Our Journey Through Infertility…Conclusion

Hi there!  If you are joining us for the first time today, you may want to go back to the beginning of the story part one is here , part two is here , part three is herepart 4 is here. and part 5 is here. As promised …here is the conclusion…

This time, we didn’t wait to tell our friends and family. I figured, most of them have walked most of this journey with us, might as well have them pray and walk along this stage with us too. So my younger sisters helped me a prepare a dinner for some good friends and we surprised them with the news…it was so. much. fun.

I don’t remember when we settled on the name Lucas, but I do remember speaking to him long before I could feel him moving around…I had minimal morning sickness and because I was still on Sabbatical I wasn’t overly tired because I could sleep whenever I wanted. But soon my sabbatical would be over and I would be returning to ministry and the school in the midst of a lot of upheaval…but I knew it would be short term for me because of mat leave, so the stress of it didn’t really effect me thankfully. The summer weeks flew by.

We had been invited to the wedding of some former students and now very good friends and had made plans to travel to Florida at the end of the summer…it would be just past the 12 week mark.

I was at work the day I was supposed to begin packing and I noticed some spotting…there was a moment when I felt all the fear and torment from the past 5 years rush up and try to overwhelm me…I rushed home without telling Chris, and ran around the house tearing open drawers and cupboards.

I had to find it…please don’t laugh, or roll your eyes, or get overly analytical.  I was looking for oil. It was this “anointing oil” a guest speaker had given out at a church meeting…I had scoffed at the time, thinking that if it’s in the bible, it doesn’t matter if you use olive oil, or coconut oil to pray with… I had not been convinced it was “special” , but “just in case I’m wrong” I hadn’t thrown it away…(BTW, I’m Still not sure it was special) but “just in case” I had dumped it all over myself and started thanking God that my joy would be full. FULL. FULL.

I was sitting on the floor in the room with the crib, covered in oil, when Chris got home later that evening.  BUT the spotting had stopped.  (I’ll leave it up to you what to believe, I’m just relaying my desperation in that moment to try anything…and I do give God credit for his grace throughout the journey, and for my children, and do believe I was healed that day, or earlier).

We called off the trip just to be safe…but after that day, there were no other problems in the pregnancy. The fall and winter came and went, I got bigger and bigger and happier and happier.

I started Mat leave about a month before my due date, and the next day my friends threw us a gigantic shower. Everything we needed and more was provided…we put everything away that night and I packed my hospital bag – well most of it…and the next day…He, the baby that is, decided to arrive early. Lucas would be our only baby to arrive 3 weeks early, the only one to be early period. I can’t begin to convey the joy in the hospital room…in fact the waiting room was full of people who had to be there when he arrived. Thankfully, it was in the afternoon. It was like a party hit the hospital. (Remember the friend who had called me while I was driving in Alberta? Her baby had been born the day before, in the same hospital, she was surprised to see us, because we were so early, but she just joined in the party) It was so much fun – after the grueling work of delivery that is!


After Lucas, 2 more boys arrived within four years…and I wasn’t sure if God thought he was just being funny – I mean 3 boys? I have 4 sisters, no brothers…”what does one do with boys?”… and then 6 years later our baby girl. Each of the rest of the babies took. their. blessed. time in arriving. Believe you me. But after each one, I knew, my joy was full. My cup ran over in fact. His grace is sufficient, and his love indescribable. But His joy, His joy is complete.

151017_Heaslip_048 (2)An interesting little note… in 2014 we were blessed to have Isabelle join our family. She is from China  and she is staying with us for all of high school. We love her parents like family, and she is definitely family, she fits right in, you’d never know she was an only child. She was born the year we lost Maggie. Isabelle makes every day more joyful for me, and our family. I had always said that I hoped to adopt a little girl from Asia someday, and maybe we will still…but maybe not. But I do know, that Isabelle was destined to be a part of our family from that day, and our hearts were being prepared to share life with her today, way back then. I thank God for her (and her family) everyday. Truly, our joy is full.

151017_Heaslip_024 (2)Thank you for sharing in this journey with me. Thank you for your encouragement and kind words. Someone had asked me why I decided to share now, and honestly, because I was finally ready. I want to keep writing, and I know writing through the hard stuff  is part of the process. I hope you’ll come back, I hope you’ll share some of your stories with me. I love hearing from you and thank you for your friendship and love,

xoxo

Tammara

 

 

Yes

2014 is barely begun. Outside my window a winter freeze is blustering with a fury, and I am hunkered down with a tea and a lit candle gently glowing. One boys is playing in the snow, 2 boys are are reading hoping to have some time on the xbox later… and the baby is napping- for a brief moment it is quiet here. My heart is not completely quiet though.

