My Prayers for Healing: Things Start to Happen…

This post is continued from my post earlier this week, "My Prayers for Healing: And Nothing Happened..." Click here to catch up and read that post if you missed it.

After hours of waiting and wondering about the tests to figure out what was the cause of all my pain, the doctors let us know there had been a change of plan—it turned out that they weren’t able to do the special multiple x-ray test after all. Instead, we had to settle for just one ordinary x-rays. Though the professionals were discouraged at the news, I was thrilled! Only having to expose my baby to one instead of three x-rays was the first of many answers to prayer for me that night. I began to see how God was working all this out—even the complications that arose throughout it.

So, I went and had the tests done, while dozens of family and friends prayed along with us, that the baby would be kept safe during the tests and that the tests would provide insight about what was wrong with me. As it says in James, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and accomplishes much.”

Later that evening, the tests results came back and showed that there did not appear to be a kidney stone present. The fact that I was still experiencing great pain made me discouraged at the news because what else could be causing the pain? And then I began thinking about all the other tests they’d want to run and what that might mean for my baby. I felt no closer to an answer than I had the day I’d left the hospital.

Then a doctor came back to us and gave us some more news: When they compared that night’s tests to ones done the previous week, it actually showed that my kidney was getting better—that it was self-healing. Honestly, upon hearing that diagnosis, I really didn’t believe it because the pain had stayed strong since we’d left the hospital. I still could only sleep sitting up. I felt like, once again, we’d gotten the brush-off.

But after we’d returned home and as I got ready to go to sleep that night, I prayed that if in fact my body was healing—if God was healing me—then I needed clear confirmation of it. I prayed that I would not need a pain med at all that evening, which was a huge prayer since nighttimes were the worst and when I took the heaviest doses of my medication. But still, I laid it out before the Lord, since he is the one who can make the impossible possible.

When I woke up a couple hours later, I was shocked to discover that—miracle of miracles—my back did not hurt. I had not experienced that yet. I began to get giddy as I realized the enormity of the occasion and that God was actually answering my prayer. “He will finish what he has started,” I said to myself and decided to push the test even further—and try sleeping laying down. Previously, any attempts to sleep laying down ended up causing so much pain that I often cried. But I figured that if God was indeed healing me, then this would be the greatest evidence of that.

So I curled up on the couch on my side and drifted off to sleep, awaking a couple hours later without a sore stitch in my body. I ran into the bedroom and told my husband the good news—God was finally healing me!

Click here to go to the next post in this series and find out what happens next.

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{ photo source }

My Prayers for Healing: And Nothing Happened…

Over the past two weeks, I’ve written about my surprise visit to the hospital when I was suddenly taken with severe pain that sent me into contractions. I wrote about what led up to going to the hospital and then what happened after I got discharged, while the pain persisted (only assuaged with medication and a constant rotation of cold packs) and I could barely get any sleep.

Through it all, I had been praying. Even before we went to the hospital, I’d asked my husband to pray over my pain time after time after time. When we finally decided to go to the doctor and then to the hospital, I didn’t question it because I knew that if God had wanted to heal me, he could have—he’s done it for me many times in my life, in everything from psoriasis to stomach aches. We had asked and we had not received, so I did not feel bad about taking the next step and seeking help at the hospital.

While they were able to stop the contractions and the nausea at the hospital, the pain persisted. I remember being up in the middle of the night—unable to sleep because of the throbbing pain—and all I could manage was to repeat, over and over again, “Lord, I need a reprieve. I need a reprieve.” The pain was so intense it overwhelmed me. And yet, the only reprieve came when the nurses administered some more pain medication.

That cycle continued even when we went home, and it seemed that my pain was here to stay. The doctors chalked it up to the baby’s position and said it would relent once the baby was born—in another five months. It looked like my newfound pain was here to stay.

Slowly, I started to come to terms with what looked like my new reality. I saw it as an opportunity to know—for the first real time in my life—what suffering actually feels like. At times, I began to embrace it, to take encouragement in knowing that it was drawing me closer to God and that it truly was him who gave me all strength. I could not rely on the doctors but I could rely on him.

