Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I've had three people now suggest that I keep a record of things I'm grateful for, so I'm going to give it a try. I really like this quote from John Milton that I found on Ann Voskamp's Gratitude Community blog page: "Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendental moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world." I think that's very true, so here goes...

I am grateful for:

1. Music and its mood-altering properties.
2. Calendars. I really love calendars.
3. English toffee-flavored instant cappuccino.
4. The ability to recheck library materials online.
5. Comfortable clothing.
6. Jewel-toned colors.
7. Hand-held yahtzee.
8. Trash can liners.
9. Lilac-scented air freshener.
10. Eavesdropping on a little boy's conversation with an imaginary friend.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Helping Jesus

Jett loves band-aids. Seriously, the boy got a box of Curious George band-aids for his three year-old birthday in August, because band-aids make him happy.

Yesterday, Jett and I were sitting at the table drinking hot chocolate when he told me, "Jesus loves me, and him have cuts."

I didn't catch the last word, so I said, "Yes, He does love us. He has what? Can you show me?"

He took me out to the play room where we have a picture of Jesus after the Resurrection and pointed to Christ's feet. "Him have cuts. Why?"

I explained to him that when Jesus died for us, He got the "owwies" in His hands and feet.

Jett's eyes lit up. "I want to share my George band-aids with Jesus."

Yesterday, I was having a really hard day. I haven't slept. Josh is sick again. We're having another little boy in February. I'm really not sure how I'm going to handle it all. I have been feeling really inadequate to the tasks set before me.

I've always been a "quiter." When something got hard or uncomfortable, I quit. Piano, violin, choir, colorguard, theatre, Latin--the list goes on... Right now, everything feels too hard and uncomfortable--being a mom, a writer, a Christian--but I can quit. These aren't just things I do; these are things I am.

I was having a panic attack last night. Thomas tried to calm me down, but I kept telling him, "I can't do a good enough job. It's too hard. I don't even want to try anymore."

He basically asked me, "What's a good enough job? You're raising a three year-old who wants to help Jesus, isn't that good enough?"

Jett had the idea of caring for our Lord because he saw Him in need (of George band-aids), and I have hope that as he grows, he will continue to care for "the least of these" in the name of Jesus.

We are the body of Christ. We have our purpose by being His hands or feet or whatever. We don't have to be good enough, or strong enough, or talented enough for whatever task He sets us to, because it is God who is fully capable of accomplishing the task. How cool is it that He wants to use us--broken, inadequate us--to help Him?

Thursday, July 9, 2009


This morning, a dear friend on her blog posted the question of what would you want God to let you know today. Several questions that sounded alot like accusations flashed through my brain. "Why" was not a good word for me to start my question with today. When I pushed through the shell of stupid indignation to the brokenness encased within me, the real questions floated up pretty easily.
"God, is my suffering for my own sake, or is it doing any good for anyone else?"
My thought was that if I suffered for my own sake, God could just keep it. I know "comfortable" is not exactly what I should be striving for, but it looks pretty good at the moment.
Immediately on the heels of that thought came the answer, to both questions, "Of course not." God's not using my suffering for my or anyone else's benefit at the moment, because I'm not letting him. I'm hoarding it, enshrouded in it, closed off.
I'm not using it as an opportunity to draw closer to God, to rely on His strength, to lean not on my own understanding, to grow, trust, have faith, learn, surrender, obey...
I believe that as the Body of Christ, we're all in this together--that I have a responsibility to let God use me to touch the lives of others with His love and care. I'm not doing so hot on that lately. I can see where I should be--even how to get there--but I won't open the little crack that will allow God to flood me with the grace I need.
Dumb, huh? It seems like it would be so easy. I float in my bubble of despair with God lapping against the walls I have erected. If I look out, I can see the eddies of His entreaties swirling against my barriers: this friend's overture, that scripture floating up unbidden, for goodness sake, my book is about this very problem, and it calls to me to release it from my mind and let it go out into the world for the sake of others.
Why in the world don't I want to?
I feel compelled to end this with some ray of hope. Hmmm. Well, at least I've written about it now. Maybe that's a step in the right direction?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

When One Door Closes...

Well, that which I most dreaded has come to pass. I'll get over it, but sometimes I wish God wasn't so generous in granting me opportunities to have to rely totally on Him since there is no way I could handle something on my own. I plan, and God laughs. :-p I'm considering getting Romans 12:1 tattooed somewhere I can read it often. More to come on this subject later.

