Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Hebrew Final

I have been so busy over the past few days working on papers and the like I kind of forgot about my Hebrew final exam tomorrow. Until last night when I was going to bed and realized it was just one day away. I started to freak out a little bit because Paul has a 12 hour shift today. How am I ever going to prepare. Then there is this whole business of the two exams I have to take on Thursday which I haven't even thought about.

Then from somewhere, grace. Grace with my self. I made it to the Hebrew final exam. That's a heck of a lot further than I made it the last time I attempted Hebrew and I did it with a toddler. From the start my goal has been to merely pass Hebrew. I think I understand enough to pass the exam which will in turn mean I have passed the class. I will be spending a good portion of today working on Hebrew so that I might do better than passing.

I am grateful to have made it this far into Hebrew with out much trouble. I am even more grateful for the grace that found me this morning. 


May you be blessed in this busy season with finding grace for yourself.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Have Grace

Friends have grace with me as I write through a current struggle. You see I am in the middle of my final exam week. I have three exams to prepare for and two final papers to write. As of this moment I have one paper near completion and that's it. Paul has a work schedule that has him on for ten days straight during my exams which means I have to work my study schedule around his work schedule and it isn't working because after a long day of having Lilia on my own I am exhausted at the end of the day. I end up having to stay up until 1 or 2 in the morning to get subpar work done because I have no energy left.

I am sitting here at my computer trying to get Lilia to nap so I can finish up a paper and get it handed in when I learn that I need double the child care I thought I did next semester. I also only have half of my January term covered. I just burst into tears, it all feels like too much. It feels incredibly unfair that all this childcare falls to me and I have to arrange my schedule around a work schedule that gives me little room to work with. Maybe this whole thing was a bad idea. We can't afford much childcare and our current schedules aren't allowing us the flexibility we need.

I don't know what to do or what to say other than writing this makes me feel incredibly vulnerable.

Gratitude for my daughter abounds even in this stress of finding care for her.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Two for Two

For the second week in a row I felt tears well up in my eyes in my Intro to Worship class. Tonight was the first time I have felt like I was learning to be a Pastor. Practical stuff that I will take with me into what ever field it is I end up in. We were talking about poetry, theology and the mix of the two which seems to take the form of worship. We were talking and watching videos. Then we had colorful sheets of paper and we had to write "I Am..." filling in the blank with what we are in worship. About half way through our Professor turned the lights off! We thought it was a mistake because we couldn't see. He said NO! Keep on writing sometimes you are going to have to keep on going and you won't know what to do. (This is a very loose paraphrase, I kind of wish I could have taped the whole thing so I could remember the words now.) Then in the dark we made a path of words on pages. Then in the dark we crawled around on our hands and knees and struggled to read what everyone had written.

It was a thin place, when those lights flicked off I started to feel. I don't know what it was, then these words filled the room, you are going to have to help people through their pain when you don't know what to do with your own. That's the first time I felt the tears coming. I wrote words I can't remember. I felt a lot of really complex things all at once. I think for the most part they were things I need to feel more often but I am just learning how to feel. For so long my reaction to pain, hurt, loss or even challenges has been to shove my feelings down. To press on, be tough. So it might seem odd but I am learning how to feel for me. I have had no problem feeling for others, but accepting my own feelings, it's new. I guess I should mention that it is not so much about class at this point but growth I see in myself. I have been working on this a lot and it's the first time it's connecting for me in such a deep way.

I don't know crawling around on the floor in the dark desperately trying to "hear" my classmates, God was there in that moment. I felt like I was being prepared for the call I still don't entirely understand. Then someone said the words make it real which is funny because I said that exact phrase in Spiritual Direction recently. I am taking notice of that.

I wonder what does all this mean? I think it says something about how I learn. I think it says something about the experiences I long to encounter. I think it speaks to my desire to get to really know my classmates. I think that desire to know links somewhere to a deep hidden desire to be known.

I wish we had the opportunity to take course work where we took retreats and really made space for God and each other. Honestly, I need to crawl around on the floor in the dark more. I need to hear my friends. Maybe I even need to say something.

Today I am grateful for the opportunity to learn in a way that speaks to me. 
May you be blessed with encountering God while crawling around on the floor in the dark.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Surprise

This afternoon I was in my Intro to Worship class we were talking about weddings, funerals and rites of passage. We started with funerals. Two chaplains came in to talk to us about being present in the process of dying, the funeral and after the funeral when grief really sets in. We covered a little bit of how to order a funeral and work in non Christian settings. They also covered what hospice was. If you know me well, you know that I didn't learn anything new. I am very familiar with what it is to be the family caring for the dying in hospice. I have done it several times. I have attended many funerals for ones dear to my heart. I even "presided" at my Grandmother's since she held no one religious belief. Surprisingly none of this talk brought up any of my junk from my life experience. I thought I am handling this well.

Then they passed around a book about helping children to process their grief. I flipped through it reading just little blurbs. There was one about 3 children of a man with brain injuries who felt they couldn't do anything to make their dad feel better. Then with some inspiration they learned to take turns rubbing lotion on their dad's paralyzed arm and tell him about their respective days. For some reason this brought me right back to the moment when I first saw my dad after he went into a coma (a little aside as a child I thought it was acoma). I can see it so vividly in my head. All the wires and tubes and my dad helpless in the bed and then he responded to our voices. They thought if he heard our voices he would pull through and he did, I don't know in retrospect if that was the right decision. Especially when you consider he would suffer another ten years before his death. I remember the male nurse, which was unusual in 1988. I was seven years old and I tell you it was like I was transported back there to the smells, sounds and sights. I have known for a long time that this image was burned permanently into my memory. I just haven't "seen" it in a long time.

I became immediately sick to my stomach. My eyes welled up just a little. I got the tears under control quickly and left the room. I called my husband to ask him to meet me after class with pretzels and to pick up some equipment I had just acquired.

It is strange how these things can sometimes catch you in some unexpected moment. I am grateful that I have learned how to handle these moments over the years. Maybe sometime this week I will sneak over to the chapel with my burned in memory and let it all out before God. It is a much more appropriate time than in the middle of class.

Today I am grateful for all the days I have lived, happy and heartbreaking.
May you be blessed with gratitude for what simply is.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Do Grades Matter?

The long and short of it is I got a midterm back with a grade I didn't like. Nor did I understand how it was graded. Basically it was in sections I aced all but one section for which I lost 45 of 50 points. This brought my near A down to a C. I feel like the grading was really inconsistent. On the one hand I passed and I am happy with that. I can do an extra assignment if I want to bring up my grade, I would like to bring up my grade but not the extra work so its in the air. I don't know how to handle the situation which was only amplified when I found out how well my friends did.

I guess in reality I should go talk to the professor so that at the very least I can work on my form for that sort of question come the final exam.

In the end though do grades matter? When I leave here I have the same degree with a C average as I do with an A average. I just really don't like Cs, unless we are talking Hebrew in which case I embrace them, I like As and I have been dealing with Bs. How do I get back to my A days? Do I need to?

All I can say is I am grateful for Cs over Fs. Something I became very familiar with my last go round at seminary.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

An Apology

Hello Friends!

I have been terrible about blogging lately. There are pages of blogs on gratitude swimming in my head between deontological ethics, Hebrew active participles and possessive female endings, Prophets Hebrew Bible style, and conversations on baptism that make me wonder why was it so important to me to have Lilia baptized and what is sin anyway. Can you sin if you don't know your action is sinful, apparently Calvin says yes, total depravity. I haven't studied that yet but I will.

It has been pretty crazy times lately and gratitude might be what is keeping me sane.
I am grateful for:
Finding the right Pediatrician.
Living in a community is very helpful and caring.
A roof over my head.
The chance to study.
The nights I get to sleep.
For friends who made us take a night out on our own.
I could go on for ever.


Basically gratitude is keeping me sane in the insanity of my first semester of seminary with a toddler.

Lately every time I sit down to write some sort of complaining or venting comes out. I have learned that this is not the place for that sort of writing. Writing is so therapeutic for me but my experience tells me that in this case keeping the words to myself is a much safer choice. Bear with me until I find words appropriate for this space? Please?


With Gratitude for your loyal reading,
Becca

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Christmas

A few nights ago I drifted off to sleep sad that Lilia would never know our family Christmas Eve celebration how I did as a kid. I don't have a ton of really awesome childhood memories but no matter what our family was going through we always had Christmas Eve. This was the Christmas Holiday as far as I am concerned. Christmas Day was only Santa. We would all gather at my mother's house or sometimes my grandmother's house. There would be a great deal of food and treats and we would eat and graze all afternoon into the late evening. There would usually be singing, laughing and game playing of some sort. A wide variety of family and friends would stop by or spend the whole time with us. Early on in the afternoon we would exchange presents with our family meaning our siblings, grandparents and one cousin. Various well wishing adults would bring little gifts for the youngest kids. I don't know if my words describe it properly. The memories are vivid and feel like home.

Then we started growing up and having our own kids. Which at first worked but then schedules conflicted, people moved away, and people passed away. I started to kind of dread the day, I longed for what it used to be. Although I can easily live with out the presents, I remember the anticipation I had as a child for what my siblings might bring for me. I can remember the twinkling lights on the tree and how the whole house felt warm and was filled with magic and happiness. As adults we lost that sense and I think we lost the magic.

