Friday, September 30, 2011

Time Management Fail

When you're a full-time student with a 16-credit hour course-load, and you still work 3 days a week as a substitute teacher (or at least I would if they'd call me more) you have to be good at time management.

Things I haven't had time for lately due to copious amounts of homework:
  1. couponing
  2. reading for leisure
  3. working at the church library
  4. spending much time with Luke
  5. cleaning the house

Things I've somehow found the time for anyway:
  1. Knitting a scarf
  2. Watching all my TV shows
  3. Blogging almost every day
  4. Shopping. A lot. What? We have a new Kohls in town!!
  5. Baking
Time Management: FAIL

Now where's that time management book I bought, but never found time to read?

I need a crash course because clearly I'm doing something wrong! I think it all comes down to self-discipline which I'm obviously lacking. Help!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

It's OK Thursday

It's Thursday, and you know what that means!!

Its Ok Thursdays

It's Okay: keep a draft of this post going all week so you don't forget anything. stay in touch with your childlike side (not your childish one, though!) wear a scarf just about every day once the weather gets below 70 degrees

(or maybe that's not I need an intervention??) feel a little sad while you're watching your last fireworks show at a baseball game of the season. RIP summer 2011. Even though I love fall even more. be slightly extremely obsessed with Instagram. (Gosh, I think I may need two interventions) spend a Saturday night at home alone, eating popcorn for dinner, and watching the first season of Modern Family. And to be totally okay with that! be so used to having autocorrect on your iPhone, that you sometimes sit and wait for your PC to autocorrect you when you've made a minor typo. And then to get totally annoyed when you remember you have to fix it yourself.

So that's what's okay with me this week!! What's okay with you?? Link up!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Unplanned by Abby Johnson - My Thoughts

I feel like I need to preface this post by saying a few things:

First of all, I have not completely finished reading the book Unplanned by Abby Johnson. But this post has been formulating in my head for awhile, and I'm going to write it anyway. Because I may never have time to finish it now that anatomy and physiology of speech and hearing have completely stolen just about every waking moment of my life. (Not sure how I've found time to blog lately!)

And secondly, I don't usually post about controversial topics here on the blog, so I hope I don't get any really mean comments.

Also, totally petty but I apologize that the font sizes on this post got all messed up and Blogger is not letting me fix it. Which makes me want to bang my head against my desk considering my OCD tendencies :-P But I'm trying to ignore it.

Okay, forging ahead. If you haven't heard about Unplanned I'll give a very brief outline of the plot. It's about a woman who was the director at a Planned Parenthood in Texas. Through an experience there, she decided to walk away from her job and join the Coalition for Life.

First of all, I have to say that this book completely changed my perception of organizations like Planned Parenthood. It gave me a compassion for the people who work there, and showed me that they have compassion for women going through an unwanted pregnancy, just like people on the other side of the abortion debate. They have a heart for hurting women, and their intentions are nothing but good. They just happen to disagree with people like me on the abortion debate.

I personally am 100% against abortion. It hurts my heart so much to know that I would give almost anything to have a baby, and there are women out there who are purposely ending their pregnancies.


Sometimes the way I see pro-lifers going about trying to change others' opinions on the matter is just as offensive to me. And I'm not saying this to judge anyone, because I used to be the same way. I used to have debates with a certain friend on this issue that I'm sure have pushed her further in the other direction because I went about it the wrong way.

I could sit here and argue all the points against abortion all day long. But I think we've all heard all the arguments for and against this issue already. I'm confident that there's nothing anybody could say that would change my stance on this issue. And the thing is, that's probably true of a lot of people on the other side of the argument. I've read some Christian blogs who've written about this issue, and I think that by arguing their point further and further, they've just turned off the people on the other side, and made them more hateful of us, and also made them more adamant about their own opinions.

This book has shown me that instead of arguing, protesting, and ultimately hating one another, it is so much more important to show each other love and compassion. Jesus did not change people by arguing and protesting. He won the people over by His loving and compassionate words and actions, and then lives were changed. I have learned it is much more important to love others than it is to be "right."

I don't think you will ever find me arguing about the abortion issue, because I don't want to turn anyone off from Christians or other pro-life supporters. But in the past year or two, I've decided there is one issue that I would love to promote. And that is:


I can't tell you how much my eyes have been opened in the past year-and-a-half about adoption. As someone who is struggling to start a family, I have considered the idea of possibly adopting someday. I even think I'd like to adopt if we are able to have children of our own. (Luke and I haven't really seriously discussed this yet, so I'm just talking and dreaming here). I think it is such a noble thing for someone to do to go through pregnancy for 9 months, and then give the gift of a child to someone who so desperately wants to be a parent.

