The Day is approaching….

December 3rd….it’s less than 2 weeks away.  The days inches closer and closer, and again I’m caught off guard. Can it really be 7 years already? SEVEN…. Seven years without her in my life, Seven years packed full of memories, and not one of them with her.  A wedding, newlywed, questions about marriage, 5 big moves, hard decisions, life changing decisions, relationship questions, a much wanted pregnancy, a very sick pregnancy, a sweet baby, questions about a new baby…..too many to list. She has missed out on so many of my “big life moments.”  I miss her with my whole heart, but I can’t wish her back. Not back to a life of cancer, of pain, of heartache. But I miss her. I miss being able to call her up and ask her questions about her granddaughter. Questions that she would have, could have answered. I miss being able to call her up and ask her about a certain recipe she used to make. The simple things….that’s what I miss the most.

Me and my mom….umm…years ago…

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All of us girls at our cousins wedding 2010

Girls

As I watched Sadie look at my hands this past week, I remembered looking at my momma’s hands. She had the most delicate hands, and yet they were still larger for a woman’s (Thank’s to her Grandpa who had Bear sized hands!) She had the prettiest fingernails, and when she grew them out she loved painting them an opal color.  But her hands did hard work too. Raising 11 children, canning, cooking, cleaning, gardening….how she loved to have her hands in the dirt.  I wonder what Sadie will remember about my hands?  Will she have good memories about them like I have of my mom’s? I hope so.

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So as this day approaches….I’m remembering my mom, in the small things. Her hands. Her big toe nail – that was never straight, it always had a crooked nail on it (and I wonder why mine won’t grow straight!), her bigger than life smile, her laugh that could fill an entire room. Her kind eyes.  Yes, I will remember her for who she truly was. A lover of life, a lover of Jesus, a lover of family.

Mom

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mom 2

Isaac 2002 Oct 03

I hope I can be half the woman she was.  She was one of the special people…..

miss you….

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You are FAITHFUL

The morning I found out I was pregnant was quite surreal. I remember just lying in bed crying and thanking God for this blessing that he was giving us. A chorus of a song kept running through my head “You are faithful, God you are faithful” but for the life of me, that’s all I could remember.   I tried googling just those lyrics but not much was coming up.

A song that did come up (and yes, I posted it as a status on facebook that morning) was Lord, you’ve been Faithful by Majesty Music – another amazing song with these words:

Great is your faithfulness, you’ve shown to me – each day new blessing flow from Calvary.
Though other’s change you are the same. You are my God and faithful will remain.

Lord, You’ve been faithful through all these years; through every joy, through every tear. You’ve kept your promises; you’ve seen us through. Now keep us faithful Lord to You – Now keep us faithful Lord to You.

Though friends may turn away, your love is true. Each time I stray you draw me back to you. You see my heart, you know my name. You are my God and faithful will remain.

Can we find a friend so faithful, who will all our sorrows bear?
In his arms He’ll take and shield thee – thou wilt find a solace there.

Lord, You’ve been faithful through all these years; through every joy, through every tear. You’ve kept your promises; you’ve seen us through. Now keep us faithful Lord to You – Now keep us faithful Lord to YOU….Lord You’ve been faithful!

A fantastic song, but it wasn’t the song that was running through my head that morning.

This past Sunday we sang “the song” or should I say, everyone else sang the song, I could barely get the words out of my throat let alone wipe the tears from my eyes fast enough.  I swear the people who sit around us at church must think all I do is cry through every service!  But the words to this song are so precious to me – and it fully describes the journey of infertility, for me at least.

“Never Once” by Matt Redman

Standing on this mountaintop
Looking just how far we’ve come
Knowing that for every step
You were with us
 
Kneeling on this battle ground
Seeing just how much You’ve done
Knowing every victory
Was Your power in us
 
Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Kneeling on this battle ground
Seeing just how much You’ve done
Knowing every victory
Was Your power in us

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Never once did we ever walk alone
 
Carried by Your constant grace
Held within Your perfect peace
Never once, no, we never walk alone

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Every step we are breathing in Your grace
Evermore we’ll be breathing out Your praise
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

This song was just a huge reminder that this has been a journey – it wasn’t an easy one, it’s not one that I would wish upon my worst enemy.  It’s not been easy watching over 70 friends announce their pregnancies in a 6 months span of time (before I stopped counting.) It’s not been easy throwing friends and loved ones baby showers (even though I’m happy for them!) It’s not been easy feeling like your mind and body aren’t the same, because you are so high on fertility drugs that you are literally going crazy.  It’s been HARD.  My heart still breaks because I have friends still walking this journey. I wish that I could ease their pain just a little bit.

