Dwell in Me

Seeking God in the Every Day


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Five-Minute Friday: Red

Every Friday, Lisa-Jo Baker provides a prompt for “Five-Minute Friday“: Write for five minutes only–no editing, no rewriting. This week’s prompt is “Red.” Here goes . . .

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I had a friend with red sunglasses. She told me she couldn’t wear them very long without feeling angry. I thought, maybe blue sunglasses would be nice.

Perspective

And it’s true that we can’t control our circumstances, but we sure can change our perspective.

There’s a trick our pastor in Virginia taught. Look at your hands. Left represents the world. Right represents Christ. If you hold both in front of your face, one extended in front of the other, and open wide your fingers, you can look through from the close hand to the far hand. Do you view Christ through the lens of the world? Or, do you see the world through the lens of Christ?

When I was working at a job I loved for a boss who made me crazy, I wrote on a little post-it flag, “Check your perspective” and stuck it to my computer monitor. And at a bad moment, on a bad day, it helped to physically hold my hands up in front of my face for a minute and make a conscious decision about how I was going to view my situation.

Perspectives matter. How we view the world, how we view our circumstances, how we view our difficulties–it makes all the difference. It can change pain to joy. It can change grief to hope. And it can change a moment, a day, or even a life.

TIME

Five Minute Friday

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Busy, Busy

*Baby pictured in post*

I had a little rhythm going and then it all got thrown off last week. First, because I was feeling a bit down. And don’t you know: it’s so much harder to do anything when you feel down. On the heels of my little pity party came the ragweed, which had me holed up in bed most of Friday and Saturday until I figured out it was allergies and took a Claritin on Saturday (Sudafed, my standby for colds, had behaved very poorly against my headache and stuffiness). So bullets today?

  • Saturday night, we (TCU) lost our season opener against LSU. We had a few friends over (including our godson, sporting DH’s TCU hat) and it was fun to be back in the swing of college football. Last season had me lamenting with a “couldn’t we at least have a good football season” post, but Saturday night we looked pretty good despite the loss. I’m cautiously optimistic this season will top last year’s. Well, and I really, really hope it does! We have season tickets this year (so excited) so we’ll be heading to Horned Frog country this weekend for our first home game. Yay!

Our Godson Rooting for TCU

  • On Sunday and Monday we labored. That’s what you’re supposed to do on Labor Day, right? When we bought our house last year we planned to turn the study into a little library with cabinets and bookshelves to the ceiling to house all of our books. (And we have a LOT of books.) Sunday and Monday, DH’s parents were over to help us hang wallpaper and do some painting and move some electrical outlets (two outlets will be behind cabinets and had to be moved up). We have had the cabinets in boxes in our living room since May, so I’m really excited we’re finally getting started putting things together. Hanging wallpaper wasn’t as bad as I feared it would be. It is going to be the backdrop of the bookshelves. DH and I finished painting the rest of the room last night–a deep, denimy blue. I love it! I’ve inserted a couple of pictures of our progress so far. Can’t wait to get it all finished!

One Piece Up

Painting the Library

The Wallpaper and Paint

  • Last week I had training to be a core group leader for my Bible study, and tomorrow the ladies will come for the first day. I’m so nervous and slightly overwhelmed and excited… and still a little wiped from the work we did this weekend.
  • Today is my 11th day completely gluten-free. It has not been as challenging as I expected–there’s always gluten-free pizza if I really am craving it. And we found the most delicious gluten-free whole grain tortilla chips on Sunday at our HEB. Yum! The hardest part is when we’re with others … but I did stand firm and turned down pasta salad and brownies the other day at a lunch with ladies in my Bible study (thankfully there were some gf options).

Hoping to get into the swing of things and back into my routine soon. I like routines.


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Awkward Infertility Conversations

About a month ago we started attending Sunday school at a new church in an effort to build community here in Katy. So we’ve been doing double duty. Early church at our church home, Sunday school at a church down the road. I know this is weird. But it works for us.

The first class we visited turned out to be doing a parenting module (seriously?), but the second week we found a great fit. And now it’s been about a month and we’re already feeling more connected than we felt after a year without Sunday school. Crazy.

I’m really quite close-mouthed about infertility. I don’t know that I would be if it weren’t so important to DH that we don’t really tell people. Especially while so much is still up in the air. And I can’t blame him for wanting this to be private. It is a deeply private and personal struggle and it’s hard to open up to people who often don’t understand. 

