When God’s answer is No?

I have been avoiding facing His answer.

This summer my husband and I completed our second and third snowflake embryo cycles (donated embies) with our fabulous fertility specialist. I was not so surprised that the second cycle returned a resounding No to our attempt to have our first child (embies #3 & #4). However, I was taken to my knees by the failed third attempt (embies #5, #6 & #7) the whole experience left a bitter residue in my mouth that I can still taste (perhaps I will share more on that later). For know we are trying to find our way to a new plan as we address our grief.

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Book Review: Be The People, Carol M. Swain’s book “A Call to Reclaim America’s Faith & Promise”

Where to start? Being a transplanted Canadian typically not interested in reading about history, politics and religion this was far from my typical reading material on death and dying (I’m a nurse) and took conviction on my part to read but was worth every moment of my time.

In my humble opinion, Ms.Swains book is a must read for every resident of the United States and any one interested in the roots and cornerstone of ‘American patriotism’ such as ‘morality, virtue, values and principles’ which are not merely a result of the constitution but also entwined with appreciation to God for his gifts and mercy. Her writing serves as a wake up call because it is time to remove the veil of shame that currently blankets Christianity  and is threatening to fracture the United States of America.  She reminds Americans that it is time to rediscover and stand fast in the Countries Christian roots by providing insights guiding the reader to see beyond the triggers used by the media; politicians and free mongers to sell the anti-Christian/anti-American polarizing agenda.
Life is about choices and Ms. Swain reminds us in her final chapter that we can no longer overlook the impact our choices are having on the Country.   It is time to turn our attention to God and studying his word for guidance as we then look inward to process His word and internalize His message of morality; ethics; virtue and values.  Then and only then can we can reach out to reclaim what makes America unique, its deep Christian roots.
Thank you Ms. Swain for speaking your truth.
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How bright is your bulb?

Today as I read an article in my inbox from MORE magazine by Patti Davis, I felt duped yet inspired to write. I am very interested to read about your reaction(s) and hope to find your comments at the end of my post.

With great anticipation I read Ms. Davis article for MORE online Magazine “The Cost of Doing the Right Thing“, I hoped it would contain inspiring insights only to be left at the end wishing she had expanded upon rather than sensationalized ‘The Genovese and Murray cases.’ So much can be learned from senseless deaths including Jesus death on the cross, it not only provides us an opportunity to ‘check’ the direction of our moral compass (how would you have responded to Jesus’ or these ladies cries for help) but also to evaluate the consequences for our actions or lack there of (such as the resulting guilt and remorse she expresses for the dog she stopped advocating for).

I was also irritated by her explanation of the ‘bystander effect’.  During my nursing undergrad,  we were taught that a potential theory or explanation of the ‘bystander effect’ is that the more ‘witnesses’ to an event the less a ‘witness’ can believe that the attack has not already been reported and that help is not already on the way. Perhaps that is why Jesus asks us all to go and live his words by example, taking action and giving a voice to our beliefs and repeating His message for all to hear.

“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in Me should stay in darkness” JOHN 12:46 NIV

Praying your Christmas and 2012 will be bright,

with the everlasting light and love of God.

Melody

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Baby Hunger…pains.

What an odd title for a book about infertility “Baby Hunger”, or so I thought. Turns out this week it is spot on in describing the emptiness I continue to experience as I try to fill my craving to become a mommy.  It almost been a year since the pregnancy was lost and what a wicked feeling of injustice I am feeling at this moment at being unable to conceive or carry a baby. I ask what is so wrong with trying to follow your dream of becoming a parent? So what if my body is 43, even after all these years of feeling betrayed by my body I still believe in something stronger than science. I really believe in an almighty God that can over come everything and anything, maybe that’s why even though I am a seasoned hospice nurse, I cannot get embrace Kubbler Ross’s stage or emotion of acceptance. No amount of self talk, grieving or reading has been able to shake my belief that God gave me a uterus and has had me fight to keep it all these years for a reason.  I cannot begin to explain the pain I have endured as a result of endometriosis, the humiliation and shame I have  exposed myself  to and experienced at the hands of not so well-meaning medical doctors in my search for the ‘one’ who will match my beliefs and be able to fulfill my hearts desire and but an end to my Baby Hunger Pains.

Any suggestions or insights are greatly appreciated.

Waiting, Melody

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All about Hope.

During the summer I had the fortuitous opportunity to attend the 2011 She Speaks conference and one of the guest speakers was fellow Canadian Ann Voskamp.  She is the author of one thousand gifts and also writes the blog a holy experience.  I have not read her book however, I have been reading her blog and decided to join the weekly conversations.  Monday’s theme is ‘Multitude Mondays’ when we reflect and share about the gifts in our lives.  Wednesday s are ‘Walk with Him Wednesdays’ when we post on topics posted by Ann to share our “spiritual practices that draw us nearer to His heart”.