I don't understand why God let's couples go through infertility. And I don't understand why He lets so many women become pregnant who are not ready. It all comes down to the fact that we live in a fallen world, and bad things happen. But to me, adoption is the beautiful solution to such ugly problems. Maybe God let's couples go through infertility because He knows they can provide the loving home for a baby that the biological parents just can't. It's such a beautiful thing to me!

I hope I have not ruffled too many feathers today. But this book has brought a lot of things to mind, and has had me mulling them over in my mind for weeks. So I knew I had to share some of my thoughts.

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts? And if you haven't read it, it is eye-opening, no matter on which side of the issue you stand.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Farmer's Market!

As I mentioned in my Week in Review post, I went to White House Farms with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law on Saturday. This is one of my favorite things to do in the fall! It was packed for a Saturday morning, but we had fun picking out delicious foods and adorable pumpkins...and I can't forget the donuts, too!!

I came home with two big pumpkins, some Indian corn, all kinds of tiny pumpkins and gourds, some delicious muenster jalapeno cheese, my favorite roasted red pepper salad dressing, and a half dozen donuts. You have to buy donuts when you go to White House. It's a rule.

Yep, it's definitely fall now :-)

Monday, September 26, 2011

These Days

Last week I listened to the song These Days by Mandisa for the first time, and it was such a blessing! The song literally changed my life a bit. You can listen to it below:

My favorite parts are the second verse and the chorus. They are so powerful to me:

I can see silver lining when the sun's not shining
Even when you choose to bring the rain
But there's freedom believing
And trusting your leading
'Cause you're the Lord of all my joy and all my pain

So I'll learn to love these days
Life along the way
In the middle of the crazy
God your love is so amazing
Through the ups and downs
You're the only hope I've found
Lord you meet me in the madness
So I'll learn to love these days

I heard this song and decided that it was my prayer and a challenge I'd like to give myself. To love every day the Lord blesses me with instead of being frustrated that I'm going through a hard time, and things aren't going the way I had once thought they would.

I certainly didn't choose my situation, but I do get to choose my attitude towards it. In the past year there have been many days when I've chosen to be mad and bitter. But that has caused me a lot of unnecessary stress and pain. Certainly those feelings were not coming from the God of peace! This song was such a good reminder that I can choose to love this stage in life.

And as I look out my window at the blue sky and changing leaves; as I think about how God has richly blessed me with such a great husband; when I look around at all the family and friends I have to support me; and as I think of the God who has saved me with His grace....I realize that there is no reason to be down all the time! I should be enjoying every moment.

No matter what situation you are walking through, God has blessings along the way. Sometimes we have to look for them, but they're there. Choose to focus on those instead of the bad things!

In the past week I've realized it makes a big difference.


Remember, if you would like to be added to my weekly infertility prayer chain email, email me and let me know at mysomethingbeautifulblog {at} gmail {dot} com. I will be sending the emails out on Mondays.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Week in Review


~Luke and I have joined a young adult Bible Study that will be studying Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs. We went to our first one on Sunday night, but no one else showed up! So we just hung out with Rachel and Jesse (our leaders) and talked and watched the Emmys. It was fun, but hopefully more people come next week!

~On Wednesday Sarah came over for a bit. It was nice to have a little study break, and we caught up. Mostly we just laughed at Ellie, who tries to attack my phone whenever I use the piano app.~Most of our down time this week was spent at home watching season premieres of our favorite shows. Which was just fine by me!

~Friday night we went out to the Indians game with our friends Alex and Michelle. It was cold and rainy and the game was delayed and we didn't get home until after 1...but it was a fun night anyway! It was dollar dog night, so I ate 2 hot dogs, and my crazy husband ate 7 (!!!!) and we ended up running into several of our friends from church. Plus the Indians won in a walk-off at the bottom of the 9th, and it was fireworks night. So I'd say the good definitely outweighed the bad!

~On Saturday morning I went to one of my favorite places to go in the fall: White House Fruit Farm! I went with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law and we spent all morning stocking up on everything we needed for fall. Then later we went to a little barn craft show and saw lots of pretty things.
~Saturday afternoon, Sarah came over and we took a walk down a nature trail and then hung out in the park a bit. It was nice to see her and catch up with her again!

we may have enjoyed the swings while we were there. We also may have taken 10 minutes to get this photo right using the self-timer on Sarah's Droid.


Movies I watched: time for that

Books I read: None...once again, no time

Songs I'm loving: These Days by Mandisa. The song seriously changed my whole outlook on life this week.

Favorite picture:
I love this picture I took during fireworks at the Indians game!

Things I'm looking forward to next week: Watching the world transform a little more for fall! (I apparently don't have much planned yet for next week :-P)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Pumpkin Cookies for a Rainy, Fall Friday

Today the school where I sub didn't have class, so I obviously had the day off. I woke up and it was gloomy and rainy...and I loved it! It was the perfect excuse to light some fall candles and bake up something pumpkiny!After Pinterest-ing for a few minutes, I came across these delicious looking pumpkin cookies with cream cheese frosting, originally found here.

