Tuesday, September 27, 2011

lucky girl

I'm so hard on myself. I'm finding more and more that the way that I speak to myself and think about myself is actually pretty rough, and even, I imagine, harmful.

How am I understanding this? Because of the way my husband talks to me. So often I feel like I'm a horrible person, one who makes really poor decisions out of selfish desire and low self-esteem. One who can't get it right, no matter how hard I try. And then Jeremy speaks to me, and he sounds so completely different than the voice inside my head, who's calling me an absolute idiot.

In fact, Jeremy's voice, his kindness and grace that is spoken to me when I'm down, sounds so much like God's voice. His is the voice of comfort, and forgiveness, and kindness when I'm feeling at my worst. And in that kindness, He gives me Jeremy, to over and again emphasize to me just how good He is to me. And how much He likes me.

When Jeremy and I were first married, I started having something like panic attacks thinking about his death. We've already established that I'm morbid, yes? I just kept thinking about what a comfort Jeremy is to me. It's indescribable, really, that sense of warmth and safety and comfort that he brings to my heart. And to think of losing that... Anyway, some friends were praying for me, and for a minute during, their voices faded out, and His came in loud and clear: that He was the one who brought Jeremy to be that comfort to me. It's been Him all along. And if Jeremy were to be gone--and someday he really will be--God will bring that comfort to me in another way. Because it's Him that is my comfort. Jeremy is just the one He's using right now to bring it to me.

Anyway, I'm only really thinking about this because I bought a $15 mirror at Target just now, and money is just so tight, and I was sick about it ever since I put it in the cart. And then I had to tell Jeremy what I had done. And what did he say after I had verbally abused myself all the way home, vowing to return it?



And that was it. I could have just cried a little; it was such a relief to hear a note of grace after all the other garbage in my mind.

And so I'm feeling thankful for a good husband, and a kind God, and that I get to live this life with both of them by my side. Thankful, thankful, thankful.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

goals, however small

Fall has certainly arrived here. It's gotten so much cooler this week, and it's been cloudy and rainy for days now. Now, I'm not one to balk at a rainy, gray day, but... Well, maybe I am a little bit. Gray days seem to be more fun for selfish activities: cups of tea sweetened with honey, romantic comedies from the nineties in the dvd player, naps on the couch. None of these things happened today; well, I guess the tea and honey happened, but I ended up guzzling it, lukewarm, after I finished feeding Elias and before I gulped down my own dinner. Not really the effect I was going for.

I like this season (and the one that follows it) because it feels so warm and cozy. That is, it feels warm and cozy if one has a home that is warmly lit, full of lovely cooking smells and festive decorations. I think the only thing I've got going for this place right now are the cooking smells, and those aren't so lovely right now because of the whole head of rotting garlic I foolishly chose to put down the garbage disposal instead of the trash can. Oh. my. Two days later, and it's still going strong.

So my goal for the next thirty days is to get two little crafty things done for the house: put up some twinkly lights, make a garland, what-have-you. And all of you, the whole two people that read my blog, are welcome to call me out if you don't see proof of them here. And if I didn't write it here, and make it a goal, there is more than a very good possibility that you'd hear me complaining about the lack of holiday swag again four weeks from now.

Also in the next month's activities: get camping supplies ready for our church's retreat next weekend, survive next weekend without my little boy :-( , get ready for said little boy's first birthday party (with a homemade pinata, and a mess of cake), get his room ready, get answers ready for the people who have and who will ask me what to get E for his birthday, finish the curtains for downstairs plus a million other little sewing projects that I'd like to get finished (without a sewing machine), etc., etc. In addition, Jeremy is having to work more hours (for $), and I'm having to cook more (because of $). So, it'll be busy.

And yes, two pieces of holiday swag in the next 4 weeks. It's do-able. 'Cause I'm gonna do it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

18 days

18 days until my baby boy is less baby, more kid. E is turning one year old a couple Saturdays from now, and both Jeremy and I have begun that whole "Our baby isn't going to be a baby much longer" kind of thing that I imagine most all parents do. Jeremy has been more emotional than I've been so far, but I'm pretty sure it's because I'm repressing an ocean of heartache until the actual day of his birthday. That's just how I roll. Oops, just writing that created a bit of a leak, figuratively and literally.

