Monthly Archives: March 2014

And We’re Off – A Contest!

**UPDATE: I will be extending the announcement a bit longer, since I’ll be entertaining guests this weekend, but hopefully someone will guess correctly! So far, no correct guesses. Keep ’em coming!

So I dropped a bomb on Sunday, and for those who missed that post:

We are moving!!

And not just moving, but like moooooving awaaaaayyyy! Putting some serious distance between where we are now, and where we are going.

So with that, I thought it may be fun to have a little contest type of deal to see if anyone can guess which state we are moving to. And I know what you’re thinking, and the answer is YES! There is a prize. It’s nothing super fancy, because I don’t have a ton of funds for this, but the winner will get….

*drumroll please…

A $5.00 Starbucks gift card, sent to the email address of your choice. 🙂

And of course I wouldn’t leave you hanging without at least a few clues, so here are three hints to get your noodle going:

  1. We currently live in Maryland, and as stated earlier in this post, we are moving a loooooooong way away (as in it’ll take us into the double digits with respect to how many hours long our drive will be).
  2. Our new home will be warmer than our current home (and after this winter, thank GOD for that!).
  3. It’s one of the top 100 Biggest cities in the US, according to this site.

So there you have it. If you can guess which STATE we are moving to, and you’re the first the guess correctly, you’ll get your $5 Starbucks Gift Card in your inbox on Wednesday, when the answer is revealed.

Let’s have it! And may the odds be ever in your favor!

~Hope

Thankful Thursday

Today I am SO So thankful for…

Lasting Friendships.

I’ve been cleaning like crazy, this week (after slacking off for a bit longer than I’d like to admit), because tomorrow my GIRLIES are coming!!

I am so stoked and cannot WAIT to see them. This weekend is Girls’ Weekend, which means Studly will be hiding out in his man cave while myself and two of my dearest friends of over a decade will have full reign of the house! And before you judge me, please know that Studly is always more than welcome to hang with us, he just prefers to make himself scarce and give us lots of girl time without his interfering or overhearing something awkward.

Anywho, it’s going to be awesome! Have I mentioned that I’m psyched?! Because I tooootally am.

I hope to give you the full scoop of this weekend’s festivities, but for now… I’ve got to get this house cleaned up before they get here. Eek!

Seriously, though… I am so beyond grateful that God has blessed me with these (and several other) long-lasting and deep friendships. The word “friend” seems to mean different things to different people, theses days, but I’m so blessed that in our vocabulary, it truly means that we are genuinely 100% committed to loving and supporting each other! being our absolutely true selves, and allowing each other to hold us accountable and call us on our crap, even when it’s tough.

Today, I’m grateful for real, true friends.

What are you thankful for? Do you have a true friend or two? Tell me about them!

~Hope

The Babymaker

I’ve shared about my desire to be a mother, but I’m a full-disclosure kind of gal and honestly, I left out quite a lot of information about our journey to make it happen.

Long story short, I have something called PCOS or PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome. It boils down to the fact that rather than releasing eggs during ovulation each month, my eggs stay in or around the ovary and attach themselves, becoming cysts. There are many variations to PCOS, which is why it’s referred to as a syndrome, but the truth of the matter is that the many variations also make it hard to pinpoint to exact treatment necessary to prevent this from happening in each case diagnosed. That’s a very short and condensed version, but it is what it is.

The fact of the matter is that many people with PCOS are still able to conceive without medication or medical intervention. In some cases, even just simple low level meds are all that are needed to result on conception. Then in other cases, whether there are additional medical issues combined with the diagnosis of PCOS or not, some women still have varying levels of difficulty or just cannot conceive on their own.

Enter such options as hormonal injections, IUI (InterUterine Insemination), or IVF (InVitro Fertilization)… and honestly quite a few other options anywhere in between. But I am not an expert on infertility or fertility struggles. In fact, I know more about fertility and reproduction than the not-so-successful side of things, thanks to an over-fascination in the human body growing up combined with my work in a pregnancy clinic a few years back.

