Thursday, December 22, 2016

Someday the tombs will break
and the veil will split
as the last gasping breath leaves your lungs
but tonight she pulls you to her chest
as those tiny lungs expand for the very first time
and suddenly nothing else seems to matter,
not the whispers or the rumors
the sleepless nights
the long journey or the excruciating pain
There's only this moment
and your perfect face.

Hope is born
and God is WITH us
and the smell of sweat and birth
mingled with milk and manure
reminds us that sometimes
the most glorious of stories
begins in the dirtiest of places.

The Creator and the created
the Giver and the gift
the holy and the human.

They've all heard about you
but tonight so few seem to notice you're here.
You know you're not at all
what they had in mind
and you'll turn everything upside down.

You'll call the tax collector out from the crowd
and down from the tree
and tell him to invite you home,
command the Pharisees
to drop the stones
and drop the act,
touch the untouchables
and wash the feet of those that follow you.

You'll multiply the fish
and fill their stomachs
but teach that man cannot live on bread alone,
You'll heal the blind
but teach that not all who have eyes
can truly see.

You'll speak of lust that condemns like adultery
and anger that condemns like murder
then talk of a grace that covers it all.

You'll walk among them,
the broken, the desperate, the hurting, the lonely
and you will offer them peace
You will weep
and you will pray
You will feel the pull of temptation
and the sting of betrayal
You will hunger and thirst
and feel weariness deep into your bones

You will watch them chase after
so many things

and you will tell them of a God
who wrapped himself in flesh
so that he could be
their Savior.

Friday, May 20, 2016

"I wish my hair was white like Elsa's, but it's's just BROWN." You said it almost sadly, twisting your hair between your fingers and caressing your doll's long, thick braid. And I get it - you're three years old, and in your little world, Elsa is the most popular princess on the playground, with a dress that spins and hands that create ice castles. So I just laughed and told you your hair is perfect.

But what I really wanted to do? I wanted to grab your face and look you in the eyes and tell you that you are GORGEOUS. Stunning. Mesmerizing. And you actually have these big, bright eyes that turn a gorgeous shade of blue when the sun hits them and straight, shiny hair that falls perfectly from the moment you wake up. You're really pretty....I'd think so even if I wasn't your mom.

But it's more than that. Because I know things you don't. I know the fascination with Elsa will fade, but the princesses will morph into cheerleaders and celebrities and snapchats, and you will compare yourself, and some days you will be convinced you don't measure up. You are going to grow up in world that is photshopped and filtered and sexed up, and you will be the target demographic.

They will try to make you insecure so you will believe them when they tell you that you need teeth whiteners, hair extensions, waist cinchers, breast implants, butt implants and lip implants. They will market superficiality to you. Then they will create hashtags like #wokeuplikethis and #nomakeup to convince you it should come easily. You will wonder if your eyebrows are on fleek (Google it) and your thigh gap is wide enough, and you will doubt your curves and you will doubt your lack of curves. And you will doubt your kind of beauty. And it won't ever quit, because you'll start to settle into who you are, and they'll start trying to sell you anti-aging creams and Botox.

So I want you to hear you are beautiful, and I want you to hear it often.

I want you believe it so much that you can drown out all that noise. I want you to have fun with fashion and makeup and be able to laugh when you and your friend attempt to dye your hair auburn and it turns fire-engine red (been there, done that). I want to lay by a pool with you and talk about a million things besides cellulite, and I want to take you swimsuit shopping and buy us thousand-calorie Starbucks frappes on the way home. I want you to believe it so much that you never feel like you have to compromise any part of who you are to hear it, never feel like you have to wear less clothes or kiss more guys. I want you to believe you are beautiful.

And then...

I want you to not to care.

I want you to know how very little it matters.

I want you to know how fleeting it is.

Fleeting in so many ways. Fleeting because time is going to pass, and you can't stay the world's version of beautiful forever. Trust me, I bought the wrinkle-fighting moisturizers, but I still see those little eye wrinkles creeping in when I smile (but I usually filter them out with Valencia because none of us are immune to this). Fleeting because the world's version doesn't even stay the same, because strong is the new skinny, butts are the new boobs and lobs are all over Pinterest. Fleeting because there's Brazilian beauty and Ugandan beauty and American beauty, and what's beautiful at the small-town baseball games isn't beautiful on the streets of New York.

