Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Holla! Walla Walla...for starters

There is nothing like a few days away to feel refreshed. And that is exactly what we did this holiday weekend. My parents are in town, so the four of us headed east to Walla Walla. Washington wine country. Oh Yes!

The sunshine followed us, and we made the most of the heated outdoor pool and outdoor hot tub at the hotel. We visited 7 or so wineries while we were there - honestly they began to blur together after a while! ha ha

The wine tasting rooms were set in the vineyards and as we sipped on Merlot s and Cabs, Chardonnay and Riesling we had breathtaking views of the vineyards.

It has been a busy few weeks, and its not letting up for a while yet. I am in the last couple of weeks of school - and because of vacation and my parents visiting I am feeling the time crunch, we also have friends coming into town and staying Friday night - yes, the same Friday my parents leave. It is time for us to get our packet together to get the conditions removed from my Green card (I cannot believe it is time for that already!) oh, and did I mention I am throwing a bridal shower for my lovely friend Denice on Sunday?

Over committed? Maybe just a bit. But after this weekend I can focus on school and after next weekend I can begin to have a life again! I don't know how it happens, I try to strike a good balance but clearly in this particular instance I didn't do a good job. I hate how my body feels when it is carrying around so much nervous energy. My mind can't think clearly, and the smallest of tasks feel like such grand undertakings. I need to be better at putting time aside to be still.

And Jeremy and I are feeling ready for some time alone - Roll on Saturday date night!

Here are a few pics from our mini vacation

Thursday, May 26, 2011

In control

Even in laughter the heart may ache. — Proverbs 14:13

God doesn't promise us a life free of pain, but he is also clear that he will be faithful in the midst of our trials. This Infertility journey is tough, and it has defined some pieces of our life but it does not mean our lives are sad and gloomy all the time.

I certainly have days when I give in to the dark side, but for the most part I try not to dwell on it. It makes me sad, and ultimately there is little I can do to change it. Our struggle comes up in conversations, mostly because I have lovely friends who care enough to ask but I also talk about other things! In fact, while I am happy to keep people update, and answer questions or share our story, its really nice to have a conversation that doesn't involve us not having babies.

In other news, I haven't posted about my 'getting in shape' progress for a while so it's time for a mention. I haven't dropped the ball but I it is going to be a slow and steady journey so it can take time to see progress. From a pretty steady 155lbs, I am now a consistent 149lbs give or take .5 in either direction. I think going Gluten Free played a big part in this, and I know being more intentional to get outside and walk every day has been key too. While I am proud of this drop, and can see it on my waist, my booty and thighs are still holding onto some bulk that is now just even more emphasized!! Ideally, I want to be between 140-145lbs so I have a little ways to go still but I think with summer hinting at making an appearance it will help.

While many of the things in my life right now are outside of my control, it feels good to have a goal, and a focus that is healthy - in multiple ways. Healthy because I want to feel good, and I do that my putting good nutrition in my body. Healthy because I want to feel good about the way I look. I have never really struggled with body image, but now in my 30's I notice things are changing, and I would like to reign in these changes before they get away from me! Healthy because I want to be fit, and forcing myself off the couch and out into the beauty of the PNW is good for the body and for the soul. I am sure there are more reasons. But honestly, that's enough. It feels important to give these other, attainable wants some airtime. On days when the gloom threatens to take over it is good to remember that there is more to our lives than just having a baby.

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on
2 Corinthians 12:9

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

As we wait.

Another pregnancy announcement greeted me when I checked into Facebook this morning. Another update about a growing belly and morning sickness and another painful tear is shed because I just want to be posting those updates myself. I keep saying how badly I want to find peace in my life in this season of waiting. To stop comparing myself to other people. But the truth is that right now I am not dealing with the seeming bombardment of baby announcements very well. So in an effort to self protect I need to step away from Facebook for a while to see if it helps me feel less sad.

Facebook and other social media should be a way to share special news. I use it that way a lot - don't get me wrong, I am a huge Facebook fan in normal circumstances. I just do not have the strength of heart to see baby updates without tears, and a spiral into "it's not fair", and "whens it our turn," and even frustrated tears of "I want to be sending muffin baskets, and buying baby clothes instead of crumbling into a sobbing, snotty mess." Not good for anyone. Especially not for me.

