GroVia O.N.E. Review

Guys!!  I love getting packages in the mail.  And I LOVE getting fluff (cloth diapers) in the mail.

I realize it’s a little absurd to get excited about a poo and pee catcher, but I enjoy the challenge of finding a way to 100% diaper my babe in a more sustainable manner.  I’m a freak, ok?

And they’re so CUTE.  Take a gander:

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The GroVia O.N.E. is my fourth attempt at night-time cloth diapering.  I’ve had trouble with my now 20 month old leaking out of more inexpensive options, so I bit the bullet and spent the 20ish dollars to get a night-time diaper solution with great reviews.

In the meantime we’ve been using disposables which work great, but if I’m going to cloth diaper I’d rather just be all in, ya know?

You know.  I can tell we’re on the same page.  I like you.

What I’ve tried that hasn’t worked for us is using a kite fold with a flour sack towel (fst – yep, the same kind you use in the kitchen) and a snappi (new version of the old school baby clothespin) with some variations of added absorbency.  Thirsties hemp insert, Flip stay-dry, Thirsties duo insert…I tried a few times with different mixes.  I packed it underneath a Thirsties size 2 duo cover and it leaked every time but once.

Not good enough odds for me.

And so I bought an inexpensive Ecoable charcoal bamboo pocket diaper off of Amazon and packed that baby differently a few times in a few different ways.  That bad boy leaked every time at night.  I love it for naptime, but 8-12 hours is out of its range.

Next I tried a Green Mountain workhorse fitted diaper under a cover.  I loved the simplicity of it (and the price tag!), but I do not like how it gets completely soaked and pulls moisture up to baby’s tummy area.   I personally think that’s the downfall of fitteds.  A lot of people love them though!  But that one goes into my naptime pile as well.  Perfect for a couple of hours of sleep and maybe even an outing, but it doesn’t pass the overnight test for us. (These and fitteds in general are also great if your little one has a diaper rash—you can put it on without a cover to help their bum air out!)

I almost gave up.  I didn’t want to keep spending money on these things (and my husband was becoming ever more skeptical of my sanity) just to be disappointed with a soggy toddler every morning.  I’M SO GLAD I DIDN’T.

Here are some specs on this beaut:

  1. It has a detachable hook and loop closure (Velcro) that snaps on top of the snap closure.  WHOA.  I didn’t know that when purchasing, but the two advantages of this are:  you can oftentimes get a better fit with hook and loop since it doesn’t have to be at a specific setting (think disposable dipe:  same concept of closure) AND if you don’t like the hook and loop or it wears out, you can simply use the snaps or purchase a new strip from GroVia.  Way cool.                                                                                                                                                        groviaonehookandloop
  2. The diaper comes with two snap-in soakers (microfiber for quick absorption, cotton for added absorbency, and sweet, soft, blissfully buttery microfleece on the outside to keep baby feeling dry) which is fabulous with an all-in-one (AIO) diaper because it makes it more versatile and also allows it to dry faster after being washed (this is a common complaint with AIOs; people don’t like that they can take 2-3 dry cycles to fully dry out).  One of the soakers is larger than the other (and the larger one has channels to direct moisture into the absorbent core)  so that the smaller of the two can be used exclusively for newborns and infants.  COOL.  The entire interior of the diaper is also lined in the microfleece; I’m a little jealous that my underwear aren’t so soft.  I could at least use a pair of pants made of this material—it’s seriously divine.insideofgroviaone
  3. THEY WORK.  I have used caps lock far too many times in this post for any sensible adult.  But I have no regrets.  We made it through the night.  My tummy sleeping heavy wetter woke up cozy and dry.  Now to get a couple more of these babies for my rotation.  And take another look at this print—way to go GroVia!  You’ve got a fan in me.groviaonereview

Woohoo!  Life-changing.  Hallelujah, people.

Happy almost Friday, friends.

 

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This was in no way endorsed by any of the brands mentioned above—just one momma tryin’ to help another momma out. 

Chocolate Frosting

I’m pretending he’s sleeping while I sit and eat the frosting off of a cake that’s too old to eat.  The frosting is still good, but the cake tastes…off.

