7 Ways to Make Moving Fun (or less miserable, your pick)

Moving Into a New Rental @ AuthenticVirtue.com

After having just moved I’ve been reminded how crazy, stressful and fun moving can be. Here are seven, tested and tried ways I’ve endeavored to making moving more fun (or less miserable). Enjoy!

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5 Lessons From Our Misdiagnosed Miscarriage

Misdiagnosed Miscarriage @ AuthenticVirtue.com

Thank you, thank you for celebrating Baby Duncan’s re-announcement into the world. For those of you who don’t know, my husband and I were delighted to discover we were pregnant after two years of hoping and dreaming. Then, we were informed we had lost our little one  — after two weeks of waiting for the miscarriage to naturally progress we still hoped, but also prepared ourselves for the loss. However, amazingly, two weeks later we were given beautiful, happy news: Baby Duncan lived and was thriving!

Many women experience miscarriages — it’s a unique, difficult event. In many ways I walked through a miscarriage: receiving the death sentence from our practitioner, losing hope, losing blood and clots, and waiting for the loss of life. It’s an event that changes our hearts and lives forever.

Though rare, there are also many women who experience misdiagnosed miscarriages. My goal is to share a few lessons I’ve been given from our experience. I want to give hope to women who have been told they may miscarry as well as lend courage and practical insight to those who have indeed lost their lovely, darling baby.

5 Lessons I Learned From Our Misdiagnosed Miscarriage

Get a Second Opinion or a Second Ultrasound 

When a couple receives news that they may lose their baby it is devastating. And while many women lose their babies quickly, miscarriages can take several weeks for the process to occur naturally. During that time, I would encourage the couple to get a second opinion and ultrasound.

Physicians make errors and equipment do fail. After being diagnosed with our miscarriage I discovered a site called The Misdiagnosed Miscarriage. Several hundred women were misdiagnosed due to tilted uterus’, low HCG levels, mistaken blighted ovum’s, or quick assumptions and human error.

If your diagnosed miscarriage is taking time and you are experiencing little to no cramps, I believe it is perfectly acceptable and practical for you to ask for a second opinion or ultrasound.

If Possible, Let the Miscarriage Proceed Naturally 

When a couple is diagnosed with a miscarriage they are given options with how to let the miscarriage proceed: medicine to induce the miscarriage, a D&C surgical procedure, or allowing the miscarriage to proceed naturally.

Friend, one thing I am grateful for in my story is that we gave our “miscarriage” time. I am thankful our midwife explained that the body heals faster given time to proceed naturally. I am grateful we avoided medicinal or surgical methods.

If possible, give your body time to process naturally. Of course, there is no judgement; a miscarriage is already a difficult and life altering event. However, if you do decide to advance your miscarriage through medicine or surgical efforts please get a second opinion and ultrasound before you proceed. 

There are misdiagnosed miscarriages and there are women who, unknowingly, took actions to purge their babies when in fact, they were never experiencing a miscarriage at all.

Let Yourself Mourn and Heal 

Sweet person, if you’ve been told you may miscarry give yourself the time and space needed to grieve. Losing a baby at any stage is a difficult, trying experience because you have lost so much. You may feel numb, angry, and depressed. You may feel nothing at all. It’s okay, I know, I’ve been there.

The “strong” thing is press on with life but that is not the real, authentic, needed thing to do. You lost something very precious to you. Take time to scream, cry, and eat a few overflowing bowls of fruit loops.

Then, when you’ve truly given yourself to mourning, heal. My friend Angel has beautiful, life-giving words for those needing to heal. She experienced the loss and gains of ovarian cancer and discovered that, even after a year, she needed healing.Her words might be just the thing you need — I know I needed them.

Let Others Love You 

It’s easy to go through life’s sufferings and trials alone. Women with miscarriages may feel that their “problem” is too small to bother others with. If you had already announced your pregnancy, you may feel needy and embarrassed by the attention announcing your miscarriage brings.

All of these feelings are normal.

Sweet friend, let others help you. Though I was embarrassed by my need I was blessed when people stepped up to fill it. I had one friend pick up coffee, lunch, flowers, and a endearing gift when she heard of our loss. Another promised to bring dinner when I lost the baby and loaned me her heating pad for comfort. Several folk went out of their way to ask me how I was doing. My parents planted a rose bush in honor of our baby and the whole family came to help us move when I wasn’t feeling strong enough to do it on my own.

Dear one, it is especially important to let your husband help you. Your mate may not be expressing his grief as vibrantly but he still feels it. For Dalton, what hurt him most was watching me suffer. Letting your husband hold you while you cry, encourage you, and bless you not only helps you heal but helps him as well.

Continue Taking Care of Yourself 

This is simple yet incredibly profound. After we had been told we lost the baby I sort of turned into a zombie. 😉 A not-showering-all-week, when-did-I-brush-my-teeth-last-?, no shave summer, zombie.

