send ’em over.

I frequently get emails with some awesome questions from readers – everything from “what books to do you recommend?” to “what words do you have for someone going through a miscarriage?” The questions are all SO good and I love interacting with each of you as you pepper me with some thoughtful questions. They cause me to pause and think and that’s a good thing!

My inbox has been especially filled lately (I LOVE IT!) and it has inspired me with an idea for a series of posts – a Question and Answer series! That’s right, all those questions you have been emailing me over the last few years, send them my way via comment or email and I will work my way through them. Don’t make them all serious – send me over some fun, random ones too! :) I can’t wait to address some of the most common questions to specifics about our journey. Faith, treatment, personal life – nothing is off limits!

My email is listed here, you can write it below, or comment on an Instagram post. If you would like your blog tagged back and your name identified, just leave it in the comments (From NAME at XXXX) and I will credit your question to you. However, if you want to be anonymous, that is completely fine as well, just let me know. (First names only will be used.) The question window is open till the end of the month so send them over. I’m really looking forward to this!

Oh and due to a crazy week, Friday Favorites may not be posted until Saturday … just pretend like it’s Friday when you read them. Hehe!

I’ll leave you today with a great message I read a few weeks ago that has been stewing in my brain: “The mention of a journey implies an arrival. If God guides us, however we may dislike it, it means there is a goal to our journey. Because it is God’s will for us to reach that goal, we can be certain we will reach it. We start and stop and change our minds. People disappoint us; we disappoint ourselves and may give up. Not God! He always finishes what He begins.” Rest in the fact that regardless of our outcome, there is an end to this journey and a destination. Chances are it may be nothing like we imagine or plan it to be, but it’s there and it’s going to be glorious. Have a great rest of the week friends!

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! 

new years giveaway.

Merry Day-After-Christmas! Hope has come and now we sit back and rest in His presence. I imagine today is the day Mary sat thinking about how much her life as changed as Jesus fussed and cried and needed to be fed. I love the fact that in His humanness, He was just as dependent on Mary as a baby as we are now on Him. I often feel disappointment once Christmas is over, but this year, I feel like the magic is sticking around a little longer.

 

Okay, and now the REALLY fun news! I am SO excited to be teaming up with some incredible friends for an amazing New Years Giveaway! As the New Year approaches, we realized what a blessing it would be to help others on their faith walk and journey with Jesus. I don’t know about you but there is something special about a new year, a new devotional or journal and a cup of coffee that screams productive quiet time! I just know the winners of this giveaway are going to be so blessed!  And instead of just having one winner, we thought it would be fun to have THREE, which means you have 3 chances to win some amazing prizes sponsored from the bloggers below! It’s SO easy to earn entries – simply click HERE Rafflecopter giveaway and earn drawing points by getting to know the sponsors better. There’s a free entry as well. It’s super easy – just use your name and email to sign up (so we know who is entering and how to contact you)! We all are praying that God blesses the winners in BIG ways with the goodies below! The contest is open to anyone which means you don’t need to be in any special season of life to enter. We really just want to bless others!

Without further ado, the fabulous prizes will be …

 Package One: 1st Winner – $75 Value

  • Journaling Bible
  • Blessings for a Woman’s Heart Devotional
  • Max Lucado Calendar
  • Jesus Today Book
  • Scripture Cards

Package Two: 2nd Winner – $45 Value

  • 2 CD’s
  • Starbucks Gift Card
  • Notepad
  • Women’s Devotional

Package Three: 3rd Winner – $25 Value

  • Itunes Gift Card
  • Journal
  • Scarf

It's A New Year Giveaway

In Due Time  ♦  The Lady Okie  ♦  A Touch of Grace  ♦  Trials Bring Joy  ♦ Jessi’s Design

Sage the Blog  ♦  Run to Radiance   ♦  The Artsy Cajun   ♦  Viva Good   ♦   Amateur Nester

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A big thanks to my friend Caroline for hosting!! I love being able to share some love with my wonderful readers and friends. The contest is open from now until January 2nd (one week!), so don’t delay in entering today. You will be contacted if (when! I’m feeling hopeful for my readers!) you win and your package will be sent out no later than January 7th.

Whooo hoooo! Sending you wish dust and lots of love!

XO,

Chelsea

yay!

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.

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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!

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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.)

XOXO!

fertility authority.

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

tears and stillness.

