Sunday, December 30, 2012


Big moments sneak up on you.

Minding my own business, watching the 25th anniversary Les Miserables concert and thinking how much better Norm Lewis is than Russell Crowe, and R asks if I can pause the show. Next thing I know, we're talking about the Elephant and how happy R was raising SSA, especially when he was little. And how, if we try it, he would hope that it works. Which is a wonderful thought. And how, if I couldn't work from home, he would want to keep the baby home with him for at least the first year, since he works from the house. So sweet.

I didn't realize what he was saying though. It wasn't until he started to head back up to his office when it clicked and I asked, "Did we just agree to try this?"


So... I guess that's it then. Spring 2013, we're going to try. A single, at home insemination cycle with donor sperm.

And, surprisingly, we both hope it works.

Unexpected, to say the least. And quietly excited.

Thursday, December 27, 2012


When I spoke with my doctor yesterday, her first words were “Nothing is high-grade.” Which is encouraging. The repeat pap and cervical biopsy were both completely normal. However, the biopsy of the bumps came back as focal mild dysplasia of the vagina.
What even?
This is becoming more and more frustrating because I continue to test negative for HPV, which is the leading cause of dysplasia. I feel like I’m turning into a bit of a mystery: healthy, moderately active, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, non-smoker, free of STDs… AND YET.
Anyway, the biopsy results have won me a trip back to the oncologist. The first available appointment is not until January 3rd but I have my name in for any cancellations or gaps in scheduling, since I work just 15 minutes away.
My understanding from my GYN is that the dysplasia was contained within the biopsied area, so further surgery should not be required. Also, that this was the only area found in the colposcopy so, again, we should not need further surgery at this time.
My questions so far:
·         How can I have dysplasia when I test negative for HPV?
·         What are the other possible causes of dysplasia?
·         How likely is it that this will develop into cancer?
·         How closely is this related to the vulvar dysplasia we found over the summer?
·         Was a vaginal colposcopy performed during my surgery or just a vulvar colposcopy?
·         If a vaginal colposcopy was performed, how were these cells not found as I could feel them back in June (and told my GYN)?
·         What concerns should we have knowing that these cells have been growing unchecked since June 2012?
·         What is the next step in treatment?
·         How likely is a recurrence?
·         What lifestyle changes should/can I make to decrease likelihood of recurrence?
·         How does this effect our tentative plans of TTC in the Spring?
Do any other questions come to mind for you?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Big Day

Today is my sweet baby girl’s birthday and we aren’t together. She is having a great time in FL visiting her father and his family. They did Christmas Eve with grandparents, Christmas morning with her dad, and have a birthday party planned with grandparents, too. She is living it up with her five cousins and two step siblings. She is having a great time.
I’m not necessarily complaining. The fact that she is having so much fun means a lot to me. And we have had a nice Christmas here. But it is good to be back at work and have a bit of distraction.
And, although it doesn’t beat spending her birthday together, I do have another very special tradition that I take part in every December 26th:
Coming only once a year, my favorite bath and body boutique has a massive sale on this day. I spend an obscene amount of money on me for products that will eventually just go down the drain.
But it’s more than just suds and organic oils. On a day that could be so hard, making a big purchase -something I look forward to all year- is a way to take care of myself. To feel good and excited for the day to come. To feel pampered and spoiled. To tell myself I’m worth it. To give myself a gift that no one else would consider.
My order lasts for one year. In fact, I have only two pieces left from last year’s order, one of which I will use tonight (along with a vodka tonic). And each time I climb in the tub, I get a bit of peace. Good day or bad day, with a smile or tears, climbing into the bubbly, oiled water makes me feel better. And I thank myself for placing the order, thinking every time that the price tag was so worth it.
And my order usually arrives at the house the same day as Little K, making it all the sweeter.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

And The Rest

This was scheduled to go up over the weekend. Clearly I haven't figured out that button yet!