Anywho, we’ve tried a couple different medications to try and get my body working the way that it should, but not much has stuck for us. I decided early on that I didn’t want to do anything super invasive and Studly agreed. Not only because I’m a big fan of adoption, but also because I’ve watched people go through various injections and procedures and although it is effective much of the time, it also comes with some pretty crazy side effects and can make you crazy emotional.

Look – I’m a chick, so I’ve got more than enough emotion to tide me over from now until the cows come home. Just ask my husband. But when it all boiled down, it’s just not something that Awe wanted to put ourselves through.

At the end of the day, it’s a 100% personal decision. We don’t think that there’s anything wrong with someone choosing a different path, because they need to figure out what’s best for them and their journey to having a family.

So here we are – trusting in God’s timing and his plan for our lives. Trusting that he’s put this desire in our hearts for a reason… and in time, he’ll make it happen and it’ll be good… and perfect… better than we ever could dream up in our short-sided minds.

~Hope

BIG Changes

My boss finally made the announcement, so… I guess that makes it official.

We’re moving!

GAAAAHHHHH!!

It still doesn’t feel real. We’ve been wanting to leave Maryland for years, but it’s actually relatively difficult to figure out how to relocate to a city where you know no one and still somehow find jobs for two different people. But alas, it’s finally happening.

We are BEYOND thrilled, but there’s a part of me that’s still just waiting for the other shoe to drop. For someone to step in and say “jk! Gotcha! You’re not actually going anywhere.”

Regardless, I know in my brain that it’s real. It’s happening. The official report date is still being ironed out, though we are looking at sometime in June, and soon I will begin the process of transferring my job, finding a home…. Starting a new life. Wow – it feels weird to say that. We get to completely start over!

How does one even begin to do that? I mean… It’s like getting a do-over. A “Try again” option in the video game of life (for those “metaphor whores” like me, out there). How stinking cool is that?!

Anyway – my family still doesn’t know. My sisters know that it’s probably going to happen at some point this year, but no sort of timeframe. My parents know NOTHING about us even leaving, so that will be an interesting reveal.

Study’s family is aware. We’ve kept them in the loop ever since this dream was born. His family is just much more laid back and, frankly, supportive of what we want and whatever works for us, whereas mine just found out yesterday. They are all very happy for us and excited to see us begin this new chapter in our lives. They’re happy because we’re happy. And isn’t that exactly how it should be?

However, this isn’t a post a post about family, in general, but rather about MY family and what’s coming next for us.

This move holds a LOT of opportunity for us and I can’t wait to take those first steps toward our future (stay tuned for more deets on those plans).

There’s no doubt in my mind that God has brought us to this moment. And in his timing… it is perfect. We have whined, cried, yelled, laughed insanely, and altogether just longed for this to happen for years, and time after time it just didn’t seem to be in the cards for us as each new opportunity seemed to fade away – some almost immediately, and some much more gradually. Nonetheless, it’s here now. It’s finally happening, and we are so beyond grateful for the privilege to take this BIG step forward.

So how about you – have any of you gotten the chance to start over, completely? And dreamers out there? Anyone feeling hopeless? Anyone too scared to take that first step?

Or what about those of you that LOVE your life and exactly where you are at the moment? Let’s hear it. 🙂

~Hope

Thankful Thursday

This week’s post got me wanting to focus on something I often take for granted:

My Job.

There are so many times that we find ourselves frustrated or stressed or even just having an off day and we tend to blame our job. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those people who lives to work, but if I’m honest… I do LOVE my job.

Overall, you could say that I’m in Mission Management/ Operations Coordination. It’s one of those jobs that is never without surprises, there never really seems to be any lag time, and I’m relied upon pretty heavily by people of all different levels – from entry level to senior management. It’s a great place to be!

