Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Welcome baby Q.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007
9 lbs 10 oz (!), 20 in

Absolutely beautiful, if you ask me. Not that I'm biased or anything.


Monday, November 05, 2007

I have no time to write.

I just want to record my astonishment that, holy cow, I AM ABOUT TO GIVE BIRTH IN A FEW HOURS.

Inducing is a weird thing. I'm not sure if it's good to know exactly when it's going to happen or not.

Ready or not, here we go. Welcome, baby Q!

Sigh of relief-- 34 weeks!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


I don't have time to write out the drama that has been the past few weeks, but here's the short version.

House: Tenants finally out. Empty but filthy house. Paint. Carpet. Housecleaners. A/C repairs. About to be listed on the market. (Whew.)

Additional Tests and Babymonitoring. Premature labor imminent within 15 days, supposedly. Strict bed rest. (No computer access, mostly.) Grammy to the rescue to watch the Bird, church to the rescue to provide meals. Deeply grateful. Butt on couch, mostly.

15 days past-- no baby yet! 34 weeks milestone reached! Almost hospitalized three times-- but not! Steroid shots to help baby's lungs administered! All very good. Still on bedrest for 10 days or so, til 36 weeks. Then, give me baby or give me freedom to roam!

Major database project at work completed! (Two years of work-- finally put into action!) Working well 99% of the time. Hoorah.

So, if you can decipher all that, you'll see that we're doing well, the baby hasn't arrived yet, and I'm living in a happy haze of thankfulness for friends and family who have stepped up to help us. Life is good, and when the fella gets here, it'll be even better.

Thanks for your prayers and wellwishin'. Much appreciated!!

Already but not yet.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Howdy, fella. May I introduce to you-- and me-- my little boy's face, courtesy of an unexpected ultrasound yesterday.

Is he not beautiful? Just look at those fat little cheeks.

Mysteriously, those healthy, fat little cheeks have a left kidney that's "dilated"-- meaning that it's-- in my opinion-- enormous, at least four times the size of the right one. Along with that (probably because of that), I'm swollen with lots of extra amniotic fluid-- not a good thing. So now we've been launched from "absolutely uneventful, perfectly normal pregnancy" into "let's get you an appointment with a perinatologist asap. How about Friday morning? And we'll probably be needing to do stress tests, and see you more often, and" et cetera et cetera. Including the fact that my primary care provider, a midwife nurse, may have to turn over my care to the ob/gyn, a perfectly competent man (I'm sure) who I inherently distrust because he makes part of his living doing boob jobs and other plastic surgery. (Sigh. I took this risk when I chose this clinic, I suppose.)

And I'm trying not to google too much, worry too much, or say too much until after Friday. But oh, I am so afraid.

Not so much that he may be born with a bad kidney-- I've never been one to use the phrase "as long as it's healthy" as if health were a prerequisite for a parent's love or approval or thankfulness for the gift of a child. If he has a problem, we will learn and love and deal with it.

But I have a sick spot in my gut that simmers all day long over this thought: I am deeply afraid of not ever getting to touch those little cheeks or hold these little hands and feet that are drumming away at my insides these days.

Please, God, let it be something that can be helped or fixed or healed or managed, by you or doctors or me or anyone or anything else. Just let there be something we can do.

I was holding my anxiety in check pretty well until about thirty minutes ago, when I discovered that my washer was on strike. My "new" 15-year-old bare basics washer, which was donated by my parents to replace my 5-year-old energy-efficient fancy washer that needs a $400 keypad repair and, according to reviews and Consumer Reports and etc, is likely to have further motor, drain, and other repair issues. We've decided that paying for the pricey repair would be akin to pouring money into a lemon of a vehicle, so the fancy washer is getting the boot. Dad came and hooked the freebie up for us last weekend because my husband's back is injured. (Dad entering our basement and seeing the state of our workbench/tools/etc is never a good thing, particularly for our husband, but it couldn't be avoided-- we needed the washer, needed the help, and weren't able to prepare the basement before he showed up.) I did one load of clothes successfully tonight before it decided not to drain the water out of the tub for load #2.

Now I have a load to wring out and haul to my mom's (to use her fancy new washer that finally replaced this one). That is a stupid thing to sit in the dining room and cry about, I admit. But it was really just a final straw on a long list of stresses this week.

I also have tenants-- ex-tenants-- who cannot seem to get all their belongings (or their butts) out of my house in Florida, six days after their move-out date. This is deeply difficult to manage from eight hundred miles away or so. Painters, carpeters, realtors are all standing at the ready to begin fixing it up and taking it off our financial back. But they can do nothing until the place is empty and clean. I had a smooth, quick transition to On The Market planned, and now it's all shot to hell.