At other times, I read the Psalms with new appreciation and cried as I prayed their verses out loud over myself, begging, again and again, for a reprieve. The doctors could not give it to me, but I knew God could—but would he? I latched on to the promises of those Psalms which say that he will. He will. It may not be today or tomorrow, it may be at the end of my pregnancy, but I trusted that it would come.

In the meantime, we were still fighting for answers and some kind of real treatment. We were convinced it was my kidney and there was one doctor who fought alongside us. Finally, just over a week after the whole ordeal had begun, a urologist took interest in my case and ordered some tests to nail down what was going on. For the first time since this all had started, I was encouraged; finally, I felt like we were making headway!

The only hitch was that one of the tests the doctor wanted to run was a special series of x-rays that would detect whether there was a stone lodged in my kidney. While they assured me that the test was of minimal risk to the baby, the idea of exposing my baby to any more radiation than necessary scared me and, once again, I turned to prayer and enlisted others to be praying alongside me as we figured out what to do next.

Click here to read the next post in this series.

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A New Understanding of Suffering

EDITOR'S NOTE: I wrote this following post in the days after being discharged from the hospital. Since writing it, I am actually finally starting to experience some healing (praise God!) and we have more answers from doctors (though it has been a fight to get them) and believe the culprit was in fact a kidney stone (though they originally ruled that out). However, I still wanted to share this post as a way to document where I have been and how God has been pulling me through it...   

As I’ve been coming to terms with this new lifestyle of mine and its daily dose of persistent pain, I’ve been reconciled with the Scriptural element of suffering that is deeply woven into the story of man.

For much of my life, I’ve known suffering in abstract ways—things like waiting on marriage or pregnancy, making due with a small income, feeling un-cool and left-out in social circles. But I have never really known suffering in a physical, daily and constant-reminder kind of way until now.

Now, when I sit or stand, I am reminded—sometimes sharply and othertimes dully—of my suffering. Sometimes it is so strong I can think of nothing else but this suffering of mine.

And so I decided to start digging through the Bible for verses on suffering, as a way to help myself adjust to this newfound element in my life. I began in the Psalms, a good place to start since I know that suffering is stamped on nearly every page of the book. I started pulling verses that spoke to my suffering, and jotting them down in my prayer notebook as a source of hope and guidance and consolation.

Why am I so discouraged? Why so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God! (Psalm 42:11)

You keep track of my all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. (Psalm 56:8)

Give your burdens to the LORD and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. (Psalm 55:22)

I started pulling all these verses, and weaving them into my own prayer—a prayer not only to God but to my own heart, directing it how to act and how to hold itself together in spite of the suffering and how to turn to God even when it hurts like nothing else:

Listen to my prayer, O God. Do not ignore my cry for help! Please listen and answer me, for I am overwhelmed by my troubles. (Psalm 55:1-2)

O God, take up my cause! (Psalm 43:1)

Don’t let the floods overwhelm me or the deep waters swallow me or the pit of death devour me. … Turn and take care of me for your mercy is so plentiful. (Psalm 69:15-16)

Oh, give me back my joy again, you have broken me—now let me rejoice! (Psalm 51:8)

I recall all you have done, O LORD; I remember all your wonderful deeds of long ago. (Psalm 77:11)

You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our savior. (Psalm 65:5)

I wait quietly before God, for my salvation comes from him. (Psalm 62:1)

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear even if earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. (Psalm 46:1)

… I will keep on hoping for you to help me; I will praise you more and more. (Psalm 71:14)

And as I searched and sought those verses and recorded them and threaded them into this little prayer of mine, my heart began to find calm. Not because the suffering is gone—it is not yet. But because I was reminded of the hope I have that all is not lost. This suffering is not all there is; there is so much more. And until then, I will wait. And I trust that I shall not be disappointed!

