Thursday, February 10, 2011

In Response: Some Thoughts on Infertility and Pregnancy Loss

Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, is one of my favorite public speakers. Not only do I enjoy listening to his talks online, I follow him on Facebook and Twitter, and I enjoy reading the comments he makes about his work and family life. A couple of days ago, he mentioned a friend who was likely miscarrying twins for the second time in recent years. Most followers responded with promises to pray and general words of encouragement. Some came along and related -- said they too had experienced loss. Some even asked to be encouraged themselves. In the midst of all the relating or the sharing of compassionate words and understanding in response to a man's cry for help for his heartbroken friend, one person came along to say this:

"There's a spirit that needs to be addressed. Seek the Lord's face on this, fast, pray, have faith. Declare God's counsel, he does not will that these children die. There's probably some curse or sum underlying cause in effect."


The discussion thread began when a Godly man mentioned impending heartache for his presumably Godly friends. The discussion thread was full of comments from people saying, "This just happened to me -- how do I cope?" The thread was equally full of prayer and pain. I'm sure the heart behind the curse comment was genuine, and I'm sure the poster meant well, but in the end it was all open mouth, insert foot. Though I'm not presently blogging about infertility or pregnancy loss, it's not because I'm no longer infertile (I am) or because I haven't had a recent pregnancy loss (I have, just five months ago) -- we're just going a different direction to grow our family, so topics related to my personal fertility aren't on the tip of my tongue, or the tips of my fingers as it were. Still, I couldn't read this (likely unintentionally) insensitive comment and not respond. This is what I said:

@T.S. -- Can pregnancy loss be the result of sin? Sure. We live in a fallen world, we're a broken people. Is it always the result of a curse, as you mentioned? No. God's will is sovereign and He opens and shuts wombs as He wills. He does what He will for His glory, and He can and will be glorified even in the devastation of infertility and loss. Sarah was old and menopausal when God opened her womb to conceive (Gen. 18:10-14, 21:1-3), but she was infertile while her peers -- and their children -- conceived. "And Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren. And the Lord granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived" (Gen. 25:21-- in verse 26, you can see Isaac prayed for Rebekah's infertility for TWENTY YEARS before she bore their children). Jacob's Rachel was infertile (Gen. 30:1) until her sister and servants bore Jacob many children, "Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb" (Gen. 30:22). "Hannah had no children (1 Sam. 1:2)," but after Hannah prayed to God, "Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her. And IN DUE TIME Hannah conceived and bore a son" (1 Sam. 1:19-20). In these cases, there was no instance of sin or of a "curse" -- these are stories of God doing what God wanted to do in the timing He wanted to do it. These are the wives of faithful, Godly men -- men who would earnestly seek God no matter what, men who would pray for their wives, men who could be used to bring glory to God, even during heartache. It is unfair to assume that infertility and loss is the result of some secret sin or some lack of faith. Many times, that is far from the truth. Still, even if it were TOTALLY and most obviously true, as a Christ-follower, that is one of the most awful things you can say to a grieving mother or father. They should be met with love, grace and compassion (and a casserole never hurts).

photo credit:

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Snowmaggedon Part Two, A.K.A. The Snow Flake

"It's coming back," they said. "Snowmaggedon, Part Two." Old Man Winter was returning with a fury, and five or six more inches of snow was expected by the morning commute today. Schools would be canceled on Wednesday for sure, and with the weather only worsening as the day progressed, schools would likely be canceled Thursday too. It was going to be terrible. That's what they said.

With such dire predictions, I decided I'd be more prepared for the impending winter storm than I was last week. I skipped a fun outing with my friend Randi so I could work ahead on assignments for school. I battled the crowds at Kroger to make sure my pantry was stocked both chips and dip. I went shopping at Academy for waterproof boots and gloves so the kids could play in the snow all day long. We ate dinner out to get that desire out of our system, then I picked up a couple of Redbox movies before heading home to hunker down. The kids stayed up late watching "Breaking Weather Reports," then went to bed excited about the blizzard they just knew they'd wake to because on the news that's what they said.

Gracie bounded down the stairs this morning, bundled in all of her warm winter gear, pulled on her new gloves and boots, and rushed outside to --

the snow storm that totally flaked out.

Remembering the wimpiest "blizzard" ever
still meant school was canceled
made her a happy girl once again.

