Saturday, September 30, 2006

Some Faith Quotes

I'm in the middle of reading Philip Yancey's Reaching for the Invisible God, and these are some quotes he uses that struck me. I find myself here with these questioning saints- I trust God, but I live with doubt. This world is sin-sick, and heavy with suffering. At times I want to believe that no God would allow us to sink so low in the mire of our own sin, but since God believes it is more important for us to have free will than for us to have freedom from pain and suffering, I will choose to believe He knows what He's doing. Christian faith means conforming to God's will whatever comes.

"Don't expect faith to clear things up for you. It is trust, not certainty." Flannery O'Connor

We will always, with Pascal, see "too much to deny and too little to be sure..."

"It is not as a child that I believe and confess Jesus Christ. My hosanna is born of a furnace of doubt." Fyodor Dostoevski

"I have served in the ministry thirty years, almost thirty-one. I have come to understand that there are two kinds of faith. One says if and the other says though. One says: "If everything goes well, if my life is prosperous, if I'm happy, if no one I love dies, if I'm successful, then I will believe in God and say my prayers and go to the church and give what I can afford." The other says though: "Though the cause of evil prosper, though I sweat in Gethsemane, though I must drink my cup at Calvary- nevertheless, precisely then, I will trust the Lord who made me." So Job cries: "Though he slay me, yet will I trust Him." George Everett Ross

It Snowed Today

Yes, you read that right. It snowed today. It started out with a light rain, graduated to sleet, and finished off with big fluffy snowflakes. Beautiful, big snowflakes. Probably won't stick (Alaskan for "stay the whole winter"), but still it was definitely snow out there.

I'm not ready. Not ready for winter- for snow till next April, for the cold and the dark... It doesn't normally start snowing here until October, so this is a little early, but we had such an odd, wet, cool summer that I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Usually the snow starts sticking about mid-October, right before my Birthday- October 21st.

Fall up here is gorgeous. Fairbanks is down in a valley, so the hills come alive with all the colors of fall- reds, greens, yellows, oranges. It's incredible. But the whole time you know what's coming....

My friend April had this great analogy- You know the scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark where they open up the ark? Where they're standing around the open ark and these beautiful angels come flying out, and suddenly the angels become these death-mask ghost/skeleton things and rip everybody's face off? That's like Fall up here. It's beautiful, gorgeous, amazing. Then comes winter and it rips your face off. (Thank you, April)

Winter brings temperatures below -30 F, snow and ice till next April/May (it normally snows on Easter up here), dark for about 18 hours a day (I'm not exagerating), worrying about heat bills, worrying about your car freezing up and dying while you buy groceries or go out to eat, worrying about your kids getting frost-bite... Yup, winter comes and it rips your face off.

So, about the beautiful snow we had today- Lovely, but way too early!!! Wuh-lah. (Sirevaag for "this is really sad, I'm crying now")

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Jake's Bad Day at Work

Although my husband, Jake, doesn't keep his blog up at all, he is very active on an on-line discussion board, called He posts as starry host, and has about 80 posts over there. This is one of his about a day at Fred Meyer. It's so funny and so awful, I just had to share it.

Today I was sent out to our store's gas-station to relieve the Person-In-Charge (P.I.C.) for her break.
As I entered the station from behind, I wasn't greeted with "Hello," but with "Have you ever worked out here before?"
"Yes, Ma'am," I said.
"Who trained you?"
"I don't remember." I said.
Her negative attitude only increased.
Unfortunately, I have a VERY bad habit of laughing when under stress.
She said "You think this is funny?"
I tried to regain my composure and then started laughing. I LMAO!

She was terribly angry and stormed out, telling my P.I.C. on the way that I was a very rude employee and should be disciplined. By the time she returned I had one troublesome transaction in process and she went off about my lacksadaisical work ethic.

As if this weren't enough, I had to recover some merchandise from a trailer in the back-40 of our property for a customer. It was decided by myself and the freight crew that I should just take the forklift and unload the product the easy way. Unfortunately, the gravel surface upon which the trailer was parked didn't long hold up under the weight of my 14,000 pound forklift's teeny tires and I became mired. The entire freight crew came out to laugh at me and then proceeded to bring out another forklift to rescue me. Unfortunately, (again) the rescuer became mired and the whole thing began again.

To shorten the story, three chains, two 20 foot towing straps, one company van, one employee's truck, and a tractor-trailer later we had the two forklifts freed (did I mention the 2.5 hours of time four employees spent scratching their heads & risking their lives and the roughly 30 minutes 6 employees spent mocking our endeavors?).

