Friday, September 02, 2011

Book Review Numero Tres

This Pooped Out Parent Recommends

Pam Vredevelt delivers a piping-hot cup of encouragement in this entertaining, easy read. I found myself enthralled in her stories and unable to put the book down. I plan to buy a copy for a fellow pooped out parent friend of mine. I think it will be especially encouraging to her as a mom of a child with special needs. I loved how Vredevelt shared precious insights from her own similar experiences.

I read another of Vredevelt's works before I became a parent and struggled with infertility and miscarriage. It was especially comforting as a now pooped out parent to read "Espresso" both for reassurance that I'm a good-enough parent and as a reminder to remember whence I came as a woman longing for a child. (Shameless plug for "Empty Arms" here.)

One of my favorite stories where in chapter 15 Vredevelt writes about her first talk show appearance, all of the little things that went wrong and how she handled them with the Holy Spirit's leading. As the story of each mishap unfolds, she repeatedly states, "Oh well, it was a nice plan..." and then goes on to reveal how God worked out all of those unplanned moments for good. I find myself encountering many similar situations where life does not work out according to my plan. This reminds me to laugh at myself and my misguided illusions of control. Vredevelt's gentle humor adds to the effectiveness of many of her stories.

At the end of "Espresso for Your Spirit," Vredevelt adds "Koffee Klatch Questions" for parents who would like to read EFYS as a group and discuss. I think it would make a good book club choice but not necessarily a weekly group since there are 28 chapters in this book and many of them are quite short.

I would be thrilled to sit down for a cuppa joe with Pam Vredevelt any time.

I received this book from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for this honest review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, August 29, 2011

I worked!

And guess what? I missed it.

Five years ago I had a wee private practice where I did some music therapy with a few individuals, either in school or in their home. When BB was born and we had two weeks to prepare, I quickly found some therapists to take my clients. I intended to go back to work a little bit when he was 6-8 months old.

Four months later I was shockingly pregnant with our little unexpected miracle! "So much for going back to work," I thought, oh well. Now it's been almost 5 years since I've worked (outside the home, that is). And today, I "worked" for 30 minutes. Really I observed the music therapist for whom I'm temporarily taking a client, but I got paid. Um, well I didn't really get paid because I had to put my kiddos in childcare for an hour while I observed, and now I'm sitting in a coffee shop while they're still in childcare.

But I used my brain. Neat. Weird.

So I'll be working one clinical hour a week, which combined with driving and paperwork probably ends up being more like three hours a week. Gosh that does not sound like much, does it? But I'm keeping my feet wet and helping some folks at the same time.

I missed it, and also realized that I'm a pretty good music therapist. I can think on my feet, although I probably rely on this ability a bit much, I can play a lot of songs on the guitar confidently, I am fun and yet I expect participation, and I am able to see through the disability to the un-disabled soul underneath. We all have special needs, don't we? And we all have the desire to be understood and valued by others. We were all created by God for a specific purpose.

What's yours?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Worlds Collide, by Alison Strobel

Salvation, Hollywood-style.

I've been doing a lot of reading lately, and I find three categories of books. Some books sit on my bookshelf that I mean to read but never get past the first few pages. Other books sit on my bedside table that I read a chapter or two, put down for a few days, and pick back up a few days later. Then there are books that I pick up, carry around with me, and read every free moment until it is finished. Worlds Collide by Alison Strobel was this last kind of book for me.

Grace Winslowe is a midwestern girl in a dead end job and an equally doomed live-in relationship. She packs up and moves to California for a new, sunshiney life, and discovers through friends the soul-satisfying and joy-filled life that accompanies a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I can relate to this girl since I pretty much lived that same life myself for more years than I choose to remember. She meets Jack Harrington, a famous Hollywood actor who lives what seems like the stereotypical celebrity life of relationship hopping and the trappings of fame and fortune. The rest of the story chronicles their relationship and spiritual journey together.

There is a fair amount of “missionary dating” in this book where the characters become involved with each other without the spiritual commonality of Christianity, only to both find their way to a shared faith. I thought the outcomes of these relationships were a little bit hopeful and too good to be true, but they certainly made a satisfying fictional story. I rooted for the characters to come together, as I tend to do, and voila, they did. I'm not so certain these kinds of relationships really turn out that way in real life – call me a cynic (oh gosh, I'm really not but anyway).

I loved reading Alison Strobel after having read a little bit of Lee Strobel's A Case for Faith. I could hear what I imagine to be the influence of his teachings on her story, and it made for a more realistic picture of the questions lifetime non-believers like Grace, Jack, and their biography writer Jada would have about Christianity. I appreciated how Strobel approached the metamorphosis of the non-believer into a follower of Jesus Christ.

There were several times I thought to myself that this would be a great book to recommend to a non-believer seeking the truth about Christianity, and I just might. I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more from Strobel in the future. I wonder if I will be able to relate so well to the characters in her other works.

I received this e-book from Waterbrook Multnomah's Blogging for Books for free for my honest review of this e-book.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Adoption - It's a Miracle!

Join me over on for the story of how God orchestrated our adoption. Pregnancy is a miracle too, and every adoption story involves one!


Thursday, August 18, 2011

My first Blogging for Books review!

"Bad Girls of the Bible" by Liz Curtis Higgs

Ooh, Liz Curtis Higgs, you know how to dig in to the Bible and draw out these women. I feel like I know these ladies personally after reading this book, and I can see my own bad self in plenty of them. I especially respect how the first character, Ruthie, was based on Higgs's own experience. If you've lived it, put it on out there for others to relate to. I believe our Christian witness is so much more powerful when we let it all hang out and reveal how God has changed us and saved us.

Each of the characters, and I hate to call them characters because they are really historical figures, has a lesson to teach us. I think that even if we think we have done most things "right," we can still see our less desirable qualities in these Bad Girls.

Whether "Bad to the Bone," "Bad for a Season, but Not Forever," or "Bad for a Moment," Ms. Higgs makes these women contemporarily relevant as she interprets the Scriptures surrounding their stories. Each chapter is a fictionalized account of a Biblical femme fetale followed by an insightful, honest, and sometimes humerous analysis of the Scripture.

After each fictional account and Scriptural study there are "What Can We Learn" and "Good Girl Thoughts Worth Considering" sections that are certainly thought-provoking. It's easy to judge some of these lovelies and think, "Pfft - I'm not like that, I can't relate," but Ms. Higgs makes it a point to find aspects of each character that even the Good Girl can relate to!

You will see yourself in some of these characters, I promise. Myself, I'm something like Eve and Lot's wife, wanting something more out of my life than the bounty with which God has blessed me. I'm something like Ruthie and Rahab, having made some bad decisions regarding men and believing the lie that I wasn't worth any more to God than I was to my guys. If I really care to dive in, I can even relate to the wicked Jezebel - self-seeking and sharp-tongued. Ouch. Thanks, Higgs.

This God-reformed Bad Girl appreciated this book and will absolutely read more of Liz Curtis Higgs's work in the future.

Do you want to blog for books?

Monday, August 01, 2011

Follow Me


Follow me to Held, a blog for Christian women who long for children. I'm up today as a guest blogger.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


I'm dying to create something! When I'm out and about I have so many big ideas about all of the projects I would like to do. Then I get home and sit around facebooking all my limited free time away. Poof! Time over.

God created the universe in six days, and on the seventh day he rested. How did he do that? I'd just like an hour to make a necklace or knit a couple rounds. My spirit and my fingers crave it, creating, and I'm not sure where that comes from.

