friday favorites – april 24.

So today is Friday, which means TOMORROW I board a plane and head off to Hawaii with 2 of my close girlfriends and one of their hubby’s. AHHHH! This trip snuck up so fast, granted I know we only booked it 2 weeks ago. All of that being said, I have a suitcase that still needs packing, toes that need painting, and a whole lot of planning that needs to happen in 24 hours, so this Friday Favorites will be a little different! Today I want to ask YOU to share with ME your Friday Favorites! I have had a list going for too long of things that I would love to hear that other’s love, so please, take this week to go through this list and pick an item or two (or all!!) and comment below with what your favorite is! (Or as always, you are welcome to email me at trialsbringjoy (at) gmail (dot) com.) I can’t wait to hear what you have to share!

  • Favorite Mascara – I feeling like I can never find something that doesn’t flake too quickly but still adds volume. Whatcha got!?
  • Favorite Book (fiction) – What’s a great book that you have read recently? I need some new authors!
  • Favorite Book (non-fiction) – What are you reading that is teaching you a lot? I love Christian growth books and am starting to wind down on my to-read list. Build it back up!
  • Favorite TV Show to Netflix – I am planning on starting on season 1 of Scandal on the plane tomorrow, as I have heard so many things about how good this show is. That being said, I know there have to be other network tv shows that I have completely missed out on. Share what’s good! (And nothing too racy or profane please!)
  • Favorite Grilling Recipe – We just pulled our grill out for the season and I can’t WAIT to cook on it every night! What’s a favorite recipe you have where you just need the grill? A side? A main dish? Send anything over!
  • Favorite Essential Oil Combo – I know there are a lot of you out there who use Young Living Oils (or another brand). I adore diffusing mine and am always looking for a great, refreshing mix. I have been mixing orange + peppermint all week and am crushing on that big time. What do you like to mix!?
  • Favorite Meme – I am always looking for new funnies to include! Be sure to email me hilarious ones you come across!
  • Favorite Game – Josh and I like to play games at night and we are a little Yam-Slammed, Phase 10, and Golf-ed out. What’s another easy and fun card game we could learn?

SOOOO excited to hear what you guys come up with and share!

On a celebratory note …. guess who turned NINE on Monday!? Our sweet little Cali girl! NINE! I know. *faints*. I was feeling nervous as that number continues to creep up and took her in to the vet this week for an annual check-up, just to make sure things are looking good. GREAT NEWS! She’s a rock star and beyond healthy, so this Mama (and Dad!) are feeling super relieved to know she’s “in her prime” and has a long long life ahead of her still.

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Okay and I can’t leave you without some funnies!!

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Other than a Guest Blog post next week, I won’t be around too much on here which on vacation, however, I can’t wait to check back with you when I return! Until then, this girl is about to get her beach on in the gorgeous island of Kauai.

Me ka aloha pumehana! (Yeah, no I have no clue what this means, Google just told me it’s appropriate for a goodbye statement.)

friday favorites – april 17.

Whoa what a week! A fun week, but a busy week! It’s so hard to pick favorites when EVERYTHING was so much fun! I will do my best to filter best I can and save some other highlights for more stories another time. Love weeks like this. Perhaps it’s just that it is sunny and beautiful outside too? I swear everyday feels like a happy day when you don’t have to brush snow off your car.

Let’s go!

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Favorite Moment: Josh and I had a date night this week to see Damien Rice in concert and let’s just say it was amazing. I have been a fan of his music for ages and his concert didn’t disappoint. The whole show was him + his guitar + pedals. It was super scaled down, just the basics of music and his voice and he crushed it. I leaned over to Josh after the first song started and whispered “I’m going to cry!” to which he replied “Yeah? So what’s that now? 8 concerts in a row?” (I always get super emotional and cry at concerts. This doesn’t phase him.) Ha! But really it just goes to show you that music touches my heart in a crazy way. I know those who don’t have that kind of relationship with music might be shrugging right now and think I’m crazy and that’s totally okay. But really, the whole show was like being in a spiritual emotional bubble. Loved every minute.

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Favorite Lyric Line: The opening act for Damien Rice was a duo and truthfully I don’t know too much about them other than they were called Galagalactic and European, with rich, beautiful, heavy accent. It was all about the music and it was haunting and memorizing. Many of the songs didn’t have lyrics but one did and I love what I caught “The spiral goes both ways – should I climb or should I fall?” I loved the analogy of a spiral. To go higher, you have to crawl upwards, uphill, often feeling like you are moving in a repetitive motion, but you are going higher. The other option is walking down, deeper, easier on your legs as you let gravity help your decline, but when you go downwards, it gets darker, deeper, further from the top. I love the question posed – should I climb or should I fall? I think we all have this question to answer every day as we battle in our own lives – should we climb or should we fall? Life can go two ways, the spiral gives us options. What will we chose? (I wish I could find anything on this band because I would love for you to hear them but they barely seem to exist even on the internet.)

