On The Road

The first half of 2016 was not terribly kind to us. David got seriously sick with 2 pulmonary embolisms in his lungs and almost died, I was still trying to fully recover from brain surgery, we lost a house we were trying to buy, a crazy lady surfaced at David’s work and took him to mediation (if you know my husband at all, you know how craaazy that sounds. He is maybe the kindest, quietest and most caring person in the world), we became basement dwellers in my in-law’s house as we waded through the hopeless housing market, I felt depression begin to resurface after a 10 year hiatus. Everything was looking pretty dismal.

We’ve had some crazy nights during these last few months. Nights where we bought cold beer and drove out of town to sit under the stars and have conversations I never thought we’d have. Nights where the tears wouldn’t stop. Nights where I worried about David. Nights where he worried about me. We took walks in the dark of night. We clung to each other for dear life before falling asleep. 7 years of trials had finally caught up with us.

We had many nights where we tossed out crazy ideas and discussed “what ifs.” Like, what if we just got the hell outta here? What if we just left? Like, leave it all behind. What if we took the equity from our house, bought an RV and just left town. Didn’t tell anyone. Just left. We could kiss our attempts to live a “normal” life with the rest of society goodbye and just do our own thing.

We were ridiculously close to doing it. Still are at times, if I’m being honest.

Ultimately, God intervened with a house. We bought a precious little bungalow and decided maybe we’d stay in town a little while after-all. If it weren’t for that house, we’d be long gone by now.

When we were on our trip to Utah, we encountered many people living the life that we almost lived. We’d pass a VW van barreling down the highway with the windows rolled down and sun-tanned faces smiling in the wind. We’d walk by a camper that was stocked with food from the latest grocery store, 80 miles away. We’d smile at a single woman and her dog as they walked back “home” which was a campervan with a doormat laying on the wet pavement. We’d catch a glimpse of a solar panel powering someone’s laptop in their RV as they answered emails and got a little business done.

It made me realize that there is a whole other world out there. A community of people who are perpetually on the road (and I’m not talking about retirees who are strategically vacationing in their motorhomes). These wanderers are not homeless. They are very much at home. Home is the road. They work from their RVs and Airstreams. They make a steady income. They live simply, in no more than 400 sq. feet of space. They see new things and meet new people with each week that goes by.

For whatever reason, these folks feel that life on the road is better than life at home, wherever home may have been at one time. Some of them are surely running away from their problems, like David and I would have been. But some of them seem utterly content to maintain a nomadic lifestyle, they aren’t running from anything or to anything. They simply enjoy life in the moment, wherever that may be. Call it perpetual wanderlust.

Instagram is a fascinating way to look at the lives of this wandering sub-community. Hashtags like #vanlife #airstreamdreams #sheroams #homeiswhereyouparkit bring up images of hundreds of people who are living in this countercultural way. They’ve given up their mortgages and desks for camp stoves and folding chairs.

Honestly, there is an entire community of landscape photographers that do this full-time. One of my photographic inspirations, Sarah Marino, lives in her Airstream with her husband and travels throughout the US taking photos to sustain her business. Photography is a beautiful way to sustain this way of life.

Since being home, our conversations about buying a camper, RV, Airstream or some other type of mobile housing have continued. We talk about early retirement, living on the road full-time vs. part-time. We talk about the benefits of having a “home base” here in Colorado. We talk about passive and active revenue streams. We are not talking in what-ifs anymore. What-ifs have morphed into strategic vision and meaningful plans for creating a different kind of life. It stopped being about running away. It started being about cultivating a life that we both feel drawn to, and have been for many years.

I read a book for class the other week called Searching For Home: Spirituality for Restless Souls by Craig Barnes (great book if you’re interested). It’s all about how we wander through life in search of meaning and a destination. Some literally wander in their VW van, across state lines and through National Parks. Others wander through relationships, jobs, churches, friendships, the newest technology. They get married because they think it will make them happy. They have children because they think they will finally feel fulfilled. They switch jobs. They move states, thinking that a change of scene will bring happiness (I literally see this in Colorado every day. People flock here in droves looking for a better life.).

