Archive for rants & raves

coming to a close

As I begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel for this pregnancy and the expectant birth of our baby, I’ve wondered if I’ll miss having my “little side-kick” moving around in my belly. I don’t think I’ll miss by belly bump (which is much more than a bump by now) except for an arm rest. But I might miss the subtle heel jabs, head butts into my pelvic bone and bladder, and general love pats from my inside baby. :) Inside, I have much more control of him and that feels a little safer than bringing him out into this world of joy and disappointment. But just in case you’re beginning to think I’ll not let him out :) rest assured, I have many more happy thoughts about what I’ll enjoy after he IS out!

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How much Grace?

I am overwhelmed by the love, grace and care that I have received from so many. Being pregnant has been, thus far, the most humbling experience of my life. My baby is already so loved by so many and because he’s still in my belly, I get to receive it and pass it on to him – for the time being. I also know that I am loved just as much as he by these gracious people (you!).

One example of this grace – a Director from my office just brought me some yogurt (with a spoon and napkin!) because she knew I am struggling with low blood sugar these last few days. It’s this little thing that means so much. With her busy-busy schedule, she even thought of me and bringing me some yogurt. I am so touched. I find myself too often not thinking of others in my pregnant state and being very self-consumed. How humbling to receive so much in spite of my inward focus.

So, all of you out there, reading this blog, I hope I am able to convey how much you have touched me and how thankful I am for all your thoughts, prayers, well-wishes, food offerings, baby shower prep & planning, gifts, hugs, emails, phone calls, lent maternity clothes & baby items, advice, labor & parenting tips, friendship, tears of joy,…

It is not lost on me. Thank you.

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I have a rant

Christian Commercialism. How is it possible for these two words to make up a phrase. It’s a paradox. Nathan, me & other friends have recently run into a couple of organizations that use Jesus and Christianity for their sales pitch. One even that sells a “quick fix” for what’s wrong with you. These only add a couple HUGE pieces of straw to the “haystack”. My pet peeve also flows into the Christian music industry and even, yes, some churches. It’s quite subtle but it’s still marketing…subliminal messages about being a “cool” or better christian if you listen to this Christian artist or wear this t-shirt or even go to this church. Suddenly, we have “classes” inside the church (whole world church – not meeting on Sunday morning church) divided by denomonation or size or style of worship. I think this is what Jesus went crazy over in the temple. Yet, we’re still doing it and people who are leaders in our “christian” society are the folks who are selling us the “doves”. When my “friends” try selling these things to me because I’m a christian, well, then I have to ask myself, “are they really my friend?”. Maybe that’s harsh but friends with an alterior motive ($) are not friendly to me (especially when they won’t give me any information up front).

This brings me to another point. Why are we thick enough to fall for it? I’ve fallen for a few. Now, granted, I do have some christian music that I enjoy and I think there are a lot of people out there who do just enjoy the music. Great! But when it becomes a point of judgement, $$ or greed, how is that about Jesus?! For example, I was at a christian concert (won’t name names) with some youth from our church. Half of it was music and half was preaching (that’s another rant for another day). At the end of the concert they had the typical “alter call”. My thoughts were, “aren’t we already christians? isn’t that why we are here at a christian concert?” I recognize that there were probably some unbelievers there who really might have had a faith experience and gave their hearts to Jesus. However, the question was popped, “if you just said that prayer and really meant it, I want you to stand up.” The whole place stood up! Then they proceeded to ask folks to go to the aisles and write their personal information on a card for “follow-up” (a.k.a. marketing other concerts, publications, etc.) I couldn’t believe it. Was it peer pressure to stand? Was it sincere conviction? Do we have to say the sinners prayer at every concert in order to believe that we really are saved or that we really believe? Is Jesus blood only powerful at a concert and not everyday when you pray?

There is so much more to Jesus than the music, publications, & get-rich quick companies that prevail in defining christian society. Those things are only the “shallow soil”.

Some of you might say, “well then, how is Christian Commercialism any different than other secular commercialism?” I would reply that it’s not, except that it’s not using Jesus as it’s marketing tool.

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time or $$ investment?