This year for the first time ever in my life our family won't be gathering together teaching the next generation the only tradition I knew growing up. It is not likely we ever will again. That season for my family has passed. I began mourning it almost a year ago knowing the next year would be different. I don't know if it saddens me more to not have that day or to know that Lilia will never know that kind of magic.

I went to Target yesterday and was greeted by a Merry Christmas sign. It brought up all those feelings again and I anticipate feeling them a lot this holiday season. It will be the first time since moving that reality that our lives are different now will really smack us in the face. I walked through the aisles of Christmas stuff filled with sadness and some anticipation. While I mourn the loss of my childhood Christmas I do believe there is warmth that will still come upon us as the days grow shorter and the holiday gets closer.

There is another first this year, for the first time in my 21 year history of being an Aunt, I will not be buying my nieces and nephews gifts. With all that is going on, it's just not in our budget. I sucked it up and sent out a message letting everyone know that we couldn't send gifts this year and to please not send us any. The response for the most part was pretty good there was lots of understanding and relief because some people were feeling the same way. I got one response though, that I think might have been a horrible attempt at humor, made me burst into tears. It felt so insensitive and I was already feeling very sensitive and heartbroken about all of this. So I read it and I burst into tears. In a way those tears were a good thing because they have been needing to come out for awhile. I just wish it didn't have to happen in that way.


Today I am grateful that in these lean times my family has surprised me with how supportive they are.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Writing it Out

Today this blog is an exercise in writing therapy. Sometimes I find if I just write something out it doesn't consume me as much as it once did.

I was very shocked when we first arrived here and settled in I started to feel something, something I didn't think I would ever feel again. At first I just tried to ignore it and hoped it would go away. Then I distracted myself from it occupying my mind with all sorts of things to avoid this dreaded thing. Surely it couldn't be happening again. For over two years I have been content to live with out this, happy it had gone away and fairly certain it would never come back. I tried to make lists of all the reasons it shouldn't be, it didn't help. I tried to remind myself of how difficult it would be and it didn't help. I tried to think of all the emotions involved for so many people and it didn't stop. I tell myself it's just a distraction from the stress of life and all this change that has happened recently and its still here. I tried to think of all the judgement that would be passed on me and it still lingers. I tell myself its just a hormonal flux and it will pass in a few days and then when I can think straight again I will be glad to have ignored it.  I have long sleepless nights and still it remains. Like a primal beast out of my control it is here and it seems to have settled in for the long haul.

Then I pray and I pray to see where God is in this situation. Could God even be in this situation? God has been so central to this type of thing in the past. Who could I tell my secret to? God already knows, maybe I need a person. 



The Baby Itch has arrived. Knocking on my door. Dancing in my mind. Driving me somewhat crazy. I notice cute little baby things. I coo at newborns when I see them. I long for that snuggling little baby asleep on my shoulder. I think about Lilia getting to share her childhood with a sibling. I think of Paul's desire to have another biological child. I think of my aging reproductive system. I think of God's plan. I get all dreamy and wishy washy.

Then I think of the space and the expense and even less sleep. The horrible timing. The work. The emotion. I think of how we would likely have to move, what the medical bills would be and how we would need a bigger car to fit us all. It isn't going away. I can think my way through it. I know now is not the time. My hormonal primal urges though do not care what my well educated brain has to say and my heart is stuck in the middle somewhere.

So I talk about it with Paul a lot because I think talking about it might make it better. I blame my faulty hormones. Yesterday I told one of my new friends because I know she has been there. I expected her to tell me to hold out. I said this isn't the right time. She said sure it is, this is what your body does after two years. She gave me a totally different perspective. Of course I am not running out to have a baby. I still am not sure the time is right. I want to trust God that when the time is right to expand our family I will know.

Yet I find myself wishing more than anything that I knew where God was in all this baby lusting, hormonal mess of my life.


Today I am grateful that I have enough wisdom to not just act on my urges and that I have a sense of humor about them. 


May you be blessed by seeing the God who created you in yourself and your own body chemistry.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

When Tomorrow isn't Real

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/16/opinion/sunday/notes-from-a-dragon-mom.html?_r=2&src=tp

Go ahead read that, I bet your eyes tear up. Mine did. This article comes as an affirmation of sorts. Through a string of seemingly random events as I sat my daughter down to dinner last night I thought to myself, nothing is guaranteed, love her in this moment, cherish it.

My daughter isn't sick like Ronan, but my life experience has taught me to savor today because tomorrow isn't always a reality. Its something I learned as a kid. One day you can do something as simple as waking up and your whole world is different by no choice of your own. When you wake up to your strong and vibrant father now in a coma you realize something. When a few months later your younger brother who was your constant playmate is laying in a hospital bed bald talking about how his roommate almost died it changes you. Even if like me you are only 8 years old.

Looking at this in retrospect I am really lucky that I dealt with these things how I did. I could have easily gone out and internalized the pain and confusion I still felt as an adult and turned my life into a mess. My life IS pretty messy but not in a way that speaks of a child haunted with illness surrounding it. Since that time I have always seen the world differently. Now in my thirties I am just starting to understand how differently I see the world from my peers. It informs my experience of high school and various relationships past in a way that I can't explain when I look back.

Last night when my own daughter was giving me a hard time with nearly everything from dinner to bed time, I stopped and took a breath. I wanted to take a moment to just love her and be grateful. I never want a day to come where I don't remember how hard I prayed for her to come into existence. Let me never forget to say thank you God for this beautiful and healthy life.

I pray that there are thousands of tomorrows to look forward to. I pray that her tomorrows far out number my own. But I know that tomorrows aren't always real, that sometimes they just stop happening.

This article was so helpful because it just reinforced so much of what I believe about life and kids. It named it in a way I couldn't. Just last night I drifted off to sleep trying to figure out which preschool would give her the best advantage in life and how the heck was I going to afford it? It's really easy to get caught up in the things that probably don't matter anyway. I know that regardless of preschool choice if she wants to succeed she will. Sometimes I get caught up in trying to raise my child so well that I forget to appreciate her for who she is, my beautiful God made daughter. Maybe in time I am going to spoil her because I know our days as humans are numbered, but I don't think you can love too much.

Today I am so very grateful for my beautiful little girl and every single tomorrow we ever get to have.


May you be blessed with gratitude for your children even when they make you want to rip your hair out.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Reaching Deep

The days are flying by and full of last fluttering what ifs. What if I did this before I was married with a kid and pets and so much responsibility is basically the only one. Today was a rough day I had the at home midterm from hell. When I emerged from my study lair the rest of the house was a disaster. Files on my computer that I just put 7 hours into were lost. There was poop in a pull up. There was a dog and a cat longing for attention. Pretty much today just sucked. Right up until five minutes ago when my VERY stubborn 2 year old went to sleep. That's right 11 pm. She was a handful all evening just full of acting out and whining for bread, her current favorite food. It's funny this week was the week I was determined to get her to bed by 8 instead of 9:30. I guess you can see it has been a rough one.

So I am digging deep with in me to find the gratitude for this day. Thank you God for the chance to be here. Thank you for my healthy daughter. Thank you for a place to live. Thank you thank you thank you.

May you be blessed by a thank you.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

When is it too far?

Duggar family, your show is my guilty pleasure, last night you went to far having your adult children cell phone video a younger child's injury to broadcast it on TV.

I am grateful for reason and not being blinded by greed.
May I not be blinded by it if I am ever tempted with it.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Dear Paul

By the time you get home later we will have been married for 7 years. I can't believe how long it's been and how much life we have lived since that day. We have loved and lost some amazing people. Seven years ago we had Grammy and Tim. Long before we were married you stood beside me as I mourned my dad and this summer you stood with me again as I took him to his final resting place our beautiful daughter in your arms, the closest they will ever be. We have Lilia the most beautiful creation of love ever. We have moved, traveled, grown and sometimes just plain old survived. We have thrown some kick ass parties. We have cried together and certainly laughed together. We have taken time to celebrate so many things. We made a documentary. I went to Africa.  We have cried tears over Mirembe who you loved with out ever meeting because when I relayed her story, cried and loved, you couldn't help but love. You stood by me through thick and thin. You were there when my world fell apart after the Fall 2006 semester. We make a pretty dam good team. Forgive me for the sappiness or maybe enjoy it as it's rare but we live in a world where very often marriage isn't a big deal or seen as old fashioned. I would have to disagree, I wouldn't be who I am today with out our marriage and certainly not with out you and your unwavering support. I know sometimes I say we lack romance but you know what we were high school sweet hearts and that is rare and special. I know that last few months have been rough, stressful and sometimes disappointing. We will survive this together so keep your chin up. You have so graciously accepted my call as just a part of life. You have moved all this way because I said God spoke to me again. I think that makes us crazy but at least we are together in it.

All My Love!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Fall

Today I am grateful for the Fall and it's crisp mornings.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Inclusive Language

In Seminary you have to use inclusive language. I am familiar with these ideas and the terminology and the thought behind it. Basically we never call God he, father or anything masculine. I learned this week though that we aren't supposed to you Lord or King. King I can kind of understand but Lord is jarring. I like to use the term Lord. I know that it alludes to oppression but I do see myself as a servant and not in an oppressive way. So I guess my question is how do you when to stop with all this language stuff?

