Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Married for Six Years!

(not us. stock photo.)

This past weekend, the husband and I celebrated our 6th year wedding anniversary. Woopwoop! We had breakfast together (at McDonald's haha) and also had a lovely dinner at a nice restaurant.

We have also started this random tradition of getting a gift for each other only on the day, where we go to a mall, set a budget (this year it was $20 each) and a time limit and go find a fun gift for each other. We wait (this part is his idea not mine!) until we get home (painful) and then we exchange it.

I think it came out of relieving each other of the pressure of getting anniversary gifts, figuring how much to spend, what to get, getting annoyed if one forgot haha, etc. Especially because our anniversary is pretty close to Christmas and the husband's birthday, this has been a fun activity we can do together and on the day of the anniversary itself.

This year the husband got me a lovely ornament from Redcurrent (very pretty store, love it) and a home decor magazine that had heaps of Christmas ideas in it (ahhh! Too many ideas now!), while I got him a Mini magazine (like the Mini as in the type of car) and a big bag of lollies/candy cos' his magazine was a special import from the UK and sorta used up most of the budget haha.

So here we are six years on. Crazy! It has also been the American Thanksgiving (even though we don't really celebrate it here in NZ some of my American friends do) so we've been thinking about what we are thankful for.

The husband and I are thankful to God for:

- good support from people around us this past year, like a counsellor who has given us his wisdom and time for free!
- a great team we work with who have been flexible with us and given us lots of grace when we need it...
- a marriage where we are each other's best friend and we enjoy each other's company
- a marriage that has endured some unexpected things like job dramas, grief, medical things, infertility, etc, yet remained on the same page on the whole,
- things He is continually doing in our lives that we don't have control over (ugh have to say I love/hate it!)
- to be honest, just overall survival of another year.

On another note... today I spotted a couple posts on (in)courage that were neat.
Here they are:

- Staying Sane this Christmas (I need this because this year I'm a bit overwhelmed by how fast it has come by!)
- The Depth of an Empty Womb (I know each of us is at different places in this journey, and this author feels like she can 'see the light' and while not everyone may feel like this yet, it is still a good reminder to focus on God's promises... even if we don't feel like it!)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My Talk-In-Front-of-Church Thingy

If you meet me in real life you'll immediately know I'm not an upfront-speak-to-crowd kind of person. That's why this past Sunday was especially scary and cool. Scary that I was sharing some of our story to the whole church, but cool that I got the opportunity to do it and hopefully it reached out to someone who maybe has been on a similar path.

My prayer was that I wouldn't cry and wouldn't cough. Neither of those are majorly life-threatening (in fact, I highly support crying) but I just knew it would be good for me (i.e. prevent mind block up on stage) in this case if I didn't. Thank God that it all went smoothly and I managed to hold of the crazy coughing for later.

Here's what I said:

Are you where you thought you would be a few years ago?

I'm sure many of you can understand what it is like to be on an unexpected journey.

I’m S. My husband J and I got married six years ago. In our third year into marriage we decided to start trying for a baby, little did we know what lay ahead.

 These past three years we have undergone eight rounds of fertility treatment, I have had two surgeries, we have gone on holiday, we have tried to relax, we have had less caffeine, we have taken more vitamins, we have lost weight, gained weight, exercised, not exercised, tried alternative methods, basically tried different things to get pregnant. [Managed to get a few laughs here...]

In this time we have conceived and sadly we have lost four little lives early on in pregnancy.

Where this journey is hardest, is all the unknowns... naive as it may sound, some days we feel like yelling, this is not what I signed up for!

Questions that we sometimes ask are: How long will we wait? Will we ever have children? What treatment should we pursue? How many rounds?

Should we even pursue treatment? How do we trust God to provide? When do we consider other options? How do we cope with this rollercoaster of hope and disappointment?

I acknowledge that J and I have been fortunate enough to get pregnant, but for us, the question is also, will we carry a baby to term?

As you can imagine infertility and pregnancy loss impacts marriage. Jason and I deal with these issues so differently, that it can be very difficult to be on the same page.