brina: my eight-month pregnant little sister, due in January. She lives with her husband, J, and two little grumper pups. She is finishing up her English degree and is an accomplished voice talent. You have heard her voice here, here, and here! She and I have won our family Iron Chef Competition together two years in a row. Booyah! She has a heart for those that conservative religion has turned a collective back on. She is creative, loves God, and is excited to become a mother.
W: my bestie. W is amazingly smart, talented, passionate, and incredibly friendly. He teaches at the college level and adores all of his various nieces and nephews, whether by blood or by love. He took the time to nurse me through divorce and lead me out of fashion crisis. He loves to cook and spend time in nature. W loves to do good in the world and I get excited when I think of all he could do and experience through a personal relationship with Christ.
My mom: What can I saw about my mom? She is everything I want to be when I grow up. She raised two daughters to love the Lord. She went back to school as an adult and completed her degree in Biblical Studies. She is currently in her fifties and attending seminary, pursuing her Master of Divinity. She is a twice-published author and a sought after facilitator. I would be lucky to turn out to be even half the mother, wife, and woman of God that she is.
My dad: Oh man, can there be a harder act to follow? My dad is my hero, everything a Christian father and husband should be. He loves his wife with his whole self, seeks the Lord in all things, and works hard to provide for his family while never taking his eyes off the eternal impact of his actions. His work is his mission field, which he pursues by operating his business honestly and doing right by his employees and contractors. He is a difficult standard for his sons-in-law to live up to and prays for them daily.
My ex: I debated whether or not to include him in the round up but he is a part of my life. He loves our daughter and wants to be a good father. He deserves God’s grace and love. Although he once proclaimed a belief in Christ, he is now an atheist. I hope that he finds his way back to the Lord who loves him.

Friday, December 21, 2012

ICLW and an Introduction

Welcome, ICLW-ers! I’m so glad you’re here! Let’s get to know each other better, hmm?
The Players
dspence: that’s me! A thirty-something former egg donor, healing from a divorce and nurturing a new marriage. I am mother to one little girl, step-mother to two teenage boys, and want just one more to call my own. I am growing in my Christian walk, trusting the Lord to help heal my heart and family.
R: my guy! He’s in his late forties but don’t let that fool you – he still has plenty of fight left in him. His boys are teenagers now and he got a vasectomy a few years back. He loves to get dirty and work outside. R is an amazing father and loving husband. Although our story isn’t pretty, God is full of grace. He is a relatively new Christian and is growing closer to the Lord daily.
Little K: my girl! She is an absolutely fantastic, spirited, energetic, precocious almost-seven year old. She feels things very deeply and is still healing from the divorce. She lives with us in the country and happens to be visiting her father for Christmas right now. She has a big heart and loves all of the members of her new family. She loves Jesus, reading, and her kitty.
SSA: my youngest stepson, age 14. He was raised by his father, R, for ten years before deciding to live with his mother. He tried that for six months, moved back in with us for two years, and has now moved back in with her. Although he has acted without malice, a lot of the conflict our family is experiencing right now stems from SSA's decisions. We’ll be picking him up on Saturday to spend Christmas with us. Proud to say that he knows the Lord.
RJR: my oldest stepson, age almost-17. Full blood brother to SSA, he was raised by their mother. He is planning on joining the Naval Academy after high school and wants to be a naval aviator. We’ll find out on Saturday if he’s going to spend Christmas with us. He is a good kid – great grades, football star, big plans for his life. We are still praying for his salvation and God’s protection during his spiritual journey.
The Situation
When R and I got married, neither one of us wanted more children. But all that changed once I saw what marriage and partnership-parenting was supposed to be like. You can learn more here. Eventually, I prayerfully submitted to my husband’s desire to get a vasectomy and walked away from family building for two years. During that time, I had the opportunity to anonymously donate gametes six times to eight families. Through helping others grow their families, it became clear to me how much I wanted another child to call my own. I started this blog to begin processing these thoughts and feelings.
Through prayer, conversation, and compromise over the past year, R and I have come to a tentative agreement to attempt a single at-home insemination cycle with donor sperm. I have been temping and charting for three cycles with another full cycle to go before The Big One.
With a 15% chance of success at best, we are trusting God’s plan for our lives with this attempt. R is working on accepting the possibility of success (is concerned that he doesn’t have the stamina and patience for another child); I am working on accepting the more realistic possibility of failure (my overriding concern is about the weight of regret in my life if we don’t try at least once).
Through every step of this journey, we are loving each other and focusing on the truth:
God is good. He will always be good.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


We're about to head to the airport but I thought I'd update you on today's procedure. The short version is that nothing looked like cancer.

My doctor was able to find the bump! This darn bump has been driving me crazy and my prayer today was that she could find it. Turns out that the bump has actually a tiny cluster of three (possible) cysts plus a fourth right next to them. She biopsied the area, which also removed all four. Nothing else looked abnormal during the colposcopy. We did a repeat Pap and a cervical biopsy, just to be safe.

The cervical biopsy hurt like CRAZY but everything else was fine. We should have the biopsy results by Wednesday/Thursday of next week.

Now, off to the airport!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Little Better?