But through it all God has been faithful. He’s never left my side, he’s never left me alone.  And for that reason, and that reminder, I am thankful for the journey.  He knew that we weren’t ready for a child when we were in Michigan, or Missouri, or Iowa.  He knew that we needed to be part of a good church where we felt like we belonged, he knew that we needed more people to hold us up in prayer and support us in this journey. He knew the exact timing when things were going to be “right” for us to have a baby.  He knew….and still knows what’s best.  And I think that is the one thing that overwhelms me the most.  His timing is so perfect.

I do want to clarify something that has bothered me recently in facebook posts, in friends words etc…  God would still be faithful and good even if we were NOT pregnant right now, even if God would have said NO to our desire to have children.  God is still faithful and good in the bad times.  God is still faithful and good when things are going down the drain.   God is not only good when he blesses us and things are all sunshine and rainbows – he is good and faithful ALL the time. He always has a reason to do things in HIS perfect timing.

How has God shown his faithfulness to you lately?

Make it a GRATE day!

Love,

Christy

The First Meal

On Sunday a question was posed for an “ice-breaker” for each table to talk about. The question was “when did you know that your spouse was “the one”

It was a question I could answer very easily. And it was fun to reminisce about it with friends.  I also thought it might be a fun topic to ask my blog readers to answer – so feel free to write up your blog post and tell me where to go read it!

Here is our story:

We had been “officially dating” for about a week – but we had been talking pretty much every day for around 6 months.  We had spent the day before (Thanksgiving) meeting each others families and sharing lunch/dinner with the other’s families.  We had planned to spend the day together and not really do much.  The day started very early with me meeting Brian at a tire shop so he could drop his truck off to get new tires. We then went back to his house and watched an episode of Extreme Home Makeover that was filmed in the town he grew up in.   I honestly don’t remember much about that day with the exception of the first meal he made me, being goofy in front of a guy – and him liking that side of me, having chinese food for dinner, falling asleep cuddled up on the couch watching Back to the Future together, and what I was wearing that day (a pink peasant type top, and very light colored jeans.)  The day was just a normal, nothing special type of day.  But I knew that day I was falling in love with him, and that this relationship was going to go places.

I want to focus on the first meal that he made me just for a second – because I really think that this is what he used to live on before I came into the picture – even though I found out that he is actually a pretty good cook!

He made me Velveeta Shells and Cheese and we had a Snack-Pack chocolate pudding for dessert.

And it was delicious!  He has actually made me plenty of delicious dinners since then, but I still hold both of those things close to my heart.

Ok, it’s your turn – how did you know that your spouse was “the one”?

Make it a GRATE Day!

Love,

Christy

Korean BBQ Pork with Crunchy Wontons

Are you shocked? I’m actually posting a recipe! I figured that since I actually cooked last night AND remembered to snap a few photographs I would share with you all.  I can’t take all the credit though – Brian actually prepped all of the veggies for me.

This is a Pampered Chef recipe featured in the Fall/Winter 2012 Season’s Best Recipe Collection.   It’s also one of our favorites. It’s easy to make, packed full of veggies and it’s easy to change up if needed.

The recipe does call for a Pampered Chef BBQ sauce (Korean BBQ Sauce) but I have actually never used that sauce when I’ve made it – so maybe I should just call it BBQ Pork with Crunchy Won tons? It’s up to you.

INGREDIENTS:

16 Square won ton wrappers (3 in/7.5 cm)

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded

2 medium carrots, peeled (I use 3-4 to bump up the veggie content)

1 large red bell pepper

1 medium onion

1 pork tenderloin – about 1 pound, trimmed

3 garlic cloves

1 1/2 TBSP canola oil, divided (I used olive oil)

1 cup Snow Peas, trimmed (I don’t trim them, I throw them in the pan just as they are)

3 Green Onions (I use 4-6)

1/2 cup Korean BBQ Sauce (I use whatever I have on hand, Masterpiece, Sweet Baby Rays, homemade – use whatever you want! and I usually use closer to a cup of sauce)

1/4 cup Apple Jelly (I like the jelly that has actual chunks of apple in it – I think it’s a Smuckers brand)

Additional sliced green onion for garnish (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Stack won tons and cut them into 1/4 inch strips. Separate strips and place in Small Ridged Baker (honestly I think any piece of stoneware will work – but I did use my small ridged baker)  Lightly Spray with canola oil and toss to coat – don’t skip tossing them!

