31 December 2010

some firsts

This year, I'm doing something different.  On previous New Year's, I've mourned the lasts while looking forward to the firsts to come.

Today, I'm rejoicing over this past year's firsts:

  • I turned 22 for the first time.
  • We had the first ever double birthday party for the kids.  It was also the first themed birthday party we've ever done.  (The closest we got before that was the LOST map I spent hours creating on the top of my birthday cake this year.)
  • For our 4th anniversary, we did a vow renewal with our closest friends, family, and favorite pastor.
  • We had our first real honeymoon, also in celebration of our anniversary.
  • It was the first year since getting married that we did not move to a different apartment.
  • We began our first deployment.
  • I had my first plane ride.
  • I got to see elephants, gorillas, flamingos, white tigers, sting rays, sharks, jelly fish, and more for the very first time in real life.
  • I got my first "real" camera.
  • It was the first Christmas Yonah was old enough to really get into.

Some firsts that I'm looking forward to in the upcoming year are:

  • The first baby born in a wonderful birthing center.
  • Arabelle's first experience as an older sister.
  • The first year my son will "officially" begin homeschooling, even if it's just preschool.  (Is he really that old already?)
  • The first homecoming after a deployment.

28 December 2010

small blessings

Today has been one of those days where my patience is being severely tested in many different areas.  I wish I could say I was coming close to passing for at least one of the tests, but that would, unfortunately, be a massive exaggeration.

But instead of focusing on how I failed, getting more and more miserable in my efforts as the day progressed, I want to share with you the conversation that occurred, which magically erased any grumpiness I could have felt as a result of the kind of day I'd had.  It took place on our way (an hour late) to discipleship group:

M:  I'm sorry, guys.  I had a really bad day and I was very frustrated, but that's no excuse for how I was acting.  Nobody should act that way, ever, no matter how upset they are.  I shouldn't have yelled as much, or said any of those mean words.
Y:  That's okay.  It was an accident, and accidents happen!  I know next time you'll use happy words.
M: Aww, thank you.  Thank you very much.  I will for sure try to use happy words next time.
(brief pause)
Y:  I'm frustrated, too.
M:  Oh?  Why are you frustrated?
Y:  Because I'm frustrated with Frank.  (His aunt.)
M:  Why are you frustrated with her?
Y:  Well, because she's a girl.
M:  What?  Why is it bad to be a girl?
Y:  Because it's mean.
M:  Why?
Y:  Because it's mean to me!  She should be a boy.

His gentle and loving response to my amends soothed away the guilt I was feeling; the following conversation brought a smile to both my lips and my heart.  Thank God I have this wonderful boy in my life.

27 December 2010

a dream realized

My little Fujifilm point-and-shoot camera went missing some time ago.  With its loss I quickly realized an opportunity.  It has always been a desire of mine to have a more professional camera so I could really capture the beautiful pictures that I craved.  I'd always dutifully swept this under the rug - especially after getting the little Fujifilm, which often took pictures that just blew me away.

I was inspired by a post I read on another blog.  I seriously considered if getting more than a point-and-shoot as a camera would give me the boost I needed to get me where I needed to go.  I started researching different cameras, checking out the pictures each took, reading through numerous reviews and comparisons, and really considering the purchase.

I ended up getting the Nikon D3100, an entry-level DSLR that came with an 18-55mm lens.  I have loved it from the moment I held it in my hands for the first time.  I'm saving now for another lens, either the 18-150mm or the 18-200mm.  Basically, I want to change lenses as little as possible, while being able to capture just about everything.

And that boost?  The most important is how much I really see the world when I am looking through that little square viewfinder.  It's so much easier to feel passionate about life when I am reminded of just how breathtaking it all is.  Other side effects are more motivation for housework (don't want to be embarrassed by my pictures, now do I?); a strong desire to get outside these four walls every day; better adherence to the daily routine; I take more pictures now - I could before, but now I get to; and splurging a bit on an old dream really has made me feel better about myself.

