Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My Take

It's been four days since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. Four days, and I am still having trouble processing what happened there.

I'm bothered by many things. I'm bothered that someone killed 27 innocent people, the majority of them little children.

I am bothered that people blame one of the victims, the shooter's mom.

I'm bothered that people are turning this into an argument for atheism or for God's vengeance.

I'm bothered that people are turning this into an argument for gun control or for the second amendment.

I'm bothered that people are turning this into anything other than what it is: a horrible event that has dropped the bottom out of so many people's worlds.

I'm bothered that Facebook is yet again a place for inane narcissistic posting about what you ate, how far you ran, how great you are. And I'm bothered that it is also relegating this tragedy to another stupid, un-solvable political debate.

Tomorrow night is our church's youth group's Christmas party. I am to lead the youth in a devotion. What do I say?  "Merry Christmas, God loves you, let's pretend nothing horrific happened this week?"

No, I can't do that.

Instead, this is what I wrote:

In light of the recent Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy and Christmas, which is a traditionally religious holiday even among the non-religious, God’s name is getting tossed around a lot. 

People are questioning why God allowed this, if there even is a God, and if there is a God, what kind of God He is.

To help you sort through the many conflicting opinions you are hearing, allow me to share one thought.

Please, do not equate BEING MORAL with BEING A CHRISTIAN. There is a difference between being a good person and being a Christian. Again, being a good person is NOT the same thing as being a Christian. 

Being “moral” means that you do “good things” and that you don’t do “bad things.” Of course, being moral is wonderful. 

Being a Christian means that you know that everyone sins. Everyone, not just murderers. Not just cheaters. Not just thieves. Not just liars. You. and Me. We’re both sinners, hopelessly lost and unworthy of redemption. It means that you know there is no one who is “moral.”

Some people say that America asked for this shooting because the choices we Americans have made lately, the movies we watch, the games we play, do not please God. These people imply that this is “God’s punishment” because we are not moral enough.

There is no place for that kind of talk in Christianity.

Hear me now: God is not able to be kicked out of schools simply because His name is left out of school assemblies. He is not uncaring enough to rain down a school massacre just because we don’t pray before lunch in our cafeterias. 

God is very much in our schools because He is in your hearts. God is not limited by our invitation, by our acknowledgement, or by our moral behavior.

I don’t know what you take away from this week’s tragedy. What I take away is that this world is not my home. This world is broken, is full of hurting people on both sides of the gun, and is desperate for love. 

I, for one, look forward more than ever to heaven’s restorative, reparative, comforting home.

It is a home with doors flung wide open for you, opened by someone who Himself saw His child born into such a broken world as this and witnessed His own son's massacre. THAT God, the one who still showers us imperfect people with love and hope, THAT God is the true God.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell




Cloud Atlas is an artistic book, and I respect David Mitchell for that. This book has six different story lines in different parts of the world and in different time periods. He tells each story in halves, starting in the earliest time period and going to the future and then back again. (If that doesn’t make sense, the stories read like this: ABCDE F EDCBA.) As if it weren’t difficult enough to have six different settings with six different narrators, Mitchell created six very different narrators in six very different settings with six very different story lines, and he TIED THEM ALL TOGETHER.

Now, I’m not sure how to go about “reviewing” this book, and I’m even less sure after we had our book club meeting and we each came with a different impression of the book. (Dare I say, six very different impressions? Indeed, the number six was present an astounding and un-ignorable number of times.  I am curious why the number six had such a prominent place in the book. . .  I know that the number six is considered a perfect number because it is neither a square number nor a prime number, and I know that three sixes in succession signal the Most Feared Thing, and I wonder if Mitchell was using both meanings of the number? That his story is a true base for human life and that we should be warned about the current track we humans are on?)

Many reviews of this book claim that Mitchell illustrates the total depravity/selfishness/brutality of mankind. I would agree with that, in part. I think Mitchell is satirizing his view of humans and intends to make his readers re-think they way they live. But I also think he does a masterful job tapping into his creativity, and I am a firm believer that sometimes art is just art.

The first few stories are typical narratives with complicated characters and are neither anything to write home about nor a reason to put the book down. However, things really pick up in the first of the two futuristic stories (that would be story E using the above representation): pollution, cloning, and Big Government show the demise of the modern world, and in the most futuristic story (F), the world reverts back to a primitive state where only those who can work with the land instead of against it survive.

Gah, I don’t feel like I am portraying this book in a way that may want to make you read it. All I know is I talked about this book the whole time I read it. Maybe it was quotes like these that attached me to this book:

Disclaimer: These quotes made me stop and think. I do not necessarily agree with any of them, but I found them all to make me stop reading and ponder. Such is the mark of a good book, I think.

