Monday, January 31, 2011

A year ago...

When talking with a friend this morning I mentioned that i was about a year since we found out we were pregnant the first time. It got me thinking and when I went back an checked my charts it is exactly one year ago to the day that we first saw those line on the test. I would post a picture - we took one like all good parents-to-be do - but I don't want anyone to mis-read it as a more exciting announcement. Those pictures, along with the ones we took of the other double-liners sit in albums on our computer, a little redundant. We take them every time, just in case they actually make it into a baby book one day...when there is a baby to go along with it.

Some days I feel like it was just yesterday, those initial feeling of fear and excitement and hope and "what did we do"! And other days it feels like we have been walking this path forever and only the fear is left.

I am tired of this journey.
My heart is bruised and broken from so much loss.

This month we have decided we will try again. And hope and pray for a pregnancy that lasts.

Last night we had a farewell dessert night with our newly-wed group. We have journeyed the first year (and then some) of marriage with these couples. What a gift to have a place to be honest, through the highs and lows of marriage, and be met with grace and support. We would not have made it this far without such community and I attribute a large portion of the health of our marriage to our participation in it. There is nowhere to hide in a group like this and we all had to step up to the plate and be vulnerable and transparent - something that comes more naturally for some of us than others, but because everyone was willing to share we all grew as individuals as well as couples.

We are standing together a year later, stronger than ever and praying for patience and joy as we wait for God's plan to reveal itself!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fridge of Fame

It's almost February, and I have only just taken down my Christmas cards. My tardiness is partly because I just love having the Christmas cards up, but partly because I like to cut out the pictures from our Christmas cards each year and arrange them on our fridge. This process can be a little time consuming and so I have not made the 20 minutes to do it, until now! I gleaned this idea from my friend Emily, and love that other friends have now gleaned the idea from us! I enjoy the daily reminder of our friends and family and I love how God uses the pictures to call my heart to pray.

I finally bit the bullet, so to speak, and got out the scissors last night. I had almost forgotten I had even done it until this morning when I got the orange juice out for breakfast and saw the new pics. So fun to the kids we love and how much they have grown over the past year, and to see people who sent cards alone last year now posing with a fiance or husband/wife. We are truly blessed to be sharing our time on earth with such a rich community of people.

Know your cards do not just get thrown away in our house. They go one the fridge of fame and that is where they will stay - probably until next February when I get around to doing this years Christmas cards!!

Here is the new fridge, can you find yourself? - please excuse the camera work our fridge is not actually lopsided!

Monday, January 24, 2011

A symbol of what we have lost and who we have become

For a while now I have wanted to get something to symbolise the babies we have lost, and the journey we have taken over the past year. A friend who went through a miscarriage at the same time as me had told me about a necklace she got after hers which you could put a birth stone in, and so she had the birth stone of her daughter and of the baby she had lost. It helped her to have something physical as a memorial to the child she would never meet (on this earth). Since then I have been keeping an eye out for something that could serve this purpose for me. With so many miscarriages, it felt little too much to get something for each of them, and in reality I want to remember the whole of this time. Not just the losses but the grief of this time, the strength of our marriage and the storms we have endured. The other day whilst browsing I saw this and I just knew this would be my memorial.

Something that says, "We miss you little ones and even as life moves on we often think about you and wonder aloud about who you would have been" but also says, "we are choosing to let this season make us stronger together."

Our little ones flew to heaven. But they will always be in my heart, and I will always have Jeremy by my side.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Tales of a Birthday Trip

This weekend was my lovely husband's birthday. I surprised him with a trip to our favourite little getaway town, La Conner. We usually camp, but the wet and very cold conditions were not exactly fun camping weather so I had found us a fun condo right in the heart of the quaint downtown.

We spent the day yesterday eating lunch in town, getting coffee from the little roasting company, La Crema and making the most of the hot tub at the condo! We went out to dinner at the wonderful Seeds Bistro, before heading back for more hot-tubbing and cupcakes!

This morning, after checking out, we went out to breakfast at the Calico Cupboard - another favourite haunt of ours. There are some wonderful signs in this restaurant including one that said, 'Chocolate is an essential nutrient' and another that said, 'A balanced diet is having a cookie in both hands' I thought they were great! Then we wandered around some of the little boutiques and antique shops before we headed back to Seattle.

Jeremy has been away on business most of the last two weeks and this was some much needed time away together, relaxing and reconnecting.

