Sunday, October 25, 2009


Please don't wake me up.

I'm having the most beautiful dream...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dear Hubby,

In the next 48 hours, we will be spending some close, personal time together.

And while I consider you one of the smartest, most thoughtful of husbands, I feel like I need to take a moment to give you the following pointers on how the next few days need to go down.

The labor & delivery room we'll be checking in to is so very nice. It's spacious and clean, and it has a big television and DVD player for our enjoyment.

Unfortunately, the DVD player is incompatible with movies that star any of the following actors: Steven Segal, Chuck Norris, Jackie Chan, or any of the last seven guys who've played James Bond.

In addition, I want to give you a heads up that you will, at no time, have charge over the remote control for the t.v. Unfortunately, the risk is just too high that you may stumble upon programming that features Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity or Bill O'Reilly. New studies have shown a direct correlation between post-partum insanity and political talk shows, and that's just not a risk I'll be willing to take. You know, for the sake of our family.

You'll be pleased to know that the hospital provides free wi-fi for your computer. So feel free to bring the laptop with you for entertainment. I did read somewhere that fantasty football sites are unavailable while women are laboring. So sorry.

I've taken the liberty of loading our ipod with a bunch of new songs that I think you'll enjoy. If for some reason, however, you find that several of your old favorites (like all those songs they play at football games to hype everyone up) have gone missing, I assure you that I know nothing about that. Believe me, though... you'll find Fernando Ortega's soothing rendition of "Be Thou My Vision" just as thrilling as the Black-Eyed Peas promise that "Tonight's Gonna Be a Good, Good Night!"

Throughout the course of the night, I may find the opportunity to get some sleep. If this phenomenon occurs, please do nothing to disturb the few precious moments of rest. Even if I am snoring as loud as a freight train and other hospital patients are peering into the room to see what in the world could be making that kind of noise, I would advise you to just close your eyes and insert some ear plugs.

And one last thing, as the nurses ask me for my entire medical history, including my current weight, just go ahead and keep those ear plugs securely fastened.

I know that this is a lot of information to take in. I do not wish to take anything away from the excitement you're feeling about the impending arrival of our newest family member.

But please know this... by Thursday afternoon it'll all be worth the inconveniences (and possible Project Runway marathons) you'll be subjected to.

Because I think you're about to fall madly in love with one precious little girl. And her mommy's about to fall madly in love with you all over again.


Monday, October 19, 2009


Galatians 5:22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

About two years ago, I was driving in my car and praying. It must have been around this same time of year. The beginning of Fall and the start of a new school year always put my mind in a position of resolve. Kinda like January 1 does for most people. What do I want the year to look like? What disciplines do I want to focus on? What greater purpose will my life serve this year, etc.?

And while praying, I felt impressed to ask God to work on bringing out the Fruit of His Spirit within me. After all, I have known Jesus as my Savior since I was 9 years old.

But have I, in the subsequent years, allowed Him room to develop the nine qualities listed in Galatians that are the Fruit (or evidence) of the Holy Spirit living inside of me?

Within weeks of that prayer, and by no coincidence, I was asked to develop a curriculum for the childcare program at our MOPS meetings. It just so happened that we would be meeting as a group nine times during the course of the month. I was charged with creating nine lessons geared toward 4-5 yr old children. Hmmm.... Perhaps the nine qualities of the Fruit of the Spirit?

So, I began working on the lessons and praying that God would work diligently on teaching me through my research.

I wish I had known my friend at "The Christ-Blessed Nest" back then. Because this weekend, she brought over a gift for my boy and girl that made me want to jump up and down (except no one wants to see a full-term pregnant woman do that).

She has developed a chart that displays the nine qualities of the Fruit of the Spirit in a format similar to the chore charts and responsibility charts available for young kids at most teaching supply stores, etc. Except this one.... oh, I can't even do it justice, it's so wonderful!

I would love for you to go to her etsy site (click HERE... click on the 4th image with all the magnets on the board...recognize those names?!?!) and take a look for yourself.

I rolled out the chart with Drew last night and it was an absolutely precious time. We sat on the tile floor of the kitchen, in front of his chart, and talked about Love, Joy, Peace, etc. We then read over all the "action tags" and I explained how each one represented some way he could act more like Jesus.

You can imagine my delight, when, later on during his bath he looked up at me and said, "Mommy! You are the nicest Mommy in the whole world and I love you!" After he was cleaned up and dressed in his pj's, I took him back over to the chart and let him put the "Give a compliment" magnet in his square.