Which is slightly concerning because I’m pretty sure my husband had a piece for breakfast…I notice when we’re down a piece of cake.  I notice things like that.  Nutrition intuition I like to call it.

I do now at least.

So I’m eating the homemade chocolate frosting.  And he’s chattering and throwing around books and jumping on his bed.  Tonight will be an early bedtime.

 

That was a typing break so that I could eat some more frosting.  It’s got red and pink sprinkles on top; not the chunky chalky ones, but the perfectly delicate sugar sprinkles.  I made the cake last week and sprinkled it festively for Valentine’s Day.

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More frosting…this will probably make me sick.  Give me a terrible headache at least.  I’ll have to do a few hundred squats to burn it off, but the only folks who don’t think it’s worth it are the ones who don’t deserve my cake.  Definitively.  Definitely.  Definitely definitive.  No cake for you.

He’s quiet now…I think he may have fallen asleep.  I’ll go check on him and make sure he’s got a blanket over his bare toes – he always pulls his socks off, the little stinker.  Sweet little stinker.  I’ll be right back.

He’s still awake.  An early bedtime tonight for sure – we missed the napping window.  I’m gonna let him play in there for a while though.  I tell myself it’s good down time for him on the days he doesn’t nap (which are few and far between (thankfully)), but I think it’s more for me.

But if momma’s mentally stable, everybody’s happy, right?

So I will eat my frosting, cringe when I hear the sounds of a mess being made, and be thankful.

And then I’ll do some squats.  I saw a clip on Facebook yesterday where a mom was doing a workout using the edge of a bathtub while her little one was taking a bath.  Brilliant use of time.  My issue is that I sweat when I workout and it takes negative exertion for me to break a sweat.

That is not an exaggeration.  Truly.  “She conquers the world with her sweat towel in tow,” they say of me.

Something like that, at least.

So I’m choosy about when I’m going to cross that threshold.  Sweat = shower = HUGE time-sucker.  I need to plan accordingly.

Do you know what else is time-consuming?  Wedging a wriggly toddler-baby into snow clothes.  Half of the time he becomes so noodle-like that it’s impossible to coax his limbs into the proper channels and the other half he’s angry because his noodle-limbs have been lost in the abyss of fabric.

And the thumbs…trying to get his thumbs to go separate from his fingers in a mitten is laughable.  We almost get it and he makes a fist, forfeiting all progress.

But that’s what we’ll tackle next, him and I.  I needed some chocolate frosting in my system first.  Don’t worry, I’ll get to those squats later.  Tomorrow maybe.  For sure this week though.  Absolutely.

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header photo courtesy of Flickr

 

 

 

Sincerely, Death

I get a bad rap.  People don’t like me.  They almost always fear me.  I think it’s because they don’t understand me.

Don’t be led astray, most people have good reason for fear seeing as where they’ll be headed for all eternity after our initial meet and greet.  The foolish blokes have got a free pass ticket if they’d only choose it, but the prideful bunch seem to reject reason.  Their dread can certainly be warranted, oh yes indeedy.

I’m here to set the record straight.

Oh, pardon my rudeness, I am Death.  Lovely to make your acquaintance.  We’ll meet again, I’m sure.

My apologies, I’ve a terribly morbid sense of humor.  You understand.

Back to the task at hand:  some have characterized me with this scythe and black hooded cape nonsense, but that’s all blather.  I am simply a passing from one life into the next.  From your infinitesimally small mortal lives into your eternal ones.   To personify me is really quite silly, but human minds can only comprehend a certain breadth of complexity, and I am afraid I’m beyond capability.  Since humans were not originally created to face me, I am not within their grasp to fully define and probe.  I am an enigma, a quandary, a conundrum, a true mystery.

In fact, if I were to have chosen a name for myself I would not have chosen such an unimaginative one.  Death.  Tedious and dull, yes.  From now on, I would prefer The Great Quandary.  Delightful!

Now where were we?  Ah, setting the record straight.   For those humans who’ve chosen to walk that narrow path, for those who have no reason to fear me, there are two lessons that only I, The Great Quandary (oh, it flows so gracefully, yes, yes, yes), can imbibe.

Two Great Lessons, directly from The Great Quandary itself!

