Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Road of Infertility

Years ago I let myself imagine a life with two children. I prayed a peculiar prayer. I asked God to close my womb until I could appreciate another child. Until His timing was right. And He answered my prayer. He is a good father.

Nearly two years later, I have mixed, complicated feelings about this past season of infertility. God has taught me gratitude (for Nora specifically and, really, for all my blessings) and a whole new appreciation for the gift of life that even years of pro-life work couldn't. I know without a doubt that God is the author of life. I've lived that truth.

The hardest parts have been not getting what I want when I want it and not knowing why we couldn't conceive. There have been definite low points, but by the grace of God through this, they have been few. I praise God I have not endured miscarriages. I know plenty who have and I pray for peace for them.

It has been a mixed bag of blessings and brokenness -- depending on how close I've felt to God, his word and his people.

The bottom line: There's no identifiable reason why I shouldn't be pregnant. There's really nothing wrong -- and that has been the greatest news to me -- a definite answer to prayer. God is in this. Miraculous, blessed infertility. Perhaps just for a season.

So where do I go from here?

Sure, there are a few more things I could explore and other ways to create life. And I may explore more testing. I'm not going through IVF, though. That's where I've decided to draw the line.

Life's a little easier with a 3-year-old than it was with a baby. I have the freedom to do more, serve more, and love more. And maybe that's the only gift of the kind that I will get in this life. But, I think my sweet daughter needs a playmate. I am considering the process of adoption. I'm sure God has brought me to this in so many beautiful ways.

Be still and know that I am God. I have to tell myself that daily.

Life is not about accomplishing our will. We don't get to write our story. It's about trusting in the Lord and being a willing servant in whatever circumstance he places us.

Soli deo gloria!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


If I didn't believe in the power of food before, I certainly do now...

A few months ago when I was still struggling with mono and catching every virus I crossed paths with, a very smart friend said to me, "Hashimotos." I said "bless you!" and then "what does that even mean?" and then went to my naturopath to test my thyroid antibodies, among other things.

Then I waited. Even though my blood work showed that my mono was inactive, I was still exhausted. Like, I-don't-know-how-to-be-a-mother-through-this-exhaustion (not to mention mood swings, blood sugar crashes, holding onto extra weight and infertility). Which causes a lot of tension when you're parenting a threenager.

I do have Hashimotos, an auto-immune disease that causes varying degrees of hypothyroid symptoms. And, good news, it's very treatable and can be reversed. And I have a Vitamin D deficiency and low iron. And that's it. And all the things I've been struggling with have an end in sight. All very good news to me. Here's the part that's not:

Diet and exercise are part of my treatment. I've been told to avoid gluten and dairy. Anyone who's tried this knows how very, very difficult this can be. One time when I was avoiding gluten a couple years ago some friends shared a pizza in front of me and I cried. Literally cried gluten-less tears of isolation and hunger.

Now I just have to find a palatable way to replace everything I eat now with a gluten-free option (yeah, yeah and dairy-free). So far, I've survived two Thanksgiving luncheons. I began this post with the word "anwers." I'll end it with the word "hope."

I have hope that things will be better in the near future. And, regardless, I'm grateful for all the blessings in my life (especially right now since my doctor has me pumped full of vitamin D!). This is the best time in history to be gluten free with all of the options for food I have. Instead of dwelling on the things that are (hopefully temporarily) off-limits to me, I will choose to be grateful. This will be a much-needed season of discipline in my life.

All this to say, if you see me out and about and I have a donut in my hand, smack it out! No, seriously, I love all of the advice I've already gotten. Please keep sending it to me!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Power of Food

I was a picky eater.

Growing up, I didn't eat vegetables — save for the occasional green bean, some corn, baked beans and pickles??? (do any of these even count!?)

You might be wondering what I ate. Let me tell you: chicken, hamburgers, grilled cheese and lots of boxed, processed foods, like macaroni & cheese and hamburger helper. And that was IT.

Sometimes when I'm tempted to point the finger of blame, I look at Nora in her stubborn toddler state and realize my parents did the best they could with what they had — especially if I was half as stubborn as she is.

Learning to cook real food has been quite the process for me. I still remember, as an adult mind you, the moment I realized that even macaroni and cheese could be made from raw materials and not just from a box.

It was in college that my dietary choices caught up with me. I was diagnosed with and suffered from IBS. It was debilitating at times. I experienced a lot of pain and a lot of tears during what should have been the best years of my life. I visited a gastroenterologist to work through it, but I don't ever remember him telling me to put the Pop-tarts down and pick up some spinach.

