Please excuse the mess....blog under renovations !

Monday, December 31, 2007

Reflections on 2007

Even though I didn't look or sound so great, I finally got a successful videoblog recorded and uploaded. You can really tell I was tired and a little stuffy(nose stuffiness) in the video. If you watch, please let me know with a comment. (You can turn off the music on the right.)

video

~*Mel*~

BTW, Happy New Year !

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas to All

First of all.....YAY!!! I got my header back to what it's supposed to look like. After Blogger's auto-sizing change last week, I thought my header was a gonner. But thanks to a lovely tutorial at Testing-Blogger-Beta I figured out how to get my page looking pretty again. I'm just so thankful !

Ok well I just wanted to post a very Merry Christmas to everyone. I send you all blessings during this very special season.

I'll be very busy for the next few days, but hope to get one last entry for 2007 up. I want to do an overview of where God's taken me in 2007. I encourage everyone to sit down and take the time to do this. It's a great time of self-reflection and can help you focus on areas to work on for next year.

Ok I'm off to bed now (it's 3am yikes) cause I only have a few more hours till I have to get up for church.

~*Melody*~

P.S. If you haven't already or lately, check out my other blog at Creative Radiance for details about all my latest creations. Soon I'll be posting pics of all the Christmas presents I've been working on and sneek peeks of future projects for Etsy.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Transitions to a Natural Approach

Well I've decided to change my previous plans about seeing the specialist my doctor referred me to. I went shopping with my mom last Wednesday and told her I was feeling some major hesitations about going. The night before I had shared those same hesitations with my husband, who shared his own hesitations as well. He told me that he'd stand behind whatever decision I made. To fast forward a bit, I woke up last Thursday morning with the immediate thought that I should not go to the specialist and about 5 minutes later the phone rang. The specialist's office called me to confirm the appointment time and to inquire about the $100 deposit to hold my place. I had no idea what she was referring to when she asked me to send in the $100 or give my credit card number. The lady kept telling me that I had some sort of package, which I didn't have, that explained their policies for new patients. When I finally understood what she was talking about I immediately knew that this was not the doctor's office for me. I felt very uneasy about giving an office money before I'd even been seen by anyone there. In fact this office is 2 hours away from my house and I don't even know its exact location. The lady asked again for my credit card number and I told her I didn't have it at the moment, which wasn't a lie. She instructed me to call back that afternoon with the information. I told her I would call back, but I wasn't planning on giving out my card number to her. I'm calling back in the morning to explain to her that I will not be keeping my appointment and that my insurance will not cover their services.

So I guess you are wondering where that leaves me. After a lot of research and thought, I've decided to take a natural approach to healing my body. It will involve a series of vitamins, herbs, minerals and supplements added to an organic diet (as much as possible) and exercise. I have a prescription drug that I'll be starting on Wednesday to help start the first part of my healing, and will take this medicine for the next three months. Meanwhile I'll be slowly introducing my body to the natural regimen. My goals for the next three months are modify my diet by cutting out processed foods, establishing a low impact exercise routine and to loose at least 5 lbs a month. If I can accomplish these goals, my normal cycles should return and I can continue to work on the health of my female organs by introducing more natural items. I'd like to loose 30 lbs and then actively try to get pregnant again by only using natural supplements and herbs to increase my fertility.

I believe wholeheartedly that natural is the way to go for me. I've used the natural approach before when my immune system crashed. All conventional pharmaceutical drugs had failed me and only made my condition worse, so natural was the next alternative for me. My body responded well and reduced my overall recovery time dramatically. I'm hoping that my body responds well again to this natural approach at female reproductive health and increasing my fertility.

