Bonding While Waiting

Fifteen years ago, I found myself living at my mother’s house. WAITING. I was 23 years old and going through a divorce. I was waiting to give birth to my twin girls. I had left my ex-husband in my first trimester after I found out he was cheating. My baby girls, Brooklyn and Madalyn, were two very active babies growing fast in my belly. I had spent several weeks on bedrest at the hospital. The bill was over $54,000.00 dollars when the doctor discharged me home (to my mom’s house) to continue on bedrest.

$54,000.00 dollars in hospital bills

My normal doctor appointment, a few weeks later, proved the progress of the twins looked good. The doctor ordered me to continue on bedrest at my mom’s house. Therefore, the baby shower planning started. There was hope.

The twins and I had made it past the 28-week mark which meant survival in the twin world. I was 31 weeks along and my belly was in full bloom, so was my bum and my double chin. I was healthy and so were the twins. So, I waited….and waiting bonds us. Waiting for glue to dry bonds two objects together much like waiting for our babies to grow in our bellies bonds us to them.

While I waited, I nested, as much as one can nest while on bedrest. Their clothing was washed, and their things were well organized. But three days after my baby shower, three days after I washed all their outfits, three days after I put together the twin stroller, and three days after their crib bedding was placed, the waiting was over. I found myself in the emergency room because of cramping. I was wheeled gently to the mother-baby floor where a cold heart monitor was placed on my belly to check on Brooklyn and Madalyn.

The nurses could not find either of their heartbeats. The pace picked up. I became the emergency that night. The ultrasound was wheeled into the room and placed on my belly. All I could see on the monitor was my lifeless babies. The nurses ran around frantically trying to find a doctor to help.. A doctor I never met came in and said, “I am so sorry they are both gone.” I gave natural birth to my two still born babies that night.

My babies had died April 12, 2006. The nurses took pictures while I sat there trying to keep my head up, and while I was trying to see my babies for the first time and the last time through watery eyes.

I had hit rock bottom. The tragedy left me in total confusion, complete mayhem.

Jules Lundberg

Is there an event in your life that left you in total confusion, complete mayhem?  A tragedy that has crippled your heart and left you angry? A moment that when you think about it makes you sad, lonely, or scared? Have you ever hit rock bottom?

If so, I understand. My life became a spiraling unhealthy lifestyle of binge-drinking, negative self-talk, and tearing others down.

For many years after the loss of my twins, I lived a life of deep sorrow. I did not know how to get myself out of the sadness and pain I experienced.

But God did. And now fifteen years later God has shown me the part of His story that I never imagined. Through the grieving process, I learned how to use exercise as a stress relief instead of smoking and drinking. And if that ain’t a miracle, I got to quit my job to be a stay-at-home momma, I am writing a book, and I am in graduate school to become a counselor. God keeps showing up!

Christmas Eve 2014.

The Christmas I became a teetotaler.

God has used my passion to write, speak, and counsel. On my twins’ birthday almost every year for the past 6 years, I get to tell their story. On Monday, April 12, 2021, I will be speaking to the women at Sojourn in Springfield IL about a Survivor’s Guide to Self-Care and Coping Skills. Tragic events threaten to bring us down, but we are Survivors. I have used my story of trauma, shame, and tragedy to bring hope to others; and my hope is that through telling my story once more time that I have brought you hope. If you have ever been through a tragic event, you are not alone.

I am rooting for you!!

Madalyn and Brooklyn 2006 St John’s Hospital

If my story has ever brought you hope, please comment below.

Ask for Forgiveness, Turn Away from Old Ways, and Remember Children are Watching Us!

When we ask for forgiveness we must repent which means to turn away from the very thing we are sorry for… When we feel sorry for something we have done, we should continue to turn away from it until it is no longer a part of our lives. This takes time, but eventually we will find ourselves doing the things we do not like to do less; and one day, when we least expect it, we will wake up a little more mature.

Asking for forgiveness is mature, but what happens when we are waiting for a true “I am sorry” from someone who has wronged us?  Well, the answer is I don’t know!! But I write this blog to remind ourselves of one IMPORTANT truth…

Children are Watching Us!

Jules

Everything we do and everything we say, the next generation of children are listening and watching. They become us. My children are adopted and the things they do and say ARE ME! They are little sarcastic communicators with a slice of humor. Sometimes they run from the things that are me… like yelling. My son who recently turned 18 on March 14th told me that he really cannot focus when I yell at him; therefore, I have tried so hard to yell less. To repent and turn away from yelling is hard and to ask for forgiveness when I do yell is harder.

Although our kids learn so much from us, we cannot take any glory for who they become. They are going to become who they are meant to be. They learn from us, yes, but they have choices too. We need to be mindful of what we are teaching them in the everyday moments. We are all so afraid of Big Brother, Alexa, or our iPhone listening to us or watching us, but are we afraid of the next generation of children listening to and watching everything we do?