Or maybe I do! God created beauty. He created the sun, moon, stars, flowers, and humanity. Jesus created eternal life for us when He died our sinner's death on the cross. The Holy Spirit creates a fertile ground in our hearts for the Lord to reach us and reach others. It is in our human nature as images of God to create things ourselves.

How are you creative? I like to work with my hands and with words. I like to work with people and with pictures. A scientist might create theories, equations, and inventions. A sales clerk creates a friendly environment and a retail experience. A teacher creates motivated students.

Sometimes I create pretty objects with yarn and beads and good behaviors and habits in my children. Other times I create havoc in my life as I utter the excuse, "I'm just not good at (cleaning, structuring my time, reading devotionals, insert your M.O.)." But what I forget is that I can use God's help in doing those things I'm not good at, and in improving my abilities to do things that I am good(ish) at.

I'm good at Facebook, but I maybe I ought to spend more quality time following through with the plans I always seem to make when it feels like my world is a little bigger than the kitchen counter where I keep my laptop.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

He's Not Here

It is cool in Colorado! I haven't felt cooled in weeks, not since the last time I was here in May. The gang's all here - all of the cousins, my brother and I, our mom, and our spouses. A full house! And yet, not. We are flying in Missing Man formation this week. Daring to choose to move forward in love and life-affirming actions like tennis-playing, concert-going, and general merrymaking. We will grill salmon, roast s'mores, watch fireworks, attend a Fourth of July parade in town, and love each other.

Someone is missing and it is noticeable. Who is going to go get breakfast pastries in the morning? Who will wash the dishes? Who will scoop the ice cream? Who will plan the hikes? We all will! But we miss our patriarch. I miss my daddy.

I lay in bed this morning and tried to "channel" him. No not in a divine sort of way, but in order to capture a memory, a sense, a feeling that he is here in spirit, which of course he is. His smile, him wrestling with the five boys, his digging in to a fresh turkey sandwich on the trail. His voice, with a lilt of joy and always a twinkle in his eye.

Then I look around and see all of us doing the things that my dad would want us to do! Having fun, planning walks, running on the deck, eating salmon from the grill. And in a way he is here.

I don't think I've ever been happier to get here than I was the other day. The fresh, cool mountain air, the memories of the first time my dad drove me up the mountain and over the bumpy roads on the way to the house. "You might be tempted to turn left here," he said. I always am tempted to turn left there, but I never do. Dad told me not to.

We miss you, Dad, we love you so much. We're having fun, Dad, in honor of you and because you taught us how.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bug Hunters.

Summer in Texas is not the time to play outside in the park. It is SO hot most afternoons that we really need to go in the morning if we're going to go at all. Until one day last week when it was supposed to be 92 rather than 102 and we decided to meet some friends at the park for lunch after VBS.

Imagine me sitting there peacefully eating my lunch when LB brings me a nice, big, dead, beetle. "Look, Mom! It's dead!"

"Neat!" I replied in my usual tone, actually thinking it was a little bit neat. It was a three-horned beetle and it was dead, so who cared that it was on my lunch table? BB crushed the thing on the ground and it was over.

A few minutes later LB comes again and says, "Look Mom, another one!" But this one wasn't dead. It was on its last 6 legs for sure, moving very slowly, but that sucker was a live beetle on my picnic table. He crawled over the edge and I figured we were done with that. Bye-bye, beetle!


A minute later BB came back with the beetle and said, "A zombie beetle!" He had sawed off the beetle's head with a plastic spoon and the beetle continued to walk around like nothing doing. A zombie beetle indeed!

I shiver to think of it, but I also think it's pretty cool. There was a time I wasn't sure we'd have any little boys doing this kind of little boy thing, and now we have two! And as I'm learning to rejoice in the Lord always (Philippians 4:4), I guess I can rejoice in a headless beetle interrupting my picnic lunch.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Come Have a Laugh with Us on Held!


Aren't you just a little bit curious as to why on earth I would wear a crown to the OB/GYN? Don't worry, the post is about the tiara and not the doctor (although he plays a minor role in the story)!

When life gives you lemons, make lemon-merangue pie!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Mother's Day

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18.

I am having a lovely Mother's Day. I got to sleep in, eat some chorizo and some frozen yogurt (not together), and pick up a new book at the library. I'm about to eat hamburgers with my family. It's a good day!

But there are many women today who are broken-hearted. They've lost mothers, children, pregnancies, and the dream of having children. My heart and prayers goes out to those ladies.

My best friend died unexpectedly in January. Her mom is missing one of her chicks today. Sweet Kristi is missing her babies Naomi, Kyria, and Jordan today. Many other women, personal, beautiful friends of mine from Hannah's Prayer Community Forums (and other non-disclosed locations) have aching hearts and arms today, longing for children or grieving the loss of the dream of having children. I love you and pray for you.

Jesus says, I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10b.) I pray for abundant joy today for these ladies, joy that makes no sense in terms of life's circumstances, but joy that will make perfect sense in the arms of Jesus when He comes.

I love my mom and my mother-in-law today, and the other women who have mothered me over the years - Lovettia, Anita, Robbie, and others. And even Jennifer who is WAY too young to be my mother! Happy mother's day to you incredible women. I am blessed.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Gracie the Wundercat

Get this. I've just been interviewed for a cat magazine about the life of Gracie the Wundercat!

If you remember, one fine winter day in 2010 my little guys and I were frolicking in the back yard after a long winter's nap when we heard a pitiful mew coming from the back of our fence. With a neighbor's help, we rescued a fluffy grey kitten from the fence, got her to the vet, and eventually had to have her right front paw amputated at the shoulder.

We named her Gracie. Partly because it seemed like a funny name for a three-legged cat. But also, because to me she is a reminder of God's grace to us when he finds us dirty and broken from our sin, rescues us, and adopts us as His children, His gift to His son Jesus Christ! By grace we are saved, through faith, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Look at her now! She is beautiful, isn't she? She may or may not remember her feral past like I do. (Mine, that is.) She still makes messy mistakes that are hard for us to clean up, although we always do. We love her and care for her because she is ours.

Are you His?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Adopt and you probably still won't get pregnant!

Infertility myth: Adopt and you'll get pregnant.

How many times have you heard someone say, "My friend's cousin's sister-in-law and her husband tried for years to get pregnant. They finally adopted a son, then a daughter. They never did conceive. Isn't that amazing?"

You say you’ve never heard that story? Why not? Because it's totally non-sensationalistic. It makes sense. A couple cannot conceive, so they decide to adopt. Some families with biological children do continue to grow by adoption, but other times a couple does not consider adoption until spending some time and effort conceiving children to no avail. That is how it was for us.

After three years of infertility my husband and I began the adoption process. We decided that we were more interested in being parents than we were in parenting a jointly conceived child. Four months after adopting our amazing son BB, I took a pregnancy test in a Bank of America bathroom and discovered that after four years of infertility, I was pregnant.

Soon the comments began. "You hear about this happening all the time," and "See, you relaxed about having a baby and then you got pregnant," and "I knew this would happen." I know people mean well, I really do. I always pray to respond from a place of grace.

I pick my battles. Sometimes I say, "Yes, it does happen," and sometimes I cite the statistics, "Actually, only 5-10% of parents who adopt due to infertility go on to conceive and bear children." And sometimes, perhaps not often enough, I present the answer I believe the strongest.

I believe that we were able to conceive after years of infertility and adoption because God meticulously planned it out just so.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future."(Jeremiah 29:11)

If we had conceived when we desperately wanted to, we would not have BB as our son. If we had conceived when we desperately tried to, BB would not have us as his parents. God knew the plans He had for us and for our firstborn son.