Great Lesson Number One:

My assistance of your loved one into their life beyond fills you with grief.  I’ve observed the wailing, the tears, the sunken spirits.  And now that I’ve been personified for this brief period I can begin to grasp the feelings behind the reactions.  An understandable and expected emotional outcome, to be sure.

What comes next is the lovely part:  you now have a soul, a piece of your heart (your inaccurate phrase, not mine) so to say, in a place that you can eventually be.  And that soul that holds your heart-shard is somewhere truly glorious.  Somewhere I am not allowed.  Somewhere perfected in beauty and joy and all things Life.  This Eternal Paradise is now something real to you, something you yearn for.  In yesteryears, before I hearkened your doorstep, Eternal Paradise was but a notion to be concerned with sometime later in life.  Not anymore!  Now your perspective has been changed from an earthly here-and-now perspective to one centered in your eternal future.  According to your narrow-road Story, I have done you a great favor.

You’re welcome.

And to be clear, Life and I are not on speaking terms.  Everyone adores Life.  It’s sickening…without me, you humans wouldn’t even know to appreciate Life!

Which leads me to my next Great Lesson.

Great Lesson Number Two:

Not only do I open your eyes to your own mortality and give you a longing for The Things Unseen (this is all recorded in your Creation and Redemption Story – of which I seem to be the tool of the villain; what dreadful luck I have), but I also inspire you to appreciate what you still have in your pre-Life life.

You see how much Life owes me??  Without me, it would amount to an expected outcome, and expected outcomes are NEVER appreciated by your kind.  No, no, no, not ever.  Life would be nothing without me to pave its path to success.

Ahem.  Inspiration.  I’m an inspiration for you to love more deeply, give more freely, live more fully.  I push you or I break you, depending upon the condition of your spirit.  And if you’re a narrow-roader, there’s beauty in the growing and the fixing.  I, The Great Quandary accomplish this!  Well, I’m the catalyst at least.

So before you go throwing stones in my direction, take another look at what The Great Quandary can do for you.  I’m not essential to your story, but now that I’m here you’d best find a way to appreciate all of the good I do for your soul.

You’re quite, quite welcome.  A standing ovation truly isn’t necessary.  I’m blushing, really, please stop.

This personification bit really puffs one up.  Dreadful.  Best of luck to you, friend.

Sincerely,

Death

A.K.A. The Great Quandary

It really does have a pretty ring to it, yes?

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photo courtesy of Flickr

 

 

 

Equilibrium

What a lovely word.  What a lovelier idea.  So fanciful.  So free.  So…unrealistic.  My husband reminded me last night that I tend to be unrealistic.  I see myself as a positive realist, while he sees me for more of what I am:  little miss trying to shoot sunshine bullets at everything.

I’m aggressively positive sometimes…it’s as if I’m afraid to admit to things/situations/myself/ANYTHING being negative because – I don’t even want to think about the end of that sentence!  It’s a phobia.  Negative Nancy is not welcome at my doormat.  So I impose that attitude (ahem, my personal issues) on others.

I can tell you one way to make a conversation go badly.  Say these words:  “You’re always so negative about things!”

Can I get a facepalm?  Who in their right mind actually says something so childish?  *raises hand*  I did.  TO MY HUSBAND!  And the patient, gracious, ever-loving hunk that he is overlooked it and we actually finished our discussion cuddling.  Whew.  That man is a saint.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve stressed trying to keep equilibrium in life.  Status quo, happy medium, constant, consistent:  I like to live in this quiet and predictable place.  It’s my jam.  My peanut butter and raspberry jam.

But this place eludes me.  Like a thief in the night!  Like all of those missing socks!  Like a decent halftime show at the Super Bowl!  And so I do my best to manufacture it:  keep the house clean and tidy, have a plan, follow a budget, stay on a schedule, stay fit, eat healthy, get adequate sleep, drive the speed limit, read at least one book every two weeks, and keep the salt off of my car.  Ok, so some of those things aren’t on my “must do” agenda.  But wouldn’t it be nice?

I interrupt this daydream with a toddler.  And a life.

So, in search of a resolution I look to biology.  Here’s what the body does:  most of our biological systems are never truly 100% in homeostasis, or a place of complete equilibrium.  As long as we’re healthy they’re quite close, but our systems are always working to keep us as near as we can be to that state, usually varying slightly above and below the line of “perfection.”

