Sunday, November 29, 2009

He Said, She Said: Today

I'm going to share with you a very true and a very unfortunate aspect of marriage.

It is the fact that sometimes you have to come to terms with the reality that you are just weird. And that you, as a person, even as a loved and adored spouse, can be irritating and irrational and, I hope not often, mean.

Luckily this story has nothing to do with mean, mostly weird.

I am weird.

I am irritating (on occasion).

And it is a darn good thing that I am well loved and have a husband with a good sense of humor because these aspects of my personality come out much more frequently than I would like.

I also happen to be pregnant,
which I like to imagine causes
the increase in these unattractive qualities,
but in reality probably is just a scapegoat for me.
Oh well,
if I've got to surrender my body for the next 9+ months
to an alien creature
then I feel completely entitled to use
all the excuses I can think of.

Today was one of those days that I was totally indecisive. Like one minute I was saying to Andy, "I guess I'll go to the store..." and then a few minutes or an hour later I would say, "I guess I won't go to the store today." Then a few minutes later I would start the same go-round, always about going to the grocery store.

Andy patiently and sweetly ignored my contradictory prater about the grocery store. Giving a simple but genuine "okay" each time I voiced a half-formed plan out loud.

Finally toward the end of the afternoon I had to pathetically confess that I was just in a weird mood and had no idea about what I wanted to do. I rambled on and on about what might be making me think and feel so spastic. Andy listened politely and offered little to say that "no, don't worry honey, you've been completely charming and sensical all day." What could he say? I've been totally retarded!

I concluded my lengthy monologue by saying, "And I feel like a giant pregnant woman."

At this point in our marriage
I am too smart to say anything like
"I feel like a cow."
That is much too dramatic to get a gentle response
and what man do you know that likes
to hear his beloved bride called a cow?
My husband sure doesn't.
When I say things like that he just gets mad,
like he would toward anyone else
who talked about me like that.
So I stuck with the safe description
that would communicate the same thing.

Andy's response came out immediately and forcefully, "Well that's good! Because you are!"

I know that might not come across in text with the same teasing but man-factual tone that he used, but it perfectly communicated to me that yes, I am indeed a pregnant woman and I am exactly how I should be... growing big with a baby, so get over it.

Leave it to Andy to snap me out of a funk!

And pregnancy update: I feel huge!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Each week I have the privilege of helping in my sister Ellery's kindergarten class.

It is a wonderful plan on several accounts. It gives Jack a chance to hang out with my mom and play with his sweet grandma and it gives me a chance to be a cool big sister to Ellery. It is also enormously entertaining to be in a room full of five and six year olds.

I usually arrive as the kids are finishing their morning recess. Now that I'm a familiar face the kids in Ellery's class will run up to me and show me their coats, give me a hug, or shyly wave at me as they dash by.

Ellery always comes and hugs me and gives me a recap of what she's been doing at recess and who her friends of the day are.

Last week a girl from her class was sobbing and huddling by the teacher. When I got there Ellery ran up to me as usual. In a very compassionate voice she asked what was wrong with the girl. Ellie (the girl who was crying), between sobs said that so-and-so said they didn't want to play with her that day. I was so proud of my little sis when she said, "I'll play with you!" Then she grabbed Ellie's hand and pulled her off to play.

Way to go Ellery!

Ellie is a funny character in her own right. There is a gaggle of girls in Ellery's class who always appraise my accessories. They take turns saying,

"I like your earrings."

"I like your hair."

"You're pretty."

Can you see why I keep going back?

These girls all sit at the same table. Ellie sits at their table too, but even in kindergarten you can tell the "in" girls and the "out" girls. Ellie is not one of the in.

On the way to lunch one day I was walking with the class and one of the in-girls said, "I like your shoes." Ellie looked back to join in the commentary about my appearance. She looked me up and down and then her face broke into a smile. "You got all clean! Good job!!" Then she gave me a double thumbs up.

Yesterday when I went to class it was raining so they were having recess inside. It was a little chaotic as the teacher waved to me and tried to get a movie going for the recess time.

I admire Ellery's teacher
but I have to say that I find it a bit
odd to substitute
a movie for recess.
Especially for kindergartners.
Isn't the point of recess to burn off
extra energy?
Isn't sitting in the dark the opposite of
expending energy?
But I'm not a teacher
and I have fallen pray to the ease of a
moving picture to entertain Jack
when I just don't have the energy to think
of anything else.
So who am I to judge?

