Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

It's Christmas Eve, it's almost 9 am and my sweet LG is still asleep. We should be preparing to have kids hepped up on sugar and santa and the sheer joy of getting gifts in every room. We aren't. We won't be hosting any guests this Christmas Eve, nor will we be a guest of someone. We will go to church, come home and let LG open the presents family have sent, and eat a feast of some of our favorite finger foods. I have yet to make any cookies and I am determined to make a batch or two today. LG wants to give Santa a Christmas tree cookie. The best way I can describe this Christmas is raw and frustrating. We are on our own for the very first time and it's not that we lacked invitations, I knew I would be grieving and that if I couldn't travel to be with my siblings and mother that space with out distraction would be a good thing.

I started to get into Christmas with LG's excitement. Then our tree fell apart and I still have yet to bake a cookie. Then I was left with 12 end of the semester projects to finish, like finding the floor and sorting the toys before Santa's big arrival.

The grief is complex. Yes I am missing my sister in law terribly, some days I don't think its real. I don't think I really took a whirlwind trip to FL in September and spoke the words that were her funeral. I am also missing our big family Christmas Eve party, which isn't happening because we are all spread out now. I have said I won't travel on Christmas but I might change my mind next year. I highly dislike being with out my family on Christmas and if there is anything this year has reinforced it's that life is short and our Christmases are numbered and should be spent together. I know that I have Paul and LG and they are my own little family but LG barely knows her cousins and that makes me sad. She should know the excitement of giving them their presents not the pain in the ass of standing in line at the post office. I grieve also for those sweet children who died while at school. For the young man who thought there was no way out but death. For the family whose little girl has just been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

I have gone through many of the motions of Christmas, trying to capture the joy when it comes, trying to feign happiness for my daughter so she still looks at all this with the wonder that is only found in childhood. I have found Christmas music depressing, the cookies aren't made and there are many movies that have not been watched as they traditionally would be. Tonight I hope I remember to spread the reindeer food on the lawn, read the night before Christmas and leave the cookies and milk for Santa. I have been rather forgetful.

Today I am grateful for the memories, even when they hurt.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Memory is a Gift

Tonight I took a quick trip to a craft store, I read about a cute advent calendar idea and wanted to price some supplies, I also wanted to look for some supplies for the hand prints we make each year with our daughter. As I was in there I passed some lovely little ornament frames, on sale. I looked them over and did a thing I have been dreading. It seems that each Christmas there is someone else missing. In 2007 when my grandmother passed away, my mom and I made ornaments for each of the grandchildren and children. The following year I did one for people who had passed away a few years earlier. This way they are there with us through the holiday season amid all the glitter and twinkling lights, their pictures hang with smiles in place. My grandparents, my father, my stepfather. Tonight I added my sister in law, bonus sister is a more appropriate term. I cried in the craft store as I picked up the perfect frame for her, with a little date tag, 2012. I doubt I will forget this year, it was going really well and then September the third just happened. Life changed we were all left with heavy hearts that have gaping holes where Donna should be. It is a loss like no other that I have experienced. I have always dreaded the day I would lose a sibling and I can't imagine its much different then what this feels like.
Donna on our tree.

Last Christmas I mourned the loss of our traditional Christmas Eve party. We have all moved to different parts of the country and for the first time in my life I spent Christmas Eve with no siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. I find myself at times incredibly sad that my sweet LG will never know the joy that I knew on Christmas Eve. I have tried to think of ways to recreate those memories for her but the truth is, I can't. The people who made those days special have started to move on from this life. With out Grammy, with out Donna it just wouldn't be the same.

Today I find myself incredibly grateful for my gift of memory. I am able to remember parts of life so clearly it is almost as if I am transported back there to another time. LG may never know the Christmas Eve's that I knew but I always have them close to my heart, precious and protected, memories.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

My Brother, Survivor

As I drove LG to school this morning I was emotionally assaulted by local children's hospital radio-a-thon. It's not because I am a heartless retch who doesn't care about sick children, I think they are doing a good thing! A wonderful thing! To help children who are sick with devastating or terminal illness is a beautiful thing. The problem is even before I was a mother, I couldn't listen to the skillful mix of heart breaking story and emotional music. I got half way into a story and switched to my other station of choice which is playing Christmas music that I am not ready for.

The reason I can't listen to these things is because it brings me back to my own childhood, I am the sister of a survivor. My youngest brother is a childhood cancer survivor, one of the lucky ones, his survival was a sheer miracle. Those little songs and stories rip my heart out because even though I was a young child I can remember it all very clearly. I can remember the hell it was on our whole family and of course my brother whose treatment lasted two years. Just the year before my father had been diagnoses with a terminal illness that would take his life some years later. I don't want to go back there to that place in my life, our life. It's not that I won't talk about it or I don't think about it. I just don't like to be taken there by surprise.

Today I am so very grateful for the life of my youngest brother and his survival against all the odds.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Dark Place

As I watched Hurricane Sandy barreling towards my hometown and state from 800 miles away I was full of anxiety knowing very well that nothing there is build to with stand a hurricane because hurricanes typically do not make it that far up the coast. As the storm inched closer, I got word that some friends on the other side of the country were also evacuated because of concerns about a tsunami following an earthquake in Canada. I felt all heavy in my chest and gut, of center, what in the world is happening? Maybe my mother in law isn't so crazy thinking the world is ending this year. Then as I watched the storm coverage and lost contact with all those I love at home, local news came through, a train derailment with a serious hazmat spill and evacuations across town. A school bus accident that killed two preschoolers (same age as our lil' one) and left four others in critical condition. A car accident that killed 4 people. It's overwhelming. NYC floods. The part of NJ where I grew up has had a "map altering" storm.

The whole thing all of it has thrown me off center. I want to go home and just see it. I am one of those people who needs to see things. I want to go provide care for people who have lost things. I can't because I am a student and school here hasn't stopped or even taken a deep breathe.

Then yesterday in class we sang these lyrics in a hymn, "No storm can shake my inmost calm While to that refuge clinging" It was difficult to sing those lyrics knowing what people were going through but I sang them, I trusted God and I found just a little bit of comfort. I found that my faith has grown again.

Today I am grateful for the safety of all my loved ones at the Jersey Shore.

Monday, October 22, 2012


Last week we had our first really good frost overnight. I looked out the window that morning and thought ok we need jackets today. LG looked out the window and yelled, "Mommy, there is ice on the car!" We went through our morning as usual. When we walked out to get in the car for school, she saw the frost was all over the ground and screamed, "MOMMY IT SNOWED!" I saw that one coming, I explained it was frost and frost is a little different then snow and we looked at it. Then she exclaimed, "I have to step on it!" We walked across the street into the valley and she ran around leaving little foot prints and laughing. I slowed down and noticed that if you look closely at the frost, you can see the little ice crystals on each blade of grass.

LG was five minutes late to school that morning, I didn't care though, you only look at frost with wonder for so long in your life. I didn't want to kill that wonder even though I knew it would make us late. Along the way there, I rediscovered wonder as I slowed down and noticed the crystals on the grass blades. I hope she never looses the wonder, that frost never means grab a sweater to her.When she came home that afternoon she was very upset that the frost was gone, she decided it was hiding and sleeping in the trees.

Today I am filled with gratitude for frost, wonder and slowing down. 

May you be blessed in slowing down and noticing all that is good around you. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012


A while back I found myself frustrated because people assume that because I am from the North East that I have known a level of privilege I have never known. Reality TV likes to show my "homeland" as nothing more than a bunch of spoiled and ungrateful people who get everything for nothing. The truth is I know what it is to work hard for something. I know what it is to do with out things that seem like necessities and I knew that long before I lived on what we call a seminary budget. I am not asking you to feel for me here, I am just trying to establish some context.

I do have a lot of privilege now and by privilege I do not mean money or stuff although if we measured stuff in just toys I might be eating my words. Lately though I am seeing how much privilege I do have and have always had. I grew up in a home with parents who loved me, siblings that got along pretty well. Even after my dad was sick and had to live away from us I still always knew I was loved. I was cared for even in those rough times when the ends didn't meet. I wasn't left to fend for myself, I had responsibility and I learned respect. My childhood was privileged.

My life is privileged. I get to work on my Master's Degree, school as stressful as it is, is a privilege. Living in a place where I have access to clean running water, privilege. Having a vehicle to drive, privilege. Knowing enough to budget well to feed my family mostly whole foods, privilege. Being a mom, privilege, wife, same deal. Spending the first two years of LG's life at home with her, super privilege, and I couldn't have done it with out help from a few key people in my life. Getting to worship when and how I want, privilege. I could go on and on forever.

While I hold firm to, I have never known the level of privilege that is projected upon me, I am none the less very privileged. I am sitting here wrestling with if it is ok to be grateful for the privileges I do have in life. I suppose it would be a crappy thing not to say thank you God. How do I humbly say I am grateful for all the privilege in my life with out sounding like a jerk? I am not sure but here goes...

Today I am grateful not only for the privilege I know but the gift of knowing that those very things are a level of privilege that some will never see. May I be faithful enough to work each day and bringing equal privilege to all people, particularly in the area of meeting basic human needs. May you be blessed by knowing the privilege you have and sharing it's fruits with those around you who need them.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Break & Fulfillment

It is the coveted research and study break, as the name implies it means most of us are working our tails off getting big projects done. I am working hard on getting caught up and I am just about there. I have had more sleep this week than I have had in a month and I am feeling pretty good. It is amazing what just a few extra hours a day can do for you. I didn't think this break would help but here I am feeling rather refreshed.

