April 29, 2007

Symphony and Me.

This weekend was jam-packed with family goodness- it was one of those weekends that I didn't want to end.

On Friday, Ezra and I went to a friend's B-day party, and Ezra got to hang out in the dirt with his BFF Ethan while mommy got to eat chocolate cake AND ice cream. Plus, when I was getting Ezra out of his carseat to go into the party, he kept pointing above my head and saying "moooon". Me being the sharp mommy that I am I said, "What? What are you saying? What are you pointing at?" Thinking that maybe he saw a cow decoration in the yard next door or something. (moooooo.) Then I looked up and saw the moon and squealed with glee because my son said ANOTHER WORD. I made him say it a hundred times to everyone at the party because I was so dang proud. Moooon!

The next night we had a date planned and our new neighbors watched Ezra while Chris and I went and got yummy food and then went to the Symphony. The Symphony! I had never been to the symphony! I was very excited as we aproached the Civic center and saw hundreds of people all dressed up, pouring in through the doors. It was mostly elderly people, and I couldn't help but think that my generation was missing out on something pretty amazing and that also maybe we wouldn't know good music if it jumped out of the bushes and smacked us in the head with a cello.

It's quite a fancy affair, the symphony. People take pride in it. We went to pick up our tickets at the Will Call booth, and there was a big poster displaying who would be the guest performer of the evening. I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw her face on that poster. It was none other than Lilith. You know, Lilith? From 'Cheers'? And that one show that I'm obsessed with I watch every now and again: Fraiser?! Bebe Neuwirth. She's a broadway performer. I watched with glee as she belted out gutteral Broadway Show Tunes on the stage below. And she was also really funny and... I think I love her.

Chris played in symphonies for years (did you all know he's an outstanding violist?) and he tried to explain all the nuances and happenings of the stage and the musicians and it was all so facinating to me. Basically, what I gathered, is that whichever chair you sit in tells the world how good you are at your instrument. First chair = your instruments sounds like angelic choruses when you play it. Last chairs = your instrument sounds like animal mating calls when you play it. Haha I joke. It was beautiful. It's like a whole different world that I've never experienced, and I saw my husband's eyes light up as he excitedly revealed a whole new room of his heart that I'd never been in before.

So... go experience your local philharmonic! Take binocluars! Bring yummy candy that doesn't have crinkly wrappers! Show up 30 minutes early! (Showing up later is, I've been informed, rude.) Bring a sketchbook with you if you like to draw! Be bold and go by yourself! Buy a strong drink at intermission! Watch each individual musician and marvel at the beauty of so many fragments coming together to make a whole!

I hope to go back again someday soon. And I secretly hope to see my husband sitting on a stage again one day- with a viola tucked neatly underneath a satisfied grin.

photo by Shawna Herring Photography

April 27, 2007

Sheets of Glory.

I bought some new white sheets from eBay a couple of days ago for a fantastic price. They will be the nicest sheets I've ever owned... the only sheets that will boast a higher thread count than TWELVE. These babies are 400TC Luxury Sateen... I'm sure it will be like sleeping between two slices of rainbow. (And I don't mean the bread kind of Rainbow, either.) While I was searching for my new sheets I came across thousands of listings for sheets claiming to have a 1200 THREAD COUNT.

Um...1200? Really? Is this gonna be one of those things like men's shaving razors where the numbers just keep getting higher and higher until they reach ridiculous proportions? (Introducing the Gillette Turbo Maximum Ultimate 24! Now, with 24 blades!! The closest and most dangerous shaving experience of your life!)

I'm pretty excited for them to arrive. So excited, in fact, that I went and bought a new duvet cover and matching pillow shams as well. You know, to keep my new sheets company. Here are some pics of my new pottery barn duvet set:

So sweeeeet! I got a killer deal on these as well. But just when I was beginning to think I was the Queen of all things eBay, I found an identical set that was $25.00 cheaper than the set I had just bought. *grrr* Oh well, it was still such a good deal that I don't feel too beat up about that. Heck, whats $25.00 now-a-days? You can't even get one picture with Santa at the mall for that price anymore. 25 bucks is Pocket change. (to be read with extreme sarcasm.)

Speaking of sheets and pinching pennies and whatnot... it seems I have been washing Ezra's bedding DAILY because he keeps soaking through his diaper overnight. I wanted to save a few bucks last time I was at the grocery store, so I bought the Generic Target brand diapers instead of the Huggies that we usually buy. They were a whopping 4 dollars cheaper! And I have now increased my monthly water bill by much more than 4 dollars due to so many extra loads of pee soaked sheets and blankets! There are just some things that you can't cut corners on in this life.

Like diapers.

And Plastic Surgeons.

And Tequila.

Am I forgetting anything?

April 26, 2007

His Eyelashes Speak a Thousand Words.

I am wordless...

So, here are some recent pictures of Ezra-face! Wee!

Don't be TOO amused... he's in the middle of throwing a fit. *cringe*

His head is an orb... a little lightbulb in my backseat.

Mute button. Pointed right at ME.

Hippie beanies are for everyone!


OK, I saw Ezra sitting like this one day and I was like OMG Ezra is totally sitting CROSS-LEGGED and I ran and got the camera and took about 50 pictures JUST LIKE THIS ONE. I kept saying, "Look, Chris! He's cross-legged!" and I kept taking pictures while Ezra just sat there like a statue. I thought this was great stuff. Now, looking back, I realize that THIS WAS NOT A BIG DEAL. (But at least I have 50 pictures of the occasion.) heh.

The traditional "I'm going to take a picture of us so that we will have a picture to prove that YES we did hang out a lot and, see? We're so happy! (except for you.)"

