Tuesday, February 24, 2009


That's Loralai's favorite word these days, "hi." And the way she says it is so sweet. She'll see someone she doesn't know and lean around me to greet them and smile really big and say, "hi-eeeee". If she sees a little friend, or a stranger, or one of the dogs - it's all about telling them hi. And when we leave, it's bye. I know you're thinking 'duhhh, that's english.' But it's just so amazing hearing it come out of your 12month old and knowing that she's getting it. She's learning.

Her little heart, her little brain...she's a sponge. She takes in everything around her. She copies sounds she hears - and she's putting together little things like, "hi daddy." She understands so much. I'm amazed at the capacity that a little babe has for love and communicating. She kisses her baby dolls and leans in to give me hugs...just because. Maybe just because she's seen me kiss her baby dolls to show her what it is to love on a baby and because I give hugs, she gives hugs. I don't know. I just know that our little baby is growing up.

And walking. She started walking on her birthday. She'd been practicing, but that day we went to our neighborhood park and lo and behold, there she went. She just needed a little motivation and apparently a swing, a bark covered ground and a slide were motivation enough to get those chubby little legs moving. Todd says that she looks like Fred Sanford. She sort of does, or did. Because in the span of four days, she's gotten good at walking. How is that? I wish I could pick up a sport and, within four days, be awesome at it.

So we had a little get together for her birthday over the weekend. Both sides of our family came in town and some friends with kids. It was wonderful. I mean it. It was just the best to see all these little kiddies running around in our yard and blowing bubbles and playing with play dough and all of loralai's toys. It made me secretly wish for a house full of children. Or maybe I just want to live in a commune with my closest friends and their families and we can play all day and have chickens and grow a garden together and our kids can run around and be silly...that just seems wonderful.

But until then, we'll just enjoy the house and yard God's given us and have fun when friends and family come to visit.

oh yea. forgot to mention. loralai was a little bit, a lot, overwhelmed by the crowd of people at our house. so she clammed up and clung to her mama. and the yummy little birthday cupcake that i thought she'd delight in...she just stared at.

but hey, she got a little red wagon out of the whole deal...and she was super happy about that!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

2.19.08 -- 9pounds 9ounces

I've been trying to form words around this day, all day. And I'm at such a loss.

It was a long time waiting. 42 weeks, to the day, to be exact. A million stretch marks, a million more emotions of wondering whether or not I'd know how to be a mom, a million prayers that our baby would be healthy and hardy.

And 18 hours of labor later, and one long cut along my lower abdomen, and there was our baby.

But as I laid on that table, waiting, I prayed. And puked. I avoided the do not eat policy - and I ate. 18 hours is a long time to deprive a pregnant woman of food. Grapes seemed harmless until the operating room nurses had to push on my abdomen to get our large baby out - and then grapes made themselves known...all over Todd. I figure a guy's gotta suffer along the way, too, right? But really. As I laid there, praying, I wanted to jump from my skin, reach out and grab my baby before anyone else. I wanted to scream and dance and shout and run in circles and exert the adrenalin that was surely rushing through my veins. Instead, I stayed tied down to the table they had me tied to. And I waited and prayed.

And when I finally felt her come out and I heard her cry...nothing could have been more beautiful. And all that I could utter was "thank you Jesus! I praise you Jesus! Hallelujah Jesus!" and then all I could say following that was, "my baby. my baby. my baby." I cry just thinking about it. It was the most divine moment of my life. God's spirit was so beautiful in that room, in my body, surrounding my womb.

And away they took my baby. I laid there getting a blood transfusion, getting sewn up, talking to the precious nurses and doctors and trying to be patient...to wait. I knew that I would get to hold her. But it just seemed so unfair that I couldn't have my hands all over her at the moment of her arrival. But I knew that my time would come...so I waited.

And when we were finally together again, I didn't want to let her go. She laid across my chest and as if she'd done it a thousand times before, she nursed. And she rested all tucked snug in my arms. And I knew I would never be the same.

My eyes, my arms, my lips...they had experienced a new touch, a new sight, a new feeling. My heart had witnessed a holy happening and I wished I had words to share with everyone what my whole being was feeling during those moments. And still, I am at loss for those words. I had waited for so long.

