Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Kid Photos!

Took these photos of the kids this past weekend:

<3 Christy

So....this is all I can think of to write.....

Here's an update on my readjustment to working:
The pastor of the church where I work has been in India on a missions-related trip. He came back today with pearl earrings for me and for Julianna, the DCE (basically the youth and children's pastor). Apparently, they have a lot of pearls in India. This was such a sweet gesture - I was so excited that I called my mom:) It made me feel so nice to be included! Totally made my week!
That brings me to Julianna.....I am so surprised that God has provided a friend for me at my job! She's tons of fun, a little younger than I am, but not too much younger, and is a pro at intelligent, sarcastic banter - my favorite game! She even likes some of the same music that I do! I knew it was going to be tough to step out of my home and work, and I knew it was going to take something special to make me look forward to getting to the office every day - so, way to go, Julianna! You're awesome!
I am grateful today for Muse. (I have gotten into the annoying habit of putting little hyperlinks in when I reference something brand name-ish. I will try to resist this time.) Their new album is the only reason I am getting any dishes done at night. Somewhere around 7:30, when Chris is finally getting home from work and I am trying to get the kids into pajamas and get them to brush their teeth, I crash. So, with this irresistibly danceable, fantastic rock, I am able to squeeze an extra ten minutes of life out before I crash and actually do some dishes or laundry or pack lunches or iron clothes....Honestly - I can't sit still when I hear it.

DAILY BLISS: I heard my theme song on the radio today. It's a Queen song. If you don't already know what it is, you proably don't need to know. And yes. I do listen to the radio. I like being at the mercy of massive communication groups. The surprise of what is going to be the next song is delightful. We find our excitement where we can, don't we?

Monday, January 29, 2007

Random Stuff

Today, I was very secretary-ish. I wore a grey skirt with a pink cardigan and matching pink kitten heel shoes. I even did my hair like a secretary. Feeling so appropriate to the task, I had fun with the label maker today!! I know it sounds pretty funny, but climbing around all the cabinets in my little pink shoes, printing and sticking labels - well, just organizing - was very refreshing.
I wore a long, navy, wool dress coat today because it is very cold (what's the deal? it's been 80 degrees all winter long and then *BOOM* it's 40!) and Emma told me I looked like a secret agent. That pretty much made my day.
I also found out that I am now committed to fitness. I have made an effort to drop some habits (not necessarily diet-related or sedentary ones, just habits) that are not so good for me, and am trying to pick up some new ones. I really hate to exercise. Walking is supposed to be the option for people like me, but the only time slots available to me are in the dark, and let's just say that my neighborhood is a little scary in the dark. So, I borrowed a bike (see previous post about riding a bike). This is the coldest night we have had in forever, and I still rode my little bike in the dark. Wearing, like, three shirts and wee tiny pants because any other ones might get caught in one of the three hundred chains that are on this bike. I still had on my secretary hair-do and am still a little wobbly on the bike. I probably am also still the slowest upright person you have ever seen on a bike. My neighbors all think I'm funny now, I'm sure. This must mean that I am committed. Or maybe I should be committed.
I rewarded myself with a fantastic bubble bath. If you've never done this, you should. It makes even riding a bike worthwhile. And if you like music for your bath, I recommend Kings of Convenience. They are super-cool.
So, although this is a sadly me-centered post, I just wanted to say that it's been a nice day. And after a bath like that, I should have no problem getting to sleep tonight.

DAILY BLISS: Um.....the bubble bath. Even though my husband drank that last drop of merlot I'd been saving for such a time. He was kind enough to make me some peppermint tea instead. It all worked out.

<3 Christy

Friday, January 26, 2007

Maybe I Have Magical Powers After All!

This is so weird that I had to write about it ASAP!
I see a lot of trains on my commute, but yesterday I saw an Amtrak train with a long row of sleeper cars. Sigh. I've always wanted to ride in a sleeper car - I know they're not posh or necessarily clean, it's just something I've always wanted to do.
So, Chris and I were nodding off last night and I turned toward him and said, "You know what? I was just thinking today how I'd like to just get on a train...." the rest of the sentence was going to be "and just go somewhere - anywhere." But I was interrupted between the "t" and the "r" by a real, honest-to-goodness, far-off train whistle.
How's that for calling on the forces of the universe to make a point?

<3 Christy

Thursday, January 25, 2007

A Good Chuckle

Do you ever have moments in your day when something just pulls you out of yourself, kind of like an out-of-body experience, and you see your life from the perspective of an outsider? That just happened to me and I laughed so hard!
My son was practicing his piano lesson. Nine-year-olds learning to play the piano are a little bit noisy and mistake-y. It sometimes makes me want to apologize to my parents for my own nine-year-old piano practices.
Anyway, I've learned to pretty well shut it out when necessary, so I was going about my business of picking up toys with a raucous soundtrack. I was approached by my daugher. She offered me something. Well, she shoved it in my face. It was a kleenex. Not any ordinary kleenex, though. She had gotten it wet, used a marker to make blobs of color on it, wadded it up and put it in the freezer. So, she shoved it in my face and demanded that I "touch the half-frozen ice simulator." I dutifully obeyed, knowing that going with her flow is often entertaining. Yuck. It was cold, but not frozen. Playing along, I asked her how she found such an artifact, and she said, "My friend the owl told me where it was. I understood." All of this happened to the tune of "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow."
This is what pulled me out of my self, gave me some perspective, and really, honestly cracked me up. She is now calling herself "Arctic Rush" and she is an arctic kung fu fighter. She is also eating a glass full of crushed ice, because that's what arctic kung fu fighters need for energy.

