Friday, August 31, 2007

More Feeling-y Stuff

We have a lot going on right now. So I am not sure I will be posting any more than I have been. Which is not much. I am just trying to keep up. I guess we're all trying to get going as the school year is going whether we can keep up or not. Over the next two weeks we have two birthdays- August will be four, Elspeth will be one- and grandparents from both sides will be coming at different times for a few nights' stay to celebrate. It will be a little crazy, but fun.

I am still thinking about the happiness thing from last week. And about what our lives might look like next year in a new place with a new job. And where I should be focusing my time, energy, and gifts apart from just keeping up with all that the kids need. George found some online personality tests and profile sites. I know these sort of box people in and it is only so helpful. But it can be somewhat helpful as you try to consider these things. For anyone else interested, I have links! Here is a 72 question yes or no type test. It goes pretty quick. It will give you a personality type and two different links to more information about your personality. This is another site for linking to more insight about your "type" once you get your results.

I said before that I have taken this test a kazillion times since ninth grade and have gotten ENFP every time. George thought the ENFP profile was right on the money for me in a lot of ways, but wasn't sold on a few things. He deleted my answers and had me take it again. I don't know why it was different, but I got ESFP that time. I tried again a few hours later and got ESFP again! Kind of weird, but all that to say, it makes a lot of sense that we aren't going to be totally pigeon holed into one thing. It might be a helpful thing to sort of see what the other types close to you are like (if you are barely "feeling," see what the one with "thinking" is like).

What does seem to be generally true about me is that I'm so very emotional. I know you are all stunned. Try to get a hold of yourselves. Another thing that is definitely true of me is the love of talking. I thought this was a funny quote, "Some can be identified by the twenty minute conversation required to ask or answer a simple factual question." So true! And no, we don't need a personality test to know these things about me. But it is nice to know that they are valid "personality traits" and not just "annoying habits." Plus, it is totally my personality to love to take these quizzes and want everyone else to take them and share too! And a lot of times an objective description of your personality can make you feel better about yourself. God created all kinds of people in all different ways. Everyone has something to contribute and no one personality is better or worse than another. That is refreshing to see- a little sketch of who you are/ how you relate to others (for those of us who have a hard time knowing) and an idea that there are others a lot like you! And who couldn't stand a little of that? Well, if you have an opposite personality (someone with both a really strong T and J?) maybe you couldn't stand more of that, but then I'm guessing then that you really couldn't stand my blog and so you don't read it anyway!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The (Future) Reverend Edema

I feel like I have been away for a week. In actuality, we were only gone for 28 hours and only just 3 hours away. But I am still "recovering." I wish I traveled better. I have a sister right outside New York and a sister in France. Oh, but it would be fun to go visit! I wonder if I ever could actually afford to go see them, it would be wasted on me as I am so overwhelmed by traveling. I am actually trying to get up to see my sister in New York in November without kids. This is my thirtieth birthday gift to me. If you were wanting to get me a gift, (it's never too early to start thinking about it!) you are welcome to contribute to my trip. I think it will all be much less wasted without kids. It still feels a long way off and nothing is really determined, not even the dates, but I am still looking forward to it. It's just times right after trips, when I am taking the maximum dose for Tylenol and have been counting down until bedtime since before Amabel got home from school that I worry if spending money on a trip for me is a waste. I think the difference is that this trip is going to be made without kids. Or did I already mention that?

So where were we? George was asked to preach at a church in Springfield, Missouri, which is about three hours southwest of St. Louey. We drove out on Saturday night and had supper with George's dad's cousin and his wife, really nice folks who live over that way. We stayed in a really nice hotel and had a great complimentary breakfast and got everyone to church 25 minutes early! That's right! And do you know why we were 25 minutes early? Because they start at 10:30! Can you imagine a day of rest where you actually get to rest and don't have to get up at dawn?! And actually have time for breakfast?! For Belgian waffles?! It was so nice.

So I was noticing George being very nervous and was really not sure what to do to help him. I was sort of nervous myself because I had never heard him preach. When he took preaching classes all last year, he was determined he was the worst in the class. He has really struggled with the call to be a pastor and the serious deficiency of preaching skills he was uncovering in himself. We have hashed through it together and he has met with pastors and professors alike to get counsel and direction and encouragement about this very issue. A lot of people have encouraged him that public speaking just takes practice. Likewise he has been encouraged that just because he is weak in preaching does not mean he will not be faithful in pastoring, really loving and walking alongside people. So there was all of that which encouraged us to keep on pursuing this for George- all of that and the lack of any other doors opening (which, let's be honest, is often as clear an indication of God's direction as anything else).

So with all that in mind, and my husband's "controversial" theological sympathies, I have to say that future employment has been one of my not so secret fears. But George is good with fear, always reminding me that God will take care of us and has never failed us (or any of His people) yet, always reminding me what life is really like (as opposed to my spoiled expectations that everything will effortlessly be handed to me). But you know, I am a nervous person. So I just sort of decided to remember that the weekend was not about me. I decided I was not going to be my usual needy self and do my best to take all the extra stress off George so he could focus on the task ahead of him. Sunday morning I got the kids dressed, I packed the bags in the hotel room, and just tried to be encouraging while George went over his notes. This also helped my own nerves- not a whole lot of time to worry about meeting a church full of people I don't know or whether or not my husband will sweat and stutter if I am busy with other things.

