Finding Light in the Darkness 

This afternoon I’m feeling angry. Angry at our government, angry at ignorant people, and angry at the situation we all find ourselves in today. I know there are some things I can do, but for the most part nearly everything is out of my control. 

I don’t want to make light of the situation and what is happening in the world and in our country, because honestly I feel that there is a lot of evil and deception that is going on and a lot of people either are oblivious to it or are turning a blind eye toward it, but I have had to stop myself from going down these rabbit trails. I find that I get so caught up in everything thats circulating and my mind starts swimming in a sea of anger and despair. And that’s right where Satan wants me, but it’s absolutely not where God wants me to dwell. 

In the late afternoons when I usually get some time to myself, the gears in my mind start to turn and I have to be careful what I choose to focus my attention on. I can either reach for my phone and be brainwashed and consumed by what I read on social media (whichever side its coming from), or I can pick up my Bible or a mind nourishing book and spend my time there. I don’t always succeed in choosing the latter, but when I do I find that my evenings are filled with more hope and peace. 

The afternoons that I have chosen to nourish my mind and soul rather than give in to letting my mind and spirits decay, I have walked out of my room feeling like there is some hope left in this world and that I have a lot of fight left in me. It’s easy to let other people fill me with doubt and fear, but I find that it really helps me to choose getting to know what God has to say about life and the world and understanding what He wants me to do during this confusing time. 

All of that to say, I’ve always been the type of person to believe that we can look into a horrible situation, find the good in it, and extract something positive. I’ll admit I’ve let myself sit in the anger, the fear, and the complaining for too long. But I’ve been trying to mindfully think about all of the good that I see playing out in my life that may not have happened if it weren’t for this pandemic.

So here are some things I’ve observed in my life and the world around me that are positives during all of this chaos. God is teaching me a lot!

  • Due to schools being shut down and continuing classes online, my sister moved out of her dorm and came to live with us for the rest of the semester. 
  • Since all of this “lockdown” stuff started happening right as we were moving into our new house, it’s given me the time to get settled into our new home and get to know this house. 
  • I used to go out most afternoons, either to aimlessly shop around and kill time or go on a drive while Ellis napped, but since we moved I’ve been staying home more often and getting into a comfortable rhythm with Ellis. And we’ve finally established a pretty good (flexible) nap time routine.
  • I have been trying my best to be less wasteful and use what food we have and eat all of our leftovers to save money and trips to the grocery store (it’s a madhouse out there!).
  • I’m finally getting the opportunity to plant my very own garden. This mess we’re living in has really pushed and motivated me to start wanting to be more self sustainable.
  • I truly feel that God is giving us this opportunity to pause, rest, think about what is important, and determine whether or not we are on His side. 
  • I haven’t been able to see my grandma in over a month, but I’ve had some great conversations over the phone with her that have really been special to me. 
  • I’ve also had some great talks with my dad about life, politics, gardening, end times, the Bible,  and house projects. Those kind of talks don’t happen very often, but I’m so grateful that these topics have surfaced for discussion. 

And here are a few things that I think are positives amidst all of this chaos (not everyone will agree). 

  • People are staying in and treating more minor illnesses at home rather than running to the doctor for every little sniffle. I hope that this time at home gives parents more time to research and practice more natural forms of medicine when pharmaceuticals are not needed.
  • Families are receiving a very rare opportunity to reconnect and spend time together. Not out running errands, taking children to museums, birthday parties or fields trips, but nestling in T O G E T H E R at home. 
  • A lot of people are getting the chance to slow down and think about what’s really important in life. 
  • Children are spending more time playing outside in the fresh air in the sunshine!
  • More women are realizing that home birth is a viable option (when woman are not considered high-risk) when it comes to birth. A hospital is not the safest place to give birth, especially during a pandemic. 

I really do hope that people are using this time of uncertainty as an opportunity to reconnect with their family and loved ones, ask the hard questions about life and this situation we find ourselves in, research and learn to think for themselves when it comes to important issues, and become more self-sustainable. 

What are some of the positives that you have found during this lockdown? 

March — A Journal Entry

March feels like it’s lasted longer than 31 days this year. 

The year 2020 started out beautifully — full of life, hope, and change. January was, for me, a month of blooming. I attended a birth as a doula, went on a 21 day social media fast, and put an offer on my dream house with my husband. Everything seemed to be falling into place and we were brimming with excitement. 

February was kind of a drab month. Nothing was wrong per-say, I just felt like my routines and good habits started to unwind and fall out of place. I stopped doing yoga regularly, we all caught a cold (rare around here), and we were holding our breath during the house buying process and counting down the days until closing. 

Enter March! March 3rd was closing day for us and also the day Ellis turned 18 months-old. During that week I was feeling full of gratitude for the closing process going so smoothly and the fact that I was on the mend from illness and my body was feeling lighter, stronger, and healthier. 

