Saturday, July 31, 2010


I don't have a great deal of time or energy at the moment (which nearly came out at the mo, as I've spent too much time round Brit lit of late). So here is a brief summary:

-ttc has taken a back burner. We're not actively or desperately trying, nor are we preventing. If it happens, great. If not, well, given everything thing at the mo, that may be for the best for a bit.

-trying to exercise more regularly. It's going. That's it on that front right now.

-work. I don't talk much about work here for very good reasons, but it's sort of taken over my life for the forseeable future. Layoffs have officially begun, and my job remains safe, thank god. However, when the news was broken about the plans (even though the majority of the layoffs affecting my division are currently on hold for up to a year), one department administrator immediately submitted her retirement. And I've been given that department, in addition to my own work.

That department is a bit of a mess and I'll be doing what had previously been two full time jobs until the remaining layoff plans go into effect. And it does not appear at this point in time that there will be additional compensation (after all, we are letting half the department administrators go, so I should be grateful to have a safe job).

But it's overwhelming and coming at a time when things are already busy and overwhelming. And the start of layoffs means that my office has also just inherited two other small departments and have no financial coordinator for one of our sub-departments. And the administrator for one of our larger departments is going on leave for three months in a few weeks.

Did I mention we have a new boss in the midst of this? At least he seems to be a nice guy and good manager.

Everyday, we walk around looking tense and stressed and that is nothing to how we feel. But we're all doing the best we can, and we'll get through. It's just . . . there is no end in sight at the moment. I'll be splitting my time between two departments and . . . well, as I said, 2 full time jobs and just one me. I'm going to learn delegation and efficiency quite quickly, I suppose.

-Coming up on the one year anniversary of Gabe's birth and death. There is a lot of reflection happening and maybe at some point I'll try to lay out just how this past year has changed me and try to explain how far I've come. I've tried a few times over the past week to write a post, but the words just aren't flowing right now. There is a barrier up against it.

I'm feeling a good deal of anxiety and sadness as we approach the date. I find myself suddenly on the verge of tears without knowing precisely why. I am more sensitive to things that wouldn't have bothered me a few weeks ago. I don't know what to expect or how to approach this and so I'm just in limbo, waiting, watchful.

All in all, with everything that's going on and the level of stress I am under, I'm amazed I can string coherent sentences together most of the time. Fatigue is high, I go to bed hours earlier (but don't seem to be getting rested as I'd like), stumble out of bed, awaking from strange dreams feeling tired. I am having semi-frequent headaches, and my back, shoulders and neck are getting sore from the tension I seem to be carrying. So I'm trying to remember to do stretches more frequently, get up and walk around a bit more often, trying not to overindulge in things that will make me feel worse (too much caffeine and sugar, primarily). DH continues to make me laugh and takes care of me. I listen to music far too loudly and sing along and I hurl virtual bowling bowls down a Wii alley at high velocity and I curl up with a book when I can to try and alleviate the tension and stress, or at least keep them at manageable levels.

Some times that works better than others.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

New Discussion topic up on Glow

This week's discussion topic focuses on negative emotions in the wake of baby-loss. What have you felt that has stuck around longer than you anticipated? What negative emotions have been surprisingly strong? How do you feel about your negative emotions? How do you handle them? How have they changed?

Babylost parents, family and friends - please drop by Glow's discussion boards to join in and share your perspectives.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My baby died. I'm fucking sad.

That's about all that needs to be said tonight.

But I'll add this.

I feel so lonely right now, so left behind that I can't stand it. I feel like my heart is going to break open from the pressure of the pain I feel right now.

I haven't cried in weeks. I finished with most that months ago. But tonight I can't seem to stop and I have to stop. It upsets DH and makes him unhappy and concerned and he feels impotent because he can't make this better for me and seeing his pain and causing it, to any degree, tears me up and makes the hurt that much worse.

I miss my old life and the life I thought I would have. I miss the touch of optimism and hope and belief that everything will turn out according to something I couldn't have seen before.

I miss old friends. I miss my purpose in life. I hate the fact that I know only a few people who are not pregnant or don't have kids and since it's by choice for them we stand on opposite sides of a divide.

I miss my son. More than there are words to express. I miss every milestone we never got, I miss everything I never got to tell him and I miss him.

My baby died.

I'm fucking sad.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

One of those honest, but less-than-attractive sorts of posts

I don't like pregnant women any more. The sole exception is my friend C. Because we tend to think along the same lines in pregnancy and she's been pretty sensitive to me. Because it's all about me, obviously.