Happy Birthday to you baby! I can't wait to see what this year holds for us.

Here are a few pics from our little trip.
This is the gate to our condo, which was above a coffee shop and an art gallery, right on the main street. You can see the door to the condo if you look carefully.

Our deck was at the front of the condo, and had beautiful views - but was right above the high street! (I took this this morning, and it was a little rainy but yesterday it was a totally clear day - perfect hot tub weather!)

Here we are all dressed up and ready for dinner -

and here we are outside the restaurant - I wanted to get a pic inside, but it was a pretty small restaurant and Jeremy was not excited about the idea we would be drawing attention to us. So because it was his birthday we waited and took this instead!!

Back to the condo for dessert - Trophy cupcakes (yay Groupon), brought from home.I had Red Velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and he had Vanilla cake with Chocolate buttercream frosting. All good. All the time.

And after all that food had settled, we had one final dip in the hot tub. I love the self timer for taking pics just like this!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

To try or not to try...

Since August, we have lived our life month to month, cycle to cycle as we try to have a baby. Counting days, taking temperatures, taking vitamins, eating well, peeing on sticks, and waiting. It's exhausting - but the possibility of having a baby is exhilarating.

The months we took off from trying this autumn allowed us to regroup, at least for a while, while we had some fertility tests done. With our last miscarriage a full cycle behind us my body seems to be back to normal and we are needing to make a decision for this month. We want to try, but we want it to lead to a baby. We have to factor in the possibility of worst because that's what we know, as well as the glimmer of hope that is the possibility of the best when we discuss whether this month is the right time to try again. It feels counter intuitive, and even cruel to ourselves to wait, but we truly want to step out on the path God has for us and when He seems silent, we feel uncertain of our next move. We are willing to walk this path of heartbreak if God is walking with us, we will find purpose in it. We just want to feel less alone in our decision.

Today was my fourth consecutive day of working out (this time), and I am feeling really proud of myself. I put it off all day, but I didn't let my sloth get the better of me and I just finished it in front of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. (I was actually quite motivated by those skinny ladies!!) I am eating leftover homemade vegetable pizza that I made last night, and feeling really good about myself. I have lost my body to the process of pregnancy and miscarriage four times a very short space of time and I am finally feeling like I have it back.

I have gone out at night a lot recently, have have felt fully well. For an anxiety sufferer like myself, social situations can be anxiety provoking at the best of times, but in times of stress or extra anxiety the pretty consistent nausea makes it really hard to feel like getting dressed in the morning let alone doing hair and make up and going out. It makes me want to hibernate. And I am a good hibernator. When we have been pregnant, my hormones as well as fear have triggered a lot of anxiety from almost day 1 of conception. Which means every month we try, for 3 weeks of that month, I am feeling awful physically - and then we have miscarried and had to deal with all that comes with the loss of a pregnancy. So pretty much it has dominated our thoughts, ravaged my body, hijacked our plans for upcoming trips and put a general cloud over the whole process of baby making; it's been pretty miserable for me, which in turn made it pretty miserable for Jeremy. It was a barrel of laughs in our house! ha ha

We didn't try this month because of the weird test results after our last m/c, and it felt like forever until we had been given the all clean from the doctor to try again. Now the decision is upon us and I am feeling much less excited to try. I liked it last month because the decision was taken away from us. I was sad that it meant we were another month away from a baby, but at the same time, if I am really honest, I don't know that I really believe my body will ever carry a baby to term so trying again will only bring heartbreak - being a month away from that wasn't so hard. Trying to have a baby feels like heading in the "right" direction, to add to our family. But truthfully, I feel like we will be simply moving around the food on our family plate, not adding to it.

Are we crazy to keep trying? Is my unbelief playing a part in this whole thing?

Sometimes the frivolity of not trying feels wonderful. I have been loving meeting friends for drinks, going to trivia nights, walks around the lake, playing in the snow, going to Bible study, being at friends houses for dinner, taking trips. I like feeling well. I like taking time to get ready, do my hair, slap on some make up and feel pretty; feel like myself. I like not having to get my hyperventilating under control before I decide if it's worth the crappy feeling to go somewhere. I am going out and feeling like myself for the first time in a long time.

Not trying feels like something I could really get behind, but I have a suspicion it is just a way I am putting off what I feel is the inevitable of not being able to conceive a healthy pregnancy. I am a procrastinator. A big one. I wonder if by putting off trying again, all the ultimatums I profess in whispers at night, that this will be the last time we try if we don't work out, will not have to be tested. I won't have to decide to give up on a biological child for another month. Perhaps that is where my fear lies, and where the comfort of putting off trying comes from?