Anyone else in shock that it’s Thanksgiving this week? Whoa! My plate has been a little fuller than normal, trying to balance in working full-time with my already busy calendar. I added in a high dose birth control pill a few weeks ago to prepare for our IUI cycle and wowza, there is definitely a learning curve getting back into the steady stream of hormones and reintroducing metformin to my system. EEEEEEK!

I wish I could tell you I was handling the to-do list’s and hormones like a champ, but the truth is that it’s gotten the best of me more often than not. I seasoned my salad on Sunday night with tears as I faced the possibility that I might not be able to do it all. The amount of pressure I put on myself to “KEEP UP!” and the acknowledgement that I might not be able to makes me feel like I am failing. I take pride in being able to get it all done, throw the party, drop off the meal, send that card, reply to that text, sneak in a coffee date, comment back to each loving comment left. And then this last week hit and it was like ….

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And a little of this:

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However, I have to note, today, I am more like this.

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So why am I telling you all this? Well, one, so you know I have the same rollercoasters as you do. Two, because I needed to vent that birth control pills and metformin sucks. Three, well, because I am learning a lot during all this.

My soul needs rest. In the midst of chaos and SO MANY LISTS, I have made the mistake of prioritizing everything else above my time with Him and then when the evening comes and my Bible stares at me, well, my eyes just can’t stay open. I need to learn the disciple of being still, of making HIM the priority instead of ensuring I have the green bean casserole made and the turkey purchased (okay, well those actually are two important things).

Psalm 46:10a reminds me “Be still, and know that I am God!”. The act of being still is one of the hardest things for me in this season, as I know it is for many of you too. Psalm 131 continues, “But I have calmed and quieted my soul…” Solitude, quiet time and rest in God is worth fighting for. It’s worth carving out, worth prioritizing, worth bumping all the way up to the most alert part of your day.

I know I need to work on slowing down and simply enjoying His presence, without asking for anything and without worrying about everything else to do. Simply being with Him. Pastor Craig Groeschel says “Stilling our heart doesn’t happen by accident” and this whole last week or two has been a gigantic validation of that statement. So with that, I ask that you offer me some grace as I perhaps write only once a week instead of twice over the next couple weeks, or take an extra day or two to reply to your comments (which I LOVE reading!!!!!), or skip a Friday Favorites (like I will this Friday to spend some Black Friday fun with the family.) I want to take the little extra time I have and savor it, stilling my heart so I can contemplate the goodness of our Great God.

A few last things to note and to be concise, bullet points it is!

  • Thanks to over 85 of you who purchased products through our fundraiser link, we were generously donated over $900 in commissions from our dear friends Annie and Jana. We are completely overwhelmed with gratitude for the amazing generosity and sacrifice of so many of you who wanted to be a part of our journey in this way. Humbled doesn’t even begin to describe how grateful we feel. Thank you. So much. 
  • Our IUI cycle is set to start the first week of December if all goes as planned! We are still waiting for test results on the autoimmune testing I had done and I have a call scheduled for tomorrow afternoon to discuss all the fine tuned IUI details and hopefully will get those results then. I will be absolutely sure to keep you all in the detail loop as we move forward! YAHOO!
  • Starting next month, I will be writing for the website Fertility Authority and will be posting blogs with new content over there in addition to my posts here. (Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere!) Can I ask you all a favor in advance? I get paid by views so when I share a link, would you mind just taking a moment to click over and read? If you weren’t able to participate in the fundraiser, this is a great free way to support us! Another amazing thing is that I get to write about my faith on there too, which as you know is a huge part of who I am as a writer and person. I am pumped about this opportunity and honored that they would approach me with this opportunity. Stay tuned the first of week December and then click away!

That’s it! Hope all my USA readers have an amazing Thanksgiving and I will eat extra turkey and mashed potatoes keeping my international readers in mind XO!

eating

 

friendship.

You know what is beautiful? Friendship. Community. People. More and more each day I become keenly aware of the gift I have been given of those that surround me. There is something special about being able to pick up the phone and call a friend, just to chat about the day or pass along a funny story. There is something beautiful about sitting over a cup of coffee in a living room or coffee shop and laughing (or crying) as you share what’s on your heart. Friendship takes time. It takes real investment, open hearts and the willingness to let others in.

Friendship takes vulnerability. It requires raw conversation with the ability to “go there” without doing permanent damage, which requires a deep trust. That trust is built over time, each trial and opportunity building another level to the foundation of friendship.

True friendship is sinking down into the depths of who we really are. Have you ever seen that quote that says “You, too? I thought I was the only one.” True friendship is giving someone something in which they can say that back to you. It’s opening up and being vulnerable, a word that is so hard to whisper these days since we aren’t sure what the response will be.

