Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I've Moved!

Hey everyone! You've probably been wondering why this blog has been so silent for the past months. Well, it's because I've gone back to posting at my OTHER three blogs. This one will be dormant for a while, so for those who so sweetly followed me here, would you mind heading on over to the other places I write? Here are the options, in the order of posting frequency:

Playing Life's Guitar, where I blog about life, family, questions, online stuff I find interesting, and philosophical musings.

Life is the Teacher, where I blog about educational topics and beginning my journey as a home-schooling/unschooling mother.

Unwrapping Love, where my friend Heather and I blog about blessings galore; after reading Ann Voskamp's book, we are keeping our own lists of 1,000 gifts!

Come on over and join me!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Beginning of the End; Glimpsing the Beginning

What a journey this has been. Six months of watching my stomach grow larger. Of feeling the first tiny flutters grow into strong kicks. Learning to get by on five hours of sleep. Hungry, hungry, hungry all the time. 

There is so much bewildering information available. Give birth like this! Raise your child this way! Educate your child that way! THIS is the right way, and if you don't follow these directions then your child will be RUINED FOR LIFE! At least that's the way it seems. Yet no baby, toddler, kid, or teenager ever came with an instruction manual. 

Today marks the beginning of the third trimester. The end goal is in sight. It feels like rounding the final bend in the 400 yard dash; you're already running out of breath, but the sight of the finish line just a hundred yards away is enough to give an extra burst of "YES! almost there!" so you can keep going. 

In some cases, it may seem like I'm unprepared. We don't know the baby's gender. This is completely by choice, though some people think we're a bit crazy for not mentally preparing ourselves for either a son or a daughter. Will gender make that much of a difference in the way we raise our child? We don't have a nursery, because the only room available for the tiny newcomer also serves as a storage room, music room, and spare bedroom. That's what happens when you live in a small apartment. A crib and a few bins of baby items will have to suffice. Also, I'm deathly afraid of bathing a newborn. They're so slippery!

I have serious doubts as to whether the baby will take naps or not. With so much movement going on right now before he/she is even born, there's a good chance of having an extremely awake, interactive child who has boundless amounts of energy. A baby strong enough to kick the heart monitor away from my stomach as the midwife attempts to hear its heartbeat is probably going to be a handful to raise. 

Yet in many ways I feel hopefully, cautiously confident that everything will work out for the best. Preparing myself to receive the newborn has been the most exciting part. Feeling like my world is prepared for him/her is more difficult, but still on the right track. Friends and family are so supportive! Even my music students and their families are gracious and ready to help in any way they can, with quite a few giving up their children's old car seats, furniture, and toys to bless our family. Many of our major expenses have already been provided for in this way, and due to the generosity of both my family and Chris's family, who are anticipating the arrival of the first grandchild.

The natural decrease in energy over the last few months has allowed me less time to give to others. Late night movies and dinners are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. After I finish teaching, there is rarely anything left in the reserve tank for hanging out with friends. Weekends are used for catching up on chores and errands that didn't make the cut earlier in the week. Even making dinner or doing laundry can be exhausting. It feels like a sort of cocoon is forming around me; I spend so much more time at home, often by myself when Chris is at work, because being out and about is tiring. It's like a safe haven is being formed for me and the little one. I still love seeing my friends, but the shift in focus from outward activity to inward preparation is clearly evident. 

A safe haven. That's what I want for the baby, in every way possible. So I am working on making myself feel safe, physically, mentally, emotionally. Enjoying our wonderful community. Focusing on the love and care of those close to me. Working to improve the areas where I need to grow. Hoping to change for the better in many ways so that I will be a strong, peaceful, nurturing mother. 

Praying for wisdom. 

Treasuring these final weeks before the baby arrives.

Friday, March 23, 2012

You Tell Me I'm Stubborn

You tell me I'm stubborn. I can almost imagine that I hear frustration in your voice. Yet it is loving frustration, and I have no doubt that you do still love me in spite of my faults (which are many). Stubbornness just happens to be the one that rears its head most often to those who know me best. You say, "Maybe if you weren't so stubborn..."

So I think about it. What if I wasn't so stubborn? I wouldn't be so prideful. I wouldn't always think that I knew what to do in every situation. I wouldn't have an explanation for everything. I wouldn't see the world from the confines of my little box. I would be much more humble.

The worst part of my stubbornness is when it refuses to let go of fear. 

This shows lack of trust. 

Trust in God that He knows what is best for me. Trust in myself that I need to follow my conscience to do what is right even when it's hard or it might hurt. 

No matter how logical or wise you are as you bring different ideas to the table, to help me dispel my fears, the stubborn part of me still can't let go. "Get out there and DO something about it!" you say. "But... but... but...." whispers my stubbornness, and then a thousand explanations and reasons follow. 

I am afraid. 

Yet I am not alone.

This is where trust comes in. If anything can dispel fear, it is love, and with love comes trust, and humility, and peace.

Trust in God that He knows what is best for me. 