*Said by a very manipulative, secretly murderous doctor: “After years of working with missionaries, I am tempted to conclude that their endeavors merely prolong a dying race’s agony for ten or twenty years. . . Might it not be our duty to likewise ameliorate the savages’ sufferings by hastening their extinction? Think on your Red Indians . . . More humane, surely & more honest, just to knock the savages on the head & get it over with?”

Ouch...more humane to kill than to (pretend to? try to?) help?

*A conversation between a natural-born human and a clone who recently became free-thinking: (The human speaks, the clone narrates.) “These ... xistential qualms you suffer, they just mean you’re truly human.” I asked how I might remedy them. “You don’t remedy them. You live thru them.”

I think this caught my attention because we were never promised a life without stress/trouble/conflict; we were promised that we would have trouble but that someone who overcame that trouble was fighting for us.

*A conversation between an enlightened woman in the future and a “savage” of the future: (The woman speaks first. The Smart refer to those who lived in an “advanced” civilization like we do today.) "Smart mastered sicks, miles, seeds an’ made miracles ord’nary, but it din’t master one thing, nay, a hunger in the hearts o’humans, yay, a hunger for more.” More what, I asked. Old Uns’d got ev’rythin’. “Oh, more gear, more food, faster speeds, longer lifes, easier lifes, more power, yay. Now the Hole World is big, but it weren’t big ‘nuff for that hunger what made Old Uns rip out the skies an’ boil up the seas an’ poisin soil with crazed atoms an’ donkey ‘bout with rotted seeds so new plagues was borned and babbits [babies] was freak-birthed. Fin’ly, bit’ly, then quicksharp, states busted into bar’bric tribes an’ the Civ’lize Days ended, ‘cept for a few folds’n’pockets here’n’there, where its last embers glimmer.”

Yes, I can see how we have lots of gear, lots of foods, fast speeds on land and in the air, long and easy lives, and lots of power. I can also see how we are polluting the ozone, ruining the sea, damaging the soil, and promoting genetically-engineered seeds. I truly hope that my children and my children’s children do not live to see the day when barbaric tribes break out and organized nations disappear into an unruly mess.

Along the same lines, another section of the book describes how the government self-implodes: by over-empowering corporations. Another section mentions that diplomacy is for idiots-- only increasingly bloodier wars bring about change, change that ironically wipes out humanity.

Now that I think about it, each section highlights at least one way that humanity is destroying itself. How happy.

*Again, said by the enlightened woman: “Times are you say a person’s b’liefs ain’t true, they think you’re saying their lifes ain’t true an’ their truth ain’t true.”

When a person’s beliefs are attacked, it is the same as if his or her person were attacked. It is difficult to separate a man and his beliefs; we would do well to remember this.

*In the future, another human is talking to the clone and said, in defense of his party’s rise to totalitarian power: “Think of the disastrous Pentecostalist Coup of North America.”

Is Mitchell referencing today?

*Said by an older man: “We--by whom I mean anyone over sixty--commits two offenses just by existing. One is Lack of Velocity. We drive too slowly, walk too slowly, talk too slowly. The world will do business with dictators, perverts, and drug barons of all stripes, but being slowed down it cannot abide. Our second offence is being Everyman’s memento mori. The world can only get comfy in shiny-eyed denial if we are out of sight.”

*Clasps hands together* Well, those certainly are happy thoughts, aren’t they? I can see why others in the book club didn’t love this book. Somehow, I walked away with three things:
  1. an appreciation for Mitchell’s ambition and ability to pull off such a stunt as this
  2. an enjoyment of the satire that was laced throughout
  3. gladness that I have eternal Hope that has nothing to do with humanity
One more thing: this book was made into a movie. That movie comes out October 25th. You can see the trailer here.


Friday, October 5, 2012

This is not about kids


No time for pleasantries. The little tyrants are in bed, and I have about half a minute before one of them calls me in for some emergency, like a toe not being covered by a blanket, or a paci falling out of a swaddled infant’s mouth, or a papercut on the pinky of an overtired girl. (I am sure a good parent would nip that kind of behavior in the bud, but alas I am not one of those parents.)

The second reason I haven’t written much (the first being the Tyrants themselves, of course) is that I have no good material. I don’t want to write only about my children because to me that means my thought life as well as my daily life has been completely taken over by people not even four feet tall. So I have some sort of rule in my head to not write about my kids very much, except HA HA HA I am writing about them right now, and they have taken over my thought life, because I haven’t written about anything else for months now.

(But while we’re on the subject of Them, let me ask some advice. Madeline has started refusing to wear diapers. That’s not a problem, except for the fact that she has no idea when she NEEDS TO GO. Or WHEN SHE IS GOING, for that matter. What the heck am I supposed to do about this?)

