Thursday, October 30, 2008

this country

You know what? It's incredible to me, these last few days, thinking that people actually think America is a place of gloom and doom. Watching Barry on tv last night, I wanted to slit my wrists. Really, is this what we are about?

Reading the last batch of comments also had me realizing what DIFFERENT places people are in their views on this country. I had no idea that so many people truly believe the few should carry the many.

Listen, I would really like to believe that everyone has a strong work ethic and a belief in the American dream. But far too often the American dream has become, "Grab all you can and get what you get; let someone else pay for it." And yes, this goes for corporations, too.

My friend Jess and I have emailed back and forth alot on these topics, but I've come to the realization that we are coming from such different places that finding common ground is anything but impossible. And so, at that point, what do you do? Still try to find it? Or do you give up and call it a draw?

My friend (a lawyer - I don't stand a chance) pointed out that, though he is anti-abortion, there are lots of other issues in the race that make him vote for Obama rather than McCain. Planned Parenthood getting all sorts of government funds; he's making them more promises. Hmmm...if it's really all about a woman's choice, then why don't they endorse adoption just as heavily as they do abortions? MONEY. The abortion industry is a huge one. Make no mistake.

Anyway - it's hard for me to see how you can support someone who is ok with sticking a knife in the brainstem of a baby who has survived an abortion. I'm sorry, at the end of the day, that sticks in my conscience. And I can't support such a candidate - but then I am told that one-issue voting makes me naive and uninformed. Let me ask you this. If a grown man can endorse such a policy, not bothering to try to protect the smallest, most innocent of lives, what else can he do?

About the racism going on in this country - it will be interesting to see how things play out on Tuesday. There will be racists who don't vote for Obama simply because he's black, and there will be racists who don't vote for McCain simply because he's white. And I do think the country will be even more divided after this election.

That makes me sad...but then how do you fix it? Not sure. There's a reason politics incites passion. People's core beliefs about the world around them are challenged. They are told to pick one party or the other. I'm not all gung-ho for John McCain and the GOP, either, but they seem to think of America as less of a villain and more of a beacon, still. Why are people still coming in droves to our country? Why do other countries still expect us to protect them? There must still be some good in this country.

And dammit, I still believe in it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

racist

OK, instead of hijacking someone else's blog where this discussion is taking place, I'd just like to point out something.



The fact that I don't support a welfare state does not make me a racist. I love (oh, I really do love) how people jump to the conclusion that because I think many people who are on welfare do not need it, and that many people who are on welfare are not getting the benefit of being able to work with their own two hands and make something of themselves, I am a racist.



Most people who are on welfare are minorities, one commenter said, so therefore, I must be a racist.



Hmmm...let's look at this for a minute.



The system is currently set up so that if you are on welfare, you are making more money than you will make if you have a minimum wage job. How is that empowering people? Can you tell me? Oh, you can't? That is because, quite simply, it is not. You ever heard that old adage about teaching a man to fish instead of handing him the fish and making him dependent on you to get the fish for him? Who is that helping?



It is easier to call me a racist because I do not support Barack Obama than to see that the welfare state helps no one. I have a friend who was raised by a mother who needed that welfare check to get by. You know what I think? I think that welfare SHOULD be used by people who are needing it. Yes, yes, and yes. The mother who is working two 40 hour jobs and still isn't making enough? HELL YES! But if you are able-bodied and are able to have a 40 hour a week job but you are just sitting at home collecting checks, you should have some sort of job. The state should REQUIRE that of you before they hand you money. How do people have a problem with that?

I love how we look at work as a negative in this country. Really, it is not. How satisfied do you feel when you have worked all day for your money? Why do we insist on taking this right away from people and creating dependents?

Thank you to those of you who have left helpful, informative comments. I am finding I just can't get into debates with people who call names and jump to negative conclusions. It makes my blood pressure and stress level rise. And really? SO not worth it. I have a couple of Obama supporter friends whose ideas I find interesting. I think the exchange of ideas is SO vitally important to help each of us grow. (Do I sound like grandmother willow, or what?)

Oh, and I love that people pull the racist oppressionist card out when they have nothing else constructive to say. Really? It's getting OLD.

**Sigh**

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

the body of Christ

A mom of a little girl in Lucy's ballet class was 35 weeks pregnant, bubbling with excitement about her newest baby...and then she was not.

I heard she lost her little son 3 weeks ago - I saw her sitting by herself, so I went and talked to her.

She talked, and talked, and talked, and as she talked I realized something:

The people who showed up at the hospital, who took her family meals, who brought their cameras and snapped all sorts of pictures so she would have a memory of her son's 8 hour life, those people were making up the body of Christ. Those people were His hands and feet in action.

They weren't sure what to do, but they wanted to do something. She told me that the people who have helped her the most have been the people who just walked up to her and gave her a hug, saying nothing.

Because really, what can you say?

The body of Christ in action is a sweet, sweet thing.

Monday, October 27, 2008

finding it

A friend wrote this to me, and I keep reading it over and over again, wondering for sure if she is talking about me: "Darn, girl…the Holy Spirit is working through your life right now. I heard the wind last night and realized I couldn’t believe how the Holy Fire is burning through your life and changing you. The changes are profound…are you aware of how fast and radically you are changing? I barely get a moment to read your blog (I barely get a moment to take a poop!) but when I can skim it I can see all that’s shifting. Tectonic plates. Amazing Grace! God is Great."

