wash me down stream

a few days ago, you may have seen a “help me..” pic i posted on instagram regarding our adoption…(if not, be sure to follow me…i mean it sounds pretty fun, riiight?!) well, i was feeling particularly overwhelmed about the mounting paperwork, documents needed, and budget, and i let a whole bunch of fear and anxiety take over. it seemed so bleak for a while there and i found myself quickly needing reminders that this is worth it.

but here’s thing: we know this is the time we are called to adopt. we know this is the path God has for us. we know if we keep walking this out, it will be worth it. it’s funny though, how knowing something and knowing something can be totally different. you know?

there are times in life when it has seemed like the right thing to dig in and stand firm. to cling to beliefs, or ways of doing something with all my might. to not get swept away by the waters that surround me. but i was talking with a girlfriend a while back, saying these same things about wanting to ‘stand firm in the face of all this uncertainty’ and she looked at me and said “but why not get swept down stream?”  this idea blew me away and i have not stopped thinking about it since. why not? why not let myself get washed away instead of standing here, exhausted, in this same spot trying to have faith the same way i always have.

i feel now more than ever, Lord wash me down stream.

standing rooted in my need to control

wash me down stream.

waist high in my comfort zone of ‘doing it myself’ and asking for His guidance later

wash me down stream

completely allowing my fears dictate my perception of God’s goodness or His ability to save

wash me down stream 

Lord, sweep me up me from this place of control, and self reliance, and fear and wash me down stream.

and yes, the trip down river may feel rushed and overwhelming and new and scary but that new place, that fresh place is so. much. better.

there is a hillsong’s united song called ‘oceans‘ and i have been listening to it on repeat for about a week now. this part has really hit me:


Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

how quickly, how easily i forget that. i can look back and clearly see where God has come through, guided, healed and blessed. yet at the first sign of struggle my soul cries out “God! you’ve forgotten me here! why won’t you help?!” ……..wash me down stream, dear Jesus, of this knee-jerk reaction to so easily forget Your goodness. bring to me to a new place of trust, and faith and dependency.. because that is where He is.. His grace abounds in DEEPEST waters. take me there, Lord. deeper and deeper.

so this is where we are right now: praying to be washed down stream by His goodness. will you pray that for us too?

 

and thank you again, dear village, for all of your encouragement and prayers and love and ps: this journey is so much more enjoyable with you along for the ride.  xoxoxo

 

yes and amen!

 

 

 

mother’s day, marathons, and other monumental moments

this past weekend we visited family in fargo, and pauly ran in his very first half marathon! i was SO proud of him, as i am sure you have seen on my instagram account :) plus being able to celebrate mother’s day with both of our moms was the capper to a truly great weekend!

 

tonight, we have our very first homestudy! i am nervous, and excited, and ready and not ready, all at the same time! pray for us, will you? we are hoping for a great connection with our social worker, no delays in paperwork, and that our study would get written quickly. after this stage we are officially ready to be ‘out there’ (ie: ready to be picked). i’ll be sure to keep you updated, and many pics on instagram for sure, so be sure to follow me there if you haven’t already!

also, as you’ve seen on IG, i got my first mother’s day cards this weekend! my mom, sissiebear, and pauly all gave me cards to celebrate my ‘soon-to-be’ mommyhood. honestly, i felt so blessed. i had girlfriends texting me that day as well, and i cannot even BEGIN to tell you guys what that means to me. the fact that people are excited for us and are anticipating the arrival as much as we are is indescribable. i have heard girlfriends talk about how amazing it is to see other people love your kids, but to see other people love our kids they have never met is….beyond words…thank you all so much. and to all those encouraging us through IG and other blogs…you guys are amazing. we feel so blessed to have such a great village of people supporting us!

 

alright! off to keep cleaning! :) wish us luck tonight!!

here’s the highlight reel from the weekend, in no particular order! happy monday everyone!

 

 

 

 

i loved celebrating my sissie’s first mother’s day! she is an UNBELIEVABLE mother…such a natural. evan ADORES her. as do we all. this is us celebrating the day with a song….and our microphones :) 

 

free pizza after the race?! worth it!