On a totally different note, I rather enjoyed our Native People's worship time today. Not only did it honor a small part of my heritage it felt more organic and natural to me.


Today I am grateful for the opportunity to meet God on my own terms. Also to be in a place where we get to debate things like language.


May you be blessed with the experience of meeting God where you are at.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Grief an Ocean Apart

Today I learned my sweet Mirembe has passed away. Mirembe was a little girl I met while in Kampala a few summers ago. I believe she was about 7 when she passed earlier today. She had been abandoned by her parents because of her Sickle Cell Anemia. My friends who help get kids off the street in Kampala had taken her in, not to one of the homes where the children live with Mentors but into their personal home. I was there the same week Mirembe arrived. Mirembe only understood a tribal language so we couldn't communicate much. You could see in her eyes how scared and confused she was. I spent an entire Sunday with her and that afternoon I made her laugh and for the first time we understood each other. Her "new" mom came running out asking if it was Mirembe who laughed and I said yes. We became fast friends. I sent her crayons and coloring books. She sent me colored in pages back. She suffered many set backs earlier this year and today she suffered her last.

It is hard to know how to grieve so far away. I can't hop a plane to be at tomorrow's funeral. I wouldn't make it in time if I left right now. I am left with prayer and sending a note that will likely not arrive at the home of her grieving parents and siblings for weeks.

I saw God in Mirembe. She changed me, my life and how I will live my life.

Today a little girl just outside of Kampala Uganda passed away and a big girl in Louisville is crying. That is the world we live in. It would be very hard to tell me today that I should love my "own" people first.

The truth is I loved Mirembe and I will continue to love her. Her picture will remain in our house until I myself meet my end. I don't understand how it is that God lets the littlest people get so sick and pass before their time has come.

I gave up some time ago trying to solve that problem.

I will say that with heart ache and all I still believe God is real.



Today I am so very grateful to have been blessed by having met Mirembe and that I can still hear her laughter echoing in my ears and her smile burned in my eyes.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Tough Day

Today has been a tough day. I was swamped with meetings and homework and didn't get five minutes of time at home until Paul was leaving for work. So I wanted to be intentional about sitting down for a few minutes and finding gratitude. I am grateful for this experience as noisy and busy as it can be. 

I am learning to let go of things that normally would drive me bonkers. I left the house a bit of a mess this morning when I left for the library.  Friday was Paul's birthday and I did very little to celebrate it. On Saturday we had the dinner of his choice and the cake of his choice. I didn't have time to get a card or make one. I didn't decorate the house at all. Normally I will blow up a few balloons or make a little banner. Nothing this year, I couldn't get to the balloons and I ran out of time. The world went on. Paul enjoyed his cake. I am new at that and while I won't say it felt good, it was ok.

Today I am grateful for this challenges and opportunities.
May you be blessed with gratitude for challenges.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Heartbreakingly Beautiful

Yesterday I had a long day of orientation. I was dreading the last 3 hours labeled on our schedule as Sexual Misconduct Training. It ended up actually being way more interesting, it had to do with setting appropriate boundaries for clergy and counselors. Since I was sitting in a room full of future clergy, counselors and professors it made sense.

Our conversation side tracked to how the call to ministry effects many already existing relationships in our lives. Someone raised their hand and asked about family relationships and not accepting the journey that we are on and the hurt that comes from it. She started crying and apologizing. My heart broke for her. Then the most beautiful thing I have seen humans do in a while happened. A few girls brought her tissues. Then at the same time two more walked over and just stood with her as she let it out. Our dean answered the question so compassionately. He made sure to take care of her in that moment. I saw the most compassionate eyes looking at her. I guess that shouldn't have been surprising as we are all preparing to enter "helping" professions. I noticed that a few other students started crying quietly in their seats. I just had to blank stare as to not loose it myself. Then someone piped up can we pray, can we just pray right now. So our leader led us in the most beautiful prayer for all those upset and all of us on this journey. Well I think nearly everyone lost it. Even yours truly who acts like a dude when it comes to crying shed a few tears.

Then we took a little break and I heard so many people saying things that I was feeling. I am so glad that someone was brave enough to put it out there. I didn't even realize how much I was feeling it until I heard someone else say it. We talked a bit about family relationships strained. Friendships lost. It was both beautiful and draining.

You know I learned so much from that moment. In my ever going struggle with being ok with crying in front of people I saw someone who was very brave. I learned that my classmates are full of compassion. I learned that I am not alone. I learned that this place is a place where we can say what we feel and have it respected.

We talked a lot about how being ordained "sets you apart". Then it was out there, it is often a very lonely place. I was somewhat sad because I realized... it is going to continue to be a lonely place.


Today I am grateful for what I experienced yesterday on so many levels.
May you be blessed in finding a place where it is safe to bring with you all the things that make you whole. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

When the Words Come Later

A few weeks ago in class we had done a reading on Christian community then we broke up into little groups to discuss the reading. I mentioned a movement and then referenced someone who was considered a leader in that movement. I was met with so much animosity for said person and my perceived liking of said person that the conversation kind of just got shut down. Now if the things said about this person were true, then I would have to agree that they are an ass. However my experience of this person has not been the case.

My point being I replayed the conversation in my head a few times and all those things I should have said pop up. I realized later we may not have even been talking about the same person based on comments about age. I thought it was funny though because not only did the conversation derail about the movement and get stuck on one leader, the leader was said to be too radical. All I can think is wasn't Jesus a little radical?

I wish I had spoken up and resisted more instead of just shutting up. I have three years here, I think I will get the hang of it.

Today I am grateful that we can all have our own opinions.
May you be blessed in graciously voicing your own.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Church Search

Today we went out to a typical church for our denomination. Paul and I dressed up knowing it was a more traditional place. We were still under dressed. Paul was one of three guys in the whole place not wearing a jacket. Whoops! So we go into all of this trying to be open to the new experience. The church was beautiful. Very clean neat and orderly. It was also very cold. Not one person welcomed us. During the passing of the peace we were all but ignored until the very last moment when the people in front of us turned around. The best we got was an associate pastor smiling a half smile and telling us they were so happy to have us. Some how, I don't think she meant it. She looked pained just to say it. Maybe I read too much into it because at that point we were ready to leave and church hadn't started yet. Church started considerably late, which as a parent of a two year old was high frustrating. I only get an hour to keep her still after that it is unbearable for all parties involved.

I read the bulletin as I waited. There was no mention of mission. Fundraisers check. Meetings check. Note about sending your children to the appropriate worship with out their parents check. It became clear that there was no place for us a "young" family with a 2 year old. Worship apparently starts at 3 years old. There was no note of a nursery. People were not very understanding of Lilia's chattering or speaking in tongues as I like to call it. So we were toughing it out. Paul took Lilia out of church twice. I was trying to make it through the sermon when Paul came back in and Lilia had leaked out of her diaper all over the both of them. I took my chance and we high tailed it out of there.

I was a little shocked because this church boasts a preschool. How can you have a preschool and not welcome a toddler in worship? The sermon ultimately went into stewardship. I wasn't surprised. They maybe keeping their older folks happy there but inevitably no matter how deep the pockets they are not the future of the church.

Last year when we were out here, we were in worship at the chapel. Lilia was just a year old then. She was fussing and making noise and Paul and I obviously got tense, worship, new people, and trying to make a good first impression. Someone came over to us and told us that her sounds were welcome as a part of the worship in this place. That pretty much sums up what we are looking for in a church home.
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Tonight I went back to the church we went to a few weeks ago. I left Paul and Lilia at home because she had already been to church. Paul being very wise encouraged me to go and clear my head after a long day of cleaning and organizing. I headed out on my own and arrived with just a minute to spare. I plopped down in a back pew and noticed this amazing drumming going on. I felt the whole week melt away. I closed my eyes and what happened next I can only describe to you as being a transcendental experience. I relaxed into the pew with my hands open on my lap. I felt myself begin to just sway with my eyes closed. Then it was as if I was somewhere else, some place of tremendous peace and love. As the worship leader called us into worship I was overcome with emotion. Being in a new place I held it back... barely. All through out worship I kept holding back tears. Over and over again I was moved. I witnessed the most beautiful baptism. I left thinking well I think I know where our new church home will be.

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Then it hit me, of these two churches the church I come from, that raised me is much more like the first than the second. I thought for a moment maybe I had wasted my time there because I never really connected with the worship. However, I did connect with the people and I never ever felt like Lilia wasn't welcome, they were welcoming her from the moment they knew I was pregnant. I am kind of left wondering why I was called to be in that place, to stick it out, because I often did feel like I was sticking it out. Then it occurred to me that I would not be in this place if it wasn't for that place. I am reminded of the Lion King and the circle of life. I am so blessed to have come from a place that has loved me and helped me grow into this person that I am.

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Being the cynic I am often apt to be, I thought for a moment maybe this music I connected so deeply with was meant to manipulate me into this experience. Then again maybe I needed to be brought into that place emotionally to be vulnerable enough to connect with God. I think that is highly likely because I know I put up walls to keep people out and I am beginning to suspect that God may not be excluded from those walls.

I want to go to a field and weep maybe even sob. Alas I still have a paper to write!

