LWM: Slow Cooker Simplicity: Chicken Enchilada Soup

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

I shared this recipe last year and have since revamped it to perfection specially for Liberating Working Moms. Be sure to check out this delicious chicken enchilada soup for a chilly fall evening! I’ll have more simple slow cooker recipes coming up on LWM, so stay tuned!

This recipe  is a family favorite that I have altered and doctored many times over the last year, and I’d say right now it’s pretty darn perfect. However, keep in mind that you can easily change up ingredients to suit your preferences and this will still be an amazing soup. My husband and I like heat, but our four-year-old does not, so we try to make this a little more on the mild side and add heat at serving time. This recipe feeds my little family of three our dinner, plus 3-4 additional lunches. Not only that, but it’s easy to double and freezes beautifully!

Read more: Slow Cooker Simplicity: Chicken Enchilada Soup

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But God is Still Good

The other day in church, the speaker from our teaching team was talking about how God is good… how He’s always good. Not just in the good times, but in the bad as well. He’s still God and He’s still good. He’s the creator of all and He is GOOD.

And it got me thinking…

Too often when things go our way, we say “God is so good.”

When things go exactly as planned: “God is so faithful.”

When things are tough and trying: “God, where are You?” “God, why aren’t things going my way?” “God, are you there?” “God, I thought you were faithful.” “God, why me?” “God, why does she get to be pregnant and I don’t?” “God, don’t you love me?”

Hmm.

God is our father – our heavenly daddy – and he loves us. ALL of us. You included. Yes, bad things happen. Yes, there are terrible things going on in this world. Yes, there are people who behave horribly out there. And yes, God created those people, loves them, and allows these things to happen.

But He’s still God.

And He’s still good. (Psalm 86:5)

One thing we have to keep in mind is that there truly is an enemy who hates us, who wants us to suffer, who will tell us we’re worthless, who will try to convince us that we’re not good enough to be mothers, who will temp us with anger, hate, jealousy, rage. He’s real. God’s real. And we have to decide how we’re going to live… a life of sore emotions, a bad mood, of anxiousness… or of love, hope, faith, and hand-in-hand with our heavenly daddy.

Remember that YOU were created in HIS image (Genesis 1:27). YOU are here because God willed it, because He wants you to be here, to walk with Him, to talk with Him, and He’s always there in the good AND the bad times. Always. He never changes. The God of the universe who created everything… literally everything… He’s the same as He always has been. And while things sometimes suck, God is still there. His timing is better than ours – always has been, people. Always.

Infertility stinks. But God is still good.

I wish I could grow my family. But God is still good.

I’m desperate for healthy ovaries. But God is still good.

I may never be able to have another child. But God is still good.

I could lose everything I own tomorrow… but God is still good.

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Month to Month: This is Infertility

When you have infertility, you live your life month to month. As each month comes and goes, it feels like an eternity as you’re waiting for news of success or failure. The waiting can be brutal. Month to month… you wait.

You anticipate.

You hope.

You daydream.

You plan.

You collect.

You count.

You pee on things.

You wait some more.

Somewhere in there, you bleed. And it sucks. Although if you’re anything like me, sometimes you go month to month wondering when you’ll actually get a period. That’s the cold hard truth. You don’t realize how much you hate your period until you’re battling infertility. But then again, it’s a love/hate relationship because the start of a period means it’s the start of a new chance to TTC… the band-aid has been ripped off and you have your answer: not pregnant. Time to try again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

Month to month.

This is infertility.

This is my life.

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8 Things I Miss About Pregnancy

8 Things About Pregnancy

Yep, that picture is definitely Zoey. That was our 18 week ultrasound with her… when we were told that she was certainly a little girl! At 15 weeks we thought we spotted “her” and were convinced we were right about our suspicion all along. This ultrasound session sealed the deal.

We started trying to grow our family of 3 to a family of 4 about 31 months ago (ouch), and during that time I’ve been slowing preparing for a new addition to our family. Mainly in the sense of collecting cloth diapers, different bottles to try, a Moby wrap, etc. I collect a few things here and there as I purge some of the old. But there is one thing that has struck me the most: I miss physically being pregnant. I miss it a lot. It’s easy to complain about pregnancy because quite frankly it really is hard making another human. A lot of weird things happen in pregnancy… like a random unexplainable rash on the tops of both of your feet, a placenta that splits in two, your feet growing two shoe sizes (they went back to normal), and so many other things. But in the grand scheme of things, the difficult moments are totally worth it because at the end of it all is a precious gift. A miracle. A sweet little baby. I had my fair share of crazy pregnancy moments, but I’d do it all over again. I miss being pregnant.

I’m feeling sentimental, so I’m going to take a stroll down memory lane. I might get really sad just typing this post, but here it goes. Here are 8 things I miss about pregnancy:

1. The Anticipation

That feeling of waiting and wondering – what will the baby look like? What kind of personality will he/she bring? Is it a he/she? How will labor and delivery go? Just the whole anticipation and the planning that you have during those 9 months… I miss it.

