Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Turning 30

I got my flu shot a few days ago and when I was filling out the paperwork I had to write down my age. It was the first time I've written "30." It was an adjustment not to write "2" as the first number since I've obviously grown accustom to that in the last decade and it made me think about what other adjustments come along with it.

Since I've turned 30 I've had more people ask me questions such as: "how do I feel about it, am I doing okay with it, and am I excited to be 30?" than any other year that I can remember.

And the answer to those questions is that I am happy to be 30! Now I know I've had a few freak out moments about getting older in the past...such as my meltdown 9 months ago when I realized I wouldn't be a mom before I was 30....a few months ago while the Clarks were here visiting and I found my first gray hair.....but as of right now I am actually very content with my age and the fact that I've turned 30! It has been a very motivating birthday for me. It has really made me think about milestones in life and how I want to live every day to the fullest. I'm trying to make every effort not to waste a single second of God's plan for me in this life.

I've even been motivated to start doing a few things that are slightly different than in the past...and really sticking to them! Number one below probably being the biggest change:

1) I've been running on a consistent basis and have discovered for the first time in my life what a "runner's high" is! I really feel amazing after running and it has become something I actually look forward to. (So weird, I know!)
2) Actually reading the books of the book clubs I'm in! :)
3) Eating more healthy things and staying away from the "non-healthy" items! As well as working harder to cook more dinners for us at home rather than eating out.
4) Spending more time with God.
5) Focusing more time on all the things I am thankful for.

This morning in my daily devotional (Jesus Calling by Sarah Young) that Janelle Perdue got for me for this birthday, I read the perfect message to sum up aging in general:

Oct. 20
I AM YOUR LIVING GOD, far more abundantly alive than the most vivacious person you know. The human body is wonderfully crafted, but gravity and the inevitable effects of aging weigh it down. Even the most superb athlete cannot maintain his fitness over many decades. Lasting abundant life can be found in Me alone. Do not be anxious about the weakness of your body. Instead, view it as the prelude to My infusing energy into your being. As you identify more and more fully with Me, My Life becomes increasingly intertwined with yours. Though the process of aging continues, inwardly you grow stronger with the passing years. Those who live close to Me develop an inner aliveness that makes them seem youthful in spite of their years. Let My Life shine through you, as you walk in the Light with Me.

Friday, October 14, 2011


"Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."
~ Ecclesiastes 4:12

I love my husband more than anything else in this world. I truly feel he is the biggest blessing of my life and I am so thankful for him. However, I cannot imagine being in a marriage or in any relationship without the help of God. Relationships are hard enough even with having what I consider God to be at times in our relationship - a mediator. It is so refreshing and encouraging to know I always have someone else to go to in the midst of problems or strife to be able to help determine where fault lies and when I need to change my attitude.

It's so helpful that we can go to God in prayer rather than arguing in circles. (Even though that still sometimes happens!) We can stop miscommunication by taking time out to ask God to clarify our thoughts and conversations. It's amazing to me how often I do need to look to God for advice in my circumstances and especially when meshing my female thoughts and needs with my husbands male ones. It is true that opposites attract....but in the same breath that also makes certain things inevitably difficult.

Lately I have been wanting a lot of "talk" time with Derek while lately he has been very preoccupied with studying for his upcoming boards test. (Which is probably why I'm needing it more...classic wanting what I can't have!) He does his best to listen (or pretend to listen while sideways glancing at ESPN) and sometimes that's good enough. But realistically other times I want him to talk to me like he's a girl. To gab on and on about nothingness. And that is unrealistic for him. It's just not going to happen. He's a guy (and I'm very thankful he is!)....but also not a huge "talker guy." It's in times like these though, that I am so thankful I have a loving God who can gently remind me of these things. To point out to me my unrealistic expectations ("premeditated resentments!") and to show me maybe I need to get together with a girlfriend if I am feeling that starved for nonstop chatter, instead of trying to turn my husband into a woman.

God created Derek and I perfectly for each other.....which also means He knows how different we are and how often we need to come to Him for peace keeping and communicating well. Men and women communicate very differently. But God is the perfecter of all and delights for us to bring Him into our relationship. Just as a parent adores being asked advise from a child, God desires to help us in our relationships.

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you."
~ Matthew 7:7

p.s. Disclaimer: Derek and I are doing great! I don't want anyone else worrying about us. I just felt this on my heart to share how important God is in every area of our lives...especially relationships and communication! :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

1000 Gifts (continued)

I've been slacking on this a bit and thought I would add a few more. Seems like a good day for it!

16) Amazing friends and family that helped bring in my 30th birthday and make it a wonderfully happy experience!

17) My supportive husband through many gallons of tears (sad & happy ones!)

18) My coffee with Chai creamer

19) Cozy flannel sheets and snuggly blankets on our bed now that it's getting colder outside!

20) This time I have to relax, refresh, and spend with God in the morning before starting work.

21) That we're going to our first Timbers game tomorrow!

22) Our heater

“A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him,
who can eat or find enjoyment?”
~ Ecclesiastes 2:24-25

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


"But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you.
So you too should be glad and rejoice with me."

~Philippians 2:17

Walking this road of infertility has been the hardest and most painful thing I've ever experienced in my life. And it continues to be. However, lately I have come to realize that the closeness I've experienced with God through this is like none I've ever experienced before. This has brought me to the stark realization that I would honestly rather suffer through this pain if that is God's will than ever have children. I do hope and pray that this is a temporary situation and that someday I will be blessed with them, but in the past few days I have come to embrace my pain. It's still there. It hasn't left me. And it is still incredibly painful, but with it now lies a sense of purpose in my suffering. If my pain somehow helps or encourages anyone else for God's plan then it is all worth it.

