Discovering the Goodness of God

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I love to know and learn things. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always loved being “in the know”. I used to love being one of the first to know things so that I could be the first to tell things. In fact, my nickname growing up was “the informer”. I’m still that way in many ways. I would pick a documentary or docuseries over just about any other genre any day- anything from BBC Planet Earth to a dark true crime series. I literally love watching the morning news, reading my daily Wikipedia article, getting my dictionary word of the day, and even my daily Bible verse. I listen to educational podcasts for fun, and I’m in a million and one Facebook groups to discuss various topics. I love it all because I love learning and knowing. I guess that makes me a bit of a know at all lol.

The issue I have is that this crosses over into every area of my life, including my faith. I’ve recently been struggling in this area because there are so many things that I don’t understand when it comes to how God operates. In the last few months, I’ve found myself questioning God a lot. Not His existence or his sovereignty, but his reasoning. Becoming a mom has softened my heart to so many issues in this world that I then take to God and ask why they are happening. It’s left me with many sleepless nights and rant sessions with God. And if I’m being quite honest, there have been a few times I’ve been downright angry with Him. Why do some prayers get answered and some don’t. Why do some people seem to ALWAYS get blessed while others are left in what seems to be a perpetual struggle. Why do some people receive their healing here on earth, while others receive it in heaven, leaving their family, friends, and community devastated? I could go on and on with questions. I was to the point that the generic “we live in a fallen world that’s imperfect” answer wasn’t cutting it. That seemed like a cop-out that people used because they didn’t have the answers either.

It was so dang frustrating because I know the goodness of God. I’ve seen it in my life time and time again, but nevertheless, I was left extremely frustrated, having gone through some really tough things too, as well as having seen my loved ones and even those I’ve never met go through so much pain and struggle.

Then, then other day I saw a post that humbled me pretty quickly. It was a post that Brian Johnson shares of a quote from his dad, Bill Johnson. It was so simple, yet so profound. “We need mystery as much as we need revelation.” At first I read it and scrolled right on by, but something told me to go back and read it again. After reading it a few more times, I was so wrecked, so humbled, and so convicted all at the same time. I’ve spent the better part of the last year genuinely angry with God because I didn’t understand a lot of what was happening around me, but in that moment I knew that I was never meant to understand most of it. That was a hard pill for me to swallow given my personality, but as I’ve mulled over it the last few days, the more I’ve begun to understand that I don’t need to know everything.
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If we as humans knew all of Gods reasoning and all of his plans, there would be no need for a God at all. And how very self righteous of me to assume that I should know everything he does?! See, while we should strive to gain revelation and understanding of who God is and what His heart is towards us, we also need to acknowledge his sovereignty and majesty, which is far beyond our understanding. Ultimately, we need to be more concerned with acquainting ourselves with Gods character rather than His reasoning, because when we know who He is and understand His heart, we understand that no matter the circumstances, he is always working things for our good!

Obviously, this wasn’t a fix-all. My questions didn’t just magically melt away because of this post/revelation, but it gave me a new way to combat my emotional responses towards God. I know my curiosity isn’t a bad thing- it’s how God created me to to be! And through my curiosity, I’m able to gain so much fresh revelation about Him, but I have to also be conscious of my mind and not allow it to wander. The Bible tells us in Romans 12:2 “Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes.” This is in the Passion Translation, and I absolutely love the way it reads. We have control over where we allow our minds to go! And when we partner with the Holy Spirit, it results in a total reformation of how we think. Not only will it result in a reformation of how we think, but it will allow us to discern and understand God’s will for our lives. Wow- that’s so dang powerful!

It’s amazing how much one little quote can change the way you approach so much. It was so timely and so needed. And it served as a reminder that I truly need God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit- everyday, in everything I do, think, and say. We all do! We all go through some really tough stuff throughout the course of our lives, and i think because of that, we can all be left questioning or doubting the goodness of God. I personally believe that, if we allow them to, these are often times the moments that result in us growing closer to God than ever before. The key is to press in, be curious, and learn more about God, who he is, and what his promises are for our lives! That being said, I want to leave you with some scriptures to help guide you through those tough times.