Today I am grateful to be a loved child of God. Just as I am.
May you be blessed to know this God intimately.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Noticing

This past week two scriptures have come up multiple times, I don't know what it means or if it really means anything at all. I am however noticing that this happened.

The first is Jeremiah 29 which has a verse about seeking the shalom of the city. It is the tag line for the church we attended last weekend. Yesterday I was listening to a radio peace for my homework and the interviewed quoted the verse.

The second is Proverbs 31. I had to read it for homework and it was the preaching text last week in the church we attended. Granted the guy who was preaching was a student here, so he may have been remembering the lesson I am getting today on this verse or it might just be popular around here.

I am not sure if it is coincidence or if God is trying to get my attention, because honestly it could be either.

Today I am grateful for a fresh start in seminary.
May you be blessed with a fresh start somewhere in your life, after all everyday is a day to begin again.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Keeping Focus

This morning I woke up feeling just slightly overwhelmed by the amount of homework I have before me today. Overwhelmed by this undertaking of full time student and mom. I have moments of why am I doing this, yesterday I heard my new classmates say over and over again they didn't know why God had called them here. I can relate, God's call is unrelenting at times. I have no clear answers.

I sat here at my computer paralyzed by fear and anxiety. I started clicking around on some twitter links and I came across this blog post to which I could highly relate. Coming home from the third world and experiencing culture shock in your own culture. That post mentions a Sara Groves song. Which reminded me of this Sara Groves song that I happened across on a friend's blog right after returning from Uganda. This song makes me cry and inspires me equally every. single. time. I hear it.

I sat here listening to it tears slowly streaming down my cheeks as I remember my own break down in the Target back to school aisle 3 years ago. Sometimes I feel like I should just go back to Africa now, but deep down I know that this time this place is preparing me for what is next, and I know that somewhere in the next is Africa. God is preparing me for something, God has called me to something. I have accepted and I press on with out all the understanding I would like. That's the thing about God and call and love, you sometimes just don't know but you have to go forward. I have no idea how a seminary education is going to help me, lead me back to Africa but some how they are related.

As I listen to this song now for about the 5th time this morning, inspiring is stronger than weeping. Every moment when I feel down, overwhelmed, incompetent, run down, I sincerely hope I will take a breath and remember my African babies and what they have faces which is makes all that homework seem like nothing.

At the end of the day when I ask myself what am I doing, why am I doing this, my answer is usually because it's a God thing, because I want to teach my daughter about the strength of women and now I think I have to add for my African babies.

Be Blessed in a Love so deep it brings bittersweet tears in hot streaks down your face.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Relationships

Today I am grateful for relationships.
Marriage, mother-child, family, friends, church family and the list goes on and on.

May you be blessed by many life giving relationships!

Monday, August 8, 2011

On Finding a Church

Part of this move is finding a new church. I have attended the same church for the past 13 years or so. I never really looked for a church too seriously when we moved away and then I would move back and there would be my church. We knew we had to find a church and we wasted no time getting started. Last night we went to an evening service that you could certainly call alternative. All the pieces of liturgy were there but you had to look for them in order to recognize them.

Lilia was a handful is the nicest possible way to put it. I didn't realize how challenging it would be to have her in a totally new church environment. She thought it was play time and Paul and I were sweating with anxiety about how she was crazy. We almost left half way through the worship but stuck it out taking turns with her. Luckily the people there were very understanding and asked to to keep bringing her back. That wins them major points in our book.

On the way home I looked at Paul and said we have to talk about what kind of church we want to raise Lilia in. It just sort of hit both of us, we have a choice. Neither of us was raised in a church or Sunday school so we are kind of at a loss. When I finish school and ordination, we might not have a choice if I end up in full time church ministry, but right now we do.

The church (and by church I mean the people not the building) was very progressive, very unstructured, very open, very welcoming. Paul didn't really get into the worship, I could have if I wasn't so stressed about baby wrangling. We agreed to try it again for a few weeks because it is going to take some time to feel it out and get Lilia into acting like a human rather than a feral cat.

So what do we want for her? What do we want to teach her about God, Jesus, church, people? The thing is in this service yesterday there were canoodling lesbians, I debated if I wanted to post that, I don't know them but it still seems like an invasion of their privacy. I have seen lots of church canoodlers before but never of the same gender. I love that they were comfortable enough in this place, in this time of worship to be who God made them to be. I can certainly learn a lot from that, because let's be honest we all put on a few masks in church, don't we?

There was not a structured Sunday school program though. Is that important? Here's my gut, in a world where so many Christians are teaching hate and fear; I think it is much more important for Lilia to be raised in a place where she learns love and acceptance than it is for her to memorize the story of Jonah and the Whale (big fish). However when she is older, I think the right youth program will be a safe place for her to develop and mature in her own faith.

Our temporary decision, explore traditional churches in the morning hours while trying to go a little deeper in relationship with this church in the evening hours. Crazy for a girl who just told you her child acts like a feral cat in worship.

Today I am grateful for the opportunity to choose what we teach our daughter about God.
May you be blessed in intentional chooses in your life.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Rainy Sunday

It's a rainy Sunday morning after a night of thunderstorms that kept our bed full of visitors like the dog and our girl. This new place is really starting to shape up. It almost feels like home. It is strange being in a new area where not very much is familiar. Tonight we are planning on checking out a church that meets in the evening, the prospect of this has us very excited. There are so many churches here we could probably try one out every week until we move away and still not see them all.

Today I am grateful for this new experience.
I am prayerful as school gets ready to begin.
May you be blessed by living life in a very full way.

Friday, August 5, 2011

It's Been Awhile

Hello There!

As you might have guessed life has been a little crazy. Today we are taking the day off from unpacking, school work and organizing to celebrate our baby's SECOND birthday! We are off to the playground soon and then maybe a park, out for a special dinner tonight and then ice cream cake and one last birthday surprise. It will be a day full of toddler excitement.

I just wanted to check in with you my loyal readers.

Until I have time to write a serious blog entry again, here is a little funny to hold you over. Yesterday, I unpacked our little dry erase count down board and Paul joked how many more days, I said -3. He got quiet and then declared that it should now be our count down to my graduation which is 3 years away or approximately 1018 days. I think we might hold off on that one for a little while!

Today I am grateful for my beautiful baby girl who is growing up way too fast for my liking!
May you be blessed with gratitude for your family or someone you love.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Take Note

July 2008- Travel to Africa
July 2009- Anxiously waiting for baby to arrive
July 2010- Plan a trip to visit a school. Prepare baby's first birthday party. (Nothing that notable.)
July 2011- Moving to Louisville


It seems that July is a big deal for me and I am just noticing that now. I wonder what next July will bring?


Two other thoughts that I haven't time to dive into at the moment, as the move gets closer I feel more and more insecure about my appearance. I had a great conversation this week with a friend about my need for control and perfectionism. I noted that I don't have to do everything I feel like I need to do. I like to be in control, I am a perfectionist. I know the root causes of both of these. I also just need to "say out loud" that the diving into projects and being stressed out also serves me as a great form of distraction, it has helped me to avoid dealing with strong strong emotions. Duly noted.

Today I am grateful for July!
Be Blessed in your July!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Reflection

It's here, the week we move our lives so far away. I find that today, this morning, I am using music to help me feel what I am feeling. I do that a lot when there are too many feelings all at once. Currently I am listening to a break up song, which is about a pretty bad break up. This is odd because I am leaving but it's not really breaking up with a town or a house or a community. I also never experienced this thing called the break up in too serious of terms. I digress.

These past few days I have been living my dream life, little adventures with my little family. Time spend with good friends who make you feel fulfilled by their presence in your life. Life giving relationships are hard to come by but when they do they are worth it. I see in myself a maturity that wasn't there before when it comes to such things.

This blog isn't about any of that either, really it's a question, what is it about leaving that has made me take a week to live how I want to live? How do I live normally that isn't so fulfilling? I generally live like there might not be tomorrow because that is the absolute truth for every single one of us. This thing called life can end at any moment, even if we are young, healthy and strong, just getting started.

I have some answers to these questions, like sometimes your friends are more willing to make it a point to hang out when they know you are leaving. I think that's just life, I don't mean it in a negative sort of way. I mean that in this business and busyness of life, it is sometimes hard to find the time, yet when it matters we can find the time. Other reasons are more personal and more fitting for a journal entry, an entry I honestly probably won't write later. Partly because I am afraid to write it and make it all real and to feel all that comes with that. Partly because I simply don't have time. I am using up moments on this blog entry and laundry folding this morning. I need to be working on homework, updating a scrapbook and various other small tasks that need finishing. When really all I want to do is be on the beach and swim in the ocean, because it won't be here on Monday.

I am grateful for life lived in a way that is fulfilling. I am hopeful that it will continue.
May you be blessed by a fulfilling life that isn't just full.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Why Twitter Annoys Me

So I follow some people on twitter it started mostly with people whose books I read so I can keep up with current work. Then I slowly acquired more followers. Then I followed some more people. The thing is somewhere along the way someone must have gotten a book deal from self promotion on twitter because everyone is promoting something, a blog, a new book, a song, a product, Jesus. It is kind of frustrating to go see what's going on and just find links to blog post after blog post of bleh. I rarely click them now because I am so over the whole twitter self promotion thing. I rarely share a link to my blog beyond it being listed in my profile.