God also planned for LB, born one year and four days after our first, to be his little brother. He needed our DNA to make LB. He needed another man and woman's DNA to make BB. BB was not means to an end to get LB - they were both meant for us.

When I tell people our story four years later, I almost always hear the same comment. “That happens all the time. Why do you think that is?”

I should always respond, “Because God said so.”

Friday, April 15, 2011

Join us!


Check out my gorgeous new button for Held! See it? See it?

Eight years ago, in the thick of infertility, I set out to find a community of Christian women suffering from this dark and often hidden disease. I found Hannah's Prayer! Soon after joining I discovered I was pregnant, only to lose that baby very early.

The women at Hannah's Prayer became my lifeline and some beautiful IRL friends, supporting me through miscarriage, my subsequent 3 years of infertility, adoption loss, and adoption. I now count infertility as one of God's biggest blessings on my life, partly because I would never have met these godly women without having experienced it.

I can't take any credit for this new outreach at all, because God is the author of our faith and experience, but I'm humbled to be a part of this new blog! I just know it is going to minister to many women. Maybe to you, my sweet sister.

Right now we're "open" for a sneak peek, and we're officially launching with content on April 25th, a few weeks before the most dreaded and anticipated holiday for the infertile women - Mother's Day. We'll have posts about surviving Mother's Day (and even maybe enjoying it), primary infertility (infertility with no living children), secondary infertility (infertility after birth of a conceived child), adoption loss, adoption, "What Not to Say," advice for pastors and clergy, and above all encouragement and hope for the infertile woman.

He will yet fill your mouth with laughing,
And your lips with rejoicing.

Job 8:21

I'm just so excited! Come see!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Take my hand

I was a little numb at my dad's memorial service. It felt kind of like it wasn't really happening and I was having a hard time connecting. I still look back upon it in somewhat of a blur, but one beautiful image stands out in my mind. Oh, I sure wish I had a picture of it, because it was one of life's amazingly beautiful moments.

After the service when we were led out of the sanctuary, BB came to me and I reached for his hand. He is not a big hand-holder so I wasn't really sure he'd go for it, but he grabbed my hand briefly. My mom and some others walked ahead of us. BB looked at me and gently said, "No," and let go of my hand.

He walked up to my mom, looked up at her and gently reached for hers. He knew she needed his hand more than I. He wore a little suit with a vest and tie, his hair sweetly brushing the top of his collar. My mom wore a black velvet jacket over her simple knit skirt and top. I watched from behind as they walked down the stairs, around the corner, and down to the fellowship hall where lunch awaited.

Although I was a little foggy, this much is clear to me from that day. We have a sweet little boy who loves his Papa Bruce and Grandma. He is sweet like that because of his biological and adoptive parenthood. We are blessed.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Mother of Invention

Today I took my two little boys on a date! We ate lunch at McDonald's, went to see Gnomeo and Juliet in the theater, and then splurged on ice cream! Yes folks, today I ate McDonald's, a whole bag of popcorn (I had to get LB his own popcorn or he would have eaten all of mine), and a dish (or maybe 1.5) of ice cream.

BB drinks a lot, which makes sitting through a movie a challenge. He made it through most of the movie but then at the end needed to go. LB was comfortably engrossed in the movie under a crocheted blanket I brought (thanks, Granny), and I certainly didn't want to leave at that point to take both boys to what always turns out to be a really long trip to the loo.

Because I had to bring so many warming items for our movie adventure I had to bring the diaper bag - which just happened to contain a pull-up. A lightbulb moment! BB agreed to wear the pull-up long enough to pee, and pee he did. The theater was pretty empty so I just changed him into and out of the pull-up right there in our seat. Voila!

We just threw out that puppy on the way out of the theater. Cute movie, by the way.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


I'm really tired. I think the events of the past few months have caught up with me. Also, I had a sick boy last week so I didn't get my two "days off." I had a good time hanging around with BB, though! We went to get the oil changed in the car and he thought that was "so fun." It made me look at the occasion with a fresh perspective. Then we went to the library, the farmer's market, and the grocery store - all of which were very exciting for the wee one.

Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength (Isaiah 40:31). I think this is true. But I'm still tired. So far 40 hasn't been the happiest year of my life. My Nana died, my dad got sick, my best high school friend died, and my dad is still quite ill. It's not a pretty picture. And yet I will praise the Lord.

Habakkuk 3:17-20 states,

17 Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.

Isn't that something? Even when things on earth look bleak, eternity does not. I still find joy in the day to day. My hope comes from the Lord.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Isn't it the most? Thelma has designed this beautiful new title picture for our blog. I just love it. Thank you so much, Thelma! First off, it's so creative and took a lot of time, I know. Secondly, it's just! I am blessed yet again.

I can really appreciate beauty these days. When faced with death (a good friend) and illness (my dad), aesthetic beauty is not a luxury these days, it's a must. Randy asked me earlier today what I needed for myself today. I told him I just needed to experience something beautiful, and I have. My new header, yes, but also a perfect sunny day with a nice breeze and about the perfect temperature - 70 degrees.

Sometimes I feel like I am walking around in a fog. And then I remember that my joy comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth (Psalm 121:2), not from life's circumstances. God created the universe and He created me. I am my best when I am in close fellowship with Him. It's hard to be close to God when I'm on Facebook playing Scrabble and Scramble and whatever word game I can get my hands on. I feel much better when I am outside soaking up the sun and the Son.

So thanks, God, for sending Thelma to my rescue today! Talk about beauty.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Growing Pains

Not the TV show, you silly, this blog. My new header picture is HUGE! Am I allowed to use our professional photographer's pictures like this? Do I need to attribute? Can I make it smaller? What is this blog anyway? Is it a parenting blog, a stream of consciousness blog an post-infertility blog? Do I have to define it? Should I try to? Do I have enough on my plate already? Enquiring minds want to know.

Today on our way home from an errand LB asked me, "Mommy, are we in our neighborhood?" Yes, I answered, we're in our neighborhood. He replied, "I don't think so. I think we're in Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood." I thought that was so funny. How clever! This is the kid who doesn't know the difference between a letter and a number and doesn't care, thank you very much. But he has mad skills, this little brother.

Yesterday morning we went for breakfast tacos before going to the zoo for the afternoon. In the car Randy and I were talking about letting our friends and loved ones know we care about them. LB raised his hand and said, "I have friends who I care about!" Samuel, he said. Samuel is a friend we care about, that's true. But how sweet. My little sweetheart. BB chose Grandma as a friend who he cared about.

Here is the part where, if I was really trying to host a great blog, I would tie in these conversations with my blog title. But I'm not going to. Instead, I'll self-depreciate so I can wiggle out of an editor-worthy finished product. I'll wrap it up, apply some jammies to a sweet angel, and move on downstairs for some housework, mindless TV, and an important phone call I've been planning. There will be time for a glamorous finished product tomorrow. Or 2012. Someday.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Sweetly Broken*

I smell like frosting. Earlier LB smeared vanilla frosting from a friend's birthday cake all over my black sweater. It looked terrible, it was sticky, and I had to take time to clean it up. I was disappointed to have gotten dirty, as I was going to wear that sweater to sing in choir later. Yet now I smell like vanilla frosting. That's not such a bad deal.

Even when disappointing or painful things happen, sometimes you're left with something lovely that you didn't anticipate.

*(Sweetly Broken is a song by Jeremy Riddle)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

We were on a break!