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It’s the Middle of the Night and Here I Am, Wide Awake…

EDITOR'S NOTE: I wrote this following post in the days after being discharged from the hospital. Since writing it, I am actually finally starting to experience some healing (praise God!) and we have more answers from doctors (though it has been a fight to get them) and believe the culprit was in fact a kidney stone (though they originally ruled that out). However, I still wanted to share this post as a way to document where I have been and how God has been pulling me through it... 

With my newfound condition that has left me inundated with intense pain, I no longer think of time in terms of things like days or weeks or months. Now, I count in hours: How many hours it has been since I felt “normal.” How many hours since I was able to sleep without crying from the pain. How many hours since I last took my medicine to numb the pain.

It’s a cycle punctuated by fragments of sleep followed by a time of recovering from the pain and resting from the pain and then a time that feels like nothing is wrong at all. But it all only lasts a handful of hours and then repeats itself so that each day is compilation of these fragments, over and over.

For instance, I used to sleep at night. I used to sleep for eight or nine hours at a time. But now, my body no longer cooperates with that schedule. So whereas I would have been asleep right now for nearly five hours, I’m sitting up with the lamp on, typing up a blog post because that’s how I’m learning to adjust to this new lifestyle of mine. And then when I would normally be packing my husband’s lunch or washing up the dishes, I’m instead passed out on the couch because the fatigue has finally hit me.

I don’t say all of this to elicit pity. I say this because I am slowly learning to accept this new place and pace of mine.

My instinct is to fight against my body and force myself to sleep right now, at nearly 3am. But I as I lay there, in pain, I decided to just listen to my body and get up and wait until my body is ready to lie down and slumber. It may only be for two hours at a time and over the course of a day, it may only total up to five or six hours total. But I must accept it for what it is.

It reminds me of the time when my husband and I started practicing keeping a Sabbath in our schedules, a day that was committed to relishing and remembering and rejoicing in the Lord. At the time, one of the things that was most difficult to me was not being able to do things like rinse off the dishes so that the crumbs would get stuck and I’d have to end up scrubbing twice as hard later. As I watched the dishes pile up in the sink, I cringed at what all I’d have to do later—and it seemed like more work than if I hadn’t taken the Sabbath.

And that must have been exactly how it was for the Israelites, too, when they looked over their fields or at their sheep and saw all that needed to be done and yet yielded from it for the sake of the Lord. They yielded because they trusted that God would make up the difference, he would make up for the lost time and the lost effort, he would make it all work out—even when they took one day off to not work for it themselves.

I remember that as I sit here and think about all the sleep I’m losing. I have to trust God to make up the difference somehow, to multiply my efforts like the fish and loaves that didn’t make sense and yet still satisfied. I have to trust that God is at work in this season of pain and inconvenience and uncertainty and suffering. And that he is—most of all—at work in my heart through it all.

P.S. (Just so you know, I have finally managed to sleep through the night, but it did take more than a week to finally get to that point! More on that and how I'm recovering soon!)

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Waiting on God and Finding Joy Amidst the Pain of My Physical Suffering

EDITOR'S NOTE: I wrote this following post in the days after being discharged from the hospital. Since writing it, I am actually finally starting to experience some healing (praise God!) and we have more answers from doctors (though it has been a fight to get them) and believe the culprit was in fact a kidney stone (though they originally ruled that out). We have follow-up appointments with a specialist this week to ensure that my body is self-healing and whether any additional treatment is needed. However, I still wanted to share this post as a way to document where I have been and how God has been pulling me through it... More on the medical progress once we've had the chance to meet with more doctors!

I have now been released from the hospital for a few days. (You can catch up on all that drama here.) And while it’s so good to be out of the hospital—where we were cramped in a small room in the most uncomfortable of beds and I was hooked up to an IV and the most undignified of hospital that left me feeling trapped within those four walls—alas, life is still no picnic.

What sent us to the hospital in the first place was not necessarily the severe pain but the fact that it was causing me to vomit and not be able to eat or drink anything. That, in turn, caused me to go into contractions. The hospital was good for me, because it stopped the contractions and the nausea so that I’ve been able to eat and drink regularly without incident.