I’ve noted that my life has a lot of question marks recently. Just an interesting observation.
I was in full on freak out mode yesterday. Sorry about that. I’m taking a step back from everything right now and deploying some of my old coping techniques. Mainly in the form of: “What is in front of me right now? What has to get done?” And then leaving everything else alone. It’s a take on “one day at a time” with a big focus on the immediate needs while shoving future needs into a numbered box. I’ll deal with each as their number comes.
And ordering sperm is #127, after “get through the current cycle,” “complete January cycle,” and, oh yeah, “come to an agreement with R on TTC.”
Today will be brought to you by the list of things I need to accomplish before I get on a plane tomorrow evening:
·         Purchase gold chargers and holiday salad plates (today)
·         Call in Little K’s prescription refill (pick up tomorrow)
·         Pack for Florida (tonight)
·         Pick up yarn for two last minute gifts (if I have time)
·         Finalize Christmas Eve menu (can do on the plane)
·         Purchase Honey Baked Ham and sides (tomorrow)
·         Clean the house (tonight)
·         Attend GLSI procedure (tomorrow at 1:00)
Oh, did I not mention the procedure I’m having done tomorrow? Yeaaaaah. Remember how I went to the doctor in November to have a bump checked, scheduled a procedure, and then had to reschedule when my period showed up two days early? That’s tomorrow.
Long story short (HA!) the bump in question is the same bump that got me into the doctor in the first place back in June and, while my doctor couldn’t locate the bump, it ended up being the reason why we found out about my VIN. The bump had returned in November but my doctor, again, could not locate it. So we have scheduled an in-office colposcopy of my vaginal canal. Along with a repeat pap smear, since my last came back abnormal.
I just… *sigh*. I hadn’t thought much about it but I’m sure that it’s one of the reasons I’ve been so tense the past few days. The bump feels like it’s getting bigger but also seems to be more pronounced at certain points in my cycle. Maybe it’s hormonal? Maybe it’s nothing. We’ll have a better idea tomorrow. The basic plan is to biopsy anything that looks even slightly abnormal. Think I’ll bring some excellent pain killers for the plane. Why do I always end up going to Florida when something is wrong with my vagina?
Don’t answer that.
I was reading my BSF notes this morning and came across this challenging statement:
[With Jesus Christ] As King, He is our Lord, to whom we submit our lives, to make choices through loving obedience to Him.
How am I being obedient to Christ in our TTC situation? What has the Lord asked me to do?
Really, I don’t know what He is asking. I haven’t heard much from Him lately on TTC. Nothing specific, anyway, about whether or not He wants us to move forward. I personally feel peace about cycling once and letting Him decide the outcome but I know that R doesn’t have peace on that yet. So, what should I do? What is He asking me to do?
In the absence of specific direction on this subject, I am working on being obedient to His call to let be and be still; know, recognize, and understand that He is God. The cycle is not right in front of us right now, so I don’t need to stress about it. The Lord will work on R in His own time and nothing I can say or do right now will speed Him up.
So, sit and be still. Pray daily and spend time in His word. Trust that, if it is His will, then the Lord will bring R to a place where he has peace about cycling.
And, if it isn’t, then He will bring me peace about staying as we are.
Get through the holidays, love the Lord.
That’s the plan right now. It’s a good plan.
God is good. He will always be good.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Perfect Storm

Every once in a while, everything gets to be too much. The tears hang out right behind my eyes, ready to drop at any moment. My digestive track hurls itself off a cliff. I get irritable and weepy, up one moment and down the next.
Case in point: Monday night, R and I talked about Christmas Eve dinner. We ended up having an argument about whether or not to serve gravy with the meal. Gravy! That, you guys, is ridiculous.
(Although, I will go to my grave arguing that one does not serve gravy when there is ham on the table. Ever.)
I just ovulated, so I know a good portion of this is hormonal. I also know that, although I’m doing better, I get stressed when Little K visits her father. Throw in the holiday and it’s a mess.
We’re also dealing with: Okasan moving into Assisted Living today; the boys coming to visit; R having to talk to SSA about his living arrangements; R’s seasonal affective disorder; and R’s depression.
Oh, and we’re still going back and forth but will probably cycle in March? Which actually starts in February. And I’ll probably ovulate a week earlier than expected, giving us less time to put together the funds for purchasing and shipping the vials. Fun.
Not to mention the fact that R is still convinced that another child will cause him to shut down emotionally, sucking the joy out of his life and turn him into a trudging shell of a man who longs to find a dark hole to sit in until the end of his days.
(Not that THAT makes me feel like a selfish wife, dooming my marriage by suggesting we create a new life out of the love we share.)
It’s a lot.
I’m feeling a great deal of pressure right now. To be strong for Little K, setting her up to have a great Christmas with her dad. To plan and cover all of the Christmas details, so that R doesn’t have to think about it. To give the boys a good visit, but not so good that we artificially sway SSA to move back in with us. To only lift the SSA thing to the Lord in prayer, because my words are no longer kind. To prepare my heart for the possibility of SSA moving back in. To shield R from my baby crazy. To decide whether I can let go of cycling in March. To put together the funds on my own for the vials. To decide whether or not to monitor at my clinic. To understand that R is depressed, rather than expect him to be excited or involved right now. To pray that one day the man I fell in love with will come back. To find joy, please Lord give us back our joy.
And 99% of these are out of my control. So, I’ll pray and I’ll take care of myself emotionally and I’ll swallow my 5-HTP. Because God knows. He knows everything that is going on and asks only that I let be and be still; know, recognize, and understand that He is God.
Lord, You alone are God. You can see resolution, restoration, and peace in all of these things that weigh down my heart and clutter my mind. You ask only that I trust You. Help me to continually leave these burdens in Your care and to rest in the knowledge that You are in control. Lord, You are good. You will always be good. I love you. Amen.

