Posts tagged ‘Blog Nosh Magazine’

2

Ours

Birth and Adoption Blog Nosh Magazine{by Heather from The Extraordinary Ordinary}

I can’t. That’s what I thought.

I can’t.

We pulled in the driveway over four years ago, me in the back seat with this new foreign person, aching in every way. And I thought those words. I thought, I can’t.

I asked Ryan to take the baby in without me, to introduce him to the dog without the excitement of me, the dog’s everything, in the picture. So I stood outside and shivered in the heat, looking around at everything being different than it had been just a few days before, all overly bright and textured from the pain pills. Standing there in my suddenly roomy maternity shirt, I shivered. Empty.

Ryan came out and said everything was going fine. The dog sniffed the baby and the baby slept. There were no big events as I had imagined.

I walked up the steps, not quickly because of the surgery, and passed through the door. I looked down at the sleeping child in the car seat. Our child. My child. In our house. My house.

I walked slow circles in our tiny living room, trying to figure out what to do. My mom and my husband said that I should take a nap, but I don’t do naps. I just nodded and repeated over and over that they should get me if the baby needed to eat, and I disappeared into our room, knowing I wouldn’t be able to sleep. I sat down, frozen and staring, thinking and thinking.

The baby, I thought.

Our baby.

My baby.

Our life.

My life.

Different. Changed.

It was all new and foreign and big and too much. What was ours and mine and we and us was over and done and final and past.

There was a new ours and a new us that I didn’t yet know and so it scared me.

I sat on the bed and shook with fear and tears like never before. Until I was empty. And then I called for him, my husband. The we from before. I told him the truth. That I was sad and alone and hurting and scared. That this wasn’t anything like the movies or the books and that I was guilty and ashamed for feeling so empty and alone. I told him that I didn’t know what to think of the fact that my life would never ever again ever even once be the same again. That I was grieving that. That I was sorry. Sorry that I didn’t know I would need to do that. Sorry that I wasn’t prepared for it. Sorry that I felt sorry.

Then that tiny boy, that little sleeping guy opened his big blue eyes and asked to eat with screeching sounds. And I loved him deeply despite my shaking and shivering. So I sat for the first time on the bed that was once ours and mine with this new baby on top of that macaroni shaped pillow thing that everyone said I needed to have. I struggled to get him all lined up and open mouthed to eat.

I struggled. And I loved him enough to share something that was mine and ours and now his.

Me.

~~~~~~

Tonight, over four years later, he was pounding on the door on those same steps I walked up slowly when we brought him home. After playing outside with Daddy and his brother and the dog, he was screeching and wanting me. He cried Mama! Mama! until I ran for him and opened the door. I was there like before and I asked him, what sweetie? why the fuss?

Mama, I needed you. My hands are cold.

So I pulled off his mittens and I covered his hands with my own warm ones. Because they are mine and they are his and they are ours.

And I can.

~~~~~~~~~~

This post is linked to Blog Nosh magazine’s HOPE carnival sponsored by Tide’s Loads of Hope, an amazing effort to bring hope to those in distress. The call is to write a post about HOPE and link up for a chance to be featured. This was the inspiration for the above post, as I thought about the times I’ve felt hopeless and discovered hope in the midst of the fog through the beautiful things of grace, such as the blue eyes of my first baby boy.

This post is also linked to Tuesdays Unwrapped at Chatting at the Sky, a chance to write a post about the beauty in everyday moments and experiences.

**
It’s not only Heather’s beautiful writing that makes her likable. It’s also her kindred spirit and honesty that makes you want to know even more about her. A great place to begin getting to know Heather is by subscribing to her blog, The Extraordinary Ordinary. This post, as well as all of her introspective posts about life and motherhood, are true testaments to her powerful writing. This is also Heather’s second time being featured on Blog Nosh Magazine.  Still need more? Follow her on Twitter, she actually replies!

**

Loads of Hope for the Holidays

Share your own stories of hope, along with Blog Nosh Magazine, Velveteen Mind, and a gathering of inspiring bloggers, and enter your own post link in the blog carnival below. Explore featured bloggers as well as three featured posts selected from carnival participants listed in the linky (that could be you!).

Learn more about how you can extend hope to families affected by disasters by visiting http://tideloadsofhope.com

Blog carnival hosted by Blog Nosh Magazine, sponsored by Tide Loads of Hope.

