Bed Rest (insert unhappy emoticon here)

If you follow me on instagram or twitter, you’ve probably seen me complaining and bemoaning my current bed rest situation. It’s totally annoying. I won’t bore with you with the details, so let’s just sum it up by saying that on Wednesday night I was a sobbing mess of pain when Zach got home from work. We called the midwife and she confirmed what I assumed the problem was : round ligament pain. I figured I’d just have to tough it out until it eased up a bit. Zach tried to work from home the next day, but around lunch time, I started bleeding. There’s nothing that will freak a pregnant woman out more than bleeding. I tried not to panic, but duh. That’s what I do. I immediately jump to worst case scenario, and then I Web MD that sucker. Clearly, the placenta had detached, or my appendix had burst, or I had preeclampsia, or I was losing the baby. I immediately called my doctor’s office and we went in for a slightly emergent appointment. Cause again — bleeding, pregnancy, unbearable abdomen pain…all bad things.

As soon as I walked in, the nurses were commenting on how terrible I looked. In the most loving and empathetic way, of course, but it was clear I looked as bad as I felt. The good news is, though, that the baby is fine and we’re gonna survive. There’s no sweeter music than the sound of your baby’s heartbeat and it calmed my anxious nerves down immediately. Once I heard that heartbeat, I didn’t even care what was wrong with me, I was just so stinking relieved. Long story short, I have a bacterial infection that no one can figure out how I was so lucky to contract. But contract it I did, and now I am confined to the couch/bed/floor/chair until the pain, bleeding, and infection go away.

being on bed rest

I’m a terrible sick person and I always have been. All weekend, I kept trying to get up and clean and help with the kids, and even convinced Zach to take me out of the house for a little while. All bad ideas. All of which I paid for heavily the rest of the day. I can’t climb stairs, or lift Emery, or bend over, or do anything that exerts any kind of energy without doubling over in pain and losing my breath. It’s all quite dramatic, I assure you. But I’m learning to let go and breathe deep and just … rest.

However, t’s hard for me to sit back and watch Zach play with the boys, dress the boys, feed the boys, clean, cook, run errands, etc. and do all the things that I should be doing. And it’s not because I don’t like the way he does things, or feel the need to correct him or whatever, it’s just that I feel so bad about it. Even though it’s not my fault and there’s nothing I can do about this little medical situation, the guilt is strong. And so of course when I feel guilty, I act out and get emotional and snappy and Zach’s just like, “What the hec is going on right now?” Oh that man. He endures so much from me and yet he still brings treats of the flowery and flannel nature. I lucked out, ladies. *swoon*

bed rest

ANYhoo. So bed rest. I’m doing a lot of pinning, a lot of eating, and maybe this week I’ll dust off my crochet hooks and make a new scarf or something. All I know is I. am. done. Zach needs to get back to work and make them dolla bills and I need to get back on my feet and do some laundry. So please send all the good thoughts and prayers our way! And if you happen to be driving through my neighborhood, feel free to stop by and watch an episode of Call the Midwife with me. We can cry and eat chocolate together. If I have any left …

Unfiltered

Last week, I started writing some really honest thoughts about my current state of mind. But as often happens when I do that sort of thing, I got too scared to hit publish. Sometimes I don’t know what people what to read from me. I like to inspire and I like to tell it how it is, but I’m always afraid to cross too far into the vulnerable side of my writing. I don’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable and I know that’s sometimes the outcome of transparent blogging. But then one of my lovely readers requested that I talk about where I am right now emotionally, mentally and spiritually. 

So this is where I am, straight up and unfiltered.

unfiltered

I am not content.

We’ve been in my parents’ basement for 8 months now and we’re all over it. I want a place of our own, but Zach’s job continues to be a big question mark and we’re not willing to sign a lease without the confidence that his job will continue to be able to pay most of the bills. We’re talking about me going full time with the blog/social media consulting thing, but with a new baby on the way, it’s probably not a wise idea to make that sort of commitment. I think I would regret it if I worked full time through this baby’s newborn stage, so I’m nervous to jump into that, even though Zach is incredible and rocks at the stay-at-home dad thing. And so then I question what my motivation really is for staying home. Does it matter who is at home? Do my kids need me specifically? If what I’m doing right now has the most income potential, shouldn’t we be diving into that completely? Could I handle the pressure of providing for my family through something as fickle as the internet? Will the people of the internet continue to love me and support me or is the thrill of Kristen fading? Should I jump into writing my book full time? Should I go to Nashville and convince Zondervan to give me a book deal?

