Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Referral Day

I still remember the day like it was yesterday. It was early September, my senior year of college. For some reason that I don't remember anymore, both of my grandmothers were at my parents' house, so after class that day, I went over to see them. When I walked in the door of the living room, they were both sitting on the love seat facing me, huge smiles emblazoned on their beautiful faces. At the time, I thought they were just happy to see me. (It's what I get for being a firstborn. I generally and commonly mistakenly think everything's always about me.) "Have you talked to your parents yet?" they asked. My parents were out somewhere at the time. I hadn't. "Why," I asked, confused. "No reason," was the reply. We chatted for a while, about what I can't remember, but the huge smiles and side glances to each other continued. Soon, Mom and Dad came bursting through the doors. "We have a referral!!!!!" The screams of joy resounded in the room as we all hugged each other.

A referral is when you finally get the word from China that you have been matched with a particular child. At the time, it also meant you would travel in the next couple of months to get said child. Later that day, we received a package with her picture and all of the information about her that was known. We finally knew where she was and a little bit about who she was. Best of all, there were pictures.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Aunt, Uncle, Niece

Here's Grace, Micah, and Els at Thanksgiving this year. (Note the matching bows.)


While we were beginning to pray about adoption in Georgia in late March and early April 2002, on the other side of the world, near Bengbu City in the Anhui province of China, a girl (lady? woman?) became pregnant. Was she excited? Scared? Nervous? Probably all three. The only thing I know with certainty about this woman is that she is most likely very beautiful.

What circumstances drove her to leave her lovely 3-day-old daughter at the steps of the old orphanage in Bengbu City we'll never know. Was she too poor to take care of her? Did she give in to familial pressure about her only child being male? Was this child not her first? The thing I have to imagine is that she loved the baby she carried for 9-10 months very much as evidenced by the fact that she didn't abort her and ultimately left her in a place that she would easily be found. Whatever her reasons, I know that I am eternally grateful to this woman who gave up her child who would become the joy of our family a little less than a year later.

When the baby girl was found on December 30, 2002, the policemen took her to the orphanage and the nannies there named this baby "Fu," which means good luck or happiness because one of them had won some money in a local lottery that day. She was given the same last name as all of the other children there, which was the orphanage director's last name, "Song." Fu grew quickly during the coming months, as she was a good eater and vivacious, always demanding of the nannies' attention. For the first eleven months of her life, she was well loved by the caretakers at her orphanage.

But she was still not home.

Friday, December 04, 2009

The Rest of 2002

April 6, 2002 was one of those epic days. It was a Saturday, the day after my 20th birthday, and I had met up with the rest of my family to attend the wedding of some friends of ours. After the wedding, we all headed back to our hometown and went to my favorite Italian restaurant for dinner. Over meatball and onion breadsticks, I worked up the courage to tell my parents about the SCC concert and that I had been praying that they would adopt since then. In my heart I knew the answer would be a very patronizing, "Well, that's nice. We'll certainly think about it." And I was right. (Other fun fact about that day, earlier, during the wedding reception, I had been introduced to the friend of a friend. I remember that he had longer hair and a goatee that day. Twenty-seven months and four days later we would attend another wedding reception together-ours!)

Skip to summer time. The whole adoption idea had been put on the back burner of our minds and hearts as we prepared for trips and summer jobs. One of my roommates from the previous year was traveling to Cambodia for the summer to visit her aunt and uncle who were missionaries there. During her stay, she would write emails describing her travels, what she saw and experienced. I always got excited when they came because Cambodia was so far away and exotic. In mid-July, one such email would change the course of our lives forever. My roommate's uncle had taken her to an orphanage and she not only shared the heart-wrenching stories of babies and children there, she shared precious pictures of them. I can remember weeping as I read the email in the reception area of the accounting office where I worked. Quickly, I forwarded the email to my mom. I wasn't there when this happened, but the story goes that my parents both read the email together. When they finished reading, with tears streaming down their own faces, my parents decided that although they could not rescue every child, they could help at least one. I have a very special memory from family vacation that year. We all sat on the back porch of our hotel room in Montana, looking up at the millions of stars (the sky really is bigger there) and praying our hearts out for the little girl who would join our family one day.

Mom and Dad attended a meeting at an adoption agency the next week. A lady who had adopted a little girl from China spoke at the meeting and the deal was sealed, so to speak. We started the paperwork to adopt a baby from there. This is where I get fuzzy. If you want to know the details of paperwork and dossiers and home studies, ask my mom. She is a pro. (She even went so far as to call Zell Miller's office everyday for a period of time for their help with the paperwork.) All I know that there is A LOT of paperwork involved in adoption. We all had to get fingerprinted by INS and have family dinners with the social worker who did our home study.

Then, after many long hours of crossing t's and dotting i's, the paperwork was finished and it went to China. After that, we waited and prayed, prayed and waited, waited and prayed.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Very Beginning

Last month was officially National Adoption Month. Last week we celebrated Grace's 6th Gotcha Day. And since I'm nothing if not a day late and a dollar short, I'm writing about all of this today. I've been ruminating on writing about my siblings' adoptions for some time now, so here it begins, here it happens.

And why not start at the beginning? (It is, after all, a very good place to start.)

Before I met B, I dated a guy with the same name for a little while. (My family still refers to him as the "Wrong B.") While not the right man for me, this guy did something of monumental importance in my life. In March of 2002, he took me to see Steven Curtis Chapman at The Fox in Atlanta. We had broken up a while before the concert, but I had always dreamed of seeing SCC, so I went. That night, SCC talked about the first little girl that he and his wife had adopted from China. And then he sang a song about her. There was not a dry eye in the place by the end. The strangest part in this was that I was prompted to start praying that my parents would adopt. What? Did I mention that this was a few weeks before my 20th birthday? My youngest sibling was 14 at the time.

So, for the next couple of weeks, I prayed, albeit half heartedly and with little belief that anything would come of it. I'll go ahead and say here, that I don't believe that I am the reason that my parents ultimately adopted. God used me to birth the idea in them, but more importantly, God used these events in my life to increase my faith. You see, Grace's adoption is the biggest miracle I've ever seen with my own two physical eyes.

I have decided that this story will be a series because there's so much to tell and so many details that I don't want to leave out.

"And like the rain that falls into the sea, in a moment what has been is lost in what will be."
-Steven Curtis Chapman

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Blessings in Disguise

Last night, I asked B if he thought we should get involved in something, to which he replied, "When?" He said that he guessed I could do something during the day, but we just don't have the time at night now that Els goes to bed between 7:30 and 8. I have this need to do, do, do all the time and that is just not my life right now. So often, my self-worth has been based on the hours of a day that I could fill with activities and now my hours are filled with corralling an almost 9-month-old who is crawling and into EVERYTHING. But I still have this need to do activities and, when I'm really honest, it's not necessarily because I want to do them, it's so that people will like me.

2009 has been all about slowing down for me, and now, in November, I'm finally starting to accept that. It's not a coincidence that about half of the things I plan I have to cancel because Els is sick or just went down for a nap (finally!) or is just not feeling it on that particular day. I am learning to be still. Els won't be a baby for much longer and I am blessed to spend my days with her.

Also, as I have mentioned before, I am finally reading the Bible through this year and I don't have the time or words to expound upon how I am being blessed by this. I've been trying to post about this in more detail, but I just can't figure out how to say it just yet. Right now, I'm treasuring the things I'm learning in my heart and trusting that God will give me what to say to you about them when and if the time comes.

