Friday, October 31, 2014

Day 31: Hope

Today I'm thankful for hope.  This post comes with a little bit of a back story so I hope you have some coffee and a comfy chair while you're reading. ;)

A little over a year ago, Doad and I decided to start trying to have a baby.  Most people say to try for a year before you should start worrying.  Well our one year mark came and went and I don't really know what I was thinking (or maybe I was just trying not to think about it) but I just assumed that it was gonna happen soon and we'd just give it a few more months before we actually start to worry.  Right around that time, I went to the doctor for something totally unrelated, but mentioned that we had been trying to get pregnant so she added some hormone testing to the labs she ordered for me.

The test results kind of blindsided me.  I went in for my follow-up expecting to just get the all clear for a kidney infection that I'd been dealing with.  Instead my doctor told me that I had PCOS (PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome).  This is basically a hormonal imbalance that makes pregnancy difficult.

We did some further blood testing and discovered that I also have a genetic mutation called MTHFR which affects my ability to methylate properly.  I'm still learning what all of this means, but basically my liver is taking what is has detoxified and storing it in my body instead of getting rid of it.  This may or may not be what is contributing to the hormonal imbalance as well as some other health problems.

Doad and I kept this to ourselves for a little bit.  We really wanted to be able to "surprise" our friends and families with exciting baby news (although, I'm pretty sure everyone's been waiting for the news forever) ;)

We finally got to a point though, where we needed the prayers and support from them more than the surprise.  As we shared, it felt like a burden was lifted from our shoulders as friends and family helped to carry it with us.  They've prayed with and for us, they've listened to us vent and encouraged us, and they've given us hope when we're struggling be hopeful on our own.

On my good days, I find myself asking God to be glorified through this story.  I could go thru this time of waiting and longing with a bad attitude, kicking and screaming the whole way, and honestly, sometimes this happens, but I'm also trying my best to choose joy.  To choose to trust.  To choose to have hope. And in the mean time, I'm sharing our story with you in hopes that I can glorify God, bring encouragement to others, and maybe provide some friendship to someone in a similar position.

I know that this story will have a happy ending.  I don't know how long it will take to get to the ending, or how exactly it's going to look when I get there, but I know it will be good.  So today I'm thankful for hope.  I'm thankful that when our baby does come that we will have a story to tell of how many people prayed and hoped with us for him or her.  I'm thankful for the love and support that has come from sharing.  And I'm thankful for the opportunity to bring God glory and let Him shine in a situation that could be sad and hopeless, but instead is bringing growth and faith.



Will you pray and hope with us, friends?  We are looking forward to sharing the journey with you.




Thursday, October 30, 2014

Day 30: Days off

Today I'm thankful for time off of work.  My nanny family is away on vacation, which means I get a mini vacation too.  I have grand plans for my time off, people.  I'm gonna make yogurt and catch up on laundry.  Woohoo!  ;)

Actually, I seriously am looking forward to learning how to make my own yogurt...

I also have lots of books and blogs and emails to read.  I know, I'm like the most exciting person.  Ever.

I can't believe tomorrow is the end of 31 days and that I actually kept up with it all.  There were a couple of late posts, but I'm so proud that I stuck with it and I really hope that I continue to keep writing on a regular basis.  Writing every day this month has really helped me to see that I have a lot more to say than I think I do and it doesn't have to be as intimidating as I make it out to be in my mind.  This challenge has given me more ideas for this blog and more things that I want to write about.

I feel like every few months I come to this realization that blogging doesn't have to be so hard and that I need to just do it.  I usually last for about a week and then let life get busy and stop writing again.  This month I forced myself to keep writing through the busyness and I just really hope that I continue to do that even after 31 days has passed.  This doesn't really have anything to do with my thankfulness topic for the day, but this blog has been a good way for me to keep myself accountable so I guess that's just what I'm trying to do while I'm still motivated.  ;)

Thanks to those of you who have read and commented and liked and encouraged me through this challenge.  I appreciate the support and hope that this encouraged all of you to stay thankful and positive this month too.  I also hope that as we head into November and prepare for Thanksgiving that maybe some of you will take your own thankfulness challenge this coming month.  What a great way to enter the holiday season, with a merry and grateful heart.  :)

PS.  I know there's one more day, just wanted to thank you all in advance. :) 



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Day 29: Friends

Today I'm thankful for friends. For the old friends who know my history and where I've come from 
 and for the new ones who are becoming part of my history right now. 

