Sunday, January 6, 2013

Oh My, Oh My, Oh Dinosaurs!

And by dinosaurs, I mean grace.

Oh my God, grace.

It seems that the greatest recurring theme in my life - the subject I am constantly watching for and dwelling on with hopes to obtain a deeper understanding of is grace.

A few years ago, if I was honest, I might have confessed that I believed I had a decent grasp on the concept and what it meant for my everyday life. That some fine tuning here and there was certainly in order, but overall - I got the idea.

I was living in the thick of God's sweet, powdered sugar mercy, spending all of my time with people who speak the same winding, sparkly eyed language as me. Expecting the best of each other and offering relieved and timely forgiveness in the event of a misunderstanding.

We spent as much time exploring "God's imagination" (aka: the mountains, the forests, the rivers) as we did snuggled in blankets on cozy sofas partaking in coffee and quality conversation.

It was dreamy, you guys. Dreamy.

That was a time of learning to receive God's affection and love. I thought it was grace I was learning about, but it was more like the foundation to build onto.

Because to understand grace - for me to understand grace (even a little, as I realize more and more that understanding grace is something one forever grows in, as opposed to something one suddenly "gets") I had to do something wrong and be able to receive it. To be wronged and be able to give it. And the hardest: to see those that I love - those that I have deep affection for - wronged and still be able to extend mercy and grace to those doing the wronging in my heart.

The precious, syrupy, frolicking season passed and I entered a season full of something else altogether.

People I should have been able to trust as family started wounding each other. The things they did were damaging and made no sense to me.

All things were intensified by pregnancy nausea and hormones, but I dare say had it not been, I would have felt roughly the same.

I maintained a low-grade despair, interrupted occasionally by bursts of white hot rage that were generally followed by (if I was lucky) at least half an hour of hopeless sobbing.

How could they be so cruel? How dare they? Didn't they know what they were doing?

But that's the thing. They didn't. They don't. Jesus asked our Poppa to forgive them, for they know not what they do.

We don't know what we do.

I don't know what I do.

Oh God.

How we all lie to ourselves. How we all long to have value, to be "good" and worthwhile.

And this is what I realized.

I thought this stupid, raw, desperate season was useless and stagnant. It didn't glitter. It didn't dance. It didn't scoop me up and fly me around on a magic carpet singing, "I can show you the world!".

It sat painfully in my hands like a hot coal begging to be thrown in the faces of those I silently hated. Doing nothing to them. Burning me.

I told it I was determined not to be that person. I blew on my coal, trying to put it out, but my strife only fanned it to flame. I read Scripture to it, trying to talk it into going cold because children of God are called to forgive. To forgive the inexcusable. The unforgivable, even.

I figured, "I'm ok. I forgive them. If it were freezing and they were naked, I would give them my coat. And then I would walk away so I wouldn't have to listen to them talk! Jerks! Kidnappers! Abusers of the elderly! Destroyers of family!"

And the coal burned hot in my hands.

But today I stood in church and thought about how stubborn I have been in my passions in the past. How it felt to be convinced I was right and to have others take issue with me, believing I was wrong.

And all the times I *was* wrong.

And I realized that this has not been a stagnant season. This has been a rich, refining season.

Because now I "get it" just a little bit more.

That while there is a very distinct right vs wrong, there is no one human on the planet who has a handle on right and wrong the way God does.

That is why Scripture tells us there is none righteous, no, not one.

When it all boils down, we are left with simple truth, which is that everyone has a reason for believing how they believe and doing what they do.

And everyone is sometimes wrong.

Thank God for grace, for I am wrong.

Thank God for grace, for they are wrong.

I also realized that, for me, anger can keep me from breaking through to forgiveness.

Anger is a motivating emotion - compelling one with adrenaline towards DOING. It is purposeful. It is when there is nothing constructive to DO that anger can begin to fester and become hurtful.

