Thursday, February 8, 2018

How We Discovered Coconut Oil Fat Bombs! And Our Own Recipe!



I am so excited about this post! I have debated over and over again about the content of the blog I desired to write but I never saw recipes in my future! But this one is a must-share!





Our finished Almond Joy Coconut Oil Fat Bombs!


I was sitting at my mom's dining room table with her a week or so ago. She and I hadn't been able to spend much time together for quite a while (which is very strange for us!) because she'd been under the weather. As we sat and chatted she started telling me about all of the crazy symptoms she'd been dealing with. Fatigue, memory loss, inability to focus, an itchy rash spreading from her belly button down her thighs, and a full blown yeast infection to boot! I'd had no idea she was dealing with so much. Mom had gone to a local gynecologist for an explanation but was brushed off and told to go see her primary care physician. This was even though she had a severe feminine yeast infection!


A few days after this doctor barely spoke to her and dismissed her symptoms, my mom was absolutely miserable. She'd been dealing with these issues for almost 2 months at this point. My mom decided to take herself to an urgent care center and see if she could get any kind of answers or relief. Thankfully, the doctor at MedExpress took her concerns very seriously and was able to tell my mom in a short amount of time that he believed her to not only have a yeast infection, but a yeast overgrowth in her entire system! Between information the doctor gave her and her own research, my mom was able to see that ALL of the symptoms she'd been having lined up with the doctor's diagnosis perfectly! Of course, she'd been doing her own research before she got to see the doctor and even had an idea of what type of medication she needed to be put on. Before she had a chance to ask, the doctor prescribed the exact medication she'd been prepared to fight for if need be! However, medicine wasn't quite enough to completely take care of the situation.


Both at the doctor's urging, and through her own information gathering my mom realized that she needed to make a huge change in her diet and lifestyle! Have you ever baked with activated yeast? Its used in bread and other baked goods, especially those that rise before being baked. But how do you activate your yeast? You sprinkle it into sugar water. The sugar feeds the yeast and allows it to grow and work. Now, imagine an overgrowth of yeast (candida) in your body. Sugar feeds the yeast in your body as well! And carbohydrates like bread and potatoes break down in the body and are converted to sugar. In essence, my mom, who is not much of a sweets person at all, needed to cut white sugar, bread, potatoes and many other starches from her diet. Corn is a major cause of aggravation to a yeast overgrowth! Not only that, when I started reading about a "candida diet" to help her I found this blog at naturalon.com that offers an extensive list of foods that should be avoided. It also mentions foods that are good to eat.


Here's where we get to the recipe! Mom found out that if she could consume coconut oil (ALL HAIL our favorite super food!) it would actually aid in breaking holes in the walls of the candida cells and kill it. As soon as she mentioned eating coconut oil I thought "Fat Bombs!" I mentioned them to her and started searching for an easy recipe she could try. I was super excited when I came across blog.paleohacks.com and this recipe! There is also some good information in the blog about why fat bombs are a good thing to eat! I was even more excited when I read that fat bombs can help with cravings! I've just had my first postpartum cycle after having my youngest daughter 6 months ago. I was eating chocolate like it was my job! So anything to curb cravings would definitely be welcome!


I showed my mom the recipe and she said "I think I have all of that. Get up! We're making them now!" Off to the kitchen we went! It turned out we didn't have exactly what PaleoHacks' recipe called for and we wanted to tweak them a little anyways, so we ended up with out very own Almond Joy Fat Bomb recipe! And MAN, do they help with cravings! Its amazing! And, it is definitely a sure fire way to get some amazing coconut oil into your system! I can't wait to share this recipe with you!






Almond Joy Coconut Oil Fat Bombs

Ingredients

1/3 cup melted Coconut Oil

2Tbsp Agave Nectar (or Raw Honey)

2 Cups unsweetened shredded coconut

2-3Tbsp sliced almonds or almond slivers

4oz semi-sweet or dark chocolate


Supplies

Cookie sheet

Wax or parchment paper <<-- (These are AWESOME because they're already cut into individual sheets!)

Blender or food processor

Microwave safe bowl or double boiler for melting chocolate


Directions

1. Combine oil, agave, almonds, and coconut in the blender or food processor. (We MUCH preferred the food processor and I LOVE this one from Hamilton Beach!)

**If you want more crunch you can process everything without the almonds and add them in later so they stay more whole**

2. Pulse until the mixture has a crumbly texture.

3. Use a teaspoon to remove small amounts of the mixture at a time and use your hands to roll into a ball... You could also use a second spoon to simply "drop" spoonfuls of the mixture onto your parchment paper.

4. Place bombs on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Let set in the freezer for 10 minutes.

5. Using a double boiler or very carefully in the microwave (chocolate burns fast!) melt the chocolate. Remove the bombs from the freezer and drizzle with chocolate. Let set in the freezer for 5 more minutes.

6. Enjoy! These will keep well in an airtight container in the fridge!





Let me know if you try these and how you like them! And, if you make your own variations, PLEASE leave them in the comments! I'd LOVE to try more recipes!!