 

everyone in this pic ran the marathon….except me…..aaaaaaand i’m okay with that :) 

this looks like he’s saying “no pictures!” but he’s really high-fiving me after the race :) he ran it with an 8 min 42 sec pace! 1:53 for his time! hashtag: studmuffin.

adoption option: homestudy scheduled!

in the world of  my “paper pregnancy” i’m not sure where this puts us ‘trimester’ wise, but we have our homestudy scheduled, people! this means that we are only 3 visits with our social worker, 6 hours of online training, 8 hours of in person training, 1 profile book, and innumerable essays away from bringing home baby B! (hmmmmmmm…..that sounded a lot more do-able in my head…..) bottom line: one step closer!  in case you are unfamiliar with how the process works, now we will meet with our social worker 3 times, for 3 hours each time and discuss our life, finances, parenting styles, and so much more…then she will combine all of that information into one giant plerg-based research paper and voila! we will be deemed fit to adopt! then we will finish our profile book, which is a shutterfly/snapfish type photo book detailing our life and families, and that is what the birth moms will read in order to pick us! it may sound like a lot left to do, but we are hoping to be ready to be picked by early this summer! whoop!

so in honor of getting one step closer, this weekend we (read: paul) moved all of the bedroom furniture out of the guest room, and officially declared it the nursery! :) so…..panic is setting in only slightly…..and i will be pinning nursery stuff like a freak over the next few weeks…..

alright! off to pin! hashtag: pray for paul. it’s ’bout to get craaaaaaaazy up in here…..

and thank you for all your continued prayer and love and support. honestly, we talk daily about how blessed we are to have such an incredible village online and in person!

 

let the next stage begin! also: how cute is my erin condren life planner?! i can't get enough of it.

let the next stage begin! also: how cute is my erin condren life planner?! i can’t get enough of it. and it has been CLUTCH in keeping all of our adoption stuff organized.

a scary thing happened on our way to adopt….

there hasn’t been a ton to talk about in our world of adoption lately. we have turned in the necessary paperwork, gotten ourselves fingerprinted and background checked, and, most importantly, paid the fees….after fees….after fees…. :) however, one of the requirements for our home study was a full health screen/physical, and that, my friends, is where the story gets interesting..i have to warn you, this gets a smidge personal, so read at your own risk.

last friday before Easter, i had my yearly, ahem, female physical. i am pretty good at keeping up with these each year, and have never had anything but positive results….wait…negative….positively negative? either way, it’s always been just fine. this time however as she was doing my breast exam (i warned you it was going to get real..) she found a lump….actually several lumps. here’s how the conversation went:

doctor: feeling, feeling, feeling…. “hmmmmm…..”

me: “oh my gosh. what…”

doctor: “hmmmmm…..nothing. i feel a lump…but i’m pretty certain it feels benign. ”

me: (in my headAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!): (aloud): “ooooooookay…….”

doctor: “yep. i’m like 99% certain this is just fibrocystic tissue. (feels the other side) “yep. that’s for sure what it is, nothing to worry about.”

me: “welllll…..are you sure……” (my mind is racing at this point)

doctor: “oh yeah. you just have extra lumpy breasts. nothing to worry about.”

me: “awesome. that’s just what i wanted to hear.” hashtag:never felt sexier.

so, most for most people, i imagine, this would be the end of the discussion. the doctor says i am all clear, she wasn’t worried, and she didn’t require any follow up work. however, she clearly didn’t understand who she was talking to. for my hypochondriac-always-assume-the-negative-pessimism-or-bust mindset, this was the beginning of the end. this was terrible, and i was certain i was dying. i left that office taking in fresh air a little longer, smiling a little brighter at the startbucks barista….i was a mess.

after talking to my mom, paul and *several* other people (i am verbal processor, can you tell?) i decided i would not be able to move on without a second opinion. and that needed to happen immediately. so before we left for fargo for easter, i made a follow up appointment for that next monday morning at 7:30am.

easter was actually really great, and i was for the most part, able to put this all out of my mind. after all, my doctor didn’t seem worried in the least….but i didn’t get much sleep sunday night..

so, to make a long story a little shorter, in we go monday morning, (God bless pauly for going with me), to have the second opinion. that doctor felt what the first did as well, only this time he ordered an ultra sound to be done, just to make sure. this had to be done at the virginia piper breast cancer center downtown, which is when things got really…..real.

