Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Freaking out a little.

Over this.

And this.

Oh, and this.

We're getting down to go-time, so I figured I'd break out my big box-o-meds and see if I could figure out what's what. (These pictures are just a sampling of what's in the box, mind you.) Instead, I nearly start crying after having an unexpected why-the-hell-do-I-have-to-go-through-all-this-crap-for-a-damn-baby moment. Make a mental note that we may need to repeat Injectables 101 with the nurse this week. Make a second note that much of my afternoon tomorrow should be spent on the pharmacy websites watching how-to videos. Deep breath, swallow. Throw everything back in the big box. Too much to tackle tonight. I think I'll go watch Modern Family and go to bed early instead.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Letters Home: October 27, 1965

This is one of many letters my mother wrote to her parents while in college at Auburn University in the 1960's. For the back story on these letters, hop over here.

Dear Mama & Daddy,

This is just a real quick note to let you know I got your letter. Thanks for the dough. Right now I am in a great mood. I just got back my history test and I made 85! I was so happy I almost died. The guy on my left made 35, and the girl next to me made 49. So far I haven't got below a B in any subject except maybe folk dancing. I wouldn't be surprised if I got a D in there. I have several names for that woman. She's a bitty. Anyway, it's only a 1 hr course, so big deal. She grades you on how she likes you and I'm no apple-polisher. I don't think she likes Bob either. She's always trying to tell him he's been absent when he's not and one day I took up for him so she's got it in for us I think.

Yesterday we got the results in Eng. of the diagnostic test all freshmen took the first of the quarter. I don't know how many freshmen took it but I know it was way over 1,000 and guess what! I was one of the top four. I don't know which, probably fourth but I was real happy. Mrs. Lehman carried on about it. Now please don't go writing everybody about it 'cause it's not that big a thing but I thought I'd put it in.

No, I haven't heard from Gary and did you find my meal ticket or not? I'm going to the library with Bob tonite I guess. He's the most attentive individual I've ever encountered. Last nite we had a pledge swap with the Phi Taus which thank goodness was lots better than the other. I'm running out of paper and time. Hope you can read this slop. Write!! I haven't heard from Judy.



Sunday, October 24, 2010

Amazing Grace? Amazing Book.

I just finished this book early last week for our couples' small group meeting last Thursday. We usually do studies that take place over several weeks, but this time we did a "book club" like meeting discussing Philip Yancey's "What's So Amazing About Grace?" If the idea of reading a Christian book freaks you out, this is a great one to start with. It's not a new book, but it was new to me. It's one of the best books I've ever read. The author is so real and honest about his own struggles with comprehending God's grace. He has so many real world stories and examples that remind us what a truly grace-less world we live in.

This book would speak to anyone and everyone I imagine, but I think it's especially powerful if you're someone who has struggled with forgiveness. Especially letting go of that stronghold that someone from your past has had on you. He speaks a lot to finding the strength to forgive the most undeserving, but also to living a life with an attitude of grace in general. In the second half, Yancey digs deeply into how the Christian image has been severely damaged by churches, politicians, and extremists' total lack of grace. How quickly we forget that Jesus didn't hang out with the righteous; he dined with and kept the company of sinners. He was love and grace personified.

There are so many fantastic quotable lines in this book, but my absolute favorite...

"There is nothing we can do to make God love us more.
There is nothing we can do to make God love us less."

So many people, even Christians, have the misconception that our salvation is dependent on what we do. If that's you, please read this book. Every one of us thirsts for grace. And here God is, waiting for us with his arms wide open. "God's arms are always extended; we are the ones who turn away."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Protocol

There's all this *mysteriousness* surrounding IVF until you're in the thick of it. At least that's the way I felt. It was always this massive, expensive procedure floating out there in our future. I always thought we'd wind up here. Not that I didn't have any faith in IUI or even Moo Goo alone - I certainly did. But for whatever reason, I just felt we'd end up doing IVF before it was all over. But until now, it was always this mysterious process that I didn't worry too much about until we had to. Part of that's because I had trouble finding any detailed information on the costs beforehand. Everything I searched was so vague. It's easy to find ballpark figures, but your protocol and medication can make a big difference in overall cost. And everyone is different. But even trying to get estimates out of my doctor's office was confusing. They still give you a range. Well I'm a numbers person, y'all. I like exact figures! So hang tight, I will give you those.