The fact that the snow stopped falling early
and the sun has been out all afternoon
makes Mommy a happy girl, too.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Recipe: Shortcut Sweetheart Sugar Cookies

In a baking mood but left with limited time, the girls and I made Shortcut Sweetheart Sugar Cookies. I'm hopeful that cutesy name makes me seem a little less like a slacker by making cookies using the ready-made store-bought dough already in my fridge. No effort whatsoever! Whether it does or doesn't, using pre-prepared dough made the cookie-making process quick and simple -- exactly what I needed with my littlest messiest helper on hand.

Gracie added a bit of flour to the dough to stiffen it and make it suitable for rolling. I used a pin dusted with flour and rolled the dough until it was about 1/4" thick. With Valentine's Day in mind, heart-shaped cutters were used to punch the dough. Scraps and edges were rerolled and the process was repeated until the dough was used up. We baked the cookies for about 10-12 minutes per batch -- a bit longer than the package suggests -- then dusted them with red sugar crystals while they were still warm.

Easy and Delicious!

Monday, February 7, 2011

❤ A Sucker for Love ❤

We're exchanging valentines at Brystol's baby playgroup this month,
so I made some sweet little cards to exchange.

The cards I made are loosely based on a Family Fun project I spotted.
They're simple cardstock hearts with scalloped edges
and a DumDum sucker attached. The sentiment reads:

❤ for love ❤
Happy Valentine's Day!
from Brystol

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Snow Day 2011 [Day Five] -- A Bit of Building and Melting Away

The sun was out on Saturday morning and the snow began to melt away. Before it was all gone, the kids spent a few more hours out in it. Gracie built a little snowman, and she and Bub helped the neighbor children build an igloo. Though we'd grown sick of the mess it made, the totally disrupted schedule it caused, and how trapped it made us feel, we were honestly a bit sad to see the snow go.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Snow Day 2011 [Day Four] -- A Fresh Batch

Late last night, a fresh batch of snow fell on Texas. The old stuff hadn't melted, but it had iced over and was neither pleasant to look at, nor fun to play in. This new batch is powdery and perfect, and the kids have had a blast out in it. (Mom likes to watch from the window, running out only for photos.)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Snow Day 2011 [Day Three] -- Cosleeping

I love this picture -- I took it on Tuesday. Brystol was sick and vomiting on Monday, and though she was "better" by early afternoon, she still wasn't 100% until late Tuesday. James was snowed-in on Tuesday, but as the day progressed, he wasn't feeling 100% and developed a fever as the evening drew near. This is a picture of the two sickies intersecting, meeting up for an impromptu nap on the couch.

As the once-upon-a-time magical snow day sticks around for its third take, I'm feeling pressured by bored kids who don't want to play in the snow-turned-ice. I'm also a distance learning student with deadlines, and snow days don't exist on the internet. This picture takes me back to a simpler, more peaceful time of this never ending "snowpocalypse" where people were happy and naps were possible.

Tuesday, how I miss you...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow Day 2011 [Day Two] -- Making Do

We're on day two of snow here in Texas. Because we're (1) unprepared and (2) stuck at home, we're making do on a lot of things. We're making do on the menu because Brystol was sick and vomiting on Monday -- my normal grocery day -- so I missed out on shopping. We have all the basic necessities, but we were running low on some things, and though the storm was eminent, I didn't go out for a last minute grocery run. I think it's silly to go into crisis mode before an inch of precipitation, but we have way more than an inch of snow and I cannot get out of my neighborhood. I forgot how much people eat when they're here all day and all night and there's snow on the ground, and that's a problem when the pantry is already slightly understocked. We have chips with no dip, and other similar issues, so nothing serious.

Really frustrating, though, when you could really go for some dip.

We're also making do with our warm winter gear. Despite the fact that we've consistently had snowy days the last several years, it's hot in Texas about 88% of the year and I've just not gotten into the habit of buying snow clothes and winter boots. I just don't think about them until it's too late. Fortunately, the kids don't mind. They've been playing out in the snow because they're kids and they don't care about frostbite, but I'm all about warmth and safety and keeping fingers in their proper places. How thankful I was, then, when a friend shared an unusual winter tip on Facebook that we tried with success -- put a pair of plastic gloves on between two pair of non-waterproof fabric gloves.

Dry hands are warm hands!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Snow Day 2011: A Magical Day in Texas

A Magical Day in Texas

Snow days in Texas are always magical. Sure, we're entirely unprepared for them -- we don't own snow boots or waterproof gloves, stores never carry more than three or four snow shovels, business shut down and roads are impassible. Life slows down, whether you like it or not. Fortunately, we like it.

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