And the cold, hard truth is that none of the above would have happened if I had never left home. There I would not have cried the many tears of loneliness. There, I could have filled my days and hours with people and stuff and not been forced to rely on God for sufficiency and companionship. There, I would have built in babysitters and would not have had to learn the joys of doing everything with a baby in tow.

Believe me, I don't have it all figured otr, but I think I know why God took us away from our beloved home. It was so that we ca know and love each other better. But most of all, it is so that we could know Him better.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Friday, November 06, 2009

Mom's Teriyaki

One of the absolute temporal joys of my life is cooking. If you've seen me in the kitchen, chances are you've seen a very happy lady. I love to mix, chop, measure, and whisk. I cook all of the time, for special occasions or just every day.

Truth be told, it was bound to happen. I come from a long line of amazing cooks on both sides. Most of my favorite meals and recipes are those that have been handed down. Although, I cannot perfect my mother's lasagna, try as I might. No one can. We could follow the recipe word for word, and it is just not going to be as good as it would be made by her hands. One thing that I am working on perfecting is her teriyaki. You see, my mother is not only a lasagna master, she is also a marinade master. And there is no concoction with which you can marinate meat that matches Mom's teriyaki. An absolute classic meal at our house is grilled chicken teriyaki. My current favorite is grilled boneless, skinless chicken thighs that have soaked in the teriyaki for about 4 to 6 hours.

So, what is this marvelous recipe, you might wonder? Well, I could say that it's a closely held family secret, but that would be a lie. We're all open books, and since I'm sure Mom would tell you if you asked, here it is:

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup oil (don't use olive oil if you're grilling-it has a low smoke point)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar

Mix, marinate, enjoy!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

My 2 cents

Not that you cared, but I thought I'd weigh in on a current mommy craze that's blowing up a lot of blogs I read. So, Stella McCartney has created a line of kids clothes for the Gap. Sure they're super cute and chic. Even if it's chic in the utilitarian, muted color way.


Am I the only one who's noticed that they're trying to sell a onepiece outfit for $48? I spent that on an entire 12 month wardrobe for Els.

Just sayin'.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Munchkin Baby

The very first time that Els' Aunt Grace saw her wearing those green and white striped leggings, she insisted the Els be a Wizard of Oz Munchkin baby for Halloween. I found directions online to make the tutu and the flower headband at a local festival. Voila! Els the munchkin baby!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Jeremiah 29:11

Bear with me here, I'm no theologian, but my world is being rocked by this this week. Jeremiah 29:11, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" If you've run in Christian circles for any time at all or ever attended a church graduation service, you've probably heard this verse. It's inspiring, hopeful, very meaningful to know that the Lord God who created the universe has plans for us and that they're hopeful.

However, until this week, I never knew the context of this verse. You see, I am trying to read through the Bible this year. It's a lofty goal on one hand, but on the other, considering the fact that I've been a Christian for years and never read it through once, it's a also a goal that's loooooonnnnnggg overdue. (I mean, I read every word of the Harry Potter series.) Anyways, so right now, the plan I'm following has me in Jeremiah, and it's tough. Jeremiah was basically told to write letters to the king of Israel and Judah and tell them that the Babylonians were coming to take Jerusalem and all the people in it captive. When you get to chapter 29 the Lord (through Jeremiah) is telling the king and officials that if they basically surrender and go to Babylon, build houses, plant fields, they'll be fine. They were going to have to leave home indefinitely. He's saying that he knows the plans he has for them, but that they are not the plans that the people would have made for themselves. And the people weren't too happy about this, as evidenced in the chapters that follow in which the king burns Jeremiah's letter and throws him in jail. This is because the hopeful future God's talking about in verse 11 is a future in which they set up their lives in a foreign land and live for generations.

This truth is speaking volumes to me because, as you've gathered by now, my life is NOTHING like I thought that it would be. But, I would have it no other way. God knows his plans for me, and while hopeful, they're nothing like I would have imagined. We've left home indefinitely, and are setting up shop in a "foreign" (to us) land. And we're probably going to move again and again and again. But God knows his plans for us. Even if they're not what we would have chosen.

"I may not know the way I go, but Oh, I know my Guide."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Glorious Fall

It's finally here in the Lowcountry. At least for a few days, when we can pretend like there are seasons here and pull out our sweaters in hopes of wearing them a couple of times before summer hits again next year. The light is golden, the night-time temperatures flirt with the 40s, and leaves are thinking about falling from their trees. This morning there was a mist coming from the defunct golf course across our backyard, and as it hit the big tree behind our patio, it looked like smoke. The sight was nothing short of glorious. Creation, at least in my little corner of the world, was playing a symphony to the Lord.

This past weekend, we went to a small "Oktoberfest" in Port Royal, which is the town directly across the bridge from us. It was a good time and Els really enjoyed watching all of the people and dogs that were there. Els doesn't like to smile for people she doesn't know, but here we all are. Little things like this make "this place" feel more and more like home as we make memories together. What a blessing!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Oh My!

Just in case you were wondering, there is new media of all forms in my life. And, just in case you were wondering, here is a list of said "things that are rockin' my world:"
  • Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer - I have looked at this book sitting on our shelf for over five years now and listened to B tell men many a time what a great read it is. I have read other Krakauer books and thoroughly enjoyed them, yet never picked this one up for some reason. Until last Monday. This is a must read. It is the harrowing tale of the 1996 disaster on Mount Everest. Climbing to the top of the world sounds miserable, yet captivating at the same time. The most interesting thing that I learned through this is that over 200 people have died on Everest and they're all still there. Yes, you read that right. THEY'RE STILL THERE. FROZEN. You see them when you climb it. Craziness.
  • The most recent episode of The Office. Not because Jim and Pam FINALLY tied the knot. (However, I was excited about this.) It was due to the cold open and, most notably, what happened to Andy. (You just have to see it. I tried to find a Youtube video of this, but couldn't.)
  • Last, and not at all least, the new Indelible Grace album. Oh my! It's new (to me) hymns. It's acoustic. If there's a type of music that defines me, this is it. Buy it and then listen to it. And then listen again. And again. By Thy Mercy is definitely a strong contender for Reasons Why's Album of the Year '09, even after only the 6th listen.
So, there they are. Please enjoy.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


I remember the first time I heard the word epiphany. Mr. Smi says it in the movie "Hook," and though I had no idea what it meant the first time I heard it, I thought "epiphany" was the most beautiful word that had ever met my ears.

But I digress.

I had one such epiphany the other night as we were putting Els to bed. We do the same thing every night. B was laying on the floor surrounded by Rumor and Charlie, and I was in the glider, rocking Els to sleep (yes, I still do that-I love it!) when the thought occurred to me, "There's no place I'd rather be."

Now, y'all endure enough angst from me about belonging and loneliness and missing home to know that this was huge in my life. To God be the glory-He redeems all things! Even weeks that B works long hours and we're nap training and all three exhausted. What joy He can surprise us with!

"Sometimes a light surprises the Christian while he sings;
It is the Lord, who rises with healing in His wings:
When comforts are declining, He grants the soul again
A season of clear shining to cheer it after the rain."
-William Cowper

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Thanks to Jana for help with the new header. Not only did she take the picture, she showed this computer-illiterate mama how to make said picture into a header.