I also have a nice mixer with a burnt-out motor. A bathroom window that's been covered with a paper tablecloth for the last eight months-- which a certain toddler just shredded in her enthusiasm to see "owside!" (So now anyone peeking in can see us, facing them, setting on the pot.) There's a beautiful dishwasher out in the garage that I'd love to be using, but we need to hire a plumber to install it into 90-year-old iron pipes, and the money's not there. And I'm enjoying (ha) a steadily shrinking wardrobe as my belly gets bigger and bigger. I'm at 31 weeks pregnancywise, and 38 weeks sizewise. How big can I get in the next nine weeks-- assuming that I have the immense privilege of having a full-term baby? Will I have any clothes at all, or will I be buying used Mumus from the thrift stores and refusing to leave the house in a month or so?

I have the vintage gas stove of my dreams-- some parts of it are in my house, having been given $250 worth of reporcelaining. The rest is in a guy's garage in Tulsa, waiting for him to have time and inclination to restore it for me. It's been there since April.

I have a house that I adore-- that badly needs a $3500 paint job that I can't give it. It has beautiful horizontal board wooden interior walls-- covered with wallpaper, paint, and ugly wallboard that I'm not yet allowed to remove. And in four months, my rent-to-own lease expires, and the grumpy half of the two sisters that own it is likely to demand that we purchase. And without the Orlando house sold, no bank will give us the loan to do so. (We have the option of appealing to my father-- but oh, how sick I am of appealing to my father for help, be it washer installation or financial loans.)

I feel like I'm a living example of one of my husband's favorite spiritual illustrations-- living "in the already, but not yet."

I already have:
A husband
A beautiful sweet mischevious brilliant toddler gal
...thank God those things are present, settled, and being enjoyed here and now. We also have:

A house I love that we have resources to buy
A fabulous stove
A kitchenaid mixer
A washer
A dishwasher
A tidy house/garage/workbench
... and most of all a beautiful, beautiful little baby boy about to enter our lives. And it's possible that all this will come to fruition in a relatively quick time span.

...But the full experience of so many of those things hinge on other (known or unknown) factors. It's such an occasion for uncertainty, doubt, fear, faith. I have them already, but I cannot relax and enjoy them just yet.

These are hard days for me, I think. Even without the addition of a high-risk pregnancy-- which makes everything else on that "not yet" list seem suddenly trivial.

Please, God, make him okay. Or okayable.

22 months old.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Bird, I love this new you.

You found your words this summer. About a month ago, language just exploded out of you. It amazed us. I just tried to think to some of the things you say, to record them, but there are now so many that I can't figure out where to begin or which are most remarkable. We know so much more of you now that you can talk.

Grammy discovered that your hair's long enough to put into pigtails now, and the new hairstyles have changed you from a baby to a full-fledged Little Girl overnight. You love your "dog ears", and rarely pull them out of your hair-- but a barrette never stays in long once you've realized it's there. Just too easy and tempting to remove, I guess. It's amazing how much older you look with your hair pulled away from your face.

You have an endless enthusiasm for dogs. Aunt Leigh's Lucy, a golden retriever mix, and Mel and Darla's Pete, a farm mutt, are your favorites. You chase them, laughing, petting their heads and backs and pulling on tails and generally crowing with delight. Being big, loving, good dogs, they put up with a great deal of your affection/absuse, wiggling their affection back to you. Our own silly dog likes you, but being so little, is a little more likely to accept a pat or two and then retreat to a safe distance before you get too excited. Someday your daddy wants you to have a bigger dog, I think.

You love playtime with your Daddy-- chasing each other through the house, tickling and swinging up into the air and laughing. He takes you out to your sandbox, and you both let sand dribble through your fingers while you intone in deep voices, "TIME..." (short for "the sands of time"- it's your private little joke). You love walks, either in the stroller, or holding steadily to Daddy's hand as you toddle down the street in the late afternoon heat. (Your pregnant momma has been standing at the window and watching you walk away, wishing she could come along without dissolving into a sweaty shaky pregnant mess. Maybe when it cools down a big more, I'll be able to go.)

We spent the weekend at a cabin with friends this weekend, less than an hour from here. You loved being outside, playing with toddler friends Ava and Jesse, and having so many adults around. At one point, when your daddy and I were preparing dinner for the crowd, I realized that you weren't in the living room with everyone else as I'd believed. A quick search through the bedrooms and bathrooms yielded no Bird; we found you on the front porch, holding a big ball that I think was last in the backyard, bare feet covered with grass and damp hands scrambling at the doorknob. Close observation yielded your secret: you've figured out how to unlock deadbolts. You'd ask first to "WALK," but if no one yielded to your request you'd set about trying to get a deadbolt undone to go by yourself.

Guess we'll be installing some safety latches soon, well above your reach. I'm so glad you learned this at a cabin in the middle of nowhere rather than at our house with a busy road running behind it.

You're still very sweet and generally accommodating, but you can be headstrong. Suddenly, you hate your high chair at Grammy's, which has been completely acceptable for the past year as it was, strapped to a kitchen stool. Now you want to eat in one of the grownup chairs, your highchair perching like a slightly unsteady booster seat atop the cushion. You often prefer a cup over your sippy cups, and fight putting your diaper back on after we've had a session on the potty. I'm getting the distinct impression that you want to be a big girl.