So it goes, like the stages of grief. Because (I think I am figuring out) that forgiveness requires grieving.

Bargaining, sadness, acceptance.

Ah. And there it is. It is not my job to correct those I perceive as being wrong. Once the damage is done, if they are unwilling to move towards health (mental/spiritual/emotional health), unwilling to make amends, unwilling to have grace for others or themselves, unwilling to entertain the idea of coming on over towards my perception of rightness, it is not even my right to push them towards it.

I can let my anger diminish because there is nothing more constructive to DO.

It is ok for them to be (as I see it) wrong.

And then I am free to grieve. And pray that they would be guided into actual rightness, as God knows it and I do not.

Today, in church, I looked down and discovered that my hot coal went cold, and my burns are nearly healed.

Grace, grace, grace.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Adventures in Breastfeeding


I will warn you ahead of time there will be breastfeeding photos in this post. If you don't wanna see 'em, theeeen... don't! :)

Okay. So.

Breastfeeding is oh so crazy important to me for a great many reasons. Human milk for human babies, ya'll! Easy on their little guts. Full of immune system goodness and germ fighting substances. Helps mama and baby catch that desperately sought after sleep with slumber inducing properties. Makes co-sleeping so much safer.  (But of course co-sleeping is it's own lovely can of worms. A can of worms that brought rest back into our home.)

Nursing helps ditch pregnancy weight and lessens a mothers chances of breast cancer.

The list goes on and on. The benefits are indisputably fabulous.

I'm absolutely not here to cast judgement on mothers who can't breastfeed, for whatever reason. Sometimes there are real obstacles that stand squarely in between a mother and her desire to breastfeed and it can happen that there really and truly isn't a thing she can do about it.

I can only speak of my own experience.

So here's how it went (and is still going) down for me.

The little round cheeked child started out nursing like a tiny fiend. It was actually, literally, constant. He would just nurse and nurse and nurse and nurse and NURSE until he would pass out and finally sleep from sheer exhaustion for about 45 minutes and then wake up hungry again.

And Dear God, the pain.

Most people said that if it hurt you were doing it wrong. But I knew what a good latch looked like, and he looked latched properly to me.

Some people said there is a normal period of initial tenderness.

I thought perhaps I was just a huge wuss, and by initial tenderness, they actually meant something more along the lines of bruises and a distinct feeling that I was probably going to pass out and die every time he latched on.

Forget worrying about modesty. I hurt too much to give a rip about that.

Thankfully, we took him to be weighed about a week and a half after he was born.

When my midwife told me to come on back after he finished nursing, and I snorted, "Right. Because nursing ends.", she raised an eyebrow. Wise lady. She knew exactly what was going on.

My little lad had a tongue tie.

That means the muscle that holds the tongue to the bottom of his mouth was too far up on his tongue for him to use it properly. He couldn't even stick his tongue out past his lower gum line.

As a result, he couldn't suck properly, and instead of nursing in a nutritive way, he was chomping. This yielded very little milk for all the work he was doing, and also, I will tell you right now that gums are not soft. Shudder.

I can't even tell you how grateful I am that my midwife knew exactly what to look for. She helped us correct it and then taught us some exercises to teach him how to suck correctly.

I might add that those exercises were terrifying. He was placed belly down in my lap, and then I had to pull his head up/back and put my finger in his mouth to draw the tongue forward to create the action necessary for nutritive sucking. I was certain I was going to break him.

But he didn't break. He learned to nurse.

It still hurt like the dickens, though, for quite some time.

So much so that I had a routine in place to create a diversion for myself and make it as easy as I possibly could. I would sit down with the Boppy (oh glorious breast-feeding pillow) and send my dear and patient hubby to grab me a tall glass of water, which I would then chug like I had just spent the last few hours crawling across the Serengeti. 

