Winter Weather, Infertility and Inspiration
It’s time for a winter weather blog. Yes, it is.
I love observing the weather; it’s my way of looking outward to the world and inward to myself and my own life. Infertility made me look more carefully out. And more seriously in.
Early winter is hard for me. I love the cold once I remember that moving around in it is an utter delight. My running partners used to laugh at me when they saw me all bundled up for an early morning, sub 15 degree weather run. No matter how many times it happened exactly as they predicted, I never believed it would.
That moment, about five to ten minutes into the run, where I was stripping everything off. My body all warmed up, no longer needing those extra layers. Still, I wanted the warmth for those first several minutes. It was comforting to go out warm, despite the overheating such a short time later.
Bare trees depressed me then, when I was yearning for my baby. The skeletons made me feel they were no longer alive; imagining them bright and green again pushed my imagination skills past their limits, just as having hope was a distant memory. Fall reminded me of what I didn’t have, with the memory of my pregnancy losses in sharp detail. Those babies that never came to be.
Winter whispered softly what I would never have. So many months, hoping and trying. Disappointment after disappointment. After disappointment after disappointment.
The skeletons of the trees in winter echoed what seemed like barren ground. With little memory of warm growth and with so little hope. The grey of winter sunk me deep down.
I look carefully now as I looked carefully then at the perfect honesty and integrity of the trees without any adornment. Winter reveals the truth of a tree, a forest, a landscape. Winter reveals the truth of me as well. The need for warmth, but not to the degree I think is necessary. The level of my fears about what is not to be, heightened by stripping away everything that often obscures the dreary view.
The trees in all their glory, inspire me, lift my eyes up, and allow me to see the foundation as well as their soaring heights. When the trees are in their most honest state, so can I be.
No umbrella of green to hide the sky, the clouds, the stars.
My hope soars with my eyes.
My babies yet to be. I have hope.
The winter, in its exuberant rest, gave me hope.
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National Breast Cancer Awareness Month - Words of Hope
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. To help raise awareness, the National Cancer Institute has also designated two specific awareness days during the month: Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day (10/13) and National Mammography Day (10/17). In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Day and Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Deb Chitwood from bitsofpositivity.com shared this word art freebie based on Emily Dickinson’s words of hope. I love it. Hope you like it too.
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Friday Fertile Thoughts and Actions
Plant a seed or a plant. Follow the directions about how much sun and shade is needed and seek a place in your yard, deck or home that will nourish your plant. Look carefully into the soil that you plant it in; does it have enough drainage and nutrients? Dig a hole that is just right so that the seed or plant is not buried so deeply that the sun cannot find it to warm it to germinate and emerge. Make sure it is set in deeply enough that the earth holds it lovingly before it is ready to seek the light.
Pay careful attention to the weather. If it is going to rain, let the skies take care of your seedling. If there is no rain and the soil is becoming dry, water carefully so that you do not create a waterlogged, moldy seed.
Trust that this seed will germinate as it is meant to; to produce the living being that it is coded for.
Do not hover.
Plant something to take care of, to watch grow and flourish. Plant something and give it fertile hope, love and kindness. If you would like to see your plant grow taller and healthier, speak gently and lovingly to it. Remind it that it is beautiful and growing just the way that it should.
Let your plant reflect back those messages that you are giving it. That you are beautiful. That you are healthy. That you are capable.
That you are fertile.
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Photographs to Feast Your Eyes On - Infertility Quiz
If you have ever been on Facebook, there are these games that they call tests. Answer 9 simple questions and they will reveal your favorite color, who you were in a past life, what type of friend you are or your spirit animal.
They are fun. And distracting.
And somewhat idiotic.
But harmless and still fun.
Here’s an infertility quiz, a little distraction for you. I am sharing some of my personal photos with you. What do they reveal about you? Whatever you want them to. Does a river draw you in? Is the ocean more appealing?
Maybe this will spark an idea of a place to be that will feel satisfying and happy for you.
If not, it’s just a few photos to give your eyes a treat.
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Infertility Struggles: Taking A New Look
While you are in the midst of whatever you may be in the midst of, challenge yourself to take a look at the world through a different lens. Whether your struggle is about infertility or another health/life problem, here are a few suggestions for a new lens:
Maybe one of these words, actions, speak to you. Try them out by saying them each out loud. Which of them appeals to your heart?
These words are presented to you as verbs. They are actions. Put them on, try them out. My uncle wears his beloved’s sunglasses and sees the world through his eyes. What a lovely tribute.
I surround myself with friends who live life in a playful, fun way, so today, I chose laugh.
