Saturday, December 31, 2011

:: In 2011 ::

coming.and.going

I guess this is becoming an unofficial ritual with myself as I reflect on the year, no order of importance, some restating, some revelations, but each entry a recollection of what it was to live and breath through another year as me.

In 2011...

:: I became particularly practiced at goodbyes to my oldest without tears
:: I realized that the reason we had to say goodbye so often was because we said several hellos, through many -sometimes quick but always welcome- trips, and that is good.
:: Through trips, calls, texts, emails, skypes, phone photos, I discovered that I am as needed (maybe more) as always.
:: I traveled to the other side of the country alone for the first time ever for 3 days (within 15 minutes of arriving my sweet husband called from the emergency room to ask me Roman's birthdate - Roman had fallen off of Isabela's shoulders and hit his head on the concrete- I think my reply to Jeff's question was something like"what's his birthdate? which one of you hit your head?")
:: I never questioned whether my husband needs me.
:: I tore through walls, erased hundreds of pencil lines on graph paper, crossed fingers and built the home studio I've dreamed of since I was a young girl.
:: I felt guilty for having the above pleasure.
:: I felt ridiculous for feeling guilty and felt I had earned it.
:: (Repeat the above two entries numerous times.)
:: In the midst of a very busy home life, bustling work, building the studio, anticipating much upcoming travel, a quiet and very small secret revealed itself in the form of expecting a new life.... our 7th.....
:: We were overwhelmed.
:: We were bewildered.
:: I walked into the lobby of my doctor's office and saw an old man pruning dead foliage from the plants. My optimistic heart sank and I couldn't get the image out of my head.
:: We were humbled. It was first day of Lent- a day we call Clean Monday- I learned that was the state of my womb- clean. Just like that. Gone.
:: I stood sobbing in the empty, cavernous, gutted, cold, raw wood structure that was to become my dream studio. I wanted to give it all away.
:: I felt, as blessed as I have been, that I would never be quite as happy as I once was. And for weeks and weeks (months) it was so.
:: Somewhere, I healed. I don't know how or when. Somewhere, deep in prayer, it is not a loss, but an enrichment of sorts, a connection and a faith in someone I cannot see, but know is there. Always.
:: I felt peace.
:: I loved my children more than ever.
:: I was cared for.
:: I was loved.
:: I was inspired.
:: I made so many little hand stitches in every sort of fancy direction, and for the first time I created products to help others do the same. This brought me such an immense joy and fulfillment in my work. Another dream come true.
:: I realized how happy I am to not be in college.
:: Having interns taught me that, as well as how much I've learned since being out of college.
:: I hope I became a better boss.
:: My husband left me in awe of his determination, and relentless dedication to outdo his own physical efforts.
:: I was encouraged to do barely scratch that surface but build my own endurance and health through running. What a difference it makes.
:: I toiled in my garden more than ever, but so far have only grown good soil, which has me so looking forward to spring.
:: My parents made the first step towards moving to Nashville to be near us, and I am simply giddy every time I think that they could be just a few minutes away.
:: I saw changes in each of my children that are hard to quantify.... hard to name or to attribute, but overall just a growth that makes each so much more of who they are, in a fuller, more rendered and beautiful realization.
:: I learned what a privilege it is to witness it.

:: I sit here tonight, just a few minutes shy of midnight, all alone on New Year's Eve- I guess for the first time in my life. Jeff took all the kids, save Roman, for a night of roller skating. I kept Roman up well passed his bedtime to soak up as much cuddling, and kissing, and loving as he could take. As it turns out, he can take quite a lot, and that works out just perfectly since I have more than necessary to offer. I think this year has been nothing if not a steady stream of arrivals and departures. I imagine that is just the very engine that is our lives together and independently. Today Jeff worked on the final caulking for the structural columns of our home. It was so sunny and unusually warm. He carefully sealed up every last little seam and nail hole, wiped them clean, ensuring they would weather well. So I guess our roof should stand for at least another year, God willing.

I have never felt less alone on a New Year's Eve. I am blessed. I have joy.
I wish you all the same in 2012,
lots of love, Anna Maria xoxoxox

86 comments:

  1. what a beautiful post. you brought me to tears as i have suffered the same loss in the past few weeks.

    wishing you a happy and blessed new year x
    marci

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  2. I have five children here and one sweet baby in heaven. My heart aches for all the mothers out there who've endured similar pain. It's a club no one wants to join, however, healing does come eventually.

    Here's wishing you and your family a happy and blessed new year.

