Tuesday, February 28, 2006


I'm taking an internet sabbatical starting tomorrow and ending at Easter, for the purpose of digging deep in real-life relationships with God, my family, and friends. Just so happens to fall on Lent, and although that's not purposeful, it's rather cool. I like the idea of denying one's self something to prepare the heart to celebrate Christ's resurrection.

In case I sound too sanctimonious here, let me say that this is not something I'm particularly overjoyed about, since the internet is my main contact with the outside world. *L* However, I think it's something I need to do right now.

In the interim, I'll pose a question. What makes a good blog? A few things come to mind. Updated frequently; thoughtful; good mix of personal, current events, links to other blogs, and causes close to the blogger's heart; attractive layout; pictures. Those are a few things that come to mind when I think about the blogs I enjoy. Admittedly, I don't follow my own list of what makes a good blog. Leave me a comment, though, and when I return I'll take your thoughts into consideration and incorporate some of them into my own blog.

See you all in a few weeks! Blessings!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Song from the Suds

Queen of my tub, I merrily sing,
While the white foam raises high,
And sturdily wash, and rinse, and wring,
And fasten the clothes to dry;
Then out in the free fresh air they swing,
Under the sunny sky.

I wish we could wash from our hearts and our souls
The stains of the week away,
And let water and air by their magic make
Ourselves as pure as they;
Then on the earth there would be indeed
A glorious washing day!

Along the path of a useful life
Will heart's-ease ever bloom;
The busy mind has no time to think
Of sorrow, or care, or gloom;
And anxious thoughts may be swept away
As we busily wield a broom.

I am glad a task to me is given
To labor at day by day;
For it brings me health, and strength, and hope,
And I cheerfully learn to say-
"Head, you may think; heart, you may feel;
But hand, you shall work always!"

Louisa May Alcott

Queen of My Home

Lately I’ve been confronted with the notion of being “queen of my home” at every turn. It’s something, I confess, that I fail in often. To dress, act, and manage like a Queen, with my home as castle for my resident King (Billy of course)! But although I fall short, I’m determined to achieve that queenly status one day. The Proverbs 31 lady was queenly, don’t you think? She was strong and resourceful, managed her household and her time wisely, and dressed beautifully. The heart of her husband safely trusted her; her children called her blessed.

I stumbled across this homemaking blog yesterday. Look at this lady! Doesn’t she look queenly? I’d love to have that gracious air! Well, it’s a goal to work toward, isn’t it? One place to start is in appearance. I usually wear some light makeup (2 minutes) and earrings daily, but my hair is at an in-between and rather frizzy stage. One day I hope it will be long enough to braid again, or wear down. For now I settle for a ponytail. During the chilly winter my uniform has been nice jeans, a warm shirt, and tennis shoes. I’m looking forward to making some simple skirts for spring. There’s little that’s more queenly than the swish of a skirt! Pretty clothes put me in a good frame of mind for cooking, cleaning, teaching, running errands, and all the other things that go with my job description. It makes me feel good to know that Billy will come home to find me looking my best. Does this happen every day? No—but that’s my goal.

I’ve been working for years to act graciously. Some people are naturally born with wonderful people skills. I’m not one of them. Learning to interact with others with finesse and tact takes learning for me. I’m still unsatisfied with where I am in that regard, but with practice I hope that one day I will express the graciousness that I so admire in others. I strive to treat my family graciously as well. It makes me sad when I realize that those outside my home often receive more kindness and understanding from me than my husband and children. I think of the Proverbs 31 woman again. The law of kindness is on her tongue. I want the same to be said of me.

Queens rule well. Do I? Not really. Things are better since I am healthy, and for that I’m grateful. But like Flylady says, Your house did not get like this in a day and it will not get better in a day either. It’s a process. No decision that I make during the day is neutral. Not matter how small, each decision is taking me either a step toward the light or a step away from it. My prayer is that I will make wise decisions about how I use my time, how I mother my babies, how I serve and submit to my husband, so that my home and family, my realm of influence, are governed well. I’m not there yet, but I’m optimistic that one day I will be.

So for all of us queens in training, here’s a little story for our reading pleasure.

