Category Archives: Faith

An Emotional Miscarriage

Part of the craziness of the past summer included 2 miscarriages for me. Before the 1st, I knew a few friends had had one, but I didn’t get it. I probably even said, “It’s because something was terribly wrong. It’s a good thing.” Or some version of that dreadful line. I didn’t know what to say. And I definitely had no way to relate. Our two boys’ pregnancies were smooth sailing. But now I get it. At least a little bit. Having a miscarriage is one of the most emotional things that I’ve gone through.

Unfortunately, it’s a special club that only those who have experienced it can understand. And then for some reason we never talk about it.

I had a missed miscarriage. That means I found out by ultrasound that our baby did not have a heartbeat and that I would be miscarrying sometime in the coming weeks. That day was full of mixed emotions. Disbelief. Hope that they were wrong (I’ve read lots of stories where that has happened). Guilt that something I had done caused it. Fear about what would happen. Heartbreak that we had lost our baby. Over the next few days life went on as normal in many ways. I still had to be mom, D still had to go to work and yet lingering over me was the threat of a miscarriage at any moment. I had the ultrasound on a Monday and I had the miscarriage that Friday. Those days passed like a haze. I know I was delusional because I went to the zoo one of those days. Thank goodness nothing happened then!

A dear friend was my ‘on call’ buddy. I knew I needed someone to be here, but Damien couldn’t just wait indefinitely for something to happen. My girlfriend had had a miscarriage and she was so kind to be with me. God orchestrated that day perfectly. My friend was here when I needed her, D was able to come right home, the boys were able to take their naps right in the middle of everything and the miscarriage was resolved by bedtime. I don’t understand why miscarriages happen (well, scientifically I do). But I do know that God is there. Even in the hurt and the heartbreak and the disappointment. He is there and He is good. I can’t explain that, but I can tell you beyond any doubt that I have experienced it.

Throughout the whole process, one of the biggest blessings was that I had announced the pregnancy before the ultrasound. And so then I told everyone that our baby did not have a heartbeat. The support and prayers and messages from friends who had experienced miscarriage too was overwhelming. I know that those prayers helped carry me through. I was stunned by how many of my friends knew exactly what it was like to lose a baby. Why don’t we talk about it more? Why don’t we support each other? Why do we not announce pregnancies before the end of the 1st trimester? Every baby matters. Every single one. Ask any mother who has lost one.

If you have had a miscarriage, my heart goes out to you. Your baby(ies) are loved and you are loved. If you haven’t had a miscarriage, I am so glad for you! Find a friend who has and give them a hug. Pray for them. Get them some small token to remember the little ones they have lost. And don’t try to say anything to make it better.

And announce your pregnancies. Every baby matters. Just because they are lost before 12 weeks does not make them any less in God’s eyes. And definitely not in their mother’s eyes. Get the support that your heart will need.

And with that……

I just found out that I am pregnant!

I would love prayers for a healthy pregnancy and for peace.


Trusting God

It’s been too long since I posted. And SO much has happened.

But I want to start with Trusting God.

I’ve been a Christian for a long time and sometimes I feel like I’m in this rut of doing the same things over and over. Like I’m not growing or changing or becoming more like Christ. I mostly just felt stuck in my safe, comfortable little Christian bubble. And moving to the Bible belt to work at a Christian company magnified that beyond compare.

But how could I grow? My deepest wish is to show compassion and grace and love like Jesus did. But what does that look like? Where do I start if I just feel blah inside?

This summer, God has taught me to trust Him more than I ever have before.

Trust Him with two broken feet right before my first ever Half Marathon.

Trust Him to show me a new passion in exercise.

Trust Him with feeling like we belong in TN.

Trust Him with finding a house.

Trust Him with growing our family.

Trust Him to bring me friends that I can really connect with.

Trust Him to give me comfort in my darkest times.

Trust Him.

If you had asked, I would have told you I did trust God. I would have been sure of it. But over the past 15 months we have had more challenges thrown at us than ever before. And over and over and over again God showed up. Not always how we wanted, but He has been there.