Everyone wanders at some level. But it is possible to wander with a purpose. If you know where our true Destination lies, you’re never just adrift. There’s a difference between wandering aimlessly through life and being a pilgrim with your eyes set on your Heavenly Home as you journey along. As my professor said, “In Christ, home is within us.”

Heck, Jesus was a nomad. He wandered from town to town. Paul roamed an entire region, as did most of the apostles. The Desert Fathers intentionally removed themselves from society in order to seek God in the wilderness. Who says the only way to live a godly life is by following American society’s standards of living in a stationary house with a lifelong career, freshly mowed lawn and 2 weeks of vacation each year? Couldn’t you live an equally obedient, prayerful, God-pleasing life while traveling? Ministering to your RV neighbors and campground hosts? Helping a fellow traveler who has broken down on the side of the road? Volunteering to do trail maintenance and picking up trash in the parks? Reading the Bible and praying while taking a walk through the forest? Is that life any less honoring to God?

The whole point to life with God is to receive His love, love Him back and love others in the process. I believe this is possible whether you are living on the road, at home or somewhere in between. If we do this thing, we want to do it well. I want to live a life that deeply fulfilling and also glorifying to God. I think we can cultivate a life on the road that has purpose and is full of meaning, focus, beauty, simplicity, community, friendship, formative growth and intentionality.

I’m pretty sure this will happen. One of these days we’ll have our mortgage paid off, we’ll rent our house out and buy something to travel in. Maybe it will be in 6 months, maybe it will be in 10 years. We’ll just listen for God to whisper now is the time, go. If we’ve learned one thing, it’s to never count on your own plans. “You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail”(Prov 19:21). But holding your plans loosely doesn’t mean you can’t keep a dream in the forefront of your mind while you continue to refine a vision that might become a reality.Photo May 15, 6 44 55 PM (2)

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Out On A Limb

Have you heard of Meetup? Essentially it’s a website that organizes “meetups” of people with different interests. There are book clubs, hiking groups, music groups, political groups…basically a group for anything you can imagine. People just gather around a common interest.

Well, I was on Meetup the other day looking at the groups they have for the town we just moved to. It was more of a curiosity thing, just looking to see what they had. I happened upon a group for women without children in a town about 50 miles away from me. Just as I found that group, a little box popped up and said “75 Meetup users in your town have expressed interested in a “childless” group. Would you like to start one?” Ummmm, no. I really don’t want to start one. I’m not interested in organizing anything, starting anything or really doing anything outside of my comfort zone. I closed the website and moved on with my to-do list for the day.

For whatever reason, it kept popping into my head throughout the next few days. Maybe it was the Holy Spirit, maybe it was curiosity. Who knows. I just kept thinking…75. There are 75 other people in my town who are interested in meeting up with other people who don’t have children.

I currently do not know anyone, aside from my sister, who is married and does not have a child. Not a single person. Zero. Not in my old church. Not in my new church. Not from college or grad school. Not in my network of photography friends. Not a local friend. Not a distant friend. Not even a remote acquaintance. No one. And to be honest, it would just be really nice to have a friend who also did not have children.

Not that I need to bond with someone over infertility, I have plenty of friends who have been down that road whom I can bond with if needed. Not that I need to have someone understand my story, I have plenty of friends who understand my story. I don’t need further understanding. And it’s not that I can’t relate to my friends who have children, we all get along beautifully and I love them (and their children) dearly.

I guess it would just be nice to meet another outlier, like myself. To have a full conversation with someone that didn’t include talk of swimming lessons, Kindergarten registration, soccer schedules or breastfeeding. I’ve been having those conversations for 7 years now. It feels a bit like a paraplegic talking to a triathlete (shout out to Sarah for giving me that fitting analogy).

So, I went out on a limb and I created a group. It’s for Women Without Children. In the group, I specified that you could be childless not-by-choice, childless because of loss, childfree by choice, childfree by circumstance…whatever best identifies you.

The group is still in moderation, awaiting final approval from Meetup. But if it gets approved, maybe a few of those 75 people will join. And maybe we’ll meet up for coffee or a hike. And maybe we’ll find camaraderie. Maybe I’ll make a friend who not only understands the place where I am, but is there herself. 

