Sunday, February 27, 2011

papa's house

We spent a week visiting my parents in Idaho. In Eli's eyes, the sun rises and sets on Papa. For weeks leading up to our visit, Eli would tell any available pair of ears all about his Papa's house, where the following things exist: cars, trucks, coffee, a waterfall, candy canes, Grandma, cookies, and a race car bed.

We got to enjoy some surprise snow while we were in town, and the boys loved playing in my sister's giant yard. My dear, devoted dad pulled them around and around on his old wooden sled. Luke seemed a little nonplussed by it all, but then again, Luke often seems unimpressed by the world. He wears a funny expression a lot of the time that seems to say, "What else have you got?"

My dad, who is awesome in many ways, is particularly great at building things for his grandsons. The bookcase in Eli's bedroom, the race car bed, a giant wooden hippo (don't ask), and this time, a real wooden soapbox car. The kids were over the moon about having a real racecar to "drive" around the neighborhood.

As much as I love my children (and parents), for me, the highlight of the week was leaving them for three days to hole up in a cabin with six of my dearest friends. Four of us have been friends from birth, and all of us from early childhood. We have seen each other through every imaginable stage of growing up, and share an extraordinary bond. These girls have loved me through every awkward, obnoxious, and painful season of my life, and I know how unique it is to still have their friendship. The rare occasions when we can all gather together for a weekend away are precious beyond words.

I love having a home to go home to. I am thankful for parents who are joyfully married after forty-plus years, for the quiet little town that never changes beyond recognition, and for the sweet relationships that still tie me to it. I have roots, deep roots, and I love them.

15 things - whoa, i am behind

I've been awol for two weeks, so I'm just slightly behind on my great 15 days of blogging. Let's just pick up where I left off, with...

Day 10 - Songs I listen to when I am:

Happy - anything that helps me tell my Savior how glad I am to be His. I love the song "I'm Singing" by Kari Jobe. And "You Are My Joy" by David Crowder Band (must turn up VERY loud). And "Happy" by Aiesha Woods, if I want to dance around to a really cheesy song.

Sad - Hmm... not the songs I should listen to. I like to indulge my melancholy side once in awhile. I think the technical term is "wallow." Lately my favorite sad sack song is "Blood Bank" by Bon Iver, but also every other Death Cab for Cutie song.

Bored - I literally cannot remember the last time I was bored. Exhausted, yes. Maybe listless, but only if I'm avoiding my mile-long list of things to do. If I ever find myself bored again, I'll break out the Hallelujah Chorus.

Hyped - I really don't know what that's supposed to mean. But, on those rare occasions when a run feels really, really good, and I feel really, really energized and pumped about how good it feels (and how totally awesome I probably look doing it), I bust out one of my current favorites - Pumped Up Kicks by Foster the People. Seriously, you must find it, and listen to it, and love it. It's streets ahead, people.

Mad - I don't usually listen to music if I'm mad about something. The imaginary conversations I'm having with the object of my anger tend to be pretty distracting.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

15 things - days 7, 8, 9

Day 7- A picture of someone/something that has had the biggest impact on you

These little people have changed my life in every way possible, for the very best.

Day 8- Short term goals for this month and why

1. Roast a whole chicken. Because I've always wanted to try it. Because on Top Chef they are always roasting chickens and talking about how amazing the the crispy browned skin is. Because I envision the whole process: glass of wine, favorite cooking music, the deep satisfaction I get from chopping fresh herbs, and the even deeper satisfaction of making something absolutely delicious.

2. Run three miles with at least one kid in the stroller. To date, I've managed two, with serious concern for my cardiovascular health. I can do 6, maybe 7 by myself, so it seems ridiculous.

3. Get my garage under control. It's still half full of boxes, most of them rummaged through and left for dead. It's a nightmare.

Day 9- Something you're proud of in the past few days

I cooked the chicken! And guess what? Chicken skin, no matter how crispy and brown, makes me want to puke. Also, I couldn't hear my favorite cooking music over the mind-numbing whine and wail of my two-year-old, who hates dinner-making time in a violent way. But the chicken itself was delicious, so, WIN.

a servant heart

On Friday, I had the privilege of taking part in our church's annual Women's Night of Prayer. This year, 650 women came together to pray, worship, and seek the Lord for six hours straight, from midnight to 6 a.m. It's an amazing time, and without a doubt, the world is changed because of it.