When Queens Ride By

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

I'm a Mother of Five

Today I have a vase of flowers on my counter. No, they aren’t from Valentine’s Day. (I have those too.) These are a small bunch of narcissus. Elizabeth picked them for me at our camp this weekend.

I planted them four years ago when Elizabeth was just a year old. Right around her first birthday we learned to our joy that I was pregnant again. I felt great, much better than I had when I was pregnant with her. I had lots of energy. I craved broccoli and oranges.

On February 9, I had signs of miscarriage. With heavy hearts we went to the doctor. After an ultrasound he gently told us what we already knew: Our baby was dead.

We were philosophical at first. Well, we told each other, we could now be an encouragement to others who would go through the same thing. There was a purpose in it of course, we said. That night, reality hit and we cried together. This was our baby. Our baby.

I envisioned a tiny boy who looked like Elizabeth, round and sweet with a fuzz of blonde hair. I’d never get to hold him and kiss his soft cheek, look into his blue eyes, snuggle him close for a night nursing. I’d never wipe his little tears or hear him giggle, never see his first tooth or his first wobbly steps. Even though I knew that most miscarriages occur because of chromosomal or genetic problems, that knowledge didn’t make me feel any better that my baby had died.

Friends and family poured out their love. I received calls, cards, flowers, and meals. Their care was a balm on my aching heart. One dear friend encouraged me to grieve and even suggested that we give our baby a name if we wanted to. Her loving words helped validate my loss, not just the loss of a pregnancy or some distant future hope, but the loss of a child.

The next week we went to our camp. Billy bought me some bulbs and we planted them along the fence in memory of our baby. On that cold, rainy afternoon, I dropped the bulbs into water-logged holes and pushed big mud clods over them, not even sure if they’d come up.

I got pregnant again in April. I didn’t get a pregnancy test at first, but I knew I was pregnant because I had every symptom possible. The day before I planned to buy a test, I felt a familiar sensation. “Oh, no, God, not again!” I cried. But without a doubt, I was miscarrying a second time. I knew what to expect, so I just stayed home to lose my baby. I was not only brokenhearted, but scared. What if there was something terrible wrong with me? What if I could never had another baby?

It was more difficult in other ways too. Since we hadn’t announced it, or even gotten a positive test yet, and since it was the second time, people just didn’t know what to say. My doctors wouldn’t even put in on my chart since I never had a positive test. My closest family and friends supported and prayed for me, but overall it was a lonely grief.

I had a vivid picture in my mind’s eye of this baby—chubby-cheeked and dark-haired, peacefully asleep, wrapped in a soft pink blanket. How silly, I thought. Billy and I were both blonde babies and so was Elizabeth. I don’t have dark-haired babies. My grieving mind is just generating images.

We moved that summer, and right after we settled into our new home I found myself excessively emotional. Everything made me cry. No surprise, I thought. It had been a tough six months and we were still in major transition. I figured I was finally reaching the end of my emotional rope. However, I soon began to suspect that something more was going on. The day before I would have been due with the first baby I miscarried, I discovered that I was pregnant again.

I was afraid to get too excited at first, afraid that I’d lose this baby too. But after a number of weeks we realized that that scenario was unlikely. This baby was going to make it!

In February, almost a year to the day that we had come the year before, we made another visit to the camp. I couldn’t believe it, but the narcissus bulbs I’d planted were in bloom. I wasn’t even sure what they were when I planted them, but their dainty perfection and sweet fragrance perfectly embodied a memorial for our little one. When I saw them I cried over my big pregnant belly for the baby I’d lost one year before. How was it possible to be so happy and so sad at the same time? How could I celebrate the new life inside me while I simultaneously grieved the death of my other child? It was hard to reconcile.

Sweet Silas was born in April, almost one year after my second miscarriage. What joy!

A few weeks after his birth, I had a jolting realization. The picture I had in my mind of the second baby I lost was virtually identical to Silas, except in pink—dark hair and all. I did have dark-haired babies! I truly believe that God gave me glimpse of my sweet baby and what she would have looked like if she had lived. Maybe I even saw what she looks like in heaven. That gave me a great sense of closure, and I finally felt able to fully heal.

