we have a plan!

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The update is in!

For those who have been following our infertility story (Trilogy? Series? Volumes?), you know that thanks to our April egg retrieval with Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine – Minneapolis, we have SEVEN embryos frozen and awaiting their eventual transfers. You’ve been patiently waiting for an update and I am thrilled to share that WE HAVE A PLAN!

That’s right, the date has been penciled in and as of tomorrow, our Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) will officially be underway!

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Here’s the deets:

Friday, August 12th (tomorrow!): Hysteroscopy and endometrial scratch procedures

The hysteroscopy is where the doctor will go into my uterus and make sure everything looks okay for transfer. It’s done with a thin, lighted tube that is inserted to examine the cervix and inside of the uterus. Pretty amazing what technology can do!

The endometrial scratch is a bit more uncomfortable (said with a tense smile). Here my doctor will scratch or “scrape” the inside my uterus. Why? Well, there’s some solid research that suggests that scratching the uterine lining causes the body to go into a “repair mode”. The natural repair process in the weeks to come releases different hormones and chemicals that are said to assist with implantation. Also, the new lining that’s created after it “scabs” is thought to be more receptive to an implanting embryo.

Hey, when you have done all we have done … Scratch away.

(But feel free to send some extra prayers my way tomorrow afternoon during the procedures.)

Friday, August 26th: Hardcore IVF drugs and injections begin.

Bring on the crazy. Or more crazy. If that’s possible. I don’t know, either way, pray for Josh. ;) I’m on just a few basics right now and it’s been brutal.

September: Drugs, drugs, more drugs, ultrasounds, acupuncture, blood work, drugs, drugs, cupping, drugs.

Oh, and a quick trip to San Francisco for the FertilityIQ Basecamp. (SO PUMPED.) Consider this your reminder to go leave us some question feedback for your chance to win a $150 Amazon giftcard.

ANDDDDDDDD…

*DRUM ROLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL*

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Monday, October 3rd: TRANSFER DATE!

That’s right friends; we will be transferring 2 baby Ritchie’s on Monday, October 3rd assuming all goes well with my cycle prep. We are SO excited for this to finally be on the calendar and to be taking steps forward to bring our babies home.

So, here are a few ways you can be praying in the weeks to come:

1) For the safe transportation of our embryos from their storage in Florida to Minnesota late September.

2) For all of the preparation that need to go smoothly, from ordering medications to my body’s physical readiness to receive these babes.

3) That the changes we have made to our protocol would be successful and smooth, ultimately leading to success.

(For those wondering, things we are doing differently this FET are: a Del Estrogen FET protocol, the endometrial scratch, and an Antihistamine Protocol prior to transfer, and also, will be treating my Factor V with Lovenox injections post transfer. All of these are modifications made from prior transfers and we feel incredibly positive about them.)

and lastly, and most importantly,

4) That ultimately we would get (and stay) pregnant and that God would be glorified in it all.

So, get excited my friends, this is happening! We can’t wait!!!!!

PS: Thank you all for so many wonderful comments, emails, and messages on my post “messy emotions“. I’m happy to report I have felt your prayers and appreciated your kindness so much. Your responses reminded me of a post I wrote a few years back called “do something“. The simple act of letting someone know you care carries with it such a significant weight. God gave us community for a reason and I am so blessed to be a part of yours. Truly, from the bottom of my heart THANK YOU! I hope to get another good update up SOON, however, you know how summer goes …

In the meantime, we have been enjoying spending time with our grandparents who are in town, watching the Olympics, finishing edits on our In the Wait Leaders Guide, and starting celebrations for my birthday, which is next Friday (the 19th), (you know me, I LOVE a good birthday celebration!). I’m heading to Seattle, WA very soon with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law for a little girls trip which will be fun and relaxing too. (Send any must-do’s our way, particularly good restaurants!) Plus, there’s the Minnesota State Fair which is THE BEST and I have a growing stack of amazing books to dive in to, like Present Over Perfect. (YES!!!!!!!!!!) All in all, this month holds some great things, as does the months to come! YAY! So thanks for patiently sticking with me and praying for us, encouraging my heart and letting us know you care. It means so very much. Love you all!

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How great is my precious family!? I love this picture! (Shout out to my squadie Jana for taking this picture for us!)

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These balloons are flying high in my house this week! I LOVE THEM! I could binge watching the Olympics ALL. LIFE. LONG.