Obviously I haven't been posting lately, but I haven't given up posting! I am in Iowa visiting my parents and just happened to be able to attend the funeral of a dear friend today. How sad.

I've had the chance to see my dad and he looks pretty good! He is alert but totally worn out from recent events. We think he is going to be getting stronger every day since the infections seem to be mostly gone and we have said good-bye to chemotherapy. He's getting radiation to continue to address those pesky brain lesions. One day a time is what we get, and each day is a new blessing.

Yesterday I got to cry with my dad for my friend. It was a special memory. He just held my hand while I wept. What a great dad - he didn't try to fix it (who could), he just held my hand. I love my dad.

Later, gater.

(This is an older picture of my dad. He still looks like that except lying down and both eyes open.)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

When You're the Best of Friends.

(This is a reprint of a Facebook note, so you may have already read it.)

She was the most loyal friend I've ever had. We met in the 10th grade and were instant best friends. It was a deep and loving friendship. There was a time when we were closer in distance that I would have said she was my heart. In fact, "The Wind Beneath My Wings" was a song I would have ascribed to her. "You were content to let me shine - that's your way," is a good quote to describe her.

When some older girls ganged up on me, Johnna stuck up for me and would have fought for me.

My dad called her Jonah. It was an inside joke. Sometimes I called her Johann because once an Army recruiter called her house looking for him.

When a boy broke my heart nine words from her summed it all up to me and brought me relief. "You weren't ready for it to end, were you." I wasn't. And I'm still not. Not where she is concerned.

There were times I did her wrong and betrayed our friendship. But she always took me back with open arms, no questions asked.

She came to my college graduation in California. She visited me in South Carolina several times when I lived there. My ex-husband was a jerk to her and yet she took it - for me. She gave me a beautiful topaz necklace as a wedding present and she wasn't even invited. She was in my heart, though. I was a terrible friend then, I was hurting and scared, but obviously she waited for me to come to my senses. Which I did and we resumed our friendship. She was a faithful friend.

I was a bridesmaid in her wedding. She was so generous she picked a style off the rack for bridesmaids dresses so we could actually wear them again. I wore it for years. I wish I hadn't finally donated it somewhere and that I could still wear it. I am wearing my beautiful necklace right now and probably won't take it off for awhile. I loved her. She was a considerate friend.

I remember when her sister Jamie let me know that Joshua had been born. I was in Colorado and called just to check up on Johnna. I visited Jaden in the hospital when he was a preemie. Johnna was so good with him and didn't seem nervous at all. "I cook 'em fast," she said. She had a chance to meet my kids that I thought might never come to be. We all ate at Hickory Park together. My youngest LB and her youngest Jessie were about the same age.

Time and physical distance took a toll on our friendship just like it does, but we were always ready and able to quickly pick up. Because of my dad's illness I've been back to Ames twice in the past few months and got to hang out with Johnna and her kids. They're such great kids and she was an amazing woman and mom.

I'm angry. I'm mad that she's gone. I'm jealous. Jealous that other people have memories with her too, and many that were made before she and I even met. And I'm sad. I can cover up my feelings in denial when I'm busy, but as soon as time stops a little bit I just can't believe she's gone. It's especially hard to look at pictures of her. I'm sure I'll go through some albums when I'm home for her funeral. Funeral. How sad.

I'm not ready to let it end.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Music Ministry

I wish I could find a recording of this song online actually performed by Tommy Walker, but for now I just wanted to post these lyrics to a song that brings me great comfort. The actual song is awesome so I'll look for it more later.

I Will Not Be Shaken
By Jacob Park & Tommy Walker

He is my rock, my shield, my fortress
He’s my salvation and my strength
The cords of death, they were surrounding me
But He heard my cry for help

He is my refuge, my high tower
He’s my deliverer so strong
The snares of death, they were confronting me
But He heard my cry for help

So I’ll stand and trust I’ll stand in faith I will not be shaken
Our God will not be moved Our God will never change Our God will reign forevermore

Jacob Park, Tommy Walker / © 2009 Medic Music, WeMobile Music

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Salvation Story Sunday

We all have a story about how we became who we've become. An important part of my story is how I became a Christian after considering myself an atheist, at the very least agnostic. It's a long story, but to make it short there was a time before I married my oops husband that I was broken, hurt, and felt very small. A friend told me about Jesus and how he died for me, and that knowing that had brought her a lot of peace during a low point in her life. And she was so peaceful. And lovely. Her name was Genie.

I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior after attending church with Genie and her husband for a few Sundays, asking Him into my heart to save me from my sins. We all sin, folks, we call it making mistakes or errors in judgment, but it's sin all the same. Each morning when I woke up to get ready for work I read a chapter or two from the book of John. Each day on my way to work I would experience such great joy listening to praise music and knowing that however bad my earthly situation felt in my heart, the truth was I had a Savior and a God who would walk through it with me.

So off I went, with some little detours, into the world of church services and Bible studies, and eventually music ministry. There I met my husband and many wonderful friends, and I guess you might say I'm a big ol' Jesus freak now. I resemble that remark! It's not like I became the Church Lady overnight, I spent a few years being saved in Christ but not acting like it, but gradually I'm conforming to be more like Him.

Some people I knew before this change don't understand how this became so important to me. I sometimes speak "Christianease" that sounds weird to their ears. I get that! It sometimes sounds weird to me too if I am being honest. Words like "saved" and "my walk" and "the Holy Spirit showed me." It can be like a foreign language.

So without all the verbiage let me just say this: I felt scared and alone and Jesus brought me comfort. My life feels complete because I know that God loves me, and because of that love I can more fully love other people. The Bible promises that when I claim Jesus Christ as my Lord, the Spirit of God, called the Holy Spirit, is present in me always. The Holy Spirit interprets God's word and earthly situations from within my spirit. What others call a hunch or intuition I call the Holy Spirit. All that is good within me is what God has made good. He can make even bad things good. (Romans 8:28 again.)

This was a part of yesterday's post but I pulled it out in order to try to be more succinct. Maybe I'm starting a "Why am I This Way" series. I so, I should have started with "family," but honestly I'm going out with my husband tonight and I wrote most of this last night.

If you love Jesus, how did you find Him? What brought you to reach for His hand? If you're not into Him and would like to know more, email me. I would be thrilled to respond.

I wasn't always this way.

Ever seen "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?" Besides the fact that I think Leonardo di Caprio brilliantly portrayed a boy with a cognitive disability (Arnie Grape), there is a scene in the movie that both breaks and warms my heart.

Gilbert Grape's mother Bonnie is morbidly obese. She spends most of her time in her bed because she can barely walk. Gilbert's girlfriend Becky, played by Juliet Lewis, comes to visit and wants to meet Bonnie. The mother is lying pitifully in the bed and Becky sits down next to her. The mom says sadly, almost apologetically, "I wasn't always this way."

Becky's reply: "I wasn't always this way, either."

Let that sink in for a minute. I think it's so powerful.

How did you get this way? What are the experiences that have really shaped you? Mine are, in order of appearance, family, salvation, divorce, my forever husband Randy, infertility and now cancer. Half of those things are not fun things at all. But those are the things that have really shaped me.

I'd like to say I wouldn't want to trade any of them, but currently I'd like to trade in my dad's cancer for something nice. Maybe looking back someday I'll feel differently, and maybe I won't. We'll see. I do know that I can't take any of them back, and I wouldn't be "this way" had I not experienced those things, good and bad. I like being this way.

Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." I love this verse. It's one of my favorites. Notice it doesn't say that only good things will happen. It just means that no experience is wasted.