With that being said, there are definitely days when I wish I could just… well… not be there. Days where I wish that I DID have some lag time or slower moments just to catch my breath, rather than seeming to be perpetually behind. Being in such an important office and doing work that makes such a big difference in people’s actual lives… let’s just say that it’s pretty typically a high-stress environment.

All-in-all… I love my job. I love most of the people I work with and I love working in a place that I feel really makes a difference in people’s lives (even though they don’t really notice).

I’m so grateful to have the job that I do. Even while hoping to one day be a stay-at-home mom, it’s always been important to me to have a job that I love… So I’m so thankful to have found that for the past several years, and hopefully all of the professional years that I have to come.

What are you thankful for this week?

Monday Monday

I’m a little late posting this… Seeing as how it’s almost Tuesday, but today has been a pretty blah day.

I’ve been sick most of the weekend, for some odd reason, so it was kind’ve a waste as far as getting anything done. Luckily, the East coast was hit with more snow (yay?) and we were given the day off of work, so I was able to get some more much needed rest, as well as getting a little laundry done.

Studly and I were both off work so we got to spend some time together, which was awesome. Unfortunately, that means that he will be working some longer hours this week to make up for today’s day off, so it was a little bittersweet. I feel like it was a great time for me… Getting to actually have a nice day to enjoy before going back to work, since sickness and sleep stole much of my weekend.

Anywho, this Monday was anything but typical for us, but all-in-all it was a good day. The downside is….. Having Mondays off always seems to make Tuesday that much harder to bare.

How about y’all – How was your Monday? Anyone else get a surprise day off thanks to one final snow?

And finally: is anyone else as done with this winter as I am?! Ugh!!

~ Hope

I Want to Be a Mommy

I do.
I want to be a mommy.

I’ve wanted to be one ever since I was a little girl. I’m not sure where it originated, to be truthful, but I just always remember it being there – the desire… the dream. And now, it’s still nothing more than an ache. I’ve been been married for over 6 years. We haven’t been “preventing” at all, for the entirety of our marriage. The truth of the matter is that it just hasn’t happened, yet.

I’m not naive enough to think it’ll be all grins and giggles. I know I’ll be sleep-deprived, and constantly busy, and cleaning up puke and leaky diapers at 3am…. I get that. But that changes nothing of the desire.

Anyone who’s been in my position knows that you go through seasons. There are days, sometimes several at a time… weeks even… where your heart just hurts. It’s hard to describe. There’s almost this pit, but it’s not in your stomach. Have you ever had a pit in your stomach? Now imagine it’s moved up further into your chest. That’s about the best I can describe it. It’s just an intense longing that is hard to satisfy. And it kind’ve sneaks up on you.

But then, most of the time, you have the “other” days. The days where it’s more-so on the backburner than it is front and center. It’s never fully gone, but it’s not all-time consuming, either. At least not for me. And I’m grateful for that. I’ve known women that obsess over their hurt and I’ve never seen it produce positive results – not in their marriage… not in their friendships… not with their families… not even just within themselves.

I’m so very glad to be grounded and to have a husband that ensures I stay that way. He’s very compassionate when I’m going through the rough times, but he also never fails to gently remind me that making motherhood or a family into my idol can do no one any good. And he’s right. So I give myself 10 more minutes to hurt and be sad, and then I wipe my eyes and smile, becuase I know the God of the universe. And I know that his plan for my life – our life – is way better than my short-sighted wishes.

Though I can’t speak for anyone else in a similar situation, the fact of the matter is that the majority of my time is comprised of “other” days. And I’m not typically one to be sent spiraling into a rough patch by a baby commercial or lifetime movie. So, the “other” days are really the norm. But even in the midst of them, the hope flickers on… the hope that one day, I’ll be able to talk about how worth the wait it was…. How much I learned through the years of praying and learning to be patient and remaining faithful.

Until then, I just keep dreaming and pushing through the rough, ache-filled, painful times, and I stay grateful for the season that I’m in now… Doing my best to enjoy the time we have now that’s just for the two us… And making sure that I don’t ever allow myself to become obsessed with something that will one day come, and it’ll be a much more perfect time than I think now would be.