This is a friend I have the utmost respect for. I watched her in a years-long battle with suffering that only served to draw her closer to God. And to hear that from her?

Well, wow.

The only way I can explain the change is that I have been praying whenever I think of it that God would have His way in my life. I don't have a lot to offer, but what I do have I will give Him. There is, of course, that warring faction within me that tells me, "Stop now! Dno't go a step further! What might be required of you?"

And yes, that's always been my fear - that something great would be required of me. BUt if I stuck with what I know, the fears and insecurities and sadnesses I want to hold onto, how is that claiming a free and complete life in Christ? How is holding to Satan's lies going to make me free? Because that is what they are - lies!

You know I always get riled up about this political stuff. I stopped my facebook subscription because I couldn't take it any more and I just found myself arguing with people. Really. What's the point? No one is going to convince anyone of anything. And is that really hat I want to be doing with my time? Arguing over politics?

Someone stated that they didn't want to insert their religious views into politics. I find that statement to be so utterly asanine I don't even know where to begin. I'd love to blog about it, but I don't have the energy.

I will, say, though, that I'm praying that God will make clear to me those things that really ARE important to Him. That He can help me let go of those things that are not important to Him - those things that are only important to me.

This guy is so cool. His name is Gordon Pennington, and he's the director of a media group that focuses on creating art with purpose. He created the Tommy Hilfiger and British Airways brands. What he says really resonates with me, especially as it relates to all forms of media and our culture in general. He writes:

"We live in an era of psychotic distraction. The level of psychosis that affects people's behavior is difficult to measure because people are so reactive. They are simply responding to an array of stimuli that is simply overwhelming today. And to filter that out and to protect oneself requires a kind of understanding consciousness, awareness, discipline and resistance that's very rare. Teaching people resistance will result in people acquiring a new level of individuality as human beings.

Most people practically live with not only the sense of privilege entitlement, but the demand that they be entertained, because it is simply too great of burden to bear to deal with the day to day to day reality of our circumstances. But if we could break through the barrier that suggest to us that there's nothing interesting there to discover, I think we'd be filled with wonder. We'd see in the very things we've ignored, the beauty, the complexity and the joys that fantasy never really bring us.

Our biggest challenge will be to actually recreate culture. I think we could see a renaissance. That sounds like a pretentious way of pronouncing it. I think we could be on the cusp of one of the most exciting periods in history, particularly for people of faith and conscious. I think the opportunity to enter a time of rebirth and renewal and renaissance is right in front of us. We're now waking up to something that has eluded us because we've been asleep, and we've been benign in our attitudes, and we've allowed this to go on far too long. It's time to create a renewal of ideas and ideals that have meaning, that have generosity, that have compassion, that are rooted in truth."

And, my favorite. My favorite, favorite, favorite (I wanted to kiss him while he was talking):

"Truth is the search for the things that are most reliable, sustainable, absolute. Truth is the desire to have something that we really can put our trust in. Truth deserves to be tested. Truth is being tested - in this age as in no other. The pursuit of truth ultimately necessitates a kind of struggle with ourselves, with the environment we live in; with those who maintain that they have a position that is superior to ours. The risks of pursuing truths are tremendous. And what could be a greater adventure than to risk everything in pursuit of the one thing that endures? If truth isn't worth all that, then it probably isn't truth at all."

Sunday, October 26, 2008

this is SO great

Have you tried watching Saturday Night Live lately? Have you ever seen such Obama worship? I mean, really? Scott just looked at me and shook his head. So lame.

A friend wrote this to me, I thought it was so eloquent:

I love how the media is so concerned with Palin's wardrobe purchases but ignores Barack's 700 million zillion something price tag of the campaign he had others buy for him. Unbiased journalism and the media machine died with this election - so sad. Doesn't all that buying people eventually lead to corruption? Why won't he disclose his small donors list?

Seriously, we are being told to be more worried about a wardrobe purchase of one candidate that pales in comparison to the inane amount of money the next one spent on a campaign. We hear the media and the east and west coast celebrities whine and tell us how out of touch Republicans are and how "far back" conservatives want to take the society as a whole when no one begs to argue how "far forward" our liberal society wants to chase ahead from moral decency to satisfy itself.

Friday, October 24, 2008

my love

The strangest thing has been happening to me lately.

I find myself actually WANTING to get up in the morning and read my Bible. The only other time I can remember it being this way was when I was pregnant with Lucy, when that connection with God was all that got me through the day. Then, when she was born and we knew she was going to be ok, my relationship with Him faded.

The one thing that has given me fresh eyes into God's love for me is, without a doubt, parenthood. The minute you look into that little face and see utter and complete dependence is the minute your world spins off its axis and you know you are dependent on something far greater. It is no longer all about you. You would scoop the water out of the seas and inhale all the sand on the beach, your lungs gasping and your heart full, if it meant your child would be safe.

This is the way God feels about me.