I would pull up something on Netflix that was just entertaining enough to be distracting, but brainless enough that I didn't have to pay total attention (enter: Queer Eye for the Straight Guy - which, I might add, is old enough now that the fashion advice is adorably out dated), and then I would wince and swear and remind myself to breathe through another nursing session. 

When it was over, I would quickly hand the little squisher off to his poppa and head straight for my hippie nipple balm, crying happy tears that it was over for at least another half hour. Then I would plunk the kid into a sling and go for a walk while he napped.

It didn't start to feel better until he was close to twelve weeks old. Yowza, that was intense. But when his third month rolled around, we felt ready to celebrate. And so we bought some cake. 

The wee one shared this cake with us via breast milk ;). 

But it was like waking up after a hazy dream, that three month mark. My body was finally beginning to feel like it was mine again. And nursing was becoming a normal part of life instead of something that life had to stop for me to participate in. 

I was learning to watch my baby and not the clock. Something I believed in, but that I had been nervous about. I didn't schedule this baby. I won't. 

But I was using the clock, neurotically, to make sure he kept on nursing and nursing for at least a certain amount of time. Afraid I wouldn't get enough in him. That my supply would diminish. 

I had a long list of silly and outrageous fears. 

That, for example, when I felt so irate with one of the many crazy people who have infiltrated my life and the lives of my loved ones, my breast milk would simply turn into white hot molten lava. 

(I may or may not have daydreamed about shooting the white hot molten lava version of it at said crazy people, but this did not lessen my fear of what it could do to my child in that state.) 

Gradually, as my body had healed in it's own time, my fears subsided. 

I learned to nurse laying on my side, so that he could just slip into sleep and not need to be moved. Or so that I could get a little more rest, too, on a sleepy day. 

And I, as my latest feat, have finally sorted out nursing in not only a mei tai, but also a ring sling. 

They say that a ring sling is easier, but it was way more tricky to me. Also, that picture is awkward. I've gotten way better at it since then, and so has the little child. High five, little child!

Incidentally, that's the other thing. As mama gets better at nursing, so does babe. 

This thing that was, at first, so wildly difficult became second nature. I have mastered the stretchy-shirt-under-a-tshirt, pull-undershirt-down-and-overshirt-up method, so that nursing in public is a piece of cake. 

Well, almost. We are now entering the stage in which there is much unlatching to look about and grin at everyone. 

But hey. Challenge accepted. :) 

Monday, July 16, 2012

A friend of mine posted this on a forum that I frequent and I didn't want to lose it. Thank you for blowing my mind with your clever thoughts, Lindsay!


I was discussing today's sermon (in which the pastor dragged a spanking concept into it that simply didn't need to be there--spanking, IMO, is like yelling, "Squirrel! in the middle of teaching someone how to drive), and I asked, "Really, how is punishment a *good* thing? "

And then it hit me.

Christ took my punishment. He didn't just take it before a certain age. He didn't just take the punishment for acts committed between 1985 and 2009, or for the sinfulness of my human, fleshly heart. He took it ALL. 

And my sons are covered under that. And if He took all of their punishment, too...and I punish my children....well....instead of heaping my punishment on them, I heap it on Him.

The gravity of that realization had me literally stuck in my chair for a solid few minutes. 

If I've done it unto the least of these...

Matthew 25:40

The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Worth It

Before I start to tell this story, I feel it imperative that I make one thing abundantly clear: I am passionately for natural childbirth, as our bodies are made and able to do.

I had a perfect little hippy scenario in mind for my own birth, cautious - mind you, and aware that pain would be a big part of it (or, "hard work", as I would try to remind myself), but daydreamy nonetheless.

Though I compromised the home birth I truly longed for because I am uncomfortable with North Carolina's laws regarding midwife choices for that kind of birth experience (and I'm just plain old not brave enough for an unassisted childbirth), I was happy to go with the next best thing: a birthing center with a rock awesome midwife in South Carolina.

