Sunday, December 29, 2013

What I've learned, observed, and still don't know.

I'm pregnant, and people are excited, including me.  There are a lot of things I've reflected upon during these last 32 weeks (as of tomorrow), so here it goes - a veritable smattering of thoughts and reflections.


   Having gone through infertility for 3.5 years really did a number on me, as it would on anyone.  I wish it were easy to explain, but I don't think that it's possible.  Getting pregnant was a total shock; when you try for so long you end up eventually expecting pregnancy not to happen.

   After becoming a bit bitter and very numb last year toward the whole process, I was late in February of '12.  Since my body was working like an alarm clock, I have plenty of indication that occurrence was a miscarriage, not just a fluke hormonal change, and that brought my whole self-created armor to shatter.  I hadn't cried like I did that month since my dad had died, because that's when I started to feel a little bit of hope and excitement again.

   Something else I have reflected upon is the advice I was given during those years.  There's an internet meme or chart or something out there that marks off all the conflicting tips that people can give to women (and men!) who are trying to have a baby.

   Frankly, the only thing that any assortment of tips or approaches that an attempt to make a baby have in common is sex, so telling someone to do jumping jacks while drinking squash juice and relax but not too much may not work for everyone!

   I will say this, so it's not so long: the best thing anyone can do is to listen, to pray for the couple to be encouraged and to find peace, and to let them know they are not alone.  It also doesn't hurt to tell them to keep going, but that needs to come sensitively, especially if they decide that the journey is done for them, which can include natural childbirth, medically assisted childbirth, or adoption.

   The last thing that I want to say for now about infertility is this: life still happens, and if this is a time for you or someone you know to go through childlessness, I encourage you to consider what goals you want to achieve that don't have to do with a baby and go for them.  I got so conflicted about pursuing anything because I always struggled with what I would do if I got pregnant.  Never did I think, "Oh, I will go for said goal, and then I can always choose to stop if a baby comes along."  So if you're stuck waiting for something that you truly desire, see what else around you can be done and go for that for now - I wish I had!

Pregnancy Journey:

    So far this pregnancy has been about as good as it possibly could be - physically speaking.  I am very thankful to say that I haven't had any morning sickness, no gestational diabetes, and only the normal aches and pains  and physical changes that come with a human growing inside you and gaining 30+ pounds. 

    Emotionally and mentally, it's been fairly normal based on what I have read.  People talk about pregnancy brain, and I guess there's some merit to it.  For me, I forget things like crazy now, and I don't immediately care.  Both of those things are opposite of the usual for me.  Usually I never use a planner because I just don't need it, and usually when I do forget or lose something, I fret so much that I could benefit from a sedative.  That all to say, I have yet to lose my wedding rings, money, or things like that.  What I do forget, and it significantly bugs me, are people's names - people I've known for a few years even.

     To the emotional side, I definitely am more tearful than before, but I am still struggling with the emotional issues that were there before I ever got pregnant.  When my word-less-ness came back last fall (a symptom of grief for me - losing my thoughts and words mid-sentence), blaming it on the pregnancy was easy for a lot of people, and it kept me from having to explain why it was happening.
     I have really struggled with depression and loneliness this past fall, and I can both attribute that to the hormonal changes but also attribute it to the very stressful events that have happened.  Much of October and November was difficult for me because I had lost the regularity with which I met my friends last year, because my husband and I were significantly busier with work and school than we had planned, and because we hit some financial burdens that really shouldn't have happened (oh insurance, how fun).

    The Christmas season has been good for me and John.  It's been wonderful to get away for a while, to come home and relax together, and to start to get excited about this baby girl coming into our lives.  Our pregnancy class that we took mid-December was great - and all weekend long - and we are much more ready to get this labor going.  I'm still scared to death of it, but I really do feel better about it than I had in the beginning.  Also, it was cool to see so many other couples who were at about the same point as we are.  I will say this, though: a lot of future great-aunts, regular aunts, grandmas, and a grandpa decided, for the first time in their lives, that my stomach was worth manhandling.

Pregnancy Thoughts, Observations, and Things I Still Don't Know:

1. I wish Lake County, IL people were more warm and open, but boy am I glad that almost no one has tried to touch my stomach!

