“Blessed are they that mourn”

I close my eyes and I can picture my twin girls a few years from now. They are on a playground. Ankles deep in the sandbox, sitting across from one another. It’s a warm summer day. A slight breeze dances in between the locks of curls softly falling from their precious heads. I hear them giggling. Such joy in their voices. I watch them with the deepest contentment I’ve ever know.

I open my eyes as a single tear streams down my cheek. The content feeling flees me. This vision will only remain in my dreams.

On Tuesday, March 29th I was told that they couldn’t find a heartbeat on twin 1. I was a week shy of being six months pregnant.

There are lots of things you plan during your pregnancy. What date to have the baby shower. Where to place the crib. The babies name.

You don’t plan how to live through grief.

I don’t think anything in this life can prepare us for the loss of a loved one. Like love, it’s impact is most genuinely felt by experiencing it. The massive black hole that is grief will suck you in and rip you bare until the most raw version of yourself is unmasked. C.S. Lewis, while keeping a journal during the loss of his wife reflects:

CS Lewis

Everyone will go through hard times. That is guaranteed. I’m human so I can’t live above this reality. What once was a mystery – something that only happens to other women, has become my life. What I have learned over the past several weeks is that when your moment comes you have to decide how to survive.

It felt like a daunting task even to breathe after hearing this sad news but through this trial I have had the joy of experiencing true gratitude and appreciation for all I have. I know this gratitude only comes through pain and I pray this perspective never escapes me.

I know what it is to not sweat the small stuff. To look at your husband, your family and friends and know God is so good to have surrounded you with such genuine, loving people. In them you see the sum of what life is really about.

I know what it is to feel the peace of God. To not be able to stand and know the only place you can lean is on Him. To be surrounded with so much prayer and encouragement that as a direct result your faith in Jesus soars to new heights.

I know what it is to have a dream shattered and be able to sit, broken and lost with your spouse and slowly pick up the pieces. We have lived our wedding vows [for better or worse] in these hours and I can confidently say when our life gets worse we cling to each other until it gets better. I married up in so many thankful ways!

I’m now 30 weeks pregnant and my swollen belly is continuously being jabbed by my growing daughter. I’ve never felt a better feeling. This is part of her story. She is proof that even though life doesn’t work the way you planned it – good can be found in even the darkest places.

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The More the Merrier

Things that come in pairs….

Twinkies.

Animals on the ark.

Shoes.

Dice.

My babies.

How bout that we are expecting twin girls!

This past fall we shared with our families that we were starting IVF  since the traditional way of getting pregnant was proving ineffective. So when the pregnancy announcement was delivered at Thanksgiving everyone was excited but definitely not shocked as they were hopeful that would be the outcome.

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving was our second ultrasound. At 5 weeks pregnant the babies are so tiny that all the doctor was finding on the monitor was one baby. My HCG levels indicated a singleton pregnancy so we gladly told the fam we were expecting [one] baby.

The week after Thanksgiving and the big reveal, we went back to the doctor. You practically live at the doctors office while going through IVF. At this point in the process, visiting the office was as routine as driving a car so we headed back to the private room to get ready to see our baby.

I laid back on the table. Matthew sat at my left in his usual spot. The nurse behind the doctor. Pretty routine.

The doctor began. “There’s your baby and, OH! There’s baby number two!”

Matthew immediately shot up in his chair and exclaimed, “but we’re only having one!”

The doctor calmly replied back, “you’re looking at the same screen I am.”

And sure enough on the screen you could clearly see two teeny tiny babies each in their own sac.

I have said my whole life I wanted twins. Anyone who has know me for more than a few years can attest to this. I know this sounds strange but when we knew we were having one something in my gut told me their was more. Call it Mother’s intuition, ridiculous faith in the impossible or sheer craziness I just knew their was more.

God knew the desire of my heart and being the generous God he is, there really was MORE.

So we sat on this secret for another month so we could make Christmas that much more memorable.

We had so much fun getting ready for this big announcement. We searched the internet for ideas and finally landed on a gift packed full of goodies / secret hints to tip our families off that twins would be coming to a crib near them this coming July.

