Currently.

currently.  stolen from krista. and a good way to check in.

LOVING // life. my husband. my church. my family. so much goodness.

READING // the bible (in 90 days, which may be more like 120 lol). say goodbye to survival mode. love & respect. madame tussaud.

WAITING FOR // oh so many things. december 2015 is what comes to mind now, hopefully that will be matthew’s medic school graduation.

EXCITED ABOUT // my nephew and sis in love and all of matt’s side of the family being in town. yay for family fun. also that matthew got into anatomy and physiology (medic school prereq) on the first try without a waitlist. yay!!! also the changes that these new eating habits and supplements will bring about in my life.

TRYING TO // be a good wife. (part of me feels like conceive is what should come after trying to, because that’s what i sad for so long. but I’m back at the point where if it happens then yay and if not, i’m totally cool with that too.)

WORKING ON // my marriage. also, the backyard with the hubby. so excited to have grass again someday. not excited that I broke a sprinkler head. sad.

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ENJOYING // summer. dates with the hubby. coconut milk ice cream.

USING // my curling wand to curl my hair, because matty likes it that way, and, quite frankly, so do i!

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WEARING // today jeans and a tee and cute target sandals, my usual work attire. weekends are for dresses or shorts and a tank. working out (rarely) in refresh attire tanks.

PLANNING // the next 3 years of our lives. hahaha also refresh summit, and what looks like it will be a solo harry potter marathon this weekend.

NEEDING // rest. i am still learning to rest, but need to do it more often.

LEARNING // to be still. to speak up for myself. to take risks.

So life is pretty good right now, as you can see. what are you doing? learning? etc-ing?

Refresh Summit 2014

I cannot believe it has taken me over two month to write this post. Honestly, when I saw Bobbi’s post, I thought I had already written mine, but then realized that was just my Choose Joy Recap. Whoops! Maybe the reason that I have not written my recap yet is that I still cannot put into words what I experienced. It was not a mountaintop moment for me, but it was definitely a time of the Lord beginning to move my heart. The goal of Refresh Summit is to  be inspired to live a life rooted in Christ and to find a healthy balance of fitness and faith. That is definitely part of what I took away. But I also took away my need to rest. My need to rest in Him and rest my body. I also took away a need to take risks. Mostly, to sing. You see, I love to sing, I love to sing when someone is playing guitar and singing lead and I can sing whatever I want in the background. I don’t like singing acapella. There is something raw and vulnerable about it. But what God showed me is that sometimes that is what he wants. Our raw and vulnerable hearts. After we got home on Sunday, the speaker, Amia, sent me this song. She got the words on her flight home and felt like I was supposed to put my voice to it. Before I knew it, a song was written. The melody just came. I actually posted it on instagram. That was a huge step for me. While I sing at church, I have never put my voice out like that. The next week at church, I sang it in front of our home church of 30 people. Raw. Vulnerable. Acapella. And you know what, it was the perfect song for that night. God used me, when I gave him control. Below are the lyrics. They are Amia‘s. Below that are pictures. I don’t feel like doing too many captions, because this post is far too long already.

This light of mine
is not to keep
In valley’s low
or mountains steep
In worry, fear or victory’s cheer
In sorrow or pain
Let this light, not be vain
 
In slowness of time
And agendas well planned
In walking alone
Or hand in hand
In trouble or wonder
Or certainties clear
Let this light, assure YOU are near
 
This light of mine
Is not to hide
In hope & prayer
Be by my side
In worship and praise
On paths uneven
Let this light, lead to your reason
 
Uncertainty clamors
And doubt remains
But hope rises
And breaks chains
In Christ alone
My life will stand
Let this light, be Your Hand

(May 18, 2014 Refresh Summit)
© Amia Freeman, Inneractive Fit Club

cozy keychain

I made these coffee cozies and keychains for everyone’s swag bags. #megncreations

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The pictures got all out of order, and that’s okay. This last one though is right after I got home. It is me learning to rest. To relax. To have an Engedi (that’s a place of rest in the bible). Matthew built me this amazing bathtub as an Engedi, so I am going to put it to use!

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And as I mentioned before, we are in the middle of planning Refresh Summit South. We will be in Tennessee this November (the 14th – 16th to be exact) and I am so excited for it. I cannot wait to see what God is going to teach me and work in my heart this time! We are 1/3 of the way full with bookings, so get your ticket today if you want to join us!