Yes, it feels weird. Almost like internet dating. It feels contrived and forced and awkward. A little sad maybe, if I’m being honest. Because it really shouldn’t be that hard to find a group of friends who are in a similar boat as you. Or even just one friend. But when you reside in a minority subsection of society, it’s just not always that easy to find people who are like you, you have to intentionally seek them out to form community.

So we’ll see what happens. Maybe the group will get approved, maybe it won’t. Maybe people will join, maybe they won’t. Maybe it will be a bunch of old, bitter infertiles, or maybe it will be a wonderfully diverse group who share a common bond. Maybe it will work out, maybe it won’t. I will at least have the satisfaction of knowing that I put myself out there and tried. Can’t fault me for trying!

**Edited to add: So my Meetup group was approved yesterday evening after I wrote this post. Within 4 hours it had 16 members and our first event (happy hour!) is already 75% full with confirmed RSVPs. Wow! tumblr_no7kt8IZPV1teoi3lo1_500
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Travels: Capitol Reef National Park

Photo May 14, 5 57 34 PM (1)This was our first long vacation in almost 2 years! Sometimes it seems like we’re always traveling but truly most of that is just long weekends away. This was a real trip!

We decided to continue our love affair with Utah, especially since it’s mud season here in the mountains. We love Utah so much, there is just something about the desert that has captured us. So far, we’ve done Zion, Arches and Canyonlands. This time, we aimed our sights at Capitol Reef National Park.

We left Friday afternoon and made it to the State line by about 11pm. We ended up in BLM land just off of the Interstate. We wandered around in the dark trying to find a place to camp for the night. All the campgrounds were full so we poached a site off a guy who was sleeping in his Airstream and wasn’t using his tent pad. We left Saturday morning before he was awake and kept heading towards our destination.

We decided to start our tour de Capitol Reef in the northern section, called Cathedral Valley. Cathedral Valley is only accessed by 4×4 roads so it’s really pretty empty. Most tourist in rental cars shy away from the river crossings and bumpy roads that lead into and out of the section of the Park. We dropped in from the northern area of Fishlake National Forest. It’s a windy and bumpy 4×4 road that offered some really great views of the Cathedral Valley area.

Eventually we came to the primitive Cathedral Valley Campground.We found a great campsite and set up our base camp. We spent the rest of the day hiking the Cathedrals Trail, driving through sandy washes and checking out the Temple of the Sun and Temple of the Moon. This area was probably my favorite in terms of scenery, it was so amazing! The monoliths just rise straight up to the sky out of the ground. It is really so beautiful!

Photo May 14, 3 51 23 PM Photo May 14, 1 19 10 PMSunday morning, we ate breakfast, packed up camp and headed towards the Fruita Historic District, which is the main section of Capitol Reef where most people go. The road out of Cathedral Valley was long, bumpy, winding, full of washed out creekbeds and eventually a large river crossing. We heard the water was only running 12 inches high, so our 4Runner had no problem crossing, it was pretty fun!

We snagged a great camp site in the Fruita District, it was on the edge of the orchard and looked over the red cliffs and apple trees. Deer grazed in the orchard every morning and evening, it was so peaceful!Photo May 15, 6 16 20 PM We headed to the Visitor’s Center to inquire about backpacking. We originally wanted to do a 2 night backpacking trip in the Park. The backpacking “expert” was probably the worst help we’ve ever received at a Park. Every question we asked, she would respond “I”m not sure, I’ve never hiked that trail” or “oh I’ve never been there before” or “I can’t really answer that question because I’ve never done that before.” We eventually ignored her and relied on our own intuition and decided on a 2 night trip up Pleasant Creek. We got our permit and left to explore more of the Fruita District.

We thought a good day hike would be a great way to see part of the Park. We chose the Grand Wash trail, which turned out to be our favorite hike of the entire trip! It leads all the way to Cassidy Arch, which is rumored to be where Butch Cassidy hung out back in his outlaw days. We did 7 miles all together with 1,000 feet of elevation in the last mile. On our way out we got caught in a downpour. It was actually really fun being in the wash and watching all the rain pour off the rocks. There is always a danger of flash flooding in the desert so we made sure to keep an eye out for higher ground if needed.Photo May 15, 2 50 31 PM

The rain that started on our hike continued for the next 2 days and eventually forced us to cancel our backpacking trip. It rained pretty steadily but we managed to sneak in a few more quick hikes and scenic drives as the clouds let up every now and then. Hickman Bridge was a favorite for sure!
Photo May 16, 10 50 45 AM

Photo May 16, 11 00 57 AMOn our last day in the Fruita District, we found a little trail that lead from our campground through the orchard and along the river. We just thought we’d take a morning stroll but soon enough the trail started going up! We weren’t planning on a hike, but the scenery was so beautiful, we just kept going and it turned into one of our prettiest hikes of the entire trip.