Oh little Loralai Whitney. Your eyelashes are long like your mama's and like her daddy's. Your toes are long like your daddy's and your eyes brown like his, too. Your cheeks are dimple kissed like your mama's and her mama's. And to behold your chubby thighs and body is to glimpse at pictures of your mama when she was just a babe. And those eyebrows. Oh sweet one, I'm sorry and happy to say that those you got from your mama, too. They'll be the give away for every tale you tell and every moment of joy you experience. And those long fingers. Your daddy will be thrilled if you put those to playing a piano or guitar. And that precious raspy little voice that you speak with. No sound is sweeter than hearing you say mommy or da-deee. And I pray that with that same sweetness you utter holy praises to your Creator - because baby, he loves you more than even I or your daddy ever could.

I wonder what the years will bring, sweet one. More giggles. More snack times with dancing intermissions. More happy dances when daddy comes home. More time together. More time to learn what it is to love, what it is to receive love and to reflect love.

Loralai, you are a wonder to behold. My eyes take you in in new ways every day. My heart fills up every time I hear your voice. My purpose has changed and my love for our God has become sweeter and full of thanks. I feel so honored that God chose me and your daddy to care for you. I can only imagine what the next year will bring. More tears, I'm sure.

Because every time I look at the pictures of you when you were so new I wonder if my heart will ever be able to capture that holy moment again. But surely it will. Maybe not for a while, but it will. Because you know what? I believe that when God brings life into this world, he gives us a short and sweet moment of his joy - his creation. Imagine when we are born again into our eternal resting place with Him. Oh dear one, I pray for forever with you and your daddy. That as much as the angels rejoiced when we were born, here, that their singing will hark the heavens in a mighty way when we arrive Home.

Happy Birthday my sweet sweet little Loralai. You are the most precious, squishable, silly, fluff-head your daddy and I have ever known.

Glory glory glory to God for offering us such a sweet piece of life on this earth. Peace.

Babies are a magnificent wonder. Life. Precious life.

Monday, February 16, 2009

the dusk 'til dawn day

i think i don't remember what it was like to work in a cubicle, or an office. i think i've forgotten what it feels like to get up and brush my teeth, wash my face, shower, dry my hair, do my hair, drink a cup of coffee, eat breakfast...without a baby at my feet. because these days, i pretty much just brush my teeth and wash my face - everything else has somehow become either optional or just doesn't fit into the tiny window of time that i call morning when todd is here. and so i think things have changed just a bit around our house. just a little.

at least i know my boobs have.

they sag. and i'm glad for that. they've served their purpose. and now every night when todd hands loralai over to me after she's all smelly good and in her jammies, the first thing she does is tug at my shirt and say "muk" (milk). i smile. because the second that we sit into the rocker, she snuggles right down and has her last gulps of milk for the night. and as she switches sides she usually looks up and says with a big smile, "hi." as if i'd forgotten she was there.

i could never forget what it feels like to be a mother.

now a woman with a day job - that i've forgotten about. i mean i remember it, sure, but just in waves. i think anyone who's ever found their dream job will tell you that all other jobs have faded into some distant foggy memory. they pale in comparison.

and i've most certainly found my dream job. though i would like it if i had the ambition to dress cuter and do my hair more often. but my boss doesn't seem to mind and the job description usually comes with laughing a lot, dancing, shaking my head and making crazy faces...and really wearing cute clothes and having sassy hair just doesn't make sense when it's all going to get banana smeared and pulled out of its place. so i don't fuss over it.

i don't fuss over a lot of what i used to fuss over. but some things, admittedly, i'm worse about. like: organization and messes. since the house is now my office, i like for things to be in their place - or else my absent mind can't find things when they're absent from where they should be because they're really where they could be when i put them where they ought not to be.

and it's true what people say about when you have kids, you lose privacy. you do. just accept it. unless you have complete control over your body, and i don't and don't know anyone who does - especially post-baby-bodied moms - unless you can tell your body to poop during nap time, you're gonna have to poop on the job in front of little toddler eyes. you learn to do things faster after having babies, too. like pooping. and brushing your teeth. and eating your lunch standing up, or in the car, or pushing the stroller, or out of a bag in line somewhere...or perhaps you could hold out and timed it perfectly and you can eat at nap time. those are the good days.