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  3. A Happy and Blessed New Year Anna Maria, you have brought me many smiles and more than a few tears in sharing your stories over the years, thank you for blessing us all with your joy and sorrows, it is such a privilege.

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  4. I share in your loss and admire you for your strength and healing inspiration you give us all. I do believe taking needle and thread in hand heals all. All the best to you and yours in the New Year!

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  5. I think I would read your blog even if I didn't sew--it is perhaps even more beautiful than your fabric. Loss of that kind is startling and tender--Best wishes.

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  6. What a beautifully written post. Thank you for sharing your heart, and your dreams, and everything in between, with us. I wish you all the best in 2012.

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  7. Sending love and good wishes to you and your family.

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  8. A year well-lived, filled with lessons that help us on life's journey. Wishing you and yours blessings of peace, joy and love. Tammy

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  9. Such a beautiful post, and I found myself crying with the rest of these ladies! I am so sorry for the loss of your precious baby. 2011 seems to have been a very trying year for so many people I know, including our family. But isn't it simply amazing how God uses even the most painful suffering to enrich our lives in ways we could never expect? God is so good, because he finds ways to make the bitter bittersweet. Here's to a new year full of love, family and healing :)

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  10. May your new year be filled with blessings, health and happiness. Thank you for the inspiration and beauty you have brought to the world.

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  11. May this new year bring comfort! so sorry you started Lent last year with such loss. Wishing many blessings for 2012

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  12. What a beautiful recollection. Thanks so much for sharing.

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  13. Thank you for sharing so deeply. I have lost 3 children and it is so, so hard. My heart aches for you.

    I love your blog and all that you do! Don't feel guilty about your new studio. I would say you have earned it. It allows you to continue to create beautiful things that speak to the heart of others.

    Best wishes for 2012!

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  14. What a beautiful post, my heart swells to read your inspiring words!

    Thank you for another year of your lovely blog.

    All the best to your family in 2012.
    Annie

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  15. Just simply, thanks for sharing. Xo

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  16. Stunningly beautiful reflections, thank you for sharing them. Happy New Year

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  17. Thank you for this beautiful post, AM! I sit here on Sunday morning before church, and I feel so touched. In August we found out we were expecting our second. I was elated, and then a few months later, she was just gone. In the end of October I had to have that awful surgery, and all I can bring myself to say is that that day was the most horrific of my life. And months later, it hurts just as bad. I'm so sorry for your loss. I ache with you. Maybe this year will bring us both new joy in the form of cute, chubby little babies. I can't thank you enough for this encouragaging post.

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  18. As always, you inspire and comfort with your words as much as your work. Thank you for sharing both with the world.

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  19. Thank you for sharing with us. Best wishes for the new year from me in Norway. Guri

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  20. As always, your posts are an inspiration.
    "Somewhere, I healed. I don't know how or when. Somewhere, deep in prayer, it is not a loss, but an enrichment of sorts, a connection and a faith in someone I cannot see, but know is there. Always."

    So beautifully put; it struck such a chord with me. I hope & pray the best for you and your family in 2012. Melissa

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  21. Oh, my goodness.
    I don't know how to say... even what to say. But this touched me; the way familiar experiences and emotions do. I sympathize, and marvel. And I thank you for your candor, for your grace.
    Anna Maria, sincerely, you are one of the blessings in my life, and this post is a lovely, poignant, affirmation of that. You touch my heart, make me cry, bring back smiles, and restore hope.
    More peace, love, and inspiration! This is a new year.

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  22. So beautiful, Anna. Thanks so much for sharing.

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  23. happy new year, anna! i'm happy our paths crossed again in 2011. xo.

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  24. I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your baby. I've lost four little ones to miscarriage, so I know how sad it can be. If anything, I think after losing a baby you love the children you have just a little extra. I can't say I'm grateful for miscarriage, but I am grateful for that. Happy New Year.

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  25. A beautiful post and so much love, life and sharing in one year!
    I wish you and your family a year filled with love, laughter and plenty of cuddles x

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  26. I simply want to say that I am so grateful to have found your blog this past year. I always look forward to reading and seeing what you are up to. You have a wonderful way with words, and fabric.
    I am sorry for the loss you had to live through, but am really glad to know that you found the strength and faith to help you heal. I have lived through that kind of loss and pain, and understand the "enrichment" you speak of.
    May 2012 bring you love, happiness and everything your heart desires.
    I look forward to reading your blog this year!

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  27. My youngest daughter was born within days of your Roman (May 20th) and we, too, suffered a loss this spring - heartbreaking is putting it mildly. We have been blessed with a new life though (a first son!) who is currently giving me jabs in the belly, and I hope that you can enjoy the same familiar joys again in this new year. Blessings to you and yours!

