Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Hardest Decision I've Ever had to Make




I told my friend Nice Courtney that I felt like every draft I wrote was BEGGING people to just look at me.

"10 reasons my husband is better than yours."

"8 Ways I keep my house clean" (still a mystery to me).

"This is a picture of my dog that's smarter than you."

I'm kidding, obviously.  But I was annoyed with MYSELF.  How could I hit publish on all this narcissistic garbage I wanted people to actually read and care about?

I was stuck in this strange, self-conscious All About Me Bubble.

So, I turned to Fat Mum Slim for assistance.

One of her prompts was about The Hardest Decision You've Ever Made, and something clicked.

About 11 months ago, I was hired to teach second grade at a nearby Christian School for the '14-'15 School Year, and I loved it.

     The people there mourned with us when I worried I couldn't get pregnant and rejoiced when we shared our sweet news.  They are some of the best people I know.  My mailbox overflowed with blankets, gift cards, and baby shoes.

But the catch is, it has always been my dream calling to STAY HOME with our young kids.

I've never considered myself a fantastically decisive decision-maker (redundant? So true).

But throughout the course of my life, a few things have been clear...

 I should:

- Stay in Cincinnati (Hello. I was 24 and homegirl wanted to move to CALIFORNIA).

- Marry Tim

- Write Lots of Things

- Stay home and make warm pies and sweet babies.


I am still learning not to question people's callings.  Sometimes they don't make sense.

     The call to stay home with our baby was strong, but I felt the opportunity to continue teaching (should it appear) was too good to pass up.  Small class sizes, a Christian environment in a field using my major, in a building that was extremely close to our house.  The job ticked all the "boxes."

And you can see how I was stuck. 

And I understood that while I had the pieces to the puzzle, God held the picture on the box.

"What if something happened to Tim and I needed the income?"

"What if God wants me to teach there so our kids can get a private/Christian education?"

I had a lot of questions, but for the reasons listed above...

In the spring of 2015, I decided that I was going to continue working after we had our baby.

My anxiety level was through the roof.

     But I dug my heels in and stayed the course.  I was going to teach, assuming the enrollment numbers made sense, and I was offered a job (because it is a private institution, and the enrollment numbers vary, everyone always gets a one-year contract).

     Three days before school let out, I was offered a spot, but it was not a full-time/all school-year position.  It didn't make financial sense for me to commit to it AND try to find/pay childcare.

The decision had been made.

I would stay home with Ella.

The weary world rejoices.

     I can honestly say this is only the second time in 33 years that I have KNOWN what I wanted to do, but voluntarily agreed to do the opposite anyway if The Lord so willed. (Usually God just has a way of matching up what I want to what He wants, so the surrender is often easy, I think. Oh my word, does that sound terrible?).

     The first time was when I agreed to stay in Cincinnati.  Roughly 3 months after I said, "Yes" to my home state, I met That Tim.  What a handsome reward.

     So. There you have it.  This whole situation has seemed a bit dramatic (I moved out of my classroom in like, 2 days, which is kind of a feat considering it was a second floor classroom and I was roughly 5 months pregnant at the time).  God bless my sweet, heroic parents.

It's been a personal story and one I hold near to my heart.

Basically, I wasn't ready to write about it.

I pray our bills get paid.  I pray we keep the lights on and food on the table... and I pray that when it's noon and all my Fancy, Working Friends are on their lunch breaks while I'm covered in breast milk and baby vomit that I won't take a single second for granted.  

Right now, every fiber in my being is screaming Ella's name, and that's a really beautiful thing.


Love and have a grown-up, iced latte on me,



*This topic is oh-so-tricky.  I know so, so many women who are terrific moms and work outside the home. They are teachers and childcare workers and doctors and customer service representatives, and their work is so so important.  I am forever grateful for the women who continue working so we can have access to the services we need.  This is just a post about my personal calling and how it came to fruition for the time being.  And if you're hoping to stay home with your babies, pray about it and stay true to your heart.

"The important thing is not to hurry- nothing good gets away."  John Steinbeck.







Monday, July 20, 2015

10 Ways I'm Planning to Enjoy my Pregnancy




     In my last post, I wrote about how hard it has been for me to really feel like I've gotten "into the swing of things" in terms of this glowing, magical pregnancy. ;)  I can honestly say, this has been the most stressful time for Tim and me in terms of home-projects, careers, and organizing our finances, and NONE of that has to do with my pregnancy.  It all just happened at once.  Because God trusts my threshold for sanity way way too much. Ha.  