April 24, 2007

A Shoddy View of Beauty.

Ezra makes me tired.

He has been acting like his food has been laced with 'uppers' the last couple of weeks. He is spastic and crazy and bouncing off the walls. He has suddenly abandoned his cleanliness and tears each room apart the second I clean it up. He runs from me at every available opportunity. He is FAST. No more up and down bouncy toddler jogging... This kid can sprint! Do you know how long it takes for a two-year-old to disappear between the trillion bookshelves in Barnes & Noble? I swear, I blinked and didn't find him again until two life-shortening minutes later- he was over by the Music. The music!! That's a long ways away from the kids books!

One sweet relief I have had to all this wacky behavior is our wonderful backyard. This past weekend, we spent two full days working on the front and back lawns. We have some really super amazingly great new neighbors (she's a stay at home mom too!! Hurrah!) and her father tilled both of our lawns for us. Then we seeded them both and watched as mother nature did all the watering for us. Soon, we will have nice, lush grass. I can't wait. In the meantime, Chris worked his tooshie off and sectioned off the part of the yard where Ezra's swing set is and filled it with mulch. This is FANTASTIC because it makes our yard look awesome, and Ezra doesn't get covered in mud every time he plays outside now. Here's some pics:

Pretty cool, eh?

Also, the roses! I love them! They make me look like I know how to keep pretty plants alive! Even though I don't! Have! A! Clue!

And yet, even though Ezra is a handful and wears me to the bone, I am feeling more content and happy than I ever have in my life. I am absolutely falling in love with Oklahoma and the people here and my church. I love my neighborhood. I think we have a family crush on our new neighbors. heh. I feel grounded and proud of the momma and the wife I am becoming. I screw up all the time, but am actually living in GRACE for the first time ever, I think. I am writing. This is good. I am thinking of taking classes, maybe aiming towards an English Degree sometime in the future. (I have an Associates Degree, but never got the full Bachelor's Degree.) This is good too. I am quietly happy, ridiculously blessed.

I am learning to keep away from DRAMA and the people who seem to be able to pull it from thin air. Life should be simple. If it's never simple, never has been simple, then the drama may be feeding something inside of you. You may need it and not even know it. Even when times are really hard and painful, they don't have to be drama. Hard times can (should?) be simple times too.

I am looking myself in the mirror and squaring my shoulders and trying not to waste time feeling ugly. I've been sold a shoddy view of BEAUTY by this world, and I don't plan to chase the smoke of it to my grave. I plan to live. Live well. Be comfortable in my own skin. Why do none of us feel this way? Because we've been taught that beauty equals thin. Bone thin. We've been taught that beauty equals YOUTH of all things! (The ONE most unattainable goal in this life!) I want to be the kind of beautiful with deep laugh lines and quiet wisdom. I want to be beautiful because of a generous heart and open arms, not because of smooth skin and perfect hair...

I am rambling. Ramble Ramble. I'll close with this: A recipe my sister-in-law and her hubby gave me for the YUMMIEST and EASIEST Chicken WonTon Salad in the world. Try it. You will LOVE it. (Save some for me.)

Chicken WonTon Salad

3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 head of green lettuce
1/2 of a package of wontons. (I find them in the cold health food section- by the tofu and whatnot)
3-4 green onions
1/2 cup slivered almonds

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons White Vinegar
4 tablespoons Sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon accent (pure msg.. mmm)
fresh ground pepper

Bake chicken at 350 for 40 minutes (or I just throw it on the george foreman grill for 12 mins or so if frozen. 7 mins if thawed.) Cool and cube.
Fry wontons in oil until golden brown, cool and CRUMBLE. (this part is fun! Stress relief while cooking dinner!)
Tear lettuce into bite sized pieces. (MORE stress relief! wee!)
Chop green onions.
Place everything in a big fat bowl, add dressing, toss and serve!

OK, I am now drooling.
The End.

April 22, 2007


With a new home, you learn (over time) which doors need the extra weight of a knee to shut them completely and you discover where the creaky boards in the floor are lurking only through repetitive trial and error. You eventually determine that FOUR of the light switches on your walls appear to have no purpose what-so-ever, (decorative?) other than to test the very limits of your sanity. There are quirks and subtleties that you can only become familiar with by coexisting with them.

Marriage is the same way. There is a definite learning curve. I had to learn that Chris does not enjoy breakfast in bed. That he needs a good hour or two for his stomach to wake up in the mornings before he can eat a hearty meal. (The poor guy has forced down his share of early AM plates of scrambled eggs before I eventually caught on to this fact.)

I had to learn that he prefers cubed ice over crushed ice, even though it has been all but proven that crushed ice is the ice of the gods... The frozen dewy drops of heaven... The precious crystals that make a Pepsi complete.

I had to learn that dirty dishes left in the sink for too long seem to emit a frequency to my husband's ears like that of nails on a chalkboard.

I have learned that he will never budge nor compromise when it comes to which side of the bed he claims as his own. (I tried to convince him to switch sides with me when we moved into the new house so that he could hide his side-of-the-bed clutter against the wall, but- the right! The right! It MUST be the right!)

I am constantly learning that his kindness and compassion never seem to bottom out- his goodness is just plain surprising.

We humans are endlessly complex. We are deep creatures... ginormous mansions full of revolving bookshelves and secret trap doors. We have tall lookout towers and dark basements and bricks of joy cemented into place by the mortar of pain and heartache. We are overflowing with rooms and cozy nooks and lofty rafters. And then... marriage? That day when we are handed a new set of keys and told that there has been a major expansion?

Cautiously at first, I run my hands along the foreign walls and seek out the fragmented sun spots to warm my feet in. I try the windows and slowly climb the stairs.