I really love my life.

<3 Christy

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

My Case Against Perfection

I just wanted to post some photos of what my life really looks like. I was thinking today about all the beautiful moments in my life that I talk about here and the gorgeous pictures of my kids that I post, and the adorable photos of my house.....but the truth is, that's the edited version of my life. I know I also talk here about the craziness I run into on a daily basis, but lots of people accept their craziness. In fact, it's rather fashionable to be a bit of a loser, isn't it? But I was thinking today how most people might really feel like my life was a mess if they REALLY saw it - that it's my perception of my life that is so beautiful and full of blissful moments. So, here's my real kitchen on this very real day:
The ironing board is left out from last night, which is good because I'll use it tonight. That's my case of water to take to work on the floor. I bought it Saturday and haven't put it away yet.

Here's the art center. It's always this bad. My aprons that I always talk about wearing are stuffed in the corner on the floor. On top of the piano that I seldom play are some glittery Christmas stars.

And finally, the hummingbird feeder, right next to the lemonade pitcher, right next to the remains of supper and who-knows-what-other-food is on the counter that hasn't been wiped off in quite some time:

I don't feel bad about this, though. Not at all. It occurred to me today that maybe my ability to let go of this kind of perfection is what enables me to seek out and find the beauty in my real life.

DAIY BLISS: Driving past a train going the other direction. That makes the whistle sound SO COOL!

<3 Christy

Monday, January 22, 2007

Steak, anyone?

The only interesting thing that happened to me today happened as I was driving to pick up the kids from school. I have to come back into town on a wide-open, country road (County Line Road to West Pipkin for you Lakelanders, though it's quickly becoming less wide-open...), and there was only one other car on the road with me. It was a big truck hauling a cow in a trailer. I really like cows.
This particular road merges down into one lane, and I seriously did not want to get stuck behind this big truck with some old guy driving slowly in front of me, having nothing to see but a cow's ass. No problem. I pulled far ahead of him on the left, even while obeying the speed limit. I really smiled at the cow as I went past him. He seemed friendly. Not far from the big merge, the big old truck, which had been happily trailing far behind me (remember - it's just the two of us on the road) decided he wanted to be in front after the merge. So he sped up.
Why do men do this, I ask you? We were not even near each other, and I didn't really want to be right behind the cow's less-friendly end. For some reason, he could NOT have me be in front of him. Even way in front was not acceptable - so far in front that we were completely unrelated drivers.
I just thought that was an interesting thing. Perhaps a testosterone thing. Although, judging by my reaction, I was feeling rather competitive myself about being in front. But I found it more curious than infuriating. I'm still mystefied.

DAILY BLISS: It was going to be smiling at the cow as I pulled in front of him, but it didn't end up being that blissful. Hmm.....what else? I know! Cleaning out a desk drawer at work! That felt great! It may take a while, but that desk will be all mine eventually, and I will know where the last secretary hid EVERYTHING and will put it in a place that makes sense to me.

<3 Christy

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Happy Thoughts

I don't have anything deep to offer today....or even too interesting. I must, however, recount the things that made me deeply happy, I will list several Daily Blisses rather than actually talking about anything:

* Sitting on the living room floor with a bag of Jelly Bellies, passing the bag around between Chris, the kids and me and trying to figure out what flavor we were eating.

* My bedroom curtains billowing in the breeze. It was a perfect open-window day, and just the sort of day that prompted me to choose the gauzy cotton, dotted swiss, floor-length ones in the first place!

*Swans eating bread right out of my hand at the lake today. By then, I had pretty much convinced my kids that I had magical powers.

<3 Christy

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Old Words

Last Sunday, the day after I came home from the hospital, we sang an old song in church. Victory in Jesus. I was already emotional and REALLY happy to be standing there with my church family singing to our Father. Victory in Jesus is one of those old, old songs that I've literally known my whole life. I think my mother has a recording of me singing it at about three years old. But, as often happens with old words we've taken for granted for years, a new nuance of meaning came to the surface.

We sang: "I heard about His healing, of His cleansing power revealing, How he made the lame to walk again, and caused the blind to see. And then I cried Dear Jesus, come and heal my broken spirit. And somehow Jesus came and brought to me the victory."

I tearfully pondered the idea that Jesus often uses physical experiences in our bodies or lives to open our hearts to the healing we REALLY need. The writer of Victory in Jesus obviously felt that One who could make lame to walk and blind to see would have a remedy for his broken spirit as well. I love his use of the word "somehow." It wonderfully captures the mystery of Christ's work in one's life. I often emerge from an experience with Jesus knowing He made a change in me, but not quite sure how it happened.