2. Everyone has an opinion about everything, and a lot of times they are simply opinions.  That is why I have stayed far and away from nearly everything on the internet aside from some articles on WebMD, Mayo Clinic, and the NorthShore University Medical System website to set up appointments.

3. What to Expect When You're Expecting is a great book - even-handed, very informative, and intelligent.  I started reading some other book that told me that swimming in any freshwater lake or stream should be totally avoided during pregnancy (the horror!!).  I went back to What to Expect the next day.

4. I haven't gotten a flu shot, and I won't.  The vaccine only covers one or two strains of the flu, and I don't desire to inject a scientific chance into my body that may do nothing against a virus I have been quite naturally resistant to over the last 15 years.  That to say...

5. I will likely get the tetanus/whooping cough vaccine, particularly because that directly affects my baby both pre- and post-birth.  I can handle a bad cough, but I'm afraid she won't be able to.

6. Enough with the serious stuff for a bit - my cravings have included chocolate, chocolate chip cookies, cheese, and beer.  Don't freak out, I haven't had a lager in a good long time.
  What I've been adverse to is smoked anything, bitter vegetables and fruits (usually the fruits aren't fresh when they are bitter), and anything remotely bad-tasting (to me).  I accidentally took some oyster stuffing at Thanksgiving and almost had to leave the table after I took a bite.
  Frankly, I'm obsessed with food right now, but I promise I won't steal anything of yours. I will certainly ask about it, though!

7.  We call our baby "Brunhilde" right now, and that's because a. we don't have a name picked out, b. all the names that I have liked have either become popular or aren't mutually appreciated (for good reason) in this family, and c. we aren't announcing it until the baby arrives.  Some people are very right that anyone will tell you their opinion about a name pre-baby, but are more likely to be quiet post-baby.

8. Speaking of which, anyone will give you their opinion about pregnancy, period.  I'm sorry to all of you who heard anything from me that wasn't actually truthful or asked for and was particularly unhelpful.

9. Horror stories from the delivery room are not helpful to the pregnant woman.

10. My belly band on my maternity jeans indents my stomach a little bit when I wear them.  I hope that isn't harmful to the baby - does anyone know if it is?

11. My husband is going to be a great dad, I wish my father was around to be the wonderful grandpa that he would have been, and I hope and pray that my child learns to love God with all her heart, soul, mind, and strength.

If you got to the bottom of this, good job!  Go enjoy a chocolate chip cookie - I know I would!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thanks 29 & 30

29 - I'm so thankful for God's provision, protection, and everything that He is.   I'm thankful that he has given us a life worth living, an eternal destination worth hoping for, and himself.  He is a blessing beyond full comprehension, yet we can know enough about him for us to genuinely worship him with our whole hearts, souls, minds, and strength.

30 - My husband, who I am so thankful for, lives out God's love everyday.  The best.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanks - 27 & 28

27 - Yesterday we had a long drive, and I am thankful that
A. We made it to John's place safely,
B. Our car didn't break down (a legit concern these days), and
C. Arthur's Garden Deli in Rock Falls, IL, was open the evening before Thanksgiving - so fresh and so tasty and so reasonably priced!

28 - Today I am thankful for family, both my own and that from which my husband comes. Also, I am thankful for Belly Bands and the way they help keep my pants up post turkey and pie.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanks - 10-26

Its been a tough month in a lot of ways, and,
it's been hard to be thankful.

I've felt convicted about that, since not being thankful
is a source of pride to a degree.
This is mainly because there is at least one thing to always be thankful for -
the Triune God -
and from Him the incredible small and big blessings He gives.
So, without further ado, here is a catch-up thankful list.

10 - I'm thankful for the U.S. veterans and the sacrafice they make for our country.  Yes, they get paid, but we ask far more from them than what money could ever buy, and they volunteer to give it. 

11 - I'm thankful for the trinity wives small-group discussion I had on this night.  It was really interesting to hear what everyone had to say from Colossians 3, and it was exciting to see our leader for that night take an innovative approach to her lesson.

