Friday, September 9, 2011

Hurry up and wait!

Yes, it has been 14 months since last I posted. No apologies; no excuses (at least none that I will give voice to). Moving on!

I will recap a bit, though: Riley is 15 months old, and absolutely breathtaking! She's in a really fun stage where everything is exciting, other kids are fascinating, and eating dirt is par for the course. She got her first skinned knee this past weekend, and thus has officially crossed the threshold into childhood from baby-hood. She's also about to be a big sister. That's right folks, "baby Riley" is going to be "big sister Riley" in a matter of days to baby Avery. And, no, you might not see another blog post from me for another year and a half... but I'll try... and hope for partial credit for good intentions.

But my real reason for posting is the need to purge the simultaneous feelings of restlessness and gratefulness in which I'm finding myself. Why restless? Avery is due on September 11th (I know, I know... but that's another blog post) Well, for any of you who might be counting, pregnancy is 40 weeks long. 40. That's a really long time. Longer than 9 months, if I might point that out. And while there are a lot of women who relish the pregnancy experience, marvel at the changes, and feel "all glowy"... I'm not that girl. I understand the necessity of it, and I can look to the promise of the end result and be excited for our family to grow, but I'm not in any state of pregnancy nirvana, for sure. (Nevermind the fact that I've already made 3 trips to the restroom since starting this post.)

And why grateful? Well, other than the obvious reasons, I'm finding myself pretty regularly coming across stories reminding me that despite my very real desire to not be pregnant anymore, right now Avery is in the best, safest, and healthiest place she'll ever be. Taking the best possible care of her probably means allowing her staying right where she is for as long as she needs to be there. While this could easily spin into an "anti-overly medicalized birth process" post, I will refrain, and instead share two stories with you:

Meet Kate. Kate is a beautiful, smart, and compassionate first grader. But I only know this via her CaringBridge site. I've never met her, but I love this little girl. Each new post by her mom, Holly, brings me to tears as I read, pray, and walk the journey of pediatric brain cancer with this sweet family. I always find myself holding Riley just a little bit longer at night after a new post by Holly, both thanking the Lord for her health and begging him to continue protecting her little body. I urge you to read Kate's story and join us, literally thousands around the world, in pleading for her health and protection.

Meet Joshua. Joshua was born early this month with a chromosomal abnormality, and passed away about 24 hours after getting to meet his family. This certainly puts my frustration and impatience with pregnancy into perspective. Joshua's mom went through all the same rigors of pregnancy, discomfort, and labor that I am facing - and all to spend 24 hours with her sweet boy. Worth it all? Absolutely.

And so I will wait. I'll wait today, and I'll wait tomorrow. I'll wait beyond my due date and give her all the time she needs to grow healthy and strong. And when she's ready, we'll meet her and I'll keep right on doing all I can to keep her safe and healthy. For now, the best thing I can do for her is wait.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Year in Review

Right about now the opening lyrics's to Amy Grant's "Oh How the Years Go By" are coming to my mind (and dont ask me where that came from!). Periodically in conversation Justin will say to me, "You should blog about that." Usually, I mutter an off-handed "ok" and then never get around to actually doing it. But, here we are, a full year and three months after I blogged the last time, and a few things have happened in life since then. Here's a quick, though certainly not all-inclusive rundown of what I've been up to here in Chapel Hill...

  • So first, the pink elephant in the room, I HAD A BABY. Many of you will be shocked by this. Believe me when I say I understand. But WOW is it the most fun EVER, if also the most exhausting. Little girl Riley was born May 21st and has been rocking our world ever since. She's smart, independent, oh-so-social, and beautiful... see for yourself:

  • We moved out of our apartment and into "this old house". It's cute, country, and about 70 years old. Literally. Like anything else that's 70 years old, it has character. And, there's plenty of room for us to host the frequent guests that we seem to attract, and we love it.

