Unexpectedly Expecting at 40

You may think, unexpectedly expecting? How can a pregnancy be unexpected when your have been married for 15 years and you are sexually active? Well…my husband and I both had surgical procedures to prevent pregnancy after our third daughter was born. Apparently my Essure procedure (metal coils placed in both fallopian tubes that are supposed to scar over and block the egg from dropping into the uterus) performed 8 years ago that apparently didn’t work and my husband’s vasectomy performed 5 years ago also failed.

We felt our family was complete with our three healthy daughters under 5 years old at the time. That seemed like enough responsibility for us. My husband and I own our own business (he is a bankruptcy attorney at Crawley Law Firm, PA) and anyone who is self employed knows the financial ups and downs that go along with this choice. He sets his own schedule and doesn’t have a boss, but we have also taken a lot of risks and there are no guarantees of pay. We are paid last.

In August I wasn’t feeling well, so I went to the doctor for an annual check up. I said I felt ill and exhausted and honestly I thought I had some kind of serious sickness or disease, like cancer. He asked when my last cycle was and I told him and said it was due any minute. He decided to do some blood work to rule out infection and then a couple days later, told me I was pregnant.

I was in shock and disbelief. I said, “that’s not possible.” The nurse said, “well your HCG is elevated and the doctor wants you to come in for an ultrasound on Monday to see if this is a tubal pregnancy since you had the Essure procedure 8 years ago.”

It was Friday, and I cried as I told my husband I was pregnant. He laughed and said, “you’re kidding, right?” I assured him this is not something I would joke about and we processed the shock together. We called immediate friends and family so we could all process this together. He had me take an at home pregnancy test and we just stared at two bright pink lines in disbelief.

I was 12 weeks on Thursday, October 13th. At that time I have been to the doctor a couple of times and had several elective ultrasounds. The first doctor’s visit was at 4 weeks and 4 days and we found a gestational sac in my uterus and ruled out a tubal pregnancy. On my husband and my 15th wedding anniversary we went to an elective ultrasound business called Sneak A Peek where anyone can go and see the baby for a few minutes during what the owner calls a reassurance scan and we saw the heartbeat for the first time. Then I went again the next week, at 7 weeks, for same reason.

I started with nausea and vomiting around 6 1/2 weeks pregnant and it is finally started to ease up at 11 1/2 weeks, but did not end until 19 weeks. At 9 weeks I had my first OB/GYN appointment and the blood work we did all came back normal. We opted to get additional blood work called Panorama to look for chromosomal abnormalities. We did not plan to terminate the pregnancy, but we like to be as informed as possible. I got a call from the nurse a week and a half later (at 10 1/2 weeks pregnant) that the test came back all low risk and there is no need for additional testing!! She also confirmed that we are having a BOY!

I actually already knew he was a boy because I ordered an at home blood test through Sneak Peak Home Gender Test to prepare for my gender reveal party on October 1st.

I took my daughters to see our baby boy for the first time live at Sneak a Peak in Jonesboro, AR at 11 weeks and they loved it! He did not disappoint! After we woke him up, he wiggled around and stretched and was just adorable. His heart rate was 175 and he looked perfect to me; he was relaxing in there. Ha!

9 week ultrasound, sonogramI’ve been listening to myself talk to others over the last few months about unexpectedly expecting at 40 years young. Growing up, 40 sounded really old. My now 14, 12 and 9 year old daughters also tell me that it’s advanced age. At their age, I thought the same thing. I vividly remember when my mom turned 40. I decorated my grandparents house with black balloons and “Over the Hill” signs. In hindsight, that was cruel. Sorry mom! But, I was 10 years old and she did seem “old”.

But now that it’s me, and I don’t feel old. Ha! I do however feel more mature and wiser. I feel like my purpose in life is to love others where they are and to be kind to everyone. I feel a new purpose for my life. I feel stronger than I was at 30, I’m healthier, and more physically active too. I take my Juice Plus+ every day which ensures we receive 30 different fruits and vegetables in our body daily. This allows us both to thrive on nutrients we may not otherwise get on a daily basis.
ultrasound picture, profile, sonogramThe anatomy scan at 21 weeks showed a strong heart, we saw him urinate, swallow and hiccup. He is definitely a little miracle that has already forever changed the course of our lives. We love him immeasurably!!

Choosing Faith Over Fear

Choosing faith over fear. During the last few months, I have heard this phrase several times in books and articles I’ve read and therefore it has stuck. I heard it recently while listening to Jen Sincero’s audio book, “You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life.” 

