friday favorites – february 27.

Happy Friday! Let’s skip all the introduction fluff today and get right to the point – blue and black or white and gold? AHHH! I mean seriously, what the heck is going on!? If you are anything like us, you spent way too much time getting involved in the great debate yesterday and today, arguing what you see. I only see white and gold, while Josh only sees black and blue. This is baffling and yes, I have read many of the reasons “why” this is happening, but still, bottom line, it’s confusing and had me in absolute hysterics last night as I watched Facebook comments come in. Between the dress and the llamas, it was a wild media day. (HA!)

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(If you haven’t already seen “the dress”, let me know what colors you think it is below!)

Alright, moving on, Friday Favorites, here we go!

Favorite Moment: Awww, of course it had to be our IUI yesterday! Can I just tell you how much your prayers worked? The IUI itself was the EASIEST procedure EVER! I’m serious, I didn’t feel a thing and even the nurse was a little flustered afterwards, saying that it was the easiest one she has ever done. It maybe took 45 seconds and man, it was evident that God’s hand was on it, especially since the last time my uterus was clipped and was more painful. So yay answered prayers!!!! THANK YOU for all of the excitement, encouragement, support, thoughts, prayers and love sent this week approaching it and then yesterday. You all are such a gigantic blessing to us!

calling this our first family picture minus cali :)

calling this our first family picture minus cali :)

Favorite Video: I saw this IF: Gathering video pop up on my feed the other day and am SO glad that I took the 9 minutes to watch it. It’s all about self-care and making sure that we are balancing our roles and duties with the need to also take care of ourselves. While some of it spoke to parenting, I learned so much in that segment too. It’s worth a watch! Or throw it on and listen to it while you get ready in the morning. Two of my favorite quote take-aways are:

  • “If you don’t leave margin in your day, some time for you to be you … everything suffers.”
  • “If my goal is to be a gift to the people that God entrusted in my life, I have to take care of myself. It’s like putting oil in a car. You can’t expect water from a stone. You have to keep nourishing and nurturing yourself if you want to have anything to give to the people around you.”

Take a listen! (PS – If you aren’t following IF: Gathering online and taking advantage of their daily devotions, you are missing out! Check out their site at https://ifgathering.com/.)

 

Favorite Fellowship: On Tuesday night I was able to host several of the ladies from my Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) small group for a time of fellowship and sharing, and boy, it was so special! I am so thankful that God brings together women of all different ages, seasons, and walks and then teaches us so much using the same Bible passages. That night was so refreshing!

Favorite Jam Session: Oh guys, you know when you are driving and all of a sudden a song comes on that brings out your inner super singing star? That happened to me on one morning and thankfully I was alone because me and Phil Collins CRUSHED In the Air Tonight. I mean, you should have SEEN my drum solo at the end. Sigh, radio win.

Favorite Hint of Spring: These tulips, lovely. A friend from my BSF group brought them over on Tuesday evening and their presence has totally brightened up my house this week. I have a special place in my heart for tulips too, as they were given to me last Mother’s Day by my friend Jana and also by my husband after a transfer on Mother’s Day the year before. I always think of those special moments of being a heavenly mom and have the feelings of being cared for when I see these colorful bulbs. They are the perfect flower to have around the house during this 2WW. Thanks again Ashley!

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Favorite Print: I got this print from She Reads Truth and I just love it. This verse from Lamentations is everything I need: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” (3:22-23 ESV). I can’t get enough of the reminder that His love is steadfast, His mercies are new every morning and He is nothing but faithful. Faithfulness, mercy and love are all things I need every second of the day. My life is too messy, broken, imperfect and tough without Him. I love this print!

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Favorite Funnies: I was thoroughly amused by several Oscar meme’s this time – can you tell?

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Another Friday of giggling! Thanks to everyone who contributes to Friday Funnies by sending over your favorites too! This is such a team effort!

