Just a real quick post

So I started a pet sitting gig about a month ago working for my friend’s pet sitting business.  I’ll have to share more about it later, but I basically just go to a client’s home and care for their animals by walking them, feeding them, cleaning liter, and so forth.

Last week I noticed at one of my client’s home that she had a working mom magazine.  They don’t have any children and I had wondered if they were maybe infertile because they seem older and love the heck out of their animals.  I guess I just always assume anyone without children might be infertile and I’m always curious.

So anyways, when I noticed this I wondered if maybe she was pregnant.

Today, it was pretty much confirmed.  You can tell a lot about a person based on the things inside their home.  I was walking inside the house today and noticed some kind of baby car seat pillow thing (don’t even ask me what you would call such a thing – I stopped looking at baby gear a long time ago). I started to wonder again, maybe she is pregnant.  Later in the visit, I noticed a onesie siting on the couch.  Definitely more suspicious.  But maybe she is just buying gifts for a baby shower.

Then I noticed a stack of onesies on the other side of the couch.  Okay, probably pregnant.

And again as I was leaving the house I saw an actual car seat box in the garage.  Definitely pregnant.

I’m not sure why I care since I don’t ever have to see my clients – I met her once when she was stopping by the house to take one of the dogs to the vet.  But I was irritated the entire visit today every time I noticed more and more baby stuff.

On the drive to my next client’s house I cried.  I can’t even explain why. I guess I’m just emotional and for some reason it’s just difficult to see baby stuff right now.

It makes me feel rejected by God.  I know that’s not truth because there are other women that I know who have gone through the same things as me, if not worse things and I would tell them how deeply loved they are by God.  I would tell them that this is not punishment and that He has good plans for their life.

But I guess when it’s you, you just feel different.  And right now I feel low.  I have so many things in my life I have to overcome that sometimes I don’t even want to try.  Sometimes I just want to give up.  I have to pay off debt – overwhelming.  I need to lose a butt load of weight – overwhelming.  I need to find the cause of pelvic pain – overwhelming.  I need to see an RE so I can try to find a reason for my 5 miscarriages – overwhelming.  I need to figure out how to pay for said RE while still paying off debt – overwhelming.  My husband is a police officer – overwhelming.  My marriage is difficult – it always seems to come last to everything else – overwhelming.

Do you see what I mean? Sometimes I just feel like I have so much stacked up against me that I don’t even know where to begin or how to go about doing it all.  I know that I need to put on my big girl panties and suck it up, but for today, can I just be a cry baby and say how much this all sucks? ‘Cuz it does…it really does.

Why can’t I just have it all together? If only my life looked like my Pinterest account!

Well I have to get going now to work on some laundry so I’ll be back tomorrow.  I’ll be sharing a post discussing my reasons for wanting to see a RE and what my plans are.

With love,

Amber

TTC this month?

Hi ladies, I know that I already have a blog post up today, but I’m in a blogging mood and didn’t want to have one long post.  Or if you aren’t interested in hearing about debt and money, but you are interested in all things TTC and infertility, you can just read this post.  If you do want to check out my post on finances, go read that by clicking here.

So, the question, did we decide to TTC this month or go back on a break? Neither! My husband and I didn’t talk about trying at all and had no plans in place.  We just ended up being too busy to even think about it, or, you know, do the deed.  So yeah, we won’t be pregnant this month.

There was some “baby dancing” time the week before ovulation so I suppose there’s a tiny, very tiny chance we could get pregnant this month, but I’m going to guess, no.  And I’m okay with that.

I think I was really excited about trying last month just because the due date would have been our birthday month (April).  But I guess I’ve made my peace with the fact that at the soonest, I’ll be another year older before we have a baby.  But in all honesty, I’m pretty sure this journey has an end that is not in sight anytime in the near future.  Way to be hopeful, right? I’m actually okay with that.  One of the good things that has come from this journey is patience.  I am a very patient person now.  I really enjoy not feeling rushed or anxious about when we will have a baby.

Now onto some good, but not so good news.  I have been having pelvic pain for several months now.  In fact, during our “together” time earlier in the month, I actually had some spotting afterwards that caused me some obvious concern.  I finally got enough courage to make an appointment with my ob/gyn and had an abdominal and vaginal ultrasound.  The good news is that there is no cyst.  I was incredibly worried that I had a big cyst on my left ovary and I was sure I would need surgery.  I was pretty shocked when I got the news that there was no results from the ultrasound.  The bad news is: I have pelvic pain with no explanation.