I cleaned up the kitchen, cranked up some Mandisa (Sarah recently opened me up to the world of Mandisa, and my life is changed!! I love her music and it's so uplifting!) and got to work.

It was a pretty easy and quick recipe, for both the cookies and the frosting. And they taste amazing!! This will definitely be one of those recipes I go back to every fall. ...I may have eaten one already (or two...or three) I had to taste test them, after all!

Now as I go through the rest of my afternoon cleaning the house, doing homework, possibly working on the scarf that I'm knitting, and getting ready for the Indians game tonight (where I will freeze my butt off), my house smells like pumpkin and fall spices.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's OK Thursday

Its Ok Thursdays

Once again, I'm partaking in my Thursday ritual. Thanks to Neely and Amber for hosting my favorite link-up!

So It's OK read blogs while I dry my hair, and watch Netflix while I straighten it. My iPhone has turned me into quite the multi-tasker. eat something sinful every once in the brownies filled with Oreos and peanut butter I made for a party on Friday! choose a Grande Pumpkin spice latte over an aspirin to cure a headache. BTW, it worked like a charm. stay up until 1:00 AM being ridiculously productive because of said highly caffeinated beverage.

...To laugh for an entire hour without stopping while watching the Modern Family season premiere. Phil Dunphy and Cam Tucker have got to be two of the funniest guys on television. enjoy "old lady" hobbies, like knitting. Especially in the fall

To think Phonetics is the coolest class ever...and to totally embrace my inner nerd suddenly find things like doing dishes or laundry fascinating and completely entertaining. But only because I should be writing a paper instead. feel like a total rock star because I successfully dissected a pig's larynx all by myself on Tuesday, and didn't puke. somehow trudge through a difficult week, because you know the weekend is going to be amazing! (Mine will include a free Indians game, a trip to White House Farms, a girls movie night with Sarah including a viewing of Sweeney Todd, and Love and Respect Bible study on Sunday night. So much fun stuff going on, it's the only thing that's propelling me through my classes and homework this week!)

Happy Thursday!!
And link up!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Premiere Week!!

This week is an exciting week for my husband and I. Maybe this is a bad thing, but we are avid TV watchers, and the past few years, our shows of choice have been sitcoms. It all started with Scrubs a few years ago, and our sitcom repertoire (totally not sure if I'm using that word right here...correct me if I'm not!) has expanded quite a bit.

So this week, here are the shows that will definitely NOT be missed in this household!!

1. How I Met Your Mother. I'm a couple days late posting this, because it was on Monday night. But it's our favorite show ever!! So funny and so good! Also, Luke and I have found many parallels between our lives and Lily and Marshal's lives. And that's just fun!

2. The Middle. This show is so quirky and funny. Seriously, is Brick not the most interesting character on TV? And I have to say, I like Patricia Heaton better as Frankie Heck than Debra Barone.
3. Modern Family! Winner of the Emmy for best comedy series this year! I have to say, I like HIMYM better than Modern Family because of the plot. However, don't hate me but...Modern Family is funnier. In my humble opinion, of course!

The Office. I don't think The Office is as funny as it used to be, but it's still one of the best shows on TV. And I will continue to watch it, even without Michael Scott.

Parks and Recreation. Remember when I said Modern Family was funnier than HIMYM? Well, Parks and Rec is funnier than both of them. In my opinion, it's the funniest show on TV. You definitely have to have a certain kind of random, quirky sense of humor to appreciate it, though. But for me and Luke, it's right up our alley.

And finally...

Big Bang Theory. Just an all-around hilarious show! I love Sheldon. Every line of his makes me laugh.

As you can see, we have a busy week ahead of us ;-) And I now realize I need to reevaluate my life, because clearly, I have a serious addiction to TV and I watch way too much of it!!

What shows will you be sure not to miss this week?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Guest Blogger #1

I have opened my blog up for guest bloggers who have some hope to share about their fertility struggles. Today I am so excited for my first guest post! It is written by one of my oldest blog-friends, Callie Nicole from Through Clouded Glass. She was one of the first people who read and commented on my blog back when it was very young :-) We found that we have a lot in common! One of the things we have in common is that we have both struggled with fertility issues, and our situations are very similar in that we both suffer(ed) from ovulatory infertility. Callie is now the mother of an adorable baby boy, but the road to becoming pregnant was not easy for her. Her post brought me so much encouragement, and I hope it brings encouragement to others, as well! :-)


I used to wonder, "Why me?" Why did I have to struggle to get pregnant when it seemed so many other girls could get pregnant without even trying?

My months of infertility were one of the hardest things I've had to go through yet. I have always wanted to be a mom and the thought that I may never get the chance broke my heart.