My day dreams didn't change much as a result.  My best friend would be there to doula for me and help talk me through the pain hard work. My husband would be there supporting and getting all excited with me, reminding me that it wouldn't be long before we could hold our little guy. We could have birth projects to do so I could keep up and moving and distracted during the beginning stages of labor, and in the end, I would hop in a birthing tub for a water birth. There would be immediate skin to skin contact and establishment of a breastfeeding relationship. They would wait until the cord stopped pulsing to cut it and do the APGAR stuff with my kiddo still in my arms.

In my fuzzy picturings, there may or may not have also been crock pots, paint, henna, and favorite TV shows that my doula friend and I could have either utilized or ignored depending on what labor actually turned out to be like. There was definitely a carefully selected musical playlist.

These musings stayed with me until I hit 37 weeks and discovered my little one was breech.

Well okay. No big deal. Babies are born breech all the time.

Oh, but in SC (and certainly NC) it is illegal for a midwife or doctor to deliver a breech baby unless the mother had already had a kid before. Bother that.

So my midwife scheduled for me this thing called an external version.

I had no idea what that was or what I was in for.

The doctor that consulted with us about it told me that it would be uncomfortable, but overall no big deal. Also that there was a less than 1% chance that I would have to have an emergency c-section, but that even though they did external versions many times a week, they hadn't had anyone go to emergency c-section over it in over 8 years.

That risk seemed minimal enough to me. And given that supposedly only 2% of breech babies turn head down past 37 weeks... I was all determined to have my natural birth, by golly, so I signed all the necessary and dreadful things to sign (Except where they wanted to chuck my placenta afterwards. I may have actually exclaimed, "No, I want my placenta! You may not throw it away!", much to the bewilderment of the man with the paperwork in front of me) and went for it.

I'll spare you all the boring details about how long I went without eating or drinking and how hospital gowns that aren't yet snapped up are really flippin' confusing thankyouverymuch, and how much I dislike IVs.

The ob who came in to do the version reminded me of my dad if my dad was a doctor. That is to say, he was loud and burly, a little too informative, and extremely excited about the mechanics of what he was about to get to do. When I stated that I had been told I had an abundance of amniotic fluid in there, his eyes widened with glee.

Okay, so, I know you're wondering what an external version turned out to be. I'll tell you. First of all: "mildly uncomfortable" my skinny white girl booty. You don't get offered an epidural for mild discomfort. You don't get told that most women can't relax their muscles enough for the version to work without an epidural for mild discomfort.

To flip a baby from the outside, an ob (while monitoring the child via ultrasound) locates the kiddo's head and bottom and then literally crams his fists into one's pregnant belly and draaaaags the babe around.

"Mild discomfort". Snort.

I opted to try it without an epidural. Recovery time and drugs in my body and all that. I was able to call on imagery that my doula best friend gave me to use for childbirth. I intentionally kept my breathing normal and tried my best to locate tense muscles and release them while picturing my little boy in an unpoppable bubble and turning easily.

The first three times the ob tried, it didn't work. And the third time, they came within a breath of sending me into an emergency c-section.

He was telling me what to expect. Prepping me, as he watched my little one's heart beat drop. Total anesthesia. A breathing tube. Blackout.

I knew that my stress would not help my baby's heart rate come back up, so I tried to courage up.

"Fine, God!" I shouted silently, "But don't You abandon me! Fix this!"

It is a good thing Abba still loves me when I'm anguished, angry, and demanding.

Peace. The ob froze. Thinking. Watching.

The heart beat on the monitor started to come back up.

The ob made a lighthearted comment and rubbed where he saw my child's head was and the heart rate came up even more. He chuckled, "Oh, he likes that.", and did it some more until everything was back to healthy and normal.

We waited a few minutes and he said he thought it would be reasonable to try one more time.

So I, with the help of endorphins unleashed to compensate for all that pain and fear, breathed, relaxed, and buckled down to try one last time.

