Wednesday, July 1, 2015

When 15 Years Go Differently Than You Planned



I love to make plans.

I also love to break the mold and go against the flow.

I love to be spontaneous at random moments, and other times I absolutely cannot stand it and need everything just. so.

One minute I love to be in the spotlight. The next minute I can easily hide in the corner.

I enjoy parties and mingling. But I also have streaks of shyness that make me want to avoid such situations altogether.

I'm indecisive, yet assertive. I'm spunky, yet quiet. I'm brave, yet afraid. I'm friendly, but fearful of what people think of me. I'm crazy and boisterous, and torture myself later about how much of an idiot I must have looked like.

And yet, ironically, I also don't care.

I am an extroverted introvert. I love people but I don't always want them around. I need my time and space, my introspection, my chance to breathe and heal and move away from chaos.

{I know, right?! Can you believe my poor husband has to keep up with figuring ME out?!?!? Oy. He did not really know what he was getting into when he signed up for that job.}

Fibromyalgia has taught me that more than anything else. I simply cannot function if I'm always around people, always going, doing, living. I cannot recover. My body is broken and always sick. Always. I don't have a day off. I don't get a chance to fully unwind. My body will never be fully healed on this earth, as far as we can tell.

I'm okay with that and have generally made my peace with it {though yes, I still have my moments!}. It took years to get here, so don't think that happened immediately, not by any means!

I feel badly for my husband. I'm not always so sure he's made his peace with it, but he does his best.

We didn't choose this and we don't want it. We could never have known to plan ahead for this. It's not that kind of thing. Yet, it's here.

And so is Tim.

That says A LOT. About him. His character. His faith in Christ. His love for me. His unwillingness to bend to promises he made to me in front of over one-hundred people on a stage in a little midwestern Baptist church.

Tim has stuck next to me, living out this messed up reality in ways neither of us could have even imagined when we promised "for better or worse, in sickness and in health". There's no way back to before Fibro days.

We were young and naive. Those 15 years ago, June 24th.



We knew what it meant but we didn't KNOW what it meant.

We get it now. In ways we wish we didn't have to. But maybe it's also just what we needed to bring us together more.

All up for honesty here? Some days, it tears us apart.

There, I said it. Firm grip on reality. We are not a couple that just jumps in head first, ready to roll. Making all the right sacrifices at the right times. This marriage thing is mad hard.

Then you put two completely 100% OPPOSITES together.

Haha. It's insanity.

There are days I was not sure we would survive. I wasn't sure I wanted us to. I could dream up and imagine ways out. {And I'm sure my husband has too!}

But as I dug deep into God's Word, shared my story with others, had believers holding fast onto me and reminding me of God's truths, and as I prayed and pleaded with God to change my marriage, He did.

Because He changed ME. My heart. My ignorance. My selfish pride.

Marriage isn't about getting what I want. It's about laying down what I want. For the one I love. Even when I'm mad. Even when I don't feel like I really love him in those small, fleeting moments. I see the truth.

That I love him every moment, of every day. No matter what happens. No matter how I feel.

God promises a good result. When we listen and obey.

How many times am I going to tell my 2-year-old son to "listen and obey, listen and obey" without also being the one who does that with my dear Savior?

I don't want to just say it. I want to live it out fully in front of him. Laying my life down. Setting my desires aside for what they want and need and desire and care about.

15 years.

It's been so crazy hard. And unbelievably amazing. A roller-coaster ride of joys and tears, happiness and sadness, safety and fears. Sin, repentance, and forgiveness on both our parts.

We both have a long way to go and are not perfect. We know that without Jesus as the head of our home, we'd be an even worse mess. If we were not Christians who didn't even allow divorce in our vocabulary... I truly do not believe we'd be together still today.

I'm surprised and delighted that we are. Amazed by God's grace and goodness.

Wow.

Thank you honey, for staying. For being by my side, even when the going has gotten rough. Downright rotten, in fact. For dealing with the Fibromyalgia as a part of who I am, not just treating it as this unfair thing that happened to us... but for embracing it with me as a part of what God has allowed to grow and change us.

