Sunday, May 31, 2015

{iPhone Rewind} :: May

Some days, you just have to soak up the sun! Sasha and I enjoyed a lot of lunches outside :)

McKinney had a community garage sale and craft fair, so I headed out to check things out. I didn't find anything worth buying, but it was fun to be out in the beautiful weather.

I have been trying to keep my nails painted on a regular basis {keeps them stronger!}, and I have really liked this matte top coat. Such a fun and different look!

Obviously I was wasting time and thought I would run our photo through the #HowOldRobot that has been floating around the inter webs...we must be old souls :)  {I want a photo of us when we are actually 59 and 51}

When you open your purse and find cookies stashed and realize you have the best husband in the world. #lovehim

I always take a photo of the flowers my hubby gives me...since they die so quickly, I want to have them {at least in photo form} forever!

We were awakened at 2 a.m. one morning to Atmos Energy digging in our yard. Apparently there was a gas leak, so they had to dig up our entire front yard and part of our driveway. At one point, we had 2 backhoes in our yard. With all the rain we have had, it was no short of a muddy mess!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Weekend in SA

Over Memorial Day weekend, we headed to San Antonio to spend time with my parents. I could not believe that I had not been to San Antonio since Christmas 2013! I have seen my parents since then, but they have come to visit here. So it was fun to actually be in San Antonio after so long!

My parents recently moved into their new house, so it was fun to see the new place! I am really excited for them, as they seem to really love their new home. It's in a great location, and it will be fun to visit in the future. I definitely LOVED the view from the back deck; I envision many a morning chat over coffee with my mom :)

On Saturday, we headed out to BSF headquarters for an employee picnic. My dad was MORE than happy to show off his kids, and it was fun to see many of the staff people that we had grown up with. They had a BBQ lunch, an Orange Leaf truck, and fun things for the kids. I may or may not have enjoyed one of the kid activities...I just can't resist petting cute baby animals :)

And it would not have been a BSF event without music. They definitely had a symphonic band concert...oh, good old BSF :)

We were supposed to head to a wedding on Saturday night for one of Mike's former youth students, but the weather kept us from making it. With the storms that blew in, we didn't want to get flooded in San Marcos. We were sad to miss celebrating with the happy couple, but we enjoyed a night in playing card games with my parents.

Sunday, we headed to church then to see my grandparents. We enjoyed hearing about my grandpa's military service as he reminisced his time as an army medic. We then headed over to my aunt's house to see my mom's side of the family. It was good to see everyone {since it had been so long!} Sunday night we got to hang out with Lauren and Miguel. We enjoyed ice cream out on the patio and catching up with sweet friends.

As always, the weekend was too short, but we are thankful for the time to be away for a little and spend time with family!

Friday, May 15, 2015

What's Next?

It has been several months since we transitioned from church planting and shepherding our people into other churches. Many people have asked us what's next...and we think that has been a fantastic question! We have spent the last several months trying to figure that out! And it has been nothing less than a roller coaster :)

First a little catch up {and just FYI, we are NOT moving out of state}...

Mike interviewed for several pastoral jobs, and they were all out of the area, most of them out of state. In February, we spent the weekend in Fort Worth, but the real reason we were there was to visit a church in Weatherford. In March, we spent back-to-back weekends in Kansas talking with a couple of churches; one for a church planting residency, and the other for a lead teaching pastor position.

Such a sweet church; they left us a welcome bag of goodies in our hotel room.

We visited the Original Pizza Hut, which really was just a small memorial building on the Wichita State University campus because 2 students from the school started Pizza Hut {there wasn't much to see in Wichita :) }

National World War I Museum in Kansas City. We also saw Kauffman and Arrowhead Stadiums, Union Station, Hallmark headquarters, and enjoyed dinner at Country Club Plaza.

We didn't make a trip, but we were also in talks for a lead pastor position in Michigan. In the span of a few weeks, I was preparing my heart to make a move out of state and build community in a brand new place. We came really close to moving. It was scary and exciting, all at the same time. While the idea of moving far away from family, friends, and warm weather was hard, I knew that I couldn't tell the Lord, "I will go wherever You lead us, Lord, except _________." It truly was a walk of faith and surrender.

There were several really great opportunities, and we even received some offers. But we just didn't feel like the Lord was leading us to any of the churches with whom we interviewed. All the time we were interviewing, the Lord was working in Mike's heart to give him a new vision and calling. We still have a heart for church planting, but we know that our role {for now} is to support church planting efforts, not lead them. And while Mike certainly has gifts for ministry, we knew the Lord was calling him to step away from vocational ministry. We don't know if that is a permanent thing, but we do know that it is for a season. 

So what's next?