And now for some non-kid thoughts:


  1. Ryan and I are watching The Good Wife on Netflix. We are halfway through the most recent season and are trying to catch up before CBS takes the current episodes off the site. I won’t say this is the BEST show I have ever watched*, but I really enjoy it for several reasons. First, the logic that is used to navigate the cases really stretch my brain. I am FOR SURE not smart enough to be a lawyer. Secondly, the law is an area of American life I know very little about, and I enjoy learning about its many strengths and flaws and politics. Thirdly, there are no kids in it. 
  2. I just finished up Cloud Atlas for my book club, and I fully intend to write a review of it. Someday. The thing I liked best about the book was the political and social satire--there are soooo many quotes I want to share with you . . . it is rife with “warnings” about the way America (and the rest of the world) conducts herself. There is even a line about the disastrous Pentecostal takeover of North America. Doesn’t that sound ominous? I wonder if the author thinks we are in that now.
  3. This is a really good one: my friend (well, if you want to be technical, she is my parents’ friend and the parent of my childhood friends and now my friend) recently started a blog so that she could be intentional about living her 59th year of life. One of her goals for the year is to glean wisdom from different women she would not necessarily otherwise have befriended. One woman is an Iranian Aziz (think princess, though she says that princess is a new term and her tribe has been around for much longer than princesses) whose title dictates that she marry a hero. Only she defines hero as “someone who fulfills his destiny so that a woman may fulfill hers.” Don’t you LOVE THAT? She goes on to explain that a hero gives a woman space to be more fully herself: When he takes care of her needs, she can explore ways to be more fully herself. Likewise, when she takes care of his needs, she frees him up to be more fully himself. Think familial roles, with a lot more elegance and significance. I just really love that thought. A hero is not a strong man in the muscly sense we all think of; a hero is a strong man in that he serves his wife. And she in turn can serve the family from a place of peace and conviction rather than from a place of duty. Wow.



Ok, I think that is all. I can only think of THREE NON-KID THINGS. 

I am so ashamed.

*Those would be Friday Night Lights (drama), Arrested Development (comedy) and Parenthood (hybrid).

Friday, September 14, 2012

So I called China


Here's a funny story.

Ryan left town early Sunday afternoon and got back in Wednesday evening, right before we took the kids to Awana. Thursday mid-afternoon, his grandmother, her friend, and his parents arrived for four days. I, of course, had a busy week taking care of the girls by myself for a few days and preparing for company. I had talked to my sister a bunch over the course of the week, and she knew company was coming in Thursday night. So when I saw a call from her around 8:30pm, I thought, Oh, she probably just forgot to tell me something earlier...I'll take it really fast and no one will even notice I'm gone.

However, she is not calling with a quick question. 

Below is the actual* transcript from our phone conversation:

Allie: Hey . . . have you heard from Mom and Dad lately?
Me, talking: No. 
Me, thinking: Of course we haven't. They're in China!
Allie: Well, they usually email and haven't in 48 hours.
Me, talking: Hmmm. You're right. That's weird, but I am sure they are fine.
Me, thinking:  They've been kidnapped.
Allie: Yeah, I am sure they're fine, but I might call their hotel.
Me, talking: Ok, no big deal, let me know what you hear. 
Me, thinking: How am I going to break the news to the girls that their grandparents were kidnapped in China??
Me, talking: Wait, have you emailed them yet?
Allie: Yeah, I did, about an hour ago.
Me, talking: So they might not have gotten it yet?
Me, thinking: Of course they haven't received the email-- their phones were confiscated!

We hang up, and I pretend to be normal and not worried. After all, they are in CHINA, not TUSCON, and they aren't supposed to have normal communication with us. I go into the kitchen and start making the breakfast casserole for the morning. Allie calls a minute later and says she can't make an international call from her phone. I try. Neither of us gets it to work. Allie googles how to make an international phone call, and I keep making the casserole. 

(Don't tell Ryan this because he will never let me forget it, but I did a little google search myself: US tourists China kidnapping. No results--which wasn't even comforting since the AP probably hadn't had time to break the story anyway.)

(And yes, I really did google that.)

Allie calls back and says that the hotel said Mom and Dad were still checked in. Not satisfied, she decides to call their guide for that day (which is the day after the day we are on, so there is a bit of confusion about that, too). Their guide, "Julie," can't understand a word she is saying, and they eventually hang up. Allie tells me that she doesn't know what else to do and that she is just going to wait to hear back from them. I decide that enough is enough and I that am going to call their guide for the week, "Andy." But first, I learn I have to call Sprint and add a $4 plan to my phone so I CAN CALL CHINA and pay per minute at a reduced rate. (Always frugal, this one.) In the meantime, I get a text from Allie that says she heard from their butler and that he left a message at the hotel for them. I get everything worked out with Sprint, and I get Andy on the line. He is very nice and happy to talk to me and says my parents are very happy and that he just dropped them off at the airport to go visit another city for the day. Relieved, I say, "Oh good. But when you see them again, please tell them that they are in trouble with their daughters." Andy says, "They are in trouble?!" I say, "Oh, no! They are in trouble with ME! I was WORRIED!" And Andy says, "Oh, they are okay then?" And I say, "Wait, ARE they okay?" And he says, "Yes, they are very happy. I am so glad to talk to you, Katie!" And I say, "Me, too Andy. So Mom and Dad are fine?" And he says, "Oh, yes!" We hang up, and I tell Allie the good news.