But most of all, fleeting because you are made in the image of God and that matters infinitely more than the images of this world.

So daughter, I want you to aspire to a different kind of beautiful. I want you to be kind and compassionate, I want you to be brave. I want you to be gentle and humble. I want you to be content. I want you to love the least of these. I want you to have a servant's heart. I want you to date guys that challenge you and inspire you. I want you to smile from the inside. I want you to know that Instagram likes don't make you likeable. I want you to sing or dance or run or write or lay in the grass and stare at the clouds, and I want you to do it all for the glory of God.

And don't be surprised when Elsa says she wishes she had brown hair like yours.

Friday, February 5, 2016

If these walls could talk

My husband and I are under contract on a new house, and it's been making me think a lot about the 7 1/2 years spent in this house...we moved in the week we got back from our honeymoon and have brought two beautiful kids newborns home to it's rooms. I'm excited for the next step, but am sad to leave all the memories these walls have seen.

Oh if these walls could talk,
they'd talk of moving boxes
and new beginnings
and how plaster and beams
can house so many things

They'd talk of thresholds and all they stood for,
two people that came in carrying hope
that later carried them
when the best days turned into real days
and two lives learned how to be one

They'd talk of arguments
that ran down the hallways
but of the laughter that chased them
and grace that always won

and how a house became a home

with throw pillows
and the evenings spent curled up on them
dining rooms chairs
and Saturday morning burritos
and a love that morphed beautifully
from wedding hair to ponytails

They'd talk of summers and winters
and seasons
and knowing they were ready for the next one
as dreams of baby's breath
crept out of the shadows
and danced around the room

They'd talk of trying
and longing,
of silent tears that slipped between
cheeks and pillowcases
because they were tired of waiting
for empty rooms to be filled
of prayers whispered in darkness
promising to trust in a timing
they didn't always understand

and how they trembled with anticipation
when they heard the waiting had a due date
and how they knew everything had changed
when they were covered with fresh coats of
paint that dripped with promise
and decals spelled the name of a boy
that was already their beloved
how those months moved like molasses
aboard a speeding train
and how they had never been more
ready for
something they didn't know if they were
ready for

They'd talk of the moment a swaddled baby
came home
how they felt like they might burst at the seams
with love that pushed against the walls
and made everything feel alive
how everything seemed harder and better
and like it mattered more

They'd talk of tiny cries
that seeped under doorways at 2 a.m.
and the exhaustion that seemed
almost tangible
as the bags under their eyes
begged the floorboards not to creak

how some days they felt like they were
barely surviving
but coffee and gummy smiles
saved them every time
and they more fully understood
how God takes ashes
and leaves beauty in their place

They'd talk of how they didn't think they could
withstand the storm of another miracle
but she came in fast and beautiful
and made them feel complete
and broken all at the same time

and everything seemed to increase
and made them feel as if they were drowning
in waves of early mornings and clingy hands
sinks that looked as though they might
collapse under the weight of dirty bottles
and piles of laundry
that turned from molehills into mountains

but how sibling laughter
made the lack of air worth it

They'd talk of how the space between them
was filled with Bumbos and swings and blocks
and Baby Einstein playing in the background,
how at night they breathed a sigh of relief
when baths were drained and books were read,
but they stayed up late
looking at photographs on the wall
because they couldn't wait until morning
to see their perfect smiles

They'd talk of how those dirty bottles
morphed into sippy cups so quickly
that sometimes
they missed them deeply
as the carpet traded in chubby baby knees
for wobbly toddler feet
and the closets traded in onesies
for t-shirts and tennis shoes
and everything grew
footprints and appetites
tantrums and vocabulary
the fear that they were getting it wrong
and the confidence
that they were doing something right

Some days were easy
and some were hard
and some days the mopped floor
waited with bated breath
to see how they'd react
as spilled milk puddled
or little feet didn't make it to the potty in time
and some days the walls caved in slowly
while chaos bounced against them

but some days
they colored
and danced
and had picnics in the living rooms
and train rides down the hall

and those walls knew they'd never held
anything worth more
as they talked of how plaster and beams
can house so many things

Thursday, August 6, 2015

With great power comes great responsiblity

Today I was on a celebrity's social media site, browsing the comments underneath a picture she posted speaking out against abortion, and I was honestly surprised by the thousands of hateful comments she got. People were angry and defensive and so sure in their belief that sometimes abortion was the best choice. At first I just felt sad and mad and all the feelings I can't help but feel when confronted with the fact that we are killing babies that should be living.

