Encouragement · Family · Parenting

Infertility!(part 1)

I’ll go out on a limb here and bring up the subject of infertility. It’s such a private issue for those couples desperate to conceive their own child and it is seldom discussed in public. But it impacts more people than you can count and runs the gamut from A – C:

A- ‘No hope’   

B- ‘Slim chance’

C- ‘50/50’

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It can really mess with your head.

For some couples, it can lead to pain, heartache, and spending more cash than you ever imagined. It breaks individuals, it breaks relationships and it breaks the bank.

Not to mention how unsexy it is?

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Those of you who have experienced infertility know exactly what I’m talking about. You learned it the hard way.  

So when Ron and I wanted to start a family, it wasn’t quick and easy. When we didn’t conceive after a year of trying, we were baffled.

How could this be? We both worked out daily, we ate healthily and were not overweight, and, unlike some unsuspecting high school girls, we WANTED to get pregnant.

Which is strange in itself because for most of my life, I did not want kids. Maybe my body was getting back at me for saying that.

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Or, do you think it might be God?

dawn

(Part 2 coming…)

#ryanshines#infertility

Encouragement · Faith · Hope · wounded Mother

Is there Light in every darkness?

When I saw Ron without Ryan in his arms, all I could see was a NO written across my heart in indelible ink.

I assume you’re familiar with ‘the big NO,’ right? I’m wondering if you found Light in your own darkness? Or is that too naive?

With time, I began to see a little Light, like a nightlight in the corner. It wasn’t as bright as I wished, but it was Light, and I decided to take what I could get.

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When I began to focus on the Light, instead of the darkness, I saw that the Light began to intensify.

That’s when I learned 2 things:

  1. There is no power in the darkness that can extinguish this little Light of ours.

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      2. And if you look closely, you will find that your Light has a face. In my case, it was      my 2-year-old son, Tyler, who became the human face of God for me.

dawn

If there’s someone you know who needs this, please share.

#ryanshines#lightindarkness

Encouragement · Hope · Parenting · wounded Mother

An Attitude of Gratitude

If I have to choose my favorite of the  ‘7 things I learned from my son,” (previous post) it would be the first one,  “Appreciate Life.” Or, another way to say it is ‘living an attitude of Gratitude.’

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When Ryan died, I came to a real crossroads in my way of understanding life. The first road I traveled was: “the accident as highway robbery.” There was nothing ‘right’ about it. It was wrong, wrong, wrong. Ryan was stolen from us.

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Ryan

 

Quite a few years later, I stumbled onto the second road. It was a whole new way of understanding loss. The fact that we had one day with Ryan was a gift because the truth is we didn’t deserve even a day with Ryan.

You get what I’m saying?  That every day we spent with him was a little miracle for our family. Think about it, we had 2567 days with him.

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How can that be wrong?

To look at something this horrendous thru the lense of gratitude is life-changing. It would have been easier to be cynical (nothing ever really works out the way you want it) but I am not.

Here’s an idea: why don’t you put on your gratitude glasses and look at your life? It can change the way you see the worst of the worst.

I’m living proof.

Dawn

 

Encouragement · wounded healer · wounded Mother

The best day of my life

My dream was not to have children.

Even when I was a little girl, I didn’t play “House.”  I didn’t dream about being somebody’s Mommy. Carrying a baby gets in the way of climbing trees, and my goal was a tree a day. I climbed in the daytime and read under the covers at night.

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I didn’t play with girls and I didn’t chase boys. No dolls, no football, which left me up a tree (literally), but I liked the company I was keeping. I liked being by myself.

So this isn’t going to be the usual story about a girlie-girl raised by her parents. If anybody raised me I raised me.

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The ‘best day of my life’ might have been the day I discovered I liked myself as I was, and that I could do for myself. In other words, I was born a person in my own right. That was one fine day when I figured that out.

Or,

the ‘best day of my life’ might have been when I left home at nineteen, rode the bus to Port Authority in the City of New York. Imagine, a teenager moving to Manhattan and becoming a Playboy bunny.

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By now you’ve noticed that I cannot be categorized, or corraled.

All I knew was that a Playboy bunny wasn’t like any other girl, so I qualified. BTW, if there was a way to set up a bunny reunion tonight, you could go all around the room, asking the other girls about me:

  1. They won’t remember me, or,
  2. I wasn’t like anyone else wearing a tail.

The single ‘best day of my life’ was when my first child was born when I became Ryans Mommy!

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Ryan

 

dawn

(Okay… Next time we meet: “The worst day of my life!”)

Encouragement

One Thing

Remember this dialogue from City Slickers (1991), where Mitch (Billy Crystal) talks to the crusty lunatic cowboy, Curly (Jack Palance)?

Beside a campfire, Mitch sits uncomfortably, with Curly:

Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is?

[holds up one finger]

Curly: This.

Mitch: Your finger?

Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don’t mean &%*@!

Mitch: But, what is the “one thing?”

Curly: [smiles] That’s what *you* have to find out.

This past weekend my mom, my sister Darby and I went to Birmingham’s Sidewalk Film Festival – one of the best in the nation!DJD at farmWe came to promote our film, Our BackPack, but also to support the array of talented people who have put together over 266 films.  When they hit the mother lode, and I believe some of them will, the Press will call them “overnight successes,” or “surprising new finds.”  But I assure you, from one who has worked hard for several years, to produce a TV show and movie, nothing about success happens overnight!