Thank you for keeping your promises. Thank you for doing life together with me, even when all we want to do is crawl back into bed sometimes and SLEEP!

Thank you for the years of killing creepy nasty crawlers, for protecting me, for praying over me when I'm scared, for the times you've had to help me get dressed and do all the housework, for the love you've showered over me even when I didn't deserve it, for letting me get my way more often than I know you'd care to, for letting me control the remote so often, for believing in me when I had nothing left, for knowing just what to do when I have a panic attack, for pushing me to climb up a mountain when I was so sure it might kill me, and for staying by my side regardless of the way the years have impacted my body and shape.

Also. 13 years it took. 13 years before we were given the sweet blessing of adding a child into our family. Many years of waiting, longing, hoping, praying.

And Elijah David came along.



Our lives were rocked. Radically changed. So much harder than we'd imagined. So much better too.

Our precious, adorable, lovable, sweet boy. Oh how we love him so! He brings us together in so many ways, and yet being a parent is one of the hardest things we've ever done.

Parenting has certainly added a whole other dimension to our lives. Our lack of energy and comfort, our inability to communicate effectively, to listen, and to tend to each other's needs. Our ability to see straight and be good parents on the hard days.

So challenging, but the rewards are oh so very sweet!

By God's grace, we keep on keeping on... one foot in front of the other. Until God calls us home to be with him.

Here's to at least 15 more years together! Love you babe.


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Two. How is he already TWO?!



Somehow, we have a 2 year old on our hands.

TWO.

TWO!?!?!?!?!

I know everyone says how fast time flies and they're in awe of their child getting one year older. Like we know it's coming, but in the day-to-day, in the mundane, in the chaos... it's so easy to just have the moments pass you by. So easy.

I try to soak in every little bit that I can, and yet time slips away faster and faster. His first year was mad hard, yo. One of the hardest--yet best--years of my life.

His second year wasn't without hardships, certainly. But it's been different. I've found myself more as a mother and I've understood things better than before. I'm not fighting depression and I'm enjoying this stage of his life deeply. Finding the joys in the big and small things.

But this, his second year of life came and went SO fast. Some long, slow days. One very fast, blurry year.

Elijah David.

Our sweet, adorable, hilarious, spirited, sensitive, spunky, helpful, kind boy.



Let me have him answer some questions for you :)

What's your name?
Lijjaahh!

How old are you?
TWO! {he says very quickly}

Can you say yes?
AY! {So that's a no... his yes is a weird Irish-type version ;)}

Can you repeat the letters of the alphabet after me?
AY!

What's your favorite color?
Ello. {Yellow}

What's your favorite song?
EIEOOOOO
{Old MacDonald Had a Farm... EIEIO}

What's your favorite toy?
PHONE. Mama's phone. Daddy's phone. Lijah's phone.

Do you want to watch something?
VV. VV. {TV}

What do you want to watch?
Pajja
Pajanimals?
Ay!
How about Paw Patrol instead?
Okay!

Do you want to color?
Ayyyy! {As he goes to his special drawer for the crayons and paper}

Is that your truck?
Uck.

Do you want to help take out the trash?
Ash, ash, ash!!!
Is your favorite truck the trash truck?
AYY - ash, ash, ash!!!!!!

Want to do a puzzle?
AY! {as he climbs into the chair excitedly because he knows that's his spot for doing puzzles}

Where's your nose?
*he points and shows us every part of his body

What sound does a cow make?
Mooooooo
What sound does a lion make?
Roaaaarrrrrrr {he also roars if I say "line" haha}
{he loves making dinosaur, duck, sheep, horse, and puppy noises too!}

What's your favorite animal?
Puppy.

What are your favorite things to say?
That. That. I want that.
Go outside.
No mama. No daddy.
Bees. {which are actually ants or really bugs of any kind.}

What's one of your favorite activities?
Water! {he loves to play in water - the wading pool, sprinkler, bath, hose, anything!}

Do you love to say hi and wave to random people all the time, passing by in cars or walking by at the store?
Hiiii!

Great, thanks Elijah for sharing this with everyone!
Elcome.