(Sorry for the TMI)

I simply didn’t have the mental or physical energy to do anything let alone wash my hair. Now, looking back, I see that that hindered me and kept me from growing out of the fog and sadness I was in.

Of course, you won’t feel your best and if staying in your pjs helps then do it. Just don’t do it forever. Give yourself grace while taking steps to take care of yourself.

Most of all, trust. 

Losing a baby is so difficult and no one can understand or care for you except for the One Who made that baby and then, in His divine wisdom, took it away. Our Heavenly Father loves the miscarrying woman; He will gently carry you through the waves of grief and days of darkness you may experience. He will comfort you when all else fails.

Some days you may not see His loving hand but it’s there — carrying you when you can’t even seem to get out of bed.

With love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie

Losing Baby Duncan

You’re never really prepared for your pregnancy to end in miscarriage.

But that’s just what’s happened to our little baby. I haven’t really known how to share this with the my friends and readers (who are like family). As a blogger, I like to wrap my writings similar to Christmas presents: darling presentation full of glittery, exciting beauty.

But this is the furthest thing from exciting.

We went in for our 8 week ultrasound; the midwife and I chatted about her flower garden and about blogs and writing as she jellied up my stomach and began probing around with her expert hand. Almost immediately she saw that things were missing and not growing properly.

Folks, this is the hard stuff.

It’s been several days since we heard this news and adjusting to not expecting our baby this year is hard. It’s really, really, really hard.

But you know what?

God is so very, very good.

It’s been a hard week but God is the same God Who created Baby and then took him home. Jesus is the same Intercessor Who understands my numb experience like no one else. My Abba Daddy knows what it is like to lose someone precious to you. He’s carrying me like a mother lamb — even though, technically, I’m not caring for a young one any more.

I believe that God is great. And in the midst of this sadness and loss He is still great. He still knits people together and He still welcomes little one’s who never met their parents into his arms and kingdom.

I believe God is good so I believe, amidst all my sadness, doubts, fear and sorrow that this miscarriage is good. It is good because God promises all things to work together for our good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

Here are some good things God has already wrought from our loss:

The first face our baby saw was the Lord’s. 

Increased understanding and relationship between Dalton and I 

An overwhelming amount of prayer and support from friends and family

Friends who have miscarried are seeing the Lord work through their loss 

Our compassion and understanding for women with loss is growing

My understanding of what good sympathy is and isn’t is changing

We now know that we can indeed get pregnant

My appreciation for Dalton is growing and growing (because he’s simply the best and the loss of his first child is proving that — he is honestly the strongest, best man and he gets more gem like every day. How blessed am I?)

Our baby is with the Lord — that means he or she is walking, talking and rejoicing in the presence of the best One Who ever lived. He or she is already far more sanctified, glorified, and purified than Dalton and I. He or she is already conversing with people like Moses, John the Baptist, and Corrie ten Boom. He’s singing with angels. He’s enjoying everlasting life and praising God for His great goodness. 

We haven’t lost anything — we just have to wait longer to meet him.

Don’t think I’m not hurting. It’s just that I’m called to rejoice in all things — even in the midst of intense grief — and I guess this is what it looks like.

Thank you to all the people who loved our baby with us. Carrying Ollie for 7 weeks (short for Oliver or Olivia) was one of the greatest privileges I have known. I’m glad God let the last week be filled with joy and maternity shopping and hope instead of the fear I had been experiencing. I’m glad for the people who are loving us and blessing us through the aftermath.

I’m sad. But I’m also glad because God is good and He has given us good things … even in our loss. It took me a while to feel at peace with sharing this intimate part of us — but I’ve had a quiet day full of tears and rest and simple, household chores and God has sent a tremendous freedom in sharing what is hurting most.

For others who are needing healing read my friend Angel’s words. They’re just right for someone needing to heal in the loss and gain life’s sufferings bring.

But the God of all grace, who hath called us to eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 5:10,11

Love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie

Three Ways I’m (Trying) to Bloom Where I’m Planted

AuthenticVirtue.com

Around here we believe in blooming beautifully in the place God has set you.

And whether you’re a college student barely shuffling her way to class (or celebrating summer break?), a young mom needing her coffee every morning, or a sixty-something soul dealing with family sickness we all need the reminder that this season of life you’re in? It’s perfect for producing beauty and great things.

Currently, my season involves the slow, methodical workings of keeping home, loving and serving my Beloved, and preparing for our little one to arrive in December. Eventually, I’ll need to begin planning lesson plans for school in August but until then I’ve got a summer which is as slow as a hot, July breeze.

But I don’t want that to keep me from growing. Here are my three, favorite ways of (trying) to blossom where I’m planted.

Rejoice in every day

Blooming in the season God has given you is as simple as rejoicing in the day He made. Every so often I find myself in a funk, a drink coffee all day, do nothing but watch Netflix and struggle with getting dinner prepared on time.