(Plus there is an added bonus: my son's favorite thing right now is for me to take pictures of him and his sister, which makes a nice incentive for good behavior and cleaning up his toys each day.)

All in all, it is one of the best purchases I have made, and I am absolutely happy that I finally had the guts to do it.

fear of nothing

I admit it: I am a coward.

I stopped blogging because I was too scared to face any sadness that might be uncovered as the holidays crept up.  For the same reason I also avoided any time with Jesus.  He always has this uncomfortable way of bringing up things that I really don't want to think about.

The really ironic thing is that there wasn't much sadness or loneliness to be worked through.  Sure, my holiday spirit was only at half voltage, but now that the holidays are done and it's safe to let myself feel again, I know that I wasn't horribly affected.  Once I managed to cope with the idea that my husband would be gone for the holidays, there were only a handful of short moments where I could say I was truly miserable.  But I was so unbelievably scared that there might be, well, something that I went to tremendous lengths to hide from myself.

If anyone asked how I was doing, I would automatically talk about pregnancy difficulties - not being able to keep up with the kids' energy levels, having continued trouble with "morning" sickness, difficulty getting comfortable enough to sleep at night.  If they specifically mentioned the absence, I'd give the standard answer I'd come up with: "Oh, you know, hanging in there; it's weird not having him around, but we're doing okay."  It was true, but sounded hollow.  I didn't want to dig to make sure it was true.

Worse, I missed out on a lot of good things this past holiday season.  In my experience, the attempt to keep from feeling negative feelings blocks out the positive ones as well.  This held true for me once again.

I used a handful of excuses as to why I had to hide.  The most prominent one was: "I don't want to rain on anyone's parade, and especially not ruin the holiday experiences for my children."  It sounds nice.  It would be almost admirable - if it were true.  But it wasn't.  That was only the cover.  The real reason was simply that I was scared.

One of these days I'll remember that it isn't scary to feel sad, and that I miss a lot when I'm obsessed with not feeling it.

08 November 2010

bigger = better?

(The wireless internet was having some problems all day yesterday, so I'm extending the end date another day, to April 23rd, to compensate once again.)

I'd always believed that I lived in a city.  I would whine and complain to myself because I didn't live in the country.  I would rant about having to put up with city folk.  But that was before I came here.

This city more than dwarfs mine.  Our Walmart super centers have two main entrances; theirs has three.  We have one highway connector; I've lost track of how many there are here.  On and on.  It's a regular realization now that the city I live in is more a big town instead.

But bigger does not mean better.  We have more friendly faces, significantly less litter, visible street signs, regular postings of speed limits, and are pedestrian friendly.  With all the crosswalks, pedestrian lights, and pedestrian right of way that I'm used to, there is an enormous culture shock to be here where almost none of that exists.

07 November 2010

opportunities lost

I struggle very much with control.  I like to know exactly what's going to happen and how to respond to it.  I like things to stay the way I am used to them being.  I like things to be reliable.  I've grown a lot - even last year I'd be saying "need" instead of "like".  But I still find myself spending tons of time in preparation for any known upcoming event.

Take, for example, my first experience flying.  I felt so vulnerable stepping out into the unknown in this way that I became consumed with research.  I studied and compared and learned all the necessary steps and actions.  I discovered that countless people have been or felt mistreated by airport security, and worried that I would find myself in a similar scenario.  I prepared by memorizing words to say and tones to use them in.  As clearly as possible I defined to myself the line of safety vs. fear in compliance with unnecessary regulations.  I seriously considered how far I'd be willing to bend on privacy in situations that might come up.  I practiced respectfully declining things I concluded through research to be too invasive or harmful.  I meticulously went over my packing list, ascertaining that nothing I brought would be against regulations.  I planned in great detail how to pack my bag so that there could be no confusion on the X-ray.  I prepared for the possibility that my bags would be searched, ensuring that my bags were packed in such a fashion as would allow contents to be gone through speedily and with extremely small risks of mess, and would also assist in speedy re-packing.

