making my list

before i go lay down while baby is napping - a brief glimpse into what's churning around in our house.

i made myself sit down and write six goals for my home-making routine this morning. do you ever just hit a point in your daily routine where you feel cluttered, in a rut, and just plain yucky? i do, about every month or two. it occurred to me today that i have a few nebulous goals i mutter about to eric all the time and i need to just pin them down and stick them on the fridge (the center of all homes, right?).

none of these things are difficult. we do most of them often but not regularly. i know that a routine doesn't solve all the problems of our little world, but i know from experience it sure can shrink them down. the intent behind each of these is to improve my mental well being and to help my child have better days and happier parents. if i can get the "chores" of my day out of the way in the morning light and have a simple plan that bends with each change in our day then perhaps i can:
spend more time listening to my child and husband, worry less about mundane things, feel good about having people over at the spur of the moment, look forward to the time my husband arrives home without guilt over not getting the house straight before he comes home.

i like this list because it's brief and simple and it doesn't have five million steps or permutations... i like it because it's the kind of list i grew up with... what would your six goals be, if you picked up a crayon and scribbled them down today?


love is a battlefield

ezri discovered the joys of splashing her little hands into the toilet today. thank God it was flushed and i didn't have a diaper soaking in it. the look of absolute mirth and glee on her face was priceless... unfortunately, i was not in a mood to appreciate it at the time. it was 2 pm, i'd changed her clothes three times by then and had said NO more times than i would like to remember, oh - and i hadn't showered yet.

yeah. much crying and "NO'ing" and firm voice and eye contact later, she melted into a puddle of sweetness and fell asleep after a good long nurse...

and then i took a shower.

and now i count the minutes until eric arrives home and she awakens... and see how many things i can do before then, well, after i stare at the internet. this is the most challenging front yet, and i know it will just grow... who knew you could feel such frustration and love at the same time?

no, you can't do that... because i love you, and i don't want you to get hurt. not yet, when you're a bigger girl... don't go in there without mommy... take this yucky medicine, be still because i want you to feel better... i love you.

rough nights and little sleep, dirty diapers and learning how to function with a beautiful baby on your hip ... it's nothing in comparison to what i see on the horizon.

psshhh - forget the horizon, it's here.

ladies and gentlemen, we have a toddler, and the into everything will now commence... along with the exhausted love filled NO's.

Direct your children onto the right path,
      and when they are older, they will not leave it.
Proverbs 22:6


the one i never held

this is for my sweet sister melanie...

it's a gorgeous october day. a friend and i walk to the park with our little ones. i am savoring the blessing of new friendship these days and the fullness in my spirit that fall often brings me. so much good is around us. it's hard to imagine that one year ago i was still frantically working at the coffee shop, eric subbing and going to classes, ezri was one month from being born. we had no idea what where we'd be in one year.

and the year before that, we were devastated. 

my friend's daughter is dumping sand down her back and squealing at ezri with pure joy. we laugh and marvel at their joy as we see her son climb the jungle gym. little haley is exactly six months older than ezri... 

she is as old as my first little one would have been. 

i have no adequate way to explain the sadness and sweetness in my heart when i think of it. at this time two years ago, i only had a suspicion that i might be pregnant. i was. but i was almost terrified to take a test. we found out on halloween actually. we'd met eric's dad in wichita for lunch, i'd not been crazy about the coffee, i'd been moody and miserable at the mall, i think we even had an argument.

but i came home, took the test, it was positive. i walked outside and looked at the empty field across from our door as the sun set. that's where i told eric that we were going to have a baby. we were floored. it was much sooner than we'd "planned"... but it was okay. we knew we wanted this before we even married.

i tell my new friend that we would have had one little haley's age... and she shares about the fear and half expectation she had had of miscarriage. her mom had, so she had thought she would. i knew the feeling well. it happened for me.

we lost our baby in november. 

i was certain i was miscarrying while we were away from home. during a trip to see family and watch a play at our college... surrounded by friends who were so happy for us, i could feel my hope slip away. at intermission the night we went to see the play, i remember walking to the restroom and praying praying praying that i would keep this little life. that sunday we rushed the long drive home and went to the ER... nothing could be done for us then but "wait and see" i waited til the tuesday to go to our previously scheduled ultrasound.

our baby wasn't there anymore.

if you haven't lost a little one like this, it's hard to know what to say or do... we had so many love on us and so many share their losses with us. a beautiful friend who had had a stillborn baby boy was there to aid the doctor when i went for the d & c... i can still see her bright and teary eyes over her surgical mask.

there is no loss like this one. there never will be. i never got to hold her. our little ariel was gone before we knew her. and we wept and cried to have my baby back. i still cry for her. 

today i'm crying for her, and for the little one my brother and sister in law have just lost.

there are never words for it. when we lose anyone to death, we cry for ourselves... we are alone, we have lost someone... and there is no loss like the loss of the babe you marked your calendar for with love and anticipation. we shared that we were expecting early, and i am thankful for that, because we were wrapped in arms of love from around the world.

eric and i will always have moments where we think of her... heaven will be sweeter... i think of her there with grandma donna, and so many others... and today i thank our Creator for the bonds we have on earth that comfort us when our joy must turn to mourning.

a year from the day we found out that we'd lost our first little one, our donna ezri was born. and the joy returns and wraps itself around the mourning... you will never stop wondering about the one you lose, but God gives you new moments of wonder... you never will stop aching for that babe to be in your arms, but your heart will ache with joy and thanksgiving again.

I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow."
Jeremiah 31:13



we're blessed. we're growing. we're rich compared to so many in the world at large. but...

things are tight. and we're okay with that. no, really we are. we've worked hard in the past year and a half to knock out our consumer debt, and now we're (mainly) working on student loan debt. like so many americans our age, we're just plain thankful that we're employed and not homeless. like so many americans, we've struggled with the constant pressure to live beyond our means. the holidays are coming up and i have to confess:

i'm sick of it. i am sick of feeling like i *have* to measure up. that i have to give certain kinds of gifts and make sure that no one is forgotten. that every family member gets something they want... the pressure is looming above me and I HATE IT.

pretty sure that most people who know me are not terribly surprised by that statement. eric and i have talked a lot since we married, well and before too, about what kind of lifestyle we want to have. we're lovers of good things. good food, good books, good conversation and good sturdy things... we love our family time, and we love our spiritual family near and far.

we also feel strongly that less is more.

no, like really strongly.

