Monday, January 23, 2017

So much hope

There is something very satisfying about starting a new journal. It's a fresh start - a chance to look back and look forward somehow at the same time with recent experiences and new-found wisdom, right? As a natural 'do-er' and helper who has never been good at pausing to look back and reflect, but simply pausing for the sake of pausing (perhaps to catch my breath) and then moving right along to the next season, stage, list or adventure - I like to take a new journal as a chance to do just that. Reflect on the past season and look ahead to the next.

We sold our home in South Minneapolis. Drew and I bought that house together after we decided we were going to be staying the twin cities. For four years we loved that house. It is such a great house. Somehow two cute girls made that house (overnight) feel a little tight. :) Thankfully our timing with houses has continued to work for us and we were able to sell it in a matter of days and with a large value hike from where we purchased it. That allowed us to purchase a wonderful house in Columbia Heights. I joke with Drew that we'll never have to move again. The girls can ride their bikes around the neighborhood, I get to walk the girls to & from their school every day and we have room for family and friends to stay when they come to town. Win - win - win.

The girls continue to love school. 
Kindergarten is hard work - art and gym are the current favorites, but little Z loves making new friends, learning writing and reading letters and reminding me of crucial life lessons like: "how to do my best work" and "making wise choices". We love the never-ending energy and spunk this one has. We pray she can channel her passion for everything into great things as she continues to grow. Emotionally, socially and literally. The gym shoes we bought in September were replaced in December. The girl is growing like a weed!

Big Z loves being one of the older kiddos as a 3rd grader. This year has been challenging for her, as she is working to master her addition and subtraction facts (multiplication is here!) and refine her reading skills. She has been a really hard worker, even when it's been tough, which makes us so proud. She loves everything social and thinks actual school work gets in the way sometimes with her social time. :) She too is growing like crazy - she's up to my neck already and my shoes don't have a lot of extra space on her feet anymore...!

Drew and I have both had a year of refining. His surgery last December left the first number of months in 2016 in recover mode. He is doing wonderfully and has had great reports from all the doctors over the last few months. We are both committed to beating each other in racquetball as often as possible this year. He can really tell a difference in that he gets tired but not winded too. He can catch his breath more quickly and feels like he can actually build some endurance - something he didn't realize was missing.

I had been monitoring "something" in my stomach region for months, and this fall learned I had uterine fibroids. This was a new thing to me, but after further testing and ultra sounds, it looked like the fibroids had enlarged my uterus to about the size of a 20-22 week pregnancy. For someone who struggled with infertility and so longed to physically carry a babe, this was really tough news to figure out how to process. I looked pregnant. I also had a large cyst in my ovary they needed to remove. The best option for us was a hysterectomy. For years Drew and I had made peace with expanding our family through adoption (obviously) but there was still the emotionally piece of completely closing the door to physically being able to bear a child. And the anxious thought of my first real surgery. I was thankful for those years of mourning as the surgery was scheduled for early December, just a handful of weeks after my initial diagnosis. Everything went great - I was almost completely out of commission for a couple weeks and am feeling great now after a few more weeks of low-key movement (note: I am not quite to full strength yet in the racquetball court...but I'll get there!). They learned the fibroid was actually not in my uterus, but sitting on top of it - so surgery & complete removal was clearly the right path. Praise God! And the saga somewhat continues, as they found a tumor in my ovary that had been removed. Amazing! I will follow up with an oncologist next month and go from there, but my doctor felt good about the where things were.

So Drew and I have both fully experienced being powerless, suffering, relying on others (and asking for help - what?!) in the last year. There have been moments of horrible pain, sheer helplessness, great sadness and utter dependence. And there have also been moments of sweet grace, beautiful service and much joy. We have seen Christ's hands and feet in very tangible ways. To those of you who stepped into those roles - thank you! You have been a crucial part of the journey and we are forever grateful.

