Monday, December 29, 2008

New Years resolutions

Every year I make them:
1. Lose weight
2. Get fit
3. Be a size blahblah again

Every year, I don't lose weight. I will never be a size blahblah again.

But girl, this year I AM FIT.

I can go up three flights of stairs without puffing.

I can carrying my nearly two year old on my back for hours through the mall, the zoo, wherever.

I can bike ride for an hour without breaking a sweat.

My heart, lungs, and muscles are so much stronger than they have ever been. I am centered and balanced in my eating.

I am not skinny. I am not slim. But I am strong. (Thanks to Jody and Stroller Strides!)

So, it's time to make a new list.

1. Laugh way more
2. Not take myself so seriously.
3. Choose joy!
4. Be patient
5. Listen more, talk less
6. Pray more and with less agenda
7. Love my husband enough to be kind, even when I don't want to be.
8. Keep working on myself without beating myself up
9. Forgive, forgive, forgive. Then forgive again.
10. Continue to let God light the dark corners of my life.

And that's it. No more resolutions to change something that can't be changed. Just peace with myself, flaws and all.

What are YOUR resolutions? Leave me a comment friends!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Joy to the world, the vomiting has come!

Yes, you read that right.

Nothing says Christmas like a vomiting toddler.

The evening started off great. We made a beautiful (okay, ghastly) gingerbread house with Grandma. It was all fun and games until Lily started gagging. We thought maybe she had eaten too much candy and it would just pass.

Oh, denial is a mighty river.

Five hours, two cups of pedialyte, and 6 rounds of vomiting later we finally admitted to ourselves this might be a stomach bug. Mark took the first shift, waking me at 3:30. I then took the last shift, until she woke up like a spitfire at 5 AM. She ran around the house making Tazmanian devil noises before again crashing at 7. Not only did she not seem to even remember she was sick, she acted as if just 5 short hours later she wasn't tossing her cookies across mommy's lap.

Anywho, we went to Christmas Eve celebrations anyway, where I am sure our little typhoid Mary infected nearly the whole of Eastern Nebraska with her bug.(Including myself-I am currently writing this while my stomach makes Chewbacca-like sounds. I am simply waiting to erupt like Vesuvius. Mark has been calling dinosaurs in the downstairs bathroom for hours now. Ah the joy of parenting. )

Ah, and did I happen to mention the cold? No? Ummmmm let me just say- WHY THE HELL DOES ANYONE LIVE IN THAT GODFORSAKEN STATE??? Cold isn't even the word.

I digress.

I got to spend a magnificently kid free day with my bestest friend. It was a day full of shopping, tea and coffee, cheesecake, and lots of laffing. LOTS of laffing. I was thrilled to discover April and I still share the same keen fashion sense. As we were exiting the car to go into a store, we both mentioned how friggin cold it was (oh, 11 degrees or so), and then happened to both put on our scarves. With no coats of course. Just the scarves. Because neck warmth is essential, ya'll. We all know essential body heat is carried in the neck, right?

And yes, I saw my father. It was not as bad as I thought, but didn't make me feel any better, if that makes any sense. I'm not going to overthink it.

I also saw something I wanted to share from the moment I witnessed it. A couple on the plane going to Omaha had two small children. One was maybe three, the other, an infant. The three year old had obvious disabilities. He wasn't walking, wasn't talking, and seemed to be sight impaired.

But he smiled from the moment I laid eyes on him until the moment I lost sight of him. And so did his parents. In the time our flight took off and touched down they must have kissed him a hundred times. He must have laughed just as much. They never stopped smiling, ever.

They were joyful, even in the midst of a difficult situation- taking a disabled child on a long flight. Finding a way to change his diaper in a small cramped airplane bathroom. Juggling their infant, bags, and toddler while they waited for their child's wheelchair.

They chose joy.

I felt as if God had placed those people directly in my line of sight so I could see a living example of joyful living. Despite obstacles and chaos and difficulties. It was beautiful and touching.

So that, in a nutshell, was our trip to the tundra. No matter how far I roam, I love to come home.

And now, my friends, I do believe my time has come to call some dinosaurs.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Off to the frozen tundra...

I will be traveling all next week to Omaha, Nebraska, where the temp is now a downright balmy...6 degrees. Yes, you read it right- 6.

