Friday, March 13, 2015

It Happens

Since my last "real" post in October, we got pregnant! Yeah! And had another miscarriage. Boo! 
Mostly, after I tell people the second part I add "It happens." People seem a little shocked, maybe I'm a little shocked but I rest in the reminder that this thing that I'm going through isn't totally unique, miscarriages happen. 
Yes, me, my particular circumstance is unique, but the reality of it is quite common, especially ladies my age. I feel for those couples that for one reason or another are going through fertility treatments and having miscarriages. It seems doubly painful to be paying for this type of grief on top of everything else that happens. The medical system should refund time and money when infertility treatments end in a miscarriage.
Anyway, that's not my story, it's an aside. Much easier to get worked up over other people lately. Probably because this pregnancy brought a little postpartum with its miscarriage. I'm working through it and it is hard work some days. Add in some PMS and I'm sure my family is just delighted to see my head hit the pillow some nights. 
I have a hard time writing it, but God is good. I want to say still good, but the truth is that's never been in question. God has been constant, it's me that waivers. It's always been me that's been in question. Am I going to have faith that God is good? Where am I going to put my hope? Can I love myself and be selfless at the same time? I waiver, but God's constancy is there, helping me to stand in the constant waves. Lately, I've felt a little trapped in the undertow with my head underwater. Learning that it's okay to feel that way, I haven't lost my foundation. I'll wash up, the tide will turn. My rock is constant. The walls may have fallen in the storm, but the house still stands.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Always on My Mind by Susan May Warren




We saw Casper and Raina fall in love in Warren's last installment of the Christiansen's story. Unfortunately, we also saw their breakup. Raina was pregnant with Casper's brother's child thanks to a one night stand and she decided that she needed to deal with this on her own.

This story happens in the midst of winter in the little town of Deep Haven. The Christensen's family lodge is under new management and trying to survive their first winter season open. Casper comes back from a job in Honduras, determined to win Raina back, only to discover her in the midst of labor. Their story just gets rockier from there.

Both find their way back to Deep Haven to heal from wounds and run into each other. They are drawn together to solve a long standing mystery of their town that includes missing bonds and a missing gangster. The treasure that they really find is their need for one another.

I really enjoyed the treasure hunting and mild mystery of this story. The winter setting was a perfect escape during the cold snowy days of our MidWest winter. Made me thankful things weren't colder. Raina and Casper both struggle with accepting themselves and God's love for them. The story does a beautiful job of them discovering how to do that separately in order that they can be a couple together.

A copy of this book was given to me by Tyndale Publishers for the purpose of review.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Nature Girl by Karen Whiting and Rebecca White



Nature Girl is a great book for young girls. Each chapter highlights a different aspect of caring for creation interspersed with scripture, activities, quizzes and more. My daughter enjoyed looking through the book when it first came in.
The activities are all well explained and simple enough to perform in your backyard. My favorite part was probably the career suggestions at the end of each chapter.
It's rare for me to find environmental books that incorporate God into the conversation, so I was pleased with Nature Girl and their use of scripture to highlight ideas through out the book. If you have a young lady in your life that's interested in the planet, animals, the weather, this would be a nice addition to her library.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, November 20, 2014

MaD Cooking Show Croque en Bouche

Love this bit of information on this dessert from an article about Julia Child

During an appearance on Martha Stewart's Christmas show, Child and her host both made croque-en-bouche, a traditional French pastry shaped like a Christmas tree.
'What I really understood from Julia Child was that if you really, really want something you shouldn't let anything get in your way'
'The one Martha made looked like she'd collaborated with Euclid,' says Geoffrey Drummond, who was Child's executive producer throughout the 1990s. 'Julia's looked like the leaning tower of croque-en-bouche. I didn't think about it at the time. Julia could make a perfect croque-en-bouche. But she wanted to show that it didn't have to be.'


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2141534/As-Julia-Childs-100th-birthday-approaches-em-grand-dame-real-cooking-challenged-inspired-women-everywhere.html#ixzz3JfiV0XUy


Here's our video along with some pictures of what will happen before you get the "mashed potatoes" stage.




It's never going to come together! I must have done something wrong!!


MMMM! Mashed potatoes!




Finished product!


If the embedded video doesn't work, you can find it here

http://youtu.be/WZZ4STKBs_4

You can find the recipe online here

http://thedaringkitchen.com/recipe/piece-montée


Let me know if you decide to make one for yourself!!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

MaD Cooking Show Season 2 Episode 1 Lava cakes

We made some lava cakes to kick off the new season. Turns out that they are not as tasty right from the oven as they are later that night. Even though Hannah didn't enjoy them for the show, she said they weren't too bad when she had one heated up later that evening. But still, they aren't the best. The best we've ever had was probably a mix from King Arthur Flour. You can find them online here ( http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/chocolate-lava-cake-mix-14-oz )

And just in case you want to try the recipe we made for yourself, here's the link for it, too. http://www.marthastewart.com/316965/molten-mocha-cakes

Here's the video and if doesn't play for you, you can find the link for it directly below.





http://youtu.be/JCUGZJ_9x_Y

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Life Remodeled





This past summer, Joel and I went down to Detroit and helped out with the organization Life Remodeled. They're going into neighborhoods and changing lives by cleaning up blight and connecting with people.
I like the shirt, I wear it when I clean, as can be witnessed by the little tiny bleach spot near the roofline above the L. I didn't know then how different our life would be today.

I'll start from the semi beginning. As many of you know, I have poly cystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). It basically means my hormones don't always produce eggs when they're supposed to and I can't rely on my period to set my clock. It's been in my mind one of the major reasons we've been unable to conceive for the past ten years. Yes, we started trying for another child almost immediately after Hannah was born.