The next few months are going to be difficult. I already know I'm going to have a hard time with my diet. I also need to cut out as much caffeine as possible and eventually eliminate all sodas. I'm doing well with introducing organic items into my diet. I've found I actually prefer the taste of organic foods much better than the other ones. I'm even enjoying organic milk, which is amazing because I typically don't like milk and it usually makes me sick. Organic milk doesn't give me that sick feeling and I'm able to drink more of it. Let's see I've purchased organic potatoes, carrots, canned corn, canned refried beans (yummy), canned green beans, milk, and a chicken flavored whole wheat pasta mix. The organic potatoes were awesome and I found that they didn't have that strange green color under the skin that other potatoes have. I've eaten organic carrots now for a while and only see a minor difference in taste. The canned corn and green beans are still in my cabinet to try. But the canned refried beans and the pasta mix were much tastier than their counterparts. My husband even liked the pasta mix and went back for seconds. I don't think I'll have a problem eating organic foods, but I may have some problems finding them available in my area and within my budget. So far budget wise, I've not saw a huge change, only a few cents here and there.

I plan to blog as much as possible on my road to a natural approach at healing. I want to include the specifics on the supplements so that I might help someone else out there with PCOS. There's lots of research to be found, but nothing beats a personal account of someone's real-life experiences. And if you have any questions, please feel free to ask at anytime. Just please remember that this is a learning process for me too. And don't forget to give the encouragement anytime, cause I'm sure I'll be needing some along the way.

I desire your prayers as I transition into this new diet and lifestyle change. It seems that lately my life is one big change after the other. I'm hoping this will be a much needed positive change though. I'm looking forward to a more healthy me. My weight and appearance aren't a huge issue for me, but my health is very important and it's something that I want better control of.

~*Melody*~

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Transitioning to God's Will

It has been WAY too warm here in NC (I'm talking about in the mid 70s). I know that some of you are thinking, "I'd give anything for it to be warm right now." It's just so incredibly strange to be wearing short sleeves in December. But I must say I am enjoying it quite a bit. Yesterday, I just couldn't believe how beautiful it was outside. My hubby and I drove up to his parents house. They live on the top of a small mountain. I took my crocheting with me and sat out on their porch absorbing the sunshine and enjoying the clean air. It was great, but extremely strange for December.

I've had such clarity over the past few days. Even though it's been almost a week since I received my 'fertility death sentence,' I feel at such peace. I don't have any idea how things are going to transpire over the next few months, but honestly I'm not super concerned about it. I'm feeling quite relieved of the burden of trying to conceive. I can only attribute this to the prayers of my family and all you friends here online.

At our last women's small group and in church that morning, God gave me a great revelation through my pastor and pastor's wife. The pastor spoke on something completely different, in fact it was a Christmas message of sorts, but he included this scripture...1 John 5:4-5 "For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" He explained that so many of believe a common lie and we tell it to ourselves all the time....."I've always been this way, I'll always be this way" or "It's always been this way and it always will be". This scripture completely busts the bubble on these thoughts though. Jesus came to overcome the world, so that we can overcome the world. We usually think about that in terms of doing something great for God or rid ourselves of worldly behavior, but it goes so much deeper. The world, more specifically, Satan wants you to believe that you are stuck right where you are and nothing will ever change. He gets you to believe his lie and that becomes worldly thinking (in other words: thinking just like the world thinks). The key though is that OUR FAITH is the victory that overcomes the world. Our faith will push us beyond thinking things will never change. OUCH did that step on my toes !

That same night in the women's small group, our pastor's wife shared a very personal story about her own road through infertility and asked a lady there to speak specifically about her journey through having a child with cancer. We've been studying a book on women and prayer. This month's lesson was on praying for God's will. I won't go into the specifics of my pastor's wife story, but I want to focus on the story of the other lady. Her daughter was diagnosed with cancer at a very young age and came to the brink of death on at least two different occasions. During a routine chemo treatment, her mother left the hospital one night to go home to gather some clean clothes and things for their extended hospital stay. She explained that she was very upset that night and had been praying on the way home. As she was gathering the last of the clothes and about to leave, God spoke to her (in her words "in the loudest voice I'd ever heard") "Ally is going to be ok. She will come through this." She went on to tell about a time a few months later when her daughter was at death's door. Janet, the mom, began praying and her prayer was simply this, "Lord have Your will in Ally's life." To make a long story short, a few weeks later Ally had a full recovery and now some 15 or 16 years later Ally is a healthy gorgeous young woman who's just began college.