Favorite Surprise: My Grandpa Tedd surprised me with this travel guide for my Hawaii trip (8 days!!!). I had been doing research on good guide books and was shocked when he pulled it out! He was so thoughtful to go and pick it up and it has been a gigantic help to us in planning on stay. Thank you Grandpa Tedd for this kind and thoughtful gesture!

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Favorite Celebration: SO MANY CELEBRATIONS, I can’t just pick one! On Friday we celebrated my Nana’s 76th birthday with a big elaborate dinner at my mom’s house (which was amazing, as always!). We are so thankful that we were able to celebrate her life around the table, sharing how special she is to us. The dinner table held lots of laughs as well as we shared favorite birthday memories or confessions from our childhoods. Even Cali wanted to get in on the celebration fun.

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On Saturday I popped over to one of my best friends daughter’s 6th birthday parties and had so much fun celebrating with the kiddos and their moms. Can I just say everyone in life should watch a bunch of kids under 10 try to hit a pinata? It made my month. Hysterical!!!!!

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Cali's friends Mallory and Chloe even made sure she had some goodies from the party - a new collar (made from pipe cleaners HA!) and a felt chew toy. :) She felt loved.

Cali’s friends Mallory and Chloe even made sure she had some goodies from the party – a new collar (made from pipe cleaners HA!) and a felt chew toy. :) She felt loved.

Sunday brought in the Master’s, of which I only watch in order to eat our burger bar (a tradition set in honor of my golf and burger loving Grandpa) and for the chance to win the Masters pool, haha! In general, watching golf drives me bonkers but I actually enjoyed myself and had a blast hosting! Since Phil Mickelson was in my pool and the only one who had a chance really, I turned my house into a Go Phil! party, which I don’t think my guests were on board with. Ha! My Nana made the best oven fries and Josh grilled some killer burgers. My sister ended up winning with Jordan Spieth on her team, but Phil came in second place and that was fun. It’s not at all about the money though as much as it is having lots of laughs and cheering and egging each other on.

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I mean, come on, if you walk in under this banner, you HAVE to attend a "go phil" party. :)

I mean, come on, if you walk in under this banner, you HAVE to attend a “go phil” party. :)

And lastly, one more celebration I am looking forward to later tonight – celebrating my youngest niece Kinsley’s 3rd birthday together with a pre-birthday party! Josh and I are having our nieces over for a fun night of making homemade pizzas, dragging blankets and pillows out into the living room, picking a movie and spending time together. Kins is such a sweet and special little girl and we can’t wait to celebrate her. Love that munchkin so much!

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Favorite Recipe: In attempts to clean some half-used fridge items this week, I whipped together a yummy ham salad! Just have to share:

1/2 lb thin cut black forest ham (I love the Columbus brand as it’s gluten free with 0% MSG …. and also because you can get it at the Target deli counter)

1/2 cup (or so, start with less) mayonnaise

1-2 hard boiled eggs

1/2 – 3/4 cup sweet pickles (I ADORE the organic bread and butter pickles from Costco!)

a few green onions (optional)

Cut your ham into small chunks and throw it in a food processor. Chop it up finely and then add it to your bowl. In the same food processor, toss in your hard boiled eggs, cut into smaller pieces so it goes faster and your pickles (drained). Chop till similar size as ham. Add to your ham and then mix with mayonnaise. You may want more/less mayo so add in small amounts. Serve on a lettuce wrap or on crackers, also delicious on rye bread. Top with green onion rounds if you’d like! Delish!

Favorite Snap: Can I just say that Cali doesn’t always want to take pictures? This snap chat pic from earlier this week cracks me up. She was not interested in taking a picture with her mom. Glare city! HA!

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Favorite Funnies:

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Alright friends, hope you have an awesome weekend! I’ll leave you with this reminder I read in my notes from Storyline: “Stop stalking Jesus. It’s time to stop observing Him and His life and start interacting.” I pray that this weekend is more than just another set of busy days. I pray that this weekend brings you the chance to meet Jesus even closer, spend some time with Him and continue to live a life of interaction. Jesus isn’t just a Facebook acquaintance we watch from a distance. His ways, His words and His character should be far more known to us. So let’s go and seize the day and see what He has to show us! Sound good? XOXO!

friday favorites – april 10.

It’s time for Friday Favorites! Can I just tell you, I go throughout my week thinking “This will be on Friday Favorites!” every other minute and then I sit down to type and think “Ummm, I’ve got nothing.” I need to start keeping a list. Let’s see how this goes. :)

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Favorite Thing I am Looking Forward to: Josh and I got tickets for Christmas to see Damien Rice at a smaller venue and I am pumped! I love his music and he hasn’t toured in almost a decade. Can’t wait to make a new memory with my guy.

Favorite Spontaneous-Super-Exciting-Thing: I made up this category, haha! Buttttt *drumroll*, I am going to Hawaii! I know, I know, what!?! So long story short, one of my best friends Jana and her husband are going for a work trip of his. Since he will be working all day, me and one of my other best friends, Julie, will tag along, staying in their 2-bedroom condo and doing girlie things together during the day. Then at night, we will send the lovebirds off to enjoy their time together and have each other to hang out with. I NEVER ever ever thought I would be going to Hawaii before Josh retired (seriously), so the fact that it worked out for us to go in such a cheap way is beyond amazing! The timing couldn’t be better and I know this trip will provide an insane amount of laughter and soul-restoration. So, with all that being said, I just booked my ticket and now leave in 2 WEEKS for Kauai! Talk about last minute and spontaneous! If you have been before, please leave some fun things to do (keeping in mind our budget is small). Oh I am so excited!!!

