Top 10 Life Lessons

I was challenged by my uncle to list my Top 10 Life’s Lessons. I think I relearned all of these lessons simply by thinking about them all over again.

I saw this quote today not long after I received this challenge and its so fitting:

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What a great way to move forward and be present: reflect on how the past has made me who I am today.

1. Don’t gossip:
At a very young age I learned how hurtful words can be. It’s not worth trash talking people I love for the sake of keeping other “friends.” If they gossip to me, they’ll gossip about me.

Learn who you can trust:
My most valued and cherished friendships are girls who are honest, brutally honest sometimes, but who love me enough to be honest. There is no flattery! There is encouragement. We aren’t afraid to be down in the trenches with each other when needed, but we also help lift each other out of them.

2. Stop worrying about what others think of me:
I still have to remind myself of this one. Most of the time what I perceive other people to be “thinking” are just my own insecurities projected onto them. God gave me my own conviction, passion, and vision. The more I focus on others’ approval the less I focus on God’s purpose.

3. Don’t be afraid to try new things, especially when it comes to food:
I lived most of my childhood hating seafood. I had only had salmon BBQd, “well”-done, with a either lemon or a brown sugar glaze. Bbllleecckk! Now, hand over the sashimi or catch it fresh on the rivers of Idaho and sear it with a little salt and pepper medium-medium rare…now we’re talking!! I had never tried sushi until I was 21 because I was told eating raw food was dangerous.

Most everything tastes good if made the right way!!!!

4. Smile:
If someone looks grumpy or rude, smile, say “hello”. I’m only responsible for my own attitude and actions. More often than not, I discover how nice people really are. Some are just deep in thought, more reserved or not having a good day. When I smile, it makes their day and my day too!

5. I am my son’s (and soon to be born daughter’s) Mommy for a reason:
God gave him to me, not someone else. Not the over-opinionated old lady leaving the grocery store who thinks my 8 month old needs to be wearing sunglasses for his 30 second trip inside. Not to the family member or friend who sees things differently. We (my hubby &I) make decisions for our children based on prayer and the convictions God has given us.

It is important to learn from other people’s experiences and heed the wisdom, but discernment is also necessary. Just because there’s a blog that says this or that doesn’t mean our choice was wrong…just different than how that family decided to do things for their child(ren)…and that’s OK!

We need to support and love each other with our words and actions, not judge and tear each other down.

6. Forgive myself:
I make mistakes. I can and have been well-intentioned and still hurt people. Good people do bad things sometimes, and it’s not always on purpose. Being humble and apologizing is huge, but still not always received. Forgive myself, learn the lesson, move on and don’t repeat the same mistake. Living in the past just prevents me from being my best now and in the future.

7. Quinoa is a superfood: It is a complete protein:
It serves as a great alternative for pasta or rice. There are many delicious ways to cook it, both alone- hot and cold (mmm yummy greek salad!!)- or in a casserole or some other fun Pinterest recipe. Try it!
(This leads me to my next lesson)

8. Quinoa should not replace everything:
Meat is good! Sometimes you just need a good steak…or chicken…or ground beef or sausage. God created plants AND animals for us to enjoy. There are few things better than my Nana’s Rosemary Garlic Rack-of-lamb or All Day Meat Sauce!

9. Lighten up:
I’m still working on this one… One of God’s greatest gifts to me is my husband Joseph. He teaches me how to laugh at myself and not take life so seriously all the time. And now I have a son, with his Daddy’s sense of humor, who by 16 months had discovered the humor in hiding and jumping out to scare me.

I love to laugh and have a good sense of humor, but I also know I’m not that funny, so my most memorable moments are when I surround myself with people who help bring the silly out of me.

This reminds me of one of the funniest road trips: crank up the music in the car with a good friend, do some hand motions while you dance, and sing as loud as you can…and if you end up on the wrong freeway, remember the lesson: lighten up:)

10. Miracles do happen:
God heals! The stories in the Bible are important to teach us lessons in history, but Go is the same God now.

I, personally, within a 6 year period, was diagnosed with a chronic digestive disorder, suffered migraines, anxiety, had mysterious inflammation that “wasn’t quite rheumatoid arthritis”, a brain tumor, and was told it would probably be impossible to have children. All of which through prayer and God’s Grace are completely gone.