When I walked in the kids were all coloring or wandering and when their teacher said hi to me they all turned and waved too. Ellery ran over to hug me and as she was walking back to her seat Ellie ran up to her and with great gusto said, "Your sister... is... SO... AWESOME!"

Thanks Ellie!

As I took my seat at Ellery's table to wait while the teacher got the video going a little boy turned to me and held up his well-chewed fingernails. Out of the blue he said, "Do you have any nails I can chew? Mine are all too short."

"Oh, I'm sorry, I don't!"

Oh kids, you are hilarious!

I'm so glad I get to see a small part of Ellery's school life each week! Lucky, lucky me!

But seriously, what do you say to a kid who asks to chew your fingernails?!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

He Said, She Said: Cute

The following takes place just a few months into our marriage when I was still getting used to having the bathroom door open while I prepared for the day, and having a BOY walking around my house.

Emily is curling her hair.
Enter Andy.

Andy: "Good morning cute wife!"

Emily, slightly premenstrual and prone to moodiness - also unaware that a woman should never dismiss a compliment from a man: "Thanks but I don't feel cute."

Andy, jaw dropped and truly confused: "What do you mean you don't FEEL cute? You either are or you aren't."

Emily: "No, in a girl-brain if you don't FEEL cute on a certain day then you AREN'T cute on that day."

Andy, looks like he doesn't understand the language his wife is speaking and may have just realized he married a crazy person: *fish mouth*

Andy: "No. CUTE isn't a feeling it is a fact. You are cute or you aren't cute. Look it up in the dictionary."

Emily: "If only it were that easy. But thanks anyway honey."

Andy, walks away totally baffled.

Emily, finishes getting ready and leaves the house feeling cute.

End scene!

Monday, November 23, 2009

He Said, She Said... Attempt One

Have I mentioned before that I adore my husband?

He is so good for me.

We just celebrated our third anniversary and in those three years I have learned how to talk about my feelings without sobbing. I have learned to care less about what people think of me. And I have learned how to sneak veggies into almost everything.

There are still a million things I can learn from him, but the beauty of marriage is that I have my entire life to glean from his wisdom. Additionally, the beautiful thing about Andy specifically is that he is so patient with me while I learn and he forgives so quickly when I haven't learned.

Yes, I truly love the man I married.

But marriage isn't all doe-eyed and rose-scented. Lots of you probably know how hard it is through experience. And lots of you have probably seen or heard how difficult it is through other married friends. True, it is hard.

It is difficult and it is sweet. And somewhere in the middle it is very, very entertaining.

The difference between me and Andy is huge. He is all man. I take that as permission to be all woman. We process information in different ways, we use the same words to mean something totally different. There are lots of differences.

I'm going off on a tangent. What I really wanted to share are two sound bytes of real life with my husband.

Last night we came home from church and it was later than usual. In general we go to a service at 6 PM and get home around 8ish. Jack usually goes right into his pajamas and then into bed, but he was being SO charming that we let him stay up for a while.

By the time he was tucked in though, it was already 9:00 and I got the cleaning bug. Our landlord is coming over tonight (long story I won't bore you with) and whenever she does I feel compelled to present myself as the pinnacle of housewifery (did you know this word is actually in the dictionary). So I started doing that frantic clean up that includes taking everything off the counters and using a q-tip in dirty corners. The problem with this kind of cleaning is that it never, ever ends. There is always something else that needs to be dusted or organized or washed.


So as I was swept away in the cleaning my dear husband said, "You know you can take a break."

I can?


So I would sit down on the couch for like two seconds and then pop up again to do something else.

I think he gave me a gentle reminder to rest about three times before I finally decided, "He's right. None of this will matter in a few weeks, or even tomorrow."

So I sat down on the couch and watched Amazing Race and let Andy scratch my back.

Yep, he's a good man.

But that STILL isn't what I was going to tell you about!

That wasn't even one of the 'bytes!


I should know better than to try and have a point when I'm talking about my hero, there are just too many things to say.

I should also know better than to try and have a point when I'm pregnant.

Bear with me please.

Oh never mind. I'll have to tell you tomorrow. I'll warn you now, I'm going to skip the preamble and just jump right to my two favorite things Andy every said.

Not favorite romantic things.
Just comments that he's made about
our life.