Each bag had the movie Twins, Doublemint gum, Twinnings Tea, and of course Twinkies.

Here’s Matt’s parents reaction.

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Here’s my Mom and my Grandma in the background.

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The shock value was not lost on them!

 

Maybe Baby to Oh Yeah Baby!

They say good things come to those who wait.

I waited for 18 months to hear two life changing words….

You’re pregnant!

This past November we successfully completed the egg transfer. Nine long days had passed and I was back in the Docs office for my labs. After my blood work was concluded I drove home to wait some more. My husband and I anxiously hovered by the phone. A lot of waiting happened.

We hoped this call would confirm we were at the end of our infertility journey. We longed to cross the finish line and move over to the land of parenthood. When the nurse finally called and positively confirmed our deepest desire I can only explain those split seconds like diving deep in water. After along while of holding your breathe you break through the surface for your first gulp of air. Your body heavy, going through the motions. The expectation of breaking through the barrier of water to meet the surface is all you can focus on. The wait. Then comes the sweet relief and the joy that life feels right again.

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We are now 15 weeks pregnant. To say that the first trimester was easy would be a stretch.

I think the first trimester always poses it’s challenges. Morning sickness, frequent urination, moodiness, food aversions to name a few. The biggest challenge I faced was the uncertainty of the distant second trimester.

I’m sure this is true for many women. The facts shows that the risk of miscarriage significantly decreases once you hit 13 weeks in your pregnancy. For women who have gone through IVF getting that pregnancy YES feels like you just won the biggest battle of your life. All to soon you realize the pregnancy battle has been won but the mental war continues. You find yourself asking [will it last?] Will my body be strong enough to carry this precious life full term?

Each twinge in my belly, each ache or pain, every time I would go to the bathroom – I had to push the fear back. I constantly had to pray for peace and speak life over my pregnancy.

Then I realized something – this is going to be the rest of my life as a parent.

Fast forward – what does this sound the baby is making mean? Will they make friends at school? Do my kids know how much I love them? Will they be safe driving on their own?

The worrying could literally end you up in the loony bin.

My Mom used to call me almost every night while I was away at college. It was the briefest of calls. She would ring me as she climbed into bed and make sure I was home safe. Once that was confirmed she would tell me she loved me and the call would be complete. It was the NASCAR, the Jimmy Johns of phone calls. Super fast. Sometimes less that a minute or two. I started to realize she had to make this quick call to rest easy at night. She’s a Mom and she still worries about me.

I am reminded that life is always uncertain but I serve a God that I can trust. Trusting God’s plan doesn’t always come easy but it’s either that or worry myself into the loony bin. This gift of life growing inside me is from him and which ever road we go down I know he’s there with me.

What will come will come and I will meet it head on when it does. I’m so thrilled to become a Mom this July and I’m determined to not let the uncertainty steal a minute of my pregnancy bliss.

Hooray we’re pregnant!

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Shots! Shots! Shots!

Not this shot.

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Or these shots.

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These shots.

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IVF: the needle that keeps on giving. That has a Hallmark ring to it, right?

This week we had a pretty significant day that was all over the media. Back to the Future Day – October 21st, 2015. For the Bonventre crew, party of two – it’s the week we started IVF shots.

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I’m not scared of getting a shot. My senior year at Michigan State I had an all expense paid, 15 day stay at the hospital. I had my appendix out in September of 2005 which spiraled into other health complications. The doctors believe this minor surgery caused scar tissue to quickly form around my bowel and cause an obstruction landing me back in the hospital. While my pals were studying and eating Ramen Noodles I had an NG tube down my nose and a PICC line in my arm.

I know how to have a RAGING good time.

Appendix out, totally normal for a 22-year-old. Bowel Obstruction, not so normal for a 22-year-old.

For two weeks I was poked and prodded by the medical staff at Sparrow hospital and thus my fear of needles disappeared. When you have an IV moved multiple times a day to elevate the pain in your arms and hands, you’re forced to get over the little prick of a needle.

Getting my blood drawn, also not a problem. It doesn’t phase me. Thank goodness because getting your blood drawn is a weekly activity during IVF.