The entire visit was incredibly uncomfortable and brought up a lot of emotions in me.  I had to go into the bathroom to cry and get it out of my system before the ultrasound so that I wouldn’t break down into tears in front of the technician.

The visit also made me realize that it might be time to see a specialist, in the form of a reproductive endocrinologist.  The main reason being: I just need a doctor that will be supportive and that will listen to what I need to be comfortable with treatment.  I have pain and I want to find out what is causing that pain.  I don’t want to throw birth control at that pain (which doesn’t work anyways).  I’m not sure why I expected my ob/gyn office to care about fertility issues, but I think I’m finally waking up to the fact that I’m going to have to invest my money and time into getting supportive medical care.

It would be nice to see a doctor who doesn’t try to kick you out of their office after 5 minutes.  I need a visit and a doctor that I can be comfortable taking the time to talk about my issues.  There were so many questions and things I wanted to discuss, but didn’t feel safe sharing at that visit.  I just need a safe place.

Our insurance company is changing in October so I have to wait until then to find out if the RE will even be covered under our insurance at all.  There is no fertility specialists in my area so we will have to drive 45 minutes to an hour to see one.  But if that is what we have to do and if this is what God is calling us to, then He will provide.

So I have another month before I’ll contact the office and start the fun task of dealing with insurance.

If you have any tips on things I should do to prepare or anything I need to know before seeing an RE, please leave them in the comments below.  I really appreciate all your support and helpfulness during this time.

Love and prayers to you all,

Amber

Money Mistakes and Boundaries

Hi folks, happy Monday! I know that if you are working a Monday through Friday gig, it’s probably not all that happy, but cheer up buttercup! You have a job and that’s a good thing in this yuck economy.  Can I just say how much I hate when people complain about everything there is to complain about? I think, “For the love of all that is good in the world, can you please be happy about something in your life! There are too many problems in life to get upset over every little problem.”

Now, on to my complaints ;-)

As you might know if you’ve been reading for a while, me and my husband are trying to get out of debt and be more responsible with money.  We started out doing well, but like most things in life, we’ve become distracted and lost sight of the goal.  But, the good news is that we’ve had a lot of extra money coming in which has given us some progress in our savings account and we were even able to pay off part of a credit card.  We only have $200 left on that card now, woot!

It’s really only by the grace of God and Jonathan’s faithfulness in working hard and taking overtime at work that we’ve even made that much progress.  I’m sad to say that I have not taken this journey seriously enough and have not been disciplined in budgeting and managing the money.  But there’s no better time to get back on the horse and back on track like the present.

The other week we were visiting Jonathan’s dad at his house and talking.  I casually mentioned that we were working on paying off our debt and told him that we have $1,000 in emergency savings but I was frustrated because our car is having issues and we will probably have to use part of our savings to fix it.

Can I just give you guys a helpful hint: Don’t tell family members that you have money in emergency savings. Then they want you to fund their “emergencies”.

So on Thursday me and Jonathan were out getting food before he left for work (see what I mean about the lack of discipline on my part) and Jonathan gets a frantic call from his father asking where we are.  He was at our apartment and needed help because he was headed to the gas station and realized he forgot his wallet at home but didn’t have enough gas to make it back home.  Now that I’m writing about this part of the story, I’m sensing that this sounds fishy and I’m wondering if he just made all of that up so we would pay for his gas.  I sure hope not and I’ll choose to believe that it really was a mistake, but I can’t help but wonder.

Anyways, Jonathan went with him to get gas and I headed to work (my pet sitting gig).  Jonathan called me after and told me his dad was going to call me asking for money, but that it was up to me what I wanted to do.

Um, does that make anyone else mad when your husband or significant other does that to you?  I’m thinking, “NO! This is your family, you need to talk with them.”  But I was in a good mood on this day and I was feeling generous and in a mood to be kind.  Jonathan’s family has asked for money in the past and I’ve had zero problems telling them no, but on this occasion I actually felt really bad for Jonathan’s father.