Photo May 17, 8 48 06 AM

We packed up camp and headed over towards the Waterpocket District which is the southern most section of the park. It’s a pretty remote area, and another one where 4×4 is recommended so not many people visit. We had a picnic lunch, hiked a little bit and then saw some pretty ominous storm clouds approaching so we decided to keep moving.

The goal was to head to Goblin Valley and camp since it was on our way back towards Colorado. When we reached the visitor’s center, the ranger told us he had one camp site available and that we should go check it out, so we did. We liked it, so we set up our tent and then went back to the ranger station to pay. I knew the second that rangers saw us that something was wrong. “Uh sorry guys, it’s first-come-first-served and I just sold that camp site to someone else.” Ummm, what?! YOU told us to leave and go check it out before paying! And then you sell it right out from under us? Gah! He totally screwed us, so we had to go back to camp and take our tent down and then find some BLM land to camp on. So frustrating! We did at least check out the Hoodoos, which is what Goblin Valley is known for. Photo May 17, 4 26 59 PM

Photo May 17, 4 13 18 PM

We found a great spot of BLM land that gave us a great view of the valley surrounding us. We made a fire, cooked dinner, listened to good music and watched the skies fill with more storm clouds. Photo May 17, 6 14 53 PMAnother night of camping in the rain didn’t sound appealing and thankfully we hadn’t set up our tent yet, so we decided to head out and grab a hotel room in Grand Junction for the night. A hot shower and soft bed sounded delightful after 4 days of camping in the rain!

Our trip home was uneventful and easy. To be honest, we were both a little sad that our trip had to stop at 5 days. I could have easily spent another week out in the desert. We are still living with David’s parents, which is going just fine, but when you don’t have your own home to return to…returning home just doesn’t sound like fun. Oh well, just another excuse to go back to Utah in the near future!

A Safe Place

It might not look like it, but this is my very first post on this blog. I imported a few  old posts from another blogging platform that I was using, so although it might look like I’ve been around here for a while, this is indeed a fresh start for me!

My old blog was making me uncomfortable for 2 reasons.

1)Through the years, various prying eyes began to read my old blog: family, old friends, acquaintances etc. It felt a little bit like people were stalking me from afar, watching my ups and downs without actually having to participate in my life. People from our old church, who began treating me like an outcast because I didn’t fit nicely with their family-centric ideals, still read my blog. They read all about our health trials over the last year and never once reached out or offered a helping hand. That angered and irritated me to no end. So starting a new blog helped me feel like I was putting an end to the voyeurism. I get that blogging is public and literally anyone can read this blog, but I look forward to the relative privacy and anonymity I have here.

2)My old blog documented much of our 6+ year infertility journey. Consequently, many other infertility bloggers found me and started to follow along. That was all fine and good until my husband David and I decided in 2013 that we would not be pursuing any more infertility treatments after hearing a call from the Lord. That decision left us in the wilderness of childlessness, where we remain today. None of the people who followed my old blog could relate. The infertility community that I knew pretty much left me high and dry. I got a few judgy comments, weird emails, a few sideways glances from “real life” people who disagreed or thought we simply gave up. My blog began to feel like a place I needed to defend.

So eventually I decided to jump ship and start a new blog.

What I really want for this space is the freedom to talk about, wrestle with and understand what it means to be a Christian who is childless (not-by-choice). To be a Christian woman that does not fit into a category, mold, expectation or standard. I needed a place to hash things out without feeling at risk or judged, looked down upon or argued with. I think this can be that safe place.

I also have a sneaking suspicion that there might just be one or two other Christians out there that also feel like misfits in the Church. I know there are people who don’t feel like their life measures up with the Christian standard and I would really like to connect with them. Maybe there’s even another sweet couple in this world who doesn’t have children, are quasi-content with their childless state and aren’t in the active pursuit of parenthood. My hope is that us misfits who are wandering around the Kingdom of God might bump into each other. Sort of a “if you build it, they will come” kind of a hope. 🙂  I hope they find me here and connect with me.

