Saturday, October 31, 2015

{iPhone Rewind} :: October

I spent the first part of October sanding all of my wood pieces for our craft show {coming in November}! At first I hated it...but by the end, I thought it was fairly therapeutic. 

I spotted a Blue Bell truck!! It will be in our area November 2nd. Almost here!

What?? Apparently you can now choose the skin tone of your emojis. I'm definitely going for tan.

Sometimes you just need to keep watch over the neighborhood #Sasha

I wasn't really a fan of Greek yogurt, but decided to give it another shot. My co-worker ate these Oikos cups with fruit in the bottom every day, and after trying them, I understand why she did...they're SO yummy! Now, I'm sure there are more healthy {read: less sugar} Greek yogurts out there, but I really like these!

Sasha has been my little crafting buddy. I work hard on my crafts, and she works hard on her nap :)  But she is sweet to keep my company!

Ya'll. I have seen adult coloring books everywhere and have decided that I needed one in my life. I LOVED coloring as a kid, and it's my favorite activity to do with kids. I was so excited to pick out my 24-pack of colored pencils, and I have enjoyed coloring my paisley patterns. #nerdalert

Saturday, October 24, 2015


It's no secret that the Lord uses music to minister to my heart. It is no replacement for the power of His Word, but I do believe music is a way that the Lord speaks through and to people. As we continue to process our grief, the Lord brought this song to me. Reading the stories behind the song made me cry, and I can't make it through the first verse without bawling. 

In many ways, we feel like the sacred has been torn from our lives. How could you ask this of us Lord? There are moments when the grief threatens to crush me, and I don't know how I will survive this. But in the midst of the heartache and the darkest of moments, we are held. So the tears can flow, and I can still find comfort and hope in the arms of the One who holds our story in His hands. God holds us in our pain, and that is how we survive.

Two months is too little, they let him go
They had no sudden healing
To think that providence
Would take a child from his mother
While she prays, is appalling

Who told us we'd be rescued
What has changed and
Why should we be saved from nightmares
We're asking why this happens to us
Who have died to live, it's unfair

This is what it is to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was when everything fell
We'd be held

This hand is bitterness
We want to taste it and
Let the hatred numb our sorrows
The wise hand opens slowly
To lilies of the valley and tomorrow


If hope is born of suffering
If this is only the beginning
Can we not wait, for one hour
Watching for our Savior


The Announcement That Didn't Happen...

Today would have been the day that we announced our pregnancy publicly. We would have passed the first trimester and would have been sharing our joy with the world. We had our special announcement picked out and ready to go. It should have been a day of celebrating.

But today there is no announcement to be made. Instead there are only tears. We're back at square one, back to waiting. The day will come and go, and instead of joy and excitement, or the anticipation of all that was to come, we grieve all that we have lost. Today our nursery sits unfinished and empty...

These "milestones" are hard. And we have so many left to go. So many "should haves" that aren't going to happen. I wish I had some brave words of faith and strength. But honestly, today is just too hard. We do still trust the Lord and His goodness. But today we lean on His strength and care for us as we grieve the loss of our little ones and the announcement that didn't happen today...

Friday, October 23, 2015

High Five for Friday!

{one} RAIN!! After weeks and weeks of drought, we finally got some much needed rain. And the Lord blessed us with an abundance of it too! It was a rough night up with puppy {our first thunderstorms in the new house}, but we are grateful for the provision. While I have enjoyed the extension of the warmer weather, I know my husband is looking forward to the rain ushering in more Fall-like temps.

{two} I have been in full crafting mode! Our craft show is in 3 weeks, so I am working fast and furious to get my products ready to sell. It has definitely been a lot of work, but it has been so fun to have multiple craft projects to work on! {Thankfully, I am much farther along than the blank/plain wood in the photo :) }

{three} My sweet friend Laura and her husband have taken the steps to become foster parents. I am BEYOND excited for them, as they seek to trust the Lord and love on sweet kiddos in need of a loving and safe home. Mike and I will be babysitters for them {like we were for our neighbors in McKinney}, so we get to partner with them as they start this adventure. Laura has started blogging about their journey, and has even started a few "Foster Care Friday" posts. If you have a second, check out her posts here. It's good stuff.

{four} I have been working off and on with organizing a gallery wall in the new house, and I think it has finally come together. It's fun to have a mis-match of photos and wall art to decorate our living room. Completely random, I know, but this wall makes me happy every time I pass by it.