There is a choice aspect of fear. Jen Sincero says, “It’s so simple. Fear will always be there, poised and ready to wreak havoc. But we can choose whether we are going to engage with it, or turn on the lights, drown it out, and crawl past it. Drowning it out is easy, we have just been conditioned otherwise. We have made fear a habit.  (more…)

Make Choices with Intention

I always have ideas of some kind floating around in my head. It’s the process of putting them on the page that takes intention and focus. It requires scheduling uninterrupted time when I’m motivated to write. It is also pushing past the vulnerable feelings as I share my thoughts with you. I’m thankful for my friend and Personal Coach, Tharwat Lovett, for reading this over before I posted. I’m blessed with loving and supportive friends to nudge me along when I need it.

I sat down last Sunday, in an effort to stay on target with my goal of 50 new posts in 2016, I saw there was a stack of mail to open next to my home office computer’s keyboard. There was a bill, some junk mail, and a very small package with my name on it. I don’t order a lot during the year, but I do most of my holiday shopping on-line and LOVE IT, so I wasn’t sure what it was at first, then I remembered! I ordered this precious bracelet for myself from Cindy Sebastian at tShe believed she could so she didhe Juice Plus regional conference I attended in Branson, Missouri the weekend of January 22nd. What perfect timing that I would put on a bracelet that reads, “She believed she could so she did” just as I was settling into my desk with water and coffee at arm’s length to share my heart with you.
(more…)

Kevin Jumper: Always Positive and Optimistic

On Sunday, January 17th, a sweet friend who had battled cancer for the last 3 1/2 years is now at peace and watching over us all. The loss of Kevin Jumper is a tremendous one. He was always kind and loving and he knew how to bring a smile to my face. I only knew him a few years but I spent the last 9 months messaging and texting him regularly and we became friends.
optimistic, positive, cancer

 

As I write I can only think of how selfless Kevin always was. He never complained about his condition. He only focused on the battle ahead and how to beat his cancer. I remember the last time I hugged him tightly at the Brickhouse Grill a couple of months ago. He looked swollen that evening from his chemo treatments and his voice was more raspy. I love how he always looked me right in the eyes and it felt like he was looking into my soul while pouring out love. I told him that I pray often and that he was loved.

 

A couple of weeks ago, I was at the Brickhouse Grill again to hear a couple of ridiculously talented friends and local musicians, Oz Cullum and Nathan Crouch play. I asked Nathan if he heard that Kevin was diagnosed with pneumonia. He said he had and we talked about how we admired Kevin for his consistently positive and optimistic outlook.

 

Kevin shared an article on Facebook on October 18th, 2015 written by the Jonesboro Sun by staff writer, Staci Vandagriff titled, “Jumper’s best advice: Always keep positive attitude.” She wrote about how Kevin was diagnosed with laryngeal cancer in September of 2012. At the time the article was written, he had experienced 35 rounds radiation and 20 rounds of chemotherapy.
kevin jumper, positive, optimistic, cancer
He never complained and always focused on staying positive throughout his long days of treatment. He shared with Ms.Vandergriff, “One of the hardest things is the fact that you’re losing friends because people don’t know how to react to it (cancer). But then again, you also realize who your true friends are.” Kevin was a faithful friend to everyone, regardless of their condition.

 

Kevin and I were a lot alike in that we both love to give back. There is something about a giving soul that is filled up more by giving than receiving. He loved to give back to the community by assisting feeding the hungry at the Helping Neighbors Food Pantry on Huntington Dr. in downtown Jonesboro, Arkansas. Kevin was always gracious and thought of others first.

 

As a believer and he said he never questioned God. He advised others battling cancer to “Stay positive; don’t ever get down on yourself. To stay positive and keep a positive attitude is part of the best medicine. I don’t look at it as, I’m dying of cancer; I have to live with cancer.” This is great advice to us all. It’s important to be grateful and to remain positive and optimistic no matter what we are facing in this moment.

 

Now as I mourn the loss of a man loved by many, I can’t help but think of what he would want for me. He wouldn’t want me to cry. He wouldn’t want me to be sad that he is gone because now he is flying high with the other angels just like him.

 

Kevin Jumper was a great man. The best way to honor greatness is to carry on with a smile on our faces, love like he loved and be grateful for the time we were blessed to have with him during his 42 years on this planet.

 

Fly high sweet friend. You will not be forgotten and you will remain forever in my heart until we meet again.Arrangements for Kevin have been made at the Emerson Funeral Home in Jonesboro, AR.