Jesus' ability to meet me in a hospital room, listening to my physical pain, providing His presence in a fearful time, reminds me again of His utter ability to apply "cleansing power" and "victory" to the rest of me. To my real self. Sometimes He takes a physical experience and uses it as the gateway to a greater work in the heart that maybe I didn't even know I needed, or wouldn't have taken time to explore.

Old words that were new to me, keeping me going on this crazy journey.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Web Cam Fun

Sorry for two posts in one day...the kids and I were playing with the web cam and had some fabulously goofy photos:) And since a blog is the perfect place to make a fabulous goof out of yourself, here are some outtakes:

<3 Christy

Week One - Done!

So, I feel pretty good about my first week back to work. I definitely had some white-knuckle moments in the car, trying to get to car line and pick up the kids on time (one poor guy stuck in stand-still opposing traffic caught me in an Incredible Hulk moment - he was white-faced and open-mouthed! It was pretty funny!). But overall, I think it's gone really well. I've met lots of new people, and am really enjoying getting to know the staff at the church. I churned out two bulletins and a newsletter this week and have managed to keep most of my sanity. I wasn't born with much sanity anyway, so I have to protect what I do have.
I think the structure will be good for me. In the past year, I have kind of pulled the plug out of my gut and let everything spill out. I know that sounds weird....let's else can I say it? I just wanted to see what all was inside of me, so I just spent a lot of time in introspection, working through and dumping out emotions. At some point toward the end of the year, I had emptied myself so much...and I just wandered around without much direction. I think it's time to put the plug back in and soldier back into life and routine. Does that make sense?
Personal growth can become self-indulgence if it goes on for too long, you know?
I don't have too much else to say. I'm pretty beat...have also been dealing with a bit of insomnia this week....probably all those white-knuckle traffic moments:)

DAILY BLISS: My traveling hubby is coming home tonight!! YAY!!!

<3 Christy

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Yeah, Beck? (This sounds like Hee Haw)

Isn't it funny how nearly losing your life will change your perspective? It's a lesson that most people never learn, and of those who do, many are not nearly as young as we are. I had my own brush with death when Emma was born. I think it really changed a lot about me, even though I was only in my mid-twenties. Maybe you HAVE to have a day that you can mark down and say, "if that had been my last day, what would have mattered about me?" I can tell you that since then, I have been utterly unconcerned about the trappings of success. I'm a college dropout who lives in a kinda yucky neighborhood and drives a free car. But, I LOVE what I have! And I have turned away from most of that other stuff to enjoy every smile from my kids, to bake a birthday cake from scratch for everybody in a 12-mile radius of me. That's what will matter most about me if I'm gone tomorrow.
So, yeah.....I remember our trip. I remember our wonderful, wild weekend! How cool that your car broke, and we got a cute little blue rental with a CD player! How cool that I just happened to bring all of my favorite music along, and we got to have sound track for the weekend!
Wasn't our waitress at Tacky Jack's just a little too interested in us?? Haha! And poor Wendell! He didn't know what to do with two "preacher's wives" baring indecent parts in public to get henna tattoos that very few people would actually get to see!!! Maybe this year, we should get real ones! That one little crab on the beach that kept throwing sand at us was just a menace! He kept popping out of his little hole and checking to see if we had left yet so that he could go about his business!
I was just remembering this week about the shooting stars. And I love that I got to show you one of my favorite things in the whole world - just laying down in the sand with your clothes on. No preparation, no swimming suits, no towels.....just come-as-you-are and enjoy the coolness of the sand at night, bury your fingers in it and get sand in your belly button (then you remember the sand for a long time. It takes about a week for it all to come out of your belly button....)
So, here are a couple of MY favorite pictures from our weekend:

My beautiful friend! Even though you're not looking at the camera, I can see your heart shining out from the inside!

There's me, posing by the of my favorite places to be!

It's hard to pick a favorite moment, but I just wanted to join with you in cherishing a wonderful memory and remind you that you are so special, so vital to me! We are a testament to the importance of a good girlfriend in every girl's life! We have passed every milestone in our lives together, and I am so thankful that there will be many more ahead for us! I couldn't do it without you!

Hey, Christy...

Hey, Christy... Speaking of important things... Do you remember our beach trip this past summer? Remember what we did? What God did? The henna tattoos by Wendell? (Who we really DID witness to...) The pina colada, our sunrise worship service and the dolphins that showed up to it? The fluffy bed and the hammock? Those apple cake things for breakfast and wine in plastic cups? (I still have the key in my kitchen drawer... just in case) Remember the cucumber water and that little blue rental car? That little fried seafood restaurant with obnoxious things on the menu... what was it's name? OH! Tacky Jacks!! Remember the shooting stars and falling asleep on the beach feeling SO connected to God? Those crazy little crabs? Norah Jones and Switchfoot?

We laughed and we wept and it's one of my favorite experiences of all time. I was just taking it out and enjoying it again today. We are rich, my friend. If only with the memories of that experience, we're rich. Not to mention we have many more memories reaching back lots of years, and hopefully many more to come.

