There’s no place…

I’m alive!  

I have had an exhausting, taxing, fun, and awesome time on my trip.  I came for a wedding, and that was last weekend.  I had low expectations, but it ended up being fun and beautiful.  My best friend tagged along, and I was disappointed at how little fun we had.  She is sorting through a lot of things right now and needed to talk about it…but gee whiz, I was expecting a break and ended up being a forced counselor all weekend.  When I tried to listen and help and then transition to lighter topics, she would end up getting angry with traffic or the caterers…you name it.  I haven’t seen this side of her before, and I was thoroughly disappointed with our time together.  It has taken me nearly the whole week to recover from the emotional exhaustion of the weekend.

The good news is another friend of mine came to visit, and we had the best time.  I was thrilled to be able to see her again.  We weren’t sure where our friendship would lead when Hubby and I left for Australia, and it has completely bloomed and blossomed.  I couldn’t be more thrilled.  I’ll write more about that later.  I dropped her off at the airport and enjoyed the quiet drive home.  I did a few errands and soon realised that I’m ready to go home.  I have the weekend ahead and a long flight home before I can get there, but I feel ready.  I miss my husband, I miss my house, I miss my guinea pigs.  I miss Australian accents.  I think if I met Dorothy right now, I would feel like her kindred spirit.

When I get home, our ttc journey officially begins!  

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I am so excited…

I am so excited about my trip that I couldn’t sleep past 6:30 this morning.  I went to bed at midnight.  Ahaha, I suppose it doesn’t matter, though, because the plane ride is so so long that I’ll have plenty of time to sleep.

Hubby took me on a date yesterday.  Gosh, I love that man.  He makes me laugh and remember how good life is.  We had a lot of laughs yesterday and enjoyed the simple pleasure of each other’s company.  We went to see a movie and did some last minute trip shopping, but it was so fun.

Also, I bought Bethany Dillon’s new EP last night.  Oh man, her music touches a place deep in my soul.  Her music has helped me through many dark times and given me something beautiful to sing in times of joy as well.  I have always felt that if we met, we’d be kindred spirits.  

I think I’ve given up on keeping up with the March photo challenge.  Sorry y’all, I got stuck on one day and then felt I had to catch up with all the other photos before I could move on…and now I’m so far behind.  I’ll see what I can do, but I’m not making any promises.  Ah, well.  Life moves on, even when we can’t keep up with some of the challenges.  🙂

Please pray for safety on my trip!  I will write some more when I have a chance in the next few days.

A little bummed…

…about my weight loss.  This week, I haven’t lost–I’ve gained.  I started phase 2 of the Perfect 10, which adds 1-3 servings of grains per day.  Because I’m celiac, I’ve simply been adding a serving of brown rice, usually with my dinner.  So, I’m thinking I may cut out grains again…not sure.  I also thought maybe it would be better if I had them in the morning to ensure I burn them off.  I could buy some quinoa and make some porridge.

I also think part of this gain is due to the fact that I usually do a little better of a job grocery shopping and have plenty of snacks around.  This week, however, I am fully consumed with getting ready for my trip.  I am so excited that it’s been hard to teach or focus on anything else.  So, I have had a few hungry days with rubbish snacks.  I leave in 48 hours…WOW.

When I get to where I’m going, I’m hoping to still eat as healthy as possible.  Mom’s taking me out to eat when I first get there, but after that we’ll probably eat at home quite a bit.

If any of you have any advice as to why my weight gain could be happening, please feel free to share.  This is the 3rd week of this particular diet and about 2 months of my buckling down and watching what I eat.  I think it’s just an off week, but I would love to hear your thoughts.

Story time: Elizabeth

“…she who was called barren is now in her sixth month.  For nothing will be impossible with God.” –Luke 1:36b-37

Oh, I love the promises of the Word.  This is one of my favourite conception and pregnancy stories, and it delights me each time I read it to think of how Elizabeth must’ve felt.  Elizabeth was a relative of Mary, the young woman who was given the privilege of mothering Jesus.  The story of Mary touches my heart as well, but I will focus on one joyful story at a time.  

