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Hey! Ho! To Texas I go!

Hey! Ho! For a mo-onth or so!

And I really wanna see ya, really wanna see ya.

I want you to know.

Hey! Ho! To Texas I go!

–my poem for today. the end.


Very, very, extremely important goals for this month:

1. See lots of friends.

2. Eat lots of pie (I might be willing to share some).

3. Go bungee jumping.

4. Get a tan, and let Jack go out in the sun with SPF 800 on a lot.

5. Think 85% of the time about non-dysfunctional situations in my life (hmmm…still deciding what those might be) and spend the other 15% supporting via phone some of my favorite people in the whole wide world who either are dysfunctional or are living in dysfunctional situations…or both.  But I don’t think I’m dysfunctional…yet.  Is that dysfunctional?

6.  Take Jack to see the REAL Lightning McQueen (are there any car races happening this month?) Ke-chow!

7. Write music about running through fields of wild flowers in dresses.

8. Run through fields of wild flowers in a dress.

9. Read lots of books about non-dysfunctional people who have non-dysfunctional thoughts, like, say, “Elmo And Friends Go On A Picnic”.

10. Go on a picnic.

11. Help those of my pregnant friends deliver their babies?  Hmm?  Don’t worry, I won’t steal your baby…

12.  Do all of this after I sleep for a week straight.

Whoosh, I’ve needed a vacation…

P.S. April 11, 2009, Life Community Church in Mt. Prospect, Illinois, 7 pm, The In-Between Service, me, music (with a banjo, an accordion and a glockenspiel…hyah!).  If you live in Illinois and would like to come to an Easter Service that happens on Saturday night, and would like to see me play an extremely short set, and be so nervous from stupid, pitiful stage fright that I might fall off the stage, then come. I’m claiming Christ’s victory over stage fright right now.

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Hey…uh…I missed you guys.  So I’m just writing to tell you that.

You know, the winter is FINALLY starting to pass in ole Chicago.  It’s not the harshness of the winter here that bothers me.  The pastey, vitamin D deficient skin of my young spawn bothers me only a little.  It’s the length of the winter that bothers me.  It. Is. So. Freaking. Long. Come flowers! Come warmth! Come Sunny Sun Sun-ee! Come to me!  But now I hear some little birds that are chirping and staring at the slightly scary, hard-core-to-live-in-sub-zero-temperatures squirrels bounding away with leaves in their mouths. I feel the spring a-comin’.  It’s comin’ round the bend. And I ain’t seen the sunshine since…I don’t know when.  (Sorry, it was just so very fitting. Oh, Johnny, Johnny…I love you.)

No, actually this May marks the one year anniversary of Jack and I’s passage to Chicago, and up until about 2 weeks ago, I had no idea whether we were supposed to stay longer.  But I got my answer and we will stay indefinitely for now.  It just floors me that it’s been a year already.  It’s been a beautiful year of growing more in love with Nathan’s–my– family.  Though not an easy year, really.  Still bumpily learning to live as a single mother and without Nathan. Lots of learning about the past and wishing we didn’t still hurt from it.  Lots of learning about the present and wishing it might not hurt many years from now.  Lots of asking God to please make a peaceful life for us when we feel like we are a mess.  Then asking again at the next new mess.  And then again. And He will, we know, the question is just– when?

The last few weeks have been especially crazy– the biggest trial Nate’s family has had to face since he died, though it  most definitely pales in comparison to his death for myself– and I ache for them and especially for how it might affect my Jackabee. My Bible study had fallen to the wayside, so it felt like slipping in a warm bath to start studying it again this week. God brought me to a certain psalm that Moses probably wrote just after his brother, Aaron, and not too long after his sister, Miriam, died.  The parts that spoke to me most said this:

“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may have wisdom.

Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble.  May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children.

May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the works of our hands for us– Yes, establish the works of our hands.”