You can stop laughing anytime.

The good news is I will be spending Christmas with my favorite people on family. I will also be consuming oh, roughly, 300 million calories a day and will have to airlifted home, but that's the beauty of the holidays, huh? Fudge and turkey and cookies, oh my!

In all seriousness, however, this Christmas is different than any other I have known. I am happier, more grounded, and more convinced of Christ's great love than I have ever been. Peace reigns in my once chaotic soul...and it is beautiful.

I have my family, I have my health, I have spectacular friends, and of course, I have my Lily. Heaven is just a short jump away from my everyday life.

So this year I am going to celebrate the joy of the season. I am going to take the moment to allow myself to get teary eyed at the Christmas carols, to enjoy the lights and the ornaments, to watch my baby girl as she experiences the delightful chaos of Christmas Eve. I will also take her into my arms in the quiet stillness of a sleeping house, and whisper to her of Jesus's birth so long ago. A birth we still celebrate today, these years later. A birth that makes our lives as we know it possible. The birth of the One who saves, gives, loves, and cherishes us.

Merry CHRISTmas my friends. May it be peaceful, joyful, and sweet.

Love to all.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

She remembers..

Lily saw Dixie's little girl, Spencer, nursing today. This always brings a reknewed interest in breastfeeding, or "NeeNee", as she calls it.

So tonight she had her duck in the bath with her, and she was holding him to her chest. Suddenly she looked up at me and said "NeeNee!!!". She was pretending to nurse her duck.

Later we were drying off and getting lotioned up and she was still holding the duck. She took him from one side to the other and whispered "Udder tide!" (other side)While I watched she "nursed" her duck from the other side and then whispered "all done".

That's when my tears started flowing.

I never spoke those words to her when she was nursing, except in the dead of night when we would nurse in bed. I would softly whisper "other side", and roll her over, then "all done"...and tiptoe her back to her bed.

It was such a special time, when we would just doze together and cuddle. It was primal and loving and nurturing for us both. And she remembers it enough to re-enact it.

After I collected myself I asked her if she remembers "NeeNee's". She nodded. I asked her "Was it good?" and she said promptly "Chocate milk". I knew she meant it tasted like choclate milk to her.

Wow. Anyone who doesn't believe breastfeeding has a profound and lasting impact on a child's soul is crazy. I never thought she would remember her night feedings, but she does. Down to every last movement and word I spoke to her.

She continues to amaze me.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Yahweh Center Project is complete!

Today I delivered the blankets to the Yahweh center. It was a 20 minute drive, and I spent the time listening to praise and worship music and talking to God. There was alot of me telling him just how wonderful He is, and how happy I am that He chose me, and how grateful I am that He allowed me to complete this project.

There were some tears as well, as I thought about those kids that were behind the walls of that center. Sometimes this life just isn't pretty. It isn't safe, and it isn't kind. It most certainly isn't fair. But those children have a fighting chance, because they are surrounded by believers who are focused on getting them well.

I sat for a few minutes in my car, collecting myself before I took the blankets inside. I laid hands on them one last time and prayed for the children that would soon use them. I prayed for their stregth in the face of adversity, for them to be comforted in times of sorrow, and for them to seek His face always.

Sometimes I wonder if it is only through great anguish that we find ourselves searching for God, and for something bigger to alleviate our pain. Surely there are those that have had a beautiful scar free life that love God and worship Him. But there are those who are broken by the past and traumatized by memories that have a deep abiding NEED for God that encompasses their life.

I am so very very grateful to NEED God. To seek Him. To know what it is like to call out and be answered. Found in the wilderness and brought home. He not only comforts me, he calms me. He loves me. He thinks of me. Amazing.

As I drove home, I cried a bit more. Not sad tears, but ones of thankfullness for being allowed to give. The time I spent making those blankets will always be sacred to me. I prayed with each stitch, asking God over and over to bless the child it was going to with calm and knowledge that they were loved. It was such a quiet time for me to just rest with the Lord. He allowed me to have stillness in Him.

As I drove home, I listened to the song you are hearing now. The lyrics are the most profound and humbling I have heard. Being a believer does not mean we have all the answers, or that we are guaranteed a pain free life. It only means that when things are painful and hard, and anguish is all we can feel, we are never alone. We are carried, we are held.

May you feel Christ's love tonight, friend. You are held.