The people at the festival have full-time jobs outside their fields of interest, (gotta eat?!) like Alabama local, George Hardy. That’s Dr. Hardy to you. George, a successful Alexander City dentist, has the lead role in the entertaining and well directed short called Texas Cotton the Movie. When he, along with the other fellow Sidewalk Festival participants, leave home each day,  they park their passion just inside the front door to greet them when they get home each night.  These people have an abundance of talent.  But is talent enough?

Curly was right; “the secret to life is ‘One Thing.’   Stick to that and the rest don’t mean %*&@!”

Putting that one thing ahead of everything else, requires sacrifice!  Lots of midnight oil, lots of thinking, planning, a few little successes, a whole lot of failures and the willingness to tear up your perfect plan A and try to find a new approach to the One Thing.

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Darby, my mom and I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the Sidewalk Film Festival, joining our “comrades in arms,” like George, encouraging them, applauding their efforts and celebrating the little victories.

What is that “One Thing” in your life?  As Curly says with a smile:   “that is what you have to find out.”

Poster Back Style #5Check out our Websites: Ourbackpack.com, Ryanshines.com, Ourboysintheworld.com. and you can catch a preview of our shows on YouTube under ‘dawn hirn.’

Have a great weekend!

Dawn

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Our Backpack

 

Encouragement · Family

The Spiral

SpiralThe image of damage!  Poor Texas. They were hit hard by storms and rain.  Lots of rain.

Catastrophe hit with little warning, unless you consider two hours enough time to evacuate from a flood.  Stories of rising flood levels were staggering.  So is the extensive damage.  But even more staggering, by today’s standards, are the stories of those who reached out to their neighbors to rescue, save, protect, feed, clothe and house those who needed help.

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Take another look at that spiral image, and put yourself inside.  If you placed yourself in any of the outside corners going in, you may get stuck inside the center of your own vortex of problems, and never be of any good to anyone.  Least of all,  yourself!  But, if you begin in the center of confusion starting at the place where you are weakest, and begin your trip outward to help others, the spiral becomes huge.  All encompassing.  There is no limit to what you can do, once you take the focus off your own problems.

God blessed Texas with some wonderful people, who reached out from their own trauma to help save and protect others who were stranded.  Many left their own flooded homes in boats and on rafts to rescue others.

Others have taken strangers into their homes and though they are sharing what food they have in total darkness.  Dry and safe.

Little Texas, performed a song that is so perfect for this trial.  Goes like this:

“God Blessed Texas, With His own hand

Brought down angels from the promised land

Gave ’em a place where they could dance

If you want to see heaven, brother, here’s you chance

I’ve been sent to spread the message

God blessed Texas.”

Each catastrophe is different but the pain can always be lightened when you reach out to help others carry their loads.    We will never forget those, also Texans, who reached out to us when we lost Ryan.  And we look back extremely grateful for the time we spent visiting with the burn survivors and their families at  various children’s burn hospitals on foreign soil.  It’s a privilege to reach out of our own situation to help support and encourage other parents of burn survivors, through our foundation Ryanshines.com.

Remember The Spiral     TUS copy when you are faced with a dilemma greater than you can handle.  Place yourself within the spiral.  Is your focus on the quagmire of the inner circle – or do you start with your own chaos and head out to the edges to help others?

Pisa boysWhen you see a need, lend a hand.  Upward and Outward!

Hirn fam looks outAnd God, Bless Texas!

Dawn

Encouragement · Family travel

The Back Side

“The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.”– Rudyard Kipling

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 There are five senses, right?  You know that until you discover neurologists have been able to identify nine senses and some as many as twenty-one!

 

When you watch hi-def TV in glorious 4K, head to the cinema or even experience Disney’s 360-degree adventures, you only get to use two of your senses:  sight and sound.  Somebody out there may have already discovered using the sense of smell, but at best you will get an artificial ‘Febreeze-style odor.’ So in essence, unless you travel you are getting ‘fake travel, fake sounds and perhaps one day fake smells.’

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Or you can slip your passport in your pocket and order a batch of the authentic, like we did.   Is it easy?  Lost luggage, passports, backpacks, kids, rain, snow, storms, messed up schedules, tummy aches . . . . . of course it’s not easy.    No adventure is!  Is it worth it?  Yes.  YES!!!

Thanks to the wonders of smart  phones, it’s easy to document your journey.  But never overlook the importance of shooting from the backside.

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The back side is where you see your son or daughter pondering the sights you are seeing.  Be quiet.  You can almost hear their little mind-motors humming, as they silently reflect on something they read about before. Don’t interrupt them.  They are developing the questions they are going to pound you with at the before bedtime nightly ‘Discovery/Question/Answer Session” with mom and dad.

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Shots from the front of your kids show the viewer how cute your kids are, or how funny they smiled.  They leave the “happy family taste’ in everyone’s mouth – which as you know, is only 1/3 of the story.

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Before you know it you will be able to tell others:  “There are more than five senses, folks.  I used at least nine of them when I traveled with my family!”

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Take the trip.  And remember, there is always more of a story from The Back Side!

Dawn