Thursday, October 30, 2008

John 10:10

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

I have confession.  In the last weeks I have fallen victim to the thief.  What has he stolen?  Joy, confidence, acceptance, energy, peace.  What has been left in the wake? Fear, guilt, anxiety, sadness, confusion.  

I was weak and I let the thief walk away with my dreams and hopes.  I barely put up a fight.  I don't think I knew what was happening until they were gone.  

The thief is a master of disguise.  In a season of life where mothers are expected to be tired, overwhelmed, distanced from spouses, and even depressed, I accepted the changes and didn't question.  I assumed they would just go away.  

But here I am.  Seven months into motherhood and discouraged.  I battle daily to find simple pleasures, to approach another load of dishes or laundry, or sometimes even Jack, without grumbling, to LIVE THIS SEASON TO THE FULL.  My thoughts turn sour at the slightest bump.  Instead of my usual optimism and confidence in God's love and provision and my ability to hear him, I assume the worst.  I assume that I am alone, unwanted and doing everything wrong.

It hurts.  It feels crushing.  I almost want to give in.


Jesus said he came that "they might have life, and have it to the full."  That EMILY might have life to the full.  

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1

"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." 2 Corinthians 3:17

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."  Galatians 5:22,23

"... I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10

I was reading in Genesis last week and came to the chapter where Abram and Lot are about to part ways.  God says to Abram, "Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west.  All the land that you see I will give to you... Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you." Genesis 13:14,17

I distinctly heard God call me to look up from where I am.  In the middle of the day, I see a dirty house, a needy baby, dinner to make, not enough time to enjoy the company of my husband... those things discourage me.  My feeble view of the future looks like more of the same for awhile, instead of the life of adventure and purpose that I crave.  

But God sees all of the north, south, east and west.  He sees it ALL.  He knows where I am now and he knows what he plans to give me.  It is going to be more than I could ever even think to ask for.  

So his challenge to me?  To Go. To walk the length and breadth of the land.  To love him each day and to flourish in the midst of diapers, in the midst of loneliness and in spite of the foggy future.  Just GO.  Live it up.  Thrive.  Set down roots of faith in him and obedience.  Keep my hands open to receive daily doses of the joy and peace that I need.  Live with gratitude and endurance.

This season, this battle, this daily fight to accept the gift of full life, is necessary to shape me for the things God has in store.  Truthfully, that knowledge doesn't really make it feel any easier, but I have to learn that my feelings aren't always going to reflect the truth of who God is and how he's working in my life.  They can be a tool, but I've been relying on them too heavily.

So now, on to the art of living.  God, please seal this truth in me.  

Courage to you friends as you look north, south, east and west and as you go claim the land God has promised you.  

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Last night Ellery came over while my mom went to her tap dance lessons (how cool is my mom?!).  Following a rousing game of football between Ellery and Andy, all four of us walked to the park.  

Once I got over my my super-sensitive, "I'm a bad mother" meltdown, it was a wonderful evening.  Look at my adorable family:

Ellery, the next football star.  Just look at that game face!

Andy had so much fun with Jack in the swing.  Blogger is refusing to let me post any more pictures, so you'll just have to imagine one that includes Andy sitting on the swing holding Jack and looking incredibly proud.  The picture also includes Andy wearing a white stocking cap that Ellery saw and immediately pointed out as "funny" and "too round," and that Jack spit up on while Andy was giving him a ride on his shoulders.  Andy was grossed out and frustrated that he had just washed that hat and I was glad that it wasn't me being puked on this time.  

The other happy news is that my muffins turned out great, which is wonderful given my tendency to fail at baked goods.  I enjoyed one (okay, two) this morning with my chai.  It is shaping up to be a good day. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


At 11:00 this morning I was pretty sure that I was a domestic wonder woman.  I had already been to the gym, done a load of dishes, baked whole wheat pumpkin muffins (which I have yet to taste) and made my own pumpkin spice latte to save myself $3.40. Mentally I was making plans to walk Jack to the store to pick up some fresh, crusty bread for the gourmet dinner I plan on making this evening, clean Jack's room (a project that has been on my list for... um.. about three months) and tackle the laundry.   

A beautiful autumn day can inspire like that.

However, it is now after 3:00 pm and I'm tired folks. My sink is already full of the next load of dishes which has squelched my cleaning motivation and Jack is uncommonly cranky and needy which makes it very difficult to settle into a major project. 


So I've changed my plans.  

I'm just going to go with the flow.  

No one has asked me to be a domestic diva.  That is all my own ambition (and perhaps not a holy one).  

I have a sweet boy who I think would really enjoy a walk to the park and a ride on the swing.  I have a loving husband who will be home soon and will rave over whatever meal I put in front of him.  I have a house that is warm and will survive yet another day of disorder. 

So why stress?  I made muffins right? I say that is a pretty great accomplishment for the day.  

So if you are having one of those days too, where your "I'll hopefully get this done today" list is woefully un-checked, I hereby give you permission to set it aside.  Order is good.  Accomplishment is good.  But friends, let's be okay with just having fun once in a while.  