I Am

I am infertile. There I said it. Whew. There is now a giant weight off my shoulder. I feel like I just shared a shameful secret. But you know what? It’s not shameful! And in fact, it’s pretty common [lately I've seen the stat that one in eight couples deals with infertility. That's a big number].

You know what else tho? That’s not what defines me. I am a child of the Risen King. I am a wife. I am a daughter. I am a sister. I am a dog And cat mom. I am loving. I am passionate. I am creative. I am all those and more. I am. Two words that we give so much power. But really, the only one that really matters is – I am His and He is mine. Can I get an amen? [Also, that song "I am" is now stuck in my head.]

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Yesterday the doctor told me that I most likely have PCOS (poly cystic ovarian syndrome). I don’t fit the mold for that, so much so that my OB told me it wasn’t possible and didn’t even look at my bloodwork. However, my progesterone is so low, that we can assume that is the cause. It explains the chemical pregnancies and why I can’t hold a pregnancy. As much as I don’t like a diagnosis (seeing diagnosis: infertility on paper kinda hurt at first), we now have a place to go. I also have some food allergies that are causing inflammation in the system; which throws off the hormones and likely the reason for the PCOS. So we have a treatment course for the moment – food elimination diet, rebuild my gut, take progesterone. Ironically, it’s mostly what I thought the problem was two years ago. Glad to have a solid “yes this is the case” though.

Where do I go from here? The same place I was yesterday and the day before — resting in His arms. He’s held me though all the ebbs and flows of life, and nothing will change that now. So I make changes to my diet and lifestyle, hope for the best, and put my trust in Him. Because really, I am His. And that’s all that matters in the end.

[Virtual] Coffee Date 6.24.14

It’s been a long time since I’ve just sat down and had a coffee date with you all. So free time covering the front desk seems like the perfect time! Go on ahead and grab a mug of java and join me.

accio coffee

Personally, I’ll be sipping in my own custom harry potter mug. My cousin and I had a pinterest craft date this weekend and it was awesome. And that coffee selfie up above? Well you are now privilege to a part of our group text convo. haha What started as a planning text for a wine date / girls weekend, has turned into the most amazing group texts. We often text our daily coffee selfies and silly ecards, but we also talk through deep stuff, work out life issues, and pray for each other. These girls are amazing, and I love them deeply. Having encouraging women in your life is just wonderful. It’s also sometimes hard because they tell you what you don’t want to hear but what you need to. And I am grateful that I am learning to take constructive criticism when I need it, and I’m glad they’re so sweet about it (and they listen if I have things to say too).

bright coffee cozy

Also on the coffee front, I’ve been restocking my etsy shop. I have perfected my seamless coffee cozy pattern (sewing 20 of these bad boys for Refresh Summit will do that) and am sewing like crazy on shifts nights to get them into my etsy shop. This one actually isn’t there because it’s being donated for a friend’s adoption fundraiser. But if you click on over, you can see what is there! haha I also updated the header yesterday. And made a new one for Crochet Every Day while I was at it! I’ve been a busy bee, I guess!

refresh summit south

Speaking of Refresh Summit, I still have my recap post in draft form (I think having some words to accompany the pictures would be good), but we are already planning the next event. It’s going to be in Tennessee. I am so stinkin excited! We had our first planning meeting last night, and I couldn’t resist instagramming the fun! We skyped in Brittany (Delights and Delectables) and Heather and I fell in love with her sweet personality and adorable (and completely unexpected) accent! [You can read her post about the summit while you're over there.] Sadly, Amia and Amy were not able to join Bobbi, Heather, and I last night; but it’s hard to coordinate six different schedules over three states! The last summit was so wonderful, and I am excited to see what happens in Franklin!

bible in 90 days

I also started a new reading plan last week. I’m trying to read the bible in 90 days. Well, it may be 100 or 120, but I am determined to read the bible cover to cover. Not for legalistic purposes but because I have never done it and think it’s important. I first read Brittany’s post (what’s with all my blogger friends being named Brit??) about it last month and thought, “She’s cray! That’s ridic! No way!” but I kept thinking about it. And we’ve been texting about it. And I have been reading Say Goodbye to Survival Mode, which helped me create a best stuff list, and “develop a more intimate relationship with my Lord and Savior” is my number one thing. And wouldn’t this help? Sure it’s not deep meditative prayer, or a crazy in depth bible study, but it will get me back into the word on a regular basis. And, quite frankly, if I have time to crochet, I have time to read my Bible. So I started, but I didn’t tell anyone. Because that would be accountability yo! Then on day 2 I told my girls. Then two days ago (that would be day 5?) I posted a link on facebook, and now I’m telling everyone. Because accountability is a good thing. And if something happens and it takes me two years to finish, you guys will love me just the same. And if you don’t, then quite frankly we don’t need to be friends. hahaha Brit recently posted an update, how it’s not a legalistic thing, but seeing the whole forest and not just the trees. I liked that. Plus, it reminded me that I need to use #biblein90summer ;)

