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Sunday, December 3, 2017

Breaking the Silence

I want to figure out how to get back at blogging. I can tell you even though little man –who I am officially blog nicknaming Rider because he likes to take fistfulls of my hair in his hands like they're reigns on a horse– is now 7 months I plan on going back and post dating monthly posts for each month of this first year.

Dreamer has a fever. I'm getting over the cold that has her down. Today was a day of two birthday parties, a friend of mine and my FIL. Advent is kicking off and I want to get the Christmas tree up, put up my homemade nativity craft (which I may blog about) and my homemade preschool friendly advent calendar (which I've already started a post about but am not finished.)

I have lot burgeoning inside me wanting out, I miss the outlet of my blog.

Earlier I moved Dreamer from the bed to the couch because she didn't want to be alone but I needed to get stuff done. She asked me to pick her up, but added, "I might be too heavy." Of course I scooped my little princess right up and carried her to the couch, tucked her in with a pillow and blanket and popped on Sofia the First. I was glad to fuss over her. When we're feeling weak it can feel amazing to have someone fuss over us. Security.

I want to be spiritual and relate this back to God, and I do think we can, but the truth is I'm tired and my nose is running and I probably should wrap this up. I was just thinking about how I miss blogging and why don't I just break the silence and write something real and raw and right now? A lot of why I haven't blogged has been I want it to be polished and complete and with a 3.5 year old and 7 month old who has already been mobile a month and a half I have zero time for polish.


But here's real and raw. Hopefully that's better than silent.


Saturday, May 27, 2017

God of Order

Have you heard the phrase, "God is a God of order, not of chaos"?

Some Christians use it as a mantra. As a Christian woman who is a stay at home mom and blogger, I've definitely come across it in homemaking circles especially. People use it as an encouragement to organize their homes.

And it's not wrong exactly.

But it's limited.

My Mary heart has been wanting to exclaim this every time I hear that: You're missing the most important thing.

God is Sovereign and Satan is a liar. He's a deceiver.

What you don't understand is: there IS no chaos.

Not really.

Satan wants chaos.

But God is really in charge.

Now God does use us to beat back that chaos. So there's nothing wrong with partnering with Him to do the work of order.

But realize that nothing happens without God seeing the big picture. There is no chaos. Even if your bathroom or your hallway or in your daughter's bird's nest of a hair style today. There's no chaos if God is really in all and everything works together for God's good!

Have you heard of fractals? I did a post on it years ago, it's total theology to me, but it's a form of math that you can predict the growth of forests with, as well as so many other things in the natural world. You walk in a forest and you think it's random that the oak is growing next to the pine, but you can actually use fractal math to predict it.

Even when it looks like chaos, there is order.

God is in everything.

Chaos is a lie.

So stop repeating that you need to organize your closet or whatever because God is a God of Order not chaos.

Even if your closet is always messy, God is still with you. He's still among your pile of shoes.

Even when things look their messiest God is just as present as in the neatest home, the most tidy life.

Truthfully, when organic and alive things grow and stretch and change they are not rigid. They are not very ordered looking... though they are ordered. But the things of right angles and boxes and neatly in rows? They're all dead. 

Now they may be useful things. Living people use those things and achieve a lot. There's nothing wrong with the things of right angles. But there is life in those things that are allowed to grow and not forced into boxes. Even a plant may use a pole to grow higher, but the life is in the plant, not the pole. Don't forget that. Don't start trying to be a pole when you're meant to be a vine.  

And remember, a vine doesn't have fruit on it every day. Fruit takes seasons to grow. But a vine has the potential to grow fruit. A pole never does.

God is a God of order, but that's not a good mantra. Use a Bible verse instead. Maybe one like this:

" Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me." John 15:4

[PS. I checked and "God is a God of order not chaos" is not a Bible verse. But "God is not a God of disorder but of peace" is. This is also translated as "God is not a God of confusion, but peace" as well. Here's the Bible hub to the verse (you can see several translations there.)]

Sunday, May 14, 2017

A Mom of Little OneS- Birth Story and Photos

I am a podcast addict now, I tune into them whenever I'm doing anything with my hands (dishes, laundry, etc) as it helps me not get distracted. Which I realize might sound strange to some people, but my mind is so active that if I try to focus on an activity that really only can occupy so much of it, the rest of it wanders off and the next thing I know, I've completed 5-10% of twenty tasks, and fully completed zero. So putting on podcasts occupies that hyper part of my brain enough that the physical labor part of my brain can just do dishes auto pilot and actually get a sink load done.