So, be free!  Frolic and delight in the simple pleasures of today.  The lists can wait until tomorrow.  

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Pumpkin Day with Ellery

First of all, let it be known that Ellery is probably the cutest little girl to ever have lived.  Everything about her is charming.  She is everything good about a little girl!

Oh Ellery, how I love you!  

If you don't know my little sister, here is a picture of her in all her glory:

Last Wednesday I was very excited because Ellery's preschool was taking a trip to the pumpkin patch and Jack and I received invitations to come along.  Imagine my delight!  Not only a trip to the pumpkin patch, but an outing with my sweet Ellery!

So Wednesday arrived and I was up bright and early, dressed and just waiting for the wonderful day to begin.  Then...

uh oh.

The phone rang.

It was my mom.

"Ellery has a fever."

So sad!  Ellery's words were an emphatic and pathetic, "I hate my fever."

My mom offered her the option to still try and go, but Ellery decided to stay home because, in her words, "I don't want any other kids to get my fever."

So after a little chat with my mom, I decided to go pick up some pumpkins at the grocery store and bring them over for my wee sis to either paint or carve.  

I went to Top Foods and picked out some various sizes of the orange gourd and made my way to my mom's house.  

When I arrived Ellery was still in her nightgown.  I unloaded my bag of pumpkins and displayed them for her to choose which she wanted to decorate.  I made sure to tell her that Jack picked out several of them because he thought she would like them.  She always asks me to interpret Jack's coos and noises.  "What's he say?"  

I told Ellery she could choose between carving the pumpkins or painting them.  I secretly hoped that she would want to carve them, but she opted for the painting. So we got out all my mom's paint, covered the table with newspaper, and set up our project.  

She listed out all the colors that she wanted to use.  It started with pink, yellow and purple, but eventually she declared, "I love all colors!" and asked for a little bit of each color to put on her pumpkin.  

The first one she painted had a pink smiley face and then a multicolored "dress."  Her second pumpkin was bigger and was decorated with colored sections then covered in glitter.  

Her third pumpkin was sort of a game.  She would put one color on and then pick another color to add.  She would ask me what color it was going to make when she mixed them.  She asked me what it was going to make when she added white and black.  I told her grey.  "It does make grey!  You are always right!"  Let me tell you, it is a good feeling to have your little sister think you are always right.  

Her fourth pumpkin was actually one that I covered in purple glitter.  She loved it and asked to keep it.  How can you turn her down?  (I ended up making a second one for my house.  When Lizzie saw it she yelled so loud in her excitement that she made Jack cry) The photo doesn't do it justice, so just imagine a little pumpkin painted purple and then completely covered in the most sparkly, ultra fine purple glitter you can buy.  That will give you an idea of what it looks like. 

Ellery's pumpkins.  The white one is the "game" pumpkin and the little orange one is the "girl wearing a dress."

My Pumpkins

At one point I was emptying her water cup and washing off her brushes so she could use a new color and Ellery said to my mom, "Emily is so helpful!"

After cleaning up our mess I think she remembered that she was sick and curled up in a pitiful little ball on the couch.  

Jack ended up taking a nap and I told my mom she could go nap too.  So my pumpkin day with Ellery ended with both of us on the couch watching The Lion King.  We watched until the part that Mufassa dies which was too sad for her. Oh my sweet sister. It was a great day!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

More To Come

The inevitable happened last night.  

I got Jack ready for bed a little early (due to a poop-covered baby incident that I won't go into detail about).  Usually, if he's had his bath and bottle and just isn't tired enough for bed I leave him in the middle of the floor and let him roll around while I make dinner or clean up or roll around with him.  

Last night, we did the whole routine and I picked up all the toys, put them in their basket and then let Jack tire himself out by rolling his stud-baby self wherever his fancy took him.  It just so happened that, his fancy lead him directly to the newly stashed basket of toys.  Can you imagine the short work he made of my cleared living room floor?  I don't know if you really can.  That baby is FAST! 

After a moment of of rubbing my face with my hands, sighing and telling myself that it really is worth it to pick up the toys, even if I have only mere minute to enjoy a tidy house, I smiled at my baby and remembered how thankful I am for a healthy boy that smiles and coos and is learning all the new things that a baby should be learning.  

Go Jack!

But... I used up all my energy re-picking up the toys and no longer have the creative wherewithal to regale you with tales of my pumpkin-day with Ellery.  

Never fear, I'll get to it.  

But for now I have 45 minutes while Jack naps to eat my oatmeal with raisins, take a shower and have a moment of spiritual reflection.  So I'm off... but here is a preview:

Oh wait, that is just Jack formulating his plan to upend the toy box last night...

Here's the preview:

Monday, October 6, 2008

a happy day and a dilemma

At this very moment I am listening to Andy have his first in-home guitar lesson.  Jack is sound asleep and has been for an hour and a half.  I've got a painting on the table drying, my house is mostly clean and my refrigerator is well stocked.

