September 15-18

As a deer pants for flowing streams,
    so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
    for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my food
    day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
    β€œWhere is your God?”
These things I remember,
    as I pour out my soul:
how I would go with the throng
    and lead them in procession to the house of God
with glad shouts and songs of praise,
    a multitude keeping festival.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my salvation and my God.

You can read Psalm 42 in its entirety here.

I knew at the beginning of the month that I would find out if I was pregnant while away on a girls’ weekend with my mom and sisters. I dreaded the thought of getting my period and my reaction to the let down. The emotions, the sorrow and the disappointment, had started to grip me with such intensity that I worried about it happening around them. Not that they would see it, but that they would see it and question, “Where is your God?”

And the morning came. I woke up and there was blood. I had since stopped being hopeful that it could be implantation bleeding. I couldn’t raise my hopes like that just to have them dashed. Self preservation mode was what I was running on. I went back to bed trying to control the flood of tears. Sobbed into my pillow in hopes that no one would notice. Tried to gather myself as everyone else started waking up much earlier than I had hoped. I just wanted to stay in bed, but we had a full day ahead of us and adventures planned. I hadn’t flown to Minneapolis to stay cooped up in a hotel room. I prayed for strength. For grace for one more day. For contentment in Christ and not to obsess with what was or wasn’t happening within my body. He brought me through to the other side of the day. I dealt with it as well as I could. I don’t remember any other melt downs that day. It wasn’t the best day ever, but I remember being able to enjoy the time with my mom and sisters and I was grateful for that.

Despite not wanting to get my hopes up, they were slightly. That or I was in denial. I spotted through the next couple days and still went in for the blood test because this period just didn’t seem normal for me. I went to watch the kiddos and tried to forget about the phone call that would be coming in a few hours. We went to the grocery store and as I was just getting them back in their car seats when my phone rang. I knew what was coming, but had to hear it to be sure. “I’m so sorry, but it’s negative.” I tried to coherently speak with her about details and cycle days and setting up the next appointment. I’m sure she heard my voice crack and the extra moment of silence it took me to gather myself. As soon as I hit the red icon, the tears came freely. Another disappointment. Each got harder and harder as I wondered why. And I wondered how much more of this I could take.

I honestly don’t remember much more of that day with the kids. I went to help a friend with wedding plans that night and quietly skipped over a telling of highs and lows for the day. I just couldn’t muster bearing all to them, though a little later that evening it did come up as one of them asked me how it was all going.

What I remember most is lying on our bed with Steve. Not being able to look him in the eyes as I voiced my fears. Fears that I knew to be untrue but had such a tight grip on my heart.

“Am I doing something wrong?”

“Am I not good enough?”

“Is God holding out on me?”

He answered a firm and confident “No.” The answer applied to all the questions swirling in my head and he continued to remind me of the Lord’s great truths and promises, something I needed so very much.

Dear friends, have you had such moments? Ones when circumstances seem dire and there’s nothing but sorrow and fear and oh so many tears? I believe those times fall upon us all. And while we may not see how we could possibly praise God in that moment, take hope in knowing, like the psalmist, that you shall yet praise Him again. He is our only salvation and God.

Love & Blessings,

KJ

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Thankfulness: Days 22-28

Another catch up post. I was doing pretty well, even while away, but then being with family, Thanksgiving, a birthday party, and traveling home (and recovering from it all) left little time. I have been thinking of things with each passing day, just haven’t had time to get them down.

Day 22:

Family. Plain and simple. The one I have been born into and the one I’ve acquired through marriage. we got to spend today with a lot of my family, some that we hadn’t seen in two years or longer. I am just so thankful to them all for being such a great support system and encouragement to me over the years. Plus Steve got to see that my crazy was (mostly) inherited from my family 😁

Day 23:

Today we got to spend time celebrating my youngest niece’s 2nd birthday. I’m so thankful that we were around for that. It’s been a while (over 6 years) since I’ve been with any of them for their birthday. This day I didn’t have to see photos posted on Facebook with the longing of having been there. I was there and got to delight in all of the silliness and fun.

Day 24:

I know I wrote before about being able to chat with friends after years of not and being able to pick right back up with them. Today I’m thankful for something similar, but not exactly the same, so it counts.