[Yes, I think I have inattentive ADD. No, I don't know for sure, but this article basically describes me exactly. However, as I've been either breastfeeding or pregnant since I read it and had that revelation, I haven't sought out any drugs to help me and apparently there doesn't seem to be anyone to help adults with non-drug options in this area that I can find online, so I haven't pursued it further. And this was a tangent...]

So I was listening to a podcast the other day, an episode of Risen Motherhood called 'Growing in God's Word as a Mom of Little Ones' and I smiled and ran out and told Ryan that and said, "I'm a mom now of little oneS. Plural!"

Ryan smiled, "Yes you are!"

My son was born three days past his due date. Which since Dreamer came at 38 weeks 3 days, and secondborns often come BEFORE firstborns, plus my body started to dilate and stuff at 36 weeks meant I basically thought he'd come "at any moment" for a MONTH before he finally did. 

When I went for my 40 week appointment my doctor was like "we can induce tomorrow!" I was suprised, because in America doctors usually wait 41 weeks for induction unless the mom requests it or there's a reason. While I really did want to meet the baby and get over being pregnant, we wanted the baby to come when the baby was ready, you know? So she was saying let's induce on Monday and I said... what about Thursday? She said fine, but they induce at night, so that would mean a Wedneday night induction. So we scheduled it.

Ryan was more torn about it than me, he really wanted the baby to come naturally. We tried induce at home stuff, I went on long walks and such, but Monday came and went, Tuesday came and went. Tuesday night Ryan was like, "Well, we don't HAVE to go in on Wednesday for the induction. We could call the doctor and say maybe we'll go in Thursday night, right?" I paused. 

"Yeah... but if we're going end up inducing anyway I'd rather just do it, you know? Being pregnant is miserable. But maybe I'll go into labor in the morning anyway. Let's decide tomorrow at lunch time, okay?"

Well at 7:30 am the next morning I started having bad back pain. I tried laying down, stretching... it got worse and worse.

"I think this is it. I think this is back labor," I told Ryan. "And if it's not, I definitely want the induction tonight because I can't take being pregnant anymore."

"How far apart are the contractions?"

"I don't know. I can't feel them."

I did know I was having them: I'd try to move and realize my abdomen was stiffened up, then it'd relax. But the back pain was so bad I literally couldn't feel the contractions because my system was too overwhelmed from the back pain.

Long story short, after consulting my doctor we went to the hospital at around 11 am I think. I vomited on the way, and after we got there, from the pain.

The monitors were not picking up the contractions well because I couldn't lie still. The back pain was so intense I was literally writhing and couldn't just lay down. Finally after an hour or so I finally hit the magic button of telling them, truthfully, that last pregnancy I had gone from 4cm to 10 cm in less than hour, which made them finally give me clearance to go get an epidural.

With Dreamer the epidural hadn't worked.. this time it did. It did not make me not feel the contractions, but it did take away the back labor, which was amazing. The baby was only in -2 station (baby needs to be in positive digits to come!) so the doctor put me on pitocin to try to have the contractions encourage baby into position... she kept upping my pitocin every half hour but after several hours and my pitocin at a 40 (she started with it at an 8) baby still wasn't in position. 

Oh and the baby scared us because just after pitocin was given it seemed like baby's heart beat decelerated each contraction... until we realized that every contraction was moving the baby's chest enough that the monitor wasn't picking up his heart beat in the same spot. I had to physically push the little gadget against my belly harder so it picked it up even during the contractions, and that revealed that baby was just fine.

At this point the pitocin was so powerful that even with the epidural the contractions were getting painful. She broke my water... and there was meconium in it. 

She basically asked if we should go for a C-section. I told her no, that as I saw it while there was a risk baby had breathed in meconium, the risk was there whether I had the baby vaginally or by C-section. That we should see if now that my water was broken if baby progresses, but I did understand that if an hour or two he/she hadn't that we would need to consider it, in case baby might release more meconium, since it was probably the stress of labor that had stimulated him to go.

