Monday, November 7, 2011


This past week I had the opportunity to speak on an adoption panel again. I shared my story before prospective parents for the second time and cried for the first time in a long time. There happened to be two other birth moms sitting on either side of me. One had her baby three months ago, the other nine months ago. Grace is now 7 months, I know, so hard to believe! As the other two women shared their story I was flooded with emotions in relating to everything they were saying. One of the birth moms talked about how she often felt lonely carrying a baby without a husband to share it with. The other birth mom talked about how she knew all along that the baby she was carrying belonged to someone else.  For the first time in my experience I could totally and completely relate with someone, or maybe it was that someone else knew exactly how I felt because they had experienced it too. Either way it was refreshing for me. 

The other night I was driving home from William's house (my boyfriend) and I drove past the building where I used to take prenatal water aerobics twice a week. That class was the highlight of my week, but I always felt a great sense of loneliness when I left class, knowing that I wasn't going home to somebody. I would not be sharing my day with a significant other. So here I am, one year later, driving home from this amazing man's house where I just shared everything about my day and more I can't help but think back to that lonely season and be grateful for this new season. At the same time, as I type my thoughts, I am sitting on my couch in the same spot that I sat in every night while pregnant with Grace and I am flooded with those beautiful memories. She would kick me like crazy as I would try to focus on my homework, or let's be serious, I was really just focused on catching up on all my tv shows. I would talk to her, watch her move, and pray for the parents I hadn't yet met. "To everything turn, turn, turn, there is a season, turn, turn, turn". Like both of the other birth moms that shared their story, the last year of my life was a time of great loneliness and of great joy and peace. I wouldn't go back and change anything. I hope I will always remember to reflect on my experience and never be afraid to share it.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

It really is a small world

There are currently 6,965,410,205 people on this earth, 312,330,689 in the United States alone. A couple weeks ago in Modesto, CA (population 200,00) two long time friends were at an event having a conversation that they never in a million years would’ve ever guessed they would be having. Those two people are my grandpa and Liz’s uncle. The conversation they were having was regarding the deeper connection we all now share through a little baby named Grace.

See when I picked Liz and Eric I didn’t know anything about where they were from or if they even lived in Boise. As I got to know them Liz and I discovered that our families are both from Modesto. Her mother’s side is from there and many still live there to this day. Here I am, 640 miles from my hometown, and the family I happen to pick has ties to my hometown. Incredible.  And even more incredible is the fact that we had a greater connection than just being from the same exact town, my grandpa and her uncle have been friends for many years.

It’s amazing to look back and realize God was doing so many things that were beyond my wildest imaginations. He was doing so many things that I did not think could possibly come from my experience. It makes me smile and it brings tears to my eyes. Everything for a reason.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Adoption Day!

September 6, 2011 was a beautiful day. This was the day that Liz and Eric stood before a judge promising to be Grace's parents forever and signed the documents that made her legally theirs. I was blessed to be in the courtroom with them and their family witnessing this take place. It is a rather short proceeding, less than 20 minutes, which almost seems crazy to me considering all the time, energy, and emotion that goes into reaching that court proceeding. And thankfully it was quick because the anticipation in there was killing me. I can only imagine how anxious Liz and Eric were!

Afterwards we all went back to the house to celebrate the beautiful day with good food, good company, and good cake :) I looked around the group that was present for the celebration and couldn't help but be so incredibly thankful for the way things have turned out.

The picture I posted holds significant meaning to me. On Grace's adoption day I was given this necklace by Liz and Eric. Eric had designed them himself and had three of them made. One for Liz, one for me, and one for Grace (when she is old enough to wear it). The intent was that we would always be reminded of one another. It is meant to signify the bond we forever have and remember the God that ordained all of this to be. I wear it everyday, and I will continue to wear it everyday for the years to come. What a beautiful, incredibly thoughtful way to be reminded of the fact that we are bonded for life by a God who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us (Ephesians 3:20).

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Dynamic of Adoption

This past Tuesday I had the amazing opportunity to sit on a panel of other birth moms, birth dads, adoptive parents and adopted kids and share my story before a group of prospective adoptive parents. As I looked out and around I saw eager faces, couples excited and scared for the journey ahead of them. I had no idea what I was going to say. I had no idea what these people even wanted to hear from me. I have told my story so many times that I figured it would just come naturally to me, but as I was sitting up there I got nervous and felt completely blank. Thankfully, another birth mom whose daughter was now 7 years old, shared her story before I did. As I listened to her I related to a person more than I think I have ever related to anybody. Quite frankly she was bringing tears to my eyes. After hearing her speak, I knew exactly what I was going to say and I expected to blubber my way through my whole spiel. Two other people shared, an adoptive mom and her adopted daughter, and then it was my turn. The first line of my quickly rehearsed speech came out and then I just blanked. I forgot everything I wanted to say, every emotion I had been feeling. For a split second I freaked, then I just went ahead and said what was on my heart and what I felt would be beneficial to the 10 couples who were staring at me. For my first time on the panel, I think it went pretty well. I truly enjoyed listening to every single person share their journey. It was a blessing to hear a variety of experiences and absorb the beauty of this dynamic God has created through adoption. It's definitely not the easiest dynamic. Every person in that room has experienced their fair share of brokenness, grief, and pain. Yet they also have experienced their fair share of joy, happiness, and thankfulness. I plan on sharing on another panel if I am provided the opportunity.

This experience, as rewarding as it was, reminded me of the difficult dynamic of my situation. The other birth mom that shared her story shared that she had originally been pretty close to the adoptive family and saw her daughter often, but slowly over the years that relationship faded and she now sees them just once a year. My heart slightly sank at the thought of that. Ok fine, I'll be honest, my heart COMPLETELY sank at the though of that. I love Grace, but I also dearly love Liz and Eric. They became my family. There are some changes already occurring, as they naturally should, but will the day come that I only see them once a year? I know I will cross that bridge when I get there, but that hard dynamic of adoption sometimes weighs on my heart. What if one day they don't want me around as often? What if that day starts now? So many things I know that I should not worry about. God has brought me this far and blessed me tremendously and I know He will continue to do so, but that nagging feeling still can get the best of me at times.

Here's another dynamic that I rarely considered while pregnant and in my own little private survival mode. This adoption does not just affect me. It affects those around me, namely my family and my best friends. My parents have a granddaughter, my sister a niece, Stella a sister ;) and my best friends a baby (niece) that they got to know so well as she grew in the womb. Each and every one of those people had to let go of Grace too.

In no way I am hinting at any feelings of regret. I know with every fiber of my being that I made the right decision. I know that I am supported by every single person I know and love and even by strangers that have heard my story. I am merely just reflecting on some truths and trying to be as real as I possibly can be.

