Wednesday, 21 August 2013

i heart market

I was super excited to hear that there will be TWO I heart markets in September. I haven't been for quite some time so definitely popping into these! Love the sound of the 'Kitchenalia Showcase'.
 
MKT 54

Thursday, 15 August 2013

for the love of babushka dolls

I have a deeeeeep love for Babushka dolls. LOOK at these GORGEOUS Russian dolls goodies that have just arrived at {in good company}. WANT!

RUSSIAN DOLL CARAFE
Russian Dolls carafe. Be still my beating heart!
RUSSIAN DOLL CONTAINERS
Russian Doll Tuperwares! Have you ever!?
RUSSIAN DOLL MEASURING SPOONS
Measuring spoons! Too darn cute.
RUSSIAN DOLL MEASURING CUPS WHITE
Measuring cups!

One of my very close friends, and fellow blogger, {Cals- Ellie Love Blog} is running an AWESOME compo where you can WIN an In Good Company voucher. Click {HERE} to enter!

cath kidson recipe organiser

This has been on my birthday wish list for yonkers! I was too thrilled to open it up on my birthday! Isn't she a beaut!! LOVE! {Cath Kidson Recipe book Organiser}

CATH KIDSTON RECIPE ORGANISER
 

Thursday, 8 August 2013

my testimony

I thought I would share with you my testimony. If you follow my blog you will remember {this post} where I shared about my infertility struggle. Here is the FULL story ...

I was diagnosed with PCOS when I went for my first gyne appointment when I was 19 years old.
{PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, to explain the condition briefly, I do not ovulate. An egg begins to grow in my ovary but does not grow to its full size and so no Oestrogen/ Progesterone is released resulting in no menstrual wall being built. The egg basically dies and shrivels up inside my ovary. If you were to look at my ovaries you would see a whole lot of little black dots, those are all the dead eggs that have accumulated over time.}
The doctor at the time said that falling pregnant one day will or may be a struggle but not to worry about it now, we can cross that bridge when we get there. I have ALWAYS wanted to be a mom; I have such a love for children. So this news did not affect me very well, for years after I always felt like a broken doll. And the worry has always been at the back of my mind. Lucky for me Grant and I started dating when I was 17 years old so he was there for me when I came home with that awful news, he did his best to understand and was there for me whenever I hit a wobbly (also knowing full well what he was getting himself into a couple years down the line.)

Fast forward 10 years. Last year June, my hubby and I decided we were ready to begin the infertility journey. It’s tough, Very tough. I don't think I could have ever got through some really tough times without the support, love and encouragement from a small handful of close friends, my family and of course my doting and adoring husband.

In the beginning of our journey, my hubby and I tried to get through it on our own; we didn't want a million questions from people we had told every time we saw them. Trust me; there are times when you REALLY don't want to talk about it.
I went through allot of infertility treatments. Lots of drugs and horrible injections- that my brave nurse mom did for me! And week after week I went for scans and my body was just not responding. So the doctor would issue more drugs and more injections and, no luck.  Every time I would walk into that doctor’s office, excited to hear the good news, truly believing that it had worked, a gorgeous ripe egg was growing and looking lovely! I would lie there, hubby’s hand in mine, staring at that screen while the doctor searched for something. I would always have high hopes, trying to believe that it had all worked but alas, it was heart break after heart break. My eggs were not growing, no wall was forming. Just horrid news every time. I started feeling incredibly helpless and hopeless.

After a few months I decided to change doctors. Thought this may help. A change of scenery, a new perspective.

The new doctor was such a sweetie! A real ‘mad professor’. Both Grant and I enjoyed him from the get go. He suggested before any treatment I go for a laparoscopy (an op where they go in and have a good squizz at my reproductive goods.) I thought this was a great idea, not thinking I could have anything else wrong.