My favorite thing to do is drive somewhere alone. I turn off the radio and I just talk to God. As if He was actually sitting in the seat next to me. Often times, I’m crying. But that time has been so healing for me. I know that this is exactly the journey he has for us. Each thing that happens open the doors for new things. It doesn’t make the pain of two miscarriages disappear, but it provides hope. I hope and I trust and I know that God has a plan for my life. It’s not the plan I have for my life, it’s better.

Trust Him.

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I am Proud

So this post is going to be a little weird. But I need to write it for me.

I am proud of the things I have been accomplishing.

I hesitate to say that. I don’t want to sound arrogant or like I am bragging. But all too often, I don’t take even one second to be proud of the things I do. It’s a vicious, defeatist attitude that steals the joy from every moment. “You can’t be proud.” It says. “You’re being a jerk if you say that.” “You’re not really that great anyway.” “Look at all these things you don’t do well.” It is really easy for me to get down on myself and doubt my roles as a mom and wife and friend. And I genuinely believe that Satan uses those doubts to keep me from becoming the person I should be.

So, I’d like to share a few things because I am proud of the changes I’ve been making.

I am proud that I can take the boys almost anywhere and they are really well behaved. Not perfect of course, but really good. And I have learned through trial and error a bunch of ways to make our outings go so smoothly.

I am proud that I have been teaching myself to cook. Over the last few months the quality and taste of my homemade meals has increased dramatically. I’m sure Damien appreciates that!

I am proud that over the last year I have actually blogged pretty consistently.

I am proud that I haven’t bit my nails since January. (Silly, but 29 years in the making!)

Thank you for allowing me to stop and be proud of myself for a few moments. Each positive change comes with baby steps. And failure before success. And during success.

The one major area I struggle with staying consistent in is spending time in Bible study. I had been doing really well and now I have lost focus. So time to restart and be proud of the changes I will make.


Here’s to 2014!

It seems like each year goes even faster than the one before it.

In 2013, we:
-coordinated a Financial Peace University class
-applied and got a job with Dave Ramsey!
-packed up and moved 1500 miles across the country to Nashville, TN
-sold our first home
-left our friends and family for new adventures
-celebrated Big C’s 2nd birthday and Little C’s 1st birthday
-made new friends in a new city
-left our boys with a paid babysitter for the first time ever
-watched as God works in the lives of our friends

and a million other things.

This year has been amazing and really tough. We are continually amazed by how God is using us and giving us opportunities. It is still tough to be so far away, but this Christmas break was one of the best visits we’ve ever had. It was relaxing and peaceful and just nice to be with family and friends.

Some things I’m grateful for:
-Returning to Nashville after the holidays actually feels like coming home. We are still in a new place and learning to love all of its quirks, but it does feel like our home.
-Although it’s bittersweet, family time was great! The boys got to spend a bunch of time with all of our family and they did awesome. It has been especially awesome to watch my brothers be amazing uncles. They play with the boys, read to them, dote on them and just take care of them. I’m so impressed and so thankful.
-I got to get some much needed time away. I went grocery shopping, running, whatever. It was such a blessing.

I’m not sure why everyone says they have goals instead of resolutions (Aren’t they the same thing?), but I’m working on setting some realistic and achievable things to accomplish this year. Small steps lead to big changes. If I get my thoughts organized, I’ll post them.

May God work in your life and help you be the person He wants you to be.


Who Needs Sleep?

Second kids like to challenge the rules.

Little C started sleeping through the night (for real – 8-10 hours) during his first week on the outside. I kept quiet. I didn’t tell anyone. I didn’t want to mess it up. And it lasted for almost 6 months. It was glorious!

I should have known that meant trouble.

At 3 months I found out I had a supply issue that was brought on and aggravated by how much he slept. My boys are both little, but this time, Little C wasn’t really gaining weight. I had been enjoying the amazing sleep and for some reason I had never thought about the need to pump at some point during the night. Thankfully, I found an amazing friend who donated about 200 oz of milk to us so I could supplement him a few ounces each day while I let him nurse as much as humanly possible and pump at least once or twice a day to bring my supply back.