Actual conversation...

Sesame street is on...Big Bird is talking about a birdseed omelet.

Me: Ummmmm why would big bird eat an omelet? Isn't that just...wrong?

Mark: Why is that wrong?

Me: Cause he is a BIRD...duh! That would be like me eating unfertilized human eggs.

Mark: Oh yeah.

*we sip coffee in silence*

Me: I wonder if he eats turkey?

Mark: Well, of course he does. Why wouldn't he?

Me: Cause it would be like cannibalism.

Mark: But turkeys are dumb.

Me: *blank stare* ummmm, okay.

Mark: I think he eats turkey.

Me: *nods wisely, goes back to sipping coffee*

There you have it my friends....the discussion between a intensely smart man with his masters in anatomy and physiology, and his formerly intellegent and well read wife.

Don't be jealous.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Advent Conspiracy...

Taking Christmas back...

This year, I am searching for meaning. Not material.

I am blessed with a roof over my head. I am blessed with a loving family. With a child who is healthy. I am blessed beyond measure.

I want NOTHING. I want FOR nothing.

And I believe that having a small impressionable child has really colored my idea of what Christmas should mean. In the past, it was simply a time to get presents, and to see family. Now it is it has a totally new meaning.

It means that I am celebrating the birthday of the One who made it possible for me to live my life as it is. This blessed life. This open life. This life as a new creation. I am celebrating the day He chose to become human and begin his life on this earth. For me. For all of us.

I am celebrating that one splendid night under a starry sky, when God became man. Wholly human, wholly divine. I am celebrating a miracle.

So how will I choose to celebrate this? With a mad rush to every store within driving distance? With creating a list of the things I want and need? With concentrating on the material?

This year, I chose differently.

To make blankets for children who have...nothing. Pain, and anguish. Who are teetering on the line between the family they have been pulled from and a foster family. Children who have been wounded.

And it was fufilling, and a wonderful way to spend my time. And it was right and good. It even felt a little selfish. But with each one I sewed I became more and more convicted that this Christmas needs to be different from every other.

I really feel like God is calling me into a season of having less. Spending less. Wanting less. Spending more time in prayer and teaching Lily what a life in Christ is like by example rather than by words. Listening without distractions to the Holy Spirit.

I want to give, surely. I want to see my beloved family's face light up when I give them just the right gift. But I need, for myself, to spend this Christmas having nothing, emptying myself, and giving only. No taking. No wish lists. No gifts for myself.

This year I want only to give OF myself, of my time, and of my love.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I'm having one of those nights...

You know, when you feel like you could weep over any little thing?

I just had myself a good long cry. And if you asked me why, I couldn't tell you.

I miss Mark terribly. Yes, he's been gone 24 hours only, but I miss him.

I am simply worn out and tired from chasing a spirited little girl who refused to nap today.

I am weary in spirit over a variety of things.

I am sad that I am not pregnant, after being over a week late.

I am longing for...something. I don't know what. A baby snuggled sweet in my belly. My husband lying beside me in bed, putting his cold feet on mine. For Christmas to come already, so I can see everyone and see my sweet Lily's eyes light up.

Hence, the tears. Crying is a funny thing, huh? I used to cry often enough for a normal hormonal girl, but now I never seem to have the time.

I find myself on the verge of tears often, but I also find myself holding them back and telling myself to cry later, when it's more convenient. When I am alone. Or when I am in the shower so my mascara doesn't run. (I take serious pride in my eyelashes ya'll)

But I really think the power of tears is vastly underestimated. Gosh it feels good to cry sometimes, doesn't it? To just let go and have at it...go into the ugly cry, and really sob. To lose yourself in emotion, and stop repressing it. It is so freeing.

(I am aware any man reading this is totally confused right now. It's okay. You don't have to cry and like it. It's kinda a girl thing.)

I think I have a point here. Okay maybe not. But here I am, sitting at my computer. My face is still wet, my shirt still spattered with tears. And I feel good. I feel clean.

Okay, so there's no point to this post, other than to say I like to cry, and will be doing it more often. So If you pass me in the grocery store and I am getting misty over a melon, don't pay me any mind.

But if you have a tissue, could you share with me? I never have tissues.