And, as promised, I'm going to take you guys along for the ride. I'm guessing I'll start next Friday. That's my guess. I'm very regular, but it's still a guessing game with me to some degree. (Flo likes to keep me on my toes.) I've got my protocol laid out and my meds ready. All I have to do is call my doctor's office when I start (Day 1). The hub and I both start taking an antibiotic on Day 1. I asked the nurse why he needed one and she told me the answer and I was like, "Oh, OK that makes sense," but now I've totally forgotten the reason. Anyone know? Anyway, then they'll have me come in on Day 2 for a "suppression check" - basically an ultrasound (vaginal) and bloodwork to make sure everything's clear and good to go. And I will start my first dose of injectables that evening. I have to actually mix some of the meds before injecting - that first night should be interesting! I'm not fearful of the shots at all - moreso the mixing and not effing it up somehow. I also have to pay attention to my dosage, etc. One of my syringes is pre-filled but you only take a certain dosage. Our Injectables 101 with the nurse a couple of weeks ago was a bit overwhelming! I'm just used to popping pills and doing the occasional ready-to-go injection. So this all is certainly new.

After Day 2, they will pretty much be monitoring me everyday until the egg retrieval. So I will have to go in to the doctor's office each morning (I assume morning - I hope so) for an ultrasound to see how I'm responding to the meds. As things progress, they will adjust my dosages as necessary. So I do have more medication on hand than what my initial protocol calls for, in the event that they'll want to increase my dosage. This won't mean much to the fertiles, but I'll initially be taking Gonal-F (225iu) and Menopur (75 iu) through Day 5. I also have Ganirelix and am supposed to take that medication in with me to the doctor's office on my Day 6 visit. I guess they will give me my first dose of this? And then it looks like I'm supposed to continue the Ganirelix (250mcg) every morning until Day 10. Again, this is all my initial work-up and will probably be adjusted as I go along.

So as you can see, I spend the first 10 days or so of my cycle getting drugged up. Basically, the meds are there to make me produce LOTS of eggies! Somewhere around Day 12, they will do the egg retrieval, which is an actual surgery where I'll be knocked out. Not at all afraid of this as I've had two hysteroscopies before. The retrieval is a quick, 30 minute procedure but I'll definitely be home afterwards taking it easy. The hub also gets to do his grand performance this same day! I will of course fill y'all in on how many eggs are retrieved and of those, how many are "mature." Then the task is getting those mature eggs fertilized. They'll initially allow some sperm and egg to party on their own and see if they fertilize, but ultimately they'll use a process called "ICSI" to force fertilization.

Hopefully we will have some beautiful embryos and be able to freeze some! (A frozen IVF cycle is WAY cheaper than a fresh cycle.) Our best-case-scenario plan is to transfer one embryo on day 5 (meaning 5 days after the retrieval). Otherwise, they will transfer 1-2 embryos on day 3. Day 5 is better because the embryo is more mature and more likely to stick once transferred back. So day 5 is what we're hoping for! And you may be asking why only one embryo... Well, given my *special* uterus, my doctor is adamant that I could not carry more than twins. I will be high-risk throughout my pregnancy no matter what, so he thinks it's best to only do one embryo here. With two embryos, the chance of twins is a good 20% or so, but either of those embryos could also split... making quads a possibility. Um, no. Could you imagine?! The chance of splitting is small, but it's certainly there. I was a little discouraged about the 1 vs. 2 embryo transfer when we initially discussed it with my doctor over a year ago, but I'm totally at peace with it now. I feel like it's definitely the right decision for us.

The actual transfer is done with a catheter, and the doctor will use ultrasound to guide him. Though it's the jelly on the belly kind of ultrasound and apparently you have to have a full bladder during this process so they can contrast the bladder and uterus on screen. He told me this would be uncomfortable. So while most people would probably be freaked out about all the meds and injectables and surgery, I'm nervous about the transfer! Because I hate that full bladder feeling... hate it! Dear me, I hope he's quick.