Tonight, I go to bed with thoughts running through my mind, and the decision weighing heavily. Challenging my motivations fore and against trying. It might be a long night. God, grant me your peace tonight I guide my steps I pray. Again I surrender to your plan.

p.s. I keep catching glimpses of my newly painted toenails, they make me smile. Darling Anjie and I gave ourselves a little foot spa pedicure last night and it was wonderful! Ladies, get your girls friend over, soak those tootsies in warm water and scrub them with delicious scented scrubby stuff, clip those nails and then paint your nails a colour that makes you feel pretty. Trust me I'll do you a world of good!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Three little things

Day 2 of Jillian, Regis and Kelly. So far so good, but my arms are SO sore! At least I know it's doing something. And I am dangling a carrot of a shopping trip to Crate and Barrel if I keep us the program for 30 straight days. I was doing well before Christmas but took a day off now and then. This time, days off are for slackers!

Recently I have had lots of big stuff to process and have used writing as a way to do just that. I love to use this blog as a vessel to process, and share and I appreciate all of you who read and journey with me.

This however, is not going to be a deep blog but it may give you a little insight into how my mind works! I am a perfectionist, and I like to go the extra mile to make things ordinary things, special. I love to be in my kitchen, and I love to cook; for my husband, for our friends and I really love to host celebrations whenever we can find a reason.

This weekend, we hosted a little pancake brunch for friends to watch the Seahawks play off game. The food was better than the game. But while everyone dished up, a few comments about my kitchen gadgets made me realise that they may not be common items in other people's homes.

I love these gadgets, and they can make breakfast seem a little special. I know that people can collect cupboards full of little unnecessary gadgets that are never used because you can do the task without the specific gadget and you forget where you stored the (for example) apple peeler. You reach for a regular peeler or a knife instead. I do not own an apple peeler but if I liked apples, and therefore made apple things often I would probably get one - as it stands I know enough other kitchen-gadget-lovers who have them to borrow from!

All that to say, I do not have a drawer full of unused gadgets, when I buy something, I usually use it.

Jeremy likes to make "funny" little side comments when we are in Williams and Sonoma and I see something "useful" or when he see a receipt from Crate and Barrel and gingerly asks what I bought now~! However, he will always apologise when I pull out these gadgets and actually use them - which I do often...and often when I am making him something delicious to eat!

These three are a little bit of special in the kitchen. I have more...but for today let's focus on this triplet of kitchen fun. Who knew I could have been made so happy by these little bits and bobs, but I love them. These are also special because they were wedding presents so they remind me of that too!

First of all, the powdered sugar spoon. This can take a little practise for best results. If you put too much on the spoon it will spill over a you sprinkle, but when you get it down it makes all things pancake or waffle look beautiful! This little fellow makes a regular appearance on our breakfast table.

Then the teeny little syrup pitcher. It is perfect for heating up syrup in the microwave before putting it on the table. It's appearance makes you feel like you are in a restaurant. I think this brings a little special to a brunch/breakfast spread. It easy to take apart and was in the dishwasher, and means you don't need to put the sticky icky syrup bottle on the table. (This picture makes it look really, really little, in reality it is abut 5 inches tall!)

Finally, these are not necessary to eat a grapefruit but I believe they are a great asset to the process - Grapefruit spoons. They have a jagged edge, not sharp enough to cut you but sharp enough to get the flesh of the fruit out without having to cut it with a knife before. As an avid grapefruit eater these are used almost daily, and I love them. My spoons are a little different that this picture, they have yellow plastic handles, pretty, pretty.

So there you have it. Unnecessary kitchen gadgets that make me smile! Is this a guilty little secret? Not anymore!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Working out on the Red Carpet

I love Mondays. I love the start of a new week (I know you might think that weeks begin on a Sunday, but it my world, it's all about Monday!)The wonder and hope of what the week will hold. Mountains or valleys, who knows, but here we are Monday ready to find out.

I confess that my work outs have been lacking recently. My get-up-and-go, had got up and gone leaving me behind, chocolate in hand! I have a love, besides Jesus and Jeremy, it's morning TV. I just love it, but I can never just watch one segment so if I am not very careful it's two hours later. PING! Wonderful idea alert!

