Hummingbirds

This past Monday I attended the first of a four-week writing workshop that is being offered by The Elizabeth Hospice. The workshop is called “Writing Through the Grief Journey”, which obviously seemed right up my alley. I have basically turned into The Elizabeth Hospice’s biggest fan, and will gladly be their spokesperson for the rest of my life. These people are incredible!!! God’s gift, in the flesh, to the mourner.

I haven’t decided how many of the things I write through this workshop that I will want to share here, but today I wanted to share this piece. The assignment was to write about a small thing that reminds you of someone you lost. I decided to write about hummingbirds.

Hope you enjoy. Love to you all!

~Kristin

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Nothing reminds me more of Branch than hummingbirds.

Thursday, June 27th 2013. Glenn and I were eagerly anticipating finding out if our first baby was a boy or girl. I was 17 weeks pregnant, and thrilled!

We started off the day at Bread and Cie,  followed by a stroll through Balboa Park and a stop at the Coy Pond. I remember Glenn taking a video of the fish, and posting it to Instagram. We looked for little boy and little girl outfits at Baby Gap and Nordstrom. We couldn’t find anything we wanted to buy, so we left the mall empty handed and headed to Sonohealth for our ultrasound.

We were so excited. Looking back now we seem young, innocent.

We paid all sorts of money just to find out the gender of our baby earlier than the doctor would tell us. Sergio was kind. He told us our baby’s heart was beating. And then he told us there was a problem with our baby’s brain. Anencephaly. Not compatible with life.  I remember clutching Glenn, crying, shaking. I knew exactly what it was because Mara had gone through this a year before. I remember wanting to know if our baby was a boy or girl, and Sergio told us he hadn’t looked.

We left Sonohealth, after they refunded our money, which is both kind and odd, and went across the street to Old Trolley Barn Park. There are benches there, in the back corner of the park, that overlook the freeway and valley. We sat on those benches and cried and prayed and told our families and friends what we had just heard. Our baby was going to die. This life inside of me would be just fine until the day it was born, and then it would not be able to stay on earth any longer. It was heartbreaking.

Old Trolley Barn Park is a beautiful park. It is simple : a playground, some picnic tables, a few grassy areas, and a handful of benches. As we sat there, in the shock and horror of a fatal diagnosis, life swirled around us. Butterflies, lizards, little kids playing, sunshine, bees, and hummingbirds. There were so many hummingbirds.

I don’t know what it was about the hummingbirds, but Glenn and I were both struck by them. They were beautiful. They were peaceful but always fluttering. They would come close but never stay.  It was as if God were saying “I Am Here.”

Two days later, after hibernating at Glenn’s parents house, we returned home. The fig tree in our backyard had started to bloom, and the first thing we noticed was a handful of hummingbirds that seemed to surround that tree. “I Am Here.”

We unlocked the front door and saw a package had been delivered while we were away. From April and Jordan : a hummingbird feeder, and lots of hummingbird food. We started crying – how could we not? “I Am Here.” It was almost as if He were screaming it from all around us. Reminding us of His promise that He will never leave us or forsake us. That in the darkness, His light remains.

I remember a few weeks ago, while on a very long walk over by the airport with Jessica, I saw a few hummingbirds. Pointing them out, we started talking about reminders of Branch, and how some people would like to say that Branch is IN those hummingbirds. We talked about how we are grateful Branch is in Heaven, and not fluttering around the earth aimlessly in the body of a bird.

In between giggles, Jessica said “Little boy! You are WAY too close to that oncoming traffic!” as if she were scolding Branch himself. It was so sweet. A reminder of all I have lost, but an acknowledgement that my baby boy matters to my friends and family. He will not be forgotten. I will not be abandoned. God promised :: “I Am Here.”

 

Hard Times in Blogland

People. I have a hard time writing sometimes.

You see, I am an avoider.

I avoid hard things.