I guess you are wondering how this was beneficial to me. Besides being in a large classroom full of crying women, I was in the midst of someone in a similar situation to me. You see Janet knew what God's will was for Ally. She didn't know all the details, but she had God's promise to carry her through. She didn't know when the end would be or how God would bring her to the end of her child's suffering. But she did know there would be an end and that it would be something she could look forward to. The thing is God already gave me a promise and I know His will is for me to have a child. So I've really had my answer all along. I don't really need the details, cause I know the outcome. I've long said that I'll be glad when I can have an end to my story, but I already have an end...God will allow us to have a child (more specifically a little girl who already has a name). I know the end, just not all the in between details. I have a promise that's specifically from God and yet I've been upset and down about things. How foolish of me to not be thankful for His promises !

That night as we joined in prayer at the end of the small group, I feebly said "Lord let Your will be done in my life." It was hard at first, because I kept thinking about how serious those words were. Did I really mean it or was I just saying it ? I searched my heart some more and found out that I really did mean it, I was just scared of it. Each night that followed I prayed the same prayer and finally last Thursday arrived. I sat there in that little exam room thinking about everything. The thoughts whirling in my head ranged from thoughts of miscarriage to thoughts of playing with my little one, but in the end only one thing came to mind..."Lord let Your will be done in my life."

After I received the doctors report and words, somehow they just didn't sting as badly as they should have. I knew God's promise to me and I knew that he doesn't let you down on promises because He's more than able to make them come to pass (Romans 4:21).

My husband and I left the doctors office and we went a little further to go shopping for a while. I bought a few Christmas presents and we didn't really talk about anything specific. It was dark on the way home when we began to talk about things a little bit. At one point I fell silent because I noticed how brightly the stars were shining down on the water to my right. I felt God in that moment. I looked over at my husband and was quite surprised to see how illuminated his face was in our dark van. And then these words came from my mouth before I even had a chance to think about them, "Intervention or not, we WILL have a baby." A big smile came across his face as he looked at me and said "that's exactly what God just told me."

So really through this I've been blessed and given reassurance. God knows exactly where I am right now in His grand scheme of things. I'm in the Master's daily thoughts and He knows me well (Jeremiah 29:11). As I sit and wait for His will to be manifested in my life, I've got something concrete to hold on to and for that I will be forever thankful.

In short, I did receive a great gift already this holiday season...the gift of peace, a thankful heart and warmth to my soul. I feel joy again like I haven't felt in a long while. In the midst of a painful situation, I'm very joyous and at ease. Wow, what a God we serve !

~*Melody*~

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Transitions of Infertility

My husband and I went to the doctor's office yesterday in high hopes that we would find out we were expecting again. The nurse who took me back into the exam room had a worried look on her face as she looked over my chart, but I just shrugged it off. I guess it should have given me a clue about what to be prepared for when the doctor came in. The nurse was hesitant but decided that she'd take a urine sample if they needed it. This is pretty much standard procedure for me, so I really thought nothing of it.

After getting a great blood pressure reading, I gladly went around the corner, gave my specimen and came back to my room. I sat there for what seemed like an eternity, it was more like a little over an hour. I stared at the walls and became increasingly uneasy that it was taking so long. When the doctor finally came in, she had that same grim look on her face, so I knew that I was to expect bad news. I was prepared to hear that I was miscarrying and nothing could be done, but what I heard shocked me even more.

She basically sat me down and said that there was nothing more that she could do for me. She explained that the lining of my uterus is getting thicker everyday. This thing happens normally, but mine is abnormal and too thick. The bleeding/spotting is coming from my body not being able to contain all the wall. She said this wasn't serious, but is something that could become serious very quickly. She prescribed a medication that will make me bleed heavily for 2 weeks to a month. She thinks that will help clear out all the 'gunk' left inside me. She also told me that my cervix has been through a lot of damage from past pregnancies and she thinks that's the reason I've lost so many children in the past. Now my cervix is hardened and won't allow any sperm in, that's why I've not gotten pregnant in over 2 years. The next step in trying to get pregnant would be fertility drugs, a sugar lower medication (to enhance the fertility drugs capabilities), and a IUI (inter-uterine insemination).