Adoption is an absolutely wonderful and beautiful thing. Every day I am thankful for the role I have in this dynamic. I wouldn't go back and change a thing. Sometimes the most beautiful things in life are the things that aren't the easiest. I know that to be true and it pushes me through the difficult realities of this dynamic of adoption.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Bringing Sunshine

Today I put on a pair of capris that I had not been able to wear since the earliest stages of pregnancy. I know, WAHOO! I immediately felt that this day was going to be a great day. I reached into the pockets to straighten them out and find the tiniest piece of paper. I was going to just toss it thinking there’s no way it could contain something relevant, but something stopped me. So I opened it up and saw it was a fortune from one of those little fortune cookies. It read, “You will bring sunshine to someone’s life”.  Of course I stared at it and got very teary-eyed.  Now, something to know about me is that I would not consider myself to be superstitious. I don’t pay much attention to the fortunes on the cookies or horoscopes. But, at some point last summer I had eaten Chinese food and saved this little fortune. I don’t remember if I was already pregnant, or even knew I was pregnant when I obtained this fortune, but regardless, it was going to come true. Grace would come into this world and bring sunshine to countless people, namely her parents, who waited so long and patiently for her. And to randomly find that little fortune a year later was a beautiful reminder of this beautiful, purposed life experience. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Letting Go

The other day I woke up at 5am, wide awake, and no amount of tossing and turning could put me back to sleep. So I decided to make some more progress on the journal I have been working on for Grace that was supposed to be done this summer. Back in October, while still adjusting to being pregnant and having no idea how everything would turn out, I spent a good hour or so flipping through every pregnancy journal on the shelves of both Borders and Barnes and Nobles' bookstores. I was desperate to start recording anything and everything I experienced with her during this time. Just in case I never saw her again after she was born I wanted her to know that I loved her deeply, that I cared, and if she turned out to be as sentimental as I am, I wanted her to be able to know her story from my side. This journal I found was the only one that was more focused on the pregnancy experience itself rather than all the baby showers, daddy do-good deeds, nursery themes, etc. that a lot of pregnancy journals like to include. Things I would painfully not be experiencing this pregnancy. The journal I found perfectly focused on me and Grace and the short time we had together. 

So here I am now 4 months after her birth revisiting the journal and filling in some of the missing spots. As I near the end of the journal it asks questions about all the "firsts" the occur once baby is home. It's only a couple pages of questions, but as I skim through them I realize the one thing that will always cause a little pang of hurt inside of me: I don't know. I don't know what her first night at home was like, I don't know what her favorite pacifier is, I don't know her feeding time, her nap time, or her disposition. I don't know anything about the things that it feels like, as a mother, I should know. 

For nine months I was the one that knew everything about her. I knew her active times, I knew her favorite foods, I knew how to make her move, I knew her sleepy times, I knew her hiccups from her kicks, I knew everything there was to know about her for those nine months. And I cherished every moment of it. I knew I wouldn't get it back, I knew one day someone else would know more about her than I do. And I knew that that was the way it was supposed to be. 

I think the biggest, and hardest thing we have to endure as a parent is the act of letting go. At many stages in our children's lives we learn to let go in certain ways whether it is when we can no longer hold them, their first day of school, the day they move out for college, or the day they get married. For me, that day came when she was born. I endured the act of letting go the day she was born. And I get asked all the time if that was hard for me. Of course that was hard for me, I carried her for nine months and gave birth to her. But from the day I found out I was pregnant I knew God was telling me that she belonged to Him and the He had a plan for her. And He was right, her life was in His hands now in pregnancy and it would be for the rest of her life. And I leaned on that and trusted in God to give me the strength I needed to let go. And He did. 

Much to my surprise, Grace is 4 months old and I know all about her. Of course it is not firsthand knowledge, but that is completely ok. I get to see her and watch her grow. I get to hear from Liz all of her accomplishments and milestones. I don't sit at home and wonder and feel guilty for not knowing. I am thankful everyday for the opportunity I have to know her and her parents. There will always be a pang of hurt about the things I do not know firsthand about Grace or experience myself, but just knowing how happy she is, how ecstatic Liz and Eric are and how I get to play a small part in that gives me great joy and peace.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Turning Tables

I titled this blog Everything for a Reason. Everything I share comes from a deep passion for the order and purpose of things. Yet here I sit today with a bitter and completely broken heart. For what I was so certain was happening for a specific reason has turned out to be happening for a whole different reason all together. One that I do not yet know or understand and one that I most definitely wasn’t prepared for. I want to know why, what did I do to deserve more pain, but what’s the point? It doesn’t change anything. Whatever will be will be. Yet again my beliefs are challenged. I say “everything for a reason” but this, really, do I have to endure this with a huge smile and an“everything for a reason” attitude when all I want to do is cry and fight it kicking and screaming? The answer is yes. Yes I have to endure this, my heart is involved. Yes it is ok to cry, yes it is ok to silently kick and scream once in a while, that is part of allowing ourselves to heal. Yes, not everything I want will want me. And yes, everything really does happen for a reason, even in this time. I do not have the strength, nor the desire to do it now, but one day I believe I will be able to sing along with (and mean it) Garth Brooks when he says, “Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers”. I hope it happens sooner rather than later because my heart is so tired of being beat up. It’s time to say goodbye to turning tables, I just wish I knew how to…

-“Sometimes it lasts in love and sometimes it hurts instead” –Adele

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The 580

The 580 is Modesto's "gateway" to the bay area. You pretty much have to take it anytime you head out west to the bay. I spent this past weekend in Napa. On Sunday I headed back to Modesto and as I made my way from the 680 onto the eastbound 580 headed for Modesto I was flooded with some hard memories. The last time I was headed eastbound on the 580 was nearly one year ago, mid-September. Austin and I had flown in from Idaho for the weekend. I was about 9 weeks pregnant and there were still only about 3 people that knew what was going on. (He knew everything about my situation and still said he wanted to stay with me, so that is what we did until October) We landed at the Oakland airport where his sister and brother-in-law picked us up and took us to SF to help them with some wedding stuff. I knew that I was acting different and I knew that everyone could tell something was up, especially when I didn't order a glass of wine or a beer when we went out to lunch. I wanted to be my normal self but all I could focus on was not breaking down and crying. I wanted to get it off my chest and say what was going on, but what words do I use and where does something this big get inserted into conversation? This would be the feeling I carried throughout my entire weekend back home. (At this point nobody in my family knew) I was overwhelmed on so many different levels that I didn't know what to do. After lunch in SF Aus and I got dropped off in San Mateo to drive ourselves back to Modesto. The second we were alone in our own car I lost it. I cried nearly the entire way down that familiar stretch of the eastbound 580. Poor Austin. I was struggling with reality again, wanting so badly to make it go away and clinging to vain hopes that going home would make it all better but at that same time I was absolutely terrified of reaching our destination in Modesto, fearful that somebody would find out or that I wouldn't be able to bear the secret. As irony would have it, my niece and nephew were over and I don't remember what the topic of conversation was but my nephew walks over to me, puts his hands on my belly and says, "baby in here?" I think my heart stopped at that point in time. Kids say the darndest things ;) Thankfully nobody really took notice and I wasn't questioned about it. As it turned out, that weekend my mom and step-dad went out of town and by miscommunication I missed pizza night at my sister's. Austin was busy with being in his friend's wedding so I spent most of the weekend alone. I took that as a sign that I was not meant to tell any of my family during that trip. The timing just wasn't right for whatever reason. We left on Sunday and I would not return again to Modesto until July 6 of this year.