Psalm 23 (TPT)
“So why would I fear the future? For your goodness and love pursue me all the days of my life…”

1 John 1:5 (TPT)
“This is the life-giving message we heard him share and it’s still ringing in our ears. We now repeat his words to you: God is pure light. You will never find even a trace of darkness in him.”
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James 1:17 (TPT)
“Every gift God freely gives us is good and perfect, streaming down from the Father of lights, who shines from the heavens with no hidden shadow or darkness and is never subject to change.”
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Matthew 6:25-34 (TPT)
“… Look at all the birds—do you think they worry about their existence? They don’t plant or reap or store up food, yet your heavenly Father provides them each with food. Aren’t you much more valuable to your Father than they?”
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Romans 8:28-39
“So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are his lovers who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose. For he knew all about us before we were born and he destined us from the beginning to share the likeness of his Son. This means the Son is the oldest among a vast family of brothers and sisters who will become just like him. Having determined our destiny ahead of time, he called us to himself and transferred his perfect righteousness to everyone he called. And those who possess his perfect righteousness he co-glorified with his Son! So, what does all this mean? If God has determined to stand with us, tell me, who then could ever stand against us? For God has proved his love by giving us his greatest treasure, the gift of his Son. And since God freely offered him up as the sacrifice for us all, he certainly won’t withhold from us anything else he has to give. Who then would dare to accuse those whom God has chosen in love to be his? God himself is the judge who has issued his final verdict over them—“Not guilty!” Who then is left to condemn us? Certainly not Jesus, the Anointed One! For he gave his life for us, and even more than that, he has conquered death and is now risen, exalted, and enthroned by God at his right hand. So how could he possibly condemn us since he is continually praying for our triumph? Who could ever separate us from the endless love of God’s Anointed One? Absolutely no one! For nothing in the universe has the power to diminish his love toward us. Troubles, pressures, and problems are unable to come between us and heaven’s love. What about persecutions, deprivations, dangers, and death threats? No, for they are all impotent to hinder omnipotent love, even though it is written: All day long we face death threats for your sake, God. We are considered to be nothing more than sheep to be slaughtered! Yet even in the midst of all these things, we triumph over them all, for God has made us to be more than conquerors, and his demonstrated love is our glorious victory over everything! So now I live with the confidence that there is nothing in the universe with the power to separate us from God’s love. I’m convinced that his love will triumph over death, life’s troubles, fallen angels, or dark rulers in the heavens. There is nothing in our present or future circumstances that can weaken his love. There is no power above us or beneath us—no power that could ever be found in the universe that can distance us from God’s passionate love, which is lavished upon us through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One!”
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Why are some of your favorite scriptures of God’s goodness? I’d love to hear from you! Drop them in the comments below. Thanks so much for reading- I hope to see you next week

Xoxo
ELK

Motherhood: Overcoming Postpartum Depression and Anxiety

**TRIGGER WARNING** this post contains in depth discussion of postpartum anxiety and depression.

*** DISCLAIMER*** I am not a licensed healthcare professional. This post discusses my personal journey with postpartum depression and anxiety. If you are struggling with any form of mental health crisis, please seek help from a licensed medical professional

E10C49FC-15F6-4C1A-BA09-5D633D385E80I think the top two questions I have been asked since becoming a mom are 1) how did you know you were ready for kids, and 2) why is the biggest thing you’ve learned since having Evelyn. They can both be answered the same way: There is absolutely nothing that can prepare you for motherhood. You can save all the money, read all the books, go to all the classes and seek all the advice in the world, but you will never be prepared. Even once you have the baby, you are constantly learning. Every baby is different and there are so many nuances to their behaviors and preferences. Just when you think you’ve learned them, they change. And you change. It’s inevitable. In fact, that change usually happens almost instantaneously the moment the nurses plop that slimy, screaming, precious baby on your chest. You suddenly becoming the embodiment of “mama bear”. You are completely high off of adrenaline and oxytocin and a dozen other hormones that flood your body. You feel like you can take on the world and also take the best nap of your life all at once. You somehow feel incredibly strong and unbelievably broken at the same time. This is the first thing you aren’t prepared for- the ocean of emotions that you are battered with. In an instant, you feel more emotion than you ever thought possible.

Most people are aware of the phenomenon women experience after birth called “baby blues”. Your hormones have gone completely haywire and the result is a lack of control of your emotions. It’s totally normal to be pretty weepy the first couple of days- crying because you’re happy, or because you’re just so in love with your new baby, or something ridiculous like FINALLY getting to eat or get up and walk once that epidural wears off.