One of my favorite tags says, "Share Jesus". And I loved the opportunity to explain what that meant to Drew. He claims now that it's his favorite magnet and he wants to put one up every day in his chart. Praise God!

I am in love with this tangible way to teach my child(ren) what God starts to do in a person's life when they put their trust in Him.

Like my friend's instructions point out, we are not able to become proficient at these nine qualities of our own volition. It's God in us. It's His refining. It's His Spirit's working to make us more like Him.

This is just such a precious way to recognize the qualities and give our children a deeper understanding of what they look like practically, lived out in our daily lives.

So, go on over and check out not only the chart, but some of her other wonderfully creative items that are sure to bless YOUR nest!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Inquiring Minds Want to Know...

Yes indeed!

Parenting is all these and more, especially when your preschooler begins asking you questions that seem to require you to obtain a theology degree before answering.

This has been the case for us over the course of several conversations recently.

In the car on the way to school one morning:
We were listening to the radio when that song by tobymac came on (the lyrics include, "I don't wanna gain the whole world and lose my soul"). I was singing along, and so was Drew from the backseat, when he piped up,
"Mommy - are they saying, 'I don't wanna gain the whole world and lose my sword?'".

No, buddy.. SOUL. I don't wanna lose my SOUL.

"Oh. O.k." pause... "Hey Mom? What's a soul?"

A few days later:
"Mommy... I know a new verse. Genesis 1:1. God made the heavens. And God made the earth. And he made the birds and the people and all the things. And then He rested on the 7th day."

Very good. That's right, bud.

"But Mommy. I don't think that's right. Because God doesn't rest. He doesn't sleep. He doesn't need to close His eyes. He never stops watching us, right???!!!"

He was adamant, and very concerned. Already he'd found a discrepancy that he couldn't resolve in his mind. I have taught him over and over, especially at bedtime or scary, anxious times that God is ALWAYS with him, wherever he goes. That he watches him while he sleeps. That God is always vigilant, mindful of him. And in learning about the creation of the earth, he now has visions of God laying down on the job... taking a nap... closing those Almighty, watchful eyes. And he needed an explanation for the discrepancy.

The very next night?
I was telling him the story of Adam & Eve. Which, by the way, is a pretty serious story once you get into the details. (Perhaps I need to use the Storybook Picture Bible a little more often to ensure my re-telling is age-appropriate.) But, there we were, talking about Adam and Eve and the beautiful garden, and how God had given them charge over the land. And God told them not to eat the fruit from one tree, but that Adam and Eve made a bad choice and ate that fruit and sinned.

"Why did they do that?"
Because they made a bad choice, honey.
"Why didn't God want them to eat from that tree?"
Because God knew there would be consequences, and He wanted them to listen and obey.
"What if Adam and Eve just didn't hear God tell them not to eat the fruit?"
They heard him, sweetie. They did.
"How? How did they hear God?"
Because He talked to them.
"With a real voice?"

It was only then that I realized the true concern behind his line of questioning. For my four year old has not heard the audible, booming voice of God and thought that, perhaps, this was the problem for Adam & Eve as well.

So, in the past few weeks, I have had the "opportunity" to explain the difference between a heart and a soul; the concept of God resting (as an example to us) yet being ever-mindful, ever-vigilant; and the many ways we can hear the voice of God.

God is so gracious. With the promise that He'll give me wisdom when I ask for it (James 1:5), I'm not as overwhelmed by the charge I have been given with this precocious child. I will not have all the answers for him, but I trust that God will use me to guide him.

And that He'll speak to this child Himself. Whether it's with a booming audible voice or a quiet whisper to that little soul.

Tell me... what are some of the questions your little ones have asked you that left you feeling like you needed to get your ph.D.?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

the Sub-plot

So, I spent a post detailing my latest bout with false labor contractions, but only alluded to the sub-plot of the entire evening. You know, the "other" story. The one that was playing out while I was packing my bags for the hospital.

You see, my poor, sweet hubby had come down with major flu-like symptoms a day or so before my contractions took center-stage and by Thursday, he was downright miserable. So, against my better judgment, I heard myself telling him to go ahead and take some nighttime cold relief medicine and get some rest.

About an hour after my pharmaceutical advice (and the pill) was taken, my labor began to get intense. I called a friend to explain what was going on, and we just started laughing, because all I could think about was this:

Mercy me. I'm so grateful that Daddy didn't have to miss out on his daughter's birth, because when I got home from work to pick up my suitcase and a few essentials, he was a dead-ringer for Steve Martin.

