I decided to download Timehop this year. I know, I am totally behind the times. But, it seemed like a fun idea and everyone was posting cute things from years past and I thought, why not see what I have posted in the past 11 years of social media takeover? I noticed a major theme this month, more than any other month of the year. May is a huge month. Things happen in May. For me, more than any other month in my life, every year something huge and/or life changing happens in May! Let’s take a look, shall we? I’ll highlight the major ones.
Have you ever felt so many emotions all in one day that when someone asks you “How are you?” you feel confused, unable to answer in a short answer, and need about an hour to actually tell them how you really are doing. I am not a fan of small talk. I enjoy long conversations, including real life stuff, asking questions back and forth over coffee that grows cold half way in to the conversation. I crave this kind of life-sharing! Lately I haven’t had enough of this and I need it. Tell me I am not alone in this!
And then, all in one day things can change dramatically. Things you have waited for, wanted, prayed for, cried over, pleaded with God about….they just sort of happen. We have never given up on having our own children. We have always tried, every month that I was allowed to try (MS testing forbid us from trying for about 6 months last year) we would try to have a baby. I even started using essential oils on a daily basis, especially the ones that help support a healthy reproductive system and for energy support. Three and a half years of trying resulted in a positive pregnancy test late in May of this year!! We are over the moon and so thrilled at how things have happened and how God orchestrated it all for us! I am currently about 12 weeks pregnant and definitely beginning to show the baby bump!! We got to see and hear the baby a week ago and he/she was just flipping and dancing around with a strong heartbeat! It feels surreal and I still have to remind myself every day that I am pregnant and this is really happening (but then I see my reflection in the mirror and there is no doubt in my mind that there is a baby growing in there! HA!). Baby is due to be here, Lord willing, at the end of January 2016!
Having MS and being pregnant is actually wonderful. Typically people with MS do not experience many, if any, symptoms while pregnant. My neurologist is pretty sure I will stay in remission through out pregnancy. I have been feeling really good and have not had any issues at all with MS symptoms in the past 8 months! I am so thankful! If we can just bottle this up so I feel this great forever, that’d be awesome!! We will just start praying now for after I give birth that MS will stay in remission!
We are really rejoicing in the Lord about this pregnancy and know this baby is HIS! We are so thankful for the many who have prayed for us and with us through the years for a child! We both were made to be parents, and I cannot wait to be parents with my Engineer! We know what infertility feels like and the wait and wait and wait that we had to endure. In my first ultrasound they found a large cyst on my left ovary and a smaller cyst on my right ovary and could fully diagnose me with PCOS from those images. I knew from the symptoms that this was the cause of our infertility, but this confirmed it. We are so blessed that an egg made its way out of one of my ovaries!! Only God can make things like that happen when there are things blocking the path! He always makes a way! He is so good! We are so thankful!
I understand Hannah’s heart from the Bible. How she wept and prayed for children for years, and then one day everything changed and she was pregnant and had a healthy little boy named Samuel. And she praised God for the blessing of the child. I also identify with Abraham and Sarah who never felt like they would have children, and how she laughed when God told her she would have a child! I have laughed more about this pregnancy and baby than I have cried! I love how God has given us His word in order to identify with people and know He understands our hearts, our pain, as well as our joy.
I prayed for this child, and the has granted me what I asked of him.
1 Samuel 1:27
I have researched and read about this for almost a year now. I did not want to jump into this without knowing a little bit of everything. I think my husband is amazing for listening to me ramble on about this and that. It is true. I have consumed the Kool-Aid of Essential Oil mania! I fell in love with Young Living Essential Oils. And I want to tell you about it…because they have helped me so much! Now, I am not a doctor, but I do know from my own personal experience that Young Living Essential Oils have helped me!!
Most of you know, I was diagnosed with MS last September. I was experiencing many symptoms before my diagnosis, but we weren’t sure what was going on. I started looking into the oils and other ways to improve my life (supplements, yoga, diet, etc). I drastically changed my diet last year and began the Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle. Many of the mamas talked about the oils and supplements. So, I started researching as much as I could! I wanted to know the details, what they helped with, how to use them, etc. I started seeing a few friends post about the oils, specifically Young Living and so I began asking questions and I bought my first oil: Peppermint!
Before I even begin to write what is on my heart today, I just have to say that I have the best people on the planet. If you read this, you are considered one of my people. And I am thankful for each and every one of you. Your kind words and encouragement blessed me beyond words yesterday. I was all teary-eyed and blessed! Thank you.
And at the same time, I know the Lord wanted me to post that process yesterday. He knew I would need the extra encouragement. He just knows these things, y’all. He knew I would get a phone call from my doctor yesterday morning. Just 2 hours after my post went live. Some people don’t share this much. But, for me, I have to.