~ Hope

I’m Just Sayin’

I love me some pizza.

No no – You don’t understand. I loooooooove pizza. I eat it at least once a week.

(At least… meaning sometimes more)

But I must say….

In WHAT universe is this thing a “Party” pizza?!

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Besides the obvious Barbie dolls and 3rd graders, that is. I eat one of these babies by myself. And in a world where most aren’t willing to blog about eating much unhealthy food, that honesty should count for something, right?!

It is the truth. I. Love. Pizza. And I can’t be the only one… WHO’S WITH ME?!

~Hope

Thankful Thursday!

I’m hoping to make this a “thing,” but like any great “thing” you must start simple. Right?! Right.

So today I just wanted to say that I’m thankful for so so so much right now, but that wouldn’t be a fair way to start, so I’ll start with this:

Technology.

I’m so glad that I live in a time where technology is so widely available, at least in our part of the world. Although sometimes it can be quite the distraction to what’s important, today I was reminded how much of a difference it can make.

This morning, I wasn’t feeling fantastic and decided to go into work a little late. So I picked up my smart phone, called in to work to let them know when I’d be in, and turned over to go right back to sleep – all without leaving the warm comfort of my bed.

I set an alarm with the same smart phone, to ensure that I didn’t lose track of time and go in later than promised.

Then I slept… With my heater running and my ceiling fan spinning, circulating the air in my room to keep things from feeling stagnant.

I awoke before my reminder alarm went off, flipped on the light switch in my bathroom and turned on my running water to brush my teeth.

Technology. Is. Everywhere.

These days we use it without even thinking! But he biggest reminder came just a few short moments later, mid-teeth-brushing. Now… I am one of those people that seems to forever have their phone on silent, so keep that in mind…

All of a sudden my phone starts going CRAZYtown! I promise you that it sounded way louder and waayyy more obnoxious than any other phone sound I’ve heard. It scared the bejeebers out of me, but when I looked down, I saw the reason for it all, and two of the saddest words blinked on my phone and it yelled and screamed for my attention:

AMBER ALERT!

My heart just broke. It was an alert that was sent out for a town very close to us. I immediately started to pray over the situation, but then was suddenly struck with just a sense of gratitude. How amazing is it that we have the technology to alert everyone within a specified radius IMMEDIATELY upon the issuance of such an important alert?!

Years ago, someone could easily go about unnoticed with a kidnapped child in tow. Nowadays?! Not so much. And I am so so grateful for this progression in our technology. Also, I’m pretty sure that I’ve never in my life been so intensely observant of the other cars around me as I drive… I was hardcore looking for the specified vehicle.

For those wondering, the child is still missing, at the moment, but I’ll try to remember to update as soon as I hear that things have changed in that regard.

So today, I’m thankful for Technology. What are you thankful for?

~ Hope

Value In This Season

I had an amazing opportunity recently to attend a Question & Answer session along with my mother-in-law just before a Kari Jobe concert. I’m so glad that we did because it was awesome to get a glimpse of her heart in person.

While we were there, she and the lead singer of the Rend Collective Experiment answered anything from questions about her dog, Hippie, to questions regarding their writing inspiration and also gave advice to worship leaders. It was pretty great, and it felt like I was having a one-on-one conversation with them (minus the little fact that the questions were coming from a Twitter feed and not from me, directly). At anything rate, she said something that has played over and over in my mind since that night:

“Never underestimate the season that you’re in.”

Besides just being a great reminder in general, it really hit home with me during my current circumstances.

I whole-heartedly believe that everything we encounter holds a purpose. If we are honest (which is just my m.o.), it’s an easy phrase to file away for the good times, and overlook or try to brush past during the harder times.