but i have. i've forgotten what it was like to have a mean boss or to work for a corporation and see adults all day. i mean i miss the adults, i suppose, but nothing touches talking to your kid all day. i'd rather guess what loralai is saying than try to figure out some doctor's handwriting, any day. and i'm thankful that i get to.

my job seems like a dream. some days i feel like i'm on vacation. and i start to panic. i wonder if, at any minute, the 'you're fired' slip is going to be handed to me and back to work i'll have to go. so on those days, i try to make sure that i'm the best mama ever. not that i don't try to be good every day - but some days. some days i'm just more thankful, and more aware, than other days at how good i've really got it. every day i get to pour love into the most beautiful baby i've ever seen. i get to stare into the biggest brown eyes and dimpled cheeks and i get to laugh at and with this short little chubby girl who has so quickly become one of my best friends.

bet you never knew a nearly 30 year old would consider a nearly 1 year old her best friend. but how couldn't i? we share everything - except clothes - and love each other like mad and miss each other when we're away. motherhood is a droopy mixed bag of love. it's filled with highs and lows and sleep and sleeplessness and naps and why aren't you napping yet? and snacks and science experiments and finger paint and wet wipes and praying over toys you know are filled to the brim with germs and the only disinfectant is the One who can wipe clean everything...even the very last tear we'll shed before arriving in heaven.

and so every day i wake up and i look at this little heavenly gifted face and i think - really? me? i get to spend the whole day playing mommy? cause surely i don't deserve to have a job like this. but i do. and i love it. i mean i love love love love love it and i would fight tooth and nail just to keep it. i think what stay-at-home moms do is a sacred and precious calling. and i know that this first year at home is just the beginning of a beautiful ministry that God has planted in my heart and in our home.

oh thank you Lord Jesus for our baby and for letting me stay home with her. and thank you for every cold you've allowed me to tend to, for every tear you've given me privilege of wiping, of every hug you've let me surround loralai with...thank you for inviting me to be the one who gets to pour your word into our baby from nine to five. nothing makes me more joy filled than knowing that you chose me to be the mother of this sweet one...and nothing surprised me more than finding out that it was through learning to love a helpless little baby that i would learn what love is - that i would feel Your love.

motherhood is a sweet adventure.

and tomorrow's a big day. i'm gonna do my hair.

Friday, February 13, 2009

love love love

I love listening to Beth Moore. Her insight into God's word is precious. In particular, I love her talk titled The Lord God Made a Woman. And as Valentine's is tomorrow, I keep thinking about love - and our desire to love and be loved. And how crucial that is in our lives, as humans. We're called to love, but because we were made in God's image we also desire to be loved.

And as women, because we were designed to be nurturers and helpers...sometimes we get our calling confused with our desires. Sometimes we forget that Jesus is our groom and everything else comes after him. Sometimes we get so lost in our loneliness and in our singleness and in our self-pity that we forget. We're deceived. We fall victim to the voice of doubt and succomb to the world and we seek after a man to fill a void. So that we won't be alone.

I'm not saying it's wrong to want to be loved. But the wrong part of it is seeking after a man before you've sought after the Man. God wants so badly to be the one you call on first. He wants to guide you in your relationships - in your seeking. He wants to be the voice of truth you listen to - not Oprah, not a relationship website, not a horoscope. Him. He wants you to be able to listen to the Holy Spirit's promptings - the Spirit's warnings and heedings, or his excitement and jubilation. There is no other beautiful thing than to fall in love, first, with God and secondly with your to-be husband.

Let God sanctify, make holy, your longings, your passion, before you grab hold of love in an effort to fill the void that only Jesus can.

below is a paraphrased exerpt from the Lord God Made a Woman. I would gladly make a copy of this for anyone who wants it - it's hilarious, it makes you cry, jump up and down and get excited all over again, or for the first time, for the One who made you a woman.

