January 1, 2015


I had plans of starting a Whole30 today, and instead find myself seated before a steaming, tangled pile of spaghetti, with warm, buttery french bread for dinner, and a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies (with dark chocolate chips) for dessert. So much for resolve. 

The lure of new mountains to climb and new horizons to set off for is glittery and golden, but not for me this year. I'm always one to be excited about a fresh plan, and regularly mix up goal with expectation, but in the middle of December, when I first realized 2015 wasn't going to look much different than 2014, I shrugged off the thought. The lure of being a new person in 365 days is powerful, afterall, and I started making plans for fitness and diet changes and how many cups of water I'd drink and started reading ALL THE BLOG POSTS THERE EVER WERE about setting goals and resolutions for the new year. But last night, when I went to bed again all tied up in knots because I couldn't make my goals and wild dreams match my life, I heard a tiny voice whisper seek ye first.

Sometimes a small voice can have all the impact of a lightning bolt. I woke up with those words swimming around in my head. See ye first

I've gotten away from waiting on and listening for Jesus--and I'm certainly not short on excuses for this! 

But as this first day in 2015 winds to an end, my resolve for this year is to not resolve, but to wait on Him. I want to sit at His feet like Mary, and listen--listen--listen! for His whisper. So that when He nudges me to the left, I move to the left. When He whispers, "right!" I turn right. And when He cries, "stop!" I quit moving.  

In the end, it's not the name I made for myself or the work I accomplished--He can do the work Himself--it's did I know Him and did He know me? This year, there are no new jobs or babies or big life changes--in fact (unless something unexpected happens!), this is the first year in a long time that nothing new is beginning. This is a year of building on the foundation that have already been laid. 

It looks like potty training a three-year-old (Lord help me) and singing songs with an almost two-year-old. It looks like helping an infant nap on his own and our big goal for the day being getting out of the house for a walk. It will be meals at home--not Whole30 or Paleo--but nourishing and hearty nevertheless, and offered up to Jesus because He's involved in every mundane part of our days. It looks like mommy striving to have a gentle tongue and reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear fifty two times every day, working really hard for the occasional girl's night, and working really, really hard to pour into the lives of the people who are near me. 

Good things have happened this last year. I've had a beautiful, healthy baby. Eliannah has started talking. L's mind has exploded and we've had so much fun sharing the world with him (thank you You Tube for videos of squirrels and shuttles and Chris Botti in concert!). I've welcomed new members to my team, and finished reading through my commentary on the Book of Revelation (absolutely a book that's changed my life). 

This year, I want to pay off our debt and finally get out of auto mode on my camera. I want to eat more veggies and learn how to use my Chemex. I want to take more meals to friends, just because, and take a plate of cookies to our neighbors. I want to start my day in prayer and start a new Bible Study. 

And that's it. Those are my non-resolutions for this New Year.

You can read my last "resolutions" post here. 

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December 29, 2014

10 Books That Stuck With Me

I love this idea from Hayley for writing a list of ten books--right off the top of your head--that have stuck with you for some reason. It's fun! The more babies I have, it seems the less reading I do, but I do love me a good book. Here's my list!

Murder on the Orient Express
This one introduced me to Hercule Poirot and Agatha Christie, and so I have it to thank for hours and hours of pleasurable reading since then. I'm fairly certain I've read most of the H.P. mysteries, but thanks to mom-brain, I can now re-read endlessly without remembering a thing. Ha. 

I read some good young adult fiction growing up. No sparkly vampires back then, thankyouverymuch, just rich history, memorable characters, and plots that kept me on the edge of my seat. I don't remember a whole lot of details from this particular book (it has been a while), but I remember distinctly feeling the same relief the main character felt when he encountered Jesus--and felt the shackles of anger fall and forgiveness envelop him. It's a sensation that's stuck with me. 

Read this for a girl's bible study in highschool. Unfortunately, it's the only Jerry Bridges book I've read, but it is responsible for shaping a big chunk of my adult theology. 

Beautiful. Just beautiful. 

Never has any book been so perfect in the history of books. Oh--just--perfect! 

Lewis' rich stories have provided me with some beautiful images of Jesus. "He's not a tame lion," is one of my all-time favorite quotes.

Read this in college. Found it to be a fascinating look at modern public education, and instrumental in solidifying my desire to homeschool my kids.

When I read this in elementary school, I felt like I'd been transported to a whole other world. I still vividlly remember some of the images--Francie standing in her slip, getting ready by an open window. Francie reciting a bible verse in King James to her friend as a young girl. Her mother scrimping and using ketchup to make dinner. 

These stories have become woven into my heart so succinctly, that I often find myself thinking "what would Ma do?"

