Friday, April 30, 2010

Quick Takes

1.
I know I have written about this before . . . my mixed feelings about living in my hometown . . . it hits me every once in a while and this week I was dwelling on it again (among all of the other things I was feeling bad about) . . .  thinking about raising our kids and sending them to the same schools I went to makes me queasy for various reasons. . . I do love being near family and I have such great friends here, but I always thought my life would be different . . . this week in blog-world somewhere I read, embrace the life you didn't expect . . . so true . . .  today my mother-in-law is here with the girls and I ran some errands . . . the bank, the post office, our friendly little library . . . my favorite little roadside market is open and I bought a bunch of cilantro and some asparagus for dinner . . . stopped on the way home for a bottle of our favorite local wine . . . it is a beautiful day, sunny and near eighty and everything is so green . . . we're going to grill pizza on the deck tonight . . . Life is good . . . Small is okay (for now?) . . . Simple is just right.

2.
We moved to this house in September and I was sick , then it was Christmas and then I was just barely functioning for about three months until I had baby Josie in March.  So suddenly I am determined to GET SOMETHING DONE IN THIS HOUSE.  We had these huge heavy drapes that just needed to GO, and the house had been painted before we moved in but the color of our room turned out peachy-pinky-vomity-beige and I couldn't stand it one more day.  Finally this week we re-painted the bedroom, hung some curtains, etc . . . this weekend I'm hoping to get some more of those little irritating things fixed . . . wow, even with another child, do I ever get more accomplished when I am not pregnant! 
3.
This is a great post:  
(filed under "Things I Must Remember to Teach My Girls")

4.
I loved this series of posts:
I have been trying to reclaim my mornings but baby Josie seems to like to be awake when I am awake.

5.
I am trying to slow down and love more.  I am naturally shy and it is hard for me to reach out to people but I'm realizing that shy can really be just selfish . .. my mom is one of those people who makes friends with every check-out girl at Wal-Mart, and I wish I could be more like that.  So I am trying . . . to notice the beauty and dignity and God-image in each individual . .. working on slowing down and talking to people more . . .  to smile more . .. respect people more . . . encounter Christ more.

6.
My brother Coby's band, State Bird, came out with a new ep , and here's a review of it .

7.
Anybody who knows me must be SO TIRED of hearing me talk about this . . . I am tired of hearing myself talk about it . . . but my friend sent me this link today and rather than ranting I'll just post it:
And, I will simply say that I love to hold my baby . . . you can't hold a baby too much . . . I hold mine all day long if I can help it . . . that sleeping with my baby feels like the most natural thing in the world . . . that my life would have been soooo much simpler when I had my first baby if I hadn't felt such guilt over such a dumb thing for people to make arbitrary rules about and call it "Biblical" when really it is completely American . . . not that there is anything wrong with it if that works for you but just don't call it Biblical . . . if you need a chapter and verse try Psalm 131:2 (notice the word weaned)
okay, I'll stop . . . going to go hold my baby now.

Quick Takes is hosted at Conversion Diary .

Monday, April 19, 2010

Reclaiming this blog

My arms are full of baby, my mind is full of words.

Late in the evenings, or at three in the morning, the words are hovering, right on the surface, and I'm looking for a place to put them.  But she squirms, or somebody needs me, and my arms are full and the words are stuck somewhere; I think that maybe I'll remember where I put them but then I never do.

Life is full, it's all off balance.  My back hurts from the strain of it; the baby wearing and hunched-over nursing and sleeping curled like a cup around her.  Words nag me, fuzzy and distant like the way that evening and morning leak into one another and I never can remember what day it is . . . and I try to string words together but they snag and stick and I'm trying, in the quiet after hours, to untangle them.

I'm trying to begin again, here in this little world, to begin to write something- anything . . . remembering when blogging was an outlet, a place simply to put the pebbles I'd found and carried home in my pockets.  Before I wondered or cared if anyone was reading or what they were thinking.  Before I even understood comments on blogs, what that was all about, and startled to find one, and then another, surprised that someone had stopped to peek into this place where I was just thinking out loud.

I'd like to get back to that world that felt private, though of course it is nice to remember that someone may stop by occasionally to read or even offer a thought . . . I suppose if I didn't want to be read I wouldn't blog, I realize the contradiction . . .

but I don't want to write- or not write- anymore for that someone; to negotiate the fear of being insignificant, or dull, or cliche . . .

I'd like to just write again what happens to be on my mind, however common . . . .

You don't have to read it.  You don't have to care about the fact that my two year old is taking naps again, or about my four year old's pigtails that make me want to laugh and cry because they make her so grown up and so little girl all at the same time.  You probably don't know what to do, either, about my baby waking as soon as her cloth diaper becomes a little bit wet.