It worked on that last try. My little one flipped. I would have high-fived him if he'd already been on the outside with us.

As far as we know, he stayed head down for the next week and a half or so. My midwife had a hunch it wouldn't stay that way forever, though, so she made a strong recommendation that we try a natural induction. She promised that if my body and my baby weren't ready, it wouldn't work, but felt confident that it was worth a try.

This was hard for me because I believe in babies baking until their little lungs develop enough to let loose proteins that tell the preggo body that it's go-time. But being reassured that if it wasn't time, it wouldn't work, and it was more like encouraging labor than a true induction I decided to call my best friend and get to work.

The process I went through with this involved lots of swallowing a horrific tasting herbal tincture, and running on my elliptical while breast pumping for 3 straight hours. (And now you have that mental image in your head. Have fun trying to get rid of it. Maniacal laughter.)

It didn't work.

When I hit 39 weeks and 5 days, my midwife's nurse practitioner sent me off to another ultrasound because she couldn't tell for sure if he was breech again or not.

Yeah, he was breech again. This time he was footling breech. Which is basically the worst kind of breech you can be. I would have to be some kind of hardcore fearless rockstar to choose to naturally birth a child who was footling breech. Footling means he had one foot down in the birth canal. If he came out that way, we would have to try to stuff that foot back up in there and hope for the best. And it could still end very badly.

There was also some bothering about abdominal measurements on the ultrasound. But that was tiresome and not worth talking about, really. I thought it was probably bunk (Hello, full term baby all balled up in there and they're trying to get accurate measurements on a blurry ultrasound? Psh.), and once he was out here it was confirmed that it was bunk. Whatevs, medical culture.

So I was told that I had a few choices. I could either try another external version which would be followed immediately by a real medical induction (Ah. The spastic, violent contractions brought on by pitocin. Awesome.) in a hospital (Sigh. Goodbye hippie birthing-center birth.) if it worked. Or I could go ahead and just have a planned c-section.

Of course I could choose to just wait and hope for the best. That maybe by some freak chance my kiddo would flip head down on his own. I know this happens. It's not unheard of. But deep in my gut I just didn't believe that would be the case for me and my child. And if I went into labor while footling breech, I would again be staring down the barrel of an emergency c-section.

The last time I tried a version, it came so close to ending in emergency c-section. And this time, the risks would be even higher. A bigger baby is harder to turn, and more likely to get tangled in his umbilical cord, which would be very dangerous. A footling breech baby would be much harder to turn than a frank breech baby (which is what he was last time - with his feet up over his head).

I told the ob that I would like to talk to my midwife, get a referral to Mission - a hospital that was closer to my home (and that I trusted more, but I wasn't going to tell him that), and then I would make a decision.

By the time I got to Mission, I was exhausted beyond all reason. What with all the waking up early, the hearing of bad news and coming to terms with it, the making big decisions quickly, and the barely eating all day.

Around 7:30pm an ob came in to speak with me.

I was expecting another hyper, burly man like the guy at Spartanburg Hospital, and was relieved when a lady came in who moved and spoke in very similar ways to one of my most precious friends. She sat with me and explained everything clearly and with compassion and understanding.

When she started to explain what I should expect when going through a c-section (new baby going straight to the warmer to have all the fluid that would have normally been squeezed out of his lungs on the way out of the birth canal beaten out instead, cord cut immediately so they could get straight to stitching me back up, etc) I started tearing up.

She squeezed my knee and stopped to offer validation that it is hard to make a choice like this, and that this isn't how it was supposed to go.

A little validation goes a long way with me. It meant the world to me that the person explaining my choices to me understood the gravity of them. That she understood how many ideals I would have to let go of no matter which way I turned at this point.

In the end, it became clear to me that my real choices were pretty much between a planned cesarean and an emergency one.

There is, as it turns out, a significant difference between the two. The biggest being, for me, that for an emergency c-section, they knock you out completely, as opposed to a planned one in which they just numb you from the ribs down.