The fact that human love is so beyond fleeting, even my own love for my children, compounds this even further. Yesterday we went to the mall. It was a great time, and then the kids started throwing the T-Mobile pamphlets on the ground. I nearly had an aneurysm. I raised my voice. I moved little bodies into strollers more harshly than I should have. In those moments, I was not full of love. I wanted to love, but it felt better to show anger.

I was supposed to go out to dinner with a friend last night, and I had just been thinking how nice it was of Scott to let me go. I realized it was time for him to be home, so I called his phone. He was still at work. "How could you possibly have forgotten?" I pouted. "You knew this was important to me," I spat. I hung up the phone and felt like trash, calling him back and apologizing for acting like a self-centered brat.

My heart is bursting and there is so much more that I want to share, but I guess for now I will leave you with that. I've been reading Romans and there are so many verses I want to show you.

But for now, this truth is enough:

My love is so imperfect. God's love for me is not.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

selfish

OK, see, that's just it.

Apparently someone anonymous did not like what I had to say about boundaries in my last post. And they called me selfish. Here is what I don't understand: If you, whoever you are, really cared about finding out my reasons for doing things, wouldn't you have emailed me instead of posting an anonymous comment that tells me I'm selfish and leaving me to wonder who you are?
I was at first cross-checking myself, wondering who I could possibly have offended. Then I most surely saw the old patterns coming back into play. "Rachel's done something wrong, Rachel's got to make it all right. It's all Rachel's fault." (Get out the flagellation tools, kids! Fun for everyone!)

A good friend pointed out to me this morning that I have a tendency to think that I am the only person, or friend, my friends have to call on. Not only is that a tad narcissistic, but it's putting too much power in my own hands.

I find myself shying away from new friendships, just because I am tired of the game where I get into it and it's nothing but giving. And whoever you are, you obviously know me well enough to know that using such a word will get my hackles up. I am learning to let it roll off my back. Writing it out here takes a lot of courage, because I know people will see my boundary-setting as selfish.

That is fine, really.

It has to be.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Barbie baggie lunch

Today I got out a little baggie in which to place Lucy's catheter.

She asked whether or not we were going to have "baggie lunch in carseats."

The other day we were dreadfully late for preschool, and the kids had yet to eat. I magnanimously decided that they should have spaghetti and meatballs. In the car.

Yes, yes I did. I just loaded those little Barbie baggies up with meatballs and spaghetti - up, up, up, to the tippy tippy top.

You have never seen two happier children, munching away and giggling at each other, sauce running down their faces.

Want to know the best part? We got to the preschool, and no one was there.

Preschool starts at 12:30, not 12:00.

The Barbie baggie lunch was all for naught. I do, however, believe we may have started a fine, fine tradition.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

a note to a friend

Here's a good litmus test. Do you see these friends growing in their Christian walk because of your witness in their life? Or is it a thing where Rebecca gets to dump all of her stuff on you and then you get to struggle with the weight of it all week? "Come to me, all you who are weak and heavy laden." Do you ever think that He is talking about you?

No, witnessing and encouraging aren't always supposed to make you feel sunshine and roses, but shouldn't it be a situation where you're encouraging them and they're encouraging you? Notice that the Bible says, "bear one another's burdens. "Bear ONE ANOTHER'S burdens." Not, you bear everyone's burdens and they go on with their day feeling fine. How is that an example of the Body of Christ in action?

What if only one person worked in the nursery (sorry, I guess this is closest to my experience), and the rest of the people said, "Well, it seems like Jenny is doing a good job! She always arrives on time and the kids are happy with her. Oh, Bob! You're new? Well, we're over capacity already, but I'm sure Jenny won't mind another little child in there. Not Jenny! She's a good Christian servant. Man, she really serves the Lord with a pure heart! She's so happy about it! Say, Jenny, would you mind terribly doing tonight's service, too? We're unavailable because my husband is off work and we want to spend some time as a family!" And Jenny is nodding all the way, just smoldering inside.

We are ordered in the Bible to hold each other accountable, to spur one another on to perform love and good deeds. Notice again, the mandate is for ALL members of the church, not just poor Jenny.

The book Boundaries takes a look at boundaries through the perspective of God and His word. (Does this sound like a book report?) Look at how God has created boundaries for us in every area of life. After going through the truth project I see this to be so true! The marriage relationship is certainly exclusive. It has boundaries. There are boundaries in the relationship between Christ and His church (and the marriage setup reflects that). The are boundaries in the parent and child relationship. So many parents don't feel qualified to set boundaries, so they don't. How much heartache could be avoided if they would just take their rightful place and tell their children there are limits?

Suddenly we are here, plopped down into the background of the 21st century, and we're expected not to have boundaries. We are not allowed to say, "This is not something I am willing to do." That, you see, would be too selfish.

One of my very best friends introduced all of this to me. When she started setting boundaries, even in our relationship, I was hurt and confused. I didn't know what she was doing. I have since realized that she needed to set those limits to be a healthy and whole person. We went out to visit them lately, and she told us she could do 3 or 4 nights of having us at the house. At first I thought, "Why can't she do longer?" And then I realized that she was telling us what she was capable of. What worked for her. She spent so much of her life NOT doing that that she finally reached her breaking point and decided she needed to make some changes. Our relationship is better for it.

