29 December 2011

Alexander Jake Hansen

Born Monday, December 5 at 3:56pm
9lbs, 9oz
21 1/2 inches long

After birth he spent many hours awake and looking intently at everyone. When he does that he has the same little frown-y face his mother had when she was a baby. (It's so funny to see! He looked at me like that right when he came out and they handed him to me!)

His favorite music is the John Rutter Christmas album. He calms right down when he hears it, no matter what is wrong. I'm thrilled for him to hear and enjoy so many well-crafted suspensions so early in life!

Everyone is doing well and the birth story will follow eventually. (after the nursing story gets worked out!)

02 December 2011

a date on the calendar

Today is my due date! :)

I never realized how silly I thought it was for a doctor to pick a due date until last Wednesday, when my doctor told me that we'd be doing a sonogram at my next appointment to check fluids and the baby's safety, since it will then be past my due date. If you're going to check on my baby, why not do it this week, today, while I'm here? It just seems so primitive to be so bound to a date on the calendar like that, especially when you're a highly trained, experienced doctor with astounding research and technology in your brain and at your fingertips. And you're hung up on a calendar date?

With all the knowledge available in modern medicine, it amazes me that they still actually assign specific days as due dates to expectant mothers, since one thing they do know is that they can't accurately predict when labor will start for anybody! Maybe they assign dates because it makes it easier to pigeon-hole you into a category of some kind. As far as I'm concerned, my "due date" is between the middle of November and the middle of December, and that's all anyone really knows.

So then, since about the week before Thanksgiving, I've been trying to stay ready, with a clean house and bags (sort of) packed and all that. The Christmas tree is up, the baby's room is all finished, the cloth diapers are all set up and ready, my mind is all peaceful about labor now and, the biggest relief of all, as of yesterday George is so clean that I don't have to follow her from room to room with a strongly scented candle anymore to cover up her smell.

I finally chose the baby's going home outfit, which was kind of hard for me. I was glad it was hard, it sort of assured me that I'm still me, even just shy of 200 pounds now, not wearing anything but sweats (me?!) and going through ten different personalities a day. Here's his outfit:

I am totally obsessed with the pears!! It's from a Japanese company called Sckoon Organics.

Anyway, I'm not sure if this is a boring post or not. Too many words, not enough pictures, probably. Here is quick cell phone picture of our Christmas tree from where I sit. (No, I'm not moving to get a better angle, you'll just have to know that I have moccasins and a TV. And that it's all wonderful and GRAY outside today!!!)

That's all for today! My brother is coming over to do yoga with me and hang out, and then tomorrow I'm getting a pedicure at a fancy pink place with some of my sisters. Have a great weekend!

07 November 2011

A tale of two rooms

I wish I had taken more before pictures, but you all know what junk and boxes look like. Yesterday I started out with two very junky, box-filled rooms and ended with two functional rooms instead. (Actually, I also started the day with a gross kitchen, (full of flies to boot, thanks to the heater fixer leaving the door open so much) and ended with it perfectly scrubbed and mopped for the first time in ages. And don't even ask me about the dog hair I swept up! But this isn't about that...)

I think this is the beginning of my being able to relax. I suddenly realized that if I've been tense and stressed the whole time leading up to labor, how will I suddenly be able to turn that off and have a relatively non-stressed labor? Sounds like a miracle anyway, but since I'm going to try for it, I realized that all this tension about projects is going to make it impossible! So, yeah... Relaxing, even with a few chores left, is starting NOW.

It's not quite finished, but here are some shots of the baby's room at this point.
The crib is mostly full of birthing class books and clothes that need to be washed and sorted, and I decided to leave the stack of suitcases since I needed a little table to have by the chair while I'm nursing.

Still waiting on one last piece of furniture for the corner over here,
but right now as I type, that piece of furniture looks like this:
Oh, and those things above the changing table are these sort of airy balloons made out of starched yarn. A friend from college threw me a baby shower and she made like 50 of them as decorations! I love them! Here's a better look:

You're not surprised that my baby's room has a piano in it, are you? The wall over it is going to be covered with the letters of the alphabet, all decorated differently by each of my Dallas shower guests! I like my big stack of music next to the toy shelf. Of course, that probably wont last there once he is old enough to be interested in it!

And on the toy shelf there is a special little toy that Aunt Amy brought back from Spain. It's a real carousel that spins and everything!

Wish the picture were better quality, but you get the idea. It's really beautiful and so old-fashioned!

I really like the dresser top, with the tiny little plant. (it's real!)

And finally, the office. Still not very pretty, but you could barely walk in there before yesterday and there was no bookshelf, just books all over the floor!

At long last I have a little sewing and craft corner in the office, which means, aside from work space, I have an actual place to put my sewing and craft STUFF!

Everything you see on those shelves was holding up the baby's room from looking neat and tidy.

So yeah, that's what I did with the extra hour yesterday. Thanks for listening!!

24 October 2011

Where did I ever get the energy?

"To give truth to him who loves it not is only to give him more multiplied reasons for misinterpretation." ~George McDonald

It's such a relief to just stop talking when you realize the person you're talking to isn't interested in the truth about anything.

I was afraid that if I stopped making the effort to share, I would change and become completely superficial. Being superficial scares me to death. I thought that sharing truth and myself was all that kept me from becoming that way. But it turns out I'm still the same. Nothing at all has changed. Only now I am free to stop caring what they think, and to stop talking.

17 October 2011

it's October!