But the pain that started it all remains. It wakes me up and keeps me from being able to stand up for more than 10 or 15 minutes at a time. It limits me to only being able to sit straight up, at a 90-degree angle, or else suffer the consequences of pulsing hips and flanks. It makes laying down for sleep a chore, and one that often brings me to tears as my husband tries to help me find a position that provides relief—oftentimes, to no avail. It causes me to be tired more than I am alert, and incapable of doing the most simple of household chores. I haven’t washed a dish or made a meal or even gotten the mail since coming home. And while that might sound heavenly, it’s turned out to be a bit of a burden to not even be able to help out.

At times, it makes me cry thinking about how I can endure this for four more months. Because as of right now, they still do not know what is causing the pain nor how to alleviate it.

But, in spite of all this pain, God is showing himself to me, giving me glimpses of hope through it.

For instance, in the hospital, we got shuttled around from one doctor to another, each of whom saw us for five minutes or so before disappearing. One doctor called in an appendicitis surgeon to make sure I wasn’t suffering from appendicitis. He came in and met with us and quickly determined it likely was not appendicitis. And yet, he didn’t leave.

He stayed with us and talked about the pain and agreed with us that it probably had something to do with my kidney. That is not his area of specialty, but still he took up my case and went around to different experts with my case to see what could be done. He consulted with a radiologist about tests that we could do that would be safe for the baby.

He consulted with a kidney specialist about the findings that showed that, yes, the problem was with my kidney. (Though, it should be said, the urologist doesn’t think anything’s wrong with my kidneys, but it’s the way my uterus is expanding that’s causing fluid build-up—a case he said he had never seen before in 30+ years of practice.)

And then the surgeon went back to the OB/GYNs and advocated that they bring me in to look into this further. The OB/GYN asked him why he was so concerned about this—I wasn’t even his patient! But he said that he sees being a doctor as helping a patient, however you are able. Sometimes that’s by taking up your scapel, but sometimes it’s by facilitating with the other experts.

So I thank God for this surgeon, who has done more for us than any doctor actually assigned to us. I know without a doubt that he was a gift to us from God in this situation. We were so impressed by him that when we came home, I wanted to write him a thank you letter. My husband went online to find his address and came across his bio, in which it becomes pretty apparent that he’s likely a believer.

And it just makes me smile to think of how God is working in this for us, even if it is much, much more slowly than I’d like and lacks any of the miraculous healing that I’ve been praying for. He still is at work and still has much to do.

So for now, while we wait on more tests and more answers and hopefully more experts to weigh in on my situation, we hope and we pray and wait most importantly on the Lord, for “I wait quietly before God, for my salvation comes from him.” (Psalm 62:1)

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We're Having A...

I mentioned in this week's earlier post that we were able to find out the sex of our baby, who is due this coming February.

I asked you guys what you thought we were having. And it seems like we were all in agreement—that this baby I've been toting around is a boy. Ever since we were first pregnant, we decided against calling the baby an "it" and decided to call him/her a "he." Consequently, I'd begun praying for my son and researching boy names, I even made a pair of felt slipper shoes in boy-ish black.

So when we went in to the ultrasound and they asked if we wanted to know, we said, "Of course!" Completely confident that we already knew.


You should not be surprised to learn that it turns out we were wrong! We are having a little girl:

We were shocked, to say the least. So the ultrasound technician zoomed in on the baby's crotch and took a couple of close-up shots, just to prove it to us. I'll spare you those images!

It's something we have chalked it up to our first reality check in parenting: We are going to make mistakes. So, we just started early! Poor girl. She has no idea what she has gotten herself into!

Anyway, the rest of the ultrasound was really neat. We got to see her literally swimming around and do a somersault on screen. We'll see if that show-off, look-at-me predilection holds up outside the womb or not, which would be so fitting since both of her parents are pretty shy and introverted!

Since then, we've been getting adjusted to the fact that the baby who we once called a "he" is actually a "she." (Which is something that has tickled our family to death; they are excited to have another little girl in the mix and most of them were hoping for a girl!)