Congratulations to Liz E. for being the winner of the Jamberry Nail Wraps + Manicure Kit! If you didn’t win but are interested in ordering some wraps for yourself, check out my cousin Lindsey’s page who generously and thoughtfully donated this fun stuff! Thanks Linds! And thanks to everyone who entered and played along in these giveaways this month. It’s been so much fun and I wish I had free things to give to all of you.

Can I ask for two specific prayer requests during this 2WW- one, for this cycle to be a success (duh, obviously) and two, for my Progesterone in Oil (PIO) injections that start tonight. I had significant hip/leg/butt nerve damage occur from these shots back in 2013 and I am a little concerned that further damage will occur. Josh is the best shot giver for these injections (lovely 2″ inch needles injected into my butt/hip area), so pray that his hand is guided to spots that wouldn’t cause any more issues. It’s complete bad luck that the nerve damage happened the first time, he did everything right. I just pray that this basketball sized area of no-feeling isn’t further irritated. Thanks for those prayers!

Okay, let’s get our Friday on now. Have a great weekend friends!

Have you had a chance to sign up for the next TTC exchange? Make sure to send your email over no later than March 11th! The spots are quickly filling up! 

Lucky Sock Exchange.

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Guess what time it is!? Time for our next TTC Exchange! This time …. Lucky Socks! If you are interested in finding out more, click (here to continue reading} and get all of the FAQ’s on the exchange, plus learn how to sign up! You aren’t going to want to miss it! The deadline to sign up is Wednesday, March 11th, don’t delay! The link will bring you to a page that will answer all these questions you have, like:

You’re intrigued right!? Click on over!  There is also a spot for you to link up your blog to the exchange so make sure you do that too! (You can also find the info page on my Menu tab of the blog or by using this address: https://trialsbringjoy.com/lucky-sock-exchange-2015/)

Ok, another fun thing – guess what happened last night!? That’s right, my trigger shot! My appointment yesterday showed a few perfectly-sized follicles and great 9+ triple striped lined, which means our IUI is a go for Thursday (tomorrrrrrow!). Keep us in your prayers as we try this again … fingers crossed it’s our last one ever.

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trigger shot time!

doesn't everyone have a lucky baby troll?

doesn’t everyone have a lucky baby troll?

See you back here for Friday Favorites! XO!

Q & A part 2

First of all, is anyone watching the Bachelor? After 5 hours of Chris Soules + ladies this week, I feel like I need a major girl-chat to process everything that went on. Comment below if you watch and what you think! No spoilers please!

In other news, this week is part 2 of the Q&A Series! Thanks again to everyone who has sent in questions. Today we are featuring another giveaway, this time from Fertile Gems, (see more below), and then next week we will wrap this series up with part 3 and onet final giveaway. How fun has February been!? Love it!

OK, let’s dive into some more questions!

Q: Have you ever questioned blogging or had concerns with sharing private things with your work, friends, family, and church home?

A: Great question! Blogging scares me regularly. Every time I press “post”, I kind of feel like I have stripped down and am running naked through the neighborhood. I would rather strangers read my posts than people I know. It’s such a vulnerable thing, writing, and there are times I hold back thoughts or situations to protect the emotions of those closest to me as well. So yes, there are times I question blogging, but not in a way that makes me stop. It puts a good reminder in my heart and mind to be cautious not to hurt anyone with my words and also, to share in a way that’s helpful to others but (hopefully) won’t damage my reputation either, like in a working situation. I always try to write with the mindset that anyone I know may read this, including the person I may be giving a story about. It helps direct my words and mentality, while still remaining authentic and vulnerable. It’s a tango!

Regarding actual privacy, I try my best to keep identities protected and actual locations hidden if people don’t want that shared. If children are being posted on or about, I run it past Mom or Dad. I also try to make sure that when I am telling stories, I am telling my stories, not someone else’s story. Those stories are for them to share and I don’t want to encroach into their story. It can be hard to untangle experiences and emotions at times, but I want to protect the people in my life too. If I am telling a story about Josh, I run it past him first to make sure he is okay with it. I don’t ever want my blogging to cause others to concern their privacy either.