Who'd have thought I would ever be able to actually GO to the place of my mug!?!?!

Who’d have thought I would ever be able to actually GO to the place of my mug!?!?!

Favorite Addition: My new Ohio mug! My friend Margaret thoughtfully sent this over to me to add to my collection. Few things make me as excited as a new Starbucks mug – so thoughtful and SO fun! I love the red!!! Thanks again Margaret for your incredibly kind heart and gift. (Hug)

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Favorite Pens: These pens were gifted to me from my friend Amanda a few weeks ago and they have changed my journaling, Bible reading and page noting life! THE BEST! They write super fine and are shaded like a highlighter but don’t bleed through the page. The colors are great and the thin tip is perfect for underlining. Amanda – you hit the nail on the head with this thoughtful gift! LOVE THEM!

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Favorite Appetizer: This corn dip is one of my favorites to bring out for a party or get together. My Bible study girls enjoyed it last night and it makes a TON which means leftovers! You can make adjust it to your spice taste (I like it milder) or throw it in a crock pot if you like it warm. I will serve it with Fritos or tortilla scoops and it’s always a hit! (Also gluten free!)

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 can (11 ounces) yellow and white whole kernel corn, drained
  • 2 cans (11 ounces) Mexicorn, drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions (optional because I forgot)
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies
  • 1 tbsp of hot jalapeños in a can (add more to taste if you like it spicy!)
  • Heaping 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • Heaping 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Tortilla or corn chips

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise and sour cream. Add the other ingredients, cover and refrigerate overnight. (Not required but it develops flavor as it sits). Serve with chips. Yield: 8-10 servings.

Favorite Tote: Shout out to Karen for sending this hilariously perfect tote my way! I adore it and can toss a couple books in and head off to a coffee shop. Winning!

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Favorite Quote:

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My friend Beth runs From Pallets to Parents, where she builds and creates beautiful pallet art for a purpose. They are working to raise money for their infertility journey and she blessed me greatly with this gorgeous piece this week! You have to check out their Facebook page and place a custom order!

But this message – Be You, Bravely – is one I love. We all have the chance each day to be us. Fully us. So often our insecurities or life distractions sneak in and suddenly we forget to be ourselves. Not only that, but we can forget to tackle each day with confidence, embracing the day and live ready to handle what life has in store. Ask yourself, how can I be brave today? What does that look like? How can I be true to myself while being brave? This pallet is a great reminder for me each day. Thanks Beth!

Favorite Cali Photo: Remember that time I made Cali wear my fuzzy socks as leg warmers? HA! I do!

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Favorite Easter Memories: Josh and I got to spend Easter with both of our families and really, as always, enjoyed our times together. We had a delicious brunch at Acqua with his parents, which included GLUTEN FREE French toast and Eggs Benedict (served family style, so don’t worry, I didn’t eat all of this.). Then, after a brief afternoon nap, had a relaxing late-brunch with my family, full of prime rib and shrimp cocktails. It was a special day to stop and reflect on Easter and why we celebrate. I love holidays!

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Favorite Funnies:

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Alright, that’s it for me this week! I am off to continue hanging out with my grandparents who are in town. (Happy birthday to my beautiful Nana!) See you all next week! In the meantime, send over some Kauai ideas AND some book suggestions! I love to read beachy-reads on vacation!

Me and Nana <3

friday favorites – april 3.

FRIDAY FAVORITES! Oh goodness, it seems like it’s been ages since I have done this! Let’s not wait, here we go!

Favorite Devotional Reminder: Today is Good Friday, a day that overwhelms me with its meaning and reminds me deeply of my need for Him. Last year I wrote this post and can’t try to do today justice with words, but I do want to share this one reminder that I read this week. Proverbs 31 Ministries had a special devotional this week called ‘Moving from Grief to Grace’ and reading it just tore through my heart is such a good way. This part in particular was that major ah-ha moment:

At one of my lowest moments, realization and remembrance flooded my heart and mind: God lost His Son too, His only Son. The Father knew my loss, pain and brokenness oh so well.

That revelation was like supernatural glue applied to bind my wounded soul. The lost, dark, broken part receded as God proceeded to heal my broken heart with His love and light.

How about your lost plans, hopes and dreams? Are you bitter? Do you want to be better?

Are you ready to lay your heavy cares at the foot of the cross … and leave that burden there, so you can step into God’s plans for you? Jesus promised, “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light,” (Matthew 11:30, NKJV).

God’s plan for His Son was not what the people hoped for and expected as they celebrated the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem that first Palm Sunday, then experienced His death on the cross by week’s end. They did not know Easter Sunday — His Son’s day — was coming.

