Books in 2017

Book titles in bold are ones that I’d read again. If you’re looking to try new topics, fiction/non, inspiring, mythical, there’s something in here for everyone. My favorite book I read last year was Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. Read about the book here. Trust me, you want to read about this book.. and then you will want to read this book.

  1. A Feast for Crows/George R. R. Martin
  2. A Dance with Dragons/George R. R. Martin
  3. The Divine Magician/Peter Rollins – This was an intense read. Rollins has a ridiculously brilliant mind.
  4. Present Over Perfect/Shauna Niequist – Loved everything about this and think everybody should read it.
  5. Lady Leader/Mary Stier
  6. How to be Here/Rob Bell – Another huge winner. Read this book.
  7. The Time Traveler’s Wife/Audrey Niffenegger – This book was strangely beautiful.
  8. Straight Talking/Jane Green – Meh.
  9. To Have and to Hold/Jane Green – Meh.
  10. Gone Girl/Gillian Flynn – All of her books on this list are worth reading. They’re crazy.. all of them are crazy. I couldn’t put them down
  11. I’ve Got Your Number/Sophie Kinsella – Meh.
  12. The Almost Moon/Alice Sebold
  13. Dark Places/Gillian Flynn
  14. Sharp Objects/Gillian Flynn
  15. Ishmael/Daniel Quinn – There is no reason for anybody not to read this book. Read this overview if you haven’t already. It’s worth your time.
  16. Divergent/Veronica Roth
  17. Insurgent/Veronica Roth
  18. Allegiant/Veronica Roth
  19. The Hobbit/J. R. R. Tolkien – Tolkien is a genius. We’ve been watching the movies after I finish each book and they are allllmost as good as the books. 🙂 So, so good.
  20. The Fellowship of the Ring/J. R. R. Tolkien
  21. The Two Towers/J. R. R. Tolkien
  22. Life Application Study Bible, NLT

You’re Not Alone

The way your heart breaks with every baby shower invite. The pain and jealousy that sear through your heart with each pregnancy announcement. The isolation. The not feeling worthy. The feeling broken, not whole. The anger at appointments with no answers. I’ve felt those things too and want you to know that you’re are not alone.

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promises.” 2 Peter 3:9

God knows what he’s doing and has big plans for you. Trusting through this season/s of infertility can be extremely challenging. Through it, God longs for us to draw near, be in communication with him, and spend time with him. I say this because the Bible tells us that’s what God wants for us.

This season, too, shall pass. Cling to the places of light, of hope, God, and people that give you life, breathing truths in to WHO you are and WHOSE you are.

Iowa Radiolowhat

That appointment I mentioned early in July? The one about another ultrasound? It was actually called a hysterosonogram. Finally happened. It was uncomfortable and in those few minutes I would have rather been anywhere else BUT it is over. & a doctor has now told me that any infertility we are experiencing is not because of any polyps or cysts.

Another potential issue ruled out. Small victory? Hard looking at it as a small victory when we still have no idea what’s not working/why it’s not working and are still trying to conceive. But still.. small victory. 

Little one, we are always praying for you. We want you more than you’ll ever know. ❤

2017 Resolutions

It’s already September. I try to evaluate progress on New Year’s resolutions a couple times a year so here we go…

  1. Start every day with Christ (daily scripture, prayer) // reading the bible in a year. I’ve been following a plan for the last 8 months and I’d recommend doing this to anybody.
  2. Love myself better & more // I’m a work in progress. I’ve struggled for years with Body Dysmorphic Disorder. While this year has been significantly better than the few before it, I still fail. & that’s ok.
  3. Nurture relationship with Chad (date nights, be intentional) // we regularly double date so that we’re getting QT while spending time with people we love. We make it a point to walk the dogs together, eat dinner together (even if it’s only one of us eating!), and say NO to things so that we don’t over-schedule our lives.
  4. Cut weight to 130 // halfway there. Not counting macros, not obsessing about caloric intake, and not logging every single thing I eat in an app has been freeing. Gave me anxiety for months after doing it for years.. but am over that hill and IT. IS. STELLAR.
  5. Develop & maintain a healthy relationship with food // see above #crushingit
  6. Drink 1 gallon of water a day // totally doing this
  7. Read 30 books (like actual paper in my hands books) // I’m about halfway to this goal as well! I’ve read 16 books this year. Took me like three months to get this started (April-ish) and now I’m on a roll.
  8. Take better care of skin // I take my makeup off and use hydrating lotion on my face *most* nights which is more than I’d done the last 30 years.
  9. Learn Ableton Live // done.
  10. Run 1/2 marathon // guys I really did try. Got about halfway through Dam 2 Dam and got sick. Long distance running is not my thing. If it’s your thing, go you. I celebrate that for/about you. I’ll celebrate you while I lift heavy things and while I’m not doing cardio because #ijustcant.