At this point, I don’t know how long Elizabeth and her husband, Zachariah, had been trying to conceive (it makes me laugh to think of her using our modern day abbreviations of ttc), but the Bible makes it clear that she was well beyond her years of child bearing (much like Sarah).  Zachariah gets a powerful visit from the angel, Gabriel, and finds out from him that his wife is pregnant.  If it were my husband, he would want to jump up and tell everyone what God had done, but Zach decided to doubt a little (a natural reaction) and was mute until after the baby was born because of his doubt.  So, he couldn’t rush out and proclaim to the world that he was finally going to be a father.  I think this ended up being better for Elizabeth, though, because she goes into a sort of cocoon of hiding for five months. Then, Mary comes to visit her (after she found out she was pregnant.  Can you imagine the joy they must’ve both felt, being pregnant in two different miraculous circumstances at the same time?!  This was truly a gift from God).

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Picture courtesy of Garden of Praise

“When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.” –Luke 1:41

I wonder if this was the first time Elizabeth felt the baby?  

Now the time had come for Elizabeth to give birth, and she gave birth to a son.  Her neighbours and her relatives heard that the Lord had displayed His great mercy toward her; and they were rejoicing with her.” –Luke 1:57-58

This part of the story gives me chills.  To think not only of the fact that this miracle of life happened and happened in a woman that wasn’t even supposed to conceive, but also to think about the community she had surrounding her to celebrate and rejoice in this miracle.  Ladies, isn’t it wonderful to have a community around you, rejoicing with you and surrounding you with support?  I think this will be one of the most touching and healing things about pregnancy and birth, and I sure am looking forward to it.

I grew up in a family that was dysfunctional, to say the least.  My dad is a narcissist and controlled all of our lives through his verbal abuse and manipulation.  Thus, very few times in my life did I feel supported and loved the way I needed, and when I did feel that way it was always outside the home.  Lately, however, I feel the blessing of God upon my life in providing in laws that are a normal functional family full of love and support.  I feel the blessing of God that I also have a church family that so models after the early church in Acts that I am overwhelmed with the love and support.  I have truly been adopted into a new family, and I am overjoyed.  I cannot wait to get pregnant, share the news with all of them, and have them surround me with support and rejoice with me when the baby is born.  

God truly does make things new in our lives when we allow Him to work.  Elizabeth sure did know that, and I join with her celebration and continue it for each one of you that will one day get pregnant as well.  Don’t fret, friends.  For nothing will be impossible with God.

Gluten free

I have been frantically searching for advice about eating gluten free in airports, and I decided to visit Gluten Free Girl‘s blog for advice.  She has a whole section of posts if you’re new to eating gluten free.  Along with the aforementioned topic of airports, she has this post.  I love the way she describes her pregnancy: Having the team of support, embracing what her body can do, enjoying her food.  

One thing she said caught my attention, and I knew I had to share it with you.  

“Undiagnosed celiac is the leading cause of unexplained infertility. If you’re trying to become pregnant, you might want to look into this.”

Please, ladies, if you’re having trouble conceiving, go get tested for celiac.  Do not cut out gluten until you have the blood test.  I believe this statement that she made to be true because of my own experience.  Before cutting out gluten, I had no periods.  Sure, when I was on the pill, I had regular periods.  The day I threw out my pack of pills, determined to be healthier with out synthetic drugs (among other reasons), my body shut down in the hormone department.  No cm, no cramps, no period.  For 8 months.  In the 8th month, after seeing doctors (who told me they couldn’t do anything for me if I didn’t want to be on the pill) and a naturopath for months, the naturopath finally suggested that I cut back on my gluten and see if that would help.  When she suggested this, I almost felt a lightbulb go off in my head.  Of course, I thought.  This might be the link.  When I got home, I researched like crazy and found two interesting things: 1. Many women with PCOS have gluten intolerance (of course no one ever told me this).  2. As Shauna said, infertility is one of the main signs of celiac.  And miscarriage.  If you have had multiple miscarriages or have had trouble conceiving, this may just be the missing link for you too.  