Q: What are your thoughts about acupuncture?

Ha! Remember the first time I went to acupuncture? Rethinking this experience is making me giggle. Acupuncture is something that I have been doing on and off for almost 2 years now and have to say, am still totally neutral on my opinion. I know some people LOVE IT and others HATE IT. I tend to be pretty undecided. That being said, I found cupping to be an extremely valuable part of my healing process when I had significant hormone-related back pain. I also found acupuncture to help my headaches while on Lupron and stimming during IVF cycles. When I was not on medicated cycles however, I didn’t find it to be hugely successful in helping me ovulate/cycle.

However, one thing that I am hugely passionate about is having pre and post transfer acupuncture sessions in the doctor’s office if they allow it. My acupuncturist came into the clinic and I had the most relaxing sessions right before and immediately after our embryo(s) were transferred. It allows time to pray/meditate, breath, and relax. Plus, you are on valium so it’s like you are floating with glee in a magical PUPO cloud.

Otherwise though, do what you are comfortable with and find relaxing. If it relaxes you, great. If you find yourself unable to relax and over thinking whether its working or not, then maybe it’s not for you. I always suggest everyone gives it a try to decide for yourself.

Q: What are the last 5 movies you’ve seen that have rocked your world?

I wish I watched more movies that rocked my world! I actually tend to be a pretty shallow movie watcher. I feel like the “good”, award winner movies tend to be a little violent/profane/sorrow-filled for me. For example, I would love to see American Sniper if I felt my heart could take it, but sometimes emotions overwhelm me a bit and so I protect me heart and just skip it all together.

So I watch movies on the Hallmark Channel or drag my husband to see Night at the Museum 3 (I laughed … and cried) or Hunger Games or the Divergent series. I love me a good Harry Potter film and PG-13 chic flick too! I wish I had a better deeper answer for you!

Q: How do you feel embryos should be handled ethically?

A: We believe deeply that all embryos created have life. We value the fact that life starts at conception and so it’s been very important to us to ensure that all embryos created that develop and process through the viable stages are used. When Josh and I first started our IVF journey, we knew that it could open a door for our family to be larger than we anticipated, knowing that if we had extra embryos to freeze, that we would continue frozen cycles to give them all a chance at implanting and sustaining life.

Doctors offices will give you the choice to “dispose” of extra embryos, donate your embryos to another couple who can’t biologically create a child or have the desire to adopt an embryo, donate the embryo(s) to science, or freeze them for your own family, continuing to make annual payments to the frozen daycare center. We have always chosen and will continue to choose to freeze them regardless of their quality.

When we were embarking into our 4th cycle, we had 1 little Frostie left. You may remember from this post where our doctors suggested us skipping transferring Frostie because of his/her low quality and instead doing a new fresh cycle. It was important to Josh and I that Frostie got a chance, and so we moved forward with that frozen cycle and our little snowbaby. While that cycle wasn’t successful, I am SO glad that we transferred Frostie and I know that God provided us a lot of peace with our decision to do that, even though it didn’t result in a pregnancy.

If you have a similar mindset as we do and are concerned about the abundance of embryos that could be created in a cycle, please know that there are many options to work with your doctor to minimize the amount of embryos created. It may start with stimulating egg production at a slower rate and removing less eggs, therefore creating less embryos, but it is possible. There is always a chance that when that type of cycle occurs and less embryos are created, that you may have to do multiple cycles, but it is worth pursuing and discussing with your doctor as well. If you ever have more specific questions on this for me, feel free to email me.

All of this being said, these are our opinions that we reserve the right to have so if you view things differently or would make different decisions, I simply ask for mutual respect as these are personal and spiritual decisions each couple makes.

Q: Where do you suggest finding support? How have you been able to develop a good system of support on this journey?