How do the holidays fill you with loads of hope?

1

Running on hope, holding up the world

Overcoming Adversity Blog Nosh Magazine{by Erika from Be Gay About It}

The holiday season serves as a lap marker for me, that pristine line on the track where time is measured and recorded, where, at the end of the race, the ribbon snaps against the heaving torso of the runner, his arms splayed in euphoric victory, holding up the world.

We expect the race to end because that’s what races do.

*****

Five years ago, my brother began to swell. Fluid filled him from the bottom up, an army of ounces colonizing territory after territory in

his feet, his ankles, his calves,

his thighs, his waste, his abdomen, his chest.

Before he entered the hospital the first time, he visited me at my apartment, a sort of willful last act of normalcy and wellness. I remember that we sat on the floor because that was the only place comfortable enough for the sixty pounds of fluid that had inflated his trim, athletic frame. I don’t remember what we talked about that morning, just that we spent the time together.

That was before we knew what was happening. Before I knew the starting gun had fired.

In the weeks that followed, so did the tests and the doctors and the questions until, ultimately, our family lexicon had no choice but to admit cirrhosis, terminal, and transplant into membership. He spent four days in the hospital that first time and all I could do was try to cheer him up. I wheeled around his room in his wheelchair, crashing clownishly into the vinyl visitor chairs and tray table at every pivot. When he slept, I watched him, my eyes squinted in the flannel light of the over-the-sink fluorescent, wondering why he had been drafted for this particular marathon, while I had been spared.

This is my brother’s story and I respect his privacy. I can talk about the facts, like how the specialist projected a transplant five years out from diagnosis. I can talk about the typical progression of cirrhosis, that before the liver fails, the kidneys fail and the risk of heart attack and cancer balloons. I can tell you what any medical textbook will tell you and I can tell you that we wait.

We wait for him to get sick enough to be eligible for a new liver.

We wait for the ribbon to be stretched across the track, while he completes his unchosen race.

Beyond those things, I can talk only about my own feelings of helplessness, guilt, and terror. I try to be rational and optimistic. I believe in the law of attraction and that positive thinking begets health and prosperity. But still, these dark, worried feelings sneak up on me, hooding me from behind and drawing the cord tight around my neck.

This is my little brother, the one whose bunk was below mine. The one who stood on tiptoes to peek over the top-bunk railing that same morning every year whispering ’Santa came!’, and ‘Hurry up!’ and–

DAMMIT!! WHY HIM?!!

I’ve said I would take it from him in a heartbeat, that for all the years he’s protected me, now it’s my turn. I’ve asked, ‘why not me?’

The thing is, I already know.

I know why him and not me, if it had to be either of us. He’s taught me why these past five years.

*****

My little brother has endured more these past five years than I’ve endured in thirty-two. He’s endured footlong needles draining liters from his abdomen. He’s endured CT scans and endoscopies and failing diuretics. He’s endured pain that lays him out, the setting aside of plans, and uncertainty of existential proportions.

He’s endured elements that I would stand no chance of surviving and, still, he keeps running the laps, ticking the line with each pass, never stopping or crumpling to the grass, always hoping that the next line will be the ribbon.

Despite the loitering reaper with his red carpet and engraved invitations, my little brother confounds his doctors. Five years out from diagnosis and he’s not much closer to needing a transplant than he was five years ago. Somehow, its progression has slowed.

Of course the disease within him is real. Of course he struggles through it daily. Of course the slowing of the inevitable feels bittersweet at times.

But none of these things take from him the hope of savoring his first post-op beer, of returning to school, finding a whipsmart, loving wife, or hoisting his future children onto his shoulders at the zoo. My brother breathes hope and refuels on hope.

Whether he feels it’s a choice or not, my brother runs on hope.

*****

This time of year always stirs what’s magical to life. One of our traditions growing up was to set out our favorite stuffed animals so that Santa could make them come alive while he unpacked his sack of treasures under our tree. I remember how excited my brother and I felt knowing that, for one night, Bumble-lion and Basketball Jones would be alive.

It’s the same feeling that stirs in me now, when I’m able to undo the hood enough to see that what my brother embodies is not disease, but health.

The holiday season serves as a lap marker for me, that pristine line that marks not just one more year of my brother’s life, but one more year of his living.

