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! 

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Happy Wednesday! I am SO excited to share with you my first post over at FertilityAuthority which goes live today. YAY! I am thrilled about this opportunity to write for this website, which for those who don’t know, is an online source for fertility information. They offer some great tools and resources for those being diagnosed and going through treatment and one of the ways they offer support is through a handful of bloggers. Yes, yours truly is one of them starting today!

So here’s what you can do – simply click here and read! Without further ado … here you go!

http://www.fertilityauthority.com/blog/chelsea-ritchie/2014/12/02/i-have-infertility-i-am-just-you

I love being able to write and share my heart with a new group of readers, however know that this commitment won’t interfere with my writing here in any way. It’s simply another opportunity to connect with me (and me with you!)

And can I beg? Even if you aren’t in need of this website, I would GREATLY appreciate your click and support. I would love to come out of the gates with my community strongly behind me (and yes, I do have a minimum requirement of hits that I need to get) so your click does mean a lot! Thank you in advance for the read, shares and comments! :)

Secondly, we heard back about my blood work results last week and while we weren’t really sure what we were hoping for, we did get some answers. My results came back showing a severe Factor V Leiden mutation which essentially is a rare (less than 3%) mutation where my blood develops abnormal blood clots and is known to cause reoccurring pregnancy loss and late pregnancy miscarriages. The good news is we finally have an answer which is a gigantic answer to prayer. While this mutation can’t be “fixed”, it can be treated with twice daily injections to thin the blood, therefore lessening the chances of blood clots, particularly to the uterus while pregnant.

I was a little overwhelmed when the clinic first called with these results but was quickly reminded by my amazing support team that this answer is a blessing and the success stories once diagnosed are impressive. Even more so, I was reminded that God eats odds for breakfast and that who we serve has abilities far greater than this mutation. In fact, I am fearfully and wonderfully made and this diagnosis doesn’t come as a surprise to Him! So with that, we are stepping forward with faith that this answer is the key to unlocking a miracle.

My last day on active birth control pills was LAST NIGHT (arghhhh!) which means we will likely be starting our IUI cycle in the next few days. CRAZY! Can’t wait to keep you all posted on the exciting happenings as we walk with God back into this treatment pool and await His perfect timing. Join us in prayer, will you? Pray then click the link above. :)

Thanks my friends, for your faithfulness to our journey. We adore you guys and are so thankful for all the ways you partner with us.

“I thank my God every time I remember you.” Philippians 1:3

beanie babies.

When I was younger, our family collected Ty Beanie Babies. And when I say we collected them, I mean we were slightly* obsessed with them. (*you can omit this word.)

My mom led the charge. Her love for completing a set of something shone through and we were fixated on finding them. Collectors stores. Gift shops. Parking lots. Hospitals. Florists. The back of the school bus. (Yes, I said the back of the school bus. I have a vivid memory of purchasing a retired Ty spider off of a classmate with a wad of crisp twenty dollar bills.)

Once I was made aware of these stuffed animals (which were adorable, let’s be honest), the hunt was on. I could spot a Ty tag a mile away. I could list stats about the editions, the text styles, their value. (The thought of not being able to get our hands on the limited Princess Di bear was unbearable to my 12 year old heart.)

As soon as we started looking for them, the animals were found faster than our change purses could keep up with. I ate more Happy Meals in 1996 than in my whole life put together in attempts to get all 10 Teenie Beanies. The more we looked for them, the more aware of them we became. The more we focused on finding them, the greater our abilities then became, often times finding them in spots others would overlook.

Isn’t that true about God and His goodness? I live a life that is remarkably laced with His blessings, faithfulness and trustworthiness, yet am guilty of overlooking it on a regular basis. But here’s the thing I’m learning – the more I become intentional to search for His hand in my life, well, much like the Ty Beanie Babies, the more I see Him everywhere. Our lives are woven with His promises of hope, of faithfulness, of presence. And just because I forget to look for His goodness doesn’t mean it’s not there. The Beanie Babies were always there but it wasn’t until we decided to collect them did we notice them.

He is not a God who is hard to find. Tragically I forget to seek Him, forget to collect the promises He has sprinkled all around me. I forget to look back at the “collector’s book” and learn all of the nuggets of information that it holds. He’s given me all the lessons, the facts and truth of His value. It’s in the Bible where I am reminded of this unarguable truth – He can be trusted.

