Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Dear Fancy

Dear Fancy,

I currently have a very troublesome problem. I have a deep-seated and unrelenting desire to visit a beautiful, perfectly-lit world called "Target." 

The problem??

I live in Cambodia.

I eagerly await your solution! 

~hopeful shopper

Dear Hopeful Shopper,

I regret to inform you that there is no substitute for the phenomenon of Target. However, I do not wish you to lose hope.  Consider practicing one, or all, of the following coping techniques:

Denial. Repeat after me.  "There is no Target.  There is no Target."  When you return to the States, it will be a wonderful surprise to discover that there is, in fact, Target.

Visualization. Set aside a small, bright section of your home or office for "Targeting."  Turn on as many lights as you are able, then close your eyes.  Imagine you are strolling the aisles of the shopping mecca.  What would you smell? Hear? Touch?  Let your mind's eye explore each aisle, with every imaginary turn satisfying your desire for a true shopping experience.  You may find it helpful to hold a broom handle in both hands, parallel to the ground, to simulate the feel of pushing a shopping cart and further enhance this mental exercise. 

Staging.  If possible, paint a large red logo of concentric circles on a prominent wall of your bedroom.  You could go so far as to hang oversized, shiny signage from your ceiling with fishing wire or to label each of your room furnishings with a price, printed in a bold red font.  These small adjustments to your living space will bring you peace as you patiently wait for you next opportunity to visit a Target location.

Self-exploration.  Take a moment to ask yourself, "Why do I want to go to Target?"  Is it the familiarity?  Is it the sensory experience? Is it the excuse to spent much more money than you originally planned because of the alluring colors and displays? After you have determined the source of this issue, you will be better able to address it.  For example, if it is simply the need to part with your funds, I am sure that you could find a willing partner to surrender your dollars to and relive you of the burden of over-cashed pockets.

Hopeful, I trust that you will find these strategies helpful.  Remember, these techniques will only help you when you fully give yourself to them.  Practice, practice, practice.  You may find, that after several weeks of mental conditioning, you are no longer burdened by your desire for the store.  I wish you luck in your endeavor.



Saturday, January 24, 2009

Happy Sigh

Have you ever had a moment when you think to yourself, "Who am I that I get to lead this beautiful life?"

I hope you have.

I hope you have had them often.

I had one this afternoon.

I spent a leisurely morning with a ridiculously happy baby (whose new game is to flush the toilet and dance wildly to the sound of the running water) and a dear friend.  I had a filling breakfast in a new and quaint cafe.  When we got home, Jack went straight to bed and I lounged on the couch with a new novel.  

Happy sigh.

Jack woke up with a grin and spent ten quite minutes snuggling in my arms and bestowing on me his sweet smile.  

Andy came home from work and took my face in his hands and reminded me that to him, I am incredibly beautiful.

I spent an hour out of the house, leaving Jack with dear and trusted friends.  When I came home, he was waiting for me and greeted me with giggles, hugs and slobbery kisses. 

In a time where so many feel insecure and unsure of their jobs or frustrated in their relationships, I feel safe and loved. 

My heart is full.

I never want to take these simple, lovely, overflowing days for granted.  

Who am I that I live this beautiful life?

Friday, January 23, 2009


DISCLAIMER:  I am not really as full of myself as the following might sound.  Well, I might be, a little.  Shoot!  But this is what you get instead of my blanket advice that I wanted to subject EVERYONE to, which, in reality, I will probably write about at some time or another anyway, because it is really good advice.  But really, I am not a bossy snob. I promise.

And now, on with the show...

I have a very unique skill.  

Well, maybe it isn't unique, but it is very useful.

Well, maybe it isn't useful, but I'm glad that I have it.

I give great pep-talks.  

Need a little go-get-'em-tiger?  I'm your gal.  

Need a healthy dose of buck-up-cowgirl?  You know who to call.

But here is the problem.  

I don't interact with people who need my cheering every day.  I think that was one of the best perks of working in an office.  So many chances to step up on my soap box and send my fledgling words of inspiration into the air.

Okay, I admit.  I call it a pep-talk, as if it is cheering someone on.  But sometimes it is just bossing. 

I really like bossing.

Long ago 
my mom told me 
that if I ever started a business 
I should call it, 
"Let Me Boss You."
I think that is why Life Coaching
appeals to me so much.
People who WANT to be bossed.
The angles are singing.
It really would be the perfect job for me.