We have about 7 weeks until the due date! There are still so many projects to be done, not to mention practicing, and all the family commitments we've stocked up to do "before the baby comes," that sometimes I just lie in bed all day, completely exhausted and overwhelmed. Some days I have all the energy in the world, but most days I can only eat and sleep and rest while dishes pile up and fluffs of dog hair waft around the house and the list gets longer.

But, October is the best month ever, I love it so much. I almost like it better than Christmas! My projects may not be happening, but this weekend we went to a pumpkin patch and took pictures together. Those are still on the camera (surely you weren't expecting to see them!) but here are some cell phone pics of the lovely pumpkins we got! Picking them out with my Love made me so happy!!

This one seemed magical:

Here are the others--I couldn't believe we got a white one! In person it is such a delicate, glowing white that it seems like it's made of moonlight.

Settled in their new home:

Speaking of the front porch, I got the most wonderful rag rug to go right inside the front door.

It looks and feels as if it's been made out of old t-shirts, and the colors are just what the living room needed. I thought Steve might not like it, but he did!

Here are my pumpkins riding home in my lap from the pumpkin patch. It seemed like my tummy was one of them.

Happy October!!

05 October 2011


Feeling under the weather this week, I decided to stay in bed today, and while I did, I listened to Sense and Sensibility on librivox.org (version 3 has an un-annoying reader!)and finished a clock I had started working on years ago. It was a normal old one that I bought at walmart when I was 15 or something; it was similar to this one:

I painted the hands with gold metallic paint, covered the face with magazine pictures, (that's the part that took years, because I only choose pictures that I'm really in love with!) and brushed Mod-Podge on top. I so love Mod-Podge because of the cute label on the jar:

My phone's really bad at close-ups, but for now, here's what it looks like now:

I hung it in the kitchen and I'm pretty happy with it. I really love it, actually. Hopefully I'll keep posting pictures of the projects I work on.

01 October 2011

Under the Influence

Yesterday I had some great finds at Treasure City Thrift. I'll tell you all about what I got, but this post is about something else: one of my treasures was a $4 pair of jeans made by a brand exclusively (as they say) for Barneys. They're beautiful, amazing jeans and they fit me just about like all my other non-maternity pants fit me: close-enough/I-don't-wanna-think-about-it. They're my usual size though, so it'll probably work out. But buying something with Barneys New York in the tag made me suddenly aware that I have a bit of a history with that store, or at least a funny, one-sided relationship.

All stores want you to feel a certain way when you walk though them. Stores like Urban Outfitters and Free People set a cool, rebellious, youthful mood. Anthropologie is young but more nostalgic. Places like Dillards and Steinmart try to make you feel sufficiently rich and lovely at the same time as practical and like you're going to get a good deal. Then there are stores like Nordstrom, Saks, and Neimans that go for rich, pampered and able to afford it. (whether you really can or not doesn't matter.)

Some of the higher-end stores tend to make me feel inadequate (at least money-wise) or fat, or like maybe I shouldn't have worn what I'm wearing, or just plain sad that I can't afford anything in them. They make me feel wishful about life, but in an "I'll-never-be-that-skinny-and-rich" way, not in a fun way. Not all stores do that to me, and I'm sure I shouldn't give any of them that power, but succumbing to marketing strategies is something of a twisted hobby I have. It's fun. But Barneys is a little different.

Don't get me wrong, they're still that kind of store. In Dallas at the mall, I used to walk through Barneys all the time on my way to less astronomically expensive places, and not a single salesperson ever even spoke to me! Of course, that's Dallas anyway, but in the equally snobby Neimans or Saks, even on a bad hair and clothing day somebody will talk to me.

When I walk through Barney's though, I suddenly realize that I am feeling the way all the other fancy department stores are attempting to make me feel when I walk through them. But the others don't quite do it. Maybe it's the chic, modern yet over-the-top chandeliers in Barneys, although other stores have those. Maybe it's the fact that Barneys is a smaller store, where I am physically closer to the merchandise- to the feel and color of the fabrics and the smell of the leather and perfumes. Maybe it's the fact that there is a lavish, sweeping staircase instead of an escalator, or that they have a much smaller beauty department because they're more selective about the brands. There are wonderful lounge corners with interesting chaise lounges and love seats. The over-sized velvet chairs at the bottom of the staircase always haunt me, attached somehow like Siamese twins, and remind me of some daring, haute couture Alice in Wonderland.

The whole store strikes the perfect balance between being seriously, snobbishly rich and letting you almost forget that you're not. It makes me wishful about life in the most fun, inspiring way possible. In Barneys I remember what I routinely forget in other high-end stores: that good taste and an imagination matter a lot more than having and spending lots of money. So in a way, I already have what they sell. Not so much that I don't enjoy dreaming of $80 eye shadow or an extra $1300.00 to buy that lovely-smelling leather train case. But I am inspired, excited, content to smell the leather, touch the silk and go home with new ideas, thrilled to have seen so many beautiful and luxurious things all together in one place.

28 September 2011


Our birthing class started, I had a wonderful baby shower, found a lot of baby furniture by stalking craigslist 24/7, and joined a small book/Bible study. Steve started p90x and a men's group at church that meets at 6:30 AM! (ouch!!)