That day, I cut out gluten and have never looked back.  My chart went from this:

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Erratic temperatures, no sign of ovulation.

To this: 

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A little more normal temperatures and definite ovulation.  Granted, still not perfect.  I will have to continue my story about soy allergies later, but either way, I will never go back to eating gluten.

I hope each and every one of you can benefit in some way from my experience and the experience of gluten free girl.  Check out her blog and do a bit of research yourself.  See if you are having some of the symptoms of celiac and get tested.

March Photo Challenge: Living and Eat

I wanted to combine these two topics in this challenge, because living in Australia coincides some with eating in Australia.  I hope you enjoy this dip into the culture here.

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Anyone recognise this?

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This, my friends, is a meat pie.  While I can’t eat gluten anymore because of my PCOS, this sucker was devoured before I was aware of my allergies on my birthday.  We had just arrived in Australia, and I spent my birthday eating meat pie and looking for kangaroos.  It was so much fun.

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The Thai food here is as good as the Mexican food in America is.  We’re closer, thus, it’s better.  This was consumed the night of the previously mentioned birthday.  

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The rest of these are not food.  I found this poor guy in my driveway one day, and I was amazed at the amount of vibrant colours in some of the wildlife here.  This is just one example.  There are wild parrots with the same colours that adorn the sky, and the gardens are absolutely stunning.

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Admittedly, this guy was at a zoo.  Still cute though, huh?  A few weeks ago, I was driving to a friend’s house and saw something running along the road.  It looked strange, and I wondered what it was.  It didn’t look like a dog or a cat, but I slowed down to see and to make sure I didn’t hit it.  Low and behold, it was a koala, and when it saw me it reached out it’s paw toward me!  I had a moment of delighted freak out to myself and God in the car.  Sometimes they can get hit by cars, but I’m sure he arrived safely to his location, because I didn’t see any sign of him later on.

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Me with a kangaroo, also at the zoo.  We went to the Australia Zoo for our 2nd anniversary.  This is the zoo that Steve Irwin’s father opened and that Steve himself continued to care for until his passing.  Terry and her children are now the caretakers.  In fact, in September, we took my mom there and saw them at the show.  They’re not always there, so it was pretty awesome to be able to see them.

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This being a ttc blog, I had to include Mama Roo with her baby.

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Me and my mom with a tiger.  No big deal.

Life in Australia is beautiful.  The land is rugged, but the wildlife is full of life and colour.  It was hard getting used to living in a different country and thinking of it as home, but once I embraced it as such, I’ve never looked back.  I wouldn’t change moving here for anything.  

I hope you’ve enjoyed a glimpse into the past few years of our life here.  And, in case you’ve noticed that I missed a couple of days between “purple” and now, don’t worry.  I’m going to catch up–just need a bit of inspiration.  

Diet update and travelling

I realised yesterday that it’s been a little while since I’ve said anything about my diet/exercise.  Everything is going splendidly well, and I couldn’t be happier.  I am losing weight almost every time I weigh myself (every other day or so).  My body has grown accustomed to the diet, and I rarely feel that gnawing hunger that I’ve felt on other diets.  And, I am so enjoying full fat butter, milk, and using coconut oil in my cooking!  Delicious.

I am still waiting to see if this is balancing my hormones, but so far it seems to be better than usual.  Usually, it takes my body about 15 days to produce any cm, but this cycle, I started noticing cm on cd 8!  Still waiting for ovulation, but I’m only on cd 13.  I anticipate this cycle being more normal and not as long as the last few cycles I’ve had.  Losing weight will only help, and the added bonus of this diet being hormone balancing can only help as well.

