Time to have another

I’ve been awfully sad lately and quite frankly, a pain to be around. I was so sure we finally got pregnant this month. So sure, that I did something I never do – look up the actual do date and dream about meeting our little one. It was July 22nd! The day my best friend and sister came into the world! How perfect I thought! How sweet of the Lord! How wonderful that we can tell both our parents together at Thanksgiving this year! I couldn’t wait to prove to Greg that all the things I was feeling were actually true. Until they weren’t. And it was just another month of cramping and hormones, and extreme fatigue and all the fun of a perceived pregnancy without an actual baby. I’ve wanted to get pregnant again since Abbie was born. I loved being pregnant. I missed her little kicks as soon as she came out. I wanted so badly for her to have a best friend like I did growing up. Being 15 months apart from my sister was such a fun experience – obviously I didn’t know any other way but looking at my friends and their siblings 2 or 3 years apart, I knew I never wanted that for my kids. Every single month is hard to see go by, first with no period (and yet people still feel the need to remind you that you can still get pregnant without a period! I did! they say…) and then weird periods that come and go and yet still manage to come reminding you how very infertile you are. You cope with all the talk of people getting pregnant the first time they tried or worse, the ever so common we weren’t even trying! talk. It’s like a dagger into your heart every time as you painfully muster up a smile and a congratulations. I saw the same pain in some of our friends eyes when we announced our first pregnancy. I hate that this is such a hard part of life. Such a sensitive subject yet something that is so often joked about.

I know our family isn’t complete yet and I know that even if we aren’t able to have another ourselves, we can’t wait to adopt or at the very least be a foster parent to those in need. Gotta say, the idea of not going through labor again is quite appealing ; ) Abbie has shown me something I never knew – I absolutely love children! They are such a treasure and gift and SO important to our culture and society. And although it is hard to wait and see the months ticking by with no hope in sight, I know that I can always curl up in my Daddy’s arms and have a good cry while He reminds me that He has it all under control. So our family won’t be like mine growing up. It’s unique and beautiful and full of love and that is enough. And when I’m finished with that good cry, He gave me the most wonderful husband that I know hurts every time that little glimmer of hope gets smashed, but is still willing to take me in his arms and remind me that it’s all going to be alright, bring me a glass of wine, cook me a delicious dinner and let me shamelessly weep to my favorite chick flick. I am a blessed woman. And little baby, wherever you are and whenever you come, we can’t wait to meet you!

Love, us

Remember Who You Are

I always joke about that line in the Lion King, complete with a big, booming voice, usually followed by a snicker, but secretly I love it and treasure it in my heart. I’ve had to draw on this phrase a lot lately. It’s so easy to fall into old habits and ways of thinking – to become annoyed that other people seem to have it better than you, to put up big walls so that no one can touch or hurt you all the while making sure you won’t be growing anytime soon either, to see yourself through the eyes of inconsiderate people and not through the One who made you for a purpose, who loves you more than words can describe, and who is waiting to sweep you into His arms and show you all He has in store for you. It’s so easy to focus on the negatives and annoyances of life and forget who you are – who you belong to. Greg and I have been in a big turning point in life lately. Pretty much everything that can be up in the air, IS up in the air. To not have any control of anything in your life can be so frightening and disorienting and sadly has seemed to make me cling to negative feelings full of doubt and fear rather than the hope that He has promised us. I have doubted His goodness in a big way which has done nothing but put me in a funk of doubt and misery. I’ve given into the lies that tell me He’s going to let us fall and He’s going to enjoy it. Oh jeeze. So, the reason we are at this crossroads is because He has given us the biggest blessing imaginable! He’s blessed us with a child on the way! And as a soon to be parent, do I really think I am going to enjoy watching my children fail? Parents delight in watching their children grow and prosper! I can’t even watch my dog get picked on at the dog park without having all my heartstrings pulled on. Why would I think my Father would be any different?  It’s interesting that in this journey of becoming a parent, I’m so tempted to think that the ultimate Father, will relish watching us fail. It is scary to look into the future and not see anything remotely concrete or certain – to not know where you are going to live, work, what you will drive, who your doctor will be etc… but remembering that ultimately, He is my Abba Father, the One who has provided for us every day so far, is still the One in control. Just as a mother will not deprive her crying baby of the nourishment that only she can provide, our Father will not deprive us of what we need either. All I can think now is Lord, help my unbelief, because it is still scary and uncertain. But I am certain that He is good. He has good plans for us. He will not leave our side – He has promised! So we continue to take this one day at a time, praising Him for his goodness and all the treasures He packs into each day, and trust – with more faith than we’ve ever been asked to exercise – that He will come through for us. There is nothing to fear. Our Father is in control. Remember who you are.