Last September, on the miserable trip down the 580 I was filled with fear and panic and the only thing on my mind was, "What am I going to do?" "How is this ever going to be ok?"  Nearly one year later, I was making that same trip down the 580, but this time I was thanking God for what he had done in my life over the past year, thanking him for Grace and Liz and Eric, and all the people he brought into my life. I felt joy and a so much excitement for whatever this next year may hold. This reflection reminded me that there will always be hard times in life, it is inevitable. But there will also always be joyful times in life, that is inevitable is well. And I think it is very possible to even find joyful moments through the hard times.

"Life ain't always beautiful, but it's a beautiful ride" - Gary Allan

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Grace, God's Grace

As I stated in my previous post, Psalm 139 was our “theme” verse. And at about week 13 when I still hadn’t miscarried and my whole attitude began to shift to one more accepting of the situation, there was another theme that held me together: God’s grace. People around me, good well-deserving people, were having miscarriages. And me, the person not ready, willing, or wanting was carrying a perfect, healthy baby. If there’s ever a time you can clearly hear God speaking, this would be it. He had a purpose in this, he had a plan for this baby, he WANTED her to be here. There is absolutely no denying that. His grace brought her into this world and kept her here safe and sound, developing healthy and strong. His grace gave me the strength to endure this time, and His grace believed in me and saw me as capable enough to go with through with everything. His grace knew that in the end I would be a much better and happier person because of everything. His grace was woven through every part of this experience and became my hope, my light in a place that was so often very dark.

January 11: I have just told Liz and Eric that they are about to be parents and the agency gave us celebration invites for the three of us to enjoy lunch at Bardenay. At one point in our conversation I asked them if they had thought of any names. They told me they knew what they wanted her middle name to be, if was ok with me. Of course anything they picked would be ok with me, within reason of course ;) And nothing could’ve prepared me for what the name they had in mind. They told me they would like her middle name to be Lindsay. It was so unexpected that I think it took a good minute for it to register in my brain. I was blown away! We all teared up and I told them I would be honored and they could use my name on one condition: it had to be spelled with an –Ay. Then they told me they had a couple first names in mind. The last name they shared was Grace. My face immediately lit up, that was it! That had to be her name! Of course, they were still thinking and I didn’t want to sway them one way or the other because she was their daughter so I did my best to hide all of my excitement and wishes and 3-4 weeks later they informed me of her name….Grace Lindsay.

There couldn’t have been a more perfect name for little Grace. Her name holds more meaning than anybody could ever know. And through my journal that I plan to give Grace I have done my best to portray to her the meaning and significance of her name. I hope she will always know how special and unique she is and that her name is more than just a name; it is representative of her whole life and the God we serve. I love this part of the story because it serves as yet another testament to God’s plan for Eric and Liz to be in my life and be Grace’s parents. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Heart of the Matter

I had my first ultrasound at 6 weeks. The tech wrote "baby" on the picture with an arrow pointing to the baby. It was a speck you needed a magnifying glass to see and all I could make out was a bubble that she informed me was the yolk sac, but there was a heartbeat going at a strong rate of about 130 bpm and I could clearly see that rate moving across the screen. And if it was not amazing enough that a heartbeat was coming from this invisible speck inside of me, it wasn't the first day her heart had started beating. Her little heart had been pumping away for three whole weeks at this point. I didn't yet have the courage to put the picture on the fridge, but I put the verse that would serve as a constant reminder of God's purpose and will and the encouragement I would need on a constant basis: Psalm 139:13-16; "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be". I read this at least 2-3 times a day. In a life that wasn't making any sense, this was the one thing I could lean on, the one thing that made absolute perfect sense. Everything for a reason. 

At my week 10 appointment I heard her heart beat on the doppler for the very first time. I don't know how to put into words how amazing it is to hear this little heart going a million miles an hour.

At week 18 I had my second, and the "big" ultrasound. Grace was being extremely modest, so we went to the bathroom and had a pep talk and when I came out she gave us just enough immodesty to let us know she was in fact a girl. YAY! This was the first time I was able to see her heart beating and hear it at the same time (and the tech recorded it and put it on my CD so I could listen to it whenever I wanted). At this point I hadn't yet felt her move, but I was able to see her and oh my she was all over the board! She posed for a perfect profile pic, sucking her thumb of course, and this picture was immediately placed on the fridge right above our "theme" verse and  it remains there to this day. I will take it down when I move and put it right back up on my new fridge one day.

At week 22 I had another ultrasound. Because I had had my "big" appointment two weeks before the normal time, they wanted to look at her heart one more time since it technically isn't more fully developed until after week 20. The tech told me that she had one strong and determined heart. I smiled and said, "she most certainly does!" It was at that same appointment that I felt her move at the same time I saw her little arm swing around in a right hook. 

At about 28 weeks, right after I met Liz and Eric, I invited them to join me for an appointment. Well, really it was a condition of them adopting Grace: Liz must be at every appointment. After all, as we liked to joke, she was in her third trimester and appointments were an important part of the process. (It was not an actual condition of their adoption, but I did state in my interviews with the couples that I would like them to be involved in the rest of the pregnancy). And they were completely ecstatic that I would allow them to be so it worked out very well :)

Grace's heart kept my heart going. From week three when I went to the bookstore and read that her heart was starting to beat at that point in time to week 39 when I was in labor and listening to her heart change pace with each contraction to watching her chest rise and fall after she was finally here. Her heart has always been strong and determined and it kept me strong and determined. I often wonder why God designed us with hearts that beat as early as three weeks. I don't have the answer, but I do know that, for me, it was an indication of purpose, strength, and His will above my own. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


After suffering from major writer's block and a lack of desire to sit and stare at my computer with so much as a word to type, I thought it was time that I just sit down and stare at my computer until I can produce something. 

I first met with the adoption agency early in August. I sat down with a social worker, a woman who I am so happy to have met and gotten to know. She has been amazing throughout this whole experience and has always been there for me. After this initial meeting I would not contact the agency again or begin my search until December. Not only was school incredibly busy, but I needed time to process and time to get used to this whole new life I was living. It was completely nerve-wracking. I couldn't look at any of the paperwork for the longest time. And looking back I realize, that was totally ok. If you are in this position, give yourself time to process and think. Allow yourself to adjust and figure out exactly what you want. Allow yourself to deal. It was crucial for me and by the time I began my search I was completely ready. 

So come Christmas break, while most people are visiting family and holiday shopping, I was beginning my "parent search". To begin, my social worker asked me what I was looking for in a family and from there she would choose profiles that fit according to what I was looking for. I told her I only cared that they knew Jesus. She brought me four profiles to start with (I looked at a total of eight). The first one in the pile was Liz and Eric's. I immediately felt a connection, so I decided to read it last :) After reading all eight profiles I decided that there were two couples that I wanted to interview. There is something instinctive about this process. The two couples I chose were from the first four profiles I received and they were the two profiles I immediately had a gut feeling about before even opening them. After reading them, I knew one of the couple's would be getting a daughter, at that point I just couldn't decide which one without an interview. I told that I am a rare case because many birth moms do not choose to interview parents before choosing them. I do not know how true that is nationwide, but at my agency it was a rare occasion for a birth mom to interview. I had no idea! How difficult that would be for the adopting family and even the birth mom too! I do not worry about Grace, I know where she is and I know she is with the best people she could be with. I feel like interviewing and getting to know Liz and Eric so well has given me complete and total closure as well as the feeling that I absolutely did the right thing.

