Monday, January 18, 2016

To Baby #2

Sweet, little baby,

This is not how it was supposed to be.  Yesterday was your due date.  If we had it my way, you'd be in my belly about to be born or in my arms being kissed ten thousand times a day.

But it isn't that way.

You had a few short weeks in my belly, but you weren't able to grow where you implanted and so you joined your sibling in heaven.  There you two wait for us to come to you since you didn't get to come to us.

We can't wait to come to you.

We can't wait to meet you.

I don't even know what you look like, but I think about you every day.  I think about how I'd sing to you and cradle you in my arms.  How I want to smother you with kisses and smell your soft little head.  How your dad and I would watch you grow and smile with so much pride over the amazing person you would surely become.

We found out we were pregnant with you while on vacation in Cancun.  There was a beautiful peacock that greeted us several times that week and we decided your nursery would be themed after him with beautiful feathers in shades of green and blue.  Every time I see a peacock it reminds me of you and how happy we were to have you in our lives, however brief.

Oh, how I wish we could have met you.

But someday we will.  And that gives me hope to keep going.  I know Jesus is taking good care of you.  And you are with your sibling.

So while we mourn for our loss, we also look forward expectantly to that joy-filled day when we will finally be able to see each other face-to-face.  And I will hold you and kiss you and tell you in person how very, very much I love you.  We miss you and we love you so much, sweetheart.  See you soon.


Friday, January 15, 2016

2015 Resolutions: Year End Recap

Well, hello there, 2016.  You got here awful quick.  I haven't even had a chance to post my October recap, thankyouverymuch.  

... let's just not even talk about it...

The end of the year really took off for me.  I started several new "endeavors" including, but not limited too: a year-long health coaching program (IIN, if you're interested), becoming a dōTERRA oil educator, and starting a part-time job as an office professional.  

These have all been wonderful and I'm loving what I do now, which is such a gift.  The downside is that my blogging schedule has totally taken a backseat and I'm struggling to reincorporate it to my routine.  But I'm all about the baby steps, so we're just gonna focus on this post today and then worry about the others.  :)

Without further ado, here is my 2015 Resolutions recap:

1. Whole30
We are actually currently on Whole30 number three.  More on that to come. ;)

2. Get (and stay) pregnant
Sadly, this task was not accomplished in 2015.  We gave it our best shot though, lol.  Better luck next time.

3. Quit my job

4. Finish two books with Doad
We did it!!! :)  Woohoo, we finally finished our second book, 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess  (aff.) by Jen Hatmaker.  So good.  A lot of our 2016 goals come from this book.  Again, more on that to come. :)

5. Read 24 books
I definitely fell a little short in this area.  I believe I rang in the new year with 14 books under my belt (16 if you count the 2 with Doad).  I'm okay with it, though.  I still read more than last year and I have several books to keep me motivated to hit that 24 number this year.  

6. Marriage Conference

Also didn't make this happen this year, but I have plans to change that.  For real, this time. 

7. Cruise/vacation

8. Purple hair

9. Keep up with Spanish lessons
Boo, this just totally fell apart once I got rid of my commute.  Now in my free time I listen to podcasts, because they're right there on my phone and they're so easy... Still waiting for a magic fairy to put my Spanish CD's onto my phone... 

10. Learn to drive stick shift

I'm keeping this yellow too because I did sort of learn.  I just never practiced enough to get confident with on-the-road driving.  I would say that one more practice at the parking lot and a couple drives through the neighborhood and I'll be good.  That counts, right?

So I got about half of my goals accomplished this year.  Honestly, the only one I'm disappointed about is the whole pregnancy one (for obvious reasons, I think).  For the rest, I think my priorities changed during the year and I just didn't reflect that here by updating my goals. I accomplished dozens of other goals that weren't on this list and I'm very proud of those achievements.  

I'm also super excited for my next post about my goals for 2016.  I have lots of ideas (as always) and I can't wait to share them with you!  

I know it's a tad belated, but I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas a happy New Year.  
Cheers to 2016!!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

One Year Ago Today...

I've been composing this post in my head for over two weeks now.  I've written down drafts and then left them unpublished - how do you put into words the intense range of emotions that accompanies an anniversary of loss?  How do I stay real in this space without becoming too depressing and dark?  How do I honor our little one and our loss and yet still provide hope, encouragement, and glory to God? 