In the good news category: Mindflights has accepted my short story "Insanity Purple" for publication. It should be published sometime in the next 18 months... My acceptance to submission ratio has jumped from 0/1 to 1/2. I'm pretty happy with that.

I started a bellydance class at the community center with my sister tonight. It was fun. I'm going to be sore--forget that, I'm already sore--but exercise is good.

It was a bad weekend, but the week is starting to look better...

Thursday, May 14, 2009


There’s a self-destructive tendency that lurks beneath my pain.
It whispers that it’s futile to seek shelter from the rain,
To plug the holes my hope leaks out as I spiral toward the drain.
To strive to leave the lowest places where life has left me lain.

Why, oh Lord, this wall that I must push through just to pray?
Why, oh Lord, this rain when I so need a sunny day?
Why, my Lord, if I follow you and try to do just as you say,
Why does this path You lead me on seem to be the hardest way?

What’s that? A voice? Within my heart, reaching through my vale of tears?
“My child, my own, I am here. Let my hold you through your fears.”
A tiny bit of fog lifts, drifts away and clears.
Yet the questions still remain even as the Answer nears.

I know if I let go, I’ll land
Safe within the Father’s hands
But I withhold myself with ransom demands,
I beg compliance with my manmade plans.

Those who love me, pray for me, for I find myself so weak.
I’ll not capsize, but go down slow--a hole, a wound, a leak.
If you know the words to aid surrender, please, I beg you speak.
Sometimes it’s tough to be brave enough to go forward being meek.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Jellybeans for breakfast

Hey, this is somewhat long but rather good--a going away speech by a Methodist preacher.
A good reminder not to be a lone ranger, which I've fallen into again over the long, dark winter.

You find all sorts of good things while researching (letter of commendation+medieval) for a book. I hope to hit the 40,000 word mark today, so I better get back to work.

Quick cute-kid tidbit: I was trying to throw away some of the over-abundance of Easter candy, but Jett found it before the trash went out. He pulled a jelly bean out of the shoebox beside the trashcan.
"What this, Momma?"
"A jellybean, sweetie."
"Why?" (of course)
"It's candy. Sugar."
"For Easter."
"Uhh, to make people happy."
Points at mouth. "It make me happy, Momma?"
Note to self: take out trash quicker in the future...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Yes or No

I understand it's a fallen world,
A broken thing not yet healed,
But we either contribute further fracture
Or anticipate fulfilment revealed.

"God wishes happiness for us."
Yes, but of a different sort.
Eternal joy in His presence.
Our time here is but short.

Here we might be called upon
To plow a rocky field.
Hand kept firmly to the task,
Purpose kept concealed.

We might be called to walk around
By others thought a fool.
But someday, the gates will fall
And all will know His rule.

We might be called to pick up a cross
And with heavy steps follow Him.
Christian life is a committment
Not a passing whim.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


"Mr. Lizard" laid an egg. Pictures and more to come when I don't feel quite so overwhelmed and exhausted. Two weeks till spring break. I think I can; I think I can...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Forty Days for Life!

Tomorrow marks the beginning of 2009's spring Forty Days for Life campaign.

Forty Days for Life started in Bryan/ College Station four years ago. Since then, it has expanded into an international, ecumenical movement that has saved the lives of at least 1128 babies. The purposes are to be a peaceful, prayerful presence at abortion clinics--to let women know that there are people who want to help them and their unborn babies--and to pray and fast for the intention of ending abortion.

Today's verse is:

"If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and forgive their sin and heal their land." -- 2 Chronicles 7:14

To participate, go to http://40daysforlife.com/getinvolved.cfm, and sign up to receive the daily emails. Each will have a specific intention for the day, a wonderful devotional, and updates about what God is doing through our efforts. Please pray to end abortion.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Artist's Danger

"It is the artist's danger
being master of the form,
to forget that he is poor,
to think he is the master of the invisible reality,
which this reflection represents."
--Sophia House, Michael D. O'brien

By no means do I consider myself a "master of the form," but forgetting I am poor is a major difficulty of mine. It is probably also why my novel is only about 28/50th of the way finished. I am trying to make it say too much. Reminding myself that whatever Truth my writing can convey is but a shadow of a fraction of the Truth is actually a relief. It is a relief to accept that my efforts will be inadequate; Truth cannot be contained. But, perhaps, for someone, the sliver of Truth my work reflects will be the one needed.

