Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Christmas, Santa, and Jesus

Oh my heart is so heavy right now. It's weird because as you can tell I'm thinking about Christmas. I LOVE Christmas.

Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. My love language is gift giving-enter Christmas. I LOVE giving gifts. When I was little I remember getting some super special gifts. One was some shirts decorated with puff paint that my Aunt Annie gave me. One was this ornament of Santa kneeling at the manger (I LOVED that ornament. I'm not sure what happened to it, but I still think about it. That's what I remember about Santa...him kneeling and worshiping Christ the Lord.). As we got older, we would draw names and each get $50 to spend on that person. I remember walking around Wal-mart trying to find the perfect gift for whomever I had. I wanted it to be special, thoughtful, about them. I don't remember the gifts I got when we drew names, but I remember the gift I got my dad, and shopping for a gift for my brother. I remember desperately wanting whatever I got him to show him how much I loved him. I'm not sure he knows that. I'm not even sure that he knows that I give gifts because that how I say "I love you."

 Now, I'm an adult and I have my own child and one on the way, and I don't know what to do about Santa.  I have fond memories of believing in Santa. I don't know that I believed he was omniscient and could see what I was doing. I don't know that I believed he would punish me if I was bad. I pretty sure my behavior didn't change during the holidays. I guess that's a good question for my parents. Anyway, I feel like there is a movement to get rid of Santa going on throughout the Christian Culture. And it isn't all Christians. (And this isn't a post about whether or not you are a Christian based on whether or not you do Santa with your kids). But there are people I love and respect that have very valid reasons for not doing Santa with there kids. Reasons that make me question whether or not I want to do Santa with my girls. But then there are people who have FABULOUS ideas about how to incorporate Santa into Christmas WITHOUT making it about Santa and focusing it on Christ.

Here's what is rolling around in my head:
1) Jesus is the MOST important thing in my life. Without Him I would have no HOPE. I want my girls to know Jesus, and for HIM to be the most important thing is their lives.
2) I don't want to have anything happen in our home that makes my children believe that we can have secrets from each other, or that it's okay to lie about some things but not others.
3) I want my relationship with my children to be based on trust.
4) I don't want to give Santa attributes that are God's attributes.

I've read two great blogs lately that have contributed to my confusion. BUT they have some GREAT ideas. This one talks about how their family does Santa and that they didn't start until their kids asked. I like that idea because Julia isn't asking which gives me time to figure out whether or not we are going to do Santa. And the second one talks about how this family does Elf on the Shelf, but not with Elf catching them being naughty, but the children learning how to teach grace and mercy to the Elf.

See, both GREAT ideas that incorporate Santa by still teaching Jesus and even teaching Grace and Mercy to kids.

Here's what we ARE doing:
1) Our kids each get 3 gifts and pajamas. The gifts are something they want, something they need, and a surprise. When they are older we will probably incorporate something to give in there.
2) Advent-once I figure out how to do it.
3) Serving the city as a family.

I feel like this is simple. I like simple. I don't want to make things more complicated. I don't want to make more things for me to do. I do want to teach my kids about why Jesus' birth is important. I want them to LOVE Him deeply and purely.

Thoughts? Ideas?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Anxiety in Pregnancy

Disclaimer: This was written about 6 weeks ago. I'm still struggling with this off and on. 

This isn't public knowledge yet...I'm 6 weeks pregnant. Something is different this time around. I feel more anxious.

With Julia and Owen I was so excited. I was peaceful. Well, until I lost Owen.

I think that's what the problem is. I think I'm anxious about losing this baby. I'm anxious about going into my first appointment and there not being a heart beat. I'm worried that in the next 34 weeks something is going to happen and I won't ever hold this baby in my arms.

However, I'm also anxious about how much having another baby is going to change Julia's life. I don't know how she will adapt. I don't know how she will get along with this new baby, and that scares me. I'm afraid she'll have a rough relationship with her sibling like I did/do with mine.

I know it's too late to think about all of this, but until I got pregnant I didn't think about this. I was worried about whether or not I could get pregnant. Now that I am, I worry about how this is going to rock Julia's world.

Not to mention I've been so sick that I feel like I'm neglecting Julia, and I only have 34 weeks of it just being the two of us.

Why is this so hard? Does anybody have any advice on how to deal with this? Did anyone else feel this way?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Room Fu Give-A-Way and Give-A-Way

To my fearless 1 follower...

