Back in the Saddle

Good Morning, Everyone,

My husband, Christian, has been gently prodding me to return to blogging.  I’ve missed it and have struggled to return.  I’ve also sought to understand my hesitancy to continue.

Over the weekend, I had the privilege of talking with both Christian and my friend, Kerri, about all of this, trying to wrestle through the muck and search out the reason.  My thanks to you both – the answer has become crystal clear.

I first began blogging while my children were hospitalized, viewing the blog as a necessary tool of communication throughout their stays.  It quickly became the go-to place for friends and family to stay in the loop as things unfolded, sometimes at a rapid-fire pace.

But it became much more than that to me.

Unaware, I began to share beyond the critical updates and information, eventually allowing myself to bleed all over the screen.  God used those 15-20 minutes a day to help me process the painful world around me, and in turn, the shared experience of my family’s journey allowed others to connect with an intimate part of themselves, a place perhaps rarely traveled but yearning to be known.

Feelings, fears, questions . . . nothing structured or pre-packaged, simply words from a mother’s heart, a desperate woman trying to make sense of it all, a human being trying to survive in the midst of raging storms.

Readers seemed drawn to my passionate approach to life and the way I processed each day’s events.  They liked knowing I’m not perfect and have to work hard to clean up my messes.  They stuck with me through not only the happenings but also the details of how God carried us through every minute of those tumultuous times.

The initial audience consisted of some friends and family, but many readers were previously unknown to us, wonderful people who came to care deeply about my husband and family, our circumstances and outcomes.

My audience cared about me.  And I them.  It was a relationship, not an info-blog.

I began drinkingfromthewell.com with more of a practical, help-centered focus for families, desiring to assist people of all ages and life-stages face a variety of challenges.  While I plucked out useful lessons I’d learned and passed on tools I’d gleaned, I felt stifled as a writer.  I found myself struggling to stay motivated and carve out time to post regularly, which stood in stark contrast to the days I looked forward to writing.

It flopped.

I think it’s partly because the type of writing people were drawn to on my CarePages blog wasn’t geared toward providing practical tips, developing a following, or building a writing platform as all of the blogger books recommend doing from the ground up.

It wasn’t me.  I like to touch the emotions of my readers while sharing mine, carefully cultivating a caring and valued relationship.

I also don’t think I was ready.  A lot more healing needed to take place before I could deal with the aftermath of the past several years.  We’d all experienced post-traumatic stress in various ways, and I think writer’s block was a symptom of mine.  Perhaps it was silly for me to try developing a new blog so soon, but the writer in me longed to run free.  After all the years of having no time or energy to type, I found myself paralyzed when the moment finally arrived.

I couldn’t let myself bleed while in desperate need of countless transfusions.  I like to bleed.  I need to be able to allow my thoughts, feelings, emotions, and desires spill down every page, dousing them crimson as they color the sunrises and sunsets of life.

But God has done an amazing work – in New Jersey, of all places!  He moved us here, we have no doubt, to heal us, to grow us closer together and closer to Him.  We stand on the other side of the mountain today, grateful, full of love, and eager to encourage others as we journey on, one day at time.

Together.

I invite you on our new, or shall I say continuing, ever-evolving journey, here at drinkingfromthewell.com.  Thank you for your great patience with me.

Especially my husband, who has often asked, “Haven’t you posted already?”

My response tonight will be, “It’s ablog time!”

Good to be back in the saddle.

Much love to you and yours,

Beth

THE VERY CRANKY BEAR

the very cranky bear

by Beth Ann Morgan

The timeless power of a good story continues to blow me away. Stories have the unique ability to make people relate, feel emotion, and motivate change. If you’re looking for a great parenting resource about how to deal with agitated people, I recommend a simple story titled “The Very Cranky Bear” by Nick Bland.

Even though it sells in the children’s market, I recommend it for every person on the planet. Without giving too much away, the story is about how four friends attempt to cheer up a very cranky bear. Each one tries in their own way, but one of the friends bests them all because she listens to the bear’s need without being turned off by his outward behavior.

This book changed the course of our parenting and gave us a tool that our children could not only understand but also use to better relate to each other when one of us is not at the top of our game.

Shilpa Barrantes, another Early Intervention therapist that helped our family navigate through crisis, brought this book to a session she had with our daughter, Hannah, during a tumultuous time in her two-year-old life. She loved the story and immediately began rattling off times when different members of our family had been cranky bears.