I especially don't like being asked to be near them or newly born babies.

I don't want to hear stories about trying to conceive unless it's been long and agonizing because then, I don't mind being around you so much.

I've got no problems with you if you've had previous losses or infertility - because then you're my kind of people. We can look at each other and nod.

Women who get pregnant really easily or have 'oops' babies? I can't stand them right now.

It's awful. It's unattractive. It's ridiculous because I know, I know, how hard pregnancy is regardless. I know what a big life change it is, I know how carefully made plans falling aside can be horrifyingly big deals and . . . I know.

I sort of despise myself for the bitterness that can flood up in me. I sometimes have to stop myself from giving dirty looks.

It's solely a result of envy and disappointment. Neither of which are healthy or desirable emotions. Both of which I am ashamed of feeling ever in regards to something as happy as new life.

I know that another woman's pregnancy has nothing to do with my lack thereof or bad luck in pregnancy. I know that I truly wish every woman gets to remain blissfully ignorant and unaware that disaster and utter desolation are lurking right around the corner and that they are in no way immune because of any thing they have done or are doing or haven't done. Death doesn't care if you never smoked or drank a sip of alcohol or that you faithfully took your folic acid and ate your vegetables and slept on your left side.

I see it lurking all around, tragedy waiting to strike. It hides just out of view in the aisles of stores, it haunts these happy naive, you can just catch a glimpse if your turn your head, if you look me in the eyes. I fear I'm a bad luck charm, that I summon these ghosts and demons as my companions. If nothing else, I remind you of what is out there and I can't stay my lips. I want to implore you to please appreciate what you have and please don't take it for granted and assume it's a sure thing. Listen to the warnings that fall from my lips, but I'm a Cassandra, a speaker of doom that is not believed and truly of doom that may never appear.

Because what I can never remember is that I am the small minority, the statistical anomaly, the place that lightning struck. The rest of the world is fine.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Place in the World.

Something I've been tossing about for a couple of days now is about places. Where we belong, who we are, how we find those spots that are ours.

Naturally, this was sparked by a twitter debate, yet again. A young English chap - in fact, the very same that spawned my last diatribe - has made me think. He is quite a confident person, which is all well and good. I find myself shockingly less so. Perhaps it's a difference in personalities - he is obviously an extrovert, eager to meet new people. I'm very much the opposite in most areas of my life.

I do enjoy meeting new people, but only in quiet, controlled sorts of ways. I like substance in my conversation, the chance to really dig down and get to someone in more than a superficial way (which is not to say he doesn't also look for that; I really wouldn't know). I guess it's odd that an introvert like me has a blog, participates actively on message boards and revels in over-sharing the most banal thoughts and events on twitter.

And yet . . . I don't mind. Probably because I still have trouble believing that these things perhaps move me out of my shadowy corner and thrust me on stage. I never was a very good actress, preferring stage management and direction to the spotlight. If nothing else - it was often itchy and hot under those lights. The background was cool and infinitely more comfortable.

I do wonder though, how he's found such confidence, such assurance about himself and who he is and where he's going. On a daily basis, I look at myself in the mirror with something approaching disbelief. I haven't any idea what I'm doing much of the time, certainly none about where I'm going - not while the only firm direction I've had is contained in a wood box on my mantle and nothing has come forth to replace it.

I said awhile back that I wondered about big things versus little things. That I used to feel destined for great things and am realizing that perhaps the little things are the great ones.

I still don't know where I'm going. My career is one that pays bills, it's not one that makes my heart beat faster or really fills me with pleasure because I enjoy it. I'm quite grateful for it - especially after today. I think I'm decent at it, which is fine. But it's not a great thing. It's a paycheck. That's fine.

My marriage is a good thing. One of the best things of my life, I think. That was one thing I knew and continue to know - the boat, I imagine fancifully, that keeps me out of the depths of the sea.

My friendships - I can only be humbled and grateful for you wonderful people. I do not deserve you.

But you know, there is more. There is more I do and more to me. And as of today, I have a new direction and something that does fulfill me and makes me so very happy.

You can read a bit about it here.

One thing I can do is sit with those who are newly grieving, and let them grieve. I can talk with those who need to converse as badly as I did and give them the understanding I received. I can be an ear, and I can hopefully comfort and soothe provoke and help. I can give back a small portion of what I've been given.