When I started setting healthy boundaries, I went through a period where I became incredibly angry. The book warns about that. You finally realize that God has given you the power to make these types of decisions. You realize that people have been stopmping all over your boundary lines. Why? You have never set them! You are scurrying to erect the fences that your lack of direction and focus have blown down.

Gosh, I sound like a really generic version of Max Lucado.

God starts to give you the tools to do some major pruning - to be kind to all, but only to let those into your close circle people who have shown themselves to be people who will build you up, to spur you on, to encourage you.

This doesn't mean we can't work with the lost or those who are so in need of God's love. Jesus made himself available to all people. But he didn't chase after them. He was open, He still is. But He only invested heavily in those who wanted Him, who wanted the change. The Pharisees? They were so stuck in knocking Him down or in proving Him wrong that He let them go.
A large amount of today's population is very resistant to seeing a friend grow and change in these ways. They find it intimidating. They won't work to encourage you while you are changing, but they work to tear you down.

Let's say your little son or daughter is now 16. He has made friends who are all nice guys, but they're dabbling more and more into drugs. They claim they think he's a wonderful influence on them, but they don't use any of his influence to change in positive ways. What would you tell him to do?"

"But Mom, I'm supposed to be a light to them. How can I show them Jesus' light if I'm not hanging out with them?" How will you answer him? Well, isn't there truth in what he is saying? Shouldn't he repeatedly hang out with these guys? What would you tell him?

This wasn't the free and abundant life that God promised you and I. I was shackled by the demands of people who were about as interested in my spiritual growth as I was in the KC Chiefs game. :)

I'm not gonna lie to you. It's been painful and hard. I have been collosally lonely at times. I desire so strongly these strong, solid friendships, and finding trustworthy women who can spur me on, and I them, has been hard. I think about when my phone was ringing off the hook and I had a play date every day. But those friendships were so shallow and I was never truly encouraged.
You can be exclusive in your friendships, dear friend! It seems to me that even Jesus chose Peter, James and John as His most trusted friends. All of the disciples played a role in His life, to help fulfill the ultimate purpose, but they were the most trusted.

Another thing - Jesus expected action from people. "Go and sin no more, " he said to the prostitute. I guess the thing you have to decide is this: are you willing to go through the pain and loneliness that making these decisions will bring? Or is it just a minor annoyance? For me, it was so bad that action was required. People will get mad. People will be confused. People will not understand why you are cutting them off at the pass. You try to explain, they get defensive. It will get worse before it gets better.

You, though, friend, will be SO much better off for it. You WILL find those relationships that sustain you, that encourage new growth and life in you. I am seeking those relationships out, and it brings tears to my eyes to think of those friends who love me even more for having made my needs known.

These friends can come from anywhere, at any time! Some of my most surprising friendships have been people I have met ON THE INTERNET or people I have grown up with. Two are my two cousins, people who seem to know me better than I know myself at times. People who know when I just need to shut off the computer and get out of the house. People who just ENCOURAGE me. And I hope I do the same for them.

Another is my sister in law, and amazing, amazing girl. Some others from my church. I have asked Scott for special time in the evenings every once in awhile where I can just go out and be refreshed with a girlfriend. It's so great. Let go and let God surprise you!

I can't believe I'm 29 and trying to figure this stuff out. It's SO hard not judging your worth based on how many friends you have. Do you ever notice that people judge their value in terms of quantity? Number of friends, salary, amount of activities they are involved in outside the house.

I think you are in strong need of a detox. You need to sit down with that dear husband of yours and write down what things are most important to you, to him, and to you both as a couple. You need to have those hard conversations you've been putting off.

proof that I can still accessorize


Lucy and Asher, looking confused.


our completed house!



our solitary seasonal gourd. We decided it needed to have eyes so it could be a swan. "Fly, little swan! Fly!" Soon, I am sure, we will find it on the ground, smashed to smithereens. Asher kept wanting to cuddle with it.


berries at my aunt and uncle's, straight from their garden! Yes, Asher had diahrrea. And yes, everyone warned me. But look how much he loved them!


My master chef uncle Dave, who I secretly have a crush on. Seriously. He knows everything about everything, and he cooks like you wouldn't believe.


Lucy and one of their cats. These cats were raised from 2 days by my aunt and uncle and cousin Audrey, so they are SWEET cats!


My dad and Ash at the pumpkin patch.


My sweet aunt Lindy and the kiddos. Linda was never out of Lucy's line of vision. She just attached herself to her! Their hospitality was awesome. Like staying at a 5 star resort!
Lucy carries that God-forsaken bag around with her everywhere she goes. It's wrinkled and nasty. She takes after me.



My best friend from childhood and the maid of honor, Lori


Lori, shortly after Lucy removed herself from Lori's lap. (Yes, that's pee.)


How grown up is he??????


Lucy hugged Amy so long in the reception line that I had to peel her off. What is it about little girls at weddings? The bride looked GORGEOUS! Just glowing.


What's that? Rachel is wearing a necklace AND a bracelet? And her purse isn't some monstrosity she got on clearance? It actually matches her outfit! And she straightened her hair? I really thought the only time I might be wearing jewelry was when I was in a casket. So this is really something. And please, don't tell me the necklace is all wrong for the neck of the shirt. You might make me jump off a bridge.