After Ev was born, I expected to be a bit emotional. My midwife had prepared me for it, and I was ready. I was also terrified of experiencing postpartum depression. It was something I talked with my midwife about because I had experienced pretty heavy depression before pregnancy, as well as during my pregnancy. On day two of my hospital stay, I filled out the generic postpartum depression questionnaire. In my opinion, this is the dumbest thing ever. You are running on zero sleep, and you’ve only had this child for all of 48 hours. The questions, like “have you thought about harming your baby”, or “have you had trouble sleeping” are ridiculous and make zero sense for that particular moment. Regardless, after answering the questions as honestly as I felt comfortable, I was given a moderate risk factor for developing ppd/a. We left the hospital the next day, and over the next week or so, things got progressively worse. I had absolutely no control over my emotions. I was crying all the time, so anxious, and having complete meltdowns over the most ridiculous things. I lost it over not being able to find my crock pot. Ridiculous, I know! All the while, my mom and husband kept asking if I was okay. I think they knew, but they wanted me to acknowledge that something wasn’t right. A week after having EV, my mom, dad, and husband sat me down and told me it was time to call my doctor. This was more than just baby blues, and deep down, I knew it. My mom in particular recognized it very quickly because of her own experience with it. I’m so grateful I have people in my life who were so willing to be honest with me.

After talking to my doctor, she diagnosed me with postpartum depression and anxiety and put me on Zoloft. The Zoloft took about 4 weeks to fully kick in, but once it did, I began to feel somewhat normal. After about three months of being on the medication, I began to notice that it wasn’t working as well, so my doctor upped my dosage. My emotions felt under control, but I definitely didn’t feel “normal”. Nevertheless, I knew that I needed to stay on it to be the best mom and wife possible. I really struggled with that idea because I didn’t want to have to rely on medication to function. It’s easy to make the comparison that “if you have allergies, you take Zyrtec and that’s no different”, a statement I’ve made to many before, but it’s a totally different thing to experience it for yourself. I felt weak and inadequate. I was angry with God for seemingly not helping me. I felt angry with myself and guilty a lot of the time for many reasons. One of the biggest being- how could I possibly be depressed when I have the biggest blessing in the world in my daughter?

My breaking point came back in September. I vividly remember sitting on the couch feeding Ev before putting her down for the night and just being bombarded with the worst feeling. I having it out with God for the umpteenth time and i said, “If this is the way I’m going to feel for the rest of my life, I don’t want it.” And for a split second I thought “there’s a whole bottle of Zoloft upstairs that could fix that”. And I broke. I called out for Jon-Paul to come get Ev and I sat on the couch and sobbed. I was terrified by that thought. I had no idea where it came from. It was something I would never in a million years consider doing and it made me scared to death that I was even capable of having such a thought.

After calming down and talking with Jon-Paul, we agreed I needed to get some counseling. I scheduled to talk with my counselor a couple days later. After speaking with her, I began to make some changes in my life. I started spending more time in the word, more time praying, and taking some time throughout the week to focus on myself. All of this really helped the depression aspect of what I was dealing with!

At the end of September, I decided to take a break from social media. While the depression was under control and basically non existent at this point, anxiety had ramped up significantly. In one week alone, I had seen 5 posts on social media about infant/toddler loss. I decided to take an indefinite break because I had enough anxious thoughts in my head without seeing that kind of stuff. It was truly the best thing I could have done and I HIGHLY encourage everyone to take a break from time to time.

So where am I now? My goal was to be off of the Zoloft by New Years. After a lot of work, prayer, and focus, I have been off of my meds for a month now. I feel truly amazing! I even went through all of the stress of the holiday season without the medication lol. It was definitely all about timing, as I had tried to wean off of them once before and quickly realized I was not ready. But this time around, I felt great. Of course I have my moments, but I finally feel back to normal- or my new normal I guess.

If you are experiencing ppd/a, my biggest piece of advice for you is to just hang in there. It gets better! Talk with your doctor, surround yourself with positive people, and communicate how you are feeling. Do not allow yourself to feel less than for having to take medication. Spend lots of time with God. Worship, prayer, just talking or having it out lol. Dig into the Word. Cover yourself in scripture daily. Be intentional about weekly “me” time- even if that means just a quick drive by yourself to the bank or to get gas- alone time is so important. Make yourself feel good and human- do your makeup and hair a few times a week, make your bed, get dressed in something other than spit up bathed bathrobe lol! Ultimately, make self care a priority.

