October 30, 2007

Please Help. (Musically Challenged.)

We've been preparing Ezra for the big trip ahead of us for the past month or so- telling him that we get to go on a BIG bye bye and see Grandma and Grandpa, MoMar and DooDad, Uncle Jared, Uncle Jaxon, Uncle David, Aunt Candace and Aunt Kristy.

When we tell him this, his eyes get about the size of dinner plates and he gasps all the air out of the room and holds his breath for a second with that look of pure, unadulterated joy upon his face. His eyes scan from left to right for a moment and then he turns and runs. He'll run down the hallway and flop onto his little bed or he'll just run in circles in the living room for awhile until I distract him with food.

He's excited to say the least.

The last couple of times I've put him down for a nap or for bed, he requests the "MoMar and Doodad Song". Since I am unaware of any pre-existing songs with that title, I was forced to make one up on the spot. Something about big bye-byes and all the fun people we'll get to see in Reno. He pretends he knows the words and sings along with me. I know he is pretending because even I don't know the words, seeing as how they change every single time he makes me sing it.

We sing the song three or four times before I'm finally able to pull myself from the death grip of his puppy dog eyes and slink backwards out of the room- reminding him that he should close his eyes and fall asleep instead of, oh, you know- NOT DOING THAT.

Today I put my ear up to his door about 30 minutes after I put him in bed for his nap because I thought I could hear him mumbling or something. He was singing the song about his family very quietly to himself... it sounded as if he would nod off to sleep at any moment. As I listened, it took all that I had inside of me not to rush in, scoop him up, load him in the car, and start driving to Reno (pedal to the metal) right that very second. I suppose I can wait one-and-a-half more days. IF I MUST.

Coming to a "Biggest Little City" near you!


Question for yooooo:

Any good music recommendations that I can go download off of iTunes for a fresh music mix on the way out there? I'm bored of my music. Real bored.
Pretty Please-y Wheezy Heeellllllp meee!

October 29, 2007

Always Greener.

After a very long and rough week, Chris and I finally had a breakthrough. Things had gotten so bad that we were barely even speaking a couple of days ago. It wasn't from anything major- just little things piling up and not being talked about. And then yesterday we talked about why we were both feeling so upset, and the sun came out again. After we talked, I plopped down on our bed and cried my face off. Because holding all of that agony and stress inside had taken its toll on me and apparently I needed to cry it all out of my system. To wash it away. It felt so good.

Last night we had friends over for dinner, and just before they were meant to arrive I decided it would be a good time to screw with the big hanging light that is over the dining room table. As I was doing this, one of the glass fixtures fell onto the table and shattered all over the plates and floor and kitchen and living room and world and universe. The fixture actually fell right onto one of our drinking glasses that was on the table and shattered that, too. All of this glass broke into minuscule pieces and was projected into the air and Ezra was standing right next to my chair when it happened.

He started to cry and grabbed his mouth and I was SURE that he had gotten hurt, but it turns out it had just scared him and somehow the glass shards that were thrown all over the room had completely missed every inch of his body.

Miracle? YES. Absolutely. No doubt in my mind.

I mean, I had tiny glass shards that managed to hit my legs THROUGH my jeans. And Ezra's little head was just about even with the height of the table and ohmygod it could have been so very, very bad. Thank you thank you thank you thank you God for invisible shields and happy Ezra smiles.

As our guests arrived, Chris and I were attempting to clean up the disaster area and re-set the table while keeping Ezra on the confines of the couch somehow. I was sure it was the worst thing that could have happened, but then Chris reminded me that the food could have been on the table, too, and we could have been forced to do a pizza run and throw out our yummy glass-infused tacos. After he said that, I went from feeling defeated to feeling grateful and I was reminded as to why Chris is so very good to have around.

He always makes the grass greener on OUR side.

And for a fence hopper like me, there is nothing more beautiful or more grounding than that.

October 27, 2007

Five Days.

Who knew fixing a trailer axle could be so darn sexy?

We are leaving for home in FIVE DAYS. For two whole months.

It is our anniversary in FIVE DAYS. It's been four whole years.

Stress levels are rising around these parts- Chris is working like a madman to get his final work projects done, money is tight, and our schedules are a little fuller than they probably should be at this point in the game. For example, tonight Chris and I are babysitting all the kids from the co-op (after Chris is working all day) along with another couple from 4-7pm so that the other moms and dads can have a date night. If I'd planned ahead, I could have arranged for another night to watch the kids so that Chris and I could have spent some time getting ready, or we could have even taken advantage of the date night to celebrate our anniversary that will, instead, be spent in a car. (Which is totally fine with me... if that's not quality time, I don't know what is!) But we've just got a lot on our plates right now. Still, we are so excited to see our family... This stress and stuff to-do is all like white noise in the background of our readiness to see the people we love most in the world.

Also, Ezra's Halloween costume has been changed to a dinosaur outfit that was given to us last year instead of the fancy Peter Pan digs I'd originally planned to get. We might do an hour of trick-or-treating in a friend's neighborhood- nothing big or fancy- because trick-or-treating lands on the night before we plan to leave.