...And I guess that's good, because in ten weeks you'll be a Big Sister instead of the only Little Baby. You'll be fetching diapers and blankets and having to be patient while I tend to him before I can tend to you. It's going to be a big change, and while we're thrilled about this new baby coming, we're also kind of sad to leave the era of Little Bird Alone behind. You are a delightful, absorbing only child, sweetheart.

I am so proud to be your mommy.

expanding mind. in the toilet.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Today, after dinner, playing with Play-Doh with mom and dad:

I show her how to load dough (doh?) into the little compartment, position the circle shape over the extrusion spot, and push on the plunger. A tube of dough comes oozing out, snakelike.

Thoughtfully and softly, she says, "Poo."

I wouldn't have believed that she'd made the connection without doing it again and getting the same response.

Please tell me how a 20-month old who has never wiped her own rear can understand what poo looks like when it comes out, and that the play-doh toy we were using resembles that.

All we could do was laugh.


There is something magical about the way she's learning new words (and new uses) so quickly now.

Bird usually spends many hours a week with my mom while I work. While my mom was out of town last week, she spent every day with me, and took to preceding her one-syllable requests with my name:

Momma, out (of the high chair).
Momma, more.
Momma, HOLD!
Momma, SEE!

I loved it. But now that Grammy's returned, we see that she hasn't quite got it yet-- every request, to anyone, for anything, is likely to be preceded by "Momma."

Oh, well. It'll straighten itself out before long, I guess.


But I really adore the way she'll pause, just before entering a new room, going outside, or getting into the car, earnestly grab your hand, and say seriously, "Too." You must come too, Momma (or Daddy or Grammy or Aunt Leigh). "Too."

Too precious, is what it is.

multifaceted? schizophrenic? inconsistent?

Hey. Um, I'm doing fine after that rather dramatic post there. Things are still uncertain. But hasn't all of life been uncertain since we left Florida-- and really, since we arrived in Florida and found it wasn't what we believed it to be? I've been walking around learning to hand over my fear and panic for around six years now. What's a few more months? Pshaw.

That's not what I want to write about; it's just my response to my felt obligation to somehow apologize for or explain that Dark Night post. I can't really do either, and I refuse to delete it, because that is part of my life these days. So it stays, I try my best not to minimize it-- although I can see already that I just did-- and we move on to other fascinating topics.

Including: Who on earth am I? (note: fascinating to me. I rather guarantee this to be tedious to anyone else.)

I've lately become very puzzled by the inconsistent breadth of my own perspective.

I am part snarky modernist, sneering at the simpletons and fundamentalists and hippies. This man's derision of the homeschooling fundamentalist moms at the blueberry patch, for example, made me snort in my tea--- particularly when I clicked on the link to discover who Little Critter's Mom was.) I read snooty food blogs, lifehacker, and like geekery, and usually relish it.

But part of me hates the snarky modernist. I want to grow my own food, educate my own children, follow the God that's been in my heart since adolescence, eschew cable tv and video games and even Dora and Elmo. After laughing at Dutch's vitriol over the homeschoolers, I click right on over to another regular read--a homeschooling mom of 6 in Canada who writes the most beautiful and honest reflections I've ever seen about living life as a mother devoted to Christ. I soak up the wisdom in her writing, and it dissolves away some of the cynicism and arched-eyebrowness that comes from the snarkers.

Then I click over to my Wiccan teacher friend in Hawaii who writes beautifully about her dogs and her knitting projects. And then over to another Wiccan, a mom of a toddler in Virginia who lives with very little so that she can live deeply and richly with her son, giving him a world of hikes and flowers and friendly wolves instead of days of shuttling between a harried home and a chaotic daycare experience. And then over to my favorite snappy shopping blog, who gives me tips on where to find great stuff dirt cheap-- even as I'm contemplating how much less we could live with if we just tried.

I am all of these perspectives, but also a critic of all of these perspectives. I love parts of each and every one of them, but am fairly sure that, were we to need to be slotted into a particular "type," that I would fit in none of their respective compartments-- and possibly even be welcome at none of their dinner parties, because so many of my other sensibilities would not be shared there.

Perhaps this is some of what's sparking this question inside me: We have good friends here that are enthusiastically environmental and naturalistic in their viewpoints. I love those friends and in many ways love their viewpoints. But something in me can't commit to sharing them wholeheartedly. I am a skeptic of all things. I can listen with great interest as they mention their hatred of Wal-Mart, their refusal to vaccinate their children, their distrust of traditional medicine. But I can't join the bandwagon without tangible proof. Can anybody give me something to read that proves that Wal-Mart is worse than other corporate entities they're buying from instead-- not just bigger? (And why shop at Sam's when you drive to the bigger towns, if you don't like Wal-Mart?) Has any reputable source published anything about the dangers of vaccination, when the dangers of NOT vaccinating a society's children are so great? I want to ask these questions because I really would like to know their answers. But I don't want to seem like a prick, so I don't-- and feel myself a little withdrawn as a result.