The Sunday school does this thing called “dinners of six” every quarter. It’s an opportunity for three couples to share a meal together and fellowship. A way for people to get to know each other better in the event that they haven’t already developed friendships outside of class. So we signed up to go and enjoyed a great meal and, well, interesting fellowship Friday night.

The hosts are parents of a seven-month old. He’s adorable and about the same age as our godson. The other couple who came is expecting. And there we were. The longest married (we beat the hosts by two months) and the furthest from becoming parents.

This was not a problem until shortly after we sat down to dinner. The boys kind of talked together and so did the girls. The other couple who was there already knew our hosts pretty well, so DH and I were kind of in the spotlight. The hostess asked a bunch of questions. In her defense, she was trying to get to know us better. I don’t think she anticipated what was going to happen. And I did okay.

Hostess: Do you and [DH] want to have children?

Me: Yes.

Hostess: How many?

Me: I guess we’ll see.

Hostess: What’s your timeline?

[And here’s where I gave myself away]

Me: Sometimes things aren’t that straightforward.

[In my opinion, and I could be wrong, the appropriate response to this is “oh” and a polite change of subject.]

Hostess: Oh. Are you having trouble?

[Am I going to lie to my new Sunday school friends?]

Me: Yes.

Hostess: How bad?

Me: We’re seeing doctors.

Ultimately I shared that we’re expecting to undergo more invasive fertility treatments this winter.

She asked whether I’d had any hormone problems or weird periods or anything. I answered her questions as best I could while trying not to give everything away. [At one point she straight up said: “What’s your diagnosis?” I said, “I can’t tell you that.” She took it well and apologized for asking.] She said she had PCOS and endometriosis and was told she’d never have children before she became pregnant. That she understood. That her sister-in-law had undergone several cycles of IVF resulting in her two nieces, with two more eggs frozen for their next round. The other woman at the table spoke eloquently about the miscarriage she’d suffered prior to her current pregnancy and the continual nagging fear she has that something will happen to this baby, too (she’s 15 weeks). 

I have mixed feelings about this conversation. I would prefer to share about our infertility struggles on my terms and with the people I want to tell. I mean, most of the people in our small group (which has been meeting for about six months) don’t even know what we’re going through. But it was interesting to see that both of these women, who appear to be fertile without any question, have had their own infertility/miscarriage experiences, fears, and difficulties.

I know infertility is said to affect one in eight couples in the United States (or sometimes one in six, depending on what you read). But it usually doesn’t feel that common. Friday night’s conversation revealed that it is really more common than what we see. We hide it–most of us, anyway–for our own protection, out of self-preservation. Both of these women understood a part of what we’re going through. Neither had needed fertility treatments, but neither said those stupid things we all hate to hear: just believe, just adopt, God has a plan, and so forth.

Being open and talking about this–even though I wouldn’t have chosen to bring it up–did build intimacy with this woman quickly. She really is sweet and has a heart for people. She wants to be in fellowship in a deep way–even if that means taking conversations where social norms would dictate that they shouldn’t go.

Also, I like the idea that once I have a child, to the world I’ll be just your average fertile person. Some people will know what it took to get there, but most people won’t. I hope I can still comfort people then who are where I am now. But I also look forward to the normalcy that might come with being a parent. I look forward to being able to have mommy talks, to compare notes with the other parents, to learn from them and contribute to what they know. 

I like feeling like there’s a light at the end of this tunnel.


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Going Home

I’m leaving tomorrow to go home–to St. Louis–for Thanksgiving.

I was home in May. That was before we found out our infertility diagnosis, but after we’d been TTC for 9 months. When we first started trying, DH was back in school and I was our sole breadwinner. (Let’s just say that as a freelancer, I don’t win very much bread!) DH’s mom had been pretty clear a few months before that she didn’t think we had any business procreating until he was out of school because “parenting is more than a 40-hour a week job” and we wouldn’t have much money. (Yes, that really upset me. IF has, surprisingly, really mended that relationship somehow.) So, anyway, I called my mom before we started trying to find out if my parents would also be ticked if we got pregnant. She laughed and told me they’d be delighted. I also expressly told her not to tell a soul, not even my dad. Of course, I thought we’d be pregnant within the next month or two and I wanted it to be a surprise when I told everyone.

So, in May, I was surprised to find out that most of my family (I mean, from siblings to aunts and grandparents) knew we were trying. When I confronted my mom about it, she said she had to tell people because it was taking so long and we needed their prayers.