We'll tackle the drive in two 12 hour legs, for both of which Chris will be behind the wheel. He actually ENJOYS long drives. I border upon tolerance and insanity during the 24 hour trek, and I find myself relentlessly tidying and straightening the contents of the car just so that I can breathe and feel like I'm not, in actuality, suffocating. This drive will be slightly different, however, because we have purchased a little trailer to tow behind the car so that Chris can bring his tools (he will be working while we are out there) and we can pile all of our stuff into it and not feel like sardines crammed in our little automobile full of pack-n-plays and paintbrushes. This will be a lovely change.

I'd like to leave you all with this random fact (courtesy of MoMar):

Did you know that it is physically impossible for a person to touch their elbow with their tongue?

October 25, 2007

Being Vulnerable.

The "funk" that had settled over my head like a cold fog is s l o w l y starting to break up. It came as the result of me making myself vulnerable and really trying to take timid steps at bettering myself, and then, in return, feeling rejected.

There's something about consciously making yourself vulnerable that seems to amplify pain. I'm trying to work on communication, but it's extremely hard for me. So, when I make an extra effort to communicate, it's no small thing. The other night, I did that. But communication wasn't returned. So I cried myself to sleep on the couch- aware of how silly the situation might seem to an outsider, but feeling like my insides were shattering as a result of the slightest blow.

I'm fighting hard against the temptation to give up talking. And I'm realizing that no matter how convincing I've been lately- telling myself that this is all my fault and I am the broken one- I'm also realizing that this is a two-way street, and that broken communication is hardly ever entirely one person's fault. So, all that I can do is open myself up; to be here to listen and to ask questions... and the rest is out of my hands.

That's what makes this all so hard. Communication is absolutely NECESSARY, but no matter how hard you try, you can't force it. Often, the harder you try to force it, the further it inches from your grasp. It requires being vulnerable, which is something I am not so good at. It requires allowing yourself to feel out of control. Which is another thing that is about as easy for me as Advanced Very Basic Trigonometry. (Impossible!)

Over the last couple of days, however, I have made a resolve.

I've resolved that I will keep putting my heart out there. No matter how many times it gets bumped or bruised in the process, I will refuse to take the easy road and retreat back behind the walls I've built again. Because, in the end, retreating is much more harmful to me and to everyone that I love.

I believe that when we get hurt, we have a choice. We can choose to retreat, or we can choose to blaze forward.

So, onward I go.


Question: How do you keep communication alive between yourself and the ones you love? Do you have creative ways? Set-in-stone ways? Complex ways? Ways that even a monkey could master?

What do you all do to keep the walls down?

October 24, 2007

Little Giraffe Shaped.

A conversation with Ezra at the bookstore:

"What is your favorite color?"


"Favorite song?"

"Happy Birfday!"

"Favorite Sesame Street character?"


"Favorite Choo-choo Train?"


Favorite Bob the Builder truck?"


"Favorite animal?"


"Favorite shape?"

"Little giraffe!"

"Uh... yeah, ok! What's your favorite food?"


"Huh? Maybe cake? Birthday cake?"


"What's your favorite drink?"



Other bookstore phenomenons:

  • Every time we go to Barnes & Noble, Ezra runs up to the train table and immediately has to poop. Whaaa? It's sort of like how I instantly feel like I have to pee every time I go into a dressing room at Ross. Did I say that out loud just now?
  • The train table had been getting worse and worse at the B&N by our house-- they were down to two crappy beat up caboose trains and no engines. The bridges were busted and had turned into sharp little toddler-arm traps. The table itself looked like it had been covered in syrup and then rolled around in the dirt. And Ezra was quickly losing interest.
But, the Holidays must be coming because today there was a BRAND NEW train table and alllll new toys on it! Shiny toys! Bright, lead-free toys! And Ezra sat and played at that table for almost two hours. His favorite?

Cranky. He was mesmerized.

It made me want to buy him everything on the table. (Brilliant marketing.) Of course, we'd have to sell the house to make that happen, but hey! Two hours of uninterrupted play time? I feel like it might be worth it!

A (non-bookstore related) momentous occasion that occurred today:

I switched the thermostat from COOL to HEAT.

I am officially a happy woman.


I will post more about yesterday's funk later.
(Um, maybe. If I can think of a way to make it sound even slightly interesting.)


October 23, 2007

My Favorite Post.

I'm re-posting my favorite post that I've written so far. Because I can't muster up anything else to say right now. I feel blank and troubled and confused as to why. I feel like something in me has given up, but I don't know what it is or why its little knees have suddenly given out. When I got out of bed today, I felt like a different person. And this is unsettling at best.

This post is from last December. I titled it "Heart Dust."