Our church, which contains some of those good friends, is also full of older generations of a decidedly more conservative order-- Christians whose worlds are more black and white than mine, who would never dream of voting Democrat for any reason, who think that questioning the 7-day Creation account in Genesis is essentially questioning the validity of all of Scripture and even the Gospel itself. These are sweet, hearty, wonderful, loving, good people, and some of them helped shape my faith when I first came to God. I am honored to have them in my life. But my world is much more murky and uncertain than that, and I'm not sure I could return to that purity of perspective even if I wanted to.

My husband is one of those people who cannot help but speak his mind on almost everything. He'll challenge almost anyone's viewpoint, argue or debate if necessary, lay his own perspective out on the line before he knows what the other person believes at all. I sometimes admire this and sometimes think it's insane, but regardless, I have never been able to imitate it. You probably won't know my opinion unless you ask me outright. This is sometimes wise and safe, and sometimes overcautious, I know.

Apparently I am unclassifiable. Too conservative to be a hippie, too liberal to be a conservative. Too environmentally conscious to run around consuming thoughtlessly, but a bit too skeptical to believe every eco-rumor that gets passed down from a friend or natural foods store worker, and unwilling to modify my life for something I'm not sure of. So I end up with friends (and reads) in each camp, sampling from everyone, enthusiastic about everyone, and utterly unable to stake a tent in any one location.

It's odd, and I think it's part of what makes me always a little lonely. But isn't everyone always a little lonely?

Dark night.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


Here I am, sitting in the dark at your feet, miserable. I pour out my heart to you, because you are my refuge, my shelter, my mother hen. I know you know it all already, but still I do it-- even wondering why you find this precious, when none of it is new to you at all.

The two deeply interested buyers from June on our downtown house have not panned out. One simply lost interest, for reasons unkown-- "the house will not suit our needs at this time." (Assuming that our realtor's trustworthy and didn't fabricate the buyer at the end of May to get us to extend our contract. We're beginning to wonder about that, as it's happened repeatedly as the contract has expired and been renewed over the past few months.) Another has waffled all through last month-- about to make an offer, about to make a rent-to-purchase offer, about to make an offer again. Not one piece of paper has been offered-- nothing official, nothing written, just an array of questions, stated intentions, and long silences inbetween. Torturous. On Sunday we gave our realtor one more week with the house, to see if he could bring forth something from this man. It's Thursday night. Nothing so far.

That it itself makes me heartsick.

The other house's current tenants agreed to send us $5000 as a deposit on their purchase of the house in return for keeping the house for them for a month-- on May 23. We agreed, but didn't receive that check until June 26-- and their financing still hasn't come through for them to buy the house.

But thirty minutes ago, I checked our bank balance on our Orlando accounts. I deposited the deposit check before the holiday; it's bounced. We also haven't received July's rent yet, which they are supposed to pay us if the house didn't close in June (and it didn't, obviously).

I know we extended a certain risky amount of faith and good will to them in this. But they want the house, they're doing their best to find the financing, and we love the idea of helping someone buy the home that would otherwise have trouble buying one. Have we been monumentally stupid to trust them, to think that you'd want us to help them?

I really, really, REALLY need some indication that you are looking out for our interests, God. I cannot believe that you would lead us out of Orlando and then let us waste away financially. It does not make sense to me, does not match what I know of You in my life. Our bank accounts are spent, our tax return has been doled out to the mortgage companies, and we are at the end of our resources here.

I am not afraid of being poor, of making less than even Husband did when he was in ministry. We can work within that; many good people do, and live happy and righteous lives. But I do mind being financially ruined by houses that we bought as we tried to follow Your lead. That does not feel just to me.

(And I think of upright Job, and tremble. He never got an explanation for his financial and personal ruin, but the ruin came. Please, God, do not Job our life. I could not bear it as he did.)

I sit here thinking of my sweet, good husband, hopefully sleeping in our bed across the hall right now. If I tell him what's happened, he will not sleep tonight (as he did not last night, worrying about these things even without that terrifying bounced check). I cannot imagine sleeping next to him knowing about that without telling him. (I know I need to sleep, so I'll go lie down and feel the weight of this on me until I go unconscious; and I'll tell him in the morning, so at least he'll have a little rest tonight.) And so I'm stuck here, typing something to You that you already know, which feels somewhat absurd, and yet what else can I do?

My heart, God, it breaks. I am tired of breathing in and breathing out and waiting for houses to sell. Houses sell for other people, other people leaving Orlando for the same reasons we did, but they do not sell for us. Why is that? It's getting hard to continue breathing in faith. The alternative-- an asphyxiation of my hope, a panic of not having trust and not choosing to believe without seen evidence-- is too hard to contemplate. But the breathing, that's getting very hard too.