God wants to be present and in our lives, but He doesn’t force Himself. We must invite Him to participate. He wants to show us His power that will work in us, through us, and around us.

Until my munchkin’s next nap time: I challenge you and encourage you to Make your own list.

It’s really cool what happens in your brain and in your heart when you write stuff like this down. If you’re comfortable sharing some of them, I’d love for you to comment. I can always handle some more learning from others.

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Monthly Menu-Watching My Budget Stretch: Meal Planning has already saved me money.

Shopping day.

It was actually pretty amazing to see my budget stretch with all the ingredients I was stocking up on for the month.

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Tip 1: Bring Cash- Shopping with cash and not card will help you stay on track. You’ll only buy the items on your list because that’s what you budgeted. Go to the ATM. What good is a plan if you don’t stick to it?


No, variable income excuses! My income is variable too, and we still do this every month. It will be hard at first, but be strong. Let’s create good habits together!

Each week I’ll update you on everything I’ve made, including recipes. At the end of the month I’ll post what everything cost individually along with some tips on saving money along the way.

I started the month with a $400 grocery budget. That’s all food made at home: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.

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I spent just under $200. We had quite a few staple items that needed restocking (i.e peanut butter, pancake mix, coffee, etc.) and I purchased all of my proteins for this month’s meal plan as well. I think we’re off to a good start.

For breakfast we rotate between cereal, a variety of ways we like our eggs, oatmeal, and waffles.

Lunches are usually PB&Js, turkey/egg sandwiches/wraps/salads, or quesadillas; sometimes we have leftovers.

Snacks change every week. I’m always on the hunt for brands that leave all the preservative junk out. Nature’s Bakery has good fig bars in an assortment of flavors. They’re at Sprouts ranging from $3.49 (on special) to $4.99 for a box of 8, but Costco sometimes sells a box of 30 for $8.99. So I got them from Costco this week. Late July is a great organic brand for crackers. We stay away from crackers most of the time, but they’re really handy when I’m driving the munchkin an hour each way on days I work.

Fruit is our snack of choice most of the time. Such a great natural way to get all that fiber, iron, and vitamins into my son’s body without giving him a bunch of “fillers” all day long. I always look for the ripest and most cost effective fruit, which helps us rotate and not get bored with the same thing all the time.

Now the fun part!! Here’s my Mostly-healthy Monthly Meal Plan on a Budget Dinners:

1. Quinoa Bake
2. Leftovers
3. Lasagna Rolls
4. Feta Burgers and Home-fries
5. Loaded Potato Soup in bread bowls
6. Leftovers
7. Chicken and Avocado Pasta Salad
8. Leftovers
9. Stromboli
10. Family Party
11. Chicken w/ Garlic Mashed Cauliflower, and veggies
12. Tortellini Skillet Lasagna
13. Leftovers
14. Lemon Herb Chicken & Rice
15. Turn 14 into pita sandwiches
16. Green Chili Chicken Enchilada Casserole
17. Leftovers
18. Crockpot Tortellini Soup
19. Leftovers
20. Breaded chicken & veggies
21. Crockpot Chuck roast w/ roasted potatoes & veggies
22. Turn 20 into chicken Parmesan & penne
23 & 24. I’m gone so the boys get leftovers for the weekend
25. Crockpot chili in bread-bowls
26. Leftovers w/ cornbread
27. Grilled Chicken, Quinoa, & Spinach Salad
28. Chicken soft tacos, rice and beans
29. Leftovers
30. Pizza (I’ve gotta see what veggies look good before I decide what kind)
31. Pasta and Meatballs

We’re on Day 6 and off to a great start!

I would love your feedback on how this plan can be most effective and helpful for you. I’m here to do the work so you don’t have to. If you have any requests or suggestions let me know and I’ll do my best to incorporate them into this process.

Until My Munchkin’s next nap:
Have a beautiful day! Remember, cooking can be fun. It doesn’t have to be a headache. Smile and enjoy the process. Choosing a good attitude makes everything better.

Do you ever feel isolated, depressed, or alone? How do you break it? This is what I did today.

Do you ever feel isolated, depressed, or alone? How do you break it? This is what I did today.