So now I have to tell Ryan what Allie and I have done over the past hour. (Quick phone call from Allie, my foot!) He is, rightly, incredulous that we went to all that trouble to track down our parents when there was NO CAUSE FOR ALARM, because HELLO, THEY ARE ON VACATION IN CHINA.

(I think it is just so weird that we couldn't get in touch with Mom and Dad. I mean, they are in an airplane over China, and we can't get in touch with them to tell them to email us on a more regular schedule? How primitive is this world becoming?)

Anyway, so the concierge and butler at their hotel were contacted, Julie was contacted, and Andy was contacted. Now I am worried that when they get back to Beijing they will have a heart attack wondering what in the world was so bad here that we tried calling China F O U R times to get in touch with them. 

Parents. No matter how old they get, you never stop worrying about them.

*Actual = approximate

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pink clutter


You know, I used to desire my house to still look like an adult’s house after having kids. I would try to restrict the amount of baby gear/kid toys that were in our living room, bedroom, and kitchen because I needed the house to still feel like mine, unlike my life which decidedly did not feel like mine.

Three kids later, the house has gotten away from me. It is so much dirtier than I ever thought I would let it become, and it has passed my "clutter limit" five times over.

But last night, as I was sitting in my bedroom feeding Lainey in a rocker that has been temporarily crammed into the corner, I looked around and saw her bassinet crowding the space between my bed and the wall. I saw her swing taking up the only other open corner of the room. I saw a DVD tower next to my nightstand, full of VeggieTales, Disney movies, and Elmo videos.

And a wave of immense happiness washed over me. 

I swaddled Lainey, put her in that swing which really should have been an eye-sore to me, and walked out to the living room. There was a play dress on the couch, a sleeping bag wadded up in the corner, an unreasonable amount of shoes that Mads had arranged by the front door, and a stroller parked in between some chairs.




Instead of feeling like I needed to tidy up the room, I got my camera out. I don’t want to forget the days of play dresses on the couch, swings in the bedroom, and tiny shoes by the front door. My girls have brought so much fulfillment and meaning to my days that their detritus is welcomed

I never, ever thought I would be so happy to have pink clutter take over every. single. room. of the house. But, hey! I think I'm finally growing up. Smelling the roses gets easier every day, and the roses in turn become more fragrant.

Today I am so very, very grateful to God for my girls. Their giggles, their antics, their smiles and games and imaginations . . . they are changing me. I know God specifically gave me Coralie, Madeline, and Lainey, and I know He has things to teach me through and because of them. I have never been so happy to lose bits of myself--  my controlling nature, my need for tidiness, my desire for adult conversation, for heaven’s sake!-- because I am finding richer bits of myself. 

Those bits are pink, and they are everywhere, and they are of the divine. 

Thank you, God.

Monday, August 27, 2012

A KTB short (like those clever short movies, but without the cleverness or the motion-picture-ness)


Hey! When you are feeding a baby in the middle of the night every night, you tend to have a bunch of random thoughts. I thought I'd gather mine here for you so you can feel like you're a part of the middle-of-the-night feedings.


  • Coralie started school last week. I sort of dreaded it, because end of an era, blah, blah, blah, but it felt right. I did cry during orientation and after dropping her off the first day, but I found myself surprisingly excited about her time at school when the day finally came. She is such a delightful, smart, funny kid that I know her teachers will like her. And being a former teacher myself, I know all too well that the likable kids. . . well, let's just say it's good to be likable. 
  • You know those pronunciation guides after words? Like pronunciation is pronounced prəˌnənsēˈāSHən ? Does anyone know how to read those anymore, or are we all dependent on the little speaker buttons after words that will pronounce the word for us? I am sad to think we might have lost the ability to read pronunciation guides.
  • Know what can freak me out? A space-agey future. Read this article about the future of retail if you dare. Then please tell me the world is not headed in that direction. It makes me think about those Left Behind movies, and no one wants to think about those.
  • Pertussis also freaks me out. GET YOURSELF VACCINATED IF YOU WANT TO TOUCH MY BABY. Insert a rant here, which I will not publish for fear of alienating someone, but just imagine my ire, ok?

I have such happy middle-of-the-night thoughts, yes?

