Monday, January 30, 2012

marriage letters - an ordinary love letter

joining with Amber and others in writing weekly marriage letters

Dear M,

I have a pile of thank you notes from Christmas still needing to be mailed out, and as I think about that, I realize how often I do not say thank you to you, how much I appreciate you, and how I enjoy being your friend.

There are few men out there that don't care if their wife prefers short hair, or who would rather have an extra five (or twenty-five) minutes of sleep rather than put on make-up, or who have worn sweatpants more in the last two years than she ever though was humanly possible.  Thank you for being that type of rare man who tells me I'm pretty just as often on those sweatpants days as you do on the days when I actually put myself together.

You have never been intimidated by my trust issues, but instead you continue to stay by my side, even when I least deserve it.  Your belief in loyalty, honesty, and perseverance are such an asset to our marriage and our family.

Right now you are in your office working on homework after a day of taking Bubby to the park, helping me with our sick baby, dealing with clients and no-shows, and probably a bunch of other things you don't tell me about so as not to burden me.  You constantly make sacrifices and are trying to find a new field so that I can continue staying home with our boys.  I know I do not show my appreciation enough for this.  Thank you for  working hard and not being bothered by all the material things we are missing out on at this phase of life because of my desire to be at home with our children.

There is so much more I would like to say, but it is getting late, as time always seems to by much more quickly once the babies are asleep.

I love you.

- A

Sunday, January 29, 2012

MM 947-957

“Eucharisteo—thanksgiving—always precedes the miracle.” - Ann Voskamp

This is one of my favorite Ann quotes - maybe one of my favorite anyone quotes.

At first glance one may think it is about some formula to manipulate God into some miracle-working-magic.  Give thanks, then He will do what you want.

But it's not.

It's the reminder to give thanks in all things.  That is the will of God.

Today in Sunday school a lady prayed that God would first heal our hearts with His joy.

As we pray for Bugaboo, as we pray for others who need healing, I pray that God would first heal our hearts to make them more attuned to Him, to make us more like Him.

joining with Ann's community:

Bugaboo making more improvements in his eating/chewing/swallowing skills ~ reconciliation that keeps being at work in my life ~ living still in Springfield (God has us here for some reason so I am embracing it) ~  Bubby making up songs in the morning ~ community here and around the world that is praying for my baby...this never ceases to amaze me ~ God teaching me about His unconditional love through my mommying ~ laundry detergent ~ throw pillow on the couch ~ toddler jeans clean at the end of the day ~ seven years of marriage ~ funny discussion about Academy Awards in which I learned The Hubs thinks Anne Hathaway is hot ~ new version of Blessed Assurance and humming the old version all day long ~

Friday, January 27, 2012

five minute friday - tender

Write for five minutes on the word "tender."  The rules are here.


I hold him in my arms to nurse.  The middle of the day times are not quiet, but in the morning and at night the world is usually blocked out.  My youngest reaches out his hands to my face sometimes and smiles, a baby "thank you," and my heart feels so happy it could burst.

These moments are almost over for my babe and me.  This week we are ending these moments.  I feel sadness more than relief.

What will replace these tender moments? Our "conversations" in the morning before the day really gets started, him falling asleep on my shoulder at night.

Yes, I know they will continue, just in a slightly different way.  Soon he will join big brother drinking independently from a sippy cup, and I will witness other tender moments, moments that include others rather than just me.

This is life - the balance of hanging on to some things and letting go of others - allowing for growth and change and possibility.

But for now I will hold on to my baby just a moment longer.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

why I'm taking a break from debating politics

Since becoming a mommy, I have had little time to engage in politics.  Sure, I've kept up on it as best as I could, but engage in discussion?  Not very much.

I read this a few days ago, and I thought "hmmm, good for her, but not for me."

But then this week I watched a debate and the State of the Union.  And I engaged on facebook and twitter.  Because I am passionate about what I believe. My belief and responsibility strengths were in overdrive and they told my empathy strength to be quiet.