But this one sentiment kept jumping out at me from the comments:

"All the pro-lifers acting as if they're better. You're really just pro-birth because if you cared about LIFE, you would be enriching the lives of people already here. You'd adopt, volunteer, etc. You don't give two shits about those babies that are born and then given to foster families to get raped and beaten. Until you all are actually dong something good for those kids' lives, stfu."

"Pro-lifers mainly care about the cell sack instead of the person carrying it. Like what if they don't want to have the baby? They shouldn't be forced to go through with it. Don't say that they can put in adoption because there are over 500,000 children that are still unadopted."

"Birth is beautiful but who is advocating for at-risk children born to women considering abortion? Statistically, low income, low-education and high stress have detrimental affects on babies and children. Please advocate social programs and support. It's one thing to see a baby to full term but another to have programs to protect children to become successful adults. Paid maternity leave, school integration, affordable daycare, etc. are programs political groups who support pro-life deny women every day."

"Judgement doesn't help those who choose this option, it doesn't give them a better solution. You're only telling them they're wrong, which in itself is wrong. Every time I go to volunteer at my local shelter I pass by these old preachers outside an abortion clinic. They offer no help, no sympathy and no alternate solutions for the women in this predicament or the unborn child."

And really in some ways, they're right, aren't they? Because it's easy for me to sit in my comfortable living room with my steady paycheck and my supportive husband while I judge and vilify and declare things I'd never do, because I've never been in a place where abortion made any sense. I've never looked into the sad eyes of children I loved fiercely but couldn't afford to feed and wondered why I should make them sacrifice even more for a brother or sister they didn't ask for. I've never had to say goodbye to my dreams of the perfect little family because I was staring at a test that wasn't supposed to be positive after a one-night stand I regretted with a boy I didn't love. I've never cried myself to sleep because I was growing a life inside of me I wasn't ready for.

We're telling people who don't necessarily want a baby to have a baby, and that's a big deal, a life-altering decision. I get that most of them had choices along the way, choices about sexual partners and protection - but those choices have already been made. We can promise to further education and promote prevention, but right here, right now we're asking this life and death decision to be made by bright young college students, single moms barely scraping by, scared 14-year olds, drug addicts, CEO's and abused women in broken marriages. So are we ready to face the consequences? Are we ready to be there for these people when they make the courageous decision to choose life?

Are we ready to raise a generation that truly believes every single person is valuable. Because if we're preaching about the value of thousands of unborn babies we have to believe they're valuable no matter who they're born to and who they become. And our kids see us. They see us rolling our eyes at the disruptive bully in their kindergarten class that doesn't know how to be kind because he's never been shown. They see the side-eyes we give to the cashier covered in tattoos and piercings and the teenager with baggy pants and a foul mouth. They hear our commentary on riots and gay pride parades and reduced lunches and immigration laws and they learn that somehow our skin color and our upbringing and our income level affect our worth. And we have to teach them that worth is so much deeper than all that. It's okay to stand up for what's right, and it's okay to want better for people, but we have to remember that the same hands that molded us molded them, and because of that, they are intrinsically valuable. We have to smile at them in the street and invite them into our churches. We have to love them without conditions and reservations, without pride or pity.