Shauna Niequist writes “We have to give something up in order to get friendship like that. We have to give up our need to be perceived as perfect. We have to give up our ability to control what people think of us. We have to overcome the fear that when they see the depths of who we are they’ll leave. But what we give up is nothing in comparison to what this kind of friendship gives to us. Friendship is about risk. Love is about risk.”

The thing about friendships though is that they aren’t one way. Many of us have been stung by someone we thought was a friend, that we shared with or supported in their own time of need, but left us abandoned and alone when we needed them. Or perhaps we put ourselves out there, shared that emotional vulnerable story, only to be met with silence, a little awkwardness and a significant absence of phone calls and texts returned. It burns. But it doesn’t mean we give up. Sure, when a “friend” begins to let you down routinely and consistently, with no remorse or causes you pain and makes you feel inferior, there is a time to leave that friendship alone and stop the pursuit. That is necessary because we need to have heart boundaries. However keep in mind that there are seasons where one will give more than they receive and vice versa. I call it the teeter tauter of friendship. We give support, we watch one rise, we cheer them on and help them when they are in need, and when the roles change and the weight of life shifts, the other gets to step up and lend a hand, provide more listening than talking, and stepping up as you did for them. It’s not about receiving all you give, but it’s about balance.

Community is a precious thing, one never to be taken for granted. Know who your people are. Invest in them, both ways, in the good times and in the bad. We can’t do it all and be it all to everyone, this lesson I am painfully learning. But with true friends, the walls fall down, the shyness fades, the conversation about REAL life happens and we talk through the hidden places.

Give it time. Take the risk. Give up the control of being perceived as perfectly as you have crafted. Make it a priority to let your people know how much they mean to you. “The closer you get to someone, the more that friendship gives you and the more force and power it has to make your life bigger and richer.” (Shauna Niequest)

I want my life to be rich. I want others to know how much I care about them in a tangible, heart-warming, comforting way.

My community around me has blessed me so significantly more than I can communicate. Between dropping off meals while I have been on bed-rest after treatments or surgeries, to covering my volunteer shifts at church, to placing an order through the fundraiser – to THROWING the fundraiser, to sending more cards and packages than my little heart can handle, to dropping off a coffee, making a phone call, liking a status … It’s helped me continue to open up, be vulnerable, and give me the strength to help reach others and remind them that God is there. Because of the support of my people, my friends, my world, I can keep pushing forward each day.

Are you in a place where your world feels empty and such community feels foreign to you? I invite you to begin the simple prayer of praying that the Lord brings someone into your life to fill that hole. I am a strong advocate of getting connected in a small group or Bible study as a first step! But I know personally how hard it can be to go through seasons of life without anyone there. I can remember times in my life when I was just praying for someone to connect with, who got me, who I could be ME with. And boy, has God answered those prayers through time and vulnerability. Perhaps you can begin praying over friendships that have slipped away due to negligence or pride. I know that God doesn’t want you to be alone and wants to offer you the richness that comes with friendship. If I can join you in praying for this, I would love to. Please comment below or send in a private email and I promise to be lifting you up in prayer this week.

Lastly, can I share a beautiful act of kindness that was bestowed to me a few weeks ago? I was meeting over coffee with Julie, a sweet friend of mine who I met through a high school friend (and connected with on Instagram – love that). She leaned over and handed me a small box. I carefully began opening its tender corners as she excitedly explained this gift and why she was passing it on to me. (I have to admit I was so touched and overwhelmed that I forgot to listen to it and had to have her email me details again, haha!).

She shared that a few years back, a dental patient of hers had found out that Julie and her husband were struggling with infertility and were trying to have a baby through surrogacy.  4 months later, this patient returned with the box that was now in my hands. The patient, L, told Julie she went back to China to visit her family and brought her back this baby gift, for the baby she was going to have eventually. L gifted Julie with these Chinese fertility statues which were made to help keep “the house full”. She had taken them from her Grandmother’s home while visiting, and that Grandmother had them for over 50 years. L passed these onto Julie, who a short 4 months later found out her surrogate was expecting their little son, Ethan, who is now 1, and Julie tucked them away in Ethan’s room, grateful for the kind gesture of L.

Julie handed these dolls over to me, sharing that while neither of us believes in the superstition behind the fertility dolls, the gesture and the thoughtfulness that rests in passing these down from woman to woman who struggles, is one of the sweetest things. These little statutes now sit out and remind me of the value of friends, hope, and prayers that one day, “our house will be full.” I love them.