I started off this week super productive. After staying up late Sunday night meal planning to stretch my dwindled budget through the end of the month, I was up early for a doctors appointment. I made breakfast, loaded up all the necessities for me and my munchkin for the day (food, food, and more food), got him up and dressed and out the door. After the doctor, it was Costco, Target, Sprouts, then back home in time for lunch and nap.

Feeling über-motivated, I decided to meal plan for the month. I went Pinterest crazy with recipes and strategies. In the meantime, I made homemade chili with my best friend, Mr. Crockpot.

After nap I enjoyed an amazing afternoon playing chase, follow-the-leader, soccer, and rolling and dancing on the grass outside with my favorite little buddy, while waiting for “Daddy” to get home for dinner.

Following such a productive, fun Monday, you’d think I was set up for a successful week. Why then did I wake up tired, sore, sad, and sluggish?

Besides the obvious “I’m pregnant” response, there was something else wrong. All morning I battled this depressive and emotional state and nothing was fixing it.

I had a good breakfast and took my son to the park to get out of the house.

The empty park mimicked the desolate feeling in my heart. The family of crows seemed to mock my aloneness as they sat in the tree above me squawking and shaking the branches. It’s kind of funny now, in hind site.

Ever since we relocated for my husband’s work, I have eagerly sought out different locations to meet other moms. I so desperately need people in my life, as I think we all do, I’m just ultra-aware of how much I care about the people in my life.

Maybe it’s because from a very young age it seemed like every best friend I ever made moved away not long after. This taught me that maintaining friendships requires a lot of work on both parts. I have found that most of the time the other party doesn’t put in the same effort. I have also found that my very closest friendships DO put in the work. And we chase after each other if a few weeks have gone by without a call.

The hardest reality for me right now is that I haven’t connected with anyone in this new city. One mom and I connected immediately and then after a few unsuccessful attempts of getting together, she started back at work. Since all the other kids I see at the playground are raised by nannies, I thought I’d form some friendships there. We had some fun mornings digging in the sand with our little ones, until the parents decided preschool was the best summer option for their two-year old.

Eeeeevvvvery-once-in-awhile I see other moms with kids on play dates and wonder, “How the heck did they meet? It must have been “Gymboree” or “Mommy and Me”.

This morning I called my sister, who lives five hours north of here, crying because I felt so alone and isolated. I battled uncontrollable tears. In this crowded overpopulated city, where is everyone?

Have you ever felt like loneliness was drowning you?

It’s a weird reality that nothingness can feel like a giant ocean swallowing you in the waves.

As my sister and I often find in our conversations, I make the bitter comments about how “all the moms are working and letting nannies and preschool raise their kids” and she being a full-time working mom of two kids under three makes the comments about how moms who are home have “so much more time to get things done”…on and on go the differences.

Despite our vast differences, we both know in the depths of our hearts that we want the best for our kids, and each other’s kids; we long for our children to be happy, healthy, God-fearing individuals who love The Lord and want to serve and love others.

We talked today about how we all have different realities, but ultimately the only way to survive our worlds is relationship and support.

After our brief heart-to-heart moment we both scurried off the phone to chase our toddlers onto their next adventure.

I still felt empty. Really? Can’t this darkness just leave already? I have an amazing child to hang out with, yet I feel alone.

We left the park to do our little lunch and nap routine at home.

We finished reading and singing and I began to pray before putting him to bed.

It hit me.

Since he was a newborn, I have prayed the scripture, “No weapon formed against me shall prosper in the name of Jesus,” and we put on the full armor of God. Now that he’s older he’s able to repeat what I say and is learning where the armor goes. It’s been such a joy listening and watching him get excited about participating.

Today, as we said these things together God reminded me that “No weapon formed against me shall prosper!!!” This verse has power! Not only to protect us as we sleep (like we had just prayed), but that it’s God’s Word, His promise to me that when I stand in faith and in His reality, not my own, that the Enemy cannot mess with me. I am God’s child. I am protected under the blood that Jesus shed to conquer Sin.

I put my munchkin down. As I thought about this verse my emotion didn’t change, but I mustered up the energy to say those words out loud again. This time believing them for myself.

Do you ever feel so defeated that even the truth seems impossible to listen to?

Let me encourage you today. That was me this morning! I muttered those words once and the heaviness felt just a little bit lighter. I said them again.

