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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Leap of Faith

Leap: n: An abrupt or precipitous passage, shift, or transition

This week I took a major leap.  A life-changing leap, a terrifying leap, an exciting leap and a leap of faith.  I quit my job.  The job I love, with people I love, in an organization I love and at a place I feel at home at, comfortable at and most of all a place that has allowed me to work with my husband.  It was one of the hardest and yet easiest decisions I have ever made mainly because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am obeying God.

Let me back up a bit and give you some insight into why I made this decision.  Last year, God laid it on my heart to take my experiences with infertility and use it to reach others who may be struggling.  The first step in this was to start this blog, but beyond that I had no idea what He had planned.  I felt compelled to possibly start small groups for those struggling with infertility, but I never felt truly clear about the direction of this.  In the last year, I have been home sick or recovering from surgery for two different, long stretches.  At these times, God spoke to me clearly in regards to what He had planned for this blog, how He had much bigger plans for it and additionally different plans for my life.  This brings me to this decision to leave LifeChurch.tv and follow His calling on my life.

I feel very fortunate to work in such a place that has fed into my spiritual growth and continues to support me even in the decision to leave and move on. I have grown spiritually while working at LifeChurch.tv in ways I never would have otherwise.  I know that I would not have been able to take this leap of faith without being here the last couple of years.  I feel fortunate that my husband will still be here, so I can still be a part of this amazing family.  I have numerous people that I have shared this decision with remind me of one of our core values here at LifeChurch.tv: "we give up things we love, for things we love more."

So, what will I be doing now?  I will be staying home to be a Mommy and wife and I will be working to take the next steps in starting a non-profit reaching women and families struggling with infertility 
Helping the Hannahs Mission Statement: 
 We are working to reach individuals and families that have been impacted by infertility and provide support to these individuals through groups, speakers and resources.

I am full of expectations for what God has planned in this next stage of my life.  I am taking this huge leap and as scary as it will be, I know that God will bless my obedience.  I do not know the future or what He has planned through all of this, but I hold strong onto His calling and His words from Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Friday, October 12, 2012

Holding Pattern

As I thought over the last 9 months of my life, I had the realization that I have been living my life just waiting for things to work out for good or bad and have been living life in a holding pattern waiting to land and constantly thinking I may not land safely.  I have been waiting for the next day, week, or month to come so that I could see what type of tail-spin my life would go in.  I am not saying that I don't have happy moments and good days, but it has just been the overall way I have approached life recently.  When did I become so jaded that I believed that tomorrow could be terrible?  When did I allow a negative perspective and attitude that I am just circling and waiting and doing the same things over and over believing the worst to happen become the way I lived? 

The last 9 months of my family's life has been filled with illness, financial strain, more illness, surgery,  and the people I love being sick, hurt and struggling.  My marriage has also faced some major obstacles and my positive attitude and outlook on life has been tested.  I have been struggling to find clarity on many decisions and issues that we have been facing.  I know that I had been given clear direction by God on some key issues, but I have been so afraid to move forward in them.

Darren and I recently had a huge answer to prayer financially and a few days later as I was driving to work I felt overwhelmed with thankfulness and relief.  After the initial relief passed, I started thinking about how I had been living my life lately and how many moments I had potentially missed by being in a holding pattern and letting everything pass by me with notice.  When we are in a holding pattern, we can quit doing so many good things because of fear of what bad things could happen.  I prayed and asked for for forgiveness in that moment.  I also asked that God would give me the opportunities to land and engage in my life and not be so distracted by the "what-ifs" and the "could happens."  I don't want to be in a holding pattern any more, it is tiring way to live life! I don't want to live in fear anymore and I want to be everything that God has called me to be.  I want to help encourage others around me and not let any moment to spend time with God, my family, or friends pass me by.  I must give up my control to God and believe that is it okay that He is only the one that knows the future of my family.  I know that I am going to face many more obstacles in my future, but no matter what I don't want to stay in a holding pattern, I want to fly and land on the things that He has planned for me.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Strong enough

Wow, two blog posts in one week is a definite record for me!  I have been thinking a lot about being strong and being a strong person for everyone.  I was recently told that I didn't need to be strong for everyone and that I need to allow myself and others to rely on God and not try to be everything for everyone (this was very humbling to say the least). 

