Tuesday, September 23, 2014

DIY furniture, Crochet Infinity scarf & more

I'm so excited about this INFINITY scarf I crocheted!  And love the little cabinet that got a major make-over.  Why do these things you may ask?  Well, let me tell you why....

My mom, aunts and I have started a fun little shop called Tin Can Alley, where everything is either hand-made, vintage or re-purposed.   We're a very occasional shop, as we can't be open in the winter when we have no heat in the building.   Maybe some day ;). . Thankfully we have a great group of other talented people who also put stuff in our shop, which helps make the shop full and add variety!

Anyway, here are some pictures of things I've recently done for the shop :)

We're open again October 2nd, 3rd & 4th!

Linking up to:
Create It Thursday

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Choosing Joy in the Midst of Sorrow

It’s only taken me 11 months to write this post and I’m not exactly sure why.  Maybe because I’m a perfectionist and wanted to have the exact right words to say.  Or maybe it’s because of the emotions I know it will cause to surface.  Maybe it’s because the story I’m about to share doesn’t have the “happy” ending I was hoping for by now.  Maybe it’s because I’m afraid of what people might say and the responses that may come.  Maybe it’s because I’m afraid of letting people in on this part of my life and being vulnerable with such a sensitive subject.  Maybe because I know of so many others who have gone through something similar that I don’t want to steal their spotlight.  Maybe it’s because I want to be certain that I’m writing it for God’s glory and not attention on me.  I’ve always felt like I needed to share this story, but didn’t know when.  Well, the when is now, so here it goes….

We were approaching the 12 week mark of our pregnancy, learning weekly how our baby was growing & had even gotten to hear our baby’s heartbeat just 2 weeks earlier.  But on April 11th, I knew something wasn’t quite right and ended up going to the hospital.  After 3 grueling hours of tests & ultrasounds & waiting for the dr to get back to us, each minute an indication of or worst fears, the dr finally came to the waiting room and brought us into the dreaded “bad news” room.  

I don’t even remember all she had to say, but the thing that stood out the most and confirmed our fears was that our baby no longer had a heartbeat.  It was one of the worst days of my life.  There’s no sugar-coating hearing that kind of news.  We were devastated.  All we could do was try to hold ourselves together & try to process through what she had just said and was telling us as far as options.  There’s no words to describe it. 
I’m not even sure how we made it home that night.  All we could do was hold each other & cry.  And ask for God to give us His strength, not at all understanding what was going on or why.  But also trusting that He knew what was best for us & our baby.  

The dr was hopeful that since I was already starting to bleed that I would probably pass the baby naturally.  I didn’t want to have to have any sort of procedure if it was at all possible.  At this point, all we could do was wait.  And wait.  And wait.  And cry.  And pray for peace.  And wait.  And cry some more.  And wait some more.  This was the most difficult time in my life, but I was so thankful for my husband, who is also a follower of Christ, as we were able to have some great conversations through all of this, pray together and for each other, & lean on each other.  Our family and friends that knew we were even pregnant were also amazing, sending flowers, cards & being a strong support system for us.  For that I am grateful.  

After 9 days, we finally got to meet our precious Taylor Lee.  We don’t know if Taylor is a boy a girl, but we do know that Taylor is a child of God & was beautiful.  The dr had guessed that Taylor stopped growing around the 9 week mark.  Yes.  9 weeks, yet we still heard Taylor’s heartbeat.  And when Taylor was finally born all we could do was weep some more & praise God for His beauty.  You guys, it was an amazing experience & made me believe even more than I already did, that there’s no way that life can just form on its own.  God is real.  He creates us, His beloved treasures.  Taylor was formed in His image, beautifully & wonderfully made.  All we could do for 2 hours was sit & stare at Taylor and marvel at the intricacy of this tiny human that had been growing in me.  You could see Taylor’s tiny little fingers and tiny little toes, a nose, black eyelids covering the eyes, and we could even see the spine.  We even saw what looked like a smile on Taylor’s face.  I’m telling you, in the midst of our pain, it was the most beautiful thing.  At one point I was sitting, holding Taylor in the palm of my hand, just staring at God’s remarkable creation, grieving our loss.  But also not being able to understand the amount of love in my heart for this tiny little person I was holding in my hand, whom I hadn’t even really gotten to meet.  That’s when I had one of those cool God moments, as I felt Him speak to my heart, something I will take with me always & remember often.  He said to me, “see Nicole, this is how I hold you my hand”.  And again the tears just flowed and my heart grew 200x bigger as I thought about how much God loves us, that He holds us in the palm of his hand and marvels at us, even when we haven’t even done anything.  

My passion for protecting innocent life has also grown a ton as well!  I believe that life begins at conception & it grieves my heart to know that people end lives willfully around the time frame that we met Taylor, when the baby is not just a fetus and is living.  They have heartbeats starting around 5 weeks!    5 weeks!  Which is really about 3 weeks after conception.  Some women don’t even know they’re pregnant at this point.  And the baby has a heartbeat.  It’s fascinating to read about the development of the baby that takes place each week!  

Even though it’s not an easy thing, and I could come up with a million reasons to not share this part of our lives, I know that God has bigger plans for us.  If sharing our story of our little baby can save the life of even one other baby & give that baby the chance at life, then it’s worth sharing.  If it helps to educate even just one mom about the life growing inside of her & prevents her from ending that life, then it’s worth sharing.   If Taylor’s short life draws even one person into a relationship with Christ, or closer to Christ, then it’s worth sharing.   If God chooses to use us to help comfort others who walk this road, then it’s worth sharing. 
And even though we haven’t gotten pregnant again yet, we’re doing ok with it and we’re choosing to continue to trust that the Lord has our best in mind.  Yes, we desire to have children, however it’s not something that we’re promised & we understand that 100%.  We’re choosing to walk this road, trusting that God will give us the strength to face each day. 

I’d be lying if I said it’s been an easy road to walk.  But Christ has gotten us through.  He’s given us a peace that can only come from him.  He’s held us in the palm of His hand through it.  And that’s all that we can ask for.  Our biggest goal in our lives is to live for Christ and help to further His Kingdom, by allowing God to use our lives to point people to Himself.  Even if it means going through immense loss like this.   There have been so many things that we’ve learned through this trial, but I’ll save those for another post.  :)   We’re choosing joy in the midst of our sorrow.  Sorrow that we will carry with us all the days of our life here on earth.  This joy can only come from one source – Christ – the giver of Life.  

We look forward to the day when we get to Heaven and will actually get to meet our sweet Taylor Lee, fully believing Taylor is there waiting for us!  What a day that will be!  

If you or someone you know is going through a miscarriage and need to talk to someone, know that I am here and am a listening ear.  

Psalm 139: 13-18
For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.