At the time, I struggled to see the purpose in it all. Of course in my head I knew that the Lord always has a plan. But it was frustrating not knowing His plan and wondering why. I couldn't see it.

But as I think back on our journey to get pregnant with our son, when I look for the purpose in it now, I can more clearly see it. He does see the big picture, and I don't - I can't know all His reasons for allowing us to go through ovulatory infertility for 11 months. But I realize now that there are several things I gained through those months of waiting and hoping for a baby, and God did use it in my life personally, and to help others.

I learned to trust Him. It's easy to say you are trusting the Lord when everything is going your way, but the hard work of trusting him comes when everything is falling apart.

I never knew His power, His comfort, His grace as deeply as when I had to give Him my deepest desire and just trust Him. I had to accept that He knows what He's doing and let Him handle it. In exchange, I got the gift of knowing Him better - and I wouldn't trade that for an easier road to motherhood.

Through our problems getting pregnant the Lord also gave me the opportunity to really know what other girls were going through and to have the ability to be an encouragement. You really can't understand how lonely and heartbreaking infertility is until you have dealt with it yourself.

In retrospect, I realize that yes, those months of infertility were a huge trial I had to walk through . . . but it was more than that. It was a calling. The Lord doesn't call everyone to travel through infertility. I think the Lord led me through this for a reason - He knew I could handle it, and He wanted to use it in my life. Not only personally, but also that through this trial I could know what others were going through and be an encouragement to them, just as so many of them were an encouragement to me.

When I look at it that way - that the Lord chose me for this fertility struggle so that I could bring glory to Him and encouragement to others - it suddenly becomes a privilege to have walked through this trial, rather than something that was inflicted upon me. It is always a privilege to be used by Him, even if it means we have to go through some suffering - because didn't He suffer much worse for us?

Hindsight is 20/20. The Lord has allowed me to see the answer, at least part of it, to the "Why me?" questions I used to ask.

I can see how the Lord has used my trials, and in light of that, I wouldn't go back and change a thing.

Now, I know it's easy to say these things from the other side, now that I have a baby. But I just want to encourage all you ladies who are going through this now to look for the way the Lord wants to use this in your life, and the lives of others. Trust me, He will use it if you let Him.

But you have to look for it, or you just might miss it.

Monday, September 19, 2011


Every once in awhile I go back and look at an old post. Really, it's the reason I blog anyway. It's awesome that for the past three years, I can go back and look at so many memories and thoughts. Anyway, the other day I stumbled across an old post that made my heart hurt a little. It was written about a month before we had started trying for a baby. When I wrote the post, I knew that we were just about ready to start trying, and in typical Jessica fashion, I was jumping the gun a bit. Putting the cart before the horse. Counting my eggs before they had hatched. You get the picture. You can read my naive post here.

When I wrote that post in May of 2010, here is exactly where I thought I'd be right now, in September of 2011:

  • Spending my days taking care of my baby.
  • Maybe substitute teaching a few days a week, but probably not working much.
  • Being a breast-feeding, natural baby food-making, cloth-diapering, mama.
  • Going to play groups with all of my friends and their babies.
  • Making fun, first fall memories with our new family of three.
  • Researching and strongly considering homeschooling.
So basically, I had a life all planned out for myself. And I was so excited about it, I thought for sure God would make it happen!

But I've learned my lesson now. We don't always get what we want. Because it isn't always the thing that's best.

This is sort of a funny comparison, but when I was little, I wanted a hamster so badly! Apparently I cried silent, heart-broken tears one night at the pet shop because I so desperately wanted one, but my parents wouldn't let me get one. My mom said she felt horrible seeing me cry like that, because apparently I didn't ask for much when I was little, and it was hard to say no to this. But my dad was adamant about it. And now that I'm all grown up, I can see hamsters as the disgusting little rodents that they are, and I'm glad they said no! (no offense to anyone who loves hamsters. haha!) Not only did they spare me from buying a gross pet, but it also taught me an important lesson: you don't always get what you want! Even if you want it really, really badly.

Now the thing I want is no longer a hamster but a baby. And I'm sure God's heart breaks when he sees me crying, just like my mom's did with the hamster situation. However, He still knows what is best right now, and a baby must not be it. Just because I have a strong desire for something, doesn't mean that God's just going to snap His fingers and make it happen right now. And I'm glad of that, because He sees the whole picture while I just see a tiny part of it.

So instead of all of those things I had pictured for myself in September of 2011, here's what is really happening instead:

  • I'm spending my time in speech pathology classes, and studying during most of my free time
  • Still substitute teaching whenever I can
  • Being a wife instead of a mother, and having fun with the homemaking side of that.
  • Having total freedom with my spare time. Going out and doing pretty much whatever I want whenever the mood strikes.
  • Making wonderful memories with my friends and family, even without a baby.
  • Forgetting the idea of homeschooling, or even being a stay-at-home mom. instead, picturing myself working with children and hopefully changing their lives, and making them able to communicate better.
If I could have seen into the future when I wrote that post, I wouldn't have been able to believe it. I never pictured myself going back to school for another degree. And I certainly didn't picture myself going through something like infertility. But at the end of the day, it is what it is! And for right now, in this moment, I'm very happy. I may never be a stay-at-home mom. It may even be a very long time before I'm a mom at all. But as long as God is in control, I have nothing to worry about.

