New Home

I'm glad you found my blog! Please visit my current blog at


If I Twittered...

Tweeted? Whatever. Here are some random thoughts I might have posted this past week:

I'd like to thank the return of '80s fashion for the fingerless gloves that now keep my hands warm enough to type in my home office. about 4 days ago

Grrr. I hate it when I forget my tea is steeping. Now drinking a cuppa that brewed for 20 min. about 2 days ago



We're hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year, and preparations are chugging along. Plan menu? Check. Buy groceries? Check. Mix up bring for the turkey? Check. Since I know I'll be busy in the kitchen for most of the day tomorrow, I thought I'd post this meditation on thankfulness today. I read it yesterday in A Gospel Primer by Milton Vincent.

Thankfulness Enriched by Relief

The more absorbed I am in the gospel, the more grateful I become in the midst of my circumstances, whatever they may be.

Viewing life's blessings as water in a drinking cup, I know that I could discontentedly focus on the half of the cup that seems empty, or I could gratefully focus on the half that is full. Certainly, the latter approach is the better of the two, yet the gospel cultivates within me a richer gratitude than this.

The gospel reminds me first that what I actually deserve from God is a full cup churning with the torments of His wrath. This is the cup that would be mine to drink if I were given what I deserve each day. With this understanding in mind, I see that to be handed a completely empty cup from God would be cause enough for infinite gratitude. If there were merely the tiniest drop of blessing contained in that otherwise empty cup, I should be blown away by the unbelievable kindness of God toward me. That God, in fact, has give me a cup that is full of "every spiritual blessing in Christ," and this without the slightest admixture of wrath, leaves me truly dumbfounded with inexpressible joy. As for my specific earthly circumstances of plenty or want, I can see them always as infinite improvements on the hell I deserve.

When I look at any circumstance that God apportions me, I am first grateful for the wrath I am not receiving in that moment (The empty part of the cup never looked so good!). Second, I am grateful for the blessings that are given to me instead of His wrath. (Life's blessings, however small, always appear exceedingly precious when viewed against the backdrop of the wrath I deserve.) This two-layered gratitude disposed my heart to give thanks in all things and it also lends a certain intensity to my giving of thanks. Such a gospel-generated gratitude glorifies God, contributes to peace of mind, and keeps my foot from the path of foolishness and ruin.

I pray that you all have a gospel-generated intensity as you give thanks this holiday! Happy Thanksgiving!


Some Personal Additions to "What I'd Like for You to Know"

A while back* when I pointed you all to the infertility edition of the "What I'd Like for You to Know" series at Rocks In My Dryer, one friend asked if there was anything I would add to it. Here are a few personal additions, but first a caveat. This is a list of challenges that are often overlooked. People can see when I'm doing well, and by God's grace I have grown in contentment amid infertility. Here, I'm addressing some specific temptations that you wouldn't be aware of if you haven't experienced infertility or a similar trial.

I don't just grieve over our inability to have a baby; I grieve over a whole set of dreams.
We don't have a baby. I've never been pregnant. But the ache of infertility isn't just about these efforts for a first child. We wanted to have a full family, maybe four kids. Even if we do ever conceive once, I know that won't be a magic bullet that kills off our infertility once and for all. One child would be a miracle, and I would be overjoyed. More than one child... well, that seems like too much to ask at this point. We will probably exhaust our arsenal of fertility treatments if we get pregnant. Or we will exhaust our finances (after having to scrape the funds together in the first place) if we pursue adoption. Infertility doesn't just mean we can't have one child; it means we can't have the family we hoped to have.

Milestones are bittersweet.
The anniversary we celebrated recently was delightful. We're grateful for every year of marriage. But I'm also very aware that an anniversary marks one more year that we haven't gotten pregnant or had a baby. When people enthusiastically say, "Happy anniversary! Wow, has it been six years already?!" - I welcome their kind joy for us, but I also think, "Yes, it has been six years, six years of just the two of us, many more years than we expected to be childless." My birthdays and Aaron's birthdays remind me that we won't get to be young parents like we wished. The new year means another year of disappointed hopes has passed, another year of trying to build a family has turned over.
And it's not just our own milestones. Your anniversaries cause pangs of jealousy; "Oh, they've been married for four years and already have two kids." Your children's birthdays can be the hardest of all. When you're celebrating your child's third birthday, I'm aware that you announced your pregnancy with that child just as we started trying to conceive. Your two-year-old? He was born during our first failed IVF cycle. If your baby is turning one, I'm steeling myself for the impending announcement of the next pregnancy. Now, we love you, and we love your kids. I sincerely do rejoice with you at your milestones. But they are also vivid reminders of what might have been, and what clearly isn't, in our family of two.