Now, when my loving but [medically inexperienced] husband holds the needle – the panic returns.

Let’s walk this out, shall we. First of all, we’ve established needles are not scary to me, nor is my hubby but the combo of the two coming at my stomach is slightly unnerving.

Very unnerving.

Here’s an example of how nice my husband is. I want you to understand the nature of this man I married. He cringes when setting mouse traps to catch Fievel Mousekewitz look a-likes. So I was unsure if he could successfully stab his wife with a needle. I was mentally preparing for the worst. If he hesitates and inserts the needle slowly it’s gonna hurt. But when a job has to be done, i.e., killing vermin or giving me a shot he’s all business.

He held that needle in his hand and jabbed my stomach without hesitation. I think a part of him secretly enjoyed it.

I’m laughing as I write this because the thought of my husband wanting anything, let alone me, to suffer is comical. It’s not in him. He’s a teddy bear. He would never want to see me in any discomfort. I’m lucky he does this for me. He’s brave. If the roles were reversed I don’t know if I would have the kahunas to do this for him.

We’ve had a bit of a heavy year. We kicked off 2015 with Dad Bonventre being really ill.  Add the infertility stuff for a running 18 months. Then a bit of a messy situation with my family this fall and I’m really ready for a fresh start in 16. For some reason the promise of a new year holds unlimited possibilities. I suppose it’s wishful thinking.

All this, coupled with my recent consumption of extra hormones and you can understand why I haven’t been a sweetheart and Matthew [didn’t] hate stabbing me with that needle.

The other night I was in such a bad mood, over who knows what, that as I prepared Chicken Marsala for dinner and the recipe suggested the chicken be pounded until flat – I hammered that poor little chicken booby until Matthew had to intervene.

“I think you’ve accomplished the job,” was all he had to say to make me realize I had some pent up steam that needed to be released.

Dinner was really good that night and my mood improved. Thank God for chicken!

We are trying our best to find the humor in all this. We keep reminding ourselves that while this is tough for the moment – no one is sick and good news is on the way. We have more than enough food. We have a roof over our head and a God that loves us dearly.

And of course we have each other. Even if one of us is being stabbed it’s with love the jabbing is being done!

Until the next update…

 

Maybe Baby Part V

Sunday I bought a pill organizer. It sits next to my sink. Each morning I flip open the little compartments and ingest the contents.

I didn’t think I would be investing in one of these bad boys until my 60’s but here we are, thirty years early. This is the first thing I’ve been ahead of schedule for in a long time.

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Dropping dollars at the CVS pharmacy counter like what! Popping pills morning, noon and night. All for the hope of a baby.

Still trying….

In the past two weeks I have smiled and told three different couples, congratulations. Not one, not two, but three.

They didn’t get a new job. They didn’t buy a new home. They didn’t win the lottery.

They got pregnant. Yeah for them!

Ugh.

I’ve never been an envious person. No matter where I’ve been in my life I’ve been able to celebrate with people and my heart sincerely means it.

In college I would rush out the door to my evening gig as a waitress. I would pass my friends chatting and laughing on the couch. Working wasn’t an option for this girl. If I wanted to eat I had to work. I didn’t feel bad for myself. When they got the mail and it had a $400 check from Mom and Dad, I didn’t get jealous. Instead I went to my J.O.B. and got my $400 check from Outback Steakhouse.

To quote my Mom, this developed character. She was absolutely correct. To this day I appreciate everything I have largely in part because I worked really hard for it.

One of the best days of my life was when I paid off my student loans. $34,000 of student loan debt – gone! I did that and it felt incredible.

When I sit across the table from an excited friend as they announce they are pregnant I am envious. My smile is quick to disappear as I think about how easy it was for them and how difficult it has been for us.

This is their moment and yet I take it personal. I tell them congratulations and at the very same moment fight back tears and recite in my head, “it’s almost your turn, let it be there’s right now.”

I want so badly to not feel this way. I want to be like normal people who have sex and get pregnant. But we’re not. This too is developing character.

Good news is on the horizon. We are almost the couple on the other side of the table.

