Tuesday, January 31, 2012

especially on this hard day

a long hard day saps the strength, leaving caverns that naps can't fill.

today, you had such a day.  knee-deep in snow, seeking tractor teeth, parts, lifting and laying down a thousand pounds of never-what-you-needed.

a hard day at home too - sick baby, gnaw of worry.

instead of laying your weary bones down, instead of eating a warm meal, instead of sinking glad into your book, you came with us hungry to the clinic.

it was almost too cliche, the waiting room.  bare misery under fluorescent light,  the rest of the world snow-wrapped and lamp-lit, tasting homejoys and supper.

small son squirmed from my lap to yours and back again. 

between his visits, your head slipped forward, eyes closed, breath soft.  sleep.

i held his hands and walked him around the crowded room, and every time he saw your face, he laughed and called out.

your eyes pried open - red, unfocused, heavy - settled on him, and crinkled into warmth.  he leapt joyously into your arms over and over.

your arms always open, your eyes holding back sleep to give him comfort, to be with him, even on this hard day.

on this hard day
i love you.

Friday, January 27, 2012

gross post, non-moms don't read ;)

he was sitting in his high chair, my sweet boy, eating dry cereal by himself.  i was dashing in and out of the kitchen, giving him bites of yogurt in between getting dressed, fixing my hair, packing his bag.

normally, our mornings are more relaxed.

i've been waiting to see a specialist for months and months, and although sam was still a little sick from the flu, i had to take him to a friend's house so i could keep my appointment.  (rescheduling also takes months.)  i was nervous; i hate meeting new doctors and the awkward conversations that always involves.  i was dressed, my hair was okay, sam just had to put on his snowsuit.  little dread-filled springs were coiling and releasing in my stomach while i got ready.

apparently, they were jumping in sam's as well.  he squawked a decidedly unhappy noise, and when i reached him (this is where you stop reading if you have a weak stomach), diarrhea was bubbling up from the front of his diaper. 

like a fountain. 

all the way up to his chest.

normally, i snap into action in a crisis.  i know exactly what to do and do it well.  (i'm not a very good every-day person, but i'm great when things go wrong.)  but i was completely at a loss.  i could practically see the big row of question marks over my head where ideas usually appear.

i tried to think.  cancel my appointment?  i'd never get another.
show up late?  might as well cancel.  he's that busy.
wipes?  oh this was way beyond wipes.

heedless of the poo, i unbuckled sam and carried him (not very close, i confess) to the tub.  i turned on the shower and hosed him down, fully clothed.

he was not a fan.

eventually, i peeled off his clothes and diaper and filled the tub with clean water and soap and scrubbed him down in the world's fastest and bubbliest bath.  he had to suffer through a quick toweling and no lotion, but we made it out the door in ten minutes, clean and dressed and ... well, mostly in our right minds.

and my appointment?  i made it on time ;).

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

right now

(just read this cutest post over at polkadotsoup - so i'm copying.)

right now, i'm:

relaxing with a cup of coffee while my sick samjam sleeps

grateful for ziploc baggies and their diaper-sealing awesomeness

thinking of ways to organize and unclutter my teensy place

getting ridiculously excited about sam's birthday (BOTH sets of grandparents are coming, and possibly some birth family too - oh yes.  absolute awesomesauce.)

heart-glad for our kennedy - the little guy we sponsor through compassion canada - who sent us a photo of himself in his new birthday clothes, with his radiantly beautiful mama

enjoying the warmth of my fuzzy socks

chatting with my amazing sister in law

thinking i might have enough energy for a very toned-down workout tonight (the flu walloped me this weekend, and i'm still weak)

adoring my amazing husband who is at work, turning his mind & muscles into tangible love

wishing i had some stellar housecleaning music to listen to while i tidy - any suggestions?

loving this cute picture of my funny nugget:

sam's latest adorable habit - one sock off and one sock on!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

warm & squishy

dear sam:

tonight you cried out from your crib.  i went in to hug you and you snuggled up to me, sound asleep.  your papa slipped in behind me and wrapped his arms around the both of us.

