Hey Natalie Jean

IMG_2945_2

“Over time the balance started to shift. The big obstacles remained — I still couldn’t get pregnant, I still hated my job, I couldn’t move those obstacles with all the tractors in all the Palouse — but my days had become so populated with all these little miracles that I had run out of room for the rest of it. The good had caught up to the bad and eclipsed it altogether.”

I began reading Natalie Holbrook’s blog in 2010 right after the birth of her son, Henry. Up till that point, I had mainly read food and home decor blogs. Discovering the lifestyle genre opened up a whole new world to me and I fell in love with Natalie’s voice right away. Her writing is descriptive, honest and funny. It really resonated with me. Natalie is my spirit animal.

Continue reading “Hey Natalie Jean”

I’m Not Barren + Infertility Update

I'm Not Barren + An Infertility Update

Several months ago, Natalie wrote a post about how trying to get pregnant is really all about timing. Now that Jordan and I are two and a half years into the baby-making business, I am in full agreement with her viewpoint. Timing is everything. You begin with the best of intentions, but life quickly can become hectic. Syncing up doctors appointments, business travel, ovulation schedules, blood tests and everyday life events is difficult.

I’ve decided to outline our infertility journey and clarify where we are at the moment. Friends and acquaintances have been asking around.

Hello, friends and acquaintances.

Continue reading “I’m Not Barren + Infertility Update”

Weekend Links / / Infertility Awareness

IMG_2850

National Infertility Awareness Week began on Sunday. Jordan and I are that one in eight couples who struggle with infertility. It’s scary to be vulnerable, but I am honored to share my story. Learning to embrace myself has been difficult occasionally because I had assumed I would be a mother by now. In this time, I’ve taken the opportunity to reflect, learn and grow.

I believe we are not defined by labels, we are defined by being children of God. He meets us in whatever season we’re in and shows us we are loved. That lesson, one of being okay with me, came unexpectedly and with gentle force. I still desire to be a mother, but God continues to bless me in many other mysterious ways. I’m really enjoying the life we have cultivated in Nashville. My marriage, family, friends, job, blog and weekly adventures are full of purpose.

If I could go back in time and tell myself anything I would say: it’s okay to be sad for a moment, allow yourself to curl up on the couch and eat dark chocolate; don’t be afraid to seek support; and if someone says something insensitive, know that they mean well.

God is so good!

/ / While we were in Toronto, Emily was gallivanting around Paris and Milan. Italy sounds heavenly. Any country that is brimming full of gelato shops is my kind of place. 🙂 I can’t wait to hear more of her adventures!

/ / Lisa put together a huge list of bloggers who share their infertility story. I wish this list would have existed two years ago! Lisa has been so candid about their journey and recently she went through another round of IVF and is now pregnant. I’m so happy for her. 🙂

/ / This week I made these Salted Dark Chocolate Coconut Macaroons. DELISH! I had a bit of trouble with the chocolate, but I think it was just because I can be impatient when it comes to baking and didn’t allow things to cool properly. I enjoyed them frozen with a cup of Irish breakfast tea.

/ / When I read Brittany’s latest recap of her trip to California, I was struck by our similarity. Jordan and I make a point to visit friends and family on trips if we happen to be in the same city. Brittany and her husband did just that and while it can be  tricky working around different peoples schedules, the memories that are made are so worthwhile!

/ / Kristel reminds us that it’s okay to not like every season and phase you find yourself in.

Happy Weekend, all!

/ / Want to leave a reply?

/ / Linking with Meagan & Susanna.

Infertility Blogs to Read

Infertility Blogs to Read

“You took my burden as your burden and made it your own and reminded me that courage feels a lot like caring and kindness. I want to be one that marches alongside others. To be that reminder that you are not alone in your own walks.” — Bek

Besides Smitten Kitchen’s food blog that I read as a newlywed, Hey Natalie Jean, was the first I thoroughly became invested in. The concept of lifestyle blogging is kind of weird and one is either a blog reader or not – – and I don’t mean reading a friend’s blog, I mean reading about people you will most likely never meet in person.

Continue reading “Infertility Blogs to Read”

Blessings in the Desert

“Something broke inside me that day. Something cracked, and all the energy and fear and roiling anger drained out. I felt calm and empty. I felt sad but not devastated. I was exhausted and couldn’t carry it anymore. Enough.”

IMG_2530

Last year, I read a blog post by Shauna Niequist called Enough that rocked my world. Besides being a blogger, Shauna is the author of several amazing books and speaker. She also struggled with infertility after her first son was born. I knew she had wisdom, but at the time I wasn’t ready to soak up her words.