2. Microwave strips, uncovered, on High for 3-5 minutes or until they begin to brown, stirring at the end of ever minute (don’t skip! they will burn!) Spread strips over parchment paper to cool.

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3. Coarsely chop jalapeno using a food chopper (I actually chop them pretty fine). Cut carrots lengthwise into quarters then crosswise into thirds (basically cut into thinner strips)

4. Cut off top of bell pepper and scoop out seeds. Cut into bite size pieces.  Wedge onion into 5 chunks, then slice in half.

5. Slice pork lengthwise into four strips. Cut strips crosswise into 1/4 inch pieces (basically bite size) Mix pork and pressed garlic in a bowl until meat is covered with garlic. You could do this step earlier in the day for a stronger garlic taste if wanted.

6. Heat 1 TBSP oil in large skillet over medium-high heat for 1-3 minutes or until shimmering.

7. Cook pork without stirring for 3-5 minutes or until browned. Stir pork and cook 1-2 minutes; remove from skillet.

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8. Add remaining 1/2 TBSP oil to skillet. Add all vegetables, cook and  and stir 2-4 minutes or until crisp-tender (don’t over cook!)  I love all the bright colors in the pan – isn’t it pretty?

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9. Stir in pork, BBQ sauce and jelly. Cook 1-3 minutes or until heated through.

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10. Divide won ton strips among serving plates and top with pork mixture.  Garnish with additional sliced green onion if desired. I like to actually serve this over rice – it makes it go farther, and it’s filling. When I serve over rice, the won ton wrappers go on top (pictured below)

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To change it up:

Instead of carrots use parsnips.  Instead of peas, use green beans.  Instead of pork use boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into thin strips.

This recipe costs around $2 per serving and is heart healthy.  It serves 6 people (without the rice)

Please let me know how you enjoy this recipe!

Make it a GRATE day!

Love,

Christy

Our Baby Journey…….Part 7

Ok, I realize that it’s been umm….several weeks since I wrote part 6, and yes, I realize that I am the worst blogger ever. For that I apologize.  But you want to hear part 7 right? Ok here goes!

 

May 31, 2013

This was the day I was going to go into the Doctors office and find out if I was pregnant.  The few days leading up to this day were the longest in my life.  The very few friends that knew what was going on told me I should just take a test at home and see if I was pregnant – but those tests don’t always show a pregnancy less than 14 days after ovulation, and I really didn’t want to get my hopes up.  AND I didn’t want to waste a $10 test – CHEAP I know!  But that morning I woke up around 4 a.m. having to use the toilet so badly that I had a decision to make.  I could take a home pregnancy test and find out knowing it could be wrong, and knowing that I wouldn’t go back to sleep that day if it were positive. Or I could use the toilet and go back to bed and wait for my appointment that morning.  I took the test.  Of course it took FOREVER to show the results. And then I saw it. I was in shock, in awe and was praying it was true.

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I started crying and thanking God all in the same moment.  I couldn’t believe it.

I then had another decision to make. Do I wake Brian up right then and there and tell him, or do I wait another hour – hour and a half and tell him when he got up for work?  I decided to let him sleep, but to leave the test on the bathroom counter so he would find it when he got up.

I went back to bed KNOWING I wasn’t going to sleep anymore, but felt like I should at least try.  Brian rolled over and asked me if I was ok. I said yes, but if he was awake he should go look at the bathroom counter.  He did and came back to bed and we hugged it out and cried some more.

This was real.

I think we were both in shock.

This actually worked.

God had blessed us with a pregnancy that we had wanted and waited for, for 4+ years.  It was nothing short of a miracle.

Later that I day I went into my Doctors office and I saw Nurse Kim (she was AMAZING by the way – just as good as the Doctor!)  and she asked me if I had “cheated” – I told her I had and that the test was positive. She was excited for me, but gently reminded me that they were looking for an HSG level of at least 50 that day, and then they wanted it to double over the weekend.  She drew blood and sent it off to the lab and told me she would call me by 2 p.m. that afternoon with the results.