And I believe with all my heart that if this is the best of my life, it will be something great.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Less than 6 weeks now

August 24th is coming up. Six weeks from yesterday. Some days it feels like a ticking timebomb hanging over me (literally, I picture a giant bomb wired to an old fashioned ticking alarm clock and a giant calendar) (living inside my head is plain weird, y'all).

Mostly though, it feels awkward.

An entire trip around the sun to come back meet myself again. It's like a weird sci-fi story in which a part of me was forever rooted to that moment in time (I can still see it in vivid detail, and feel the hospital gown at my throat and the scratchy white sheets and how hot and thirsty I was and the pain the pain the pain). The rest of me though, that was pushed onward and now I come full circle to where I was before, only time has passed.

Still, I stand rooted there, watching it play out over and over and over. That day still flashes through my head and I still hold my breath waiting for a different outcome. It never changes though.

Gabriel was born. Gabriel died. The world never stopped moving, no matter how much I pleaded, and I was carried along with it. Or at least part of me was.

And back again.

How do you mark that passage of time? Gabriel deserves acknowledgement. His existence deserves acknowledgement.

But it's not celebration.

Because he died.

But it's not total mourning.

Because he lived.

I don't know what we do in six week's time, less a day.

There is no grave to visit - his box of ashes remains on our mantle, never far from me when I'm home. There is no memorial or marker. Sometimes I wish there was.

What do we do? Sending up a balloon feels . . . odd. Baking a cake does as well. In some ways, a dinner out and a toast - an acknowledgement of him and of how life continues, feels the most right - and yet, who wants to sob in public? Who wants stilted dinner conversation or to pay good money for food that tastes like ashes in your mouth?

I'm taking the day off work. DH is not. It's bad timing - as it was when it all happened last year. I don't begrudge him choosing to work; he'd rather. He doesn't begrudge me staying home, I'd rather.

I wish I knew what was right for us. I think it will be time for my new tattoo. I'm not sure where yet, but I want this footprints marked on me. I want to visibly carry him with me everywhere.Maybe I'll find a quiet place and I'll take the outfit I bought just for him, the only one not packed away in the spare room. And I'll take Winnie-the-Pooh and I'll finish reading the story to him that I started the day before he was born. I like to think that he would want to know how it ends.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Also on my mind

Apparently I'm feeling chatty for the moment.

I could tweet this, but I feel this worthy of being shared with the masses.

'Fuck' is one of my favorite words. Truly.

It's so wonderfully appropriate to so many situations and acts as a great enhancer. And it can serve a function in so many parts of speech.

We used to joke that 'fuck' would be our child's first word.

Should we ever have one with a chance at living, it wouldn't surprise me. We use it that much. Which probably, in reality, makes us sort of trashy.

But ask me if I fucking care?

Twitter has made me think.

First, let me say - I have fallen completely and totally in love with Twitter. It's sort of odd, because in many ways, I have a deep loathing for the concept.

Social media . . . the term alone makes me cringe. Probably all the special looks at it on the news and all the dangers and whatnot that lurk within. I often roll my eyes because there is a certain level of common sense that ought to be involved - don't friend your boss if you're going to bitch about them. Don't put up naked pics of yourself if you don't want them stolen or shared or viewed or sent to your mom. Think about how much personal information is really worth sharing, if you aren't 100% certain who is looking. Don't access things at work that a) you shouldn't be and b) that you don't want to risk others seeing (or at least know how to clear your history and cookies).

Which isn't to say there aren't benefits to social media (and aren't message boards - my heart and soul in a box - also considered social media? albeit, perhaps, in the longer conversational ways of us creaky antiquated old people)(for that matter, aren't blogs as well?), because certainly there are. No one would return to them otherwise.

Clearly, I am receiving some benefit to them as well. I can tell you honestly - I love it. I think, for me, it's the relative anonymity; something I've not really enjoyed on the internets for a long time now. I've been easjer so long in so many places, that is ingrained in me. I think even if I were to choose a new name and start over at, say, thebump (should I ever fall pregnant again for longer than two days - stop laughing), I still think it would eventually become obvious who I was unless I wanted to hide my story or part of me away. Which I don't really do. Obviously, I do (we all do) to some extent, as we would in real life. But I have always tried for a level of honesty and sincerity. I can't imagine hiding away Gabriel, or the other pregnancies, they have so thoroughly altered my life and world view.