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Sunday, January 28, 2018

5 Things that Happen When Mom Gets in the Shower

OK, maybe its only me that these particular things happen to, but I know I'm not the only mom who has used a shower to get a little alone time. Time by yourself isn't something you come across very often as a parent! So, when I was presented with the opportunity this evening to get a long, hot, relaxing shower by myself, WITH the door closed... Well, I jumped! My big girls were tucked up in bed and just about snoozing. The baby was hanging out with Daddy in our room. I had the bathroom all to myself... I started the water and got the temperature perfect. I turned off the lights and lit a candle. I closed the door. I closed it all the way. It actually clicked closed. That, in itself, was a WONDEROUS feeling! I got in and pulled the curtain shut and began to relish the warmth of the water. It was glorious! For about 2 minutes. And, well:
  1. My 5-year-old comes to tell me that her sister was breathing on her. And she flips the light switch on. Because apparently, she didn't think I was aware that it was off... And she reminds me that candles are dangerous for little girls and she shouldn't touch them. Yes, darling. You're so right. I finally get her to go back to her room but she forgets to turn the light back off... OK, the lighting isn't so important. I'm still in the shower, alone!
  2. My potty training 3-year-old who was almost sound asleep 5 seconds ago has to poop. Why wouldn't she? I checked twice to make sure she didn't have to pee before I put her in bed but I forgot to ask if she had to poop. So, into the bathroom she comes. She sits on the potty seat and sings to herself. And she sits, and she sits, and she sits... So much for being alone.
  3.  I debate whether or not it is worth it to wash my hair. By this time I've forgotten that I'm supposed to be relaxing. The fact that I could probably get by with another day of dry shampoo is really tempting. Generally, I talk myself into shampoo and conditioner. Still trying to enjoy my shower! 
  4. I suddenly remember everything I didn't put on the shopping list. And not only that, I get little snippets from the Holy Spirit reminding me of things that God has put on my heart for the last few weeks that I haven't done yet. Sometimes He reminds me of all of those other things AND adds a few new things! Thank goodness I have a waterproof notepad and pencil hanging on the shower wall! At first, I thought it was the silliest idea ever. Now, I can't be without it! I can't tell you how many times its saved me!
  5. Guess who needs to have her bum wiped?? Yep, daddy is the baby whisperer and he and the baby are sleeping so soundly and peacefully. It's awesome! Mostly. And now our 3-year-old needs wiped... Guess my shower is over! 
Sound familiar at all? Come on, Moms and Dads! I know I'm not alone in at least a few of these things! I'd love to hear from you about all of the crazy antics that happen when you try to get a few moments of alone time! Leave your comments and tell me about it!


**Disclaimer** This blog post may contain affiliate links. When you click these links to purchase the recommended products it creates a profit for my blog and family without changing the price you will pay at all! 

Friday, January 20, 2017

Honestly?

