Monday, November 25, 2013

Ba - Da - Ba - Ba - Ba... I'm Loving It!

Yes, I am that cheesy that I used the McDonald's theme song in my post title. Admit it. You love me for it. ;)

He is 6 and a half weeks old already!! Wow, how did that happen?! We honestly can not imagine our lives without this little guy. He has been a total joy and has also taught us so much about finding our strength and rest in The Lord already! (I mean that quite literally!) He has had pretty bad reflux and colic. (Before you ask, yes, we have tried gripe water, zantac, mylanta, peppermint oil, positioning, rice cereal, scheduling, swaddling, swinging, placing on the dryer, pacifier, white noise, specialty formula, and many other things to soothe) Unfortunately, with some babies, you just have to follow some of the advice many parents give: Just cry it out. (I'm not talking about the baby...) We have been a bit sleepy pretty exhausted, but like I said, we are truly finding our strength and rest in The Lord, and it has actually been a very sweet time, in spite of lack of sleep. I could not be more grateful for the fact that our sweet little guy loves to cuddle when he's unhappy. It melts my heart and makes me feel like I am his only source of comfort - which fills my heart to the brim!

I have to say, he is the cutest little guy on the planet, and now that a lot of the fussies are starting to dwindle, he is developing the sweetest personality!! He will smile with his whole face, and he has these tiny little dimples that pop up when he's really excited. He LOVES to swing, and he really loves it when his dad flies him around the room like an airplane. He is so strong already! He holds his head up and pushes himself all the way up during tummy time. He met Santa for the first time last week during the open house at his dad's shopping center. He just looked up into his face and stared at all of the Christmas lights. He got to experience snow for the first time yesterday, too! So many firsts!! He has become such a sweet, fun baby! I am mostly just glad that he is feeling better!! I was starting to ache just seeing him cry so much.

I truly wish I could post a ton of pictures!! I promise I will once the adoption has finalized in April. I can not express how much it means to have so much support and so many sweet comments from you all. We know we have been blessed beyond measure, and I thank God daily for this sweet little boy!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

He is here!!

I apologize for the lack of updates over the last few weeks. It has been an emotional roller coaster. The weekend of his birth was filled with so many ups and downs - not only with the adoption process... About three hours after sweet boy was born, I got a call that my brother-in-law had died that same morning. (He and my sister were married for 13 years and have four children together). It was a sudden, unexpected death, so there are so many emotions involved with that. My sister lives about 21 hours by car away from us, and flights were outrageous, so we weren't able to be there, physically, for my family. We also were trying to navigate the adoption process (which has its own emotions associated with it).  I truly believe our entire family was under spiritual attack. I think satan has done his best to try to steal every ounce of joy our family has. We refuse to let him! We chose to praise God for our sweet blessing and grieve the loss simultaneously. We have remained joyful, even through sorrow. The phrase "God doesn't give you more than you can handle" is total bologna.  First of all, it is nowhere in the Bible. It is a saying that is meant to make people feel stronger or somehow think that everything bad that happens is from God and supposed to be used to teach you lessons or something.... I disagree with the saying/phrase entirely. That weekend was MOST DEFINITELY more than I could handle. Here is the beauty in it though: whatever I was not capable of handling, God handled. Whatever I could not process, He made sense of it. Whenever I was not strong enough to fight the spiritual forces of the dark world, He was my strength. In truth, we can not handle much in this world... There is sorrow, disappointment, grief, and pain. There is a promise in the Bible, "In this world you will have trouble..." (John 16:33) IT'S IN THE BIBLE!! We WILL have TROUBLE!!! It will be HARD!!! But I am soooooooooooooooooooo grateful that God doesn't just leave it with that.... The end of the verse says, "But TAKE HEART! For I (God Almighty) have overcome the WORLD!" What a precious, almighty God we serve! He has taken our burdens, and He has overcome the world already. He does not bring trouble or heartache on us... They are already here. They are part of this sinful world. It is a given. BUT - take heart. He has already overcome it all. He has also promised in Isaiah 61 that He will take our heartaches, sorrow, and brokenness and turn it into something beautiful. "(I will) bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair." We are clinging to these promises, and we have felt the comfort and Joy of The Lord in the midst of the chaos and sorrow.

Now, I HAVE to tell you a little about our sweet boy! He weighed 8lbs 2oz, and was 19 3/4 in long. (big baby!) It was actually a sweet time in the hospital with the birth mother to really bond with baby boy and with her. She expressed all of her emotions, and she was confirmed over and over that she was doing what was most loving for the baby by placing him in our home. It was amazing to see the love she showed to him, and it was so good for our hearts to see that. It is so hard to explain all of the emotions on both sides of an adoption, but all I can say is that is showed us, even more clearly, the selfless love God has for us. We are already SO in LOVE with that boy!!! He has brought joy and life into our home and into our entire extended families as well. My mom and sister were supposed to be in town with us the first week and a half, but due to the circumstances, they had to stay home. They are coming tomorrow, and we are praying for the hearts of my sisters' kids to be steady and comforted by the sweet families who are caring for them, for my mom and sister to find comfort and peace as they hold this sweet baby, and for their hearts to feel confident in The Lord's work of rebuilding what satan meant to destroy - turning the ashes into something beautiful and their mourning into gladness.

I appreciate all of your prayers during this time, and I would so much appreciate continued prayers for our entire family.

I am not, legally, allowed to post pictures of our sweet boy until the adoption has been finalized... I SO WISH I could flood the blog with pictures NOW! But, hopefully by April we will be able to post the thousands of pictures we have already taken!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The last week that I will ever live as someone who isn't a mommy...



Wow... What a crazy realization. I will never NOT be a mommy again! (yikes. I used a double negative... sorry) I am thrilled and overwhelmed and excited and terrified all at the same time! It is a remarkable feeling but also extremely surreal. Most women get to experience the child living inside of their bodies. They feel the baby kick and move. They get to the point where they are ready to not be pregnant anymore. There are so many natural things that happen during the last couple weeks of pregnancy to prepare a woman for having a baby. In our case, I don't have all of those things happening, but I still am emotionally preparing to become a mother. There has still been a process of grieving the things I am missing out on, but there has also been a process of becoming established in God's individual plan for my life. I can not express my joy at the thought of becoming a mom, but also, I can not express the emotions that come along with this whole adoption process.