12 - Tuesday nights are our free nights, so it's nice to come home and not do a whole lot instead of getting ready to go to the next thing. 

13 - I'm thankful for the example my professor described about caring for others on this night.  He grew up with a troubled, distant, alcoholic father.  So, at a young age and in light of this situation, my professor was invited by his church pastor to his church's father-son breakfast.  He set an example of love, of leadership, and of personal and meaningful commitment to the church family.

14 - We had a prospective student from the Phillipines visit our campus this past week.  On this day he would have fully landed back home to search for his family.  I'm thankful that he got there, and I hope that he found the people he was looking for.

15 - I'm thankful for the good medical team at Mayo Clinic who helped take care of an urgent situation that a member of my family faced.  The person is alright, but I want to keep it private on here since it's not my personal story.  Thankfully, though, the team at Mayo is (very) good at what they do and don't leave people stranded.

16 - we had an unexpected free weekend starting on this day, so I will say that I'm thankful that we got a full two mornings together, starting Saturday the 16th!

17 - Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies.

18 - I'm thankful that we stayed safe from the storms that hit Illinois, and I'm thankful for the kind and thoughtful support that has been going to the communities hit by the worst of it.

19 - I'm thankful for all of the friends I have made at TEDS, and I wish I could see them more often. 

20 - Class was really great on this night, but probably the funnest part of it was sitting next to the husband of one of the women I did bible study with last year.  He's a plain-spoken guy from Kansas with a sharp-as-a-tack mind for apologetics and theology.  On top of that, he's 22 and puts me to shame when it comes to this stuff.  Let's say I'm quite thankful that we exchange notes each week!

21 - Today in the office we talked about movies and music and other pop culture - all with our boss leading the discussion.  It was great.

22 - FRIDAY, and the day my mom came to visit.  It was nice introducing her to my coworkers and having her drive me home while we waited for John to get off of work. Also, the look she had when she saw my pregnant belly was pretty great.

23 - I got to see my sister this day and my mom went on a cleaning frenzy in my house.  I can't help but be thankful for that!

24 - On Sunday we said goodbye to our campus pastor and his wife.  He is such a caring, pastoral leader, and we hope that he and his wife are blessed in their next steps in ministry.

25 - Oh Monday - well, I'm thankful for the small but in-depth small group meeting we had last night, and I'm also so, so thankful that the end of this workday meant the end of the first half of my Thanksgiving work-week!

26 - And yes, it's Tuesday again, and I'm so glad that I had tonight off and that I don't work tomorrow!  Finally, I'm thankful that my baby is strong enough to kick this laptop that sits atop my belly.

That's it and that's all for now.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Day of Thanks - #9

Today I got to hang out with a bunch of women from all parts of the world - Australia, China, Indonesia, and South Korea.  I also got to spend time with women who are from all over the country as well as one who is also from Minnesota with a primarily German heritage. 

We talked about what holidays are like at our homes and in our respective countries, and we also talked about what life is like for us here at seminary.  It was awesome to be able to connect with people from other cultures as well as share the foods and teas that we have grown up with. 

I'm super thankful to be at a place where I can talk with people from other parts of the world nearly every day, and I hope this opportunity continues throughout the rest of my life!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Day of Thanks #4, #5, #6, #7, #8

Per usual, I am behind.  But you know what - well, here are 5 things to be thankful for:

Number 4: Oberweis Chocolate Milk.  This is effectively melted ice cream and real cocoa (not high fructose corn syrup with chocolate flavoring).  For a woman who can't consume excess alcohol right now, this is basically as good as a solid martini.  Pregnant women, take note.

Number 5:  Sleep.  While I am not the biggest fan of naps, I love a great night's sleep and waking up when my body is ready.  This is tricky during the work week since I'm a night owl, but weekends and an 11:00 start time at church are glorious.

Number 6: Speaking of glorious, Sunday mornings waking up with tons of time to spend with my husband, then going to church and still getting home around 12:30 or 1:00.  Some people may say that half your day is gone by then, but that's if you don't wake up until 10:30 and you have to get to bed by 9:00.  Dang, get up at 8:30 in the morning, make some bacon and eggs, and enjoy the morning sunshine!

