Saturday, January 3, 2015

Whole & Highly Favored: A Post about not getting pregnant


     I do not know how to begin this post, but my macbook keys have been pumping their little fists and chanting "Write! Write! Write" for a long time, and I told God that if I made it to 2015 without a baby, I would start writing about it (a little).  With Tim’s consent, of course.

AND HERE WE ARE, GUYS!  

And I have prayed and prayed and prayed about this.  Should I write about this?  What are my motives?  Do I want pity?  Do I want attention?

And God was kind of like, 

"Holly.  Get humble.  Stop being a weirdo.  
Just start writing about this and stop making it about you."

Duly Noted.

I DON'T KNOW, GUYS! I JUST DO WHAT I'M TOLD! 

     A year ago, I thought I was pregnant.  I was just shy of one year off birth control.  We had lived everywhere from "Actively Trying" to "Not Trying/Not preventing" in terms of conception, so I shouldn't have been excited.

But my period was later than Mariah Carey at an NBC Christmas Rehearsal (I've heard things, guys).

And I thought that was going to be our story.  All the clichés .  You know, you really aren't supposed to "worry" until after you've been trying for a year, and we were one month shy of that.

"Because, guys.  God's so funny like that, and His timing is perfect..."

And blah. blah. blah.

And Tim was getting excited, too.  I did the whole song and dance. I took 100 pregnancy tests and called the doctor.

But I wasn't pregnant. Throw all the things...cry all the tears. You know the drill.

And I spent the last week of 2013 with my head in my hands and Ellie Goulding's 
"Deadin the Water" on repeat.

And I haven't gotten pregnant since.

     Tim and I often joke that he is very OLD TESTAMENT.  He is the The King of Hard Truths.  He's all HAND ME MY SWORD!  I'm not kidding.  He asked for a legit sword for Christmas.  STAY OFF OUR LAWN, YOU RASCALS!

And I am like allll about The New Testament.  Give me the sweet, soft stories of Jesus.  No plagues.  No beheadings.  I'll take my quail and manna to go, thanks.

On the same side of that, I am very much "Your Kingdom come."  Right now, I am taking the wreckage and trying desperately to bend it into an arrow that will point us closer to Jesus.

I’m also in the “eat all the sugary cereal and weep into the bowl” phase of our baby-making journey.  I'm kidding. Kind of.

If the bowl is mostly 2% milk, but also partially filled with human tears...does that lower the fat content? I'm asking for a friend.

While Tim is very much, "Your will be done." He is drawing a map to get us out of here...as in, "Unless The Lord wills it, we'll never have kids."

You can see how we would have problems there, huh? ;)

And this whole busted up mess is really just about two broken people trying to point each other home.  MARRIAGE, am I right?

Sometime in Mid-November of this year, I kind of cracked.  Ok. I really cracked. Or I don't know...I like, melted or something.

Do Americans have a word for "Lost all hope and wept in all of my friends' cars?"

Cause that's what I did.

At one point, I sent a message to one of my friends that said, “I’M SORRY I WAS LATE PICKING YOU UP... I WAS WEEPING INTO MY CLOSET!”

     The past year has been incredibly lonely, but I’ve honestly never felt more supported or loved by my sweet, beautiful friends than I did when I went absolutely bananas last fall.

And I think the overall message has been, "HELP IS ON THE WAY."

REDEMPTION

I wrote several of the friends I've met online through The InfluenceNetwork.

"I AM PRETTY SURE THE SHIP IS SINKING AND I JUST NEED HELP!"

     And they came running. They juggled midnight feedings, homeschool schedules, and a hundred other "mom tasks" and built for me a safe and sturdy life raft.  

Lord knows I couldn't do it on my own.

My bestie met me in Kroger parking lot on the way to pick up her baby when I just needed a breather.  

Three of my best pals from college listened intently while I sobbed my way through our 10 year college reunion (but I really did have an amazing time, my friends).  

Sometimes, I think we are the blindfolded children holding the pin and the tail while God is the poster with the donkey.

And he's all "A LITTLE TO THE LEFT!"

And we're all "YOUR LEFT OR MY LEFT?"

Honestly, it has been hard for me to think about "Making Things Happen," and 
"Goal Setting" in the New Year.