Here is a (short) list of things I am most excited about in becoming a MOM! - 30 things for my 30 years I have spent waiting and praying for this moment
1. teaching him about The Lord and training him to memorize scripture
2. snuggling
3. sharing my wacky sense of humor
4. dressing him up in adorable baby clothes
5. sharing Red River with him
6. laughing at baby phrases as he learns to talk
7. teaching him about the world
8. building "forts" out of blankets
9. making mundane things into adventures
10. watching him make friends
11.  playing board games
12. teaching him to be strong when he is afraid
13. going to the zoo
14. walking him around the neighborhood in a stroller, then on a bike, then on a hovercraft (I mean, hey, it could happen, right?)
15. teaching him how to snow ski
16. teaching him how to water ski
18. reading books for hours together
19. playing tricks on his dad
20. hiking together as a family
21. eventually introducing him to my favorite nerd pleasures: star wars, harry potter, mystery science theater 3000, and NASA
22. being a stabilizing force in his life - I want him to never doubt that I love him or am there for him
23. playing on the playground
24. playing make-believe
25. having long talks about life with him as he grows up
26.  instilling good values into his life structure
27. taking him to church and seeing his eyes light up as he learns Bible stories
28. singing songs together
29. comforting him when he is hurt or sad
30. hearing him call me "mom"

In the last 4 weeks, we have had 4 baby showers, dinners with friends, celebrations of birthdays, friends coming to visit, a dog who tore her ACL, lots of organization of baby things, research, meetings, doctor appointments, classes, appointments with the agency, and of course, work and normal life as well! Needless to say, it has flown by and been a bit overwhelming!! Here are a few pictures to document!

My baby shower at work! (These people are AMAZING!!)   
 Jaime and Alina came to visit from Georgia!

My cute registry at a local boutique
 My mom made beautiful bedding! Once she delivered it, I realized my painting doesn't match, so I made a new one!
 She also made beautiful burp cloths and changing pads, and bibs!

 My shower thrown by my mother-in-law's friends!
 Our shower from our church friends

I don't have any pictures to prove it, but Austin and I also celebrated our anniversary last night! PHEW!!! 

It has been a whirlwind!! I am so grateful for everyone who has contributed to our baby gear and who has offered so much emotional and spiritual support to us during this time. We are more blessed than we could ever ask to be! I am constantly amazed at God's mercy and love through all of these people.  I am so grateful to be able to walk through this life with my wonderful husband, awesome family, and amazing friends. I can't wait for the next HUGE chapter of our lives to begin in ONE WEEK AND ONE DAY!!!

Even though it has been a whirlwind with many ups and downs, we are still SO confirmed in the decision to adopt, and we have been so blessed beyond measure through this process. It has shown us the very heart of God in having grace and mercy on us when we don't understand His plan. It has also shown us how silly we must seem to Him when we make comments to Him about the things happening in our lives. It has made me love HIM so much more, and it has allowed me to feel so much more confident that He loves me, regardless of my ignorance or my constant failures. He is amazing. This is my largest take-away.... other than becoming a mom! :)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

This is who we are...

We are, obviously, very excited about adopting our little boy in four weeks (yikes! that's fast!!). We have been working feverishly to get his room ready, find clothes to put him in, etc. Our families and friends have been working over-time to get baby showers together so we will have everything we need! It has been such a blessing to see how everyone has rallied around us and prayed for us and supported us since we found out we will be adopting him. 

 I couldn't help buying these precious little shoes! They are sitting on a shelf in his room, just waiting for his precious little baby feet to fill them!
Austin has never dressed a baby by himself before, so we went over the basics of how to support their necks/heads, getting the onesie on, diapering them, and  what to look for with diaper rash, color of poo, etc. Thankfully, Austin's mom had kept his cabbage patch doll from HIS childhood so he could practice on him... Yes, I did say it was AUSTIN's doll. hahaha. Please mock him.

In the midst of all of our excitement, we have equal amounts of pain and fear entering our world. The fear is simple: everything is unknown. When people get pregnant and have a child in the "natural way", there are very certain expectations that come with the whole process. You know you will be in the hospital while you and the baby recover. You know you and your husband will meet your new baby together. Once you leave the hospital, the baby is fully yours, and you go home as a fully complete family. And the list goes on... Now, I know, there are complications that can arise in natural childbirth as well, and those things are still out of our control, but most often, we know what to expect in those situations! With adoption, especially an open adoption, the waters are a little more muddy. There is not a clear-cut plan or procedure that you can follow. For example, we know that the birthmother will get time alone with the baby after he is born. We will get time with him also, but it will all be split somehow. I will get to be in the operating room as the baby is born, but Austin won't get to meet him until later. Although we don't foresee this happening, there is always a possibility that the birthmother can change her mind if she wants. There is a possibility that we will leave the hospital without a baby. We don't know when we will be able to take the baby home - not because of health reasons, but because of legal reasons. Once we leave the hospital, there is no structure or frame of reference for how our relationship with the birthmother will go, and the baby is not officially "ours" until our court date months later. We know that fear is never from the Lord. We know that if something "goes wrong", it is ultimately in God's perfect plan. We know that He has guided us to this point, and He will guide us for the rest of our lives. However, it is still scary! It is emotional! It is uncertain! 

The pain goes much deeper. It is difficult to explain, and I probably wouldn't have understood it had I not experienced it. We feel two conflicting, yet fully formed, emotions simultaneously. We feel excitement because we are having a baby, but we feel pain because of how we are getting him. We love adoption, and we believe it is such a beautiful thing that mirrors our relationship with God. But, as it was so beautifully explained in this article, adoption also involves a great deal of suffering. I recommend for everyone to read this article. It did wonders for my heart! We feel pain for the birthmother. We have already formed such a sweet bond with her, and we hate that she will suffer during this process and afterwards. We feel pain for our baby. We know that this is not the ideal or perfect way for him to enter this world, and there was a lot of pain and suffering that led to his adoption, and we know that he will always have a longing for the life he never had a chance to have. We can't even wrap our minds or hearts around the moment when we leave the hospital with the baby and the birthmother will still be recovering there. I am already feeling the heartbreak that comes with receiving our blessing with joy while she hurts in the next room. The article above speaks of our own adoption as sons and daughters of God. There was so much suffering that had to take place in order to save us from the life that was not God's best for us. Jesus had to die in order for God, the Father, to adopt us as His children. We know God has orchestrated and ordained for this child to be in our home and to enter our home through adoption. We know that He can identify with our suffering. We also know that He is the greatest comforter. We believe He will comfort the birthmother of our child. We believe that He will bless her abundantly for loving her child enough to place him in the best home for him. We know that He will create a beautiful and loving relationship between our child and her for the rest of their lives because of what she sacrificed for him. In order to receive the blessings that come with adoption, there must first be sacrifice, then suffering, then joy. God is good. He loves His children, and He will carry us all through, all the while increasing our joy. 

We can't wait to see all that God accomplishes through building our family! We are excited; we are joyful; and we are resting on the promises of God. Thanks for all of your support, encouragement, and prayers through this!

