it's been a while - like a few weeks - since i've had this experience, it used to happen almost every morning. getting in the shower, or preparing for work in the morning, the wave of regret and guilt hits me and the thought: why didn't i just go to memphis, or anywhere else?

two years ago, i graduated with a BA in theatre performance after battling a lot of life's twists and turns (dropping out, bad grades, the divorce...) and to top it off, went straight to a genuine job at a theatre company in cincinnati. so many good things were flooding over me. my parents helped me move, i had a boyfriend - the best friend i never anticipated - and i was going to live downtown and walk to the theatre every day. i was going to make connections and charm people and surprise them with my management and creative abilities.

none of it, none of the big parts, were what i expected.

and on quiet or dark mornings, i still wake up and blame myself for not being better. why couldn't i do what i've seen a zillion other creative, talented theatre types do and just throw myself into things there? why could i not connect? i know there are a zillion reasons why. i've gone through them all.

i suppose that this is my one regret over the last couple of years. self-derailment.

one of my favorite people, someone who gave me beyond excellent references when i was hunting for theatre work, asked me what happened there the other day. i was more than glad he asked, it gave me a chance to think about it. it's still hard to sum up.

it didn't work out. i got distracted. it wasn't what i expected. i wasn't what they expected. it was a time when i was sorting out some things spiritually and mentally. it was a time when i was falling in love and far from the man i wanted to marry.

so many things were healing in my heart that i needed fixed. so many things were happening in my head that just needed to happen. all the dark and brooding thoughts from many years of dissapointment were shrinking away... i had gotten my degree, i'd proved to myself that i could do something i'd always wanted. i'd even won the respect of mentors that i loved. i'd been part of a church that felt like home. i saw myself as an intelligent, well rounded and creative woman who could offer a small amount of hard earned wisdom.

i wonder if any job i'd taken would have stuck at that time.

i still had some wilderness to climb through before i could see my newer self. i couldn't get traction in cincinnati, maybe it was because i was simply meant to keep walking through. it meant i lost something i'd wanted for a long time, but i also gained things that will be with me a lifetime. that, i don't regret.

life has been weird, good, rewarding, hard and unexpected since then. i am married to the best person i know. he puts up with my strange ways, even enjoys them. i am having a baby. wow. i've worked a year in a school system that has shown me that i can teach and enjoy it. the community in winfield is a good one, and i am thankful God led us to stay here and help minister and work in the church here for a while. i am beyond proud of my husband's academic achievements, and how he has grown spiritually and in his ability to lead and teach.

it's a good life. sometimes i still feel like i'm simply in another transition, and i am, but it is one that i trust and do not fear. i have chosen it. i still ache to do something creative. i still miss working on shows, and being at the center of it. i will be there again. i have to be.

someday, i will direct the plays i have listed in the back of my journal since i was a junior in college. someday i will find the right place, and the right way to do theatre again. it may be with a sleeping baby wrapped in a sling on my hip, or with my husband watching little ezri while i take notes and write down blocking... but i can do it, and want to, in the right time.

when i get some traction. somewhere. i know how to look to the horizon and keep my feet on the ground.


why my husband is better than me

my husband just came in the door, sweaty and grass covered from mowing our lawn. it's 8 pm on a wednesday night. we came home and he said he needed to "cool down" by mowing. yeah.

so, it is not a secret that i have large opinions, larger emotions and lots of energy behind each conviction i express. i like this about me, most of the time. i have also realized in the past couple of years that these things can be dangerous. being invested in things means getting upset when things take a bad turn. it means getting angry and defensive for "your side", and wanting to give people a piece of your mind.

sometimes, that is good. IF you can get it out clearly, concisely and without being overwhelmed by the urge to punch through a wall instead.

my husband stood by my side about two months ago as i faced a fear of mine and talked to someone i would rather have hit at the time. i knew that i needed to listen to this person and the concerns he had. i knew that it would be wrong of me not to, and that if i simply went on angry and defensive without listening to him and expressing my concerns and reaction to his face that i would implode. it was the jesus-y thing to do. eric was wonderful. he quietly stood through my encounter with this person and reinforced the love i wanted to express over the hurt i felt at some of the things that person said and implied.