When I started my period yesterday I was actually elated.  It was the first time in almost 18 months that starting my period wasn’t a bad thing. I was actually looking forward to this one. This one gave us a green light. It is the start of a timer. A countdown to baby town. We are now in the final stages of IVF.

Tomorrow night we will sit through our IVF class with several other couples. We will learn how to mix the medications, do the injections and get the schedule of important dates to come.

Thursday morning I will do the same 30 minute drive to Troy for lab work and an ultrasound. I will walk into an office with at least 15-20 other women waiting to get similar test done. I will look around the room and wonder if this is there first cycle too. Maybe it’s not, maybe it’s their second or third try at getting pregnant through IVF.

They’re still trying. It ain’t easy but it will be worth it.

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All About the Do-Do

Not this dew…

Dew

Or this Dew…

Mt Dew

I mean this do…[I do.]

wedding pic

Look at those kids. So in love.

This past June I attended a Catholic wedding. The Priest started by thanking us for joining together with our friends as they partook in the Holy Sacrament of Matrimony. I never got down with the whole Catholic scene so this wordy phrase peeked my interest. Why didn’t he just say marriage?

At this point in the game I’ve attended my fair share of weddings, some of them Catholic. This time I was paying attention though. Normally I’m half listening, half in my own thoughts staring at a stained glass window of Jesus. It quite possibly could have been the glare from the shiny gold plated bible that the Priest held that captured my attention. But either way – I needed to know more. I needed to know why this statement was used.

Somewhere along the timeline of my life I have heard about Catholic sacraments but never understood them largely in part because I’m not Catholic. My husband, growing up in the Catholic church, loosely explained the concept and my Mother-in-law filled in the details.

Google helped as well.

 "The Latin word sacramentum means "a sign of the sacred."

So when our Catholic friends complete a Sacrament, what they are doing is an outward action that is sacred. Do you know what sacred means? Go ahead, look it up. Or you can trust me because I just looked it up. It means [connected with God.] Folks this act of marriage is serious business. This stuff ain’t no joke.

Whatever your belief is, marriage is truly a special thing. What married couples do months and years after this ceremony is, well a whole nother thing. Can I just say Ashley Madison. Not sacred.

I was recently sharing a little story from my past to site an example of the difference between dating and happily ever after. The great evolution of marriage.

As the tale goes: young ChaVo and Matthew, fully twitterpated with one another visited the Target down the street from Matthew’s house (now our house.)

If you are’t familiar with the term [twitterpated] it’s in the same category as puppy love and can be fully understood by watching Disney’s classic, Bambi. Basically you gross people out.

No you hang up.

No you hang up.

Ok we’ll do it together on 3.

1 – 2 – 3.

Awww you’re still there!

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We live just five quick minutes from Target. It’s everything a girl dreams of when she thinks about moving in with her husband.

Our Target, however, boarders the Detroit city limit. As I’m sure any of you familiar with Detroit can imagine, it pulls in an interesting crowd.

I bet you don’t have a security guard to greet you when you walk into the Target by your house.

Upon exiting the store we saw a police car speed around the corner towards the main entrance. A police officer jumped out in hot pursuit of a teenage boy. They weren’t playing tag. Somebody had sticky fingers and instead of paying for his items, like we did, the kid put’em in his pants for free.

What a concept! I’ve never tried this but I’ll bet it saves a lot of money.

Face kissing the asphalt, underneath the firm knee of a police officer, I heard this teen yell for his Momma. That’s the last person you should yell for when you get in trouble like this. My Mom would have given me the beating of a lifetime had I called her under similar circumstances.

As we got in the car Matthew affectionately turned towards me and warned me to never go to this Target without him. God forbid something happen to me.

Flash forward to present day as we quickly approach our eighth year together.

“I’m running to Target, do you want to come?”

He replies hesitantly, “do you need me to?”

My bodyguard is apparently off duty for Target errands these days. If he does come, it’s to ensure I don’t spend to much money. Eeeekkkk! My credit card loves Target.

This excitement, this jubilation of twitterpated-ness is a temporary high. When we are falling in love our brain is releasing all kinds of feel good chemicals and basically over time our body builds up a tolerance to them. Once the twitterpatted phase ends you enter the meat and potatoes of the relationship.