     So, in true "elementary teacher fashion," I made a list.  A plan of attack, if you will.  

We've got roughly 9 weeks left, guys, and I'm planning to make these last weeks count- the funnest, most joyful, memorable weeks are yet to come.  Someone please remind me of this when we are having a 98 degree, Indian summer in September and I am 4 days past my due date, weeping openly.  Heehee...


1. Do "all the things."  


I've had several "errands" hanging over my head.  Most of them just require a five minute phone call. In less than 20 minutes, I could be free and clear and feeling SO MUCH BETTER.

I need to reschedule one of my pre-natal visits.  Noel is in desperate need of a trip to the vet (allergy attack / ear & skin issues),  I need to schedule a dentist appointment.  You know the drill.

How hard is it, guys?  How hard is it?

Jen Hatmaker wrote a post called "Stuck in the Doldrums: An Attack Plan," and her first suggestion was to "Make a List of Everything you are Behind on."  

She says, "Unbelievable the weight that rolls off when the Behind Pile starts to shrink."

Ain't that the TRUTH!?!?  

Um...I am supposed to be working on my Behind Pile and instead, I am blogging.  

Sh. Don't tell.  

2.  Make a list and throw it away.  (Kidding).  I've been so bad about getting ahead of myself during this pregnancy. You know...RESEARCH ALL THE THINGS.  I've obsessed over everything from diaper bags to breastfeeding positions to what to pack for the hospital.  

When I get too far ahead of myself, it makes me feel really overwhelmed.  (i.e. I could probably wait a few more weeks before I really have to get serious about picking a diaper bag).

     Also, I have ALL THESE LISTS.  For example, I worry that we will both panic when it's time to leave for the hospital and forget to like, feed the dogs or something.  I'm working on a small list to refer to when it's 3am and I'm having contractions, screaming in my living room (haha).  And then, I'm going to just tuck it away in my calendar and NOT THINK ABOUT IT until September (feed the dogs, take out the garbage, put some cleaner in both toilets). 

 HELLO CONTROL FREAK!

Also, it must be noted that on my list, I wrote, "Let dogs out to potty.....Let dogs back IN THE HOUSE."  Haha...cause when we're in crisis mode, I'm sure the BACK IN part will be easy to forget.  

3. Cuddle my husband. I just want to sit in our bed with his hand on my belly and snuggle the heck out of him!  That's actually one of the first things I picture when I think about enjoying pregnancy. 

Watching the clock until he gets home.  :)  

4. Make a playlist and listen to it regularly- I'd like to make a labor playlist- just something that will feel like home and possibly relax me.  I'd like to listen to it and pray at night so my brain automatically goes to "that place" when I plug it in on The Big Day.

FYI I am open to song suggestions.  

5. Date night!!! I want a full-blown date night.  We're talking dinner.  Some kind of entertainment & dessert.  I'm actually hoping we can squeeze in a few of these before Ella comes.

6. Intentional rest/read/ hobbies.  

     It is so easy to get distracted by so many meaningless "time fillers."  For me, that looks like too much Netflix, HGTV, and social media browsing.  I LOVE to read and craft, but it has been SO LONG since I have finished any sort of non-technology related hobby.  How sad is that?  I'd love to be intentional about working on some crafts and finishing a few "easy reads" before I make the long-term move to Baby Town.  

On that note, anybody need some peppers?  :)  I spent some time in my garden the other day, and I couldn't shake the nagging feeling that "I should be doing something else more worthwhile."  

Sigh. Trying to find the balance between productivity and intentional rest.  (It always comes back to the "Behind Pile," doesn't it?)  


7. Splurges- I would love to splurge on some baby and/or self-care things.  Ella needs Sophie the Giraffe and this unreasonably expensive baby book, and mama needs some Starbucks-for-no-reason.  This is certainly a time to celebrate.  I wanna say YES to a few small splurges.  At 31 weeks pregnant, they just feel reasonable, yea?*



     While we're on the subject of splurges, this is a brownie flavored cake pop from my friend and fellow-blogger, Courtney (owner of the small business, Bondbons). You'll find out more about this Queen of All The Everythings in a future post of mine. 

When I get to heaven, I think Jesus will be holding a bouquet full of her cake pops.  