Then there is the whole over tweeter, read my blog, I just had tacos, the tacos are making me sick in the middle of the night, I like cheese, look at my awesome vacation pictures. It's a voyeuristic wonderland! Personally I don't care what strangers ate for dinner unless they haven't had dinner at all and they need some. While I feel for you that you are up at 3 am with the shits, I don't need to know that and who tweets while pooping?

I don't know. I bet it is pretty hard to get your blog recognized. I also bet many blogs see a lot of traffic with out ever sharing a tweet.

Today I am grateful for life lived.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Restless

Sometimes I wish there was anything that would make me feel fulfilled other than this life they call ministry. I don't even understand what it is I am supposed to do. I feel the call I know it's there. I am following and at times it feels like blindly.

I love school. Everyone tells me I should be a teacher. I love school supplies, I love teaching, I love kids, I love that look they get when they really get what you are teaching. I hate bureaucracy and politics which I ran into even substitute teaching. I wish I could be a teacher and be happy.

I love theater and film and even TV production. I spent a lot of time and money pursuing a career in those fields on the tech end to no avail. The only job I held in those fields was unsatisfying to say the least. While I was good at what I did and moving up quickly at the end of the day I would say there has got to be something more than this. In those days so long ago, money and status were really important to me. I wanted a huge house, a Jaguar and maybe even my own personal helicopter to commute with into NYC. I had big dreams. Yet I would still say I wish I could be happy doing that. I even wish sometimes that money would satisfy this itch, this yearning, this well... calling.

Then my baby girl, who is hardly a baby anymore, came along and I thought for sure that was it, motherhood was always my dream. Even today as I set aside my paranoia about germs and let run wild in a public place where kids and their germs were touching everything, I found such joy in her sheer excitement to be there. Even if we were two hours later arriving than I had wanted to because we got started a few minutes late, had to stop for gas and got lost followed by traffic. I have really been finding moments today and other days as well to just enjoy her, to savor her childhood. To be her mom, full time. Yet that nagging is still there.

I find myself day dreaming about a home for us lately, not too fancy but not too plain either. I am tempted to think that is enough, that is what it is I am searching for, but I know it isn't so. I know that while a house turned home would be fantastic, it won't satisfy the restlessness in my heart.

My dear friends send me the most beautiful pictures of their newborn baby girl. My thoughts trail off into thinking about what it would be like to have another baby or to adopt a child. They are usually interrupted by some sort of toddler activity which quickly gets me back on track to my one very loved child idea. In those restless moments, I know deep in my heart that isn't the answer either.

The call of God is unavoidable and at this point not very understandable. Yet I am following, following what feels like a million miles away for an ending that is uncertain. I balance, fear, doubt, hope and excitement as I pack boxes and say my good byes. When people ask why this place of all places, I say because I can afford it. I don't tell them my secret, God is sending me there for some reason I don't understand and maybe a few I do.

I am not sure I understand any of it. I just hope beyond all hope, that this is God calling and not my ego and that somewhere along the way my restless heart will be quieted even for a little while.

I am grateful.
Be Blessed.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

You Don't Want to Read This

Here it is fair warning, this is one of those entries that you don't want to read it will be full of TMI (too much information).

We are twelve days out from moving 12 hours away from just about everything and everyone we know. This would be an utterly stressful time for anyone. Yesterday yet another car repair became needed on the car we need to sell. Fantastic. There goes an entire afternoon of move prep. The truth is I feel like am doing it all because Paul keeps getting pulled away. Then you add in that I lost a week when the baby was sick.

Then Aunt Flow arrived at my door, draining every last ounce of energy I have. All I want to do is sleep and take massive amounts of Advil attempting in vain to tame my uterus. My period drains me of more than - well you know.

Paul asked me yesterday if I was nervous about going back to school and my response was oh right school, I haven't thought about it much.

Today I am grateful that even though I am being completely depleted of energy my cycle is normal with out medication.
Be Blessed.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Birthday Gratitude

Saturday we celebrated our Lilia's second birthday a couple of weeks early. We wanted a special time to celebrate with her and our family and friends. It also was a great way to get everyone together before we headed out. It was fantastic to see everyone. I did a lot of learning this time around. I learned to keep my inner perfectionist at bay. I learned to focus on a few details that mattered. I didn't go too crazy even though I was totally stressed out by the whole thing. I tried to make a cake that I wasn't particularly happy with. Things looked nice. Eventually I said I just have to leave the moving boxes where they are people will understand and they did.

I forgot half the games. I had people lug water play gear for their kids and forgot to ever turn the sprinkler on. I forgot about the obstacle course I had dreamed up. The kids had a great time with the couple of toys I set out and the swing set. I think I have learned the type of balance I need.

Then we were singing happy birthday to Lilia and her face just lit up. She was so happy looking at her cake and hearing that singing. It was like she really understood it was for her. In that moment all the stress melted away and gratitude washed over me! I was so grateful for that moment when my child was looking around at some many people who love her and just beamed with excitement or maybe joy. I teared up a little, not only was I grateful I think I fell in love with her just a little bit more. I felt connected to her and so happy that I could give her this moment.

That night when we went to bed Paul and I were talking over the day. I told him I wasn't glad my dad died but I am glad that I learned to appreciate these moments with her and not take them for granted. I think it is probably why I will always make a big deal out of special days because you don't know when it will all change. I think if I hadn't lost him I wouldn't have the ability to embrace some of these moments. I also wondered what he would have thought of it all?

I also felt very loved by my family that was here and our absolutely amazing friends.

So two days later I am still incredibly grateful for those moments with Lilia in my arms smiling.
May you be blessed with little moments written forever on your heart!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Funerals as a Mom

Yesterday I attended a funeral service for someone I didn't really know. We were peers in high school, he was a year ahead of me. I however know his sister pretty well. She is the same age as my niece and I used to take them all over the place with me. Yesterday a few of us gathered here at my house and one of my "nieces" (all of my actual niece's friends call me Aunt Beck) drove us over to the funeral home.

I was incredibly sad for this family who has suffered tremendous loss in the past few years. I wasn't really grieving though. I was there in support of those who were. We walked in and sat down. There was a photo slide show of this person's life playing. It was really odd to see childhood pictures that look so much like your own, at a funeral. Then the service started, I know the Pastor who was speaking so I was paying really close attention. The pictures were playing over his shoulder. Then one came up from the deceased's second birthday. All happy and smiles blowing out that big number 2 candle.

I lost my composure instantly. For the past two weeks or so I have been working frantically to pull together a second birthday party for my girl. She has 3 weeks until her birthday but we are moving just days before so we are celebrating here with our family and friends. All I could think was his poor mother. She planned that day, that cake, bought the little 2 candle, took the pictures. She never knew that this day where she buried her son would come. It made me stop and savor the moments of these little birthday parties. While I hope I am never in this situation, I know I am not immune. Death doesn't seem to discriminate. Much like this mom, I have never considered for a moment that one day I would have to say good bye like this.

I came home and I sobbed.

Today I am grateful that so far I have been able to really cherish the moments with my girl and that as stressful as this party has been with all the moving that I went ahead with it.

May you be blessed with some special moment in these days that pass too quickly.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Rough Day

I am not a very chipper person today. In that spirit I am keeping it short.

I am tired of being disappointed.

Some times I just want something decent, not even nice. Next week I am selling my last decent thing, my car. It is sell the car or delay the move.

Today one of my best friends turns 32.

Today I am going to a funeral for a friends brother who died at 32.

Today gratitude is hard to find, but I am grateful for life to be lived.
May you be blessed with life well lived.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Rant

Today there is a medical journal coming out where a writer suggests that children who are obese should be taken away from their parents and sent somewhere to help them loose weight. I saw this very brief news story about this last night. I am so saddened by this story. First off let me say if this were ever a law, I would fight it, as I think it would do more harm than good. Second let there be no doubt, I am a BIG girl and I ALWAYS have been. That means I would have been taken away from my mother who was "abusing" me by letting me get fat, even though I have three very skinny siblings. We all ate the same things, we all ran around outside for hours everyday. My body just handles food differently. I can assure you this would have done me a great deal of harm as I was a sensitive child who absolutely hated being away from my mother.

I just feel this is wrong on so many levels. Like I said it would be damaging to kids. Second, I think it would fuel more insecurity in our already, over sexed, be thin, be sexy culture. It is already really clear that we live in a culture where being fat makes you disgusting, no one will ever love you, Doctors will tell you all the ways you are killing yourself and eating an icecream on the board walk will get you dirty looks. People on popular reality TV shows will call you things like a grenade. I have spent a decent number of years trying to build up confidence in girls. Girls who hate their faces, their bodies and sometimes cross the line and hurt themselves. This is damaging to them as well.

What about the pressure on the parents? When I was young my mother was concerned about me and she asked our pediatrician what to do. He said nothing, because there was so much going on in my life he was concerned that if she tried to intervene I would end up with life long eating issues. I think he was very wise. I think it would cause some parents to starve their kids out of fear.

It's just bad all around and sometimes I wish someone would come off their I am skinny you are fat high horse like we are in third grade and talk to me. I am a human whose body does not process food well. I do not regularly over eat. I exercise every day. Yet here I sit still large.