I was just dumbfounded by all this. It was information overload for me and I couldn't believe that I'd hit this point in the road. And then she says this, "You are running out of time." I knew I was and even stated that before, but to hear it come out of her mouth so bluntly was quite a shock to me. It was almost like hearing a death sentence. Now I know that she can't know the exact time or date when my chances will be over with, but I believe she has an idea.

She referred me to a specialist who helps patients with PCOS and infertility. The first measure of treatment will be to get all the bleeding to clear up and possibly manually scrapping out my uterus. The specialist will probably do some internal probing and possibly even a exploratory surgery to find out if anything else is wrong. Then would come the actual fertility treatments, all of which will not be covered by my insurance. I'm not sure how far we will go with this, but I am going in for the first visit to get his opinion and discuss some options.

My husband and I took the evening out last night, did some shopping, got our minds off things for a bit, and then did some serious talking on the way home (over a nice cup of Starbucks no less). Both of us feel that intervention or not we WILL have a baby. We're praying about where we should go from here. The first step is to get me healthy again, of course. But the rest is still a mystery.

Last night both of us felt a definate peace about things and I believe that's a direct effect prayers from all over. I didn't want to write anything last night because I wanted things to settle in my mind and for God to be able to speak to me about it if He wanted to. Today I still have a peace about things, but I have been delaying calling the specialist to confirm an appointment. I'm not sure why I'm procrastinating. I think it's largely due to the fact that my husband is at work right now and I'd feel better about it if he were here. Anywho, that's my very LONG update.

~*Melody*~

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

An Inspiring Message of Hide and Seek

The following was delivered to my bulletins box on MySpace today. It's a little blog/devotional type thing from Rebecca St. James. I just found this really inspiring and thought I'd share it with the rest of you.........

REBECCA’S MESSAGE: “HIDE & SEEK!”

I was reading a book this morning by one of my fave authors, Henri Nouwen, and I came across a quote that really resonated with me. I hope it touches a chord with you as well and encourages your heart today..

"I am beginning now to see how radically the character of my spiritual journey will change when I no longer think of God as hiding out and making it as difficult as possible for me to find him, but, instead, as the one who is looking for me while I am doing the hiding...Wouldn't it be wonderful to make God smile by giving God the chance to find me and love me lavishly?"

After reading this I had a picture of God playfully standing at every corner of my life calling out 'Rebecca, Rebecca..' leading me out of my hiding places. It was a picture of how much he loves me and how through nature and people and experiences and worship and service He is calling me into a deeper love relationship with Him.

Look for him calling your name today, my friends! He wants to find you and love you lavishly..
Rebecca

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Thoughts

I've been having some serious thoughts about where God is leading me. It seems that as time goes on that my calling is drawing further and further from youth ministry. I've been wondering if this is God's way of taking me down a new path of ministry. I'm not sure that I'm ready to go down another path. I just don't feel strong enough yet to tread new waters.

It's a strange feeling I've had lately. I know that changes bring new feelings, thoughts and emotions, but at times I feel like a completely different person than I was this time last year. Last year at this time, I'd just finished one of the most and least successful events of my life. It was a big fall festival event, complete with kids games, a hay ride, bon fire roast and lots of stress. I'd organized and put on the whole event all by myself (and the wonderful help of my husband). It was quite an acheivement, at least to me it was. All the kids and most of the adults had thoroughly enjoyed themselves, that part was the success. But the attitudes, lack of needed support and people's utter arrogance ruined the whole day for me. I believe that's the day when my whole world fell apart. Everything changed from that day on.

But who was I then? Who am I now? I'm two completely different people. Progression has been a fading dream. Regression has been a constant fear. The song 'Dearly Loved' is playing as I'm typing this, "Do you know that you are dearly loved." Followed by the song 'East to West.' Are you trying to tell me something Lord?

Lord, I'm so tired of sitting here crying and wondering how I could come to this point in my life. How am I so damaged? I've been on damage control my entire life, but most of the time it was someone else's damage that I was dealing with. Was I the one that was tragically damaged all along? How can this damaged self rise again? How do I overcome the scars of the past? How do I overcome the scars that are self-inflicted? How, Lord, How?!?!