I keep thinking that if I were pregnant I could react in a genuinely happy way to these announcements/status updates. I have nothing to base this belief on really except that I know it is easier to hear announcements in the time of waiting each month when there is hope that this could be our month. When our test is negative and we cross another month off our list, the world seems darker and other peoples happy news is so much more painful to hear.

It hurts to not be able to celebrate with others. It hurts to have to keep my distance from those I love and care for because I cannot hold back tears.

It seems that Facebook opens me up to hearing announcements from people who would never have contacted me personally to share this news, and who I would not necessirily even have known about without Facebook. I had a lovely friend email me with news of a new addition a few days ago. She was so sweet and so sensitive to our feelings and honestly, I had such a peaceful reaction. No tears, a genuine hint of joy. But these are friends I know in real life, who do not live very far away and who I hope to visit. It wasn't a cover all announcement. It wasn't flippant. And it made their big reveal something I was able to enjoy, not dread. It doesn't change that I wish we had good baby news to share, but it was not a shock, and I got to process it in my own time. In a status update there is nothing to soften the blow. I am truly blessed to have friends like this in my life. I don't expect special treatment, but it sure feels good to be loved enough to receive it in these ways.

I think we both thought that putting an August deadline on our trying would be far enough in the distance that we would be well and truly knocked up by then. But now it's so close, only two more cycles, two more tries before we start saying 'IVF' out loud. Our marriage faces another mountain as our individual experiences, financial worries, and even faith come together to make a decision beyond what we are really able to in our human wisdom. Lord, is this the path we should take? Or is this you closing a door for us? Are we supposed to trust you to provide, and to bless us with a miracle in a less conventional way? Is it even really an option? What if it doesn't work? Is it IVF or adoption, or is it both?

With this school quarter coming to an end and my parents here visiting, as well as wanting to have time to process all of this, and the need to carve out real time for prayer it is not as though I couldn't use the previous Facebook time to do something more productive!

I am not saying goodbye forever, I am not sure how long this hiatus will be but perhaps I will discover there is life after Facebook?! I still get messages, invitations and comments through my email and of course I have good ol' email too and I hope it will free some more time to blog so I will be anything but silent...and I hope it will ultimately find some more peace. As we wait.

Monday, May 23, 2011


In Him we live and move and have our being. —Acts 17:28

I have moments when I am consumed by the desire to care for a baby of our own. I let myself day dream about feeding a baby at my breast, and changing little teeny diapers, hearing their first giggles, being the only one that can console him (or her). Seeing arms reaching for me, trusting that they will be met with love, so much love. Knowing their cries, knowing what they need and providing it. What a gift to be able to love something that much. What a blessing to be trusted with someone completely dependent on me for it's well being.

I am reminded that this is the same as my relationship with God. Fully dependent.

As little ones grow, and begin to want more independence; putting on their own shoes. feeding themselves etc. life can get more complicated. While there is natural maturation that happens and is good, just because a child can feed themselves it doesn't mean they can cook a meal, shop for groceries, or get a job to pay for it all. They have a new degree of competence but how ever much they fight to be independent, they are actually fully dependent on other people to care for, and provide for them.

I depend on my life plans working out the way I imagine to make me happy. I depend on friends to fill my needs for community and companionship, I depend too much on my marriage to give me identity. I try so hard to fill my life with good and life giving things and honestly I just end up feeling empty because I forget or ignore God's place in my heart.

Truthfully, I would like to ignore it. My dependence. I would like to pretend it's all up to me to make life work. To make the big decisions and to get them right. But it isn't up to me and it never was. It somehow seems easier to deal with my own perceived failure, than to understand why God doesn't seem to be hearing my prayers.

In my struggle to be independent, or as I have lived too long in the delusion of independence I begin to fall. Over and over I fall with the heavy burden of control weighing on me. It feels weak to let go of that and let God truly carry me. If I let go I feel as though everything would fall apart. But to fall on God and recognise my true state of dependence, is simply recognizing His strength.

I am fully dependent on Him. And in that I have to find peace. I must let go. Put down the fear and burden and walk tall, free of all that I cannot control.