But let me just say, there was absolutely no need to worry in the first place. Was it because of all the prayers we had said? Was it because my expectations were so low? I don't know, but y'all, he was like a real preacher. He didn't sweat. He didn't stammer. Not that there's anything wrong with those things and I am sure plenty of good experienced pastors do that all the time anyway. But my point is that he did very well. And I was so proud. It was a confirmation of sorts too; it was encouraging to see that God really is helping him improve and giving him what he needs to answer this call. I mean, I trusted that. I think. But it was so nice to see it. I mean, he did really really well. Now you will all just have to come hear for yourselves. Well, eventually. He has to graduate, get a job, and be ordained first first. (Just those three little things.) School starts for him tomorrow- his last year of seminary. This year will be about finishing his formal training and education as well as any field hours and finding a position in a church. As a pastor. More than likely an assistant or associate pastor, but whoa. And that means I have to start thinking about being the pastor's wife. Yikes. This is very strange. We're almost grown ups! I know, we'll believe it when we see it. But that's what I mean, I saw it this Sunday in George.

One of the ladies at the church we were visiting said that when he finished preaching her daughter said "He was a good guy!" She said she thought so too. Yeah, me too.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Pursuit of Happiness

Ugh! I am tempted to delete that last post. "Oooh wee, Tiara! How do you manage to be so dull?!" (as the old "Deep House Dish" SNL skit goes- please tell me you've seen that!) I have no idea how I manage to be so dull! I saw an Oprah yesterday about happiness. Please! I just don't like Oprah. Why does she talk about people's auras and loving yourself and this Unitarian type god? The thing that pushes me over from feeling bad for her (like I do for Rosie O'Donnell and Ellen) is that she is so astoundingly influential. Because she has some good things to say. But it is all mixed in with garbage (but pretty garbage). And so she's deceitful. But she's deceived too. And so she's just a false teacher. And it bugs me. Even I enjoy her show. She praises stay at home moms like no one else (she ought to! we're the ones keeping her rich and successful!). She has interesting topics. I mean, it's an enjoyable show. And like I said, she has some helpful things to say. But that's really what I'm getting at, Rosie and Ellen had/have "fun" talk shows. They're not trying to help anyone except hurricane victims or their special fans. They're just entertaining us. But Oprah is all about self help. I have a self. I need some help. And even with both guns blazing, I still have a hard time discerning if what she is saying is true and helpful or just part of the pretty garbage. I'm telling y'all (again), she's dangerous!

So about the happiness thing, here is a link to the quiz she had her audience take. If you know how to answer these questions, you must be aware of how happy you are and so why are you taking a quiz? And I say that with all sarcasm. One thing that bothered me is that Oprah said there's no external world. She said everything is internal. And the happiness expert guy is like "you're exactly right." What?! Also, why is she also the expert on everything? No matter who the guest is, she has just as much, if not more, to say. So back to there being no external world- seriously, she went on to make it sound like she believes life is essentially like the people hooked up to the machine in The Matrix. So the happiness expert is all "Yes. The optimists are right. And the pessimists are also right. It is all based on perception." And I'm thinking to myself, these people just have way too much money. Because seriously, how did they become so out of touch with real life?

The questions are put like "my life is close to ideal" or "conditions are excellent." Please! Is this necessary in life? Evidently it is for happiness. We are unhappy if we are not living an ideal life with excellent conditions? Jesus said "in this world you will have many troubles." I am so sick of hearing that if that is true, there's something I'm doing wrong. No, he said I will. So I'm going to. I guess that makes me unhappy by some standards. But what bizarre standards!

I am all for the idea that we need to be content beyond our circumstances. I am all for happiness at any place in life. But I just wonder what Oprah is talking about. I know that she had a rough childhood so I think that she has a grasp on real life hardship. There is some big thing she has and the happiness guy have about letting the past go. Okay, that seems helpful. Except that it makes no sense practically as the past is not something you literally have your fingers wrapped around, so anyone having a problem with this is left guessing- how? literally? figuratively? what?! And what do you do with ongoing, current suffering that isn't in the past? What do you do with poverty where there just isn't enough money but people are working hard? (I guess in our country, we blame the President.) What do you do with babies with cancer? If happiness is just perception, how do I perceive away the real need for groceries or the need for healing? Why is there this "no one should complain or ever think that they need something" idea? I know people who can't find a job. Obviously, I know people with sick children. I know people who work hard and can't afford school or clothes for their kids and live day to day by faith. Don't call those people pessimists because they struggle, because their "perspective" is wrong. Or perhaps even Oprah would concede that their beautiful courage and faith in the face of trial would count for something even though they would no doubt call their situation less than ideal or excellent.