I am starting to get into the swing of things working at my church placement. Can I tell you how weird it is to not be a volunteer? I am not sure I will ever get used to my "hobby" being my job. Depending on how you measure the success of budding ministry it is either going well or horribly wrong. I am going with well, I am getting the chance to bond with a student and build a relationship. This is the most life giving kind of ministry for me and it is so very humbling. Tonight it was pizza, lemonade and a whole lot of homework. That was/is ministry and I'll take it. There is something about those conversations over math homework that reminds me of why exactly it is I followed the call to seminary.

Today I am so very grateful for the change to explore ministry in new ways and the little affirmations I am finding along the way, affirmations that tell me I am on the right path. I am also so incredibly grateful for this break and sleep.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Extended Family Living

I recently heard someone say well you know he is thirty and still lives with his parents. This stung a little because I was thirty and still living in my mother's house, with a husband and a baby. House sharing worked for us and my mother wasn't there most of the year. Maybe I am just self soothing but I think there are two types of thirty and living at home, some people are productive people who happen to live at home and others are what you picture, the guy in the basement playing video games, watching movies, forgetting to shower and making demands of his parents. There really is a stigma in our culture about living with ones parents after a certain age. It is expected that we will all go out, buy our own property and fill it with a family and stuff.

I read a lot about communal living among young Christian types. They get together and enter into relationships where they are fully dependent on one another to make their home work. Married couples with kids, single people, couples with out kids all sharing a house, usually in a poorer part of town. They spend their days trying to make life better for all the people in the neighborhood. To be honest I read about this and I think I wish I was wired for this, but I am not. I know it would make me a little crazy. Although lately the thought of having someone else cook dinner might be enough to make me consider it.

That communal living also comes with out the stigma of extended family living. After much thought I am for extended family living. I lived most of my life with someone "extra" in our family home, cousins, uncles, grandparents, my older brother and his family... they all stayed with us for various amounts of time. I am used to living with lots of people because it was always my norm. Don't get me wrong there are times when living with a whole bunch of people and feeling like you don't have enough space or privacy will drive you up a wall. When you can't find something and you know where you left it, frustration might steam out of your ears.

Think about the advantages, shared responsibilities, shared financial commitments leaving more income for living life. If like me you have kids, I can think of many advantages to living with people you already trust when it comes to childcare. The first year of LG's life I didn't take her to the food store because she stayed with family while I ran errands. It was fantastic for both of us.

Let's be honest about the financial situation we find our selves in too. It is getting harder and harder for even the most well qualified buyers to finance and purchase a house. Sometimes the two incomes that come in still aren't enough to support a household. Maybe we will start seeing more of this extended family living. There are already lots of articles about empty nesters who are refilling their nests. Financial constraints are holding a whole slew of us back. I have heard things like, when I was your age I had three kids and a house or by 19 I owned a home. Well that's all well and good but it's not the reality for newer generations as the life that was once common place.

There are benefits for families with children too, having someone to hold the baby while you shower is a bonus. Kids learn they are loved and the family lore. They also learn to listen to multiple voices which isn't a bad thing. Sure sometimes breaking with family traditions that are just plain out of date is hard but maybe it's worth the joined struggle. It isn't always healthy if say you have an over bearing parent that becomes a controlling and manipulative grandparent. There are lots of cases where this isn't a healthy living situation. All I am saying really is it should be an option that comes with less stigma.

What about you, you ask? Well we moved a little over a year ago to a new city, we are far away from all of our family extended or otherwise. We do enjoy the independence of living on our own and making all of our own decisions with out the opinions of everyone. However we miss the family a lot. I would consider myself a product of this kind of living and I think it has more advantages than not. I always had someone to talk to, I was never lonely, I learned a lot about conflict resolution that sticks with me still, you learn a lot about compromise (especially that your needs aren't always first), I know the family stories, I know how to work together to complete a big project, I know that it's ok to depend on one another. Those are just the ones I can pull off the top of my head. There are some downsides too, I am a bit of a control freak (I am learning to let that go) but I am pretty sure always having to make group decisions led to at least a part of it. I have a hard time being alone even though I am fairly introverted. When my family picked on me it was as a group and as a kid who was insecure that didn't help.

Maybe it's time we remove the stigma from working together and find interdependence again. 

Over all though I am grateful for the experience of growing up in a full house.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Just an Update

We have made it to the half way point in the Fall semester. I hope the second half goes equally as fast so I can recoup from the beginning of this one. The past few weeks have been incredibly stressful as I learn to juggle, school, family and an internship that requires 15 hours a week of my time. We finally have the apartment somewhat clean. Now maintaining it should be easy... in theory. I am yet again sick. I have had a cold for the first week of the month the past three months, it's getting old. This one has yet to leave, I thought I was on the up swing and then Wednesday night as I led youth group, bam! one sneezing fit and it all started all over again. My goal for this week off is to not only get caught up on things but to also get a lot of rest. Allowing myself time to get really good rest is difficult because there is always something begging for my attention from the moment my feet hit the floor in the morning. It starts with the cat and is followed shortly there after with the dog. I might get a few quiet moments before the humans arise. I guess it's all part of family life but when you are exhausted, every little thing makes you jumpy.

In much happier news, since starting my seven day a week school/internship schedule, I have been making it a point to spend time each week just for family activities. Last night we went to a Fall gathering at LG's school and had an our door movie night. As we sat there on the lawn cuddling, I knew I was made for motherhood. There is so much satisfaction in those moments when I get to have the time with my family I have always dreamed of. Last Saturday as I spent time on the farm with Paul and LG I felt the same way, as if I were living my dreams, for family anyway. I am rather enjoying these moments of strong affirmation in my call to motherhood, they will sustain me until the next round comes. There are certainly more moments when I think I wasn't cut out for this at all.

Today I am grateful for my little family and quality time spent with them and dreaming of the day when there are more of us laughing and enjoying time together.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Oh God, I am so tired, more than tired exhausted. This journey to serve you and your people is wearing me out. The life that is seminary is taking a toll on my well being. I am stretched far too thin. I feel like I am going to just collapse or break. This semester is making me wonder if there are enough hours in the day to ever get it all done. Then there are all the emotional complications grief while in seminary is difficult because there is barely time to catch your breath. Being away from the family you grieve with is heart breaking. I am working every day at school or internship. I feel like I can't go on. Then more emotional curve balls come. I am fighting against my own inclination to be a fixer. God who surrounds me wrap me up in your arms and help me to find the strength to go on. Amen.

Friday, September 28, 2012

My Girl is Awesome

Excuse me while I brag shamelessly about my child, you have been warned click away now if you don't want to hear gushing about the sheer brilliance and adorable tendencies of LG. That being said let me tell you how awesome my kid is...

Tonight we took her to her first live show, Disney on Ice. It was kind of a spur of the moment decision and I scored awesome tickets that were in the first row. I had no idea that the tickets were that good, I knew they were close but not that close to the rink. I was very surprised because we didn't pay the exorbitantly high VIP price, we went middle of the road, which even seems like a splurge but LG had birthday money that we had saved for experiences because we have enough stuff.

I had never been to Disney on Ice, I had no idea what to expect, after a quick facebook poll, it was clear that she was old enough to go. A friend of mine gave me the inside track, most of the little girls would be wearing their Disney princess dresses. I said we don't have any princesses but we have Minnie. So I asked LG do you want to wear your Minnie outfit or regular clothes. She said mommy I just want to wear my regular clothes. I asked three times and three times she said regular clothes. So we settled on her Daisey shirt. She saw all the other little girls and didn't bat an eyelash at their princess garb. I am counting this as a score because she is currently rejecting princess culture in favor of Mickey, Minnie, Daisey and Pluto.

Then I we took her to the souvenir stand and said you can pick something. Blinking, spinning lights, princess glitter galore, she chose a simple Minnie Mouse toy. I was really surprised because she plays with these lights everywhere we go. She sat through the show clutching Minnie and is in bed with her, even though she is hard plastic. This kid knows what she wants and isn't afraid to pick something that isn't popular. I love this, even at 3. I don't know if it will be this way in two years but for right now I am counting it another victory.

We walk into the arena and she spent a fair amount of time watching the lights move and work as well as some of the other rigging. I cracked up, she is definitely our kid. I just love her curiosity about everything.

The show started and I wish I had the camera ready, her face was absolutely priceless. We did get a few pictures of the show but I missed that initial reaction. It's in my memory though. Half way through she told us she wanted to come to the Mickey show again tomorrow.

She liked Mickey and Minnie the best and they were out the least and she was mildly disappointed that Pluto and Daisey didn't come out. Over all though she had a great time and I am so glad that we took her and got to really enjoy her and the show. I am so proud of her and I can't wait to see how she keeps on walking to the beat of her own drum.Oh and she wants to go ice skating... that's what she told us... not a peep about being a princess, at least today.

Today I am grateful that we had the means to have this experience with LG and the moments to just savor her childhood. We are blessed, so very blessed.