So, I drove myself to the hospital, checked-in, was unceremoniously sent home, and we avoided an exact replay of the classic "sleeping pill, wife goes into labor" plotline.

Which is good. I'd hate to be cliche'.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Hanging on to my sanity by 1 cm...

That could all change at any moment. Because that one centimeter may just send me over the edge, depending on how stubborn it decides to be.

So... let's see, since my last update, I finally made a decision to call my doctor and discuss the little issue of all those contractions. I wasn't optimistic. After all, I'd been watching a clock since 5am, and still wasn't feel much discomfort or pain. But the tightening was getting harder to ignore, so on my doctor's advice, I set out for the hospital yesterday afternoon.

I arrived, checked in, and got all hooked up to the monitors and machines. And here is what I learned over the next 30 minutes:

1. I was having contractions every 3-4 minutes
2. They were consistent and getting stronger.
3. I was also running a slight fever of 99.5 ("Oh, my hubby is sick" I informed the nurse)
4. I was only 1 cm dilated.

The nurse left armed with that information and called my doctor. She came back in 20 minutes later. "We're going to let you go home."

OK... I was prepared for that. After all, I was only 1 cm dilated, and I have done this before. I knew that the bulk of the marathon still lay ahead of me. I began to climb out of the bed when she started giving me instructions.

"YOu did the right thing by coming in tonight. And please come back if you experience any of the following:
1. Contractions that occur less than 5 minutes apart
2. Contractions that increase in intensity
3. or if you start to run a fever."

I just looked at her and said, "So.. would you like me to walk to the elevator and come right back? Because you just informed me that I am well-past every symptom you have told me to come back to the hospital for..."

Her only response was, "Yes, but you're only 1 cm."

O.K. Thank you...

I have to say that I hoped I would be in a position of experience going into my second child's birth. Knowing firsthand what childbirth is like, I have rested in the knowledge that this time around, at least I knew what was coming.

But this morning, I'm at a loss. I have no clue when to call my doctor or when to go to the hospital. I am a novice all over again.

But in her defense, the nurse was right after all. Sometime around midnight, the contractions (which had intensified to the point I could not breathe through them), just stopped. I fell into a deep slumber (well, besides the 4 times I awoke to go to the bathroom) and woke up this morning with enough reserves to get through at least another day.

So, like my Facebook status reads:
"False Labor = 2; Mom 2 Drew = 0... Well-played contractions... well-played."

Tough Decisions

Q:What do I use to keep my son's lunch cold when I failed to re-freeze his cold pack overnight?
A: Frozen limeade concentrate

Q: Do I give in when Drew pitches a fit in car line because he no longer wants to stay for lunch?
A: At almost 9 months pregnant, you bet I do. No lunch bunch. Done.

Q: Do I also give in when Drew decides to sob uncontrollably, begging not to go to school today?
A: At almost 9 months pregnant, I decide that I have the right to be completely inconsistent and DO NOT give in to this fight. He's going to school today.

Q: Do I carry my 43 lb child into class when he refuses to walk?
A: Yes... Yes I do.

Q: Do I decide, with his teacher's full support, that he is just fine and needs to be left at school in order to avoid encouraging this type of behavior in the future?
A: Yes, even though it results in a need for both physical strength from the teacher (prying his screaming body off of mine) and mental strength from me (just walk toward the door, just walk toward the door).

Q: Do I go home and clean up a little for the cleaning lady.
A: Normally, I would. But at almost 9 months pregnant, you've gotta be kidding me.

Q: When, exactly, do I need to call my doctor if I've been having contractions amidst the chaos of the morning and they've pretty much been 4 minutes apart all day?
A: I'll get back to you on that one.... still haven't decided.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Pearl Girl

Oh... I have been waiting and wanting to write this post for so long.

I've even started it several times, but the words seemed less-than-inspired, so I have backed off, waited, saved many "drafts".

Then two days ago, one of my wonderful friends waved me down in the preschool carline and handed me a book titled, "Pearl Girls: Encountering grit, experiencing grace" by Margaret McSweeney.

I haven't read the book yet (though it promises to be a great one), but the contents of the book weren't even the reason my friend passed it along. She knew that the title and subtitle alone were worth their weight in literary inspiration to me, and so here I am... finally ready to tell you about my little "pearl girl".

Several months ago, I wrote about choosing a name for this child. I told you that I wanted it to be something meaningful, something special, something that defined what God was up to in our lives as He chose to bless us with this addition to our family.