Please go to Beth's blog and checkout how you can win a super cute crochet item! She's super talented, and I promise you don't want to pass up on this chance.

So you need to go to read about how you can win and go do it! I promise you won't be disappointed!!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Gluten Free

As you have read on here I've been dealing with A LOT of anxiety recently. I'm not sure where it comes from or why just that it's there. SUCKS!

So my doctors prescribed more medicine. I'm currently taking Lexapro and Busbar (this one is as needed, but if I don't take it I feel like I'm losing it). I decided about a month ago that I'm tired of meds. I don't want to just take meds for the rest of my life, but I also don't want to always be anxious. So I used my friend Google and started reading about natural ways to treat anxiety. One of the things I read was that going Gluten Free could help. So I decided to try it.

A good friend of mine has been gluten free for years so she offered to help. She showed me some websites I can use, a magazine, and walked me through the grocery store and showed me different brands of gluten free products that are worth the money. After a couple weeks of being gluten free I realized that I was feeling better so I talked to the Nurse Practitioner at my OBGYN's office and she said she run some tests.

What came back was interesting, and puzzling. Apparently I have high thyroid antibodies which basically means my body is attacking my thyroid. No one can explain it so I'm being referred to an Endocrinologist.

So we wait, and since we don't know exactly what is going on I've started cheating on the no gluten thing. Boy, I've felt awful this week. Don't get me wrong the food was GOOD, but the repercussions have been miserable. I'm tired, my stomach is upset, I've had to take more anxiety meds. Just Blah.

So this begs the cheating worth it? The moment I indulge in the strawberry shortcake I think it is, but later when my stomach is churning and I can't keep my eyes open I don't think it is.

I'm interested to see how what is going on with my thyroid is related to this, and not cheat anymore.

Any of you tried gluten free? How did it effect you? What are your favorite recipes/products?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Olympic Walking?

Oh the Olympics! I get so excited every time they come around. I remember sitting on the floor in our Living Room watching them when I was a little girl. I think watching them takes me back to that feeling of being little. You know the one...where you have NO WORRIES!

Ahhh, I miss those days. They were my favorite. I miss playing outside, swinging, jumping on the trampoline, playing with my friends, and hula hooping (kind of surprised this hasn't made it into the Olympics yet).

Now I feel like I worry about E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. I worry mostly about Julia. Most recently I was worried that she wasn't ever going to walk. Our pediatrician told me she wasn't worried, that Julia was developing normally, but I just couldn't believe her. I mean, come on, ALL of her friends (younger and older) were walking. Something has to be wrong with her.

My mom kept telling me that she's just stubborn. She also told me she gets it from me. Um...where did I get it from?

Turns out I have a daughter her likes to do things in her own time. Tuesday, she just stood up and walked from her little chair to the ottoman and back. Over and over and over and over again. CRAZY!

And I'm sure you are wondering what all of this has to do with Olympics. Well, after spending HOURS watching the Olympics with my sweet girl I told her she had to walk to be an Olympic athlete. That seemed to work. It was that or Grandmother telling her she can't come spend the night until she's walking.

Not sure which argument it was that finally convinced her walking isn't such a bad thing, and she isn't a full blown walker just yet but it's coming.

And I'm giving her the GOLD!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Grief...a year and half later

I've been struggling with grief lately. Grief of the loss of my perfect health. Grief over the loss of my fertility. Grief over the loss of my son.

It's been about a year and a half since Owen Paul went to be with Jesus. At 18 weeks gestation Owen went to be with Jesus and Julia stayed in the womb. We grieved the loss of him deeply. We questioned why God would allow this to happen. We were and still are grateful for Julia's life, but desperately missed him. So we mourned.

In February of 2012, we decided that we wanted to try for another baby. We had not been preventing pregnancy since Julia was born and had been hoping it would just happen. That's not what happened. It turns out that no matter how badly my body wants to be pregnant...I still need help getting there. So we started fertility treatments.

So it's been 5 cycles and no pregnancy has been announced. Month after month we get a negative test and I start my period. Month after month I'm disappointed. Month after month I am faced with the fact that I can increase our treatments and have a higher risk of getting pregnant, but I will also have a higher risk of twins. Month after month I am faced with the fact that I am TERRIFIED to be pregnant again, but I'm DEATHLY AFRAID of multiples. Month after month I struggle with anxiety, fear, and failure as my hormones are manipulated. And I fear that I will NEVER be able to get pregnant again. Julia was nothing short of a miracle, and I may not get another one.