I've been feeling really blessed by the friends in my life lately and I think I'm starting to understand what it feels like when you find your "tribe" - that group of people you do life with, those friends that become an extended part of your family. These are the people that bring you meals after surgeries and births, that you loan your car to when theirs dies, that you talk to on an almost daily basis just to see how their day is going. These are the friends who come over for the evening and end up talking and laughing with you into the morning hours. The friends who give you deep encouragement when you need it and gentle confrontation too (and marriage advice, and doctor referrals, and that recipe for their fudge because O.M.G). 

I'm trying not to get too sappy here, but sometimes I feel like I was looking for these people for a long time without even knowing it. God has been so good to me to have brought these people into my life.  They love me and bless me and challenge me to be a better person.  I always look forward to the times we share together and am so thankful that God has crossed our paths. 



Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Day 28: Our Family

Today I'm thankful for my family.  Most of you know by now that I'm one of seven.  I have three younger (but taller) brothers and three younger sisters (mostly taller than me too).  My mom home-schooled all of us and still has three at home that she's teaching.  Her love of teaching and learning is very apparent and I'm thankful that she has passed that on to me.  My dad is a steady and reliable man at home and at his job where he has worked faithfully for over 25 years.  My siblings (and their spouses and soon-to-be spouses) ;) are my favorite, each in their own way and I'm thankful for the relationship that I have with each one of them.



I also married into a pretty spectacular family.  I always wished that I had older siblings growing up, and I finally got them when I married Doad.  Eight of them to be exact.  :)   My mother-in-law is so thoughtful and caring and my father-in-law is so kind and humble and joyful.  They're seriously the best in-laws ever and I'm so thankful that they love me and welcomed me into their family.



This post is shorter than I wanted it to be because I'm running behind and want to actually publish this before I go to bed, but as the 31 days wind down I wanted to make sure that I acknowledged my family and how thankful I am for them.  They have shaped who I am and are still helping to shape me today.  They pray for me and support and encourage me through hard times and rejoice and laugh and celebrate with me in the good times.  I'm so happy to be doing life with them and, family, if you're reading this, know that I love you and am so thankful for you.  <3






Monday, October 27, 2014

Day 27: Naptime

Whew! I am exhausted today. It was a busy weekend (our neighborhood Fall party was so much fun!) and I was NOT ready for the alarm to go off this morning. So today I am thankful for Naptime :)

This is probably my favorite perk to being a nanny for an 18 month old. Not that I don't love hanging out with the littles, but I have to admit that I enjoy the couple hours of silence and a chance to clean up all the messes we made in the morning, sit down to a warm lunch, and just breeeeathe. And maybe write a quick blog post ;)



Sunday, October 26, 2014

Day 26: Our Neighbors

Today I'm thankful for our neighbors.  We moved into a very welcoming neighborhood and I'm thankful that we are able to make relationships and get to know the people who live where we live.

We came from a neighborhood where it sometimes felt like everyone was avoiding each other so that they wouldn't have to talk to anybody.  We got a little used to that and expected it to take a long time to get to know people in our new town.

I'm so glad that wasn't the case!  We met several of our neighbors on the day that we moved in.  A few weeks later, we had neighbors knocking on our doors to talk to us and coming into our backyard to invite us over for burgers and a beer.  There's two picnic benches in Greg's yard for monthly cookouts all summer.  There's an annual neighborhood pig roast on the 4th of July.  It's basically one big family here.  That was a little intimidating at first, and it still takes a little getting used to, but we love it!