I wasn’t ready to say enough. I felt that if I let go of the reins, I would actually be letting go of my deep longings to be a mother. There were (are) constant swirling thoughts in my head, such as: Will I be satisfied if I never have a biological child? Will I be okay surrendering my desires to God?

Last month I didn’t immediately go into a funk when my period came. I’m not sure if I’m more attuned to God or if, in fact, over time you simply realize life goes on; It’s not worth wallowing every time someone else gets pregnant.

I’ve been reading Bread & Wine by Shauna and didn’t realize that the same post, Enough, was from a chapter in the book (or maybe the blog post was put in the book). Reading it now — two years into this infertility journey — I’m coming to a more holistic understanding. An understanding that God knows more than me and that He loves me more than I know. He’s not a genie who waves his hand to erase my pain, but He meets me in the pain and allows good (not necessarily what I thought would be good) to happen when I’m open and ready.

“I want to cultivate a deep sense of gratitude, of groundedness, of enough, even while I’m longing for something more.”

Jordan and I have been given time — nearly seven years — to develop a specific rhythm for our marriage. We’ve made mistakes, traveled, developed some incredible friendships, and started a business; things that would have been more difficult, though not impossible, to do with children. I’m choosing to look at this season as a blessing — like a river flowing in the desert.

What is your river?

 

2014 / / A Year in Review

IMG_2291

As this dusty road now settles and I see what lay before, every tear that held a broken dream is now shattered on the floor. And now bursting forth in splendor are the blossoms of second tries because dreams that bear the mark of love are dreams that never die. 

Sometimes life can feel so unkind. Sorrow won’t define me so just reminds my soul. “Moving Forward,” Colony House.

Thanksgiving night, while curled up in bed with Jordan at my in-laws house, Jordan and I continued discussing our thankful list for 2014. Words began spilling out of my mouth that kind of surprised me.

“Yeah, I think that 2014 has been the best year of our marriage.”

2014 still didn’t bring us a baby.

2014 included spending money on a lot of doctors visits.

2014 included stress, tears, and worry.

But despite all of that, 2014 included joy, adventures, growth, and a lot of love.

I’m coming to realize that every year is full of ups and downs; some years lean more towards one end of that spectrum than others. How we choose to respond to our trials is totally up to us (I’m still working on this one).

2013 was extremely difficult for me, but a lot of that had to do with my expectations. I expected to get pregnant quickly. The blinders that I wore during that disappointment, limited my ability to find any joy. I don’t want to live through another year like that. 2014 was much better… I am expecting great things in 2015 even if it isn’t anything I plan for because my life is more fulfilling than I ever could have imagined.

Peace be with us as we enter this new year, while still facing our mountains.

/ / Want to leave a reply?

/ / Linking with Emily & Lisa.

Weekend Links / / Just Shelling Around

IMG_2023

Hey all! This week has been full of early mornings, afternoon naps and oatmeal raisin cookies. 🙂 My pantry is almost fully stocked; the latest addition, raisins. Stocking a kitchen is a lot of work and involves several grocery stores (Flour may come from one place, but I don’t like their peanut butter. Now I need to go across town…) I remember trying to do this when we first got married and coming home with random ingredients that didn’t quite fit our needs.

In other news, we finally finished the last season of How I Met Your Mother. I got emotional as we watched the last few episodes. The series is so good that I kind of just want to start from the beginning again. I don’t want spoil the ending for anyone who hasn’t seen it, but I’d love to discuss it with you. Email me? I have a lot of thoughts!

Let’s dive into the links, shall we?

/ / Have you watched any Marcel the Shell with Shoes On videos? Writer/actress Jenny Slate and her husband, Dean Fleischer-Camp have created a wonderful series (and children’s book) following Marcel throughout her day.  Their third Marcel video was released this week and Jordan and I are a little obsessed!

/ / As soon as our moving truck was unloaded, Jordan spent the next several weeks building his new website. I am so proud of him! It was quite the task to undertake on top of his normal work load. I love the color scheme too!

/ / I’m working through back issues of Real Simple and bookmarked this baked egg dish. Shakshuka is traditionally a turkish meal and I loved the simplicity of it. I subbed kale for spinach because I had that on hand and added peppers. We eat a lot of eggs but this feels distinctly dinner (vs. omelette’s) and is a great vegetarian meal.

/ / Learning to Thrive in the Waiting Season. This season of infertility leaves me feeling very in-between. Far too many days are spent fighting self-destructive thoughts such as, “I’m wasting good precious “fertile” years.” Katie reminded me that in all seasons it’s important to live intentionally.

Teresa beautifully shared her thoughts on being in limbo. It’s encouraging to know I’m not the only one that feels frustration during transitional phases. This has exposed my inner desire to want to be in control.

Cheers to your weekend!

/ / Want to leave a reply?

/ / Linking with Meagan.

