Sunday, January 30, 2011

In the May household....

I don't journal and it's something I wish I was better at for the kids. This blog is as close as I come to journaling.....so this post is more for me, than anyone else, but here's a glimpse into what's happening around the May household these days:

We dance nearly every day. We sing multiple times a day. Lauren's favorite songs to sing: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Itsy Bitsy Spider and the Wheels on the Bus. Samuel's favorite songs to sing: My God is So Big, How Great is Our God and Peace Like a River. Mom's favorite dancing song: Chicken Fried by the Zac Brown Band.

Samuel stands up in his high chair and - unprompted - Lauren says, "Sit down."

Samuel climbs into his own high chair and into his crib many times a day. He and Lauren love jumping in his crib together. God created Samuel to jump - beds, couches, cribs...the kid will literally jump for 5 minutes straight to the beat of his own drum.

I taught Lauren how to sign dance (which we also taught Samuel) and she got the sign in one day. So fun! She signs please, more, thank you, eat and help as well. Within minutes of getting up each morning she says and signs eat.

Lauren weighs 23 lbs and Samuel weighs 29. Lauren is 32 inches and Samuel is 36 inches. They are getting closer and closer in size. Lauren wears 18 month clothes and Samuel 18-24 and 2T. I wonder if they'll look like twins come summer/fall?

When I corrected Samuel for saying 'dangit' he reminded me that I say it. I said, "You're right, I do. But you shouldn't say it and neither should mommy." Samuel's response: "You say crap."

The cat (Jersey) walked into the room the other day and Lauren said, "Hi Jers." Then she walked to the pantry and pointed to the craft bag and said, "Color." Her vocabulary is astounding at just 16 months! Then she proceeded to eat the crayons while coloring...

Both kids love being in the bathtub and will spend 30 minutes in there together if we let them. They are intrigued by lotion, chapstick and all things in a tube or bottle.

Samuel eats just about everything, Lauren eats hardly anything. However, both kids love smoothies and get very excited when they hear the Magic Bullet creating a fruit/protein drink.

Lauren will sit and read books for 10-15 minutes, Samuel doesn't sit.

Samuel's in a phase of saying, "Give me. Give me water. Give me more." We're working on that.

Lauren loves Elmo and Samuel Thomas the Train. They both love 'helping' in the kitchen and stand on a chair together at the kitchen counter.

Samuel will often climb onto the chair in front of the computer and say, "I'm going to do a little work."

Our kids make us smile and laugh every single day. They fill our hearts with so much joy. They are completely exhausting and precious beyond words.

They are worth every single day we waited for them.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Family pics

For the sake of my sanity, I need to take a break from the hard side of life, and focus on my many blessings.

My parents had professional pictures taken of the family after Christmas. We got them a couple weeks ago. Here are a few of my favorites!










 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Flat on my face

On my face.

That's how I found myself today.

2:30 p.m. Kids sleeping. Husband reading.

Me. On the living room floor. On. My. Face.

In desperate prayer before the Lord.

I gave it all to Him.

My husband's unemployment.

A friend's health.

A friend's devastating loss.

My weary body and sad heart.

Last night as I rocked Samuel hour after hour...and he puked hour after hour...I cried out to the Lord, "I can't take any more Lord. My plate is full. My husband. My friends. My children. The burdens are so heavy."

But today after a conversation with a wise woman in my life, she reminded me that these are not my burdens to bear.

The Lord did not give these to me to bear. I took them upon myself to carry. And that's not what He intended.

I want to bring meals. I want to watch kids. I want to offer hugs. I want to dry tears. I want to visit. I want to serve. I want to be it all. Do it all. Help. Heal.

But I can't. I never could. When I strive to do it and be it all, I only fall flat on my face.

Which brings me back to 2:30 p.m.

Flat on my face. On the living room floor.

Offering it all up to the Lord. Asking Him to show me what He wants me to do. How He wants me to help. Where He wants me to serve.

As I pleaded with the Lord to take the burdens, I physically felt them being lifted from my body.

It might have just been that my arms were falling asleep from laying in one position for so long.

But I think it was God helping me release the tight grip I had on these burdens in my life and replacing them with His peace.

As I look to the next two months I feel overwhelmed:

I see no change in Ryan's unemployment state.

I see a friend who continues to suffer in pain with no diagnosis or relief in sight.

I see a friend who has only begun to face the pain and grief associated with losing a spouse.