Some other things he's doing/loving:
Climbs up onto everything on his own now.
Going up and down stairs on his own.
Drinking from a cup.
Trying to feed himself with a fork and spoon.
Loves turning off and on toys, now that he's figured out how.
Starting to learn to take off his clothes.
Learning colors, letters, and shapes really well.
Wants to do things himself.
Loves to help out around the house - taking out trash, putting things away.
Loves the sounds of bikes, trains, and sirens {which he calls "whee wheeeeee!!!!"}.

Surprises me every day with things he knows that I didn't realize he knew like when I asked him if he could bring mama 2 diapers from his bedroom. He did exactly that! I didn't teach him that, he just figured it out.

Getting SO BIG!

---

Oh sweet Elijah, we love you so very much and are truly blessed and amazed to have you as our son! We had a fantastic time celebrating you today with family.

Grandma C and I made you some fun Mickey cupcakes.


We spent a good deal of time and had fun planning and prepping the garage for your party, only to be pulled inside the house at the last minute due to rain. Mama was so disappointed, but the party must go on!


We shared some great food - thanks to daddy for the grilling! Then dessert and opening presents and playing with them.

You weren't sure about the birthday singing at first, but you blew out your candles like a pro when mama said to blow like for bubbles. Then you ate the cupcake no problem!






You had a great time with your cousins!



So many wonderful presents! And one book {a "choo choo" book} that you just had to sit on the couch with and have Carrissa read with you. So sweet!


Thanks for coming all the way from Chicago, Aunt Bev! We loved having family here with us to celebrate our little boy!


What a joy you are, Elijah -- even in the crazy or sad. Truly, beyond any words I can express. We are unbelievably grateful. I'm so blessed to be your mama and to hear you call me that still melts my heart. It is an honor to watch you grow.



Happy birthday Elijah. We love you. To the moon and back.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Vacationing without My Cell Phone



While we were in the mountains of Tennessee last Friday {a week and two days ago}, my cell phone was fried while using a generic charger.

Oops.

Trying to save money gave us a bite back when my phone took a major hit.

There's absolutely no way to salvage it.

Gratefully hubster had his phone, so not the end of the world by any means. There are bigger issues in the world, most definitely.

As we drove back roads an hour between two cities for our niece's rehearsal dinner in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park... we saw a lot of rundown homes. It was a bit of culture shock. There was a lot of poverty. Many shacks. Many mobile homes that were barely even standing.

And here I was fighting to get my cell phone working again.

One week without a cell phone and I can say it's had quite an impact on me. Social media withdrawal did occur, despite having my laptop and iPad with me, because in some ways I wanted to utilize the chance to take a clean break.

I'd already decided I was not going to check work emails at all, and only occasionally checked personal emails. But Instagram? Facebook? That was asking a lot of me.

It turns out... I couldn't have appreciated the break more. God knew I needed it.

There were no taking selfies. So hard.

No sharing of what I was doing at any given moment. So hard.

Not waiting to see what people said in response to my pictures and thoughts. So hard.

And so, so, so, so good.

Soaking in the moments. Just taking it all in. Breathing. Getting refreshed.

Praying. Spending time with the Lord. Focusing on our son. Being with my husband. Celebrating the finest little moments. Not trying to get pictures at every.single.moment.

Not wondering what others might say about a photo that I couldn't take anyway.

A {mostly} clean break.

It was so refreshing and just what my soul needed.

Once we got back home, not having my phone became a major pain, because not being around hubster 24/7 meant no access to his phone. No calling him after leaving my doctor's appointment Friday morning, no texting when we were leaving work or picking up Elijah when we were back to normal on Thursday.

But Saturday came. And we got a new phone for me. It was such a huge relief.

Perspective sunk in though as I thought about all those across the world struggling for simple things like clean water and shelter.

I want to continue to think about and pray for them, to do what I can, and to not let my phone get me sucked back into too much social media, comparisons, and discontentment.

In retrospect, it truly was just what I needed. And I don't want to forget the experience and all that it taught me.


Thursday, May 14, 2015

2015 Fibromyalgia Awareness Day

The day came and went without me even knowing it.

Apparently Fibromyalgia Awareness Day was earlier this week. Whoops!