This seems like such a simple concept and it seems like it should be so freeing to not try to be strong enough all the time, right?  Yet, I have struggled day after day for the last few weeks to try to figure out how this looks.  I always want to have everything all together for me, my family, work, my friends etc.  I hate to break down. I hate to show weakness. I want to be in control and I am definitely proud. 

What are the real reasons behind my inability to show weakness and be real?  Do I worry and care so much about what others think of me?  Do I not trust God who has again and again been faithful?  Do I only keep it together because if I let down all the pieces will fall apart?  I think I could truly answer yes to all of the above questions! 

I also have realized that through many years of dealing with illness and pain, I have learned to try to appear strong through it and put on a smile, even when I was hurting.  I believe that because of those moments, I learned to not be the real, authentic person that I am called to be. 

So, now I am working on still figuring out how this looks.  I have held on so long to this belief that I could handle anything that I am frightened of what it would look like to not have it all together all the time.  I know that in the moments that I have been truly authentic, real and broken I have learned more that I ever could by keeping it together and pretending everything is okay.  So, for those of you that know me, if you see me crying or being weak :-), please know that I am working to let God be my strength and I am working to be the authentic, real and weak person that I truly am. I also am praying for who are like me and are constantly battling to be strong enough, that you, like me, will realize that it is okay to not be strong enough on your own.

I will leave you with the words from Matthew West's song "Strong Enough."  This song that I have heard many times hit me full-force this morning as I drove to work.  I am glad that I don't have to be strong enough on my own, but only through Jesus Christ my Savior! I am looking forward to the freedom that this will bring.


You must, you must think I'm strong to give me what I'm going through
Well, forgive me, forgive me if I'm wrong but this looks like more than I can do on my own
 
I know I'm not strong enough to be everything that I'm supposed to be I give up I'm not strong enough
Hands of mercy won't you cover me Lord right now I'm asking you to be strong enough strong enough For the both of us
 
Well, maybe, maybe that's the point to reach the point of giving up
Cause when I'm finally, finally at rock bottom well, that's when I start looking up and reaching out
I know I'm not strong enough to be everything that I'm supposed to be I give up I'm not strong enough 

Hands of mercy won't you cover me Lord right now I'm asking you to be Strong enough Strong enough
Cause I'm broken down to nothing but I'm still holding on to the one thing you are God and you are strong when I am weak
 
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength and I don't have to be strong enough strong enough
I can do all things Through Christ who gives me strength and I don't have to be strong enough strong enough
 
Oh, yeah
I know I'm not strong enough to be everything that I'm supposed to be I give up I'm not strong enough 
Hands of mercy won't you cover me Lord right now 
I'm asking you to be strong enough strong enough strong enough

[ From: http://www.metrolyrics.com/strong-enough-lyrics-matthew-west.html ]

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Life-altering moments

I know we all have had life-altering moments. Those moments that you never forget.  Those moments that you can remember every detail about. Those moments that are forever burned into your brain.  In view of my most recent post about being grateful for what I have and choosing to look at life with a positive attitude, some of my life-altering moments came to mind. 

One of the most vivid and difficult moments I have had was the day I was told that Darren and I would never be able to have more children unless we tried IVF and even then our chances of conceiving were very low (there are many more details here, I chose to leave out).  I was driving my daughter and my nieces home from a day at a water park when the fertility doctor's office called.  I remember what street I was on and I vividly remember ever detail of the conversation.  I also remember breaking down when I got to my sister's house to drop off my nieces.  I remember my Mom and my sister comforting me.  I remember calling Darren and crying so badly that he couldn't understand what I was trying to say.  I remember feeling shell-shocked that after 4 years of trying, hoping and praying to have a baby being told I couldn't.  I remember being angry, sad, mad, hurt and in shock all at the same time.  I remember feeling like my world had ended.  I remember thinking that I didn't know how to go on and pretend things were normal when all I could think about was never being able to have a baby. 

As you can see every time this difficult life-altering moment comes to my mind there are a lot of thoughts and emotions behind it.  Maybe you are still living with the aftershock of some difficult life-altering moments of your own.  It may not be related to infertility, maybe you have gone through the pain of losing a child, maybe you are having to deal with devastating health news for you or a loved one, maybe you have had a negative and life-altering moment in your marriage, whatever that moment was for you I am sure that when you think about it, there are a lot of emotions associated with it. 