I had my last MRI yesterday (which is a praise in itself…being in that tube/tunnel 5 times in the past month is pretty awful and definitely not my favorite thing in the world) and my doctor called me a little while later to let me know the lesions in my brain, the spinal fluid from my lumbar puncture 2.5 weeks ago, blood work, etc all concluded that I do, in fact, have MS. I still have a few more tests…but from what they know right now, this is MS. And y’all, that just stinks. Plain and simple, it has been a rough 24 hours sifting through my emotions. I think I knew this was coming…in the back of my mind I had a feeling this was it…I just didn’t want it to be so badly.
Some of my first thoughts have been:
Could I have prevented this somehow? I don’t think so…but it’s just a thought I have had.
I don’t really want to have a debilitating disease for the rest of my life.
I don’t really want to be on medication for the rest of my life.
How bad will it be? How often will I have flare ups?
Can we still have children? I mean, I think so, but will this make things even harder than they have been?
I just want to be able to do what I love to do. I don’t want to be held back by anything.
And, I am just flat out disappointed. I feel like we have gone through so much in our almost 3 years of marriage. This is just another thing to add to the list of many things we have struggled through. I need some hope. Some light at the end of the tunnel. Some good news. I just need something to look forward to.
What I do know:
This stinks! Like really bad.
I am surrounded by the best people. Seriously, y’all ROCK.
I know God knew this was going to happen. He is aware of my heart, my needs, my emotions, my healing. I know He still loves me.
I need to keep surrounding myself with people. I know enough about myself to know isolation is NOT good for me. But I also don’t want to do too much and be too tired. Such a balance and a struggle!
I have another test tomorrow to make sure my optical nerve is not damaged.
I have an appt with my doctor in a week to discuss plans for medication, further steps, etc.
So, for now, I need encouragement and your prayers for me and the engineer. I need people to listen and not throw medical jargon at me. I need to just be able to be me. I don’t want MS to define me. I don’t want every conversation to be about this. I want to share, but don’t want it to be all that I talk about.
My sweet friend sent this card to me today with this beautiful verse in it…clinging to this today:
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
So, I guess we will get close to the fire…but it will not consume me. And, again, I am not alone. Thank you for hearing me. Thank you for walking this road with me.
We are about to enter my favorite season of the year. FALL.
Really, I love all the seasons. I love the change, the newness, the hope that is easier to feel, the weather, etc. You could say I am adaptable, and I am, but there is a predictability to the change because I expect it and want it. I think I just need change sometimes. It gets me out of a rut and moves me into the more that I desire.
But there is something about fall. The crisp mornings and warm afternoons. The bright blue sky. The crunch of leaves under my feet. Apples. Pumpkins. Mums, oh how I love mums. Decorating for the season. Baking lovely smelling loaves and muffins that fill me with joy. It is a generous season, one that people are thinking about others a little more. Or at least that is the way I want to live in this season.
But, this time last year was one of the hardest seasons. You can read about it here. It was hard. And a year later, it is hard to avoid the thoughts of “what could have been”. It was a hard Fall season. But there were good things in it, too. My sweet class of 16 four year olds that greeted me every day made it a lot easier. Our church family, boy do I love them, and they have loved us fiercely through it all.
And now, this fall season does not seem any easier than last fall. Actually, it is hard to see the hope some days. And not just with infertility, though that is always there, every day. My health has been something of concern this summer. What I thought was just a pinched nerve or inflamed muscles in my back that was causing my hands and arms to be numb…well, that has turned out to look more like MS (Multiple Sclerosis). My doctor has not diagnosed me yet, but he is testing for it in every way possible. I feel like a lab rat most days. I have 3 more weeks of testing and labs before the final diagnosis will take place. And y’all, the waiting is so hard. The unknown is terrible. And reading about it on the internet….well, you can just forget feeling normal after all of that mess! I feel ok most days, I feel like I can do this and can live a somewhat normal life through this. Right now the only symptom I have is numbness in my hands, which is not debilitating right now and I can do just about everything I could do before July (when the symptoms started). Some days are harder than others. Some days I am really tired. I am longing for some good news, y’all. Something that will make this season a little lighter, a little less hard, a little more joyful.
Our pastor has us thinking about a few things this week. He challenged all of us in our small group (or we call it a Huddle) to think about how we process things. So I decided to share how I am processing all of this here. He gave us this diagram called a Learning Circle (from 3DM ministry):
A kairos is a moment in time appointed by God. A moment where you know God is speaking and moving us to action. So, the learning circle is a way to process a kairos moment. We have been asked to process something in our life through the learning circle. So, my kairos moment is deciphering what God is saying through all of this. But also knowing I have to TALK to people about it. I have to share what is going on in my life. I cannot just act like everything is ok, but I have to share how I am really doing.