Allow me to explain: Last year my mother-in-law decided that she wanted to quit her teaching job and move to China to teach English.  Not as a missionary or anything like that, just at some posh school for rich Chinese kids.  And I mean rich, they tried to bribe her with gifts to get good grades.  One student got her a coach purse.  My in-laws originally wanted me and Jonathan to move into their house to take care of the house, their dogs, and Aunt Shirley (Jonathan’s Aunt who is middle-aged and mentally handicapped).  We were going to help them with this until we realized what a bad idea it would be to get involved in his families affairs.  But my mother-in-law was persistent about moving to China, so she had Jonathan’s younger sister and her husband move in to care for everything.

The entire situation blew up in their face big time.  I’m not going to go into details, but Jonathan’s dad ended up having to come back from China while Jon’s mom stayed in China.

When she came back this summer, she informed everyone that she was going to be divorcing Jonathan’s dad and going back to China.  She had already signed another 2 year contract, this time at a different school in a different city.  It was a huge shock to everyone.

For reasons I’ll never understand, Jon’s dad continued to be helpful to her, even paying for her plane ticket back and $900 worth of luggage.  Because he spent so much money on her, he got behind on bills.

Usually I would not be very compassionate in situations like this because I would tell people to grow up and stop making stupid decisions, and I never want to help my mother-in-law financially because she is always spending every dime she makes and I feel it would just be enabling her poor choices.  I mean, this is a couple who makes over $100,000 a year.  They don’t really have an excuse for their bad decisions other than just bad behaviors.

But I felt really bad for Jonathan’s dad.  He was so excited to see his wife again and then she dropped the bomb on him that she was going to divorce him.  My parents divorced when I was young and I just hate that anyone would do this to another person.  We’ve been spending extra time with Jonathan’s dad trying to keep him company, but it breaks my heart every time we leave.  I know we can’t fill the void that his wife has left behind.  He’s already struggling with depression and this just added to it.

So anyways, when he asked for money last week, I told him I would look at our budget and bills and make sure we could help.  We did end up giving him $300 and as part of that money, he gave us his standing freezer which they don’t use anymore and I have been wanting so that I can do some freezer cooking.

But still, I’m not sure it was the right decision.  I believe that it’s so important to set appropriate boundaries with your family members and I’m not sure coming to their rescue with money fits within what I would consider acceptable behavior.

I’m going to give myself grace and realize that I was just trying to be helpful and I’m just concerned for Jonathan’s dad and this horrible situation in his family.  But for the future, I am going to have to establish those boundary lines and be prepared to say no.  I’ve watched enough Dave Ramsey videos to know that we are not in a place to be giving someone money and sometimes being “helpful” by giving someone money is really just enabling them to continue to make poor financial decisions, not learning valuable life lessons.  Sometimes God lets us hit rock bottom because he knows that at the bottom, when our pride is completely broken down, we learn the most.

So to wrap up my story and hopefully I’ll learn my lesson for next time and maybe inspire some of you to not make the same mistakes, it’s time for me to get serious about paying off debt.  And to get serious, I’m going to have to be willing to say “no” to a lot of things that I would usually say, “yes” to.  I can’t exactly be generous when I’m locked in chains by my own debtors.

It’s time to get, as Dave Ramsey says, gazelle intense!

Happy financial freedom to you all,

Amber

A better explanation

I need to write a really quick post here kind of in defense of my church from my post earlier today – after writing it, I started to think that some of the things I said might have come across as portraying my church in a negative light and I want to make sure that I don’t ever do that.

The first thing I want to explain is when I talked about looking at other churches in December of last year and feeling that God wanted us to stay at our church to strengthen it instead of leave.  I want to make sure that I put it here for clearly: I do not think for one minute that I’m going to be some kind of savior for my church or that my church even needs saving to begin with.  But as one part of the body strengthens another part, I can also strengthen my church in a way that God has gifted me in doing, just as he gifts other members with different abilities and talents to also strengthen the body.

What I mean when I say this, is that my husband and I made a commitment to our church when we joined in February 2011.  We made that our church home.  And the bible speaks very clearly about the role that we each play in being a part of the “body” that is the body of Christ and our local church home.  So if we had decided to leave our church and go some place else because we were struggling to fit in, we might be missing a calling in our first church to strengthen it in a way that only we can.

“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.  Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.  We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.  If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.  If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.” Romans 12:3-8

1 Corinthians also speaks of the body of Christ, comparing it to the human body if you’d like to read that as well.

Now I’m not saying that you can never leave your church home – I just think it should be done prayerfully and with consideration for what God wants you to be doing within the church, not necessarily what you can gain from the church.  Of course you want to enjoy the worship and fellowship and be encouraged by your church, but sometimes we leave church for the wrong reasons.

