Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Didn’t think it would end this way

These past few months have been heart-wrenching.

We’re clinging.  Remembering the promises, repeating them over and over.  He’s good.  He loves us.  He fights FOR us. 

This road of infertility is never ending.  Getting pregnant doesn’t change anything.  The same sense of anticipation mixed with fear settles around you.  You might wonder how I know.  We’ve been pregnant twice in these past months.  And both have ended far different than we ever imagined.

They say you never really get over infertility.  You have to grieve it.  Because it becomes an identity marker, no matter how hard you try to fight against that.  You recognize this, begin to embody this and get comfortable, and then things change.  You see, even more fear needing to rest diligently in trust sets in when you realize as soon as two lines appear, that now it’s not just about the two of you.  There’s another life you are fighting for.  Petitioning for the Lord to sustain.  And you have no control over the outcome.

And you never forget when you hear the nurses words coming across the lines that connect you both, “I’m sorry.”  Or when your RE glances into your eyes and says with tenderness “This doesn’t look good.”  The tears fall, ever so gently even though you are both trying to hold it all together.

Our first little one lived for mere days.  Jesus beckoned little b home, to a better place, with Him.  Oh what a glorious place to be.  And we saw joy in the aftermath, I ovulated.  I was able to get pregnant without medication.  We were saddened, yet astounded and sorrowful, yet full of hope.  This last time I was 7 1/2 weeks along.  Before our Doctor came in, we bowed in prayer asking Jesus to calm our hearts and to give us peace.  Instead of a heartbeat, beating fast and strong at our first ultrasound, we were faced with ill-timed news and decisions we didn’t want to make.  Our precious Dr. with so much tenderness, shared the news we did not want to hear.   It didn’t look right.  And she looked worried and uncomfortable with the image in front of her.  In this case, she shared her initial diagnosis of Molar Pregnancy. If this were so, then my body never created a little one, but created something else, an intruder mimicking life.  As we let the news sink in, our hearts broke.  Unsure of what lay ahead, the only thing we knew was that He knew. 

And we, with strength that was not ours, took steps forward.  One foot in front of the other, leaning wholly on Him, we journeyed forward, beckoning Him to change the diagnosis.  Days later, we learned of our silver lining.  It was not molar.  But silver linings only do so much to spur up joy.  There was a little one, a life growing inside of me, a little life we will never meet or hold. 

And now we are faced with the gentle aftermath.  I’m not sure which one of us said it, as our minds tried to process the news and our hearts grieved what we thought would be, but one of us echoed our hearts cry “Can we ever catch a break.”  And the lies come one by one.  Day after day.  And we try to feel, to grieve, to take it all in.  It’s the little things that do me in, the storing of baby books, filing of baby lists and names, unsubscribing from email newsletters, and hearing, as my blood is drawn, the steady and loud heartbeat from the ultrasound in the next room.  And my mind wonders, will we ever get to bring those books out again, or hear that sound.  I wanted so to hear our baby, strong and full of life.  I want to wake up to some different reality.

I don’t need answers and I don’t need to know why.  He knows.  I’m content right there, but I struggle to find hope.  How to hope that He might in His tender mercy create life again, only to sustain it this time.  We won’t know the answer to this, to whether He will create life again.  We pray He will.

And down this road we will continue to walk, step by step, hand in hand.  Trusting in His mercy, in His timing, in His will, in His character, in His love.  There is no other option.  I’m not letting Him go because of this.  Alex isn’t letting Him go because of this.  We’re not letting go because He won’t let us go.  Because two are better than one.  And a three cord strand who could break.

Pray for us.  For healing and joy amidst sorrow.  For life abundant.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Homemade Pita Bread

Some things are just worth making at home and I’ve found that pita bread is one of them.  You’ll never know just how delicious homemade pita is until you put in the effort.  By the way, it’s not a lot of effort to make pita, in fact in might be the easiest bread I’ve made.

But one thing that I am certain of, is that homemade pita is the best when served with Chicken Souvlaki and Tzatziki sauce.  So delicious and a very healthy meal to boot!  Try it and see…homemade pita is SO delicious!

Homemade Pita Bread
(adapted from Annie’s Eats)


3 cups flour, plus 1/2-3/4 cup more as needed
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. sugar or honey
1 packet instant yeast
1 ¼ to 1 ½ cups water, roughly at room temperature
2 tbsp. olive oil, vegetable oil, butter or shortening


Mix the yeast in with the flour, salt, and sugar. 

Add the olive oil and 1 ¼ cup water and stir together with a wooden spoon.  All of the ingredients should form a ball.  If some of the flour will not stick to the ball, add more water.

Once all of the ingredients form a ball, place the ball on a work surface, and knead the dough for approximately 10 minutes. If you are using an electric mixer, mix it at low speed for 10 minutes.  

As the dough is mixing, continue to add flour, a tablespoon or two at a time, until the dough clears the sides of the bowl and is tacky but not sticky. 

When you are done kneading the dough, place it in a bowl that has been lightly coated with oil. Form a ball out of the dough and place it into the bowl, rolling the dough around so that it has a light coat of oil on all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp towel and set aside to rise until it has doubled in size, approximately 90 minutes.