I want to be whole again. Again, wow, what a concept...was I ever really whole. I think back to the time when I first heard God's call on my life. I was 12 years old and it was at a girls youth group that I'd help to create and run. A teacher at my elementary school had became one of my best friends a few years earlier. She was an amazing example of what a Christian woman was supposed to look like. I will be forever endebted to her for the guidance and foundation she placed in my life. The night I heard God calling me, I really had no idea what that meant. I knew that God had something special in mind for me; something that sent my mind soaring and my heart dreaming. Yet, some 14 years later, I know what that looked like. I know that God placed me in ministry for a reason, but somehow I always thought it would be much longer. I just feel like God wouldn't have called me out so many years ago, allow me to seek Him for direction, let me serve briefly, and then just leave me hanging. Am I missing something?

A little saying came to me a couple months back and I still have it written on a piece of paper here on my desk.
Reflection doesn't start in the light. It starts in the shadows of your heart.
I'm not sure why my eyes went to that this evening. I'm not sure why God gave that to me. But I'm sure there are reasons. I'm going to go now and spend some time in prayer. It seems I have a lot of unfinished business that needs to be discussed with my Lord.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A New Adventure

Lately I've decided to take a new adventure. My creative side has always been very important to me. Over the years I've made a little bit of everything, from dollhouses to quilts. I've always felt so free and in my element when I'm letting my creativity flow.

A few months ago, I came across Etsy.com and suddenly fell in love with the idea of selling my own handmade items. After thinking about it and praying for a while, I decided to go ahead and give it a shot.

My first endeavor was painting the outside of an art journal. Honestly, I hadn't had a blank canvas and a palette filled with paints in front of me in many years. But after getting over my initial fears of 'messing up' the canvas, I was soaring high, completely liberated. There was no plan in my mind of where the painting would go. Allowing my brush to lead the way, I was instantly transported somewhere else for just a bit. I was completely carefree to do whatever I wished; without fears.

Could it be that God gave me creativity to overcome the perfectionist; the overachiever; the one who wants control? Could God be calling me to transition from being held down to being truely free? Can I really radiate creativity instead of failure? May this mindset be my 'healing' from the pains of the past and uncompleted work?

I believe I may be transitioning into a time of renewal.

http://creativeradiance.etsy.com

Monday, October 8, 2007

Transitions of Ministry

I hinted at a few more transitions in my last entry. I have a lot more going on in life than just trying to have a baby, but most of the time it appears to be the most consuming thing.

Over the past 8 or 9 months, I have been through so many new things. I'm excited about many of these new things, but some of the transitions have been rough. I'll try to focus on just one of those transitions today: ministry.

Ministry in a word looks very simple; a three syllable word, yet it contains more depth than any book could hold. Yes my very life has revolved around ministry since shortly after I was married. Ministry, more specifically, youth ministry has changed me, moved me, and projected me into a life that I never thought possible, yet that very life was a dream come true. God has blessed me with an amazing husband who has supported, encouraged and assisted me through some of the craziest times of our lives. I can think back to the many blunders. But it's those moments of sheer joy that I'll always treasure; delicate moments, breakthrough moments, and breakdown moments.

However, when my husband and I heard God's call to leave our church everything that had become the familiar in ministry changed forever. I was no longer the youth pastor of this small group of teens. I was no longer in direct responsibility of or in connection with their individual lives. Ultimately I felt no longer needed. Ministry took new meaning for me; a meaning that I wasn't quite prepared for.

Today 9 months later, I sit in front of my computer just outside my living room. I'm able to have time to sit and write about my feelings. I'm able to come home and make my husband dinner every afternoon. On weekends, my house isn't filled with teenagers nor am I gracing the dance floor at a school dance. My life is drasticly different now. Sometimes those differences are very rewarding, but often times it's only a painful reminder that my life has transitioned to something much different than I had dreamed.

