13 November 2010

Diaper Bag Dilemma

Okay cloth mommas,
I think the most overwhelming thing to me (at least this week, ha) is what sort of diaper bag do I need? Stephen wants one that isn't so girly that he looks stupid carrying it (and I totally don't blame him. He's awesome about holding my purse when I go to the bathroom, so I think major props go to my man), and I don't like super-girly things anyway. I don't think we can use a backpack because, apparently as both being staff, we both frequently are already wearing backpacks. My backpack isn't enormously full most of the time, but I couldn't just give Stephen my backpack when he has the baby cause it still has my wallet and keys and glasses and half a dozen other things I need with me. I also don't want to carry around a suitcase on my shoulder. I don't want to fall into the trap of filling up a bigger space with more stuff that we may not need.

That being said, I know cloth diapers (we'll be using cloth wipes as well) and the wet/dry bags will take up some space. I think the longest he'll be away from the changing table (without it being a trip) would be homegroup nights and church on Sundays. Since we live in the middle of town, it's not hard to stop by the house in between errands (which I often do because I'm disorganized and have forgotten something I need anyway).

Another thing that has blown me away is many diaper bags are SO EXPENSIVE. Or it feels that way. I don't pay $40 or $50 for a purse, or jeans, or shoes, or almost anything. If I'm gonna pay that much, I want to flipping LOVE this bag. For that price, I could get a really cute coated canvas shopper from Fossil. But I have no idea if it'd be big enough.

Also also also, I don't want to give in to mommyfrump. Ya know? I work with 19 year old girls as a job and a calling! I'm already not a put-together-kinda-gal, so I at least want the thing I'll have on my arm probably almost constantly for years to not look frumpy, matronly, and old. Is it so bad to want to give the appearance of being a cool mom?

ALLLLLLLLL of that to say, any great finds on diaper bags? If it's more expensive, do you think it might last through, oh, say four kids?

04 November 2010

Baby Prep

I mean, what else is going on in my life?
As our little bit gets more and more active and we get closer and closer to February (tho I think he's coming in March), I contemplate all of the information I'm receiving from various sources on parenting and what's best.

What a lot to wade through! Weaning, co-sleeping, introducing solids, scheduling, diapering, when to have subsequent children... all of what I'd planned on doing is still up in the air, as more and more information leads to more and more options.
And, as the time draws nigh (okay, we have several months, but they're several busy, busy months!), I wonder if I'll even have the courage to make decisions and follow through with them, even if there's pressure from family members to do it another way.

How do other moms navigate those things? I feel like it was a big step to decide we wanted a midwife and a homebirth, and we definitely met some resistance. All our parents and family members are very, very well-meaning, and I don't think we'd be undermined in our wishes by either families. But for some reason, I still feel pressure to do things the way they were done with us when we were children. Maybe that's not even being felt on their sides; it could very well just be my own insecurities. Does this get better? Or, heaven help me, worse? Eek!

But I have so enjoyed my little active boy. He was ricocheting from one side of my uterus to the other this morning. THUMPthump...THUMPthump... over and over on a tilted axis of my upper right to lower left. Hope it doesn't hurt him to hit his head like that. I'm not sure of this, but he seems really strong for only 23 weeks - he wakes me up with his exercises at night and in the morning, and I can see him kicking on the outside, not just feel it when I put my hand on my tum. I'm just thankful he can't yet reach my ribs! Although I'm nervous it means he'll be like me in temperament, instead of like my placid husband. I guess that's just one more thing I have to let go of - letting our baby be exactly who he is, and not hoping for a tiny copy of my husband.

01 November 2010

A Cooking Aside

So for dinner tonight, I decided I'd use the sweet potato that'd been sitting on the counter begging to be eaten (as every worthy vegetable does) for about two weeks.

I was going to slice and fry it like I do regular potatoes (fried things are so great.), but my conscience (and my cheeks, which are slowly but surely becoming more and more chipmunk-y) smote me. So, like a good pregnant woman, I dipped them in egg and baked them. Best odds, anyone?

Result? Oh, right, I'm not a huge fan of sweet potatoes. Because they're quite sweet. but potato-y. Perhaps one could make it almost a dessert by adding of spices I could guess at but have no idea if they would work.

In any case, I do approve of the dipping in egg and baking, which I wasn't sure I would, since eggs are really gross. I'm wondering if even some Panko crusting would make it better, or if it would just waste my Panko. I will, at least, do it again with normal potatoes. Normal potatoes are wonderful.

No pictures, as I made steamed broccoli as well, and it must be served as quickly as it's cooked. Stephen won't eat it cold, and I hate eating it cold myself. [Django, on the other hand, will take cooked broccoli any way he can get it. Dogs are so weird.]

27 October 2010

For the Mommas Out There

* Seriously, if you're male or not excited about the ins and outs of maternity life, you are warned to not read below. :) *
Two questions:
1) Have you ever experienced a crampy type of pain right above your pubic bone when you don't get enough sleep? I'm talking about 5 hours of sleep. This has happened to me twice, and it's pretty scary, because it really hurts, but it goes away if I take a long nap. Is there anything to be done besides getting more sleep? What do you do when you have multiple children, and a 3 hour nap isn't going to happen? ...or is this just my problem?
2) How do you go about shopping for nursing bras? I've pretty much outgrown my normal ones, but I don't want to buy more regular bras if they're just gonna shrink back down. Does it make sense to buy nursing bras now? Or should I wait? I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm just kind of embarrassed about my breasts always looking like they're going to spill out of my bras.