I see my mom who will have surgery and face an 8-week recovery.

Flat on my face. It's not an easy place to be, but it's a necessary place.

Flat on my face is where God gives rest to the weary.

Replaces anxiety with peace.

Restores the broken.

Begins the healing.

And offers hope for tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It wasn't suppose to happen like this

"It wasn't suppose to happen like this."

Those words keep ringing in my ears.

As I was driving home from work today I returned a call I missed from a friend. She didn't leave a message and we don't talk often via phone even though we live across the country from each other. I knew if she called it must be important.

What I didn't know was that when she answered she would be sobbing so hard she could barely speak. That I would literally feel her broken heart as she told me that her husband of just 2 1/2 years died this morning. His heart stopped working and he passed out while feeding their dogs. The paramedics could not revive him.

Her husband died.

"It wasn't suppose to happen like this."

That's what she told me. She moved from Minnesota to Nevada to Texas because of him. She stood by his side when he was diagnosed with colon cancer in the fall of '09. 

She helped him fight his battle. She changed their eating habits. Cooked organic food. Changed their cleaning products. Made drastic lifestyle changes to help him have the best possible chance of beating cancer. 

And today his heart stopped.

He didn't die from cancer. He just died. She didn't get to say goodbye. She didn't get to say I love you.

"It wasn't suppose to happen like this."

No Su, it wasn't. And today my heart breaks as well. The tears fall endlessly from my eyes. My arms ache to give you a hug and tell you that you were an amazing wife for 2 1/2 years. You loved him so well. And I am so very very sorry.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Tears

Tonight my eyes hurt.

They are puffy. They are sore. They are tired.

They are eyes that have shed a lot of tears today.

It's surprising that during this season of waiting I haven't shed more tears. I cried much more frequently while waiting for my babies. 

But this time it's not me and my body. It's my husband. And that's why the tears came today.

He is doing so great. He is so strong. He is so motivated. He continues to apply, seek, search, call, email, meet, network and wait. 

He has done such a good job.

But today was a hard day. He got an email he didn't want to get with news he didn't want to read.

And the disappointment and discouragement in his voice was overwhelming.

The lack of hope was heartbreaking.

The frustration was too much for me to take.

So I cried.

I bawled really. A lot. 

For a long time.

And I was at work. 

It's one thing when it's me. It's another when it's him - hurting, hoping, waiting, wanting. 

Just like he couldn't make me pregnant, I can't get him a job.

And I can't stop the all-too-familiar cycle of hope and despair. Waiting. Wondering. Hoping. And then news you don't want to hear.

It's not unlike the infertility cycle.

And today it was just a little too much to take.

Tomorrow will be better. My eyes won't hurt. My heart will be a little more hopeful. 

My God will remind me in quiet, simple ways:
...that this is part of our story.
...that He is still in control.
...that He wouldn't give us two babies to love and raise without a perfect plan in place.

Friday, January 21, 2011

My God

Do you know my God?

My God makes the lame to walk, the deaf to hear, the mute to speak, the blind to see and the dead to rise.

My God casts out demons.

My God brings restoration to the broken.

My God replaces bondage with freedom.

My God heals.

My God moves mountains.

My God is able.

Today I am asking my God to move two mountains:

My dear friend Jeri is in the hospital and on a feeding tube. The doctors have put her through countless tests and they are all negative. Modern medicine cannot figure out how to diagnosis her....and therefore how to help her. But my God knew her before she was formed in her mother's womb. My God knows and My God is able.

I am also, of course, petitioning God for Ryan, his career, and for our marriage. I am asking God to reveal, restore, renew, rekindle, and rework what needs to be reworked in our hearts and lives. I am praying today that God would leave no stone unturned. That is a scary prayer to pray. I am asking God to move mountains and provide for our family. I am asking God to end this season of waiting. And my God is able.

I've been formulating a post for awhile about healing and will hopefully post that next week. Until then, I pray my God is glorified...

So the crowd marveled as they saw
the mute speaking,
the crippled restored,
the lame walking,
and the blind seeing;
and they glorified the God of Israel.
- Matthew 15:31


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Infertility and Miscarriage Resource List

A couple weeks ago I asked for your favorite resources on the topic of Infertility and Miscarriage.

Here is the list I've compiled (I'm not linking to all of them due to a shortage of time right now, but I will try to later). I think you can find them all online easily. Please comment if you have others we can add to this list.