as in, it's a battle but i am making a conscious effort not to shop "just for fun" anymore. i know myself, and i always end up feeling dissatisfied. i feel the pressure to consume, to buy buy buy... even if what i'm purchasing isn't exactly what i need. how is that good?

we are so concerned in our culture with being green - we're really into emphasizing recycling, so trendy now - and buying (buying!) the right kind of water bottles and baby products (products!) and purchasing (purchasing!) the best reusable grocery bags. ugh. marketing marketing marketing. you are so clever.

and i want the super cute reusable totes from my favorite box store. i want the awesome glass water bottles from starbucks. but i really and truly don't need them. i have a kitchen full of dishes and gadgets, closets full of clothing, unfinished crafts, scarves and umbrellas and christmas decorations. we moved into a house that is about 1200 square feet and were thankful we had attic space to store a box of books we don't have room for and two tubs of sentimental keepsakes that we are not able to part with. but they're just sitting there, like half the stuff we own.

sure, ez needs some socks that fit her and it would be great to be able to buy her another book or that little wooden car in the toy store, but she has all she needs too. i love bringing her into the church nursery and seeing her dive out of my arms toward a room full of toys. it's like disneyland for her because she has *just enough* at home...

we have just enough, and it leaves room for big feelings like peace and contentment. it gives us a chance to delight in the invitation to watch a football game at a friend's house, because we don't have the mental clutter of cable TV all the time. it means that an evening spent watching our baby play and explore a house that is friendly and spare with plenty of room to crawl around in is the best entertainment ever. a clear dining room table means i can put a beautiful meal on it, pull up the highchair, pour some tea and listen to my husband talk about his day. we are rich because we have less.

someday, we will have more breathing room in our budget. debts will be repaid and we will have learned better habits... it's what we're doing right now. right now we are making the choices that will enable us to relax and enjoy being able to save for retirement and our daughter's college (or whatever she wants to do) fund. right now we are learning self control. we are disciplining ourselves so that the gift we give ourselves and our little girl is an enduring one amounting to more than just a few christmases with piles of gifts.

this year, we are opening a savings account for ezri. it's her birthday present. every year we will add to it, and encourage those family members who wish to gift her to consider adding to it as well. there may be a few handmade gifts that i make this year for her and for others, because that is what we can give and it is our best right now. i am hoping we can save and get her a little christmas dress, or a doll ...

but the reality is, she won't remember that. we all know that. we will cherish any and every tangible physical gift we are given and that she is given because it comes from the hearts of those who love us. and we will give from our hearts too.

and in the meantime i will remind myself that i don't have to worry about what others think of my choices, and that most people are supportive even if they think we're odd...

i like being odd. i like being less burdened. i like that i have loved ones who share the burdens i have with me. i am blessed, with less.


ends and beginnings

last week was rough.

i don't know exactly why. we're into our third month in a new home and a totally new place. things are going relatively well. emotionally i was either a zombie or on the verge of a nervy breakdown. finally on thursday i had the good cry i needed precipitated by a remark from someone i barely know to my husband... it didn't matter that what this person said ended up being an opinion and not the truth and that it didn't keep us from doing what we wanted or needed to do, it was just enough to hurt my feelings and get me to sit down on the floor and sob.

i needed it. so badly.

all around me i have loved ones who seem to be at the beginning or end of something. i've spent some hours on the phone listening to a hurting friend or two at the end and some rapturous moments rejoicing about the new beginnings in two others' lives... maybe both reminded me on some level that we are far apart. and that good or bad i can only be so much involved, because of distance in the emotional and physical sense.

and we are so at the beginning and trying our best to find our place. it's exhausting. i've never been very good at doing the cool aloof thing and being all "let them come to me" about making friends. the term i've used lately is "we've been wedging our way in" in reference to everything social and church-y and work. we want this to be good and we want to make friends and be useful.

and i hadn't had a really good cry since we got here.

i mean, we had a good cry the day after we moved into the house and my parents had to leave. that was it. and it was more about the goodbye than the hello. you need a cry for both i think. there's just, all this new! even good can just overwhelm.

and so i had the cry i needed, what's next?

who knows? it's funny though how the universe hears you. after having a good cry and being mad about little things that really won't matter in the long run, good things showed up. meeting new people that are like old friends already and seeing really really good things happening where we've chosen to be.

and here are some other good things...

ezri took her first couple of steps on her own. in the midst of a hectic week with preoccupied mommy brain and too much car time. she also started cutting her two top teeth - yay!

the house is feeling more homey

i am not overwhelmed by housework or projects right now.

new small group study starts this week.

eric and i now have friends who are auburn fans. and we get to watch games on their cable.

i think ez is trying to call me "mi mi" which is hilarious.

i made my first grown up on time student loan payment! no small thing ya'll.

walks, almost fall weather, rain, having people in my home,

oh, and i get to be an auntie again in June... praying for a good pregnancy for my sweet sister in law Melanie.

every week is different, isn't it?


delicious things

every now and then i hit a good cooking/baking streak... it's usually because the weather has changed or because there's some event going on. both have hit in the past week with the seasons (ever. so.) slowly changing to fall and the advent of ezri's seventh (yep) ladies' day - this one at our new home congregation. so, for you few who requested some recipes, here you go... three recent favorites.

sweet potato mash/sweet potato cakes

4 medium scrubbed sweet potatoes
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp minced fresh basil (the kind in a tube, you'll find it in the produce section)
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1/2 c sour cream
1/4 c butter

basically, if you know how to make mashed potatoes you can take it from here... dice the sweet potatoes into relatively small chunks, throw them in a large pot with salted water and bring to a boil. once it's at a boil, add the garlic. it should take about ten minutes to get them mash-worthy, then drain and add the rest of the ingredients above and mash away with a potato masher ... they do not have to be smooth, in fact i think they're better if they're not!

i like to serve this with things like sausage and mushroom or to the side of a really yummy piece of steak of some curried lentils.

to turn them into sweet potato cakes, take the leftovers and add:

1 to 2 eggs, depending on how much you have leftover
1 c cornmeal or flour
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1/4 to 1/2 c chopped green onion
a splash of milk

mix it up, heat a pan or griddle to med/high heat with about 2 to 3 tbsp of oil or butter and spoon em out.... takes about 8 minutes or so for them to be perfect, maybe less ;) yum.

so, i'm lucky enough to be in a church that does "ladies' inspiration day"... in other words a good get together and spiritual boost for women in our faith family. growing up, i attended loads of these and heard my grandma donna and mom speak frequently... mom still does, and is an excellent speaker if you're looking for one (i know, shameless plug ;)

thomaston road's ladies put together a lovely day. we were encouraged by good talks, wonderful singing and prayer and a delicious tea organized by a very talented group of women and served by some handsome gentlemen from our church.