I also know that the closeness I have felt with God since hitting that extreme low a few weeks ago has been incredible. I feel like He is always right there with me comforting me, holding me up at times, and leading me. It's a crazy feeling because it's so real and so constant that I can't help but be thankful and gracious. Since that breakdown I have not felt alone for one second and it has been the most amazing feeling ever.

The only way I can think to describe what I feel lately is that my flesh and spirit feel so at war. My desires and flesh want so badly to have a child that it feels like a part of me is dying it's so painful. It feels like there is a giant gaping hole in my stomach that continues all the way up my throat. Yet in that same breath my spirit is so joyful in wanting to do God's will and feeling His closeness and purpose in my situation that I also feel a peace and contentedness. I know this sounds conflicting and it feels just as conflicting inside my body as well. I don't know how long this will last, or what the future holds, but I do know who holds it and I trust in that.

Here's a song by Laura Story called Blessings that really sums it all up for me:

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
And all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel you near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if each promise from Your Word is not enough
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win, we know
That pain reminds this hearts,
That this is not, this is not our home.....
It's not our home

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?

What if my greatest disappointments,
Or the aching of this life,
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy.
What if trials of this life,
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

And then there was one...

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.'
~Isaiah 55:8-9

I knew this day would come. I even prayed this day would come. But once it came I was completely and utterly blindsided and unprepared. My infertility partner, the one I've walked this lonely road with, the one I've cried with, bled with, comforted, and asked those hard questions to God with - is finally pregnant. And I still am not.

The conversation in which she told me wasn't the hard part. At that moment I was filled with shock, surprise, relief, excitement, joy, thankfulness, and more shock. It was about two hours later sitting alone in my house that the severity of it came crashing down. I had been praying for those two hours that I would continue to feel at peace and not let the walls come tumbling in on me, but two hours was all I could hold them up for. And the crashing down was much more severe than I ever imagined.

Not to go into too much detail, but there was definitely some hyperventilating and also panic that I may never be able to control myself to stop the tears. It was pretty dramatic to say the least. And it genuinely shocked me how devastated I felt.

I was not devastated that she is pregnant. I'm thrilled that she gets to experience this joy we have been praying for years about. It was completely separate. The devastation was an attack on my own mind of my own situation. Of feeling alone and like the last person on earth to not have this experience. It was the temptation to think God had forgotten me, or that I am still not good enough to be a mom yet. A million and a half attacking thoughts went through my mind and tortured me. Fears, insecurities, and of course the big question of why not me yet?

It’s so tempting to wallow in the why. And sometimes that's okay, but sometimes it's not. I read a great quote about this subject from Lysa TerKeurst that really sums it up:

"Asking why is perfectly normal. Asking why isn’t unspiritual. However, if asking why pushes us farther from God rather than drawing us closer to Him, it is the wrong question."

Somehow I managed to pull myself up, plug the tears, shut out the screaming insecurities that threatened to suffocate me with reasons of why I am not good enough to be or maybe will never be a mom, and stood up. That seemed a very large feat at the time. I then put one foot in front of the other and prayed like I never have before that God would give me the strength to trust once again fully in His plan for me in this moment in time.

Thankfully those prayers are being answered at the moment. I have since then been able to ward off those hurtful thoughts and attacks which has made me able to enjoy and experience this time with my friend in her pregnancy. And let me tell you that it is wonderful. She has done such an amazing job of including me in every detail of what is going on while being so perfectly sensitive with disclaimers and honesty. I am loving hearing every detail about this precious baby and just love it so much already. I feel like it's partly my miracle baby too. I knew our friendship had grown incredibly through our bond of infertility, but I had no idea it would grow even more through changing that bond to one of support through fertility. I am so blessed to see this miracle unfolding before my eyes in her and I truly am so happy for her.

I am also so thankful to those who have been praying for me because not only do I trust completely in God's plan for my life in my head right now, but I also FEEL at peace in my circumstances and in that trust. I know that plan doesn't include children in it for me at this moment and that's okay. I know my purpose here is to try my best to show people God's love and help others grow closer to Him. I feel so blessed to have the hope that Jesus brings and am so thankful for His presence in my life. I couldn't do this without Him.

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. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.
~Philippians 4:12-13

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Backyard Landscaping

We finally started on the landscaping of our backyard a few months ago and are so excited with how it has turned out! Here's a little refresher of what it used to look like.....
Make sure you take note of all the exceptional things such as the ridiculous hill that extended out covering half the width of the backyard in front of our slider, the random attempt at a retaining wall / cement blocks thrown all around, the moss covered rocky cement squares that are uneven with each other, and of course the over grown brush all over! We were also told that the patio actually didn't slant away from the house (and that's bad).
These are more recent pictures of just how overgrown the hill got!

We started with removing the lovely hill...
We think they severely underestimated the job because we were told the two guys would finish the job in one day. Instead, four guys came back and worked an entire second day to finish it!

But once they did, there sure was a lot more room!!!

Next was removal of all that ghetto patio and cement squares...
The huge tractor sure made the job easier...it just BARELY squeaked through our gate though. They had to take the doors off so it could fit!

Next was building the retaining wall and getting ready for the cement patio to be poured...

Huge cement truck to do the job!

And after a day of drying......our backyard is complete!! :)

Just a quick look-back at what it used to be....