I am not sure I am making any sense. I am just grumpy about standards. I am sick of having unrealistic expectations pushed on us. Everyone talks about how Americans are so obese. I wonder if there is a correlation between the unrealistic expectation for tee-tininess and the end result of obesity. Maybe not. But the other unrealistic expectation in our world is that we all have happy easy lives and we all have our own homes and white collar jobs and are positive and wealthy. I had someone (not a regular, not anyone I had ever heard of before or since) leave a comment a little while back that seemed to me to be kind of patronizing and passively aggressively critical (if you can say that?) . A friend noticed it and linked to the commenter's blog to see what she was like and told me a little about it. Oprah's show yesterday reminded me of what my friend had told me about the blog and I went for a look-see. I don't want y'all all searching back and trying to find the mysterious commenter. I can't be sure she even meant to be critical. But man, this blog. It is so pretty. And her life is so perfect. Cocktail parties. Coffee dates with girlfriends. Sterling silver baby gifts. Lunches in tea rooms. Trunk shows. Vacations. Nannies. More trunk shows. Party invitations. Monogrammed everything. Family gatherings. Country Club. Did I mention the trunk shows? Am I jealous? You betcha! I will never have that life. I should not have that life. But I so want that life. And I am married to someone who doesn't have the same struggle. I know some of y'all don't. Some of y'all would look at that blog and want to puke. And some of y'all might look at that blog and see nothing wrong with it. I am on the teetering edge of knowing something is wrong with it and yet wanting it anyway. God has graciously spared me (like a bird from the snare of the fowler) as I wrote in a post a while back.

So I guess what I want to want is what God has for me. Therefore, what I want to want is "many troubles." I have lost some perspective though. I mean, I see where I might have gone if I had not had the troubles I have had in the past few years. I am grateful and I would not change any of those things (hey hey, that gives me a high score on one of Oprah's questions!). But where am I now? I don't feel like I've gotten anywhere. And I must confess, I spent quite a good portion of the evening last night looking for inexpensive monogrammed diaper covers on ebay.

I am just going to post this. I feel like I am quitting mid thought, but I have to stop for now. I would love any comments about happiness, about struggling with being unhappy, about the struggle with wanting a pretty life, whatever. Or if you can see so clearly how silly the pretty life is, a gentle reminder (for those of us who are struggling) wouldn't hurt.

Oh, maybe just this last thing. Is it flat out silly to have that pretty life? I mean, clearly for me, the seminary student's wife with three children, that is just discontent to be wanting all of that. But supposing you had enough to live four of those lives and you only lived on a fourth your income and gave three fourths away. Are those things just silly and frivolous anyway? I'm thinking yes and no depending on how important you make them? I don't know. What do y'all think?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Grown Up= Boring

I know, I've totally gotta post more often. The world is passing me by! I am currently in the throws of decision making over ballet for the fall. There is a wonderfully inexpensive program at the seminary which I am sure will also solve the hoochie momma problem that is so prevalent in dance studios (and shopping malls and playgrounds and everywhere else) these days. So that sounds like a great option! I mean, we are happy where we were, but we don't enjoy the thirty minute drive. And we don't enjoy the large number of girls and parents and younger siblings crammed into a very small amount of space. So the seminary? Well, they are going to be very "informal." And I don't have any silly notion that Amabel is going to be a professional ballerina. But I do think she enjoys structure. And she wants to know the steps and stuff. So we are waiting until we get more specific information. I looked into a third option that is a place that was highly recommended and much closer. Nice that I can get a whole semester at the seminary for what I can only get a month at this place! I didn't know what a steal we had last year (tuition fell somewhere in between the super inexpensive seminary student discount and the crazy talk tuition of this other place, which is still, incidentally much less expensive than another place nearby- the hoity toity performing arts center). I am also checking into a fourth option.

Man, what a boring post. How can I spice this up?

I don't know, my life really is this boring.

August is still not quite sure how he feels about school. And Amabel, of course, loves it. She is so cute right now. Her top two front teeth are coming in but have a ways to go. Something about her without teeth is so cute! Also, it makes her have a tiny lisp sometimes. I guess it just makes her seem younger. That has always been the sad thing about her, she is always pushing for being much older than she is. But don't they say that about all of us? We spend our entire childhood being ready to grow up and then we spend our adulthood wishing to be more childlike? I don't know though, I distinctly remember thinking that it would be pretty dull to be an adult- same thing every day, no big dramas or things to look forward to. I thought of that the other day and then thought, "Man, I was right." And that's why we get posts about ballet lessons. Because I could tell you about how the people who work at Talbots Kids in Frontenac have ticked me off three shopping trips in a row and I am pretty close to vowing I'll never go back (but the sales- $5 for the best little boys' shorts?! can you beat it?!). Or I could tell you that today at the Target in Brentwood, it was worse than the day after Thanksgiving and is supposed to be all weekend because of all the colleges starting (what will become of all these Sterilite and Rubbermaid containers when these people graduate?! I shudder to think!). Or I could tell you how much mending I have gotten done lately! Seriously, the ballet lesson hunt is the most interesting thing I've got going on. How to make Amabel understand this....

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

My "Baby" Boy

So I am so mad at myself for not posting this sooner. But I am in a major tailspin and I have no idea when things will slow down. It has been so much with Amelia and my aunt and school starting. Yes, today was the first day of school. More importantly it was August's very first day! He is only going 8 to 11 two days a week, but it is a pretty big deal. This is my child who still cries every Sunday when I take him to Sunday school. He has actually worked through it a lot this past month since vacation Bible school. But he really did not want to start school today. I took him for "testing" yesterday and the look on his face in the rear view mirror as we drove that long mile to school was almost enough to make me turn the car around and say "Okay! You can just stay with Mommy forever!" He's just so sweet and childlike. He has real children's fears and insecurities and also (or therefore) has a real childlike vulnerability. You know, Amabel has always had to be the "big girl." She is a great help to me and she is quite a trail blazer and so smart. But I love how August is just who he is and isn't in a hurry to get somewhere else (or pass everyone else on the way!).