Yes, I believe that God has a plan. Yes, I believe that God is in control. BUT if I had it my way God's plan would be mine. He would do things the way I want Him to. I wouldn't be reminded every month that I lost my son and I can't control when I get pregnant and if that pregnancy goes to term, or that child is born healthy and lives a long life. I. CAN'T. CONTROL. IT.

Owen is my son. As Julia is learning to walk and talk...I wonder what he would be doing. As Julia climbs in my lap and gives me hugs and kisses...I wonder what his hugs and kisses would be like. As Julia asks me to read "Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?" over and over again...what would Owen want me to read? Who would Owen look like? Would he be like his daddy?

I won't ever know these things. I'm sure when I get to Heaven that I won't care, but right now I do. Right now I'm still grieving the loss of my son, and trying so hard to not be afraid. BUT at the end of the day I am SCARED. I know that God did not give me a spirit of fear, but of power, love and sound mind. I know that I can cast my anxieties on Him because He cares for me. I know that this is momentary and light affliction preparing me for the eternal weight of glory. But right sucks! Right now I just want something to be easy. Right now I want my son here in my arms. I want my daughter to have her brother.

And I don't feel like any healing has happened since I lost him.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Does Anxiety=Failure?

I've struggled with anxiety for years. I think I struggled with it growing up, but didn't know it. I think that it's something many people struggle with but we don't talk about it. It's become worse since I became a mom.

When I have an anxiety attack it becomes hard for me to breathe. Everything inside me feels jumpy. Sometimes I get light headed. Sometimes I get nauseous. Sometimes I throw up.

Yesterday it happened to such an extent that I had to ask Paul to come home from work. I put Julia in her high chair with a piece of cheese and went to the bathroom and cried. I cried for hours. I would stop crying long enough to start again. I couldn't breathe. I thought I was going to throw up, but never did.

To be honest, being a mother is the scariest thing I've ever done. I desperately want to protect my daughter from the horrors of this world, and literally have emotional breakdowns because I can't.

Right now my daughter is laying in her crib chatting and laughing. Her sweet voice makes me smile. She is so sweet and innocent. She knows nothing of the horrible things that are happening all around her. I desperately want to keep her like that. I don't want her to ever learn of murder, rape, or any other violence. I don't want her to grow up in a world where young girls are forced into sexual slavery.

How do I protect her? How do I allow her to keep her innocence in the midst of all of this?

My desire is to not allow the horrible things I have experienced ever happen to my daughter or any of my children. But I feel like I can't control these things. And control is the one thing I so desperately desire when it comes to my child.

One thing I know is that silence isn't the answer. That keeping these thoughts and feelings to myself only allows the anxiety to fester. But, why don't we talk about it more? Why are we made to feel as if we are failures as human if we struggle with anxiety or depression? Why do I feel like I am failing my daughter?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

And it's April

Last month my goal was to exercise, and I might have exercised 2 days out of the month. I did do a lot of reading, and realized that reading was my goal for this month. It seems I switched them.

So I've decided that I'm gonna keep reading this month. I'm currently reading "Water for Elephants". So far the beginning doesn't have me wanting to pick it up and not put it down, but I think I'll get there.

So I'm switching my March goal (to exercise) to April and my April goal (to read) to March. I'll keep you posted!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Julia Ruth turns 1!

On Sunday, March 11, 2012 my precious baby girl turned one year old. I can't believe that a year has already passed. My aunt sent me an email that said "the days are long, but the years are short." It's so true.

There have been many days this past year that I couldn't wait for a certain season to end. I couldn't wait for her to sleep through the night. I couldn't wait for her to become more active so we could do more things. Now that those times are gone, and she doesn't snuggle as much any more, I wish that she would wake up in the middle of the night and just snuggle. However, with each new season my heart abounds with joy when she says new words, the looks she gives me, the way she says "mama and dada". This little girl has brought so much joy into my life. I NEVER knew I could love so deeply. My life is forever changed.

I'm not gonna lie. Her birthday was also very hard for me. I woke up on Saturday prepared to celebrate her birthday, but not prepared for the immense sadness I would feel that Owen wasn't here with us. I wanted to be celebrating him too. And we did in our own little way, but I didn't think I would miss him so much. I wasn't prepared to still hurt for my son.

