A Little Catch Up

For the first time in almost 7 years, I let my blogging lapse. It’s been a little over 3 months since I last visited this space or even had a thought to begin writing. I’ve actually enjoyed the break and there might be more in the future. I’ve also found that since starting a personal Instagram account that is separate from my business, I’m sharing a lot more over in that space which has kind of almost replaced blogging. I don’t have the energy to write anything in-depth, so I thought a little bullet point update would suffice.

  • The house. Oh this house! We’ve had a love-hate relationship ever since moving in. The previous owners opted to not clean…ever, so we had a pretty gross situation on our hands after we closed. It took me a solid week of scrubbing + professional cleaners to finally get to a point where I’d walk on the floors barefoot. Immediately upon buying this house, things began breaking: air conditioning, pipes, sewer lines, electrical system, toilets. You name it, it broke. In the midst of that, we decided to do a little updating too. Hey, if you’re already sinking gobs of money into repairs, why not just keep your wallet open and do a few fun things too?! So we installed hardwood floors, solar tubes and redid most of the kitchen. And now we are officially done. Done with updates and hopefully done with repairs. At least for now 🙂

    To be honest, I haven’t been in town enough for this place to feel like home yet. It feels like a wonderful place to lay my head, but it doesn’t feel like home. I hope that changes in the months to come because I really do love it and I’m very thankful to be here, even if it’s only for a few days at a time.

     

  • Bahamas! We went to the Bahamas for a week to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. It’s hard to believe that it’s already been a decade! We had to wait until after closing to make any travel plans so as to not throw off bank account numbers for the underwriting of the loan. So with 3 weeks so spare, we made a last minute decision to go to the Bahamas. We stayed on the island of Great Exuma, which is a smaller and quieter island compared to Nassau or Paradise Island. Our hotel was great, the beach was gorgeous and it was a great way for us to decompress and reconnect. We didn’t do much other than hang at the beach, read, drink pina coladas, golf and enjoy yummy food all week.

    Everyone kept asking us if we were on our honeymoon which always made us laugh. Either we’re aging well or we act like newlyweds…or both! 🙂

     

  • Photography insanity. With fall came 21 weddings and elopements for my company to photograph. They were all over the state so consequently every week I was traveling and running from one place to the next. The leaves here in Colorado are just gorgeous in the fall and I have a lot of out of state clients who travel here to take advantage of the beauty. Our window is pretty small for how long the leaves stick around so I wound up packing in as many weddings as possible. One week we had 8 weddings in 7 days. Bananas. It was beautiful but oh-so exhausting. I’m actually pretty mad at myself for allowing things to get so crazy. I live an intentionally slow life with a lot of breathing room and margin, so to take on this much work is really not my norm. I think it was a combination of needing money for the house, trying to prove that “I’m back” after taking most of last year off due to surgery, and pride. Bad combo. Lesson learned.

     

  • My heart. As life is slowing down, I’m starting to get a handle on my emotions, my heart, the pace of my life and my focus. This has been a hard year with David’s health, coming to terms with life after brain surgery, family problems, selling our dream house, living 8 months in a basement, moving to a new town and a new church. My emotions went wild for a few months, dipping to the lowest of lows as depression returned. David was right there with me for a while at the bottom. We hung out there for many months, looking for hope, looking for reasons to keep going.

    Now that we are in our own space again and the cloud has lifted a little I can feel my heart settling, calming, lifting. It’s tempting to say that I’m “returning to normal” but the thing is, there’s no returning to anything. Things are different now. So much has happened in the last 2 years (err, 7?) to shake up my normal that there’s really nothing left to return to. Now it’s about pressing forward.

  •  School. Fall semester at Denver Seminary started at the end of August, right when the pace of my photography picked up dramatically. At the last second, I switched to an on-line class taught by one of the professors who founded my Christian Formation & Soul care program. I couldn’t pass up learning from him! Studying on-line this semester has been helpful since I just don’t have the time to drive to campus each week but it’s also hard in that you don’t have an opportunity to really interact with people in a classroom. I am looking forward to the rest of the semester because we’re going to make use of some video conferencing and I’ll finally have time to focus.

I guess that’s all for now. Maybe I’ll write sooner than 3 months from now. Or maybe not! We’ll just see how the Spirit moves 🙂

Peaceful Days

It’s crazy how life can change in 12 months, isn’t it? Just a handful of days can rock your world, turn it upside-down and bless your socks off. You look back 365 days ago and can’t imagine all the things that happened within those months.

