Monday, August 26, 2013

Gratitude Photo Journal Challenge

I have over the years enjoyed a photo challenge on Facebook or Blogger, a way to motivate me to take more pictures of every day life, to remember, to appreciate, to document. I just did one in August, and a few weeks in I was challenged by a friend to take a photo everyday for a month where the photos weren't just a check mark on a list but there was a reason for them, photos that could uplift me and maybe others, and so the Gratitude Photo Challenge was created.

It is not joy that makes us grateful. It is gratitude that makes us joyful. -David Rast
I truly believe that. It has been proven true for me in 2013.

I do already keep a daily, one sentence, gratitude journal but I thought this was a great project for a month, because I am a very visual person, visual reminders of my gratitude would be very impactful. Also, I write in my journal at the end of my day, to end on a positive note before I go to bed....which is great, but with this new challenge I find myself starting out my day actively looking for something to be grateful for so that I can be sure to photograph it! It is only day one and already my outlook at the beginning of each morning is transforming.  I am so looking forward to this for the month of September!

I'd love it if anyone else interested joined us! Regardless, feel free to follow my Gratitude Photo Journal Challenge here.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends - Part 1

A thought came to me the other day.

"I hope I never forget the impact this person has had on my life."

Then another thought occurred to me.

"I hope this person knows how much they mean to me."

So, since I have a blog for documenting important pieces of my life, I figured there are some pretty important people in my life I would like to commemorate.

This is in no particular order, I am just starting with my most recent friend Yasemee (Yaz) because she is far, far away right now in Micronesia, learning how to become a missionary. And so I miss her and think of the wonderfulness she adds to my life that I don't get to experience on a weekly basis anymore.


This is my dear friend Yaz.

Isn't she so beautiful?

I love the expressions on her face, they are so lovely, insistent, dramatic and speak volumes, they are often accompanied by inspiration or large laughter, hers and mine.

I love her passion, whatever comes her way she either loves or hates with passion! It's contagious.

I love her hunger for God and her boldness in her faith.

I love the truth she speaks and writes, it stirs up so much emotion in me yet soothes my soul.

I love that God knit her into my heart almost from day one, because we are so alike (on the inside ;). She reminds me of me quite a few years ago. She reminds me of David with Jonathan.

I love that 14 years age difference makes no difference, and we are so compatible.

I love that she is my kind of silly and we have just as many hilarious conversations as deep spiritual ones.

I love that she's awesome at what I struggle with and she calls me Yoda :)

I love that we have the same shoe size despite the big discrepancies in the rest of our bodies, lol. (she's in really high heels in that photo). My consolation prize for living without her for a few months is babysitting some really cute shoes of hers, and her incentive to come back is my cute boots she can borrow :)

I love the lens she sees me through because it echos the truths God tells me about myself.

I love that she allows herself to be teachable, and that her heart is to please God.

I love her voice. The singing. The accents. The laughter. The synchronized surround sound screeching (with me).

I love that we can talk for hours on end and it feels like we've shared only moments, and we just about get kicked out of restaurants because of it.

I love that our relationship has so many deep relational facets, she gives me the opportunity to be a friend, a mentor, a sister, a mother, a comforter, a Yoda....etc. 

I love that she is one of my biggest cheerleaders, I know God has put her in my life at one of my lowest points of self-worth for a reason.

I love that she acts more in faith for our future children than I do sometimes.

I love how much I smile with her.

I love that our spiritual passions overlap in many places, and I look forward to facing this world with her in my life, my small group, my Church, my city, my family.

As deep cries out to deep. 

I love you Yaz!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Full Cycle

Life has a funny way of coming full circle, in many different ways. Mine has come full circle in my fertility.

It's almost exactly five years ago that all our tests were completed at the Heartland Fertility Clinic (well, all their tests, which isn't exhaustive as I've since found out) and came up with no negative results. While my hormone tests all came back within normal ranges, the doctor speculated because I was overweight that my insulin could be driving my Estrogen too high and my body was thinking I was already pregnant, and that while being overweight was my only symptom of PCOS, he thought taking the typical treatment drug for it, Metformin, was my first best option to 'fix' the problem. If my insulin levels were too high the drug would lower my insulin levels to trick my Estrogen levels into lowering to a normal level as well. He said if that didn't work I could come back and talk to him about another drug, Clomid, with the disclaimer it brought the chance of multiple births.