That was my day. How was yours?

The Whole World

Deborah & I were singing "He's got the whole world in His hands" after lunch a couple of days ago, and she didn't want to stop singing when we got to the end of the song. So we were making up extra verses (which we do frequentlywith different songs)- "He's got Deborah & Abigail..., He's got all of the trees..., He's got all of the houses..., He's got all of the water..., He's got all of the cars..., He's got all of the mommies..., He's got all of the daddies..., He's got all of the babies..., (if all that isn't profound in a child-like sort of way, you're missing out on how awesome God is...)

And then we sang "He's got all of the food in His hands" and for some reason this really struck me as profound. I had just been reading about Dr. Paul Brand (he's the guy who discovered that Leprosy really only destroys the nerve endings and then all the damage from leprosy comes with not being able to feel, not knowing you need to close your eyes, not knowing you're stepping on fire or touching stuff that's ripping your hands apart...). I was reading about how he gave his life away, lived like the people he ministered to, how his work has given people back the lives they had lost to leprosy.

Anyway, Dr. Brand is this amazing doctor who gave his life to medical mission work in places like India where children still starve to death, and die from things like ear infections and cuts that get infected. So, I was already thinking about how lucky and blessed I am even though we have so little money right now and we're living with my mom.

And God reminded me that I have plenty of food- even though I sometimes complain about what we can afford, and that Abigail can only eat a limited amount of food; and I miss things I used to be able to do, like go out to eat once a week. We still have plenty of food- we have food in the cupboard and in the refrigerator. We eat three meals a day.

And God reminded me how about half of the world doesn't have plenty of food, and that really the biggest reason is that we who are Christians aren't doing all He intended. All the food in the world is in His hands- In a very real sense we are His hands. We are His plan. We are all that He chooses to use to do His work. The food, the resources are in His hands, but we who are his hands and feet here on earth are not doing all we can (going without sometimes, making steady financial contributions, working in food shelters sometimes...). In fact, we eat more than we really need, we let food sit... We use more resources than we really actually need, and people are starving.

I'm not saying "eat all the food on your plate, 'cuz children in Africa are starving." (I think that's kind of stupid.) What I am saying is that I have no excuse not to be sharing my time and money to help people who don't have food, and I want to teach my children to share what God has given them. I think the best way to teach them is to do it with them. For them to see me practically working out my faith and giving what God has given me...

God, help me do something with this thought. I want to be your hands and feet. I want to share you with other people, and I believe that you care about practical needs like a lack of food. Show me something practical I can do.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Deborah's demerol

So, today was the first time my baby girl had an IV and was injected with demerol...

Deborah had her third ear tube surgery today- (ear myringotomy, for those curious). Except this time they also did an adnoidectomy, which means her overly-large adnoids were preventing her ears from draining, which means ear infection after ear infection... I'm SO ready to never do this again!

My Mommy heart flips out every time that scrub-dressed nurse walks away with one of my girls... I didn't sleep at all last night for fretting over the whole thing, which is sad 'cuz it doesn't do even a wee bit of good to fret or worry. Our doctor's excellent and God is in control.

So, she's home now eating jello & popsicles and doing fine- a little cranky & lethargic, but still fine. And she'll be hearing us clearly again now. She's been talking VERY loudly and not understanding what we say to her. I do not want her to get behind in her language skills- While this is unlikely considering how much she talks (almost nonstop) & how advanced her vocabulary is (she's three & correctly using words like similar, dictionary, expensive & request), it's still a concern.

Thank you God for my precious baby girl. Please take care of her and heal her ears & throat quickly. Don't let me take her for granted, but please help me not fret so much about things! You are good. Thank you for reminding me that you love her even more than I do.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Dinner as Torture

Last night I found myself saying to my three year old daughter, "Deborah, this is not torture! It's dinner!"

It's hard to say who was being tortured... me, for trying to get her to eat something or her, with her dramatic this-food-is-horrible over-acting. She ended up in a time-out half-way through her meal for her behavior- dramatically throwing herself about in her chair, crying loudly... I asked Jake, Beth, and my mom if the food was really that bad, and all of them told me they loved it. Sometimes I really can't blame her for not wanting to eat what's in front of her, but last night I prepared something I know she typically eats- a chicken stir fry with carrots, broccoli, and water chestnuts. She loves the water chestnuts, or crunchies as she calls them, but last night she was having nothing to do with it. She's almost a vegetarian, but I can normally get her to eat three or four bites of chicken or other kind of meat, but not last night...