Each of the couples had two hours to spend with me. I had a list of questions that I wanted to ask each couple and aside from the questions I really just wanted to meet them and see how the interacted with each other and get an idea of what their lives were like. The first couple were great. I think they are amazing, God-loving people and will have another child one day, but I didn't quite feel a connection with them. The second couple were Liz and Eric. Immediately I loved them and we connected so well and chatted so much that we went over the allotted 2-hours. I left that interview and called Marie and Jacquie to say that I had officially met my daughter's parents. That was a Thursday, I gave Liz and Eric the great news the next Tuesday. 

The entire agency is absolutely amazed with how my situation played out. In their 15 years of existence they have never seen a case as unique as mine, Liz, Eric, and Grace's. I am actually quite amazed by how my situation played out too. My original plan was to have a closed adoption and give her the opportunity to find me if she wanted to one day. I did not forsee this incredibly open relationship unfolding in my own life. But as I say many times, I wouldn't have it any other way :)  

In closing, I have to say that anybody who is in the process of adopting or has adopted: I ADMIRE YOU. After going through this process on the opposite end, I have learned so much about how it all works and how much strength and devotion it takes for people to go through the whole process. All of you are truly wonderful people. You have really put yourselves out there and given up a lot to have a family of your own. Your willingness to take in a child that is not your own and love it as if it were your own is absolutely beautiful to me. And you do it all with no guarantees. We live in an imperfect world and it's so amazing to see how God takes two seemlingly sad situations: infertility and an unplanned pregnancy and makes a perfect situation from them. Thank you for all the love and devotion you have!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

This One's Stickin'

Let me preface this by saying that there are a number of people that played a crucial role in my life over this past year. Every single one of you know who you are and I could not have survived this without each and every one of you. Each and every person blessed me at every step of this journey and I will share those times throughout my story so please know that I am not discrediting anybody's role when I share this one particular post.

There are two people that really took this pregnancy on right along with me, literally (in many ways). Marie and Jacquie were there from day one and never left my side. There are not enough words I could say or examples I could give that could quantify their meaning in my life. The three of us are in nursing school together, Jacquie lives two doors down and Marie lives one block away. During the school year we have the same exact schedules, which means that we are likely to see each other every day and most days, all day. They saw me through everything, sometimes more than they even wanted to. We individually had our hard times over this past year as well as the hardest semester of our lives, Fall 2010. It wasn't always easy for us, emotionally we were all tugged in so many directions, but we made it. And I could not have made it without them. They did the heavy lifting that I wasn't allowed to do, they were at the appointment when we found out Grace was a girl, they read the profiles and couldn't even finish Liz and Eric's because they were crying too hard, they met Liz and Eric before I gave birth, they took on my pregnancy symptoms, no joke. Both lost their periods for 3-4 months and Jacquie was pretty much pregnant in every way minus having an actual baby inside of her. They were there when my water broke, they drove me to the hospital (thank goodness I live close because I might have died if it was any longer - NEVER been in so much pain in life), they were there in the room with me and never left my side, they encouraged me through it all, we all bonded with Liz and Eric in the hospital and became and family in that moment, they are Grace's aunts, and I don't know what I would've done without them. I couldn't have asked for two more loyal and loving friends.

Austin knew first, and these girls knew next. After that it would be a few weeks before I could find the courage to tell another soul. Marie and I went out to Bittercreek the night I told her. Now there's something you have to know about Marie: she has some sort of sixth sense, she really does. She can sense things and she's pretty much right about them all the time. So we're at dinner and she wants a beer, I decline. So she gets her beer and seriously asks me to just try it about five times. I decline. Finally, she holds it up to me and says, "no really, Linds you HAVE to try this" Man alive! I tell her, "Marie, I can't I have really bad news, I'm pregnant" Her reply was, "that's not bad news, congrats!!" Later on we were chatting and she just found out that her friend had had a miscarriage and she said she had a feeling that might happen. I asked her if she thought that might happen to me. She looked at me and said, "nah, this one's stickin" At the time that response irritated me, mostly because I wanted her to be wrong. A couple days later Jacq and I had lunch plans. She was asking me where we should go. She knows two of my favorites are sushi and wine. So when I declined sushi and then didn't order our favorite noon-time glass of wine at Bardenay she is stumped and actually a little irritated at me. So I tell her what happened and I tell her my plan. We talk about it for awhile and she told me exactly what Marie told: that she would be by my side through it all and support any decision that I made. And they both were.

Two amazing people that I could never repay for their presence and involvement in my life. Two people that I hope Grace always has the opportunity to know. Until she arrived I did not comprehend just how much they loved her as if she were their own. But they truly do, they were with her from the beginning. They will always be her aunts and I pray she always knows the amount of love that they have for her.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

12 Years Strong!

Sunday was Liz and Eric’s 12th wedding anniversary. 12 years and going stronger than ever! I’m sure many couples look forward to receiving the pink diamond they’ve been eyeing or the vacay they’ve been planning since year one. Liz and Eric got a baby for the 12th wedding anniversary and I can’t think of anything more perfect for the two of them. I think this is a good time to share a little background about Liz and Eric. They were friends for quite a long time before they even started dating. Liz attended Notre Dame and Eric attended U of I (University of Idaho). Both were accounting majors. They started dating after college and married a few years after that. Liz is one of the most personable women you will ever meet. You will never feel awkward around her because she will always be able to strike up a conversation. She is an avid golfer, amazing actually. She got a college scholarship for it. Liz and I share a love of shopping and manicures and we can talk about anything and everything. One day she looked at my purse and said, “Is that a Tory Burch?” I said, “You speak Tory?! Oh this was so meant to be!” Eric is one the nicest, most caring men you will ever meet. An accountant by day and an avid hunter and fisherman by weekend. (perfect for my family) He knows I love fruit and that I am picky about my grapes and whenever I go over there he always has fresh fruit and grapes for me and Stella (because Stella loves grapes too) The two of them are honestly two of the most genuine people that I have ever met. I am so blessed by them. Liz and I discovered that we have yet another thing in common: Modesto, CA. I was born and raised there and her entire family is from there. She never lived there, but her mom is from Modesto and Liz spent a lot of her life out on Beckwith. NO WAY! Grace will one day get to see my hometown, the place where I grew up and spent so many years of my life. In fact I am sure she will go there more than once. I love that she will experience Modesto at some point in her life! Yet another amazing aspect of how God had ordained this to be. I mean, I have never met someone in Boise that’s from Modesto and the parents that I picked for my daughter are from there!! <3

Early in their marriage Eric and Liz decided to wait 5 years before they tried to have kids and they agreed that they weren’t going to go to any extreme measures to have their own children. If by 10 years they still did not have a baby, they agreed to begin the adoption process. They started the process just shy of their 10-year anniversary. Two years later their prayers were answered! There is so much more I could say about them. I’m sure a lot of it will come through my posts, but I wanted to preface them a bit so you can begin to grasp how important they are to me and why I chose them to be Grace’s parents.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Challenged Beliefs

We like to think that nothing can shake us from our opinions and beliefs. We believe that if put in the situation we would never go against what we believe. Maybe if we are firm in our beliefs we won't stray, but still, I now believe never say never. 