Amabel is also chatty. That's an understatement (I know, takes on to know one!). So August just sort of blends into the background sometimes. The other day she was out with her aunt and George took August to ride the Metrolink, a public transportation above ground train system here in St. Louis. He came back and it was like a switch had been flipped. He had so much to say! I said "August, you never talk this much! Is it because Amabel is always talking for you?" (we are trying to teach her not to answer everyone else's questions before they can) He said "And I want her to be quiet so I can talk." Ever since then he has begun that new chapter, the four year old chapter, the asks 437 questions a day chapter. Granted his four year old birthday is still a few weeks away, but he's getting a head start. But let me say that at this point, I am delighted. I have never heard his voice so much! It is the sweetest little voice.

I am really looking forward to these days when he is not in school to spend time with him and get to listen to him. I am also thankful that there will be someone two days a week to bear the burden that the 437 questions inevitably becomes. I think too that that time will give me a chance to have time with just Elspeth. If nursing counts, then she gets plenty of quality time (lately at four in the morning!). But I think I may have read her a book only a dozen times. I know, I read all of that Jane Austen aloud to her and she hears what I read to the older two, but as far as getting on the floor and showing her a board book, the thing I did a dozen times a day with the older two, I am completely serious when I say I have done that maybe twelve times ever with her.

So soon I really hope I can slow down and take each child as an individual and pay attention and nurture each one. It has been almost a year since Elspeth was born and I still feel I have not figured out this whole business of having three. Each child though is so different and so special. I mean, that's true of all children. But sometimes with my own children they just become a big blob of Georbys. That is the affectionate term I came up with to refer to George's and my unborn children when we were first married. Amabel is hard to miss, you know. She's going to let you know what she's thinking and you're going to get that chance to give her attention. And Elspeth, well, she has diaper changes and nursing time and is spoon fed, not to mention the constant watching for places she could bump her head or choking hazards. But there are days where I realize I haven't said much of anything to August. To me that is tragic. Because he's the one I won't always have. He's the one I'll have to give up some day. But we're not going to talk about that. Because I cried today watching him with his green train backpack, holding a rope with ten other four year olds, following his teacher up the stairs for a three hour school day. Baby steps, I know. But they started today.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Pray For Amelia

Does anyone else find this whole situation extremely angering? George was angry last night. I was just sad. This morning, after nightmares and sleeplessness, I feel I may have had a tiny taste of what Steve and Jen's lives must be like. Tiny, I know. And this morning I am just fighting mad! And still sad. And exhausted. Again, all a tiny shadow of what they are experiencing. I wish there was some new strategy, some new way to plead with God. This is all I've got, and it is extremely old:

Psalm 6

O LORD, Deliver My Life
A Psalm of David.

1 O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger,
nor discipline me in your wrath.
2Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing;
heal me, O LORD, for my bones are troubled.
3My soul also is greatly troubled.
But you, O LORD— how long?

4Turn, O LORD, deliver my life;
save me for the sake of your steadfast love.
5For in death there is no remembrance of you;
in Sheol who will give you praise?

6I am weary with my moaning;
every night I flood my bed with tears;
I drench my couch with my weeping.
7My eye wastes away because of grief;
it grows weak because of all my foes.

8Depart from me, all you workers of evil,
for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping.
9The LORD has heard my plea;
the LORD accepts my prayer.
10All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled;
they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment.

I am pretty sure there is no way to pray "harder" for something. Well, what do I know about prayer? George says with faith, we either have it or we don't, and then it's a question of what we do because of that faith. But it gets confusing because Jesus does talk about it in terms of tiny amounts. And it does feel sometimes that we don't quite believe like we do at other times. I don't think this is a matter of believing that He will heal, He does as He wills and our ways are not His ways. And certainly we all believe He can heal. At this point even I am starting to look at the calendar. At this point even I have a very good concept of how very long it has been that this baby has been so horribly ill. How long, indeed.

Psalm 13

How Long, O LORD?
A Psalm of David.
1How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
Consider and answer me, O LORD my God;
light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
4lest my enemy say, "I have prevailed over him,"
lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.
But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
6I will sing to the LORD,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.

It is easy to leave the last verse off because God does not seem very "bountiful" in his dealings with this baby thus far. But does His goodness rest solely on her being completely healed? I am asking myself this as I write. I think of the wonderful parents God has give this child. I think of the wonderful support system God has surrounded these parents with. I think of the wonderful advances in medicine God has provided our "day in age" with. I think of his preservation of her life this far. And I know that all of that bounty, all of that that we take for granted, is from the hand of the LORD. But though David knew God's bounty as well, still he had the freedom and faith to ask "How long?" That David, he is a blessing too. The Psalms so often help me and remind me that humanity is just part of life. So often we make any little "weakness," any doubting or fearing this heinous sin and act against God. I read David's words and I see that even the "man after God's own heart" grieved and questioned and feared. I guess that goes back to what George says, even in spite of our fears, we either have faith (however small, as Jesus teaches) or we don't, and then it's what we do with it. Please pray for Amelia today.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

So Much to Say

I am so bad at posting lately. And today I have way too much to put up. I dread how long this post will take to write. Here I go.