Today I am grateful that this isn't a law and probably will not see the light of day.
May you be blessed by loving yourself exactly how you are.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Being the Church

I joked earlier this week that it is obvious that I do not come from a church going family. When ever I say I am going over to the church or I am going to church they respond, have fun. I can't remember the last time I went to church and had fun, unless it was a youth event. Maybe that is a whole different blog entry or conversation.

That's the thing though, I am active in the church. I try to make it most Sundays. Until recently I have volunteered in a variety of ways. I am going to Seminary in just a few weeks. People assume I want to be a Pastor, while I haven't ruled it out, it isn't my dream job. I would go into Parish Ministry to pay the bills, but I prefer to be out in the field somewhere. The point being, I am an oddity both in my family and the circles we run in. People misunderstand what it is I do all the time. My older brother gives me a hard time every chance he gets.

What I am just realizing though is for those people who live locally and whom I am surrounded by, I am the church. I am what they see as representing the church. I have always tried to be aware of how I act in public because I know I have about 50 teenagers out there in town at any given point. All of whom I have drilled in how to treat people and how to love people. If I told them be kind to everyone, even the smelly kid and then I berate the cashier in a store, it doesn't look good for me.

Although most people around me do not attend church, they often think of the church I attend when they need something church-y. So I guess I represent the church to them and I hope I represent it well. It seems that knowing me helps others feel comfortable with the idea of church. I guess that just speaks to the importance of relationships. I haven't recruited a single member but I think how I handle myself matters more than I ever realized. It's kind of late in the game.

Today I am grateful that my life can at times represent the church to people.
May you be blessed with knowing you are loved.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Knowing you Did the Right Thing

Over the course of the past year many relationships have ended in my life. Some by choice and some by just growing apart. Growing apart I think it a natural part of life, life takes us in different directions, we get busy and so on. If the relationship was important it would have out lasted all of that. This is a very important observation as I prepare to move to a new place where there aren't any deeply rooted relationships. I am leaving them all here. I know that the ones that matter will quickly out shine those that will fall to the wayside in life. Paul and I have made a few predictions about this. We shall see how it turns out.

The other type of relationship ending is choosing to end a relationship. I have done this a handful of times recently. It is really difficult for me to do. I have learned though when relationships aren't life giving, they aren't worth nourishing. When a relationship becomes life sucking it's time to let it go. I don't know if it's just me, but I find it really hard to do. It is almost impossible to do with out hurting someone's feelings.

That all refers to real life.

Then you add in all this social media. Recently I thinned out my friends and followers lists on facebook and twitter respectively. People often will miss use social media to hide like cowards behind their computer screens. They say things they would never have the guts to say in actual life or maybe they would in the case of those I don't know if real life.

My point is, by thinning out these lists recently I am actually enjoying the use of social media again. I don't sign in to facebook and get stupidly bent out of shape over internet words. Twitter is tolerable. While thinning them out is good, I also have to keep in check how much I allow these sites and their various users to matter in my life.

What I do know is that I was iffy if I wanted all those follower and friend counts to drop. It was the right thing to do. I feel a certain amount of freedom. I also know that as I move, entering into this new phase in my life, a lot of social media is going to slowly fade out of my life. There simply won't be time to creep on facebook or twitter.

Today I am grateful for the affirmation I have found in this decision.
May you be blessed with real life outside of social media.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

On Being Responsible

Today I went to a party. It was lovely. Until I tried to take my daughter for a swim. She loves the pool and does well in the water. We stay close by her. She loves to hold our hands and jump in. She is almost two and learning to swim.

While she is my only child, I have been caring for children since I was 12. I have always loved children. As a baby sitter one of my strongest points in the summer time was that I would go into the pool with the kids, I knew very basic water rescue and a whole lot of pool safety. I know it only takes two seconds for something to go horribly wrong.

So I was watching today as one 3 year old jumped off the diving board nearly landing on another's head. My mother was there she freaked so she took the baby and I swam out to regulate the diving board jumping. I got them to take turns, make a line and swim to the side. All pretty standard issue stuff.

What I don't understand is there is this epidemic of parents who go into party mode. I am at a party there are other kids and adults here so I am going to let my kid run off and play with the other kids and not check on them for 5 hours. This is a bad idea, this is a horrible idea when there is a pool, with a deep end and a diving board. This is an awful idea if your kid can barely swim with swimmies on.

Here's the deal I couldn't walk away from these kids even though I didn't know half of them. As an adult I felt it was my responsibility to watch over them and keep them safe, especially the ones who were week swimmers. One of which jumped on to my back when I wasn't looking and then couldn't swim. One of which nearly hit their head on the concrete when copying the older kids. The thing was that I felt as if either I watched the kids and kept them safe or I was going to end up diving in and pulling one out of the water and performing rescue breathing.

It totally sucked. I wasn't the host of the party, I was a guest and I ended up working and not getting to enjoy my own daughter in the pool. I would like to tell you that maybe it was because today I was with moms who were almost all 10 years my junior but I have seen it happen in my peer group too.

I just don't understand and I never will, why someone would leave a child unattended near or in a pool. I know these parents, they all love their kids. I know it's easy to get distracted by friends and family. I just feel like there comes a point where only the safety of your kid matters.

Today I am grateful that when we celebrate my baby girl's second birthday next weekend there will be no pool involved.

May you be blessed by being a blessing to others.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Ode to Motherhood how I became the owner of a Mr. Pibb tshirt

If you have one of those fancy phones that I do not have, you can do this check in on four square thing. I am not sure I get it but I know from various posts on social networking sites that you can earn badges based on your check ins; kind of reminds me of Girl Scouts.

If motherhood had badges like that I earned at least three today.

There are certain things no one tells you about motherhood, like your hair might fall out up to six months after birth or you need to wear a bra to bed if you are nursing even if your milk hasn't come in. I watched a lot of kids in my time. I have 3 nephews all of which have barfed on me so badly that I had to sit there in my underwear while my clothes washed. Two of those nephews barfed hotdogs on me. Needless to say I still to this day refuse to feed them hotdogs. I guess what I am saying is, I am not a first time mom with little experience, I have a ton of experience with kids. That being said it's not the same as having your own little bundle of joy, although I would say pretty close some days.

I guess I should start at the beginning. (This might take awhile so grab some tea or if you are feeling generous drink a few shots for me.) Two weeks ago Paul gave his job notice which was accepted. Last week they called and said the next day would be his last day. We rushed Lilia to the Doctor's office in fear of not having insurance when her two year check up came right before we moved. She had one booster shot and a clean bill of health. In the mean time Paul negotiated like a champ and was able to get another weeks worth of work and to extend our medical coverage until the end of the month.

Saturday we got an early start, as to avoid Benny traffic in the afternoon, we ran a few errands and headed home. Paul and I did a quick project out in the garage during nap time and then we took Lilia to the zoo. We noticed on the way home she was really tired. She didn't want dinner. We figured it was her shot having a few side effects. At bed time she was burning up. She seemed to have no other symptoms except a little gas. Sunday it was more of the same. Sunday night she whimpered need help need help for a good part of the night or was that Monday, it's all starting to blend. It pretty much broke my heart. Monday she still had a fever. We called the Dr. on call for the holiday weekend. They said it sounds like a virus, keep doing what we were doing and call our Dr. in the morning. We did, mystery virus was the diagnosis. So we kept up with the Tylenol Advil rotation. We noticed yesterday she was really upset before she peed but she also farted and had just taken Tylenol so we didn't think much of it.

Today was a whole new ball game, fever up and down, so fast you could feel her go from 99 -103 sitting on your lap in a mater of minutes. Then she started crying and getting a bit hysterical. She started grabbing at her diaper over her girl parts, yelling pee pee, oh no, need help. This went on for over two hours. That is when we figured out that she hadn't done a pee pee in over 12 hours but she had been drinking like a champ. It must be hurting her to pee pee. She wouldn't go. The second hour I cried with her until my mother came over and said go calm down I have her. I felt so helpless. I took a shower and Lilia fell asleep. That's badge one. Having a sob a long with your baby because you can't figure out how to help her.

Badge two is figuring out that taking care of a sick baby is much like having a new born. My house is more of a disaster than it has been even accounting for the moving mess. I haven't really made dinner since Saturday it's been find what you can and fend for yourself. I am like a zombie so is Paul. That might be a badge too, my girl only wants her dad and I feel useless but I am surviving. This morning my mother, who is here until we move, went out and bought doughnuts long before we got up. It was the happiest thing I have seen in a long time.

So this afternoon Paul called the Dr office again, our regular doctor is gone for the week so they referred us to another practice. We quickly got an appointment with them. As Paul was on the phone with them Lilia woke up from her 10 minute nap screaming and finally peed. It smelled awful it was on my shirt. I changed. She fell back to sleep. She slept all the way to the doctor's office. When we walked in she went hysterical and promptly peed all over me. Half my shirt was covered in pee that smelled like a zoo exhibit. I got her changed. They got her set up with a urine bag to catch her pee and we waited for two hours while I gave her cranberry juice boxes. She did not pee again. We came home with a new bag to put on her in the morning. Once I get her to go, I have to return it so it can be tested. You know as soon as we got home she went pee right?

