Friday, October 29, 2010

Honesty is the hardest policy

Today November 1, 2010 marks our 2 year anniversary of love! We had our first official date 2 years ago. We ate dinner and watched a James Bond movie and near the end Jeremy held my hand. Little did we know that 2 years later we would have already celebrated a year of marriage, bought a house and be more than just talking about babies. Crazy.

I am learning that we rarely know what God has planned before we are in the midst of it. As much as I would love God to give me knowledge of the future he has in store I am also feeling very safe to just trust him when I see all the wonderful things I have in my life. And also all the crappy stuff I have survived. It is not all moonlight and roses this road we walk as Christians. We trip, we fail, we fall apart, we have our hearts broken and we poor examples of Christ to the world. My desire is not to be an example of a "good Christian", but a reflection of Christ. To try and be a model Christian I may be forced into hiding my faults, not confessing my sins and not allowing forgiveness to come into my life. I want to be fully seen and known and in my failing to show the grace, mercy and love of Christ to others as I pick myself up, dust myself off, and start again.

I just started a bible study on Job and today as I read about how God saw him as a man of "complete integrity" it was very convicting. God sees all of me. The good, the bad and the ugly, but what of that do I present to others? Do I confess and seek forgiveness, am I a true reflection of what is going on in my heart? Not always.
God specifically put on my heart something to confess to Jeremy and I am still fighting him, wanting to find a good reason (or any reason) not to share. It's not even a big deal really but will involve a nice fat slab of humility that I am not sure I want to give. So I am stuck between feelings of conviction and those of fear. Almost tasting the freedom of being fully known, loved and forgiven my the man I love and seen as having integrity by the God I serve, and then shrinking behind my fear of embarrassment or rejection. It's a tough one even though it shouldn't be - as I said before it is not a big deal. Not even blog worthy really.

At least I will have something to talk about if conversation lulls tonight at dinner! Pray for me!

In other news, on Wednesday I met with my doctor to discuss the results of the huge quantity of blood and other tests I had done. Everything cam back normal. In many ways this is good news, we have no problems to fix but it also offers us no answers as to why our miscarriages are happening. So now we start another phase of this journey, the fertility clinic.

I made an appointment for next week when Jeremy and I will continue our journey towards parenthood under PNW fertility.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Feast of fall fare

My fall food obsession climaxed this weekend when we had some friends over for dinner (to watch the huskies) and play games. I am never one to shy away from a theme when I entertain, and this was no exception. I started with a bunch of staple food produce, pumpkins, various squash, pears and ended with a bunch of fall deliciousness.
This was our menu.

Roasted Pumpkin Salsa, with tortilla chips (The recipe online has an incomplete ingredient list, so I had to add in a red pepper, and some garlic, I used about 2 cloves.
Crispy butternut wontons with spicy tomato sauce

Pumpkin chili with pumpkin cornbread
velvety squash soup with rosemary bread and sourdough

Pumpkin cheesecake

Pear and ginger crisp

And to drink...Apple cider and pumpkin beer.

Topped off with Catchphrase, Telephone Pictionary and the Celebrity game. A good time was had by all! Happy fall!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

The 'f' word

Well, the other 'f' word. Focus.

I think I have been beating myself up a little bit recently for not being disciplined. I want to get fit but can't be motivated to get off the couch. I want to start a food blog but get distracted. I want to thrive and do my best in school but procrastinate until I hand in assignments that just get me by. I want to be better at celebrating my friends, birthdays, anniversaries, significant events but let myself get busy and miss the moment and I want to move forward in my faith but am always falling into bed so sleepy my Bible and journal sit unopened on my nightstand. Yuck.

I think I have been missing the boat a little bit though. Yes, I am undisciplined but I believe that I am missing a vital piece of this puzzle. Focus. I get off course so easily when I don't see the changes I want happening immediately because I forget why I am doing it.

I bought a Jillian Michaels DVD this summer when I was wanting to get fit before we got pregnant. I did it once before we found out we were - and then after the miscarriage, and our subsequent pregnancy and miscarriage the DVD began to gather dust. This weekend I was feeling particularly 'blah' about my fitness level and my body and made a resolve to start my days with Jillian. It is a 30 day program and I can do anything for 30 days right?

After the first 5 minutes I was sweating, in pain, so winded I legitimately thought I might die. However, after it was done, and I had survived, and showered I felt wonderful!! Then (fatal mistake) I looked in the mirror. In my post work-out haze I had been convinced that my cottage cheese thighs would have turned into the tanned and toned ones I had been watching bending and stretching in front of me on the DVD. Of course, that was not the case and immediately I was discouraged. My heart sank and I wanted to give up. What was the point?