Plan: How will I respond?
I have been called to share my life with others. Through discipleship, through relationships. I do not have to be afraid of sharing my weaknesses. When I am weak, He makes me strong. I will share with people (even people here on my blog), because sharing life is important. It is what makes us real, human, accountable. I need other people, too. I really need people to surround me, give me encouragement, and listen to me. I can receive from others. I will receive from others.
So, there it is. How I am really dealing. I don’t want to be dealing with this, but it is part of life right now. I am so thankful for the family and friends how have supported me in this season. The cards in the mail and the sweet text messages brighten my day. I know the more I share, the more healing will happen. Healing for my heart and prayerfully for my body, as well. I am praying for restored hope in this season.
Many of us love decorating, cooking, making crafty things…if not all of these, then we at least enjoy one of these things! I know I love all of these things. I love having people over to my home, as well. It has become part of my life and a definite part of my heart to open my home to anyone and everyone that needs a place to be. Just BE.
Mary & Martha is my new company and they make products that give women the confidence to have people in their homes without the worry and fuss of “Is everything perfect??” “Do I have it all right?””Is everything in its place?”, etc. I love these products, the message and purpose behind them, and the beauty they create when added to your home.
I am currently reading The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to be Beautiful by Myquillin Smith “The Nester” and it is so great at covering the topic of having your home be a place of ministry, a retreat space for you and your family, but also for your neighbors, friends, coworkers, etc. I actually found Mary & Martha through The Nester’s blog and emailed a lady in the Atlanta area about being a consultant and 4 days later, I was signing up to sell the products myself! It has been 2 weeks and I am loving it!
The Engineer and I have been praying about what I should do during my “free” time right now. I am not going back to teaching the fall, but will stay home and “hopefully” have a foster child in our home soon. So, in all the praying, I knew I would want to stay close to home but also help to contribute financially to our household. And that same week was when I read about Mary & Martha! God knows what we need, exactly when we need it!
So, I am telling all of you about this because it matters to me. It matters to me that you would want to have people in your home. It matters to me that you wouldn’t shy away from inviting people in. It matters to me that your home become a place of rest, peace and love for your family. It matters to me because I believe Jesus wants us to have that–no matter the size of our home, the amount of “stuff” we have, etc. He wants us to invite people in, share life with them, share Him with them, and love people right where they are. Jesus, himself, got to experience this in the home of Mary and Martha many times, the Bible tells us. He taught them, and He received hospitality from them. I love that.
I would love to help you. I would love to help you feel comfortable with having people come into your home! Visit my website, check out our products, let me know what you think by leaving a comment below with your favorite product! You will be entered to win this fabulous item: Mary & Martha’s Medium Nested Market Basket! (This is one of my favorite pieces and a $46 value!!!)
I have been saving a few recipes, creating new ones and trying to live a healthier lifestyle this year. Well, since February. I have been on the Trim Healthy Mama (THM) Plan and it is definitely working for me! I could see myself living and eating this way forever! Here is a link to a few of their Featured Recipes!
Most of the recipes from now on will be healthier, trimmer, and made with a lot less sugar or carbs! The wonderful part of this plan is I never feel deprived, hungry or like I am missing out on things. I love eating this way and I especially love the way I feel! And just reading the testimonies every day online are so encouraging and keep me going! I am not just in this to lose weight (I have lost 24 lbs as of today! Slow and steady, but it’s working!) but I am in this to be healthy! I am so thankful to have more energy and overall feel really great! My hormones are more in balance and my skin is clear!
I am also able to take recipes that I love, make a few tweaks and it works for THM! Here’s what I am making tonight! This is an S meal if you’re following THM. That means, it is a meal with low carbs (less than 6 grams digestible carbs) and high fat and protein.
Pasta is full of carbohydrates…and I love it soo much! But, there is a brand called Dreamfields out there that makes a low carb pasta that is amazing! I have never been able to tell a difference in the way it tastes! So, I used Dreamfields for this recipe. You can find it in the regular pasta aisle, in a black box.
Italian Sausage and Broccoli Pasta, S
1 lb package Dreamfields pasta, cooked (Rigatoni, Fusili, or Elbows)
4-5 sweet Italian sausage links, casings removed
1-2 tbsp Olive Oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pint container grape tomatoes, halved
1 1/2 cups broccoli (steamed or blanched)
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
Red Pepper flakes, optional
Fry sausage in Olive oil until brown over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Throw in half of the grape tomatoes and let them cook down (4-5 minutes). Throw in second half grape tomatoes and all of broccoli. Add 1 tbsp Olive Oil, or more if you’d like, and toss everything around for 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Toss sausage mixture with cooked pasta and add cheese! Enjoy this yummy dish without any guilt 🙂
*Variation: add more green veggies like zucchini or spinach to the dish!