tonight, he followed a kid (i say kid because he chose to act like one, he's old enough to know better) out of the church building and called him out on something very uncool that he did. he actually stood there and made this person listen to some straight things. this is a kid who thinks he is always right and always wronged. this is a kid who hasn't had the best examples at times and doesn't know how to react when someone confronts him in love over anything he might have done wrong.

i don't know how he did it.

i've wanted to wring necks, and shout at the top of my lungs, and seriously beat up on some people lately. people that i know i need to love, and really really do. that's why it hurts so much when they do and say things that hurt other people i love. i know this sounds vague. chalk it up to a preacher's kid rant if you will. i am intensely proud of my parents ministry and their devotion to a calling that is not easy. they are loved and respected by so many wonderful people. it's amazing how the power of one or two negative voices can knock you down and cut you through. i don't know why it works that way.

and tonight, if i'd been eric, i don't think i would have had the presence of mind, patience and hope in humanity that he had to go out and talk to a kid that obviously has been hurting for a long time. i think all i would have done is yell.

so when i don't get all the negativity and really really don't understand these people i'm called to love, my sweet sweet husband reminds me how it's done.


to my daughter, three months before her birth

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Donna Ezri,

As soon as we knew that I was pregnant with you, your father and I began a list of names. Your daddy made lists of beautiful names, writing them in Elvish and debating their pronunciation with me. We dreamed of you, and with each good doctorʼs visit and each day I noticed my body changing to take care of you we began to imagine what kind of person you would be. There is no one I have anticipated knowing with greater excitement than you. We already know that you are beautiful and perfect and our gift from God. We are praying every day that we will grow to be the parents you need.

We wanted to give you names that are strong and beautiful. Names that will stay with you all your life that you will be proud of.

You are named Donna for my sweet Grandma Donna, your Grandma Nancyʼs mother. She died eight years ago this summer and we all miss her and long for the time when we will know her again in heaven. She was a wise and lovely woman who loved her family and showed kindness to everyone. Her gentleness and intelligence, laughter and creativity, patience, and devotion to the Creator are things that I know she shared with all of us. You will have these things too. “Donna” means “woman”, just like the name Eve does. It reminds me of the beauty and power God put into each of us, it makes me think of Mary the mother of Jesus who allowed God to shape her life in ways she could never have anticipated. Your life will be incredible if you let Him shape it, just like your great-grandmother did.

You are named Ezri. It is based on the Hebrew name “Ezra” and the word “ebenezer”, they mean “helper” and “stone of help”. Your father and I wanted you to have this name because it is beautiful and because we know how God has been our helper and how he has reminded us of how we need him. He will guide and love you always. Of course, your uncles will tell you that we named you for a character on Star Trek: DS9. It didnʼt hurt that we loved the sound of the name from a show that we both enjoy. The character is one you can be proud of sharing a name with. It is unique and you can make it what you want it to be.

We already love you so much. Seeing your fuzzy outline on the ultrasound monitor made our hearts leap with joy. Your little spine and ribs were like strings of pearls, and the beating of your heart is the best sound I have ever heard. We canʼt believe that you are ours and feel so blessed that God has allowed us to have you.


Your Mommy and Daddy


observations and ruminations of a first time mother

take it as a sign that i truly am hormonal and pregnant - but i must rant, yet again.

okay, maybe it's not always a rant, but i must at the very least muse.

observations since i have made my pregnancy known to all 
(all being facebook and the big world beyond, of course)

- everyone on fb is pregnant or is enamored of their newborn

- the profile pic of your baby (once sex is determined, of course) must go up, it is de rigeuer. of course, this may mean an extra five seconds of "who is that commenting on my wall?" while squinting at an adorable fuzzy baby outline too.

- people, not just older or very younger who might be excused due to unfamiliarity with current medical technology, do not understand that it takes a while until the ultrasound tech can make that educated guess as to whether you're having a boy or a girl... like, at least 20 weeks for most people.