It was desperately important to me that I at the very least be present for my wee lad.

So I surrendered to a planned cesarean birth. I couldn't believe it, but that's what was happening.

Joseph handed me my phone to call my best friend when the nurse left to gather surgery-prep supplies. I told him it was wildly necessary that he see our child be born, even as intense as it would be. Because I couldn't see, with that divider up and all, and even if this wasn't happening how we hoped, it was still our baby's birthday!

He told me that he couldn't watch them cut me open. That he would pass out. Not because it's gross, but because it was me.

My best friend asked to speak with him, so I handed over the phone.

She told him to just ask the Dr to tell him when they were gonna pull the kid out and only watch that.

Hospital gown. IV fluids. Paperwork.

The ob I had spoken with promised me she would find something to put my placenta in to take it home with me so we could encapsulate it.

I am still not entirely convinced that the team that did the actual surgery were people and not angels.

The ... I guess she was the anesthesiologist's nurse? Anyway, she had a Wizard of Oz print on her scrub cap. This was significant to me because a dear friend of mine's name is Kansas for Wizard of Oz-ly reasons.

These people kept reminding me of my friends. I was outrageously comforted by that.

Anyway, the anesthesiologist's nurse (because Joseph wasn't allowed in until I was all ready to go - too many people in and out and whatnot), as I geared up for the spinal and the epidural (hatred of needles and all), stood in front of me and held my face. She actually put her forehead on my forehead and told me to just close my eyes and breathe. I literally didn't feel a thing. It was like the anesthesiologist only touched my back.

And then my right foot went all tingly and warm.

That sensation climbed up my leg, all the way up to my chest, and then went back down the other side.

There we go. I couldn't move or feel most of my body. How awkward. I didn't like it.

As they tested my numbness with something that looked like a tazer, the nurse asked me if there was any music that I liked that I would like my son to be born to. It was so kind of her.

I couldn't think of any of the songs on my playlist, so I just requested Josh Garrels and she pulled it right up for me. Thank you, human compassion and also the internet.

Joseph came in to hold my hand all gowned up, looking like a duck with the mask over his face.

After that, it was relatively quick.

One of the Dr's said "Alright, it's time for a birthday party! Joseph? Come on over here!", and Joe popped his head over the divider. 

My husband gave me a running commentary. 

"Oh there's his feet! They're so little! And there's his butt... and his back... oh he's stuck... he's stuck!" 

And I'm laying there, "What do you mean he's STUCK?!" 

And then, before I knew it, they were holding him up for me, all gooey. Our little Silas Ezekiel. 

The cord was cut. He was dashed over to the warmer. I was able to watch him the whole time on screens. Even though he never left the room, they had cameras to make sure there was never a doctor blocking my view. That was nice. 

They made as quick work of it as they could. It wasn't long at all before he was all swaddled up and in Joseph's arms. 

Of course, Joe came straight over and put him on my chest. He had to hold him there for me, though, because my arms and hands were shaking uncontrollably. I was told this is a normal side effect of the anesthesia wearing off. It was rather unpleasant. 

But Joseph held Silas there for me so we could all be close while they finished stitching me back up. 

When it was almost time for them to push me on into the recovery room, they had Joe take Silas and go sit with him so they could tie up loose ends that required moving me around a lot. 

I watched my husband in his first moments of being a new dad, sitting in a chair with our eensy newbie, holding him with such care, all curled up with his cheek pressed against that tiny forehead with a look of overwhelming gratitude, astonishment, wonder, and responsibility. And love, of course. Heavy, change-you-forever, Daddy-love. He looked like his heart had been split wide open to make room for this newness, this totally trusting little squisher. 

This is the image that makes me cry every time I revisit it. My husband sitting in that chair experiencing what it is like to hold a brand new life in his hands. 