Countdown to baby boy: 4 weeks, 1 day

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Well, that was FAST!!! - We got "THE CALL"!!!

What a whirlwind!!!! I don't even know how to describe my emotions over the last 72 hours!

On September 3rd, we got a call from Special Delivery (our agency), and we were asked to come in to the office to discuss a "situation". Cue personal freak-out. I called my prayer warriors and asked for peace, wisdom, discernment, calm emotions, guarded hearts, and for the Lord's presence. Boy howdy did the Lord answer!! At the meeting, we were told about a potential birth mother (the first and only one to see our profile letter and photo album), and we found out that she is expecting to have a scheduled c-section on OCTOBER 11th!!! Yes, of THIS year!!! She wanted to meet us immediately because she wants us to be involved in the doctor's appointments and everything else that happens from now until the birth... OH MY GOSH!!!!

So, the night of the 3rd, our home group and other really close friends had already scheduled to throw us a "necessities shower", so we would be ready in case we got a call soon... What AMAZING timing!!!  We were able to ask for prayer for the situation that night, and it was such a great time of rejoicing, knowing that God was moving!

We met with the potential birth mother last night, the night of the 4th, and we all really meshed well! It was, of course, a little awkward... I mean, let's be honest... We were all nervous, and there are so many emotions involved in this whole process... But it could not have been a better match, in my opinion! She shares our goofy sense of humor, and we actually laughed through most of the meeting! It was so apparent that God was present in that room. We were able to get to know each other in a light-hearted way, during a very heavy-hearted moment. I don't want to disclose too many details about her or the situation at this time, but all in all, we are so grateful for so many things about her

The plan was for us all to go home, think about the meeting, pray about the potential of a match, and let the representatives from Special Delivery know in the morning. We ended up letting them know our answer last night! We just KNEW this is IT!! Last night was a little agonizing. haha. We could barely sleep, waiting to hear if we were about to become parents!! This morning around 11am, I got a text from Cindy (the director of the agency) saying that WE ARE MATCHED!!!!

WE ARE GOING TO BE PARENTS!!!!!!!!  Our hearts are so full, and we are both at peace, knowing that God has carried us specifically to this place!!!

The crazy facts:
- We were only approved to adopt 4 weeks ago yesterday. (this is the fastest adoption I have ever heard of)
- We have been praying  boldly that God would bring us a match before the end of the year (He answered that more quickly than we anticipated!)
- We have been praying that she would be out of high school (she is older, mature, steady, and has no doubts about what she is doing)
- We prayed that she would "know" when she saw our letter that we are the ones she should choose (she did)
- I prayed that I would feel a connection to her and immediately know that we could become friends and have a strong relationship with each other through an open adoption (I can absolutely see this!) 
- We have been feeling confident that our baby would be a boy (he is!)
- We prayed that we would be able to be involved in the pregnancy/birth process (she wants us to be involved in all appointments and in the room during the c-section)
- I have been praying for God to provide breast milk at least for a month to aid in the health of the baby (she wants to provide breast milk - her idea)

Through all of these things, we have experienced SO much confirmation that we are exactly where The Lord wants us. I truly believe that He has led us to this specific point at this specific time in order to give us this specific baby!! Wow. I'm overwhelmed!! To think, if we hadn't been so exhausted by infertility and hadn't been obedient in going to the agency introduction class in April (even before we were sure we were going to adopt - we felt a little crazy going to that class), we would not be getting this baby. It just shows God's leading and His plan even more incredible. I love being able to look back and see Him moving, when we had NO idea He was even moving.

Thank you all for your prayers, concerns, patience, understanding, listening ears eyes, and encouragement. I love you all! :)

I'll keep you updated as things progress!

Count down to baby boy: 5 weeks, 1 day

Monday, August 26, 2013

A sneak peak into our transforming world...

Since we found out that we are "Adoption-Pregnant", I have been in full-time go-mode to get ready for a baby to arrive! The agency gave us a timeline of 2 months to a year... And it could happen in a couple of different ways: We could get a call that a baby has been born, and we need to go pick him/her up NOW, or we could meet with a pregnant woman who has selected our profile out of a stack, and we could go through the remainder of her pregnancy alongside her. So... We have no idea how to mentally prepare for that!!! The agency recommends that we have the necessities on hand and for us to be ready for anything! It is so exciting, in a way, and a little bit terrifying in another! ha. As a result of the absence of a timeline, I have decided to go ahead and get ready!

My sweet mom has bought us a crib, travel system, and is making bedding! It is all AMAZING!!  My awesome mother-in-law bought be a GORGEOUS diaper bag and changing station. I have painted an old dresser of Austin's, built bookshelves, and created an abstract painting to hang over the baby's crib. I am going to re-cover some lampshades, and I'm looking for the perfect chair and rug to complete the room! Pictures are below!
Our Full Application!
 
My Bag!
The Britax Travel System
 My painting, crib, and bookshelves (don't pay attention to the random stuff on the shelves!)
The dresser with the lampshade I'm going to re-cover.

I'll post more pictures as things come together! For now, I am happy with how things are progressing, and I can't wait to welcome a baby into this room and our home!

Good things come to those who wait... or those who PRAY

This summer has been filled with plenty of ups and downs, joys and pains, questions and answers... We have felt, at times, like we were put in the middle of a cyclone with no direction! Amazingly enough, we made it out alive! I want to clarify that nothing particularly awful happened. We are strong and blessed, and we could not be more grateful for the lessons we learned and growth that took place as a result of the changes that have happened over the past few months. However, there is always so much uncertainty within a cyclone of change, and it can really rock you while you're in the middle of it!


A lot of things happened this summer, good and bad, big and small, but the biggest and most exciting this is... Drumroll.... We got approved to ADOPT!! 
The process was extensive, and for those of you wondering, it involved:
- 29 pages (typed) of information about our childhoods, lives, spirituality, families, views, theories, home, pets, etc, etc...
- Background checks 
- Physical Exams
- Interviews (Together and separate)
- Fingerprinting
- Financial evaluations and assessments
- Environmental Inspection (Weirdest part of all of this - They checked the temperatures of our fridge, inspected my meat thermometer, checked our toilets and tubs, looked in our closets, asked questions about whether we would make the baby buy their own toilet paper/diapers or would we provide it - seriously?!?! - and many other very invasive questions and inspections)
- Fire inspection
- Home Study
- Fees 
- Questionnaires that dug into our real feelings about rape, incest, drug abuse, special needs, race, culture, and other tough topics
- Training Classes 
- Wrote a "Profile Letter" for the potential birthmothers to review when making their decision on where to place their baby
- Re-wrote the "Profile Letter" when we were informed that we were "too excited about adoption" in our letter... I'll explain at another time. (We have learned SO much through this process!!) 
- Created an album that captured the essence of us (It was harder to do than you would think!) 
- I'm sure I am forgetting something...

