Hey Everybody. Beth here. I've got a treat for you today. Alisa from My Concrete Sky is posting today. Don't miss the freebie downloads of the gorgeous artwork at the bottom. Take it away, Alisa!
life usually doesn’t go as planned, now does it? or is that just my singular experience and everyone else’s life plays out just as they want it to? (i have a slight hunch that this isn’t the case ;)...
all growing up i can remember, for one reason or another, thinking that i would have life figured out by 25...i just turned 29 last month and, um, let’s just say this ‘got it all figured out thing’ has yet to magically happen...
when my husband and i got married, i told him that i anticipated having amazingly great pregnancies because i had this crazy aunt who would always tell me that if a girl has bad periods, she would have flawless pregnancies (and boy did i have horrible, painful, long periods...sorry to be so graphic...) so with this knowledge that my pregnancies would be a easy breezy, we pretty much knew we would have 3-4 biological babies and 1-2 adopted babies, perhaps siblings, hopefully from hong kong, the country of our heritage.
that was the script our married life was to follow.
and then reality set in.
we were ecstatic beyond comprehensible reason when we found out we were pregnant with baby number one. i had dreamt of the day heaven would perhaps bestow the gift of motherhood upon me! i had so many goals of all i wanted to accomplish before the baby arrived, a fitness to plan to follow, etc etc etc because not only was i going to enjoy every moment of pregnancy, i was also going to be prepared to be the best mother i could possibly be in every aspect of my life. shortly after making all those lofty goals (like 3 weeks later...) i was quickly shown that pregnancy would not be quite as effortless as i had planned for. loooooong story short i was in and out of the ER during my pregnancy, attached to iv’s and on bed rest for the first 6 months. my dear sweet husband was my nurse, my caretaker, my everything. although this pregnancy did quite start off according to plan, i was grateful and humbled by the gift and opportunity to be carrying a life inside me.
once six months hit, i was feeling great and recommitted to achieve those certain goals etc. husband and i bought our first house weeks before the baby was to arrive. getting our house (and most importantly, nursery) together was the most important thing on my list. i strategically scheduled baby showers, prenatal classes, hospital tours, etc etc so that all could go according to perfect plan to welcome our beautiful baby girl.
well, another long story short, weeks before d-day i fell, torn up my ankle, got put in a cast, ruptured my placenta, had to have my casted leg duct taped to the stir up during delivery because i was too numb to be able to hold my extra-heavy leg up, and gave birth to a beautiful (and fortunately healthy!) baby girl 3 weeks early...oh, and all this without a prepacked hospital bag, without the bassinet set up at home, with only going to 1 prenatal class under our belt, and not making it to even one baby shower yet (all of that wasn’t scheduled this early on the calendar!!).
talk about foiled plan! but all of that didn’t really matter...i was a mother, and in the midst of all the chaos and unfulfilled goals, my baby girl, my husband, our little family, was all that mattered. we had our first new home, we were a real little family, the world was ours for the taking.
fast forward a couple months more and my always healthy, athletic, ski-patrolling, hiking, hunting, jeeping husband, suddenly got very ill. ill to the point of not even being able to walk, being in agonizing pain, barely able to breathe. knowing there was something wrong, we began a very loooong (and still ongoing journey) of test after test, doctor upon doctor trying to find some answers. the answers were just not coming and finally we sold our little cottage, knowing we needed the money and our savings to pay for all these medical expenses. and after all of that, still no definitive answers came.
we got pregnant with our second child, before we understood the severity and longevity of my husband’s condition. and 10 months later, we were blessed with a baby boy. (which pregnancy was even more difficult because a) i was so ill again that i could barely take care of baby #1 b) my husband was so ill himself, so we were both helplessly restricted by our bodies...). so for 6 months of the pregnancy, our already chaotic life was in even more chaos...
present tense, six years later he has been diagnosed with two chronic, debilitating, auto-immune diseases, both of which still do not explain a lot of the problems he is having. he has been in and out of a wheelchair, has been bedridden for about three intermittent years of the past 6 years. once again, long long long long long story short, we have experienced anger, frustration, fear, hate, doubt, depression, etc etc...which brought us to the point we are at now...
i share this immensely abbreviated version of my life not to bore or whine or whatever, but to give a little background info of about journey so that maybe what i am about to say may hopefully be better understood...
i most definitely do not have life all figured out, but there are some things i have figured out along the way:
...life usually doesn’t go according to our plans, and really if we think about it, that is usually the best plan possible because as much as we think we know, if we truly face the facts, we really don’t know much. a universe and a god who have existed for millennia upon millennia before us, might have a clearer understanding of what our souls truly need to reach our potential. if we allow ourselves to be guided and led by the light of heaven, our journey will take us everywhere we need to be, right on time.