Here are some day-thoughts for you.
  • I found a really great e-calendar that is both an app and a website. It's called Cozi. You're welcome in advance for making your life more organized.
  • I bought an e-reader, and I feel really sophisticated reading it. Right now I am reading Cloud Atlas for my book club, and I feel especially cool because I can highlight and annotate without needing to get up to get a pen! Anytime I can accomplish a task without burning a single calorie is a really good time in my book.
  • Speaking of calories, ick. I really hate burning them but I love ingesting them. Especially when they are in chocolate.
  • Because we can't really travel right now (You know what? I think three small kids is kind of a kill-joy when vacationing), I am dreaming of our future travels. We are going to NYC in the summer of 2014 with our best friends-- without kids-- and we are going to have such a great time, I just know it. Broadway, Ellis Island, Central Park, museums! BEING OUT AND ABOUT PAST EIGHT O'CLOCK! We are also planning a trip to CA to see family and go to Disney Land, but that won't be until Lainey is old enough to appreciate the dollas required to get her there. AND we are planning a really awesome trip to . . .  somewhere . . . for our fifteenth wedding anniversary in 2018 (that is, if Ryan can convince me to stay with him that long). I would love to start booking unbelievable fares and rates and such, but I really don't think airlines are taking reservations to a place called somewhere in the year 2018. 
  • And finally, I would like to leave you with a picture. Look at Ryan's quads! While they don't look exactly like that anymore, he is still a very trim man. But he thinks he's fat. If that doesn't make you question everything you thought you knew, I don't know what will.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Thirty


Thrice this week in my Facebook newsfeed a quote has popped up that essentially says that if you have a clean house, your priorities are out of line. That well-loved children are better than an immaculate home, and that it’s one or the other. 
When I read that quote, I immediately felt guilty. For the record, I agree. However, I like having a clutter-free home, and to the best of my ability I maintain that. In my wedding vows to Ryan, I even said something about creating a harmonious home environment, and to me, that partly means that I straighten my home every day. But that Facebook quote makes me feel bad for doing so, like I am not able to play with or love on my children because I have a clean(ish) house. 
That’s all beside the point though. That quote, coupled with my reaction to it, made me think about something much more important than toy bins and happy children.
What I really want to say is this: I’m sorry. I’m sorry for every time I said something that made you feel bad about your choices . . . your priorities . . . yourself. 
I turn thirty tomorrow. They say that the twenties are full of ignorance and ambition and selfishness and that the thirties bring wisdom and confidence. Since I’m not actually thirty yet, I can’t attest to that, but what I can attest to is that I have learned a lot these past twenty-nine-plus years. 
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is that people don’t need my opinion or assessments. They just need my love and acceptance. My mom recently shared a quote with me (as usual, I don’t remember the originator of this quote) that said something to the effect of, “If you assume each person you meet is hurting, you’re probably right.”
One goal for this next decade of my life is to encourage those I love, including myself, more. 
(I will probably still clean my house, though.)

Cheers to a new decade!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Gratitude


I want to spend a few moments in gratitude. I have so much to be grateful for: a loving husband, delightful children, model parents, a thoughtful sister, great in-laws, and a wonderful extended family. I have a house that is more than adequate, plenty of food on the table, cool air in the house, clothes in my closet, and diapers in the nursery. I am healthy, and those I love are healthy.

***
I will admit that my days with three little kids is total chaos. Total. Chaos. My house is a mess even though I straighten it a billion times a day; I have no mental energy to think about what to cook my family for one meal, let alone three meals a day; I am holed up in "baby jail" feeding Lainey for what feels like eight hours a day; and someone always needed something five minutes ago.

Also. Madeline now requests to wear underwear over her diaper. Coralie has to put on lip gloss before we go anywhere. The girls are completely unaware that it is a hundred degrees outside and ask to play on the driveway every ten minutes. I took Madeline to get her hair cut, and the stylist did such a horrible job that five cuts into it, I told her to stop. I took Mads home and then tried my hand at cutting her hair. (Needless to say, it's short.) Coralie has announced that she will be taking showers instead of baths now.

Throw in a newborn, and I am in over my head. For someone who likes order and predictability, my life is laughable right now. I taught Coralie to tell me, whenever she thinks I am stressed, "Mom, it's only for a few months."

The new-baby stage is so so short. And so so so sweet. I don't want to wish these next months away, but I know I need the reminder that life will not always be so chaotic. I am grateful for this chaos, and I am grateful that the chaos isn't permanent. 

But there is something else I am abundantly grateful for.

***
My mom, RiRi, lived with us for an entire month, helping me and loving my girls. She did laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, bedtime routines, cooking, counseling, and playing while she was here. She freed me up to learn about my newest daughter, to go to doctor's appointments, to rest while my body healed,  and to actually enjoy the craziness of bringing home a new baby. She freed Ryan up to go back to work before his wife was ready to be alone with three kids all day.