I woke up this morning and reluctantly crawled out from under my warm blankets. The old heater was clicking again- the sound of the temperamental pilot light that won't ignite until I flip the thermostat
on and off.
on and off.
on and off.
I crouched by the closet door and waited for the deep hum that told me she was lit and waited for the warm air that would once again push through the floor vents like a sigh of relief. I felt quiet inside. My heart felt raw and withered. The yard sparkled white and the heater took deep breaths and my busy mind said nothing.
I wrapped my cardigan tight around my body and went towards the morning whimpers. Ezra stood in his crib. His hair reached upward on one side and lay flat on the other. His right ear glowed red from being smooshed against the sheets and the warm air drifted up out of the vent across the room. He rubbed his eyes.
Slowly, I turned the blinds to reveal the snowy landscape and I whispered in his bright pink ear "This is snow."
That pile of leaves I never gathered up was now an unidentifiable white mound in the yard. A single pair of tire tracks in the street spoke of an early riser. He stared out the window as if still dreaming and yawned. His body shook with chills and he wrapped his arms around my neck. The heater breathed deeply. The house slowly warmed and creaked. The yard sparkled.
My heart shook off its gathered dust, gave in, and sparkled back.

October 22, 2007

Have I Ever Told You?

Is it just me, or are we making the EXACT same face in this picture? Creep-sauce.

I was recently tagged by Piper to tell you all seven random things about myself. So, here ya go! Thanks Piper!

Seven Random Facts:

1. I am EXTREMELY sensitive to yawns. If I see you yawn, I will yawn. If I hear someone yawn, I will yawn. If I hear someone talk about yawning, I will yawn. If I hear someone talk about how they are even thinking of yawning, I will yawn. If I READ about someone yawning, I yawn. (This applies to all cartoons characters as well as real life people.) And animals. If an animal yawns, I WILL ALSO YAWN. I yawn a lot.

2. I used to watch MASH when I was a kid. And I loved it. Now, it kindof makes me sick to my stomach when I see that it is on and I don't know why.

3. Yes, I have entered Ezra into the 'Baby Gap Casting Call' competition, and I am fully expecting that he will win. Heh.

4. I used to have my eyebrow pierced and I am seriously contemplating having it done again.

5. I didn't know that only men had 'Adam's Apples' until I was A LOT older. I only found out about this when I told a friend in high school that mine hurt.

6. I have never eaten seafood. And if you try to convince me to do so, I will laugh on the outside but be really annoyed on the inside.

7. Backing the Badge and Other Thoughts on Life is one of my favorite blogs. Go. Peruse. It's got honesty coming out of its ears.

Now I tag Yellow Polka Dotted Slugs and The Happening Cheatwoods!


We've had a busy weekend around here, beginning with Chris jetting off to Miami for a last minute gig at a Campus Crusade Conference with Joel. But it wasn't the Miami you all are thinking it was. It was Miami, Oklahoma. (pronounced: my-am-UH). This Miami has fewer beaches and flashy celebreties, and more mining museums and paddlefish. It's about three hours away from here, so Chris drove up there Friday afternoon and returned Saturday afternoon.

While he was away, Ezra and I went to a friend's birthday party.

Mmmmm, cake!

Umm, more peese?

That evening, Chris and I decided to do something crazy so we all went to Macaroni Grill to use the gift certificate we were given oh, I don't know, LAST CHRISTMAS or so. Chris, Ezra, and I had a blast. Chris and I drank wine out of glass tumblers. Classy. Ezra charmed his way into an ice-cream sundae. Or maybe it just came with the kids meal.

That night I read a book that I had found behind the seat in Chris' truck. I read the whole thing in one sitting. All 200+ pages of it. It was a book about a man who was killed in a car accident. An hour and a half later, he came back to life. The book is called "90 Minutes in Heaven". Interesting stuff.

Sunday morning, Chris played drums for a church north of here, while Ezra and I went to Bridgeway. (our lovely home church here in okc.)

Sunday night was girl's night, where we giggled and drank expensive wine and prayed for each other. When I left girls night to head home, it started storming really bad and I was convinced I would be sucked up in a tornado before I reached my house. I was in Chris' truck and couldn't figure out the windshield wipers. Then, I got stuck waiting at the train tracks as I helplessly watched the storm intensify over my head. Lighting. Hail. Trains. Oh my! I felt like a tiny ant next to that roaring train and that roaring thunder. I vaguely remember yelling at the top of my lungs, "I'm officially freaked out now!" at the train that rumbled past my truck. Ha. I was SO relieved when I finally made it home.

Currently, Ezra and I are lazing around the house and enjoying the cloudy and frigid 48 degree weather that is hanging over the house. Ahhh, I LOVE the cold. I think I'm going to pack the boy up and head to Barnes & Noble, where I will sip a Cinnamon Dolce Latte and start my new book, which I have NEVER read before, "To Kill a Mockingbird".

I hear it's a pretty good one. Heh.

October 18, 2007

The (itty bitty) Piano Man.

Cameron posted the shots he took of Ezra and the green piano. Click here to see the rest! I'm thinking of having each of them made into 8ft X 12ft prints? Or perhaps they could make them into wallpaper so that I could just plaster them over every inch of wall space in my house? I wonder how much it costs to rent a billboard by the freeway?

I've Done Something Drastic.

I have done something drastic.

And for those of you who are of the female gender, you know EXACTLY what I'm about to say next.

I cut bangs.

My hair was just, I don't know... BLAH up front. And I figured that Operation: Grow Hair! didn't exactly state that I couldn't cut bangs, it just said I had to grow my hair out long. Which I am totally still doing. In the back.