Will you (and I) dwell on these difficult moments or will you learn from them, grow from them and  eventually be able to help others going through similar situations?  Will you remember the verse from Romans 5:3-5 that says "More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."

So back to the positive outlook (see my positive spin there).  One of my other vivid life-altering moments was the day that my husband of 11 years asked me to marry him.  I was 20 years-old (yes, I was young and Kaitlyn will have to be at least 35 before she gets married :-),  I was a Junior in college.  Darren and I had been dating exactly a year. It was Valentine's Day and I knew Darren had my engagement ring. We had picked it out together and one night I sent him to pick out a movie for us and I looked through his apartment until I found it.  I also knew he had asked my Dad for his permission to ask me to marry him. Darren knew how much I hated surprises, so in true fashion he decided to mess with me.   When I talked with him that day he acted like he had forgotten it was Valentine's Day and didn't mention us doing anything that night.  I was so upset by the time he picked me up from my dorm that I didn't even want to go out that night.  We drove to Applebee's which was the restaurant we ate at on our first date (we are real big spenders :-). When we got there I knew this was the night he was going to propose.  I even called my friend Nancy from the bathroom to tell her.  After a dinner of not eating much because I was so excited, Darren proceeded to read to me (he is an amazing writer) from a special book he had written that documented all that had happened in the last year of our relationship.  He drove me around Oklahoma City to special spots and gave me a rose at each place. At the final spot, he had the whole bouquet of roses and in the roses was my ring. He made the night so special and sweet that I will never forget this positive life-altering moment.

 So we all have those good and bad life-altering moments, what do we do with them?  I know I am personally still in the learning process of how to not dwell on the negative life-altering moments, but instead to learn from them.  I do not want to be defined simply by the bad moments I have had, but I want to be defined by how I am living my life now and by the many positive life-altering moments I have experienced.  I know that I cannot alter my past, change the hurts that have happened to me or completely forget all of those bad life-altering moments, but I can choose to face each day grateful for what I have and grateful even for those difficult, life-altering moments that are producing character and hope within me.

Friday, August 17, 2012

What do I have to be grateful for?

When I sit down to write my blog post I always pray and ask for wisdom about what I should write that day.  Sometimes, I question why I am being asked to write on a particular topic and sometimes the words come freely and clearly without question.  My prayer is always the same "God show me what you would have me to share today, may it touch someone who is hurting and may my words not be harsh or judgmental for you know I have a long ways to go in my journey."  Today's post was definitely not one that came quickly or easily. Whenever I discuss my daughter, my heart breaks for those that don't have any children and are dealing with infertility.  I don't pity or feel sorry for them (I don't like people pitying me), instead I ache for what they are experiencing and know that their journey has to be one of the hardest.  So, my hope and prayer in writing today's post is that you will hear the message of my heart.
Yesterday, was my daughter's first day of school, she started 3rd grade.  I dread every school year because it reminds me of how much she has grown and how we will only have her at home for a short time.  I managed to hold it together pretty well as I took her into her school and watched her find her teacher in her morning assembly.  I even held it together as I walked to the car and drove away.  Driving down the rode to work, I was hit by the realization that I had dropped her off for 3rd grade.  A year filled with letter grades, state testing and many expectations on my sweet 8 year-old.  To be completely honest, I was not only filled with sadness that she was growing-up so fast, but also with anger that this may possibly be my last day to take a child to 3rd grade.  I am normally a rather optimistic, glass half-full person, but I was not thinking that way yesterday.  I begin to question God and why he would allow me to have this longing to have more children and not provide.  All day long I struggled with this question and was really sad and upset.  Needless to say, it was not a great day for me :-).
Last night, as I got my daughter ready for bed and I begin rushing around to get everything ready for yet another day, my sweet little girl out of the blue said to me "mommy, you are the bestest mommy in the world and there isn't another mommy I would want to have.  I wouldn't trade you for anything."  She then proceeded to ask me to tell her the story of how she was a miracle and how I wasn't supposed to be able to have babies.  I told her once again about how special she is, about how God healed her when she was still in my tummy and there was something wrong with her brain and about how a couple years after she was born we found out that we shouldn't have been able to have any children.  She then said the sweetest and most humbling thing to me.  She told me that she was glad that me and daddy had her, because it would be really hard if we didn't have her.  Wow, talk about a wake-up call from an 8 year-old! All day long, I was angry and sad about not having more children, instead of focusing on what I had right in front of me.  I feel truly blessed to have Kaitlyn and to have her call me mommy.
 So here is what I learned from my 8 year-old, rather wise daughter: I need to focus more on what I have been blessed with and not on what I don't have.  I need to spend each day thanking God for given me a miracle child.  I could sure use Kaitlyn's perspective on so many things I face and get frustrated about. 
I know we are told again and again to count our blessings and be grateful for what we have, but if you are anything like me that is one of the hardest things to do when you are facing this infertility battle. 
What do you have to be thankful for today?  A loving and supportive husband?  A roof over your head?  A family that loves you?  A job?  Food to eat everyday?  A church family?  Close friends?  Your health?  I know that it is truly hard to be grateful for what you have, when there is something that you pray for and want so badly, but please take a moment today to be thankful for what you do have and don't take anything for granted!  I know this is what I need to do more often, I bet if I do I will have some better days.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Healing

