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Monday, March 13, 2017

Type A People Ruin Everything

Okay, I mean that totally tongue in cheek. Some of my best friends are 'type A' and I adore them.

Actually I have a problem in that I'm very attracted to over achievers. I think I have an over achiever's heart. I was a straight A student when I was like 14-15, but when I was 16 I got depressed and basically that's what I've realized: when I try to hard to achieve, I lose it. So I'm not a 'type A'. If I "strive for excellence" always, I have nothing left to actually be excellent.

Christians often use verses like this one to basically say that if something isn't pinterest perfect it's not pleasing to God:

"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."
- 1 Corinthians 10:31

There's pressure in that: God is perfect. If I do something, and it's not perfect, how can it glorify God?

And I think that when someone is pleased with humble doings, other Christians will look down their nose at them, that they're not doing something 'excellent.' They steal joy, and that's what I mean by ruin everything.

This is especially true among Christian women.

But you know what? God is God and God knew we'd do that. That's why He gave us the following story:

"As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”"
-Luke 10:42

Now, I know we can find God in the mundane (I love Brother Lawrence.) But God included that story for a reason. I honestly think most of the women movers and shakers in church are Marthas and they have, I've witnessed and experienced, discourage the Marys.

Now Jesus wasn't saying that the 'preparations' weren't important. But learning from Jesus is most important.

It's okay if your house is messy if your spirit is ordered.

I feel like the Marthas would respond: you can have a clean house and an ordered spirit. Well, some people can. But sometimes, you can't. We have 24 hours in any day, and you need sleep. Sometimes, you really can't have a clean house and an ordered spirit. And one is more important.

It's okay if you take time to complete a project, or even realize you need to drop it for a while, if you are investing your time in things that are eternal. What's eternal? God, and people. Period. Go back to the most important commandments: Love God. Love People. Also, the new commandment: Love your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Nothing else has eternal value.

Yes, the Bible says:

"You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

But there's two points: it says "be" perfect, not "do perfect things." There is a MAJOR difference in being and doing. God wants us to be, not just do. If you don't understand, ask God to teach you more.

And secondly, you need context. That verse in context:

"And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."
-Matthew 5:47-48

That verse isn't about doing perfect things at all. It's a reflection on loving others, on not showing favoritism and only being nice to people you like. That is being perfect. Loving is being perfect.

So don't let the pinterest Type As get you down.

Choose the more important.

It won't be taken from you.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

When the Words Stumble Out

Words keep getting stuck.

I keep writing occasionally. I've started many blog posts in the past few weeks and published none. It's not writer's block. I have thoughts. It's anxiety. It's "do I really want to put this out there?" and the answer is "maybe? I don't know."

I had severe depression for about 8 weeks. It was a relief when I figured out why. I thought it was from personal drama and the election and seasonal affectiveness disorder exasperated by pregnancy and all that probably contributed. However, I am used to getting SAD each year and that just generally produces a lethargy and slight sadness. My coping mechanisms for dealing with external stressors, like turning to God, wasn't helping me shake off the depression at all either. I eventually realized it had a more biological origin. It started in early November and continued until around the New Year. The last week I was weeping daily and going into rages at the drop of a hat. I was facing the reality that I needed help... and then I heard a podcast on how breastfeeding works. And it dawned on me that my milk had dried up, slowly, in November. Dreamer had continued to try to nurse for a few weeks but finally gave up trying the week before Christmas. Lactating requires high amounts of oxytocin and prolactin. Oxytocin is a feel good hormone, and prolactin relaxes us and helps us deal with stress. So basically my levels of both of those were plummeted to their lowest levels in literal years. So it dawned on me that my hormones were just taking a few weeks to level out (which considering I'd nursed so long combined with having a hormone disorder and being pregnant... makes sense.)

Sure enough I'm on an upswing again, but I am still having difficulty getting words out.

The Lord has been faithful. Of course. He can be nothing less. I'd been leading a Bible Study and even when I was exhausted and barely took but a few minutes to prepare a study He was obviously working in the verses I picked and the themes. It was Him doing the work, not me, 100%. And even though I've been depressed I knew any failing was obviously mine, not His.

