IVF: Playing God or Trusting God

All I want is a baby... One to love and nurture, one to raise and hold. But everything else has failed. All the treatments and medicines have failed to make that dream a reality. Then the doctors come in with their advice... "We think in-vitro fertilization (IVF) is your best option for getting pregnant and having a child." 

But I'm a Christian and my mind starts racing. 

How far is too far? Am I trying to play God? What about the "extra" embryos?

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Being a Friend When Infertility Strikes

A friend loves at all times... but what if your friend (or family member) is going through something that you cannot understand?  Until I was faced with infertility myself I had no idea just how common it is. It's such a personal struggle for so many women and couples that it often stays hidden just below a very thin surface of brave smiles.  In fact more than 1 in 8 women and couples will be affected by infertility. So the odds are good that you know someone dealing with this extremely difficult issue. 

If you have a friend dealing with infertility, she is likely feeling very isolated and very alone. While you may not have walked the road they are facing, it's likely that you have experienced some sense of hurt or deep fear over something personal in your life and can relate more than you think you can. I confided in a friend who had reached out to me, but fearfully, I gave her an out by saying something along the lines of "but you don't want to hear about that."  Her quick reply of "I may not have dealt with this issue, but I've been through hurt before. At the end of the day it really doesn't matter what causes the hurt and fear, it feels the same, so please let me help you through yours." made all the difference. I knew I wasn't alone. Keep reading for some tips on how to be a good friend when infertility strikes.

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Hello My Name Is...

As I talked about in my last post, A Clean Slate, Now What?, it has been a while since I've written last. So there are probably some of you whom I haven't met yet. I so wish I could meet each of you sweet friends face to face over a cup of coffee. I want to hear your story, what you're excited about, what you're struggling with, and how I can pray with you. Since that's a little difficult to do over this whole internet thing, I'll introduce myself and tell you our story and how this little space to hang out in came to be. I love that this is an safe space in the world for us to encourage each other through some tough times. I love hearing from you though emails, prayer requests and comments, so please follow us on social media (@ournotsoengineeredlife), subscribe to the newsletter (I promise we don't send out very many), leave us comments and let us know what's going on in your journey. Your story matters!

The conversations are where the best relationships are born, where we get to know each other and encourage each other through life's journeys. Please know that I do love open comments and conversations, but I also highly respect the need for anonymity, especially when you're struggling through a difficult time in your life. So right up front, I just want to assure you, privacy will be respected as we talk about prayer requests and things of that nature.

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So with that... Hello, my name is Courtney. I am about as extroverted as they come and a full blown night owl. But many of my favorite people in this world are quite introverted and love running before sunrise... yes, like in the morning. Running... before sun up. I do not get it, but love them in spite of their questionable decision making. :) So wherever you find yourself fitting on the social interaction scale, you are welcome here. I am so thankful you are here and really wish I could be serving you a cup of coffee at my kitchen table right now. So let's just pretend, shall we? 

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I absolutely love making new friends, entertaining in our home and laughing over good food and coffee. Despite being an engineer, I'm most happy when I'm cooking, crafting, planning parties or writing. {Proof you can teach an old dog new tricks...} I'm fiercely competitive, love traveling and am not very good at relaxing and sitting still. You will almost always find a stack of three or four books by my bed that span the ranges from inspirational religious books to good old fashioned murder mysteries. Most of my time is now spent trying to make the most of our family time, keeping up with my daughter's endless energy, hosting play dates, or attending school and church functions with her. I am also a Bible study junkie. I thoroughly enjoy leading and being a part of women's Bible study groups, speaking and serving God through bringing comfort and encouragement to others who are walking through a difficult season of life. 

In 2002, I proudly graduated from the University of Alabama { Roll Tide } with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and a heart that was deeply in love with this handsome guy who had graduated from the University of Florida as a Nuclear Engineer the previous year. In 2003, Rob and I were married and working for the same company. We spent our first several years together enjoying married life, being committed to our challenging and enjoyable careers, traveling and hosting parties for any and every occasion.