Mmmmmm I love meat and potatoes. Especially if there from Outback Steakhouse. “No rules. Just right.”

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I’ve heard married couples say that they wish they could just go back to the high of when they were first dating their spouse.

I look at them and smile but inside I’m thinking – what kind of stupid request is that? 

Let me get this straight. You date wanting to get married and then you get married and want to go back to dating? I’m confused.

Who wants to be nervous every time they see their spouse. Stomach all in knots. How’s a girl supposed to enjoy a piece of pizza feeling like that.

I get what they mean. You’re so excited in those first days of dating. All the getting to know each other and discovery. I just heard my husband in the kitchen singing a line from the [Little Mermaid] so trust me when I say I’m still getting to know my husband.

If we could stop fantasizing and get back to reality that’d be really great. This isn’t a Rom-Com where Jennifer Aniston is the leading lady. This is real life. You are the leading character! So why are we setting unrealistic expectations in our heads instead of having honest conversations with our spouses?

My husband has seen me cry my makeup off and become furious over our infertility. When he draws me close and whispers in my ear that our time is coming – that’s romantic. That’s love.

Just this morning my husband made me laugh hysterically in the bathroom when he gagged and told me my morning breath was so bad it had to be from yesterday. This IS NOT romantic but it’s love.

You choose each other in the beginning but you have to continue to choose each other for everyday after. Marriage eventually changes out of a white gown to overalls and a hard hat because it’s hard work and in our society hard work is work and work isn’t fun. The mentality is let’s ditch this and go find something fun.

When Matthew and I were engaged we took a pre-marital class. We watched a video based on scripture found in Ephesians.

Husbands love your wife as yourself, and wives must respect her husband. Ephesians 5:33

What Paul is saying in this verse is that when men don’t show proper love to their wives, wives get lippy and disrespectful. When wives are rude and snotty because they don’t feel loved they jump on the merry-go-round called, “The Crazy Cycle.”

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God makes it really simple for us. Stick to the blueprint people.

I don’t know much about marriage but this, I know. I’ve taken a few spins on the cycle and it’s rotten. If you’ve ever ridden on this carousel you don’t want to stay on long.Capture

 

Every part of our life is a season. A chapter in a very large volume of books. This helps me deal with the ups and downs of life and avoid riding The Crazy Cycle. This and when I’m acting crazy and the Holy Spirit calls me out – I try to get a sincere apology over to Matthew stat!

Husbands love your wives. Tell them how special they are. Truly listen when we are upset. We don’t need a strategy, we need your attentive ear. Bring tissues. We might cry. We don’t mean to make you uncomfortable when we cry that’s just what we do. Take the kids in the morning so Mommy’s can get some rest. When we reach for an extra piece of cake don’t remind us we said we felt fat earlier. Give us sweet touches and kind words throughout the day and see how that pays off at night. Wink, wink! We don’t need roses we need your attention.

Ladies be respectful. Don’t use your tears to manipulate your hubby. Lose the silent treatment. Don’t use your words to tear him apart. Use your words to compliment who he is. You married him because deep down he’s a good man no matter how many times he leaves the toilet seat up. Treat him like the knight and shining armor your dreaming of and see how he rises to the occasion. You are the only women who can truly make him feel needed and honored.

Oh and pray that God gives you the strength not to kill each other. Amen!

I am no expert on this matter but I really love my husband. Not everyday is a trip to Target but we try really hard to remind each other when we said [I do] we meant it.

When the crappy days come I try to remember….

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Maybe Baby Part IV

In my first blog I wrote the statement below.

"So in the meantime I have this black and white keyboard and these    thoughts, written in perfect lines that will serve as my map and proof that my cluttered mind has precious gems waiting to be uncovered."

I’m having a tough time finding the gems today.

It was a silent car ride home from the infertility doctor this afternoon.

The nurse did a wonderful job mapping out what the next couple months could look like. “Day 1 you call the office. On day 19 you visit the office. We do the lab work between 6:30am and 7:30am.”

How convenient. I can drive to the office before the sun and Jesus are even up.

