Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas Card 2010

Merry (Early) Christmas Blogging World!!!

Faith Hope Love Religious
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Giving Thanks

Seeing as though Thanksgiving is TOMORROW (how did that happen by the way?) I thought this was an appropriate devotional to share.  This is an excerpt from my devotional a few weeks ago about giving thanks…

Girlfriends in God - Mary Southerland 

Psalm 138:2 "I will give thanks to your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness, because your promises are backed by all the honor of your name."

“Are there times when you don't feel like praising God? Honestly, our feelings are irrelevant when it comes to praising God. Praise is not about us. Praise is all about God. Praise is a deliberate choice and a learned habit that produces contentment and an attitude of gratitude.

In Philippians 4:11, the Apostle Paul writes, "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances." In this verse, "learned" means to be "educated by experience" and the word "content" means "contained." Paul's contentment was the result of the resources contained in his heart. In other words, Paul used his circumstances as tutors in the school of praise. He learned how to give God praise even when he was beaten, ridiculed, in prison and facing his own death. Paul's attitude did not reflect his circumstances. Paul made a deliberate choice to praise God - no matter what. Why? Because Paul knew that even when he did not understand God's process, he could trust God's heart.

When we are discouraged, praise reminds us that there is hope in God.

When we are afraid, praise reminds us that no matter what happens, God is with us.  

When we are lost, praise reminds us that God has already been where He is leading us. 

When we are confused, praise reminds us that heaven is not in a panic.”


I choose to praise Him and give thanks today!  What about you??

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

This and That

I find myself at times detaching from the internet blogging world because it is easier…I don’t want my life to go back to being consumed with infertility 24 hours a day, part of me is sick of having my personal business for the world to see, it is difficult watching those who have been “here” with me previously move on to birthing children, even blogging itself is a reminder of what we have lost and how far we still have to go…I don’t know.  It is easier to live life sometimes not blogging and commenting all of the time, if that makes any sense.  I think you have to do whatever it is to function and get through each day, and detaching a little bit is how I am coping right now.  That is not to say that I don’t daily pray for each of you, and still read up on your posts but I don’t feel like I can be as involved as I once was right now.  I don’t know if that makes any sense…

I still experience reminders every single day of what I so desperately want and have lost.  Before we became pregnant I was jealous of pregnant bellies and mothers with young babies…now it just makes me so sad.  Unless you have lost a child I don’t think you can fully understand the depth of the sadness, sometimes it feels so consuming. 

One example of those daily reminders…We had the nursery on Sunday and a little girl told me she was getting a baby from Santa.  Then she excitedly asked me, “Is Santa bringing you a baby for Christmas??”  Consuming sadness.

I normally love love love Christmas time.  Getting out the decorations and Christmas music normally brings me such joy I can’t wipe the smile off of my face, but not the case this year.  We got the Christmas decorations out this past weekend (I know it is early, but it was then or never) and I was so not in the Christmas spirit.  It was a chore putting them up and even now that they are up they aren’t bringing me joy like they have every other year of my 28 years on this earth.  I was supposed to be 7 weeks away from giving birth this year at Christmas, opening presents for my baby, buying a new DSLR camera to capture all of those upcoming happy baby moments, but instead I won’t be doing any of that.  Christmas is just another painful reminder of what we have lost.  Consuming sadness.

I don’t mean for this post to be depressing, but I want you to know my heart.  That is where I am, that is how I feel, that is what I am thinking.  There it is.  My devotional the other day was on transparency.  It said this…

“Transparency is being willing to let others see who we really are and what is really going on in our heart and life. In 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, the Apostle Paul writes, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God." In other words, comfort and encouragement are cyclical.

When I choose to be transparent about my struggle with [infertility and loss], I position myself to receive and give comfort and encouragement to others fighting that same battle. It sounds so simple, doesn't it? It is - if we choose to be transparent.”

So, here I am being transparent.  It is hard to let yourself be so vulnerable, but I have learned through this period of my life it is the best option.  Hopefully, through being transparent, by sharing our struggles, the Lord will bring healing.