Yes!  That’s my prayer, Lord!  I want to count everyday as important, and live this life wisely, joyfully, fully. I want joy in my life even as it feels like it can be afflicted with so much trouble sometimes. I want Your joy to course through my body and take over, even when it doesn’t make sense!  No matter how much I screw up and have screwed it up, please, please Lord…establish the works of my hands.  Make every part of my life glorify You. Make beauty out of my ashes…

I did my spring cleaning a couple of days ago.  Aaahhh.  Something spiritual about cleaning out my home, which makes my mind feel cleaned, which makes my heart feel cleaned.  With this cleaning, this shedding of the winter, comes that Hope again that God gives us just when we need it.  And I had such Hope that I wrote new verses on all of our mirrors.  Such a college dorm room thing to do, I know, but, hey,scripture verse, cross-stitched pillows are not my style, so it works for me…  But in searching through my Bible once again to write something on Jack’s mirror, He brought me to this:

“I life up my eyes to the hills– where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip– he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you– the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you day, nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm– he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going, both now and forevermore.”

And that comforted me.  It’s an especially comforting one for a mother to write over her little one when she’s worried.  And I realized this week as I was thinking about the year we’ve been in Chicago, that He really has watched over us so well.  He’s watched over those of us here and those of us there. He’s watched over our laughter and watched over our tears. He’s watched over our coming and our going.  He’s watched over our breaking trials and stupid mistakes.  And He’s let me grow more from them and He’s let Jack get even more dashing and handsome (He’s offering me invisible coffee from a sippee cup as we speak, and saying, “Mmmm, coffee…it’s stho deliciousth!” Writing a 2-year-old’s lisp is hard. Go with me here. Also, can you tell I’m a coffee addict?).  I’m so thankful. Even for the hard stuff that it takes to make me stronger.

But I’m especially thankful for the Hope of Spring, the Hope of Redemption.  I cannot think of the coming of Spring without thinking of the hopeful words that have begun so many important times in my life:

“Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me.  See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone.  Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land.  The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.  Arise, come, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me.”

As I guess I expected, some parts of this year were a little easier than last, but other parts were a little harder. But this beautiful and hard first year of living in Chicago has nearly come to end.    The word “redemption” seems to echo over my weary heart (Maybe I’m actually hearing in it real life, too, since it’s Lent and I’m thinking about Jesus redeeming us…duh. Anyway, you’ll endure my drama so I can get my point across.). I’m excited to see what God does with all of us in this next year.

I love you, guys.  I just needed to talk to you about it. :)  Thanks for listening.

jack-and-jack-frost

Jack and Jack Frost wishing you a Merry Christmas.

mr

Our friend, pre-surgery.  You’ll see what I mean in a minute.

snowman-kiss

The cute mandatory kiss I always make him give to things in order to serve my selfish motherly pride of seeing my kid be really cute and sweet.

eating-nose

Cute and sweet turned a bit weird when Jack ate Jack Frost’s nose.  At first I tried to stop him, saying things like, “But Jack, we don’t eat our friends noses!”  But then I realized he was eating his vegetables, so I stopped… and let him.  He also ate part of my aloe vera plant that morning.  He was in a weird mood.  At first I tried to stop him, thinking, “I shouldn’t let him eat house plants!”  But then I realized it was a harmless aloe vera plant (well, okay, I checked online to see if it was okay first), and he was eating a vegetable-like substance.  So when he wanted more…I let him.

merry-christmas

Well, Merry Christmas, anyway, everyone. :) We love you!

Babies…

I’m thinking now that just about everyone that was pregnant at the time when I was pregnant with Jack has either by now had 1 to 2 more children, or is pregnant again as we speak. There are people that had no children when Jack was born that now have 2 children.  As of last week, 4 of my closest girl friends were all pregnant at the same time.  Now, I am truly ecstatic for all of them, let there be no question. Truly. Ecstatic. Ecstatic. Truly. Ecstuly. Tratic.