About ten minutes in I looked down at my hands gently resting in my lap and it is literally as if I am witnessing someone else’s life. Who’s hands are these? This isn’t my life. This isn’t supposed to be our life!

She continued talking but I wasn’t listening.

I am not equipped to handle this adult situation. I am a child learning about the birds and the bees all over again. What in the world is she talking about? So as she continues to guide us through pages explaining needles and injections and egg retrieval, I feel especially out of body in this moment.

All that money and time I spent at Michigan State and I could have never learned how to handle the meat and potatoes of life. Where can I sign up for that class?

I’m not prepared to handle this information and so I look at Matthew. He’s got the same look on his face. CaptureI know this has to be hard for him too. He’ll never let me know that though. He’s as calm and stoic as ever. Face poised like a stone sculpture. My eyes are brimming with tears, lip is quivering all over the place and there’s my husband, Mt. Rushmore. Once again I fall more in love with him through this ordeal. He is the reassurance I need at this present time.

You know what I am right now, tired. Sad. Angry. I just want this to be over.

We are closer than ever to having a baby and I should be through the roof. But that terrible thought creeps back into my mind the one that’s been dormant for months. [What if this doesn’t work?]

As the thought takes shape in black and white on that line above, tears form in the corner of my eye. I am the emotional equivalent of a tsunami – one giant wave of emotion.

The worst part of infertility is that in a split second the hope that has built up over weeks and months is literally shattered in a word. Negative.

By the time you put all the pieces of hope back together and rise for the next opportunity your heart is bracing itself for another let down.

Today I laid in bed, cuddled between my fur babies and Matthew and thought how could my life get any better than this? How much more love do I need? My cup is already overflowing.

The question is not how it will get better. The truth is it will get better. My God promises better. Abundance, peace, patience, joy. More!

So I gathered myself. Wiped the tears away and I prayed. God’s promises breathe life back into me. This is the light shining in my dark place.

God is good and therefore good things are to come. It’s time to get excited and be thankful that hope is rising and those who rest in the Lord renew their strength. Isaiah 40:31

As always, I am a work in progress!

 

My Intention is to be Intentional

Do you hear that? Time is ticking away and as fast as you run you can’t catch up to it.

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There are not enough hours in the day or so they say.

Hey that rhymes!

Chances are if we had more time, we’d want even more. Such is the existence of a human being. We have to figure out how to live in such a way to make each moment count.

Got any bright ideas how to do this?

Some moments you need to just breathe. Some moments you need to stare at the stars. Some moments you need to be super productive. Some moments you need to just listen. Whatever the moment calls for I want it to count. I really want to lay my head on my pillow each night and think peacefully and joyfully, that was quite a day!

As I open my blinds around 7:30AM this morning and watch my neighbors back out of their driveway I’m reminded how awesome it is to work from home but something interesting happens when you work from home.

You are reminded/distracted by all the other things you could be getting done while you are at home.

My laundry lives in my office. The dirty floor of my office is also my home. The dogs laying on the couch need a bath. I should paint my nails. My focus hangs in the balance.

I would love to say that at the end of each day my house sparkles, I’ve checked in and had meaningful conversations with family and friends, ate right, exercised, and completed all the requirements of my J.O.B. Most days I have one or two items checked off and the rest spill over to the border of tomorrow.

Last week while I was talking to God, or commonly called praying, I felt encouraged to get my [time] organized. Be disciplined and consistent were the words running through my head.

2 Timothy 1:7 God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of 
power, love and self-discipline.

Honesty Check: I’ll admit that the dozen or so times I’ve read that verse I breeze over the word self-discipline. Other bible plans read, self control. However you slice it – I don’t define it.

I am SO not disciplined. I’m more of – go with the flow kinda girl. Meaning I like to go where the fun is flowing.

No time like the present to start!

When it comes to time – I’ve been trying to be more intentional this year. My husband and I started “Date Day” as opposed to just date night this past January. My sweet little hubby suggested this largely in part because he has a crazy travel schedule for work. This way we could have specific days for just the two of us (more to come in a future blog).