Also, I just want to say, I really don't like doctors who listen to you talk about what's going on in your body for 20 seconds and then confidently say what is going on. Even if you're right, doc, I want to feel listened to. You may deal with pregnancy all the days of your life, but my body is doing crazy and new things to me every day. So I want to know that I've been heard and fully understood. And people who think they know everything are obnoxious. Even those who get paid a lot. Aaaand I'm done.

Also also, has anyone found a free pattern for a side-snap infant shirt? I haven't yet been successful, but people say the side snaps are so much nicer for babies and mommas. Thoughts?

14 October 2010

The D Word

MAN, in just perusing Yahoo this morning, there are a lot of famous people getting divorced. It just makes me so glad to have my husband. To have both my parents' and my parents in law's marriages intact. How rare is that nowadays? Crazy.

I know extreme cases happen. My husband is not me, and he really does have free will. I cannot control him if he decided he wanted to leave me and the goodness of the Lord's plans. But I do still feel so secure in our marriage. I feel secure in his love, and I know it's mainly because of his steadfastness in the Lord.
Of course there will be storms. In the world, we will have trouble. But I do have the peace that where I am, there He will be also. And with Stephen, that makes a cord of three strands, not easily broken (look, let me use it how I want to).

A friend pointed out that, in this season of my life, Stephen has been one of the greatest outlets of God's firehose of love toward me. He will find a way to love me, even when I don't want to heard directly from Him. I carry misgivings about God's love in my heart and shut Him out of certain areas; instead of shutting me right back out of His love, He sneaks behind my walls with His love in other forms. Like my incredible husband. Like amazing meetings with potential ministry supporters. Like blooming friendships and a growing homegroup. With a developing baby boy. But mostly, in my little spotted heart, with my darling, steadfast, kind, favorite-person-of-my-whole-life husband.
What a good God.

28 September 2010

To Tie or Not to Tie

I was thinking the other day, if we but bows in girl babies' hair to show that they are girls, shouldn't we have something to show that boys are boys? So I made a teeny tie.
What do you think? Dumb? Cute? Too cheesy? I'm thinking of maybe making a few as gifts to friend who are having boys, but I don't want to waste my time if everyone else thinks they're dumb. I think it's really cute. This is the prototype; I definitely learned a few things that I would not replicate in future mini-ties.

A close-up:

The backside:

14 September 2010


It seems like grief, I suppose like memories, never gets buried deeply. It seems like it also troops in together; all the loss you've ever felt links arms and rushes at you en masse.
Is this true? Is that always the way? Will every loss from now on just compound on each other, until each death is catastrophic, or until I dissociate from myself and live apart from emotion and attachment?

Stephen's great grandmother died last week. She was an amazing, 90-year-old woman. She was completely in love with Jesus, and He used her to love people. She is dancing in heaven right now. I want to be like her.

That being said, I didn't know Granny B well. I spent time with her on five or maybe six different occasions. But I have known loss, mourning, and grief, and I cried a lot at her memorial service. It seems, oh, like the loss of my grandmothers became fresh and real again, even though I lost one when I was only four years old. I have grieved her death many, many times through the years, even though I know I will see her again. See her and know her. We will make memories we won't even have to remember. I grieve not remembering her as much as not seeing her now.

Anyway, I know this is emotional, and maybe even boring to some, but it just struck me as so odd. Almost embarrassing, that I would cry so much for a woman I barely knew, even though she is fully worth missing while we cannot be with her. But why is grief not satisfied? Is there not a number of tears that allows it to relinquish its hold?
I'm not in mourning. I do not think of the people to whom I've said goodbye every day. But even if each revolution of the cycle of grief gets larger and larger, while the intensity is usually less and less, I wish I could be free of the pain of unexpected tears.

31 August 2010


On a side note, I'm not "gaining appropriate weight" according to all the experts. I've decided I don't care. I eat until I'm quite full, I never let myself get too hungry, and I eat a lot of protein. AND, the baby is gaining an ounce a week, not a pound. I don't feel bad. I refuse.


Preface: I have no beef with people who don't particularly care for music. I don't particularly care for sports, or spotless houses, or a lot of other things others really care for. In no way is this meant to make you feel like I think less of you because you aren't picky about the noises that go in your ears.

How is music so powerful? Why did the Lord give us this... this transporter? I love, love the flashes of memory from hearing a song that epitomized a previous season. Who doesn't love that automatic remembering of who you were and what you were about and how you felt? I know Proust examines that in Un amour de Swann, which is very well and good, and certainly thorough. I was listening to a remix of a song that includes two songs from the Beach Boys' album Pet Sounds, which was the only cd I listened to for about two solid months in the Spring of 2005. And the last time I heard this remix, I got a flash of a particular intersection in the town I lived in, and having the windows down and being happy. I would never ever have remembered that moment of feeling free in an otherwise difficult time in my life without having heard that. Things like that. They're markers of times, whether they be significant moments, like the two songs I listened to over and over again the night I gave my life over to Jesus, or just a random memory of sitting in my truck, not wanting to go clean a stranger's house (my loneliest job to date).