My goodness, his first year is almost done. And with it, so many other things, too numerous to write down here.

What I'll miss:

His dependence on us. He loves to go to other people now, and enjoys the company of others. And I know that will continue more and more, as he starts to have a life apart from us.

Nursing. He's still going strong, don't get me wrong, but it's less frequently now, and not as sweet as before, unless he's sleepy. He's usually smacking me or trying to grab his feet, and my. goodness. those. teeth.

Cuddling with him. I think this will come back, but for now that kid wants to MOVE. In the morning, when WE are feeling most cuddly, he's just psyched to see his toys after being away from them all night.

I don't know... He was my BABY. And now he's getting to be a little boy. And while I've made the decision to embrace his growing up, to celebrate the upcoming year with all our might on the 8th, it's the past year that will be on my mind too. And I don't think that will change in the coming years.

And I really do want to celebrate his getting older. He's going to be a fine boy and a good man someday. And I am looking forward to getting to know him more and more and more.

And yet, tears for now.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

back to school

No, I'm not going back to school. I'm still staying at home with my babe, hopefully for a long time. But the other day, Sunday, I suddenly felt that longing to be back in classes, drinking coffee during early morning work, reading new literature with a new bespectacled professor, walking on campus in the approaching autumn air. Yum.

Jeremy hates this time. Even seeing the back to school commercials on television gives him a mild stomachache. But for me, it feels like new beginnings; it has a crispness, a cozy comfort to it. I do miss graduate school.

And so I'm trying to harness this feeling to help me begin again working on my thesis. I have not felt the inspiration for the project, and apparently my lack of discipline will not get me any further. Imagine that. If there's no romance to a project, then, for me, it probably won't get done. I need this magical school air to help me along.

Friday, August 19, 2011

3 more months

Yep. We found out this morning. The appraiser deemed our house "Not Finished Enough." We have three more months to finish it up.

So...there it is. It's plenty of time to do what we have left to do. And yet...

We wanted to put the period on to this long, run-on sentence. And hopefully, in three months we can do so. It's a disappointment for us, but only emotionally, I think. We really aren't going to do anything differently than we already were. The hard part is definitely over.

Thank you to everyone that helped like crazy during the frenzy of this last month/months/year/years. It's no exaggeration to say that we wouldn't be nearly as close to the end without you. I really, really, really couldn't begin to say how much we appreciate the family and friends who have stuck with us during this project.

photo credit: dn.jy productions

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


You probably haven't noticed that I haven't posted lately, but I have. This blog flits in and out of my mind every once in awhile... and yet I haven't been able to bring myself to the computer to write a post.

I think it's because we're still in the same place that we have been for so long, and I can hear myself harping on "The House". Have you noticed that I don't call it "Our Home"? Or even, "Our House"? I have. It's still this thing that we're doing; a never ending project hanging over our heads. A perpetual full-time burden that we've been fighting against (with? for?) for over two years now.

So that's why I haven't written. I'm tired of talking about it, of explaining what it is that is so draining to/on us as a family, of being alternately defensive for our decision to buy, and a bully to our two-years-ago selves for what now seems like a miss. Or was it? Jeremy and I still haven't decided.

Our appraisal was yesterday. We're still waiting to find out what decision the bank makes-- done enough? Or still more work until they'll label it "finished" and give us a regular home loan and a freedom (mental and physical) to go on with our lives as mere homeowners instead of contractors? We hope to hear by the weekend.

It doesn't seem real yet, and it won't until we find out our fate. Regardless, "The House" is almost done, really and truly, and soon we'll be moving upstairs-- giving our boy his own space, full of color and room and, and, and. And Jeremy and I will finally have our space too. We can't wait to have a bedroom again, and a full-time marriage.

I hope that someday this house will have a new name. And I hope that the next time I write here, it will not be about anything but Elias, or a new recipe I've found, or how we've chosen to decorate our home. And hopefully, since I'll be writing about fun things, I won't be so distant from this place.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

army crawl

We've got about two weeks left on the house. At least, that's what the bank says we have :-) And I really think Jeremy might pull it off. What a stud. What a crazy, exhausted, stud.