There is hope.  Even through the consuming sadness -especially through the consuming sadness, even when it is hard to even blog or to read others blogs, even with the painful daily reminders of what we have lost…God is still holding me…He is still holding YOU.  He will never let us go, He will never leave us alone, He will never give us more than we can handle – if we place our trust and our hope in Him.  In the words of Babbie Mason (lyrics from “Trust His Heart”), “So when you don't understand, When you don't see His plan, When you can't trace His hand, Trust His heart.”  God will work out all of the details, all I have to do is TRUST HIM to do so.  Sounds so simple and yet it so hard to live out every day…

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

iPod Faith

My friend Jamie sent me this little devotional from Proverbs 31 Ministries…enjoy!

November 1, 2010 by Marybeth Whalen

"Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truths and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long." Psalm 25:4-5 (NIV)

When I was a kid, I had tapes of the music I liked. When I was in college, I had CDs. The point was, when I liked a song, I had to buy the whole tape or CD to get that song.

Sometimes you could buy the cassette single and sometimes you could get lucky enough to tape it from the radio. (Anyone else remember sitting by the radio waiting to catch your favorite song so you could hit record?) But for the most part, you had to buy the whole enchilada.

A funny thing happened when you bought the whole tape or CD, though. Not always, but a lot of the time you found other songs you liked by that artist. Your eyes were opened to other possibilities. (Hang on... I am going somewhere with this...) You discovered a song that you felt like no one else knew about but you because you didn't hear it on the radio. It became personal because it wasn't popular. It was what you found when you were looking for something else.

Now music has changed. One of my kids hears a song and within moments they can get online and have it downloaded to their iPod for $1. No trip to the mall with your hard-earned money, no waiting for your mom to have time to drive you. Just a few clicks and press play. And you also don't have to buy anything you didn't want or know about. You just got what you wanted, when you wanted it. It has revolutionized the music industry. But is it necessarily better that way?

I spent time last week going back through old songs I loved, many of which were songs that were never popular, that most people never heard of. I found them because I had bought the whole tape of some band's latest release. I like them so much because they weren't popular, therefore they didn't get overplayed. They felt mine.

How often I want my faith the way I want my iPod—instant gratification without having to wade through the unknowns. I want what I want when I want it. Point click and play. I don't want God to require me to buy the whole album—to deal with the parts I don't know or like, to take the time to listen to things I might not want to hear.

And yet, I gained a lot from wading through the stuff I never would have tried without being forced. There were unexpected treasures to be found, surprises I ended up valuing more than what I originally set out to find. I wanted to be a mother but I didn't want the sleepless nights and being stretched to the point of breaking. I wanted to be married but I didn't want to learn how to get along with another person day in and day out, to discover what sacrifice really means. I wanted to be a novelist but I didn't want to have to work so hard to make it happen. I wanted to lose weight but I didn't want to exercise daily or control my cravings. I wanted what I wanted, and God used those desires to build my character along the way, and draw me closer to Him in the process.

Call me old school (you wouldn't be the first) but I don't want an iPod faith. Just because it's more convenient or faster doesn't mean it's the best way. Sometimes being open to what you weren't expecting is the best way to find what you were looking for all along.

Dear Lord, help me to remember when You ask me to wait it is for my best. Help me to trust in the process You're taking me through. And help me remember that You are on the other side of every trial, waiting with a new perspective, a new vision, a new hope. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

What are some things God has required you to go through that you would have chosen to skip if you could? Are you grateful for them now?

Power Verses:
Psalm 31:3, "Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me." (NIV)

Psalm 143:8, "Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul." (NIV)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Strong in the Broken Places

This is an excerpt from the Girlfriends in God devotional from awhile back…

By Mary Southerland

“I find it interesting that all through life, the greatest strength is forged in broken places.

God is not committed to our comfort. God is committed to creating His character within us.

Suffering comes in many ways, but always with the purpose of making us strong enough to endure pain and weak enough to rely upon God.

Hope follows pain because pain forces us to trust God and rely upon His power to mend a broken life. It is in that abandonment to God that we find hope.  "We know that these troubles produce patience.  And patience produces character, and character produces hope." (Romans 5:3-4

Difficult [times] and the brokenness they bring can make us either bitter or better. It is our choice. We can insist on comfort and forfeit character or we can embrace the brokenness, knowing that God will use it for our good.”