A New Year

The end of last year ran smack into the horrid challenge of ugliness. Poor Greg married a lady who thrives on beauty. To move from our charming little apartment that overlooked the bay and had thoughtful details throughout, to a house that did not have one good thought put into it but had been hacked away at and put up for rent, put me in a deep funk. I knew the right attitude. I knew I should be thankful. But the truth was I wasn’t. I think my senses were put into temporary shock. Yet today, I’m sitting in a house that I adore. It’s still the same place. We still have plenty of beer can tabs to pick up in the backyard, and holes to fill in the worn out walls, but now I see the Lord’s hand in all of this. This is a place that we can grow in — that has already stretched us so much. This is the place where I fell into even deeper love with my husband and the place where he truly became my best friend. This is the place that has allowed me to see a stark, sad exterior slowly soften as the vines we planted our first week here start to grow up and over adding bursts of greenery. The bushes start to spread their little branches. The flowers continue to blossom, welcoming us home each day. This is the place that keeps me on my toes – keeps me from boredom and so graciously provides me with an extra room to explore my creativity. This place has long counters so I don’t have to prepare meals on the floor anymore. It has a gas stove, which I’m pretty sure was put there by God Himself because He knows how much I like cooking. He gave me a project and I’m so thankful for it. It was hard for me to not think of things so ridiculously logically — we will be here for two years – we will not put any money into it but simply dwell and tolerate it! — but instead realize that life is not meant to be tolerated. It’s meant to be experienced! To do the best you can with what He has given you. To thank Him for His abundant blessings each and every day. To realize He is in control and if you are there, it is for a reason and it is most likely that reason is not to simply tolerate it. This place is a gift and this year I intend to enjoy every minute of it. I am so thankful for being given something I did not want but definitely needed. So Greg, thank you for finding this little gem for us. I love it and I love you.

and a wonderful husband he is

The other night I had a massive meltdown. Sitting in the dark, staring straight ahead, tears streaming down my face, every wall I could put up, was up. This guy goes and gets his guitar and melts my hard little heart with his soothing music and humming. This only made me sob harder mostly cause I was thinking doggonit! I can’t keep this up with that darn niceness! So, here is my applause to you, Mr. Nettles. You got through the biggest wall ever built, with class. I am so thankful for you. Love, me

Him

I don’t think I’ve talked about my husband nearly enough lately. Couple things: he has developed one of the finest skills this world has to offer. He has learned to make a GORGEOUS bed. I can’t brag about that enough. I’m ridiculously weird about beds and he, I must say, has mastered it. Have I also mentioned that I have a very back and forth personality? One day I want to be a painter, the next an author, the next an astronaut? I’m all over the place. I am a mess. Although I do see him trying to stifle his laughs sometimes, once he gets over the initial shock of whatever new idea I have, he fully jumps on board! I can’t express how much this means to me. I know I’m crazy – I wish I wasn’t. I wish I was stable and balanced, and although I am the farthest thing from that, I have to believe that I’m made this way for a reason and it means the WORLD to have someone that is so supportive. I recently told him that I no longer wanted to be an artist – that I just couldn’t get out from my mothers shadow and that I wanted to go a completely different path and do screenwriting of all things. Greg loves when I paint. I knew he would probably not be a fan of that new idea but to my surprise, he helped me brainstorm ideas of making this happen! Even though this was a short lived idea, for the time being I should say, my heart melted with love for him as he supported my newfound dreams. I spent all day doing research and working on my silly little script which I actually did quite enjoy, only to come to the conclusion that what means the most to me is creating a home. I am aware this is the lowest calling in this day and age as women are fighting to become CEOs and running their own companies, but this is where my heart is happiest. I’ve been sacrificing everything I love to get in there and make something of myself only to come back to the same conclusion I always do. You’ll probably hear this from me time and time again but I just wanted to say thank you to my husband for always being supportive of my dreams, but most of all, being okay with me making a home for us and allowing me to stay home and do that. I am overwhelmed with thankfulness.  I love you, Bubs.