Why is that so hard? If I figure it out I will let you know, but until then I will be here, one day at a time trying to live a life of dependence on my father God. Trusting that his love, joy, peace and strength can sustain me and safe in the knowledge that he is the giver of all good things, and he moves in his own perfect timing. Lord have mercy on me, a sinner saved only by grace who struggles more than she finds victory. I need you today. I confess I am fully dependent on you.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Hostess with the Mostess

My parents fly in today for a visit and we are excited to see them. I hope Seattle shows them a good time weather wise, this city can be a fickle friend in that department. Although it is going to be 70 degrees today, and the beautiful blue sky is already making it hard to finish my paper, there are no guarantees that it will be here to stay!

I am a busy bee getting the house ready. I made sure we had some Nescafe and lots of tea bags just for them.

There might be slim pickings on the blog in the next couple of weeks as I keep on top of homework while keeping the parents entertained!

I hope this trip can be a little redemptive. Last September when they were here we were going through miscarriage number 3 and I was not able to spend much time with them at all. And if I was with them, I was not exactly the best company. I know they completely understood but I don't get much time with them since I moved across the world, and I would really like to spend this visit doing fun things with them and making happy memories.

I am going to uncover our picnic table for the first time this year so we can make the most of the sunshine and BBQ tonight.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The single life revisited.

For 30 years I slept alone without any issues. I was able to be in my house alone without fear, without jumping at every noise and creak but somehow in the last year and a half marriage has made me a wuss in this department.

Jeremy has been gone for a few days on business and I have not been sleeping well at all. I lay in bed and the emptiness seems to echo all around, I hear creaks and bangs that i don't ever hear when Jeremy is here.

We can talk on the phone, and I have been busy with homework, study dates, walks around the lake, dinner with friends, running errands and catching up with the Real Housewives but at night its too quiet. I want my hubby home.

I loved my single life. I had a really fun life with great friends and community, and they have moved with me into my married life, but now there is something missing without J. I guess that's a good thing.

As I reflected more on this I realise that while the things I loved before marriage continue to bring me joy and fulfillment but now my marriage is the thing that feeds me in the deepest way and when J isn't walking through the door at 6pm there is now something missing from my day.

Tomorrow night I will sleep better with my hubby home and by my side.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Not easy, but easier.

I think that moving forward from the pain of the last year, living with grief but not letting it define us is beginning to happen. It's just kind of happened. Gradually as I read my past blog posts I see that the rawness has left the building. The gaping wounds have been replaces by scars. They will not leave, but they have become a part of my life, and they tell my story.

So far 2011 has been full of hope and possibility, but no pregnancy and no pregnancy losses. I am forgetting what it feels like to be pregnant. I want to feel it again, the nausea, the fatigue, I want it back. But this time I want to have the peace that it is worthwhile because it will end in a baby in my arms.

I was talking to Jesus the a while back and I told him that I didn't want to get pregnant again if I would keep the pregnancy. He didn't reply. But I suppose He has been answering my prayer, in our not getting pregnant but I feel like I am setting myself up for potential heartache. Because what happens if we do conceive again? What will it mean if we lose another pregnancy? Will God be watching from the sidelines? In the fear of loss it can make me put some of my own awareness of powerlessness onto God, because I can't imagine watching this happening to someone I love, with the power to stop it, and not intervening. I don't understand.

My scars remind me of what we have come through. But the distance and the healing and especially the hope we have found over time make it easier to be here. I beginning to feel comfortable in my skin. I look a little different, not so naieve, more aware of the frailty and miracle of life, a little more cautious to hope, but willing to fight fiercely for the life and purpose God has planned.

We do not feel released to move forward with more invasive fertility treatment or to pursue adoption at this time. We feel at peace with just trying the old fashioned way for the time being. The true peace makes it easier to be patient. Not easy, But easier.

So when people ask me how I am, I can tell them honestly that I'm doing OK. And that feels great!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Between vacation and reality

I think there should be a name for the couple of days between vacation and reality, it is just too hard to get thrown back into life right away!

We had the most wonderful time in Kauai. We snorkeled, sat on beaches - sometime in the rain, watched turtles feeding, a monk seal sleeping on the beach, we hiked along cliff trails and saw amazing views across the canyon. What a beautiful place.

