Monday, April 15, 2013
Serendipity fills me with awe. It's a split-second in time when I can sense the order in the Universe. When all the stars are aligned and I feel that we are all connected. That everything is and always has been ok. That love is all there is.
I had a serendipitous event last week. It was so powerful, I had to share it with you, my dear readers.
Last week I headed to a follow up appointment for my recent mouth surgeries. The first floor of the parking lot (where I always park) was completely full, so I parked on a higher level and took the stairs. In the stairwell was a mama of a newborn. She was lugging him down the stairs in his carseat, quite a few steps ahead of me.
For some reason, I felt drawn to them. When close enough to get a peek, I noticed her baby had a double cleft lip. It was not yet repaired. I'd never seen someone without the repair. (In fact, it was only a few years ago that I first saw my newborn photo. I was moved to tears, seeing myself before my lip was sewn together. Somewhere in my kid brain, I thought my parents were embarrassed by my birth defect so they didn't have any pre-surgery photos.)
I called down the stairs and asked how old he was.
"Nine days," she replied.
He looked at me so sweetly from under his pale blue beanie. He was blissfully unaware of the long road of surgeries, dental issues, possible speech therapy, tears, and insecurity that can come from having a facial birth defect. His mama, however, had a troubled look.
"He's going to be okay," I told his mama. "I too have a cleft lip."
She stopped walking and leaned toward me to inspect my face. "Yeah," she said, "Your repair looks really good."
"It will make him a stronger person," I said, as goosebumps covered my whole body.
"Thank you, thank you for that," she said with a smile. She seemed genuinely grateful for my remarks.
And then we parted. It was a brief moment in time. One that I feel will stick with me for a long while. I even have goosebumps now, as I type this.
God put us on that stairwell at exactly the same time. I am sure of it.
Of course, I didn't tell her that I was on my way in to see the doctor because at 38, I am still dealing with issues because of my cleft palate. Hopefully, with medical advancements in the treatment of cleft palates, his journey to healing will be much shorter than mine.
At first I thought our paths crossed because she needed to hear that her precious baby was going to be ok. Upon further reflection, I realized I needed to see him too. I thought of that baby boy when I was at my doctor appointment and thought, Be strong for him, Kathianne. It doesn't make any sense, really, but it did give me strength. And perspective.
This little guy is just starting on his path to healing. And after 38 years, I am (hopefully) near completion.
Dear readers, please join me in sending out healing thoughts to this anonymous little boy.
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Did I mention I was in the same room with Oprah?!?!
Being present for the taping of two Oprah's Lifeclass episodes was just a bonus. And sitting next to my bestie in the front row (stage right) to boot! Dreams really do come true.
"My" shows already aired live on Oprah.com and will air on television (OWN- The Oprah Winfrey Network) in January 2013. I'll try and give you a heads up on an exact date if possible. But only if you promise not to laugh if you see me jumping around like a crazy woman.
The theme of my Lifeclass episodes was Living with Purpose and Rick Warren was the guest. Warren is the author of The Purpose Driven Life; the #2 best-selling non-fiction book of all time. Second only to the Bible. I had forgotten that President Obama selected him to give the invocation at his inauguration (which, by the way, upset a lot of social progressives.)
I wasn't excited when I discovered Rick Warren was going to be the guest. I knew he was an Evangelical Christian minister at a religious right megachurch, and that made me a bit skeptical. (But it didn't really matter who the guest was because I was going to be in the same room as Oprah!) Of course, I shouldn't have doubted my Oprah. Warren turned out to be a great guest and I learned a lot from him. There were a lot of ah-ha moments, a lot of murmered mmm hmms, and a few Amens! from the audience. It was a great reminder for me not to prejudge the messenger; to just listen to the message and then let my heart judge it's truth for me.
Which reminds me of a great quote from another spiritual leader:
Believe in nothing, no matter where you read it or who has said it, not even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. -Buddha
Here are the notes (quotes, concepts, and meaningful phrases) I furiously pecked into my phone during the taping:
In the poker game of life, we are dealt five cards:
1. Chemistry- our physical make-up, appearance, DNA
2. Connections- our relationships
3. Circumstances- we give them too much power
4. Consciousness- how we talk to ourselves, the voice in your head
5. Choices- this card can make or break your entire hand
Nick Vujicic was dealt an incredibly rough hand. If you are not familiar with his story, please take the time to watch this YouTube video. The 4 minutes and 11 seconds will undoubtedly be the most inspirational of your day. It's a great reminder that 95% of the things we worry or complain about are miniscule in the grand scheme of things. Warren's only request for his appearance on Oprah's Lifeclass was to have Vujicic on the show. It was powerful to see him in person- he radiates positive energy and an authentic power despite his enormous physical limitations. (I am happy to report that Vujicic just got married and his wife is expecting their first child. Doesn't that make you smile inside?)
