Monday, November 29, 2010


Dread permeated the air. I felt it before I even entered the building. Returning from a break to resume business as usual at school is never easy, and the looks on the faces of my students made it clear that they were not going to jump right back in, ready to learn. In an effort to cheer up my first period, I reminded them that we only have three weeks left until winter break. After sharing this news and putting on my best smile, one of my more pessimistic boys dropped his head down on his desk so hard I thought he might have given himself a concussion. When I asked him why this was bad news he said, “Because I thought we only had two weeks.”

It seems we’re all waiting for something, and patience isn’t a game any of us are good at as far as I can tell. I know for a fact that I am not a picture of stillness and calm right now. On my waiting for list are the following:

Waiting for Sammy to arrive

Waiting to discontinue the daycare drop off while Wren is home with me after Sammy arrives

Waiting for Dennis to finish finals and graduate(keep your fingers crossed, Wednesday should be the last day)

Waiting for Wren to get to the point where she’ll just say Grapenuts instead of staring at the pantry crying the fake fit cries until I make her use her words(seriously, she never stops talking, but when she is in a particularly divalicious mood, which is not often, she expects me to respond to groans, cries, and huffing sounds. She’s not an 8th grader yet, so I’m not sure how she has reached these development milestones so early in life. She must be a genius!)

Waiting is inevitable, but here’s the problem: sometimes I find myself focusing more on what’s going to happen when the waiting is over than enjoying what’s happening now. Seeing this behavior in my 8th graders made it easier to see in myself. They have three days to create their own multimedia project using the computer labs and their imagination. On any other day, this would be what they considered an awesome assignment; today they came back to school just waiting to leave again, so they half heartedly began their projects. I viewed this as very ungrateful, which it is. So am I. I have a great husband, wonderful daughter, easy pregnancy, no real complaints, and all I could do was try to get through the morning routine to get to work. In my mind, I thought maybe I wouldn’t be going back to work, that Sammy would make a Thanksgiving break appearance. He didn’t, and quite frankly, it was na├»ve to expect him to. He’s not due until the 7th, and if he arrives before Christmas that’s fine with me. My children really dig the fashionably late statement. But I want to meet him. I want to go into labor(I’m not nuts, I really WANT this experience). I’ve been reading a book a friend lent me about natural childbirth experiences, and I’m even more anxious to have a shot at this now than I was before. I’m ready for Dennis to not have to give up hours of his day to homework. He already works so hard.

But focusing on all of that has left me missing the now. I love Sammy’s kicks and his little hiccups. I won’t feel them inside of me once he arrives. And really, I love being pregnant. I feel great and the fact that there is a little life inside of me is still awe inspiring.

With the grunting, sometimes tantrum phase, Wren has also started saying please and thank you often. She doesn’t call us mommy and daddy but says “my mommy” and “my daddy”, which is adorable any time of day. Her go to foods are apples, corn, and homemade protein bars. There is so much about this phase that is amazing, and the tantrums are a very small percentage of the overall day.

As for Dennis and college, well, I’m just ready for that to be over. I know I cannot be as ready as he is, or as Wren is for that matter. He doesn’t see her from Monday night until Thursday morning, and they NEED to see each other. They both have tantrum tendencies when too much time goes by without each other.

My goal for the week is to focus on the now, the great events happening at this moment without so much preoccupation with the future. When Sammy gets here, he gets here. I’m trying to convince myself he’s not due until Christmas so anything before that will be a pleasant surprise. When Wren gives me the sounds that express dissatisfaction instead of the words telling me what she’s actually dissatisfied about, I’ll just think about the “I love yous” and the way she kissed both cheeks, my forehead, and my nose before I got out of bed this morning. College we only have to contend with for three more days. We’ll get through it. Life is about now, and our now is good.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Black Friday and a Good Deal on Goats

I’m not bashing Black Friday, though I fully anticipate being tucked in my bed with my nine month pregnant belly warm and out of the way of all carts or other devices that can become projectiles when shoppers go wild. However, I have been thinking a lot about what it says about our culture that we kick off the holiday season with a material driven mad dash to the nearest store. In some ways it probably shows that we’re givers, wanting to please those in our lives with things they want and get a discount in the meantime. I’m the ultimate bargain-shopping, coupon-clipping freak, so I fully understand the refusal to buy things at full price when you know you can get them on sale. Tradition also seems to play a huge part in Black Friday. I have friends who shop every year and then go grab coffee or lunch. It’s a bonding, almost survival type experience, and I find nothing wrong with any of that. I’m just not sure where it fits into our lives as we continue to try to progress.

We’ve set a limited Christmas budget this year because our goal has always been to stick to traditions that truly fit in with Christ’s purpose for Christmas. Though giving is one of those principles, gluttonous package tearing where everyone forgets who gave them what less than 48 hours later does not in my opinion. Then we received a catalog at church that put things into an even clearer perspective: a Gospel for Asia’s Christmas Gift Catalog. This is not exactly your JCPenney’s catalog with the pajamas and bedspreads. What can you buy for those in need in Asia if you feel so inclined? Try rabbits for $11. A pair of pigs for $55. A mosquito net for $10(malaria still causes 1 million deaths a year). The list goes on and on, and Dennis and I quickly became very intrigued by the idea of purchasing chickens and rickshaws and blankets. It makes sense. Spending $50 on stamps to send out Christmas cards to people I never see just to show off the cuteness of my offspring does not.