So we let a balloon go in honor of Owen. Just our little family of 3. Just a little something to acknowledge that Owen's life meant something to us. That even though it was short, it was special and made a lasting impact on our lives.

Then we went on to celebrate Julia Ruth. And that girl can party. She was so excited to have so much family come and play with her. She LOVED her first piece of cake, and once someone put a little in her mouth she devoured it.

Our family was so generous with gifts. Sweet girl got LOTS of new clothes which was wonderful because we are coming up on a season we don't have clothes for. She got some new toys that she enjoys playing with. One is her very own ball pit. She LOVES climbing in and out of it and throwing the balls out.

(I'll add pictures soon).

Sweet Julia,
You are one of God's biggest blessings to us. I love being your mama. I pray everyday that you would fall in love with the Lord. That He will give me wisdom to raise you in a way that would honor Him. I have learned more about who I am as a daughter of God from being your mom. I'm so proud of you, and I wait eagerly to see how you become who God has created you to be. I love you!! Happy 1st Birthday!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Month 2 Down and on to Month 3

Month 2 was harder than I expected, but I also did better than I expected. I was reminded about how much I love the Lord and how much He loves me! I was also reminded about how wonderful it is to worship Christ with fellow believers on Sunday morning. LOVE it!! I wasn't successful everyday, but I am doing better. I'm making progress!

This Month I am going to focus on exercise. That's right. Julia and I are going to go for walks and maybe jogs and enjoy being outside. And if we can't go out find something to do inside. I'm excited. I LOVE my little girl so much, and I love spending quality time with her. I also love how she is in the stage where she gets excited about everything. This month is gonna be good!

Friday, February 17, 2012


My friends all over are doing this Insta-Friday thing. I thought it was a cute idea, and I also like the idea of having a place every week that we can go back and show Julia what was going on.

Without further ado....Here's our week in review:

Julia recently got a tea set from her Aunt Freckles' friend Julia. She LOVES the spoons. There are 4 total and she LOVES to crawl around with one in each hand and two in her mouth.

This was Julia's 1st Valentine's Day!! She got some books about Love from us and the onesie that says "I Love Dad" on the front and "I Love Mom" on the back. She also had a Valentine's Play Date with Little Harry!

A friend ordered cupcakes for her son's Valentine Party at school. Their theme was "Heart Health" So we made "Peas and Carrots" cupcakes. (All proceeds go toward our adoption).

We also had some fun yesterday playing with purses, baby dolls, and the camera!

This is my favorite picture of the week. Paul just put her in the laundry basket to get her and her clothes upstairs. She had so much fun!!

What's going on with you this week?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Psalm 34

My resolution for this month was to read my Bible and grow closer to Jesus. I should have expected that making that resolution in and of itself would cause spiritual warfare. Why didn't I prepare for that?

I started going through a study entitled Run To Him. It is a journey through Psalms. It's been great for my heart. The past two weeks were hard for me to get in the word, but I've done it. Sometimes I just haven't wanted to.

My MOPS steering team has been praying for a family who sweet baby had some issues in utero. The doctors did some surgeries and then decided that he could come last Friday. They performed a c-section. I was so excited to hear that Graham had arrived. Then I heard that Graham's little lungs just weren't strong enough and they couldn't keep him alive. My. Heart. Sank. I was sick to my stomach. And frankly, I was down right angry with God. Why didn't He answer our prayers? Why did He allow this to happen. I'm not even sure I am angry. I think I am closer to pissed.

Sometimes I don't understand why God doesn't answer the prayers the way we want them answered. I don't understand why anyone has to lose a baby. I don't understand why the doctors made the decisions they made. I'm angry at all of them. I don't feel like this family should have to go through this. I know what it is like to lose my son, and what it comes down to is I don't want anyone else to have to experience that EVER. I'm using the word "I" A LOT! Have you noticed?

Here's what God said to me today in Psalm 34:18-19 "The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in Spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all."

God is near to this family right now. They have trusted in Him this whole time, and that was not for nothing. That was so right now when they are hurting they would feel His strength and power. God is near to us  when we face trials. And we are going to face trials. It says it right there (and in many, many other places in the Bible), however, when we face trials God delivers us from them. He doesn't make us just stay in them. And one more greater thing is that when we face trials, and we are delivered, God also uses those to bless us and others. He doesn't leave us the same people we were when we started. He changes us for our good and His glory.