 

fertilityiq basecamp. we need your help!

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I NEED YOUR HELP!

Friends, I’m so excited to share that I’ve been invited to FertilityIQ’s Basecamp in San Francisco this September with a handful of other infertility community influencers. We have a rare opportunity to sit together and discuss what we can do to better serve the infertility community, learn from one another’s stories, talk with some of the top doctors at the Stanford University Medical Center and tour their labs and facilities, and put our needs and ideas into action. I don’t know about you, but I see this as a GIGANTIC GIFT to our community and I am so honored to participated and excited to work collaboratively to better support YOU, a dear friend, who, like me, is 1 in 8, suffering from infertility and fighting to stay afloat.

So here’s what you can do to help – and trust me, there’s exciting stuff in it for you too!

1) Go to THIS LINK and a Google Form will pop up. Share with us what you are wondering about! What is lacking in this community? What do you wish you had at your fingertips easier? What questions do you wish you could ask a doctor? What could bloggers do to better support you? No question is too little or big! These are the questions that will better form our time together and ensure our takeaways best support you!

Friends – we will have Reproductive Endocrinologists, Urologists, dietitians, therapists, social media experts, women like you and me – sitting around us, talking to us, desiring the chance to help you. Let’s not let this opportunity slip by! Share!

CLICK HERE! CLICK HERE! CLICK HERE!

Everyone who fills out this form will be entered to win a $150 Amazon Gift Card! 

Just note on the form (you’ll see the spot) that I’m (Chelsea) your Basecamp Ambassador and I will make sure to advocate for you and your questions, and be sure to address them when I am back as well. YAY!

Send your friends this link too because the more questions, the better! It helps us find and address themes that are lacking information and will allow us the chance to get you what you need. We will announce the winner later in September, but don’t miss out on your chance to get your questions in now!

Thank you friends! (Plus, if you spouse has some questions to ask too – tell him to send a form over too! We know infertility affects both partners and want to ensure all sides are provided support!)

#FertilityIQBasecamp

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messy emotions.

Shauna Niequist writes: “For me, writing is about control. Or, more accurately, loss of control…Writing for me feels like getting naked in public. It feels like falling to the bottom of a well and finding lots of creepy crawly things down there with you. It feels like opening up a box of snakes. It feels kooky and scary and out of control. It makes me upset sometimes, because it makes me honest … Writing is my best chance of happiness and it is the riskiest thing I can do.”

I’ve put off writing this post because I hate the feeling of exposure associated with public writing. You see, there’s nothing more vulnerable and humbling than sharing the emotions you’re feeling, and processing through them for your neighbors, your gym partners, and your friends and family to see. {Truthfully, I’d love to be anonymous today}. For me, I lose the control when my fingers start typing. And I feel SO exposed, because it’s hard to admit when you’re having a hard season to everyone around you. But I do it because I know I am not alone and if you are in the same place, you need to know this happens and you will be okay.

So here’s my struggle lately: I’ve been really sad. Weary. Defeated. Overwhelmed. Jealous. Angry. Bitter. But mostly sad. The kind of sad where you cry several times a day and you aren’t really sure why, you just know your heart is hurting and the tears are falling down your face.

I feel out of control with my emotions. As a writer, we pray for ways to relate to others, looking for messy, honest, relatable stories to write and share, but I forget it often means I have to live through those seasons myself. The gritty, tender, tear-filled ones. The ones where it feels like I am being swallowed up by grief, grief for things I can and can’t describe.

I’ve been wrestling with God – asking Him how I can feel such exhaustion and weariness and yet, be filled with joy and peaceful trust. I know all the “right answers” but it seems I’m leaking nothing but sorrow for things I can’t quite pinpoint. So I have been going back and forth, asking God why He is allowing me to feel such heavy emotions and why I am struggling so much to live out this command: “ Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Here’s my conflict. I don’t want to numb myself out – ignoring the emotions that are messy and ugly and focusing only on the joy. I have felt more convicted than ever to walk through the murk and let myself feel. So I just keep bringing these honest emotions to God and asking for help, guidance, direction, deliverance and His only response lately has just been “Eyes on Me, not your circumstances. It’s okay to feel.”

