1. I literally can’t even | 07.22.16

    I spent the wee (I’m talking WEE) hours of the morning being jealous of celebrities who have live-in nannies to take care of their babies that cry at 5am. 

    I was feeling sorry for myself that Bera was in our room, cramping our style. (Hint: our style is sleeping later than 4:50am).

     But, really, I’m the lucky one. Because, and I don’t know this, but I bet Giselle’s husband doesn’t get up and take the baby to the playground and tell her “Get some more sleep”. (The best words in the world.) 

     Maybe He is doing something beautiful in these frustrating days. Maybe these are the sweetest times- with all three of us in one tiny Brooklyn bedroom. Maybe when she is in college I’ll long for just one of these nights and early mornings. Yes they are sleepy, but she is near me.

      She is, of course, worth it. I just thought it would be easier by now. How do teen-agers have babies?? Baffling. This would have been too much for me. It IS too much for me. 

     So it’s good I have Him to supply all my needs according to His riches and glory. I hardly believe it most days. Or it’s not something I need to think about. Yesterday I needed it. And maybe today too.  And probably tomorrow.

    Yesterday I felt like a wet cloth being wrung dry. Usually I have enough water, enough patience. Yesterday I came to the end of myself and had to ask Him for more.  She wouldn’t nap, she cried everytime I tried to give her food. I had to set her down to put the milk in the fridge and she wailed. (I believe that was the point I screamed “JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL!) Mumbling to myself while walking to the drop-in Doctor, heart full of anxiety , bladder full of infection, “He cares about me, He cares about me.”

    How good to have a life that I need to remember that.


    From early morning playtime with her dad. These bear statues are her favorite thing ever.


  2. If I will lose my life | 06.17.16

     I have always wanted to care for orphans. It’s maybe the one thing in my life I know I have to do.

    Having a baby here in this house, in my life, has made me more aware than ever how helpless these little creatures are.

    You would think having a ten month old would put these desires on the back burner, but instead, they are brought to the front of my thoughts with every need that Bera has.

    Sometimes I think “What if Bera had to take care of herself?” This is kind of ridiculous, I realize, but she wouldn’t even be able to walk! Or get food! Or get out of her own poo! Babies need to be cared for. And to think that so many have no one makes me so sick and so sad that I just want to break apart.

    I know, in my heart, when Jesus said to care for the “least of these” in this world, he was thinking of babies. Orphans, elderly, helpless, homeless. MY HEART HAS ROOM FOR YOU. I want to spend my life for you, I do. In my best moments I do. 
    Do I want it enough to trade in vacations and money and clothes and prosecco at nice restaurants? I hope so. Dear God, I hope so.
    Do I want it enough to give up “me” time and Project Runway and writing and soaking in a bathtub?
    Do I want it enough to surrender plans for a decorated home, date nights, an orderly life, lots of sleep and maintaining my weight?

    I don’t know. These questions are really hard. In a fleeting fit of emotion, it’s easy to say, “YES! It’s worth it! I want it!”

    But day after day I worry about burning out, jealousy, tiring, snapping. Because I know myself. I am not enough to love this way. I have empathy but I am not good at surrender. I don’t doubt that it’s worth it, I just wonder at my ability to lose my life.


  3. Guest Post on Called For Such a Time | 06.02.16

    Hi! Happy June and happy Thursday! 

    I was excited to do a guest post for a blog whose main purpose is to encourage other women. Amazing! Honored to be a part of it. 

    I hope it’s encouraging to you. He regards you!

    https://calledforsuchatime.com/a-little-life-a-guest-post/


  4.  Unsalted Chips on Tuesdays | 05.25.16

     I left the Health Center where Ms. D lives a bit melancholy. Today she told me that she has been there for ten years. I asked her if it felt like home yet and she said a heartbreaking, “No.” Not in a “Poor-me” way, but in a “these are the facts” sort of way.

     She got old too soon.

    I felt sad when I saw two old men in wheelchairs huddled around the vending machine getting Schweppes carbonated water, like it was the highlight of their day. I hope it wasn’t, but maybe it was. 
     And who am I to determine that a life must have higher highs than buying a Schweppes from a vending machine? Maybe they are looking at me thinking, “It’s so sad that that young woman thinks she needs more than this delicious, sparkling, bubbling water I’m about to drink.”