The problem was, he hadn't diagnosed a problem. I didn't see any test results, but initially he had said all my hormone levels were normal. But in the face of no other answers I took it. After a few weeks Sean and I sat down to talk about it and realized a few things. First, I was already trying to lose weight (and succeeding) in case weight was the issue, and so on the drug we wouldn't know when my body normalized it's cycle on it's own. Second, we felt like we were given a generic band-aid solution (it was prescribed to other people I know who have very different fertility problems, and it wasn't a viable solution for them either) and didn't feel comfortable taking a drug when we didn't even know if it was actually a solution for us. I was feeling ill taking it, which I would have gladly suffered through if I knew this medication was what I needed. But I didn't. So I stopped taking it.

I felt so uncared for by the fertility clinic that I didn't even bother to go back to talk about it. The other drug wasn't explained as to how it might be better suited to my issues, what it would do to help my cycle, and with the huge red flag warning, we were not any more eager to try that option. We had only been trying for 2.5 years, maybe we just needed more time, not multiple births.

So, fast forward five years. And all the new information those five years brought. And a new doctor to take new tests, some not done before. And still all the test came back with no negative results. One key piece of new information though was that I had 'likely' miscarried. Doctors won't use that word unless there was a pregnancy test first, but I know what my body went through. But she still took that under consideration, and after considering all aspects came up with a treatment that actually made sense for my body, she talked to me about a drug that could help me in two ways. She called it Clomifene and said it would stimulate the release of a stronger egg, a more viable egg, so that if it was fertilized it had a better chance of surviving. This stronger egg that was stimulated would also be a second egg, I would likely be ovulating 2 eggs per month, doubling my chances of getting pregnant each month. Yes, that meant there was a 10% chance of twins she said. I said, sign me up! I've always wanted twins!

I found out through a family member a few more things about the drug and even with the side effects, I feel like this is the treatment for me. While I still don't have a diagnosis, this medication makes sense with what we understand about my cycle, and it's not based on what feels like guesses and one-size-fits-all treatment. This is the treatment I have been waiting for. That's another thing I found out from this person, this drug is also known as Clomid. I literally have been waiting for THIS treatment for 5 years!

And yet, it doesn't bother me. I know God had this timing for a reason. There are any number of ways He could have directed me back to Heartland to seek further treatment. He could have added some compassion to the very clinical Dr. in the first place, and given me a more personal explanation of the drug. Even I can see reasons God didn't let it happen then. Even with all the challenges five years has or could add to having children, I know God's timing is perfect. Even down to the month I can start taking this drug, His timing is perfect.

As some of you have read here previously, another perfectly timed component of this story has been my tattoo. I'm not sure why this tattoo keeps weaving into my fertility but once again it has. My tattoo was scheduled for August 4th, finally, and when I showed up my artist was in bad shape. The receptionist said she was sick but she came out to talk to me personally and I could tell she was dealing with something more than physical sickness, there was a level of emotion and stress that were overwhelming her, and I understood that it would not be good for either of us to do this that day. But she knows how very long I've waited for this tattoo and so she rebooked me on a day off she had booked so I wouldn't have to wait very long, only until September 7th. As it should happen, the timing of my new medication will not work in August, with my appointment missing the start date by only one day, and my trip to California very perfectly timed to interrupt conception as well, so my next window to start the treatment is likely September 6th or 7th.

Go figure. I'm really not surprised anymore. God evidently likes bringing things full cycle in my life.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Birthday Blessings

What a pour out of blessings this last week, I will try to remember them all!

A friend who would rather send bday greeting early than chance not sending them by my day.

A coincidental gift of wild flowers from the farmers market.

A purposefully early bouquet of carnations.

A husband who noted things that have made me really excited lately.

A new journal! :D

A thoughtful gift, an attempt to give me a rainbow.

Another coincidental gift, a freebie from Home Run for my help bringing it to Winnipeg.

A cake, my favorite flavor, made just for me.

A phone call from mom and dad (card and gift in the mail!)

A phone call from nieces singing me happy birthday.

Another gift of flowers.

A poem, but also the gift of how someone sees me.

Many greetings throughout the day, but not just simple 'happy birthdays', genuine words of appreciation for my existence.

Birthday money spent on Etsy! Yay for jewelry!

Belated birthday greetings from people far away.

A reminder that God rejoices in this day He made, that He anticipated the day I would come into existence eagerly, and that He delights in me.

A very good birthday.

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