As I have been sorting, here are some thoughts:

  • God can handle my grief, sorrow and questions. MY job is to bring them to Him. When I bring them to Him, it takes my eyes off of my circumstances and places them on the One who is greater than my world. It invites Him in. I can still be real while keeping my gaze upward.
  • Often times I feel like I have to go – go – go to find God. Verses like “Come to me all who are weary …” and “Draw close to me …” make me exhausted in these seasons. Partially because physically I am so drained that I don’t want to “come” or “draw”, but even more so, mentally and emotionally, it feels like so much work. My friend Kyle sent me the best text the other day: “No one can tell you what’s best for you at this time. There’s not a book for all this infertility stuff. Sometimes we don’t have to stand in our trials. We can cozy up in a blanket with our Morkie {Cali} because God will find you on the sofa too.” Her words freed me to stop trying to stand with exhausted weary legs and simply collapse down, because the truth is real – God will come to us when we are too tired to go to Him. We just need to cry out His name and He meets us.
  • Similarly, we have to be able to ask our friends to carry us when we can’t. In Mark 2, it talks about a paralyzed man who needed his friends to carry him to Jesus so he could be in His presence and be healed. This story touched my heart so much these last few weeks because it reminded me that it’s okay to ask your friends to carry you. To pray for you, to encourage you, to lift you up to Jesus when you can’t get there yourself. So to my friends who have listened to me cry on the phone to them the last few weeks, texted me reassuring words, sent silly snaps, and mailed encouraging notes – thank you for carrying me with your encouragement, your sensitivity and your prayers. Thank you for taking the time and energy to listen and enter into my murky emotions and tell me it’s going to be okay.
  • Feelings don’t matter when it comes to God’s goodness and presence. There may be times we don’t feel like He hears us or is at work in our lives, but feelings aren’t reality. So we are to TRUST HIS WORD, above all, TRUST HIS CHARACTER, above all, and continue to PRESS IN above all. Even when we don’t feel like it will end.

Now I know what you are thinking – what in the world do you have to feel so sad about?! You have 7 embryos on ice, an upcoming transfer this fall, a great husband, blessed life, awesome friends … huh???

I totally get it and wish I could explain it to you. Because ALL of those things above lead me to rejoice! I am incredibly blessed and when I read that, I wonder how I could still have so much grief mixed into each day.

We have another miscarriage anniversary coming up this weekend (Sunday), and for the past 10 days, I just remember what it felt like 3 years ago to be pregnant. To have so much hope in my heart. I remember the positive tests, the excitement, then the bleeding, the grief. I remember how tender my heart felt at the time and I am feeling that tenderness all over again. Because friends, truthfully, I didn’t think we would still be here. And that sorrow is overwhelming. I am learning I can still fully trust God’s and be weary at the same time. This typically mellow emotion of grief is just coming in a bigger wave than usual.

I am afraid of the hope that’s to come with the cycles ahead. I am terrified at the positivity the doctor feels. I have seen, felt, experienced, hoped, for 7 embryos in the past. I have their pictures tucked away in my desk and the thought that there are 7 more to be added in the future terrifies me. Because of the potential pain, because of the lack of control, because of the love I have felt and will continue to feel. Trusting God is dangerous and I keep bringing my fears to His feet and asking Him to help me let go of them, but the waves still come. I don’t know what the future holds but I have to trust the one that does.

I’m frustrated at the expense of infertility. I get crabby when I see people able to do things or buy grand things because their babies were free. I hate that we have to think so far out, being so careful with our savings, knowing the significant cost of transferring each of these 7 babies, the tens of thousands of dollars of meds and ultrasounds and blood work to do so. A beautiful blessing but also, something additional to worry about. We keep writing a check to a storage company to properly freeze our babies, a daycare bill in an icebox for something that may never be – so few people will ever understand this financial budgeted item. Then I hate that I feel jealous and weighted down by the financial worries, because I know God will provide and take care of us. I want to buy new silverware, replace our old couch, and install some shelving without feeling like we are being irresponsible with our money. I am frustrated that I stopped working full-time to pursue treatments because I would “certainly become a mom soon”, only to be left without said title. I am tired of trying to make wise decisions so that we can live life without being handcuffed to infertility, while being kind and generous to others, and also, always being prepared for the fact that it will be a few thousand dollars each month for medication to sustain a pregnancy for 9 months. I hate that I feel frustrated that some people will never understand how hard it is to know a “normal” pregnancy will never be ahead for me.

