this season

This season has been full, then empty, and then somewhere in between. This season of holidays was warm, full, and had more joy than ever before in one little (but huge) way...we were expecting our first baby! We found out right before Thanksgiving that we had gotten pregnant just weeks ago after getting off our birth control. This was a really big surprise because the doctors have been telling me for years that we might have a hard time conceiving because I had low progesterone causing me to not ovulate regularly. We were so surprised and excited that it happened just weeks after getting off the pill! 

We tried to keep our secret from our family over Thanksgiving, but with the wine flowing and sushi being a favorite meal, I was unsuccessful in being sneaky. We told my family that we were 5 or 6 weeks pregnant, but decided we really wanted to wait to tell everyone else on Christmas after we had our ultrasound. The timing was too perfect not to nail the best Christmas gift ever. 

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I had a really good first 8 1/2 weeks, just very tired and hungry, but really if you know me, you know this is totally normal. I was so excited to also be pregnant with one of my best friends, just weeks behind her. It was so fun to have her to share every step of the way with, talking sore boobs & our pants starting to get snug. 

A couple days before my first check up at 9 weeks, I started spotting and tried not to panic. I knew some spotting was normal but the longer it went on throughout the weekend, the less hopeful I felt. By Monday afternoon, I had started to naturally pass the baby. It was awful. I tried to remain optimistic because I have had friends have miracle babies through worse. But ultimately, our babe was gone that day. It was awful. Two days before Christmas, the day I should have been 9 weeks, we said good bye to our little bug. 

I am far enough away from that day now to think a little bit more clearly, and process the pain as much as possible for now. I see God's tender hand in it all, protecting me, sheltering me, and healing me through it all. I was so sad to not have seen our baby in utero at all, but in that same thought, I am so deeply thankful to not have had to have seen the baby there lifeless. I am thankful that my body did it's job in letting my baby go peacefully and that I didn't have to have a D&C on top of everything. 

Processing it all has been the weirdest of it all. You are just so sad. There isn't really a better way of saying it. I did feel some anger, but mainly just a huge heaping pile of sadness. I think in the beginning, I was angry that I wasn't pregnant and that I would get pregnant again. I didn't want to start all over again, I wanted to be 10 weeks next Monday. Obviously, not being realistic at that moment. I realized that it wasn't about the baby, that feeling was selfishly just for me. The aching hurt of the loss of that baby is deeper and more complex than the part of me that stomps her foot and says, "No! I want it now." That deeper part of the ache of a loss is still a mystery that I wind through each day, trying to learn something as I go.

Christmas came and went, different than any other. Different because we lived in Washington without any family. Different because there was this underlying sadness in me. I rejoiced in the birth of my Savior, clinging more than ever to the promise that His birth was, but my eyes held back tears. Tears that fell in the kitchen as we made Christmas dinner. In that sadness though, that day was still so full, that day was full indeed. That day was filled with friends that feel like family. Full of face timing with our families across the country. That day was full of rest, new light, the promise of a Savior against all odds, and learning to heal. 

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.
— Genesis 50:20

This season of life feels like the season that I see all around me. Bare tree limbs, cold brisk air, decomposing leaves and twigs all over the ground... The joy comes in the fact that the stormy rain is breaking down each fallen leaf, nourishing the ground, and deepening my roots in the ground. When spring blossoms, summer comes, and fall graces me...this will all make sense and my roots will be that much deeper. This will be a time we reflect on fondly. We will think of this season with admiration for it's bare beauty. It's simplest, cold, wet, bare beauty. 

This season is full of too many lessons to count right now. I am still only beginning to understand the half of them. One that was presented to me so perfectly the other day was the importance of being there for each other. Showing up, showing love, being love, and sending love. I cannot tell you how loved I felt going through our miscarriage. I felt so deeply cared for, prayed for, and felt for. It was even the "likes" on instagram and facebook, and it was without a doubt the comments full of love and thoughts. It was the women who reached out by texting, messaging, calling, and emailing me - sharing with me their losses and stories. I cried. I cried reading each and every single one. What a pain our hearts feel in the loss of the smallest babe. We felt loved and cared for in the meals people dropped off. The flowers that we got. The cards full of loving words. There are too many ways to count that our friends, family, and coworkers went out of their way to show us that we were not alone. That we were cared for, that we were loved deeply, and our baby was acknowledged and loved too.  Acknowledging our little bug was so deeply important to me, that was why I shared. I couldn't go on and act like I wasn't just pregnant and hadn't experienced everything I just had. 

Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of The Lord.
— Job 1:21

Which leads me back to what I have learned through this...show up. If you want someone to know you care, show up. Be there. Simple as that. You don't have to have the right thing to say, in fact, you can actually say the words "I don't know what to say." but just be there. Reading through Job the other day, I was moved as this is what his three friends did after Job had lost his children and all of his land, and was in terrible health... they showed up. They were moved, they came to him, they cry and weep, they tear their robes, and sprinkle themselves with dirt. They wept with him there for a full week. Not one of them gave some huge great sermon to Job, it actually says no one said a word for they saw his suffering was great, they just showed up. He had just experienced something no words could fix, so they just shared in his pain. That is a beautiful portrait of friendship. 

 Or as my client said the other day, when she was asking her friend who had lost a child in the past what to say to her friend who had also just lost their child, she said "Show up and shut up." People do not expect you to have the right thing to say. There rarely is anything right to say other than, I love you. If you can't say that, find a way to show it. A pastor I heard the other day said the number one importance of a ministry marked life is the willingness to put your body in the middle of the mess. We can't be afraid of the lack of words, condolences, or knowledge to stand in the way of loving one another. Don't be afraid that you are overstepping your boundaries by saying something, by bringing someone dinner or by showing up. You might be the only one who does, or you might be the one who says something that truly gets through. 

Each day is a step towards health, emotionally and physically. Mentally preparing and eagerly awaiting the day that I get to be pregnant again. The blessing that it is to grow a child in your body will never be lost on me. The love that I feel for that sweet babe who is with my Mimi and Josh's grandpa in heaven will never lose that place in my heart. That baby made me a mom, Josh a dad, my parents grandparents, and marked the beginning of growing our family. 

A mother’s heart whose heart is bound to her child’s? That doesn’t compare to how our Father’s heart is bound to you.
— Isaiah 49:15

I'm thankful in this desert season, this season of winter, where things feel empty. I know the beauty of each season, and I thank God fully for this trial. I don't believe (and kind of hate the saying) in God giving us only what we can handle, I believe that our God is fully for us. Trials, pain, hurt, disappointments, failures, losses...those are fire that our good Lord uses for good to refine us. Lord refine me through this flame. Let my life look like you and give glory to your holy name. 

Thank you all for your love, your prayers, your thoughts, your gifts, your blessings, and the true friendship through not just the good but through the hard. I will sincerely cherish it forever.

With love,

Lexi Loo

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
— Joshua 1:9

pumpkin cookies for the pups.

Here we are all, enjoying everything pumpkin this gorgeous fall season, don't our furry friends deserve some of that action too? Yesterday, with the skies grey and the air crisp, with the leaves starting to turn and fall, I got into the baking mood. I made Josh and I, ok fine, mainly for me, some yummy pumpkin protein pancakes and the girls got some delicious pumpkin peanut butter cookies.

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Dog Cookie Recipe 

2 1/2 C whole wheat flour

2 eggs

3/4 C pumpkin puree

3 tbsp all natural peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together. The dough will not be one large ball just yet. Remove dough and place onto floured surface and knead together. Roll dough to about 1/4" and begin using your chosen cookie shape to start cutting the dough. Repeat until all dough has been cut. 

Place cookies on cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray, I used coconut oil. Cookies may be close as they do not rise or spread. Bake for 28-30 Minutes. Let cool and enjoy!

With an easy and quick recipe I loved making these for the girls and will definitely be making them again. And as you can see, Phoenix & Greyson loved watching me bake them and Pancakes' eyes almost popped out of her head when she go the first cookie. 

Happy fall to all, even our furry friends. 

skinny eyes

Freshmen year was awkward city and I was trying my best and failing horribly to find out who I was, it was mainly a lot of things I am not proud of. But a couple great things (or people should I say) came out of that year. That year in geography I met my best friend Katie Mansfield. We were separated several times in that class for talking too much and I highly doubt we could tell you anything about geography, but I will forever be grateful for that class. She looked like Christ then and she looks like Him now. What a gem. She is so full of life, joy, and laughter. She tells both bad and good jokes (we laugh either way), she'll burst into laughter at inappropriate times, and loves Jesus vibrantly. We became friends over a love of all things silly (namely Nacho Libre and Napoleon Dynamite) and getting caught passing notes. But my friendship with Katie would be so much more than the fact that we could laugh about anything together. Katie was one of the women who always pointed to me to Christ, sometimes with her words, but mostly with her loving actions and unconditional love that she extended towards me when I was clearly not walking with Christ.