My aunt died yesterday. I didn't really know her very well at all. She was my mom's sister and she has been battling cancer for over a year. I have prayed for her my whole life as my mom has always grieved that no one in her family followed Christ. My mom was raised in the ("church" of?) Christian Science and was not introduced to the Gospel until she married my dad. The pastor of my grandmother's church (Nannie, my dad's mom) was to marry them and said he would not if my mother was not a Believer. My mom lied and claimed to be but felt overwhelmed by the guilt of such a big lie and went to the pastor who shared the Gospel with my mom. Ever since then, she tried to share the same good news with her father and sister. So we always prayed for them. My aunt seemed interested in Christianity several times but always "fell away." During her battle with cancer though, she seemed to pursue a relationship with God. She joined a church and became involved. When the doctors were encouraged by her progress for a while, she credited God's healing. When the doctors discovered that the cancer had quickly become beyond control and she may not have long to live, she was at peace and eager to go to be with her Savior. And now she is there. I feel sad for my mom who is now the last living member of her immediate family at only fifty-five. She has lost her last aunt, last uncle, very dear mother-in-law, and only sister in a span of only about two or three years. Please pray for her if you think of it. And yet, be encouraged that if there is someone you have prayed for even for years and years who is still rejecting the Gospel, God can still draw them to himself.

On a less somber note, my son shoved "a wrapper" up his nose this morning almost seconds after he got out of bed. He came into George's and my bedroom and told us the news (no mall walking this morning). He explained that "it was sticky." I am not sure what stickiness had to do with it. But evidently it was a big part of the intrigue. At the time I was thinking I needed to be preparing to go to Nashville for a funeral so I sent George with August to the doctor's office. They have some sort of long "pliers" (why not just tweezers?) they used to retrieve the "wrapper." In the end, George thinks it was one of the little covers on the adhesive squares on the backs of my nursing pads. Why is there adhesive on nursing pads? It stays in place just fine, I think. Does anyone ever peel those squares off? Well, anyone besides August, I mean. Anyway, I thought the whole thing was absolutely hilarious. I think George was annoyed more than anything. Poor children. There is one child that's way of getting in trouble has the hilarious effect on him, while mostly annoying me. And there's another one that's way of trouble cracks me up while mostly annoying him. I'm sorry though, what is not funny about being woken up in the morning by a three year old with his finger up his nose informing you that there's a gray, sticky wrapper up there?

I think the rest of this post is going to have to wait. I have recipes. I have more humorous anecdotes. I think, I can't even remember them right now anyway. And I have other things to say, as always, of course. But I guess this is a little something for you to read until I get all the rest together. Oh, and I saw Steve and Jen a little bit ago and their spirits seemed pretty good (for what they are going through, of course). Let's keep remembering to pray for them and for their darling little girl.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Damage Control

Being brief is just not me. I just read my post from last night and it sounds totally rude. I think I tend to equate brief with rude. That is not really a good thing, but it kind of makes sense because demanding that people be brief is being impatient and being brief oneself is usually done by trimming out the extra pleasantries. I am so verbose that I am always being interrupted or even realize that someone has completely stopped listening to me. Everyone is entitled to a little peace and quiet from time to time, but there are particular people in my life who seem to not be able to bear my "chattiness" ever. It's like they're in a hurry, though I'm not sure what over since they are sitting at my dinner table or called me on the phone. It's funny, but it hurts my feelings too. And consequently, I am always apologizing for talking to people. This can be awkward. Because what if they're like me and they like people who have a lot to say? What if they were enjoying our conversation and think we are having a delightful visit and me saying "I'm sorry, I should let you go," is actually hurting their feelings making them think I am tired of talking to them? But I just cut it off before I get that empty comment that lets me know they are not listening or that interruption that as much as says "let's get to the point here!" I wouldn't say something if it wasn't important to me to say. But then again, I just like to talk. George does not.

I sent my dad one of those new musical Hallmark cards for his birthday that makes the teacher noise from Charlie Brown. I enjoy sending my dad Charlie Brown and Snoopy cards. For one thing, Charlie Brown cartoons are a happy memory from my childhood. When my dad moved to Florida when I was little, we had to stay behind in Nashville until our house sold. He sent me a "It's the great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" card while we were still in Nashville that I probably still have somewhere. I used to read "Peanuts" and other comics out of the Sunday paper every week while my dad read whatever he was reading and my sister looked at the store ads. I remember one night we had all gone to bed and my dad came in and got us all up because there was a Charlie Brown special on TV. So anyway, Charlie Brown makes me think of my dad. Also Charlie Brown cards are simple and usually don't have a whole lot of over the top scripty poem messages about everything wonderful in the world originating from the person the card is intended for (seriously, who buys those cards! Yuck!). So the most recent one has the teacher noise play when you open the card. My dad thinks this is hilarious. I knew he would. As a joke, my parents have started opening the card and letting it play when they get bored of what the other one is saying. That is totally something George would do. That would totally hurt my feelings. No Charlie Brown cards for George.

