Stretched Between… – ROW80 Update, July 13, 2014

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Have you ever been stretched between joy and sorrow, light and shadows, sweetness and sadness?

That’s what July is for me. Tuesday, as I mentioned in Wednesday’s update, was Annalise’s tenth birthday- a day of fun and celebration, where I celebrated this daughter I never thought I’d have…

Because, you see, we were only planning to have two children, and she is our third.

And today – July 13 – is our second child’s birthday…and the beginning of the twelve-day stretch I call Elijah’s Days – the days that mark his very brief lifetime, all of it spent in the NICU, mostly in a coma from which he never woke. July 25 will mark the end of that lifetime, and, four days after that, I turn 45.

July is tricky. Elijah would be elven today, if he had lived – and Annalise wouldn’t exist. Our family would be different in ways too numerous and profound to mention here. I plan to take that on tomorrow, in my Coffee and Conversation post.

What I’ve found is that sorrow can coexist with grief. They’re interwoven, for me, forever. There’s no “getting over” the death of that sweet baby who lived only 12 days, but will forever be a part of who I am. The best I can do is to accept that it is as it is, and give love to those I can, and remember a small, perfect little person with an irreversibly injured brain, who was gone so long before I was ready to part with him…

In honor and remembrance of Elijah, I’m asking that, over the next 12 days, you lavish your beloveds with love. Life is brief, and uncertain, except for one thing…we are all going to die, someday. I’m not trying to be morbid, only realistic. Our time here is finite. Pretending it’s not, changes nothing.

Will you do it? Can you make life sweeter for those you love? Can you include yourself? If you do, I would love to hear about it in the comments. It would be a note of joy and hope to balance those lower emotional tones…

Elijah James Burton, July 13-25, 2003.

And now, on to the update, because, as always, writing helps!

July Focal Areas:

  • CampNaNoWriMo Target attained!  (50,115 words).

  • Homeschool Administration

  • Blog Maintenance and Exploration

2014 Blogging:

Build positive blogging habits – post regularly, build queues, answer comments, and share diversely.

Maintain regular posting schedule;queue one post for each regular feature.On target.

  • All regular posts done.

  • Sunday Post for July 13.

  • Gathering mental ideas for queues. This will not apply to SoCS posts, since those are prompted weekly on Fridays.

Develop a sharing strategy that feels natural; incorporating input from Kristen. On target.

  • No Kristen yet, but I’ve put a couple ideas into experimental use; more on them later.

Continue interacting through comments; expand and diversify my willingness to comment. On target.

  • Again, I’ve put a couple new practices into play; more on them later.

  • Comments are being answered, but so many lovely folks have things to say that I’m a little backlogged! If I haven’t gotten to you yet, I am on my way! =)

2014 Writing:

Complete rough drafts of To Be or Not to Be, The Stars Are Fire, and Perchance to Dream.

Continue drafting Perchance to Dream during July NaNoWriMo. On target.

  • 19,409 new words! WHOA!

  • 50,115/50,000 NaNo Words

  • 113,551 WIP words.

  • 35/60 scenes.

  • NaNo is won; but I’m continuing on at a slightly more relaxed pace for the remainder of the month.


2014 Hometending:

Continue physical and virtual hometending plans – resetting rooms, cleaning files, and inhabiting my study.

Clean out email files. On target.

  • A few more done, but now there’s more…

Develop new habits that support organization and productivity.

Experiment with Daily Writing Frames from Round 1.On target.

  • I’m paying attention to the flow of days, and what I tend to do with them. It’s early days, yet.

Develop Daily Hometending Frames. On target.

  • Same as above; paying attention.

Set aside time weekly for administrative stuff (Adminstrative Frames, maybe?) On target.

  • Same as above…

2014 Lifetending:

Continue exploring fitness goals – more on this throughout the round.

Nutrition goals for July:

Acquire Intuitive Eating ebook. Target attained!

  • Book is waiting in my Kindle.

Consume minimum five veggie/fruit salads and/or fruit smoothies each week. Target attained for this week.

  • 3 salads; two smoothies.

Consume Greek yogurt and nuts minimum twice weekly. Target attained for this week

  • Twice for each.

Sponsor Visits:

  • Yes, I visited…adding them to Wednesday’s post…time grows short to post before midnight!

Come ROW with us!


  1. I can’t imagine the pain of losing a child that was just born. We had a miscarriage, and that was hard enough. I’ll honor Elijah’s days appropriately.

    • I grieve with you for your loss, John. I’ve also miscarried, and that brings a unique kind of pain, as well.

      Someone very wise once told me, shortly after Elijah died, that everyone;s biggest problem was as big as everyone’s biggest problem. We had twelve days, and we did the best we could not to waste them. We had time to hope, and prepare for grieving, and to let go, but, most importantly, we had a chance to be with Elijah while he was here.

      It’s a pain that shifts, but never completely goes away. But pain can have a way of making the beautiful things in life – like the laughter of our surviving children, or still smiling involuntarily when Jim walks into the room, all the sweeter…

      It’s also made me much more tolerant of adversity. I guess, to some extent, I figure that surviving that means I can get through or at least learn to live with whatever life has in store for me. That was sorely tested in 2012, when Jim hit a deer on his motorcycle and was hospitalized for 10 days with serious injuries…but we made it through.

      Thank you for honoring Elijah’s Days with us. It makes me happy to know that our sweet Tiny Tiger is still touching other lives. It makes his living a little bigger, somehow.

  2. Shan, I’ve miscarried, but never lost a child who lived to term, so I cannot imagine your sorrow.
    I will definitely shower all my loved ones even more with love and acceptance during Elijah’s days. The hardest will be me, but I’ll work on that, too.

    • We’re fortunate. We had 12 days; some people have stillborn children, or never get to hold their baby, or –

      We had 12 days, and I will hold him close to my heart for my lifetime.

      On Elijah’s behalf, I thank you. It does get easier to be loving to myself when I make it a point to practice it regularly.

      And my love to your babies who didn’t come into the world, and to you.

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