Fast forward to 6 months and he no longer slept through the night. I’m not sure what changed. Maybe the lack of milk had caught up so he was hungry? Maybe the 6 teeth almost all at once did it? Maybe the first cold he had? Maybe the 6 month growth spurt? I don’t know, but suddenly he started sleeping (or not sleeping, in this case) like he ‘should’ have as a newborn. At first he woke up every 3/4 hours, then down to 2/3. For the last few months it’s been more like 1/2 hours. It’s been tough and I feel like a zombie, but I tried not to complain (too much). I knew this was payback for those first few months. And I just kept trying to remind myself that soon enough I’ll be begging him to wake up. And technically, he’s easy. I just have to stumble in there, feed him for 5-10 minutes at the most and lay him back down in the crib. He goes right back to sleep. It was ‘easy’ to just keep trudging along because he didn’t stay up or fight sleep – he just woke up every hour or so.

We weren’t sure how to help him, and me, get more sleep and we were scared to try much since both boys share a room. It didn’t seem to be a good idea to make the little one scream just to wake up the big one. But now Little C is 1. We know he can go longer between feedings. And more importantly, we know he needs more sleep to be the happy baby he should be. In spite of the broken sleep, he is a pretty happy kid, but on the days where he sleeps better there is a marked difference.

So we’ve been in sleep boot camp this week and will be for the next few weeks, I’m sure. We’re not ready to night wean yet. Between his size and my supply issues, I’m just not ready, but something needs to change. After thinking through everything that goes on we’ve come up with a plan:

  • Try to be more diligent about putting him down for 2 good naps a day. I would make many of his naps be in the car because we had errands, etc and then sometimes we’d miss the second nap. In this week alone of making sure to follow more of a routine (with some naps still in the car) he has been way happier during the day. Especially in the early evening.
  • Create more of a bedtime routine. He is a champion nurse-to-sleeper so we haven’t really done much of a routine. If we want him to sleep without having to nurse so much, I really think the routine is vital.
  • Pay attention to ambient lights. Caleb doesn’t seem to be bothered by lights much so we hadn’t really thought about it. Paying attention this week, it seems that the light from our bedroom can wake up the little one if we’re not careful. We’ve been trying to keep the door closed and it seems to help.
  • Teach him to fall asleep separate from nursing. This is HUGE! He falls asleep SO easily if I just let him nurse long enough. And he just lets me lay him back in bed no problem. But now he can’t stir in the night and get back to sleep without my help. This week we’ve been working on it and I’ll share more in a post tomorrow!

God Provides

After my last few posts, I had many friends reach out to encourage me and let me know I’m not alone. Thank you! I am so grateful and I covet your prayers.

I just wanted to share how awesome God has been.

From about 3 different, unrelated sources, I was recommended the book After the Boxes are Unpacked by Susan Miller and was even able to join a bible study group this week that uses the book. I’ve read the first few chapters and it has been great. It definitely hits on exactly how I’m feeling and I’m looking forward to reading the rest. On top of a great book, now I have a chance to meet some new friends (and get to know some new friends a little better). God’s timing never ceases to amaze me and I love how this particular book was recommended to me by so many different people.

The second thing causing the most stress has been the boys. They’ve been extra tough lately, but pretty much since I wrote that post, we’ve been doing a lot better. I know part of the change is my own attitude, but it’s also a tremendous blessing that the boys are giving me a nice little ‘break.’ Little C has been sleeping a bit better and been doing really well with Elimination Communication (more about that in another post soon). Big C has been less trying, more cooperative, and just plain more fun. It’s no coincidence that when I needed relief most, it came.

Friends. It’s tough to make friends! I’ve gotten to meet several awesome ladies and I’m so excited to get to know them better. Just when I have been most lonely, God brings someone into my life who I really click with. From a running buddy, to a fellow hippie, to anywhere in between.

 

 


Coping

I shared yesterday that this move has been tough, but I wanted to share a little more.

I’m having a hard time coping with everything.

The little one rarely sleeps more than 2 hours at a time (if that), we’ve been here just long enough for the fun new-ness to have worn off, I struggle with being an emotional eater, the boys sharing a room is really tough, Damien gets home almost 2 hours later than I am used to, and having a 2.5 year old and a 1 year old is proving to be quite the challenge. In short, I’m a mess.

I don’t know if I would call it depression, but I definitely struggle to not be gloomy all the time. I’m a people person, so I am generally always happy around other people. But alone – at home, that’s not the case.