I hope to dig into this topic more. I could seriously write volumes and volumes on my experience haha. Before I go, I want to leave you with some resources I found helpful. Below are some scriptures, songs, and people to check out!

Faith:

Prayer. This is obvious and has to be done in your own way.  For me, there were lots of rant sessions to God lol.

The Word. Covering myself in scripture was so important. Here are some of my faves: Psalm 16:9, Psalm 25:20, Isaiah 41:10, Psalm 118:29, 2 Corinthians 12:9 &19,  Isaiah 46:6, Psalm 46:10, Proverbs 19:22, 2 Timothy 1:7, 2 Timothy 4:17, Proverbs 4:23, Isaiah 43:2

Faith-based Social Media Accounts: @my_darling_diary, @legitsadierob, @stylecusp, @bethel, @whoathatsgoodpodcast, @liveoriginal, @jenessawait

Family and Friends:

I’m not going to go into specifics here because I will undoubtedly forget someone, but surrounding yourself with a solid group of people is so vital. I have the most amazing and supportive family and friends and I’m so grateful for them.

Music:

Worship was such a big thing for me as well. Worshipping despite your circumstances produces something so beautiful and amazing in your life. Declaring God is good even when you don’t feel good yourself can be difficult, but it’s so necessary. Here are some of the songs that helped me.

Hillsong Worship: So Will I, Awake My Soul, I Will Praise You, Upper Room

Hillsong United: the People album, the Of Dirt and Grace album

Covenant Worship: Here Waiting

David and Nicole Binion: the Dwell album

Hillsong Y&F: PEACE, Days Gone By

HouseFires: Give Thanks To God, Build My Life, This Love

John and Joslyn Brockman: I’ll remain, You Are My Reward

Lauren Daigle: Rescue

Sean Feucht: There is a Name, Victorious One album

Brian and Jenn Johnson: After All These Years album

Bryan and Katie Torwalt: Praise Before My Breakthrough album

Bethel: Goodness is God, Stand in Your Love, Every Crown, Christ is Risen, Alabaster Heart

Amanda Lindsey Cook: Awakening

Leeland: Way Maker

If you’ve made it this far, I truly commend you. I know this was quite the post, but it was so important for me to be open about all of this. I know that so many women go through this and suffer in silence. My message to you is that you do not need to. Talk to someone. Get counseling. Open up to trusted loved ones. And lastly, give it to

God. He wants to take it from you, comfort you, and heal you.

See you next week!

XOXO

ELK

2019 Recap and 2020 Vision

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Wow! What a year! It’s hard to believe that 2019 is over and 2020 is here. 2019 truly flew by. As I’m sitting here watching all of the festivities on TV leading up to the ball drop, I cant help but think about how different this New Years Eve is from last year’s. This time last year, I was 5 and a half months pregnant, sick as a dog, and staying up till midnight was a pipe dream. Fast forward 12 months, and I just finished nursing my daughter and put her down for the night, and now I’m enjoying a cup of decaf while praying these dang fireworks don’t wake her up. Jon-Paul has work early in the morning, so he has long since gone to bed. Before I dive into what I expect and hope for the new year, let’s do a quick recap of the year! 

As I said above, the beginning of 2019 was filled with lots of morning sickness, precious baby kicks, heartburn, and change. 2019 was by far the most challenging year of my life, but also the most amazing and rewarding. We welcomed our beautiful daughter, Evelyn Daphne Clara Keller, on April 29th at 3:06am. She came into this world weighing 7lbs 7oz and was 19 ¼ inches long. I’ll dig into this more a little later in the year, but labor was tough! We instantly fell in love with this tiny little nugget, and somehow we have continued to fall more in love every day since. She brings so much light and love to everyone she comes in contact with. People really are just drawn to her. I know that probably sounds a bit conceited, but it’s the truth. Sometimes I wish they weren’t quite so drawn lol (hello germs!!) She is now 8 months as of the 29th. She has grown so dang fast in every way. She now weighs 21lbs and is 28.5 inches long. I about had a mental breakdown in the middle of Target the other day when I went to buy her Christmas jammies and realized that, because she wears 12 month clothes now, we have to shop in the toddler section. I was NOT prepared for that! She’s scooting around via the cutest little army crawl and somehow manages to find every little bit of dust on the floor and every cable she can get her hands on. In case you haven’t seen a picture of her, the kid loves to eat- like mother, like daughter! She’s eating all kinds of purées now, is addicted to puffs, and enjoys a banana now and then. We are slightly obsessed with her, and I don’t see that obsession ending any time soon! That’s pretty much our 2019 recap. Ev took up every ounce of mine and Jon-Paul ‘s attention and we love it.