Are we ready to take a deeper look and more responsibility for a foster system that was described by a social worker as "so broken that to heal it would take far more than the casts that heal the literal broken bones of the children growing up within it." (A). Because sometimes unwanted babies turn into unwanted children that spend their entire lives feeling unwanted, growing up in an environment that seems to foster homelessness and unemployment and teen pregnancy and prison and PTSD at a rate higher than war veterans (B). We are standing by while kids age out of our systems without ever belonging to anyone. It's an enormous, heart-breaking problem I have no idea how to fix. In my own life, I want to do something but I'm scared to do much...I'm scared to open my home to the unknown when I have two beautiful, amazing children of my own to raise. That's why I have so much respect for those I know who do. We can't keep asking these women to have these children if we're closing our eyes while those same children are breaking all around us. We have to find a way to be the hands and feet of Christ for children that are desperately longing for someone to prove to them the Father to the Fatherless isn't just a fairy tale.

Are we ready to give our money graciously and generously to these babies we're fighting for the right to feed and clothe? Are we ready to buy Christmas presents for an Angel Tree kid without judging their requests or patting ourselves on the back? Are we ready to stand in line behind a women with five kids in a shopping cart buying groceries with food stamps and be okay with that? Are we ready to buy school supplies to give underprivileged kids a fighting chance to succeed? Because in a sense, we're telling these families we'd rather do that than live with the alternative.

Are we ready to offer to babysit for that family with special needs kids so they can have a break? Are we ready to include the young, single mom in our Bible Studies without throwing stones? Are we ready to go out and share the love of Christ so these babies made in the image of God can have hope for eternity no matter what they face here in their temporary homes? Are we ready to promise that when these tiny beating hearts turn into bigger, harder, more complicated hearts, we'll still care? Because if we're not ready to promise that, then really what's the point?



Friday, May 16, 2014

I wish I could freeze time

I wish I could freeze time.  I thought it over and over as I lay on the couch with your tiny body curled up on mine, our chests gently rising and falling in unison.  I was sore, exhausted and smelled like spit-up and night sweats, and I knew I should be sleeping, but I wanted to live every part of that moment.  I wanted to breathe in your newborn smell and watch your eyelids flutter as the afternoon sunlight and the muted sounds of spring streamed in through the blinds.  I wanted to lay there with you and forget about the world. 

I wish I could freeze time.  I thought it again as we sat on the porch watching a rare summer rain, my arms wrapped tightly around you as the thunder rolled in, and I told you how blessed I was to be your mom.  I thought it the first time you smiled, the first time you giggled and the first time you belly-laughed.   I thought it when Daddy and I laid blankets on the living room floor and spent a Sunday afternoon listening to Pandora while you practiced rolling around in between us.  I thought it when you first tasted food and looked disgusted and delighted all at the same time.  I thought it when you took a break from splashing in the bath to flash us your toothless grin, your long eyelashes stuck together and glistening with water.  I thought it when we sat on the floor by your jumper, laughing hysterically at the way it always made you giddy with excitement.  I thought it when you took your first wobbly step and the first time you said "I love you."   I thought it again and again and again.

I wish I could freeze time.
I wish I could keep you this age.
I wish I could keep you this size.
I wish I could keep this giggle and this facial expression and this pronunciation. 

But the clock hands kept turning and time never once froze.  And I'm thankful for that.   Because, really, where would I choose to stop this march of time, where would I press pause if this were a movie?  Where would that best day be when it seems the best days just keep coming?

Because if I had kept you my baby forever, I wouldn't have got to walk in your room this morning and see you standing there in your crib, all bedhead and smiles in your footed dinosaur pajamas, saying "Hi, mommy" in your little toddler voice.  And if I paused here, I wouldn't get to see what's next.  I wouldn't get to hear you squeal with excitement the first time you ride a bike or see your face light up the first time you put your feet in the ocean.   I wouldn't get to stay up late with you on a Friday night so we can make popcorn and watch your favorite movie.  I wouldn't get to see your face flush when we ran into your crush or see you walk the stage in a cap and gown.  And I want all those moments...and so many more.   I have to let go of who you were yesterday to meet the awesome person you'll be tomorrow.