     I feel like the approach for 2013 was very GOD GIVES US THE DESIRES OF OUR HEARTS.  For that reason, there's a onesie from The Baby Gap with the words "I Love Mommy" embroidered on the front shoved somewhere in the bottom of one of my dresser drawers.

And there were parts of 2014 where I basically said, “Uh...God? Don’t bother me and I won’t bother you, ok?”

Now...HEAR ME OUT, people...I have sought lots of wise counsel on this one and it’s getting BETTER!

I have a Bible reading plan I love and an ever-growing prayer life.

AWAY WITH YOUR HOLY WATER...THERE IS NO CAUSE FOR ALARM. ;)

     For a while, Tim and I had the tradition of writing down the things we wanted in the coming year and shoving them in the toe of our stockings as a way to enjoy and reflect the following year.

It has not proven to be as meaningful or fun as I imagined it would be when we started.

I don't wanna do it this year.  Cause I can't bear to put one more neon colored post-it note with the words "a baby or pregnancy" in the trash.

The other day, I asked Tim, "What are you looking forward to the most in 2015?"

Because I am "the girl" in our relationship and it's my job to ask the girly questions.

And Tim said, "I'm not going to answer because I don't even know what's going to happen."

And I was like, "Boooyyyy, I hear you. I hope we at least make it to the ocean this summer."

     I think I could be in exactly the same spot next year and still be happy.  My tryglicerides and overall cholesterol have dropped. The living room is now this really pretty color of light green that I kind of can't stop looking at.  The coffee's on.  My sister keeps making these beautiful, blonde haired babies.  

And of course, there is beauty in not knowing, am I right? Cliché after cliché...maybe if we just keep our expectations low, we won't be disappointed, yea?

That's like...the opposite of a TED talk.  I should write a book about not caring about anything in 2015. Ha.

I saw this on Tumblr the other day and just had to re-post it.  So sad/funny.

Ok. I feel like this was meant to be kind of light and funny, and it's taking a turn for the worst.  Ha.

WHERE DOES THAT LEAVE US!?!?!

I kind of wouldn’t trade this road for anything. Is that insane? INSANITY? YES! 
And also proof that God exists.

Well, this is the part where I get snarky. Are you excited? Are you surprised?

     A while ago, I read a post where someone briefly mentioned redemption, and it was over THE SILLIEST thing. I don’t mean to diminish anyone’s pain but...God does not need to redeem our mistaken coffee orders, you guys. He just doesn’t. Buy a new cup and get over it. That kind of stuff drives Tim crazy. You are not a martyr because the guy at Macy’s told you “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”

     All that to say, I am so glad I will experience the depth of God’s power and love and ability to redeem through this struggle. I’m so glad I am outgrowing the “redeem my cold coffee” camp as harsh and egotistical as it sounds.

I seriously can’t find a nicer/less jerky way to write that while still giving it the power it deserves.

     Now, I can look back and see that the loss I felt last year is representative of the heartache God felt when He lost Jesus. I ache for a baby the way the world aches for Christ and He for us in return.

And I’m thankful for that perspective.

     This year has taught me that no matter how absolutely smashed up and broken and shameful and embarrassed I feel, when I stand before The Father, He sees me as whole & highly favored.

     And this year, I can stand next to my husband with empty arms and a weary heart and still believe in the promise and power of Redemption.

     And I am also exhaustedly wise (?) enough to know that Redemption will not necessarily equal "baby."  And the past 6 or so weeks have been about making peace with that.  Even if it friggin' kills me, guys.

Soon, I am posting a list of Ten Things to Say When Your Friend's Not Getting Pregnant.

Kind of like... conversation starters, if you will. 

 I wanted to add my story to it to give you all some context instead of being like, 
"Surprise! Here's this random post about something that may or may not apply to me.  Just act natural."  

And I tried to add my story to it, but guys...it was getting long.

So this is...Part 1, I guess.

In closing, this is the last of my snarky-ness, I promise.

     Please be sensitive with your comments. You know, maybe this isn’t the place for “fertility suggestions.” or “I was infertile and then I tried this and got pregnant” stories.  

Maybe there’s not enough relaxing/adopting orphaned babies/green tea/lying on your back for 30 minutes/etc. in the world to get me pregnant, and that’s ok, you know?