Well, the water breaking worked. He moved right into position and came within an hour. I went from 3.5 cms to 10 that fast, just like with Dreamer. Unfortunately, it was very, very painful, even with the epidural. I screamed so loud it freaked out the doctor. Part of that was that the contractions were like ten or so seconds apart at this point: with Dreamer when she came the contractions were like 2-5 seconds apart and I could barely breath let alone get much noise out at that point, where as I definitely could with this guy.

And of course, he's a boy! 

I haven't come up with a blog nickname for him yet. Partially because while Dreamer is okay, I came up with a better one when she was older that I am not using since I already used Dreamer. lol. So I think I'm waiting until I'm very sure this time. 

The hospital where we delivered him has an in-house photographer, Govind. Every family gets one free maternity pose and one free newborn pose, but you get more if you pay for more, and we did. These are the rough unedited copies, as the editing is done in Bangalore and we'll get a CD with them (as well as our frames and prints we ordered) after they get shipped in from Bangalore probably some time in the next week. But in the meantime, enjoy!
























Happy Mother's Day! 

I also want to say that my son was born the day before the one year anniversary of my grandfather's death. Which was bittersweetly beautiful. It gave our family something happy to be thinking about on that sad anniversary, and it was good knowing that the family he loved so much is growing and getting stronger even after he's gone. Miss you, Grandpa. 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Eyes to See

I have been working on this post in my heart for probably two years or so? But I feel like I finally have the words and the boldness to put it out there. 

I'm going to show you a photo. 


What do you see?

Most people I've shown this to say "garbage." 

I took this photo because I saw beauty. I saw the lovely sunrise, the haze to the sky, the rooftops and yes, even the garbage but I thought the juxtaposition made a statement that was stunning. 

I didn't ignore the garbage. Heck, I was standing right next to it, I could smell it. I was far more aware in many ways of the garbage than anyone just viewing a digital image I snapped on my smartphone could be... 

But it wasn't the garbage that held my focus, it wasn't the garbage that inspired me to capture the image. It was the beauty. It was the beauty that literally stopped me in my tracks as I was out for a walk.  

And yet.

Most people just see the garbage. Which is why I didn't share this photo far and wide. I did send it to a few people close to me, who all pointed out the garbage, and I let it fade. 

Most people would think you need to clean up the garbage so it doesn't distract from the beauty. Which there's nothing wrong if you want to get together a team and go and clean it up, that'd be awesome, but a) who has time to clean up all the garbage and b) it misses the point that the beauty and the mess coexist now.

Or maybe most people would just want to crop it so that the garbage isn't showing. And sometimes I'm that person. But it makes the photo feel cheap. Like a lie. Only the lie isn't the beauty, the lie is that the beauty can't co-exist with the garbage. The lie is that there isn't something lovely about the juxtaposition. The lie would be, for me, that you need to have a narrow gaze to be in awe of beauty.

But you don't, or at least I don't.

God's given me a gift to see the beauty. But because when I try to show others they don't see it, I've stopped showing it. They get so distracted by the mess they can't see the real loveliness that is present and real. It's not beauty that will show up someday after the house is clean and pinterest perfect. It's not beauty that only comes after months of sacrifice for a bikini body. It's not beauty that is marred by the dirtiness of life, it's beauty that exists. It coexists. It is. It is present. It is real. It is always.

And I think I gave up... well all but gave up, coming on here occassionally adn plugging away but only publishing probably one in five posts I start... I nearly gave up blogging because I was so tired of the garbage eyed people. 

Which is not very nice of me, I know.

But it's tiring to say "see the beauty!" and expecting people to share your joy and hearing people go "ugh, the garbage."

And then you start cropping and you show it and people are non-responsive. Because you cropped out the context. Zooming in makes it seem pixelated and cheap. They aren't getting the big picture, and the beauty is enhanced by the big picture, it's not cheapened.

I hope you understand the metaphor. 

God's given me a gift to see beauty when others are so caught up by the mess as to have their vision obscured. And my response has been to therefore close my eyes, to stop sharing my viewpoint. I lost my blogging voice in my insecurity.

That's not right. 

I see more than they see. Why would I narrow my vision to see less?

I'm going to try to come back and blog and show you more again. To show you the loveliness. And those of you with eyes to see will see it. And those you of you without it, maybe you can learn to stretch your vision. Let's see. 

In the meantime here's something I hope you all will see the beauty in. I have had a son. 




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.

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