the things you should never beg for

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I can’t tell you how many times in the past I’ve begged for things — forgiveness from those I’ve wronged, love and affection from those who didn’t want to give it, and second chances when I’ve really made a mistake. Sometimes when I think of the past I’m reminded of the quote about Egyptians having fifty words for sand and Eskimos having a hundred words for snow and I think of all the words I’ve used to say I’m sorry or convince someone to stay. Even at 25, I’m practically an expert on words and apologies. I’m not afraid to speak my mind or wear my heart on my sleeve. I’m the first person to admit when I’ve royally fucked something up or when I’ve let people down. That being said, if there’s anything I’ve learned in the past six months, it’s when to stop begging. To stop talking. To stop caring if someone has read my Facebook message trying to rekindle what’s broken, and to stop worrying about mending the past.

But it hasn’t come easy, and it will likely come with a price.

When I find myself in the midst of heartache, I have a tendency to look back and think the relationship or situation, quite frankly, to death. I overanalyze every word, every moment, every song that played on the radio during the week it all went down. Whether with high school flames or ex-friends, it doesn’t make a difference. I think so deeply that I wind up hoping I can change it — change their opinion, change their heart, change their mind. I can deal with confrontation, but I have a really hard time with the finality that the end of a friendship or relationship brings. When I take action, it usually comes in the written form, mostly because I’m best on paper. And that written word ends up romanticizing the situation after I’ve thought about it endlessly, and before I know it, I’m begging for forgiveness and offering up my services. Just tell me what I can do to fix this. I’ll do whatever it takes.

But in just the past few months, I’ve finally realized how ridiculous that all is.

Because sometimes it isn’t my fault.

Sometimes I gain more from the end of the friendship than I did from the friendship itself.

Sometimes I need to realize that if they wanted to be around, they would be.

Sometimes there’s nothing to apologize for.

With all of these things — love, affection, forgiveness, and second chances — people give them if they want to, not because you asked, and definitely not because you begged. When someone wants you in their life, they make the effort to be a part of yours.

And if they don’t? Even if you’ve begged and pleaded, apologized, hoped, and prayed…well, sometimes we just need to learn how to say fuck it.

If someone wants to love you, show you affection, accept your apology or make one themselves, or give or ask for a second chance, they will. And if they don’t, put one foot in front of the other and make an effort in your friendships that actually matter.

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on growing our family

infertility

I debated about telling the story of this part of our life, but I’m generally an open book, so I can’t imagine not sharing. It’s the same reason most people I know are aware of my stomach condition, know about our crazy labor and emergency c-section to bring Isla into this world, and aren’t hidden to most parts of our life. I don’t like secrets, so there’s no sense in keeping this one. (And sorry if you don’t like TMI. If that’s the case, you should probably stop reading now.)

At the beginning of the year, Dom and I decided we were going to get off the pill and start trying for a little brother or sister for Isla. We’ve always wanted two (or three) kids, and we always wanted them close enough in age that they could have a relationship like I have with my sisters. We weren’t really hiding the fact that we were trying from those who asked, but we haven’t been advertising it on social media, either.

For a couple of months, all was going well. My body was seemingly regulating, I was feeling better than I had in a long time, and though I was nervous for the journey to come, I was excited more than anything else. I got pregnant so easily with Isla that I naively thought I would be seeing two pink lines by April and baby number two would have a birthday close to their big sister’s. Fairytale complete? Check.

When April came, I was late. It was right around my mom’s birthday — the same day we found out we were pregnant with Isla a few years ago — and I thought I was pregnant again. I had many of the symptoms and it took everything in me not to take a test. That being said, I’m not the most patient person in the world, so I did take a test. And another one. And another one. I just knew something was up, but they were all negative. My friends and I talked about how the tests had to be wrong because why else would I have so many symptoms? My less optimistic friends — especially those who had experienced infertility and its treatment — gently warned me that maybe this cycle was a fluke. Maybe I didn’t ovulate. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

Just because you’re late doesn’t mean you’re pregnant.

A week went by and I had a doctor’s appointment, my yearly pap. While there, I told my doctor what was going on. Blood work was ordered, and this included a beta (blood pregnancy test). He didn’t think I was pregnant and discussed with me the few things it could be instead, but, optimistic as I am, I still hoped for a positive test. I wanted it to be easy. I wanted the plan I had thought out in my head to come to light.

