Friday, September 18, 2009

In The Closet

Recently I showed you one of our guest rooms that we'd been working in to install crown molding. I mentioned that the room was intended to be our nursery when we bought our home. I was in the beginning of my first pregnancy then, and I had no idea what was around the corner for the next several years. Before we ever moved in, I miscarried.

With the next pregnancy I had a glimmer of hope that everything would be alright, but when it turned out so much like the first, we realized we may be dealing with a real problem. We began our search for answers and we had four more planned pregnancies over the next four years -- each one after tests and surgeries and medications that we hoped would make a difference. Each time, we hoped. We allowed ourselves to plan and to dream, if only a little bit. Each time that we got good test results or saw progress on an ultrasound, we let that hope take root and begin to grow.

Sometimes we would buy things. Things for our baby. We never bought a crib or a changing table or even a package of diapers, but occasionally we would see an outfit that was too cute to pass up. We picked up a few really cute and incredibly soft stuffed toys. I love children's books, so we have quite a little collection of some of my favorites. We were given a few things as gifts as well, from family members who hoped with us.

For a long time, I had the baby clothes hanging in the closet of that bedroom, on those cute little baby clothes hangers. After a few years and much grief and many tears, I finally folded them up and put them in boxes. The two boxes remain in the closet, up on the highest shelf. I also have a bag of maternity clothes passed down from my sister that I probably couldn't fit into right now in my non-pregnant state. Sometimes I wonder if the maternity clothes and even the baby clothes we bought, some as many as seven years ago, have gone out of style. Babies are probably wearing much cooler clothes these days. And I know that expectant mothers are. Even the young, hip, and stylish pregnant woman in jeans on the cover of the current edition of What to Expect When You're Expecting looks like she could run circles around the tired, house-dress-clad mom-to-be on the cover of my older copy.

Just last weekend I was doing a bit of reorganizing in that closet, as we do store other things in there besides baby stuff. I came across a shopping bag with two items in it that I think I purchased during or around our last pregnancy. Until I found the bag, I had pretty much forgotten about these little outfits, one for a boy and one for a girl, and very much a reflection of the two of us.

I feel like a lot has changed since I started trying to have a baby. I've changed, too. But in a basket of baby-name and breastfeeding books, I also found a list of names that I used to like for boys and for girls. I'd written them down during one of the pregnancies, in what was probably a very hopeful time. I was pleasantly surprised to see that they really hadn't changed. I still like those names, and I would still consider those same names if we had the chance to hope again.

But back it all went into the closet again, along with my hope, for how long I don't know.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

All The Time

Last year at this time I said goodbye to my home and nearly everything I own.

I remember that moment before I closed the door and got into the car to drive away. I just stood there for a few minutes, looking around, and I thought Okay, Lord. I don't want to do this, but I have to. If you decide to take it all away, then so be it.

It's so much easier to write that a year later, after many people have put their lives and homes back together after the devastation of Hurricane Ike. This weekend is the first anniversary of that terrible storm. We are extremely comfortable right now, by comparison. This has been a quiet hurricane season for those of us who live near the Gulf coast.
Thankfully, we didn't lose our home, although many did -- and not just people we saw on the local news. People we know.

I don't want to make it sound as though I think losing material possessions is the worst thing in the world. I don't, but I still don't want to go through that terrible trial if I don't have to! I remember during the days of our evacuation how we watched The Weather Channel sometimes with panic and sometimes with resignation. We desperately hoped everything would be alright. Coming to a place, however, where you must say that it will be okay if you come home to nothing is quite a struggle. As a homemaker, it goes against every ounce of my being that loves keeping house and making a home for my family. The idea of a strong wind, or flood waters, or a storm surge carrying it all away is unsettling to say the least.

But I know people who have lived through it. They've picked up the pieces that were left and they've carried on. What's even more inspiring, though, is that they've found joy through the storm.

It is so, so hard to be joyful inside and to give God praise when things aren't going our way. It's easy to say that He is good when our circumstances are good -- and we should! But oh, the challenge is to say that and believe it when they are not.