Number 7: Wonder.  It's great to just look at the things that are easily taken for granted and realize how incredibly made this wonderful world is, and then realize even more how much there is to explore.

Number 8:  Our home.  I believe that November is national homelessness awareness month, and I'm so thankful that I have a home to rest my head, a head that is sound enough to help maintain our home-ful-ness, and my God that gives such blessings as well as strength to lift those up who need a place to rest.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

30 Days of Thanks - #3

Today I'm going to get really deep with my blog topic.

Today I'm going to talk about what really matters.

Today, I'm telling the world that I am thankful for -

hereby known throughout he rest of this blog  post as
For a good intro to fantasy, click here.

I started playing fantasy at work last year, and it's been fun to talk shop (football) with people again. 
There was a time back in college when I had a whole bevy of friends who would talk football with me, both guys and girls, but that's a LOT harder to come by at seminary. 

On the first night of my Systematic Theology III class (see ST 5103 for details), my professor asked who in the class followed football.  I was one of four people - the other three guys - who raised their hand.  If the class were majority women, I'd probably be one of two, and I say that just for probability's sake.

So, I enjoy fantasy because it allows me to connect with my coworkers in a way that goes beyond the day-to-day business of our jobs. Also, it has gotten my husband to watch football with me with actual interest, mainly because he is excited that I've done better (last season, anyway) than most the guys in my league. 

Well, that's it for today, at least as far as this blog + fantasy is concerned.  Have a great Sunday!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Day of Thanks - #2

Today I'm thankful for my husband's service to our country. 

He's at drill today, so I'm home alone.  I was planning on hanging out with a friend, but I really need to clean the house a lot.

My husband, however, is an hour away, and today he has preached at chapel service and is hopefuflly getting to know the soldiers in the unit.  That's his job - to get to know people and to be someone they can talk to.

I don't know all the people he gets to talk to, neither by having met them nor hearing all of the stories in detail, but I know that he is appreciated and I appreciate what he's doing.

This week the U.S. Army,
                 or someone in the all-wise federal government,
changed the rules of eligibility for reserve and active duty Army chaplains.
See an example of the differences between chaplains and chaplain candidates here.

While John still has plenty of time to be a chaplain candidate, it's now going to take
a few more (very steep) steps to get to the full chaplain level, both in the reserves or active duty.

Still, I'm thankful for what the military has meant and continues to mean to my husband,
and I hope that God keeps confirming this ministry and opportunity for him.

Friday, November 1, 2013

30 Days of Thankfulness - Day 1

Day 1 -

Today I was thankful for the people I work with.

The job I have is not a perfect one for me, but it's been good to
work with so many great men and women.

We definitely have grown close with having worked a whole year together,
and our office is a bit small in general, so we better get along, right?

Anyway, for a position that isn't really in my wheelhouse,
these coworkers of mine have helped me appreciate that having a job
in itself
is a blessing, and
it's an even bigger blessing to
like the people you work with.

This is because,
you can love what you do,
but a bad group of coworkers can make you start to hate what you do.

A good group of coworkers, however,
can make what you do something to look forward to.

30 Days of Thankfulness

Today I saw some people start the 30 Days of Thankfulness on FB,
and I thought,
"Hmm...I should do that!"

I don't usually jump on stuff like this -
                     no, I will never post my bra color during October for a litany of reasons -
but I thought this would be as good for me as anything.


Well, I'm prone to worry
and I'm prone to whining.

So with that -

Day 1 coming up.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


I'm 30 and 47 days, and since this post is going to be about whatever has been going on both outside and inside me without much specificity, 30.47 seemed like the best title.

So, I'm pregnant, and the baby's a girl.  My husband I are very excited, and everything seems to be going well so far.  So, why don't we first get into the things that everyone seems to either say or want to know about and then get into some more of the less obvious items that have been suffering from being stuck inside of me.  I just want to say stuff out loud (via written word), so here it goes.


