love

everybody, everybody wants to love
everybody, everybody wants to be loved

happy is the heart that still feels pain
darkness drains and light will come again
swing open your chest and let it in
just let the love, love, love begin

[everybody by ingrid michaelson]

I am a big fan of love. Who isn’t?

I think about love a lot. I think about how blessed I am to be loved by so many people in my life. People who love me when I’m at my worst. People whose love brings out the best in me.

I think about the crazy, huge love that Jesus has for us. The love that the Jesus Storybook Bible describes as the “Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.” It’s crazy because we don’t deserve to be loved the way we are – all messed up with mixed motives, good intentions that never take flight, and flat-out failures.

But sometimes – and I don’t think I’m the only one here – God’s love feels so far away. So distant that I start to think that he must not care.

I’m not talking about right now – heck, now is one of those filled-to-overflowing-with-love kind of times in my life. But two years ago, I thought I might die of heartache.

I honestly don’t remember the exact day that we got the official diagnosis of our infertility issues, but it was somewhere around the end of January or beginning of February. At first there was sadness and shock. But then, oh my, devastation like I’ve never felt. It was awful. I felt like my world was crashing in and I couldn’t breathe.

I think most people just assume they’ll be able to have biological kids. So when we learned that we probably wouldn’t get pregnant without the help of in vitro fertilization, we were pretty surprised.

I cried hard for weeks, and I am not a huge crier by nature. I cried when I woke up, I cried falling asleep, I cried multiple times throughout the day – it was rough going.

And I can tell you that I didn’t have the kindest words for God and his “never-stopping” love during this time.

It’d be easy for me to sit here and say “but look at me now! We adopted this incredible little boy and life is wonderful again!” (Okay, he is incredible!) But what’s actually amazing – to me – is that I felt like life was wonderful again long before Luke came along. And THAT I credit purely to God’s love, grace, and faithfulness.

Yes, there were those weeks of crying and grief and feeling like I was at the bottom of a dark pit. But there was also grace in so many ways. Even in my sadness and anger, God somehow gave me the strength to cling to those bits of light. The grace of having close friends who understood what we were feeling and were able to support us so well. The grace of gradually getting our “diagnosis” piece by piece – a few tests were done, and the doctors went from “maybe you guys will need a little medical help getting pregnant” to “you’ll need the most intense IVF treatment out there” over the span of a few weeks. God was so gentle to me in that way; I don’t think I could have taken the shock of the whole situation right away.

And somehow love pulled me through. I was kicking and screaming about how unfair and unkind God was to me, but when I started to quiet down a bit, I was met with immense love and hope. I’m not talking about a simple acceptance of the circumstances or a change of plans –  I hear people say “oh, you can just adopt” as if you’re out shopping for something that’s out of stock and “oh, you can just get a different brand.” Trust me, no one “just” adopts, let alone couples that have gone through the shock of infertility.

The hope that I experienced – and Ian too, it happened for both of us as a couple – was full of eager anticipation and expectation about what God had in store for us. We went from wondering why God wouldn’t give us a pregnancy that we wanted so badly, to feeling like he was giving us an extra special privilege by leading us to adoption. After all the crying and grief, it was almost a feeling of giddiness. And definitely joy. The dreams that were crushed were replaced with bigger, brighter ones as we embarked on a new journey towards parenthood.

And what a ride! Better than I ever could have imagined, and pure love, I tell you.

potato print onesie / joy overcomes infertility devastationjust let the love love love begin

[everybody by ingrid michaelson]

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like the shore and the sea

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it, but there’s this guy I’m kind of crazy about.

Sentimental side note: this photo was taken in the coffee shop / bookstore where we had our first date.

We just celebrated six years of marriage, and it seriously gets better every year. He’s the best listener, is super supportive of me in so many ways, makes me laugh, is such a sweet dad, and he’s also pretty manly:

Hilarious side note: I happened upon this picture in iPhoto while looking for something else – Ian had put it alone in its own album titled “Ian Conquered the Stump!”

Anyways, he is pretty much the best and I am so thankful for our marriage and love for each other. My most recent craft endeavor is a reflection and reminder of that love.

