I’ll Have New Novembers

Tomorrow marks two weeks since we lost our precious Marvel Israel. I still can’t believe it. I was pregnant for such a short time, and yet I keep forgetting I’m not pregnant anymore. Sometimes I think my body doesn’t even know it yet.

It’s been a really weird two weeks. With Thanksgiving thrown in there. And several nights of visitors bringing us meals. And Bash cut a tooth. Which means he and I were both up all night for a couple nights. Plus the blizzard. And the super early sunset.

Man. To be honest, I’m struggling.

This grief and loss are such weird things. They don’t manifest themselves through tears and anger. I wish they did. They manifest themselves though this general lack of motivation. No real desire to do the things I love.

I try to pick myself up by the bootstraps and move on, but it doesn’t work.

It’s been two weeks of incredible love and encouragement from people close to us, as well as people we haven’t heard from in awhile. It’s been two weeks of people checking in on me, making me feel so loved. It’s also been two weeks of not hearing from so many people who I thought I was close to – people whose silence has been incredibly evident and painful.

I’m wrestling with bitterness right now. I think in my mind, because I share every emotion I have so openly, I want my emotional needs to be met. And mostly, they are. But it’s those silences I’m struggling with.

Do I call people on it? Do I just silently take note, and see who was really there for me in my time of need and who wasn’t? I know the answer – I love like Jesus and put others’ needs before my own. My own emotional needs ARE being met, by my Savior and my husband and my close friends. I think I can acknowledge that some of my friends aren’t as close as I thought, yet still extend them grace. I can see that maybe they shouldn’t be in my inner circle, but I can still love on them and pray for them.

It’s hard to watch the boys play right now. Partly because I’m stuck in the clouds of my own head, and I can’t seem to get back down to earth. And partly because it’s painful to watch and see the gap where a third should be. My two adventurous babes are in a big wrestling phase. It seriously stresses me out the way they roughhouse! But I love it too.

But today, as they rolled around in the hallway, laughing and “bonking” each other and enjoying each other’s company…. all I could see was them growing up without Marvel to join in. I know Marvel is watching from above. And I know that one day ALL the Baggs babies (3? 4? more? Who knows!) will join that wrestling match. But I know that it will be incredibly difficult as a due date comes around… a first birthday… all these milestones that only a mama heart would remember. It’s a pain only a mom could understand, and only a mom could bare.

I like to tackle problems head on. I’m a fixer. I like to see the end goal and then implement the plan to get there. So my natural tendency is to handle this pain – this perceived “problem” – in that same manner.

But how do you fix pain like this? How do you manage a wound that will never go away. How do I move on, knowing that I will always think of my sweet baby in heaven? How do I heal when my body literally and physically aches with longings to feel pregnant. With a desire to feel the itty bitty weight of a newborn on my chest?

These are rhetorical questions, by the way – not looking for solutions, just looking to share.

I do know that I’m not alone. Sadly, so many have gone before me in this. If anything, I find solace that I now have another way to connect with hurting women and minister to those around me.

I don’t feel angry at God. Maybe a little indifferent. Although I know better than to let that fester. My faith has proven strong. Which is the goal, right? But I can’t help but wish my faith wasn’t being refined by such fire, so often, and so intensely. My faith is strong, but I thought my oldest son was going to die. Twice. My faith is strong because my marriage is constantly under attack, and I’m so grateful that Jake and I are as stubborn as we are about loving each other through the heartache. My faith is strong because God has given much and required much. And we have always given what was required, and He has always provided what He promised.

A dear friend reminded of Romans 8:18 today. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

This is one of those times where I worship in truth, but maybe not quite yet in spirit. I know the truth of God’s Word. I believe it to be whole and right. I would base my entire life on it – I have based my entire life on it. But I don’t feel it.

In these times, I honestly think that’s okay. I think it’s okay to speak God’s Word, over and over, in truth, until your heart matches your head – until your feelings match your knowings.

And that’s where I am today. I know I will heal. Even though it doesn’t feel like I will. November has historically been a terrible month for me. I thought this year would be different. That I would have a little baby in my womb to restore hope and joy in this month that often brings pain and hell. But this year won’t be it.

I will heal. I will regain Novembers. I will enjoy my children and playing and laughing again. I will forgive those who have made me feel alone and betrayed. And I will worship God with my whole being and my whole heart again. We will make more babies, our family will grow, and life will “get back to normal” again.

And in the meantime, I will rejoice over my blessings and my friendships. My babies and my husband. I will read God’s Word and speak truth into my life. And I will find my way again.

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Plant-Based Progress

One year ago (almost to the day), we started a journey in our home to truly be intentional with our health. If you know me, you know how much I love using essential oils and oil-infused products. I have been systematically swapping out everything in my home that has harsh chemicals and choosing a plant-based, healthy option. Young Living makes this very easy to do, and I think that’s one of the reasons I’ve been able to do it so quickly and successfully! One year later, our home is almost completely toxic-chemical-product free.

While we have all benefited greatly, my older son, Archer, who is almost 3, has benefited most obviously. This time last year, when he was almost 2, he had been sick for almost his entire life. Without going into all the details (another post for another time!), I was absolutely desperate to find a way to help him and to figure it what was going on.