Besides my longing for a baby, everything in my life is amazing right now. God has blessed me so richly. I am back in school for something I have such a strong passion for! I know I will love doing this for the rest of my life. The school I've chosen to attend is extremely close to where my sister lives and my aunt works, so I've gotten to spend a lot of time with them. Luke and I have become so close through this whole ordeal, and there is no one I'd rather be walking through this with. Recently a few friendships have been reconciled (which, by the way, our fertility issues had a BIG part in messing up) and I've so enjoyed spending time with these friends. And on top of it all, it's my favorite time of year!

My life doesn't look anything like what I'd planned for myself. But that's okay! Honestly, it makes life more exciting anyway.

If your life doesn't look like you thought it would, don't lost hope. Embrace it! Let God make it work for you!!

And listen to the song Unpredictable by Francesca Battistelli. I couldn't find it on You Tube, but it's a really good song, and goes along with my thoughts in this post exactly.


I'm getting together my prayer list for the infertility prayer chain today. I will either send it out today or tomorrow. So let me know if you would like to be added to the list, or if you would like to be a prayer warrior! email me at


Also, come back tomorrow for a guest post from one of my closest blog friends! She walked through her own fertility journey for almost a year before becoming pregnant with her son, and she has so much hope to share!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Week in Review: Parties and Football games!


~Luke went to the Browns game on Sunday, so I spent the afternoon going out to lunch at Grinders with my parents, and then taking a 2 hour nap! My favorite Sunday activity ;-)

~Spent most of my study time this week with this little cuddle bug in my lap, being adorable

~On Monday, I went shopping and to a matinee with Mom and Julie. Crazy, Stupid Love was our movie of choice, and it was so good! Definitely one I want to add to my blu-ray collection.
~Wednesday evening while our husbands were at band practice, a few of us wives had a spontaneous fondue party at my cousin Rachel's house.

~On Thursday my sister and I went shopping in Fairlawn between my classes. We visited our usual favorites like Pier 1, JoAnn Fabrics, and Hobby Lobby, and we also hit up an upscale pet shop. I died over these cuddly Puggles!

~Got and A on my first big Anatomy & Physiology test! I was pretty excited, so I had to throw that in there :-P

~Friday I got called in to the school where I used to work to sub for the first time this year! I was so happy to see everybody!

~Enjoyed the beautiful fall-like weather, and some very gorgeous days.

~On Friday night we went to a church young adult party at our friends Rachel and Jesse's house. It was fun to hang out with everybody! And there were some adorable babies there too, which is always a plus. I made these ridiculous brownies: they are filled with two oreos held together with peanut butter. Like I said: ridiculous. But pretty tasty if you like rich, decadent things! (I stole the idea from someone at work. Wish I could take credit for them!)

~We had a party at our house on Saturday night for the Ohio State game. Unfortunately, they lost. It was a bittersweet evening.


Movies I watched: Crazy, Stupid Love (A+)

Books I'm reading: Do my A & P or Phonetics textbooks count?

Songs I'm Loving: Stronger - Sarah Evans

Favorite Picture:
Imagine waking up to this face every morning. How could my day start out badly?! Had to snap a picture on Saturday morning when I opened my eyes and there was Ellie, staring at me like a cute little creeper :-P

Things I'm looking forward to next week: Beginning our young adult Love and Respect Bible study tonight, hopefully getting more sub jobs, and going to a FREE Indians game with our friends Alex and Michelle on Friday night.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

It's Okay Thursday!

After my week of serious posts, I'm so excited to do my favorite link-up today: It's Okay Thursday! It feels good to do something light and fun after all that!

Its Ok Thursdays

It's Okay almost die of cuteness when your cat won't leave you alone while you try to study. She is attention-starved, and usually ends up sleeping in my lap like this while I do homework:

...To feel OLD when you're in classes with mostly 21-year-olds. And to be okay with it. I don't think I'd trade places with them if I could.

...To feel like Christmas is coming, because, HELLO, SEASON PREMIERES!!! The Office, Parks and Rec, The Middle, Modern Family...but mostly...How I Met Your Mother!!
Align Center

...To sometimes be unable to separate your life from HIMYM. To think that you are Lily, your husband is Marshall, and your friend JC is Ted.