So I think it would out.

Which, maybe, is a bit of why I like Twitter. A few people have found me - and well done, you lot. Many haven't. And that's fine. I'm not trying to build followers. I'm not trying to do anything but randomly record my thoughts throughout the day. In many ways, I still feel bound here. There are things I am not comfortable saying or doing here. I feel like I might be letting someone down or being terribly boring and repetitive to say over and over that today is a hard day or a good day. And the mood so often changes before I can really record it on the blog. . . I'm afraid it would be schizophrenic if I were to expound on my every mood. And I'm never sure how much to discuss - I know there are old readers from Chickadee's time, and new readers that have found me through Glow, and I want to be honest about all aspects of this life post-Gabe, but I don't want to seem too sad or discouraging, or too happy, or unbalanced or I don't even know what.

It's hard to explain for those that haven't lived this, and unnecessary to explain for those who have.

So I think Twitter provides an excellent escape from that. And I'm highly entertained by Twitter. Following some of the people I do is fun. I enjoy it. At the same time, I'll admit it's a bit scary. Because I've looked at some of these people's followers and I think they are sort of creepy. They apparently live for getting tweets from celebrities and beg them to wish them luck on the most random things. Or do weird things like find their friends or relatives and follow them as well. Certainly I've started following people through others I follow, but this strikes me as sort of stalkery. I guess I have no desire to be lumped in with these creepy fans.

But, oddly, it's just this sort of thing - following a friend of someone you follow - that led to a very random thing tonight. I won't give you the whole feed, but someone I've never met and never will posted a very thoughtful blog about social media that I found through Twitter. It was largely focused on security and employment, but it made me think about the things I worry about with this form of social media.

On one hand - how fascinating to get a glimpse into the life and thoughts of this person in a totally different country and life. Truly. Something our grandparents wouldn't have thought about, most likely, and certainly not with the immediacy which we can enjoy now. And yet - I can piece together quite a picture of this guy's life (as I expect he could with mine), and yet it's so terribly superficial. Of course, in none of these mediums can we get a true picture (the same is relatively true of face to face interactions) of the persons we are following. So I can tell you that Tiago Splitter claims to be happy to be joining the Spurs and that James Phelps is no longer a ginger and that my friend G wants my apple-honey butter. So what? I don't know any of them any better for those things, not really.

I can tell the world via Twitter that I'm fucking depressed as hell (thanks chemical imbalances) today, but 140 characters doesn't give me much room to expand on that thought. There is back and forth occasionally, which is fantastic. Short brief statements can be entertaining and witty and word tetris is fun (if sometimes frustrating - ask the people on the receiving end of a twitter rant that couldn't possibly be contained in so few words). But it's a superficial interaction, with only very limited possibilities for continuing the interaction.

I'm wondering if it sets society up so that we can only communicate in clips and sound bites (god forgive us for what it's doing to butcher the English language - forums are becoming unreadable because of the inability of the younger folks to write in complete sentences or spell correctly. Also, get off my yard, you young hooligans!). I wonder if we are leaning away from complex and real interactions. Conversations are what drive me - I thrive on them, on digging in and getting to know someone on a deeper level. So 140 words in passing isn't necessarily fulfilling for me.

On the other hand - perhaps this is just a giant party that we're milling about. Or no different than, anyhow. Because in that environment, is there really much more than superficial interaction? I suppose not really. You exchange pleasantries, scope people you find interesting, maybe hang onto that crowd and hope for an opening and then give it a go. And then find if there is a connection, another bit is exchanged, another phrase, perhaps a topic of mutual interest comes up and then you are talking. And you likely find another place to talk - moving off into a corner (or direct messages that are more private on twitter), or leaving the party altogether (taking it to personal email or text). Perhaps Twitter is merely an introduction to these other things.

This person made an interesting point that he feels Twitter expands possibilities - that his friends are largely similar so he's less likely to find new things from them, whereas Twitter opens up a whole new world to explore, and brilliantly, if you don't like it, you move on to the next person.

There may be something to that, there may be something to the idea that it merely encourages superficiality and replacing genuine intimacy with oversharing. I have to be honest and say I never expected to think so much on this because of Twitter. And yet, here we are.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Out of options

Well, despite a lovely sort of temp jump this morning, the laughingly negative hpt and the early stages of cramping lead me to believe my period will begin as expected. Which is mildly disappointing, but otherwise ok.