Remember, friend … Sunday’s coming! Jesus arose from the grave by the grace of God to save and redeem us. He has plans for us that include a hope and a future, even when our plans are dashed and we can’t see beyond the overwhelming loss of now.

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future,’” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).

When I ache for my babies, this week especially, I will cling to the fact that God lost His Son too. God understands what grief feels like, what brokenness looks like, the intense feeling of agony. He also knows that Sunday comes … and I believe that Sunday WILL come for each of us in its own way. It may be how we think it will look or perhaps so much more than we could imagine.

This Easter let’s be comforted by the fact that He is in control and that His burden is light. Oh thank you Jesus.

Favorite Robe: I know this seems like a silly one, but I have always searched for the perfect robe. Not too long, not too short, not to bulky, not to thin. And, sound the alarm, I found it! I actually bought it several months ago at the Gap Outlet and tucked it away and completely forgot about it until a few weeks ago. Now that I have pulled it out, I am completely attached. If it was appropriate and acceptable to wear a robe in public, I would. The fabric is SO soft, it’s the perfect length and a great get-ready robe.

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Favorite Surprise: Remember how I told you guys about my Shoulders on Wednesday? Well, my amazing instagram friends put together the best surprise package for me that arrived yesterday and totally blew my socks off. It was filled with notes and spring goodies, insanely generous gift cards and so many treats for Cali (which she adored!!!), candies and things I love. They even thought of including some fun things for me to do with my nieces. I mean seriously, how amazing are they!? Gestures like this BLOW ME AWAY. I am so humbled to be a recipient of goodness and feel so much love. I just want to burst.

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Favorite Ministry: My friend Lynn from Sweet Birdie Blessings sent me this gorgeous necklace a month or two ago from her Etsy store and not only do I love the message it says, I love the ministry she has created! Her mission is supporting mom’s who have lost their baby due to miscarriage or stillbirth. She sends them a comfort package that contains tangible items to help them in the grieving processing as well as items to honor the loss of their child. She is in the beginning stages of creating these and sends them out as fast as she gets the items in. If you have any interest in donating any items, I know she would love it. (Items like Kleenex packs/travel tissues, lidded glass candles, pens, journals, ornaments, etc.). If you are interested in learning more, you can contact her at georgiaoates4 (at) gmail (dot) com. Her goal is to stock local OB offices with a container of these packages since many women learn about their loss at the doctor’s office. How wonderful is she!? Plus, this necklace is just such a blessing.

Favorite Night Out: My girlfriends Julie, Jana and myself checked out a new local restaurant, Bricks, this week and it was DELICIOUS! One thing I loved – everything on the menu can be made gluten free at no additional charge. Winning! Also, the fries are heavenly. Of course the best part was the conversation and the laughs that arose. So thankful for my girlfriends!

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Favorite Bracelet: My friend Abby sent me the sweetest gift this week – this Alex and Ani ‘scared dove’ bracelet (along with the softest pair of socks ever!!!). I absolutely love these bracelets and never justify buying them myself, so this blessed me in a big way! Thanks so much Abby for your thoughtfulness. I will always think of you when I see it, as well as the reminders of peace and faith.

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Favorite Thing I am Looking Forward to: My grandparents are coming up to Minnesota from Illinois next week and we are excited to spend some time with them! We will get the chance to celebrate my Nana’s birthday and play games, watch the Masters (okay, I might inadvertently nap) and enjoy their company. Watch out Minnesota, Nana and Grandpa Tedd are coming soon! :)

Favorite Devotional: I know I have shared this already on my Facebook and Instagram accounts but if you are looking for a new devotional, you have to check out Savor by Shauna Niequist. It’s a small page a day and offers a verse and portions of her previous books + new material. Worth checking out if you are looking for a quick daily read!

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Favorite Funnies:

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Oh and guess what else came this week!?! My #TTCLuckySocks exchange! My amazing partner Nikol went above and beyond and showered me with such amazing goodies! She blogs over at www.notjustabeautyblogger.com and just went through her 2nd failed IVF cycle. If you could, send some thoughts and prayers her way. She’s such a positive gal and gearing up for a SUCCESSFUL 3rd cycle. I know it’ll happen! She has been a total blast to get to know through this exchange and I just adore this whole box. Thanks new friend!

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I hope you all have a wonderful and BLESSED Easter! We are excited to celebrate with two brunches this year (wish our bellies luck!) and enjoy time with both of our families. I will see you next week for another post! XO!

friday favorites – march 6.

Happy Friday! First of all, I am so excited about all the participants sending over their information for the Lucky Sock Exchange! There have already been a few hundred women who have signed up and if you haven’t sent over your email yet, don’t delay! The deadline to get in is March 11th.

