Dealing with Anxiety: Coffee Series

Dealing with Anxiety @ AuthenticVirtue.com

“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why are thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance. O my God, my soul is cast down within me; therefore I will remember Thee from the land of Jordan … the LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.” Psalm 42:5,6,8

Every once in a while I catch the blues; you know, the Eeyore-like tendency to see the world colored in grey, fearful, and unhappy? And don’t worry, I sometimes felt this way before my time in the hospital.

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Encouragement and Coffee Time with Psalm 142

Scripture for the heart and encouragement with AuthenticVirtue.com

“I cried unto the Lord with my voice; with my voice unto the Lord did I make my supplication. I poured out my complaint before him; I shewed before him my trouble. When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path.

In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me. I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul. I cried unto thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living.

 Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low: deliver me from my persecutors; for they are  Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me.” Psalm 142, KJV

This week’s favorite Psalm was definitely Psalm 142. It was a good week full of quality time with Dalton, sweet friends, an awesome mail day, and a visit with the doctor that gave us a few answers and hope for Uriah’s health. Plus, a whole week without contractions and labor is a huge blessing!

However, there are moments when life feels hard. Preterm labor is a constant unknown when your water has broke. Infection is always a looming possibility. The extremely rare threat of the dreaded pro-clasped cord hangs above my head like a dark, menacing cloud. Then, out of the blue, some conflict arises (and you know how I hate conflict) and I cow and fail to speak up and that brings all sorts of dreaded feelings and issues. To sum it up, life can still feel hard and lonely and full of hurt even when it is full of blessings, light, and life.

When I opened my Bible this morning I cried out, “Oh, Lord, help me!” I’m reading through the Psalms and eventually came across Psalm 142. It’s simple and to the point: sometimes, only the Lord can understand and comfort us. Sometimes, human sympathy and understanding, though there, falls short. Sometimes, all we can do is “show Him our trouble, pour out our complaint, and cry unto the LORD …” We can know that we were heard and understood. The longings and cries of our heart are seen and known.

Isn’t that utterly beautiful?

With love, blessings, renewed hope, and coffee,

Frannie

Weekly Blessings

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Sweet people, it has been a beautiful week. It’s been eight days since we learned of baby Uriah’s health issues and I am amazed at how quickly life goes by! I’m wanting to be more consistent with blogging but brainstorming posts and creating images seem to be the last thing my brain wants to do so be on the look out for more ordinary, day-to-day posts. I know you won’t mind. 🙂

God has been so good to us. This last week was full of unexpected blessings and I wanted to share a few of them with you! Not only does it bless my heart to tell you of how God is taking care of us but sharing our blessings reminds me to be joyful. Some of our blessings included:

The day I got our sad news Dalton was able to come home from work right away. It was *such a comfort* to have my darling man home with me that first day.

My mom surprised us with a visit! She also brought goodies along with her in the form of a pumpkin spice latte, two beautiful yellow mums, a homemade dinner, and lunch out. It was so sweet of her to give up her plans to be with me during the first two days after our ultrasound.

On Sunday night we left to see our families which is always a special time. I got to see my brother (our schedules often conflict since he’s in college and Dalton has strange weekends) which was so fun! And we got to spend a lot of time with both sides of our family. Plus, my darling Mother-in-Law sent me home with a bundle of new scarves and baby shoes! <3

Connecting with families who have experience with Hydrocephalus. It is so exciting reading about others’ experiences and learning from their words. Also, we have received hundreds of comments, texts, calls, and messages from friends and family praying for us. Thank you, thank you!

I had coffee with a very sweet friend this morning. It was so good to visit and share our hearts together. This is also the same friend who brought us a delicious, yummy meal last week! She showed up with a yummy breakfast casserole, pint of orange juice, pumpkin spice creamer, cheese, keurig cups, and pop tarts! Plus, she spoiled me with flowers and homemade chicken noodle soup today! (Aren’t we loved?)

The postman delivered a darling card from my friend, Angel. I just love mail! Plus, the Starbucks giftcard tucked inside really brought a smile to my face. <3

Fall is almost “officially” here and I’m enjoying putting up my decor, lighting candles, and listening to Christmas music.

Even though our midwife will no longer be our prenatal/pregnancy provider, she asked me to continue seeing her so she can keep tabs on my health. However, she is generously asking that we not pay, even for the months she has tended to me and baby! Plus, she offered to attend our birth and/or c-section so that I can have someone who has experience in the medical world and who I know and trust.

Sweet people, I am overwhelmed at God’s goodness!  He is so kind and loving and is using the many people in our lives to love and comfort us. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed at all that we may face but it is little (and big!) things like the above which prove to me that we are exactly where God wants us to be and that He is carrying all three of us in His hands.

What blessings did you experience this week? Do you have anything we can pray for? Leave a comment below and let’s encourage each other! 🙂

Love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie

5 Ways to Care for Someone Enduring a Miscarriage

5 simple, loving ways to bless

5 simple, loving ways to bless

“Some people say it is a shame. Others even imply that it would have been better if the baby had never been created. But the short time I had with my child is precious to me. It is painful to me, but I still wouldn’t wish it away. I prayed that God would bless us with a baby. Each child is a gift, and I am proud that we cooperated with God in the creation of a new soul for all eternity. Although not with me, my baby lives.” -Christine O’Keeffe Lafser

It was a quick moment, the time we were told we had lost our baby at 8 weeks. It haunts me every time I settle in for an ultrasound; what if it happens again? What if we don’t see our baby?