A few days later, my tests came back, and I was not pregnant. That being said, my other levels were off. I had a high prolactin result — a level that was back to normal a week later — and a high FSH result. High enough that it almost indicated pre menopause. This result is determined by where you’re at in your cycle (and we didn’t know where I was), but my doctor still seemed to focus on it quite a bit. I’m not great with all things related to the human body, so I didn’t worry too much. Plus, I’m hopelessly and relentlessly optimistic. Like everything else, I assumed it was a fluke. A mistake. A false negative. My doctor ended up putting me on Provera (a hormonal withdrawal pill that induces your period) that I was to take for ten days. Within seven days after that pill (and already almost two months past when my period was due), I was supposed to start my period.

And then I didn’t. And then I found out I have secondary infertility.

I went in for another blood draw yesterday and had a long conversation with my doctor. In a nutshell (omitting plenty of details), we are still waiting for blood results and will know by Friday (Monday at the very latest), but my doctor is fairly certain that given my results for the past couple months and many additional symptoms I am having, I have premature ovarian failure, otherwise known as primary ovarian insufficiency, or POI. This can be caused by any number of things, but after speaking with my doctor and from the research I’ve done on my own, it looks like it could be because of my autoimmune disease (ulcerative colitis)…or something different all together. In short and if the results I will get back later this week are consistent with what they were previously, I will likely not be able to get pregnant again without doing IVF and using donor eggs. Skip Clomid and go directly to the worst-case scenario. Do not collect $200.

With all of the recent information, we’ve had a lot to think about. Depending on what my doctor says when he calls, we have some options. If the results come back as he expects they will, we can get a referral to a reproductive endocrinologist (RE) and discuss treatment options. As POI has a very low chance of pregnancy no matter what and Clomid generally won’t help, we would go straight to IVF, most likely with donor eggs. The real deal. The incredibly expensive, hardly-any-insurance-covers-it deal. The our-insurance-doesn’t-cover-it deal. The deal that, like all infertility treatment, isn’t guaranteed…and costs thousands and thousands of dollars for ONE round. It’s enough to make you light headed.

If results come back favorable, we could do Clomid. We could take 3-6 rounds, monitored, and we could then move on to IVF if that didn’t work. We could potentially use my eggs, and we would have some months of scheduled everything in order to make infertility work with our life.

But that isn’t what we want.

After watching one of my best friends suffer emotionally and more through infertility and its treatment, we knew that it wasn’t for us. After initially speaking with my doctor, I thought I would do whatever it took. I would find donor eggs, I would go through as many IVF rounds as the RE would allow, I would risk the miscarriages and the heartache and the uncertainty. I would do it all. I wouldn’t question it, I wouldn’t look back, and I wouldn’t second guess myself. Isla WOULD have and share flesh and blood with a little brother or sister, and we would make it work. But then I knew, deep down, that it wasn’t what we wanted. That wasn’t the hand we’d been dealt or the card we were meant to play.

If we didn’t have such an incredible little girl already, then maybe treatment would be for us. Maybe we’d push and pull and tug all aspects of our life until they fit the mold of “Parents Going Through Infertility Treatment in Search of a Baby.” But we do have Isla, and we just aren’t the type of people who can imagine our lives being so dictated by the scary world of infertility treatment. We want to focus on our little girl instead of the what ifs. Realizing this initially made me feel guilty. What mother who wants more than one child of her own wouldn’t do anything and everything to make that happen? Why would I turn down the chance to do treatment when some women don’t have that chance at all? What was wrong with me?

But then Dom and I looked at Isla and we looked at our life and we knew that wasn’t our journey. It wouldn’t be our road to walk down.

By no means was this an easy decision. It came with a lot of tears and anxiety, but we’ve decided that we will not try to get pregnant again or anymore in the future. If it happens by some crazy meant-to-be situation, then we will be ecstatic, but trying for it isn’t our plan.

A lot of this decision stems on what I just mentioned, but some of it also comes from fear. After a good pregnancy with our girl but a terrible year of following it (including a horrible emergency c-section with an infection and fever, mastitis so severe it turned into abscesses and became infected with MRSA, the flu, getting my wisdom teeth out, having the worst ulcerative colitis flare up I’ve ever had, plus my second colonoscopy, a month-long dose of steroids, and a lot of other fun diagnoses), I think I’m understandably terrified of ever getting pregnant again. I don’t know if my body could take it. Many mothers may think this is crazy and you do what you need to do to bring children into this world, but not me. I’m afraid of what could happen, I’m afraid (especially with this potential diagnosis) of miscarriage, and I’m afraid of treatment. I’m afraid of going into massive debt to afford a treatment that probably won’t even work. That could destroy my body even further. Almost every issue I’ve had in the last year and a half has been issues that happen to less than 10% of people (I think the percentages are even smaller), so who’s to say the worst things wouldn’t happen again? I can’t take my chances.