But I am reclaiming my right to tell about it.  My arms are full, my life is full . . . this is where I spread the treasure out.  

I want my blog to be a place to celebrate the joys in life, because  I brim with them . . .  they may not seem like much, but they are my joys and this is my spot to put them; and there are fears and dark days and whiny moments and it seems only right that I spill those here, as well, because that's life . . . and I'll hope that if you're reading you won't judge me or if you do you won't write mean things to me, but if you must I'll try to ignore it and keep writing anyway.  Because this is my life, that's all, and that's what this blog is about . . . as simple and complex, as ordinary and extraordinary, as wild and precious as that.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Quick Takes


1.  
It's Friday! 
 I used to complain that weekends are just like every other day when you're a mom, but I've finally found a way to reclaim Fridays as my favorite day of the week, and enjoy my weekends . . . I have a writing deadline that's due on Fridays.  I get up early to finish it, and then I clean my house, finish the laundry, make food if I have time . . . Everything.  Friday is the day that I don't do anything but work, and don't feel guilty telling my kids to  Go. Play.  It's nothing revolutionary, but by nap time my house is clean, deadline met, and I get to celebrate by blogging, or whatever I want to do, and enjoy the rest of the weekend.

2.
Speaking of writing . . .
I've been googling "baby brain" and "brain cell loss during pregnancy."  I can't seem to find a definitive prognosis, but I am convinced that I'm losing it . . . really.  It takes me forever to write my column, I struggle to remember words, I can hardly put sentences together.  Please tell me this is just hormonal and will soon pass?  
Or, it could be related to the no-sleeping/baby-fussing/sister-squabbling/dryer-buzzing/phone-ringing/demand-feeding/question-answering/disaster-preventing cleaning/never-getting-a-moment-of-quiet state that I'm in?
It's okay.  
I'm still loving every minute.

3.
I may have baby brain, but I'm also still enjoying my baby-high.  Having a baby always seems to bring me back to life.  I get this nice little surge in energy (which comes in handy for the lack of sleep), and I just feel really content and happy and creative.  It almost makes up for being only half-alive for nine months . . . or at least helps me to forget all of the times I said I would Never. Do. This. Again. 

4.
This is my day:  Sister one is talking talking talking, 
while sister two is spilling something, laying on top of the baby, or walking into traffic  
and sister three is nursing, fussing, or needing changed.  
The scenery changes, but the characters only repeat their parts
over and over and over and over and . . .

5.
This is why, if you have tried to call me in the past month I've likely not answered my phone.  I am truly sorry.  I love my friends, but I am just incapable of multi-tasking one. more. thing.  Especially when it requires balancing something the size of a used-up bar of soap between my ear and shoulder, and having a coherent conversation while feeding baby, cleaning up a mess, and answering questions. 
(Though it has been done).
I did get to talk to my friend Jenny the other night, with everybody asleep and me rocking baby . . . but I had to call her the next day to apologize for falling asleep during our conversation!  She said she's used to it- when we had sleepovers growing up I always fell asleep while she was talking!

6.
I really enjoy not needing so much sleep . . . I could relate to this: "Life is too short to sleep through . . ." 
I wish I could always feel this way.

7.
I'm in the mood to do some house projects, and I LOVE everything about Heidi's house at Mt.Hope Chronicles.


Quick Takes is hosted at Conversion Diary .

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Bread and Wine- book 11

I haven't been reading as much since the baby was born, but what I did read was excellent.

Bread and Wine, Readings for Lent and Easter is an anthology of readings by a variety of Christian authors.  I really love this book, and will likely read it again each year for the season of Lent.  
It seemed appropriate to read and think on the concepts of sin, self-denial, and suffering during the final months of my pregnancy, when I was overwhelmingly aware of limitations, the weariness and heaviness of my flesh, groaning and waiting for new life . . .  (I was only half joking when I would say that I was giving up my body for Lent).  And then came the agonizing "death" of childbirth (even with an epidural- no, nothing heroic about it), followed by such great joy and rejoicing of a new baby!

There is too much to say about all of the wisdom and insight found in this book, so I will only summarize one of my favorite chapters in the book.  It is written by Morton T. Kelsey, called the Cross and the Cellar.  In it he first of all reminds us that the cross . . .
"is the symbol, alive and vivid, of the evil that is in us, of evil itself.  Scratch the surface of a person and below you find a beast or worse than a beast.  This is what the cross says.  We don't like to believe this, but let's look at the facts . . . "  He then goes on to describe Nazi Germany, "the most literate and educated nation in the world.  We think that the people who did these things must have been perverted monsters.  Actually most of them, until they stepped into these roles, had been peaceful German burghers who had never hurt a person, living quietly and peacefully in their quiet homes, and then the devils in them were let loose." 
He gives several examples of the evil throughout history carried out by seeming normal, "good" people, and finally takes the reader to the cross to show how every person who played a part in crucifying Christ could have been any "good" person like me or you.