Then everything kind of started to shift, and sway, and close in around me. 

Out of nowhere (or so it felt), I started seeing people talking about the corona virus on social media. Yes, I had heard about it here and there when it was just in China, but since I don’t regularly consume what the news outlets have to say it wasn’t something I was dwelling on. 

Next thing I know, people are talking about there being a shortage of toilet paper because everybody is stocking up on it, friends are saying go get groceries and stock up on everything you need now before the weekend because things are about to get crazy, and there was talk of being quarantined at home while this virus continued to spread. 

Almost overnight, I felt that there was a change in everyone’s mood and I was seeing a lot of panic, fear, and uncertainty. 

I myself didn’t know what to think at first. I sent Brendan to the store one evening after scrambling to make a quick grocery list of a few items I thought we would need (one of them being toilet paper because we were literally down to two rolls). I remember talking to different family members about everything I had heard and we were all trying to make sense of what could potentially be happening in the following weeks. 

This was around March 12th. It was finally starting to feel a bit like spring and my main focus was on getting our belongings packed so that we could move our family into our new house. That’s all I wanted to do. I didn’t feel like going out and fighting people to get toilet paper or worry about stocking up on all of the essential foods we would need because of potential shortages and weeks of quarantine. I just wanted to be excited about starting this new chapter of our lives. 

Things rarely go as planned in life, and that’s just something we all have to learn at some point or other. I’m very grateful that our moving day went smoothly, despite it being a long day for everyone. My family came to help and it was chaotic and fun and exciting. For that day, it was nice not to dwell on what was going on in the world, and to just focus on family and new beginnings. 

Even though I feel I have handled everything that’s going on pretty well and have remained upbeat and positive for the most part, I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t concerned. I’m not afraid of the virus itself or of coming in contact with other people that have it (which is a miracle considering I’m a pretty extreme germaphobe), I’m afraid of what our country is going to look like in the weeks and years to come. 

I try not to let my mind wander down too many rabbit holes, but its easy to do when seeing all that is being spread around on social media. It’s hard to know what to believe and who to trust. But I know one thing is for sure, I can trust God in times like this and cling to His promises. 

The other day as Ellis was napping, my mind started slipping and wandering down the path of worry. Worrying about what the future is going to look like, feeling concerned for other people and choices they are making, etc. And then it hit me that I didn’t need to dwell on these things and stress myself out. That would only lead to fear, and it’s fear of things that I have no control over. It was in that moment that I felt God telling me to place all my worries into His hands, trust Him, do my part (whatever that may look like) stay informed, and then let it go. 

To be honest, things haven’t changed that much for me. If anything, I’ve finally gotten into a little rhythm with Ellis around the house. The only difference in our day-to-day that I’ve noticed is that I’m not randomly going shopping at stores like Target several times a week.

I consider myself an introvert for the most part, but I do miss gathering with others and having that human interaction and connection that I think we all crave, no matter how introverted we may be. I miss going to the mother’s circle I’ve been attending for the past year, I miss coffee dates with doula friends, and occasionally going out to the movie theater with my husband for a date night. 

In a way though, I feel like I’ve been preparing for this time of so-called “quarantine” my whole life. Growing up I was homeschooled and my family lived in a farmhouse in a small town that is kind of in the middle of nowhere. We usually went out to “town”, as we called it, once a week (if that) to get groceries. So for the most part, it was just my mom, my siblings and me hanging out at home doing some school work, entertaining ourselves by playing outside, playing board games and video games together, watching movies, reading, talking, scrapbooking, cooking, you name it. 

Over the past few weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about the way my parents raised my siblings and me and my heart is overflowing with gratitude towards them. This whole situation and my outlook on things could look a lot different if it wasn’t for the knowledge and values my parents instilled in me. We were not only educated at home from textbooks, we were taught life skills and lessons that I see coming into play now and seem more important than ever. 

Growing up, my siblings and I learned how to garden and grow our own food, my dad taught us how to safely and properly handle a gun, we learned how to chop and gather fire wood, my dad taught us how to hunt and fish, and my brothers even learned how to process and freeze their own deer meat. Of course I learned even more rudimentary skills such as cooking/baking and how to clean and take care of a household. 

While there are days I find myself wishing we could go back to how things were before this pandemic chaos, I’ve really been humbled by the way God has been using this time to bring some of the desires of my heart to fruition. I’ve learned a lot recently and I want to share some of what God has been teaching me, but that will have to wait for another post. 

I know this post was a long one, so if you made it to the end know that I appreciate you taking the time to read some of my thoughts during this confusing time. If there’s anything you’ve learned over the past month that you’d like to share let me know in the comments! 

