life of faith

taking baby steps & leaps & everything in between


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The Big News.

I’ve just been seized with the desire to update my blog for the first time in months, and I thought I’d better take advantage of it before the moment passes!

Life has changed tremendously for Dayne and myself. After months of fertility testing for a conclusive diagnosis of what was wrong with me (everything with hubby is fine), we finally said “see ya later” to the fertility doctor and decided to try to get pregnant naturally. We were trying to trust the Lord (key word: “trying”) that if He wanted us to have children, we would one day… and if He didn’t, we wouldn’t. This wasn’t as easy for me to accept as it was to tell myself. Our plan was to go back to the fertility doctor in 3 months if nothing happened.

Our biggest hope, though, was to get pregnant without the doctor’s help. We didn’t feel this was necessarily an obtainable goal, given the evidence that I don’t usually ovulate on my own. After all the diagnostic testing with the reproductive endocrinologist, I was diagnosed with “mild” PCOS: although my glucose, insulin, and male hormone levels were all normal, my body wasn’t naturally producing enough progesterone and estrogen for my cycle to complete.

Anyway, during that first month away from the doctor, I busied myself adjusting my lifestyle: I had gone to a PCOS nutritionist who advised me to eat as many whole, natural, organic foods as I could, avoid as much sugar as I could, and switch to full-fat dairy (including Greek yogurt for added protein). I was dutifully shopping at Wegman’s and actually using an app called Shopwell (www.shopwell.com) to decode food labels. Hubby & I also invested in an elliptical, which I figured was not only better for my joints than a treadmill, but would be safe and low-impact for me to continue while pregnant. I really disciplined myself to use that elliptical, which surprised both Dayne AND myself. I was determined to correct my PCOS naturally as much as I could.

We were really trusting God during that time. I can’t say I wasn’t emotional about it and didn’t have a difficult time doing it, but I really wanted to give God the space to work since we’d been going to doctors and trusting them for almost a year.

To make a long story (and a lot of tears and a wasted pregnancy test) short, somehow I got pregnant during that first month. We were both in shock when we saw the pregnancy test with “Pregnant” clearly emblazoned on it the night we got home from Easter dinner.

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I am now 17 weeks & 3 days along with a healthy baby growing in my belly. It truly is a miracle.

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Baby K. says, “Hi!”

So that is The Big News! I am keeping two written pregnancy journals, and most of the details of my pregnancy and doctor’s appointments have gone in there, but maybe I will see this blog as a good place to record some of those things as well. I have just struggled with updating because most of what we went through was so private (and then the pregnancy was sort of a secret for the first trimester).

I do, however, think it’s good to share our story and what I was feeling with other couples who may be facing similar obstacles. I am beyond thankful that we got pregnant when we did and we didn’t have to go through more complicated procedures and lots of time waiting – but I did go through many of the same emotional struggles we would have gone through had we been trying to get pregnant the entire year. I’ve also tried to really digest what it means to fully lean on the Lord, no matter the outcome. It’s hard to watch couples who love God and would be great parents struggle to get pregnant, and it’s hard to understand why. It’s hard to watch a mother go through a miscarriage. It’s even harder to trust that, in the midst of these heartbreaking circumstances, God has a plan that is bigger than we can sometimes understand. I really had to trust that if we couldn’t have children, that God had a reason that I couldn’t see, even though I desperately wanted to become a mother and I saw that as my life’s purpose. I would have struggled for a long time (possibly the rest of my life) getting along with God if He had denied me the motherhood I really, really wanted. I don’t know how I would have dealt with it, but I was prepared to go through it.

I also want to mention that I am keenly (perhaps too keenly) aware that something could go wrong, that I could miscarry this baby. I know women who have had stillbirths. Even beyond delivery, I know that something could happen to our child any year of his or her life. This is what really puts my trust to the test… and reminds me that I am not God, and will never be God. I cannot protect my baby from everything, and even a mother does not love her child perfectly. God loves perfectly and deserves our full dependence… we are stewards of His child, really. And that gives me peace.

To everyone praying for a baby or a child, my heart aches for you. I pray the best for you and your family, and I pray that God would be close to you.


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Don’t Compare: We Serve a Very Personal God

Read this today and thought it was too significant not to share…

In the gospel of Mark, Jesus heals the same affliction (blindness) in different ways. One person’s healing involves spit and gradual clarity, while another’s healing comes instantaneously through Jesus’s words (Mark 8:22-26, 10:46-52).

The Daily Walk Bible draws out:

“…Why the different approaches to healing? Most likely it was because Jesus’ methods were often tailor-made to the individual’s needs.

So it is with spiritual lessons God wants to teach us. God may teach your friend to depend on him through financial problems; you learn the same lesson through an illness. Another Christian learns to walk by faith in affluence; you learn it in poverty. One person learns patience through being single; another learns it through being married and having children. In each case, it is dangerous to compare – rather than commit to – God’s perfect curriculum.”

Another reason why comparison is unhealthy – even (and especially) among our Christian walks. Each person is different and God uses & teaches each person differently. One is not better than the other.

There’s another instance in Mark where a man who had just been healed from thousands of demons wants to follow Jesus, and Jesus tells him instead to “go home” and tell his family what God did for him (Mark 5:18-20). It may seem like being Jesus’ disciple was the more “glamorous” of the two options, but God had other plans for this healed man and his community that were just as important and meaningful.

