Sunday, October 19, 2008

Rejoice not over me

I don't even know where to begin.

"Rejoice not over me, O my enemy;
when I fall, I shall rise;
when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me.

Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of His inheritance? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. You will show faithfulness to Jacob and steadfast love to Abraham, as You have sworn to our fathers from the days of old." --Micah 7:8, 18-20

There is so much - so much - going on right now. One thing at a time, though, right? Specifically in the next two weeks, I will be facing one of my greatest challenges as a mother. It is something that has been looming for over a year now. I am both dreading and welcoming it. Please pray for me, that I will have peace, comfort and strength. Pray that I will be bold and unswerving in protecting my daughter, yet also humble. Pray for Olivia, that she will sense only the love I have for her, the love our Father has for her, and the love my family has for her. Pray for logistics, pray for expediancy.

And pray that, in two weeks, this will all be behind us, and I can breathe.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Update

Our lives have been insane over the last several weeks. We have gone from one house to the next, and I feel like our bags have basically stayed halfway packed around the clock, even when we are at home.

When I got back from Florida, we had a little bit of down time before Sharla and the kids arrived. They got in on September 1, and I think this weekend is the first time that we have spent completely at home since then. We were back and forth between Mom's and Dad's and Nana's. And of course, it was so much fun, and so good to see Sharla and the kids. But it's also no wonder that Liv came down with a pretty intense ear infection this week. She started seeming yucky at first over the weekend, but I chalked it up to a cold and moved on. It wasn't until Wednesday morning, when she woke up with a fever, that I gave the whole thing a little more credit. I stayed home from work and took her in to see the doctor. That night, her fever had gotten up to 104.5, and after the fever issues we had earlier this year that landed us in the ER, I definitely was a little freaked out. Mom managed to help me bring it down, but it was still going the next morning, so I had to stay home again. Because of the role I play in my company, it's really not pleasant for me to have to be out two days in a row, unless I've planned it in advance and redistributed some things. So in the middle of Livi being sick and feverish and generally miserable, I was also trying to get my house clean, work from home as much as possible, and take care of my baby. All of that managed to wear me out emotionally and physically. I felt like no one was getting the best I had to offer, and out of everyone who looks to me for my daily contributions, Olivia is definitely the most important. I just won't do that to her again. The next day she was still running a fever, but I had made arrangements for Mom and Nana to take turns keeping her so I could go in to the office.

It's Sunday now, and Livi seems to be getting better, although this morning was the first time since Wednesday that she has eaten a full meal, and last night we were up from 2am-4am because she was crying and fussing. Rachel got home from Boston last night, so she got Livi out of bed this morning and let me sleep in - which was so awesome, I really needed it, and now the babe is taking her nap. I think we are both looking forward to getting back into our normal routine tomorrow.

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about mine and Olivia's future, and that in itself has been a little exhausting. I am thankful that I find myself in a place where I can look beyond mere survival to what my dreams are - for me, for her, for us. The interesting thing about getting older is that you have to be able to look at what your dreams were, and say, it's okay that you didn't get there...because now you have new dreams, different dreams, and they are defined by who you are in a way that no dream has ever been before. I truly believe that God wants us to have dreams - because I think He wants to fulfill them for us and be glorified. There is a specific dream in my heart right now, and I think my overall prayer is: if You would let me do would be awesome. Just show me how.

Well, I have a grave mess in the kitchen to clean up. Last night I made dinner, and I managed to grab the handle of a cast iron skillet fresh out of a 500 degree oven with my bare hand. It throbbed for about two and a half hours. But here's an interesting home remedy: instead of Neosporin, I put Lidocaine on it - you know, the stuff you put on a sunburn - and it seriously made all the difference. I didn't blister at all, and today you can barely even see where I burned myself. Alright, I'm off to scrub some pots.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

...and I'm spent.

I love the new places. I think I am blessed to be one of those people that is not derailed by change on a grand scale. That having been said, I have not yet had to deal with disastrous change on a grand scale; although, there have been some startling changes that I have encountered. Nonetheless, I tend to thrive on change. I love for the routine to be broken up; in fact, I am not a fan of routine unless it comes to my daughter. Then I L-O-V-E it because it is such a good thing for her. But for me - no. At...the...same...time....I am also not a huge risk-taker. You will not find me bungee-jumping; in fact, you might even be hard-pressed to get me on a rollercoaster. Pack up my belongings and spend three weeks in China? Okay. But hop on the pirate ship ride at the State Fair? You might as well forget it.