Today, we are having everyone over for a Fall celebration. We are carving pumpkins, playing cornhole, drinking pumpkin ale and cider, and building relationships with the people who are living life right next door to us.  This blesses my little fellowship-driven heart and I'm excited about the community that we are building with God's help.



Saturday, October 25, 2014

Day 25: Bloggers

Today I'm thankful for bloggers.  It's weird to think about how much I have been influenced by the blogs that I follow, but I really think my life would be quite a bit different if it weren't for the people who write every day.  Today I thought I'd highlight a few of my favorites and why I love them so much.

Spiritual Influences:
Jen Hatmaker - I kind of wish this woman could be my mentor.  She's funny, real, and loves God so so much.  I love her heart for the world, especially orphans and family preservation.  She has a great way of delivering God's truth and freedom in her writing and her posts are the only ones that have literally brought me to tears.  She's also hilarious and has me cracking up laughing often.  Definitely my biggest blog/lady crush.  Read more about her here, trust me, you won't regret it. :)

Saturated Canary - Krista is kind of a recent discovery, and I wish I could find the first post of hers that I read 'cause as soon as I read it, I knew that I would love her blog.  I'm really drawn to people who are real and who are brave enough to share that realness on their blog.  I love the way that she wrestles through her faith and and what she believes and is so active in working that out.  She challenges me to do the same and I love, love, love that.

Maggie Whitley Designs - Maggie is just like a little bit of sunshine in my inbox every day.  She is so bright and cheerful and her posts encourage me to look at life with the same positive, joyful outlook that she does.  She has done some incredible things like starting a successful handmade shop, traveling to Tanzania, moving across the country, and launching a second handmade shop!  All while sharing her wisdom and inspiration through her blog and raising her super cute son (and a second due any moment!)

Healthy Living Influences:
Wellness Mama - I already blogged a little bit about Katie earlier this month, but I really can't recommend her blog enough.  She is a great guide as I seek to make our lives a little healthier.  Her posts are so informative and explain the why behind the lifestyle she promotes as well as easy ways to incorporate those changes.  She has tons of food recipes as well as recipes for things like homemade toothpaste and deodorant!

Mama Natural - Genevieve was one of the first natural blogs I started following.  I love her In Real Life videos because they share glimpses of what it looks like to live naturally on a day-to-day basis.  She is down to earth and funny and her advice is practical and helpful.

The Prairie Homestead - Jill lives on a beautiful 67 acre farm and is my go to blogger for homesteading advice.  She has all kinds of recipes, advice on gardening, essential oil wisdom, and diys galore!  I look forward to her emails and dream about the day that I can have my own dairy cows and acreage too.  :)

Living Life Well Influences:
Enjoying the Small Things - Kelle Hampton is a beautiful writer and a fantastic photographer.  I love her outlook on life and how she finds beauty in the everyday moments of life.  She has a great story and  you should definitely check it out.

Nesting Place - This blog encourages me to be brave when it comes to decorating my house.  I love Myquillyn's motto, "It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful".  Isn't that just so freeing?  Her decorations are so beautiful and I love following along as she renovates their new home.  See some of her beautiful work here.

Ok, I think I've given you several new blogs to check out.  ;)  I hope you really will take a look and that you will be able to see why I am so thankful for them.  They have encouraged me and challenged me and also been great resources as I learn more about living a healthy, natural lifestyle.




Day 24: Blogging

Today I'm thankful for blogging.  I'm obviously not the most consistent blogger, but I love blogging when I can and I'm thankful that I've discovered this outlet.  This month has been huge for me and I can't believe I've actually posted everyday (almost, of course this post ended up going out late...)

I love blogging because it keeps me creative.  It gives me a place to get thoughts out of my head and on "paper".  I love blogging because it gives me a way to document some of the experiences I have and share them with others.  I love that I can go back and read about those experiences myself and that I have a place to write down the details about life that I want to remember.  And I love that blogging gives me a little bit of accountability, like with my 2014 resolutions.  I know that I never would have kept up with them the way that I have without blogging about them every month.