  • We got a DOG. Finally! His name is Webster, and he eats EVERYTHING. Including fish hooks. Or, at least one fish hook. It truly was a case of "hook, line, and sinker". But an emergency vet visit and some intestinal coaxing and Web "passed" his barbed-snack. Phew.

    Dont let that pic fool you, he was about 10 pounds in that picture, taken this past April. He's about 65 pounds now.

  • I'm still working at UNC at the Institute for the Arts and Humanities. I have a new office and a new title since last I wrote about it, but the gig is about the same, and I'm really enjoying the team I get to work with and the people I get to rub elbows with.

  • I graduated from Gonzaga. Yay! Next step: Pay it off! I suspect that will take somewhat longer.

  • The adventures of Love Chapel Hill continue. There arent even words. I am blown away everyday when I think about how this whole crazy thing has evolved. Reminds me that to whom much is given, much is required. That's a whole different blog post there... but maybe for next year :) For now, you can take a look at where we've been HERE.

...And, I just spent the last 45 minutes reading all of my posted tweets from the last year to see if there's anything major I'm forgetting to report (because my list is feeling small). Alas, that about covers it. I've said it before, but I'll say it again... I WILL TRY to do this more often. Honestly.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Spo-CAN, Washington

That’s right, I’ve officially been a student at Gonzaga University for 2 years and I’ve been mispronouncing its city name wrong this whole time. That, like how to get a student ID and how to use the on-campus interlibrary loan system, is just one of the things I’ve learned now that I’m at the end of my graduate career. Cheers.
For those of you who are lucky enough not to have my twitter updates going to your phone… let me just tell you, getting here really was half the fun! Our 4am airport shuttle pick up in Durham, our 3 hour delay in Chicago, our missed flight in Seattle, or our no-luggage revelation in Spokane might seem like a nightmare to some of you. Not me. Nope, this is what makes getting up at 3:00am to travel across the country worth it! Not knowing what crazy curve ball will come next, and knowing that I’ll get to write about it later is what memories are made of!

Here are 5 things that have made this trip great:
1. Cinnabon in the Chicago airport. How did I not get a picture of this, my first Cinnabon ever? Regrets. I’m not ashamed to admit it wasn’t as large as reported, either. I could definitely have eaten the whole thing.

2. Hoopfest happening this weekend in Spokane. It’s the largest 3 on 3 b-ball tournament in the world. I’ve heard 7000 teams are entered, and I’ve also heard 15,000. So, it’s probably in the middle somewhere. But, there are make-shift courts and hoops set up literally EVERYWHERE around downtown. I’ve never seen anything like it!

3. A waterfall in the middle of downtown. Seriously, that’s cool.

4.The first night of my class was an art session. I drew pictures and played with real sculpting clay! Who knew grad school was so much fun?!

5.The solar/lunar patterns are very bizarre here; I assume our global position and the time of year has something to do with this, though I’ve not gotten a chance to research it yet. All I know is that at 4:15am it’s light outside, and that the moon is setting at bedtime, rather than rising. Also very cool.

If there were a #6 on that list it would be seeing the look on peoples’ faces when I say I’m from Chapel Hill and work at UNC. There’s apparently some basketball rivalry…? :)

And PS, sorry about all the twitters on travel-day. I broke all my own rules that day!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Revisiting my coastal tendencies...

So I'm reminded today of my love for the ocean, the depth of it, I suppose you could say. Even today, when the sun is mostly covered by clouds, when the wind is blowing, and the water hasn't yet met my 85 degree minimum requirement: I'm still content to be here, blogging from my phone and listening to the waves. More than content, really. (And PS, never felt this way in the mountains.)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Learning to Love

So much about this church planting thing is a learning experience - really, I guess all of it is. But it's the things I didnt know that I needed to learn that continue to surprise me the most. We came with one mission: to LOVE the people of Chapel Hill with the heart of Jesus. I expected that the "figuring out what the heart of Jesus" really means would be the tough part. And probably, it is. But I find myself still learning what it looks like to love - the part I thought would be a no brainer. So, here are a few of the things I've learned lately:

Real love for a friend looks like your heart breaking when theirs is hurt.