Currently the discussion is reflecting upon Hope.   Over the years, I have hoped for many things.  As a child, I hoped for the fighting to end, for our mom to be healthy and for her not have to take any more trips back to ‘mental’ hospital, for the food money to last until the end of the month and for the love and approval of the authority figures in my life.

In my twenties, I hoped to finish my nursing degree at the University of Calgary and find a job in my home town of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  I graduate in 1992 with my Bachelor’s of Nursing but due to socialized health care reform; I ended up moving almost three thousand miles from home to accept a job in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Since graduation, I hoped to find my soul mate, a man who would love me forever and have the fortitude to stay.   In 2000, after 12 hours of delayed flights in Chicago O’Hare, my plane departed for New Orleans.  On that flight I meet the southern boy with the Catahoula grey eyes who did not ask me out on a date and on August 23, 2008 two days before my 40th birthday we were married.

As you see, over the decades hope has taken many forms in my life.  After too many doctor appointments to count, more tests than I care to remember and a multitude of medications our current hope even after being told we will never be able to conceive, is to expand our family and fill the halls of our home with the laughter of children.

In all the years, hope for me has never been about getting what I want but about being able to see the gifts in the process and believing that it is not my plan that matters only how I respond to the opportunities that I am presented with.  In November 2010, I miscarried after a FRET (frozen embryo transfer) it was a first pregnancy for us both; after the grief of our loss subsided I knew in my heart that it was not all for nothing. I knew then and now know with every cell in my body that my husband and I were meant to share the experience of losing a child.  It is not the outcome that we had prayed for, yet we know that it was part of God’s plan for us.  We turned to Him with our pain and it brought us closer to each other and we continue to hope for the miracle only He can deliver.

I would love to hear your story of Hope. Thanks for coming by, Melody

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Optimistic by nature.

 I have been trying to remember for months when it was, or better yet, what it was that prompted me as a child at the end of the day to review the day’s events? It became my bedtime ritual and something I have to do even to this day or I cannot fall asleep…I must take the time to review what I am gratefully for that day.

It is not something I have ever question or thought peculiar until this past summer while in Charlotte, NC at the Proverbs 31 She Speaks conference.  There I found myself in a banquet room with six hundred and fifty women, seated with Helen (my conference assigned roommate who is an Aussie living in my home town of Calgary, Alberta, Canada) at a of table strangers listening to the only other Canadian in the room speak about her book.  Perhaps you’ve heard of her? Her name is Ann Voskamp and her book is “one thousand gifts”.  The bustle of the banquet room quickly transformed into the serenity of a flower meadow nestled in the Rocky Mountains and as Ann began to speak, I felt my shoulders relax as I exhaled and I realized not everyone shares my bedtime ritual.

Have you ever noticed that the only thing in life that you can control is your response to the situation?  I continue everyday to work on being present and making conscious decisions to embrace an attitude of gratitude. I hope you will join me every Monday and Wednesday as I walk with Ann and the rest of the ‘Multitude Monday’ crew and the ‘Walk with Him Wednesday’ crew .

I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, Ephesians 1:16

  1. A husband who knows I like my pizza reheated in the oven and not the microwave.
  2. Friends I consider family and family I consider friends.
  3. A weekend filled with children’s laughter.
  4. Dog and cat kisses.
  5. Peace in my heart.
  6. A car that starts and gets me to and from.
  7. My improving health.

Living with passion,

Melody

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Remembering Ruthie my heavy heart gives way to grace.

In the little bedroom town of Saint Francisville we have experienced a loss, a great loss actually.  Someone I did not have the honor of meeting has died, Wednesday I attended her wake at the Methodist Church. We stood outside in a line that twisted out the door, down the street and around the corner and as we waited my anxiety intensified.  While standing my gaze shifted from my sweet southern husband who was holding a flower umbrella over my head to the line of mourners and my mind was distracted.  It raced with thoughts of a women I never meet but feel I am a better person for having ‘sharred’ in her journey.  You see, she came into my life as a result of her cancer diagnosis not because I am a nurse, but through a blog chronicling her progress that her brother Rod Dreher was writing called belief.net  and currently through his writing at The American Conservative.

This past week Ruthie died, at home from what they think was a pulmonary embolism.  She leaves a husband, three daughters, mother, father, brother, friends and a community to ponder how life will go on with out her physical presence and my mind drifts to when I was in University and the day we buried my step-dad in 1987. I read somewhere I think it was on Proverbs 31 Ministry and I am kicking myself for not writing down then but it went something like this: ‘Death is not something we get over as most people think. Death is something we learn to move around as we develop a new normal with out our loved one.’

Borrowed from Ruthie's friend Deanna Gresham's FB page. The photo was taken on the day of Ruthie's funeral. Can you see the cross?