Christmas is packed up and put away, the house is back in order, laundry and “home love” is under control…in the quiet, I start to think…maybe this year…
Maybe this year, I’ll finally lose the weight that has haunted me since 1999.
Maybe this year, I’ll get the chaos of pictures under control in the office.
Maybe this year, I’ll memorize something grand like the book of Romans, or a passage from the Odyssey or from Othello.
Maybe this year, I’ll write that book, or do something…anything significant…
The expectation is overwhelming…
This I know, I cannot fulfill this list on my own. Impossible.
But this I know more, GRACE. 
The sufficiency of that five letter word, is so simple, it overtakes everything you put in it’s path. 
I have decided to pick a word for this year, to sum up what lies ahead…the great unknown. Perhaps some faith is required. 
The word makes my heart start to race…
So I can only get to it, by going through GRACE first. 
The word is YES.

adverb \ˈyes\

I am so used to having to say no… no to my kids, no to myself, no, no, no.
This is the year of YES. It all started a month or so ago when I watched this…
…and I felt something shift inside me… the road less traveled was whispering my name.
The one who said YES to the cross in my place, is whispering my name at every corner. 
Of course ever since then, I seem to encounter it everywhere…in conversations, on the radio, things I read, blogs, Television… Yes universe, I am listening…
and by grace…my answer is YES.

Five Minute Friday – TREE

I was about 11 or 12 years old and my mom had left a Baby Names book on the kitchen table. She was expecting one of my youngest sisters at the time, and for some reason I felt compelled to look up all our names…

Dad –       Aristotelis – the Best
Mom –     Brenda – Fire Brand/ Sword
Sisters –   Jennette – God is Gracious
               Stephanie – A Crown

All such nice, meaningful names…inspiring…beautiful.

With excitement I looked up my name… Tammara… there it was in black and white…

PALM TREE

What?! I checked and re-checked. Nope. That was it. Hebrew…or Russian depending on spelling.

No matter how I looked at it, it did nothing for me. I could think of nothing good about it except that they grew in far away places…I closed the book, disappointed.

Fast forward about 5 years, the teen years. I was a “deep” kid, spent a lot of time reading, studying history and language, symbolism and metaphors… a thinker.

When the big questions started coming, I had a hard time finding myself.

What am I going to do with my life? Do I go to college/ university? Where? Missions? Where? With what organization? Who am I? What do I do with my life? What does God want? The answers eluded me…and I felt like I was swimming in a sea of confusion and darkness.

Then one weekend I was checking out a college with my mom and I was sitting in our hotel room flicking stations on the TV… this television evangelist who I’d only heard of but never met was speaking, normally I would have flicked past, but something he said caught my attention. He then proceeded to talk about the Palm Tree believer…goosebumps.

Basically in ten minutes I had all the answers I needed…it was one of those crazy all consuming moments when your world stops, you wonder if you are even breathing. It was a definite AHA moment. God used that guy to show me who I was in Christ, and that if I am planted in Christ, it doesn’t matter what storms may come (and they will…and they have) – I will survive and thrive. That my peace and future and fruitfulness was in Him.

More than that, God used something as simple as the meaning of my name – Palm Tree – to turn it around for my good, and to reach me in a dark place, and show me a better way.

Done – that was five minutes…

PART TWO – if you are interested, come back tomorrow… I’ll post the Palm Tree Christian and why it’s so meaningful to me, and why it’s lead me to study all trees and their significance to us.

Thanks for reading. What’s your name mean? Any other “trees” out there?

Ordinary

Ordinary…

I’ve had a fear of being “ordinary” for as long as I can remember. It’s driven me to try to accomplish something, to “be” someone, to leave a legacy that is…special.

I haven’t wanted to be “just like everyone else”… and lately, as in the last few years, I’ve had to examine this drive. This sense of inadequacy and where it comes from.

Most people do not live to see the significance their life has or hasn’t had on their world and it’s far reaching effects…and yet I’ve been constantly aware of it. I’ve lived with a shadow on my heart because I didn’t find ‘significant’ education, or ‘significant’ success in business or ministry…

I think I’ve even tried to find ‘significance’ in my relationships with underlying motives of becoming significantly “wise”… what’s wrong with that you ask. Pretty sure that pretty much everything is wrong with that. I am a person, and the people in my life are significant because we are HERE. We all matter to someone. We all matter to God.

