Coffee Time and Encouragement: Coffee Series

Coffee With You Series

It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High: To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night, Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound. For thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands. O Lord, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep. Psalms 92:1-5 KJV

Yesterday, I read part of these verses out loud to my messy, cluttered living room, steaming coffee cup, and our unborn, 18 week old baby. (Becuase he/she can hear me now.) 🙂

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Quiet, Summertime Changes: Currently Series

Currently Series with Authentic Virtue Blog

I am thankful for the seasons life brings us. It’s summertime and the days are passing by as quickly as July’s rainstorms roll in. Our vacation time is over, we’ve settled in our new rental, and the fears of my first trimester and the misdiagnosed miscarriage are beginning to look more like memories instead of terrifying, first-hand experiences.

Life is quieting down and I’m finding new ways to make the most of my given time. I will not be teaching this year which means I’m not scurrying around decorating a classroom or writing lesson plans. The timing of baby’s birth did not combine well with the year’s contract. So, now is a season of letting go and preparing for what’s to come. Change is always difficult for my personality so there were quite a few emotions as I cleaned out my desk and put away lesson plans and curriculum. I’m going to miss the routine of being a part-time teacher and all the benefits that come from being in the student’s lives; I am looking forward to substituting though.

Dalton gently reminded me to focus on baby and all the joy this new season brings. I was a bit embarrassed by that — of course I’m loving baby and all that pregnancy means. But his words also reminded me that change is good and should be embraced. Now isn’t the time to mourn over a part-time job or be sorry over my changing routine and schedule. Now is the time to begin planning, dreaming, and investing in the new life which will forever change ours

I’m so glad I have time to plan for our new family member. His/her bedroom is slowly turning from a guest room/library to a garden and Beatrix Potter themed nursery combined with the guest room. Baby clothes have been folded and set into different categories. Blankets are being washed.

In the kitchen I’m trying new recipes, looking at freezer meal recipes (in preparation for our busy, recovering time), and trying to discover the best ways to accomplish meal prep a head of time. (Since waking up – cheerfully – and making breakfast for my Darling Man is a bit difficult these days.) I think I need to take a second look at my morning routines for being successful. 😉

Our new home is becoming more nest-like and comfortable. I finally have enough energy to weed through closets, the motivation to toss what I no longer need, and the desire to find the best ways to decorate our home. I’m hoping with each change I make it becomes more peaceful and welcoming.

Most importantly, I’m endeavoring to bring more focus on the Lord into my heart and home. Hymns and worship music are filling the air, negative thought patterns are being weeded out, and Scripture themed prayers are becoming more common. We have loved ones who need God’s grace in their lives, relationships which need treasured and protected, and a little one to raise up for the Lord; these are all things which come from God and are accomplished through His good will. They’re also things I can ask for in confidence knowing my Heavenly Father hears my pleas and understands my heart.

AuthenticVirtue.com // Currently Series on homemaking, pregnancy, and the grace poured into every day life

What beautiful things have come your way this week? Are there any changes you’re trying to adjust to? I love your comments and growing together as friends. Let me know what you’re thinking! 🙂

Love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie

Joy V. Happiness in Marriage, Pregnancy, and Daily Life

Joy v. happiness in an unknown pregnancy with a subchorionic hematoma with AuthenticVirtue.com

It’s happening again, the waters are rushing over our heads and I’m struggling to keep up. Being pregnant with our first has been one of the most delightful and trying experiences of our lives. Having a subchorionic hematoma is commonly low risk but tell that to the momma who’s bleeding, making ER trips, and being told the area her placenta needs to implant is filling with blood.

Then, suddenly, it doesn’t feel low risk any more.

But that’s the nature of a blood pocket in your womb. You never know what it’s up to, what it means, and what it could lead to. You simply wait. Monitoring helps (sometimes) unless you get news that it’s grown larger (as is my case). Then, waiting becomes more dreadful and more difficult to accept.

If you can tell life isn’t very happy right now but it is still very full of joy.