I have been struggling to be faithful to Him. I definitely feel that "our good works are but filthy rags" kind of thing lately. God told me to write a book a long time ago now and well, I haven't. I have started so many times but keep struggling and I feel like I am being such a failure. I think a lot of why I have barely been blogging not just the past two months but the past year is guilt over this book: if I have it in me to write, I should be working on that. I feel disobedient, but I also am struggling so much to find the time and space to write. Dreamer is very much a toddler. If I pull out my laptop, she pounds on it and tries to distract me because what she wants is all of Mommy, you know? The only reason you're reading this is I have gone back to it several times, working on it in bursts. Right now I'm hearing "I need crayons!"  I guess she's gotten tired of play dough...

I am 28 weeks pregnant now. Baby is kicking like crazy. I'm starting to nest, I rearranged furnitur and feel soooo dissatisfied with the cleanliness of our home right now but I am trying not to overdo it, as I am prone to do. I am inertia. When I get going, I stay going and tend to wipe myself out. When I am at rest, I find it so hard to get going. I swing from activity extremes and find it very difficult to ever be balanced. But I am trying. At this time last pregnancy I was on bed rest so I am nervous of something going wrong. With Dreamer I bled at 25 weeks and so for the past two weeks it's been in the back of my mind.

Actually I'm getting pregnant enough that it was hard to stay out the other day. We were out of the house most of the day and Dreamer was being, well, a toddler. Running around and crazy, had a couple tantrums we had to address. I was exhausted halfway through the day, which is not typical of me. It was because my hips hurt and for the first time this pregnancy I think I felt blood starting to pool in my feet. It was startling! I turned to Ryan and told him, "oh, I guess I'm getting to that part of the pregnancy!" and laughed about it... it wasn't until I got home that it hit me the reason it startled me is because I didn't get to this point last pregnancy.

Since I was on bed rest at this point last time I had stayed off my feet from 25 weeks until 37 weeks and of course I felt that way at 37 weeks but I expected it then. Though truthfully I had never gotten to a point where I was like "get this baby out" with Dreamer because I had spent several months thinking "baby, stay in and grow!" So when my water broke I was shocked because I had assumed she wouldn't come before I had gotten to that mindset. However feeling how uncomfortable I was yesterday I am thinking maybe I'll get to that mindset before this pregnancy is over, haha. For now I was saying to Ryan's parents maybe we should take Dreamer to the zoo next weekend before I get too pregnant to even consider an outing like that.

I am not promising to blog more this time, because every time I do, I break my promise. But I do promise to try. Love to you all.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

From the Fog of So Much Happening

Yesterday my parents had to put my beloved dog Sophie to sleep.

I have literally cried multiple times already over the results of this election. I have a brown husband and brown children and I am so upset.

Yes, I said children. I am 16 weeks pregnant with #2 and that's good. He or she is kicking a lot.

Dreamer has been sick for two weeks now, though she's on the med after getting some medicine.

The pollution in this area is scarily bad we've spent most of the last week holed up in the apartment with the doors and windows closed and the air purifier on.

Crazily India decided to do away with 500 and 1000 rupee notes overnight. We're not really effected by that but it was shocking.

It seems like the whole world is going topsy turvy and I don't know what to do. Except pray. Which is powerful.

Love to all.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Skip. Hop. Play. Giveaway!

Dreamer with "Kitty"
Today we get the fun of having a giveaway for a $50 gift certificate giveaway for tons of Skip Hop items! Toys like these are great for kids!

Having a two year old, play is getting more and more important. Every parent knows that kids love their toys! This is a really great list on a good variety of types of toys. Of course, development also matters. It's good to look at a resource like this one from National Association for the Education of Young Children that lists good toys for different stages

Dreamer rarely goes anywhere without a stuffed animal, usually her sidekick "Kitty." As my mother put it, Kitty is her "lovey." She's also very fond of several other toys as well, but Kitty is the constant.

Then of course, there's bath time. It's not been easy getting Dreamer to like baths. As a newborn, she hated them. After many months she finally tolerated them, but she has never liked to wash her hair. Toys are an important element to keeping littles in the tub long enough that hopefully they get fully washed! We now put in bubbles and fill the tub up with "friends" and usually she'll hop in. She's not above hopping out and running away when I try to shampoo her hair, though.  (She's got several sets of bath toys, including the one pictured below. You can find it and other toys at 

a set of munchkin bath toys

I'm not sure if they count as "toys" but Dreamer definitely adores books. When she decides it's book time we usually read 10-30 books in a row. Lately she's been especially loving books about colors, a concept she's just grasping. It's adorable. I ask her "What color is this?" pointing and she screws up her face in concentration and goes, "Ummmmmm..... Purple?" She's right about 80% of the time now. We play this game outside of the books as well pointing to toys, clothes, and the like.

