Tuesday, October 25, 2011


it was our big day in the IVF process: egg retrieval and attempted fertilization. (romantic babymaking, let me tell you.) we tried just two.

one egg disintegrated. one fertilized. and so we had sam, just hanging out in a petri dish, dividing cells and stuff.

here he is on 10/29/10:

and here he is on 10/10/11:

he is the sweetest, most content, awesome, super cute baby ever in the world. we love him a whole lot. he is worth every tear, every test with just one line, every temperature chart, every doctor appointment, every needle, every surgery (there were three!), every time i sobbed and prayed like hannah - and oh did i sob and pray like hannah.

and now we have our samuel, too.

God is the God of impossible things, and He had a plan for His glory in our little boy's creation.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

the end...of 2006

i'm sure the super classy stupid boy would have talked to me in person if he lived around here, but he didn't. (actually, i'm not so sure he would have...but anyway...) the boy had been visiting the church at christmas, too, while he was home on leave. the friend request came in august, so i guess i at least left a lasting impression.

well, you know how the internet is - you have to be safe and people are quite creepy, so you shouldn't accept friend requests (is that what they were called on myspace? i can't even remember) unless you know the person. or maybe you can if their brother is one of your new friends from church that you met through your cousin.

it doesn't hurt if the person is wearing camouflage AND has a guitar in their profile picture, either. (the guitar wasn't his. i asked. in his defense, he wasn't posed with it - it was in the background. ha.)

yes, this is still about God, but He works in mysterious ways.

so this boy decides to come home over labor day weekend to see his cousin before he went away to the navy. and the boy met me at...sigh. i'm wincing. (some of you already know why.) pinch penny pub! super classy, again. and so the girl who didn't care much about God met a boy who didn't either.

but the stupid boy and the dense girl got along well. actually, i. was. smitten. like in the most improbable, totally silly way.

and for about a month, fun and happy phone calls were made across the country, over the pacific ocean, there and back again. and while i let my whole heart get wrapped up in pursuing this boy, i wasn't pursuing God. but here's the fun part - He (capital H) was pursuing me.

i was plenty old enough to know better than to get so caught up in a person in such a short time, but i didn't pay that any mind. i also didn't give much thought to God - at all. until one night, the boy broke up with me.

i was pretty sad. like in a really pitiful, awful, i-can't-believe-she-liked-him-that-much-and-they-only-saw-each-other-twice kind of way. but there was a much bigger reason for the pitiful depth of love i fell into.

i was driving to work and for some reason i had scanned the stations and come across a christian one. as if it were by chance. broken and low, i hadn't gone looking for God. i looked for anything else but God.

and driving, alone, feeling abnormally devastated, i heard a song. call it cheesy, but there it was, a song about how the past didn't matter and how God loved me anyway. and it occurred to me what i'd done. i'd messed up over and over and over again. i finally realized i actually needed God. (that's the thing about growing up in church - it's hard to see that you NEED to be saved sometimes.)

i was just almost at the four-way stop in desoto. it was october. i needed to be saved, and i was. God came and took my heart for His own. and i still mess up every day, and the story isn't finished yet.

the other story isn't finished either. about a month later, the boy and i were talking again. by january of 2007, just four months after i'd met him, i found myself tearfully praying that he would be safe during his deployment to iraq. i was driving. i suppose God waits until i am driving to speak because that's the only time i shut up long enough to listen. i had just crossed the bridge on the black top on the way to my parents' house. i knew the boy would be ok in iraq because i suddenly knew i was going to marry him.

there's a lot of 'story' between then and now, but that's the boy's story to tell. he says he will maybe do a guest blog on his christmas break, so be watching for that. (sorry to start the story so far from then, but i couldn't tell MY story without telling some of his. such is marriage.)

here are some of the lyrics to the song i heard that october day in desoto. i'm sure some of you have heard it before:

Its been a bad day, you've been looking back And all you can see is everything you wish you could take back All your mistakes, a world of regrets All of those moments you would rather forget I know it's hard to believe Let me refresh your memory