Cause all the TRYING...it’s like...hard, guys.

So, please don’t flood my inbox with herbal tea recommendations and directions for how to buy ovulation predictor kits in bulk.

This is not my first rodeo, guys.

And THAT rodeo drove me CRAZY and was not good for my mental health/marriage and I’ll gladly get a little bold/snarky in order to protect those things.

Also, I am smack dab in the middle of the book Taking Charge of YourFertility, and it’s amazing, thank you very much for the suggestion.

Also, I hope I am healthier/faster/stronger/lighter (?) this time next year.

Lastly, I hope nothing in this post has made anyone feel bad/uncomfortable/sad/whatever.

I’m in a really lonely season right now. The last thing I want to do is alienate people.

PLEASE BE FRIENDS WITH ME! ;)

     I know I joke a lot about weeping.  Sometimes, my "blogging voice" thinks it's funny to exaggerate emotions.  Please do not be alarmed.

I'm very sad and I'm grateful and I'm fine and I am learning that it is possible to be all of those at the same time.

I am so glad that I can be scared/sad/anxious/insane, and God will still work.

Lastly, I would have died 1,000 deaths by now without That Tim.  
Hug his neck next time you see him.

K? Thanks. Love you. Bye.


Hooray! I think it’s ok to say "Hooray" about this! 
You are catching me on a good day. ;) 

I am like, equal parts terrified and relieved just getting it out in the open. 

So. I'll end there.  

Love and a weight has lifted, 


Friday, January 2, 2015

A Very Brief 2014 Update

     Let's be completely honest here, guys.  Any kind of Christmas Card/Snail Mail/New Years letter just isn't going to happen.  And I was stressin.' Which I know is silly. Really.

But I wanted to do SOMETHING to update people far and wide that didn't include an order from Shutterfly and $100 worth of stamps.  And my brain was like, "Quick! To the blog!"

I'm like...I PAY $10 a year for the domain name! Why not make it WORK FOR ME!

Haha...

     True, it lacks the personal touch and sentimentality of a real life card, and I'm sure people from The Greatest Generation are rolling over in their graves, but I've included an x-ray of my dog in this whole mess so...it should be worth it.  ;)

And...without further ado...I'm giving you A Very Brief 2014 Update. Love you bunches, and Happy New Year!


We'll go in order of cuteness and start with the dogs first. ;)



     After 11 years on this planet, we finally managed to find a bed that Noel deemed "worthy" enough to sleep in.  This was a big deal, guys... as she has much preferred any hamper, duffel bag, or storage bin over the multiple beds we've purchased for her over the years.







WE HAVE A WINNER!  

She seems to have mellowed out in her old age.  The highlight of her Autumn was attending a "Strut your Mutt" event with almost NO BARKING!  :)


      Scarlett surprised everyone at the vet when we discovered she had huge gallstones!  She had minor surgery in October and has healed nicely.  See if you can spot the extra amount of naughtiness in her x-ray.





     Our vet was able to have her stones sent off to be analyzed in an attempt to figure out what's causing them...so whenever you are having a bad day at work, just remember somebody out there has a job that requires them to dissect my poor dogs gallstones.  ;)

The Girls are a huge blessing in our lives, and we're so glad they're ours.  "Dog people" unite!

     Tim's business is doing well.  He is, hands down, the hardest worker I know.  He spent a ton of time this fall helping remodel our church's "sister campus" about 20 minutes away from our house.  I think it was the most "involved" job he's ever finished, but also the most rewarding.  It was the same church my grandpa (my mom's dad) helped build in the 50's, so we've truly come full circle.  

God is good.

A blurry picture of new paint, lighting, and floors, among MANY other projects. 


     He is still busy with wood-working and various other hobbies.  He built a beautiful speaker cabinet this year and plans to build more in the future.

     The year held lots of changes for me on a professional level.  In August, I accepted a position teaching second grade at a private, Christian School about 10 minutes away from our house.  This job was truly The Lord's Plan- as I wasn't even been looking for a teaching job at the time.  The students and staff have been a huge blessing, and I love teaching there.

     In September, I attended The Influence Conference in Indianapolis for the second time, and loved every minute of it.  It gave me the chance to meet some online friends in real life and listen to some amazing speakers.