OhDearGod when I say it that way it sounds as if I have given myself a mullet. Perhaps I have. *hyperventilate*

I know they are ghetto bangs and not the "fancy fringe" I would have gotten had I paid someone to do it for me, but it was completely sporadic and unplanned for. (Harmony, you would have killed me! Heh.) I was looking at this FANTASTIC vintage clothing site on eBay and suddenly decided that I must have heavy bangs. Like, NOW.


Ack! There's a spider on the wall by my desk! LKJHWG^@ET_)@&*@@(*!!!
It's crawling CLOSEEERRRR TO MEEEEEEEEE!!! I'm now typing while standing up just in case I need to deftly lunge away from its ferocious spider claws.


Anywho- I chopped the front of my hair off. And now it looks like this:

So far, I love it. My hats look cool again. I can wear scarves in my hair again. And, best of all, it has been hubby approved. He likey mucho.


Spider Update: It is now climbing up the wall towards my tin sign. From here it looks as if he's hungry for human. Ooooh I hate this spider.


In other news, we had to call the Roto Rooter guy out because our tub just mysteriously stopped draining yesterday. We've had to call them twice before and every time they come out they ask if they can borrow an old towel. And every single time, they hand the towel back with permanent black sludge all over it. Lovely. You'd think they would have drop cloths or old towels of their own for that sort of thing? I have a new slogan idea for the Roto Rooter Company:

"Roto Rooter. Dirtying precious towels across your city with slimy pipe sludge since 1935."

I'm sorry. Do I look like I own "spare towels"? Every towel that I own is crucial and was probably purchased on sale at Ross for $3.99. Next time? BRING YOUR OWN DANG TOWELS.


Yesterday we had really weird weather here- there were severe storm alerts all day and tornado watches to boot. We didn't get too much action here, except in the afternoon where within a span of 5 minutes all of this happened:

- (one) HUGE gust of wind. Windows flexed and I gathered Ezra up into the center of the house.
- Sky got darker and it started to rain. No more wind.
- All of a sudden there was ONE loud peal of thunder.
- HAIL. Dime sized. For about 20 seconds.
- Then it stopped completely.
- And became really really sunny outside again.

Craziest 5 minutes ever!


Third and final spider update: He was attempting the difficult transition from wall to ceiling while I ran to the doorway lest he plunge into my hair. Then I looked up and he was gone. I died a thousand deaths. He'd landed next to my desk on a side table. He sat there for a really long time like he was in shock. I don't blame him at all because he'd just fallen approximately one trillion spider lengths. Now, he is limping around looking all confused and, frankly, I feel sorry for him and am thinking of scooping him up into a nice little spider habitat I'll make inside of a mason jar. I think I'll name him 'Brave Guts'.


This post reads like a piercing migraine.


Edited to add: I had kept my feet up off of the floor since the spider disappeared because I just knew it would crawl on my foot the second I dropped it to the carpet. After about 15 minutes of this, my foot fell asleep, so I put it down on the ground. I just looked down and the spider was about ONE INCH away from crawling up onto my foot. I have since moved to Alaska, where I'm told spiders are illegal.

October 17, 2007

Fresh Starts.

You know how people always tell you that communication is the most important thing in a marriage? I've heard it so many times. But I've always shrugged it off and thought, "Chris and I communicate just fine. We talk. No worries."

A couple of days ago I realized that I had been, in short, fooling myself. I am horrible at communicating, and I suddenly found myself in a place that I really really didn't want to be. It was one of those moments where your eyes are suddenly opened to see the other person's perspective, you take the time to put yourself in someone else's shoes, and you can see that they've been getting the short end of the stick. For far too long. And it's no one's fault but yours.

It felt awful.

Chris is an amazing communicator. He always has been. In disagreements, he is level-headed and fair. He does not clam up or disappear (like yours truly.) He does not act like it never happened and shove it under the rug until it sticks (like yours truly.)

I am difficult to communicate with verbally. It makes me uncomfortable and I feel attacked when asked questions out of the blue like "How is your heart?" or "How have you been feeling about God lately?" It's literally like the words stick in my throat and I want to run away and lock myself in a room somewhere. Chris, on the other hand, is very much a verbal processor. It helps him think clearly when he's able to talk about things. Outloud.

Here's the catch: The only way I've found for me to really get myself across well is through writing. I can write my heart out onto paper without batting an eyelash. That's why this medium has been intensely healing and freeing for me. So, we've got a VERBAL processor and a NON-VERBAL processor living under the same roof. Eeegad.

The other night, I was feeling like I didn't really know Chris very well anymore, and I started to think it was all because he wasn't talking to me very much. Hmmm. I wonder why.

He then gently told me that he feels like I don't enjoy listening to him when he tries to talk to me about serious things. He feels like I clam up. (I do.) He feels like I don't ask him questions about his day or his life or his heart. (I don't.) It's like I'm afraid of engaging with him in that way because I am not able to express myself as well as he does- and then I feel puny. Misunderstood. Frustrated. Attacked.

I realized the other day how selfish I have been. My husband needs engaging questions and a listening ear in order to communicate. In order to feel heard and appreciated. And I have been completely withholding that from him just because it's uncomfortable for me. And our communication has suffered greatly because of it. And for him, I can imagine it is somewhat disheartening to learn new things about his own wife's heart by reading it on this site along with all of you guys. I'm sure he'd like to hear it from my own mouth first. Intimacy is lost when he is learning about me from a computer screen.