So after the transfer, it's really just a waiting game. The first couple of weeks of November will be very intense! And then it's a wait-and-see kinda thing. As in wait and see if it worked! We are so very hopeful that we can just knock it out in one try - that would be great! But we do have a plan in place. We are doing a prepaid plan where you pay up front for several cycles at a discounted rate. It's a third party that handles these plans, but they work directly with my doctor's office. There are all kinds of options, but given my age, etc, we decided the 2+ cycle plan made the most sense. Cost was one of the things that was just so vague with IVF, like I mentioned. So I'm sharing the cost info with y'all because I know there are women out there like me trying to figure all this shit out. The ballpark figures I found online for IVF ranged from $8,000 to $18,000. Like how is that helpful? What does that include? What does that mean?! There's a honkin' huge difference between $8,000 and $18,000. Very few insurance providers will cover any part of it. I believe there are some states that address this issue and may even require providers to cover some of it - not sure. All I know is I'm in Georgia and Georgia doesn't. But certainly do your research! My insurance does not cover any part of IVF or any other "procedure" to get me pregnant. I do have partial coverage on diagnostic procedures. So back when they were trying to figure out what the hell was wrong with me, a lot of that was covered. But as soon as I started doing any assisted reproductive treatments, we were on our own. My friend and fellow IVF-er is all fired up about this insurance nonsense... It's ironic how the providers refuse to cover the procedure, so women feel the need to transfer multiple embryos (increasing their chances of success), and then end up in pre-term labor and NICU with their multiples. So now that same provider has a six figure hospital bill in their hands.

Tangent - sorry! Anyway, if we were to pay cycle-by-cycle at my clinic, we would have to put down a $12,000 deposit (for one fresh cycle). $12,000 is really their best guess at what a typical fresh IVF cycle costs a patient, but you may end up spending more or a little less - just depends. The meds, however, are a separate beast and are not included in that amount. The range the nurse quoted me on meds was $3,000-5,000. Luckily, I seem to be on the low-end this round, as my meds were just over $3,000. So the range for a fresh IVF cycle at my clinic, including meds, is $15,000 - $17,000.

We, however, chose to do the prepaid plan through ARC, a third party. This "2+ cycle" plan includes two fresh cycles and two frozen cycles. So for those four cycles, we (ahem, my sweet parents rather) paid $18,021.15 for this plan. This does not include any meds, so again we've already got $3,034.21 worth of meds on hand. (Tally: $21,055.36) And that's for just cycle #1. Should we have to go for another round, any additional meds would mean more $$$. Also not included is the surgical center fee for the egg retrieval - which is another $1500. (Tally: $22,555.36) That is also just for cycle #1, so should we have to do another fresh cycle, we'd have to pay another $1,500.

That is a whole bunch of numbers! OK but the nuts and bolts... should we get pregnant on the first try, we will have overpaid for that one cycle by about $7,500 (vs. just paying cycle-by-cycle). But hey... pregnant! So that is the risk with these prepaid plans, but the comfort is in the fact that we have a plan laid out with a lesser outlay of cash if we need the remaining cycles. It gives me a tremendous sense of peace... just knowing, alright, here's as far as we can go. And if this doesn't work, time to move on to Plan B.

As y'all know, I'm very, very excited about this process! Yes it's going to be intense and taxing on my body and spirit but I'm ready! I'm also so thankful to be in such a good spot spiritually right now. We obviously want to be parents so badly, but I'm not foolish enough to wait on a baby to make me happy. I am happy. I have an amazing husband with whom I absolutely love doing life. I have incredible friends and family who have been tremendous prayer warriors for us and have provided such unending support and love. We have two silly dogs that love us so hard and make us laugh everyday. And I have a God who is bigger than ALL of this. He wants nothing but the best for me and he's been nudging me day and night lately, reminding me that true satisfaction is only found in Him. Not in babies, husbands, friends, or even shoes. I want a baby, but I have all I could ever need.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Let's Go!

The end of the month is creeping up!  Which means we'll be starting IVF soon... less than two weeks now, I'm guessing.  We're very hopeful and so excited!  I plan to take y'all along with me through every step, so hop aboard if you're ready.  It's just a fascinating process.  I'm trying to be *extra* diligent with my Moo Goo diet these last days leading up to our next cycle.  I'll get back to yoga on Wednesday - I have missed the last few weeks because of my schedule and my body is not happy about it!  But, my meds are ready.  We're ready.  It's just a waiting game right now...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Letters Home: October 7, 1965

Sometime after my grandfather passed away years ago, my mother discovered a big stack of personal letters he had kept. They were written from my mother, to her parents, while she was in college at Auburn University. Forty-five years ago. My mom and my dad had such a fun time reading through them... many of the letters detail my mom and dad's courtship. I compiled all of them in chronological order in a scrapbook for my mother last Christmas. My parents are about to celebrate their 42nd wedding anniversary next month, so what a truly rare and *cool* thing to be able to read my mother's thoughts... long before I was one!