Dalton and I have been meaning to collaborate and write a post on the differences between joy and happiness. (As in I should have written it 5 months ago). But now is the perfect time to write because I’m experiencing it tenfold.

Happiness is temporary. It’s bliss. It’s me resting in bed on rainy afternoon with a cinnamon pecan candle burning in the light finishing a long book. Happiness is my husband bringing me dinner and then washing the dishes afterwards. Happiness is the fleeting feeling I experience after finding a good subchorionic hematoma story.

But happiness, however sweet and nice, eventually leaves.

And after the emotion leaves I’m still left with unanswered, scary questions. Will I have this baby? Will baby be hurt? When will I know? If I lose baby will I ever have more children?

Reality sinks in and the weight of it pushes the temporary feelings yummy candles, good meals, and a rainy afternoon brought.

 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith. Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22,23

This is where Jesus and my Heavenly Father changes things. This is where joy take over. God’s Word promises the fruit of the Spirit includes joy and that I as a Christian can have it. I cannot create this fruit; I can prohibit it but I cannot force it in my life. It’s God working in me. It’s similar to real life planting; I could place vile and damage the root system around an apple tree and expect its growth to be affected. But I could never actually create an apple — I can only enjoy that it was made, given, and satisfying.

That’s joy — it’s present in the lack of happiness. It’s God given. It’s there when I’m dreading our future; it’s present when it’s 3 am and I’m having blood drawn and being wheeled away from my husband to an ultrasound room by a tech who isn’t happy to be working.

When I’m not feeling happy joy remains.

I do get overwhelmed with the unknowns of our pregnancy. I get tempted to fall headlong into fear and the sickness of dread. Happiness sometimes eludes me. (Which is scary for a sunny-disposition person as myself).

But during those moments when the sickening questions fill my head I’m reminded of God’s promises,

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11

If I lose baby God is still good. If I am in limbo from now until week 40 God’s thoughts toward me are still good. If I have to live with unknowns until I deliver this baby God’s ways are still for Dalton and I (and baby). If my next pregnancy resembles this one I am still in God’s vision and His plan is good.

And that is joy. God’s Word and promises are joy. God’s loving will is joy. Living life open-handed, as much as it hurts and as hard as it is, is joy.

Joy is peace, God’s presence, and the knowledge that despite the outcome of our lives God is still good.

Love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie

Don’t Dig Up in Doubt What You Planted in Faith: Coffee Series

Don't dig up in doubt what you planted in faith with AuthenticVirtue.com

In life we’re given the choice to simply trust and obey or grow faithless and fearful.

In our current situation, I’m constantly challenged by fear. Every belly cramp, sign of blood, or internet search weakens my faith and I begin to dig up in doubt what I had planted in faith.

Last week was no different. My Beloved came home, exhausted from the previous night’s trip to the emergency room, the extra work he had done over the weekend, and being out-of-town. My normally calm and collected Dalton was stressed and worn out. And instead of  helping ease his weary heart I made it heavier through my nervous, worry-edged tone.

Even though we had just been to the doctor who informed us that baby was well, growing and the spotting/bleeding appeared to be low-risk, every hour of the day seemed grow my anxiety and fear. It’s like I need to be jellied up and sitting next to an ultrasound every moment of the day for me to have any peace and rest.

Friends, learn with me. Don’t dig up in doubt what you’ve planted in faith.

Life is full of unknowns.

Thankfully, we can know that God is good and kind and exceedingly present in our time of need. He is faithful to His children, their needs, and He hears their pleas.

Dalton reminded me that besides our false alarm miscarriage, our pregnancy has really been quite problem-free. Yes, I spot but so do a thousand other women who have healthy babies.

So, here’s to Fridays and learning to live life in faith. Here’s to less worry and more trusting and obeying.

What are you learning to let go and trust in? have you any advice or insight in how to conquer fear and anxiety? Let’s grow together and share our hearts! 

Love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie

 

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