My first year teaching was covered in a cloud of gloom. I was so stressed about all of the tasks on hand and especially anxious about being a good teacher. I felt physically ill almost every Sunday night before the start of the next week. I’m not sure how I survived that year, but with Damien’s support, a great partner teacher and a ton of prayer, I made it.

The next year, I was able to go to China for two weeks on a mission trip. Our job would be to teach English as a summer camp to students who wanted/needed/were able to afford extra practice from an ‘authentic English speaker.’ I was responsible for creating the curriculum all of our teaching teams would use and I liked the challenge. If you know me, you know that I like to be in charge. This I could do. When we arrived, we found out that we would be working at three campuses, not one. And since I was the ‘professional’ teacher, I would go alone to a campus 45 minutes away, teach all day and then travel back. By myself. I like to be in charge. I don’t like to be alone. Especially in a foreign country! The first day I felt like puking on the way to the campus. I had no idea what I was doing, I didn’t speak Chinese, and I was on my own.

From the time I found out I’d have to go to a separate campus, I started praying. I knew I needed God’s strength to handle it. Even though I liked to be in charge, I really had no confidence in my teaching ability. I believed that I wasn’t any good at it. I think my prayers were something along the line of “You have to fix me. You brought me here and then sent me away by myself. So you have to make me work. I can’t spend my one short week on the verge of vomitting so make this go away. You put me in this situation, so now You’re going to make it better.” And you know what? He did. Since that trip I have had almost zero anxiety or depression when it comes to teaching.

And then we had Big C. No one tells you that the hormones after having the baby are worse than when you are pregnant. I was a wreck after having a baby. It felt like a roller coaster. I cried a lot, struggled a lot, and begged for God’s patience and strength because I didn’t have any left. Slowly, God taught me how to handle being a mother and I learned how to handle the ups and downs of having a little one.

Then came the little one. The first months of his life seemed like a breeze compared to the first time around. I ‘knew what I was doing.’ And I felt confident as a mom. So how’d we mix it up this time? Oh yeah, a move to Nashville!

The last 2-3 weeks have been some of the toughest I’ve had. I’m struggling with the move, I’m struggling as a mom, and I’m struggling as a wife. I shared my stories for my sake. They prove to me that God is there in the rough times. He uses them to teach me and to make me a better person. This storm will pass and I will be stronger for it. It’s just incredibly hard to see that right now. In the middle of the night when I’m exhausted and crying, I need to remember that Christ gives me strength.

Life will go on. God will help me overcome this challenge and the next one will come. Change is good. Growth is good.

John 14:1
1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.

Romans 15:13
13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.


Change is Hard

change-roadsign

Generally speaking, I like change. If I’ve been doing the same thing for a long time, I’ll try to intentionally change it up.

But this time – this change – is hard.

I’ll be honest. I want to go home. I miss my home. I miss my family. I miss my friends. I miss my doggy. I miss the boys having separate rooms. I miss AZ traffic (never thought I’d say that!). I miss the forests and trails. I miss everything that I’ve known for my entire life. I miss being able to call people for advice and not have to worry that it’s only 4, 5, or 6 in the morning there. I miss being comfortable in my own little world.

I’m trying my best not to complain, but I don’t want to act like everything is great and nothing is wrong. I don’t want to hide the fact that I bawled my eyes out last night while the little one was screaming and refusing to go to sleep (he has a cold).

I also don’t want to make it sound like I’m miserable. I am still excited that we are here. Damien’s job is awesome and I know he is really enjoying it. He really likes the people he works with, he’s actually busy and doing things he enjoys. Living in a big city is kind of fun. I love all of the parks, the zoo, the shopping. It’s fun having so much to do.

This is more change than I’ve ever had to deal with. It’s proving to be a lot harder to roll with the punches this time.

Part 2 will be coming soon.


Finding My Way

I’ve been struggling with my future lately.

I love being home with my boys. It’s challenging, but there’s no place I’d rather be.

Sort of.

I have this desire to do more, be more, accomplish more. But I don’t know what that looks like or how to find the path to get there.

