Stitches with Grace

There’s been all kinds of stitches happening around here this week. Knit stitches like this hat…

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And this in progress one too…

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I also listed a couple handknits over at the shop today. I like shop variety as much as I like crafty variety. How about you?

One of the items in the shop is this scarf…

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..of which I’m pretty proud. I didn’t follow a pattern, just made it up as I went along. It’s the first knit anything I’ve dove that with. Everything else if it wasn’t directly from a pattern it was one I’d memorized enough to change. It feels good to make something wholly your own, you know? Even something as simple as a scarf.

The other kind of stitches showing up big time around here are embroidery stitches.

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I came across some pillowcases in my stash with embroidery patterns printed on them. I can’t remember if I bought them or got them as a gift, but I finally decided to stitch them.

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I was obsessed with them for four days! Once I got going and I was completing those little boxes I couldn’t put it down. I enjoyed it so much, and think they’ll be well received as gifts, that I ordered another set to stitch for another gift.

I am pretty excited to mark the first gift -It’s even wrapped!- off my Handmade Holiday list this year. I have lots of other things in the works but this one is complete, and oh gosh that feels good!

When you like to give handmade gifts you gotta start early! I run out of time often and then it’s a last minute scramble for gift cards. Which, while I’m sure the people who get them don’t mind, makes me sad. I like to give gifts with thought, time, and effort behind them. Gift cards are awesome when needed but aren’t my first choice.

So, I’m stitching towards that big Christmas deadline again. I have a love/hate relationship with having a timeline. I love love making gifts and having a big happy reason for gifts-for-everyone! is awesome. I hate that I sometimes make my self crazy with have-to-somethings and not-good-enoughs.

Am I the only one that does that? Surely not. I’m trying to gift myself a little grace this year and not do that. We’ll see how that works out! Wish me luck! If you’d like to join me in giving yourself grace too I wholeheartedly wish you luck as well! Maybe we can remind each other when the negatives creep in. Our first gift priority this year is grace; for ourselves and everyone else. After all, everyone can use a little grace, don’t you think?

bumps and bruises

Have you ever started on a journey or course of action that you felt was just where God wanted you to go? Have you ever tripped just as soon as you’ve started walking down that path? Me too.

After I got prepared to hit the road running with the adoption fundraising and I got all vulnerable and history dredging right here in this space I felt like blocks were thrown under my feet. Computers revolted against me, the refigerator decided cold was an option, time evaporated, just this morning I stepped in vomit on the way to the post office.

I came home yesterday feeling frantic. Like my to-do list was strangling me and I couldn’t figure out how, when, where to start to unravel the mess. Things are piled up and my brain is cluttered and worries are dragging at my heels. I mean stopping long enough to eat seemed like a big huge rock in the middle of my day.

We don’t need an umplanned for $1800 dollar expense right smack in the middle of me trying to feed people (you know, and not give them food poisoning). I can’t run an online store and not have reliable internet access. I can’t finish quilt tops for the long-armer and spend all weekend in the kitchen in one capacity or another. I cant work at the sewing machine when my craft space is piled high with bins and boxes and batting. Laundry needs to get done. The bathroom needs to be cleaned. The fridge doesn’t fit, the kitchen needs to be redesigned, the stairs need carpet, the back yard needs a landscaper, and I need to stop.

Just stop.
Take a deep breath.
Stop and think.

It won’t all get done right now, today, this week, this month, or this year. *I* am what is making me overwhelmed. *I* am making myself frantic.

I sometimes wonder when these bumps in my path come up if they are from God or from Satan. Which one is asking me “How bad do you want this?”? Which one is testing me?

The truth is it doesn’t really matter. The truth is that no matter where the bumps come from my only course of action is to run to In-Whom-I-Trust. My Father is always ready for me to vent my fears, and expell my frustrations. He’s always ready to tell me to rest in Him. Because these things are not giant life and death things. These things are the everyday detours of life. Fridges go out, things pile up, work gets interrupted, rain comes, life happens. It just does. If I can’t figure out how to take a breath in this week of chaos how will I do it with children in tow?

So, I pulled out a wipe and (gagging the whole time) scrubbed off my shoe. (It’s awesome when in the pre-dawn morning you walk into the little alcove where mailboxes reside and find the path a pile of sick.) I got back in the car and ran my errand and came home and sorted out the computer situation. (Thanks to my mom and her grace.) In a few minutes I’ll get the laundry started, I’ll upload a few quilts to the Etsy shop, and I’ll do some dishes. One thing at a time I’ll cross items off this list and I’ll try hard to remeber, when the panic over these bumps is trying to immobilize me, to just breathe.

I can get up from tripping over bumps. I can get up with bruises and still walk the path. Our Lord doesn’t ask us to come perfectly, he doesn’t ask that we make the journey pretty. All He asks of us is to trust him and walk on, limping if we have to, just take the next step. Even when we make a mistake He can work it all out for our good and His glory. So lets be willing to fail and fall and get up again. OK? I’m doing it too -bumps and bruises and all.