I studied the specifications for carry-on and personal items.  I checked weather conditions to determine whether I needed a coat or jacket and the space to put it.  I selected a personal item capable of containing reading material as well as all the other personal things that I required, so that I wouldn't need to spend time taking those things out of pockets.  I carefully chose the outfit I'd wear while flying: pants with no pockets, zipper or button, that did not need a belt; a nursing tank, to prevent the possibility of a bra's underwire setting off the metal detector; shoes that were both comfortable and quickly and easily removed and put back on.

The results couldn't have been better.  Even though I'd never done any of it before, the research and preparation I had put myself through made me so confident in what I did that a few uncertain strangers viewed me as an experienced flyer, and thereby someone who could assist them.  Similarly, at the second time through security for my connecting flight, the man scanning my bag commented that it was the best packed bag he'd seen in a long time.  I zipped through security because I was so efficient.

But at what cost?  Looking back, I sacrificed almost two weeks to obsessive research of how to fly successfully.  It consumed my free time, and even some of the time I had for minor responsibilities (folding laundry, for one).  I  declined daily opportunities to play and hang out with my children so that I could read more research.  I was so focused on it that I got horrifically snippy when I had to stop prematurely to take care of sibling squabbles, unscheduled messes, another insistence of growth-spurt related hunger, child climbing somewhere and forgetting how to get back down, or whatever other issue they deemed screaming-worthy.

Sure, I had an phenomenal and highly positive experience flying because of all that research that I did, but was it really worth the cost to stop a few short-lived moments of looking like I don't have it all together?

catching up

I missed two posts the last two days, and for that I apologize to anyone following this journey.  Friday was busy, and the time I could have used to post was eaten up by a very long and satisfying conversation with my husband.  Even though I will be seeing him very shortly (he's on his way now!), I couldn't help but let the conversation not only eat up spare time, but also significantly encroach on my ability to get sleep that night.  Not only did I miss the blog, but I was too busy packing and completing my checklists to be able to sleep at all.

Last night I fully intended to spend my evening alone writing - first here, and then unleashing a whirlwind on my NaNoWriMo project.  I passed out before completing the first sentence in yesterday's post.  Flying, a brand new experience to me, takes a lot more energy than I had given it credit for, seeing as it really is just a lot of sitting.  Of course it might have helped had I gotten sleep the night before.

Regardless, I missed two days.  To compensate, I am extending the end of this challenge by two days.

04 November 2010

the might be

How far do I let myself be pushed by fear?  The question occurred to me as I did some research into airport security.  I was surprised to see how much fear rules us when it comes to airplanes.  We allow ourselves to be pushed and pushed and almost beg for rights, freedom, and privacy to be stolen from us, all because we are afraid that something might happen when we're in the air.  The irony is, the same people who fret and worry about airplane security don't even blink when they get into a car - when they buckle their little babies in and drive them around.  Cars are infinitely more dangerous than airplanes, yet they are completely oblivious.

I have let fear dictate my driving, my public parenting, the way I interact with people.  But when it comes to airplanes, I'm not afraid.  I am, however, nervous.  I don't like doing new things for the first time.  I don't like not knowing what to expect.  I don't like how there are no set in stone rules and regulations - it all depends on which airport you're at, who's on shift, what kind of day the TSA employee is having, how consumed by power the screener is.  Even the most basic rules differ, sometimes drastically, and apparently not every employee is aware of the official regulations posted by the TSA.

New security measures are coming into play, and I am sickened by the amount of people reporting feelings of violation, fear, self-hate, sexual assault, and trauma because of these new attempts to keep us safe from what might happen.  I am horrified that many of them, far too many of them, merely accept this abuse because there's the slightest chance that maybe it will keep that bad thing that might happen from happening.