And now on to more show notes:
God's plan for us/ our life's purpose is like a Polaroid picture. It starts out just a shadow, and with time the picture becomes clearer and into focus. If you don't yet know God's plan for you, just wait. It will become clear in time.
Hope= Holding On Praying Expectantly
If you live by the approval of others, you will die by their rejection. -Rick Warren
The two things that will cause you to miss your life's purpose:
1. Envy- I must be like you to be happy.
2. People Pleasing- I must be liked by you to be happy.
You must live your life for an audience of one.
We often look for love in our accomplishments, acheivements, and appearance. To be authenically powerful (significant,) we need to find a way to give our gifts in service.
Stages of a Dream
Dead End (Death of a Vision)
I'm sure you can relate these stages to a situation in your own life. To illustrate the idea for you, I'll use the example of my dream to be a mama: Once Hubby and I decided to start conceiving, we were met with significant delays. Followed by significant difficulities. Then our dead end- IVF failed and we were told we wouldn't have our biological child without a miracle. Then 5.5 long (and yet now seemingly short) months later, a stranger birthed our baby. The baby destined to be our child. In fact, the one we were always waiting for, we just didn't realize it. Deliverance!
Miser- the root word of miserable. Not a coincidence. We receive by giving.
How do you find your life's purpose? Look at the things that shape you:
1. Spiritual gifts (I'm not 100% sure what he meant by this. Anyone have input?)
2. Heart (What are your passions?)
3. Abilities (What are you good at/ with?)
5. Experiences (Jobs, education, family, painful experiences)
Our greatest strengths often come out of our pain -Rick Warren
God never wastes a hurt. We might, but he won't. He will use it for good.
The way you serve God is by serving others.
It's all about love.
Humility- It's not about denying your strengths, it's about being honest about your weaknesses.
There are accidental parents, there are no accidental babies.
You can waste your life, or you can invest it. Invest in what will outlast you, people and love.
Please share if any of these notes touched you in some way. I know I'm going to buy the book. Anyone else? I'd love to have some people to discuss it with chapter by chapter.
*FYI: The first seven chapters of The Purpose Driven Life are available free on the book website.
Monday, October 8, 2012
I'm immensely grateful to my readers who have been asking for a new blog post and a surgery update. Thank you for your interest and concern. It warms my heart to know that my words have been missed and that in my blogging absence, I've still been remembered.
Much has happened since my last post. Here are some highlights:
1. We put our little bird in preschool 2 days a week. With my newly cherished "me time," I've been working on my book and making progress. The first 50 pages have already been sent to my book coach. I plan to give you, my dear readers, previews along the way. Stay tuned.
2. After at least 6 years of trying, I got tickets to Oprah! I went this past Friday and it was amazing. That will be the next blog post I write. Hopefully this week.
3. Surgery update: The good news is that 2/3 of my surgery was successful. Yay! The bad news is that 1/3 wasn't. Boo! So I am in for another surgery. Boo! But I've been assured it will be significantly less painful and recovery will be only a day instead of a week this time. So, Halloween morning is the day. While you are eating your candy, think of me. I won't be eating anything but liquids and pureed foods. Boo! After surgery there is a 4-6 month wait to see if the bone around the cleft in my jaw healed correctly. If not, I am in for another surgery with a bone graft. I'm hoping it works.
4. And here's the big one: For those of you who have been following my (in)fertility and then adoption journey, you know it has been a roller coaster. I received crazy and unexpected news over a week ago that I could possibly get pregnant. I wasn't even looking for this information- it just fell out of the sky (or from my new Ob/Gyn's mouth.) Then, as easy as it came, it was quickly retracted when my lab work came back. I was elated for a week, then devastated again. While I wouldn't change a thing about how our daughter came to us, I am still grieving my inability to experience pregnancy, childbirth, and a baby that is 1/2 me and 1/2 my husband. I was again feeling it was hopeless, but some serendipitous events (you know how I LOVE those) have my mind and heart in a tailspin. Is the universe sending me signs? Did I give up on my body too soon? Is my dream of getting pregnant and carrying our biological child possible? I'm reevaluating, wondering, and very scared to even get on that roller coster again. But this time, it's different. While it would still take a financial and emotional investment, most of the pressure is off. We already have a child and I know that adoption is no less of a miracle. So I'm going to try take deep breaths, be still, and listen to what my heart has so say on the matter.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
This morning I received an unexpected blog comment from my sweet friend Heather: "What a great start to the morning! It's great to see you blogging again, Kathianne. I've missed you!"