Important things (by Becky)

There's nothing like a scary experience to give one a renewed perspective on life. I of course don't know all the whys and hows of what God allows in our lives. I do know that there is purpose in each one. Sometimes I glimpse that purpose, and sometimes I trust that it is a high, holy purpose that only my God understands. (You see, His ability to grasp things far beyond my understanding is a vital part of His God-ness to me. If He were nothing more than what I can grasp, then why would I need Him?) So, why pulmonary embolisms for me? I don't know all of that, but I can tell you a little of what I'm learning...

For one thing, I've been pushing too hard. I was born yelling, with a driven... (ok, bossy) personality. Large and in charge, that's me. I thrive on accomplishment, and I see life, even the crises of life I suppose, as a challenge. Never one to avoid a challenge, I take it on with all my might. However, I must admit that even Miss Large and in Charge gets tired. Even looking back over the blogs of the last few months, I've let myself get way too worked up and stressed out.

In talking this out with my Sweet Love, I came to a conclusion. If January 7th had been my last day, having a seminary degree, a best-selling book, or a powerful speaking career would not have mattered so much. Especially because in driving myself toward all those things, I was losing my capacity to enjoy anything. What would have mattered? Savoring and nourishing the hard-won depth of love in my marriage, soaking in every smile, every moment with the two incredible children I have, doing what I'm passionate about, which is loving, teaching, and helping women embrace Christ-following and the amazing life that comes with it. That's how I want to spend my days.

The seminary degree will be done eventually, hopefully people will want to read my books, and maybe I'll get lots of chances to inspire people to check out life on the edge. These things are still on my list. I'm just going to stop pushing myself so hard that I skip right past what's important.

Hold me to it, ok?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Do you ever find yourself overcome by the feeling that you need to rip something to shreds, jump through the window and just run, screaming, down the street? This happens to me sometimes. More often than I'd like anybody to know about, really.
It happened to me in the car this morning on the way to the kids' school. The sky was so beautiful and I just wanted to go to the park....but instead, I have to be responsible and take my kids to school, take my dog to my mom's (she has a nervous condition and doesn't do well when we're gone...but that's a topic for some other day), and drive all the back roads to work because I can't find change for the nice toll road.
I think I'm just feeling the squeeze of taking on a lifestyle that I don't really want. If you have known me for a long time, you will know that all I have ever wanted out of life is to just be a mom, and preferably a stay-at-home one. So, every time I have to get a job to pay some bills, it takes me away from my dream and my purpose. That's always rough on me. I know that everybody has to do it sometimes, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.
So I end up feeling trapped and all of my instincts rise up to fight against it. I am Scottish after all. We're the original Barbarians.
Anyway, it's not as bad as it all sounds....I just had that moment this morning. Overall, it's been a pretty flat transition so far. No extreme emotions, just doing what I have to do. I think that moments like those, maybe I should call them Incredible Hulk moments, just remind me that I'm still me inside and that my inner, responsible mother hasn't squashed my inner wild child.

DAILY BLISS: Driving fast with really loud music. Good for whatever ails you.

<3 Christy

Recovery (by Becky)

I'm still enjoying being home. LOVE sleeping in my own bed, and nobody is waking me at night to evaluate any type of bodily fluid output. I'm tiring much more easily than I expected, and finding it difficult to give myself the freedom to take the extra rest I need. Why is that? Thankfully my sweet husband and wonderful friends and family are lavishing on the grace, AND a little force here and there, to make sure I rest and recuperate.

My parents had flown up to help with the children while I was in the hospital. They left last night, and so I'm flying solo today, back to doing the mom thing, picking up, dropping off, making lunches, etc. I'm learning the ropes on managing my "old lady medicine," (coumadin) and getting a good laugh out of that. My Granny was on coumadin, and lots of other grannies I know, so I can't help feeling I should be purchasing some orthopedic shoes, or depends, or at least denture cream along with all this blood testing and pill taking. HA HA! Hopefully I'll only spend six months or so on the coumadin and then be done with that. Till then, I can't help but snicker at myself over it.

More thoughts later... for now, just glad to be home.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Today, I....

Well, today, I started my new job. Sigh.

DAILY BLISS: I made Chinese food for dinner. Emma came to the table with some random maroon sash wrapped around her head and announced that she was feeling like she was Chinese. Then she asked me if she and Andrew could watch television. She asked me in Spanish. So, I questioned her multicultural approach, and she calmly explained that actually she was a Chinese girl who spoke English and was learning Spanish in school. Aha.