There is also a deep sense of grief and depression that exists when dealing with infertility and pregnancy loss. With infertility, you mourn the child you dreamt of having, the thought of having a family.

With miscarriage, you mourn the child you carried for a time but won't get to meet in this lifetime and the things you longed to experience with them... and for some couples you ache to provide a sibling to an existing child.

It is a hard one to escape as there are so many reminders around us of what we miss or don’t have. Events like Christmas, Easter, Mother's Day and Father's Day can be met with such mixed feelings for those of us on this journey. J and I are full of joy for loved ones around us but we also feel the pain of yet another year celebrating it without kids.

I share this with you because infertility or loss is real for many couples around us. They may be your friends, family or colleagues. They may be open with their journey or they may be more private.
If you and your spouse are going through this, [our church] would just like to let you know that we want to care for you.

We’re not sure what this looks like yet, but we would definitely like to pray for you and support you. We understand that this is a difficult journey so we want to provide a place where you feel you can feel safe about it. This may be in the shape of a group, meeting up for a coffee or maybe even just a regular email.

You can contact me blahblah, etc...

Thank you.

I was shaking when I did it and I shook even after I sat down next to the husband. I hope no one noticed haha.

It was especially neat because the message was on community and how to be caring for each other in a deeper and real way (Galatians um... somewhere in there... I obviously wasn't paying enough attention!) so my bit served as an introduction to the message. Felt pretty special!

Doing this meant so much to me. It also occured very strongly to me how cared for I am by people around me, and how supported I am by the church with this whole idea to set up a kind of support network for others dealing with infertility, pregnancy loss or related issues.

I'm praying that wherever you are and whatever stage you're at, that you will also have someone you can talk to or feel safe with on this journey, as it can just be such a peculiar one to understand.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I've been sick the last couple days... down with a kind of cold and just ol' sore-throat-pain-and-yuckiness. Trying not to splutter all over the keyboard. EW.

But hopefully I'm getting there. Being in bed or on the couch all day is no fun. It sounds fun but when you actually have to do it it is not.

What are you like when you are sick?


- paranoid that suddenly everything is super dirty and needs a clean. I think I imagine germs multiplying as I'm sleeping and breathing on it. NEED TO NEED TO: Change the sheets (done), ask the husband if he can vacuum (haha), wash the dog, wipe the whole house down, etc.

- hungry for everything but not really. I think cos' your senses get dulled you just want to taste tasty things, but then when you eat it it isn't actually that great cos' you're not feeling great enough to enjoy it? I may be one of those people who miraculously gains weight while sick.

- wanting chicken soup. So I made some in the crock pot for myself (and the husband). Love the crock pot cos' it is so 'self-cooking'.

- too uncomfortable to be in one position for too long. Sleeping isn't fun, sitting isn't fun, standing isn't fun, TV is boring. Oh I'm such a joy to be around. Thankfully it has just been Sammy and I.

- consuming a lot of honey and lemon.

- wondering if coughing so much can give you good abs?

- not sure how I would do this if I had a baby. I guess you just do what you gotta do. Or ring grandma.

- getting a bit concerned about how the world is managing to survive without me! Haha.

But no seriously, being stuck at home recovering from something always makes me realise how much I need to trust God for my sense of worth, not the things I do or achieve.

- doing an announcement-thingy-about-IF/LOSS stuff tomorrow at church so hoping that I don't sound too much like I've been travelling in the desert looking for water and chain-smoking at the same time. Sigh. Timing can be funny... I'm sure it'll be ok.

Haha... Not a terribly exciting post for today. Hope you have a good weekend ahead guys!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

What's Great About Now...

This weekend I got to spend some time alone at Browns Bay. It was nice taking a walk and have a nosey around the shops. Here is a pic I took while sitting on the bench.

(there were lotsa people and dogs out and about, but somehow they didn't feature in my shot... haha... oh well!)

Ahhh thankful for lovely days and gelato. haha. Yeah I had a double scoop of gelato- chocolate and hazelnut. MMmmmmm.

(Except it was a cash-only shop and I never carry cash on me these days, so I had to go and get money from an ATM, but I think the shopowners are pretty used to it cos' she let me have my ice-cream and trusted me to come back with the money. How nice!)