Click on over to see more of her amazing photos!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Pray for Piper

A sweet family that we know from "home" found out this week that their 2-month-old granddaughter, Piper, has leukemia. It is so sad, but they are choosing to be hopeful from what I have heard. Please pray for this family and Piper's doctors at Scottish Rite.

You can follow their blog here.

P.S. Thanks for all of your words of encouragement lately. I feel truly loved and blessed!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Grace's Life is a Fashion Show

Today was Mom's day to read to Grace's 1st grade class at school. They have been spending time this week picking out the book for Mom to read and collecting various items for Grace to take for show and tell.

Grace rides with their neighbors to school because the mom is the school counselor and the daughter is Grace's often-time partner in dressing-up-and-riding-large-stuffed-horses-around. So, every morning Mom throws something on and walks Grace to the end of the driveway to meet the neighbors. In anticipation of the big show and tell today, Grace was already a little miffed at Mom for not letting her bring Todo, their dog, to school when she looked up at jeans and t-shirt clad Mom and said, "You're not wearing that to my school are you?"

First grade, people. I have a feeling that Dad's credit card needs to gird it's loins before this girl hits middle school.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Happy Birthday Babe! Love you forever!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Night Before

In 2001, they still put phone lines into on-campus apartments. It was just before everyone relied primarily on cell phones and land lines went the way of the dodo bird. That year was my sophomore year at Wingate University and I lived with three other girls in an apartment where we each had a tiny room with shared common areas. We also each had our own land lines, since, like I said earlier, our cell phones were still primarily "for emergencies." We also each had answering machines that were entire separate entities from our phones.

On the night of September 10, 2001, my roommates and I decided to do funny songs on each others' answering machines as the greetings. I did an inspiring version of "Kiss the Girl" from The Little Mermaid on my roommate Natalie's machine. Another roommate, Faith, penned an original rap entitled, "Where Kel? I don't know!" for my machine which finished with the mad beat-box skills of four 20-year-old white girls. Sadly, I don't remember the other two, but we had a great time together and laughed a whole lot. It was what we called a "family night."

We had no idea that the world was about to change forever.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Why I'm Infrequent

I just got out of a good shower. Man, it feels good to be clean, especially after, and I'm gonna be real honest here, it's been a few days since the last one. I say all this because I sometimes strangely get a lot of clarity in the shower. My posts have been infrequent lately, I know. I feel like there's nothing to blog about, and when I sit down to write, I end up writing the same thing over and over again. They're all about how I'm lonely, but blessed, and homesick yet home.

I realized that I try and try to make friends, but I hate to be vulnerable, so I put up my mask with everyone, and so there hasn't been any real spark of friendship with anyone here. So, I feel alone. And I wallow. Then I write the same blog post (usually on Tuesday) and erase it.

I've decided to try to be vulnerable in hopes of making a good friend. Starting tomorrow. (No, I'm not procrastinating, I just don't call people with kids after nine because I know that we get irritated if someone randomly calls us at that time.) I decided to put this resolution in writing so that maybe I won't chicken out tomorrow.

As always, thanks for bearing with me through this. God is good through all of my struggling. I know He has a reason for this lonely period. I know he knows what it is to be lonely and that's comforting.

"Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah,
Pilgrim through this barren land.
I am weak, but Thou art mighty;
Hold me with Thy powerful hand.
Bread of Heaven, Feed me til I want no more." -William Williams

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Old Feet, New Feet

I am

Eating frozen thin mints

Drinking Celestial Seasons "Sleepytime" (which we refer to as "bear tea" because of the logo)

Happy that Els was in bed BEFORE 9pm

Watching a re-run of Criminal Minds

Sore from a good run with a new friend today

Really engrossed in reading When a Crocodile Eats the Sun

Excited about visiting friends this weekend

Sitting next to my best friend

Friday, August 21, 2009

New Things

B is so brave. About so many things that I am a complete wimp about. He is the one always trying to teach Els new things (such as walking on his feet, see above.) He's the one that got her to sleep in her crib and without her swaddle cold turkey. He is the one who wants to get rid of the baby monitor so that I can sleep without listening to her every move. ("We'll hear her if she screams," he says.) We're not there yet, but I believe one of these nights he's going to sneak around to my side of the bad and just turn it off.

God is so good to have provided me with such a gentle husband who is strong where I am weak and knows how to push me out of my comfort zone when it's for my own good. I'm so thankful that Els and I have such an encourager in our life.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Favorite Things, Part 3

It is utterly amazing how my favorite things have changed since February 27th of this year. While they used to be (& partly still are) jewelry, toiletries, and other girlie stuff, they now include a wider variety of items. So, you can think of this "Favorite Things" as the "New Mom Edition." Enjoy!

1- The Shark Steam Mop. It cleans and STERILIZES my woods floors. No cleaning solution needed. Just add water. Dries really fast. Need I say more?

2- Baby Bjorn. I love it because I can put Els in it and be hands free while shopping, cleaning, or just walking around. (Okay, okay, and I secretly think of it as exercise...) Els loves it because she gets to be close to mommy, see everything around her, and lick the bib part all at the same time.

3- P90X. This is how I'm "getting my body back." Yes, it's hardcore. Yes, it's time consuming. No, I don't do it every day or do the eating plan. However, I feel like I'm almost in as good shape physically as I've ever been in and I can wear all of my pre-pregnancy clothes again. (I did a pull-up all on my own the other day!) Bring it!

4- This thing. If Els was making a favorite things list, this would run a close second to the cats. (She is enamored with the cats!) It's so much fun watching her push the buttons and learn how to play with the toys. I also think it really helps hone her eye-hand coordination skills. She gets so excited when she actually grabs what she sets out to grab. (Especially if it involves a kitty or mommy face!)

5- Amy Butler Nappy Bag. It goes everywhere we go. It holds everything we both need. And it's super cute and very un-diaper bag like. Mine is in this fabric. Love it!

6- Nap time. I never really understood until now the magic of nap time. It's as much for me as it is for my Elli-girl. She's still a very good baby, but sometimes it's easier to get a lot of things done fast while she sleeps, so that I can focus on her while she's awake.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Are you ever finished?

When you own a home, is there ever a time when you sit back, kick your feet up, and think, "Wow! There's nothing that needs doing around here!"? It seems like everytime I stop to catch my breath around the house these days, all I see are the next five projects waititng impatiently for me to tackle them. Since we've been home, I feel like I've been cleaning and organizing non-stop and I feel like I've barely made any headway. Oh, and did I mention that our air conditioner was dead when we got home last weekend? No? Well, it was. The repairman actually said it was the worst set-up he'd ever seen and he was surprised that the original ownwers had gotten away with the permit for it. He said that he would not put any more money into it. It was all but rusted over completely. Fabulous. So guess what we got last week?

That means, in the last 8 months since signed on the dotted line, we've replaced the dryer, dishwasher, hot water heater, and AC system in our house. That's not to mention several sets of blinds and the rooms we painted. Whew! Next time, we're getting the first year warranty on our house!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

She Likes Flowers

Oh, they're so pretty!

You Can't Always Get What You Want

I realize I've been a little absent. We're currently breaking Els of the swaddle and that means a lot less sleep for us both. Also, at this particular moment in time, I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival home of my brother (21) and sister (24) from their little European jaunt (Hungary, Croatia, Prague-don't get me started about trip jealousy), while at home with Els, Grace and Micah. It's 1:16 a.m. Micah has already been up four times. Thus, I'm blogging and not sleeping. The phrase, "I'll look back on this one day and laugh," comes to mind.