With all that we have walked through in the past few years, we knew we needed a season of rest and healing. With the struggles of my health, saying goodbye to Redeemer, and walking through infertility, we knew we needed some time to process our grief and focus on how we can serve the Lord during this hard season of life. We knew we needed community. 

Because of the deep relationships we still have with our family and friends at Woodcreek, we decided to plug back into community there. We started attending services a few weeks ago, and we are looking forward to finding a place to serve. In a lot of ways, it feels like a homecoming. We know it will be different going back, as we are not the same people who left there 4 years ago. We know that even our community will look different, and we both want to find new ministries to dive into. But we are so grateful for a place where we have deep friendships with people who love us and who can walk alongside us in this new season. 

In addition, Mike will be starting a new job with RightNow Media. We are so excited about this new opportunity; it's such a great fit for him! He is excited to plug in, helping churches and businesses connect with good, gospel-centered resources. And they are excited to have him, because he's awesome, and also because of his ministry experience. 

So lots of changes in our little world :)

While the last few months have been a whirlwind of change and decision, we are grateful for the Lord's leading and provision. There have been a lot of hard and scary days. There were many times when I {jokingly} said that we didn't know what the heck we were doing with our lives. But Jesus has walked with us every step of the way. He has molded our hearts, deepened our marriage, and forced us to trust Him no matter what. We know that this new season will bring its own set of joys and challenges, but we know that He is good and we are His.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Embryo Adoption :: Blood Testing

This last step of the embryo adoption process has been really hard. The shipping coordination is usually a seamless and quick process; but for us, it has been excruciatingly long. 

Most clinics require blood testing of the genetic parents to test for infectious diseases before they will accept embryos into their clinic. The blood testing is usually something that is done before contracts are even signed, but we didn't learn until after our contracts were signed that it was still a missing piece of the process. Unfortunately, our poor donor family had a hard time finding a clinic that would do the blood draw, and it took 6 weeks before we could work through the logistics to get that done. 

After many phone calls, emails, tears, and firm conversations, we received word today that the blood draw was done and sent to the lab for testing. So now we just wait for the results. Once the results come in, they can finally ship our embryos to our clinic!

We have had a wonderful experience with Nightlight up until this point, and we were so disappointed with this last leg of the journey to get our embryos to us. Unfortunately, we got caught in the middle of the perfect storm of staff turnover, policy changes, and some bad luck with where our donor family lives. We struggled with some communication issues, and had to lean on some other individuals in the agency to get the process moving. We do believe that they are working through these issues to prevent this from happening to other families in the future, but it was frustrating to be caught in the middle as one of the families {if not the only family} that had to deal with this delay.

All that to say, we are incredibly relieved to finally be one step closer to shipment. We will still need the donor family to sign a release form to give their clinic permission to release the embryos to our clinic {the last step}. We are so ready for our embryos to be safe in our clinic! One thing's for sure: nobody can accuse us of not fighting for our babies :)

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Embryo Adoption :: A Different Kind of Mom

Today marks the 3rd mothers day that I have faced in our infertility journey. It's another milestone/marker that passes that I have a hard time understanding why it hasn't been "our turn" yet. 

Mother's day is just hard for those struggling with infertility. It is such a blatant reminder of our empty arms. Mamas are loved and honored and celebrated {as they should be!}. But with so much emphasis on the blessing of being a mama wrapped up in one day, it can be overwhelming for those whose hearts ache for children, whether it's those that have been lost or those who have not yet come. 

I gave myself a break and made the decision not to go to church. I knew there would be a ton of fan fare {our church does baby dedications on mother's day}, and I just didn't have the courage to face it today. They may have been sensitive and loving and said something sweet about those who have lost babies or are still longing for theirs. But while that is needed and helpful, it just doesn't lessen the ache.

It was also difficult today because I started another cycle {how's that for you? "Happy Mother's Day- you are STILL NOT a mother" - Love, Your Period. ugh.} It was hard because this was supposed to be the start of our transfer cycle. But because we have faced so many delays with our embryos shipping, we have to wait. Sigh.

So while today was hard, it was still a day of hope and gratitude. Today I actually already consider myself a mom. I have no baby in my arms, and I am not pregnant {yet}. But on this mother's day, I am a different kind of mom, because I am an adoptive mom to 6 precious embryos. I have pursued, adopted, prayed for, fought for, and already desperately love these 6 little lives. 

These babies are waiting for me, counting on me. And while I am not guaranteed to meet them all this side of heaven, I will sacrifice my time, resources, and body to give them the best possible chance at life. 

So today I celebrate mother's day as a different kind of mom. And I hope to be holding 2 of them in my arms next mother's day.