We are still working closely with our doctors to explore, but he is truly so much healthier today than ever before! This past summer, he would go weeks at a time without being sick, and it was truly miraculous.

Here are the things this mama bear did to improve his health:

-got rid of toxic products in our home (cleaners, detergents, soaps, lotions, etc.)

-opted for natural, plant-based options before medicines as often as possible

-prioritized sleep and time outdoors!

-created a routine for meal times and snack times and play times and rest times

-provided a safe place for emotional, physical, and mental development (another post on this in the future!)

I am amazed every day at how much we’ve grown as a family and how much better equipped I am to take care of my family than I was before! If you want more details on any of the list above, from oils to lifestyle, please comment or message or text or call! I would love to share more personally with you.

Now, we have another big lifestyle change I would like to make. Because despite all the changes and improvements, I know I need to make some more changes for our family, and Archer specifically, to truly be in optimal health.

Something I have flirted with before but have yet to fully to commit to – is changing our diet. If you have ever made a diet change, you know this is one of the hardest things to really do.

Several years ago, my parents did extensive research before making a diet change. They slowly transitioned from a typical American diet to a mostly whole-foods, plant-based diet. This is sometimes called a “vegan” diet, but their chosen lifestyle focuses more on whole foods as opposed to just avoiding animal byproducts.

I seriously thought they were crazy. Because I love cheese. And tacos. And cheeseburgers. And chicken Parmesan. And the occasional steak. But slowly, I watched their health change drastically. I saw their numbers – from blood pressure to cholesterol to weight to more – clearly illustrate their improving health. My parents are both in their 60s, and they take zero medication. My dad water skis. They both walk 5 miles 4 to 5 times a week. When they don’t feel well, they adjust their diet (and use oils now too!).

They made me a believer. And a researcher! I started to do my own research… and the research was compelling – compelling enough that we’ve decided to make this change in our own home.

I am both excited and nervous simultaneously to begin this plant-based journey. Like I said, I’ve considered this change before, and we have components of our diet that are mostly plant-based. But now, we are going to commit for real!

As with most diet and lifestyle changes, this will be a slow, steady change. And if you invite us over, we will still eat your carnivorous food! But our primary diet choices will be plant-based.

I’m very excited to blog about this journey as we start it and continue it! There is a lot of research I would like to share. And since Jake and I both love to cook, I’m looking forward to learning a new way to cook and enjoy food. And I’m looking forward to sharing it with others.

If you are plant-based or have ever thought about being plant-based, I would love to hear from you!

we’re going on an adventure

Almost two years ago, God called us on a journey that started something completely transformative for us. We started attending Abundant Life, and Pastor Phil was preaching on how God wanted us to handle our finances. Long story short, Jake and I decided to put our heads together and pull ourselves out of a hole of $95,000 of debt.

We did extreme things. We threw every dime at debt. We changed our eating habits so we could spend less on groceries. We sold a gorgeous, brand-new vehicle that we loved. Jake joined the National Guard. And God blessed us in every decision – not always the way we were hoping for a blessing, but always in the way we needed a blessing.

We continued to do extreme things as our debt-free journey came to an end. I left a high-paying job I enjoyed to stay home with my babies. Jake answered a call to ministry that we’d been wrestling with for a long time.

We settled into a new rhythm and lifestyle and that felt more right than we’ve ever felt. And I thought, “this is peace. God brought us where He wanted us, and I can’t wait to get comfy here.”

Do you see where I’m going with this?

Right when we thought we were comfy, God made it clear that He has more for us. He is asking more of us. The Bible says, “…For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required…”. Luke 12:48 We have been blessed abundantly, and we know that God has called us to give abundantly – to give our whole lives for the Gospel’s sake.

I love to talk to my friends and hear what God is calling them to. We are all, as followers of Jesus, called to ministry. Some vocationally, some in their homes, some as part of their occupation. For some, the mission field is what they devote 100% of their time to. For others, it’s what they devote their lunch hour to. In different seasons of life, God has different ministries for us individually.

Right now, we feel God pulling us to a deeper level of ministry – to take the Great Commission more seriously. We don’t know yet what that means. At this moment, we know we are where He wants us for today. Jake loves his job and I love staying at home with our babies. But what comes next, we don’t know yet.

So right now, we are leaning in to this call of waiting and humbly submitting. We have made a decision to be extreme once again… and get super intentional with everything God has given us – our time, our money, our space, our health, our relationships, our gifts, our lifestyle… everything.

You might see us all over Facebook Marketplace soon. Selling things we’ve never used. Clothes we haven’t worn in years. We have closets full of junk that haven’t been touched since we moved into our house three years ago. I love to see how God took us from two people driven by love of success and money to two people who have very little attachment to material things. If you would have told me all of this two years ago, I would have laughed in your face. But our God works miracles in people’s lives and hearts. And what He has done in our lives is nothing short of miraculous.

I can honestly say I’m so excited to see what God has for us in the coming months and years. Even though this life has not always been comfortable and easy, I would choose a life in God’s will over and over again. And I pray daily that I would always submit my heart to His calling.

I’m also excited to share regularly about the steps we are taking to further simplify our lives. Writing is my true passion, and something, you might know, that I feel God has called me specifically to do, in some capacity. I’m still exploring that, to be honest. But I do want to continue writing more often as we make more and more changes in our home.

Stay tuned!