Flash forward to after college — to my wedding. My digestive tract was flared again. It was messed up enough that I wanted to plan my wedding around the times that I knew my body would give me fits. It would have been preferable for me to skip eating altogether (which I essentially did).

Guys, our food choices matter.

Now, there's nothing more satisfying than making real, nutritious food from scratch for myself and my family. When I watch Nora devouring Brussels sprouts (soon to be straight out of my garden) a baby tear of pride rolls down my cheeks.

Getting married and becoming a mom have given me the drive to cultivate my culinary appetite. I show love through the food I serve. It's my heart on a platter. Nora will not suffer the way I did. I want better for her.

Knowledge is power. 

What can you do? Watch food documentaries. Buy a cookbook that emphasizes real food. Start a garden — no matter how small. Learn to cook a couple of healthy meals from scratch. Replace 1-2 processed foods/snacks/ingredients in your home with real food (homemade potato chips, homemade chicken broth). If you have kids, find a vegetable that you can prepare in a way that they will like it. It's possible, I promise.

As for me, I plan to continue to cultivate my passion for food production and the culinary arts. Sometimes, when you have a God-sized dream, you just need at least one person to come alongside you and tell you you're not crazy. I have been fortunate enough to find encouragement to chase the things that matter most to me.

The Melvilles have a lot of exciting prospects on the horizon in the coming months and years — God-willing. I am not ready to disclose it all here yet since best laid plans and all.... I promise I will bring you all on board when the time is right!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Family Photo Shoot

Finally! We finally carved out time to do a quick, mini-session with our good friends, The Abrahams Photography.

Here are our favorites:

Here are the outtakes, which, let's face it, are usually the best part (and unavoidable when your 2-year-old decides not to nap before the photo shoot):

Monday, October 19, 2015

Winter Survival Guide

About this time every year, the sadness creeps in when I remember that winter lies in wait.

But NOT this year!

This year I'm being proactive:

Vitamin D. I can't recommend it enough. Most women my age are deficient in it. I take it and joy wells up inside my once empty heart :-)

Exercise. I must keep running like my life depends on it. It gives me the good feelies.

The winter garden. This year I have planted kale, collards, Brussels sprouts, spinach and arugula. I need reasons to go outside and to stay active. I also LOVE cooking in the winter, and, in general, I love cooking unprocessed, homegrown food. The winter garden made perfect sense. Just like with my summer garden, I'm learning through trial and error.

What are your winter survival tricks? And I'm trying to kick retail therapy, so don't suggest that! ;-)

Thursday, October 15, 2015

You're still the one

(Photo credit: The Abrahams Photography)

Time really does fly! Happy 5th wedding anniversary, my love!

Every day you tell me you love me and you tell me I'm a great wifey — even when I don't deserve it. What a picture of the gospel. I don't deserve your precious, unconditional love but I'm so grateful for it. I'm grateful you pursued me relentlessly and didn't take no for an answer. I will spend the rest of my life trying to make it up to you.

We've been through a lot in the past 5 years and we know each other and love each other better as a result. We have a lot to show for our journey together — a home and a daughter, just to name a couple of our incalculable blessings! Thank you for loving me as Christ loves the church. Here's to many, many more anniversaries & blessings, God willing!

Lets take a trip down memory lane:

A paparazzi picture (photog unknowing that we were looking at engagement rings)

Our engagement (April 2010)

It's strange to me that some of our dearest friends weren't in attendance at our wedding.
Enjoy some pictures from our wedding day!

And, as a reminder (more to myself than anyone), that marriage is a precious living thing that needs constant tending. In case you missed it, here are my recent thoughts on the Christian institution of marriage.

The Abrahams Photography

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Health Update

I did it. I'm taking action to get and stay healthy (not to mention pregnant) with the aide of a wonderful Naturopath and fellow Four Corners Church member.

So far we've had a 90-minute session going over all of my issues. Dr. Oster has some theories and is ordering blood work soon. She has already started me on some things and will formulate a more concrete action plan once my blood work comes back.

In the meantime, I've recommitted myself to running and losing weight. After all my setbacks with mono this year, I'm carrying at least 10 pounds too many.

I recently completed a 5K. I didn't run it as strong as I would like, but I survived. And, for me, it signified a new chapter for my health.

For now, I'm enjoying bread while I can because I fear our days are numbered.... More on that later!

Don't take your health for granted. Don't take any of your blessings for granted. Lately I've really felt that I'm not in control — GOOD! I'm never in control. What a great reminder to rely on the One who is.

As always, prayers appreciated.