We were created to be Nancy Drews and Hardy Boys! We are mystery solvers and pioneers- stumbling upon treasures locked away for too long in our beloveds... bringing them out for display! Slipping these treasures into our pockets and smiling from our guts!

His heart is a cliffhanger. His mind is a maze. His skin is a warm comforter wrapped around me on a cold morning. His soul is oceans deep... attempting to know him completely is like trying to find the edge of God.

April 19, 2007

12 Years Ago Today.

Bliggity Bloggity. I have no idea what I'm about to write.

Um, Its warm today! We went to the park! It was fun!

My rose bushes exploded open today, and the blooms are approximatley the size of a basketball. OK, maybe not that large, but definetly somewhere in the softball range. I would take pictures to show you how they survived the winter without any assistance from me whatsoever, but Chris took the camera to work a few days ago and I haven't seen it since. I keep forgetting to ask him about that. So, honey- while you're reading this tonight after you get home from a hard day of work: Where's the camera? Oh, and you look real cute in your painting whites. Yum. And, I love yooooo can you bring me a chocolate cookie from the cupboard? And also: I keep
forgetting to buy lunch meat. Can you remind me to buy lunch meat? I need lunch meat. (lunch meat lunch meat).

Did I just have an entire one-sided conversation with my husband via the internet? WHO AM I?!


Yesterday, Chris and I were invited to a fancy lunch to honor a woman in our community that has spearheaded a lot of the urban development downtown. Our friend Charlie recently bought and restored a building in a section of downtown called 'Automobile Alley', and he has had Chris do all of the painting for the place, so he invited us to come to the lunch.

It was really an inspiring gathering to be a part of, although our table of 8 felt somewhat out of place. We were all decked out in our nicest rockstar apparel, (Chris with his neon green airplane patch on the back of his jacket and Charlie with his cabby hat and foot long goatee...) while the other hundred guests were in fancy business attire and hailed from local banks, energy corporations, and other such establishments that have more money than I can shake a stick at.

Meg Salyer recieved the 'Urban Pioneer' award this year, and she spoke of how this city has really redefined itself in the last decade or so. 'Automobile Alley' backs right up against the site where the Murrah Building was in downtown OKC. The Murrah Building was the building that Timothy McVeigh decided to blow up 12 years ago today. Most of the buildigs in downtown Oklahoma City were damaged in that blast.

From Wikipedia:

"The blast destroyed or damaged 324 buildings in a sixteen-block radius, destroyed or burned 86 cars around the site, and shattered glass in 258 nearby buildings. (the broken glass alone accounted for 5% of the death total and 69% of the injuries outside the Murrah Federal building). The destruction of the building left several hundred people homeless and shut down multiple offices in downtown Oklahoma City. The effects of the blast were equivalent to 4,000 pounds of TNT and could be heard and felt up to fifty-five miles away. Seismometers in Norman, Oklahoma (16.1 miles away) recorded the blast as measuring approximately 3.0 on the Richter scale."

When all was said and done, 168 people had lost their lives and 800 MORE WERE INJURED.

Do you remember where you were when you heard about the bombing? I remember being a little girl- living halfway across the country- wondering how something like this could ever happen. I made a scrapbook from newspaper clippings and used to stare at that picture of the firefighter running with the little baby girl in his arms and I would cry. I didn't understand.

The house Chris and I lived in prior to this one was about 14 blocks from the bombing site, and its foundation had been damaged in that blast. Can you imagine how widespread all of this destruction was? How daunting the task of rebuilding an entire metropolitan area would seem? Where do you even begin??

12 years later, downtown OKC is experiencing a renaissance- life is coming back to the old buildings. Culture and arts are pushing up through the ground again. I'm sure these past 12 years have felt like an eternity to some here in the city, but thanks to people like Meg and Charlie, progress is being made. Rebuliding brick by brick. It took only seconds to bring them all down; it will take decades to put them all back up.

I'm proud to be a part of this community. I can't wait to see everything that unfolds as a result of all the painstaking labor and miles and miles of baby steps that have been taken towards restoration.

Good things always come out of the ashes.

Beautiful, stronger things are always built on top of rubble.

April 17, 2007


I have a dear friend here in Oklahoma City that found herself crouching under a table in the infamous library of Columbine High School almost 8 years ago to this day. She's a survivor. She now travels around the country all year long speaking to students about school violence. She is an inspiration to me and to thousands and thousands of others, and she is hurting today because of the hauntingly familiar newscasts and stories of survival that have forced her to look and to remember.

I can't imagine. I can't fathom. Instant terror and thoughts of family rushing through your mind as the desk you were casually resting your elbow on only moments before suddenly becomes a barricade that you beg to somehow absorb you- somehow make you disappear...

Stop right now to pray for the families across the country that are grieving. Pray that God would be near. Pray for the students of Columbine who are reliving the horror and feelings of helplessness all over again. Pray for my friend Crystal and her husband Pete as they grapple with new and old pain.

Today has been somber. Drizzling rain and inadvertantly dressing in black. I'm feeling sad, so I decided it would be good to get out of the house and take Ezra to the mall for storytime and a bite to eat.

Right as we were leaving the mall, we heard a sudden cry and I looked up the escalator to see an elderly woman laying on the sharp metal steps- the steps were still moving upward, and she appeared to be unconcious. There was a lot of blood on her head and her legs and the escalator itself. People rushed to stop the machine and assist her as the fire truck and ambulance pulled up within moments. She had lost her balance and fallen backwards.

