Friday, June 23, 2017

We're Moving!

A year ago, we were walking Mozie at the park and talking about what the next season looked like. We wanted to start a family and knew our current place, while we loved all 640 square feet of it, wouldn't work for much longer. We quickly realized that anything bigger than 640 square feet, that was also located in our town, wouldn't work as we felt it was important that I stay home and not work when our kids are little. Early on, we both agreed that moving out of California wasn't a desire we had and never considered that option...until we went for that walk.

Chet threw out Oregon. And while we both had only visited there once several months before, it didn't sound like a crazy idea. So we intentionally visited several times over the last year to see if we really could see ourselves living there. Last fall we found out we were having a baby, so we made the decision to stay until after the baby was born then try to move. After we lost the baby, we decided to go ahead with our plan. Chet needed to stay at his current job through the middle of March, so that became our target date for job searching. A few weeks before that date, we found out we were expecting another baby. 

The job search felt long and slow going. There was no movement and we wondered if we were making the right choice. We even opened up the job search to local ones, knowing something would still have to give down the road. And then all at once, 3 different companies reached out and moved Chet through the process quickly. One was in Portland, One was in Orange County and one had openings in both Orange County and Portland. Within a couple of weeks, Chet had 2 great offers for both Portland positions and the Orange County one said they weren't ready to move forward yet. 

Chet accepted an offer, in which they gave him every thing he asked for. 

After Chet received both offers and we were fairly certain we would be moving to Portland, I went and talked to my boss. Knowing that meant there would now be three out of our six staff members leaving withing a month of each other, I felt the need to give him a heads up. I went in asking if I could work remotely until November when the baby was born. I would be able to help with all of the transitions in our office still, but I would still have a job (who wants to hire someone who is 6 months pregnant?!). He readily agreed and even threw out the option of working part time remotely after the baby was born, which is something I didn't even ask for originally.  Everything was quickly approved through my HQ office even in the midst of budget cuts and position eliminations.  

Chet planned to flight up to find an apartment. I wasn't able to join because I was assigned to a case a juror that was to last for 3 weeks. However, they postponed the case after 4 days, so I booked a last minute flight so I could fly up with Chet.
Short term leases are hard to come by, but we found a place we liked and signed up for 4 months. We met with a realtor to happens to have connections to Porterville. And we found a birthing center we liked and will have our baby there. 

We met with another realtor to sell our condo in Fullerton. We had about 24hrs. to pack up half of our stuff to be ready for the photographer to come the next day for pictures to list it. 

It's been a long process to get here and a whirlwind the last few weeks. 

But each step of the way we have been shown God's faithfulness and kindness in answering prayers and giving us things we haven't even asked for yet. From Chet's new boss giving him a salary that would provide for our family, to his current boss not wanting him leave. To my job allowing me to work remotely with the possibility to continuing after the baby is born, to no lapse in insurance coverage even though I will be part time(huge answer to prayer). To finding a short term apartment lease that even has a dog park for Mozie! (its the little things) To a postponed jury case and to listing our condo for more than we ever anticipated because of this crazy housing market, and to hopefully selling it quickly (the last two sold within a week so we are feeling good about this.)

So Chet will move up there the middle of July to start working on the 17th and I will follow at the end of the month with a truck full of our stuff (who wants to help us pack up the truck?!) Lots of changes all at once, but we are so excited for the possibilities that are a head for our family. 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Redemption

I was a taking a yoga class several weeks ago and the instructor read Isaiah 43 over us before we began the class. As she read it the words "I am doing a new thing" stood out to me with a picture of a branch with new leaves starting to grow.  Chet and I are in the midst of some big  transitions and these versed just seemed to fit. I've thought about those words several times over the weeks. We have talked about wanting a fresh start. The last two years have been so wonderful, but they have also been really hard as we walked through my disease, surgery, recovery, and the loss of a baby. 
A new thing. It sounded refreshing. It's what we were longing for. 

SPOILER ALERT: We excited to share that we are having a baby due November 9th!


This time around was a bit different. As my husband would say, we are no longer blissfully blind, but cautiously optimistic. The pain of loosing our first baby is still very real and made itself very known during the early weeks of this pregnancy. 

The morning, afternoon and evening sickness has felt a bit too much like the start of another flare up and the fear of ending up back in the hospital has been a little too strong. 

