Thursday, February 12, 2015

Birthday Candles

Since I was a little girl, I have loved my birthday.  I think the part I look forward to the most is blowing out the candles and making a wish.  I’m kind of superstitious in that I like to pick-up pennies, knock on wood, and step over cracks.  I don’t really believe any of it makes a difference, but there’s something about the innocence in those superstitions that I enjoy.  Wishing on birthday cake candles is no different.
My mom must have been Wonder Woman. 
I'm not sure why I had 2 cakes.
When I was little, I probably wished for a certain present or some boy to like me.  As I got older, I probably wished for the perfect college to give me scholarships or some boy to like me.  J  Now, my wishes are real.  They’re deep.  They’d cause the entire room to get teary eyed if I said them allowed.  (Plus, I permanently have the boy who likes me.)

You only get one wish on your birthday.  Do you know what mine will be?!

Exactly one year ago today, I said goodbye to 32 when I wrote:
I can still remember last year on this day thinking that 32 was going to be the best age of all of them thus far. It was going to be the year God gave us a baby. Instead, God had different plans; 32 taught me a lot of lessons…a lot. I’m pretty sure that 32 was the most difficult age thus far. Man, I hope that in the distant future, I can say it was the most difficult of my life.
However, today is a new day and a new age. I can say that I survived 32. I made it to 33…something special has to happen when you’re repeating digits, right?! I am officially leaving behind the year of failures and looking forward to a year of new beginnings. Who’s with me?!

Le sigh.  I was so na├»ve.  J

The ironic thing about that entry was that I didn’t know that I was actually venturing into an age of my life that would be even harder than the one before.  I didn’t realize I was about to experience more heartbreak than I imagined would be possible on this journey.  I didn’t see that an entirely new year of failures was ahead. 

However, I was right about stepping into a year of new beginnings.  Remember, I was only 23 days past telling Todd that I completely doubted my faith when I wrote that entry.  (Ironic that it was 23 days, huh, Dad?!)  Look how different my life has become this last year.

You know what I probably wished for last year when I blew out my candles?  I probably wished for a sweet baby in my arms or a large belly bump in my hands before my 34th birthday.  (See how I give options on my wishes?!  J)

This birthday wish will different.  I have no idea what this next year will hold for growing our family.  I have hope that our empty arms will finally be full.

However, the truth is that it may not happen in this next year, either.  I don’t know what God has planned for us.  What I do know is that we will continue to press on with building our faith.  We will continue to trust that what God has in store for us will be more beautiful than all of the candle wishes we have ever made.

As I close my eyes and blow-out my candles tonight, I will wish for…

You didn’t think I’d actually tell you, did you?!  Don’t you know that’s the way to make a wish not come true?!  J
Praying before dinner with my dad & sisters.  I'm the little peeker.
A big happy birthday to President Abraham Lincoln.  He was so kind to let me share this day with him.

Here are a few more throwback pictures.  I think I was about 2 in these.  However, that would mean my mom made 4 cakes, so I don't know what's happening here.  Maybe this is over 2 birthdays???  She's pretty awesome, though!  Always has been. 
With my mom & sisters
With my dad & sisters
With my sisters & cousins

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

What I Need to Hear, What I Need to Say

I recently told a friend that I was sorry it was so hard to love me right now.  She quickly replied that it wasn’t hard to love me, it was just hard to know how to love me.  That couldn’t be more true. 

For the last 2 months, I haven’t known what I wanted to hear from people or what I wanted people to do to help me.  It’s a frustrating situation in which to be.  So, for everyone that has been looking for what they could do or say to make me feel better about our situation and this miscarriage, just know that I can’t even tell you what that is.  As our therapist said to us, pain isn’t logical.

For those that are reaching out and trying, it helps.  I can’t thank you enough.  Snail mail, phone calls, texts, and emails that are full of words of encouragement are appreciated more than I can say.