In other news: I have finally emerged victorious from my week-long battle with Influenza B. Thomas is still on antibiotics from strep, Josh for an ear infection, Kayleigh's going to miss school again tomorrow due to fever, Emberlyn's over her fever, and remarkably, Jett made it through the last two weeks in a sick ward unscathed. I can't wait for SPRING!
Bonus cute baby picture:
(What color are those eyes?)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Poems happen...

The stone digs deeper,
Harsh, abrasive
Scooping out a hollow,
Making a shell of what once seemed full.
Why a bowl?
I was happy as a lump of wood,
Waiting, formless.
Testifying to nothing but that I was,
And He who made me IS.
But, scoop, rub, scour, sand,
I am empty,
Waiting to be filled.
I will hold something greater than myself,
And pour it forth to those in need.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sisters' Room

I got the green light to start my next project on the house, so I am posting pictures of my last project, since I am now "done." (I may do up the inside of their closet and make a valance for the closet curtains, eventually.)

In the girl's room, I was originally going to do arctic animals in pajamas (like the storybook, God Gave Us You), so the wall colors are linden (blue), willow leaf (green), and violet evening (purple). The ceiling also is blue. However before I got around to doing anything other than painting the walls, I came across a coloring book with cute little fairy girls that looked like Kayleigh. I was inspired.

Here's what resulted:

First I free-hand drew the murals:
Then I painted:
(Thomas thinks this "during" shot portrays an odd skin condition.)
(don't these look like Kayleigh?)
Then I decided I needed new curtains to go with the bright colors:
Photobucket(old curtains)
Photobucket(new curtains)
Which inspired the border (which nearly killed me in the mathematical computations and meter-stick and pencil drudgery) but turned out nice:
My grandmother made the curtains and the dust ruffle on the crib (dollar bin fabric). I made the crib sheet. The nifty butterflies on the curtains were less than two dollars each at Hobby Lobby.
I had to buy the glitter paint for the wings and the glow-in-the-dark paint for the fireflies, but I had or mixed most of the other paint.
I painted the unicorn painting:
So, it was all pretty cheap. I did most of the painting during Jett's nap time, and it was fun.

I should do the boys' room next, but I'm not inspired yet. So, my next project is the bathroom. I get to buy a new vanity and sink! I'm so excited.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Frozen Buds

Well, I'm a real writer now. I've received my first rejection letter.

I'm not really surprised, and I'm not as disappointed as I expected to be. Maybe because my wisteria bush taught me a great lesson.

This time of year used to make me so nervous. I'd walk outside and stroke the soft fuzz on the swelling buds, knowing that a freeze would come. I'd feel bad for the plants, so full of promise, all of their effort wasted. Or so I thought.

In the lovely weather last week, I examined my pear trees and wisteria bush. I picked off a bud and marveled over the green and white interior. Silly plants, I thought, don't you know it's January? Your work will come to naught.

And then I paused. Well, what else should the plants be doing? They were designed to bud. That is what they are supposed to be doing. Even if the first, second, third times they stretch forth their efforts they thwarted, that is still what they should be doing. Growing is how their purpose is fulfilled.

So, yesterday when I got my rejection letter, today when ice coated my wisteria bush, I didn't feel bad. I know that we will keep doing as we are intended to do. In the doing is fulfillment.

In other news: it's a "snow day!" :-p Hooray for DH being home!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

End of the Week Update

Not a very exciting week with Thomas gone two days and the rest of us suffering varying degrees of illness, but I thought I'd at least brag on Josh. He was chosen by his teacher as a "Bobcat worth bragging about" because he's been working hard. He also had a good report card, strong in math and science.
Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Wooohoo!/ Poor Tired Kayleigh

I did it! I just used the telephone, all by myself, like a big girl! ;-)

In case anyone reading this doesn't know, I have a (self-diagnosed) phobia of calling anyone on the telephone.

Poor Kayleigh coughed herself to sleep last night, and then Emberlyn woke her up at 3:30, and I heard her singing the alphabet to herself for quite a while after I got Emberlyn back to sleep, so when she was fragile this morning and said she was too tired to go to school, I didn't argue. I just drove home and called her school to let them know she wouldn't be there.

I just picked up the phone and dialed. I didn't panic or rehearse for ten minutes what I needed to say, I just picked up the phone and took care of it! Giant pat on the back.