Friday, September 21, 2012


Since I have found myself in this mode of survival, just survive the day and then tomorrow you can get through that, things are different. I have been trying to establish a routine that helps me get through the work of each day quickly. Since I am very much in a place of celebrate the little things, today I completed my first week of 6am work outs. It's the first time I have gotten a full week done. So the routine is coming. I hope it soon includes basic house work chores and sleep. The problem with the survive the day is I end up scrambling a lot. Yesterday I didn't have a sitter for an extra class period until an hour before hand and that is stressful. Slowly though I am getting a hold of this semester and the things that need to happen in life.

Today I am grateful for the routine and that I haven't shut the alarm off and rolled over.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Truth About (my) Grief

"Becca, right now you have 1000 triggers."
"Yes and I don't even know what they all are."

That is the nature of my grief right now. I am trying to own this grief and process it and find a way to heal a little. I don't want to push it down until one day I end up crying at some inopportune time because I haven't dealt with the loss. Here's what I know, I know this loss won't go away, this has become forever a part of me. I  know that over time I will get used to this new hole in my heart and while it may never be comfortable I will be able to live my life in a "normal" way. A time when looking at yellowing trees doesn't make me cry and listening to the radio while you get ready for class isn't a risky behavior.

It's true about the triggers, you would not believe the things that make me all sappy and weepy. This morning it was a song about living a good life. At first the familiar tune made me feel like I wanted to just live life and tackle the world, the perfect weather outside helped that kind of high on life feeling. Then I started thinking about the life cut short and a few tears came. I was affirmed in my seize the moment attitude because we don't know when it's all going to be over. This is not a new way of looking at life for me, when I was 8 my world changed and I have since held this view. However recently with renewed gusto.

I also find myself reminiscing a lot. Not that I want to go back to another time in my life but just remembering how much fun some of these times were and the freedom found in those moments of pleasure or joy. Most of my remembering has been inspired by either the weather or music.

Lastly, learning to grieve as I accept and grow into my identity as clergy changes a lot too. I can't just hide in my bed for a week doing minimal life stuff. I have got to get up everyday and get things done.

This morning as I walked I thought of so many things that I could write about but none of them were really authentic. This is where I am at. As I establish a routine it is helping me get through the long days. I am learning to have grace with myself when everything doesn't get done.

I am grateful for the grace I have found with myself, my openness to this grief process (even if it hurts) and this perfect weather.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Unexpected Affirmation

About two weeks ago I lead my sister in law's memorial service. I felt it was a great honor to be asked to do so and trusted with such a tender time for all involved. I felt though that it was a gift I could give Donna and a gift to my brother. While I hope it was received as a heartfelt gift and I suspect it was, I really was the one who has received the gift. First I was able to identify a significant part of my call story that I didn't identify as a part of it before. When I was 14 I wrote a poem when my grandfather died that was read at the funeral. I eulogized both my dad and step dad. Then I lead my grandmother's memorial. I thought at one point that I would never be off the hook again. I suppose this is a part of my gifts, part of my call to this life of ministry. The strength I had the day we said good bye to Donna, it wasn't mine, there was nothing less in those moments than a strength that came from God. It is weird to find a part of your pastoral identity at your sister in law's funeral.

When I finished the service many people came up to me and thanked me and said beautiful things about my ability. I did for a moment question if people were just being nice but Paul said no, if it was bad they wouldn't have said anything.  This is where the gift really comes, in this horrible moment, I was able to in a very small way minister to my family, which is not something they would have seen otherwise. I felt like in this very holy moment my family saw who I am created to be and what I am called to and why. This has been one of my strongest struggles in accepting my call to lead God's people, that my family doesn't understand and I wished that they could.

Last night I posted the text of the memorial to a special blog page so people who weren't able to make it could read it. Again the affirmation is pouring in and I am humbled. 

It is not the best place or circumstance to receive such affirmation but there it was, there it is. It is creating a new sort of confidence in me. Yet, I feel kind of guilty, this isn't about me, it is about the loss of a loved one and the memory of her life, it's about God. Here I am though feeling very me things.

Selfish as I may feel I am grateful for the gift of affirmation I have received and even more grateful for getting to share my authentic self with the people whom I hold so dear to my heart.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Finding the Good

I don't know that I have ever experienced stress like this. The beginning of the semester, coupled with grief and being a week behind on top of the regular stress of juggling childcare and just life with no family close by. I already missed my family terribly before Donna passed away. Now it's like a pain that won't go away. Everywhere I look something reminds me of the people I hold dear. Tears well up in my eyes at seemingly random times. I just want to go home and I don't know where home is. This is hard. It might be the hardest thing I have ever gone through.

In spite of the pain, the confusion, the anger, the lack of patience and all that goes with it, I can still see the good.

Things for which I am grateful:

1. Nutella, yesterday I opened my cabinet and found the nutella my friend gifted me. It made me smile. Then I learned it's even better with peanut butter. So this morning it was toast with peanut butter and nutella. You should stop what you are doing and try it right now.

2. A high that is in the sixties today. It feels like fall and right now, I need that, its like a gift to my soul.

3. My not so baby girl, laughing and giggling and learning and growing.

4. This Pumpkin Spice Coffee. It's a good pick me up. Bonus because it makes me feel like fall is really here.

Today it is safe to say in the middle of this storm that I am grateful for the little things that remind me I am alive, that life is going on and that one day I will again feel "normal".

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Grief & Gratitude

This is the hardest loss I have ever had to face. I nearly lost it in class yesterday when I heard my final paper would be on "Death, Dying and the Christian Funeral". I really didn't hear a word after that until my friend looked at me and said "Are you ok?" I laughed about the sheer irony of it  after class. I have no idea how I will write that paper.

I am still crying. I don't think I have ever cried this much. I am having a really hard time getting back into "normal" life. My ability to focus is minimal. Anger is here. Patience is low. Tolerance is low.

This morning, LG insisted upon watching a Christmas sing a long. It made me want to throw up. We were here last year and that was hard enough to not be with family. We have already talked about traveling this year because of this loss and the need for support at those times which are the hardest. This morning I realized that not only will Christmas be hard for my brother and his kids, its going to suck for me too. I can't avoid it, LG has been looking forward to Christmas since we took the decorations down.

I just want to feel normal again.

In more positive news I have some great people who are bending over backwards to help me out with caring for LG and I am so grateful for that gift.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What changes in a moment or a week...

Sunday Sept. 2- I wrote a post about how I was ready to face the challenges this year brings.
Monday Sept. 3- My sister-in-law Donna dies suddenly. I learn this from my nephew, her son at 10:30 pm. I had just sat down to look at home rentals and my phone rang.
Tuesday Sept. 4- We ran around in preparing to leave to be with our family.
Wed. Sept. 5- We arrive. I am asked to lead the memorial. We begin what seems like sitting Shiva.
Thursday Sept. 6- I should be starting classes for my second year. Instead I go out with my sister and niece to order food for the post funeral meal.
Friday Sept. 7- I run around like a crazy woman preparing for the funeral. I write the memorial.
Saturday Sept. 8- I lead the memorial. I receive affirmation of my gifts from places I never expected it. I held it together and didn't cry during. I attribute this to nothing less than God and the prayers of my friends at school and in two congregations. The song the band dedicated after though nearly brought me to my knees.

Somewhere along the way I realized how much the day after my 14th birthday changed my life. My grandfather passed away, I wrote a poem, it was read at the funeral and credited to someone else. When my dad died I wrote again but I had the courage to read it myself. My step dad the same. By the time my grandmother died I took care of the whole funeral. This was no different and I realized that not only was this an integral part of the story of my call, but that I would never be off the hook again. I will always be writing or speaking for family funerals.
Sunday was Paul's birthday we delayed celebration.
Monday we left and I cried my eyes out the first leg of the trip.
Tuesday we arrive at our "temporary home". I find our apartment cleaned and stocked with food by the friends who have already graciously watched over our cat. I cry at the site of their kindness.

Today anger reared it's ugly head. I am overwhelmed with how much I have to do and I feel like I am in some sort of fog. It is hard to pray. It is hard to read class readings about the good news. It feels like some sort of dream.

Today I am grateful for my family who is still so close despite the distance between us.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Life's not Fair...

Life's not fair was a common refrain in our house during my teenage years. Tonight I would like to add to that death doesn't do much better. Tonight we lost my dear sister in law Donna to a heart attack. She is much more like my sister, she married my oldest brother when I was 9. She was young and healthy. No one saw it coming.

At 10:30 my phone rang I looked to see who was calling, it was my mother. I knew immediately something terrible had happened. It's the kind of call you don't want to answer. I answered and there was hysterical crying on the other end. It took me awhile to make out the words, mommy's gone I can't live with out her Aunt Beck. I realized then I was talking to my nephew. I was trying hard to get my head around these words, surely he was just over reacting to some health scare. He was not. I talked to my mother confirmed what seemed like a nightmare. Then I had to call our youngest brother. I came in and told Paul then I went for a walk.

I sat down on some steps and was soon joined by a friend.

Dear Donna,
I was sitting on some concrete steps tonight after a devastating phone call from Colt. I remembered how we used to sit on the steps in Forked River when dad was first sick. You would let me cry my eyes out. I found it ironic that I was sitting on some steps crying because you are gone. I thought about how 13 years ago you asked me to be Colt's Godmother. I guess today is the day that I make good on my vows to you, your family and God. I never thought that I would have to but I am ever willing. I will take care of Colt, sit him down on some steps and let him cry. Don't worry I will make sure Dennis and Kelly and the grand-kids are alright too. You are the reason I had to tell Lilia about heaven. That just isn't right... I told her you have wings and you get to be with God. She recognized your picture while we were talking. That made Paul burst into tears. This is like the shittiest thing ever and I lack comprehension. Tonight I believe in God not because I believe in a good a gracious God but because I need to believe that you are in heaven with all those who have gone before you planning a kick ass party for when the rest of us show up late. You after all were always the early one.

