Another Sorrow

October 28, 2013 — 5 Comments

I haven’t blogged because I haven’t known what to say. On September 18, at a regular ultrasound, we found out that I’d had another miscarriage. Two in a row. It’s been almost 6 weeks now and I’m just starting to get to a place where I can talk about it and sort through all that’s happened. Grieving these miscarriages is an odd thing. I’m grieving the loss of a child, the opportunity to know that child, and the loss of hopes for my family. I’ve had to let go of my strong desire to have a baby before my next birthday. I’ve had to learn to trust that God knows the number of children I will have and how closely spaced they will be. I’ve had to learn to rejoice that I’ll have a big family in heaven, even if I don’t know what my earthly family will look like. I’ve had to face the future and pray that God carries me through whatever valleys.

Practically (well, medically speaking) I don’t have any answers. They won’t do any testing until after a third miscarriage. I’m praying that there isn’t a third, but a baby instead. You can pray too.

I feel like I can say more, but I’ll save it for another day. I’ll share more about what’s comforted me through this. It’s been 6 weeks and God has taught me a lot. But it’s still only been 6 weeks and there is more to learn.

Thank you for reading this. Thank you for sharing our sorrows.

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I haven’t spent much time making content for my own blog but I’ve enjoyed reading a few things around the internet. If you’re looking for some weekend reading, here are some recommendations!

#blogABLE // This past week a group of bloggers traveled to Ethiopia to work with LivefashionABLE and the Mocha Club. I followed along on Instagram and twitter (search the hashtag #blogable to see and read more). I loved the posts by Hayley at the Tiny Twig and Shannan at Flower Patch Farm Girl. LivefashionABLE has a business model that I can support…check it out and buy some stuff!

Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy posted two winning posts this week. The first is a totally important, unimportant discussion about which movies are better than the books. The second is a quick review of the books (Twitterature) she’s read this summer (also other bloggers are linking their reviews). I’m adding some books to my library list (still looking for that caper novel though).

As a girl who struggles with discontent with her house, I cried at this post by the Nester. You need to go through and read the whole story about their renting years, her family’s faithfulness and her motto – It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to be Beautiful.

Rachael had a baby. She wrote the birth story here, and she blogged about what to pack in your hospital bag here. Both are good reads for you pregnant mommas.

Have a lovely weekend! (That cutie on the left in the pic is my niece who turns 8 next week!)

Donuts and Ice Cream

August 12, 2013 — 10 Comments

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Did the post title catch your attention? Really, this is just a post of what we are currently up to around here. And what we hope to be up to for the rest of the summer.

Reading Austenland: A Novel // an easy, beach read. If you want to come with me to see the movie in September, read the book. Yes, I’m bossy.

Eating lots of tomato (from the garden) & mayo sandwiches.

Buying bacon for those sandwiches. // When did bacon get so expensive?!

Eating Ben & Jerry’s frozen greek yogurt. // The lemon with lavender is refreshingly good.

Showering one of my best friends and her little lady! // Can’t wait to see her sweet face in September.

Planning what I need to buy so my growing kids are clothed this fall and winter.

Planning in general so we can enjoy this last summer month.

Denying the fact that my girl goes to preschool this fall. // But also excited for a few hours with just my little man.

What are you doing to enjoy the rest of this summer? I’m hoping for a trip to the city to try Federal Donuts, and many more pool days. I’d also like to squeeze in a few more Dairy Queen trips.

Any beach book recommendations? I’m looking for anything fun and relaxing, but I’d really like to find a good caper novel.

Linking up with Blair at Wild and Precious for “Life Lately”

Miscarriage and Hope

August 1, 2013 — 2 Comments

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Back in April I had a positive pregnancy test. We’d took a little break before deciding to try to add to our family and so that plus sign was a thrill. I remember being on cloud nine that day, feeling like anything was possible. Weeks passed and we saw a heartbeat, our littlest person. A few more weeks passed and I noticed that my tummy wasn’t popping as much as it should, but I hoped it meant that I was keeping the pregnancy weight down.

On a Thursday morning in late May when I should have been 13 weeks, I laid on an exam table while a nurse searched for a heartbeat that no longer existed. Our littlest person had gone to a different, better home.