I just love how we remember better through music. How we feel memories or even new emotions through music. How someone can craft a song, or even a couple of seconds of a song, and it speaks to us in our deepest emotional places. Or, it speaks to someone. I also love that. You may love a song - it may lift you up to bliss - and I may think it's annoying. I gave my mom a "happy mix cd" and she doesn't like it. She thinks most of the songs are kind of grating to the ears. But the songs, they make me so happy I can laugh, just from enjoying them so much and having them make me happy.

Is that weird? I think it's normal; I think a lot of people carry things inside them through music. I just have such a hard time remembering things; I can't really remember who I was 5 years ago because I really am a completely (almost) different person. And that Michelle was totally different from the Michelle of 2001. But I have the music I've listened to for the past decade, and I can use it to chart who I was and who I am, to look back fondly or sadly or angrily or with pity on past Michelles and try to be careful with myself now. Because, if that girl was in my life now, I'd love her and want to be careful with her, to strengthen and encourage and comfort her. So it only follows that I'll feel the same way about me now in the future.

22 August 2010

Three Months Already?!?

My head is spinning around as you read this. Do I really only have 6 more months before I'm completely responsible for another human being (that can crawl away from me, or cry alllll the time, or pull things on top of itself, or ceaselessly need attention, not to mention can cost a lot of money we don't have)? Eek.

Okay, all you mommas out there, is it as scary as it seems? Cause, honest, I'm kinda freakin out. Especially if s/he's like me. at all. Please, Lord, give me a mini-Stephen. Please? He's so calm and obedient. Pretty pretty please?

[On a side note, I'm enjoying the second trimester, especially if it continues to get better, as far as the not-constantly-nauseated-and-exhausted feelings go.]

[on another side note, my next post will be a series of amusing pictures depicting my first attempt at sewing a wool diaper]

04 August 2010

Return of the Diaper Drama

Mkay, I'm positive we're cloth diapering, for a whole lot of reasons. Most of them are purely economical, but I also (a) don't want a bunch of weird chemicals touching my tiny baby and his/her skin. S/he will have plenty of time to pollute him/herself with toxins later on; and (b) littl'uns potty train earlier with cloth than with disposables, which I'm sure I will appreciate; and (c) I don't like being a trashy person, and disposables make a LOT (I almost made a pun before I decided it might be too crude) of trash. And several other reasons besides.

But that was by far the easiest part. Now comes the, "okay. I have 6 months to figure out some sort of 'system' that I think will work for us, all the while not having a real live baby in front of me to try things out on."
Which is where I am now.

I'm currently leaning towards buying prefolds and making my own wool covers. I'm also currently leaning towards using bought wool fabric, rather than thrifting wool from old/second-hand sweaters and the like. My current reasoning is threefold: used sweaters have already been used - there's already been some wear and tear, and we want to have three babies after this one. Even though cloth will save us money during the diapered span of just one child, I'd lovelovelove for these to last as long as possible. Second, I have more control over what chemicals are on/in the fabric when I buy the fabric from a retailer, rather than at Goodwill. Third, I have doubts about the selection and quality of wool I will be able to find at thrift stores in the College Station area. It's Texas; how many wool garments do people buy here in the first place?

I know this isn't the dirt cheapest option, but ready-made wool covers are (it looks like) 5 or 6 times the price of buying high quality wool by the yard and making them myself. The link in the title has a pattern and instructions for a wool diaper cover.

Any thoughts? Clearly I'm not even a beginner in this area. Sigh... love.

02 August 2010


Stephen and I FINALLY finished painting the kitchen cabinets (and I mean, we started painting in February... and this was the end of July). Here they are now:

Please note the dishes neatly stacked and waiting for our only dishwasher, my long-suffering husband, to wash them. I vow to get a dishwasher before we get a baby; I also vow to do the dishes much more frequently then. :)
Also note the picture with our future formica candidates:

Stephen has his heart set on this one:

But I'm really not sure the people who buy the house after us will like it. It's very... mod. We're also planning a very cool back-splash that MAY get done by the time we move in 5 or 6 or 7 years. Maybe. If it does get done, it will look something like the link in the title. Love.

29 July 2010

Jehovah Jireh

As far as I understand, this (the link in the title) is the only Bible reference to this name of the Lord. Honestly, I prefer this sort of context.
I don't want to just spout out that God will supply ___. Cause... Sometimes, it REALLY feels like He doesn't. Why did He have the IRS wait 6 months to give us our tax return? Why did He withhold a teaching job last year, only to have one offered this year, when I knew I couldn't take it? Why have our numbers not really moved forward in support raising, even though we are getting new partners? We will NEED to have family insurance raised in December. We could really use a paycheck for me, even a little one. Emotionally, I could use a paycheck; it's tiring to work hard and not get paid for it. Maybe it's God providing groundwork for being a mom.

I'm just... surmising. Trying to make sense out of a lot of things that haven't to me. I guess I'm not sure about what "kids" I'm withholding from the sacrificial altar. I want to be one who isn't blown about by circumstances of the moment and who doesn't feel betrayed every time it appears God isn't providing. In truth, we have had our daily bread. We just haven't received the blessings prayed over us by dear brothers and sisters. Sometimes, I'm 100% "WHAT GIVES, GOD?!?" and sometimes I'm just, "well, okay. the results are Your problem." I think that's the closest to healthy I get. And it's very pat to say something like: if God didn't give it, then it wouldn't have been a blessing anyway." But in our honest moments, who genuinely feels like that even most of the time? Not I. I wanted to be done by the beginning of the semester. And I don't see how it'd even be physically possible to raise a few thousand dollars in monthly recurring gifts in a month. I am willing to challenge the Lord to do it, but I don't think He will. I think God likes to do things the hard way. Isn't that kind of sad? I don't want my kids to learn things the hard way, and I don't even know their names.