2. Maternity Clothes

Call me crazy, but I miss maternity clothes. The stretchy pants, the dainty tops that drape the belly… maternity clothes are seriously wonderful. I know not everyone agrees – they feel fat and unflattering, but I felt completely beautiful when pregnant. Every woman should.

3. Shopping with Purpose

When you’re pregnant, it seems like you buy everything with purpose… everything is purchased with the baby in mind. Everything. From groceries, to furniture, to cleaning supplies, to clothes… if you need it, it’s picked out with the baby in mind.

4. No George

Other than the bleeding scare I had at 9 weeks along, I didn’t have a period, and it wasn’t from PCOS making me anovulatory! It was from new life. I miss that. Not even thinking about whether it was maybe time for one.. oh, the freedom.

5. Fulfilling Cravings

There is one thing I noticed immediately about pregnancy and that was cravings… when you take care of one, oh my goodness, it’s a glorious moment. You don’t truly understand cravings until you’re pregnant. When it hits and you fulfill it… aaaahhhh. Angels sing. All seems right with the world in that moment.

6. Ultrasounds

Sure, I get ultrasounds while going through fertility treatment, but ultrasounds when pregnant is an entirely different experience. Watching how much the baby changes with each ultrasound is just incredible, from that first little yolk sack, to the gummy bear, to the alien, to the pudgy baby. I’m so thankful for the technology.

7. Doctor’s Appointments

I honestly miss going to appointments. You get an excuse to just talk about everything related to pregnancy, to get measured, to ask questions. I really miss those appointments. You pretty much live your life anticipating the next appointment, and I miss that season of life.

8. Feeling the Baby Move

Man oh man, I miss this one the most. Feeling Zoey move was the most wonderful experience – from the kicks and punches to the hiccups. Every time she’d roll over, it just reminded me how truly lucky I was to get to experience it.

Zoey asked me last night if I had a baby in my belly yet. I hate having to tell her no, because then she asks “why not?”

*sigh*

If you’ve ever been blessed enough to experience pregnancy, what do you miss the most?

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15 Fertility Superfoods

Hey, hey! This is something I’ve been wanting to put together for a while now, and after much research, I finally got around to writing it. I hope you find this useful. What I have pulled together includes 15 fertility superfoods, and of course the reasons why. For some, I include a few ways to prepare these things or sneak them into your diet. I realize these aren’t on everyone’s “favorites” list, but when it comes to fertility superfoods, sometimes we just have a find ways to get them in.

15 Fertility Superfoods

1. Avocado

This superfood is probably my favorite on the list. The healthy fats within an avocado are excellent for women. To top it off, avocado is rich in folate and vitamin E! As I’ve mentioned before, vitamin E is an excellent way to boost your uterine lining to make it nice and thick for implantation, so eat up! I tend to load up during the days leading up to ovulation and for a few days after. An avocado makes a great mid-morning snack. Just slice it in half and top with sea salt and cracked pepper. Yes, I even do this at work. At my desk. ;) You should see the looks I get. I simply don’t care.

2. Broccoli

In addition to the folic acid that broccoli is known to have, it is high in vitamin C (bet you didn’t know that one!), which apparently helps your eggs mature. Say what?! The vitamin C and egg maturity thing is new to me, so I can’t speak much on that, but the folic acid alone is a good reason to consume broccoli on a regular basis. Roast it with a little olive oil and lemon juice!

3. Salmon

The omega-3 in salmon is excellent for fertility because it helps regulate hormones and apparently increases bloodflow to your girly parts, which means it likely contributes to your uterine lining getting nice and plump, and to your ovaries producing better eggs. Bingo! Loaded with protein, it’s a wonderful, lean option to get good protein into your diet. I like to grill it on the Foreman with olive oil and lemon. SO good!

4. Pomegranates

I’ve been a big advocate for pomegranate juice for some time now, because paired with vitamin E and a few other fancy things, it helps that uterine lining get thick for baby. It works. Whatever is in those things, it works. Add on the “antioxidant” tag, and it’s perfect for this superfoods list.

5. Spinach

Spinach is loaded with folate and iron. Iron is good for your blood and that uterine lining. Try to sneak in spinach as much as you can. If you’re not a fan, stick a handful into a smoothie and I promise you won’t even taste it!

6. Eggs

Rich in protein and a little something called choline, eggs are an excellent fertility superfood! This was new to me, but apparently choline helps protect your newly developing fetus from neural tube defects. I try to get in eggs whenever I can – boiled, scrambled, fried (don’t judge).

7. Coconut Oil

I mainly cover this one in my coconut oil post, but coconut oil is excellent for supporting a healthy pregnancy and helps with keeping your hormones balanced. Use it to saute some shrimp with a little curry powder!

8. Maca

Maca is a major fertility superfood that can be consumed in pill format since it’s not as easily found in its raw form here in the States. Maca helps increase progesterone and balances your hormones. I covered more about this one in my post on improving uterine and ovarian health.