Emotions, because they are very tricky and it’s hard work to process through them. Exercise, because I don’t think I can really do it well enough. Cleaning, because the house will just get dirty again. Eating well, because it’s SO HARD TO LOSE WEIGHT I almost don’t want to try anymore. Prayer, because I can’t lie to God about how I really feel. Writing, because I am not exactly sure what it is I’m trying to do here, or if anyone will want to read it.

Japan Bike
this photo is a bike in japan. i edited it in photoshop which is, yes, something else i am avoiding.

I have been reading more blogs lately, and have been particularly impressed with Jami Nato and her willingness to share whatever is going on in her life — fun and ugly, silly and deep. While I was thumbing through some of her older posts, I came across this one, on Blog Encouragement. It both convicted and encouraged me.  I have a tendency to fall into the comparison/shame game. I do it in almost every area of my life: “My house isn’t decorated as nicely as so-and-so’s… I must not be good at vision or design. I’m not losing weight as quickly as so-and-so… I must not be trying hard enough. Our finances aren’t where we want them to be… God must not want to bless us in that way.”

LIES. They’re all lies.

I believe lies about myself and about God EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

I recently went through Beth Moore’s Breaking Free Bible study with a group of awesome ladies. If you haven’t done this study, you should. It’s absolutely incredible how much TRUTH Beth Moore shares, and how much God’s grace oozes from her writing and words. Actually, if you haven’t done the study and are interested {and live in the San Diego area}, e-mail me. I want to do it again.  Anyway, a big part of the study is on the lies we believe, and tearing down those lies so that we can replace them with God’s Truth.

Be your {true} self. Love your {true} self. Share your {true} self. This is freedom.

I need to be the me that God created me to be.  He makes me kinder, gentler, stronger, and more fun than I could ever be on my own. I need to love who I am, because God loves me so greatly, just as I am.  I need to share and give of myself  — the vision, joy, laughter, and freedom I have will make the world a better place the more I share them with others.

So there you have it. A little bit of why I have a hard time writing and blogging sometimes. A glimmer of the lies I believe. And hope that the Truth that is replacing those lies will bring freedom to everyone it touches.

~Kristin

 

 

Mediocrity

Photo taken on our 2nd anniversary {many moons ago!} on the isle of Kaua’i, with Brian and Julie Prue: two people who are proof God loves us and has great things in store.

Last Monday morning, after sleeping until 9:15am, gathering my things, and heading to Panera to do a little writing, I received a text message from Glenn:

Good Morning K-Money! Hope you have a mediocre day with maybe just a tiny bit of productivity! #lowexpectations

It warmed my heart. And helped me have one of the best, most productive, positive days I’ve had in a while.

Here’s the deal: As you may recall from this post, I set ridiculously high goals for myself and have a hard time being ok with anything lower than the best.

THIS IS NOT A HEALTHY WAY TO LIVE, PEOPLE!

It’s the furthest thing from freedom. And I want to be free in all aspects of life!

I’m working on it.

Back to the text message from G-Money. This week, we have decided to make mediocrity the goal.  I know that sounds weird, but it’s actually been really helpful. Let’s take last night, for example. I was checking in on some blogs I follow, most of them women who have “achieved” what I hope to achieve in my writing career: they have monetized their writing, have book deals, are excellent photographers, have thousands of people who read what they write every day, and get to travel all around the world because of their blogs.

I started to go down the path of “Man! I wish I could achieve success of that level in my writing!” This type of thinking never ends well. Actually, it almost always ends in me deciding there’s no point to what I’m doing and that I will never succeed at anything.

I have a problem.

Like I said, I’m working on it.

At any rate, instead of giving me the usual positive pep talk and telling me all the great things I’m capable of {which, side note, I am. So are you. Truth.} Glenn turned to me and said, ever so calmly: “It’s a good thing you’re just doing all this writing for fun, because you probably won’t ever get to do any of that stuff, and your blog will probably never be as successful as any of theirs!”

That may sound strange and mean, but trust me when I tell you it was said SO gently with the perfect hint of sarcasm.  This reverse psychology totally worked. Instead of heading down the freeway of doom, I stopped for a second and said “Oh yea, I probably won’t ever be as popular as they are. That’s not why I’m doing this! I AM doing this for fun and to have a place to express what it is to be ME!  I’ll just keep doing it and see what happens.”