I am horrified because I can relate, and I'm sick of it.

03 November 2010


After spending 3-4 hours in a feverish writing frenzy that just happened to occur after midnight on October 31st (thereby falling upon November 1st), I realized two things.  One was that I am so intrigued by the brand new story that was unveiling itself that there is no hope of ceasing writing until I reach the yet unknown ending; the second was that I had unknowingly begun this project within the time limits of NaNoWriMo.  Deciding I'd be writing feverishly on the story as it was, I signed up to participate.  Besides, the 4,584 words I'd written in the wee hours of November 1st were an excellent starting point.  And as extra reasoning, there is enough unhappy craziness unleashed in my life right now; why not add some happy, creative insanity to balance it out?

NaNoWriMo, otherwise known as the National Novel Writing Month, is in its 11th year.  It is a mad dash to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days (and nights), beginning at 12:01am November 1st and ending at 12:00am December 1st.  The reward for winning?  Personal satisfaction and bragging rights.  (I have heard mention of a certificate being mailed, but not from official sources.)

As a part of the month, there are Write-In's, where participants gather to consume caffeine and sugar while working feverishly on their works in progress.  Some of these are friends gathering in each other's homes, others take place at libraries or stores (usually those that sell books) that have opened their doors to celebrate the unleashing of creativity.  I probably won't make many of those, but the knowledge of the local NaNo community boosts my confidence.

Tonight I am at 8,034 words.  Most of my writing takes place in the sleepless hours of night (which coincide with the natural bolstering of my writing ability and desire that comes between the hours between midnight and 6am).

Will I win, or will I just have fun trying my hand at it?  I don't know, but I am ready to find out.  I'll be posting regular updates on word count and progress.  (One of the effective tricks to complete that the founders discovered was the deliberate use of humiliation over falling short, created by telling everyone you know and pass in the street what you're doing.)

02 November 2010

small victories

Today, if I get nothing else productive done, I will be confident in the fact that I managed to wash another load of laundry, clean up some of the mess in the bedroom, and fold a big armful of clothes.  It's a hard thing to decide - and it is a decision - to be content with small victories.  Maybe more needed to be done, but from now on I am going to be proud of what was actually accomplished.  I'm tired of ending each day feeling like a failure because I didn't take care of everything, so I'm going to change my mentality.  Tonight, I'll leave what was left unfinished for tomorrow.  I'm not going to tire myself out by going through the nightly regrets.

I'll also be confident in the "unproductive" things that I did - spending time with my kids, or getting some me time, or sending a letter, as some examples.  Because those are victories, too.

01 November 2010

new eyes

Last night's adventure into Halloween reminded me of many things I'd forgotten over the years.  I'm excited that Yonah is old enough now to enjoy it like I once did.  It's more fun for me now that I get to live it through his eyes, somehow.  At the same time, I'm more aware of the irony of the holiday than ever before . . . The festive "Happy Halloween" signs next to skeletons, skulls, and other distinctly un-happy decorations.

Maybe I'll follow my sister-in-law's lead in renaming October 31st "Dress Like Batman Day" - even though we didn't dress like Batman at all.  Instead we were a fearsome dragon with claws like Wolverine to fight bad guys, a growling duckling, and a weekend warrior.  (Yes, I dressed up as my husband, and Yonah had a blast calling me Dad all night and complained about missing Mommy.)

As for next year, I'm already planning ahead.  We'll need a calm dog, a pig costume for the dog, a manner to fasten a small child to said dog, a monkey costume, and the latest addition to our family.  All because of this cursed song . . .

I'm just kidding about the dog.  Mostly.