As the people gathered and gasped and asked eachother questions while the woman was being carefully treated on the stopped escalator, I couldn't help but think that this world is a really scary place. I couldn't pull myself away from watching the woman's barely concious face and her twisted body and I felt achingly helpless again like I had all day yesterday while the news slowly poured in. I wanted to rush up and throw my arms around her and cry. I wanted to lift her off of the harsh metal steps and lay her down on a bed of soft pillows. I wanted to tell her everything would be alright.

But, instead, I had to wait and trust that she was in good hands. It was all I could do for her. I had to stand at the bottom of the stairs and feel helpless. There was nothing I could say. Ezra wiggled in my arms and gasped and laughed as the firetruck and the ambulance sat just outside the door with their bright lights flashing.

It started to rain again as we walked slowly back to the car- me hugging Ezra tighter than usual and whispering deep 'I love you's' into his perfect little ear.

April 16, 2007

Turning my Brain 'On' Again.

This weekend was the annual Arts Gathering up at my church where there were two days full of great music and workshops and the whole event was FREE. Chris watched Ezra so that I could attend a couple of the workshops on Saturday afternoon, and I had so much fun that I'm thinking seriously of signing up for some writing classes at one of the bajillion local community colleges around here. I went to a creative writing workshop taught by my dear friend Susanna Childress who recently moved to Holland, Michigan where she and her husband teach at Hope College. Susanna is an incredible poet, and she has recently received her PhD in English from Florida State University. (gak!)

Her class was ridiculously enjoyable for me, and I realized that I'm one who genuinely LOVES to learn. I don't ever want to stop absorbing. I want to always be trying new things and acquiring new skills and stretching my mind to experience and embrace art that never stops challenging me.

Susanna's husband, Josh, also taught a workshop- and he spoke of how we as a society now-a-days have been taught to TURN OFF our brains when it comes to "art." Art has become nothing more than entertainment or amusement...something we can pop the top on, chug down in a few gulps, and throw away. We work hard all week just so we can make it to the weekend, where we will be able to sit in our houses and watch mindless TV or ridiculously stupid movies and not have to think about anything at all.

Josh was challenging us to start using our brains again by becoming culturally aware, knowing what's going on in our world, and seeking out art that changes the way we think and sticks with us longer than 30 seconds. There is really, really good art out there- you just have to look for it. Whether it be finding some stunning photography, or powerful writing, or new music that speaks to you, or renting some GOOD movies that deal with issues and force you to open your eyes... it's all available to you, but it requires a little digging. Dig! Dig!

So, pick up a good, classic novel! Support your local artists who are creating art that moves you! Hang art on your walls that does more than just match your couch! Join book clubs! Create art of your own! And then, share it! Have stimulating conversations over a great meal that you created! Pick up your camera or your sketchbook and wander!

Josh also spoke about how this whole process of 'expanding your horizons' can be really awkward at first... Being the 'smart kid' in school was never cool, was it? It takes GUTS to raise your hand or to try new things. But great art is important, and it's worth finding.

So, I'm going to start digging and I'm going to start creating again. I haven't written a new song in a couple (three?!!) years, and that's my first goal on the list.

What art inspires you?

What do you guys do (or want to start doing) that keeps your brains turned on?

April 13, 2007

Worth The Wait.

There's nothing quite so wonderful as waking up to the rumble of a big, fat Oklahoma Thunderstorm. I love them. The more they rattle my little house, the better. If I could pick any weather to wrap myself in most often, it would definitely be the soppy gray days for sure... I don't know why, but weather like this just calms me and makes me feel happy, grounded, and content. I'm trying to soak up these days like a sponge because I know that Summer will be here before I know it, and I will revert back to cranky, complain-y Emery in the blink of an eye. Last Summer, it was 108 degrees for TWO months solid and I think the sun burned away part of my soul. Or at least it *singed* it a little. heh.

A couple of days ago, Ezra looked me directly in the face and said "MaMa" when I asked him who I was. My heart bounded into my throat and I snatched him up in my arms and spun him around and around until we both collapsed on the floor in a dizzy, laughing pile of love.

Then I gave him some YoGos to seal the deal.

I cannot even tell you how much this word, spoken with such confidence and sweetness, blessed me.

Consonant. Vowel. Consonant. Vowel. Bonds growing stronger with one little word... A deeper discussion has never been held.

Would it be OK to let you know that the 'instant motherly bond' you so often hear about has instead been more of a long, slow, uphill process for me? I have loved my son from the beginning, but have struggled to find that place of love that overwhelms and comes before the all-consuming self. I have nodded my head and smiled as I have heard other mothers describing this instant love to me, and I have felt far away and wondered if I was broken on the inside. Unworthy? Unmotherly? Ungrateful?

I'm not saying that Ezra finally calling me 'MaMa' was the final straw to push me into that limitless love... But I can say it was a straw with surprising weight, and I'm closer to that place of selfless love than I've ever been before. Does this sound like crazy talk? Are you all thinking "How can one little identifying noun that most kids verbalize (non-stop) before they are 12 months old affect someone so deeply?"

I have always known in my heart that once Ezra started talking and really communicating with me, I would be able to feel closer to him and more connected to him than I ever had before. I am now (just now) realizing that this is why the 'wait for words' has probably felt so long and drawn-out to me.

I LOVE words. Words are the things that get me from the inside to the outside. They are so black & white, so matter-of-fact, yet they can be used so artfully and passionately and beautifully. I need words to express myself and I need words to help me understand. I connect to and receive who people are through their words.

This is just how I'm wired. Some people communicate and receive love best through touch or through quality time. Others through giving or getting gifts; still others through practical demonstrations of love. (acts of service, etc.) I'm a word girl.