Eventually, the race will end, as all races do. I will be there at the ribbon when the time comes, his relief runner, his cheerleader, his sister, whoever he needs me to be –

raising my arms as he raises his, together, holding up the world.

********************

This post was inspired by the Blog Nosh Magazine blog carnival honoring the Tide Loads of Hope program. When I told Jenn I wanted to write a post about hope, our conversation went like this:

Erika: So, you know the Tide Loads of Hope program?

Jenn: Of course I do.

Erika: What is it then?

Jenn: It’s when you buy the Tide with the whatever color cap and they do somebody’s laundry.

Close enough. The Tide Loads of Hope program is a a mobile laundromat offering laundry services to families affected by disasters. Read more stories of hope and, better yet, share your own story of hope over at BlogNosh.

Oh, and buy a T-shirt while you’re at it! They’re not self-cleaning, but the proceeds go to help people in survival. And because it’s about more than loads of laundry. It’s about hope.

**

Go get better acquainted with Erika from Be Gay About It.  Her blog is an articulate discussion of life, family, politics, and equality.  Erika not only uses her blog to highlight her life, but also to “demystify what it means to be gay (read: YAWN! normal).“  This beautiful essay about her brother can be read here, including the original comments.  As you get to know Erika, you’ll definitely want to subscribe to her blog and follow her on Twitter!

**

Loads of Hope for the Holidays

Share your own stories of hope, along with Blog Nosh Magazine, Velveteen Mind, and a gathering of inspiring bloggers, and enter your own post link in the blog carnival below. Explore featured bloggers as well as three featured posts selected from carnival participants listed in the linky (that could be you!).

Learn more about how you can extend hope to families affected by disasters by visiting http://tideloadsofhope.com

Blog carnival hosted by Blog Nosh Magazine, sponsored by Tide Loads of Hope.

How do the holidays fill you with loads of hope?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
1

When Every Little Bit of Hope is Gone, Move Along…

Personal Blog Nosh Magazine{by Melissa from Rock and Drool}

It was August 1999. I was a 30 year old mommy of two small children. I was the wife of one really screwed up little boy stuck in the body of a 33 year old man. Yet, I was no one. Just an empty shell.

Things looked pretty from the outside. Pretty house. Pretty cars. Pretty kids.

On the inside. It was ugly. I was dead and rotting. I felt lifeless and completely without any hope.

I was teetering on reaching maximum density. I was also precariously balancing my sanity. I was beyond misery and I didn’t want company. I wanted to stab my husband in his sleep. We couldn’t have that though. Because who would raise the kids if the dad was dead and the mom was in jail? The system? Hell to the no. I hated him though. With every fiber of my being.

It was bad. Not in a violent sense. There was just nothing worth saving there. But I wasn’t ready to jump off that high dive.

Until, one afternoon in early August. I snapped awake from a short nap. He was the first thing I saw. I looked at him, sweating on the exercise bike that was in our huge bedroom. And I knew it was finally over. Whatever guilt that had been holding me captive in that house, it had lifted. My fears and my conscience screamed that I was free to go.

And I did.

I grabbed clothes and toys. Enough to keep my 1 1/2 year old and 3 1/2 year old dressed and busy for the next couple of days until I could come back to the house when he wasn’t there. I grabbed some essentials for myself. Loaded the stuff into laundry baskets and placed them in the trunk of my car.

As I was strapping the kids into their car-seats, I explained to them that we were about to go on an adventure. Then I turned to my husband and told him that I was leaving. He stood there. Clueless. Not sure in what context I was using the word “leaving” in.

I climbed into my car and I backed out of that driveway.

I swallowed down my anxiety and directed my focus ahead.

I put my car into drive and moved forward. Taking with me, not only my children and my stuff. But a sense of hope. Something that I hadn’t felt in a long time but was so relieved to know it was still there.

With a head full of anticipation and a heart FULL of hope, I popped in a CD and played my favorite song of the moment, Beautiful by TLC, I told my babies that everything was going to be just fine. I knew it would be. I finally felt it from deep within me. It had been there. Waiting. All along.

And we drove off towards it.