     How strange to have everything behind you and nothing before you except Bingo and death. And that part is OK. The thing that really bothers me is the loneliness. 

    Ms. D has a daughter, but I’m afraid that she doesn’t see her much. From what I can gather, they had a disagreement over money.

     As a new mom, this is gut-twistingly sad to me. To have that relationship severed because of money- paper, coins. I stare at Bera’s flushed cheeks and stocking feet as I push her down the halls filled with wheelchairs and hospital equipment and I can’t help but think of her as a resident there. With the TV on all day at full volume. No one to smile at, or worse, no reason to smile. I almost can’t stand it.

      It also feels pitiful that all I can do for Ms. D is show up on Tuesdays with unsalted potato chips and offer to read a Psalm. Making my baby pat her on the arm, since Ms. D can’t see. When I wish what I could do is this: heal her eyes to give her sight, her speech, her leg, her kidneys, her relationship with her daughter. I wish I could summon her friends and husband from the dead so they could come and talk to her about memories I am not a part of.

      But I can’t do those things. I can’t make it all better. 

    It is tempting  for me to do nothing when I can’t do everything. But is anything done in the name of Christ ever wasted? Maybe, then it isn’t that I need to do bigger things. Maybe my motives need to be bigger. Maybe I need the faith and sight to see tiny little things done in the name of Christ as important and worthwhile and holy work.


  5. Strawberry Baby | 05.08.16

    In my grandmother’s old coat from Mexico I have a strawberry scented baby with me wherever I go
    I don’t have Hermes or Givenchy 

    But there is no scarf softer

    Than this baby strapped to me
    Like a mast on a ship, going ahead

    Through sidewalk seas and nursing home halls

    She makes strangers smile, without a word being said
    How haven’t I calloused her cheek

    (Or her head, or her lips, or hands)

    From all the kisses I’ve laid?
    This girl made a mom out of me

    And I’ve never felt more Right

    Than in my grandmothers old coat from Mexico

    With my strawberry scented baby with me wherever I go


  6. You aren’t Guilty of the Things You are Guilty of | 04.18.16

    I am nothing if not relatable.  I am a regular person who leaves crumbs, doesn’t put her shoes away, potentially has a toenail fungus and looks crazy upon waking.

    The other night I was lamenting one of my many flaws: my obsession with clothing. (C’mon ladies, I know I’m not unique in this!) How sometimes in order to fall asleep, I just imagine different outfits and shoe combinations.

    I was thinking how unfortunate that I’m so shallow and greedy. And the right response is to feel sad and ashamed and guilty about it.

    I swear to you, out of nowhere, in my head was this:
    You are not guilty.

    This is not a new idea, but it felt like the first and only time I’d ever heard it.

    My response: But if am greedy, then, actually, yes, I’m guilty of greed.

    Same answer: You are not guilty. So stop feeling guilty.

    And I think you know I don’t mean to take sin lightly or to keep wallowing in it. Not at all! But the shock and relief I felt at the voice saying “You aren’t guilty” showed me that I have been living and thinking like I am. What a tragedy, really.

    I tend to think of salvation in broad, general terms. Yes, I know. Yes, I know Jesus took the hit for me. So that I can be forgiven, righteous, etc. Do you know how many times I’ve heard this????

    But can it be that I am not guilty of the very things I am guilty of?? WHAT IS THIS MADNESS??? 

    And if it’s true then I am light in the chest and not so in my head and not covering my heart from Him or wondering if I can pray.

    Can it be that it isn’t a general “He died for your sins”, but that it is a life-altering every night when I’m thinking I’m THE WORST that He is like, “WHAT ARE YOU EVEN DOING? YOU ARE NOT EVEN GUILTY.” 

    So relax into this truth and celebrate and use that extra headspace to make someone laugh or write them a letter or just do a spin on the sidewalk because you are not guilty of the things you are guilty of.

    “If one man’s sin put crowds of people at the dead-end abyss of separation from God, just think what God’s gift poured through one man, Jesus Christ, will do! There’s no comparison between that death dealing sin and this generous, life-giving gift. The verdict on that one sin was the death sentence; the verdict on the many sins that followed was this wonderful life sentence. If death got the upper hand through one man’s wrongdoing, can you imagine the breathtaking recovery life makes, sovereign life, in those who grasp with both hands this wildly extravagant life-gift, this grand setting-everything-right, that the one man Jesus Christ provides?” (From the Message, Romans 5)


  7. The peace poem | 04.12.16

    I am a constant over thinker/worrier. Like Crazy Town membership status. Worry that things will break, that days will be sad, that I’ll mess everything up.  Almost feel like God just straight up said these words to me while I sat on our pink sofa and I could smell the hyacinths near me. 