After the op, he came with bad feedback. Not only did I have PCOS. I had mild endometriosis and my tubes, both of them, were badly blocked up! And super sluggish. He said that unfortunately IVF (in-vitro fertilisation) would be the only option for us. And at R 50 000 + a time, its ALLOT to swallow!  
As the months went by we started opening up to close friends, letting them in one by one. I needed to let those closest to me know why I was seemingly ‘not myself’ at times. I needed them to understand what we were going through. I needed the support. But more importantly, we decided to open up to God. My husband and I are Christians but a year ago I wouldn't say that we were 'active Christians'. As the months went by I started feeling incredibly anxious and hopeless as my body was not responding to any of the fertility treatments. I would find myself so angry, angry at God, angry at the world! I battled and struggled with hearing stories about young girls falling pregnant, or drug addicts/ alcoholics/ people in abusive, sad relationships falling pregnant at the drop of a hat/ women abandoning their new born babies in local park dustbins, and there we were, a couple that have been together for over ten years, with so much history, with just so much love for each other its crazy, all we want is to share this love with a child. To give each other the best possible gift we could ever want and wish for. It was a horrible head space.

It was in those very dark times that I decided to turn to God.  I honestly could not carry it all on my own any more. My hubby and I started going back to church and I decided one night to hand EVERYTHING over to Jesus. All my worries, my doubts, my all, to Christ, and to trust that He will heal me and bless us with a healthy baby. I told Him that night that I needed constant reminders that I had done the right thing, that I CAN trust Him. I wanted big, in your face signs.
I also decided that I was going to give my body six months to recover, after all those drugs, the operation, I was feeling awful, just not myself. So I started going to acupuncture twice a month, I started taking a bucket load of healthy vitamins- Folic acid, stamina gro, magnesium, zinc, vitamin C, to name a few, all good and healthy stuff! Both Grant and I were taking them. I started a good exercise regime and was feeling good. I wanted to cleanse my body and give it time to recover properly.  We also started to get more involved in church, we joined a small group, I joined the worship team at church and Grant started volunteering Art classes at a local children’s home, LIV.

We also decided at this time to sign up for adoption. Usually you lucky if you get a baby within 7 years of having your interviews, screening, etc so thought it best to sign up sooner rather than later. We had no idea how long this journey would be or how it would end, so best we cover all bases now. I contacted several social workers around the country and only ONE came back to me saying she would take our case. White babies are very few and far between so most social workers don’t even take on people looking for white baba’s. This social worker was based in Pretoria. She was very patient and friendly and gave us all the information we needed, however told us that she had ‘closed her books’ for the year already (in February of 2013, can you believe it) and would only look at our application in the new year (2014). Shew!

Since we decided to jointly hand everything over to God, it is amazing how Jesus keeps reminding me that He hasn't forgotten about me, I have had the most incredible experiences. Experiences that if I had to name each one we would be here for days. But I just really would like to share with you a few ...
I started attending an infertility meeting group toward the end of last year. It is held the last Saturday of every month and it is a group of Christian women, all suffering from different infertility issues, they are all at different stages of their journeys. Me, being a very fresh one.

One meeting, one of the girls shared one of the past girls amazing stories. This couple had been trying for over ten years with no success. One night they read a verse in the bible that told them that whatever they ask for in prayer, if they believe it, they will receive it ... I know what you thinking, all good and well, it's exactly what I was thinking ... Anyhow, they started actively praying for a healthy baby girl, whom they wanted to name Abigail. True as bob, she fell pregnant a few very short months after with a little girl.
That evening, after hearing this story, I came home to my hubby and we went for a long walk to discuss it. We decided we were going to give this 'method' a try. We were not particular to having a boy or girl. All we wished for was a healthy baby. So we thought it best to settle on a boy and a girl name and pray for both. Now names for my hubby and I have always been a soft spot, we can, and have never ever agreed on names! But this once, for some very odd reason we settled on two names very easily. Olivia for a girl, and Levi for a boy.