     I've decided that I've got to come clean about a few things... Now, I didn't come into marriage and motherhood thinking everything would be roses and romance. I didn't think it would be easy breezy or that I would never struggle. I have always been taught that marriage and parenthood are the hardest jobs I will ever have. And that both are worth every ounce of hardship and are also the most rewarding jobs in the world. But, I think that I have written so many Facebook posts, and posted so many Instagram photos putting on a front that I have started believing it. I have shown my life to the world through rose colored glasses and in the process completely dis-alluded myself. I've become so ungrateful for so many things in my life lately because I don't feel like its going exactly the way I think it should or the way that I've planned for it to go... Or the way I present it to others...
     I can almost guarantee that I spend the equivalent of one full day out of my week yelling, disciplining, being frustrated, and bickering... Maybe more... Probably more... But if I actually write that I spend more than one full 24 hour period doing it I may fall into a deep depression and need psychiatric care... So I'm saying one full day... Even that is WAY too much time spent wasted! If I'm fighting and yelling one full day out of a week, and say working two days, sleeping the equivalent of 2-3 days, and then add in cooking, cleaning, laundry and changing diapers.... I'm left with maybe one day... One 24 hour period in which to enjoy my kids, my family, my life... A day is nothing in the grand scheme of time. It is the blink of an eye in this thing called life. And how much of that one single day do I spend putting on a facade to make everyone believe that I've got it together? Too much. Way too much. Am I going to stop all of my feel-good posts, the bragging about how much I cleaned in one day, the awesome dinners I made, or how incredible my kids and husband are? NOPE! Not a chance! Because while they aren't the whole truth, they are true and they do help me feel accomplished and get me through... But, starting now, I'm going to be dishing out a lot more of the harsh reality that is the life of Mrs. Deming...
     I'm not going to hide the fact that I let my child have potato chips for lunch. Or ramen noodles. Judge all you want... I'm going to be honest about the fact that today has pretty much SUCKED! The day didn't start out so bad, but in the midst of a decent day I officially fought with my 2-year-old for TWO AND A HALF HOURS over taking a nap... Yep... No joke.... And guess what? I did NOT win! By the time we were done fighting and I got in the shower to cool down, it was too late for her to take a nap. She won. I'm not proud of that. I'm not proud of the fight but I'm mostly not proud that I lost. I'm not proud that I stood in that shower while she was still laying in her bed doing whatever 2-year-olds do while no one is looking and I just sobbed... I told God that I think He may have made a terrible mistake giving me my husband and my kids.
     Now, I know He doesn't make mistakes. He doesn't make garbage. He makes beautiful disasters. But I don't feel like a beautiful disaster. I just feel like a regular, old, horrible, ugly disaster. I don't feel like I'm a good mom. I don't feel like I'm a good wife or homemaker. And no, I'm not judging myself against other moms or wives. Because, honestly, those moms and wives that post like me and seem like they have it all together? They drive me CRAZY! See, I know. I know that they are faking it just like me. They don't have the same struggles. They don't fail in the same ways that I do. But NONE of us has it all together. And anyone who might actually really have it all together, well, they must live a pretty bland, boring life... Because its all the failures, all the falling down that makes life interesting. And no, I'm not writing this in the hopes for sympathy posts about what a great mom I am and everyone has rough days and it'll all get better and of course, I'm a good wife. Yeah... those do stroke the ego a little and help dull the ache of the awful day I've had... But I don't want those... I want the "ME TOO!" and the "AMEN!" and the "GLAD I'M NOT ALONE!" posts... Those are the ones that are real... Solidarity. That is real. I know that on most days I do my best and I am a pretty good mom. I know that my Hubby loves me and appreciates me even on the days I don't see or feel it. And he knows that I feel the same way even on the days that I nag and complain.
     Do I want to be that "perfect" mom and wife and homemaker? Do I want to be the "Pinterest" mom that has it all together and makes organic rainbow spaghetti and steamed broccoli for my kids' lunch? No, not really. I am ok with the messy. I am ok with the imperfect. The messy and the imperfect are what make us who we are. We all know that if we were all that perfect "Pinterest" mom, life would be so boring! The mess teaches us lessons, causes us to do better next time, and builds character in us and in those around us. When I got out of that shower I knew for a fact that God had not made a mistake. My child is mine because she is meant to be mine. I am the only mommy that can raise her and help her become the person she is destined to be. And I was able to come out of that shower and pick her up and love on her. I rocked her and told her how much I love her. I apologized for our fight. I apologized for getting in my own way and being just as stubborn as she was.
     And do you know what happened? She looked up at me and giggled, and kissed my face... And then she laid down on my chest and fell asleep... Yep... After all of that fighting and crying... she fell asleep at 5:00 in the evening.
Great! Just GREAT!

Friday, March 11, 2016

To the Man at Aldi

     Grocery shopping... I know there are many people who abhor grocery shopping. Me, personally? It is, by far, one of my absolute favorite things to do, even with my two small children in tow. There is something about roaming the aisles with my well made list and my calculator knowing that what I am doing is going to feed my family. Today I got to add to the joy I already get from grocery shopping by including one of my very best friends, my sister-in-love, Danielle, in the mix. We rarely get to spend time together so we were definitely looking forward to this outing. Off to Aldi we went.
     Every day you can read stories all over social media about the various injustices that people encounter when they are out in public. Human beings have a bad habit of abusing each other and taking each other for granted in atrocious ways. I am never one to post those kinds of stories though. I sometimes feel like I walk around in a bubble of happiness because I am always treated kindly and with respect when I am out, especially with my girls. Today though... today was a different kind of day. So I'd like to leave here an open letter to the man we encountered at Aldi today.