At this point, I know I really need to reserve judgement until the Lord enlightens my eyes. But, ugh! That's hard! But I do feel confident that I will not be this way forever. Love.

26 July 2010

Yoga (Pants) for Baby!

So, no, I'm not going to force my infant to do yoga. I don't even do yoga much, aside from cat/cow asanas. and corpse pose, natch. But! This pattern (link in title) seemed (and is) super easy. So I made pants! awww... Here they are:

So, you can see I didn't buy this fabric. I know the tutorial calls for a large t-shirt, but both t-shirts were smalls (courtesy my closet and Stephen's, which he graciously forgave me since I didn't ask, muahahaha), and they worked out okay. I did have to figure out for myself how much elastic to use, so I hope they fit. Still, I didn't close up the hole in the waistband, so I can add/subtract if necessary. and, honestly, it's elastic. We put it on babies because it's stretchy. Love!

23 July 2010

First "Onesie"

I put onesie in quotes a) because I think that's a stupid word, and b) because my attempt turned out... quotational. Here it is:

So you see how weird the legs are. It's because I decided I'd use the ribbing on the neck of my t-shirt to wrap around the leg holes. and... It didn't work out quite as I'd planned. But I made the pattern by taking apart the onesie featured in the link above. I think I may not do this again, a) because I think people will give us plenty of onesies, and b) because it was kind of annoying to make. Part of me feels like a bad mom for saying that (and I'm not even a full mom yet!), but ya know what? Our baby will be a baby. S/he won't care what s/he's wearing as long as s/he's comfy. So there, unwarranted sense of guilt/shame.
Below is a picture of the "onesie" with some little pants I made that I'll talk about tomorrow. Love!

22 July 2010

It's Burpin' Time!

So after doing a half dozen bibs, I was bored. and had realized I won't be using those immediately, but burp rags will be a constant, starting pretty quickly in February... So I made some burp rags! This website gave me a general idea, so I made a pattern on paper and cut out some fabric and stuck it with some fusible interfacing stuff, and that's my pattern now. Of course I don't have pictures of this process, but I promise there are better examples of how to do that on the internets anyhow. But I've made a few:

For the one above, I took my little pattern guy and made a little slanty pattern from paper. Then I added a 1/8" seam on each side. I don't know if that's actually how you do that, but it turned out well enough for me to keep doing it. :) I love making burp rags because you can go from start - cutting the fabric - to finished product in between 30 and 45 minutes, even for a beginner like me. And they don't have to have perfect stitching because, well they're made for spit-ums. I've given a few of these away as well, and I also hope they survive for at least a while. :)
The link in the title is again to a friend's website, who has compiled a great number of free patterns and tutorials for all sorts of things, from baby stuff to bags to clothes. Love.

21 July 2010


Hello all!
We finally got a new battery charger for our phone, so I can update on what I've been sewing! Now, clearly I'm a beginner, so don't laugh at how the stitching is all crazy. I'll start out with bibs since those were the first things I made. I don't really understand why one wouldn't make their own bibs. I used fabric I bought, which was silly, because old t-shirts and an old terrycloth towel are perfect for bib-making. And they clearly don't need to look nice because their whole purpose is to be thrown up on. Just sayin'.
I used two different patterns, one from Chickpea Sewing Studio and one from Nested. I think they turned out okay:

I've given a couple away as gifts to unwitting new parents, muahaha. Hopefully they don't fall apart immediately! I'm sort of in a dilemma because of the neck size. I know bibs are really important for bottle-fed babies, but we plan on breastfeeding for the first year. So... are bibs necessary during that time? I dunno. Whatever.
The link in the post is to a friends' blog who got me started with a bunch of helpful free patterns! Yay freeeeee! Love.

18 July 2010

Your Hands; Stillness

How can you define what makes a song still within you the place made for the Spirit? Some songs... immediately I feel myself reawaken to the Holy Spirit. The only other way for me to feel that stillness descend it to gaze upon something beautiful. Like the way lamplight fliters through tree leaves at night, the darkness around that cocoon of warmth. The crackle of a driftwood bonfire. The moon high over the ocean. My husband walking away to pray in that moonlight. The salt in that wind; the loneliness of those waves. The sky on fire with the dying sun. My husband asleep. The front porch on the farm at the close of a calm day. My husband walking out the door of the office to pray in the evening.
I don't know why I must be reminded to be still. I am glad it happens without my asking, at least from time to time. I'm sure it's different for everyone. I desperately want the Lord to use me to bring the stillness that comes from the recognition that the greatest Spirit around dwells within and communes. I love You, Holy Spirit. You do comfort. You do instruct. You do refresh. You do strengthen.
I am desperately in love with You, God. I am tripping over myself to get to You. Your glance makes me hear my heartbeat in my ears and feel it in my fingers. Own me, Lord. Take all of me. [I hate the word abandon because I have those sorts of issues, but] I throw myself at You; I can't help it. You're irresistable.
[The song below is from Aaron Strumpel's new album, Vespers I & II. This is the sort of song I mean. It may do nothing for you...]
Find Gigs Quantcast All is love.

21 June 2010

4 weeks...