And then in the midst of all of that, there’s this lingering feeling that we’re missing something. What is God’s plan for us? It’s been almost two years since we moved to Knoxville and we’re still struggling. We know that God called us to step down from our youth pastoring position, and we have never questioned that decision. Not once. But ever since leaving New York, nothing has made sense. Although God has been faithful and has taken care of us completely, we have struggled and strived and have seen very little fruit from our labor. I’m struggling to trust and follow this God who is silent and distant and a bit confusing right now. However. The Influence Conference was an incredible experience for me. I wasn’t expecting to have my spirituality challenged so deeply and refreshingly. It helped me get out of my situation, look at it with a different set of eyes, and evaluate my heart. In the moment and in the fog of our day to day lives, I’d convinced myself that I was completely surrendered to whatever God had for us. But now I realize that’s not exactly true.

When God is silent for a long time, people tend to take things into their own hands, and that’s what we’ve done. We lacked direction and guidance, so we just jumped into things, trusting that since God wasn’t saying “no”, he’d bless us whatever we chose. And he has, but we’re still struggling and that just doesn’t make sense to us. So now we’re in this weird place where we’re almost desperately seeking answers and direction. We feel kind of lost.

Stepping down from ministry was a bigger life change than we originally thought. After spending four years in bible college and over 10 years in ministry, we made a huge career change. It’s awkward to think of ministry as a career, but it’s what we went to school for, why we’re in so much debt, and what we had dedicated our lives to. And now? Now ministry looks a lot different and we no longer take a paycheck for what we’re “called” to do. I have so many thoughts on this ministry to layperson transition that  I’m having to pour them all into a Pages document that maybe eventually will be a book. But right now we’re still in the thick of it and it’s not easy and we’re trying to figure it it out. It’s messy, but it’s good. 

Even in all of the doubt and confusion and anxiety, we know that God is good. We know that one day, we’ll look back on this season with thankfulness and we’ll be able to see God’s hand working in the question marks. But right now, we’re frustrated and that’s ok. God never promised things would be easy, but he did promise that we wouldn’t have to do this whole thing alone.

So we’re owning where we are right now. This is a season of life that definitely isn’t pretty on the outside or the inside, but it is what it is and we’re embracing it and doing our best to thrive right where we are. It doesn’t do any good to eagerly anticipate when things will be different because who knows when that will happen? Embrace where you are. Bloom where you’re planted. Those are the things I’m learning these days.  So what about you? Where are you at these days?

bloom

The Difference Between Your First Pregnancy and Your Third Pregnancy

When I was pregnant with my first son, and sharing way too many details about every stage, and way too excited for my own good, my friends with more children than me would look at me with that smile that says, “I understand your excitement, so I won’t ruin it for you, but I also know that this will all change when you have another baby.”. And sometimes they would say things like, “Well just wait until ___” and then fill in the blank with some awful prediction about what my life will be like when I have more children. But I ignored the nay sayers because I wouldn’t be like them. I would always take 5,000 a photos a day of all my children and each pregnancy would be just as exciting as the last.

HA.

HAHA.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

The Difference Between Your First Pregnancy & Your Third

FIRST : 

OMG We’re pregnant!! Let’s tell everyone! The random guy at the gas station, the Walmart cashier, the drive through worker, scream it from the top of the house because WE’RE GOING TO HAVE A BABY !!!

FIRST BABY

THIRD : 

How long can we go before we tell anyone?

Preggo Announcement

 

FIRST : 

Person – “How far along are you?”
Me – “I’m 8 weeks and 5 days, but I’ll be 9 weeks on Tuesday. Baby is the size of a kidney bean!

THIRD : 

Person – “How far along are you?”
Me – “Uh …. Well I’m pretty sure I’m in the second trimester…”

FIRST :

LOOK AT MY BUMP! I’M SO FAT! I’m going to take a photo of my bump every week and make an album on facebook so all my friends and family can see how much I’m growing!

BUMPTHIRD :

I really need to document this pregnancy at some point. I’ll definitely take a photo today. Or at least tomorrow. By the end of this trimester, I will definitely take at least ONE photo. Maybe.

FIRST : 

BABE! I’m only 25 weeks and I fit into my maternity pants. OMG. I’m so big. This baby is going to be huge. LOL.

THIRD : 

Oh great. I can’t button my jeans. I know I can’t be that pregnant yet. Aren’t I still in the first trimester? I’m definitely still in the first trimester. SIGH. We need to rework the clothing budget, babe.

FIRST : 

No, sorry, I can’t eat deli meat. Or sushi. Or caffeine. Or hot dogs. And, I’m sorry, is this yogurt pasteurized? It’s just that I’m pregnant and I’m not supposed to eat anything that might endanger the baby. Do you have any carrots?

THIRD : 

Give me two or seven of everything.