it was the best moment of the year.

you are the dearest little sprout, and we love you.

ps if you are ever looking for me, you will find me securely wrapped around your little finger.  from now until you are one hundred and two.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


the world howling cold
(-39 with the wind chill)
i made a cup of tea.

it seemed so lonely
one cup of tea.

i wish i was sitting at your table, sister,
sharing a pot of chai
topped with frothy milk
and sprinkles of cinnamon

rummaging through our minds
pulling out things to laugh over
mull over.

i miss you, sister.
thank you for your steadfast love
and your tea.

tonight, i hope you are curled up happy
hugging the thin pottery close
filled with warmth.

I Am A Follower by Leonard Sweet (review)

I Am A Follower: The Way, Truth, and Life of Following Jesus, by Leonard Sweet

Summary: In this book, Sweet proposes that Christianity (particularly in the West) has errantly embraced an ethic of leadership.  He asserts that Jesus does not call us to be leaders, but followers.  He uses a metaphor of dancing to explore the nuance of what following means and looks like individually and collectively.  Sweet invites readers to look at the way of following, the truth of following, and living as follower(s).  This book points out the discrepancy between what Jesus calls us to do (follow) and what the Western church is focused on (leading).  In it, Sweet explores what following looks like, practically.

When I first started reading, I was surprised at Sweet speaking against the cult of leadership in the Western church.  Are we obsessed with leadership?  I hadn't really thought about it before.  It can't have been that prevalent if I hadn't noticed, right?
Then I started noticing.
I'd be downloading a sermon and notice ads for Leadership Training.
I prowled through the Christian bookstore and found a whole section on Leadership (no section on followership).
And I began to think Sweet was right.  We do subscribe to the idea that we're called to be leaders.  Even church overseers, he points out, are not called to be leaders - more like first followers.  Only Jesus is our leader.  We follow Him.  (Sweet refers to when Jesus told Peter to feed His sheep.  He was clearly calling them His - Jesus' - sheep.  Jesus is always our Shepherd.)

Things I liked: I liked the cultural assessment and commentary.  I think it's hard to see the holes and gaps in the way our culture inhabits scripture, and it's helpful to have them pointed out.  I found the writing fluid and the frequent quotations and excerpts apt.  At the end of each section, Sweet included Interactives, for further exploration of the ideas in the text.  (I would love to be part of a small group studying this book; as I was reading alone, I mostly skipped the Interactives.)

Things I didn't like: There were a few passages where I found the metaphor of dancing/following stretched a bit thin, and sometimes I felt like Sweet was leaning toward a flowery pie-in-the-sky vision of practical Christianity (if we could all just hold hands and dance, everything will be swell).

In conclusion: Perhaps the biggest strength of this book is Sweet's uncompromising insistence on pointing to Jesus.  Jesus is the way, the truth, the life.  Christianity isn't about politics, social justice, or discovering self.  What's it about?  Following Him.

**Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.**

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


today, a knock came at my door

just when i was least prepared for it.  half my hair pinned higgledgy-piggledy all over my head, the other half wild and unstraightened.  my forehead smeared with zit-cream.  sam playing in the tub; dry, contained.  dirty laundry on the floor.  toys everywhere.  a blow-dryer and straightener taking up the precious small counter space.  computer on.  book open.  bed (oh, thank heaven!) made, but covered with the spilled box of diapers.  teeth: unbrushed.

it was the repair man.  he's been in and out for months, dealing with a leak in our bathroom ceiling.

he always comes at bad times: nap time, bottle time, stinky diaper time.

i've given him our number time out of mind, and asked him to call before coming.  he keeps forgetting.

so he came and barged in to all the messiness

seeing me as i am (rumpled, dirty, harrassed, reluctant) and not as i like to be (smooth, clean, peaceful, welcoming).

seeing me frustrated, baby crying, hair undone, bathroom woefully untidy.  ugh.

why didn't he call?  does he think it's just okay to barge in?