Life Coach

So much of life is simply finding a healthy balance. Why is that so hard? I heard a pastor once say that God doesn’t care if you are happy. I’ve always struggled with that. Of course he went on to support his statement but the fact that God doesn’t care if his children are happy or not just never sat well with me. I’ve thought about it for years and finally came to this conclusion: Think about a coach – a coach has a goal – to have the best team possible – to encourage each player to reach their full potential. I do believe a good coach cares deeply about each players well being, however he may require them to stretch themselves and do tough exercises so that they can push themselves and accomplish more than someone content to sit on a couch all day. As the player, you may not feel “happy” or “comfortable” during these routines but you are able to go though them because you are working towards the same goal and ultimately trust the coach. A coach that is content never practicing or pushing his players to work outside of their comfort zone, very likely will have a lousy team. I was thinking about this in terms of marriage. A lot of times marriage is so hard I think why the heck do people want this so badly? Why am I still encouraging people to get married?! This is really hard! Then I think about my Coach. This was His design.. I think He knew it would be hard. That it would require His kids to stretch past what is comfortable. That it would require them to lean more fully on Him. I struggle so much with finding a balance. I feel so distant from Greg and it makes me want to just keep running in the opposite direction. But then the Coach says to me, go say your sorry, go give him a hug, try to smile right now, humble yourself for my sake, let your walls down. I think, no! I’ll be defeated! I want to continue going down this path of anger and resentment so I can win! And he says, oh Hilly. Don’t you know if you trust me and do what I say, you will win. The prize will far surpass whatever it was you were trying to obtain. I guess all I’m trying to say is trust Him. Every time I have listened to Him and followed His training, I am rewarded. Every time I choose my own methods, I suffer many injuries. Trust Him. He knows what He is doing.

Thankful

Today the weather is grey and foggy like my mood. I very much enjoy when the weather matches what I’m feeling. Most of the time in marriage, I want to scream and say, “I don’t know what I’m doing!” I don’t. At all. I don’t know how to fix things. I don’t know how to make feelings come back or go away. I don’t hardly ever have a good solution that isn’t overly dramatic or impractical. I don’t know how to resolve things that Greg and I don’t see eye to eye on without lashing out. Marriage is so different than what I imagined it would be. My life is so different than what I imagined it to be. That’s not me complaining.. that’s me trying to be honest. I was thinking today what my perfect future looked like. The only thing I saw was a different attitude: happiness. Blissfully happy and content. The thing is, I can be that right now. I have a choice and although that choice may be harder at times, it is always there. Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy. But a lot of the time i’m so confused and distracted by selfishness I forget how happy I really am. How unbelievably blessed I am. How good I have it. To be honest, I haven’t felt as close to Greg lately which normally would make me so sad. Instead, I’ve been turning to God and telling him how I feel and asking for His help in seemingly hopeless situations. That’s why I am thankful. When I feel hopeless, He gives hope. He can work out things in ways we could never have imagined. I think I realize that the key to a great marriage is having Him at the center. I always knew that but lived in dread fear of becoming the dour joyless couple that built their marriage around the Lord and got the life sucked out of them. Instead I filled my mind with images of happy couples and began nit-picking every time things weren’t like what I envisioned.  This fear of becoming Mr. and Mrs. Dour crippled our relationship and caused me to be motivated by my fear rather than relying on the One who desires good for us. I’m dumb. He is the source of contentment. I don’t have to rely on my husband for my happiness (as I’m so prone to do). He will never be able to satisfy me as that was not what he was designed for. Only God will. I guess that’s what’s been really hitting home lately. Marriage isn’t this ushy gushy moony eyed, read-each-others-thoughts, best friend for life thing I always dreamed of. It’s so different than that (at least mine is). Gush doesn’t have any support. Standing by each other no matter what – respecting each other when you feel everything in you wanting to mock them in self defense – That builds character. That builds a foundation. Having to rely on the God that invented this little relationship, well now that’s a firm foundation. I understand that may not sound as dreamy as the movies portray, but I do believe it’s worth it. I trust my God more than anything and I know there is a reason behind His principles that may not always seem fun and easy but are a bajillion times more worth it. He is good. He is faithful. He loves us. He is who I will keep my eyes on.