Things after that happened so fast and yet achingly slow. I knew what to expect when it came to a miscarriage but I hadn’t known what it would feel like to experience one. Until that day. There was a painful emptiness and a broken heart. There was the fear that this happened because of my weaknesses and failures as a mom. But mostly, I mourned the loss of a child whose soul and personality I wouldn’t know in this life, but I already loved with my fierce mother love.

Having (and wanting) no other option, I cried out for the refuge of my Father. With each wave of sorrow, His grace lifted me up and kept me from sinking under the despair. I held my husband’s hand during the D&C and poured out my heart to the Lord. I asked Him to tell my sweet child that I loved him (or her) and that I would miss so much getting to know him in this life. I believe He answered my prayer and held my little one for me.

That day I felt desperate in a way that was familiar but also new. I’d had sorrow before but this was a new kind of grief and pain. I needed Jesus to hold me when I’d lost hope of holding this child. More than anything I wanted to keep singing no matter what the day had for me. Scary procedure, physical pain, broken heart, spiritual darkness – I wanted to keep singing.

By grace, I still sing. I haven’t walked through this perfectly (ask Rick). But I’ve seen God keep my soul secure and my feet from slipping (Psalm 66:9). We hope to add another member to this tribe, but I don’t want to forget the life that came before. I read this post by Casey Wiegand recently and it gave me faith where there is often fear.

“Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, let me be singing when the evening comes.”

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I grew up a little all over the place, but I still consider Greentown, Indiana my hometown. Maybe it’s because my first memories are rooted in those cornfields or maybe because it’s because my parents think of it with so much love, it’s become my love too. Moving from the Midwest to the East Coast (with a few stops along the way), these two places don’t have much in common.

We make our home in a western suburb of Philadelphia. It’s quite possibly one of the most beautiful places to live. Some days I’ll drive my kids to Wawa (where you can get gas, slurpees, huge Diet Cokes and all the candy your heart desires) and then we’ll spend a half-hour or so driving the hills, gazing at the historic homes and looking out for horses. When we crave cheeseburgers and fries, we drive into the city for some Shake Shack. This summer we’ll make a few 2-hour trips to the beach for some waves and caramel corn. And we live close to four Targets. It’s a pretty great place to call home.

My friend Kristen Chase posted the above pictures on her Instagram. I love the way she views life and she takes some awesome pictures of it. If you need a Philly-area photographer, she’s your girl!

Mama Shred

June 11, 2013 — 3 Comments

Can you keep a secret? Last month I turned 33. While I’m not too naive to say it’s old, it sure feels old and the older I get, the more important health (and looking good in skinny jeans) becomes to me. I’ve exercised more this year than any other year in my life, but I’m still holding onto those baby pounds (ahem…the baby is 2). I’m pretty sure the reason has more to do with french fries than babies.

Enter the Mama Shred. It’s an online personal training program created by the super sweet Bobbi McCormick. Each week she provides a clean eating meal plan, 5 workouts and a shopping list. Those things by themselves are great but there is also a facebook group with accountability and a chance to ask Bobbi questions. I’m so grateful for them.

I started off great in May and felt amazing and then got totally derailed…whoosh. This month I’m wanting to stick to it and make a difference in how I feel and look. That’s why I am writing this post: I need accountability. I need the internet to know what I’m doing, even if you don’t really care. (I understand.)

I hope to become healthier and stronger, to keep up with my kids and to be happy with the way I look. I hope to learn discipline when it comes to food. I love to eat and I love that I have the freedom to eat what I want, but that doesn’t mean I should eat whatever I want. But geez, I really wish salad tasted like french fries.

I’m listing my goals for this week, recognizing that this is a process. Fear of failure shouldn’t keep me (or you) from learning and moving along the way. I believe that God is for me in this and will help me to choose the better way, but I will never know until I start.

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Thank you for letting me open about this! Since it’s my blog you don’t have much of a choice, but thank you for reading it.

Do you have any favorite fitness resources to share? I’m always interested!

whatevermaypassI’m pretty sure that I write this type of post every other time I blog. Yes, I’m still alive and we had the stomach bug. Twice in May. Is there a record for number of stomach bugs had in one season? I think we might win.