Today I’m thankful for meeting up with friends; old and new. This afternoon we got to meet up with an old friend that I hadn’t seen in 16 years (16 years!!!). We have both moved away from our home state and have always seemed to just missed each other when traveling to visit family. I’m so glad it worked out to finally meet up.

We also got to have dinner with friends who we hadn’t seen in only a few months. They moved to Michigan over the summer and it was nice to catch up and see them and their adorable baby boy.

Day 25:

While parents are a part of family, today I am thankful especially for them. For being willing to wake up in the wee hours of the morning (3:30am) to take us to the airport. For hosting us in their home all week long. For supporting me in all of my crazy endeavors (“Yes, I’m going to move far away to go to college, and after that I think I’ll live in Alaska for a couple years, then I’ll be off to Pennsylvania. After that I think I’ll move back home for a bit and then head out to New Jersey.” I can’t imagine what they’ve thought about all of that). Things definitely would not be the same without them.

Day 26:

Today I am thankful to be home. Traveling is nice, but nothing beats being able to sleep in your own bed.

Day 27:

Today was back to business as usual. Both kiddos decided to sleep in a little bit today so I actually made a point to read my Bible (something that I’ve been sadly lacking in). I’m just so grateful for God’s Word. How it is unchanging and how it changes us. The passage I read was Jeremiah 33 and I was just reminded how He is truth and His promises are forever. Such a comfort to be reminded of this.

Day 28:

Today we had our first appointment with the OB. I’m thankful for people in the medical profession who have the knowledge of all thing pregnancy related and can answer questions and tell you of things you never even thought of. All of the information is a little overwhelming, but we have a bit of time to look through it all.

I’m also really thankful for the amazing technology that not only allowed us to see the baby (we have a few times now), but also hear it’s heartbeat. So very amazing. I can’t fully wrap my mind around it all.

Hopefully, I’ll be back later with today’s thought. Praying you are well and finding things, both big and small, to be thankful for.

Love & Blessings,

KJ

Thankfulness: Day 21

Today I’m thankful for family traditions, especially those surrounding food made for holiday meals. Tonight I made “pink fluff,” something that has been made in my family for practically every Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas dinner I can remember. It’s a delicious concoction and I have carried on the tradition as I attended various holiday dinners with friends on my own and then bringing it to gatherings with new family in the past couple years.

There are just certain foods that always remind me of holidays and family and if I’m not with them I like to make them so it’s more like I’m celebrating with them even if we’re not in the same state. Pink fluff is one of those foods. As I’m with my family for this Thanksgiving I asked if my mom if she was planning on making it. When she said she didn’t know I eagerly offered to take the task on myself 😊

Here for your enjoyment is the recipe so you can enjoy this for yourself.

Ingredients:

16oz small curd cottage cheese

1 can crushed pineapple (drained well)

1 large box of strawberry Jell-o

8oz Cool Whip

Making it:

In a large mixing bowl combine Cool Whip & Jell-o, making sure it is well mixed and there are no clumps. Then add in the cottage cheese and mix well. Lastly mix in the drained crushed pineapple. Scoop into a fancy bowl to serve if you so choose. Refrigerate at least a couple hours before serving.

Pink fluff is best made the night before. You can also set the pineapple in a colander to drain earlier in the day or even the day before. You want to get most of the liquid out so it doesn’t make the fluff sloppy.

Let me know if you try it out or have something similar you make in your family. Happy feasting tomorrow!

Love & Blessings.

KJ

Thankfulness: Day 20

Today I’m thankful we were able to share this news with the everyone: come June we’ll be welcoming a little one into our family.

It has been a journey, but really it’s only just begun. We are thankful for the faithfulness of the Lord. For Him allowing us the opportunity to be His ambassadors to a child.

I have some things I’ve written in the in between; before I got pregnant, before I knew I was, and after I knew I was but didn’t yet want to release that info into the world. I’ll be posting periodically and hope they may be an encouragement to those of you going through similar situations.

I know not all stories of infertility end this way; with the happy news of a baby on the way. I still know that feeling and I pray for those of you going through it. It is a difficult, exhausting, heartbreaking journey. Through it all, know that you are thought of, prayed for, and loved. By me, yes, but more importantly by the Good Lord above.

Love & Blessings,

KJ

Thankfulness: Day 19

Yesterday I was super grateful for the mode of transportation available to us; flight! It took less than 2 hours to get to Michigan when I takes us about 13 if we drive. We got here fast and have more time to spend with family because if it!