And since there’s usually way more on my mind than identity issues related to infertility and being childless, I’ll also use this blog to continue documenting life. From trips we take to interesting hikes and fun weekends we have, I want to keep a record of that stuff. I love being able to look back and remember places we’ve been! Now that I’m in Seminary, I also have a lot of theological stuff floating around in my brain so I’m sure some of that will work its way into this blog as well.

All in all, I’m happy to have this new place. I hope it remains safe and maybe attracts a few like-minded souls.

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The Quiet Side Of Infertility

My friend Caroline was putting together a post for National Infertility Awareness Week and she asked me to contribute a short little snippet describing what I wish more people knew about infertility. This got the wheels turning. I spent a long while thinking about this. Probably too long. I have never really participated in NIAW, but this year I felt like I had something to say.  I wanted to share something that would be impactful….both to the infertility community and to those who do not struggle with infertility. I wrote Caroline an email back so answer her question and I said:

“Sometimes infertility is quiet. It doesn’t always look like hormones and injections, IVF, doctor appointments and charting your next steps. Sometimes it is just quiet prayers, faithful hope and a patient longsuffering.”

After sending that over to her, I thought…”man, I could really expand on that. Maybe I’ll just write a little post about what I mean. Maybe it would help someone else.” The theme of NAIW this year is #startasking. So I thought I would start a dialogue for anyone who wants to start asking a questions about what the other, the less obvious side, of infertility looks like.

It’s so easy to equate infertility with the endless striving for motherhood. From HSGs to charting and ultrasounds, negative pregnancy tests to Clomid and injections, IUIs and 2nd opinions…I’ve been on that side of infertility. I’ve been on the side on infertility where every moment of my life was consumed with how to get pregnant. “Maybe if we try this drug…maybe if we see this doctor…maybe if I memorize this verse or pray this prayer…maybe if my faith were just a little bit bigger…” I camped on that side of infertility for a long time. Years.

But now I’m on a different end of the infertility spectrum now. 

I don’t mean that I am done with infertility. No. Infertility is still very much with me. I still have a uterine fibroid and poor egg quality. I still only have one fallopian tube, which is likely blocked now. I still have a cyst on my brain that affects hormone regulation. I still am not pregnant. Infertility may stick with me for many years to come. It’s like a monkey on my back that won’t jump off no matter how many bananas I tried to throw. So when I say that I’m on the “other side” of infertility, it doesn’t mean that infertility is no longer a part of my life, my prayers or that it doesn’t occupy any space in my heart.  

What I mean, is that I’m on the quieter side of infertility now. The side that is no longer striving, trying, planning or researching. The side where actively pursuing medical treatments is over and you’re done trying to fix what is wrong, or maybe you realize you can’t fix what is wrong, like in our case. Not many people ever make it to this side. Often, IVF, surrogacy, surprise pregnancies or adoption enter the scene and this side of infertility remains a dark unknown that people are glad to pass right by. 

Since many people avoid this place, either intentionally or because God supernaturally intervenes on their behalf, there are consequently very few people on this side of infertilityIt’s like a secret land that no one really knows about. It’s scary at first, you don’t really know what’s over on this side. Like…. what actually happens when you get off the infertility treatment crazy train? Is it so dark that you can’t see? Is it just utterly hopeless? Do you feel stagnant since you’re no longer actively pursuing something? Do you just wander around aimlessly hoping for a baby to drop out of the sky? Are you just forever lost at sea? I get it. I asked all of those questions too when we made the decision to stop actively pursuing medical treatment.

It’s an interesting place to be, especially when there are so few who have gone before you. There’s not exactly a guide for this stage. To my knowledge, there isn’t a book or step-by-step directions on how to navigate these waters we have found ourselves in.  

To be honest, the quiet side of infertility is very peaceful. You can hear yourself think and the Lord speak. You’re in a place with new views and horizons. You can travel and not worry about ruining a cycle. You can stop stabbing yourself with needles and taking crazy pills (looking at you, Clomid). Your head space is a little clearer because you’re no longer obsessed with trying to fix what is wrong. You also have a little extra time and money since you’re not blindly throwing them away into the pit of fertility treatments.