Table of contents
1. Pregnancy
    a. the physical stuff
    b. the emotional/reflective stuff
2. Theta
3. Speaking of jobs...
4. Theology.  Theology III
5. Fashion

6. Conclusion: Random thoughts for the night

1. Pregnancy -
A. The physical stuff.
I'm getting bigger - almost bigger than I've ever been, and it's weird for me (more on that later). I have had no cravings other than what I always crave (chocolate) and what I just, in general, enjoy (fatty foods). 

On top of that, I can't handle overly bitter things and anything that I remotely decide isn't "good" while eating it.  What I mean by that is that if I'm enjoying a delicious sandwich, and then I suddenly decide that the tomato in the sandwich is not so good, my body will literally revolt if I try to keep eating said tomatoes.  So that's fun!   But really, I have had an easy pregnancy, and I'm very thankful. I know that isn't what many women get to experience, and I do acknowledge that this may not be the case if we get pregnant again!

B. The emotional/reflective stuff.
Thoughts I have had/statements I have made:
  • Our pregnancy was a total surprise for us.   This may not make all that much sense, but it's true - 3.5 years of trying makes eventually dismiss the possibility most of the time.  
  • It is hard not to be scared that something bad will happen still, but so far I'm very thankful that the baby looks healthy and is a long-limbed, squirmy little bugger. 
  • We didn't end up getting any medical treatment, although we did start the process to receive it. 
  • I have strong theological and philosophical convictions about the statements "worth the wait," "God's perfect timing," and "this shows that all you had to do was...".  I may explain those some other time, but for now I just want to say that I've realized how important it is to be conscientious with these phrases. 
  • It's amazing how people will instantly make comments about weight and image to a woman when she's pregnant and would never do that to someone else who was not with child. I am sure I've been guilty of this.
  • Knowing the sex/gender of my child didn't all of a sudden make her seem human - it was seeing her profile.  The nose - it almost took me out. 
  • Seeing that our baby is a girl was a very bittersweet thing.  We are loving this now, but of course a boy would have been awesome, too.  There's a story to this, but we are happy with what God has designed.
  • It's incredible how quickly things start to not fit, as in - I have started to pop, and it's an other-worldly experience. 
  • Speaking of other-worldly, some pants I had that I could literally have fall off now look like I'm trying to show anyone and everyone that I do, in fact, have two butt cheeks. 
  • The hardest thing so far: knowing my daughter won't know my dad. 
  • The best thing so far: John has been an amazing husband this whole time. 
 2. Theta

So for the past (almost) year, I have been advising the scholarship chairwoman of the Eta Nu chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta.  It's been a great experience so far, but definitely one with it's obstacles.  All I have to say is that I a.) am thankful that I learned that "saying no" is a very good thing when it comes to time committments, that b.) I am hopeful that these women will see the value in improving the atmosphere of learning in their chapter, and c.) that I am so thankful for being able to work with these women individually and collectively.  I can't teach right now (which is natural, since I don't have a teaching job!), and this is a fairly similar hybrid to teaching/coaching.  I hope that I can be a light in the lives of these women.

3. Speaking of jobs...

Well hey, I'm having a kid, and the whole job situation is up in the air.  It would be awesome to be able to do something from home, but I'm leaving the maternity leave option at my current job open as a just-in-case measure.  The length of time that Trinity gives for maternity leave is generous, but they require a six-month work commitment in order to not have to pay the income back for that time.  So, to the few people who might still subscribe to this blog, if you have any ideas for work-from-home jobs, please let me know, and extra 100 points to you if it's not administrative/secretarial!  Long and short of it - that kind of work is not congruent with how I'm wired.  I know - I've been doing it for almost 3 years.

4. Theology. Theology III.

That's a little bit of a James Bond reference as far as subtitle style goes. 
Anyway, I'm taking a class with John right now titled Systematic Theology III - The Holy Spirit, the Church, and End Times.  It is some interesting stuff, people, and let me tell you, the Church doesn't talk enough about the Holy Spirit, the Church could use a good history course to help it understand how its various members have served in the past, and I still think that the pre-tribulation, pre-millenial view of end times is the best one, although I haven't learned much about it yet.
I might write more later about that, but for now I need to read about women's role in the Church and sort through the idea that even leading complementarian scholars would say that many of the churches I've been a part of have some more work to do.  Long and short of it, my brain and heart have been a bit shaken, if not stirred.