The next thing that I spoke about in my previous blog post was plenty of fellowship but not enough service/missions activities.  Now, I want to tread the water very carefully here.  My church does a lot of things well and really well.  Family life is one of the most attractive things in our church and so many people have come to the Lord because of our awesome children’s ministries and ministries for the family.

MOPS (which is a motherhood ministry) is one of the biggest and most successful ministries.  It brings in mother’s from all over the place, a lot of them, coming to church who don’t normally come to church.  Just the other day, I was at a pet visit and noticed my client had a MOPS flyer on her fridge from our church.  Although this ministry has always left me feeling incredibly left out and jealous because I long to be a member, I can’t deny how happy it makes me to see women being reached with the gospel.  And if this accomplishes that, than my hurt feelings will have to take a seat at the curb.  My feelings are temporary, but the eternal destination of someone is permanent.

Now one time I was able to minister along with MOPS.  One of the MOPS members lost her daughter to cancer.  Although she wasn’t a member of our church, our church rallied around her family, took care of the funeral, and provided a lunch for the family and friends.  One of my friends is in MOPS and asked me to help and I was able to see first hand, the gospel reaching a mother in her darkest moment.

In May, when one of the MOPS member’s husband was killed fighting in Afghanistan, the MOPS ladies and many members of our church again rallied around her family to support them in their darkest hour.

I have also benefited from my church, supporting me during one of my darkest hours.  When I spent a week in the hospital in November 2011, after losing baby Matthew and fighting for my life, church members, some of them who I didn’t even know yet came to visit me, pray with me, and give me gifts.  One sweet little old lady even brought me word puzzles and mint chocolate.  During one of the most difficult weeks of my life, my church was a reflection of the love of Christ to me.

And fellowship – our church does fellowship well.  There are plenty of activities and way to be in a community of support.  I’ve often struggled to do so just because of hurt feelings and because I’ve let the enemy trick me into believing lies.  I’ve wasted a lot of time and spent many a nights in tears when I could have had the strength of my church lifting me up and encouraging me.  And I know, had I reached out in some of my darkest times, they absolutely would have been there for me.

And the ministries like this overflow.

So when I say strengthen the church, what I should say is, “continue to help the church grow and flourish.”  Because my church is doing a fabulous job, but we just have to keep growing and keep shining the light for Christ, especially in our military town where so many people are hurting and need to be loved on.

Well, I hope I’ve cleared that up.  I don’t want to give off the impression that church is this painful thing to attend.  It can be painful when you are going through infertility, but one of the reasons is because we let fear stop us from sharing our burdens.  And when we open up to other believers and we share this painful journey we are going through, this is truth that the enemy doesn’t want us to know: we will be loved beyond measure.

We don’t have to do this alone my friends, there are good people out there, people filled with the love of Christ, ready and waiting to minister to broken hearts.

With all my love,

Amber

A heavy weekend

Hi friends, long time no chat.  I’m sorry about that :'( I hope you are all doing well and having a great week so far. 

This past weekend, our life group, which is what we call Sunday school, had a Saturday night social event.  Our church always has people coming and going because of the military so the socials help you get to know new people and our life group just happens to be the largest Sunday school class at our church. 

The life group is for married couples, so you can imagine we have a lot of:

Yup…you guessed it, pregnancy announcements, births, and pregnant bellies. 

When we first joined the church in 2011, we attended a newlywed life group that was much, much smaller.  At the time we joined, everyone was just a married couple with no children yet.  It was a fun time and I loved going.  By that summer when we started to have our miscarriages I actually transitioned into being a teacher for 6th grade Sunday school and then I wasn’t around for all of the pregnancy announcements and births.  I definitely don’t think I could have handled it while I was going through that first year of having 3 miscarriages back to back to back.  Thinking back to that time, I’m not even sure how I made it to church at all.  Had it not been for the commitment I made to teach Sunday school, I probably would have stopped going just for survival reasons.  I’m pretty sure there was several Sundays when I would show up to teach Sunday school and then go home and skip service. 

Our church is very military focused as well as family focused.  This is something I have struggled with for a long time.  We are a police family – military life is much different.  And of course, we don’t have children, which causes the biggest internal struggle of all. 