And, as all of these special women know, it’s also hard for me.  Since most of them live far away from me, it was easier to just be truly ecstatic because I didn’t have to be involved in the daily joyful process of growing bellies and giggles over tiny kicks that I just want so badly to feel again for myself.  That is, until my sister-in-law, who lives 1 block away from me, told me she was also pregnant. She wasn’t sure how to tell me, she said she even felt bad telling me (what a gracious sister she is), so she’d known for 2 weeks without telling me.  I was stunned, because I knew the baby was a surprise.  Well, surprise!  I looked like a deer in a headlight for a moment, smiled, laughed a little, and told her congratulations…and then against the will of every atom that makes up my body, I accidentally cried.  I accidentally cried a long time.  She came and sat on my lap, and hugged me.  So we sat and cried happily and nervously for the little doodle growing in her belly, and we sat and cried sadly for my empty belly.

This was about 2 or 3 weeks before Thanksgiving/Happy Heaven Day for Nathan, so I was already struggling emotionally and spiritually with my losses.  All these pregnant women, and one to stare at daily…I got angry with God about it.  I mean, Death was never His wish for any of us, but Life is only given by Him.  So why, at the most painful time of the year, was He increasing my pain by surrounding me with what I couldn’t have?  I don’t talk about them often, but Nathan and I had planned on having at least 2 more children, who were named Daisy Grace and Finnegan – who never got a middle name.  (By the way, if I hear of any of you naming your children these names after this post, I will come through the computer and strangle you…just so you know. Ahem.  Love you, though.)  I grieve them as if they were real people.  Not like I grieve Nathan, but like in the way if we had found out that Jack would be our last child and we could never have children again.   We wanted them, and, even now, I want them still.

Upon hearing of Mandi’s little doodle, I then took a few weeks to myself where I didn’t see them much.  I did it in order to work out my anger at the fact that I cannot have children at the moment, and can never have Daisy or Finnegan. I wanted to be fully happy for them, without feeling this selfish, stupid, lingering sadness that was all about me. It was a good and much needed addressing of an issue I had not really brought up with God much.  I became more okay with God’s plan for me to mother Jack only for now, I let go a little more of little Daisy and Finnegan, and I worked out that the reason they were never born was not because I would not have been a good mother to them, but for different reasons. After a couple of weeks, I felt stronger and my anger fully subsided, so I went over to her house.  I told her I was sorry I had avoided her, and she admitted she had felt hurt by my avoidance but forgave me.  We hugged, where I proclaimed the little doodle a girl, and told her I was going to teach her prenatal yoga and attempt to guess where the baby’s head was located on a weekly basis in her already growing belly.

The next day, she miscarried the baby.

Mandi and Tim came home from the hospital, sat on my couch, and we all cried a little. We cried for the little soul we would never know in this life.

“Now we can spit at all the pregnant women we see together,” Mandi wearily joked.  And we laughed, though we both know we’ll have to rise above spitting at pregnant women.  Actually, I prefer beebee guns.

I knew that they both knew it, but I had to say this sentence: “Guys, you know…this doesn’t make me feel better.  I loved that baby, too.”  Because I did love that baby of theirs that I never knew.  And they knew it.

Yesterday, we went out in the snow, and dug a hole.  Mandi had made a soft little bag for the tiny baby out of the corner of a bassinet sheet with pretty ribbon around the edge.  We laid the baby down in the hole, and said prayers lifting her to Heaven.  Her? I don’t know.  We think so, maybe.  We thanked God for her, and asked that her Uncle Nathan could help watch over her until we get there.  Nathan… Only a father for 3 months to his own child, but possibly fathering many babies who got to go straight to Heaven instead of face the cruel world.  We sang “Silent Night” for her… Holy infant so tender and mild. Sleep in Heavenly peace.  Sleep in Heavenly peace.

We were laying down Tim and Mandi’s tiny baby in that hole, but I was also laying down Daisy That Never Was and Finnegan That Will Never Be.  With the hope that though I may not have those babies–no more of Nathan’s babies–maybe there will be other ones, someday.

