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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Who’s ready for some good news???



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Yeah, I couldn’t pick just one. That’s how ready for good news I am.

I digress.

So, my appointment today. As you may remember, our news on Monday was a little disappointing. I went into today’s appointment completely prepared for our cycle to be cancelled and for more time to pass before getting a chance to try again.

I was pleasantly surprised.


My lining made an impressive leap over the past few days and for that I was grateful. I have never struggled with thin lining before yet going from a 4 to an 8 in only a few days made me thrilled (triple-lined nonetheless!). We then checked one ovary, the one that had measuring follicles last time – nada. She tried to find a follicle, she really did and came up completely empty handed. Ouch. I wasn’t surprised. Let’s just get this news over with.

Then the other ovary …. What are those!!? Follicles! Nice big juicy (ew) follicles. I think both the ultrasound tech and I were shocked to see them. She was so excited, clicking away and measuring them, announcing that we have 4 follicles between a 15-18 today. YAY! Clearly their growth and development was a result of answered prayers. YAY GOD! Yay prayers! Yay follicles!


I got some blood work done and began the wait for the call … and hopefully a plan!

Driving away from my appointment, I was in total shock. I walked in expecting the cycle to get cancelled and quickly realized that I don’t know how to process good news very well. My heart was still guarded, anticipating the lab results to change everything. I told a friend the other day if I didn’t set my expectations so high then I didn’t have as far to fall. (Isn’t that sad? I know, ye of little faith.) The words from a Jesus Calling post earlier this month echoed in my mind: “I am taking care of you. Every detail of your life in under My control. If you could only see how close I am to you and how constantly I work on your behalf, you would never again doubt that I am wonderfully caring for you. This is why you must life by faith and not by sight; trusting in My mysterious, majestic Presence.”

If we could only see how close He is to us.

I have been reminded this week that is He is so close to us. I continue to struggle with allowing myself to get my hopes up and I think that there is an aspect of hopeful expectation combined with a guarded heart. But today we get to simply celebrate so many answered prayers. We have a chance and God loves to work for His children.

The nurse called back and they hoped my estrogen would be above 150 and it was 75.6, so tomorrow I start estrogen pills three times a day which will HOPEFULLY last through a first trimester. (Lord, please!) (Sidenote: estrogen pills three times a day … yes, Josh deserves some prayers. Buy stock in Kleenex now if you know what’s good for you.) They would like to give the follicles one more day before triggering so TOMORROW NIGHT at 6:30 pm, I have a date with an HCG trigger shot and then Monday morning at 10:30 am we will have our IUI (inter-uterine insemination) done. Oh my word, this is happening.

I get a little emotional when I think about the timing of it all. Christmas 2012 is when we were able to celebrate with our families my first pregnancy, later miscarrying that day, and to think that this Christmas, 2 years later, I will have the hope that God will be creating new life in me again. The sentimental side knows that even though our babies are celebrating Christmas with Jesus, that perhaps He will be lovingly creating their sibling to join us next year. Cautious excitement and gentle reminders that He is constantly working on our behalf.

Send all the baby dust, prayers, positive vibes and fertile juices my way. I wholeheartedly believe He is in this …. YAY!

(Oh my, this post is painfully scattered but I just don’t have the brain capacity to edit it. Thanks for bearing with me when some days the sentences just don’t flow and my love for GIFs are on overdrive.)


Holiday Bucket List – Part 2

The Bucket List is complete! Hurray! What a fun project it’s been this holiday season – definitely something that I will do each year. It motivated me to do things I may not have done otherwise and created a lot of smiles. Let’s see, where did we leave off …

Well, I had to drop off my Toys for Tots donation. The collection boxes near our house said they were collecting them through the 21st. Unfortunately when I went there the evening of the 21st, it had already been picked up. Josh and I sat in the parking lot of the grocery store and called around to a few more drop off locations only to find no one still had their box out. Bummer! So instead, we just made an online donation. I’m counting that!

