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