I can't even begin to explain the myriad of emotions we have experienced.

First, let me explain how we arrived at our decision to adopt. As I have talked about in a couple of posts, we have been struggling with diagnosed infertility for the last two years. When we got married, since we were in our late 20's, we wanted to start our family rather quickly. We both desire children, and we know God has called us to raise children to love and serve Him. After the first year of our marriage, we assumed it wasn't happening because we weren't focused on actively trying to get pregnant. In the middle of our second year of marriage, we started to worry that something was wrong. Without going into too much detail, we were doing everything humanly possible to try to get pregnant, and still, nothing was happening! We saw a doctor, and we got to do all kinds of fun tests. (again, it would be TMI to talk about! ha) After all of the tests, nothing new was revealed. There was no specific explanation as to why were weren't getting pregnant. This led, first, to a lot of frustration, disappointment, even depression. I felt like I was failing... Even though I, literally, have no control over the situation, I felt like I was somehow not accomplishing something I was created to do! Finally, when the negativity didn't help (as it never does), I went to prayer. 

I had so many long talks with The Lord about my feelings, my frustration, my failures, and even my anger that this wasn't happening for me!! (see the common thread here?? MY, ME) It was all about ME! God was so sweet to me, as He always is, and I believe He revealed to my heart that, at this time, I WASN'T created to be pregnant!! He did not ordain for me to carry a child at this time. He DID, however, create me to be a MOTHER!! Once I recognized the difference, my heart felt so open and softened. I finally felt like I understood a small piece of God's plan for us! I keep saying "at this time" because I know I can never predict what will happen in the future, but for now, He is gently leading us in a beautiful direction that we could have never predicted, and we could not be more excited!!!!!

We started praying that God would establish in our hearts a clear direction and make us more excited about adopting than we would be about getting pregnant... It might have been a weird prayer, but I really love weird prayers because that is when you REALLY see God work when He answers! We started researching, reading blogs, talking to people who have adopted, etc, and one night, we both looked at each other,teared up, and said we KNEW we were being called to adopt!

Once we reached the conclusion that we were called to adopt, we started researching foreign vs. domestic adoptions. I combed through blogs by Jen Hatmaker, Jennifer and Chris Verme, The Getty's, and others. All of these people adopted from countries abroad. Although I find foreign adoption so beautiful and necessary, we kept feeling a tug towards a local adoption. We both had a picture in our minds of an open adoption - strange, unorganized, but beautiful. When we discussed our hopes for our adoption, we both wanted for our child to always know who his/her birth parents are, to always know that they are deeply loved by us and by their birth parents, to know their "other" grandparents and the depth of their love, to feel completely secure in their situation from the very beginning. We felt called to minister to birth mothers as much as we felt called to adopt. Most open adoptions include minimal contact, a picture a month, and maybe a meeting together every few months or once a year. We really desire to include the birth parents in our family as much as possible. This might sound strange, and we don't even know what that will look like for us, but we are just being faithful to whatever God leads us to at each step. A friend of ours pointed us to a local, Christian agency that specializes in open adoptions! (I didn't even know it existed!) This agency has been such a blessing to us... 

We contacted Special Delivery Adoptions (www.specialdeliveryadoptions.org) and signed up for their initial training class. After the class, we both sat in the car and wept. (We have learned to be very comfortable with our tears over the last several months.) We had so much confirmation and so much excitement about pursuing adoption as our first choice! I was shocked at myself when I had the thought, "I hope I don't get pregnant in the next year, because that would mess up being able to adopt!!" What?! Who thinks that way? Especially someone who has done nothing but try and try and try to become pregnant over the last 2.5 years! (?!) Well, God answered our prayer! Our weird prayer became our reality.

The training with Special Delivery was such an amazing experience. I could have sat in that room all day. They brought in birth-mothers to talk to us about their experiences, emotions, thoughts, etc., and they also had a few couples who had previously adopted tell about the waiting period, finances, paperwork, and bonding with their child. It was so fascinating, and it spoke directly to our hearts. I was a little embarrassed while the adoptive couples were speaking because I COULD NOT stop crying!! I don't even know why! I think I was just so overwhelmed by the emotions that came with finally letting go of all of my previous expectations and emotions. I finally let go of "my plan" and let God's plan become my plan! Phew! What an experience!

At this point, we are approved to adopt, officially, and we are on the waiting list with Special Delivery! We keep saying we are "Adoption-Pregnant"!! We don't know when, how, who, or anything about our timeline, but we are boldly praying for our baby and his/her mother to come soon!! We are in a place of so much rest and peace, waiting on God's timing for us. We appreciate any and all prayers!!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Advocare - Day 22

I haven't mentioned this, but I have actually been doing well with working out every day. I have been trying to do a total body tone each day. I've walked hills on my treadmill while working on my pilates/ballet arms poses. I then do some abs and lunges/squats to get everything a little more toned. Austin mentioned yesterday that he is really starting to see a difference in how I am looking.. wow!! That is good news!! I am sitting at a almost 7lb loss at this point... I only have 2 more official days on the challenge, but I am going to carry it out until Saturday, when we go to Las Vegas... We leave from Las Vegas to go to Mexico to an all-inclusive resort with some friends on Tuesday, so I'll have 10 days of diet-free living. I am still going to try to reign it in so I don't ruin all of the progress I have done so far.

Today I woke up pretty late, so I just had some fiber cereal with my MNS packs and Spark. I ate fruit for lunch with MNS packs. I'm going to eat scrambled eggs in a whole wheat tortilla for dinner with some fresh salsa. I have to bake some brownies for small group tonight, so I better get going to do that... I WILL NOT eat the brownies though!!! :) See you tomorrow!

Advocare - Day 21

Monday.... ahhhh.... This is the first Monday I have loved for a LONG time!! I didn't have to go to work! ahhhhhhhhh....

21/black jack is fitting for this week because Austin and I are getting to go to Las Vegas this Saturday! I am excited to go because I have never been!! Austin has a conference to go to for work, but I get to just lay at the pool and soak in the atmosphere. I'm not a big gambler, but I am planning on playing some penny slot machines for fun! I think it'll be pretty cool! We have tickets to Jersey Boys on Sunday Night! Yay! I can't wait!!