As we approach the one year mark of my ectopic pregnancy, I can’t help but to look back over these last 12 months and remark on what an intense year it’s been. August 2012-August 2013 has been one of the most challenging, amazing, wonderful, heartbreaking and life-changing 12 month periods David and I have ever had. In those 12 months we saw:
-A pregnancy that we knew about for almost 20 minutes. Then I almost died, then I was ok again. Then my lung collapsed  and then I was ok again. Phew!
-Beautiful and rewarding travels together to amazing places
-A 3rd HSG
-3 more failed IUIs
-My sweet sister’s engagement and wedding (yay!)
-2 possible chemical pregnancies? (jury is still out on that…)
-David lost his job and then started a new (and better!) job.
-Random, unexpected moments of grief and healing
-A heck of a lot of free skiing 🙂
-A major year of growing for my photography business
-Relationship-changing moments with my dad and step-mom
-A bunch of doctors telling us we need to do IVF

Phew! Did I forget anything? Oh yes of course, a giant swarm of honeybees that took over our house somewhere in there too. How could I forget that?! Haha!

Goodness gracious, that’s a full 12 months. It’s been up and down, up and down the entire time. It’s been a year of extreme highs and extreme lows, without much middle ground in between. We haven’t had too many “average” weeks go by in the last year. I think my heart is ready for a little bit of average right about now.

I’m ready for 12 months of nothing. No big changes, no tragedies, no emotionally intense stuff, job changes or life-altering events. I just want 12 months of peaceful days. Peaceful days full of easy walks after dinner with the love of my life, quality time with our families, escapes to the mountains, coffee with friends, maybe a little more decorating and painting, and I’ll probably try out a few new recipes. And maybe, if we’re feeling really ambitious, we’ll buy a car somewhere in there (both of our cars are creeping up on 200,000 miles quickly! Eeek!). But that’s about as crazy as I want to get.

I just want a season in life where the waters are calm. Surely, that’s not too much to ask right?! 🙂

Bridal Shower

Sunday was my little sister’s bridal shower! I have been planning and scheming and crafting for the better part of 3 months now and it was so awesome to see it finally all come together! Everything turned out even better than I had hoped. Yay!

I will say that it was a lot of work. I think we all know how dangerous Pinterest can be when planning a party. You see a lovely picture and you think “oh, I could totally pull that off! No problem!” And then on your 4th straight hour with a hot glue gun you start to seriously doubt yourself and question your own sanity. All that aside, I managed to finish everything (with my glue gun in tact) and we had a lovely shower to celebrate my beautiful sister.

It will also say that it pays to work in the wedding industry because I have wonderful friends who provide me with beautiful flowers for occasions such as these. I died when I saw the flower arrangements my friend Cori put together for me. The peonies? Good heavens they were gorgeous!

I’m kinda sad that I didn’t get to take more pictures. I greatly underestimated the set-up time and by the time it was all done and I could snap a few pictures, chaos ensued and the shower was underway. I think everyone had a good time. The dessert table went over really well, the cake was so good! Yum!

I think this adorable beverage dispenser was my favorite find. Pier One was having a 30% off sale and I snagged the cutest one. I love the giant cork stopper on top!
 
 
I got real ambitious and decided to create a ribbon garland for the backdrop to the dessert table. This was probably the most time intensive part of the whole thing! I must have hit every craft store in a 30 mile radius looking for the perfect shades of pink, white and aqua. Then measuring them and tying them was pretty time consuming too. Thankfully, my bestie was in town from Mexico and she was eager to craft with me 🙂 Without her I don’t think this shower would have happened!
 
Do you see resemblance? Some people think we look like twins and some people can’t even tell we’re related!
 
 

Me and Caitlin-love her!

Honeybees

Ok. This might be the most random thing that has ever happend to us, but a giant swarm of honeybees descend upon our house last weekend. I know. Random.

I was sitting on our front porch enjoying some sunshine and a cup of coffee and heard a very loud buzzing. I stood up and looked down the street and saw a giant black cloud heading my way (it was literally like something you would see in a movie!). David and I freeeeaaaaaked out and ran inside. The bees were so thick you could hardly see the sky! We watched in wonder for a few hours, hoping that they would move on. But the more time that passed, the more at home they seemed to be with us.