So now that we all know how much I like to talk (people love stating the obvious). Let me say what I did not say yesterday. First of all, I feel like crap. I Googled my symptoms (because Web MD is increasingly less helpful lately) and they all point to endometriosis. I feel better today, so I am guessing and hoping I do not have endometriosis, but that is how bad I have been feeling (awesome!). Anyway, the specific thing I thought sounded jerky was that I said no one gives us hand me downs. I can honestly say that I do not expect anyone to do this, nor do I really know anyone with children that would be able to pass things on to us anyway. I sounded like a total jerk writing that. Sorry. Also, I know I have said my mom gives us most of our clothes anyway. So don't ask me why I am having a conniption fit about money for clothes. Do you ever just worry though? Maybe your bank statement has your balance slightly off what you were thinking? Or the power company readjusts your budget billing and also has the audacity to charge you a twenty six dollar processing fee for said adjustment (in a year where there have been three near week long power outages)! Or your husband rolls through the stop sign in your neighborhood in a car with tags that you didn't realize had expired and gets a super ticket? Or you are like me and you just live in a state of fear because you are sinful and have issues with anxiety about life's imperfections? Sure you do! Anyway, that's what that was all about. Oh, also it was about how I am a kids' clothes snob even though I currently and usually wear workout pants and shirts with some type of staining on them.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Selling Silliness

I am selling stuff on ebay for the first time ever. I don't think I will ever do it again. It costs so much to list and it feels totally like gambling without any of the fun-ness that I am guessing is usually involved in gambling. Also, it takes forever to list something. Maybe I will get the hang of it? Oh yeah, I'm never doing it again. I don't know why I am doing it now. Oh yeah again, because I need money for clothes for my children(stinkin' growth spurts!) and I have clothes that they can't wear anymore to get rid of. So the logical thing is to put my old stuff for sale and use the money to buy new stuff. But I'm thinking that if it is stuff that I am not keeping for later children, maybe it is not good stuff? I don't know. It makes me nervous. I'm usually a giver away-er. I feel a little guilty selling stuff I could give away. But no one gives me their old stuff and I really do need stuff. Probably the reason no one gives me stuff is because I am so very picky. I am. That is why I don't just go into a consignment store and trade. Because what they're sellin' in St. Louis consignment stores, I'm not buyin'. Well, I do like Finders Keepers. It is a cute little consignment store on Jefferson in downtown Kirkwood. They have the best consignments I've seen up here, but it's still hit or miss as all consignment stores tend to be (the ones in St. Louis are usually just "miss" for me). What's even better though, they have new smocked dresses and new little A-line dresses that can be monogrammed and have little polka dotted bows but on the shoulders. Yeah, super cute. But everything I have would probably only buy me one thing in a trade. So I am rolling the dice with ebay. Please pray that it sells. Seriously, pray for my silly ebay auctions. While you're at it, don't forget Amelia! Pray especially for her parents. They are really struggling with watching their baby suffer.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

My Remedy

Wait a second! It's the cutest baby in the world! And she's on my blog and in my house! Disregard previous post. I can bear the shades being pulled down quite well with this little bit of sunshine nearby. Seriously, I'm in love.

I'm Melting! Melting!

So am I not posting enough? Boring you all to tears? Where has everyone gone? You can't be outside! It's 102 degrees out there! And isn't it ironic that inside it feels like winter? We have the shades pulled down, we don't leave, we are huddled together so our 98 degree body heat will cool us off. Actually, the shades thing is true. I am getting really depressed. George doesn't want me to open the windows or turn on the lights because the sunshine through the glass and the heat from the light bulbs makes it hotter over the course of the day. And on top of that I'm not allowed to use the oven. So what am I supposed to do without my oven? Well, today I rearranged all the furniture upstairs to make sure none of it was blocking the vents (so annoying to have vents on the floor!). And yesterday I rearranged the "playroom" (aka red shag rug on our basement floor) because you know kids are suddenly in love with their toys all over again if you can simply relocate them. I think they are losing their minds being cooped up in the house all day. But can ya just let your kids go running around outside in 102 degree heat? Not for more than five minutes. Tomorrow we'll be going to the grocery store. Woohoo! I went to see a movie with friends last night and realized it was the first time I had been out of the house since last Friday when I went to the grocery store. Yeah, I know; it's totally depressing. But who wants to load their kids up into a black minivan that has been sitting in a parking lot to go out in 102 degree heat? And where would I take them anyway? Well, besides church. I missed church last week. But other than that? All of this comes after our big trip to Birmingham which of course puts a major strain on the budget after gas and eating out with friends and my once a year fabric shopping! You know how St. Louis is always tooting their "free stuff to do" horn? Well, it's all outdoor stuff which doesn't do much good when the forecast is in triple digits until next week! Well, there is the science center. I think we'll have to load up and go over there. And the Whittle Train place. I had forgotten those two places. Oh oh! And the library! This is helpful. Yet another reason I highly recommend complaining. Anyone want to go to the Whittle Train place or the the science center in the next week? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Y'all please start commenting, even if just to say "you suck," I am losing it in this never ending heat wave! It's like solitary confinement, only there are lots of kids. And there aren't any more rooms to rearrange!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Ma Soeur

My sister has a new post about her French "jardin." People who insert foreign words into English speech crack me up. I am pretty sure my sister does this because her husband does it so much. He'll just be talking along with his rural South Carolina accent, telling me about what the work day is like in France and suddenly "we have pain au chocolat" (italicized words only in a very French accent). And it is funny because it so easily translates: bread (croissant) and chocolate. Why doesn't he just say "bread and chocolate?" But he would probably say "croissant" like "kwasaw" if you asked him. Who are the people that say "kwasaw?" Just say it like it looks, "croissant." Oh, he's great. I am just teasing. But it is funny. Giada de Laurentiis is always doing that too on her Food Network cooking show, Everyday Italian. She has such the American accent except when she says "mozarella" (comes out sounding like "mootzaurealla") or words like "pancetta," "prosciutto" or "biscotti." Suddenly she's Italian? It cracks me up!