2 p.m. would not come that day – it seemed like it took FOREVER.

Finally she called. She said not to worry, but today’s HSG level was only a 47.  She scheduled me to come in on Monday for the same test. I knew that my numbers needed to be over 100. So we prayed all weekend.  And then left it in God’s hands.

June 3, 2013

Monday – same routine, draw blood, send it to the lab and She would call me by 2 p.m.  She called me before 2 (Thank God!) and said that my HSG level was a 102.   I was so so so happy!!

She scheduled us for a 6 week appointment, and an 8 week appointment.  After the 8th week we would be released from the fertility doctors care and we would have to choose a birth provider at that point.

This is the first picture of our tiny baby – not much to look at yet, but it’s the most beautiful little blob I’ve ever seen 🙂

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So now you know where I’ve been, and why there hasn’t been much action on this blog – I haven’t been cooking much! Being in the kitchen with a hot stove is just not a good thing right now.  But hopefully soon I will be back cooking and baking up a storm – I miss it!!

I am now 16 weeks pregnant (well tomorrow) and it still doesn’t seem “real.” I feel like I’m living in a daze most days. We are just so thankful and we are super excited to start this next part of our journey.  The question that I get asked the most is “how are you feeling” well to tell you the truth, I’m tired of throwing up.  Yes, even at 16 weeks I’m still dealing with it. But I do use it as a reminder that my baby is still growing, and throwing up is a GOOD thing…..although when I’m kneeling at the toilet it’s hard to remember that!

I do want to mention that this isn’t the case for every couple going through infertility.  Some couples go through multiple rounds of IUI and IVF and they still have empty arms.  I don’t know WHY it worked for us, other than it was all God’s timing.   My heart still hurts knowing that we have several friends still on their journey to having children.  I wish I could wave a magical wand and fill their arms with a child, but I am not God, and I sadly have no control over blessing someone with a pregnancy/baby.  I do know that God makes no mistakes, and his timing is always perfect.

Make it a GRATE day!

Love,

Christy

Our Baby Journey……Part 6

Here you can read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 and part 5.2

Warning! If you get grossed out reading about girly goo and other bodily functions quit reading now and pick up on another post!

I left you on a “high” in part 5, we finally had good news.  So now we had to wait until my next cycle started so that we could start the new fertility drugs.  February comes around and I had some dark brown spotting, but never a full-on period. March comes around and does the same thing. Strange enough they were during the time that my normal period SHOULD have shown up (not that I was in anyway “regular” but it was about the time I should have expected it.)  So after the second time I called the fertility doctor and she had me come in to review what was going on and see what our next step was.

I headed to the clinic and she told me that those dark spotting’s WERE my period, but I wasn’t having a full blown period because of doing too many cycles of clomid the year before.  My body was completely screwed up and had no clue what to do.  So doctors orders were to do a month on a birth control pill to “make” my body have a period.  I was really un-easy about this, and really struggled with being ok taking a birth control pill when we were trying so hard to get pregnant.   But after talking with some girlfriends and understanding that my body needed to build up the estrogen lining so that it COULD shed, I started the birth control on April 9th.

During the time of taking the birth control I had a few people say some pretty negative things about Christians using fertility drugs to get pregnant – that I wasn’t trusting God to give us a baby.  Now I know that yes, God did create a woman’s body to make babies, and when our bodies work the way God intended we don’t need to use fertility drugs. BUT we live in a world full of sin, sickness, chemicals and things God never intended for our bodies to “live in” when He created us.  So I didn’t really believe these people when they said I wasn’t trusting God to give us a baby – I know that even with fertility drugs He still is the giver of life, and only HE can create a baby in a woman’s uterus.  But the whole fertility drug thing well, I was questioning.  I was struggling.  So I started praying…..hard.

If you know the story of Gideon in the Bible he really needed to be sure of what God was telling him to do, so he laid out a fleece and asked God to let the ground be wet and the fleece be dry if this was really God’s will.  The next morning it was so.  So Gideon prayed again and asked that the ground be dry and the fleece be wet the next morning – the next morning it was so.  Now I don’t always pray this way, but I needed something tangible this time.  So I prayed for something so impossible,  I knew that if it happened that it could ONLY be God, there is no way that any person could have made this happen.  I also set a deadline – because I needed to be able to cancel the drugs that we ordered so we didn’t spend a bunch of money on them.