I have a picky eater. My doctor wants me to call her a choosy eater, not picky. However, I've got to say I just find her picky... Are there many three year olds that aren't? Most days aren't bad, but about every three or four days we have a sad three year old who just wants to drop through the floor.

I am completely in favor of bribing her. I don't care what people say. I bribe her with desert regularly (like ice cream or popsicles), so that she will eat the rest of her meal (in particular, her chicken or beef). She's surprisingly good at eating her veggies and pasta, potatoes or rice. It's only through the power of the bribe that we get her to eat her meals some days. I'm actually not worried about her getting too fat. (that's the concern most doctors express, because so many kids are obese now.) She's just not even remotely close to that.

Anyway, I'm hoping for some torture-free days... They're better.

Addition to Jake

What kind of car would Jake be? something very functional with a fun quirk... Definitely European... I don't know much about cars, though... Maybe a bright yellow Rabbit?
What kind of store? two options here- either a hobby store, with model airplanes, small woodworking tools & little pots of paint, etc. OR a locally owned hardware store with lots of different tools, copper tubing, fun electrical stuff, bows and arrows, etc.
What book genre? I kind of already answered this, but last time I said what he liked... What he feels most like is a How To Manual. Not the Woodworking- for-Dummies type series. A good serious approach for beginners in how to do something. Jake is forever taking things apart to see how they go together... I don't mind this except sometimes he doesn't put 'em back together...

Sunday, September 24, 2006

What's Jake like?

There's a get-to-know-you game I've played with my drama classes and my youth groups. It's less about facts & what they like and more about their atmosphere, what they feel like. You send somebody (the guesser) out of the room and choose a victim, then the guesser comes back and asks questions trying to figure out who the victim is. I thought I'd try it here with my husband. So, here it is- this is what Jake feels like to me.

What color is he? blue
What flower is he? a daisy
What room in a house? a family room
What fragrance? something good baking in the oven- perhaps chocolate chip cookies, or pumpkin pie
What music? good acoustic guitar with a bass & drum
What kind of books? science magazine/ cpu (computer) mag./ astronomy college text / biography (yes, this one is more about what he likes)
What kind of chair? a comfortable lazy-boy, a little worn in, but it's got lots of years left

Friday, September 22, 2006

Facts about Abigail

Abigail is 1 year old and her birthday is August 31st. She was born at 11:59 p.m., one minute before midnight and I was in labor with her for about 36 hours. Sounds terrible, but I actually got to sleep for about six hours while in labor on the night before she was born...

She has blue eyes and curly light blonde hair. She is a bit chubbier than her sister was, (neither of my girls are what anybody would really call chubby or big, they're just both tall. Deborah was always in the 80th-95th percentile for height and Abigail is hanging around the 80th, which means only 20 out of about 100 kids are taller than her) and is already wearing 18 months clothes because her tummy sticks out of the 12 months clothes. She has an infectious belly laugh and loves to shake her head back and forth, like she's saying "no, no, no, no, no", which makes us all laugh at her. She puts her head on the floor with her bottom up in the air while standing on her toes, which also makes us laugh at her. She has a very silly streak and loves to repeat over and over things that make us laugh.

Abigail sings to herself and has since she was about a month old. If I didn't sing a lullaby to her while rocking her, she would start humming a one or two note song. My mom started using "Away in a Manger" as her night-time song, and this one is still the guaranteed-she'll-go-to-sleep song. She wakes up very slowly and kind of talks/sings to herself quietly in the morning. She likes to be cuddled for about 10 minutes when I take her out of her crib, and she often brings her puppy or bear out of bed with her and hugs it for awhile.

If she could get away with it, she would NEVER sleep, and she probably only needs 10-12 hours of sleep in a 24 hour day, which is unusual, VERY hard to deal with & very frustrating/wearing/wearying. We actually are working with our doctor to give her a low dose of benadryl at night so that she goes to sleep a little earlier. She was going to sleep around 3 or 4 a.m., which was KILLING me. Now she goes to sleep around 11 p.m., and wakes up around 9:30. Her sister sleeps about 12+ hours and I had no idea what a blessing that was until Abigail was born...