We (ok, I...) poured through baby name books and began making lists. And then I stumbled upon a name that meant, simply: PEARL.

My heartbeat quickened and I drew in a deep breath. Surely this was to be her name. I ran it by my husband, who happened to like the name anyway, so it was decided. We have called her by name ever since.

So, why PEARL? Besides conjuring up an image of someone's 85 year old grandma or high tea at some elite country club, what could possibly mean so much to me about a name that means PEARL?

The seed, as it were, was planted about eight years ago, when I began working for a very well known jewelry company. As my career grew, it became necessary for me to learn in greater detail about the products I was tasked to sell. Our company was known the world over for exquisite jewelry and gemstones... the best of the absolute best... and (besides diamonds) one of our greatest claims to gemstone fame was our offering of pearls.

Each morning, I would slip on pristine white gloves and carefully lay strand after strand of pearl ropes into showcases for the viewing pleasure of hundreds of clients who would be walking by each day to admire their beauty.

Some were "cultured" pearls - smooth, perfectly round, glistening in all shades of white. Some were "natural" pearls - each unique in shape and found in a variety of colors from blush pinks to steely grays.

I loved them all. I decided that while diamonds were typically a girl's best friend... I was going to become a PEARL GIRL. I took product courses, read books, and spent time just staring at and trying on my favorite gemstones.

I learned that pearls were formed when a small, unexpected grain of "something", usually sand or grit, found it's way into an oyster. The oyster, in an effort to shield itself from the uninvited guest, secreted a substance known as "nacre" (pronounced nay' ker). Depending upon the length of time the oyster was left to deal with it's grit, it would secrete layer upon layer upon layer of nacre. The more layers that were introduced, the larger and more irridescent the little ball, or pearl, would grow. Under the right circumstances, the pearl had the opportunity to grow larger and larger, and more and more beautiful, which, in the end, would result in determining it's value.

Now that you've completed Pearls: 101, let's flash forward a few years:

If you know our story,you may recall that my first pregnancy with Drew was an absolute fiasco. I was no good at pregnancy and decided quickly after his birth that one child was enough for us. We didn't want to be disobedient to God's plans for our family, but we absolutely COULD NOT imagine going through another nine months of pregnancy every again. After much prayer and discussion throughout the next four years, we rested in a place of contentment with our little family of three.

And then, we became swept up in the current of excitement created by my brother and his wife's desire to begin their family. It wasn't until weeks after we received the good news that we would be expecting a new niece or nephew that I began to become suspicious of some signs my body seemed to be shouting out at me. I took a pregnancy test and... SURPRISE... found out that we, too, would be adding to our little family.

This was not planned, and I was not excited. I was anxious...scared to death, in fact. I had feelings of guilt for selfishly taking anything away from my brother and sister-in-law's excitement.

So, along with a tiny little human, I was now dealing with a bit of grit in my spiritual life.

But this turn of events, while unexpected to me, was known by God from the beginning of time. And in His infinite grace, He had already set up a system of support and encouragement. He'd been preparing my heart. He'd been in the processing of opening my eyes for quite some time to His ways, which are higher than my ways, and His thoughts that are higher than my thoughts. And at the time, while I couldn't imagine any of the reasons "WHY", I was resting in the knowledge of "WHO". I knew that He was in charge and had something in this that was for His glory.

So, like layer upon layer of nacre, this little person inside me was coated with prayer. I withdrew to Scripture on my sickest days. Friends provided encouragement and accountability on my grumpiest ones. The bond of sharing in the pregnancy process together deepened my friendship with my sister-in-law. And somehow, a pregnancy that was intially met with surprise, fear, and anxiety, has been growing into the lovliest of treasures in my life.

We are less than a month away from her birth now. But unlike a pearl of the sea, my prayer for this little girl is that the nacre of God's grace continues to grow around her long after she's taken out of the warm, comfortable depths of her current home.

She, too, will face grit in her life. There will be times I long to protect her from hurt, from pain, from suffering. But I know if I entrust her now to the faithful love of the Father, He will continue the work of growing her into a beautiful, irridescent pearl. And when she radiates with the glory of God (Oh, I pray that His glory is so evident in her life always), then the world will see the value and treasure that began with the tiniest, most unexpected little seed.

And while I guarantee you I won't be slipping on white gloves any time soon, I cannot wait to study our newest gem... to finally hold this pearl in my own hands!

For Megan.
We love you, little pearl, and we can't wait to meet you soon!