In other news, we're headed back home for good this weekend. I am more than excited. We will all three be at home together for the foreseeable future. (Can I get a what-what?) B graduated from the course he's been in last Friday AT THE TOP OF HIS CLASS! And, *surprise*, he also got promoted to Captain on the same day. It was one of those days where we could see clearly that we're indeed headed in the right direction. But nothing tops the thought of us all just being at home. HOME.

"If you try sometimes, you will find, you get what you need..."

Monday, July 20, 2009

On My Mind

"O I am my Beloved’s
And my Beloved is mine!
He brings a poor vile sinner
Into His house of wine
I stand upon His merit -
I know no other stand,
Not e’en where glory dwelleth
In Emmanuel’s land."

-From, The Sands of Time are Sinking by Anne Cousin (based on Samuel Rutherford's letters)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


To add to the list of things I've learned while in Rhode Island:
  • I'm apparently frightened by aircraft carriers. They are absolutely the biggest things I have ever seen. I had no idea. It's kind of like the Grand Canyon, pictures do not do aircraft carriers justice. I am astounded that these things float in water.
  • Toddler spoons are a poor substitute for baby spoons. There's a big difference.
  • Els is a great conversation piece. She melts the hearts of even these grumpy northerners.
  • B is addicted to the one game on my phone. The man doesn't play any other video games. Ever. But he can barely tear himself away from Brickbreaker.
We leave in two days. But then there are only two weeks until we'll all be back in the Lowcountry together for good!

Monday, July 13, 2009

She-ras of the Faith

I've been reading A LOT lately. The list of books that I'm reading to the left is only half accurate most of the time because I forget to update it with the latest volumes I've picked up. Earlier this summer, I stumbled upon a wealth of novels by Francine Rivers in my parents' basement and have since devoured them. She is by no means a writer of fine classical literature, but the woman can "spin a yarn" for sure. The thing that I like most about her writing is not the fact that her books are page turners, it's that the stories are about great women, whether fictional or historical, of great faith. Mrs. Rivers wrote a great set of novellas on the five women mentioned in Matthew's genealogy of Jesus, Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary. It's interesting to see how these women were all messed-up outsiders of sorts who did things that could have been seen as of ill repute from the outside. But from the inside, these were women of enormous faith who trusted God at His word no matter what life presented them with. And these five outsiders were counted worthy by God to be the only women that are listed in the physical genealogy of His Son.

Now I am reading Evidence Not Seen, an autobiography of Darlene Deibler Rose, who was a young missionary to Indonesia at the start of World War II. She was held as a POW for the entire span of the war by the Japanese, losing her husband and being falsely accused as a spy. What Darlene never lost was faith. Even when she was held without food or a way to go to the bathroom for four days, she never doubted or was mad with God. In fact, she clung harder to Him. Her walk with God encourages me through the pages.

By contrast, my life is much easier than all of these women, yet I think I have it hard most days. God has been so good to give me the stories of these women at this time in my life, not to make me feel bad, but to show me that He truly is the only Way and to encourage me during hard times. I want to be a woman of faith like Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, Mary, and Darlene. I want to count everything loss for the sake of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I want to walk so closely with my Father, that I recognize His rod and staff even when it's dark and trust that He indeed leads me beside still waters.

"When the saints go marching in, Oh Lord, I want to be in that number!"

Friday, July 10, 2009

Don't Stop Believin'

Five years ago today, we said, "I do." I never could have conceived on that day how much I would love B today. I love watching him learn about so many things and grow into the man that the Lord would have him to be. He knows me better than myself so I can rarely hide anything from him. (Which is a good thing.) I love watching him be Daddy. He has a way about him that can calm both Els and me down, often at the same time. And not to get all materialistic here, but *bonus* the man can pick out jewelry. Just sayin'.

I love you forever, baby.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Things I've Learned in Rhode Island

So far, I've learned:
  • The New England coast is gorgeous
  • Pretzels + Nutella = heavenly yumminess
  • A very effective method of killing a crab is to fly it up into the air and drop it on concrete (compliments of the mammoth seagulls here)
  • Communist and Democratic nations share a penchant for building uninteresting government buildings.
  • Navy bases consider dropping a used anchor in the middle of the sidewalk or yard "decorating"
More to come later, I'm sure.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The Haves and Have Nots

No matter where I am, what I'm doing, or what I have, you can pretty much guess I want more. Hey, I'm human, aren't I? Ever since I can remember, I've always been a dreamer, thinking along the lines of, "When such and such happens or I get so and so, then life will really be something, then I'll have it all and have it all figured out!" But if there's anything I've learned in over 27 years of life, it's that, until Heaven, I'll never have it all, I'll never quite get "there."

I was thinking of this as I did a little boredom shopping in Newport today. Let me tell you, this place is so preppy it rivals Milledge Avenue in number of popped Polo collars, fake blondes, and Lilly Pulitzer sweaters. And places like this always make plain-ol'-me feel a bit inadequate. I always walk around thinking, "If they really knew me, then they wouldn't thumb down their noses." And I fall into the "if I had such and such, then..." line of thinking.

So, I'm trying to talk to myself today. Els and I returned to our hotel room and it was clean thanks to the nice houskeeping folks here. It's not big, but I have to think of the millions around the world who make due with a lot less than this in a permanent situation. Our little family is back together again and I must remember that that is what's important now. Who cares what Johnny and Jill "We summer in Newport and Winter in Aruba" think of me.

While here, I'm never going to be complete. No matter how many years with my wonderful husband I have or how many children the Lord blesses us with, this longing for something else, something more will always be there. Until we look into the eyes of the One Who was, and IS, and is to come.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Please pray for us! Tomorrow Els and I are flying up to Rhode Island to see the man in our life. While I am very excited about this, I'm also a little nervous about flying alone with my precious little four-month old. I suspect we'll do just fine since she doesn't have to ride in her dreaded car seat on the plane. Good Lord, we'd all be in trouble if she did!

For now, I just have to figure out how to get everything in the one bag I'm determined to check. Oh, but what a happy reunion our little family will have tomorrow at Logan Airport. It's been six weeks now and I am way overdue for seeing B's handsome face.

Friday, June 26, 2009

For fun

Here's a new picture of my co-author.

A Doozy for Today

I don't usually go too deep with my posts, but here is a thought from the Desiring God blog today:

"When the ground of justification moves from Christ outside of us to the work of Christ inside of us, the gospel (and the human soul) is imperiled. It is an upside down gospel."

"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." -Ephesians 2:4-9

My sister (the one who's not 6) and I had a conversation yesterday about how sin in our lives is not so much each individual heinous act, but rather the condition we were born into, the condition we live in apart from Christ. Therefore, it was Jesus' work alone on the cross that justified us with God, because we would have been unable to do so even if we wanted to. Nothing I have done, am doing, or ever will do could bring me closer to God. In Christ alone my hope is found.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

How it all began

Before 2004, I had never given much thought to the four branches of our military. I'm sure that if I thought about it hard enough, I could have come up with their names, but I knew little other than that. And I'm sure I would have made the mistake of calling any of them soldiers. Soldiers are in the Army. Sailors are in the Navy, Airmen (and women) are in the Air Force, and Marines are, well, Marines. All of this to say, I never thought I'd be married to any one of them.