Sure, roll your eyes, but this was actually a big deal for me. :-)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

End of the Week Update

What's goin' on:

Mr. Lizard continues to thrive. We need to go to the pet store tomorrow to replenish his cricket supply. Did you know that you can buy cricket food to feed your lizard's food? Does that mean we (temporarily) keep pet crickets?

(emaciated newly caught anole becomes happy, healthy dragon!)
Alas, the spider died.
Thomas survived the first semester and is greatly relieved to have all the grades turned in. He is looking forward to the fresh start of next week and the chance to get away from the kids for a few days for a conference in Houston.
The kids have super energy lately. Jett busted his lip during their wildness last night. Poor guy.
I started an article on recycling. When I got serious about recycling this summer, I was curious about how much I was saving from the landfill. I saved a month's worth, just to look at it. I noticed that I got better and better at catching the recyclables so I saved the second month's recycling to compare it to the first. So, two months' worth of recycling has been taking up space in my garage for about four months now, and I'm finally ready to get this article out of my head.
And this recycling out of my garage.

AND... My friends who are adopting have their new baby in their arms!!! Thank you, God, for Baby Hanna.

Friday, January 16, 2009

I've been tagged.

My friend Jerri has tagged me in a blog game where you list six weird or random facts about yourself and tag six others to play along. Let's see...
  1. I think roast bison is delicious! I went on a mini-reenactment of the Louis and Clark expedition complete with an overnight canoe trip, sleeping in tipis, bison roasted over an open fire, etc. as part of a girl scout wider opportunity trip.
  2. As an infant, I was passed, to my mother's horror, through a donut shop's drive thru window because my dad wanted to show me off to the nice ladies who supplied his daily sugar fix.
  3. I really want to dye my hair purple. Concern about what the congregation would think if I showed up to proclaim the psalm with purple hair is the biggest obstacle.
  4. I cannot stand chalk. Can. Not. Stand it. (shudder)
  5. Though it's been years since I watched it last, I can still quote my favorite lines from Dances with Wolves in Lakota and Pawnee.
  6. I already knew I could read and do almost anything at the same time, but in college, I discovered that I can sing and write (fiction, an email, a 15 page paper that's due the next day) at the same time. Too bad I can't write and sleep at the same time...


Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I must admit... I've gotten a thrill of sadistic pleasure from watching my Jett-Jett pester his sister this morning.
Jett is an equal opportunity WHY-er. He'll spend just as much--if not more--time seeking answers from his siblings as he does from Thomas and me. Truthfully, I think it's good for all of them, which makes me question whether the incessant WHY-ing might be good for me as well.
"Read me now, Momma."
"Not right now, Sweetie. In a minute."
Hmmm. Why indeed. It's not like I don't know how wonderful it is that my two-year old wants me to read to him. It's not like my cup of coffee and email-checking needed to be done right that minute (well, the coffee thing is debatable). Why are my priorities what they are, and what should they be?
Why don't I want to hop to obey every whim of my children and would it be in their best interest if I did? Where is the line between caring for them and caring for myself so that I can better care for them?
Man, last night was an example. I was already down because the short story I (had hoped I) had written was not accessible enough to my target audience. I had been so excited to get the critique of my writers' group, fix any errors I missed, and send it off--my first submission for publication consideration--but then the fears lurking in the back of my mind were confirmed. It wasn't good enough.
I have a healthy self esteem--pride is the sin I struggle with the most--but I am hopeless when it comes to dealing with what other people think of me, so I was (devastated, crushed, (how do you do that strike-through thing to make a joke out of the words you didn't use?)) disappointed that my effort was not met with (-standing ovations-, -showers of roses-,) approval.
Anyway, I was already disappointed and then Emberlyn thwarted my efforts to get some much needed sleep. At 12:30, she claimed my attention needed to be focused on meeting her needs, not my own. I was not best pleased. In fact, I think I remember telling her I didn't want to deal with it.
Luckily, she hasn't learned the word WHY.
"To him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin." James 4:17.
So, yes, I read to the two-year old and soothed the fussy eight-and-a-half month old, even though it was not my will. But what about Romans 12:8c: "if you do works of mercy, let it be because you enjoy doing them."
I am not enjoying my assigned tasks. I am quite tired of dying to self. I want to be an admired, published author, not the exhausted, discouraged (no-identity-but-)mommy who had to change a stinky diaper, refill a cuppie, referee a fight over a blanket, and clean a spill during the course of writing a blog.
Why, Lord, Why?
Why can't I always get what I want?
How do I conform my will? Grace? Ask, and ye shall receive? Just keep doing the walking and wait for the will to catch up? Bear the cross of accepting it might not?
Am I supposed to accept that writing is not something I can do right now because of my other responsibilities? Is it vanity that I think I should be writing? That I desperately want to be writing?
Or is the answer that I'm not supposed to be doing so many works of mercy right now? Am I supposed to let others be disappointed that I cannot always hop to meet a need that I see?
I am quite sure that I would have benefited from being disappointed more earlier in life. I did not start learning the lesson that things didn't always go my way no matter how much effort I put into it until college (Latin 1300, to be exact), so I still struggle with accepting that there are things I can't do. I think it's good for my children not to always get what they want.
I also think that I do need something that is mine. A refilling so that I am able to continue pouring myself out. I am also grateful for the example of a friend: that a quiet time with God is something that is we are built for and are unfulfilled without. I think I'll start making that a priority, and see if everything else doesn't fall into place. There! A commitment to put on my own breathing mask before assisting others.
I'm also going to go make a fresh cup of coffee and finish checking my email.
Why? Because Jett is busy asking Kayleigh "WHY?"