A: This journey can feel really lonely when you are fighting it alone, when no one around you understands, and when you don’t feel you have anyone to talk to. One of the benefits about social media is that it gives you the chance to connect with people who are struggling in a similar way as you, while not necessarily having to live close to you. Instagram has been the number one way for me to connect with other women who are struggling. Did you know that you can also create an annoyomous instagram account, not linked to your Facebook, so that you can have a true TTC outlet? You can start simple, by searching for a hashtag! Phrases like #ivf, #iui, #infertiliy, #ttc, #pcos, #endo, #clomid will all give you a SLEW of women who are ready to share and connect. You would be so surprised at how many beautiful true friendships have formed out of a single hashtag!

Meet my friend Karen! We met over Instagram, started emailing and now not a day goes by where we don't talk, text or skype date. She may live in FL but all that matters is that I have found my "person"! Love you K.

Meet my friend Karen! We met over Instagram, started emailing and now not a day goes by where we don’t talk, text or skype date. She may live in FL but all that matters is that I have found my “person”! Love you K.

I also run TTC package exchanges every few months that several hundred women on this journey participate in and I have witnessed SO many awesome friendships form simply by being randomly paired up. You can search for things like #ttcexchanges on Instagram too if you want to get connected right away! There are Facebook groups as well. My own personal experience is that forums can be really aggressive and mean-spirited so I try to stay away from them. Some churches have small groups that form with women who are struggling, so checking with your local church is a great option too. Otherwise, use websites like RESOLVE to find other methods of support.

Oh and guess what, our next TTC Exchange, similar to the Mug Exchange, will be kicking off at the end of the month! Stay tuned!

Now it’s giveaway time!

My friend Crystal over at Fertile Gems sent me the most beautiful fertility necklace and we just HAVE to share one with a lucky winner! Fertile Gems creates handcrafted fertility jewelry that is meant to put a smile on your face, remind you to calm down, relax and HOPE. They also include the choice of a gemstone and each gemstone has different meanings.

The necklace we are giving away is similar to this one below – except yours will be in sterling silver and you will be able to pick your own gemstone. (The wishbone is known as a good luck symbol of life and fertility.) If you are interested in purchasing one, I know you won’t be disappointed. Check out her Etsy store today!

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This giveaway will last until Friday morning, and then the winner will be announced on Friday Favorites. Everyone ears 5 free entries just for fun! Just include your name / email so I can connect with you if you win. Good luck!

Click Here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for sending in some great questions! Next week we wrap this up by talking about the ever-so-big questions about adoption, gluten-free diets, maintaining faith and hope and more!

5 things you want to tell your fertile friend.

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Ever been there? That place, that moment, when you look around the room and realize you are the only person without kids? The conversation drifts in and out as you refresh your thinking “was up all night with johnny .. so tired .. love when they snuggle all morning … watched too much tv yesterday with them … need a night out … love them more than I knew was possible … love the boppy, although I would recommend … ” You catch snippets of conversation, knowing that you have nothing to offer and for just a moment, you want to weigh in and let your friends know these 5 things …

{click here to continue reading}

Thanks for clicking to continue reading and supporting my writing at Fertility Authority! Please feel free to share this post as much as you can within the next month – your views matter! And I’d love to have you weigh in and share what you wish you could tell your friends with kids – comment there or here!

Also, it’s not too late to enter the giveaway for your chance to win a copy of  Where Have All the Storks Gone? A His and Hers Guide to Infertility by Michelle and Chris Miller or a fertility pack with a TTC Boost Bundle for Her and a BFP Test Strip Little Bundle. Read the previous post to enter or Click Here: a Rafflecopter giveaway.

See you Friday to announce the giveaway winners and share some Friday Favorites!

Q & A part 1

I am so excited to launch this Question and Answers series this month, which will be combined with questions you have sent in and featuring some fun giveaways too! (2 packages today, more to come!) Thanks to everyone who submitted a question – if you don’t see your question answered in this post, know that there will be 3 parts so yours will make its way to being answered. Also, if you didn’t get a chance to send in your question, it’s not too late! Check out the Contact page for the best way to connect or leave a question in the comments below.