After teaching 6th grade Sunday school for a year, I made the decision to step down from teaching.  I was exhausted and starting to get burnt out from over-doing it with ministry.  Most Sunday’s I would not only teach Sunday school but also volunteer in Children’s church, which is a program we call BLAST.  I wanted to try to be more social and make friends at church, so we joined a new life group that was for married couples in 20’s and 30’s. 

At first, I enjoyed going, but I quickly learned that pregnancy announcements and birth announcements were going to be a very regular part of the fellowship.  At that time, our life group was even bigger than it is now because our church had not yet moved to a new schedule and we still only had one hour of Sunday school classes compared to our new schedule of three different Sunday school hours.  Because our life group was so big, we had small groups that met outside of church in someone’s home for more one on one fellowship. 

The first fellowship night was on a night of the week that Jonathan was working and couldn’t attend.  I’m pretty shy as it stands but without Jonathan with me, I will most of the time decide not to go.  But at this time, I was trying so hard to move beyond the depression from the miscarriages and I forced myself to go by myself. 

I was the only one that didn’t bring her husband and I was the only one without children.  All 3 moms had at least 3 kids each.  I felt so out of place.  The girls were nice enough and I was able to open up about what was going on in my life, but I definitely felt like the Debbie downer of the group.   

The small group didn’t last all that long however because our church changed from a one hour Sunday school schedule to a three hour Sunday school schedule.  Because our church was growing in size, we needed more space for everyone, so we just added an extra hour and more Sunday school classes.  So we have 8:30 Sunday school hour, 9:45 Sunday school hour and worship, and 11am Sunday school and worship.  Our life group split into two groups, one going to the 8:30 hour and the other meeting at 9:45. 

Anyways, since the schedule change, I’ve really struggled to make it to life group.  I have wanted to fellowship and be a part of the group, but sometimes I just can’t handle the “baby talk”. 

In December, feeling so left out by my church because of the strong devotion to family ministry, we decided to try out new churches and pray about what God would have us do.  We found one church that I loved because of their ministries they had outside of the church.  My church is really big on fellowship and anything that is service related (like going to a homeless shelter or nursing home) usually happens within small groups or life groups.  I even liked this new church’s life groups.  They weren’t separated based on lifestyle such as married couples, singles, seniors, and so on.  They had life groups based on the type of study they would do or ministry work. 

The group that we tried was called, FISH: fellowship in service to Him.  The group was designed to study the bible together during Sunday school hour but plan and work together for ministry outside of the church.  So the group would literally work through the bible and pray together for how they could get outside of the 4 walls of the church to minister to those in need.  I LOVED THAT!

On the second Sunday that we attended, they wanted everyone to start by going around the room and introducing yourself.  Even though this wasn’t a married couples group and there was many different ages, the interesting topic to share about yourself was, “Do you have children?”  I was so frustrated by that – I can never get away from it!

Every single person in the group, of course, had children – including the senior girl in High school.  It was like God was reminding me that there’s always going to be children no matter what church I go to or what life group I join. 

We ended up deciding to go back to our church because we felt like God was telling us to strengthen our church and encourage more ministries.  I’m glad that we did go back because I was able to see a lot of people in my church feeling the same way that I was, frustrated by the lack of opportunities to serve outside church, and ready to make a change. One of my dear friends from church has been working hard to establish this and I’m so thankful for her.  Because of her efforts, we are now working with a local homeless shelter, a foster night program in Austin, and other local ministries.  But let me tell you, she has faced a lot of opposition in doing this.  For some reason, it is really hard to get the entire church on board.  For right now, it’s still just small groups working together to do this.  My hopes are that the church as a whole will become more committed to outside ministries.  It’s definitely growing and more and more people are stepping up to volunteer, but we have a long way to go. 

So anyways, Jonathan and I have started to make an effort to get to our life group and move beyond our sad feelings about our childless situation.  So on Saturday night, I decided we needed to make an effort and go to our life group’s social. 

It ended up being a really nice time and it made me realize that I’m not as shy as I once was.  I guess getting older helps! But towards the end of the night we were playing a game at each of our tables.  Each table had to come up with 10 things that they all have in common.  Both Jonathan and I inwardly sighed knowing the first thing everyone would pick was “children.” 

And yes, it was the first thing that our table tried.  We just said “no sorry” and moved on from that to other topics. 