We are the people who go before us. We spend our lives mimicking the older generation, but sometimes we spend our lives running so far away from everything that was our upbringing. What are your children doing? Are they mimicking you or running from everything that is you?

Last night my son called me at 11:18 at night when I was dead asleep.  “Hey mom you sleeping?” he said. “Ya, honey. What’s up?” I said.. “Ummm, well my friend is having a really hard time…” he said as I assumed he was going to ask to stay out later. Then I remembered I had already told him that he could stay overnight with his friend; therefore, I said “Ohh…tell me more…” He said, “Mom can you talk to him? He needs some advice…”

THEY ARE WATCHING US, listening to us, and hearing us EVEN if we do not believe it. 

Are we showing our children how to connect or disconnect from us, friends, and the world? Are we showing them that they are always right and never needing forgiveness? Are we showing them how to ask for forgiveness and how to forgive?

Forgiveness does not happen one time. It happens over and over again while we are in relationship with each other. Forgiveness does not happen while we are mindlessly saying, “I’m sorry I offended you!” Forgiveness happens when we are truly sorry for hurting others and truly turn away from our old ways.

Unusual, but Truthful. Today is Tuesday.

This week’s Tuesday Truth is about relationship communication. Well, shit. I sit here in front of my computer (this was on Sunday) not communicating anything but nonverbal communication to my husband. According to Doyle (2020) over 65% of communication is nonverbal. Non-verbal communication is like talking in a foreign language to a lot of people. For me, non-verbal communication is my first language. When someone is responding to me non-verbally especially when they are hurt, I try so hard to attend to them, but my husband does not.

Brian and I have been together for 15 years March 17th and him and I have had very few arguments over the course of 15 years. But, of course, this week, the week I am supposed to share with all of you about relationship communication, I sit here NOT SPEAKING TO HIM.

Today (Sunday the day I wrote this blog) I have no words for him. This is rare. I called a friend to complain about my husband. This is also rare. Now, the only advice I have to give you is to find some friends who will not judge you for these relationship communication mishaps and share your struggles.

Believe it! We all go through struggles no matter how good things are, we struggle.

Jules

When we struggle, what usually happens is that Brian and I both shrug our shoulders to our communication mishap and say “I am sorry” which concludes with forgiving each other instantly much too often. I am not saying this is wrong, but when we are in a relationship that shows grace after grace after grace we can come to a spot in our relationships where things build up. When this happens, we must remember that things are not going to be ruined if we talk to a trusted friend about the hardships in our relationships.

Although I felt completely vulnerable since my friend knew on Sunday that me and my husband were currently not seeing eye to eye, I now know that Brian and I’s relationship is not going to wither into pieces just because there were some things that we needed to talk about. In fact, Brian’s and I’s relationship is stronger because of this communication failure, because I reached out to a trusted friend, and because I actually took the advice she provided.

Jules and Brian at her sisters wedding

She advised me to make a list of what I wanted to say to him. I did not want to talk to him, but I listened to her. If your relationship has a foundation of love, kindness, acceptance, and grace and there comes a time to talk about the things that hurt within the relationship, it feels gross. Like, dang, our relationship is good, why am I struggling at this moment? But what would be more worrisome is if mine and Brian’s relationship was unable to withstand the fiery furnace of calling each other out. This is how we grow and growing is painful.

Tuesday Challenge:

I was going to get on here this week and talk about Emmerson Eggerichs Love and Respect book and all the wonderful things I learned about relationship communication from this book. Above is the hyperlink check it out.

But, today, I decided you needed to hear the raw of a good relationship. A relationship I have with a man who adores me and whom I adore. I thought you needed to hear the real of a relationship communication mishap that did not tear us apart. I thought maybe you needed to hear about the broken yet beautiful side of relationship communication.

Sunday, when I wrote this, I challenged myself to make bullet points (advice from that trusted friend) to communicate with my husband about all the hurts I was feeling. When it came down to talk time, we had a civil conversation and got some things accomplished. Today, our relationship is back to normal and GUESS WHAT? It is probably stronger. When we are open and honest relationships become stronger. For this, I am proud of us. I now challenge you to make some bullet points the next time you feel unheard. I challenge you to not just keep it in. That shit ruins your relationships.

This message is endorsed by Jules Lundberg. I am not a licensed therapist, but I am being trained to become one. These are all my idea and thoughts and the articles within are given to you as another perspective.

Self Care and Coping Skills: Which is which and does it matter?