I want to know, what are the top three life experiences that have made you who you are?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Blog Wire

I'm cutting it down to the wire here on my 19th day of blogging. It's 11:03 p.m. by my clock. I need to write earlier in the day so this kind of post ceases. Uncreativity abounds!

Miss Thelma recently listed some helpful articles about blogging like this one. Upon reading them it occurs to me that I might need to streamline my blog in order to improve upon it. Maybe I won't, because the goal of this blog isn't to become a well-read blog, but mostly a way for me to get down my thoughts and keep like a journal. However, the idea of sprucing things up around here is intriguing.

One thing that spruces up today's post is the awkward holiday photo! This just makes me giggle. Enjoy.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

18 days in a row

Have I made a new habit yet? I don't know! But I do know that I've enjoyed blogging a lot these past few weeks. A lot has gone on and it's been nice to process those things. I also think I have spent less time on Facebook since I've started back.

Tonight we're all home together. The weeks are really busy with Bible studies and music rehearsals and the support group, so Friday through Monday nights are usually the four evenings we all have free. We'll go back to that schedule next week. I know this is not going to get any less busy as the boys become involved in activities, so for the time being I really enjoy our nights at home.

Tonight we ate leftover chicken taco soup and watched American Idol. I think I fell in love with Jennifer Lopez a little. Now I'm just wrapping it up with a little extra mindless television watching, wondering if I should eat some ice cream or not. Has Randy already cleaned the litter box? Do I really have to fold the laundry tonight or can it wait until tomorrow?

I should get up and quit asking so many questions.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"I don't want you to cry, Mommy."

Big Brother said this to me about 1/2 hour ago. Tuesday nights are late nights around here so I decided to enforce the non-negotiable nap time today. I'm pretty tired myself so I lay down with him. He takes a long time to fall asleep and kept telling me, "I love you, Mommy."

My dad isn't doing well. He could still bounce back, but we're only doing one day at a time and today doesn't look so good. But also it does. It looks beautiful because we are a family and we have had a billion wonderful memories together. We're not at odds and I know we have many more happy times ahead of us.

It's hard to know what is too much to tell a small child about illness and death. BB is a sensitive little guy and I think he's starting to get it, but that doesn't make it easier. He also said to me earlier, "I want you to be with me forever and not go to heaven." He has been praying for my dad and says, "Dear God, please let Papa Bruce grow up." He started talking about Papa Bruce a lot when I was lying down with him and as he began to settle I began to cry.

I cried out some beautiful memories - swimming with my dad when I was small, skiing with him as I grew up, and the time before Randy and I were engaged that we went intending for Randy to ask for my hand. It didn't quite happen that way but my hand he has and my dad approves big time. For awhile we weren't sure if my parents would ever be grandparents to our children, and they are. BB loves grandpas and it just breaks my heart that he might not have any in the near future. Randy's dad died of colon cancer years ago. BB doesn't remember him and LB never met him, but PawPaw and BB were kindred spirits. I attached a picture of BB reading a map because my dad's a map guy. They too are kindred spirits.

I'm not a total stranger to grief but this is really something. It is an indescribable pain. It feels sort of like being scheduled for an amputation and you don't know how you are going to be happy without your missing limb. You won't be the same and you'll have to learn how to do a lot of things differently. With cancer, on the one hand you have some time to wrap up loose ends (we now have none) and to tell one another how much you love each other. On the other hand, you watch that person slowly change and become different from the person you've known forever. It's a slowly dawning kind of grief that eventually feels unbearable. It's especially hard with all the back and forth that comes with a cancer diagnosis.

As I said, it's not over! My dad is still fighting. He has a blood infection and is very weak, but peaceful. I think the big question right now is do we continue the chemotherapy if he doesn't start to improve. It's all a little vague today. Tomorrow may hold some new information, or it may not. Then we wait another day.

Lamentations 3:22-23 (New Living Translation)

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.

In the meantime, we just breathe in and out and love each other. You do the same.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What Not to Wear

I like this show. I think I actually liked Ambush Makeover better, but there is now AM anymore.

I love to see people reach their potential, especially the underdog. The poor folks on WNTW look so sad at first and by the end - wahoo! Sure it's fashion potential and perhaps fashion does not have eternal value, but self-esteem is a good thing.

I'm a sucker for a good makeover story, and What Not to Wear is quality, mindless television, which I can appreciate.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Tough Mommy day.

I did not feel like being a mommy today. The morning went well enough, but when we got home from the gym later than anticipated the boys were really hungry and I had a hard time getting their lunches prepared. Then we had issues involving "sassy sauce" and I sent them to bed. BB didn't fall asleep and came on out to play, and then LB soon woke up. I didn't sit down to eat lunch, instead eating cheese, turkey pepperoni, and corn chips while I swept up said tortilla chips a billion and one times as the boys continually crushed them up. I didn't have more than 10 minutes to sit down by myself and I felt like I really needed it.

Enter neighbors. I called up my lovely knitting neighbors in high hopes that they would be doing exactly what they were doing - knitting while their children played. I head on over with my shawl I'm knitting, one boy in jammies, and one in rain boots (it wasn't raining). They had a blast playing while I got to knit and get all of my daily words in with friends. What a blessing!

I wouldn't trade my life for anything ever. But I admit there are some days I do, for a fleeting moment, long for the easy days of being a free-wheeling childless woman who could sit down whenever she wanted. A lot of times gals like me who have experienced infertility feel like we should never take our little blessings for granted and never desire a break more than anything. But most of us do. And that's OK.

Right? ;o)

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Last year around this time the boys and I were out playing in the yard when I heard a terrible mewing. Each time I got close to where the sound was coming from it stopped, and each time I walked away it started up again. Finally I was able to locate the source to a soft gray paw stuck through two broken boards in our fence.

When my neighbor and I finally freed the fluffy feline from the fence we discovered that she was just a wee lass. Her swollen paw had made her look bigger than she really was. I nursed her back to health with some help from the San Antonio Feral Cat Society and two neighbors. We had originally planned to find another family for her but after all we went through (I guess I forgot to mention that she had to have her left front leg amputated) we decided to keep her.

Gracie is now a member of the family but there is a problem. Our other female cat Chez hates her. Shall we also say they hate each other? I think that's a fair assessment. Because of this we have at least one cat fight a day in our bedroom and more than a handful of times this comes with little brown accidents under the bed. Oh the joys of pet ownership!

How's this for a profound blog post? I'm racing to get back downstairs to spend some time with my husband. I've been out this afternoon galavanting around the Hill Country with my good friend Jennifer. Hasta.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Lost at the Museum

We went to the Children's Museum today and that place is a lot of fun! But about 5 minutes after we went in we could not find the littlest one. I wasn't too worried as he is not our flight risk and I had seen him walk through the gift shop toward the exhibits. But still, what better place to steal a kiddo than from a crazy childrens museum (hopefully I don't have any kidnappers reading my blog)!

The calm girl at the front desk had obviously searched for children there before, because she asked me some good questions. What is he wearing? How old is he? What is his name? Some days a mother might not remember what her child was wearing. However, LB will only wear pajamas so it's easy to remember. What was he wearing? Orange pajamas with robots on them. A very easy description. He was found within 2 minutes, sitting in an airplane upstairs.

Perhaps this should have been a scary experience that I shudder to think about. But because of the jammies and the happy ending it was a funny experience that still has me laughing. What mom lets her child wear nothing but PJs? Me! I'm just barely going to mention that BB was dressed with his pants on backwards.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Sitting on my fricker-fracker

Why am I sitting at the kitchen table with Team Umizoomi in the background and Facebook active rather than reading like I'm supposed to be doing? Because my books are upstairs and I am not.