So, this basically means that I am bordering on some very exciting territory, here... With every word that Ezra acquires, I will be more able to understand his heart, his mind, his fears, his dreams... I will be more able to comprehend who he is and more able to fall deeper and deeper in love with the person that grew inside of me- from nothing to someone- now standing before me with his 15 foot long eyelashes and a thrifted Boyscout hat perched on the top of his head.

I'm beginning to understand that every single word will be completely worth the wait.

April 11, 2007

Family Traditions.

Here are the last couple of Q & A's, from the wonderfully lovely Britt.

How did you choose Ezra's name?

The short version: I was completely obsessed with finding a name and it consumed my entire brain for many, many moons until I became desperate and started looking at the Content Labels of all the food I was eating to see if I could possibly find a secret gem of a name there. "How about Fructose? It has a nice ring to it!" (You know, bordering on Cat Lady Crazy...)

The long version: click HERE.

Do you celebrate holidays? And if so, are there any family traditions you hold to?

In our little household, we do indeed celebrate Holidays because we see them as a perfect opportunity to bond and create memories and drink margaritas while lighting things on fire.

I really LOVE Holidays. Every single one of them. (Especially Groundhog's Day. There's something about waiting for an oversized rat to climb out of a hole in the ground that just gets my heart pumping. Oh! And Flag Day! Don't even get me started on Flag Day!)

But seriously, some of my fondest childhood memories are sprinkled with Christmas dust or revolve around elaborate Easter basket Scavenger Hunts. I really do believe that celebrating holidays in unique and fun ways can bring a family closer together- can give them something special and precious to look forward to while giving them freedom to be creative and goofy at the same time. They are perfect little opportunities to break out of the mold of everyday life- to set time aside and be intentional about family.

Family is a beautiful word, isn't it?

All of this being said, I must be honest about something here: I really SUCK at planning ahead and creating these wonderful, gooey Holiday moments. This is something I have really wanted to change about myself for a long time, and I think about it way too often to have not actually done something productive to change it by now. I am horrible at Birthdays and birthday gifts. I'm lousy at planning meals and fun activities and get-togethers and being generally prepared when Holidays sneak up on me every year.

(Actually came from my mouth LAST FRIDAY: "Whaaa? Easter is this Sunday?? GASP!")

It's one of those few remaining areas where I get down on myself and tell myself that I don't quite measure up as a mom or wife yet. (Lame, I know.) Afterall, a GOOD MOM would have remembered to (at the very least!) buy her son a little Easter Basket while she was at the store so that he could participate in Egg Hunting Activities and not be reminded by the pictures for years and years that his first Egg Hunt was graced by the presence of a plastic WalMart grocery bag, right? (Lucky for me this year they had extra Easter baskets and I was spared the embarassment.)

We don't really have any traditions of our own just yet, but I really (rilly, rilly!) want to change that.

I know that as Ezra gets older it will be easier and more natural to spend time planning things because he will be able to participate more and remember the things we do. And I also do know this for sure: Our traditions will never be about all the crap. You know, the Holiday crap? The billions of useless Holiday things stuffed on the shelves in the stores every month? Three months prior to the actual Holiday? I really don't want our Holidays to be an overdone, stressful event on my agenda. I don't want to feel like I have to spend oodles of money to make the day really count.
Turkey Day Wishbone Combat! (if you look close, you can see the bone chunk flying through the air... um, NO ONE won that year...)

When I close my eyes and picture a perfect Holiday, I see people around my dining room table. I see everyone pitching in. I see simple meals and lots of laughter. I see goofy games and Christmas fort building and camera flashes snapping pictures. I hear good conversations about the true meaning of the day and what it means to us personally. I see people in my home that have nowhere else to go to celebrate the Holiday. I see gifts that mean something and gifts that fulfill longstanding needs being passed from hand to hand.

And, over there I also see gallons upon gallons of delicious Margarita Mix.

And possibly some firecrackers.

Thanksgiving ZOO day! Wee!

April 9, 2007

The Great American Egg Hunt.


A little fatherly guideance


getting the hang of it.

I think I'm having more fun than he is at this point.

double fistin' it.

a little bit of everything.

frigidly cold.

easter face.

Nearsighted Angel.

So far, today has been one of those exhasperating days that has knocked the wind out of me like a freight train. A freight train filled with elephants. And cruise ship anchors. And other... really... um, heavy things.

You get the point.

I haven't had a day like this in a really long time. So, I guess I can at least look at that and be really, really grateful. It seems like these days used to be the majority- and when life was full of days like today, life was not so great.

I almost forgot about our checkup at the pediatrition's this morning, and had to rush out of the house in such a hurry that it's a wonder that I remembered to shut the front door behind me. The second we pulled into the parking lot (right on time!), Ezra started screaming his face off. (I had to put it back on 3 times before we got to the office door, I swear!) It seems he can recognize the doctor's office on sight now, and he has logged the image away in his brain under the category of "Third Ring of Hell." We were there for a super quick checkup on his ears after his recent ear infection, but his screaming made the visit feel like it was 8 hours long. His ears are fine... just somewhat waxy still.

After the doctor's visit, I needed to go grocery shopping.

Ezra was fuh-reaking out in the cart the entire time I tried to shop. Nothing could entertain him. Nothing could quiet him. Everyone stared. I was that mom. Somewhere between the olive oil and the chips, I almost completely lost my mind. You know this feeling? I felt anger swell up in me and I just wanted to scream, but I couldn't so I bit down hard on my lip instead. I had terrible thoughts of wondering why the heck I had wanted to be a mom in the first place and I was practically in tears because I was so mad and agitated.

