I’m only here to highlight Rebekah’s blog because this guy

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is taking up most of my time and I haven’t figured out how to do things like simultaneously write and mother like she has. But thankfully her recent posts say so many things I have been thinking that I can simply direct you there. I cannot imagine why I have been so blessed with friendships like the ones I have.

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January 15, 2013 · 5:22 pm

It took me three tries to remember my password to get in here; has it been that long? I suppose I have just spent all my time being pregnant and teaching and not being reflective. I think this year has been the least reflective year of my life. I don’t go to coffee shops anymore, journal or book in hand, to struggle over some philosophical tidbit. Somewhere in there I lowered my standards  immensely and got practical, and folding laundry while watching 30 Rock began to sound like a great night. It’s hard to sit still now and I no longer identify with Mary. Martha, though, I totally get and I am a little disgruntled about the whole story when I think about it.

However, school got out today and now I don’t have to think about my little children for such a long time! That is a terrible mindset. I read all these sentimental teachers and I just can’t identify. I love my students, yes, but I was truly bitter and resentful when they gave me the flu last week and I’m so tired of their well-intentioned but oh-so-constant questioning and touching. I am as happy as a clam to hand them over to my maternity leave sub, and it is the most delicious feeling to think I can concentrate on my baby now. Lack of sleep, etc, notwithstanding, I can be a hermit for three whole months with someone who can’t talk!

Being pregnant is utterly fascinating and I wish I had kept some sort of journal during this time. To sum up 40 weeks of not blogging, my pregnancy has gone like this:

Montha 1-2: Utter excitement over that little postive line. Manic research into nutrition, fitness, birth options, etc.

Months 3-4: Blew the food budget and grand nutritional plans and ate lots of humble pie as nausea laid me low. I was no match for it. Lowest point: throwing up into a bag in my car at a stop light next to a truck full of construction workers.

Months 5-8: Felt fantastic. Got back into yoga and eating right and finally started to feel connected to the baby with his kicks and movements.

I am in month 9 of course, and still am blessed to feel so good. Now I am just a manic lady who spends a lot of time cleaning and “setting up,” and still not much time reflecting, unless incessant chatter about birth and pregnancy counts. The last three days I’ve had so many contractions I think labor is starting every time, which had finally made me more reflective, at least about the indimidating process through which babies leave their mother’s bodies. Waiting for birth is very interesting. It is not like getting proposed to or asked out by the man you love (with the uncertainty of “Will it ever happen?”) or waiting for a wedding (which has a certain date). Birth will come; but there is an enormous window for timing and how it will proceed, and I find it’s a bit of work to just wait and relax until it comes.

I hope I will have time–or rather take the time– to write about motherhood when it is still new for me. The adjustment started way back with marriage, when I gave up my own life for an “ours.” I have a sense of it now, in that for months my choices have affected my baby and any autonomony I still retained in marriage is now gone. Someone will be completely dependent on me and it will be an even deeper experience of my life not being my own.

I think birth control has changed our view of children. I think recently people view children as commodities, and that we have them because they are cute, or protect us from loneliness, or can amuse us. If we have too many, too soon, too close together, then people wonder why we weren’t better planners, and aren’t exactly sympathetic. Children are more often than not planned these days, which can be a huge blessing, but sometimes I think it makes it hard to remember that they are the natural fruit of marriage (and in fact “planning” could be more accurately termed “stopping it from happening every 18 months or so”). God puts most of us in marriages, and he gives most of us children, and both are central ways through which we serve him for most of our lives. I read somewhere that having a baby–bringing new life into the world– is an act of hope and great faith, because to do so you must trust that God is restoring and saving a chaotic and seemingly increasingly evil world. Sometimes I am afraid if I complain about nausea or eventually colic or diapers that people might say, “Well, you asked for this.”

Remembering that having children is an actual direction from God for most people helps me think through what is coming any day now. We are literally about to receive a gift from God, and it will be a little eternal soul on whom his blessing already rests, and for whom he has great plans.  This week in an attempt to jumpstart labor, I have been walking, taking vitamins, scrubbing floors on my hands and knees– anything that will get labor started so I can take advantage of my Christmas break and be home with him longer. I think I need to include having a quiet soul on that list, and becoming a mother who knows from whom her child comes.

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Babies

belly pics

Finally showing!

Ever since I found out I was pregnant I had meant to post about it, but here I am at 21 weeks.