B and I were married one month before he started law school. This was expected. But he began law school like many, planning to change the world one case at a time. It became evident within the first couple of weeks that we needed some sort of plan for after law school. There are many areas of law in which a fledgling law student can specialize. B had become friends with a guy named John and John was considering joining some branch of the military and becoming a JAG. B and John share an affinity for copious amounts of coffee, so they became good friends fast and soon the military lawyer idea began to swirl around in B's head too. Around this time also, B had lunch with my uncle who mentioned that B should look into joining the military. After this, it was time to talk to me. I can remember it like yesterday. It was a Thursday in November. We had just turned the lights out when he says to me, "What would you think about me joining the Marine Corps?" (Actually he started the conversation with, "There's something we need to talk about.." which he quickly learned is not the way to begin anything you don't want your wife to automatically freak out about.) Oddly, I felt a really strange peace in that moment and told him that I thought it was a good idea. He signed a law contract shortly after the beginning of the next year.

Now, almost 5 years, an OCS graduation, a law school graduation, a passed bar exam, a Superior Court clerkship, a TBS graduation, 5 months at a permanent duty station, and two promotions later, we are 5 weeks away from NJS graduation. (Whew!) This means that B will finally, FINALLY be a completely trained and official attorney for the Marine Corps.

Oh, and a Captain!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It's been a month

I'm such a sap this summer-I fully realize this, but bear with me. Today marks one month since I last laid eyes on the man that I love. That's the longest period of time we've ever gone without seeing one another since we started dating almost 7 years ago.

Earlier this afternoon I got my hair cut by my favorite stylist at bob (SALON) and since I had some time, I drove around Athens a little bit, taking in familiar sights and seeing lots of new things they're building on campus. As I did so, memories began to crash over me like a flood. Feelings of a different time in life. My mind kept repeating, "Gosh, I love this place. Gosh, I miss this place." And then it hit me. All of the memories that are so special to me are special to me because of B. Running at Intramural, meeting in the Founder's Garden for lunch, living in an apartment together for four years, riding B's motorcycle around town, rescuing said motorcycle from abandonment in several north campus parking lots, countless dinners with friends, rescuing several cats from precarious situations, etc, etc. Nothing is the same without him. He is my best friend, and I feel equally as fond of the memories that we have in Stafford, VA and Beaufort, SC. I've cried both times I've pulled back into Beaufort since he's been gone. It's not these places that are the thing I miss, it's that man I love. (A sap, I tell you! I'm a sap.)

But I have to tell you, there is such joy to be found in the Lord. It is beyond circumstances and I am learning that this summer.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

All This Mercy

I began this post last week by writing about depravity, but I don't feel like that's what it's about. Until this summer, I've never given more than a cursory thought to mercy, but now it's rolling over me in waves. So instead of more words on depravity, here is the prayer I prayed this morning while rocking Elli to sleep:


Help me love as I have been loved;
Have patience with her as you have had patience with me;
Endure as I have been endured;
Give grace as I have been given grace;
Show mercy as I have been shown mercy.

There is nothing good that I deserve and nothing bad that I don't, but in Your GREAT MERCY, you rescued me while we were enemies. And in full view of my indwelt sin, you come after me still.


Mercy beats in my blood, giving more life than oxygen. It hems me in, behind and before, it prepares a table for me in the presence of my enemies.

Monday, June 08, 2009

My Girl and Me

I got sunshine on a cloudy day. When it's cold outside, I got the month of May...

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Blue Sky Blues

I'm not going to lie-sitting in the condo at the beach for the second afternoon in a row while the rest of my family is down enjoying the sun and the waves is not my ideal vacation.  Not that I can really complain-at least I'm here and not all by myself somewhere.  This is where the harsh truth of parenthood comes in.  Els is taking a nap and I am the only one who can feed her when she wakes up.  Add to this the fact that my husband is about 1000 miles away for the next nine weeks and you can imagine my mood this bright and sunny (perfect for the beach) day.  

I don't really have a lot to write about, so thanks for being a listening ear, world wide web friends of mine.  Today has given me a lot to think about, namely why God designed families with two parents.  Now, I know that this ideal situation is not always possible because of lots of different things, but I don't know how I could raise Els on my own.  I am sure I would have a lot less sanity than I do.  That said, I am so thankful that Els and I have a family that has invited us in with open arms and an open invitation while B is away.  

My world is just weird right now.  Not in a bad way.  Just in an inside-out kind of way, if you know what I mean.  

"Now the sky could be blue, I don't mind, without you it's a waste of time." -Coldplay

Friday, May 29, 2009


I'm missing this man bad tonight.

Just a Little Crush

Here's a conversation that I had with my sister, who recently graduated from kindergarten.

Me: So, who's this little boy in your class that Mom keeps telling me about?

Grace: Oh, Johnny. I'm crushin' on him. [Pause.] Do you know what that means Kel?

Me: I'm not sure. Why don't you tell me.

Grace [very matter-of-factly]: It means I love him.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Swallowed in the Sea

I'm just gonna be real honest with you today-I'm not looking forward to he next ten weeks of my life. B is going to school (again!) in Rhode Island this summer, which leaves Els and me in limbo. Sure, we live here in South Carolina. We have a house and a few budding friendships, but when the day is done and there's no B coming home, I'm pretty sure I'm going to be lonely and a little frazzled.

Here's the truth about me: I hate being alone, and when I say "alone" what I really mean is "without B." Nothing means as much without him around. I have little motivation to make up the bed or clean the bathroom, grocery shopping and cooking (two of my favorite activities) are no fun to me when he's gone, and dessert, oh dessert-what's the use of dessert when all it does is remind me of he who enjoys it infinitely more than I can imagine? Okay, I'll own it-I'm a hopeless romantic. I love my husband so much more now than the day I married him, I'm not even sure I knew what love was back then.

Our other options for the summer are staying in Athens (which is quite tempting) and going to Rhode Island with B. The problems with these are the aforementioned house complete with cats and bird who cannot feed themselves, and new friendships that I would hate to see whither and die from neglect. Also, we would live in a hotel room in RI. So what are we two girls to do? A little bit of all three, I think. I want to keep our roots planted here on the isle o' ladies, but I do love me some Athens, and, above all, I'd rather live in a hotel room with B than in nicer accomodations without him.

"Nobody said it was easy; nobody told me that it would be this hard." -Coldplay (saw them in ATL this weekend and it was amazing, hence all the references)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Happiness is...

Els looking into my eyes and saying her little gurgle-words so intently that I know she means them

Hearing the garage door open...I know that B is home

Waking up to realize that Rumor is curled up against me

The smell of rain

Cooking a tried and true recipe for someone for the first time

The sweaty exhilarating exhaustion after a great workout

Hearing a song that I will love for the first time

Dancing to show tunes to make Els laugh

The first sip of coffee in the morning


Seeing an old friend after a long absence

Finally getting in bed at the end of the day

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day

So, I'm a day late, but in my defense, there were 9 people staying in our little house this weekend. I wanted to tell you about some things that I have been thinking about in the days surrounding this day. First, I cannot believe that it's been six years since the day that my grandfather, who we called Daddy Fred, left us for Heaven. It was an unseasonably cold and rainy mother's day that day and my siblings and I spent it alone because of his death. Looking back, I really don't remember why we didn't go down to the town where my parents were that day, but we didn't. We took ourselves to Logan's Roadhouse for lunch and I found a long hair in my chili. That was the last time I ate there.