Why no, I still cannot believe I'm pregnant. Though my body can. Achy and exhausted all the time! Also exceptionally emotional. Poor husband... But otherwise doing well physically.

I was marveling just this morning about there being a little person inside of me. So crazy. And the Lord has deemed it good that we be parents? Also very crazy. I haven't had a lot of feelings of inadequacy that I'm sure will come in the future; mostly just feelings of wonder and awe. And such gratefulness. I get to be someone's mom.

I am also intensely paranoid that we'll miscarry. It happens often. I know in my head that it wouldn't be the end of the world, but it's still a scary thought. But, so far, everything's been so blessedly "normal" that I shouldn't be worried. I need to trust that God is good and therefore His plans are good. Even if they hurt.

To celebrate, Stephen and I had a feast of steak, fresh corn on the cobb ($1/5! at HEB), and a mountain of steamed broccoli (which I mostly ate). I say it was a delicious repast. For now, I'm keeping busy making bibs and burp cloths. I wish I could show you a picture, but our camera's battery charger is broken, and we're choosing not to fix it until we have more funds. Hopefully I'll be moving on to blankies by next week. We shall see!

24 May 2010


So, I'm in the throes of a baby craze. that's lasted about 2 years. which is fine. at least by me.
But I'm taking advantage of this time of waiting to make some home-made stuff for our future BABIES!!!! ...ahem.
I've decided to start with bibs and burp rags because, honestly, you need at least a dozen of those, and they don't need to look perfect because they'll be covered in gunk.

Step one is to steal (or take with permission) my mother's old sewing machine.
Step two is to put it in our back room now that there's (theoretically) space for it.
Step three is to buy the fabric (which may become step one, as that's clearly the most fun of all of these steps).
Step four is to sew one of each of the patterns I've found and figure out which I like best.
Step five is to find a baby to try them on and see if they fit okay.
Step six is to sew a dozen or so of the favs.
Step seven is to find a place to put them until the appointed time.

Mkay, one step at a time. :D [BABIES! WHEEEEE!]

19 May 2010

Look, I'm Sorry But

seriously. We need to talk. Every time I listen to Christian radio, I get upset. For several reasons, if I leave it on long enough to listen to several songs.

Reason 1: I'm so bored. and slightly annoyed at the noises coming in my ear. This is not fully their fault, as I'm a weirdo with music.

Reason 2: Several songs don't actually sound like the person singing genuinely relies on God. A lot od christian songs sound like a person reminding themselves of things in the Bible over and over again... which is fine. BUT. That isn't a relationship with God. It's a relationship with the Bible. which is not the best that God is offering to us: the fullness of relationship with the constancy of God's character as laid out in the Bible. I know that sounds snotty, and to some it may sound... heretical or something. but really. I'm not interested in just reading and trying to change my life by remembering things. I'm not that inherently good... or something. diligent. well-meaning. disciplined. take your pick. I need moment-to-moment saving by a living God, who uses allllll sorts of different ways to redeem my time here, including reminding me of His Word in a timely manner or bringing me to the passage that I need to be refreshed. Blahblahblah honestly to me it comes down to I can tell after one chorus that I don't want this person's faith, and I'm not sure s/he knows that there's more than that.

Reason 3: There are frequently basically cover songs. I heard two back-to-back. I don't understand why this is so frequent in christian music, other than a lack of new material. which is completely bizarre to me. It's JESUS we're singing to and about! That's like saying there's nothing new or dynamic about my marriage, but even worse! I'm not sure if it's vanity that causes people to think they want to redo a song; I'm tending to think not, since the people involved are christians. Perhaps they're thinking that the song hasn't been heard enough? Which is not tru in the case of either song I heard. In fact, both have already been played to death. and both of the songs pretty much neutered the songs, making them sound like pretty songs with smooth harmonies and everything sounding... tranquil. I don't get it. Singing of the holiness of God, of His power and beauty and how we'll be with Him forever and see Him as He is. I don't get it.

Reason 4: I'm just so bored. Musically and lyrically. Everything was structured either the same or missing a bridge or tag. so bored. and several of the songs were not mixed well. Nothing was really raw or fully honest. I know songs are written for other people, but as worshipers, don't we want to usher people into the presence of God? If so, shouldn't we be ushering them in honesty? Should we be hiding things from the Lord, cooling our hearts, simply because we are int eh presenc of other humans? I mean... it won't be like that in Heaven. so. sooner or later, we're going to be emotionally naked in front of one another. Why hide now? Freedom is waiting; it's not just waiting, but hungry people are silently clamoring for it. FREEDOM! It's not found in hiding from the light that exposes and unshackles. Let's do this, brothers and sisters.

Not that I'm an awesome songwriter. I'm really not. I'm working on it. But I'm also not looking to put my songs in the ears of christians and prechristians everywhere. and I hate being bored.

07 April 2010

Why am I Working?

This is the question my husband posed to me earlier today. It's a question I confront myself with occasionally. Unlike my darling husband, I don't have an intrinstic need to work. There are honestly plenty of things at our house that I can do that make me feel "fulfilled" and un-lazy.

Of course, there is the practical aspect - in order to save money right now, I need to work at least a little. We will not be in a healthy financial position to have children in the near future if I am not at least somewhat gainfully employed. It is also pretty stressful (health-wise) to not have savings; I know it's taking a toll right now on the both of us that Stephen has not been receiving full paychecks (and will not again this month); we've had to deplete our savings almost entirely and will have to rely on this year's tax return until we have more GCM support in the account for which we are responsible.