But God is still good.
Even through hurricanes and infertility, He's good.
All the time.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

True Words

This weekend I came across a great quote that I want to share with you. I'll keep this post brief because I don't want to detract from the quotation itself. I agree wholeheartedly with these words. I hope that in life we can all encounter far more of the second kind of people than the first:

"There are two kinds of people - you know them.
As you journey along on life's track -
The people who take your strength from you,
And others who put it all back."
-- Ralph Spaulding Cushman

I'm grateful for those in my life who consistently put it all back!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

What's Going On

Occasionally when it gets a little heavy in here, I like to do a post about some everyday things that don't have much (or anything) to do with infertility. My goal over the past few weeks has been to try to focus on some activities and hobbies that I've been neglecting lately. Unfortunately, that means less time spent blogging and reading blogs, but I've tried not to get too far behind.

Three main areas that have been keeping me busy for the past few weeks are reading, scrapbooking, and home improvements.

I'm still sticking to the reading list that I made at the beginning of the year. It has been fun yet challenging, but it has mostly kept me reading steadily each month. (I like to cross things off of a list!) The list has six books remaining that I want to read before the end of December. If you'd like to check out what I'm reading, there is a button right over there in the sidebar. Just last night I finished reading The Year of Living Biblically, which I found very entertaining. I'm currently in the middle of reading Crazy Love, and I think I'm about to start reading Little Women.

Scrapbooking has been my favorite hobby for almost a decade now. Each year I try to do a chronological album for that year, and I have several other themed albums apart from that (like for our wedding and special vacations). Truthfully, blogging has been detrimental to my scrapbooking! Since I started writing and reading blogs I've gotten very little done and am suddenly 2 years behind. Last week I eased back into it and was able to get 4 pages done. It was a slow start, but this week I picked up steam and completed 12 pages in 2 days! I'm still working on the 2007 album, but it feels great to make some progress.

Our current home improvement goal is to install crown molding in the 3 bedrooms. We've had the crown in our garage for at least 6 months now, waiting patiently for us to find the time to get to it. Last weekend we tackled one of the guest rooms. That room was once a nursery for our home's previous owners. Although I planned to use it as a nursery as well, I hated the way it was decorated. I remember when we moved in it was quite a chore removing the wallpaper border, repainting the room, and repainting the trim (the walls used to be a light aqua color and the trim was yellow). Of course, we owe the transition from carpet to laminate wood floors to the Great Dishwasher Leak of '08.

Anyway, back to the crown. Chuck and I worked together last weekend to get that room done. It always amazes me that he can learn to do just about any project around the house. My version of helping involved a lot of standing around and holding stuff, but we got it done and are really happy with how it looks. (The rug is a recent purchase that I absolutely love. Don't look too closely or you'll see my hubby's guitar case and amp peeking out from under the bed.)

Just a quick word about miscarriage here -- when we bought this house we were expecting our first baby. I miscarried in between the time that we closed on the house and actually moved in. For quite a while after that loss and a few others, this room remained mostly empty until we finally made the decision to put a bed in there and use it as a guest room. My nephews now call it their room. They sleep here when they stay with us, their toys are in the closet, and their pictures hang on the walls. It does make me happy that the room gets used by them and other guests. Hopefully we will get the crown molding up in the other guest room (which doubles as my scrapbooking space) and our master bedroom before the end of the year!

We are getting ready to leave town to visit my in-laws for Labor Day weekend. We have not been able to make that trip in way too long. It is a 6-hour drive, but Chuck will get off at noon on Friday and we will have the extra day on Monday. They've been having great weather there in North Louisiana and we have been so jealous! The cooler temperatures haven't quite made it all the way down to us yet. We have still been in the 90s every day and we can't wait for fall (neither can our electric bill!). Autumn is my favorite time of year.

There's a long and rambling recap of what's been going on here. How about you? What are you reading? Do you scrapbook? How do you use the room that you wish was a nursery? What's under the bed in your guest room?