I didn't work out with the DVD next day. But the following morning after a run in with a particularly tight pair of jeans (that didn't used to be) my resolve was back. This time when I was working out something caught my eye; a baby picture we have of Jeremy that somehow ended up next to our TV.

In that moment, as I was doing jumping jacks and sweating my butt off (hopefully!) I realised that this is what my sweating was all about. Yes, I want to be active so I can fit in my jeans, and yes, I want to look good for my husband but ultimately I want to get in good shape because Jeremy and I want to have a baby. Not just pregnancy, but sleepless nights, running around after a toddler - everything about kids takes energy. Seeing that photo of Jeremy's smiley baby face reminded me where my focus needed to be. Just fitting into jeans isn't enough, but for our family I choose to get up and out of a cozy warm bed and work out.

That's what I feel like with the other things I listed at the beginning of this post. I am in school to learn so I can find a career that allows me to be making a difference in the world. I want to be an example for my family. Jeremy tells me all the time that he is proud of me for starting over in college. I want to be a good student because it will make me a better person, and ultimately the best version of myself for my family.

I have noticed that I recently I have added a lot to my plate. Increasing my class load with school amongst other things has made life stressful. I am stopping my part-time job it the next couple of weeks and this will free up time. I am praying that I can take a step back and find an hour or two to re-focus to help me reach my goals.

This is what will keep me on track with my working out - and now it's out there I have friends on blogland holding me accountable. Maybe I am biased, but I believe he is the cutest baby EVER!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fog is lifting

Feeling full of purpose today. Deciding that the 'end of summer woes' needed their butt kicked. So today I got up and worked out, that felt like a good start! Feeling like life is a little stagnant right now, like we are in a time of waiting and we are stuck. Waiting for next week for our test results, and waiting for new appointments, new tests and more results after that. Waiting to find out if we can have a baby of our own. Waiting for the next phase of our lives together to begin.

And while none of that goes away in our hearts, it has to go away in the way we wait. We can be passive, and simply sit back. Sit day in and day out and wait. Or we can chose to embrace fully the gifts of today. We truly have so much.

In our 'waiting' we have somehow started to move apart. In embracing the time we have just us, we get closer. Yesterday after church (and after the Seahawk game - more thoughts to come about this whole football widow thing) we went to lunch. It was a beautiful sunny fall day here in the Emerald City and I really wanted to make the most of what could be one of the last sunny days we have. What better way to enjoy some PNW beauty than by eating by the water, and when Jeremy suggested Agua Verda it all just made sense!

We got a table on the deck, in the bright, warm sunshine, overlooking the lake watching the boats and the kayaks, eating delicious food and sipping down a Margarita. This was really just a perfect moment, time to share about our lives, and make the effort to engage one another. Small steps make a hug difference in the way we communicate and the way we love each other.

Tonight I am having some ladies over to craft a little and make some cards. I love to make my own greeting cards but finding time can be my downfall. Actually, making time can be my downfall. I have been out of my stock pile cards for a while, so tonight I will replenish it while having fun times with fun ladies. Another kick in the pants for the fall blues! As the nights get darker, I feel so un-motivated to call people up and make plans, so I know myself well enough to try and get some things on the calendar before the night time dark zaps my creative energies!

Ok, fog has lifted, in my heart, head, body and literally...outside the sun is shining again. I now need to get my homework groove on so I have time later to set things up for tonight. It's going to be a good week, if the days all pan out like this one.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

More pumpkins goodness

Tonight, I raided my cupboards and the fridge for supplies for dinner. I wasn't sure what i would end up with but after a few google searches with the ingredients I found I came across a recipe for Pumpkin chili. I wasn't sure how I felt about pumpkin in chili, but I was willing to give it a shot - especially since I had a fresh batch of homemade pumpkin puree just calling out to be used in something delicious!!

Here is the recipe. It was actually really good, the pumpkin gave it a really good texture more than anything else. So for any of you who open a big can of pumpkin and you can't use it all at once, you should try this out.

I served it with sour cream, and a little cilantro. Oh, and a big glass of wine.

Happy fall to you x

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

All about the cycles

Today I started my period. This is a normal biological function happening to hundreds of thousands of women at this very moment. To some it comes as a relief, and to others, particularly those trying to conceive it is often an event to mourn. Today I am totally conflicted by feeling a sense of everything in that large range of emotion!