I may be able to put a necklace on, but obviously there is some trouble in managing the children. Lori's sis Bets is in this picture, along with one of my other moms growing up, Marceil. Asher is looking for some Jim Beam, at this point. I swear. Men and weddings.


Lori's sister Krista and her son Ezra. I wanted to eat him up, but I didn't think that would be appropriate. SO YUMMY!


He fell asleep while we were all gabbing. My dad just laid him on the floor!


Do these kinds of pictures just warm your heart, or do they warm your heart? I LOVE watching my dad interact with my son. It's SO cool.



Walking back to the car. Do you notice we are the only car in the lot? Any time I go anywhere with my parents, we are the last ones to leave.

It was a good weekend. I want to do it again. And Scott loved the silence at home. I'm not sure he even really missed us.

Friday, October 17, 2008

el hotel

So we're in my parents' 2006 Honda Odyssey coming to Minneapolis and we're in rush hour traffic. I have an aneurysm every time my father drives, because he always looks as though he's ready to be done with his mortal coil. Either that or he's a psychopathic owl, unable to figure out which eye to keep open.

We're in rush hour traffic, yes, I mentioned that, and suddenly he slams on his brakes, narrowly missing the car behind us. The car behind us nestled its front unapologetically underneath our bumper. The man in the car behind us emerged, looking much like Bin Laden in a wife beater. My dad was so mad - he exchanged information with Bin Laden. Then, BL decided he wasn't so keen on this 65 year old man all up in his face, so he threw a punch. My dad fell back against the car. The kids were screaming. My dad punches back, and then Bin Laden pulls out a pistol.

Ok, that didn't really happen, but wouldn't it have been an exciting story if it did?

We got rear-ended, and the guy was really nice, and my dad was nice to him. And that doesn't really make for a bloggarific story.

As an aside, the cop looked like Michael Scofield from Prison Break. Doesn't that count for something?

I am currently in room 471 at a hotel in Minneapolis. If you are a stalker, don't bother. There are lots of hotels in Minneapolis. You might be able to find us, though, even if you are nearly deaf, because my children are so excited to be out of the car and are concurrently running around the room like two year olds who just discovered a stash of rock-hard Pixie sticks behind the front desk. I couldn't figure out how to get online, so I called the support guy. I was on the verge of asking him when he was going to hang himself - after his shift or right after breakfast. BORING JOB.

Damn, y'all, this room is niiiiice. Mind you, this is coming from someone who drives a car behind the wheel of which Bea Arthur wouldn't be caught dead. My dad just bought me and the kids room service for the same amount of money I spend on groceries in a week. It's a moderate-range prized hotel, but there are down comforters and everything looks new. Well, it did, before Asher got his dirty little mitts on it. Lucy is "dressing Brothy up like My Little Pony" and he is laughing right along. If dressing your brother up in a bath towel and leaving your mother room to play on the computer is how you do it, be my guest, little girl.

I was all set on having her be a princess for Halloween, because then she could use the costume for dress up. Of course her preschool is having an "ark party", which means that she has to dress up like an inch worm or some other animal. We've settled on a bee, because you can get costumes SUPER cheap at St. Jude's Children's Hospital. Check it out! All profits go to cancer research and care for kids with cancer.

I try to stick to 1500 calories a day to maintain my current weight. Oh, sometimes it's fun not to count. Let's break down what I've eaten, just tonight.

1 large butterscotch shake
3 slices of very, very greasy pepperoni pizza
1 large caesar salad
1 Diet Coke (what's the point?)
a few Andes mints to round out the night

Time to lounge about and imagine Scott doing nothing but eating Chipotle and watching football for 72 solid hours.

I am excited to see how Lu responds to the bride tomorrow. She is so in love with the princess thing and the bride has red hair. Maybe she will think she is under the sea and Ursula, Flotsam and Jetsam are right around the corner?

I may have to bring an extra colostomy bag.



Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dear Baby

Today is the day I was supposed to officially wonder who you were. Do you know you're never far from my thoughts?

Today, too, the sun glints off your twin sister's hair as she plays. Curls collect when she gets hot; her cheeks flushed and her eyes an even warmer brown. Who were you?

In some sweet alternate reality I see you both making me proud, sound mirrors itself off creeping vegetation in our backyard as your giggles bounce, light and pure, through the kitchen window. The vibration from the joy of it sinks into my hard-working hands. It makes me whole.

I've named you 'Camden' in my mind, an ambiguous name that could belong to either gender. I always assumed you to be a boy, and what a boy you should have been.

Your body housed so many developmental trainwrecks that the pathologist gave up after listing five of them. Of course, the reality I imagine doesn't quite live down to the tertiary reality of what would have been. If "incompatible with life" means yours was begun only to find itself clearly lacking in the most base of ways, I suppose that's the diagnosis I can't accept. It's the diagnosis that keeps my hands uncomfortably outstretched, waiting for the healthy, perfect you that resides only in my mind.

Having another child who is always your "would have been" age makes my heart surge with desire. I tell myself that if we had twins again, I wouldn't be sad. Would a third child make you reappear from the land of the nonexisting?