And now.....

We are so in love with it!!
Now all we need is to get a little rain so our grass that was killed by the tractor can grow back! ;)

More pictures to come soon of the awesome garden box that Derek built above the retaining wall and of the entire yard.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Thank You!

Thank you so much for all the sweet messages and prayers....they are working! I am feeling much better. I can't express how much I appreciate having such amazing people connected in my life. I am very grateful.
I know there will always be hard days and I will work hard to be open about them in the moment so they can get over more quickly! Those are never fun but it's so nice to know I'm not alone in having down moments.
Thanks again!
(Now off to work at the winery...) :)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Caution: this isn't a good one :)

I'm sad to report that things haven't been as blissful as they were for the past 3-4 months in the emotional department for me. This past week I started my period and with it came a flood of tumultuous tears and a downcast attitude. I write this not so that anyone will feel badly for me, but more for my own benefit because one thing I've learned is that I don't like to feel down. And if I do, I try to hide it from everyone....including myself. So I hid it pretty well this week (partially so well because Derek has been on nights this week and so we've only seen each other for about an hour each day and he's completely out of it - normally he probably would have picked up on it and pointed it out to me).

Anyways - today for our blissful one hour hang out I had a pretty good melt down on him (yes, lovely). I kept wanting him to respond and react and somehow tell me everything would be okay and I'd feel better and it's totally normal how I feel. But he didn't. Instead he said that I put to much pressure on myself not to ever let myself feel down. He also made the comment that I will have ups and downs like this for the rest of my life (or until we have a child - and then the ups and downs will just be about different subjects!), and that I need to admit it and accept it and be okay with it.

Then I had to start work and he had to leave for work. Lovely ending to a dramatic episode!

So I thought about it a lot and I realized I really don't like to show weakness or dramatic-ness (yes, my made up word) or even worse (and how I really sometimes feel it comes across) is pathetic-ness (my word again). When I feel this way I usually close up, wall off, and don't communicate with people again until I've "fixed" myself and feel better. Then I talk, write, etc. about how I "felt" bad before but now I'm great! I love having good news for people. Hate having the bad.

So on this journey of life, living, and growth I thought I would reach out and take a step and admit (mostly to myself) that I'm not doing the greatest ever. And that's okay.

I think one thing I fear is when people admit things like this everyone wants to fix them or tell them what they should do differently....or worse - think they've lost all faith and don't trust God, and yadda yadda all because I'm having a bad week. I know that I'm in a good place with God and that my head knows and trusts in His plan and my situation completely. My emotions are just having a hard time following suit this week.

I do still trust completely and know that God is in control and that even though this is painful in the moment - He knows better than me. I may never know why I have to endure this pain, but I do know that God has a reason for everything and that His way is better than any I could plan myself.

So, I'm sorry I don't have an uplifting blog to write today (for those couple of you who may be reading this), but I felt it was important that I admit this in the midst of it. And also to ask for prayer for anyone reading this that I would get out of this slump FAST! Because it never feels good feeling down.

{Keep on keeping on!} What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step. ~C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Two Months Later

I can't believe it's been two months since I've last written but the time has flown by! I just re-read my last post (Peace and Joy), and I am so relieved and thrilled to report that I still feel that same peace and joy. I can remember writing it and thinking "oh boy, I sure hope this sticks and that I don't have a meltdown tomorrow!" And here we are over two months later and I can't believe it but I haven't even had one of those horribly sad moments since!! It's crazy but it's completely God. This peace can only be from Him.

I also feel incredibly blessed to have had so many amazing trips and visits with family and friends over the past two months as well. We even had our good friends Rian & Julie (and their dog Brewer) live with us for a month! Needless to say we have been busy and that has also accounted for the lack in writing over the past two months. I will try to be better!

Throughout this crazy busy-ness of the past two months there have been so many incredible blessings and constant reassurances that this is exactly where God has placed us and that His timing really is perfect. God has placed some really amazing couples in our lives here that are in a similar place in life (aka don't have kids yet - but DO have dogs!) :) We even had a BBQ with them and everyone brought their dogs. It was so much more fun than we ever thought possible. It was such a good laugh and it made me feel even more at peace about still being a family of "4" (including of course the pups). Even though none of them are going through infertility or even trying for kids yet, they have been such a blessing and a reminder to focus on our marriage and on others.

I read two verses yesterday that really stood out to me and I just have to share them. They seemed so perfect and applicable to so many areas in life. They are such a good reminder that the things that happen in our lives and the experiences we have are not coincidental, but are for a purpose. The bad, but also the good as well. They are all there to help others through, and also draw us nearer to God.

"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." 1 Corinthians 1:4

"But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God."
1 Corinthians 1:9

God's timing really is perfect and it's so lovely when we can remember to sit back, relax, and enjoy what He is placing right in front of us instead of focusing on what may not be in the moment. Life is so much more enjoyable when we trust fully in the Lord's plan and don't fight against it.

"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." Proverbs 19:21

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Peace and Joy

"We rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."
~Romans 5:3-5

I have read this verse so many times and tried to make myself believe and "feel" what it is saying. But honestly suffering is hard. It's hard to "rejoice" in our sufferings. It's called suffering because it hurts! Who doesn't feel that way? I usually just end up focusing on hoping that someday I will feel this way and for now I'll just try to keep the not rejoicing in my suffering to a minimum!