Chocolate mint, please!  



8. Put Away Pinterest- Pinterest is KILLING ME, guys!  There are 58 different opinions out there and even MORE ways to flip yourself OUT!  I read a VERY graphic breastfeeding article the other day like...whoa!  I wanted to put my laptop in the freezer.  (Do you remember the episode of FRIENDS where Joey gets scared and puts his book in the freezer)?  :)

Scary Pinterest articles aren't doing me any favors right now, guys.  I love Pinterest just as much as the next gal, but Mama needs a break.

9. Walk it out/ Dog Park - I would love to get some sunshine with "The Girls" and head out for a walk around the neighborhood or our favorite nearby dog park (conveniently located near a Starbucks...two birds, one stone, guys).

10. Photographic Evidence - I'd really like to be more intentional about taking some pregnancy photos. I get extremely self-conscious about it because I worry that selfies are silly and my body just looks weird (actually, there are times when I feel really GREAT! My doctor and I are pleased with the amount of weight I've gained, and I feel like I'm carrying it mostly in my chest and belly- which is fine by me).  

     And then there are days when I'm like, "WHAT IS HAPPENING!?!?! I WILL NEVER BE NAKED AGAIN!!!!!"  If you've ever watched the show, Arrested Development, the thought of Tobias Funke as a "Never Nude" is probably running through your head. I am cracking up at the thought.  Some cut-off jean shorts should do the trick.  



On that note, This Ella Belly is in the house.  This was taken last Wednesday in the dressing room at The Gap Outlet.  Yes. I now own that tank top, in case you were wondering.  



Are you struggling to enjoy your season right now?  Has your new house got ya' down?  Is it raining everyday of your long-awaited beach vacation?  Tell me all about it?  What's the plan, guys.  

Let's put in the effort it sometimes takes to enjoy our seasons.  

*I feel incredibly silly/guilty writing this post knowing that there are many pregnant women out there who are scared, alone and don't have access to modern healthcare.  And I'm all, "I WANNA GET SOME STARBUCKS"  I'm working on reconciling that in my heart and in my brain. It's times like these when I pray for open eyes, hearts, and loose hands around our wallets.   I truly believe Jesus meets us where we are whether we are crawling through war-torn cities or weeping in our brand new SUV's.   I pray He brings hope, comfort and joy to all of us...in many different forms.

Love & thanks for sticking with me guys,  


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Do Unicorns Bite? A post about unmet expectations

Why, Helloooooo.  

    Have we talked on here about me being pregnant, yet?  Oh. my word.  I can't even remember.  I wrote a whole heck of a lot about me NOT being pregnant and then my body was apparently reading my blog...because one post was all it took and then lickety split...BABY.  

It's a girl.  We are naming her Ella Marie.  

We are thrilled.  

     Tim is so incredibly lovesick.  Spent.  Over.  He is so so in love with our girl. He is going to be SUCH a good "girl" dad.  He truly has the heart for it.  Tough and Tender.  Bless him. 

 I'm fully prepared to be the "third wheel" for the rest of my life. ;)  

I wanted to post 58 selfies of me standing all dainty in front of a chalkboard. 

I wanted to tell you All the Things.  

     But I decided to just get a million things down and then choose what seemed most important.  How pretentious does THAT sound? 

 THIS IS THE WRITING THAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT! ;) 

The other day, I confided in a few of my friends that I have not really "enjoyed" this pregnancy. 

Hear me now. 

     Eight months ago, if I would have read a post from a pregnant blogger saying she wasn't "enjoying" her pregnancy, I would have promptly unfollowed her and then broken every single window in my house.  Not kidding. 

     If you are reading this, and you want to break the windows...just know...this is a post about the sin in MY heart.  Not yours.  You have every right to be mad.  Because I am pretty much a terrible person, and you, my friend, are a peach.  

     Our lives this year have pretty much been chaos. There have been days when my pregnancy has kind of been a (happy) afterthought.*  We SIMULTANEOUSLY tackled lots of home improvements (which have been great), but they took longer than we expected. I spent weeks feeling so tired and sick, climbing AROUND our oven in the dining room and making coffee on my living room end table.  

OUR KITCHEN CEILING WILL NOT STOP LEAKING. It. will.not.stop. 