You know? It's you I miss, it's you I wanted. Years will pass and my skin will fold in on itself, sharing scars with the world that the world was never meant to see.

I do share the scars because it is the only way you show. Dawn is noon, noon becomes night. The world turns, senses sharpen and recede.

They will never recede so much that you leave me.

I carry you everywhere,

everywhere I go.

-Mom

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

morning walk

I was running late for our walk with our neighbor this morning. I was crying so hard I couldn't see the Kleenex to blow my nose. My poor floor. On our walk, my neighbor asked if I had a group of people to talk to about how hard this having a child with special needs thing is. It's not right of me to pick on other people because their problems don't look as big as mine. But, I also don't have to put myself in the middle of the road and get repeatedly run over by the Blogger bus.

I am SO BEYOND THANKFUL that Lu is as healthy and as normal as she is. But that doesn't mean I have bouts of sadness because her colostomy bag shows through her ballet costume or that she will never be able to hold her urine. That BREAKS MY MOTHER'S HEART, and there's not a damn thing I can do about it.

I know I need to be thankful in all curcumstances, and I am working on it. I think I do a pretty good job of that, most days. But some things don't come overnight, and as much as I'd like it to, this thing isn't.

I remember people telling us when I was pregnant with Lucy that we were so strong and trusting. HA! If only they knew. I had Matthew 14:27 on repeat in my head most days of that 5 months, because it's all I could hold onto and stay sane. I'm glad the words of that verse were none the worse for wear - I am needing them again.

I get tired of trying to be strong and trusting. Praying about Lucy's condition won't change the fact that she has it. But I still pray, and I pray for God to give me a heart of thanks.

You know how, sometimes you just want to say something, and not hear, "Well, you should do this, or you should do that"? The other day was one of those days. And yes, I should not have even posted it if I was going to get annoyed by people's comments.

So, I've created an outlet where I can just be totally honest, and share with parents who are going through the same thing. It isn't right to drag everyone along for the ride.

And yes, this blog is a snippet, just as other blogs are a snippet. Touche, to whoever first pointed that out!

So, there we are.

Monday, October 13, 2008

sharing too much

You know what? Sometimes, I definitely share too much. In this blog, and in real life. And then I am left feeling really exposed and like I said too much. Here's the thing, though: I am not going to apologize for being honest. I'm not going to apologize for voicing things that other people feel, but would never, ever say. I have never been anything but genuine, and I'm not going to stop now!

I started thinking, "Oh, what if the people who read that post think this or that about me?" But you know what? That's just the price you pay when you blog. And for me, blogging is a wonderful outlet. I feel SO much better after I've blogged something out, and then I can forget about it.

It's not about some big character flaw, or not realizing the blessings I have. It's about the fact that some days, certain emotions come over you. They do, and that's fine, as long as you don't stay in that place.

And I'm no longer in that place! It was a transient thing. I wasn't sitting around thinking, "I am so jealous! I can't snap out of my jealousy!" It was a momentary feeling, a "snippet", if you will, that I chose to blog about. And, as someone else said, every blog is just a snippet of someone's life.

So, moving on. Or, as Lucy would say, "HOORAY!"

Let's all jump for joy, shall we?

This weekend we are going to a wedding, and I'm trying to figure out what Lulu should wear. I know, such a pressing agenda. The big question is, "Will I have time to watch Passions and Dr. Phil today, with all I have to do?"

We're working with dresses we already have, as Lucy's closet is full and I am a collossal tight wad. (Thanks, Scott.)

This dress or this one?

And what color shoes to go with it?

Stick THAT in your pipe and smoke it.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

weekend

Yes, that's the answer! Quit reading blogs that depress me!

This weekend we went to a birthday party on a little farm. The people who lived there had a miniature horse named Mr. Whitey. They also had a chicken coop, and inside the chicken coop were toys for the kids.

It was hilarious.

It was fun.

It was a great evening.

And I forgot my camera.

Do you feel naked without your camera?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

jealousy

I hope someone out there does this, too. If you don't, don't TELL me you don't, because I guess I just plain don't want to hear it.

Do you ever follow blog comments around the internet to different blogs?

And then you land on this or that blog and you feel like someone just stabbed you in the heart?

I clicked and clicked until I came upon a blog where the author has 4 perfect little boys, and 2 perfect little twin girls, just born. And I couldn't help but read and read.

And then I started feeling not-nice things, and I wanted to post a nasty comment about how not everyone's life can be just that perfect. Babies born perfectly healthy and on time, no missing organs or miscarriages.

I can't be the only person in the universe who feels this jealousy.

I guess you can say I am a complainer or that I am not thankful for what I have, but if you say that, you must not read much of my blog.

I don't like the internet sometimes. Instead of me, 8 years old, on the playground, watching my friend with her new Cabbage Patch lunchbox and feeling jealous, it's now me, 29 years old, reading some other mom's blog and feeling jealous.

It's all human emotion. The viscera and raw edge that lands like an arrow, black and wrong, right inside my heart.

I need some convicting, Jesus.

And I don't like the internet sometimes.

Friday, October 10, 2008

like mother, like daughter

So, Lulu was terrified of this picture my cousin had up of her daughter, grinning from ear to ear and covered in mud. All afternoon we've had this conversation:

Mama?