Email/web sites
Daily Double Portions email devotions from Sarah's Laughter (web site says under construction but hopefully will be up and running soon). These are fantastic and I still receive them. Very well-written.

Hannah's Prayer Ministries

Books
When Love and Sorrow Embrace: The Sufficiency of God's Grace Through the Heartache of Miscarriage - Beth Forbus 

A Graceful Waiting: When There's Nothing More You Can Do, God's Deepest Work Has Just Begun - Jan Frank.

Inconceivable: Finding peace in the midst of Infertility - Shannon Woodward
 
Water from the Rock: Finding God's Comfort in the Midst of Infertility - Becky Garrett

Moments for Couples who Long for Children - Ginger Garrett (devotional book)

Hannah's Hope - Jennifer Saake

Newsletter
Stepping Stones (I still receive this newsletter and love it)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Community - part 2

After spending a weekend at our Winter Get-A-Way a couple weeks ago, I was reminded about the value and importance of community.

I listened to this sermon about community and loved what the pastor had to say. His message mainly centered around the necessity of being part of small groups within a larger church community.

I could not agree with this message more.

Ryan and I have been a part of small groups for probably 9 out of the 10 years we have been married. And I think that one-year exception was when we had two babies to care for :) Small groups have changed our lives separately and our marriage for the better. They have been absolutely life changing. Some of our dearest friends we met through small groups.

We have been in separate men's and women's group, in co-ed groups and in couples groups.
Ryan has his guy friends. I have my girl friends. But together we have friends that we have 'done life with' because of being in small groups together.

Here are some of the notes/quotes I jotted down while listening to the sermon online:

Message is based on the NT church as exemplified in Acts 2:42-47.

Four reasons why you need to be in a small group and connect with others:
#1 You need others to grow in intimacy with God
#2 You need others to walk through the ups and downs of life
#3 You need others to live out the mission
#4 You need others...others need you

Unfortunately in our individualistic western mentality many are participating in church community only in large group and if that's all you do you are missing out on a significant experience of the life of following Jesus.

The reality is there are are things about God you will never learn apart from fellowship with other believers in small group settings.

If you are not in a small group you just put a lid on your intimacy with God.

Through small groups you see God working in others' lives and see God working in your life.

If you are trying to live out this thing called Christianity alone, you will struggle because God designed community to meet our needs.

If all you know of church is large group community, you will feel all alone.

If you are not living life in community, you are missing out.

If you make one resolution for 2011, one commitment, one decision...resolve to join a small group. It might take a few tries. It might involve trying some different groups. Don't give up. Stick with it. Ask God to guide you to the right group of people with whom you can be authentic and vulnerable. Strive to find a Bible-based group that meets weekly and commit to attending. I promise you - it will change your life and your relationship with God.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Community - part one

Last week a very good friend of mine, Jeri, went into the hospital due to some health issues. We offered to care for her daughter Chloe, who is just a few days older than Samuel.

We had the joy and privilege of having Chloe at our house Thursday-Saturday. She and Samuel seem like twins - same age, same size, same skin, eye and hair coloring. It was so fun having her stay with us and both kids really enjoyed having another playmate.

While mentioning to people that we had another kiddo staying with us, a few people responded with something along the lines of, "Wow, that's so nice of you."

I told Ryan that it was irritating to me to hear people respond with such surprise that we were caring for a friend's child while she was in the hospital.

I guess I was annoyed because it isn't even an option that I wouldn't care for a friend's child if I had the ability to do so and they were in need.

And one of the things I love most about my husband, is that I knew that I didn't even need to check with him before committing to care for Chloe. I did ask him if it would be ok for her to stay with us, but before I even asked, I knew he would say yes. Because that's what we want our marriage and our family to be about.

I don't mean to say that in an arrogant or prideful way. I say it in a purposeful way. Ryan and I have made it a priority to be open to caring for others to the best of our ability. Isn't that what community is for? Isn't that what doing life together is all about? Caring for one another as they have needs? Giving to others who are in need?

People have been so generous to us during our season of need (it sucks to admit we are in a season of need). I am able to give of my time and talent more than my finances these days and I love doing so.

I shared my irritation with a couple people and explained that I don't have time for - and to be honest don't even want - friendships in my life with people who wouldn't care for my children if I were unexpectedly admitted to the hospital.