There you have it.

Here I am, writing to all of you, sharing blips of inner insanity. Giving glimmers into the friendships, the drama, the travels, the foods that make up my life. And, really, it is a GREAT life that I lead.  A life that is so much more than mediocre.

Don’t tell Glenn I said that.

Much love to each and every one of you.

~Kristin

You Chose Me: Re-post for the My Husband Rocks! Contest

I originally posted this a few months ago as an anniversary note to Glenn, and am re-posting it today for the My Husband Rocks! Contest. Hope you enjoy reading {or re-reading} it!

To my better half.

When I was 16 years old, sitting on a log at Hume Lake, with my favorite person beside me. I thought we were getting together to talk about all that had transpired the past week at camp. I thought you were interested in someone else. I was awe-struck by the morning stars. You grabbed my hand and sent my heart into flutters. You chose me.

When I was on the other side of the world, eating whole baguettes and sipping Coca-Cola at trendy cafes. I watched the world around me and wished you were there to share in these memories. You gave up time with loved ones at home to call my payphone and keep us connected. You told me what a good job I was doing with my daily attempts at running. You trusted my directions in a land where no one spoke your language. You met me at the bus-stop. You chose me.

As I wrestled with worries of the future, you stood back and knew this was something only God could change in me. You encouraged wisdom and patience while the rest of the world questioned your loyalty. You knew what was right and stuck to it, waiting for me to let go on my own. In the silence and waiting, you chose me.

After a miserable test, a failed dinner party, expensive sunglasses, and a long nap, you told me to wear my new dress. You picked me up in your little car. We drove far away, to my favorite place. We sat by the fire and I sipped a martini. We watched award-winning chefs work their magic. I told you it was perfect. Fireworks lit up the sky, we rode my favorite ride. You proclaimed your love, as I told you it was inappropriate. You knocked me off my feet with diamonds and a promise of forever. You chose me.

I was shaky and nauseous, gripping my Dad’s arm like it was my only chance of survival. You told me I was pretty. You held my hands. You vowed to share everything with me, until the end of time. We danced the night away. I cried and laughed at the great love of our God, our family, our friends. You took me to Hawaii. You chose me.

This life is such a crazy adventure. You make it better than I ever could have dreamed. Happy Anniversary. I’m so glad you chose me.

Starbucks Rewards

As with most things in life, I am a little behind on the Starbucks train. Turns out, being behind has cost me a handful of free lattes. Bust. Well here it is. My new love: the Starbucks Reward System. And just in case you are even more behind than me (not likely) OR if you were questioning whether or not signing up for said reward system was actually worth your time, I’m here to tell you all about it and why it is my favorite thing this week.

What it is: You get (or buy) a Starbucks gift card. You register the card online at starbucks.com. You sell only a fraction of your personal information (mother’s maiden name, husband’s social, copy of birth certificate… the basics). You use your registered Starbucks card. You accumulate stars. Stars get you free stuff.
(No, Mom, I didn’t really have to give them your maiden name.)

Is it worth it?: Yes.

I was looking for more than a “yes”: Oh, well, umm,… it gets the just-invented KristinEats stamp of approval, which should mean something to you. Since my new ‘writer lifestyle’ includes trips to Starbucks every other day, it’s definitely going to pay off.

Here’s an idea: any time you go to Starbucks, use your registered card. Even if there’s no money left on it, add the $2.40 in change that you were going to use to buy your grande iced tea to the registered card. You will accumulate a star for every transaction, so try to buy as many small things in separate transactions as possible.

Like today, I came to Starbucks and bought a ‘perfect oatmeal’, which is not actually perfect at all but that’s another story, and then 10 minutes later bought an iced tea. So now I have two more stars on my account!

Kristin, it sounds like you might be getting scammed: It’s possible. But I come to Starbucks often enough that I figure I might as well be getting a little thrill and reward out of it, right?

Anyone have other awesome points programs that are worth trying out?