<3 Christy

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Reliving Childhood

My brother made me ride a bike today. This is more significant than you might think. I wrecked my bike when I was about eight years old. I went down a steep hill, fast enough that I was out of control, and at the bottom of the hill, there was a wooden bridge. Let's just say that my little eight-year-old self turned that bridge into a ramp. I know I was airborne. And I know I hit gravel. I haven't been on a bike since.
I know this sounds pretty ridiculous, but hear me out. When I was still a kid, I was scared to get back on a bike. By the time a fear of a crash was irrelevant, I had my own car.
We have never lived in a good place for my kids to ride bikes, so they never really have. Thinking foolishly that this is an essential childhood skill, we bought bikes for the kids this year for Christmas. They have done really well with the whole two-wheel deal.
My brother and his wife ride bikes a lot. They came over and asked if the kids could go on a ride with them. Of course, we said yes! Then my brother casually said that they had four adult bikes and that Chris and I should ride along. "Woah, woah, woah," I said. "I haven't been on a bike since that time I crashed when I was eight!" And that was pretty much all he had to hear. No matter how much I didn't want to, I was going to be taking a bike ride.
I have to say that I did alright. You really don't forget how to ride a bike. I should mention that I was never very good at it as a kid, so I am still not very good at it. But I enjoyed it and maybe I'll even get my own bike soon. My daughter, however, rides like I used to as a kid. She has training wheels, so she can go as slowly as she wants. We really were a sight! Four adults and two kids riding at the speed of a stroll. The more adept cyclers in our group handled the slow pace pretty well. I, on the other hand, did not. It's much harder to ride a bike slowly, and I felt compelled to ride behind my little one so that I could shout direction at her if she was veering into traffic or something. I nearly ran into her so many times, and I had to come to a complete stop so many times that I lost count! I think that the ride itself may not have been too taxing, but all that starting up and getting off the bike - ouch! I guess the proper fit for an adult bike means that only your toes touch the ground. So, the places of me that hurt from such activities....(groan) just isn't nice.
About halfway through the ride, I realized that I was suffering from the Parental Curse - you know, the one that says your children will grow up to be just like you? I cruised along, yelling at my daughter to "just pedal a little faster!!" and "hurry up! you're in the middle of the street!!" And I suddenly remembered my mother yelling the exact same things at me. Oh dear. I AM turning into my mother (not that that's a BAD thing, ma...). She used to tell me that I was able to stay upright on two wheels at the slowest speed she had ever seen.
I just want to take this opportunity to offer my apologies to my parents. No wonder you didn't keep bicycling as a hobby.

DAILY BLISS: Pretty much the whole riding-a-bike-again thing. Who knew? You really don't ever forget!

<3 Christy

Saturday, January 13, 2007


I was reading a little book while sitting at a chess meet and ran across an excerpt from C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity that I absolutely loved!!
Speaking of Christians, he said, " Some, as I have admitted, are still hardly recognizable: but others can be recognized. Every now and then one meets them. Their very voices and faces are different from ours; stronger, quieter, happier, more radiant. They begin where most of us leave off. They are, I say, recognizable; but you must know what to look for. They will not be very like the idea of 'religious people' which you have formed from your general reading. They do not draw attention to themselves. You tend to think that you are being kind to them when they are really being kind to you. They love you more than other men do, but they need you less...They will usually seem to have a lot of time: you will wonder where it comes from. When you have recognized one of them, you will recognize the next one much more easily. And I strongly suspect (but how should I know?) that they recognize one another immediately and infallibly, across every barrier of colour, sex, class, age, even of creeds. In that way, to become holy is rather like joining a secret society. To put it at the very lowest, it must be great fun."
Dang! I wanna be like that! But, I must admit that in my attempts toward such an end, I am having "great fun!"

DAILY BLISS: Oatmeal butterscotch cookies coming out of my oven! Yay!

<3 Christy

I'm home and GO Saints!

I'm HOME!!! Wooo HOOOO!!! Never been so happy to put on a pair of jeans and a bra!!! No more tummy shots, no more mystery meat. I'm home with my favorite people in the world, kickin back in my living room.
Ooo... gotta go, Saints are marchin in!!!!

Rollin' it over

Still blogging from room 8083. REALLY hoping to go home today. It’s been a long week of shots, pills, hospital food, and wondering what to think. I’m not sure I’ve done much thinking, really. Bad use of hospital time, I suppose, but I think I kind of just wadded up this experience and, as Father Tim would say, “rolled it over onto the Lord” for a while. I just set it in His lap and left it with Him. I’m not sure what else to do. As the stream of health professionals comes to my room, often telling me how lucky I am, how most people never have this chance, I’m tempted to get it back from Him and try to untangle the wad of stuff.

Surely there are all kinds of gems in there, all kinds of dark scary stuff too. I suppose He will dole it out to me piece by piece as I am ready to take it in. For this moment, I’m trying to laugh at the crazy and find joy in the little things. It seems the random and absurd even follows me here. Like at 4am when the guy comes to my room, flips on the light, and asks how much I peed that night. (WHAT??? Where am I??) Or like when the hospital kitchen nuked the wrong side of my tray, cooking my cake and milk instead of the mystery meat and mashed potatoes. (yummy!)

Maybe more profundity later. For now, just hoping to go home!!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Hospital thoughts...

Not much to say today. I’m still trying to soak in the idea that I came so close to dying. I’m so thankful for the support of friends and family. My church family has been so good to us, and even far away friends are calling and sending flowers. I’m thankful to be loved. I’m thankful that even if my days ended now, I have without a doubt made a connection with our Creator. He loves me. He told me while I watched the sunset from my hospital window. (I’m serious, the view is amazing!) He and I are off on one adventure after another together. This is just another incredible journey we are on. I say I wanna live on the edge, and He takes me up on it!!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Trusting Scared (by Becky)

OK… so I’m blogging from a unique place. The hospital. I came to the ER with some pretty severe pain when breathing, and was diagnosed with pulmonary embolisms, or blood clots in my lungs. Pretty scary. Good news is, docs found it quickly and I’ll be in here all week while they treat to make sure they get this under control. For right now it hurts. Bad. So if what I type doesn’t make sense, it’s because it’s tinged with lovely pain meds.