I had signed up to help out, expecting to be asked to help set up or clean up, or maybe greet at the door. Instead, I was asked to be on "the kitchen team." Now, you have to know that at our church, nothing is done halfway. The midnight breakfast served at this event isn't just bagels and fruit. It's bagels and fruit, and biscuits and gravy, and scrambled eggs, and homemade cinnamon rolls dripping in caramel sauce, and bowl after bowl of munchies, and... you get the picture. We are seriously spoiled. So being asked to help prep, serve, and clean up meant missing most, if not all of the event.

I was torn. Actually, I wasn't torn. I didn't want to do it. I decided to ignore the email and pray about it. So I prayed, "Lord, I don't want to do this. Tell me I don't have to, okay?" Or something along those lines.

After asking Him many, many times, He answered: "If you have to keep asking, I think you have your answer. If you want to be a servant, start serving."

You see, I've prayed for years for more of a servant's heart. Sure, I serve. I joyfully pour myself out for my family. I'm happy to bring dinner to a friend with a new baby. I'm glad to spend a few extra hours at church to help with Sunday School twice a month. But give me an opportunity to serve that presents the teensiest inconvenience, and I'm out.

I realized that this was just such a "feet to faith" opportunity. I said yes, but to be honest, I struggled with my attitude all week. I like to be in the mix. I hate the feeling of missing out. I imagined myself scrubbing dishes in the kitchen, hearing faint strains of worship and feeling hugely bummed that I wasn't a part of it.

As I was fretting and stewing about it, God brought me to Philippians 2:14: "Do everything without complaining or arguing." The ESV puts it as, "Do all things without grumbling or questioning." (I know this verse well, as I recite it to my son about a kajillion times a week.) It certainly applied to my attitude. I was complaining about the calling, questioning whether I should really obey.

Fortunately, when God shows us where we fail, He also shows us how to be better. God taught me that my obedience was empty if my attitude was rotten. He took me back to last year, when I staggered into the Night of Prayer needing to soak up every ounce of love and wisdom and presence I could possibly get, and how I was absolutely lavished with love. And He showed me how, in so many ways since then, He's been equipping me to pour out the same love onto someone else.

And so, by His grace, I marched into that kitchen armed with a new, humble, thankful heart. I took on Colossians 2:23 as my mantra: "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as unto the Lord." I wrestled frozen sausages, mopped up spilled juice, refilled coffee, and scrubbed dirty dishes with a deep-down joyful spirit. A few times during the night, as I listened to the beautiful worship of so many Godly women, that "Aw, man" attitude started to creep back in. And each time, I surrendered that emotion, and joined right in the singing.

I know there are people who are naturally servants. I see them all the time, or don't see them, as they work tirelessly behind the scenes, out of the spotlight, in whatever way they are called. I am not one of those people. But I want that kind of heart. And so God, in his loving, gentle way, is building one for me.

Oh, and one more thing. Find the person who cleans the coffee pots after church each Sunday, and thank them. Profusely.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

15 things - days 5, 6

Day 5: A picture of somewhere I've been

I love this picture, although it makes me long for the days of spontaneous travel, available credit, and skinny legs. Florida was a favorite destination when we lived in Indianapolis. Tickets were cheap, and it was a great escape for us poor landlocked beach lovers. Our favorite spot to visit was the Fort Myers area, and we loved to drive out to Sanibel Island and comb its famous beaches.

Day 6: My favorite superhero and why


I got nothing.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

15 things - day 3

So, today should be a picture of me as a child. I have the ultimate picture, but I have to find it. And find the cord to the scanner. Which hasn't been located since we moved. So, it might happen on day 15. But when it does, it will be epic.

I'll do day 4 instead: A habit I wish I didn't have.

I have a number of bad habits, or at least annoying, non-productive habits. But the one that's really bugging me lately is my bedtime routine. I used to read actual books before bed, but lately I've been addicted to catching up on a number of blogs before I can go to sleep. I might be struggling to keep my eyes open, but I just can't put the phone down. And they aren't important, character-building blogs, either. They're pretty much useless crap. So thank you, Steve Jobs. You've ruined my literacy.

Friday, February 4, 2011


Poor, poor Lucas B.

This little darling has so suffered from Second Kid Syndrome. Even in utero, he got the short end of the stick. He was my percocet baby, because when you have migraines every day and a toddler to care for, you take drugs. Well, I did.