i got to make scones.

now, you can only makes them if you say them right... say it with me: it's "SCAWN" not "SCOWN" ;) i know, i'm picky... no matter how you say it, these are pretty delicious and you know they have to be easy if i bake them.

ham and cheese scones

2 c all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 ground red pepper
3 tbsp chilled butter, cut in small pieces
3/4 c shredded white cheddar (cabot's seriously sharp white - amazing!)
3/4 c finely chopped ham
3/4 c buttermilk
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 400 F. Combine the first five ingredients then cut in the butter. It really helps to have it chilled - straight from the fridge - and doesn't take much to blend it in with either a fork or pastry blender. Stir in the cheese and ham. Whisk up the eggs and buttermilk - I just break the egg into the Pyrex measuring cup with the buttermilk and whisk, one less dish to wash you know? Add to flour mixture and stir til moist.

Turn the mixture out onto a floured surface and knead 5 or 6 times. Pat it into an 8 inch circle on a buttered baking sheet (if you double this, you can fit two rounds onto one large baking sheet) I like to cut the dough into wedges, not cutting all the way through, just an indentation.

Bake for 20 minutes until lightly browned - your house will smell delicious. 8 servings or so.

gingersnap scones

1 3/4 c flour
1/4 c gingersnap cookies (about 6)
1/4 c sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup chilled butter, cut into pieces
1/2 c buttermilk
1 large egg

espresso glaze
1 tbsp hot water
1 1/2 tsp instant coffee granules (nescafe!)
3/4 c powdered sugar
walnut halves, if desired

Preheat oven to 400 F. See above for mixing method... Pat into 10 inch round etc. and bake for 15 minutes or until golden.

To make the glaze, combine the water and coffee granules then add the powdered sugar. Drizzle over your scones and let set for at least 15 minutes. This should serve about 10.

- note: to be honest, this recipe was yummy but not gingery enough. next time i am considering adding crystallized ginger to the dough and doing a citrus/ginger glaze. i'll keep you posted!

it's been one of those weeks where i excel at keeping busy, almost too busy. to be honest, i've been on a roll the last few weeks ever since i decided it would be fall in my mind whether the state of georgia agreed or not. good things are all around us. eric is doing wonderfully with the school and we are enjoying the church connection. i'm finding an assortment of breastfeeding, natural parenting hippie type friends from farmer's market and support groups and the like... and ezri took her first steps yesterday while i was doing the dishes... melts my heart.

it's good. enjoy the eats ya'll.


connect >

yesterday was the tenth anniversary of 9/11. i know that i'm not the only one who has had that lingering in the back of my mind for the past few weeks... for me, a person who likes to play the memory game and often, it was a chance to look back on a decade's worth of life.

i was 19. college, sophomore year just started, best roommate situation i've ever had (before eric ;), a very questionable long distance boyfriend who would soon become my fiance... acting class, survey of civ, lifetime wellness... and who knows what else.

my long distance boyfriend - the future ex-husband - was in dallas working that semester... we IM'd about the attack. he didn't call me, i didn't call him. funny to think about now in the context of a long past relationship... i see so many of those things as an indicator of how wonky our relationship was. over this past weekend i've heard so many people recall how they raced to find their spouse, their children, their parents... to hold them and reassure themselves. i was on the cusp of being engaged to this guy and all he said, over the internet, was: well, the sh*** has hit the fan now.


which is probably why when i think of what i was doing on 9/11 i think of the class i was in when it happened, the chapel service that morning and singing "God Moved In a Mysterious Way" instead.

in some ways, i think my life started to explode that fall too.

homecoming came, and i was suddenly engaged and planning a wedding for spring break of the following year... and struggling with mixed emotions that i never expected when i imagined myself finding "mr. right". he was in texas, because he was on academic suspension from our school, and i was alone in tennessee. i don't think i realized it then, in fact i know i didn't until i returned to the US from Italy in 2005, but i had begun to disconnect.

things weren't what i had thought they'd be, and i was too naive to see why and too scared to get out. and so as the president began to advise us to continue living our lives as usual and to spend spend spend, i began to believe that where i was and how i was being treated was normal. as we buried our shock and horror at what had happened to us as a nation, i buried my normal healthy reactions (the ones he told me were wrong) in shopping for stuff i didn't need with money we didn't have. i quit school. i took prozac. i thought there was something really wrong with me.

my family held on as much as they could... the line stretched from kansas to georgia, my grandmother died in June that year... the line stretched from kansas to Italy, i nearly died in June of that year.

alone in military housing, each apartment a mirror of the other, i took long bubble baths and ignored the laundry and the garbage and the yelling when he got home... i took the dog for walks, talked to my mother every day long distance, and finally tried to talk to my him about how awful everything was. another explosion. he yelled the word "divorce" in a string of irate sentences and left to God knows where, the door slam echoing on the tile. i went upstairs, opened the bottle of perkaset and took it all. there was nowhere for me to go, and (i thought) no one to help me.

10 minutes later, i called the only friend i could think of and she raced me to the hospital. i don't even feel anything when i think about my time in there... i have a memory of an Italian nurse squeezing my hand and speaking soothingly as they pumped my stomach. my heart is only beginning to ache now.

that was June 2004. i was completely disconnected. the hands of strangers brought me back, the actions of our military's employees got me home (i can never praise the chaplaincy and services on that base enough), and i began to wake up.

it took the US until the recession in the winter of 2008 to wake up... by then i was sitting in my car listening to NPR and not wanting to walk across the frozen parking lot to work. i'd been divorced (after a year of working desperately to fix things) since April of 2006... an engagement ring sparkled on my hand again, and i was longing to be home with the man who loved me, listened to me, understood me and who was loved and praised by all my loved ones.

since then, i've been repairing the last walls that were broken. i'm safe, i'm surrounded by those who love me and i even love myself (and that one took a while!), and i have a connection to those who hurt that the 19 year old who wasn't even sure the first reports of the 9/11 were real would have ever had.

lately, these themes of connection>disconnection|reconnection< have been rolling around in my heart, touching on my spirituality, on my choices as a new parent, on our choices as a society (global and national) and my choices as a human being... our hearts stopped when we saw how vulnerable we were and how quickly the world could go sideways, what else could we do but hunker down and bury the hurt with things and anger toward those who hurt us? there are many who have shared much more powerful insight on the impact of 9/11 and what it has done to us as Americans, and as global citizens, for me i have recognized in myself this touchstone... this stone of remembrance that has helped me begin to honor the journey i've made.