Truth Tuesday / / Running to Him

My hope in sharing my journey is not to appear dissatisfied with my life or ungrateful. I am VERY thankful for what I do have. I have a lot of wonderful days. But to be honest; some days are just not good and I feel like it’s important for me to be open about it all. These are moments written down, and they serve as threads in the great tapestry of my life.  

1408801795.144116.IMG_5262

The name of the Lord is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe. – Proverbs 18:10. 

I started running last month. Running and I have never gotten along; a fickle relationship full of opportunity, but no follow-through on my end. You see, I was a swimmer: my lungs work under water but they are confused on land. At my peak, I could swim for two hours five/six nights a week, but run a mile? Nope, not for me! I avoided becoming comfortable with running for most of my life. But last month, while in a bit of a funk, I felt the urge to try again. Exercise has always been cathartic for my soul, but I had strayed away. It was time to reconnect with myself.

My period came 11 days late last month. I didn’t want to let my hopes get too high because pregnancy disappointment has been regular over the past almost two years. I had lost track of any semblance of a timeline. My mind was filled with moving details, not on a potential pregnancy, but I was certainly confused with the negative tests. My initial response was to crawl into a deep, dark, bitter hole full of self-wallowing. And I almost did (instead I watched Project Runway* and ate cookies). After the tears were shed, I looked around and realized I needed to literally shake the icky feelings off. Cookies only help initially, so I laced up my sneakers, stepped outside, and RAN.

It’s so hard to comprehend the why in this world. “Why didn’t I get what was ‘coming to me?’ I thought I was one of the first in line? Why is this so challenging?… It should be easy.” That dialogue is not constructive, but sadly it’s often my first reaction. When I was younger I thought being an adult meant you literally grew out of things: impatience, doubt, fear, etc. I thought the struggles of my youth would just slip away, never to surface again.

I suppose it was naivety to think everything could be neatly wrapped and tucked away. Some seasons the metaphorical box is wide open, contents spilled on my bedroom floor, and other times they are organized in a convenient container. Right now my contents are somewhere in the middle and all I can do is run to Him. I get annoyed with myself for not being at a stage of resolve. I don’t like being in the middle. But God is okay with my mess. He sits in it with me. I continually need to be reminded he wants us to bring our messy selves to him.

So I run to Jesus with my fears and doubts. Because that’s all I know to do. That’s all there is to do.

*If sitting on the couch, watching Project Runway isn’t your thing, Ariana Grande’s album is particular good for long runs. It’s pure pop goodness.

/ / Want to leave a reply?

/ / Linked with Lisa & Ash.

One Day

_DSC0415

One day I will…

/ / iron clothes without creating more wrinkles.

/ / master parallel parking.

/ / grow a vegetable garden.

/ / find the perfect mascara.

/ / cook chicken perfectly, neither under nor overdone.

/ / own a comfortable pair of high heels.

/ / vacation in Europe for a whole summer.

/ / become a mother.

Truth Tuesday | Direction

DSC_0272

“But in my distress I cried out to the Lordyes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry to him reached his ears.” Psalm 18:6 

I am in this perpetual state of “figuring life/myself out.” Remember this post about being grateful? Yeah, still working on that. Disappointment and jealousy when a friend becomes pregnant? That too. I’m also trying to craft a non-emotionally charged answer to questions like, “Ohh, so when are you going to begin having little ones?” Believe me, if I had the control (Maybe it’s good that I don’t always have the control) they would be here.

I am weak in the flesh.

I’ve never blamed God for my infertility. I believe he’s crying right along side me, but the days are long.

A couple of weeks ago, I took a “personal” day. I wore my new overalls, browsed Ulta (maybe not just browsed 😉 ), bought chocolate from Trader Joe’s, and enjoyed an iced coffee. This also happened to be the day I went to my doctor to get a referral for an infertility specialist.

Back in January, we were put on a sex schedule (Can I say sex schedule on the internet? Well, I just did.). I was instructed to come back in four months if I still wasn’t pregnant. I’m still not sure if now is the right time to start official treatments; the time, money, energy, planning, it’s all a lot to consider. One part of me wants to settle in to our situation… relax, let God’s “timing” take over, but another part wonders if God is saying, “Hey, remember science? It’s ok to seek help.”

In the past, when I’ve dealt with disappointment I would cope by downplaying my own ability or claiming I never really wanted that thing in the first place. It’s a total cop-out. It’s challenging to admit, not only to yourself but also to the world, that what you set out to achieve didn’t work out as planned.

I thought a lot (while drinking my iced coffee) about redirection. I had a direction…a plan for my life and while this road isn’t something I bargained for… I am on it and gosh darn it, I want to enjoy the life I’ve been given.

/ / Want to leave a reply?