Oh my word. I am wiped. This round of 2WW meds have kicked my butt. I have so many things I need to care about and can’t muster up a single ounce of energy to do anything. I’m currently on estrogen pills three times a day. Three times a day I swallow the infertile’s little blue pill and embrace all of the side effects that come with it. Mild nausea, bloating like you wouldn’t believe, boobs that have blown up like Heidi Montag’s. If I am inside my house (or my car), you can be assured that my bra is off. Then I throw in some progesterone, vaginal suppositories, and thanks to insurance being un-supportive of people (me) who can’t have babies, shove a $12 pill into me via a cheap plastic dispenser three times a day. As if that wasn’t enough, I also am getting nightly progesterone in oil (PIO) injections into the back of my hip/butt. I walk like I have pulled a muscle but it’s because I ache from the injection sites. This cycle, more than others, I have experienced extreme dizziness when standing and have learned this is a progesterone side effect. Oh what fun. And the tiredness, don’t even get me started. I feel like I am operating like a zombie. Natural hormones are tough to deal with, but synthetic hormones add a whole other level of struggles. Yozzers.

But you know what? I try to welcome it all. Because one day, SOME DAY, this will all be worth it. I know not everyone has the chance to try to start a family and so, because of that, I grimace and ice up my butt one more night, I swallow one more pill, and I pray to God that this will end sooner than later.

Do I sound like I am complaining? I am sorry, I am trying not to. My brain and body are just so tired, my fingers verbally vomiting what it’s been like to be me the last week/several years. I am writing this down because I want to remember it. I want to remember this. As hard as it is, there is beauty in the process and one day, my child(ren) will know exactly how much their mama wanted them.) Don’t get all excited by my side effects thinking THAT MUST MEAN YOU ARE PREGNANT! Nah, it really is just the side effects of my meds. So, if you are looking for me, I will be laying on my kitchen floor trying to muster up the energy to sit up and do the dishes. (And note, I am not looking for sympathy. I will be completely fine! I just can’t wait to one day feel all of these side effects because there is a baby in my tummy, not simply because I am trying to get a baby in my tummy.)

Thanks for engaging in my online therapy session. Now, without further ado, let’s dive right into Friday Favorites!

Favorite Replacement: I FINALLY got a new iPhone case (to replace a cheap and peeling one I bought a while ago), and love it! It’s nice having a hard case, a first for me as I have always had that flexible kind, plus the colors make me happy. Thanks Sister for helping me pick it out and encouraging me to finally get to the store to get one!

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Favorite Pin: I love these kinds of drapey sweaters and am adoring the colors in this one. Can you tell I am ready for spring? Or maybe I am just envious of skin that isn’t translucent like mine. *gulp*

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Favorite Family Show Down: We had a blast on Sunday playing cards with my family. We call it “poker” but all that means is we have a deck of cards and a pile of change, playing our own modifications of the game. I learned that I must be storing up all my luck for this IUI cycle but regardless, enjoyed sharing in a Sunday afternoon filled with laughs and shuffling.

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Cali loves her auntie!

Cali loves her auntie!

"whats going on outside guys?"

“whats going on outside guys?”

Favorite Kitchen Product: This indoor grill is just the best. If you live in a state that has 6 months of winter like I do, this is a lifesaver. Who wants to grill outside in the cold when you can turn your stove into a grill? I use my grill pan all the time and it’s worth the investment! (Or add it to your birthday or Christmas list like I did!) I have had mine for about 7 years and it’s still going strong. (There’s a flat side and a griddle side. It’s perfect for everything!)

(image found on Crate and Barrel’s website)

(image found on Crate and Barrel’s website)

Favorite Bit of Drama: Oh the Women Tell All episode of the Bachelor. My head could barely handle the confrontation, TEARS, drama and awkward tension. Going into the finale, I am Team Whitney (for Chris). I love Becca and what she stands for, I really think she is a quality gal, but for Chris, I think Whitney will be a better long term match. That being said, who knows!!! Can’t wait for 3 hours of the most dramatic finale ever. (PS – Chris Harrison wrote a book? Was anyone else like this when he announced that?)

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Favorite Date: We had a blast on Saturday night on a triple date with some of our close friends. Chili’s (hello chips and salsa! Swoon.) + bowling (this post-iui gal sat out on the actual bowling) made for a hilarious, laugh-filled evening. I am so thankful for friendships like this.

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Favorite Make-over: Cali got her spring hair cut! She’s feeling so fly.

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Favorite Funnies: 

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There you have it! And can I note, since I originally started writing this post, I ran across this verse in Luke 9 (MSG): “Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how.” Bah. Leave it to God to remind me that suffering is okay and that I need to take my eyes off of the suffering itself and turn them to Him. Well there you have it folks, He is constantly speaking to us all in all our situations, we just have to make ourselves available to listen.

Until next time! XO!

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! 

friday favorites – february 20.

Repeat after me – 28 days till spring. 28 days till spring. 28 days till spring. We can do this.

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Favorite Dinner Date: Josh and I had the BEST dinner date to celebrate Valentine’s Day. The food was absolutely amazing (Acqua never fails to disappoint!) and it felt so good to sit for a few hours and talk and laugh and catch up. I am so grateful for this man. (Plus the basil mojito’s there are on point. Like, #winning.)

