Monday, July 23, 2012

Keep Going!

I've mentioned how the past several months have been exciting for us on the health front because we have had blood test results that brought clarity to what is behind all of these health issues I have been facing for my whole adult life.  Some answers lay in a blood disorder caused by a genetic mutation, some were found in looking more closely at my blood cells and why my body has so much inflammation (blood tests confirmed that there is a strong auto-immune component which my doctors had suspected for years) and some were found in an allergy test.  Years ago when one of my doctors began to wonder if I had something auto-immune going on she told me to read a book called the Anti-Inflammation Diet.  Up to the past few months this was the most helpful thing I had found to reduce some of the joint pain.  I don't even like tomatoes anymore because I know that they make me hurt.  When these resent allergy tests and the genetic testing suggested I should go off gluten and dairy among other things I found that again, diet can be so helpful in managing chronic pain caused by inflammation.  I have been able to function on a much higher level, have gone off a lot of medication, and sleep so great and feel so much better!

Yesterday I decided that I didn't care and that I just wanted to eat the old way - so I had a gluten and dairy day. 

 So NOT worth it!  I was so uncomfortable I couldn't get to sleep until 3 am.  And my joints have been screaming at me all day.  I know that it won't be the last time I cheat on my allergy diet.  But it's exciting for me to see what a huge difference it makes for me to avoid the foods that add to my inflammation!   This diet will be part of my life forever, and I'm actually ok with that.  It's so empowering to know that I can help myself feel better and function on a higher level by being disciplined in what I eat.  At this point it doesn't look like I will ever be totally free from living with a chronic condition - but I can manage it so much better!   I know that I can't control a lot of things that happen to my health - but it is a blessing to know that God has given me the knowledge to help myself in this way. 

I think having to keep going every day with eating healthy, getting sleep, getting exercise is a great picture of the way we have to keep going in our spiritual life.  We can't let our guard down for a day!  We need to be disciplined to spend time in the Word, and in prayer - we need to watch what kind of things we allow into our mind ... It's a continual discipline. 

But it's so worth it. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Guess How Much I Love You

Last weekend I had the chance to spend the night with my sweet little sister and her two boys (my brother in law is off fishing in Alaska).  I just love spending time with this little family - and the boys never cease to make me smile and laugh.  After some fun with cowboy hats and a spider man costume, some singing and brushing teeth, it was time for bed.  They climbed into their incredible "ship" bunk bed their dad made for them and after kissing their mama and aunti they begged mama for a story.  She pulled out the sweet bunny story Guess How Much I Love You.  If you haven't read this story the book is about a baby bunny and a big bunny going back and forth tryig to express how much they love each other.  It end with the baby bunny saying: "I love you right up to the moon" .. and the big bunny replies: "I love you right up to the moon - and back".  As my sister read this to her little boys I found myself trying hard to hold my emotions together.  All I could think of was my Someday babies, and how I long for them.  I wonder if anyone will read to them and tuck them in before we can meet.

Lately, I just can't shake the thought that one or more of our Someday Babies is already born - or will be born before we are ready to adopt.  This thought haunts me, and I find myself pleading with God to watch over our little one(s).  I pray for someone to be there to love them, I pray they will be protected, that they will have food, that they won't be sick and without someone to comfort them.  I know that adoption exists because of tragedy and pain in the world, and my heart hurts to think that before we even meet our babies will experience something very painful.  And I won't be there to kiss the pain away. 

I am so grateful that God will put people in the lives of our Someday Babies to help them and step in to bring our children to us.  I pray for the foster parents, for orphanage workers, for friends, for nurses and doctors, for social workers ... I just want to cover each person with prayer.  I pray for the birth parents, grandparents, siblings .. whatever the reason this family will go through something very difficult and painful.  I want so badly to do more - but right now prayer is the only tool I have to help - and I know that prayer is powerful. 

I don't know what the point of this post is - except maybe someone else in the same situation will feel encouraged that there are others who feel the same way about children we have never met.  Maybe someone reading is facing the hard decision to give up a child for adoption.  Maybe social workers, or foster parents, or nurses and doctors will read this and be encouraged that people out there are praying for them as they work with children who need forever families.  Whatever the reason, I just felt like I needed to write this.  Maybe it's just for myself to process these complicated feelings inside as we wait until the day we are ready to adopt.  Maybe it's for our Someday Babies to read one day and know that their mama was thinking of them and longing and praying.

Whatever the case - I know that when we meet I can't wait to read Guess How Much I Love You to them.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Grief Over Colorado Shooting

My heart has been aching all day since I read the news about the horrific tragedy that unfolded in that theater in Colorado.  I wanted to share this first hand account and thoughts from a mother who survived with her two teenage daughters.  I was humbled at her faith in a good God after coming face to face with pure evil.  I am challenged by this woman's beautiful belief and nothing I could say on this day could express what I know to be true about God's character and the question of evil.  Her testimony holds so much more weight because she was there.  And she still believes.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Summer Berries and Contentment

I'm kinda like a wild bear when it comes to summer berries.  We were watching a nature show about bears tonight and how they eat something like 10,000 berries a day, and I found myself wishing that I had 10,000 to see how many I could eat in a day.  I just adore berries and my favorite of all is the raspberry.  The layers of flavor, slightly tart and totally sweet, the ease of eating (no stem or seed to deal with), the way you can eat more than one at a time ... oh wow.  I think I need some right now.

