Monthly Archives: October 2014

On Being Faithful

Being obedient to the Lord looks like many different things to different people.

Maybe you’ve been called to speak up when you prefer to be silent. Or to be silent when you’d rather give someone an earful. Perhaps going for a quick run is a test of extreme faithfulness for the one who hates to move. Maybe not exercising, when it’s something you love to do– is the right call for the day.

What’s a cake walk for some may be like climbing a mountain for others. Everyone is different, with various talents and gifts, loves and dislikes.

These past few five years I have struggled to be a good cook.

Yes, cooking. For some of you reading this, cooking may be one of your greatest loves–the thing you excel best at in your home. You might hardly ever give it a second thought as to what a chore it can be, other than whether to use fresh or powdered garlic or if the right home grown herbs are ripe for the recipe you’re making that day.

I’m laughing on the inside because stuff like that is nowhere near my radar. Cooking is not even close to being a true love of mine. I cook for my family purely out of love and diligence, and because it’s my job as a wife and mother. It’s what God has called me to do. I have tried countless times to inspire myself to love cooking just a little more. I watch cooking shows. I surf the web for recipes. I talk with my husband and ask him what kinds of dishes he prefers. I force myself to buy new ingredients and try new dishes.

But it comes down to basic faithfulness for me.

Another part of the struggle for me is our family budget. While it’s a very GOOD thing, the budget does makes cooking harder (I won’t mince words; it makes it WAY harder). It takes careful meal planning, focused shopping, and forcing yourself to eat what you’ve planned for that day, even if it doesn’t sounds that great. (I feel like a spoiled brat for saying this, after all there are so many who work hard just to have the basics!) If you’re sort of whimsical and like last minute decisions like me (does anybody want to get some ice cream RIGHT NOW?)…well, it’s just something I’m having to get over. It also doesn’t allow for quick last minute trips to more convenient but costly grocery stores. In essence, it takes careful consideration, time, and diligence.

It takes faithfulness. Day in and day out.

My husband says I get down on myself too much for feeling like I’m a bad cook. I know I’m not a ‘bad’ cook necessarily, but I think I feel guilty that one of the the jobs I’ve been given to do is such a struggle for me to enjoy. So today I am trying to break past the mold a little. I’m making rolls from scratch for our pulled pork sandwiches because I’m over on my food budget for the month (sadly a common occurrence, even if it is only $15 this month). I’m committing to finding creative things to make with what we’ve got in our fridge/pantry until the month is over. I’m resolving to have a good attitude about having to do something so often that I am not naturally gifted at.

Thankfully, I have a cousin who seems to like to cook a lot and she’s great at giving me ideas and sending me recipes. And I also have a good friend who also knows the struggle of sticking to a tighter food budget every month for the good of her family. It helps to have support from others, even if it is just a little thing like cooking and saving money.

My older sister blows my mind out of the water. She lives in a remote location in Papua New Guinea. She orders her food every 6-12 weeks and it comes in via helicopter (there are no roads where she lives). So yes, she has to plan meals for up to 3 months at a time (and yes, she does cook THREE meals a day). She does not have a microwave. She cannot just “run to the store” if she forgets to order eggs or butter, or even if she runs out. She has to make sure that what she orders will last the entire time between helicopter runs. She has to blanch and freeze most of her vegetables and has very little fresh fruit to work with. Occasionally the food she receives will go bad prematurely and she has to make ends meet with what she’s got.

 

And yet have I EVER heard her complain about what a stressful thing it must be to plan, cook and feed her family of 5 for 3 month stretches at a time? No. She is an example of faithfulness to me. Faithful to God, and faithful to her family.

And I pray that someday I will be able to report that cooking is not just a duty, but a true love of mine. In the meantime I hope to press on in this little but nagging challenge of mine, and to be faithful in the big and the small things.

“Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” -1 Cor 10:31

 

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Less Than A Month To Go

My medications came for the embryo transfer! Not sure if I feel more excitement…or dread? Those 1- 1/4 inch IM needles get a little old after a while!

Anyhow, here’s a comparison between FET meds and IVF meds:

FET meds

FET meds 

IVF meds

IVF meds (from last summer)

Last year, when my IVF meds arrived, I was pretty overwhelmed by the sheer number of medications and spent a good part of the day going through everything and figuring out which syringes went with which needles, etc, as well as when to start/stop each medication. Today, when my FET meds came, it was more like, “They’re here! Great. I’ll go through those some other time.” Lol.

There isn’t too much news here. Our embryo transfer is scheduled for roughly 11/18, depending on how my uterine lining looks (if it’s thick enough) and what my estrogen levels are at. I take my last birth control in a couple of days (hallelujah!) and start lupron injections Friday. The lupron injections will continue to suppress my ovaries and make sure I don’t ovulate (which would throw off the timing of the embryo transfer).

