Friday, July 31, 2009


Trust in Him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart to him: God is a refuge for us. Ps62:8  

My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it. -Brennan Manning

To pray is to take notice of the wonder, to regain a sense of the mystery that animates all beings, the divine margin in all attainments. Prayer is our humble answer to the inconceivable surprise of living. It is all we can offer in return for the mystery by which we live. Who is worthy to be present at the constant unfolding of time? Amidst the meditation of mountains, the humility of flowers wiser than all alphabets---clouds that die constantly for the sake of god's glory, we are hating, hunting, hurting. Suddenly we feel ashamed of our clashes and complaints in the face of the tacit glory in nature. It is so embarrassing to live! How strange we are in the world, and how presumptuous our doings! Only one response can maintain us: gratefulness for witnessing the wonder, for the gift of our unearned rights to serve, to adore, and to fulfill. It is gratefulness which makes the soul great.-Abraham Heschel  

Becoming a mother makes you the mother of all children. From now on each wounded, abandoned, frightened child is yours. You live in the suffering mothers of every race and creed and weep with them. You long to comfort all who are desolate. - Charlotte Gray  

I think joy and sweetness and affection are a spiritual path. We're here to know God, to love and serve God, and to be blown away by the beauty and miracle of nature. You just have to get rid of so much baggage to be light enough to dance, to sing, to play. You don't have time to carry grudges; you don't have time to cling to the need to be right. — Anne Lamott  

If we listened to our intellect, we'd never have a love affair. We'd never have a friendship. We'd never go into business, because we'd be too cynical. Well, that's nonsense. You've got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.- Annie Dillard       

Let us pray so much that we become Prayer. Let us laugh so much, O God, that we become Laughter. Let us sing so much that we become Song. Let us give so much that we become Gift. Amen.(unknown)

Nothing is hopeless; we must hope for everything. -Madeleine L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time"

Alice laughed: "There's no use trying," she said; "one can't believe impossible things."
"I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."Alice in Wonderland.

I am a product [...of] endless books. My father bought all the books he read and never got rid of any of them. There were books in the study, books in the drawing room, books in the cloakroom, books (two deep) in the great bookcase on the landing, books in a bedroom, books piled as high as my shoulder in the cistern attic, books of all kinds reflecting every transient stage of my parents' interest, books readable and unreadable, books suitable for a child and books most emphatically not. Nothing was forbidden me. In the seemingly endless rainy afternoons I took volume after volume from the shelves. I had always the same certainty of finding a book that was new to me as a man who walks into a field has of finding a new blade of grass.  -C.S.Lewis

Friday, July 24, 2009

Prayer and Vitamin B

Were it not for my thickening waist and a fuse as short as the second line on a pregnancy test, I would never believe the THREE positive tests I've taken.  I don't feel pregnant.  Not queasy, not feverish, not even fluttery like I did the entire nine months before.  Usually by this time I'm curled-up on the bathroom floor, or at the very least clinging to banisters and stopping to drop my head on the table every once in a while.  

. . . Well that was so three days ago because HELLO nausea.  Although I am STILL believing that I'm feeling way better than I did before at this time (though I'm not exactly clear on the weeks-I've never been good at math, which is what got me into this situation).

So I am begging, anyone who has experienced morning sickness or hyperemesis with your pregnancies, what were your methods for coping?  I'm currently taking vitamin B6, ginger, and drinking lots of ginger tea.  And salt and vinegar chips seem to help.  Any other remedies/advice/suggestions for how to cope?  Any ideas for what to do with my babies for the next ten weeks or so?

Ok, that is my last desperate plea . . . I'm only thinking positive thoughts from now on . . . and pretending that what I'm feeling right now isn't the urge to go throw up but only great excitement over being pregnant . . . .  (I will really try not to turn this into a blog dedicated to complaining about my pregnancy for the next nine months.  I'll try.  That's what my husband is for).  

But really, suggestions for survival . . . send them to me PLEASE! 

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Making room

Eventually there comes a day when everything finally fits.  All of the toys fit neatly in the closet. The bulky baby equipment has been given away and the basement is a neat stack of boxes again. The kids fit into an easy schedule that includes nights of uninterrupted sleep.  We manage to fit time in for friends again, and books, and begin to become aware again of what is happening in the world.  My jeans fit.

Which is why it is so ironic that on the day that my car is packed with the last remaining pieces of baby . . . the monitor, a walker, bumper pads . . . that just before leaving to donate my final remnant from the baby era, the subtle but not yet stated assumption being that we won't need them anymore, I would discover that I am pregnant.

