Friday, January 29, 2010

Fiction Fridays: Chosen

When I first started this blog I had intended to run a Fiction Fridays topic, posting about interesting Christian fiction books or authors, especially those touching on the topics of infertility or loss. I didn't get very far into this goal before life got crazy and the idea got pushed to the side, so this week I'm pre-setting book reviews to post for the next several Fridays to make sure that I stay on track.

Please leave your input! I would love to hear your experiences with these books or if there are other titles you have read that others might find interesting. As a "comments" reply here, please give the title, author, and enough about the plot line that someone can decide if they are "ready" to give that book a read or if there are any unexpected surprises that could be painful triggers if caught by surprise.

Today's selection is:

Chosen: The Lost Diaries of Queen Esther by Ginger Garrett (this author is a former member of Hannah's Prayer, by the way) is a fictionalized look at Esther, and in Ginger's telling of the story, she is never able to bear children. Spellbinding reading! Chosen first released by NavPress in 2005 and an updated version will be re-released by David C. Cook on March 1, 2010, but is available for pre-order in Kindle or print formats now.

Find out more about Ginger, enjoy her wonderful blog, and learn many great beauty secrets and interesting historical facts at

Saturday, January 23, 2010

birthdays and Stanford

Happy birthday to my Baby Bear who, in 5 minutes, will celebrate four years of life outside my womb. Here's the adorable magazine cover Rick designed as his birth announcement.

And since I will not be here to post on Monday, an early Happy Birthday wish to our sweet Princess who is turning 7 almost to the exact minute, 48 hours after her little brother's moment of celebration. :)

We are off to Stanford this weekend. Hopefully I'll have an update to post from our visit with Dr. Montoya next week. We would appreciate your prayers for safe travels over snowy mountains and for the physical impact of travel to have minimal negative impact on my health. Thanking the Lord for a wonderful husband who is taking time off work to get me there and home again, and for my parents who will be moving in to care for our sweet babies while we are away.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

4-year-old whiplash

Just two days until Little J.'s 4th birthday. He was still in a lot of pain this morning, and since the ER yesterday didn't seem to take him seriously yesterday, we went to his ped. today. I'm so thankful for a wonderful doctor who has known all our kids since birth and invests himself in their lives. We were with the doctor for almost a full hour and he examined J. in great depth.

I now feel much more peace that there is no spinal damage and that he will fully recover. He does have whiplash and a nasty knot in the muscle of one shoulder (things the ER didn't catch) along with the bruised kidney (that we did learn about yesterday), but we now have specific comfort measures we can offer him and will follow up in a couple of weeks to be sure he continues to heal well.

When my sweet hubby came home from work yesterday saying, "I'm sorry you had such a bad day." in reference to our ER trip, all I could say was that it could have been a WHOLE LOT worse. We are so very thankful that we aren't looking at a wheelchair or physical therapy. "Just" whiplash and a bruised kidney sound much more cope-able! We are thanking the Lord for His care and protection this week!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I have an online friend who describes herself as "fully-whelmed" and I love that description. That's what I aspire to be, fully present in life, filled to the brim, but not overflowing, at least not in a desperate way. As God's been teaching me about joy and peace, I find myself more and more feeling contentedly-whelmed, but sometimes a week like this one just sneaks up on me and I find myself trying to tread water to keep afloat.

I won't go into all the details, but in the past week:

- I've learned that a very dear friend whom I journied through infertility and losses with, lost her battle with cancer, leaving behind a husband and the after-infertility miracles so fought so hard to bring into this world. She was diagnosed just after her youngest's birth and lived to see only the first four years of his life. Her twins are slightly older than our daughter and her oldest is a young lady just a year older than our oldest, on the threshold of womanhood, now finding the way without her mother's loving guidance.

- On Sunday I jumped back into IVIG after a month break. Other than four huge bruises from mis-started IVs and a few random hives, I handled this round pretty well, but it really knocked me for a loop energy wise, sleeping through most of the infusion (except for when I accidentaly pulled out my own IV line two hours in and had to have it restarted), and down pretty hard most of Monday and Tuesday.

- Had friends we hadn't seen in nearly a year over for dinner last night, got to see their new baby, and the reality that they are moving out of state hit hard.

- As adults visited, kids invented a new game that involved bouncy balls and jumping off the bed, leading to...

- Long night with an (almost) 4-year-old crying over back pain from head-first fall he took in said newly invented game!

- This morning spent at ER to confirm no spinal injury, just a mildly bruised kidney. No more monkeys jumping on the bed!

- We celebrate the births of two of our sweet blessings this weekend, with a little boy turning 4 on Saturday and a beautiful princess venturing into 7-hood on Monday.