Yes, baby?

Why was that picture hangin'? Why did Annika have mud on her face in that picture? She looked like a bad guy.

You mean she looked like a monster?

Yeah, a monster. I was screamin' so loud because I thought Annika was a monster.

Well Annika's not a monster, Pipsy, she's a little girl, just like you. She was just playing in the mud and her mom took that picture of her because she thought she looked so cute!

I didn't think it was cute. It was scary.

I know, that's why you yelled for half an hour about it, right?

Yah. Does Annika's mom like that picture?

Yes!

It's not scary?

No!

Why was there mud? Did she have a baf after that to get rid of the stuff?

Yes, I think she had a bath.

I was scared!

I know.

(starting to smile inside, wanting, in 20 years' time to be able to remember the priceless look of concern on her face RIGHT at this moment)

Annika's not a bad guy? Annika's ok?

Yes, Annika's ok. Did you think the mud hurt her?

Yeah. She needed to get washed off.

(This is where the hands start to go up to cover her ears because she's done talking about the whole sordid affair. Wash, rinse, repeat conversation, 83,487 times)

I told Scott I wanted to set the picture as my computer desktop and invite Lucy to play computer games after dinner.

**************************

I get the feeling Lucy's a worrier like I was, and still am. I don't like this! Is this a phase, or is this something that is probably more of a personality thing? She is suddenly aware of the possibilities of danger, all around us. I am thinking that now is the time to get those Bible verses about trusting God into that noggin of hers. Someone came to the door today and she was convinced it was Jeffrey Dahmer coming to get us. She was shrieking, yelling at me to sound all the alarms in our little green house.

It was the neighbor girl, wanting to play.

neuroses at 3

I need to cut back again on the amount of things we're doing outside the house. Yesterday we went to the chiropractor in the AM, then shopping, then back to the house for naps, then preschool, then Good News Club, then to the library, then home.

TOO MUCH!

Today my lovely cousin Amy had us over, and Lucy spent about an hour alternately being quiet and screaming at the top of her lungs about a picture my cousin had up of her daughter Annika covered in mud. Lucy FREAKED OUT over this picture. I never could quite get her calmed down, and the only thing that would do it was getting in the car and turning on the radio. Please tell me this is normal 3 year old behavior? The rampant emotions and Jerry Springer guest behavior and what-not? These past few months I feel a bit like someone exhanged my once laidback kid for a neurotic little version of myself.

Anyway, I don't know what the deal is, or if it's just because she's tired. Yesterday was a little much. I am thinking of putting her in a preschool that is closer to home, so we don't have to do quite so much running. But then is that mean to her, to pull her out of the preschool she's used to?

Do you ever wish you lived 150 years ago in a little community where all you had to do to get anywhere was walk across the street or down the lane?

Then again, I suppose there was Typhoid and scarlet fever and all that, but it's give and take, right?

Anyway, I hope she was just tired today and this isn't a sign of things to come. Because I really just sort of shut down when she gets this way. My cousin saw my wonderful parenting in action. I'm sorry Amy! We had a wonderful time, and please don't hold it against us!

Off to read a book in my once-again messy house.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

breathe in, breath out

Things I cannot control:

  • the state of the economy
  • the prospect of the Taliban deciding to start suicide bombing American cities
  • Obama's decisions about the Born Alive infant protection act (where babies who survived abortion are allowed to be murdered - nice, right?)
  • the gang violence in the heart of my city
  • child predators
  • the fact that American schools are rated 21st in the world
  • our taxes going up
  • the government bailout-turned-crap-sandwich
  • evil men seeming to prosper (and then reading Ecclessiastes, I read that that has always been true. Nothing new under the sun!)

Things I can control:

  • deciding to go in the backyard and play with my kids
  • making sure Lucy has a healthy snack for preschool
  • getting a family devotional book at the bookstore while Lucy is at preschool, and a new Bible for her. Scott and I decided last night we need to be more intentional about studying the Bible with the kids daily, or it just won't happen!
  • showing others the grace God has shown me
  • getting ready for Good News Club this afternoon
  • the cleanliness of my house
  • knowing that those who love God and follow Him rest in the center of His will.
2 Timothy 1:9
"God has saved us and called us to a holy life - not because of anything we have done, but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time!"

My new mantra:

It's not my job to worry. I want God to transform that part of my life to something controlled by the spirit. It is my job to live a life marked by an attitude of servanthood and love for others. I'd better stop worrying and start with showing that to those closest to me!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

living in a small home

I've talked about how the push in our society is always for the bigger and the better. And it's hard not to feel like you're being left behind when all of your friends have 4 bathrooms and 4 bedrooms, plenty of space to entertain and lounge about.

I was thinking this morning, though. I am so happy in our little home! It's only when I go to my friends' houses that the roots of discontent set in. So I jotted some of the things about living in a smaller home that I love.

1. Our kids get to share a room. Two of my brothers shared a room growing up, even though we had an enormous house. They actually preferred the room sharing, until they got to be teenagers, of course. If I put one of the children to bed without the other one, WE HEAR ABOUT IT! They adore laughing and playing with each other well past their appointed "bed time". Having them share a room has been an unexpted blessing. What memories they are making!