On a similar note, I received this blog entry in my email this morning from Chelsea at Starbucks, Peace, and the Pursuit of a Baby.  I thought it was an excellent representation of things I would like to say. 


Thank you for continuing to love me even when it was hard to know how.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Glimpses of Hope

I always find it awesome when God gives me a little glimpse of hope.  Recently, I have been given two of those.  They let me feel God’s blessing and presence.  Awesome.

The first was last Tuesday.  I had a blog entry planned that I had wanted to write but just hadn’t had the chance to complete it.  Then, I received an email with an entry from one of my favorite bloggers, Lisa.  I think God was telling me that He had a different plan.  The first line of this entry was Jeremiah 17:7…
“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.”

How perfect, I thought!  This should be my verse for the year to go along with my goal to TRUST God more.

Then, I continued reading, and the next verse was Jeremiah 17:8 (doy because that’s how the Bible is laid
out)…
“They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.”

WHAT?!  That makes it even more perfect.  I immediately texted Mom and Todd and told them about my awesome find. 

I told Mom that it meant we were going to have a million babies, and she quickly informed me that she wouldn’t be able to hang around long enough for me to have a million babies.  Ha!

Todd’s response was, “So there is hope for your green thumb?”  That man never ceases to make me laugh.

My day had been made!

My second glimpse of hope from God came this Monday.  I was texting with my dear friend, Kacy, about adoption and how we felt about that.

Then, I read the second day of my Bible plan called Infertility Encouragement from Sarah’s Laughter.  These are excerpts from the plan that can be found on the YouVersion Bible app (created and distributed electronically FOR FREE by LifeChurch.tv…sorry, shameless plug):
“Jesus didn’t tell His disciples to use the internet to spread the Gospel because He knew that wasn’t His plan for them at their time in history….Imagine the confusion if He had revealed this part of His plan too early….Perhaps it’s that way with your desire to conceive.  Today you may believe you could never fall in love with an adopted child.  It may seem impossible to you.  But what if God included adoption in His plan for you long before you even knew infertility would be a part of your vocabulary?”

Hello, God.  It’s me, Laura, and I am receiving your glimpses of hope.  Thank you for sending these.

By the way, this Bible plan has been so thrilling for me.  I’m learning and opening my eyes so much.  I’ll be doing this one on repeat.  It’s.that.good! 

Anyway, I’m not saying that God is telling me to adopt.  I just think that He heard Kacy and me.  He sensed our fears of the unknown.  He sensed that we were changing our minds a lot and didn’t know what to think about what was up and what was down.  I think He just wanted to share that we may not understand His plan right now, but it’s still good and perfect.  That’s the key.  That’s what He wanted to tell us that day.  (Also, Kacy and I were not saying we feared not being able to love an adopted child.  We were simply talking about adoption and if it fit into our futures or not.)

I am grateful all over again for a God that listens to me and sends me little glimpses of hope at just the perfect times.

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Please, go and read the gem of a blog entry that followed the gem of a Bible verse that I discussed in my first glimpse of hope from God.  I promise, you will be glad you did:
Deep Roots During Infertility

I’m doing a link-up with this blog entry today, too:  http://www.amateurnester.com/2015/02/faith-during-infertility.html

Friday, January 23, 2015

My Quest for Faith

January 20, 2014, I can remember standing in the parking lot of a CVS in central Dallas after one of three consultations that we were having with new Reproductive Endocrinologists, AKA “IVF doctors,” from Dallas to St. Louis.  Todd and I were alone and having one of the most difficult conversations I have ever had in my life.  I was struggling with my faith.  I began to feel as if God had left us to fight this fertility battle on our own.  I was beginning to doubt Him.  It was a low point for me.  Todd didn’t understand it.  He didn’t feel it.  His faith was surviving while mine was not.

It was at that point that we made some drastic changes.  We stopped talking about how we needed to go to church more often, and we did it.  We stopped talking about how it would be fun to join a LifeGroup, and we did it.  We stopped talking about how we should probably start getting involved in the church, and we did it.  We even went above the plan, attended our first Chazown seminar, and I started my Infertile Myrtles LifeGroup.