I set up my lap top on the coffee table, and played the work out DVD on there, right next to the TV. I watched a guilt-free 30 minutes of the Today Show, while I jumping-jacked and bicep curled! I have listened to the work out commentary/instructions enough that I can almost say it by heart. Why did I not think to do this sooner?

As I think back, I barely remember the sweating and the stretching and the panting of working out - but I can tell you the best and worst dressed from last nights Golden Globe awards! ha ha!

Being up and worked out and showered early, meant the pot roast was in the crock pot and cooking up a storm before 8.30am! Hoping this is a sign of things to come for the week ahead.

Here are my personal faves from the Red Carpet, Sandra Bullock and Olivia Wilde. Stunning.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Safety in numbers

On Thursday night I went to an infertility small group that meets from our church. Women sitting around a table, sharing their stories; Tales of trying to conceive, and waiting and testing and procedures and disappointment and more tests. Grieving the lost innocence of pregnancy. The evening was beautiful. A sad time, but a beautiful one.

It was a gift to be with women who were fluent in the language of infertility and loss. No need to watch what I say, no need to have walls up, no fear of being misunderstood. It's been a while since I have found a space where I have been so truly understood. I have wonderful friends, who have constantly been a powerhouse of love and support in the midst of the pain of the last year, but it is different to share with people who carry the same burden of fear and disappointment and who struggle with finding God and His purpose in the midst of it all.

Such a gift, such a place of hope. In the midst of tears and grief, the hope of a better plan was heard. A plan that comes from a place beyond our understanding. I believe with all my heart that as we welcome children biologically or through another way into our families we will know a little of that purpose when we know without a doubt that these are the children we were created to love. In my prayers recently, I have begun to pray for our children. I trust that when we finally get our baby/child we will say, "You are who we have been waiting for" Not just in a general way as we have been longing to become parents, but in a very specific way to each and every child we will call our own.

And because of that, we can wait.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Focus on Today

Wow, so yesterday was a doozy of epic proportions. It was one of the worst of a really tough year. A build up, the run off from all the days I was thinking positive. Glad to wake up from that, although Miss puffy face was looking back at me in the mirror this morning!

I think it was needed. I am trying embrace today as a new day. I did some centering prayer last night which was something I didn't know I was missing in my life until it was done. An exercise in silence and surrender. A time to be still before the Lord. To sit, and know true peace, keeping my thoughts in check, and letting His peace reign in my spirit.

I have been going back and forth trying to understand how I could have written a blog on Tuesday night from a place of such contentment, only to fall into such a state of despair just hours later. I think that on Tuesday night I found a place on genuine peace. My life is good. Today. As I write, my life is good. I again have peace that I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

As people around me begin to add to their families, I feel an anxiety creep in. A voice in my head telling me that I am running out of time. Who am I kidding? I am 32 not 50. I believe we will have a family, I was saying to my friend yesterday how I wish I could skip forward 10 years to spy on my life because I know I will have a family, I just don't know the exact story God is going to write. Sometimes I would just like the heads up!

God has a perfect plan for me. For us. For our family. A perfect plan. Not a perfect family, but one full of love.

When I begin to look too far into the future I panic. I compare, I become doubtful because I don't see the path ahead. My tears are not unfounded. My grief is real. 2010 was full of grief, heavy losses that continue to sting. But my tears are not unwelcome or unwanted by God. He knows every one. He cries with me. He desires to be my comforter and my healer. He is jealous for my time and for my heart. He is singing love songs over me.

He doesn't want me to ignore my sorrow, but he is calling me out of sitting in it and letting it overwhelm me. He is asking me to be truthful. To be sad in the sad moments, and be joyful in the fun times. He is present in both places, and is the giver of the kind of true life that includes mountains and valley, but he is true and faithful in both places.

When I let my thoughts run away with me, there is space for fear to set in. When I set my eyes on an unknown future instead of on the God who loves me, the fear takes over.

My family will be beautiful
. A unique story that started in August 2009 when I married the most wonderful man, a true partner for life. Someone who shares my desire to parent, and whose heart breaks with mine for our losses. Our stories, written to perfectly intertwine. Something that I couldn't imagine happening when I was feeling sad in my singleness. But it was all a part of the story God was writing, and I wouldn't change a second of what has been written so far.

We have today. I don't want to worry about the future, and I don't need to because I know that God's plans for me are for good. Today is good. Today is full of love, friendships, prayers, it has a little sorrow mixed in, but God is there and good in all of it.