2. One bathroom to clean - a small kitchen to clean. I hate to clean.

3. Huge back yard. Everyone comments on how big and spacious our back yard is. Our kids spend so much time playing in the back yard, Lu on the red trike and Ash on the pink one. (Scott calls him a fembot.)

4. Very low utility bills. I have never thought about it, but naturally, if you have a much smaller house, you're going to be paying 3 to 4 times less what someone in a large house pays in utilities.

5. Cozy, cozy, cozy! Our home is undeniably cozy, and cute. I have finally gotten it just about how I want it. I love that I can look for something to decorate this or that space, but I don't have to feel overwhelmed with trying to decorate or fill an entire room. I love just snuggling in on a fall afternoon or evening, Scott in his recliner and me on the couch, Prison Break on the bo*ob tube! I usually have a candle going and take a break to bake cookies. It's a neat feeling, knowing the kids are just down the hall.

6. I remember telling my mom I never wanted a huge house like the one I grew up in. Small would be good for me! She remembers that and reminds me of that every time I get the "wants".

7. Selectivity about what we buy. We have limited space to store things, so I have to be very selective about what I purchase. We didn't have to buy a bunch of furniture to fill up rooms, and many times I'll want to buy something but we don't have room for it. I don't miss it!

Contentment is such a gift. I am pra ying that God keeps me focused on the things that matter, and in the meantime, I am loving my little house! (With the new paint and new roof - I need to post a picture!)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

nice guy

I think it's funny that I am trying not to read so many blogs but I still blog. Isn't that some sort of illegal behavior?

I was thinking yesterday how often we human-types are wont to look around at all we don't have instead of what we do have. I am reading a book about a woman who is on the cusp of a relationship with two different men. It's sort of like the movie "Sliding Doors", where the main character sees what her life is like if she were to fall in love with one guy instead of the other. Anyway, one of the men is strong, steady, sweet, secure. The other is volatile, passionate, exciting, weak.

Guess which one I want her to choose? Guess which one I chose? And I'm glad I chose him. And I'm glad I made that list when i was 14: things I absolutely had to have in a man. I should write it out here for you all to laugh at. But it served me well!

If you have a guy who treats you well, provides a great life for you, listens to you, respects you, lies to you (tells you your burnt lasagna is delicious, even though it tastes like possum pie), reads to your kids, mows the lawn and spends 4 hours of a sunny Saturday fixing things in the house that you want fixed, TELL him!

For the love of all that is good and sweet, tell him! Send him an email, call him, text him.

Tell him how grateful you are that he is there for you. Do you realize that so many women don't have the kind of guy that you do?

Tell him. It will make his day.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

incrimination

I can go to the Home Depot for some painting supplies.

I can listen to worship music in my 88 Oldsmobile, rocking along and feeling good, as much as one can possibly rock in an 88 Olds with a Christian music station on and two toddler chairs in the back seat.

I can wonder why so many Christians don't act like Christians, when the whole world is full of souls desperate to see the presence of God, the true God, somewhere.

I can pray to God that He can use me to bring others to Him.

In the next millisecond, I can yell, "ASSHOLE!" as loud as I can, to the guy who just cut me off.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

pray for Nathan

One of my dear friends here in my town, S, was one of the greatest supports of mine during my pregnancy with Lucy. S is one of those friends everyone needs. She was so excited about Lucy and her arrival even when I had a hard time being happy, she sent me cards and notes and flowers and showered me with goodness. She would call me just to check up on me, asking how things were progressing, just encouraging me. She is a gem!

Yesterday she and her husband went to the 20-week ultrasound for their third baby, a little boy they have named Nathan.

I know what it feels like to be in that ultrasound room, and to have the tech be very quiet, and to start crying and to know that the news is not good.

Their baby boy has a heart defect, and they are meeting with a pediatric cardiologist as well as a perinatologist ASAP.

Could you please pray for sweet Nathan , his parents, and his two big brothers? My heart is so heavy for them today. If you have gone through being told your baby is not normal, you can imagine what S and her husband are going through. Everything ranging from, "Is my baby going to die?" to "This has to all be a really bad dream," to "We're not strong enough for this."

PLEASE pray for Nathan and his family!

I will keep you posted.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

little whities

Today after Lu's dentist appointment we went to Chic-fil-A. I was talking to the lady at the table next to me while my children covered themselves in sundry Chic-fil-A sauces. We were talking about potty training, and she asked me when Lucy was trained.

Ah, my quick thinking really helps out in a pinch.

"Well, she just wasn't ready until age 3, so I didn't push it until that point. And then, one day she just decided to go on her own! It was like she just chose to start going on the toilet and it happened! And we all went out to dinner and then a guy in a Bob the Builder costume came over and fashioned a toilet made entirely of fruit snacks in her bedroom!"

I left out the part where I punished her for peeing right next to the crib when she was 2. I still feel like a horrible monster for doing that, when months later we learned she didn't have any control. No wonder she cried and cried.

Anyway, I hate questions like that...or ones like, "What's that thing under her shirt?"

"Oh, actually, it's a flask full of vodka. Sometimes, when my mom picks me up from preschool, she partakes before we drive home."

At the very least, let's make the lies exciting.