The warm weather reminds us that Christmas is coming up (yeah weird for some of you I know!) and I love it. What do you like about this time of the year?

I like:

1. Christmas and all its trimmings like ornaments, wrapping presents, food, etc.

2. Starbucks releases its Christmas-flavours of drinks! Yum.

3. Summer = warmth. (Though it might get hot and there are flies but besides that...) Having barbecues and hanging out outside.

4. Cos' it is warm, we will wear less layers, which means (theoretically) less laundry! haha.

5. Ice-cream/gelato/frappucino/milkshakes/smoothies, give it to me baby!

6. Music. Love Christmas music.

Last year my bro and sis-in-law got me Chris Tomlin's Glory in the Highest (if you can, listen to the 11th track by Audrey Assad, I love it even thought it isn't winter here... gorgeous! Reminds me I'd like to check out her own album... ) and Mercy Me's The Christmas Sessions for Christmas so I'm looking forward to playing it leading up to Christmas instead of after Christmas this time haha...

Anyway. That's me for now. What about you?

Sunday night here. Better head to bed. Have a good day!

Friday, November 12, 2010

One Year On

Today is the anniversary of when we lost Baby N. Yesterday I bought flowers to make it a bit more special but sadly when I brought them home, they were more floppy than I'd realised. (Darn those sneaky supermarket-sleeve-flowers and my lousy judgement haha... Oh well. )

How quickly a year has gone by. A year since the husband flew back from the States in a rush to be with me. A year since being at the hospital with my dear friend C who took care of everything while I panicked in pain. Thank you God for how you worked everything out somehow.

The grief has definitely subsided. Something you never feel is going to happen when you are in the midst of it and can hardly see past the hour. Though there is still a deep longing to know what Baby N looks like and what life would have been (as with all the babies we long to meet)... Life is interesting huh.

It is curious thinking about what I remember of the day I found out the pregnancy definitely wasn't progressing (the scan, going for something as normal as a meal after as there was nothing we could do and it was something to do aside from crying), the next day (arranging a D & C as by then I'd been bleeding for a while) and then that night/the following day when it all happened naturally and so quickly yet kinda also in slow-motion.

So many difficult memories, yet it was a deep and impactful time too, it especially impacted my relationships (with my mother who was there at the last scans, with my friend C who coached me through contractions that I for some reason didn't expect, and my husband who sped from airport to hospital in crazy shock).

One thing that the miscarriages have made me think about a lot is heaven. What is heaven like? I'm still figuring it out. A topic I never really had to think too much about in terms of specifics. It also has made me really want to go there, not in a scary way but just in a it-will-be-so-awesome-when-we-get-there kind of way.

Even this year has continued to be a bit of a confusing year, but we can definitely see how God has been taking such good care of us. The fact that we have simply survived a year is a good thing! To be honest I'm not sure where the year has gone. It feels like it sorta just disappeared, all I know is I'm tired but here I am... haha.

So. We're really not sure what the future holds but it surely is going to be 'good' because it is in God's hands. He is a faithful God. Oh how I need to remember that on the trickier days!

(we decided to buy bears to for each of our children, to remember them by even if there is little to hang on to. here are just three of them... two have their nickname-initialed on their foot!)

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Thoughts on Naomi

I've been quite interested in the character of Naomi from the book of Ruth in the Bible. Initially I just thought she had a lovely name but I also really struggled to understand why she wanted to be called 'Mara' instead which means bitter- so much more ugly-sounding!

Recently, I got to read a Francine Rivers book Lineage of Grace, and it had a version of Ruth and Naomi's story. (I don't read a lot of Christian-fiction but I have enjoyed some Francine Rivers books as it helps me picture what life may have been like in history.) I was really intrigued by how Francine Rivers detailed these women, especially Naomi.

It occured to me how her life contained so much loss. She lost her husband Elimelech and both her sons. Thinking back to the way life was in Bible times, to go from a woman married with two sons (her life was probably pretty secure in terms of income and social standing), to having NONE of those.