Yesterday I had an appointment with my doctor to check out my ovaries (not so fun) and discuss a few other things. My ovaries are perfectly fine and don't have any cysts or anything else wrong with them. We also discussed other possible problems and basically came to the conclusion that there really aren't any definitive solutions for me. And therefore...just keep "trying" (aka keep having sex).

After the appointment I expected to feel upset or emotional or something negative. I was surprised, however, to leave the doctors office with my tear ducts in tact. Even after driving home and discussing it with Derek, I was still surprisingly dry eyed. All yesterday I felt on watch for any moment I assumed the emotions would attack (like they always do) and I'd fall apart...but they never did.

Then this morning I realized (for maybe the first time) that I think I am actually rejoicing in my suffering. I know that may sound crazy but I can honestly look back over the past 2 years and see such a growth in the power of God in my life that I wouldn't have had without this struggle and "suffering." It has been a long hard road, but one that I find I am actually grateful for. It has brought this verse to life for me and made me able to realize the immense truth behind it. God truly does comfort us. He truly does have the best in mind for us (even when we don't agree and can't imagine any hope of a good outcome). This "hope" I've realized is also not confined to hope for a circumstance here on earth or a simple hope of having a child someday. It is a much larger encompassing hope. It's hope in the fact that God is true, God is real, that God gives total comfort, and God is preparing an amazing eternity for us where there will be no tears or sadness.

I feel like I am realizing this hope for maybe the first time in my life. Or maybe re-realizing it in a new way. Either way, I am amazed by His goodness and glory of how He truly does work all things for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28). It may not be the good we expect or even desire but it is GOOD. And it's the best good we can't even imagine when we're back at the starting line. Two years ago if you had asked me, "would you like to struggle with infertility and not get pregnant when you think it's the right time?" Of course I would have said, "HECK NO!!!"

But now being on this marathon of infertility, I can honestly say I am so thankful God put me here. If I had to redo the past 2 years and decide whether to walk this journey of infertility or get pregnant immediately - honestly I would chose the same path I've walked thus far of infertility. I have realized a strength that only God gives that I didn't know existed before in me. I have realized a humbleness that only God gives in me. I have realized a gentleness and a compassion that only God can give inside me. I have prayed to have these things in the past and never realized that God has been working them through this experience, but He has.

I know I am in no way close to the finish line or even anywhere near being completed, but I do know that God truly does have the best plan for us. And that as soon as we surrender to Him and let Him lead our lives, thoughts, actions, and ways - He will begin to change us in amazing ways we can't even imagine. And He will fill us with a peace and a joy that is even more unimaginable.

Now I'm not naive in thinking I'll never have another sad day regarding this situation but I do truly feel that God has brought me to a turning point where I am genuinely thankful for my infertility suffering. It has brought about a closeness with Him and a perspective on life that is completely worth every second of it. I am filled with a peace and joy that only comes from God.

"We rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."
~Romans 5:3-5

Monday, May 2, 2011

Gray Hair

This weekend... I found my first gray hair. I know this probably sounds ridiculous to even write out, but unbeknownst to me it was pretty monumental. I've thought I've found gray hairs many times before but they've always turned out to be highlighted strands of blond hair and nothing more. However, I haven't been dying my hair now for almost 2 years and the color has officially grown out.

On Saturday as we were getting ready to go to Five Guys (SO yummy!) to get a burger with Jane and Jim, I went back in the bathroom to take a quick glance in the mirror to make sure my hair looked good. It was a beautiful sunny day and I thought it would be perfect to take some pictures in front of the house. That was when I saw the light reflect off that little gray bugger.

I ran out into the living room to have everyone confirm that this was indeed my first real gray hair. And it was. I didn't think much of it until we proceeded to get into the car and I suddenly felt a wave of grief wash over me. I was even more surprised to find tears beginning to sting my eyes. I know again this sounds silly but it felt like the turning point of getting older for me, and the reality of not being a mother again reared it's ugly head. (Along with thoughts of gray hairs and dried up ovaries!)

After hashing out my emotions with the Clarks over a burger and fries (and a few more tears), I felt much better. I was able to get my blood sugar level up (which I'm sure was part of the culprit), discuss all the positives of where I am in life, and be a little distracted by other circumstance that were going on around us.

Since then I have thankfully been blessed once again with a beautiful peace about this subject and even life itself. This verse I read this morning sums it up wonderfully:

Now listen, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.' Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say; 'If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that.'
~James 4:13-15

I know God has a plan and purpose for my life and I am honestly and truly enjoying it. It's just those darn moments when things like a silly gray hair creep in and throw it all off. It was a good learning moment for me to remember that "gray hairs" will always be lurking around to throw off our reality and make us focus on our circumstances and disappointments, instead of our Creator and His great plan. I am truly so thankful for the many things God has blessed me with and taught me over these last few years and I am especially thankful for the amazing time and growth Derek and I have had in our marriage.

As much as that gray hair made me feel like life is passing me by too quickly without certain things I want - when I reflect, I am so blessed by all the amazing time he has given me for things I wouldn't have been able to do as easily had my life gone according to MY plans. Time I've been blessed with in growing my marriage, spending quality time with family and friends visiting us here, growing new friendships here in Portland, working on our house, and especially the quality time spent growing closer to the Lord.

I'm so glad I didn't let that stupid gray hair take over my emotions (too much!) and rob me of the joy in my life at that moment. So often we are tempted to let those "gray hairs" creep in and overshadow the positives of life going on around us. Whatever form they may be in, "they" are always there waiting to have us focus on them instead of the positive realities of our life, if we let them.

This is the life the Lord has blessed me with and I am so thankful for it. And may I always remember to say 'if it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that.'