But other day I was compelled to looked at a calendar and find the date we were found out we were loosing our baby. I knew it was around the time we were due. There is was, November 9th. 

Call it a coincidence if you want, or call it God redeeming yet another dark and painful season. 'He is making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland'. Instead of dwelling on the pain and loss we felt that day , our Redeemer, The Holy One of Israel is saying, "See, I am doing a new thing!..." 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Unexpected.

We decorated our tree. 

We put out a few of the Christmas decorations (some decorations are not Mozie proof). 

I read my advent study and lit two of the advent candles (Note: Advent candles are not Mozie proof)

We watched Elf. 

I think I tried to will the joy this season. As we were singing one of the traditional Christmas songs on Christmas eve about how wonderful and joyful this day is it really rubbed me the wrong way. I tuned out the songs and thought about how that night 2000 years ago must have been anything but calm and joyful and peaceful. I can imagine it was messy. Dirty. Loud. Painful. Not what they expected. That felt more real to me than Silent Nights and O Little Town of Bethlehem.

My cute willow tree nativity set gives a picture of calm, soft and pretty. But I imagine Mary cringing a bit as she lay on top of a pile of hay, animal poop a few feet away, a donkey hovering over her as she tries to breathe through the pain of labor. I imagine she was scared. 

I think about the words his angles spoke to Mary and the others he appeared, “Do not be afraid”.  Their presence alone must have been fearful but I also think the message would also incite some fear. But that is how God chose to enter in to this world. He chose to enter the mess. He chose to enter the pain. He chose to enter the fear.


We (I) am in a season that is not going as we planned. It is still a bit painful. But God has entered into that. He has given us peace in the midst of it. And He knew we needed peace more than joy. And I am finding comfort in the fact that Hope and Joy came in an unexpected way.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Grief. Thankfulness. Hope.

We found out we were going to have a baby on October 16th. I was instantly filled with what seemed like every emotion possible. I was excited. Being a mom has been my heart’s desire for as long as I can remember. I was scared. I have no clue how to raise a child. We both let the news sink as I cried a few tears of both joy and fear.

I called the doctor and set up some appointments. They scheduled me for an ultrasound a few weeks out.The pregnancy symptoms started showing up. It didn’t matter how tired or sick I felt because we were having a baby. It was worth it.

We were sitting at church a week or so later and a woman sitting next to me told me she felt the Lord tell her something for me. “It’s going to be ok”. She said she didn’t know what it was for, but God impressed it on her to tell me.We chatted for a few minutes and then we went home. Chet and I had been discussing some big decisions lately so maybe it was about that. Or maybe it was about the baby. Or maybe it was about how the decisions would be affected by a baby. I didn’t know what exactly it meant, but felt a sense of peace knowing that God sees me.

A few weeks pass. We went in for the first ultrasound. She gave a disclaimer at the beginning that it was early so it’s possible we might not see anything. She moved the screen away from us and began taking a few pictures. The room was silent. The technician walked us over to the doctors office where she ordered blood work and another ultrasound the following week. We still weren’t told anything. I tried not to think the worst but it was impossible. Chet tried to reassure me that we haven’t been given any reason to worry yet.

So we picked out the gifts we were going to give to our parents to tell them they were going to be grandparents. We went to a baby store to look at a few things we wanted to put on our Christmas list.

I was feeling more comfortable with the decisions we had to make. We were making plans and getting more and more excited.

We went in the following week for the follow up ultrasound. As I drove to the doctor’s office I had a pit in my stomach. I had tears in my eyes even before we went back.

You are good. You are still good. 
Its going to be ok. 

It was the same routine. Silence. We were quietly walked back to the doctors office. This time she met with us and told us what I already knew. We were losing the baby. She confirmed that our little one had stopped growing. She told me my options, then let us be. 

We went home and cried. We grieved the loss of life. We grieved the loss of the future we had been planning. We stayed home from work the next two days and just held each other.
We chose to miscarry the baby naturally instead of surgery or medication. I think we both needed it to be that way. Prayers were answered when it happened a few days later at home. 

Its going to be ok.

I wonder if the day that woman told me "Its going to be ok" was the day our baby stopped growing. I'll never know, but I am choosing to believe that God spoke to me at that moment for a reason. 