Instead she returned to her homeland with nothing but a Moabitess on tow, who was a foreigner to them. This would've been a big no-no to the locals and they probably weren't very well received or welcomed.

I know this is not my situation but I think this connected with me because I'm learning so much about loss through things such as the husband and I having to change jobs and give up some dreams we had about our career future, through infertility and miscarriage, as well as through friends who have lost close ones.

There was also a situation earlier this year where the thought of losing the husband became very real to me. Thankfully this did not happen and I still have him but in a sense that day was life-changing and it made me think about the realities of life.

I guess with so much of our lives revolving around the idea of progress, advancement and plans on what you are going to do next, (and a lot of our identity is linked to these things) it hits you hard when your life is on 'pause' or for some even, like Naomi, in 'rewind'... when stuff is taken away.

A friend of ours has gone through a devastating marriage breakdown and he was talking about how he never thought years later he'd be back in this place of being single with a crappy car and a few bits of furniture- with really just 'nothing to show' for his life... I'm sure he thought he'd still be married, possibly with kids, and at a good point in his career... but it hasn't quite turned out how we all thought for him... it reminded me of Naomi.

NO WONDER she was upset. No wonder she wanted to be called Mara. I only understand a smidgen of her pain and yet I can understand why she would have called out in despair and anguish. When I was younger it was so easy for me to think she should've just 'gotten over it'... now bitterness is something that I'm more familiar with.

However, I also think even though she called herself a bitter person, she must've loved God and showed it. The fact that her daughter-in-law Ruth wanted to follow her God says something about Naomi. She probably demonstrated God's love through her strength and perseverance even back when they were living in Moab, a foreign land with foreign gods, or else Ruth wouldn't have followed her back to Bethlehem. You know what I mean?

Our friend whom I mentioned has also left us with a lot to learn. He's clung to God the best way he can through this process. I'm sure there are days where he is still angry like Naomi was (uh... I've been through less and I am!)... but as friends we can see that pleasing and following God has been his priority.

Ruth could've gone back to her family and started a new life, but she chose to stay with Naomi. I know it also demonstrates Ruth's character and commitment, but I would imagine that Naomi probably also had something about her that caused Ruth to want to adopt her faith. Naomi also demonstrated her care in helping Ruth find a new husband- Boaz, an older man but a godly man.

This is something I thought was worth considering... asking myself if I'm continually putting God first in all the aspects of my life. A hard one to do though huh?

Anyway. Just love it when there's parts in the Bible that suddenly seem to make so much sense or speak to us where we are at. I guess that is a way God speaks to us and comforts us through His word.


Hope you are having a good weekend.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Ten Things at 10 am

Today I'm starting at 8:30 am because maybe by 10am I'll actually be ready to post haha.

1. I had a wonderful time in Dunedin. It was great having a couple of days away from 'normal' life, spending time with my friend P, and checking out the little city. It was beautiful weather too which was a huge bonus as it can get cold down there!

One of the highlights was visiting the Cadbury factory... CHOCOLATE! Even though some of the original products are no longer made there, they still make lotsa fun stuff like the boxed chocolates and easter eggs. It was a fun tour and you get chocolate as the guide takes you through. yum.

(pointing is a bit off... )

(us in the sugar bowl... this is my fave pic!)

2. I've been thinking about how to explain infertility to others in a short and sweet way (if that's possible)... because I am giving a notice at church sometime soon to tell them about the church's desire to have a support group or network for those struggling with infertility and/or miscarriage loss. This is huge for me because those who know me know I'm not at all an upfront person, plus I'm pretty much baring my all by being up there!

However, I'm so thankful for this opportunity as this is something I'm excited about, but kinda freaked out at the same time. You can pray for the right words to say in that short time (like 2 mins), so that women for whom this is relevant to will feel safe and comfortable to maybe respond or at least feel cared for, and also that the rest of the church will gain bit more insight into this topic. Also if you have any good quotes or ideas, let me know!

3. Another blogger Heather posted about this video, Empty Arms. This has been on my resources page too but I thought to post about it again because it is just a really well done project.