Monday, April 18, 2011


We've finally had a chance to put some work, sweat, and blood (it may sound dramatic, but it was!) into our front yard. Boy oh boy was it a beast!! We didn't realize how much the weeds had overtaken the place. Even after blasting them with weed killer three times over the past couple weeks there were still tons of them. Thankfully our neighbor let us borrow their tiller and that helped immensely! And now two days later, sore bodies and all, we are so excited to have a much nicer looking front yard!

Here are some of the before, during, and after pictures of our landscaping adventure from different views!

~View from the garage side~

We're also very excited about the oak whiskey barrels we got to use as planters in the front! I can't wait to plant some fun things in them hopefully this week! (Derek also got to get a chainsaw to take down all the unruly bushes in the front...very exciting!) :)


~The difficult chunk of work (with a lot of "during" pics!)~
Getting all these bricks out was one of the most tedious jobs I've ever done! And they lined almost the entire front yard! It was pretty painful and I've never seen so many gigantic worms!!

~Up against the front of the house~

~The whole front from the left~
We are so very thankful for this house, yard and all the improvements we've been blessed to make on them. And we feel especially blessed that we have each other, family and friends to share it with!

"For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything."
~Hebrews 3:4

Friday, April 1, 2011

1000 Gifts (continued)

8) Watching the Padres WIN yesterday with my wonderful husband while eating baseball style peanuts and beer. We had our own mini opening day party with just us and the dogs! It was wonderful!!

9) My many supportive sweet friends who can make the sun shine brighter!!

10) Sweet hugs from Crystal's cute little 18 month old tonight.

11) How excited Bear is to see (and jump all over) me when I walk in the door....even after been gone only for a little while.

12) How cute and excited my husband was tonight recapping the basketball game he got to go to with all the free food he could eat!

13) Walking the dogs today in the SUNSHINE!!

14) My comfy comfy bed that I'm in and that I'm ready to go to bed!!

15) Verses like these at just the right time...

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 4:4-7

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Milk and Honey

This morning my devotional had me read Numbers 13 - 14 and I found it to be so encouraging and eye opening for me. Here's my summarized version of basically what went on:

~ God brought the Israelites out of Egypt and out of the desert to escape all sorts of horrible things including death. He promised them a land that flowed with milk and honey. In these chapters the people are brought right up to the edge of this promised land and told to go in and scout it out. When they do, they find it is a land filled with milk and honey and that it is wonderful. Then they see the people there are big and fortified and scary. So they basically freak out and cry and say God should have let them die in Egypt or the desert because they can't deal with this situation. Then they talk about picking a new leader, turning around, and going back to Egypt because this new great land looks just too big and scary to deal with. ~

Reading this I feel I can relate so much to them! When God leads me to a place that seems too big and scary I often freak out and think it's too difficult for me to bare. Perfect recent examples of my big and scary places: not getting pregnant, heart being opened to the subject of adoption, being told to wait on adoption, being told I have complications about getting pregnant. All of these make me want to throw a five year old fit and cry just like the Israelites did. (And honestly it does make me feel a little better reading stories like this to know that I'm not the first person who acts like a big baby when I face a "hardship!") Because sometimes it does feel a little like I'm being thrown back and forth and I too want to cry out "God why didn't you....(fill in the blank)?"

I want that milk and honey....the promised land....I think we all do. Whether it's a house, a car, a husband, a baby, a better job, to be retired....the list goes on and on. And sometimes it feels like we're being brought right up to that milk and honey place only to have it snatched away or put on hold. Sometimes it feels as though we think we're being brought to it and suddenly the path veers off in a completely different direction that we weren't prepared for, and we want to stomp and shout! (Or at least that's how I feel at times!) :)

It's good for me to read these stories and remember that God works in these situations. In ALL situations. When the Israelites wanted to turn around and run, and were prepared to stone the leaders that wanted to enter the promised land,

"the glory of the Lord appeared...to all the Israelities." ~Numbers 14:10

And He will show His glory in my life and yours if we let Him. It may not be how we anticipated or even how we prayed for, but He will work in that difficult situation and show His glory if we are patient and listen to Him. And if we can't hear Him...then we wait some more. (And we keep praying).

I don't want to be like those Israelites who got so close to their own "milk and honey" only to turn away and not trust. They let their fear and their own ideas get in the way of God's plan simply because it seemed too scary and they had their own agenda.

"How God must grieve over two common approaches to His unfolding plan: those who want position without preparation and those who refuse to leave the comforts of preparation to take the position." ~Beth Moore, A Woman's Heart Devotional

It's very tempting for me to take this whole baby situation into my own hands and try to be in control but ultimately I'm not. It's a day by day process but that is how I am choosing to live my life. To follow God's plan no matter how confusing or impossible it may seem at times. I want the promised land He has planned for me....not one I can dream up and assume would be the best for me.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. ~Joshua 1:9

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I am learning patience. Again. And more of it. It's so difficult not to know the future sometimes and be able to plan for it. Being a slight control freak makes that even harder for me. :) But I know it's not for me to be in control of the future.

Instead you ought to say, 'If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that.' ~James 4:15

Today I went for my hysterosalpingogram. It was painful, uncomfortable, and not fun but even more difficult was the semi inconclusive finding. My left fallopian tube is open (which is good), but my right is closed. There is nothing they can do about that, which basically means that my right side is now deemed a "dud" when it comes to trying to get pregnant. I have an appointment with my OB in May where we will discuss what's next but most likely we'll do an ultrasound to see if I am ovulating from my left ovary at all. We'll also discuss endometriosis and the surgery with that. The only way to diagnose that is to do the surgery to remove it. Basically they put you to sleep, go in through your stomach and look around. If you have it, they cut it out...all in one. I do feel like it's good to be finding out answers but also difficult because there's still so much waiting involved and not knowing. And that's hard for me!