All that is great, and the baby continues to be fine, but I've been really tired and overwhelmed. I'm already at home all the time, but pressuring myself to accomplish a lot, so much that I've started to freak out again whenever anyone wants me to eat lunch with them, meet for coffee or be their friend. (Does anyone else understand this, by the way? It seems like so many other people have plenty of room and energy in their lives for lunches and new friends, and here I am, a stay-at-home wife, and I hyperventilate if someone asks me to coffee.) Anyway...

So, Steve suggested I take a day off of sorts. Just hearing him suggest a no-pressure, order-a-pizza-for-lunch, paint-your-nails and watch-too-much-Mad-Men kind of day really felt good. (He really suggested all that!) I even bought paintnolish for the occasion:

Don't judge me, they were buy one get one free. (which is good, cause Butter of London is usually like $14 a bottle! It lasted really well though and I've been wanting some forever!)

My day off was a week ago and now I've started sleeping way better. Sometimes I even wake up in the morning to say goodbye to Steve and then find myself waking up again around lunchtime! Still have a big list to do, but now I feel like I can actually do it.

So... I can never tell if these sort of updates are too boring for blogs or not. I have a hunch they are. But I will say that I am about to post pictures of a bunch of stuff I've been doing, so maybe that will make up for this.

02 September 2011

baby's room

I walked to Urban Outfitters from our hotel in San Diego and got this to hang on the wall in the baby's room! I love it so much! Here's a tiny picture. You have to go to the link to really see it...

Steve thinks it's mildly creepy, but understands why I like it. I think he just can't imagine it all together with the other things that will be in there, and it would be sort of creepy if it were the only decoration or something. That being said, if that's what Steve thinks, then I can only imagine the invective it will invite from people we know who have less imagination than he does. Some of my nursery ideas bring out that reaction, it seems.

Anyway, I'm in love with it and it makes me so happy! I'll probably hang it over the piano, since that's going to be a part of his room for a while.

Am I not normal?

Steve and I had a great time in San Diego this week! It was about 35 to 40 degrees cooler than our typical weather in Austin, and we simply ATE UP being able to go outside!! (I also ate a bunch of lobster every day, and chocolate chip pancakes.)

Anyway, I finally checked my email this afternoon after a week of not being able to, and I read the most horrifying, stupid email ever from the preggers club thingy I'm part of. It's a club of sorts for people in the same stage of pregnancy as you, so you can go online and see what questions everyone has, etc. It's a great way to get help and advice and know what's normal, but this last email was kind of freakish. It was entitled "12 Things You Miss While You're Pregnant." Here are some of the things people said they missed:

Deli meat
Unpasteurized cheeses
Cookie dough
Eggs under easy (EEWW!)

Aside from the fact that I will NEVER eat an egg that is not cooked to the consistency of concrete, I've consumed ALL of the things on this list in the last 24 hours! Except the cookie dough, that's been almost a week ago. But there's still some in my fridge! Well, and I've mostly only eaten cooked sushi.

We went to a 5-star restaurant last night and I had a glass of red wine with dinner. We ate lunch yesterday at a fabulously darling gourmet sandwich place in La Jolla and, you guessed it, I had a sandwich! And mac & cheese, and strawberry rhubarb pie.

I drank a latte this morning with my chocolate chip pancakes. It wasn't huge, but it wasn't decaf either. And as far as unpasteurized cheeses, well, I eat those every time I go by the cheese sample place in the grocery store. In fact, I've come to not believe in pasteurized dairy products of any sort anymore, but that's a post for another day.

Anyway, what the heck?! All of these testimonials of what people aren't eating during pregnancy should totally freak me out, and they do a little, but to be honest, I think I'm fine. I make a conscious decision before eating anything I eat, which I always did anyway, and, well, I'm okay with that. But I'm sort of freaked out that I'm not freaked out. Maybe I should write this on the message board, although I would hate to see what all those people would tell me is going to happen to my baby.

18 August 2011

unique birthday card

My friend Amy, who is spending the next few months in Spain, sent me an email of fun pictures for my birthday; just things that make me happy! I wanted to share them:

This next one's funny, because right before Amy left for Spain we had a whole conversation about something that had reminded me of these lines:

"Ahem, are you wearing the Ch-"
"The Chanel boots? Yeah, I am."

When she lived in Austin, Amy and I were always doing the next new thing to our nails together.

Thanks, Amy!! :)

16 August 2011

Languages, dreams and...another post?!

I guess when it rains, it pours, even with blog posts.

I have more energy now that all plans difficult, dreadful or busy for the summer are pretty much over. Now is the best part, because I feel good and can finally be at home and focus on our life a little bit. I have nothing to look forward to for a while except my birthday tomorrow and our trip to San Diego in a few weeks. Life is good!

I had a strange little dream. I have mentioned before that I am having the ridiculous problem of not working on any language right now because I cannot decide on one. It's between German, French and Spanish, since I have varying degrees of semi-proficiency in each of those already.

Anyway, this must be really bothering me since I dreamed about it! In my dream, I was walking down the halls of some place that seemed like a high school. I looked in the window of a classroom in what I somehow understood to be a sort of language department, and the teacher motioned me inside. She was giving a test and wondered if I would like to take it, just for fun. Would I!?

The kids were already busy working on their tests, so I quietly thanked the teacher and sat down at one of the tables to begin. I was to translate some sentences into English. When I looked at them though, all the verbs had German verb stems but were conjugated with French verb-endings! I think all the other words were just German. In the dream I was totally stumped about how to translate any of them, and I woke up before I realized that it would still all go into English just fine! I loved that dream, and woke up feeling that I had narrowed it down to German and French. I'll save Spanish until my friend gets back from nannying in Spain, later this fall.