With all my love,
Your little sister,

PS- For over a week Lilia has been telling me that we were going to grandma's house again. I think she knew more than we did.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

What Changes in a Year

We have lived in our new home for just slightly over a year and I was reflecting on what can change in a year...

1. We moved to an entirely new place.
2. We have mastered navigating said new place.
3. 33 Master's Degree Credits (this puts me just over 1/3 of the way done).
4. 6 of those credits were in Hebrew and I passed, making Hebrew a thing of my past.
5. I became an Inquirer again with the PC(USA).
6. I found both a Spiritual Director and a Therapist.
7. I worked hard at landing my dream placement for my internship, success.
8. Traveling with a preschooler solo by car and for her first plane ride. We went to camp in NC, NJ and FL.
9. Touring a ton of preschools, making a decision and LG starting preschool. (Also found and hired a sitter that wasn't family!)
10. Passing the Bible Content Exam!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
12. Ditching the binky.
13. Another birthday party for LG, this one seemed never ending.
14. A slew of holidays in a new place with much less family.
15. The loss of my sweet sweet Mirembe.
16. Wisdom teeth are gone.
17. A big girl bed.
18. We bought our first couch.
19. I now drive a minivan.
20. Survived our first tornado bearing storms and learned what to do when the sirens sound.

There are new friends, we have tried all sorts of new food (I really enjoy Mediterranean cuisine), we have found lots of fun places to go, the list goes on and on. This year has taught me that I am much stronger than I ever knew. I can handle more pressure and a very thin budget. There have been moments when I didn't think I would survive or that our little family would survive. Here we are though sitting around our dining room table on a rainy Sunday afternoon which seems like a gift. It hasn't all been good, I applied for and was was rejected for scholarships and jobs. There have been weddings, funerals and new babies born into the world. We have missed events that were huge for our loved ones because we followed the call here. Mostly we are constantly learning and adjusting and surviving. It's been a good year. I start back to full time classes on Thursday, hopefully I will remain in a good rhythm of writing, praying and exercising that I have been working hard on this summer.I am mourning the loss of lazy Sunday mornings from time to time and trying to embrace my new up and out of the house 6 days a week routine. Saturdays will certainly become more sacred, with trips to the farmers' markets being a staple in our Saturday routine (watch this week for a post about our farmers' market challenge). 

This year I begin my study of Greek, I have already learned the alphabet. I have reading assignments that I need to work on and way too many things that haven't been crossed off my summer to do list. I know though that the important things are taken care of and I am strong enough to face the challenges that I know lie ahead like juggling classes, preschool, the housework, Greek and field education. Writing my candidacy papers and a full psych evaluation. Then there is all the unknown that I am sure will come with this second year of seminary. It has been a challenging year and I can see so many ways in which I have grown. I am not the same girl I was a year ago and dare I say I will not be this girl a year from now.

Today I am grateful for a relaxed rainy afternoon in which I can reflect upon all that has happened in this year.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Test taking, the olympics and having babies...

In an hour I will be sitting in the library computer lab taking my Bible Content Exam, otherwise known as my first Ordination Exam. It's part of the joy of being Presbyterian. Today will likely be a two blog day because if I pass I will want to write about it and if I fail I will likely need to cry with words. I made a promise to myself that no mater what, I would under no circumstance take practice exams this morning. I would just do normal morning things. So now I am left wondering what to do with my time, I want to start the test already.

I am really nervous this morning, or maybe anxious. I am facing this test a lot like I did the delivery of my only child (so far anyway). My labor was induced so I knew about when I would be having a baby. This was the worst thing ever. We went out to dinner and then went to the hospital. There was no ouch I think this is it or my water broke it was like keeping an appointment. I also knew that having a baby meant everyone in the hospital was likely going to see my girl bits. Maybe even the janitor and the chaplain. So I walled myself up, shut out all the nervousness and went in like a stone, no over emotional reactions just sheer perseverance. This proved to be a good idea because it was a long 24 hours that ended up with a baby stuck in my pelvis and a surgery while still awake, one of my biggest fears. I don't know that this was healthy but it worked. I shut it all out and I survived. The baby was fine and she is now 3 and I can possibly consider doing it again, for the first time.

It's exactly how I am approaching this test, only I get to keep my pants on. I am shutting out the rest of the world and going into me take a test and pass mode. I hope it works. I hope by 10:45 this morning Noon the latest I can say I have passed.

I think this is the closest I will ever come to feeling like an Olympian, I have been training my brain for this for a long time and it is going to come down to what gymnastic commentators call muscle memory. I will never be an athlete, but this morning my academics are my athletics.

Today I am grateful for time to just be before I attempt my exam.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Test

Tests generally do not make me nervous. I might have a little anxiety about them but I really don't worry about them too much. (Well unless it's a pregnancy test those always make me nervous.) Tomorrow I am taking a huge test, the Bible Content Exam, I have spent a good portion of the last two weeks preparing for it. If I fail it, I can take it again, so it's not that big a deal until you factor in I have to pay another $100 to take it again. It is a 100 question test, so that's a dollar per question and there is no prize money. Here's the other thing, I don't study for tests, but this one I have had to study for and it's freaking me out. This morning I am already a ball of nerves I can't imagine what tomorrow morning is going to be like. I don't know how to best make use of my study time today.

Here is one last complication, LG has been fighting off a back to school cold for a week. Guess who woke up with a sore throat and upset stomach this morning?  The stomach I am blaming on nerves or just the general irritability of my stomach. The throat though that's preschool germs at their best.

So if you are the praying kind, I would greatly appreciate your prayers as I take this exam tomorrow morning.

70 is not a grade I like but it is one I am striving for because it gets me the magic passing grade.

The good in all this is that I have spent a lot of time reading the bible the last two weeks. There is so much beauty and inspiration in there.

Today I am grateful for the inspired word of God which is still speaking, particularly to my heart.

Monday, August 27, 2012

We had Watermelon and it was ok...

Yesterday I wrote about my issues with gender and ministry and how I was struggling as a woman to juggle both roles of mother and church leader. I have to tell you what happened, I woke up yesterday at 6 in order to bake cookie bars for the lunch after church. At 9:30 they were cool enough to cut, so I got the plate and knife out and I started cutting them up. That's when I discovered they were raw in the middle, even though I tested them twice when I took them out of the oven. There was nothing I could do, we stopped at the food store on the way, bought a watermelon, found a knife and a tray and that was that.

It was alright that I brought a watermelon and not a home baked treat. We survived and no one knew the difference.

I am grateful for learning to relax a little bit more.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Gender Roles in an Almost Pastor's Home

It's Sunday morning. Church day in our house, which makes sense considering in two years I will be done training and hopefully serving in a church somewhere. Today at the church where I am interning, there is a big BBQ after church, where you bring a dish to share. This is a fairly normal thing at churches. So I am up a few hours before I need to be, baking. While my cookie bars are in the oven, I sit writing a children's talk. Today we also happen to have a kid with a cold. So that means I am leaving and Paul is staying home with her.

We joke frequently about Paul being the Pastor's Wife. However, being the woman in this relationship and the "Pastor" gets complicated because not only am I prepping for worship, I am up baking. Paul can bake but I really enjoy baking. However I think in the future Paul is going to have to add preparing potluck dishes to his Pastor's Wife resume.

This is highly frustrating as female (nearly) clergy, particularly when you consider we have kept some what traditional gender roles in our home.

Just some thoughts.

Today I am grateful for a sense of humor in all this.

Friday, August 24, 2012

This New World

LG started pre-school last week. She is adjusting well and seems to really enjoy school. Aside from a few potty issues she is mastering being in school every morning. Case in point, Lilia did you pee your pants again, No Mommy I pooped my pants. She wasn't lying. That was our conversation as I put her in her back into her car seat. I think it was pretty typical for motherhood at least for me.

Earlier this week we had some storms and I worried about where they take the kids in the case of a tornado. Tornadoes are still new for me and their inability to be predicted makes me nervous. Then as I was folding some laundry I realized I didn't have my phone on me, I ran and got it thinking if LG isn't with me then surely my phone should be. I am very comfortable with the staff at her school, I feel like she is in excellent hands. There is part of me though that gets a little panicky. Of course being me I didn't just let that settle I thought it through. What makes me nervous is that I am not there to protect her. Protect her from what? Well people sure do seem to be going into random public places and shooting them up. I think the chances of this happening at her preschool are pretty slim. I thought about writing this a few days ago, I wrote it off as paranoia. I dropped it, in my head, anyway.

Then right before I went to pick LG up I heard about the shoot at The Empire State Building. It all came flooding back. First off I live in a place where a good number of people are carrying guns and those that aren't have them, this makes me nervous to begin with. My train of thought started back up again. I don't think my mother ever worried that I would get shot while at school. I never worried about going to school and getting shot at, or going to a movie or the mall or a PLACE OF WORSHIP or anywhere. Don't get me wrong I don't loose sleep over this and I don't let it stop me from doing anything. Its just there in the back of my mind. I hate that there are times when I can't protect her.