Dear Sir,
     When I sat down to write this letter I thought I had so much to say. Now, however, my brain is so full of jumble and I am still so bothered by our encounter that I am not sure where to start. Today I set out with my sister and my two small daughters to purchase groceries for our family. I enjoy taking my girls shopping and interacting with them throughout the store. We use it as a bonding time and also a learning time. We talk about colors, numbers, the alphabet. My 3-year-old loves to ask questions about the different fruits and vegetables she sees. But today, you made our excursion into an entirely different kind of learning experience for my children.
     I truly would like to apologize that my sister's buggy was in the middle of the aisle as we talked about butter and decided what would work best for each of our families. We stopped in a split second when we saw the sale prices and did not notice where her buggy landed. A simple "excuse me" would have sufficed and she would have been more than happy to scoot out of your path. She most likely would have apologized for being in your way and smiled at you. Instead you decided that it was necessary to run, full speed, into her cart and knock her out of your way. My daughters saw this. My sister and I marveled at what had just occurred and decided not to linger on it.
     We went about our business and turned the corner to the fresh meat aisle. I moved my buggy, with my girls in the front seat, so that it was almost touching the cooler, like I normally do, while we perused the ground beef and made a selection. I reached out for the package I wanted and suddenly a searing pain shot through my hand and stopped me in my tracks. I looked up to find that you, this same man who had banged into my sister, had now side swiped my own cart hard enough to push it the rest of the way into the cooler, and smashed my pinky between our buggies in the process. A million things passed through my brain all at once. I had to stay calm because my girls were watching me. So while I wanted to yell at you and scream in pain, I simply help my hand and tried not to cry. The pain made me instantly nauseated and I had to turn my back. You never offered help. You never muttered an apology. You stood there and watched me in pain. I noticed very quickly that there had been no reason for the "accident." Another young mom and her friend were all the way on the other side of the aisle and there was plenty of room for you to walk through. I had no words. I had no idea how to act or what to do. As you walked away with a smirk on your face I did say, loud enough that I know you heard me, that had it been my child's hand you hit, you most definitely would have broken something.
     My daughters saw all of this. They saw the meanness in your face. They saw that you went out of your way to hurt someone; to hurt their mama. They saw a room full of people watch this happen and never offer even a kind word. Only their aunt, thank goodness she was with me, seemed to notice that anything was wrong with the situation. But I was able to teach my girls, especially my 3-year-old, from this. I was able to show them that it is possible to remain calm in a bad situation. I was able to teach them that harsh words aren't the answer and that grace can be shown to anyone. They got to see that it is ok to be upset and it is ok to be emotional when you've been hurt. And then my sister and I taught them the best lesson of all. We gathered at the middle of our two buggies, right there next to the ground beef and the chicken breasts, and we prayed. We prayed for protection around us for the rest of our day. We prayed for the people in the stores we would visit, and we prayed for the atmosphere wherever we would set foot for the rest of the day. And we prayed that you wouldn't be so mean any more.
     I don't know what caused you to act the way you did. Perhaps you saw our ages and my small children and assumed we were disrespectful and rude. Your generation seems to have a very bad view of our generation. Maybe you were having a really bad day. Or maybe, for some reason, you just decided you didn't like us before you even knew us. I'm sorry if those things are the case. If you'd been having a bad day, I hope that the rest of your day was better than the beginning. I won't thank you for abusing us and treating us badly, but I'm grateful that I was able to be an example to my girls. I'm glad that they got to see their mama walking in grace.
     And we'll continue to pray for you to not be so mean.
-Skye

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Dear B'rit,

Dear B'rit,
     My beautiful, cherished, wanted baby, tomorrow is what should be your second birthday. It has been two years; two hard, emotional, amazing years since you blessed our family with your short life and then left us to take your place in Heaven. I'm currently doing what any mom of a soon-to-be two-year-old would be doing the night before a birthday. I'm making cupcakes. Your big sister, Ariyah, and I will have some for breakfast and we'll talk about you. She still doesn't really understand who you are or where you are. She knows that you are her brother but it is a hard concept for her right now since she can't see you. She likes to talk about you though, and I can't help but love to hear her say your name. I might even give your little sister, Mayim a few tastes of the gooey chocolate cake. I'm still not sure how or when I will be able to explain to her about you. I'm not sure how I'll help her understand why I look at her sometimes and just start crying. I know that when the time comes the words will too... I will never keep you from them. Or from any other siblings you may have in the future. I promise that to you.
     This is the first time that I have felt ready to write to you. I'm not sure why it took so long but I think I know a few people to thank for helping me finally be ready. I met and spent time with some incredible women this past weekend. I heard stories of their babies who are also in Heaven. I heard stories, too, from some of them who haven't been able to have babies. Stories of broken hearts and broken hope... And I talked about you. It was really hard at first but I knew I needed to do it. I talk about you often, at home, with our family. But I hold quite a bit back. Last weekend, though, my heart knew we were in a safe space and I was able to share about you in a way I've never been able to. I got to say things that scared me to say, but I said them out loud. And I cried. I felt so free and so close to you. Wow! Now you are held in the safe space of so many other beautiful mama-hearts! And their babies, their broken hearts are now held in my heart. I feel so honored. I was able to start some beautiful friendships.
     While all of that was happening I was also encouraged to finish this journey that your life has put me on. I had started to doubt myself and my abilities. I had started to think that I wasn't needed and I wasn't good enough. But I was wrong, so wrong! The beautiful women and the beautiful stories took the little spark that was still left of my dream and fanned it back into a roaring fire! Your life... Our story... God has such plans for all of it! I'm getting more and more of the little puzzle pieces and He is helping me put them together to see all of it. I want your life to have meaning and purpose. I know that my purpose comes from our Abba Father, but your life and you death have given that purpose a depth I never knew possible. And to think, not only your story travels with me on this road now, but all of the beautiful pieces from the mamas I met travel with me too.
     I miss you so very much, my sweet boy. Not a minute of any single day goes by that I do not long for you to be here with me. I get so jealous of Heaven, because they have you there and get to see you smile and play and grow. I have this incredible picture of you in my head looking just like your sisters with your Daddy's striking blue eyes and a head full of curly, dark hair. It makes me smile to think of you playing and sitting on Jesus' lap...
     I know some people probably think I'm silly for talking about you and others will never understand how I could still miss you. Some will call me foolish for getting sad at times when I never even felt you move. They will think that I should move on and forget about you. I know now, that there are others who understand so completely. I am more grateful for the safe space that I found in their hearts than I can ever explain. I want you to know this; You were so wanted. You were and are so very loved. Your size when you left us and the short time we had you here has no bearing on your value to us. You are my sweet baby and you will always be counted among our family. You will always be included when I talk about my children. I am so very, very proud to be your Mama. I hope that you are proud to be my child. As I serve each and every Mama, Daddy, family, and baby in my care I hope I make you and our Abba proud. I pray that I honor your short, beautiful life and the Heart of God with every birth, whether Earthside or into Heaven, that I have the honor of witnessing.
     Happy Birthday, B'rit. I love you my darling. Forever and always and always and always...
                                                     Love,
                                                              Mommy

