Tuesday, January 31, 2012


It seems that I was "tagged" in the blog world by my sweet friend, Andrea. So here goes the official post:

11 Things about me...
(I've done something like this before, so some of these may sound familiar)

1.I have self-diagnosed CDO. It's kind of like OCD; except the letters are in alphabetical order as they should be. Let's just say "a place for everything and everything in it's place" is putting it mildly.

2. I could live on pasta for the rest of my life. Husband thinks I am secretly trying to convert him to a vegetarian... he may or may not be right.

3. I love to write. I love the way words can flow seamlessly across a page to form new stories and ideas. There could be more to come from this once I have a little more time on my hands...

4. I hate sand but I love the beach.

5. I'm secretly a 14 year old girl on the inside... I love Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, High School Musical and Glee.

6. I judge people on their bumper stickers and that determines whether I let them in front of me.

7. I have a mild obsession with awards shows. The Oscars are my super bowl.

8. I have had chocolate chip pancakes every Thursday night (almost) for dinner the past four years. I think it's more fun if I leave this one as is without an explanation.

9. I am a "beginner" runner. I started a couple years ago and picked it up again last summer. I went running again on Saturday and it felt great. It reminds me that my body is capable of doing something.

10. I am learning more every day about God's sustaining grace.... which leads me to number 11.

11. I am now a mom of two babies in Heaven at the age of 26. I like to think that now they have each other to play with.

If you could have someone play you in a movie, who would you choose?
Reese Witherspoon. She might have to darken her hair a bit, though.

If you won the lottery, what would be the FIRST thing you would do with your money?
Donate to the Kanakuk Institute and Tri-County Young Life for some scholarships and camperships while booking an amazing trip around the world... all at the same time.
What song will always bring you out on the dance floor?
Those that know me best know that I'm not that outgoing of a dancer. Husband on the other hand will dance even if there is no music... or really anyone around...

What is one quirky thing you do that others may find strange?
I feel as though my roommates might be able to better answer this than I can... Here's one- If I drink a glass of milk, I always have to put it in the freezer for about 5 minutes before I drink it- this way it's not frozen, but nicely chilled. This is usually done in combination with with fun fact #8 above.

If you could change your profession to anything without having to go back to school, what would you choose?
Seeing as how I pretty much have the best job on the planet right now and I'm about to give it up for the oppotunity to have another amazing job and be able to stay home more... this one's hard. The only job I can think of that I would love more than what I'm doing now is co-hosting the Today Show alongside Matt Lauer.

What one superpower would you choose to have?
The ability to make things happen just by twitching my nose like on Bewitched. You know... delicious gormet meals, cleaning, yard work, etc.

Who is the one famous person you would like to meet?
Only one? Today, I would have to say Oprah and not just because people pronounce my last name like that.

If you could live during any time in history, when would you choose?
Though I could do without WWII, I would have to say the 1940's- Love the fashion, the hairstyles and the lifestyle without all of the technology that distracts us today.
What is your favorite photograph?
The summer that Dustin and I got married, we drove across the country after kamp. We didn't have any money or really knew what we were doing. We knew that our adventure was just beginning.

Would you rather be 4' or 7' tall?
This is tough... I guess 4ft, because that way I could still wear tall heels to make up for it.

If you could only do one dance for the rest of your life, would it be the macarena or the electric slide?
I would rather staple my feet to the floor... but if I had to choose probably the electric slide. Boogie oogie...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Soup

Ok, I know your first thought may be... really? That is what I thought to, but I figured I would give this recipe a shot because husband likes things with a kick (and really so do I). If you like buffalo chicken, I would suggest giving this recipe a chance and you might be as pleasantly surprised as I was.

- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 cans condensed cream of chicken soup (healthy request)
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup (healthy request)
- 1 bunch green onions (chopped)
- 4 cups of milk (I used 1%)
- 1/2 cup Frank's buffalo sauce (I used a whole cup, because we like things spicy but I would probably use 3/4 cup next time)
- 1 cup of sour cream (I use low-fat)
-1 tbsp butter

1. Saute the chicken on the stove top in a little bit of buffalo sauce (about a 1/4 cup) and a tbsp of butter.

2. In a separate pot, combine the soups, milk, buffalo sauce and onions on low heat. Stir until thoroughly mixed.

3. When the chicken is fully cooked, shred it with two forks and add it to the soup.

4. Mix the sour cream into the pot and stir until texture is smooth.

5. Let simmer for 5-10 more minutes.

6. Serve topped with whatever sounds good- I topped mine with a scoop of sour cream and some chopped celery, green onion and mozzarella cheese (blue cheese crumbles would have been delish but I didn't have any).