I’m frightened, or maybe that’s not the word. I know no matter what happens, I’m going to be ok. I know what will happen after my last breath. But the idea of leaving my babies, my husband, my family, my church, my life…. I’m just not done living yet!! Don’t suppose I ever will be!

Here’s the verse that came to mind when I was in ER. The doc came in and told us that unfortunately, he was correct and I did have clots. He gave some more instructions and left the room. Into my head came a verse I memorized as a child. “What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee.” Ps. 56:3. So here I am, scared but trusting.

When my kids were still rocking chair age, I used to sing them an old hymn.

Simply trusting every day
Trusting through the stormy way
Even when my faith is small
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Trusting as the moments fly
Trusting as the days go by
Trusting Him what e’er befall
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

(Sorry, but I don’t know the author or origin of the hymn. It just was planted in the recesses of my brain as a kid. Not sure who or where…)

Don’t know what else there is to do. I spend a lot of time running around, planning, working, striving, achieving. Now, in this moment, Trusting Jesus is all that’s left. So it’s all I’ll do.

Daily bliss: A good view from my hospital room!! OH! And wireless internet in the hospital! Who knew??

Monday, January 08, 2007

Sighing by the Lake

I am enjoying my last couple days of freedom before I start my new job. Did I mention that already? I'm going to be a church secretary - I've done it before, so the learning curve should be short. So, I got some coffee this morning with my mom and grandma - how funny we must have been, all three generations sitting in Starbucks! - and headed off by myself to the local lake-and-gardens to just sit. One of my friends suggested that it's always good to decompress and I started thinking...well....I'm not all that compressed to begin with. Maybe it's just preemptive decompression.
People look at you, though, when you're sitting by yourself in public. I've taken myself out to dinner before, and I got a lot of compassionate attention from the staff. Some of my friends even said that I was brave for doing that! But I like to be alone. I like to be able to think whatever I want to think and hide behind my sunglasses and my iPod and have people wonder if I'm okay. As long as I don't notice the people wondering about me.
I guess I just wanted to share what a beautiful day it was and how refreshing to just have an hour outside, all by myself, at our beautiful lake. The birds all chattered about me when I sat on their bench. There were a few fish that jumped. I guess they were excited about the rain that was coming. And the breeze was just delicious.
I'm a little sad to be going back to work, and I guess I hoped that the breeze would blow it all away, but it didn't. It's hard to step back into a world you never wanted to be part of. I like being home and being a mom. Even the dreamiest of dreamers sometimes has to let reality settle in, though. I just don't want to. How three-years-old does that sound? Ha!

DAILY BLISS: Wrestling on the floor with the kids!

<3 Christy

Friday, January 05, 2007

The Joy of a Frizzy Ponytail

I was running those annoying little evening errands when I suddenly took notice of my daughter. Really - she was a wreck. She had changed into this pair of khaki shorts after school and all four pocket flaps were turned up and the pockets were inside out. She was wearing high-heeled dressy mary janes and had some sort of orange stain on one side of her mouth. And her hair - oh.....oh, her hair. I had put it in a nice, neat, high ponytail this morning. At this point, there were clumps of it that were pulled halfway out like majestic, rolling hills. Her hair is also curly, so it was kind of tufted and frizzy all over.
Then I looked at my son. He was still in uniform, sort of. His shirt was way untucked, except for one spot to the left in the back. His shirt was pretty stained, though. It was nearly gray in all of the expected places and had mysterious brown marks all over the front. Probably some chocolate type of lunch box exchange. His hair had been neatly spiked up in just the front this morning. It was now matted down and spiked out mainly over his ears.
Just as I was about to slink off into a corner and give them both a spit bath and a hair adjustment, it occurred to me that those are all the marks of fun. They have both been playing really hard and working hard too. Neither one of them gave a thought to the fact that the evidence of such important work should be shameful. How nice! I decided to leave them be and proudly parade my two little rugrats through Blockbuster, regardless of who I might run into that I haven't seen in years (that happens to me a lot, since I grew up in this town).
Then I looked down at myself. I was wearing my mom shoes - sensible fabric flats with little flowers on them. My jeans were kind of sagging by this time in the day and gave me a noticeable muffin-top around the waist band. And my shirt had a big tomato stain in a socially unacceptable place somewhere around the top/left/front. And my hair - oh.........oh, my hair. My ponytail looked a lot like Emma's. I decided that this, too, was evidence of the fun I'd had today. I had lunch with my mom and bumped right into my BLT while I was laughing at some silly song she made up at the table and sang without thought to who might listen. My mom really can't sing either. My ponytail was in bad shape because I had been shopping for work clothes and tried on at least two dozen shirts. I have a new job that I'm excited about and nothing to wear. My jeans.....well, I have no real excuse for them, other than the fact that they're comfy.
So, I proudly paraded myself through the grocery store, knowing that most of the other moms there looked just as bad. And you know what? They probably had lots of fun and worked really hard too. And all of you girls out there that still go to the grocery store looking good.....take it easy on us. Your turn is coming.