I hope God will continue to teach me this lesson because I am so guilty of comparing myself to others, and also of being hurt or offended when I sense that people don’t fully approve of my life or my decisions.

I have to say, comparison can even be a problem in marriage. Dayne’s and my spiritual walks are not the same; we don’t learn the same way or grow the same way, and we’re not called to all the same things. We’re different people. For some reason, this has been more of a struggle for me to accept than for Dayne. I keep wanting us to always be on the same page, which is just impossible and a bit ridiculous.

Why does comparison steal our joy? Because we were created and designed to live our lives, not anybody else’s.


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Apples, Friends, Crafts, Kittens, and Tissues

This past week was kind of flipped upside-down for us, as the big window installation Dayne and I were planning for (and moved all of our furniture for) didn’t happen, and the coughing-sneezing-runny nose-irritable-tired cold we weren’t planning for did happen. Typically I do my reading and blogging in the stillness of the morning, but Dayne is very different in that he doesn’t feed off of peaceful quiet, but instead he thrives on the 12-hour-a-day hum of the television. Ahhh, marriage. 🙂

Sooo here is my post that has been about five days coming!

I’ve been making LOTS of apple stuff with our 18 lbs of apples from the orchard. In the past couple of weeks, I have made:

1) apple cinnamon muffins – from a recipe on the back of a whole wheat pancake box as shown in this blog post. They didn’t turn out so great since I didn’t have brown sugar and I tried to mix granulated sugar and molasses on my own with a spoon. Spoiler alert: it didn’t work. Verdict: Dayne liked them, and they were edible… Storage: countertop for a day or two and then fridge. They were all eaten within a few days since the recipe only yields a dozen. Plus I dropped one on the floor.

2) slow-cooker applesauce using this recipe. Verdict: delicious. Storage: half eaten, half went in the freezer. Perfect.

After making that (and cutting my finger, which bled for 3 days), my mom bought me these fantastic apple accessories from the QVC store:

peeler – so quick & easy!

corer/ejector and corer/slicer – these have saved my precious fingers from future careless slices!

3) toasted oat & apple crumble from my EatingWell on a Budget cookbook. Verdict: yummy, but different (not very sweet, although the oat mixture on top was sweeter and more filling). Storage: fridge for a few days, almost completely eaten by Dayne, me, and my dad. The oats directly on top of the apples get kind of soggy the longer they’re stored.

4) chicken sauteéd with apples from a Real Simple recipe. I’ve made this before, but haven’t made it regularly since. Verdict: Even better than the last time! SCRUMPTIOUS. Storage: Uhhh, what storage? We polished off the whole pan in one sitting.

Worth it.

5) apple cake from my trusty Betty Crocker cookbook. I can’t find a link for my specific edition of the cookbook. Anyways, it’s really a carrot cake recipe adapted for apples, and I didn’t use nuts. It turned out pretty yummy! Plus, my ever-so-generous mom gave me her stand mixer, and I got to use it for this recipe! I’m loving it! Verdict: delicious, but rich (the cream cheese icing is super sweet/heavy). Storage: mostly in the fridge – I’ve also shared with my dad. And four pieces went into the freezer. We still have quite a bit to eat…

Making a mess mixing the icing.

Apple cake fresh out of the oven.

We still have 13 apples left in our fridge… Maybe I can manage another toasted oat & apple crumble or more applesauce, since they both use large quantities of apples.

Anyways, last weekend, while we were still healthy, Dayne and I went on a little last-minute getaway!

Saturday night, we visited Sonja & David & Ingrid in Wilmington for dinner. Sonja’s technically my great-aunt from my great-grandfather’s 3rd marriage… my family tree is a little complicated.

Most of my family from our wedding – Sonja and Ingrid are in the front in the blue dresses; David is in between them 🙂 (Photo credit to Morby Photography)

It was really fun to hang out with them since we don’t normally see each other very often! We had a great time and ended up staying for almost five hours before we drove down to Dover to the Residence Inn. I have been a Marriott rewards member for years, and I finally was able to use my points for a free stay! It was deliciously luxurious and quiet. Here are photos of our suite:

Full kitchen!

Living room.

Bedroom. The bed was so big & comfy!

Dayne being silly. I loved the sink area outside the bathroom!

We wished we could have stayed there longer, but we were kind of in & out quickly because we wanted to make it to Burt & Katie’s church (Solid Ground Community Church) Sunday morning! Even though Sunday morning was a rough morning for me not feeling well, I was determined to visit for the service, and we did. Burt gave a great sermon on the topic of fear, and afterwards we went out with them and their adorable 1-year-old son, Ben, and more of Burt’s family to Panera for lunch. Then we got to hang with Burt & Katie & Ben for the rest of the day, which was wonderful. They are such special people to Dayne and me.

Here’s Burt officiating our wedding. (Photo credit to Morby Photography)

And as for the rest of our week, I’ve been crafting:

in the process of making a wreath for over our fireplace…

Made a sign for our powder room to match the lavender accents already in there.

Finished product – held it up with Command strips.

The kitties have been hunting stink bugs:

And snuggling in a tray, making it a makeshift bed:

And this last picture with a kitty pretty much sums up our week:

Hoping next week will be a healthier, busier, warmer one with NEW windows!