It spoke to me gently and then drew me back when I finished writing and creating the list.
Which one are you bringing in and letting you find something just a little different?
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Fertile Images from the Heart
From my heart to yours, with love and respect
Beautiful images that have calmed me
Helped me find joy
Nourished me from the inside and out and to each and every cell
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Martin Luther King, Jr. - My Hero
Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of my heroes. I know a lot of people out there admire him and even revere him; to me, he is a hero.
I list him on the top of my hero list.
He inspires me daily in the work that I do. Here are a few reasons why:
- He supported all people to be all that they could be; in a free and open society
- He worked from a place of strength, love and peace
- He was a non-violent man who stood tall, never stooping to vilify those he disagreed with
- He used his words to improve understanding, to make what he was saying clear and then even more clear
- He was unafraid
I work in and for a community that I love and have utmost respect for; the infertile community. I see daily how people are exhausted, ashamed, beaten down and humiliated by an infertility diagnosis. I see how they feel less than other people because of the often temporary inability to conceive and carry a pregnancy to term. I see how they (we) hide from the people we love and trust most; not sharing what we are going through or minimizing it.
Fertility Inspiration from Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. probably had no idea or inkling that he would provide fertility inspiration; that he would inspire someone whose life goal is to support men and women through infertility. That’s another reason that he is my hero; how far reaching his words and actions have been.
There were many times when Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke for his community; that is his legacy, his words and actions. That is who he was, a powerful spokesperson against deliberate and non-specific racism.
There have been many times where I have deliberated whether or not to speak; and then, what to say and how to say it. Martin Luther King, Jr. comes into my mind on occasions where there is something of importance that needs to be said, where being an advocate is more than listening in a loving way; where it means saying things that will be unpopular but are real. I think of him when I am speaking for my community. I think of him when a reader asks me what she can share with her mother who had four children, one after another and does not understand what she is going through. I think of him when I read research reports and sigh with relief that there is no causal link between fertility treatment and cancer. I think of him when I write about how it feels to be alone, reminding you that you are not alone.
Community Support on MLK Day
He is a hero of mine. I’m not entirely sure how he would feel about my using him and his words and actions to support my community. Perhaps he wouldn’t approve. Perhaps he would be upset about it.
One of the reasons that Martin Luther King, Jr. has withstood the test of time as a hero, nationally, internationally and in my heart? He has inspired me to grow from his efforts and, through that growth, I have learned how to effectively fight and support my community.
While he might not agree with my fight, nor support my cause, I have absolutely no doubt in my heart that he would respect my passion, commitment and actions to support this community that I love.
MLK Day, I will light a candle. I will say a prayer.
And I will say thank you.
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Photo: Flickr Creative Commons, AlvesFamily, Martin Luther King Memorial
Gathering Fertile Hope
Time to hear from someone besides me. I'm tired of me this week. Tired of my own thoughts, my own words.
Enjoy the words of fertile hope from those much wiser and eloquent than I.
If the word God disturbs you in any of these quotes, just substitute any word that feels more appropriate.
If you don't believe in hope or miracles, consider this: the photo image on this blog was taken with a camera on a phone, no filters, no zoom, no special lenses.
Happy Weekend~ And a special call out; Happy Birthday to my younger sister, Laura Rosenthal, also known as Orly Ellen Rosenthal, may the sun shine down upon you today of all days.
“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
― Shel Silverstein
“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.”
― Emily Dickinson
“The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.”
― Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams
“Hope," Frank grumbled. "I'd rather have a few good weasels.”
― Rick Riordan, The Son of Neptune
“True hope is swift, and flies with swallow's wings.”
― William Shakespeare
“There is a saying in Tibetan, 'Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.'
No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that's our real disaster.”
― Dalai Lama XIV
“I cut an inch off of every straw I see, just to make the world suck a little less.
― Jarod Kintz, This Book Has No Title
“Hope is not about proving anything. It's about choosing to believe this one thing, that love is bigger than any grim, bleak shit anyone can throw at us.”
― Anne Lamott, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith
“I inhale hope with every breath I take.”
― Sharon Kay Penman, When Christ and His Saints Slept
“A great hope fell
You heard no noise
The ruin was within.”
― Emily Dickinson
“We should ask God to increase our hope when it is small, awaken it when it is dormant, confirm it when it is wavering, strengthen it when it is weak, and raise it up when it is overthrown.”
― John Calvin
“When you're at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hold on”
― Theodore Roosevelt
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Fertile Thoughts to Share
I need better words for today than I have. I want to share things with you, fertile thoughts, that I don't have a way of saying.