What does it mean for older children who know that these things happen? Will she grow up afraid that she is going to get shot up by going to school or church? Right now she is oblivious what am I going to do when she understands and asks questions? How do I teach her to not be afraid but to be smart and aware of what is going on around her?

Today I am grateful that my LG is still too young to really understand any of this.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Pastor's Kid

A few weeks ago I did my first "children's talk" in my church placement. LG saw the mic in my hand and freaked out. She clung to Paul the whole time screaming and Paul sat there as I tried to beg him with my eyes to take her out. He didn't see the begging. I had to press on, luckily I have ignored a tantrum or two in the past year. It was rough but this is exactly why I am starting to do things a few months before I have to, I needed time to get Lilia adjusted to the idea of mommy working at church and the routine during church. We are getting there the second children's talk went much better.

After her four alarm fit, someone came up to me and said, "Well she is a pastor's kid." I don't think they meant any harm but it stung. Pastor's kids don't always have the best reputation. I have only heard that word pairing used with a negative connotation. I have thought about that a lot over the past two weeks or so. I talked about it a bit and apparently there is a positive connotation to those words too, I just have never heard it. I am going through what I suppose could be called growing pains as I grow into my call and begin to take on the identity of "pastor". For LG to be a pastor's kid I have to be a pastor. I am slowly getting there. I am adjusting to what all this new title means and brings with it. That means I have a pastor's kid. It means I live essentially in a fish bowl where every word, action and deed is interpreted. Sometimes with out intention they are hurtful. Sometimes I fall short and sometimes I wish I could just act like any other person. The reality is this is the time to get used to the title and the new more public life. I am not sure I am ready but I am here.

Today I am grateful for LG, pastor's kid fits and all. I am grateful for this time to grow into what it means to have the title pastor.
May you be blessed by the words of another today.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Ten Years from Now

Paul, LG and I were cruising in the mom bomb as we so affectionately call it. Something came up and it had happened ten years ago. I asked Paul, "Ten years ago did you think you would be married to me, have a daughter and living in the 'ville while I trained to be a preacher." He laughed and said I was pretty sure I would marry you and that's about it. This seemingly random conversation that filled the space between the gas station and home of course got me thinking. If someone told me ten years ago that I would someday be training to be a pastor I would have laughed at them, maybe even a hardy belly laugh bringing tears to my eyes. I could have given a list of reasons why I would never be a pastor. That really though is when the journey started because I was also just going back to school to finish my BA. If you told me I would live in KY I would have laughed even harder maybe fallen over. Ten years ago I had very little clue where I would be today.

I dreamed for a long time that at this point in my life I would be married with three kids, own a home on a huge piece of property, a fancy car and have a powerhouse job in NYC media. Maybe even a helicopter to commute in, if I went really crazy dreaming. Those were my life goals by 30, which has come and gone. My goals now are completely different. I have to wonder will they be laughable in ten years? Maybe not and maybe so. I am no longer dreaming with childlike imagination, it's a more grown up imagination that has faced reality. Although there is still a whole lot of imagination that happens inside this big 'ole head of mine.

So our next conversation naturally was about ten years from now. What will be surprised about, what do we expect? Well we agreed that there will probably be more children in the mom bomb. We have no idea where we will be living or what our jobs will be. We live in a state of transition for at least another two years. I still have dreams they look different now, a great education for LG, time spend living in Uganda getting my hands dirty, writing that isn't self published, maybe a PhD, a brother or sister or two for LG, family vacations. The dream that is the equivalent of the helicopter one above would be getting to go around talking to women about a new vision of what it means to be a Christian family, but I would have to write the book first. Or how about living off the grid eating all natural and organic foods? Maybe living in community? I have always dreamed of living on a farm. I am up in the air about home ownership these days, as I slowly learn to value material things less and less I feel like owning a home would make me want more and more. I hope in ten years I have found the balance of my materialism and my desire to live simply.

Who knows what we will laugh about in ten years or what it is we aren't expecting?

Today I am grateful for all that has happened in the last ten years and all that is to come.
May you be blessed in your next ten years. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Parenting as Spiritual Practice

I am taking a class on monasticism and I am learning so much about practices. As I was reading the other day I was becoming somewhat overwhelmed with some of the ideas that were speaking to me. How could I, the mom, the student, the wife, the chef, the housekeeper, the errand runner make my life more spacious? This on top of feeling like I am being buried alive by toys every ten seconds. Other times it feels like my own stuff is going to tumble down and take out a toe or two, clean dishes on the right of the sink, dirty on the left both piles desperately crying for my attention as I try to balance homework and potty training. Sometimes it is just all too much. Too much stuff, to many things on my to do list, not enough time, not enough energy, not enough sleep, not enough quiet. If I sit and think about it long enough my head might actually spin.

Then this moment happened, my life doesn't have to be governed by to do lists. Enter in cynical voice, but you have to keep things some what clean. So as these two fought in my head, I started to begin to think about some spiritual practices I have learned over the years. For example praying as you make dinner for your family, for the workers who brought the food to your table and so on. Then I thought about just being present with LG. What if instead of just handing her things to keep her out of my hair while I am trying to do the dishes or fold the laundry or read a book for school, what if I put it all down and fully engaged with her.

So I did I put it all down and when Paul got home from work we ate dinner and went to the splash park. I took towels with me and my keys, no phone no bag no junk, just a towel and a cover up for LG. I spent two hours just being fully present with her and Paul and honestly it's a bit like meditating at first. There was this sense of Paul has an eye on her time to make a mental to do list. I had to keep reminding myself to be present there with them not looking ahead in my mind. There I found the holy and remembered what a precious gift these moments are. My child who is ever growing and learning and exploring is so happy to have me by her side for the journey. When I slow down and take time for the holy in everyday tasks, I don't miss any of the joy parenthood brings.

Maybe the answer then is just finding God exactly where you are with all the tasks and piles of crap you have to deal with. Well at least for those of us who won't be going to live at the monastery anytime soon. I started last week reminding myself to be grateful for LG. When she is frustrating me I remember the moments of near tears while out running errands and being surrounded by pregnant women. I stop take a breathe and remember she is not my burden, she is my beautiful and precious gift from God. It really puts things into perspective for me. I wonder if we all stopped and did this every time our child(ren) get frustrating if it would revolutionize parenting? It's really hard not to get lost in that frustration!

I think that I am on the path to finding the holy moments in parenting and today if you are a parent or caretaker I invite you to join me on the journey.  I never expected a class on monasticism to teach me about parenting as spiritual practice but is has and I am grateful.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


I was sitting in class recently listening to people talk about love as an expression of gratitude, with in the bounds of faith, and gratitude for God's love. As we talked about our experiences of God's love it occurred to me that in my personal experience, having our daughter was the moment that stood out. Actually it was a series of moments, but from the time I knew she was growing inside me I was so grateful for her. When she was born, when she hit milestones and currently as she approaches her third! birthday. I noticed though in that moment that recently in all my frustration I had forgotten to be grateful. So I wanted to take a minute and say even though if you have spoken to me recently you know I am at my wits end with how our family life is going these days, I need to say I am grateful for LG. I am so grateful for her vibrant and healthy little self. I am trying to remember that in moments of sheer frustration and there are many like trying to put clothes on a kid who just wants to be naked. May I never forget to be grateful for her beautiful life.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Heat Wave?

Things you don't expect to hear on the forecast, "Cooling to 100 on Sunday." We are in our second week of 100+ temperatures with no real end in site, cooling off seems to be 99. There is a small chance of the upper 80s next week which will probably feel like snow weather. I am super grateful for air conditioning. Also this heat wave has really helped us make progress in potty training. LG hasn't had a pee pee accident in days. Staying in the house or just outside the door in the baby pool has helped us get on track with potty training. Now if I could just convince her it is better to poop in the potty then in her undies we might be able to call this game.

Days like Today are Rough

Today was the 4th of July. I used to love days like today, an extra day off of work, fireworks, usually spending the day poolside and eating some sort of grilled delights. It's how I grew up, it is how I have probably spent nearly every July 4th in my life at a cook out with a pool surrounded by people. I moved away from my life long community where these kind of invitations were the norm almost a year ago and what I have noticed is that I really miss my home, my people on days like today.

It's days like today I realize that this thing called faith and listening to God's call have turned my world upside down. In reality it started a few years ago when I started questioning my own patriotism in light of faith. I don't want to get into that all here, it's just really hard to say we are all God's children and then say yay us!

Moving here has taken me away from nearly everything I know, granted I am getting to know lots of knew things but all that newness gets exhausting, sometimes you need something that is just comfortable. Paul no longer has holidays off so today felt like just another day, not one set apart for celebrating anything. With the temperature hovering between 99-105 yet again it is too hot to really enjoy spending the day outside with out being in a pool. I was totally bummed this morning as I thought of the day ahead and how we have spent this day as a family in the past, with friends and family. I got to thinking maybe it's what I make of it. So I made kool aid, which is a treat for LG. I took out the bigger baby pool and invited some of LG's friends to our "front porch" for a morning swim. We have an ample supply of ice pops that came in handy. I rummaged around the kitchen and found supplies for black bean burgers and intended upon making a quinoa and sun-dried tomato salad. Paul came home from work with left over pizza, not typical food for the fourth but it was less work.