Several years ago I visited Gulf Shores with a friend from college, and for the first time since I had begun going to the beach, I had a real problem going into the water. We were walking along the shore one night, and we saw tons of jellyfish washed up on the sand, and it just freaked me out. I thought - if those things are in the water, and they can sting me, I am NOT going in. So I spent most of the rest of the trip just chilling in the sand. Which, of course, was fine with me because I ended up getting very, very tan. It was a long time before I had the opportunity to go back to the beach, and when I did - same thing. I couldn't go too far into the water without worrying about what was in there. I was partially paralyzed by fear, and I couldn't just enjoy being in the ocean.

I was walking along the beach on Friday morning...and I can't tell you how much joy it gives me just to be able to say that...and I was listening to my iPod, and I just started to feel this sense of freedom. It was amazing - like my heart was so light, because God has given me such an amazingly good life, and I have so much that makes me happy. And I started thinking about fear, and how I allow it to paralyze me sometimes in the smallest areas of my life (see: wasps and bees) and also the larger areas of my life. And I thought to myself - I am on vacation, dang it. And I am not going to be afraid of anything. I am going to trust that God loves me and probably doesn't want me to get stung by a jellyfish, but that even if I do get stung by a jellyfish, He will get me through. And so, it was with no small amount of abandon that I leapt into the ocean on Friday of last week, and for the first time in years did not teeter on the edge of panic at the thought of all the jellyfish, sand crabs and other various and sundry ocean critters that may have been lurking just below the surface, waiting to grab hold of my legs and sting me with a fierce enough vengeance to land me in the ER for the remainder of my trip. In fact, if you can believe it, Kim and I were so far from shore that our beach chairs were the size of Cheerios, and we were jumping into the waves and giggling like 14 year olds.

It was the best moment of my trip, and I hope I can relive it next year with my daughter. I hope I can be the kind of woman that can run into the ocean and jump into waves - even the scary ones - because I am trusting my Father to take care of me. I want to be fearless.

"...for God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." (2Ti 1:7)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

That's it - I'm calling Molly Maids...

These are a few of my favorite things:

1. Clean kitchens.
2. Folded laundry.
3. Cool carpet when it's 99 degrees outside.
4. Uncluttered living spaces.

SO, all of that having been said, I think I will be hiring a maid. I just had to force myself to clear off my bed and put Baby O's toys away. And there's still more to be done, but I have the weekend free, so I am cutting myself some slack. It seems like lately I have been pushing myself almost nonstop to maximize every moment of my free time - cleaning something, shopping for something, packing something, planning something, ironing something, cooking something. I didn't realize how time-consuming it would be to try and date someone. And I think I've learned a few things about how I might want to approach it the next time around - not that I have any regrets at all, I definitely do not. Just the same, I can see how I put some unnecessary pressure on myself and how, as a result of spreading myself so thin, no one really got the best I had to offer. In the last couple of weeks, I have been trying to spend as much time with Baby O as possible, and I can't help but think that she is responding to it. In fact, she woke up the other night, just as I was getting ready for bed, and she refused to go back to sleep until I picked her up and put her in my bed with me. :) Such total sweetness.

Baby O has started to self-feed, and let me tell you: it is awesome. She is doing such a great job, and as silly as it seems, I am so proud of her. It makes bathtime especially fun for us because I just love getting her all clean and smelling good again. She loves being in the water, hates having her face and hair washed, but loves the after part when she gets to curl up all snug as a bug with her bottle and her mommy. :) I kinda like that part, too...I'm a lucky girl.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

It's all Greek to me...

I once heard someone explain a verb tense that the Greek language has that ours does not. I cannot remember exactly the name of the tense, but it was something like - perfect present participle...I don't know. You'd think I would, what with all the time I spent as an English major. In my defense, I was an English major and not a Greek major. Anyway, the literal translation indicates an ongoing action stemming from a past occurence. For example, if in the original Greek, we translate something as saying, "The book is dropped", then in the Greek, it would have literally meant: "The book was dropped, the book is being dropped, and the book will continue to be dropped." The basic idea is: once it begins to happen, it continues, it is ongoing. Any Greek scholars out there - please forgive me if I am butchering this explanation.

So I Peter 5:7 - Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you. Something in that just really struck me tonight. I was reading something that said - God has plans for you, and he is caring for you. The "presentness" of the words: "he is caring for you" kind of grabbed me. (We call that a gerund, by the way.) I know He has cared for me in the past - I know He will care for me in the future. But it is rare that I really stop to realize that He is caring for me in this present moment. So that's what I did - I stopped to think about this moment. And to realize that He is caring for me. His love does not suspend itself when I think I am unworthy - I am just as unworthy now as I ever have been or ever will be. This is not the condition upon which His love is based. His love is based upon Him being God - faithful and unchanging. So when I read about Him caring for me - in the present tense - I thought about the ongoing Greek tense. He has cared for me. He is caring for me. He will continue to care for me.