I’m not opposed to the idea that we can both give and receive. Yes, we can have Christmas presents and still give to others, and there is nothing super contradictory about that. It’s just that giving now feels better than receiving, and I want my children to feel that early on in their lives, to see the impact helping others can have. I also want them to run down the hall on Christmas morning excited about their presents. It’s a balance, but I would feel much better about us spending more on others than ourselves, which is the goal this year. If you also happen to be interested in giving, or you’re just curious about how much a solid pair of goats are going for these days, check out It beats Black Friday crowds at four in the morning.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A few things...

Things that make me smile

Starbucks offering buy one get one free holiday drinks this weekend

Wren’s positive body image. After putting on her clothes this morning, she looked at me and said, “I so cute in red pants!” I could learn from this child. I had just been examining the situation that is my upper thighs now touching.

My grandmother coming to clean my house before Sammy gets here. I love this woman. I know she goes home after scrubbing my baseboards and cleaning under my refrigerator and wonders how something like me flowed from her genealogical line, but I don’t care. I’ll take the judgment for a spotless house.

No TV. Really. We have no channels. My grandmother may flip when she gets here and there is no Dr. Phil. Don’t worry, I’m keeping the house super messy so she won’t have time to think about it! I’m mercilessly hard on this 79 year old woman.

Wren taking her eye drops that I believe actually contain the word “acid” in the ingredients without a fuss. It took a few rounds, but she’s a pro now.

Date night

An unexpectedly large check from the side business

Things that make me put on my look like I have gas but am really just frustrated face

My 8th graders acting like writing a persuasive paper is a NASA assignment after three weeks of being hand held, spoon fed, and checked in on while working on this very assignment. When one of them had the audacity to ask me what a thesis was today, tears literally welled up in my eyes. We’ve only been covering that for 12 WEEKS! That paired with hearing the word “Seriously?” bathed in sarcasm when I tell them for the 500th time they cannot use the word you in a formal paper makes me so grateful for Thanksgiving break next week. I might be resigning if there wasn’t a break near.

Being asleep when my husband gets home from college. He came home at 10:10. I had already been out for at least two hours. Such a waste of time together.

Falling asleep while thinking about all the things I need to get up and do. I was running a list in my brain of the chores that would be great for me to get started on when I zonked out next to Wren last night. How very productive!

Missing Bible study and prayer time after starting the week so strong and truly enjoying it. It’s amazing how quickly I get apathetic about the things that matter.

Friday, November 12, 2010


My life is good. I have absolutely nothing to complain about and everything good to praise the Lord for. That’s the good news.

The flip side is that I know two great ladies whose children have cancer, I am now acquainted with more than a handful of people who have lost children before birth, and almost every person on our block has spent time unemployed in the last two years.

I feel this very bipolar need to be giddy happy and overwhelmingly sad all at the same time. Can you rejoice in the miracles of your own life when others are suffering? And where is my sadness coming from? Honestly, I think enough of myself to say that I truly feel horrible when things are happening to other people that aren’t good. However, I also know human nature, and I am so very human. And selfish. I don’t like bad things in close proximity to me. It’s different to read about tragedies happening to people you don’t know; it’s quite another to know the person, put a face to the pain. It gives you the “if it can happen to them, could it happen to me?” kind of feeling, and those are questions I’d rather leave unexamined.

Plus, I always seem to find out about things happening to other people when I am not feeling grateful enough for my gifts, adding a layer of questions on top of questions. Am I a bad person for complaining to my husband about Braxton Hicks contractions and an achy back when I am lucky to have a healthy pregnancy and still be perfectly mobile this close to the end of it? Is it possible to feel sympathy for others and still acknowledge the petty annoyances of everyday life without a being a completely ungrateful shrew?

I think many of these questions arise from my lack of time spent with the Lord. For instance, as I watched Wren play in the bathtub tonight, I wondered how I would explain to her that good people, even kids, get sick. How do you explain about the love of Christ and the cruelty of the world and their incongruent existence in the same realm? I know there are a million Bible answers to those kind of questions, but as a somewhat Bible studying adult, the questions still floor me sometimes. However, if I was actually spending more time talking to God, listening when He tries to answer me, I might not have to spend so much time trying to come up with answers of my own. I might understand more about times to weep and times to rejoice and that everything has a season.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Instead of…

Please place the phrase “instead of” in front of each sentence.

turning on the computer Monday night to check Facebook, check email for the 500th time, read things I don’t care about, I read a book I had been looking forward to getting into.

rewarding myself with sugar for a week of not eating any sugar therefore throwing me back into sugar craving mode, I’m making Dennis give me a foot massage if I avoid sugar this week.

once again, turning on the computer Tuesday night for anything, I cooked homemade sloppy joes, unloaded the dishwasher, and did two loads of laundry.

trying to do anything during the short hours I get to spend with Wren before her bedtime, I participate in imaginary play with dolls, do puzzles, and watch Wren go through all the shoes in her closet exclaiming, “so cute”.

freaking out because I think I may have been exposed to Fifth’s disease this week, which is not good when you’re pregnant, I just prayed, called my doctor and found out the next day I had already been tested for immunity and am immune.

biting off the head of the woman who looked at my stomach yesterday and said, “any minute now, huh?” when I just hit 36 weeks yesterday, I just smiled and said, “not yet”.