DH and I were furious. And when we found out we were infertile, we were even more upset. I think partly because it’s possible we’ll end up adopting, and I don’ t really like the idea that my family will see our adopted children and whisper to each other, “You know, they didn’t plan on adopting,” or “they tried to have their own kids, but it didn’t work.” I know those things are true, but it doesn’t mean I want everyone (especially any future adopted children) to know that our family represents some kind of plan B  in action.

But, there’s a short-term upside to this. I am heading home tomorrow with the expectation that no one will pester me with the dreaded “when are you going to have kids?” And, as an added bonus, there aren’t any babies in my family yet. Until this summer, DH and I were the only ones married out of all the cousins. One of my cousins married this summer, but I think (hope?) they’ll wait a little while before they try for kiddos.

I know I’m super lucky in this and that many of you may be dreading those holiday gatherings. I wish you all the best and will be thinking of you over the next week and through December that you would be able to take joy in your family time (or lack thereof!) regardless of your situation.


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The Secret Life of Infertiles

We moved into our house in June, and we’re just now starting to get to know people in our community. We joined a great church and found a small group of young married couples. Since we’re in Texas, it seems like everyone has kids pretty early. Most of the couples in our group have been married right around a year and the next closest couple has been married three years. One couple got married in February and is already expecting their first child. Needless to say, DH and I feel a bit old to be young and married with no kids, and we’ll have been married five years this December. Of course, we’re not old; I’m 28 and he’s 27, but I guess we’re behind schedule by Texas standards.

I feel I get asked all the time why we don’t have kids yet or when we’ll have children. I find such questions infuriating. It’s so personal anyway, and, frankly, you never know if the person you’re asking has been trying–as we have–for some time. DH jokes that next time someone asks we should point out how personal the question is by responding with something like, “I don’t know when we’ll have children, but do you want to be in the room when we conceive?” I’m not at all sure I could pull that one off, but it at least makes me smile when I think of it.

Of course, when it comes down to it, we do want to have children. We’re over a year into TTC and I thought I’d be a mom by now. The hard part is knowing when to share that and when to keep it in. When we first started TTC, we told my mom and three of my good friends. Now that we know we won’t be able to conceive without medical assistance or a miracle, I kind of wish no one knew we had been trying in the first place.

Today I had my first friend-date since we moved; I met up with a woman from our small group and we had coffee together at Starbucks. We sat outside and chatted for a couple of hours, and it was lovely to have someone to talk to. She didn’t ask the dreaded question, but we’re at that stage in life where having children seems the next logical step. I know in the past, many of the things I said today would have been peppered with “when we have kids.” Now they’re “if we have kids.” And I guess I kind of made it sound like I was indifferent either way, like, maybe we’ll decide to, maybe we won’t. I didn’t mean to do that, but I have trouble knowing how to have a normal, honest conversation about life and plans without throwing our infertility out there. And I’m not ready to let just anyone know about our infertility. Maybe someday, but not yet.

I hope my new friend didn’t find my comments too out of place or odd. She probably didn’t.  I’m probably just overly conscious of this giant part of my life that is undisclosed. I’m not good at having secrets, but I’m also not ready to share.


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Peace in the Storm

The past two months have been depressing. I mean the can hardly get dressed in the morning, don’t mind if I miss a meal or three, overwhelming fear kind of depressing. After our initial diagnosis, we had to wait three weeks for our appointment with the RE because of DH’s work schedule. Those first three weeks were brutal. I spent most of each day researching everything I could about our diagnosis, its causes, and our options. I hoped and prayed for something fixable. I looked into all the treatment options and adoption and the ins and outs of everything. I wanted to know, right then, what plan A, B, and C were for starting our family. I had three weeks to wait. Of course, DH was processing things differently, but that’s a subject for another post.

Our first consult was so comforting. We were very optimistic. But after some further blood work and other opinions, our expectations were a bit far off the mark.

Oddly, though, today I feel peaceful. DH says the same. We were both hoping to find out something different yesterday, but we didn’t. We are still hoping that I will get pregnant in my first cycle of treatment. Of course, it’s equally likely (perhaps more likely) that things won’t go perfectly starting when we get to treatments any more than they’ve gone perfectly since we started TTC last September. But we are hopeful and we feel peaceful nonetheless. I can’t explain the peace, but I think it’s a gift from God. I hope it will stay with us through the months of waiting. I’m a bit more functional with the peace.

That’s not to say there won’t be more hard days, more teary mornings, more difficult moments when I see moms with their flocks of children at the grocery store. It probably won’t change the way I feel when people ask me, “When are you going to have children?” or “Married five years? No kids yet? Don’t you think it’s about time?” and so forth. But that’s for a different day and a different post. Today I’ll keep my peace.