For the past five years or so, I became so entrenched in the reality that we weren't getting pregnant that missing a period was no longer a cause to run out and by a pregnancy test. This summer, I missed my period in August and then September. I had scheduled a doctor's appointment for a well visit and did not want to pay for an office pregnancy test just for them to say "yup you're not pregnant." So I bought some from Amazon (you can get 25 tests for 7 bucks! Overkill I know, but it was cheaper than having one from the doctor).

You can imagine my surprise when my nonchalant "I'm taking this for proof that I'm not pregnant" lark came back positive! I haven't seen one of those in 11 years! I texted Joel, he called, I was apprehensive, he was excited. I had to take another test, just to be sure and then I read the instructions a few more times to make sure I was reading it right. Yup two tests with two definitive lines. I looked online, based on my last missed period, we were 11 weeks, almost done with the first trimester. I had had that headache and nausea in August, I guess it all made sense. We told people that very day, called all the relatives! We're having a baby!!

To be honest, I had lived with the "no" long enough that I wasn't sure if I wanted another baby. I consoled myself with the fact that they aren't babies forever. We were having another child, after ten years of waiting and hope being placed in other places, there was something we had wanted but I had forgotten. That was Thursday. On Friday, I started looking at baby sites and thinking about maternity clothes and wondering what stuff our baby would need.

That night, I went to bed and I was spotting a little, I didn't think much of it, because we were almost done with the first trimester. I woke up an hour later with a little more than spotting. That night I ended up bleeding quite a bit. I didn't know how a baby could survive such a thing but I knew that it was possible. I called the nurse the next morning, she told me to go to the er. Off we went and had blood taken, pee in cup, iv started, ultrasounds performed. Just to have the doctor say the only thing they could say for certain is that my blood work and ultrasound point to a four week pregnancy and not the loss of an 11 week pregnancy. She said it was possible for there still to be a child there, we just needed more blood work in a few days to know.

We left, I was crushed but hopeful. It was just painful being in the unknown. Not knowing whether to celebrate or mourn. I could hold out till Monday and the wait for the tests.

Monday I dutifully went in to see the new practice and have my blood drawn. They said I could call after eleven on Tuesday for the results. I was going to see people, people I care about and that care about me before I could call in. I decided that I'd share, even though all I really had to share was a possibility of hope. And that's exactly what everyone did, everyone hoped and prayed. We were all joyful in our hope. But as I drove home, towards that phone call, I just knew that that hope will have to be deferred. I just knew.

When I called the office, the doctor talked to me. He gave his condolences on our loss. And wanted to move quickly towards physical recovery so that we could start trying again.

There I was though, the holder of the news, the one who had so joyfully called all my family once again dialing numbers and not being able to say a word. We don't get to raise our child, the one the size of a poppy seed when prayers began in earnest for their life. So brief but so full of hope and faith. For ten years, we've waited, anticipating, never expecting that we would wait so long to have such a brief time together. Or to see so much joyfulness in hope. It's almost too much to bear the love that we experienced for our child in less than a week. God was extravagant with his faithfulness and it crushes me. It squeezes my heart to even think about how he would allow our child to receive so much prayer during their short life here. Not even two weeks from conception and we knew about this tiny life.

It doesn't happen that way. Things just aren't that beautiful in the midst of so much pain. It was God. Always reminding me that he cares, about the small things and the big. He reminds me that my days were written in his book before days even existed. He proves over and over again that He cares about how much hope I carry around with me.

I guess in the midst of this life being remodeled I need reminders that hope is important. And not just my hope but latching on to God's hope for me, our family, this world. Holding on to it and being joyful, because God has hope. He knows the end of the story so his hope definitely will not disappoint.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Facing the Music by Jennifer Knapp







I remember during my first year of seminary my friend, Scott, dropping by my room with a cd. I didn't listen to much contemporary christian music, so I told him I would listen, but I was pretty certain inside that I would be giving it back to him. Turns out I didn't return it, I kept it. I loved it so much, I had to buy a second copy. And I had to buy the next cd and the next.

That cd was Jennifer Knapp's Kansas. Her songs defined for me what good christian music should be like, heavily steeped in scripture and emotion, with a little soul thrown in to make it rock. In 2002, Joel and I raced our way across the country from Seattle to Wisconsin so that he could start a new job and we could catch her in concert at his new church. We listened to all of her songs on repeat the whole way. And when we had the opportunity to meet her, I was struck by what she shared. She told us that she had a dream that she was on a plane and it crashed. She was sad that it wasn't true. I was sad, but after reading Facing the Music, I can't believe that none of us there that witnessed her call for love missed out on sharing love with her.

She disappeared not too long after that, maybe even a matter of days and she went dark. She stayed dark for years. I would pray for her and occasionally look her up online to see if she was back. I don't remember exactly when she showed back up, but it was quiet and it was that of a long loved artist coming back from hiatus. When Facing the Music showed up in my email, I knew I had to read it. I wanted to see if there was more to the story than the tiny part I knew.

Turns out there is more to the story, a whole lot more. Knapp does and excellent job of sharing her story, beginning with her birth family and journey through their divorce and the dynamics of having a twin sister and her parents remarrying and having more children. She shares how she fell in love with music and how it became a place of comfort and safety for her. And then with joining the contemporary christian music scene that place started to look more like bondage and lies. Not that she lied about herself, but she wasn't able to be her real self, she had an image and it needed to sold all the time. Once the burden became too great, she finally broke. And according to the story she tells, by the time I encountered her, she was beyond broken but shattered.

She goes on to talk about the healing that she went through, finding truth and peace and being okay with her terms and her self.

I enjoyed Jennifer's story very much. I dug out all my old CDs and have to get her new one soon.

I received a free copy of this book from Howard Books, for my honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.