So Soon?

*I wrote this Friday morning but, with the tragedy, it didn't seem appropriate to post. Here goes.*

I am starting to freak out. In doing the prep work for possibly cycling in March I realized that, not including my current cycle (I ovulated over the weekend), I will only have one full cycle between now and *trying*. WOW. I mean, just…. WOW.
I can’t believe it. I am so nervous/excited/worried/ALL OF THE EMOTIONS about trying. What if I order the vials too early/too late? What if the vials break when we thaw them? What if we time it too early/too late? What if it doesn’t work? What if it does work? What if it works and we miscarry? What if it works and R is right that he can't do it? What if we don't do this and I regret/resent not trying? What if…
I’ve never been in this place before. Little K was an “Oops!” baby, as were both of R’s boys. THIS is so much more than I’m used to. I’m feeling all of the things and have no idea how to cope. All I can do is try to cut them off before they become overwhelming; give them to God over and over again.
I was on Etsy today and found this necklace:

I think I will purchase it for myself to wear during the cycle. A reminder, something physical to touch when I start feeling overwhelmed or scared. That every time I see it, touch it, put it on, I can calm down and remember:
God is good. He will always be good.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Can we just un-know?

I don’t want to know about it. I know it happened and that it is horrible. I know the numbers. But I’m not watching the news and I’m trying not to read the articles. I saw the ages this morning and that was enough for today. Because they are the age of my little girl. I can’t know –don’t want to know– because they could have been her. They ARE her. Beautiful and perfect and innocent first graders, just like my baby.
I’ve struggled with visualizing worst-case scenarios since Little K was born. Wherever we went, I saw all of the things that could go wrong. Falling down stairs, bookcases or appliances tipping over, car accidents, choking, drowning, attacks, abduction, falling from the jungle gym, plane crashes… It was hard to leave the house sometimes. I was on my guard wherever we went. But I never imagined school. Bright faces, Hello Kitty backpacks, learning to read and doing math homework. How do you send them back after something like this?
I told R that I’m glad we live in a little country town. The kind of town that will never be on the news for anything. The big city is just 20 minutes down the road but our little town will remain quiet and unknown. But none of these towns should end up on the news. None should be exposed to violence. Being small doesn’t keep you safe.
Our pastor led the congregation in prayer through tears this Sunday. What else can we do? I’m genuinely asking. What can we legitimately do, what action can we take, what laws can *actually* pass to make sure this doesn’t happen again?

Friday, December 14, 2012


Okay, ladies! I need some help. As it begins to look... promising... that we’re going to cycle in March, I want to start using my stockpile of OPKs to pinpoint ovulation. This is in addition to temping and Fertility.Friend. Since we’re only giving this one shot and will be doing it without monitoring, I want to begin building up my confidence now for getting the timing of our shipment juuust right.
I am currently CD19 with projected fertile days on CD21-23 and estimated ovulating CD24-26. My temp has not yet begun to rise.
What has your experience been? When do you feel is the best time of day to test? When in your cycle do you begin testing?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Who is this?

