Before and….Current

Well, there was definitely a “before” but I can’t say we’re completely to “after” yet, but here’s my bedroom in it’s “before” and “current” state.

This is what our bedroom looked like when we first walked into our house.  Pretty, eh?

We were determined to sleep in our own house and our own bed on our first night in Nabire, so we quickly got the bed all set up. 

And this is our bedroom now! 

Someday I’m going to take the plastic wrap off those canvases that are sitting on the headboard and maybe even paint on them!  …Someday!

Compressor Rinse

I have no idea how to transition out of my last post back into my “normal” posts, so I’m just going to do it…abruptly.  But first I just want to thank all of you that sent me such encouraging emails, messages and comments!  Thank you for your prayers!

So, everyday that Nathan flies he has to do a compressor rinse.  What is a compressor rinse you might ask?  Well, I have no idea!  So, yesterday, the doggies and I decided to go out and visit him to see what this compressor rinse thing is all about.

 So, here is what I learned:

1.  A compressor rinse involves Supri (one of our National workers) standing on a ladder, looking at the engine while Nathan looks on.
2.  After standing on a ladder looking at the engine, Supri gets down and moves out of the way.
3.  Nathan then gets in the cockpit and turns the engine on.
4.  This is done everyday in Nabire because of our close proximity to the ocean.

That’s it!  That’s all I learned.  I still have no idea what a compressor rinse is, but at least the doggies had fun running around!

Infertility

This post has been rolling around in my head for a long time.  Should I write it?  Or not? So, I’m putting it out there… here it is…the post on infertility.

Nathan and I decided after about 10 months of marriage to start trying to get pregnant!  Our thought was to have our first child in the safety and familiarity of America before moving half way around the world where medical care is not as reliable.   I almost couldn’t believe that we could just decide to have a baby!  Were we really old enough, responsible enough, financially sound enough to do that?  Despite all of the questions, I threw away my birth control and we jumped in with both feet.

The first few months rolled on a like normal.  We didn’t think too much about not getting pregnant right away.  I had heard that it could take several months for my body to return to normal after being on the pill for so long.   My sister-in-law had given me a book about fertility.  I think she suspected we were trying, and so with book in hand, I started taking my temperature every morning and tracking when I ovulated.  Like clockwork, I ovulated every month.  And, like clockwork, every month, no pregnancy.  When we reached 9 months of trying, we started wondering if something was wrong.  Most doctors don’t want to start testing until it’s been a year, but we were joining MAF, starting deputation and hoped to be starting language school within the year, so if something was wrong, we wanted to know before moving to Indonesia!

Up until this point, we had decided not to tell people that we were trying, but with us approaching the mission field, people started asking.  We had our pat, generic answer: “We’d like to have kids, it’s all in God’s timing.”   We did tell a few people the whole truth and quickly found out that there are safe people to tell and unsafe people to tell.  Most people have no idea what to say to you unless they have experienced infertility themselves, so they’ll say things like: “You need to pray more,” or “You need to relax, have a glass of wine,” or “You need to have more sex.”  To me, that translated as: “You’re not spiritual enough to get pregnant, pray more,” or “You’re too uptight, infertility isn’t real,” or “You’re doing it wrong!”  I know that they meant well, I really do, but trust me when I say, these are the wrong things to say to someone struggling with infertility.

So, after about 9 months of trying, we starting seeing fertility doctors to be tested.  We did the whole enchilada of testing.  I was tested, Nathan was tested; and because we were now on deputation (raising support to move overseas), we were moving around and therefore changing doctors every few months.  The same tests over and over.  The same results over and over: undetermined cause of infertility.  One doctor explained to us that there is a mountain of knowledge to learn about how someone becomes pregnant, and modern science knows about a grain of sand worth.  In fact, they say that even if conditions and timing are exactly right, there is still only a 20% chance that you’ll get pregnant.  So, while the tests said there was nothing wrong, that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing wrong.  It’s not very comforting.

In some ways, I think it might be easier if there was something wrong.  At least then we’d know.  Either it could be fixed or it couldn’t.  And we could move on, move forward.  But instead, we’re in limbo wondering why we can’t get pregnant.  Why the 16-year-old and not me?  Why the drug-addict and not me?  Why the promiscuous and not me?  Why? Why? Why? God and I had a lot of conversations.  Surely God would rather grant us, a couple who would raise their children in the ways of God, a child rather than those other “less worthy” people.  But God’s ways are bigger than our ways.  God’s purposes are bigger than my purposes.