Here we go!

Q: Do you have any fiction book recommendations that you enjoyed that touch on infertility in some way?

A: I know many of you went out and read What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty and have shared that you loved it! I’m so glad! I have three other books that stand out as a good read with infertility story lines. The first is The Baby Trail by Sinead Moriarty. It is written by a British author and I found it to be hilarious. There are 2 follow up books to this book character and I liked all of them. But this first one is especially relatable to many and I found myself laughing out loud and feeling incredibly understood at the same time. The other book is Barefoot by Elin Hildebrand. While the infertility story line isn’t the predominate feature, it does touch on the emotions and uses language many of us would be familiar with. The third and last one is The Things We Do For Love by Kristin Hannah. I loved this one too. All three of these are non-Christian books so there are mild/moderate adult language and elements, but nothing I wouldn’t allow my Grandma Jones to read. (Hi Grandma Jones!)

Q: What about non-fiction books? Anything that touches on infertility that’s great?

A: YES! So many I love. The first is Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist. If you have read my blog for any period of time and haven’t gotten this yet, please do! Her personal essays touch on miscarriage and struggles to conceive in a Godly way (however is not the focus of the book) and this is one of my favorite books of encouragement, relate-ability and hope. (UPDATE: And today only, the e-book is 0.99 on Amazon and Barnes and Nobles!)

The second is a book I recently read called Where Have All the Storks Gone? A His and Hers Guide to Infertility by Michelle and Chris Miller. This book is a funny, touching read, written from both her perspective and his. Her point of view talks a lot about the first steps you take when you learn you are fertility challenged, a great list of questions to bring to your OB/RE, some great advice on how to ignore the comments you wish people didn’t say and what you can expect with medicated cycles and IVF. Michelle does a GREAT job with this! And then the “his” perspective – Chris talks openly and candidly about things like preparing for the changes to the “just having sex” lifestyle, learning how to read semen analysis results, the lessons he has learned as a husband throughout the journey and touching on how he keeps his sanity and stays married through it all. I am SO glad I got to read this book – it was a lot of “you too!?”. It’s funny and touching and I will go ahead and let you know, has a great ending. In fact, I like this book so much that the publisher and I are hosting a GIVEAWAY for you to win a chance to get this book for free! Yeah! Enter below – the contest will end this Friday and the winner will be announced with Friday Favorites. Be sure to enter! (If you don’t win, I would still highly suggest grabbing this book. You can find all the ordering details on their website – www.wherehaveallthestorksgone.com) (This too is written from a secular perspective but is very tasteful!)

The third book is Every Drunken Cheerleader – Why Not Me? By Kristine Ireland Waits. This book is HILARIOUS. It’s written by a Christian author and I am so encouraged and touched by this challenging book. It’s written so that you can relate to it if you are struggling with infertility but also is an amazing resource for those who are supporting someone who is struggling with infertility. There’s an entire chapter (or two) that answers the questions they have like How can I help? What should I do? What shouldn’t I do? When and what should I ask about? How can I best support my friend during this? If I could give a copy to everyone I know, I would. This book is fabulous.

I have many other book suggestions listed under my Reading Resources page so check those out too!

Q: What helps you get though the 2 week wait? Are there any fun activities that help you get your mind off of things?