I hope at the end of the day that LG is making great memories even if they are different from mine. I long for the hot summer days filled with pools and grills, beaches and boats... cool summer nights under the stars with a little fire and friends or walking on the moon lit beach. I really just don't know how to "do" summer in my new context. We did see fireworks twice in two days and bonus tonight's display involved air conditioning. I have a community here, we are just all students and not a one of us has a pool and it's just too darn hot to sit out on the communal patio for more than ten minutes.

I guess I am grateful for air conditioning and living in a place where clean water is so abundant that I can fill the baby pool each morning and empty each night laden with guilt because I have held in my arms a child with out enough water just to drink and I get to use water for play. We are blessed, in spite of all this desolation. 

Saturday, June 30, 2012

We need each other.

Friends, readers and maybe the random person stopping by. The day is young and has already been very stressful. Yours truly would be super grateful if you could keep us in your prayers, thoughts and good vibes. We need each other in life, we aren't supposed to go it alone. Let me know how I can pray for you.


Friday, June 29, 2012

Kindred Spirits

I often feel like the "odd man out" when it comes to matters of school and vocation (or sense of call as we call it in my world). I constantly struggle with feeling called to serve God's people with out very much from the material world. I also pretty regularly lust after stuff from the material world. It's a conundrum at best. It's a tension I have to live in for now. Even in seminary this call to less makes me often feel like I am on the outside. We have conversations about medical coverage, pensions and other parks of the compensation for the job of ministry. Those conversations sometimes leave me feeling dirty and frustrated.

I feel called into deeper practice, in to more disciplines that will allow my faith to go. A deeper call away from the things of society to the stuff of faith lived. It's a lonely call most of the time, even those called beside me in ministry don't often understand it. I have learned to live with it.

Lately though I have noticed I have a few kindred spirits around here. I am noticing people who are thinking like me, practicing like me and questioning like me. I am slowly having conversations that are life giving.

I am grateful for the discovery of new  kindred spirits.
May you be blessed by the feeling of being understood. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Calming Down

Well summer is upon us and my schedule is finally calming down. LG and I have been traveling a lot and Paul even got to come on one trip with us. I am back to class this week for summer classes and that is the only plan I have for the month. This is such a relief as it has been crazy around here as you might have noticed by my lack of blog posts! If you are still out there wondering if I have lost all sense of gratitude, you can rest easy that I have not. Today I am grateful for time to dust and just get caught up with the cleaning tasks that have been ignored for entirely too long.

May you be blessed with catching your breath.

Monday, May 28, 2012

When the Trees Twinkle

Yesterday was an interesting day, we took LG to her first baseball game which she had been anticipating all week. That excitement was a first all week after I picked up the tickets she would say I want to go to the baseball game. I would say on Sunday after church and after lunch. Yesterday when she woke up I said time for church, she said and then the baseball game!

So the morning started with church where I heard a sermon that was unsettling. Maybe that is how sermons should be? The way you hear a sermon changes when you go to Seminary.

Then I went out to write an essay, big surprise.

Finally it was game time. We got to the game only top find out when I asked for Sunday tickets they gave me Saturday tickets, luckily they were quickly replaced with Sunday tickets. LG had a fantastic time and got to go on her first merry go round ride. It ended with fireworks. LG was a very happy girl and a very tired girl. We came home changed her into PJs and headed out for a ride to put her to sleep.

We drove down into the park where I noticed the trees seemed to be sparkling or twinkling. I made Paul pull over because I couldn't believe my eyes. It was true the trees were twinkling, filled with thousands of lightening bugs. LG fell asleep watching them. We sat there for nearly an hour watching nature's free show and it was amazing, mesmerizing. I hope they are there for a good part of the summer because I want to watch them every night. I wanted to scream and knock on doors and tell people you are missing this. I tried to take a picture and video but the lenses weren't sensitive enough to pick it up, so it will sit a wonderful memory in my brain.

Today I am grateful for nature, creation and all it has to offer us. 
May you be blessed by twinkling trees in summer time. 

Friday, May 25, 2012


The more I get into theology and reading and writing and naming what it is I believe, the more I know I long for simplicity. Simplicity should not be confused with simple faith or easy answers. I noticed last week while I was decorating the communion table for Baccalaureate that decorating the table does not fit with my theology at all. It seems like we are dressing up the holy meal, making it appear to need added beauty to make it appealing. I struggled too with the time spent doing it and the expense it would take over time to do this over and over again. So I said it, I hate that we decorate the communion table with fabric and art and fancy serving pieces.

Today I am grateful to know where I stand and to be ok with that. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

One Year Complete

Well friends, if you are still out there hanging in on this journey with me, I have finished my first year of seminary. Over the past few weeks I have thought of so many things I could write about but simply haven't had time. Here is one that hasn't left me though, I am grateful that I have survived this year with out having to put LG in daycare. It is a huge personal victory. Also I think I am grateful for so many new friends, I really enjoy my classmates and neighbors and they are quickly becoming our new family.

May you be blessed with time for gratitude in your busy, crazy, wonderful life.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Grateful for Vomit

"Mommy, I want my water." -LG
"No you are all dry now, when we get home I will get you new water." -Me
"I spill it, I spill it I get all wet. I wanna get dressed." -LG
"You don't have anything to spill." -Me
"She threw up?!?!" -Paul

Lesson learned when LG says I spill it when not holding a drink, she threw up. 

Tonight we had our first kid vomit experience (as in not spit up) and it was in the van to boot. Like many kid/ vomit combinations a large clean up effort ensued. I haven't slept more than 8 hours in two days. LG hasn't wanted to nap and I was just trying to survive until Paul got home so I could go to bed nice and early. Motherhood kicked my ass today. Then we had a puker. Paul got her bathed and in clean PJs. I cleaned out the van and ran to the store for sick kid supplies, which I forgot the biggest part of. So far (fingers crossed and various other superstitions) it seems that she might have gagged herself with her fingers. She is exhibiting no signs of further illness, we shall see what the night brings. Kid vomit smells so much worse than dog or cat vomit, I'm just saying.

My first gut reaction to all of this besides, don't puke because you will have to clean that up too, was I hate my life. I hate not sleeping. I hate cleaning up puke. I hate that my kid won't nap or go to bed at a normal time. I hate that my house is a mess.

Then I remembered earlier today I read about a family at home (who is close to a family that we are close to), lost their 12 year old son, Kyle, to cancer. It broke my heart, as a mom, as the sister of a childhood cancer survivor, as a human being. As a future Pastor, I am sure I will never be able to explain this away. There aren't words to explain this, the best I have is that it's shitty. That in moments like this I need to believe in the heaven where things are better and we all get to meet again whole, unbroken, and dancing with joy, embraced in each others arms.

Then I heard that my cousin delivered a baby boy tonight. A new beautiful life that brings joy to all of us who already love this little boy. Knowing my cousin, I know that she is holding her little one tight and they are learning to be together as mother and son.

This has kind of been the theme of my entire day. I got some great news about an internship for next year. I was really excited, we were all gabbing about where we were going and then I heard someone say they didn't get a placement. Then I heard that 3 people didn't get a placement. Then I stopped talking about my own excitement because I think it is rude and unbecoming to flaunt your joy in the face of someone who is hurting. It was bizarre. I was filled with joy and confidence as this was a personal victory for my confidence levels, I set a goal and I met it. It was simple but I haven't done it in a long time.

I don't know if it's because the hour is late or if all the praying I did in chapel today has helped me to be more open, but it just strikes me how odd this all is, the joy, the grief, the celebrations, the hurt, all mixed up together in this thing we call life. It's there all mixed together all the time but how often do we notice what isn't ours, how we are feeling. Everyday mothers loose children, everyday mothers give birth to children. Everyday people somewhere feel joy. Everyday somewhere people are disappointed. Yet God is there, here.

Tonight my friends there is a woman whom I have never met, who doesn't get to kiss her son good night, she doesn't get to tuck him in, say I love you. I am certain that she would give anything to have one of those seemingly routine things. As a mom I would argue that she might even be ok with cleaning his vomit out of the car seat and van because it would mean he is there. Yet here I sit with my cleaned up child asleep in her bed. I got to hug her, tickle her, kiss her up, take her to Steam Boat Races and that was just today. And it just doesn't seem fair does it?

Tonight I am grateful for vomit because it is a sign of life.
May you be blessed in knowing every single day is a gift.

This song has never felt more appropriate.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mental Health Day

I haven't missed much class this semester. So today I decided to take a mental health day and skip my lectures. I am still rather busy around the house but I feel so much less stressed. Sometimes I think we just need a break like this to catch our breath and worry about one less thing.

Today I am grateful for space to catch my breath. 
May you be blessed with space to catch yours.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Haircut

I usually don't go to salons for hair care. I am a do it yourself girl, salons are a luxury I am used to because I grew up as the daughter of a hair dresser/salon owner. Until now I have always had someone to do my hair for me. After nearly a year of just getting it trimmed when I saw my mother and coloring it myself I went last night and cut off a good portion of my hair and had it colored at a beauty school here in town which means it was affordable but took nearly 4 hours. There is nothing extraordinary about my haircut. I like it. I like the color. I like the fresh new look. I really enjoyed being pampered though, getting your hair washed might be one of the best things in the world.

