Mile Markers: Remembering God’s Hand During the Tough Times

in the midst of all the Crazy (something I’m exploring in this series) that has invaded our family’s life over the past few months (and years), I found myself reminiscing about the many ways I fell in love with Dave. there are lots of love stories being written in other people’s lives every day, but ours is my favorite. I kept thinking about what happens when two people decide that the person standing beside them is the one they want to wade through all the crap with for the rest of their lives. it’s magical.

mile markers in the dark: recognizing God's hand when you're in the midst of crap // the modern locket

today is the anniversary of the day Dave proposed. it was the coldest, COLDEST night, nearly midnight, and Dave decided we should go walk around the harbor. I argued reason. ‘it’s freezing. it will be so windy. WHY?! it’s SO COOOOOOLD. why do you not recognize this?’ but, because I loved him, I decided I would indulge his idealistic nature (one I recognize in myself) and take a walk in the biting, freezing wind ‘because there will be Christmas decorations and it’s cold like it should be.’

as I told him that I’d go because I love him, my mind turned to the first time we said those three words to one another. the exchange went like this:

me: I heart you.

Dave: (with a twinkle in his eye) don’t say that. say what you really mean.

me: (now even more in heart with him) I love you.

Dave: I love you, too. (first ‘I love you’ kiss – you know the kind. *winky face*)

we made it to the harbor, but not without a last ditch effort on my part to illustrate just how cold it was going to be, and got out of the car in a completely deserted parking lot. I used this to my advantage, explaining how smart those people were to stay home for fear of frostbite. we walked to the giant fountain that feeds into the lake. it was frozen. the streams of water down the tiers of pools were now perfectly delicate icicles. I remarked on how beautiful it was, but immediately used the illustration to draw a parallel to how freaking cold it was.

the only two people there, we walked along the harbor admiring the twinkly lights and Christmas decor. we happened by the bench where we shared our first kiss and Dave reminisced aloud his thoughts leading up to it and then after when he couldn’t believe I let him kiss me. Dave wanted to sit. I said, ‘that bench is metal. I bet it’s freezing cold.’ but I recognized the romantic gravity and sat. we chatted & shared a kiss of remembrance even though I couldn’t feel my face. as we walked the length to the lighthouse he continued to remark on how special this place was to us. it was the location of many chatty strolls, our go-to date spot & our first kiss.

then it hit me.

this is it.

he’s going to ask me to marry him! he’s been so romantic, despite my suspicion that I had snot frozen to my face. but what you can’t feel, you don’t sweat. am I right? (please say yes)

it sank in further – I was actively trying to sabotage a beautiful story all because of the fear of being cold and then the displeasure of actually being cold. if I’d known what was coming, would I have acted this way? most definitely not!

taken a year after we were married in front of the lighthouse where Dave proposed.

taken a year after we were married in front of the lighthouse where Dave proposed.

we made it to the lighthouse and he proposed. he was so excited that there wasn’t a speech. it was direct. exactly what he meant and exactly what I needed to hear. exactly who Dave is down to the core. after I said ‘yes. dammit! yes!’ he shivered and said, ‘I’m freezing! let’s go!’

“Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen.
He named it Ebenezer (which means ‘the stone of help’),
saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.”
1 Samuel 7:12

remembering the mile markers in our relationship I’m reminded, not just of a lovely event in our romantic history, but of a beautiful truth that pushes on my soul every day. Jesus walks with us through the cold, through the dark, through the uncertain. he gives us exactly what we need, not flowers to make us feel better about ourselves, but truly what we need because what we need is him. all of him. in the dark, when we are shivering and complaining because we can’t see the reasoning behind the journey, he guides us & understands that we are limited. reminding us along the path all the ways in which he has provided for us with ebenezer stones planted purposefully along the way to remind us that he has helped us this far.

during advent and the joy we share in remembering the birth of our savior, I remember that God knows our life can be dark, freezing cold and lonely sometimes. the difference is, he knows the story and where it’s headed: glorification. a beautiful realization of the whole redemption story that our limited selves have only experienced in bits and pieces. I lean wholeheartedly on that in this season of the unknown. He has helped me. not for my sake, but for His, and that benefits me eternally greater than anything I could dream up on my own.

doesn’t it bring peace to know that, even during the crap, we are *not* what it’s all about? what “stones of remembrance” can you or have you recognized in your life recently? I’d love to hear about them!