...To have a little crush on Ryan Gosling. I saw Crazy, Stupid Love on Monday and WOW. Wow to the movie, and wow to Ryan!! It's okay, my husband has a crush on Katy Perry, so we're even :-P

...To buy a book on time management, and then not be able to find the time to read it. {guilty}

...To once again, be over-the-moon excited that it's fall!!!

...To use that one ^ Every single week.

Happy Thursday! And Happy Fall!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Our Story

{I originally posted this in September, but am linking it up to Kelly's blog.  It is my infertility story.  I currently have an infertility prayer chain going, so email me if you would like to be a part of it: }

I guess it is unofficially infertility awareness week here at Something Beautiful (gosh it feels weird to say that instead of Called to Serve!) But today I thought I'd share a few more of the specifics of our story, and also a little bit more about my new blog name. I apologize that this is probably the longest post I've ever written, but I just couldn't cut our story back any more.

When Luke and I got married, I pretty much immediately felt ready for a baby. I tried not to bug Luke about it too much, but I was ready, and I was ready NOW.

Almost two years into our marriage, in June of 2010, Luke finally uttered those words that I had been waiting so long to hear: he was ready to start our family!

It was such an exciting time at first! I found myself immediately drawn to the baby section in any store we were in. I started mentally making plans for turning our office into a nursery. As friends announced their pregnancies I became excited, knowing our children would be the same age, in the same Sunday school class, etc. I made a huge list of all my favorite names, and extensively researched the meaning and history of each one. I found myself trying not to hope for a girl, but I couldn't help it. I even found myself trying not to hope for twins, but I couldn't help that either. I made up grand schemes about how I would reveal to Luke that I was pregnant, and even grander schemes about how we would tell our families, who had no idea we were trying. I pictured myself pregnant at Christmas, wondering what kinds of cute maternity outfits I would buy. I even wondered who was going to baby-sit on the day of my sister's wedding the following summer.

Did I jump the gun a bit? Obviously. But when you've been waiting two years to begin trying, you never think about the fact that you're not going to get pregnant right away.

My excitement didn't last for long. I had begun, as any other woman who is anxious for a child would, to chart my cycles. My alarm went off at 6 every morning, and I had to take my temperature with my special basal body thermometer before my feet ever hit the floor. In addition to that, I bought ovulation predictor kits and used those.

Day after day went by and nothing was happening. Week after week, and no change in temperature, no positive OPKs. Month after month, and not even a blip on the ovulation radar. Something was not right.

We had only been trying for three months when I first went to see a doctor. She was actually a nurse practitioner, and I liked her a lot. She put me on Progesterone to see if that would do anything. (Don't even get me started on how badly the Progesterone messed with me and my system!) I was due back for a follow-up visit in a month, but I would have to see a different doctor since the nurse practitioner wasn't allowed to prescribe certain medications.

My next visit with the new doctor was one of the worse experiences of my life. I wish I were exaggerating. I have never seen anyone with such a horrible bedside manner. She all but rolled her eyes at me in exasperation that I would waste her time with something so trivial. She told me I had nothing to worry about because it had only been a few months. She actually laughed when she asked me how old I was (25 at the time). "You've got plenty of time, honey." She might as well have slapped me across the face. She basically told me there was nothing she could do until we'd been trying for a year, and not to let the door hit me on the way out.

I cried the entire 45-minute drive home and most of the night after that. I was going through something that was shaking my entire world, and that doctor totally trivialized every hurt and fear that I was going through. I posted about it here, but obviously didn't say that I was seeing the doctor for fertility issues when I wrote it. Anyway, that night I vowed I would never set foot in that practice again. And to this day, I stand by that decision. No one should be made to feel that way.

After the doctor's appointment came the waiting stage. I knew I was stuck waiting until I hit that magic 1-year mark. More and more of my friends started announcing pregnancies and I wanted so badly to be happy for them, but I just couldn't. Jealousy took over which turned into guilt for feeling jealous. What a disgusting cycle.

Things changed right around the 8 or 9 month mark, because friends who had announced their pregnancies around the time we had started trying were now going into labor and having their babies. I couldn't escape the fact that I felt like I should have been with them. It still blows my mind that I could have a 6-month-old baby, and yet I'm not even pregnant. But anyway, as baby after baby was being born, I became extremely proactive about finding a doctor who would help me, even though we hadn't been trying for a whole year yet.

I looked for a new doctor and prayed that God would lead me to the perfect one. And He did not let me down. I went to a different practice with a new doctor who was the complete opposite of the other doctor I had seen. She was kind and compassionate and took time to explain everything to me. And she always asked for my opinion, and how I wanted to handle things first. I still feel extremely blessed to have found this doctor, and hopefully she will be the one who delivers my babies someday! But anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself.

This doctor immediately put me on Clomid (a medication that induces ovulation), even though we had only been trying for 8 months. Honestly, the day she wrote that prescription I thought all of our problems were over. I thought those little pills were the answer. And I hope no one judges me for taking those pills. Yes, there are some side effects that I was not happy about and that might cause some people to be morally opposed to the pill. But I was desperate.