- oh, and people want to know and don't understand you not wanting to know the potential sex of your child.

- question i am sick of: are you excited about the baby?

um - how do you answer this? yes, i am excited about the drastic life changing event and how it is irreversible and permanent and completely unfamiliar to me... i am excited about doing something that is just about completely new in every way to me... yep.

or, uh - duh, i'm excited. we live in a culture where, thanks to the availability of contraception etc., having a baby can be a choice - we decided to get married and all that that entails, including procreation, so - we're excited.

but i've never been the bouncy giddy let's ooh and aah and spontaneously break into baby talk type. why should that completely change now? note, please, that i left room for change... i'm not foolish enough to deny the effects of the hormones racing through my body of late, or the intensely satisfying dreams i've had recently where i glimpse my little one's face - a composite of all the babies i've ever held and loved.

back to observations

- horror stories! good grief people! i don't know why finding out that i am due in november inspires some people to tell all their worst experiences or stories relating to infertility, miscarriage, stillbirths, birth complications, childhood diseases and conditions... and the list goes on! why???

i am, of course, a sympathetic listener and want people to feel comfortable relating to me. i know that the relation of these stories are strangely well-meant, and a part of the initiation rituals of motherhood. i can see that. but please, can you tell me happy or funny stories instead? i can handle gross or even long winded boring stories about children and grandchildren i will never know but an endless saga about a friend's pregnancy challenges only adds to this paranoid's list of anxieties.

- under the same category i suppose:
reasons why person a, b or c ended up having a c-section, saying yes to drugs, choosing to bottle-feed, or anything else that is the opposite of what i _hope_ (note-hope! i am a realist) to do.

we all have ideals of what the beginning of motherhood/parenthood will be like. i know that these things do not always come to fruition in the manner one expects. two things:

1. don't assume that i am naive enough to be inflexible when it comes to my own ideals
2. realize that i have many, many positive examples and mentors available when it comes to practicing what i wish to do in my own pregnancy, birth experience, and early baby nurturing time.

i value good advice and hard won experience. i don't quite understand the need to excuse ones' self from any choices made in a birth story.

well, enough observation for now i suppose. thank you for the rambling rant... 

and now i will tell you happy things about my own pregnancy. things i wish to remember.

- the baby moves a lot. this is the best reassurance in the world to me after the loss of our first pregnancy. i am truly astonished each time i feel a flutter or nudge.

- i don't look that pregnant yet... in fact i've lost weight since the pregnancy began. this amuses me and the doctors are pleased at how healthy we both are so far.

- but i did buy maternity clothes. the capris with the ever so attractive "panel" are soooo comfy. and i've stretched enough to need them.

- i love every baby and small person i see. no, see, i'm not normally that way. i am the type that is guilty of remarking that certain acquaintances "spawned", or are "breeding" when they announce a pregnancy... yeah. and i like little people a lot, but i don't necessarily swoon over each one like many sweet friends of mine do.

- i am nostalgic, sentimental, teary, moody and generally intense. to which you say, wasn't she already?

best of all- 

this experience is making me a more honest and determined human being. it is challenging me to straighten my priorities and know myself more than i have before. the idea of imprinting myself on a new little person is incredible and humbling. without cliche, i want to do my best and give the best to this little one.


look at this, modesty/fashion rant to follow someday


this site is full of really stylish and beautiful gowns for formal events and weddings... i wish i'd known about it ages ago. it apparently is a company run by members of the LDS church, who tend to be far more circumspect about dressing modestly than many other faith groups.

as someone who really loves design, fashion and beautiful things, i've struggled with being clear on my own stance about personal modesty. as a young woman raised to christianity, i think it's incredibly important that my whole being (physical + spiritual) not counteract the message i want to convey. it's always surprised me to find that there are so many people who i consider like-minded who obviously throw the modesty angle right out the window when dressing for "occasions".

more on this later, for now enjoy the pretties.