I guess it's time once again to admit that I need to lose weight. And I need to be much more serious about it than I have been in the past year or so. For my health, for our chances of conception, for an easier pregnancy . . .

It's just that I'm lazy. I don't like exertion. I don't like change, and I know first hand just how much it is going to suck until it's become habit to exercise again. I don't want to go through it. It's hard, and embarrassing and demoralizing. I don't like the pitying and disgusting looks I get when I go to the gym. I don't like the trainers trying to sell me on their services. I don't like sounding like a cow about to die because my cardio health is so bad. I don't like sweating and I don't like the slow progress that is weight loss. I don't like the guilt that trying to lose weight seriously brings or the hunger or the cravings, at least until I'm over them.

It's so much easier to stay hidden inside this body and this fat. So much more comfortable.

But I don't think it's going to help. And I think it's what I need to do.

I just don't want to. And that mental block makes it all so much more difficult.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Not that you care . . .

. . . but my official stance on the LeBron/DWade/Bosh to Miami is as follows:

a) Meh. I follow the Spurs, and Miami is an Eastern Conference team we'll see twice unless we both happen to make it through to the NBA Finals. So, a giant whatever on that front.

b) The whole camera-crew following Bosh and hour-long special to dump your hometown on national TV was especially lame. Filled with hubris and lack of self-awareness (or showcasing of being surrounded by yes-men) - bad moves. Bill Simmons resurrected a bizarre rumor from 2 years ago that this was planned after the guys played together for the US Olympic team. Now that is an interesting tidbit.

c) Three superstars won't work. There is a reason teams don't do that. If you want to play fantasy basketball, your actual, real, in-existence team shouldn't be the arena. I hear yahoo!sports has a good offering. My biggest WTF moment in all of this is that Pat Riley is doing it.

d) LeBron doesn't owe anyone anything. He has the right to put together the best deal for him based on a variety of circumstances, which may include the chance to win a championship. So I don't fault him for leaving CLE, who had 7 years to put SOME kind of team around him and failed miserably.

However, e), I think what he's done is highlight that he is not a superstar. He's a role player. He doesn't want to be greatest of all time, he doesn't want a challenge - or he would have gone to Chicago or even NY. He wants to coast to a championship.

f) Miami is a clusterfuck. The basic fact is this - with that talent, they have no bench. They can't afford one. Anything less than a title is sheer failure. I don't think they'll win a title.

g) The bright spot in all of this is that the media will be so busy fellating Miami, they cannot possibly also fellate the Lakers, so LA coverage should drop some. Not that ESPN will be made more watchable by this move, but my Laker-hate is strong enough to appreciate whatever small break we can get.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

What a week!

I know, I know, it's been nearly a full week since I last posted. Terrible! But we roadtripped it for fourth of July and headed on back to ole San Antone and it's never slow when we make that trip. Fitting in three families with even time and usually an extra family event on DH's side (which is fine! not complaining! it's why I now feel at ease with more of my in-laws!) is never easy; it's a complicated Tetris game of time and feelings balanced with sheer exhaustion on our parts because we never sleep well there.

This time it was made more difficult by the presence of DH's best friend in the world A - who happens to be on the verge of proposing to DH's only sister. We think that's great. My MIL disagrees. Family dispute has been on-going since they first got together about two years ago. I won't go into details, I'm too tired. But the divisions meant that we had to work in extra trips to see A & J (and A's five-year-old son) and my parents-in-law.

We returned Tuesday night, battered and exhausted. And I'm not even the one who went and chased a 5 year old around Sea World for 7 hours!

It was a nice trip though, and I'm glad we went, as we hadn't been home since Christmas. Fast-paced, but good overall.

And since then, I've been busy busy at work (not that I see that ending, ever - which is job security, I suppose, so yay?). And writing at home. I got up the courage to share what I've written so far on something to DH, and he . . . didn't hate it. He even thought it was good and wanted to read more. A good feeling. And of course, I spent hours last night and will do so again tonight doing crafty things to finish up my Christmas-in-July Secret gift exchange; tomorrow the deadline to have it mailed. Nothing like waiting until the last minute! But I'm pleased overall with it, I think. Hope she likes it, anyway.

I've also been more introspective lately, feeling a little more withdrawn. Not in a bad way, necessarily. I don't feel isolated, exactly, or lonely. This is less imposed on me, than me pulling back a bit. Though, given the vacation, I suppose it is somewhat imposed, lol. But I am feeling ok. Just . . . tentative? Waiting? Not sure. Not bad, that's the important bit, I think.