    //
    Peace, peace.

    Take this BIG BOWL, spilling over

    With peace.

    Pour it over your head

    With your mouth open wide

    So that

    You are full

    And choppy days and waters

    Cannot drown you.

    I love to see you at peace.

    When the calculating and hunting and nail biting 

    CEASE

    The brow unfolds and shoulders fall

    Darling– every concern,

    I hold them all.

    You aren’t missing anything

    But you are looking still

    For that final thing

    So that that cavity will fill

    But you are whole, you are mine, you are safe, you are fine.

    Go lie in green grass 

    Dip toes in quiet water

    Close your red eyes

    And let me watch over you

    While you rest every part

    And PEACE overcomes your heart.

      


  8. Children Are a Joy and Other Dirty Lies | 03.30.16

    I’ll never forget Easter morning this year (never mind that it was like three days ago). Not for the good reasons, like, you know, THE RISEN LORD.

     It is because the baby woke up around five to moan juuuust loud and long enough for us to wake up and toss and turn and rip our earplugs out and glare at each other.
    My husband and I were both in nursery that morning at church. Parents dropping off their kids were frazzled and tired, just like us. Some kids freaked out and clung to their parents, forcing the parent to kneel down in their dress clothes and try to convince the child that the world will not end if they leave.

    I eyed the childless people walking in, looking fresh and happy, getting to talk with other grown ups and sip coffee and not worry about spit up getting all over their shirts. I WAS TOTALLY JEALOUS.

    I imagine them lounging in cashmere until 9am, and then having a leisurely breakfast with two hands and no baby food in sight. Putting on make-up without feeling like there is a ticking time bomb in the next room.

    I used to be in the fresh and happy childless club. I got to smile and hold other people’s babies and then go take a nap. I got to go to brunch and not worry about interfering with nap-time (the baby’s, not mine). I used to not think about places I can go to that are “stroller friendly”. Oh my gosh, I used to be able to sit and think and write for as long as I wanted. What have I done?!

    I remember thinking: Why are we doing this to ourselves? Is it really worth it?

    I know, I know…what a terrible thing for a mother to say. (If you ever read this Bera and other future children, I love you!!)

    The honest truth is this: children are a pain. They aren’t reasonable, they don’t like to sleep (unless you need to go somewhere, then suddenly nap-time is forever and you miss your commitment), they scream in public, they need to eat constantly then they spit it up all over you and your nice things and they don’t really care if it is cramping your style.

     And when I say they are a “pain” I don’t mean it just at the superficial level; just an annoyance. I mean it is a pain to my comfort. It is a stab in my inclination that wants to rest, to eat in peace, to be free or to have an “exciting” or glamorous life. It threatens my agenda and my well being. And perhaps not just when they are little, but maybe longer, into the young adult years. People say it is “rewarding”, but what if it’s not?

    Yes, of course they are cute and they laugh and you can post all kinds of adorable pictures on Instagram. They can bring us joy. And they do. So much that I think I might explode when Bera smiles up at me with that dopey smile and sleepy eyes after a nap. But that is not why we have children, is it?

    Then why?

    From a completely practical viewpoint, I would say so that I have someone to care for me when I’m old. But this can’t be the reason. The horrible truth is that some kids die before their parents or just aren’t able to care for them.

    I have been thinking and thinking on this and perhaps I will never know that deepest reasons, but I can take a guess.
    Maybe we have children so that we learn how to let this pain burn away our selfishness. 
    Maybe it is so that we know this deep, deep love that helps us understand the love that the Father has for us.

    But I think that anything that has to do with people is insanely important. I do. They last forever and they matter more than any other thing. I think that interacting with cashiers, traffic cops and friends matters more than we will ever know.

    And when you have a kid…that’s a whole lot of interacting. That’s a lot of the stuff that matters and lasts forever.