I followed my diet pretty well! I did my whole morning thing like the last week... MNS, shake.... I ate fruit for lunch with a few nuts. For dinner, my book club went to Olive Garden. Instead of ordering some crazy pasta dish, like I usually would, or eating 10 breadsticks, like I usually would, I ate a grilled chicken flat-bread appetizer with a salad to start. I only ate one breadstick... which was a true test of self-control! ha. I know I broke the diet some, but it definitely wasn't as bad as it could have been!!! I would say I consumed about 600-700 calories instead of my usual 1200 at Olive Garden... baby steps, right?! :)

   

Mother's Day. Ouch. (Advocare - Day 20)



Happy mother's day!!

I was a mess on Sunday!! I woke up in just enough time to get ready for church and get out the door! I drank my spark and took my MNS packs. I didn't have a chance to drink my meal replacement shake though.. :-\ We met Austin's parents at the Amarillo Club for brunch at 11. I actually did pretty well for this place! It's an open buffet of all comfort foods in the world... biscuits and gravy, fried chicken, macaroni and lobster, etc... I opted for a healthy egg-white omelet and a salad! However, I did eat a few bites of Austin's oreo pie... I couldn't help it!! It was right there!!! ha. Oh well.

Today was a day of mixed emotions for me. It is a day when I have a special time to think about how blessed I am to have the mother I do. She is one of the most amazing women I have ever met, and she is constantly concerned with bringing lost souls to Christ. She has never fallen short on uplifting, encouraging, and challenging me in my daily walk with the Lord. She is kind, patient, sweet, funny, quirky, intelligent, and she has suffered a lot and allowed it to make her stronger and more humble instead of bitter. Short story: my mother is INCREDIBLE!!

On the other hand, I feel it deeper today that I am still not a mother. At brunch, they passed out chocolate boxes to all mothers as the entered the restaurant... They asked if I was a mother, and I had to say "no", so they passed by me and gave the chocolates to the next person. Now, I am glad I didn't have to face the temptation of eating the chocolates, but it was a bitter moment for me that I was passed over. It was a physical picture of what my heart feels like constantly... That I am being passed over... That I am, most certainly, not a mother. It's hard. My sweet mom called me today to wish me a "happy future mother's day" in faith that God is preparing our own baby in His perfect timing. It was very sweet of her. Just a hard day. I deserved the few bites of pie.

My sweet mom:

Advocare - Day 19



Saturday seemed like a total blur... It was the first day of my summer break, and I actually stuck to the diet!! MNS packs, Meal Replacement shake, Fruit and turkey for lunch with MNS packs, and out for a friend's birthday Saturday night, and I DIDN'T get my favorite chicken green-chile farfale dish.. Instead, I got rainbow trout and wild rice with asparagus. I WIN! No wine, no candy at the movie afterwards... I am the picture of self-control! haha. JK. We went to see the Great Gatsby after dinner with our friends, and it was AWESOME!!!  I highly recommend it! I loved it!

Advocare - Day 18

Friday was a wack-o day all together. I didn't go in to work until 10:30 because it was the last day of the semester. (yay!!!) But I did everything I was supposed to in the morning... MNS packs, Meal replacement shake... At lunch, I had a meeting for the end of the semester at one of my favorite local restaurants. I tried to be strategic about what I ate! I ate some of the hummus with a little cheese and a few pieces of pita. I also ate half of a jalapeno turkey sandwich - leaving most of the bread - with a side salad with raspberry vinaigrette dressing. Friday night was graduation for my nursing students.. again, YAY!! I was so proud and happy to see them finish their educations. I ended up just eating half of a sweet potato for dinner... I wasn't super hungry after the big lunch. Sweet potatoes are awesome sources of fiber and stimulate the good hormones for women, so it was a good, comforting and healthy choice!


Yay, Graduates!! YAY, SUMMER!!!!

Advocare - Day 17 - Seventeen... It's like strawberry wi-iiiine...



Haha. So I haven't thought about that song in FOREVER!! I LOVED that song!! I used to sing it all over the place... Of course, I had NO idea what that song was about. You should look it up on iTunes or Pandora and have yourself a little bit of nostalgia! ;)

So, I haven't "blogged" the last few days, but I've been keeping my notes up and I am catching up on the online documentation NOW!

Thursday I did the same thing I've done the last several days... MNS packs, meal replacement shake, salad for lunch... yada, yada... Except, I sort of cheated a little at dinner... I had a meeting for our Junior League, here in Amarillo, and they always serve dinner at the meetings. Usually they are pretty health conscious... I mean, it's a bunch of beautiful women trying to keep their figures. But this night, they served lasagna! YUMMMM... I ate a small piece and had a lot of the salad. I skipped the bread and only ate a bite of the dessert, but lasagna definitely did not fit the challenge plan!

Weight loss today: 6 lbs (still)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Advocare - Day 16

I woke up pretty late this morning since I didn't have much to do at work today. I took my MNS packs and drank my spark and meal replacement... I am meeting friends for lunch today, so I need to think hard about what is more important to me: losing weight or eating something comforting. I need to make the right choice. I don't have more weight I can sacrifice on food. It's not worth it!!

I think the thing that has killed me with the weight loss is that I haven't had time to exercise like I should be. I have had work every day and then commitments every evening... Some days I have had time in between work and my evening commitments, but I have chosen not to exercise because I don't want to shower again and dry my hair again and apply make-up again.... etc. ugh. I need to get over it and realize that it is worth it!!! After Friday, I will not have any commitments for the last week of the challenge, and I plan to exercise every day.

I am planning on eating a salad and a lean meat for lunch, and I will cook chicken and veggies for dinner tonight.

I think I can lose another 2-3 lbs by the end of this - which will bring my total weight loss to 8-9 lbs... which I think is a good number. I was hoping for 10, but I need to own up to my own short-comings and be proud of the weight I have lost!

To reach my goal weight, I will have another 14-15 lbs to lose. I am going to try to keep blogging and hold myself accountable until I reach my goal. It's time to stop letting that weight be a fantasy... It's time to make it a reality. There is no excuse!!

Advocare - Day 15

Yesterday was pretty much a bust. I started out good. I took my MNS packs and my meal replacement shake... and then I had a very frustrating meeting... and then I had our pinning ceremony for our graduating nursing students (which is fun and special, but rather stressful on all of us who are trying to plan it and execute it)... Soooo.... I ate a schlotzky's sandwich, a cookie, a large cup of yogurt with chocolate chips in it, and I ate a piece of garlic bread before my chicken caesar salad last night at Napoli's. ARGH!!! Why am I such an emotional eater?!?! This is something that NEEDS to be broken!!! This morning, I paid for it on the scale and felt like such a failure... I have worked so hard, and I threw away some of it all in one day!! I gained half of a pound... ugh. It's not worth it to just eat whatever I want!!! I HAVE to think about it and work hard on developing self-control and better ways of coping with stress.

