Monday, August 30, 2010

Countdown...T-minus 23 days...or LESS

Can I ask you a very important question? WHERE did the month of August go? I’ve noticed the older I get, the faster time seems to go. This is getting ridiculous, though. I have this sneaky suspicion that a baby is only going to speed things up even more. The merry-go-round just keeps spinning faster. It’s only a matter of time until the dizziness gets to be too much, and I throw up all over any innocent bystanders. There’s also a distinct possibility that I have too much imagination for my own good.

I’ve spent the past eight and a half months going back and forth between excitement and panic. I’ve really enjoyed the past three years of married life, just the two of us. What have we gotten ourselves into? By now, my mind has started to calm and I’m getting anxious for the next step. I keep thinking about the day when I’ll call into work, and say I’m not coming. God has really changed my heart. I’m finally ready. I’m not ready in the sense that we still have no kitchen sink, and the living room is still a construction zone. But, in my heart, I’m ready for what lies ahead. It’s a good thing too, because it’s all going to break loose in the next three weeks.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Ma Familia: Mother, Dear

Empty nest = Bubba the Bulldog
The picture doesn't do her justice, but I love it because it's her and Bubba, who thinks he's her child. 

Have I mentioned lately that I think I’m growing up? The fact that I am married and about to have a baby is probably a pretty indication to most people. It’s more than that, though, and it started long before the baby. Over the last few years, I’ve noticed a change in my head and my heart. I love my mother, of course. I always have. The difference is, now that I’m older, I appreciate my mother. They’re easy to take for granted, I think. You get so used to relying on her that you don’t realize how much you do. This change of heart all started right around my senior year of high school, but it has grown more and more ever since. That year, my great-grandmother passed away. The day of her funeral, my Grandma told me, “When you lose your Mom, you lose your best friend.” I never forgot that. Partly, because my Grandma and Great-Grandma never seemed that close.

Since then, I’ve grown to understand more and more what she meant. My mother wasn’t a perfect parent. She’s a little kooky, and sometimes her words and actions make no sense at all to me. Some days she downright drives me crazy. It’s taken me years to truly understand how much she loves my brothers and me. She would do absolutely anything for us. She has always made sure our needs were taken care of before her own. For years, I thought that’s how it was supposed to be, and it was. What I didn’t realize was that not all mothers saw it that way. We got new clothes when we needed them. She never bought anything new for herself. If she needed something, she went to Goodwill. Of course, she shopped at Goodwill for our clothes sometimes too, but we got new things if we needed them. Since I’ve been married, I’ve noticed keeping in touch and visiting people is harder. Dean and I sometimes feel like we do all the visiting, and that no one comes to see us. The exception to the rule is my mother. She doesn’t have to have an excuse to come, or someone else to see while she’s at it. It’s time to move? Mom is coming to help where she can. People are coming over to help weld up the steel frame on our house? Mom is there to make everyone lunch. She stands out, because when others aren’t, Mom is there.

When the baby comes, Mom will be there. I just have to convince her that she doesn’t have to listen to Grandma and stay for two months. Because, when baby comes, she’s not the only one who will be there!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Four Seasons

No, not those four seasons...

All seasons were not created equal, at least not this year. I know that technically, each season lasts three months.

