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.