My mom also laughs about how dramatic she was... always complaining about how hard school was and always needing money! Things to keep in mind while reading these - the mid-60's were obviously a different time. Women weren't allowed to wear pants on campus. Curfews were very strict. And uh, boys were obviously NEVER allowed in your dorm! She also didn't have a car. Home was in Montgomery, Alabama which is about 45 minutes from Auburn. Well that's on I-85... probably more like an hour plus back then! So to get home on a given weekend, she'd have to have my grandparents pick her up or catch a ride. Also making telephone calls was very expensive, so hand-written letters became her main way of communicating with her parents while at school. Anytime you see her mention "Bob" - that's my dad. There are several other boys' names throughout these letters - she apparently dated a lot! My mom was a Theta, so she mentions sorority life a good bit. Her roommate, Sandra, who she sometimes mentions, is still her best friend and my godmother.

This first letter home is from my mom's Freshman year. I hope you will enjoy reading some of these letters as much as I have! They are truly a treasure, and in the days leading up to my parents' anniversary and beyond, I thought I'd take you all back 45 years...

Dear Mama & Daddy,

I have decided that I definitely want to come home next week and I'd love for you to come get me. I get through at 2, but there's this girl who wants to ride and she doesn't get through till 3, but I figure we could leave about 3:30. I hope Nanny can come too. It seems like everyone is going home next weekend. I had a great time last weekend. I don't remember if I told you but Fri. nite I had a date with this boy in my folk dancing class named Bob. He resembles Roland a lot. He's really a fine boy and I hope we can keep dating. I went to the game with Jim and to a fraternity party that Sat. nite. Bob wanted me to go out with him again Sat. nite (last) but of course I couldn't go. Carl came by Thursday night and wanted me to go to the library with him but I had a pledge meeting. He asked me out for Fri. nite but I couldn't go.

As for school, so far so good. I got back my first real test today. It was in Reading Improvement and I got a 98. The teacher called me up to the desk after class and said, "Barbara, your paper was excellent. It was a joy to grade." Wish I could do that good on every subject.

I almost never have a chance to sit down! Sorority keeps us so busy. Tomorrow nite we have "pledge swap," where we all date pledges from a certain fraternity - on a week night now! We'll go over to the house for dinner, etc. We had a meeting tonite and I didn't get home till 9:00. It's about 10 now. Thank goodness I don't have much homework. Today I had to clean up our Chapter room and I played volleyball at 5:00 until about 6:00 for our sorority team but we lost to the Tri Delts. Big Deal! All of this was of course outside going to 5 classes today and getting up at 5:30. Also, we are required to spend 10 hrs a week in the library. Oh well, so much for complaints. I still love it and wouldn't quit for anything. Y'all come Fri. afternoon and please get here by 2:30 OK?



P.S. I may call you Thursday night.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Finding Contentment

“There is no end of craving. Hence contentment alone is the best way to happiness. Therefore, acquire contentment.” - Swami Sivananda

So I was listening to a bunch of debt-free screams on the Dave Ramsey Show today in my car while driving back from acupuncture. Dave often asks the callers what the hardest part of their journey was or what was their "key" to getting out of debt. There are lots of common answers... learning to say "no," sticking to a budget, working together with your spouse, for example. As I'm listening to these callers, I'm always imagining what the hub and I will say when we finally get to call in and scream. I think the hardest part and the easiest part -and certainly the most necessary part - of our debt-free mission is the monthly budget. But at the heart of it, I think the real key for us has been finding true contentment.

I've had satisfaction and contentment in my head a lot lately as the Beth Moore study I'm doing (with my girls' small group) is focusing this week on finding ultimate satisfaction in God. So I really have to credit God with my ability to be so content with where we are and what we have. You'll constantly see me joking about the decisions "old me" would've made versus the "new me." Because my world focus is so different than it was two years ago. You can see it spelled out in my blog... thumb back through my content from the first year or so and there's a lot of jibber jabber about shopping and the latest and greatest hot new item that I'm wanting. But over these last 24 months, you'll have to do a fair amount of digging to find much of anything devoted to shopping. Simply because I've barely been shopping in the last two years! I mean, seriously... you remember my shopping tally from 2009? As in total dollars spent shopping for myself? $45.57. Old me would've spent that much in a skinny minute on a random Tuesday afternoon without blinking.