Abigail is allergic to a whole host of stuff (oats, milk, soy, apples, potatoes, sweet potatoes), and we're still discovering new food allergies. Her most frustrating allergy is to diaper wipes. What this means is that we either use paper towels or wash out the diaper wipes you buy in the store. (probably more detail than you wanted) She likes sucking on the outside of my sister's cold cans of Diet Coke, and sometimes I'll pull one out of the refrigerator and let her play with it.

Abigail is very persistent, stubborn and determined like her sister. We will keep pulling her out of some kind of trouble and trying to distract her, but she will return and return and return to the same thing that got her in trouble. (Again, I have to say we're not exactly sure where this character trait is coming from.... Both of her parents are very easy-going, laid-back type people....)

She loves books and will sit and read on her own, but really prefers being read to by her mama or Grammy. We have several developmentally appropriate toys for her, but she pretty much always prefers to play with what her big sister's got... My mom will give her catalogs that come in the mail, 'cuz she loves to rip them up (I'm not sure this is such a great habit for her, but oh, well...)

Abigail has a little bit more than 10 words: Mama, No-no, Uh-oh, Hi, up, Mine, nose, stars (Gerber snack food), Una (my cat Luna), Nana (my sisters cat Mnemosene, called Nene). I think she's calling Jake Dada, and I think she's calling my mom Nana, but these are infrequent and fairly unvarified. She knows a lot more words than she can actually say, though.

She is a climber and has freaked us out more than once with her prowess. We've caught her up in the window sill (above the couch), and standing on the arms of the couch or chair in the living room or high up on the gates barring the stairs...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

POEM: A Place

This is another poem for my sister, Beth.

A Place

I wish
Depression was a place
cold and dark
where people lived alone
barred up
in shrunken gray houses
no windows or doors,
where silence
was only broken with muted cries
and no other sound
touched air and took flight.

I wish
Depression was a place
laden with the fetid smell of salt
and stunted dreams,
where twisted naked trees
blocked light
from narrow winding roads.

Because if Depression was a place
I could go there,
I could take your hand, your arm
drag, pull, fight, free
you from there,
I could take you with me,
to the bright air and the sun and the music,
to fly, to soar, to laugh.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Addition to Facts about Deborah

I left out one of Deborah's most important character qualities!

Deborah is EXTREMELY stubborn, single-minded, and determined. There are times when absolutely nothing will persuade her that her chosen course of action is not correct. We have absolutely no idea where this quality came from, since neither her Daddy nor her Mommy are stubborn in this manner. We are both very easy to get along with and can be easily persuaded of a better course of action. So strange that this incredibly strong-willed child was born to such easy-going parents...

POEM: Where?

In 2000, my sister was hospitalized on suicide watch. She has lived with "major depressive disorder" for much of her life. I don't always know how to deal with the reality of her life. I've written a couple of poems about her. This is one of them.


the day in December
we walked on the beach,
felt the wind
on our cheeks,
in our hair,
our lungs.
sand in our shoes so
you took out your drawing book,
told me to go walk.
I looked back at you.
You were smiling,
hand darting on the paper.

Where did you go?
Where does sadness eat laughter?
Now you dwell in a dark cave,
sleeping life away.
Where did you go?

I look at the photos of that day
see my little sister,
a figment fading from view,
replaced with the sleeping
drugged creature in my basement.
Was the sadness behind your eyes?
I didn't know.
I didn't see.
How could I have missed it?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Facts about Deborah

Deborah is 3 years old and was born on May 25th.
Her favorite color is pink. Her favorite food is cheese, although she has a thing for cookies, brownies, and chocolate. Her next favorite food is pasta.

Her eyes are blue, and her hair is light brown. She has been in the 80th-95th percentile in height for her age since she was born. She is consistently mistaken for a year older than she is because she's tall, articulate and
talks a lot.

Right now, she is talking too loud on top of being an unending fountain of words. We just took a hearing test and found out she's having problems hearing... We saw the ear, nose and throat doctor today and she's up for ear tubes again next week. Plus, this time they're talking about taking out her adenoids. (Yup, Mama's freaking out...)

She sings and makes up her own songs. One of my favorite stories about her: About a week after her baby sister was born, Deborah took her little guitar, sat down on the floor in front of Abigail and made up a song for her. It went basically like this: "Abigail, Abigail, I love you, I love you, Abigail, Abigail, Abigail, Abigail, I love you."