Goodnight, friends.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


I have lived my life hobbled. I have been chained. I have allowed my chains to drag me down. I have used them to excuse my behavior. I have let them pull me to places I would never go willingly- into self pity, self doubt, and self loathing. I have let them rule me.

Shame on me. I will never get back the time I have wasted.

I cannot tell you of the time I have spent in self loathing and doubt. Wondering if I was good enough, strong enough, skinny enough, brave enough, funny enough, interesting enough. Enough enough. Damn it.

I am weary of carrying my baggage. I am tired of carrying the weight of my family's shit on my back. It's not mine. It never was. It was given to me, it wasn't something I created, for God's sake! But I have been carrying it anyway. Why?

I read a book a while ago. Max Lucado is an amazing christian writer who can make Christ so real it's as if you can actually touch him. "Traveling Light" is a masterpiece. It takes Psalm 23, something most people are familiar with, and transforms it into something that is life changing. The big idea of the book is this: carrying your burdens is not what Christ intended. He wants to bear it with us and for us. He wants us to cast it onto Him.

This is something I have always grappled with. Who would I be without my pain and anger? Who would I be without the weight of memory? Who would I be if I stepped away from it all and refused to pick it up again?

Because I can. We all can. We can drop it and walk away. We can leave it behind. We can be free.

See, my main issue is trust. I think that is most people who have been abused main issue. The same pain that draws you close to Christ is also the pain that makes you keep Him at arm's length, right? Because of fear that He might fail you like others have. Fail to protect you. Fail to cherish you. Fail to love you.

But Christ is not man. He cannot fail you. He will not walk away. He can be trusted. HE CAN BE TRUSTED. He can take it, bear it, and wash it away. Not only can he, but he will, with joy. It doesn't matter how bad it is. It doesn't matter what everyone else thinks of it. It doesn't matter if only you know. Nothing is too horrible for Him. Look at all He experienced. Look at who he surrounded Himself with.

God himself is well aquainted with pain, with loss. He is used to rejection. He was mocked, belittled. While on this earth He experienced the gamut of human emotion and pain. There is no feeling He does not know. Shame, hurt, betrayal, lonliness. He walked it all.

I have never been good at praying. But when I was a little girl, I had a dream that I took a walk with God. Ever since then, when I pray I picture a dirt road, overgrown with giant trees. Spanish moss hangs down nearly to brush the ground as sunlight filters through. I walk, sometimes in joy with my head held high. Sometimes in sorrow, my eyes never leaving the ground. Sometimes I am bursting with all of the things I want to share with Him. Ohter times, I come with a heaviness that doesn't even allow for words. At those times, I walk alone. But if I turn my head, He is there, behind me. He shadows my steps. I have learned to trust that he won't leave, even when I have nothing to say.

A few days ago I went to bed with a very heavy heart. I was sad enough to simply be silent and let the tears come as I tried to fall asleep. I decided to pray. Once again, I pictured a dirt road. I walked along, and I sensed God with me. Soon I was too weary to even walk. Instead I just stood and wept. I turned to look for Him, and He was close by, waiting. I was startled to see He was weeping as well. He held out His arms, slowly. His face was racked with pain.

"Won't you let me have it?" he asked.

I knew what He was asking for. All of it. All of the sorrow. All of the tears. All of the worry and doubt.

This time I was weary enough to hand it over. It was too heavy for me. It was too much. I am only human, with human strength. I needed Him. I needed help.

So I gave it over. My memories, my fears, my father's illness, my aches and needs and worries. I laid it down. I gave over my disappointment. I gave over my expectation.

I have never felt so free.

When I woke up, I went to Max Lucado's book again, and read Psalm 23 with new eyes.

Psalm 23

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,

3 he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, [a] I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Peace be with you, where ever you are on the path, friend.

(To my dear friend that I know reads my blog- The other day we had coffee, and we talked. You showed me a side of yourself that wasn't just about laughter and humor. You were kind and sympathetic when I told you about something that hurt me tremendously. You shared with me. I know you are hurting and feel alone-you aren't. You are loved. You are worthy. If you need me, I am here. )

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


The other day Mark, Lily and I went to the mall. Yes, at the height of Christmas shopping season I took my toddler and husband to the mall. I know, I am insane.

Anyway, in one of the stores I overheard this conversation:

"Shut up!!!" from a small child of maybe 3.