This was surprising for two reasons: 1. Heather just had her fourth baby so I don't know how she has time to read my blog and 2. I didn't write a blog post. Yep. My blog (or more accurately the email subscription service I use) randomly picked a post from March and emailed it to all my dear subscribers. You thought it looked familiar, didn't you?
It appears that the Universe (or my blog?) is sending me a message to start writing again. Or maybe there was something in that post that a subscriber needed to hear?
Anyway, my blogging hiatus wasn't planned. A while ago I told myself I wasn't going to stress about the frequency of my posts. I'm not getting paid to blog- it's just for fun and because I want to share some of myself (insights, stories, and art) with the world. (As it turns out, connecting with my readers and other bloggers has been incredibly rewarding.) It's just that over the past few weeks I just haven't been inspired to share. Actually, that's not true. A few weeks ago I wrote a really raw and revealing baby update but my husband respectfully requested I not post it. In the past, I've revealed a lot on here which I assume has not been easy for him. He's as private as I am open. And this was his first request for blogging privacy which I had no problem honoring. But after that I just got stuck. I couldn't post about what was most on my mind, and everything else seemed trivial to me. So no new posts. Until now.
So, what to share in this new post after so many weeks of silence? Well, there appears to be a bright light at the end of our long and dark (yet enlightening and insightful) journey. The last few weeks I have been busy preparing for something very special. And I can't wait to share that news with you. But I don't want to jinx it. So I am going to tell you after the fact. I hope that's okay with you.
So until next time, nourish yourself dear reader.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Sunday, June 7, 2009
About five or so years after college graduation, I met an incredible man. Even before our first date I described him to a friend as, “the date of the century.” It was a whirlwind there for a few weeks. The problem was that 6 weeks after we met, I was moving out of the state and going to graduate school. What was going to happen? Would we be able to sustain this relationship long distance? I was worried and my twenty six year-old infatuated mind could think of little else. These questions about my unknown future weighed me down and grew as my move date loomed.
During that final week together, I happened upon an antique bookstore in the middle of a full-on worry session. I perused the books and picked one off the shelf: West-Running Brook by Robert Frost. I opened the book and gasped. There was nothing on the left page. The right page held only the following words:
Let the night be too dark for me to see
Into the future. Let what will be be.
I bought the book right then and there. Please indulge me while I recap for dramatic effect. I was worried, I walked into a bookstore, pulled one book of the shelf and the ONLY writing on both pages was a quote that spoke directly to my worry and gave me peace. It was the first time in my life I felt God was speaking right to me.
I pull that book off the bookshelf now when I start to worry. It reminds me that someone is looking over me. It reminds me that worry is pointless because what will be will be.
In case you were wondering, fiat knox is Latin for “let there be darkness”. And yes, I married “the date of the century” a little over four years later.
Monday, May 4, 2009
The last few blog posts have been about hope, serendipity, and finding meaning in life’s challenges. They have been deeply personal. I wrote from the heart and right or wrong, that was where I was at the time. I have had some doubts about sharing my inner thoughts and vulnerabilities with the world. But, in the last few days I have also been lifted by the kind words of people who found my blog posts. They let me know I was not alone. Some of them had similar experiences. I felt closer to them all. It seems to me, the more guarded we all are, the less connection we have with each other.
Although, perhaps I need to guard myself more.
Either way, I don’t want this blog to be just about me and my experiences. I want it to be about women lifting each other up. Women coming together in a community to nourish themselves, create the life of their dreams, and bloom into their best selves.
So, it’s a new day here at Nourish. Create. Bloom. We’re moving forward and taking these past few days of experience with us; to help us grow as individuals and also to help us grow closer together as a community. We’re learning from our own experiences and those of others. It’s hard to nourish, create, or bloom in isolation- and not nearly as fun.
Sunday, May 3, 2009
I awoke this morning to a beep from my cell phone. My friend, Amber asked me through text to check today’s forecast. We had plans to attend an outside event, but she didn’t want to make the hour-long drive if rain was forecasted for the whole day. While on weather.com, I clicked on link about how long it takes different pieces of trash to decompose. The article was cited as being from Divine Caroline. I was not familiar with that site, so I followed the link. I came to a personal story written by Christie Pettit entitled, “Thank God I’m Not in Control.” Pettit eloquently discussed how she went through several painful months of infertility. In the end, she ended up with a beautiful daughter and can now see how the actual timing of her baby’s birth was much better than what she had originally planned.