Doing this monthly challenge has been a really cool exercise for me.  I've finally realized that it is possible to write a post without spending tons and tons of time on it.  I've let go of some of my perfectionism about my posts.  And hopefully, I will keep up with the habit and post a little more regularly even after the 31 days is over.




Thursday, October 23, 2014

Day 23: Chipotle

Today I'm thankful for Chipotle.



It's our go to "fast food" restaurant when we need something quick or when we want to eat out with friends.  I love that they are striving to have integrity when it comes to their food and that they aim to source their food as organically, sustainably, and locally as possible.



I'm especially thankful for them tonight because I didn't plan dinner well and hubby saved the day by bringing home some delicious Chipotle.  :)

And that, my friends, is all my brain has left to give tonight.  Short and sweet.  Go eat some Chipotle 'cause I know you all are craving it now.

Peace <3



Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Day 22: Doad

When I'm thinking about things that I am thankful for Doad is always the first to pop into my mind. I waited 22 days to write about him though, because I thought it would be fun to post it on his birthday! :)

I was going to write out one thing I'm thankful for for each year he's celebrated, but I realize that not everyone is as in love with him as I am... So I settled on ten. :)

1. I am thankful for his sense of humor. I love that we can laugh at so much together and that we both know how to crack each other up.



2. I am thankful for his servants heart. Not only does he spend every day looking for ways to serve me, but he also spends much of his time serving others too. Whether he's asked or not he's always finding a way to help someone out when they're in need.

3. I am thankful for his green eyes and dimples. I think Doad is the handsomest man I know. I love everything about him but those green eyes and dimples get me every time. :)



4. I am thankful that he loves Jesus.  Doad's heart for God was one of the first things that attracted me to him and I still today find him the most attractive when he's worshipping God or serving Him with his gifts and talents. 

5. I am thankful that he is such a patient man. Doad is the most patient man I know. He never loses his temper with people which is amazing because I know I definitely have my moments where he'd be totally justified in snapping at me or being rude. He always speaks to me and everyone else with such kindness and patience (something I really hope rubs off on me eventually).



6. I am thankful that he never gave up on us.  Speaking of patience, Doad waited for me for two years before we actually started dating each other locally. I moved to Texas shortly after we met and even though we were crazy about each other, we weren't able to talk much for the whole first year I was in Texas. We started talking my second year and dated long distance for seven months while I traveled on tour with a production team. This often meant that he was up at ungodly hours of the night so that we could talk after a show. He was so faithful and patient and I have never doubted his level of commitment to our relationship because he went above and beyond to show that to me before we were even married. 

7. I'm thankful that he is a generous person. I have learned so much about giving both of my time and my stuff from Doad. He never hesitates to loan out his things or help someone out and I love that. I love that he enjoys being able to give and doesn't find it a sacrifice but a joy to be able to do that. 

8. I'm thankful that he is so encouraging. Doad is my biggest cheerleader and he knows how to pick me up and encourage me better than anyone else. I'm not always the best at believing the nice things he says about me, but thankfully that doesn't stop him and he's slowly helping me to believe in myself because of how much he believes in me. Nowadays, it's easy to just be too busy to notice if others are discouraged but Doad doesn't let a day go by without taking time to offer uplifting words to someone and often goes out of his way to affirm people when he sees them feeling low. 



9. I'm thankful for how hard working Doad is. Whether he likes the job or not, Doad always puts 100% into his work. He will get there early and stay late, he will work without complaining, and he will never toot his own horn. He is always looking for ways to make his company better and more efficient and he is always willing to pick up the slack at home when I have fallen behind (which is often). ;) He has received job offers and several promotions because of his hard work.  He is just always willing to go the extra mile and I'm so proud of him for his integrity and hardworking spirit. 