Then there was last year. B and I were trying to get pregnant and had just moved to Virginia. I cried as I picked out cards for the various mothers in our lives, wondering if anyone would ever give me such a card. Little did we know that our precious baby girl would be on the way in less than a month.

And yesterday. We celebrated this weekend by the whole family coming to our house for the weekend. My mom's 50th birthday was last weekend, so we went to the beach and out for fresh seafood to celebrate that on Saturday and then the men cooked for us yesterday while we just hung out around the house, enjoying being together. One of my favorite things about my family is that we have fun just being together, we don't have to do anything exciting to make a day great. B and Els gave me a stargazer lily and I get to pick out furniture for our screened-in patio. I've decided on a red Lowcountry loveseat (sort of like an Adirondack chair, but made right around the corner from our house) and a picnic table. B is toying with the idea of making said table himself. We shall see.

To end, Happy belated Mother's Day to all you mothers and mothers-to-be out there. I am learning that our children are the greatest gift of all!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Daddy's eyes

She's got'em.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

In my perfect world

Things like this would happen on a daily basis...


During the course of my pregnancy, I've blogged several times about exercise and the struggle expectant mothers have because of maternal weight gain. Since I got the green light to exercise last week at my six week appointment, I've been doing a lot of thinking about starting to get "back in shape" and what that is going to look like for me. First of all, there's the challenge of a precious baby girl who does not like to be put down very often. Then there's the flab and weight that I've never had to deal with in my life.

So, this is what I've decided. Of course I'm going to run. It's my first exercise love, if you will. But in doing research, I have found that cardio is no longer the rage with fitness people, it's strength and core training combined with cardio. Maybe you've heard of programs like crossfit. Since there's not a crossfit group in my area, I have another plan. I know this is cryptic, but I'm not ready to unveil said plan until I know a little more about it, but I'm really excited.

All of this to say, I am also planning to start writing more about exercise and the new mom. It's a challenge that all women face post-partum and I want to figure out what's best for all of us.

More to come...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

When I grow up

My friend Annie recently blogged about a quirky dream job of hers and it got me to thinking about mine. I've had a few over the years, which is probably why I could never settle on a particular career path. (Which is ultimately a blessing because I would already be back at work now since Els is 7 weeks old tomorrow.) So, here's a rundown of my top three random dream jobs:

1-Postal worker- I know, I know, they have their stereotypes, but I've always wanted to be one. To get to see all of the mail that comes in and sort it however they do. I love letters. I love stamps. I even love the smell of post offices.

2-Weather woman- Actually, in 5th grade my aspiration was to be the world's first singing weather woman. I used to watch the weather channel for fun. There was even a bit of time where I wanted to be a storm chaser. And then get on tv and sing to the world about it. We all know how that turned out. I warned you, these are random.

3- Last, not least, but maybe most far-fetched- When I was little, maybe 5 or so, I wanted to be a bird. A white bird. But a girl can only dream sometimes.

What are some of your "dream" jobs?

She's back!

Yes folks, yesterday was a monumental one: I started running again! My gracious father in law ordered us a jogging stroller that is compatible with Els' car seat and we are in business. I know now that it's going to be a long road literally and figuratively because I haven't run since I was 22 weeks pregnant, but I'm more motivated than ever to make this work. So, maybe it will be run/walk for a while, but I'm cool with that. I have some encouraging running friends here and the goal of a half marathon by the end of the year.

Running, like parenting, would not be half as worth it if it were easy.

"To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift." -Steve Prefontaine

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Another Cute Picture

From left to right, Els' Uncle Micah (or, his preferred name, Uncle Bolt the dog), her Great-grandmother, Meme, her Aunt Grace, her Aunt Rah, and her Mama. In the center is the little Peanut herself.

Details, Schmetails

So, there's a big reason that I haven't been blogging quite as much this month and she's currently sleeping in my lap on her Boppy pillow. (Great baby product, by the way, the hype about these things is true.) She likes to sleep with one arm up by her head (usually the right) and it's terribly cute, especially when combined with the fact that she snores like her daddy already. I thought I'd hit the highlights of our past three weeks for you guys.

Els' birth was completely not what we had planned for or expected at all. First off, she was 12 days early. My family says they knew she was going to be early, and in hindsight I agree with them, but I had determined beforehand that I was not going to get my hopes up just in case she was right on time or even late. But, lo and behold, I went into labor at aproximately 1 am on the night of February 27th, we went to the hospital, and yada yada yada, she was born 12 hours later. (If you want details, ask me, but I'll spare them out of respect for the general readership.) I did totally go back on my word and get an epidural. That is one decision that you CANNOT make until you actually feel labor pains, I don't care who you are and how high you imagine your pain tolerance to be pre-labor contractions. I totally respect those who go naturally, though.

We stayed in the hospital for two days and were overjoyed to go home. It is a myth that you can sleep in the hospital after you have a baby. Someone is in there every hour or so to do something to you or the baby and if you send baby to the nursery, the nurses bring them back to you in two hours, telling you to feed them. Oh well. So, we came home and I have pretty much been enjoying her ever since. B had two weeks off of work, which was wonderful, and we pretty much sat around and held her, looked at her, and fed her for the whole time. My mom stayed with us for a week and then Els' Aunt Rah and Aunt B came for four days the second week. They were all great help, cooking and cleaning for us.

Els is a pretty good sleeper. She's given us several nights with 5 hours in a row of sleep. I think the least I have slept was the first night she was alive. B and I were so terrified with her in the room with us that we just stayed up all night and watched her. Now I pretty much pass out wherever I am at about 9:30 pm. (I could not even stay awake for The Office this week!)

Most of all, she is an incredible joy. I love to watch her and hear her little noises. I love it when I can tell she's looking at me and really sees me, although I must concede that the ceiling fans are her favorite things to look at. She's going to smile at us soon, I feel it in my bones and I can't wait!

Friday, March 06, 2009

She's Here!!!!

Welcome Els! She was born one week ago today on February 27, 2009. She weighed 6 pounds and 15 ounces and was 18 inches long. I know I may be biased, but she also just happens to be the most beautiful little girl that God has ever created!

More to come later!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Customer Service Reviews

Side note before I begin: I love opening my blog and seeing Jemaine on the front page from my Valentine's Day post. There's nothing like a little Flight of the Conchords to make my day. Anyway, on to the post.

I've recently had experiences with the customer service side of two big nationwide companies that I'd like to share because one was really good and the other was not so much. The bad before the good though. I'm speaking of Target. Yes, I know, I love it too. Where else can you buy cereal, batteries, and the cutest shoes you've ever seen under one roof? But, I have recently become disenchanted for two reasons. Did you know that they don't do ship to store? At pretty much every store in the whole world except for Target, you can order things either online or in the store and have it delivered to your local branch, and avoid shipping costs. This is particularly nice for large items. We received a gift card to buy a rocker from Target and since our local Target does not carry rockers, we had to order it online. The worst part? The shipping charge was $75!!! That was over half the price of the rocker itself. I was appalled, but what could I do since Target does not offer ship to store for free?