- We will miss the actual celebration of our 7-year-old's special day because we will be on the road to Stanford for my next exhausting appointment with Dr. Montoya.

Yes, today I'm truly overwhelmed, over-tired, and overly emotional. But God is still God and God is still good. For all the painful, there is much blessing. Tonight I'm looking forward to Mom's homemade soup and the company of my family as I snuggle down and thank God for His blessings.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Hope for Haiti

Haiti. It's all over the headlines. It feels overwhelming, a world away and yet too-close for comfort. And we feel helpless. What can one person do in the face of so much anguish?

Jenny from Simply Delightful Designs knows that while just one person may not be able to do a lot, when we band together we can become a strong force. On her Hope for Haiti blog, many wonderful women and companies are donating items and services to this online raffle for proceeds to go to Red Cross and Compassion International.

Raffle tickets are only $1 per entry and some of the prizes are valued at several hundred dollars! Along with my offer of $30 dollars worth of your choice of Affordable Mineral Makeup™ products the raffle items include everything from blogging conference tickets to photography sessions, books, jewelry and art. Such a great selection of prizes, and all funds raised for a wonderful cause!

Together we can make a difference! Please visit and share what you can. Every dollar helps, and you might win a great prize too! Thank you for helping to bring a glimmer of hope to such a hurting slice of our world!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Save $ As You Save (or Strengthen) Your Marriage!

Last April, Rick and I were blessed to attend a Family Life Weekend to Remember. I never blogged much about it because there was SO MUCH to process after that amazing weekend that I could never organize my thoughts well enough to do the experience blogging justice. Then so much more life happened as all our medical news unfolded over the following months, that my plans to share more about the treasured weekend kept getting pushed to the back burner. To say it was a worthwhile weekend is such an understatement, but I can say that if you have an opportunity to attend one, please do what it takes to make it happen.

I know the economy is tight and no one is thrilled to be spending money right now. The registration rate is $129 per person ($258/couple) for the conference itself (this does not include the price of lodging) so yes, this is an investment, but one that you will look back on as a marriage landmark for many years to come. I assure you that it is worth the sacrifice to go! Because we believe so passionately in this ministry, Rick and I have signed up to lead a "group" and can offer an $80 discount (making registration $178 per couple) to anyone who registers for a conference using our group page at or by simply using the group name "Saake" as your discount code when you register from the main Family Life website.

But wait, it gets better! Yes, said in my best infomercial voice. ;) From January 4-18, 2010, when you register at the regular rate of $129 for one of you, you spouse comes free! Simply register for any upcoming Spring or Fall Weekend to Remember using the promotion code "INVITE" and go for half price, only $129 for the two of you! Please spread the news. This weekend truly might improve or even save your marriage and/or the relationship of someone you encourage to attend.

Note to my friends facing infertility or loss:
When we attended, there were many references to parenthood presented throughout the weekend, especially during the 1-hour Sunday morning breakout sessions where husbands meet in one room and wives meet in another (and motherhood and fatherhood are parts of the topics addressed). It is, however, clearly a marriage weekend (and for many, marriage does include parenthood) not a parenting conference, so I would encourage you to prayerfully consider risking your heart to try to glean the things of value while being prepared to let the things that don't currently apply to your situation go by. I was pleasantly delighted to spot Hannah's Hope: Seeking God's Heart in the Midst of Infertility, Miscarriage, and Adoption Loss on the book resource tables and have heard from several readers that they first found Hannah's Hope at a Family Life weekend, so the organization does strive to be sensitive to our pain.

They also offer feedback forms that can be filled out at the end of the weekend and I used mine to thank them for providing testimonies from couples who had endured fertility challenges and loss and to voice a reminder that not all marriages lead to parenthood, so you might wish to leave similar comments if any portions of the weekend are painful from the fertility perspective. Realizing the makeup of each weekend will differ by location and speaker panel, I would still encourage you to risk putting fertility heartache on the back burner for a weekend to focus on falling in love more deeply with your husband!

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year Tears

It's one of those days when I just don't know what's wrong with me. I cried myself to sleep last night, snapped at my family first thing this morning, then went back to bed and cried some more. I had pictured a beautiful, quiet family day as we welcomed in the new year and instead I'm making my family walk on egg shells. I know I'm over-tired. I know stress over medical news (and lack of other long-awaited news) is really getting to me.

I also know that the attacker (I refuse to capitalize references to the old snake) would love nothing more than to steal away the joy I've just been posting about. And so today I'm starting this year in tears, but also seeking after the Lord and asking Him to work His peace in my heart! I would love to have you visit my prior post and share with me your God-sized dreams for this new year.

"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, he trusts in you." (Isaiah 26:3, NIV)