With that being said, I suppose this is part two of my living intentional year.

Soooo here’s what I have so far….

I started by isolating the most hectic part of my day. Mornings. Ding Ding Ding, we have a winner! Hands down the most rushed and unorganized time of my day.

Then I mapped out how my ideal morning would go. This is way more neurotic than I’ve ever been in my entire life but if the end game is to consciously try to make each day count I’ve got to make a change. This seems right. At least for now.

Mornings are a blur. Even for the girl who works from home. If I get up on time, I usually have just enough space in my morning to read my bible and pray before the onslaught of conference calls begin.

Side note: Jesus and coffee are the most important part of a successful morning. They get dibs on the first few minutes of my day.

So in addition to my devotional time I would like to work out and get some healthy snacks lined up and prepared for the day. You see when I say I work at home it’s more like 50% of my time is at home. Half of my time is in the field with my sales reps and half is spent at home on the computer. On a typical work day I’m so pressed for time, coffee and water sustain me through the morning and then I mimic a Tornado’s furry and rush out the door without eating and have no choice but to grab something on the road. Fast food, while delicious is terrible for you. Or at least that’s what they say.

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If I can shed some pounds through intentional living – sign me up! That’s a double bonus.

 

I’ve got a plan, now on to executing it. We’ve come a long way in the advances of alarm clocks. My iPhone has a large role in this intentional living quest as you can see below.

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I mentioned I lack discipline so these serve as reminders to wrap up what I’m currently doing and move on to the next part of my day. Honesty check: I don’t take on any stress if I miss out on my 8:35AM appointment. I know I can fit in a bike ride or walk or downward dog to the voices of Wheel of Fortune later that day if need be.
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7:15AM – 8:35AM – Gotta hit the good book and spend some QT with my BFF Jesus.
8:35AM – 9:10AM –  Stop complaining about those few extra lbs and do something about it!
9:10AM – 9:30AM – Check out what’s happening in Outlook and get caught up with work.
9:30AM – 10AM – Shower, grab a green smoothie and water so you’re ready to sit through the morning load of conference calls. Boring.com
10:50PM – Start getting ready for sweet, sweet bedtime so you can be well rested to start this party all over again tomorrow.

Honesty Check: On Day 1 I was supposed to wake up at 7:00AM and I snoozed. Fail! Therefore I pushed everything back 15 minutes. Day 2, I snoozed again. So today, Day 7, I am waking up at 7:15ish.

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I’m going to give this a whirl and see how it goes for a few weeks. By the end of this, the goal is to be a slightly slimmer more peaceful version of the girl who writes this today.

As always, I am a work in progress. Praise God!

Quiet the Storm

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Think what you may, but the way I look and the way you look paves a path for us.

On the paved pathway of I-94 that runs right next to my home, a car accident took place.

Matthew and I were about to walk into our home when we heard a loud [crunch] rising from the highway below. We live off the service drive that runs parallel to I-94 so the noise was unmistakable.

My husband immediately froze. The key that was about to unlock the door paused mid-motion in his hand. Matthew turned to me, his eyes wide in excitement.

“That was a car accident! Do you want to walk to the overpass and see what happened?”

Is that a serious question? Of course I wanted to see what had happened.

As we walked to the corner of our street towards the highway, I listened to my husband as he quoted Dane Cook’s car accident bit, circa 2008.

“No – I was in my kitchen cleaning a dish and I heard it, so I came out.”

An interesting thing caught our eye as we crossed the street.

A young kid in his twenties was hopping the fence leading up from the highway embankment.

Weird, right? This is something you don’t see every day. Minutes later, we realized he was risking his life to cross three lanes of moving traffic to hop a fence and flee from the scene of the accident.

Not a smart decision.

The series of events that followed got me thinking.

Talking.

Wondering.

My husband, after looking down at the accident and realizing the kid we had seen minutes prior was on the run channeled his inner Tom Selleck, Magnum PI version. He decided we would hunt the kid down.

 

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I went along with it. I’m always saying we need a little more adventure in our life.

The whole situation was crazy but what struck me as really crazy is when we stopped to ask our neighbor if he’d seen a kid run by, our neighbors first question was, “Was he black?”