PCOS: infertility, loss & hope (part 1)

when I started this blog I sat down and wrote out some rules to follow in order to respect the boundaries and privacy of my marriage, family, and friends to be sure that I never shared anything that violated trust that is so hard to build, yet incredibly easy to lose. I knew, however, that I wanted to share a certain part of my life that has been particularly hard. I also knew that I needed to share it because, when I was in the thick of it, I found so much encouragement and information on blogs written by incredibly honest women. plus, it seems as if the hard times are never over, not until we meet Jesus face-to-face anyway, so we might as well encourage one another because it’s never not needed. (sometimes double negatives are the only way to go)

the debate: do I start at the beginning or do I start with the last three months and backtrack?

I guess the beginning is a good place to start. I’ll break this story up into a few posts because, dang, it is fully involved. I’ll try to include all my resources, but because I didn’t know I would need them for sharing purposes I didn’t keep all of them for reference. the info just ended up in my head. I’ll do my best to find them though as I know they’re important!

Infertility, Loss & Hope (part 1) // The Modern Locket

part 1 – I hate birth control & it hates me just as much

about three months before Dave & I got married I started birth control pills. they were not kind to me. before taking them my cycle was super predictable, and though it wasn’t fun, it never failed me. I believe every woman’s body has its own natural hormonal balance, but some seem to be a little more flexible than others. as far as flexibility, mine seems to be about as pliable as a reinforced steel rod. it affected nearly everything about me and it was obvious that it pained Dave to see me this way. during the 8 months I was on birth control pills I suffered 8-10 migraines a month and found myself slipping further and further inside my own head. it was as if I could hear my own emotional responses to things in my head and was totally aware that they were nutso.  I was thinking in ways I never had before and I knew it. and I knew something had to change.

I went to my OBGYN who referred me to a neurologist. they determined that the migraines were estrogen induced and I should stop taking the pills. so I did! yippee! at last I could be normal! within a few days of stopping the birth control I felt completely normal. no more weird thoughts that felt like a tiny Scrooge was living in my head and no more migraines! I’d never had one before the birth control and was very glad that they didn’t stick around!

since birth control wasn’t a factor anymore we knew kids were now a very real possibility. after all, I was on the cusp of 30 (that’s when you’re supposed to talk about that stuff, right?), and while I’d married a younger man (whoop! whoop!) he was clearly a family man whose eyes sparkled at the thought of a baby of his own to cuddle, kiss, and watch Ohio State games with. at first I was a hard sell, but boy, oh, boy did the Lord awaken a desire in me to have a family that I had squashed for so long. when you’re single past the point where most of your friends are married you gotta do what you gotta do to work with what you’ve got. anything else makes you bitter. i pray for my single lady friends daily, and, Dave can tell you, I also vocally lament their struggles. you are on my mind, ladies.

but i digress.

as I write this I’m in a fair bit of pain, emotionally and physically, from the newest round of crazy that the doctor calls an “anomaly.” but at this early stage I had no idea how much I would need to sit at Jesus’ feet and be reminded of his sovereignty. the following year off birth control was mostly ignorant bliss. I knew it could take a while to get my cycle on track, though in order to get it on track I would have to have a period. it never happened. instead, I steadily gained weight for, what seemed like, no reason at all.