Yesterday is history And history is miles away So leave it all behind you Let it always remind you of the day The day that love made history

You know you can't stay right where you fell The hardest part is forgiving yourself But let's take a walk into today And don't let your past get in the way

2005 to the summer of 2006

my cousin invited me to church and introduced me to his friends. looking back, i was embarrassing and obnoxious...i would not have introduced me to anyone. i even got invited to movie nights and various other things. i went. i liked my new friends, but i wasn't serious about church or pursuing christianity.

i went to church with my grandparents - the same place where my cousin went - on some sunday mornings. i was sure to go on the sunday before christmas, and i had to wear my red sweater (i still have it, i still love it, and i still wear it at christmas, fyi).

meanwhile, i kept living my life however i wanted. i became less selfish by some miracle from God and spent more time with my family and took school and work seriously but didn't find my meaning in it (though i did have a lot of fun with both since it was all photography). i wanted to get married eventually but had no prospects, so i spent a lot of time going on awkward first dates (and sometimes second, third, and fourth) and wishing i hadn't. (don't feel bad, there's comedy in it. i could probably write a series on that. ha.)

i continued to develop those newer friendships and sort of went to church, sometimes. it was a very legalistic thing still - i went, but there was nothing really going on in my heart. i was far from living my life the way that i should have been. little bits and pieces come back to me, but it was a blur that last semester. i worked hard on my portfolio and job applications and in may of 2006, i graduated college (round one...). i finally decided after just a couple more first dates that i could be single for a while.

and of course, after that sentence, you had to know that some other stupid boy would come strolling into my life by way of a friend request on myspace (classy, i know) because he saw me in church wearing a red sweater at christmas. (and of course, after all these mentions of stupid boys, you're beginning to figure out who also had a tendency to be rather dense.)


Friday, October 21, 2011

was it 2005?

i think it must have been.

when i was six years old, i decided i wanted to get baptized. in the church i grew up in, nobody said "get saved." it just wasn't the way we said it. whether or not i did the deciding is up for debate, as you will see as the story eventually unfolds (i'm still reformed, but it's really hard to tell and i lean toward "i decided" in this case - you'll see why).

this, of course, was not 2005. this was, i think, in very early 1991. so my parents and i talked to the preacher, and i still remember the talk. we discussed "no turning back," and that my life was now headed in a new direction. pretty deep for a six-year-old, but it seemed simple enough to me. of course, i didn't understand the depth of it (i still don't now, and nobody fully does). but it wasn't as simple as i thought.

i was a legalistic child. i mostly did what i was told except for fighting with my brother. i knew right from wrong and by the time i was a teenager i was convinced i was an authority on it. i knew what was expected of me from the words in the Bible, and so that's what i tried to do.

i remember tugs at my heart, crying, thinking there was something more when i was around 13, and again when i was around 15 or 16. i didn't really know what to do about it, but it was incredibly upsetting and i couldn't figure it out, so i just waited for it to "get quiet" and went on like i had been.

one high school graduation, several bad relationships, and a few years of college later, i found myself with low self-esteem, bad habits, and a lot of idols. i remember sobbing on a bench in the communications building to a friend over a stupid boy, going days without really talking to my family, and drowning myself in work and school, among other things.

finishing out the last year of my first degree, i wound up in a history class that i didn't even mean to take. i wanted the second part of western civ, and in my ignorance i took the first. it was a terrible class (the teacher told us that the united states had better never go up against iran or we would lose - i'm not even kidding), but in that class i sat by my cousin, who i didn't know before then except that we were distantly related, and we became very good friends. i remember talking to him about my life, and i'm pretty sure about yet another stupid boy.

he brought me a bible with smiley post-it notes inside marking the verses that he thought would help. it was an orange new testament, pocket-sized.

i'd read the verses before, but unlike before, i hadn't been following my Bible laws to keep me from needing to read those verses. (legalism is like that, you know.) too bad that at that point, i didn't really want to read them, and i didn't think i needed to anyway. i was just going through a normal phase of bad habits and i'd grow out of it and just be a christian again. later.

that was 2005.