Yesterday I posted that I was impatiently waiting for my turn to be a mama. I asked for stories from friends that reinforced how life events often turn out better than what we originally planned or hoped for. Today this befitting story greeted me as soon as I got out of bed. I am so grateful the Universe is giving me these Divine signs during my moments of doubt and frustration. Keep ‘em coming, Universe! The affirmations you are sending my way bring me some peace of mind.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
I’ve had a rough week. It started high last Thursday. After months of trying and years of dreaming, I was overjoyed at finding out I was pregnant for the first time. It ended low today, after the nurse midwife told me I most likely miscarried already but they won’t know for sure until next week when they can do an ultrasound. I asked, “Is there any hope that I am still pregnant? Any hope that the baby is okay?” She said, “I don’t want to give you hope. I can’t say you won’t have a miracle baby, but most likely, no.”
When I returned to our apartment complex I decided to take the elevator. I walk up the 4 flights of stairs 95% of the time, but I was so emotionally and physically drained, I didn’t have it in me. When the elevator doors opened, the first thing I saw through the glass wall was a bumper sticker on the car in front of me. Got hope? it read.
No, I thought. No hope. But that is not true. Even as I read it, I thought, “Is this a sign?” During this past week, I kept looking for signs from from the Universe that everything was going to be okay. When I had my blood drawn on Monday to see if hormones indicated the pregnancy was progressing, the kind woman hugged me and told me her daughter bled throughout her pregnancy and had a healthy boy. Today when I got my blood drawn again, I noticed the phlebotomist’s last name was Sellers. My maiden name. I can’t remember meeting someone (outside of my family) with that last name before. He also hugged me because of my tears.
I’ve had signs this week that all will be okay. Maybe there’s not too much hope left for this pregnancy, but hope is growing inside me for a future one. And even though I don’t want to admit it to myself, I am still holding out for a miracle.
Postscript: I know a lot of people don’t let others know they are pregnant right away because of the risk of miscarriage in the first trimester. I just couldn’t help myself, I was so excited. I respect other people’s decision to stay private, but looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing. This is me. I am an open book (much to my extremely private husband’s chagrin.) Life is ups and downs, tears and jumps of joy. I went through the whole roller coaster in the past 7 days. Through the drama, I got closer to those I shared this experience with. I want to thank them all (including the 2 hugging phlebotomists) for their support. I am grateful I am on the ride with such wonderful people.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
In my last post I told you about my serendipitous week. Here is event #2:
Last Thursday I received a text from my friend, Amber, who was having lunch in my neighborhood. I was planning to walk to the library, but decided I would ask her if she wanted to stop by instead so we could catch up. We had a great heart-to-heart talk and then she was on her way out. Suddenly she yelled, “I have been looking all over town for this book! I need it for my book club and it is checked out of all of the public libraries. I was about to give in and buy it.”
The night before I put my 4 library books in a stack on the kitchen counter, in anticipation of the walk I was planning to make in the morning. The walk I didn’t take because she texted me. The book she had been looking for over a week, Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri, was sitting right on my kitchen counter.
We promptly went to the library. I returned the book and she checked it out.
I chalk it up to another sign from the Great Beyond that most of our worry is futile. We get what we truly need when we truly need it. It was also another great example of being in the right place at exactly the right time.
Do you have any serendipitous events to share? Please add them in the comments. I would love to hear them and maybe post them in a future blog.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
I love serendipity and I don’t believe in coincidence. I believe serendipitous events are messages from a Higher Power (call it what you like: God, the Universe, Her Highness). These messages tell us there is some order to things and we don’t need to worry quite so much. I have been worrying about the same thing for a few months now, so I was delighted to have TWO serendipitous events happen last week. I am sure someone out there is trying to tell me I am in the right place at the right time and with a bit of patience and faith, all will be well. I am hearing the message, Universe. I need to let go. Now, since I am sharing it with the whole wide world, can it maybe happen a bit sooner?
Here is event #1:
Last Saturday my husband and I were walking around our downtown neighborhood after our couples massage (before you are tempted to think we live an extravagant lifestyle, I will tell you we don’t own a car, which is why we were walking). We decided to go into a vintage shop that I like. My last purchase there was a Clumsy Smurf glass. (Remember the glasses that used to come in fast food kid’s meals?) The glass cost me $3.00 and has brought me joy each time I use it. Anyway, this store is pretty large (2 floors), so while my husband checks out the vintage Playboy magazines and classic vinyl records, I just skim over the merchandise and see if there is anything new. Downstairs I noticed a box of about 60 vintage postcards. I pulled one out and looked at it. Then pulled out another and turned it over. This card had writing on it. Whoa! The postcard was mailed in 1906 to Walnut Street in Lancaster, PA. My hometown! I know that street! Of all the stores in all of Atlanta, in all the postcards in the box, I found this one. Somehow, 103 years after it was postmarked, this card traveled 748 miles to reach me. Such serendipity. I said, “It’s a sign!” My husband said, “If you think it's a sign we should move to Lancaster, we have a problem.” Men.