For a few very hard years this word was my mantra.
The word means
-undismayed; not discouraged; not forced to abandon purpose or effort
-undiminished in courage or valor; not giving way to fear
But the truth is, I was often dismayed by everything that had taken place, and I did battle discouragement. I battled fear and doubts. I hurt and was angry, and sometimes "undaunted" sounded more like a mockery than a mantra, and I was determined to be real about all of it in these posts, thus the name, Undaunted Reality. More than that, though, I was determined to live undaunted, not because I'm so great or strong, but because my God is, and no matter what this world looks like, He is the only reality that matters.
I pray I live the reality of Him beautifully undaunted.

Monday, July 16, 2007

2nd Cup of Coffee and Other Favorite Treats

I have to tell you about a new blog spot I have found where I like to hang out. 2nd Cup of Coffee is now one of my favorite places to visit. Your hostess at this little coffee bar is Linda, and she serves up all kinds of stuff to make you feel good.

Seriously, all coffee cliches aside, I found Linda's blog one night when I was tired from being up with sick children, and I had taken some emotion stabs. I needed a "feel better", and I followed blog connections to Linda's site, and it was exactly what I needed. I laughed until I had tears. I don't know how to really describe Linda's writing, except to tell you that when I read her work, I think, "This woman is truly comfortable in her own skin." I think what I really love is that she takes life for what it is and has fun with it, AND she lets the rest of us come along. There is nowhere else where you can laugh so hard about bloody pedicures, badly fitting shoes, and a dog's exploding butt. I'm telling you. You just have to visit to understand. Oh, and I can't do the bellybutton lint service, so I won't try. Go read it yourself.

As I said, it is one of my favorite blogspots, and I wholeheartedly suggest it for others who need a good solid "feel better".

And while I am bringing up favorite blogs, let me revisit two others:

Iona is a precious friend who did the beautiful web design for Jerri's Munchies, my site for the devotionals I did when I had smaller children and more time. Iona is genuine, loving, and inspirational. She always amazes me. Even on her everyday stuff, I find encouragement and a smile. Check her out. I think it'll bless you, too.

Paula is a bit hard to describe. She's an amazing writer, but her blog is far more than that. It is real in a way that most of us can relate to, and I think that is the most endearing aspect to me. She also writes a wonderful devotional that you can have delivered to your email. Check out her home site, Soul Scents, and read previous devotionals and sign up for future ones.

Two other sites I want to suggest. One is Let's Say Thanks. This site has several postcard designs you can choose, and then you add a note already provided or one you choose to write. The notes are then printed and shipped to soldiers around the world. There is no limit to how many you can send, and the it is so appreciated by the troops.

The other site is Any Soldier. This site provides information on hundreds of soldiers who can use support from folks here. While you can find information about care packages, that is not the focus for the soldiers. On the contrary, the simple act of writing a letter or sending a postcard is greatly appreciated. To quote one of our soldiers in a unit we send letters and packages to, "Your packages are great, but we love your letters. We post them on the board so everyone can read them when they get time. You don't know how much they mean." That says it all.

So there are some of my favorite places to visit on the web. I hope you enjoy!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Infant Remembrance

I have tried to figure out an eloquent way to write this up. I want it to be reverent as it should be. In no way, do I want it to sound casual, and yet, so much of the topic is simply beyond what my words cannot address. This is a topic dear to me heart, and I keep fumbling over words—and emotions. So much so that I have avoided writing this for nearly a month, but it is something I want to tell you about. Perhaps it’ll be healing to someone you know as well.

On June 4, 2007, a family close to us celebrated the entrance of a beautiful little boy into this world. A few hours later, they had to say goodbye. That night about midnight Joe Young slipped quietly into the hospital with his equipment and used his camera to create photographic masterpieces of this tiny Treasure, and then he gave them to the family—all without cost—all invaluable.

Mr. Young is part of the organization Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, which provides professional photography for families coping with the grief of losing a baby. I have visited their site. It is stunningly beautiful. I fully believe in the healing power of what they are doing, and I wanted to share their information with you.

The following is from their website:

“Pregnancy and birth are a miraculous journey. This amazing time of life is full of mystery, anticipation, joy, hope, and wonder. Feeling the powerful energy of birth and new life, watching as a new family is born unto each other. These things humble and amaze. These are the things that we celebrate when a baby is born.

But there is another aspect of pregnancy and birth. There is an unexpected place in this journey where some families may find themselves. When a baby dies, a world is turned upside down. There is confusion, sadness, fear, and uncertainty that cannot be explained. There is sorrow where there should have been joy. During this time, it might be impossible for families to know what they might need in order to heal in the future.

This is the place where NOW I LAY ME DOWN TO SLEEP gently provides a helping hand and a healing heart. NOW offers a vital service to our community. For families overcome by grief and pain, the idea of photographing their baby may not immediately occur to them. Offering gentle and beautiful photography and videography services in a compassionate and sensitive manner is the heart of this organization. The soft, gentle heirloom photographs of these beautiful babies are an important part of the healing process. They allow families to honor and cherish their babies, and share the spirits of their lives.”