Here are just a few of the things I'm looking forward to with this little gem of a girl of mine:
  • CRAFTS. This was the first thing that I thought of when I realized that I will get to have a little girl. I hope she loves crafts as much as I do, because it would be so much fun to have a partner in crime whenever I hit up Hobby Lobby!
  • BBC and PBS made-for-TV shows. I grew up watching Anne of Green Gables with my mom and loved having that rub off on me. I know they'll have to wait until she's older, but I can't wait to bond over Downton Abbey some day!
  • Helping her discover her talents and strengths and to hone her weaknesses. I guess this would be the same for a boy or a girl, but it seems "easier" to me to do so with a girl, though I guess it all depends on the girl!
  • Learning to walk in the Lord as a woman. The Bible is filled with biblical men to provide guidance and role models, but women can sometimes be harder to pin down. I look forward to encouraging her in that search for biblical womanhood and how to live it out, as she flourishes in the ways God has made her.
  • Homemaking. I look forward to teaching her the ways of the home—and roping her in to help! Maybe she'll even get her father's gene for liking to clean!
And of course, many, many more things. We're really getting excited! Can't wait to share as we get closer to bringing this little girl of ours into the world!

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What Happens When You Unexpectantly End Up in the Hospital

I typically try to keep posts on here going up two or three times a week to keep things current. But if you have noticed, it's been a week since anything last went up. Around here, that's pretty abnormal!

Well, here's the reason why. Last Thursday was when we were scheduled to get the ultrasound for our baby. I was fully prepared to come home, write a post about what we're expecting and what I'm excited about regarding have a boy or girl.

We did the ultrasound, but then a funny thing happened. I didn't feel well at all. I figured I'd post that on Friday.

My body, however, had different plans. Thursday night into Friday, I got really sick to where I was throwing up and had severe pains in my side where my kidney is. Friday, we went to my OB-GYN who showed signs that my body had also started having some really small contractions. So she sent us to the hospital.

On the way to the hospital, things got worse and by this time I hadn't had lunch and had already divulged (ahem) all of my breakfast so throwing up became a lot more painful. At the hospital they were able to stabilize me overnight and stop the contractions. Then Saturday and Sunday were spent doing different tests to try to pin down what was going on and had caused all the pain and vomitting in the first place.

The results? "I don't know." We got some ultrasounds done and even an MRI because they were really afraid it was my gallbladder or appendix. But all those checked out. So the doctors think it is/was likely a kidney stone or a really strong stomach virus, but they didn't (and don't always) show up on any of those tests. Either way, either of those things were ailments that any treatment would have included "just wait it out," so they weren't too concerned with either of those.

Fortunately, though, starting on Sunday, I started to feel better (comparatively), which coincidentally was also the time when they had announced in church what had happened to us and emails started pouring in from friends who were praying for us and this little baby of ours. You cannot tell me that that didn't have something to do with all this.

Because the medical folks still don't know what happened. Or why it's getting better now.

As of yesterday, I am now at home and still recovering. The pain has been progressively subsiding although it's still markedly there (but in comparison to the severity it was on Friday and Saturday, it is a great relief!). My biggest hurdle now is to overcome the lethargy of being hooked up on IVs and sitting in a hospital bed for 36 hours! I'm still quite tired and still can't sleep more than two hours at a time because the pain wakes me up. I'm also quite swollen (tried on some flip-flops yesterday and my feet are so wide they flow over the edges!) and hoping that will subside with time as I'm able to move more and more.

But of course the biggest thing to us through all of this was that our little one (whose sex I'll reveal later!!) would be safe and sound despite what was happening to mama. All through it, they kept checking the baby's heartbeat, which continued to be strong and moving around. Through most of the pregnancy, the baby has hung out on my right side, but that ended up being the side in the most pain. So, sweet baby of mine, has spent the past few days getting to know my left-hand side and giving me some repreive on the right. Thoughtful, no? Looking forward to tell the baby all about this someday and how much of a trooper they were through it all!

I'll probably try to post that reveal-the-baby's-gender post later this week, but for now (while I'm living between my couch and bedside as I continue to recover and gain strength), I am not making any promises. In the meantime, feel free to wager any guesses on whether you think it's a boy or a girl in the comments!