"Home is Wherever I Am With You" sign: Hobby Lobby // Metal wall art: Shutterfly // "McCullough Established 2011" wood sign: gift from Lindsay {Etsy} // "Home Sweet Home" print: my design // "love" and "M": mod-podged paper craft letters // Frames: Michael's and Hobby Lobby

{five} This weekend, we don't have any set plans, other than sleeping and working on a few projects at home. It might be the last "free" weekend we have for awhile, so we plan to enjoy it. I am looking forward to a low-key weekend, hopefully enjoying a rainy day nap or two!

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Embryo Adoption :: Re-Matching Phase

Today we got word that we got the green light for our home study update and have officially entered into the re-matching phase! So our family profile will be sent out to potential donors, and we wait to see if anyone picks us. 

We kept our original preferences the same, but we did ask that the embryos be vitrified. While this will reduce the number of profiles that we could potentially match with, we know that our best chance at a successful pregnancy {ies} is to try with embryos that are better protected from the thawing process. We just have to trust that the Lord has the right family waiting for us.

So here we go again...

Sunday, October 18, 2015

A Day at McLane

Yesterday we headed to Waco for the Baylor vs. West Virginia game. I had wanted to see the new stadium, and since we weren't able to get tickets last season, I was excited that we snagged some for this season! {Even if they literally were the top row of the stadium :) }

We drove in early so that we could find parking and walk around campus. It is SO different from my time there! They remodeled my dorm and there's a brand new business school, so gone are the days of the Baylor I knew. The changes are definitely good, it just felt weird walking around a campus that looked so different. But even with all the changes, there is definitely still a lot left of the good ol' Baylor I know and love.

The new stadium is so fun! Even though we were on the top row {so much for waiting up to get good seats!}, we still had a great view. It was a gorgeous day, and we actually were in the shade the entire game {bonus!} The bears played awesome, and we beat West Virginia 68-32! Such a difference from when I was a student :) him and his willingness to love the things that I do.

I LOVE that you can see the campus from the stadium!

Sic 'em Bears!

We're not even going to talk about the fact that the Baylor Line is now class of 2019. THAT will make you feel old ;)

Love watching my bears win with my some of my favorite people :)

We headed to Rudy's after the game for some BBQ and sweet tea, and it was fun to just hang out with my parents and brother. I am so glad we were all able to meet in Waco. And on the way out, I picked up a chicken clay pot of my personal faves from my Baylor days ;)

It's crazy to think that it has been 8 years since my Baylor days, but even now I am so incredibly grateful for my time there. Being back on campus reminded me of the blessing it was for me to study at such an amazing university. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Embryo Adoption :: Our Babies' Names

I didn't publish this in my earlier post today because we haven't publicly shared our embryo adoption story yet. {So this was published much, much later}. But I wanted to still be sure and take the time {on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day} to honor each one of our babies. 

At 7pm, people all across the U.S. lit candles in memory of their precious ones that were gone too soon. We had 6 candles to light. I thought it was fitting to light them in our empty nursery, but man was that hard. There are days when it's incredibly difficult to walk by that room, wondering what could have been, trying to trust the Lord's goodness in our loss.

We adopted 6 embryos; we became parents to 6 babies that were entrusted to our care. And for reasons only the Father knows, we had to say goodbye to all 6 before we even had the chance to meet them. We named each of them, because they were each unique, individual lives created by God. Each desperately wanted and absolutely loved.







I have shared the stories and meanings of their names here, here, and here. I wear their names on a few stackable rings as an ongoing way to honor their memory. It reminds me of the incredible gift they were to us and reminds me to pray for their genetic family, whose generous gift allowed us to become parents. It helps me not forget the struggles and joys of our journey and how the Lord has been gracious to us, even in the midst of incredible heartache. It gives me courage to not give up on our dreams of growing our family and to trust the One who holds us all {mom, dad, and babies} in His sovereign hand.

1 in 4

Earlier this year, I shared that we are 1 in 8 couples that knows the painful challenges of infertility. We have walked this difficult journey for over 3 years now, and we have had to surrender our grief to the Lord on a daily basis.

It is with heavy hearts that we now share that this year we also joined the ranks of the 1 in 4 parents whose pregnancies have ended in miscarriage.

{It's slightly frustrating that all of the photos/memes out there only reference "I." Yes, I carried our babies and experienced the physical aspects of loss, but we lost our babies. The loss for Mike was the same}.