Melissa is a mom and writer, but not necessarily in the order, as it depends on the moment.  She shares her life’s triumphs and struggles on her blog, Rock and Drool.  This powerful post of hope after dark days, can be read in it’s original form with all the supportive comments on her blog.   Follow Melissa on Twitter, she’s always willing to join in the conversation.  You can subscribe to Rock and Drool here.

**

Loads of Hope for the Holidays

Please join us at Blog Nosh Magazine as we share stories of hope this holiday season in support of the Tide Loads of Hope program, a mobile laundromat offering laundry services to families affected by disasters.

Share your own stories of hope, along with Blog Nosh Magazine, Velveteen Mind, and a gathering of inspiring bloggers, and enter your own post link in the blog carnival below.  Explore featured bloggers as well as three featured posts selected from carnival participants listed in the linky (that could be you!).

Lend your voices now, then participate live during a two day event in New Orleans, Sunday and Monday, December 13 and 14, as we tweet stories of resilience from laundry recipients and volunteers on the ground.  Follow along on twitter via #loadsofhope and be sure to follow @TideLoadsofHope.

Learn more about how you can extend hope to families affected by disasters by visiting http://tideloadsofhope.com

Blog carnival hosted by Blog Nosh Magazine, sponsored by Tide Loads of Hope.

How do the holidays fill you with loads of hope?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
0

Hope, full

Personal Blog Nosh Magazine

{By Robin from PENSIEVE}

I’m sure it all started with visions of sugar plums, dancing ’round my head like Coyote’s stars after Road Runner smacks him in the head with a cast iron skillet.

At some point in Christmas Past, these were my illusions of grandeur:

Children (freshly scrubbed, neatly dressed and mannerly) joining my husband (dressed in a crew neck Christmas sweater and slacks) (yes, slacks, that’s kind of important) and me (pearls and a June Cleaver dress, bosoms unnaturally pointed and waist the size of Scarlet O’Hara’s–let’s be realisticafter giving birth to Bonnie Blue) decorating tree and home.  DSC_5651Efficient and precise, my husband, would string the lights as the children tenderly unwrapped each ornament, taking time to recall memories or giver attached to each.  Aussie, head resting on crossed paws in front of a fire’s roar, would gaze sleepily upon our merriment.  I’d stop long enough to serve hot chocolate with mounds of whipped cream and offer home made cookies, each a Martha Stewart masterpiece.  I’d hesitate with intention to capture the moment, wanting to catalog the scene in my heart and mind, not daring to interrupt the feng shui with camera and flash.  There’d be much laughter and story telling, and one of us would eventually find our way to the piano, where we’d all join in a hearty performance of the “12 Days of Christmas”.  They’d always let me sing “Fiiiive…goooolden….riiiiings!” because they know it’s my favorite.

Well, buckets of rain on my delusional Rockwell-esque Christmas parade; the Road Runner must’ve smacked ME upside the head with a skillet! When all is said and done, I’m pretty much the one who does it all.

This year, dripping martyrdom and attitude, I found myself wondering “Is it worth it?“  They’d notice, of course, but would anyone care if I didn’t decorate our home?

I toyed with it.

I dared myself.

I thought “if this isn’t radical Christmas change, I don’t know what is!”

Somewhere between evergreening our mantle and stringing garland on entryway stairs, it occurred to me why I would invest so much time and energy into a holiday tradition.  It’s not tangled in the wrappings of gifts given or received.  And while I so delight in spending time with family and friends…and inhaling the scents and tastes of the Season…I realized my true motive–why I care about serving my family in this menial, thankless, beautiful way–it’s a simple expression to honor a King.

The tradition of Christmas is rooted in the hope
offered by a King who Himself embodies hope…
wh
o not only offers hope, but IS hope.

Last night, I caught the end of “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” in particular Linus’ recitation of Luke 2:8-14, his response to Charlie Brown’s meltdown over questioning the meaning of Christmas.  It ends, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

The holidays are filled with unending hope because of their genesis.

Believers and non-believers alike are moved during the holidays, perhaps more than any other time on the calendar, to consider and act on the behalf of those in need.  They–no, WE–become vessels of hope because of our investment in other people’s lives.

