Saturday, January 31, 2009

Fireproof and waiting

Dan and I watched Fireproof last night, it was a great movie! I loved many parts of it but the part that resonated me was the correlation between God's unconditional love for us and the unconditional love that we should have for our spouse. God loves us when we are unlovable. He loves us even when most people would look at us and think that no one should love us. He loves us when we dont love ourselves and he loves us when we dont deserve it. God commands us to love everyone in the bible, regardless of if they love us:

“But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.”
Luke 6:35

I think it is is so easy to love your spouse conditionally. "If he does this, then I love him" or "How can I love him when he acts like this" I will admit, I am guilty of it. But I want to work to practice unconditional love. The kind of love that is constant and unbreakable.

While the movie was playing, I heard a song by John Waller and it has easily moved into one of my favorite songs.

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience

While I’m waiting
I will serve You
While I’m waiting
I will worship
While I’m waiting
I will not faint
I’ll be running the race
Even while I wait

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Unable to move

Yesterday, we got about 15 inches of snow. Maybe more. I lost count. I am not going to complain about the actual snow because I live in NE Ohio. We get snow, thats how it is.

What I will complain about is the fact that since our garage door is broke (another story, 2 weeks until its replaced, lovely) we are unable to get our snow blower out. Which leaves me, Dan and a shovel to hang out together alot.

Dan helped me a shovel a little yesterday but its hard because he has a "stricter" work schedule and mine is alot more flexible. Since I was home alot of the day yesterday, I ended up shoveling for a total of 2.5 hours. And I kid you not, I couldnt get out of bed this morning. My legs are fine but my arms and back? Feels like I carried a large horse held high over my head for like a day. Why a horse? I dont know. Its just what it feels like. After an hour with the heating pad and a handful (i.e. 2) Advils, I was able to get out of bed. I feel better but I do not want to be nor am I able to shovel anytime soon.

Here is a picture of our house in the snow. Its not from this year because I was too darn tired to take a picture yesterday:

Also, here is a picture of a much happier Shannon using the snowblower last year:

In TTC news, I am on CD 21 today and honestly, I have no idea if I have O'd or not. I have not stuck a thermometer in my mouth in quite some time and I am boycotting OPKs. Maybe I will try to get some temps over the next couple days to see whats going on. Man, I love not knowing anything about my cycle!

Have a great day, one more until Friday!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Forget happiness, I pick Joy

I have been spending alot of time lately trying to make myself happy. Im so afraid of being broken down by my IF journey that I want to make sure I maintain a level of happiness. So I made a list of 101 things to do (which I still love, by the way) and have been trying to let things bother me less and focus on the good more.

Then I read the following info by Rick Warren and it hit me. Im so often dissapointed because I let things, events and people control my happiness. I let the happenings of my life dictate when I am going to be happy. But if I focus on God's everlasting love and his path for my life, I can live a life filled with joy. And that, my friends, wont be ruined by my nasty insureds, my stupid broken garage door or my IF journey.

So here is the passage, enjoy!

“Whatever happens, dear brothers and sisters, may the Lord give you joy …” Philippians 3:1 (NLT)

A man once told me that he’d broken up with his fiancĂ© because she didn’t make him happy enough. Mind you, he was happy with her; she just didn’t make him as happy as he felt a future wife should.

What this man told me gives memorable insight into how some people view happiness: They believe happiness is dependent upon the people, the things, and the circumstances that surrounded them.

Yet, the Bible says don’t settle for happiness; aim for joy.

Joy comes from within; joy is not dependent upon the people in your life, or the possessions you accumulate, or what’s happening at this point in your life.

God says you’ll find joy, when you trust that he’s in control and working to use the good – and the bad – of your life for a greater purpose.

The apostle Paul understood this, writing about joy while in prison, chained to a guard, alone in a foreign city: “Whatever happens, dear brothers and sisters, may the Lord give you joy …” (Philippians 3:1 NLT).

He suggested there are two keys to transforming mere happiness into a deeply-felt, ever-present joy:

First, live each day by grace. Grace means you don’t have to earn God’s love or his approval. And here’s some joyful news: If you don’t have to earn God’s love, then you don’t have to earn anyone else’s love.

God offers his love unconditionally, and you can joyfully live in that grace everyday, all day long. Understanding this drains the tension from your life: you can make mistakes and know that you’re still loved by God, who desires a relationship with you over any rules or rituals.

The man who broke up with his fiancĂ© appears to have had difficulty in understanding grace. His love came with conditions – “As long as you make me happy, I’ll love you” – and that means he probably assumes the love he receives from others is conditional too. How can anyone experience joy when they live each day thinking they have to earn love?

Second, stay focused on what’s really important. There are a lot of little things that can steal your joy – but only if you let them. Jesus taught this: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21 NIV).

My sister, Chaundel, thought about this Bible passage when she learned her house in Maryville, California, was under 9 feet of water. While she and her husband, Tom, were out to dinner, the local levy broke and flooded the area. Even in her grief, she joked, “We drove our Chevy to the levy, and the levy was dry.”

