We no longer live in Atlanta, so this blog(title) doesn't seem appropriate any longer. Please join me at my new home online:



So I am pregnant. Which is exciting, but also... terrifying. And those hormones I thought couldn't have been as bad as I remembered? They're back. Pray for my husband because crazy & irrational are flying around our house at warp speed, followed by equally intense sister emotions; remorse & self-loathing. For those of you who are counting this is pregnancy four, which kind of feels like forty, especially with a hernia... & 2 wild boys... & homeschool... & a still kind-of newish house... & life. (Life can be hard.) Ben & I were talking and we realized this is our 3rd pregnancy in 4 years of marriage. That's, like, lapping the Duggars, am I right? It's a little intense when I think about it. I try not to think about it too much because it's scary & I start to want to purge my closet of all of my long skirts.

There's a baby, though, & this baby is Healthy!! Huge sigh of relief there! We lost our baby, Hope, in November, which was wretched & heartbreaking, faith-strengthening & unforgettable. I have been writing a post about her for a while now, but it's a slow-go. God moved mountains in our heartbreak & loss, & I wouldn't trade the experience for anything in the world, but, still, to sit & recount & write it down... for others to read, it takes more time & energy than I would have thought. All of this to say, that yes, life is hard, but it also beautiful.

Oh, &(!) we are having a problem with insects(!!!), which is The Worst Thing Ever to happen to a pregnant woman. Torture. We've seen, like, 4 bugs, which in normal human brain=not a super, big deal, , but I'm not sporting a normal human brain anymore. The other night I couldn't fall asleep because I kept thinking bugs were going to crawl in my ear (or worse yet(!), my childrens' ears) and lay their eggs and they'd hatch and and and moving on...

But just as I've been spinning in a whirlwind of nut-so hormones, God has been ever present. Which is nice. Because I've needed Him. When I found out I was pregnant, I was stunned (I didn't think I could have any more babies), & I was anxious. God says don't be anxious, so here I am, feeling all guilty for being anxious. After my 5th miscarriage dream in 3 weeks, I finally contacted an old friend of mine, who loves the Lord & told me when we lost our baby that I could talk to her any time. I sent her a lengthy, rambling, really raw, honest list of my fears, guilts, & worries. She bathed me in prayer, wrapped me in Scripture, & pointed me back to God. My nightmares stopped!! She also suggested I write it all down. I used to write all the time, so I thought I could definitely give that suggestion a go. Here is part of what I wrote on September 3rd:

''This pregnancy is different. Less optimistic, I guess. I want to have hope, & to fall in love, but there's a hesitation – a self-preservation/self-protection going on that I am having a difficult time navigating. Whether I am able to rock, hold, kiss, snuggle, soothe, mother this baby is an unknown. It's not in my control, just as it wasn't with Andrew, Luke & little Hope. I know this is a life, though. Actually, because this is a place for truths, so truth be told... I don't KNOW. I want to know. I want to trust my body & the signs it's giving me, but I think I'll feel much better after I go to the doctor & he tells me everything's fine. When I hear a heartbeat. When I am able to spy on this little one & watch them dance... I'll know this is real.”

At my 1st appointment last week, I was 10 weeks & 4 days, & when the baby appeared on screen, I was stoic. I expected fireworks or something huge, some drastic change in emotions, but I was still, breathless & anxious. I sat there watching for a moment & said “The baby isn't moving...” The doctor laughed & said, “I'm taking measurements, now look...,” he set the ultrasound back to real time, & both the doctor & nurse said in unison, “Your baby is dancing!” God is so big, isn't He? I don't even have words for this, so I will say, now gladly, We are expecting another life to join our family. If they come when expected, we're looking at March 2013 & you're reading the words of a very excited mama. If they go Home before then, my heart will sing God's glory.


On the line.

It's been a wild couple of weeks around here...

No pants.  Of course!

Luke broke his foot. That was lovely. Any(!) time he hurts himself I always, always, always think someone's going to call DFCS. (Am I the only mom who has that fear?) Then I think I'm apologizing too much at the ER. “Am I acting guilty? Are my comments going in some permanent file?” I wasn't in the room when it happened (of course!), so when the nurse asked, I got to say “He fell off the table & landed on his head. I don't know how he hurt his foot, because I was in the bathroom & didn't see it.” (That's definitely going in a file, right?) This happens in my house. If I go to the restroom & no one is standing outside the door banging & crying to be let INNNNNN(!!!), Luke is either climbing on something or eating coins, or both.

