Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What Say Ye?

Say you're watching a movie with your sweetie pie, and the movie is not turning out to be your favorite thing (for reasons that would likely be obvious to your cuddle muffin) Which is the more polite/considerate thing to say? And why? (Or, what would you say instead?)

Honeybun? Do you like this movie?

OR

Sugarbean? Can we turn this off?

Discuss.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Elspeth Peace, a Prize indeed

I wanted to say first off, that I did not mean my last post to be  a guilt trip for the Nashville people! But, thanks to all the Nashville people who are befriending me this week! I feel really blessed! And busy! Hurray! That's the magic word for me, you know. 

Another way I am really blessed is with my children. This post was almost my last one, but I decided the last one would follow the one before it better and that this one could wait. This one now seems even more appropriate in light of what my friend, Matt said about contentment. I was just telling his wife that I so often tell my children, "I am not a clown." I have a home and family to take care of, but usually that looks more like cooking and cleaning and running errands than playing. But with a lot less to do lately, I actually have time to play. I must confess that it is not coming as easily as one might guess, maybe because I am out of practice or just don't easily get on a child's level. My "playing" usually looks more like bringing my children up to my level- making a recipe where they do a lot of the "fun" parts, having them help arrange squares for a quilt and giving them a chance to put the squares where they want, or dressing dolls or ponies in a coordinated way (naturally, kids always mismatch outfits! and I am pretty rotten when it comes to pretending with the dolls.). Or we go on outings. Anyway, I guess what I am saying is that I am not really a kid at heart. George always says I will be great with our kids as teenagers because I am more of a teenager at heart. 

But I am really enjoying them these days. Sure, I get tired or cranky or need a break just like anyone. But Elspeth is at the cutest age right now. And she is so naughty. My other two children can be so compliant sometimes that I fear I am too hard on them. My friend Jessie says that Elspeth is proof that I am not! Because she is definitely not afraid of me! Of course, Amabel and August are not compliant anything like all of the time, and I guess I should just appreciate the blessing of who they are instead of fearing that it is some sort of sign of dysfunction. After all, I think who Elspeth is is nothing short of adorable. So this is my Elspeth post. The Elspeth Peace Prize is truly a treasure that needs to be shared with all of you.

She started stringing several words together to make sentences about a month ago. At first it was "August...crying" or "Daddy...'side" (meaning "Daddy's outside") and quickly became "Daddy, can you please help me?" And all of the sudden, we have recognized all the information she has absorbed over the last 22 months. She was sitting in her chair the other day and had a little bit of gas, something that I do not let my children even really giggle about because y'all know I hate bathroom humor. But Elspeth sort of snickered and said "I tooted." And I was the one who ended up leading the charge in hysterical laughter, and ended up crying I was laughing so hard. Because, when did she learn to make that connection?! She is verbal now, which made an already hilarious baby even more comical. 

George put her to bed the other night and she cried and cried. After a while he went in and said "Why are you crying, little baby?" And Elspeth said "I need a tissue." George got her one, she wiped her eyes and nose, and laid herself down and went to sleep!  She has also started reciting, or rather calling out, the alphabet, in no particular order, "A, B, C, H, J, K, P, D, E, G, S, T, Z, H." It is really hilarious. She also counts, usually to three and then by odd numbers, so it goes something like "1,2,3,5,7,9,12, teen, teen, teen." And her favorite song is "Happy Birthday" after the half dozen or so birthday parties we have been to this summer. It took us a while to realize that it was "Happy Birthday" that she was singing. She walked around for days singing "happy day, happy day," to her own little sweet tune. She would sing it when you changed her diaper or when you put her in her car seat, so we had no idea what she was thinking about until we were talking about it at George's sister's birthday celebration and realized, "hey, maybe that's what she's singing, the birthday song!" When we went to sing the song that day, she lit up and began singing her own sweet version. I almost think we should all learn Elspeth's version and sing it from now on.

But then we would have to learn Elspeth's versions of other songs. At our church in St. Louis, we sing a sweet little benediction song in the children's Sunday school classes or at Vacation Bible School that goes:

Go now in peace, Go now in peace
May the love of God surround you
Everywhere, everywhere you may go.

I thought this song was absolutely precious from the first time I heard it. And I have a funny little habit of changing the words of songs for my newborns. For Amabel, I changed the words to this cute little children's song that used to play at Gymboree about a habitat, "Yellow Submarine," and "Rainy Day Women." Yeah, sort of weird choices, but they are about Amabel now. August's song was one of the ones from Evita, and I think I probably just made up a couple for him too. Sad, I don't remember his as much! But anyway, Elspeth's has been, among others, "Go now in Peace," only, of course, it's Elspeth Peace, and I don't have to change any of the other words. She sings this song with me now, and it is the sweetest thing ever. Only, I realized yesterday that she has changed the "everywhere"s to "happy day." So funny! 

She also loves to pray. Only, she doesn't say anything. She imitates her brother and sister so it sounds a little like "help...umm...help... babbling...ummm...jesus..amen." She has now taken to praying over whoever else is praying. This is particularly hard for the one praying because it is just so funny. We used to ask who wants to bless the food, but now it is generally best if George does because the rest of us are all stifling our laughter. We don't want to teach her that prayer is a funny thing, and we want to encourage her to pray, but it is pretty funny having her pray alongside you, copying your inflection and timing, and sometimes trying to finish your words. 

Well, I know some people are probably really bored by posts like this. But it is now documented, which is a good thing because the closest thing any of my children have to a baby book is an empty scrap book and a ziploc bag full of hospital wristbands (hey, ziploc is another of those brand names becoming the common name!), baby cards, shower gift lists, and pictures. I am really bad at writing about them, and I know I will be sorry. So, this is Elspeth, in a blog post, at 22 months. I can't imagine life without her. I named her peace because I wished that for her after the family drama we had during my pregnancy. I actually looked for names that meant "happy" or "joyful" first. I almost named her some sort of double name with "Merry" as the first name (as opposed to Mary), but I just couldn't part with the name Elspeth. In the end, I love that peace is something you can have even when you are not happy, but I still prayed that she would be a cheerful and happy hearted child (I was so melancholy or even depressed during my pregnancy with her- due to homelessness if y'all don't remember). God has answered my prayers so faithfully. She is not only a very joyful and merry child, but she brings joy and mirth to everyone around her.  I guess I haven't really talked about how naughty she is at all, and even that has a really funny aspect to it. Oh well, another post for another day. (Trust me, I will have plenty of stories in even the next day to write a post about my naughty baby!) 

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Waiting

Okay, so boring turned into depressing almost immediately, and we had a rough week this last week. My mom has been in Arkansas for a week because my sister is having a baby. She isn't due until this coming Wednesday, but those dang doctors always say the dumbest things to pregnant women, "Oh, this baby is huge! 7 pounds already! There's no way you'll make it to your due date!" And then women, or particularly the women in my family, all get together and beat a topic to death until everyone (except me, in this case) decides that the baby is coming any second. You can't blame a pregnant lady for trusting her doctor though, and especially not for wanting to not be pregnant anymore! I think she has had a pretty frustrating week waiting on this little guy to arrive. The only reason I didn't think he would, incidentally, is because doctors do this to me every time, so I have learned that babies generally do not come early, even if they do weigh nearly nine pounds and everyone who looks at me thinks I'm having twins. However, I didn't think her last baby would come early either and he came 8 days early. Anyway, we have just been hanging out while my mom has been gone. And it makes me realize that my hurried, busy trips to Nashville in the past have had a lot to do with her. I really don't know anyone here anymore.

However, yesterday we had a really fun day. We went downtown to the Nashville Public Library to see a Tom Tichenor puppet show, The Frog Prince. I grew up seeing Tom Tichenor's shows with my Nannie. All of his marionettes were handmade, and the shows were always wonderful retellings of classic fairy tales. Mr. Tichenor is no longer with us, and the library is in a different building now (though I was delighted to see that the mousehole moved with the library!), but the show was just as wonderful as I remembered. If you would like to go as well, it is showing on Friday and Saturday mornings at 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30 through August 9th. There is also a lovely exhibit of some of Mr. Tichenor's other puppets in the Courtyard Gallery through August 3rd.

That outing helped jog my memory and I was able to pull together some ideas for future outings to do in the coming weeks while my mom is still in Arkansas. My mom is really not so different as a grandmother than my grandmother was. But generally speaking, she is sort of a homebody and rarely planned anything for us when we were younger. As a grandmother, she does a little more planning, but usually more along the lines of shopping or eating out. I think so much of it is personality. I can't stand being at home. I just get so stir crazy. I think I plan activities as much for myself, if not more, as I do for my children. I mean, I plan kid things, but I plan them to help me stay sane! I am wondering if Nannie was the same way. My point is that I will be drawing from my experiences as a child with my Nannie for the most part. It makes me sad that I won't get to visit her and tell her where we have been.

However, that is on my list, as morbid as it sounds, to go visit my Nannie. The cemetery where she is buried is where my aunt was buried. Nannie used to take us with her when she would go visit my aunt (her daughter who was killed in a car accident at age sixteen), and we would play in this strange little place where there was a stream and wishing well, and little ducks and cottages. It was so weird that it was at a cemetery, and I almost thought I made it up until my older sister, Rachael, and I started wondering about it at Nannie's funeral last winter. My uncle knew exactly what we were talking about and took us right to it. It's not so much that it's a "can't miss" attraction, but Amabel has expressed a desire to go see where Nannie was buried anyway. It is nice that there is something pleasant there, because I can't think that it will be very fun to hang out in a cemetery!

Mostly, we are just sort of passing our time in Nashville. It is strange to not feel the same sense of purpose as I did in St. Louis, where by the time I left, I had a church body, a neighborhood, and a school to serve. Not that there is any love loss between me and St. Louis. I much prefer Nashville. But I wouldn't mind grabbing a handful of the precious families we know in St. Louis and transplanting them to my parents' neighborhood while we're here. It's definitely not permanent, being in Nashville, so it feels like a visit. But it's not a visit either. I realize that my job is first to serve my family, but I don't just leap out of bed thinking about laundry and dinner prep, if that makes any sense. It's just that I have been on a steady course, along with my family, for ministry to the Church. And it just seems so bizarre that God has servants, willing and able, and he's not doing anything with them. Yes, I know, he's doing something. But I'm not. I have no resources. It's really weird. I keep thinking of that page in Oh, the Places You'll Go! where "everyone is just waiting."

The Waiting Place . . . for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

And not just me either. My sister is waiting for her baby to come. My other sister is waiting for an inevitable move back to the US. One of my friends is stuck waiting for the lease to start on her apartment so she can move her family to New York City. And we know several other families also waiting on job possibilities. All of these things are these edge of your seat, life changing events that are definitely coming. We just have to wait. What are you waiting on?

Monday, July 21, 2008

It's Oh So Quiet

Funny thing about Nashville, it is beautiful. I mean, breathtakingly, soul-soothingly lovely. It still takes me forever to get anywhere, but instead of horrific road work and busy interstates, I am driving past verdant pastures and over rolling hillsides. And why is that funny? Because it is such a sleepy thing! My parents live on three acres backed by woods where deer, wild turkeys, coyotes, and now, one lost and lone grey cat live. Wild animals wonder into the yard peacefully (although, I reckon the coyotes aren't so peaceful...), dozens of trees shade the part of the lot that is not thick with woods, and there are only four other houses on the street. This is a huge change from a bustling apartment complex where the rent check box is right outside the door and all of the service men come by for apartment keys and then later with invoices, where the neighborhood swing set is set up just outside the window, where the interstate is less than a mile west and the train tracks are just a few yards east, where factories and bus stops clutter the main street not a half mile away, where forty families come and go all day and into the night. I can't tell you how strange it is to hear only the sound of the air conditioning all day, and the occasional clamor of ice cubes into the ice maker. It's like I can't wake up! I can see that after a while this could get depressing. After all, I'm one of those who gets energy from being around people. But for now, it is pleasant. Boring, but pleasant. In an effort to occupy myself until my youngest is up and we can all go play outside, I am finally getting to this tag from Elizabeth. She posted it weeks ago, but I reckon I have an excuse for my delay. And as I always say, better late than never.

Were you named after anybody? Mary after somebody I think, but mostly because it goes well with Abigail, which I was named because of David's wife Abigail in the Bible.

When was the last time you cried? Hmmm, I can't remember. I think it was sometime right before the last week moving crunch in St. Louis.

Do you like your handwriting? Yeah, but no one else does. I like it a lot though.

What is your favorite lunch meat? Boar's Head Ovengold turkey, sliced very very thin.

If you were another person, would you be friends with you? I don't know. I think so.

Do you use sarcasm a lot? Yeah, too much. But I try not to be mean.

Do you still have your tonsils? Yes

Would you bungee jump? I have no real desire or temptation to, but if it was like really important to someone and they needed someone to do it with, I might could be persuaded. However, I am pretty afraid of heights.

What is your favorite cereal? So many delicious ones to choose from. I love me some Lucky Charms or some Frosted Flakes or some Cracklin' Oat Bran or some Cap'n Crunch, particularly the peanut butter variety (although I haven't had any variety in years).

Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? Yes, until they get too old and worn out to worry about it anymore.

Do you think you are strong? Definitely physically. It's the only plus to not being a beautiful little waif. Emmotionally, I have no idea. Sometimes I think not at all, sometimes I think maybe so.

What is your favorite ice cream? Dove Unconditional Chocolate, it has a ganache layer that you have to eat through to get to the icecream! Alternatively, a Dove ice cream bar is simply scrumptious.

What is the first thing you notice about people? Manners. Whether they are warm, friendly and polite, or not.

Red or pink? Pink, emphatically.

What is your least favorite thing about yourself? That I am so hung up on the things I don't like about myself.

What was the last thing you ate? A turkey sandwich.

If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Carnation Pink, of course.

Favorite smells? Whatever I'm cooking. Unless it's a turkey roasting; that is the most nauseating smell to me. Or onions cooking in butter or cooking oil. Onions with meat or some other sort of veggie, okay. Onions on their own, burning rubber. Also, I love the smell of babies. I so want another baby.

Last person you talked to on the phone? My mom.

Favorite color? Pink. Why are there so many color questions on this?

Favorite food? Salmon or Crab. Because yum! I also love me some chocolate. But one cannot live on chocolate. Or seafood for that matter. Oh, and bread! I love bread!

Scary movies or happy endings? Happy endings. Who are the people that answer scary movies?

Last movie you watched? Amadeus. I had never seen it. Can't say that I liked it either. Kind of sad and creepy, really.

Summer or winter? Winter. A thousand times, winter.

Hugs or kisses? Neither. Poor George.

What book are you reading now? Nothing. I need to get back to Middlemarch. I didn't even get very far. Well, 200 pages in Middlemarch is not very far. Any other book and I would be nearly finished.

Favorite sound? "I love you, Mommy." That squeaky noise when you slide your fingers over guitar strings, baby babbling, logs on the fire crackling, ice in a glass clinking, and gravel shifting under car tires. My Nannie had a gravel driveway, and anyone we ever knew with a farm had a gravel entry; driving over gravel means you're on your way somewhere fun!

Any special talents? Writing? Cooking? Those are things I like to do anyway. I can name 10 people I know that are better at each off the top of my head though. So special talents, not so much.

Well, Elspeth is up, but it's 96 degrees out. So, I guess we better find something to do inside!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Live and Learn

Whoever said that running on an elliptical machine was as good of a workout as running on the street has been smokin' a crack pipe. That's what I have to say about it. Because six months of six mile, 700 calorie burning, hour long workouts at medium-high resistance on an elliptical machine have nothing on just two miles on the street! Two slow, pathetic miles of un-air-conditioned, but fairly flat street and I am beat. I feel so out of shape! But I'm not supposed to be... Perhaps this explains why I have lost neither an inch nor an ounce in all these months at the Y. I was beginning to think that there are plenty of cute little chubby ladies out there and I may just have to be content to be one. And that's still in the realm of possibility, you know. After all, my mother is a cute little chubby lady. And really, I'm terribly cute at any size. For now though, two miles is better than no miles. And stay away from elliptical machines! What a waste!

Monday, July 14, 2008

What are the odds?

Somehow manage to trap neighbor's cat on moving truck for two days in which said cat will ruin queen matress when using it as a litter box; then discover cat, 350 miles later, and lose it in the woods behind parents' house when aforementioned half starved, terrified cat flees in panic upon being discovered by angry movers who are overwhelmed by the sight of ruined matress and strong stench of amonia? check.

Be the only one who finds this worthy of quite a good long belly laugh? check.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Something Had to Give

Let's see, I've been doing a lot the past two weeks, but I just know I forgot something:
Polish silver? check.
Press and pack napkins and table cloths? check.
Clean upholstery on couch? check.
Scrub down outdoor toys with soap and water? check.
Drop off film to delvelop pictures from Christmas? check.
Make chenille quilt for Amabel's bed that has been put off for four years? check.
Mend and sew on buttons? half check? almost check.
Throw last minute surprise party for daughter turning seven? check.
Freak out because daughter is turning seven? check.
Super fun farewell girls' night out? check.
Second girls' night in which pitcher of Tom Collins is consumed and all dishes are packed? check.
Trip (that you absolutely don't have time for) to botanical gardens in ninety degree heat? check.
Informal job interview in home when home is in total upheaval? check.
Receive help above and beyond from all closest friends and the best sister-in-law ever? check.
Enjoy delicious meals in each of four of our favorite families' homes? check.
Pack mountains of fabric into two enormous boxes, plus one extra for "Nashville projects?" check.
Pack truck? check.
Clean oven, baseboards, refrigerator, cabinets, shelves, floors, stairs, and windows? check.
Sleep-? oh! that's what I forgot! I guess I'd better go do that, I've got five hours to drive tomorrow. See you in the Nash!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Things I Think About

First of all, I was just typing the word popsicle, and spell check kept underlining it. It drives me crazy when I spell something wrong and can't figure out the correct spelling, so I am always looking stuff up (sad that not knowing what a word means doesn't prompt me to look words up though. hmm.) And did you know that popsicle is actually the correct spelling, it's just that it is a registered trademark so it should be capitalized. Kind of weird huh? This got me wondering about other words like that. Or really other products like that. You know, ones that have so cornered the market that the brand name actually becomes the generic term for the object. Q-tips immediately come to mind. Because who says "cotton swab?" Also, Kleenex, because most people don't say "tissue." More people say tissue than cotton swab though. And I don't even know what you say if you don't say popsicle. "Frozen novelty?" Of course, the ultimate one of these brand name becoming a common name, in Southern culture anyway, is Coke. We ask you if you want a Coke, but we really just mean a carbonated beverage. You can have Sprite or Dr. Pepper if you want, we are not limiting you to Coca Cola Classic. On the other hand, most Southerners don't drink Pepsi. Because Pepsi is disgusting. All Southerners know this. Or the smart ones do anyway. So does anyone else enjoy this topic? And would you care to add a product to my list? It's good fun!

Secondly, the other thing I think about, or at least I thought about once for a whole weekend during RUF winter conference of my sophomore year (or was it junior year...?) is that most masculine names have a feminine counterpart. It's kind of bizarre. Also kind of obvious. (Sorry about all the fragments today.) But really, think of a guy name, and you will probably have yourself a girl name:
Stephen, Stephanie. Christopher, Christine. Nicholas, Nichole. Andrew, Andrea. John, Jane. Daniel, Danielle. Even names like George (Georgia) and Augustine (Augusta) have the masculine and the feminine form. Okay, so it's sort of boring. But it was fun when we got on a roll. We had a whole page of them between three of us.

Yep, and that's it. I just usually only think about one of those two things. Or, gross things. Like today there was this guy at the Cabella's store who kept clipping his son's fingernails while they were walking through. The son was obviously annoyed. And anyone who saw me would have seen that I was too. Because yuck! there was a trail of dirty, dead fingernails all over the Cabella's floor! Who does that?! Don't ask me why I was at Cabella's today. Also, yesterday, my neighbor came outside right when my nose was sort of starting to run so I thought I could discreetly sort of run the back of my hand in front my nose to supress my troubles while she and I visited for a second, but I ended up rubbing snot across my face. That, also, was gross. There was one other gross thing I was thinking about today but I forgot what it was. Well, we'll save that for later! Can't wait! (Can you tell I'm a little delirious?)

Alright, so discuss. I'm hoping for the whole product name is a common name thing because I just don't trust some of you not to cross the line with the gross thing. Yeah, really, I have been edging up to the line. But I respect the line. See it and respect it. Oooh, hey, what about Tupperware?! And Band Aid? Aww, this is no fun anymore, I just found a list on Wikipedia! Boo. Well, I guess you'll just have to not comment. Y'all are so good at that anyway. Just keep it up; you're doing great! And I'll keep boring you to tears. Awesome! Although, I've gotta say, I was a little surprised that Dumpster was a registered trademark. That's all I'm gonna say. But I'll try to get one more post up before we move this weekend so y'all will be able to go ahead and not comment again then. Yeah, delirious is a good word for this mood...

Saturday, July 05, 2008

But We're Cheery

Sorry to leave you with my bad attitude for so long. It's a tricky thing, a bad attitude. There is the part of me who says, "I have a bad attitude and that is how it is and that is just going to have to be okay." Then there is the part of me who says, "I should have a good attitude. I really need to do better and be better and get a grip." And then, the person you usually encounter is the person who is entirely too ADD to focus on any one attitude in particular and is just bouncing from one task to another, one mood to another, willy nilly, and you just never know what you will get. So, if you have talked to me lately, you could have gotten any one of these parts of me. And maybe you thought I was overly cranky. Or worse, maybe you thought I was being really fake and not at all vulnerable and honest like I claim to be. Or, maybe you thought, "Wow, she is really a spaz. And who in the world spends two hours scrubbing off outdoor toys with soap and water before packing them?" (Oh, me, that's who.) But, as my friend Ami would say, "Abby, you're fine." She is very fond of saying so. Because I am always having conversations with her that go something like this paragraph. And I think what she means is that I don't have to apologize for myself. So I won't.

Except, it's like an itch that has to be scratched. I just so hate when I freak out. I have a long standing blogging policy that is, "don't blog angry." And it has done me alright for a while. But, and my apologies to male readers, I think there might should be an ammendment to the policy that is, "don't blog menstrual." Really, so many things besides blogging should get that ammendment. Wouldn't that be nice? Don't cook. Or do laundry. Or get out of bed.... but I digress. Anyhoo, I still have to move to my parents' house. And I still have a whole lot o' packing to do. And it still is no fun. But, I am handling it alright. One day at a time and all of that. I really think that running helps. Have I already said this? Forget physical health, a good long run is so great for my mental health. Er, you know what I mean. It just keeps me from being a basket case. Which is strange when you figure I probably ran 40 miles a week in high school and I was a total basket case. What would I have been like if I hadn't been a runner?! Oh dear! Let's not even think about that!

So, I still don't have too much to say, unless you want to hear all the minutiae of my packing and cleaning. I just thought I'd put a cheerier post up. (Not that this is so very cheery, but it wasn't hard to get cheerier than the last one. Nowhere to go but up!) I appreciate so so so very much the comments and emails and phone calls in response to my last post. Thanks for all the encouragement. Keep it coming; I am soaking it up!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Oh well, sorry about this...

Seeing as how I value vulnerability and honesty and all that, I'm going to go ahead and post this. I write that not exactly knowing what "this" will be, but knowing that I am in an extremely grumpy mood, that I feel extremely sick, that I literally did not get any sleep last night, and that all of this is very bad timing as we are moving out next Saturday. We lost a couple of days yesterday. I have been saying the 15th all along because that is when our lease is actually up. But the 15th is a Tuesday and I have to clean after we move everything. So the best day to get moving help is, of course, on a Saturday. We looked at all of these details and made a decision yesterday and so for all practical purposes, I lost 3 days to pack. And let me just whine a little, because that's what I feel like doing. I have to pack everything into storage and keep only what will actually fit in the van to take with us to my parents house where we will be staying for who knows how long. I really don't care on most days. I mean, it's just par for the course. And yes, all you dear Nashville people, I will be glad to see you. But you do understand that you will have to have me over to your house as my parents will be overwhelmed enough with the five of us there and never have taken kindly to me having folks over, and of course, we are unemployed so we will not be able to meet you out anywhere. That is the unfortunate thing about all of this. I love Nashville. But one does not experience Nashville in quite the same way without cash. However, one thing I need nothing but my New Balance and my iPod to treasure is Percy Warner Park. I'm comin' Percy! I mean, a vacation at the Carnster's house is all good and well, but being freeloaders, reliant on the parents for even money to buy diapers, is quite a different thing. On the other hand, I truly do realize how fortunate we are to have parents with a giant house that are willing to take us in for as long as we have need. But let's just be real here, this isn't a "pleasure visit" to Nanna and Poppy's house.

I don't know why I am telling y'all this. I think I have seen in the past that when I hit the lowest of lows, God usually blesses my honesty and vulnerability. Even just those prayers that have the kind of frustrated and hopeless edge to them (you know the ones), seem to be the ones he uses later to remind me of his faithfulness and loving kindness. At this moment, let me just say that he seems neither faithful nor loving nor kind, but that I know that he is all of those things. I say that just so you can tuck it away and then the next time you feel like you are questioning the very core of your belief in a good and loving God, you can know that you are not the only Christian who has ever dared to think such thoughts. That's how it feels isn't it? Like you are dodging a lightning bolt to even let your mind wander into that line of thinking. Some folks would say we do that because we are horribly selfish and immature and spoiled. But it pains me to think of God looking down on me in my time of legitimate fear and anxiety and adding those accusations to my distress. If you all can look on my situation, as so many of you have, with legitimate concern and compassion and generosity, how much more does our Heavenly Father? And yet, why is that so hard to believe? Why is it easier to believe that God is not nearly so nice as some of his people? I think it goes back to dad issues and especially to pastor issues. George preached on Sunday night and got to one point in the sermon where he said something along the lines of "this is the part where usually, we turn the screws and really tell you what you are doing wrong and how you could do it better, but instead, I want to encourage y'all and tell you what you are doing well, to give you a positive example." And well, I just thought that was pretty wonderful. I know I am a little biased. And I definitely don't want to sound like I am criticizing my current pastor in any way, because I'm absolutely not. I just think that generally speaking, pastors do tend to give a "you know what your problem is" message an awful lot of the time. And it makes it hard not to go through life thinking about what your problem is, what a horrible sinner you are, all the time. I mean, are we God's children or are we his enemies? Being his children doesn't mean we don't do wrong things all the time, but just like our own children do wrong things. I certainly hope that as parents we are taking more time to tell our children how much we love them and what they are doing right than telling them every little thing they are doing wrong all the time.

I am not thinking too entirely clearly, so I can imagine I am not writing too entirely clearly. This is just me today. And yeah, I think it probably has a little bit of an edge, and George is not here to make sure I am not saying something dreadful before I click the little orange button that will make this available for all to see. But I'm going to just put it out there. I ask for your grace if this is all wrong; this is a particularly rotten day for me. If nothing else, be encouraged next time you have your own particularly rotten day.

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