Thankfully, the migraines have subsided. Those went away sometime last week. My TSH didn’t go down on the thyroid medication, however, so my RE (my IVF dr, a reproductive endocrinologist) tripled my dosage. I felt decent for about ONE day. The following day I felt like I had been drugged — I became suddenly weak, light headed and foggy. I also could not resist sleep! (This happened right before we were having company over — of course!). And every afternoon since then, I have felt the same, although to a lesser degree. I’ve done a ton of research on levothyroxine, timing and strength of dosage, and I’ve also talked to the IVF nurse about it. Her opinion is that my body just needs more time to adjust to the medication. From what I’ve read, she may be right. But I also feel that I may be overdosed as well. In any case, I’m supposed to go down on my dosage tomorrow and get labs checked Saturday (including antibodies to make sure I don’t have Hashimoto’s). Hopefully time will tell what’s going on!

I’ve dialed back a lot of my life to get through this time. “Not feeling well” has been the theme for me these past 22 days. In the grand scheme of things, it’s totally worth it! But also hard to get the day-to-day stuff done and to be a good mom to Josh. Thankfully, I feel pretty good most mornings!

I’ll try to keep you updated through this process. Thanks so everyone who has email or texted to inquire how things have been going! I sure do appreciate your prayers!

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Unexpected

Seriously. I didn’t expect birth control to throw me for such a loop! I wasn’t planning on being sick with nausea and migraines for the past 2 weeks, that’s for sure. And I still have 2 weeks left to go before I can stop the birth control and start meds for the FET.
Waking up in the middle of the night with a migraine is just plain not fun!
Overall, I’m just feeling frustrated that my body so often seems to lean toward the “unwell” direction more than the “well” direction. Or at least that’s how it seems right now. Maybe that’s a short-sighted view from me (probably most of what I’m saying right now is short-sighted!) but I’ve never been this sick from birth control, ever.
I’m praying this isn’t another long season of being in pain. In the meantime I’m icing my head and wondering if I need to get on migraine medication to make it through these next two weeks. My stomach can only handle so much Advil!

On the plus side, Josh is doing great. Sleeping 12-14 hours every night. Laughing and playing and putting his arms around mommy’s neck at bedtime when he’s tired. Kicking up a storm in the bathtub. Eating like a champ. Obsessed with every little silky tag he can get his hands (or should I say mouth?) on. And just last week, the two cutest little bottom teeth popped through his gums. He is such a joy and a treasure to us, and helps me to laugh and giggle throughout the day when I’m struggling with migraines.

Ahem. Headaches and nausea aside, I guess I don’t have to look very hard when I’m looking for God’s mercy in my life!

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Burlap Wreath Craziness

I’ve been obsessed with wreaths this fall. I have no idea why or where this obsession came from! One day I just decided we needed a fall wreath for our door. I began to look on Etsy shops for a wreath to buy and found some really cute burlaps wreaths, but didn’t want to pay the higher prices or shipping costs (I’m cheap!). I don’t consider myself a “crafty” person by any measure, but I figured I could follow something simple! So far I’ve made 4 wreaths — one for our door, one for a friend, and two for Christmas presents for some of my family members. Take a look!

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I found the idea for this wreath on SixSistersStuff’s website. You can read more on the “how to” on their blog. They have some easy and cute ideas. I bought the burlap at Joann’s as well as those big flowers, which actually come on clips that adhere easily to the burlap.

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I used a foam wreath and cut tons of 3 inch x 3 inch squares of burlap, folded them twice, and pinned each of them on the foam. It was a lot of work to cut the burlap, but it was really easy to pin the squares on. I learned how to make bows after I made this wreath. I think I might re-do the bow!

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The next wreath I made was almost the same (I had bought 2 yards of burlap for the first wreath and had plenty left over so I made a second wreath out of the material) except it was bigger with different flowers. I didn’t like my first bow so I left that out this time.

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Again, these flowers just clip on and are $2 each at Joann’s (although I think they may have been 50% off the day I was there, so only $1 each!)

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The finished product. This took me about 2.5 hours to make.

Next I decided to try something less finicky than cutting out tons of burlap squares. I watched a DIY video (2 minutes long) and learned to weave burlap through a wire wreath (which is extremely simple, by the way!).

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I bought pre-cut burlap rolls at Michael’s (which happened to be 50% off — $3.50 a roll each — SCORE!), and as I wanted to make two, I bought one for each wreath. The green burlap I bought was also pre-cut, and I think $2.50 for the roll. It was just enough to make the bows for both wreaths. The silk flowers were probably the most expensive part — I bought two pieces and they were $4 and $7 each.

I wanted to make a “spring” wreath for my family members (since they will be receiving the wreaths for Christmas) and this is what I came up with:

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Weaving the burlap in the wire frames took me about 45 minutes the first time, and probably 20-30 minutes the second time. I secured the burlap with wire the first time, and ended up sewing the bow in. I secured the silk flowers in with the clip on the big white flower directly onto the metal frame. It was EASY!

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I made this one this morning during Josh’s nap and decided to pull out the hot glue gun and leave the needle and thread alone. That ended up saving me loads more time! I didn’t use any wire, except for the bow. (You can learn how to make those here, also easy!)

I’ll probably make more wreaths in the meantime. It’s a great way to make gifts for people, without too much expense!