Today I am grateful for the little luxuries in life.
May you be blessed in the enjoyment of something simple.

Monday, April 23, 2012

My Apron

I live on a campus where the women are fiercely feminist, I too am feminist but in a middle ground sort of way. I feel it is just as feminist to choose staying home with your kids as it is to work or to balance both. Recently when some folks saw me wearing my apron with a bandana covering my hair they giggled and gave me a little bit of a hard time. It was mostly in good fun but it made me think about why I do the things I do. First off the apron and the bandana are practical, covering my hair keeps it from falling into the food I am preparing. Wearing and apron keeps my clothes clean, I am a mess cook. I chose to stay home with my daughter, I like to cook, I like a clean house. Therefore I cook and I clean. I like spending time teaching my daughter about the world, so I stayed home with her. I seem to be in a place now where those choices make you less feminist, which in turn makes you less then. That is very frustrating! Why is it wrong for me to enjoy cooking? Or choosing to raise my daughter? I thought feminism was about women getting their voice heard not going from one society imposed role to another.

When I wear my apron and I make family recipes and carry on traditions it is not because it is a role that was forced on me by an overbearing family system. I do it because I am carrying on a tradition I have chosen to carry on, trust me there are some I left behind. I can remember my beautiful Grammy in the kitchen making rice pudding, preparing her recipe makes me feel connected to her even though she is no longer with us. In some ways my grandmother was pretty traditional when it came to gender roles but she also didn't take crap from anyone, she was tough and would put anyone in their place. I would venture to say she was feminist even if she wouldn't give herself that label. My mother is far from the typical gender role and yet she too held on to traditions like the Easter Bunny Cake. She too can hold her own in the world and has balanced motherhood, housekeeping and running a business all on her own.

I think there is something powerful about choosing traditions, choosing the apron, and making choices that make you feel empowered and loved.

Today I am grateful for feminism on my own terms. 
May you be blessed by finding your own terms it whatever it is you hold dear to your heart.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Letting Go:My Secular Upbringing

I am training/studying to be a pastor. In my home growing up we didn't go to church not even on Christmas or Easter, my mother felt it was hypocritical to only go two times a year so she didn't go at all. There is a theology paper in that somewhere. As we are in Lent and Easter is fast approaching and I heard people talking about when you have kids and you are a pastor you pray spring break for their school doesn't fall on Holy Week because you are so busy. It got me to thinking this Sunday while in church listening to the church's plans for Easter worship. For the rest of my life as long as I am serving in a church, I will have to be at church likely from sunrise until noon. My heart broke a little when I figured that out.

Here is how Easter morning went in our house. The night before we made careful preparations for the arrival of the Easter Bunny, who we had already gone to visit at the local mall. We would dye hard boiled eggs, my mother would make our bunny cake which usually ends up looking like a demon possessed Easter bunny made out of cake, for dessert after the Easter meal. My youngest brother and I would leave out one special hard boiled egg for the Easter bunny, our equivalent of cookies for Santa for Easter. In the morning we would wake up to find the Easter bunny had hidden our dyed eggs and plastic ones filled with candy, coins and little trinkets. There would also be baskets full of candy wrapped in colorful cellophane adorned with huge bows and hidden in there somewhere or on the table next to it would be some special toy. Then of course there were the left over egg shells from the egg the bunny had consumed, leaving behind the sheer proof that THE Easter Bunny had most certainly been there. We would eat hard boiled eggs and candy for breakfast. Then my mother would dress us up like we were going to church for Easter complete with a bonnet, gloves and a purse. From the pictures you would have thought we lived in the South or were very into church. Then we would take pictures and slowly our older siblings who had already moved out, our grandparents and various aunts, uncles and cousins would arrive as we ate snacks and then shared in a meal together. Then we would play outside or play games and just enjoy each others company. As a child I would get incredibly excited for days like that, I liked having everyone around and sharing a meal together. I loved all the Easter flowers, daffodils, tulips and my favorite hyacinths because they smell just fantastic. (I was never a fan of the lily.) There was no church but I knew the story of Easter, the Risen Christ. I once put the Romans on trial in my grandmother's back yard for killing Jesus, after she reminded me of the story.

In my head I guess I imagined this is exactly what my daughter's Easter Sunday's would be like just with church mixed in after the egg and candy breakfast. These mornings (Christmas mornings too) are some of the best memories from my childhood, I can remember that sheer childhood joy, I can remember on special days it didn't matter that so many people in the family were battling illness because we were together. It was a day where my mother always let me be a kid even if she dressed me like a doll. I always imagined that I would take over for my mom hosting the holidays, creating baskets and egg hunts for my own children and nieces and nephews. Not every Easter was at our house but most were. Sometimes we went to an aunt's house or my grandmother's house. I loved the ones at my own house the best because I was comfortable there, I was a painfully shy child.

So now I am left with these good and beautiful and decidedly secular memories and my call to serve God. I have moved away from all that family with whom I have so much shared history, which makes for better holidays remembering those past. My daughter will never know Easter, Christmas or Thanksgiving like I knew them and it breaks my heart. Now I live in a world where I am certain some of my neighbors cringe at the fact we still visit the Easter Bunny and that my dormpartment is covered in eggs and bunnies right now. That this celebration of the Risen Jesus which is what makes Christians, Christians is represented by bunnies, chicks, candy, eggs and various other things in my home. Maybe it cheapens it but I would say it's a powerful lesson of Spring and new life for children, they understand spring, they understand bunnies and eggs, understanding the resurrection is something I can just barely grasp on a good day and I am 31.

I have really struggled with putting a cross out for Easter this year. I have a banner which normally would go in the front window and I haven't done it. Partly because I am struggling with the cross as the symbol of our faith and partly because the cross empty seems to only fit once Easter arrives. It's a strange thing to have a cross adorned with flowers in your window on Maundy Thursday or Good Friday isn't it?

Today I am so very grateful for my memories of wonderful holidays.
May you be blessed with your memories or the making of new ones.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Plans Make Me Feel Better

I have a plan to curb all my anxiety about my field ed placement. First I am doing ample research on all the churches and visiting my top four because there aren't enough Sundays to visit all five. I am going to read up on a few things. Then I decided that I want to feel really confident when I go in so I am going to make sure I feel good about myself. I know that all parts of my plan will likely not work out but here it is.

1. New Outfit/Shoes
2. Haircut
3. Mani/Pedi
4. Teeth Cleaning
5. Time for various other self care earlier in the day on interview day.
6. Pray for the next month.

I know that makes me sound incredibly vain, I want to make a good impression on each church I interview with and I know I will feel much more confident walking into the room if I feel good about me. So that's my plan, I know what they say about the best laid plans and God. I am OK with God's interference this is just helping me get my head around it all.

Today I am grateful because I have a plan.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

I can do this.

This week we started looking at our field ed placements for next year. Basically if you live outside our seminary bubble that means a year long internship with a mentor Pastor in a local congregation. Here is how it works, we look through books of churches and pick our top five, then we go to interview night where we essentially "speed date" the five churches in 15 minute interviews. Then the churches go and rank their interviewees from 1-5 we do the same with the churches and then some sort of match making magic happens. Then you have a church you work with for the next year. Simple right?

Not really, it's doing bad things to my head. First off there are other people who will interview with and want some of the same positions as you want. In this case though they are your friends who you are in class with and socializing with all the time, they come over for dinner. Yet the over lap in interviews in unavoidable. Then there is the elephant in the room, I have a young child I am the only person doing this with a young child this year and I am worried that will count as a strike and not a positive in many of the positions. I found myself so consumed with that yesterday that I forgot I actually have a decent skill set and gifts for ministry. I have life experiences that can lend to ministry that others might not have. I know I can do this however I am consumed with doubt and worry that somehow I am not good enough. I have forgotten that is was God who called me here. God, not me, God.

My new mantra is I can do this. I will do this. I have it in me to rock these interviews. There are churches that will embrace my family right along with me. The God of creation has called me here. I need to surrender to that.

Today I am grateful to get my anxiety out now and to have the power to name it. 
May you be blessed by your family, whatever form it takes, today. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012


I desire to be heard.
I desire weekends.
I desire a break.
I desire quiet.
I desire the strength to carry on.
I desire normal hormones.

Today I am grateful to be able to name what it is I want. 
May you be blessed in naming your own desires. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Rain

It's a rainy Friday, something that would typically make my mood less than optimal. However I have been blessed by the most beautiful weather this week and it has been hard to do anything but be outside, run errands and take mini road trips. The rain is doing a few things for us today, keeping us in which means I can get some school work done with out feeling like I am missing out on the weather, the plants are getting watered, and it is washing away a lot of the pollen that has been irritating my through, eyes and ears.

Today I am grateful for the rain. 
May you be blessed by the rain you need.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Simple Things

This morning I find myself grateful for a good nights sleep for the entire family and waking up to an orderly home. It might not be clean but everything is put away and the lack of clutter makes me smile! That is all my friends. Be blessed by something simple today, let it make you smile,

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Life Giving Conversations

Something I noticed about seminary is that I have the opportunity to have more life giving conversations. I think mostly that has to do with my not needing to edit out thoughts about my faith. This morning I got to have one of them, it wasn't about anything in particular it was just a conversation that reminded me I am alive. That I have a personality that goes well beyond my roles as mother, wife and student. I am able to see in this moment that all these moments of my life, the good and the bad, have led me to exactly where I am today. Anytime I try to wish it away I remember that all the wrong turns and detours have led me to some of the best friendships I have ever known and some of the most exciting adventures.