I honestly can only point to God's intervention when it comes to my learning how to say NO. I've said it a million times, but when we made the decision as husband and wife to turn our finances around, get on a budget, and do this money thing the right way, we didn't look back. It was not an overnight success. It was very hard. But month after month, I began to trust God more and more and more. I could see him working and my faith got bigger. And somewhere along the way, saying NO was no longer hard to do. I'm not sure where exactly along the road it happened, but I'm just not at all tempted by new and shiny things anymore... whether they be shoes or furniture or cars or anything.

I think this change happened for several reasons. First, through this process, we've really learned the value of the dollar. We do all of our discretionary spending in cash. As in dollar bills. We do this because (a) we've found it's the only way to really stick to the budget and (b) when you use cash, it hurts more, so you therefore spend less. (This has been scientifically proven and is also, on the flip side, why fast food joints started taking cards.) Handing over cold hard cash is a lot harder than swiping a card. You can bet your britches I know my total before I get to the cash register, no matter where I am.

The second reason I think I've really found contentment is the fact that the hub and I are so focused on our goals. We constantly have our eye on the prize. Our debt snowball is taped to our bathroom mirror. It's there every day, staring us in the face. Dave said, "When something is important to you, you will move Heaven and earth to make it happen." Well, this is the most important thing to us right now - becoming debt-free. So spending money on things like shoes, which I already have a million of, seems ridiculous and I'm not even tempted. In fact many things I used to find so much value in somehow made their way over to ebay. I've learned that cash in my pocket is better.

The funny thing is, after two years of learning to rewire my thinking, I now have a hard time shopping when I actually do have money to spend. Whereas before, any little trinket that caught my eye would do... now it's a very well thought out process. Lots of weighing opportunity cost. OK, I've only got this $50... I've got to make it count! And don't you know I'll stretch that $50 as far as humanly possible. We set aside some money for the hub to get some new clothes for his new job this month. It felt SO weird to be shopping. Not a guilty feeling, just weird. Unfamiliar. And the way we approach a shopping trip is so vastly different than it was before.

But whether we can afford to shop in a given month or not, I must say that true contentment is nothing short of priceless. More now than ever, I realize chasing after the latest "must-have" item never truly satisfies. Solomon had it right... it's all so "meaningless." But don't get me wrong, girls... there's nothing wrong with shopping till you drop. If you've got the cash, go for it! There will be a day when I'll be back at it - rest assured! I never stopped loving "stuff." But don't go chasing contentment in a shopping bag. You won't find it there.

I've learned and am still learning that only God and God alone can truly satisfy. And this is the biggest and best reason that I've embraced real contentment. Instead of looking in my closet, or at my friends, or the Joneses, I'm looking up. This whole money makeover we've been doing the last couple of years has been more of a spiritual journey than a financial one. Of course it is greatly financial, but through this process our hearts have been changed. We're content. We're able to make sacrifices today more easily because we're on our way somewhere better. And that's where God is really doing his work.

And just for laughs on my way out, here's an old favorite SNL skit. Dave always plays this before his Live Event. It's hilarious because it's true...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

(Real) Change is here.

Well I certainly didn't intend to take an entire week to post about our day with Dave last weekend... but you know, life. It's been a busy, busy week here with the approaching 10/15 deadline at work and of course, my birthday! I was out every night this past week, so I had very few waking hours to visit bloggy world. But I can't let any more time pass or I'll forget everything!

So the hub and I volunteered last Saturday at Dave Ramsey's LIVE Event here in Atlanta. We've seen his live show a couple of times but this is the first year we've volunteered. It was a very looooong day. We had to be at the arena at 9am and didn't leave till around 8pm. We were on our feet for many of those hours. But we did get to see most of Dave's show (it's a 5 hour show - kind of like a seminar, but awesome). And I did get to meet Dave and shake his hand! (I was too frantic to get a picture though.) We manned an FPU table before the show and during the breaks. Our table wasn't in the best of spots for traffic, but we did sell a lot of kits (the materials for the 13-week class). Working with Dave's team was so fun too... you can really tell what a great organization it is just from how his people interacted with us and how the flow of the day went along. They even had us take 5 minutes to pray over Dave and his message and for all the people who'd be walking through those doors that SO needed to hear truth (whether they knew it or not). Like I've said many times, it's 5 hours that'll change your life, if you let it.