I did learn a lot through my miscarriages. I learned that it’s truly the loss of a child, and even when others are insensitive or dismissive, it should be acknowledged as such. I learned that I needed to let myself grieve. I learned how important it is to acknowledge the loss of someone who has miscarried—something I had failed to do in the past, but determined never to fail in again. I have a new perspective on heaven now that I have two little ones waiting for me there. I know that I’m a mother of five. I still feel a gentle sadness when I remember my sweet babies who died before birth, because I’ll never know them here. Yet I have comfort in the knowledge that they never had to know the pain and grief that earthly life can bring. They’re safe in the arms of Jesus. And I’ll meet them one day. I have peace. I have hope.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Gary Ezzo and Babywise

I'm not usually one to jump into controversy, but when Gary Ezzo's Babywise materials came up in a conversation this week, I thought I'd jot down why I am leery of them.

First, Gary Ezzo has been excommunicated from two churches, including John MacArthur's Grace Community Church, for character issues. Read the statements from Grace Community's Elder board and Living Hope Evangelical Fellowship .

Christianity Today published an article about this, part of which you can find here . Focus on the Family has also issued a statment of concern .

Another concern about Ezzo is that his advice on sleep training and scheduled feedings are actually medically dangerous. AAP News printed an article called Babywise Advice Linked to Dehydration, Failure to Thrive . Scheduled feedings also go directly against the AAP's recommendations in this media alert . Famlies have experienced this first hand . (This is just one of many, many testimonies available.)

In his book Parent Project Dr. William Sears explains that "In the case of infant sleep, research suggests that God had the best interest of babies in mind when He designed babies' sleep cycles. Active sleep protects babies. [italics his] Suppose your baby slept like an adult, meaning predominantly deep sleep. Sounds wonderful! For you, perhaps, but not for Baby. Suppose Baby had a need for warmth, food, or even unobstructed air, but because he was sleeping so deeply, he couldn't arouse and act on these needs. Baby's well-being could be threatened...

Encouraging a baby to sleep too deeply, too soon, may not be in the best survival and developmental interest of the baby. This is why new parents, vulnerable to sleep trainers' claims of getting their baby to sleep through the night, should not feel pressured to get their baby to sleep too long, too deeply, too soon."

Finally Gary Ezzo encourages parents to ignore the cries of their little ones. Crying is the only "language" that babies have, and typically when a new baby cries, he has a need--physical or emotional. Furthermore, our Father God comforts and responds to us when we cry out to Him.

"How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you." Isaiah 30:19

"For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones." Isaiah 49:13

"As a mother comforts her child, I will comfort you." Isaiah 66:13

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves received from God." 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Note: All the links I provided are from ezzo.info because it was easiest to find them all in one place. However, this information is available at other places on the web as well. And incidentally, ezzo.info is a great source of information for those who want to dig deeper!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Lauren Winner Sample

And since I'm on the topic of Lauren Winner, here's a sample...A recent article about cell phones...But about a lot more than cell phones. She makes some good points.

Against the Cell

Oh Wow

Lauren Winner, one of my favorite authors, has a blog! Woohoo!!!

Hat tip: Emeth Hesed

Friday, February 17, 2006

A Fabulous Morning

I woke up this morning at 7 after a night of very little sleep to find that Billy had been up for two hours folding my super collossal laundry mountain and cleaning the kitchen till it shines. All this, even though he got even less sleep than I did. Now that makes even the roughest morning sweet. What can I say? I got a good one! Thank you Billy!!! I love you!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


The world is filled with bustle and with selfishness and greed,
It is filled with restless people that are dreaming of a deed.
You can read it on their faces; they are dreaming of the day
When they’ll come to fame and fortune and put all their cares away.
And I think as I behold them, though it’s far indeed they roam,
They will never find contentment save they seek for it at home.

I watch them as they hurry through the surging lines of men,
Spurred to speed by grim ambition, and I know they’re dreaming then.
They are weary, sick and footsore, but their goal seems far away,
And it’s little they’ve accomplished at the ending of the day.
It is rest they’re vainly seeking, love and laughter in the gloam,
But they’ll never claim to have it, save they claim it here at home.

For the peace that is the sweetest isn’t born of minted gold,
And the joy that lasts the longest and still lingers when we’re old
Is no dim and distant pleasure—it is not tomorrow’s prize,
It is not the end of toiling or the rainbow of our sighs.
It is every day within us—all the rest is hippodrome—
And the soul that is the gladdest is the soul that builds a home.