May was a crazy month. There was the mundane and the unpredictable. We celebrated growing up and we mourned the loss of a friend. There was both joy and deep sadness. That verse in Ecclesiastes that says there is a season for everything under heaven? Well, that felt like May for me.

On repeat in my head is the song 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman. My heart pounds with this prayer: “Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, let me be singing when the evening comes.” In the darkest days of May, I could still sing because “He lives and while He lives I’ll sing.”

Charles Spurgeon says it way better than me, “…make the outgoings of the morning and the evening to rejoice. Praise the Lord for the sun of joy when it rises, and for the gloom of evening as it falls. There is beauty both in sunrise and sunset; sing of it, and glorify the Lord.”

This may not make any sense if you don’t have a context for what I’m talking about. Sorry about that. To sum up, life is hard but we still sing because Jesus lives and lives for us. Amen and hallelujah.

I have more to say about blogging and life and what’s keeping me sane, but that will come soon. I mean it.

Thank you for reading and sticking around. I mean that too.

May Hopes

May 2, 2013 — 1 Comment

I love May. Two birthdays (one mine!), lots of time outside and the promise of summer fun. Now more than ever I want to enjoy the time with my two little ones. This morning we sat on the front step and watched the trash trucks go by. It will probably be the highlight of the day unless I decide to be brave and pull out the splash table.

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Here are my hopes for the lovely month of May:

1. Find some rhythms that work for these sunny days. I love them but my floors are dirty. And I have laundry in various stages of undone and done all over the house. I need to make something work. Does anyone have any tips?
2. Choose healthy eats and more exercise. I have a plan and I want to follow it.
3. Keep on keepin’ on with the house. We are hoping to refinance soon and I would love to have a real outdoor space to enjoy this summer.
What are you hoping for in the May? Seriously, how do you take care of your house and soak up the sunshine?

We’ve come so far.

April 26, 2013 — 5 Comments

I confessed on Monday that I’m embarrassed by my house. I suppose the best way to get over the fear of what other people think is to go ahead and put pictures on the internet. If you have a fixer-upper, do this. Looking back at these pictures helps me to not be as critical when I look at where we are right now. I’m amazed at how far we’ve come.

These first two pictures are from the day we bought the house, exactly 4 years ago.

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This next picture is from the day the huge trees came down, about a year ago.

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These next two pictures are today. Sorry Rick isn’t in the one in the kitchen.

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So, anyone wanna come over?

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I’m declaring this on the internet. I don’t love my house. In fact, I’m a bit embarrassed by it. The last time we had friends over? I can’t even remember.

We bought a fixer-upper. The older lady who lived there most of her life had let if all into disrepair, and we wanted to make it our home. For the longest time, I didn’t think of it as my house, but hers. I would cry on my husband’s shoulder and complain about the ugly paint color, the smoke smell she left behind and the overgrown, untamed yard. Slowly (waiting on time and money), we’ve been able to make progress and little by little it feels like our home. We are leaving our impact on it now with our paint colors and dents in the walls and laughter around the table.

I don’t really have a lot of wisdom to share. This journey isn’t over for me yet. Some days I only see the unfinished projects and weeds in the flower beds. I’m afraid of what others will think when they see my home for the first time.

But I’m learning that making a home takes effort. Homes aren’t made the day you move in and unpack your stuff. They are made with creativity, thoughtfulness and maybe a little bit of bravery. They evolve – a new baby sleeps in the crib – and you fix stuff and move stuff to fit in the new life. Your kids grow, you move houses and you’re faced with a whole new effort. I’m learning to embrace the effort.

I’m learning that imperfect is perfectly fine. An unfinished house doesn’t mean that our family can’t live a full, joyful and purposeful life. We don’t live to serve our house. It serves us. If those dang baseboards don’t get installed for a few years, we can still play and wrestle and argue and live our lives. My kids won’t remember the imperfections as much as the state of mom who lived with them.

The journey continues. There is much to do  – both on the house and in my heart. I don’t think we’ll ever be finished with either and I’m ok with it.

The photo is of our almost finished bathroom, our most recent project. Yes, it’s imperfect but it’s usuable! Woohoo!