DAILY BLISS: Shopping with my mom! She'll always tell me if I really do need to buy the next size up, and somehow manage to still make me feel like I'm beautiful.

<3 Christy

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Christmas Tea

When I was still little, my daddy started a tradition with me. We called it having a cup of Christmas tea - I think there was a book about that if I recall correctly. Every year, at the end of the Christmas season, on the last night before we took down the tree, we would sit down and turn on the tree lights, turn off the house lights, have some coffee (because tea can be kinda sissy) and cry a little bit. He knew that I needed a little mourning period for the passing of my favorite time of year. He knew that I was pretty sentimental. Mostly because he was too, but don't tell him I wrote that down here.
So, I can never let the year pass without my cup of Christmas tea, and I indulged myself last night. I sat there and cried just a little bit out of happiness for the blessings in my life - my incredible family, my beautiful kids, a house that I adore....the list goes on and on. I guess that's kinda sissy, but then I also drink tea now. I cried a little bit thinking of the awesome Gift of God made into a man. I cried a lot when I thought about all the work that my brothers and my husband and my dad put into making this Christmas the best one ever and I smiled, knowing that I would cry remembering this Christmas when the next one rolls around. And then I sobbed for the vanishing childhoods in my house. I try not to think about that too much. It really isn't nice to have your children taken from you in such a stealthy way.
But when it's done, I'm always ready to move on - ready to get up and start a new year. I guess that's a good thing.

DAILY BLISS: Iced soy chai lattes on my porch with my heart's refuge - my Becky!

<3 Christy

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Things... (by Becky)

Ok, here’s the thing. I can’t stand dogs. Cats either. Sure, in the past I’ve had delusions of wanting a cuddly little creature to care for. We even owned a bassett hound once. But since then, I’ve changed. I just can’t seem to see the value. Dogs poop and pee, ON YOUR STUFF. They are indiscriminate about what they eat and sniff, and then they LICK YOUR FACE. They leave hair on places and don’t even get me started on the smells.

Here’s the funny thing. In the last two days I’ve driven three dogs back and forth from a kennel. None of them my own, of course. (Here’s that good ole absurdity again!) Today I finally lost it in the grocery store when I paid $4.59 for a bag of Kibbles and Bits that wouldn’t have made it through one breakfast for my kids if it had been cereal. To the dismay of an innocent woman on the same aisle, I ranted to the air, “WHY would ANYONE spend this kind of money on a disgusting DOG? This is crazy!” She grabbed her bag of dog food and went the opposite direction from me.

And another thing… Have you ever tried to steer one of those race car grocery carts? The kind designed to entertain your kids by letting them ride in a car-like thing with a grocery cart pasted on the front of it. The result is a vehicle with the steering capacity of an aircraft carrier. It needs a foghorn to signal it’s arrival on the next grocery aisle. Now I know what it means to careen!!

So today as I careened around the grocery store with the race car cart buying water, extra toothbrushes, and Kibbles and Bits for a dog that’s not mine, snarling about it the whole time, I wondered why people were backing away from me slowly. It’s kinda funny now to wonder what they thought. Some probably just thought “PMS…,” some thought “Those poor kids. Somebody oughta do something about that.” Some thought a few choice names for me, I’m sure. Heck, I thought a few choice names for me!!

Reality is, none of them had been with me for the last three days. None of them were witnesses to the stress and strain of my life. If they had been, they would have without a doubt understood my snarl. They would have offered sympathetic looks, gentle advice, and free coffee.

So here’s the serious thing… THAT’s the value of friends in my life. While other people look on in judgement at my less than ideal behavior, my friends know all the stuff behind my snarl. Instead of being off-put, they wrap arms around me, make phone calls to me, and help me laugh about the hurts in my life. If that grocery store had been full of my friends, I would have left with a mouthful of chocolate, and a heart full of peace, knowing that somebody understood my plight. This leads me to another thought. EVERYBODY has something behind their snarl. What if we all understood that? What if we, as strangers, could extend a friendly hand and heart of understanding to those who are snarling around us? What if I were brave enough to wrap my arms around a snarling individual, instead of obeying the urge to slowly back away. (I hardly ever get this urge, but for some reason I see people do it all the time! I wonder...)

Here’s the real thing… There is One who never backs away, no matter how vicious my growl. He never leaves, no matter how ridiculous my ranting. He loved me first, and continues to love me, on days when I have capacity to return that love, AND on days when I don’t. It’s that One, Jesus, whose hands I’ll extend instead of judgement. It’s His heart I’ll show in sympathy to another struggling soul. That’s where it’s at. Not in the absence of bad days at the grocery store, not in pretending I NEVER snarl. But in knowing what it’s like to be accepted, even when I snarl, and extending that acceptance to another person out of love for the One who extended it to me.