And it is honestly just beautiful. A total revelation, and a new picture of His grace.

On further study, I found that the word for anxiety in the Greek is the same word for "cares" in 1 Peter 5:7 - "merinma". Cast your merinma - your anxiety - on Him, for He has (or is) merinma - anxious - for you. That kind of blows my mind. But then I think about my baby. And I think about how often I stop to wonder how she is doing, how she feels, if she is hungry, if she is comfortable, if she is happy...and I am just a human parent. I am "anxious" for her almost constantly. I go back to the verse in Matthew 7 - 'who of you, if his son asked for bread, would give him a stone?...If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him?' (translation mine)

It's the "how much more" in this passage (Mt 7) that has been interesting to me since I became a mother. When I stop to consider "how much more" God loves my daughter and wants to provide for her - for us - it's impossible to comprehend because, quite simply, I haven't even reached the depths of what I'd be willing to give up for her yet...much less One whose love for her is 100% perfect and complete because He is 100% perfect and complete.

So yeah. This is not really a musing from the Cove...the babe and I are having a slumber party at Shermee's tonight...just the same, I wanted to throw this out there. It's not everyday that I break out the Greek dictionary, and I definitely like to share when the beautiful things find me. The revelation that He cares for me - is just too wonderful for words. But I have at least tried to assign some to it in the hopes that they will also find you.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Where it all started...

My daughter and I live with four adults, in one house.

I usually don't try to explain this to people, for several reasons. Since our living situation is a little bit unusual, I just try to guard myself from people's reactions. I know this is right for us, and I know my reasons for being here, and honestly, I just don't think that I should have to explain that to someone. Often when we are explaining our reasons for doing something, I think we just end up trying to offer excuses to someone who doesn't understand or accept something we are doing. And this is not a situation for which I feel obligated to make excuses.

At the same time, I am being intrinsically drawn towards clarifying - perhaps only to myself - my reasons for being here. Some of them are reasons I had at the beginning, some of them are reasons I am developing along the journey. Here's my laundry list of reasons. Over the next several posts, I hope to explore them all in depth and figure some things out, see where I need to ask more questions, etc.

1. Community.
2. Safety.
3. Being in a house vs. an apartment.
4. Greenliness, i.e., being green, conserving, etc...

You would think that financial conservation would be on this list...but it is not. For me, this was a lateral move, and I wasn't necessarily doing this to save money. In fact, I was prepared to pay even more to live in the right house with this group of people than I would have paid for a place on my own.

Which brings me to my next topic: the right house. When my sister initially told me that she and her husband (Unky J) were thinking about moving into a house with KiKi and CanCan (our roomies), I thought - how fun. And then, over the next few days I started thinking, no fun. So I told her I wanted in - possibly - and very tentatively. My focus was always on finding the right house. I had in my mind the picture of our ideal living space, and I told her that if we could not find a space like that, the babe and I would be just as happy to live in our own place, and the roomies could go on and, probably much easier, find a house that suited their needs.

My ideal space was a split floor plan, or a split parlor plan, that included a downstairs area with a separate living area, bedroom and bathroom, with access to a garage. This way, the babe and I could maintain an almost completely separate household, have plenty of privacy and quiet when we needed it, and feel as independent as possible. I was very specific in my description of this ideal space, so I'm sure everyone was like - yeah whatever. At the same time, they were all open-minded enough to try it.

So we started a dialogue on how to make this happen, what it would look like, and exactly when we could all jump into something like this. I have to admit, it really did not seem like it would work out. We were on three different schedules for move-in dates, with mine being the latest. I have pushed hard enough in the past to get what I wanted - and then had to deal with the fallout from making an impatient decision (see: the first move to Little Rock, January 2004) that I knew this one would have to be different. I prayed that God would work out whatever was supposed to happen - and that we would know His hand was in it by how smoothly it would go.

A few weeks into formulating our brilliant plan, Kiki found a posting on craigslist for a house that looked pretty interesting. We set up a date to see the house - and I was secretly very excited and, at the same time, scared to get my hopes up, lest it not be the perfect place it seemed to be. So we went and saw it. And would you know, it was perfect. The floor plan is exactly what we needed, and exactly what I had envisioned. Long story short, we signed a lease and now we all live here. We somehow made it work on three different move-in schedules, and now we are all snug and settled.

And that's where we are for now. Lately I've really been thinking about how we can be more, for lack of a better word, green. So expect me to be throwing a lot of thoughts out there on that subject.

My sis has a blogspot, too: Feel free to check it out. We will both also be posting recipes, as we have quite the cooking house. Well, that's all for now. Peace and love.