I’m here to tell you it’s really not a scary place. It’s just not. 

Are there still sad days and despairing nights? Yep. Do you still mourn the loss of a dream not yet realized? Yes. Are friendships strained because you don’t fit in? Definitely. But this is also a place of opportunity for strength and incredible growth. It’s a rich land that is full of potential, which I am just now beginning to lean into.

Ultimately, this is a place of deep dependence on Jesus. He helps keep me keep my head up when the world wants me to second guess the path I’m on. It’s so easy to question this side of infertility. To wonder if we really continue to hear God correctly. To feel insecure and left behind. It’s so easy to crumble under the pressure to conform to society’s standards, the infertility community’s common bonds, the Christian community’s expectations.

It takes a lot of obedience, courage, strength, hope, faith, prayer, perspective, peace and humility to stay here. But knowing that we are firmly walking in alignment with God’s will for our life is a beautiful thing. Even if it’s hard and doesn’t look like what everyone else is doing, both within and outside of the infertility community.

So, if you’re thinking about stopping fertility treatments, or if you’re not comfortable moving forward with more, or if the funds have run dry, or if you feel the Lord leading you to simply rest and trust in Him…I’m here to tell you, it’s ok to do that. You don’t have to dive head first into things you’re not comfortable with or don’t feel called to. You don’t have to keep putting your body through hell. You don’t have to justify your decision or explain yourself. You don’t have to worry that you are “giving up.” 


Being on the quiet side of infertility is perfectly fine. There aren’t many of us on this side, and it takes a lot of guts and prayer to make it here and stay here. But if you do make it, you’re in good company and you can rest assured that the Lord will never leave you or forsake you as you trust in Him for His perfect plan.

This & That

Really not much at all going on these days. Still living among boxes and I’m trying desperately to find my essential oils and flip-flops with no luck. School is good (4 weeks left!), David is healthy and alive (hooray!) and we have been loving the spring weather and I have been reading lots of great books about Jesus. The rest of it will follow in bullet-point fashion, per usual! Happy Spring y’all! 🙂
  • I have really good news to report regarding that awful Migraine Diet I’ve been on for 5 weeks now. It is working!!!! I have gone 3 weeks in a row without a single headache! Praise God for sweet relief. I’ve gone from a chronic low-grade headache 24/7 to absolutely NO headaches, even when the barometric pressure is changing! I miss coffee, pizza and wine something fierce, but it’s totally worth it to have a little break from the pain. I will continue with the diet for 3 more months and then I can slowly start reintroducing foods back into my diet. July can’t come soon enough…
  • House stuff has been progressing smoothly. Our inspection went really well, no major problems at all. Woo! With a house that was built almost 40 years ago, it’s obviously not going to be in perfect condition. We have some siding to replace, landscape grading to redo, rewiring of electrical outlets and a host of other random things on our to-do list. But the house is structurally sound and safe and that’s all we care about! Our appraisal is being done this afternoon, which is a make or break sort of thing. If it comes in 10k too low, our seller has the right to terminate the contract and we are back to square one. So we are crossing our fingers for a good appraisal!
  • Our obsession with Utah continues so we’re planning our next desert getaway this spring and have settled on Capitol Reef National Park! I don’t think much planning is going to go into this trip, we’ll probably just wing most of it. I do think we’d like to spend some time in Cathedral Valley though, it looks pretty amazing!
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  • Is it bad that I’ve already been dreaming about the things that I want to redo in our new house? Our appraisal may come in low and we could lose the house today, but I’m still scheming and dreaming. Can’t help it. One of the first things I am dreaming of is changing up in the kitchen a little bit. Half of it is great and half of it needs a little help. It has new stainless steel appliances + new grey quartz countertops + new hardwood floors, so those things will definitely stay! But the cabinets are old and I’m not crazy at all about the backsplash the previous owners installed. I have a vision of white + grey + mint. A little something like this…
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    It’s just so bright and clean! We have great natural light in our kitchen and I think white cabinets would really keep things light and airy. I’m pretty obsessed with the sea glass tile backsplash. Another thing I’ve been thinking of is painting the fireplace or resurfacing it. I’m sure resurfacing with pretty stacked stone is going to be astronomically expensive, but it doesn’t hurt to dream!