At this point in my journey, I'm ready for life to just be more than Fibro. I don't want the pain and fatigue that I face every moment of every day to define me. So I just honestly don't keep tabs on that info much anymore. But I still do have things to say about it sometimes (though, seriously, isn't just looking at my baby... er, toddler... way cuter and more fun?!?! ;)).

And though I certainly wish I wasn't facing this all the time, I have truly learned to be thankful for it. Beyond what I could ever really put into words. It's changed me, grown my ability to be more compassionate toward the pain of others, and it has strengthened me in places I didn't know existed.

Fibromyalgia, in case you aren't aware, is all over body pain and fatigue. Constantly. It doesn't come and go in waves. It's not there one moment and gone the next. People who have Fibromyalgia deal with unimaginable pain. If you don't have it, you can't even begin to fully comprehend the level of suffering we endure daily.

Day in and day out. All over. Constant.

We hurt. We ache. We fall apart. We can barely stand because the utter fatigue weighs us down and threatens to knock us onto our backs regularly. We want to scream because it hurts so much.

Then there are the flare-ups. Ohhh. Such pain and debilitating fatigue. It's like nothing I can explain. So we try not to push too hard, to overdue it, to say yes to too much, to get stuck in situations that we can't get out of, or to over-commit. It taxes our bodies far beyond what a normal body would feel by overdoing it.

But because our pain isn't seen, it's often thought of even still as just IN OUR HEADS.

This is so ridiculous and it just gives us great stress. Which ironically makes us feel 100x worse than we already did.

Not only does Fibro come with pain and fatigue, it also comes with a host of other symptoms, which vary from person-to-person since Fibro is such an individualized syndrome/illness:

- irritable bowel syndrome
- acid reflux
- brain fog
- headaches
- anxiety
- depression
- insomnia or sleep disturbances
- numbness or tingling in hands, arms, legs, and feet
- cramps/weakness
- balance/coordination problems
- muscle spasms
- sensitivities to touch, smells, and lights
- intensely painful menstrual cramps
- restless legs syndrome
- impaired memory and concentration
- dry eyes and mouth
- ringing in the ears
- dizziness
- vision problems
[not an all-inclusive list -- taken from various websites]

So yeah. You don't wake up and wish you had this. But when you have it, you fight. You get up, you keep going (not every day, but most days).

You find inner resolve and strength. You find people like you. And you try to help others understand and become more aware so that we feel less isolated and more cared about.

Fibromyalgia. It can be a killer of your joy, but only if you let it. 


Sunday, May 3, 2015

What Stitches, Cancer, and Broken Fridges Teach You about Life

There are these young boys named Chase & Joshua that have had a grip on my heart for some time now. They are strong, brave, childhood cancer fighters.

Their parents and siblings are my heroes.

They've endured unfathomable pain, hardship, fatigue, and instability. They've had countless doctor and hospital visits. Joshua is now years past it and can hardly remember those days since he was 2. Chase is still fighting the battle of not knowing how long this remission will last or if the tumor that he still has will grow and he'll need more treatment.

Their little bodies have been through A.LOT.

This past week as we were already spiraling from some hard news the week before, and as everything seemed to fall apart left and right from our fridge breaking to Tim's car needing hundreds of dollars worth of work to Elijah twisting his ankle... we then had a bad accident on Monday with Elijah that sent us scrambling even worse.

There was a lot of blood. A lot of screaming. 1 ER visit. 4 stitches on his lower lip. 2 bumped back teeth. A pediatric dentist specialist. A chiropractor. Phone calls. Checking on insurance. Tears. Worries.

Hard news at work. Hard days in our marriage as we were both on the edge of exhaustion and stress. Financial concerns.

Thinking I was pregnant for a couple weeks only to find out we were wrong.

So then, the hormones. Oy. Right alongside Elijah's accident.

Let's just say, I'm really worn down. But in a different way than I have been before. Because God keeps showing me and reminding me of his truths, and I'm listening, feeling, and clinging to him.

Stitches.

4 of them. In his lip. And he still managed to give high fives and blow kisses to the nurses and doctors as we left the ER.