What do our beliefs mean if we are not challenged to prove our faithfulness to them? Absolutely nothing. I do not believe that abortion is ok. I believe that life begins at conception and when we have sex we are really saying that we are ready to have children because that is the result of sex. It’s our only link to procreation and the maintaining of humanity. There is something about that feeling of absolute desperation though that makes you willing to throw every belief out of the window, willing to do ANYTHING to make the issue just disappear. I know that feeling of desperation all too well. I did not have an abortion, but that doesn’t grant me the “saint” award. In my heart I had an abortion. I wanted to do it, I contemplated it. I felt that desperation. All I wanted was to wake up from the horrible nightmare. And even when I immediately decided I couldn’t go with through it I prayed every night and day until week 13 or 14 for a miscarriage. “Dear God, I can’t bring myself to open the phone book to find the number to call the abortion clinic, so will you please do it for me through a miscarriage?" "Dear God, I will do whatever you want if you will please just answer this one prayer request for me." "Dear God, PLEASE, I don't want to have to tell people that I got pregnant."

 First valuable lesson of this experience: we all make decisions and until we are in the shoes of the decision-maker we have NO right to pass judgment. We NEVER know what we will do until we are placed in that situation. Over by the Boise mall abortion protests are held on what feels like a weekly basis. Parents drag their young children out to these events, put a sign in their hand that they can't even read much less understand and put them on the street corner. Is that supposed to invoke empathy and a change of opinion in those passing by? So many times I just wanted to park the car get out and yell to everyone of those people, men and women alike, “Have you EVER been pregnant? Did you EVER have an unplanned pregnancy? Until you have experienced that feeling of desperation and fear you have no idea what you would really do in that situation. So put your damn sign down, go home, and stop passing judgement.  

Let me just say that despite my prayers for a miscarriage, I loved that little baby growing inside of me. I bought the books, I did the research, I ate well, I exercised almost everyday, I found an OBGYN the day the pregnancy was confirmed, I did everything in my power to assure that the life growing inside of me was well taken care of because I cared so very deeply for it. I know that seems like a contradiction on my part, but when I share my prayers for a miscarriage I am speaking the truth and I speak honestly because I know that there are others out there who need to hear truth and maybe even take comfort in knowing that they are not alone.

That leads me to what ultimately would give me incredible strength, perseverance, and joy: One day a light switched and I finally understood what God was trying to tell me. He told me, "Lindsay I cannot answer your prayers because I am using you to answer the prayers of somebody else". Everything for a reason... I would not meet Liz and Eric until much later after this realization, but I knew, I just knew that God was working to bring us together. From then on out, my prayers changed and my attitude began to change. I prayed for the family, whoever they would be, and I started telling the baby all the time that it was going to have the most amazing parents ever. I had so much joy at just the thought of two people having what they had always wanted. Now I know those two people and I see more joy in them than I have ever seen in two people and it fills my heart with joy. And everyday I praise God, thanking him for a perfect, healthy little Grace. I thank him that I did not have a miscarriage. He knows me better than I know myself and I can honestly say I am a much happier person than I would be if I would have had a miscarriage.

Near and Dear

Last Tuesday I had the opportunity to introduce Liz and Eric to someone very near and dear to me over dinner at their house. Like many things in my life this past year, had you told me in January that come June the four of us would be sitting around the patio table conversing and eating pizza I would not have believed you. But there we were hanging out. It was really a great time and I am glad it took place.

While he wasn't able to not be there for the entire past year of my life, Austin was there for me during one of the most difficult parts, the finding out. I wish I could say that, like so many people I know, I was praying for a "positive" or "pregnant" reading, but I wasn't. That may have been the three longest minutes of my life and I spent it praying like I've never prayed before that it would have a big fat "NOT pregnant" reading. When I finally got the courage to look at it, it said "pregnant" but there definitely wasn't a NOT in front of it. At this point I did the only thing I could do, I sat on the bathroom floor and cried, well it was really more like balling than crying. Austin, the sweet guy that he is, just let me cry and hugged me and told me it was going to be ok. He was would be ok, but it would be one long and bumpy ride. The rest of that night and many days and nights after that were spent in limbo between reality and "normal life". "Normal life" refers to my life before the day I took the test. Reality refers to, well, you know what reality is. The hardest times seemed to be while trying to fall asleep and then when waking up in the morning. Falling asleep was impossible because my mind was panicking at a million miles an hour. And waking up was miserable because there was that split second or two where I was in my "normal life" again. Reality never let me live in my "normal life" very long though. Those first few weeks were really a blur. In addition to all my anxieties and worries over what to do, I was feeling the wonderful morning sickness symptoms and extreme exhaustion. In these first few weeks I found comfort in Austin and my two best friends Marie and Jacquie and the possibility of a miscarriage. Yes, I wanted a miscarriage. I would be lying if I said I didn't....

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Schlossplatz - Stuttgart, Germany

You're probably wondering why I titled this post Stuttgart. How does that have anything to do with Grace and my story?! It has EVERYTHING to do with it. This part of my story may be my single most favorite story to tell. I get goosebumps every single time I share it, I have goosebumps now! It happened in mid-April. (Grace was about 2 weeks old) I was over at Liz and Eric's for our traditional Sunday night dinner. (We started this Sunday night tradition before Grace was born and when we couldn't bear the thought of not seeing each other after she was born, we decided to keep the tradition going). I had recently received the invite to go to Stuttgart, Germany and was filling Eric and Liz in on the exciting details and asking them if I should go or not. Liz used to travel for work, A LOT. So she is telling me that I HAVE to go. She said she was in Stuttgart last July and absolutely loved it, she said it was her favorite place out of all the places she has visited. Then she told me that she was sitting at a cafe in the Schlossplatz one morning enjoying some coffee and in the distance she could hear church bells ringing. She said at that moment she just broke down crying to God, asking him if they were ever going to have a baby, why didn't He want them to have a baby, why wouldn't anybody pick them....and so on... She told me she didn't know why she had a moment right at that time in the middle of the Schlossplatz in Stuttgart, Germany, but she just felt something and sought God over it. I looked at her and I said, "Liz, when were you in Germany?" She said, "Mid-July." At this point my heart is skipping a couple beats and I said, "what days?" She said, "the morning I had that moment was July 11." My heart about beat out of my chest and my jaw dropped to the floor. I looked at her and said, "Liz, that's the day! That's when Grace's little life began." We just looked at each other and started crying. I'm crying right now as I type it. Everything for a reason....