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When we began contemplating having a family, we were so full of excitement, nervous anticipation, dreams and plans... plans that two engineers can't resist making. For a marriage made of two people with extremely logical, Type-A personalities, we are in our comfort zone when there is very little "unknown" to be treading in. Why would there be? If we have already thought through all the variables, planned for anything, and are prepared to move forward before we ever take our first step, then the "unknowns" shouldn't be a problem. Shouldn't be... until life throws in an unexpected twist.  That was our state of mind when we entered our "5 year plan" to start a family. We were ready to begin the next phase of our lives with nothing but excitement - and a lot of naivety. We had no idea we were about to step off a cliff that would drop us into an entire world of not knowing what was to come or what to expect - but also into a world where God would become so unbelievably real in every moment of every day that we were forced to recognize that our plans are meaningless unless they fall in line with His plans, His will and His purpose.

God chose this moment in our lives to intervene, take over and show us that He is really in charge. To read more about our walk through infertility, miscarriage and our multiple rounds of IVF, click on the button below. 

Our lives took some pretty drastic turns after realizing we were going to struggle to have our family, but in hindsight, I wouldn't change a thing. Those changes and struggles brought us so much closer to each other as husband and wife, and even closer to God. I know now what a tremendous blessing it is to be called Mommy. Now, as a stay-at-home-mom, I am striving to live every day intentionally for God, supporting my husband, raising our little one and taking every opportunity to encourage others. I am passionate about telling our story so that you know that you are not alone and that there is always hope. 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
— 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

I am an open book about our infertility journey and IVF processes. If you are facing fertility treatments, I would love the chance to pray with you or help you navigate through the sometimes overwhelming amount of information and decisions. I am by no means a medical expert, but I have walked in your shoes and understand many of the emotions and fears you may be facing. Please feel free to contact me or visit our prayer page to let us know how we can pray for you during your journey. You are not in this alone.

With love & laughter,

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The Slate is Clean, Now What?

It has been a roller coaster of a year, but as I sit here with coffee in hand, watching birds eat from the feeder on our new deck, I'm ready to dust off the keys and let you in on a little something I've been learning over the past few months. Sometimes, an answered prayer isn't the end of the story, but rather the beginning. What you think may be the ending of a book is just the birth of the sequel. Sometimes the answer to prayer is going to be simultaneously more wonderful and more difficult than you ever thought. A fresh start is anything but a clean slate... but a reminder that we all carry baggage with us, that has to be occasionally purged, sorted and reorganized. But that's not a bad thing at all if we remember where it came from and why it comes with a great importance.

The beginning of this year, my family moved across the state. We went from a terribly stressful, hectic, out of balance life to one that brought the freedom to breathe easier, to play together, to start fresh. God answered our family prayers in a big way. He led us to an amazing opportunity to place priorities back in the right order; to give my husband a dream job that suits both his personality and his passion; to bring us back to my hometown, closer to family and the exciting opportunities a bigger city offers for raising a child. It was a dream come true... except for after years of making life and marriage work in spite of the stresses and unrelenting schedules, I now felt completely lost in the freedom and fresh start this answer to prayer brought.

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Over the summer we stayed incredibly busy exploring our new home, settling in and decorating the new house, traveling with my husband's job, meeting new friends and soaking up every minute the last few months brought before my baby girl started to big kid school in the fall. It was a challenging but wonderfully sweet time for us as me and my mini-me learned that extroverts could survive while rebuilding a a social world that had suddenly become very small. Fast forward to the fall and to school days, and our days are now filled with getting my big girl up and ready in time to catch the bus in the mornings and making sure I'm home in the afternoons to welcome her home with a big hug, a bowl of ice cream and listen to stories of how her day went. But in the time in-between the bus routes, I've come face to face with the task God had laid before me years ago.

I had become distracted with all that life was throwing at us. I was trying to just keep my head above water. I was tired, spent and just wanting to hide from anything that might add to my stress. I needed to take a break from writing for a while to get through all the transitions and find my voice again, and then it just became easier to not write that first post. I was selfish and I was scared. But God wouldn't - won't - let me step away from what He's called me to.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
— 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

When we find ourselves in a distressed stage of life, it's hard to keep that bigger picture. It's hard to not make things all about us. But God is wanting us to trust Him to bring us comfort, so that we can do the same for others around us and point them to God's unfailing goodness. He has reminded me of this time and time again. He allowed us a season of infertility, loss and fear so that we could see His goodness, experience His comfort and see His bigger purpose. It's my honor and privilege to keep telling our story, to listen and invest in yours, to pray with you that you will experience the same comfort I did and see just how much God loves you as He rescues you from your pain.