While I'm now at home recovering, there is still plenty of improvement to come, so if you'd like to join us in praying, here are some of the things that we're asking the Lord for:
  • Continued healing of the stomach and side pains
  • Swelling to decrease
  • Return to mobility and energy
  • Ability to sleep longer through the night
  • That the baby would continue to develop healthfully and unaffected by the tests and treatments of this episode
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Baby Reading List: Library Edition

A good trip to the library is a favorite thing of mine, to grab a handful of books, bring them home and peruse through them at ease without feeling like I have to love them and soak them up because I spent $10 on each of them. While we don’t have access to the most extensive of library collections locally, I still have found plenty of books to read for this mama-in-waiting time.

So here are some of the books from my most recent trip to the library:

Sign with Your Baby: I’m really excited about this. The book is full of testimonials about how you can start teaching kids as early as 6 or 7 months to communicate with signs but it isn’t until months later than they are able to start talking, so by giving them tools the tools of signing, they are able to communicate more effectively rather than just relying on crying or a parent’s intuition. Plus, I really like about this book is that they use the same signs as American Sign Language (ASL) rather than ones they made up themselves, so that if something were ever to happen, there’s a chance someone who knew sign language would be able to understand them.

And the more I read in this book, the more I can’t wait to integrate it into life with our little one, which is why I’m trying to learn some of the key signs now, so that it doesn’t feel like I’m having to learn that on top of learning how to care for a baby. My husband and I have been practicing (he’s really good at picking them up quickly!), and so far we’ve learned a couple dozen, including ones for: eat, milk, please, thank you, more, tired, play, toilet, pain, cat and Jesus. My husband and I have been trying to integrate them into our daily conversation which has made for some funny conversations (“eat” “more” cat,” for instance) but has also made learning them not feel like a burden.

Homebirth in the Hospital: This book is full of testimonials about how different women have achieved more natural births in a hospital and their stories of doing so. The author (who is a doctor herself, who employs a lot of midwifery techniques) talks about what she considers essential elements for having this kind of birth, the biggest of which seems to be having confidence in the fact that your body can do this vs. getting overwhelmed by fear. That fear can be powerful, and while I have no idea what birth will be like, it has encouraged me to continue to learn more about it so that no matter what happens, I can feel better aware and understand what’s going on to hopefully have the best experience possible (given the reality that it’s called “labor” for a reason!).

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding: I haven’t actually started reading this one yet, but I’ve read quite a few reviews and recommendations about it online. It’s written by the La Leche League, which is a big proponent of breastfeeding and provides meetings throughout the county to educate and equip women in breastfeeding. So, they know what they’re talking about, since they do this for a living. I like the authority of that.

It’s a pretty thorough resource, and I’ve read some reviews who have criticized that it’s too in-depth, particularly about problems that can arise in breastfeeding (and therefore intimdates them). But I imagine that if you’re experiencing those problems, you’ll really appreciate the in-depth answers provided.

Jo Frost's Confident Baby Care: This is another book I haven't yet read, though I've flipped through it. I saw another blogger rave about this book, but then when I was reading through the Amazon reviews, they were rather tepid. Fortunately, my library carries the title, so I figured I'd check it out there before making a decision either way.

Having flipped through it, it seems like a good overview on almost every topic related to having a new baby, from making the decision about immunizations to what to expect through the baby's first twelve months. There are also chapters with charts and cheatsheets that look pretty handy. It doesn't appear that any of the sections go particularly in-depth, but could make for a good resource to reference.

Any good books that you've been reading lately or other titles you'd suggest I check out? Let me know in the comments!

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Brainstorming Decorating Ideas for the Nursery

Originally, I wasn’t expecting to do anything about setting up a nursery for the baby until later in my pregnancy, maybe January. But while talking to a few different people, they suggested getting it done before I hit the 6-month mark, because there’s a good chance I won’t feel up to it around then. After talking it over with my husband, we decided to play it safe and he’s taking a few days off work so that we can hammer out the nursery projects by then.