The meaning of healing according to Merriam-Webster.com is to make sound or whole; to restore to health, to cause (an undesirable condition) to be overcome: mend; "the troubles...had not been forgotten, but they had been healed" William Power.

The quote in the last part of that definition really stood out to me today as I contemplated the word healing.  I have recently been recovering from yet another surgery (hopefully the last) related to my endometriosis.  I was down for 4 weeks instead of the 1 that was expected and I am still dealing with lingering issues from the complications of this surgery.  When I sat down to decide how to write this new blog post and especially after reading the definition of healing, I was struck with how very appropriate this definition is for not only the last 4 weeks of my recovery, but for the last 6 years of my life and all the healing, both physically and emotionally, that I have had to face with infertility.  We are taught and encouraged to "heal" and move on with things.  We are allowed to mourn, but we are told "buck up," "deal with it," "get over it," and the always fun "it's okay to mourn, but you have to move on eventually." I often think that we push people to heal too quickly and in doing this we do not allow them to truly process what it is they are recovering from.  Do emotional wounds really heal?  After the physical damage or initial trauma has passed can you really move on?  Do you ever recover from being told you can't have children?  Do you ever recover from losing a baby?  Do you ever recover from not being able to reach a dream that you have dreamed since childhood of having a big family?  Do you ever recover from the heartbreak of having to explain to your child why they don't have any siblings?  Do you ever recover from watching people who can't provide for the children they have, have child after child while you sit back and try with no results?  Maybe the above definition answers this: the troubles had not been forgotten, but they had been healed.  I am not saying we live in self-pity, bitterness, or constant turmoil, but maybe we do heal and never forget.  Now, this is where I really want to challenge you (and me), maybe that not forgetting part is the reason that we grow?  Maybe you wouldn't be the person you are or I wouldn't be the person I am without having to heal from all the things we have experienced.  The Bible also speaks to this in Romans 5:3 3 but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. My very wise Father recently reminded that nothing in our life goes to waste, all of your experiences both good and bad have prepared you for what you are facing.  I encourage you today to know that it is okay for your troubles to not be forgotten.  Healing is truly a journey. I pray you can learn from the long, bumpy and unpredictable ride.

****I would love to hear from each of you, please e-mail me at currinfamily@cox.net with your pray requests, stories of healing, infertility, miscarriage, serious health conditions etc.  I would also ask that you include what has been or would be the most helpful thing(s) that people can or have done to help you in your healing.  Thanks in advance for sharing!****