    Another highlight was attending my 10 year college reunion at Mount Vernon Nazarene University.  It gave me the opportunity to see some of my favorite people on the planet, and it makes me smile just to write about it!

     Twenty-Fourteen was certainly a blur.  In fact, as I was writing this, I felt like August 2014 was AS FAR BACK AS MY BRAIN COULD GO...haha.  No matter what, we're glad for the time we have together in our tiny, little house with a red front door.  We're never sure what the future holds, but we know that God is on the throne, and He is a dad who takes care of His kids.   We wish you the very best in 2015.  May His peace, comfort, and joy ring true in your hearts this year.

Holly, Tim, Scarelett & Noel









   


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Ouch. How to set goals and fail with grace



MY FRIENDS!

Well, the last you heard from me, I was all set to walk roughly 30 miles in 30 days and then...crickets.

Am I right?  How did you do?

My progress didn't go so well.  For various reasons, guys. Excuses, Excuses, am I right?

Well, the good thing is, at least I got a post-idea out of the whole mess.

Aren't you so thankful for fresh starts and grace and the chance to just begin again?

Yes. Please. Forever and Ever Amen.

Well, this is what I've figured out so for...

Step One...

Realize that you are a terrible human being and then focus that energy for good.


Ha.  I'm totally kidding on this one.  If you've set a goal, and it's fallen flat, chances are, you're feeling pretty crummy.  Let yourself feel crummy for a while.  It's ok.  That's kind of the point of setting a goal, right?  You feel good when you meet it...you feel bad when you don't.

Right now, the idea of getting over this hump and setting some NEW GOALS for the winter has me feeling weirdly excited.  Focus on the ideas below, and you can also find that strange balance of disappointment, excitement, and determination.

Let's be weird together. ;)

2.  Stay the course.  Think about your goal.  Did you accomplish anything at all?  My guess is...you probably did! And congrats!  If your goal was to pay off all your debt by the new year, and you only made it half way, that's still cause for celebration!  Keep doing what you're doing.  It's working, my friend!

3.  Find something to celebrate.  In the midst of all this November Craziness, I did manage to up my vitamin game.  I have been the Vitamin Queen these days.

You guys.

What should my crown look like?
...a crown made of vitamins?
Who's going to make it?
Can we hire these kinds of things out?

All this to say, my overall goal is to focus on my HEALTH so...I'm happy about that.  Vitamin-taking was a habit I had really let fall by the wayside, but I'm back at it.  Folic acid for days, y'all.  ;)

4.  Time travel.  Uh... let's be honest.  I worry about my weight and overall fitness level in general.  When I think about giving up, I picture myself 30 years from now.  Heavy. Tired.  Bored.  When times get tough and I don't think I'll ever find a way to maintain a healthy/active lifestyle, I think about Future Me, and she wishes that in my 30's, I would have found a way to make it work.

Powerful stuff.

Don't worry, Future Me...I'm comin' to the rescue!

So.  What's next?

I went to the gym the other day, and it just felt really good.  It feels good to be surrounded by people who care about the same thing you do- maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle.

My overall goal has been to "pick up momentum" in terms of exercise.  I had a health coach tell me one time that "A body in motion stays in motion."  It's so true.

I don't know that my momentum is back in full swing, but I do know that the ball is rolling...the wheels are turning, and such.

Good things are coming, and good things are already here.

Love and you can do it,






Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Old Joy #482

Guys. I wanna make this long. Like reeeeaaaallll long.

But, I ain't gonna.

Last week, Jen Hatmaker wrote about her mom's cancer diagnosis and how much she had feared  it would shake her faith...and how much it actually hadn't.  (I'm paraphrasing, obviously).

My friend (I wish), Jen Hatmaker is able to look her mother in the eye and declare that God is still good.

And I get it.  Kind of.

Tim and I have whispered the same prayer for about 2 years running.

Oh, for heaven's sake.

It is one of those requests that you never imagined having to pray over and over and over again.

But, you do.

It's the kind of request that ignites public weeping.  Very public weeping.  Sorry, Panera.

Do you have those, too?

Are you ready to give up?

Me too.

Wanna trade?  You pray for mine and I'll pray for yours, and it'll all come out in the wash.