FIRST :

I can’t wait for our birthing class. I’ve read all of Ina May’s books and we watched the Business of Being Born and about a dozen episodes of A Baby Story. We’ve studied the Bradley Method and we’re pretty sure we want to go all natural. I don’t think I’ll need an epidural. My mom had really fast labors, so I’m pretty sure mine will be the same way. What was your birth like?

THIRD : 

Let’s just get this baby out as quickly as possible.

FIRST, SECOND, AND THIRD : 

IS THAT WHAT HAPPENS TO MY VAGINA? 

the cervix chartFIRST, SECOND, AND THIRD :

This is the best moment of my life.

The best.

 

Just so we’re clear, no that’s not really how I told Zach I was pregnant. Although, I was going to, and my sister stopped me and said I had to actually call him. So there’s that. Now tell me all the ways your first pregnancy was different than your third. I know I missed some things.

Shake it Off — Blogger Style

I had plans for a follow up to the post I wrote last week on porn. I was going to do a clarification thing, maybe even have Zach write something (which he still might do), but I was definitely going to address some comments and let the not so tactful people of the internet have a piece of my mind. But…then I deleted the comments and stopped reading the things being posted about Zach and I across facebook and twitter and forums and then you all somewhat collectively told me to just shake it the hec off.

I knew what I was getting into when I got into blogging. I’ve been getting mean comments since I first started this thing almost three years ago. So I’m no stranger to the game, but since my first post went super mega viral in January, and then another one again in June, the amount of mean comments have increased and so has the creativity. I mean, really though. Someone should be giving out prizes for most creative insult, because I’ve seen quite a few. If you’ve been thinking about getting into blogging, haters are one of those things you’re just going to have to accept with the territory. I have dear, sweet friends who only blog about adorable crafts and beautiful pinterest worthy home projects and people still find something nasty and controversial to say. The internet is scary place. But it can also be an amazing place. I have had so many incredible opportunities and have made so many close, real deal friendships through blogging and I just would never ever ever change a thing.

Blogging is the best hobby/career ever and I’m so blessed to get to do what I do and to have so many incredible readers supporting me along the way. I know it might seem like I give a lot of attention to the haters, but trust me, behind closed doors, Zach and I read your comments and e-mails and we shake our heads and wonder what it is about us that you love so much. I don’t often give attention to the positive comments, as that tends to get me private facebook messages about how I should be more humble, so let me just say, that I freaking love you guys and if I could invite you all over to my house, I would feed you all and we’d play taboo and let our kids run around the yard unsupervised and make our husbands grill some steak while we sip wine and eat chocolate. Or whatever it is you do when you drink wine. (Obviously I’m very cultured.)

ANYWAY. I know what you’re here for. I’ll stop talking now. Ladies and gentlemen (are there gentlemen here? If so, hello!), I doth give thee my thank you video for your support, your encouragement, and your love. Haters gonna hate, but I have way more When at Homies then When at Haters. Or something more clever than that.

P.S. If you manage to make it to the end of the video, you’ll see what happens when I tell my husband I want to be “uncomfortably sexy”. Spoiler alert : it didn’t work.

It’s Not My Job To Keep My Husband From Looking At Porn

Once upon a time, I was in a healthy relationship with a boy that I loved very much. We had no secrets. We talked about everything, were completely committed to each other and were even discussing the possibility of getting married. We dated for two and a half years and not once during our relationship did I feel the need, nor did he ask, for me to send him naked photos. In fact, during our entire relationship, we never saw each other naked. Not once. That is … until our wedding night.

I am proud and have been told that I’m a little too braggy about the fact that the first time Zach and I shared the most intimate thing a man and woman can share was on our wedding night. We’d said our vows, celebrated our commitment to each other, and then we got our hanky spanky on. It was amazing and I am so thankful that I found a man who valued my worth and his own worth enough to wait for the goods until we’d honored Christ first with our marriage.

This whole celebrity nude scandal is a mess. What happened to these women was nothing short of a sex crime, fully deserving of imprisonment and whatever else our judicial system decides to do with the criminals. I hope they catch them and I hope they never see the light of day again. These women’s privacies were invaded on a level I can’t even comprehend and I am horrified and embarrassed for every single one of them. While I don’t think sending nudes to anyone (even on snapchat-come on, people.) is a wise decision, I would never condemn someone for doing such a thing. I know most of the women whose photos were stolen were in long term healthy relationships and their photos were sent within the “privacy” of a healthy relationship. What happened to them is in no way their fault, or the fault of their significant others. Just because I don’t think sending intimate photos through technology is a great idea, they didn’t give anyone permission to view their naked body other than the person they sent those photos to. Shame on every single person who looked at those photos. Shame on you a hundred million times.