Okay, we still had to Watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Home Alone 2 and we got both of those done. Josh and I snuggled up one chilly evening and laughed our way through Jim Carrey’s version (I always watch the cartoon one while wrapping gifts) and then my sister joined us for Home Alone 2 last Friday night. Check and check!

All movies - watched!

All movies – watched!

Now, the one item on the list I was panicking over the most was recruiting my sister to reenact a childhood Christmas photo. My parents had my grandparents staying with them over the holidays and I knew digging out the old albums and locating a picture that was doable to react would be a little tough. But one text to my mom and she quickly sent over this one of my sister and I. (Although she seemed to crop herself out – come on Mom! Early 90’s hair is hot!)

Look at those sweet faces! Ha!

Look at those sweet faces! Ha!

So Courtney and I decided to hit up Goodwill in hopes to find the perfect shirt and jewelry to match. I was relieved that we found two shirts so similar (and the red beads too!). Instead of buying the shirts that we would never wear again, we jumped into a dressing room and giggled our way through a photo shoot. The only thing better than trying to recreate it was having to throw up lines as we pretended we were trying on clothes. “Oh, I like that one on you.” “Do you think this one hits me at the wrong spot on my hips?” “Ohhh, I don’t think that is your color.” Afterwards, we realized anyone watching from the outside would have noticed our feet barely moved as we “tried clothes on”. HAHA! But I think it was a valiant effort …. and one that will likely never appear on my to-do again. (Huge thanks to my sister for helping me with this!!! I personally think you look awesome with the multiple chins.)

Well .... we tried.

Well …. we tried.

Next up –  Go sledding! I don’t think I have been sledding since high school, when I flew off my sled and smashed my head into a metal garbage can. (Before they realized putting metal cans at the bottom of an icy sledding hill was a bad idea.) My father-in-law created a fun tubing hill in his backyard and I had a blast running down the twisty hill over and over again. Cali, of course, wanted to be part of the fun and would follow me up the hill, hop on my lap and wait to go down. I secretly think she loved passing Bella, their yellow lab, and boasting in the fact that she was getting a free ride. So much fun!

Down we go!!!

Down we go!!!

Check this one off the list too!

Check this one off the list too!

Building a snowman seemed like an easy to-do item, especially being that we live in snowy Minnesota. However our problem has been that the snow we have is the powdery kind, not at all the good packing snow that would make for a durable snowman. So Josh and I had to be creative and that resulted in a Cali sized snowman, complete with a homemade scarf, a Dove chocolate wrapper hat and some button eyes made of coal crumbled leaves. I think Cali had fun visiting her new little friend before some Christmas Eve snow took him out!

Hysterically small.

Hysterically small.

I figured as long as I was bundled up for the snowman building, I should just jump in the snow and make a snow angel. I couldn’t stop laughing and treated my family to a great Randy reenactment video from the Christmas Story as I attempted to get up afterwards. I am nearly certain Josh got some good blackmail video on me as I attempted to just “fall back” into the snow. It was worth the laugh.



I had quite a few people suggest that I buy new pajamas for Christmas morning (extra points if I match my sister) and I am so glad it made the list! Courtney and I rocked some comfy new jammies Christmas morning and it was worth the purchase.

Matching pajamas ... check!

Matching pajamas … check!

And last but not least, looking at stars with Josh on a cold, snowy night. The sky up here was so clear one night and the star were shining so bright. It was fun and special to stop for a moment and take in the winter sky with him. I wish I had a picture to show you of how beautiful the sky was that night, but it just looks like a black photo. Darn!

I can’t believe it’s completed. It was the perfect amount of items to make it do-able, yet challenging. I am already brainstorming what’s going to be on it next year. Thanks for joining me on this fun adventure!

On a different note, we made it safely and peacefully through Christmas and the anniversary of our first miscarriage. I am so thankful for the stillness that filled my heart as the days went by and know that it was nothing short of your prayers and His presence that made the joy possible. We kept busy and the distraction was a good thing. I did find the nights leading up to it be to a little harder than I expected. Something about the silence of the night, the sleepiness of the body and the ability for the mind to race caused some tears to be shed, but they were cathartic tears and ones shed more in memory of our little ones than out of sadness.