In the weeks that followed the name OLIVIA kept coming up. Over and over again. In the strangest ways. Now in the beginning I thought, it was all in my mind- You know when you are set on buying say a VW in a certain colour, then all of a sudden you see a million of them on the roads. Well, that's what I thought initially but then it was too obvious for me NOT to accept that this was God showing me that this little Olivia was not just a silly name that we had chosen to pray for.
It was a few days before my sisters baby shower, her and I had always spoken about being pregnant together, going out and shopping for baby goodies together, sharing our nightmare "ag these kids" vents and frustrations, sipping tea whilst our babies played together. More so, having our children be more like siblings than cousins. I had planned her entire baby shower event, and loved every minute of it but in the final days before, was feeling extremely low and sad, dreaming of my baby shower and just how desperately I wanted to be pregnant ... Feeling hopeless and anxious about how and when I will be ... And feeling almost, left behind.

On the day of her baby shower, her sister in law, as soon as she arrived, grabbed me and pulled me aside. She said to me (bear in mind she has no idea what I am going through, infertility wise), she said to me that for the last three nights she has had the most vivid dreams of me having a little girl, she says I was so incredibly happy and these dreams felt so real. Her and I have actually only seen each other one/ two times before this, I don't really have a relationship with her. She said every morning she would wake up saying to her husband, gosh I had ANOTHER dream of Samantha and this little girl, it’s just so weird. What does it mean!? Being a Christian herself, she chose not to ignore it. She presented me with a card and a gift. In the gift bag was a beautiful pink baby girls dress and the card read, I am not sure why, but I have a strong feeling that you are going to have a little girl, very soon.
I honestly didn't know what to say to her. Speechless. Dumb founded. Amazed. I was blown away. I still don't think she knows to this day how much what she did meant to me. Especially on this day.

Book club. I am part of a book club (more wine, less books), in March we met at a friend’s house and one of the girls asked how everything with me was going. I proceeded to tell them about the Olivia story, how this name keeps coming up over and over, so in my face I just cannot ignore it. I told them about my sisters sister in laws dress story and could see a few of the girls start looking at me as though I am a little mad/ reading into things too much ... Just then, one of the girls pointed to the TV screen, there in the middle of the screen the words "Something like Olivia" was in bold. At the time of me describing all of these events, a song, which all of us had never heard before, by John Mayer was playing, 'Something Like Olivia'. In fact the girl, whose song selection it was had never heard that song before and didn't know how it ended up on her play list. Well, it had us ALL in complete shock and disbelief. There she was. Again! The girls all decided that they would come up with a word, it was “TRUSTING” and they put that word, with the date, 14 March 2013 on the screen, where they had paused the song, so we can remember it.

 
I really cannot name every single event where this name has come up. But it has, call me crazy. Over and over. Its wonderful, encouraging and gave me so much hope.

But they get better!
I know I mentioned earlier that my husband and I are part of a small group. In the first meeting  we all put in our prayer requests. Mine obviously being our desperate pregnancy request. 

Those last few weeks had been really difficult for me. I know I said I have 'handed my situation' over to God but I have many times where I doubt it. I doubt that I will be able to fall pregnant naturally, by complete miracle. I doubt whether God has forgotten about me and Olivia. I doubt whether He thinks that my silly issues are big enough compared to the many other bigger issues out there. I start thinking that maybe we need to go back to the doctors and try some more fertility treatments ...  Not to mention, family and friends who ask all the time and are always surprised at my answer that we are just detoxing, giving my body a break and trusting God. I was giving my body till end June before we do anything. I just had this undying feeling to give myself time. A few people, those who are close, would ask me, "why you delaying IVF!?" "You need it right?" "Just do it. What you waiting for!?"  "Stop wasting time, you have no idea how many times you may need to go through it!?" It really got to my head. What ARE we waiting for!? I have so many infertility issues. I am really ‘living with the fairies’ thinking this will happen naturally aren’t I?
So my husband and I had started discussing IVF. We discussed how and where we could get the money from. My fears of it failing and how I just don't think I could ever get through it if it did have to. Where we could get the money to try again ... And the chances of it failing again ... As you can imagine, a lot of sleepless nights, fears, doubting and worrying.