The second Target experience was this week when I tried to return some items I received at a baby shower. Did you know that at Target, if you don't have a gift receipt (which people rarely give these days) you can only return two items twice a year, totaling $35? What kind of deal is that? The money from things I return will still go to the store because they put it on a gift card, so I don't understand them making me keep things that I don't need and that they can resell. Moral of the story: give gift receipts for things you give people from Target!

The last story is a good one. It's about Verizon. In an act of sheer brilliancy, I washed my phone in the washing machine yesterday. Yes, I know it seems nearly impossible to miss that you're putting your phone into the washing machine with your clothes, but I did. This sent me into a panic because B was out of town and I am now two weeks away from my due date and my cell phone is my only phone. So, I got dressed and rushed to the nearest Verizon store. The guys in there were super-nice. I don't know if it was the distressed overly-pregnant lady card that I played or what, but they hooked me up. They gave me a "loaner" phone and charger for no charge and had me set up with my insurance (thank the Lord!) to have a new one delivered to me today. All in all, I felt very well taken care of by Verizon, and will continue to be a satisfied customer despite the lack of iPhones offered by them.

So, those are my customer service stories. Just thought I'd share in case you run into the same thing one day.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Cattle on a Thousand Hills

Over the course of the last 9 months, I've had numerous pregnancy-related fears ranging from the semi-founded to the truly absurd. The latest of these has been that I will not lose all of my "baby weight" and never wear my favorite jeans again. Sheesh! I am extremely shallow sometimes. As I was walking last night, I was again feeling very sorry for myself. I'm so uncomfortable I literally only sleep for an hour at a time, I've gained as much weight as you're supposed to already and still have two weeks to go, B is on a business trip this week, etc, etc...I could go on, but you get the picture.

All the sudden the thought occurred to me that while I'm worrying about fitting into my pre-pregnancy clothes and thinking about splurging on a new pair of jeans once I lose weight, there are other moms-to-be out there worrying about how they will feed their children. I suddenly thought about my adopted brother and sister and how scared their birth mothers would have been right before birth, knowing that they would not be able to care for their new babies. Grace was lovingly left at the old orphanage in her town when she was only 3 days old. Meanwhile, Els already has a closet full of clothes and a whole host of people with their bags almost packed, sitting on go to come be with us once she's born. Now, I'm not saying I feel guilty about this, far from it. I'm saying that I, number one, feel outrageously blessed beyond belief, and, number two, feel like maybe I shouldn't fear the things I fear so much.

The truth is, whether here or there, in plenty or in want, my Heavenly Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills and it is only He who is ever my provider. All of this plenty we have is His and has been given to us, not earned. I want to be grateful for the things I have and not take them lightly or as "a given."

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Very Strongest Adhesive

In honor of Valentine's Day, please enjoy this clip of one of my all-time favorite love songs:

You're welcome.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Check It

I'm the featured blogger over at my friend, Cindy Streams' blog today. Click on the adorable picture of her daughter, Bri, above to read.

Monday, February 09, 2009


As I approach the time that I will physically become a mother, I find myself reflecting on my own mother a lot. And I'm realizing that she, in fact, does know best. She became my mom when she was only 22 and when my dad was working on his Master's degree. They lived in married housing at the university at the time and tell the story about how they had so little money that they once had to share a Krystal hamburger for dinner. I can only imagine that she was scared at times.

My mom stayed at home with my siblings and I for the most part and this is a blessing I cannot even begin to describe. She was always there for everything from tee-ball practice to parent breakfasts at school and we had dinner together every night when my dad came home from work. Um, and did I mention that she's an amazing cook? My favorite meals are still ones that she makes. The thing about her staying home was that, I'm sure that my parents couldn't afford it by today's standards. It wasn't until I was older that my mom began to get new clothes. She always wore hand-me-downs, but we always had new things. Still, I cannot think of a trully more beautiful woman. She cried with us-wait no-cries with us, laughs with us, and to this day will do anything we need her to.

Right now, not only is she my mom and about to become a grandmother, she's the mom of a 4-year old preschooler who has to go to speech therapy 4 times a week, a kindergartener with the personality and attitude of a 16-year-old, a 21-year-old pre-med student, and a 24-year-old nurse. (And you and I thought we had our hands full!) She and my dad have prayed for us every day of our lives and have consistently pointed us to Christ in their words and actions. I know that God is faithful to me in large part because of the visibly tangible faithfulness of my mom and dad to one another and to my brothers and sisters and I.

Secretly, my biggest fear has been that I will not be as good of a mother as she is. But I know that her secret is really no secret at all. She walks in God's grace, loving and sacrificing for her children and husband. My prayer is that I will do the same for B and Els.

I love you Mamma. You are trully Blessed.

Saturday, February 07, 2009


I bought diapers today! And wipes, and bags for the diaper genie, and other baby things. I cannot believe that our due date is so close. I am in total nesting mode. It feels like our house is so dirty and that I can't sit down for two seconds because I feel like I'm on a total time crunch. She could come any day now. (Well, so, I hope that she stays in for another month until her due date, but you never know.) I have so much to do!!!!

I think Els is feeling the crunch too-literally. She pokes her little behind out of me a lot on one side and then runs her hands and feet around the other side. We tell her that she's not a chicken trying to hatch out of an egg. We did find out that she's in the right position for birth, which is positive. And, we got a quick little ultrasound this week, and were able to see the back of her head, her heart, and her rump. The doctor said that she's too big to be able to see her face with the less than modern equipment at the Naval hospital here. It's okay though, we'll see it in person soon enough!

32 days to go...

Thursday, February 05, 2009


This is an actual conversation that I had with one of Grace's friends, let's call her Rose, last weekend at our Chinese New Year Party. I'm not even kidding.

Rose [very matter-of-factly, looking at my belly]: You're going to have a baby.
Me: Yes I am.
Rose: Are you going to push it out at the hospital?
Me [a little surprised]: Yep. (How do you respond to this?)
Rose: Well, it's gonna be bloody!

I don't remember what I said after that, I just didn't know how to have this conversation with a four-year-old, but inwardly, I was cracking up. It turns out that, according to her Mom, Rose is fascinated with surgery shows on TV. Doctor in the making?

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Mirrors in Disguise

"And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another." -2 Corinthians 3:18

"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known." -1 Corinthians 13:12

Friday, January 30, 2009

Home is Where You Are

I took a big step yesterday. I actually got my hair cut by someone new. Gasp! Even when we moved to Virginia, I would wait and get my hair cut in Athens by the same girl at the same place I've been going to for a while now. I know her. She knows me and I trust her. But, I've decided to commit to this here little town for a while, so I made a leap of faith and an appointment based on a new friend's recommendation. Not only did I go to someone new, I decided to let her do what she "saw" would be good for my hair. It's a new cut for me for sure, but I don't have any pictures yet.

So, it was a good experience and besides finding a new hair person, my friend and I found this adorable little neighborhood/community where the salon is. While it is a little Stepford-wivish (looks very perfect on the outside), everyone we met was so nice. There's even a shop that sells the Volcano Anthropologie candles!

And, I've been mentioning friends-yes, I am making friends, which is huge because it took so long in Virginia to do so. Over the last several weeks, I have been blessed with some great new people in my life. I'm finding that military wives bond very quickly and it's kind of like being a freshman in college again. Everyone is lonely and looking for friends and things to do. And everyone understands this weird way of life that we live with all of its uncertainty and inefficiency.