She held Lainey when she cried or needed to be burped, she let Coralie do make-up with her every day, she taught Madeline at least a dozen new words, and she talked with me late into the night while I fed Lainey one last time before bed.

I don't think it is possible for me to adequately express either my gratitude or my love for my mom. Or my admiration for that matter. But I do know how to be a good mom to daughters based on my mom's example, and I will work every day to pass that legacy onto my daughters.

Thank you, Mom, for giving us a month of your life, for the third time in four years. Thank you, Dad, for being a "bachelor" for that long and for coming to Wichita four times in the past 30 days. (And while I'm at it, thank you, Allie for making the trip twice. I loved having you here for Lainey's birth. Your sacrifice to make those two short trips in the span of five days leaves me feeling very blessed to have you as my sister.)

***
Gratitude. Yes, that is what is defining my day today.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Our story


It’s hard to know exactly which details to include in telling one’s story, and it seems even more difficult if one is trying to show how God has orchestrated one’s life.* 
Does my story start when my parents met at their local church of Christ? Or years earlier, when their parents each moved to Amarillo, for different reasons?
Or when my parents decided to get married and then proceeded to have two (very awesome) little girls?
Or when my dad decided to leave his position as a pharmacist in Texas and move his family all over the country for sales positions?
Or does the story only really begin when Mom and Dad announced that we would be moving to St. Louis, after which I sobbed and cried and said I wasn’t going and where was St. Louis, anyway?
I don’t know how far back to start when telling my family’s story. Since I have to pick a point in time, I think I will start in August of 1996, with one very important lead-in.
I truly have the best parents I could ever have asked for, prayed for, wished for. I am grateful for everything they did for me, starting the day I was born. They prayed for me, challenged me, disciplined me, cared for me, and ultimately set me up for the life I have now. I do not wish to minimize their impact on my life, but I have to start my family’s story somewhere, so I will start the summer I turned fourteen.
We (Mom, Dad, Allie, and I) had moved to St. Louis from Atlanta in August of 1996. For some reason, we visited the Lafayette church of Christ the first Sunday we were in town. For some reason, we went to Sunday School that very first time visiting. For some reason, Ryan Bond was sitting in my class instead of at his grandparents’ lake house, where he usually spent his summer weekends.
I remember what I was wearing, probably because Ryan won’t let me forget it. I do know that my make-up was awful, I had bangs, and I still had braces on my teeth. Nonetheless, Ryan said the first time he saw me, he knew he would marry me. I had just turned fourteen; he had just turned fifteen.
He waited a full year before asking me out. He and my dad rode bikes the day of our first date, sophomore year Homecoming. For some reason, he kissed me. For some reason, I let him. Then, for a reason known as humiliation, I avoided him for a full year.
For some reason, he didn’t give up on me, and a year later he asked me to Homecoming our junior year. For some reason, one of his friends asked very publicly if we were a couple (we weren’t), and, not wanting to embarrass him in front of his friends, I said that it was up to Ryan. Ryan, of course, said that we were a couple.
For some reason, we stayed a couple most of the rest of high school. (I did break up with him our senior year for a month or two and for reasons I won’t discuss on this blog because they seem very lame now. Let’s just say I had a crush on another boy, and that other boy never made a move.)
For reasons entirely obvious, we went to college together. Ryan asked me to marry him after the fall semester of our junior year (WE WERE SO YOUNG), and I said yes.
We wed the summer before our senior year of college, and I guess that is where the real story of our family begins.
Our life together has taken lots of twists and turns, not the least of which has been our move to our current Kansan city. The woman who hired Ryan put us in contact with a local realtor. As she drove us around town, she pointed out area high schools where I might be interested in teaching. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I wasn’t planning on teaching here.
For some reason, I hastily applied anyway at one school. For some reason, when they called to schedule an interview, I said yes. For some reason, they had a vacancy in the subject area I taught, for the next semester, with my very favorite curriculum. And for some reason, they hired me.
One of that school’s board members introduced Ryan to his son-in-law, and Ryan has since worked for both men. Those jobs have allowed me to stop teaching and to stay home with our daughters, and those men have introduced both of us to a wonderful local community.
We have become a family here. This is where we learned very difficult professional lessons, home-owner lessons, marriage lessons, and relationship lessons. This is where we have grown our family to three, four, and five members.
What if my parents hadn’t moved to St. Louis? What if Ryan had given up on me when I kept giving him reasons to? What if I hadn’t become a teacher? What if we hadn’t had our exact realtor?
Sometimes, it’s fun to play the what if game. But right now, I am just so very grateful that all of the little details in my life have worked out just so, so that I am sitting in this house at this address in this city with this husband beside me and those girls upstairs not sleeping even when they should be.
I love our family’s story. And I think we should know more about other people’s stories. The next time you see me, unless I am heavily drugged in a hospital room or equally drugged with the potent sleep-deprivation-because-a-newborn-lives-here phenomena, please tell me your story. I would really love to hear it.
*As you read, please assume I acknowledge God directed all of the details that led me to this point in my life. I could never, ever, have built a life like I have.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Memories