If I skip the lead in maybe I can get them out before you start to fall asleep and drool at your desk.

Yes, I know you are reading this when you should be working.

Shame on you.

But I'm glad you read it anyway.

So, until tomorrow...

Three Cheers for Andy!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I found myself today shaking my head in disbelief. How can God love me so much? How can he provide so fully for every need? How do I manage to forget that he cares for me when I am so constantly reminded of his provision?

Two weeks ago Andy unexpectedly lost his job.

He called me and let me know he was coming home early and why. My first reaction, before he got home, was tears. Mostly because I'm pregnant and a lot of the parts of my body seem to function on their own accord.

Despite the initial flow of tears, my overriding thought was, "This is okay."

Andy got home and I heard what happened and we talked and we both felt the same way, like God had something amazing in store and that better things were ahead. What could have been a crisis, either to us as individuals or in our marriage, is instead an opportunity for a new adventure.

So much has happened in my spirit the last two weeks. I have grown in gratitude for my husband, who loves and trusts the Lord. I have seen scriptures that I skimmed over in their familiarity come to life in new ways. And I have experienced the grace of God - the kind of grace that makes me draw a breath and worship in amazement.

We don't know what the next step will be as far as employment, but we do know that our landlords have offered to let us live, RENT FREE, indefinitely. Our other expenses are covered for the time being through unemployment. Not only has God seen fit to provide for our practical needs, he also prompted an acquaintance of ours to gift Andy with four tickets (face valued at $300) to the Apple Cup (a dream for Andy!) next weekend and an additional gift from some dear friends that means we don't have to stress about buying Christmas presents. The same day another friend dropped by two nights worth of dinner complete with desert and sparkling juice.

Who am I to deserve such love?

Who is this God that I serve that provides so much more than I can ask or imagine?

What is ahead?

I don't know what is next for us, but it truly must be something wonderful. And even if it doesn't seem wonderful right away, I will celebrate that my God is good and loving and faithful and generous.

God is good.

Monday, November 16, 2009

On Guard!

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."
Proverbs 4:23

The past few weeks I've spent a lot of time in my own head. Thinking, asking questions, reading, recognizing themes in my life.

I am always seeking to find balance in my life. On one hand it feels like a never-ending chase and on the other, it feels like a worthy goal and admirable lifetime pursuit.

All of this introspection and meditation has led me to the Proverbs and to other well-known scriptures. It has been a refreshing few weeks of re-learning to love God's word and ingest it, so that it slowly becomes part of my person.

Proverbs 4:23 is one that was really "popular" when I was in high school. In a lot of scenarios it felt like it could be interpreted as "Above all, guard your virginity..." But now I'm a married woman and sex is good and right and wonderful- and this verse is still in the bible! It didn't disappear, so it must still have value for those of us who aren't guarding our lady-gardens.

I've been pondering and praying and hoping that I could understand what it means. The wellspring of life sounds like a pretty crucial part of living, so I figure it would be worth some contemplation.

And here is what I've discovered in my life: I need to guard my heart.

Are you amazed?

Brilliant, I know.

Rather than guarding my heart from a premature relationship or romantic infatuation I need to guard my heart from:

Unrealistic Expectations

These things creep in so quietly, and are so culturally approved, that I don't even notice that they have taken up residence in my thoughts and emotions until I am in the midst of a melt-down or am thinking cruel thoughts toward someone I am supposed to love.

When I am obsessed with my own expectations of how an event should work, or how Jack should behave, the life drains out of me. When I focus on what I don't have rather than what I do, my days feel long, lifeless and always wanting.

So, if I want the wellspring of my life to be overflowing and fresh and sweet, I need to be actively guarding against those things that would strangle my heart. When I am disappointed because Andy didn't say just thing I wanted to hear, I need to guard my heart from bitterness. When I look at a friend who seems to have it all together, I need to guard my heart from self-criticizing. When I make my Christmas list, I need to guard my heart from greed and envy.

At each turn of the day I have to be on the lookout. It is so much easier to stop something from taking hold of me than to loosen a thing that already has a grip. But at whatever point, it needs to be done. I want to be a woman who overflows, whose spring produces clear, refreshing water. Water that revives, nourishes and heals the lives around me. And to be that, I need to guard my heart.

Lord, please teach us to be on guard. To be active in filtering out those things that want to gain access to our heart, but don't bring us life. Shine your light on the righteous and reveal the things that carry death. You are good.