I wasn't feeling well earlier so I canceled my plans for a haircut and market research at a local movie theater. Instead I decided to come home and lie in bed all day and that is just what I did. I watched Grease, took a nap, and spent time in online pursuits. I had thought I might read in preparation for my infertility support group starting again next week, but instead I slept. I guess I needed the rest.

I'm feeling better now, and I am perfectly capable of dragging my butt (don't say butt) upstairs and getting some reading material. Then I think, by the time I get it the boys won't be occupied with TV anymore and I won't get to read anyway. So I've been sitting here for almost an hour. Ugh.

I think I'm ready to work on our book, Mom, because with the advent of social media I spend even more time in front of the computer spending time on unimportant, non-urgent items like checking my email every 5 minutes and cycling between Facebook,, and my online ministries (that actually are worth spending time doing, don't get me wrong).

Is there something in my personality that gets me stuck like this? I know what I want to do - read. But what I'm doing is not reading. I haven't opened a book all day. I just had a scripture pop into my head from Romans. Romans 7:15 (NIV) says, "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do."

Hate is a strong word, I don't hate Facebook. But I think I'd feel more fulfilled and even energetic at the end of the day if I did more life-affirming things like reading, writing, scrapbooking, playing the piano, etc. Those are the things that I think about doing when I'm out and about, but when I get home, eh - not so much do. (There is no try, only do.)

Sounds like Umizoomi is about over, so I think my time here is through. I've done a good job at sticking with blogging, however many days now I've blogged in a row, so how can I make myself stick to doing other things too. A sticker chart? That's thinking like a mama. ;o)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ugly cry.

Yesterday I went to my Bible study (Bible Study Fellowship), sat down, and was asked a very profound question: "How are you?" I promptly and without warning dropped my head in my hands and burst into tears. Then I realized that everyone was staring at me (I mean, duh!) so I had to say something funny. I don't remember what I said, and it probably wasn't that funny, but that's my natural reaction to tears - make a joke, get 'em laughing, and move on.

Later in the discussion something really funny did happen though, and I'm still laughing about it. The question had to do with Jesus as Redeemer. What does that mean? Nancy answered that Jesus redeems us through his sacrifice of death on the cross for our sins. Redeemed. Easy. Remembering some Old Testament stories from well, the Old Testament, I mentioned also that Jesus was the final sacrifice, whereas in Old Testament times people made regular animal sacrifices instead. Imagine our lives today if we had to make an animal sacrifice every time we sinned.

I shouldn't have done that. "Anyone got a lamb handy? A pigeon? Anything?" Can you imagine? Well we had a good laugh about that, one of those laughs that makes the other groups in the hall say, "What on earth is so funny in there?" I think I laughed the hardest. I love making people laugh. It was one of those laughs that if not kept in check would have turned into a big ol' cry ten seconds later. I didn't let it go. Maybe I should have.

What's the problem with showing emotion in front of others? These women aren't strangers, we've been having deep spiritual discussions for months. Are they going to think I'm a weirdo for having a little cry because my dad is sick and I still have to deal with the small stuff like how my 3-year-old won't wear shoes and the heater is out? Am I ashamed that I have moments when I can't hold it all together like I'm supposed to be superhuman? Are you superhuman? A 'V'?

I think of myself as a pretty transparent person. I'll tell embarrassing stories about myself, point out my own flaws, and answer pretty much anything you want to know if you ask. But what is it about crying that is so embarrassing? Everyone does it, right? Do I view it as a sign of weakness? Maybe, but being weak is OK.

A conclusion would be good here. But I'm too tired today. Anyone want to conclude this for me?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I love my boys differently.

Silly, I didn't say less or more. Is it because one is adopted and one is from my womb? No way, Jose. It's because they are two different kiddos with two completely different personalities.

BB is a quality-time kind of dude. He doesn't care about snuggling or lots of affirming words. He loves to share experiences. When he tells me he loves me it sounds like this, "Mommy, will you play with me?" He does tell me "I love you, Mommy," but not as often as another little boy who lives here. I would love to snuggle in with BB more, but he's just not into that. That's OK. I tell you when he does let me cuddle with him and hold him it's like nothing else. It warms my mommy heart.

LB is a snuggler. He would like nothing more, most of the time, than to be snuggling and cuddling with Mommy. He repeatedly tells me he loves me, especially in the morning when he also says daily, "Mommy, you're so pretty." For a while he would say, "You're my precious Mommy." No, you're precious! LB is a lot like me in personality and appearance. It can be freaky even.

In terms of discipline, their needs are also very different. A time-out means nothing to BB! He won't do it or he won't have a problem with it. He gets a time-in. He needs to sit in my lap and we have a little talk. I don't let him go until I can tell that he is remorseful and understands why he is in time-in. For LB there is not much worse than a time-out. Just the threat of a time-out will put him practically in hysterics and he'll convincingly apologize right away. When he does get a time-out it is misery. He is a model time-out child.

I know people wonder if they will love their child by adoption as much as their child by birth. The answer is, "YES!" But don't be ashamed to treat them differently. They're different just like two children from the same DNA or even twins will be. Parenting is about being creative with the child God gave you whether you were physically pregnant or paper pregnant with him.

Different - not identical or the same.
Less - to a smaller extent, amount or degree.

(Photos by Laura Pearson. For my IF readers, this website is baby and belly heavy.)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I don't wanna.

It's so easy to get out of the habit of blogging. Yesterday I posted a recipe and counted it as blogging, and that one day off seemed to have erased my brain of interesting blogging ideas.

Sooooo, I think I'll review some more blogs!

One of my verrrrry favorite blogs is written by Wee Thelma. First off, although not the most important thing, this blog is gorgois! I just want to go all of the places and eat and drink all of the things pictured. I want to pet the kitties and look out the windows. It's my fantasy blog! Also, My Thelma is so clever and a really beautiful writer (inside and out). She loves me even though I drool in my sleep, and she is one of my favorite people in the whole world that I've only met IRL once. Please read.

You know, I'm going to stop there. Just go read Thelma - you'll be happy you did.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Apple cinnamon oatmeal

I made a recipe! Here's what I did.

1 small apple
1/2 T. butter
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. Stevia
1/2 c. 5-minute oats
1 c. water

(individual serving)

Chop a small apple (I used a small Kitchenaid food processor), saute in 1/2 T. melted butter and add cinnamon and stevia, cook until desired tenderness (about 3 minutes). Prepare oatmeal as per package directions. Add apples and cinnamon and stir. Add more cinnamon and stevia to taste. I thought the .25/.25 cinnamon and stevia were lovely.


Sunday, January 09, 2011

From the kitchen.

I have spent a whole lotta time in the kitchen today! I made chocolate-chip pancakes, bacon, and eggs for breakfast. After church I made grilled cheese sandwiches with fruit and a green salad for me. Now I'm making turkey meatloaf and mashed potatoflowers and and undetermined green vegetable.

Potatoflowers? A few weeks ago on the Dr. Oz show he shared a few ways to save on calories. One way he mentioned was to cut down on your white potatoes in mashed taters by substituting in some cauliflower. So I'm going for it. We'll see. I'm a scratch-cooker. I never really know what I did the time before. I used two potatoes and about 3/4 head of cauliflower. I'll blend in some butter and milk to taste. I guess that's how you make mashed potatoes!