As we hovered over him in that ER, holding him down, trying to help keep him calm, reassuring him that he was going to be okay... I thought of all those parents. Parents like Chase and Joshua's. Parents who have to fight daily and pray constantly that their child will be okay today. That they won't have anything else happen to them. That the world would stop spinning long enough that they could just hold their child and know that it wouldn't be the last time.

I looked at the machines and prayed about the kids I know who are fighting some major illness or cancer and just wanting to have a normal life again.

As I've been thinking over this week and Elijah's two teeth that got knocked out of place, I have agonized and tortured myself about that moment he smacked into the corner of the coffee table and wondered what I could have done differently. How else I could have protected him from that hardship. How I'd give anything to go back in time and make it different for him.

Do the parents of kids fighting cancer deal with those questions every day? How do they face such horrific hardship? Especially those who do not have our hope in Christ?!

I cannot fathom it. And it's painful.

Our pastor and a team from our church have been on a tour (though they just got back) called Risen for the Nations (#risen4nations). They were going around to other church plants from our church around the world in Israel, Malyasia, Kenya, Nepal, and Haiti. They had just left Nepal within less than a week before the earthquake. In Haiti they still saw the devastation of the earthquake there years ago.

They were showing highlight videos. Slums. Poverty. Starving kids. Dark places.

And our fridge broke.

Frustrating days while trying to save money and having to eat out constantly because we can't have fresh food and I don't have the time or energy to figure out other ways around it. Eating anywhere that has kids meals with milk so that Elijah could at least get that into him.

Yet, we are full. We have all that we need and more.

I see these videos and I ache for the people who struggle to even have shelter and food for their families at all. I can't help but weep over the kids who fight cancer and wonder if they'll ever live normally.

I look at my child's busted lip and bumped teeth that make me sad and wish it had never happened to him because this could mess up his mouth for the rest of his life.

And then I remember I have NOTHING to really worry about. God is in control, he is sovereign, he cares for me and for Elijah. There are simply worse things in the world.

Way worse.

I felt so ridiculous complaining at all about our fridge... yet it was admittedly so hard and inconvenient for us, in part because the timing with everything else was just so terrible.

God wants our best. All he asks is that we obey and listen. I have to say I've been whining with him lately. And I know I can't stand it when my son is constantly whining.

Oh how God must view us. So thankless. So discontent. So whiney.

I'm learning a lot these days about life. About who my real friends are. About who I can trust. About God, kids, marriage, jobs, future dreams, life. About laughter and sunshine. About how our hard really isn't that hard when we get our perspective right.

I don't want stitches, cancer, or broken appliances to get in the way of who God wants me to be. So by God's grace, I'm learning and growing.

Tomorrow is a new day. Full of promise and hope.


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Mighty to Save - and Kid Pictures

Everyone needs compassion
A love that's never failing, let mercy fall on me
Everyone needs forgiveness
The kindness of a Savior, the Hope of nations.



Savior, He can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save.
He is mighty to save.
Forever, author of Salvation
He rose and conquered the grave.
Jesus conquered the grave.



So take me as You find me--all my fears and failures.
Fill my life again.
I give my life to follow everything I believe in.
I surrender. (I surrender.)



Savior, He can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save.
He is mighty to save.
Forever, author of Salvation
He rose and conquered the grave.
Jesus conquered the grave.



Savior, He can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save.
He is mighty to save.
Forever, author of Salvation
He rose and conquered the grave.
Jesus conquered the grave.



Shine Your light and let the whole world see
We're singing for the glory of the risen King, Jesus
Shine Your light and let the whole world see
We're singing for the glory of the risen King.



Savior, He can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save.
He is mighty to save.
Forever, author of Salvation
He rose and conquered the grave.
Jesus conquered the grave.



Savior, He can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save.
He is mighty to save.
Forever, author of Salvation
He rose and conquered the grave.
Jesus conquered the grave.



Shine Your light and let the whole world see
We're singing for the glory of the risen King, Jesus
Shine Your light and let the whole world see
We're singing for the glory of the risen King.





Wednesday, March 18, 2015

When Gripped by Fear and Anxiety -- A Recap of the Last Few Months




It's been a crazy season for us these past few months. 