I put reading this off because--I am NOT desperate. Humph. But my mistake, because I wish now someone had handed me a copy on my home from the hospital. Actually--they should give out Surprised by Motherhood in the hospital, and this one a year later. A grace-filled, dog-eared handbook for mothers, if ever there was one...

Now, I'm so curious--what's on your list?

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December 24, 2014

David's Birth Story

David is already three--no!--almost four months old, but I've put off writing his birth story until now, because...well, his birth was really hard. It reminded me why labor is called...labor.

And I can't remember huge chunks! Like what I was doing when I went in labor, how we got to the hospital, how painful or frequent my contractions were. All's well that ends well (ha!), though, and the night of September 4th, David's due date, found my husband and I on the way to the hospital at about midnight.

Unlike with Eliannah, where I was immediately sent to the delivery room, and delivered within the next few hours, my husband and I were sent to triage. I changed into a gown, the nurse asked nine million questions, the hospital's insurance lady made an off-color remark about race, and I contracted off and on. I think I was about 5cm dilated when the nurse checked.

Eventually, I made it to a delivery room, and at some point things just started getting real. What's funny is that the whole time--the whole six or eight hours I was in the thick of it--I never even thought about an epidural. If someone had asked, I think I would have jumped at the relief, but the thought never occurred to me. I'm not morally opposed to an epidural; in fact, I've had one with and one without, and while in general I try to avoid them...I think I'll get one next time.

It was the same hospital that I delivered Eliannah in just 14 months prior, and for all I knew--the same room. I kept telling my husband, "this feels like deja vu," and "I just don't know if I can do this again." Something near panic kept rolling in and I just felt--exhausted. Like I had a mountain left to climb, and no knowledge of how to do it.

There's no backing out at that point though, you know? It's just--forward. Into the pain. Onward and upward! Blech.

Obviously, I wasn't in a great place mentally for delivering a baby. If I could have done it all over again, I would have put some energy into getting my head in the game before baby boy arrived. Maybe coached my husband on some concrete things to tell me. He kept assuring me that I could do it, and I marveled in disbelief at his confidence. I also thought, perhaps, I wasn't making clear to him how much things were hurting.

The nurse suggested I get in the shower, and I did for about thirty minutes in between monitoring sessions. And--oh! If I could have delivered in that shower, all would be well. Looking back, I think I was experiencing back labor, which is what made labor so intensely painful. But that hot water was incredible.

I asked the doctor, "what happens if I don't push?" and she told me the baby would come eventually, it would just take longer. They ruptured my membranes at some point. I went to the bathroom and could tell--he was coming.

We tried the squatting bar, like we did with Eliannah. I pushed for a while like that, but eventually my tailbone just couldn't take the pressure, and we tried different positions--pushing on my side lasted about two seconds and I finally ended up on my hands and knees. I'm laughing now--I bruised my tailbone with Eliannah, and when I brought this up to my OB, she mentioned a lot of women are opting to deliver on all fours. I googled it, and quickly decided--nope. Not for me. No way.

But pain makes you do funny things, doesn't it? And at about 8:30 am on September 5th, I found myself on my hands and knees on a hospital bed, screaming like a wild banshee, and pushing with all my might (RING OF FIRE!) to deliver that 8lb-something baby into this world. I think my husband is still scarred.

Lord have mercy. I felt every inch of my son--shoulders, elbows, hips, and all--exit my body. The really crummy thing about hands and knees is that I couldn't immediately see him--I had to wait a few minutes till they helped me turn over (watch the cord), and then I don't think I held him then, either. Frankly, at that point I just wanted to curl into a bawl and sob for relief that the labor was over, so maybe I got to hold my son right away and maybe not, but there you have it--I can't remember.

I held him at last, though, and shortly after, they stuck me in the shower again where that blessed warm water cleaned and revived. I nursed while we waited in delivery for a room to empty and ready, and then I walked on my own two feet.

My nurse and my doctor both told me, "you did great," and I looked at them like they were both on something. Great? That was the most out of control I've been in my life. But my gratitude for the women who helped me is tremendous. I know it's their job, technically, but I am so grateful for the women who roll their sleeves up and jump in to the messy, ugly, gloriously blessed job of giving birth.

And sweet David Scott. My milk took a while to come in--so much so that David lost over a pound--but I  knew what to do this time, and just sat on the couch and nursed him all day long, switching back and forth from the left to the right, for a few days. I drank a few gallons of that nasty Mother's Milk, and supplemented with a small amount of formula at night, just before bed, so he and I could get some rest, and then my milk came IN, and David grew so much that his pediatrician told me she'd never seen a baby put on that much weight that fast. Thank you, Jesus.

If you'd like to read L's birth story from three (almost four!) years ago, click here. And click here for Eliannah's.

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