...life gives us happys and sads, failures and victories...moments that make us fly higher than we thought possible and moments that allow us to see what our guts are truly made of. this crazy adventure of life is filled with so much joy and goodness amongst the bitterness and pain. the gift of diverse experience is so precious. it allows us to learn, grow, evolve, and gain understanding so that hopefully, we can empathize, support, cheer on, and connect with other fellow sojourners on this journey of life.
...from time to time i still get a bit sad because of all the shattered dreams (i.e. can’t have anymore babies due to the volatility of my husband's health and my tough pregnancies...who would take care of the two precious souls we have been given when we are both down and out?...and obviously because of the health issues, we won’t be able to qualify to adopt, but it makes me appreciate and relish in the miraculous gift of motherhood that i have been so graciously given.) but i have found so much beauty as i learned to sift through the pieces and rebuild. the dreams once broken, of course, are never the same, but reconfigured, usually end up being more than we could have imagined if we allow ourselves to be transformed through the process. this is what my husband so beautifully and simply calls, ‘new dreams for old...’ i am grateful for my husband by my side, who rebuild these dreams with.
...every victory, no matter how small is worthy and deserving of celebration. our little family has learned to search for even the little miracles in our life, the joy in the journey, and the every day triumphs. we are learning to feed the faith instead of the fear and each time we choose to do so, so much beauty is discovered in the process and blessing from heaven are poured upon us.
...i still have questions about who what when where why and how, i always will, but i am content to live these questions, in hopes of someday, without even knowing it, realize i have also lived the answers as i continued to do what matters most.
...my life may not have gone according to plan, and yet somehow it is played out perfectly, adversity and all, because it has gotten me to the present. i am truly truly blessed and am learning to better count my blessings every single day. i am learning to not insist on slugging along the baggage, troubles, failures or shattered dreams of yesterday into today...learning to let it go. learning to not fear and worry over what may lie ahead tomorrow...tomorrow is unknown and contingent on our decisions and actions of today. learning to focus instead on the now. to do my best with what i have now. to live in the moment now. embrace the experience of now (all of it...the victories, the heartbreaks, the happys, the sads, all of it). reanalyze in the now and control what i can control and let go of what i can't. i am learning to not carry the burden of all time and eternity, but to take the struggles in small chunks, day by day, each and every day. create/find joy and happiness in each day no matter how yucky some of those days may be. each day is a new beginning. and that, my friends, is a gift.
...as already stated, i am seeking to feed the faith, not the fear...to seek the beauty, not the sorrow...to embrace the growing opportunities through adversity, not to run from them...to be happy now, instead of waiting for 'something' to happen...to fight for victories, no matter how small...to be strengthened by defeats, instead of mourning what i wished would have been or for what i had planned for...to dance in the rain, even if i forgot to put on waterproof mascara that day, and to trust in god, in his mindfulness, understanding, mercy, grace, and love for me.
at the gracious invitation of beth, i am ecstatic to share two of my art pieces (pictured above) as freebie downloads! these quotes are reminders i hold close to my heart...perhaps they might have that impact on you as well. simply, print, cut, and hang!
DOWNLOAD #1: GROW IN FAITH
included in this download is an 11x17 print size (you can print at kinkos etc) AND an 8x10 print size with two images...one for you and one to share!
DOWNLOAD #2: LIFE WAITING
this is sized 7x7
alisa is living her dream and true calling as a full-time mommy/wife and as a nap-time artist/designer. She spends he days schnoogling her babies, avoiding laundry, finding order in the chaos, enjoying the journey, and cultivating a creative life. To see more of Alisa’s work, please visit her at myconcretesky.com.