Sunday, April 21, 2013

national infertility awareness week :: guest post

i'm honored to be hosting a guest post this week from amanda over at a royal daughter.
she's been a great inspiration & encouragement to me through her writing!
her love for Jesus is contagious & i believe you will not regret checking out her blog!
please read on & share some love!!

Hi there, have we met before? Just in case we haven't met, let me introduce myself:
I am a country-living, ice tea drinking, good book reading, farming, ranching, Jesus-loving, curly-headed wife of a seminary professor.   He's a teacher, I'm a writer. He's a thinker, I'm a creative. Together we make our home on a small farm in Texas.

I met Shannon through the Influence Network, and I'm so thankful that she is allowing me to be here today to share about something that is near and dear to my heart.

April 21-27 is National Infertility Awareness Week, and as a woman who is currently battling barrenness, I am trying to make the most of this painful journey by spreading awareness about infertility.

A few facts about infertility:
  • Approximately 1 in 6 couples in the United States are diagnosed with some degree of infertility each year. 
  • "Infertility" defines the inability to conceive a child after one year of unprotected, well-timed intercourse for women under the age of 35. Women 35 and older may be diagnosed after 6 months of unprotected, well-timed intercourse without conception. (The inability to sustain a pregnancy beyond 20 weeks is also classified as "infertility.")
  • 30% of infertility is the result of an ovulatatory dysfunction (i.e. there is a problem with the woman's ovulation cycle).
  • 30% of infertility is the result of a problem with the man (i.e. sperm structure or production).
  • Women who face infertility often describe their situation as "lonely," "isolating," and "painful."
  • There is a large spectrum of treatments for infertility, with varying degrees of invasiveness and cost.
My own journey with infertility:
  • My husband and I started trying for a baby almost 4 years ago.
  • We were officially diagnosed with "unexplained infertility" in February 2012 (the same month our foster boys were removed from our home). 
  • We have tried various therapies and treatments, from "alternative" therapies to traditional western medical treatments, including Intrauterine Insemination (IUI).
  • In September 2012 we embraced a gluten-free diet, as gluten intolerance is closely tied to infertility. 
  • We've experienced the pain and frustration of two failed IUIs.
  • Until last November my husband and I kept our struggle to ourselves. We were completely unwilling to share our story, and to some extent we were unwilling to accept our diagnosis.
  • But now I feel called to share my story as a way to encourage others who are also facing this same struggle.

National Infertility Awareness Week:
This week on my blog, I will be dedicating the entire week to spreading awareness about infertility, offering encouragement for those battling the pain of barrenness, and providing resources for friends and family of those facing infertility. Topics will include:
  • Ideas for stepping up out of the pit of infertility and transforming negative emotions and energies into productive, worthwhile activities.
  • Collaborative efforts from women currently battling infertility, and how they overcame common lies women believe about being barren.
  • Online and print resources for those battling infertility as well as those who want to come alongside and encourage and support their infertile friends and family members.
  • How to encourage and support your infertile friends.
  • Owning your infertility + embracing the waiting period.
  • Collaborative efforts from women who have made it through to the other side of infertility straight to the hearts of those currently navigating the muddy waters of barrenness.
  • Infertility from the husband's perspective.
There will also be a giveaway during the week with items I've hand-picked to offer hope and encouragement to those battling infertility. My goal is to offer encouragement and inspiration not only to those currently facing the isolation and frustration of infertility, but for those who wonder how they can minister to their friends who are facing infertility.

I hope you'll join us, and help spread awareness about infertility. It is an isolating journey, but it doesn't have to be.

You can connect with me at my website, on twitterfacebook, and instagram. I'm also on pinterest and google. However you decide to connect with me, please take time to introduce yourself!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

that time my picture was floating around pinterest.

so i just have to share a funny story with you all.
i'm just sitting here chuckling to myself, though also a little nervous, but once i get done with the story, you'll understand why.  

a couple of days ago a friend from church writes to me on FB asking if i knew that my picture was floating around pinerest.  
at first i thought it might be a scam & someone hacked her FB account. i responded with a "what??" thinking that if it was a hack, she would see it & could do something about it.
but then the more i thought about it, i began to get scared that someone stole my picture & was using it as their identity, which i've seen happen before. 
or even worse, that someone was using my picture to advertise something gross or weird.
i got a little nervous about how easy it is to get pictures off the internet & all that, so it's definitely not out of the realm of possibilities, right?

fast forward to today when she responds back to my message:

 "I was on my home page looking at pins and all of the sudden this pic went by, and I was like wow, that really looks like Shannon! So I followed the link to some lady's blog who wrote an article about how to raise a baby on a budget and the photo accompanying it was one of your maternity pics by Kelsey Shearer where you were sitting amongst packages of diapers!"

hmmm...kind of like this one?
{photo credit to the amazing kelsey shearer from lovefusion photography}

ok, there is definitely no cleaning being done today until i figure this out & find this picture! 
{said by me to myself}
 thus begins mad searching on pinterest until, lo & behold, sure enough, there's me....several times all up & down the pinterest page.
i clicked on the picture & was directed here.

is that not crazy?????
i mean, it's pretty funny, right?
you find a random picture of yourself out there on someone else's blog that you have not intentionally put there?
 it's funny, BUT it's a little nerve-wracking too because you find a picture out there on the internet on someone else's blog that you did not intentionally put there or have knowledge of. 

so there you have it folks, your tip of the day:
beware of what pictures might be floating around on pinterest of you!

