Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Signs of Spring

Our spring weather has been not so spring like.  Lots of cold, wet days with really late snows.  But this weekend was divine!  Popsicles and dandelion bouquet type weather.  (Actually, any type of weed bouquets.  With an entire tulip, bulb and all too.  When I explained to Conleigh that those were tulips and we needed to leave them in the ground so they could come back every year, she quietly said, "Oh.  I did not realize that.")  We may even end up with grass in our front yard within the next few weeks since the grass guy was just here to put down the seed.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Pregnancy Update

We've reached the halfway point, something I've really been ready to write since halfway seems like an accomplishment.  (Actually we're a bit past as I should be 21 weeks on Friday.)  The nausea is pretty much gone other than a few moments maybe 3-4 days a week.  I'm so thankful to not have so much time investing in feeling badly, thinking about feeling badly, thinking about eating, etc..  I have really continued to crave healthy stuff.  It feels like I am forever buying produce.  Early on, I think I was eating frozen fruit and Edy's whole fruit popsicles.  Then, I was on a celery and pickles kick.  Now I'm eating a cucumber at least once a day.  Apples have always been good.  I think in total I've maybe gained 6 pounds.  Lest that fool you, my stomach is seriously rearranged and I do look pregnant.  (Can't quite bring myself to post belly shot pictures; just not quite my thing.)  I am having some issues with sciatica type pain in one leg and hip so if you've got any pointers on that, I'll gladly take them.  In terms of doctor's appointments, all has been on track, from measurements to heartbeat.  Today, we're headed in for our first ultrasound.  And I had my friend, Angie, who has a 7 month old who has slept through the night since 2 months old bless my belly with her magic momma hands.  We've started talking names (and of course don't have any we love).  I found some cute crib bedding on Ebay that I ordered and I've been thinking a lot this last week about how we will rearrange and redecorate Conleigh's room to make it work for the baby and her.  (Have to say, I think I'm looking forward to that part.)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Messy Wound

I have a hurt heart tonight.  Hurt a bit by a kiddo who is hurting.  Hurting for a kiddo who is hurting.  Because adoption is messy stuff.  It is rarely cut and dry, black and white.  

It seems simple enough at first:  I choose to love you because I have love to give and you need love.  Then comes the happily every after.

But then you dig a little deeper and you come to see how deeply the cut is.  It's not that its a gushing, gaping wound.  It's that it is a small incision, one that tears slowly as your kids develop more self awareness, one that reopens because of the words of others, one that festers a bit because of a new experience that caused deep thinking.  

It's a cycle; a wound that scabs and heals and hurts and bleeds.  You, as the parent, are left watching, never quite sure if the tears you see today are just tears or if they are anger or deep sadness, loneliness or guilt, somehow connected to this silent hurt.  

And so the anger and worry comes out.  

It comes out in weird and awkward statements.  "I love her more than I love you."  while you know better than to take it personally and calmly answer,"You know it's not a contest, you don't have to love one of us more."

It comes out in words that prick a little at your heart.  A random "You don't love me!" and your heart twinges and wants to shout back "Oh, yes I do!"

It pours out in anxious tears, in worry filled comments like "What happens if you can't take care of me anymore?" as you count your blessings that you've actually thought this through and can easily tell your child "Well, I hope that never happens but if it did, we've already made a plan."

So my heart hurts.  Because it's a lot for any six year old.  Because it's a lot for any mom.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Helpful Baby Tips from Conleigh

On naming....
Conleigh:  I know what we can call the baby!  Junior!

Me:  Junior?

Conleigh:  Yeah, Junior.  And it's middle name can be Nick.

Me:  Oh really?

Conleigh:  Oh wait!  No, Nick and it's middle name can be Junior!

On gender...
Conleigh:  It better be a girl or I'm going to punch it in the face!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


For Easter, we took a quick trip to my mom's.  We visited my friend, Laura, where Zeke terrorized her chickens and cats.  And then it was on to Mom's.  Where Zeke continued his habit of wreaking havoc with the small animals.  For Easter day, we went to church and ate lunch and supper with my aunt and uncle before heading home.

Aunt Sheree rescuing David, the turtle, from Zeke's havoc.  At Thanksgiving, it was Zeke and Sienna throwing toys into the turtle container.  This go round, no Sienna and Quinn though he was being clever by putting a screen over the enclosure.  Somehow, though, David managed to get an extra helping of meal worms.