I told y'all I would be honest about this! I'm a little ashamed, but I need to be honest about it... So, my total weight loss is down to 6.2lbs instead of nearly 7. ugh. I need to really work hard for the next 7 days!!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Advocare Day 14

Day 14!! Only 10 more days to go! I've been doing this for 2 whole weeks! Not too bad, huh? Still sitting at a 6.8lb loss... I'm still hoping for at least 8 lbs... I think it can happen!!

This morning is like the last few... MNS pack, shake with second pack, will eat a grilled chicken salad with MNS packs before and during, for dinner, I'm going to eat left-over honey chicken and rice with steamed broccoli this time. Snacks include fruit and almonds.

This is my last Monday for this semester!! I am so excited about summer break! I need the rest and the break from the stress and responsibilities. I'll be ready to do this job again on August 20th, but for now, I am happy to step away!

This is nurses week and teacher appreciation week! I guess I should be appreciated for both of my roles! haha. To all of my fellow nurses and teachers out there, I appreciate you!! :)

Advocare - Day 13

Sunday was great! I took my MNS packs as directed - one before meal replacement shake, on with shake, one before lunch, and one with lunch. Lunch was a grilled chicken sandwich on whole wheat bread with guacamole on it. For dinner, I made homemade honey-chicken with rice and steamed green beans. It was relatively fat free and very low-calorie, but delicious!!! I drank tons of water all day as well.

Church was great and very challenging. We are still going through the "Don't Judge Me" series... This week centered on some of the hot-button issues within churches on things that are negotiable. For example, drinking alcohol. The Bible never says not to drink alcohol. It says not to get drunk on alcohol. However, we need to individually search our hearts and be sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit on what we should do. We also should not judge someone for their decision to partake or avoid. - He talked about a lot of other issues as well, but this is one of the most common and the principles hold up with each issue. I invite you all to listen to the sermon... Even if you don't agree with every point, it might spark an interest in researching further.

www.hillsidewired.com

Advocare - Day 12

Half-way through!!!
total lbs lost: 6.8 (round up to 7lbs? Sure... why not!)

Saturday mornings are the most beautiful things on the planet when you don't have anything on your schedule! I woke up late, so I got started a little late on the MNS vitamin packs, but that's ok. I just took the first pack at 10am and drank my meal replacement shake at 10:30. I didn't eat lunch until 2pm, so I took my 3rd pack at 1:30pm and ate a turkey sandwich on whole wheat flat-bread for lunch with two cutie oranges. For dinner, we went out to eat with Austin's parents, and I ordered salmon with green beans. I allowed myself to cave a little and I ate 4 bites of Austin's molten chocolate cake.... soooo worth it!!! yummmm

I'm so glad this is half-way over, but I have to say, it isn't as hard as it was at the beginning! It becomes part of the new normal...

Friday, May 3, 2013

Advocare - Day 11

I am so glad the "cleanse" portion of the challenge is over! I was ready for something new! Even though I was ready, it is hard to develop a new routine! Today I started the MNS vitamin packs and had a meal replacement shake for breakfast. With the MNS packs, you have to take them exactly as directed in order for them to work the way they were intended to work! I took the first "color" pack 30 minutes before breakfast. With breakfast, I took the first "white" pack. 30 minutes before lunch, I took the last "color" pack, then with lunch, the last "white" pack. The different packs are explained below.

Before Breakfast Color Packet
Calcium Plus 2 caplets
ActoTherm SR 1 caplet
ProBiotic Restore 1 capsule

White Packet - with breakfast
OmegaPlex 2 softgels
Amplify A.T. 1 softgel

Before Lunch Color Packet
Calcium Plus 2 caplets
BioTherm 2 capsules
White Packet - with lunch
CorePlex 3 caplets

For breakfast, I already explained that I had the meal replacement shake - It was pretty good and kept me full all morning, but I am READY for lunch now! I live love to eat!! Shakes are hard for me because I feel deprived of the joy of eating and chewing! haha. I will eat a salad with chicken again today for lunch, but I will add cottage cheese to it - because I CAN!! I LOVE cheese. Oh, yeah, we've already covered that! :) For dinner, Austin and I will order a lean steak and sweet potatoes from Outback... They have an AWESOME special for 9.99 with a 6oz. steak with two sides. It's our favorite Friday meal. I'm looking forward to having a night in and enjoying one of my favorite meals! I'm so glad it still fits on the 24 day challenge diet! :) yay!! Tonight, I'll still take my omegaplex vitamins and I'll keep drinking TONS of water all day. For my snacks, I'm eating a handful of almonds for one, and an apple for the other. See you tomorrow!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Advocare - Day 10

This is the last day of the Cleanse portion of the 24 day challenge! And someone brought DONUTS to work!!!!! DONUTS!! Talk about torture!!!! I want to marry and have babies with LOVE donuts.

Instead, I ate my oatmeal and drank my fiber drink. I took my probiotics and drank my spark like a good girl. Damn those donuts and their delicious, tantalizing smell!!!

For lunch I am meeting some friends at a cool place downtown, but I am planning on just ordering soup and salad. For my snack, I brought an apple and some peanut butter. For dinner, I am at the mercy of the service organization I have been volunteering for. I go straight from work to the organization, and I will be there until at least 8pm. They serve us dinner every week, but sometimes it's not necessarily cleanse worthy. I will just have to wait and see what they serve before I make a decision about picking around the unhealthy parts or waiting until I get home to eat something healthier! I'll let you know what happens!

Tomorrow, I'll start the next phase of the challenge! I will start the MNS vitamin packs and start drinking meal replacement shakes for breakfast. I'm sure you are probably as sick of the same old thing every day as I am! haha. I can actually add in a little bit of dairy for the next 14 days, too! I am pretty excited about cheese! :)

I've got a lot to do at work today, but I'll see you tomorrow!

MNS Vitamin packs and meal replacement shakes
 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Follow-up on "Thoughts on Infertility" (Advocare - Day 9)

Today: 
Spark & probiotic
Fiber drink
two eggs scrambled
salad with chicken and balsamic dressing
fruit
No idea what to do for dinner yet! I meant to lay something out to thaw before I left for work, but I completely forgot!

Weighed this morning... 5 lbs down! I was hoping for 6, but I'll take 5, gladly!!
____________________________________________________________________________

So, I wanted to apologize for my raw emotions yesterday. I think sometimes it is cathartic and healing to be able to put your feelings and thoughts "out there" for others to know. Other times, it might be less than fruitful. I pray that you all find either encouragement or compassion from my words, but if you feel otherwise about it, please let me know! My intention is never to offend or harm.