Two of our cars are currently un-drivable.  (Is that a word)? #brokenradiator  #powersteering

     We unhooked our old heat/AC unit with the intention of replacing it and the weather heated up FAST. After several cancellations from the guy we hired to hook up the new one, we spent almost all of June with NO AC.  Ohio temps. reached the mid 90's just FYI.  

I feel like hell is a kitchen with no air conditioning and your only job is to keep microwaving Chinese food. 

It was that bad.  

     And we've faced some other huge, really scary/hard obstacles that I'm not going to share here (they are not health/baby/marriage related). 

   I try really hard not to share the stories that aren't mine to share.  And I sure as shoot ain't asking for permission to tell this one. Ha. Maybe a story for another day, yea?

But right now, we are facing The Impossible.  It's so fun! ;) 

     I knew getting pregnant would not "fix all the things," but...come on, guys.  Part of me really did think that getting pregnant would do the trick. 

 I would be kind.  I would be gracious.  I would lose every jealous bone in my body.  

     In so many ways, our baby has brought peace and joy and healing...especially in our marriage.  This has been a really sweet season for us. One that I wish I could write about in more detail. Again.  Maybe someday. 

In other ways, it has just heightened all my badness.  

Anxiety.  JEALOUSY.  Fear.  

     In the past, I've written about unicorns. I've said it once and I'll say it again.  Whenever I get All The Good Things, I feel like it's God's way of sending  a unicorn.  

And it makes me incredibly ANXIOUS at times.  In this little scenario, Baby=unicorn, you feel me? 

God was like, "Here.  Here is this unicorn and it is awesome."  

And I am like, "Do unicorns carry diseases?  How long do they live?  Do unicorns BITE!?!?!" 

(For the record, I'm not super worried about getting bitten by my baby..ha).  

Maybe it should read more like, "WILL MY UNICORN GET EATEN BY A BEAR?"

(Because I am totally afraid of my baby getting eaten by a wild animal.  HOW DO YOU PEOPLE GO CAMPING? HOW DO YOU DO IT?) 

And God is like, "I will take care of the unicorn. YOU JUST ENJOY THE UNICORN." 

But, it's still hard.  

Is this the part I should have erased? I feel like I should have erased all that. ^^^

Any post that mentions unicorns is a good post, in my book.  

Oh, that's right. Also. I am jealous. 

And it is stupid. 

Oh, you want examples of my badness?  In the past, I have felt jealous because...

People felt comfortable sharing their news earlier than we did (we waited until 12+ weeks for work, church and social media).  

People found out gender sooner than we did.  

People's bellies are cuter/smaller/bigger/rounder than mine.  

Their nurseries are finished already.  

Their ultrasound pics were clearer.  

Shall I go on?  

     All this to say...

     I decided to tackle planting a garden this summer...while pregnant.  I purchased everything and got it unloaded and was like..."I really don't have the energy to do this anymore."  Ha.  

But...garden stuff is expensive and I felt too guilty just leaving everything to rot in the sun and die. 

So I prayed.  And I tilled (by hand) and I dug and I planted.  

I had every intention of leaving a large, blank space for seeds.  SEEDS!  

Aaaaannnnnd the seed planting didn't happen. 

So I would wade through the tall, itchy grass and fight with the hose and dwell in my own discontent.  

Weeds.  Dry dirt.  Barren land.  

And the seed-planting would hang over my head.  Like a mid-term paper I hadn't written yet.  

And one day, God said my name.  

I can always tell He Means Business when he reaches out with those two, abrupt syllables.

"Holly."  

...

"When are you going to get to the point where ENOUGH IS ENOUGH?"

It is a good question...one I don't really have an answer for. 

So.  I relent.  

"Alright, already." 

Oh and isn't that agreement just so full of grace and gratitude?  

"Alright, already." 

Yes. There you have it.  The most humble-sounding surrender ever. 

But it is a surrender nonetheless. 

So...maybe it counts?    