I think the waiting and not knowing is even harder coupled with the fact that we definitely feel like we are supposed to wait on the adoption for now. I don't understand that, and I know I'm not supposed to understand, but it's still difficult to wait. Waiting on finding out if the other part of my left side works correctly, waiting on pursuing adoption, waiting (once again) on having children. It makes me feel weak and not in control, but I know in those times are when God is strongest. And so I will wait for God's plan, and enjoy the beautiful amazing plan He's laid out for me thus far. My amazing husband, family, friends, and so much more. I am truly blessed, and that does make the waiting seem so much more trustworthy and also worth the wait.

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness...For when I am weak, then I am strong. ~2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Being Bossy

Expectations are premeditated resentments. ~Kristin Thompson

I had a funny experience this morning that reminded me of this quote. I was sitting here trying to have a quiet time while Bear kept shoving his little wet nose under my hand to pet him. I would pet him for a few minutes...stop...and the nose shoving and gruffing would begin again. I finally looked at him and said, "you are bossy!" In that instant, however, I realized that's how I am so often with God. I want something and I want it NOW. Or I want something in a specific way and THAT'S HOW I want it to happen!

Specifically in the area of children. (Yes we're going there again, sorry!) I always thought we would try to get pregnant and BAM within a month (or maybe a few) we'd be pregnant. When that didn't I happen I imagined all sorts of other options of how it would happen. I've finally (or at least for today) realized I don't know how or if it will happen and I'm not going to try to figure it out anymore either. I'm going to take it one decision at a time.

Let me back up for a second and fill in the details of what has progressed in my life as of recently....

Derek and I found that adoption was heavy on our hearts and we looked into the process. We prayed about it and felt that it was something God had placed there for a reason but we weren't sure of the timing. We decided to go forward with the meeting and filling out paperwork and prayed that if this wasn't God's timing for us that He would "close that door." We had the meeting...we were filling out the paperwork....but we hit a few speed bumps. We kept praying and kept moving forward.

Then we found out that Ethiopia has recently cut their adoptions down to almost none. No one knows right now whether this is a temporary or permanent situation. This happened basically the week before we were about to turn in our official application and processing fee. I'll be honest, I felt defeated, frustrated, and mad. I had thought this would be the way that we would meet our first child...and maybe it still will be, but not right this moment. We are still praying about it but feel that we are in a "wait status" for now. For about a week after this I tried to figure out God's plan and anticipated that maybe I was pregnant and THAT'S why this was happening! As of two days ago, no suck luck. Visited once again by that stupid period fairy. :)

However, there has also been another change in plans. Before all this I had not wanted to get tested for any fertility issues because I had somehow decided that was not MY plan as to how we would have a child. I don't like hospitals or doctors (yes, ironic) and therefore didn't feel the need to go have any testing because it seemed scary and I just plain and simple - didn't want to. I don't have an explanation other than I don't feel so anti anymore.

Long story short (I know, too late) I called to just go get a little minor ultrasound. A no big deal test with no pain and no big deal...just to start me off easy with this whole situation. Again...MY expectation. After talking with Tif (who's had this done) I realized I was actually set up for a pretty major test that is extremely painful and a very big deal. A hysterosalpingogram where they inflate a balloon in your uterus to check for abnormalities and inject dye into your fallopian tubes...all of which I have heard is not a fun experience.

After getting a little upset and frustrated that I wasn't going to have my easy plan of a little dinky ultrasound, and maybe throwing a little fit to God about how this isn't how the plan was supposed to go, I have decided to keep the test and get some answers about my body. Maybe it will lead to something and maybe not, but for now it will be worth it to at least have some answers and at least know if anything is wrong "down there." Maybe our first (or second) child is in Ethiopia and maybe somewhere else....but basically I'm not going to try and figure out those details anymore. I'm waiting, I'm praying, I'm doing what I feel God is leading me to do, and I'm waiting when I feel He's telling me to wait. I'm going to stop premeditating resentments and just start living without expectations. I'm going to go into that appointment on Wednesday and not expect (other than expecting pain!). God's in control and I'm so glad I'm not!

"Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain."
~Psalm 127:1

Sunday, March 13, 2011


I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. ~John 15:1-2

When I'm experiencing hardship (big or small), I don't typically tend to think of it as a learning or pruning experience. I usually think of it as an annoying experience. It's so hard to remember this! All of life's difficult experiences I can learn from and grow in if I let God work in them. Little nagging annoyances such as traffic, a long wait in the grocery line, running late for a meeting, and so many much larger ones - can all be ways that God can prune me and make areas of my life more fruitful or positive.

Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. ~James 1:2-4

Rarely do I feel joyful while going through something I don't like. This verse sometimes makes me laugh to think how frustratingly painful it is to think of joy when you are in pain. When I bruise my shin on the dishwasher door, am I happy? No. Do I want to scream and shout? Yes. But if I let God work in that, He can refine my character and how I react to many other circumstances in letting him control my anger in this small little one. It's so convicting for me to read this verse in James and think how often I don't let a trial or testing develop my perseverance. It also makes me think how many opportunities I've wasted and had to re-live because I didn't learn it the first time.