But still, which to choose?

Blogger Question

For the past several months, my links, over there ---> cannot be edited. An error code comes up every time I try to click on the little editing icon. I can't add any links or change the ones that are there. Does anyone know what is going on??? I tried asking the discussion blog thingy about the error code, but they had never seen it...

Thanks! :)

15 August 2011

gratefully happy.

I don't want this to turn into a venting-only blog, even though I am glad that it can serve that purpose sometimes. (and perhaps this summer has required more venting than usual.)

Anyhow, the world is so beautiful and I am sometimes in awe that I am allowed to notice it!

It rained yesterday and was CLOUDY ALL DAY the day before!

I have a healthy baby in my tummy and I feel fine!

It is almost my birthday.

My husband loves me and is very reasonable and kind.

Our dog is the best dog ever.

I went to a clothing swap and I now have CLOTHES!

I love my Kincey.

The piano is TUNED!

Because of my kind and patient husband, my Mimi's chandelier now hangs above our pale mint green dining room table. It reminds me every day of the influence of beauty and fun and creativity that the Lord let Mimi have in my life because she let the Lord have influence in hers.

I might get new crayons soon. A box of 120!

I've gone from zero knitting skills to being able to knit dishcloths and scarves in one week!

We are doing quite well on our house-organizing projects as the summer progresses.

I am so grateful for the Lord's kindness, and how He uses even the ugly things of life to create beauty in us. What a wonderful God! The true Maker of fairy tales!


Sometimes, people just leave you with your mouth hanging open. And then you have to vent.

I was recently told that we could not use one of the names that we're thinking about for our boy, because he'd get beaten up for it. It was a name that, when I suggested it, my husband did not write off as a sissy name, like he has one or two others I've casually thought about.

Our VERY short list is William and Joshua, but the slightly longer version still includes Levi (not sure if we've really agreed or if that one's just on my list) and, the terrible name that "YOU CAN'T name a kid": Winston. The middle name, no matter which we choose, will be Jake, in honor of our sweet nephew who went to be with the Lord three years ago. Well, the way this person protested, you would think I had said we were thinking of naming our BOY Jennifer or Katy. Or Fart.

The source telling us that name should not be used (who, to be quite fair, didn't know it was on our short list) comes from such a different world than I do; a world where guilt is a tool (which is okay with me because I don't really do guilt-I made that decision in my late teens and have never regretted it), and where waiters will spit in your food if you even nicely complain about it and kids, apparently, don't like the name Winston. I know it is not entirely people's faults when their minds work that way. It is the kindness and grace of God that continues to teach me (and I know will some day teach them) not to be that way!

It's not that nobody's ever been ugly to me. It's not that I've never seen someone be teased because of their name; I've even been teased for my weird spelling more than you would think. It's not that I can be sure that no waiter has ever spit in my food. I try to treat most people in a way that would prevent them from feeling a need to spit in my food though, and maybe this person has not tried that. I don't know... There is just so much beauty in the world, and it strikes me so often that I just feel a lot of joy, and then I don't think about all the ways that someone could hurt me. I don't think about anyone beating up my kid, and if someone does, I'll cross that bridge with the Lord's help when I come to it.

Anyway, about names, I've heard that one has to develop a thick skin about these sorts of things because many people have strong personal opinions about all things relating to child-having and parenting. My feelings aren't hurt, as much as I am just sad to remember that there are really people who come from mindsets like that. My husband doesn't mind it at all. He has a knack for doing what he knows is right without being rankled by people who disagree with him.

Anyway, since I just made our list of names a bit more public, I should say that I'll be happy if they're names you like, and if you don't, then you can have a better day by feeling grateful that I am not naming your child. See? Everybody's happy!

06 August 2011

To be honest...

1. Right now my Love is playing the guitar again for the first time in ages! It makes me so happy! He's practicing Yellow.

2. I just did all the dishes. ALL. DONE.

3. I've been wanting a very good chocolate for a while now. Just one. To have with a tiny glass of sparkling water.

4. I feel really behind on German, French and Spanish right now, but I just can't choose which one to work on. Not being able to choose is making me way too stressed!

5. I'm thinking of switching to raw milk. And definitely never buying any more 2% milk. The nastiness of low-fat milk is more unfathomable than I even knew. (or imagined, and that's saying something!) I'm trying not to believe everything I read, but still.

6. Now that we're actually having a child, I'm more excited than I ever knew I would be about teaching it!

7. Tonight my dad called me and we talked for half an hour about England, and how much we appreciate it's having spent 1,000 years hashing out self-government and freedom of religion for us, about New York City, and about the setting moons we used to see over Copano Bay when we did the paper route at 4:30 in the morning.

8. I feel really claustrophobic about social media for some reason right now! Just knowing it's there makes me feel acutely overwhelmed.

9. The baby moves a lot now! Being pregnant is way funner than it used to be.

10. My 16-year-old sister Abby made a pretty much perfect-looking (I didn't get to taste it, being 200 miles away) coconut cream pie for my dad. She's really interesting and can do anything.

11. We've decided to continue to throw around names but not choose one until the baby's here.

12. We're going to San Diego before the baby comes!

13. I am so, very, really tired of caring what anyone thinks of me. How could I have cared enough to get this tired of caring when I already thought I didn't care?