My sorrow builds when people get offended that I can’t do it all, be it all, meet their every expectation. I am letting people down. I hear their passive comments and it just beats me down more. I am so sorry that I didn’t get a chance to text you back, or visit more often, or help you out in that way. I am so sorry. I wish I was stronger right now. I wish I could be that person for you right now. And then the cycle begins again. I am so tired.

The triggers are everywhere this month. Pregnancy announcement after pregnancy announcement. New babies born. Sweet questions asked by tender little voices about whether I am a mom yet. An abundance of miscarriages and stillbirths in the lives of people I love, restirring up the grief as I try to meet them where they are at. I want to have it all together. I want to be able to like every Facebook post you share of your family. I want to celebrate genuinely. I don’t want to feel stuck. It’s all overwhelming my heart.

And yet, through it all, God keeps speaking and reassuring me HE IS HERE WITH ME. He reminded me of this hymn the other night:
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.”

ALL OF THIS. These messy, gritty, dirty, sinful, stubborn, ugly, brittle emotions of mine, the ones I am so tempted to stew in, are released when we look to Him. And so I am left to navigate which emotions to let go of, and which emotions to sort through with Him, all while keeping my eyes on Jesus.

The tender instruction to take my eyes off of ME and lift them up to Him is so humbling yet incredibly freeing and refreshing. Because the me-me-me thinking depletes my joy. But looking at Him is a peaceful comfort that gives me strength. His character floods my heart. Goodness. Compassion. Mercy. Love. Full of grace. Forgiving. Wise. Faithful. Eternal. All knowing. Unchanging. Holy. The list continues on … And that list, in knowing Him, looking at Him, makes all of that “me” stuff grow so dim, diminishing in size and its power to control my emotions.

I know He doesn’t want us to be stuck but He also cares so deeply when I do feel sad. We are allowed to grieve friends. He wants us to allow Him to tenderly take care of us and trust Him enough to do just that.

And so, today I can’t really end with an answer. I believe that God has a purpose for this messy month of mine. I believe that full joy will come again. I believe the ONLY way through this is to hang on tightly to Him. Someone emailed me the other day and asked “How do you keep your faith strong during all of this, even on the bad days?” and my answer is simply to invite Him into the hard. I try to flood my ears with worship music and podcasts, journal, pray, often out loud, not be afraid to cry and keep seeking Him. Keep reading your Bible, your devotional, something that points you towards Him.

Also, take naps. Practice self care. Give yourself grace. {I have to keep reminding myself that my body is going crazy right now, readjusting to significant drops in hormones post retrieval cycle, adjusting to a new birth control pill, chilling with my cysts, struggling with this intense back cramping again, trying to reset before changing it all up again next month …} Ask your spouse and friends to give you a little extra grace too, because you will fail them in seasons of sorrow and remind them you still love them immensely. Our lives have to be woven with the good and bad, the highs and the lows, the moments of strength and the moments of utter weakness. God takes it all and works it for His good.

And so I will continue to wrestle. To figure out how to deal with this mess with joy and thanksgiving, with tears and sadness. I will work to strip off the ugly and let the Spirit renew my thoughts and attitudes. I will trust that God knows what’s hard. I will learn to be okay with not being strong all the time. I will pray for grace, for myself, to give others and for others to give me.

I will do my best to not delete this raw post because I know I am not alone in these seasons and if you are there too, let me encourage you to sink down on the sofa with me, because God’s here too. If we will see one another soon, can I please ask you for the grace and space to process these emotions with you on my lead? This is a super vulnerable shared world and bringing it up a million of times in an unsafe place feels overwhelming to me. Just give me a little extra love and if the time is right, we can talk about it. *Hug*

Life is a collection of a million, billion moments, tiny little moments and choices, like a handful of luminous, glowing pearls. And strung together, built upon one another, lined up through the days and the years, they make a life, a person.” –Shauna Niequist

My current pearl – June and July 2016 – is a little battered, but that’s okay. God knows, He sees. He sees your pearl too – shining and exciting, scared and grieving, or simply content and routine. He’s stringing them together, knowing what the finished product will look like. Let’s trust Him.

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in the wait updates.

Hey friends!

First of all, can I just say THANK YOU for all of the support you have given to me + my author team over the last year?! We are nearing the 1 year anniversary since In the Wait was published and we’re completely blown away by what God has done. THANK YOU. For joining us, supporting us, praying for us, journeying through the study with us, and sharing what God has done in your life midst these pages. Our heart has always been and will always remain that we simply want to help women flourish in their relationship with Jesus, regardless of  waiting season they are in.