Pinterest, Instagram and Social Media are filled with posts about people being ready for 2013 to be over with. Yes, 2013 was a tough year. But without it, I wouldn’t be who I am at the end of 2013. I wouldn’t know what I was capable of and I would have missed out on many laughs and special moments. I know the new year brings people new hope – hope of a better year, perhaps a new relationship or a pregnancy, maybe it’s a new job or a fresh start at something – but the truth is, you don’t need a digit to change on the calendar for that to happen. As these last 3 days of 2013 play out, I wonder how we would each live today if we were told we would never live a day in 2014. I guarantee these next 3 days would be days of accomplishments and heartfelt conversations, days of joy and fulfillment. Not days spent wanting to fast forward. We have the opportunity each day to wake up with renewed hope, joy and a fresh start. To make today count. To make it matter to someone other than ourselves. Every new morning gives us a chance to smile at a stranger. To compliment a co-worker who seems to be having a hard day. To pay for the coffee of someone behind us in line or spend some extra time on the phone with Grandma, listening to her stories. Don’t try to rush these last few days of 2013, because I can promise you this, 2014 will have its own trials as well. All we can do is live in this moment, because our future is not guaranteed. Our relationships will change and if we don’t have our prioritized set correctly, we will somehow blaze through another year feeling unfilled and empty.

I do love how each year seems to hold a new lesson for me. 2012 was a year spent learning about gratitude – applying Philippians 4:6-7 to my life and praying with thanksgiving. 2013 was spent learning more about hope and being reminded that “my only Hope is in Him.” (Psalm 39:7b). So what will 2014 be about? Joy. I can already feel the Lord beginning to teach me on a deeper level that my joy needs to come solely from Him. Not from circumstances or earthy things, but simply rooted in Him. I can’t wait to explore this even more in 2014!

So friends, let’s savor these last few moments of this year. We will never again have another December 29, 30 and 31st of 2013. Let’s make new memories and make today count. Cheers!



Apparently I was not the only one who thought running to Target on Sunday evening was a good idea. I am not sure if it was the extra 10% off that caused the excess crowds or if it was the fact that it was a few days before Christmas, but whatever it was, Target was a zoo.

I mean it. I saw two ladies ram carts to get to the last bag of hanging cheddar cheese. I saw a small child nearly rolled over with a cart as a man tried to maneuver something in the way back on the bottom shelf. I myself even had to use a throat cleaning technique or two as I tried to pass through the bakery scene. People were abandoning their carts and running for the items they needed. It reminded me of a scene from a store the day before Y2K. (Remember that? We all thought the world was going to end? What was going to happen to the computers!?!?)

An item on my list was bacon and I knew this would be a congested spot. I pulled up to the section and stood back quietly to watch the animals shoppers fight. As I stood aside waiting for the perfect opportunity to dart in and grab what I needed, I couldn’t help but notice an adorable little girl, about 4, standing with her mom and baby brother next to me. I smiled at her as she noticed me watching and then it came.

“Hi. Where’s your baby?”

All my mind could think was “Is this a joke?”, yet I managed to smile (as I assumed tears and a pained cry might frighten her and everyone around me) as I gritted back “Oh hi, I don’t have a baby.”


My heart was racing. Just a few minutes earlier as I was walking through the produce, I was struggling with sadness as I remembered just last year on this day, I knew I was pregnant. Memories of surprise onsies and telling-the-parents videos had been creeping up my throat as I was shopping the aisles and the question asked was like a dagger to my heart.

But why don’t you have a baby?”

Thankfully at this point the mom became aware of the conversation and stepped in. “Honey, not everyone has a baby.” Then trying to change the subject, she turned to me and asked which brand of bacon was on the Cartwheel this week. (Answer: the sold out one). But instead of being able to answer, the little girls voice chimed in again.

But why? Why don’t you have a baby too?”