So maybe I don't want to freeze time or even slow it down...I just don't want to let these moments slip through my fingers before I even realize the beauty I'm holding.  I want to remember that these fragile, fleeting moments are strung together and tied into days - days that move all too fast, but that just might be the best days of my life.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Your life is worth living

Sometimes, as a parent, I come across a news story or a statistic or a blog that breaks my heart in a million pieces, because even though it's not about YOU, there's always, always the image of your face. Like today. Today, I read that suicide is the second leading cause of death in children aged 10-24, and I thought "What if that was you? What if you decided that you were better without this world, that this world was somehow BETTER without you?"

And I wanted to tell you that this will never be true. NEVER.

I remember the day you were born and the moment they placed you on my chest for the first time. I remember how I looked into your half-open eyes and thought about all the prayers I'd prayed for you and all the plans I'd made for you, and I knew my life was forever changed and immeasurably better because you were in it. I pictured God knitting together your little body and filling it with personality, and I sat in awe of His masterpiece. I breathed in your scent and knew I would love you - always.

Please never doubt that.
Even if you're bullied, gay, unpopular, paralyzed, broke, pregnant or arrested.
Even if you don't get invited to prom.
Even if you get fired from your job.
Even if you get dumped by text.
Even if you're raped in the backseat of a car.

Sometimes I will be angry with you and disappointed in you, and I will want better for you, but I will always love you - recklessly, overwhelmingly and unconditionally.

But even if I didn't, even if NOBODY DID, it wouldn't change the fact that your life is worth living. There will probably be days when it doesn't feel that way, days when you're sobbing into your pillow, crushed by the weight of a break-up or a fight with your best friend. I've been there, and I remember when those things didn't feel like LITTLE things. They felt like heart-shattering, life-altering things. Things that made me feel unwanted and unloved. Things that made me feel alone and tired of struggling. But in the years that have followed, there have been so many days that have made me think "How could I ever have wanted to miss this?" Simple days when I was eating pizza on the couch in my sweats or driving down the highway with the music up and the sun shining on my face. Big days when I was walking down the aisle in a white dress or laying in a doctor's office hearing your heartbeat for the first time.

And trust me, days like that WILL follow. I know it's so, so hard to see now, but those hard times don't last forever.

So please, no matter how bad it gets, don't give up. Come to me, and we'll figure out a way to make things better. And if you feel like you can't come to me, go to SOMEBODY....go to your best friend or your youth minister or a random stranger on a suicide hotline, but go to somebody. Don't try to hold it in and don't try to be strong and fight these demons on your own. Because if you lose this battle, it's permanent. And it's not just permanent for you. Every person you touched would be irreversibly changed. I would have to pick out a coffin for you and watch as they lowered a piece of me into the ground, and I can't see how that pain would ever go away.

So please, please, please don't be one of the statistics. I know this just looks like words on paper, but find a way to make them real and find a way to feel alive because you deserve that.

Believe that you are absolutely irreplaceable.

Believe that you are beautiful, you are loved, you are priceless, you are created, you are worthy.

No. matter. what.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Privacy Please!

I'm going to make my blog private for a little while to post something I don't want just anyone reading (just because it's a little personal - nothing creepy!). So if you read my blog (all 2 or 3 of you! ha), put your email in a comment and I'll send you an invite - sorry for the inconvenience!