Checking for candy or "bunny", also known as money.  Zeke had a great time so we thought he might like to hunt for more eggs.  We took the empty eggs and put a few of them out again, but once he realized there was nothing in them, he would just throw them down disgustedly.

Zeke and Grandma 2

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

NU Spring Red and White Game

D took Kenson to the annual Red and White Game this Saturday as a special treat.  I think they only made it halfway through before Kenson was hungry and bored but nevertheless, Kenson had fun and so did D.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Berries and Carrots, Potatoes and Radishes

It has been so dog gone cold around here for so long that this winter has felt like it has stretched on forever.  But I think we might be turning the corner!  So excited to get started on landscaping and garden spaces.  I'm not sure how long my body will hold up in terms of getting major projects accomplished so I'm trying to get as much done as I can right now.  We did a few landscaping things last fall but really it was mostly buying some really cheap clearance plants and sticking them in the ground, knowing they might get moved once we had a better plan for where to put them.  I still have about 4 flower beds that need filled.  We also fenced a side yard for use as a vegetable garden.  However, now that we've lived here, we are seeing that side of our house get very little sun.  So we're on to plan b with that.

I intend to have a berry patch in one corner of the yard and found a clearanced blackberry last year which appears to have survived.  I really have been wanting gooseberries because my granny had gooseberries but I've never had good luck finding them locally.  I did find them awhile back at Home Depot but they were really scraggly sticks that didn't survive.  Last week, I was thrilled to find them at our Orscheln's, looking green and healthy.  They also had some raspberries that were in great shape so we got those as well.  It's still too cold here to put them in the ground so Zeke and I transplanted them out of their plastic bags and into a planter until it warms up.  He didn't want to get his hands dirty but he loved squeezing the water bottle to water them.  (The squeeze bottle is a great trick for having little hands help water plants.)  He was so excited once the big kids got home from school; in fact, as soon as we were in the door, he raced over to the patio to show Kenson, shouting "Me!  Me!"

This weekend, the kids and I also put in some containers of carrots and radishes as well as some potatoes.  I have never grown potatoes in my own garden and I'm trying something different.  Our soil is really full of clay so potatoes might not do so great in that soil.  So I am using a method that has you put the potatoes right on top of the soil and then cover them with straw.  That minimizes their contact with the soil and grows the potatoes in the straw instead of down into the dirt.  Hoping it works as it would make harvesting them much easier too.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Being Gay at Jerry Falwell's University

Worth the read...

A friend shared this article, written by a gay man who came out at a Christian university, and it dovetails so well with what I wrote earlier on the gay marriage issue.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Recognizing a Limb Difference and the Siblings Who Scar Us

Within the last 2 days, Zeke has indicated an awareness that he is missing fingers.  It's almost cute.  He will hold out his fingerless hand and say, "No finfers."  And today he did the same thing with his other hand, showcasing his half a pointer.

Then we depart from the rational and end up in the land of "why yes, my older siblings perhaps scarred me for life."  Because at some point, the older two have directed the conversation towards "Where did they go, Zeke?  Did you eat them?"  Which prompts him to stick his hands into his mouth and grin like a wild man.  Just hoping that at some point, he hears his parents say "No, that's just how God made you."

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Picking my Own Camp

To my friends who really believe that gay marriage is an equality issue, one we should be at the fore front of:

I hear you.  I really do.  And there is a part of me that really wants to be in your camp.  I want to be someone not opposed to what some view as a civil rights issue.  But the problem is I can't let go of my belief that the Bible is the inerrant word of God which guides my decisions.  For many of you, the Bible holds no authority in your life and I don't expect you to buy into Biblical standards as truth.  And for many of you, you also believe the Bible to be truth but you have come to see the passages regarding homosexuality in a different way than I do.  (Which is not one of picking and choosing what I want to believe but is instead about Old Testament laws being established both as cultural and moral practices, with the New Testament covenant under Jesus fulfilling the Old Testament laws in a way only grace can.  So truly I do not see a conflict in eating shellfish or wearing clothing of mixed fibers because those were Old Testament commands given as a part of the covenant with Israel, and are not a part of the New Testament covenant.)  I have heard your thoughts and while I disagree, I do not think it makes you less of a Christian or on the road to Hell.