I think that I don’t blog very often because I have “babies” on the brain for most of the day. Since I’m not pregnant and we haven’t started trying yet (although the “deadline” is fast approaching), I feel that blogging about it may be too premature. Maybe not, though. As I read some of my favorite blogs, I realize that what I appreciate about them is the admittance of struggle (sometimes with helpful advice from readers and sometimes not). So, I’ve decided to write about some of our concerns that we struggle with.

The main one right now is financial. I hesitate to write too much here as folks from InterVarsity are sure to visit. Well, it’s a non-profit, so there’s no surprise that our income is lower than what we possibly could make at a secular company. We’ve done some number crunching and it seems completely impossible for us to live on Nathan’s salary alone – and we’re talking “bare-bones”. This is hard to swallow and leaves lots of unanswered questions and options for the future. Which path is best? Who can tell the future? We’ve had people tell us to let God show us what to do. We believe this. But, we haven’t felt that He’s “spoken” on the subject. What do we take away from that? While the finances seem unclear, our hearts have been moved in the direction of starting a family. It seems like it is time. “I want to have a baby” is a phrase that is heard multiple times a week in our home (no, it’s not just coming from my mouth). Is it irresponsible for us to have children if we can’t completely account financially for what will happen? Is God’s “silence” a draw for us to trust that He will provide or to wait? And, if we were to wait, there’s no guarantee that we’d be better off financially in the future. Either way is unclear. I have heard sooo many times that you’ll never be financially ready for kids. Ok, but where is the line? Is there a line between “uncomfortably tight” and “irresponsible and in debt”?

Then, I think, all this fuss about finances is not what I want to exemplify for my children (wealthy or poor). Plus, the benefits/values of InterVarsity seem to far outweight the cons of finances…Nathan doesn’t have to work 60 hrs. a week to keep a higher salary which means more family time. That is very very important to us. When I think in this “abundance” vs. “scarcity” perspective, I conclude that we are great where we are…on the track for kids and God will provide. But then, unfortunately, I second guess myself and ask if I’m being niave. So, I close with a wide-open invitation for comments, suggestions, “snap-out-of-it” face slappings…whatever seems appropriate. Bring it! ; )

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Fiest & Friends

I’ve been coming across lots of great music lately! It’s refreshing – and it’s incredibly helpful for painting. The latest is “Fiest”. I first heard them on the radio station that we listen to in the car. The one song they played grew on me so I decided to explore them with Pandora. Each song that I hear from them I love. They’re kinda jazzy & they are my next music purchase.

This morning, the sun is shining, I’m painting and our guest bedroom is filled with slumbering, dear, old friends, Traci and Casey. It’s a wonderful warm feeling to have them here. Next weekend, my mom flies in and she will be the “slumbering guest”. I’m looking forward to that too! This is why we bought a house – to have room for visiters. It feels great to use it in that way and makes me even more anxious to finish the rest of the basement. The house will then feel complete & settled. No more “transition” mode. But, it looks like it will be a while before that becomes a priority for our finances.

Getting back to my painting before the morning is gone…

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Mmmm babies

For all the world to hear, I have baby fever. It’s been sneaky, slowly rearing it’s sometimes ugly head this last year or so. At first it started over the holidays – because holidays are about family. Simple logic. But now, it’s probably something I think about at least once a day. It seems inevitable.

There are, however, glimpses of reality in this day-dreamy, picture-perfect baby future that I’ve created in my head. And that hits when I come across all the body fluid information – the “homework” of future parents to be. It’s not all cuddly Baby Gap sweaters and “what color to paint the nursury”. No, the woman must go through Hell first. Thanks a lot, Eve!

When I come across the “fluid” information I quickly question my ability to have a baby. For real. Not only do I nearly faint at the mention, description, sight, and mental picture of blood and other goo, but I have a low tolerance for pain. I have no problem admitting this. It’s important to be upfront with this kind of introspective knowledge – no illusions here. I’ve never tried to convince myself that natural childbirth is something I could or even desire to do. So after reading a friend’s blog about her home-childbirth experience (beautifully and tastefully written, by the way) I’m having the “oh-m-god, I can’t have a baby” panick attack – the second in the last month. The adoption “hoops” look pretty darn good about now.

Special note for the Mom and Mom-in-Law: Don’t worry. I’m sure I’ll have a gooshy, dreamy, baby entry next week that will subdue all your fears of never becoming a grandma. ; )

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