the giver

I’ve also finished some other reading. I was going to do a whole book review post, but ain’t nobody got time for that. I posted a list of books I wanted to read this year. I think I had 12 books. I’m slowly working my way through. One of my biggest takeaways from Refresh Summit was my need to rest. #rest2014 is my current hashtag (although I keep forgetting to rest)! Taking a hot bath with a good book is a perfect way to unwind and relax. It’s all about making time to rest and heal.

I read The Giver because it’s just that good, and I wanted to see it before the movie came out. I can already tell the movie will be different, but that’s okay. I don’t know how they could have made a movie to follow the book exactly anyways. The Giver is just one of those books that everyone should read. I read it in 8th grade, I think, but it was great to come back and read it as an adult. Plus it only takes day or two. It really makes you think though. We could live in a world free of pain and hurt, but then would we really be living? You can’t have joy if you don’t have pain. Not that it’s inevitable, but, well, maybe it is.

jaycee book

I also read (and spilled wine on, oops) a stolen life. It’s the memoir of Jaycee dugard, the girl who was kidnapped and held in captivity for 18 years. I’m not really sure what I expected out of the book. It started to go into some of the sexual abuse, and I had to skip it. I mean, she had two kids by this perv, so I should have expected it. But it really pissed me off. Like what kind of ahole would do that to a KID! And what the hell kind of wife would stand by / approve? I mean, seriously. There are some sick people in the world. I’m glad that Jaycee got out and is healing with her children, but I finished this book just pissed at the sick people of the world. Lots of prayer going down over here.

Let’s end on a happier note. I’m super excited to go to Chicago next month for Flame Fest. It’s a retreat for Firefighter Wives (and the fire fighters) and I’m so excited to see friends that I met in San Diego, and meet more of the ladies whom I love so much. We still need to find a house sitter and all that, but it will work out! On that note, I’m out!

Recap: coffee, pinterest, coffee, friends, refresh summit, #biblein90summer, reading, flamefest.
Question: What do you think of The Giver? Have you read it? Will you see the movie?

30 Before I’m 30

Now that I finally updated my 29 before I’m 29 list, it’s time to do a 30 before 30. Last time, I had an extra two months because I started two months before my birthday. Now, I have two fewer months because I’m starting in January. Think I can still get that 76% rate? Any suggestions for additions? [oh and the first 7 are leftover from last year. I started with them!]

What can I accomplish before my next birthday toast??

What can I accomplish before my next birthday toast??

30 Before I’m 30:

1. Sew a Dress or Skirt

2. Pay Off One of our Loans

3. Knit Something (anything!)

4. Read the WHOLE Bible

5. Visit Alcatraz (I lived in the Bay Area for 18 years and never went)

6. Have a Baby (yup, I just put it out there. No. I’m not pregnant)

7. Make Family Yearbooks (2007-2013)

8. Make Cork Table

9. Run a 10k

10. Camping Trip with Friends

11. Eat Oysters

12. Make Macarons

13. Complete all Crochet Every Day projects (I’m not really sure this is possible, but it’s worth a shot!)

14. Photo albums: South Carolina, Europe 2006, Fire years 3-4, and Hawaii 2010

15. Finish making wine bottle glasses for everyone

16. Bottle Cap tray

17. Go to a pro hockey or baseball game

18. Do a Whole 30

19. Go to FlameFest

20. Sell something on etsy

21. Refresh Summit South

22. Do a Pullup

23. Harry Potter Marathon

24. Make Jello Shots

25. Make Camping Box

26. Have an awesome Party with a Photobooth Backdrop

27. Make Sushi at Home

28. Make Throw Blanket Ladder

29. Finish reading “Say goodbye to survival mode”

30. Rest. 2014 is my Year of Rest. So actively do it!

LT Academy & Graduation

Two months ago, my husband graduated from the Limited Term Fire Academy. I am so stinking proud of him! It was four weeks of grueling physical and mental challenges. We learned what it meant to be on a fire schedule (he ended up having to work the last weekend, and stay up the hill for four days straight, I think, unplanned. I don’t really remember, it’s all a blur now).

