Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pre-Siders House Classic: 2006

I wrote this right after Jeremy told me he didn’t want to date me.  I was smitten; he was not. There was nothing I could do to keep him around. It felt so heartbreakingly familiar. It seemed that all my beauty and cooking and patience were, again, not enough for a man who had won my affections. Thankfully, God weaseled His way into the mess, and made good of it.  A lot of good. It was only five months from this post when I would begin dating Josh. And only a handful of months later, we married. Yes, that is beauty from my breakdown. So enjoy a classic from the pre-Siders days.

Fall in the Flint Hills, taken today during the drive home

"Let go, let go, jump in, oh, it's so amazing here.  It's alright, cause there's beauty in the breakdown." (Frou Frou)

I recently discovered some beauty in myself, drawn out by a man who no longer feels affection for me.  It's strange.  He's gone, but the gift I have, the gift he noticed in me, is still there.  I knew I had the gift before I met him, but it felt like a duty somehow.  Then he asked me to use my gift for no reason at all except just because.  After that, it seemed lovely to me.

I'm grateful for the serendipity of knowing him, even though it seems quite apparent we're moving separate ways.  It hurt at first, seeing that we were not going to be what I'd hoped.  The cynical voice came over my brain intercom and announced that I shouldn't have believed that someone I was mad about would actually be mad about me in return.  After all, they never had been before.   The cynical voice made me cry because for a few minutes, I believed it.  I should've known better.  I'm a romantic though, so after the tears left, hope moved back in.  I can't help it - my heart, although fragile, is sort of boomerangy, and I guess I never would've known that without the pain.  I like that line about "beauty in the breakdown" because that kind of deep heart pain made me feel strangely alive. 

I've been thinking a lot about truth lately.  And how so much of what I believe about myself isn't really that true at all.  I'm not depressed about it though.  It's actually a little comforting.  I ask myself, what if my sad, dark thoughts aren't really true after all, and what if what is true is beautiful and pregnant with breathtaking potential, practically about to explode with majesty?  What if things like love and goodness are the realities, the ones that will last, and the dirty, ugly things are only temporary?  Could this be possible?  What if I am complete?  Alone, but not missing a thing.  In a room with just me, yet somehow full, not empty.  What if I already have all I need?  What if there is no one who can complete me because I am already whole?  I want to believe these kinds of things.

I'll admit, it's scary to believe things like this because I might be wrong.  But I was just telling my friend, I'm quite good at being wrong, a professional, really.  So if I'm wrong, if beauty and love really aren't the ultimate realities, and it's all just a fairy tale to make pain seem valuable, then it's okay because I've been wrong before.  I'm kind of used to it.  But Someone I'm learning to trust has said thousands of times that love is the biggest thing, the trump card, and nothing else stands a chance.  That sounds wonderful.  I think I'll try to believe that.  Besides, I'm 25 and, I'm in a risk-taking kind of mood.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Something for everyone

Whether you need a politically savvy chuckle or a few moments of productive introspection, there's something for everyone here on this weekend update.

Something funny:
How to derail your presidential campaign in 56 seconds or less for $200, Alex.  

Answer: What is Herman Cain's newest Time for Action campaign ad?  No really, what is it?  As in, what was he thinking?  From the cigarette smoking to the creepo smile at the end, it's a little fun to imagine how the ad director must've been guiding this from scene to scene.  Maybe something like this...?

           "Okay, cue "I Am America", nice and loud.  Okay, great.  Now, Mark, look right at the camera, real serious, good, and take a big drag of that cigarette, James Dean-style.  Excellent.  Now cut to Herman.  Let's do a profile shot, and let's go from not smiling to a semi-smiling thing.  Okay, looks great.  Cut.

Someone was seriously smoking something to think this ad would get Mr. Cain even "one day closer to the White House".  (Pun intended.)  Maybe my favorite line: "I really believe that Herman Cain could put 'united' back in the United States of America, and if I didn't believe that, I wouldn't be here."  Oh, Mark.  I wish that was convincing.  But unfortunately, just believing something won't get Herman into the White House, anymore than it got Harold Camping followers raptured on May 22, or October 21.

As for me, I will be dutifully monitoring The Colbert Report and SNL for the spoofs that will most definitely ensue.  Herman, we're not laughing at you.  We're laughing with you, or at least smiling smugly.