You were born for passion! And any kind of religion that teaches you to keep that contained is a lie. ...And all that tells you is this: I will find passion elsewhere. Because that's how much it means to us. We will jump up and down like crazy at a basketball or soccer game but the whole concept of SHOUT TO THE LORD seems foreign - there are times that isn't appropriate - God himself sets the theme of our praise - there are times to sit still for him - but there are times to JUMP AND DOWN for the Lord Jesus. He would come and walk and sanctify our longings - we are driven by them - so if they're (longings) out of wack ...single women: you want to have your heart satisfied with Jesus, and seek wholeness with him, before you ever DREAM of walking down the aisle with a man. Because in our unhealthy state we will marry unhealthy!

If you're single, I'm praying for the Holy Spirit to protect you with wisdom and counsel and to shower you with more love than you ever knew you could feel, apart from a man. I'm praying that God will enter in where you thought you needed a spouse and as a result of your love affair with the King, you will be blessed with a spouse who is so in love with Jesus that the very longing of your heart will be sealed with a precious kiss from the one God has ordained you to live with on this earth. I'm praying for your love to be holy and pure - free from any misgivings or lies - free from deception - free from sexual impurity - free from thinking that you have to give of yourself physically before marriage. I'm praying for freedom over you life so that you can move into marriage in love with God. And if you're married and you struggle with love, I'm praying for you too. I'm praying that God will replace your hurt with his love and that the love you'll be able to give your spouse will be an overflowing of the Holy Spirit.

God is so good and so capable and able and willing to love us and teach us how to love. Even with our mistakes. Even with our successes. He teaches us. We just have to shoosh long enough to hear the voice of his spirit - we have to shoosh long enough to get rid of our longings that are selfish and wait on hearing the precious plan that God has laid out especially for our own unique lives.

God's peace, friends.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

our boulevard

she sat on my brown couch and told me everything was just fine. really. and all i said was, "it's not ok. and it's ok to feel like it's not ok." that's all it took.

the tears poured down.

she's sixteen. she goes to church by herself. she's skipping school. she's hanging out with older guys. she's praying. she's mad. she's sad. and she's alone a lot of the time.

her parents work odd hours and so the regular 9-5 day doesn't exist at her house - it hasn't for a long time. i'm not sure the details of the inner workings of her family. do we really know any other family's intimate moments, other than our own? i doubt it. and so i go on what her face is telling me - what her tears are saying - what her hands covering her face and nervously playing with her hair tell me.

and i hear her tell me that her mom has left. she left three children. i hurt so desperately bad for her. and i want to join in the anger against her mom, but i know that's not the answer. but still, i have this humanly desire to rush over to her mother's new cozy apartment - free, apparently, from motherly parental duties - and shake sense back into her. remind her that it was those three children that she carried in her womb. that she has been given charge over their lives and, i'm sorry, but you do not GET the convenience of up and leaving them. and you do not get the convenience of leaving your husband just because you're tired of him.

i speculate all of this in my mind as we talk. but it's no good. i haven't a clue of the hurt that went on in that house. but i tell this sweet girl the truth. marriage can be hard. and there are things that happened between her parents over the last twenty years that she'll never know about or understand. and that just as wrong as one may be, she must work desperately hard to try to forgive them now. or hate will build. it will. she nods her head in understanding.

she's wise for such young years.

and she's beautiful. and simple and complex and talented and smart. and i'm so torn. i want to sit on the couch next to her and hug her and tell her that everything will be alright. but i don't. she tells me that she wants her dad to be happy - she gets sick when her mom mentions another man's name. and so i tell her the truth: your parents stood before God and made a covenant, a promise, to never forsake one another. they became one. and that's why it's so confusing when they're apart - to name them individually - it's foreign because they aren't two anymore. they're one. they should be together and, as children, it's so hard to feel them apart. you are sensitive to the breaking of that covenant. she nods - her eyes show complete understanding.

she's so wise for such young years.

and she's beautiful. and simple and complex and talented and smart. and i'm so torn. and i sit in awe. i feel like i'm staring at a sixteen year old version of me - minus the rebellion. i didn't rebel or have that desire. but i was mad and hurt and felt so alone and confused and helpless. and i didn't know where to turn. and i went to church by myself. but i didn't talk to anyone who was a christian. so i sat in my anger.