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Update on Upcoming FET

I thought I might as well give another update. I found out a few days ago that the FET will take more like 7 weeks instead of 5. I think it’s basically a scheduling thing with my infertility clinic due to the fact that they only do embryo transfers on certain weeks of the month and they try to get as many people on the same schedule as possible to make their lives simpler.

I finally started on birth control 3 nights ago to start regulating my hormones and prevent ovulation. I’ll be on that for another 21 days and then have to go through another period. Out of all of the medicines I have to take, birth control pills are my least favorite. I woke up extremely nauseous 3 nights ago from it and felt lousy all day, and I’m up again feeling nauseous tonight (it’s 4:30 am).

My thyroid level (TSH) was retested and came back at 2.6. I thought I was pretty much in the clear, since my RE’s cut off is 2.5,  but he had me start on levothyroxine. So far that that has been okay, but it has completely diminished my appetite. I’m on a low dosage (25 mcg) and will get my level checked again in 2 weeks.

The embryo transfer is scheduled for 11/18. Feels really far away right now! I have a saline infusion sonogram (SIS) scheduled for Tuesday. This is a procedure where they will inject sterile saline into my uterus and use ultrasound to look for any polyps, fibroids, or anything else that might get in the way of an embryo implanting. I’m sure I had this done last year when we went through IVF, but I don’t remember it! I have to take 5 days of antibiotics for it and they told me to take 800 mg Ibuprofen prior to the procedure as it can be painful.

Right I’m praying that I can remain sane on the birth control pills. They make me a little crazy. My husband says my ability to deal with conflict on birth control is pretty bad, and I tend to agree. I have a hard time shaking off disappointments when I’m on it. I thought I would only have to take it for 8-9 days like last time, but it will be longer. Thankfully it is just for a short season!

 

 

 

 

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Seeing God Through Disabilities

I stopped at the stoplight of a busy intersection on my way home from picking up some bottles for Josh. I was on an unfamiliar road and noticed a high school on my left across the street on the corner. I looked at the clock — it was 3 pm, and school was out for the day. The light did not change and as I looked around, feeling slightly bored, I saw a girl, probably 15 or so, walking across the street with a noticeable limp. She had a pink ball cap pulled over her mid-length hair, and she wore loose cotton capris and a colorful sweatshirt. She happily clutched her water bottle that had a hard plastic straw inside. With a huge smile on her face, she walked along with her headphones in and her ipod playing. I knew immediately that she was unique, made incredibly special by God’s design, existing in a world of her own.

Across the intersection I watched a throng of young teenagers start to cross the street. Groups of girls talking among themselves, with long hair, perfect makeup, and short-shorts. Packs of young men either horsing around or staring at their shoes as they walked forward. You could almost feel their insecurity, their struggle to find their place in this life.

I glanced further to my right and watched the gal with the ball cap limping along again. There was so much brightness in her expression. Just behind her were 30 or so teens, also crossing the street, most looking tense, so filled with angst. And yet this girl exuded peace.

I was reminded of my own sister, who resembled this young woman in many ways, right down to the ball cap, ipod, capris and even the water bottle. She also can found be listening to music on any given day, happily existing in her own little world; ignorant of the many uncertainties of life surrounding her.

Over the years I’ve noticed how people have kindly expressed sorrow to me that my sister is disabled with Trisomy 14. And it’s always been kindly received, because caring for my sister IS really hard for my parents. Some days, the struggle seems too much for all of us. But there is always grace to be found in the midst of difficulty. Yesterday, when I saw this girl walking along, it struck me not only how well taken care of she was, but also how she seemed to be completely bypassing the angst-filled years of high school. And the same has been true for my little sister. She has little to no stressors, except for the occasional stomachache or a cold. She lives almost completely without fear or worry. It struck me that I ought to be living in the same way, because I don’t need to be trying to carry the weight of this world on my shoulders. Christ is there to shoulder my burdens, to carry my load. He does this willingly.

“Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you;

He will never permit the righteous to be moved.” Psalm 55:22

I didn’t come to write on my blog this morning with any sort of agenda. I saw this young lady yesterday, and something deep inside resonated with me to the point of bringing tears to my eyes. I saw a person, so different from the rest, yet so perfectly made in God’s image. So loved by God. I saw peace and contentment. And I thought of my own sister, who can barely grasp the concept of who God is — but who is also very much loved by her Creator. It shatters me to hear others say that disabled people are a “burden on society.” I think the people who say this have not had their own burdens lifted by the Lord. Disabled people are such a gift to our society. We can learn so much from people not tightly bound to social norms and peer pressure. And we can learn from their love. My sister will often screech “Emmy!” with pure joy and excitement and run down my parent’s driveway to greet me when I visit. She often forgets that she will fall and injure herself on the sloping gravel driveway– and would continue to do so– if my parents did not restrain her. It reminds me of the father of the prodigal son, running down the lane to greet his wayward son who has finally returned home.

And so our heavenly Father greets us, with joy and rejoicing, when we turn from the evil of this world and ask Him to carry our burdens.

Today I want to see others as God sees them. I want to love without inhibition and release my burdens to the Lord. And today I’m thanking God for this special sister of mine and all that she’s unknowingly taught me.

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My sister holding Josh for the first time (with my mom adding a little assistance!)

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