It was really cool being on the "other" side this time, seeing the crowds come in. Around 7,000 people. There were lots of those (like us) who had been through FPU and were big Dave fans. But there were SO many people there that were obviously drug there or didn't really know what the heck it was all about - and that's what I was so grateful for. I seriously get teary thinking of these Dave virgins getting a big helping of truth and hope. Many of them never saw it coming. And many of them never saw this nerdy volunteer coming either... Hello!

My dad asked me if his show was any different this time around. Nope. That's the amazing thing about Dave. It doesn't matter what's going on in the world, what the stock market looks like, or what the unemployment rate is... his message is the same. Because it's simple and it works. And the fact that he can deliver that same message, those same jokes, and same quotes over and over again with such enthusiasm is nothing short of a gift. I get annoyed if I have to repeat one sentence to my husband! Seriously.

But speaking of my awesome husband, I must say the *coolest* happening that day involved him.

A couple of years ago, we enrolled in an FPU class immediately after seeing Dave live for the first time. Like literally butt in chair the very next day at a local church for FPU Class #1. We were sold. And when you get fired up about something, you like to tell the world. Well, most of y'all don't know my husband, but he is the type of person who'll have a conversation with a doorknob. He LOVES to talk and engage people. (I am the opposite, mind you.) Seriously I can name several friends of ours that we know only because the hub randomly struck up a conversation with these people in the strangest of places. Along with his gift for gabbing, he has a true heart for helping. It's one of the many things I love about this man.

So one afternoon the hub was visiting a local real estate agency to introduce himself to a few of the agents and drop off some business cards (this was back when he was doing mortgage lending). While he was there, he ran into an agent he had never met and while saying hello, he could tell she was upset and on the verge of tears. As he's telling me this, I'm picturing a woman who's doing everything she can to hold herself together at work but she's just seconds away from breaking down. We've all had those days! So obviously there's some kind of personal issue going on with her. The hub says to the agent, "Hey, let's go sit down... tell me what's going on." So she led him to a conference room and UNLOADED. This of course was back when the real estate market was plummeting, so she told the hub of her terrifying financial situation. She was in danger of losing her home and her car. She was absolutely hopeless and scared. The hub listened to her, told her about our journey (which was just starting!) and told her about FPU. "I'm open to anything," she told him. So he gave her $100 - as a gift. Not that $100 would solve her problems, but just as a gesture. (He likes giving, you know.)

A few months later, the hub ran into her at a baseball game. He hadn't talked to her since that day and she told him that she had just gotten started with a local FPU class. She seemed to be making some progress, but he could tell she was still strained. Some people who go through the class never quite "buy into" it... the truth is it involves a lot of hard work, tough decisions, and sacrifice to really work it. But hopefully she would be one of the ones that got it. He didn't hear from her after that day. That was nearly two years ago.

Last Saturday we were on the final "break" of Dave's show, selling FPU kits at our table. Sometimes they'll send volunteers up and down the stairs inside the arena wearing a goofy looking apron selling books like a hot dog vendor at a baseball game. We saw one of those particular volunteers coming down the corridor towards us... apron on, arms full top-to-bottom with children's gift bags. She was a feisty looking volunteer - you know how some people just have that "go-getter" look? Yeah, she had it. Well she's about to pass our table and the hub stops her. It's the real estate agent.

They both were just completely shocked to see each other. "I can't believe you're here!" Over and over. Now I was not there the day the hub first met this woman, but he said this volunteer was a completely different woman than the agent he met two long years ago. She was absolutely on fire! She explained that she's now leading an FPU course and that a bunch of her class members were there at the event. She had tried to contact the hub several times but only had his old number and email from his former job (which he left over a year ago). And then the thing that makes me cry every time I think about it... With tears in her eyes and her hands on my husband's arms she said, "Scott, there are so many people here today because of you."