When my husband came home from work later that day, Hannah could hardly wait to tell him about the book. She recounted the tale to him as best she could and chattered happily about the ending. Her enthusiasm moved him, for she’d not responded to something like this in a long time.

He glanced sideways at me and whispered, “Buy the book.”

It arrived within the week, and we enjoyed reading it over and over again. My husband and I often chuckle when we use the phrase “very cranky bear” with each other when anyone in our family, even an adult, becomes a little grouchy. We then try to encourage each other to be “plain but thoughtful sheep.”

Complete with cute little “baa,” of course.

A New Birth

27C

My son, John, turns five today. I can barely see the screen through my tears because John almost didn’t make it to his first birthday, let alone fifth. During the twentieth week of pregnancy, my husband (Christian) and I learned that John had gastroschisis, a birth defect in which his intestines formed outside his body.

Christian and I were stunned at first but later heartbroken and scared. The joy-filled visions of the coming baby flew out the window. A 20-minute appointment had changed our lives.

Forever.

We cried a lot. We prayed a lot, as did our family and friends. Finally, as much as we dreaded facing the ordeal ahead, God in His amazing way ignited our passion and gave us the courage, hope, and strength to fight for the life of our son.

So, we took a big breath and moved forward.

Over the next seventeen weeks and then another four-and-a-half months in the hospital, John never gave up. By his sheer determination and the greatness of our God, he survived. He continued to thrive, growing and gaining weight at a normal rate. Within his first year, he no longer needed his feeding tube, and by four years of age, he came off all medication.

Thank You, God!

I cannot think of a more appropriate date on which to launch this blog. My husband wrote our family’s first post on John’s CarePage blog at my bedside minutes after his delivery.

Today, our family’s challenges have given birth to another blog, Drinking from the Well. By using everything we’ve learned over the past five years, we look forward to helping families not only survive difficult circumstances but also thrive, whether they find themselves in active crisis or beyond.

Happy Birthday, John. I love you!

WELCOME TO THE WELL

Bird drinking water

Had I known the details of the past seven years of my life before they passed, I would never have dreamed that I would survive them. A disabling heart condition. Two children with life-threatening birth defects. A crumbling marriage. Two miscarriages, both eight weeks to the day.

Unfortunately, the list goes on.

I don’t know the specific details of your wounds, whether they’re fresh and raw or healed to the point of nearly invisible scars. Perhaps you’ve recently lost a loved one or have admitted your child to the hospital. Maybe you’ve recently moved, lost a job, or have separated with little chance of reconciliation.

But from where I stand today, I can assure you that there is hope.

When I was in the thick of the hardest moments and the scorching fear and searing pain threatened to completely discourage and overwhelm me, I desperately needed to find an oasis in the desert where I could drink deeply from the well of someone who understood, someone who’d been there and done that. Someone who owned a pair of well-worn sandals buried deep in the closet, someone willing to drag them out to walk a few dusty miles by my side.

So relax against the cool, smooth stones and rest your weary soul while I dust off my sandals.

I want to walk with you.

GOALS for DRINKING FROM THE WELL 

  • To share our story as a means of encouraging others
  • To provide helpful information to families in active crisis
  • To provide resources that promote healing post-crisis
  • To give ideas that will help strengthen family relationships
  • To share the love of Jesus, the Living Water that quenches every thirst

“Let anyone who is thirsty come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” John 7:37-38

Drinking from the Well fits perfectly with my life’s purpose, which is to comfort and encourage others who hurt with the generous love and comfort I have received. My three main passions are Jesus, writing/speaking, and people. Okay, maybe four. Horses. I love horses. My sub-passions are by no means limited to the following: reading, singing, decorating cakes, running, cooking, gardening, and crafting (i.e. scrapbooking, quilting, sewing, painting, etc.). I am also addicted to using my dandelion hook.

On a professional note, I am a former pediatric dietitian, forced to resign in 2000 due to a heart condition. I turned to freelance writing, completed The Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild’s Apprenticeship Program, and got busy writing articles and book proposals.

By the grace of God, our marriage and our relationships with our children are stronger than ever. Our dream as a couple is to own a farm through which our family can help hungry, hurting, and lonely people. By connecting them with resources to grow their own food and by sharing the love of Christ, we seek to offer hope, love, and a family that lasts forever.

Thanks for stopping in. I’ve got my sandals on and will keep you in my constant prayers. May God richly bless you and yours, both today – and beyond.

Much love,

Beth