After about a year and a half of trying the old fashioned way, we decided to start trying fertility treatments.  We prayed a lot about what was right for us, what was morally ethical.  Everyone has their own opinion on this, and weren’t afraid to share it with us, but we sought God and felt comfortable moving forward with fertility drugs and doing an IUI (Intrauterine Insemination).  We did three IUIs with two different doctors (because we moved in the middle of it all).  IUIs involve shots, and pills and trips to the doctor.  We never imagined that getting pregnant would involve so many people!  Twelve days after the IUI, we returned to the doctor for a pregnancy test.  They would call us a few hours later with the results.  I could always tell immediately by the nurse’s tone of voice that they answer was negative.  Three times, negative.

At this point, my emotions were shot.  Every month was a huge up and down.  I would convince myself that that month was different.  That my body felt slightly different and so I must be pregnant!!  But inevitably, I got my period.  On time.  Like clockwork.  And because of all of the hormones from the shots and pills rolling around in my body, the cramps were worse than normal.  What was the point of a horrible period if I was never to have children??  I was spent.  After the third IUI, the third disappointment, the third large doctor bill that insurance wouldn’t cover, we called it quits.  I quit taking my temperature; I quit taking the fertility drugs and prenatal vitamins; we quit seeing doctors.  No more.

It took several more months before I stopped knowing exactly what day I was on in my cycle.  And even more months before I stopped crying on the day I got my period.  But eventually, it came.  Thankfully, at this point we had arrived in language school.  With the change in country, culture, language and Nathan’s health, I had other things to worry about.

Three years have passed now since all of the testing and fertility treatments.  I have never gone back on birth control, so even though we haven’t been actively trying, we haven’t been preventing.  Many of my friends have had children and celebrated their first, then their second and third birthdays.  And I want you to know, that I am so happy for them.  I am thrilled that they have been blessed with children!  And I still desire the same blessing for Nathan and me.  I have not given up hope that God could grant us children, after all, it is Him that opens and closes the womb.  It has been a journey of questions without answers.  But God is faithful and I trust Him, more now than I did 4 ½ years ago.

Two months ago, Nathan and I decided to try another round of fertility drugs.  Will you pray for us over the next several months?  We are stronger now than we were three years ago, but emotions still run high.  We have also slowly begun to explore the option of adoption.  There is an overwhelming amount of information out there regarding adoption.  Throw in our complication of living overseas, adoption seems overwhelming.  God knows!  If it is His will for us to have children, I know that He will work it out!

Windows 2011

Since Nathan had the day off yesterday (it was Indonesian Independence Day), we decided to get cracking on our windows, a project we had been wanting to do for awhile.  Up until now the windows in our bedroom were sealed for Air Conditioning (ahh Air Conditioning, what a wonderful invention!) with big sheet of super thick, super opaque plastic.  It worked fine and all for keeping in the cool, but didn’t work so well as an actual window.

So, we wanted to put in glass.  This is no simple task in Indonesia.  You know that addage that every project takes three trips to the hardware store?  Well, in Indonesia it takes about 100 trips to 5 different stores.  First we had to order glass.  Which means finding the right hardware store that not only had glass, but could also cut it to size.  Luckily this same store also had caulk.  Score!  And then we had to find another store that had strips of wood to use as framing for the windows.  This turned out to be the trickiest part.  We went to maybe 4 or 5 different stores and not-a-one of them had wood.  Where’s Home Depot when I need it?  Oh yeah, about 10,000 miles away.  Sigh.  Anyway, we finally found someone that could order the wood for us.  It took several more days for the wood to show up at our house.  And then it all had to be cut to size and stained.  (Another trip to the hardware store to buy varnish and paint brushes.)  Finally we were ready to install the windows!  Yipee!

So, here’s the before picture:

See what I mean?  No good as a window. 

And after installation, 4,000 cuts on my hands, and three tubes of caulk:

What a difference, ey?  There’s a tree out there!  And the doggie’s soccer ball. Who knew?!