Honeybees are endangered (it’s actually kind of a big deal, they’re really really important to the world food supply) and it’s illegal to kill them so we called a beekeeping hotline (yes there are beekeeping hotlines you can call if you have a swarm of honeybees land on your house, just a little FYI if you run into this problem). 20 minutes later, a sweet 70 year old beekeeper named Crystal came to the rescue. She talked with us about her job as a beekeeper and her plentiful supply of honey. She was positively delightful. Sunday evening, she was able to find the queen bee and she took 95% of the bees back to her hives. A few thousand hung around for a few more days and then Crystal returned for the rest of them this morning. I was actually a little bit sad to see them go.

At first David and I were like “are we just the most unlucky people in the world or what? These bees decided our house was where they wanted to live? Out of all the houses in our whole town, they chose us?” but Crystal the beekeeper was like “do you know how lucky you are that these bees chose you and your house?!”

And it was right around that time that I started to realize how I have gotten off track for the past 6 weeks. I mean, I’ve been a real downer lately. I haven’t been depressed, but I’ve definitely been embracing my inner pity party. Anything remotely negative in my life has been fuel for the fire. I’ve used everything from a flat tire to honeybees to my current head cold to say “See! We can’t ever catch a break, life is always going to be hard. Wa wa wa.” When in reality, I’ve just had the wrong perspective all along.

Because really, we’ve always had good fortune, even when things aren’t going perfectly… “what’s that? you have a flat tire? Well at least you have a car. Oh you’re sick with a cold? well at least you are otherwise healthy” ya know what I mean? It’s all about perspective and lately I think I forgot that I’m a glass half full kinda girl. Even when life is hard, there are still good things to be celebrated. I would like to thank my honeybees for setting me straight!

Know also that wisdom is like honey for you: If you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.” Prov 24:14

Emotions


A lot of people have been asking how I am doing. Not like “hey, how are feeling?” But “heeeeeeey….how are you feeeeeling?” And I never really know how to reply. It’s complicated.

One of the best ways I’ve been able to describe it is in an analogy. Let’s say you have relied on public transportation your entire life. You’ve never owned a car or a bike. Then one day, a friend shows up on your doorstep and says “Hey! I bought you a car, it’s all yours! Let’s take a test drive!” You’re a little shocked and excited…like, “is this for real? No way! I’ve always wanted one of these, thank you soooooo much!” So you take a test drive, just around the block and back to you house. Just as you take the keys out of the ignition and put them in your pocket, your friend grabs the keys from you and says “I’ve reconsidered and I’m actually going to keep this car for myself.” He kicks you out of the car and then proceeds to run you over as he drives away and leaves you dying in the street.
How would you feel after that?

That’s how I feel right now. Sort of.

In the last 16 days. I’ve been happy, sad, mad, scared, hopeful, hopeless, shocked, disappointed, terrified, grateful, excited, guilty, heartbroken, peaceful, confused, lost, joyful, thankful, pissed and occasionally annoyed.

David and I spent quite a while in shock and operating in crisis mode after everything happened and we’re just now starting to transition back into “normal life”……whatever “normal” looks like after going through all this. The transition into normal life has brought a lot of unexpected triggers with it; triggers that have catapulted me into emotions I wasn’t prepared for.

I’ve noticed my emotions are sitting just below the surface, just waiting to come up for air. I catch glimpses of them every now and then and they totally take me off guard. Like the other day when I drove by Subway and tears unexpectedly fell from my eyes. 13 days prior, the stomach pain had just started and I thought food would help, so I grabbed a veggie sandwich from Subway. And now I will never be able to drive by that Subway without being reminded that the pain I felt in my stomach was actually because I was pregnant. 

Or the other day when I had to shoot a maternity session for a client. They were a sweet couple and I’m happy for them, but it was difficult to say the least. I got in the car and the anger rose up in me. Why would God choose to bless them and not us? I was furious.  Or yesterday, when I looked at the date on the calendar and realized that it was exactly 1 month ago that I had my 3rd IUI and got pregnant. I managed to keep it together until I got home from work and fell into David’s arms. I felt so helpless.

And then today, there was a lot of peace and joy as I spent the day with friends and their families at a cabin in the mountains. It was such a good day, a getaway that David and I have both desperately needed. My heart felt at peace in the mountains for the first time in a while. Watching all the kiddos run around, giggling, chasing the dog and wiping sticky smiles….something about it gave me a hopeful longing that one I would have some sticky smiles to call my own.