Monday, April 15, 2013


i don't know about you, but i am sooooooo happy that spring is really finally here. 
i don't think that i've been more ready for spring in all my life. 
i'm so ready to shed the warmer clothes, let a little sun soak into my skin (with sunscreen on, of course), and take in the fragrances of new blooms, freshly cut grass, and the first signs that grilling season will soon be upon us.

i know having a little one in the house makes a lot of the difference.  
in these current days of teething & stir craziness, getting outside changes him into a brand new little boy. 

spring & all it's new possibilities can do that for a person, can't it?
this is why i love spring.
stepping into the sunshine, casting off the cold & darkness of winter.
embracing the idea of a fresh start.
signs of this new season reveal themselves every day & i'm reminded that a new season is beginning for me too. 
what this new season holds i'm really not sure, but i'm always more hopeful in spring. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

an epic journey

I'm gonna let you in on a little secret:

I do not enjoy working out.  

It's the truth.
I do not find enjoyment in busting my butt, sweat pouring down my face, or sore muscles.
I do not choose to go for a run "to clear my head".
The rush of endorphins does not make me feel like I can take on the world. 
{Though when I do kick boxing, I pretend I'm beating down the devil & that feels pretty good}

Working out, for me, is something I have to do.
I am not one of those people who can eat whatever they want & still wear the same size they did in high school. 
Or 6 weeks after having a baby cause people's jaws to drop. 
Nope, I'm the girl who 19 months after having a baby has to explain, that no in fact, I am not pregnant again. 
Just can't seem to lose this baby weight. 

So, when my husband came home & told me that he had pitched an idea of doing Cross Fit for a year in return for a column in the paper & I said, "What about me?", you can imagine the jaw-dropping that happened over here!

You see, he thought it would be cool for readers to follow an average guy (who also does not like working out) take on a year-long commitment to getting healthy & changing his lifestyle.....via only the most grueling workout regimen I've seen/heard of.
He would write about his daily struggles, his victories, & the transformation that will occur to inspire others toward a healthier lifestyle.  

Well, I couldn't have him getting all buff and leave me in flabland, now could I???

He decided that following a husband & wife team could be great to show how this could impact our relationship & our marriage, & he got the seal of approval.  

And so, the journey begins 9:00 am Monday morning.  
To say I am nervous is an understatement!
Hear are some things that we've been told by people who currently do Cross Fit:

"You will feel pain like you've never felt before."

"You might want to buy an industrial-sized bottle of ibuprofen."

"The first 2 weeks you will hate every second of it."

"You'll probably be sore for a few months."

"You will discover muscles you never knew you had."

So, while I'd love to keep you updated on this journey, please don't be surprised if you don't hear from me for a few weeks. 
It's probably because I can't move my arms to type. 

Honestly though, I'm super excited.
Not about finding those new muscles but about challenging myself to an entirely new level like I never have before. 
I'm excited about doing this with Mike because I know he will be my biggest supporter as I will be his. 
I do believe this will have a very positive impact on our relationship & I'm excited about that. 
And I think that God is going to use this experience to teach me, grow me, & stretch me (literally & figuratively!)

So here's to a journey to a new me, a new Mike & a new us!
{Pray for us??}

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Shouldn't every day be like Easter?

Year after year, I find myself getting more and more excited about celebrating Easter.
When I was younger it was because I got to get a new dress.
{Do you remember what it was like to wear your new Easter dress?}
And it was always exciting because we get together with family.
I always enjoy big family gatherings.

Don't get me wrong, I've always celebrated Easter for its true significance, however, I don't think I've appreciated it as much as I have in more recent years.

After reading the book Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross by Nancy Guthrie a couple of years ago, I've learned to truly appreciate what an amazing sacrifice Jesus offered and just how big his love for us is. 
Not only did he endure an excruciatingly painful death and separation from his Father, he became sin.
Filth, evil, hatred, all things unholy.
Jesus became all those things.
He endured the punishment for those things. 
He went to the pits of Hell for 3 days. 
And why?

Because he loves us that much. 

This year I found myself anticipating this glorious celebration unlike I have any other year. 
Good Friday felt like a somber day to me because I tried to keep the image of Jesus hanging on the cross at the forefront of my mind.
And every time I would read or hear the phrase "It's Friday....but Sunday's coming!" my heart would do a little leap in my chest!
Yes, Sunday, the third day, the most glorious day of all! 
The day we celebrate our Risen Lord!
All weekend the lines "Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia" kept running through my head. 

This year I served in Children's Ministry, and though I was a little bummed to not be able to worship with my church family in "big church" on this day, for me, it was more of a celebration in my heart.
It was a reminder that I want every day to be like Easter.
I want every day to be a celebration of the most wonderful gift I have ever been given.
Every day I want to strive to draw nearer to my Savior.
Every day I want to do my best to present myself as a pleasing sacrifice to Him, the One who sacrificed it all.

I pray that you too will be overcome with joy each day you think upon the cross and find yourself walking in His grace and mercy. 

Now, if you don't mind, a few pics from the day.....

 I was just a tad bit excited to celebrate Easter with this one:
I mean, come on. 
I know I'm biased, but you can't argue with me, can you??

((This is the project I was working on and hope to do a post on someday in the near future. 
I was really happy with how it turned out, and I think Eli was too. 
We didn't give him his Easter basket until after he calmed down from a fit of absolute hysterics that began upon waking up from his way too short nap. That's why he's sitting on my lap!
Lesson learned: DO NOT alter the nap schedule, even on Easter!))

Have a great week, friends!