walking into a building with CANCER CENTER  scrolled across it’s exterior is scary, to say the very least. pauly gripped my hand tighter than i thought he would when we walked up and i immediately thought to myself, “oh no you don’t! I can’t be the strong one in here!!” thankfully he held it together like a stud. the waiting area was scattered with women in head scarves, and honestly i almost passed out when i checked in. i knew that more than likely everything was fine, but looking around and seeing the reality of these women was…i don’t even know what…..overwhelming……..

i got called back and pauly came with me. ……as i laid on the ultrasound table, i noticed above me was a computer screen on the ceiling with floating fish and ocean scenes scrolling by….is that supposed to comfort or calm anyone in this situation? it didn’t for me, that’s for dang sure…. as she began to ultrasound (?) her way around my boob i saw on the screen the tissue and then a very large-ish black oval. one on each side, actually. the tech didn’t say anything to us as she went, but when she finished she said she needed to go talk with the radiologist. i don’t know what i was expecting, but i was hoping for at least an “okey dokey! this looks good!” waiting for her to return was the longest 10 minutes ever. i knew pauly saw those dark spots too, and he came and sat on the table with me and held my hand. i think i bit through my cheek forcing myself not to cry.

the tech opened the door and we both held our breath. when she saw us both sitting on the table she let out a little laugh and then said “okay! you’re good to go!” 

i’m sorry….what?!

“i’m gonna need a little more info..” i laughed..sort of..she explained that everything looked good and that there were no fibrous cysts or even tissue present. no scar tissue, nothing. and, for the second time in 4 days a medical professional told me i “just have extra lumpy breasts.” …….hot. i asked her what those large menacing black spots were on the screen and she laughed and said “a cross section of your ribs..” ahhh….right….

she handed me this piece of paper as we left…and that was the end of my little scare. leaving the center though both paul and i were pretty overwhelmed by the fact that for  the women we were passing, this is their real life. there are so many women, several that we know personally, who are going through various cancer treatments right now, and they seem even more so incredibly brave and strong to me. that place was no joke y’all, and although i was am so thankful to be healthy, i have a lot more empathy for those who are battling.

kind of a long story just to tell you our physicals turned out normal, i guess :) just trying to keep you abreast of our life…….sorry :)

 

 

house update: living room tour

ooooooooooooookay….it’s been a long long time since i’ve done a post about our house. i would love to say this is due to the fact that all of our effort has been poured into the adoption process… but mostly, the house has been in a bit of disarray and i couldn’t show that because i have an image to keep up…hahahaha! just kidding. i have just been too lazy to take pictures and write a post about it.  but with the help of my amazing friend eleanor, this space is finally coming together and i am no longer embarrassed to take pictures! (and, i think pauly and i are ‘nesting’… this week we have accomplished so many projects around the house! it feels so great!)

also, pauly MADE the tv console table. yes. you read that right: made it. he’s going to do a post soon about how he DIY’d the whole thing. but seriously, so proud of him.

(these pictures were all taken with my iphone…so…. not great quality, but if you click on each individual picture it should open a larger one that is easier to see.. someday i’ll get a real camera…)

 

a sunny shot of the living room!

livingroom2

our main level is open concept, so to keep an open feel we divided the living and dining rooms with two oversized chairs

livingroom3

another view from the stairs. also: it’s annoying trying to take pictures with bright sunshine, but: BRIGHT SUNSHINE!!!!

livingroom4

this rug we found at lowes. yep. lowes.

i knew i wanted to add some shelving above the love seat, but i wasn’t sure how i wanted to arrange it. so, we started by using blue painters tape to mark where we thought we wanted the shelves and mounted picture frame to go. this way we could easily adjust the height and layout as we went.  genius, i know.

then it was just a little drilling here, a little leveling there, and BAM: the finished product! minus needing to fill the frames with pictures. (although do you see the big frame? that’s my grandma mary as a little girl. too cute..)  fyi: the shelves are from ikea.

alright! there you have it! our living room (pretty much) complete!