Friday, May 18, 2012

Life's a journey - The continuation

I know I have once again been neglecting my blog.  In January I began to deal with some not so fun health issues and pain.  I am doing much better today and am grateful for each and every day and am reminded to not take anything for granted.
I have been fervently praying for this blog and my outreach to those impacted by infertility and I would ask that each of you would pray for guidance for me in what God would wants me to do to help the Hannahs.  I have been led to continue to share the next part of my journey and do so in continued hope that it will be the words that someone walking in similar shoes needs to hear.
Last time I stopped with the birth of our daughter Kaitlyn on March 10, 2004.  After she was born, Darren and I went through the life-changing adjustment of being parents.  It was during the first few weeks of Kaitlyn's life that I was reminded hourly why God gave me Darren as a partner and husband.  He was/is an amazing Father.  He never stressed when she cried, he didn't seem impacted by the lack of sleep and most of all he was a baby-whisperer and could put her to sleep in an instant.  I was a bit more gradual into being comfortable as a mom.  Don't get me wrong I truly loved this amazing, beautiful and miracle of a child, but I am a routine person and this was a whole routine for me :-). After the first couple of months, I finally felt comfortable and felt like God had given me a new calling in life of being the best Mom I could be to Kaitlyn.  I started staying home with Kaitlyn and I also started watching my niece who was 3 after my sister started teaching again.  I really did love every minute of being a mom, I couldn't wait to see all the changes that each day brought and truly tried to cherish each one.
We always planned to have more children, we never questioned it or even really discussed it we just knew we would have more.  After having Kaitlyn I found that birth control pills made me feel terrible and I had begun to have a lot of pain every single month during and right after my period.  We never really tried to not get pregnant, but when Kaitlyn was about 2 1/2 we started to make it a priority.  I went and visited with my doctor, let her know we wanted to have more children and explained that I was concerned because I having pain. She informed me that I should get on birth control pills for a few months and then get off of them and try to get pregnant then.  She also told me that because I had one child with my husband there was no reason to believe that we could not have more children.  She dismissed my pain as just being regular hormonal issues and nothing more. She said that if we were not able to get pregnant  within a year she would discuss further options.  I did the birth control, felt miserable for a few months and then got off and started trying to get pregnant again.  After a frustrating year of trying to get pregnant and after finding out my gallbladder was not functioning properly, I went back to my doctor.  She told me that she didn't see any issues and that she wanted me to make sure to have my gallbladder taken care of before I got pregnant.  I was also told by her to start doing temperature tracking, but that things still appeared normal and she did not think anything was hindering me from getting pregnant.  I again brought up the continuing and worsening pain and the fact that my sister had endometriosis and said that her pain was very similar to mine.  She told me that she did not think that was my problem and was not comfortable pursuing it because she did not believe I had endometriosis.
In October of that same year, I had my gallbladder removed per my doctor's orders and started to try to get pregnant again.  I tried to stay relaxed about the whole situation and even though I was doing temperature tracking, I did not obsess or worry about it.  This was of course much easier said than done :-). That year, I had friend after friend get pregnant, many after not trying or planning to have any or more children.  All the while I watched as I entered my third year of trying to get pregnant and getting very frustrated and feeling that no one, not even my doctor, was listening to my concerns.
In the midst of this year, my amazing, godly, loving Mother ended up in the hospital for three weeks, my marriage went through an extreme crisis and my husband's job was in utter chaos.  Darren and I had now begun what we still refer to as some of the darkest years of our lives.  After the crisis our marriage went through, we went to an amazing marriage counselor.  In one of our many sessions, Darren was discussing his concerns about my health and how I never felt good and had been dealing with unexplained pain for a few years now.  Our counselor recommended changing doctors and told me of some good doctors in the area we live.  After years of feeling like no one was listening to or caring about my concerns, I finally felt like I had some reassurance that I wasn't crazy and that I needed to listen to my body.
In December of that year, I went to see a new doctor.  After my examination I was taken into his office and told that he believed I had many of the symptoms and characteristics of endometriosis, including infertility.  He wanted to schedule surgery immediately and then discuss our options based on what he found.   In January of 2009, I had my first of many surgeries to come, exploratory laparoscopy with ablation.  What my doctor found both terrified me and gave me hope for  a future baby.  I not only had severe endometriosis, but it had blocked my fallopian tubes and grown on other non-reproductive organs.  My doctor was able to remove the endometriosis from one of my tubes, but the other one could not be cleared out without the risk of injury, so we would have to move onto some further treatment options.  We could no longer try to get pregnant until we had this taken care in fear of an ectopic pregnancy.  The treatments discussed at my follow-up exam from the surgery were fairly grim, but they were options and the doctor assured us that I had a high probability of getting pregnant after we went through further treatment.
I know this has been a lengthy and detailed post and it is a story that I hesitate to share in such detail and only do in hopes that I can help those who are hurting.  There are so many stories within this story about God's grace, peace, mercy, hope, provision and love, about friends and family who loved us, supported us and prayed for us. Through these dark years that I wrote about in this post and will write about in my future posts, I have had many people tell both Darren and I that they do not know how we handled things as well as we did.  I only have one answer that comes to mind and that answer is we didn't get through it by our own strength, but by God's strength.  Even when our faith wavered and we doubted we would ever make it through, He was still there and continues to be there!!