I’m not going to over-dramatize the results and tell you the skies opened up, a light shined down and a beautiful choir started singing in the background… I will tell you this, the darkness left!!! To that I say, “Thank you, Jesus!” I am ready to face the rest of my day, whatever the reality of today might be. I’m putting a smile on my face, and doing my full-time job, the job and purpose God has set before me:

I am going to nurture the precious, little, miracle 19-month old baby boy with whom God blessed me.

I can only live my life, not everyone else’s. I can only pray God sends me wonderful friends in this new place and trust that He will, just as He lifted the darkness today.

In the meantime, until my munchkin’s next nap: Be someone’s friend. My life lesson for today: I’m going to stop looking for friends and start looking for opportunities to be one. I’ll start by smiling.

How much better do you feel when someone walks by and you actually acknowledge each other’s existence with a smile or “hello”?

Will you join me?
Will you commit to being a friend to someone?

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The Munchkin is ONE

One year ago today, I laid in bed unable to sleep ( kind of like right now) thinking, and a little nervous/excited about how in the morning we would head to the hospital and induce labor to welcome our baby boy into the world.

All phone calls were made. My oldest sister Jamie was here, my best friend/ sister Amy (Em) was on the road first thing in the morning, my mom caught the first flight out of Boise, and my Dad jumped in the car as soon as we said per his request the words, “my water broke!”

After being admitted into the hospital and all monitors were in place, my MIL asks, “are those contractions?” Long story short, they were! Induction not necessary! A little over 3 1/2 jours later We welcomed Daniel Robert Kazarian into the world.

My life has never, and will never be the same!!!

He is such a joy; such a blessing!

Every day, since the day I found out I was pregnant, God has used Daniel’s precious miracle of a life to teach me important lessons. One of the biggest lessons is to Smile!

Daniel smiles all day. He lights up the room. Everyone will tell you that he just makes you feel so good when you look at him.

There’s days I’m exhausted and grumpy and he just looks at me with those big beautiful debatable-colored eyes and giggles. Right then I’m reminded to let go and let God and lighten up!

December 11, 2012…wow! A year ago already!!!

Thank you Jamie and Em for digging into my back with those strong hands when I needed you, and massaging my feet gently, and for getting me cold wash cloths at my beckoning call. Thank you for all of our conversations leading up to that beautiful day, preparing me for what was ahead, and all our chats now getting me through each day and sharing in all the milestones. Thank you for your selfless love, sacrificing so much to be here for us!

Thank you Joseph, my love, my hott husband, for standing by me the whole way through, holding my hand and gently coaching me. Mostly, thank you for bring the incredible Daddy to our son that you are! He loves his Daddy so much! You light up his world! I can see how much he looks up to you already; it melts my heart. I am beyond-words appreciative of all of your hard work and love for our family. I love you! P.S. you’re Hott:)

So, as I reflect upon this last year of life, challenges, growth and blessings, I realize the best advice I received was, ” enjoy each minute, it goes by fast.” There have been many sleepless nights and rough days that follow, there have been arguments through transitions, and many humbling lessons learned, but all-in-all I can honestly say that I have enjoyed each step along the way.

Daniel, I look forward to the rest of my life being your Mommy. You are a treasure My Little Miracle! I love you Munchkin!

Well, until my munchkins next nap time: thank you for enjoying this journey with me. Thank you for letting me be vulnerable and sharing some family time with me today. I hope this encourages you to love on your family and friends even more. Make each day, each moment count as of it were your last. And, of course, SMILE!

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Tis the Season if Blessings and Baking

Along with being so incredibly blessed and thankful for God’s continuous grace in my life, this time of year also reminds me how much I love to bake!

I was given the heavenly gift of tasting a Cronut for the first time a few weeks ago and have been obsessively talking about it since. When my MIL asked me to bake something for Thanksgiving breakfast, I couldn’t resist!

I made the dough pretty quickly, but the rising and “turning” process required some precious TLC. The reward, however, after deep frying those precious, little, round circles of pleasure, and rolling them in sugar and cinnamon… and drizzling them with cream cheese frosting…was pure delight to say the least! It was Deliciousness! As my “Pin” board is appropriately called. YUM! YUM!