It never feels like it to me, though. It feels like winter long before December 21st, it feels like summer before June 21st, and sometimes it doesn’t feel quite like spring on March 20th. The past year has felt particularly off to me. In my little world, winter lasted far longer than three months. No, it seemed more like six months of winter. Spring lasted for about three weeks. And now, summer will soon be drawing to a close. It’s no secret that I despise, with every fiber of my being, the winter season. Even though I’ve spent the end of my pregnancy in the heat of summer, and it’s been a hot summer, I am still not ready for winter. I will enjoy the fall weather this year, probably more than usual. But, it still feels like a time of mourning. While most people are welcoming cooler days, snuggling up and enjoying hot chocolate, and enjoying the wonder and beauty of autumn leaves, I will be in mourning. I will admit that the various shades of red, yellow and orange leaves are pretty, but that’s as far as it goes. Falling leaves, to me, do not seem magical. I see the beautiful green foliage and life of spring and summer withering and dying, and falling to the ground to be trampled underfoot. It just serves as a reminder of what is to come: winter. A time when everything is dead, and cold, and my mood teeters on the borderline of depression. This year, I pray for a warmer winter. I don’t want my tiny little girl cold, after all. And if it is as cold as last year, I hope I’m too enveloped in love for our new little life that I don’t even notice. In the meantime, I’m going to soak up what’s left of the warm weather every chance I get.

Friday, August 20, 2010

I Learned it From my Brother

I’ve learned a lot from my brothers over the years. I’ve learned some useful things, and I’ve learned some useless things. Today, once again, I’ve learned something from my brothers. I’ve been doing a Bible study on 1 Peter for the last couple weeks. Today’s focus was on 1 Peter 3:8-12. God used my brothers to teach me an important lesson, without them even being here.

1 Peter 3:8 says, “Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, loves as brothers, be compassionate and humble.” (NIV) These aren’t new commands. I’ve known for years that I should love others, be sympathetic, compassionate and humble. But, today, something clicked when I read, “love as brothers.” I love my brothers more than I could ever explain. Sharing the same parents produces a different bond than I have with any other people on earth. There have been plenty of times that they’ve annoyed, aggravated or just plain angered me, maybe more than anyone else I know. But, even in those moments, I want good things for them. I want them to be loved, blessed, happy, successful, and fortunate. I go out of my way to love them and serve them. Sure, there have been times in my life when they asked me to do something and I said, “No. Do it yourself.” It’s easier to say that to them than it is anyone else. There have also been times when they walked in the door at 11pm, and said “I’m hungry. Will you make me some French toast?” And, I figured out how to make it, even though I’d never made it before and even though it was 11pm and I’m not a night owl.

I’m grateful for my brothers for a lot of reasons. Today, I’m grateful for them, because I don’t think I would have quite grasped this lesson if not for them. When I read the words “love as brothers” it hit me. As a child of God, I have many brothers and many sisters. I’m called to love them. But, more than that, I’m called to love them as I love my brothers. I’m supposed to love them more than myself, I’m supposed to live in harmony with them, be patient, kind, sympathetic, compassionate, honest, do good to them, and to pursue peace with them. I’m supposed to go out of my way to love and serve them, just like I would for the siblings that share my earthly mother and father.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Little Advice

Never take your kitchen for granted.

I think I’ve taken my kitchens for granted in the past. I always knew I needed a kitchen, but it was never the most exciting room in the house. You don’t adorn it with cute lamps, or pretty comforters, or soft pillows. You just stuff the pots and pans in the cabinets. Sure, pots and pans are useful, but they’re just not cute. And, let’s face it, life is all about cute. Isn’t it?

If you’ve been around me in the last year (or technically 11 ½ months) you’ve heard me moan and groan about life in a construction zone, stupid campers, and the lack of a kitchen. I’m not generally much of a complainer, but this last year has taken its toll. I’ve learned a lot, though. For example, I’ve learned that in any future home-building adventures, I would prefer my role to me more along the lines of homeowner. I say what I want, and someone else does it…in a somewhat timely manner.

I realize that some of these trials have served to make me more grateful. It’s working too. I get excited about each completed step. I get excited over things I never imagined. We bought a water heater, I got excited. We put in a washer/dryer hookup, I got excited. That brings me back to the kitchen. After spending almost a year with an electric skillet & crock pot to cook in, and a tiny cube of a fridge, our eating habits had gone to pot. Eating out is not a luxury to me anymore. Maybe someday, but for now, all I want is to be able to buy the food I’ll use in a week, and store it in the fridge. Then, when I’m ready to cook it, I want to be able to prepare it, stick it in the oven, and pull out a warm, home-cooked meal.