She hates wearing socks and pulls them off the instant we get home.
She loves bubble baths and playing with toys in the water.
She loves building tents in the living room with big blankets and small pieces of furniture. They are forever falling down, and we all get tired of trying to help her put them back together.
Sheloves having her picture taken and delights in us finding a cute moment to photograph. (we don't have a digital camera right now and we tend to stock up on exposed film and get it all developed at the same time. Yes, we are pathetic)

She plays "I spy" when we go on walks, but often gives away the item when we are guessing. (no, Mama, it's not the flower, it's the house!) She loves taking walks and going to the two playgrounds in our neighborhood, and we try to take a walk every day or every other day. (I'm dreading the really cold weather.)

She loves learning- we are working on a pre-school book together with numbers, letters, matching items, and grouping objects, and she loves it. I have to slow her down and limit her to only 4 to 6 pages a day.
She loves books! She loves storytime at our library (the one for 3-5 year olds) and I hate it when we can't make it. They sings short songs, read stories and play music games. She loves reading on her own and making up stories to the pictures. She loves being read to by anybody- her mom, Dad, Grammy, Auntie Beth- anybody.

She loves playing dress-up, pretending to be either a Mommy or a baby, and playing party with her dishes and pretend food. If we let her, she'd probably spend a couple of hours in front of the tv every day, however, we've limited her to 2 half hour shows a day. Right now, she loves Berenstain Bears the most, but she enthusiastically will watch Between the Lions, Dora, Sesame Street, Mister Rodgers, Teletubbies (which her mother despises), and Winnie the Pooh. Her favorite long movie is Mary Poppins, although The Aristocats are a close second.

We have to be REALLY careful what she watches 'cuz she has terrible nightmares from rather innocuous things. One of the worst recurring nightmares was caused by a purple giraffe in a board book I picked up at a garage sale...


I did my last audition last Saturday and I'm in! It's for a fundraiser for Fairbanks Light Opera Theatre (FLOT). It's called Showcase something or other, and has about 10 or 12 singer/actors in it. We'll do a Christmas performance and then a Spring one next March or so. It involves about 6 group numbers and then solos, duets, trios... Very light rehearsal schedule. 2 or 3 hours on Saturdays, which is perfect for a Mommy who can't really afford a babysitter. Anyway, God has given me something to do all Winter!! Wasn't that kind of Him? I thought the audition was just for the Christmas performance and had no idea it would qualify me for the Spring one, too. Pretty cool.

Church Search

We haven't attended church in the last two weeks... Even though we've been given the name of a church that we both think we'll probably like, we haven't gone.

It feels like we're trying to push this huge enormous SUV-sized rock out of a crevass to get to church... to visit some church where we don't know anyone... to put on the smiley face of the happy shiney Christian...

I asked Jake why it's so hard. He said it's just so much work.getting up and getting ready and going someplace we don't know anyone... I admit he's been sick for the last month. (What is it about men? Why will they never go to the doctor? Even if I make an appointment for him, he generally just doesn't show up... Is it about admitting that you have something wrong? or noticing that something's wrong? What is going on in your brains? In the 2nd year we were married he got sick, and just got sicker and sicker and kept working and finally he ended up with pneumonia, laying in bed for almost a month with our doctor threatening hospital time...)

And he said it feels like he's no longer blessed. I think I know what he means. I don't know if I can explain this... But I'm going to try. Since getting serious with God at the age of 17, I've felt His presence. I'm not talking about some touchy-feely weird spiritual type thing. It's more like my heartbeat. When I put my finger on my pulse, I feel it there. When I exercise or run, my pulse gets faster and stronger. Sometimes the Holy Spirit living inside me is louder & clearer- when I'm reading my Bible, when I'm singing "amazing grace" in church, when I read something like Philip Yancey's "What's so Amazing about Grace?"... But that pulse, that sense of God's presence is ALWAYS there.

Right after we left the church, after this whole mess happened with the pastor, I couldn't sense that pulse. Like God was silent. Like He was gone. What I had to keep reminding myself during that time is that He is always there. Even when I can't sense Him. I LOVE reading the Psalms and realizing that even the "man after God's own heart" went through times when He couldn't feel God, when He felt abandoned- "How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?" Psalm 13:1 While I was questioning Him, He seemed so quiet... I had to try and see Him in the things around me, the faces of family & friends, the small graces in a day.

Anyway, Jake is having problems in his job right now- and I think he feels abandoned. Things are feeling pretty dark to him right now. Like God has removed His presence, His blessing from his life. And the search for a church is tied up in this dark cloud. So, we'll see how next Sunday goes...