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<a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/food52/diy-make-your-own-cronuts?sub=2374252_1313128&s=mobile#1313128&quot;

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Pinterest Recipe

I made up my own frosting. Super easy!
Ingredients:
1.4 oz cream cheese
2.1/2 cup buttermilk (or substitute regular milk and 1 tablespoon butter)
3.1 teaspoon vanilla
4.1-2 cups powdered sugar: (taste as you go)

1. Beat first 3 ingredients on high for 2 minutes: or get a really good arm work out and bust out the good ol’ fashion whisk like I did.
2. Whisk in powdered sugar gradually to taste
3.Try to only eat a spoonful and save the rest for whatever dessert you’ve made it for

I don’t intend on turning this into a cooking blog, but lately this is what my Mommy life is all about. I’ve utilized every nap time for the past few weeks getting ready for my munchkin’s FIRST birthday party next weekend. I cannot believe he turns ONE already! It’s so cliche, but time flies!

Needless to say, I’ve been a bit absent from the writing world, and spending every “free” moment being the best Pinterest mom I can be. I’m addicted, and will have plenty of photos to prove my obsession in the next few weeks.

That being said, I’m trying new recipes as well as creating my own. Today’s creation was a dessert for Women’s Bible Study. I’m calling these Apple Cinnamon Roll-ups, and I have to pass them on! It is so easy and is a must for all you Moms on the go.

Ingredients:
Crescent roll dough (I used Pillsbury; make sure you keep it cold or it becomes really sticky and hard to work with.)
3 Apples (just choose your favorite)
3 cups Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Raw Sugar (I like the texture)
Cinnamon– to taste (I used a few tablespoons)
2-3 tablespoons butter (cold)

Oven preheated to 350:
1. Peel and Cut apples into small squares

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2. Mix Brown Sugar, Raw Sugar, and Cinnamon in medium size bowl and pinch in butter (there will be a few clumps)
3. Add Apples and mix with hands until apples are coated

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4.Unroll dough on baking sheet

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5. Drop about a teaspoon of apple mixture at large end of each triangle

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6. Roll dough over, pinching dough on sides if necessary to keep apples wrapped snug inside: ( Don’t worry about how pretty the look. Once they bake, they puff up and look much better.

7. Bake 12-15 minutes: until fluffy and golden brown

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8. Drizzle that delicious cream cheese frosting that I used for the Cronuts and you’re set

9. Dig in and admire your mean baking skills and this gooey, flakey, yumminess!

Until my munchkin’s next nap time, happy baking! Smile! Do something you enjoy! You have control over what you make of life. This time of year is not only a great reminder to be appreciative of all of God’s blessings, but also realizing what your gifts are and making a point of sharing those gifts with others. My gifts to you today are my love of baking and those amazing melt-in-your-mouth yummies, but just wait…I made killer BBQ chicken sandwiches for dinner..keep your eyes out for my upcoming post!

Control Freaks Anonymous

Hi, my name is Danielle! “hi, Danielle!” and I’ve been a Control Freak for 27 years.

Yes, thats right. I celebrate my 27th birthday this weekend, and given my 10 month old’s ability to assert his will, I know I blessed my Mom with this control issue from birth. Thanks for putting up with me, Mom.

Have you ever found yourself so frustrated at someone, and as you thought about the details you got more and more frustrated realizing the person has done nothing wrong, and you’re just a control freak?!?!

Okay, maybe it’s just me…maybe not.

There’s something about leaving my munchkin in someone else’s hands that makes me feel like I’m the only one who knows what he needs during the day.

This is ridiculous!! When I’m gone he’s with one of three people: his Dad, his Grandma (mil), or a close family friend from church. Each of whom he adores! My issue has nothing to do with competence, it’s simply, I’m Mom and “Momma knows best!” Right?

I swear to everyone that my munchkin is not on a set “schedule”, “I let him tell me what he needs.” Yet I find myself writing minute details, down to activity suggestions for specific times during the day, that I pray will be followed. I’ll come home and want a play-by-play, and as I listen, secretly I’m stirring inside wishing I could’ve done the day differently. Wondering how the rest of the evening will play out since I wasn’t here with him.

I know that every day is a new day with him. Every day does change. When it’s just the two of us, I do follow his lead and don’t force time constraints on him. However, I know consistency is crucial for babies, so I try to keep certain things routine like story time, walks, errands or park days, bath time, etc.