31 October 2010

sick of being sick

These past four years, I have had more than my share of being sick; compared to some people, I've gone through an entire lifetime's worth of it in just this short time.  It's been an easy accomplishment for me.  With continuing digestion issues due to a permanent lack of the normal number of intestines, I've also managed to be pregnant, with heavy "morning" sickness lasting the entire 9 months, three times.  On a couple unfortunate days, the two issues combine to make an extraordinarily sick woman.  (Do I eat to appease "morning" sickness, knowing I'll be seeing it again shortly due to intestinal issues?  Or do I wait to eat so my intestines have some time to sort their issue out, leaving myself vulnerable to "morning" sickness?)

Today being one of the days the issues have collided into each other, I think it is safe to say that I have definitely come back into passion in at least one area of my life.  To say that I hate throwing up is not enough - I loathe it with the core of my being.  If I could go the rest of my life avoiding flu, intestinal issues, "morning" sickness, sympathetic nausea (which I learned to be a problem after becoming a mom), food poisoning, and anything else that might incite my stomach into deeming its residents unsuitable, I would consider myself to be one of the happiest women in the world.

30 October 2010


Usually it's only when I notice how big my kids are getting that I remember how old I am getting.  I forget that I am not still a teenager (though admittedly, I'm not so far away from those years).  But then a situation like tonight's will occur, when I find myself hanging out with people who have been friends so long that the lines between families have blended.  I still find myself sitting and listening to the adults talk, but then I get the odd realization that I am now counted among them - almost like, since I have become a mother, I have grown up enough to be 'worthy' of entering the conversation.

It's most clear to me when these people, who I grew up calling my aunt and uncle, now label themselves as such for my children . . . when did our friendship change from peer to child, into peer to peer?  I wasn't paying attention.  I didn't think that there was anything to be paying attention to!  But now it's over and done with, and I'm all mixed up about it.

On the one hand, I am excited that I've finally 'achieved' adult status.  On the other, I am nervous of the added responsibility, as well as the change.

29 October 2010

sounds and letters

Am I the only one who's ever stopped to wonder at the rules of language?  I mean, who decided on them?  More importantly, why do we continue to abide by them, when so often rules contradict each other?

I can completely disorient myself from the rules of language when I say or write the same word over and over and over and over again.  It loses its meaning and becomes a mere noise.  Once it reaches that stage, it's like my mouth struggles to even make the shape necessary for the noise.  It's just nonsensical.  Likewise, writing a word again and again and again makes it lose its meaning.  It becomes nothing more than a random grouping of letters.  Why do we spell things the way we do, after all?

For example, recently this occurred when I spent a lot of thought deciding on the name for this blog.  I became so disoriented that I could no longer figure out on my own how to write "discipline".  Of course the effect only lasted until I woke up the following morning, but it was a very odd feeling that I won't ever entirely forget.

28 October 2010

not quite real

Today we picked up the Flat Daddy my husband arranged for us to have while he's gone.  It's basically a cardboard cutout approaching life size, but not nearly as cool as I was expecting.  I guess I've spent too much time dreaming destruction for my sisters' Edward cutouts . . . This one is only from the head to the upper abdomen, and doesn't even have all the arms at the sides.  Kind of lame, but at the same time, it's not nearly as creepy as I'd been expecting.  At first the kids were pretty unaffected - probably having more to do with the fact that we had to go to a strange new building to get it.  But once we got home, the giggles and excitement ensued.

Yonah kept "taking pictures" of it with my old film camera, and asking (Flat) Daddy if he could smile a little more, and possibly say cheese.  Then he'd look at me, grin and giggle something along the lines of "Oh, right.  Of course he can't!"

Arabelle waits until Yonah is engrossed in something, and then snatches it away and carries it around, jabbering to it.  I guess it's a good thing it's smaller than I was expecting!

All bittersweet moments . . . they miss their Daddy so much, and I really wish that he was home, too.  But at least they can feel like he's kind of here.

27 October 2010

ending on a high note

This morning I started well, despite approximately only two hours of sleep the night before.  Amazingly, I was not only able to stay conscious (though mental processes and energy levels were rather lethargic) until nap, but I also was able to eat and keep things down . . . until, at some point during nap, this baby decided that something in my lunch s/he did not like.  The rest of the day after that, until about 10 this evening, I could barely prop myself up in bed without losing something.

