good friday

Happy Good Friday!

Rosalena Viviane Wise

She's here, she's here!

On Sunday evening, my sweet, sweet friend Rosalie gave birth to the tiniest of beautiful babies, a little girl she named Rosalena Viviane Wise. There have been so many prayers surrounding this babe and her mother and father, and we're so grateful she made it this far. Rosalie was admitted to the hospital around 23 weeks, and it was a daily battle for her. She was having lots of pain and had to be on bed rest indefinitely but, thankfully, they were able to keep little Rosalena in until 25 weeks and 1 day! She has a long journey ahead of her, but she's healthy! So grateful for this truth today. 

I can't explain how my heart is bursting. I wish I could. Rosalie has been the kindest of friends to me. She is an encouragement to me almost daily, and without her I think I would feel more alone in this sometimes not-so-pretty world. The journey to this picture, to seeing her little one alive and well, to holding her hand and touching her skin, has been wrought with pain and fear. But God is good. And Rosalena is here with us. 

Please be in prayer for Rosalie, Scott, and Rosalena, for continued health, for peace, and for joy. 

seven weeks

On Wednesday, I will officially be eight weeks along. As for today, I'm seven weeks and five days. Hooray! I can't believe it's already been three full weeks since we found out we're having a little baby Nunnery. I still haven't quite been able to wrap my head around it. Physically, I'm fully aware of what's happening. Mentally and spiritually...well, that's a totally different story. How do you ever fully grasp how much your life is changing? Do you ever grasp it? Even when I'm finally holding him in my arms (we're hoping for a boy, so I'm just going to use that pronoun for the time being), will I grasp it then? 

I still go about my day, every day, almost exactly as I did before. The only differences are that I write more notes in my journal (one a week about how I'm feeling and one a week to baby Nunnery), drink waaaaaay less caffeine (I'm still allowed to have some!) and much more water, take prenatal vitamins each day, and read tons of pregnancy apps, books, articles, websites, etc. I've got baby brain. But I'm still working. I'm still writing. I still lead Bible studies and hang out with my friends and go out to eat and watch movies with Pierce. I still deal with anxiety. I still worry about how all this will turn out and why it happened now instead of earlier or later, like I had hoped it would. But I'm still me.

I guess that's where I'm struggling. Who will I be when he arrives? I hope I'll be a much better version of myself. And this occupies my thoughts more than anything else these days.

Trying to trust in what God is doing is the biggest battle. I can't see why He allowed us to get pregnant now, after so many months of being off birth control. I try not to be sad all the time about potentially missing out on my best friend's wedding day in October, even though we both know it's likely. I try not to stress over how different our lives will look and whether or not we'll adjust the way I think we should. I try to rejoice over this life inside of me. A life! A heartbeat! Little arms and legs and a brain and feelings and fingers and toes. There's a baby in there, you guys! It's still a bit more than mind-boggling.

Baby Nunnery at 6 weeks and 1 day. He looks like a piece of lint in my uterus. At least that's what I told the ultrasound technician.
Baby Nunnery just one week later! He's so much bigger. I can almost see a tiny human. I saw his heart beat, and his little brain, too.
Anyway, the cravings have started, and I'm all about the pickles. How cliche is that? I saw a bag of dill pickle Lays in the grocery store and almost cut off Pierce's blood supply as I gripped his arm and said, "Baby! We have to get those!" I'm pretty much about any food that doesn't make me sick. The strangest thing is that I don't walk around feeling nauseous all the time. I never know when something will make me want to toss my cookies until I hear it. Oh! And my boobs! I'm sorry (not sorry), but for a girl who's been a solid A-cup her whole life, this pregnancy thing is a slam dunk! 

Happy Monday :).

Seven weeks: Baby Nunnery is about the size of a raspberry, he's starting to develop tiny arms and legs, and his kidneys are about to start working, too. According to my What To Expect app, he is about 10,000 times the size he was at conception! Too crazy.

A Picnic in the Park

Hi friends!

I realize I've been a little out of the loop for the last two weeks, but life has been so busy and, truth be told, I'm kind of over blogging just for the sake of blogging. I was super committed to a certain number of posts per week for a long time, and for awhile I took my camera with me everywhere. But now I think, "Who really gives a shit about what my husband and I had for dinner?" Besides, that's what Instagram is for, right? ;)

From now on, I'm going to blog when I have something to say. I'm still going to share my whole heart with you guys, the silly stuff and the serious stuff, but I'm going to take the time to enjoy my life without feeling like I need to document every single second. So I might post a little less, but hopefully the content will be that much better for it.


Yesterday, my friend Bree came to visit and we met up at the park where Pierce and I used to take Bella so we could have a little picnic. I miss that girl so much! We spent the whole afternoon sharing silly stories and laughing and talking about our dreams and hopes. It was much-needed. And the weather was gorgeous, you guys. I can't wait to start planting our little garden! The sunshine really helped my mood, too, and that's always a plus.

Hope you guys are having a happy Hump Day! I have my second ultrasound tomorrow so I'll be sure to share those pics here when I get back. I'm seven weeks today! Woop woop!