I’m embarrassed even as I write these sad facts. Please Moms out there, tell me I’m not the only one!

As I drove to work, I pondered who I could call and vent my frustration without sounding like an idiot. Then I realized I hadn’t done my daily reading. I open up my app at a stoplight, and read the following from She Reads Truth- Daniel (my son’s name…ironic?) By: You Version:

“What am I clenching in my fist that I refuse to see as His [God’s]? What is it that I long so desperately to build, to control, to call MINE?

Epiphany: Gasp!! My child!

Can this really be? Am I that much of a control freak that I’m not trusting God with His very own creation. My Baby, My munchkin, My miracle. I feel so foolish. Yet just as I’m about to beat myself up, I remember Grace.

I realize that just as I have to guide and redirect my munchkin’s steps to protect him, God does the same with me. When is it that we assume our learning is over? No matter how old, Daniel will always be my baby; I will always be God’s child.

I am on a journey and need to let go! I am not in control. You’d think I’d know this after being “redirected” as much as I have been in my life.

As hard as this lesson has been, and as much as I’m still frustrated over Daniel not eating as much as I feed him, I need to get over it! Or GOI (pronounced \’gōi\ or goy) as my husband and I say frequently with sarcasm (I think it sounds nicer, thank you very much). Oh…my..gosh I really do have an issue, don’t I? Now is when I just need to laugh.

Well, until my munchkin’s next nap: thanks for letting me share my heart with you! I hope my tough life lessons or “redirections” will help you find peace or guidance in your circumstances, even if it is just to laugh at my ridiculousness.

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On a side note, my mom and best friend, who I call my sister, are coming to celebrate with me this weekend. Keep an eye out for fun stories and pictures from our girl’s weekend.

Two Words Doctors Hate: Juicing & Miracles Part 3

If you’ve read the preceding posts then you can skip the next paragraph, but if not, you should read them, but let me give you a quick synopsis:

…I suffered most of my life from a chronic digestive disorder called Microscopic Colitis. God healed me in early 2010, almost four years ago. Don’t run! Read! It’s an incredible story; it’s hard for me to believe it too sometimes!

Six months before I was healed of the Colitis, I was told I had a brain tumor that would prevent me from having kids. About a year later, I had these weird, hard grape-size bumps growing under the skin on my hands and sharp shooting pains through my wrists. I slept with braces on my wrists every night to alleviate the pain. I’m a hair stylist, so these were not good signs for the longevity of my career, or being a mom for that matter. It would be a little difficult to cradle a baby with that pain.

After x-rays, labs, cortisone shots from Hell, and two MRIs, nothing was showing up…yet, you could visibly see them. So, here’s that crazy story…

My Miracle:

It was December 14, 2008, a beautiful, hazy, winter morning in the Bay Area of California as we drove to the Napa Valley. We arrived. Joseph Kazarian walked me through the beautiful rock garden of Domaine Chandon. He stopped on the bridge crossing the pond. With dew on the wild flowers all around and a slight morning mist, he got on one knee and ask me to be his wife.

…In his version, he studder-stepped, fell to a knee, and said, “Bbbbllluueeehhh?”

Either way, I cried. Nodded. Said, “YES!” Reached with both hands toward the ring and asked, “Can I put it on?” We started our day with a toast of our favorite Champagne Sparkling Wine, Riche, and made phone calls to the family.

I’ve always wanted to be be a wife! A Mom! Have a family!! No, I was not the crazy girl who chased boys to make this happen quickly. Well, I kind of did chase boys in Jr. High, but that doesn’t count. And I was young when we got married. However, I had my fair share of unhealthy dating relationships to prove I was ready. Do I have you convinced?

Anyways, I can’t help that God blessed me with an incredibly Hott man who is hilarious, driven, motivated, can cook, but most importantly loves God and cherishes me!

Let the wedding planning begin…

Fast forward to June: we decided to move back down to Southern California, where we met and he grew up, to start our lives together. This move was to take place the weekend of my bridal shower.

As if wedding planning and moving weren’t enough…here’s what happened the week before moving:

Late Tuesday night (sorry about the next detail), I started lactating. Ok, so if you don’t know, that’s only supposed to happen when you’re pregnant or breast feeding obviously. We were waiting until we got married for certain things, so I knew I was not pregnant!