Unfortunately Jack isn't old enough for me to boss effectively.  And my husband is pretty awesome without me interfering, so neither of my boys require me to flex my advice giving muscles.  


I need a good bossing/pep-talking/advice giving workout.  

So, let's start, "Dear Fancy."

Need advice? Ask away! 

I won't even charge you!!  Now that is a DEAL!

For a limited time only, Fancy is open for business.  You send me your question, and I will respond with a personalized and, if you wish, private solution to your dilemma.  What could be better?!  

But wait.

It does get better!

Oh sorry, it doesn't. 

Free advice is as good as it gets.  

So ask away dear children.  Ask away.  

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Warning: I have no coherent thought here

I know you are dying to hear my decision about coffee. It is really quite lame. I'm sorry to disappoint you.

I must have been having a desperate sort of day. 

But my current decision regarding the lovely beverage is to, as Michelle and Emily G. said, INDULGE.

I'll still have a cup in the morning.  But skip the attitude of desperation.  I DO NOT need it to get me through.  I don't need to reach for it thinking, "I'm SO tired.  I just can't make it!"  Instead why not think to myself, "What a luxurious life I lead.  I'm just sitting on my couch (floor) in the  middle of the day enjoying a sweet coffee treat.  Lucky me!"?  

Most  likely I will be holding the mug above my head as a little mover and shaker crawls all over me trying to get it.  But that in itself is somehow very delightful.


Savor these days.  

And savor my choices.  

Today I choose coffee.

Now that that boring business is wrapped up let me tell you about Jack's game.  

He likes to pretend he's blind.

Okay, really, he has no idea what "blind" is or what "pretend" is.  So I am just making that up.  But it is still very funny.  

At random moments throughout the day, especially while I'm holding him or while were playing a game on the floor 

(our newest
is to open the
kitchen cupboards
and pull out every tupperware,
that is housed there.
Slight sarcasm.
Back to the story.)

He will look up at me, close his eyes into a tight squint and then shake his head.  He looks so silly when he does it!  I've tried to capture it with the camera, but there is now way to get it.  He squints so tightly for a moment and then pops his eyes wide and laughs and laughs.  He'll do it over and over.  Close his eyes, open them, look for me, laugh, close them tight again.  

This is the closest I can get.  
Just imagine him one second later with a bright and wild face giggling. 

My favorite is when he is in a dancing mood and is shaking his head wildly from side to side (his version of dancing) and then tries to close his eyes at the same time.  He loses his balance and does a very wobbly head-shaky-fall down move, but always opens his eyes very happily.  

He is a pretty awesome baby.  

Although I am just realizing that in less than three months he will turn ONE.  Most likely he'll walk in the next month and in a few short years he will be on a wrestling team.

I've been educated
 that wrestling for kids starts at 4,
 a full year before actual school.
 Am I okay with my baby
 who is not even old enough to be formally educated
 being trained in the art of battle?
You bet.
You would be too
 if you saw how excited his daddy is
 to be involved that way.
I have a husband who is eager to
play with, invest in and love his son.
There is no way I am going to say no to that!

Soon our baby will become a toddler.  

And I'm sure the games will get messier, the crying will get louder (What? Jack cries? No!  Well, yes he does.  But only a little. Really.) the cuts and bruises will get bigger and he'll become more and more a little boy.  

But I'm okay.  I really am.  Because as he gets bigger he'll learn to say things like, "I love you mommy."  He'll trace his hand on a piece of paper and make it into a turkey.  He'll help me make cookies and accidentally pour flour all over us and the floor.  

I'm looking forward to that. 

Today, life is good.  I'm relishing my hot coffee and feeding my baby mangos and pears and sharing my days, in a small way, with friends and future mothers.  My heart is full.

Thanks for letting me share the chaotic musings of a new mummy.  They need to go somewhere. 

In token of my gratitude I will leave you with small descriptions of Jack's other favorite games of the week:
  • Sneaking into the bathroom and unrolling the toilet paper.
  • Practicing his screaming, which at this point, thankfully, is mostly a squeak.
  • Kissing other babies.
  • Clapping. He's the best clapper I know.
  • Yay for clapping!
  • Saying "BOP" over and over.
  • "Weight lifting" his big blue plastic ball.
  • Playing "speed peek-a-boo."

Remember when I found 45 bobby pins by my bed?  I found one in my shoe the other day.  I think I have a problem.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Please Advise

I've woken up with a headache the last few days.  It isn't normal for me, so it has me pondering.