Friday, January 13, 2012

The Beginning

I have been very hesitant to share my story on the blog.  At first I chalked it up to not wanting the blog to be about me and my experiences, but wanting the blog to be about helping others going through the pain of infertility. As time as gone on I have discovered that a lot of my hesitation is instead from my fear of being vulnerable.  I had to come to grips with the reasons that I first felt called to start this blog and how I wanted to be open and honest to all who would read it and hopefully learn something from it.  So I will start telling the first part of my story and I hope and pray it helps some of you.

My husband, Darren and I met my Sophomore year of college, I was 19 and he was 26.  We met through a mutual friend and attended a Singles Bible Study led by our now Pastor.  I knew when I met Darren that there was something very different and special about him.  I was not a big dater in high school or college and had only had one serious boyfriend before meeting Darren, so for me to know there was something different about this guy was very unusual.  We dated for a little over a year before Darren asked me to marry him and after being engaged for a year and a half we were married.  We did pre-marital counseling with our friend who married us, but never dreamed of what our future would hold. 

After being married for almost 2 years Darren and I decided we were ready to enter the world of parenthood.  With lots of prayers, fears and anxiety we began the process of trying to get pregnant and 4 months later I discovered that I was happily pregnant!  We never knew at this time what a true miracle this was or how special this only pregnancy would be.   I had a very normal pregnancy until we went to our ultrasound at 19 weeks.  We went that day and heard all the normal things and heard that things look good and we learned that we were having a girl!  I was over the moon excited and felt so glad seeing our little girl on screen for the very first time.  A few days after our ultrasound I received a call from my doctor while I was at work with some very disturbing news. It was one of those life-changing moments where I can still picture what I was wearing and where I was standing. They believed that after further review of our ultrasound that my beautiful little girl had a severe birth defect in her brain and that it was possibly hydrocephalus.  We were referred to a high-risk pregnancy center and were told to expect the worse.  My regular doctor even recommended an abortion and I was livid at this suggestion and told her that no matter what the future held an abortion was not an option for us.  Throughout all of this, I felt closer to God and felt such an amazing amount of unexplainable peace that I really believed we would get through this.  I also prayed harder than I had ever had, all the while believing she would be okay. We went to the high-risk pregnancy clinic and after an ultrasound we were informed it was not hydrocephalus, but was choroid plexus cysts http://www.babyzone.com/pregnancy/health_wellness/prenatal_tests/ultrasound/article/choroid-plexus-cyst.  These cysts don't normally cause harm, but can sometimes be the precursor for other genetic diseases.  Based on these findings, an amniocentesis was done and I was scheduled to come back in for many more ultrasounds.  After my amniocentesis I started bleeding and feared I was having a miscarriage.  After a trip to the hospital I was informed that she was fine, but I made a few more trips to the hospital with bleeding, so it was a constant emotional roller-coaster.  At 31 weeks, we went back for yet another ultrasound and were told the cysts were gone and all the tests had come back completely normal.  We felt like our prayers had been answered and that this child was even more of a blessing. 

On March 10, 2004, Kaitlyn Grace Currin came into our lives.  She was the most beautiful, easy-going, loving child from the beginning (she is very stubborn like her Mom though).  Our lives were changed that day and the miracle that God had given us was there for us to hold in our arms.  We were parents, we were a little family and we felt very blessed!

So obviously, I am going to add more to our story very soon, but I do believe that our daughter is a big part of our story and therefore this is a good stopping point.  I feel everyday that God gave me a true miracle and as I add to the story you will understand this more.  I know some of you may be reading this and you have been unable to have any children, so I hope that this part of my story, even though it may not be applicable for you right now, will not turn you off from reading more.  For those of you who have been unable to have or adopt any children, my burden for you is heavier and I pray for you each day to have the grace to take life a day at a time and survive this tough road you have been given to travel.