The deadline came and went, and this thing I prayed for didn’t happen. I immediately felt a peace about continuing with the treatments. It was so weird – like a light switch almost.

So on May 8th we started Fermara (another drug like clomid, but it doesn’t stay in the system for as long as Clomid does) and on May 12th we started the injections of Gonal-f.  Brian had to give me these shots because the thought of sticking myself with a needle gives me the hee-bee-jee-bees!  He did great, and it didn’t hurt hardly as much as I worked myself up that it would.

Here comes the fun part. Brian  had a work trip (of course!) starting right about the time that I would be ovulating (these things always happen to us! oh well!) So we planned ahead and had a sperm sample frozen just in case Brian was gone when I ovulated.  If he was still here we wouldn’t use it, if he wasn’t here I would use it – clear as mud?

May 17th rolls around and I go into the clinic and the Doctor does an ultrasound on my ovaries to see if they are ready to ovulate. She saw follicles in BOTH ovaries and they were both large enough to ovulate.  So the nurse gave me a shot of Ovedrell – which is a drug that will MAKE me ovulate – my body has no choice BUT to ovulate.

May 18th – I took an ovulation test around 3 p.m. and I had my first positive ovulation test. The smiley face was pretty amazing. Yep, I cried my eyes out over it!

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We were told to try and have sex as many times as we could over the next 2 days (the 18th and 19th) but of course Brian was leaving REALLY early on the morning of the 19th for his work trip AND we had tickets to see the Detroit Tigers play the Texas Rangers that night (the 18th) So we had to get “busy” in a fairly short time period. So we did!

Now the wait begins…..

 

Look for Part 7 coming soon!

Make it a GRATE day!

Love,

Christy

Banana Bread

I love a good piece of Banana Bread – don’t you? Well, unless I’m talking to my husband, but I already knew he was a little weird!  This recipe is one of my favorites to make. It always comes out really delicious.

Flour’s Famous Banana Bread

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Ingredients:

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup plus 2 TBS sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup oil

3 1/2 bananas, very ripe, mashed

2 TBS creme fraiche or sour cream

1 tsp vanilla

2/3 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped (optional)

 

Directions:

1. Set oven to 350′. Line the bottom of a loaf pan with parchment paper (or spray with cooking spray)

2. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

3. Beat sugar and eggs with a whisk until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes.  Drizzle in oil. Add mashed bananas, creme fraiche/sour cream, and vanilla.

4. Fold in dry ingredients and nuts.

5. Pour into a lined loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour

 

My Notes:

* This last time I made this recipe I accidentally forgot the sugar until after I poured it into the loaf pan – thankfully I remembered and was able to pour it back into the bowl and mix the sugar in.  Bread turned out great!

* I made one loaf of bread out of the above recipe. It took 1 hr and 40 minutes to fully cook.  I checked it every 10 minutes after the first hour.

* You can make 42 muffins using 1/3 cup of batter in each cup. I used Greek Yogurt instead of Sour Cream and each muffin is 194 calories.

* I don’t care for nuts in my bread, so I leave them out.

* My friend Priscilla just recently told me about this trick, and it WORKS – try it out!  When you take your bread out of the oven take it out of the pan and only let it cool for about 10 minutes. Then wrap tightly in foil – yes, while it’s still hot. Do not put in a ziplock bag.  It will keep the bread moist and delicious – no need for slathering it with butter!

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Make it a GRATE day!

Love,

Christy

Roasted Corn Salad

I first made this recipe last summer. I needed a quick easy appetizer type recipe and this one fit the bill perfectly.  It’s a Pioneer Woman recipe so I KNEW it was bound to be AMAZING….and of course it is!

I found the recipe in her beautiful cookbook: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl. If you don’t own this cookbook go get it! It’s a beautiful cookbook filled with amazing recipes, even if you don’t cook it’s a gorgeous book to look through.

So I will admit that Brian actually made most of this since I don’t run the grill – which is awesome for me.  So when I’ve forgotten to make dinner I can let him come home from work and say “Hey Babe, we’re grilling out tonight!” and he loves it. I don’t feel like a bad wife for not having dinner on the table, AND I get dinner mostly made for me – win win!!