"Here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by thy help I've come. And I hope by Thy good measure, safely to arrive at home."

thank you for remembering with me, thank you for connecting.


on the horizon

my favorite has always been looking forward, my downfall is often reminiscing... or really, dwelling on past hurts.

but i'm at a fresh point in my life, who knows if it will happen again: i can look back up to 5 (count them, five!) years and not feel overwhelmed with sadness. the good seemed to start outweighing the bad again in 2006 i guess. it's not that the last five years have always been easy or that i managed to avoid any big mistakes... i scraped through college, made difficult choices with mixed results, but i also was refreshed spiritually, challenged to become a whole woman of my own, i met the love i never thought i'd have and gave birth to the most beautiful little girl i could ever lay my eyes on.

and when i look forward i anticipate the challenges and think of them as things that may be hard, i may balk, but they are things that will shape us as a family and as individuals. we have a load of student loan debt: we can get through it, and faster than we think. we have a child to raise: i know we'll have days and weeks, but i just can't think of anything better then being ez's mother. i have a health/weight issue that i MUST conquer: i can. please remind of that and tell me to give myself some grace when i need it.

the horizon is endless possibility... and the waters around me are not engulfing me but welcoming me and allowing me passage.

these are things i am anticipating right now, the gleam in the corners of my mind and approach in their own times...

- continued motherhood
she'll be one in three months. we cannot believe how it has flown by and marvel at how different she will be in another year.
- my thirties
seriously. i am looking forward to this next decade and all that it brings. my twenties were good but strange and sad at times... i'm ready for this time in my life where i am and adult, a wife and mother, and who knows what else!
- a marriage that gets better with time
this is one of those things that never gets easier but it's been fun from the start. i am so blessed to have someone who cherishes me no matter how crazy i am ;)
- seeing eric develop as a teacher and minister
he is always surprising me.
- mom and i may be writing a book this year
more on that in another post
- all the unexpected stuff
bring it on.


long distance

we're going where? and without grandma and grandpa?

this is our first day with internet in exactly one month. we've been glued to our phones and fb mobile - alas! my daughter has jealousy issues with my phone now. pretty sure. considering the fact that we are now a one-car family in a new city, i am incredibly thankful that we're able to afford internet at home. i was beginning to feel a wee bit isolated, despite our planned "car days", walks and getting plugged into a great church... the daily routine is so silent! well, not silent when your donna ezri's mom, but... unvaried ;)

and besides all that - we have two sets of long distance grandparents and various relatives who are demanding skype time! my in-laws are now living in belgium for the next two years, and my parents received an exciting call to be Missionaries-in-Residence at freed-hardeman university and are arriving in henderson today. there has been a lot of change for the fam this summer... eric's parents, my parents, my baby brother and we have all moved in the last two months! and good things are happening.

over the course of our prep and move, we encountered remarks about the distance that we would now have to span to see family. i realize we all feel this differently because of our own upbringings and perspectives but it surprised me many times to be reminded that others do not see every change as a God-given, God-driven thing.

i've had the privilege of knowing my sweet husband's family for the past four years now, and have marveled at the changes they face every time the military re-assigns my dad-in-law and the facility with which my mom-in-law organizes each move. i'm also always amazed at how much the government takes care of our service members in aiding the moving process - compared to how preaching/missions families have to do it - wow! 

i wrote a post inspired by their move a little while back, so i won't delve too deeply into it except to muse on the whole long-distance family relationships and the opportunities God gives us...

today i'm thinking about the challenges and opportunities that my in laws will have - to learn about and communicate with multiple cultures and to be the godly and loving witnesses they are wherever they go... 

i'm thinking of my mom and dad and the adventure they are embarking upon. they've left a loving church family who sent them off with joy and tears and are about to go somewhere that has been a place to recharge and connect... a place where they will now be a source of encouragement and inspiration for students and those headed to the mission field. 

i'm thinking of my brother and sister in law who have grown so much in the past few years as a couple, as christians and now as wonderful parents... they haven't moved far, just into a house that fits them, but i know they are using it to build others up already.

and us. mainly eric. this feels like the first place we get to be our own little family. we were blessed with a good house before we even got here, the school and church eric is working with has been warm and welcoming and perfect starting point for his teaching career. each little challenge (and they've all been little) and decision we've needed to make in the midst of the move, settling and starting work, i've marveled at my love and how much he's grown, how he is an excellent daddy, how he puts our needs first. he is using every opportunity God gives him to grow and to help others. 

in brussels, in henderson, in fort worth, in macon... and so many, many other places where our hearts have gone, the links grow bright and strong because He is using us, if we let him. 

there is a lot more i want to write. i'm hoping to start posting *at least* once a week now that we are settled. til then - cheers!


change of address

i don't know how many of those forms i've filled out ... it feels like hundreds when it might only be twenty. so, on July 18th or so, i'll go grab a couple at the post office and fill them out once more. change of address, winfield kansas to macon georgia.

and this is our house! my wonderful aunt and cousin went house-hunting this week for us and took a burden off my shoulders. i was looking forward to the hunting, but not the time constraints of doing it in a couple of days and timing everything just right. it's a little rancher, built in the sixties, a little worn but good bones... our realtor/landlord is renovating the bathroom and refinishing the hardwood floors, and i am arranging and rearranging our furniture over and over again with the little floor plan sally drew for us.

it's nice to have something to dream on and it will be even nicer to settle. i'm ready for quiet evenings and weekends spent on the deck watching baby play in her pool, for getting up with my husband and daughter every morning in our own home and having meals around our table. i'm ready to get to know people at a new church, at the school eric will be working at, and in the homeschool groups ...

i am ready for this change.

between getting our lease (we are renting, nowhere near buying!) sorted and eric meeting with his advisor this week about his thesis, a little relief is hitting us. and so tomorrow, i am actually going to pack everything we don't absolutely need in the next 18 days so that we can enjoy our last couple of weeks in kansas!



we're moving in ... about a month now. eric was offered a job at Middle Georgia Christian School in macon, and we are relieved, excited and nervous about well, everything. when we were waiting to hear whether he had an official offer from the school or not, we laid out potential household budgets, looked at rental houses and apartments, i made an "action plan" for the next two months so that we could save for the cross-country move... and waited.