We’ll be doing the nursery revamp the last week of October, and in anticipation of that, I wanted to share some of my plans for setting up and decorating what will soon become the nursery.

First up, we’ll be converting what’s currently our office into the nursery. (You can check out a full sneak peek of our current office set-up in this post here.) This gives you something of a glimpse of what the room currently looks like, as our home office:

To make room for the baby, we’ll move our desks into what we’ve set up as our “library,” which is technically the house’s small dining room. But since we have a nice-sized eat-in kitchen (you can check that out here), we didn’t have any need for an extra set of tables and chairs, which works out perfectly for accommodating this switcheroo of ours. With one full wall of bookshelves, the library is quite a bit smaller than our current office set-up, so arranging our desks and chairs and office equipment might be something of a challenge. But isn’t that part of the fun of living in a small space?

With the desks cleared out, then we can start working on the nursery itself.

First up, we’re going to give the room a fresh coat of (no-VOC) paint. I actually am planning on going a little anti-nursery with my paint choice because I am going to paint the walls cream (currently, they’re a khaki color). My thinking here is that I want to be able to play with really bright accessories throughout the rest of the room without worrying about there being too much going on. Plus, I like the idea that cream is always in and can easily grow with our child. So if he or she goes into a red phase, we can update the room by swapping out pillowcases and painting the picture frames. I think it’ll offer a good deal of flexibility for future decorating possibilities.

As for the accent colors, I’m planning on mixing earthy, jewel-toned hues like aqua, pistachio green, mustard yellow and maybe some dashes of peacock blue. I’ve already decorated with those colors for years, so it makes sense to keep that theme going here. I also like the idea that this combination of colors is really gender-neutral so that if future kids are different genders, the stuff in here would still work just fine. I have in mind quite a few objects I want to paint these colors (a lamp, fish book ends, picture frames, etc.), so I’m looking forward to playing around with this color scheme!

Here’s a color chart for the hues I’m planning to choose from, as well as the dark-wood grain that I’d like for the furniture and fabric ideas I’d love to pull in for things like the crib skirt:

I’ve actually already started a couple of projects in there, including hanging some black-out curtains that I already owned. I have plans to freshen them up by painting them one of the fun, accent colors; probably the aqua. I’ve never tried painting fabric before, so fingers crossed it works!

Another project I’ve already started on is re-organizing the room’s closet, which is pretty large but I wanted more shelving in it and I wanted to move the closet rod lower, so that hanging clothes are more accessible for shorter arms once the baby’s older. So with measurements in hand, I went to the hardware store and picked up some planks of wood (which barely fit in our car!) that I brought home and cut to size using my super-affordable hand saw. I’ve primed them and filled in various holes in the closet walls, but have yet to hang the shelves.

Other than that, most of the real work will be happening later this month. Stay tuned, because I’ll be sure to update with more photos of the progress then!

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My Secret Weapon to Decorating My House

Overcoming the Fear of Miscarriage: Learning to Trust God with My Own Emotions

Remember that fear I mentioned awhile ago? That fear about miscarriage and the fact that it's still technically a possibility. A possibility that looms before me like a thorny branch in a meadow wild with gorgeous flowers.

Well, I long ago learned that that's the thing with fears: They thrive in ignorance. Soon what was once a verdant landscape can become overrun by the weeds if we let them. That's what fear can do to us, too.

Instead, to really deal with the fears, I must pick up my spade, dig them up and then, show them off for what they really are. Because usually they end up being something without substance, without real roots or depth but those thorns can grow and grow and tangle up everything around them if we let them.

So, I took that fear of mine and I laid it bare before a group of ladies in my community. The dirt and grime still fresh on my hands, I told them that there's a part of me that is afraid of losing the baby.

The thing is, it's not that I don't trust God to give life or to take it away. Perhaps that's how it may appear from the outside, but that isn't it. I learned long ago that I trust God to be in control of my life much more than I trust myself, so if he deems it this way or that, I truly know it is always decided from a place of love for me and whatever God has in store for next. Honestly, I do not doubt that truth.