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And as Josh Garrels so beautifully sings “Weave your heart into mine, my friend.”

XOXO!

Chelsea

guest post.

Thank you so much for all the excitement over our last post! We have been overwhelmed with the kindness, support and prayers as we head into these new steps. It’s not too late to place an order for Norwex or Younique using the links found on this Fundraiser page if you are interested. Again, thank you for those who have generously blessed us and to everyone who is praying. It means so much to me and Josh!

In other news, my post for today is located over at Caroline’s page at In Due Time. Caroline reached out and asked me to do a Guest Post while her and her hubby are on vacation and I was honored to be able to write to her readers!

If you want to check it out, please click HERE!

I’ll even give you a sneak peek at what inspired my post today – these words below from Craig Groeschel about the difference between social media clicks and Godly compassion and caring. I hope you all head over and check it out.

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Hope you are all having a great week!

XOXO,

Chelsea

the new plan and how you can help.

There has been 387 days between the date of our last transfer and today. 387 long days. I remember typing this post about our 4th cycle failure like it was yesterday. I remember sharing with you all that we were being called into a season of putting a hold on fertility treatments and let me tell you, it’s been a long year. Between last October and today, I have seen a naturopathic doctor, an acupuncturist, had a laparoscopy surgery done and many tests run, drunk teas, sucked down pills and above all, prayed for wisdom, guidance and direction. This wait has been LONG. And yet even though it has felt unproductive compared to years past, both Josh and I felt incredible peace that this was exactly where we were supposed to be, even though it wasn’t easy.

Then a month or so ago both of our hearts started stirring, feeling like we were supposed to restart up treatments. I don’t think either of us were prepared to start thinking about it again and the thought of jumping back into things caught me a little off guard. We began to talk and pray and felt that gentle nudging to make some calls.

I reached out to 2 new clinics in the area. One thing Josh and I felt strongly about was the need for a second opinion, a new set of eyes, a fresh space. Doctor consults can often be booked out 6-8 weeks so I made a call, thinking that we would sit down with them towards the end of the year. Imagine my surprise when one of them shared that they had a cancellation just open up – for 3 days later. (The other being consistent with the longer timeline we were expecting.) With a swiftness that could only be God, charts were exchanged, papers were filled out, and there we were, walking into a new RE, waiting to hear his thoughts on our case. I instantly felt relief when he said that he still has hope for our case, even though I know that our hope is found in God. Still it was reassuring that he felt so positive for us. The hour we spent with him was incredibly educational and we loved how he explained his thoughts and our options.

For the sake of brevity, the plan he proposed is that we do a few IUI (artificial insemination) cycles using Femara and a trigger shot, which I have responded to well in the past, combined with estrogen and progesterone supplementation.. He also wants to put me back on Metformin to improve my egg quality and felt strongly about completing some more blood test to ensure that my reoccurring miscarriages haven’t been caused by any autoimmune disorders. We have done a few of these tests in the past and I am in full agreement that we need to complete the panels. Regardless of how the results come back, we will add in Lovenox injections which are useful for a whole slew of things. If this doesn’t work, the next step would be to do another IVF cycle. This clinic in particular only does cycles 4 times a year,  making the next one we would be eligible for at the end of March. After our appointment, we continued to pray. My prayers were that God would make it abundantly obvious if we were supposed to move forward. The nudging in our hearts that it was time to step out again seemed so clear, but still, I kept praying for two things – 1) that God would make it very evident that moving forward with IUI/IVF was His plan and 2) that the financial part of these medicated cycles would be provided for.

Within a DAY, and I mean a DAY, God answered both of these requests clearly. The first answer occurred while I was sitting in my Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) meeting the next morning, where we were talking about Moses, specifically Exodus 14. Our lecturer was talking about how the Israelites were standing in front of the Red Sea while the Egyptians were chasing after them. My lesson picks up here:

“Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.”

What God spoke to me was that sometimes He brings us to the point where we are supposed to be waiting. (Like the Israelites did for 400+ years.) But then other times He brings us right before our answer to prayer and says “Why are you still standing still?? Stop talking. It’s time to move forward.” Had Moses not acted and lifted up his staff, had the Israelites not taken those scary steps into the parted Red Sea, the story would have ended there. But instead, it was time to move forward in faith. That day God affirmed “I will fight for you – it’s time to move forward.” Message heard, loud and clear. (This is one of many affirmations that have come my way since offering up that prayer!)