Two things I see in this:  we were created to be in a relative state of equilibrium.  Mild ups and downs are inevitable, but as a general rule we thrive on consistency.  If you’ve spent any amount of time with a baby or toddler that becomes obvious quickly.  Or with me.  Yes, I operate on the same plane of a tiny human most days.  My psyche has needs!

The second item I gather is that it’s not the end of the world when we miss that mark of perfection, as long as we’re constantly pushing toward it.  There’s a deeper spiritual nugget we could dig out of that I’m sure…

I’ll work on it.  My aggressive instinct to pump undue positivity into every situation.  It’s exhausting for everyone.  I’ll be realistic in my expectations (ok, I’ll make my best effort) and patient with the outcomes.

Because sometimes this is what my day looks like allllll day long.

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DO NOT LOOK AT HIS CUTENESS.  Focus on the fact that he’s eating toilet paper please.

Ok, now you can look at how cute his cheeks are.  But don’t lose sight of that toilet paper entering his pristine digestive system…the audacity of these littles, I’m telling you.  Unbelievable.

I’m glad you stopped in today.  It was enlightening for me.

Hats off to your Tuesday!  Unless you’re in Wisconsin!  Then leave it on because it’s cold and I wouldn’t want you to lose your ears or whatever happens when you don’t wear a hat in the winter.

 

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header photo courtesy of Flickr

 

 

 

Toddler Life

There are a few things I’ve learned about tiny people and the snow.

First of all, they love it.

And then it’s too cold.

And then they fall face-first in the snow.  Repeatedly.

And then when you suggest maybe it’s time to go inside and warm up, HOW DARE YOU.

But most of all, they love it.  And for Pete’s sake, poufy snow babies are caaa-UTE.  Adorable.  Precious.  Squishable.  And hilariously unstable. I kid you not, we’re lucky to get three steps before we fall down in the deep stuff.  But does he stay in the shallow snow when I redirect him there?  Of course not.  I’m sure there’s a lesson to be learned there…instead give me a sec while I blubber over this sweetness.

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I can’t even.  He’s just.  Ugh.  SO SWEET.  No bias here.

The other day (after we got a cool 12 inch dumping), O and I were outside and he offered up this look after I suggested we go inside:

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There were angry noises involved as well.  Use your imagination.

He wasn’t pleased.  But then I suggested a snack.  The noises changed!  “NaauCK?” (that’s what he calls a snack – think heavily German with that “ck” sound)(I don’t know where to place the punctuation after this parenthesis…should’ve paid more attention in English class)(can you place multiple sets of parentheses in a row? #ownit) Offering food to this boy is gold…

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Just don’t tell him I use his genetic predispositions for my personal gain.  Don’t ruin it for me yet.

And yes, he is pant-less here.  Pants-less?  Sans pants?  …pants are overrated.  So is grammar.

That’s not true.  Grammar is very important.

Anyway…

Food and snow.  Snow and food.  Ah, the toddler life.

Happy weekend, friends!

 

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header photo courtesy of Flickr

 

Fixing Me

What do you do when you’re angry with the Creator of the universe and the Lover of your soul?  When you’re incredibly disappointed in your Redeemer and feel as though He can’t be trusted with the things, the people you treasure most?  What does a professing believer do with that depth of confusion and spiritual chaos?

These have been the things my soul has been wrestling with.  I trusted Him.  I begged Him.  I hoped in Him.  Many prayed, hands were laid, oil was applied, the Biblical model for healing was followed.

And He let me down.  Twice.  He let two of my babies, two in a row, die in my womb.  He could’ve done something, right?  He could’ve reached down, and touched my body. He could’ve spoken a word of healing.  If only I could’ve reached out and touched the hem of His cloak…

But He didn’t.  I couldn’t.  Physical healing wasn’t in His plan for me on those days.  At times, this makes me so angry.  This God who’s permitted me to walk through this pain is a complete paradox.  He loves life, but allows so much death.  He’s a God of healing, but there is incredible brokenness all around.  He has the power to fix it all.  Now.  Instead, He waits.