I feel really good about where I’m at so far this year. I feel empowered, successful, and in awe of the things that my heart and mind have been capable of over the last 8 months.

UPDATE 1/8/18: I ended up reading 22 books (separate post on them and my favorites in case you’re looking for new reading material). I weight 135, 5lbs away from my goal BUT have a great relationship with food and no longer have to track in any capacity. Feel great about 2017 and am excited to grow in 2018.

When Late’s Actually Normal

My normal cycle is late. My most recent cycle lasted 42 days. I called my nurse and she said that while this isn’t “normal” it’s not anything to concern me and that based on the lab work done after my first round of Clomid.. it’s moving ovulation along, which is what it’s intended to do. If you’ve read other posts you already know that before I was taking Clomid, my cycle length was lasting upwards of 65 days.

That’s a little confusing to me for a couple of reasons: 1 I’m taking Clomid so that instead of having 3 cycles in 6 months, I have 6 cycles in 6 months and 2 if you ovulate on day 14, you should menstruate within a window number of days after that, which obviously isn’t happening. Going to see how this third round of Clomid goes before I ask more questions and hope it was just a weird month and my body still trying to understand what is happening to it. 🙂

In other related news.. Chad can’t wait to be a dad.

In other news that’s basically related because it’s about another baby.. a girlfriend had a lovely baby shower this afternoon. It was a blessing sharing in her joy of her precious baby girl. Her and her husband have been trying to conceive for years. Her patience, positivity, and posture toward God through that (long) season was beautiful to witness. Someone asked a few days ago if going to a baby shower would be hard for me. Some, absolutely. This one, not at all.

How To Be Here

Just finished reading Rob Bell‘s book, How To Be Here. In 3 days. One reason for the quick read is that it was an easy read! Thank you, Rob Bell. But more than that it was ridiculously engaging. No matter who you are, how your life is going, if you really enjoy your occupation or not, if you feel super satisfied with your life or otherwise, you have GOT to read this book. It’s that good. I’ll read it again and again.

A couple main takeaways for me:

  1. Take a Sabbath. But like ACTUALLY take one. Get off your phone. Don’t have a to-do list. Make it a day that’s really a Sabbath and not just one that you’re not working at your “job”. Don’t check emails. Check OUT. I’ve had my phone on DND all day and it has been wonderful to actually be checked out. No social media. Minimal texting (I texted my husband because he’s my husband and he was grocery shopping). No email checking work OR personal. Guys. Seriously. So great. We go a million miles a minute all the time and so often that gives us little time to process things that have happened throughout the week. Slow down and rest. #selflove
  2. Try new things. That thing you’ve wanted to do for years. That thing that always comes up in your thoughts. That thing that tugs at your heart. That thing you stand for. That thing you think “if only I could do ___”. That thing where you’re like “what if…”. It might work out and it might not. We take a risk when we try something new.. and we also take a risk WHEN WE DON’T! The risk when we don’t try? You might miss out on that thing. You might settle.
  3. Be present. Check out the below excerpt right out of the book. How often do you go out to eat and see this all around you? A couple, both phones on the table. A group, each trying to document every detail of the afternoon via social media. Be present with the people you’re choosing to spend time with. If you don’t want to be present, don’t be there.

“You sit down to eat with a friend and she puts her phone on the table between the two of you with the screen facing up. Without saying anything verbally, she has just communicated to you that even though she is here, with you at the lunch, about to order food, if that phone rings and that screen lights up, she will be with you, but not be with you. Here but not here. In that moment as she glances down at the screen she will be making a decision about whether to answer or not.

This extraordinary technology that makes it possible for us to connect with someone on the other side of the world also disconnects us from the person on the other side of the table.

To live with rhythm requires that you be intentional about what you’re doing and when you’re doing it.