A few weeks ago, we got our fridge and have been using it. I can’t tell you how much difference having a full-size fridge has made in our cooking/eating habits. And then, last night, it happened. We were able to get our oven out of storage, and hook it up. Oh what a beautiful sight an oven is. I’m pretty sure the clouds parted, the heavens began to sing, and an angel kissed me on the cheek as I stood back to admire it.

(Once again, excuse the quality of the pic taken on my phone.)
And tonight, I can finally start to provide my little family with the nutrition we all need. I’ll feel like a better mother as I bite into baked fish, rather than hamburger helper, knowing my poor baby is finally getting the nutrition she needs…eight months into pregnancy. Now, if I can just wait another week and a half until our countertops come in, and I have a kitchen sink.  I’ll never take my kitchen for granted again.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

My Dear, Sweet Grandma

I think I’ve made it clear by now how great an impact my grandparents have all had on my life. They each contributed something different and unique, and helped to shape me into the person I am today. In my own life, grandparents have provided a unique friendship that I know I’ll never share with anyone else. I will never be able to convey the extent to which they’ve shaped me, and the things they’ve taught me. I doubt I even know the extent myself.

Since I have spotlighted my Grandpas (even though I feel I didn’t do them justice), it only seems fair to continue on with my Grandmothers as well. I didn’t plan it this way, but so far I’ve gone from oldest to youngest, so I might as well keep the trend.

Without further adieu, allow me to introduce Grandma G.
Smallest in stature, and by far the meekest, she tried so hard to be fair and just with everyone. She was soft spoken, and sweet. My younger brother will tell you she was the sweetest woman on earth. My Grandpa once told me, “I met one angel in my life, and I married her.” She was a fabulous cook, and kept her house perfect. In fact, she strived to make everything she touched perfect. She made us fun summer treats, bought us the cookies and cereal that Mom always said was too expensive, and she played games and did puzzles with us. The fact that she took the time to do puzzles and play games, spoke to my young heart like nothing else she could have done. But, most importantly, she reflected Christ in her everyday actions and taught me the importance of a relationship with Him. When I was a young child, she was my Sunday school teacher. When I got a little older, anytime my parents didn’t get around in time for church or weren’t going for some reason, I picked up the phone and called Grandma to come get me and take me with her. And, of course, she happily obliged. I will never forget what it was like to walk into Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Their smiles & greetings were unmistakable. They were both genuinely happy to see me. At Grandma’s house, I belonged. No matter what was going on in my little world, I was safe and loved, supported and encouraged, when I was at Grandma’s.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Our kitchen is quickly becoming my favorite room in the house. It could be that I just really like seeing the progress. It could be that I love the light fixtures, and that it is so well-lit. It could be that I love the way the color of the cabinets look with the walls. It took us awhile to decide what to do with the kitchen/living room walls. Then, it occurred to me that I picked the bedroom color, and I picked the bathroom color. So, I stepped back, and let Dean pick. I was sort of leery of his choice of an orangey-red, but I went along with it. It’s turned out quite nicely. Then again, it could just be the fact that I’m getting so close to having a completed kitchen, when I haven’t had a full kitchen in almost A YEAR. A word of advice: Try, at all costs, not to go that long without a kitchen. It is ridiculous. It’s torturous. It’s depressing. Just don’t do it, okay? Trust me on this. Life is better when you have a kitchen.
It’s going to be small, but I’ve lived in apartments, I’ve done small. It will have less counter space than I’ve had in the past (except for the past year), but more cabinet space. Cabinets are good. Cabinets are very good.

*Please excuse the white spots on the wall. This is what happens when we hire someone else to do something. Dean decides it needs adjustment (in this case, the sheetrock needed touched up) and ends up fixing their work anyway. The same thing happened with the septic lines. We paid someone to put them in. We dug them up, and changed the slope, because it wasn’t up to code. At least I know I will never live in a poorly built house. We have yet to touch up the paint where he touched up the sheetrock.