We manifest hope by ringing bells and dropping coins in red kettles…

…by packing shoe boxes full of gifts…

…by sponsoring a child and releasing them from material and spiritual poverty…

…by praying for our friends, those IRL and those online…

…by being generous…always…

and sometimes by washing clothes for someone else.

~~~~~~~~~~~

So…I decorate our home.  A simple offering for my family.  Delusional ideals of what “Christmas” is supposed to look like have been replaced with remembering.  Refocusing.  “Giving” in the best sense.  These decorations are symbols of hope to me, constant reminders to be hope to those who need it most.

I really should thank my family sometime :) .

~~~~~~~~~~

Tide-Loads of Hope

Loads of Hope for the Holidays

Please join us at Blog Nosh Magazine as we share stories of hope this holiday season in support of the Tide Loads of Hope program, a mobile laundromat offering laundry services to families affected by disasters.

Share your own stories of hope, along with Blog Nosh Magazine, Velveteen Mind, and a gathering of inspiring bloggers, and enter your own post link in the blog carnival below.  Visit Blog Nosh Magazine to explore featured bloggers as well as three featured posts selected from carnival participants listed in the linky (that could be you!).

Lend your voices now, then participate live during a two day event in New Orleans, Sunday and Monday, December 13 and 14, as we tweet stories of resilience from laundry recipients and volunteers on the ground.  Follow along on twitter via #loadsofhope and be sure to follow @TideLoadsofHope.

When you join the carnival with your messages of hope, be sure to invite your own readers to participate in this online event by linking to the chocolate-covered center of the carnival here at Blog Nosh Magazine. You are invited to grab any of the Tide Loads of Hope graphics you see here, including the tee shirt badge below (linked to http://tideloadsofhope.com), as all proceeds from sales of Tide Vintage Tees support the truck and keep it on the road, ready to help when disaster strikes nationwide.

Blog carnival hosted by Blog Nosh Magazine, sponsored by Tide Loads of Hope.

How do the holidays fill you with loads of hope?  Do share!

5

The Hope of Magic

Family Blog Nosh Magazine{by Jennifer from Playgroups Are No Place For Children}

One of my children’s favorite books is The Polar Express. They’ve been begging to have it read to them nearly every night since the first Christmas commercial was broadcast back in October. I also love this story, it’s beautiful illustrations and the reminder about the true magic and spirit of Christmas.

On the other hand, BAH HUMBUG.

I think I first began to lose the magic of the Christmas season the first December after Tate and I were married. Instead of looking forward to all the merriment and celebration, it started to feel like nothing more than a to-do list.

1. Attend the same Christmas party that had been cranked out every year before.
2. Fret and stress over over every gift purchase.
3. Travel long distances home for the holiday and bounce from one relative’s house to another, trying to keep everyone else happy.
4. Unpack 1,000 ornaments out of their boxes to decorate the tree, only to have to repack them three weeks later.
5. Hear the same sappy Christmas songs on loop, no matter your location.

And the list could go on and on. So for the past several years, I’ve invited Scrooge and all his angst into my heart to endure the purgatory of December.

Since having our kids, I’ve really have tried to feign a festive spirit during the holidays. Carson and Ella at least deserve an attempt at a joyous holiday. We’ve spent time drinking cocoa by the fireplace, baking cookies, and building gingerbread houses, all while wearing Christmas aprons. FESTIVE, I tell you! Both of the kids so young, I had no idea if my artificial attempts and creating an atmosphere of magic had made an impression on them.

It was Carson’s reaction to our preparations for this year’s holiday that started to replace the Scrooge in my heart with the magic that I’d lost. Now that he’s four-years-old and starting to understand the true meaning of Christmas, the baby Jesus, the giving to the less fortunate, and not just the gifts and goodies, I can see that my faux holiday joy in the years past has made a difference.

Before decorating our Christmas tree last weekend, I complained to my mom that I was really dreading the whole process of decorating and artificial holiday spirit.

“You’ll enjoy the holidays again, because your kids will start to love Christmas,” she told me, wisely.

As we took the 1,000 ornaments out of their boxes, Carson, studied each ornament with wonder. He held them carefully in his hands, his eyes opened wide in amazement, as if welcoming home a long lost friend. Each ornament was carefully placed on the tree. It was, dare I say it…magical!

Carson has also started to repeat some of my jolly holiday phrases that I’ve been saying each December since he was born. My favorite thing he’s said so far had to be, “Why don’t we get some hot chocolate and go sit by the fire to warm up,” he suggested after breakfast one morning.