So, I need to learn how to communicate better with him. And when I first realized this, I felt really freaked out. I felt like I had to force myself to open up in a way that has frustrated me so thoroughly in the past. But then Chris reminded me that there are LOTS of ways to communicate. And there are ways to be creative about it too, so that I don't have to feel trapped by it.

This is one of the beautiful things about marriage. We have a whole lifetime together to adjust and change and figure these things out. It's hard work, but it's the only way to survive. It's about flexibility and realizing when you need to scrap the old way and start all over again. It's about knowing that, in fifty years, you might need to go allll the way back and start from square one again. And again. And again. There is no plateau, no cruise control, no retirement track where marriage is concerned. And that is completely freeing for someone like me.

Because I need all of the fresh starts I can get.

October 16, 2007

The Aftermath.

Our {fantabulous} company left early Monday morning, and I spent most of yesterday catching up on sleep. I took a FOUR HOUR nap yesterday, and this is crazy because I DON'T NAP. EVER. I hate naps with a burning ferocity.

We had such an amazing time with our friends, and I stayed up waayyy too late every night playing Wii having deep conversations about life.

Here is a really high quality photo I took of us. Ha.
(whatever you do, don't enlarge.)

The last night everyone was here, a gragantuan thunderstorm moved in and so we turned off all of the lights, opened up all the doors, lit candles, poured out some wine, and got to listen as Chris played the viola for us. It was one of the best nights I've ever had in my life. At about 12:30AM we decided we wanted to make some breakfast food, so we made eggs and toast and pancakes and bacon. By the time we all stumbled into bed at 2:30 or so, there were only three hours left to sleep before the crew had to be back at the airport. (hence, the reluctant nap.)

Much too early to be having breakfast.

Here's a video of Chris playing his viola along to a song that he wrote. Um, why is he not famous yet?

Cameron took some crazy awesome shots of Ezra-- involving his vintage fedora and our green piano... you'll be seeing those later I'm sure. He's an amazing photographer. These shots he took are making me seriously wonder if I should get this kid an agent. He's getting cuter by the day.

Now we are looking forward and preparing for our two month long hiatus in Reno that's coming up in about two weeks. Our good friends will be staying at our house while we're gone, which is going to be a great situation for all of us. Can you even believe that the Holidays are so rapidly approaching?

I am off to go organize my house and clean a little bit. I'm watching a little one year old girl for some friends tonight, and I can't wait because she's so cute and yummy that I go cross-eyed when I look at her. And then want to have babies.

Tomorrow I plan to write about some things that have been bouncing around in my brain for a couple of days- involving marriage and communication. And how I am pretty much total crap at it.

Weekend Update. (AKA Avoiding Housework.)

My house: Laptop Central.

Girls Gone Wii.

Boys can Wii, too!

Joel decided to chop off the hair.

We think he looks dashing.

Cameron. Man of Wonder.

Anna. The Gaming Queen.

Chris. Wearing my favorite shirt.

Good buddy Jamie.

Jeremy. Probably doing something crazy.

Tribal Council.

October 13, 2007

Heartbreaker Indeed.

Check out a few of the pictures Cameron has taken of Ezra so far by clicking here.

(caution: your heart will melt. Into goo.)

October 11, 2007

Full House.

I woke up this morning with a really sore throat and had to back out of leading worship for this month's Mom's Meeting up at the church. I thought I'd lost my voice, but it seems okay now. I was bummed to miss the meeting, but my house was buzzing with warmth and comfort and love as Cameron and Anna snuggled on the couch with Ezra to watch his morning cartoons with him.

The coffee was brewing, the doors were opened to let in the fresh Fall air, and there was no lovelier place in the whole wide world than my little house this morning. Ezra played outside and we took turns pushing him on the swings in the backyard. Chris got ready for work, the rest of us set our sights on a coffee shop to eat/drink/be merry at for an hour or maybe two.

Yesterday I was so excited to learn that our dear friend Jeremy was also coming into town along with Cam and Anna. When everyone showed up at the house late last night, it felt like a long over-due family reunion.

Jeremy. Compassionate and Brave.

We all sat outside of the coffee shop and talked about life while masking our fear of the hovering bee.

It is now 2:30 pm and this is a complete list of what my son has eaten today (prior to crashing for his nap):

-waffle with syrup.
-More juice.
-Two bites of cream cheese bagel.
-Sips of mommy's chai.
-Fruit snacks.

With all the added excitement around here, the potty training has taken a sharp turn for the "HUH?!", as Ezra now pees first and then tells me he has to go potty. (That's ass-backwards!) I've had to change his pants three times already today because he's been completely soaked. *sigh* All that juice has to go somewhere, I suppose.

Currently, the house is quiet as all our guests are out and about with Joel and Ezra is fast asleep. I am eyeing the Margarita Mix on the top of the fridge and realizing that I have band practice tonight and should probably figure out which songs to play through.

These people who are out visiting us mean the world to me. We all (clumsily) learned how to love God together in community. We were all collectively wounded when we were suddenly told we'd been doing it all wrong... that, LOOK! We've found the ONLY good way to know God and it requires SIX meetings a week! Also? You're either in or you're out. CHOOSE NOW.