And I am so very loved by so many dear friends. 

If I wasn't stubborn, I would have floundered at age fifteen, age seventeen, eighteen, twenty, twenty-three... when my life's course seemed to falter, when I didn't know if I was on the right path. If I wasn't stubborn, I would have fallen prey to doubt when my beliefs were questioned over and over. If I wasn't stubborn, I would have been taken advantage of in many ways. If I wasn't stubborn, I wouldn't have the determination to be different: to not go to school, to become a musician, to become a teacher, to take good advice against the wishes of my heart because I knew it WAS good advice, to love without the assurance of being loved back. I've followed my dreams despite the odds. I am a stronger person for the obstacles I've overcome. So stubbornness can be a blessing, too, when it is used in the right way. 

How about I strive for stubborn love? For stubborn trust? For stubborn strength in living according to what is right, not according to what I want? For stubborn humbleness in seeing others as more important than myself? For stubborn compassion even when I'm pushed away?

It's time for peace as I enter this new stage of life. If I do not have peace in myself, then how can I bring peace to my new child?

Thanks for being a friend enough to tell me, lovingly, that I need to change, and that change is possible.

And thanks for not giving up on me, even when I'm stubborn. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Instead of New Year's Resolutions...

There have been years where I made resolutions meant to begin on January 1st. The root of a personal goal should be to transform part of one's self into something more positive. Sometimes the intent is to bring good change into the world or another's life. Sometimes a personal goal may only involve yourself, which can entail changing a habit, forming a habit, etc. Everyone who makes New Year's resolutions has the intent of following through. But how many of us mere mortals are able to stick with ALL our goals and stay on track the entire year? The more dedicated may doggedly cling to them for a few months, or with a feat of super-human strength, pursue one particular objective until finished. 

I am not one of those people.

The best way for me to accomplish a goal is to have it be long-term, not very specific, and have many different strategies of achieving it. I've had the goal of studying children's education for over four years, which led to taking college classes on related subjects, teaching children as my job, investing in young people's lives and listening to their thoughts, visiting schools, and writing in the blog "Life Is the Teacher". There is no exact end to this goal. It seems like educational methods will be a never-ending study for me, especially since my own child will be born next year, Lord willing. And that's the joy of it: I don't HAVE to have an end to this quest. It can go on for as long as I am interested, willing to learn, and wish to bring information to others. 

In that light, I won't be making any New Year's resolutions. My history has proved me too lazy, too forgetful, too hasty, and/or too impatient for them. It's a bit disappointing, really. There's something so invigorating about establishing new dreams, committing to new aspirations. 

What I will be doing instead is choosing a word for 2012.

Within the past few weeks, a theme has begun to emerge. In my conversations, the books I read, the thoughts I ponder, the motif of TRUST has shyly crept forth. It's become obvious to me that I am sadly lacking in this area. This is partially due to past events that made it difficult for me to trust others easily (which is fear), but it is also because pride stands in the way of putting my trust in anything except myself. This has been a big hindrance in my relationship with God. And there are other places in my life where I can see that lack of trust has had a negative impact. That is the ugly side; the opposite of trust is doubt. With doubt comes skepticism, disbelief, confusion, chaos.

The bright future is this: I want to bring TRUST into my life in whatever ways will positively change me. This is my long-term goal for 2012, which is perfect since there are endless ways that the message of trust can effect me. I will be searching for it...

... as I meditate on Bible passages. I talk with friends and family. I write in my blogs or journal. I walk through the world. I create art. I approach new experiences. I listen. I deal with old pain. I learn how to walk with God. I read books. I admire beauty. I let hindrances go. 

This theme of TRUST may speak loudly sometimes. Other times it may whisper. There is already some art forming in my mind that I'd like to bring into physical being, so that it can be a reminder around my home of the search for trust this year. I want to live with this word, hugging it so closely to myself that it becomes imprinted on my heart. 

Care to join? Is there a word that you want to explore?

Let me know!

If you want more ideas of what this is about, visit these articles:

Friday, December 2, 2011


Sometimes the upstairs neighbors sound like elephants, stomping around with trumpeting sounds of laughter and noise until three thirty in the morning, completely ruining any chance of sleeping for more than five minutes.

Sometimes you wake up hungry at four a.m. because pregnancy cravings for something to eat RIGHT NOW were too powerful for sleep.

Sometimes your partner has to wake up at five to be at work by six, even though you were both up with runny noses for most of the night.

Sometimes the mind runs at such a breakneck speed that it is impossible to turn off, like a t.v. endlessly running through channels with a broken remote, so you lie awake until dawn light begins seeping through the windows.

But then your shyest student breaks out of his shell to play an amazing new guitar composition he's been working on all week.

And then you come home after a long evening of teaching to the love of your life preparing a delicious cooked chicken and mashed potatoes for a cozy dinner.

And then you catch a much-needed nap with your love on a peaceful afternoon.