I will add here that the recovery room was a bizarre experience in and of itself. They wouldn't let me leave to go to a regular room until I could move both of my legs. 

And by then it was 4:30 in the morning. I would have been exhausted without major surgery. I was fighting sleep harder than I've ever fought it. I had to stay awake and figure out breast feeding. I was not about to sacrifice that as well over all of this. 

Someone was sitting there trying to show me how. She kept grabbing my breast and smashing it down, telling me to cram it in his mouth like it was a hamburger. She had me holding him in what I now know is called the clutch hold. This was really awkward because I had the IV fluids all hooked up in one arm, and then the arm I was holding him with was attached to a blood pressure reading machine. Every five minutes or so the dang thing would squeeze me to try and get a reading, but it couldn't get one if my arm was bent. So then it would try again and try again until it worked.

But of course my arm was bent and had to stay bent in order to continue to hold the babe to the breast. So psh, blood pressure reader. 

At some point I finally lost my battle with sleep and began to doze off. 

I heard a nurse comment that I was breathing like a rabbit. Whatever that means. 

It was weird, too, when the time finally came that I was asked, for the seemingly thousandth time whether I could move my legs, tried to move them, and then said once again that, no, I could not - only to be told that I was, in fact, moving them. 

I looked down and saw the lady was correct, and it was just insane. I was temporarily certain I would spend the rest of my life with freaky robot legs. 

So anyway, the rest of the story is all rest and recovery, staring and stammering and lovesickness. 

Our precious pastor friend came over a day or two later and anointed that sweet little forehead. And then some of our other innermost circle dear ones came bearing love and contact solution, flowers and food. 

And finally, when it had been about 3 days, we went home. Where it all begins. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thank you, Danielson

I'd almost forgotten how much I love this song.


Did I step on your trumpet
Or did I lump
Lump them in with you

I put your name on the ballot
'Cause you should run
Though you don't want to

I've been called the wet blanket
By cranks who I out rank with no thanks
Who do not have a

Yes I know how to be quiet just one more thing
I made you something

I wrote for you a lovely sonnet
'Bout two great friends
Yours truly and you

We'll grant just one social skill
Share a gesture of good will

I try
To relate
With my shipmates

Then I just start blurting out the first thing on my mind

How am I lookin' in your frilly bonnet
With the diamond on it?
I guess I'd better go

I'm a people magnet when I wear your jacket
Good luck getting this

Pleasing people
Is so predictable
We love you now
Then stab you how many

Times I obsess
And I'm making a mess
Failing to impress you
In all that I can't do

Would you take care of my pet parrot
And feed him please
(He speaks less than me)

Would you take care of his pet parrot
And kill him please?

You speak so much about my casket
My body basket
Did I do something wrong?

We'll grant one more social clue
The landfill shall be home to you

All my ships
Sailing relations
Have finally found

Who I am made out to be
Me and free of

Pleasing people
Is so predictable
We love you now
Then stab you how many
Times I obsess
And I'm making a a mess failing to impress you
In all that I can't

Be just who you're made to be
Poppa is so mighty pleased with thee.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


When I hear or see someone threatening to violate the boundaries of one of my dear ones, I feel ready to suit up Joan of Arc style, mount a draft horse, and storm said violator's yard with a jousting spear under my arm.

Even though, truth be told, I am not really sure what I would do once we got there. Sit there awkwardly on the horse, I suppose. Maybe wander aimlessly until the horse decides to take a crap on their porch, and then cantor away feeling semi accomplished.

I should... figure out a better way for that scenario to end.

Meanwhile, though, that "suit up" feeling is constantly a flicker in my gut, waiting anxiously to take flame whether I'm in the mood for it or not.

I can not even sit through a sweet little small group meeting, these days, without squirming in my seat (I feel certain it is visible squirming) and even voicing little noises of discontent when I hear something being said that I cannot reconcile with my value system.

How many times have I longed to be one of the sit-quietly-and-listen personality types!