I went on Clomid in March, feeling so hopeful about the whole thing! Little did I know that I was in for a world of pain. I used OPKs religiously during that month, and still, nothing. Every test was negative, and as day after day went by, I felt my hope slipping through my fingers.

I will never forget the lowest day of the whole journey, and probably of my life. It was around day 21 of my cycle and I finally accepted the fact that the Clomid was not doing what it was supposed to do, and the problem was more serious than I had realized. I have never felt such pain in my life because the question I had been asking myself changed that day. Instead of asking, "Will I get pregnant soon?" I had to ask myself, "Will I get pregnant ever?"

I finally realized I had to let go of this. God's timing is perfect, and if I wasn't pregnant yet, there was a reason. It was around this time that I surrendered my lifelong dream of becoming a stay-at-home mom, and started thinking about going back to school. I knew that our future would involve either infertility treatment (something our insurance does not cover) or adoption, and neither of those things were going to be cheap.

The doctor put me through two more rounds of Clomid, increasing the dosage each time until she reached the maximum dosage that can be safely given. I had to drive to the office a few times each month to have my blood drawn to test the hormones to see if I had ovulated or not. I felt like a human pincushion, and had a permanent bruise on the inside of my arm from April - June. But the blood tests were such a blessing, because it meant I could forget about taking my temperature every morning or using ovulation predictor kits. It was sort of freeing.

It was confirmed that even on the high dosages of Clomid, nothing was happening. I got a call during my first week of summer vacation this year from the nurse at my doctor's office telling me that there was nothing else they could do, and that they would refer me to a fertility specialist. Since our insurance didn't cover that, and since I was going back to school in the fall, I told her we were just going to call it quits for awhile. I guess we are taking the Michelle Duggar approach now, and just saying that if God wants to bless us with a child, He will. We're not obsessively trying to make that happen anymore, but we're certainly not trying to prevent it either.

The past 15 months have been such a roller coaster of emotions. But I have learned so much. I thought that a baby was the only thing that would make me happy, and make my life complete. But now I realize that a baby comes with its own set of problems. God is making me go through this for a reason, and I know He has an amazing plan that I can only see part of right now. I was trying to fill my God-shaped hole with a baby, and that just wouldn't have worked. I thought a baby was the "something beautiful" that I was waiting for. But now I see that God is my "something beautiful." So that's what my blog name represents: God can turn my life into something beautiful through His presence. It may not even look anything remotely like what I had pictured, planned, and hoped for myself, but it is a breathtaking masterpiece nonetheless.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Infertility Support Group

Yesterday I opened up about our 15-month struggle with infertility, and today I'm going to share some of the new plans for this blog as an infertility support group. I'm so excited!

First of all, if you've been reading my blog for a long time and you're afraid I'm only going to write about infertility, please don't give up on me. I still plan to blog about my everyday life, marriage, cooking, and my other homemaking endeavors. This week it's all about infertility, but next week I will go back to regularly scheduled programming :-)

However, there are three things that will be happening on the blog, or at least as a result of the blog:

#1: I will be posting about infertility. Not all the time, but probably around once a week or so. My goal is to be positive and to provide encouragement to others going through this. I used to go to the message boards at The Bump, thinking that it would make me feel better to find people to relate to. However, I would always end up feeling worse because of all the negativity. That is what I want to try to avoid here. I don't want it to be a pity party, but rather a place to come when we need lifted up!

That being said, I am opening my blog up to guest posters. If you have a story or some encouragement you'd like to share, email me at and let me know! Guest posting anonymously is obviously an option since this is such a tricky subject that you might not want anyone to know about.

#2: I am going to start a weekly infertility prayer chain email. This way, anyone going through infertility can be added to the list which will be sent out every Monday. We'll obviously only use first names, or even initials if you aren't comfortable with names. And even if you're not going through infertility yourself but you feel God tugging at your heart, you can be added to the send list so you can pray for these ladies and their husbands. If you wold like to be added to the prayer list, email me at and let me know. And if you just want to be a prayer warrior even if you aren't personally going through infertility, leave a comment or email and I'll put you on the send list.

I am so excited to see what God does through this! Prayer is the most powerful weapon the Lord has given us, and I can't wait to start adding praises to the list when they start rolling in!!

#3: I haven't quite figured out how I'm going to do this yet, but I would like to start some kind of message board where we can post anything and everything about our struggles with infertility. It feels so good just to know that we are not alone in our thoughts, feelings, and experiences. I'm still working on finding a message board hosting sight and setting this up, so it may be a few weeks before I get all the kinks worked out. But I will be sure and let you know when it's ready!

So that's the plan. I am so excited about it, and my prayer is that God will bring healing in these tough situations!