The baby story

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Photo collage above from week in the life, Saturday.

Hello friends,
I should start this long story (I tried to condense it!) with some background…

My guy and I have been married since 2007. Six months after we got married, and lots of prior thought, I went to my Dr and said “I think I have a problem and can’t get pregnant”. To which they replied “Don’t be silly, you are young, you just started trying, give it time, relax, it’ll happen, sometimes it takes a year or two.” To which I sort of thought they should know, ok.

Fast forward a year from that day I went to a new Dr. who asked me if my original Dr had ever even done any tests. Um, no, just my standard yearly eval. She immediately ordered a bunch of blood work. We discovered I have hypothyroidism, and I was put on meds. She’d figured we’d give that six months, you know, it should fix the problem.

At home I was taking prenatal vitamins and we were doing everything we could think of to help the situation. Lay inverted, check. Temperature time your ovulation, check. Face the east, stand on one leg, hop backwards…At the two year mark we still had not conceived.

I was referred to a specialist. Since there’s no bio medical type issue maybe it’s physical. The new specialist Dr did an exam and said we should go ahead and ‘take a look’. I had laproscopic exploratory surgery and a D&C. The testing and surgery results came back normal. And I was told many times this procedure kick starts the process. They wouldn’t be surprised if I was pregnant in just a few months.

We’ve been married six years.
I’ve never been pregnant. All the ‘should be able to’s in the world hasn’t changed that fact. I’m at a new Dr now, still all my testing comes back looking great.

It’s time for a new plan.

Before we were married the guy and I had talked about adoption. We were both on board. We thought we’d have a kid and then adopt one or two. Of course God has laughed at that plan. We looked at adoption before, a few years ago, and discovered that we might have a couple road blocks in our way. What I then found out was that every adoption agency has different rules, different regulations, require different things. Yes, we’d have road blocks with some agencies and with some types of adoption, but not all.

A couple months ago I noticed a post on Facebook that was talking about embryo adoption. Something just sparked. I began my research again. I came across an adoption agency right here in Colorado that pioneered embryo adoption in the nineties. I decided we needed to go to a seminar and get some info. And we did. Nightlight Christian Adoption does four kinds of adoption procedures: domestic, international, foster to adopt, and embryo. We got the low-down on all of them, we choose embryo adoption. A process where we would adopt frozen embryos from couples who had gone through IVF, had their family, and had extra embryos at the end of their process. Then I would get to carry those embryos and give birth to our child.

Why embryo adoption?
Because in the process of dealing with the roller coaster of emotions that you go through with infertility I discovered I was never ready to give up on being pregnant. I realize our choices didn’t necessarily mean that I was really giving up but it felt that way. In every part of me it felt that way, even though logically I knew that’s not really true. So, we want to adopt, but I also want to experience pregnancy and child birth. Biology means very little to my guy and I, our children don’t need to have our genes to be ours. I don’t have to give birth for that to also be true, but this is where my heart is it seems. And, I don’t know about you but I have never been successful in talking my heart out of what it wants. Embryo adoption here we come!

The decision was easy, so let’s talk about the hard part. The reality of adoption is this; it’s not fast, it’s a long process with a million steps. It’s also not cheap. Although there is a payment plan those increments are not small change. Think $2500 and a few months later $3500 and a few months later $5000. We really need to have this money ready to go at the beginning of the process.

So, here’s one of the things we are doing. I am reopening my Etsy shop Honor Crowned Crafts for the purpose of fundraising for our adoption. All the money from that venture goes straight to our savings account earmarked for this process. What we need is $15,000. That money will pay for the embryo adoption program, a home study, and the medical expenses incurred after we adopt the embryos.

We could get this money easily and create a large debt for ourselves, but I want to earn it. It would mean so much to me to know that my handmade items helped us do this. That my passion helped us achieve our dream, to have a child. So, the Etsy shop is active and I’m going to begin adding new items to stock the store. You’ll see quilted journal covers, zippy pouches and project bags, quilts, and handknits filling up there soon. (Just as soon as I get to a computer that let’s me upload those photos! Today, I hope!) Stop by, take a peek, shop for Christmas. If you don’t see anything that strikes your fancy pass along the word, check back next month, or best of the best pray for our family as we take the first steps to adding to it.

Oh, and come back here to check in with our journey. I’ll be talking about the steps we take towards this future for sure. 🙂

Xoxo,
Steph

Oh! I forgot to mention..I wasn’t the only one seeing Dr’s. My sweet husband had his own brand of humbling tests done along the way. Wouldn’t want you to think we left out a key player! Oops.

The Inspired Quilter

Wakes up at two a.m. to do this…

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And then makes herself hungry so she grabs this…

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With trusty companions keeping watch…

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Or…something…

There is ironing and cutting and dreaming and scheming going on before the sun rises.

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Soon there will be a stack of quilts and a renewed Etsy shop opening…This time with great purpose and a big announcement and a step forward and a call for help. It’ll be something…all birthed right here in the early morning by an inspired exhausted quilter.

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