So Lord please hold my heart, help me to keep my eyes fixed on you, trusting that you who began this good work in me will carry it on until it is completed (Philippians 1:6) I don't need to know tomorrow, today is full enough!

Here we are this December with our gingerbread house. I love this guy so much x

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

And all of a sudden, when you least expect it, everything come crashing down...

Pregnancies happen. When you are trying to get pregnant or facing fertility issues pregnancies seem to happen all around, all the time. I have been fearing my inbox this week because in the past few days multiple friends have shared news of impending babies. I have had moments of genuine excitement for my friends, but they are short lived and often drowned out by the ugly belly sobs that follow.

I am so, so, grateful and appreciate the extra sensitivity people have shown in announcing their news because of our situation, and while this takes the sting out a little bit, the pain of infertility goes deep.

My body is tired from four lost pregnancies. My cycle isn't 'bouncing back' to normal anymore. It is sluggish and confused. Just like the rest of me.

Recurrent miscarriage is a cruel beast. It has stolen any joy we feel in discovering we are pregnant with an overpowering fear of loss, but it also steals the joy we feel about other peoples announcements too. I want to tell them I am happy, I want to be happy, I want to be able to truly share their happiness and dream along with them. It was easier to do this when we had just lost one pregnancy, we were told losing your first pregnancy was very common. I still felt normal. I could dream and hope for my own pregnancy while joining with friends to dream and celebrate theirs. But as we continued to get pregnant and miscarry, I started to feel less than normal, and then the doctor told us there were things about our situation that were ab-normal, and suddenly it wasn't so easy to dream with others, when dreaming and hoping for ourselves felt like we were just pretending.

I believe God can do miracles, but I am finding it hard to believe he will choose to do it for us. Something in me is telling me that my body is just not going to let this happen. I don't know if it my own pessimism, the enemy, or the Holy Spirit. I don't know whether to believe it or refute it. I wish we just knew one way or the other. I need some black and white. I need a plan, all this grey, and all this "wait and see" feels like such a heavy burden on our shoulders.

As the tears roll because I don't know if we will ever welcome an infant into our lives, my doubt creeps in and I am left desperate for hope. Real hope - and a little perspective. That's what the blogging offers. A place to process, rearrange the mess of thoughts into something manageable. It doesn't make it hurt less, but it helps me to remember what I have. I have a husband who love me, and a family and community with whom I can share life, laughing harder and crying harder than I ever thought possible. I have faith, albeit a little shaky right now, it's there. I am clinging to God in this moment when I feel like my insides are imploding from crying so hard and so deeply. I have His promises of a good future, and a hope for what is to come. I am holding onto that promise of hope with everything in me, when everything I can physically hold is falling away I believe His perfect hope will sustain me - or at least make me get out of bed in the morning.

It feels like it's been a long day but in reality it is only just starting. It feels like a long year, when we are only a couple of weeks in. The days seem to last forever when your arms are missing the children they never got to hold, and it feels like every second lasts for an hour when your heart is so heavy with longing.

I haven't had a day like this in a long time, in fact I haven't let myself go down the "it's not fair" road for fear it would swallow me hole, but today my heart is crying just that, so I guess we'll see what happens.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Snow is falling in Seattle tonight. I love it.
I was at a pub for trivia night with some friends and we were sat looking out of a hug window as the snow got heavier and heavier.

Tonight I felt rich. I have spent the past few days with some of my favourite girl friends who have been keeping me company while Jeremy has been out of town on business. I have met all of them since arriving in Seattle all hose years ago, and they have become my community.

The past few days have included; Staying up late talking about the meaning of life. Laughing really hard. Drinking tea. Competing in the Jellybean trivia round (numbered bags of beans and you have to name the flavour!) Cooking dinner together. Making mince pies. Watching girls only TV like the Bachelor and pretty much anything with Sandra Bullock. More laughing. More cups of tea. Homework (not so fun but I did have to do some so I thought I should include it, I guess house work fits in here too!) Walking in the snow. Skyping with a very old and dear friend in Australia. Skyping with my hubby. And more tea.

It's been a full week so far and it's only Tuesday - unless you are my friend Jo in Australia, then its Wednesday. But anyway, no deeper musings tonight but I wanted to blog while I can truly feel my cup is running over.

So tonight I sit peaceful and content, watching the snow fall.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

You are what you eat...oh dear!