As I laid this fear bare, though, I saw it for what it really was: It stems not from being able to trust God in that situation but from not being able to trust myself, namely my own emotions. If it were to happen, would I descend into depression and crumble in the face of that sadness? Would I be overcome by those feelings of loss and self-pity? Do I have the strength to keep on loving and leaning and looking forward rather than backward? How would I respond when people ask how the baby is doing, after the fact? Frankly, my own emotions scare me and I have no idea how I'd respond to that kind of loss.

That distinction—about what lay at the root of my fear—was an epiphany, and through it, I felt God telling me that I need to learn to trust even my own emotions over to him. It wasn't a truth I'd really grappled with before. Sure, I know I have to trust my future and my loved ones and my health and my career over to Him and His goodness, but even my own emotions? Yes.

If the unthinkable does happen, I have to be able to trust Him to guide my emotions even as he guides my feet and my fate. I have to trust that He'll step in and shepherd my own heart, because I don't think that's something I can handle on my own at all.

But the beautiful thing that he revealed to me is that I don't have to. I can trust Him with it all, even my own emotions. What peace prevailed from that realization. No matter what happens, he can be trusted. With it all.

Don't worry about anything instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:6-7

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Learning More About Cloth Diapering and Reusable Cloth Wipes; Plus a Giveaway!

I grew up in a household watching my mom safety-pin cloth diapers onto my siblings. Picking through the laundry, those quilted white squares of cloth were just a normal part of our routine. There are plenty of pictures of us where we can be seen crawling around in nothing more than a little white diaper during the dog-days of summer.

Growing up with it as the norm, I always intended to cloth diaper when I had my own children, thanks to both the economic and environmental benefits that came with it. In spite of that, I hadn’t ever given much thought to the idea of what to use to clean up after all those diaper changes. You just use wipes, right?

Well, now that I’m actually in the process of preparing for this little baby of ours, a whole new world has opened up as I’ve been researching everything from diaper bags to cloth diapering. One of the things I discovered is that many parents who chose to cloth-diaper their children also use reusable, cloth wipes. That was brand new to me.

So when the company Blueberry offered to send me some samples of their cloth wipes, I was really interested to see what these were all about. I’d read online about some parents making their own wipes from flannel receiving blankets they’d cut into squares, so I didn’t really know what to expect.

The sets I received from Blueberry, however, are a far cry from a cut-up receiving blanket. If that’s what you are thinking, too, then expect to be impressed. These things are luxurious. They feel like velvet against your skin, which I should know, because I couldn’t stop rubbing them against my cheek they were so soft.

I received a six-pack of their cotton wipes (which come in a variety of colors; I received the purple ones). On the front, the cloths are made of a cotton velour, and they are backed with soft Sherpa, which I imagine will be useful for more heavy-duty cleaning.

Here's a look at the cotton wipes I received:

And here's a close-up shot of both sides of the wipe:

I also received a six-pack of their bamboo and organic cotton wipes, which come in a standard “natural” hue. It’s almost difficult to tell the two sides of these cloths apart, although one side has more of a terry-cloth feel.

Here's a closer look at the bamboo wipes:

And here's a close-up shot of both sides:

The cloths are a rectangular shape, so that they can fit into a standard wipe case, if you like. Plus, they’re quite thick and double-sided, so I expect that you’ll be able to get more use out of each individual cloth than any store-bought disposable. For that reason, the company suggests that you keep at least 24 wipes on hand. Not bad at all!

And, Blueberry is generously sponsoring a giveaway for one Life Blessons reader to also receive one set of both their cotton wipes and bamboo wipes, so that you can try the wipes out for yourself!


To enter to win two sets of reusable cloth baby wipes from Blueberry, please visit their website and then, in one comment, tell me what other products of theirs would you want to try or what other color of wipes (aside from the natural or purple ones that I received) that you like best.

Enter to win by 11:59pm EST on Monday, October 15, and please make sure that I have a way to contact you in case you are selected as the winner. (Winners must be 18+ and live in the USA.)

Find out more about Blueberry and their cloth-diapering products by visiting their website. You can also find them on Facebook.
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