Monday, January 2, 2012


Today a FB friend (and someone that I respect a great deal) made a status update about a book called "Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way", by Shauna Niequist.  I wrapped up the book I was reading last night and was searching for a new book, so I read the online description. 

I knew this was a must read for me and would help with how stuck I have been feeling lately after reading the following description: "Bittersweet...It's the practice of believing that we really do need both the bitter and the sweet, and that a life of nothing but sweetness rots both your teeth and your soul. Bitter is what makes us strong, what forces us to push through, what helps us earn the lines on our faces and the calluses on our hands. Sweet is nice enough, but bittersweet is beautiful, nuanced, full of depth and complexity. Bittersweet is courageous, gutsy, audacious, earthy."

Wow.  I immediately loaded this book on my e-reader and dug right in once the girls were down for their nap.  And then I stopped after about 3 pages so I could digest her words that were speaking to me loud and clear.  It was all too familiar when she wrote, "For most of that season, I was clenching my teeth, waiting for impact, longing for it to be over."  Yep, I know that feeling.

For the past two years, I go through every day of my life with the following thought, "if I can just hold on until tomorrow, next month, next year".  I am walking through my life while holding my breath, afraid to exhale for fear that I will no longer be able to keep it all together.  I am on auto-pilot.  For the past two years, the Rett Syndrome monster has won.  It has taken over my life and rendered me incapable of living.  There have been weeks or months when things were going well and I started to feel a little again but then bam, out of nowhere I am pushed deep down again and realize that I am still holding my breath.

It is no surprise that I am not a huge fan of the holidays.  I wrote a post on this blog at the beginning of December and titled it "bitter".  After the holidays and the New Year, I continue to hold my breath because it is the month of January, the month when we received Reagan's diagnosis.  I continue to try to focus on the birth of our second daughter, also in the month of January, instead of the ugly "D" day, but the thought of "is it February, already".  

It might take me months to get through this book because I intend to read it slowly and deliberately, letting each word hang out there.  I am hoping that this is the beginning of my journey in finding the balance again and learning to live my life to it's fullest.


  1. Thanks for this, Dawn. The way you describe it - holding your breath, keeping everything together, not really living properly - is exactly how I've been feeling for years! I recognise it, but struggle to get over it. I haven't worked out a solution yet, but I really want one! C xx

  2. Love you lady! I pray that each breath will bring you closer to the joy, the sweet, the peace that passes understanding.


  3. Thank you for your honesty and for such an amazingly beautiful post. This touched me because after Lyla's surgery, I too was holding my breath. I can so relate to what you are saying and I pray you can find your peace soon.