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

New Things Coming

If you've been following my blog for a while, you've gotten to see snapshots of what I get to do for my job. If you're new to the blog, you can click on the "Children's" category on the side bar to see what I'm talking about. I can honestly say that I have the best job in the world, love where I work and the people that I work with. Last summer when I was pregnant the first time, I was able to really evaluate my job through the eyes of a mom and I realized that as much as I love what I do- I ultimately wanted to stay home when we had a baby. Don't get me wrong- I know many moms that work full-time and love it. That is just not what Dustin and I desire for our family. We began to pray about it and I didn't really have clarity as to what this meant in regards to staying home full-time or possibly working part-time. I did know that for me to even work part-time, I would have to love where I worked and what I was doing.

After our first miscarriage, not only were our hearts were broken but I was also left with this feeling of uncertainty in regards to what God had in store for us. Towards the end of the year, a friend/former coworker informed me of a potential opening in her department. The position was to be part-time as a program coordinator in our Transplant Services department as the director of Camp Independence (Children's camp for kiddos with kidney disease, on dialysis or have received an organ transplant). Dustin and I both prayed about this opportunity and I decided to interview for it. This job seemed to be the perfect fit as it was still at Children's- but working two days a week at the hospital and one day from home. I accepted the position right before Christmas... around the same time I found out I was pregnant for the second time. We were beyond excited to celebrate both a baby and a new job for Christmas and couldn't wait for 2012 to start.

Just as it seemed that all of "our plans" were falling into place... God had a different plan. After our second miscarriage earlier this month, we found ourselves really questioning why God was allowing us to go through all of this. 2011 seemed to end on the highest note possible, only to have the bottom fall out in the beginning of 2012. While we don't have all of the answers, and probably never will- we do know that God is faithful and He will carry us through this.

On February 6th, I will begin my new job and am looking forward to it very much. It encompasses many of my strengths- event planning and volunteer coordination and combines them with the compassion I have for our patients and my love for camps. Dustin and I are both excited about this new opportunity and know that the timing of everything is no surprise to God. While my previous job at Children's was perfect for the season of life we were in, we know that this is the next step and trust that He is preparing us for when we do get to bring our baby home in our arms.

Friday, January 20, 2012

You've Got Mail

You've Got Mail is one of my all-time favorite movies. If you haven't seen it, you really need to close this blog and add it to your Netflix queue or go pick it up from your nearest Blockbuster if you can find one. There are several reasons why it's my favorite movie, but the main reason has to be the underlying theme. You see, Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks are email and IM "pen pals" throughout the whole movie and never know the others true identity. The funny thing is that in real life, they actually know each other and have a love/hate relationship for most of the movie-- not knowing that the other person is who they are really falling in love with online. Spoiler alert. At the end of the movie, they agree to meet in a beautiful garden. Meg Ryan is standing all alone until she sees Tom Hanks round the corner. She runs up to him and says "I wanted it to be you. I wanted it to be you so badly!" During most of the movie, what I'm thinking and what I really wish I could scream through my TV at Meg Ryan is "Just wait until the end! I promise, it will be great and worth it and you will get what your heart desires. You can't see it yet, but I can- because I know the whole story."

I think that is exactly what God is trying to tell me right now... really what He's trying to tell any of us that's been dealt more than we can handle right now. "Just wait until the end. I promise, it will be great and worth it and you will get what your heart desires. You can't see it yet, but I can- because I know the whole story." When we are so consumed by our own storms, we can't see the clouds clearing over the horizon because we're just trying to stay afloat. It's during this time, that I am very thankful for friends and family that are able to see the horizon even if I can't. It's by their prayers and their emails and texts and I can trust that God is at work through it all.

One reason that I know God is at work actually occurred to me during a conversation with one of my patient's moms. She said "I don't see his illness as being a bad thing anymore. He has made more of an impact and touched more lives in his 4 years of living than I have in my entire life".  My previous post Broken but Hopeful had over 200 views in 24 hours. The only other post to reach that number was this one. Though I would have never chosen these life happenings, I've reached more people in the past year of my life than I have in the 24 leading up to it. My prayer is that I can continue to be an encouragement and use my words to bring comfort and peace even when I have a hard time finding it myself. I know my babies are with Jesus... I just pray daily that I can use their story... my story... to point others to Him as well.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Good for the Soul

 Some friends of ours who have also experienced multiple pregnancy losses recently gave us the book Streams in the Desert. It is basically a year-long devotional that focuses around the topic of trials and hardship. We are only 19 days in and I'm already looking forward to starting each day with this. It's been especially good on days when I haven't exactly felt like opening the Bible. While each entry is encouraging in its own way, I wanted to share one in particular:

"A child of God was once overwhelmed by the number of afflictions that seemed to target her. As she walked past the vineyard during the rich glow of autumn, she noticed its untrimmed appearance and the abundance of leaves still on the vines. The ground has been overtaken by a tangle of weeds and grass and the entire place appeared totally unkempt. While she pondered the sight, the heavenly Gardener whispered such a precious message to her the she could help but share it. The message was this: "My dear child, are you questioning the number of trials in your life? Remember the vineyard and and learn from it. The gardener stops pruning and trimming the vine or weeding the soil only when He expects nothing more from the vine during the season. He leaves it alone, because it's fruitfulness is gone and further effort now would yield no profit. In the same way, freedom from suffering leads to uselessness. Do you now want me to stop pruning your life? Shall I leave you alone? Then her comforted heart cried, "No". (L.B. Cowman and Jim Reimann)

"Every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful" (John 15:2)

Now that I've shared some chicken soup for the soul, here is some that is good for the body. I'm not sure when it became the national comfort food of choice, but it does hit the spot on a cold January day.