They are fools who build for glory! They are fools who pin their hopes
On the come and go of battles or some vessel’s slender ropes.
They shall sicken and shall wither and shall never peace attain
Who believe that real contentment only men victorious gain.
For the only happy toilers under earth’s majestic dome
Are the ones who find their glories in the little spot called home.

Edgar A. Guest

A Patriotic Creed

To serve my country day by day
At any humble post I may;
To honor and respect her flag,
To live the traits of which I brag;
To be American in deed
As well as in my printed creed.

To stand for truth and honest toil,
To till my little patch of soil,
And keep in mind the debt I owe
To them who died that I might know
My country, prosperous and free,
And passed this heritage to me.

I always must in trouble’s hour
Be guided by the men in power;
For God and country I might live,
My best for God and country give;
No act of mine that men may scan
Must shame the name American.

To do my best and play my part,
American in mind and heart;
To serve the flag and bravely stand
To guard the glory of my land;
To be American in deed:
God grant me strength to keep this creed!

-Edgar A. Guest

The Keys to the Car

The keys to the car! Oh, the keys to the car,
What a terrible, horrible burden they are!
Whenever we travel
The concrete or gravel,
Or visit the neighbors or go as we please,
I start to fumble
And foolishly mumble
This query: “Oh, what did I do with the keys?”

I go through my pockets like mad on the quest,
I go through my trousers, my coat and my vest—
I’ve keys for the clock
And the doors that I lock,
I’ve keys I possess and don’t know what they are,
I’ve keys for the closet,
The safety deposit—But what did I do with the keys to the car?

I’ve gloves and I’ve papers, I’ve letters and bills
And all of the stuff that a man’s pocket fills,
I’ve matches, a token,
A knife that is broken,
The mangled remains of a ruined cigar,
I’ve loose paper-clippers
And finger-nail snippers—
But where, yes, oh where, are the keys to the car?

Nell asks: “Are you sure?” and I answer her:
Never mind your suggestions, I tell you I had ‘em!
Just look at me pleasantly,
I’ll find ‘em presently,
They’re somewhere about me and cannot be far;
They’re here, that’s conclusive,
Not lost—just elusive,
Just wait till I find ‘em—those keys to the car.”

-Edgar A. Guest

(I guess some things haven't changed since 1928!)

An American Poet

Edgar A. Guest has been one of my favorite poets for years. Wildly popular when he was writing in the early part of the 20th century, I'm not sure why he's not more widely known today. I snap up his books at every opportunity. Occasionally I have to pass them up because they are rare and expensive, but sometimes at a used book sale or antique store I stumble across a reasonably priced volume. I have a friend who has his complete works in one volume. I'm green with envy!

Edgar Guest expressed love of home, family, God, and country with passion and a sense of humor. He's traditional values personified. I have a few things I read when I am really stressed or down--his poetry falls into that category because it makes me feel so happy! So I'm posting a small sample of his work here. Hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


I knew my mom has to take thyroid medication. I thought my grandma has taken it in the past. But it wasn't till last year when Billy was diagnosed with hypothyroidism that I realized what total havoc this disease can wreak on your body and mind. It can truly be debilitating disease, as much as any other debilitating disease, if you don't discover it and get treatment. From severe head-to-toe body aches, coldness (low body temperature), extreme exhaustion, forgetfulness and confusion, and panic attacks--Billy had a bad case, but we didn't know what it was. That's a scary feeling. Thanks to a good doctor friend, he got to the bottom of it. Three medications, a lot of side affects and 6 different dosages later, he found what worked for him and regained something like normal health.

He kept telling me that I had hypothyroidism too. I kept telling him that he was crazy. I was just tired from being up all night with babies, this was mommy brain, hormones, normal. I even got my thyroid tested. The studies came back normal. The problem is that this crazy brain and exhaustion has been "normal" for six years.

Finally I realized that something really was wrong a few months after Sarah was born. I felt like I was losing my mind. I faxed my OBGyn a detailed letter describing my symptoms. His nurse called me back and told me that I must have post-partum depression and they wanted to put me on prozac. I said no thanks.