I feel like I should have more to say, but I am still adjusting to shift life. You can read more about that over at FireFighter Wife. Let’s just leave it as, I am so incredibly proud of my man. He worked really hard for this, battled through pain, injuries, and lack of sleep, and finished strong. I got through the Academy with lots of prayers and wine. ;) I also am lucky to have friends that help me if I need it, and understand if I can’t hang out because I need to meal prep. Ugh. I remember laying next to Matthew in bed one night and massaging his arm and praying over it. Praying the pain would go away and he would be able to finish his academy, praying for strength and mental clarity, praying for wisdom and guidance for us both. And do you know what? All of those prayers were answered. It was not an easy month, it was not painless, but we got through it. And now, now I can’t even think about medic school! For now, I’ll just leave you with some pictures from his Academy and graduation!

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It started early one morning with a sign and coffee from his parents and sister, and a hug and a kiss from this firewifey. Believe it or not, I actually got up every morning at 5 to help him out. That was a sacrifice for this night owl! And yes, I know his job was much harder than that, but that was my trying to be helpful! Well that and lots and lots of meal prep! I guess you could say his academy started the weekend before with all of the meals that I made! lol

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I made him a lunch with lots of snacks each day. I also tried to put a fun note on it. Which I thought was cute, and then one of the guys was like “Hey Matt, you’re strong and courageous.” He was confused because he hadn’t seen it on the bag yet. Whoops! After that I made them a little more risqué lol. And he was just glad that he had someone making his meals!

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Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches were definitely the winner this time. It’s a perfect blend of protein (peanut butter), carbs (bread), and sugar (jelly). Plus they’re super quick and handy to eat, which is helpful when you have 15 minutes to scarf down your meal. I made two loaves worth of sandwiches, put each sandwich in an individual Ziploc, and froze. It’s like my very own uncrustables! Plus they thaw out by lunchtime. :)  he also liked wraps, for the same quick and portable reason!

wrap progress

Healthy Bites (aka Protein Bites from Cotter Crunch) were also made and consumed daily. Matt thought they were a little dry, but I loved them! I’ve worked on perfecting the liquid to protein powder ratio since then, but the current snack of choice is homemade lara bars!

healthy bites

I also continued my traditions of making desserts for the guys each Friday. I figured if I did it for twelve weeks in 2012, I could do it for these four. The guys were super appreciative, and called us the class mom and dad. That’s what I do, my friends, I caretake! :)

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During his last few days of training, I got to go visit him at the fire station where he was working. Let me tell you, my heart swelled with pride when I saw him in that uniform. Even though he had been paid call for over a year, something was different. This was the real deal! And, lucky me, he obliged my desires for a few pics with the rig. His partner was nice enough to take them! Thumbs up for surviving the Academy!

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The Academy ended on my birthday. What a great day to celebrate, right? Matthew got his badge and helmet and I got to partake in the whole day of celebrations with him!

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Matthew’s whole family was able to come celebrate with us! Well, minus our Bro in Law Hayden, but he had a good excuse (he was out of the country at the time). This was one of the first time we had both of his sisters together in a long time. So great to spend time with his family that day!

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I know Matthew is blessed to have so many awesome firefighters help him along the way. I am grateful to each and every one of these people. Oh, and Matthew painted the plaque. It looks amazing in person!

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Of course, I took way too many more pictures, but I will share this one with my sis in loves. So much better than in law. Right?

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We ended the day with a dinner date, and meeting up with friends at Hangar 24 for drinks. Not a bad way to celebrate my birthday and his graduation!

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He actually had the next day off, so we got to dye Easter eggs with his sisters and our nephew. Who is just adorable. And how cute was he in his little fire outfit at the graduation??

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His first shift was on Easter. I went up to visit and see his new home away from home. It’s a fantastic station with a great view. The crew was nice and welcoming, especially since Matt got a call about 2 minutes into dinner and 5 minutes after I arrived!

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 Well, we survived. Their class motto was “survive and thrive,” and I think we did just that!