**Enter Angel from the Outfield, stage left**

Just when I was seeing red and Ezra was attempting to fling himself out of the cart, I noticed a lady waving at me from a few yards away.

"Hi!", she said.

I just smiled at her and said hello back while trying desperatley to place her face. I had no idea who she was.

She got closer and then suddenly said, "Oh! You're not who I thought you were... I'm so sorry- I have a friend that looks just like you and your son looks just like her son. How strange! I'm so sorry!"

Of course I told her it wasn't a problem and inside I was thinking how I was quite relieved to have escaped one of those awkward situations where you can't remember a person for the life of you, but they seem to think of you as an intimate bosom friend.

This woman was very firendly anyways, and she started talking to Ezra and he calmed down just long enough to throw her a "Who the heck are you?" look, and within that short 30 second interaction, I was able to step back from the ledge and gather my thoughts enough to finish up my shopping and get the ornery child home.

Isn't it funny how something as tiny as a woman waving to the wrong person in a grocery store can have such large effects? Can snap someone back into reality and perspective without her having any idea of her beautiful mistake?

Of course, now I'm thinking this random lady might have seen the look of quiet desperation in my eyes (not to mention the flailing toddler in my cart) and known that a distraction was just what I needed to pull me back to earth. Maybe she'd had her share of 'ledge moments' and was kind enough to reach out to a perfect stranger in an unobtrusive and clever way.

Or... maybe she just needs to get her eyes checked.

April 7, 2007

My Battle

My Battle

I come from sagebrush backyards and
stunning mountain views.
Grown under the watchful eyes of good brothers
and selfless parents.
I've found refuge on rooftops and met God on trampolines at dusk...
Raised in the shelter of
a fierce determination for a better life;
The sound of generational cycles screeching to a halt.

I was raised with the freedom to choose my own way.
I tumbled in gyms,
cheered from sidelines,
won elections,
sported crowns-
Living the life!
Yet, alone.
Retreating behind doors double bolted from the inside.

I come from I love you's and No,no! It's over's.
I come from I love you's! and Wait, Let's just be friends!
I fought hard for him
then he counter-attacked:
white flags finally raised as we both cried "I do."

I have a history of trying to please the 'head honchos'.
A history of stuffing my worth into their hands.
But with the cries of this 6 lb. life changer,
I think I'm finally begining to understand...

This battle's already been won.

Happy Easter, everybody.

April 6, 2007

Tumbleweeds, Crickets, and GYMBOREE.


Today Ezra and I went to Gymboree and we were the ONLY. ONES. THERE.

Can I just tell you that there is nothing more awkward than being the only people at a Gymboree class? It could possibly be worse than Chinese Water Torture. Usually there are 15 kids in this class. I felt like I was in Junior High again, and everyone but me got the memo to "OMG, drop your books on the floor at 1:45pm exactly in Study Hall!!" Was this a practical joke? Am I on camera? Did I just get Punk'ed by a crappy actor?

Picture this:
A big room full of colorful, fun things to climb on.
ONE extremely cranky toddler who is demanding "Ball" the entire hour of the class. ("Ball" is code word for a package of yummy yogos- a yogurt snack in the form of little colorful balls.)
A Gymboree instructor who is following this toddler around- singing to him and trying to get him to do things that he apparently has no interest in doing today. (and yet she sings! She won't stop singing! At ear splitting volume!)
A mother who doesn't know if she should look the instructor in the face while she is following my child around the room- singing and clapping- or if that would be too embarrassing for us all... and also wondering if she is supposed to sing along since she knows all the songs and would that be less awkward? More awkward? Should I try to distract the loud singing lady and bolt for the door and just come back next week?

Finally, about 15 minutes into the class, another kid and his mom walked in. Sweet relief. But wait! This new mom and the gymboree instructor start talking about gymboree instructor's romantic dilemmas and mishaps! Sooooo, I end up entertaining the kids with hula hoops and helping them jump off of the big block onto the mat. I am the one laughing and playing and watching the kids, and gymboree lady takes a break! Puts her feet up! Sips her coffee!

Oh well. At least I had fun. I was doing that thing where you roll the hula hoop and then run and dive through it while it's still rolling. The kids thought I was a major degree of awesome, and they even joined in the fun. I would make a heck of a gymboree teacher, let me tell you.

More Q & A! From Andrea:
What made you decide to do a blog? How do you make it look like such awesomeness?

First, I'll answer about the cosmetics of my blog. It's all just editing the HTML code in the template section of Blogger. How did I learn how to do that? Through many Google searches and trial and error. Everything you see that I've done to my blog, I learned from the internet. From backgrounds to font styles and colors to headers and links... I just learn as I go. I was able to create my last couple of headers in Photoshop and then I figured out how to get them on my blog via image hosting and HTML. This current header was a template I found on istockphoto that I edited using a Vector program (Adobe Illustrator).


Now, to answer why I started to blog:

I decided to start blogging after Ezra was about 14 months old and I had been living in Oklahoma for a few months. I was feeling lonely and hadn't yet met any of the cool moms I know now. I remember spending days without leaving the house because I didn't know where to go in this new, strange town, and it was just easier to stay home. Also, we only had one car for awhile, so I couldn't get around very easily and I wasn't in a place where I could just call someone up and ask for a ride somewhere.

ANYWHO- I was searching the internet for advice on how to do something with Ezra... I think it was weaning him from a bottle- and I stumbled into the Magic Wardrobe of Blogging. I remember being SO DANG EXCITED to know that there were women out there who were being honest about their struggles as new moms, and writing about the journey as they went. I couldn't get enough. I was hooked. I felt instant community and companionship with these women. So, within a week of that, I'd launched my own blog.