Now I also know I can't do this on my own. Considering joy in the midst of a storm is practically impossible for me. But with God all things are possible. This reality helps me to remember I don't have to do it on my own and I'm not expected to. Being connected to God and letting Him work in my life will allow everything to become fruitful because He is pruning me. Yes just like a plant. I am being pruned.

I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. ~John 15:5

Saturday, March 12, 2011


I was sent an awesome devotional by my amazing friend Tiffany today that reflected on the difference between what you hope in vs. what you hope for.

I first read it and thought oh that's good. Then I thought about it for another moment and realized there is a big difference between the two. It's easy to answer the what you hope for part. I hope for health and happiness, I hope to have children someday, I hope we pay off our house someday, I hope for lots of things. But reading this made me realize that sometimes those hopes can feel empty or hopeless. On days I struggle with feeling sad about not having children - that hope doesn't sustain me...it can almost bring me down more with the enormousness of how long I feel that I have been hoping, and waiting, for it.

But when I think of what you hope in, that is a completely different question. It's not as simple as everyday circumstances. What I hope in is Jesus. That God is in the driver seat and has a plan for my life that is perfect. I may not be able to see that plan and it can be painful at times but only because I am focusing on the situation at hand, and not on what I hope in. Hoping for can be empty and feel like it may never happen. Hoping for when you really focus on it long enough can shut out all light around it and be a stumbling block and feel never ending. But when I fix my eyes on the truth that is in Jesus and that He has a plan for me, and that I will spend eternity with Him in heaven - that is what I hope in. I know a God who loves me and has the best planned for me even when I don't agree.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. ~Romans 8:28

When I focus on what I hope in, it makes the what I hope for more bearable. It makes it so that things don't seem forever away or hopeless. It makes the hoping for seem more hopeful. Concentrating on what is real and true and good - that God cares for me and takes care of me and truly has the best for me - that is what I hope in, and what sustains me.

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. ~Romans 15:13

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Bethany Annual Dinner & Silent Auction

This is the adoption agency that I have been volunteering at as well as the one we will be using for our adoption. They are an amazing group and have this annual fundraiser to provide the rest of the funds to run the business that are not covered through the adoption costs. They purposefully don't charge families as much as is needed to adopt to be able to keep the costs down and then fund-raise for the rest of the funds.

They need people to attend the event but also donations to pay for the event itself. If you, anyone you know, or any business would like to donate please let me know or email the agency below. Any donations of $500 or more will be recognized at the event. Also for donating businesses we can set out cards or flyers with information about them.


Bethany Christian Services'

Annual Dinner and Silent Auction
The Power of Love
Saturday, April 30, 2011
6 p.m.

We are pleased to announce that Bethany's Annual Banquet and Silent Auction will be held on April 30, 2011 at 6pm – one week before Mother's Day. Being so close to this special day, we are acknowledging the powerful impact of a parent’s love with this year's theme: The Power of Love. The proceeds from this event will help Bethany find families for children who need the love and nurturing of a permanent family.


The banquet will be held in the Hawthorn Room at the lovely Mountain Park Recreational Center in Lake Oswego, Oregon.

Event Highlights
Silent Auction–Choose from a select group of quality items, including vacation packages. This is an excellent opportunity to go home with a fantastic item and to support Bethany at the same time.

Dinner–Savor every delicious morsel, from the tasty appetizers to the decadent desserts.

Speaker–A Northwest adoptive family will share their personal story. Although this presentation is brief, this is often the highlight of the evening.

Tickets and Registration

We would love for you to join us! Online registration and payment is coming soon, but you can RSVP anytime by contacting the Portland office at 503.200.5748 or by e-mailing oregonevents@bethany.org.

Register - Online Payment

Register - No Online Payment

Individual ticket price: $30.00
Host a Table of Eight: $240.00
Banquet Donor or Sponsor: $500 or more will get a special acknowledgement on the evening of the banquet.

Our volunteer team makes it all come together! Here is a sample of what volunteers can choose to do: procure auction items, invite guests, tell others about the event, set up the item display tables, decorate the venue, make centerpieces, register guests, and pack up at the end of the evening. If you have a willing heart, we have a project and a schedule that works for you! If you would like to help with this year's event, please call the Portland Office at 503.200.5748 or fill out our
Volunteer Form.

We are currently seeking sponsors to help underwrite this year's banquet. By underwriting the costs of this event, businesses and individuals make it possible for all the funds raised during the evening to go directly to serving children and families through Bethany Christian Services’ programs. To learn more, please contact the Portland Office at 503.200.5748 or at

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Why love orphans?

Saw this video and loved it. Had to share.

Why Love Orphans? from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


"You did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave, again to fear, but you received the spirit of sonship, and by Him we cry 'Abba, Father."
~Romans 8:15

Fear is a tricky thing. Sometimes you don't even realize you are fearing something and other times it can be painfully obvious. It can creep up and paralyze you before you even have time to think through the logistics of the situation. Fear has become somewhat of a constant battle for me especially in the subject of adoption. There are so many fears I can become a slave to if I allow it. Fear that we wont be able to raise the money to adopt a child. Fear that we will adopt and won't know the first thing about how to raise a child. Fear that I won't be a good enough mother, wife, etc. Fear that I wont catch on quickly enough at my new customer service job. The list can go on and on if I let it.

But that is the key - IF I allow it. All these fears haven't happened. They are just figments of my imagination. I read a great quote the other day that made me realize I am striving to get rid of any fear I feel but sometimes that is not the important part to dwell on. It's continuing on and pursing the path regardless of fear and trusting in God to lead me.