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Deborah devoured

Last night, we all went out to eat- all six of us- My mom, sister, husband, and both girls. So Jake & Deborah (our three year old) ended up in the way back of my mom's Dodge. On the way home they were playing around and being silly.

Suddenly Deborah yells, "I was just eaten by a daddy!" Oh, she was so upset! Almost hysterical. We're all trying not to laugh at her, 'cuz she's in tears and wailing. She goes, "I'm all gone! He ate me all up! I'm all gone!" To get her calmed down he started pretending to take the bites back out of his mouth and put them back on her- putting the bites back on her neck and legs and tummy... putting her all back together again.

The imagination of a toddler is a powerful thing. Don't mess with it.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Babies & Marriage

Babies are rough on a marriage relationship.

If your marriage relationship isn't going so well and you're thinking maybe a baby would magically fix it, you're wrong. If you're marriage relationship is kind of blah and you're thinking a baby is the thing you're missing, you're dead wrong. Anything wrong in your relationship with your spouse will only get magnified by children. Even if your marriage was perfect, a ten out of ten, you're going to hit some rough spots with the addition of kids.

Kids make any financial problems worse- Did you know it can cost about $60 a month for diapers?! And baby formula?! Yikes. Abigail's formula is special, I admit, so it costs more- we would spend a little more than $200 a month on her formula if we didn't qualify for some assistance. Plus there's clothes (they grow out of their clothes faster than you can find new ones, and the prices for something made out of less than a quarter of a yard of fabric are ridiculous)...

Kids make time problems worse- You want to spend time with your husband alone, but there's always a baby in between you, quite literally. Household chores have to be shoved into time frames when a child isn't crying or needing to be fed or needing to be changed or just needs to be played with for a bit. You have to take stuff with you whenever you leave the house- diapers, formula, bottles, cups, extra clothes. And packing that bag takes time... It takes me about a half hour extra if I take my girls with me to the grocery store.

Kids make every household chore bigger- more dishes, more trash, more laundry, more messes... How do you divide this stuff? Everybody ends up feeling like they have the short end of the stick.

Kids make sleep scarce (even when they're three they get nightmares) which means you end up on the raw edge of sleep deprivation, which makes everything much bigger- annoyances are bigger, anger is bigger, depression is bigger, offenses are bigger.

Discipline- Even if you've talked this scarey subject over and agreed on how you're going to deal with stuff, there are always exceptions to the rule (she's hungry & crashing and throws a temper tantrum, which you would normally deal with by giving her a time out, but since she's hungry her tantrum is bigger and just gets worse the longer she waits till eating). One of you wants to stick to your guns, the other wants to bend...

My girls are precious to me. I cannot even begin to describe the joy and delight they are to me. I do not want to "return them to their sender". But there are times when I long for the years when it was just Jake and me alone in our apartment. Our arguments were clearer, less muddy. There was less at stake- now we've got two babies depending on us and our decisions. We've got to make the right choices the first time because we won't be the only ones paying for our mistakes. Kids are forgiving, more than I believed they would be, but they are worth trying to make the right choices, trying to put the right time in.

God, thank you for my girls. They are an amazing gift- they bring such joy and laughter! To be given the gift of children when I didn't think I'd ever have any is so amazing. I don't want to take them for granted. Thank you. Please help me be the best Mommy I can be. Please help me put my relationship with Jake first. I don't want to lose him in the midst of diapers and library time and dishes. If I've got You first, and Jake second, and then the girls, it's going to work out.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Babies & Messes

My one year old is learning to feed herself. What a mess! She enjoys putting the food in her mouth as much as on the floor. And she loves swirling her fingers around on her tray and then wiping the food in her hair... I don't think it's on purpose. She just loves the way it feel between her fingers, I think.

Abigail seems to be the black hole of all of her parents allergies. She's allergic to oats, milk, soy, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, apples, probably blackberries... Who knows what else... We're hoping she grows out of some of it. We've had to add food REALLY slowly, one every week or two. She's eaten a lot of bananas and pears. In the last two weeks we've finally passed the test of wheat and eggs. Yay! Those two would've been really bad... We've got a friend who goes into anaphylactic shock if he's in the room and you COOK with eggs. Can you imagine?

Friday, September 08, 2006

Anti-Depressant Anyone?

I have been feeling incredibly down and blue and sad and depressed (more adjectives?) lately, and just couldn't get out of it. I've been asking God for help... just help to get out of feeling so hopeless. While the reasons were real, my attitude felt out of control.