Here’s some of the amazing, encouraging words you have shared with us:

“You can tell that a LOT of compassion, prayer, and thoughtfulness went into writing this book. I’m someone who has read a lot of devotionals over the years and didn’t know what to expect with this one. This study exceeded my expectations and is my favorite study I’ve done in a very, very long time. The topic of “In the Wait” is relevant to us during so many (if not all) times of our lives. My current wait is centered around starting my family and I found it very relevant for my current situation, however anyone who is waiting for anything (marriage, a promotion at work, healing, clarity for their future) would benefit from it. The authors are very real and honest and they ALWAYS point back to scripture. This is a very interactive study so grab a journal, your Bible, a pen, this book and be ready to dive in deep!”
– Lauren

“This was just what I needed and as I have been in a season of waiting! It was well written, very relate-able I almost felt like it was written just for me. I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it!”
– Nicole S.

“Oh, this study was great! I chose to do this study with a high school student I am mentoring. It was amazing to see it apply so well in both of our lives although 15 years apart. The true stories from the heart really made an impression on me and have impacted my life as I go forward. The high school student I met with feels that now after completing the study her eyes have been opened to difficult situations she may encounter in her future. I highly recommend this book to any one, any age looking to simply improve their Christian walk.”
– Anna E.

“This book has changed my perspective on patience completely. I found I am more able to seek God and find peace in understanding His plans are greater than mine. This is so simple to say but was a process through this six-week study of seeking God and really digging into His word. I loved how everything was tied back to His word and founded in truth. I pick this book up frequently since I finishing the study for little reminders that have been left hidden in my heart and impact how I live. Thank you “In the Wait” ladies for putting together this book to give us a better understanding of seasons of wait no matter what that wait is.”
– Natalie

All of these words remind us that God is faithful in following through when we venture into an unknown. So so grateful!

(Side Note: if you would love to help us out and leave us a review on Amazon, we would GREATLY appreciate it! Simply click here and scroll to the Customer Review section. You’ll see the option and it should only take a few seconds. You rock.)

Now, I have TWO exciting announcements!

  1. You guys have brought In the Wait into small groups all over the world. You’ve taken this devotional and combined it with community and that makes our hearts pitter patter! In fact, thanks to your requests and with your encouragement, we are in the final stages of publishing an In the Wait Leaders Guide, which will be available for sale on Amazon and Holly Holt Design by the end of August 2016. YES! This 80+ page guide will provide you with everything you need to take In the Wait from a self-study devotional into a small group. Conversation Questions, Tips and Tricks as a Leader, Individual Study Session Guides, How to Form a Small Group, etc … We are so excited to help equip YOU to bring women together. More details will be out in the coming weeks … but I would love to ask you to begin praying about what God may have planned for you this fall or winter. Maybe He’s asking you to branch out, become a leader, met with some friends over coffee and authentically dive into real life, focusing on growing in Him.
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A lovely group from Minnesota! We love seeing pictures like these! 

2. Perhaps you aren’t in a place to dive into or lead a small group this year … we have another option! Did you know twice a year we offer an online Bible study community to journey through In the Wait together with women all over the world? And spots are NOW open for our FALL 2016 group!

The purpose of this group is to build community, help create accountability, encourage you right where you’re at today, and provide you with a safe place to process through what God is teaching you. All women, in all different seasons of waiting, of all ages, who have the book, are invited to join! And the timing of this study is perfect. It will usher in some daily quiet time prior to advent and what always becomes a busy holiday season. I truly believe God is going to move and stir in your heart as you continue to press forward into His.

If this is the first time you’re reading about the In the Wait devotional, check out this page on my blog to learn more, check out study details here, or look us up on Amazon. Between these three spots, you’ll a great idea of what this study is all about!

Our goal for this study is to show that we can take these seasons of waiting – exciting, easy, hard and painful ones – and grow closer to God in them. It is possible to live life FULLY while being in an unknown season.

Thanks to the incredibly helpful feedback of participants in our last 2 online groups, we’ll be adding some awesome features for this next session too! A few new highlights:

– Each week will be author-led, full of videos and unique engagement on the stories and words shared that week;
– Tons of NEW downloads, lock screens, prints and resources;
– A members directory will be available immediately, giving you the chance to connect with people in a similar season and build on the friendships that begin;
– New daily questions, polls, community-building interactions and a solid, strong prayer group;
– And that’s just to name a few!