A follow-up from yesterday: 
Our small group has been working through a study by John Piper called "Future Grace". There is an excellent video seminar series that we have been watching every week, and it has been such a convicting, amazing study. Last night, the subject was on Grace in Anxiety and Covetousness. Piper gave so many incredible scriptures and spoke directly to the heart of why we are covetous and anxious.

His definitions of the words:
Anxiety:
The loss of a confident sense of security in God with feelings of foreboding that something bad will happen
Covetousness:
Intense desire for something that is not for God's glory - to the point where the desire takes away your contentment in the Lord

The whole time he was speaking, I kept thinking about my anxiety about my strong desire for a baby. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't believe that desiring a baby is "not for God's glory", BUT I do think that when that desire takes away my contentment in the Lord, I am absolutely not glorifying God through that desire. It struck me so intensely that we, as humans, can turn something OF GOD into something that tears our hearts AWAY FROM God. How twisted are we?! I have absolutely been feeling anxious about this because I feel that God is withholding something GOOD from ME! I have lost my sense of security in God and I have resigned myself to the idea that God is no longer FOR ME and doesn't want me to have good things! THIS IS NOT TRUE!!! I have coveted my way out of security in GOD?! wow. Austin and I discussed in depth how to fight against this in our hearts. We have decided to start memorizing scripture again. We need weapons to fight! And Scripture is our Sword of the Spirit! We need to have it close so we can use it often! Here is a list of scriptures that Piper pointed out to combat this!

For Anxiety:

Matthew 6:25-33
 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Romans 8:28-39
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[j]
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Lamentations 3:22-26
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”
25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
    to the one who seeks him;
26 it is good to wait quietly
    for the salvation of the Lord.
(And My personal favorite in dealing with Anxiety) 
Isaiah 46:3-4
“Listen to me, you descendants of Jacob,
    all the remnant of the people of Israel,
you whom I have upheld since your birth,
    and have carried since you were born.
Even to your old age and gray hairs
    I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
    I will sustain you and I will rescue you 
For Covetousness: 
Hebrews 13:5-6 
Keep your lives free from the love of money [babies?] and be content with what you have, because God has said,
“Never will I leave you;
    never will I forsake you.”[a]
So we say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?”[b] 
 Philippians 4:19
19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. 
Philippians 4:11-13   
11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
 Luke 12:15
15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
 Mark 4:19
19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful
 1 Timothy 6:9-10
Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 
Our plan is to start memorizing a scripture a week... I love this list... Just transposing it onto this blog and reading through them again gives me so much peace and such a strong sense of strength to combat and win! 
I'll see you all tomorrow!  

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Thoughts on Infertility (Advocare - Day 8)

I think I was still somewhat asleep when I drank my fiber drink this morning, because I sort of felt like I had just downed a cup of apple sauce afterwards... This is strange, considering I usually think of sawdust and bark when I drink it! ha.

Today:
Spark and probiotics
Breakfast: Fiber drink and oatmeal
Snack: cuties
Lunch: "unwich" - turkey and veggies wrapped in lettuce
Snack: almonds & carrot
Dinner: grilled chicken salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing
Snack: almond milk
omegaplex & herbal cleanse tablets

Today is my gorgeous, sweet, wonderful mom's birthday! I am so blessed to call her "mom"! She has done so much to make sure we knew we were loved by her and by the Lord. I couldn't have asked for better!

______________________________________________________________________________

Side note for the day... I don't think I've mentioned that I turned 30 this year... Well, I did. I transitioned from my 20's to my 30's in February, and I have to say, the age didn't bother me! I actually welcome my 30's with open arms! The only thing that was somewhat of a sting, is that we haven't been blessed with children, and we are both now in our 30's. (There was a trigger that caused me to write about this today... I will talk about it a little below.)

I would have never chosen for my life to have gone the way that it did. I know I have written some about this, but it is a constant, deep theme of my life, it seems! I am really struggling with believing that God has good plans for me and that my desires have been established by Him and will be fulfilled in His righteous timing. An example of MY timing: I always thought that I would get married at 22, start having babies at 24, and be a stay-at-home mom just loving my life raising babies. In fact, when I was a child, and people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, all I would tell them was "a mommy". I always said I wanted 10 kids!! I never wanted a career. I never wanted to have tons of money or travel the world. I wanted a family. That's it!

Well, instead, I got married when I was 27 (almost 28), and after nearly 2 years of trying to conceive, we are meeting dead end, after dead end with no babies in sight. I have always had a fear in the back of my mind that I wouldn't be able to have children. I have no idea why this fear existed, but it has been there. It's very real. And my fears are being realized. Granted, I have a very successful career. I have traveled to all parts of the world. I have had some incredible experiences. But that was never my dream! (Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining about the blessings... just explaining a little about me.) I recognize that I am the complete opposite of most people in the U.S.. I know I should just shut up and be grateful. But a part of my heart is sad. My heart longs for what I have always dreamed of.

The age "30" doesn't bother me.... but the age "30" with no children.... this is my nightmare.

I read an article that someone (a wonderful person) posted on facebook today about how terrible it is that women wait until their later years to have children. Without any warning, intense ANGER raged up inside me because HOW DARE THEY put down women who have children later in life. I HAD NO CHOICE! I DIDN'T CHOOSE THIS!!! God has a different plan for everyone! I would give anything for any baby, at any time, in any way, just to have a baby! I know some women choose to have babies later in life, but that is not what I am talking about.

I have learned to receive and show grace more through this struggle than I have in any other time in my life. It was HARD when I was in my late 20's and still single... people would always ask, "why aren't you married?" or "you know you aren't getting any younger?!" or "are you just really picky?" or "maybe God is calling you to singleness?".... all very frustrating, and at times, damaging and hurtful.

However, nothing tops the comments that I get about being 30 and not having babies. Most of our friends are on their second, third, or fourth kids, and we are the last ones standing without them. Some of the comments that come from very well-meaning, sweet people are just simply ignorant or mindless, but leave me with an aching heart and a realization that people just don't understand. "Don't you want children?" or (when they find out we want a baby) "You do know how to get pregnant right?!" (they think this is funny) or "well, my friend tried for seven years and then had miscarriages, but then they had a baby at age 28, and it was great!" (this makes me feel better, how?!) or "You know you aren't getting any younger? The rate of birth defects goes up every year. You really should think about trying to get pregnant soon if you ever want normal kids..." or "Hmmm... wonder why you aren't getting pregnant? It was easy for me!" or "We didn't even want kids! You are the lucky one!" or "Trust me, you don't want them... they cry and you never have a life again" or "you're just too stressed out! stop thinking about it, and it'll happen" (stop thinking about it?!?!?! are you insane?!?!! you try wanting something with every fiber of your being and knowing it is what you were designed and created to do, and tell me if you can stop thinking about it...) - and the list goes on. I will say, the most damaging is when people complain about their children or pregnancies to me. I get it. Kids are hard. I have NO SEMBLANCE of a romanticized view of motherhood. But, let me say this once, I would rather have poop in my hair, spit on my clothes, a messy house, and a severe lack of sleep and have children than to be in my dressy business clothes at an office without my deepest heart's desire ANY DAY OF THE WEEK!!!