Stories of Joe and Suzy, who did (fill-in-the-blank) and then got pregnant, don't help.
One of the default attempts people make to sympathize and encourage when they hear about our infertility is to tell an anecdote of some other couple they knew. "I knew these people who couldn't get pregnant and they gave up trying, then seven years later they had a baby!" "Bill and Mary finally adopted, and then she got pregnant!" "The Smiths had twins through IVF, and then they conceived on their own four months after the twins were born!" I understand that those stories are meant to convey hope. But they don't. It would be kind of like telling a friend who just found out that she has breast cancer that you knew a guy who had prostate cancer that was cured by a little radiation. Misses the point, huh? Infertility has so many underlying causes - female factor, male factor, ovulatory dysfunction, endometriosis, thyroid disorders, poly-cystic ovaries, and so on. Your friends who ultimately got pregnant probably had an entirely different reason for their infertility, and so their success has about as much bearing on our situation as the case of prostate cancer would have to the case of breast cancer. It's much better to ask questions about our specific struggles than to offer a random story of so-and-so. (I would imagine that this would go for most health challenges or significant trials.)
Relatedly, it's also not helpful when you only offer blind optimism that ignores my very real doubt that we will ever have children. All of those types of stories mentioned previously have one common thread - the "happy" ending. When people assume we will get that same "happily-ever-after" to our story of infertility, it hurts more than it helps, because it misses the fact that a large part of the struggle is the uncertainty, the fear that our family will never grow. We've had people visit our new house and make comments about how certain rooms will make a great nursery someday; that's like salt in the wound, because we might never need a room for a baby. I need others to hope and have faith for me, but not at the cost of belittling the pain of how small that hope often feels. And not in a way that communicates that the only happy solution is the one where we get the baby. God will be faithful and will bless us even if we never have children.

Reaching across seasons of life should go both ways.
Most of my friends have children. Most of them have young children, which means they're in a season of life where motherhood is fairly consuming. Their thoughts and therefore their conversations tend toward what's going on with the kids. This increases exponentially when the conversation includes a group of moms. That's understandable, and I generally want to know what's going on with my friends kids and how they're enjoying or being challenged by being a mother. But I really appreciate those who are sensitive toward the temptations those types of conversations pose for me. It means a lot when a friend makes an effort to talk about the areas of her life beyond being a mother, or when she asks me about my life. It helps so much when someone steers a group conversation to a topic that everyone - including me - can discuss, or when someone pulls me aside after a talk-fest about kids' antics or schedules or what-have-you and asks how I'm doing or acknowledges that the conversation was probably hard for me.
At my church, we emphasize that our common bond is not in a season of life or in certain practices, but in the gospel. As the odd-woman-out, I often feel like the burden falls on me to make the efforts to find that unity in the gospel. I'll keep making those efforts, but I'm blessed when those in the majority resist the urge to rely on the common bond of circumstances and make those efforts toward unity a two-way street. (Again, this would apply to many different trials - to the single in a group of married women, to the public-schooler in a group of home-schoolers, etc.)

These few temptations aren't the whole story of infertility. And these temptations aren't necessarily constant. By and large, I have outstanding friends who are deeply sensitive, who have shown great kindness and made serious efforts to understand over these past four years. I'm so grateful for the gifts that I have even while I suffer - for my marriage, for my home, for my church, for grace to persevere. But hopefully this list will help you to understand some of the unspoken challenges and to learn how to extend even more compassion and comfort to those who need it.

*Two months ago, I noticed when I dug up the older post. Have I seriously been thinking about the question for that long? My blogging is finally starting to catch up with my thoughts... And sadly, thinking about this post for so long hasn't really made it well-written. Oh well.


Roasted Vegetable Soup & Salad

We served this meal to friends recently, and it was a hit.