One of the speakers that works for Dave Ramsey (and now I can say ‘who works with Damien!’) is Jon Acuff. I recently read his book Start and it rocks. It talks about chasing your dreams and living a life of awesome. And that you just need to start now. You don’t have to have it all figured out, you just have to start working for it. Now.

I’m so excited to start doing something and I’ve spent some time figuring out what I want to do. I love teaching and helping people and I have a passion for all things birth, breastfeeding, and health. I’ve played around with ideas like doula, lactation consultant, and health coach. Those are all great and I think that whichever one i pursue I will do well at.

But here’s the thing. I have a two year old and a ten month old. It means the world to me that God has blessed us and I am able to stay home. I truly enjoy watching my boys learn and grow. But I would be lying if I didn’t feel like I wasn’t accomplishing anything. I know that’s not true. I know I am investing my time and energy into my boys. So why does it feel like I’m ‘doing nothing’?

Why do I feel like I have to be doing something, anything else to find this elusive sense of worth? Or, on the flip side: if I’m not doing something else than why don’t I have a Pinterest worthy house while doing ridiculously creative things with the boys everyday and cooking elaborate meals each night? I know these are silly, but why are those voices so loud?

And at what point do I get to work toward other things?

Ultimately, I know that God will point the way. He has been so present in our lives and has opened doors for us that we never could have imagined (We live in Nashville! Damien works for Dave!), but that doesn’t make contentment easier to obtain. My prayer is that God would give me that peace and contentment and use this time with my boys to teach me to rely on Him for all of my heart’s desires.


Rising to the Challenge

Over the past 6 months, I have had the opportunity to meet with a health coach every other week. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was something I would definitely recommend!

I worked with Pamela from Five Foundations Holistic Health Coaching. We met at my house for about an hour every other week until I moved and then we finished our sessions by phone. At the beginning, Pam asked me about my habits – eating, exercise, spiritual, etc – and then worked with me to set goals for the next 1, 3, and 6 months. Based on my goals, I told Pam which areas I would like to focus on and she helped with exercise ideas, recipes, organization or time management strategies, anything at all. 

It was so nice to get those few moments to focus on myself and what my goals are. As a mom, it’s so easy to get overwhelmed and only focus on the kids. But what I kept finding was that there were a lot of things I wanted to do, almost nothing I was actually doing, and a lot of stress/guilt/depression about the situation. I “didn’t have time” or “didn’t know how” to make changes and these meetings with Pam made all the difference!

I can most definitely say that writing out goals and prioritizing them and then working toward accomplishing them has made me a better person. A better mom, a better wife, a better follower of Jesus, a better everything.

I am proud of myself and the things I accomplished over the past 6 months. I have met almost all of my goals and am close to completing the last few. Pam’s support throughout the process was critical. When I first made the goals, she made sure they were specific and measurable. As I worked on them she researched answers for me, held me accountable for action, and encouraged me to keep working on them. Over time if something wasn’t quite working out, she helped me re-work my goal and evaluate my daily routine.

I now read my Bible more often, work out consistently, run faster than before, weigh 30 pounds less, make time to read for fun/growth, and I am working on cooking at home more. Pam has had a major role in helping me reach my goals.

Why use a health coach?

  • Pam was there for ME. Her focus was on helping ME make positive changes in my life.
  • Pam was my accountability partner. I always knew that if I wasn’t doing what I said I wanted to, I’d have to admit it to her.
  • She provided extra resources, ideas, and modifications to help me along the way.
  • She ‘made’ me set goals for the future.
  • She helped me evaluate my life in all aspects: social life, joy, spirituality, creativity, finances, career, education, health, physical activity, home cooking, home environment, and relationships.
  • She had me set my priorities. I can’t do it all at once. Baby steps in each area.

This process has given me so much confidence in myself and my ability to affect change in my life. I really did feel stuck in a lot of areas before this. The weight of the things I wanted to do was crippling me and it resulted in my own inaction. I was accomplishing nothing. Now I have a system that has been working of setting goals, taking small steps towards achieving them, evaluating them over time, and adjusting as needed.

I know that technically I could have done it on my own, but the point is I wasn’t. And I had been trying. Having Pam as my health coach was the difference. If you get a chance to work with a quality coach that can teach you to make positive differences and help you set your priorities, do it!