If I think about it too much, I get really anxious about how quickly our time on this earth passes. Even if we do make it to 80 or 90 years old, that’s not very long to be alive. Every day that passes is a day I don’t get back . . .  my wedding day, the birth of my first child, the last time Madeline slept in her crib . . .  these are all memories now.
Memories. I know I’m only 29 (ok, to be perfectly honest, I will be 30 in two more months), but already memories hold significant meaning for me. I can only imagine how much I will treasure memories in another fifty years.
I have been exceedingly blessed to have only happy memories. Sure, I remember hard seasons of life, like my first year of marriage, and I remember unhappy seasons of life, like when I had an identity crisis after Coralie was born, but the vast majority of my memories are happy. Even stages that are supposed to be full of heartache and difficulty (like the teen years) are only remembered in terms of how much my parents fought for me to make wise decisions and how much love there was in our home. Yes, I am sure there were many fights and I know there were many tears, and I am sure my histrionics made my parents want to send me away, but that’s not what I remember.
If all goes as things should, I will be bringing my third daughter home in a few weeks. My time as a mother of two little ones is quickly coming to a close. Yes, the days are so very long, but the years have flown by. 
These are some of the memories I have.

The day I became a mother
 The day I became a mother of two
The day my babies became sisters
Sisters becoming friends
Dress up days
Bedtime snuggles
 Time at the lake
Many, many trips to the zoo with my girls
 Morning toy time
 My Mads Cat
My eternal Fairy Princess Coralie


And most recently, these (with credit going to Angela Kleinsasser Photography and Design):
 Best Friends Forever
 The wild, nonverbal, precocious Madeline
 The sweet, smart, very verbal Coralie
 No, they're not always picture perfect, but they're MINE
My cup overflows



Tuesday, May 8, 2012

It's never my fault

This tricky little convenient tool called the iPad caused me to delete my post on The 19th Wife. And also to delete another "musing" I had written on how much I loathe cliches. I, in all my blogging wisdom, didn't save copies of those posts anywhere else, so now they are totally gone.

I am sure you are heartbroken. And also mad at the iPad like I am.

And to add salt (?) to the wound, I have no musings cooking in my head right now to replace those posts. All I am thinking about these days is how to take a quick nap when my girls are awake, how to take a nap when my girls are resting, and how to keep Ryan up until 11 or so at night when I become tired again. 

On the baby front, this little girl is big! Like, she is measuring two weeks farther along than Coralie and Madeline were at this stage. Someone asked me at church on Sunday if I was having twins. Uhhh ... I sure hope not! That surprise would mean an epic fail of prenatal monitoring and diagnostic technology. All signs are pointing to a single baby girl with a small(ish) head (WHEW) and long arms and legs.

I am planning on posting a belly picture at some point. I don't normally post pictures of my pregnant belly, but a few people have asked for one, so instead of posting it on Facebook where people don't have a choice of whether or not the picture shows up in their newsfeed, I will post it on the blog where people can choose whether or not to click and see this Large Marge Mama. You have been warned.

I guess what I'm saying is, this might not be BondMusings so much as BondFamilyHappenings for awhile. Once I can get baby off the brain, maybe that can make room for some more intelligent thoughts.

In the meantime, I will leave you with two things. 

First, a quote from CS Lewis a dear friend left in the comments of my last post:
“My idea of God is not a divine idea. It has to be shattered time after time. He shatters it Himself. He is the great iconoclast. Could we not almost say that this shattering is one of the marks of His presence? The Incarnation is the supreme example; it leaves all previous ideas of the Messiah in ruins” (A Grief Observed p. 52).
I love so many things about that quote. I love that Lewis is not complacent in his view of God, but that he is open to discovering new ways of looking at our loving, complex God. I also love that he is disciplined?generous? enough to work through and share his re-renderings in all of his writings. (And, by the way, I would argue that his idea of God is a divine idea.) But most importantly, I love thinking about the fact that God himself will not be made into an idol, that He shatters that idol in front of anyone who has eyes. God is loving, yes, but He is also innovative and aggressive and deliberate in how He reveals Himself to us. God is anything but boring or predictable.

And second, a picture of these beautiful daughters of mine:
Kinda makes sifting through a post about nothing  w o r t h   i t,  doesn't it?


Friday, May 4, 2012

Till We Have Faces (CS Lewis)

Via (Side note: Coralie kept asking why that girl was wearing a trash bag. I have no idea what she was talking about.)


Oh, Jack. I could not -- literally could not -- love you more. Every time I think, "CS Lewis is my favorite author, but it's not like he is the best there ever was," I read another of his books and I think "Oh, yes. He IS the best there ever was. Ever ever ever ever ever." And then I add an "Amen" to that.