    Speaking of fireplaces, one interesting thing we discovered during our inspection was that our house is going to be 100% electric. There is no gas line into the house at all. This isn’t a big deal except for the fact that we were intending on converting the wood-burning fireplace into gas. So now we’re faced with either running a gas line outside to a propane tank or…going with a new eco-friendly fireplace that runs on bio-ethanol. Bio-ethanol fireplaces run on clean fuel made from corn, sugarcane and other food sources. You’ve probably seen them mounted on walls inside hotels or resorts. They looks fancy schmancy, but they’re actually pretty affordable

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Boundaries

For the first 3-4 years of our infertility journey, I happily joined baby showers, birthday parties and even regularly attended a weekly play dates where friends would bring their kiddos over to each other’s homes. Babies would play, moms (and myself) would chat and drink coffee. Maybe those things just didn’t bother me much back then, or maybe they did and I just denied the pain. I enjoyed celebrating with friends and immersing myself in a world that I believed I would soon join.

Somewhere along the way, the pain started to increase significantly. Maybe it was after we lost our baby. Maybe it was when we stopped having an “official” plan with fertility treatments and started to drift out into the wilderness of “no man’s land.”

Women’s Bible studies began to equal tears. Baby showers meant an entire weekend of tears. Even lighthearted birthday parties, painting parties or happy hour meant tears. Any women’s gathering I went to, my heart was assaulted by women who unintentionally spent 3 hours talking about babies, pregnancy, parenting, nap schedules and teething. No matter the context, I always felt like a girl on the outside looking in.

I’m not sure exactly when the boundaries started to go up, but they went up and they went up high. I intentionally had to distance myself from certain friends. I intentionally had to leave certain groups just to keep my heart from collapsing on a weekly basis (I’m looking at you, BSF!). My heart needed a little protecting and at the risk of losing friendships and isolating myself from certain people, I chose to protect it. In the process, I learned that boundaries are a really great thing.

Since these boundaries have been in place, I’ve been in a much healthier place emotionally. The boundaries have given me freedom. Freedom to say no, to do what I want, to excuse myself from unnecessary pain. The boundaries have promoted my well-being and helped me identify the relationships that I really want to invest in instead of feeling burdened to take part in everything I’m invited to.

While I think my boundaries will stay firmly in place for the foreseeable future in regards to things like play dates, all women Bible studies and baby showers. I do think it’s wise to reevaluate boundaries as time goes on.

For instance, our new small group. It is a wonderfully diverse place that is life-giving, enjoyable and nurturing. We have been welcomed with open arms and I can’t help but want to dive right into life with these people. The group is made up of singles, young couples, older married (ha! I love that David and I now fit into this category) couples, families with older kids….and a precious young couple who just invited us all over to their house for a gender reveal party next week.

            …………..long pause….blink….blink….lips pursed…..half smile….blink……blink…………

This couple is very kind and sweet. They genuinely want to celebrate with their church family. It’s not a “hey look at us” kind of thing. It’s more like a “hey, would you all like to maybe come over to play some Monopoly, drink some decaf coffee and celebrate together?” sort of thing. And while I admit part of my heart had a knee-jerk reaction that wanted to say  “Ummm…yeah no… kthxbai!” and run out the door, there was another part of me that said “what if?” What if it was a fun night with our small group? What if it didn’t hurt (or at least as badly as I think it could)? What if not going would be missing out on a big part of their life right now? What if I get to eat a delicious piece of cake with pink or blue frosting?  Mmmm cake…. 😉

I still haven’t made up my mind. I have 6 more days to think it over. But I am realizing that the beautiful thing about self-generated boundaries is that you always have the ability to change the height and perimeter. They are dynamic and exist to serve you in whatever way you need at the time. And sometimes those needs change. Sometimes it’s good to add a latch to the gate and let someone in, or leave for a day or two. Sometimes you need to lower the height of the hedge to get a better view of the territory that surrounds you. And one day, maybe you even dismantle the boundaries altogether when the coast is clear. But until then, boundaries are intended to be healthy form of self-protection, not iron walls that you can’t get beyond.