Something thoughtful:
On a less disturbing/hilarious note, my entrepreneur and big-dreamer pal, Blair Reynolds, recently posted a blog on Intimacy on his publishing company website.  In it he discusses the subtle ways we protect ourselves from intimacy - and the answer may surprise you.  It's an ill many of us needlessly endure, and it's keeping us from real depth of relationships, the intimacy we crave. Give this some thought - see how anxiety may be eroding the quality of your intimacy.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Just sit still

I don’t go to the gym every day. Can’t remember the last time I went. But I do dress my 1 year old when it's my turn on the weekends. By the end of it, I’ve got an elevated heart rate, and we're both out of breath. So that’s got to be good enough. 

Throughout this grueling standoff, I often find myself grunting, “This would go much faster if you would just stand still.” And I know as I say it, I hear God say it right back to me - gentler, kinder, without the grunting part. And still I thrash about, squirm and dodge when he comes by to work on me. He tries to remove the parts worn by the day, the stresses and insecurities, and replace them with fresh ones, the presence of His Spirit, the freedom of being loved. But I don’t want to take time away from play and obligation. I don’t want to shut off the anxiety. And so I run.

When it's over, I wrap him up in my arms. I need a hug after all that wrestling, we both do, the reassurance that love will triumph any tussle over a soiled wardrobe. 

But the good part would come much faster if I would just sit still.

And here he is, all at once full of innocence and full of adventure. Much thanks to the multi-talented, multi-tasking, Emma Wheatley at Rosewheat Photography, who again manages to capture nearly all of him while he wiggles and wriggles and flops and falls.  It's all so precious.

Monday, October 24, 2011

She will be loved

Aren't they beautiful?  And to think they've all been named "Unwanted"...
My friend pointed me to this article on Fox News about a spot of hope in the plight of young girls in Asian countries like India and China.  For girls like these (above), changing their names could mean a chance to change their lives.

Girls in these Eastern nations are dying of a strange disease.  It is social, not medical but a disease nonetheless. For many families, boys put them in a better social situation, bringing in a dowry at marriage instead of requiring one. Boys can carry on the family name after the parents pass and light the parents' funeral pyre at their death, according to the Hindu tradition.  Women, although rare, are treated as property, aborted when inconvenient, neglected in childhood, offered for a price and sold to the highest bidder when a wife is sought.  Unfortunately, this cultural practice of eliminating women creates a crisis for the "chosen" men who eventually want a woman later in life.  Where they are scarce, girls are trafficked in for marriage and breeding purposes, according to a report in the Economist.  And as we might suspect, their quality of life does not improve, even as wives. The personal narratives of several Indian women tell tales of socially acceptable abuse - beatings and forced abortions - endured until their bodies produce a son for their husbands.

It's a painfully counter-intuitive situation. Supply and demand rules suggest that if something is rare, it gains value. This is not the case with the girls of India.  Although sought-after as wives, they are named "Nakusa", or "unwanted" at birth, left to bear the disappointment of their existence, as if they chose to be female to spite a few distant family members. Instead of highly treasured as beautiful individuals with life-giving abilities, a quality much-desired by families seeking wives for their sons, they undergo the tortures of neglect, forced abortion and the grief of carrying this "undesirable" status.  The number of girls, decreasing at a rate of almost 7,000 per day, creates a new kind of poverty - a lack of women. And while this reality increases the monetary value offered for a girl, it somehow never touching her intrinsic worth in the eyes of her nation.

I'll be discussing this topic further in a piece, but I had to relay some of these discoveries now, vent some of the anger and sadness and sift through the injustice.  Thanks for reading.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Something to think about

In case you read my first liveaction blog post, you can read the follow up here, titled "She's only a baby if you want her."  If you didn't get to read the first one, just click on my name and both articles pop up.  Love to have your feedback.  

Be sure to check out the comments left by the readers.  The first one is especially heartbreaking.  It reinforces to me how important it is that we go out of our way to love the orphans and those who feel unloved - they need to know they are loved. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Loudest Quiet

Standing with students and many others all over the nation today.  In silence for those whose voices have been taken away: over 57 million so far.  Let the ache in our heart turn to prayer.

Lord, I plead your blood over my sin and the sin of my nation.  God, end abortion and send revival to America.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Flashback: October 17, 2010

A year ago today...