lets keep it classy

I’ve been thinking a lot about class recently. I would love to be classy but let’s face it, I’m pretty much the farthest thing from it. Mostly what gives me away is my need to say whatever I’m thinking. Get it off my chest so to speak. I hate that about me. I feel like we live in a society where this is applauded and encouraged and although I don’t think we should live in silence and never say anything we are thinking, I do feel there is great good that would come if I was able to hold my tongue more and take my problems to God first, waiting on His timing and solution. I do usually turn to God first but I give him a good two minutes to resolve it before blurting it out to the rest of the world. Why do I do that? Yesterday I was randomly watching Greg and my wedding video (which is surprisingly embarrassing – could I have fidgeted more?) and I discovered something about myself. I am extremely impatient. I know, I know… I’m just now discovering this? Rene was talking about how in order to have a “masterpiece marriage,” it takes time and work and reworking. I was thinking about when I paint I have to consciously tell myself to slow down.. you’re not going to finish this in a day… just work on this little bit.. and I have to consciously break it up for myself or I get so discouraged and feel like giving up. Well, I noticed this lovely attribute carries over into many aspects of my life including my marriage. I get so discouraged when I look at the whole thing and it doesn’t look great. But, to tie it all together, with patience comes class. Relying on God’s careful timing rather than my hyper speed timing I’m certain will produce amazing results. Greg is an amazing man and I am so thankful to have the privilege of being his wife. I guess I just wish I didn’t screw it up all the time. Thankfully we both serve a God that is the King of reworking. I am so so thankful that He is in control and I am not. And I’m SO thankful he didn’t make males and females the same – can you imagine a world where all people were highly emotional and completely irrational. Disaster! So here’s to continuing to learn patience on my journey to become more classy : ) Now if I only wasn’t so impatient to become patient…

the joys of communication

I am so thankful for my husband because of his willingness to remain calm in heated situations and try to communicate with an irrational child. As I am prone to do, in moments of tiredness or worry, I tend to, what we call, “snowball” situations into the worst hypothetical scenario possible, all the while convincing myself they are 100% true and accurate. This happened last night as I turned a seemingly simple conversation into a tragic tale of despair and hopelessness. I told Greg he NEVER did something and then he calmly pointed out probably six scenarios he had done it just that day. It was like my eyes were magically opened and I could see how very wrong I was. And then came the magic words: I’m sorry, you are right… I was wrong. BAM the anger disappeared and we could have a real conversation again. I wonder why it’s so hard to humble yourself and say such simple words. They are magic I tell ya! I was reading this morning in Ecclesiastes how a little bit of folly can ruin all the wisdom and honor someone has. I pray that I become less of a silly girl one of these days. I think it’s just one of those things that happens over time as God shapes us day by day. I also wish my stupid emotions didn’t seem so real and I could think through things logically. It’s terribly frustrating. I hear these “moods” allow women to create the necessary elements to bear children. At this rate, I must be a breeding machine! Most of the time though, I just feel crazy. I’m sure there is a good reason why God created us this way. I’d love to ask Him when I get to heaven : ) But for now, I shall be thankful that I have a wonderful husband that hangs in there with me and loves me despite my cases of the crazies.

remembering to love… always

I just read a concept in a book that I know very well but it’s so nice to hear it again and again:

“Love your husband with all your heart and treat him like the gift from God that he is.”

May I never forget that. Greg has been having to work A LOT for his job lately and I admit I haven’t been the most encouraging wife despite him desperately needing it.. To remember that he is a precious gift that God has entrusted me with is such a beacon of hope when I’m feeling down. I was feeling rather hopeless the other day, as I am prone to feel often *artist*, but I heard God whisper very distinctly in my ear “I made him for you.” Having God as my Rock, knowing He cannot be shaken and that His ways, no matter what, are the best ways, knowing that He guided us together and made us for each other and that we are a gift from Him to each other, well that makes all the difference doesn’t it. The one I trust most says it is not hopeless. The one I trust most says this is the right way. Knowing that, we can conquer anything : ) ok, back to my book!