“Katies Roasted Corn Salad” by Ree Drummond

Ingredients:

Olive Oil

8 Fresh Corn Ears

1 Red Onion, quartered

2 yellow Squash, halved lengthwise

1 Red Bell Pepper

2 Medium Tomatoes

 

Dressing Ingredients:

1/2 cup Olive Oil

12 Basil Leaves cut into chiffonade (stack the leaves on top of one another, roll tightly, and slice across thinly)

1 tsp Kosher Salt

2 garlic cloves, chopped finely or smashed.

(I also like to add a dash or two of pepper)

 

Directions:

1. Heat the grill. Drizzle corn liberally with olive oil.

2. Grill Corn for 5-8 minutes until the corn is beginning to brown

3. Drizzle the onion with olive oil and grill just until it starts to become tender. Do not allow to over cook, as you’ll want the onion to remain somewhat firm.

4. Repeat with halved summer squash and red bell pepper. Allow vegetables to cool slightly after grilling.  We used THIS grill basket.

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5. Roughly chop the onion, squash and pepper with a sharp knife, scrape the corn kernels from the cob. Dice the tomatoes and add them to the mix.

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* I like using THIS TOOL to get the kernels off of the cob, SUPER easy and HERE  is a video showing you how it’s done!

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6. To make the dressing: in a separate bowl, pour the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and whisk together until combined

7. Finally add the basil, a dash of salt and garlic and whisk together

8. Place the vegetables in a large mixing bowl and pour the dressing over the top. Stir to combine.

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9. Serve with Tortilla chips and crackers, or spoon on top of grilled chicken. Delicious!

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We like to let this sit and marinate for about 24 hours before serving it.

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Hope you enjoy this recipe – it’s super delicious!!

Make it a GRATE day!

love,

Christy

Our Baby Journey…..part 5.2

Here you can read Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four and Part Five

So I feel like I need to backtrack just a little to tell you about our Foster Care journey as well – because it all fits into our story.

When Brian and I met and later married we talked about adoption and while I have always been open to the idea of adoption, Brian was a closed book, he wanted nothing to do with it. He wanted his own children or none at all. (please don’t take that as a bad thing, adoption isn’t for everyone!)

Fast forward a few years, we are living in Iowa, and some friends of ours become licensed Foster Parents.   We watched them go through the ups and downs that is Foster Care, and then end up with the sweetest two children that you would ever meet. (They actually got to adopt these children this year, but that is their story to tell, not mine)  Brian’s heart was softened by these friends and especially by these sweet kiddos. We really felt God leading us into Foster Care and possibly even adoption through the Foster Care system.  At that time we knew there was a HUGE possibility that we would be moving for Brian’s job again, so we decided to wait until we got moved to get into Foster Care classes.  During the wait I found a Christian Foster Care Agency in the Dallas area that I just fell in love with. The people I talked to on the phone and through e-mail were fantastic and you could tell that they really loved their job, and it was more than a job to them, it was a calling.  So we signed up for classes starting in January 2013. Told them a little about our background (read: Infertility Treatments), and why we really desired to become Foster Parents.

Fast forward: we get moved, holidays are done and over so we start getting a room set up for this new child/ren that will be joining our family hopefully by Spring/Summer. We found a crib, car seat, high-chair, bouncer, play mat and more.   I had washed all the children’s clothing that I had and got them hung up in the closet according to size. We were ready.  During this transition time I turned down 3-4 Nanny positions because we planned for me to stay at home with this little child.

The Foster Care application was very adamant about us being ACTIVE in a local church (which we LOVED!) so we decided to be quick about finding a church to be a part of (it usually took us an average of 9 months to find a church in the past.) We were going to 4 different churches a weekend some times, really praying and seeking God to where He would have us serve.  We ended up at the best church, under the best teaching, in a fantastic Sunday School class, and in a fantastic Small Group – yes it was a whirlwind decision, but we KNEW without a shadow of a doubt that this is where God wanted us.