Membership / Access to the group will be LIMITED to 150 spots, first come first serve so I wouldn’t wait too long to sign up, they are already starting too fill up! Membership is $5 (less than $1 a week!) and will give us the chance to provide you lots of extras (like snail mail!).

***To purchase access to the online small group and learn more, click here: http://www.hollyholtdesign.com/shop/online-bible-study-access***

Our purpose for this online small group is threefold:
1) to build a safe community with others who are also in a season of waiting;
2) to create accountability to have daily quiet time; and
3) to encourage each of us, right where we are, to process what God is teaching us all.

So maybe you have a friend that comes to mind that may want to join you … INVITE THEM! Or maybe you’d love to help act as God’s hands + feet and share a little about your journey with ‘In the Wait’ on social media … we’d adore that! Tag us on Instagram at @IntheWaitStudy and #IntheWaitStudy!! Here are some images for you to share if you would be so kind!

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Let’s all celebrate what God is doing … because without Him, NONE of this would be possible! Amen!? 

july crushes.

Happy July friends! This summer is flying by, isn’t it? It’s a hot one in Minnesota this week and I am so thankful for comforts like air conditioning, iced coffee and sundresses! Let’s just right into my July Crushes!

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  1. Comforting worship songs.

My friend Lindsay emailed me this song with the sweetest words of encouragement and it’s been on repeat lately. The lyrics touched my heart and I know they will yours too. (Take Courage ft. Kristene DiMarco)

Also, Hillary Scott’s song Thy Will. Whooooof! All the tissues please! I love these powerful lyrics too.

  1. This Younique Glorious Primer.

Gals, this primer is the best. I have been through quite a few different kinds, trying to find the best value for the quality product and finally have the one. It’s much larger in size than other primers’s, meaning you don’t need to replace it often, (I only go through 2 tubes a year – max!). It’s soft, you don’t need much, and works SO well.

My friend Vanessa sells it if you don’t have a Younique consultant yet and I promise it’s SO worth it. (And don’t even get me started on their liquid foundation. Life changer.)

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  1. UnderClub Subscription Boxes.

Who else has a bad habit of never treating themselves to a new pair of undies? I can’t be the only one! I swear my underwear drawer can get neglected at times and with as many times as I am dressing and undressing at doctor’s appointments, it’s also one clothing item that I see over and over and over again! So – new best thing – Underclub! They are a subscription company that sends you new undies each month, based completely on your preferred styles and fit preferences. They come in the cutest little package and you can review your pair each month. Ladies, if you need to freshen up your drawer, or just want to feel pampered before long stretches of doctor’s appointments, this is the subscription club for you! Go check them out.

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How cute is this packaging!? From my mailbox to my bedroom. Love it!

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Plus, a little personalized note! Ohhh and the bottom tears off to be used as a postcard. SNAIL MAIL LOVE!

  1. Funny Girls of Fertility t-shirts.

My friend Sharon has the best website devoted to selling different TTC t-shirts. Oh my goodness, they are SO soft and her whole mission is to heighten infertility awareness. Check out her shop! Here’s the one I am sporting this month!

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  1. This emailed devotional.

Daily Double Portions from Sarah’s Laughter emailed out this great devotional a few days ago and it was just the words I needed to read. I wanted to share it here, even though it’s a lengthy July Crushes addition, because I am certain there’s someone else whose heart needs to read it too:

I have a favorite song.  Do you?  They play my favorite song on the radio all the time and every time they do, I turn up the volume and sing along like a teenager.  If the apostle Peter were alive today, I like to think he’d like my favorite song, too.

Let’s talk a little about Peter.  You just gotta love Peter.  A part of Jesus’ inner circle during His earthly journey, Peter was rambunctious and often spoke before thinking things through.  He did everything with a wild fierceness–including loving and denying.  Maybe I like Peter because I see a little bit of myself in him.

Perhaps my favorite story about Peter is found in Matthew 14 where he and his buddies are huddling together in mind-numbing fear in a rain drenched boat in the middle of the Sea of Galilee.  They were facing a certain death unless something miraculous happened.  They looked out onto the Sea, and their miracle came walking to them on the surface of the waters.  Jesus appeared to them in the very middle of their storm.