     

     

    This is not about me molding a person into how I want them to be (tempting) or to be a mini version of myself, but showing a person the grace that I have found to be redemptive and amazing. A human I see everyday that needs to know the love of Jesus.     This is not so that I can feel important or comfortable or always “happy” necessarily. But for a person who will last for eternity to know they are loved by me, even if they can’t return it, and forever cherished by Christ.


  9. When you are the most boring in the room | 02.25.16

    A peaceful heart gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. Pr 14.30
       

    There have been so many times when I’ve been in a room full of people and I’ve taken score, and come in dead last. The point system is completely arbitrary, but it feels so real.

    It’s a demolishing feeling; it’s a selfish feeling. 

    (And then begins the downward spiral of hating yourself even more for being selfish.)

    The worst is being envious of another receiving encouragement (can almost feel my bones rotting). I want to be the one either dishing it out or getting it; I want to matter and not just be the idiot watching. This is what stings maaaayyybe the most.

     Because this is my team. My body.
     I sometimes wonder if God sees us as that; one body. Not little limbs and torsos sitting around the table, competing at who can be the most spiritual. He doesn’t see me- the pinky toe- as useless and boring. Maybe he sees me in conjunction with those beautiful pumping arms and strong cores. 

    After Bera wakes up from her nap, we’ve started this thing where I hold her in front of the mirror and her face lights up to see her reflection.She’s too little to do it out of vanity,so it is the sweetest thing to me. The last time we did this, it struck me that maybe My Father would enjoy to see me have the same reaction.

    Not because I’m pretty or talented or gifted or at peace with myself. But because I am loved and complete and He has made me and created me to function in a body.

    I guess because it’s my (small) world right now, but I am always learning from this baby. This baby who can delight at her miraculous and wondrous reflection not because she’s puffed up and even though her accomplishments can be summed up with “ate today, then spit it back out. Oh yeah, and pooped my pants.”

    So the next time you feel the awful sensation of being the most regular person at a party, go home and smile in the mirror. You are a wonder, and we need you. 
    Sincerely,

    Pinky Toe  

     


  10. At home in Brooklyn | 02.22.16

     I haven’t written in so long perhaps because so many changes are taking place that I didn’t know where to begin.

    Dan got a different job, which means we are in New York now for real. It also means we have to move out of this apartment (his other job was paying for this one and it’s way too rich for our blood).

    So. Moving. Again. I should be really good at it by now- Packing up our whole house in South Carolina just two years ago, and then our apartment in TriBeCa last year. And now our sweet Dumbo home.

    But, still. I run out of boxes, out of tape, out of bubble wrap and out of patience.

    Waiting has been the name of the game. Since December, Dan had been actively trying to find another job. Everyday we would wait to hear back from someone. To try to figure out where we would live, what our lives would look like. Charleston, New York…we even we’re trying for LA or Miami at one point. 

    Of course I prayed for beach. 

    But Brooklyn it is, and I couldn’t be happier. (If I’m saying this in February than you know a miracle is taking place.)
    More than beach, I prayed for a job Dan could love. And for people that could teach him, encourage him and help him grow. 
    Once Dan got a job here, I started to wrap my mind around living in Brooklyn FOR REAL. Not because a company happened to pay our rent, but because WE CHOOSE BROOKLYN. Somehow there is a huge difference.

    I may be putting too much on it, but I feel in this next season in OUR apartment, I will finally be settled into being a mom, a wife, a citizen, a friend. I guess what I mean is, to be content. Settled. 

    I’ve been scattered for too long. Living with possessions all over the east coast, questions about who I am if I have no job and no home, being unsure, being defensive, being envious, being cold.

    Then figuring out how to be a mom and a wife at the same time and maybe not in the same way my friend or neighbor is a wife and a mom and am I still OK? Am I doing it wrong? And all the while wondering where is home. 

    Because home is a big word for me. Home is my domain. And I’ve been living fifteen (and eleven) stories into the sky and not feeling rooted. But saying I was because I have friends here. (And that is a HUGE something.) 

    And maybe I’ll start this next phase thinking everything will be great and I’ll have an herb garden and stick to the grocery budget and the baby will nap for two hours at a time at the same time everyday…and maybe none of those things will happen.

    But even if those external things don’t come true, I’m hoping that at the core of me, there will finally be a person who is content, who isn’t comparing, who doesn’t want to flee to the ocean, who is free to be at rest and at home.