I ended up going to bed angry, frustrated, and sad.  None of these things are good for me.

So I decided I'm not going to discuss politics on my social media venues until after the election. (Unless someone asks me specifically a specific question.)  It's not because I don't think people of my faith should avoid politics. Quite the contrary.  It's not because I think I've got it all right and everyone else is all wrong. (I don't - there are still many areas I am unsure of if I am really honest with myself.)

It's because I don't really like who I am when I let myself get riled up about things with people who I will probably never change nor will they change me. 

And I have other things on my heart, other things to do, other things I am called to at this season of my life.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


I requested prayer for healing tonight.  Not in the traditional raise your hand in Sunday school type of way. Not in the typical Pentecostal come-on-down to the altar way.  I requested via text.

We had to leave before the young adult gathering ended (because the nursery was closing and our kids were tired), but driving home I felt that we needed to ask for our small group to pray for Bugaboo. I argued with myself for a couple of minutes. But then I texted before I could talk myself out of it.

This may have been the most awkward prayer requesting I have ever done. Texting it?  But the pastor tonight spoke on being willing to look like a fool for God, so here I am – looking perhaps like a fool for God and for my son.

I have a million thoughts going through my mind.

  • There are lots of people with bigger healing needs than Bugaboo. I’m being selfish to even think of requesting it.
  • Bugaboo just needs more time. He’s in physical therapy.  It will all happen when it is supposed to.
  • He has a consult about his cyst on his eye in March.  No big deal.
  • What have I done for God that He would want to heal my son of his developmental delays, muscle tone issues, and cyst?
  • I am going to look really stupid.
  • What if God doesn’t heal him?  What if I am being too bold?

And these thoughts are STILL going through my head right now. Even though I’ve been praying.  Even though I have asked for prayer.  I honestly feel like I could throw up just thinking about hitting the "publish" button.

I wonder if those four guys who put the paralyzed friend through a roof had similar thoughts.

  • We’re going to take him to Jesus HOW? Through a roof?
  • What if Jesus doesn’t like the interruption?
  • What if Jesus doesn’t heal him?  We are going to look really stupid.

But God tells us to approach His throne of grace with confidence.

So I am approaching the loving Father, and asking Him to work in Bugaboo’s body for His glory – whatever that looks like.

I’m praying that my thirteen month old will start scooting and crawling and pulling up.
I am praying for his low muscle tone to be strengthened.
I am praying for any sensory issues to be resolved.
I am praying for babbling and sounds and words and communication to increase.
I am praying for grasping and reaching and moving and other motor skills to improve.

I am praying that my youngest would be touched by the healing hand of God – even tonight.

And maybe I look stupid and foolish and naive and gutsy.  And maybe I will have to tell the negative, questioning, confused voice in my head to shut-up on a regular basis.  But maybe God has something big up His sleeve for this situation.  I will trust Him. 

I will trust Him.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

the marriage letters - nightly routine

I've decide to join Amber over at The Run A Muck for this idea, the marriage letters. This week's topic - the nightly routine.

Dear M,

I can't remember what the nightly routine was like before the boys came into our lives.  I am pretty sure it included more cookies. Or ice cream. Or ice cream runs.  There was definitely more tv watching. And maybe some more energy to talk or play a game of cards.

These days you do your thing, I do mine once the boys have gone to bed.  Bubby has his routine - milk, teeth brush, water, kisses, music, bed.  Bugaboo is easier - nurse, then sleep.  You usually do Bubby's bedtime stuff if you are home, or we tagteam it somehow.  Then you head back to your office - to study, to work, to unwind - and I get online, to read blogs, to post on facebook, to find some connection with the outside world that I am not really a part of most days.  I have words, so many more words than you, to share, to hear, to ponder because not only am I female, I am an extra-verbal female. So I find my way to get my words out before bed. But I always have more.