drinking milk in his splint

He was in a splint for a week & then got a bright yellow cast which he quickly learned to use as a weapon. (He has mad skills – can turn anything into a weapon. Andrew says he's going to be a race car driver when he grows up & Luke is going to be a ninja. I could see it.)  On the up side, Luke now knows the color yellow. He only had the cast for 2 weeks & then we got to experience the buzz saw action of having the cast removed, which went surprisingly well.  He walks worse now than he did with the cast, foot turned out & limping. He was running marathons in that cast.  My baby's slower now & I am enjoying it. I know it won't last, so I'm not going to be ashamed to say it's nice being able to keep up with my 2-year-old, even if it's because he's been injured. He'll be running tomorrow morning, no doubt. It was nice... today. Today was nice. God loves me. He knew I needed just a little break.

my sweet, first born

Because He knows I'm not getting one with my oldest child. Andrew. Andrew. Andrew. He's beautiful – he has these huge, sensitive eyes, the color of water & the size of the moon. He soaks in the world with those eyes, & he feels everything so intensely. He shook his head & teared up when Luke was having his cast removed, because he “really liked that cast.” Change is hard for him. He has a smile that makes my heart ache for happiness in his whole life. He wants a wife he can love, & babies, & to be able to take care of all of them. He thinks these really vast thoughts & asks these huge, open-ended questions to which my sweet husband can only say, “You're going to have to bring that in a little closer to earth if you want an answer to that, son.” He's my artist. His walls are covered with his work & he plays his guitar on the front step, so our neighborhood can hear his music & “be happy”. He says what he thinks you need to know, & doesn't understand why someone's feelings could be hurt over a fact. (“Mom, I don't understand why saying 'this dinner tastes like dirt' hurts your feelings. I thought you would want to know, so you wouldn't have to make it again. I thought I was being helpful, because it really does taste just like dirt.”) He doesn't mean to say anything that would ever hurt anyone's feelings, & when it happens, he's incredibly hard on himself.

fear & fascination are always fun

He's this person at home. In public, where my pride is on the line, he's totally different. He doesn't seem to take anything in. He just moves, like a tornado, full of speed, chaos & noise, whipping around every. thing., saying whatever he thinks any one, any where might think is funny. He wants to entertain so badly, but he can't seem to sit still long enough to process if the humor in his head is relevant (or appropriate) for the situation. This is an incredibly difficult situation for everyone, but especially for him. He gets in trouble at church for his inability to reel it in, & he's made fun of & called crazy by some of the other kids & the mama in me wants to be really human & lash out in a protective rage, but God's working with me. Andrew tries. He tries so much, but when he's around kids his age, he just can't contain it. It makes me cry for him, & he cries for himself, & it's hard. He wants to be accepted so badly & he doesn't know how to just be himself. I tell him he's wonderful, & amazing, & smart & funny(!) when he's himself & not trying to impress anyone, but I'm Mom. What I say is momentarily comforting & encouraging, but forgotten when he's back in the thick of it. Even when I've been there, staring him down, reminding him, he will talk over me to say that which is inappropriate or irrelevant, & then when it's all over, he's melancholy & embarrassed & self-loathing. We're talking, Ben & me. We're discussing diet changes, we're investing in a more rigid schedule, more activity, more prayer, because really, prayer has got to be where it's at. This is so much bigger than me, than us, than all of us. God has got to help us out here, because this is my baby's heart that's on the line.


like a river

I love him. I like to think about how God made me&him for each other. I think about how much he loves me & I am back to where we were when we first fell in love.

I love his hands, his laugh, & his deep voice that makes me weak when I really listen to how gorgeous it is. I love his fingers, & the music he plays for me. (He'll play me anything I want & he has such a gift, yet he plays for no one else. He has this secret treasure he only shares with me.) I love his feet, & the walks we take & his sense of humor, the expression lines around his eyes when he smiles & how he can find humor in the most mundane of scenarios, & I really adore that tooth of his that's a little more shy than the others. I love constellation at the base of his neck - traced, it is "J" - marking my favorite place to lay my head while he's sitting in bed reading. When I rest my head there, between his shoulders, I am awed by the grace with which he carries the weight of our family. I love his heart for us & for Jesus, & for those who don't know His savior.

He leads our family well, & it's moments like these - when he's not 100%, when he'd rather have a cup of hot tea, followed by a cold beer & a good book over anything else - that I realize how much I depend on him, & hurt along with him. When he's lethargic & ailing, I'm wounded, too. We're tied to each other, it's deeper than vows. It's this gorgeous union that runs through our souls, & ties us together spiritually. It is God. God is love, yes? God commands love. & has given us an ability to love that cannot be measured. It doesn't stop when the the tissues start to pile up higher than our spirits. It doesn't stop when eyes won't open enough to show whether or not attention is being paid. It flows, like a river, with its constant current, always rushing. There are storms that cloud the waters & there are pollutants that must be removed, yes, but it is always worth the effort... & even if a dam is to slow its flow, there is always the Creator, the gracious God who made us for each other, who can make the dam to break & can revive a current in a place that was once was still. I love this man, & the God who paired me with him.