A: Let me just start by saying 2 week waits (2WW) suck. Never in my life have I known 14 days to take so painfully long. That being said, somehow they do pass. During this time I like to pretend like it’s not happening, while also recording every detail of every day. Makes sense right? I briefly write in my journal each day and this actually has helped keep me sane when reflecting back and reading other 2WW entries. I realize I am crazy EVERY 2WW which somehow brings comfort that this wait isn’t extra special. But anyways, to pass the days, I love to pack my days full of distractions. Coffees with friends (decaf of course!), trips to local and free museums or zoo’s, movie nights, girls days, mall walking (but no buying anything! Never clothes shop under the effects of progesterone.), painting my nails, and doing some gentle yoga (or swimming if you have that option). Things I DON’T suggest you do – Google. STAY OFF OF FORUMS, CHAT ROOMS, AND 2WW symptom websites. I repeat, DO. NOT. DO. THIS. You will drive yourself batty and set yourself up for waves of pointless emotions because you can’t truly count yourself out of this cycle at 3dpo (3 days past ovulation) simply because your left boob doesn’t hurt as much as your right. And don’t start taking tests at 5dpo. They will never show up as positive and you will waste pointless tears. My friend Lisa once told me “I would rather be hopeful and positive and convinced I am pregnant for 13 days and utterly devastated on day 14 if I am not, then spend 14 days in nervous, scared anticipation of failure.” I love that and live by that each 2WW now. Embrace the time you have, even if it doesn’t end the way you have hoped.

But my best advice is to stay busy. I have goals to make a 2WW bucket list for my next wait – it will keep me busy and distracted! What about you? What do you like to do to keep yourself busy during the 2WW?

Q: Are there any pills or supplements you have tried that have worked well or that you would recommend?

A: This is a loaded question! I know SO many people have differing opinions on this so I will keep this brief and allow you to do your own research as well, but here’s what I would loosely recommend*: CoQ10 for egg quality (stop taking this once you get your BFP), Vitamin D (studies showing it increases your fertility), Folic Acid/Prenatal vitamin, and Melatonin (said to play a role in hormone secretion and improve egg quality). Now there are always other supplements that others use and try that are still scientifically unknown if it helps increase fertility, but certainly have positive outcomes and stories! Fairhaven Health is an online source for many of these products and I am excited to try some of the products they sent me recently, like their brand of CoQ10, FertilAid (used to enhance fertility and support overall reproductive health) and FertiliTea. I have heard so much about this tea for preconception and am excited to give it a try! I will keep you all up to date with my thoughts but so far, I am impressed!

That being said, it isn’t fair for me to get stuff and not you! So I am teaming up with Fairhaven Health to offer one lucky winner a GIVEAWAY package of two if their most popular products – valued at nearly $100! The TTC Boost Bundle for Her includes FertilAid for Women, OvaBoost, and FertileCM to encourage hormonal balance, cycle regularity, and to promote fertile-quality cervical mucus and the BFP Test Strip Little Bundle is designed to provide you with the ovulation and pregnancy tests, consisting of 15 BFP Ovulation Test Strips and 5 early detection BFP Pregnancy Test Strips. I can’t wait for someone to give this all a try! Thank you to Fairhaven Health for your generous donations – ladies, check them out and enter for this giveaway below! This giveaway will end on Friday as well and the winner will be announced with the Friday Favorites.


Well that’s it! I have managed to tackle 4 questions and I am excited for the next post in this series, hitting questions like How do you ethically handle embryo creation during IVF? and Where do you suggest finding support on this journey? Can’t wait to answer!

Okay without further ado, here’s how you can enter to win the book and the awesome Fertility package! You will enter using Rafflecopter and it’s super easy – just provide an email so that I can contact you if you win for a mailing address. You can earn more points if you follow me on Instagram, share this giveaway using social media, subscribe to my blog, or leave a comment but regardless, everyone still earns 5 free entries! Can’t wait to share these products with you!

Click Here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

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* The opinions shared on my blog are based on my own thoughts, experience and knowledge gained throughout this journey. I am not a doctor or health professional so please consult your own doctor before making any changes to your health or TTC plan. It’s important for you to advocate for yourself and make your own decisions based on your health care providers plan. 

keep dreaming.