So don't forget to email me if you are interested in guest posting about infertility, or if you want to be added to the prayer list! Also, leave a comment if you want to be a prayer warrior even if you're not personally going through infertility right now.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The I Word

Today I'm going to share a bit about my story: the reason for the blog name change, and something that's become a huge (although unwelcome) part of my life.

So here goes...

For the past 15 months, Luke and I have been living with a monster. At first it seemed cute and harmless, but somehow changed over time.

As weeks and months went on, the monster became uglier, bigger, and more threatening in our lives. The worst part about it was that it had control over our actions, thoughts, and emotions.

There was no escaping it. It followed us everywhere. From room to room in the house, we could not hide.

And then it started following us out with friends, causing us to feel alienated and jealous. Sometimes it would send me running to the bathroom to hide my tears when a friend or relative made a totally innocent comment.

The only good thing about the monster is that it has driven me much closer to Luke, my safe haven. In that way it has strengthened our marriage and created a bond between my husband and I.

At the same time, it tries to convince me that Luke got the raw end of the deal in marrying me. Who would want to marry someone who's living with a monster? I know it's lying, but it has some convincing arguments.

The monster has even followed us into the most intimate parts of our marriage, turning something that should be sacred into something clinical.

Over time, I've learned to control the monster a bit. It no longer follows me everywhere, and I can usually keep it locked away. However, there are certain times when it jumps out unexpectedly and violently attacks me.

The monster has a name. A name that I hate so much, I've started to call it "The I word."

I'm sure you've probably figured out that the monster is infertility.

For 15 months Luke and I have been trying to begin our family with no luck yet. It has been by far the hardest thing I've ever gone through and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. I've asked God "why?" so many times. Why has He given me such an extremely intense desire to be a mom, and yet He's not letting that happen? Why has He chosen for us to walk through this storm? I certainly don't feel strong enough to handle it.

But that's the thing about God. We don't have to be strong enough. When we're tired and weary and feeling like we can't take another step, He is begging to take over and carry us.

This was such a hard thing for me to open up about on the blog. It's something that I almost feel ashamed and embarrassed of. But the hardest thing about the whole struggle for me has been how alone I've felt.

I've realized that the best people to help women who are going through infertility, are other women who are going through infertility at the same time. So I decided I want to use this platform that God has given me, and reach out to other women going through the same thing so we can connect, talk, and pray for each other.

Tomorrow I'm going to share some of the new plans I have for the blog. Don't worry, it's not going to become an "infertility only" blog. But I've got some plans in the works that I can't wait to begin!! I am so excited about this! So if you are going through infertility, please stop back here tomorrow. And if you have a friend who is going through infertility, send them over as well.

Before I sign off, I want to mention that I have a new email address: If you are going through this journey as well and you need someone to talk to, send me an email! I would love it if we could talk and pray for one another.

Thank you so much for reading my story. I was extremely nervous about sharing it, but I know sharing my story and helping other women who are going through the same thing is going to take away a huge part of the power the monster holds!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Expect Some Changes

I am so excited to announce that there are going to be some big changes here at Called to Serve. One of the main changes is that it will no longer be "Called to Serve!" I'm changing the name! Life is changing, and the blog needs a new name to reflect that. So the new name is going to be:

"Something Beautiful"

There's a big story behind those two words, and I am so excited and nervous to share it with you! I've been going back and forth for months, wondering if I should tell you my story, but I have ultimately decided that sharing it could be so helpful to me and to others going through what I'm going through.

I'm going to be spending a lot of time next week sharing about the reason for the changes, but I will at least tell you right now where the new name is coming from.
It came from a NeedToBreathe song with the same title:

This song has sort of become my life anthem, and perfectly fits the situation I'm in. So, it's the new blog name! For awhile I'll be "Something Beautiful @ Called to Serve" just so everyone still knows it's me!

I think my new name needs a shiny new layout and header as well! I'm excited for that!

Happy Saturday! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

It's Okay Thursday

Linking up with Neely and Amber!

Its Ok Thursdays

It's okay spend your break between classes at the Akron Zoo instead of studying. That's what I'll be doing today with my sister if the weather's nice! plan on breaking the bank with Pumpkin Spice Lattes this fall yell at the TV a little bit during certain shows like Bachelor Pad. Why did Blake and Erica give Vienna and Kasey roses?! love spending time with your husband, but to be a tiny bit excited that he's going to be out at football games most of the weekend, because that means you get the house and TV to yourself. seek revenge (there is a long story that goes along with this picture, but let's just say it was Luke' genius idea for getting back at his Uncle for something. I'll leave the rest up to your imagination).
To love and embrace living in the country! I wouldn't have it any other way! write a blog post instead of studying, like I'm doing right now. be ecstatic that the weather has been in the 60s here the past two days!! I couldn't love it more.

What's okay with you??