things are good. they're inching along, and my usual struggle with staying in the present has reared it's familiar head. i've been living on craigslist and apartmentguide.com ... and scheming over air tran tickets to atlanta ... but we've still got a few things to do here. a garage sale, packing, finishing up our moving fund, and oh yeah - eric is waiting to defend a thesis. and all i can think is, can it be the end of july now, please?

my heart and brain are in a mental gridlock... i wanted to say limbo but, that actually is not active enough, not tense and happy and nervous and anxious enough. eric and i frequently look at each other of a day and say, "i'm happy, really happy, but so stressed."... i know, this too shall pass.

so, to pass the time when i realize i'm not going to be able to secure the ideal housing arrangement until we're closer to july, or when i worry about eric and the thesis, these are things i do:

- nothing like looking at pretties to soothe my soul, and i like filing away pictures of hanging beds and earthships for my future use ;)

minimalist mom
- i can't remember which thing i was following on FB that linked me to her, but i love this woman's blog and the concept of living quality over quantity. it speaks to this anti packrat's soul. i can't wait for our garage sale this weekend. i've been slowly culling our already packed boxes that have been living in mom and dad's storage room. it's not that we have a lot to begin with but... why do we hold on to things that we know perfectly well we'll never use again?

la leche league
- yeah, i know i'm turning into a lactivist nut. i don't care. and remember, everyone is louder and more obnoxious on the internet ;) i've been able this past month to help organize a LLL booth at our local farmer's market (baby can eat green and local too!) in hopes that we can let women know what resources are available to them locally. it's been fun, and nourishes my "stage manager's" soul.

and, the best: my daughter

- need i say anything else? things are way better down on the floor with her, learning to crawl, giggling at her father's face, and right now laying on grandma's neck pillow and staring at sesame street.

so, i'll keep breathing deep, trying to get the tension out of my jaw, and enjoying the blessings right in front of me until time takes care of the traffic jam in my brain.


north america's newest endangered species...

Ezri and Mommy, nursing at 3 months...

America's newest endangered species? The breastfeeding human mother.

It's been on my heart a lot since I've become a mother. It's something I'm nervous to have my typical "rant" over - though it's most worthy of many rants - because I really want people to listen. Recently, a sweet friend of mine blogged about her experience with public breastfeeding at a zoo, she said she felt like she was on display along with the animals as groups of elementary school students looked at her with the same curiosity they have for the monkey exhibit. Along with that, I have read or skimmed soooo many blogs and online mag articles that are purposely built to stir up opinion, put people on the defense (or offense), and just generate mean spirited judgemental gossip. I hate this.

I have a beautiful six month old daughter. She is breastfed. I love, love, love being able to give her sustenance like this, physically and emotionally. This relationship is precious and fills me with awe at how my body can sustain another... our connection didn't stop at birth, it blossomed and grew into the next phase just as nature intended. It is a start to a lifelong relationship that will not end when she is weaned. I am blessed to be able to bond with my baby this way, and all that I could ever desire for any new mom is a chance to do the same with her babe because I know how wonderful it is.

Some people I have encountered seem to think/express/imply in their statements and reaction to those of us who are vocal about "lactivism" or just about the plain old mom to mom help with the mechanics of nursing that it is something that should be completely private and definitely should take place behind closed doors. I have so many problems with this. And I could go on and on about rights and parenting choices and the need for support and so on... but let me just say this from my particular perch:

I am a nursing mom, and I choose to live a life that takes me outside the boundaries of my home on a daily basis... I want my baby to live in the world and experience it just as I do. She gains her nourishment from me, in a completely natural way that has existed since man and womankind were created. Our culture has lost that knowledge, and we are wealthy enough that even the poorest families can afford to buy (sometimes with "subsidies") bottles and formula... I am not telling anyone else that this is "wrong". I am asking you to support me by allowing me to breastfeed my baby anywhere with the same freedom that a mom or dad has to feed their baby with a bottle. The only way we can reclaim this wholesome, completely modest and beautiful act in our society is to allow it to happen without shame or fear of negative reactions.

It has genuinely surprised me to see some of the awkward and downright snobby reactions of my peers at times when it comes to this "issue" that should not be an issue at all. Perhaps part of this is my complete culture shock as an African kid. Yes, I may have pale skin, but I grew up in a setting where it was so normal to breastfeed in public that growing up I didn't think twice about seeing an exposed breast... how else were those babies supposed to eat? Again, I could get in to all sorts of stuff about how ridiculous it is that we as a nation have such a low success rate with nursing past the first two months, and that we need to educate and live it and so on... but, as a person of faith I've been thinking a lot about this.

How do I "witness" to others in an open, non-angry, approachable way about my beliefs as a breastfeeding, natural parenting mom? My sister-in-law sent a link to this shirt the other day, and it made me laugh:
Maybe that's how I'll do it. Honestly, I'm not sure... all I know is that it has truly and deeply worried this mama's soul to see how "up in arms" people get about this. As a believer, I feel like it's important to "live at peace with everyone"(Romans 12:18).

Of course, here's the whole verse: 

"If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."

Now, you scholarly types can go to town on my interpretation and application here, but I guess I read this:

"Now Stefanie, if it's POSSIBLE, you need to make every effort to live at peace with others, BUT this depends on you and if they make it IMPOSSIBLE well, peacefully, lovingly, stand up for what you know is right."

Like I said, I'm no scholar, just the daughter of one. But here's my own bottom line: if you want to have a conversation with me about breastfeeding, it will be one that is passionate, well-informed, exciting and as diplomatic and loving as possible. Believe, this is HARD, because the plain truth is I have felt incredibly isolated in my choice to nurse my child exclusively, to do it until she is ready to wean and not before, and to actively and vocally participate in a local mother to mother support group because I believe it's necessary. I have felt defensive and judged and misunderstood all at the same time. But like I said, it's my determination that no matter what the other tiger-mothers and breastfeeding nazis do out there, I will live at peace with you and continue my membership in the endangered species club.


life lines love lines

these days we seem to have one foot planted in the present and one aimed or already in the future, whatever it may look like. it's april, spring is here, eric is so close (and yet so far) to finishing grad school and we are on the job hunt. i fall asleep at night and during stolen 15 minute naptimes, dreaming of a little house and how i will arrange our furniture... i think about our backyard, and putting up a clothesline and whether we'll have a spot for my much longed-for hammock.