I got labs results by Friday, suggesting a tumor, and I needed an MRI immediately. We decided to have me stay in town for further tests to avoid switching doctors, hospitals, etc. I put on my happy face for my bridal shower Saturday evening, and Joseph did the 400 mile move Sunday with his parents, but without me.

I get my MRI, make all the crazy calls to change my doctors, and schedule an appointment with my new doctor to find out the results.

Pituitary Micro-adenoma: aka a small tumor on my brain.

Three weeks before our wedding, I’m sitting in the doctor’s office with my fiancé and soon-to-be Mother-in-law, or Mother-in-love as she likes to say, and the doctor says in an unsympathetic, matter-of-fact tone, “With this tumor, you won’t be able to get pregnant.”

Immediately, without control, tears start flowing down my face. It was nothing I could fight back. I was not blubbering; I simply just had my dreams ripped from my heart in front of the man who was making these dreams come true; tears were not an option, they just were.

“Well,” says the doctor, “you clearly are a little high strung. I’ll step out and give you a minute to calm yourself down.”

“I’m not high strung, you just told me I’m infertile!”

…He walked out as we all stared dumbfounded at each other. I started medication the next day that would “regulate” the size of the tumor, and was monitored every six months after that with labs and visual field tests to make sure the tumor didn’t grow.

…moving forward to March 2012…

I was half-way through the intern program at our church. A decision I made for personal and spiritual growth. One of the best choices I’ve made in my life!!!

[Insert necessary, but dramatic rabbit trail:] That lost, buried little girl who didn’t even know her true self, began to emerge from the dark hole she had dug for herself. That first sight of light is hard to look at sometimes. With squinted eyes, that bright, white light slowly turns to colors and images that make sense; so my soul was transformed. Oh, the sweet taste of oxygen again. Breathe!

It was conference time, and as I was praying for people, the guest speaker, Pastor Andrew Kubala asked, “Is there someone here who has had wrist issues?” I immediately start looking around, excited for what God’s going to do in someone’s life.
…no response…
…he asks again…
…I wait…

My mentor was standing a few feet behind me and assertively, but gently says, “WRISTS!!” There’s my reminder.

Oh, ya, that’s me. He’s talking about me! I, like most people (despite my previous healing), had resolved to the idea of living with pain.

How stupid! God is loud and clear,in a microphone, through a pastor, trying to get my attention, and I almost ignore it.

I slowly slip my hand into the air. He has me come up on stage to pray with me.

As if reading out of my diary, Pastor Kubala begins to speak words of healing over my life. I immediately feel an overwhelming warmth flow through my arms, wrists, hands, and every knuckle. As he prayed I watched the bumps disappear. I felt the pain leave my wrists. For the first time in six months I had full rotation of my wrists. I stood on awe.

Then, he looks at me and says, “Danielle, God wants you to believe him for more than just the physical healing we can see. There’s more healing He wants to do for you, but you need to have faith that He will.”

I knew he was talking about the tumor (let me remind you that he knew nothing about it, hardly anyone did, he didn’t even know me); I stopped the medication that night.

April 10, 2012 I looked up at Joseph from across the room in shock and said, “It’s a plus sign.”

“So…that’s a yes?”
“Ya, I guess so.”
“So…you’re pregnant?”
“I guess that’s what that means.”
“Uh, should we go get dinner.”
“Ya, let me make some calls first.”

Don’t get me wrong, we were both excited, but sometimes when a miracle happens, it’s really hard to believe!

I called my best friend, who I call my sister, and I called my sister, who I call my friend. Joseph and I processed the information through awkward dialogue over dinner. We told our parents the next day, and the rest of our worlds after that.

December 11, 2012 Daniel Robert was born 8 lbs 8 oz, 21 inches long. Our Miracle!

Nine months later, I still look at Daniel every day in awe and humility. When he smiles he radiates God’s joy, and I can’t help but be reminded of God’s grace in my life.

Until my munchkin’s next nap: Thanks for letting me take you through that journey. I hope it brings light, encouragement, and healing into areas of your life as well. Don’t be afraid to have a little faith.

Have you experienced a miracle?
What’s your story?

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