Let me say this: I no longer judge pregnant women. Maybe for smoking, but really– I had no idea. I envisioned a maternal world of healthy eating, vitamins and exercise, with my ever-present strong will to guide me. My strong will abandoned me, however, at exactly 7.5 weeks. Pregnancy has a way of taking you down a notch, perhaps in preparation for how sleep deprivation and spit-up will later humble you– although I cannot imagine how anything can steal your dignity like gratefully throwing up in your car at a stop light. Some of my poor friends had it much worse, but I got enough of morning (=all day) sickness and aversions to get an idea.

Everyone asks you what your cravings are, but forget cravings: I hated almost every healthy food I used to love. I had never been a picky eater but I finally got a bit of sympathy for what my husband experiences when I drop a generous helping of vegetables onto his plate. I thought motherly instincts would kick in, but reminding myself that choking down a vitamin would impact my baby’s neurological  development seemed to have no impact. I know that sounds unimaginable, and that is partially why I am writing this down: because I am already forgetting how awful it was and how weak one’s will can become when nausea enters the scene. So if you are pregnant and sick, you have ALL my sympathy.

Thankfully, for me the second trimester has been completely different. As long as I constantly eat, the sickness has disappeared, and the lovely parts of motherhood have begun. The sweet, obvious belly made its appearance and everyone around me instantly doubled in kindness. I don’t suck in my stomach anymore for pictures. I can go twice as long without washing my hair. I can feel the baby now– not the uncomfortable all-night-long kicks that I believe are coming later, but the tiny movements that remind there is a person inside. I finally feel like a mother, not just a sick pregnant lady. Here’s to the second trimester, then, and to hopefully posting before a another one goes by!

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August 12, 2012 · 7:43 pm

My sister got me hooked on this site. My whole life I have adored before and after anything, but is it bad that I have to scroll down to make sure the picture I was about to admire is the after, and not the before? As if someone were watching over my shoulder ready to pounce if I mistakenly like the ugly thing we made over.

I just read a badly written post on the evils of pinterest. Pinterest undoubtedly has its evils (like sucking days off your life), but hey now– please don’t forget there are people out there like me who really need help on outfits or decorating or how to curl your hair from time to time. It’d be cool to have instincts to guide me on things like that, but we aren’t all so blessed. I will admit it any day: I am a shameless copycat and care way more about something being pretty than original. I just keep original friends around to copy.

That’s probably a leftover from high school and those terrifying days of being so far outside fashion that even vaguely imitating anything trendy was exhilarating. Bring it on, pinterest robot houses and outfits!

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March 7, 2012 · 10:03 pm

What I Am Not

This is my family, minus two brothers and a sister-in-law. I am thankful for them.

I have been unbelievably discouraged by work lately, and have had to face the awful thought that has only lurked here and there before: maybe I can’t do this. Even the thought is quite a blow to my pride.

The thoughts go like this: Really, now. You just “aren’t cut out” to help the disadvantaged, even though that’s what Jesus said to do. You really can’t handle what thousands of urban public school teachers handle every year. Single mothers are doing your job and managing. You– who has received more love and care than almost anybody– you can’t do it?

The past two weeks I had parents get so angry at me they pulled their daughter out of school. I have another who had to get staples in his head from a “domestic disturbance” and has been so defiant since I’ve had to suspend him twice. Another is caring for her baby siblings all night and literally can’t stay awake during the day to get through reading. Since coming to me for reading her scores have dropped by half.

I know that this is nothing unique to my school, and sounds straight out of a movie– the kind where a passionate, unorthodox teacher bursts onto the scene, wins over all the rebellious students and defies the expectations of them all. I wish! Sometimes I do know what to do, but even then I just can’t get it all in.

I am not a teacher who has burst onto the scene but I do not mean this to be self-depreciating, either. I am having to come to terms with my limits. Perhaps I am more fragile than I have claimed; perhaps I am more  vulnerable to stress and difficulty than I like to think. I compare and compare and compare, and want to be TODAY one of those tough women who can handle anything, with grace and wisdom and awesome hair, too. I want to be able to handle anything at work and come home and have energy left over for my husband and friends.

The reality is that I am doing my best, and yet there are people better at this than I am. It’s actually a wonderful thing to accept that. Of course there are those who are better! Of course I am not the answer! In the end, for a time, God has given me this. If it came to the point that I had to look for something else, it would be hard but it would not be the worst thing.