it's not that we're unhappy here... we have too much going on to not be in the here and now, with baby and church obligations, school and the like we have enough to do and pleasant people to do it with. we've been fairly blessed in the past two years with chances to grow as a couple and have i have enjoyed watching my husband turn into an excellent teacher and public speaker who cares about what he's sharing and is always taking what's challenging him and turning it into something good.

but we're so ready to settle.

since we married, i've felt like we've been on the job hunt in a sense. we have been blessed with employment no matter what, and a roof over our heads and food to eat, but it's all been with the knowledge that we're in a transitional period (again). it's taught us to look to eachother for a lot, and it's taught us to be content whatever the circumstance... but being in limbo does take it's toll on the heart.

especially when you're a new mom and you would just like to know what it's like to have a place of your own again... we are so, so blessed to be renting with mom and dad. we love the "communal" living and would not have it any other way... but even though eric and i grew up with lots of moving around and temporary living situations, we are both home-bodies that like having space to call our own. aren't we spoiled?

lately we've reminded each other of our missions kid/military brat tendencies to start detaching from our surroundings in anticipation of a move - even when we don't know where we're going next - so that it won't be as "difficult" to leave. don't get me wrong, we loved our respective growing up years and what it's given us as adults... but there are always signs that the itch for change is approaching.

i've always marveled at people who have grown up in the same town, the same county, and live their adult lives in a ten mile radius. we go out of state almost once a month at times. i've been thinking about this a lot lately because of our little bit. she is already becoming quite the road tripper with visiting family in tennessee at three weeks and great-grands and a brand new cousin in texas too. ezri has already been to five "ladies' days" at various churches in the area and heard her grandma speak three of those times.

i don't know how to do it any other way.

next year, we'll be visiting family overseas too. i can't wait. ez will probably not remember a lick of it, but she will know her entire life that when she was around a year and a half old she visited another country. i had a passport by the time i was a month old, eric doesn't know anything really about the town he was born it - it was just a stop in his dad's pilot training - but he remembers vividly so many towns and new faces and experiences... it's made us both people who are determined to relate to anyone, anywhere... to be open to new places and things, and to deeply appreciate family relationships and friendships that go beyond physical location.

some people are blessed to have relatives close by and tightly knit communities where everyone remembers your first steps and what you looked like at twelve. there are all sorts of stories and beautiful intimacies in that kind of life. lately, i have been thinking about the blessings i've had growing up with a tightly knit family and community - despite long distance.

i have memories of my nine year old self on our sunny veranda in mutare, giddily opening up care packages from my granma. real cheerios, a lego set for my brother, new episodes of star trek:tng on VHS and even a new package of underwear was exciting. these packages were not life lines to us in deepest darkest africa. africa was home. but they were love lines. the thin blue paper of air mail letters and the memories of last trips to granma's or auntie's filled our minds and we knew we were loved deeply.

we've talked a lot about where life will lead us, now that eric's the one who will be taking a job and well, we will/have to go anywhere. we've always been open to whatever that means, a lousiana bayou, a northern prairie or a high rise apartment in dubai... some people in my life recently have remarked on the importance of having grandparents near by while raising their children. i had the best of both worlds at different points in my childhood, with one set of grandparents on the mission field with us and the other set in the states but willing and able to visit us... it is a definite blessing to have family near but it not the end of the world to have them far away.

by growing up with long distance family, i learned early about goodbyes and hellos. i learned the value of real quality time with the people i love. i understood that there were people who knew me and loved me halfway around the world and that i was encircled in prayer no matter where i went. i knew that home was not a place, it was a family, and that family remained in my heart whether i was in johannesburg, south africa or abilene, texas.

ezri may have the blessing of grandparents two miles or two thousand miles away but she will always have the knowledge that she is deeply loved and will always have opportunities to listen and learn from the wisdom our parents have to give her... down the love lines.


another letter...

this was initially a guest post submission for a blog i follow... i initially thought it didn't make the cut, but i was wrong (thanks Gina!) ... look for it on The Feminist Breeder this Thursday, April 14.

For Donna Ezri:

Itʼs a warm spring day, the Kansas wind nearly knocked me over this morning while I was sliding you into the Moby wrap to go shopping. You are four months and five days old and your father and I are besotted with you.

Whenever you read this, I hope that you know that to your core. My prayer, with every breath as we sit and nurse in the glow of lamplight or as you lay on the floor rolling and squealing with delight and discovery, is that you will always know you are loved and worthy of it.

A few days ago I decided to write this letter for you. Itʼs gone through many drafts and stops and starts since then. There is so much, a universe I want to guide you through, so much I want to make sure you know. When I see the light and joy behind your eyes, and (already!) the anger and determination there too, I wonder how I am ever going to keep up with you and everything you need.

I have no idea what might transpire between the time that I look at you now and when you read this letter. I do know myself, and your dad, and what we are determined to give you... The things we want to teach you are really detailed and really nebulous... Love and understanding of the world around you, and ability to put yourself in the place of others and be willing to do whatever you can to help them... Passion for doing what is right, and determination to stand by your beliefs and be able to explain them without alienating others but opening their minds and hopefully opening your own.

When I think of the you that will read this letter, I see a bright and determined redheaded beauty, maybe 20 years old - maybe 16... and I think of myself at those ages. Your grandparents were born to be parents. They raised me to be interested in the world around me and to become an adult ready to interact with that world fully. I want the same for you. But I know that in the craziness of being a family, and raising you, and making sure you know how to be that person you are becoming, I may not
communicate everything I hope for you.

The world around us is full of beautiful things and difficult things, and all of it is going to shape you and change you and challenge you into being an amazing young woman. I canʼt wait to know you as that person. Never think that I donʼt want to listen to what youʼre thinking and feeling. I canʼt think of anything more important than knowing my family and what is in their hearts. You and your father are the blessing I never thought I would have.

You are at the threshold of life, and there is so much in front of you. If you donʼt realize or know it yet, I am behind you, I want you to excel in whatever you want to do and whatever it is you are passionate about. There may be times, I know there will be, when I will tell you truthfully what I think about things you do or say, but even if it is critical it does not change how much I care about you and the person you are. In fact, I tell you honestly what I think because I love you.

If I could tell you one thing that helped me most in the first ten years of my “adult life”, before you, it would be this:

The only person you can truly change is yourself.

I know, itʼs pretty straight forward, seemingly obvious... and, after living with me for 16 to 20 years, I am certain youʼve heard it a few times. There are some big reasons why this phrase is important to me.