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  28. Anonymous2:40 PM

    A beautiful post. Many blessings to you and yours in the coming year! It was delightful and a highlight of my year to have met you in 2011. Thanks as always, for the inspiration you share not just with your art but with your parenting and your lovely outlook on life.

    Kind Regards,

    Jenn H.

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  29. thank you for sharing so candidly and so beautifully...i also suffered a loss this year, what would have been my first. in looking back over my journal, i noticed that on new year's day of 2011, i prayed for clarity on whether i wanted children or not. my experience has taught me how very much i want a child! you're right that there is "an enrichment" that grows from that place-- i hope 2012 brings us both new life, new growth, and new joy.

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  30. Happy New Year to you and your family! Thank you for such a wonderful post. I am sorry for your loss it's one I have been through as well and it does get easier. I hope your 2012 is full of Peace and Happiness!

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  31. So sorry for your loss and so thrilled for all you have. Thanks for sharing your ebb and flow. Happy,happy new year. The cycle goes on.

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  32. Thank you for sharing. Your post brought tears to my eyes. I am sorry for your loss and pain. I have suffered 5 miscarriages and 2 ectopic pregnancies, but the Lord has healed me and my heart. I am ever so thankful for my two amazing children (now adults) and the addition of a granddaughter to our home this year. I wish you the best in 2012 and years to come.

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  33. Once again, you bring tears to my eyes. We hold 7 babies now, but we miss an 8th that would have been between our 2 oldest. Someday a reunion, but for now a twinge for who could have been. Thank you for your beautiful post. Many blessings in the new year. <3

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  34. We have a sweet baby in heaven and look forward to meeting. Every June 26th, I always wonder what could have been.. Bless your heart.

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  35. Anna Maria, what a beautiful post. I love the line "and somewhere I healed." Thank you, Jesus. I love how you share your sweet family with us. I skyped with my daughter and her daughter today. They live several states away. She is 9 months and waves to me on the screen. Not the same as feeling her little body in my lap and smelling her delicious fragrance, but good to see her.
    Happy New Year! xo, Cheryl

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  36. When I visit a blog I will often skip through and just "read" the pictures. The words don't always speak to me but whenever I see lots of words on your blog I rejoice because I feel I can relate to you. Thank you so much for sharing such personal things. I miscarried a year and a half after my twins were born (they are 14 now!) and felt all the same things you described and more that you didn't share. What a blessing to know that you are loved and cared about, physically, spiritually and emotionally. Again thank you so much for sharing your life. <3

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  37. What beatiful words!!
    Lot of blesings for the new year to come!

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  38. Thank you so much for your lovely blog. I have been reading it for several years now and I feel like I know you personally through it. You have a wonderful way with words and your pictures are gorgeous. If you ever write a book about your life I will be one of the first to buy it! I wish we were neighbors! Also, I want to tell you, I also had a miscarriage a long time ago in 1988, a loss you never forget, but healing comes. I have been blessed with two beautiful sons, one before the miscarriage and one after and know that everything is God's wondrous plan. May God bless you and your family in the New Year, and thank you so much again for your wonderful and inspiring blog.

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  39. thank you for sharing yourself here...for sharing the joy and beauty and truth and realness that life brings...for reminding others they are not alone as you share your truth.

    sending light and blessings and peace across the miles.

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  40. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the beautiful post. Χρόνια Πολλά και Καλή Χρονιά from across the pond.

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  41. Beautifully written! Thank you for that :) All the best in the year ahead...

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  42. Happy new year :)

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  43. Anonymous8:02 AM

    I am in the process of culling my blog reader but I've decided to keep your blog. This was a wonderful post.

    I've been going through IVF and had a miscarriage on the second try (first try didn't work). I have a 3 year old and I hope we can have a sibling for her. I am now pregnant with the third and final try. 7 weeks now but I worry every day.

    Here's to a better 2012!

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  44. Jeanie Brown8:46 AM

    Your blog pulled me up short...I read your wonderful blog and imagine that all is rosy in your world...If proof were needed that there are times when we have no idea what might be going on in peoples lives, this was surely so today when I read your heartfelt words. ♥ Gods Blessing ♥

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  45. Carkye9:16 AM

    It's funny how you come across a blog, start reading it and it can awaken some forgotten or laid aside desires. I work in IT but another lifetime ago my college degree was in the art/fashion realm. I've been knitting for a few years now but when I came across your blog it reawakened my desire to stitch all kinds of things. Then today I read your musings and see that like me, you've experienced a special blessing. That of knowing that you have a child waiting in heaven for you to appear. I have no doubt that God had a purpose in that private pain. I felt my Savior's presence with me in the doctor's office, in the hospital, and each time a tear is cried. Thank you for sharing. It is my prayer that 2012 gives you a list more abundant to share than you could ever dream for yourself.