As I sat on my couch on Sunday morning, eating the last of the thanksgiving apple pie, my new advent study next to me, I was filled with a weird mix of emotions. Grief. Thankfulness. Hope.Grieving our loss. Thankful He sees and knows my pain. Thankful we had the time and space to grieve. Hope that not only will we have a baby one day, but hope that He is making all thing right. Hope that there will one day be no more grief.

Our hearts have been forever changed. It still stings and will continue to do so, but we are looking forward to holding our baby one day. And until then, I'm giving myself space to still cry and reminding myself of the words He has been whispering to me all along. It's going to be ok. 


Beauty Counter

Why I chose Beauty Counter:: Because I want to share what have learned through my own health experiences! Health and Beauty go hand in hand. So I have chosen to partner with Beauty Counter. This isn’t just about selling products, but about getting safer products in your hands.

After being having surgery for an autoimmune disease last year and not getting better with medication, I began researching other ways to heal my body. I began to learn about the power of food and started to eliminate foods that cause me harm and began filling my plates with foods that would nourish and help heal my body. As I began to carefully watch what I put IN my body, I began to do the same for what I put ON my body.
I began researching and trying a variety of “natural” and “clean” products from shampoo to facewash to foundation. Most products I found didn’t get the job done or left my hair and skin feeling dry or just didn’t smell good, which in my opinion is quite important. I even tried to make my own facewash and lotion at one point.
Then I found Beauty Counter. I honestly was a bit skeptical, so I asked my friend for a few samples. I was sold. I loved the way the products made my skin feel. My hair felt so soft. And it smells amazing! The ingredient list was one I felt good about putting on my skin.
And to top it off, I love their mission. Their goal is to get safer products into the hands of everyone.
“Decades of studies indicate that serious health issues (including but not limited to asthma, cancer, and infertility) are on the rise and are due in some part to our ongoing exposure to toxic chemicals—whether it’s in the shower, on our commute, while we eat lunch at a local restaurant, or when we clean our kitchens at home. There are more than 80,000 chemicals on the market today. Many don’t have any safety data. This is particularly true of those used in the skin care and beauty industry. What’s worse is that the Food and Drug Administration (the agency that regulates cosmetics in the United States) allows companies to use chemicals known to be extremely harmful in the products we put on our bodies and on our kids’ bodies every single day, day after day, and to make their own judgments about safety. The United States has not passed a major federal law to regulate the safety of ingredients used in personal care products since 1938.Over the past two decades, the European Union has banned more than 1,300 chemicals in the product formulas of personal care products and restricted the levels of over 250 more in such products. The United States has only partially banned 11 to date.”
I’d love to share more of my story with you. Interested? Let’s talk!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

One year later


These two pictures represent so many things to me. 

The first picture was taken one year ago today.
I just had surgery removing a significant amount of my large intestine. Please ignore the steroid induced chipmonk cheeks...it made smiling difficult. 
The five months prior to this day I was on medication after medication, none of which worked and led to even worse side affects. I was fed up and knew there had to be a better way to heal my body. 
I began researching and came across Danielle Walker and Against All Grain. She shares her story of a similar autoimmune disease and how she used food as medicine. 

Recovery was slow and long initially. I became very aware of how every little movement involved using my core (which also made me wonder why I didn't have stronger abs to begin with!), and I tried to move as little as possible. I needed to nap every time I got up. I became very thankful our condo was so small.

I was often discouraged with my progress. It wasn't just a healing incision. But it was healing 6 months of a flare and infection and now missing parts. It was healing my heart and mind. But soon I reached the six month mark (I was told it takes about 12 months to fully heal from intestinal surgery) and I remember calling my mom after coming home from a 2 mile walk to the park with my dog. I ran maybe a 1/4 of a mile home. And while that may not seem like much to you, this sick body couldn't even walk 1/4 of a mile a few months ago, let alone run it after a 2 mile walk.

It was at that moment I became proud of how well I was doing. I began to give myself/my body grace. And now here I am, 12 months later, still working on healing my body, mind and heart, but we are doing much better! My body doesn't function the same way anymore, and there are some days it is sure to let me know it and I manage to forget the grace.

Celebrating being well enough to go out and celebrate both of our birthdays. Chipmunk cheeks slowly going back to normal. 