That Sunday during the church service, whilst the pastor was speaking, something came over me telling me that we need to TRUST in God more. Hand it ALL over to him. Be more bold and direct in our prayers. After the service I told my husband that I want to stop tip- toeing around God. I want our prayers to be less "please Lord we ask for a healthy baby, we are waiting patiently, please bless us in Your name" to more "Lord, THANK YOU for our healthy baby, THANK YOU for that positive test result, THANK YOU for blessing us with this baby, THANK YOU for making us parents." Start believing more that we have ALREADY RECEIVED this blessing than praying for the blessing to come ...
That Monday morning I prayed, asking God to please show me that I am doing the right thing. Asking Him to show me, will he bless us with a baby naturally or will he spark that life in me through an IVF treatment. What must I do, please to guide me.
That Tuesday morning I prayed this same prayer with my bible on my lap. I then opened my bible to a verse that blew me away:

"Have faith in God," Jesus answered. "I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."

Mark 11:22-24
I was blown away by this verse. Completely. God had answered my prayer. I was set on trusting Him now, for real!

Obviously then slowly my doubt sets in again, was it just coincidence I landed on this verse ... Silly self doubt me.  The night before going to our small group meeting the next day, I read this verse to my husband. Telling him that I strongly felt that us being more bold and direct with our prayers was the answer. He loved this verse! To make matters even more confirmed ... At small group that evening, our hosts asked if God had spoken to any of us during the week. The room fell silent … I was hesitant to say, but then decided stuff it I am, and shared with them this verse. The host couple had to stop me midway, and in complete shock they said, my GOSH! We were praying for you on Monday and came across THIS EXACT verse for you. This EXACT verse. Wow, how incredible that God showed you the SAME verse!! This double, triple confirmed for me and my husband that this WAS the answer to my prayer. I need to truly believe (as hard as it is going to be at times) that God has ALREADY blessed us with our beautiful, healthy baby. Truly believe and trust in God, and thank Him for our baby. Thank him for our positive pregnancy test result. Have confidence that I have already received it, removing any doubt from my heart, believing that what we say WILL happen. In Jesus name.
Ever since that amazing night! Gosh it was really incredible, one I will never forget. My husband and I were faithful, we were obedient. Every night we prayed together thanking God for our healthy baby, and that positive pregnancy test. Our faith was stronger than ever before. Our God has been listening. He has heard our cry. He is going to bless us. Nothing or no one could convince me otherwise.

That night I came home and wrote a blog post, I have a blog called ‘everything I heart’, and it’s got nothing to do with my personal life, it’s more fun inspiration for your home, d├ęcor and yum recipes. But I had this strong feeling to just get this whole experience out on ‘paper’ and to the world! I had to tell people about our God and how awesome he is! And just how confident I was that He is going to bless us, and SOON!
Anytime I had doubt I would just repeat over and over “all I need is faith as small as a mustard seed, all I need is faith as small as a mustard seed” … And that doubt just melted away, in the name of Jesus.

One night, a few weeks later, I was lying in the bath, praying to God. Asking Him when, when are we going to receive this precious blessing. I closed my eyes and got this amazing image of a tiny little embryo; it was surrounded by a bright, beautiful light. I knew it was not my imagination. I was convinced this was it! I was pregnant!
Both Grant and I had entered into a 10 km obstacle course race, it was happening that weekend and I was so nervous to run it ‘being pregnant’, so I went out and bought an expensive pregnancy test and thought it best to test the morning of the race. Should it be positive I would DEFINITELY not run! I was convinced I was going to see that positive result.

That morning I woke up early, it felt like Christmas. I took the test and watched patiently …
“Not pregnant” it read. Angry! Broken hearted! Mad at the world, at God for giving me this image that I KNEW was from Him and then this!? Why did he do this to me! What was that feeling!? What was going on! This is not a game! I didn’t tell my husband I had taken that test or about the vision I had seen. We did the race and the whole time I was running and jumping, pushing and shoving, venting all my frustration out. Angry and cursing at God under my breath.