If you’re with a person, then be with him, be with her.

… If you’re having lunch and talking, then be there. Put your cell phone away.”

This book is a gem. Enjoy.

All the Appointments

Ovarian and thyroid hormones are good to go. Ultrasounds all came back normal/nothing to be concerned about but it’s been recommended that I visit Iowa Radiology for one more in which the specialist can take a sample of what might be a cyst as a precaution/for testing. A week ago our thoughts on this were: 1. we’ve spent $700 in the last month on appointments/medical bills 2. let’s hold off until I’m added to Chad’s insurance post his open enrollment period this fall. After praying about it and moving some numbers around in our budget, I’m going to go ahead and have this done now instead of waiting. The appointment is in 2 weeks.

I’ve finished my first round of Clomid and have had a follow up appointment to check my progesterone levels (more lab work). Results came back normal and consistent with ovulation.. which means the medication I’m taking to regulate my period worked this cycle.

Chad and I would love it if you would join us in prayer through this process. We are extremely thankful for the support we’ve received so far.

Thyroids & Ovaries

Met with my new OB/GYN, Dr. Erin Lehman, last week. She’s great. We walked through our plans moving forward, talked about a handful of different scenarios, and I left feeling extremely hopeful. Blood samples to do some thyroid (hypothyroidism) and ovary testing (PCOS) were taken at that appointment and then I went back this morning for an ultrasound. I’m anxious to hear back from Erin and/or her nurse with results.

If you’re curious about PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) click here or if you’re curious about how hypothyroidism impacts pregnancy click here.

I have extremely irregular periods. (If any of this is TMI, you don’t need to continue reading. I’m going to share my journey openly here because it’s really important for people in similar spots to know they’re not alone.)

By extremely irregular I mean I stopped taking birth control on Christmas Eve 2016 and have only had 4 cycles since then. Quick math indicates I should be on my 6th post-birth control cycle by now. In that 6 month window, the shortest cycle was 35 days and the longest 66. Clearly this isn’t “normal”. So once my next cycle starts I’ll begin taking Clomid, a medication used to induce ovulation.

I’d love to hear about your experiences (no matter if you’re trying to conceive or not!) with irregular periods, taking medication to induce ovulation, or anything else you want to share related to fertility. We aren’t alone, friends!


I’ve found that while answering questions about my desire to have children isn’t awkward the pause that occurs after, when someone is trying to figure out what to say next, is extremely awkward. God bless people for asking about our dreams.. but be careful with how you approach this, folks. 🙂

For those that have inquired: Do we want kids? Yes.

**insert the pause that almost always occurs after unless they have the balls to ask when or give me an intense eyebrow raise that non-verbally asks if I’m pregnant**

We’ve been trying to conceive for the last 6 months.. since December of 2015. I’ll be documenting future appointments, successes, road blocks, and other random baby things here. My hope is that if/when a gal in a similar boat stumbles across this page she’s reminded that she’s not alone, that she doesn’t have to fight her Goliath solo, and that God is walking alongside her through it all.


I’m Alyssa. I’ve started a blog at least 10 times over the last 10 years. I always decide after a few weeks that I don’t like the focus of the blog, the content, the domain/host, the randomness, the consistency, or the time commitment of posting. I always feel like I’m not living up to some kind of (warped) standard of what a blog should be.

Each time I end up writing for others, instead of for myself. This time I’m writing for me. This blog is for thoughts, photos, goals, poetry/lyrics, good days, bad days, and everything between. This blog is to captivate my mind and deepen my creativity. This blog is for self-encouragement, self-love, and self-accountability.

My husband is Chad and among many of the wonderful characteristics he has/embodies, he is loving and supportive. Chad’s always in my corner, no matter what. He has supported a huge career change (from corporate America to worship leader/ministry). New ways of doing finances/financial goals/how we spend (and don’t spend) our money. Ridiculously expensive appointments.

Chad and I have been trying to conceive for a year. Much of this blog will be about that journey. I’m laying it all out there so if you’re not interested in reading about my weird cycles and invasive ultrasounds.. this might not be the place for you. 🙂

If you’re reading this you’re probably new to this space and checking it out. Or you’re here for the 100th time and I want to thank you for following alongside during this journey. Either way, I’m glad you’re here and I hope my words speak to you in any number of ways. Welcome to my journey and my heart.