He then answered the financial part in a variety of ways. At the start of the week I was committed to a job share position, which ended up changing into a short-term, full-coverage opportunity, giving me more hours. I then was contacted by an Editor in Chief at a large online fertility resource website, who asked ME, little old me, to become a paid blogger for them starting in December. (I never reached out to them, this was completely God-initiated. And I said yes so more on that to come in another post!) And then I had 2 friends, within a few days of each other, reach out to me, offering to use their online businesses to throw a fundraising product party, both offering to donate 100% of the commission earned to our medical treatments, without any conversation about our future direction. Wow. God, you are so good!

So let me summarize – we are doing this again!!!! 

The plan is to get some blood work done this Friday and then start 28 days on birth control to reset things. Then after that, we are going to move forward with a Femara+trigger shot IUI cycle. I could see how to some of you, it feels like we are stepping backwards, since my IUI days are years behind me, however there is SO MUCH PEACE in this new plan and we are GIDDY to get things going. And of course, excited to see how God will act. We can’t do this without the prayers and support of those around us, so THANK YOU!

With all that said – now how can you help!?

  1. Continue to pray for us. This is the biggest way. Prayers, vibes, energy, whatever you can throw , we will take it. I know those prayers go from your mouth to His ears.
  2. Another way is to shop! For the next 10 days, there are 2 online parties being thrown by two generous friends to assist with the medical costs involved. Please do not feel ANY pressure to make a purchase, but if you are looking for any Norwex or Younique products, I would love and appreciate you using these parties to make your purchase! Being able to receive some assistance through these amazing women’s commission is nothing short of an answer to prayer.
  3. Feel free to share the event link with your friends/family. There will be an entirely separate link (www.trialsbringjoy.com/fundraiser/) that will give you information on where you can do this online shopping, complete with details on purchasing and without boring anyone with all these details above.
  4. Lastly, I ask that you pray a special blessing over the lives of Annie and Jana, both of the women who has made this offer and are allowing Him to answer our prayers through their generous kindness. God knows exactly what prayers are on their hearts and so I simply ask that you lift up a prayer of gratitude and blessing over them.

These online parties will run from today (November 9th) until November 18th (next Tuesday). Again, if you are not in a place to make a purchase, please don’t feel any pressure. But if you are and are looking to support these next steps of ours, Josh and I both would appreciate it more than you know. Plus YOU get some fun products from 2 great companies! I call that a win-win!

Thank you again for all of the prayers for wisdom and guidance over these last years. It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly 6 years of trying and waiting, but I am trusting that GREAT things are ahead! XOXO!

CLICK HERE FOR ALL FUNDRAISING DETAILS! 

the aftermath.

My heart is so full. This last week in Chicago was so wonderful. The time spent with friends and family was so special and the Storyline Conference gave me an opportunity to explore what’s inside of me. I never would have labeled myself a creative person but after sitting in a room with some amazing people, I realized how much I have inside me that I want to get out and share. Sometimes I have these ideas, thoughts, stories, and emotions trapped inside my chest, churning to get out and trying to find the right words to express what I am feeling. Sometimes they escape and other times they remain bottled up inside, waiting for the right time to spring forth.

I don’t know where to start or if I will ever all get it all out. Truthfully, I battle with wondering if anyone even cares – not in a pessimistic “wah, no one cares about me” way because I feel quite the opposite – super loved and cared for. No, I mean it more in a “why would people want to read the random babblings of my brain?” And questioning, am I too out there? Are people just being nosey or do they actually care about what I am learning or this journey we are on?

Writing is one of the most vulnerable things I have ever done. Or as Shauna Niequist eloquently puts it, “Writing for me feels like getting naked in public.” It rips me open and often times I press “pubish” and have immediate regret. Do they understand what I was trying to say? Did I share too much? Did I offend someone? Will people look at me differently? Are people going to understand …. me?

What do I want? I don’t know truthfully. I have so many dreams flying around my head and this conference has only made it more real to me that I have a story that needs to be told – that I want to tell. The story isn’t important because of what we have gone through with infertility, the story is important because stories are what connects us to one another. The highs and lows that we share as a community are beautiful things and I pray that in the end, my story brings Him immense glory. Sharing our stories with one another, as muddled and beautiful as they are, is what creates a presence in one another’s lives. Life isn’t meant to be lived alone. Goodness, it would be far too painful and lonely.