IT’S TIME TO START CLASSES!  We were so excited.  We decided to meet at the training center in Dallas since it would have been a waste of time for Brian to come home to get me – it ended up being the WORST driving trip that I have had here in Texas to this day.  It rained BUCKETS and BUCKETS and I wasn’t used to the traffic or the Texas drivers yet – I was a mess. Then I got stuck in traffic, my GPS had me ending in an empty field, no building in site. I pulled into the next parking lot that I could and called Brian SOBBING because I was so stressed out. He’s talking me through the directions and then I realize that I’m in a strip club parking lot and a VERY sketchy figure is headed my way!! SCARY! Thankfully I just had to get back on the road and go the opposite way my GPS said to go. I only ended up being 1/2 hour late to the first class (it took me almost 3 hours to get to the training center – it should have taken me 45 minutes!)  So we get into the class and everyone went around the room and introduced themselves. We were shocked at quite a few older people (60 yrs +) were in the class (not talking grandparents here), and the couples who both had full time jobs. The class ends, we turn in all the paperwork that we had completed before the class (some 20+ pages of information) and then we head home – another traumatic drive!

The next day the director calls me and wanted to ask a few questions about our paperwork. 1. My ear surgery. I explained it to him, and that was all good. 2. Infertility.  I told him that we were still pursuing treatments, but would really love to do Foster Care along side of the treatments.  He then told me that as long as we are pursing treatments, and for 1 year after our last treatment we wouldn’t be accepted into their program.  He also told me that this was not a Texas “law” just a “rule” that they followed.  So I got off the phone – bawled, and started looking for another agency.  Every agency I talked to said the same thing, they all followed these rules.  I quickly texted our friend and asked her if Iowa was the same, she assured me they were not.  It just felt like a HUGE door being slammed in our face.

I cried A LOT those next few days – and closed the nursery door – I just couldn’t even look at it.  One more “punishment” for being “infertile”

A few weeks later I asked Brian to take the crib down while I was gone one night, he did so, ever so graciously.  We sold it along with almost everything else we had purchased – I just couldn’t look at it.  We moved the guest bed out of the office and made the nursery into the official guest room.

The door was closed on becoming Foster Parents as long as we were pursuing fertility treatments, and we weren’t ready to give up quite yet.

Fast Forward to where we are now:

I am almost glad to have gone through that experience.  While it hurt like heck, and no I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, and yes Foster Care is still something we may pursue down the line, we learned from it. AND most importantly it got us into a FANTASTIC church, small group and we have friends faster than any move before.  We have a fantastic support system filled with people who love and care about us.

It’s amazing to me sometimes how God has a bigger plan for us that we could ever imagine.  I’m so glad to trust HIM with my future and not myself!

Watch for part 6 coming soon!

Make it a GRATE Day!

Love,

Christy

Precious Moments

A few weeks ago on the way back from visiting friends I stopped at the Precious Moments Chapel in Carthage Missouri. Now the funny thing is that I went to College not even an hour from this chapel and during my years at college NEVER made it down to see it. I wanted to, it just never happened.  So I figured I had time that day, so I stopped.  I’m so glad I did.  It is such a beautiful serene quiet, dare I say Holy place.

When you first walk up to the building (that actually hosts the store, not the chapel – which I didn’t know at the time) you are greeted by a beautiful fountain with life size Precious Moments figurines.

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In this building is a beautiful little cafe’ area where they serve a few different things to eat. It looks like a little town. Of course they had the famous animal train in life size height- I think they were around 4-6 feet tall.

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Then you head out the back doors down a beautiful path lined with Angels blowing trumpets  towards the Chapel.  The first thing you come to is a lovely little rock garden – so peaceful.

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Then you see these lovely little angels lounging in the amazingly gorgeous landscape

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I saw these flowers and they always remind me of my mom and her mom, and her mom’s mom, and her mom’s mom’s mom – because we have heirloom Iris plants that have been passed down through MANY generations. I can’t wait to have a house of our own so I can ask my grandma or aunt for some of these flowers! I love that tradition and want to continue it! ….oops – Bunny Trail! DSC_0803

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This fountain was so beautiful

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Then you start down the path to the Chapel….again GORGEOUS Landscape!

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The woodworking on the doors was so beautiful!

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These windows were BEAUTIFUL!!!

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This was the ceiling in the chapel….so beautiful!

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Some more shots of the door….gorgeous….

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Looking back towards that fountain – this is the main walk up to the chapel – the grounds were just SO beautiful and well taken care of.

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Looking back towards the store/cafe’

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I loved my quick tour at the Precious Moment’s Chapel – I highly encourage you to visit if you get the chance!  Did I happen to mention it’s FREE??

Make it a GRATE day!

Love,

Christy