29 before I’m 29: updated

Now that it is two months past my birthday, I believe it is time to share how I did on my 29 before I’m 29 list. It’s been a long time coming, but I have had a lot of fun checking things off my list! If I didn’t, I just left it blank! Time to make a 30 before 30 list!

All in all, I did 22 out of the 29 things listed. That’s a 76% success rate! Not bad! Not bad at all!

1. Sew a Dress.

2. Make Macaroons AND Meringues. [I made coffee meringues on January 25, 2013 and they were so so delicious! I made the macaroons about 2 days before my birthday. Cutting it close, but finishing! Full post here!]

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3. Run a 5k (ha!). [I dominated (ha!) the Run Through Redlands on April 21, 2013. It was fun, and I'm ready to do another. Well, I need to train again, but I want to do another! Update 6/5/2014: I have run two Run through Redlands, one turkey trot, one Rock n Glow Night Run, and one fun run 5k this year. Oh yeah and in February I almost died of underpreparedness in the Phoenix 5k fun run for Westin WellBeing! Lots of running!]

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4. Finish Reading / Discussing with Shelly Created to be his Help Meet. [I finished reading it in January. I talked a bit about it a bit last summer. She is definitely a bit too conservative and complementarianistic for me. But there were some great things to learn about running my household well and honoring my husband.]

5. Stay at a Bed & Breakfast. [Done and done! We went on a one night getaway to a local B & B in our sixth anniversary. I can't believe it's been six years already!

We lounged around and watched movies while eating the cake they gave us!

We lounged around and watched movies while eating the cake they gave us!

6. Travel for our 5th Anniversary. [Done. We did two nights in Santa Barbara and 2 nights in Pismo. It was delightful! I have even made a photo album and had it printed. Thank you Shutterfly free albums for helping me get that finished!]

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7. Pay Off One of our Loans. [Still have a ways to go on this. But not giving up!!]

8. Get a New Tattoo (I have known what I wanted for like 4 years!) [Completed on March 8, 2013. It says Matthew. I LOVE it! I still want two more, but haven't gotten them done yet.]

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9. Sell Some of my Yarn (I have a bunch of stuff I don’t need in my craft room) [I sold a bunch at my yard sale in April 2013 and then gave away another batch on my blog. Now I'm challenging myself to only use what I have for projects.]

10. Knit Something (anything!) [I've been crocheting everything I can to try and finish my Crochet Every Day Project Goal!]

11. Start my new blog. [You're here! First post was in February 2013.]

12. Finish Guest Bathroom (it’s been a two year remodel) [We finished sometime last Winter. It is not even recognizeable from what it started with! Left for original, right for new, obviously!

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13. Go Whale Watching [Did this on March 9, 2013 to start off our anniversary trip. We saw a pod of killer whales. It was awesome... until Matthew fed the fishes some of his breakfast. :( ]

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14. Go to a Wine Bar with Matt (or Friends) [I went to a local place with three friends on May 3, 2013. The wine was just okay, and I found it a bit weird that this one guy "makes" 30+ types of wine. Hmmm. It was a fun night with friends though, and I wore a cute DIY shirt. Update 6/5: The wines have grown on me and I'm actually a member now!]

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15. Chalk Dye my Hair! [I let the girls at church chalk dye my hair in May 2013. Okay, fine. I totally asked them to do it! It was fun, but very faint. Definitely going to do that again! Update 6/5: I actually used a bunch of chalk dye in my hair for Halloween last year. First as a mermaid, then at work as an 80's rocker!]

80s hair

16. Knott’s Berry Farm Trip [We went in January and had a blast. Plus, it was free! Actually we went this year in January too. And also checked out the Bodies Exhibit down the street. Very cool! Can't wait to go back to see the Titanic Experience!]

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Matt won me a giant puppy in two tries!

Matt won me a giant puppy in two tries!

17. Eat Lamb [This was accomplished during my family trip to Disneyland in May 2013. I had lamb pasta at the Carthay Circle, and I'm still not sure how I feel about it. It was definitely gamey, and a little spicy. I definitely want to try it again. Update 6/5: It's on my meal plan this week! We shall see how it tastes when I cook it!]

18. Lord of the Rings Marathon (why not?)  [I watched extended versions of 1 and half of 2 with Alice and Rj over the summer. Plans to finish at some point, but calling it good!]

19. Do One Project with my Instagram Pics [I made two frames with pics inside, and an inspiration wall in my bathroom. Mission accomplished. Although I still plan to make some insta necklace charms. Update 6/5: Totally made those necklaces too!]