Instead, He fixes me.  Through this brokenness and anger and chaos He’s fixing me.  He’s molding me and pressing me into something more beautiful than I could imagine.  This God whom I am incredibly unfaithful to in my doubt and anger and blame-casting remains faithful and gently puts these pieces of me back together, one shard at a time.

So each day, I lay it down at His feet.  “God, I’m angry today.  I feel like I can’t trust you, and I despise feeling that way.  I want to believe you’re working this for good and that you have good plans for me, but today it’s hard.  Today my rebellious spirit is pulling to the wide road, because this narrow road is treacherous.  This trusting is taking all I’ve got, and I’m all out of it.  Can you step in, God?  Will you fill my gaping, faithless holes with You? ”  I have to surrender those emotions or they will destroy me from the inside out.

I won’t let that happen.  I will fight, because He is worth it.  This utterly confusing God of miracles and wonder and light is working that glory in me, even when that’s not what it looks like to the human eye.  But my eyes are faulty, they are dimmed by the cataracts of my fallen nature.  “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.” “For we live by faith, not by sight.” (1 Corinthians 13:12, 2 Corinthians 5:7)

Today, this is where I’ll rest.  Today I’ll drink deeply of the blessings He’s freely given to me and remember His faithfulness.  The sweet face of my son.  The strong countenance and adoring touch of my husband.  The wonder and working out of my salvation.  And with that, peace will flood this stormy heart, at least for a moment at a time.

“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”  ~2 Corinthians 3:18

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photo courtesy of Flickr

Diapers – Cloth or Sposies?

Ah, a question that plagues many a modern parent.  Or possibly not…probably just the moms.  And mostly likely not all that many.

But it should!  As parents, we should at least think about our diapering choices (among the thousands of other choices we’ll make as parents) and know what our options are.  It seems like the responsible thing to do, at least…

Granted, I waited until O was 18 months old before we dove in, but ok, I was a little scared of the commitment guys.  I’ll admit it.  It’s more laundry, it costs a few bucks up front to get going, and there’s most definitely a learning curve.  I’m still learning since we’re newbies to this thing.

If you’re considering the cloth diapering route, let me give you some pros and cons:

Pros

  1. You will save money in the long run – especially if you cloth more than one baby.
  2. You’re being kinder to the environment – do a little research on this.  There’s some clamor on both sides as to whether it’s a better choice (think laundry/water/etc.), but after I did a whole lot of reading, I was thoroughly convinced cloth was better for the earth.
  3. Cloth diapers are way cuter, don’t have that funky “diaper” smell that sposies have, and don’t get that unsightly diaper sag.  Babies really hate that look.
  4. There’s a huge resale value for cloth diapers kept in good condition – people love to B/S/T these bad boys, so you will get a return out of it if you want to.
  5. You’re exposing your baby to fewer chemicals – our lives are littered with chemically stuff, including disposable dipes.  I liked the idea of not having my babes under parts being in constant physical contact with a sizable store of nasty chemicals.
  6. You don’t have to go cloth 100% of the time.  I still use sposies if we’re going to the grandparents for the day or heading to the grocery store.  Lots of people do cloth 100% of the time and it’s totally do-able, but I find it less stressful to not have to worry about changing him as often when we’re away from home.  And I’d rather not deal with poo without my diaper sprayer.  Diva, I know.  We may get to the 100% cloth at some point (maybe when we find an overnight solution?), but for now I’d say we’re only 60% since he wears sposies overnight.
  7. I’ve read in multiple places that toddlers who are cloth diapered will potty train more quickly.  The reasoning is that they are better able to feel that they’re wet and don’t like it.  Makes sense.  Big old win if it turns out to be true!
  8. I’ve not cloth diapered a newborn yet, but everyone in the cloth community says that you do not have blowouts with cloth.  I don’t understand this magic, but I am pumped to experience it. Poop does not belong between the shoulder blades, and when it ends up there I’m likely to encounter that terrible cry/laugh emotion well-adjusted adults aren’t supposed to experience.