Today I am grateful for all the wrong turns and detours that have led me here. 

May you find blessing as you get lost on your journey. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Average Day

Today was an average day save the early summer temperatures. However I find myself digging deep to find the gratitude, having a two year old is hard work, a tired two year old who only napped 20 minutes that you must must must keep awake until at least 7:30 when you go pick your husband up from work is even harder, a tired two year old when you had only 4 hours sleep and can think of nothing but napping is dam near impossible. Then I am looking around the house at the chores for the day that still aren't done like dusting and laundry and I remember that I never went across the way to get quarters for said laundry and the office is now closed. I also still have a brief paper to write and reading to do for tomorrow. It feels like an endless cycle. I am absolutely exhausted. I am sitting here feeling defeated by life. At least next week I am off and have minimal work to be done, even if it just means sitting here with Lilia because Paul is always working.

Today the gratitude I can find lies in all the change that has happened. We have been here for 7.5 months and today I ran all my errands with out the GPS. I knew where I was going and how to get there. That's a step in calling a new place a home.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Mother's Guilt

Lately I have been doing things just a little bit differently. I have been taking time for myself, I have gone out with friends for a few hours here and there. I signed LG up for a preschool that goes five days a week and just accepted the fact that it makes life easier for all of us come the fall. It gives me flexibility in my class schedule that I wouldn't have otherwise. I have gotten to know some of my classmates by attending events with out Lilia in tow. I am enjoying myself quite a bit. I have even gone to church with out Paul and LG a few times and enjoyed it even though the whole time I am thinking this should be a family thing but this is so much easier.

Yet I find myself constantly second guessing my decisions. Can you be a mom and have a life and not feel guilty that you aren't spending every free minute with your child? Is feeding my own soul ok? Does it make me a better mom when I am refreshed?

Is it ever ok to take the path of least resistance or is that just some sort of parenting cop out?

I have the chance to travel the next two summers. This summer to the General Assembly which would have me away from home for a week. I have never spent a night away from Lilia. Next summer I could potentially travel to Brazil for a travel seminar on religion in the global south. Something that I would absolutely love to learn about even if I swore I would never go to South America because of those bugs that lay larvae under your skin and creep me out. That would take me away for two weeks. I am just getting comfortable with the idea of spending some free time away from LG could I handle two weeks away? Does it make me a bad mother if I travel for education? Should I let the opportunity pass me by because my responsibilities are different from those of my classmates? Or am I teaching her something powerful about womanhood if I travel there? Will living the dream cost my family in the long run?

Today I am grateful for the time to mull things over and this space in which to do it.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Breaking Through my Own Walls

Here's the short version. This week I noticed that I am building up my walls. That I am pulling in the welcome mat and shutting down in a lot of ways. I also noticed being this lost inside myself is rather depressing. I long to know people on a deep level yet I myself at times will only go so deep, there is safety when you can still touch the bottom or have some sort of tube to separate you from the depth or bumping into one another. I noticed myself gravitating toward the shallow end this week, retreating with in.

The thing is when I get to that place I feel things I normally don't feel and I get confused about what the truth is. Luckily for me, I don't have to go it alone. This time, I have had enough of going it alone and have plans of intentionally inviting others to the messy part of the journey with me. I am slightly afraid because I have never made these particular decisions before, I have never invited anyone in to the mess let alone faced the mess.

Today I am grateful that I don't have to clean the mess up alone.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

What to do?

Is doing nothing better than doing something? Should we let critical voices stop us in our tracks? Yesterday I watched and shared, the now famous or infamous depending on your take, Kony 2012 video. Shortly there after the criticism started spilling out all over the internet. Here is what I have read in the past day, the first critique and then a few others, The Invisible Children's response, reactions from Africa and a boat load of cynicism. Honestly I now don't know what to think of it all and I will likely hold off a bit from taking any action. Which really is a sad thing. It's not about the criticism really, it's about my issue with wearing the name of a notorious villain on my wrist. When I first watched the video I had some criticisms mostly superficial in nature, as a film geek I can' t help it.

Here's what I am walking away with from all this...

One. We are way to quick to support a cause and then stop supporting it. We don't know what we think and we are swayed by social influences more than we are faith or heart. 

Two. In the end a whole lot of people critical or not now know who Kony is. That is powerful in a country where people, especially young people don't know what is going on around them in their town let alone the world. People need to know that people are suffering in the world. People need to know what this looks like. Maybe the message is simplified. Maybe that is what it takes to get a message to take hold. We live in a world of 140 character thoughts, we have to simplify.

Three. I have held in the very hands that type these words children who have been effected by this and it needs to stop right now. I don't know how to stop it, I don't know the answer. I just know it needs to stop and it should have been on our collective radar 20 years ago.

Four. There have been some ethical concerns about the Ugandan forces being supported because of the crimes they themselves are committing and the general ethics of the government to which I challenge show me a government that isn't corrupt or hasn't committed crimes of a humanitarian nature. I doubt you will find one. If the governments have the power then that's who you have to work with. It sucks. It isn't pretty. It is an ethical nightmare. Then again so is our own government.

Today I am grateful that my heart remembers the warmth of the human beings caught in the middle of all this.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I am grateful I have a home to clean, that it isn't in rubble, that my child is alive and uninjured from storms. That's all I have today. It's been hard to find the gratitude today but considering what my neighbors are going through I have it good, really good.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

She's calling

Yesterday I was at a special lecture with some fantastic new friends, listening to the importance of the psalms. Somewhere in the middle of the day I started thinking about my call to ministry and how I feel it might not be in a church setting. My thoughts went to Africa, particularly Uganda where "my children" are. It was kind of a simple train of thought, it happened I didn't work those thoughts out they came easily. I tried to let them be and not get worked up about how I would ever get to Uganda. I tried to leave all the logistics of PhD work, motherhood, marriage and mission/ministry off to the side. To just live in the moment with the thoughts. Then I moved on in the day. It was like this little moment of sidetrack or clarity I am not sure which.

This morning I went on facebook and saw one of my former youth group students had posted a video done by the Invisible Children cause. A cause that I wholeheartedly support. I couldn't watch the whole thing before class but I will later. I saw enough to see glimpses of the place I was longing to be.

That's when these words came out of me as easy a breathe. I present them to you with gratitude for the spirit's stirring.

Did you hear it?
But a whisper in the night?
She's calling my name.
She wants me back.
She has a piece of my soul...
part freely given...
part taken as ransom.
Africa she is calling me.

Monday, March 5, 2012


I have been following the story of a little girl about 15 months old since Friday, she was thrown from her parents during the tornadoes and found in a field. She went unidentified for awhile and then her family found her. Her parents and two siblings were killed in the storm all of them thrown like rag dolls. Yesterday afternoon this little girl, named Angel, died. I didn't know Angel or her parents. I won't know the large extended family they left behind. Angel, I doubt, however she will ever leave my heart.  Our lives never crossed paths save the TV screen but her story has capture me and wrapped me up in it.

It's hard to sit and write a paper about the life of Jesus who I proclaim as my savior when minutes before you read about all of this heartbreak. It's hard to say I believe in a loving and just God. On Friday we were the lucky ones two storms moved through and they went around us one North and one South. I can't imagine what would have happened if they joined forces over us. This is the new reality we live in one where tornadoes happen, one where babies are ripped out of the arms of their mother by a much stronger and more harsh mother nature.

Now it's all in how we react, live our faith when we are surrounded on all sides by people who desperately need everything. We will see how that unfolds soon as my classmates and I pool our ideas and resources. I feel a strong urge to find a way to share a meal, because sharing a meal is normal. I have never had my house torn away but when my life has been turned upside down I have always wanted to just do anything that makes me feel normal.

Today I am grateful for my life, for Lilia's life, for Paul's life that we can all still hold each other tight. 

Today I pray for those who are waking up to snow on top of the remains of their homes, for those who grieve the loss of entire families, entire communities and lives turned upside down. 

Today may you be blessed with holding your loved ones tight just a little bit longer.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Poker Face

Today we are preparing for some very violent storms to move through. They have started closing schools and universities early and the watches have been issued. Currently we are in between storms. I came home from class this morning and prepped both of our bathrooms so that if I have to run into one I can just gather LG, the dog and the cat. I don't know how to prepare for tornadoes I know what to do for nor'easters, blizzards and hurricanes. I am really freaked out but trying not to freak my girl out. I have to have on my mommy poker face. Of course she can't understand why all her favorite snacks are in the potty along with blankets and water bottles. I told her we were having a party in the potty later. I feel pretty calm now that I feel prepared but I caught a glimpse of my self in the mirror as I shoved some basic supplies into the medicine cabinet and I looked fierce. I barely recognized myself, I was a mother on a mission. The look on my face looked like that of a mother ready to go to war to protect her children. Which seems silly because if a tornado is going to suck us up it doesn't matter how fierce I look I am going to pee myself and not be able to do a dam thing to stop it.

I have to put my poker face on now and go have a party in the potty! The funny thing is if I didn't have Lilia to care for I would be that crazy person standing outside watching the storm. Motherhood changes you, yes, yes it does.

Today I am grateful that fear is sometimes healthy.