The reason I describe these specific comments that have been said to me (multiple times, many of them) is that I would like to offer you the opportunity to learn what to say to someone who may be struggling with infertility. All I can tell you is, please be patient with us. We are hurting. We are trying to rest within God's will for our lives while still doing everything possible to get pregnant. (I will not go into detail about the things that we do to try to get pregnant... not necessary!) Show compassion. Listen. Don't complain. Don't try to make me feel better, because nothing will make me feel better. Pray for me. Let me love on your kids. Don't make me feel like I am less of an adult or we have less of a marriage because we don't have kids. Don't tell me I don't understand what you are going through because I am not a mother. Treat me like you would any of your other friends. Invite me to play groups! (I could help keep control of kids!) Let me be a part of your world. When the need for words comes up, simply say, "I'm sorry." Nothing more. I know that there are no other words, and I don't expect any.

Sorry for ranting and having a little bit of an emotional explosion all over your mind. Every now and then, I just need to get it out. I need to vent. Every month when we realize we are (yet again) not pregnant, I grieve. I feel a loss. A loss of an opportunity to start our family. Today, I realized, I am, yet again, not pregnant, and I am grieving. Thank you for letting me grieve to you.

We are praying about what the Lord wants for us. We want nothing more than to be in the center of His will for our lives. I am a true believer that when He does not grant our prayers, it is because He has a plan that is greater!

We feel like we are standing in a room with several doors, and we have no idea where they lead. For now, we are pushing on the doors. I believe when God's timing is perfect, one of the doors will open, and our baby will be on the other side. We believe in adoption, and we are currently nudging on that door, but I also believe that God has the power to throw open one of the other doors without any push of ours and show us something that is totally unexpected. We are open. Open and waiting for an open door.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Advocare - Day 7

Today's plan - 
Morning: oatmeal...starting to get sick of it! with probiotic and spark
Snack: almonds and cutie oranges
Lunch: grilled chicken caesar salad and an apple
Snack: almonds and cuties
Dinner: Baked chicken with cajun seasoning, okra cooked on the stove with a teaspoon of olive oil and salt/pepper, steamed broccoli
At bedtime: omegaplex and herbal cleanse tablets

I start the fiber drink again tomorrow for the next 3 days. Hopefully I'll get it down easily!!

Not feeling super "quippy" or "inspirational" today... I guess you just get the diet portion of this process today! :)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Advocare - Day 6



Back on the wagon!

Apple and Spark for breakfast with probiotic. Salad with cucumber, bell peppers, carrots, and a little shredded beef with balsamic vinaigrette for lunch. Turkey and veggies for dinner. Omegaplex and herbal cleanse tablets at bedtime. fruit for snacks all day.

I'm starting to feel a little better about my cheat. I actually wrote "CHEATER" on my written plan that I have been keeping track on my challenge on. Maybe the self-shaming helped a little. ha.

Church this morning was awesome! Our pastor is going through a series called "Don't Judge Me". It's been very challenging and thought-provoking. I encourage everyone to look on iTunes or our church's website to watch these messages. They apply to everyone and have really good insight into ways to communicate with people who might be making harmful choices in their lives.

Hillside Christian Church - hillsidewired.com
Pastor: Tommy Politz


Advocare - Day 5

Que Usher's "This is my confession" song... Seriously, I kind of feel like I cheated on my significant other or something... Let me explain... I mean, it was only once! I didn't even mean it! I promise, I was thinking about vegetables and lean meats the whole time! It was only lust, not love! The steak and shrimp scampi on the fixed menu was just taunting me... I had no choice!

Let me explain. I really have done great the last 5 days, not bending or breaking... until last night. We were invited to join some friends for dinner at this awesome cafe in town that only serves dinner once a month. They have very limited space (max 25-30 people), and people make their reservations a month in advance with a long waiting list. The menu is fixed, and there isn't much wiggle room with what you can order. (and honestly, I wouldn't really want wiggle room... the food is AWESOME!!!) The chef has been featured on the food network. SO, I ate. Yes, I admit it. I ate. I will tell you, I'm proud to say I did opt to eat the fresh tomato and sweet pea puree for my appetizer instead of the pecan crusted quail on a bed of cream spinach with melted goat cheese (my mouth is watering just typing that)... Ok, I admit, I tasted it... and it was one of the best things I have ever put in my mouth... BUT I ate the healthy, cleanse worthy appetizer. For my main course, I ate beef tenderloin with shrimp scampi on a bed of risotto with grilled asparagus... Pretty much, the opposite of the cleanse.

Here is my rationalization: Beef is not bad, right? shrimp is not bad, right? So, I think the only bad things were the scampi sauce and the risotto. I tried to leave as much of the sauce as possible, and I only ate a few bites of the risotto. I feel like I tried to minimize the damage!!

Ok, so here is the good news! I weighed myself this morning, and I have actually lost 4 lbs so far!! That's averaging almost a pound/day! I feel like this is still really working for me, and I am committed to continue cleansing until the end, even though I had a slip up!

The rest of the day was exactly like the days before: I ate oatmeal for breakfast with my probiotic and spark, fruit for snack, turkey and veggies for lunch, fruit and almonds for snack... and I've gone into too much detail for dinner! I still took my omegaplex and herbal cleanse tablets too.

Here is my deeper thought about this: I think, even if we mess up, there is grace, and we can turn right back around and do the right thing the next day! It's not about being perfect. It's about patterns. It's about the commitment and the "norm". It's the same way with our daily life. I might not always do what I know I should do, but God still loves me, forgives me, and shows grace to me. If I showed no concern for God's principles and commands, I would miss out on so many benefits of a healthy relationship with Him and would miss a lot of blessings that come from obedience. However, when I do mess up or slip, there is so much comfort to know that I am not shunned or hated... I am still perfectly loved. I hope you all feel that perfect love and grace!

You would've eaten it too, right?!


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So, I told you I would update about my dinner on day 4. We ended up just grilling chicken breasts and burgers. I ate half of a chicken breast with lettuce, tomato, and avocado. My awesome friend also made me mashed cauliflower with no milk or butter... it was DELICIOUS!!! Made me feel like I was eating mashed potatoes without all of the starch and calories! I will have to copy that trick!