Cons

  1.  More laundry – you won’t want to leave your cloth dirty for more than 3 days at a time because, well, urine and stuff.  It begins to magically transform into ammonia via science-y methods, and that’ll burn your nose hairs right off.  This isn’t a problem for me since I do laundry that often anyway, but for some that’s a real turn-off.
  2. Figuring out the laundering routine – this is actually not too difficult if you do your research.  I only had to tweak my routine a couple of times, and now my dipes always come out smelling fresh.  There’s an awesome website and Facebook group called Fluff Love University committed to helping with your diaper laundry, and that’s where I learned from.  Click here to go the website.
  3. Up-front cost – unless you’ve got lots of extra cash lying around, you’ll have to save up for a few months in order to get started.
  4. Deciding which type of cloth to use can be overwhelming and intimidating.  There’s a lot of lingo the cloth diapering community uses so if you haven’t done your research on that, you’ll be a little lost on forums and even some blogs if they don’t spell it out for you.
  5. Poop.  With sposies, you just wrap it up in the dipe and toss it.  Easy peasy rice and cheesy.  You can’t do that with cloth – a method must be found to get the poo into the toilet.  I have a sprayer (like the one attached to your kitchen sink) hooked up to the toilet, and when there’s an event I dump the solids in the bowl and spray off whatever’s left behind.  No prob, Bob.  A little note:  legally, we’re not supposed to be putting human waste into the trash.  It needs to be treated by a septic system in order to be deemed safe.  So that poo you’re wrapping into your sposies?  You really should be dumping that in the toilet anyway.  BONUS:  When your babies are exclusively breastfed, no rinsing or dumping is required.  Breastmilk poo is completely water-soluble and can be washed right along with your pee dipes.  Woohoo!
  6. Disposables take up less room when out and about and are less to think about.  Take one off, slap another on. No worrying about compression leaks or having to lug around a wet bag and extra bulky cloth.
  7. Jeans are a touch difficult to get on over a cloth diaper.  We do a lot of sweatpants and stretchy pants and no pants (when we’re at home), so it took me a while to figure this out, but for those who like their babies in jeans all the time…not gonna work with cloth.

This list is by no means comprehensive, but they’re the issues I found to be either most exciting or most frustrating about the cloth diapering experience.  Whatever you decide, I hope this was moderately helpful in your journey and do feel free to ask questions! Best of luck to ya.

 

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photo courtesy of Flickr

 

Looking for Light

Last night I went in to check on Oliver, our 19 month-old, before I went to sleep.  Ethan and I do this every night because we know he won’t be little forever and those moments are precious. And he’s just so darn cute when he’s sleeping.

Back to my check-in:  I slowly opened the door and encountered a mass blocking me.  The little guy had brought his pillow over and fallen asleep right inside the door.  He does that oftentimes, brings his pillow over and lays by the door, but that was the first time we’d found him sleeping there.  Ethan scooped him up, snuggled him, and we tucked him back into his bed, chuckling together about his sweet antics.

He likes the light, we’ve discovered.  He comes to the door because his room is dark and there’s a crack of light under the door that he’s drawn to.  He knows his mommy and daddy are out there in the light and it’s comforting to be close to it, to snuggle up in that slice of brightness.

And brightness shines most brilliantly in the darkest of places, does it not? When our rooms, our lives, become so dark that the strain to find even the tiniest pinprick of light exhausts us, we can rest in the knowledge of His light being inside of us.  We don’t have to search for it because Christ is the light of the world and as long as He has invaded your soul, you are the light.  His Spirit now fills you and pours buckets of light out of every cell.  Do you believe it?  I do – I know it.  Because no matter how palpable my darkness has been, I’ve known without a doubt that I’m not alone.  Afflicted?  Yes, but not crushed.  Perplexed?  Of course, but not driven to despair.  Struck down, but not destroyed.  I don’t lose heart because I’m being renewed day by day.  This light momentary affliction I’m muddling through is preparing for me an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as I look not the the things that are seen, but to that which is eternal (my paraphrase of 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, 16-18).

So this little light of mine?  I’m gonna let it shine.  I won’t let Satan blow it out, I won’t hide it under a bushel, but I’ll set it on a hill, because someone out there is going to need to bring their pillow and find comfort in that light until they realize that they can have their very own.