Ever since then, I have found myself to be more in-tune with my emotions and thought processes than I ever have been in the past. Something about writing daily through my battles and desires has sorted out the jumbled mess that was in my brain before. I used to feel like I was seriously crazy. Like there were a million different emotions and unfinished thoughts trapped inside my body and any little thing could trigger an explosion. I didn't know who I was. I thought I was a horrible mother and wife. I couldn't verbalize my emotions to Chris or anyone else and would get SO frustrated with myself that I would freak out inside and just want the ground to open up under my feet and swallow me whole.

There's a lot of different things that have brought me to the place I'm at today... of course, it's not just blogging that has helped me feel more grounded... It's a combo of things. But, I attribute a LOT of my progress to writing in this medium. I always loved to journal, but I was never consistent at it, and I had a really hard time looking a white sheet of paper in the face and spilling my honesty and authenticity onto it. There's something about knowing that another woman out there may be reading my words and connecting to what I'm saying and feeling less lonely because she can know that there is at least ONE OTHER PERSON in this world that is like her and that means she's not crazy... It's what keeps me writing.

I wanted to be a writer when I was a little girl. I dreamed of it and tried to baffle people with my overreaching poems about world peace and nature. I tried to evoke deep, raw emotions from people with my (dark) stories of the little boy dying tragically or the girl who lost her parents and was suddenly alone in the world. I got frustrated with my inability to really move people with my words, and so I gave up on it for a really long time. I quit.

This, to me, is like picking up that part of me again that I let drop to the floor so long ago. This is like finally feeling whole again.

Next Question is from jsm:
What kind of camera do you have?

First of all- Hi, jsm! You are not stalkerish! You are wonderful-ish!
I have a Canon PowerShot A630. It works great! I always mess with my photos and edit them in iPhoto. (Macs RULE.) I would really like to get a nice, professional grade digital camera some day (Like a canon Rebel or something) because I have a vintage clothing store that I run on the side, and I'd really like to take it to the next level with the photography and design of the whole thing. I think it has mega potential.

Last Question, from Hope and JoJo's mommy:

Eeek! Scary! I really, really would love to someday, but there's a part of me that thinks the whole 'book writing' thing is completely over saturated and unobtainable for me right now. There's a gajillion people like me out there who are trying to get their memoirs and life stories published... I just don't think that I have anything very unique or fresh to lay on the table at this point in my life. Maybe in the future I will... maybe not. I think if the time is right for me to pursue that goal, I will know it. My more immediate desire is to write a children's book. I've got some good ideas, and my brother Jaxon just happens to be the most amazing artist on God's Green Earth, so... I've got that going for me.


April 5, 2007

The Questions... Part Deux

On with the questions and answers! From Christy:
As someone with older brothers you adore, are you secretly wishing that if you and Chris have another baby, it will be a girl so that Ezra can have a little sister and experience that type of relationship?

Oooh, good question, Christy! I think the answer to this would be a resounding "YES!" because I do have the coolest brothers in the whole universe, and it would be SO fun to see Ezra protect and pester a little sister through the years... Ah, I remember well the days of tickle torture and following my brothers around and wanting to be like them so badly that I cut my hair short and prayed everynight that God would turn me into a boy.

I was so desperate, in fact, that I boldly announced to my family one evening that my name was no longer 'Emery', but now it was 'Bo' (as in, Bo Jackson) and that I would never again answer to any other call. That lasted about 30 seconds. If only I had known back then that 'Emery' is a man's name, I could have saved myself MUCH embarassment.

I would hope, though, that if Ezra did have a little sis one day, she would be more inclined to all things girly and less inclined towards all things G.I. Joe (as I was). What's the point in having stores stocked full of adorable little girl's clothing if you're going to have a daughter who refuses to wear anything but camo pants and hockey jerserys?

My poor mother- she wanted a girly-girl so badly... and when she finally had a daughter, she got me, a die-hard Tomboy! Har har!

And, The second Question from Christy:
Do you think you could remember the words to our greatest hit, an ode to that bustling metropolis Carlin, Nevada? and the wonders of the Horse Palace?

Christy and I were on Student leadership together at our High School, and after we were elected, we were bused off to a dismal little town called Carlin for our State Leadership Conference. We were less than thrilled about being carted off into the middle of nowhere- especially since the year before, the conference had been held in LAS VEGAS. The 'entertainment' of our conference was some tiny little Rodeo at the 'Horse Palace'- whereas the year before, the students got to roam around the strip and they had so much fun it was coming out of their ears. Christy and I made up a song to tell of our Carlin caused woes, but I don't remember a single word of it. I DO remember, however, that making up that song was the ONLY fun memory I have of the whole fiasco....

Next Question from Shannon:
What are the five things currently in your life that you value the most?
1. God
2. Family
3. Girl Time (squeal!)
4. Salt & Vinegar Potato Chips
5. Writing

You are stranded on a desert island, you can take 3 things, nothing electric or that plugs in and water and food will be supplied. What do you take?
1. Paper
2. Pen
3. Steamboat.

April 4, 2007

I'm One year Old!! Now, Let's Tackle Some Serious Life Questions!

Us back then. My, how we've grown! (Mostly in head circumference for him, and hair lengthening for me.)

Woo woo! My Blogiversary Day! Yippie Huzah! Have some more cake! How about that weather? Do you like my fancy new blog threads? (I'll explain more about that later.)

Thank you for all your wonderful questions. I'm going to answer them all in the next couple of days. Today I'll start with the first two:

From Scott & Lorie:
How did you come to Oklahoma? Are you planning on staying there?

When Chris and I got married, we both agreed that we would go wherever we felt like God wanted us to go.
No matter what.
No matter where.
No matter when.