I went back to the OBGYN to hear what I already knew: it could take a while (the average is 1-4 months), but they did an ultrasound just in case and discovered I had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). I knew very little about it, but when I was shown the photos of my ovaries I knew instinctively they weren’t supposed to look like a swollen gremlin covered in bumpy spots. I’ll spare you the explanation of all that PCOS is, but if you like you can read the info here. from various tests we learned that I didn’t have some of the symptoms related to PCOS, but there was no denying the look of my ovaries and the main factors were there. there wasn’t a single piece of real estate on either one that wasn’t completely covered. my skin crawled when I saw it. it still does when I think about it. my heart sank as I wondered what this meant for the future of our family and there was a twinge of sorrow as I felt that I’d let Dave down. he’s an amazing man, though. more amazing than I ever, ever deserved. the Lord knew more about me than I did when he matched us together. he’s a rock and quickly dispelled any of the doubt in my mind. pray for the men who love women who are suffering the burden of infertility. they are on the front line and helpless to fix the problems of the one they love.

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as always, I welcome all questions. if you’ve never experienced anything like this and know someone who has or is, or if you are in the thick of the weeds, no matter your “issue,” I hope you’ll stay with me and share a bit of your struggle. I learned a lot from the comment sections of the blogs I visited because it showed a greater slice of the population and I read things that benefited me either emotionally or physically.

a world with octobers

i’ve always loved Anne of Green Gables. i must’ve read those books 100 times! i have a quote journal that i used to keep back when i had the brain cells to do such frivolously wonderful things (read: before livi) that had quotes from the Bible, books, songs, notable experts and people i knew. it had quite a few pages dedicated to books i read as a youth and one of my favorite quotes has recently surfaced in pinterest pop culture

Octobers Print from The Dear Friend shop on Etsy.com

Octobers Print from the Dear Friend Shop on Etsy.com

there are roughly a million creations centered around this quote, but this one from the Dear Friend Shop is my fave. october kicks off my favorite time of the year – full of fun and festivities galore.

to celebrate all things fall we went with livi’s Nana to Hill Ridge Farms last weekend to pick out pumpkins and harass some very well-fed animals. the great pumpkin welcomes you…

the great pumpkin at hill ridge farms // the modern locketThe Pumpkin Giver // the modern locket

livi was lifting pumpkins and punching holes in rotten ones like you wouldn’t believe. she basically has super powers. and that  sock monkey hat from our friend Cindy got more ooooo’s, ahhhh’s and, “oh my how adorable”s than i was prepared for.

horseme & the bug // the modern locket

i can’t wait until livi is old enough for the pony rides – she loved the horses! she did not, so much, enjoy having her picture taken with her mother. i’m afraid #disapprovingbaby will very quickly turn into #disapprovingteenager. just a teensy glimpse into my instgramming future. but you give her daddy on a hay ride and this is what happens…

cuddles with daddy // the modern locket

*sigh. oh well, you win some and you lose a lot. that’s my motto. 😉 as i type this, the duo is watching a dancing pumpkin video and the bug is entranced. dancing pumpkin head-1, mom-0.

comfy ducksbunnyville

hill ridge has so many goats, sheep, chickens, turkey, geese, ducks, rabbits and horses that are clearly living the good life. they’re fed well and have room to roam. i’m so glad they finally put a church in Bunnyville. i was starting to assume the worse about their poor bunny souls.

hill ridge farms slide // the modern locketcorn play // the modern locket

dave & livi slid down the giant slide and watched older kids play in the germ infested glee hole they call the corn pit playroom.

last night we trick-or-treated with a rather large group of friends & kids and accosted a friendly neighborhood. livi had two costumes: a snow white dress that i picked up last year during an after-halloween sale at Babie-r-Us for $4.99 (originally $34.99) and a Carter’s ladybug costume that dear friends (who are basically family) gave livi for her birthday. my heart burst from the cuteness!

show white bug // the modern locketthe ladybug bug // the modern locket

i mean. come on.

snow white // the modern locket

bugsy wore the princess dress to see dave at work during their halloween party where kids of employees trick-or-treated at everyone’s desks. it’s basically an adorable parade. she wore the ladybug costume outside for trick-or-treating when it was a bit cooler.

livi at work // the modern locket

i should probably hit up the after-halloween sales again this year! any suggestions?