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  46. Thanks for your open words.
    I wish to you and your loved ones a wonderful 2012, more hellos than goodbyes, happiness and joy, calm and loud, without guiltyness (of course you do deserve this great room, everyone deserves dreams that come true), and lots of healing.

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  47. Thank you for sharing your life with us. This was a lovely post. Best wishes for a wonderful new year.

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  48. I'm very sorry for your loss - I have known the same. Much continued healing and love to you.

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  49. Anonymous2:00 PM

    I'm sorry for your loss, to many of us know that pain.

    You continue to inspire and amaze me. Here's to a great 2012!

    m

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  50. ELENA ANDREOU4:14 PM

    I've shared the same experiences too and know your pain. Take comfort in your husbands embrace and the smiles of all your other angels. God bless you and your family.

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  51. What a beautiful, heart-felt post. Thank you for sharing your life with us, I will stop sniffing eventually, but in the meantime, thankyou for reminding me of God's awesome comfort.

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  52. Your comment about arrivals and departures is telling. It's sticking with me.

    I've been through that feeling of loss, of emptiness, many times. I've not been through the feelings of the oldest leaving, so I can't imagine that.

    It is wonderful to hear that the end of the year was so good for you to really feel the love.

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  53. Yes there were endings... sad good byes to a home of 21 years, the raw ending of a loved relationship, the loss of a much loved and pride filled job, the baby heading off to college confident and excited.... but then there were the beginnings.... and each day bringing new promise and hope..

    I hear you... loud and clear.

    Happy Blessed and Joyful New Year to all......

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  54. Whew. Bless you, amazing person!
    So talented and loving, etc, etc. Happiest of new years to you and your sweet family!

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  55. You wrote a lovely post. I'm so sorry about the loss of your baby. God saw fit to take 3 of mine, but left me a wonderful son who turned 30 this year. You have a wonderful family.

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  56. Tears, joy, the richness of your life shines through in your grateful words. Thank you for sharing!

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  57. Anonymous9:15 AM

    What a wonderfully written reflection on 2011. I am sorry for your family's loss. You once shared comforting words with me and I only hope I can return the comfort in the form of prayers for you and your family. Here's to a creative 2012!

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  58. I was so touched by your words, partly for reasons kept to myself, which awoke in me a connectedness to you and, apparently and unfortunately, some of the other ladies who have posted. But your spirit lifts us all up. Thank you.

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  59. I completely just cried reading your post, Anna Maria. Thank you for inspiring all of us!

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  60. Anonymous4:01 PM

    I love how you live!

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  61. Extra extra hugs and kisses, sweet Anna Maria!
    xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo Betz

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  62. An absolutely gorgeous post...so well said and felt. Best wishes to you and your family in the new year!

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  63. A lovely post, tho' I am just getting to it today. I have felt your pain, many years ago now it was. I will never forget, but the pain does fade with time. It is a wise woman who can count her blessings as you do. Have a great new year.

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  64. just catching up on my blog reading and yours found me in tears this evening... may 2012 be more gentle! xo

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  65. What a beautiful post . . . I, too, have felt your pain - almost seven years ago. I do think such a journey, sorrowful as it is, makes all your blessings seem just a little more golden.

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  66. Laura G1:39 AM

    What a beautiful entry; incredible how so few words could speak such truth and pull the heartstrings so. We lost our 3rd child, Kolbe, 8 years ago, and I still think about what might have been. We have been blessed with #4, our sweet 4 yr old rambunctious boy.
    God's blessings to you in 2012!

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  67. Anonymous6:41 AM

    I was praying for you during the week or so you took down the comments section of your blog in 2011. Perhaps that's when it occurred. I had suspected something with your mom, but 'twas with another. May 2012 be fruitful for you and yours. Keeping you in prayer, w/(hugs), Susan

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  68. Thank you! I look forward to hanging out with you here in 2012. I enjoy your colors, your reflections, your family notes, your inspiration. And especially thank you for sharing your year, joys and loss. hugs

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  69. wow, that was, hands down, the best year-end bit of writing I've read in a long time. It really made my night. :)

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  70. Bonne année 2012*, Anna Maria and to your beautiful family also !
    Thank you for this blog.
    : )
    D.