We believe that if God had called us to live in a homeless shelter in the most undesirable place in the world, we would never be as happy or content anywhere else in the world as we would be in that shelter. Because we believe that God is the life. Your surroundings should have nothing to do with it.

Before Ezra was born, things started to change in the community we were in at the time. Our spirits were not agreeing with the change, and we found ourselves deeply hurt and confused. Our hearts were broken and our hands were tired, and we felt like God was preparing us for a drastic step. We knew it would be a painful change, but it would be one that would set our hearts free and lead us into more faith and trust than we'd ever known before. The community we were in had become a family to us, but we also knew that we had made a promise to follow God's leading before anyone else's. And we also knew that just because God calls you elsewhere, it doesn't mean you have to stop being a part of your old family anymore... When a child moves away from home, they don't stop being their parent's child. Family is family no matter where you live.

When all of this started surfacing, I was very, um, pregnant. I was about to have my first baby, and Chris and I had only been married for a year. Everything in me wanted to just hunker down and get comfy in our tiny little one bedroom apartment in California and forget about all the things swirling around in my heart. But God doesn't often go by our watch, does He? So, when Ezra was only 5 months old, He called us to go.

Our friend Joel had moved out to Oklahoma a year earlier, and was connected to an amazing group of people out here who were providing the freedom and opportunity for him to lead worship and play music on a scale that he wasn't able to do in California. Chris had always played music with Joel in CA, and Joel wanted Chris to come out to Oklahoma and be a part of all the exciting things that were going on out here.

So, we jumped.

Things were (obviously) hard at first. We'd never lived so far away from our family, and we had a brand new baby. We felt like we'd jumped out of a boat without any life jackets on. I was frantically trying to learn how to care for my child and Chris was trying to provide for his new little family, and all of this was taking place on foreign soil. But God is so faithful, and we did learn to trust Him more than ever before.

He was our life jacket.

Now, we've lived here almost two years, and we are so very happy and content and blessed beyond anything we could have ever imagined. Chris has a very successful painting company that he started from scratch... (a dream he'd always had but could never see happening where we were at before). We bought our little house and I am able to stay home with Ezra without having to stress about crazy rent and bajillion dollar mortgages. We've found an amazing community here that has been so healing and refreshing and beautiful for us to be a part of. Chris is able to take time off and play music whenever he gets the opportunity... And if you know my husband at all, you know that music is like raw LIFE pumping through his veins. He was born to create music. He was born to play music. He was born to worship and lead others to worship. When he plays music, it's like seeing all the dreams he's fought for for so long being released from his hands into the drums or the viola or the piano or whatever instrument gets in his way, and it catches your breath in your throat every time because it's so beautiful and passionate and somehow unearthly...

I'm learning more about myself than I'd ever thought possible as I write and watch with amazement as I morph from a girl into a mother. My son is thriving and incredible and has such a sweet spirit in him that I am constantly astounded by him.

(side note: Yesterday, after I put Ezra down for his nap, he was in his bed babbling to something, so I peeked under the door and I saw my son hugging each of his stuffed animals one-by-one with a HUGE smile on his face. Then he started kissing them all one-by-one and setting them up in a line against the wall. My heart melted in my chest and I sat there curled up by his bedroom door crying my eyes out because he makes his mommy so very, very proud...)

Anywho- we will be here wholeheartedly until we are called elsewhere. And if we're never called elsewhere? We'll be Oklahomans until the day we die.

Question 2 is from Britt:
What do you hope to accomplish in this life?

This is not an easy question for me. I have never been the kind of person who knew what she wanted to do since she was 5 years old and planned her life towards that goal from the get-go.

I STILL have no idea what I want to be when I grow up.

I guess it sortof goes hand in hand with what I was saying in the last question... I will do whatever I feel that God wants me to do. If I can do that, and live in grace and forgiveness for the times when I fall short, I will be as happy as a REALLY happy clam at the end of this life. I really have no desire or strength to do anything more than that.

In other words, I know what I don't want to accomplish way better than I know what I do want to accomplish. Does that make sense? Like, I know I don't want to try and build something with my own hands only to find out in the end that I wasn't meant to build it... that I was laboring in vain because I was afraid I wouldn't "measure up" to someone else's standards...

I know I don't want to live by rules, but by heart.

I know I don't want to store up material things and wealth just so I can spoil myself and stay stagnant all the days of my life...

I want to be a fresh stream- giving and receiving enough water to always be moving... never pouring out more of myself than I have to give, yet never ceasing to give away what I'm given so that I don't turn into a stinky, moldy, gooey, green pond.

Did that metaphor get away from me there? hehe.

In short: I want to accomplish the beautiful 'Give and Recieve' in this life... If I can stay in that, I will have accomplished much.

Us now.

April 2, 2007

Where's Noah When You need Him?

Two days from now will mark this blog's one year anniversary.

Oh, what a year it's been!

Here's the plan- on April 4th I will answer whatever questions you guys have that you've been wanting to ask me. (If any.) Just leave your questions in the comments of this post, and on my blogiversary, we'll crack open the comment box and see what comes of it all. Then, I'll blow out my candle and we'll all eat cake and be merry and talk about the weather while gathered in a semi-circle. Sound fun? Let's do it!

In other news- the day after the tornado, we were hit with so much rain that the streets became rivers and the garbage cans floated down the block. The drainage ditches at the entrance of our neighborhood were dangerously full, and cars were stalled in lakes of water that gathered at all the intersections. Where the heck am I?!

When the sky above your house turns this color, you should probably go turn on a weather radio.

Trees in the front yard.

Ezra in. Me out.