I am always trying to get my sister to post about life in France. She feels a real need to be positive. I know, it's like we're not even from the same gene pool! Someone has got to be adopted! Anyway, I don't see what's so negative about saying that people there have hair every color of the rainbow and that's just sort of normal to see. Or that the cookbooks have hysterically vague instructions that include measurements like a "glass" (no, this does not translate to mean "cup" and is not a standard unit of measurement) of something or a "spoon" of something (what kind of spoon?!). I mean, I think daily life there would be so very different that for me, sharing would be a must just so I could laugh. Because really, other cultures can be very shocking. It doesn't mean any one culture is better, it's just kind of strange being suddenly immersed in a whole different world. I keep telling her to share these practical everyday things. I think the practical, everyday is tiresome more than funny when you're in it. Maybe she doesn't think she could spin it that way. Well, we know how hysterical I am; I'm doing it for her. Hopefully she won't shoot me. There are just so many funny things. Imagine moving over there and just knowing you would be there for five years and also, you don't know the language or anyone else except your husband and child in the whole country!

She says everyone has dogs and no one picks up after them. In Paris there are paid "pooper scoopers" as it were, but in most other cities, just watch your step when you're getting out of your car or strolling home from the bakery (oh, except she never says bakery about a French bakery; it's always the "boulangerie"). And the butcher shop, which probably has an equally funny Frenglish word but I can't remember now, has an assortment of really interesting items. The one I remember right now is the "blood sausage." I told her she should take pictures. She is afraid to offend. I think I would just say I wanted a picture of my butchers for my American friends. Wouldn't y'all love to see the friendly French butchers in my sister's village? And then she could just casually point out the blood sausage in the case they are standing behind. I know, it's brilliant. But she is busy in French classes and seven months pregnant. So the blood sausage pictures will have to wait. If I go, I will be sure to get pictures for all of you- the blood sausage, the rainbow hair, the yogurt aisle at the grocery store (which is evidently as varied and well stocked as the potato chip aisles over here- nice!), the gypsies, the frighteningly narrow roads, the poopy sidewalks, and every other thing I can't remember now. It's not negative or making fun; it's just exploring another culture! I mean, it could be negative or making fun, but I think we can manage to just enjoy our cultural differences without making judgments.

So she's in this French class and it is the middle of summer and she's pregnant and it's hot, you know. She said all the people in the class are also non-French people and they are all hot and want to leave the windows and the doors open to get the breeze. But the instructor is French and evidently, the French are very concerned about breezes and getting sick. She keeps shutting the door. Finally my sister asked if she could bring her fan and plug it in at her desk. She's like 32 and she's asking the teacher this! And the teacher says No! She is all worried about the breeze. Where we welcome a nice breeze on a hot day, they get all grumpy, so no way would they allow you to create a breeze with an appliance! And this is the very interesting thing, that's why they wear those neck kerchiefs all the time! To keep the breeze off their necks so they won't get sick! Who knew?

Oh, there are so many hilarious stories. Maybe she just doesn't have time to write them all down. Maybe if y'all respond to her here, she'll start posting more over there. Or maybe you don't care. Oh, and this whole thing was going to be about her "jardin" and I was going to have my own pictures of my own garden (which is really just the produce section at Dierbergs). And I was going to talk about how I really like bottle trees and how I have always said I would have one whenever we finally have a home and a garden. And that was going to branch out into two things (get it, "branch?" bottle trees! branch!), one of which was the article about bottle trees in Southern Living and how I'm a little annoyed that you can just go buy one now instead of having to make your own, and the other of which was that April finally has her home and her barn and 5 acres for a nice big garden and it's in Kansas and I am so happy for her because she has always been homesick just like me. And whoa, that was a run on sentence! But also no, I don't mean that now I am thinking that I am going to have all my dreams come true or anything, but I am really encouraged because you know, it just reminds me that God really does care about the desires of our hearts. And I have been so sad and overwhelmed about Amelia and just feeling like "when is this going to turn around?!" and just feel like screaming for mercy for this family. And to see God's mercy to April's family about a "little" thing like a house makes me really hopeful (again or more so or renewed or whatever) that he can and will be just as merciful about a really big thing the life of this baby girl. And I don't think I would have been so encouraged had it not been for April's being really vulnerable in the past. I would've just thought, "oh, sad, they're moving." Not "Hurray! Praise the Lord! This is wonderful!" See, so that's why I think we really should be negative sometimes. I think it's okay to just humbly put it out there, just be faithful to keep putting it out there so we can rejoice in the changes God brings, whether they are in our hearts or in our circumstances! That's why you get melancholy Abby so much, because when things get better, as my dear campus minister put so lovely well back in Auburn "you can look back and say, 'this was the Lord's work.'"

That seems like a good place to end for now. Peace!

Monday, August 06, 2007

I'm back. I think.