    *Happy new year

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  71. What a beautiful reflection of 2011. I truly believe some babies are meant to be held in our hearts and not in our hands. May 2012 be filled with much love and joy for you and your lovely family. Jacinta

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  72. you brought tears to my eyes. thank you.

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  73. thank you so much for your continued honesty and integrity. thank you for your constant inspiration. thank you for keeping it real through pain and loss, hope and beauty.

    i've made good dirt for the past 7 years, and i really thing this year is the year. maybe we'll grow something good in this fertile soil!

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  74. thank you.
    best wishes for 2012
    --jessica

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  75. I loved reading this post.I can't believe that almost a year has gone by since I met you in Palm Springs. I hope to accomplish 1/2 of what you in do in a year. You are an amazing woman and I am so grateful I was able to spend time with you. Happy New Year - Suzanne

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  76. That was so beautiful, sad, tragic, poignant, thoughtful, inspiring, thought provoking.

    I am sorry for your loss. It is never easy and boy does it leave a gap. No matter how many "other" children you have. Loss is loss.

    How 'funny' that we as women feel guilty that we finally get something we dreamed of, planned for, begged for, crossed all our fingers for and when it happens- we feel somewhat unworthy and a sense of "should we have".

    Congratulations on your new studio! On it's christening, have a photo taken, journal the moment, smile,sigh, have a drink to it, enjoy the space and let your creative energy flow.

    Happy New Year to you and your family
    I can't wait to read/see your future 2012 posts.

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  77. Beautiful post! & as I was first reading, it reminded me of Sarah J. Parker's latest flick "I don't know how she does it". Cute movie.

    So sorry about your loss. I can't imagine your pain. You are a courageous and creative lovely woman, & I loved how you said you loved your children even more than ever.

    I am still waiting for my first after almost 14 years of marriage. But if I can manage to keep it together...I will be meeting her very soon & then get to travel to China to get her! We have waited almost 6 years for this to happen....applied in '06 & never in our wildest dreams did we think it would take this long! But our wait is almost over.
    Wishing you new blessings in 2012!

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  78. Anna Maria,
    Your post spoke to my heart and your words captured exactly how I now feel about our baby that we lost on Christmas Eve 2009. I was only 8 1/2 weeks along with our second child and began to spot. Went to the doctor who told me I had had a miscarriage....so went to the subsequent doctor's appointment two days later and when I got up onto the table and they were going to do another ultrasound, something in my heart said the baby wasn't gone....and sure enough there was that beautiful beating little heart. They had made a mistake and gave me 50/50 odds that I'd be able to carry the baby. Sadly on Christmas Eve...I had a miscarriage but only learned of our loss on New Year's Eve. That was the worst week of my life...no knowing if that beating little heart was still inside of me.
    We've been blessed to go on and have another baby and now the ultrasound of the baby we lost sits in a bookshelf overlooking the crib of our daughter...as if she has an angel watching over her. It took me a long time to "heal" from this experience but I can't tell you how I felt when I read your words about feeling a "connection" because that is exactly how I see it now. Our baby is still connected to us and always will be...and he/she left this world to be in heaven to make way for our beautiful little girl. Christmas 2010 was wonderful and bittersweet as I remembered the baby we lost and felt blessed at the same time for the baby we now had in our arms....thank you for sharing Anna Maria!

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  79. Thank you. For your honesty, your candour, your humour, your warmth. I do so very much enjoy visiting this space of yours and appreciate the time you take to share here. Thank you.

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  80. What an inspirational post to read. My 2011 was also an up & down year, though my peaks and troughs were less than yours. When I wrote my own summing up of the year, I remembered your words and how counting your blessings and taking joy from the simple things can be such a relief from troubles.

    I am so glad I found your words, your work, and above all your colour this past year. Keep writing; I will keep reading!

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  81. I'm so sorry for your loss, you and your family are in my prayers. It's amazing the comfort Jesus can bring to us when we are hurting. I've been wrapped in His comforting Arms last year when we went through loss of loved ones.

    Thank you for all you do! You are such an inspiration to me and I hope to one day be half the amazing woman you are!

    Wishing you many Blessings in 2012

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  82. Thank you, Anna, for sharing your great joys and sorrows of this year. I've had that same shock and sadness twice now and you've put into words beautifully how it can deepen our faith. Holding my daughter close was the best comfort I could imagine. I wish for you a year filled with many more blessings!

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  83. anna, thank you, so much, for sharing this post. your strength, creativity, kindness, and grace is an inspiration. i feel blessed to have met you this past year... wishing you and yours all the best for the year ahead. xo.

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