Goodbye, Little Doodle niece of mine.  I’ll see you again, bub.  Goodbye, Daisy Grace. Goodbye, Finnegan who never got a middle name.  I won’t see you, but I love the thought of you two.

Then we went inside the warm house, hugged the babies we still have, and listened to them giggle until they wore themselves out.

Thank You, God.

Since I have established that we are, in fact, alive, some have asked for pictures.  Sheesh, if you give a mouse a cookie… Nah, I’m kidding.  Pictures:

lumberjack

Jack’s Halloween costume this year…a lumberjack. I made him “flapjacks” for breakfast, too.  Arf, arf. I’m a goof for Halloween. Does it make me unspiritual if it’s actually one of my favorite, maybe favorite, holiday?  Note the glued on mutton chops and chest hair…

chesthair

See?

laughyThe boys are still laughy, crazy, and driving their mothers insane–with joy, of course.

bottom

I have always felt that I wouldn’t be a good mother if I didn’t publicly display a picture of my naked children somewhere at some point…

ks-wedding

One of my best friends, Katy, got married, and it was so good to see so many friends.  I also sang, “Be Thou My Vision”. Yes, I performed.  That rarely happens nowadays because I’m also too scared.

memere

This is an older picture, but I love it.  This is when Jack’s Memere gave him his birthday present of Elmo sprinkler.  He had to be naked to fully enjoy it.  Actually, he’s naked a lot.  One of life’s joys is to be naked, I think, so I encourage it in my younguns.  I don’t encourage public nudity, though.  Just to make it clear, you know.

beach-days

One of those beach days I was talking about.  This was middle of September, I think.

mom

My mom and a couple of good family friends came up to visit.  We had a great time having high noon tea at the American Girl Doll Musuem, though I can’t say the same for Jack, who was forced to sit next to an American Girl doll that was attached to the table by a doll high chair.  Also, he might have been embarrassed that he looked like a dork with his jeans hiked up his calves, exposing white ankle socks with black shoes.  It really wasn’t his best day…

winterhat1

My sister-in-law, Mandi’s, mother knit Jack a winter hat.  He is obsessed with it, and has worn it 24/7 for at least 5 days now.  He even sleeps in it. And yes, he is eating hot dog, peanut butter puff cereal, and goldfish crackers for lunch.  I hadn’t been to the grocery store in awhile.  Don’t judge me.  Besides, they were whole wheat goldfish crackers.

jacks-outfit

And finally, what happens when one lets a 2 year old choose his own outfit.  We’ve got the favored winter knit hat, a 2 sizes too small onesie unable to snap over his bulk, swim trunks that are 2 sizes too big (by the way, it snowed here last night…it was beautiful too), and lumberjack house booties.  He’s on his way to becoming…a man that chooses his own clothing. :)

Funniest Jack story as of late:  I have Shakira’s “Wherever, Whenever” as my ringtone.  Jack now has most of the words memorized, and sings along with me whenever my phone rings.  I’m working on teaching him Latin dancing, too.

Yay. I’ll work on uploading a video, Melyssa.

I’m really, a lot frustrated.  My computer is broken again–this time 10,000x worse than before, because now it seems to be the hard drive.  I’m actually kind of worried that I might lose some videos and pictures of Jack I hadn’t saved in another place…Please God, protect those.  I feel like spitting.

So, I guess that means another blogging break, because it is super troublesome to lug Jack out to the library to blog while he’s climbing on bookshelves and making a small mountain of books in the middle of the room.  Sorry, guys.  Maybe it won’t take them very long to fix it.

On another note, Friday would be Nathan’s 26th birthday.  I miss him.   But we’re doing well right now.  Maybe we’ll do something fun on Friday with the family.  I think we might go to a fun pub and tell funny stories about him.  That would be good.