I was going to share a glimpse of the bitterness and anger that I've been going through.  The sense of emptiness and confusion - the "why her and not me?" that comes with every pregnancy announcement (of which there has been an abundance this holiday season).  I thought maybe I'd talk about the guilt of just wishing Christmas was over so you don't have to put on a fake smile anymore and things can just get back to "normal".

But if you're in this boat, you don't need a reminder.

You know what it feels like.

And you know how easy it is to give in to all these negative feelings.  We don't need to give them any more airtime...

they've had enough already.

So today I forced myself to make a list of the positives.  On this anniversary of loss, I'm choosing to dig deep and remember what I have to be thankful for.  This year was hard, but God gave us many blessings too.  I don't want to end this year on a low note.  I don't want Satan to take that from me too.  So here is a short list of gifts that I am thankful for this year:

- I'm thankful for all the ways Doad and I grew closer and stronger in our marriage.  These losses could have torn us apart, but by God's grace, they made our marriage stronger.  He is my best friend and I am so fortunate to have him to lean on through this journey.

- I am thankful for my church family who is always kind, loving, and supportive.

- I'm thankful for our trip to Cancun and the time we got to spend in each other's company relaxing and exploring and taking a much-needed vacation.

- I'm also thankful for all the other places we got to travel to together this year: New Jersey, Orlando, Massachusetts.

- I am thankful to no longer be in a stressful job and to instead be pursing a career that fills me with purpose and happiness.  I love what I am doing right now and am excited about the future in health-coaching and with essential oils.

- I'm thankful for Lacey and what a good companion and comfort she is.  She is such a good cuddler and so loyal.  She knows how to make us feel better and she brings so much joy to our home.

- I am thankful for dear friends and family who care enough about us to go through the ugly stuff with us.  They know when we need tough love and when we need a shoulder to cry on.  They have borne the brunt of bad attitudes and still love us.  They keep us accountable.  They pray for us.  They LOVE us.

- I am thankful for how we grew in Christ.  There has been a lot of questioning and hard lessons from God, but I am grateful that our faith is not stagnant and stale.  We are being stretched and tested.  We are learning about the Holy Spirit and his activity in our daily lives. We are learning to let go and to simplify.  We are learning to trust beyond what we though we were capable of and we are clinging to hope with all we've got.

So there's a list... and I am thankful.

And I do mean it... but... it feels fake.

I can't end this post here all pretty and resolved and let you think it's as simple as that.  I want you to see the battle here.  I want you to see that it took over an hour to write that list - that I'm fighting not to give in to the negativity.

This isn't easy.

The flesh in me wants to look at this list and say "That's not good enough."

I wanted a baby this year too.

Instead I lost not one, but two babies.

And all these months later, I still have no answers.  I wish I had more to share with you, but this is all I know:



God is still good.

He is near to the brokenhearted.

He offers comfort, and peace, and hope.

His grace is sufficient for us, and his power is made perfect in our weakness.

He is the giver of life.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

He loves with an everlasting love and his faithfulness towards us continues.

O sister, sweet friend, dear one in the thick of this battle with me,  be encouraged!  Let your heart be open to the comfort of His Word.  It may sting as it goes down, but hidden in these promises is the only place I can find rest right now.  I pray the same for you.

This is the fight.

To go back to what we know, to cling to the promises of God.  To choose to dwell on the hope and the peace that He offers and not the death and despair of the world.  Fight with me.  Hope with me as the new year comes.

Friday, October 9, 2015

2015 Resolutions: September Recap

I hope you guys realize that there are only 76 days until Christmas at this moment.  Seventy-six!!  That means we've been working on our goals for 281 days and we only have 84 days left in the year! Holy cow, we better get crackin'!

1. Whole30

2. Get (and stay) pregnant
Nothing yet

3. Quit my job

4. Finish two books with Doad
Still reading...

5. Read 24 books

I finished book #11 and #12.  I'm close to finishing #13 too, but I am still ironing out the kinks in my new routine and have not made much time for reading lately.  At this point, I doubt I will finish 24 books by the end of the year, but I will definitely read more than last year, so I am focusing on that progress and still trying to read as many as possible.  :)

Book #11 was The Better Baby Book (aff.) by Lana Asprey.  This was not my most favorite baby book that I have read as there were several recommendations in it that I either disagreed with or felt were not explained well enough for me to be comfortable following them.  I've linked to it anyway because there was a lot of good info in there as well, you just have to be smart while you read it and do your own research as well.  