Have I Not Given You Promises? Part 2


The last ultrasound photo of our boy, 8 weeks
     Two days ago I took a very brave step and shared the very painful, very personal story of the miscarriage that my husband and I, and our families, have endured. It was very difficult to write, as I had to go back to moments that I had completely buried in the back of my mind and relive them in order to get them onto the screen... I had to stop writing at times because I could not see my computer through the tears that were flowing. Yes, one full year later my heart hurts like I just got the news this morning. But my life continues. My God remains faithful. 
     For the past year I have stood, crawled, and lain on my belly through the most painful storm of my life. A storm which, at the beginning, I thought was unbearable, one I couldn't possibly survive. I have asked questions, been angry, and even wished I could forget it all. I've fallen more times than I can count. But I've stood back up every time. No, I can't say that. I haven't stood on my own- God has picked me up and put me back on my feet. But for His mercy and grace I would still be on the ground looking for a hole to crawl into. Thanks to His love kindness I no longer want to stay down. But even now, carrying a beautiful, healthy child in my womb, I still have sad days. And when they come, I let them. I don't fight. I let the emotion roll over me and I weep for my lost child, and for the dreams and hopes that died with him. But then the sad day is over and I've survived yet again. 
     The enemy stole my child from me. But he has not diminished my hope, nor will he ever. He has not taken my faith, and while he may have scuffed up the edges of my joy- it is still ever present and FULL! It just has a story now, and some extra character. I have a story, and I have more character. Chris and I have added to our testimony. And God is good!
     I was recently talking to a friend who has suffered similar loss and we spoke of how our lives have been impacted forever by these tiny, brief lives that we carried inside us. People on the outside, it seems, will never understand the enormity of our losses. We are expected, by many, to get over our grief and quickly forget about these invisible children who are such a part of us. My friend was having a hard time putting her feelings into words and the Holy Spirit gave me the following description for her: 

A bomb has gone off in the very center of our beings, leaving behind not just gaping holes, but sharp, shattered fragments around the edges. Every time we move, breathe, shift our weight, those shards stab at us, reopening wounds that have just barely begun to close. Sometimes the people around us and their words, actions, and expectations grab at some of those shattered pieces and snap them off, stabbing at wounds they, at times, didn't even realize existed. The pain is oh, so real to us. But day-by-day the Father gently, lovingly sands down the fragmented, broken, hazardous edges until they are smooth. They become scar tissue, still sensitive, but no longer constant pain. Little-by-little He works His way around the gaping mouth of the hole that the bomb left. Smoothing, smoothing... Taking great care on the most tender spots, lovingly breaking off pieces that will never heal, never be smooth, until one day, perhaps many years from now, the entire opening is smooth and polished. The hole is still there. It will never be filled again until we reach glory and see the faces of our angeled children. But instead of stabbing, searing pain, there is only a slight ache when someone brushes across the opening of the chasm. Its a sensation we can bear and one to help us remember. Other bombs may go off in our lives but we know now that we will survive the devastation. We don't lose hope. Other joys will come, perhaps even other children, and will crowd our hearts, making the gaping hole a little smaller each time. It will always be there though, and at some point we'll realize that we wouldn't have it any other way. It is part of who we are. It defines us in a way, this scar that we carry. Just as each of our living children define a part of us... And we will continue on...

     The thing that I want to put across with this post is HOPE! Hope that our pain will not consume us. Hope that fear will not control our lives. Hope that we can continue to trust in a God who loves us so completely. Hope that there is still a plan and purpose for our lives after pain and loss... Hope that our losses are not in vain, that our children's lives, whether other people will acknowledge them or not, will mean something. I am determined that my child's life will mean something! I am adamantly opposed to the memory of my child being pushed aside because miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant death are taboo subjects and not to be spoken of. 
     The night before my d&c, before I was even able to comprehend completely what was happening in my life, I started hearing from God. One of the first things that I felt in my spirit was that I needed to name my child. And that I needed to find a name with meaning. Specifically, I needed to find a name that meant "promise." I deeply love the Hebrew language and I immediately went to the computer and tried to find a word or name in Hebrew that meant promise. From my research that night I found that, as far as I could tell, there is no word in Hebrew for promise. The word I did find was this:

 בְּרִית
      The word is b'rit (br-eet). Covenant. There is no word for "promise" but there is a word for Covenant. A covenant is a contract, a pact, it implies the "shedding of blood in the process of ratifying an agreement." It is so much more, so much stronger, and much more protected than a simple promise. I found this word and it resonated within my spirit. In my immense sorrow and pain that night I knew that God was telling me that with the loss of this child He was still giving me a covenant. If I remained faithful, as He is faithful, He would covenant with me to restore what I had lost. He would restore to Chris and I what had been stolen from us, 100-fold.
     My son's name is B'rit. B'rit Joshua Deming. He is my promise. He is my signed covenant with my God. He is my test of faithfulness and he is the sign of my restoration. I knew that, for us, that restoration would come with another child. I did not know how long we would wait. I did not know much of anything except that I would be faithful and trust in this most sacred of promises.
Our boy's Heaven Birthday cupcake