In the mean time, Paul had to run to a co workers house to pick up equipment for his last job tomorrow. I had planned on riding home topless with a blanket to cover me up. I couldn't do this in front of his co workers. So we ran to Target, where I sat in the parking lot under a blanket while he ran in to grab me a t-shirt. Of course the minute Lilia started yelling in her car seat and I abandoned blanket to tend to her the cart boy came over to collect the carts in the corral next to the car. He had his cell phone out. I hope I am not on some people of Target website now in my very practical mommy bra.

That is my third badge, I endured being peed on in public and smelling like a farm animal for several hours, then sat topless in a Target parking lot. I have to tell you at this point all I could do was laugh. Lilia fell asleep and I laughed for a really long time.

Here's to hoping tomorrow we find an answer to what has her so upset. I will tell you this last pee pee didn't seem nearly as painful, and call me crazy but I think that the cranberry juice might have helped her out a little bit.

I must also tell you I was THAT mom today for awhile, the one who will freak out and scream until she finds an answer. I didn't have to though. I feel like we are on our way so maybe the change in Doctor's office was a good thing for this momma. That might be a badge too.

I feel like I am entitled to being that mom. In case you aren't a regular reader or you aren't familiar with my story. My youngest brother had cancer at age five that should have killed him, but it didn't. He's 28 now and going strong. It is believed by just about everyone but the government that his cancer was caused by my father's direct exposure to agent orange in Vietnam. This also caused my father's illness which eventually took his life. Research shows that agent orange actually mutates DNA so I will have to be super vigilant with my girl as I carry that warped DNA around. I get a little crazy when she doesn't feel well, especially when it is a mystery illness. This is also why when they very seriously asked me if I was comfortable with applying the urine sample bag I nearly laughed. I have had to learn some pretty tricky at home medical treatments for my sick family members from the time I was very young. This should be cake.

And that my friends is how I became the owner of this Mr. Pibb t-shirt which isn't even sold many places in NJ. It goes everything against my fat girl wearing a food brand logic but it decidedly does not smell like zoo animal urine.

This is long and rambling but I hope it gets all the people who love us up to date on what is going on with our little love.


Today I am grateful for compassionate medical professionals.
May you be blessed with a healthy child(ren).

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sad

I held my whimpering baby for two hours last night while her fever broke and she kept saying over and over and over, need help, need help. There was nothing I could do for her. It broke my heart.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sick Baby

My baby is sick. I am pretty sure she is having side effects from her shot on Tuesday. She is so out of it, not her self at all. She is running a fever, tired and not even close to hungry. She is just laying on me and drinking juice. When she feels a little better she goes to Paul.

This morning I debated what to do about church. She certainly wasn't going. Paul was fine with her here at home, I could have gone. It was my last chance at communion in my home church for awhile. I opted to stay home. I felt like her mom should be with her if she is sick. I thought the five people that were in church this morning may have judged me a little if they heard she was ill and I was in church. (I am owning that could have been my own junk manifesting.) I may not always have the option to stay home with her on Sunday morning, moving forward I might have to leave her.

I noticed today though my own junk building up a lot through out the day. I am cranky, I have been since yesterday. I fell yesterday morning and twisted up my ankle pretty good. If it weren't for Paul catching me and the stroller it could have been much worse. I will survive, I have done this before, but it has slowed me down when I can't afford to slow down. I was bummed because we had planned a bunch of stuff that we could do this weekend on the cheap but would require lots of walking, which wouldn't be good for me at the moment. Then my girl started feeling out of it last night and by 8 she was feverish. I kept her in my bed all night and her Tylenol seemed to keep her fever down. It was back up shortly after she woke up this morning.

Bear with me here and try not to judge me too much in this next section, trust me when I say I am taking care of it all on my own. When she isn't feeling well, I get very antsy. I hate sitting still so the baby and my ankle combined are like torture. When I was little everyone in my family was sick. I don't mean we all had the flu. I mean my dad had a mystery illness that started taking his life and a year later my brother had cancer, then my grandfather. I spent a lot of time in waiting rooms in Philadelphia with little to do but twiddle my thumbs. Only one of them had kid friendly things to do. Those were geared for kids way younger than me but I made use of them. I don't know why but I hadn't discovered the great time killer of books yet, nor did I have many. Life pretty much revolved around everyone getting better. No one thought of the library. Hand held games were insanely pricey. I spent a lot of time sitting around doing nothing but staring out windows and at horrible waiting room gray blue walls.

That being said I found on this adventure of parenthood, that when my girl isn't feeling well, I get all antsy. I hate feeling trapped in the house like I can't do anything. Even though today I really needed the rest as much as she did. I had a really hard time sitting here. I got hot and sweaty. My stomach got very upset. Finally I napped while she did. That helped. Then when we woke up, she kept asking for bye bye so we took a little ride around town in the car, that was such a relief. She keeps asking to go in the car. I guess she is comfortable in there. Basically what I am getting at is I can feel those experiences from my childhood creeping up.

The level of anxiety gets higher and higher as I deal with this feeling of being trapped in a sick ward. That coupled with this little voice that is shoved so far back in my head I can barely hear it, it screams though this is it, this is when the next person gets sick. Then I start to shut down and I have a really hard time functioning even on the most basic of levels. I have to force myself to do anything.

I didn't expect my experiences to bubble up like this, but I know they are.
So I am left with what do I do with this?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Oh Crap

I just woke up and changed our on going count down to our move.
29 days.
I am in the middle of a complete freak out.
That being said it might get a little quiet around here until mid August.
Forgive me!

Be blessed and grateful in all you do.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Today's Writing

Today I wrote a piece that I have been asked to share somewhere later this weekend. Since it will spoil the surprise for the bulk of my known readers. So that being said. I will share later. I hope you have a fantastic holiday weekend! Enjoy some fireworks if like me you really enjoy them.

Here is a happy thought for your day, my first furry daughter turns 11 this weekend. Our Trinity has been through so much life with us. It's funny how if you are like us your pets become part of your family.

Today I am grateful for Trinity and how she has made our lives so full. I am also grateful for opportunities to celebrate life.

May you be blessed by nothing but joyous celebration of life this weekend.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Little Things

The other day I was mid-post when Paul gave me so bad news. So today it's make up time. I have been really enjoying my little lady lately. She is growing so much and talking so much. She does at least one thing a day that makes me sit back and say wow or how did she learn that?

This fall when I take on two full days of school and 12 credits worth of homework, I am going to miss this. Even the very worst day of being a full time stay at home mom. I have been so blessed to have this time with her. Things have been tight but I wouldn't trade it for the world. Sometimes I think we have it all wrong because I haven't finished my degrees, we haven't bought a house but we have her. The thing is though that had we done those things I would not have been able to spend this time with her. So the timing on all of it was just perfect.

As I close this chapter on her first two years and we move half way across the country I am so grateful for these little amazing moments with her!

May you be blessed by some small moment of wonder with someone you love.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

How Paul Surprises Me

If you don't know me in real life, Paul is my husband. We will be married 7 years this October. We have been together 14. He rarely does something unexpected we have been together long enough that we can anticipate most anything about the other.

Yesterday his boss called him and told him today would be his last day of work. His company felt it made the best business sense to let him go now. That did not make sense for our family at all. It meant loosing a bunch of pay checks we needed. While we have some saved for the move we certainly don't have enough saved for the move and to live off of for a month.

I was having the most peaceful morning yesterday. At 9 am all I had to do the rest of the day was shower, walk the pooch and go have a girls day with Lilia and our friends around the corner. At 10 Paul walked into the room hyperventilating. Then he told me what was going on. He was angry and hurt. I was just angry. The day dragged on and we started figuring things out. What we haven't sold yet that has value that we could sell. We even found some odd jobs to pick up. He researched unemployment.

Then Paul called his boss and gave him a hard time. He plead a good case on employee loyalty and hard work. After a lot of negotiating his boss agreed to see what else could be done. Paul is now working until the current pay period ends. He has secured all of his paychecks and commissions except for one. The side jobs we have lined up should cover that. He also has medical coverage until the day we move.

I am floored. I never anticipated his company bosses having a change of heart, but they did. We had a lot of people praying for us yesterday so I think God gets some of the credit.

So life goes on as planned until at least next Friday.

Paul over came anger and hurt to negotiate for himself and his family. That my friends is pretty darn impressive to me. I would have gone with spiteful anger. I would have told them come to my lawn and pick up the office equipment they wanted back because I was not going to go out of my way to bring it back. I would have done that immediately on the first phone call. Paul was so caught of guard that he didn't say much of anything. He took the day to process what had happened and then found a route that worked for him.

It's not a perfect happy ending but I think most of us (read that I) have a lot to learn from Paul. It was really important to him to leave this job on good terms. Somehow despite all the odds he found a way to do that and make it work for our family. The compromise isn't ideal or perfect but he got what he wanted and no compromise is ever perfect.

Today I am grateful that Paul surprised me with how he reacted and that he was able to get what he wanted.

May you be blessed with some character surprise in your love.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Inspiration

I have been editing as you might have noticed in one of the other bazillion posts I have mentioned it in. This involves me watching a whole lot of footage over and over again. Much of which ends up on "the cutting room floor".