Sometimes we mistake self-care with our coping skills. According to Morin (2020) coping skills help us tolerate, minimize, and deal with stressful situations in life. We need coping skills, but we also need self care. Self-care is proactive and coping skills is reactive. The link above gives us a list of healthy versus unhealthy coping skills. Coping skills is something we do automatically when we respond to stressful moments (or perceived stressful moments). They become something we do without thinking. Our. coping skills move to the top of the list during stressful times

Self-care is the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health (google dictionary, 2020). Self care is simply the practice of taking an active role in protecting our well-being. Self care is a healthy active practice. We all need self-care in these stressful pandemic times, but we run to our coping skills instead because we cope without thought. Self care gets pushed to the bottom of the list during stressful times

In order to understand the difference between self-care and coping skills, we must ask ourselves: What are the reasons I am doing what I do? Sometimes I clean my house to cope and this can be a healthy coping skill, as long as I don’t assume others need a clean house to cope as well. Sometimes I clean my house because it helps me implement self care later in the week.

The beauty of life is that each and everyone of us get to choose what we will do for self care.

Jules Lundberg

I no longer clean my house for self care because I have found other things I like to do like blogging, running, exercising, eating a delicious meal with my husband, having a deep conversation on the phone with one of the many inspirational women in my life, taking my dog for a walk, sitting on the back porch, enjoying a cup of coffee. Being mindful in being proactive to choose self care before the automatic unhealthy coping skills take over is so hard.

Jules blogging for self care

Lundberg Tuesday Challenge: Write a list of your coping skills. You can use the hyperlink to get ideas of healthy vs unhealthy coping skills. Then use that list to mindfully write down a few things already do or could do for self care. Remember we do not want to use our coping skills for self care.

Move the self care items to the top of of the list, the healthy coping skills next, and the unhealthy coping skills to the bottom of the list. Then, when our unhealthy coping skills become automatic we will have a list to help us until we become mindful to practice self care.

This message is endorsed by Jules Lundberg. I am not a licensed therapist, but one day by the grace of God I will be. These are my ideas and thoughts and they are subject to change.

Tuesday Truths Column

I am hoping to find some time to rebuild this blog site starting with a Tuesday Truth column.

Drop a comment about what you would like to hear me talk about. My everyday lifestyle of raising 5 boys, the last 8 years, the 4 most memorable Aprils, the next 11 years, raising 5 boys during a pandemic while in grad school, my journey to finding myself, an airplane ride home from Vegas, mental health, a dog named Frank, my everyday emotions in the here and now, white privilege and my acculturation process in the African American community, communication styles and techniques, therapeutic writing and journaling, in Heaven’s Rocking Chair devotional, friends who are my key to success, my loud obnoxious German- Catholic upbringing, sisterhood, motherhood, grief grief and more grief, love and laughter, my awesome husband, my anxiety, or how I stay sane through it all.

Tell me what you would like to hear, follow my blog, and stay tuned.

In Heaven’s Rocking Chair

Lord why is their death in our dreams?  The kind of death that makes our mascara run and heart ache so deep?  Why is death so painful?

Lord rock me as I figure out my new dreams that look a lot like my old dreams.

My old dream died, why are these new dreams resembling and bringing back memories of pain.

Just like the reality of my children dying that had me never wanting children.  Dead dreams.

And the existence of these dead dreams had me never wanting to dream again.

Lord hold me, dead dreams are stealing my joy.

So many questions of why?

So many questions as to why you choose me to walk the path that I have walked.

Why have my children died?  Why have my dreams died?

Why after death is their restoration of a completely new life? What if I wanted my old life?

Why do I have 9 children now after I lost 2?  Why do you restore a hundredfold? (Matthew 19:29 ESV).

I thought the Bible said you restored tenfold, so I looked it up and You say that you restore a hundredfold.  I thought my restoration was done, but apparently you have other plans.

“Notmylifeanymore” I murmur under my breath.  Why do you take things from me?  It reminds me of my white board of the things that my children are grounded from until twenty-four hours later. 

I need to be childlike and take back what you are giving me with complete confidence knowing it is mine.  Like this counseling degree…

Daddy God, you took this dream away.  Why do I find myself applying for my master’s in psychology when you clearly called me away from that dream to foster children and become a stay a home momma?

Why do old dreams come back around to remind us of the pain of walking through death?

Rock me as I curl up in your arms and verbally process all of this.  Let me grieve as you reprieve me from what I deserve.  I do not deserve this opportunity.  

I was confident about being a mother until you took my babies away.

I was confident about being a counselor until you took my dream away.

I was mad at you for a long time.

Why do you take away then give back?

You are the true representation of what a parent is.  I have no other choice then to crawl up in your lap and rely on you, what about those children who have no parents to rely on?

Help me to love my kids like you love me.

Remind me that no matter how old they are, they can snuggle in my rocking chair and share their dreams with me as I help them to look to you as you unfold their lives, but more importantly their little hearts’ dreams.

Father brush my hair off my face as you use every annoyance I ever had.  Remind me that the opposite of annoyance is joy.  Joy in the opposite of annoyance.

Help me to be joyful and not annoyed with you, with my husband, with my kids, and with my family and friends.

Lord I am going to get down from you lap now un-annoyed, unafraid, and un-offended as I step into a dream that has been hidden in my heart for many years.