Enter Peter.  Peter sees Jesus walking on the water and decided he just had to join Him.  Maybe he thought the storm would die down before his feet danced on the waves.  The thought of water splashing in his face and choking him was not in the forefront of his mind when he leapt out of the boat.  Believe it or not, I’m not being critical of Peter.  Would I have had the faith to step out of the boat?  I really don’t know.  But Peter did and he joined Jesus on a stroll that no one else ever had.

Peter was not totally successful that night, though, was he?  Before he’d had a chance to hardly get his feet wet, he took his eyes off of Jesus–for only a moment–and he began to sink.  Maybe you can relate to Peter, especially in the arena of infertility.  You step out of the boat of frustration and disappointment to tell your husband and your friends that you will not let infertility drag you down anymore.  You know God has a plan and you’ll wait patiently for it.  Then you have lunch with a friend, and the table next to yours hosts a woman with a newborn baby–the same age yours would have been had you not miscarried.  You take your eyes off of Jesus for a moment, the pain of infertility splashes you in the face like a thousand hurricanes, and you begin to sink.  Maybe it was the commercial that played during your favorite tv show: Having a baby changes everything.  Not having a baby changes everything too, including your firm footing on the sea of pain and disappointment.  Before you know what hit you, you’re drowning–again. 

What’s going to happen to you?  The same thing that happened to Peter. Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him…(Mt 14:31) Peter cried out to Jesus to save him, and without a moment’s delay, Jesus rescued him.

This is probably the point where you’re expecting me to tie this up with a pretty bow, and tell you how this applies to your struggle to have a baby.  Nope.  I’m not there yet.  I haven’t even told you what my favorite song is.  (Have you guessed yet?)  

The part of this story that I want you to focus on is not actually something that you read in Scripture.  Instead, I want you to focus on what we don’t see in this passage of Scripture.  When did the writer tell us about Jesus letting go of Peter?  After He reprimanded him for his lack of faith?  After they got back in the boat?  Did He hang on to him just long enough for him to catch his breath, and then let go again?  No.  In this account of Peter stepping out of the boat, walking on water, and needing to be rescued once more, there is never any mention of Jesus letting go of Peter.

While this doesn’t mean that Jesus and Peter walked around holding hands for the remainder of Jesus’ earthly ministry, I do not believe that that little tidbit of information was left out on accident.  Jesus didn’t let go of Peter during this story.  He knew just how long to hold on to him until he could stand strong, and He didn’t let go one moment too soon.  

Here’s the bow–and the song.  He’ll never let go. Through the highs and through the lows.  Through the calm and through the storm.  Through infertility and the marital stress it brings.  He’ll never let go.  Through negative tests and miscarriages.  Through positive tests and happy delivery rooms.  He’ll never, ever let go. (In case you’re wondering–Never Let Go by Matt Redmon is my favorite song.  Incidentally, he wrote this song after he and his wife suffered back to back miscarriages.)

If you can relate to Peter–trying, failing, stepping out, falling down–remember what Peter knew.  Jesus will never, ever let go of your hand.  If you listen closely, you may just hear Peter humming my favorite song.

I’ve had one of those months where my eyes have come off of Jesus and focused majorly on my own circumstances – my unanswered prayers, my aches, my emotions. None of those are wrong to process through, but when we focus more on ourselves then on Him, well, we sink. And I’ve been sinking. (More on that another day). This email came at the perfect time and was God’s way of saying “Chin up Chelsea! Look at me! Stop looking down! Give me the chance to hold on to you.”

 

Okay, lastly, Cali wanted to share one of her July Crushes – Dogs Love Kale treats! She got a surprise in the mail from our friend Ashley and was trying so hard to be polite and patient. She cracks me up!

(What doesn’t make her Favorites list is being swaddled by Mom. HA! Sorry doggie, until I have a baby, you’re it.)

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Have a fabulous weekend!

 PS – I totally spaced on wishing my hubby a happy 11th anniversary here AND a happy 34th birthday! Babe, you’re the bee’s knees and truly, I am so thankful to be doing life with you. Love you dearly!

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11 years later … We’ve still got it. HA! :)

“if i could tell you”.

I recently was given the opportunity to review the new Clyde Brothers’ film, “If I Could Tell You”, which delves into the struggles experienced by many who struggle with infertility. While I have received compensation for this review and post from Fertility Planit, all opinions are my own.