We spent lots of time with our friends but got in some good alone time too which was much needed. Sometimes it can be hard to live in the moment, not wishing away our life today. This vacation was a really good way to remind me of the beauty and blessing I have today.

So I hope this weekend can be my much needed 'in between' time. Time to get through the piles of laundry, catch up on sleep and enjoy these couple of days before Jeremy is back at work and I get back to my piles of forgotten homework.

So I will slather aloe on my sunburned shoulders and drink a glass of wine (or two) and toast to a fabulous vacation. And then on Monday I will be back to reality!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day 2011, thoughts from Hawai'i

I am writing listening to the waves crashing on the beach and watching them from the window. We have a condo with the best view on Kauai. Seriously. The sea turtles are feeding in the shallow water outside. We are on vacation. It's paradise. And it's Mother's Day.

I wasn't sure how this day would feel. Last year it was tough. But last year was only one miscarriage down and still so much hope of possibility of an easy and simple pregnancy to come. This year that is not the case. Four miscarriages, a gluten free diet, gallons of blood tested, multiple procedures, endless tests, two scans later we know that we are way past 'simple' and 'easy' whatever the future may hold.

I feel like my tears have become much less predictable. I can't hold them back now, they just start, and when they do it takes a few minutes to gain back composure. Yesterday when we were at the grocery store, the cashier asked if I was a mother yet, and I managed to shake my head no, and make a dash for the door. I got to the car before the tears fell and J was ready with hugs. He had seen it coming.

And today, all the stores wanting to give out chocolates to mothers or give free drinks and treats meant that so many people asked directly if I was a mother that my kleenex supply was a joke. I had to escape to the bathroom at one point to take a breath after the third or forth asking leaving the line for gelato - my hero asked my flavor preferences as I bolted and when I returned he was there with delicious scoops waiting for me.

It's hard, because in so many ways I feel like a mother. I have carried babies, if only for a little while, I have carried them. But I never met them. So what box do I check in the, "Are you a mother" questionnaire? I understand that this is a day for celebration, and people are trying to be sweet and make a fuss of mothers - who totally deserve the recognition, you grew a person inside you for crying out loud - I cannot believe we think it is enough to only recognise that one day a year, yet I don't feel peace about getting the free drink or the candy. I don't have a child. In the world's eyes I am not yet a mother.

This morning one of the wonderful women we are vacationing with told me today to celebrate as a some day mother. I like that. That doesn't make me sad and give me a reason to celebrate today. My grief has coloured the hope I had felt about the future. I was expecting today to be a time when I mourned not being a mother, and while that was certainly a part of my feelings today, I was also able to find hope and celebration for the future.

Happy mother's day to all my mama friends, but especially to those who are celebrating today without a child; those who continue to hope and try and wait to be blessed. Praying God's strength sustain you, and His peace fill your hearts. It is a road I would never chose to travel, but I am so glad I am not walking it alone.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Fruit of Less Distraction

We are almost halfway through this quarter and I am finally feeling like I have a grasp on what's required of me through the week with my class load. This week, I am working like a crazy person to get assignments done ahead of time as much as possible so that I only have to do the very minimum while we are on vacation. Yes, vacation, did I mention we are heading for sun, sea and sand?! That said, having to sit on the deck and study a little while I listen to the waves lap the shore won't be so bad!

The end of last quarter and the beginning of this one felt like hard work. Sadly, this was not because the work load was too much or too hard, but because my attitude was so bad. I was stuck, feeling unmotivated and very much just going through the motions. Not enjoying or genuinely investing in what I was learning, but doing the minimum to get by. And not doing my best made me feel yucky. I had always been a good student, and it was exciting to get back assignments to and see hard work rewarded with good grades, but recently I have been almost dreading it. Just hoping my minimum effort will get me a passing grade. Nothing to be proud of.

The past couple of weeks I am starting to feel more like myself. With less distractions, I am really taking in the lectures. Making time to read the material set and taking notes, not just skimming over it to get a general idea. The assignments I am finishing are something I am proud to put my name on, and my grades are reflecting my effort. It is exciting to already be seeing fruit from the small changes I am making and to see how the fruit is inspiring me to continue. The big impact the simple changes have had. The productivity that is free to happen when I do not let myself get distracted.