there are times when i think, know, that i must sound downright angry and negative. i like to say that culture shock has never worn off for me as a missions kid. i don't know if it's just that. i want to credit some of how i react to the culture around me to my family and mentors who modeled a life that is simple, focused and noble. mine is not necessarily any of those things, which may be why i get heartsick.

money is on my mind. the past ten years of my life, the ones that comprise my adult life, have been filled with mis-steps and misadventures... they've been full of good too... but many of the challenges i've had seem to be rooted at times in poorly thought out financial decisions. i've gotten good at getting out of jams, i've learned how to talk to collectors, i've found out ways to set up payment plans and defer loan payments, i've learned how to avoid and how to get by without things that really ought to come first.

and i'm discovering my story is not that rare. but it makes me sick.

i wasn't raised to be materialistic... however, even with the best of intentions to avoid "worldly" influence, i've been seduced by the "need" for a cell phone plan, the "wisdom" of building credit, and a slew of other things. i've chosen to get a new outfit over saving that same money toward the mounting student loan payments that are always in the back of my mind.

do you know what i mean?

eric and i are starting something big. we have no illusions that this will be easy. we want to be debt free in 3 to 5 years. i have more student loan debt than anyone with a mere BA should have, and various and sundry post college debts we've accrued that in the end were not necessary if we had just said no to ourselves. our recent trip to and from tennessee was encouraging. we budgeted. the envelope system. and the way there and back, i read dave ramsey out loud. i cried. we talked. and we got excited about tackling something that we have seen eat at people we love and respect all our lives.

today was not easy for my sweet husband. he had to argue his way through a payment plan with the cell phone company. we cancelled our plan but had termination fees and past due stuff they charged us for. before he got on the phone, he decided how much we could pay _right now_ to take care of this. he stuck to it, and that is what he did in the end. it took an hour of bouncing between four or so customer service reps before they got it through their heads that we weren't going to be guilted into rash and sudden commitments of money we don't have (ie. credit cards or, can't someone loan you the money right now?) i am so proud of him, but this experience made him feel 2 feet tall.

what is wrong with us?

someone tries to be honest and only use the means they have at their disposal to take responsibility for something - and that person is made to feel foolish, irresponsible and small. don't get me wrong, we haven't managed all our finances well, but we are taking action to fix that and instead of applause we get rotten tomatoes.


and then i visit with friends and family who are happily putting down plastic for new iphones or choosing to extend their direct tv package. their kids' favorite things to do are go shopping at target or eat at mcdonalds... they don't know what it's like to not have cable or to plan ahead enough so they can share a car anymore.

these are the choices we celebrate in america. why?

these are the choices we celebrate as people of faith - why? what happened to the lilies of the field, and the sparrows? where is my treasure supposed to be buried again? i am horrified when i see teenagers expect such luxuries like their own car, a cell phone, a computer of their own... i'm sure they thank their parents, but what did their parents have to do to pay for those things? do those kids have any idea of the value of the things they have? i know i've lost touch with the true value of these things, they won't even have the advantage of ever knowing.

specific pictures come to mind. of young men close to me who have been questioned and criticized for choosing a life of ministry instead of a life of accountancy, or some other "stable" career path. how can anyone criticize a person for choosing to serve others over serving self? if it's in a person's heart to serve the Creator in that way, shouldn't we praise him or her?!

and if i choose to live, for a time, in a humble low income apartment instead of breaking my back to buy a house way before i can afford it, shouldn't you praise me too? if i choose to save the money i could be using to eat out with friends now in order to later live without guilt, a hug and word of encouragement would be so much more welcome than the unspoken criticism that i have felt at times for making a wise choice...

and so, it makes me heartsick when i see our lives wrapped in consumerism to the point that it is difficult for any of us to see straight, but i am hopeful. today, i am hopeful that someday soon i will be able to breathe and not wonder if i can really afford to buy a second gallon of milk at the end of the month. i am hopeful that someday sooner than i know, i will be able to wake up with my child in the mornings and know that we can spend the whole day together without the strain of daycare, work schedules and credit card bills to pay.

and somehow, that makes my heart sigh at the little reliefs along the way, like my husband telling at&t what for.