Loving my new windows…

Tra!

Kitty-Sitting

Meet Ellie, the tiniest little kitten that we are kitty-sitting while the Van Dijks are on furlough. 

She thinks she’s a parrot and hangs out on my shoulder. 

She pooped on Nathan’s shoulder yesterday.

She likes dog food.  I keep finding her sitting in the dog bowl eating their food.

She can sit in the palm of my hand.

She’s pretty darn cute!

FINALLY, An Update

I’m so sorry that I haven’t been able to update the blog lately.  We’ve been without internet for quite some time…still are actually.  I’m at Heather’s house right now.

Nathan’s parents, Miles and Terri came to visit us last week! We had the opportunity to go out to swim with whale sharks again. They loved it. And so did we.

Without further ado, here’s today’s guide for living in Nabire:

HOW TO MODEL WITH WHALE SHARKS: A Complete Guide

1. Face your fears head on.

That’s Nathan, showing the shark who’s boss.

 2. Be fierce. (who would have ever thought that I’d be quoting Tyra Banks at all, let alone in a post about whale sharks.)

I’m never really sure what Tyra means when she says “Be fierce” but what’s more fierce that a 20-foot shark?

3. Work your angles.

 

That’s me in the background and Terri in the foreground…working our angles (ever so elegantly).

4. Help out your fellow models.

 Miles making sure the whale shark is “photo ready.”

5. Don’t be a camera hog.

 Whale sharks don’t usually obey this rule, what with their 20-ft long bodies and all. Nathan is in this picture. Can you see him?

This concludes our lesson for today. Thank you for reading!

(Come visit us, because it’s beautiful here and we’d love to see you…plus there are whale sharks!)

Turning 30 AKA The Best Weekend Ever!

A few people asked me how I felt about turning 30, and I wasn’t so sure.  But if turning 30 is like this, I want to do it again!

Last Thursday was my actual birthday and it started out with a French toast breakfast (with real maple syrup!!!) at the Richards house.

I had asked Nathan to make dinner that night so I wouldn’t have to cook, and he did…stop at KFC while in Timika to “make” me dinner.  Yum!!  He also baked me a cake!  We happen to receive a package from one of our churches (Thanks GCC!) that contained two boxed cake mixes.  So, we had funfetti cake and  invited the whole base over for cake and ice cream.

On Friday, Nathan had a flight to Sentani.  I didn’t think too much about it…he occasionally flies there.  He called me from Sentani to tell me that he would be home around 1:30.  He said he was super hungry and asked if I could make two boxes of macaroni and cheese (again…package from GCC!!) instead of our usual one.  1:30 rolled around, and I had the macaroni ready and was doing dishes when Nathan walked in the door…with my friend April!!!!!  Several months ago, when we still lived in Sentani, Nathan had asked what I wanted for my birthday and I said, “I want April to come to Nabire.”  Of course, I didn’t think that that would actually be possible since she does have a husband and two kids to take care of in Sentani.  But Nathan surprised me and brought April out for the weekend!  (Thank you Ryan for giving up your wife for the weekend and Thank you Katelynn and Jordan for giving up your mom!)

I wish I had a picture of my reaction to seeing her!  Nathan says I shoved him aside to hug April.  And I think I cried.  It was such a fun surprise!

On Saturday, Heather hosted a Spa party for all of the ladies on the base.  We did foot soaks, manicures and pedicure and ate tons of awesome food that Heather made!  We had truffles and cake and scones and cookies.  So yum.  And so much fun!!!  Thank you Heather for hosting such a fun party!!

On Sunday, we woke up bright and early to go out on the Richard’s boat.  The Richards have discovered a place about a 1 ½ hour boat ride away where you can swim with whale sharks.  I kid you not, they are the size of the boat. 

Sunrise over the Nabire coast.

Whale sharks begging for food at the fishing platform.

Just for some perspective, the shadow in the top of this picture is the 7-meter boat.

And proof that I was brave and got in the water with these monster-sized animals: that’s me on the right, clinging to April for dear life while the whale shark swam directly at us.

As if you need more reason to come here…whale sharks are a good one. 

All and all, it was an AWESOME birthday weekend and I’d do it again in a heartbeat!

Thank you everyone who made it happen!