In other news, I leave for my big trip in about a week, and I’m so excited!  I’ve been looking up youtube videos about flying tips and what to wear/pack.  I may do a post on that when I get myself organised, because I’ve found a lot of the advice helpful.  

Even more exciting: When I return from my trip, let the ttc begin!  I am so excited!  

I will keep you updated as the diet continues.  I am in phase 1 still, but I have the option of moving onto phase 2 on Monday.  I think I’m going to continue in phase 1 until I lose the weight I need to lose.  Need to read and brush up on the book first and make sure that’s what I’m meant to do.  It will be interesting attempting to stick with these eating habits while traveling.  I will have to do the best I can.  Perhaps I’ll do a post on that, too.

Any tips on travelling from you?  I would love to hear it!

Purple

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When I saw today’s topic on the photo challenge, I thought…hmmm…what do I possibly have of significance that’s purple?  I couldn’t come up with anything.  As I went about  my day, however, I found myself noticing purple everywhere.  I remembered I had a purple eyeliner (oh, how I love coloured eyeliner), an old purple purse, and a kitchen decoration of a peacock (just a hint of purple).  I noticed every purple flower when I went on my walk/jog tonight.  And I remembered that I once painted my room purple (preteen stage, of course).  Purple used to be the colour of royalty in Biblical times, because the dyes for the purple fabrics were quite expensive.  Speaking of the Bible, I remembered one Halloween when I dressed up as Lydia, the seller of purple fabric.  

I chose the above photo, because it reminded me that one of my favourite flowers is wisteria.  This photo was taken at a local garden under a canopy of wisteria.  I feel like I’m in a portal to heaven when I walk through it.  This photo reminds me of time with my husband, peaceful surroundings, and new beginnings.  

Who knew the colour purple could bring up so many memories?

Challenge

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Oh dear was yesterday ever a challenge.  It started out great, but then at about 4:30, one of my students showed up and I realised that I had forgotten that they rescheduled a make up lesson.  I tried to roll with the punches, but I’m embarrassed to say I think they knew that I forgot.  Must get a schedule that hangs up right in front of me so that I won’t forget…

After that, I was supposed to have friends over.  I had just enough time to get dinner ready so that it would be ready when they arrived.  Well, my sink ended up clogging to a point that both sinks were full of dirty water (and then dirty water with various types of drain cleaner).  Then, when I went to get dinner cooking, I realised the dutch oven needed a bit more scrubbing (the dishwasher didn’t quite get it clean enough).  So, I had to figure out how to do that.  Once I started cooking, I got focused on chopping the veggies and burned some of the dinner.  Luckily, it was soup, so it wasn’t very noticeable.  My friends came over and everything was fine, but my kitchen needed a good clean this morning.  I hate going to bed with a dirty kitchen, but I couldn’t do anything about it last night.  

The good news is, I got another guinea pig last night (one of my friends brought him), and he is super cute.  Image

Also, I woke up this morning to the words “You are the most beautiful woman in the entire world.” and a kiss on the cheek from my husband.  *Heart melts*  A few minutes later (or it seemed like it in dream land), he came back in to say he had successfully unclogged the sink!  So, I have spent the day slowly getting the kitchen clean.

I will be doing two posts today, because I’d like to do a separate one for “purple.”  I hope you don’t mind!

Day 5: commute

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Since today’s topic is “commute,”  I knew I had to include this bad boy as my photo.  Awhile ago (too embarrassing to admit how long), my husband and I were leaving very early for a road trip to Sydney, and he (not a morning person) accidentally backed the car into a hedge in our driveway.  There was no way to get out of this scrape with out this happening to the mirror.  Inevitable.  All I have to say is, duct tape works wonders, but it sure is embarrassing when it doesn’t match your car.Image