And I think pregnancy has made it temporarily more intense than ever.

One of my dearest friend's reasoning was something to the affect of, "Well, we have the Holy Spirit (so, God) living inside of us, plus God is in there knitting that little one together and dwelling inside of him. So it's kind of like you have double God! No wonder pregnant women cry! I mean, sure sure, hormones and all that, but you are walking around with double God!"


Either way, there is just no avoiding who I am.

I've been thinking about women oppressed by patriarchy.  I know that sounds like something our culture has outgrown, but honestly, I don't think it has. It might not be as blatant, but it is something that I do see perpetuated a lot in Christian sub-cultures.

Whether it's more prevalent in the south, I really don't know. I have seen it in many denominations. Scripture used to keep women in a place of believing that all men are born to lead and all women are born to follow. Submit.

It makes me crazy. Yes, Paul tells wives to submit to their husbands, but he then tells husbands to lay down their lives for their wives as Christ did for the Church. He doesn't say "rule over your wives as Christ rules over the Church." Nope. And then he goes on to tell everyone to submit to each other lovingly. That means women submit to men. And it means men submit to women.

There is no hierarchy.

Even in the Old Testament, God is constantly elevating those deemed lesser by society to a higher status.

So many stories sound unfair to the women and incredibly harsh, until we understand the culture and that every other option she could have had would have been worse. God did not condone the worse conditions, nor did He desire for the new standards He was elevating society to to become society's stopping place. He never condoned those standards as a stopping place, either. He is constantly still elevating those looked on as lesser than. Because He made no lesser thans.

The last time a man with the "men are leaders" mindset found it impossible to control me, my mother had this to say about it:

"Poor guy. He doesn't know a thing about the line of women you come from. My grandmother's family told her that she couldn't go to school because it was culturally unacceptable, so she left Czechoslovakia by herself and hopped on a boat for America to go to school.

You know how feisty your grandmother is! When my dad told her that a woman's place is in the home, she went right around him and got a job. He never said another word about it again.

And on your Dad's side, your grandma pretty much did what she wanted... and her mother's nickname was The Battle Axe.

And your middle name means Warrior.

That man has no idea what he is up against."

Yep. Women in my family are fierce. We were made and nurtured this way. It hurts me to think that so many women have been pressured into laying aside who they were made to be - and worse - that they were made to think that who they are is displeasing to God.

Scripture calls a wife her husband's "helpmeet".

This has been used (like much of Scripture) to tell women they are there only to be a helper to the men. To do their bidding.


And grossly misinterpreted.

"Helpmeet", as it turns out, means "The help who opposes". That a wife is to help a husband when she sees he is doing right, and to oppose when she sees he is doing wrong.

That sounds fair. I would expect that out of my husband in return.

I am beyond grateful to have a husband who not only cringes as hard as I do when we hear a male friend say, "Well of course I would take her thoughts into consideration." (Seriously? You get to consider and then decide? And we're supposed to call you a hero for at least considering her thoughts?), but who also welcomes and appreciates opposition from me.

We will not move on a decision until we can both agree.

He is not susceptible to poorly researched church rhetoric regarding what our relationship should look like.

For this, I am Thankful.

If any of you know a girl up against patriarchy who needs a little extra ferocity, I'll be happy to share some.

These days, I've got plenty to go around.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


A dear friend of mine once told me of a dream she had.

There was a babe in her house that she and her family were caring for. They were drawing little tattoos of adoration on the soles of his feet, and when they put their ears to his chest, they could hear his heartbeat.

And his heart beat, "Abba loves you... Abba loves you...".

Joseph and I drove down to SC yesterday evening for our first prenatal checkup with our midwife. 14 weeks in, and we got to hear that tiny, galloping heartbeat for the first time.

I don't know who's in there, but it is someone with a healthy and strong little heartbeat.

Someone being knit together by our Abba with the utmost love.