You guys, I’ve turned into a total Christmas Nut. I don’t know how it happened! In 2008, I wanted nothing to do with Christmas. To the point where, when we got home on December 23rd from dropping SSA with his mother, we took down the tree and smashed old ornaments in the dumpster. (Also: case in point at how awesome R is. He didn’t once question my Grinchiness. Love that man!)
In 2009, SSA had moved in with his mom and was visiting us for Christmas. Not a fun lead into the holiday season. That was the Christmas when he told us he wanted to move back in with us. While R was glad to have him back, it created a lot of stress. Little K had been with her dad since Thanksgiving and, while I didn’t require the tree to come down immediately, everything was packed up before New Year’s Eve.
In 2010, we spent Christmas in Florida so that I could take Little K to Bippity-Boppity-Boutique for her birthday. We had a good time and even went to Christmas Eve service but I can’t remember if we put up a tree at home. I do, however, remember that it snowed in NC all Christmas Day and that I was bummed at having missed a white Christmas.
Last year, I was getting better. It was just R and I for Christmas. We had decorated the tree with the kids before sending them to their other parents for winter break. We drank wine and watched Scrooged by the fire on Christmas Eve. I listened to my fave Christmas albums and made Osso Bucco with parmesan risotto. We Skyped with my parents and went to the movies on Christmas Day. Not too shabby! It was our first Christmas spent at the new house and it felt pretty good.
But this year? My, how things have changed. I LOVE Christmas! I began planning the decorations in November and started stealthily decorating on Thanksgiving. I couldn’t wait to put up the tree and the new garland and decorate the mantel! I’ve been listening to Christmas music in the car, at home, and at my desk since Thanksgiving Day. I began purchasing Christmas presents in November and stocking stuffers since August. I can’t wait to go to service on Christmas Eve!
I know that a big reason for the improvement is Little K starting school. She is actually here for decorating and celebrating and wrapping instead of gone since November. I can do advent calendars and talk to her about Jesus’ birth. Little K is old enough to be excited about Christmas and I love seeing it firsthand instead of over Skype. She is an absolute joy, especially around the holidays.
I think this shows that I am healing, too. I’ve accepted that Little K won’t be with us on Christmas and that’s okay. She will be spending time with her dad and grandparents and having a great time. Winter break at her school is only ten days, which is just long enough to have a fun visit and not long enough to need any serious discipline. She can have a great visit filled with events and gifts and then come home before daily life sets in. No reason to stress. I can just enjoy the reduced parenting responsibilities, grab a date night with R, and take the time to soak in the tub. Good times.
This year is tough on R, though. The boys will be with us. At first, I thought that would help him but it’s just making it harder. If SSA still lived with us, we would be on our own for Christmas. SSA being with us for the holiday will be a reminder for R of what he has lost. He’s good at putting on a brave face, but I’m sure that R will be hiding out in his office quite a bit. I’m hoping that R and I can find a few moments alone during the week to enjoy each other.
R has the added pressure of needing to talk with SSA about his living arrangements for the 2013-2014 school year. I’ve really stepped away from this one, leaving it in God’s hands. Prayer for him, the conversation, and everyone’s reaction to the final decision is appreciated. No idea how that will turn out...
The one shining light is New Year’s Eve. The boys will be back in SC and Little K will be home. We can also look forward to doing Christmas and birthday presents with Little K when she gets back. I’ve asked R if we can leave the decorations up until January 1st. I just hope that R is not heading back into depression by then and we can celebrate our little family for a few days.
This isn’t how I expected my life to be. I never saw divorce and custody arrangements in my future. I never expected to be fielding broken homes and (situational) SIF. But my life is filled with love. And I am finding my joy again.
God is good.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Ick and a List