She also enjoys coloring and playing with stickers. Additionally she likes using a  set of plastic letters that my sister gave her as well. Choosing good toys for toddlers often has to do with providing a variety of activities and toys, to stimulate different skills and ideas.Especially because their attention spans aren't very long yet.

Dreamer also has this purple octopus!

Of course, being a toddler she also loves to just run around. We play a game she calls "running" which seems to be a combination of tag and hide and seek, just with no real rules. She'll come up to me with big cute eyes and tug on my clothes saying, "Mommy, running? Running?" She also loves to play with a variety of balls. She has several in different sizes and gets very particular about which one she wants to play with, varying it each time.

What kind of toys do your kids like?

Enter below for a chance to win the gift certificate!

Skip Hop Play Giveaway!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Eight Years Blogging

I just celebrated my 8 year blogaversary.

This blog has been with me through three jobs and so much unemployment, the inauguration of my relationship with Ryan, the move to India, my marriage, our move to our own place, the birth of our daughter... this is a very long relationship! And even though, just like often happens with friends when kids comes along I haven't been spending as much time with you, I do still value having you in my life.

So here's to 8 years and more!

My first "blogger profile" picture from back in the day:
a photo of my dog Sophie, who is still living with my parents in South Carolina.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Cute Things Dreamer Has Said Lately

I have been sharing on my personal Facebook profile some of the cute interactions I have had with Dreamer lately. Here are some good ones:

Dreamer has gotten a potato from the kitchen. I try to take it back from her.
"No, 'tato!!" She looks at me expectantly and starts miming peeling it.
"Do you want me to cook the potato?"
With gleeful satisfaction she entrusted the tuber into my hand. "Cook tato!"
Well. I have my orders!

Dreamer is hitting me with a big paint brush. I take it from her. She tries to get it back.
"Be gentle. Are you going to be gentle?"
"Gentle, yeah."
"Are you going to be gentle?"
"Yeah." I hand it back to her.
She immediately lifts the paintbrush up to her eye, sort of aiming it like a weapon, and says fiercely. "I. Gentle. You!"
Then bursts out laughing.
Oh boy.

Princess likes to jump up on the hot water heater in our bathroom. Dreamer today stood below her saying, "Kitty, get down. Living room. Come on!" and other encouragements to lure Princess.

It didn't work.

Ryan and I hug.
Dreamer: Noooo
Me: Yes! I *will* hug your Daddy. Do you know who my favorite guy is?
Dreamer: Dada! (what she calls my father in law)
Me: No, Daddy!
Dreamer: Dada!
Me: Daddy!
Dreamer: No Dada!
Me: No, my favorite guy is Daddy! What about you?
Dreamer: Uhh... Daddy, Dada, and Bopa (what she calls my dad)
Me: Aw, that's good. You should love all three of them.

There's a lizard on the wall. Dreamer is trying to convince him to come down by talking and gesturing.
"Come ON! Down! (Mumble mumble) Mommy. (Mumble mumble) Daddy. Out! Come ON!" All this is said looking pleadingly at the lizard and gesturing down, towards me, towards the balcony door. Basically convincing him to come down, meet Mommy and Daddy and we can all go out.
Then she turns to me with big longing eyes and says "Cuuuuuuuuute." Yes, sweetie. Lizards are cute. He's still not coming down (and if he did the cats would kill him, but I am not telling her that if I can help it.)

You know those photos that go around with toddlers crying and the reasons why? Here's mine:
Because I won't fasten my bra around her bottom.

I watch Dreamer just outright let go of a bottle of water with no top so it spills across the bed.
"No!" I scold her. "You spilled!"
"Bed did it!" she protests, pointing at the bed. "Bed did it!"
I'm not buying it, baby girl. Points for creativity. Interesting you've entered the blaming others stage...

Dreamer just saw herself in the mirror:
"You're cute?"
Spinning around towards me, grinning ear to ear, pointing at the mirror, "I cute baby!"

Dreamer's declaration to me when I emerge from the shower, which she very well knew I was in considering she'd been coming in and out to see me during it:
"There you are, my baby, there you are!"

I have a scratch on my leg. Dreamer sees it.
"Yeah, ow."
"Daddy bit you?"
I burst out laughing.
"NO! Daddy didn't bite me. It's a scratch."
"Oh." She wanders off, bored.