 

 

sweet and creamy coconut squash soup

i’ve been on spring break around here y’all!! heeeeeeeeeyyyyyyy!!!! (that’s as rowdy as my week’s been, right there.) BUT i have had a chance to do a TON of cooking! and, (like mcdonald’s) i’m lovin’ it.

this soup was made in a double batch on monday and was COMPLETELY GONE by wednesday. i. cannot. get. enough! and, if you aren’t a lover of coconut–fear not! i’m not either! but somehow the flavor just blends into this soup, making it extra creamy and delish. give it a try! you will not be disappointed!

and if you live in twin cities, today is, (rather unfortunately) the perfect day to make soup. so let this be the bright spot on this otherwise snowy day!

the original recipe comes from here, but i made some changes, per usual. :)

ingredients:

3 cups peeled and chopped sweet potato

3 cups peeled and chopped butternut squash

1 yellow onion, diced

1/4c earth balance butter (or whatever dairy/non dairy butter you want to use)

2 cups vegetable broth

2 cups coconut milk, in a carton.. (not from the can)

1/2-3/4 tsp cumin

4 Tbs shredded coconut (*unsweetened!)

1-2 Tbs olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste

how to:

in a large pot over medium high heat, saute the sweet potato, squash, onion and salt and pepper, until onions are translucent and squash and sweet potatoes are soft. add in the broth, butter, coconut milk, coconut flakes, and cumin and bring to a boil. turn heat to medium low and simmer for about 30 minutes until the flavors blend.

for the next part, you can use an immersion blender if you have one (which would be super easy!) or, like me, scoop the soup into a food processor and blend in batches until it’s smooth and creamy. garnish with additional coconut flakes and serve hot!

i have been serving this with the dinner rolls from yesterday and it’s a perfect pairing! creamy, comforting, and oh-so-good.

 

 

savory gluten free dinner rolls

okay. these are amazing. so, usually ‘grain free’ or ‘gluten free’ things like this are dry and crumbly, but not these babies! they would also be delectable with fresh herbs or garlic salt on top….and they are E. A. S. Y.

enjoy! since it’s SNOWING HERE (UGHAHHHHHHHH IS THIS REAL LIFE??!) i think i’m going to try more varieties now!

the original recipe can be found here, but i change it up a bit.

ingredients:

1 cup tapioca flour

1/2 cup coconut flour

1 tsp salt

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup coconut oil

1 egg, whisked

how to:

preheat oven to 350 degrees.

in a large bowl, combine tapioca flour, coconut flour and salt. add olive and coconut oil and the whisked egg. mix until well combined. form into small rolls and place on a nonstick sheet pan. the rolls will not really expand while they bake.

bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

i do recommend eating them warm…because…warm rolls…come on….

adoption option: my paper pregnancy

this is a real thing. because the internet tells me so. and i’m living it. i originally read this term the other day on an instagram post, and i think it’s absolutely perfect: ‘paper pregnancy’. that’s exactly what it is… this time, before the baby comes where we are preparing, planning, dreaming, and imagining our life as our new family. we are anxiously anticipating his or her arrival; wondering what he/she will look like, what they will feel like, smell like, and how we will be as parents. i am growing, although not physically, through this process, and it is preparing us for the birth of our child! through the endless amounts of paperwork, we have no choice but to ponder the deep, deep inner workings of our marriage, faith, growing up years, and future. i just finished an essay on myself, who and why i am who i am, and where i see myself in ten years. oof. my. brain. hurts. but in the best way.

yes. overwhelming. for sure. but so. so. SO. gloriously worth it. i can’t wait. i’m just excited today. that’s all this post is. just excitement. nothing new to learn. no ground breaking revelations. just……joy. :)

thank you for being excited with us!! whoop! also: let’s think of a name to call this little guy/gal, shall we? here are my front runners:

baby berg

baby plerg

bb (baby berg) 

super original…i know….any suggestions? this is important people! he/she needs a hashtag! :)

 

 

adoption option: help wanted

so far, the trickiest part of adoption has been that we don’t know when the baby will actually arrive. we can see it coming in the distance, but we have no idea when it will get here. more on that later, but for now we need your help! because we don’t know exactly when the baby will arrive, or what the gender will be, we are having trouble preparing…i don’t know when to start buying things…so far i have yet to buy one single baby item..i have a small fear of having a nursery totally ready and then it sitting empty for a long time…..but i have decided that i at least need to start doing some research, so when our home study is complete i can start more seriously considering making purchases.