In reading through the Old Testament this year, one thing has been made exceptionally clear, God doesn't show up in pillars of fire and burning bushes and divided seas very often. He sometimes uses the dramatic to make Himself and His direction known in a very clear way. Then He fully expects and asks us to faithfully follow Him in joyful obedience. He will keep us on the path He originally set out for us, confirming and encouraging us in His precious whispers until it is His plan to use us another way. So I was praying for a change in direction and God was answering me with making the passion that started this website stronger. I prayed for the easy way out and He answered with emails of prayer requests and relationships to remind me of the importance of just following Him faithfully. Encouraging you, praying with you, listening to you and walking through difficult seasons with you is truly a beautiful gift and an honor. The pain I once went through with infertility isn't baggage at all... it's an opportunity to serve Him passionately and to be rewarded with the gift of some amazingly wonderful friends along the way. I have seen God do so many amazing things through friends that came alongside me when I was hurting and continue to see that repeated time and time again when I have the privilege of helping you through your pain. God works miracles through relationships when we aren't scared or too tired or too timid to put ourselves out there to be used and to open up ourselves to let others see our vulnerabilities. When we are weak, He is strong. His Word never changes and He loves us too much to let us hurt alone if we will just be open to His plans for our life. 

God answered our prayers for a fresh start that has turned out to be the beginning to the sequel He started through this blog and ministry years ago. That is to walk alongside you, to encourage you, to listen to you and your story because, my friend, your story matters so much and sometimes we all need a reminder that we are not alone.

With much love and prayers,

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The Instant Your World Changes

Like an earth shattering event that causes rivers to change course or flow backwards for a time, our lives can be drastically altered in a single instant. The words that follow “I’m sorry, but…” pack a punch.

I’m sorry, but…

You’re infertile. It’s cancer.  You can no longer work here. You’ve lost the baby. Your pregnancy test was negative. Your disease is progressing, in spite of the treatments. There’s been an accident.

The instant those words are spoken, two worlds collide. Our biggest fears meet our reality. Life, as we know it, from that point on is different; not just for us, but for our loved ones, friends and family alike. The tectonic plates shift and it takes some time to realize the magnitude of the change that just took place.

If your world has just changed course with little to no warning, you need to be reminded of something important. God is still in control and He is still good. He doesn’t allow the world to be shaken underneath you without a greater purpose or plan at work. And he doesn’t leave you isolated. You are not alone in your struggle.

You see right after tragedy strikes, whether on an individual level or a global one, people respond. It’s how God designed us and it’s where we see His love in action in an incredibly powerful way. But if you’ve recently had a loved one suffer a devastating blow, you know how helpless it can leave you feeling. We want to fix things. We want to take all their pain away and protect them. But that’s not what God asks us to do. Certainly there are urgent logistics that need handling and there are needs to be met and don’t need to be minimized. Us Southern ladies will be the first ones to start up a meal delivery schedule for you because we know that various forms of chicken casserole will heal diseases and broken hearts that modern medicine can’t touch. And if you have something really serious, soup… we will bring you soup. That is our love language and we speak it well! The foods and childcare and grass cutting are absolutely needed, so if you’re doing that, please keep doing those wonderful things. But if you have a loved one hurting, the biggest thing you can do is to simply come alongside them and reassure them that they are not alone. Hold their hand, literally if you’re lucky enough to be close enough. Call them, cry with them, laugh with them. Let them talk and don’t try to fix it. Let them get angry, and sad, and hopeful and don’t interfere with their grief process. And pray, oh my goodness, pray.

In the last two weeks, I’ve had friends call with every single one of those events. Miscarriages, layoffs, cancer, failed IVF cycles, serious accidents. It’s been a heavy couple of weeks, but one that has reminded me that these things in life happen to each of us at some point. When they occur and our life shifts course we’re not targeted, it’s not a string of bad luck, it’s not a punishment. God doesn’t work that way. We simply live in a fallen world where death and destruction are a part of it and walk side-by-side with life and resurrection. They don’t undermine who God is or threaten His authority over all of life. If anything, they remind us greatly how much we need Him and how much we need to be thankful for all the good things. They usher in opportunities for His power and love, provision and healing to flow directly from heaven into our daily lives. Though it may not seem like we’re doing much, praying for a hurting loved one and letting them know we’re praying for them, may just in fact be the biggest thing we can do to comfort someone who has just had their world rocked. It’s at the core of a beautiful, powerful force waiting to be unleashed.