Where else can I go, but to Your feet, and sit here with tears blurring the screen and a bitter grapefruit lump in my throat and our total helplessness spread out before you like a pitiful offering?

It's all I can offer, my dependence and sorrow. I hope it's acceptable to you. I hope too that you choose to have mercy on us.

Please don't Job me. But even more, please don't Job my dear sweet husband. He is so tired, God. We need to see your hand at work. We've seen it before, in amazing ways.

Please hear me. Please do something. I sit here with my eyes downcast. There is nowhere else for me to go.

trouble underfoot, but not for long.

Friday, June 29, 2007

The floors we paid over $2000 to have refinished have had us a little stressed. Especially in the entry hall and the kitchen. They’re... spotty. Not shiny, or even sheeny, where water’s touched them repeatedly. If you spill grape juice or something greasy in the kitchen, it’s going to soak in and leave a spot that doesn’t completely come up.

As you know, this is not the way newly finished floors should be acting. We've been living with these for four months, eyeing the mess daily, mopping at it periodically, feeling a little sick.

The guy whose company refinished our floors is a local from Jasper—a real born-and-bred mountain guy. He’s over six foot four, booming, hyper, full of smiles. I instinctively trusted him on sight. His team worked hard, finished quickly, packed up and moved out like pros. He’s refinished floors in several historic hotels in the area—and at the home of the owners of Arkansas Products. I’m pretty sure he’s top notch.

But our sad floors—blotchy, stainy, ugly. Especially in front of the sink in the kitchen. We stressed and fretted. He promised to come back to take a look and fix problems, but seemed slow to get around to it. I stressed, first inwardly and then outwardly, about my conflict between my trust in this man’s integrity and reputation, and my husband’s (and my) unhappiness with our two-thousand-dollar floors.

I didn’t realize how much it was bothering me until tonight, when we finally touched base with him and got some additional clarification: The urethane he used was a bad batch. He’s had to redo fifteen houses in the past few months. He’ll be coming back, buffing every single board in every room we had refinished, and refinishing them. The splotches and stains and etc. will all go away.

When Husband came into the kitchen to tell me what he’d learned, I burst into tears and cried for a few minutes. Yes, I’m pregnant, and that’s part of the emotional outburst.

But it was so nice to know that this unpleasant waiting, this one of several in our life right now, is going to have a pleasant and just ending. No wrangling, no arguments with the workmen. They’re going to make it all better.

SUCH relief—even though it’s just old floors.

One small step forward...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

After dinner tonight, while we parents were tidying up and the wee one was running about underfoot undermining our efforts with Tupperware distribution, I spotted her squatting with an earnest look in her face.

"Pot." she said seriously, looking straight at me. "Pot."

And for a second I didn't get it, but then I remembered her preference for shortening all words to one syllable whenever possible, and realized what that squat meant. "You want to use the potty?" I asked breathlessly.

Serious nod yes. (Such a serious little girl I have-- fun loving, and mischievous, but also grave and always observing, always trying to figure things out, to be Right about things.)

Immediate transfer to the bathroom, where a fairly wet diaper was hastily removed, and a little girl sat gravely on the toilet for a few moments. We were a bit too late, but she recognized what she was doing in her diaper, and asked for the potty. You bet I let that gal flush the toilet anyway and wash her hands afterwards (both of which she loves).

She's peed and pooped on the toilet for my mom, but never for me. I count the request, though, as considerable progress.

We're crossing our fingers and praying to NOT have two in diapers this November...

It does happen.

Another doctor's visit today. Weight gain slight (that's good), blood pressure good, baby heartbeat strong and audible. Eighteen weeks along tomorrow.

And I breezed through the appointment, chatty, few questions, and not a single worry in my head about whether all those routine diagnostics would turn out fine or not.

It wasn't until later this afternoon that I remembered that these things are miracles, that something like 25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, and that not every birth turns out just fine. I've been struck repeatedly by that fact in the past couple of weeks because of those two women's stories-- one a new read, one a journal I've been reading for years and years. I find it very interesting that my empathetic soul, hurting along with these women, found it easy to not connect their agony to my own pregnancy. Is that a defense mechanism? Denial? Or perhaps a safe emotional distance?

Our first, our Bird, was just fine despite arriving a month early. The pregnancy was momentous to me but uneventful as far as pregnancies go. So far, this one has been uneventful as well-- I sometimes forget I'm pregnant, I feel so well these days.

Without becoming paranoid about the possibility of this changing at any moment, I want to remember and recognize what a tremendous (and tremulous) gift that is.

big news-- a little one.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Okay, here’s the deal. I’m just going to cut to the chase, and quit trying to find time to compose the perfect post to record the news. Weeks have passed while I’ve wistfully thought about having time to do some “real writing” on this subject. Weeks that I’ll not have back, and the weeks ahead don’t look to be any less busy. So out with it, already.