I've got a 4-year-old saying, "Mom, I'm hungry" every few minutes. The kicker is he won't eat meatloaf or mashed potatoes. I'll have to fix him a gourmet hot dog. I enjoy cooking for my family! It means I have a) food to prepare, and b) a family! But I will admit I was a lot fresher at breakfast than I am cooking dinner. Maybe since there's cauliflower in the mashed potatoes I don't need to prepare a veggie. Can I get an amen?

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Skinny jeans.

Tonight I wore skinny jeans and boots to dinner. My first outing. At first I thought I looked like a biker chick, not there's anything wrong with that, and I thought I might change. "Oh, who cares," I thought, maybe I am a biker chick. So I went for it.

I felt pretty stylish but man those things had to be hiked up every time I sat down or stood up. You know, a grab your pants on either side, yank them up forcefully while wriggling your boo-tay from side to side kind of hike-up. I felt like a doofus. But I still thought I looked pretty cute.

We ended up running by the mall after dinner and I would say that about 50% of the women I noticed had on skinny jeans and boots. I guess I didn't look so hard-core after all.

I'd post a picture but I'm pretty sure those suckers got up and walked away on their own when I changed into my comfy pants. I'm not really sure what that implies but I'm tired so I'm going with it.


Friday, January 07, 2011

Mental health day.

No kids, no plans, no guilt.

It's been a big week. A big few weeks, actually. With all the traveling we did for Christmas, the great news we received about my dad last week, the terrible news we received about my dad this week, getting the kids settled back into a routine, and getting through my dad's brain surgery yesterday, (he did well, btw, and starts a new chemo today), I could use a little sensory day.

First off, until now all I've had to eat today is bacon. That makes for a good day - lots and lots of bacon. I've been to the gym every day this week so I came right home from dropping the boys at their preschool program rather than going to work out like I usually do on Fridays. I brewed a fresh pot of decaf coffee so I can drink it all day long, and wrestled up some apples an cinnamon oatmeal, not even from a packet. I actually sauteed up some chopped apples in butter, cinnamon, and stevia and made something very aromatic and yummy. When I came downstairs from grabbing my computer I could smell it all - very comforting.

I was going to try to catch a movie today, but now that I'm home I feel so peaceful and happy that I'm not going anywhere until picking up the boys from school. I can't remember the last time I spent the whole day at home like this. I love home. This is awesome. As you can see from my picture I have Punky cat here with me. The mug I'm drinking from might look familar to Elizabeth T if she happens across my blog today. I hope she does. Maybe I'll suggest her tuning in today. Hi, Elizabeth!

Today I am going to do all of the things I listed the other day that I wanted to do during nap time. Now I can actually get all of those things in. I also have a Netflix I may watch in bed. If I fall asleep, sleep I will.

Someone is praying for me to have peace and comfort today, I just know it. My special day is off to a great start. Next step my BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) lesson, then off to bed I go to read or start that movie. I can't even remember what movie it is. Jane Austen Book Club, I think. Then later I'll knit my shawl with the merino/silk blend and I may just eat something green with my pepperoni pizza.

This is what I'm doing today. Don't try to stop me.

Punky's momma

Thursday, January 06, 2011

I like to knit it knit it.

Isn't that just so P-31 of me? "She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands" (Proverbs 31:13).

"Knit one, purl two...knit one, purl twooooo..."

Does knitting seem like an old lady thing to do? Hey, if the shoe fits, right? But I really enjoy so many things about it. There is a whole knit culture out there that I never knew existed. There are "process knitters" and "product knitters" (I'm a process knitter), yarn snobs and general users (I'm more of a yarn snob), and because I can't think of a third distinction, female knitters and male knitters. There are both, I promise.

When I go to the local yarn store (LYS) I feel peaceful. It's comforting, like a big wool sweater. I could stand there for an hour with a cup of coffee and just take it all in. That is, if I had an unrushed hour to spend there. The local yarn store is a place with just yarn and related items so I don't get overwhelmed with all of the other ideas that pop into my head and never come out, like how I could decorate for every season and buy craft kits that the kids will never be into. I could just go there and dream, touch and smell the yarns, and then go home. Of course sometimes I buy some luxurious yarns like alpaca, silk or bamboo fibers. I've even knit a scarf and bag with banana yarn, spun from the banana leaf as far as I can tell.

I will shop for yarn at Michael's or Hobby Lobby when I have some mass production to go out, like the ribbed hats for members of my family (they were a big hit for Iowa Christmas), but for a special project I head to my LYS Yarnivore for some specialty yarn. Currently I have a wool/silk yarn from Manos del Uruguay in Olivewood. I actually picked out this yarn as an "inspiration piece" to help choose paint colors for our bedroom when we moved. I knew I could find color inspiration at my LYS. I started knitting a shawn just the other night and I love the way this soft yarn feels in my hands. Yummy.

A little over a year ago when we moved I had just started knitting and I knit up a storm in anticipation of our life change. One of the first things I did in our new town was to find the LYS and I couldn't wait to check it out. It was so comforting to me, and something I could do in our old home and our new. Then over the summer I lost some interest, because lets face it, summer in Texas is hardly the time you are motivated to imagine soft, warm knits. But recently, and especially with my new passion for knitting chemo hats, I've started going again.

I started with little projects like soft drink cozies and coasters, then progressed to scarves. Then I went to circular knitting hats and have made quite a few. (I am just now learning how to get the size right. Some of my original creations for adults were big enough for a human to wear over a helmet.) I also enjoy knitting handbags and recently sold one at a silent auction benefitting Hannah's Prayer Ministries. I have two currently unfinished handbags waiting for handles. I have also made mittens, a shrug, ornaments (OK, I crocheted those), and one half of a sock.

When do I have time to knit? That is an excellent question. The answer is "not often enough." That's why I am a process knitter and not a product knitter! I finish about 60% of the projects I start, although recently with the 5 hats I knit during the last two weeks of December my stats are up. I have some fun neighbor friends who I knit with sometimes, and we had a knitting club meeting in November which was nice. Now that the holidays are over we'll try to get a new one going. See you there?

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Blog it, baby!

We've been running errands today and I'm plum tuckered out. I can hear the boys downstairs relatively calm and I just know in my gut that orange juice is being drunk out of the container and there is a pile of dried cranberries on the counter. Plus I just heard a door slam, and just a minute ago BB was asking for a rake. Why am I still upstairs pretending everything is fine? Because I love the water and I've found me a flowing river - DENILE.

Bad joke. OK, neither of those things actually happened, but they have before. My favorite are Ovaltine mountains on the couch. That's always a treat. The boys are at an age now where they will still take a nap but then bedtime is harder. Today I figured we'd run around and it would wear the boys out for bedtime. But now I wish it were my bedtime!

So this is day 4 of my attempt at a 21-day blog habit formation. I've talked some of my friends in to coming along! So in order of their agreement, here are some of my friends blogs.

Hope's family blog. Hope moved to my former hometown right after we moved away, but we've enjoyed some Sea World together in the past year. Hope is blazing the path for others of us whose homes are All Boy All the Time! Hope's recent post about gratitude ought to get us on the right start in the new year.

Next we have C, a very responsible blogger! She is also a real hoot and one of the most loyal and true friends and moms I know. She too is in the MOB (Moms of Boys) and is in the process of adopting another. Did I mention she was such a fun gal? She is!

Stay tuned for more new blog promos tomorrow. Right now I have to go see why it is now so quiet in my bedroom.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

This time is different.

My dad is fighting cancer. And it is fighting back. Hard. Cancer is a vicious foe - everybody knows that. It strikes fast but can sometimes be held at bay. Then when you've let your guard down just a little bit, it can come back at you harder than ever.