THAT’s the thing…

Weird (by Becky)

I don’t know about you, but I’m beginning to notice how my life constantly teeters on the edge of the ridiculous. Does that ever happen to you? I try my hardest to be a civilized, respectable, cordial woman; but the absurd is ever-present, always lurking just below the surface, reminding me that high class is just out of my reach. As a young girl, even as a newlywed I had wonderful visions of a clean, civilized life where I would have well behaved children, a well-kept home, a well-maintained figure, and a well-known career. Of course, I would have an attractive husband, I would be well-spoken and well-read. I would engage in intelligent conversation, be witty and charming, and go around doing grown up civilized things like having meetings, going to lunch with friends, shopping, cooking wonderful dinners, and driving a clean smelling car. And you know, that is actually how I picture myself most of the time. I ignore the laundry piles, pizza boxes, crumbs, and elastic waistbands; and picture myself just one step away from achieving my dream. I would be happy in my deluded concept of reality, except the most random things pop up to keep me aware that though I have some aspects of my dream in the bag, other parts of my life would make great displays in Ripley’s Believe it or Not museums.

Case in point: Friday, my sister and I were sitting at a restaurant. We had taken my brother to the airport and were enjoying a nice civilized lunch, savoring time together while I’m in my hometown for a visit. We were looking forward to seeing a movie together later in the evening. We were laughing, joking, and engaging in grown-up conversation. For a few moments, we had it! We WERE the dream. Two intelligent, attractive, classy women lunching together like civilized adults. My sleek, civilized cellular phone rang, and I answered. My husband was on the other end ready to lower the boom of the absurd. “I have some news you need to know,” he said. He proceeded to inform me that my daughter had spent the day before we left town with a friend who now has head lice. Immediately, I shifted from high-class adult to red-neck, white trash queen of the ridiculous, ready to fight off the constant barrage of random craziness my life continues to throw at me. Our intelligent conversation shifted from the politically correct use of the word “thin” referring to Mary in a sermon, (how did he know she was thin anyway?) to how many packs of lice treatment kits we would need to treat all the people at mom and dad’s house. (We figured two packs would do it.) Then we lost all couth as we hooted about how our movie plans were now “Nixed.” (As all the moms out there will know, Nix is a brand of lice treatment shampoo.) We were getting punchy and people were starting to stare. I don’t know, I just somehow never imagine myself at lunch with another intelligent adult, strategizing about the fastest, most preventative way to treat ten people for head lice, then laughing my head off about it. Sure, I might pass up movie plans for a better offer, but certainly, it never occurred to me that I’d sacrifice my movie plans to form a head lice treatment assembly line. Sorry, but head lice eradication was never a part of the dream.

There I was as my dream self, having a perfectly normal lunch, and it quickly descended into the ridiculous. The evening only got more absurd. We drove home, making a pit stop at the drug store for the lice shampoo, and began the treatment. It was starting to seem normal. No one had any sign of the bugs, but we weren’t taking chances. We got into a good groove shampooing one kid while the next kid was rinsing and the next combing out. We were spraying furniture and stripping beds. Again, the phone rings. This time my sister picked it up and got the news that my nephew had gone to the back of our property on his four wheeler and was stuck. We had just discovered him missing when it came his turn for the shampoo. We continued carrying out the lice treatment while now trying to calm our parents down and find a kid who just buried his four wheeler. Somebody showed up to pull out the four wheeler, (around our neighborhood there are plenty of good ole boys with 4x4’s just waiting for a chance like that) we stripped the muddy kid and put him in the shower as last to be treated for lice. By that time, we had lost all vision of the dream. We allowed life to spiral all the way down to utterly absurd. We loaded up everybody and went down to Jerry’s Restaurant (which isn’t actually called Jerry’s, but the guy who owns it is Jerry) for the Friday night fish fry. We took up a whole room in the place and gave at least one waitress a night to remember. We yelled out stuff no one ever plans to say, like “Get your mouth off the back of that chair,” and “Siddown! This room ain’t a race track!”

So much for high class living. Isn’t it funny how we have a concept of the way life should be? Like my life should look like an episode of Masterpiece Theatre, when in reality it’s more like a marathon of Roseanne. For some reason I keep holding to the dream. Maybe it pacifies me to pretend I can have a civilized life. Maybe it just keeps me sane to have a glimpse of high class adulthood once in a while. I don’t know. I considered it tonight in deep thought as I drove home listening to my kids sing their own original composition “Worms are Weird.” Rest assured, kids, it’s not just the worms that are weird!!

Truth is, that though I never dreamed of preventing lice, saving an ATV, and shutting down a local greasy spoon all in one night, the ridiculous things in my life bring the most laughter and fun. If not for the completely random junk like that, I might never throw back my head and laugh embarrassingly loud. I might never come close to wetting my pants or throwing up because I’ve laughed so hard. I might not have memories of some crazy but special times shared with my family and friends. Maybe it’s time to alter my dream. Maybe it’s time to embrace the stupidity of my life and cherish it for the smile-inducing wonder that it is. Or maybe I’m just weird.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year

DAILY BLISS: A fresh, new year! What fun!

<3 Christy