Spring, please hurry. Thanks.

I'm serious. Spring is almost here, and I can feel it trying to peek out behind the corner before it's been given the go-ahead. But I say come on! Please. I don't know how much more winter I can take.

Also, there are a number of exciting events happening this spring, and I'm impatient for them. Events like my best friend's engagement/birthday party weekend in Savannah. I mean, does it get better than love and friendship and the prettiest town in the whole wide world? I didn't think so.

Pierce and I will also be traveling to Europe this spring! We're not exactly sure about the itinerary or the dates yet, but we are going. We've wanted to go together for a long time and since we'll be spending most of our time feeding, changing, and loving on a little one here soon I'd say now is the perfect time, yes? Plus, Pierce is finally willing to take his vacation time. Better book it now before he changes his mind!

And, last but not least, I start the final course for my graduate degree this spring. It went by so quickly! And it's going to feel so good to be done with school after nearly twenty-two years. Whoa.

Hurry up spring! 

when you know...

I always thought that when I found out I was pregnant with my first child, I would tell my husband in this fabulously elaborate way. Maybe with fireworks or a billboard or something. Maybe with a scavenger hunt that would ultimately lead to a baby rattle. Or something like that. And it would be so sweet and memorable that he wouldn't be able to stop sharing the story with friends and family for years to come.

Unfortunately, both of us are far too impulsive for such nonsense. We have a hard time keeping good news to ourselves. We want to shout it from the rooftops. We give each other Christmas gifts in November. When we got engaged, Pierce wanted to propose on the beach, at sunrise, with our friends around us. But it rained. So we went back inside to lie down and watch television. And he rolled over and asked me right then and there. 

When we have joy, we want to share it with each other immediately. 

And a baby is certainly a cause for joy.

Last Monday, I went to lunch with an old friend of mine from college. We ate at this amazing Greek restaurant and I stuffed myself silly. After we went our separate ways, I decided to get some work done at Barnes & Noble. But before long I was hungry again. No, wait. Make that ravenous. I felt like I hadn't eaten in days, so I went and had myself a huge plate of nachos. 

I thought to myself, "I know I love food, but damn!"

Back in January, I skipped my period and I thought I was pregnant then. But I didn't feel pregnant. I took two tests and they were both negative. And since I was going through so much anxiety and depression, I assumed my cycle was just out of whack  After all, it hadn't exactly been regular since I got off birth control back in August. So I brushed it off. 

On Monday when I was eating myself silly, I realized that the cramps I'd been having might be an indication of something totally different. And when Pierce and I went grocery shopping that night, I grabbed a home pregnancy test. He didn't even notice and, to be honest, I didn't want him to because he always teases me about how much money I've wasted on those things. And I have. So I just thought, "I'll take it when I get home and get this out of the way. There's no way I'm pregnant."

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not stupid. I knew there could absolutely be a way I was pregnant. After all, it had been six months since I'd stopped using birth control. It's just that we had been kind of ready for it back then. And God hadn't asked it of us. So I couldn't imagine that He would ask it of us in the middle of one of the most challenging seasonsof our marriage. Surely not.

I should have known better. I should have thought about Moses and Peter and Noah and Daniel. I should have thought about Jesus. God never waits until we're ready. If He did, nothing would ever get done. But His timing is never wrong, even if it feels like the most inconvenient, frustrating, and downright frightening thing in the world (and it does, if I'm telling the truth).

When we got home that night, I hurried off to the bathroom while Pierce was unloading groceries. And I still thought to myself, "I'm going to be so annoyed that I spent seven dollars on these tests when I see just one blue line."

And then I looked down.

I had about twenty different thoughts running through my mind when I saw those two little lines, one of them so faint it was almost invisible. I thought about how to tell Pierce. I thought about what my friends would say. I thought about how I wasn't ready to be a mother. I thought about how amazing it was to know that God trusted me with this incredible responsibility. I realized how glad I was that Pierce and I had taken the risk to trust in Him. I wondered if the anti-anxiety medication I was on was harmful. 

I guess you could say I hyperventilated a little bit. 

Mostly, I came to the conclusion that, try as I might, there was no way I could walk out of that bathroom and pretend I hadn't just seen what I had. There was no way in hell.

So Pierce, my sweet wonderful husband, had to find out that his wife was pregnant by having the test thrust into his hands (after I demanded that he close his eyes, of course...oh, and the cap was on the test, too, by the way...). When he opened his eyes and realized what he was seeing, he said, "Oh my God! Yes!" And then I started crying.

Isn't that always my first reaction?

Now, let me tell you the one thing I did not feel was regret. Or sadness. But it was definitely the most emotionally wrenching experience of my life. I couldn't get over it. It was incredibly surreal. 

It still is.

I look down every now and then and think, "I can't believe you're in there." And then sometimes I look up at the sky and say, "Really, God?!"