This quarter I am taking a human nutrition class. So far, reading through my text book has just made me want to eat crisps/chips. Then the food log project took effect. I had to keep a journal of exactly what I eat for a period of a few days. I realised how effective this would be for weight loss. I have to record everything that passes through my lips and it will be seen by someone else - but more importantly, everything I eat will be seen in black and white by me. Undeniable.

I would love to say I eat a well balanced diet, but truthfully it's not always the case. I do eat fruits and veggies, and it's easy to think back over the day and remember those 'good' things, but I also chomp on some not so good food and it seems harder to recall the handful of crackers or chips that I grab on the go! I say harder to remember, I really mean harder to admit!

As I have been writing down what I am eating it is providing me accountability. I have to think about everything I am preparing and consuming. I can see if I have had enough water (which I nearly never do) I can't pretend that I haven't eaten junk, and funnily enough I feel so much better om the days I have kept a record of what I am eating. I felt full because I was eating at good intervals during the day; eating a breakfast and lunch and not just grazing until dinner time, unaware of the quantities or nutrition I was actually consuming.

I only have to keep record for 3 days, but have the option to do it longer. I think I will. I am excited to see how this can help me feel healthier. When I feel sluggish I can look back and see if perhaps I didn't eat a good variety, or too much sugar or salt. I can see the calories I am eating and what I am using, and allow treats and chocolate when I have some to spare. I think this will help my chocolate addiction not to feel like such a guilty little secret. I can really enjoy it knowing that I am not over-indulging but that even chocolate can be a part of a healthy diet.

Think this could change the way I eat. I know this for sure, the first day I was keeping track, I refused my leftover Christmas chocolates (Godiva Gingerbread truffles to be exact) and string cheese breakfast in favor of one that included oatmeal and fruit! ha ha ha.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Sweetness in the trials.

Talking with a friend the other day about how we often feel the desire to go deeper with God and feel grounded in our faith because we fear the trials that may come along. Nor just to have a solid foundation if the bottom were to fall out of our world, but perhaps with the hope that we'd avoid the 'bad' things happening in the first place. Through trials we learn that you grow closer to God, but could we skip the trials if we scored an 'A' on our knowing God test?

As I pondered this out loud I realised that actually the whole thing is almost counter-intuitive. I feel that presently my life is segregated into 2 categories. Fertility and then everything else. Our journey with fertility has been going on for almost a year, even though we didn't know it, or plan for it, about a year ago we were getting pregnant for the first time. We were so naive about the journey and heartache we were about to encounter. From dreaming of babies, to pregnancies and loss. Four times over; with blood tests and scans and ultrasounds, "try this drug" and "take these vitamins" thrown in for good measure. This time last year we imagined it would be so simple, and the only question we needed to decide was, "when do we want to have a baby?"

Through all the hope and all the tears of the last year, I have felt the peace deep, deep inside me that us having babies was in God's hands. Not that I heard a promise, and not that peace was always easy to find in the moment, but I truly knew God had us in his hands. Holding us together and giving us strength and love and grace to carry us through, and make us stronger together.

It has been through these times I feel the safest, the most protected. I feel the prayers that have surrounded us and I see the way God has used even the words in this blog to offer encouragement to others in a similar situation.

So then I look to the other pile of life, the places that the world can look at and say, "that part is going right". The areas where I know I am blessed. I have a wonderful husband, a man who is committed to me and our life together. We have a home that we love and in which we enjoy practicing hospitality. We are warm and clothed. We have the resources that I can be in school and getting an education.
In all truth we are very blessed and we are thankful. However, it is in these places of plenty that I feel discouraged. It is in having much that I feel more isolated from God.

In my struggle to find balance, to make my days count I feel like I fail more than I succeed and it's because in these areas of life I am trying to do it alone.

In this life any sense of control is really an illusion. Yes, we can make plans and head towards a goal, but ultimately our lives are in God's hands. He asks us to be faithful and willing to follow him, trusting our lives to His care. In our journey to have a baby we understand our total reliance on God. We can do all the right things, but even in the most scientific procedures there is only so much that we as humans we can do. God makes babies. In this areas of our life, we are fully submitted to God's will, we totally acknowledge that we can do nothing in our own strength to make this happen. We can pray, and follow God's leading trusting that however he builds our family is the best for us.

In the other areas of my life, I hold tighter to my sense of control. It is in these areas of my life it is harder to find peace. They are the areas of discomfort. They are the areas that weigh heavily on my spirit.