Where's the grace in that for the fumbling parents of a newborn child? Or the college student who already feels swamped by all of the homework and exams? Or the girl who struggles with finding her validity and worth in the eyes of the people around her? Is there room for the addicted? The overwhelmed? And, when they finally hit the wall of 'meetings overload', Are they finding a soft place to fall?



More Later!

October 9, 2007

Full Calendars, Full Lives?

It's almost 4:30pm, which is that inevitable time of day when I suddenly remember that I should probably make dinner. Or at the very least start thinking about what I could make. Or something.

This is why we eat so much spaghetti.

The day has been lazy and wonderful- a trip to the library and the park in the brisk fall morning air. A nap that is going on three and a half hours.

I've been wandering around the house today, attempting to get things in order for our guests who are arriving tomorrow. As I move from room to room, straightening and making mental notes of things I don't have the motivation to do today but will most definitely have the motivation to do tomorrow because it is the very last possible day to do them before our friends get here, I have been in nearly constant thought about my purpose here on this earth.

As a stay at home mother to one little boy who is pretty easy breezy for the most part, I often feel like I'm not doing enough. Like my life doesn't have any purpose unless I'm running around at a million miles an hour wanting to pull my hair out. And the question I keep returning to is this:

Does a full calendar equal a full life?

The obvious answer, I'm sure all would agree, is NO. But obvious answers are often the most difficult to accept. It is true that on the rare day that I am really busy doing this or that, I feel more alive. I feel good at the end of the day. I feel like I've accomplished something and I take pleasure in declaring how utterly tired I am to my husband who works hard day after day- like, see? I was busy today and now I have a valid reason to be so tired too! See?

And as harmless as this would all seem, I can't help but be troubled by it to some degree. Because if I am truly feeling like my life has more purpose when I'm running around being busy all day, aren't I answering my previous question with a heartfelt YES? I may claim that a busy life doesn't make a purposeful one, but deep down I think I've been trained to believe otherwise.

Has anyone else noticed how our society doesn't seem to value REST? True rest? The rest that does absolutely nothing all day? Sabbath rest? Rest that doesn't get up to clean the house or rest that doesn't require some form of entertainment to pass the hours? God repeatedly tells us to rest. Because he knows us.

So, here's a new question to ask myself:

Do I believe that God shows His love for me by how much he uses me? Because if I do believe that (and I most certainly do at this point), I am way off base. My worth doesn't come from ink markings in a day planner. The seasons of silence and inactivity in life are just as important as the busy ones. It is during those times God often focuses on relationship and intimacy with Him. (Ummm, super-mega important, no?)

I was outside earlier today trimming my rose bushes and thinking about all of this stuff. Trimming rose bushes is a task that the world might not think has much "purpose" or "worth" in, but I was enjoying myself immensely. I was stepping back to contemplate which branch I should prune next, when I heard the crunch of a dry leaf behind me. I turned to see a woman standing there who had deep scars and markings covering the lower half of her face. I was startled by her presence; I didn't know how long she'd been standing there. As she saw me turn to look at her, she took a few steps closer. I took a few steps towards her as well until we met in the middle of my lawn with a smile and a handshake.

She told me that she was my neighbor. The neighbor that I'd never met or even seen. She apologized for taking so long to introduce herself and welcome us to the neighborhood. She'd just finished another round of extensive chemotherapy and had been unable to do much for some time. The lower left portion of her face was sunken in and the fresh red scars traveled down her neck as well where her lymph nodes had been removed. She told me that she'd battled eight different kinds of cancer over the last fifteen years. She had some trouble speaking- she was missing her upper and lower teeth in the left side of her mouth.

We talked for awhile about little things- about how cute Ezra was and how we both enjoyed the neighborhood so much. She told me how her husband of 40 years decided a couple of years ago that he didn't want to be married anymore and filed for divorce. She said he'd been going through an identity crisis, but how recently he's been coming back around again and has been a tremendous help to her in her time of illness. She told me how she had one daughter, but there was pain in her eyes as she spoke of her.

She lives alone.

I told her I was so very glad to meet her, and that I was around during the days if she ever needed anything at all- that Chris and I would absolutely love to help her in anyway we could. She asked us to pray for her. I told her that we certainly would, and she seemed comforted by this. I felt God stirring my heart while I was speaking to her.

God is amazing. And when I finally take the time to PAUSE and stop freaking out about what I should be doing or not doing and how much I think He's using me or not using me and why or why not that might be, He finally gets a chance to speak to me in the simplest yet most profound ways. Today I felt like he told me, "Just be a neighbor." Simple, yet huge.

October 8, 2007

I'm Pooped.

I just spent the day watching a friend's kids because she and her hubby are on a much deserved vacation. They have two amazing boys, ages 2 and 3, so Ezra and I spent the day at their house. Just me and three wild boys.

We started the morning by watching the tail end of Sesame Street while I got the boys dressed and brushed their hair and tried to convince everyone to use the potty before we went anywhere. (Refused.) We played with toys for awhile and then I loaded them in the car and took them to Barnes & Noble. The trip was lots of fun but can be summed up with this statement: There were three of them and I only have two arms. Yikes.