Jennifer Lawrence recently made a statement about the whole ordeal. I feel like the world has been waiting to see what she would have to say since her photos have been the most talked about out all of the women who were victimized. I loved her statement up until she said this :

“It was long distance, and either your boyfriend is going to look at porn or he’s going to look at you” 

Come ON, J-Law! Are you kidding me? I’m so beyond disappointed in that one sentence. I’m ticked off about it and I hope she comes forward and recants it because not only is it sexist against men, it perpetuates this idea that it is the girl’s responsibility to keep her man away from porn.

It's Not My Job To Keep my Husband From Looking at Porn

Girls. Women. Ladies. Please do not believe this lie. It is not your responsibility, nor your job, nor your service to your spouse, to keep him away from porn. If you ask your boyfriend, fiance, husband, whatever, not to look at porn and he says, “Well then I need some photos of you cause I need to look at something…” just. Run. As far away and as quickly as you can. If you’re married, get that man in to see a counselor because his sexual addiction is way beyond your help. That is a self control problem and your naked photos won’t solve it. I have known many a boy who has played the victim to his sexual addictions and I’m so over it that it’s nauseating. “It’s the way we’re wired.”, “At least I’m not cheating on you!”, “Well you’re not putting out, I have to get it from somewhere!” I’ve heard it all. And they are all lies straight from the pit of hell.

Shame on every woman who thinks the man that they love is so weak in his sexual impulses that he can’t refrain from opening up a website and wanking off to other women. Guess what? HE CAN. And guess what else? You don’t have to be his porn. Don’t think for one second that by you sending him nudies that he’s not going to go back to his favorite porn sites and visit his favorite bodies. Now. I’m not saying that it’s wrong for a wife to send her husband a little playful photo every now and then. Definitely not. In fact, I’m pretty sure my husband wishes I trusted the internet and my photo sending abilities enough to send him a little look-see once in a while, but if your purpose in sending vulnerable pictures of yourself to anyone is to keep them from looking at someone else, you’ve got it all mixed up.

My wonderful husband is very open about his pre-Jesus struggle with porn addiction. It didn’t disappear when he chose to commit his life to Christ, but it no longer controlled his private time. He has never, and will never say that he’s not tempted to go back to that addiction. A struggle is a struggle and he has gone to great (almost laughable) measures to ensure that he never walks back to that temptation. And if your husband is struggling with those things, Zach would be happy to chat and give him some suggestions on how to guard his mind against sexual sin. All that being said, Zach’s commitment to keep himself pure empowered him to help keep me pure as well. He never crossed a line in our relationship. Well. I say he didn’t, he might disagree, but our ideas on what is crossing the line vary a little bit. The point is, his love and respect for me always beat out (no pun intended) his personal desires. Because of that, I have never once doubted him, suspected him, or distrusted him. The fact that he was able to keep his pants zipped until our wedding day gives me full confidence that I married a man who will always love me and respect me, even when sexual temptation is staring him in the face.

But lest you think Zach is arrogant in his sexual purity, let me clarify. While he says he’ll never cheat on me (and I believe him with all of my heart), he doesn’t convince himself of that because he refuses to get lazy in his fortitude with keeping his temptations and former addictions at bay. It’s an area of his life that he consistently submits to Christ and prays about and he is quite literally always taking measures to protect his mind and his heart from sin.

So, I say all that, not to brag (maybe a little bit), but to say that it is possible to find and marry a man who hasn’t given himself over to the way they’re “wired”. You don’t need to put out, to send photos, or to emit any kind of sexual energy to keep your man from looking or lusting after other women. I’ll say it again : IT’S NOT YOUR JOB. That responsibility rests solely on the man you’re with and if he’s not man enough to control his urges, he’s not man enough to be with you.

I’m writing this from the perspective (obviously) of a Christian woman married to a Christian man, but this is truth that is truth regardless of the reasoning behind it. I don’t care if you’re in a healthy sexual relationship with your boyfriend of however many years. I’m not going to judge you and I’m not going to tell you you should stop and get to the church to get forgiven of your fornication. I’m not going to hold you to the same standards that I hold myself because you don’t believe what I do and that would just be pointless, right? I’m not interested in starting a debate about morals and ethics and values. I’m just talking to you, woman to woman, and begging you to please stop believing the lie that your boyfriend will look at you or he’ll look at porn. It is definitely not a one or the other type of thing. Men are stronger than their sexual desires and anyone that tells you otherwise is either lying, misinformed, or is just trying to get a little glimpse at your goods.

Women should never use their bodies as a tool. Ever. Your body is amazing and does amazing things and I hope that you will never cheapen it by snapping a naked selfie and sending it over the extremely unreliable internet as a means to keep your significant other from wandering. Men can be better than that, I swear to you.

Here is my proof on our wedding day 6 years ago :

It's Not My Job To Keep My Husband From Looking at Porn

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