"You shut up!!!!!" from an adult, presumably the child's mother, right back at him. Nastily, and with a hand raised to boot.

Ummmmm wha?

First of all, the child should not being saying that. That's not up for debate. But for the mother to say it back? Holy moly.

People never cease to amaze and sicken me.

We all have our moments as parents. Where we lose it, we raise our voices, we forget our role as teacher and give in to our impatience. But I cannot imagine a time when I would EVER use that tone to my daughter, not to mention raise my hand to her as if it was an acceptable way to get my point across.

I was thinking alot about this for the past day or so, and the child's face kept popping into my mind, along with the word "obedience". Tonight when Lily challenged me at every turn I saw the child's face again. I really felt like God was giving me some sort of lesson- but what?

Then I got it. Having a child is not just about teaching obedience to them, but to also practice it yourself.

This requires a massive overhaul of my thinking. I must be obedient, to teach obedience to my daughter.

No, I am not talking about obedience to Mark, though goodness knows he would LOVE that, but obedience to God.

Even when it hurts.

Even when I don't agree with Him.

Even when I am unhappy.

Even when I want to rebel like....well, a toddler.

I have to be obedient, and do all things with a thankful and gracious heart. Boy do I have alot of work to do. :)

One thing I know for certain. I am aware at all times that before Lily was mine, she was God's. She still his, primarily. She is on loan to me, yes....but she is His precious creation. When I look at her that way, I see her in a totally different light. She was entrusted to me. Given to me.

Sometimes when she challenges me in the worst way and I am tempted to yell, scream, or swat, I think of the moment when she was born, and how it was as if God himself placed her on my chest. I felt Him in every corner of the room. And when I looked into her face I knew I had a chance to heal all of my own hurt and pain, through my love for her.

Obedience seems a small price to pay for this love I get to experience everyday.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The estrogen ocean...

Today I took a trip. It's a land I once inhabited often, when I had the time to be self indulgent and wallow in what I thought were real problems and troubles.

The land of sobbing and wailing. Have you heard of it?
And what, you might be asking, could take me to this place?

Grab a kleenex and a cup of coffee. Let's talk.

I was wandering out attic. Okay, not wandering since I barely have room to turn around, but I was innocently looking for Christmas decorations...and what did I open instead? Newborn clothes, lovingly washed and packed away, folded into tiny little bundles. Newborn clothes that still smelled like my now almost 2 year old did when she was fresh from the womb.

Her tiny newborn hat.

The first outfit that ever truly fit her. Size preemie, of course.

Tiny booties, tiny socks. Sleeping gowns. Rompers. I became instantly overwhelmed.
Before I knew it, I was sobbing hysterically. I am not an overly emotional person, (not anymore) but I could not for the life of me stop. I had to just give over to it and let it go. It was the first time in a long time I had cried like that. Long, hard, and with purpose. Add all that together, and this, my friends, is what you get.

Every outfit was linked in my mind to a memory of my sweet, tiny, fragile baby. The uncertainly during the last part of my pregnancy, the worry of those first few days when she was so sick. The first joyful and utterly exhausting weeks at home.

I remembered it all. I remember trying to bathe her when she was first home...just a little under 5 lbs at that point (after being readmitted to the hospital for jaundice and dehydration). I was confident in my abilities, but she was so fragile I trembled the whole time. I remember bringing her home and having to keep the Biliblanket on her, keep her temp regulated, wake her and feed her every 2 hours. Waking up to a cold silent house, and sitting on the couch, alone, nursing her. Crying with joy. Crying with sadness. Wondering if anyone else in the world was up and feeling the same way.
I remembered the first time she looked at me while she nursed.

But I mostly remember the love. The huge highs and lows of new love. The moments when I could not get enough of her. The moments when everything seemed to be a battle. I am crying again, now, just thinking of her tiny face, her fingers and toes. Her mouth drawing milk. How she looked when she slept bundled in the sling.
The love hasn't changed. It is still just as deep, if not deeper. See, we know each other now. We aren't strangers any longer. I know her, and I am proud to be her mommy...not just because she is my child, but because she is good. She is good, and funny, and kind. She is warm and affectionate. She makes me proud because she is Lily.
I remember, I am thankful, and I am blessed.

I love you, my sweet sweet baby girl.

(same outfit, nearly 2 years later)