Or, what a crazy-exhausted stud. (Ah, the nuances of punctuation.)

There have been so many times in the last two years that I couldn't even look forward to being done with the house. It just seemed (and in reality, was) too far away to be real. But in the last couple of weeks, Jeremy and I have started to believe that this all might be real. That soon we'll be able to look forward to weekends that feel like weekends. To go on day trips with our boy. To have a date night without feeling guilty about the time taken for it.

It's a crazy, exhilarating feeling.

And no, we're not there yet, and, yes the next few weeks will be a bit--er--hellish. But we're going to get there. It's actually true. I'm feeling thankful and relieved and oh-so-ready for this next season.

Monday, June 20, 2011


I'm sitting here at this computer, willing myself not to fall asleep before 8 p.m. Last night was the first night E did a good job sleeping in a long time. But! I'm so used to being up with him, I couldn't fall asleep or stay asleep. Sigh. We'll see how tonight goes.

Jeremy is upstairs working hard. Our house (as per our agreement with our bank) has to be "finished" by July 22. That's almost an even month from now. And while a few weeks ago I/we had no hope that it would be finished, we kind of do now. Don't get me wrong, it will be TIGHT in every sense of the word. But it may be finished... if not that day then probably a week from it. I can't describe to you the joy that flits up from my heart at thinking that this period of our lives may be over. The house will not be finished finished, but enough that we can relax a bit. And enough that Jeremy won't feel guilty for not working on it every second he has free.

And our church conference is this week. I feel like every year it creeps up behind me and catches me unawares, which means that it takes awhile to feel a part of what's going on there. Going to attempt to meditate and pray about it during the next 24 hours. I want to be a part of it from the beginning. I know that I need this-- we need this. And I don't want to miss out. Although-- it will be interesting having a baby this time. Goodness; having a child, it just changes absolutely everything about everything about everything, doesn't it?

Speaking of my child:

I love this picture. That gummy smile is not-so-gummy anymore, though. The kid has four teeth. I canNOT believe it.

Friday, June 3, 2011


So, you remember, this happened:

And so our three week stay at my parents happened:

During which Easter happened:

And the bridal shower happened:

And also Mother's Day happened:

And then we went home. :-)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mother's Day

I had the perfect first Mother's Day. I got a card from E, where he told me what a great Mommy I am :-) And Jeremy wrote something so sweet too. I got presents and cards and ate pretty pastries on the deck with my family in the late morning sun. What a great day.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

a story

This is a picture of our basement. It looks much worse in person. We've had about 13 inches of rain in the last month, most of them falling in the last week. Apparently it was just too much for our 106 year old house's foundation, and it came tumbling down about 3 am Easter morning. It woke me up and sent me sprinting into the family room, where Jeremy already was because he couldn't sleep. When he saw what had happened, he packed all of us up, and we spent the rest of the night/morning at my mom and dad's, where we've been since.

Some of you may remember that we (Jeremy) have been working on this house for almost 2 years now, and were only able to move in about 5 or 6 weeks ago. It seemed like such an accomplishment, to finally be living in the same house-- Jeremy had to spend all of his time there working on it-- to be actually living in the house for which we had made so many plans.

I don't know when we'll be able to move back in. The foundation on the front wall (right under the front door, living room, and bedroom) is toast, obviously. And the price tag to fix it... It's a lot. Especially considering that it isn't covered under our insurance (is anything, ever?!).

So this is hard. It has been hard, and it continues to be hard. And I'm asking God for a story. That in five years, ten years, forty years, this will be a story that we tell our kids. That we tell our church. That we tell our friends. That we tell ourselves, when things get harder than we can manage. That the story would tell of His love for us, His faithfulness to us. Of His power.

I hope that we're also able to tell of our faithfulness to Him. That we believed Him when He said He would take care of us when things got hard. That He really can move mountains and that He did, for us. That all we really needed was Him.