14. I'm excited about my 2 baby showers I'm going to have!

15. I took my sewing machine to be fixed today and I cannot wait to get it back!!!

16. My Love's sister and her husband are coming to visit next weekend, and I'm thinking about what I hope to get done before then. We always have a really great time with them, even though I always feel a little apprehensive the whole time, that I might say or do something she'll misunderstand. (Amendment: I don't worry about it anymore because I don't think I ever do or say anything my husband's family does understand. And that's okay!)

17. Almost finished with The Return of the King. It will be the first time I've actually finished the series.

18. First knitting class tomorrow.

19. My mind has been really cluttered lately and it's starting to wear on me.

20. I'm going to make ice cream cone cupcakes for my birthday. They're going to have cherries on top and candy on top and decorations on top and I'm really excited!

21. I'm going to go make some tea.

25 July 2011

I'm 21 years old and have no pertinent thoughts or opinions.

Giving up is hard. It is especially hard for me. It always has been. Allowing people to think what they want without trying to force them to understand me has never really been my strong point. In fact, it's probably my weakest point ever. It's pretty clear what causes that weak point, when I start to think about it.

What inside me, besides plain old pride, could chafe so strongly at being completely and totally misunderstood? And I don't mean something I said, I mean my entire identity, person, purposes, meaning, whatever. I admit that it must be my pride that causes me to be totally frustrated at being treated as an idealistic child, rather than a normal 20- or 30-something adult, simply because I've been blessed with more imaginative excitement about life than the average 20- or 30-something. (although I think that depends on who you know. I know many people who are like that.) What besides selfishness could make me dread being around someone simply because they treat me that way? Why should I care so much that someone, perhaps through no fault of their own, does not know or care that I question and study and think to know how and why I believe what I believe? Besides, is that why I think through things, just to get credit for it?

Anyway, I'd like to shop to make myself feel better, but the budget for that is all gone this month. (Oh poor me.) And since I can't shop, maybe I could bake something, but oh, I can't because we're out of butter AND grocery money. We have eggs I could bake with, but I have to save them for eating, since my body will not forgive me anymore on the days I skip an egg, it seems.

This is a tangent, and we're far from starving, actually. This week, for dinners, I have the stuff to make pizza, lentils and rice, fried chicken and mashed potatoes, beans and cornbread, lettuce salads, chicken quesadillas, and that's without being at all creative. I have plenty of tea and half and half. And I really could make bread, and I have some jam. It's just I want to cream some butter and sugar since I can't shop. This is very, very good for me.

I feel better already, because this is simple. The problem: I'm upset because I'm misunderstood. The cause: not their misunderstanding, but my pride. The solution: to obey and learn what I know God wants me to learn in this and just let go of the pride.

What about if I just pray for the ability to let go? What if I just do that and then go practice? I did recently learn that when you pray for obedience, you get peace.

15 July 2011

Living in Worship

If I could just remember Jesus on the cross, paying for my sins, I would not have the pride to get angry with people for hurting me.

If I could just remember Jesus on the cross, there because of my inability to understand or meet God's standard of holiness, I would not be so upset when people misunderstand me. After all, I didn't understand Jesus.

If I could just remember Jesus on the cross, and the fact that I caused Him to go there, I would not be anxious about the future, because I would be remembering how kind He is.

If I could just remember Jesus on the cross, because of me, I would be so thankful all the time that I would not have room for worry and fear, prideful anger, or bratty ungratefulness.

If I could just remember that Jesus died on the cross for me, it would change my life.

It has changed my life that I know it, and remember it a little bit, but the more I remember it, the more it would change me. Is that what it means to be freed from your sins?

11 July 2011

answered prayer

I prayed for obedience and I got peace. I asked Him to take away the worry, because the worry is too heavy for me and besides that, worry is disobedience.

On a little road trip with my Mimi this summer, she told me of some times when she has said, "This was not where I thought I would go, but Lord, if you want me to be here, then this is where I will be." There are so many things in my life about which I do not say that, but instead, fight for the way I think it should be.

I don't know why surrender is so hard for me, when I know that God loves me and doesn't make a mistake! But the peace that comes from not fighting is worth the surrender.

07 July 2011

I just got home from the grocery store and I'm really tired and need to go eat a snack. I'd just like to take a moment to say how thrilled I am to see that not everyone dresses their little boy in bright, toy-print covered colors all the time.

I know it's trivial, but those pictures give me the encouraging idea I am not the only person in the world who wants to dress their baby like a person, not a doll. I know there is a time and place for colorful, casual, smothered-in-baby-print clothing. It's called home, and it's probably most of the time. But I'm hungry, I'm in an opinionated mood, and I needed to say this.

15 June 2011

a ticket

I woke up this morning to see a facebook status of a distant friend from one of my music theory classes. He said:

"Dear friends, our little boy, Joseph Lee Erickson, is with Jesus and was born today at 3:52 PM. He was 9 lbs 4 oz and 23 inches long! He's a big, beautiful boy that we love and will miss so much. Thank you all for your prayers and support."

I was shaken with shock and sadness. I don't really know this man anymore, and I don't know his wife at all, but it did not seem a complicated or abnormal situation, from what I could tell. Every month on facebook, the daddy put up fun little updates that said things like, "Our baby is the size of a cucumber." or whatever. His excitement at the normal progression of the pregnancy was evident. You look at these situations and just say, "Why?"

I know of 5 or 6 people who have had births like this, some family, others friends or even friends of friends. Of course the next thought is, what if that happens to me?