Here is my Pinterest board of Trim Healthy Mama recipes! Hope this helps some of you!
Follow April’s board Trim Healthy Mama on Pinterest.
Everything about being a foster parent terrifies me and excites me, and both of those emotions assure me that this is what God has for us right now.
If you have followed me on Facebook at all, you know that The Engineer and I have been through the Foster Parent training classes for the state of Georgia. We completed them in March 2014. It has been a long process, but hoping to be approved at some point this summer to be official foster parents.
We always talked about fostering. We want our home to be open to anyone, everyone, all the people, anytime. But, I think we thought we would foster later in life, you know, after we had a few children biologically. Since that has taken longer than planned (Ha! Our plans! God is so much bigger than our plans!), we thought we would adopt. And you all know that story, and if you don’t, well it’s here and here. And then we started reading more about fostering, like this book by Dr. John DeGarmo. We said YES to fostering in January of this year. We obviously have no idea what we are doing!
So, we are continuing to read, pray, figure out what we are supposed to do, and wait. We wait because the system is slow, overworked, underpaid, and exhausted. We wait because that is what our life is like right now….a lot of waiting. But it is often in the waiting that we come to know God more, what He is truly like, and how He is working on our behalf even if it does not feel like it. We are trusting that He will build our family the way He wants it to be. We are hoping that we receive children and will be able to adopt them, eventually. We understand the system a little more than we did 4 months ago and made some new friends. And we know that in the end, if children come into our home even for a day that they were meant to be here and meant to be in our lives.
We know God is opening our hearts to receive many children who have never known love or safety and that we will get to provide that for them. We are beyond hopeful that they would come to know Jesus by being in our home. But overall, we just want them to know they are cared for, loved and safe. Even if they go back home or to another relative or foster family, we will love them no matter what the circumstance or outcome. That is what we are called to do. That is what we will do. Because of His love for us, we are able to love. And we will give away His love as much as we can. No matter what.
So, this Mother’s Day, even though I do not have children, I know God is making a way. Even when it hurts beyond hurt that I am not a mother just yet, I am trusting in His promises and His plan. I will be a mom one of these days. I am thankful for the 16 children I have been able to teach this year and the place in my heart that they are in. I have been where God needed/wanted me to be this year and I am so thankful. He placed me in a good school with children and families that are amazing, supportive and loving.
He has a plan for ALL THE THINGS and I am thankful.
This year, instead of a list of resolutions…and let’s be real, I usually forget about them in a month…so, I am choosing ONE WORD. Each month I will revisit this word, and create an action plan based on it. I guess it helps to have a little accountability here in the blogosphere…so thanks for keeping up with me!
Intentional. Doing the things that matter most. Being intentional with my time, our money, my thoughts, with other people, and with my time with the Lord. Doing it all for Him.
Colossians 3:23-24 is what I am standing on this year.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”
My action plan to go with “Intentional”:
January–lose 7 pounds. I am working towards this goal a little bit every day. I chose this as my goal to hopefully give my reproductive system a jump start so that we can possibly have a baby. As many of you know, we have tried for 2 years to have children…and we have not succeeded. My doctors are pretty sure it is because I do not have a regular system. Praying for a jump start to help move things along…and then we will revisit this in February. Pray with me about this. It is very difficult for my body to lose weight…any and all advice would be appreciated!
What is your one word? I’d love to know what you are focusing on this year and where the Lord is taking you! Follow along at Incourage.me to see other’s “one words”.
Happy 2014! It is going to be a good year, I just know it!
Y’all, I love giving things away. It just makes my day! Especially when I get to give something away that I love, something that I made, or something a friend of mine has made! I love it around the holidays, especially! I pray that you and your families have a wonderful Christmas season and a Happy New Year!
Sharing with you today one of my favorite Christmas blog posts from Ann Voskamp
“Whenever Christmas begins to burden, it’s a sign that I’ve taken on something of the world and not of Christ. Any weight in Christmas has to be of this world.
Christ came into this world as grace to lift all the weighty burdens.
Christ the Babe comes to us in Christmas as Christ the Savior comes to us on the Cross — seeking only our embrace.”
So, this month I have been doing a series of Facebook giveaways. For today I thought I would do a blog giveaway from something in my Etsy shop! The winner gets to pick out their favorite item from the shop!!
Enter to win using the rafflecopter below! Giveaway ends on Saturday at 10am EST.