Saturday, April 9, 2011








the living

We live on a very quiet street in our town now-- quiet because it's the next street over from a graveyard. It's a little strange to be this close to grave sites; during the week I can see employees of the cemetery mowing the grass or preparing a grave with heavy mechanical equipment. Business as usual. The only time it's not as quiet is when there is a burial. To see one car down the street is not unusual, not so much two in a row either. But fifteen in a row, and I know it's a burial procession-- a line of cars that have travelled here from either a local funeral home or one in a nearby town, rarely led by a police car, accelerating or slowing depending on the speed of the hearse at the front of the pack, trying desperately to keep together.

I suppose I think about death a lot, and not often in a unemotional, scientific way. I'm afraid to leave those I love, afraid of how my leaving would affect them. Afraid of my boy and my husband dealing with the loss, not really a loss of me, but of a wife, a mother. So I notice when these processions occur, and take note, and wonder about the person who died, who joined in the line of cars to come see their body laid into the ground, the wife or husband or child that is having one of the worst days of their life.

I just heard three shots of--I believe-- a musket or something like it. It woke my boy up too. I don't know what it means or what it honors about that person's life. But it's that intersection that interests me too-- where death intersects with life. Where the honoring of that person with gunshots woke my baby up from his nap. How it feels to those at a burial who look up and see my husband and his friend grinding tree stumps in the backyard, preparing to put up a fence. Life continues without a beat missed-- and this is what is both heartbreaking and life-sustaining to those in grief. The living bury the dead and then-- eat lunch. Take a nap. Turn on the television. Do yard work. Get their baby up from his nap. Continue on.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The kind of friends who:

when they go to St. Louis, and hit up Trader Joe's, and by chance see your wedding flowers for sale--

buy them for you.

I love that the flowers I chose for our wedding aren't that well known, and aren't that available. They definitely have their season, and so I know when our anniversary comes around, so do ranunculus. It makes it extra special every year. So much so that when I went to St. Louis this weekend and hit up Trader Joe's...

I got some more.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

three years

Today is Jeremy's and my anniversary. The last 3 years have been wonderful, and rough, and full of hard life things. We won't be celebrating today; we have group at our house, and a baby who won't take a bottle (which is all my fault, I know), and this darn, life-sucking house to clean and fix, etc., etc.

I'm hoping that in a week or so we'll be able to go out to dinner and just breathe and be together. And (quiet!) I'm ordering a custom poster for him from avintageposter.com (she's got some cute, cute things) that will be a surprise and (I'm betting!) something that he'll love. I'll post a picture when I get it.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Isaiah 9:2

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.

I forget the magic and wonder of this life we live with Him so often...

So thankful that at the very base of what we believe as Christians is not rules, or prohibitions, or misery because of sin or hardship-- it is the skin-tingling magic, the all-encompassing joy, the life-altering love that overwhelms the heart and mind and spirit. He still surprises me with how good He is.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

photo credit

This last year and a half, this is what life has felt like. What we thought would be a fun little trip out to sea turned quickly into a nightmare. This does not mean that we were not supposed to buy our house or renovate it as we have, because we both feel that was the right decision. Of course "right" does not equal "easy", which I had not necessarily known before now.

I've just finished reading through Job, and a lot of the conversation is about how Job's "fall" is due to some hidden sin. And, no, Job was not without sin, but he always did his very best to follow God, and up to this point God had accepted him. And God still accepted him ("Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" he asks his wife), although it didn't look like it. And this year, it has not seemed like God was on our side. It has not always seemed that He was sending help. It did not always seem that He cared. It was not always clear whether or not we would survive it, that he would sustain us. And this is all because of how things looked. They were not easy. They were not fun, not even close to it. And I had always thought that if we were in God's will, that things would just come together. Very often that is what it looks like, but many times it just isn't so.

I have a good friend who is getting married very soon. To many people at the wedding, it may seem like everything has always been sunny and easy for them, and they may be jealous or feel badly about their own situation because of it. They would be wrong. She has waited for him for years, only to come together and then be apart for another year. It was a hard, hard year. It did not always seem like God was doing anything; it did not often feel like He cared; it did not seem like He knew how hard this was for her. But the whole time He was working, working, working. And they are to be married in just a few months. And to be around her right now is to be swept up in a happy heart.

I have to believe that God was working, working, working this last year and a half. In us and through us and around us. And it isn't over yet, because the house isn't finished yet. We'll be downstairs for awhile while the upstairs is getting finished. But we've rounded the curve.