I suppose in the way that a woman's intuition just knows things before she really knows, I knew.  My body must have known, which is why it shifted into a sudden urge to clear out, eliminate, make room.  I thought that it was a process of simplifying, making everything fit, when really it was an impulse to make more room; we are having another baby.

I look around, and everything shouts impossible!  Our closets, our finances, our schedule, my jeans.  There is no more room.  Everything just fits.  

Is there enough love in me to give another child?  I love already more than I am capable, so that I think my heart will explode with love.

There will be room.  A woman's body stretches to illogical, nearly unbearable proportions, making room for life.  The loaves will multiply. Our table will expand; we'll buy another chair.  Like the widow's jug, bottomless love.    

Friday, July 3, 2009

Well, Okay, Here Is One More . . .

Jim and I have come to a very comfortable agreement in our marriage, which is that it is ok to not always be together. (I mean yes we are still living together!) But we don't always have to go everywhere together, sometimes we do and sometimes we give each other space. 

Jim calls it getting your soul back, what a Sabbath is meant to be. We both need time to rest, time to read and be refreshed, time to get our soul back, in whatever way that means. Now that we have children our house is never quiet, so we have to protect each other's sabbath in other ways. When things have been especially hectic, I can sense his threshold for people and activity maxing out, and I take the girls and give him space.  Sometimes I feel like being social and he doesn't; I go without him.  He recognizes that I have interests and pursuits that require some time alone to work, and he makes sure I get that. (In case you noticed this makes THREE blog posts in one day, it's because he took the girls and went to his mom's all. day. long. When he called it was to make sure that I was taking time for myself, did I "get my soul back?". . . oh how I love him for that!!)

“Love consists in this, that two solitudes protect and touch and greet each other” 
-Rainer Maria Rilke

The Only Piece of Marital Advice I Would Ever Give . . .

I got to be a bridesmaid in my sweet friend Kelli's wedding last weekend . . . isn't she beautiful!?

And it got me thinking . . . and Jim and I talking . . . about marriage.  

It was in the midst of a conversation about another friend, a single friend, one who would very much like to be married, and Jim said, "it's not what he thinks it will be . . . ".  And I didn't get weepy or storm off or burst into tears when he said this, because I knew exactly what he meant.

You are still responsible for your own happiness.

There you go, that's my marital wisdom . . . to anyone single, or married, or wishing they were married, or wishing they weren't married, if you ever wanted to know what I think about marriage, there it is . . . You alone decide how happy you will be, regardless of who, or if, you marry.

(I think maybe this came across too harsh . . . there are very sad marriage stories, I don't ever want to minimize the hurt or sadness involved in some relationships).

Oh Summer I Love You!!!

Going to the zoo . . .
slurping slushies . . .
Dancing at a wedding . . . 
Another zoo . . .
My mom got a new dog,her name is Chi Chi.  
Playing in the sandbox . . . I've been considering moving the sandbox into the kitchen, as that is where it all ends up anyway.

The waterpark . . . 
My in-laws took the girls to Build-A-Bear . . .
Wearing bright summery outfits . . .
Puddle jumping (the pond that is our driveway) . . .
just being cute . . .The new farm market made me want to dance in the streets . . .

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

So I Am Such a Cliche . . .

. . . a small town girl determined to leave her small town and never look back . . . 
somehow finds herself back in her small town where she meets a small town boy who's just passing through,
the summer solstice, he promises to take her away from their small town . . . 
so they have a small town wedding and begin a small town life,
but just for now,  
and have small town babies and begin a small town family . . . 
still dreaming far-away dreams and reading books and pointing at maps and stopping to gaze across fields at the horizon . . . 
and some days these small town parents look at each other over the small heads of their children and marvel that they're still here, all these years and still dreaming . . . and he reads Russian at night and she peels stone mangos and they swap stories about trains.

But other days they drive through the green hills and say well it is so beautiful here . . . and some summer evenings they sit outside with their friends and drink wine from grapes grown just over the hill, and they talk about small town things . . . 

and they wonder if small isn't just a label after all; what does that mean but a zip code, a geographical location . . . New York or Moscow or Sugarcreek . . . all made up of me and you and our neighbor, all small small towns doing our own smallish things . . .

So another summer solstice and I'm watching these same fireworks on the same horizon, thinking about things so stunning and bright and big, how they once seemed so close that I believed I could reach up and carry them home in my shirt, 
any color I'd like.