We left our former church in pain. Many things had transpired through the years that had not been properly dealt with; a proverbial sweeping under the rug, if you may. The trials and storms surrounding the church and it's people had been overwhelming for years. I had prayed many times for God to move us out of the situation. I guess I prayed more specifically for God to move in our situation, no matter what the cost. I hadn't guessed that the cost would be a personal cost to me. I hadn't guessed that my life would be so drastically different. And I hadn't guessed that the change would hurt so much. The change did hurt, but the transition continues to hurt.

Remember, I, by definition, am an overachiever. Picking up, packing up, and leaving without looking back was my entire agenda at that point in time. Sure I had to say goodbye properly to 'my kids' and I gave them the full explanation of why we were leaving. But this kind of leaving made me feel like I'd left work undone; unfinished for the rest of my life. Talk about being a failure; yes, that is exactly what I felt like; a failure, with a capital F.

I know that I didn't fail in the task that God had given me. There were some amazing times with this group. We saw God move in miraculous ways. Those teens saw our hearts and understood that we loved them and wanted nothing but God's best for them. I know all those things in my heart. I believe that we had completed our part of that mission. Yet, deep down, I've since wondered if there were other things that I should have done.

Call it what you may, I call it my tragic flaw. I always want to do more; to be more; to live more. That's my life as an overachiever.

BTW: I have transitioned into a new ministry. I'm still working in youth ministry, just in a completely different capacity, with a completely different group. I'm not quite sure how to define it, as I'm still transitioning into it. When I figure it out, I'll let you know. ;-)

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Transitions of an Overachiever

I, by definition, am an overachiever. My whole life has revolved around my achievements, or currently my lack thereof. I'm not quite sure how I adopted this mindset, habit, personality trait, whatever you wanna call it. Overachieving is my strongest and my weakest trait.

Some people may label me as a perfectionist as well. Personally, I know better. I'm a random perfectionist. I'm much more specific than generic. If I'm passionate about something I will be a complete perfectionist. On the other hand, if something interests me little or becomes a boring laborious task, I might be a complete slob with it. Hence, the description of myself; random perfectionist.

The life of an overachiever has many ups and downs. For me, anything less than a super achievement is a failure. The feeling of failure is the biggest struggle of my life, no matter what it is in reference to. I hope that one day I can overcome my insatiable failure reflex.

So that's a bit of who I am. I would love to be able to tell my story and share my adventures with you. For now, I'll share what I'm currently going through. My husband and I are trying to have a baby. We've lost 6 pregnancies over the past 7 years of marriage (8 years in September). After not getting pregnant in over a year and much prayer, we decided that it was time to begin fertility treatments. Our doctor has given us some encouragement and reassured us that my next pregnancy will be much healthier due to be monitored heavily and with the help of the fertility medicines. While the encouragement does help, I'm still very apprehensive about future pregnancies. But I serve a God who is more than capable of helping us delivery a beautiful healthy child. It is God who we rely on for strength and guidance, through His help alone will we achieve a successful pregnancy.

I have completed two cycles of the fertility treatments. I am currently in the dreaded waiting period. I have one more cycle before we'll have to try another fertility treatment. As each day passes (so slowly at times), I am one day closer to finding out if my life will change forever or stay the same. This is one transition that I'm looking forward to .

Other transitions...not so much...

Life Changes

Recently life has thrown some major changes my way. I've been pushed and pulled from all I've ever known into a new world that leaves me feeling misplaced. I know that this is the path where God has placed me. I must be obedient to this call as I search for my place again.

My life involves so many variables at the moment; variables that are difficult, at best, to explain. Bare with me as we explore each of these variables together.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Brief Introduction

I'm a Christian woman in her mid-20's. I'm very serious about my faith and my relationship with God. I enjoy spending time on online keeping in touch with friends and family. My husband and I are very busy working in the ministry. We are both ministers. We enjoy working with youth and seeing them grow into spiritual mature Christians. Currently we are seeking God's direction for a new church/ministry. We are resting in God's prescence at a wonderful church. Resting in God is wonderful and I will enjoy it as long as the Lord wills, but I am eagerly awaiting the journey God is preparing us for.

My Bookshelf

Shelfari: Book reviews on your book blog
I Took The Handmade Pledge! BuyHandmade.org
The Breast Cancer Site