Apparently, my children decided that this was not acceptable, after I had had such a non-sick start.  Arabelle succumbed to a belief that there was absolutely nothing worth being happy about, unless perhaps that involved getting anything she even mildly was interested in having.  Having to deal with a massive meltdown every 10-15 minutes or so did grate my nerves a little, but once I was able to get up and about again she started calming down.

Yonah, on the other hand, expressed his frustration through finding a black crayon and coloring on just about every single surface available to his reach, from the dresser in my bedroom, to the washing machine (inside of lid included), to inside the microwave, and everything in between.  For some reason he decided to spare the bathroom and the office; I wouldn't be surprised if the only reason they were skipped was because God set angels to guard those doorways, since before we've discovered a frustrated person had colored inside the toilet.

At first I was very upset to discover the crayon's work; but Yonah and I had a talk about what he had done, and why, and how he could better handle frustrations like this in the future, and then - of his own choice - he ran for a rag, got it wet all by himself, and started trying to help me scrub away the crayon marks.  It actually turned into a bit of a fun scavenger hunt, and each time we found a new place he'd colored, he apologized - without prompting.

It does a Mommy's heart good to see her son acting in the ways she has trained him to know as right and good.

26 October 2010

how not to write

I haven't been able to finish the book adventures I've started writing in the past several years.  Instead of considering my passion levels, I turned to the "how-to" approach.  According to all the "professionals", I was going about writing the wrong way.  I was treating it like a romance - knowing the general outline of what the story is about, but letting us (the characters and myself) experience it in the unforeseen way of life.  In my mind, the characters are living people whose experiences I write about so that they can exist outside of my brain.  The free will that they are allowed as 'living people' keeps me from being able to chart out the entire book, even though I am "in charge".  The ending, and the path to it, I am just as surprised by as my characters, though it will never stray from the general outline and reason of the book.

So I outlined a book idea in greater detail, and set myself a time schedule to meet: by the end of this deployment, I am to completely finish this book.  But I haven't been able to even get started on it.  Why?  Because not only am I not as moved to write the story due to lack of passion, but I also feel that there is no spark; it's been planned to death.  It took me a little while to realize this, and in fact I only reached the full knowledge of it last night.

Last night, I was browsing through Fiction Press to find something worthy of reading while I waited for my children to finally fall asleep.  Due to the nature of the site, true gems can be found - but you have to do a fair amount of digging to discover them.  As I dug through different stories, I couldn't help but notice the main themes, and I was heartbroken.  There are so many people (of varying ages) who buy into the sex/love myth.  I think we can all agree that sex does not equal love, but what I discovered is that the predominant belief is "love = sex".  It's evident anywhere you look in our culture, but for some reason the familiarity of the notion was missing last night.  I was so frustrated by this harmful misconception that I shut down the website and started writing . . .

It's an old idea I've had floating around, but the way it is coming out into story is a complete surprise to me . . . and I am so drawn to write about and get to know these new people.  The idea of writing is exciting again!

Will I get to writing that other, over-planned story?  Yes, eventually.  But first I need to throw out and forget all the plans except the basic idea, and get to know the characters again.  It will probably take a long time to do.  In the meantime, I'll whet my appetite for writing again by working on this old idea/new story.

25 October 2010


I've been rediscovering the joys of music.  I had forgotten it for about 4 years.  I was still fond of it during that time, but the joy was lost when my first pregnancy changed my voice.  Before being pregnant, I was a soprano, but ever since 2006, I have been unable to reach most of those notes.  At first I was too discouraged to even bother trying to sing differently.  Later I began to experiment with lower notes, but aside from becoming a little better at harmonizing (sometimes, my husband now says, my harmonization kicks . . . butt), I found that it was unhelpful.  I can't reach most of the alto notes, either - at least not without feeling like my voice is dragging on the ground.  I am now something between alto and soprano, whatever that is.  My choir days are most likely over, unless they come up with a new grouping of singers.