Hi friends! First of all, thank you all for the support on my first blog post written on Fertility Authority last month! You guys poured out the love (and clicks) and I am SO appreciative. Just think, with every click you made over the last 30 days, you were able to take part in raising money towards our IUI cycles. Now that is pretty cool, right!? I think of you all as I swallow those pills and look lovingly at that trigger shot, hehe!

Well, the time has come for my next post! Same as before, would you guys be just as supportive and head over there  to click and read? It’s all about keeping the dreams we have alive despite disappointments. I would LOVE to continue to show them the amazing team I have behind me!

Okay, to read (and support) click this link: CLICK ME! CLICK ME! CLICK ME!

Or here’s the link for copying purposes: http://www.fertilityauthority.com/blog/chelsea-ritchie/2015/1/07/keep-dreaming

As always, feel free to share in any and all ways possible. :) I hope that someone is blessed and encouraged by these words. While I love the self therapy of writing, I am also so grateful for the ability for God to speak to others through our experiences. To Him be the glory!

See you back on Friday for the first real edition of Friday Favorites 2015! Whoooo hoooooo!

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Did you miss my last blog post on Fertility Authority? No worries! Click here to read! 

perfect peace.

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Today I am reminded of the need for my continued desire to e*a*r*n*e*s*t*l*y seek God. “Oh God you are my God; earnestly I seek you, my soul thirsts for you…” (Ps. 63:1) I often find myself seeking Him, not because I am thirsting for Him, but because it’s part of my routine, on my to-do list, or even worse, I need something from Him. (Can you imagine if your significant other only connected with you when they needed something? Ouch.)  And then Isaiah 26:3 reminds me “You will keep in P-E-R-F-E-C-T  P-E-A-C-E all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You.”

So here’s the formula I have figured out:

True, earnest desperation for God –> earnestly seeking Him –> trusting in Him and His character –> perfect peace –> continued desperation and longing for God.

The longing for Him can’t come out of needing something or be rushed because it’s “on the list”, it has to be genuine. And in order to build that genuine adoration, we have to take the intentional time to get to know Him. It takes authentic energy. What a reminder this is for me today! And what a perfect example of why seeking Him and staying grounded in Him for no reason other than I thirst for Him is so important. Side benefit: perfect peace.

My relationship with God, like any others, can hit nice easy strides. However, just as we have to be intentional to pursue our friendships and make sure that we are taking time for relationships in our life that are so important to us (and expressing that!), so we have to do with our Creator.

We are wrapping up 2014 this week. Whoa. Where has this year gone? In the past, I have had a word of the year – a word that drives my heart and intentions for personal growth. The word for 2014 was “contentment”, based off of Philippians 4, “I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.”

How did I do? I would like to say I did good, but of course know there are always ways for significant improvements. I do feel like this verse and the prayerful intentions to find contentment whatever my circumstances has helped me to grow. I wrote in my journal a year ago today “To a year where trust goes ahead of trials and His work is accomplished through us an in us.” My prayer for this year repeats itself, as I pray for trust that goes ahead of anything that comes our way (or doesn’t) and that He would continue to be glorified in it all.

So what’s the 2015 word? I have it – I am praying on it and flushing it out and can’t wait to share it with you soon.

Thanks for all your continued prayers sent as we are midst our 2WW. Tick tock tick tock. We are trying not to think about it and I am ignoring it nearly completely which is actually pretty impressive. Typing this message is the most thought I have given it to it in a while. So when you text and ask how I am feeling and doing, know that my brief “good” isn’t trying to be rude, it’s keeping me from over-analyzing and stressing about something I have no control over. I am thankful for the distractions these holiday seasons give us.

Enjoy these last few days of 2014 – let’s strive forward with an earnest pursuit of Him because He is who He is, not because of what He can do for us. Amen?!

And while I type, Cali sleeps on MY new heated blanket. She thinks this is the best Christmas present her mom has ever gotten! Ha!

And while I type, Cali sleeps on MY new heated blanket. She thinks this is the best Christmas present her mom has ever gotten! Ha!