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heading out for my 12th valentine’s day date with this hunk!

quick restaurant selfie.

quick restaurant selfie.

allllll the food we ate. bacon ketchup. GF clam chowder soup. plenty of sugary goodness.  All of it, delicious.

allllll the food we ate. bacon ketchup. GF clam chowder soup. plenty of sugary goodness. All of it, delicious.

his and hers bread. (gluten free and regular -- the best treat everrrrrr)

his and hers bread. (gluten free and regular — the best treat everrrrrr)

Favorite Flowers: Trader Joe’s had these gorgeous purple wax flowers on sale at $2.99 a bunch this week. Nothing says SPRING COME SOON like a little bit of flowery life in the house. I have a feeling they will last a while too.

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Favorite Quote: “I want to cultivate a deep sense of gratitude, of groundedness, of enough, even when I am longing for something more. The longing and gratitude, both. I’m practicing believing that God knows more than I know, that He sees what I can’t, that He’s weaving a future I can’t even imagine from where I sit this morning.” –shauna niequist-

Remember how my last cycle got cancelled due to overstimulating? Well, I should have started a new cycle weeks ago. And I didn’t. No, I can assure you, I am not pregnant. My body just decided to revolt, shake things up a bit, make me wait a little longer and storm the castle of confusion.

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We waited and waited. Did some checking, took a monstrous PIO injection used to induce a cycle and then waited some more. Well, even the inducing didn’t work. (And let me tell you, it makes you feel awesome. Um, not.) So on Monday I zipped over to my clinic for some bloodwork and another ultrasound, all showing that my body is truly just trying to be rebellious without a real cause. Yes, a few smaller cysts here and there, but nothing too exciting or unusual for me. So with that news, the doctors plan is just to start another Letrozole (Femara)/IUI cycle and see what happens. They cut my meds down by half, started the letrozole on Monday and finishing tonight, and I will go in next Tuesday to see what’s going on.

Okay, all of this ties back in to the quote, I promise.

So after my early morning, 7-something appointment, I stopped over by Starbucks to make my grocery list and menu for the week. Well, my ‘quick list-making stop’ evolved into a quiet and relaxing morning, watching the snow fall down around me, making me feel like I was in a snow globe, while ingesting the beautiful words above.

Coming out of the appointment I felt pretty apathetic but Shauna’s quote reminded me a few things – one, that I am to be fully and completely grounded in Him, grateful for life even when I am longing for more. It reminded me that God IS weaving a future, even when I can’t see the other side. It reminded me that it’s okay if we can’t see the other side from where we sit right now. (In fact, if we could see the other side, it would omit the need for faith.) It reminded me that above all, regardless of what is going on in my life, that I want to develop into a person of deep gratitude and surrender to the One who holds my future in His hands. And in order to develop into that type of person, I have to focus more on trusting Him then I do on what I am longing for.

I am so thankful this quote lined up with the messy unknowns of another cycle, helping to re-root myself in Him. Let’s do this.

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Favorite Date: I got to have an auntie/niece date with my oldest niece this week, and goodness, did we have fun! First of all, how do kids grow up so fast? Scarlett was chatting away and playing jokes on me and using her big, bright, beautiful imagination in ways that awed me. We stopped for lunch, visited a treasure store (aka a thrift store where she, unfortunately, chose a porcelain bell as the most prized treasure she ever did see. I have a feeling I will pay for this one day when I have children who are out with their aunt, hee hee!), and then spent time chatting over coffee at, where else, Starbucks. I love this peanut. Please, stop growing up.

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oh you know, just passing notes at the table.

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“this is the best thing I have ever had.”

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“i love ringing this bell.”

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oh this little girl just melts my heart into a million pieces.

Favorite Reminder: Wednesday was Ash Wednesday and I have to admit, I can fall into the routine practices that seasons like Advent and Lent can offer. In trying to be more intentional, I ordered the She Reads Truth Lent devotion book in hopes to focus more on what Lent means. I loved the introduction and how it defines lent: “Lent sets aside time for believers to focus intently on that action which is at the crux of our faith – drawing near to the cross of Christ and resting in the shadow of His sacrifice, glory, and forgiveness.”

I shared online that my prayer for myself is that I use this time of Lent to be intentional about returning to the cross, repenting and mourning the reality of my sinfulness, and remembering the precious gift Christ has given me. I pray that this season becomes more than just giving up something, I pray that we can all press pause and remember just how much we need the cross. If you are looking for a great devotional to use, follow along on shereadstruth.com or download the app. The website offers free devotionals/scripture readings daily while the app charges $2.99 for the plan for its app-functionality. It’s not too late to start.

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Favorite Cali Picture: She certainly was not barking at anything right before this. In fact, she too looks confused as to who was yapping at a blowing leaf. (*eyeroll*)

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Favorite Funnies:

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And finally, congratulations to Kristin H. for winning the giveaway for the gorgeous Wishbone + Gem necklace! We are necklace twins, so fun! Thanks again to Crystal for sharing your talents with my readers!

Until next week – xo!

friday favorites – february 13.

Another Friday is upon us. (A Friday the 13th nonetheless!) Time for some Friday Favorites, here we go!