Every time I've tried to write about it all in this space, the words have fallen flat. Come up empty. Felt all garbled and messy. I couldn't make things make sense, in part because my life wasn't making a whole lot of sense.

The fear and anxiety that gripped my heart and body so often the past few months is frightening, awful, embarrassing, and consuming. I hate even admitting it... but I will because I know we all need to talk about it more.

In November I began having more anxiety and panic than I'd had in quite a while. My anxiety issues also cause my body to physically react, causing other issues, which thereby make me more anxious. It's a vicious cycle.

I was also having constant daily headaches and painful flare ups, and it all escalated as Elijah got croup! AGAIN!! This happened while we were at my mom's traveling over Thanksgiving. Right after that Tim got a sinus infection, so of course before he was even fully over that, I got slammed by the flu for 24 hours and ... you'd think it'd be over, but nope... on the tail-end of that began a viral upper respiratory infection that left me hoarse and barely able to squeak out words. Overall I was sick for 3.5 weeks, getting better right at Christmas. After we were back home from traveling to see my family before Christmas. Figures.

It was a brutal time.

We figured out that my anxiety and panic was due to some pretty major stress and anxiety as a result of being really overwhelmed. One look at Elijah and I could have a panic attack.

{Disclaimer: let me explain that this had nothing to do with my job or workplace. It was all completely related to parenting and personal health.}

It was terrible. In part it was hard to talk about with anyone, even those closest to me because it was embarrassing. It made me feel like a horrible mother. I would just be hit with waves of panic as I looked at pictures of Elijah, read information about raising toddlers, or whenever I was at home alone with him.

My biggest fear? That I'd die and leave him without a mother. Or that I'd collapse and he'd be on his own for endless hours. {With no rational reason for fearing these things. My health is fine in that sense!} Now that he's a toddler who is more aware of his environment and surroundings, I couldn't wrap my head around what could happen to him if something happened to me, with my husband an hour away at work.

I was terrified. Irrational? Yes. Unfounded? Yes. But I couldn't shake it.

The severe intensity of bad, crippling anxiety went on for weeks. Every day when we were home together I had to get us out of the house when he was awake. Walks outside, going to the mall or Cabela's or Target, being around people. Just in case.

It was utter craziness.

This all hit right at the time of the Daylight Saving Time changeover. Darkness encroaching earlier. Days feeling longer. My body taking the better part of two weeks to recover from something seemingly as simple as a time change. Cold temperatures and thereby fewer walks. Limited playtime outside. Walls caving in on me at home.

Random changes in our lives also added to my stress and anxiety - hubby possibly starting to work-from-home sometime but not certain and timeframe unsettled for months. So many questions about how this would impact us, our marriage, and our parenting. Terrifying fears that I might be pregnant again. Shook me to my very core and hated myself for that, but scared about those weird health issues {that later, as it turns out, are actually 100% anxiety related... figures!}.

No more morning nap for Elijah. Crippling fears about long, longggg days and how I wasn't sure how to fill it. The complete dread of potty-training him. His mobility and awareness - of everything. His constant watching of me and my overwhelming fears that I was screwing it all up in front of his watchful eyes. Disciplining him. Oh the discipline. Oh man. That was hard to get through between 12-18 months. Starting to understand but not quite? Ugh! Constantly feeling overwhelmed about feeding him because he's sooo picky and will. not. eat. what I want him to eat!! Doesn't matter what I do or try, he so often fights it and it's utterly draining. Not able to keep up with the chaos of the holidays, traveling, illnesses, AND keep our house under control. Mess was out-of-control. Elijah was not sleeping well. Ever. Every night he'd be waking up at least 1-3 times, sometimes for 1-2 hours at a time. 

My stepbrother suddenly dying of a heart attack at age 45. My mother-in-law having a mild stroke {gratefully she's doing great now and recovered really well!}.

None of it settled well with me. November. December. January.

Those were really hard, really grueling, really lonely months. 