Taking care of myself with excercise, water, sunlight, a good diet, and as much rest as a mom of 3 little ones can get helped. It helped enough that I still felt like it was just adjusting to a new baby and that with time it would pass. But a couple weeks ago after a series of particularly goofy mistakes, Billy made me take my temperature. No surprise to him, it was 96.9. The next day, even lower. Then he made me make a doctor's appointment. I felt pretty sure that my studies would once again come back normal, and I was sure that the doctor would just want to treat me for post-partum depression again. But I went anyway and told the doctor what he told me to tell her.

She felt my thyroid and said that it was "nodular". She said that based on my symptoms and family history, I probably did have hypothyroidism. And even though my studies indeed came back within "normal" range, she perscribed me a small dose of natural Armour thyroid.

The very first day I could tell a difference. Within a three days I felt like a new woman. Last week my house was on the way to getting organized for the first time in three years. I finally had the energy and mental clarity to go into a room and organize it! I was no longer just barely keeping my head above water! I feel human again! If I feel this much better after just a few days, I can't imagine how much better I will feel in a few weeks or months.

Hypothyroidism is on the rise, due in part to the soy products and fluoride we consume, as well as other factors. It's also grossly underdiagnosed and undertreated. Different labs have different standards for "normal" and consequently a lot of people aren't getting the treatment they need.

If you are tired all the time, depressed, gaining weight (or not able to lose weight), achy, confused, forgetful, and cold, chances are that you could have hypothyroidism. After several stubborn years I am so glad that I listened to Billy and did something about it. If in doubt, get it checked out. Educate yourself as well. The most helpful resource we've found is the book Living Well with Hypothyroidism by Mary Shomon. Read, read, read. If you have hypothyroidism you don't have to suffer any longer!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


WHITES are motivated by PEACE, seek independence

and require kindness. They resist

confrontation at all costs. (Feeling good is

more important than being good.) They are

typically quiet by nature, they process

things very deeply and objectively, and they

are by far the best listeners of all the

colors. They respect people who are kind, but

recoil from perceived hostility or verbal


WHITES need their quiet independence and refuse to

be controlled by others. WHITES want to do

things their own way, in their own time. They

ask little of others, and resent others

demanding much of them. WHITES are much

stronger than people think because they dont

reveal their feelings. WHITES are kind,

non-discriminate, patient and can be

indecisive, timid, and silently stubborn.

When you deal with a WHITE, be kind, accept

(and support) their individuality, and look

for nonverbal clues to their feelings.

What Color Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

I did this quiz on a whim, and it actually describes me pretty well. I'm not surprised though, because I noticed that the quiz is set up in sets of four, each characteristic (which results in a color) typical of a particular personality type. I know that I have a phlegmatic personality so I was not surprised to find that almost all the characteristics I checked were #3. #1 characteristics were choleric, #2's were melancholy, and #4's were sanguine, although the quiz did not say this. (I'd be willing to guess that cholerics would be red, melancholies blue, and sanguines yellow.)

I've been wanting to blog more about personality types and other things that can be either labels or tools to understanding, based on how you use them (love languages, learning modality, birth order, and so on). This might be a good jumping-off place.

But for now I have a few minutes of quiet so I am off to attack another portion of clutter. I'll try to write more about this later in the week.

Spotlight on Valerie

Valerie is one of my oldest friends and one of the first people I knew who had a blog. We first met in Texas when I was entering my teens and she was a little blonde in ponytails. I never dreamed we'd be friends one day.

When she was 11 and I was 17 our families underwent a shared time of trial, which brought our families together in friendship for the first time. The better we got to know each other the more we found we had in common. Valerie's family moved away shortly afterward, but we kept in touch by letter and phone. Our age gap lessened as we grew older and more mature. Now I consider her one of my dearest friends, as well as one of my oldest.

Currently she's a University of Portland student studying in Vienna. Lucky girl, she is getting to visit all these places I've always wanted to go! Well, the next best thing to being there is to know someone who is. Besides the fact that she's my friend, I love to read about her adventures in Europe. I'm sure you will too!