To this day I can still spot a Beanie Baby a mile away. I can tell you exactly which ones the 25 cents bin holds during a garage sale drive-by and can sniff one out from a thrift store parking lot. And unlike the Beanie Babies, God’s value never plummets with time or upon mass production. His richness and worth increases every day in my life as I am tested, tried and make my best attempts of survival. All I need to do is look for Him, seek His goodness, and be intentional to collect as much of Him as possible, taking note of how much of His presence surrounds me each day. I want to be someone who can’t help but notice Him in the big and small moments of each day.

What’s it for you? What do you always see that others might miss? A stray paperclip? A dandelion in a field? The crazy amounts of Walgreen’s everywhere? (Or after 24 hours in Chicago, the amount of Starbucks drive thru’s everywhere? I am not kidding you, there is one on every corner. My mind is blown.) Let’s put something in our path each day that will remind us to look for Him because I guarantee it, once we start looking for His hand in our lives, we will see it everywhere and it will change us forever. (Pick up a Teenie Beanie Baby the next time you see one and slip it into your car. Use it as a reminder to seek Him each day!)

Oh, and yes, Cali has found a liking for Teenie Beanie Babies too. (That or her mom cannot leave a garage sale without providing them a new home.)

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(many not pictured because dad reads this blog too and, well, we don’t need to give away all our secrets.)

friday favorites – october 24.

Happy Friday! I know, it’s almost Saturday, but better late than never right? For all my new followers, hello!!!! Thanks for stopping in and reading. You guys are the best! A brief recap about Friday’s – Friday’s are the day I step away from “traditional” blog posts and post my favorites from the last week. Anything goes! So without further ado, here we go!

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(Oh yea, and I like Harry Potter)

Favorite Moment: Jason Mraz. State Theater. Him singing, me grinning. Thanks to all the excitement in getting tickets to see his first show in San Diego, Josh and I completely missed the boat to purchase tickets for his Minneapolis show. No worries, we would just buy some off Craigslist. But what happens when NO ONE is selling tickets on Craigslist, Ebay or StubHub? Panic sets in. We had a set budget for the tickets thanks to birthday money that I set aside and knew nothing about scalping tickets, but that’s what we would have to do.

Let’s just say the nerves set in when we were standing outside the theater for 45 minutes and not one scalper had even one ticket, much less two. We were eyeing up the other couples who were pacing like us. Josh went into beast mode, talking with everyone he could and getting to know the scalpers like they were long lost relatives. Me? Well, the stress of it all made me fall into the role of photographer. Yes, that’s right. I just walked around looking for people who were trying to take selfies of themselves in front of the theater and offered to take it for them. (Oh yes, and I fully committed. I was in the street, trying to get their best angles, being careful with the lighting. One group shot even had me pulling out 7 phones from my pocket to get one for each of them. Jason Mraz concerts are no joking matter.)

Well, the great news is 13 minutes before the show started, Josh swooped in on the one scalper who was purchasing a pair of tickets and bam, we were in. My adrenaline at that point was HIGH. Josh came through! The guy always does. :)

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Best moment of the concert? Jason Mraz singing Eurythmics song Sweet Dreams. This happens to be one of my favorite songs ever (for no particular reason) and as soon as he hit that first acoustic note, well, let’s just say my jaw was on the floor and I was teary and giggling and having the best night ever. SO FUN.

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Favorite Quote: We need to stop the ‘when and then’ mentality.” –Christine Caine

Have you ever (like me) said something like this? When I have a child, then I will be content. When I make more money, then I will be able to be more generous. When I get a new job, then I will finally feel appreciated. You can fill it in with whatever you want. However, the point is simple – we are in the now, not the when. We control our attitudes and contentment, not our circumstances.

Favorite Picture: Our sweet nieces came over for a movie night and goodness, did we have fun! Homemade pizza’s were made (FYI Aldi’s has a great gluten free pizza crust baking mix!), pajama’s were slipped in to, giggles were shared and, well, silly faces were made. Seriously, so cute right?

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Favorite Flashback: Trolls. Who remembers them!? The antique store we strolled through last weekend was full of them and they brought back so many childhood memories!

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Favorite Pinterest Pin: I spotted this sweater on Pinterest earlier this week and have to find something like it! How cute is it!? Of course it was posted a few years ago and so I will never find this exact one, but if you ever find anything similar, let me know.

Favorite Package: Guess whose TTC Mug Exchange package arrived!?!? MINE! Jessah sent me this special package, complete with the most adorable mug ever. I adore its size and have already broken it in with some tea. This was such a fun exchange and I absolutely love this part when everyone starts getting their package. (I just sent mine out today!) Did you miss out on it? Don’t worry, we will do another exchange after the holidays. :)

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Favorite Funnies: Ah, now my favorite part. Here’s a few things that made me laugh this week. Hope they make you giggle too!