We’re expecting another babushka. Another wee little smidgen of a creature, due to arrive just a couple of weeks after the Bird turns two. A baby, to be clear about the matter. We were a little shocked (not a lot—we do understand how these things happen, after all), but mostly we’re just thrilled. I'm just past the twelve week mark, and feeling the nausea lift and some of the exhaustion fade away. It sure is good to be on this side of the first trimester.

Okay, and a little scared. I’m scared about handling a newborn and my little delight of a toddler, who’s so much fun right now. About being able to raise her well while also raising an infant—about making sure that she learns to behave in public, eat with her own spoon, come when she’s called, sing the rest of the ABC song—while my hands and boobs are full of baby duty. Already I get twinges in my stomach when I pick her up and hold her in my arms for more than a minute or two. How can I explain to her that I won’t be able to do that much longer? I’m sure her neverending fascination with babies will transfer to her new sister or brother, and that she'll love the baby—but will she get what she needs from me (and her Dad) as well?

...Of course she will, the rational part of my brain says. People raise kids two years apart all the time. They grow up just great. It’ll all work out. And then my worrybrain overrides and frets anyway. (sigh)

...But a bit of rational thinking helps me restore some equilibrium, when I remember to apply it. I live in the same town with my mother—and now, my sister, who’s returned to her hometown to start a new life here, just like us. And that grandmother and that aunt will be all too eager to help us when we feel a little overwhelmed—or even when we don’t. (They already take Bird for sleepovers at least once a week, just for fun.) And that is a luxury that almost no family has—to have two women (and a grandpapa) on hand, itching to help. I know we’ll be fine.

And another baby. Night wakings, burpings, that amazing smell in the folds of a baby’s neck. A sweet weight snuggled against me in the sling... tiny little hands grasping my fingers. I cannot wait to meet this little one. Gal or guy, it is going to be wonderful. Having already experienced it once just makes me all the more anxious.

So that's my news, the revelation that's rocked my world for the last month and a half. Here we go again...

Quoting a quote. Recording a thought.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

from Anne Lamott-

My priest friend Tom Weston says that God's will for each of us is to have a
life. "And it is up to us to go and get one. Find some work, some love, some
play. Taste things. Be of service. Feed the hungry and clean the beaches and
clothe the naked and work for justice. Love God, love your neighbor. Help build
a world where it is safe to be a child, and where it is safe to grow old. And
love cats, and the occasional dog." I think this pretty much says it.
I periodically return to this pondering-- the living of an "ordinary" Christian life instead of a high-rollin' Full Time Ministry lifestyle. It is a beautiful thing to us-- though still uneasy at times-- to put ourselves at His feet with the rest of humanity, without the special status and influence that comes from being a vital part of a church (as volunteers or staff).

One of ye olde pastors wrote my husband recently, asking for his take on our Orlando experience and whether there were hard feelings. It gave us a few weeks of intermittent pondering, prayer, and struggle. (Truthfully, the struggle was mostly my husband's-- as Wife, I was an am essentially a nonentity to these men; my opinion has never been a matter of interest.) What do you say, when the four years there were four years of conflict, drama, power plays, strife, and galling unlove? He implied that we should feel warm and fuzzy and peaceful and want to go on fishing trips with him, and that he sensed that maybe that wasn't true, and that troubled him.

Bizarre. We spent years trying to share our concerns, our needs, our panic, with our leaders. He acts like it's all a mystery to him. I'm all for forgiving everyone involved, and will continue to do that (it is a process, I admit). But no fishing trips or warm fuzzies are going to be forthcoming to assauge anyone's sense of guilt. Simply put, your church, under your leadership, was a nightmare for us.

My husband wrote a beautiful, measured response last night and sent it, and I hope (but doubt) it closes the discussion. Quoting it here would certainly get me into trouble, so I won't. But I am tremendously proud of him for the way that he said those things.

And tremendously glad that we're saying them from here, rather than being embroiled in the drama there.

too long it's been, young jedi.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Yeah, yeah, I know. It has been a long time...

It's midnight, I drank coffee at 8 pm, and it looks like I'm in for some insomnia as a result.

Good time for some catchin' up, I suppose.

New Old House:
We love living alone again. The house is not as expensive to heat as we'd feared (ie as my father had direly predicted). It's an enormous project, overwhelming at times, but we love it. The yard is full of flowers and lilac bushes and an enormous arching dogwood (blooming now) that takes my breath away every time I see it. We have a small problem with the refinishing job on the wood floors, one I need to schedule a visit about this week. Oh, and our renter's insurance was mysteriously cancelled by State Farm last week. But that should be easily fixed or replaced.

Someday, I'll write about what I learned last week about its original builders-- a childless couple who owned a hardware store on the square. But I want to save that to be written well, as it deserves.