10.  I'm thankful that we are best friends. I don't know how to write this paragraph without being cliche or cheesy so excuse me. I just never knew that two people could love each other so much. Whether I'm happy or sad, he's the one I want to be with. He's the one I want to talk to about my day. His day is the one I want to hear about every night. He's the one I trust to share my greatest victories and my darkest moments with. I want to help him achieve and rejoice in his victories. And I want to fix and take away all the hard times he has to go thru. He really is my better half. We sharpen each other and make each other stronger and crack each other up all the while. He's my rock and my hero and a million blog posts would never be able to express how thankful I am for him and how much he means to me. 



Happy birthday, baby. I love you forever and ever. 





Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Day 21: The Beach

Today I'm thankful for the beach.  We just got back from a weekend there to celebrate Doad's birthday (and I kept blogging, aren't you so proud?!) :)  The beach is definitely one of our happy places and we love to get away there as much as possible.  We brought some friends along this time which was an extra fun treat. 




We are pretty lazy beach-goers, we love to just relax in the sun while people-watching.  During the summer we also like to cool off in the ocean, but during our fall trips it's usually too cold so we bundle up and just enjoy watching the waves and soaking in the beauty around us.



We are also arcade junkies so we take a little time to walk the boardwalk and visit the arcades.  We've gotten several people hooked on our favorite game and last time we went we came home with a Ninja blender! 

My favorite part of our beach trips is the quality time I get to spend with my husband.  I love the beauty of the ocean and the beach, but it makes it extra special to share that with Doad.  These vacations allow us to just enjoy each other's company and we usually end up having some great conversations because we're able to just slow down and be with each other.  I love that. :)





Monday, October 20, 2014

Day 20: Our Bedroom

Today I'm thankful for our bedroom.  I love this room and I hang out here a lot.  I know they say you should really only use your bed for sleeping and sex, but I just am not one of those people.  I write most of my blog posts here, I paint my nails here, I eat dinner with my hubby and watch tv here, it's basically like my living room... 


That "LOVE" sign is the extent of our decorating in here.  I have realized through these posts this week that I am a very slow decorator, but I am ok with that.  It gives me time to really decide what I like and makes me feel less guilty about buying those rare but perfect "have to have them" pieces when I stumble across them.  :)  




Part of the reason I hang out here so much is we don't have central air and this room is a lot easier to cool down/heat up than the rest of the house. It's also just calm and soothing to me, I find this room peaceful so I like to be in it a lot. 


When we were looking for a new house, finding one with a nice master bedroom was a big deal to us. We have a huge bed set that I LOVE.  (I may or may not have cried when we found it. (Wedding stress makes you do crazy things.)) Its a fabulous bed, but it is enormous and our last bedroom only fit the bed and a chest of drawers with about two feet of space to squeeze around it. It was literally like a closet with a bed in it.  I'm serious, you could get in bed with your hand on the doorknob. It was cozy and we loved it but we definitely wanted to upgrade in our next bedroom. 




This house definitely surpassed our expectations and I'm so thankful for such a lovely bedroom to rest and relax in.  :)



Sunday, October 19, 2014

Day 19: Our Garden

Today I'm thankful for our garden. We are still learning the ropes of gardening but I think we're improving with each year. Last year was our first time trying to grow some of our own food. We ended up with more squash and beans than I knew what to do with.



This year, I did much better at meal planning, but we still had a few veggies go to waste because we just couldn't eat everything or give it away soon enough. I made several jars of tomatoes, but still ended up with extras.  My goal for next year is to do some more planning and freeze or can (and give away) our produce so that we don't have any waste.




I really enjoy being able to grow our own food and hope that our skills continue to improve.  It is a very satisfying feeling to sit down to a meal with a plate full of food that you helped to produce right in your own backyard. Someday, maybe our whole meal will all be from our backyard! :)




Saturday, October 18, 2014

Day 18: Porch Swing

Today I'm thankful for my porch swing. This is one more piece of furniture that my sweet husband has built for me and it is one of my favorite places to hang out.  I especially love it in the spring mornings on my days off. I love to eat breakfast and get my daily dose of sunshine on the swing while having my quiet time with God. I also love to cuddle up in it with my honey on fall afternoons while we talk about our week and watch the dog play in the yard. It's my happy place and I'm so very thankful for it. :)