"Sit down! Mommy sit down! [Dreamer] sit down," Dreamer demonstrates and sits on the floor. Points to the floor next to her. "Mommy sit down."
"Mommy IS sitting down," I say, pointing to the stool beneath me. "You want Mommy to sit on the floor?"
"Mommy sit down!" she points.
"But why? Is it so you can cuddle Mommy?"
"Then why? So you can kiss Mommy?"
"Is it so you can steal Mommy's chair?"
"YEAH!" she exclaims brightly with a huge smile.

Dreamer is watching Frozen, I'm mentally not paying attention. She is saying something to me. I tune in and realize: "You want me to sing?"
"Yeah, sing!"
"You want Mommy to sing?!? You like when Mommy sings?!!!"
"Yeahhh like Mommy sing."
"You have no idea how happy that makes Mommy, that you like when Mommy sings!"
So I restart "For the First Time in Forever" and belt happily with Dreamer enjoying it, and chiming in at times.
My heart is happy.

Dreamer clawed Ryan in the face. We force her to apologize.
"I dorry," she says giving Ryan a hug.
"Are you going to hurt Daddy again?"
"Yeah, again!" she says cheerfully.
Ryan and I can't help it, we laugh.
"I funny??!!" she says excitedly.

Dreamer spots a laser on the shelf, from her perch on my hip.
"That! That!"
"You want to play with the kitties?"
"Kitties! Yeah!"
"Okay, but only Mommy can hold it, okay?"
"Okay!" I turn it on in front of Vex the cat.
I set Dreamer down. Vex darts at the red dot. She laughs. "Funny! Funny!"
Then she starts chasing the red dot too! While peals of giggles ring out she and Vex both go after the red dot. Princess hangs back but when I bring it closer to her she flicks her paw a few times. Everyone is having fun...
Until Dreamer starts shrieking loudly and flinging herself wildly at the red dot.
Vex and Princess run under the bed to hide.
Dreamer keeps playing and laughing for another minute or so, then suddenly looks around, crestfallen.
"Vex? Princess?" she wails.
"They're under the bed."
She goes into the bedroom and starts sobbing. "VEX! PRINCESS!"
"They're under the bed, honey."
She wails, gesturing to the top of the bed. I bend over and point. "UNDER the bed."
She gets on her knees and looks. "VEX!" she says, relieved. I put the red dot near the edge to try to lure one out, but she starts shrieking and trying to stomp on it. I go around to the other side of the bed and shine the dot just under it. After about thirty seconds, Vex darts out in a sudden burst.
"Vex!" I declare, to draw Dreamer's attention.
"FUNNY!" she screams and runs towards him. He startles and darts behind the hamper. Dreamer goes after the red dot until he starts playing too, and then I draw them out to the living room. Princess eventually emerges too.
I had no idea that red dots aren't just good cat fun but toddler fun too. Dreamer especially loved when I shined the dot on her out stretched hand, but turned the light off before she drew it in close enough to see detail. She also had fun jumping at the curtain when that darn red dot settled just two or three inches above the highest her hand could reach.

"Dared! I dared!"
"You're scared?"
"Aw, come here." I stretch out my arms for a hug and Dreamer runs in. "Why are you scared? Don't be scared, Mommy's here. Mommy'll take care of you. Did you know Mommy loves you most?"
"Daddy loves me most."
Well then. Buahaha.

Dreamer starts crying in her sleep.
"Shoes! Can you give them to me... " she trails off and settles into deeper sleep.
I swear, every time this child talks in her sleep it's about shoes!!

"Ow," says Dreamer. She's rubbing her nose, which is reddening on the right side. Something is clasped in her right hand.
"What did you do? What's in your hand?"
She opens to reveal a crayon.
"Did you just try to stick that crayon up your nose?"
"Yeah!" this is said ruefully.
"Well don't do that! That hurts!"
Ladies and gentlemen, she's definitely a toddler.

"Up! Up!" Dreamer tugs at my elbow.
"You want Mommy to pick you up?"
"I wanna be in Mommy's arms."
Who can say no to that??!

Dreamer is enthusiastically eating a banana.
"That is hitting the spot, huh?" I ask.
"NO, it's a banana!"
"No, I know it's a banana. But 'hitting the spot' means it tastes really good, right?"
"No, it's NANA."
"No, I know, but the banana tastes good, right?"
With a cocked head and a "duh" expression, "Yeahhh."

Dreamer is waking up from a nap. She smiles large, laughs, and says, "meow meow." Then laughs again.
"You dreamed about cats?"
With a dreamy smile, "Yeah."


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