Spinach Salad with Roasted Fall Vegetables

for the roasted vegetables

  • 1 medium squash (I've used butternut or acorn squash; butternut is much easier to peel! I think yams would work well, too.), peeled, seeded and cut into 1 1/2" pieces
  • 1-2 baking potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1 1/2" pieces (you could also use 1-2 lb new potatoes, halved or quartered)
  • 1 onion (I like red), peeled and quartered
  • 4-6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 450F. Divide vegetables between two rimmed baking sheets; toss with oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Roast 40-50 minutes, tossing vegetables and rotating baking sheets from top to bottom halfway through cooking time. Let cool to room temperature.

for the dressing
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper
Whisk all ingredients to combine.

to assemble the salad

Toss 1 lb baby spinach in dressing. Place spinach on plates, then top with roasted vegetables and cheese, if desired (feta or goat cheese work really well).

Roasted Vegetable Soup
  • 6 beefsteak tomatoes, halved and cored
  • 2 leeks, rinsed well, white and pale green parts cut int 1/2" pieces
  • 2 carrots, cut into 1/4" pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • about 30 oz vegetable broth (2 cans or one carton)
Preheat oven to 425F. In a roasting pan, toss vegetables with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in a single layer (tomatoes cut side down) for 1 hour. Use tongs to peel off tomato skins. In a large saucepan, bring vegetables, broth, and 1 cup water to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender (or in batches in a stand blender). Serve hot; can be topped with fresh basil or Parmesan.

We like this meal with a good crusty bread. I roasted the vegetables for the salad first, then roasted the vegetables for the soup while the salad veggies cooled; the oven kept the kitchen toasty warm on a cold fall day! It makes a great meal for those with allergies or dietary restrictions (no dairy, egg, soy, etc.; just watch the ingredients on the broth, and leave the cheese off the salad). Enjoy!


When I Said "Warm Clothes," I Meant Clothes that Would Keep Me Warm, Not Clothes Appropriate for a Warm Climate

Aaron and I had a truly lovely weekend away. We rested, we did some sightseeing, and we had extended time to talk and fellowship and enjoy our marriage.

On Friday, I flew into Buffalo, NY, and Aaron met me at the airport (he had been working last week at a conference in upstate New York). After checking in to our hotel in downtown Buffalo and relaxing there for a bit, we walked to an upscale restaurant where Aaron had reservations for us. I had an exquisitely delicious garlic soup that I absolutely must figure out how to recreate!

After sleeping in a little on Saturday (since we now get up at 5am most mornings, sleeping in meant not getting out of bed until 7:30, but that would have been 6:30 central time - still, it felt great!), we drove up to Niagara Falls. We crossed into Canada, found a place to park, then walked along the river to the falls. It was raining and foggy, so we didn't have a great view, but it was still pretty spectacular! After admiring the falls, we visited a greenhouse on the grounds of the Niagara Falls park, then we had lunch at a restaurant overlooking the falls. For the afternoon, we drove back to Buffalo and toured a Frank Lloyd Wright house (the Darwin D. Martin house). Since I have an interest in architecture and design, I found the tour fascinating. After the tour, we spent the rest of the evening relaxing at the hotel.

On Sunday morning, we went across the street to a local coffeehouse for breakfast, and we sat in their cozy chairs and spent extended time reading our Bibles and journaling. Then we returned to our room to pray together for a little while. We prayed specifically about Aaron's job and our family-building, the two areas where we're facing significant trials, and we asked the Lord to show us one step to take in each of those areas. After we finished praying, we packed up and went to the airport. As we waited to board our planes, we wrote our Christmas lists (they're coming, Mom & Dad!). Then we flew our separate ways - Aaron on to the next business conference in Arkansas, and me back home.

The Lord definitely answered the prayers for our weekend! We both feel restored from the busyness of these past several months and renewed to keep persevering in the months to come.



This Sunday will be our sixth anniversary. (If you haven't already seen it, you might enjoy the slide show I made for our fifth anniversary last year*.) Aaron is flying me off to some secret destination for the weekend (all I know so far is that I should pack warm clothes). I'm terribly excited and so ready to get away. We'd love your prayers for a weekend of rest in this busy season, and for us to have fellowship and fun together as husband and wife!

*You know, last year when I did NaBloPoMo. Things are a little quieter around the blog this November. See above re: busy season. So, so busy.