This additional grief and heartache to our journey has been difficult. To have waited so long to see a positive pregnancy test and to experience the joy and excitement that accompanies that wonderful news only to have it change in an instant...there really aren't words for that kind of grief.

We are still processing our loss, but the Lord has been gracious. He has provided comfort and grace in the dark days, and he fills our hearts with peace and hope. We miss our babies. Not a day will go by where we don't think of them, what their little lives would have been, had we had the chance to meet them. But we know they are with Jesus, the best and safest place they can be.

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. I share our heartache because our babies' lives mattered. During a time in our society when their tiny lives are too often not recognized, valued, or protected, I want to share my story and affirm the truth that they were each created by God and valued in their most vulnerable and tiniest of stages. From the time of their conception, each individual LIFE was wanted, prayed for, and loved. 


"A wife who loses a husband is called a widow. A husband who loses a wife is called a widower. A child who loses his parents is called an orphan. There is no word for a parent who loses a child. That's how awful the loss is." 
- Jay Neugeboren, An Orphan's Tale - 1976

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Embryo Adoption :: Home Visit #2

Tonight we had our second home visit. Because we moved and both had a change in our employment since our last home visit, our agency required an update to our home study. So our sweet social worker Beth came to Texas again to see our new place.

{We chose to do an embryo adoption specific home study; Nightlight has social workers on staff who can provide the home evaluation. We had the option of partnering with an agency in the DFW area, but we wanted to stick with working with one agency, instead of two. Because embryo adoption is not as widely known, we also wanted the education/interview piece to be more focused on embryo adoption, which may not have happened with a local agency. And because Beth already knew our file and had visited us once, we wanted to stick with her}.

Poor Beth...her flight got delayed and she was stuck in Atlanta for several hours, so she didn't actually make it to our house until 11pm! She was still up for the visit, and we were thankful she was still willing to make this trip work, even if it was a crazy time. Definitely above and beyond the call of duty :)

This visit was short and sweet. She really just needed to see the house and make sure we had a safe place for children. She will write up her report, and we should know if we are re-approved in the next week or so. And then we can officially enter into the rematching process. Here we go again...

Friday, October 9, 2015

High Five for Friday!

{one} I spent the the week at the office, training my {2nd} new replacement. The original person they hired for my position ended up not being a good fit. I have been filling in as much as possible, but mostly just helping to manage the work flow. I am so excited that they decided to promote my sweet co-worker and friend Kirston! Like I mentioned before, I will still stay on to do some consulting work, but my hours will be a little more consistent now. I love seeing my old co-workers, but I am also thankful for this season where I don't have to be at the office full time anymore.

{two} This week was crazy for work, and as I was running out the door to head to the office, I found a surprise waiting for me on my car hood:

My sweet friend had left me a cute bag of encouragement. Baked goods, a gift card for coffee, and a sweet note. Week made. I'm so thankful for her.

{three} Mike's job is going well, and he is totally rockin' it {like I knew he would}. His job requires him to travel a little, and this week he was in Houston. The house is so quiet when he's gone, and I cannot WAIT for him to get back every time he's gone. But when Mike's away...I let Sasha sleep in our bedroom {something she hasn't been allowed to do since my single days because she makes too much noise moving around during the night}. Is it weird that I love listening to my puppy snore?? :)

{four} Ya'll, I hate Crohn's. There are lots of things about it that are bad, but one thing in particular that I hate is how noisy my insides can be. One of the awesome things about Crohn's is that your stomach and intestines will make gurgling or other noises. LOUD noises. All the time. At random times. And especially during otherwise quiet times {like during church, or when you're in a meeting, or while you're praying}. It never fails. And it's so embarrassing. It's a good thing I am secure enough in who I am?? There's really no other point to this other than to share a little more of my reality. Welcome to {normal} every day life with Crohn's. #themoreyouknow 

{five} So this is kind of random and fun: Lindsay and I decided to rent a booth at a craft show :) We will be selling our handmade items at the Holly Daze Bazaar in Fort Worth on November 14! She's tackling the sewing, and I'm focused on the home decor and holiday items. We are both SO. STINKIN'. EXCITED. Ya'll, I've got the sander out, and everything :) We don't know what we got ourselves into, but we can't wait to figure it out! We've been doing a lot of planning and crafting lately, and we have had so much fun getting ready. We may not make a penny, but we sure are having fun trying! {and there may or not be an Etsy shop coming...}