Welp, I’ll be back soon with something more interesting to say, but I thought I’d tell you before it was a month past that my computer is down again.  So…see you soon.

It takes a certain amount of desperation to ask a prostitute for directions while she’s on her street corner.  A level of desperation that hopefully none of you have experienced outside of me.  The first time (yes, it’s been more than once), I was in France on a senior trip. There were 4 or 5 of us girls- we’d had a night out at some fancy dinner or something- and got lost on the way back to our hotel.  We’d been walking awhile, as I recall (some of you’s girls are reading this right now and can fill in more details), and our hotel was across a major highway with no bridge or anything to get across to it.  Lacking the ability to speak French, the only, I mean only, person we could find to ask was a pretty French girl, who obviously could have been doing much better with her life, who was standing on the corner in fishnets, a really really mini skirt, and stillettos. I think we made her angry.  She ignored us as a car drove by that shouted something to her and she yelled back with an added rude gesture.  We ended up stopping a cab–who refused to take us there because he said it was too close–but led us to a bridge or something anyway.

The second time I nearly asked a prostitute for directions was last week.  You’ll soon find out why it was nearly.  I should probably include here that I have gotten lost nearly everytime I venture out into the city.  Yes, I have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad sense of direction.  But it’s not entirely my fault.  The city of Chicago expects everyone to have lived here a long time and just know intuitively where they are going.  Therefore, street labeling is optional.  And they change the name of the street however often they please so it doesn’t really matter if you know the street name anyway, you need to intuitively know what it will morph into in another block. Also, mean people who like to cut you off live in cities.  Also, all streets are one-way, so if you miss your street, you’ll have to drive around in a square for another hour.  Anyway, on this particular sunny, prostitute-inhabited day, I was driving home from church when the silly city decided not to label which direction the highway I was supposed to take would go, and I got stuck on a tollroad that I had to pay 3 stupid bucks for.  Though I didn’t know it, I drove to the complete opposite side of the city, and eventually found a street name that I knew led to my house.  But, oh, the friendly little street that I knew had transformed into evil, I-don’t-want-to-be-here, lock-my-doors street.  At a stop light, a couple of drunks stumbled into the front of my car.  That was my first freakout.  The second was when a bus suddenly had a bright idea to flatten my car, pulled out into the street, heard me honk, and ignored me while I nearly had to drive into oncoming traffic.  I wasn’t even completely sure the road wouldn’t run out and not take me where I thought I was going, so I rolled down my window to ask for directions from a woman with her turned away from me on the street.  She had just come out of a building and appeared to be straightening her shirt.  My mouth was open to call, when she turned around and I could see she was a prostitute.  Still “straightening” her shirt, but a little stoned perhaps, didn’t quite recognize that her breast was popping out.  It was breast popping out that clued me in to her occupation and made me think that, you know, though she could have been a really nice prostitute, maybe this wasn’t the best time to ask for directions.  Just maybe.  I quietly rolled my window up, and we followed the street until it thankfully lead us home.

What does all of this have to do with low tech/high tech as the title suggests?  Well, I’m afrad to admit that I’ve judge the GPS people in all my natural hippieness.  I thought they were gadget-obsessed techies who were looking for the latest computer whatever thingy.  I mean, why not just look at a map or, at the worst, on the internet for directions?  After my last little lost escapade, my mind wandered back to my parents’ visit a few weeks ago.  My dad had a GPS, I was snooty toward it at first, but then…it told us where to go like magic.  Took a wrong turn?  No problem.  Recomputing… Need to look up a place nearby? Come, peruse my pre-loaded annals of destinations.  Need to know where the closest gas station is?  Sure, I’ll tell you, Lauren.  Because I’m your best friend. I was hooked on its helpfulness.  After I explained my last lost story to them, my parents agreed to get my a GPS for an early birthday present.  And life, my friends, has been right on course, so to speak, since.  Driving-wise, anyway.

All of this to say, I’m sorry I judged you, high tech GPS people.

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