Love and this is not the year for carrots, 


* A couple things...by "happy afterthought" I mean...you unpack your newly remodeled kitchen with no air conditioning in the house and you get in bed, sweaty and exhausted and finally think, "Oh. Hooray. I forgot I was pregnant!"  I really do love being pregnant and we are so so so fortunate for our daughter's excellent health.  I am looking for some practical ways to be able to say I've enjoyed being pregnant.  I don't want to take this time for granted.  Please don't misunderstand anything I've written above.  Ella- if you are reading this in the year is 2030...I love you dearly.  You were my dream come true.  Now get off the internet, and go play outside.  ;)  


Friday, May 1, 2015

New Old Music

      As Tim and I have been cleaning out some of our things, we've found a lot of old CD's.  He recently whipped out my super old iPod which was quite a trip.  It is so funny seeing a burly, contractor listening to Angry Girl Music from 2005 in a big, red pickup truck. ;)  It's made me realize how much I miss listening to and discovering new music.  The only redeeming quality of my old, nearly hour long commute was the opportunity to listen to really good music everyday.  

So.  Color me inspired.  Let's talk music.  

Maybe I am really late getting in on this, but have you heard of NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts?  

Oh my word.  

This one is from Deathcab for Cutie.  Which is, hands down, my favorite band.  Yes. Please.  

When I was student teaching in San Diego (circa 2004), my (very hip) cooperating teacher gave me a copy of Transatlanticism.  I listened to it on the flight home, and I was hooked.  See also, Postal Service.  

Two of my favorite songs begin at 9:23 and 14:00.  



You're welcome.  

Love and what are you listening to these days?  

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Your Own Horribleness: a note to my friends who are waiting

So. I know you know the first part of this story, but I need an intro. anyway,  K?

  In January, I started writing about our  struggle to conceive and it opened the door to many, many new connections.  Women reached out... and they were kind and beautiful.  They were smart and brave and gracious.  And I was overjoyed.  I was inspired.  FRIENDS!

One of the most surprising things about blogging has been how it has encouraged people to tell THEIR stories.

And they are stories that need to be told...even if they are just via private Facebook message or email to me or someone else.

And I really love that.

After I wrote about our struggle to conceive, I connected with a lot of women who said,

"Girl. I feel you.  Me too."

And literally, 24 days into this new "club," I found out I was pregnant.   I felt like I had been invited into a room full of starving women, and unknowingly showed up with my own loaf of bread.

So...before I write anymore about this pregnancy, I just wanted to post a ...buffer..(?)...

 I guess.

Or an internet hug?

Because... I dunno.  I'm happy and happy and sad.

Honestly?  I still mourn those days, guys.  There is a weird part of me that still aches.  Like a phantom limb.

The other day, I was out (for the life of me, I cannot remember where this interaction took place), and someone was showing off their newborn, and for a split second, I was really sad.  And then I got happy again.  And I just thought, "Six months ago, this would have killed me.

Oh, my word.  Am I the WORST?  First, I am sad because I'm not pregnant and I'm still sad about not being pregnant when I am ALREADY PREGNANT. Will you guys just quit being friends with me already?  Why are you even still here!?!?!

Oh. And also, I feel guilt. So. There's that.  Guilt.  Hello, old friend.

As women, aren't we wracked with guilt?  I mean...are you?  I am...and I am so intrigued by this.
I think I could give an orphan $1,000 and still find a way to feel bad about it.

So...so far we've established that I'm an incredibly generous & humble martyr who would make incredible sacrifices for her friends and feels "OMG so guilty" when good things happen to her.

Oh.  Did I also mention that I'm incredibly humble?  ;)

Do you remember that episode of FRIENDS where Phoebe tries to find a truly selfless act? (The One Where Phoebe Hates PBS).

"I let a bee sting me so it could look tough in front of all it's little, bee friends!"

(Does that Friends reference connect with the rest of this post?  Hm. I don't care.  I'm leaving it!)

So. I say all that because I'm still here. Consider this your Public Service Announcement.

Anytime anyone with babies would say, "Oh...we struggled for X amount of years or we had to have this and that treatment. I know how hard it is."

I would get kind of irritated and think to myself, "You are of no help to me because YOU HAVE A BABY!!!!!!"

So. I say "I'm here" but I also say, "It's ok if you kind of feel like you probably want to punch me. Do not feel guilty about that."

     In all seriousness, I'm not going to write this on the internet, obviously, but in private, I can give you some more details about what I think finally helped me "get pregnant" (Taking Charge of Your Fertility, holla!) and what we were hoping our plan of action was going to look like when we talked about going in for treatments (I have some super close friends who sought treatments and I did a ton of my own research.  Let's chat).

I feel like I was a crazy, horrible person during much of our journey.  Even if you just want to write me and tell me about your own horribleness, I'm here.  You get no judgement from me.