Monday, February 06, 2006


I had the scary realization the other day that my youth is fast falling behind me. Seventy's items are now considered vintage. Funny, I thought all those hideous orange and gold plaid pants and cycadelic modern prints were just outdated--but no, they are now "vintage". How long will it be before those ugly little blue and pink geese from the 80's will be sold for a pretty penny as "charming vintage decor", or somebody's acid washed skinny jeans will be "vintage clothing" at some upscale consingment shop? And what does this make me--a vintage 70's chick? Someone who hails from the olden days? Do Rainbow Brite, Strawberry Shortcake, and that Glo Worm thingy now fall in with Raggedy Ann and the first teddy bear? When I am 70, even 50--heck, when I get my first gray hair--you can call stuff from my childhood "vintage"--but I'm not even 30 yet!

It's really unnerving to read craft blogs and see someone gushing over the "vintage" patterns she got, and realize that I wore a size 2T outfit in that very style. So how old is she--12?

Well, I guess if you can't fight 'em join 'em. I could always don a puffy-sleeved peasant blouse and bell bottoms and open a vintage clothing boutique. I can let my glasses slide down my nose, peer over the top, and say to little girls who come shopping with their grandmas, "This is what people wore a loooong time ago--when I was a little girl!"

On second thought, maybe that's not such a good idea. I guess I will just have to subject myself to the outrage and learn to age gracefully. Except that I'm not aging. Yet. I'm just outdated, not vintage. Really.

Family Update

I haven't done a family update in awhile. I was going to do one weekly, but so often time gets away from me. I'm afraid I'm not one of these disciplined bloggers who posts a self-portrait on Thursday and a corner of my home on Tuesday, or who reviews a certain product on Friday or whatever. I enjoy reading those disciplined bloggers, but I'm not one myself. Maybe one day, in that far-off future when I've become so disciplined and organized that I'm doing self-help workshops for people who are like I am now. *G*

Finally we are all well and back in circulation, only to have Billy come down with laryngitis. That is no fun for anyone, but particularly not for someone who speaks for a living. OK, a pastor's life is so much more than speaking, but that constitutes a lot of it. He attended church yesterday but had to have someone preach for him. Today he seems to be on the mend, but not fully up to par.

Elizabeth is reading or trying to read everything in sight. She carries her chapter books around with her just to turn the pages and look at all those enchanting words. She is looking things up in the cookbook index and reading menus at restaraunts. (So it's not too hard to figure out that the only work on the kids menu that starts "ham" must be "hamburger"--but we give her credit anyway.) I've also realized how much I've been underestimating her capabilities and so the past few days I've been helping her learn lots of new skills, like how to follow a recipe, use the mixer, and so on, how to do dishes, etc. She has blossomed and keeps saying, "I looooove my mommy!" Apparently spending time teaching her skills and enabling her to become more independent and capable has meant a lot to her. It is fun for me to see her taking off and I can also see where this will be a great help to me as she is able to do more and more herself.

When we got in the truck last night after church, Silas spontaneously started counting and made it all the way to twenty, only skipping 15. Not bad for 2 1/2. He has just picked this stuff up from listening to Elizabeth. It's amazing how much easier the second-born and later children have it in that regard. They get so much by osmosis that we firstborns must labor to learn. He has also been saying the letter sounds Elizabeth has been working on. He is not interested in writing his name yet, although he loves to draw and he will spend hours coloring or looking at books. He has a great imagination and he is constantly playing the hero, usually David and Goliath. We watched the new Zorro movie the other night and by the time it was over he had gotten his toy sword, made a cape out of a blanket, and was riding the arm of the couch like a horse.

We have been making valentines this week which the kids have also really enjoyed. Glitter and glitter glue, buttons, heart cutouts, old business cards from when I sold Mary Kay (turned upside down they are a pretty pink just right for valentines), and whatever else we can find--all this makes great valentines and a huge mess. But it's so much fun! The kids are really pretty artistic. They require a good bit of help with cutting and gluing, but their designs are original and a lot of them have turned out better than mine!

Sarah is nine months old and right on the verge of walking. She will let go for a few seconds but hasn't been brave enough to take that first step without help. I guess I am destined to have early-walking babies. Elizabeth walked at 10 months and Silas at 9.