It could be this of course.

But do you know what I think it really is?  

I'm afraid to admit it.

I think I have a problem with caffeine.

I didn't drink coffee until I was pregnant with Jack.  But since then, I've sucked it down.  I went through a very expensive phase when I had an Iced Caramel Macchiato from Starbucks, everyday

My budget couldn't handle that, so I quit.  But I've replaced it with an iced chai every morning (made at home).  Lately I've been adding a cup of coffee or a second caffeinated tea in the early afternoon.

I think when I wake up, my body is saying, with a headache, "Hey! It has been hours since you've feed us that sweet, sweet coffee!  Get on it already!"

So here are my options:
  1. Give up coffee and caffeinated tea all together.  Cold turkey.  Free myself completely from this evil affliction. 
  2. Switch to decaf options.  (The problem I have with this is that I still add a ton of sugar and milk to my coffee, so I'm still pumping myself full of not-so-good-for-me-calories.)
  3. Drop the coffee (with all the add-ins) and stick with tea.
  4. Don't care at all and give into the addiction.  After all, I live in Seattle.  I'm not the only one with this problem. 


What am I to do?  My decision making skills are clouded by my recent ardor of dark brown and creamy beverages. 

Please advise.

Now, if you will excuse me.  I have half a cup of chai that needs my undivided attention.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

You Should Have Seen It

Yesterday Jack and I visited my mom and the Little Lady Ellery.

She was in fine comic form and I wish I had been able to capture her charming sentiments, but I will have to make do with simple words.  

Just imagine this cute face while you read:

Lately, my goal each time I see Ellery is to get her to let me fix her hair.  I love playing with her soft and unruly locks.  

Halloween was a delight for me because she was a fancy "Blue Ice Fairy" and that required fancy hair.  I had an excuse to pin her curls into a lovely updo.  What fun for a big sister. 

The problem is that she hates it.  

So I have to resort to trickery. 

Last year Andy and I were picking up house needs at, where else, Target.  He spied a pink baseball bat and pink helmet and announced that Ellery should have them.  We presented her with the girly equipment and she was elated.  She likes to play rough with Andy (last Christmas he gave her a kid sized pair of boxing gloves) and to pretend that she's sporty.  The truth is that she is, well, not very coordinated, but that makes it all the more fun for us to play with her.

Is that awful?  

Yesterday she announced that we should play baseball.  I, in true sisterly fashion, told her that all the girls that play baseball have to wear their hair in braids.  I said, "Sure I'll play baseball!  But that means we have to braid your hair first."  Inset wicked laugh here. She immediately found a comb and two rubber bands and I spent several minutes putting her hair in twin french braids.  

Then we proceeded to play baseball.  She first was using her heavy metal bat, which was frightening with her awkward swings and Jack's head relatively near by. We convinced her to use a red umbrella instead.  My mom had to take several swings at the ball with both of us making wild exclamations about how well it worked for her to buy into the idea.  

The game progressed from swinging to hit the ball, to swinging with the intention of twirling.  When it was obvious that she wasn't interested in batting any more I made bases out of paper and told her that I was her coach and she should run the bases.  I explained to her what a "drill" was and she made several laps very eagerly.  

At the end of our practice she announced that it must be time for the team to have their snack and she sat on the couch with her Handisnack cheese and crackers. 

As she was resting and eating, conversation turned toward a cruise that Ellery and my mom are going on this spring.

Suddenly Ellery launched into a wistful reverie about what she expected the vacation to hold. 

"I'll make sand angles. And I'll sit on the beach and just relax."

Relax?  What is so stressful about being FOUR that requires relaxing on the beach?

Her far off look, with her dreamy voice sent me into a fit of giggles.

When I recovered I asked, "What will you eat on the beach?"


My mom added pineapple.

I said, "Maybe a mango."

"What's a mango?"

"It is a very yummy fruit."

Dreamy, romantic voice: "Yes.  Sweet, juicy mangos."

Another fit of laughter.

Which of course only encourages Ellery to keep talking and dreaming.

We talked about the cruise some more and enjoyed a little girl's thoughts on bikins and swimming pools and what classes she might take in the cruise line's Kids Club.

But oh, those sweet juicy mangos.

I'll say it again.  I love that girl. 

Sunday, January 4, 2009


Okay, so I know I just posted the pictures of Jack's haircut and you are probably thinking, "Emily, why didn't you just make one post instead of two different ones?  Silly girl."