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20. Read the WHOLE Bible [Not even close. Sad days.]

21. Complete the 21 Day Sugar Detox [I finished this on January 20, 2013 and did a whole write up about Sugar & Booze on my other blog. I did it again in August of 2013, complete with a photo challenge: weeks one, two, and three!]

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22. Cheese Tasting in Temecula [I did this a couple weeks ago, but we did try and go in April, but the restaurant closed early, so I'm counting it as finished! Oh and the brie baked in sourdough, amazing!! So delicious!]

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23. Save Up for a Food Processor. [Purchased on February 18, 2013! I LOVE it! I make nut butters, cauliflower pizza, and grate cheese. Best investment ever.]

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24. Visit Alcatraz (I lived in the Bay Area for 18 years and never went)

25. Downsize Magazine Stacks in Craft Room [I sold some of them at my garage sale. I still have a long way to go.]

26. Have a Baby (yup, I just put it out there. No. I’m not pregnant) [Obviously that did not happen, and I have lamented a lot about waiting and choosing joy. Which I am still doing. Last week I visited a functional medicine doctor, so we shall see what happens there!]

27. Make Family Yearbooks (2007-2012)

28. Make a Mojito. [Made a regular and strawberry margarita on 2/15/2013. And lucky you, I shared my recipe!]

mojito 2

29. Wine Chair Cushions. [I finished these on February 22, 2013. So fun and cute. Plus I can wash them. Double win! I'm pretty sure I've had a post in my drafts about these for a year. We shall see if that ever gets posted!]

Wnie Chair Cushion 2

Whew. Just looking back at that list reminds me of all that I accomplished!

Choose Joy

Choose Joy. Where do I begin? Well, Bobbi wanted me to go to this conference last year, but I was sorta like eh, I’m not really into adoption quite yet (not against it, just not on our radar at the moment), but you go and have fun. She had such a wonderful time at the conference, and it was perfect for her because she had just gotten a tattoo that said choose joy and was so ready for adoption. Fast forward four months (or so) and she had little Rylee placed into her arms. Amazing. Watching that sweet little girl blossom under Matt & Bobbi’s care has been nothing short of joy. Fast forward another couple weeks (seriously, it was that fast after RJ arrived) and Bobbi and I officially started Refresh Attire. Another fast forward (about four months) and Emmy asked us to make shirts for the Choose Joy conference. We split the profit with the event and donated to the cash raffle. This raffle went to any one wanting to build their family through adoption, or pursue infertility treatments. I digress. This is my story.

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The tanks that we made turned out super cute. Emmy’s logo is adorable. (oh and random ad: the shirts are still available in the shop). I decided to go to this conference to sell the shirts. Honestly, that was the driving factor when I bought my ticket earlier this year. Matt just laughed and rolled his eyes, saying he knew I would get the ticket (I’ve been dropping adoption hints all over the place). As I researched their event more, I realized that it had so much to do with infertility too. This went hand in hand with my realization of a few months ago that I am having infertility issues. I hated that label for so long. I felt like it made me less than. Not really a woman. A failure. But I realize now that it is nothing more than a descriptive word. Infertile = no pregnancy with six months of unprotected (and I think maybe well timed?) baby making. We definitely fall into that category. And you know what, I’m the same person as I was before I decided to claim that label. I’m still a Christ follower, husband loving, pet caring, kind, joyful woman. You can just add infertile to that list. And you know what else? I don’t think it’s a forever thing. It just is what it is. And it is a season that God has used to teach me SO MUCH!

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So I decided to go to two sessions on infertility and one on foster care. I am really interested in foster care. Even if it’s not foster adopt, but just loving on some kiddos who’s parents don’t know how. There is such a need for that. The worship was awesome and made me cry. The foster care session (led by Kara and Kristen) was really formative and I loved hearing their stories. Although I feel like I’ve already learned a lot through Bobbi. The ethics and infertility session was really interesting. I have never even though about IVF treatments and the decisions that can go along with it. Who knew you can screen embryos? And what do you do if you have leftover embryos after successful pregnancies? So many questions! such hard answers!

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The “market” was open after that. We sold Refresh Attire tanks and tees and bought some adorable Adopt Shoppe necklaces. Those bad boys are coveted in the crafy / instagram / adoption community. As in, they sell out within minutes. So I was super excited to get my own Choose Joy necklace. The  one I chose signifies where I am at and what God has taught me — the Joy of the Lord is my Strength. Amen! Oh and Kate, the owner, is super sweet and kind. We were lucky enough to have our booth right next to her!