Overall, feeling well. 7/8 dpo today. Had a nice dip and recovery - which has mean exactly nothing in past - and a lovely jump today. Sadly, I think that's probably more attributable to trying to make the cats leave me be than anything. Normal symptoms for this time, so I'm doing my best to ignore and plow on through the week. Definitely looking forward to Saturday and a lie-in.

Otherwise, following NBA free agency half-heartedly, hoping the gaps are filled adequately for the Spurs. And that, friends, is my update.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Yes, it was.

Sometimes I feel like I have blown things out of proportion. That perhaps I have made Gabriel into more than he was, that the pain I've felt is out of proportion to the loss. Maybe it's because so few people (fortunately for them) really understand what the type of loss is and how it tears at you and turns everything upside down. There comes a point, I think, where you have to question things because when most people around you act one way or believe one thing, it makes you question yourself.

But I went back, drawn to it, and re-read the story of Gabriel's birth. We will soon be at a year since it happened and I think about him a lot. I think about the circumstances a lot. I feel like I never left that time, the fact that nearly a year has passed completely puzzles me.

I read it over again.

And I did not make it something bigger than it was. I did not dramatize what happened. I did not imagine it to be somehow more awful or important than it really was.

If anything, I underestimated the horror of what happened to me, to us. Reading it dispassionately, forgetting for a moment that that is our story, I was horrified. I was moved to tears by the bewildering experience.

No wonder I was paralyzed. No wonder I am still lost and sad. It never should have happened. But it did.

I am heartbroken yet about losing my son, but time has given me the space to be heartbroken in a different way; to see how terribly wrong it was. I can see that I oughtn't to have gotten over it by now, that I may never get over it. And that's not wrong or bad.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The little things, the big things

I used to believe that I was destined for great things in life. That I would likely do something important and big and amazing. I had a feeling, deep inside me, that told me I was special, somehow.

I think some of the biggest feelings of self-loathing have come when I haven't had any reason to believe that could possibly be true. I think one of my biggest fears is mediocrity. Of erasure. Of leaving nothing behind me of any value.

* * * * *

CS Lewis is among my favorite authors. Dry, funny, sincere, and so sure of his faith and belief. So ready to share, and defend. His works are marvelous.

The Great Divorce is one of the lesser known pieces, and one of the more brilliant, I believe. He takes Blake's argument that there will always be a bit of Hell in Heaven and a bit of Heaven in Hell and says there can be no such thing because they are so opposite, so divorced from each other that there is no common factor.

And writes a little dream story about a visit between a modern sort of hell which is people so wrapped up in themselves and their gray existence that they are miserable, and do nothing but cause misery to others. They take a day trip to the other side, to a heavenly plane and the narrator is taken to view several reunions between the ghosts of hell and the very real people of Heaven. Those of Heaven are trying to convince those of Hell to stay, but many of them are so self-centered and so assured of their own rightness in whatever position they've taken that they refuse to see anything else and thus refuse the mercies and love available to them and think themselves victims and ill-used.

There is a stunning scene in which one of the heavenly beings is accompanied by an enormous entourage. She is one of the more important people of Heaven, having come quite a long way to meet her husband. At first the narrator thinks she must be Mary, because she is so beautiful and light and so well attended.

But it turns out that she is someone that no one really knows. She was kind to everyone she met; she loved every child as her own, every man as her own husband, every woman as her friend. She gave freely what she had and was joyful in the circumstances of her life.

The message is fairly clear.

* * * * *

I think that I've felt an odd discontent lately. Something I've been unable to really pin down. In many ways, I've been more relaxed, more comfortable. And yet. . . a restlessness, a stirring.

I want to find that destiny, I want to fulfill it. I want to do something that matters, something important.

And I guess I'm re-evaluating what that is.

I don't think it will ever be big, or splashy, or even really note-worthy. But if I can do better in the little things . . . won't that have the greatest impact? If I can be a better friend, a more patient wife, a more dutiful daughter. . . if I can step beyond my self-absorption and reach out to someone else in pain and sit with them awhile . . . if I can make one thing easier for someone else . . . if I can make someone else laugh or smile. . .

isn't that more important than a grand gesture? Isn't that a pebble in the lake causing ripples? Doesn't that maybe have a greater effect? Isn't that an important thing?