But more than anything else, we just know that we are meant to take a different route. And I suppose we’ve always known.

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So this is our road. We will not have any more biological children, but after long, deeply personal conversations, we feel so happy, thrilled and, quite honestly, lucky to be pursuing adoption. We can’t wait to one day (most likely in several years) grow our family by one more.

We can’t wait to bring a child into our home who we could never make on our own. A child special in so many ways, and we can’t wait to meet them. We can’t wait to share this with Isla.

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We already have several ideas of what type of adoption we want to pursue (something we’ve thought about, oddly enough, for years now), but that’s a post for another day. Until that day comes, we feel so grateful that we’ve been led down this road and have been able to make this decision, and we are so glad to have so many amazing, supportive loved ones by our side.

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photos of my favorite moments this spring

With the season coming to a close, I figured I would share my favorite moments from spring 2015.

  • A day at Carolina Beach with my two favorite people on Earth.

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  • This girl’s goofy personality at 16.5 months

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  • Our back deck on perfect spring nights

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  • The Mother’s Day peonies my love got me

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  • Visiting the NC Museum of Art with Dom, Isla, Lani, and Tyler for lunch

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  • Our trip the first weekend in May to Charleston, SC to celebrate our fourth wedding anniversary

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  • Fresh herbs in our backyard

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  • This sweet smile at 16 months

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  • And this sweet one at 15 months

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  • Isla’s baptism

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  • Easter morning. We just adore her.

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  • A trip to Anderson Creek Club park

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  • And last but not least, the River Walk in Wilmington, NC

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Here’s to a summer that we hope treats us as well as spring has!

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currently | june

june

LOVING: I want to say donuts, but I’m trying to come up with something better than that. I’m loving: pool days, the beach, the River Walk in Wilmington, our back deck, our garden and how much it’s grown, the Fresh Market, Virgil’s Root Beer, Isla’s chunky thighs in her adorable swimsuits, finding new blogs, being at peace with big decisions, making lovely new friends, podcasts, barre class this week, and damn good books (I just finished and LOVED The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty.)

And donuts. There’s no point in lying.

READING: When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chödrön. I discovered this book on one of the blogs I keep up with, and it’s incredible so far. Great advice for any time in your life — it doesn’t just have to be a difficult one. (I’m in a particularly great time in my life at the moment, but I’m still really taking this to heart.) Next on my list is The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin. (This totally sounds like a self-help list, but I promise it’s not. Just a to-read list being tackled.) Also, I’m currently halfway through my goal of 24 books in 2015. Maybe I’ll even pass that!

For more of what I’m reading, add me on Goodreads.

WATCHING: We finally caved and decided to watch “Game of Thrones,” and we are already on season three. I really love it, but it also reallllly stresses me out. How do people watch this and not have an anxiety attack? I love Arya, Daenerys, and Margaery (for now — I have a feeling she could end up being someone to hate, but who knows). Other thing: We just finished “The Following,” and OMG. First of all, the ending was amazing. I didn’t even realize the series was over until the very last episode (I was heartbroken), but I sort of have to admit that (and Dom and I agreed) I’m happy it ended. It worked so well, and I’m glad the storyline ended before it was dragging (which happens inevitably with most shows). Loved how so very Dexter the ending was. (I’m part of the minority that really enjoyed, respected, and appreciated the series finale of “Dexter.”)

ANTICIPATING: For once, nothing. We’re rolling with the punches. It’s nice to be free of any anticipation for the first time in several months.

LISTENING TO: My “1904” playlist on Spotify. Namely, The Tallest Man on Earth, Ryan Adams, George Ezra, Family of the Year, James Bay, and (throwback) a whole lot of The Fray. I also really love “Comes and Goes (In Waves)” by Greg Laswell and “Try” by Zach Berkman at the moment. PS- Has anyone heard Leighton Meester’s album Heartstrings? I’m sort of into it. I like “Heartstrings” and “Run Away.”