Also, I have not spent a holiday with my folks for some years now, so I’m really happy to get to do that as well. Even better that I didn’t have to travel by myself πŸ™‚

As you all prepare for the next few days, be sure to stop for a moment. Try not to get too wrapped up in the cooking and cleaning and prep (and shopping). Take a moment to look and see what’s around you, more importantly who’s around you.

Love and blessings,

KJ

Thankfulness: Days 11 – 16

Soooo, have I ever mentioned how I have difficulty with follow through? I was doing good for the first week or so and then we went away and I spent a day doing mostly nothing at a condo in Virginia and that was that. I have been thinking about it every day, pondering what I have been thankful for. Here’s my catch-up list; in hopes that I’ll now stay on track.

Day 11

One of these little girls turned 7 today (bottom right)! I am so thankful to be their auntie! They have brought me countless laughs and smiles over the years. It has been a joy seeing them grow and seeing my sisters become mamas. Super thankful that I’ll get to see two of them next week (though sadly, have to wait until next summer to see the other two).

Day 12:

Today I am thankful for the simplicity of some dinners – soup and grilled cheese it is! Little prep and little clean up makes for a happy lady and an evening spent doing other things other than the dishes πŸ™‚

Day 13:

Today Grandma would have been 103 (if I’ve done my math right). She and Grandpa and Baba (my mom’s mom) were such big parts of my life. We saw Grandma & Grandpa close to every weekend and some of my most fond memories in childhood involved spending the night at their apartment over the summer or during Christmas break. Baba lived with us since I was 4. I would watch her “stories” with her when I got home from school and often retreated to her “house” when I wanted to be away from my sisters. She’s been gone 3 years now, but I still can’t think of that section of my parents’ home as anything other than Baba’s house.

I am thankful for them all today and all the things they have taught me in my formative years; about sewing, cooking, gardening, storytelling, and life in general. I’m thankful for the memories passed along. The truth. The wisdom. The love.

Day 14:

Today I got to chat with friends I haven’t talked to in at least a year. Not for any one reason, just life being what it is and people moving and having new things added to their lives. I still find it amazing how we can pick up right where we left off like no time has passed at all. I’m so thankful for these friendships that stand the test of time; not all do. That’s how you know they’re pretty special.

Day 15:

I meant to take a picture of our first snow before it got dark, but it was a little bit of a crazy day. Not that I’m thankful for the snow – it was the cause of some of the craziness. It was pretty, though. No, today I’m thankful for growing up and learning to drive in a place that has frequent snow. So now, as I’m in a place where people go crazy over an inch (and the roads aren’t always well maintained during it), I can be ok (for the most part) and know what not to do while driving in it. I suppose that was also learned by landing in ditches a couple times in college because of the ice and/or snow.

Day 16:

Today I am thankful for a half day of school which means I get to do some crazy running around/baking/laundry done before our very busy weekend and then flying out to Michigan on Monday. We are both very ready for a longer vacation and the chance to see more family! I’m so grateful for this time to get a few things done because we still have to get through this weekend before vacation really starts.

Whew! What a wrap-up! Here’s hoping I can stay on track even through our time away. As you prepare for the coming week I pray you have some time to stop and think about those things you’re truly thankful for as well as the One to whom we owe all thanks.

Love & Blessings,

KJ

Thankfulness: Days 9 & 10

To be honest, yesterday was a blah kind of day. It was gloomy and rainy, I’ve been battling stuffy sinuses, and despite not feeling well there was a bit to do to prepare for our trip this weekend.

In short, I was not thinking of things to be thankful for.

And then Steve and I went to Atlantic City for a show – Rhett & Link’s Tour of Mythicality. It was raining like crazy and I was thankful we got there safely. I was thankful we were able to see a fun show and that we were able to get all the things ready to leave in the morning. So indeed, even when we don’t think there’s much to be thankful for, even when a day is not going as well as we hoped, blessings abound, if we only look for them.

Today, we headed down to Virginia to spend some time with Steve’s family. We did some exploring, conquered an escape room, and found out we’re going to have a niece come the end of March.

Such good times with family and that is what I’m thankful for today; these people who welcomed me into their family well before Steve & I were engaged. I’m glad to be a part of it.

Hoping even in less than ideal circumstances, you can find something to be thankful for.

Love & Blessings,

KJ