And while there’s nothing wrong with relaxation and Netflix binges, being in a funk keeps us from growing where we’re planted.

Stop the funk by choosing to rejoice in your Lord and the day He has made. Celebrate the day he made and rejoice in His love and presence. Pursue a grateful heart and enjoy blossoming in the meantime.

Set goals

Setting goals for ourselves is vital to our growing and blossoming in life. Goals don’t have to big or impressive, they just have to be attainable. What do you want your summer to involve? Write down your hopes, dreams and to-do’s and get excited about them!

Some of my goals include eating nutritious, yummy meals for baby, enjoy my sister’s coming into town, blog frequently, exercise weekly, and take advantage of Jefferson City’s beautiful downtown.

Try something new … often

I’d love to say that I learn and try something new every day but that would overload my little, goal-driven heart and lead to discouragement. So instead, I’m aiming to try something new every week this summer.

When we adventure into the unknown and challenge ourselves to do life differently we blossom. Suddenly, there’s a little more gumption in our spirit tied in with an adorable I can do this grin. (You look cute, I promise.) 😉

It’s as easy as cooking a new recipe, learning about cloth diapering, taking up jogging or attending a new church for the first time. We blossom when we keep growing. 

How do you bloom where your planted? Are there any steps you take to avoid falling in a funk? Share below in the comments! 

Love, blessings and coffee,

Frannie

Easy, Every Day Ways to Create a Peaceful Atmosphere in Your Space

AuthenticVirtue.com // 5 Ways to Pursue Peace in Your Home

We live in such a busy, heart-bruising world it’s easy to mistake busyness for prosperity and chaos for peace. I know from experience that an atmosphere of peace in our homes and spaces does not happen by accident.

The last two weeks have kicked my butt in more ways than one. I spent a week out-of-town, deep cleaning seven smallish houses with a friend. My Darling Man made sure I had a few quiet, rest-filled days before I jumped back into my school schedule (which was so sweet!) but no sooner was I  physically rested than an emotional storm hit. We had to make some tough, life-impacting decisions which left me crying for 2+ days and bruised my heart deeply.

Needless to say, a peaceful atmosphere has been a challenge.

As Christian women, we have the amazing opportunity to live life in a way that we *reek* peace. The beautiful thing is that living peaceful lives looks different for every home and person; but, there are key things we can do to ensure our homes are less chaotic and more enjoyable. It just takes a little practice.

Here are five ways I’m pursuing peace in our space.

AuthenticVirtue.com Decluttering is key to emotional and physical peace. The great thing about decluttering is that it can be done right here, right now. Don’t know where to start? Wash the breakfast dishes. Put away the cereal box. File those random papers on your desk. Call the next person on your list. When life feels crazy look around you — is there something you can donate or giveaway? Throwaway? When we declutter we begin to feel sane … even in the midst of the storm.

Pressing play on my favorite Christian radio or Pandora station is one of the first ways I transform our home from crazy to calm. Early in the morning while I cook breakfast and Dalton gets ready for work we’ll often turn on our favorite worship music. Almost immediately my soul is blessed and my spirit is lifted (even if I’m washing last night’s dishes!). 😉 Press play to whatever lifts and encourages your heart and your one step closer to a peace-filled space.

Writing a to-do list is activity I must do when life overwhelms and our home feels out of control. Earlier this week I struggled to fall asleep, so, I rose from bed and wrote a schedule and to-do list for the remaining weeks of school. Ah … having goals, to-do’s and responsibilities handwritten and hanging from my fridge immediately gave me a sense of rest and control. I may not get everything on my to-do list done and that’s okay. It’s not about letting my list control my life but my using self-control and completing what I need to get done.

Saying no to unnecessary activities and requests is super important when creating a peace-filled home. Some days you can take the kids to the pool, carpool with other mommies, schedule a lunch date, babysit your neighbor’s cat, blog, fold laundry, paint the shutters, and lead a Bible study all in one week.

But then there are days when you need to say no. Our homes and spaces are our first priorities and if random, miscellaneous activities are spoiling the atmosphere you desire then it’s okay to say no for a while. 🙂

Choosing peace is, ultimately, the most important thing we get to do. As Christians we are promised peace — even when the world is ripping apart and destroying all that we love. The first part of this week involved me bawling my eyes out but during the hard things I knew peace. Thou wilt keep [him] in perfect peace, [whose] mind [is] stayed [on thee]: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3

We can write schedules, say no to miscellaneous activities, declutter our spaces and listen to encouraging music but if we forget to choose and pursue a heart of peace our homes will continue reeking of a chaotic atmosphere. I know because I’ve been there.

Choosing to believe “… all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” is the most important and effective way to create a peace-filled space.

AuthenticVirtue.com

How do you pursue peace in your space? Is there one thing you love doing that helps bring calm from the chaos? Tell us about your peace-keeping powers! We’d love to know! 🙂 

Love, blessings and coffee,

Frannie