This post is brought to you by Penicillin and Sudafed: “When you’ve got the Ick.”
Ya’ll, I’m sick. Strep throat, sinus infection, sinus headache. Blargh. I can barely breathe, my head hurts, and I’m so very tired. Plus I keep coughing stuff up. Boooooooooo.
I am happy to say that I am officially done with my Christmas shopping. Yay! Now I’m just hoping that the presents for my dad and BFF arrive before I get on a plane next Thursday. Let’s watch!
In other news, fertile CM started showing up on Monday, along with a heavy dose of crazy. I redesigned a nursery last night and am all *squee omg babeeeee* about it. I also double checked our finances and we could afford to cycle in March. Happy birthday to me!
Now, to get the husband to sign on.
Actually, I think we’re both doing very well about possibly cycling. The restriction to a single cycle has done wonders in our conversations. Who knows? With a cycle in March, the new one could share a birthday with Little K. Fun!
My dad will be starting his new job on January 2nd (I wonder if I could convince him to hire me remotely…), which means that my parents won’t be able to join us for NYE. Although I am super excited for them, I’m totally bummed about not ringing in the new year with them. We were going to do Little K’s belated Christmas and birthday while they were with us, too. Bah. At least Little K will be home by then!
Sick. Christmas shopping. Babee. March cycle. New job. NYE plans.
I need a nap.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Hail Mary (def): A very long forward pass made in desperation with only a small chance of success.
Now, I’m not a sports girl but even I know that a Hail Mary takes place in the last moments of the game, when your team is behind and given up hope. When you make that final play and pray for a miracle.
It looks like we might do it. It certainly isn’t a sure thing and R and I haven’t come to a full agreement on whether or not to try. But! We’ve begun outlining the terms of agreement.
def. A play with a low percentage chance of completion.
Just one cycle. We have agreed that, should we move forward, we would complete only a single cycle and call it done, whatever the outcome. This is a huge part of why we are even continuing to talk about the possibility of trying. Let me see if I can explain…
R isn’t comfortable straight committing to TTC because, in his mind, that means cycling until we get that BFP. Pursuing a pregnancy at that level just isn’t something he can do. I’m not comfortable NOT trying. I’m afraid of looking back five or ten years down the road, without another child and too old to do anything about it, and saying “We didn’t even try.” Regret tends to follow me and, while most of my regrets are frivolous, I can’t stand the thought of regretting something so BIG.
def. Any last-ditch effort with little chance of success.
So, we’re talking about trying. Once. And leaving it in God’s hands. We’ve seen the odds for at-home insemination. They aren’t great. In fact, when purchasing samples from our bank, they recommend that you be prepared for four cycles. We are (and aren’t) prepared for that. We are prepared for failure; we aren’t prepared to cycle again.
def. Often called a “Hail Mary” after the fact, once the play is successful.
We are also prepared for success. Well, I’m prepared and R is getting there. (We joked last night about testing with two bottles on the counter and a single glass of ice. However it turns out, one of us would need a stiff drink. Heh.) We both know that R can’t go into it hoping for failure and I can’t go into it convinced of success. Which is another reason why this is still in discussion instead of signed and sealed.
In BSF this past week, we touched on putting on the full armor of God. Asked to explain the full armor in our own words, I pulled out my dictionary to lend a hand. In studying, my heart was drawn to this verse:
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Ephesians 6:16
Extinguish is an interesting word. Obviously it means to put out, as to a flame, or to put an end to, to wipe out of existence. But, a lesser known definition is: To obscure or eclipse, as by superior brilliance.
This definition is so much of what has been on my heart the past few months, especially when it comes to TTC. That, no matter what, God is good. No matter where family building takes us, God is good. No matter whether our family is expanded or not, God is good.
To take up the shield of faith. To commit to one and only one cycle with the knowledge that the final result is in God’s hands.
And to extinguish all the flaming arrow of the evil one. No regret for not having tried. Knowing that God will or will not expand our family and that, whatever the outcome, He will always be good. His plans are always better.
def. One that is thrown with a prayer because the odds against completion are big.
Lord, You are good and will always be good. Your plans are always best. Please continue to guide us and lead these conversations the way You would have them go. Thank you for keeping us close to You, helping us discuss expanding our family with love, respect, and understanding for one another. Bring us to a decision that honors You and our marriage. Thank you that, no matter the outcome, You are good. You will always be good.
def. A very, very lucky play.
Please, oh please, oh please.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Christmas Mantel 2012

I absolutely love our mantel this year! R embraced the Rustic Christmas theme the year before we were married and I have adapted my usual sparkly style to accommodate. Favorite pieces on the mantel include the new NOEL sign, the amaryllis pots, and the crochet votive covers.

Tell me about your Christmas theme!

Thursday, December 6, 2012


I’ve noticed that I sometimes have… incidents… of not-quite premonition. It has happened often enough that, when I get specific thoughts or feel sick to my stomach without a good reason, my guard goes up. A few times it has gotten to the point where I start making phone calls to key family and friends, checking on them. It usually only takes a few calls to find the person experiencing "the bad thing," whatever it may be.
My first clear memory of this kind of incident is during seventh grade. I remember waiting at the bus stop, not wanting to go to school that day, and having the thought that getting hit by a car and breaking my leg would mean missing school. When I got to school that morning, there was an announcement that a kid was hit by a car that morning and was taken to the hospital for a broken leg.
The second happened several years later. My sister and I were on our way home from something, I honestly can’t remember what, and I was driving. Whenever she drove us home, she would take one particular road that I didn’t like; I would take a different road whenever I drove. This time, however, when we got to the turnoff for her route, I took the turn. No particular reason, I just felt compelled to take that route home. It wasn’t until we got home that we both commented on feeling like there was a reason we took that road that day, that we had avoided a terrible (or fatal) accident.
The third clear memory is from about five years ago. My sister stopped by my office on her way to work. Our parents were out of town and we were watching the very old, sickly dogs for them. Turns out that she and I both had dreams the night before that the dogs died and ended up having a conversation about what we would do if the dogs died while our folks were out of town. We came up with the plan and, satisfied, went about our mornings. Less than two hours later I got a call from the housekeeper, saying that one of the dogs had fallen into the pool and drowned. We executed the plan we had developed only hours before.
The fourth was about two months ago, when we had the company-wide layoffs. Early Thursday morning, I had a dream that I was unexpectedly fired from work. It was so specific, right down to where my desk was, how I found out, and how my superiors acted immediately after. When I got to work that morning, I even mentioned the dream to my boss and how it shook me up. At 10:00 AM Thursday morning, everyone was called into a meeting and told that seven individuals were laid-off Wednesday night.