So, yes, I'm still mad that this family is going through this. I wish that this didn't have to happen, but I do know that God is near to them, and will bring them through this.

What trials are you facing? How is God using them for your good and His glory?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Month 1 of Becoming a Healthier Wife, Mama, and Friend

January has FLOWN by for me. We have been busy celebrating birthdays, getting back into our routine, and doing so home projects.

My first goal for 2012 was to plan meals, cook and grocery shop. I actually did a really good job of it this month. There is always room for improvement, but I have TONS of motivation to keep going. I'm beginning to enjoy the time at the grocery store. I get excited about trying new recipes, and I LOVE having time outside of the house with Julia. Last week I felt like it took us an extra long time to get through the grocery store because everyone wanted to stop and talk to Julia. She was so smiley, and she had LOTS of admirers. Especially the little old men that were shopping. She was very flirtatious.

I feel like we did a better job of planning and getting to the grocery store than we have in the past. And the 2 weeks I didn't make it we had stuff in our house that we could eat so we weren't eating out as much. I've been watching Rachael Ray and she had some recipes I wanted to try and we both really enjoyed it...I think Julia did too, but she pretty much eats anything ;).

My goal is February is to Fall in Love with My Savior all over again. I actually started that in January too, but it is my main focus of February. I found a website through a friend called Inspired to Action, and I started reading through Psalms in a study that she has on her blog. It has really been changing my heart. I LOVE it!

We have been really bad about going to bed at a reasonable hour and getting up to make it to worship service on Sunday. I have been listening to the sermons during the week, but I feel like I am still missing out on something. I am going to make it a goal this month to go to bed no later than 10pm on Saturday and get up earlier so we can make to worship service at 9am, and not just to serve at 11:15 am.

I'm excited about this next month. I'm looking forward to knowing Jesus in a deeper way, and really seeing how He changes my heart! (And I'm gonna continue to make it to the grocery store.)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I have a dream...

I have started a study over at Inspire to Action. I signed up to receive her free e-book and the first post I got was about Martin Luther King Jr. We all know his famous "I have a dream..." speech, and she encourages us to write down our dreams for our children. 

I have a dream that my children will have hearts that are softened to Jesus.

I have a dream that my children will walk closely with their Lord and Savior.

I have a dream that my children will seek God's will and purpose for their life, and follow it with all that is in them.

I have a dream that my children with love the fatherless and the oppressed. That they will live their lives caring for them.

I have a dream that my children will deny themselves daily and take up their cross and follow Christ.

What are your dreams?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Pet Peeves about Adoption

Sometimes I feel like I have a lot of pet peeves. I feel like there are a lot of things that just drive me crazy. But today I realized there is just one. One thing that drives me so crazy I can't see straight. It's so bad that I literally have to take a breath and calm down before I punch someone. (Okay, I might not really punch someone but I feel like doing it.)

Here it is:
When I post about adoption on Facebook...I hate hearing "Don't forget there are children in our own backyard who need homes too." When I talk to others about our adoption and here "Why Haiti? Why not America? Kids here need families too."

It DRIVES ME CRAZY. It makes me so angry. I really just want to look at them and say "So what are you doing about the orphan crisis?" Maybe I should.

I guess we all feel defensive when someone subtly or not subtly challenges what we are doing.

But I think what people fail to realize is that adoption isn't just applying, paying for it and getting a kid. Adoption is like being pregnant. You wait with anticipation and expectation. You are excited about this child you don't know yet. You pray they are safe until you get to hold them in your arms.

Emotionally, adoption and pregnancy are very much the same. Comments telling me that I'm adopting from the wrong country is like telling me I shouldn't have gotten pregnant because there are kids who need families who are already born. Because just like people bond with babies while they are pregnant adoptive parents are emotionally bonding with their kids before they come home. You worry about them, love them, and pray that they are safe.

God has called ALL of us to care for the fatherless. That doesn't mean we are all called to adopt. For some that might be fostering, for some that might be supporting others who are adopting, for some it is adoption. And I know that in our case we prayed and God made it clear that Haiti is where are children are. Adopting from anywhere else would be a sin for us because it would be going against what God has told US (the Coppingers) to do.