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Friday Favorites may or may not happen next week due to my trip but we will see if I can break from all the fun and get them out. Have a great weekend friends!

friday favorites – october 3.

Another Friday on the books! Is it mind boggling to anyone else that somehow it’s OCTOBER already? I feel like this entire year has slipped through my fingertips. Excluding today, we have 12 Fridays left in 2014. Gulp. Let’s make the most of them! Okay, without further ado ….

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Favorite Honor: Guess who is the Featured Blogger for the month over on FertileThoughts.com!? This girl! For those who aren’t familiar with Fertile Thoughts, get familiar. This site is the world’s largest social networking site focusing on fertility and infertility and provides education, support and resources for people building their families. If you could support me and check out this link to see my feature (plus a mini post) and their page, that would be awesome. A big welcome to anyone checking out my blog as a result of this feature as well, thanks for stopping by!  (Feel free to share it too using the link: http://www.fertilethoughts.com/fertile-thoughts-blogger-month-chelsea) Jump into the forum boards and connect with me too!

Favorite Celebration: Josh’s grandma turned 80 this Saturday and I loved that we were able to gather as a family and celebrate her! She is one of the strongest, toughest grandma’s around and when she says a book made her cry, you know you better plan a trip to Costco for Kleenex before you open the first page. We love you Grandma Jones! Here’s to many, many more birthdays!

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birthday tierras are a must at a party, right?

birthday tierras are a must at a party, right?

Favorite Thing I’m Looking Forward to: My trip to Savannah with Josh’s mom and sister-in-law is finally almost here! I can’t wait to peruse the south with my fake southern accent and take in all of the history and beauty Georgia has to offer. (I also get to sneak in a lunch date with a dear friend and I can’t wait for that!). Any last Savannah must-see’s? Make sure to send them my way!

Favorite Quote: “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” -Charles R. Swindoll

I heard this quote during a podcast by Craig Groeschel (Part 1 – Contentment) this week and loved how true it is. I often find myself wanting to blame my circumstances on my attitude – I’m tired/stressed/hungry/pms-ing/acting this way because … you get the excuses. However it’s our reactions that alter how our day goes. When I respond short and snippy with Josh long enough, his attitude begins to match mine and then we waste an evening where we are just off kilter and quiet. I hate those kinds of nights! (And this totally happened last week so I am preaching to myself here!)

I usually have really good excuses too. I mean, trials and hardships make it sooooo easy as a back-up reason, but I have to remind myself that life is made up of the up’s and down’s. There’s a quote that says all of us are either in a storm, just coming out of a storm, or headed for a storm. Comforting, right? But because we live a world that’s messy and imperfect and can’t always be a highlight reel, it’s our choices, our attitudes and our decisions to embrace what comes our way and make the best of it that alters our daily realities. Yea, we may shed tears along the way and fail at trying, (me!), but we are still trying and I believe that the more we flex that muscle, the better we will get at managing our reactions.

Favorite Launch: Our next infertility exchange launched last Sunday (see all the details here!) and the response has been overwhelmingly exciting! In the last few days we have had almost 200 women sign-up and I anticipate many more to come until it closes on the 13th. I love this community! (And yes, anyone who is in any stage of infertility, including those waiting for a baby, pregnant with a baby, holding a baby, adopting a baby, (you get the point), is invited and welcome to participate. Check out the post for everything you need to know.)

Favorite Hallmark Moment: No, really, this is a moment that actually happened AT Hallmark. I was browsing cards on Tuesday when the word ‘infertility’ caught my eye. Hallmark actually has a card – okay, just one card, but still, a card – that offers words of encouragement for those suffering with infertility. I felt like fist pumping in the aisle but Kenny G was playing overhead and it just didn’t seem appropriate. But in all seriousness, it’s encouragement that keeps us going and the thought that Hallmark recognizes this as ‘card worthy’ makes me happy.

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Favorite “First”: The Starbucks a mile from my house just opened this week! *insert flashing caution signals here* It is dangerously en route to nearly all of my commitments and even has a drive thru. Cheers to endless caffeinated possibilities! Hehe!

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Favorite Flashback: Okay, so you all know I love Harry Potter, right? Well the movie theater nearby is rerunning ALL of the Harry Potter movies in their reserved theaters for $5 a ticket. SCORE! Courtney and I had a sister-date this week and saw Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone on the big screen. We relived the 2001 acting skills and movie quality and loved every minute of it.

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Favorite Funnies: Gah, I love all of these and nearly cried from laughing while saving them. Enjoy and hope that this dose of laughter brightens your Friday.

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Have a great weekend! Until next time …