Book #12 was another fun book from my birthday haul, Seriously... I'm Kidding (aff.) by Ellen Degeneres.  This was very light reading.  Lighter than I thought it would be.  But it's pretty hard to dislike such a kind, funny lady and I found the same to be true with her book.  A couple chapters had me laughing out loud... in public... so that was fun.

6. Marriage Conference

7. Cruise/vacation

8. Purple hair

9. Keep up with Spanish lessons

So... remember when I said I was gonna bring the CD's in from the car?  And put them on my phone?  And listen to them while I walked my dog?  

They're still in my car.  

10. Learn to drive stick shift

Still shooting to practice this in October.  I'm getting a little rusty so we are definitely due for it.  Doad asked me to start his car the other day and I couldn't remember how.  I was afraid to stall it out so I just put the key in the ignition and got into the passenger seat lol.  

Not a strong month for me.  It looks like the only thing I made progress in was my reading goal and even that wasn't very much.  My baby steps were few and far between this month.  But that's okay.  You know why?  Because I still made progress.  

Keep on chugging, Dreamers.
All forward motion is progress.

Friday, September 25, 2015

How To Start Your Day with Greens | A Quick, Helpful Tip

I've only been in school for two weeks, but one thing has become clear: Almost everyone knows which foods they should be eating more of and which foods they should be avoiding.  No one needs to hear that they should be eating more vegetables - we all know.  But sometimes we all need help figuring out how to eat more vegetables.

So this morning I'm sharing one of my favorite ways to get more greens into my diet and my top tips for keeping things delicious and simple.

Smoothies are amazing because you can basically hide your greens in there and not even know you're eating/drinking them.  Don't believe me?  You're doing it wrong.

Here's what you need to know:

1. Blend the greens before adding your fruit.
Put a handful or two of greens (start with a little bit of harmless ol' spinach if you're nervous) in your blender with 1/2 cup to 1 cup of liquid depending on how thick you like your smoothies.  Blend this up before you add your other ingredients. This helps to ensure that your greens are really chopped up and there are no chunks hiding around.

This is especially important if you are using a cheap, older blender.  No one likes chunky spinach in their fruit smoothie.  Or maybe you do... in that case, ignore this tip.

2. Freeze your fruit.
If you use frozen fruit, you don't need to use as much ice, or even any ice at all.  This keeps things nice and tasty and doesn't dilute the flavor of your fruit down with all that water.

3. Can't have dairy?  Like your smoothies to be creamy? Use a frozen banana.
Bananas are magical and basically turn into ice cream when you freeze them.  (Google it.)  I love that milkshake consistency in my smoothies and bananas are what do that for you.  Healthy milkshakes Yes, please!

Another awesome thing about smoothies is that they are so customizable, you can use whatever greens and fruits you have and choose the flavors you like to make a drink you love.  But if you're like me and need a recipe to start you off, here are two super easy ones to try.

Strawberry Banana Smoothie
~1-2 handfuls of greens (if you're nervous start small and slowly increase the amount you add)
~1/2 C - 1 C liquid (adjust to desired consistency) - you can use milk, coconut milk, water... whatever floats your boat, just maybe not soda)
~1 frozen banana
~5-6 frozen strawberries
splash of vanilla extract (optional)
1. Blend greens and liquid.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend again!
3. So quick and easy, right?

Almond Butter Cacao Smoothie
~1-2 handfuls of greens (Don't be afraid to change it up! Try kale or collard greens or a blend!)
~1/2 C - 1 C liquid
~1 frozen banana
~1 T cacao powder (where I buy mine)*
~1 T almond butter
~2 T coconut oil 
1. Blend greens and liquid.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend again!

* Bonus tip: This is also a really great way to add in some other super foods like coconut oil and chia seeds.  Just add a tablespoon or two to the blender and you're all set. :)

Sounds yummy, right?  Go try one!  Or try both!  Once you've made a couple you can experiment with different greens and fruits.  Add an avocado for an extra creamy smoothie.  Try some ginger or citrus rind.  Go crazy! :)

I'd love to hear about the smoothies you've created.
Share your favorite recipes with me in the comments below!

*Affiliate link