It was no coincidence that Liz was 6,000 miles away having a moment at the same time Grace's life was beginning. The time difference, being 9 hours, makes it within hours, if not minutes of the exact same time. Moments like this fill my heart with joy. Nothing about this situation was an accident, NOTHING. God works in beautiful ways. He fits every piece together perfectly, even when we are completely unaware of it.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Grace Lindsay

18 weeks gestation

10 days

8 Weeks

I couldn't resist chronicling a couple photos. Thank you for all the support and love I have received thus far. I look forward to continuing to share my journey with you.


One year ago today, June 7, 2010, if you would have told me what the next year of my life was going to look like, I would've thought you were the craziest person on the face of the planet. Nothing could've prepared me for what was ahead of me...just as nothing could make me want to go back and change any of it. The result has been the absolute best thing that anybody could ask for.

Meet Eric and Elizabeth (Liz). Through a series of events, these two people came into my life and have forever changed a very good way. I met Eric and Liz on January 6, 2011. On January 11, they found out that their lives would never be the same again. As it turns out, neither would mine. On that day we became a family. None of us, or anyone around us, had any idea what that would come to mean or even how it all made sense, but slowly it began to make sense to the three of us, absolute perfect sense. And looking back we wouldn't have it any other way.

Now meet the three people in the picture: Eric, Elizabeth, and the bundle of joy that forever changed their lives, Grace Lindsay. See on July 31 I found out I was pregnant, on January 11 I told Liz and Eric that they would finally have the one thing that they had been praying for throughout their 12 years of marriage: a baby. And on March 30, 2011 at 12:36pm that dream became a reality when little Grace Lindsay arrived weighing in at 7lbs 3oz and 20in long. I chose to give Grace up for adoption to Liz and Eric.

That is a lot to throw out there, I know. 10 weeks, well really about 50 weeks has gone by now and I feel that is important to stop hiding. It has been a long journey, definitely very hard, but also very rewarding. I spent a great deal of time feeling ashamed and I have hit the point where I am done feeling that way. I have nothing to be ashamed of. I did what I knew in my heart was right. I have not one single regret.

I believe that God put me through all of this for a reason. I'm still trying to figure out how he wants me to use this experience, but I believe sharing it is the beginning. Over time I will take you through more of the details of the story, why I made the decision that I made, the tough parts of it, and the good parts. Ultimately I hope the others are encouraged, I hope that maybe even one person in my shoes reads this and is comforted in knowing that they are not alone. Sharing emotions and feelings is most definitely not something I was gifted with doing. I prefer logical, straight-forward facts. However nothing about this story is necessarily logical. It is smothered with emotions and feelings. I have had to learn to get in touch with that side of myself through this experience. I am still learning...even as I type this right now I am tempted to delete it all and instead write about the person I just saw outside of my house driving the wrong way on a one-way. Retarded Co-Op shoppers... See my point? On a more serious note: telling my story is another way for me to learn how to experience more emotion. So bear with me if it doesn't always make sense or if it comes in more pieces than a Big Ben jigsaw puzzle.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Beautiful Life

Sunday afternoon was spent soaking up the sunshine and beauty of the outdoors. Austin and I spent the day doing some yard work, ok so I mainly just tagged along and provided the beer whenever we ran out, but either way. It was the first day that the weather actually felt like June instead of dreary March and I was loving every minute of it. I think I was most in awe of how the whole place was teeming with life! Stella and Diesel LOVING playing in the lake and running around, Lucy loving being lazy, a Robin tending to her eggs in a nest, geese and ducks swimming in the lake with their new babies in tow. And we even saw bunnies, not more than a day old, their eyes still covered by skin and unable to be opened. Diesel the nanny dog, who I have to add is a 200-lb English Mastiff, was gently pulling them from their little nest and carrying them over to the grass to nurture them. It was probably the most precious thing I have ever seen.

Life was everywhere and in every stage. It reminded me that life is beautiful, it is priceless and it has immeasurable value at each and every stage. My story is a story of life and Grace, God's Grace.

Stay tuned...

French Attempt

Yesterday morning I made my first attempt at cooking French-style: Use whatever you have in your kitchen to make a delicious meal. The result...SUCCESS. Simple, yet oh so yummy.

Eggs over-easy, sauteed veggies, rosemary olive oil toast and smoked salmon.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Heim des eines Litersbiers

("Work will set you free")

Day 6

München!!! 9am and we are off for the 2-hour car ride to the fabulous city! Word to the wise: if you are not a confident driver and have never experienced Bay Area driving, please do not attempt to drive on the autobahn and PLEASE do not attempt to think you can get away with the high speeds that the Germans can handle. I will say that I honestly did not think I was going to make it to see München. I believe we had a total of 6 near collisions, one which even resulted in us skidding. We passed a student driver and through the window I was pleading with her to let me ride in her car. Of course my English jibberish means nothing to her. And if skidding wasn't scary enough our very unexperienced driver thought it was be cool to drive 160-180 kph. I put the brakes on that one REAL quick. It really wasn't in my plans to leave Stella motherless.
We finally arrived, in one piece, to the Dachau Concentration Camp. If I remember correctly, this was one of the first concentrations camps to be established. It started out as a prison for lawbreakers and rebels of the political cause. It would later become jam-packed with somewhere around 50-60,000 people, many of them Jewish. As I walk around I can't help but try to fathom what it must have been like there some 70 or so years ago. This quiet memorial place was once bustling with noise, pain, and suffering. It's a really moving experience and if anybody ever gets the chance to visit a concentration camp I would encourage you to do so. It is difficult to put into words all the emotions you experience as you walk through every different part of the camp.
The next destination: München! First things first we have to check out the Hofbräuhaus, München's most famous pub. We order a bier and little did we know we were at die Heim des eines Litersbiers! Holy cow! An entire litre of bier, for me?! Somebody was reading my mind. I finished the whole thing! Next we were off to see city hall, gorgeous and an amazing church...then home we go! Short day in München, definitely no where near enough time to see everything. Guess that means I will have to be going back!
We end our amazing day with a night out in downtown Stuttgart with our new friends Naomi and Michael and we manage to add a German and a guy from the Netherlands to our posse. Perfect ending to a perfect day.

Nächster Halt...

(The Plan)
Day 5

Nächster Halt...this may be the one phrase in German I know and clearly understand. Spend any time on the subways and trains and you will get it. The key is to know when you need to take the Nächster Halt. By this day, Cindy and I are pros on the train. So a trip to Hohenzollern shouldn't be too difficult. WRONG. See you when buy a group ticket for the cheaper price they don't give you the exact schedule with all the stops you have to make and if you don't understand the list of stops for the train, which we didn't, then chances are you'll be riding the train for a good two hours before you realize you really should've been there by now. So we turn around to head back but the bus that takes you to the castle only makes two stops a day, we missed both... So we paid 15 euros to ride the train for a total of four hours without even a glimpse of a castle. THE END.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

To The Black Forest We Go!