Sometimes I pop into your office to tell you about something. Sometimes you come out here, and I chatter away about something else.  There are nights when we watch a movie from the library or Redbox.  It's rare that there is something on tv worth watching on one of our five channels. 

There comes a point when I say, "I'm hungry," and I open the cabinets hoping that something delicious and already made will magically appear. Unfotunately, I usually just make a piece of toast.

At the end of the night, we usually make our way to the bedroom together - or almost together.  We check on the boys. You get your glass of water, which will join the other two half-empty glasses of water on the headboard shelf.  You set the alarm. One of us sets up the baby-gate (usually you).  The bathroom is cold at night - and I wish we had a heated toilet seat.  There are nights when I read in bed before you come it. I like to close the book before you finish your own get-ready-to-sleep-routine so that you have to turn off the lights. I know a grown woman shouldn't be afraid of the dark, but there is something about turning out the lights that scares me a little bit.

I kick off my socks under the covers - I will find them in the morning -or next week when I change the sheets. Every night is the same in the fall and winter - we discuss how cold our bedroom is even with the flannel sheets.  We each want the other to come over to our own side of the bed for the warmth and so that we will not have to return to cold sheets in a minute.

There are nights when we are exhausted, when one or both of us falls asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillow.  There are nights when we are tense, when we argue even though we have been told to not argue in the bedroom.

But most nights we talk in the dark.

About what the boys did. About work problems. About old memories. About politics and religion and solving all of the world's problems if only we were in charge. I love saying, "Ok, I really need to go to sleep now," only to still be awake talking, laughing, praying forty-five minutes later.  Our bedtime conversations are a regular reminder of why I married you - because I fell in love with you over our long-distance conversations.

Our nightly routines are sure to continue changing over the years, as the boys get older with different needs and schedules.  But one thing I don't want to ever change - talking with you in the dark on my side of the bed.


Monday, January 23, 2012

mm 924-946

This week feels different than last.  More hope. Less tension.  More peace.

Even with having to make a frustrating phone call at 4:30 today. Even though things didn't go exactly as planned. I'm ending the day snuggling with my two favorite little ones who are dressed in matching doggie-footie pajamas after reading a dozen or so books to them because Bubby kept saying, "One more! One more!"

Even on a Monday, I love this part of the day- us smooshed on 1.5 sofa cushions, quietly enjoying the calmness of almost-bedtime. Blonde head on my shoulder, baby's wild fuzzy hair tickling mt nose.... stay little, sweet boys.

joining with Ann's community to give thanks for:

clean clothes on the bed ~ misunderstanding discussed ~ favorite jeans out of the drawer~ letters on signs Bubby calls out ~memory of Ebby-dog eating ice cream ~post-2babies-belly ~ Saturday afternoon nap ~ toddler toes sticking out of blankets~ two front teeth poking through~ dogeared page on borrowed book ~ crayon marks on the table ~sunshine on cold days~ a chance to keep promise ~ progress in Bugaboo's development ~ 1 John 1:9, Gal 5:1, Acts 1:8- forgiveness, freedom, and power ~ Bubby dancing like a crazy-happy kid ~ screening appointment. set for Feb. for Bubby ~ card in the mail that made me miss Papa~Tues & Thurs off this semester~ outside play in January~ Bugaboo grabbing toes~ vanilla Dr. Pepper ~Bugaboo grabbing my face after he eats and smiling at me~

Saturday, January 21, 2012

a pre-update

A much overdo update on Bubby and Bugaboo is coming -  probably tonight or tomorrow night.

It has been an interesting couple of weeks, but I have the most hope I have had in my life for a long time.

I don't want anyone to think I have spent every day for x-amount of time miserable.  I haven't. I was telling someone the other day in so many areas of my life I was reasonably content right now.  But there was still my poor attitude, actions and words in other areas on certain days or weeks or seasons.

But I know what I need to do.  And it is amazing how the ice around my heart can melt just by letting go.

setting me free

I think God can do the most work in us and through us when we stop pretending with Him, with others, with ourselves.