Yeah, I about lost it. Total God moment. And so humbling to see how God used my sweet husband two years ago - in a major way - without him even realizing it. I'm so proud that he recognized someone hurting and took the time to say, "I'm here." I mean, who does that with a stranger?! Amazing. And just further confirmation that we're on the right path ourselves. One of those frozen moments in time when all you can say is, WOW.

So yes, last Saturday was a GREAT day. We were completely worn out and in bed by 9pm that night! But it was so rewarding and I definitely want to do it again next year. It's a good day when you can climb into bed and think to yourself, "I helped change lives today." It just doesn't get any better than that.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

It's MY day!

Last night in my women's small group we were talking about how to rid ourselves of self-glorification. Well I must start that tomorrow, because today is my BIRTHDAY!!! If you haven't figured it out yet, I LOVE my birthday! No matter the age... maybe that will change someday but I doubt it. As far as I can tell, life only gets better every year. And what a blessing to make it another year with a smile! The first 33 years have been pretty darn good. And I plan to kick some major ass in year 34.

No Moo-Goo-approved cake for me this year (although I may or may not have had half a brownie with breakfast), so I spent a couple of minutes this morning reminiscing over my uber-fabulous 30th birthday cake. Wasn't it so dreamy?

The hub and I are going to P.F. Chang's tonight for dinner - they have a huge gluten-free menu! So excited! We don't go out much, so this is quite the splurge for us. It definitely tops the $1.50 hot dog combo at Costco (our usual date night spot).

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

In and Out.

This week is just crazy busy.  Work-busy but fun-busy too as it's my BIRTHDAY WEEK!  I've got so much blog-worthy subject matter in my head, but am buried in work and my social calendar at the moment.  Plus we had our IVF consult yesterday so our heads are still spinning from all that info.  So much to process.  I'll be back!  Hope y'all are having a great week...

Friday, October 1, 2010

10 Reasons I love October

Last night we gathered at Northpoint Community Church with other volunteers and staff to celebrate the church's 15th anniversary.  In short, it was an amazing night.  All I can say is WOW - it is unbelievable how far our church has reached in only 15 short years.  We have satellite campuses all over the world now - it is crazy.  Bill Hybels from Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago spoke last night - what a treat!  I'm so thankful to be a part of such an irresistible church and I can't wait to see the growth in the next 15 years. 
And we've also got an action-packed weekend ahead!  The hub and I are volunteering all day tomorrow at Dave Ramsey's LIVE Event here in Atlanta.  And Sunday my parents are joining us at church and then we're all going to brunch afterward to celebrate my upcoming birthday (Woot!), and then on to the High Museum of Art to see the Dali exhibit.  So fun!  I have a love/hate relationship with Bank of America, but I do love their museum freebies on the first weekend of every month!
And not only is today Friday, but it's the first day of my favorite month, October!  I love the fresh start of a new month, don't you?  Especially when it's the BEST month.  So to get us all started off on the right foot, here are my top 10 reasons why October is the greatest!
1.  October means FALL is finally here!  The best season of the year!
2.  October always means some big football games for my Dawgs.  Namely Tennessee and Florida.  Can we maybe win some this year?  Geez.  Next subject.
3.  October is Breast Cancer Awareness month! My mom and my dad's sister are both breast cancer survivors, so this disease has very much touched our lives.  Plus, that means everything is pink.  What is better than pink?!
4.  October means Dave Ramsey is in town!!!  Actually he's right across the street from me now doing his EntreLeadership program.  He usually comes to town around this time every year and we make sure we're there!
5.  October means I get to break out my favorites: cords and driving mocs.
6.  October 2010 brings with it the hub's 1st *real* paycheck in over a year - so yeah, we're pretty damn excited.
7.  October 2010 is also exciting because we'll be starting our first IVF cycle later this month!  Counting down the days!
8.  October means Halloween!  Which is the official start of the holiday season!  My absolute favorite time of year!
9.  October, speaking of holidays, is when I bust out my master Christmas spreadsheet and really get crackin' on gifts!  I've already got a couple done.
10.  Finally, October is the best because it's my BIRTHDAY MONTH!!!  I love my birthday!!!  My mom took me on a little Old Navy shopping spree today at lunch, so the party's already started!  My actual birthday is the 6th, but I like to stretch it out as far as I possibly can, on either side.  Woot woot!
Hope y'all have a fabulous weekend and a fantastic October!