Looking back on that time, Chaundel says, “God taught us that such a loss really makes you think about what’s important and what’s going to last. Our possessions were wiped out in a matter of minutes, but the important thing is that we were alive and well. Within a year, our house was rebuilt, but we could have never replaced each other.”

Happiness is overrated. On the other hand, joy is often forgotten. Yet, joy will stabilize your life as you embrace grace and focus on the things that are truly important, moving a bad hair day down the list and relationships up to the top. No matter what happens, may God give you joy.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Delayed Updates

I cant believe its Saturday, last week went by so fast. I was really busy with work and am just getting around to updating about my RE appt.

The appt went good. All of my re-tested blood work came back "normal" and my lining looked good. The interesting thing is that this new RE has a different approach to the laparoscopic surgery. Her thoughts are the following:

1. My periods are mostly regular, they are not painful, heavy, etc
2. The HSG revealed one perfectly clear tube. She does not really buy into the "partially blocked" tube. She said that its either closed or open because if there is some opening, then the egg can still squeeze through (BTW, I have seen conflicting info on this)
3. Everything else (SA, US, BW) looks good

Since everything looks good, she does not want to put me through the laparoscopic surgery yet. She wants me to do 3 medicated IUI's (I will start with Clomid but might move into injectibles. Thats another story for another day) After the three medicated cycles, she would then consider the lap.

My insurance is good and covers the IUI's at 90% so we are going with that choice. We will have our first one in March and I am over-the-moon excited. Im also scared to be moving on because I keep thinking about the dissapointment I will feel if it doesnt work. But like my mom has told me- what if it DOES work?! And she's right. I need to be positive.

In 101 news:

1. I am currently simmering my pot of homemade spaghetti sauce. I tried a little and it tastes good! I feel lucky to have found a good recipe on my first try
2. I am trying a new recipe tonight and will be using the sauce as part of it. After I photo it, Im going to update my food blog with that recipe and my zucchini break from last week.
3. The contractor is starting to take the wall down between our living room and family room on Wednesday. This is a huge project for us but its going to completely expand the livable space in our house. I plan to post some really good before and after pics so you guys know what Im talking about!

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Warm weather, where are you?

I write this from my cold, cold house. Even though the furnace is cranked up and its warmed up to about 15 degrees today, Im still cold. Ugh. Hopefully spring hurries up!

We had a nice weekend but unfortunately, I didnt get to make my pasta sauce. I forgot one of the ingredients when I went to the store and it was too cold to go out on Saturday so I veto'd the idea. I have it on the agenda for next weekend. I did try another recipe though- zucchini bread. It was really good and I will post to my food blog tomorrow.

In other 101 news, I made a haircut and highlight appt for the day after my birthday. Im really excited about it! I have been so bad about getting my haircut and at this point, I havent gotten it cut since, well, probably July. Its long and scraggly and I hate it! I cant wait to get it done. I also took out 3 sign language books from the library and although Im not signed up for the class at church until the spring, I thought Id get a head start on the basics. So far, I like it.

In TTC news, I honestly have no idea what CD I am on. What an awesome feeling! I do have an appt with my new RE on Thursday to get our plan finalized and select a day for my surgery so I will update after that.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful week!

"The meaning of things lies not in the things themselves, but in our attitude towards them." -Antonie de Saint Erypony

Thursday, January 15, 2009

More items

I completed a couple more items on my 101 list.

1. I wrote down 20 things I like about myself. Um, this one was really hard. The list was the first thing I started on January 1 and it took me 2 weeks to finish it. Even though I wanted to think about what I like about myself, it was so much easier to think about the things I wanted to change. But after awhile, I did it and it feels nice to be able to look at the list. I actually wrote it on a page in the middle of my journal so that I will come across it in a few months and have a chance to reflect on it.

2. I donated a large bag of clothes and another bag of household items to Salvation Army. I counted this as donating one item because I want to continue to look for items that we dont use and remember to donate them to someone who could use them.

This weekend, I am going to tackle Making Spaghetti Sauce from Scratch. Stay tuned, my friends!

"Reach high, for the stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal." -Pamela Vaull Starr

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Facebook and Babies

I really like Facebook, its a cool way to reconnect with old friends. And it feels alot more mature than Myspace did. I dont feel obligated to keep my page looking "cool" anymore with a bunch of photos and icons and lame songs.

The one thing about Facebook is that I am finding out that literally everyone I know has a baby. Sometimes two. Or heck, even three. No joke, I havent come across one person yet without a kid. I must have been friends with the most fertile people in high school and college because every single one of them has photos of these sweet little bundles of joy and I have a picture of me and Dan. At the Cavs game. Standing next to fake cutouts of Cavs players. Talk about torture!

In TTC news, well, I got nothing. I head back to the RE in 2 weeks to set up my plan for the lap and also the re-testing of my blood work and Dan's SA. Until then, Im just going to chill. No OPKs, no temp taking. Im throwing in the towel, per se, until I get a plan together with the RE.

Hope everyone is having a good day!