She is amazing. Talking a little, running around like a banshee, full of fun and mischief and will. Her favorite things are watching the Sesame Street Old School DVD episodes, taking baths, eating just about anything, and most especially running around outside and getting dirty. I am a little toddler-tired, and beginning the season of Weathering Tantrums Without Giving In, but so thankful and blessed every day that I get to spend my life with her. She is a wonder.

Orlando Houses:
Hooboy, not good. Our downtown home is still for sale. We thought we had a workable offer last week, but the offerers had misunderstood or misrepresented their financing qualifications. Our financial belt is tight, and getting tighter. Our tenants seem unable to buy the other house, and will be leaving at the end of their lease May 31. (They say they could have the money together by the end of June, but if they're wrong, that would ensure that we miss the best season for house-selling almost completely, and they're $40,000 short at this point. They've had a year to get their finances in order for this, and they haven't done it. I don't know what to do other than follow through with the deadlines we set, which means that they need to get ready to move out.) Which means their last rent payment comes in this week. Which instills a bit of panic in my breast, at the thought of having two houses for sale. We're sweating. But our best bet is to get that house ready and sell it early in the summer.

The downtown house is a big question mark right now. Why hasn't it sold? It's beautiful. We may drop our price again (we dropped it last month, which generated a lot of interest but no offers) and see if we can just get out of this. It's cost us so much money it makes me ill.

I hate feeling like we made a bad decision when we bought that house. It was a very good idea if we were going to stay in Orlando, which we believed we were at that point. But a year later, we'd decided to leave, and now, a year later than that, it's still up for sale. I worry that God's trying to teach us something, that we're not depending enough upon Him or displeasing Him and causing Him to not act on our behalf. Then I remind myself that that kind of secret blackballing is not the God I know, not the God that has been so good to me in my lifetime. I fret, I stew, I stay up too late at night worrying. Like this.

Enough said. Onward.

My attendance at a water aerobics class faded away with the move, and now that we're not residents at my parents' house, it would cost me $40/month to resume. Can't afford it. I'm trying to hoof Bird about in the stroller a few times a week, trying to do an exercise video occasionally, trying to eat well. Doing fine, I guess, but I feel less empowered about my health and shape these days. Oh, and we do all have health insurance again, which is good for one's peace of mind-- Husband in particular had been without for about two years. So, we survived that little gamble, thank God.

Just lovely, greying a bit about the muzzle and sleeping more as she gets older. Eight and a half years now-- easing toward old age. Peeing and sniffing all over her 1.8 acres with abandon whenever she's allowed outside. (Need to build a fence to better protect our two Outdoor Gals when our finances stabilize.)

...Assuming they do stabilize. (Back to money again.)

This is a long season of bated breath and trying to be assured of what's hoped for and unseen at this point.

He has always been faithful to us. I dislike the doubt that creeps into my heart over this. We truly have made the best decisions we knew how to make as we moved here.

So we wait, and try to feel out what our next move should be. Trying to be full of faith, not anxious, believing that whole Romans 8:28 thing.

It's getting harder as the weeks drag on, though.

Oh, to be in O-town again...

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Well, it's finally happened-- something makes me long with all my heart to be in Florida this week.

Best of luck to our little buddy in his public debut. My husband had a great (if sometimes bewildering) time teaching him guitar while we were there.

I always wanted to see that restaurant, too.

Good thing my beliefs don't determine my hairstyle.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

You scored as Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan. You are an evangelical in the Wesleyan tradition. You believe that God's grace enables you to choose to believe in him, even though you yourself are totally depraved. The gift of the Holy Spirit gives you assurance of your salvation, and he also enables you to live the life of obedience to which God has called us. You are influenced heavly by John Wesley and the Methodists.

Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan


Reformed Evangelical






Neo orthodox


Roman Catholic




Classical Liberal


Modern Liberal


What's your theological worldview?
created with QuizFarm.com

...What's funny is that the results indicate I'm more Reformed than my husband, which we both know is not true. Other than that, not much of it interests me. Pretty simplistic quiz for the complexity of the results, in my opinion.

The ripping out of carpet has finished. The wood floors have been refinished and are beautiful. We're painting windows and baseboards and door frames. I'm sore and very tired of being so busy. We've decreed that, once we move in, no home projects will be attempted for at least a month.

But even in my exhaustion, I am excited. A home again!

Not quite dead yet.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Hi, I'm not dead. Just wanted you to know.

My mom retired, my babe switched from two naps to one, and suddenly there's less time for writing during the day. Also, I'm knitting sweaters for babies like one obsessed, which takes up evening time that isn't spent working. Also, I've been ripping carpet and ancient linoleum out of a 90-year-0ld house with my bare hands.

(No, we don't own it yet. I'm a house-half-bought optimist.-- get it? Glass-half-full? Oh, never mind.)

So this little spot's being neglected.

But not forever. I'll be back in a week, maybe less. I semi-promise.

Thrumming. Caveat. Family. Poverty.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

I should be working right now.