That conversation in the CVS parking lot was a pivotal moment in my life.

I started this year in a very different way.  Unfortunately, I was in similar but deeper anguish as I was starting 2014.  However, I handled it different.  I made a promise to start a new habit that would build my faith instead of tearing it down; I began reading the Bible daily.

One of the first tasks I completed was to pick my word for the year.  I have read several blogs about other’s words, so I thought it was time that I share mine.  After much study and prayer, I have felt that God is leading me to the word “trust.”  Duh.  I should have been able to figure that one out on my own.

Instead of making resolutions this year, I simply decided to start working on trusting God in everything I do. 
·         When I get sad about our situation…
·         When I start doubting that we will ever have a child or that I will find my joy…
·         When I don’t know what to do next…
·         When I feel I’m failing at being a stepmother…
·         When a friendship is struggling…
·         When work is overwhelming…
·         When I’m feeling unhappy with my body…

…I will stop and tell God about it.  Then, I trust that He will take care of us and that His plan is far better than any plan we could make for ourselves.

I’m still new at this and trying to remember this plan when the waves start rocking my boat.  However, I’m not perfect, yet.  This is just where I’m headed.  This is my goal for the year.

Feel free to help hold me accountable.  If you talk to me and I’m struggling, feel free to remind me that I need to stop, give it to God, and trust that He will take care of us.
 
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I am participating in a link-up with this blog today:  Deep Roots During Infertility
In case you would like to copy & paste the address:  http://www.amateurnester.com/2015/01/deep-roots-infertility.html

Thursday, January 15, 2015

He Feels My Pain - Bible Verse

I really wanted this Bible verse on my blog entry I submitted earlier today.  Blogspot was acting up, but I won't let it keep me from sharing it with you.  Happy Friday, now! 

He Feels My Pain

At some point in this process, I began to desire for people to be aware of infertility.  I wanted them to understand how many people around them suffered from it, and I wanted them to appreciate the pain that comes along with it.  The problem that I had was that others were just not aware of the struggles of infertility.  I wanted everyone around me to understand my pain.

When I crossed into that desire to make others aware, I stopped hiding as much.  I tried to be more honest when I was having a bad day.  I told those that asked how often I was crying.  I tried to tell them with my words how hard this journey was, and how much harder each step was becoming.

The problem there is that you can’t describe this pain.  You can’t make someone understand how far down the pain goes and how much it hurts to literally sob each and every day.  You can’t describe it, but you can feel it.  God feels it for me.  Todd feels it with me.

Wednesday, January 7, our miscarriage started.  I say “our” because this is not my journey.  This is not the fight of one woman trying to have a baby.  This is the struggle that Todd and I are in together.  When the miscarriage started, my world began to crumble. 

I thought it was hard when I had my first miscarriage in May of 2013. 
I thought it was hard when the second cycle failed.
I thought it was hard when the third cycle didn’t even make it to transfer. 
I thought it was hard when we heard we were going to have a miscarriage after the fourth cycle.

What I didn’t realize is how truly hard this miscarriage was going to be.  (For the record, if I could go back to December 19, I would have chosen a D&C over a natural miscarriage.)  I didn’t know that this miscarriage was going to leave me in physical pain and an emotional turmoil that I have never felt before.  For the last eight days, I have found myself sobbing uncontrollably at some point in the day.  Most of the time, I am wrapped in Todd’s embrace when it happens.  For that, I am blessed.

However, telling you that I have cried physically and audibly, until my body shakes and I don’t even recognize myself, will not let you fully understand it.  God feels it for me.  Todd feels it with me.

I just want everyone to understand…not just our struggle, but the struggle of so many other couples around them.

It was last night that I realized that I can’t help everyone understand.  I can’t tell you of the pain and help you to feel it with me.