My mother reminded me of something that I usually remind myself of in these situations: In her book, The Hiding Place, Christian author Corrie ten Boom remembers going regularly to Amsterdam by train as a little girl with her father. One day at the station, shortly after being faced with the death of a little baby, she told her father that she was afraid to die, or afraid that something bad would happen to her family, and that she would not be able to bear it.

Her father answered, "Corrie, when we go to Amsterdam on the train, when do I give you your ticket?"

Little Corrie's answer was "Just before we get on the train."

Her father said,"That's right, Corrie. You don't need your ticket until you are about to board the train. But I always give you your ticket just in time. That's how our wonderful heavenly Father is. He always gives us just what we need, and He is never late."

Ever since I read The Hiding Place as a little girl, that little story has given me so much comfort and insight into God's care for us. When I worry about what could or might happen, I have to force myself to remember that I do not have a "ticket" to bear those things now. They are not trains that I have been asked to get on. If and when I am asked to get on one of those trains, the Lord will provide what I need at the moment I need it.

14 June 2011

Tonight I discovered that another of my siblings has a blog: my sister Kathleen. I discovered her to be a pretty good storyteller, something I had not really had occasion to see before. The dog walking post was quite fun.

Anyway, I read a post of hers that happened to be also something she had talked with me about previously, something interesting that had been on her mind that was now on mine as well. I had some more thoughts about the subject and put them down rather inefficiently as a bunch of comments on her post. Rather than make a whole blog post restating it all, I'll just link to it here.

31 May 2011

new prayers

Throughout my teens and 20s, I have been deeply impressed more and more by how my parents have prayed for us children, especially the unique, detailed things they asked of the Lord for each of our lives while we were still unborn. My mother and daddy both wrote down those prayers, and it builds my faith in how amazing God is to see the answers that have come so many years later, in such different ways than might have been foreseen.

I used to think I would be some other mature, awesome person when it was my time to pray for my unborn children. The time has come sooner than I expected. I'm not mature and awesome, but I still want to be like Jesus, my graceful and gracious Mimi and my never-boring, long-praying parents.

I know that more prayers will come to my heart, and to Steve's, but this last week I have wanted to pray that this child will be mighty in the Lord and boldly tell people about Jesus. I guess I would pray that for all my children, but it seems special for this one.

The only other thing I've thought of yet is this: I really pray that this child will be able to hear harmonies like its mother. On the surface, it seems not the deepest of prayers, but singing harmonies with other people feeds my soul, and I would love to have a child who would be able to share that with me.

I thought of it while home last weekend. The whole family, even Daddy, stayed up late outside, Daddy and Stephen churning a broken ice cream maker with a wrench, all of us telling stories and laughing, but mostly singing together. When I can turn to one of my sisters and say, "You go up, I'll go down" and the rest of the family sings the melody, it is one of the best moments in my life, and always has been. I feel blessed to have been made so amazingly happy by something that some are never able to even notice or care for. People are all blessed in their own way, but I am very grateful my way, if that makes sense. I'm sure everybody feels that way. I hope they can.

So, bold sharing of Jesus, and harmony. I'll be interested to see what other prayers come into our hearts for this one.

23 May 2011

feel the power

(Oh, I can feel it.)

In the next month, I need find something to wear to:

3 showers
a graduation
2 rehearsal dinners, and
a wedding. (in which I can't be too outlandish because I'm the pianist.)

I do not know how most of my clothes will fit me in the next few weeks, but I feel some sort of satisfying powerfulness at the thought of not buying anything new. Anyone can go buy something and turn up looking great, but I mean to take on the challenge of using (gasp!) what I already have. I think I trust my own creativity and weirdness with my clothes to be able to come up with at least a few interesting things. It should be fun. Wish me luck!

27 April 2011

Somewhere over the rainbow...cake.

Sometime when I'm not sick, and when I finally get my flour out of the box marked "PANTRY" I'm going to make this exciting cake that makes me so happy to look at!!!


21 April 2011

On Groups

I was talking with a woman recently, my Bible study leader, in fact, and I shared that since I am pregnant and not sure what that holds for me, I may not want to commit to being involved in the Bible study in the coming fall semester.

She said she understood, but proceeded to tell me how nice it is to be involved in a group of other moms, how it would really help me and bless me to be surrounded by others going through various stages of the same thing.

The idea of surrounding myself with a bunch of other moms who I otherwise would never be in contact with, and with whom I probably have little in common bugs me. Of course I'll need help and advice. I know how to take care of a baby, an infant, a newborn. Odd as that seems for a first-time mom, I know all about it. Not everything, and I've never been the one ultimately responsible for the child's well-being, so on that level, it will be very different.

But the general things, cleaning that cord-leftover thingy before it falls off, bathing, doing the nose thing when they have boogers, spit-up, teething, horrible, blow-out diapers, forcing liquid vitamins down their throats, taking two year olds to the bathroom in Walmart..I've been there, done that, thankyouverymuch. It was the only life I knew for quite some time. That's what I did while others my age were going to highschool, or 5th grade for that matter, having boyfriends and playground drama, and then those same kids wanted to know what I'd do when I got into the real world. In many ways I was the one who was already there.

Anyway, this post isn't even about that. That's a sidetrack and it remains that I've never been a mother and will need someone to call, someone to ask, "Is this normal? What do I do when...?" But why does it have to be a designated group? I have a quite experienced mother. I am blessed that she is here for me to ask those things. And I also have freinds, lots of friends and cousins, and aunts, and just people around me! Some of them are mothers and some aren't. Some are used to babies and some aren't.