Later my husband talked to another guy, and he wondered the same thing.

Was the kid black?

Why would these two people assume the kid was black? They were black and their honest questions caught me off guard.

Today we live in a racially charged environment. The police are the bad guys and the criminal is the hero. The very same week the Charleston shootings and Rachel Dolezar [I’m white, pretending to be black] made headline news we are being asked – was the kid black?

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I am again perplexed by the complexity of the color of our skin.

I am white and freckly. You might be dark and black. But underneath the color of our skin, is blood that runs red. Blood that fuels a heart to beat. A heart that beats to be accepted. A heart that beats to be loved.

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I don’t know how to stop this storm from raging but I do want to make a difference. I’ve been asking myself questions like – will the love I give have a domino effect? Can one act of kindness change the path we are on? Can I help?

I hope so and I’m convinced this is the pathway to quieting this storm.

I want to be judged by my [character] not the character you assume I am. More importantly I want to do the same to you.

The kid running from the scene of the accident was white.

Let’s quiet this storm. Let’s love like my friend Jesus did and see the heart not the color of the skin surrounding it.

Matthew 7: 1- 5 [Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their 
faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of 
boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the 
ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ 
when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe 
that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your 
neighbor.]

 

 

 

Who’s Your Daddy?

That title could go in so many directions but today let me lead you down one you might not have expected.

I would bet a whole dollar that even those of you who aren’t in church can recite the Lord’s prayer.

[Our FATHER, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name] Matthew 6:9

Read that first part again. Jesus tells us to call God our Father…

Daddy, Daddy-O, Dad, Pops, Padre.

Hope you got the point, cause I don’t really think I did before this year.

God is not a genie in a lamp waiting for our commands. Nor is he up in heaven shooting down lightening bolts of fury. He’s our Father and he really loves us. He gives us just what we need [good gifts] even when we don’t know what it is we really need. Matthew 7:11

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Earlier this year I’d pick up the lamp, give it a little rub and demand God to act.

What are you doing up there?

Why aren’t you answering my prayers?

I want a baby. Now!

Good one ChaVonne. Maybe shake your fist in fury a little harder and tantrum a little louder and you’ll get what you want.

I’ve come to realize in the past several months that I’m not Aladdin and God is not a genie. Good Dads don’t spoil their children by giving them everything they want & demand. They give them what they need.

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Sometimes what you really need from Dad is a little encouragement.

I attended a women’s conference over a week ago. The title was Born to Win and it was hosted by one of my favorite churches in Lansing. I was only able to attend half the conference because a dear friend of mine was getting married in Chicago that weekend and so we had to head down Friday afternoon for those festivities.

Busy, busy.

The week leading up to the conference I felt God was tugging at me to stay until 2:00pm on Friday. This posed a slight problem because the hubs and I had planned to leave at around noon for Chicago.

God was interrupting the plan but I was happy to oblige.

If I really was to be there until 2:00 God would work out the details. So fast forward to Friday and I get a call around noon from my hubby. “Have fun at the conference until 3:00 because my suit won’t be ready to pick up from the tailor until later.”

Hmmmm. Look at you God.

Ok so I’m sitting there watching the clock and it’s 2:04pm. I’m pretty excited because at this point I’m hopeful God is about to show me something big.

What I’m not expecting is to hear the next speaker start telling my story, part of it anyway.

This adorable blonde girl walks on stage and starts sharing how her and her husband tried and tried and tried for children with no avail. At one point she was frustrated with God and felt like giving up.

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I watched her frozen in my seat and it was as if a deep sigh of relief came over me.

She has walked through this painful time like a champ, I can too. She is proof that when you don’t get what you want God might just have something bigger in store for you.

This past Christmas I was sitting at my previous pastors house telling him about my desire to be a Mom and my disappointment that I’m not one yet. He looked me in the eye and said “ChaVonne, I believe God is going to use this time to help you reach others going through similar things.”

This speaker reminded me that sometimes God uses our pain as the starting line for a great future not the finish line of despair.

Thanks for the encouragement Dad ❤

I highly recommend checking out her blog, No Small Life