This isn't the time I would have chosen for myself to get pregnant. And it's natural for anyone who reads such a thing to say, "Well, why didn't you use protection?" And my response to that is this: It's not what I would have chosen. But I'm not God. And I trust in Him more than I trust in myself.

The decision to get off birth control was - as you probably know if you've been the reading the blog since then - a long and arduous one. It was one we made after months of prayer. After months of talking and tears and rationalizing why we should and why we shouldn't. 

But in the end, we knew it was right. In the end, we knew it was about being obedient.

In the end, we knew it was about living what we believed.

So August passed. September passed. Then October and November. And then December. I thought to myself a number of times, "Well maybe this whole thing wasn't actually about having a baby. Maybe this was just God's way of seeing if we would trust Him." And I sort of settled into that. I got comfortable in the knowledge that I hadn't gotten pregnant yet and I assumed that I knew God's plan. 

I assumed all of this without an ounce of prayer. Without having spent any time with God. Without actually seeking Him out and asking Him if it was true.

It hasn't been an easy thing so far, being pregnant. It's an experience wrought with so many emotions, particularly when you feel a little like God pulled the rug out from underneath you. I wonder why six whole months went by without a baby and then February rolls around and here we are (Oh, and I was right by the way; I wasn't pregnant in January). 

But despite everything I feel, I trust it. I trust Him. 

How can I not? I've believed my whole life that God knows what I need better than I do. And I've tried to live it that way. It's why Pierce and I chose to stop using protection in the first place. We were tired of trying to play God, of trying to make such a monumental choice based only on our own knowledge. We knew that we could prolong it inevitably. But at what cost? His Word is clear that the rewards are much greater than the risks when we choose to let Him take control of things, especially the things we want to hold onto most. 

So I'm trying to grapple with this truth. I still want to fight against it, even though I celebrate the life that's growing inside of me. I still want to fight against it, even when my husband lays his hand across my stomach at night at prays. I still want to fight against it, even when I imagine our son or daughter calling me "Mama." 

But I know, on the day we finally meet our little one, it will all be worth it. 

It's already worth it. 

What I find most incredible about God's timing is that He chose me when He could have easily agreed with all the bullshit I had tumbling around in my head at the time. But He created me, just as He created the little one in my womb, and He knows me better than I know myself. When I am depressed, He is my hiding place. When I fear being alone, He stands beside me. When I think I am wholly inadequate, He gives me something precious. 

He trusts me. 

When I felt most unable to do anything worthwhile, He said, "Here is the most worthwhile thing you'll ever do." 

How blessed I am. How blessed we are.

{Week Five: Our little Nunnery bean is about the size of a sesame seed.}

Coming football season 2013...

Yup! The rumors are true! And we are SO excited!

Torn Together: A Review

Hi friends!

I've been a bit MIA this week. It's a little crazy around here right now! But I definitely couldn't miss out on sharing my review of Emlyn Chand's insightful novel Torn Together with you guys today (you're going to love this one!).

Here's the scoop:

Torn Together: A Summary

Why does growing up have to be so difficult? Daly English is having a harder time than most. Her future as an artist is unclear, her relationship with her mother is damaged beyond repair, and--to top it all off--her long-term boyfriend is having an affair. When Daly befriends two unlikely individuals--first a pregnant teen, and then a light-hearted charmer from India--her cynicism begins to melt away. Meghann provides insight into Daly's life and an endless stream of good advice, comforting Daly despite her own less fortunate position. 

Kashi proves he cares too much about Daly to let her fade into the background of her own life. After a series of false starts, their quirky romance carries them to India, where Daly must win the approval of Kashi's family in order to seal their "forever."

Will these friendships be enough to turn around Daly's directionless life? Will she move past the hurt and learn to trust again? Or will her mother, once again, ruin everything she's worked so hard to achieve?
Torn Together, Emlyn Chand's first sojourn into Literary New Adult Fiction, weaves a tale of friendship, dreams, and a lingering loss, while illustrating how our similarities often drive us apart.

Torn Together: What I Think

There's something to be said for an author who tackles difficult subjects in a new way, such as teen pregnancy and multicultural relationships. It's not easy to do. But Torn Together gets it right. I thought the subject matter was different enough to stand out but not so outlandish in its twists and turns that I couldn't care about what I was reading. Chand's characters are inherently (and thankfully) flawed, which created this incredible tension I wanted to see resolved. I wanted to keep reading to find out how Meghann's presence within the family dynamic would transform Daly's relationship with her mother (And c'mon? Is there a better character name than Daly English? Love!). And when Kashi comes along and lights up the pages with his colorful personality, I thought to myself, "Hey, this is pretty darn good." Many of the books I've read with similar themes are either so outlandish (while still claiming to be realistic fiction) that I don't believe they could really happen, or are so cliched that I don't actually care if they could. Torn Together is a good marriage for women who love love (Don't we all?) and for any reader who has ever wondered why they can't choose their own family. In other words, Torn Together is a book for just about everyone.

Want to read more? Check out the first chapter here!

And be sure to stop by Emlyn's website to learn more about this prolific author, or say hello on Facebook or Twitter!