"Courage is not the opposite of fear, it is following your
convictions in the face of fear."

-Dr. John Perkins

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

How God Changed My Heart In A Big Way

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
~Proverbs 3:5-6

I have been in a battle with God over the past few months and finally lost. He has been burdening my heart and I have tried with all my might to deny it and avoid it but have finally given up my own will for His. It's not that I meant to fight it, but apparently I am very good at convincing myself to be in denial when God is calling me to do big things. And I am amazed at how patient He is with me throughout it. I feel like I'm Bruce in the movie Bruce Almighty where he is praying for a "sign" and keeps running over literal signs that tell him the bridge is ending and doesn't even see them bouncing off the front of his car. That's me. Praying for God to show me His will, Him then answering, and me avoiding at all costs what my heart is telling me because it's not a subject I have not considered doing - it's one that I have literally said I would never do.

Adopt an orphan. A subject I have always thought was just fine and dandy for other people but not something I was made to do. Well this is the subject I have been battling over with God. I even went as far as contacting an adoption agency to volunteer because I was so convinced that must be the reason I was so burdened - but not to actually adopt myself. Especially with how long Derek and I have tried to get pregnant the subject has been a question people have often asked me about. "Would you consider adoption?" The answer was always "no." However, the answer now is still different than a simple "yes."

I still hope to someday bear a child from my own womb. But now I have been burdened with a knowledge that there are children already alive out in third world countries that are in orphanages and they are dying. Their parents are either dead or dying and unable to care for them. Their countries are unable to provide loving foster care or a government system to help them survive. They didn't ask to be born and left alone without family or loving care. They sit alone in orphanages starving for food and even more so for love.

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans..." ~James 1:27

My eyes and heart have now been opened to this reality and cannot be closed. Maybe someday I will bare a child with Derek's and my genes and maybe not. But regardless, I know there is a child out there that is meant to be our child, just born through a different means. And the crazy part about this whole situation is that God is already changing my heart to feel a strong love and a protectiveness over this child. I want the best for them and I want to protect them and hold them. I don't know if they are even born yet or when they will enter our lives - but I do know they will.

We are currently praying and fasting about when we should start the adoption process as well as where to adopt from. We both feel that it will most likely be sooner than later and are open to whatever God's plan is. We also feel like Ethiopia is most likely the place from where we will adopt. We would appreciate prayers about this so much as this is, and will continue to be, a huge growing experience for us both.

There are so many fears and grievances for me regarding this subject. I know God will take care of them but they are still there for now. One of the biggest grievances is the loss of the "Perfect-Comfortable-White Pickett Fence-American Dream-Life." I never realized I had this but through coming to the realization that adoption is in our future, I realized this loss was painful. I know that there will be hardships, questions, reactions from un-supportive people, and huge adjustments. I know that people will question us, our choices, and that even walking down the street our family will stand out. I will never again be able to hide from questions, stares, or judgment from others. Since coming to this realization that I even had this notion of "normalcy," however, I have also realized I don't ever want to think like that again. I want to stand out if that is what God has planned for us. Not just in looks but in how I live out my daily life. I want to experience everything God has for us, even the difficult and stretching parts. I want to live a Christ centered life and all that it entails. I want to have a Christ like love for all people - especially the meek and forgotten. Especially the poor and needy. I don't ever want to become so comfortable that I forget to care about others or put their needs before my own. Because that is what Jesus did for me and I pray I will do that for others. Not just in adopting an orphan but in everyday of my life towards all people. I want to make a difference in the lives of others. God changed my heart about adoption but I think that it is just the beginning in a long road of growing closer to Him and becoming more of the woman He created me to be.

"Abba, Father,' he said, 'everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will." ~Mark 14:36

Friday, January 7, 2011


"...and whoever welcomes a little child like this in My name welcomes Me." -Matthew 18:5

For the past several weeks and maybe even months I have seen the title "Compassion" everywhere. I knew that it was a group you could sponsor a child through but never looked much into it. Through this struggle of not being able to get pregnant it has crossed my mind that there are other children out there needing the support both financially and emotionally that we could provide but I hesitated to look into it. It has been such an emotional and raw subject for me and at times almost unbearable. So I avoided looking at these children thinking it would put my emotional meter over the edge.

As much as I avoided looking into this group, however, the more I saw it. On my yahoo banner, facebook, other people's blogs, everywhere. I finally gave in and looked it up and felt a giant tugging on my heart for these precious little children. I talked with Derek and we decided to look at the website together. It's a feeling I can't explain really but it's a way that God squeezes my heart and speaks to me consistently and it's always followed by me crying. We happened upon a boy named Christopher who the website said had been waiting for a sponsor for over 6 months. I burst into tears and we decided he was the one. It so happens that he lives in Kenya with his grandmother. I don't know where his parents are or even if they are alive but I know that he does live in a very HIV/AIDS affected area and is very much in need.

I just received my packet of information about him today and it is just the most amazing thing to me that I can sit here wanting a child so much of my own, and across the world sits a child wanting someone to care for him so much. I know it's not like this child is mine but I do feel that this was a situation placed in front of me by God that I couldn't ignore any longer.

There are so many children in need out there and helping this one at least solves a problem for one. I'm so thankful God brought this to my attention so that I could be moved outside my world and refocus on God's plans. (I've attached a link below in case you'd like to look at the website!)

Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits - who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. -Psalm 103:2-5