i took sam into our bedroom and closed the door.  i cleaned, furiously, making faces at the bathroom.  grr. 

the door rattled closed, and God called to my heart. 
upset?  about being found in the messiness of living?   angry? about being intruded upon?   ashamed?  of the craziness?
yes, all three.

is that really what i build my day around?  the pretense?  is my sense of peace wound around such easily-upset things as the state of my hair and bathroom?

oh, i need a stronger foundation!
the strongest foundation i know: the God of eternity.  He does not change.  He is not surprised by leaks or repairmen.  He does not assess me based on my messy house or hair or unbrushed teeth.  He has made me - not to be a woman who pretends she has it all together, but a woman who can know Peace, even in the crazy jumbled-up messiness of life.

my heart cries for Him.  for peace.  the kind of peace that can answer the door with hair half-done, and say "please come in" and mean it.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

leaps and bounds

warning: this an entirely self-indulgent mommy post.

i just have to share.  my samjam is growing up so much.  we were playing away, when suddenly i realized he'd been walking most of the morning. 

he just took his first independent steps at christmas time, and now he's picking up his toys and walking across the living room like he's always done that.

*mind blown.*

other cute things he's doing these days:

kisses.  he loves to give tons and tons of drooly kisses.

looking at pictures of patrick online and laughing.

trying to blow raspberries on my belly.

leaping on pillows and burying his face in them when he's tired.

talking in his sleep.

eating like it's going out of style.

crawling really close, then looking up at me with the most winsome, heart-stealing smile.

singing to himself.

reading by himself.  (he almost always has the book upside down, and he studies it so intently.)

he's such a dear little chum!  i adore him, and thank God for him <3 .

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

meta for motherhood

the other day, one of my pregnant friends was feeling frustrated with all the conflicting advice and truisms adamant moms (and non-moms!) thrust on pregnant women.

her commiserating friends assured her: nothing can prepare you for motherhood.

i thought about all the books i have:  what to expect (and be terrified about ...).  girlfriend's guide to pregnancy (less applicable in my case, to be sure).  babywise (SO helpful.  but not able to prepare any expectant mom for motherhood.)

all the books i've read, borrowed, heard about have one thing in common.  they talk about events that might occur in pregnancy and parenting, like eclampsia and measles.  they talk about strategies for organizing, planning, sorting.

but no book tells you what motherhood is like.

i imagine that's because motherhood is impossible to pin down.  who could write an entire book that prepares someone for everything?

but i think that all these books i read miss something awesome.

the metaphor.

my favourite of all literary devices.  a little treasure that is, and is not, and is more than it is. 

my heart is a speeding train.  it is not actually a speeding train.  but in another feel-it-in-your-bones true sense, it is a speeding train, and saying it like that helps you understand what i mean more than any number of facts about beats-per-minute.

so: why this post?

i want parents to share their metaphors!  tell me what motherhood, fatherhood, is like. 

create metaphors, post them in the comments, share with me.

(and i'm not splitting hairs here.  similes are okay too.)

and as for me?  today i think that motherhood is like being sneezed on by someone you love.  very much.  who just ate oatmeal.


Sunday, January 1, 2012

twelve in 2012

happy new year!

in the last few minutes of 2011, i looked forward and made a list of 12 things i want to do in 2012.

some of them are silly (it's late), some are serious (i'm kind of grown up after all), but i want to do all of them.

in no particular order, here they are:

  • move out of our increasingly too-small apartment
  • lose 20 lbs.
  • take a class with Sam (i'm regretting this one already)
  • learn what a brisket is (i'm curious)
  • choreograph a song
  • read through the Bible again
  • send at least 12 pieces of snail-mail (that aren't required by the gov't!)
  • perform 12 random acts of kindness
  • make a theme for each month (first off, i'm thinking fresh for january.  either i'll clean a lot, or be insulting ...)
  • write a good short story
  • try 12 new things
  • have a monthly date-night (at least!)

so.  that's that!  now ... will i persist?  ask me again next year ... ;)