Chicken Noodle Soup
- 1 rotisserie chicken (I buy the lemon pepper kind from Publix)
- 2 cups of chopped carrots
- 2 cups of chopped celery
- 2 cups of chopped onion (I cheat and buy all of these veggies pre-chopped, worth the splurge if you're not in the mood to chop)
- 3/4 bag of extra wide egg noodles
- 1 large and 1 regular carton of chicken broth (I use low-sodium)
- 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp chopped garlic

- Shred the chicken, discard the bones and set the meat aside on a plate.
- Splash some EVOO in the bottom of a large pot and allow garlic to simmer on med/low until fragrant.
- In a separate pot, boil some water and cook the egg noodles until slightly firmer than al dente.
- Once hot, add the veggies to the garlic and simmer on med/low until mostly cooked through (about 10 min).
- Once the veggies are cooked through, turn the heat to low and add the chicken.
- Pour both cartons of broth and squeeze the lemon juice into the pot.
- Strain the under-cooked noodles, add to the pot and stir.
- Let simmer for about 5-10 more minutes. Depending on how strong of a flavor you want, you can also sprinkle some poultry seasoning in the pot at this point

This tastes best if you eat it in sweat pants, on the couch while covered up with a blanket. Enjoy.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Broken But Hopeful

When we I started this blog, it was originally intended to be a way for us to share what is going on in our lives with whomever was interested in reading it. I'd always wanted to have a super successful blog that reached hundreds of thousands of people, but always thought our lives were a bit too ordinary to make an interesting read. Ordinary doesn't draw people to your website or make them buy your book. My original plan was to include pictures and stories along with the occasional recipe and decorating tip, but then I quickly learned how popular this approach is in the blog world and knew my blog would most likely never stand alone in this saturated market.

Most of the blogs that I read now are filled with posts about pregnancy, new babies and all of the joy that comes from them. It's a lot harder to find blogs about things that aren't happy and joyful- sickness, loss and grief. Maybe this is because people can't bring themselves to write about such things or maybe they think that people won't read it. Well, there is a topic that is quickly working its way to the surface of our blog that falls into the category of "things people never write about".

Miscarriage. Even the word just alludes pain and sadness. Last Wednesday, Dustin and I went through our second miscarriage in seven months. I was seven weeks pregnant. This time, we ended up having to go to the emergency room while we were out in Missouri at Dustin's annual K-Life conference. While the process was much different this time, most of the same emotions from June came flooding back. The hurt, sadness and pain that have been covered by God's grace and healing over the past six months suddenly stung like alcohol in an open wound all over again. However, this time, both Dustin and I began to notice a new emotion that really wasn't there last time. Anger. We were angry with God for choosing to bless us with a child at Christmas only to allow this to happen again. We were angry that it happened while we were out of town and had to go through it in a foreign hospital with doctors we'd just met. Most of all, we were angry because it seemed as if the restoration and hope we'd gained over the past six months had been ripped out from under us.

At first, I know we both felt guilty for being angry with God, but that was until we realized that the Bible is filled with hurt people who've cried out to God in anger. Even David, a man after God's own heart, said "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?" (Psalm 22:1). Those words were very real to us and could have been our own. Through the hurt and the anger, we were also reminded that "The righteous cry, and the Lord hears and delivers them out of their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit" (Psalm 34:17-18).

Most days, I try to focus on the latter- but those Psalm 22 moments when I feel like God is very far still surface from time to time even though my heart knows He's incredibly near. As I was typing this post, I considered changing the title of the blog... to what, I'm not sure... but "O Happy Day" hasn't really been the most accurate description of our life recently. Then, I was reminded that God never promised us that all of our days would be happy; he only promised us that we'd never have to face them alone. So because of this, I am hopeful. I am hopeful that our happiest days are still ahead of us. Someone told me recently that life is a package deal- you can't pick and choose the days that fill it. 

So while I will continue to post pictures, stories, recipes and decorating tips, I pray this blog can also be an encouragement to women who have gone through or are going through the same thing. I never really understood the heartbreak of miscarriage, because I used to think it was God's way of taking care of babies that were never meant to be. I now have an entirely different view and know that God has a plan for each little beating heart- no matter how long it beats. We know that our babies are now in Heaven and we'll ultimately see them again. Until that time, I pray that we can use the impact these precious little lives made to bring glory to their Maker.