I am so thankful for Katie's honesty, humility, and willingness to bare her soul for the sake of Jesus being glorified. We have both always loved writing and entertained the idea of being professional writers, and now we know more than ever that that is exactly what Jesus gifted Katie for. Katie is a brilliant writer with the greatest of imaginations. She writes books you guys, she's way cooler than me. She writes devotionals and lately has started a blog to share her gift with everyone. I am so proud of my friend!!! Here is one of my favorite articles about the joy that we can give and receive when we see ourselves through "skinny eyes." Please check out her blog, twitter, instagram and Facebook. Xo

On: Skinny Eyes By Katie Mansfield

Today, I went to the mall. While at the mall, I tried on some clothes. While trying on those clothes in the fitting room at Macy’s I stumbled upon an incredibly rare, highly sought after, much-desired commodity. It’s like a unicorn or The Sorcerer’s Stone… Maybe even the Holy Grail. I found…

A skinny mirror.

A skinny mirror is the mirror you look in and see you, but it’s you skinnier. I love to find a skinny mirror, it only happens once every so often. A woman can go months, even years, without finding one and when she does find one, she cherishes it. Today, I found myself cherishing it. Then I had some other feelings.

The skinny mirror started to make me angry. Because I realized that even if that’s what I see right now, in that fitting room all alone, that’s not what everyone else sees. I’m still me, normal. So what good is it to see myself in this skinny mirror and be fooled into thinking that I’m something that I’m not? Why lie to myself like that?

Then I started thinking about how I’ve attempted to redefine beauty for myself and how I want to view my physical appearance differently. I started to think about the progress I’ve made towards loving myself and letting go of the need to view anything about my body as flawed. Honestly, as much as I know the right things to think and say, it is still sometimes so hard to believe. Because, looking in that skinny mirror, I saw something I liked but I didn’t feel it was accurate. It was more than being “skinny.” I saw myself on the outside how I felt on the inside.

And in that moment, I realized this: why did that reflection have to be the lie? Why should others not also see me on the outside how I see me on the inside? What if instead of calling women to just viewthemselves differently, we called women to view each other differently, as well? No woman is an island. It’s better when we help each other and not just ourselves.

It’s better when we help each other and
not just ourselves.

Thus, the birth of skinny eyes. In my last post, I mentioned how I view my best friend. I don’t see her outward appearance the way she sees it and she doesn’t see me the way I see myself, either. We are looking at each other with skinny eyes. And it isn’t a lie.

We do not see each other as something we are not. So, as a woman, I am asking all other women a favor: let’s see each other accurately. That mirror that we all think we look better in than all the other mirrors? Let’s make that our reality. If we all view each other differently then no one will feel like they are lying to themselves. I can tell myself that I am beautiful and I’ll believe it when I do. But when it’s just me, it’s like running up a steep hill. I can do it but it’s going to be very, very hard. Having others reaffirm what I know to be true makes it like running on flat ground: it’s still a challenge but at least I am the only thing I’m battling.

Here it is: I hereby declare the abolition of the skinny mirror and the in-statement of the fat mirror. Any mirror you look in and see a fat girl looking back at you… That is the warped mirror. That is the lie. That is not the woman that your best friend, your husband, your mother, your brother, or your sister sees. That is not the woman that know you are. Because you know what? The mirror is a tool. It does not think, it does not have an opinion. It gives you what you want.

Let’s be our flawed selves and love each other no matter what. When we look in the mirror, let’s see the beautiful people we really are. When we look at each other, let’s do it with skinny eyes. If we see each other as beautiful, whole people long enough then eventually it will become normal. And those who refuse to love others will be the weird ones. And when that happens… we will still love them. They will still get skinny eyes from us.

Every mirror in my home just became a skinny mirror. My intention is to look upon my fellow woman with skinny eyes. Let’s help each other out because as of right now, there are only two types of mirrors in the world: the real ones and the fat ones. Burn the fat ones… They are the lie. Look at the women surrounding you and bask in their beautiful glow. I would say that it’ll mean more to them than you know but… You know exactly what it will mean to have everyone around you see you as beautiful.

And if any man has made it thus far, just remember that every woman around you is either reminding herself that she is beautiful or struggling to see herself that way. You need skinny eyes, too. See that gal as a whole person and tell her that you do. No matter how confident she is, tell her. Let “beautiful” mean “I adore your heart as much as your face.”

I am beautiful. I no longer need to convince myself of that fact because it’s true. And I have my best friend who sees me like that but I sincerely hope that more join in. And I hope and pray that your heart turns towards that thinking if it’s not already there. Because you have at least one sister who sees you with skinny eyes and together, we make that the norm. Do it for strangers, do it for loved ones, and do it for everyone in between. Because no one should go years without seeing themselves in a skinny mirror.

You are beautiful. That is your reality. Stay grounded in that truth.

We’ll talk again soon!
Katie
Prospective Wife for Captain America