I know that these are things we often, as a society, don't talk about except vaguely, but I tell you them because they are important to me. And, because we are entirely supported by people who believe in the ministry to which God has called us, I think it's good for some to know that, although so many of our supporters, the large majority, are faithfully giving and getting us in contact with others who may be excited about what God's doing at Texas A&M, this is a hard season we're walking through. I will not receive a paycheck for the work I have done in March, and probably will not receive one for April, either. I'm so greatful to have health insurance, and to have that almost covered by now.

Why am I working this job? Full-time ministry, at least as I know it from watching Stephen, is not a cake-walk. And, when you add the burden of being financially support-based on top of that, I honestly think most people could not do it without having a strong sense that God has called them to it. I couldn't. I can't currently make anyone a promise that I'll be able to complete the inital support-raising process. This is more difficult than any other job I've had by far.

But. I really do believe God told me to. and if He tells you to do something, it's in your best interest to do it. God's not a jerk (even though I have called Him that name in recent days); He doesn't make us do things we don't like just to watch us squirm. He doesn't call us to the hardest path there possibly is just to make things hard on us. He's not a drill instructor or an intimidating coach or even a parent that "believes in you" a little too much. I do know, I know He knows what's best for me, and I know He loves me more than I will know until I see Him face to face. I know my Redeemer lives, and yet while I am in my flesh I will see Him, I and not another. I know.

I miss doing ministry desperately, and that's one aspect that has made my life currently miserable. I miss my girls. I miss my home group. I miss being at my home church every Sunday. I miss being able to set aside quality time for people instead of having to work them around meetings with others I have not yet met. I hope I am blessing the people I'm currently spending the most time with, but I'm honestly not sure I am; most of the time I feel like I'm working to make them not feel uncomfortable with me or what I'm challenging them to pray about. I'm also spending the majority of my time alone, which is not very good for me. So there are a lot of factors that are currently hard. But. I know He lives in me. And He won't take me into something without going with me. So here I am.

06 April 2010

Generations and Tattoos

So. There have been a lot of conversations to which I've been a party that have focused on generational, cultural differences among believers. I trust or hope that it's not only me that sees interactions between the generations as sometimes strained and at least not ideal.

There's just not a lot of understanding going on, I believe on either side of the line. Or even a desire to understand. Young people think the grown ups just don't want to "get them," and I think the grown ups think the young people are just rebellious. I think, personally, that this is a travesty that is keeping the Church from reaching her full potential.

Beloved young ones, we NEED our elders. Who else can we learn from - what to do as well as what not to do? We stand on their shoulders. It was never God's intention that each generation start over again. That's also just a dumb idea. We need to know what we will face as we grow up and older. We need examples. We need idea springboards. We need, occasionally, a good dose of practicality. We need them.

Beloved wise ones, you NEED young bloods. You need their alternate way of viewing things. You need the another perspective on how to do things. You need ideas that may not have occurred to you. You need to remember that the Church does not belong to you, even though you may have spent the majority of your lives sacrificing for her. You need us.

What I want to see, desperately, are young people submitting to older people. And I desperately want to see older people respecting and validating younger people.

For me, recently, this has come up in the area of tattoos. Yes, I have five tattoos. I got three of them before I was a believer, but I really love having permanent reminders of things I've gone through and things I know I'll always believe in. I love taking art with me on my body. It's okay if you don't. It's okay if I do. I have listened to the Lord about it, and for me, I honestly believe He's okay with it.

Most of all, I love the conversations that start that would never have come into being without having "ink." College kids will (gasp!) turn off their ipods to ask me what my tattoo means. It's AWESOME! It's so hard to get strangers to talk to you nowadays. Not kidding, grown ups. It's not like it was on campus 20 years ago. or even 10.

People always ask me about my tattoo on my wrist. It says "fraternite'" (sorry for the lack of accents in Blogger), which roughly means "brotherhood." I love it because, when I shake hands with people, I'm reminded that really, we're siblings. I should love them like I love my brother and my siblings in law. They're frikkin important to me. But it's not about Jesus, or not really. I want a tattoo people can see that will lead me right into a conversation about the living God. I want it so badly I'm willing to pay money to undergo pain for it.

It's not for the attention. Or not in the way it seems older people may think.

It's not so I can look cool or tough.

It's not so people will think I'm hip or rebellious or attractive or anything else.

It's a fantastic tool to promote daily doses of evangelism. And it's gonna be PRETTY! :) :) :)

But it does put me at a loss as to what to do. Does it cause the older ones to stumble if I get another tattoo in a visible place? Paul became all things to all people for the sake of the Gospel. But I'm primarily reaching out to young people, and not empty-nesters. What do I do that's honoring without cowing down? Seriously, what do I do?

28 March 2010


Stephen wrote a new song. It's amazing. Actually, he's written several recently. I really hope we are allowed to record some of his new songs. Such a wellspring of joy, my husband's music is to me! Here are some lyrics:

In the rafters of my heart
In the rafters of my heart
Your song, Your song,
Your song echoes loud
Your song, Your song,
Your song echoes loud
I've got
joy, joy, joy, joy, joy
I've got
joy, joy, joy, joy, joy

It continues on from there. But I don't remember the rest perfectly. And I doubt Stephen would be 100% pleased with me half-making up songs and pretending they're his... :)

Someday... But That's not Today.