Each morning Carson has a new holiday activity planned. The first order of business everyday is to plug in the Christmas tree lights. We simply cannot even think of eating breakfast without the glow of Christmas tree lights! Once we’ve eaten, he’s suggested we bake some cookies, wear Santa hats, or make that house thing with the candy.

“Remember, Mommy? We made that house thing and put candy all over? We used icing to make snow all over it? Remember that, Mommy?” And of course I remember the gingerbread house from last year (that I secretly had to glue together when the kids weren’t looking) and I’m actually looking forward to decorating one again this year.

I’m finally starting to get that feeling of holiday merriment back, thanks to Carson. He’s given me loads of hope that I that the holidays can be fun and full of magic again. It is such a cliche, but seeing Christmas again through the eyes of a child has reminded me that the holidays aren’t about the neverending to-do list, but about the traditions and magical spark in my children’s eyes.

Magic

This post is part of a special holiday Blog Carnival hosted on Blog Nosh Magazine and this post was sponsored by the Tide Loads of Hope program. This incredibly worthy cause, travels to people displaced by hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters and washes clothes for them. Imagine not even having clean clothes! Thanks to Tide Loads of Hope for offering such a glimmer of magic to people in need.

You, too, can be a part of this fantastic carnival that supports the Tide Loads of Hope Program. Please consider writing your own post about what brings you “loads of hope” during the holidays.

Also, please follow along with us on Twitter on Sunday and Monday, December 13 and 14, as we share stories from people in New Orleans, still living in FEMA trailers after Hurricane Katrina. You can follow the hashtag #loadsofhope and Tide’s account, @TideLoadsofHope.


***

Jennifer writes, photographs, and shares her life and sense of humor on her personal blog, Playgroups are No Place for Children. Her blog is a mix of parenting trials and tribulations, recipes, and a battleground for resolving marital disputes. Blog Nosh Magazine is also proud to have her as their Managing Editor. Subscribe to Jennifer’s blog so you won’t miss a thing and while you’re at it, follow her on Twitter.

***

Loads of Hope for the Holidays

Share your own stories of hope, along with Blog Nosh Magazine, Velveteen Mind, and a gathering of inspiring bloggers, and enter your own post link in the blog carnival below. Explore featured bloggers as well as three featured posts selected from carnival participants listed in the linky (that could be you!).

Learn more about how you can extend hope to families affected by disasters by visiting http://tideloadsofhope.com

Blog carnival hosted by Blog Nosh Magazine, sponsored by Tide Loads of Hope.

How do the holidays fill you with loads of hope?

3

Brown Paper Bag of Hope

Overcoming Adversity Blog Nosh Magazine

{by Sugar Jones from Sugar in the Raw}

Sometimes, we’re so far beyond done. We run out of hope. It’s in those times that we need others to remind us that there is still good in the world. That there is a sun in the sky and that we must lift our faces to it.

The other night, my son cut me to the quick. I had been so busy that I had ignored all his pleas for some family time. He finally looked up at me with glassy eyes, trying to stoically hold back tears, and said, “Sometimes, people say they love you but they don’t really love you if they don’t show you they love you. You have to show people you love them.”

You know that within thirty seconds I was on the floor hugging him and playing the game he had set up hours earlier hoping for a little time together.

His words sat with me all night. While I was nodding off to bed, I thought of a time when I had love, not merely spoken to me, but demonstrated. It was a time in my life that I had not yet realized what you could live through. I was too young to understand that, if I held out long enough, things would indeed change. I was tired and had lost all hope that things would ever be any different.

When I was a young single mother, I had plenty of struggles. Some seasons were tougher than others, but it was during the holidays that I saw the cold, harsh reality of my circumstances. One year in particular, I wasn’t really sure we were going to have a Christmas. During that time, my oldest daughter wore a uniform to her public school. It was a uniform-optional school. It sounded like a good idea until the school year started and I realized that only the poor families had opted for a uniform. My daughter didn’t mind. She thought her dress was pretty and loved the matching bow. Every day, I would dress my younger daughter in her uniform of hand-me-downs. She didn’t mind because she saw her big sister’s clothes as new to her. And every day, I would put on my waitress uniform. I didn’t mind because I didn’t have to worry about what to wear. Every morning, we’d pile into my old, rickety car… the car my friends lovingly referred to as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. We were a sight, the three of us. Most of the time, we were happy. The kids were too young still to know what they were missing.