 

It’s the same force that took a devastating earthquake and turned it into a gorgeous snow-capped mountain. It’s the same force that used an explosive volcano to create a luscious, tropical island paradise. It’s the same force that will take your tragedy and turn it into a beautiful story to tell others of God’s glory. It’s the same force that brings us together, setting aside the petty differences, and reminds us how crucial it is for us to simply love one another. The force of God Himself is ready to flood into our tragic circumstances and broken hearts and cover us with comfort and healing, purpose and peace. 

So, my friends… if you’ve just been given bad news and are trying to figure out how to recover or fight for your life or family or marriage, please, please know, you are not alone. There’s an entire community of people praying for you right now. Jenny and I are praying for you. Feel whatever you need to feel to get through each step of this journey, but never question that God loves you and sees you and will provide for you to get through this. He will not forsake you.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
— Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)

If you are wondering what you can do for someone in your life who is hurting, don’t over-complicate it. Just be there for them. Call, send cards, text, send all the chicken casseroles, and for God’s sake, pray! Pray they will experience God’s presence and healing every single day. Pray they will be overcome with His peace, even in the midst of the painful circumstance. Pray God will be glorified through this experience.

After the dust settles and the fight is over, the transformation will be clear and beautiful if we have let God into it. 

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,a whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
— James 1:2-4 (NIV)

This is a subject that is near to both Jenny and myself. Like many of you, we’ve walked both sides of these earth shaking events and are passionate about letting others know how much they are not alone now. In the coming weeks, you’ll hear much more from us about practical ways we can strengthen each other as we go through hardships. So stay tuned… 

 

Just Go? But God!

We were laughing and chatting, enjoying an incredibly rare ladies day, when she filled me in on the latest in her adoption process. They were in the last stages of completing their home study and had already completed mounds of paperwork and interviews that probed into every aspect of their lives. They had gladly handed over the long list of friends and family they could call on for support during the initial transition time of bringing home a baby from overseas. All in all, things were going incredibly smoothly. Seeing the long list of nearby support had reminded them how blessed they were with reliable friendships and people who genuinely love their family. Of course, every adoption process has it's hiccups and they had been wisely warned by the counselor assigned to them that there would be something to crop up and slow things down along the way, but just to keep the end in focus and be flexible with the process. Then they got the news they weren't expecting...

Her husband received the news that he might be transferred and her family may have to move. While it would be a couple months before they found out where, they instantly knew everything had just been shifted to a new course in their adoption process. If they moved, the home study would have to be redone. The support system they had gladly handed over with confidence and a smile would be irrelevant and would have to be built again from scratch. If he was sent oversees, their family could be separated for a time and at a minimum, their adoption would be put on hold while she faced a period of time being the wife at home raising young children with a displaced husband.  

As she told me all of this and we talked through all the options, you could hear the anxiety in her voice. You could hear the nervousness that comes when knowing a big change is coming but you don't know where it's going to leave you. But time and time again, she repeated, "I know God is in this. He lead us into this and He's going to see us through to the end. We have to trust Him and His timing for both my current family and for when we get to bring our new baby home." We gladly prayed with her for weeks while they awaited the orders and what it would mean for their family and their adoption. But the question remained theirs to answer... Will we still trust Him when everything we've come to lean on is stripped away? Is He still good when we have to move away from all our friends and family and incur significant delays and additional expenses on an adoption we felt certain He was leading us to? Can we trust His timing is more perfect than our dreams and plans?

I could relate to her on so many levels. Not long ago, my family was faced with a similar test of faith. We have built a wonderful life here in Dothan. We have so many good friends here, several who have become like family. We have established careers here, brought a child home to our Dothan home and found a church that we could not love more. I was looking forward to raising our daughter here, in the heart of a city big enough for variety but still with the small town feel. It's safe here. 