After the bookstore, we went and got food to take back to the house. The boys ate like champs and we had lots of fun sitting around the table making each other laugh. After that, I somehow managed to get ALL THREE BOYS to take a two and a half hour nap. These boys don't usually nap, so I felt like I'd done something amazing- like I'd invented television or something. After their naps, we watched an episode of Little Einsteins and then spent the next hour or so playing outside on the swings and digging in the sandbox while I drew chalk pictures of everyone much to their delight. ("Draw Ezra's daddy! Now draw Ezra's daddy's mom and daddy! Okay! Now draw...") We played duck duck goose and pretended the slide was a magic train that could take them anywhere they wanted. ("The gwocery store!") We were having a blast!

At 5:00, The relief sitters came back for the overnight shift, and they asked the boys what they did all day and if they'd had a fun time with Ezra and his mommy. I was sure the boys would be allllll excited to tell them about the fun stuff we did during the day, but instead they sort of shrugged and said:

"Yeah. We watched TV."

And, the 'Babysitter of the Year Award' goes to...

October 6, 2007

Via Tandem Bike.

The entire month of October has been redeemed.

Cameron and Anna are headed our way, and we're so excited we can hardly stand it!

Hurry hurry hurry!

October 5, 2007

(Play)Dating Twins.

I had another friend of mine, Sherry, call me up a couple of days ago and ask if she could watch Ezra for me sometime. I was, of course, thrilled at the invitation and so we arranged to have the kids play this morning so that I could run a couple of errands and have the morning free.

Sherry has three children under the age of two.

How is this even possible, you ask?

That's easy:

Bam! Introducing Harper and Stella!

Hold on one second.... my heart just exploded and I need to catch my breath. *wheeze*

Ezra had a blast with these wonderful girls today. They did an art project and baked cookies and played outside.

Sherry is an amazing woman and momma. She also has a baby boy named Atticus, who is so happy and chill that it's easy to forget where you set him down at.

Here we can see Ezra working his charm on Harper.
Aw man, Harper- look out!
He'll getcha with those eyes and that big goofy grin...
(she looks none too convinced.)

While I was out and about I stopped at the Goodwill and found two incredible vintage children's hats that were the perfect size for my son. I also scored a vintage Robot shirt for him. These were all amazing finds- the cherry on top of an already fabulous day!

A chocolate brown fedora. In mini size!!


Robo Force! Dun dun dun! (Ezra wasn't too into my
fashion photoshoot today. Hmph.)

Ezra and I both had a great time this morning. A big THANK YOU to Sherry for blessing us so much and for sending some of those cookies home with me. I only ate, like, ten of them or something. ON THE WAY HOME.

October 4, 2007

The Shrunken Wool Sweater Gown of Motherhood.

If I wasn't able to contact you personally, I'd like to say a big thank you to everyone who swung by to say HELLO yesterday. I am floored and so grateful for each and every one of you- Your words of encouragement stick to me, and I use them to help remind myself why I continue to write when I am feeling like I have nothing new to offer in this crazy web of world wides. Thank You.


Ezra. Let's talk about Ezra. He is the lighthouse to my rocky coast. Spinning around in bright circles regardless of the weather or the storm. The day or the night.

I feel like I am just now reaching a place where I can say confidently that having him was one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I may be late in the game to throw that out there, but I wanted to wait to say it outloud until I could say it without any falsehood. Ezra is the third best thing that has ever happened to me. God is first. Chris is second. Ezra is third. A girl must keep her priorities straight.

For the first couple of years there, I wasn't so sure. I have always loved Ezra with everything in me- from the tip of my head to the bottom of my feet, but the reality of what this kid would add to me personally and add to my life didn't sink in until much later. I loved him, of course, but life became so much more complicated after he was born. (Did I just hear a collective "duh"?)

I honestly believe that it has taken two and a half years for me to properly mourn the loss of my old life. My old self. And I think that this is perfectly Okay. Some parents don't need two and a half years to come to terms with their new identities as mothers and fathers. Others might need a bit longer.

That's not to say that I won't ever think back on the way things used to be pre-kiddo and long for a fraction of that freedom again. I will have those days. But I feel like I have recently shimmied my way into the final stage of "acceptance", where motherhood has become more of a well tailored gown rather than the shrunken woolen sweater I felt like I was forcing myself into back in the early days. I can finally put my arms down. I can do a quick twirl and feel like a million bucks.

My gown doesn't look like yours. And I can guarantee that yours doesn't look like hers. Or hers. Or hers. And I think that this is Okay too. This is more than Okay. Who wants to show up to a party wearing the same dress as everyone else?

We are all so quick to agree that every child is different. But we are so slow to believe that about ourselves as mothers and fathers. We are all different. There isn't an age we reach where we suddenly outgrow our uniqueness. If you were to look back and remember yourself as a child, I bet you'd agree that you were unique. In some way, you were different- set apart from all the other kids you knew. It was true then and it is still true now.