I couldn't sing along to my favorite songs, and I couldn't sing while playing guitar.  So I stopped listening to and creating music.  It was far too difficult to constantly be reminded of the fact that I could no longer do something that I love.  I stopped trying to overcome it.

But something has changed over this year.  I think I just finally got used to how my voice works now.  I've been slowly learning a new style of singing that fits my neither-here-nor-there range.  It's still very challenging to sing along with other people . . . the soprano who has not been fully eradicated from my mind continues to try to follow or sing above others, depending on their range.  But now that I'm singing more at home, I think that won't be as big of an issue anymore; I'll be able to silence that soprano part of me with familiarity in a new voice and style of singing.

It has been interesting to note how much my singing ability has improved since the change.  And I can sing along with my guitar playing with much greater ease now!  Even though the change was really painful and it felt that I had completely lost something dear to me, I would go through it again.

24 October 2010

fare well

I wanted a perfect ending.  Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end.  Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next.
Gilda Radner

I went to a goodbye party for some dear friends tonight.  It's always at times like these that I wonder why I let myself neglect staying in contact, like I so wish to do, while they are still around.  Is it worth staying safe to risk losing what time I had with people close to my heart, whom I look up to and dream of having a more permanent role in my life?  Do I really rather people think of me as 'cool', than to really know me?  Is it really better to close myself off because friends never cease to flit in and out, come and go?  It's only when I must once again say goodbye that I remember the true answer.

I really must be better at making the most of the time that I have now, not taking for granted that there will be a next week.  How many painful regrets of wasted time must I endure before I finally learn the lesson?  Why can't I just learn?

23 October 2010


There where my heart has settled long ago,
I must go, I must go.
Who could imagine I'd be wand'ring so
Far from the home I love?
Yet, there with my love, I'm home.
Hodel, Fiddler on the Roof

Today, while forced to be still in order to cope with the alleged "morning" sickness, I had ample opportunity to realize that I am, and have been, terribly homesick.  Home isn't quite home when somebody is absent.  It's not so much that he's been gone a terribly long time now; there have been only a few days over a month that he's been gone, and that's manageable.  What makes me homesick is knowing that there will be at least 11 more months to go.

A part of me is irritable because 11 months really isn't that much, and I am well aware of that.  I also know that others are in far worse situations than this.  But that doesn't change the pining of my heart.

22 October 2010

what's in a color?

Any art communicates what you are in the mood to receive.
Larry Rivers

I spent a lot of time toying with the design settings on this blog.  I've never really cared for pink.  But every time it came to saving the changes, I'd cancel out of the window.  One time I actually succeeded in changing the background to a beautiful deep blue, but almost immediately I was back in the editing window, changing it back to the original pink I'd set it up with.  I had no idea why.  Deep blue is, after all, my favorite color, so it made no sense.

But then I realized that in changing the image, I was ignoring the Holy Spirit's prompting.  I was deeply puzzled and tried to understand why a simple color is so important in the grand scheme of my life.  I didn't get an answer.  So I thought about it, and finally it clicked.  Right now, blue is safe to me.  It's a calm, collected, disciplined color.  It's about coloring in the lines, keeping people from feeling uncomfortable.  I'm not saying this is wrong, but for this time I need to be out of my comfort zone.  The pink is vibrant, exciting, and, dare I say it, passionate.  At least, this background is, with its splashes of color in such an unorthodox manner - no boundaries separating the yellow and pink, no order to the smears and layers.  It speaks of life lived in such a lively, carefree, creative manner; not paying any attention to what people think, and being beautiful because of it!

21 October 2010

life in moments

What was my favorite moment from today?

Was it when the kids woke up at about 2am, and after they couldn't get back to sleep we spent the time from 4 to 8 snuggling as we watched our current favorite TV show?