And now I have to tell everyone the ways that God has helped me...

- a phone call from a dear friend in Texas(Sharla), and getting to connect with her about ministry and life. To be reminded that God does have a plan for every life even when we can't see it.

- another phone call from the same friend (Sharla), plus two others (Melissa & Glenda)! To be reminded of the value God places on creativity, and all the different ways that God uses His artists.

- a dinner with the BCM minister from UAF, his wife, and their kids. We talked about a new church plant up here that we might be able to help start, and a church that we will be visiting this Sunday. To be encouraged that we might get to do what we love soon, plus we've needed someplace to visit that might really be a place for us.

- my husband has helped me with two household chores (trash and dishes, which I hate more than almost anything in the world, except maggots, shots, & eating fish).

-a dinner out with just Jake and the girls, which means two nice things: I didn't make it! and we got to be our own little family! Plus we went to Pioneer Park, and rode the little train around the park, and rode the carousel, and played on the playground equipment. To be reminded of how special my little family is and how much I enjoy them.

-I read a really good just-for-fun book (Smoke and Mirrors, by Tanya Huff) and finished it off on the same day I started it. (pure escapism)

-the chance to audition for two productions in town. Even if I don't get a part, (I know I didn't in one of them for sure) it was fun!

-a regular doctor's appointment to follow up on my blood pressure (still messed up from toxemia when I was pregnant). My blood pressure was excellent! (112/70) My weight was down 5 lbs! (still losing 2nd baby weight) Plus, I told her I haven't been sleeping-
she asked me how everything was going-
I said well, not great-
She asked me how I like winters up here-
I replied that I hate them, plus we were supposed to have moved out before this year's winter, and I don't want to be stuck here for another winter-
she asked me how I felt about an anti-depressant-
I said I had been on one before this last pregnancy, but was taken off because of my blood pressure-
And then she gave me a prescription for an anti-depressant, which I've started this week, and it's helped some, and will help more!

I'm sure there are more ways God helped me that I don't even know about. I just wanted to say God is good! He has answered my prayers in a real and tangible way. Since it doesn't always happen that I see His response it was very kind of Him to make His answer so solid and clear this time.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Ode to PB & Chocolate

I love Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Love them, love them, yes, I do.

What makes this particularly fun/ironic/weird is that I'm probably allergic to peanuts. Not definitely (like death & taxes), but probably. As in, I've taken some pieces of evidence (such as: headache if I eat too many, stomach-ache if I eat them without something else, my Mom's VERY allergic to them, cravings for peanut butter) and come to the conclusion that it is highly probable I'm allergic to peanuts.

Which takes me back to my passion for Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Or, as I have recently discovered- Reese's Peanut Butter Bites. Such a lovely invention. Little peanut butter balls wrapped in chocolate. Yum.
(Don't even get me started about the special Reese's Easter eggs- more peanut butter, more chocolate- more yum.)

Now, my husband would devour an entire bag of the Bites in two days. Which would have me sick as a dog. Instead, as far as I am concerned the lovely thing about them is that I can have 4 or 5 a day and just get a mild headache that lasts a couple of hours. Aren't I sick?? What on earth drives me to eat these things knowing I will be cranky and have a headache for 3 hours?? They taste good- (okay, better than good, wonderful, sinful, excellent) yes, they taste very good, but something else must be driving this train.

A passion for peanut butter, a chocolate craving... Got to work on this... There has got to be some way to eat these without getting a wicked headache. Got to be.

Sunday, September 03, 2006


We slept in this morning. I asked Jake if he wanted to visit a church at 9:30 and he kind of grunted at me...

In the last six weeks we've attended church twice. I find myself very quick to add that we've all been really sick two Sundays of the six and we wouldn't have taken our kids to any nursery on those days. And the two times we did visit a church were the weeks of bad nurseries and nobody saying hi to me...

The thought of visiting a church right now makes me a little nauseous... I hate going any place where I don't know anybody. I hate handing my kids over to people I don't know and trusting them to care for them. I hate smiling at people I don't know and telling them generic little bits of my story. I hate wearing this mask that says 'I'm so happy to be here', when I'm not. I don't want to visit churches. I don't want to try and find someplace that feels sort of right. I hate feeling that there will never be a church that's right for my family.

Of course, I'm still mourning the loss of our church and the three years I invested in that congregation. I'm hurt that only one person has called me to find out where we are and what's going on.