*Also, it must be noted...I have ZERO intentions of turning this into a "mommy blog."  YES!  Some of it is going to be about our adorable baby (again, with the humility), but I was a lifestyle blogger long before I was a mom.  Dog photos and DIY's abound.  So...in the words of our beloved NKOTB..."Please don't go, Girl."



Oh my word. Joey.  With a yellow daffodil.  I'M DYING!  He was like, 14 and she was like...23...file this under, Things you could get away with in 1988.


Love and I am rooting hard for you,





Monday, April 20, 2015

Life in Ten Pics.

So. In case you are not following me on any social media whatsoever... 

I told God that if I wasn't pregnant by 2015, I was going to start blogging about our struggle to have a baby.  In Dec., I started a draft.  in early January, I hit "publish."  I was pregnant already and just didn't know it.  God is good...and also slightly insane.  ;)  

So...

We're having a baby! :) 

Trust me.  No one was more surprised by this than we were.  

More later, but for now...bump pics., cravings, and my family's newest rocking chair.  









                                         







(not eaten together...)  





Also...on a totally unrelated note...I just really like this dog.  

                               

Love and for the first time ever...heartburn!

Monday, February 23, 2015

10 Things to Say When Your Friend's Not Getting Pregnant

I started this post a LONG time ago and honestly lost momentum.  Honestly.

After initially posting about our struggle to conceive, I suffered from what Brene Brown would call, "A Vulnerability Hangover."

I had bled all over the internet, and I wanted to run away limping.

But I also found that talking about "the crazy" really helped to settle "the crazy."

And this post in my drafts folder kept hanging over my head.

And I have written and erased and written and erased.  And pretty much erased 3/4 of the intro. Which I might add, included calling myself "The Mayor of Crazytown" and requesting cupcakes at my intervention. ;)

 But the one sentence remains...

Maybe this post can be a tiny plank in a very long bridge that connects people who are hurting to people who don't know what to say.

So. Here we are. Lord help us all





1. Use the word family.  People often refer to having a baby as "starting a family."  And they often ask when someone is going to "start a family."  This can kind of stink for people who don't have kids.  We don't have kids, but we have a family, and I LOVE my little family.  I'm so proud of us, and I'm so glad they're mine.  Talk to your friend about her FAMILY.  Say nice things.  Ask questions.  That one seemingly small act that can really be a catalyst for healing.


2.  "I accept your weirdness."  Your friend totally has the unfulfilled need to nurture something right now. And it aches.  Yo. It aches.  So...that need probably gets *somewhat* met in seemingly odd places.  Like right now...I am "overwintering" plants.  Read.  I am stupidly optimistic. I brought some plants in before the first frost...you know.  Just hoping for the best.  Things did not go well with the dahlia's.

 I was chatting with Tim the other day, and he looked at my second plant and said,

"Yea.  Your geraniums are gonna be fine."

And I'll be darned if that wasn't like, the most loving thing a person could say.

I DO NOT HAVE BABIES YOU GUYS I HAVE GERANIUMS!!!

My favorite thing in the world is when people ask about my dogs.  I was on the phone with one of my friends a few weeks ago, and over the phone, I could hear her husband ask about my dogs. Bless him.

The other day, one of my friends left a Facebook comment and called my dog "beautiful."

Oh my word.  The most loving think you can do for a childless woman is to call her dog beautiful.  I am being dead serious.

People who cannot have babies often become crazy dog people.  Can we all just get over it?

About 18 months ago, I got strangely attached to a stinkbug that had taken up residence in between our plastic and fabric shower curtains.  (((Happy New Year, Lyle!)))

Do you guys remember the article about the tiger who lost her cubs and became depressed so the zoo gave her piglets dressed in tiger vests to care for?  DO YOU REMEMBER?  (Upon further research, I don't think this is the entire truth, but just stick with me, guys).

I'm sure her little tiger friends were in the background like, "Oh MY WORD, You guys! Harriet is nursing TINY PIGS WEARING VESTS!!!"

And everyone else was like, "Hey.  Be cool.  She's in a weird place right now.  Leave her be."

That's right, people.  Leave her be.

3.  Any decision you make is going to be the right one.  Crazy Baby Stuff takes a lot of money, time and EMOTIONAL ENERGY  (fertility treatments, home remedies, etc.).  It's easy to get "stuck."  Sometimes, we just need someone to encourage us to make a decision AND reassure us that ANY decision is going to be the right one.  Even if you're not sure about this.  Please just SAY IT. ;)

Sometimes, the decision not to act is...in itself...a decision.