Of course my husband was well aware of it all {or at least most of it} but what really ended up helping me were the regular conversations and prayer sessions with my mom. Talking to someone who had been through the thick of it, raised us kids mostly on her own after I was 5, and had come out of it much stronger and more godly than many thought possible. She's one of the strongest women I know and is such a prayer warrior.

During this time I clung to God's Word and His promises. I shed a lot, lot, lot of tears on the phone with my mom. Melting down and being prayed over were sometimes exactly what I needed to be able to just breathe again.

Also in the midst of this, our pastor was going through a sermon series that was hitting me very, very hard personally. A lot of things to think over and deal with. Things that brought attacks from Satan as we dealt with strongholds in my life. And I know I wasn't the only one. It was an exhausting, draining time, and even our pastor said it was so for him.

I saw both my primary care doctor and my holistic doctor/chiropractor during this time. I had one panicked phone call to my doctor that caused a visit the next day for a check-up and though everything was fine, another medication was added to my repertoire. Ugh. I was also taking my anti-anxiety medication as needed, and for the first time had one day where I took two of them in one day {which is fine but totally got me jittery and I hated it}.

I was feeling very much at the end of my rope and sanity.

I mentioned to my chiropractor the additional medication, and he in turn introduced me to a female hormone supplement. That. was. amazing. !!!! {Don't worry, it's all-natural, nothing hokey going on there with hormone stuff.}

He was confident that this was a cause of hormonal imbalances - having not gotten back to normal postpartum, as well as some blood sugar and/or thyroid issues. It was making me all out of whack and he said we needed to work on me being more balanced. These supplements have truly been a God-send!

I had been continuing to see him every 1-2 weeks for check-ups, treatments, and adjustments for these issues. And voila!

I've been doing so much better. I still have some tough moments, but nothing at all compared to what it was.

In January, Elijah had more issues that required even having an emergency visit to the chiropractor {who is really more of an alternative care/primary care doctor than what would come to your mind when you think chiropractor}.

As we dove deeper into working with him and learning more of what he can do for us, we've been amazed and completely taken aback.

Alternative medicine is definitely agreeing with us! We are learning so much and changing the way that we look at medical care completely. Our doctor is incredible and truly an extraordinary gift! I was surprised because I had no idea that this could all be this insanely helpful.

I'm not saying this is for everyone, but it's certainly working for us!

Right after the medications helped me level out, our pastor also had a message that helped me see that I wasn't alone in my struggles with fear and anxiety. For some reason I'd been thinking I was crazy.

No, really. Crazy.

Like I was the only Christian having such a hard battle with this. I was beating myself up constantly. He said not to {and so much more, but you get the idea}.

It was a total relief. To realize I wasn't alone. That it's a spiritual battle.

That broken strongholds {like fear & anxiety} will battle to be rebuilt. And we cannot let them. We fight. When we fail, we get back up again. Every word he preached was like a breath of fresh air to my soul at that time. I desperately needed to hear it, and leaned in on every word. It's been life-changing!!

I also did some research about anxiety disorders. I've been trained more fully on blood pressure issues and what to watch for. I know way more than I ever did before about issues I've struggled with for years. It's been hard, but also really good to be more educated.

So hard. So good too.

Life always seems like it would be SO much easier if we never had these crazy hard things to go through, but then we'd never find the positive or learn what we need to grow. That's always a hard truth to let sink in!

I'm pretty much completely past everything from those hard months. I've learned and grown a lot. I can safely say I'm not who I was back in October, that's for sure.



Elijah and I find our days very full now. Full and wonderful, relaxing and memorable, challenging and exhausting, good and joy-filled. I don't worry about any of the things that freaked me out so much previously that all just hit at once. As I read more information and get more educated on all of those things, I find myself at so much more ease. The trick for me is not to fear the unknown, but to just research and understand it better!

The other thing has been just really, truly soaking Elijah in for who he is, and not worrying about the stage he's in. As I grow in knowing myself more as a mother and how I want to handle things with him every day, I see that everything will work out just fine.

He's nearly 21 months. And we are in shock and awe of just how incredible he is!! So smart, so funny, so sweet, so loving. What an awesome gift from God!

I know I have nothing to fear. I'm still working on never having bad anxiety. It's a sprint, not a marathon... right?! ;)