Thursday's poem may have been one of the scariest things I have ever written. I did not feel brave - I felt afraid and humiliated,  yet compelled to just put it out there because the truth will set you free.

And it is. The Truth is setting me free.

Free to let go of expectations and agendas and hurts.

Free to be authentic, not in just the areas that are easy for me, but in all areas - to stop saying "I'm fine," unless I really am.

Free to give and serve and love.

Help me, Jesus.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

a hard poem to write

how did I become this person,
the one who said in so many ways
You don't make me happy,
even if I never uttered that exact phrase?

glaring in black and white -
the truth of what I am, what I've done, how I've felt,
and because I feel hurt, entitled, enraged,
I pick up my pen and start to make excuses

even amidst your hurt, you identify my hurt,
through a prophetic word picture from a week ago

a seed of trust
buried deep under the dirt
of disappointment, rejection, abuse, abandonment,
cut off from light and water,
never growing into what it was designed to be
though it has so much potential

and this image ticked me off
it. was. true.

I have been given a choice

with the words choice
I feel like I'm twelve again
for the right choice to be made

it terrifies me
to think that I could maybe do
what I swore I would never do

who would know better than me
that they need me
to make the right choice

this broken girl needs to break the cycle

help me, Jesus

joining with emily and imperfect prose

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sunday afternoon naptime and MM 914-923

He sat at the foot of his bed, quietly leaning over and stacking his Megablocks into a lovely tower.
I watched him from my position on the couch, the perfect place for seeing directly into him room. Though it was naptime, he was playing, but so beautifully that I did not want to tell him to lay down for he was not being rambunctious.  Just a few feet away in the crib his little brother was sleeping soundly.

The most precious moments I want to capture on camera are the ones I dare not interrupt by the click of the shutter.

So I watched and wondered what happened to my baby for here before my eyes was definitely a little boy.

He glanced up from his work just long enough for him to catch my eye and smile a nervous grin, waiting for me to tell him to go to sleep.  Instead I smiled back, and his eyes twinkled.

"Want to come sit with me?"

He hopped out of his toddler bed and scurried over to me.  I grabbed his sippy cup of milk, and he snuggled in, mostly on my lap, somewhat on the couch.  After a few minutes, his breathing slowed, and he slept.  Still my baby on some Sunday afternoons.

joining with Ann to keep counting gifts
914. Bubby's first time on roller skates
915. Bugaboo saying his second word, Dada
916. working hard on physical therapy
917. friends who help with kids and transportation and improptu invites
918. hum of the washer and dryer
919. former professors who pray for us, with us, over us
920. realization that roller rinks have not changed much since 1988
921. memories of incredible friendships in my growing up years
922. orange juice every year about this time of year
923. hot chocolate in the middle of the day

ramblings of an (almost) thirty one year old

In just a few short days I turn thirty-one.  I think I am less enthused about this particular birthday than the previous one.  When I hear thirty-one, I typically think of two things. First of all, I think of 31 Flavors (Baskin Robbins) and the beloved summer flavor, bubble gum ice cream.  Then I think of Proverbs 31 and I actually feel myself sigh an overwhelmed huff because "she" represents the woman I will never completely be - the unattainable picture of perfection.

Perhaps I would not be quite as down about this birthday if it didn't also correspond with needing to get a new driver's license picture.  I LOVED my old picture. This is saying a lot.  I am the girl who always has a terrible yearbook/passport/id picture. I either look like the deer in the headlights (and I hate deer anyway), a druggie (which I am not nor ever have been), or a weird cross between the two.  There was also the year, I believe my sophomore year of high school, when they did photo make-ups without warning --- which for me meant in the middle of Early Bird P.E. class. Lovely.  Early plus gym t-shirt plus not knowing it was picture day equals worst picture ever.

Maybe I'm not looking forward to this birthday because I feel like I didn't do a whole lot of significant things in my thirtieth year (other than continuing to raise my two precious boys, which I realize IS signifcant).