The only person you really have complete “control” over is yourself, and it should be the only person you control... and that alone is a difficult job at times! Changing yourself is something you ought to do for yourself first, and most of the time only yourself. Donʼt let anyone tell you that you are unworthy or make you feel as if you cannot do what you know you can do.

There will be people in your life that you will fall for, that you will love or admire, that you will want to impress for reasons good and bad... they are the people you want to change for, and at times they are the people you think you can change. I have the privilege right now to help shape you and how you see the world, but I would never want to try and change your (already!) vibrant and sweet determined nature for the world. No matter how much you love another person and desperately desire them to change, the most you can ever do is love them and let them know you want to help. You can pray, you can be the best influence you can be, but they must make the choice to change if they need to.

And thatʼs the other thing that I have the blessing of seeing in you: the choices you make, good and bad, that will make you. You will see me make choices too, I canʼt guarantee that they will always be best, but I can promise with all my heart that the choices I make have been and will be with your contentment and happiness in mind.

Right now, the choices I see you make are whether to roll over or stay put, to reach for my coffee mug or to nurse or play... soon theyʼll get bigger and bigger. No matter how big or small, I am your mother and I will always be here cheering you on a praying the best into your life.

I love you.

Thank you for making me your mom.


the (dis)illusion of control

have you ever noticed our human tendency to fool ourselves into thinking we're in control? of anything outside ourselves? we learn so quickly that we can manipulate little things around us... and some of us are very much prone to allowing others to "control" at times...

ezri is on her tummy, on her little blanket, staring at the mirror i've propped up. she has become adept at grasping it and drooling all over it... but when she gets truly dissatisfied with it, and her position, she screams. it's actually kind of cute. but she knows, already, that if she makes enough noise someone bigger than her will come running and fix it.

smart baby.

recently, i heard someone say (basically), "i guess i didn't start praying for the right thing soon enough". wow. this made my head spin. the whole phrase makes me cringe. it implies that the speaker thought that in order to get what you want, you have to get your christmas list in to God by a certain time... that, somehow, we can simply order up our future by dialing in the right prayer at the right time.

pretty sure that's not how God works. i'm not even sure the person who said that realized how that sounded, or that s/he thinks that's how prayer works either. but what frightens me, and makes me take a hard look at my own habits and phrases and so on, is how easily that idea slipped out... and the fact that it implies a sense of perceived control.

i just finished writing something for my daughter in which one of the big things i shared with her is a statement that i have made a mantra at times: the only person i can change is myself. i've had this lesson taught over and over in my life. through a failed marriage full of mistrust and control and anger, through my own struggles with addiction and depression, and even through meeting and falling in love with my best friend... through positive and negative experiences, i've learned and relearned that i cannot control another person, ever... and i can definitely not control any situation that comes my way.

what i can do is work on me, and accept that life may throw some weird things my way but i can be flexible and open. when i open myself up to whatever God is pulling me through, i can grow and learn anything. some of the worst times in my life have become tipping points, the climax that leads to life changing decisions big and small. because i have been in a relationship where the person i loved thought he needed to "control" me, i know how it feels to be crushed into a mold that isn't me. after that, you fight anything and everything that might mean conformity.

years later, i've realized that not everyone or everything will control me. i can make choices. i make the choice every day to teach my child how to live in this world as an equal with delight and curiosity, i make the choice to love those around me whether they appreciate it or not, i make the choice to do right and to be unafraid of what others might think. i can be loving and considerate and still do what i need to do...

and it's so much less stressful than battling to control every tiny thing around you because you are afraid of the unknown. in my experience, as soon as you think you have a handle on it all, the whole thing comes crashing down and you have to start again. that's just too much work for me.


would you wear paper underwear?

so this was one of my favorite responses given to the question "why are you cloth diapering your baby?"... ah, the internet is a repository. yep, that's about it.

the other day i mentioned a few things i wanted to blog about, and this morning after nursing my little one back to sleep i couldn't seem to follow suit - so here i am! now, if you've ever out of morbid curiosity or sincere interest "googled" cloth diapers, you've probably realized that: a) it's not like it used to be, or what you thought it might have been like (oh we of the disposable only generations) and b) this is becoming a pretty substantial trend and a source of work and income for a lot of cottage industry type moms who want to work from home... so i think it's pretty sweet.

because there is such a massive amount of info out there, and it's good well written and eye catching - CD'ing can become addictive i kid you not, i will not bore you with too many mundane details. but i do want to tell you about how eric, ezri and i have encountered it, the resources we rely on, and why we're doing it.


my first memory of knowing (of) someone who did cloth diapering - since i've been grown (in africa it's pretty common) - was about 4 years ago. a friend was talking about nursery duty at church and how confusing it was to have to change a cloth diaper for the daughter of a mutual friend... i smiled and nodded and thought, okay, store that away for future research. it's funny to think, eric and i weren't even seriously dating at the time, and now we have a 3 month old...

after that, i noticed CD'ing popping up all over the place. a friend who knits her babies' wool diaper covers, new parent friends who were buying these pretty cute little pocket diapers that looked nothing like the flats and diaper pinned things i remembered from childhood. and then of course, there was the whole "oh yeah, mom only used 'sposies for her last kiddo" - my baby pictures include real cloth nappies, because disposables would have been virtually nonexistent in 1980's zimbabwe...

but until we were pregnant, i really hadn't put it all together. in my mind, when i saw myself changing my baby's diaper, i saw myself throwing that mess away - not rinsing and washing it!

why we're doing it

again, if you read the internets, you might have seen the big reasons somewhere. it's environmentally responsible - millions of disposable diapers (predominantly from the U.S.) end up in landfills every year - ew! it's (usually) economically smart. so far, ezri's adorable little diaper stash has cost us about $350 - the average cost of disposable diapering from 0 to potty-training (which takes longer and longer it seems these days) is anywhere from $1500 to $3000 depending on what you have to buy. and i say have to buy, because as many parents will tell you, every baby is different and what works on one will break another out. and that brings me to another reason: have you seen what they put in 'sposies? the gels and fibers that are designed to "wick away" moisture from baby are often things that were banned from use in cosmetics designed for adults. plus - i hate the smell of the disposable diaper aisle, it is soooo weird.


okay, i have a degree, i've written papers, so i can't leave you with some of these statements without backing them up. some sources are:

Diaper Jungle -

this site has excellent "how-to's" and listings of small businesses who make the oh-so-cute diapers locally etc. it also has a couple of great pages with "history" of diapering and all the "why's" for cloth diapers... and my personal favorite, snappy comebacks for the slight critical curious stranger. although, i have to say we have mainly encountered bewilderment, surprise or bemused support and no hostility.