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings
You glory And I know there'll
be days When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to
praise You Jesus, bring the rain

Monday, January 12, 2009

101 updates and our weekend

I am continuing to make movements on my 101. My mom knows about my list and she wants to help me complete some of the items so for my birthday, she is going to take me to get fitted for a good bra and take me to Mac for a consultation and then get me some makeup. Im really excited! I've also run EVERY day since the New Year (yep, all 12) and have not had any pop. I have to admit, I feel great and although I dont think I've lost any weight yet, I just feel better so Im happy with that. Im also through 2 books of the Bible and have wrote in my journal almost every day. It feels nice to accomplish some of the things I have been wanting to do.

We had a great weekend although we had tons of snow here. I think we got atleast a foot maybe alittle less. I didnt mind at all because aside from going to the Cavs game on Friday night, we got to stay in and just relax. I did some cooking and organizing but other than that, it was pretty laid back. Here are a couple of pictures of Dan and I with the players (okay, or maybe cut-outs of the players, whatever. And look, Dan is only 3 inches shorter than LeBron!)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

But what if I NEED an explanation?

I have been struggling alot recently with this whole Unexplained Infertility diagnosis. At first, it felt great to know that nothing was medically wrong and that it was just taking us longer to conceive. But lately, the diagnosis has left me lost and overwhelmed.

I feel like I have nothing to blame and for some reason, I need to blame something. I dont like not having a reason. It feels so "open ended" to me. I feel like Im in a bad break-up and I need closure.

This morning, when my period came, I wanted to be able to shake my fist in the air and yell "you stupid sperm and your misshapen heads" or "dumb, lazy ovary, why cant you do your job" just so I could have an outlet for my frustration. But since I cant blame those things, I blame myself. What if I didnt time our sex right? What if that extra caffeine during the 2 WW affected implantation? Its work, right? Im too stressed with work, that has to be it. If only I didnt work so much. And on and on I go.

I want to find a way to not blame myself. I trust God in this journey and I have faith that I will be a mom. But I find myself taking on so much blame and I pray that I could relieve myself of that.

I heard this song today by Third Day and in true Shannon-form, it brought me to tears. I feel like this song speaks to me and hope it speaks to some of you, too.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Calling all camera users and the list

Well, I think Im going to do it. Im buying a camera. Actually, Dan is buying me a camera for my 30th Birthday but yeah, Im picking it out.

Anyways, I need HELP. I have asked a few friends for camera info and I have done a ton of internet research but I still feel confused. I guess its between the a Canon or a Nikon, these seem to be the best manufacturer of SLR cameras. But if you're out there reading this and you have a good SLR camera, you know someone who has a good camera OR you just want to help a girl out, let me know!

In 101 news (this is what Im calling "My List" from now on, I think its kinda catchy,) I have made some more movement. I tried a new recipe on Sunday AND I added it to my food blog. Im all about multi-tasking- 2 items in one day! Im also on target to run my 5 miles this week and I feel great! Finally, I started reading The Bible. Actually, once I started, I couldnt put it down! Its going to be really amazing to read it cover to cover.

I hope everyone is having a great week!

Jeremiah 17:7 But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The list continues

I finished 2 more items on my list of 101 things:

1. I bought re-usable bags AND used them yesterday while grocery shopping. It was great and they are already loaded back into my car for my next grocery trip. Here is an article that discusses the impact of plastic grocery bags, kinda scary:

2. I have started a journal. I bought a really cute one (of course it needs to be cute) at Target and have written in it 3 times thus far. I have to admit, it felt GREAT to be able to release some feelings that are not always blog apporpiate. In reality, I dont know who reads my blog so I do have to censor myself a bit. But in my journal? No holding back. It felt good.

In my TTC world, I got some great news yesterday! Two of my dear friends got their BFPs and I am thrilled for them! These kind of things are a testimony to how God works in our lives.

I am currently 10-ish DPO so we will see how this week goes. If I really am 10 DPO, my period will come on Friday. Hopefully she stays away! :)

Life is like a game of cards. The hand that is dealt you represents determinism; the way you play it is free will.
Jawaharal Nehru

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year and only 100 things left...

Happy 2009! I honestly love the start of a new year. For me, I feel like even though its just one day later than it was yesterday, its the start of a new begining. It represents the chance to make changes in my life. It reminds me that I have control over my life and if there are things I want, I need to make them happen. I hope everyone has a wonderful 2009 and that all your dreams come true!

I also completed my first item on my 101 list. I wrote a letter to myself and have put it away to read in 10 years. It was actually a really long letter and it gave me the chance to think about where I've come from, where I am now and where I want to be. I pray that I find all of the happiness that I hope for in 10 years, it will be interesting to see how things work out!

In TTC news, I am fairly certain that I am 7 DPO. From my last OPK and temps, it appears that I O'd on Christmas Day. All of my O pains have gone away along with the + OPKs. The only thing thats odd is that my temps are not as high as they normally are during my LP. They are elevated but not as high. Im trying not to worry about it and just see how this 2 WW goes.

"you gotta live to learn
you gotta crash and burn
you gotta make some stances
and take some chances
you gotta live and love
and take all life has to give
you gotta live and learn
so you can learn to live"