Last week we received some good news - that the leukemia was retreating from the blood and my dad was a candidate for a bone marrow transplant and given pretty good odds. He was tired and wearing out from the fight, but we saw a light at the end of the tunnel. When I had the chance I was praising God from my Facebook account for the miracle we had received.

Then yesterday came the new data. The cancer has spread to the brain. It may be treatable, we have great hope for that to happen, but it may not be. This is life with cancer. You can only take it one day or minute at a time.

I wonder if when I posted that praise last week some might have thought, "Sure you praise God now, but what about those of us who haven't had such great news?" Well I'm one of you now. I don't have such great news. But I have a great hope and I still have faith.

I am still praising my God even in this news. I praise Him because He will carry us through. I praise Him because someday my dad and I will both be in heaven together and we will be the healthiest cats ever. I praise Him because even though it makes no sense to me right now why such pain exists, I know that God has a sovereign plan and none of this is a surprise to Him. I don't believe that God gives us cancer, he's not a puppet master, but I do believe that evil exists in a fallen world and somehow, God has a plan for that, too. I know that he surrounds us with love during this time, in the form of family and friends and a peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7).

Back in October when we first got the diagnosis I was miserable. I felt like the world would never play in color again. I looked way ahead into the future and worried about all of our plans that might never be. Every precious thing that happened in that week when we were waiting like we are now again was sad for me. I didn't find joy in those things, only sadness that my dad might never experience those things with us again.

This time is different. Not easy, but different. We are armed and stronger from the last battle. I am assured that all I know right now is that my dad is being taken care of as best as his family and doctors can. I know now that things are going to get worse over the next 48 hours before they have a chance to get better. That stinks. (Unless God does a healing miracle which I believe He can.) What I don't know is the number of tomorrows, there might be hundreds! We might kick this brain cancer and go back to the treatment plan that brought us such good news last week. We might! None of us know how many tomorrows we have.

God says in Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future." That's a promise. Psalm 34:4 says, "I sought the Lord, and he answered me; He delivered me from all my fears." Notice it doesn't say He will take away our troubles. It says He will deliver us from them.

Don't get me wrong, I've said it before - this stinks! But all we can do is hold tight and wait. The next thing that happens is the next thing. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things; Philippians 4:8.

And pray.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Well, would you look at me!

What do you know - two days in a row. I am coming to you "live" from the playroom on January 3rd 2011. As you can see my Stupid Human Trick still looks tricky! This is a face I usually only pull out at parties, but any time I get two small boys to nap at the same time does feel like a party.

This morning I woke up thinking about what I would try to write about today. I decided to outline my perfect day. It starts with me getting up at 6:30 and reading my Bible for 30 minutes, spending deep, meaningful time with the God who made me. Then the boys wake up at 7:30 and stay in their room until I come for them, as soon as I finish my morning coffee and unload the dishwasher for the day.

Next, the boys quietly color at the table (you know, on actual paper and without ingesting any crayon) while I cook a great breakfast. Then we all sit down to eat at the same time. We watch a quick show while I clean up and then go play educational games in the playroom and immediately clean it up to its original immaculate state. After playing for 30 minutes we read books and the boys quietly play together while I do the laundry and have a snack.

After a nutritious lunch the boys would go down for their nap without even a threat of spanking or closing the blinds. The would sleep for 2 hours while I do the following:

My quiet time with God would come first, then
Blog, of course
Read non-fiction
Read fiction
Have a cup of coffee
Check my email and Facebook
Organize something
Take a power nap.

All of those things.

Then the boys wake up, we play outside with neighbors and nobody gets scolded or cries, and we would then go inside for a dinner I would have made a month ago and placed lovingly and healthfully in the freezer for such a time as this.

But the reality is, I stayed in bed until LB got me, BB woke up and we all played, and then I cleaned the playroom to some extent. I fixed the boys breakfast and managed to eat something myself, they argued and pushed each other around, we watched TV for 30 minutes and then I scrambled to get them dressed for the gym. LB will only wear jammies these days and hates all of his shoes, so he whimpered all the way to the car about his brand new shoes being wrong. The same shoes he's been wearing since September only in a bigger size.

We came home, BB whined and stole food, I fed them lunch and then managed to eat something myself (notice a theme), I tried to read books but they wouldn't listen, they got in beds for naps and BB got in trouble for disobeying, I had to close the blinds, they complained, then fell asleep. I don't know what the rest of the day holds, but I do know there's no way I could ever do those things that are on my above list!

If my day had actually gone according to my perfect plan, I'm not sure whose children I would be raising! My boys just don't sit and the table and color quietly - they're boys. They aren't gentle all the time and they do practice boundary-pushing on a daily basis. I'm not the mom who has the whole day planned, and if I did I'd have to change the plan anyway. That I can do. I'm a pretty good plan changer.

As for all of the things I would love to be able to do, maybe I ought to adjust my expectations just a tad? No way am I going to get to all of those things every afternoon. But what I can do is spend less time on Facebook and more time in other pursuits. I'm doing pretty well with less TV watching but not so great with limiting my incessant internet usage.

This is a good day. I got hugs from each of my boys, I have some free time, I can still make that silly crooked fish face, and I have so many blessings I don't deserve! I can see the carpet in the playroom, I washed my hair and brushed my teeth, and I have food in the fridge. I only have to put my coffee cup into the microwave and press go (again) for a little caffeine boost. Life is good. I'll take what I have - there is another chance at the perfect day tomorrow.

Or not. And that's perfectly good.

Sunday, January 02, 2011


Did you notice that yesterday was 1/1/11? It would have been more interesting for me to have pointed that out yesterday, but alas I did not. Today is 1/2/11, but that is not interesting at all. When it is 1/2/21 that will be nifty. I'll be 50 years old. What? In October it will be 11/11/11. Now that's cool.

I don't believe in New Years resolutions, do you? Eat better, exercise regularly, get organized, read more books and spend less time online, blog more. Did I hear blog more? Can I get a what, what??

It used be I found myself pretty interesting. Going through infertility and experiencing the adoption process was pretty exciting stuff, and I found that writing about it and using my self-professed sense of humor to get through were helpful.

So are trial and struggle the only interesting things to blog about? It's not that I don't have either in my life right now, but most pressing is how do I raise my little men. This is my most important mission now. As a formerly infertile woman, who still identifies greatly with that plight, I've had a hard time blogging about parenting. There are tons of blogs about parenting. I'm also not that great a parent! I have some cute stories, though.

My Wendi has managed to continue blogging and being a mom sensitive to her readers who are experiencing infertility. (Did I just insert a link all by myself?) She is a blogging inspiration! (Did I really just insert a link?) Others have done it too, right?

I shouldn't feel like I have to apologize for being a mom. No one tells me I should, but I feel a self-imposed need to shelter my IF friends from All Mom All The Time. I think this is why I stopped blogging. That and I really don't have a lot of uninterrupted time to get my thoughts down. (Enough time to play a lot of Facebook Scrabble though!)

So anyway, I want to try to blog more. I did used to really enjoy it. I should stop apologizing to myself about being too momish. I am a lot of other things too, but I am a mom with mom issues and parenting struggles.

So I'm going to go for it. I'm not making a NYR, but I do commit to blogging something every day for 21 days and try to make a habit. I give myself permission to talk about parenting and I promise not to only talk about parenting. If I can get back into the gym, I can do this!

Any other part-time bloggers care to join me for a 21 day attempt at daily blogging?