Pilate was a coward who cared more about his comfortable position than he did about justice.  "Whenever you or I are willing to sacrifice someone else for our own benefit, whenever we don't have the courage to stand up for what we see is right, we step into the same course that Pilate took."

Ciaphas thought he had the whole truth. . . .  "Those who put their creeds above mercy and kindness and love, walk there even now."

Judas was impatient.   He "wanted Jesus to call upon heavenly powers . .. When he failed to do this, Judas no longer wanted anything to do with him.  Judas' fault was that he couldn't wait.  When we can't wait and want to push things through, when we think we can accomplish a noble end by human means, we are just like Judas."

The carpenter who made the cross . . . "knew full well what the purpose of the cross was. . . If other men use it for ill, is it my fault?  So say all of us who pursue jobs which add nothing to human welfare or which hurt some people."

. . . These are the things that crucified Jesus . . . They were not wild viciousness or sadistic brutality or naked hate, but the civilized vices of cowardice, bigotry, impatience, timidity, falsehood, indifference- vices all of us share . . . .

I was so impacted by this chapter because I see myself in every single person he described.





Amazing Grace- Book 10


In a refreshingly non-religious way, Norris dissects the words we commonly use as the language of Christianity, what she called her "scary vocabulary.  From various directions- historical, theological, etc., combined with her personal stories and relationship with the church, Norris studies them to make their meanings personal, relevant, accurate.

I like books that stretch me, and though I didn't love the book, and I felt she left a lot of words seeming pretty vague, I did find myself stretched in many ways and examining for the first time some of the basic words that I have grown up with and never questioned.

Here are a few of my favorite lines from the book:

Idolatry:  "Unfortunately it is scorn for others that often marks religion's public face in America, leading me to suspect that one of the most popular idols around today is still the Pharisee's prayer as recorded in the Gospel of Luke- when he prays, it's to thank God that he is not like other people, who don't go to church, or if they do, don't say right prayers."

Good and Evil:  "Abba Poemen said, 'If a man has attained to that which the Apostle speaks of, 'to the pure everything is pure' (Titus 1:15), he sees himself as less than all creatures.'  The brother said, 'How can I deem myself less than a murderer?'  The old man said, 'When a man has really comprehended this saying, if he sees a man commit a murder he says, 'He has only committed this one sin, but I commit sins every day.'"


The Bible-  Illiteracies and Ironies:  Why do churches that interpret a portion of Timothy's first epistle ("permit no woman to teach, or to have authority over a man") . . ., ignore other sections of the same chapter ("women should dress themselves modestly . . . not with their hair braided, or with gold, pearls, or expensive clothes," 1 Tim 2:9).

God-talk:  When God-talk is speech that is not of this world, it is false language.  In a religion that celebrates the Incarnation- the joining together of  the human and the divine- a spiritualized jargon that does not ground itself in the five senses should be anathema.

Inquisition:  . . . is an attitude of mind, a type of questioning that resists true conversation, which, like the word "conversion," at its root means to turn, or to turn around.  The Inquisitor has the answers in hand and does not wish to change them.  It is good to determine, when someone asks you a question, whether they are asking in a good spirit, or conducting Inquisition. . . . the inquisitorial imperitive always wants to separate "us" from "them," basing one's own security and sanctity on the fact that others may be adjudged to be deficient or impure.

"Organized" Religion:  I have come to suspect that when people complain about "organized" religion what they are really saying is that they can't stand other people.

Same Kind of Different As Me- Book 9

Same Kind of Different As Me , by Ron Hall and Denver Moore

I purchased this on Ann's recommendation , and wasn't disappointed.  A book written with a Christian "agenda" that tells a clear and inspiring story of conversion and testimony, but is also well-written and an enjoyable read.  Nice!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

quiet

I'm still here . . . just feeling quiet these days . . . and, it's difficult to type with baby in my arms (I choose baby!).

Thinking a lot about Easter, all of the metaphors of pregnancy and childbirth to Lent, the Crucifixion and Resurrection; a lot that could be said but really I just feel like being quiet and soaking it all in . . . the sunshine, the newness everywhere, the long-waiting and hoping fulfilled . . . new life!

I am quietly rejoicing here, I hope that your Easter celebration is meaningful as well.

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Updated:  I have been fiddling with my post feed and I finally fixed the problem, so my posts can update to other blogs again!  Whew, it only took me a year to figure that out :/