When I was offered the opportunity to review the movie, I thought it would be fascinating to see how infertility would be portrayed. I knew going in it wasn’t a Christian film, which almost made it more interesting, because I often wonder how couples survive infertility without the hope of Christ. (And yes, throughout it, I did want to shout to Abby, the main character, that there is a greater source of comfort!).

Overall, I thought the film did a nice job of portraying the pain that comes with the reality that you may never become a parent. It touches on the cost of treatments, the pain of dismissive advice from others, and the desperation felt by couples. While I was shocked to learn there’s an underground black market for donor sperm, the film displayed the painful lengths couples with go to, even though it was an extreme that I personally would never consider.

There was one scene in particular that brought me to tears and truly displayed the painful heartache associated with infertility. It took place in a phone call between the wife, Abby, and her husband, where she painfully chokes out the words “I know we’ve decided to stop trying, but I don’t think I know how.” Often I think this is the case, which is what drives people to extremes, like Abby’s attempts to do anything to find success.

This film was inspired by personal experiences with infertility, both by co-director and writer Rob Clyde, and Kevin Richardson, (yes, of the Backstreet Boys), who plays the role of the anonymous sperm donor. It was clear there was heart and pain behind the writing and acting which brought the tough topic full circle.

“If I Could Tell You” was pretty raw and shocking, in a good way. Again, I wanted so badly to reach in and talk to them about Jesus, and as a Christian, you will likely feel the same way. Yes, there is some minimal but intense language, and the concept of black-market sperm donation made me sad for the couples that feel the need to go to that extreme. But the film was done well and it’s helpful for me to see the intensity and pure desperation that is involved with infertility, even when I am standing in similar shoes. I am thankful continued awareness is being raised around the topic of infertility.

You can get a sneak peek of this award winning film at http://bit.ly/IICTY_Trailer. The full film will be available for purchase on iTunes on August 2nd. #FertilityFilm #IICTY

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staying positive, guest posting, and more.

Hi friends! I was recently asked be to a part of a community post, joining in the voices of 40+ infertility bloggers, to answer a simple question: How do you stay positive while going through infertility?

We know that infertility affects 1 in 6 couples and often times, these couples can feel alone. It is hard to pull yourself up from the overwhelming feelings of failure and shame. What I love about this post is that its comes from women who are just like you, who have experienced the same types of heartbreaks as you have, and now want to rally together to help you keep your chin up.

I was inspired reading each answer and hope you are too.


 

On a different note, I was also recently invited to write over at Compared to Who which is a wonderful blog devoted to helping Christian women improve their body image and find freedom from comparison. A special thanks to Heather for warmly welcoming me to her community!

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Click here to read post

(Psssst – there is a special coupon code now active until July 15th in that article for anyone looking to purchase ‘In the Wait‘!) 


I’ll close today with a Scripture I’ve been working on learning + applying lately. I shared this on Instagram last week and was blessed to know I’m not alone. Here’s what I wrote:

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This verse got me today. How many times have I sat there and asked God for direction? It typically goes something like this: “God, can you give me direction? What should I do? What should I do? What should I do? Why aren’t You replying? Hello? What should I do? Where are You? Are You there? What’s my answer? Hello?” “Hmmm, He isn’t answering me. He must not be listening. I’m no better off then when I started praying. I don’t know why He doesn’t answer. Why do I even ask? I must not be doing this right.” Anyone else been there before? Where all you want is an ANSWER and so you ask and ask and ask and get NOTHING. So you stop praying about it. You transition to just wishing about it, talking to your friends about it, getting frustrated about it, and posting pretty memes on Instagram about it, all while secretly thinking your prayers aren’t working.

Friend, can I share with you what He reminded me today?

LISTEN TO ME IN SILENCE.

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Renew your strength.

Basically God reminded me that to get direction for whatever it is we are praying about, we have to be quiet long enough to let Him speak. When we talk to a friend for advice, we talk, and then we listen. When we share our frustrations with a spouse, we talk and then we listen. When we ask Siri for directions, we type and then we listen. Why is it so often times we think we need to fill the entire space of conversation with God all the time? Just because He isn’t sitting in front of us physically doesn’t mean He isn’t willing or interested in responding to you. Take a breath. Close your eyes. Stop talking. Let your strength be renewed in the silence. His voice may not be audible, but His Word is. Open your Bible. Read what He has to say. Give Him time to reply. It may not happen in one day, or even one week, but He is there. He is in the silence, waiting for you to listen.


Happy Tuesday friends! Until next time ….

XO,

Chelsea