But then each table had to stand up and share their top 10.  It was funny hearing some of the things, especially when one life group said, “We all like to have sex with our spouses”.  The wife was so embarrassed by this hahaha! But every table except for our table shared that they had children, or as one table so thoughtfully put it, “achieved pregnancy.” 

This made me realize, we are the only childless couple in our life group, or at least from those that showed up to the social.  I totally forgot about a friend, sitting at one of the other tables, who is also childless. 

Until the leader at her table said after each table finished sharing, “Hey guys, our table ALL has children.” And pointed to my friend.  That was their way of announcing their pregnancy and it all went right over our heads. 

I was okay when they first announced this – I felt a little anxious but I didn’t think I would fall apart or start crying.  But by the time we left to go home and got in the car, I was ready to fall apart. 

I didn’t want Jonathan to know, so I went to the bathroom and cried my heart out. 

The entire night felt so heavy and dark.  All I could do was cry and pray.  Of course Jonathan figured out really quickly that I was upset but I didn’t want to talk with him about it and I didn’t want to cry in front of anyone either.  I just wanted to be alone.  I went to bed early, not even bothering to eat dinner.   

Of course I couldn’t sleep well and ended up waking up after 2 hours.  Jonathan was in bed at this point so I went to the couch and read my bible with tears pouring down my face the entire time.  I just read through the Psalms, crying, and praying for answers and comfort. And then I turned to one spot in the bible and was so very confused and hurt by what I had turned to:

“Give them, O Lord – what will you give them? Give them wombs that miscarry and breasts that are dry.” Hosea 9:14

Anger rose in me and I shouted in my head at God, “What is this supposed to mean? Are you trying to tell me that you are punishing me for something?”

And then I read the study guide notes at the bottom of the page and this is what it said:

“Hosea prayed this prayer when he foresaw the destruction that Israel’s sins would bring (2 Kings 17:7-23).  This vision of Israel’s terrible fate moved him to pray that women would not get pregnant and that children would die as infants so they would not have to experience the tremendous suffering and pain that lay ahead.” 

Wait, what? What are you trying to tell me, Lord?

Is God trying to tell me that in the future, there will come a point when I will be thankful that my children are safe in Heaven and not here with me?

Do you remember my post from before Mother’s Day, when I shared the following passage of scripture:

“As they led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.  A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him.  Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children.  For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!” Then ‘they will say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’  For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”  Luke 23:26-31

I’m not sure what to think of all of this.  Maybe God is telling me that suffering is coming to our nation? Maybe it’s just a coincidence that I happened to turn to that spot in the bible.  I really don’t know what to think.  Only time will tell.  (Though I will say – I’m definitely going to take this scripture to some of the teachers in my church and find out what they think.  I’m curious to get some opinions or better understanding of what this scripture is talking about.)

I know that if the “end times” were to come and intense suffering and persecution came upon us, I would be praising God and thankful that I have 5 beautiful gifts in Heaven, safe and waiting to meet me, never knowing fear of sadness or pain, but only love.  I know that if it ever comes down to it and I’m persecuted for my faith, my 5 precious babies in Heaven will remind me that this is not my home. 

But I don’t know what will come.  We know that in the book of Revelation and other books in the bible, Jesus warns of horrible times, the likes of which the world has never known before.  But we don’t know when that will be.  And we can’t become weighed down with anticipation and worry over what might happen or when it might happen. 

All we can do is put our focus and trust in God and believe that He is big enough to see us through all the trials and tribulations that we face.  There is no problem too big for God. 

So whether that passage or scripture was prophetic for my life or not, I’ll choose to say, “My God, I trust in you!” 

The next morning, I made it to life group even though I was worried about attending.  And you know what, I had a really great time at church that day.  Perhaps the intense sadness I felt the night before was just the enemy trying to stop me from growing in my church, fellowshipping with others, and having the support of brothers and sisters in Christ who love me and care about me. 

And on Monday night, me and 5 other ladies met up at the park to have a prayer meeting for the crisis in Iraq and other events happening throughout the world.  It was such a great time of prayer and getting to talk with these ladies about our hopes for the church and some plans and ministry ideas we have to start for the next year.  I’ll write a separate post later on how to pray for the crisis in Iraq and ideas to host a prayer night of your own in case anyone is interested in that. 