I have been shedding a lot of tears over the last week, some for Ruthie and some for other losses that have touched my life .  Today, again I found comfort and inspiration in Ruthie’s big brothers posting so I am sharing a snippet with you:

     “Nevertheless, the legacy of Ruthie’s witness brings to mind these words of St. Therese of Lisieux, who became one of the greatest saints of living simply and purely for Christ and others. This benediction of the Little Flower’s could have been written by Ruthie, of her own experience:

May today there be peace within. 
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. 
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. 
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. 
May you be content knowing you are a child of God. 
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. 
It is there for each and every one of us.

Rod Dreher

In Ruthie’s memory, Melody

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Follow your heart? Not anymore, I’m turning towards the Son.

Do you notice trends in your life?

How many times have you been at a cross roads and heard the phrase “Follow our heart? I cannot be the only person who has sought advice from a parent, friend, or mentor to hear “Follow your heart”? Have you ever noticed that your heart does not always know whats best and that sometimes your heart can lead you astray from God’s intended purpose for your life?

Oh the number of times I have rationalized my life’s choices with “I’m following my heart”, only to look back at my decisions and discover the times I followed my heart I was overriding my inner voice.

Have you noticed what happens when you override your inner voice?  Have you rationalized your choices to take the path you thought would get you to your destination?  Have you noticed, each time you tried to side step a lesson it reappeared in one form or another and most often the consequences escalated too?

While at the She Speaks 2011 women’s conference a phrase kept crossing my path, everyone was talking about “Finding your Tag Line”.  Before arriving at She Speaks, I did not even know what a tag line was and after hearing about it in two break out sessions I finally turned to technology and googled it.  From my quick Wikipedia check, I learned that a tag line was a form of product branding with the goal of enticing an audience.

Then I heard Mary DeMuth’s and her message about ‘Tag Lines’ continues to resonating within me.  Mary’s breakout session was “La, la, la, la. Find Your {Voice}” and like the other one hundred plus women in the room I felt as if Mary was speaking directly to me during her entire discussion.  Like obedient catholic school children our eyes were fixed on her as she explained how the recent changes to her ow tag line evolved.  She explained that tag line’s need to be revisited and revised, that words evoke emotion and have power. Imagine my delight when she shared that tag lines are the unique expression of our inner voice.  She also reminded us that life is not static so be careful not to define ourselves by the past, but how important it is to integrate our past into our future.

For as long as I can remember (from my past)  I have been attracted to Sunflowers.

Following the Sun.

It was love at first sight.  Stems standing at attention like royal guards in front of Buckingham palace; bright and bold heads ranging in size from a teacup saucer to the size of an oversized dinner plate; velvet centers that provide nectar and seeds and delicate young leaves and buds that turn from east to west during the day following the sun across the sky? As I seek out and learn how to listen and reveal my unique voice, my tag line remains a work in progress, but you can bet it and my future will involve the Holy Spirit as I turn towards and follow the Son.

It would be great if you would take a moment and share a comment regarding following your heart. Thanks for stopping by, Melody

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One Last Shot?

Have you never wanted something only to find yourself in the middle of it and then discover you never want to give it up only to find out you that your work was done? ‘Serving Life’ premiered this weekend on the Oprah Winfrey Network.  I consulted on it with Lisa Cohen (Producer & Director) and the few moments I watched bears little resemblance to the original trailer “One Last Shot” or the hospice program I was once had the honor to be a member of.  I did not anticipated the flood of emotions  that would over take me as I watched the opening credits, for now will you join me in finding solace in a message I heard at the She Speaks 2011 conference “Sometimes man’s rejection is God’s protection. Lysa Terkeurst”.

Have you never wanted something, found yourself in the middle of it only to discover you had to give it up and believed it to be your life’s calling? If so, I invite you to leave a comment in that we might find grace in each others experiences.

Until we meet again, Melody

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From Balance to Harmony

Before ‘She Speaks’ every day was a tight rope. What I thought I was living, was a balanced life that included my marriage; family, friends, work and spiritual life.  I cannot even remember when my quest for balance began, but I can tell you when it ended.  Standing in line, July 23, 2011 waiting my turn to speak with the author’s who were gifting the conference participants with their books and I found myself speaking to T. Suzanne Eller author of  “The Mom I Want to Be – Rising Above Your Past To Give Your Kids a Great Future” a book I had overlooked earlier but one that I was meant to read and has introduced me to the path of harmony.

Harmony is defined  as “A pleasing combination of elements in a whole.”

A quote from Ms. Eller’s book refers to finding “gifts from God inside of me I didn’t even know existed: compassion, forgiveness, gratitude, joy.”

When I read these words I was filled with peace I have only experienced at few times during my life and realized we all need harmony not anouther scale to measure our self worth against.

Melody

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