I have been truly pathetic with the posting lately. I will do better. Maybe. I can commit to nothing. The piles of fabric around my sewing machine and the invitations tacked to my fridge that have yet to be RSVPed speak volumes about that! One thing that I am forced to commit to every day whether I feel like it or not is the making of meals. People have to eat! I mean, I went for years on one (or two) sort of pieced together meal a day. It would start with the mooching of cookies at lunch, progress to a Coke after cross country practice, and end with a pouch of instant cheese grits for supper around nine o'clock. My, wasn't that healthy? You see, my mother didn't cook. So we didn't really eat. College looked a little more like a bagel and a coke around ten o'clock AM rounded out by a McAlister's menu item around ten o'clock PM. Except days we went to Traditions. If we went to Traditions, I skipped the bagel. I think I would be content to still eat that way. Only there is no Traditions in St. Louis, or in Auburn anymore for that matter. I ate lunch at Traditions the day George and I got married. I nearly had our picture made there after the wedding. But it had zero atmosphere. Anyway, what am I talking about? Oh yeah, making food. Sooner or later I had to figure out how to prepare foods myself- seeing as how Kip (aka "the sandwich nazi") wasn't the one who committed to love honor and make sandwiches for me until death do us part. Well, I still got the best deal. But these Edemas, the spouse and the subsequent offspring, have appetites like you would not believe. And they like to change things up. So thank goodness for friends who cook and have me over. Oh the ideas I get when I travel to Birmingham! Why have I not stolen, or at the very least looked through, these people's recipe boxes?!

Here's two new and easy recipes that jazz up your weekly hamburger rotation. You know Paula Deen puts butter inside her hamburger patties? We started putting just the teenciest little teaspoon sized pat in ours. Mmmm boy! It makes extra lean beef taste real nice! Try it if you aren't completely grossed out- we had guests that seemed skeptical until they tried it; I'm telling you, it's tasty!

Broccoli Salad
This is Rebekah's recipe. It is just so much better than you would think!
1 pound broccoli florets
1 c. toasted, chopped pecans (or sunflower seeds)
1c. raisins
4 slices of bacon*, crumbled
1 c. mayonnaise
3T red wine vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
-mix last three ingredients to make dressing
-toss with first four ingredients
*Hey, did you know you can make bacon on a cookie sheet in the oven? Annie had the directions on her blog not long ago. We make turkey bacon and it works great too. 350, 7 minutes on one side, then flip and cook until done. And no clean up if you line your pan with foil! If you're wondering, the best kind of regular bacon (according to Cook's Illustrated taste tests, and popular opinion of people I know) is Farmland, and the best kind of turkey bacon (in my opinion) is bacon done by the turkey people rather than bacon people.

Black Bean and Corn Salad
This is Lauren's recipe. Lauren also has "Meal Planning Mondays" a lot of weeks (including this week) with a recipe or idea for every day! Pretty exciting!
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
1 avocado - peeled, pitted and diced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional- but of course, you know that because you either love it or you hate it. I'm a hater- chopped, fresh parsley works great!)
-Place lime juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and cayenne pepper in a small jar. Cover with lid, and shake until ingredients are well mixed.
-In a salad bowl, combine beans, corn, avocado, bell pepper, tomatoes, green onions, and cilantro. Shake lime dressing, and pour it over the salad. Stir salad to coat vegetables and beans with dressing, and serve.

This seems stupid to put down here. But I just checked the blog. I have had a little distance being out of town and away from the situation. But things with Amelia are just hellish right now. I want to remind everyone to please please pray. Who cares about hamburgers and black beans when there is such suffering? As people in a fallen world, particularly as Christians, and even especially as a pastor's wife, I feel life is going to always be some sort of weird twist between the practical/mundane and the real deep sufferings and joys of God's people. They prepare the men for this is seminary, but the wives don't get a whole lot of (er um any) training. Forgive me as I handle this very awkwardly. But please don't take my awkward approach as lack of earnest or sensitivity. And please, please, please, pray for this sick and suffering baby and her exhausted and heartbroken parents.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Postcard from Nashville

We are actually leaving Nashville tomorrow so this is sort of late to be writing a postcard. And it is really late in the day. Er um early. 3:34AM to be exact. Insomnia scares me. It makes me think of pregnancy, both early and late. Yikes! Let's hope I am wrestless tonight because of all the excitement. I invited some friends from high school over for tonight. It was real last minute; I called and emailed everyone yesterday. And would you believe everyone was able to come?! Well, not my whole class, which was only 23 people so maybe they could've all come, just the six I invited, a couple of whom also brought spouses. It was so much fun. I think I avoid putting myself out there sometimes. I guess we all do. And right now I have loads of baby weight to lose, a bad break out that has been going strong for what seems like a year and a half now, and a pretty bad case of big hair (this is the fault of both my genes and also of dear Frank who has missed the mark lately, I am sorry to say). I had a little anxiety about these things- about seeing people who last saw me cute and in college or whatever. I decided in the end that if we wait forever to be who we want to be, we won't ever do anything. These were some of my dearest friends growing up who loved me well. Who cares if I have monster acne?! So I put myself out there, as I said, and it was so worth it. There was food and wine and so much laughter. Why don't I laugh like that anymore? I guess I get hunkered down in whatever drama comes my way. My high school friends always made fun of that and I just had to learn to laugh at myself. Kinda makes me wish there were more people around to make fun of me more often. I think I have just gotten really bad at laughing at myself and really bad at laughing at others. I get my feelings hurt instead. I gotta get over that. And I gotta put myself out there more. This was a really great trip home. And isn't that weird- to even call Nashville home? Well it certainly felt like home again tonight.

Blog Archive