Her persistence was admirable. She wanted an answer. I now was looking a little like this:


She must have sensed that a response was not coming. I mean, it wasn’t like I was going to sit her down and say “Well, sometimes people have a hard time making a baby. And then you need shots and pills and surgeries. And then sometimes you get a baby in your tummy and then that baby dies. Merry Christmas.” So in order to avoid any appalled looks from her Mom, I choose to stay silent, my eyes darting around trying to locate ANY bacon at this point so I could make a run for it.

Well, you should have a baby.”

Her last words were said so sweetly and with them, I grabbed some weird off brand bacon, nothing like the kind I wanted, spurt out a “bye” and ran away. (And by ran, I mean made it a foot with my cart before crashing into people waiting to get down aisles.)

My, what a year will do. For me, it’s been a tough couple days remembering this time last year. I am trying not to dwell on it, as I know it won’t change things, but still am working to acknowledge my sadness and process through it as it pops up.

This time last year, our home was filled with special memories like our first positive test, first baby bump pictures, and excited cries as we told our families. After I miscarried I thought that there would be no way that I wouldn’t be pregnant by the holidays this year because we would do whatever it took for that to happen. Well, we did whatever we could and I still sit here with the emptiness I never wanted to feel at Christmas.

Infertility at Christmas can bring out tough emotions. There seems to be something about holidays that grows an entirely new set of “what if” and “when will I” thoughts and memories. We see cousins growing up and it makes our hearts sad that the cousin won’t be close in age. We see parents, grandparents and great grandparents getting and acting older and our brains start to panic, worrying that our children will never know “this version” of them. We receive the announcement Christmas cards in the mail and we reflect back to the fact that if this or that cycle had worked, we would have been {insert number here} weeks along and sending out a similar card. We fill up our carts with gifts for nieces, nephews, and adopted families in need and wonder if we will ever be able to wrap a gift for our own child. As we sit around the Christmas tree, it stings as we realize another season is passing by in brilliant colors around us, while our colors feel a little muted and dull. The ache and longing feels like a gigantic gapping, bleeding hole and the smiles plastered on can feel so brittle that one wrong question asked and you might just crack.

Truth is, I didn’t expect to be spending Christmas this way. And I know that for many of those reading this, you weren’t expecting it for yourself either. But, I have good news… God is a God of impossibles.

Perhaps this journey has pushed you back further and you think “well if God really loved me, He would have given me a baby by now.” Don’t you wish that God was a magic genie that would just make every dream and desire come true exactly when we asked? I imagine Heaven is a mixture of praises and answered prayers, but on earth here today we are stumbling through a sinful world of imperfect people and bodies. There isn’t a “That Was Easy” button on every prayer prayed and our challenge today is to learn to be grateful and view TODAY, with your present circumstances and situation, as a day given to you out of love from our Father. May we be filled with hope that with His grace and goodness, there will be another tomorrow and with that comes the patient expectation of answered prayers and miracles worked.

You see, Christmas is one of the most beautiful reminders to me that God can do anything. Now struggling with infertility, I feel like I have a deeper significance of appreciation for the words “behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son … It doesn’t make sense. In fact, it is IMPOSSIBLE. Yet, it happened. So often I forget the wait that was involved prior to Mary’s pregnancy by God’s people as they waited and waited for the King to arrive. But alas, at the right time, to the right set of parents, that miracle was performed.  

The rest of the verse above (Matthew 1:23) goes on to say “…, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which means, God with us.” The great news is that God is with us. We never have to fight this battle alone. Whatever battle you are facing today, whether it’s infertility like us, or something else, we have the presence of an Almighty God standing with us.

Friends, Christmas is upon us. It may look different than what we hoped, but let us celebrate the miracle of Jesus’ birth, knowing that “with God, nothing is impossible.” (Luke 1:37) And let us bring our sadness humbly to His feet and walk away with renewed hope in the year that is to come and with gratitude for the day He has given us in today. Keep believing, keep fighting and keep praying. I hope you all have a WONDERFUL Christmas.