So we look ahead to 2017 with much anticipation and hope. I have always loved (and mutually hated!) the words in Romans 5 that don't by any means discount us from suffering. Verse 3 reads "glory in suffering"... I have had moments of physical and emotional suffering, yet ultimately the hope has always been the same: Jesus and that huge love he has for us. May this be a journal full of boasting in the glory of the Lord.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Monday, September 12, 2016


My mom used to sing, "count your many blessings, name them one by one..." I'm sure my sisters and I spent more time rolling our eyes than actually pausing with any sense of gratitude. (Sorry, mom) but tonight I'm taking the time to process a handful of our blessings here. And then I will most likely take the next couple weeks to unpack each of these in a bit more detail. 

We have a third grader. And a kindergartner. Crazy! The girls have loved their first week of school and we're so excited to get back to school. They thrive with a bit more structure of a daily routine and really do love to learn. 

Drew is doing great! He had a follow up with his cardiologist last month and everything with his heart and valve look amazing! 

Last week I wrapped up a job I loved and was able to be home today. I am so looking forward to whatever God has for me in this next season. And even more excited about this immediate future - really settling into our house, being a mom and wife full time, reading, organizing, crafting, catching up on the blog, etc. ahh! I'm so pumped. 

We have an amazing house. We sold our house in south Minneapolis in May and moved here to our new house in June. We have absolutely loved being here. There will be many more blog posts to follow regarding the house and its pending projects. :)

We got to spend time with lots of family and friends this summer. So many quick trips to see lots of people!!  And we soaked up as much of the summer as we could here too - beach, trampoline, sprinkler, bubbles! 

Fall is coming. Football is here. Our windows have been open at the house this week. Cardigans. :) As much as I love the heat of summer, this season is so refreshing to me. 

Jesus, may my heart continue to be one filled with gratitude. May I be quick to acknowledge your provisions. May I readily offer grace and forgiveness to others and myself.  

Friday, March 4, 2016

Three months...!

Three months ago I woke up early after a short, restless night of sleep. I had left Drew in the ICU a handful of hours before. All alone. He had come out of surgery and was feeling all the feels. Physically he was hurting. Emotionally he was very emotional. And I got to the hospital just in time to see this sunrise from the parking ramp:

I didn't know if or how he had slept. (I was assuming ok, considering the medication he was under.) I didn't have a clue what the next hours or days or months of his recovery would entail. And I was greeted with this calming sunrise. A moment I paused to capture with my phone. 

It's hard to believe Drew's surgery was already three months ago. And at the same time it feels like it just happened. He gets stronger every day. He is sleeping better every night. He was even able to wrestle with the girls a bit yesterday. It's amazing how much better he feels. And he didn't even know he wasn't feeling well... It's been a crazy journey. 

He has continued with cardio rehab (walking, elliptical, weights and monitoring) a couple times a week, gets his INR checked regularly at the clinic (it's been consistent - which is great!), and has had wonderful follow up appointments with each of the doctors post surgery. He has been driving again for a number of weeks, which was a much-welcomed clearance. His body temperature has appeared to come into the "normal" zone too - which is fantastic. For the first time in our ten year marriage, we can now snuggle under a blanket to watch a movie (without sweating) and actually share a comforter on our bed. Amazing. 

Looking back to that sunrise again, I think subconsciously I didn't want to lose sight of the big picture. I knew I was stepping into a tough season - but I loved the reminder that I wasn't alone. And neither was Drew. And we cannot thank those around us enough. Texts, calls, prayers, meals, money for meals, distractions for the girls, the list could go on and on. We are so grateful for the community we have around us. Thank you for coming alongside us in this journey. Your kindness has not gone unnoticed. Two of my favorite verses in the Psalms remind me of this: my help comes from Him (Ps 121) and in His presence is fullness of joy (Ps 16). Thank you, Jesus. 

Friday, January 1, 2016

Christmas Roadtrip 2015

This Christmas we traveled 1404 miles in our mini-van traveling through Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin to see relatives and friends.  While Drew continued to recover from surgery we hung out with lots of great people. 

Zoe and Zaryah's Favorite Things:
- sledding 
- cookies (making and eating)
- The microscope and science present. We looked at everything we could get our hands on. 
- the toboggan went so fast 
- playing with cousins (especially babies)
- Milwaukee Wave game.  Zoe got on the Jumbotron and we all got bobble heads. 
- Chapstick? 
- lots of awesome presents. 
- games. Crazy 8's and Dominoes