But something had been stirring for a while. My husband had been growing increasingly more unhappy and stressed at work. The long hours and stress were taking a toll on his Type 1 diabetes and we were watching his blood sugar levels continue to rise, despite tightening up on diets. We finally reached the breaking point where we had to decide if we were going to stay here where we were comfortable, with an incredible support group, but with his health being put at risk and him missing out on so much home life; or were we going to recognize God at work, using his health as a measurable indicator for us to pay attention to that life was way out of balance and He was not our priority? But that meant taking a big risk to start looking for other opportunities elsewhere? It was the easiest and yet most difficult decision we had been faced with in quite some time. We would, of course, put our family and my husband's health first, but this had been our first real home together... 12 years of putting down roots. Giving that up that meant finding all new friends and a new church to be part of. That may not sound like that big of a change for you, but keep in mind, I'm a stay at home/work from home/mom now. My friends are my whole life these days! The thought of moving away from them made me sick. And it made me remember that "I know God is in this. He lead us here and He'll lead us to where we need to be next. He will provide for our needs, including friends, no matter where He sends us. He will provide if we trust Him." But the question still remained... Do I trust God when it's uncomfortable and scary? Am I willing to follow Him into the next unknown?

We sat at the kitchen table late in the night many nights talking about how God brought us here and provided so much and how He would do that again if He lead us somewhere else. We prayed for direction and guidance and peace. We prayed for a break in stress that would save Rob from a significant decline in health. We prayed we would know the right place to raise our daughter. I struggled through tears as I asked my girlfriends to pray with us through this decision. I struggled with knowing God was my only foundation and the comfortable friendships were the blessings that come with following Him, but they were not my foundation. Job applications were submitted with prayer and trusting that God would making things obvious for us. Hiring processes were significantly delayed for a number of reasons, and during that time, an opportunity presented itself at home. Rob was able to switch jobs within the plant to one that is a much better fit for his health and our family. We took a cut in pay, but didn't have to move. We were reminded that we have to be willing to move if we are going to completely trust God in everything. He alone is our foundation and He will always provide. 

Jenny was born and raised in the Dothan/Wiregrass area. Her parents lived here, along with her Grandmother. She knows just about anyone you can think of and is definitely the hometown girl. We were just getting into the grove of the regular play dates with our little blessings and were having so much fun with our friendship growing as they sparked their own little friendships. She was actively involved in her church family here. Her parents lived close by and were a regular part of their weeks. Then her husband got an opportunity to take a different job, but it would require them moving a couple hundred miles away. But with college being the only time in her life she wasn't living in this area, that opportunity came with a lot of questions, emotions, and a willingness to give everything over to trust God would lead them to a place He had planned for their family. Similarly to my situation, they were faced with God nudging them to move to put Him first, to put a priority on their family, and to trust Him without the safety net of the comfortable, already established life.

Just a couple short months later, the moving truck pulled away with their entire life packed up in boxes to move them to Augusta where they now reside. Her parents left the home they had always had to follow them. They fully trusted God in their move and though they were not without tears, they were peaceful and excited about what lied ahead for them in God's plan. Since the move, they have been blessed many times over by seeing God's provision, by putting them in the city where her mom would later be paired up with a doctor and clinic perfectly suited to helping her fight a nasty battle with cancer. Jenny, Asia and Ethan have flourished in their new home, have found new amazing friendships, and have found a new church that loves adoption as much as they do. 

God asked them to move and they did. It wasn't easy leaving so much that was familiar, but they knew it was the right thing to do and God has provided in amazing ways for them.

That's the big question... Are you willing to be unconditionally obedient? Will you follow God when He says go? Or do you only follow Him when you get to keep the things that make you comfortable? 

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

“I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”

So Abram went, as the Lord had told him;
— Genesis 12:1-4a (NIV)

What if seventy-five year old Abram (Abraham) had put limitations on his obedience to God? Thank God He was fully faithful and fully obedient. The great nation that God promised would come from him included Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Because he went, as the Lord told him, without limitations, we are all blessed today and have the opportunity to accept God's grace and salvation. 

Our choices have consequences. Choosing to follow God into whatever our wilderness may be -- unknowns in an adoption process, uprooting your family to move for another job, facing a pay cut or transfer to another city -- will always yield blessings, not only to our own families, but to all those we will encounter. He is good and faithful and will always provide for our needs when we put serving Him first in our lives.

What is God trying to get your attention with? What in your comfortable life are you at risk of giving more importance to than you give to God? Are you willing to be obedient, no matter what the cost? If so, He will always provide.