Life is too short. My time is too precious. My relationships are too valuable. I'm not going to waste them on people who don't care to live life like we read about in Acts 2:
The Fellowship of the Believers
 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

I don't mean to say I don't have people like that in my life. Of course I do. But my go-to people, my deep friendships, are people who I know would drop to their knees or drop by my house, in a heartbeat, if I was in true need.

I think that's the way God designed us to live. We see the example in Acts 2. Now we have the opportunity to live it out.

I'll post Community - part two tomorrow.

For now, isn't this the most precious picture of Samuel and Chloe?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

What to do when you don't know what to do

I don't know what to do.

I just don't know.

Two conversations today have got me thinking about how I don't know what to do in this season of waiting.

I think I've forgotten how to wait well.

I think I've tossed all the lessons I learned about waiting.

I think I've easily slipped into bad habits and patterns of waiting that are not very life-giving.


In some ways - and on some days - I think I've chosen to pretend we're not waiting. Because I don't want to be waiting. Again.

I looked back at past posts I wrote about Being Still and Seeking God and to be honest what I feel like writing is blah. blah. blah.

I just don't want to do any of it. And therefore I don't know what to do.

And I know many of you out there don't know what to do either because your wait has been much longer than our current unemployment wait.

And you don't have two little miracles running around reminding you of God's goodness and faithfulness. I actually have three sweet miracles sleeping in my house right now but that's a story for another day.

I feel like there are many things I should do. 

I should pray or pray more. I should read the Word. I should fast. I should plead. I should petition on my husband's behalf. I should do something.

What I really want to do is not think about it. Not process. Not ponder. Not try to figure out what lesson the Lord might be trying to teach us (is He even trying to teach us a lesson?). Not discover His plan.

So I'm just sitting here in the midst of my junk. My selfishness. My laziness. My humanness. My sinfulness. I'm more focused on me than I am on Him which is probably 110% of the problem.
 

So maybe I do know what I need to do and I just don't want to do it.

And that realization is a tough one to swallow.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What I would tell infertile me

I thoroughly enjoy reading posts from Wendi's blog. She has two boys 8 months apart - do the math and you'll quickly realize her story is similar to mine. 

Two babies, two wombs, both dearly loved.

And now she is expecting another miracle (that part is not similar to my story ;). God has seen to bless them with another biological child, and I am thrilled for her!
 
She recently wrote this post titled: What I would tell infertile me. I think it might bring some insight and encouragement to those of you currently walking the path of infertility. I couldn't agree with her three points more. They are not easy to embrace, but they are right on.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A short winter get-a-way

This weekend the four of us headed to northern Minnesota for a winter retreat with Mill City Church. Our car was packed to the top when we pulled out of our driveway on Friday for our little adventure. It was a cold weekend...the thermostat read -9 when we left the camp to return home today. The kids were troopers. We slept little, laughed a lot, worshiped, ate and played together. We're all exhausted, but so grateful to have such fun memories of our first church retreat as a family. There were 13 children under the age of 3 on the retreat! Ryan and I look forward to many more family retreats together in the future (hopefully minus the pack-n-plays, diapers and middle of the night wakenings :). They took pictures of everyone who attended and here's the good ones (and the not-so-good-ones) of our fam.




Thursday, January 6, 2011

Infertility and Miscarriage Resources

A friend saw my list of Waiting and Grief Resources on my blog (bottom, left-hand side) and asked me to recommend my favorite one. Oh, that is tough. I'm pondering if I only had to choose one, which it would be.

And I decided I wanted to ask all of you which resources are your favorite? If you are currently walking the difficult road of recurrent miscarriage or infertility - or have in the past - if you could recommend one resource (online, book, newsletter, email) what would you recommend? What is your go-to....worn-out cover, most visited site, you get the idea.

Please please share. I think there are many who could benefit from a list of resources that offer encouragement and comfort. Please comment below or email me at stacyjmay@comcast.net and I will compile a list and post it here.

How's your marriage?

A couple weeks ago Ryan went out to lunch with B. He doesn’t see B very often, but he thoroughly enjoyed his lunch conversation with him.

Among the many topics discussed, unemployment was, of course, part of the conversation. When discussing Ryan’s job search, B asked Ryan, “How’s your marriage?”

How. Is. Your. Marriage.

Four simple words. Four simple, powerful words.

Do you know how few people have asked about our marriage during the last seven months? People ask how the job search is going or how Ryan is doing. People ask how I’m doing or if we’ve heard anything about the latest interview.

But asking about our marriage? That is so…personal.

But we need people to ask us the personal questions.