ELK had to take a backseat this year, as I’m sure you could have guessed by now. Due to several different circumstances, I just had to take a break. I’ll be getting into that more next week, but for now, just know that I’m back and ready to give this as much of my attention as I can! I miss it. I love writing and inspiring others and sharing about the things I love in the hope that you might just love them too! My goal here is to be as open and honest with y’all as possible. In sticking with that spirit, I have to be honest and say that I’m pretty embarrassed about my lack of commitment when it comes to my past New Year’s Intentions. I’m all about giving yourself grace and allowing yourself to figure things out, but the time for that is done. This year I am 100% committed to becoming the best version of myself possible. So, here goes nothing- here is my vision and goals for 2020: 

  1. Get healthy. Mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially- every single aspect. 5 years ago, I was in the best physical health of my life, but was struggling in other areas. Then 3 years ago, I was in the best mental and spiritual health, but my physical health took a total back seat. Actually, it wasn’t a backseat- it wasn’t even in the car! I gained back everything I had lost and then some. Add 2 huge moves, marriage, stress, and a baby to the mix and it’s all all over the place! But this is the year I reign it all in. So what does that look like? I’m not quite sure! I think it starts with taking small steps in each area and working through things bit by bit. The rest of these goals will all help in achieving my overall health. 
  2. Exercise. I want to learn to love exercising. Right now I literally despise it, so I have a long way to go lol. 
  3. Spend more time in the Bible and with God that I do on social media. I think this speaks for itself! 
  4. Achieve higher emotional intelligence. I actually don’t have bad EI scores, but I could definitely do better! 
  5. B-U-D-G-E-T!!!!!!!!! That is all. 
  6. Get organized. I literally want to go Marie Kondo on my whole life. 
  7. Prioritize a weekly session of “me” time. You cant pour from and empty cup!
  8. And finally, learn to knit. Sounds stupid, I know it sounds stupid, but when my Dat-Dat passed, I got all of her knitting stuff and I was so emotional afterwards that I never really tried. I have a new niece coming in May, so I want to be able to knit her a blanket. 

So what about ELK? What are my goals for this platform and all the subsequent platforms? I simply want to be intentional. I don’t want to post just to post. I want everything to have a purpose and meaning. That being said, I will be posting here once a week on Fridays. I’m really excited for some of the content I will have coming out, and I really hope y’all enjoy it! 

Thank you so much for reading this far! I pray you have a Happy New Year, and I’ll talk to you soon!

XOXO 

ELK

6 Month Bumpdate

How is it possible that I’m already writing my 6th month bumpdate?! The time is honestly flying by so quickly.

Up until about 2 weeks ago, I was still dealing with pretty regular morning sickness, however I have not gotten sick in two weeks (insert praise break here). I don’t have any real food aversions anymore, and i still don’t have any consistent cravings, but when I do get one, it’s basically all I can think about lol.

Evelyn is about 13 inches long and a pound and a half. She is SO active!! It’s so much fun feeling her move- it makes everything so much more real! She’s a little stubborn (guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree lol) in that if Jon-Paul puts his hand on my belly to feel her move, she immediately stops kicking. Her kicks have been big enough that I can see them, but as soon as I hit record on my phone, she stops. Like i said, stubborn!

I spend a lot of time wondering what she will look like and what her personality will be like. It’s just so crazy that there is an actual human being growing in me!

We have started prepping for her arrival by buying diapers and wipes at each grocery store visit, and have finalized the registry for my shower! Now that the holidays are over, my mom have gone into full blown planning mode.

Pregnancy has been so wild and full of so many things I didn’t expect, but I’m truly loving it. I cannot believe that in 4 short months, we will get to meet this sweet little girl!!

XOXO

ELK

2019 Intentions

Wow. 2018 was honestly such a whirlwind year! I remember thinking January was the longest month ever, but as soon as February hit, it was like full throttle, pedal to the metal the rest of the year. The beginning of the year was amazing. We were planning our move to Georgia, and just so excited for what God had for us here. We saw so much of God’s faithfulness in that time, and despite a few bumps in the road, all was well. One of the bumps we hit was my diagnosis of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS. After years of issues with my period and all things female, I finally had an answer as to why I had struggled for so long. It also gave me fear for the future, as I was given a 2-10% chance of conceiving a baby naturally, but we chose to trust God’s timing in the matter- and boy was that the best decision ever!