All I'm saying is I just don't get why, on every side these days, there are people telling you to be in a group. I AM in a group, it's called LIFE!

Is it really the case that so many people have so few human connections in their daily lives, that they have to join a group to have that? Do I have such a completely unique situation that I am sheltered and narrow-minded in thinking that it is normal to be naturally connected with people?

24 March 2011

Those Without Preschoolers Need Not Apply

I've been thinking a lot about taking people for who you think they are instead of who they are. It's hard sometimes, because you have no idea who strangers really are. This has been in my head the last couple of weeks. Then yesterday at BSF, this happened:

There's a woman in my BIble study group who seems to treat me that way; like some person she thinks she's figured out, but she actually doesn't know who I am. She pointedly ignores me and only speaks to those who have problems with their toddlers. She seems to enjoy telling then how she fixed hers. (like, a year ago, because her kids aren't that old yet and she's still nursing one.) I tried to join a conversation she started about 5-yr. olds, because a girl my age was saying that she homeschooled hers. (I'm curious about people who homeschool and why they choose to do it, since it was the default setting in my life for so long.)

But this woman wouldn't let me. I felt that she thought I had nothing to contribute. She does the same things with her answers in our group discussions. I don't have any children, I have a pink streak in my hair, I wear scarves and heels, feather earrings and weird second-hand Michael Kors leather loafers. I seem young, I guess. She seems to treat me like a "whippersnapper, " some young hipster, because I don't have kids; like I'm some young spoiled person whose experiences in life are meaningless because changing diapers isn't yet part of my daily routine. I was terribly annoyed. I shouldn't have let it get to me, but I could hardly pay attention in lecture. She's the kind of stiff-minded person who would think I haven't been a Christian very long because I have a streak of pink hair.

I wanted to go to her and tell her that I practically grew up at BSF headquarters, that my grandmother is mentioned in the founder's memoir, that my mother and grandmother have some of Mrs. Johnson's and Mrs. Hertzler's china in their china cabinets. That I am one of seven homeschooled siblings who used to memorize whole chapters of the Bible in King James as part of their grade school curriculum. That I had probably changed more diapers by the age of 14 than she has so far mothering career. That I watched my mother breastfeed from a very young age. That my mother had six of us without any pain medicine whatsoever. (For some reason, I'm proud of having been had with no pain meds. haha! It's not like I was the one in pain!)

Why does my blood boil? It doesn't matter what this woman, this obviously in-a-tight-box, uncreative woman, thinks of me. But see what I did there? I put her in a box, not any better than the box she has me in. I don't like it. I don't like any of this. It's pride, I know, on both sides. But so bothersome. Really, what would it look like if I just sent her an email, so that she could think of me correctly? Horribly arrogant, but since I don't even care what she thinks of me, she can think I'm horribly arrogant, as long as she's sufficiently impressed that I know as much about kids as she does, and more about BSF.

Who is this hideous, arrogant person inside of me?

19 March 2011

Sometimes I think the word glossy is glossier than gloss itself.

18 March 2011

the vanity table

Mimi's vanity table represents my earliest memories of becoming what I hope to be someday. I was just there yesterday, in the bedroom at Mimi and DanDan's house. The vanity table is no longer there, Mimi has it beside her bed in her new home, but in my mind, I can still see it there in the old bedroom with the lamps glowing around it. My experiences at the table, and lounging on Mimi's bed talking with her while she got ready, are some of the times that are the deepest in my heart.

That table is a place of comfort and glomour, warm light and mirrors, soft cozy socks, silky nightgowns, an incomparable array of makeup and perfume bottles...It is the place where I realize that it's not the end of the world that my favorite jeans have become too tight, that my chin is pointy and my nose is long, that my marriage isn't perfect, that I'm not perfect. It is rich with stories, laughter, the truth of God's word being lived out through the grace, kindness and beauty of my grandmother.

I am a granddaughter of the beautiful lady who sits at this table to prepare for her long days of cooking, serving, decorating and being gracious and lovely at BSF Headquarters. Somehow, the makeup, the perfume, the well-chosen clothing and the tinyness do not matter, even though they are so there and so lovely. It matters that I choose kindness over criticism, prayerfulness over no prayer life, beauty over ugliness. Choosing to treat people carefully, as the eternal creatures that they are is choosing beauty.

Mimi always chooses beauty.

I'm not sure this post would make sense to anyone who has not known my Mimi, but I am working on my articulation of all this. This has been my first attempt.

05 March 2011

Love!! (from StyleScout)

Maybe it's because I'm always guilty of throwing on boots with my adidas work-out pants, (and tucking them in!) or maybe because I SO wish I could wear turbans all the time, but this picture gave me energy and bolstered my resolve to really wear my clothes, all of them, not just the things I am used to wearing. Putting together different, non-rut sorts of things is surprisingly easy when you realize it doesn't matter. What's going to happen? they're just clothes.

This one was fun too:

And I like the dirty-ish wash of the guy's jeans. I might think that they really are dirty, but look at that girl's boots. A girl with boots like that would not make out with a guy whose jeans are generally filthy on a normal day at the park. No, it's just a wash I think. London street fashion.

28 February 2011

I'm not opinionated

I love real things. The false world that is diets and endless gyms and celebrity-following is so repulsive. I don't know how anyone can stand it. In my life, I have real foods, real sugar, real cream, real stairs.