just so you know, it is 100% possible to lose yourself in “gender neutral nursery” on pinterest for the better part of one whole day. i currently find myself elbow-deep in nursery colors, cribs, diaper bags, moby wraps, parenting books, and hair care websites…..and i’m starting to LOSE MY FREAKING MIND! i have fallen so deep down the rabbit hole, alice, that i can’t seem to get back to reality! so here’s where i need you: (insert weak sob, here)  “heeeeelp……”

what do you guys recommend? what do i need? and what do i need right away? what can wait? what will i regret having and not having? best strollers? car seats? diaper bags? any hair care products i will need right away for african american baby hair? is that a thing?…how about good reads? baby wise? pacifiers? cribs? crib mats? monitors? any books, items, etc we should know/need as adoptive first time parents? i mean really, the list goes on, but i find myself getting overwhelmed so i’m gonna stop…..

thank you for helping me narrow down the, apparently endless, array of options. whoever has the corner on this, “everything you need for baby,” market is a freaking genius!

this is a little more dramatic than i actually feel, but i thought it was funny!  (courtesy of pinterest)

this is a little more dramatic than i actually feel, but i thought it was funny!
(courtesy of pinterest)

 

adoption option: christianity was made for mothers

i was planning today to write more about our paperwork and how things are progressing with the adoption process, but i find  myself feverishly typing this post instead. i have been so emotional lately regarding our adoption, and i want to document all of my feelings because…it helps me sort through it.

i know i’m not pregnant. i know that. however, lately, i find myself, for all intents and purposes, feeling emotionally pregnant. i find myself thinking about the baby constantly, and thus thinking of myself as a mother constantly too. everything, and i mean everything makes me tear up.. a song on the radio, blog posts of adoptive mothers, birth mom stories, those sarah mclachlan pet commercials, any song with minor chord progression……it kinda sucks, truthfully! it’s like i feel a rush of excitement, nervousness, anxiety, impatience, and sheer terror all at the same time and my only response lately is to cry about it! 

quite honestly though, i think i have been having a lot of fear. it’s very very real now that we could have a baby soon, and i am all of a sudden having an overwhelming feeling of “what if i can’t do this…” i’m sure all mothers feel this way at some point..(if not, lie to me, people. i’m fragile..)  but it’s really scary to feel this way! here are a list of my current fears, in no particular order:

*what if they cry and i don’t know what to do

*what if they are sick i don’t realize it

*what if they choke and i can’t help them

*what if i forget to buckle them in the car seat

*what if they don’t like me

*what if they think i’m a bad mom

*what if i can’t handle this

i have lots of mommy friends and we have been having lots of conversations lately about the nearness of me and motherhood.  i find myself clinging to every word they speak. searching each conversation for bits of knowledge and advice. anything i can cling to and take into mommyhood with me. i think because we have waited so long (like, almost a decade!) to have kids, we have been mentally and emotionally preparing for this day for a long time. it’s given us a loooooong time to think about what kinds of parents we will be and want to be, and we are very aware of how hard some days can be for parents. the advice has been great, but its interesting: the overwhelming theme from every parent we have spoken to has been 1) you won’t do everything right and 2) you will never be enough for your child

and this is why i am fairly confident that Christianity was made for mothers (and fathers, i suppose :) ).  i will never be everything my child needs. i can’t be. the same way paul can’t be everything i need, or my parents, my career, or even my children. the only thing that can absolutely fill the “everything” hole, is my faith. and because of this, i find myself clinging to Jesus with both fists.

the crazy thing is, i already have this desperation for my child to feel this way too. to have a desire to hold so tightly to their faith and never let go. i want to make sure i teach them and train them and show them how to love Jesus. however,  i understand better now why my parents took us to church each sunday. why they modeled a Godly life, and why they made Jesus so important. yes, they wanted us to have a deep faith, but i realize now their passion was also an overflow of their necessity.  i want to foster a deep faith out of love and thankfulness, of course, but also, i am realizing even now, there is no better, and really no other, option as a parent, than to cling to Jesus. and i am so grateful for that.

so there it is. i clearly don’t know everything on anything so any sage advice and/or wisdom is always appreciated.