I don't know if you've visited a church recently, but it's awful- people really just want to talk to their friends and people they know. They're not rude, at least not intentionally. They're just busy. Plus, I'm shy. (which Jake thinks is very funny, but it's not!) I'd love to magically get over being quiet and too serious, but since I'm 34 and haven't gotten over it yet, I don't think it'll happen anytime soon. Frankly, I'd rather be talking to people I know, too.

Visting churches is just awful. Maybe if we weren't looking for a home church it would be okay. If we were just listening to sermons and the music I think I'd enjoy it. That's probably going to be the only way I'm going to psych myself up for this- convince myself that we're just going to listen, not searching for our own home church...

August Books

Surprising Insights from the Unchurched, by Thom Rainer, Grade: A+
Excellent research and thoughtful insights. Rainer and his group of researched have interviewed about 350 FORMERLY unchurched people who have become Christians and are now deeply involved in churches. He has focused on congregations who have reached an unusual percentage of lost people (as opposed to churches which have grown off of Christians from other churches) and he has developed some really good insights about what these churches all have in common. First, they were not all the same denomination- some non-denominational, some SBC, some protestant. Some of the surprises are: the lost who will visit a church want clear and solid doctrine, not wishy-washy easy sermons. Also, the pastor himself made a huge difference to these seekers- the relationship he developed with people, the quality of sermons, his focus on giving his congregation authority and power to act on their abilities, instead of carrying everything himself. Something I was not surprised by: They are seeking excellence in the church's appearance, classes, nursery and music. A surprise to me was that there was no consensus of music style- some were predominantly traditional, some contemporary; however, the music was done with excellence and a focus on quality. An excellent read- well written and easy to understand. His last chapter sums up what a church can do to grow and reach the lost around them.
An Hour on Sunday by Nancy Beach, Grade: A+
I found myself alternatively laughing and crying as I read through this excellent book about those who craft Sunday morning services. Beach has been involved at Willocreek since their conception and beginning days. She has been involved with keeping the artists and pastors in communication with each other and in developing the creative elements of their worship services. Instead of giving ideas they've used, she talks about the process they've developed and the things she thinks are very important, such as: the character of the artist, good communication, allowance to fail, trust and relationships in the team. This book came at a time when I was just about ready to quit on church and this strange calling God has placed on my life- She affirmed once again that God really does want me to bring art into the church, that there is a place where it's possible if I can just wait on him to put it in front of me. God, I'm waiting, but it's hard!
Lost & Found, and The Light Years Beneath my Feet by Allen Dean Foster; Grade: B-
The first two in a trilogy of alien abduction. I enjoyed Foster's take on an old sci-fi theme: man stolen by aliens and forced to function in their world. Nothing really new here; I did enjoy the dog, though. He adds humor to the story and it's fun to see Foster's opinion of what dogs think.
Lost in a Good Book, Well of Lost Plots, and Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde, Grade: A
I have thoroughly enjoyed these fantastical, literary mysteries. My favorite was Lost in a Good Book- Thursday Next is living in a bad detective novel and dealing with mostly literary characters. I do have to say the character of Hamlet in Something Rotten was very fun, and the twist in this latest addition to the series was fun.
Sleeping With Fear by Kay Hooper, Grade: B
Hooper has written nine in this series about paranormally gifted government agents; she continues to develop what these agents are capable of and how they can use their gifts. I have enjoyed others in this series more, but it was a good story. Warning: there is always an element of romance in these books. A lot depended on the main character being put on assignment by herself and it felt highly very contrived to me- the agent would not have been there alone- no way. These last two have seen Hooper really struggling at the end to put into concrete words her completely abstract concepts. Last time (Chill of Fear) the agent could communicate with the dead, and she discovers that the killer is a spirit who has taken over a series of different people and then forced them to kill their kids. The last two chapters are awkward and I had to read them twice to figure out what on earth Hooper was doing. Anyway, a similar thing happens in the final confrontation in this book - awkward and difficult to follow.
Adventures in Sol System, Grade: A
Short stories about the very real possibilities of ending up in space in the solar system. These stories are very good- a couple fall flat, but most are well worth the read. My favorites are a story about a woman space miner and Wen Spencer's space monkeys. I enjoyed the technical additions by engineers and NASA scientists. There are two long NASA articles in this book, plus a couple of short analyses of the science used in the stories- Excellent. These are readable and easily understandable by the non-engineer mind. Trust me, I don't enjoy technical manuals at all. :)