Well, you are right about the silly part, but I do have a line of reasoning that at one time sounded logical to me. 

I'm not sure about that now.

You can judge:
  1. My last several posts have been VERY long and I was trying to practice brevity today.
  2. I thought I would save this post (not all the explaining part, but what will come) for tomorrow so that I would have something to entertain you with, but it won't leave my mind so I have to do it NOW.
  3. I wanted to tell you about Jack's trim, but it didn't really flow with my other thoughts.
  4. I'm just like that some times.
So here is what I have been thinking: 

Do you have in mind a way that you find yourself asking God to use you?  Is there something that just calls to you, but you know you can't tackle with your own strength?

That might not be clear.  Let me try again.

For example.  Do you really wish you could influence high schoolers to develop a sincere and deep relationship with God?  Do you ask God to give you the gift of healing, even while at the same time you would be terrified if he actually did?  Do you long to be used to lead individuals to a place of intimacy with their Creator through worship?

I long to be used.  But I am afraid of it too.  To open myself up to be sent, to be available, to be obedient means that I relinquish control.  It means that my actions would reflect GOD's glory, not feed my own selfish ambition.  It means that I might see miracles and I honestly don't know how I would respond to signs and wonders.

I love Jesus.  I am grateful.  I pray, read my bible and journal.  At the same time I am immersed in a culture of depression, cynicism and judgment, not to mention the "I did it my way" mentality that is so forcefully promoted.  To be called by a big God means that he might actually do big things around me.  I might be "that weird Christian girl."

That is just a tiny bit scary. 

But it is what I crave.

I know that I honor God by loving my husband, by stewarding well what He has given us, by praying over my baby.  I also know that my faithfulness with the little things is essential.  I can't help but wonder though, will I ever be trusted with something bigger?

But big and little are my own definitions.  I am certain that God does not see the impact of me cheering on my husband as any less important than a pastor preaching to hundreds or a worship leader writing a beautiful song.  My scope is so limited.  God sees the ripples that go out from my obedience and, to HIM, they matter.  

If I could choose where to be sent, I would choose hurting marriages.  It feels foolish to even say.  Andy and I have been wed for two years, which is not all that long, but in those two years I have been so challenged and rewarded.  I have seen how easily bad habits form and I have experienced the deep joy that comes from being in a unified relationship.

We have all heard, "marriage takes work." No matter how much it is touted, it is still ambiguous.  What does that mean? What kind of work? 

I think, by God's infinite grace, I am starting to understand.

I hurt for husbands and wives who seem burdened by their wedding bands.  I am pained to hear sharp criticism come from the mouth of a woman toward her spouse, whether he is present or not. I am crushed to see my peers buried in busyness, obligation and performance instead of filled with life and freedom.

A sense of urgency has been growing in my spirit.  It cannot wait until I am "more experienced" or "older" or whatever.  If my spirit is stirred, it is called.  

Yet I am still afraid. 

I think that fear is good.  It reminds me that I, Emily, will not be the one to change marriages.  I, Emily, will not be the one to speak truth.  I, Emily, am simply a woman who has opened herself to Jesus Christ to be used as HE sees fit.  

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom..." Proverbs 9:10

"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity."  1 Timothy 4:12

So I set forth today, acknowledging to you all that I have opened myself up to God's lead in a fresh way.  Until I see the next step, I will stand tall in my youth, inexperience and fear, and believe that God is my god and he is delighted to send me. 

Your prayers are greatly appreciated.  

Jack Attack

Jack had his NINE MONTH well-baby check last week.  How is this little boy getting so huge?  He is officially 22 lbs and 28 inches long.  Our pediatrician also predicts that his top teeth will be soon in coming and that he will walk by 10 1/2 months.  

I won't be the least surprised when he is running around next week. The last few days he has randomly decided to take a few steps on his own.  

My little over-achiever.

He has also learned to stand on his tip-toes to reach something that he wants. Oh dear.

2009 brought Jack his first haircut, courtesy of mama.  Don't worry, when he is in school and actually cares what his hair looks like, I will let someone with skill do it.  But until then, free is good.

Patiently waiting for the fun to begin.  Doesn't he look like a little MAN?

We gave him a handful of toys to distract him from what happening on his head.  My mom also sat right next to him to help with the distraction and advise on the snipping.

Jack eating the hair as it fell from his head.  Are you surprised? 
Me either. 

Oh the fun that awaits.  Talking, walking, tantrums, traveling.  It is going to be a momentous year!