Today, we're going to look at "strong willed" versus "obstinate." I think we need to relearn.

The words "strong"-"willed" literally should imply something positive. That someone has a will and also has the strength to back that will up until the willed-into-being action or thing has been completed. I wish I had a strong will. Much more frequently, I have the weakest of wills, and I don't do what I want to do, but instead do things I don't really want to do.

Obstinate, however, I certainly am. Obstinate is holding to something without reason. It's making every issue a hill you're willing to die on. I know there must be an aspect of that in me that could be used for good. What that could be, the Lord has not yet revealed to me.

The question is, how do I systematically soften my obstinacy while in turn strengthen my will (or will-power, if you prefer)? Any thoughts? I have no illumination in this other than things like eating foods one doesn't like and sticking to bedtimes and skipping dessert and only talking in turn and everything else that isn't fun.

The link [in the title] is to a Burial/Four Tet collab called "Moth." I like it. You don't have to. Love.

23 March 2010

[Psst, I need to tell you something]

God speaks to me. And let me tell you something else (that you may know already, or at least have a sneaking suspicion): God speaks to you as well. I'm not special.

But I cannot hold it in, that God wants, yearns for His kiddos to hear Him in His wholeness. He loves to speak through His logos, His beautiful Word. But He also loves to speak His rhema, His timely utterance. And I don't have the time or space or even fullness of understanding to explain it all.


God speaks to me. He tells me beautiful things and hard things and all of it is good. Sometimes He tells me things for other people and that is good, too. I haven't heard or seen anything crazy like some people have, but that doesn't mean the Lord isn't blessed by my hearing Him and obeying in spite of the risk it takes to see if what I heard really was from the Lord. I've said some stuff that sounds really dumb and weird but was just what the other person needed to hear. It's SUCH a good feeling. I haven't been 100% right, and that's fine. I'm just excited He talks to me at all. I certainly talk enough for the both of us. I just think maybe He has more worth saying. ;)

The link in the title is to a man's website whom I respect as someone who came from a background similar to mine and has come to embrace whatever the Holy Spirit wants to do to bring him and others to Jesus. I want to be like him because he's a lot more like Jesus than I currently am. :)

The one thing I want to caution you (though it's probably more for myself) is that, when we're learning to hear God's voice, it's very important that we keep our consciences alert: not sin. It has been my personal experience that it's hard to hear from God if one is distancing oneself from Him through disobedience. Enfin, all is love. He makes all things new.

19 March 2010

I'll Choose to sing Hallelujah

So. After 1.5 whole weeks of raising support full time, I think I've quit at least four times. I've cried at least three. I've told God exactly what I think of this whole process at least five. And I've been so discouraged, and I've been really blessed, too many times to count.

I can usually handle an emotional roller coaster pretty well, but it is really draining. Every phone call is a dip or a bump. Every meeting, the same, but more pronounced. But the Lord. He's so faithful in my total absence of belief. In my railing against Him and His immovable desire to give me what's best.

You are so good, Lord. I'm sorry I don't tell You more often.

What I've noticed more than anything is my own engulfing fear. Wow. I need healing. He is faithful to me. Love.

10 March 2010

Acts 10

So, I went to this conference called New Staff Training!

And it was really good. Mostly because I was around a lot of people who love Jesus and have similar callings, but also because God was really leading me gently. Jesus really is gentle and humble in spirit.

So one of the last things God was talking to me about was calling things unclean that He has made clean. And when I felt Him asking me to think about what I was calling unclean, my mind immediately started trying to find groups of people from whom I was shrinking back or distancing myself. I was trying really hard to figure it out, when God brought to mind my own thoughts earlier in the day. It was me!

There are parts of me I wish weren't the way they are; I wish I weren't so excitable because it makes me seem childish. I wish I weren't so impulsive because I can seem irresponsible. I wish I weren't so loud because I frequently talk too much. I wish I weren't a lot of things God put in me. But I need refining, not pruning, in these areas.

And it really isn't right of me to wish I weren't a way God made me. Because He doesn't make mistakes. I do sometimes get so worried that I'll cling to my personality and not let God change me (sometimes I irrationally fear He'll turn me into some sort of prototyped christian doll).

But really, I understand that that's not where I am. And I do allow myself to get wrapped up in wishing I were a lot of things I was never meant to be. And it's good for Him to tell me to stop it. :)

It all boils down to Him. Love.

19 February 2010

One thing I ask

this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life.

One thing I ask;
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life.

to gaze
to gaze
to gaze upon Your beauty
to gaze upon Your beauty

to gaze
to gaze
to gaze upon Your beauty
to gaze upon Your beauty

(lyrics by King David, arranged by Stephen Muenich)

I wish I had a recording of this song, so I could play it from the rooftops. and give you a link to it - floods my soul, honestly, with the glory of the Lord. not that I'm partial to my husband's music... As we go retreat as the female half of Jesus's bride, I pray (yearn!) that this would honestly be what we seek.

We are enthralled by Your beauty, Jesus. We want to dwell with You. It is the one thing we desire more than any other: to dwell in Your house and to gaze on Your face.


21 January 2010

If you're going to. . .

frikkin do it properly, please.

Our local high school was hit with a plague of "graffiti" this morning. But what I cannot describe in words to you is the "chicken scratch technique" this child used to scrawl drivel ("why so serious?" Honestly.) on the brick veneer of the building. This person clearly had as much experience with a can of spray paint as I do. Which comes to a total of perhaps 5 or 6 minutes.