Still… I knew.

I had worked so hard that year. Unfortunately, I had one emergency after another… car troubles, medical bills, school loans coming due. I tried not to think about it, but as the days drew closer, I began to fall into a deep depression about not being able to buy the kids even a few gifts for Christmas. Then, on the last Friday before winter break, I went to the school to pick up the kids. It was just under a week before the big day. If you would’ve seen me that afternoon,  you would have seen a young woman, shoulders slumped, looking beat down by life.

Up walked the school nurse.

She had a strange look on her face. One that made my paranoid mommy brain go straight to panic mode. I thought something might have happened to the kids. She got that panicked mommy response a lot, apparently, because she assured me right away that nothing was wrong. So then what was that awkward look on her face? And what was in the bag that she was holding? She stammered a bit, trying to find words…

“Every year… we try to… we choose families from the free lunch program… some items were donated…”

I looked at the bag and then the nurse and then the bag again. I must have been exhausted because I couldn’t understand what was happening. I remember thinking, Wow, this woman needs a vacation because she isn’t making any sense! Then I realized I had not said a word nor had I accepted the bag she had been trying to hand me. I was still trying to figure out what she was talking about and why she kept trying to hand me that large brown grocery bag. Then I saw a wrapped gift on top of several other wrapped gifts in the bag. The tag on the gift had some writing.

“Little Girl – 6″

That’s when I understood that we had been adopted. Us. Our family. We were now one of the families that other families helped. For a moment, I felt ashamed. Ashamed that I couldn’t provide the simplest things for my children. I looked at the nurse who was running out of things to say and seemed to be getting more uncomfortable by the second. I looked back down at the bag again and cried. This was one of God’s little miracles! . right until I started to cry. My lips were trembling as I told her, “I didn’t think we were going to have a Christmas this year.” Her face softened from worry to relief as I accepted the bag. The thought of my kids having gifts to unwrap that year was nice, but knowing that strangers helped a mom in need was simply amazing.

Christmas would have come that year whether we had gifts or not. The date would have arrived no matter what was under the tree. The year that life had beat me down turned out to be one of the best seasons of my life. It was the year that I had lost all hope AND It was the year that I got the gift of hope back through the kindness of strangers.

Like my son said…

“You have to show people you love them.”

***

Spend more time with Sugar Jones at  SugarJones.tv, where she’s creating her own virtual travel, food and lifestyle network to host her creative blog, vlog and social media loveliness.   Sugar is married to a pilot who is teaching her to fly from their homebase in San Diego, and she is a mom to four kids who range in ages from Kindergarten to college.  Follow her on Twitter to try to keep up with her if you can!

***

Loads of Hope for the Holidays

Please join us at Blog Nosh Magazine as we share stories of hope this holiday season in support of the Tide Loads of Hope program, a mobile laundromat offering laundry services to families affected by disasters.

Share your own stories of hope, along with Blog Nosh Magazine, Velveteen Mind, and a gathering of inspiring bloggers, and enter your own post link in the blog carnival below. Explore featured bloggers as well as three featured posts selected from carnival participants listed in the linky (that could be you!).

Lend your voices now, then participate live during a two day event in New Orleans, Sunday and Monday, December 13 and 14, as we tweet stories of resilience from laundry recipients and volunteers on the ground. Follow along on twitter via #loadsofhope and be sure to follow @TideLoadsofHope.

Learn more about how you can extend hope to families affected by disasters by visiting http://tideloadsofhope.com

Blog carnival hosted by Blog Nosh Magazine, sponsored by Tide Loads of Hope.

How do the holidays fill you with loads of hope?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
7

How to Earn Income from Your Blog

Tech Metablogging Blog Nosh Magazine
Originally published at Blogging Basics 101

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could post
our little hearts out, sit back, and watch the dollars roll in?  The
truth is that there are very few people getting wealthy from blogging.
If you’re doing it solely for the bucks, you’re probably going to be
disappointed.

There are, however, a few ways to generate a bit of bloggy income.