The funny thing is: sometimes I let berries go bad.  I'll buy a lot of them and put them in the fridge where I will forget about them, or become too busy to eat them until I find them moldy and yucky.  How stupid of me! (not to mention wasteful!)  I literally could eat only berries for meals at a time - but when I have some I sometimes loose sight of them until it's too late.

This reminds me of this season of our life.  Last week I sat down and wrote every number from 1 to 299 in my calendar.  The official countdown has begun.  The countdown that ends when my Farmer Boy will be out of school and we can begin adoption and all the other parts of our life that have been put on hold over these past 2 years.   I don't really think that doing this countdown is wrong.  Right now we both feel kinda like we are drowning in a sea of work, school, and responsibilities, and we miss each other.   I miss having dinner with my sweet Husband.  I long for the day when we can go to bed at a reasonable hour together - and wake up together.  I miss having friends over or being free to go and visit people we love more often.  I'm tired of declining invitations to dinner, Bible studies, church activities etc because we are just too busy.  I cannot wait until we can actually apply to adopt and be closer to our Someday Babies.  This is a needed and blessed season, but it is at times unbelievably difficult.  The countdown is helpful because it reminds us that nothing lasts forever and someday we will be free to actively pursue the dreams God has put in our heart.  We need a rope to help us keep our heads above the water - and the countdown is one strand of that rope.  But it can also be dangerous.  Because it can be an enemy of contentment if we let it.

And one of the hardest parts of this time, is that I want to be content so very badly.  I know that this day could be my (or any of our) last.  I know that the plans we make may never happen.  And I also know that there is joy in this season, and there are many blessings all around us.  We just have to look for them, and be open to them being different than the blessings we long for with every breath.  Just like berries being pushed to the back of the fridge  - they are HERE and if we don't appreciate them it will be too late and we'll be filled with regret.

I am also learning that contentment is a moment by moment choice.  It's (just like most good qualities) not something we can get and then just keep forever without lots of prayer and diligence every moment.   Today I played scrabble with my precious Grammie - and her deep joy over this simple game (which might have been deeper because she beat me!) reminded me again that there is so much beauty and pure bliss all around us and even because of this season we are walking through.  Every single day I am filled with deep satisfaction and thrilling joy that comes out of the blue - when I do my job well, when Joshua tells me he got another A, when I make a yummy meal for those I love, when we harvest veggies from our little garden, when another rose blooms, when I hear of the witness my Husband is in his workplace, when it's bedtime and I'm exhausted but proud that we all made it through another day.  I don't want to miss out on the opportunities to be filled with joy and contentment because parts of life hurt and I'm too busy looking ahead to the blessings we don't get yet.

Lord, help me savor this day, this moment, and not let the beauty of tomorrow steal away the contentment and joy that is right in front of me.  Let me rejoice in every blessing you have put right in front of me (including the blessings in disguise)- just like ripe flavorful raspberries.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A taste of our wedding 3 years ago!

We just celebrated our 3 year wedding anniversary on July 4!   Thanks to one of our friends (Matt Schmiesing) we now have the entire video on DVD and he also did some great editing and adding of still pictures.  This is the end of the video which he created a great music video of our wedding.  I wanted to give you all a little taste of what that day was like! Enjoy! 

By the way Matt Schmiesing is a singer/songwriter and his music is available at

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Of Waterslides and Not Fighting the Journey

The higher we climbed the more nervous we felt.  It didn't help that occasionally we would hear the fearful screams of those who had gone before us.  I tried not to look down for too long.  I didn't want to chicken out after all!  Finally we made it to the top and peered inside the black tunnel which we were about to enter.  The water slide was called "The Purple Haze", and others told us that it was the best water slide at the park.  I originally had no intention of even trying to go on this slide.  A few things made it very intimidating to me: #1: It was entirely enclosed in a dark tunnel.  #2:  It was the steepest slide at the park.  #3: It was a TIGHT tunnel.  But somehow my stubbornness egged me on - and I followed my husband (who was challenging me to join him in conquering this slide) up the steep hike to the top of the tunnel.  As we stood for what seemed like way too long to have the option of giving up, our friend told us that the ride takes exactly 23 seconds.  That felt like a huge relief.  I could hold my breath that long.  Somehow knowing it wasn't going to last very long made the fear facable.  Almost anything is bearable if it doesn't last long.

As we came home my Farmer Boy and I were talking about our life.  In so many ways we are in a tight spot that sometimes feels like a claustrophobic tunnel filled with water.  He is so busy with classes and working every chance he can get, and I am busy with my work and home responsibilities - we feel like we are two ships passing in the night.   This is not the "newlywed" experience we would have chosen (not that it isn't filled with all kinds of blessings!)  BUT, we know this season in our lives is only for a time.  It's not forever.  Joshua will be done with school next year at this time.  Lord willing we will be able to begin the adoption process as soon as he gets a teaching job.  Things won't always be the same as they are now (not that we expect them to be easy - that's really not what this life on earth is about!).  Someday we will be able to sit and eat dinner together, go to bed at the same time ... and having something exciting to look forward to helps us get through this water slide experience. 

Another thing I learned through the water slide adventure we went on was that if you fight the slide you get hurt!  I hit my head a few times because I was afraid of the slide and didn't want to get water in my face - but if I would have relaxed it would have been less dangerous!  It's the same with going through trying times in life - if we fight what God is letting us go through we will likely get hurt.  It is much less painful if we can relax and go for the ride of our lives.

What is your purple haze experience?