This weekend was another great example. I woke early on Saturday when Jeremy left to teach a class. Usually being alone in the house means the TV hum will be on in the background for company. But I intentionally got up and into the TV-less office to make headway on a project. I am throwing a bridal shower for a dear friend in June and wanted to make invitations to send out. I set up a little work station, the only noise was the printer and the snip of paper and ribbon. I stamped and measured and cut and at the end had a finished product that was pretty impressive, even if I say so myself! What a great way to spend a few hours. Creating, and doing it in the name of celebrating a friend. Something I could cross off my list. Something that brought joy and life to me.

As we continue with life without a baby it seems even more important to make today's moments count. Find life in the activities of the day and not wait for life to start when we have a child. Watching friends go through the heartbreak of adoptions falling through reminds me that whatever the journey ahead it is not a easy path. I imagined adoption being a simple process, but another story of a birth mother changing her mind at the last minute brings home the reality that it holds as much potential for loss as pregnancy. Lord let me not be distracted by fear. Please help me to be open to the experiences life offers us and not numb myself to the ones that hurt. Ultimately, I know that you are the giver of life - but we play a part in making that happen for ourselves. I pray that getting rid of distraction will bring me true life.

I am looking forward to seeing the fruit of less distraction in other areas of my life. And to living a life that is worship to God, in the times of sorrow as well as the times of hope.

Monday, May 2, 2011

More thoughts on Simplicity

Seems like Simplicity is the word that God is speaking over my life in abundance right now, I can feel the burden of business and distraction losing it's grip and have a sense of the peace that is to come.

This morning my devotional was based on Matthew 22:34-40. The basic message shouting that the two most important rules of life are, Love the LORD your God, and love your neighbour as yourself. In the Old Testament, the rules for God's chosen people were in the 600's, and sticking to them was burdensome and impossible, they served as a daily reminder of a persons need for God. In the New Testament, the rules have been broken down and simplified into those two simple commandments. Love God and Love others.

Let's look at my life today, how am I loving God? Am I using my time and talents in a way that glorifies Him? Not as much as I would want to, not even close. I allow the busyness of life to take my focus from the simple task of loving you and making my actions worship you.

And loving my neighbour? I would like to think I can be a good friend, but I let time limit me. I allow my schedule to get filled up too quickly with too many things that spread me too thin to be effective anywhere. And as for our literal neighbours, we had grand plans to get to know and be intentional with those living on our street but those dreams got pushed aside for other, more pressing, less important things. I hope we can reclaim some of our fire to be good neighbours - starting with the long walk down the driveway, and across the street to say hello.

Last night Jeremy and I prayed together before bed. We didn't have the TV on, even for the news which is always a gateway drug to less informative programming. Instead we talked, shared about what the week ahead would hold for us and then we prayed. We prayed for one another, friends and family, the world, and for our marriage. We shared aloud hopes and fears and dreams, we shared with one another and with the Lord. Amen to that and to starting these simple, life-giving habits.

More simple is the goal, deeper intimacy the reward.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Tulips and Simplicity

May 1st and the sun was shining in Seattle today! On day's like today, I am pretty convinced I live in the most beautiful place in the world.

It was the final day of the Tulip Festival and we headed up north a little to view the flowers. Oh My, they did not disappoint, what beautiful fields of colour met us, and the snow capped mountains made the perfect backdrop.

We headed to lunch on the waterfront in La Conner after this and sat back, drank a glass of wine and soaked up the sun. Then over to the campsite, where we spent the afternoon laying on the lawn with a view of the water, reading, snoozing soaking up a little more sun. I think the temps were in the high 60's today but I managed to get a little sun burnt, and it feels great!!

It felt good to have some time away with Jeremy. Even if just for the day. A space to reconnect away from the noise of everyday life. Time to talk, time to not say anything, time to just be together.

Church this morning was about simplifying our lives and making room for what's important. I guess that was confirmation even if I didn't ask for it, that my personal journey to simplify is on the right track; to get rid of distraction, shed what is not important and thrive in the midst of the things I value, the things that bring intimacy and hope.

Here are just a few pics from the fields. Simply beautiful.


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