I have much more to talk about, but this post is getting rather lengthy so I’ll stop here.  Although I still have many hard days and struggle with this RPL/infertility journey, I’m hopeful and excited for the things God is doing not just in my own life but in the world.  He is definitely up to something and it is exciting to see so many people coming to the Lord for salvation!

With love and prayers,

Amber

Easy Gluten Free Pancakes

Hi friends, happy Friday! I’m excited for the weekend but my lovely husband is snoozing away on the couch.  He had rifle training this week for work out in the hot Texas sun and he is exhausted, poor thing.  So while he’s resting, I thought I’d share a new favorite recipe (if you can even call it a recipe!) for gluten free pancakes.

In my pre-Celiac disease and gluten free days, I enjoyed making these buttermilk pancakes and another recipe that I never ended up posting on the blog that is just a simple old fashioned pancake recipe.

Since going gluten free, I have really struggled to find a good pancake recipe that compares to my old favorites.  But the other week at the store, I found a box of King Arthur’s gluten free all-purpose baking mix that I was going to use for a stew and dumpling recipe I was trying.  When I got home,  I found a simple recipe for pancakes on the back of the box and decided we were going to give it a try one morning.

The result was a very happy, gluten-free Amber!

Without further ado, here is the recipe

You will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup King Arthur Flour, Gluten free all-purpose baking mix (VERY IMPORANT that you use the baking mix and not the multi-purpose mix)
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter or oil
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, optional (I don’t use this)

1.) In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the baking mix and sugar.

2.) In a measuring cup, combine the milk, egg, melted butter or oil, and vanilla (if using vanilla).  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until blended.

3.) Allow the batter to sit for 10 minutes, to thicken (this goes for all pancake recipes FYI – it’s an important step that a lot of people skip)

4.) Preheat your griddle or pan to medium heat (350 degrees F)

5.)Pour batter onto the hot, lightly greased griddle or pan.  Cook until the pancakes edges are dry, bubbles form, and the top is no longer glossy.  Turn over to finish cooking.

**You can make the recipe dairy free by using oil instead of melted butter and rice, soy, or nut milk instead. **

The recipes yields about eight 4 inch pancakes

I forgot to take a picture of my pancakes, but they pretty much look just like my old favorites:

Buttermilk Pancakes

If you are gluten free and give this a try, let me know how you like it.  I enjoyed my pancakes with real maple syrup! Other toppings could include fresh fruit and homemade cool whip.

Happy gluten-free baking,

Amber

Recurrent Miscarriage & Infertility Linked to Celiac Disease

Hi friends, I was just playing around on Pinterest while eating dinner and found this good explanation of what Celiac Disease is and what the symptoms are.

I have Celiac disease and I discovered that I had Celiac disease in 2012 after having 3 miscarriages.  One day, I just happened to stumble upon an article about the link between Celiac disease and recurrent miscarriage and thought I would have my doctor test me for the disease.  I also had a lot of intestinal symptoms related to Celiac disease and thought it wouldn’t hurt to get tested.

Diagnosis for Celiac disease involves a blood test followed by a biopsy if the results are positive.  Some people actually have negative blood test results but still have a biopsy anyways and actually find a diagnosis through that.  I had positive results with the blood test and then had to wait months to see a gastroenterologist for a biopsy (which was completely frustrating!)

After my diagnosis of Celiac disease it was also discovered that I had low vitamin D and low iron, both also from the Celiac disease.

The most important thing about testing for Celiac disease is remaining on your normal gluten diet.  If you start eating gluten free and then get blood testing or a biopsy, you could heal your body and have false results.  Just remember: while testing, keep eating your bread! NO gluten free until you have all of your results back.

Check out the below fact sheet about Celiac disease and read through the symptoms.  If you suffer from recurrent miscarriages and/or infertility, I think you should get tested for the disease.  A simple blood test won’t hurt.  If you do have Celiac disease and it goes undiscovered, it can lead to horrible health problems, even cancer.

And please, don’t be like some of my family members who have refused to get tested because “they could never stick to a gluten free diet.”  It’s not that bad and it’s not the end of the world.  Yes, it is difficult at times, but you get more creative and learn to enjoy life gluten free.

I like to think that my 3 precious babies in Heaven have played a role in saving my life by helping me discover this disease.

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Be healthy my friends, life is more enjoyable when you feel better!

-Amber