'Cept when you accidentally end up being the one who gets blessed with a furry, brown dachshund, don't come whining to me.

Kidding.

But...imagine my wonder and surprise to discover, after all this time, that I can look my husband in the eye and declare that God is still good.



September 2007 

Forever and ever Amen.



Monday, October 27, 2014

Autumn Walking Challenge Part 2

     In case you missed it, I'm challenging myself to walk for 20 minutes (a mile) everyday for the next 30 days.  It's not too late to join in!  Part one is here. This is Part 2.  I wanted to write about some suggestions I think may help us experience a higher rate of success.



1. You need a contingency plan.  I accidentally typed "contingency plant,"  Ha. I guess you'll need one of those, too.

You guys.  Let's not pretend.  I KNOW at some point during the next 30 or so days, it's going to be like, 9:46pm and I'll still be waiting to get my walk done.

Let's be prepared...so at 9:46 at night, we're still ready to make the good and right choice.

Rain.  Kitchen catastrophes.  Traffic.  It's all comin' our way.  Let's be ready.

I found this walk on Youtube that I thought looked kind of cool.  Anything by Leslie Sansone is good, too.

I know some of these video can be kind of cheesy/not seem productive, but anything that keeps us moving is a GOOD THING. :)

Hang in there!

2. Create a visual reminder- I am using a really pretty fall photo I took on one of my recent walks as my phone's lock screen.  Take a picture of something you enjoyed seeing on your walk today and make it your wallpaper or phone lock screen.  Write a quote on a post-it and stick it to your mirror.  Pin something on Pinterest.  Just find something walk-related and PUT IT IN FRONT OF YOUR FACE! :)

3. Look ahead at your schedule- This Thursday, I'm booked from 3-8pm....at least.  I need to figure out how I can get in my walk so I'm not dragging my feet around the block in the middle of the night...haha. (Not safe! Not safe!)   Which leads me to...

4. Consider splitting your time - You may have to decide that you're going to walk ten minutes in the morning...five minutes in the parking lot after work...and 5 minutes once you get home.  That's ok!  Just start moving!  One thing I'm considering is showering at night.  We're having some really beautiful, mild weather, so I really don't sweat on my walks.  I think I might shower at night and use the extra time in the morning to squeeze in a walk.  That way, when I get back inside, I'm just ready to change clothes and go.  Also, keep in mind that this can be really simple!  For example, today, I walked in my "work" clothes.  (My leopard print ballet flats are really comfortable)! :)

Don't trick yourself into thinking you have to change clothes and make a big production of it.   Yes.  You may occasionally want to change into gym clothes and really log some QUICK MILES, but don't overcomplicate it if you don't have to. :) As long as your comfortable in what you're wearing...just walk in it!

5. Track your progress- I'm using these super cute mini-calendars from Hello Cuteness to check off all the work-outs I've gotten in this month!

6. Think about WHY you're doing this -

Here's an article about 8 Astonishing Benefits of Walking !  I love it!  #1 and #6 BLEW me away. Wow!  Powerful stuff!  I'm trying to be a mature adult and not mention #2. ;)

I find, when I'm not regularly exercising, my body just feels really out of control.  I feel this way the most when I get in the shower in the mornings.  I just feel really soft and glumpy.  Attractive, I know.



Then this sparks a sense of urgency in me, "I HAVE to do something! I HAVE to get to the gym! Make it stop!!!"

Obviously, this is not a fantastic way to start my day.

Over the next 30 days, I'm really looking forward to waking up at peace and feeling a bit more solid in terms of my body.

I hope this list will help us experience success.  For me, I think the most helpful part pertained to the Youtube videos.  I know there will be days when the gym is crowded and the weather is bad, and I'll just need a change of pace.

What did I miss? How will you set yourself up for success? Let's help each other out!

My best to you, friends!


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Autumn Walking Challenge Part 1

Hi, my friends!

     Making time for the gym this season has been a struggle for me.  Or rather, making MYSELF make time for the gym is the struggle.  I've heard a body in motion stays in motion....and a body at rest stays at rest.  All this to say, I've struggled to pick up momentum.

So I started thinking about how I could "easily" get moving again.  The same old,

"I am going to the gym TONIGHT!"
                        ........

"Well...maybe I'm NOT going to the gym tonight..."song and dance just isn't working.