We parent with what we've got. And we've been given all that we need. And I am finally (two and a half years later) believing this for myself. I am a mother. And I wouldn't have it any other way. Ezra has made me a better person. A better wife. A better friend. A better daughter. He has shown me deep things about God that I might never have stooped down and paused to see. He has forced me out of many (treacherous) comfort zones and amplified some of my very best qualities.

He likes to sing songs and he hugs all of his friends. He is a picky eater. He likes to try and do things by himself, but he knows when to ask for help when it gets too difficult. He whines. And throws fits. And thinks he's entitled to a new toy every time we go to the store. He gives away his hiding place EVERY TIME we play hide-and-go-seek by squealing with delight when I walk into whatever room he's "hiding" in. He's finally figuring out how to incorporate his shoulders into his dance moves.

He is lovely. And he has changed my life for good.

October 3, 2007

House of Straw.

Chris called this afternoon and told me he'd like for me to have a night out on my own tonight. Needless to say, I was thrilled and touched that he would think to suggest it, and I was also feeling like some time by myself would be heaven.

So, Chris got home from work around 5:00 and I left shortly after that. I didn't even make dinner... I just headed out the door with no set agenda for myself.

Some people work well this way- with no plans ahead of them. They wander about the city and bump into adventure without much effort.

I am not one of these people.

If I don't have a plan set in place, I resort to my default: wandering around in stores without buying anything because (imagine this!) I don't actually need any more things. So, I wander aimlessly through isles for hours because, well, I guess because it's safe. And I can never think of anything else to do.

By the time I arrived back home, I was disillusioned with myself again. (Will this feeling EVER go away?) I felt like I'd wasted my precious "me" time. I felt like I was boring and lonely and BLAH. I felt like my life somewhat resembled one of the hundreds of pointless knick-knacks I'd wandered past throughout the evening- just tucked away on a cluttered shelf with no purpose, no true function other than to sit and gather dust.

I could have holed up in a coffee shop somewhere and poured over pages in a book or written feverishly in one of my journals until I felt my mind finally break through the fog. I could have called up a friend and had great conversation. I could have breathed fresh air or people watched for hours. I could have prayed. I could have found a quaint little place to eat and savored each flavor of a delicious meal.

I did none of these things.

Instead, I wandered around in fluorescent light- devoting my time to looking at things I don't even need.

And it's not just this evening, either. I fill my time during the days with television, Internet, chores, busywork. I am afraid to sit still. I am terrified of spending any time with myself. When I stop moving, I start thinking about the life I'm choosing not to have by hunkering down in my ridiculous comfort zones- forced to look at the glaringly obvious contrast between the life I'm actually leading and the life I've been called to.

I've had no desire to talk to God lately. To spend any time with Him. But I can feel Him asking for me. I hear it deep down in my gut. It is a call to more. The more that I want so badly but am also so afraid of. So, I busy myself. I avoid silence, stillness. I go on feeling unsatisfied. Adulterous. Unwilling to face the ugly truth:

My hands have been building a kingdom that won't last. A kingdom based on my wants and desires and whims. And I'm tired, yet still I refuse to give up the campaign. I'm like that one little pig who built his house out of straw- seeking shelter from the wind behind the safeguard of DRY GRASS. Every little breeze knocks another wall down. And I am quickly running out of things to prop them up with.

"If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
and if you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations.

You will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings."

-Isaiah 58:9-12

THIS is what I don't have. THIS is what I am missing. Feeding the hungry. Clothing the naked. Satisfying the needs of the oppressed.

These are the things that lay the bricks; the things that eventually build a life worth living in.

De-Lurk or Bust.

The Great Mofo Delurk 2007

All the planets are in alignment, and its time to de-lurk, my friends! Drop me a comment if you're somewhere out there beneath the pale moon light. (Aww, Remember Fivel?)

There are no cats in America and the streets are paved with cheese!

I'm off to de-lurkify myself as well... Wee haw!

October 2, 2007

Operation: Grow Hair!
(Plus 8 Random Facts.)

Here's a quick Operation: Grow Hair! update...

It started out this short ten months ago:

...and now:
It's getting loooong. I like to shrug my shoulders up to my ears and then splay my hair across them while pretending that it is actually long enough to do that without making myself look like Igor.


In other news, I've been tagged. (Thanks, Jen!) I must now confess 8 things about myself that you guys probably don't already know. Hmmmm.

one. I was a gymnast for a whole lot of years. No one bothered to tell me I was too tall and lanky for the sport- I had to figure that out on my own after many many years of wondering why I sucked at it. When I started to compete, I had two coaches from Russia that could have scared the stink off of poo. I can still tumble and do flips.

two. I gave up drinking soda about a month ago. Since then, I feel like my taste buds have come back to life. I tried to drink a diet coke the other day and had to pour most of it out because it tasted like sugar and syrup. Wait... That's because it IS sugar and syrup!

three. I have bad skin. (Thank God for Photoshop.)

four. I spent my entire Junior year of High School writing my name like this: MRE. Get it? MRE? Emery? I even started writing it like that on my school papers. You know, to save time. I was am such a dork.

five. I love God more than I love my husband.

six. I have been known to film and edit wedding videos.

I'm scared of having another baby partly because Ezra has been a REALLY easy kid and people always say that your second child is the polar opposite of your first child.

eight. Is my favorite number of all time.