Enough said. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Blah Appointments

We were in Mobile yesterday for our hematologist and RE appointments and I honestly feel like it was pointless to even go down there.  The hematologist had no new information for us…basically telling us that absolutely nothing is proven with the MTHFR gene mutation causing repeat pregnancy loss.  It’s a gray area, it’s controversial, there haven’t been convincing studies, etc.  She basically said “take a baby aspirin each day just in case that helps anything”, but there is no convincing evidence that the MTFHR mutation really has any effect on pregnancy outcomes.  Well that’s lovely, thanks for taking my money for that.  :)

At our RE appointment, he went over our hefty file with us and basically told us that we would proceed with the same protocol as we used last time since it “worked”, getting us pregnant (Follistim, Ovidrel, IUI, etc.).  The only difference would be changing my prenatal vitamin and taking a baby aspirin every day. We are free to proceed whenever we are ready.

It was just a very blah kind of day though.  It was dreary and cloudy and rainy outside, exactly how we felt on the inside.  I was not one bit excited to be back in Mobile.  I had not wanted to come back for a very long time and it was hard being there again.  It was hard having to go back to the RE and being back at square one in a sense, exactly where we were a year ago when we first came to his office.  Without any real answers about what is going on.  I feel like we have made progress towards taking home a baby in the past year since seeing him and yet I feel more scared than I did a year ago when we first met him.  I feel like we have some “answers” and yet no doctor is convinced that they are “answers”.  I feel helpless to “fixing” anything that could possibly go wrong again and mad at myself for worrying about the “what if’s” because this is the Lord’s battle to be fighting, not mine.  I just have to trust and relax that He is in control…yet, I do have to be an advocate for myself too.  I am scared to proceed with treatments and yet so ready all at the same time.

Sorry my thoughts are all over, but it’s where my brain is right now.  So that’s where we stand.  Ready to proceed, if my body is ready to proceed, whenever.  I go in to my OB Friday to check on everything to see where my body stands.  We will just go from there…

Monday, November 1, 2010

Recent Travels and More…

It’s been awhile since I have uploaded pictures on here, but we have been on many a trips and just had a bunch of stuff going on the past month that I need to document!  :)

DSC03215First off was a trip to Birmingham to visit my mom and dad who were in town for a couple of weeks and then on to see my brother, David, and his girlfriend, Emily, in Starkville, MS. Go Bulldogs!  (Only when they aren’t playing Alabama…)

IMG_0334 While we were in Starkville we had to stop at Bop’s - THE BEST CUSTARD IN THE ENTIRE WORLD!!!!

DSC03219Me and my mommy on another trip to Greenville, South Carolina.  I LOVE that city!

DSC03248 Asheville, NC at the Biltmore…it was BEAUTIFUL!  It is the biggest house in the US and is over 170,000 square feet with 250 rooms!

DSC03228 My cute parents

DSC03249A view from one of the balconies at the Biltmore

DSC03262Later in October, I drove down to Florida to meet up with Becky from Day by Day!  She was one of the first bloggers I ever followed and the first blogger I have gotten to meet!  She was in the south for a week and we were able to meet up and have lunch one day…we could have talked for hours!!!  It was GREAT getting to meet her!!

DSC03266 Here we are at the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, “Walk to Remember”.

IMG_0345I am SO blessed to have great co-workers that I enjoy being around!!  Every year we have a staff retreat, normally at the beach, this year it was at Lay Lake.  We rented a BEAUTIFUL house and all 18 of us got to hang out for three days.  We got a lot of work done, but were also able to go on a boat ride, play tons of games, grill out…and learn a lot about each other.  :)


DSC03277 Then of course there was Halloween!  Halloween is HUGE in our neighborhood.  Last year we counted around 400 trick-or-treaters (we bought a lap counter for that purpose) and this year we probably had about the same.  We had a fun time with friends and the rest of Dothan!  :)

DSC03280 Here is Barry in his costume…can you guess what he is??  He and one of our friends dressed up as Nuclear Cleanup Workers…the kids did NOT get it, although they were told several times that they had awesome costumes.  Silly boys…


I think that is all for now!  I am all caught up with my picture posting on this here blog.  :) 

We have our hematologist and RE appointments on Wednesday in Mobile and I am really looking forward to meeting with both doctors and figuring out where they recommend that we go from here.  Please be praying for us that we will know where GOD wants us to go from here.