There isn’t a guide book for how to process going through a traumatic ectopic pregnancy, emergency surgery and the loss of both baby and fallopian tube after 3 years of infertility. There’s no system out there that explains the “normal” stages a person going through this should feel. Because this just isn’t normal.

The best piece of advice I’ve been given is to just allow my heart to remain open to feeling whatever comes my way, be it tears or laughter. As long as I’m open to feeling emotions, I know I’ll be ok. The last thing I want is to become shut off to grief or pain. At this stage in the game, it’s pretty easy to build a wall around your heart, deflecting all heartache. It’s pretty easy to run from pain, grief and hurt. But the path to emotional healing just isn’t as easy as running away.

Survival Mode

Yesterday, we only had one doctor in clinic so my boss told me I could go home early if I wanted to. David just so happened to also get home early and for the the first time in a long time, we were both home at the same time for longer than one hour and I didn’t have any photo editing to do. We went for a walk and started talking about how life just feels really hard right now. David said it felt like we were operating in Survival Mode and I honestly couldn’t agree more.


Would y’all mind praying for us? 


We’re both absolutely exhausted and drained. It feels like we’re running on fumes right now. Essentially I’ve been working 60 hour weeks ever since I started my new part-time job. I’m doing a really crumby job at balancing the part-time job with my business and also being a good wife. I’m trying to take steps at my job to switch up my hours a bit to hopefully give me a little more time at home, so hopefully that will help. I have 6 more weeks of weddings and then hopefully things will slow down a little bit. But those 6 weeks are going to be hard if I don’t figure out a way to balance everything.


It’s so easy to think “well, just quit the job silly” but I need this job if we are going to pursue more fertility treatments (IUI#3 is in 2 weeks!) and I’m really trying to change the “things are hard, I’m just going to quit” mentality that I’ve had for so long. I really am grateful for this job, I just wish I was doing a better job at balancing it with everything else. So, we would greatly appreciate prayers for strength, endurance and grace right now while we try to hang onto our sanity for dear life. And now if you’ll excuse me, I have a 13 hour wedding day ahead of me…

Humble Pie

God recently decided it was time that I get a lesson in being more humble. I’m not the most prideful person that ever walked this earth, but I’m certainly not at the bottom of the list either. My biggest area of struggle has been thinking that I know better than anyone else (God included) how to run my life. I have tried to take control of just about anything I can get my hands on. From trying to get pregnant to running a business to finances to relationships…I pretty much thought I had it all figured out. Not only did I think I have it all figured out, but I thought I’m so good at life that I should probably just teach a class on how to do things my way, the right way.

God has been in the process of breaking me of that mentality over the past few weeks. If there is an area in my life where I could be remotely prideful, God has swooped in with a big ole’ spoonful of humble pie for me to eat. And He hasn’t stop with just a piece. I’ve eaten a whole entire humble pies. Day after day. And just when I thought I was done, God whacked me over the head with the spoon just to make sure I got the message.

I get it God!!! Loud and clear my friend, loud and clear.

These past few weeks have been so incredibly humbling. But in a good way. In a broken and beaten down way, but in a good way. Through a series of difficult events, I’m slowly learning that I am most certainly not in control. I’m beginning to add a whole lot of “If it is Your will, Lord…” to my prayers. Trying to pridefully control every aspect of my life was exhausting. Life is so much easier when I am able to humbly surrender the different areas of my life to Him.

Since God began this process, I have started to see the beauty in humility. Humility is an amazing character trait, one that I’m striving for more and more. And it offers pretty rich rewards as well.

The humble are:
forgiven ….. 2 Chronicles 7:14
rescued ……Psalm 18:27
able to do the right thing …..Psalm 25:9
able to see God working …..Psalm 69:32
cared for by God …..Psalm 138:6
supported by God …..Psalm 147:6
crowned with victory …..Psalm 149:4
given grace …..Proverbs 3:34
wise …..Proverbs 11:2
honored …..Proverbs 29:23
filled with fresh joy …..Isaiah 29:19
restored …..Isaiah 57:15
blessed …..Isaiah 66:2
will inherit the earth …..Matthew 5:5
the greatest in the Kingdom …..Matthew 18:4
exalted ….. Matthew 23:12
favored by God …..James 4:6
lifted up …..James 4:10

Wow that’s quite an amazing list. If staying humble allows me to experience all of those things, I’ll happily keep eating this pie.