Cotton Babies and the Fuzzi Bunz Store -

personal favorites of mine, these sites are mainly retail with a bit of how to, a blog and some fun natural parenting and eco friendly clothing, toys and product other than their great diapers. i could get into my personal preferences and what i like to use but, that's another day or a conversation you can have with me via message ;) both of these companies have great facebook pages and good discussion and how to action goes on there.

okay, and now for storefronts: 

Green Bambino -
eric and i were able to visit a physical store in oklahoma city when i was about 8 months pregnant. the green bambino is a fabulous little store and the women who work there are all cloth diapering natural mamas who are ready a willing to school you in the massive array of styles and techniques that have appeared on the scene in the last like, 15 years. the owner knows her stuff and it's just a plain fun place to be! i wish we lived closer.

The Nappy Shoppe
the same goes for the nappy shoppe in allen, tx (DFW metro area)... my brother and sister-in-law decided to do cloth and we searched high and low in their area for a storefront before owen was born. we came up with this place, sharni and her crew have only recently started to do open houses and appointments in their workshop/storefront... their main business seems to come from the website. nappy shoppe sells several varieties of cloth diapers and all the trappings, plus sharni makes and sells gorgeous diaper bags, wetbags (i love mine!) and their own type of pocket diaper inserts ... we were able to go with ian and brittany on their appointment and she walked them through all sorts of diapering options and it was great to see them get excited about doing this for their baby and themselves!

Sweet Cheeks LLC -
okay, so until recently, i did not know that this store: sweet cheeks llc. existed in our own wichita, kansas! i have "liked" them on facebook and am eager to go visit. they sell a couple of my favorite diapers, and seem to be plugged in to a great natural parenting community i didn't know existed in this part of kansas! of course, i find this as we're looking for jobs that may lead us elsewhere but it still makes me pretty happy.

in conclusion =) if you're interested in cloth diapering:

- new parents/parents to be, visit a store! it will get you motivated. you can do CD'ing for as little as $200 if you do it right... or you can be like us and be seduced by all the fun prints, clever designs, and urge to find the perfect nappy and be mid-range ($300-$500 investment)

- ask around, you may be surprised who's doing this and you don't even know

- my mom (and mom in law actually) was a great confidence builder and cheerleader, your family will probably support you once you tell them why you're interested in doing this

- never too late to start. just because you have a one year old doesn't mean you can't start now. he/she will have at least another year in diapers - you could save $1000! and at least in our income, that's a chunk.

- if you're brave, ask me anything you'd like - i may not know it all, but i have learned you can geek out over anything, including diapers. yes, diapers.



okay, my siblings and i are old enough now to admit... there were times when we did actually roll our eyes at our mother. i denied this vehemently during the years american culture expects you to... i did not want to be THAT kind of teenager (instead i was a weird conservative/christian/slightly granola homeschooler) BUT i will now say it: i rolled my eyes when my mother would talk about something she was passionate about.

like breastfeeding. or being a homemaker. or homeschooling. or politics. feminism.

in the last few weeks though, i've realized something incredibly cool about motherhood. it increases your passion, your determination and your commitment levels threefold... at least! i may have occasionally rolled my eyes at my truly incredible mom, but it was with a level of pride in the fact that she is an educated, loving and intelligent woman who has no shame in stating her priorities of God and family first. she is evangelical about all the things that make her life so full and interesting. she is evangelical because she wants others to have the same experiences, because she is a teacher and wants everyone to know good news in any form.

so how is motherhood changing me? what perspectives are being heightened, altered, or opened up for me?

well, i have certainly gotten evangelical. i feel like this should almost be an apology to anyone who "follows" my facebook feed... i am obsessed with cloth diapering, lactivism and parenting articles! i have become what i feared so easily, and i am enjoying it without shame... and without feeling like i've lost my identity.

mommyhood is re-awakening old expectations and desires, hopes i had for my grown up life. so many of the things i am reveling in now are things i'd quietly put away to the back of my heart. after the upheaval of my early twenties, i had told myself that things like babies and hope and a husband that says things like, "i like taking care of you" or "i like that you are your own person", and having the chance to stay at home (*gasp* me? a SAHM?) were chances expired.

someday, i hope i'll remember to share with ezri how she has changed my life for the better from the instant i knew we were expecting her. so many things eric and i choose to do now, we do with greater commitment and vehemence because we know making or breaking habits we have now will *hopefully* help us build a better life for her. i want to get up early in the morning, and she's certainly good at helping with that, and keep going... i want to cut expenses and save and buy smart because every little thing we choose to do now is enabling us to make the best home for her.

so - things on my mind that i hope to share my evangelical fervor about:

- raising girls of substance and dimension in our culture
- breastfeeding and "natural"/baby-led weaning to real people food
- cloth diapering
- frugal and simple living
- our research and first steps in unschooling/homeschooling
- choosing to stay at home with my incredible little girl

nothing truly original i know... but things i feel prompted to talk about, to pass on. this week, i've had the exciting experience of becoming an auntie and it has made me realize already that nearly 3 months of my little girls life has flown by. seeing ian and brittany take their first wonderful and frightening steps into parenthood has increased my love and gratitude to my family and my desire to record my thoughts and feelings right now. i don't know what format all these thoughts will survive on til ezri is ready to read them... by then a "blog" might sound like a telegram or airmail letter is starting to sound to us, but i want her to have a taste of what her mama was like on this cold dry february morning in kansas, 2011.

i feel compelled. maybe i'll even become evangelical.


i am thankful for...

a husband who is a pro at folding cloth diapers and putting baby to sleep

our sweet sleeping little girl

incredible family who pray for us every day

friends that i can still talk to for almost two hours over the phone, who rejoice with me, groan with me, and encourage me

the security that i can only credit God for creating in my choice to just focus on being a mama right now

the blessings that are yet to come, that we don't ever deserve, that God simply holds in store for us because (and I understand this better every day now) we are his children and he will always give us what we need.


it's hard to believe that ezri is almost 10 weeks old. she's 2 1/2 months... and filling out all of her sleepers and onesies with gorgeous rolls of chub. there is no more beautiful baby, i am mesmerized by her sweet smiles and little "words"... it is truly a sweet time in my life, the sweetest yet. i never knew that this was coming. there is now a part of me that can comfort the broken hearted person i was 5 years ago and rejoice in stepping into a new role that will grow and change with me every day for the rest of my life. the most challenging role i will ever play... and i am thankful for it.