PLANNING: Nothing, and I love this! I think I’ll probably use a lot of this month to work on my personal (business) website though, so maybe we can count that as planning. I hope to have it launched (and switched to WordPress.org) by June 30th, along with my blog. I’m also getting a new layout which I’m pretty pumped for, but I need to make the switch first.

WORKING ON: Well, I guess the above text answers that, so I’ll dig a little deeper. I’m working on myself. I’m working on starting fresh, feeling good, and doing what makes me happy. I think we could all work on this a little more, no?

WISHING: For a Kitchenaid mixer (in pink or mint), but I’m going to be waiting a little longer for this one.

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where has our loyalty gone?

commitment

Lately I’ve been thinking about loyalty…and the fact that all around us, there is none.

As a generation of people who love last-minute decisions and instant gratification, we’ve lost all sense of loyalty—to ourselves, to our belongings, and most of all, to each other. We constantly want what’s newer, brighter, and better than our neighbor instead of what we already have: something a little used, maybe, but also sturdy and broken in. Something that’s been true to us.

When it comes to ourselves and our belongings, we want what we don’t have. Even worse, we act as though we need it. Have to have it. Will die without it. We want the body that will never be ours that we saw on a magazine cover at the grocery store instead of loving the one we are walking and breathing in today. We want a Pinterest-worthy home, a wardrobe that is stylish and effortless, and the best dressed, best behaved children. We don’t wait to refurbish the items we already own or sew the seam that’s come loose on the blouse that used to be our favorite. We go and we buy, buy, buy. We spend, spend, spend. We replace, replace, replace. We search for whatever shiny object catches our attention and we drop the things we used to love like we never loved them at all. We’re out with the old and in with the new, and we toss out that thing we loved before—the one that was so good to us. The one that doesn’t matter anymore.

Worst of all, we aren’t loyal to each other. To our friendships. To our families and loved ones. I know I’m guilty of it, too; I love making new friends and meeting new people, and I often get caught up in what I think is a person better than anything or anyone I’ve ever known. This friendship is it, I tell myself. This is the one. This is what it’s all about.

And then somehow I’m surprised when it crashes and burns all around me and I’m left picking up the pieces.

Lately, people have been telling me that I (too often) see the good in others. I’m warned by people to watch my back; to stay far, far away. And guess what? I never listen. I look for the things they do right, the efforts they make, and any quality that can contradict what someone has told me is wrong with them. And again, I’m baffled—shocked, even—when the aforementioned negative quality turns out to be true.

I all too often throw myself into new friendships with new people until I’ve exhausted all my energy and all my resources making sure they know how much I care about them, how much the friendship means to me, and that I’ve got their back. I defend them, share my secrets with them, and listen when they share theirs. I hope they’ll do the same; after all, aren’t we friends? Great, true, loyal friends? It happened quickly, I know, but it feels so real.

But somehow I forget—I always forget—that where there was once allegiance and the potential for lifelong friendship, there’s now smoke and destruction. When I question why, I always have to force myself to remember and think the worst thing which is, unfortunately, the true thing: A shiny new friendship has caught their eye, and I am the one to be tossed out with Friday’s trash pickup.

It’s been real. Thanks for the friendship.

We are, as my sister once called an ex-friend of mine, opportunists. We only care about ourselves. We have no loyalty.

And truthfully? It sucks. It blows hardcore. It almost makes any work we put into new friendships seem totally pointless.

I find myself thanking God every day that the friends I made in middle and high school (plus a few college folk) are practically bound to me by blood. We’re too deep in knowing each other to quit now. None of our deepest faults are anything new to the other person.

That being said, I’m endlessly optimistic. I hate this about myself. My friend Anamarie (loyal to the ends, god bless her), for example, is a total realist. She speaks the truth. She doesn’t expect people to be honest, true, and trustworthy. Because of this, anything good is a surprise, and anything bad is simply an expectation met. And every time we have a conversation about anything that lets her down but doesn’t break her spirit because she felt it coming, I am jealous. So much in the past, in fact, that I’ve declared to my husband that I’m done seeing the best in people. “Fuck it,” I say. “There’s no point anyway. All anybody ever does is let me down.”

But anyone who knows me well knows this isn’t true. I can’t simply stop caring. It’s the same reason I believe in loyalty even though history has proven it a figment of my imagination. It’s the same reason I’m notorious for apologizing to people from my past even when, years later, I still don’t know what I did wrong. I need to salvage something—to fix what’s broken.