9. Almonds

Almonds are rich in protein, but they’re also rich in vitamin E! They’re so easy to just keep around for snacking, too. I usually keep a jar at my desk at work. Did you know that 10 almonds = 1 oz of protein?

10. Asparagus

This is a green that is loaded with folate! This is one of my favorite vegetables ever. My favorite way to cook it is broiled with lemon pepper and sea salt.  Add plenty of olive oil! It’s also good steamed.

11. Kale

Apparently kale is excellent when it comes to helping your liver detoxify, which is only beneficial when you think of how many toxins we end up ingesting and breathing in on a daily basis. Kale is delicious roasted with a little olive oil, sea salt and cracked pepper.

12. Black Beans

These beautiful beans are my favorite from the bean family! They are a great source of protein (and carb, so tread carefully), and they’re also a great source of fiber. Did you know that fiber helps regulate insulin levels? I didn’t either! Black beans for me, please!

13. Quinoa

Did you know that quinoa is a seed, not a grain? It is loaded with protein (yay!) and iron (double yay!), and let’s not forget the fiber (woohoo!). This is one of our favorites because it’s so versatile. I like to use it in place of rice for stuffed peppers. Add a little lean ground turkey, tomatoes, black beans and spices, and you’ve got a perfect meal.

14. Oysters

This one might be tough for some people to stomach, but I honestly love oysters. Mainly smoked oysters. These suckers are rich in zinc. Did you know that zinc deficiency is a thing? I didn’t! Apparently zinc deficiency can slow down your egg production. Not cool. This smoked oyster stew with bacon is so delicious and a great way to get in lots of zinc! Glenn loves the bacon in it. Of course.

15. Berries

Blueberries are probably one of my favorite fruits. They are rich in antioxidants and apparently help protect your cells from damage. When I think of cells, I think of my uterine lining. Popping back a 1/2 cup of blueberries with a side of almonds is a favorite snack of mine – a great afternoon boost!

What are your favorite fertility superfoods?

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When PCOS Just Plain Hurts

Last week was pretty rough when it came to PCOS symptoms acting up. My ovaries were hurting so badly, and it was the kind of hurt that would literally stop me in my tracks and take my breath away. The kind of hurt where you have to pace your breathing to get through it. There was one particular day at work that I didn’t even want to get up to go to the bathroom because every time I’d stand up it felt like my ovaries were being ripped away from my fallopian tubes. It was sharp pains and throbbing nearly every day, sometimes all day.

I haven’t had a week like that in a long time.

Usually PCOS gives me a hard time several times a month, sometimes for days at a time, but something about last week seemed to drag on for me.

When PCOS just plain hurts, and I know there isn’t much I can do to relieve it, I rely on stretchy clothes and warm blankets for comfort. A nice a-line dress with leggings and riding boots can feel like heaven when I’m hurting, because when I hurt like that, I’m bloated, too. I also make a point to snuggle up on the couch after dinner with the fuzziest, warmest blanket we have and my cat resting on my abdomen. Her rhythmic purring is almost therapeutic. Her body heat contributing warmth through the blanket really helps me feel better. Heat therapy.

I’m sure some of this pain is because this was a Clomid cycle. My ovaries are more awake than they have been in 9 months, and they’re kicking and screaming about it.

Little brats.

This is what PCOS feels like.

To a better week…

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The 8 Most Popular Life Abundant Blog Posts of All Time

8 most popular posts

Hey ya’ll! The other day I was going through my WordPress stats and looking at the most popular posts that this blog has ever seen to get a hold on the type of content that people are looking for. I wanted to draw a little attention to 8 of them. On one hand, it breaks my heart that SO many women are facing this infertility struggle, and that SO many of them are battling a thin uterine lining. On the other hand, I’m so thankful and blessed to know that whatever I had to say on the subject was popular and is working for others. I can see when you guys are linking these posts in message boards to share with others. I can see what keywords you’re googling that brought you here. I promise I’m not a creepy stalker – this is the blog life. It only reminds me how important it is that I keep researching for you, for me, for us. That I keep trying to bring awareness to these infertility issues. This is more than just PCOS.

And let me just add as a side note, you can totally tell which ones are older, ha! Especially due to whatever image I have on there. This blog has come a long way and changed a lot over the last year.

7/8 posts are specific to infertility. The last one is specific to one of my favorite people on this planet who experienced a heart-wrenching infant loss.

Without further ado, I present to you the most popular blog posts Life Abundant has ever seen:

1. Possible Ways to Thicken Your Uterine Lining and Improve Implantation

2. How to Naturally Thicken Your Uterine Lining – It Really Works!

3. Progesterone – The Phantom Pregnancy

4. You Were Just Diagnosed with PCOS… Now What?

5. What Happens During a Follicle Ultrasound

6. What PCOS Feels Like

7. Tropical Fertility Smoothie: Kickoff the Two-Week-Wait

8. With a Heavy Heart {{for Jocey}}

What post is your favorite? What brought you here?

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