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Favorite Thing I Am Looking Forward To:  Valentine’s Day celebrations! I have a hot date tonight at one of my favorite restaurants with this stud. Yes, this is a picture from our first date, which occurred 12 years ago on Valentine’s Day. We look like babies. Ah, I love this man. Tomorrow night we are enjoying a quiet night in with our pup and fondue. I am grateful to have him standing by my side through thick and thin. Love you Josh!

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Favorite Moment: Thank you all for the amazing support on my  Fertility Authority ‘5 Things You Want to Tell Your Fertile Friend’ post this week. The response has been overwhelming and I am so thankful it has made many of you feel validated in your emotions and has given you a platform to start some open and honest conversations with friends and families. Thank you to everyone who shared it, clicked on it and read it. That being said, I am sorry so many of you understand what this feels like, but am always grateful when I can share my heart and it makes sense to others.

Favorite Show: My nieces were on fire the other day, putting on several puppet shows for me. Scarlett’s imagination is hilarious and it’s a really good thing that the magic butterfly saved Cali from the evil witch. (Said witch puppet also played the role of the auntie which was a little concerning, but the girls assured me that the puppet was only imaginary and that it could be a witch or an auntie.)

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Favorite Celebration: My dear friend Alicia’s baby shower! Without sharing her story, let’s just say it’s fun to celebrate the upcoming arrival of a longley anticipated baby. She’s glowing and radiant! (Oh and my bib won the “best bib” prize and I am now own the cutest Burt’s Bee’s Tips and Toes kit. Yay!)

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Favorite Spotting: I saw this sign at Barnes and Nobles this weekend and loved the reminder, while also chuckling about how true it is.

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Favorite Gluten Free Product: This Canyon Bread! Goodness, SO GOOD! Target has it on Cartwheel for 20% off at the moment and I tried the rye bread this week and it made me drool. I have always liked Udi’s but this feels and tastes like real, soft bread. If you are gluten free, give this brand a try! It’s in the bakery section of stores, not in the freezer section.

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Favorite Winners: Thank you to everyone who entered this weeks double giveaway! I am excited to share the winners! Congratulations to Sara F. who won a copy of Where Did All the Storks Go and Dawn R. who won the TTC Boost Bundle and BFP bundles from Fairhaven Health! I will contact you both for shipping information. Didn’t win this time? Stay tuned for next week where we have another giveaway featured with our next Q & A post!

Favorite Funnies:

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Have a great weekend friends, see you next week! XO!

friday favorites – february 6.

You guys – your overwhelming support and validation over my last post – relapse – reminded me of why it’s SO important for people to be open, vulnerable and authentic. Thank you to everyone who connected with comments and love. I don’t know whether to feel comforted by or cry over the fact that well over a 100 of you reached out and said ‘me too’. To everyone who understands this feeling, I am so sorry. I am so sorry you have felt this too. Now, I urge us all, don’t get stuck. I know it’s hard, so hard, but please, promise me you will keep moving past the anger. Anger is sticky. Anger is flammable. Anger is toxic. Anger has to be dealt with and is okay to feel, but after a point, we have to dust ourselves off and move past it because otherwise the anger will consume us and we will become permanently bitter. When we begun permanently bitter people, then infertility wins. And under NO CIRCUMSTANCE do we give infertility that power. Stay strong friends and thank you for meeting me in the dirt and reminding me that the roller coasters of emotions are okay.

Now onto Friday Favorites!

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Favorite Flashback: This Jimmy Fallon ‘Saved By the Bell’ sketch this week was the ultimate ‘flashback’. I mean seriously, the original cast members are in their 40’s and they were looking GREAT! Such a fun blast from the past.

Favorite Instagram Pin: Wahhhhh! A few people tagged me so that I saw the new show line made by Sahnda Marie Kids. I mean, look, mini Starbucks Velour shoes. If my heart didn’t already ache for tiny baby things, it’s now official. Aching and loving. If only I could justify this purchase. SO CUTE.

Favorite Tip: I have yet to find a brand of gluten free breadcrumbs that I love for cooking so I make my own! SO EASY! I just buy a bag of gluten free bread (I use Udi’s), throw it on a cookie sheet and toast it in the oven, leave it out for a while so it’s nice and crisp, and then pulse it in a little food processor. I sift out the larger pieces and reblend them until all of the toast is finely powdery. Store them in an air tight container and season as need for each recipe. Sometimes I just add a little salt, or some italian seasoning or leave plain – I make up a batch in bulk and it’s fast and easy and has the same consistency as real breadcrumbs.

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Favorite Date: I got to spend some quality time with my sister this week which was just the best. We took advantage of a groupon at a local bistro and then roamed the mall while catching up. I am so blessed to have a sister who I can have deep, real, meaningful conversation with and our time together just filled me up. She really is amazing (and beautiful).

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Favorite Cali Pic: Cali’s Auntie Bella (yellow lab) drives her a little crazy, but she wouldn’t of course fully admit that. Cali’s hilarious little diva attitude has her thinking that Bella  should play by her rules and I actually think Bella gets a kick out of that. This weekend there were two pictures that made me chuckle – the first, Cali and Bella outside. This was taken right after Bella and Cali got tangled up walking and Bella tried to sit on her. The camera came out, Bella turned into a perfect sitting angel and Cali stood there like “what the heck just happened mom?!”