     I want to be able to encourage you, any of you reading this. Whether you have suffered the loss of a child, or some other deep hurt that has forever affected your life, wait on the promise. Wait, be faithful, and watch God restore your hope, your joy, your peace. It is one of the hardest things you will ever do. Waiting and being faithful, being patient, when your hurt is so raw and your wound so open. Being hopeful when you don't understand what is happening or why you are being allowed to endure such a trial. But oh, the reward! I can not promise that your restoration will come in the birth of a living child. I can not promise that your storm is over and you will never know loss again. I can not fathom what promises God has for you. But I can promise, that He is ever faithful. I can promise, that even if His timing makes it seem like He has forgotten about you, He has not. He holds you, your hopes, your dreams, your desires in the palm of His hand. He cares for your heart as if it is the most precious in the world. As if you were His only creation. He is completely devoted to you.  I can promise that He has a plan and a purpose for your life and that of your child or children.
     Once you begin to listen and wait, you may find that He has more than one promise He is eager to make to you. And the ways in which He will reveal these promises to you may just blow your mind! Shortly before we found out whether our Rainbow baby was a boy or a girl I had already decided on names. A wonderful client and friend was sitting in my chair and we were discussing my pregnancy and our name choices. The name that I had chosen for a girl was Mayim. Being that Ariyah's name is Hebrew, as is B'rit, it seemed fitting for this child to have a Hebrew name also. Mayim means water, and while I wasn't sure of the significance when I chose the name, I knew that it was perfect and fit us somehow. When I told my client, Brittany, this I was given clear and incredible understanding as to why I had been drawn to that name. God used Brittany to deliver a word to me, a new promise!
A beautiful cistern, or well, in Turkey.
Brittany had heard in her spirit that my time of sorrow, my loss of our B'rit was my desert. That up until this moment, I had personally been a dry place. She saw the desert and then a spring bubbling up in the middle of the dry sand. My Rainbow baby, my Mayim was the water in that spring, bubbling up, filling me with life once again. And she heard the Spirit say that from that moment on I would be a well, a cistern, and I would never be dry again. I knew immediately in that moment that He would hold true to that promise. And that my sweet Rainbow was a girl.
     I do not know that this promise means I will never endure a loss again. There are some parts to our stories that we are simply not supposed to know or understand. Because if we know what is coming, we may alter our behavior, our decisions, to see that the outcome we know doesn't happen. Would we have tried to conceive if we had known ahead of time that we would lose B'rit? Perhaps not... But then also, we would not have the memory of him, and I would not have the opportunity to reach out to other moms and families and be able to help them in the same way that I can now. If we knew we were to lose another baby in the future, would we stop having babies after Mayim? I don't know. I'd like to think that I'd be able to trust God and still walk through it, but I just don't know. But even though I don't understand the complete parameters of the promise I have been given, I know that I have a promise! I know that whatever comes my way, I will be able to stand strong. I know that I will be able to endure, and that my well will never cease to spring forth with life and living water.
     In much of this post I feel as though I have rambled. But in being inspired to write this, I was encouraged to simply share my heart. I knew that it was finally time to make our baby's name public. And I knew that I simply needed to be real. It is my absolute and sincere prayer that something I have said in this post touches other people. I know that there are a few of you who have just experienced loss very recently, and that, for you, it is too hard to even try to have hope at the moment. But, please, take the tiniest shred that you have left and hold onto it with all of your might. Out of it will grow something beautiful. Something joyous. Be encouraged and do not allow yourself to crawl into that hole you are searching for. Reach out to someone. Reach out to me. Let those of us who have been there hold you up and encourage and support you. It is one of the most important things you will ever do for yourself. You are not alone in this, and you do not have to stand alone to endure it.

I pray peace, healing, and hope over every single person who has taken the time to read my heart here. I thank you more than I can say. I look forward to having more to share, on this and many other topics! Be blessed and be a blessing!!

Have I Not Given You Promises?