The most obvious way to earn income is by having ads in your
sidebar, or elsewhere on your page.  You can try selling these
yourself–a lot of work, but it works for some people.  Many bloggers
have had success using an ad service that sells the ads for you, giving
you a percentage of the income.  (They give you the code to insert on
your blog, and your ads will appear in that spot.  Any ad service worth
its salt will offer you pleny of editorial freedom to block certain
types of ads from your blog.)

Read more »

5

No one likes an empty plate… Submit Your Posts for Publication Now!

Noshnotes
Hey, why no new posts today?

Because you didn’t send us any!

Okay, not really.  This was an oversight on my part caused by distraction due to some major changes we are working on for Blog Nosh Magazine.  Sorry about that.  I really need some help…

Hey, you! Help me out!  Blog Nosh Magazine thrives by your submissions so take a look at your archives and send us your best posts! We receive dozens of submissions a month, but it takes dozens of dozens of submissions to keep our pantry fully stocked.

Choose a couple of your best blog posts, browse through our editors for one to submit your work to in the appropriate channel, follow the instructions on our Publication Guidelines page, and SUBMIT! If you have trouble choosing an editor, you can send your posts directly to me, but be sure to include all of the requested information, particularly which channel for which it is intended.

Already submitted a post but haven’t heard back or seen it published, yet? We do receive a fair number of submissions every day, it takes a while to review them all, then it takes even longer for me to choose which ones to publish each issue.  Hang in there, I assure you that we select your post for publication only when we are confident that it will receive the best opportunity in the spotlight.  It may take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of months for your post to appear, but know that careful consideration is given to when to spotlight your work.

For each issue to work, for the posts to complement each other and create an interestingly balanced tone, it takes many posts in queue from which I can choose, so keep our choices plentiful and submit now!  Don’t wait for an editor to come to you, deliver your best directly to us.

And then be patient, because we make each issue by hand.  Fresh and to order, just for you.  We promise it is worth the wait.

Edited to stress: If you send your submission directly to me, please be sure to include all of the requested info on the FAQ page, particularly for which channel it is intended.  Your best bet is to submit directly to a channel editor, by the way…  Now go!

{Publisher & Editor-in-Chief, Megan Jordan from Velveteen Mind}

****************

Chocrssbutton248x48
Subscribe to Blog Nosh Magazine in your favorite feed reader or sign up for free email delivery of all of our fresh activity!

Twitterbutton70x70Be sure to follow Blog Nosh Magazine on twitter,
as well!
That’s one of the main places where we’ll be announcing calls
for theme-specific posts we want to promote, new editors we need, and
all the other scrumptious news we want to share, including whose blog
we are nibbling on at the moment.

19

Month One: Just Write, Dammit.

EditorNoshNotes

Blog Nosh Magazine has been live for exactly one month today.  One month!  Look at all that we’ve accomplished in one month.  All the blogs we’ve introduced to new readers, all the new genres we’ve explored.  It has been a spectacularly satisfying launch and I have no one to thank but you.

Thank you to our readers.
Thank you to our bloggers.
Thank you to our editors.

The way Blog Nosh Magazine works is that our channel editors scour the blogs in their genre and choose the most moving or entertaining or enlightening posts in the archives of those blogs.  The hardest part is learning to click beyond the front page of a blog.  That is, perhaps, the hardest part of reading blogs for all of us.  Taking the great leap into the archives.

Then again, as a blogger, one of the hardest things is to convince our readers that we are more than our front page.  That perhaps those posts we wrote in the first week of our blog’s existence are just as valuable as the posts we write today.  More interestingly, perhaps those old posts are also the most true.  You never know.

We change as writers with every post we publish.  It is, at the very least, interesting to shed light on our archives from time to time.  Whether we do it through the “favorite posts” sections of our sidebars, the self-backlinks within the context of our posts, or by allowing publications such as Blog Nosh Magazine to focus the spotlight for you.

Thank you to the 44 bloggers that have allowed us to shine the spotlight on their work in this, our first month of Blog Nosh Magazine.

Although we only published her yesterday, allow me to share with you the story behind the process of spotlighting just one of those 44 bloggers…

Read more »

7

Are you full, yet? No? Good.

EditorNoshNotes Our first full week of Blog Nosh Magazine arrived on your table, fresh and delivered-to-order.  How did it satisfy?  As always, you are the best to answer that question:

Added to the Life page on AllTop.com

alltop banner

Read more »

1 of 2

Switch to our desktop site