**It still lacks the stove, flooring, and countertops.

Friday, August 6, 2010

I Have Issues

My brain is programmed to pick up grammatical errors. Have I ever told you that before? I’ve noticed this about myself more since I’ve been at my current job than I ever did before. In fact, in December/January it had gotten to the point that I was actually talking to an advisor at OU about going back for my Masters to go into editing. And then, I peed on a stick, a plus sign appeared, and everything was put on hold. But, this is what happens in my brain:

actual excerpt: “Once this was done, they’re product would work…”

my brain: “Once this was done, they’re product would work…”

See what I mean? Issues! Why I can’t just ignore it and go on about my day, I don’t know. I’m an editor for our company newsletter, and on my rotation, I take the liberty to correct grammatical errors in articles I’ve been sent. I take the term “editor” to heart. It’s very gratifying. But, under normal circumstances, as is the case with the excerpt above, my job is not to worry with the grammatical errors in an email I got. My concern is supposed to be the malfunctioning product to which the email is referring.

I’m not saying I never make mistakes, or that I can spell every word in the English language, but I notice things…a lot. When I don’t remember how a word is spelled, I’m aware of that fact, and I look it up. I very rarely use spell check. I’m very arrogant about it. I don’t come right out and tell people I don’t use spell check, aside from this very moment in the midst of my confession. It’s more of a quiet arrogance when I see the check mark icon, and think to myself, “I don’t need you, spell check. You never find anything anyway.” I wanted my final paper in college to be perfect, so I took it to the library to have someone look it over and proofread it for me. They sent me home with some corrections, and instead of believing they were right and I was wrong, I got a second opinion. The proofreader was an English major, and I was not. It is very unlike me not to question myself or my abilities, but I couldn’t believe I’d make that many mistakes. So, I got my mother the English teacher’s opinion. I was right in all but a couple of the instances. As further proof, my grade on that paper was very high. It is literally the one ability of mine in which I don’t question myself.

Monday, August 2, 2010

If I Have to Jump, Then I'll Jump...

There is a time, when you have to be a grown up and resign yourself to do what you don’t want to do. I don’t like those times. I imagine no one does.

There is a time when you have to compromise. You give up part of what you want to gain another part. It’s a learned art, but productive.

There is a time when you step up to the edge of the road, and see nothing before you but a deep canyon with no way across. And, you have to jump off, with no parachute, and trust God that instead of plunging to the hard, dusty ground, you’ll somehow soar. It’s the hardest to do, but sometimes turns out more rewarding than any other option.

This is the crossroads at which my husband and I have found ourselves:

Do I continue to work full-time at a job I hate, leave my baby with someone else and bring home no money after paying for insurance and childcare? I have only 8 more weeks and still have not toured any daycares or gotten on any waiting lists, because I really don’t want this option. I’ve been praying against it from the beginning. I told myself I was praying God’s will and trusting in his provision. Maybe I was. And, maybe I was being stubborn.

Do I find a way to work part-time, still make no money, have to get an individual insurance plan which is often more expensive and not as good, but at least spend part of the week at home?

Or, do I jump out in faith, even though there is no guarantee Dean’s job can support us, and quit altogether?

We’ve been struggling for some time with this decision. We kept hoping and praying that Dean’s job would pick up enough that we could afford for me to quit. It has picked up, or it looks that way, but there is absolutely no guarantee of anything. Then, on Friday, we happened to have our radios tuned to the same station at the same time. The Christian station was having a pledge drive, and encouraging people to exercise their faith. This was the first time for each of us to come up with the idea: maybe we just need to jump, even though we can’t see what’s in front of us, and trust God to provide.

I’ve made leaps of faith before, but never of this magnitude. Please pray that we will be sensitive to God’s direction, and obedient to His will.