Instead, I'm sitting here thrumming inside, thinking about all that still needs to be done to get us into the house. Much to do, many inspections to schedule, money to be obtained and spent.
But, oh-- to have my own house again. To make my own coffee in my own mug and sit on my own front porch and drink it. Utter bliss.
I'm a little nervous about my New Year's post. I won't take it back, and I'm not sure I want to delete it, but I do worry that it's possible for people to find it who might be hurt by it. I truly don't want to hurt anybody. But the vast internet can be a small place sometimes.

So, you: you who have read it, have some connection to the situation described, and are hurt or shocked or similarly affected:

Please ask me questions before you make assumptions about what you read.
(You know what happens when you assume, after all. And who wants to be one of those? Not me. And not you.)

Happy thoughts tonight:

We moved when the bird was just five months old. Bird's grandparents saw her first steps, heard her first words, fed her her first cookies. They will help teach her to read, help teach her to garden, and teach her the value of family.

She has a great cloud of family surrounding her-- from both her dad's and her mom's side. Every few weeks, she gets to visit (or be visited by) a cousin, an aunt or uncle, or other family. As she grows up, she'll not just hear about how much she is loved by her family-- she will experience it. I won't be telling her stories about her extended family-- her extended family will. She'll know their faces, their voices, their laughs-- not just their pictures-- by heart.

I know not all babies are as blessed, and not all families are conducive to this kind of joy in relationship-- but she has a wonderful thing going here. And the brother or sister (or multiples thereof) that follow will enjoy the same blessings.

Even with all the upheaval, financial stress, and life-reordering, I would still do it again in a heartbeat for even half of the benefits we're receiving because of it. I am, in a sense, deeply thankful for all the hurt and betrayal and conflict and disenchantment and misunderstanding we've experienced-- because it has led us back here.

Isn't that amazing. God intended it all for good-- for the most wonderful, rich, amazing good.


My husband went a-thrifting today and came back a little dismayed by the poverty he saw-- using thrift stores, not as a source for hipster fashion, but as a source for basic needs.

There are many families who live desperate and isolated lives here, especially out in the mountains. I know that poverty existed in Orlando, but something about the layout of its neighborhoods isolated and hid the need there. We were insulated from all the hurting people. They had their own grocery stores, their own parks, their own missions and churches.
Here, the need walks right past you at wal-mart, or bumps into you while you're hitting the garage sales. It's a bit disorienting, just like the men in overalls were the first night we arrived and stopped at Walgreens.

Or maybe the better word would be "reorienting."

I hope that there's something we'll be able to do to help.


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Hmm. Linky links:

This recent post, from a favorite blog.

And this, about a commitment I've been interested in all through 2006.

And this.

I know I can't buy nothing new, since we'll be moving into a new house.

But how close could I come to it?


Happy New Year.

Monday, January 01, 2007

My husband and I are not big resolution types, but here's one that we have lying around on hand for just such an occasion.

From this year forward, we strive to be unremarkable, ordinary, unworthy, unobserved Christians. No more fronting Jesus Rock Bands for hundreds of screaming fans. No more speaking at retreats. No more breezy PR newsletters to financial supporters full of carefully chosen (and excluded) details about the remarkable results of our Life In Ministry.

(What would those newsletters have looked like if we'd been honest? In a nutshell: "We aren't getting full paychecks, and couldn't live on them if we were. My wife is having panic attacks, and our leaders could care less as long as I'm still productive in my church work. Speaking of those leaders, I am being manipulated and lied to by men that I thought were my friends and role models. Our church just committed to a building that is going to cost it its financial security and become an idol to be worshipped and sacrificed to. That same hipster church makes most of its members feel unhip and unwanted. Many of the mature members are leaving, leaving mostly spiritual babies behind. We're finding it difficult to do our jobs-- draw people into a church-- that grosses us out. We're standing up for what we believe is balance and truth, and we know it's going to risk our career in ministry-- and also our future, because now I'm having my own anxiety attacks that dwarf my wife's by comparison, my blood pressure is through the roof, and my health is shot to hell." Hooboy, would those have been interesting reading.)

Back to that resolution. We want to learn contentment-- no, joy-- in living out the gospel daily without a Master Plan of Spectacular Results-- or a spiritual heirarchy above us doling out approval or disapproval based on our usefulness to its own Master Plan. We will be love, salt, light to the "least of these" even (and especially) if it will not advance our own causes, popularity, power, or sense of piety.

...From Jim Palmer. I haven't read his book, but I'll likely check it out after seeing this:
“God has been trying to free me from the burden of doing something spectacular for him. It has a way of distracting you from the opportunities to be salt and light where you are…I’m starting to recognize that I am immersed in a sea of hurting people every day. If I simply pay attention and follow the promptings of the Spirit in all these little ways, my life is ‘ministry.’” What is at the bottom of our need to do some “great” thing for God? Why do we tend to discount or not value how God works through us along the everyday paths of life?

Hoorah for the everyday dirt paths. No more spiritual tollways for us-- the price is just too high.