Was it when I woke up to hear Lego Batman being played, and once Yonah realized I was awake (thanks to a flushing toilet) he came running to ask if he could play Batman?

Was it Yonah's sense of style, pairing a long-sleeved blue-green motorcyclist shirt first with very green plaid shorts, and then with very Hawaiian shorts?

Was it Arabelle coming at random times to give me a hug and a quick snuggle?

Was it the kind grandfatherly type working at the post office, who didn't mind the kids being energetic kids, and made a game for them involving ringing the bell on the door?

Was it when Yonah asked if we could get something for the baby when we were at the second-hand children's store?

Was it when I dozed off while waiting for Yonah to finish the level of Lego Batman, and then waking up to find him snuggled up against my side and asleep?

Was it when we did our Halloween costume test and practiced being 'in character'?

I can't pick one to write about.  All of these shine brightly in my heart today.

20 October 2010

can fools become wise?

The fool wonders, the wise man asks.

Benjamin Disraeli

He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.
Chinese Proverb

No man really becomes a fool until he stops asking questions.
Charles Steinmetz

It has taken me many, many years to start reaching the point where I am alright with looking like a fool in order to ask questions.  Previously, tonight's shopping trip would have taken much longer than it did.  I'd be too proud to admit that I needed help finding something, and would wander among the many aisles for hours in the search for it.  Why?  How much smarter did I really look to the employees by not asking, when those same employees were there to witness my constant searching while denying their offers of assistance?  Why was it so important that I look like I had it all together to a bunch of people I'll probably never see again, who I'd never recognize even if I did?  Because there was that tiny sliver of a chance that they'd remember me as some goofy clown.  It would haunt me.

Tonight, I asked.  I'm sure that I looked quite the fool, too, having to come back to the same employee three or four times for other questions I'd forgotten I'd needed to ask.  Now, I could try to blame that all on pregnancy brain, or mom-of-small-kids brain, and that might in fact be a part of it.  But that doesn't matter.  Right now what matters is the fact that I have not once beat myself up for being such an embarrassing ditz tonight. Just the opposite, in fact: when I've thought of it, I've chuckled at my absentmindedness.

a new ending begins

Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.
Carl Bard

Somewhere along the course of my life, my passion began dimming, and, before I even noticed, had disappeared completely.  I had been passionate about life, but not anymore.  In fact, I can't think of anything that I am truly passionate about now.  I don't know what's more depressing to me: the fact that the brilliant hues I once knew are now a dull black-and-white monotone, or the fact that I didn't even notice the change . . . wouldn't have noticed without God's intervention.  How sad.

The good news is that He did intervene.  He showed me what happened, and even helped me to see why.  My passion was choked out by a rather desperate need for somebody, anybody, to like me.  It's a very humbling realization that I, who was raised to know better, trampled blindly after the lie that my worth relies solely on what other people think of me.  Nevertheless, it happened, and I was trapped for years in the relentless pursuit of being liked.  It was a cycle of failure: the harder I tried to be liked, the more people resisted.  As people resisted, my confidence faded, requiring me to try harder to be liked.  Thanks to God's grace I've recovered from that lie and its effects, though my feet still prefer the familiar path I've trodden for so many years.

But it's been such a long time that I've forgotten how to have real passion for anything.  And that's where this blog comes in.  Last night I heard very clearly that God wants me to be filled once more with the passion that He had given me.  Then He challenged me to start a blog, and update it daily for a minimum of 6 months.  He was very clear that I must discipline myself back into passionate living in this way; also, that in order to regain what was lost I must share the journey with others.  I think it's slightly ironic that due to the very nature of a blog, I'll have to constantly fight against that old need to be liked.  I think God kind of planned it that way . . . 

So, this is the deal:  I am committing to at least one post every day, until April 20th (or longer), about something that catches my fancy.  I invite you to join with me on this journey.