So in my processing I realise that it is in the trials of life that I feel closer to God. In my humanity I sin and I fail. I can find God in the other areas of my life if I remember to look, but in the hard times my eyes are fixed hard to Jesus - without effort. I see that I need the trials. To refine me, to shape me. I pray that as I am transformed I will be a better reflection of Christ in the areas of life where I am trying to do it in my own strength.

Lord continue to be with me, opening my eyes each day to your power and sovereignty. Help me come with hands lifted and open offering you all of me. I am yours.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Making the space to be still

For all those who had trouble sleeping last night because of the cliff hanger I let yesterday, please fret no more. I have a sparkling clean bathroom, complete with clean smell. I just love that. Now, no one better think of using it. There's plenty of other bathrooms people keep movin'.

Christmas tree down, and only 5 days into the new year my desire to be intentional in life to make things happen has hit a wall. Well sort of. I had found myself flagging in the productivity department and thriving in the distraction one. I guess it's only to be expected with all that momentum built up! I was so mad at myself and my sloth yesterday. BUT I put the frustration to good use and I made a chart. I used coloured markers and everything. This morning when I woke up, I had goals. To be intentional was way easier when I had planned ahead. Broken down my goals to manageable pieces. I even put in some blogging time! There is of course flexibility but I truly believe that over time having more structure will lead to better habits. These better habits will allow what I do in my days to better reflect the priorities I say are important in my life.

I love that this quarter my classes are human nutrition and cultural anthropology both of which have started with pretty full on schedules, but I'm looking forward to learning.

I see how the distractions in life can take me away from the purpose God gives me each day. In the tough season we are in right now, part of me wants to just hide. To let the noise of the TV, radio, conversation fill my mind and keep the sad thoughts and disappointment from coming to my consciousness. Or coming in a way that needed to be recognised at least. The noise becomes a comfort. A safe place for me to be and pretend everything is alright. But when all around is noisy, I lose the peace my heart is really seeking, and I prevent my spirit from listening to God's voice. I flail, arms and legs not staying inside the car, desperate for direction, unable to be still.

I am hopeful that my coloured marker schedule will provide that space to be quiet, to hear God, to be purposeful, not wasteful with my time.

"This is my prayer today
Lead me in the right path, O Lord,
or my enemies will conquer me.
Tell me clearly what to do,
and show me which way to turn."
Psalm 5:8

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Nothing ventured, nothing gained

I have a love hate relationship with cleaning my bathroom. I love when it's clean but I hate cleaning it. I found out a while ago, that it cuts cleaning time down significantly if I clean the shower right after someone has taken a shower and the tiles and grout are warm and wet from the water and steam. However, after I have taken a shower and stepped out all nice and clean, the lat thing I want to do is head back in there and get all hot and bothered while I scrub. I realised that it is much better to get in, wash my hair and then clean while the water is still running so I can rinse myself and the tiles before I get out and we'll both be clean!

Now, the reason my bathroom looks like it hasn't seen a good clean in a couple of weeks is because it hasn't...but my excuse is that I keep forgetting to being up my cleaning supplies. I usually remember I should have brought them up somewhere between the shampooing and the rinsing and repeating. Last night, I thought I would be so on top of my game and put the cleaning supplies and even the mop in the bathroom so it would be there ready for action when I fell out of bed and into the shower this morning. How could I forget when I literally had to trip over the soft scrub it to get in the shower? Well, turns out I can't forget but that is why I am still in bed writing this, avoiding the dreaded cleaning by avoiding showering. HA!

Ok, no more bathroom talk.

My blood test came back at 4, not the 0 that I would have loved to see but I guess anything under 5 is considered negative so we have the all clear to start trying again if we want. We are both still feeling hopeful that we could have a healthy pregnancy so I think we are game for trying again -at least at the time this goes to print! I am going to start acupuncture soon to see if that can help get my hormones back at good levels. I have heard some amazing stories of this treatment, even though the idea of needles everywhere kinda creeps me out, I feel like it is a good direction for us. Nothing ventured, nothing gained I guess.

And on that note I have to venture into the bathroom!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Written all over it

Enjoying the quiet of my house. My ultra sound this morning revealed nothing unusual. It looks like I had a collapsed follicle and a thick lining which indicates I just ovulated which would be right on time with my usual cycle (tmi? Sorry, but if you have ever read this blog before you should be used to it by now - be thankful I didn't post pictures!)