5. Fashion
Ok, let's take a different turn and talk about fashion - first, maternity fashion, and then it's on to one other sartorial comment. 

Maternity - Maternity fashion needs to be more colorful, not so neutral/dark. No woman wants to look like a raincloud.  Also, I am trying to figure out how to stay warm come December, January, February, and March.  Sundresses won't cut it, but a $100 coat is out of the question.  I'm very thankful, however, for the Goodwills and Salvation Armys in the Chicago Northern Suburbs as well as all the highly affluent individuals who donate to them.

Other comment - Has anyone else noticed that young female fashion is almost the same in length and tightness as to what waitresses wear at Hooters?  I'm not kidding - the next time you see a Hooters ad, look at what the women wear for shorts.  It's the same thing.  Our young women have been convinced that they are as functional as someone who is told to make sure to bend at the waist in order to get more tips.

6. Conclusion: Random thoughts for the night
This Colts/Broncos game is emotionally conflicting. 
Wes Welker looks a little bit like a shark.
NFL lip reading is the funniest video on YouTube, and the fact that those guys (most likely) are the ones who made the newest McDonald's commercial makes me quite happy.
I'm tired of losing in Fantasy Football, and I certainly hope that won't happen again this week.
I just found out that Carrie Underwood is the lead in the live version of Sound of Music, airing on NBC on Dec. 5th.  IF those producers make that musical, in any way, with so much as a riff of country twang, I will protest.
Reactionary medical warning is not a good thing, nor is "just in case" medical approaches that have little proven benefit but plenty of hype.
The country/woods/nature trumps city and dominates suburbia.
Big men pretending to be birds in celebration of football sacks are a funny sight.
A close study of Colossians will rock your life. 
Cramps during pregnancy are not necessarily gas - they are possibly signaling the continental shift that is occurring within your body.
I wish I craved pickles.  I never have really liked pickles, and I wish I did!
11:00 p.m. comes too soon.

Goodnight, everyone, and thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Today I turned 30.


I considered running around
(literally - up and down halls and stairs and being a goofy teen for the last time)
last night like I did on the eve of my 20th birthday,
but being 10 years older and a whole lot more tired these days,
I decided to be an irresponsible 20-something for the last time and
stay up until a quarter til 1 watching "MasterChef."

It was - almost - worth it.

So I'm happy to be 30.  I'm simply happy to be alive,
happy to celebrate a special number attached to an annually occurring day,
and I am thankful that God has given me these minutes and hours to live, breathe, and
honor him.

I'm having a party,
which I love planning but get overwhelmed when it involves me as a focal point.
It took my husband and a good friend to just get over it already and
make the e-vite!

I'm also having a baby;
yes, you non-facebookers/blog readers who I don't know personally,
the miracle of life is happening within me and
I am certainly freaked out and excited and chill and nervous all at once.
One plus of going through infertility is the perspective on how the wait makes this occasion something worth cherishing and taking a day at a time.
The other plus is that, after going through infertility for a while, I've been able to sort through a lot of the pregnancy pressure and hype that surrounds expecting moms, for which I will be
eternally thankful.

So here's to the first day of being 30, the exciting experience of becoming a mom, the prayer and hope that this pregnancy continues heathfully and easily, and the wonder of what this next year will bring.

May God use me for his glory in every awesome and hardcore way.

Monday, September 2, 2013

30 in 30

In 30 minutes I will turn 30. 

I have 30 minutes to fold laundry (2nd least favorite chore) so I don't have to
a. do it on my birthday, or
b. stare at it on my birthday.

So here I go - folding!

Real exciting stuff here, amiright???

Friday, August 30, 2013

Fantasy Football 2013

Well, I need to make an icon for my fantasy team this year, which really is just a little picture
(really, a little picture)
that can upload correctly.

They have to upload it from a website, so I'm trying to make it happen on here.

I already tried and failed by using Flickr, so I'm hoping that this blog post, which
will actually be a webpage, too, will
serve as such an option for my graphic design needs.

Yes, this is how I'm using my day off, that and driving 8-9 hours to Northern MN.

Can you guess who was my first pick?