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photo courtesy of Flickr

Morning by Morning

It happened.  We lost another one.  Let me explain…

The week of Theo’s (our second son whom we lost to stillbirth in August of last year) due date which was December 12th, we discovered that I was pregnant.  All of the sorrow and angst leading up to that day and the holidays dissipated  because of the great joy that hopefulness brings.  We were so sure that this timing was divine: not only did we learn of the new baby that difficult week, but I would be due right around the time we lost our second boy.  What marvelous design!  We were cautiously overjoyed.

On January 6th, I went in for my first ultrasound and the outlook was grim.  No heartbeat could be found and the baby was a week behind in growth.  I had hormone levels checked and they had risen over 48 hours, so that blasted hope stayed in place until yesterday, when another ultrasound confirmed that our third child ceased growing at around seven weeks gestation.  I had miscarried.  The grief was, is numbing.

It doesn’t seem fair, this life sometimes.  There are these monumental questions that loom answerless and I despise the not-knowing, the wondering, the doubting.  It’s suffocating and makes me feel so utterly abandoned at times.  My all too often faithless heart becomes angry and shakes its fist at this God Who claims to love me and have a plan of hope for me.

And then I am blinded by the reality of His goodness amidst the struggle, the light shining so radiantly in my darkness, and His constant, never-ceasing provision in my life.  I am so like an obstinate child, not willing to see past the immediate “why can’t I have it, God?!” to the glorious reality of His plans, whatever they may be.  Whatever they may be.  That’s the catch, isn’t it?  He allows these things to come into our lives, doesn’t answer us the way in which we desire, but His sovereignty over it all demands that we lay it down no matter the cost.  Because the reward, oh the reward.

So who am I to question Him, to doubt Him?  I can’t, I won’t.  But when I fail in that endeavor – and I certainly will with this fickle heart I battle – He will remind me in all of His goodness and love and patience that I am His, and that He has bought me with a price. Even though this world is tainted with sin and pain and heartbreak, He is here and He is here to restore and comfort and someday wipe the ugliness of this world away.  How I long achingly for that day.  Until then, I will trust Him and remind my forgetful self of His faithfulness day in and out.

“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”  ~Lamentations 3:22-23

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photo courtesy of Flickr

Reckless Love

A couple of years ago, my mother-in-law gave me an advent devotional by Ann Voskamp titled The Greatest Gift.  I went through it dutifully that first year and then it got packed away and I haven’t made the time for it since.

Yesterday I journeyed into the dark underbelly of our unfinished basement and unceremoniously plucked it from inside of a dusty tote filled with books.

Finding a particular item in our basement at the moment is truly that momentous.

Seeing as it’s December 2nd today and I was already behind, I cracked it open this morning, not at all recalling the heart-stirring rhetoric inked into those pages.  Aside from the expected advent discourse of a coming King, my heart was and is still pierced with the truth that mankind, myself included, often loves the gifts and the flesh more than we love the Giver.

How could I be so blind?  How could I miss such a simple truth in my grief journey?  My trusting and lack of trusting is directly linked to my love for God and how could I fully invest myself in One I’m placing in second, third, fourth place?

Merciful Father, forgive me!  Help me to rearrange my loves and to love You more than I love myself, more than I love my husband, and more than I love my babies.  Yes, more than the children that I instinctively place on the pedestal of my life.  They are but gifts from you, the Giver.

This rearranging is uncomfortable and feels reckless.  How am I to properly love these babies if they aren’t my number one priority?  That’s how my humanness reasons.  But God. His ways are often, if not always, confounding and backwards according to my humanity.  Dying to live?  What?  How?  But somehow, this ugly heart of mine recognizes the beauty in this crazy life-plan God has for me, for us.  I die to myself, He rises up to take residence in me.  Life.  Fuller, more bountiful and fulfilling that I could ever imagine emanates.  Just, whoa.  Stop and breathe that in.

So yes, it is now January 14th and I’m wrapping up this post after losing another baby, but to miscarriage this time.  Yet my heart will still sing His praises amidst the confusion and hurt and I will recklessly press on pursuing this curiously wild God-King Who calls me to die to His will, yet again.  Beauty from ashes, that is the promise, and that is my call.   I will love the Giver more than these gifts he gives and takes, and as Job said, blessed be the name of the Lord amidst it all.

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photo courtesy of Flickr