Ahhh... life is good.

It has been a very contemplative week. I feel like there are so many thoughts to send out into the wide world that they are jammed in my head and unable to make their way though my fingers and onto the screen.   Although, it could just be that I am concentrating so hard on being inconspicuous while Andy is instructed that I have no brain power left for creative prose.

Could be.

In the midst of my good day (which involved not one but TWO outings with friends and my first purchase of spiced cider) I am also facing a dilemma. 

I think I am going to return my orange jacket


Yes, I know how excited I was about it, but let's be realistic for a moment. I have a baby who is a perpetual fountain of regurgitated milk.  It is gross.  I have yet to wear that beloved jacket for fear that it is going to be immediately doused with slimy white baby backwash. That would make me cry and I really try and avoid situations that make me cry.


My mom's argument was, "Won't you cry when you return it?"

Perhaps, but I don't think that I will.  

I could keep an article of clothing because it was expensive and it is beautiful.  But it is impractical. Or I could return it and spend the money on something more sensible.  My responsible self knows that I need to return the jacket.  Unless someone can talk me out of it, the jacket is going back this week.  

Other minor updates:
  • I purged my purse of the old and unloved lip glosses
  • I still am not that impressed with Facebook
  • Jack is eating fruit AND Cherrios
  • The tickets arrived for my big date with Clinton Kelly and I think I may have accidentally be registered for a plus-size event (ack!  I must meet Clinton!)
  • I still haven't got my mascara
  • I love my husband and my baby (how could you not love these guys?)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Stupid Morals

Yesterday I was on my way to Target (my weeks are now measured by what day I go to Target, I'm hoping to change that soon), rehearsing my list in my head:

Ziplock bags
Laundry Detergent
Chai ($3.99 a box instead of $5.49 at the grocery store!)
Cherrios (because Jack is a big boy and is learning how to chew)
Baby Stuff, baby stuff and more baby stuff
Blah, blah, blah
Oh yeah, and mascara

You know how Target is.  You go in for one thing that is $4.99 and you walk out with about 16 things and spend $80.  I've made it my aim now to just look away from the clothes.  I always get sucked in.  So I walked in, averted my eyes and walked purposefully toward the baby department.

But what is strategically located cheek to cheek with baby items?  Shoes.  Specifically black, patent leather, peep-toe stiletto shoes.  SO sexy!  I did indeed try them on.  I justified the detour by remembering that I'm going to be in a wedding in a few weekends and the bride requested that her entourage wear black shoes.  Well... what do you know?  They have my size!  
After not too many more side trips I was walking toward the check out.  But just before I surveyed the lines to choose the shortest wait, I remembered that I hadn't grabbed my mascara.  So I turned back around and spent another few minutes wandering the cosmetic isles and selecting my lash product. 

I then returned to the check out and forked over the cash for the "more than I wanted to spend but I can justify it all" total.  Feeling excited about practicing walking in my new heels once I got home I loaded Jack into the car, found seat-space for all of my bags and ... wait... oh no!  There is my mascara in the back corner of the cart!  Did it just fall out of one of the bags?  No, that would be too easy... it never was rung up!

What is a girl to do?

Don't scorn me because I momentarily considered just tossing it in my bag and going on my merry way.  Serves Target right for not being more vigilant.  Besides, do you have any idea how fatiguing it is to lift and bend and load and unload a 19lb baby from the car for every errand?  A body can only take so much.  PLUS, I always park in the back of the Target parking lot, next to the cart return so that I can open my door and get Jack out without fear of banging any other cars and then just tuck my cart right into it's safe little parking lot home without abandoning Jack in the car... So I can't just run right in and return it, I would have to TRUDGE... do you hear me, TRUDGE all the way back with baby in tow to hand over a tube of make-up that is only valued at $5.99.

But I couldn't do it.  It would have haunted me forever.  When Jack got older and asked me if I had ever stolen anything I would have to say, "Yes, a pack of Watermelon Bubblicious gum when I was four and a tube of mascara when I was a grown woman and should have known better!"


So I just stood there in the parking lot looking like an idiot.  I kept thinking that maybe someone would just pull right in near me and be heading into Target and I could say, "Excuse me, I accidentally took this without paying for it, could you please take it back in for me?"  Then I imagined their face and the implied, "You STOLE this and now are feeling too guilty, and you want me to absolve you of your sin?!"  That wasn't a good plan.  

I also considered just leaving it in the cart.  My strong moral compass also suggested that was just a lazy man's attempt to get out of doing the right thing.  If I was going to leave it in the cart I might as well just take it home (which I still really just wished I could do).  

But in the end, good-girl won over tired mom and I unloaded Jack and indeed trudged back into the store and simply tossed the package on the nearest unoccupied checkout counter.  

I walked out hoping for some surge of pride to lift my spirits and give me a tingle of "I did the right thing and I'm a good person" but no, I just thought, "Stupid morals.  I could have had free mascara!"

Stupid morals.