 

The funeral service will be at 2pm Thursday at St. Timothy Anglican Episcopal Church with Father Ron Martin and Dr. Glen Putman officiating. Interment will directly follow at Old Bethel Cemetery with Emerson Funeral Home in charge of all arrangements. Serving as pallbearers will be family and friends. Honorary pallbearers will be the Kappa Sigma Fraternity.Visitation will be Wednesday evening from 5-7pm at Emerson Funeral Home.

In Lieu of Flowers the family request that you consider the Helping Neighbors Food Pantry, PO Box 19182 Jonesboro, AR 72403, or 870.935.7298; American Cancer Society PO Box 22478 Oklahoma City, OK 73123, or 1.800.227.2345; and St. Timothy Anglican Episcopal Church 419 W. Highland Dr. Jonesboro, AR 72401 or 870.932.8818, in loving member of Kevin Jumper.

Tower Garden Harvest Shared with Local Soup Kitchen

On Thanksgiving, while sharing a meal at my in-laws, my mother-in-law (Rosamond) mentioned her tower gardens had a lot of lettuce to harvest. I too had extra to harvest so I contacted my friend Amy who told me her church, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, hosts a soup kitchen on Saturdays for lunch. They usually serve around 50 people each week. She was glad to receive the bounty, rinse it, chop it and serve it to the hungry in our area. tower garden, vertical garden, urban gardener, harvestThe photo on the left is one of Rosamond’s three towers. This one is on her screened in porch, inside a tent to protect it from the elements of fall and winter. She has lettuce, cabbage, and different herbs growing happily this fall!

The photo on the right is of heads of lettuce she pulled out of the tower. There are many benefits of owning a tower garden, the gift of sharing food with the hungry is my favorite! I asked how having a salad this week was going over with the soup kitchen attendees.

She replied, “It was very well received-thank you! I took it up there this morning and chopped it for serving. Tomatoes and dressing were added and we had a couple of bags for folks to take home.” Amy sent me this note from a volunteer, “Thanks to your neighbor for the greens—and thanks to you for bringing them. People seemed really happy to have a green salad and we had so many people that I kept tearing them up to make more salad so I didn’t even get to send any home with folks (as originally planned).”

This makes my heart smile! It is a great feeling to provide garden fresh lettuce to my family, but also to those less fortunate. I encourage you to pay it forward to others this holiday season!

Be Fearlessly Authentic

Be Fearlessly AuthenticI am a firm believer in the fact that everything happens for reason. Everything from the people you come in contact with, the smiles you share with a stranger, the kind words you share with a friend, and the choices you make that are based off of the experiences you have had. By being fearlessly authentic, we allow ourselves to be open to the good and the bad as it comes.

Everyday we each make 1,000s of decisions. What to wear, what to buy, what to say when asked a question, what to eat, whether to laugh or cry? The list goes on and on.

In the past, I struggled with buyer’s remorse/decision remorse. I would second guess myself. Well, not anymore. I decided that making an educated decision about something and then going with it, is the better way for me.

Burning all that energy worrying or wondering if the decision you made was good or bad is just simply that: a waste of energy. It’s best to make a decision and go with it. I’m not saying that you can’t make a different decision down the road if more information or experiences lead you to change your mind. That’s fine.

I believe we all share this space together on Earth in order to learn and grow and my goal is to become better than I was yesterday. Also, I feel my purpose is to educate, inspire and enrich the lives of those around me. I am intentional to be fearlessly authentic with those I meet and share a conversation with.

My friend and Pastor’s wife, Susan, who is one of the most down-to-earth people I have ever met in my life, told us a “secret” one day. She does not sugarcoat her challenges or the fact that life isn’t always easy. She is real and she is a truly genuine being.
(more…)

Fail Forward Friends

We all have a story. I’m living mine and you are living yours. With every choice we make, we are learning and growing from that experience. By continuing to fail forward friends, we are choosing to never give up. We are choosing to ignore the perfectionist inside and move toward our goals.
While doing my personal growth/development, the phrase fail forward keeps popping up in my head. I am always learning and you can’t go wrong while learning ways to become a better YOU. I recently attended an IMAGE Seminar by Bob Samara. This was a life changing event for me. He teaches us how our minds work and how to reach our goals.
bob samara, juliana crawley, personal growth, IMAGE Nation, personal Development

Bob Samara, IMAGE Nation

Fail forward. To me this means to just do something! I have used/heard tons of excuses. I would start a lot of things, do them intensely and do them well, then a challenge or a plateau would arise and I would hesitate. The perfectionist inside began chiming in with self-doubt. I would stop doing and start thinking. I would over think to the point that I stopped all productive activity forward.
I was once told: the only way to fail is to do nothing. Now I choose to Fail Forward Friends!