Fast forward to August when, after some odd symptoms, I took a pregnancy test (okay, 3) and found out we were expecting our miracle baby! We were so completely thrilled. Then came some of the best and worst months ever. Because I have PCOS, my body doesn’t produce enough progesterone to support the first trimester of pregnancy when all those hormones are normally being pumped out like crazy to build the placenta. I had to go on a synthetic form of progesterone to keep little Evelyn healthy. This led to a myriad of not-so-fun side effects including some crazy mood swings, and a severe type of morning sickness called Hyperemesis Gravadarum among other things that I’ll spare you the details of lol. For most women, HG only lasts through the first trimester, but I am apparently not like most women! I am 24 week tomorrow, and I still experience nausea all day long. I have to eat every two hours and wake up in the middle of the night for a snack to keep my blood sugar from dropping, as well as take a pill nightly to keep the vomiting at bay. This has definitely taken its toll in my body. I lost 12lbs in the first trimester from just not being able to eat and throwing up anything I did eat aside from applesauce, bananas, and mashed potatoes. I have to take it pretty easy, and have had to learn my body’s new limits the hard way- usually by exceeding those limits and waking up severely regretting it the next day lol!

This is not to give you an excuse, but rather give you a little insight as to why I have been so extremely absent from the blog. I have missed it, but if I’m honest, it was a much needed break. Pregnancy can do some crazy things to your emotions, and I am no exception. I needed a little emotional break to figure out where I was at mentally, but I am back a ready to rock! That being said, lets dig into my 2019 Intentions!

Keep up with the house better.

I have learned to accept the fact that I am not one of those people who is OBSESSED with keeping their house completely spotless and sterile (looking at you Mom and Dad). I think because I grew up with two people who would freak out if a pillow was out of place (and still do), I am okay with things being slightly messy. I’m not talking total pig stye, but an unmade bed or full laundry basket doesn’t send me over the edge. HOWEVER, I am making strides this year to change my standards around the house. I have made a chore chart separated into three sections: daily, weekly, and monthly. Here are a few examples of things I want to accomplish in each section

Daily- Tidy up the house before bed: dishes done, floors swept (bc cat hair, am i right?!), counters wiped down, load of laundry started if needed.

Weekly- Mondays are bathroom days, Tuesdays the couches get vacuumed (again, cat hair), etc.

Monthly- January and September are for cleaning closets and dressers, February is decluttering drawers, March will be a kitchen deep clean, April will be for finalizing Evie’s room and washing all her clothes, etc.


Genuinely refocus my relationship with God.

There were some things that happened toward the end of the year that really threw off my relationship with God. I will be doing a post on that in February, but for now my main goal is to read my Bible daily and use the SOAP method to better understand and apply the word to my life. I will be updating y’all and explaining how that works in February’s post!


Get healthy- for real!

This is both mentally and physically. And I’m not 100% sure what all of that looks like, but some steps I am taking are:

Physically:

Eating healthier

Light exercise while pregnant

Workout plan postpartum

Mentally:

Working on physical health

Working on spiritual health

Adjusting my standard from perfection to grace


Which brings us to no. 4- Have more grace for myself.

I am very hard on myself, which is a huge issue for someone who deals with anxiety and depression. This year I am going to learn that it is okay to not be okay or perfect. I have a feeling that will be necessary heading into motherhood!


Be intentional with blogging.

I am also setting realistic standards and goals here lol. I will be posting in the blog at least once a week, and will be posting on insta daily. I’m super excited about building content and venturing out of my comfort zone!

2018 was the year of the unexpected, both good and bad! Thank you all for having patience with me during all the ups and downs. I truly appreciate it, and I am looking forward to a great year in 2019!!

XOXO

ELK

My First Trimester

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Holy Moly! It doesn’t seem possible that I’m already writing about my first trimester! I am 13 weeks and 1 day today, so I am officially in the second trimester. The first 12 weeks of my pregnancy were quite eventful and interesting, but let’s start at the beginning, shall we? 