The word graffiti, as is commonly known, actually comes from an Italian word graffito, which means a carved inscription or a design. We think of it as "defacing" something, when it's really public art. It takes a lot of skill and practice (and a good deal of talent) to excel at tagging. And it IS art.

Graffiti does NOT mean what this kid thought it did. I also think that, if they were better educated about why people tag things, peopl would take more interest in the graffiti that may be a daily part of their lives. If done well, graffiti is beautiful. And I love the idea that graffiti is the opening of a public dialogue. Think about it. If I knew anyone with real skill in graffiti, they'd be working on the brick of our house right now. It'd be a heck of a lot better than the salmon color it currently is. And public discourse of almost any kind is something we desperately need these days. Everyone's constantly communicating without really depositing anything in eachother anymore. How frequently do you have conversations that transform you? It's so hard these days, even though we're only a text away from eachother.

For now, I'll leave you [click on the post title] in/with the capable hands of Barry McGee, an incredible artist with a lot of cool ideas on graffiti and public art. He does other fantastic things besides tagging, if you're interested. Love.

19 January 2010

Look. . .

How do we inject into christian music the creativity and energy and innovation that pre-christians have in their music? God changes my heart every time we worship - I frequently am halted by my own feelings that what I'm participating in is artistically stale and dying [ewwwww! stinky]. Then Jesus (and His phantastic Holy Spirit) swoop into my heart and remind me that He's a total cheeseball, and He doesn't at all mind if the praise of His people sounds just like it did ten or fifteen years ago, and He melts my heart with His. And that's so good. But.

But I'm so tired in my heart of the same old thing. It just reminds me of the other types of complacency we have in western christianity. Nothing in our lives should be boring or static! Nothing should be the same as it was five years ago, because we are not the same as we were. How could I make the same music as I did five years ago? I'm not who I was five years ago. I really am a completely different person. I don't remember that person but at a distance. She is not me. We don't think even similarly. I don't want my diving into Jesus to ever slow. I know what people say, that it's more dramatic and passionate because I'm younger.

I don't believe it. That is a lie! Worse than outright falsehood; it's a sneaky lie - almost believable. Sort-of-understandable. But, nonetheless full of CRAP! I think of several men and women in my church. In their fifties, in their seventies. Passionate, radical, to-the-point-of-crazy about Jesus. It doesn't have to stop. I'm not feeding myself that. I refuse.

So, I want the music I play and make and love to be different. God, I praaaaaay that the bands I love most, I enjoy most, will love Jesus! because I cannot say that right now. and it makes me want to cry.

The song I want you to listen to [click on the post title] is called "Blessa" by Toro y Moi, courtesy of gorillavsbear.net. Beautiful. Love.

18 January 2010

There is Love in You - Taxes, Cleaning, and Four Tet

And oxford commas. Yes, I am that type of person.

Seriously, check out the new Four Tet Album, "There is Love in You" [click on the post title]. However, it will go away on its release date, 1/26/10. After that, check this out for more: yes! . Only listen to it if you agree to not call the musician, Kieran Hebden, by his first name (as if you know him). I do this too frequently with, oh, say the members of Radiohead. Honestly, I don't know them, even if I know plenty about them and their work. It's odd to pretend like we're pals. I want to be honest with myself about who I know and who I don't. Somehow it seems like we get turned around about that all the time these days.

I must say, music does ameliorate the tedium of bathroom cleaning. And I do unabashedly wear gloves to clean my own bathroom. I don't care. Toilets are absolutely gross. Eww. Showers are clearly less disgusting, but far larger. Sinks are fine, with the notable exception of toothepaste gunk/petrified shave gel. I'm trying (hah) to clean these strongholds of filth once a week to minimize. . . unpleasantness? Scrubbing? To grow character?

I'm trying to begin to figure out our taxes for 2009. That the document explaining how to fill out the two pages of the 1040 is almost 150 pages long is completely. . .okay. Letting go. I believe it will get done. Correctly.

Tonight is the first night of three and a half months' dedicated (albeit novice) work. I'm interested in seeing how this semester changes me and everyone I know. It really is exciting to look forward. Still, so many changes are coming. Is it the dawn or sunset? or both?

Or who cares. Every semester has been better than the one before. It's much more fun to put your horns down and charge than to have a seat and ponder, says I. Further up and further in!

Seriously, check the album out. If you don't have a lot of time, start it at 36 minutes in. Gorgeous. Love.

17 January 2010

This just in...

I've decided to like my body. Yay! Now, how to put this decision into everyday practice.

On an only marginally-related note: has anyone else noticed that many people no longer distinguish between "everyday" and "every day"? Makes me sad.

I must admit, I've never liked my body. Really, who does? I've heard a myth that men like their bodies, but none of them I know well don't have something about their physical appearance that bothers them. So, I don't believe it. I know very few people who will honestly say they like their bodies. That makes me mad! It's not like we get another one. . .

But! If I want to be a good mom to the kids we'll have sometime, I cannot allow myself to rail against my own body. It'll screw them up. They're too important to screw up that way.
And, honestly, everyone screws up their kids somehow. I'd rather it be something more unique. Screwing up their body image is so passe.
[okay, you can't use accents on this blog. or. . . I don't know how.]

For now, I'll leave you with The Miracles Club [the link's in the title]. love.