And then you get the Christmas tree, the tiny evergreen small enough to fit into an apartment, and it reminds you that the best part about December is Christ's coming.

Then you're not so tired.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Philosophy of the Dandelion, the God of the Future, the Treasures Hidden Inside

"When first it was even hinted that the universe may not be a great design, but only a blind and indifferent growth, it ought to have been perceived instantly that this must for ever forbid any poet to retire to the green fields as to his home, or to look at the blue sky for his inspiration. There would be no more of any such traditional truth associated with green grass than with green rot or green rust; no more to be recalled by blue skies than by blue noses amputated in a freezing world of death. Poets, even Pagans, can only directly believe in Nature if they indirectly believe in God; if the second idea should really fade, the first is bound to follow sooner or later; and, merely out of a sad respect for human logic, I wish it had been sooner. Of course a man might have an almost animal appreciation of certain accidents of form or colour in a rock or a pool, as in a rag-bag or a dustbin; but that is not what the great poets or the great pagans meant by mysteries of Nature or the inspiration of the elemental powers. 

When there is no longer even a vague idea of purposes or presences, then the many-coloured forest really is a rag-bag and all the pageant of the dust only a dustbin. We can see this realisation creeping like a slow paralysis over all those of the newest poets who have not reacted towards religion. Their philosophy of the dandelion is not that all weeds are flowers; but rather that all flowers are weeds. Indeed it reaches to something like nightmare; as if Nature itself were unnatural. Perhaps that is why so many of them try desperately to write about machinery; touching which nobody has yet disputed the Argument from Design. No Darwin has yet maintained that motors began as scraps of metal, of which most happened to be scrapped; or that only those cars, which had grown a carburettor by accident, survived the struggle for life in Piccadilly. But whatever the reason, I have read modern poems obviously meant to make grass seem something merely scrubby and prickly and repugnant, like an unshaven chin." 
~ G.K. Chesterton

IF thou wouldst live unruffled by care,
Let not the past torment thee e'er;
As little as possible be thou annoy'd,
And let the present be ever enjoy'd;
Ne'er let thy breast with hate be supplied,
And to God the future confide.

~ Goethe

"As I sat there, I began thinking about the heart, the center of the person, the 'who' we are. I thought about how often I miss the heart of the person and instead focus on their behavior. How often have I looked at someone and made an immediate judgment? I have seen the cut of their hair, the clothes they wore, the language they used, tatoos or not and I made judgments. I have seen those who are overweight, the 'wrong' color, living in the wrong part of town and I have made judgments. I have looked at my own children and family focusing on behavior and never really reaching their heart. It is easy to judge. It is hard to lean in, to listen, to look past the behavior and seek understanding. To seek the heart.

I was reminded of the following:
- The heart is desparately wicked
- I will give you a new heart
- Out of the heart the mouth speaks
- If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart...
- The purposes of a person's heart are deep waters

And I considered how God seeks our hearts. He is after us. He desires intimacy and the knowing of our true self. He, like the Prodigal's Father, looks past behavior and longingly looks down the road for his lost son. His heart breaks as he searches for the hearts he loves.

I am asking God to help me see the hearts of my wife, my children, my friends, my co-workers. I want to discover the richness and treasures hidden inside."

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Other Side of the Season's Change

More and more I find that connections are everywhere. All things are linked. All people are just a thought away from each other. How marvelous to be able to step into someone else's mind, to peer into the corners and examine the cupboards. It leads to understanding, or compassion, or further confusion, or revulsion. But what is so different about them from our own selves? The same reactions arise when we peruse the halls of our own minds. 

On this rainy day with autumn leaves falling, there is the reminder that we are all traveling on the same River. Although everyone has their own stops to make as the current carries them along, we all have the same final destination at the Sea. Life is too short to row with an oar marred by bitterness. 

There is so much joy in reconciliation. After a week, a year, or five years, standing face to face with mutual forgiveness, receiving a letter of kindness, hearing the words "let's try again", knowing that your past wrongs are not held against you: how much healing can take place when two people are willing to hold grace higher than themselves. Love triumphs over our own fallen natures when we look through Another's eyes.

Seeing the connections brings meaning. It might take a long time, maybe not even occur in my own life, but the meaning will eventually be known. We are all meaning-makers. We are all a created work. We are all in the process of creating. 

Yes, there is hardship, and times when we just don't understand why or what. I've often compared myself to a miniscule ant in the vast universe trying to lift a heavy crumb. But sometimes in the midst of my efforts a fresh breath of hope sweeps in to bring new life. This ant is going to keep pushing at crumbs.


Blue eyes are beautiful, as are brown; however,
your eyes reflect more deeply the colors of a storm at sea
in winter, which contains mud, kelp, swimming things, 
swirled wind of December.
Blue eyes are beautiful, as are brown; however,
your slate-grey glance is veiled; the weather
of emotions are only let loose purposefully.
Blue eyes are beautiful, as are brown; however,
your eyes reflect more deeply the colors of a storm at sea.