If you haven’t already entered the New Years Giveaway, take a minute to do so! You still have a few more days! 

Christmas hope.

Today is Christmas Eve! When did it sneak up? I have been sitting here for a while now, looking at my blank computer screen and trying to make sense of the beautiful emotions running through me. The end of the Advent season drawing near and the celebration of His arrival is approaching, Christmas is only a day away! December mixes in the emotions of longing and hoping and then celebrating the completion of our waiting. Jesus came, arriving to this earth as a helpless baby, demonstrating that the hope in Him was not displayed.

Hope. A frail word that creates emotions throughout so many of us. When we are disappointed and sorrows overwhelm us, our hope is dashed, stolen by tears and replaced with discouragement. When what we have hoped for comes true, we become advocates of optimism, losing our cynic routine and spouting happy words.

We’ve talked a lot in this blog about hope, keeping our hope in Him. (See past posts here and here and here and here) One of my favorite verses comes from Hebrews 6, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Hope defined is “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.” I have related this to my infertility journey often times – expecting our prayers to be answered and hoping in Him for that. However this Christmas season, I am reminded that this word goes far beyond my wish list, it is much more than that.

Hope is believing and being certain that He has come and that He will come again. Hope is expecting His faithfulness to endure time, that His Word is true and that as a result, we don’t have to worry. HE is the anchor for our soul. His arrival to earth all those years ago secured our future, regardless of what that looks like. His arrival overrides all feelings of “God has forgotten about us” or “God doesn’t care about me.” His birth restores the Hope that we have in His Word and contains the answer to our future – the Hope that His word will prevail and that He will come again. Because of the miracle of Jesus’ virgin birth, our hope will never need to waver because He wins. In the end, He wins. So no matter what we go through, what we face, what trials or sorrows come our way, once you become a child of His, we can rest fully assured that our Hope in Him is never displaced.

As you walk into Christmas, pause and reflect about the JOY in this season. I know sometimes when we have struggles, the focus of those sorrows can displace the joy of the season. But Christmas is more than a season; it is celebrating something far more eternal than an empty home, empty arms, a worried heart. It’s celebrating His faithfulness to fulfill what He has promised. Christmas can carry with it emotional landmines for those struggling with infertility – questions asked, parties attended, children and families everywhere. There is a fine line of acknowledging your real emotions of sorrow and pain and not letting it override the beauty of Christmas. I pray today that each of you, in the heartache of today, can remember that this suffering will not last forever. That He has been born in the city of David, and came to save us because of His love for us. Keep the faith my friends. Grieve as needed but not as those without Hope. Because He came, He conquered and He will come again. Because He hears your prayers, sits with you as you cry, collects your tears, and loves you so much.

If you ever are in a place where you want to know more about what it looks like to take a step forward towards Him, begin a relationship with Him, invest back in this love He has for you, I am just an email away. Nothing would bring me more joy than to talk with you about what it is that He offers to us that allows me to rest confidently in Him.

This Christmas I get to celebrate as a PUPO. (Pregnant until proven otherwise). Our IUI was on Monday and went well. We had a small catheter/uterus collision which caused some pain and cramping and I know that I am not alone in having that have happened before. To those who have experienced that before, a collective ‘ouch’ on three would be great, 1 … 2…. 3…. OUCH! Thankfully Josh was there and I could squeeze his hand, hard. Otherwise I was able to go home and rest the remainder of the day and now am returning to life as planned. 2 week waits can be hard, but the great thing about this one is that the holidays are throughout them and I will be distracted enough. I feel like 2 week waits get easier the more times you go through them but ask me again in a week!

This Christmas we celebrate the HOPE we have. Not the hope we have in a possible pregnancy, although we do celebrate that too. No, we celebrate the Hope we have in eternal life because of what transpired on Christmas many years ago.

Merry Christmas my friends!

Want some more Christmas posts? Check out my notes to Santa in the past – 2012 and 2013 – and also my Christmas posts here and here. They are among my favorites!

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