Back in August, I was at work one day when I started, what I thought was, my period. I carried on through the rest of the day as planned, but when I got home, I noticed that there was much less bleeding than normal for me. I thought maybe things were just taking some time to start up, but found it suspicious when there was zero bleeding at all the next day. I called my mom on that Friday morning, two days after “starting”, and told her about the weirdness of this period. She got very quiet for a minute then asked if I thought I could be pregnant. Now, Jon-Paul and I weren’t necessarily preventing anything at this point, because I had been given a 2% chance of conceiving naturally due to PCOS. I told her that yes, there was a chance, but that it was highly unlikely. She told me that she thought I may be pregnant or possibly having an early miscarriage, and to take a test the next morning if nothing started up by then. So, the next morning, I went to the bathroom armed with my pee stick. To my great surprise, two very bright pink lines popped up VERY quickly. I was in shock. So much so, that I ran to the bedroom and grabbed one of the more expensive digital test we had and used that one too. Sure enough the word “pregnant” popped up after waiting the longest 3 minutes of my life. I was immediately overcome by a mix of emotions. I knew this meant that I was pregnant, but could still mean that I was having/just had a miscarriage. I sprinted back into the bedroom and shook Jon-Paul awake, waving the tests in his face. Mind you, this was at 7am on a Saturday, so he was very confused. He saw how distraught I was and called his mom immediately to help talk me down. After talking with his mom, my mom, and one of my moms friends who is an OB nurse who just happened to be at football practice that morning, I was much calmer, and slightly more convinced that I was pregnant and not miscarrying. After a weekend of worry and wonder, I ended up taking a third test on Sunday, just to see if my hormone levels were still strong enough to register positive. They were!

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I made an appointment for the following Thursday, where I found out that they were guessing I was about 5 weeks along, but couldn’t tell if It was an ectopic pregnancy or not based on a mass they found on my fallopian tube. They put me on a progesterone supplement due to the PCOS, and had me come back in the next week. After another week of worry and lots of prayer, the ultrasound that week showed a 6 week embryo safely in utero. Now came the real fun. The progesterone pills began to take their toll on my body, and thus came the dreaded morning sickness. Only this wasn’t just morning sickness- It was literally all day and all night. At 7 weeks, I ended up in the ER because I couldn’t even keep water down. The doctors diagnosed me with Hyperemesis Gravidarum- basically a severe form of morning sickness. After getting some fluids and nausea meds, I was sent home and lived off of mashed potatoes, apple sauce, and bananas for the next two weeks. I was also given meds to take daily for the nausea. 

At our 8 week appointment (usually a woman’s first OB appointment), we got to hear the heartbeat! It was so perfect with a bmp of 169. Around 10 weeks, I started to feel much better. I began weaning myself off of the nausea meds and eating actual meals again at 11 weeks. 

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Through all of the ups and downs and trials and triumphs, God has been so constant. I have surrounded myself with worship pretty much 24/7. In the moments where I felt most sick, it was prayer and worship that got me through. There have also been literally hundreds of phone calls between me and my mom and my mother in law filled with me asking all of my questions, and them offering all of their love and advice. I’m so grateful for their love! And as I said in my last post, Jon-Paul has been my rock. He has been so supportive and kind and caring. 

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I am looking forward to the much talked about second trimester- supposedly filled with lots of cravings, glowing, and energy- things I’ve been seriously lacking the past 12 weeks lol! 

XOXO

ELK 

April Showers Bring… Baby Keller!

That’s right! We are expecting!

Baby Keller will be joining our journey on April 24, 2019.

Wow! It feels so good to finally say that. If you know me, you know that it is so beyond difficult for me to keep my own secrets. And this has been the secret of the decade for me haha. I will have several posts coming up detailing the first trimester, our testimony, answering your FAQs, as well as updates all throughout my pregnancy on how I’m feeling, what products I’m loving, and updates on baby K!

I will be 12 weeks on Wednesday, but we wanted to announce this on our anniversary (Happy Anniversary, Babes!). The first trimester has been an interesting one, filled with lots of changes, and even more morning sickness, but it has been so worth it. I will be going into more detail in my next post, but for now I’ll give you the basics. We found out super early- about 4 weeks and a couple days. We had our first appointment at 5 weeks, and due to some concerns, we had another at 6 weeks, and then the regular 8 weeks. We have our next appointment on Friday, and I am so excited!

To those who knew and kept our secret, THANK YOU!! And we are so grateful for all fo the love and support we have already received. I am so looking forward to sharing this journey will y’all. I plan on staying true to me and remaining 100% transparent through this whole process. Thank you in advance for your love and support!

XOXO

ELK and Baby K