It started to bother me  that we have so many bare walls in our bedroom, so when inspiration struck in the form of a Jon Foreman song last spring, I decided to go for it and create some wall art!

And then… life happened. Luke happened. And I started the project (way back here) and it sat for awhile. And then last week, I just made up my mind to bust it out. So I did. It took a couple re-directions, but I’m very pleased with the end result:

I think the total cost was around $5… garage sale & dollar store frames + stuff I had on hand. I printed out the text on cardstock using a font I found, then cut out the letters with an exacto knife. I originally thought I might just use the stencil to print the letters, but it ended up being too stark… so what you actually see are the stencils themselves, painted maroonish and mounted on brown cardstock. Yeah. Whatever works, right?

The lyrics are taken from Jon Foreman’s song “In My Arms.” I really like his seasons albums.

I love making our home more and more our own! What could you add to your home decor to reflect you or your family?

 

 

sweet dreams swaddler

With life just begun, my sleeping new son
has eyes that roll back in his head
They flutter and dart, he slows down his heart
and pictures a world past his bed
It’s hard to believe
As I watch you breathe
Your mind drifts and weaves

When you dream,
what do you dream about?

– from “When You Dream” by Barenaked Ladies

We’ve been incredibly lucky when it comes to Luke’s sleeping. From the first night we were home with him, he seemed to understand that night time was for sleeping. He wasn’t super fond of sleeping in the bassinet, so we spent the first couple weeks taking turns sleeping on the couch with him – it was a such a sweet time that I’ll always treasure. Ian had purchased Sara Groves’ Station Wagon: Songs for Parents for me right after Luke arrived, and I would listen to that and pray for our new son as he slept so peacefully on me, eventually drifting off to sleep myself.

When Ian went back to work, we tried to keep him in the bassinet more, but Luke and I both woke up between feedings more frequently. So at three weeks we moved him to his crib and he loved it. We all slept great, and soon he dropped a feeding so we all slept even better. 🙂 Our friends had gotten us an infant swaddle pouch, and it was clear that it really helped Luke sleep soundly. All was well in our sleep world until he turned 2 months – suddenly there was a rash of wakings in the night due to his wiggling loose of the swaddler that he was fast out-growing. Luckily when we were at small group that week, our friend found their daughter’s old swaddlers for us to borrow – problem solved immediately! The only thing was that the swaddlers were quite pink, so Ian made it clear to me that it was a temporary solution (it probably didn’t help that I would throw out comments like “good morning princess!” to get Ian worked up…).

Enter sewing project. I am slightly obsessed with Lotta Jansdotter and her Scandinavian craftiness, I’ll admit. Last year for Christmas my mom got me her Simple Sewing for Baby book, and I was super excited to finally make time to sew something for Luke: a swaddler.

This project was pretty quick (maybe about an afternoon’s worth all together? I did it in chunks when I found time) and I added a few twists that maybe added a bit of time. I didn’t want to buy fabric, so I re-purposed a couple of Ian’s old white t-shirts and stenciled them with a hedgehog stencil I’d made a couple years ago.

Also I decided to make it larger than the pattern in the book, so that it would last him longer. I am not very precise or patient when it comes to sewing, so I just sort of eye-balled it as I cut out the pieces. And of course I managed to not only run out of thread, but later I sewed an entire section with the tension off, so I had to rip it out. This is typically how sewing projects go for me.

in process.


my friend the seam ripper.

Eventually, I had it put together and Luke was able to test it out!

Despite his smile, he did wiggle out in the night, which didn’t surprise me as it was quite large. So I added some more velcro the next day.

The extra velcro is great, it holds his arms in nice and tight. The pouch for his feet is looser, which I hope will help him transition into more of a sleep sack at some point in the future. He seems to love it, and lately has been wanting to go down in his crib earlier in the evening than he has previously. He’s a good little sleeper and we are very thankful!

When you dream,
what do you dream about?
Do you dream about
music or mathematics
or planets too far for the eye?
Do you dream about
Jesus or quantum mechanics
or angels who sing lullabies?

-“When You Dream” by Barenaked Ladies