Day 4

Black Forest here we come! We plan to make our way down to Freiburg and Lake Titisee and do some hiking with our new friends: Naomi the Irish girl, Mike the English dude, and Jonas the Swede. I vote we leave by 8-9am, which is met by some serious resistance. Europeans are die hard about two things: their sleep and their laziness. I am die hard about two things: my morning coffee and making the most of every minute of my day. Typical American, yes, I know. We agree to meet at 11am to make the noon train. I’d researched it online…piece of cake: We buy a ticket for 30 euros that covers up to five people and we will be at the Black Forest by 2pm. It was more like my delicious blueberry tartlettes than a piece of cake: time-consuming and more difficult, but totally worth it. This is the first time I’ve used the train. Citywide we use the subway. How was I supposed to know that there are about 6-8 different kinds of trains?! More importantly, WHY do they need so many different trains? The schedule said to get on board the ICE train. I’m thinking sweet deal; 30 euros and I get snacks, bier and a comfy seat with a table. Well when the lady comes to check tickets she tells us that we didn’t buy a ticket for the train we are on, it’s 97 euros (per person) to ride this one. Ahhhh….well shoot. Nothing we can do now we’ve already left. Thankfully Mike and Jonas know German and have a sparkling charm to woo the lady into not charging us with the promise that we will switch trains at the next stop. So much for 2pm, it’s almost 5pm by the time we get there. Still plenty of daylight left! Wo ist die bier?! Let’s get this day started! Lake Titisee is absolutely gorgeous, deep blue, and nestled in the thick dark green forest. They have boats you can rent to take around the lake. I, being the American that I am, vote for the paddle boat or the row boat, obvi. The European lads: motor boat. Why would you do work when you can let the boat do it for you? Yet again I am outvoted and motor boat it is. Now I’m not sure what we were expecting, maybe we thought we would James Bond it out there on the lake in our speed boat. Well, we thought wrong. Let’s just say we would be moving at least two times faster had we gone with the paddle boat. While riding against the wind it would easily be four times faster in a paddle boat. Wo ist die bier? Next adventure: hiking around the lake. There's supposed to be a trail... Germans are smart. They strategically place bier joints along the path so that just when you are finishing one bier you are walking up to another bier joint and can refill. BRILLIANT. Yet another reason why I love Germans. The path turns into a road that is quite a ways from the lake. I am convinced that our trail should be following much closer to the lake. That's the way we do trails in America. So I lead us back to the lake and we inevitably make our own trail. Halfway through soggy ground, sticks, climbing fences and rocks Jonas informs us that his Prada shoes and Hugo Boss jeans are getting ruined. Dude, you wearing Prada shoes?! I told you we were going hiking today! He thought I meant we were just going for a walk. Clearly he does not know that when I say hiking, I mean cutting our own trail through the forest. We finally make it back to town and catch a train back to only takes a good five hours to make the normally 2-hour journey. Some guy thought it would be cool to attempt suicide on the train tracks, forcing our train to stop for a good 45 minutes and wait for the politzei to find him and talk him out of his plan. We get home at 2:30am, nervous to put the key in the door for fear of a repeat from a couple nights ago. Key in, door opened, SILENCE. Hallelujah.

Wo Ist Die Weinmanufaktur?

Day 3

Monday morning. New rule in the hotel room: Please do not call family in America again and please do not have an all out panic attack because we are not home by midnight. If you wake up in the morning and we are not there, THEN you can start worrying. Deal. Now, back to vacay! Time to get the awesome week started! We get a late start, blame it on the jet lag and decide to check out some wine tasting. The rail system isn’t all that difficult to figure out and we were quite proud of our ability to make it there without missing a stop. Finding the winery would be a whole other adventure. The map said it was a mere five-minute walk from the bahnhof. One hour later we were still searching. We decide to ask somebody. Between our broken, ok nonexistent, German and his broken English we think we might actually make it there. Five minutes later we are there! Wine tasting works a little differently over here in Germany. It’s free and you pour it yourself. As many wines as you want to taste and as much as you want. EXCELLENT. Why don’t they adopt this brilliant idea in Napa and Sonoma? Maybe the same reason why America doesn’t adopt the idea of beer-drinking at all hours and all places. We would take it to the extreme, as Americans often do. The land of the free doesn’t behave well when set too free. We purchase wine, only 6 euros a bottle. Why can’t Napa adopt the low-cost mentality too?! By the time we leave the winery it’s late afternoon and time to head back to the hotel, we told Tony we’d be there. Dinner is at Schönbuch, it’s a brewery, of course. That’s the thing in Germany: every place brews it’s own bier, serves pretty much only their own bier, and any bier you drink is served in a glass labeled with the bier. I did not drink one bier in a glass labeled with another bier and I never had the same bier twice, which puts me at something near a total of trying thirty different biers throughout the trip. In fulfilling my goal of branching out and trying all new foods on this vacay, I select 2 Bavarian sausages with a pretzel. The pretzel was mouth-watering, the Bavarian sausage was not so bearable. Oh and apparently it’s necessary to remove the thin casing before eating it. Stupid Americans. My first taste of Apfelstrudel (German heaven on earth) and I am ready to call it a night!

Dad, I didn't know you were going to be in Germany with me?!

Day 2:

I set my alarm for 5am. Setting an alarm for Germany time when you’re clock is still on Mountain Standard time isn’t very helpful. Not only was I not going to wake up to an alarm set for 5am German time, my American phone was going to wake me up at 6am...Boise time. Not so fun when you’re focused on sleeping as much as possible to recover from extreme jet lag. I still can’t figure out what day it is or what time it is. I awake to Cindy telling me it was time to wake up and get ready for the day in Switzerland. At least someone had a working phone. I am going to have a chat with ATT when I get back to the states. By 6:30 am we were on our way to the Army base where we would get on a bus and make the 2-hour trip to Rhein Falls, the largest waterfall in Europe. Not tallest, largest…whatever that means. Switzerland is absolutely gorgeous. I quickly become obsessed with the architecture. It is unlike anything in the states. The plan was to take a boat ride over to the base of the falls and climb a rock (that has stairs) to the top for a picturesque view. We missed the boat because we HAD to stop by the souvenir shop, such typical tourists. Thankfully we had the coolest guide ever and, upon realizing we were missing, came back to get us. Jiri is his name and he was the cutest old German man. He had the best accent and placement of English words. I wish I could speak his broken English with his accent. I love it. We decided it would be a good idea to sit on a bench right by the bus so we would not be late or lose our bus and be stuck in Switzerland. Well somehow we got distracted by picture taking, as tourists often do and we caught the bus as its doors were closing. WHEW. How do you miss something sitting right in front of you? Thankfully Jiri is an expert tour guide and would never have left without taking a double and triple head count. After the waterfall we headed for Stein am Rhein/Schaffhausen, the most picturesque town I have ever seen. Narrow, cobblestone streets with old buildings side by side and murals painted on them. We enjoyed lunch at a creperie, with Swiss-brewed beer of course. Our German waiter was so nice, beautiful accent, I'm pretty sure if he would've asked me to marry him I would not have hesitated to say YES! I love Germans…I just really do. Lord please let me marry one. We walked, we shopped and then headed for Schloss Arenenberg and Lake Konstanz. Arenenberg is called a castle, but it is more like a mansion set atop a hill overlooking the lake and a vineyard. The views were breathtaking. Like everything else in Switzerland…picturesque. The Swiss have beautiful, bright flowers everywhere. They put them in flower boxes on the buildings, urns in the yards, on the pathways, planted in the ground, etc. Everything has flowers. After walking around and touring the mansion we make the two hour bus ride back to Stuttgart and have dinner at a German restaurant, where I tried bratz and schnitzel. Bratz has a different taste, not my favorite but I liked it. Schnitzel is delish. Tony takes us to the pub inside the hotel, The Dubliner. Best decision of the entire trip. The guy sitting next to me strikes up a conversation. Turns out his name is Jonas, he is from Sweden and a pilot for a Turkish airline so he is staying in Stuttgart and making a couple flights between Stuttgart and Turkey. Tony has to wake up early for work so he heads back to the hotel and Cindy makes friends with the bartender, Mike, the Englishman. The pub closes and our new friend Mike invites us to join him and Naomi, the Irish girl for a bier at the gas station across the street. We load up on 40’s and sit outside a walk up burger joint until about 3 am. Jonas spends the entire time trying to get me to correctly pronounce Hauptbahnhof. I think I got it, at least until tomorrow. Two 40’s of 5% alcohol bier later we make our way back to the hotel put the key in door and before we can unlock it we are greeted by a panic-stricken, rage-filled Tony. Dad…I didn’t know you came to Germany with me?! He yells at Cindy to go talk to her sister. SISTER?! YOU CALLED MY SISTER?! Yes, it is true. 15 times he called until she would answer her phone. He called family in America to say that Cindy and her friend Lindsay were missing in Germany. Thankfully Cindy’s sister is smart and knows Cindy well enough to know that she wasn’t missing, just hanging out. Her sister was able to calm down Tearful Tony and the embassy was not called that night. RELIEF. Had we arrived 5 minutes later I am confident that we would have four panicked parents on the next flight out to Germany. This event would set the tone for the rest of our time spent with Tony. It only gets better…