Mr Printable inspiration over here.

Our boys just moved in together.  More on that later, but for now I have to share how Andrew has been inspired by the words of Van Gogh.  I found this cool little website yesterday, printed the Van Gogh quote & taped it above my child's bed.  His mentality is usually, "I've never done it before... I know I won't be perfect, so I just won't try," but he loved the idea of trying new things in order to learn how to do them.  (Who would have thought, yeah?  What a novel idea...  I've said this over&over&over, but it takes the words of a guy who has art on our dining room wall to have him hear the truth.  I'll take it.)

Awesomeness on paper

He woke this morning fully inspired.  He's been drawing, playing guitar, harmonica - just anything he can do.  He's had a creative spark & I'm swooning over here.  Their walls are filling with works, not simply printed from the computer, or purchased, but of their own hands.  It makes this mama's heart just sing. 

Andrew & his wall(s)

I showed the boys this video, & Luke laid on his belly, playing the harmonica right along with the music.  Inspiration breeds inspiration.  Today was a messy day... I'm not even going to try to romanticize that, but(!) it was a beautiful one.

Luke & his harmonica


All Moved In...

We've been in our home for a month now, so... we're here! But, unsettled still. A rhythm has developed & school has resumed, but my focus has remained a bit scattered, as I continue to unload a box every day. (Where did we put all of this STUFF?)

It is my plan to get back to blogging soonish, but I'm not going to put a time-frame on it. [Especially since I am getting ready for a blog facelift, & continuing to edit the previous year(s) posts.] For now, here's a glimpse of our first month home.

We have not spent a single night on a couch. I have, but not at home. That came out wrong. Let me clarify - The boys & I went to my my parent's house for a midweek getaway with my husband's blessing, so it's all kosher.


Sometimes There is Comfort in Chaos

We're moving. MOVING! Um... tomorrow.

Since September 2006, we have lived in a (pretty awesome) condo in north Atlanta. It's a garden level unit, with a nice chunk of green space right outside our door,
but it's simply too small. That, & condo living doesn't really fit our family. We want a dog. I want a garden. We want to be able to have friends come over & not have to sit on top of each other, or make everyone whisper when the kids go to bed.

Most importantly? We want to stop sleeping in the living room. Our youngest is a very light sleeper & his crib is in our bedroom. When we roll over, he wakes up. I can honestly say, in 16 months, I have slept through the night 3 times - even with us sleeping in the living room. I don't see how all of those New Yorkers manage a family in 1000sq ft (or less). We're at 1100 & it's just... too small.

1st world problems, right? Yes, well, be that as it may, I am very excited to be moving. Very. What I didn't anticipate, was how little liquor store boxes actually hold when you're trying to cram in a 4person family's belongings.

Or, that once said belongings are packed, how difficult finding matching socks becomes.
It was when I was staring down at my mismatched feet, 2 weeks to the day after we lost our baby, when I finally said... "I don't care. Let it rain. There is nothing a little chaos can do to me now." I accepted that we're going to be disheveled for a little while.

The pain in my heart these past few weeks has been horrendous, & every time I think I might break in two, (as I felt over socks,) God is there to hold me together. He has been my Great Comforter. Recently, He's been helping me relax with our condo & what I'm expecting from myself.

I want my home to be clean & shiny, & if there are dishes out, or debris on the floor, or our table has milk from breakfast on it, I apologize, shamefully. I tend to relate the state of our home to me as a person, my value, & abilities as a wife&mother. (Perhaps it's just the Martha in me.) It was a couple of weeks ago, crying in my kitchen to my incredibly patient husband about not being able to find matching socks, that a peace came over me & I decided worrying about these little things just isn't worth it this season in our lives.

We're moving, we just lost a baby & we have 2 boys - one of whom is home schooled & the other is learning to sign. For the first time ever I do not feel the need to apologize if our condo looks, well, awful. And, yeah, it does.

Not worrying about the way things look, or how tidy things are, has been like a breath of fresh air. I am not going to lie, though - our condo is chaos.

But you know what the Mary in my has discovered about chaos? It can be fun. It's build a ramp out of moving boxes. It's build a fort out of chairs, pillows & blankets. It's making a southern sled. It's not a lot of laundry. It's relaxing on a pull-out sofa, watching episodes of 30Rock back to back whilst surrounded by boxes...

...& not feeling guilty. It's also given Ben & me the chance to sit down, & read the Bible together. We completed an outstanding reading plan on grief (YouVersion) that wouldn't have been possible had we not accepted a little chaos, relaxed a bit & taken the time to listen to God.

And though I am certain I do not want to live like this forever... For now, we are enjoying finding comfort hidden in the chaos.