And others need you to ask them the personal questions.  Your neighbor. Your co-worker. Your friend. Your boss. Your sibling. Your relative.

How are you doing today?
How did that make you feel when that happened?
What has been the hardest part of what you’re going through?
What scares you the most about the future?
What is getting you through this difficult time?
How is your marriage?

Ask the hard questions. Ask the personal questions. What’s the worst that can happen? They cry. They don’t answer you. They say, “Buzz off and mind your own business.”

Even if they say, "Buzz off" I have no doubt that they will be grateful that someone cared enough to ask.  

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Too Blessed to be Stressed

Found this on my computer today...it's an oldie but a goodie!

Too blessed to be stressed
"I'm too blessed to be stressed and too anointed to be disappointed. I refuse to be discouraged, to be sad or to cry. I refuse to be down hearted and here's the reason why: I have a God who is almighty; who is sovereign and supreme. I have a God who loves me – and I am on His team. He is all wise and powerful; Jesus is His name. Though everything else is changeable, My God remains the same. I refuse to be beaten or defeated. My eyes are on my God. He has promised to be with me, as through this life I trod. I am looking past my circumstances, to heaven's throne above. My prayers have reached the heart of God and I am resting in His love. I give thanks to Him in everything. My eyes are on His face. The battle is His; the victory is mine; He will help me win the race. I repeat, I'm too blessed to be stressed!" (Author unknown)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Plan B - Pete Wilson

I'm finalizing my 2011 Book List and will post that soon. I need some accountability to start reading again, and I'm hoping my blog will help me in that area.

My plan is to share my observations as I read - whether that's a quote here and there, a summary of a few chapters from time to time or a review of the entire book.

For now I thought I'd share a little about one of the books on my list: Plan B by Pete Wilson.

I started reading Plan B last month. The subhead states: What do you do when God doesn't show up the way you thought he would?

The title intrigued me, of course, due to our road to parenthood and now our journey through unemployment.

My first impressions are...just ok. I don't love the author's style of writing, but I'm intrigued by his belief that everyone will eventually have to face a Plan B season of life - whether that be shattered dreams, a crisis or unmet expectations.

I've only read two chapters: the first one titled Reality and the 12th chapter titled Waiting on God. I couldn't not read that chapter...after all, waiting seems to be my life theme.

These two quotes encouraged my heart and have had me pondering my Plan Bs in life since I read them:


"I've never heard of anyone's journey of faith that hasn't had a Plan B story."

"There is an undeniable relationship between Plan B and the glory of God."


The second quote is from the chapter on waiting...which reminded me that so often our waiting is really not about us. It's about God and His glory. And so often it is through OUR Plan B (which is really God's Plan A) that He is most glorified.

I'm not totally sold on your book Mr. Wilson, but I do think I will be challenged about how I view seasons of life that one could only describe as Plan B.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Dear 2011

It seems I'm on a letter-writing kick. Here goes another one.....

Dear 2011,
Hello New Year. It's nice to meet you. 

I'm not quite sure how I feel about you. I'm thankful that 2010 is over. In some ways it was a very challenging year for our family. In other ways, we were immensely blessed and overwhelmed with God's goodness.

However, I'm still processing how I feel about closing the door on 2010 and opening up the 365-day gift that 2011 has to offer. A family member posted this as her FB status and I think it sums up how I feel: "2011...a year of much uncertainty and mystery...scary...but also excited for the possibilities!"

In the past, sa
ying hello to a new year would bring me to tears as I dealt with deep sadness and the longing of unfulfilled dreams. Other times a new year was welcomed with anticipation and joy.

This year saying hello to you, 2011, is both hopeful and hard. It is hard because we are beginning the 8th month of unemployment in our house. I could not have imagined last May that my husband would greet 2011 the same way he greeted the summer - without a job.

As we flip the pages of the calendar not only to another month, but to another year, we hold our breath...in anticipation...hopeful...yet fearful. We hope for change. We hope for miracles. We hope for the best. We hope our prayers will be answered soon.

2011 you have a lot to live up to. There are many people waiting for prayers to be answered, dreams to come true and hopes to be fulfilled.

You can do it 2011. I know you can. 365 days offers a lot of hope, promise and possibility. I stand confident that I will see prayers answered and dreams come true...both in the lives of friends and family members, and in the lives of those whose journeys I follow via the blog world.

Let's keep in touch 2011.

2 days down. 363 to go.