More than anything, I am finding that home for me is wherever my little family is. Where B and Rumor and Charlie are. Soon, where Els is too (although, now I can't exactly separate her from me, so...). God has so greatly blessed me beyond belief in my family, big and small.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Els and Kels Whale

Here it is folks, the moment you've all been waiting for. It's me, immensely pregnant. Six weeks to go.

A Real Man

A real man will drive his brother in law's hand-me-down car for years even if it has paint chipping off of it everywhere, is missing the cover to one of the rear lights, and has a front bumper that is connected to the car with duct tape and bungee cords. All of this to save money and never complain about it once.

I've been meaning to post that about B for a long time as a compliment to him. He's long suffering, that's for sure. But this past weekend we were immensely blessed when my grandmother graciously gave us my grandpa's truck. I am so happy for B. I know I'm a bit biased, but if anyone in this world deserves something like that, it's him. 2009 is already looking up!


I'll be the first to admit that I have spent a good many posts in the last year whining about moving around. I remember posting in January of last year that "I [didn't] know nothin' except change [would] come," to use the words of Patty Griffin. Boy did I really have no idea. If you had asked me then where I thought we'd be now, I would have told you that I had no idea, but I hoped for Southern California. Not Carolina. But change did come and I feel blessed to be in South Carolina for as long as we get to be here.

And all of this to say that I really want to apologize for all of the complaining. God has done tremendous works in my life and heart over the last year that would not have been possible if He had left us snug in Athens. I have grown to love B more than I ever thought possible. Moving away from everyone and everything we knew last April forced us to rely on each other like we had not before. We've spent a lot of time just the two of us together and I love it. I have also started to become more comfortable with this whole "my life doesn't look anything like I ever thought it would." God's been teaching me about living simply too, in the day, in the moment because that's all I have, really. As an example, as much as I want Els to be born right now, I also want to savor this time I have, let's face it, for myself, because, as they tell me, life will never be like this again once she's on the outside.

Not to mention that I can now make a pie crust from scratch.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Either, Or

Grace, my six-year-old sister, is very opinionated. Like all of us, the subject about which she has the most opinions is her own life. Over Christmas break she had a lot of time to think about Kindergarten, and this is what she decided:

"Mom, I don't think I want to go to school anymore. I just want to take horseback riding lessons." (We think that this has something to do with the fact that it starts so early. She later decided that she'd be okay with going to school if the bus came to get her in the afternoon rather than in the morning.)

In a similar instance earlier last year, after reflecting on her two year long ballet career, she declared:

"Mom, I don't want to take ballet lessons anymore. I just want to take lessons about how to be a princess." Don't we all, hon.

At least the girl knows what she wants. And she's not afraid to ask for it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


It's nearing on a year since I've worked. Becuase of the two moves last year and uncertainty of our living situations, I opted not to work in Virginia. Now that I'm about to be a new mom, I'm not looking for a job at the present, but some days it drives me crazy. Although I love my life, it looks nothing like I thought it would 5 years ago as I prepared to graduate from college. That said, I am finding that women my age without jobs have hobbies. They're involved, involved, involved. They sew and/or play the guitar and/or volunteer at lots of organizations and/or are gourmet cooks. The list goes on and on and on. This also goes for women my age that have jobs too. And, to tell the truth, this week it's overwhelming me completely. I can't even finish a whole book these days, much less have the attention span to develop a hobby. My hobby used to be running, but I haven't done that in a good ten weeks now.

Can I be an uber-woman? Do I want to be? What are my hobbies? Moving? All of the things that I do are just every day, keeping my house together things. Nothing special. I can't imagine the energy it would take to be a mom, be artistic, athletic, and either work or volunteer all at the same time. Maybe this thinking is just because I'm in my third trimester and I consider it a success to sleep for 4 hours without getting up to pee or stretch.

I'm so relieved when I remember that I believe in a God of grace. There is grace for even undecided, slothful me. And I am considering hobbies, I just need to make a list and set goals for myself, not trying to do everything all at the same time. God has plans for me and I have to believe that right now, I'm doing what He has set forth for me to do.

"Hast Thou not bid me seek thy face, and shall I seek in vain?
And can the ear of Sovriegn Grace, lean deaf when I complain?"
-From "Dear Refuge of my Weary Soul"

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Home Sweet Home

This week we have:
  • Had an exterminator spray for bugs
  • Had our septic tank pumped
  • Hired a plumber to fix our hot water heater
  • Painted a bookshelf
  • Bought a changing table / dresser
This weekend we're also planning to change the locks on all of our outer doors and I'm sure that there are other things, I just can't quite remember everything.

Welcome to new home ownership.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Just Because I'm Losing, Doesn't Mean I'm Lost

Today is just one of those days. You know those where you wake up feeling awful, not physically, but like an awful person. And for no particular reason either. I think it has something to do with the fact that I don't really sleep all that well or long these days. My precious little girl is carrying really low, which means she's right on my hips all day and night, which in turn means that my hips feel like they're being ripped out of joint during the night. Every time I get up to use the bathroom or stretch at night I hear multiple pops from my lower back and pelvis. Fabulous. I finally broke down and bought one of those pregnancy body pillows a week and a half ago. It does help a lot, but it makes me hot and it takes up a lot of the bed. I can't win for losing, I guess.

All of the above added together mean that B and I are often really grumpy with each other at night. I called him at work when I woke up this morning to apologize for being mean and keeping him up last night. It makes me feel awful.

If I could see a silver lining, it would be that maybe God is preparing me for the sleepless nights ahead when Els is in my arms and not my pelvis. (Right now I'm thinking that I don't care if I only get two hours of sleep at night if I don't feel crippled when I wake up!) Also, like every other pregnancy woe, I would have to say that she is worth all of the pain. I can't wait to meet her sometime in the next nine weeks.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Album of the Year

I love music. All kinds of music. The only problem is that I get stuck on certain albums or artists for a long time and I rarely listen to the radio, so I have absolutely no idea what music is current or avant-garde. That said, I've been thinking about doing this since last year, naming my album of the year, because it seems like there is always at least one album that I discover somehow each year that floors me and I listen to until I pretty much have every note memorized. So since I failed to name an album of the year for 2007, I am going to list them here too (album and honorable mentions). Better late than never, right? My only disclaimers are that these particular groupings of music have very little to do with one another and they may be popular music or they may be something few have heard of. Here goes...

Album of the year 2008 goes to Coldplay's Viva La Vida. I know it was widely popular and will probably sweep the Grammy's, but have you heard it? I swear I had chills through the at least the first five listens. It's brilliant. Honorable mentions for this year go to Punch Brother's Punch and Sandra McCracken's Red Balloon. Also discovered this year and worth mentioning is Chris Rice's Living Room Sessions. I know that this is old news for Chris Rice fans, but I never claimed to be current.

Album of the year 2007 goes to Patty Griffin's Children Running Through. Again, chills and sheer brilliance in her combination of folk, blues, country, and sometimes jazz music. She knows how to put experiences into words that not only turn out to be poetry, but that touch me to my core. Her music is always honest, whether beautifully or brutally so. Honorable mention for 07 go to Chris Thile's How to Grow a Woman From the Ground. I still cannot stop listening to this album. The only thing better is hearing these guys live. (And I did twice in 2007!)

There you go. If you haven't heard some of this music, check it out. It will at least give you a good idea of what I listen to.

"Oh-oh-oh-oh and I'm just waiting til the shine wears off..." -Coldplay