Is there a cute wrap up for this story? Not really. Do I think I have "the sight?" Absolutely not. If anything, I think the Holy Spirit gives me a heads up when something is going to happen, allowing me to begin considering my response and planning for the outcome. I appreciate a little advance notice; I can't imagine having received the call about the dogs without warning... Talk about awkward!

I'm learning to take advantage of these moments. And, when I wake up in the middle of the night, whether from a dream or not, take the time to quiet my heart and ask the Lord who in my life needs prayer today. Sometimes it's me, most times it is not. Sometimes the person on my mind will reach out within a few hours of waking and tell me about a specific struggle. Sometimes I reach out, letting them know that they were on my mind.

And I never, EVER tell people when I have a dream that they died. Once was enough!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Ghost Child

Mel posted one of the most darkly beautiful entries I have ever read on Tuesday evening. While the entire post deserves a read, and I hope that you take the time go over, the penultimate paragraph continues to stay with me:
When we crossed to the other side, I let her go.  I left her on the bridge.  My own child.  I told her to stay put, and I took a few running steps to catch up with the rest of the family.  I’m sorry, but she couldn’t do this, couldn’t follow after us this whole trip.  I would pick her up again — I always pick her up again — at another time.
I'm not ready to have a ghost child of my own. I’m afraid that I’m not strong enough to carry her with me, to be constantly setting her down only to pick her up a few weeks, months, or years later. I don’t want to carry this with me forever.
My heart already breaks every time I try to walk away from her, try to set her down.
She’s already here; I see her everywhere I go. Running errands. Heading to Hillridge to visit the pumpkin patch or the Christmas lights. Loading Little K into the CRV for gymnastics or Bible study. Worshiping at church. She’s everywhere.
I put her down the first time and walked away for two years. R had his vasectomy and I tried to move on. But she waited. And when the time was right, she came back and hasn't left my side since. I try to set her down. A day, a week, an hour... It never lasts for long. She comes back over and over again.
Eighteen months she's been with me.
I’m not ready for her to stay a ghost child. I’m not ready to give up on making her tangible, real, full of smiles and cries and memories and sleepless nights.
I can’t imagine Little K growing up without her. Even though she’s already a big girl and reading and writing, I want Little K to have a sibling here with us. Even though their age gap will drive Little K nuts and cause R and I to question our sanity at bringing another child into our lives this far in the game. I’m not ready to give up on her.
In one of my first posts, the post that was the reason I started this blog – because I wanted to send those words into the world – I talked about the waiting. That it's always there, slipping in and out of the spotlight, waiting for a chance to shine.
I’m not ready to carrying the longing with me forever.
I’m scared of what the ghost child will do to my heart. If I’ll become resentful that she isn’t here. If I’ll spend my life wishing that I had held out longer, that R would have come around and we would be complete. Regret and worry and wishing and pain.
I know the Lord is stronger than this. I know that He can take it away. All I need to do is lay it at His feet, leave it in His hands, and walk away. I can actively turn from it: mind, body, spirit. I know that our lives are blessed and will continue to be blessed without more children.
But I don’t know if I’m ready. I don’t want to lay it down yet. I don’t want to give up. What if she’s right around the corner? What if I walk away from her, leaving her on the bridge just a moment too soon. What if, what if, what if…

Funny Story

R and I were lying in bed last night around 9:45, about to doze off (yes, we’re old) when suddenly! My eyes flew open and I remembered: “Happy anniversary, R!”
We both went through the entire day without remembering our anniversary. *headdesk* Now, I can say that -by a happy coincidence- we did happen to have a candlelight dinner yesterday evening. Nothing like nuggets and mac n’ cheese by candlelight! Heh.
What can I say? Life happens. And, regardless of circumstance, life is so good when you’re spending it with the one you love.
So happy belated anniversary, my love! Four years and counting. I’m so glad I get to spend them with you!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

What would you do?

If you didn’t need your salary to support your lifestyle, what would you do?
It’s an interesting question. Really, it’s more of a question about your passions and how you want to spend your time.
  • If I could stay home, I would learn to play the three instruments that have been on my mind (guitar, ukulele, oboe) and get back up to snuff on piano and voice.
  • If I could go back to school, I would study interior design.
  • If I could have any job, I would go back to event coordination.
Interior design and event coordination happen to go pretty much hand-in-hand. Unfortunately, both cost a good deal of money (one for the appropriate courses and the other in lack of steady income). Sitting at home playing music doesn’t cost much initially, just time. I have the guitar and the finger charts already, as well as a piano and my vocal exercises, so I should just bite the bullet and start those again.
The problem is that I’m tired. My days are packed with work and parenting. I know that we all have the same number of hours in a day and that there are women out there who can do it. I just feel like I’m not one of them. I get up, get ready, get Little K ready, work, get home, do homework, cook dinner, baths, quality time, Little K’s bedtime, make lunches, go to bed. And then do it all again the next day. Where do these women find time to do things like workout and indulge in their hobbies?
And then I start to think about how much time another child would need and take myself to task: Are you nuts? You're just barely starting to get time for yourself again! At least you get to mostly sleep through the night. Little K is doing homework and reading books! Why would you want to start again?
But it never lasts for long. I get one week out of every five when I don't want another child. Then we start closing in on ovulation again and start all over.
This has been your weekly ramble. You're welcome!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Jane! Stop this Crazy Thing!