We'll begin moving in this next week. And we have happy, happy hearts.

(The picture above is a print we got for Elias' new room. It's a bit morbid, I know. But that's us. The kid never had a chance.)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A day late--

Hoping everyone had a sweet Valentine's Day. This year was, for us, not so much a celebration. But next year! Next year there will be a completed house and chubby little hands, asking for "More brownie, Mommy!"

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cake; Or, How I've broken 2 of My 3 Resolutions Today

I made cake for our small group this week, and since we didn't eat it all at group, I've taken it upon myself to finish it off. My goodness, it's good. It's a banana cake that isn't too banana-y, not too sweet, and has a nice finish of homemade coconut icing. YUM. Here's the link; I think this will be a main contender for E's first birthday cake. Yes, this is something that I think about regularly. I know that's weird.

I didn't exercise today. Or yesterday. Or last week. But I have an excuse: Elias got sick for the first time. And I was sick with him. We were so miserable. Sigh. It's over now, but my sleep has not been caught up with, so I've been taking it easy. And eating cake. Double sigh. But! I'm only about 10 lbs away from the weight I was at before Elias. I'm getting there.

But! I've been reading the Bible every day. And it's been great. And the day before yesterday I got to Job. To which I said, "Yuck." But I felt like I should read it, and it's really been great. Surprisingly so. Looking forward to Barbara getting there too :-) Ms. Barbara, you will be working through Job, won't you??

Saturday, January 8, 2011


I don't like to make New Year's resolutions, because I know I won't follow them. But, this year I'm making After Baby resolutions.

It's crazy how quickly my life and schedule became all about Elias. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, because it's not. A baby needs that much attention, and I'm happy to give it to him. But there are a few things that have gotten out of step since the pregnancy and especially since he's been born that need to be ushered back in.

Ready? There's only three.


Read my Bible every day. And by every day, I mean every day. It's like eating wholesome food, and my spirit needs it in a way that is apparent, especially now.

Feed myself like I like myself. If I had a friend over for lunch and fed them a piece of cheese, some chocolate, a banana, and a glass of milk, I wouldn't be a very good friend. So why in the world am I feeding myself that way? This means that I must plan for what I am going to eat for lunch, instead of just what I need to get Jeremy for his lunches. This means healthy, filling foods, that taste good and make me feel physically well.

Exercise several times a week and no dessert before dinnertime. This means that dessert only comes after dinner each day, instead of at 10 a.m. and then again at 3 p.m. and then again right before dinner because I'm so hungry I just can't wait for the food to finish cooking. This one obviously has to do with my weight, which I'm trying to get down after having E and before we have the next one. And really, when I'm eating sugar all day, I feel like crap. And now that my hormone levels are changing again, my skin needs some TLC, and I'm hoping these changes will help out a little.

So I started some of these awhile ago and some just lately, but I already feel better. And I have so much time with his frequent napping, especially in the mornings, that I can do this for myself. And for Elias. And for Jeremy.

(And speaking of Elias, have you seen him lately? He just keeps getting cuter. And fatter. Yay!

He's been so much more fun lately, starting to laugh, holding on to me when I hold him, getting excited when I reach down to pick him up. Don't get me wrong, it's not like every day is easy, but I am so in love with that beautiful, fun, little boy that it's--mostly--okay when it's hard.)

And in related news:

This week I've been eating leftovers of Heidi Swanson's Chunky Lentil soup, which has been so good. And there have been plenty of leftovers since Jeremy won't eat it :-/ (Not a fan of the lentils, that guy.) It's about a cup or so of green lentils, a cup of stock or water, a couple cups of diced butternut squash, a 28 oz can of whole peeled tomatoes, with smoked paprika, parmesan, and a drizzle of olive oil. YUM. We're also eating this soup for the second time this month, and it. is. so. good. Watch out you pregnant ladies: this is what I'll be dropping off for your dinner after the baby. You can fill it out with so many vegetables, and the guys will still eat it because of the tortellini.

Anyway, it's recipes like these that I'll be trying to eat more of. It's nice to know that I just took a hiatus from making and enjoying food, not a permanent break. We're getting back to our new normal...we're not there yet, but we're on our way.