Small portions of reality are better by far than huge portions of fake things.

A post for February

You know too much is going on when it's March and you've been to church twice this year. Life has been a busy monster these first two months of the year. Not bad, but too busy to continue normally, that's for sure.

We had a New Year's Party, the next weekend was normal, then Steve left on business, then I met him in Vegas, then it was February. My Dan Dan died, we all got together and had the memorial, then we were sick, then was a big wedding, and now it's now.

I feel paralyzed by the many projects I want to do. The beautiful open, unstructured days of my present life overwhelm me. If I were working, I'd want to cancel it, but now there is nothing to cancel, and I still stress out. Human nature.

I want to enjoy the fresh air and the fresh time, and stop putting things off.

24 January 2011

Chesterton Quotes for Thought

I was online looking for a specific quote from G. K. Chesterton, and I found several others that have to do with my thoughts of late.

This reminded me of my recent Twilight post: "A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author."

This next has to do with my problems about loving with abandon what God gives me, and still being willing for Him to take it away. "The way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost." I don't know how that helps me, but it does a little bit.

Here are a couple that help me when I have complainy thoughts about my body:

"When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time. Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs?"

"I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder."

And I just really identify with these:

"Lying in bed would be an altogether perfect and supreme experience if only one had a colored pencil long enough to draw on the ceiling."

"Happy is he who still loves something he loved in the nursery: He has not been broken in two by time; he is not two men, but one, and he has saved not only his soul but his life."

"Drink because you are happy, but never because you are miserable."

And for good measure, here are some funny but not less true ones that give us a glmpse into that odd, awesome way in which Chesterton thinks:

"The word 'good' has many meanings. For example, if a man were to shoot his grandmother at a range of five hundred yards, I should call him a good shot, but not necessarily a good man."

"The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese."

"It is the test of a good religion whether you can joke about it."

(I quite agree with this next one.)

"Music with dinner is an insult both to the cook and the violinist."

"Do not free a camel of the burden of his hump; you may be freeing him from being a camel."

I am going to Las Vegas tomorrow, to be with my dear Love, who had to leave last Wednesday. I'm going to try, and I hope you do too, to a lovely week, remember to be grateful, think poetically about cheese, and not to free anything from being what it is.

22 January 2011

creative influences

Too often I allow myself the lazy luxury of being influenced by the results of other people's inspiration and creativity.

When I think about creativity I think, what do I create, anyway? Not much, for someone frequently called "creative." (Not that it defines me just because other people think it, but, you know I'd like to really be that.) I create music I guess, when I sit down at the piano and just play to see what comes out. I don't capture the music though, so I can never re-create it. Sometimes I make things out of yarn, or draw things that I want to make or have. I create new ensembles from my closet when I have the energy. I paint furniture bright colors when I get bored.

It's very easy in our day to overload on the sort of second-hand inspiration that one finds from being exposed to other peoples' artwork, clothing designs, movies, music, photos and crafts; being exposed to other peoples' lives, really. And most of the time the people behind those influences are strangers to us. We have available many magazines and shops, not to mention millions of home, clothing, craft and design blogs where someone else's ideas are brought to life. A little goes a long way. I would like to be inspired by what is already around me: nature, cities, conversation with interesting people, colors, music, the rooms in my house and the shape of my life. I am, when I slow down and allow it to happen.

I want more of certain "outside" influences though: photographs, books, and music. Photographs are visual art, of course, but I mean photos like my brother's, that show life as the seer sees it, without any pretentions, as opposed to the kinds of pictures in magazines and other media. Music is important to me right now because for several years, I was so burned out that I quit listening to any music at all. I miss that and am getting back into it, seeing what is new and what old things I have missed. Books are just a given, although I guess it depends what they're about, but history, theology and stories are generally what I read. Since those are all part of real life, I don't consider them something I get too much of.

There is nothing wrong with taking in the fruit of other minds and spirits, but I just want to practice making that a secondary influence, some forms of it at least. The world of visual arts and fashion needs to be a lot less prominent in my thought processes. And I want to challenge myself daily to answer the question, "What have you created today?"

Sure, I have time on my hands, and in most other stages of life, I could not do this as thoroughly. But right now is the time I have, and I am happy to use it. I don't feel that I have time on my hands, but that is because I use it, thinking about things like this, and hopefully, being more creative.

08 January 2011


I like the idea of the story, I really do. Dramatic, melancholy romanticism has a special place in my heart. I have not paid attention to a lot of the hype, but I did have intentions of some day reading the books. Until several weeks ago, when I found this: Reasoning with Vampires, a blog whose writer describes it as "serious criticism of grammar and literary technique, satirical mockery, and plain mean-spirited bitchery."

Like this blogger, I was not prepared for the inconsistency of the writing and characters in general, not to mention all the grammatical mistakes! Reasoning with Vampires takes those things and highlights them, making it obvious to anyone who paid even scant attention in 4th grade English class how scary it is that these books were published, let alone becoming raved-about best-sellers. Each post speaks, quite hilariously, for itself.

This blogger is unbiased enough to be genuinely delighted when Meyer (in a rare and special happenstance) gets one right.

And here is one of my favorites:

It's not for everyone, but I have gotten many hours of histerical laughter from reading this blog, as well as a gratefully-received warning not to waste time even starting to read these horribly-written (I like hyphens) books.