Trinken Sie Mit Mir!

I have not forgotten about my story, I will definitely get to it very shortly, but just having spent 11 wonderful days in Germany I feel inspired to share my memories of a country and a lifestyle that I love and dream of living in. I was there from May 20-31. I visited parts of Southern/Southwest Germany, Switzerland, and Luxembourg.

Day 1:

I arrived in Munich, Germany on Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 8:45am. I made my way through the airport to customs where I received my very first European stamp on my passport. Bucket list to-do, check! I followed the maze to gate G, where I would be boarding my final flight to my destination, Stuttgart. I found a seat at a little café near my gate, purchased a glass of milk, pulled out my laptop, ate my Lucky Charms and silently rocked out to a little MJ playing on the airport radio. Let’s just stamp AMERICAN on my forehead at this point. It’s 10am and every single person in that café has a bier in their hand. I love Germany already. Naturally, the fact that other people are drinking at 10am gives me the green light to go ahead and have my first taste of German bier. AMAZING. And no, it is not warm. It is not served in the frosty glass the way Americans prefer, but it is by no means warm. But I do believe it really is stronger than American beers and I am grateful that I only had one because my next flight required me to walk down three flights of stairs with my carry-on (weighing a solid 20 lbs) and purse and take a shuttle to our much smaller prop plane where we boarded from the tarmac. I am instantly attracted to this country. I want to know everything about it: the culture, the language, etc. I may have to live here one day. Let’s see if I can still say that after 11 days of traveling.

I have now landed in Stuttgart and couldn’t be more excited…that is until I see everyone’s luggage come through one by one and before I know it I am the only one standing at the baggage carousel and there is no more luggage making its way around. WORST NIGHTMARE EVER, especially when you’re overseas for an 11-day vacay. The guy at Lufthansa believes it never made it out of the states and US Airways claims it was checked in and put on the plane in Philly. All I have to say at this point is somebody better figure it out and quick! I had my wardrobe laid out for each day and this whole relying on rotating between two outfits for each day and night for however many days isn’t going to fly on my most anticipated vacay!

I guess missing luggage = shopping trip. We head downtown to the Schlossplatz. The airline has a reimbursement policy: 100% refund on any underwear and toiletries and 50% refund on any clothes purchased. You better believe I am mailing those receipts in as soon as I land on American soil J My goal is to eat nothing familiar to me on this trip. I will try all sorts of German, Bavarian, and Swabian dishes. My first shot…SUCCESS. I picked maultchausen (ravioli…German-style) It was mouth-watering. Second goal: I will only drink German bier and always a different kind. (ok so I caved and had some Newcastle at the Irish pub, but they don't have any German bier so what else was I supposed to do?) I’m on number my two German bier and completely satisfied with both. Interesting observation: German dishes are clearly not laden with vegetables, unless it’s a salad. Meals are meat and potatoes style and largely portioned. If meat is not your thing, Germany might not be a good vacay spot for you. And the bier does not come in LIGHT. It’s heavy, it’s rich and it’s superb! Surprisingly enough, Germans are not obese. I have not witnessed a large percentage of overweight Germans. Can I have their genes?

Final stop on this first day in Germany. A beach club bar on top of an old parking garage in downtown Stuttgart.'s a beach, covered in sand, lounge chairs, and hammocks. On to my third German bier for the day, Radler. It's a lemonade bier and the only German bier I am not a fan of. As I relax in a lounge chair with my Radler I noticed a wood box made to be a table with the words "Carpe Diem" on it. Oh yes, couldn't be more fitting...Carpe Diem and bier indeed. The stage is set for the rest of the vacay....

You've Lost Your Edge

I recently saw a friend that I have not seen in over two years. Much can change in two people over two years. Individually we feel as though nothing is out of the norm, why would we? We live with ourselves everyday. But sometimes reuniting can introduce us to changes we were previously unaware of. Now, I know I am a completely different person. You don't go through what I have gone through and not change. But he pointed out a crucial aspect of me that he noticed had changed. He told me that I had lost my edgy self. Hmm... see when we had met I was a rather outspoken, opinionated person. I didn't care much about what others thought, I did my own thing. In my mind, I was still that person so I blamed my more reserved, compliant nature on my presence in a foreign country. Then I got to thinking...he was right! For the last year I have been so caught up in my personal endeavors that I have lost touch with that girl. I've been in survival mode, being agreeable to so much for fear that any opposition would break me in my fragile state. Further thinking showed me that while part of me had become afraid to be edgy, the other part of me realized I simply just don't know what I think anymore. They say nursing school will forever change you, I thought that was bogus. Nearing the end I now see, they were right! Nursing school combined with my recent experience HAS changed me and made me look at life in a different light. I am thankful for my friend being honest and pointing this out to me. I needed to hear it I am still my edgy self, I always will be, but I need to be rekindled to a new edge to fit my new life. I say all this to say that I believe that finding my new edge begins with sharing my story. Let the journey begin!

Here goes...

Well I think it is about time that I share my story. A story that many of you probably do not know. If I have failed to share this with you, please forgive me. This story is my life now and will be my life forever. I will incorporate it into other daily and life events. My goal is to hopefully help others. I think I have held this in long enough and if it can make a difference in the life of someone else, then I am willing to risk any and all judgement and criticism. I have come this far and God has been faithful, I believe He will continue to be always and forever. goes....