Real love looks like taking one extra lap around the block just to spend a little more time walking among the people.

Real love looks like a free night's stay at the Red Roof Inn and a Wendy's Baconator the night before a new job starts.

Real love looks like going over the top, only to find that there isnt really a top at all because love means that there's always more to give.

Real love looks like a red carnation after a hard day at work.

Real love looks like a low-paid summer internship in ministry rather than a posh job at the Gap.

Real love looks like driving 4 hours round trip several times a week to connect with friends who are quickly becoming family.

Real love looks like cancelling a trip to stay by the side of those who need you more.

Real love looks like an invitation to something greater.

Many thanks for the lessons, friends. It is an honor and a pleasure serving with you!

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Ok, so maybe it turns out that I'm not so good at this blogging thing. But, I do want to point out that I was Twittering before it was trendy. Just sayin'.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Traditions, or, lack thereof

The truth is, tradition isn't really something my family is particularly rich in. Growing up, we were just as apt to be found asleep when the New Year's Eve ball dropped as watching it on TV; I'm pretty sure we have always been flexible with when presents are opened for Christmas; and, I distinctly remember eating lasagna or manicotti/stuffed shells on more than one Thanksgiving. Call it non-traditional, call it unorthodox, call it progressive... It's probably all of those.

Now don't get me wrong, I didn't grow up the Adam's Family or anything (well, not completely, anyway)... there were definitely years we did the Turkey and stuffing thing (or, dressing... potato/potahto) plenty of times. We opened Christmas presents on Christmas morning most years (though I once got them ALL taken away from me just moments after opening them... a blog for another day... and will eventually require therapy). And, I can remember staying up to watch the ball drop a few times as a kid...

So I find myself wondering what traditions Justin and I are creating. My mom created something called a Thankful Tree when we were little... a cutsie little thing that starts as a bare trunk taped to a wall, but grows day by day with construction paper leaf cut outs on which you write something you're thankful for to post on the tree. This is one tradition I've held on to, and I even introduced it at the Simmons Thanksgiving Extravaganza a few times - because it's even more fun with lots of people contributing. But, perhaps because J and I don't have kids, we just don't think to do those kinds of things that much.

So, this year... we spent Thanksgiving at our house here in NC. Tony only had 96 hours of leave from the Marine base in Jacksonville, NC, and so he couldn't travel all the way to Mom and Dad's in Ohio... so Ohio came to us this year. (Except for Dustin, who couldn't make it because he had to work, and whom we missed TERRIBLY... it has been a long time since we've all been together for a holiday... so I'm hoping for Christmas.) And so, our humble little abode hosted 5 people for a "traditional" Thanksgiving feast of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, baked beans, green beans, corn, asparagus, gravy, rolls, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. Mom was very patient in teaching me how to orchestrate the whole thing with only 4 stovetop burners and 3 pots (the microwave got lots of attention!). And then we sat together at our little round table, pulled in the computer chair for a 5th seat... and made like Pilgrims and Native Americans around the table (without the exchange of typhoid and all that...). It was really cool.

The take away for me: Traditions are really fun, and perhaps even comforting to a lot of people. But maybe it doesn't matter if we eat Turkey or Pizza (which also happened at least once)... I want to take advantage of having the people I care about close by, and value the experience above the ritual.

One last note, I really did miss spending the holiday with Justin's family, too. We've been very lucky so far to have been able to split the holidays with both of our families, but that didn't work out this year. So, I'm really looking forward to getting to see them all at Christmastime. J did set up a brief Skype video chat session so that we could say hi to everyone, though.

Oh, and sorry there are no pictures... probably that's a holiday tradition most people have, too. Not us. :) Call on your imagination.