I don’t always come home burdened with students and work, and some weekends, in fact, I enjoy my blissfully stress-free moments without a thought of the week before. or the week to come. (Is that what it means to compartmentalize? Must be nice.) This weekend it’s hard not to dwell on some of the bad stories that surfaced this week, but I am incredibly thankful for a Saviour to whom I can go.

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March 3, 2012 · 3:04 am

Hello, 27

So many post in one day! The other ones were drafts. This is the only one I started today.

My magic gluten-free miracle cure apparently takes more than three weeks to work. I got slammed with three different mini-sicknesses (granted, one was a canker sore, but holy COW  this was a bad one) in one week, and on my birthday, no less.

I turned 27, which signals the beginning of the end. Did you know that? Women’s bodies peak in beauty and fitness at the tender age of 26. I heralded the occasion with my special sick-in-bed hair, red nose, and saggy sweatpants. I will not let that knowledge defeat me of course, but it is too bad that I only found that out when I had three days of being 26 left. I would have appreciated being that age so much more! But really– bodies that work, healthy food, and opportunities to work out are blessings that so many miss out on. 27 will be my year of gratefulness, then!

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My Hoity-Toity Ways

One of the interesting things about being married to Pocho is that he is not a jaded postmodern American. I’m still plenty hoity-toity, but I used to be reallllly stuck up about things (as in I never would have used more than two “l’s” in “really” no matter how badly I wanted to make a point). I remember being in college, shedding every evangelical trapping I possibly could, and making fun of it if possible. There were a few sacred things I left alone, but most were fair game.

To be fair, I had significantly overdosed on Christian music as a kid. Also, to be fair, almost every Christian song on the  radio is indistinguishable from the next. But in my predictable reactionary swing the other way, I basically condemned the whole genre as dumb (Sandra and Indelible Grace excluded, ob-viously). That a sheltered kid went to college and swung here and there is not news, nor that I got arrogant about my new knowledge. I thought everything I thought was new, of course.

I read on facebook an old acquaintance’s sarcastic comment about avoiding churches that would be “certain-popular-Christian-artist hell.” I understand the thought, but the disdain for family bothers me. That’s something I might have said in my eagerness to mock: may I ever appear informed and distanced from the simple.

When I went to Peru, and fell in love with Pocho, he was just entering seriously into the things of God. He was excited, fresh, and full of thoughts about God and others. He loved music and was thrilled to discover afresh current Christian music.

I was thinking, “Hey baby, let’s find Truth in this indie song,” and he was thinking, “Wow, this great band is singing about God and I love it.”

As a hardcore people-pleaser, it’s so strange to love someone who loves things like that, without stopping to consider if they are sufficiently original, politically correct, and avoid undesirable connections.

In my eagerness to escape the evangelical subculture and its flaws, I considered many things, and specifically of Christian music, not just as something to better, but stupid. Sometimes things ought to be labeled stupid, but it is very hard for someone young like me to distinguish between “That is dumb” and “That is dumb– and I am better.”

I was humbled to be with Pocho and see so visibly my arrogance. I watched him get a wobbly youth group off the ground and form a band, where I remembered to worship using simple words, too.

Don’t think I am saying we must embrace mediocre expressions of Christianity. I think true Christianity should produce truly great art. I think Christians should lessen the great division between sacred and secular, and instead search for the big three– Beauty, Goodness, and Truth.

I just see so much arrogance in my generation, considering ourselves so specially enlightened because we took some classes and read some books. I think we would do well to spend some time in the trenches with people who are not so inundated with Christian resources, or those who have not been privileged with hours to spend reading and dissecting theology. I’m a lover of hymns and liturgy, but Jesus seemed to have a lot to say about fancy people with fancy words.

Most of Christian music could be more original, less commercial, etc. etc., but the fact is that is blesses and encourages countless believers every day. The fact is I live in a place where I can turn on the radio and hear songs sung to God, while so many believers in so many countries  go hungry for encouragement.

Of course I cringe frequently listening to the radio, and sometimes in churches. But as someone who has the richness of literally hundreds of Bible verses forever stuck in her mind from Christian kids’ music, I can’t pretend that I’m in a position to stick my nose in the air. I’m too blessed to get to be anything but grateful. It may have been quite the subculture with its own oddities and flaws, but hey!—we’re family.

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