The documentary I am working chronicles a relationship between our friends Caleb and Rhita just outside Kampala, Uganda and our church here in New Jersey. I need to write an entire post about their amazing work which really is a life choice since it all blends together. Anyhow I just needed to say that while reviewing some edits Paul made last night while I was attending to a very upset toddler, I found myself in awe of Caleb and so darn inspired.

Three years ago when I visited Caleb and Rhita there was a dream to buy a piece of land and build a compound of sorts so all the children they care for could be in one place. I just reviewed video of Caleb walking us around the land, the dormitory, the house, the kitchen, the WELL, the future garden. Caleb Rhita and all the kids are living the dream. I don't know if I am just sappy or if it was the early morning hour, I found myself a little weepy watching Caleb show us around.

I am so inspired by Caleb and Rhita and how far they have come in just 3 short years. I think what makes this particular dream being lived out so meaningful is that it was never for them, the dream was for the kids. How daring to dream a dream for someone else! What courage and perseverance to live it out!

Today I am so grateful to be blessed by knowing Caleb and Rhita and their ever growing family.
May you be blessed by some sort of inspiration.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Just Gratitude

This weekend has been a pretty rough one, emotional roller coaster in so many ways. Also working hard on finishing this documentary. I should mention we are finally in the home stretch!

I just wanted to post how incredibly grateful I am for a loving and supportive church family. Today I dragged my booty to church solo, to find so much love and support. The kind words were endless, God was there. I am so glad that I decided to start this process with my home church. I couldn't imagine doing it with folks who haven't known me.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Learning to Let Go

I will start with learning to let it go and learning to let go are two very different things. Sometimes we have to let things go other wise we become grumpy old people who sit around with nothing better to do than mutter to ourselves about those young kids pants. I have seen myself on this track several times and I quickly self correct. I don't want to be a lonely old woman. I want my hubby sitting there next to me, rocking in his chair. I don't want to alienate myself from everyone around me. So at times I have learned somethings you just have to let go.

Now there is this whole other thing, the art of letting go. Letting it go for me is letting something that gets under your skin just float breathlessly into the night with out giving it much attention. Letting go for me is defined more as letting go of something that formally had meaning in your life, a home, a relationship, a missed opportunity, you get the idea.

As I sit here I have found that it is much easier for me to let go of somethings. In the past few years I have let a lot of relationships go. They weren't life giving so it wasn't worth putting my life into them. You follow? I am looking out the window at the trees which I have loved since girlhood, my daughters toys in the yard and it makes me a little sad letting go of these things. So while I have found getting rid of the junk easy, yard sales will do that, letting go of my trees and my daughters place to run free is much harder. I suppose though, that I am on my way. When I let go I guess I am open to something new there wasn't room for before.


I am grateful that I am slowly learning these things and I have great hope for the things to come.
Today may you be blessed by letting go of something that burdens you.

Friday, June 24, 2011

37

37 the number of days I have left until the big move.

2 the number of clearance art pieces I bought last night for less than $2. Even though I said I wasn't buying anything for the new place until we got there. I couldn't pass them up.

5 the number of things I am frustrated about.

842478247382947923 The number of unflattering things I want to say about people on my blog just to vent. Lets include in that number trivial things I would like to b*tch and moan about.


1 the number of beautiful babies I have, for which I am very grateful.
Endless.... blessings what I wish for you.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Late Night/Early Morning

I stayed up late last night clicking link after link on the internet. I was reading about the quiverfull movement. There is a new book out on it written by an "outsider" which I am itching to get my paws on. I read for hours first hand accounts of women who left. Random people's opinions and saw the darkest side of this movement. Before I knew it, it was 1 am. I dragged my very tire behind to bed. At 2 am Lilia was up and ready to parrrrrrtttttttyyyyy! I sat up with her until 4. She was up by 8 this morning. I am dragging to say the least. I am not sure if I had an early morning or a late night at this point.

I do know that for some reason a zen like calm came over me at 2 am and even though I was tired and cranky and anticipating today's zombie like state from lack of sleep, I was grateful to hold this little girl in my arms, the little girl I prayed for, for what seemed like an eternity, the one who is so full of promise, who can do anything she wants with her life because she isn't being raised in a sect that doesn't value women beyond motherhood, my beautiful God given daughter.

Today I am grateful that my daughter has the chance to live to her fullest potential whatever that may be.

I am so blessed to have my beautiful healthy child, even at 2 am.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My Stomach and Caillou

The past three days I have had a bit of a stomach bug. Since Sunday evening basically eating has lead to almost immediate digestion and a visit to the toilet. This was not particularly concerning to me because every so often when my Aunt Flo comes for a visit this symptom comes with her. Today I asked Paul to run to the store and get me some medicine. I am not a taker of medicine but today I thought well it's not getting any better. I don't know why I didn't take it sooner. I feel like myself again. A bit tired but much better and I haven't seen the bathroom in hours. I even ate a bagel several hours ago.

Yesterday as long as I didn't eat solid food and I stayed still I felt ok. I spent all day locked in the family room with Lilia watching Caillou. She absolutely adores Caillou. This was one of the shows I have long hated. Years before Lilia was even conceived, I voted against Caillou, he annoys me. Yesterday though he kept Lilia happy and entertained while I tried to recover. I want to share with you some observations, how is it his name is Caillou and his sister Rosie? I thought he was Asian but I am not sure he is supposed to be. Why doesn't Caillou have hair? He is a little old to still be baby bald isn't he? Why is it Caillou is almost always in shorts and that weird shirt with short sleeves but all the adults are in long pants and sweaters? This seems irresponsible, I don't really like Caillou but someone buy him a sweater! Assuming Caillou's Mom did the decorating in the house she must really like hearts, they are on everything but the cat and the kids. The walls, the floors, the chairs, the toy box. Hearts are everywhere. On another note, George Carlin did the voice of Grandpa until 2008. One of the Caillou voice actors was killed in a car accident. Caillou is not from Japan or China as one might assume based on his look and Asian style shirt... he was created in Canada. Caillou's toys are mighty expensive, I googled them. I thought maybe I would pick one up for Lilia. I must say as much as the whiny brat Caillou annoys me it is really fantastic to watch Lilia sing the theme song. I bought her a Caillou book last week and watching her identify things like colors, the phone and Caillou is rather amusing to me.

Today I am grateful for knock off brand Imodium and Caillou, even if I can't stand his whiny little but.
May you be blessed by gratitude for some of your first world experiences.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Almost There

Let me start with an update from last weeks post on my massive to do list. I finished just about everything but the editing and the celebratory drink. I am to a point where all I have to do is pack up the house and with 40 days left I am in no rush, I am an excellent packer. I will breeze through it. I also learned I can't book a storage unit until we are just a month away. So just in case you were sitting on the edge of your seat wondering what happened to my public to do list you now have the conclusion. We are in the home stretch. It's getting exciting and emotional.


Last night I went before session and was approved to be recommended to the CPM as an inquirer. That part was pretty easy because I wasn't very nervous since it is like being with family. I am pretty comfortable in my own skin with most people at our church. I will miss them greatly when we leave.


Lastly, I am really glad that we have choices when it comes to parenting. Lilia has been giving us trouble sleeping. I think she is starting to feel our stress about the move. She did sleep well last night so hopefully we are on a new course. Anyhow, I had been trying to curb her binky habit an decided to wait until after the move, I think she needs that comfort until after we get settled. The potty on the other hand is going a little better. I think if I stay consistent we might be on our way to potty trained soon.

Today I am grateful for an amazing church family and choices in parenting.
May you be blessed by knowing you are loved.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Lesson My Dad Didn't Mean to Teach Me

Dad's teach you lots of things. 12.5 years ago today mine died. I have found in the past week I think about him a lot. I was getting really anxious about the big move which for the record is just a mere 42 days away. I think it is also safe to say that all of my large move related projects are out of the way. That means I just have to pack. I digress. Just in case you are new here, my dad got sick when I was 8. He had a mystery illness that doctors kept saying was in his head. He eventually slipped into a coma at our house while I was down the street playing with my friends. I left in the morning, slept over because my dad was rushed to a hospital in another state. I never saw my dad again. I saw his body, I heard him talk. He wasn't my dad anymore. He was a guy that looked like my dad and sounded like him but he didn't really act like him. He had massive brain damage. He started to recover but didn't get very far. When I was 18 he died.

That day though when he was here not feeling well one day and gone the next, it has influenced my entire life. I try to live and not get stuck in the daily grind which is incredibly hard. Back to the point, this week when I was tossing around some of the lingering feelings of loosing my dad and the emotional difficulty I face as I move to Louisville this summer, I heard Lady Gaga's song, Hair. "I''ll die living just as free as my hair." Dam straight Gaga! It clicked, I am jumping on this opportunity because it might not come around again, leaving just about everything you know is scary. Some how the song, my dad's illness, Louisville it all clicked in some way that made me feel very confident about my decision. Of course it was much more eloquent in my head earlier today when I wasn't feeling quite so sleep deprived.


I whispered to my baby girl today, sometimes life isn't fair. Your Pop Pop should be here with us loving on you. Everyday matters.

What I didn't tell her was that eventually we all end up a pile of ash. No matter how excited our mom was to find out she was expecting us. No matter how much our dad loved us. Nothing can change it, we all return to dust.

Life's short... Live it.

I don't think my dad every told me that. He sure did show me though.