Our latest book for book club was Till We Have Faces. I hadn't read it in a few years, but I remembered liking the book when I first read it. Oh my. That was an under-remembrance. Lewis hits his thousandth home run with this book. It is his version of the mythological story of Cupid and Psyche, and he somehow incorporates God into it in a way that is mysterious and lovely, without ever actually mentioning God.

Back story: Psyche was a mortal woman who was more beautiful than any woman ever was. Cupid's mother (Venus? I'm too lazy to look it up.) was jealous and sent her son Cupid to shoot Psyche with an arrow that would make her fall in love with a base man. Instead, Cupid himself falls in love with her (I think he was surprised by her beauty and accidentally shot himself with that arrow?); this, of course, infuriates Venus, and blah blah blah the wrath of the gods, etc.

In Lewis' version, the story is more about Psyche and her sister Orual, who loved her with an all-consuming selfish love. In the telling of the story, Lewis challenges his readers to rethink whether their love is selfish or life-giving, whether the gods are manipulative or generous, and whether they (his readers) have the wisdom to discern the difference anyway.

In short, it's brilliant. I don't know how Lewis is able to re-tell mythology* and bring his reader to a better understanding of who our loving God is, but he does.

IN SUMMATION: READ THIS BOOK.

*I could say so, so much more on this subject, but Lewis believes that mythology is relevant in religion. He thinks the pagan imagination is (divinely?) inspired to produce mythology, and that mythology became fact in the Incarnation. He also believes that myths are a more compelling medium through which to communicate TRUTH than is pure logical rhetoric.

Monday, April 23, 2012

A self-reprimand and a catch-up

Me: Hey, did you know that it's been MORE THAN a month since you've posted on your blog?
Me: ...
Me: You should feel guilty about this.


I guess the upside to this being my blog is that while the guilt of absence totally belongs to me, so does the judgment that is meted out. Thankfully, I decided to cut myself some slack.

So, let's catch up on this past month. Let's see. . . we moved Madeline into Coralie's room this past week. There are some serious parties happening in there when the lights go out. Some of the parties die off around 10pm and then resume at 4am. I love to hear their giggles, but someone please tell me that these parties don't last forever and that I will indeed have well rested older children by the time I bring a newborn home!

I promise that's not a dresser drawer. That is a trundle bed.
The girls LOVE sharing a room. They are best friends (for now? forever?) and actually want to go to bed (although I have a feeling it's for the parties and not for the sleeping, because I am smart like that).


Also, I am bigger now. (Side note: does anyone else find it strange that anyone -- A N Y O N E -- can feel the freedom to touch a pregnant woman's stomach or comment on how she looks? It is just so strange to have men I hardly know commenting on how I look pregnant. I mean, people are very kind in their comments of course, but still. I am not sure I am comfortable with people noticing how my body is changing. And also, I realize this might sound braggy, but I promise it's not. I don't think I look different at all, but other people apparently do. For instance, people have been telling me how beautiful I look, as if this is a total contrast to how I normally look. The first few times I was told I look beautiful, I was all, "Oh, thanks! That is such a nice thing to say!" But now, I'm all [internally of course] "What, do I normally look like a dog? Why is everyone so SURPRISED that I look ok? Even Ryan told me that he 'actually liked my face' one day. DO I NEED TO INVEST IN SOME PREGNANCY HORMONES TO MAKE PEOPLE TOLERATE MY FACE AT ALL ONCE THIS BABY COMES OUT? Because I am starting to be paranoid about this.) Insecurities aside, I feel pretty good. I don't feel as big as I look (but then again, I may not be a good judge of how I look), and as long as I take Zantac, my pregnancy symptoms are relegated to the baby's movements.

I think I have nothing else to report. We hang out here some days, go to the zoo other days, and just generally eat, sleep, and play. Ryan's company's annual meeting is this week, so I will not see him until either Thursday night or Friday morning. I have lots of playdates and activities scheduled to break up the days.

Oh, I have also been Prepping for Baby. No, I haven't washed a stitch of laundry or packed for the hospital, but I have been cleaning quite a bit. Baseboards, windows (which are already finger-printed again), doors, etc have never looked better. This baby may not have clean clothes to wear, but, by golly, she will come home to a clean(ish) house!

Ok, the girls have been drawing on their kitchen while I type, and I am pretending not to notice, but I better intervene before things get (more) out of control.

Peace out.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Of note

So my 100th post (the one right before this) was a measly one. I had hopes of doing something special for that 100th post, but instead, you got unsolicited advice. My apologies.

(Also, and I don't want to read too much into this, but I find it telling that I offered unsolicited advice yet again when I meant to say something much more helpful.)

Ah, well. Onward I go.