And I can't let go of the fact that I don't think it is the same as racial equality.  No one ever said that being black is about a sin.  (And I'm so sorry to throw that word "sin" into the conversation because I know for you, there is a good chance the word "sin" is a huge sticking point.  I'm only using it because there is no way to make that point without using the word.  I don't see this as in issue of having a greater sin than someone else or legislating moral behavior.)  Yes, people did think interracial marriages were sinful or integration wrong but neither issue is specifically addressed as sin within the Bible.  (Marrying into other cultures, yes, but as applicable to the Israelites.  Slavery, yes.  But within the context of Roman slavery which was a completely different type of slavery than what existed in the US.)

Please try to understand those who hold that viewpoint and therefore cannot see it as a civil rights issue because they believe personal choice to be involved.  (As well as genetics and environment.)  I am certainly no expert on being gay and I certainly will not pretend to understand, but I cannot let go of the way Ted Haggard, the disgraced preacher from Colorado described his own struggle with homosexuality as a struggle, not as something he is cured from or delivered from, but as a daily on-going struggle.

For my friends in the church who feel strongly on the issue being a moral and spiritual turning point in our country:

I also hear you.  And I too wonder about the equality part as it applies to polygamy or other similar situations.  I hear how you feel like it is an issue of relativism, where there there is no basis for truth, only a belief that we have to do what is right although we have no moral compass other than our own self to guide us.

But please consider your tone.  Shouting Bible verses at people who are atheists or agnostic is a ridiculous idea because they don't consider the Bible to be useful for shaping laws.  Beating down other believers by using the Bible to show them how wrong they are and how they are not true Christians is equally ineffective.
Saying cliches like "love the sinner, hate the sin" sound like a cloying drop of honey, ill placed and likely to make one gag even though it was meant to be flavorful.  We are called to be known for our love and humility.  When we engage in debates online in a tit for tat fashion (pink and red equal signs and pink and red crosses, anyone?), I'm not sure it is constructive.  Rhetoric does not change hearts.  Relationships and love change hearts.  (And I'm not convinced that it's my job to change hearts anyway.  Isn't that up to the Holy Spirit and the Father above?)

Here's the deal:  I have avoided most conversations on this issue until now because it seems like just another fray that is not worth entering into in the online world.  But after reading several blog posts and online articles, after watching the Facebook tide, my heart is torn.

It just seems like you have to pick a side.  That you have to be for gay marriage and against the Bible and other believers or you are against gay marriage and against those who are gay.

Can I just say I'm neither?

My heart has been shaped by both mercy and the concept of the Bible as truth.  When I was in college, I once caught a ride with a friend to a town about 2 hours away.  While we were driving, he shared with me we were going to his aunts' house and that they were gay.  I was a small town girl and honestly that was probably my first experience with an openly gay couple and their family.  More than anything, I remember sitting in his car trying to match up my thoughts on sin with the fact that these were his aunts, people whom he loved.  I quickly realized how complicated it gets when its someone you love is gay and that I would have felt terrible for him (and his aunts) if someone had spoken unkindly to them.

About the same time, I also read the book, What's So Amazing About Grace? by Phillip Yancy.  In that book, Yancy shares about a  Christian friend who left his wife for a homosexual relationship.  Yancy relays how hard it was to take the idea of "hate the sin" because it just didn't seem like something someone would say to a dear friend.  Yancy also tells how his friend felt like it was easier to get a hug in a gay bar than in the church.  Sad truths.

But my Bible college brain has a pretty deep seeded grasp on what I believe about the Bible, sin, and grace.  I cannot just say "well, God didn't really mean that when He had Paul write that."  Nor can I do as one blogger suggested and separate the Bible from my political views.  (See Rage Against the Minivan's The Biblical Definition of Marriage and its Relevance to Marriage Equality.)  We all (Muslim, Buddhist, agnostic, whatever) have guiding principles that become our standards.  We all "impose" our beliefs on others when we vote, when we share our opinions, etc..  It is not about me trying to legislate morality but instead about someone saying "I think we have to have some way to inform our decisions that is based on something other than what popular society says is right, good, orderly, etc.."  And I do not think my willingness to use the Bible as my guidepost automatically puts me into the "my way or the high way, here's 100 Scriptures for you to look up, we all must believe the same way camp."

So please let me choose something that is full of mercy and love, set on the foundation of the Bible as God's inspired, inerrant words.  Let me not choose the equal sign or the rebuttal cross but instead an inward slant, that focuses on the heart.