I don’t want anyone to think that I’ve developed some kind of psychological imbalance or spiritual deficit because I haven’t. I think I’ve just come to a place where I’ve realized that it’s not necessary for me to stand out from the crowd to be significant. I am no more or less significant than any other person…I am ordinary. Ordinary is not insignificant.

I matter to Him, but more than that, I’m not the only one that matters to Him. Yes I am beloved…highly favoured and blessed…but I don’t deserve it any more than the next person…none of us deserve His love, His forgiveness and grace…Yet He loves us anyways. We matter to him.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t feel that I have to matter to everyone else in order to matter to God. (And yes I know I am significant to my friends and family…my people – I am blessed among women). It’s just been a bit of a day of inward reckoning…

I’ve been very comfortable focusing on thinking about my place in the world, my place in history, the things I feel and think… without honestly giving a whole lot of thought to the fact that others maybe live like that too. I haven’t really thought about the role that others have might have NOTHING to do with ME. Thinking in that small minded way that everything happening around me, is about me. Crazy I know… I think I’ve been a slow learner at this… or maybe just an ordinary learner – lol.

This morning I read this post from a lovely soul (Thank you PW) who is an inspiration in her authenticity and transparency, it sums up how I’ve been feeling…

I sat in my usual spot.

I am a creature of habit.

I saw him coming down the bus aisle.

Pierced face.

Mohawk.

Pants hanging way past his waist.

“Please God don’t let him sit beside me”

I thought.

I put my purse down on the chair beside me.

Closed my eyes and leaned against the window.

Avoiding eye contact.

I felt his presence.

Standing beside me.

I opened my eyes.

He looked down at my purse and motioned me to move it.

“Fine” I thought to myself.

As I wondered why God had ignored my previous request.

He smelled like a mixture of drugs and alcohol.

I rolled up my sweatshirt and tried to ignore the smell.

I was feeling pretty sorry myself.

And wondering what I did to deserve this kick off to my Thanksgiving weekend.

I look over and noticed him texting someone.

“I want to die, everyone hates me”

The message said.

Whoosh…I could feel Jesus reminding me of where I use to be.

I started to take in this stranger beside me.

Starting at his feet.

His shoes were falling apart.

The back pack on his lap was held together with duct tape.

It was then that I noticed.

His arms.

There written with something sharp.

Were words like these:

Failure.

Worthless.

No value.

Garbage.

My eyes filled with tears.

I know what it feels.

To feel like that.

I started to pray.

For this man sharing.

My bus space.

“Are you ok” he asked.

“You aren’t worthless” I replied. “You have infinite value”

His eyes welled with tears.

“No one has ever said that to me before”

I gave him my cell number.

And said.

“Next time you feel like that, text me”

I got off at my stop.

Nodded my head goodbye.

And thanked Jesus for my new friend.

Be in prayer.

He has infinite value.

His creator said so.

Thankful that He who created me.

Sometimes says “No” to my selfish requests.

Blessed and Grateful.

For many things.

And that’s a great thought to kick off my Thanksgiving weekend.

It really is a great way to kick off the weekend!
Linking up here. Happy Thanksgiving Everyone (in Canada)!

10 Years ago…












It’s a day for reflection for most of North America.

Much gratitude is in my heart today as I remember and give value to the lives of those who were lost in and because of 9/11.
Ten years ago I was at work in a Bible College.
I had just finished leading the students in worship and prayer.
I watched the horror and tragedy of the second tower on live feed in someone’s office.
What would this mean for us in Canada, especially those like us who live on the NY border? Will there be war? Who would do this? Are we a target in Niagara?
We rallied the students to pray, we spent much time together and in prayer and in the few offices with TVs.
It was an uncertain time for many… and then gradually, life moved on.
Ten years ago I didn’t have kids.
We’d just had our second miscarriage after years of trying to get pregnant.
I worked a lot, I spent most of my time with my students.
I loved my job. I loved my church. I loved my life.
A year later, my father in law moved in with us.
A year later, I was pregnant – this time it stuck.
A year later I had a son.
Then my sister got married and had a son.
Then I went back to work. I wish I hadn’t.
Then I had another boy.
Then I went back to work. Too soon. I wish I hadn’t.
Another sister got married. And the one with a boy, had a girl.
Another sister got married.
And then another.
Then my father in law passed away.
Then my dad was diagnosed.
And I had another boy.
Then I went back to work. I really wish I hadn’t.
But I did and God is faithful.
Then my dad passed away.
And then a 2nd sister had a boy.
Then my mom moved to Niagara.
Then we bought a business and it didn’t work out.
My hubby was blessed with a new position in his work.
Then more babies were born to the sisters and I was finished working.
And Here we are at today again. We are truly blessed.
Ten years ago, we didn’t have a lot of the things we have today.
But we had people who we don’t have today…
and yet today we have little people who were not here then.
and the Circle continues.
The Hope that we had then, is stronger today.
The Faith we had then, is stronger today.
The Love we had then, is stronger today.
Because of the trials, the work, the heartache and loss.
The joys.
Our lives have been seasoned. We have continued to live.
And we will continue in this…