We had made the decision to take at least a month off from trying. Two miscarriages in two months was just a lot for my body and my spirit to handle. Our desire to be parents is balanced very much with our desire to stay sane as much as possible in the process! It didn’t make it an easy decision, even to wait one month can seem like forever, but we knew it was right. We found even more peace in our decision when my doctor told us that we needed to be un-pregnant to get accurate test results.

So today marks a strange day. On Friday I will have the last of this batch of blood work. On the 27th I have another Dr’s appointment to hear the results of all the tests (I guess it can take a while to get results back). We will know then if it necessary to continue on and have two more tests at a fertility clinic to rule out the last possible ‘testable’ reasons for our miscarriages.

I think it is partly the hormones of the day, but I have been prone to out bursts of tears this afternoon. Tears for how it ‘should’ be, and tears for what might not happen in our lives, and tears of fear about all the unknowns of the future.

A friend recommended a book to me that I have been devouring. It is breaking me and healing me all at the same time. It really struck me today that we have no idea what it will mean for us to walk down the journey of parenthood. All of the tears we have cried for these lost babies, are drawing us closer to God, or at least that is my hope. In our suffering we identify more with God and know our need for him more clearly than ever. In the book, Holding onto Hope, a story about finding God’s heart in the midst of our suffering, Nancy Guthrie talks about how we so often pray for healing and then add in a P.S. “if it’s your will.” She asks the question,”shouldn’t we switch that around? Shouldn’t we cry out to God with boldness and passion and persistence in a prayer that says, ‘God, would you please accomplish your will? Would you give me a willing heart to embrace your plan and you purpose? Would you mold me into a vessel that you can use to accomplish what you have in mind?’ And then, perhaps, you could add a tiny P.S. that says, ‘If that includes healing, we will be grateful.” (88)

I want to be praying that prayer. I want God’s will to be done in my life, and in our family. I know friends who have had lost children. I have seen them walk with dignity through something that I can never ever imagine having to do. I know people raising children with learning disabilities and with emotional difficulties and I am suddenly all the more aware that we have no idea what God’s plan is for our family. If we are asking for God to bless us with a child we must be praying for God’s will to be accomplished through us receiving this gift. We have no idea what God may be asking of us but whatever is to come we can trust it is God’s good and perfect will and we can receive the peace He promises us comes with that.

In all the fun we have been having this fall so far, the leaves turning colour are a reminder that this is just a season. Soon enough the pumpkins will be gone and (hopefully) the snow will be falling, and then soon after that, the bulbs will start to break through the cold hard earth to signal spring…and so on, and so on forever. This is a season too. We are enjoying the fall activities and food, time with friends and the reminder to be thankful, but we are also mourning the loss of our pregnancies, and we are grieving that this process is not the simple and joyful experience we thought it would be.

We continue to seek God’s face. We know that there are new seasons coming. We hope it will include a child, (or two or three of them); we know we will see our marriage continue to evolve and transform, yet, we do not know the fine detail of these events. We have no guarantees in life other than God’s faithfulness, and so we pray “Your will be done in our lives Lord.”

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Corn maze fun

With all the pumpkins and squash around our house, it was time to embrace this season a little more and head to the Farm at Swan's Crossing, for their WA state corn maze and some apple cider doughnuts!

We grabbed out good buddies, Anjie and Josh and headed out. (But not before we had filled our bellies with the velvety squash soup, and yes it was every bit as delicious as it claimed.) It had started to rain as we were driving, but we had all dressed for mud with our boots and decided to brave the elements! Once we arrived, there was a little drizzle but nothing a Seattle dweller would call rainy and the sun even come out when we were in the maze!

First stop apple cider doughnuts

and what goes well with apple cider doughnuts? That's right, hot apple cider - I was excited about this combination, can you tell? And yes, so was everyone else!

So off we headed on the hay wagons to thee corn maze, stopping to watch some duck racing on the way, and taking a detour through the petting zoo - cutest kittens ever! But I am still trying to persuade Jeremy on that one.

It was certainly muddy, but we had a grand adventure all the same!

So much fun being in the corn maze, and it was really pretty in there especially when the sun began to shine. We safely found our way out without too much trouble and even survived the crazy muddy and wet suspension bridge!

The day ended with pumpkin spite lattes and all was well with the world for a moment!

Hope you are all enjoying the bounty of the fall season too.

Friday, October 8, 2010

How could I forget these?!!?