During this whole process I began changing my diet. I cut out foods that caused my body inflammation and added in lots of nutrient dense foods. I was constantly flipping through Danielle's cookbooks. This process of healing my body naturally reignited a passion for cooking and excitement to learn about new ingredients and how God designed our bodies to work. And it started a new passion about natural healing. It gave me joy in the midst of pain.

That second picture was taken last week when I was able to meet Danielle at her book signing for her new book Celebrations. I had the privilege of being on her launch team and cooking my way thru it before it came out to the public. I was able to share with her what her story and books meant to me during one of the most difficult points of my life. 

So today, instead of remembering the pain of that season, I am going to Celebrate health and healing (and the incredible food I have made from Celebrations Cookbook!) Plus, I just found out that I won the Against All Grain giveway!!
I called Chet to tell him about it and  I said it was fitting that today was the day I won the knife (as it was her story that changed everything). Chet assumed I meant that it was because I "went under the knife" a year ago today. 
Either way, I am grateful for health and for grace.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Celebrations

Food has always been a big part of our lives. Obviously in the sense that we have to eat to live, but more than that, Chet and I just love food. We love to try new foods and we love to make a meal at home together.

When I realized I needed to change my diet, it also meant a huge aspect of our lives had to change as well. I had some fear and anxiety as I was now “that person” who couldn’t go out to eat at certain places, or had to make special requests. I had to be careful about eating food at other people’s homes. And I couldn’t cook the way I used to. When bringing something I’ve made to a gathering, I have found myself prefacing it with, this is grain free/dairy free/refined sugar free/Whatever else free. In case they didn’t like it, I had my excuse. It gets old after a while explaining why I cant eat certain things anymore, mostly because people don’t understand. The things we eat and what we have been told about what we eat (right or wrong) is so ingrained in us that it is very hard for people to understand a new way of thinking.

So when I have an opportunity to host people at my home. I want to be able to make something I can enjoy without worrying about what it will do to my body, but I also want to make something delicious that everyone will enjoy (and not even realize its grain/dairy free).
Enter Against All Grain.  Danielle has taken the anxiety out of cooking for my gluten and dairy loving friends and family. She has made it possible to eat our beloved comfort foods in a way that makes everyone happy!

This last month, I had the opportunity to be apart of her launch team. I received a copy of her book early and quickly dove in and made a list of what I wanted to make first. I have only been able to make about a quarter of all she has packed in there and there isn’t one thing I wouldn’t make again!


For those that believe cutting foods out of your diet means you are missing out...it is most definitely does not! The only thing I am missing out on is feeling sick!
1) Strawberry salmon salad with poppy seed dressing. So I didnt have strawberries, but the salmon and dressing were so good they weren't missed. The dressing is sweet and tangy. A perfect paring with the fish!
2) Brussel sprouts with Bacon Jam. Garlicy Mashed Cauliflower: Bacon Jam. Need I say more. I was eating it out of the jar this stuff is so good. I will be putting it on everything. I love brussel sprouts but the crispy veggie plus the jam takes it to a new level. And the garlicy mashed caluiflower. She has you roast the garlic before adding it and it is perfection! I had Chet taste it and he said he would never know those werent potatos!
3) Carnitas: her recipes has them with tostones, but we went with tacos. Perfect smokey flavor. And the pickled onions are so so good!
4) Curried Pumpkin Soup: If you love pumpkin and if you love soup this is for you! I would have added a little more curried flavoring.
5) Proscuitto Asparagus tart: Ive dreamed about making this again. The runny egg yolks with the salty meat and the crumbly crust. 
6) Sausage egg frittata: my new favorite breakfast. So easy to make and so easy to reheat throughout the week!
7)Green chili chicken soup: Dump all ingredients in the crockpot and walk away. So delicous and flavorful. I served this to a group of friends this weekend and they all loved it. 
8)Chocolate cake with buttercream frosting: Need to remake now that I know what I am doing and I have no doubt this will be a new favorite.
9) lemon bars. who doesnt love lemon bars. Ive made them twice already. 

Not Pictured:
Potato Salad. I am picky about my potato salads. This one is amazing. And if you make it ahead the flavors get even better!
Sweet and Sour meatballs: perfect for game day. Or just eating cold out of the fridge. 
Sticky buns: OMG. Make them. That's all. 



Celebrations is now available for purchase! I believe in Danielle and her mission and am proud to have been a tiny part of it. Order her book. You wont regret it!