Sharing what Paulo Coelho has said, so beautifully, eloquently.
What will you take away from his words? I wonder.
Inspiring Quotes from Paulo Coelho
"Life always waits for some crisis to occur before revealing itself at its most brilliant."
"You do not drown simply by plunging into water; you only drown if you stay beneath the water."
"In the search for your destiny, you will often find yourself obliged to change direction."
"Waiting hurts. Forgetting hurts. But not knowing which decision to take is the worst of sufferings."
"Before taking any important decision in life, it is always good to do something slowly."
"Lessons always arrive when you are ready for them, and if you can read the signs, you will learn everything you need to know in order to take the next step."
"Carry in your memory, for the rest of your life, the good things that came out of your difficulties. They will serve as a proof of your abilities and will give you confidence when you are faced by other obstacles."
I will leave you with one of my personal favorites:
"When everything has been told and retold countless times,
when the places I have visited,
the things I have experienced,
the steps I have taken because of them
are all transformed into distant memories,
nothing will remain but pure love."
Some visual images of pure love for today:
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Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Inauguration Day Reflections
I have a slender book that has been in my possession for over 12 years.
It's title: "Why We Can't Wait," by Martin Luther King, Jr. It was written in 1963.
I got it because I like to read what a person has to say. Not what someone else says about what they say. What they say, themselves.
It feels almost miraculous when I sit here, reading the book, to read some of these words. MLK asks the question, "why did the civil rights movement leap forward in 1963?" He answered the question in a way that startled me, as I sit here in 2013.
The Presidential Inauguration and MLK Day
And even more startling as we all prepare for President Barack Obama to be sworn in as President of the United States of America. Today, of all days, on the day we celebrate MLK.
It was because it marked the 100 year anniversary of the emancipation proclamation. It was the centenial anniversary. Haunting, as this year, we are fifty years past when MLK wrote this book.
What, I wonder, would he think about the progress for the Negro people? We no longer use that terminology, of course, but that is the word that he uses in 1963, in this astounding book. What other changes would he see, that he would appreciate or be saddened by?
I'd like to think that he'd appreciate our country voting in Barack Obama, not once, but twice, even with so many problems facing our country, many of which have been blamed on the President.
It seems like the best way to understand a person, is to hear what they have to say. Without an intermediary. So, without further ado, I'll share some of what Dr. Martin Luther King said, in his own words.
The Words of Dr. Martin Luther King
"In 1963, the Negro, who had realized for many years that he was not truly free, awoke from a stupor of inaction with the cold dash of realization that 1963 meant one hundred years after Lincoln gave his autograph to the cause of freedom.
The milestone of the centennial of emancipation gave the Negro a reason to act--a reason so simple and obvious that he almost had to step back to see it.
Simple logic made it painfully clear that if this centennial were to be meaningful, it must be observed not as a celebration, but rather as a commemoration of the one moment in the country's history when a bold, brave start had been made, and a rededication to the obvious fact that urgent business was at hand- the resumption of that noble journey toward the goals reflected in the preamble to the Constitution, the Constitution itself, the Bill of Rights and the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments.
Yet not all of these forces conjoined could have brought about the massive and largely bloodless Revolution of 1963 if there had not ben at hand a philosophy and a method worthy of its goals. Nonvioloent direct action did not originate in America but it found its natural home in this land where refusal to cooperate with injustice was an ancient and honorable tradition and where Christian forgiveness was written into the minds and hearts of good men. Tested in Montgomery during the winter of 1955-56, and toughened throughout the South in the eight ensuing years, non-violent resistance had become, by 1963, the logical force in the greatest mass-action crusade for freedom that has ever occurred in American history.
Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. It is a weapon unique in history, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals. Both a practical and a moral answer to the Negro's cry for justice, nonviolent direct action proved that it could win victories without losing wars, and so became the triumphant tactic of the Negro Revolution of 1963."
Thirteen Amendment-Abolishes slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime.
Fourteenth Amendment-Defines citizenship, contains the Privileges or Immunities Clause, the Due Process Clause, the Equal Protection Clause, and deals with post-Civil War issues.
Fifteenth Amendment- Prohibits the denial of suffrage based on race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
What Dr. King's Words Mean Today
Powerful words, written by a powerful man. What do they mean to us today, with our battles? We are looking at violence, the right to bear arms, the right to personal freedoms and safety.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s words stand strong. 50 years later, they mean something, to the situation and problems we are creating in our country.
Powerful words from a powerful man.
And so we celebrate his birth and his life.