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The second picture is from when Cali was sitting on the stairs at the cabin and Bella came down to the top of the stairs and wanted to pass her. Cali just wasn’t having it and was completely irritated by this big dog trying to take her stair space. This series made me chuckle.

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Favorite Selfie: I found this awesome fur hat in Josh’s dads truck (SO WARM!) and being the weirdos we are, a husband-wife selfie had to occur. I love this guy.

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Favorite Meal: We got to eat halibut cheeks this weekend, caught from an Alaskan trip Josh’s dad was on and whoa, they were delicious! They tasted like crab claw meat and I am drooling thinking about them right now. SO GOOD. And clearly gone fast because I only got a picture of the last one.

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Favorite New Friend: Wednesday night I got to spend time with my girlfriends, hanging out around the kitchen counter, painting nails, eating snacks, laughing so hard. Finally around 10:30 or 11, we pulled ourselves from the counter and snuggled up on the couch to watch Man in the Moon when my new BFF, Bentley, came over to snuggle with me. I mean, seriously, if Cali only knew, she would be so jealous, but we won’t tell her now will we?

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That’s it! Hope you have an awesome weekend. I’ll see you next week for our first Q&A series post, plus the first of three February giveaways! YAY! Until next time …

friday favorites – january 30.

Another Friday is upon us. This week has felt long to me but I won’t complain – Friday is here!

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Favorite Reunion: Josh spent the weekend away with our church’s senior high youth group and Cali and I were so happy to see him come home on Sunday evening. He’s a (volunteer) small group leader there and was with on their winter retreat, so let’s just say he came home plenty exhausted. Good thing for him, Cali is always willing to take a nap! Like father like daughter! :)

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Favorite Dessert: Monday night ushered in a work event with our medical staff and lucky for me, the dessert on the menu was a piece of gluten free cheesecake – the size of my head. I mean, whenever someone offers you free cheesecake …. you eat it. (And take home the leftovers). YUM!

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Favorite Quote: “Trust is a golden pathway to Heaven. When you walk on this path, you live above your circumstances.” –Jesus Calling –

Oh how I long to be someone who routinely lives a life of trust, living above my circumstances. Isn’t it easy to get so wrapped up in the worry and wonderment of it though? But as this devotional pointed out, circumstance-based living often gets us on a path of agonizing turns and knots, with heavy air and dark, ominous clouds. I want to live in the air above the heaviness, in the air where I trust that because God loves me, everything really will be okay. Everything. That doesn’t mean everything I want will come true and I will never suffer, no, we all know that the realities of life makes those dreams impractical No, God promises that He is directing our paths in such a manner that we don’t have to live in the world of doubting every agonizing turn, but instead, trusting that IN THOSE TURNS, He is present and working and faithful. The thought of this brings peace to my heart.

Favorite Goodbye: Parenthood ended its series on NBC last night and while I don’t want to say anything that would ruin it for anyone yet to watch, I will say it’s been a wonderful run and that it was truly the best finale I’ve seen. I basically was a puddle on the floor for an hour. This show is one of the best and will be so greatly missed. (I probably will need therapy from my grief with this being over.)

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Favorite Cali Picture: Cali loves to try to sit on my lap while I am getting ready in the morning and this week proved no exception. I love this picture of her patiently waiting at the bottom of my stool for me to pick her up. Oh and yes, her sitting on my lap is the most inconvenient thing ever – and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

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Favorite Healer: I had a week where I haven’t been feeling great and was particularly struggling on Wednesday night with a mild tummy ache and an awful headache. My desperation to feel better after a long day made me willing to try a new remedy – Peppermint Young Living Oil! This peppermint oil rubbed on the back of my neck took my headache away so quickly and a tiny drop mixed in my water settled my stomach. I was impressed!

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Favorite Post: I am hoping by now you have seen the beautiful Guest Post featured earlier this week, written by one of my best friends Jana. I still have goosebumps over the beauty of her writing and the way that it has connected with so many of you in a variety of ways. As a friend, I am so proud of her bravery in sharing her struggles on such an open and public forum, many of you can understand how vulnerable that can be, and as a PCOS-cyster and infertility-struggler, am so touched by the encouragement of her ability to turn a tough battle into something that points to Him. Her reminder that “the loss of an envisioned dream is still loss.” but that “pain can often bring purpose… if we allow it to.” struck a chord with many of you and I am so thankful for her wise words. It doesn’t matter what you are going through – waiting for “The One”, dealing with a painful marital separation, mourning the loss of a child, stressing about a financial situation or praying that you find a new job before you lose your mind – take comfort in these words: ‘He is the one guiding us in each and every step and He has never failed us.’ Keep trusting!

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Favorite Funnies:

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And with that, another Friday Favorites comes to a close. If you haven’t already sent in your question to be answered in February’s Q&A series, consider this your last reminder! I am SO excited to tackle this list, there have been some awesome questions asked! February also will feature a few fun giveaways and should (hopefully, God-willing) usher us into our next IUI cycle. Let’s make this a great weekend! See you soon!