stuck

strI think I’m stuck. Stuck in a funk. It’s burning out my creativity and slowing trying to eat away at any general optimism and zest for life. I’ve noticed that lately I’m reading a lot. And I mean a lot – literally a book a day – mostly fiction – which is a bad sign, it means that I’m trying to escape something, that I’ve been avoiding being alone with myself. Which is odd, because for months I’ve LONGED for alone time. But having 3 small children and a husband working crazy hours prevented that from happening. So all the things that I should’ve been thiking about and “working through” did not get thought about or worked through.

So here I am, as the song goes – “stuck in a moment” – where I am unable to move forward – so I’ve decided to blog as much of it out as i can.

I’ve got this project I’ve been mulling over for more than 2 years now – it’s a book, that I know I need to write – but as I’ve attemped to free it from the quagmire in my soul – I realize that I must deal with the quagmire first-then free the book.

Knowing that I’m probably either just shy of peri-menopause and/or just plain off, balance horomonally due to three successive pregnancies – all of this could just tbe the rantings resulting from the off kilter place i find myself in and once i resume taking my supplements, and then I’ll feel better. But I have that deeper knowing, that i’m on to something bigger here.

first subject – why am I not doing more things that leave my soul at happy? Ok evken in writing that line, i’m at odds with myself, because i do sing, I do love being with my kids, i do love being in nature, my garden, cooking, reading, writing…and i’m doing a little bit of those things everyday. OK – so it’s not that. I know I’m frustrated at myself for not using my alone time in the evenings more effectively… hmmm, tick one off for t

Secondly, I’ve noticed I don’t like how i’ve been talking lately – too aggressive.

Third – i’ve super sensitive at being treated poorly – do I just take it, and get tougher, or do i try to deal with it? Neither seems to be working…

Fourth – I’m tired, tired of juggling home, work, a business and all the rest. i liked it so much back when I wasn’t juggling so much, I’ve been dropping alot of balls lately, and yeah – i’m tired of it – and the thought that there’s no end in sight – is killing me.

I’m sure there’s more, but it’s Sunday, and it’s a work day, and I’m stirring up things that are not helpful to do my job well by making this list…

So, how to deal, Jesus, how to deal? today, I go to Oswald. Oswald Chambers that
is – July 26th – and all I can say is ouch.

matthew 15:18-20 – those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart…

Initially we trust in our ignorance, calling it innocence, and next we trust our innocence, calling it purity. When we read verses like that, we shrink back…

We resent what He (jesus) reveals in our hearts. Either Jesus Christ is the supreme authority of the human heart, or He is not worth paying any attention to. Am I prepared to trust the penetration of His Word into my heart, or would I prefer to trust my own “innocent ignorance”? If i will take an honest look at myself becoming fully aware of my so-called innocence and put it to the test, I am very likely to have a rude awakening that what jesus christ said is true, and i will be appalled at the possibilities for evil within me. But as long a remain under the false security of my own “innocence”, I am living in a fool’s paradise….when i am open and completely exposed before God, i find that Jesus Christ is right in His diagnosis of me.

The only thing that truly provides protection is the redemption of Jesus Christ. If I will simply hand myself over to Him, i will never have to experience the terrible possibilities that lie within my heart. Purity is something far too deep for me to arrive at naturally. but when the Holy Spirit comes into me, He brings into the center of my personal life the very Spirit that was exhibitied in the life of Jesus Christ, namely, the Holy Spirit, which is absolute, unblemished purity.

i take a big deep breath…and throw myself into the arms of Jesus, the arms of grace.