The first year of Lucas' life passed by in a complete blur. I struggled so much just to function with two kids. I didn't spend hours on end laying on the couch, just holding my baby (like I did with Eli). Couple that with the fact that Lucas, from a very early age, was a non-cuddler. He loved to be held, but hated to be held close and snuggled. He wanted to be upright and looking out. And as soon as he was mobile, he took off and never looked back.

So it has taken me by enormous surprise to realize that my sweet little baby boy is suddenly a toddler. I blinked, and suddenly he was rounding the bend to two. Talking non-stop (although, still can't understand a word he says), catching a ball, asking for labels (window? outside? cow? - which all sound like "flargaflafel"), and exercising his considerable sense of humor. He's already a little comedian and will do anything for a laugh.

For the longest time, Lucas refused to be read to - wouldn't sit still for a book if you paid him to. One night a few weeks ago, he brought me a book, sat in my lap, and opened it up. He sat for the whole book! Then he brought another one! My little teacher heart went flippy floppy and I immediately upgraded his educational potential from community college to Ivy League. And, just as I suspected, as I read more with him, he is finally making some actual words. The cow says "Boo," by the way.

I know that as mommies, we don't like to pretend that feel the same way about one of our children as the next. But the truth is, I felt kind of disconnected from Lucas for a long time. He was a needy baby and has the most obnoxious whine you've ever heard. He wasn't hard to love, he just wasn't as easy to
like as Eli had been. So the best part of Luke's transformation into a toddler is that I like him so much better. Is that terrible? Well, it's true. I feel closer to him, more connected, and enjoy being with him more than I ever did when he was a baby. He is fast developing his own personality, and I love getting to know him as a little person. He's silly, funny, intelligent, and very lovey. Now, he loves to cuddle, and I can't get enough.

I do, however, worry a bit if we have a third kid. What does third kid syndrome look like - I call him "Three" and stick him in his crib with a hamster feeder?

15 things - day 2

The meaning behind my blog name:

This blog is a work in progress. I'm a work in progress. That's about it.

How boring.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

15 things - day 1

A recent picture of me:

I love that kid.

15 "interesting" things about me. I use the word "interesting" loosely.

1. I have a serious ice cream habit. If it gets in my head, I cannot not get some.
2. I can't go to sleep without reading
3. I'm not nearly as fit as I look with my clothes on.
4. I have very detailed, specific daydreams about furniture.
5. I know all fifty state capitols. It doesn't help me out in life AT ALL.
6. I really want a daughter but I think my life is going to be all boys.
7. I don't enjoy playing with babies.
8. My favorite animal is an otter.
9. I'm great at starting projects and terrible at following them through.
10. My ultimate dream vacation destination is the Seychelles Islands.
11. I tend to be late, flaky, and forgetful. I try to make up for it with my charm and wit.
12. I'm exhausted, and I can't think of anything else. So, 11 interesting things about me.

the spacious place

Yesterday was a Bad Day.

Nothing particularly bad happened, but the whole day was rotten. I felt terrible, with a migraine and a sick stomach, and a bad reaction to some medicine that left me feeling groggy and achy and pitiful. I needed my children to be silent and still. They weren't. Every noise, every bang or crash or yell or cry or whine produced within a fifty-foot range was instantly on my nerves. I was short-tempered and ungracious. And no matter how many times I took a deep breath, asked God to change my attitude and put a guard over my mouth, it didn't take. You know how sometimes, your child is just kind of a pill, for no good reason? Yesterday, that was me.

It didn't get any better, and I put the kids to bed cranky, and Eli was up SIX TIMES during the night with the most ridiculous "needs" (I saw a baby squirrel in my room! I need a tissue for my boogie nose! You made me feel sad yesterday!). At one point I actually sat down on the edge of the bathtub (during his third middle-of-the-night attempt to poop), and started bawling. "You're not letting me sleeeeeep!!" I wailed. To my three-year-old.

But this morning, as I dragged my weary self out of bed and hauled Eli off to school, I was reminded of a favorite verse in 2 Samuel:
"He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delights in me." It dawned on me that, seemingly out of nowhere, I feel better.

I'd been walking through this dark, dry, desert place for so long, believing and knowing that God was working, but not feeling it. I knew that eventually, he would bring my emotions and sense of well-being into alignment with the truth he was teaching me - that how I feel would catch up with what I know. And you know what? He has! I am beginning to see the fruit of all he has been doing. I am actually able to look back - which means, I have moved forward. Out of the desert.
He has brought me out into a spacious place. I can breathe. I can rejoice. Heck, I can dance like a crazy person. There's plenty of room.