Friday, January 9, 2009

Sure Paths

Today, it's been hard to keep walking, to place one foot in front of the other knowing the end is neither closer nor farther than it always is.
I've mulled the inanity of placing my diatribe on no-children-at-weddings right after my earlier post on my two-year old striping at a public event. Lol, my only defense is that it is easier with two child wranglers.
Today, I took the younger three to a meeting of moms at a burger joint with a playscape. My babies were angels. I hope they're that good for my mom tomorrow.
The meeting of moms wasn't really my thing. Being such a quiet person, it was hard for me to get a word in edgewise.
It's funny how God works, though. I've been praying for God to send me a friend, a woman-mentor, an accountability partner, and He has.
In droves.
Today I found another one. I'm having trouble keeping up with my suddenly and unexpectedly resusitated social life. But it's a good thing.
What I didn't expect from finding women who could help me in my journey was the awareness that I also have things to offer to these women. And while I haven't found what I guess I expected (the perfect person to meet my needs), what I found was even better. Because seeing the parts spread among the Body has pointed me back toward the Head. The only perfect fulfillment of my needs is found in God.
So when I have trouble placing one foot in front of the other, I'm grateful to have hands to hold, and I know that we are all held in the palm of His hands.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I'm procrastinating from working on my novel, so I thought I'd at least do something productive.
It's a new year. 2009! I can barely believe it. Ten years of Thomas and me being a couple. Almost ten years since we graduated high school.
One of our good friends from high school is getting married this weekend. We gave him a hard time about not coming to our wedding six and a half years ago, so we feel like we have to go to his wedding even though we haven't seen much of him in the years since he got a traveling job.
It will be an interesting trick--our attendance--because you see, kids are dis-invited.
The wedding chapel is a small venue, and we are supposed to "enjoy our 'night off' in their company." I wonder if--as another friend speculated--the dis-invitation was worded with our family in mind. I can understand not inviting kids you don't know to take up space (though I wish I could bring Emberlyn--a lap child dependant on me for food), but I would rather not have been invited at all so that a closer family could have brought their children to the celebration. To us, marriage is the creation of a new family, so it seems weird to us not to allow other families to come. Also, the implication that we should be excited about a "night off" bothered me. For sure, there are days I would love a night off, but someone else telling me it will be great to ditch my kids for a night just rubs me wrong, expecially because I know our friend thinks we have too many kids.
I'm afraid the dis-invitation is symptomatic of a larger problem: the failure to recognize the role of children in a Christian marriage. At a Catholic wedding, one of the vows is to lovingly accept children. We recognize that receiving children is a chance to grow in holiness and is the natural fruit of marraige. I wish I dared give them Kimberly Hahn's book, Life Giving Love: Embracing God's Beautiful Design for Marriage. I don't know why I don't. Maybe I think it is better to be in ignorance than to reject truth. Maybe I recognize that the truth is hard and I don't want to burden them with something I too struggle with.
Anyway, I'm dreading leaving my babies, especially Emberlyn. She and I will both be unhappy. :-(