Still, I search. I trust that new friendships will be as good to me as old ones. My friend Kim once said to me that when you begin a friendship, you never think about how it will end—how long you will be friends for or what will cause the friendship’s ultimate demise. You never believe when you make a friend that one day that relationship will diminish. Poof. Disappear as quickly as it began—with a backstabbing Facebook message or a pissed off text or a slammed door.

But maybe we should start. Maybe then we would think about how to keep it all from caving in.

Maybe then we would think about ways to work on our faults, our weaknesses, and our strengths in order to bring out (and see) the best in each other and ourselves.

Maybe then we would think about how to be loyal.

Maybe then we would think about how to stop letting each other down.

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what memorial day means to me, now that i’m an army wife

This article originally appeared on HelloGiggles. I enjoyed writing about the true meaning behind Memorial Day, so I thought I would share it here as well.

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In April 2011, my then-fiancé Dominic and I stood on a dock in front of our closest friends and family. We exchanged rings, “I do’s,” and a kiss, and I switched out my title from “ROTC fiancée” to “Army wife.” A few weeks later, it was Memorial Day, and I remember being so grateful for a few days off. I was finally done with college, and we had extra time to move my belongings into our newly purchased home in North Carolina. We were starting over with a new place, a new state, new friends, and a new life in the military.

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I’ll admit that even after getting married to a recently commissioned soldier, I never gave much thought to Memorial Day. My dad was retired Army, but our lives never revolved around that. It was just his job; it was something cool to say. “My dad was an Army broadcaster in Germany for close to a decade. What does your dad do?” Even as an adolescent, Memorial Day just was. It was a four-day weekend—and for that, I was grateful.

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I’ve found that Memorial Day means different things to different people. For some, like me several years ago, it’s a day of freedom—a day to relax, to sit by the pool with an ice-cold beer or a margarita, to appreciate a three- or four-day weekend. It means one less exhausting Monday morning to spend in your cubicle, or one day off of teaching. You work hard, and you’ve earned this break. Nothing would please you more than sleeping in and grilling out.

To the others—the ones whose lives are heavily invested in the military, like me—it’s something different altogether.

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Memorial Day means remembrance. It means remembering those friends, family, and acquaintances who died fighting for our country. It means thinking of them, thanking them, and whispering a prayer for their loved ones, their significant others, and their children.

It means remembering the children who are growing up without a mom or a dad. The ones you only know from Facebook photos of them sobbing over a headstone, their mothers at their side, while clutching an American flag in their tiny hands.

It means honoring the friends you’ve lost—the men and women who were left behind. It means celebrating them and appreciating the time you had together. It means looking at your spouse and just thanking God you have one more day of playing, kissing, laughing, and loving.

It sometimes means breaking down. It means overwhelming sadness and thoughts for the neighbor you knew whose helicopter went down in 2012 or the man your husband used to work with whose truck was blown up by an IED. It means remembering the day you found out, the ache you felt down to your soul, and the look in their loved one’s eyes.

It means being angry, and sometimes irrationally so: At the military, at your spouse, at the enemies who have made deployment and war a necessary evil.

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But most of all, Memorial Day means being thankful. Grateful. Appreciative. Elated. For the memories you have of the men and women who have fought and lost their lives when they made the ultimate sacrifice. For the men and women who came home after devoting months and years of their lives to protecting our freedom. For the protectors you have at your side—your husband or wife, your mother or father, your brother or sister, your best friends—that they are alive and well, home and yours.

It’s okay if you enjoy the pool and that ice-cold beer this weekend. Really, it is. But in between sips, think of the soldiers who are no longer with us—the ones who died protecting you and fighting for you now and over the years—and thank them. Pray for their families and loved ones, take a moment of silence, and memorialize them forever.

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an e-book giveaway!

Hi friends!

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One of the authors I work with, Benjamin Laskin, is doing a free e-book giveaway for the Kindle version of his book The Will (which I edited!). Absolutely love this heartwarming story about personal growth and development. Enter in the giveaway HERE to win a copy — you’ll love it! Be sure to buy a copy even if you don’t win. It’s always a wonderful thing having another feel-good story in your life.

PS- You don’t need to purchase Murphy’s Luck to get your free copy of The Will. Just click here and snag it free–no strings attached!

PPS- You can download the Kindle app free on any digital device. Just download it directly from your app store!

PPPS- (Lots of these.) I’m not getting paid to participate in this giveaway — I just enjoyed the book that much! Highly recommended.

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