Today is one of those days when I have FEELINGS and EMOTIONS. When thoughts jump around in my head so much that it’s hard to concentrate any anything. When I have to sit down three to four times to accomplish something because I keep bouncing out of my chair to do something else.
I’m reminded of a line in a favorite book: “She was learning to cut the memories off before they overwhelmed her.” I’m trying to cut these thoughts off before they go any further. Most aren’t bad, as in destructive, but some are and all are completely distracting and out of left field.
Pop, pop, pop! Don’t dwell on that, don’t think about this, don’t focus on what, don’t worry how, just don’t go there.
I feel like I’m hopped up on caffeine and my one-and-only cup was at 8:30 this morning. I’m chewing my gum fast, I’m walking at a clip that makes my hair blow back, I’m typing so fast that it sounds like beans spilling on a tile floor…
I want off this crazy ride! It may be time to get back on the homeopathic regimine, just so I can get some focus back.

Okasan Update

Thank you, all, for your prayers for my MIL. Her surgery was delayed until 5:00 PM on Friday due to trauma patients arriving but she eventually was able to get in and did very well. We visited her on Sunday and R said she was looking much better. We found out that the hospital had to give her some blood on Saturday because she was very weak. Sunday was her first day of PT, which she was able to do but it also wiped her out. We don’t know how long she will be in the hospital or how long she will be at the PT facility after. One day at a time!
Little K did great meeting Okasan! Her first question was “What is the Japanese word for Grandmother?” Upon hearing it is “Obasan,” Little K proceeded to use it in practically every sentence. She definitely charmed her!
We are working on moving Okasan to an assisted living facility in Raleigh. Of course, the great facilities are very expensive and the good ones have incredibly long waiting lists. Hoping and praying that we find a facility with an opening by the first of the year!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Where am I?

Before we get to today's post, my mother in law fell and broke her hip yesterday. She is having surgery today. Prayers are appreciated!


Man, it’s the end of NaBloPoMo. Honestly? I’m relieved. Posting every day is hard work! I feel like I gained quantity but lost quality this month. I don’t think anyone appreciates reading daily brain dumps.
Tomorrow is December 1st. R and I said that we’d make a decision by the first of the year about expanding our family. I’ve been good to my word and haven’t brought up the elephant lately, so I’m not sure where his head is at this point.
I know that the SSA thing has made it difficult (or, you know, impossible) to think positively about having another child. The first of the year will be immediately after SSA has been with us for a week and then left again, and R will have had a very hard talk with him right after Christmas about SSA's future living arrangements. I doubt he will be in a place to consider more.
Should we leave it for a few more months, give R some time to recover? The next set of dates that comes to mind is our birthdays in the Spring, but that will be right when SSA comes for Spring Break (and then leaves again). More drama, recurrence of depression, reboot the grief cycle… Summer? The same thing. And then all of a sudden we’re back to Fall/Winter and a year has passed. Little K will be a year older, I’ll be turning 33, and R will be turning 49.
R made a great point a few weeks ago that it would be so much easier without the vasectomy. He is great at playing the hand he is dealt! He’s done the “Opps!” thing twice, made the appropriate changes in his lifestyle, and has come out the other side in one piece. With the vasectomy, there’s no “Opps!” option. When you hold the sample in your hand, you better KNOW that you’re ready to see this through to the end.
My heart and body want another child. Little K is an amazing big sister to her step-sister in FL and wants a sibling of her own up here. We have an open bedroom for a nursery. I have some top of the line gear in the attic. My clinic has already signed the papers for the sperm bank. We even picked out a donor together!
I still don’t know how this will all turn out. R asked The Lord for a sign and, from what he told me, was given one. It wasn’t enough. How can it not be enough? If you can see it, hear it, feel like you can reach out and touch it… Life is there, waiting for you! All you have to do is take it!
Most likely, it will be no. And I’ll start the long process of letting go.
No matter what, God is good. Life is good. R and I fall more in love each day. Little K continues to bring joy into our lives. Our family is blessed just as we are.

Tenth Ave North: Let it Go