This is good news and will be REALLY good if my hCG levels in my blood come back as negative, or 0 (even falling would be preferable). Today it's feeling harder to think outside of my situation. I came home and bust into tears. I just want to curl up on the couch and forget everything. Luckily, last night I was feeling in planning mode and made a little 'to do' list for today - my last day of freedom before classes start tomorrow! So I have something to work on, things to cross off. I love that feeling, and I think I have shared before how I always like to include things like, take a shower, get dressed, eat breakfast on the list because the satisfaction of the crossing off is what keeps me focused! I also have plans to hang out with my lovely Lindsey tonight which feels like God's perfect timing. Some people just calm your spirit and their very presence encourages you to be your true self. She is that for me. Every day I am grateful for her, but on tougher days I am even more aware of the gift of a friend who knows, loves and accepts you at every place in life.

We had strict warnings not to try and get pregnant until my levels were back to normal, and the specialists had given us the all clear. My doctor kept on mentioning "tiny cancers" and "cancer markers" which can occur after miscarriage. Although the specialists were not too concerned about that possibility they were checking into it because they hadn't seen results like mine before and were "baffled." I am not overly anxious about the 'C' word being an issue, but in her attempt to calm me down my doctor instead increased my curiosity. Seriously, if I don't have it, there is no need to mention you tested for it - is there a disclaimer like that anywhere I can sign?

What is today's step. Today's step is getting on with my 'to do' list. Today's step is being quiet and letting God speak to me. Today's step is being hopeful that this year will include a baby for us and at the same time getting involved in the small group at our church for women dealing with infertility. Today's step is multi-dimensional but it starts with the biggest step...choosing to get up off the couch and making this day count. In small ways. Claiming this day, each moment, for God and letting His story be written all over it.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Next Step...

The gift of community was so enjoyable in our life today. I forgot that we are having an infertility issue. The burden that has been front and center in my mind for weeks with no signs of lifting, was suddenly displaced without warning when I began to look beyond myself.

At church this morning, we were challenged to seek God for our next step. As we took the elements for communion, Pastor Scoot encouraged us to reflect and wait on the Lord's voice. I was asking God for clarity about our family and the direction we are to go now. I was expecting adoption or IVF to start flashing before my eyes, but instead just felt a peace and a "check back again soon."

We were supposed to be meeting with our newlywed small group (I think we might have to update the name of our group soon, as we all approach our 18 month mark!) Anyway...Our group leaders had to cancel at the last minute because they and their kids had all come down with the flu and were feeling pretty rough. Immediately the thought of taking chicken noodle soup over popped into my mind. Was this my next step? Possibly. Probably. So off I went to pick up a couple of ingredients.

While at the store, another idea popped up. I should just make a huge vat of chicken noodle soup and invite the healthy component of our small group over for the evening. Jeremy had been less than heartbroken to know he wouldn't have to DVR the second half of the Seahawk game tonight to watch after small group, so having friends here to watch the game was an added bonus.

Bringing soup to our friends who were sick, and lightening their 'to do' list a little, and having people here to eat dinner, watch Seattle get into the play-off's (who would have guessed?!), laugh and care for each other felt so life-giving. It felt like the community we talk about. It is intentionally going out of our way to care for people, and intentionally asking people to be a part of our lives that brings us true life.

I have felt more myself today than in a long while. I am in no doubt that being preset in our community in these ways today was God's next step for me today. I guess you get what you ask for.

Today I was willing and obedient to step out and be who God was asking me to be. It is always more of an adventure to live life that way. I wonder what's in store tomorrow, and I hope I have the strength of faith to walk the path before me. One step at a time.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!!

We welcomed this new year in with wonderful friends sharing much laughter over a game of 'Quelf', toasting with our last bottle of champagne from our trip to Napa this summer. I wouldn't have had it any other way.

After sleeping in late, we woke up and connected with dear friends, Sarah, Tim and Lucy for lunch by Green lake and a brief walk in the chilly new years day sunshine! It was quite the place to be; busy with people trying out new Christmas bikes, scooters, skateboards and other contraptions with wheels and walking excited new puppies around the most wonderful place in the city - just my opinion. I love living here. (You should come visit!)

And now home. Sitting by the fire, snuggled under a blanket, Pandora playing the Glee station, learning about my camera from the book I got for Christmas (last year!), about to dig into the new Donald Miller book Jeremy gave me this year and journal a bit. Just need to make myself a cup of tea and I am set for a couple of hours. Wonderful.

Wishing you all a wonderful, blessed, and joy filled 2011.


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