It is a video that explains infertility so well... if you haven't seen it I encourage you too- there may be tears though! I also like how Heather puts it in her post where she said, "You guys all know that we are adopting, and though that is seen as a "resolution," the stamp of infertility on our hearts will never truly go away." I think she says it in such a succint way.

4. I have thought of posting the above video on my Facebook page just for some friends who may be interested to watch it or pass it on to others, but I'm still not really sure about it! As much as I have been super open about my journey, I also don't always know how much to say about infertility/miscarriage stuff on Facebook. Funny huh? Hmmmm. What do you think?

5. When I was in Dunedin I met a girl who'd been in foster care. It broke my heart to hear that her mom for various reasons was struggling to cope with her kids, and had to give two of them up to be taken care of by another family. This little girl was now back with her mother, but her brother is still with the care-giving family. What a mess. I am not here to judge but I'm just saying it was simply so impacting talking with this real life child who was in the midst of this. I don't dare to imagine the impact this is having on these children.

As the husband and I have been thinking through these situations linked to adoption, etc, it just really hit home and I wondered if God was just nudging me to slowly open my heart to the various ways I can parent one day, even if it is not conventional... not sure yet, but it was a conversation I'll remember!

6. Summer is on its way... so that means strawberries! Yay. Looking forward to more.

 7. Aren't peonies just so beautiful? I wanted peonies for my wedding but we couldn't get them at the time. They are such gorgeous flowers huh! These were some we spotted when I was down south.

8. Sammy's chicken-legs stretch. See what I mean?

9. About a week ago I finally finished lining some of our room curtains. Yeah I sewed the lining on by hand cos' it was quite thick and I'm not so used to how machines work still. Felt very accomplished. Um... think I've had this project on for like way too long! Anyway, very relieved to be finished. We haven't put them up yet but we'll get there hopefully haha... 

10. Rocky Road- Snickers RR on the left, and  and newly discovered Cookies 'N Cream RR on the right. I found the 'original' Snickers recipe in a Women's Weekly Cookbook (great books). They were an instant hit with the girls.

Recently, I stole some inspiration from my friend K and made this Cookies 'N Cream one. So awesome. These are great treats for bringing over to parties or as gifts! Let me know if you want either recipe. (Sometimes I take a while to email you but I do do it eventually haha...)

Thanks for reading! Have a great day.

(oOPS. We were cleaning as I typed this off and on. Now it is 11. ha.)

Tuesday, November 02, 2010


I survived my 21 km! Thanks for all the support you guys. I had a lovely crew who cheered me on. It was so hard- I hit a wall unexpectedly earlier than planned, then it was survival-mode from then on. I'm proud to say I didn't walk and I still did it in a great time for my standards. I made it in 2 hours 7 mins!

Thank you God for helping me through one of the longest two hours ever! Still felt great at the end though.

athlete photo (Running photos are terrible and one day I will post a photo of me NOT in running gear cos' I'm really not as hard-core-sporty as it looks. I picked this because the guy behind is walking so it makes me look good. I really struggled on the Harbour Bridge, but they closed the lane just for us so I tried to make the most of it! haha.)

Probably because of the big run, I've been pretty tired these last couple days, and that will be my excuse for having a sorta hard couple of days. It has been busy at work overall too.

Well... that and I noticed a Facebook pregnancy announcement this morning (man oh man maybe I do need to just not use it...Oh Lord how many more, please help me), and the husband has kicked off his Mo-vember campaign (hahaha... sigh... poor me poor me), so it is great timing to be LEAVING Auckland for a couple days. I'm visiting a dear friend in Dunedin (all the way down in the South Island!). I'm excited about that and I'm sure we'll have a fun time. woopwoop.

(map of nz! top red dot is auckland and bottom one is dunedin!)

It'll just be nice to spend time with her, be seeing new sights and be AWAY from normal life for a short time. I will miss the husband though. I think cos' it has been a difficult time for us this past year, I find it hard being apart from him! I know sounds so needy but it is totally the truth- I've become super clingy in a random kind of way. SAD. Sigh. haha.

Anyway. Gotta go get the bags ready. Hope you are having a good week and all you North Americans had a fun Halloween!