When it has doubled in size, punch the dough down to release some of the trapped gases and divide it into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, cover the balls with a damp kitchen towel, and let them rest for 20 minutes. This step allows the dough to relax so that it will be easier to shape.

While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 450°. If you have a baking stone, put it in the oven to preheat as well. If you do not have a baking stone, turn a cookie sheet upside down and place it on the middle rack of the oven while it is preheating. This will be the surface on which you bake your pitas.

After the dough has relaxed for 20 minutes, spread a light coating of flour on a work surface and place one of the balls of dough there. Sprinkle a little bit of flour on top of the dough and use a rolling pin or your hands to stretch and flatten the dough. You should be able to roll it out to between ¼ – 1/8” thick – 6 inches in diameter. If the dough does not stretch sufficiently, you can cover it with the damp towel and let it rest 5-10 minutes before trying again.

Place discs on a lightly greased baking sheet or parchment paper and let rise, uncovered, until barely doubled in thickness, about 30-45 minutes. 

Open the oven and place as many pitas as you can fit on the hot baking surface. They should be baked through and puffy after 3 minutes. If you want your pitas to be crispy and brown you can bake them for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, but it isn’t necessary.

Yield: 8-10 Pitas

Source: Brown Eyed Baker

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

House inspiration

Although we didn’t get the house we thought we always wanted a few months ago, we’re content to wait a little longer for another gem to come around.  That being said, I’m still gathering inspiration! 

I am 99% sure that the house we will purchase next will either be a short sale or a foreclosure.  It will need work, hopefully not too much, and we will most likely do it a little at a time.  No giant flips for us for our own house!

Did you hear the word “flip”?  Well we are not flipping again but I’m drawing inspiration from the flip we did last year.  I loved so many things about that house.  The details really drew me in and I know if given the chance, we’d try to incorporate some of them.

Here’s some inspiration and I’ll tell you what I love along the way:

Binder #366 South Face After 2
I loved this kitchen; the white cabinets, white subway tile backsplash and the dark wood floors.  I definitely could cook a meal here.  That being said, I also really love this kitchen, it’s exact opposite.  We’ll see how daring we are.

On to bathrooms.  The following is the Master bathroom that we created; it was soothing and absolutely gorgeous if I do say so myself.  I love the classic simplicity.  But then again I do have a more colorful side:)

Binder #39 South Face After 1

The jazzed up selection below is very similar to the bathroom above, just with a punch of color.

Basically I like my classic style with a twist of spunky color.  I don’t think I’ll ever grow out of it.  Now to get the hubby on board with some color.

What inspires you for your home?  Do you like color or are you more neutral?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

character is everything

After I busted my myth I heard from many how encouraging that post was.  You’re not alone.  Just because I wrote it doesn’t mean I haven’t been back to read it again, and again.  Why?  Because I need to be continually reminded of who God is.

The hubby and I were talking about the post the other day.  I was asking where his mind goes when hard things come.  Inevitably he stated exactly where my heart goes.  To the character of God.  That’s one of my husband’s best qualities.  You see, when we started this journey, he was the first one to remind me that children are not a promise or guarantee, they’re a blessing.  He reminded me how good God has been and is still today.  He’s reaffirmed what I know to be true.

You see, the character of God, is all you need.  That’s a big statement, but I believe it.  When I began walking with the Lord back in middle school, it was God’s love for me that drew me in.  When a boyfriend of 4 years broke my heart for my good in college, it was God’s shelter that I rested in. When my step-father passed away 6 years ago, it was God’s faithfulness that drew me back.

You see, my God is who He says He is.  Do you know who He is?  Have you asked Him?  My daily prayer for as long as I can remember has been to ask God to show me who He is.  More of His character.  He’s been faithful to answer. 

       "For I, the LORD, do not change” (Malachi 3:6a)

These past years I’ve needed the character of God.  In my mind, on my heart, quick and accessible.  You see, His character renounces every sly little lie Satan hopes we will believe.  Our finite little minds cannot fully comprehend who a perfect person is, how they interact with us or make decisions.  How they love or discipline. 

But that’s who God is.  He’s perfect.  Perfect in his love, in his discipline, in his glory.  This is how it daily plays out. 

Satan comes a-calling. 

“Andrea, isn’t it horrible that you can’t have kids.  Look at that 16 year old bursting with life in her womb.  How could God give her life but not give it to you.” 
”Isn’t it so sad to see that person we love hurting so much.  That disease is eating them away.  Why won’t God change that?  Why would He let it happen?  It’s just not fair.”

Here’s where my mind goes, hopefully sooner than later. 

“ God is good.  He loves me.  He is the giver of good gifts.  He is the creator of the human race, children are a blessing not a guarantee.  God is all-knowing and there is a good reason that girl is pregnant.”
”God’s ways are above my ways.  He is healer.  Disease is part of the fallen world.  He cares more than I could imagine for that person.  He never promised that this life would be easy or fair, but He said He’d be with us. I’m so thankful that my loved one is trusting in Jesus and will go home soon.”