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We also had a time for crafts (so cute!) and photo booth. What bloggers / instagrammers / girls don’t love a good photobooth??

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The last session that I went to was on miscarriage and loss, led by Julie. It was hard, you guys, really hard. But I also felt less alone. I felt like the loss that I experienced was real. Because, you see, since I had two chemical pregnancies and not a x amount of weeks miscarriage, I convince myself that I don’t have the right to have pain. That I didn’t really experience a loss. But I did. I really did. And it hurts. Some days I think, I would have a three month old right now. And that sucks. But at the same time, it’s okay. The Lord has carried me through it. The most valuable thing I learned from this class was to have hope. To grieve well. To know that I will never have answers this side of heaven. And that it is perfectly okay to be crazy at times.

After that session, and lots of Kleenex, we heard from Brian & Jen. They shared their story and inspired me to keep on going. To wait and see how God’s plan will unfold for me. Ashley (below) shared her story earlier and it was nothing short of amazing. That is one woman who God will use mightily!

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So I went to this conference with no agenda or expectations. I was excited to learn, but didn’t really expect it to be life changing. I started to cry as I entered the doors (I blame PMS on that one) and left feeling refreshed, encouraged, and definitely spurred on to continue to choose joy. This event was such a blessing and I am already looking forward to next year. I’m also wondering what our story will look like next year!

Meringues & Macaroons

On of the things on my 29 before I turn 29 list (which, if you are keeping track, expired last month), was to make meringues and macaroons. I made the meringues very early on (like last March). I found a coffee meringue recipe in a magazine (which I cannot find now, because it was a year ago, but this is comparable) and just went for it. I decided to dip the tops in chocolate for an extra treat. And that was a good choice, for sure! The only problem with these cookies was just how many I could eat in one sitting. But then you think about how few ingredients are in them, and feel okay with that decision!!

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As for the macaroons, which were a request from Matthew, I went with Koko’s recipe. I did alter it a bit though by dipping those bad boys in chocolate. And I made these about four days before my birthday. Just barely squeezing them in!!

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In the background, you can see the chocolate peanut butter no bake cookies from Shari. I loved them, but Matthew was not the biggest fan. There is a lot of sugar in them, so they taste like texas sheet cake. But, they are gluten free if you buy the right oats. So that’s a win in my book!

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Don’t those macaroons look amazing? I tried to plate them nicely, but, well you get what you get. This, my friends, is why I’m not a food blogger. But it’s okay. I still eat like one! And that’s all that matters, right? haha

Surviving the Academy [FireFighterWife post #3]

Today I’m back at FireFighterWife sharing about how to survive an Academy. Here’s an excerpt, below…

Last month I promised a post about getting through the Academy. I planned to write all about the food that I made, all the hours I cleaned and did laundry, and in general how I was amazing and had this down like a pro. Ha! That is definitely not this post. I mean, I did cook and clean a lot, and I’ll share about that, but this month was so much more than that. I think I truly learned what it means to be a fire wife and be fire strong!

Sure. He’s been in this for three years, an EMT and paid call firefighter for the past one and a half, but this was different. From 5:30 am to 6:00 pm my husband was pretty much unreachable. Like could not even check texts unreachable. He also came home and completely worn out! As in, week one he could barely move. And do you know what else happened this month? Craziness!! Our garage door broke, disposal clogged, and accident prone dog broke his toe and got ticks for the first time (ps anyone want a dog? jk!) I had to make decisions all on my own. I was wrong on the door, but thankfully I was able to change that decision. Immediate medical issues with the dog though, those had to be chosen right then and there.

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I’m happy to say that making those decisions was super easy and I never second guessed myself. Not! I hate making decisions for our family, but it had to be done. I was so not expecting this. And you know what, I got totally overwhelmed at times. But that’s okay. I made decisions (splint not surgery) and then cried on my drive home because honestly I just had no idea what else to do. Also, I keep asking God why my dog is so accident prone. I’m pretty sure it is because this is training me for kids. For potentially making medical decisions without Matt. So, for that reason I am grateful for this.

Head on over to FireFighterWife to see how I got through the Academy. And see pics of my and my handsome firefighter at his graduation. Because, that’s right, he is now a full time (limited tem) firefighter!!  What What!!