365 days. 12 months. 52 weeks.
                             One year.
One full year has passed. For months now writing this blog has been on my heart. I could not decide how to write it. I could not decide what tone it should have. But I knew that I needed to write. And I knew that I needed to share.
              Then, October 22, 2014 I was sitting in church listening to a guest minister that, honestly, is not my favorite. But I was determined to listen and try to glean something. I knew that God had something for me that night. And I got it. The minister was talking about himself and his own situation- but he made one statement, asked one question that had been posed to him by God. That one question was my entire reason for being there that night. This minister had been going through a situation in which fear had caused him to question God and whether or not God was going to take this man’s son from him. In his prayer and desperation he heard one question in his Spirit-
Have I not given you promises for him?
This one question pierced my heart and stole my breath. And instantly I knew what to write. Or, at least, how to start writing.
              Since the beginning of this journey I have always known it would be very necessary to share our story. Not to glorify the enemy’s work or wallow in our loss, but in the full desire of giving someone else hope. Hope… What a powerful and yet taken-for-granted word. But my prayer, if you are reading this, is to show and instill hope in your heart. This is the first of two parts that I will be publishing. This is simply our story. The happenings of one year ago. This is only the beginning. Please look for Part 2 before the end of the week.
              Laying in the hospital less than 24 hours after my first child was born by cesarean section someone asked me if I was ready for another baby. I looked down at my sleeping girl and without a second thought said “YES!” Of course, physically I had a little ways to go! But from that moment on it became my prayer and my confession to become pregnant again and announce it at my daughter’s first birthday party. On September 2, 2013 my prayer was answered and at her party, right before she got covered head to toe in icing from her smash cake we announced that our sweet Ariyah would be a big sister in May of the next year. I’ve always wanted a large family and I’ve loved the idea of my babies being close in age so that they would grow up as playmates and friends. With our projected due date our babies would be 20 months apart. Perfection! I felt great and we were so excited! We told the whole world! I even acquired a new friendship with a girl from church when we discovered our similar due dates.
              A week and a half after Ariyah’s party things got a little scary. I started bleeding, and while I knew that bleeding in the first trimester can be very common, I’d never had it with Ariyah and it threw me. My mom and husband took me to the er and after hours of waiting, blood tests, and ultrasounds we were relieved to find that baby (whom by this time we were certain was a boy) had a strong heartbeat. I had several follow-up visits with my OB and my midwife and we saw his heart beating on several more ultrasounds in the office. One of which I was given pictures. We went back to normal, once a month checkups.
              The enemy always seems to know where to attack us and our thoughts, so when, a week before my 13 week checkup, I had a bad feeling in my belly about that appointment I chalked it up to an attack on my mind and brushed it aside. I didn’t want to give it space in my brain to I asked my friend, Shana, to pray about it and went about my business. Monday, November 11, 2013 I got up, got Ariyah ready and settled at my mom’s and kissed my husband goodnight, as he was working midnights and slept during the day. This was a simple appointment to check my blood glucose tolerance and listen to baby’s heartbeat. There was no reason for him to miss sleep to go with me. So I headed to the office alone. I had completely forgotten about my previous bad feeling and was excited to be in the office. My midwife came in and we talked and talked like we normally did. Then she had me sit on the exam table and set out with the Doppler to listen to the baby’s heartbeat. When she didn’t find it right away she didn’t panic. Baby was still pretty tiny at this point. But to be sure she got out the ultrasound machine. She gelled my belly up and looked. And looked… Silence. She assured me that I shouldn’t be too worried. This machine isn’t anywhere near as good as the one at the hospital and she was going to send me over there to check on everything. She smiled at me and I knew she had hope. I called my mom to tell her what was going on and I couldn’t control the tears that started as soon as I heard her voice. She began to pray over the phone, asked if I needed her to come to me. I think one of the biggest regrets of my life is the fact that I told her I could go alone.
              My midwife came back into the office with the printed order for an ultrasound at the hospital and I tried to put on a brave face. She hugged me and I headed out to my car. The short 2 minute drive around the corner to the hospital was the longest of my life. I got inside, registered with the nurses and was taken back to ultrasound. A client of my mom’s was working and, seeing my distress, allowed me to wait behind the desk in a small office. And then it was time. The tech doing the scan was a girl that I’d seen many times while pregnant with Ariyah. She began the ultrasound and I laid there in silence while she took measurements. Ariyah had had a 2 vessel umbilical cord, so during her pregnancy I’d endured something like 17 ultrasounds. So when the tech zoomed in on my baby’s heart, I knew what I was looking at. And I knew there was no movement. I knew that I had lost my baby. The tech, however was, of course, not allowed to tell me anything. She lead me to a very small dressing room where I could wait until the radiologist read the results and called my midwife, and in turn my midwife could call me. I waited and waited, shut into that tiny room by myself, without so much as a single bar of cell phone service to reach out to anyone. I waited for the call that would tell me what I already knew. When it came, even though I knew what she was going to say, I wasn’t ready for it. The baby was only measuring at 12 weeks. He’d been gone for a week already and my body hadn’t had a clue. She wanted me to go home, rest, and she would call me later with more information and my options.