These words can only have affect on my heart if I’m trusting by faith that they are true, otherwise I’ll simmer in discontentment and self-pity.  I read in the word that God loves me and that there is no evil in Him.  To truly believe this I try to picture what an all-loving person would look like.  In discipline.  In hardship.  Would they do things to someone out of spite or disappointment?  No.  They are all good and any discipline or hardship is out of love, with a sanctifying reason.  You have to ask God to give you the faith to believe who He says He is.  

Learning who He is can be so practical but so many of us buck against having to do anything.  Legalism has so skewed our minds.  He wants to know you and you want to know Him.  If we ask God to show us more of Himself and to give us more faith I can assure you this will be a prayer He will answer in His timing. He speaks to you through His word; it comes in many forms.  It’s that easy and that practical.  Open your Bible.  He will meet you and show you.   It’s filled with who He is.  Go there, He’ll join you.

These next months I’m going  to explore the character of God.  He is who He says He is.  I want to know Him in ways I never imagined.  So I can fight.

When Satan comes, daily, are you ready?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Old Fashioned Fried Chicken

There’s nothing like fried chicken.  I’m sorry but there is really no suitable substitute.  I love it and try to make it a couple of times a year.  That is just enough for it to always be delicious and just enough that it’s not too much, if you know what I mean.  Not all fried food has to be the devil.  Everything in moderation…best motto ever!

This fried chicken is from one of my favorite cookbooks of all-time:  Cooks Illustrated Best New Recipes.  I have never, ever made something bad from this cookbook and they also have one for those of you who like watching your calories a bit more:  Cooks Illustrated Best Light Recipe!

I made this yummy meal about a month ago on our first really nice spring night.  It was a picnic indoors type meal that was bursting with wishes of summer.  I served it along with Old Fashioned Carrot Salad by Ina Garten, a yummy salad of carrot shreds, pineapple, and yogurt, and Sour Cream Cucumbers, also by Ina Garten.  So delicious. 

It’s the star of the meal!

Old Fashioned Fried Chicken
adapted from Cooks Illustrated Best New Recipe via Framed Cooks
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 3 heads of garlic, cloves separated
  • 3 crumbled bay leaves
  • 2 quarts buttermilk
  • 1 whole chicken, cut into pieces. Breasts should be cut in quarters.
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 cups peanut oil

1. Combine salt, sugar, paprika, garlic and bay leaves in a large ziplock bag. Using a mallet, smash garlic into salt mixture thoroughly. Pour mixture into large bowl and add 7 cups of buttermilk. Stir until salt is dissolved, immerse chicken and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

2. Remove chicken from buttermilk brine and shake off excess. Place in single layer on wire rack set over rimmed baking sheet. Refrigerate uncovered for 2 hours.

3. Put flour in shallow dish. Beat egg, baking powder, baking soda in medium bowl, stir in remaining cup of buttermilk. Working in batches of three, drop chicken in flour and shake pan to coat. Using tongs, dip chicken in egg mixture and then coat in flour again. Return to wire rack.

4. Heat oil to 375 degrees (using instant read or candy thermometer) in large Dutch oven. Place chicken pieces skin side down in hot oil. Don't crowd chicken -- you will probably have to work in batches. Fry until golden brown on the bottom, about 6-8 minutes. Turn over and continue to fry until second side is golden, another 6-8 minutes.

5. Using tongs, transfer cooked chicken to paper towel-lined plate and drain for 2 minutes. Transfer to wire rack placed on baking sheet and keep warm in 200 degree oven while remaining chicken is fried.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Add some Canvas

I have an affinity for cute, comfortable, and durable clothing.  I love classic styling with a twist of modern fun.  My favorite stores include Gap, Banana Republic, J. Crew, and for the fun, H&M.  This all changed though when I set my eyes on Canvas by Land’s End.

Land’s End has filled my closet with some great pieces, like fleece and swimwear.  BUT, I have never really turned to Land’s End for my clothing, finding it a little too old-fashioned, matronly, well…you know, old.  But that changed.  They introduced a new line called Canvas that is perfect for our demographic.  They had a great sale over the winter and I grabbed quite a few great pieces.  Best part, they have the BEST customer service and the QUALITY cannot be beat.  That good. 

Best part for those in the Twin Cities; I’ve spotted Canvas at the Inlet in Bloomington.  Also they have fantastic sales, perfect for staple stocking.

So in preparation for summer, here are some of my favorites:

32020299_0B0Z1vdY_bstripes and ruffles, yes please!

32020621_YVIOXhnt_bruffle top, how cute is that?

32021675_D4LYGgdy_bstraight leg jeans…I love to roll the bottoms

32021865_HJYb2nJO_bcute and comfy, perfect for summer

32022210_l3vSyiLN_bhow could I get through summer without this?

32022380_vsJudAT5_bperfect tote for the pool

32024062_IazIGoE4_bI already own these and I basically live in them. 
Right now they are $7.50 or $33 without the bow.

Happy Shopping!