Wow, I'm on my fourth post of the YEAR - that's awesome, right? I'm going private for a little while just because my husband didn't want just any random person reading this post...not that it looks like I have to worry about my massive fan base ha. Just a warning, you might want to stop reading now if you're not a fan of hearing about someone's personal life =). I thought I'd give everyone an update on our story of boy (sperm) meets girl (egg). As I mentioned in May my husband I have been trying to get pregnant since last August, which I'm pretty sure is equal to about three years in "trying to conceive" time - seems like forever sometimes! We are trusting God and have avoided turning into an "oh my gosh I'm ovulating! - we have to have sex NOW!" couple because we figure if we're having (and enjoying) plenty of sex, then it will happen in His perfect timing. But I had got to the point where I was trying to get a little "help" from various fertility aids.... However, sadly, none of them had "helped" make me pregnant yet, so I finally brought up with my gyno a few months ago and he said there was a small cause for concern since my hubby and I are both young and healthy and we'd been trying for a year. After some discussion and for various reasons, he recommended our first step be getting my husband tested. My poor hubby had to drive to a clinic and give semen samples three times (and hated every second of it). Test 1 results were inconclusive for some reason, Test 2 results were abnormal, Test 3 confirmed that results were still abnormal. So we had a conference with my gyno last week and he threw a around a lot of big words, but in simplified terms, said the main problem was my husband's semen's pH level is too acidic, which is basically killing his sperm - could be specific reasons for this or could just be the way his body works - he has an appointment with a urologist in a couple weeks to see.
Assuming there's nothing that can be done about it (which is very likely), the doctor said it's VERY unlikely that I will conceive if we just keep trying naturally (bummer), but we do have options (yay!). So TOMORROW we are trying our first intrauterine insemination, aka the IUI (hence my dorky blog title). From how he described the procedure, they basically take my hubby's semen, put in a centrifuge to separate out the sperm, and do some treatments to it. Then, they make some super concentrated semen (Super Semen!) and inject that into my uterus with a syringe - not quite as fun as the old-fashioned way, huh?? He didn't really give us typical success rates, but from what I've learned from Google School of Medicine, it seems to be anywhere from 6 - 20% each time. Of course there's lots of factors involved - the doctor mentioned the sperm may not even be able to live long enough to make it to my uterus - but I have faith in those stubborn things =).
So that was probably completely boring but that's where we're at - please pray for us tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Beautiful song, beautiful words

I made You promises a thousand times
I tried to hear from Heaven
But I talked the whole time
I think I made You too small
I never feared You at all No
If You touched my face would I know You?
Looked into my eyes could I behold You?

What do I know of You
Who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood
But the shore along Your ocean?
Are You fire? Are You fury?
Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
What do I know? What do I know of Holy?

I guess I thought that I had figured You out
I knew all the stories and I learned to talk about
How You were mighty to save
Those were only empty words on a page
Then I caught a glimpse of who You might be
The slightest hint of You brought me down to my knees

What do I know of You
Who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood
But the shore along Your ocean?
Are You fire? Are You fury?
Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
What do I know? What do I know of Holy?

What do I know of Holy?
What do I know of wounds that will heal my shame?
And a God who gave life "its" name?
What do I know of Holy?
Of the One who the angels praise?
All creation knows Your name
On earth and heaven above
What do I know of this love?

What do I know of You
Who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood
But the shore along Your ocean?
Are You fire? Are You fury?
Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
What do I know?
What do I know of Holy?
What do I know of Holy?
What do I know of Holy?

(Addison Road)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day! (so creative I know)

Hmmm well I'm not sure how many of those resolutions I kept, but I'm doing amazing when it comes to drinking Cokes! =). (And I'm doing horrible when it comes to blogging.)

It seems everyone's blog today is about their mom, but I'm not sure my mom even knows my (rarely written) blog exists so I'm going to go a different route. As most people reading this blog know, I'm definitely ready to be a mom. Adrian and I have been trying for eight months now and found out yesterday that, once again, it didn't happen. And I'm not going to lie, it's getting hard to be patient month after month - even though we keep reminding ourselves it's all in God's timing. Like lots of girls, being a mom is something I've always felt I was made for...there's something about being around kids that just feels right to me (and I've been told that I'm good with kids, although I'm sure that's debatable ha). And obviously, at this time in life, it seems like every time I log on to facebook, I'm reading a pregnancy announcement - but don't worry I'm still very happy for those people - I'm not to the jealous stage yet hehe.

But I can't help but wonder what if - what if it doesn't happen for us? I actually don't even know the first thing about steps to take sure to make sure we don't have fertility problems - but most things I've read said you're not supposed to worry until you've been trying at least a year - so we still have a few months to make a baby! And Adrian and I both agree that if we couldn't have kids for some reason, we are definitely looking into adoption.

But I guess I'd like everyone to read this blog to just say a quick prayer for us - that we can just trust God's plan and hopefully that plan will include a baby =). Because we both believe in the power of prayer.

On a happier note, I'd like to wish all the mothers out there a Happy Mother's Day!! I know some moms that read this blog and it's evident that you are all AMAZING mothers and some of the people I hope to be like one day!