Becoming Pregnant – Shift in Mindset and Body and Letting God Lead the Way

Written: 2/13/2018

On December 24th 2017, Christmas Eve, my life changed. The day before, I had a fitful night’s sleep because I was both anxious and excited for the morning to come. I’m normally one to laze around in bed for at least 30 minutes after I wake up if I have nowhere in particular to be, but on the morning of the 24th I was awake by 6am while Brendan lay sleeping beside me. I quietly crawled out of bed and snuck into the bathroom, trying not to wake Brendan. And then, for the first time in my life, I took a pregnancy test. And ever so faintly on that little stick, two little pink lines slowly began to appear, and I knew that Christmas would be a memorable one.

I debated on whether or not to take the test, since it was still days before my period was supposed to start. But I just had this internal feeling that something had shifted inside of my body, that something was beginning to form itself in my womb. Call me crazy, but I believe in being in touch with our bodies and learning to listen to the subtle signals our bodies whisper to us. I could have waited another week or so to take the test, but I really wanted to know if I was pregnant, and if the results came back positive I wanted to tell Brendan that evening. I thought it would be a cute early Christmas gift.

I kept quiet all day long and didn’t tell Brendan until later that night after our Christmas Eve service at church. I felt so happy and giddy all day and wondered if he could tell that I was keeping a little secret. Turns out he really had no clue. I wrapped the pregnancy test in a little tissue paper and had him open it that night. He looked so confused when he opened it, and the lines were so faint he thought I was telling him that I wasn’t pregnant. It was a sweet little moment we shared together – realizing that it was still so very early to be sure, but also knowing that we very well might be parents in the making.

* * * * * * * * *

Ever since I was a teenager, I knew that I wanted to get married and have a family of my own some day. However, I never considered myself a baby person or someone who liked working with kids. Sure, some of them were cute, but for the most part all I could see were snotty noses and sticky little germ-y fingers. I loved hanging out with Brendan’s 6 year-old niece when we were dating and I didn’t mind being around and playing with kids of family friends. But in general, kids just made me nervous. And as much as I knew I wanted to have children of my own some day, I just didn’t feel ready.

When Brendan and I got married (I was 22 years-old at the time) I said that, ideally, I wanted to start having kids by the time I was 25. (Of course, we both agreed that if I got pregnant right away then it was God’s will for us to have a baby.) I’ve always had the desire to be a younger mom – the thought of being 30 years-old and having my first child just did not appeal to me in anyway. But For the first year of our marriage, I was more than happy for it to be just me, Brendan, and our kitty Cheetah. And up until last summer, these were my honest feelings. And I honored that and didn’t rush into anything that I wasn’t ready for.

But last summer, I felt something shift inside of me. More and more I found myself being drawn to books about pregnancy and natural birth and following moms on Instagram and bloggers who were around my age and pregnant. I found myself feeling excited for the day that I would become pregnant and be able to carry a wee babe of my own in my womb. This desire led me to really focus on hormone balance and trying to naturally enhance my fertility.

I spent the last half of the summer focusing on preparing my body for pregnancy, whenever we decided the time was right. At that point, Brendan and I hadn’t really talked about trying to get pregnant anytime soon. I had mentioned it here and there, but we both felt that we weren’t ready yet. And then as autumn approached, something completely changed inside of me. My mindset shifted and suddenly I was thinking about becoming pregnant every day. My body also felt ready. I guess this is the sensation that some call “baby fever”. As if overnight, doubt gave way to faith and certainty. Brendan and I started talking about trying to get pregnant and praying that God would let us know when the time was right.

It can be scary transitioning from maiden to mother. To know that you no longer are just responsible for your own health and your own life, but that of your unborn baby’s. There were times before I actually became pregnant that I got a little nervous, even though it was what I knew I wanted. And it was at times like this that Brendan gently reminded me that I needed to let go of that anxiousness, and trust that if God meant for us to get pregnant that He would take care of us and provide us with what we needed and equip us to be good parents.

These first few weeks of pregnancy have almost felt like a hazy dream. There are days when I feel an overwhelming excitement at the thought of being pregnant and carrying a little one in my womb. And then there are days when I feel a little nervous and wonder if I am ready to be a mother. Both of these are very natural feelings. But on the days when I feel doubt, I remind myself of how blessed I am to be carrying a baby. I think about how there are some women out there that want nothing more than to become pregnant. I don’t want to take one moment of this pregnancy for granted, because every day with this baby growing in my womb is a blessing and a gift from God.

I hope to share more about my pregnancy journey with you all in the weeks to come. I want to be raw, open, and honest when sharing about this pregnancy with you all. I think it’s so important for us mothers and mothers-to-be to be able to share about the highs and lows of pregnancy, and to know that we are not alone during this beautiful journey.