The next morning I sat in bed. I prayed. I apologised to God for being so mad, for swearing at Him, for being angry. I told Him I was just so broken hearted. WHY did he give me that image!? Why is he leading me on?
I came across a verse:

“She is clothed in strength and dignity

And she laughs without fear of the future.”

Proverbs 31:25
This gave me motivation to get out of bed and get on with life. Laughing and smiling without fear of the future. My future was in God’s hands and He has the plan. I NEED to keep the trust. I NEED to keep that faith!

For the whole of that following week I just could not shake this feeling that I was pregnant. I kept telling myself over and over that I had taken the test, it was negative. Why do I have this intense feeling? I tried to shake it off but I just couldn’t stop thinking about it.

I then started feeling my boobs were SO sore! Not ‘period’ sore, allot more sore! I remembered my sister saying that it was her sore boobs that were the sign that she was pregnant. I kept telling myself I am being silly! This is all in my head. Just shake it off now!
Another week passed and this feeling was STILL there. I thought no, now Samantha, you need to put this to bed. I went out and bought another pregnancy test. Thought let me do this one to prove to myself that my head is seriously playing tricks on me!
It was a Monday morning. My husband had already left for work. I took the test, placed it down and then carried on getting ready for work. A couple minutes later casually walked up to it, expecting to see the same result.

But no … This time it read “PREGNANT 2-3 weeks” WHAT!! WHAT!! WHAAAAT!!!!!!!
I fell to the floor in hysterics, laughing, crying, shaking! PRAISING GOD! That image was true! That first test was obviously too early!! All those feelings - That was God. WOW! Blown away! Speechless! I am PREGNANT!
It is a miracle! An absolute blessing! Our God is just SO MUCH greater than we could ever imagine!
He is incredible! He is healer! He is faithful!
We went for our first scan and heard that little heart beat! Beating away! Isn’t that amazing! Our baby was the size of a blueberry and has this gorgeous, fiercely beating heart! Incredible!

I am now over 10 weeks! Feeling the effect of morning sickness, actually it’s ALL DAY sickness but LOVING it! Embracing it for everything that it is!
It may seem too early to tell the world … Doctors always recommend 12 weeks is safe to tell. But this baby, this precious miracle, was given to me out of faith and in faith I believe that this baby is perfectly healthy. So I am SCREAMING THIS FROM THE ROOF TOPS! I AM PREGNANT! THANK YOU JESUS!!

Have you heard that saying "if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans"? I love that. His timing is always the perfect timing! We can never see it when we are in a daze and overcome with our own emotions but patiently wait on Him and He will ALWAYS deliver. Our God is good, He is kind, He is merciful, He is moved by compassion and He knows the deepest desires of your heart. Always remember that. He would never give you empty dreams.


I hope that this story has touched you in some way. Convinced you that our God is truly incredible! Nothing is too small for Him. YOU matter! YOU are important to Him. YOU are SO INCREDIBLY LOVED! Whatever you are struggling to deal with. Hand it over. Hand it all over to Him. And just trust. Trust Him with ALL your heart and soul. Truly BELIEVE! Have faith! I know he will come through! He always does! All you need is faith as small as a mustard seed.

“I waited patiently for the Lord

He turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire.

He set my feet on rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord
Psalm 40 1-3

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

I'M PREGNANT!

YES!!

You read that right!

 
I AM PREGNANT!!!

Thank you Jesus for this precious miracle!!

You remember {this post} ... Well friends, our God came through on His promise. I found out on the 1 July. Several weeks after publishing this post. I just KNEW God would bless us. I had so much faith! I cannot put into words what an incredible, life changing experience this has been! Although terribly tough at times, looking back I wouldn't change one thing about it!

I will be sharing my full testimony this week :) Cannot WAIT for you to read it!!