 

Grace for the Playground

See to it that no one misses the grace of God.
— Hebrews 12:15

"So what are you going to do today if your friend pinches you at school?” I glanced back in the rear view mirror to see her struggling with the conflict presented to her. Just yesterday she had gotten in trouble at school for pinching back, so we had spent some time talking through our options. “Well, mom, I’m going to try to not pinch him back. My brain knows I should tell him to stop doing that, leave him alone and tell my teacher. But mom, sometimes my fingers just do whatever they want to do.” I stifled a laugh, as I reiterated the best way to handle kindergarten conflict and suggested that she and her brain work hard to try to keep her fingers under control today. “I’ll try hard Mommy. I know I should always do the right thing, even if my friends do the wrong things. But sometimes it’s really hard.” I hear ya, sister! It is hard.

I wish I could tell her that always doing the right thing would get easier to do as she grew up, but the God’s honest truth is that sometimes it just doesn’t. When people wrong us, just like my four-year-old, our brains know how we should react, but sometimes our fingers (or mouths) just seem to have a mind of their own and before we know it, we respond out of emotions and in bad judgement. We may have outgrown the embarrassment of seeing our clips being moved up or down on a behavior chart, but the relational consequences are usually much bigger than just some playground tears or sitting in time out until we cool down.

Why is it so easy for us to hold grudges, withhold forgiveness and act out in bitterness and anger? Maybe, for those moments, we have forgotten what grace feels like. Perhaps for a minute our heart longs to cover up our own imperfections by shining a light on someone else’s mistakes.

Our reactions to someone doing us wrong is such a clear picture of how much of God’s grace we are allowing to flow through us. When words sting our hearts or actions leave us feeling betrayed or broken, we have a choice to make. We can react out of our hurt places and fire back nastiness. Or, we can remember just how much grace God has given us for all the times we act wrongly against others, and we can do the right thing. We can set an example of forgiveness, encouragement, kindness and grace. We can stop the cycle of condemnation, destruction, accusations and unkindness. But we have to make sure our heads and hearts keep our mouths and fingers under control.

‘Teacher,’ they said to Jesus, ‘this woman was caught in the very act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?’
— John 8:5

She was caught in the very act of one of the most scandalous acts. Yes, the law was clear on this matter, but their attempt at punishment was full of indignation and self-righteousness. How many times have we thought similar things? If we gossip loud enough and make a big deal pointing at her “really bad” acts or at how badly I was wronged when he said or did, you name it, then we can feel better about the mistakes we made. If their sin is bigger than my sin, then maybe people won’t find out about my secret. In their pride and self-righteousness, the religious teachers and Pharisees were ready to stone this woman in a manner full of shame and condemnation. But Jesus stopped them.

[Jesus replied] ‘All right, stone her. But let those who have never sinned throw the first stones!’
— John 8:7

Her actions were not written off as being acceptable. She had her own guilt to face from the laws she had clearly broken. We are no different. We have our own guilt and consequences to face and decisions to make about how we are going to proceed forward. But, like this woman, we have grace. We have the ability to show that grace to others in the way we react to their wrong-doings. Are we going to pinch back, spew angry words, seek revenge, and pile on shame and condemnation like the Pharisees? Or are we going to choose to think before we speak and deal with the behavior in love, without reacting in emotion?

And yes, my sweet girl, it is hard to always do the right thing, even when our friends sometimes don't. So let's try hard to control those fingers {and mouths} that have a mind of their own and pay attention to what we know is the right thing to do. Because, that is precisely why we need grace. That is why we have to start practicing showing grace on the playground.

When You Don't Know What To Say

Infertility can feel so alone. Whether you are the couple fighting to conceive, the patient sitting alone in a sterile room, or a friend or family member trying hard to know how to support your loved ones, it's hard to know what to say when hope and heartbreak are so very real. That's why we are beyond excited to introduce you to our friend Kristy, from TTC Greeting Cards! She has taken her own personal struggle to start a family with her husband and turned it into such a beautiful business of encouragement, humor and ways to strengthen relationships in your life while you journey through infertility. 

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The Day Grape BubbleYum Scared Me Straight

I remember the moment like it was yesterday... It was the day I became a thief.

Now, this was it... my Grape BubbleYum moment. I was suddenly thrown back in time to handing that grape bubble gum back to the cashier and remembering how much I learned in that moment. It was my choice now to make a lasting impression for her to learn the importance of honesty and integrity, or to blow it off knowing it had come from the dollar bin in the store we were headed into.

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