As I looked over the list from yesterday I realised I had forgotten a couple of essentials...

Pumpkin muffins
- these are amazing for breakfast. They are not too sweet but the little bit of sweetness on top is just wonderful. Make a batch and put them in the freezer to defrost as needed!

Baked potato soup - This is heavenly. 1. because it tastes SO good and, 2.because it is so easy to make. That's all there is to say.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

We love autumn!

This blog is a little homage to the wonderful produce we get to enjoy this season. I was only introduced to cooking with pumpkins and squash when I moved to the US - Friends and family in the UK I hope these treats have reached Sainsbury's since I left, but they are so very worth seeking out - perhaps try the market if not.

These dishes and treats are what this season is all about.

Pumpkin red lentil curry - Just had this tonight for dinner. A fall staple in our house. Always delicious.

Butternut squash white bean soup - We had this on Tuesday with our small group and it was a big hit. It packs a spicy punch and hits the spot on a cool fall evening, especially when served with warm crusty bread.

Chocolate chip pumpkin bread - this is a fab treat, and who doesn't have bananas lying around going bad every now and then, just crying out to be mashed and made into banana bread? This one will not be on the low fat list but it is totally dreamy. A slice is a perfect treat.

Butternut Squash Lasagna - ok, so this in on the menu for the weekend, so I can't vouch for it (yet) but it looks yummy, and I 'll let you know!

I am also curious to make this squash soup, doesn't it make your mouth water?!
Velvety Squash Soup

Ok, enough of the fall yummy-ness. I am making myself hungry. Perhaps another slice of the chocolate banana bread is in order?

How many blood tests?!

Yesterday I had my appointment with my doctor, it went as I expected. She arranged blood work and other tests to rule out some reasons or causes of miscarriage. She did make a point to say that 60% of all miscarriages are never explained, and she said that there was still a possibility that we have just been unlucky with our pregnancies - even though something within me says that is not the case.

When the potential issues are hormone related you have to be tested on specific days of your cycle to measure the levels accurately and I truly believe that it was God's grace that day 21, which was the first date I needed to test on happened to be today (just one days after the appointment). We do not want to get pregnant while the test are being processed, partially to make sure they are accurate and partially because if there is something we can find to correct we don't want to lose another pregnancy while we figure it out.

So I went this morning to have 9 vials of blood taken to be sent off for testing - yes, 9! And I have to go back Friday and Sunday

In my heart I still have hope that there will be a simple fix. I am not sure what to think about all these tests, but if nothing else we are ruling things out.

Feeling a sense of humility in this process. As I continue to process the loss of baby Ewan (my friend Kirsten's baby - see 'Please pray' blog below) I am more and more aware of the fact that we are not in control in this life. There is a bigger plan going on. I am invited to be a part of it but it is not about me. I have to be OK with life looking different than I expected, and it is a stretch of our faith to see this baby business play out in the way it is.

I am hopeful in the midst of the heartache. And I am fearful in my humanity, even though I know the peace of Christ.

I guess we wait and see what the results tell us, and in the mean time we hope and pray.

In other news, my second quarter of school is in it's second week and I am really loving my classes. I am taking another English class and also Introduction to Psychology, which is really keeping me on my toes. This is double the workload I had last quarter and so I have been challenged to make good discussions about how I spend my time in order to get my assignments done, keep on top of maintaining order in our house, and working part-time. It's a busy life but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Please pray

Feeling heavy with grief today. We have been so blessed to be surrounded by so much prayer as we journey through the process of losing our pregnancies; the anticipation, the fear, the hope and the loss. We have never travelled this alone and we are so thankful again for your love.

Today I am reaching out to ask for your prayers for a friend of mine, we have never met in person but we have been traveling the road of life together for many months through this wonderful blogging world. She has supported us and prayed for us in our sadness, and as she awaited the arrival of her little boy Ewan, wondering what life would be for this little guy and his broken heart, I prayed for her.

Little Ewan entered the world on September 18th and was bright-eyed and beautiful. From the start he was a fighter, and he was loved fiercely. But his heart just couldn't not hold out and he caught an infection which was too much for his poor little body to handle. At about midnight last night Kirsten and James said goodbye to their precious baby.

I can only begin to imagine what waking up today was like for them, knowing he was not here in person for them to hold and love on. I can't understand the road they will walk now, or the grief they feel. I can pray for them to be comforted in someway by Jesus, and I am asking you to join with me in saying a prayer of comfort for them today.

Ton know more, and to see pics of this handsome little guy please read their blog at


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