              I didn’t cry right then. I was cold. But I took a breath and headed back towards the desk. It wasn’t until I saw our client’s face behind that desk that I couldn’t keep it in. She took me back into that same office and let me attempt to collect myself. I called my mom from their phone and as soon as she saw the call coming from the hospital she knew why I was calling. I told her that our customer was leaving work early to bring me to her house. The ride home is a blur. Wonderful Gail had no idea what to say and I couldn’t produce words so we rode in silence. My mom met me outside in the driveway and kept me from collapsing to the ground. She held me and we cried. There were customers in our home salon but I had to walk through. I couldn’t even look at my daughter at that moment. I couldn’t think about the fact that I needed to call my husband. I had to wake him up to tell him this horrible news. My mom did it for me. I called my dad at work. My mom called my brother and sister-in-law. Within a half of an hour my mom’s house was full of people I love. The pain in their faces will be with me always. This wasn’t just mine and my husband’s baby. This baby was already a part of our family, loved and cherished… And grieved for.
              At a time when I thought I would have preferred to be alone in my grief, being so surrounded by my family began an immediate healing. Having my niece and my daughter there was part of that as well. Within minutes of the two of them being together, they were able to make me smile. Hours after I’d received the worst news of my entire life, I was able to look at them and enjoy watching whatever game they were playing and smile. My daughter would come to me after I’d had to make yet another phone call or text to family members, and she would love on me, and I would be able to breathe again.
              A few hours after I’d gotten to my mom’s house my midwife called. She spoke so gently to me and explained a few things. She told me what options I had but assured me that I didn’t have to make this awful decision right away. She made sure that I had her personal cell phone number so if I needed anything at all or had any questions, I could reach her. Originally I had wanted to do things naturally and let my body miscarry on its own. But it had already been a week. I could take my body up to another month to figure it out and start the process. I knew that I couldn’t handle the constant mind game of waiting. Would it happen tomorrow? The next day? The next week? And I knew that I could not be induced and go through physical labor to deliver a baby I would never bring home. I was still early enough along that a D&C was an option, and that is the option that I chose. For a while I felt immense guilt over that decision. I felt like a horrible person that I was choosing to never see my baby. But my midwife even had help for that. In choosing to not be faced with seeing my baby as he was, I was allowing myself to keep hold of the picture that I have of him in my head, a beautiful, healthy, perfect baby boy with his Daddy’s dark hair. And I found comfort there.
              We received our awful news on a Monday and on Tuesday morning I called my midwife with my decision. We were able to schedule for the next morning. On Wednesday, November 13, 2013 I went into the hospital with my mom and my husband by my side. My OB came into my room before surgery and hugged me. She hugged me for a long time and she cried with me. We composed ourselves as much as we could and she explained what was about to happen. She answered all of my questions, including how long we needed to wait to start trying to get pregnant again. She told me that an autopsy would be performed but that no genetic testing would be done unless I requested it, which I declined. She didn’t expect to find anything out of the ordinary. I somehow found solace when she told me that “This was just the destiny for this baby.”
              I was in and out of the hospital so quickly that I don’t even truly remember waking up after surgery. I only remember Dr. Wright telling me that everything went well and specifically that I had dilated very easily for the procedure. I was released and went back to my mom’s house where I stayed for several days. My husband stayed at home for the most part since he would still be sleeping during the day for work in the evenings but Ariyah was with me. And Chris would come before he left for work and sit with me and hold me. When we did have quiet time together he would hold me and we would cry. We never pulled away from each other. I am so glad. He was, and is, such a rock for me. That evening after I’d rested some from surgery my mom and dad blessed me greatly with a new notebook, colored pencils, and a charm bracelet with November’s birthstone on it. My baby who should have come in May now had a November birthstone. I put the bracelet on and I do not think I took it off, even to shower, for several weeks.
              We did not plan a memorial or service. Even though the whole world knew our good news, and now our bad, it felt too personal… And though we had named our baby I wasn’t ready to make his name public. Even though we kept to ourselves quite a bit in the weeks that followed, there was so much love poured out on us that it was almost overwhelming. I did reveal our baby’s name to my family on Thanksgiving. That was our memorial. To speak of him, and acknowledge him among our family, and to let them know the name we had chosen for him. And we began to live again. I was finally sleeping in my own house again and while the first few nights were incredibly difficult, there was so much comfort being there. I could put my daughter to bed and get on my face before God and pour out my heart in a way that I just couldn’t anywhere else.
              When so many people wanted and still want us to believe that God took our baby from us, that is one thing that I cannot and will not accept. My God is love and He is the giver of life. It is the enemy who comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I do know that my Heavenly Father allowed this to happen. Some people do not see a difference. I do. I know that He has known I would have this journey since before the earth was formed. Before I was born He knew I would endure this heartache. And He chose to still let me bear it. He gave me strength to do so. I don’t know if I’ll ever fully understand why He allowed us to walk through this, but I know that there is a purpose. I know that because of His grace I am far more healed and whole than I have any right to be. I know that in those darkest days of my life He never left my side. He allowed my husband and I to turn to each other in our grief instead of allowing it to separate us. He allowed me to question and be angry and He never walked away. He held me. And He is still holding and healing me. And He gave me promises, through all of my sorrow, that He is still providing on. One of those promises is that I will see my baby. When my time on this earth is through I will be swept into Glory and he will be waiting there for me. Being patient for that day to come is hard, but the promises that He has given me for my time left here on this planet make it easier. And the relationships that have been forged out of this pain help make it easier.
              This is our story. But this is not the end. There is so much more to be told. There is so much more to do. There are so many more people to touch. I am writing a second part to this post. It will be published on November 13, 2014. In the meantime, thank you so much for allowing me to share this story with you.