Then,  I remembered reading about a group of co-workers who challenged themselves to walk at least a mile a day, every day.  Many of them did it for an ENTIRE YEAR.

I have no idea how they made that happen, but I'm willing to try it for the next 30 days.

You should join me!  I've got a fun little group happening over on Instagram.  We're spreading the word and getting excited!

If you're interested, here are some ways we can connect.

- Leave a comment here with the best way to contact you (instagram/email/twitter?)

- Use the hashtag #walkyourheartout  Take some photos of your walks/work outs and tag me / us!  I'd love to see what an autumn looks like in your neck of the woods...cause here...these trees be' gorgeous!

 I know that hashtag has already been used a few times, but when I chose it initially, nothing came up!  The data on my phone must have been slow that day (?) Rats!  That's ok.  It will just make it easier for MORE people to find us, I suppose. :) 

- Connect with others! Follow people who have already expressed an interest in joining!  Let's encourage each other along the way! Elizabeth from The Young Retiree has already been a huge help in spreading the word!  Find her! :)

- I'll start posting to both my personal and blog FB accounts.  You can find my blog account here!

- If you'd like to see the initial instagram post, you can find it here! 

Here are my own, personal rules.  Feel free to set your own!

1. Starting Monday, October 27th, I will move my body for at least 20 minutes a day.  It takes me roughly 20 minutes to walk one mile.  Also, for the record, "regular" work-outs count...zumba, arc trainer, lifting, etc.  I just chose walking because in my mind, it's "easy."  On those days where I'm just not FEELING IT, I have to tell myself that ANYONE can squeeze in a 20 minute walk.

2.  I'm giving myself 3 "passes."  I figure if I only miss 3, I've still met my goal by 90%

...BUT...

3. For every walk I miss, I'm going to donate a pack of diapers to our local pregnancy center (including my 3 passes...so technically...I already owe 3 packs...haha).  Diapers are expensive, y'all. Money is a motivator for me, so this is gonna hurt. ;)

4. I want some loot!  If I meet my 90% goal, I'm gonna go spend some serious cash at Sephora (and at my house, like, 30 dollars qualifies as "serious cash," just so we're clear). ;)

Tomorrow, I'm going to post a Part 2 which will include some suggestions / a plan for success and the benefits of walking!


Love & forward, March!



Saturday, October 11, 2014

All Ye Who Are Weary

One thing I've noticed about the women online that I love and admire is their ability to rest.
             
They rest. 

They rest intentionally and they don't apologize for it. Not only to THEY rest..they encourage others to do so as well.

I rarely enjoy rest.

Don't get me wrong. I spend plenty of time just doing nothing...but I never actually call it rest.

It isn't intentional.  I often feel guilty WHILE I'm doing it and sometimes...it isn't actual rest, it's just procrastination.  #socialmedia  #candycrush #plantsvszombies

You guys.

So, it starts this vicious cycle.

     I know in my heart that I'm not well-rested.  So I'm emotionally exhausted and overwhelmed.   So I struggle to accomplish the things I'd like to finish.  So I don't "rest" because I feel like "things" aren't getting finished.  So I procrastinate because I'm exhausted and overwhelmed.  So I struggle to accomplish the things I'd like to finish.

Um.  I'm not even going to try to edit that mess of a paragraph, but you get my point.

With that being said, Scarlett had (minor) surgery yesterday and came home today.

Tim and I are on the hunt for a new couch, and we already sold ours on Craigslist.  Whoopsies. File that under: Things that seemed like a good idea at the time.

We are currently lounging on an air mattress covered in my grandma's old quilts.

This is one of those times where I'm like...

Oooohhh...Girls.  When it comes to marriage, choose wisely. Who cares about the stinkin' wedding?

You want to build the kind of life where you and your husband can sit on a half inflated mattress that's covered in dog hair and Diet Coke* and still call it good.  :) 


And it is. So good.




My point?

Netflix just added House Hunters & Gilmore Girls.  I just bought Let's All Be Brave.



This afternoon, we are resting.  Forever & ever. Amen.

*I'm exaggerating.  For those of you who plan to spend the night at our house, it's a perfectly good, almost new mattress. No spills. ;)  

Love & the weary world rejoices,