There is something sacred when vulnerable words are shared but there is a fear as well. When I share my story with you, I try to be as authentic and unedited as possible. But then there are these tiny things that sneak up and whisper to me that it’s not enough. That this post isn’t good. That my stories don’t make sense. That people are whispering behind my back. How do I cope with that reality? I think the only way to do that is to keep writing. To keep stretching myself and to keep putting my heart out on this page. My blog isn’t fancy. It doesn’t have a web designer and there aren’t fancy visuals to click on. There are no sponsors, but it has you – my readers. People who jump in and share their hearts with me. Who read my writing and somehow, in the strings of words I have to offer, understand me.

This conference is helping me flush out what I want. “What do you want to do with your story?” And as I process this, and again it’s still very new, the thing that rests so heavily on my heart is the word encouragement. And I don’t quite know what to do with that yet. I know that I personally love to encourage others and am deeply touched by words of encouragement. Words have a richness that can fill you up. After sitting down with many wonderful friends this past week and sharing real life, encouraging talks, I’m walking around feeling full to my brim.  My heart feels like it’s literally pushing against the skin of my chest and my fingertips feel tight and heavy and beautiful. Words, friendships, encouragement, questions, messiness, resolutions to be made, forgiveness that needs to be accomplished and the grace needed to keep pushing forward is beautiful.

So where does that leave me? What do I do with this word encouragement that’s on my heart? Part of me wants to run around and encourage everyone to embrace where they are at right now. To help others find the beauty that’s in the present moment. I want to help others sift through the tears, the sorrow, the frustration, the anger, the bitterness, and to somehow find the goodness, richness and beauty that is in the now. We can’t live a life trying to get from here to there, because when you get there, you are just simply in your new here. I truly don’t believe that any one thing in life will ever truly fulfill us because I don’t know that our humanness is capable of contentment outside of Him. Nothing we obtain will change your heart to value how special being here is.

We have a special gift where we can turn our sorrow and pain into pieces of our puzzle that come together to make something full, complete and rich with detail.  I believe that somehow my story, my messiness, my longing for a family, the children we have lost, the endurance I have had to put forth, is all molding me and crafting me to be a better person here in this moment right now.

I am so grateful that we have woken up this morning and are given a chance to even try to make a difference. That we are able to be in our here. I don’t know what my life will look like in 2, 3, 5, 10 years. But what I do know is that I want to be a person who didn’t waste these days of waiting. I wholeheartedly ache to comfort every reader with His love. I wish so badly that you all could take a piece of my fullness right now. I am thankful for the friends I got to visit with while in Chicago, grateful for the words that God used from their mouths to touch my heart and fill me. The value of community and friendships should never go unrecognized.

Thank you all for your prayers as I attended this conference. Now I get to wrestle with what’s next. I think beautiful things are ahead, even if they are smudged with dirt and ashes and have broken edges at times. I pray that God’s richness falls over our lives, a richness that doesn’t come with answered prayers or things, but that comes with His presence in our lives, His peace, His comfort and the ability to rest in that.

(And of course, we can’t end without a few photo’s from the week!)

Yes, I got to meet, talk to, cry with/on and hug Shauna Niequist who you all know is an author I so greatly admire!

Yes, I got to meet, talk to, cry with/on and hug Shauna Niequist who you all know is an author I so greatly admire!

Lauren <3

Lauren <3

My cousin Brittany and my Nana ... Grandpa Tedd and Brad, I know you are sad you missed out on the photo shoot. :) Love my family!

My cousin Brittany and my Nana … Grandpa Tedd and Brad, I know you are sad you missed out on the photo shoot. :) Love my family!

Candice <3

Candice <3

Carolyn and her two littles. I'm certain they adored being dressed like reindeers for our amusement. :)

Carolyn and her two littles. I’m certain they adored being dressed like reindeers for our amusement. :)

My Uncle Chuckie who's heart, kindness and outlook on life is so special.  <3

My Uncle Chuckie whose heart, kindness and outlook on life is so special. <3

Julie, Jenny and their kiddos. <3

Julie, Jenny and their kiddos. <3

(Katie — how did we not get a picture together? Apparently closing down a restaurant omits photo time. Boo! Auntie Pammy, Uncle Jimmy, James and Nick, thanks for opening up your home to me. I love spending time with you all and love you guys so much more than words can say! And thanks for sharing your neighborhood squirrel with me too.)

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PS – Did you miss my previous post on the lessons to be learned from beanie babies? Click here to check it out!

PPS – Coming on Sunday …. an update to our infertility story including a new plan of action and exciting way for you to get involved!