Last weekend, I had a sweet friend tell me to "Put my big girl panties on and deal with it."  She used expletives and everything!  It kind of frightened me (haha)...but it helped.

4. You are not alone.  Holiest of all holy cows.   Um...loneliest road ever?  For sure.  I tried giving examples, but all the stories made me sound like a bitter, old, childless hag.

4 1/2.  I prayed for you when...  Over the past few weeks, I had several friends say to me, "I was praying for you in the car the other day..."  or... "I couldn't sleep the other night, and I was praying for you."  This is a habit I'm trying to adopt more in my own life.  How many of us have said, "Oh, I'll pray for you."  Only to later forget?  GUILTY!  SORRY!  I'm trying to be more intentional in my relationships as they pertain to my prayer life.

You get the idea.  I think this is applicable in all situations.  Not just infertility.

5.  My kids love you/ thanks for loving my kids.  Sometimes, I feel totally inept around young moms and their babies.  My friends are all like...up at 6am on a Saturday busy keeping children alive, and I'm like...uh...I brushed my teeth and watched Netflix...?

It feels good to hear, "Hey. Childless friend...I would trust you not to drop my infant.  Thanks and good job."  ;)

6.  You are not a horrible person.  Uh...if you have a child under the age of 3, I probably have a voodoo doll of you in my closet somewhere.  I'm totally kidding.   It's a BABY EXPLOSION out there, folks.  My closet is not that big.

All joking aside, one of the hardest parts of this journey is the fact that it gives you somewhat uncontrollable, negative feelings about your mom-friends.   When they have babies, you are simultaneously filled with LOVE! SO MUCH LOVE!  And then you are blindsided with...

GUILT, JEALOUSLY AND RAGE!!!!

THEN MORE GUILT!!!

THEN DID I MENTION THE LOVE???

Needless to say, it's a very confusing, exhausting time.

I think we walk around feeling 10% heartbroken, 5% jealous and 85% guilty for all of the above.

It's that 5% that will get you down every time, am I right?

We need some grace.  Actually, we need lots of grace.  I have my fair share of friends I need to call back.

7.  You are made in his image and you are perfect.

Your friend feels like a broken, old, busted up mess.

When she stands before The Father, He doesn't see her has broken.  He sees her as whole and highly favored.

Tell her that.  Text her that.  Write it on her bathroom mirror.  Slip a note in her car.

Whole & Highly Favored.  Does a more comforting thought exist?

8. Someday, this won't matter.   Infertility is a hole that is just really hard to see out of.

     I am very much looking forward to my late 30's/early 40's.  Ha.  By then, I know I'll have more peace about whatever has happened.  We'll either have kids...or we won't. And if we don't, I am very much looking forward to being the wealthiest, most well-rested person in my entire circle of friends. ;)

But...I am so glad my marriage is going to survive this.  I am so glad my friendships can thrive through this.  The more the merrier, am I right?  ALL ARE WELCOME TO TAKE RESIDENCE IN CRAZY TOWN! Moms and non-moms alike!

(((And also, when I say "someday this won't matter," I mean...you know... heaven and stuff))).

Aren't you glad the this is not the end of the story?  The story ends with The Kingdom of Heaven.  Beauty. Redemption & Grace.

Forever & Ever Amen.


9. God wants to make you whole.  Your faith will make you well.  I recently heard a sermon about how Jesus didn't just want to heal people physically, He wanted to heal them spiritually at the same time.  I really loved that.  He wants us to live full, whole, spiritually healthy lives. He's on your team.

10. Your road is hard and I'm proud of you.  After my November Meltdown of 2014, I had two friends check up on me the following week (if someone is weeping in your car, it's probably a good idea to follow up. ;) )  They both told me they were proud of me.  No statement has ever made me feel more safe in a friendship.

Don't tell your friend, "Life without kids is easy."  Your friend is struggling to have kids, and THAT IS HARD!  No amount of 11am Saturday wake up calls is going to fix that.

It's true, on Saturdays, she gets to sleep in, but she also desperately wishes she had a reason to get up.

Love*

*and a giant fist bump to those of you who are struggling.  You are stronger and more courageous than you realize.