Sarah has also decided that it is more fun to wake up about every hour at night instead of sleeping nicely. She wakes up, I bring her to bed to nurse and try to sleep, but she only likes our bed if she can have my entire side to herself, the little hog! So pretty soon I am up putting her in her crib where she sleeps blissfully for another hour...This cycle has made a zombie out of me. Last night I decided it was over. When she woke up at midnight (one hour after I went to bed), I gently but firmly layed her back down and patted her back to sleep. She was very unhappy and screamed like crazy even though I was right there patting her back, stroking her head, and talking and singing to her. However, once she went to sleep she did much better for the rest of the night and we actually got a few hours' sleep. Woohooo! I don't mind if she wakes once at night and again early in the morning, but I cannot physically mother my children and manage my home, much less sustain my marriage, when she is still waking constantly at night. Especially because I think it is just habit. I'll gladly take the night watch if my littles truly need me, physically or emotionally, and I am super-relaxed about babies sleeping through the night--but every hour at this age is ridiculous. She was very happy this morning, and has actually even napped better today than usual.

As for me, I am gearing up for my knitting workshop later this month and trying to keep my head above water with all the other things on my plate at home. I did go to the doctor because of all the fatigue and fuzzy thinking/forgetfulness/spacyness, and so on that I've had for so long. She put me on a low dose of Armour thyroid and I can already tell a difference in my energy level and mental clarity. I am not so much standing in the middle of the room thinking slowly, OK...what do I need to do next...what was I hear for anyway? I feel a lot more chipper and like that mental and emotional fog is abating. That's a relief. Maybe I will finally get something close to caught up now.

Other than all that exciting news *L* it's been pretty uneventful here. We keep hoping that we will have some winter. This week highs are in the 50's and this is one of the coldest weeks we've had so far. Oh well. I guess we can look forward to spring and summer. Maybe we can have a little garden this year. Billy and Elizabeth love growing things, and I really want to get back to gardening more as well. I think the kid in all of us just loves to play in the dirt!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Music, Hymns, and Little Ones

I grew up in a pretty musical family. We sang from the time we were born and everyone except me is proficient in more than one musical instrument. I dream of taking piano lessons again one day.

Billy and I enjoy music but we aren't music snobs. Our taste is fairly eclectic. We listen to everything from Christian rock to CCM to classical. Great worship music is our family favorite. No rap, country, or Southern Gospel, although we went through a (very) short Pentecostal music phase (which is totally different from Charismatic music)--I could only handle so much of that!

My kids each have their own in utero genre. Elizabeth was carried to hours of loud Hillsong worship music. I blame her long blonde hair, hyperactivity, and love of dance on this. I guess the Fernando Ortega I also listened to during my pregnancy with her wasn't enough to offset all that high-energy praise. When I was pregnant with Silas I stuck to classical and Michael Card lullabies. No surprise, he was a much calmer baby. Sarah--well, I didn't listen to much music when I was pregnant with her, although she heard the Ocean's 12 soundtrack about a thousand times before birth. She's my easiest child yet, so I guess that was a smart move, although if she starts pining for Amsterdam I'll know we're in trouble.

Lately in school I've been teaching my kids hymns. One thing I've discovered is that children love hymns. They love the measured beat, the predictability, the ease of memorization, the rich words, the soothing tunes. When my sister Leah and I taught a large class of unruly unchurched children, hymns calmed their spirits. They asked for Amazing Grace again and again. The rock-solid theology found in hymns helped carry me through a very painful and confusing time in my Christian walk, so hymns mean a lot to me personally as well.

Elisabeth Elliot inspired me in one of my favorite books, The Shaping of a Christian Family, when she described how her family sang a hymn each morning, progressing systematically through the hymnal. My problem is that when I go through the hymnal, I only know about every tenth song. This incredible loss of hymn-knowledge saddens me, because the words are so amazing and have so much depth. Even sadder is that most people of my generation, and even earlier generations, know even fewer hymns than I. I know Christian people who don't know any hymns at all.

Recently I discovered two great resources, Hymn Site and CyberHymnal. Hymnsite actually has a "jukebox" (a choice of terms both incongruous and amusing) where you can listen to hymns--And Cyberhymnal has an autoplay setting where you can listen also (with information about the hymn and hymnwriter to boot). Or you can just look up the hymn you want to hear. Since I don't read music well enough to figure out a lot of tunes, I'm excited to know about these sites. I look forward to learning many new hymns and teaching them to my little ones. That's something they'll carry with them for the rest of their lives!