This is something that Todd and I must continue to feel together and learn to pull out of together.  Right now, I have no other job.  Trying to make others aware and being honest about my emotional state will only keep me in the place of a victim of infertility.  Together, Todd and I will lean on our faith in God and allow Him to help us get to the point where we can find that peace and joy that we once had.

All of this is not to say that we don’t appreciate the love and kind words that friends and family have sent to us because we do.  This is just to say that I realize now that I can’t teach anyone how painful this struggle is.

My goal moving forward is to try to find my joy as often as I can.  Some days are harder than others.  However, I know that the way I have spent the last 8 days is a miserable, dark, lonely place.  It’s time to pull myself out of this hole and move forward.  Some of the time, I will have to fake happiness.  One day, though, the good days will outweigh the bad.  Then, I can answer honestly that I am “fine” and “having a good day.”  God will feel it for me.  Todd will feel it with me.
 
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I am linking-up with another blogger today: 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

December Photo Challenge...Or Naw

For some reason, teenagers like to say "or naw" and drag out the 'naw' instead of just saying "or not."  It's actually catchy.  You should make a resolution in 2015 to start using it.  You will thank me.  You are welcome.
 
On another unrelated note, I’m a terrible blog slacker because I said I would do a December Photo Challenge, and then I decided not to.  It’s been a rough month, so I won’t even apologize.  Instead, I will share a few pictures from this month that I have enjoyed taking.

I hope everyone has a blessed New Year.  I hope that 2015 fulfills dreams for many of us that 2014 failed to do. 

That sounds pessimistic.  I’ll try again.

I hope everyone has a blessed New Year.  I hope that 2015 isn’t as cruddy of a year as 2014 was.

Grrr, I messed it up, again.

I hope everyone has a blessed New Year.  Good riddance to 2014, which somehow ended up more wretched than 2013.

Apparently, this isn’t going to work.

I hope everyone has a blessed New Year.  The end.  J

(For the record, I did not take all of these pictures. However, they were sent to me, and I liked them. Therefore, I'm taking credit for them. True photo credit goes to someone else in my family. They won't really care.)
Thanksgiving...trying to get a picture with Bradette's daughter, Eleanor.
I don't think she liked my curls.

My handsome stag and me at Thanksgiving

I think Eleanor prefers fewer people in her pictures.

So many pictures...so little time for a nap!  Eleanor with the matriarch of the family...beautiful Mimi.

My awesome cousin, Matthew.

All of the cousins at bowling

Happy hour with college friends

Sushi with the girls

Todd and our buddy, Eddie, on their last day of "No Shave November."

How we decorate for Christmas...exterior lights by Dave, snow by God.

Our tree.  I would leave this up year-round if Todd would let me.

Our mantle.  The picture doesn't do it justice.

I took this picture to use for "cozy" on the photo challenge.

LifeChurch...decorated for Christmas

Our beloved LifeKids area

The church lobby

Headed to my company Christmas party

A girl party scarf exchange.  Such a fun night, Amy!
 
Right before our LifeGroup Leaders Christmas party...
I was a Griswold Christmas, and Todd was mistletoe.
(See his headpiece?)

At the LifeGroup Leaders Christmas party

Todd dressed as a present to God during class.
The little guy was saying, "You have no arms."

I'm sorry, but my uncle caught a goat at the golf course. 
You have to admit that's hilarious and worth sharing!

My sister, Jenny, and her family

My nieces with my parents.  (I don't have a picture of my nieces with their parents from this Christmas.  Poo!)

Our kids with their cousins from Todd's side

We attended 2 churches on Christmas Eve.  It was an amazing day of worship.

Christmas Eve at Mom & Dad's

More Christmas celebrations when my nephews made it back into town

Myself, Mom, and sister Jenny...We missed having my other sister's family in town!

This is how we SnapChat our kids' friends when they leave their accounts open on our phones.

What is this wet, white stuff falling from the sky?!

Home Sweet Home

Because it is...