it happened to me again this year.

try as i might,
it hasn't really felt like Christmas.

twinkly white lights along our fireplace,
the Christmas present shopping,
the evergreen scent in our sunroom.
they've helped.

but it hasn't really, truly felt like Christmas to me.

but, once again,
at a simple, sweet preschool Christmas program,
it happened.
the Christmas spirit captured my heart,
and i {not-so-successfully} blinked back tears
as sweet three-and-four-year-olds sang.

the innocence of the Little Ones in our lives singing about the Christ Child
focused my heart. my vision was tunneled to the Baby in the Manger, and all the periphereal holiday stuff, that although fun, sometimes clutters up our Season, was out of sight.

this is the reason for the Season.  
i worship the Baby in the Manger turned Man on the Cross.

in that church sanctuary on a normal-turned-magical Tuesday evening,
my heart sang along with the preschoolers' and, all-of-a-sudden,
it felt like Christmas.

shout, sing, worship the King.
Jesus is Born and 
{He's Such Good News.}

yes, yes, yes.
He is



The One in Which You See Anna

{post title courtesy of the sitcom Friends, for those of you who watched that show.
we were avid Friends fans, in the day...and may or may not have even owned a copy of the Friends trivia game, and may or may not have played it religiously with dear, special friends with whom clearly we watched way too much TV}


about a month ago,
i had the extremely humbling
{oh so humbling}
 experience of being able to share my heart at our church's women's retreat.

i blog off and on about multiple sclerosis and what I've been learning through it.
and, i am so {so, so, so}
much more comfortable in my sweats in front of a keyboard 
than I am with a microphone in front of an audience.

but, i was deeply thankful to be able to share my story of multiple sclerosis and what the Lord has taught me through it over the last eleven months.

so, here you go.

the post in which you see anna.

 and i may die right now, so i will press {publish} before i hit delete. 
{watching yourself on video is a bit, well, brutal}

here's the video from that night,
if you'd like to hear it.

the first part is through about 12 minutes,
and the next part is about 35 minutes after that.

{if the embed doesn't work, this is the link}

Christmas and Multiple Sclerosis

it's a rainy Saturday afternoon here,
and i sit eating one of my favorite soups 
{Panera Bread's vegetarian and low fat black bean}

our favorite-five-year-old is spending the Saturday with some grandparents,
and my favorite three-year-old is playing tea party with her animals.
{which, btw, my nativity set might not survive 
a certain animal-loving-three-year-old this year}.

 we've been kind of status-quo around here recently,
after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, is really good.

it's so nice to answer {we're good}
to the question how are y'all doing?

My MS symptoms are virtually non-existant.
except for a low-fat diet and daily injections,
i have little reminders of this progressive neurological disease.
and, when those reminders do come in the form of a tingly foot or burning hand,
it's just a reminder that this life is so short, and i am {we are!}
so desperately dependent on my Savior.

my heart is full looking into this Holiday season.
i have such new depth of awareness for the hope that we celebrate this year -
the hope that came in the form of a baby in a manger.
that baby brings me hope for this life -
that even if my barely-whispered worst-case-MS-scenarios came true down the road,
i will not be hopeless.
and i will be able to do all things through Him who will strengthen me, 
should that time come.

that baby brings hope for the next life -
hope for new bodies,
bodies not scarred by the sin of this world.
hope for an eternity spent by the throne,
saying worthy, worthy, worthy is the Lamb.

happy advent season, all.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum

I was throwing up dozens of times an hour. I couldn't keep spit down. I would lay on the couch and cry, throw up, cry some more, then throw up so much that I was just hurling stomach acid into the trash can beside the couch. At the end of the day I would plod my way upstairs, sob myself to sleep, pleading for something to take away the sickness, the nausea, the vomiting, the nightmare that hyperemesis gravidarum is.

4 years ago right now,
i was pregnant with my now 3-year-old,
and had hyperemesis gravidarum -
a condition that's become public with Kate Middleton's recent pregnancy announcement.

i don't often talk, or write, about my early days of pregnancy with my sweet, spunky 3-year-old.
i don't talk about it often because it was so awful.
{so awful}
in such a deeply personal way
 that i would really rather shudder, grit my teeth, and then let the topic pass 
than talk about my experiences.

but, with Kate Middleton's pregnancy announcement,
it's impossible to not remember my own experience with 
the reason for which Kate was hospitalized.

in my early weeks of pregnancy with our now 5-year-old
{before i was aware that I had HG}
I remember telling my husband that when I told people I was pregnant they should really say
I'm sorry
instead of 

i was sick.

Hyperemesis affects about 2% of pregnant woman.
it is {so much more} than morning sickness,
the term the news anchors seem to be using when describing 
the beautiful Duchess of Cambridge.
it's even so much more than severe morning sickness.

it is severe, persistent, unrelenting nausea and vomiting that can lead a host of health issues for the mother and baby, the least of which is severe dehydration.

at seven weeks pregnant with grace, our now-three-year-old,
after being hospitalized for a couple days to restore dehydration and receive nutrition through an IV,
i had a home health care nurse come give me a zofran pump.
a pump that would deliver anti-nausea medicine to me through a needle in my thigh.

the pump did nothing.
i ended up hospitalized again,
and given a PICC line -
a semi-permemanent IV so I could get medicine, fluids, and nutrition intravenously.
for months I had these tubes coming out of my body, tubes that made getting dressed, sleeping, and showering a challenge.

{the PICC line went in my arm at my elbow then went all the way into my chest to deliver medicine}

hyperemesis gravidaraum.
 it was my nightmare I lived for months during both of my healthy pregnancies.
my heart hurts for Kate Middleton,
and i hope she's getting the support she needs -
i cannot imagine living HG in the public eye.

if you hear about her, 
she is not exaggerating,
or being a "princess" about pregnancy.

it is serious, debilitating condition.
 so debilitating that couples who deal with it?
their divorce rate is higher.  their abortion rate is higher.
that's how serious it gets.

my Savior provided grace and mercy for me 
to get through the minute-by-minute nightmare of HG.  

but I never want to live it again.

that is what HG is.


if you're dealing with HG, go to - 
it provided great help for me during my daughter's pregnancy

and my friend, Sommer,writes about her experiences with HG here: