Friday, October 21, 2011

Wisdom from Other Women: Show Grace

My little sister is beautiful. Her name is Melanie, but we've called her Mo since I was a baby and couldn't pronounce her name.

She's taught me so many things, but she taught me firsthand that you should give grace to others and meet people where they are. If someone is struggling with insecurity, know that and love them through it. If your friend is feeling bitterness about the path she chose, know that and let her vent. If you have a sister who is a new believer, don't expect her to have the wisdom of someone who has been studying the Bible for the past 50 years.

Be graceful.

This does not come naturally for me, and sometimes it doesn't come at all. The grace and forgiveness I have in my heart is intentionally sought after, hard fought. I eek it out, pray for the constant drip drip drip of grace that will allow me to see past those things that hurt me, to help me erase the mental tally of ways someone has disappointed me. That's not easy to admit in writing, but it's the truth.

But Mo? Her grace abounds. She understands, she doesn't keep a tally. I think of this when I feel anger at an old wrong or irritation at someone's accidental display of thoughtlessness. It's okay, I remind myself, and I do my best to pour out grace.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wisdom from Other Women: Know How to Laugh

I am blown away by the strength of the women around me. There are lots of groups of women that I belong to: my all-female BSF class, my group of best friends from college, the women in my family, my mom's group, my "wine night" group.  Many times I have stood amazed at the wisdom of the women in my life.

Beautiful women. Tough as nails women. Women who can comfort and set you straight in the same breath. 

In the spirit of encouraging other women, I'm going to share the lessons and wisdom from the women in my life who have taught me important things. 

First up, my mother.

My little sister Melanie, my mom, and me last weekend in Dripping Springs.
For as long as I can remember, she has encouraged me to laugh. My mom is funny, y'all. She has been on postcards from yo mama at least three times and she gets the highest number of comments. She makes other people laugh. When we were girls and still living at home, my sisters and I would lay on my mom's bed at night as she cracked us up with stories from her college and young single days. Her humor can be irreverent, which I love. She doesn't make puns; she is laugh-until-you-cry-and-almost-tinkle-in-your-pants funny. She will probably be irritated that I wrote tinkle. 

Laughing is rejuvenating and life-giving. I mean it. If I've had a hard day, or a hard six months for that matter, I find so much comfort in being able to let go of everything and laugh until my face hurts. 

Lesson Number One: Laugh!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Happy Pumpkin Painting

Toddlers and carving knives don't mix. Obviously. And I am terrible at carving pumpkins. Meg at Whatever's happy pumpkins looked so cheerful that I decided we needed a family pumpkin painting day.
We used ornamental pumpkins since William lacks the attention to paint a full-sized pumpkin and non-toxic finger paints because he likes to paint his tongue and taste test each color.

 Don squirted paint on the pumpkin and William blended it in. See how William's shirt is inside out? When we paint, this helps minimize stains. These finger paints are washable but not 100% non-staining.
 William put those red paint dots on his own face. I put the blue dot on Don's nose. You should see what Don did to my face with the blue paint. It was much worse than what I did to him. Argh, crafting with boys.

This isn't going to be winning any home decorating contests, but I love it! Who knew Halloween could be so colorful?

Joy in the Making

Guys, thank you for praying for us. Our little baby died. I had a miscarriage. Don and I have felt such amazing peace and quiet in our hearts that we know it can only come from God. I'm doing BSF for the first time this year, and part of my homework last week was to list the biblical names of Christ. In Acts 3:15 He is called "the author of life." What an amazing comfort this has been to me: what I might see as the meaningless loss of our little life is actually the ordained life and death of a child created by the author of all life. This little life was intentional, had a purpose, has met his or her maker.

Our tears? We are letting them fall, but we are buoyed along by joy. I didn't know it was possible, but it is. We are comforted in our grief.

"While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, 'Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.' But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he may not return to me." 2 Samuel 13: 22-23

Monday, October 10, 2011

Recipe Sharing: Vegetarian Korma

Last week, on the day that we learned things weren't looking hopeful for the little baby I'm carrying, Brandi showed up on my front porch with a pitcher of ice cold sweet tea and a massive container of herbed basmati rice and vegetarian korma. "I made you something healthy," she said. It was so encouraging to me. 

It was delicious. It's a little hard to photograph since it's composed of tiny diced veggies, but it has so much flavor. She shared the recipe with me and I made it for our dinner (supper, if you live in the south and talk like it) tonight. I chopped the veggies during William's morning nap and then put everything on to simmer about 30 minutes before it was time to eat. This is my new favorite. 

The recipe is from and can be found here.  Per Brandi's recommendation, I used olive oil instead of vegetable oil and half and half instead of heavy cream. I also needed to use a full 8 oz. of tomato sauce to get the consistency I wanted, and I am pretty sure this is a big leap, but I added a bay leaf to the simmering sauce (don't forget to remove it before serving). Yum.

Thirty, Flirty, and Thriving (Just keep repeating it until it's true!)

Not me (whew!), but my husband. He's 30! I'm sure he won't mind my telling the interwebs. This is still ridiculously young. There's so much I love about my husband that it would be a little nauseating if I listed things out in a blog post, but I will say that he does his best to lead our family both in prayer to God and recognition of God's grace, which makes my heart overflow. And he prioritizes his role as a father. And he works two physical therapy jobs because that's how we can make this stay-at-home mom thing work. And even after coming home from seeing home health patients after a full day working at the hospital, getting stuck in the nightmare of gridlock that is Austin traffic, and having to see a lot of sadness and hurting throughout the day, he bursts through the door of our home with a huge smile for us, open arms for us, and some shoulder rides for William. And it's Don who bathes William every night, gets him situated in his glow-in-the-dark dinosaur jammies, and reads him Big Red Barn seven times. It's Don who usually lays him down in his crib, puts his hand on our son's forehead, and prays over him. And now that I've been annoying and listed things out, I have to say that my husband is genuinely the wittiest and funniest man I have ever met, and he makes me laugh so hard I can't breathe at least every other day. That's saying a lot. I love him, and regardless of whether I attended a conference on a possible cure for Alzheimer's Disease all day or spent 10 hours playing with a one-year-old, the highlight of my day is seeing Don walk through the front door to our home.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Joy is a Choice

"Believe me when I say it's not about your scars, it's all about your heart."
- Mindy Gledhill, "All About Your Heart"

Little one, tiny being, smallest bundle of cells and light,

If I were to listen to many around me, I would not call you by name. I would not let myself feel the connection, imagine the bustling of cells toward your embryonic shape, send love your way. For the first few days I knew you were here, I was tempted to guard my heart. After losing one baby, my heart is sometimes shy.

But now that I have had dozens of needles in my veins to prove your presence and halted growth, listened with your father at my side while one nurse tells us you certainly won't stay long and one doctor says that maybe you might, your father and I have learned (through our tears, deepest intakes of breath, and restless sleep) that we already love you. You are our child, undeniable and real. In my eyes, you are already a miracle. 

Little baby, tiny miracle, I hope against hope that you will stay, though it is not up to me to decide. As your mother, I promise to give you my very best until your time comes. I will rest, I will be healthy. I will not run, I will not exert, per our doctor's orders. I will hold you in my heart, I will give you a name. 

And above all, I will be joyful. I will praise God for making you fearfully and wonderfully. He sees you now, even when I cannot. He designed you with a purpose and a plan, a plan to help you and not to harm you. You have a sister in heaven and a brother on earth, and though I don't know which one you will meet first, I am confident that one day I will come to you. 

In our short weeks together, you have taught me something so important. You have taught me that joy is a choice. I choose joy because I know that struggles on earth remind me that joy does not and cannot come from circumstances. It comes from hope in Him. I thank God for you, little being, and in doing that, I let down the walls to my heart. I will not let my dried tears become a moat, I will not pretend you aren't real, and I won't let losing you define me. I will carry you in my heart, even if I can't carry you in my womb.  Like she says in the song, it's not about your scars. It's all about your heart. Tiniest baby, you have helped me make my heart a garden.

Love love love,
Your mama