God, in His amazing mercy, didn’t allow our miscarriage to take place. It was a misdiagnosis; human error coupled with miscalculated conception dates and a worthy (but relatively) low-tech machine brought about 2 weeks of waiting for the release of our little one. On top of that, my subchorionic bleeds (blood clots) made me believe I was actually going through a miscarriage, a long, painful process of sending away the bassinet, storing baby clothes, and announcing to the world that we were, in fact, not going to be having a baby in December.

I don’t pretend to have had a miscarriage; countless women do lose their little one’s and it’s an experience I can never fully relate to; yet, our experience has shown me a side of loss I had never known. However false our miscarriage was, it was still a real, heartbreaking two weeks we walked through.

The misdiagnosed miscarriage taught me ways to comfort those facing loss (along with other lessons). Below are 5 ways to encourage, bless, and carry a grieving couple during their miscarriage.

  • Acknowledge the loss … and please never hint that baby was lost for a reason or due to chromosomal abnormalities

If a couple announces their miscarriage then please acknowledge their loss. We had to announce our miscarriage because we had announced our pregnancy and it was too awkward receiving congratulations when I was secretly crying tears of loss.

Perhaps, if you are intimate and the conversation arises naturally, acknowledge the loss of life and the loss of promise. Losing a baby means losing so much more. You’ve lost the chance to experience labor. You’ve lost taking first day of school pictures. You’ve lost the opportunity to drive your 16 year old to the DMV for a permit test. Losing a baby is a true loss and it is genuine, real, and heartbreaking. Acknowledging that loss is multifaceted can communicate how deep and real their grieving is.

And please, do not tell the grieving mom that many miscarriages occur due to chromosomal abnormalities. And do not remind her that “there is a reason for everything.” Please don’t. I know this is a well-meaning set of words but it can be devastating. Hearing the hint that baby is better off not being born because he/she may have developed abnormally is not healing. The last thing a mother wants to hear is that phrase; to me, it didn’t matter what abilities/intelligence our child could be born with, at least he/she would be alive and loved.

  • Prepare a meal, or a hot pad, or a coffee 

In other words, practical gifts can be life-giving. There were moments during our experience when I felt physically, emotionally, and mentally drained — I could barely force myself to shower let alone set the table and prepare a healthy meal for my beloved.

If you have a grieving friend, offer to bring something practical their way. During my pregnancy, I had a sweet friend popover an extra homemade chicken pot pie and a huge box of decaf Keurig cups. This same friend lent me her hot pad in case cramps and pain needed some practical heat. That gesture was huge and incredibly life-giving.

Shortly after we had announced our miscarriage a darling friend drive several hours to bring me lunch and a latte’ — her sweetness brought life and joy to me when the days seemed quite long and draining.

  • Bring flowers

It’s simple, sweet, and incredibly encouraging. The same friend who brought me the lunch and coffee brought along a bouquet of flowers. The beautiful blooms kept my kitchen cheery and seemed to spread energy throughout our house … energy I didn’t have but desperately needed.

  • Send a card or Facebook message

Again, if a couple has announced their miscarriage than reaching out to them privately is totally welcome. Sending a card or Facebook message can be healing. The grieving mother may not respond for days (or ever) but knowing that she has a community of support is life-giving.

I cannot tell you how I appreciated the notes received. (Sometimes from complete strangers!) Some days I didn’t respond to the words, I was too tired and too occupied with managing my loss; however, it was nice knowing I was not alone.

  • Ask how they’re doing

Eventually, loss will begin to heal. While a grieving mother may not want every conversation to revolve around her loss (she probably would like to be treated normally) she does not want her loss forgotten about. A baby is a baby, whether it dies in the womb or from natural causes at age eighty. Life is life and it is worthy of being remembered. Maybe you will be led to send a small card on the anniversary of the loss. Maybe, every once in a while, you’ll ask how the couple is doing. Maybe, you’ll send a little gift card along with the message, “Still thinking of you; you’re wonderful.”

Whatever it is, acknowledging someone’s loss and genuinely caring about how they are is an appropriate way to bless and aide in healing.

Knowing someone facing loss can feel awkward; sometimes, we don’t know what to do or say. But if you feel led there are many ways to encourage and give life to those suffering with a miscarriage. From simply acknowledging the couple’s loss to being practical and offering words of encouragement or gifts, you can make a difference in the middle of sorrow.

How do you feel about comforting those with loss? Is it an awkward situation or do you thrive in bring healing to others? What are some ways you try to bring life to those hurting? Share your ideas in a comment below — I would love to grow in this area! 

Love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie

How to Encourage Your Husband (and love doing it!)

LEarn how to bring a smile to your man's face and lighten his load with AuthenticVirtue.com

I love being a wife, I genuinely do. And I love my husband. But sometimes I forget that he’s human and needs me to purposefully (and willingly) find ways to encourage him. Here are six ways we can encourage our mates; I promise, the rewards far out weigh the effort! Here’s to delight-filled marriages and encouraged spouses!

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