This year I am focusing on being intentional, but just two weeks into the new year, the idea of being intentional is slightly overwhelming, and I think I would have been better off picking the word "lazy" - the year of staying in sweatpants, eating premade chocolate chip cookie dough, and watching lots of reality t.v.  I am pretty sure I could succeed at that if given the chance.

So I sit on this Sunday afternoon contemplating how much I still feel like that confused, frustrated, yet hopeful seventeen year old of not-so-long-ago.

Memories of birthday parties in my old basement with pizza, Speed (the movie not the drug), sleeping bags, and dance parties with the dearest friends a girl could have keep swirling in my head today.  There is a part of me wishing I could have a little bit of that back - the innocence, the hopefulness, the world still completely uncharted by me.

How I do intentionally live each day with hope, adventure, diligence, optimism, and fun of a teenager balanced with the practicality, wisdom, life experiences, and discipline of a mommy of two?

I think the starting point (or maybe continuing point) for me this year is the gift of friendship - quality over quantity.  It will be cultivating relationships with various people both younger and older and at my phase, not just for me to grow from, but hopefully for each of us to grow as a result of.  I am praying I would be discerning, that the doors would open (or stay open), that I would be bold when I need to be in seeking out friendships, and rest when I am supposed to just wait and observe.

This entry really lacks a closing point, which bothers me. Maybe it is symbolic. My life doesn't get to fall into a nice five paragraph essay, but rather it is cluttered with run-ons and fragments and sometimes an unclear thesis.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


I was going to write a catch-up post from the holidays and traveling and such, but tonight I am overwhelmed.

Overwhelmed by the kindness of a friend who not only picked me (and Bubby and Bugaboo) up for a facilitators meeting, but also helped me take care of them in that meeting by bring her laptop and dvds and giving my toddler her plate of chips and salsa.

Overwhelmed by the kindness of another who sat next to me and held a teething Bugaboo during the meeting.

Overwhelmed by the generosity of another friend who gave me a ride home tonight.

Overwhelmed by the amazing hospitality of my sister-in-law and brother-in-law and their kids as they fed us, housed us, and provided transportation for us for two and half weeks (and gave us a date night).

Overwhelmed by the gifts of our various family members who made plane tickets, travel expenses, taking care of unexpected plumbing bills, and Disneyland tickets possible.

Overwhelmed by how much it meant to hear a a sincere hello, how are you, let's get caught up soon  tonight from a couple of new friends that I really want to get to know better.

Overwhelmed by how a word of encouragement from someone I do not know at all reassured me when I thought I was a bumbling idiot. 

I am overwhelmed with a few things we have to deal with in the days ahead - a phone call about mismanaged paperwork (not on our end, on the other end), Bugaboo going ANOTHER week without physical therapy and my fears about his delays, a new semester starting for The Hubs, .... the list could continue.

 Instead tonight I am overwhelmed by God's faithfulness to me in the small things.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

top ten goals for 2012

I don't know if I have ever picked a word for the year, but this year I am.  My word for this year is INTENTIONAL.  Life goes quickly, especially with a baby and a toddler, and I don't want to keep getting to the end of a month, a season, a year, a phase, and wonder what I have done with my time.  I will be writing more on how I am going to be intentional this year, but for now my top ten goals (not resolutions) for 2012:

  1. Find practical and managable ways to be intentional.
  2. Find creative and consistent ways to be in The Word and prayer that will go along with the chaos of mommying.
  3. Continue plugging in with our community at church/small groups/mentorship/etc.
  4. Spend at least one hour a week catching up on Bubby and Bugaboo's photo albums.
  5. Have three water-only months throughout the year. (I will still eat - just water only for drinking - just to clarify.)
  6. Send real mail to people.
  7. Write (not blog writing, but "real" writing) at least 150 hours.
  8. Implement a practical household management plan.
  9. Invite people over at least every six weeks.
  10. Learn to use my camera more effectively.
Linking up with Top Ten {Tuesday}