I was with child.  He weighed about 6 pounds - I weighed about 20 pounds more than normal.  I was content, most often with a bowl of ice cream, thinking happy thoughts about labor.
I didn't always look like this - this was a photo shoot, for crying out loud.  I had hours to prepare.

Today, my child weighs about 23 pounds - I'm about 5 pounds above my happy place. He is most often a joyful, literally bouncing, baby boy, who can scream like a pterodactyl and walk like a surfing Frankenstein. 

Swinging is his favorite.

The ungodly amount of gear "required" for a trip with one child.  But I'm still smiling.  Cause my kid's in a chicken costume.

One year ago today, I could be found sipping water, donning elastic waistbands, and putting the finishing touches on the nursery.
The nursery one year ago.  No, you can't see a "today" photo.  I haven't put the clothes away yet.
Today, my son is drinking formula as I'm sipping hot chocolate, the fluffy kind with marshmallows and milk.  Now he rocks the elastic waistbands and my pants finally zip.  And today, putting finishing touches on the nursery involves putting John's books away for the something-th time, folding laundry and swearing I will never paint another mural on the wall for the next kid.  Sorry, kid, whoever you are.
Current John stats: 
Hours asleep at night: Usually 10 (thank you, God!)
Steps: Many
Beverages other formula/breastmilk: orange juice, water, and I'm hoping the beer bottle Uncle Jim gave him didn't actually have beer in it.
Foods: Almost everything short of pizza and caviar
Teeth: 8
Words: "Mama, dada, baba".  While those might sound like words to you, they are simply noises to him.  We're still learning.
Hobbies: Making a general ruckus, leaving rooms messier than he found them without apology, shaking his head "no", clapping, crawling, walking, jumping, eating everything - no really: hairballs, shoestrings, clumps of carpet, leaves, shoes, and also food. I have pulled all of these out of his mouth, to his dismay.   He also enjoys being the center of attention.  I have no idea where he gets that from. 


Friday, October 14, 2011

Breaking out of Silence

It's been 8 months since my last post.  I've been quiet for some time as I pondered the quality and content of my writing.  To be honest, I wasn't motivated to write.  I thought, Surely there must be something to put my Lifeforce behind.  While I waited, my immobile darling turned into a babbling, blue-eyed person, capable of walking and feeding himself, albeit messily.  I chopped 20 inches off my hair, left my roaring 20s rather quietly (for me), and took 5 days to plunge myself into the Atlantic Ocean - not necessarily in that order.  A chapter ended and a new one began.  And it was almost tangible.

Almost two months ago, I was accepted as a contributing writer to, a pro-life activist website specializing in exposing the truth of abortion and assisting world citizens in choosing life.  I was thrilled to be selected, until I realized I had no idea what to say.  I read and researched and discovered terrible things, realities I'd been ignoring the sake of sleep and sanity.  I wanted to contribute something to this movement toward life, but I felt inadequate.   I waited longer.  Weeks passed and my procrastination surrounded me.  

Finally, one Wednesday night at 11PM, I started writing.  Words jolted and sputtered forth, research, graphics and resources abounded.  And eventually they all landed on the page in front of me.  At 2AM, before I hit "Submit", I made my way into the bedroom to read my piece to my sleeping husband.  He groggily proved he had heard me by mumbling, "That's good, Babe, from what I remember."  That was enough for me.  [Send]  A week later I made it onto the site.  You can read my first piece here

I hope this is the first of many, constantly improving posts.  I very much want to contribute my thoughts, experiences and findings to the life movement.  I realize this issue is a "hot" one, and there is hardly a person alive without an opinion on it.  This only gives evidence to the gravity of this legal institution we've founded and supported.  Please be aware that I have no desire to disrespect or shame anyone who has had an abortion, or even considered it.  After being a mother, I know the joys of parenting, but I understand the challenges, emotional and financial, to begin.  And I know that a single, teen mom has an enormous amount of pressure when she learns she is pregnant.  But I would submit that abortion is not the "Delete" button we imagine it to be.  It does not return life to "the way things were before".  And as Feminists for Life states so eloquently, women deserve real options.  They deserve better than abortion.

I'm going to ask you to do something difficult.  I know you don't want to, but for the sake of the lives at stake, make an informed decision about abortion.  Educate yourself about abortion procedures - what really happens, about the deceptions of organizations like Planned Parenthood, and take a hard look at this thing our nation established 39 years ago.  This is not just a political issue.  It is certainly a matter of life and death.