much love, and for showing me how to live happily, even when the most indescribable things happen.

More than anyone else, you have been my rock through it all.

You have been my strength.

Every single day, I strive to be more like you….. and honestly, it's not an easy task because you sometimes do what seems to be the impossible. I don't know how you're happy and giving and loving and so thoughtful all of the time? I don't know how you do it? But you do do it, you have always done it, and everyone gravitates to you because of it. 

You make everyone feel special.

You make everyone feel loved and important.

Because you believe in them.

Because you care.

The world is better because of you, Mom.

I am better because of you.

Thank you for never giving up…. and for showing me that I can do hard things, just like you did, and that I can be happy. Even when the unthinkable happens, I can smile, I can love, I can give, I can glow, I can believe, I can rise above, and I can live beautifully and happily… just like you are.

Happy Mother's Day.

I love you always and forever.  Jenny and I are truly the luckiest and most blessed daughters to be able to call you "Mom". 

xoxoxo

Thursday, May 8, 2014

A Mother's Day Gift to Remember





























A little over 3 years ago, this letter was written and sent to me via email by one of my closest friend's husband-- one of the only family's to know- really know- what was happening in my life at that time.

It may have only taken a few minutes for him to write…. it may be only one paragraph in length… but the timing and thoughtfulness of this letter 3 years ago (during a time when I felt like the world's biggest failure and was desperately searching for hope again)…. the words it contained and the whole gesture of kindness holds a special place in my heart and has since gone down as one of the most unexpected and considerate gifts I have ever received.


Date: May 5, 2011 10:46:45 AM MDT
To: Jacy Lee <jacyleedesigns@yahoo.com>
Subject: Mother's Day
Jacy,
With the approach of Mother’s day, my thoughts are turned to the incredible mothers who have influenced my life – my mom, my mother-in-law, my wife – and this year I am adding you to that list. With the unbelievably difficult hand that you have been dealt over the past 15 months, your faith and devotion to Little Dude have never wavered. In fact, you have taken on additional burdens to ensure his physical and emotional well being, a fact that speaks volumes to your unbelievable character. You are an amazingly brilliant, beautiful, powerful woman and my family is so much better for having been blessed with your friendship. While my wife thinks of you as a dear and close friend, I like to think of you as a little sister and I hope you are comfortable thinking of me as an older brother (I really am getting old). I am more than happy to fix a leaking faucet or help however else I can. We love you and will always be here for you, day or night. Never hesitate to ask.
This Mother’s day I’ll be thinking of you and I hope you are able to revel in your role of mother to the best little guy in world. You deserve to enjoy it!!!
Much peace and love, 
N.

Words cannot express how much this simple act of kindness brightened my melancholy spirit and boosted my esteem and energy-- energy that, quite frankly, I literally didn't have a moment before.

Truly.

So…. with the approach of Mother's Day this year, while you're out and about shopping for the perfect gift for Mom, I want to offer you something a little bit different-- something that makes a wonderful tradition, something that the memory alone can outlive any tangible present you buy and give.

What if this year in honor of this special holiday, you compose a few letters to the women in your life (other than your own mom) in which you express your appreciation and/or notice of the wonderful job they are doing in their role of motherhood? 

Can you imagine the unexpected joy it would bring to the hearts and souls of so many women this week?

Maybe you choose to write to a stay-at-home-mom who is always on the go and seems to have it down to an art? Or a mom who you know is struggling because being a mom is just downright hard sometimes? Or a single mom who is going at it alone? Or an elderly woman in your neighborhood whose children live far away and is aching for someone to acknowledge her? Or a mom who is going through a difficult divorce? Or a mom who works full time and is trying to juggle both? Or even to a woman who is unable to bear children (or in the thick of fertility treatments), making this holiday a painful reminder of her circumstance?

No matter who you choose, whether you're writing words of adoration, encouragement or a message of hope, will you make some time and do it before this Sunday? It can be handwritten sent via snail mail or typed and emailed as my letter was. You can send them anonymously or signed with your name. They can be a few paragraphs or even just a sentence or two. Whatever you decide, I promise that if you do this, your words will be of great impact to those receiving them and the loving gesture will probably go down as one of the sweetest Mother's Day gifts they have ever received.

At least that's what it was for me.


**WHO'S WITH ME? Do you have someone in mind already? If so, get writing! If not, take a few days to think about it, and then get writing! And maybe you should be brave and pick someone you normally wouldn't write to, thus opening the door to a possible new/better friendship. I have a list of names who I'm going to write to and I'm doing them TODAY :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...