Knowing this is true doesn’t make hard times less painful. It doesn’t mean that it won’t hurt or scar. And it certainly doesn’t make us immune to sadness or give us a “Get out of trial free!” card, just because we say we believe it. We are never promised a life free from tragedy simply because we believe in an ever-loving, all-powerful God… But it DOES mean that when we DO face these hard times, we can rest assured that the God of the universe, the one who literally formed each star and placed each individual freckle or beauty mark onto our bodies – this God… MY God is greater than my circumstance at that moment.

The season that I’ve personally been in, lately, has felt full of growing pains. I had been coasting and then suddenly things weren’t as easy peasy anymore. I couldn’t really point out any one difficult moment that seemed to signal the beginning of this stage, for me, but looking back I can see that it has gradually been pushing me further and further.

Difficulties with coworkers that are beyond my control. Family struggles that can’t be ignored. Big changes in Studly’s and my life. Sudden major work projects popping up with near-impossible deadlines. I mean… Even trouble at the vet, with the dog! Just random stuff popping up all over the place. And throughout all of it, I feel like God’s also been growing my levels of empathy, when I’d frankly just rather be mad and annoyed with people.

There’s been this reminder that people have their own “stuff” that impacts their behavior, whether they can recognize it or not. That to some, their perspective is their “truth,” even when it is actually quite the farthest thing from absolute truth.

Man… I really didn’t plan to get into any of that, but I guess it came out for a reason.

I’ve also just been in this state of “transition” for quite some time with regard to my heart and church and music. Studly and I have actually been outside of a traditional church for several years. And it’s important to note that this is not easy for me.

I was raised in church. Pastor’s kid through and through. And in our house, you didn’t miss church unless you’d thrown up more then once before we left to get there. And that was the case for Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, and even Wednesday night youth game time… Not to mention any other event that my parents had to attend. Basically, it was not optional and not only did we have to be there, but we had to LIKE it, dadgummit!

So when Studly and I left our church a few years back (which is a Tory in itself), we jumped right into finding another. Unfortunately, it was really not an easy process. I won’t get into it right now, but it really was tough and we just couldn’t seem to find a church that had what we needed at that point in our lives. We prayed and prayed, but just didn’t feel like God was encouraging us to attend any of the ones we’d tried and also didn’t feel him pushing us in any other direction to finding one. I was totally uncool with this.

It took me quite a while to be okay with this, and it wasn’t something that I really became comfortable with at any one point, but it seemed more like it happened gradually, and then one day, I looked up and realized that I didn’t NEED it.

**I feel it’s necessary to add in this disclaimer: I do not encourage anyone to take this as me saying it’s a good idea to leave your church or that I support people not being involved in a church body. In fact, I always always always encourage the opposite. This is just the retelling of a story of a season that we went through, personally. Now back to our regularly scheduled program…

I’ve learned SO much through this season in my life. And though it’s something I used to swear I’d never do, I think it’s been extremely humbling. God has had a purpose for this season in our lives and because of that, I’ve grown in ways that I, myself, wouldn’t have if we had stayed in the church or if we’d tried to just attend somewhere to be able to check that box, so to speak, in our lives.

So when Kari said to “Never underestimate the season that you’re in,” it really hit home. I can look back and see the growth. And frankly, I can see some of what I’m having to learn now, even still. Without the season in my life, I wouldn’t be the person that I am, today.

Who I am in Christ doesn’t depend on my status as a churchgoer. It doesn’t rely on how many of my friends are saved or whether or not I agree with gay marriage. My salvation does not require that I read a certain version of the Bible, follow Joel Osteen on Facebook, and repost conservative political articles when I come across them.

My job is to love others; to strive to be like Christ in every facet of my life; to be an example of his grace to this cold and confused world. And I absolutely believe that it has taken this season in my life to truly grasp that on a whole new level.

I hope that this is something I can remember and look back on for many years and that it’s importance and impact doesn’t fade. But more than anything, I hope that I can remember to be present in every season of my life, and not forget to place value in where God has me, rather than where I think I should be…

Ha! As if I could possibly know better than He does.

~ Hope

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