and i look at this sweet girl sitting across from me on my brown couch and i think - how can i help, Lord? let me help. let me show her the love of a Godly woman. please give me and todd the chance to show their family the love of Jesus. oh PLEASE God, let us show them your hands and feet. let us show them how you love them...how their family can be redeemed, restored, reconciled.

i offer my love to her. i tell her that i will be praying. and i tell her that i do really know her pain. and the tears just stream down her face. a kindrid spirit, perhaps? uggh. how heartbreaking to know that through my own hurt, i'm able to relate to this child. it seems so sad to me that any of us might experience this kind of pain. but God delights in those who suffer and are restored - those that will go on and share his love with his children. he loves it when we help a sister run the race - when we carry one another's burdens - when we provide in his name - when we stand next to one another and spur each other on so that we might persevere in the name of the one who is Love.

so here i sit, blogging. and i know that it's by no mistake that God placed me in this house at this very moment. i can rain prayer over my friend's home. i can see her come and go during the day and night. my home is a safe refuge for her to run to if she needs it. and my life is a living testimony that through a broken family can come a redeemed life. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[m] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (romans 8)

i am certain that nothing can separate us from the love of God.

but HOW WILL WE FEEL GOD'S LOVE if we feel that ALL that represents love has fallen apart?


to love your neighbor as yourself.

love. love is selfless. it's kind. it's giving. love never fails.

and i sit there staring at the sweet life sitting across from me on that brown couch. and i think - she must have been precious the day she was born. a sweet little bundle of hope. and she still is. and God sees her as such. he knew the day, the time, the place where she would arrive. and he knew that this moment would come - that her heart would break because of the actions of someone else. consequence of sin. and he knew that my blue eyes would stare into her green and yearn to love her. he knew that my heart would have been hardened and then softened - for this moment.

and she is beautiful. and young. and complex. and a teenager. and her spirit can either grow towards God or away. and i can help foster that or ignore it. imagine if i choose to not love my neighbor. i'd have to literally turn my face away from Jesus.

and she is talented. and creative. and smart. and so wise for her young years. and i pray - Lord, let me show her the love i was desperate for at sixteen. please, Lord, let me show her You.

and so i ask for prayers. please pray for children of divorce. pray for their souls. pray for their spirits to not be broken and their joy not robbed. it is NO ONE's right to steal their joy. let's fight together against the robber of joy and let's show our neighbors what Love is.

that God is LOVE.

God's peace to you, friends.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

due time.

february 5, 2008. that's a year ago today. that was our due date with loralai. i had been given dr's orders to be done with work, what with PUPPS ravaging my body and all. but by this time, thank you Lord, the PUPPS was chilling out a bit. but my poor 'ole body was tired. i was carrying a huge baby and all things swollen. you know the original crocs? right. mine were the only thing i could put my foot in and my feet touched the walls of the crocs. my feet were ginormous. as was my abdomen. and so i walked. i would walk the neighborhood and look at the blooming camellias and get gawking akward stares from neighbors. some would shout from their porches some little sarcastic comment about me needing to go ahead and have that baby already. i would smile. and then flip them off. no no. i didn't do that. but don't think the thought didn't cross my mind. still, i would smile. i was ready for this baby to get out of my belly. i was ready to be done with the two hour spans of sleep at night (ha. if i only knew that those spans would be the trend for the next month to come), to not feel the urge to pee upon standing every time, to breathe a full breath of air, to be able to bend my spine, to be able to sleep on my back without being suffocated, to be able to touch my toes and to just feel like i wasn't being held captive in my body anymore. i was so excited to be a mom, but so ready to be done being pregnant. it was a long pregnancy. i loved every minute of feeling loralai move around - it's indescribable to feel life growing inside of you. it's such a sacred thing between a mommy and her unborn.

but february fifth, oh man. i woke up knowing for sure that this little baby would pop out that day or at least a day or two later. nope. two weeks later, loralai came out. all nine pounds, nine ounces of her. i ate well. i swam. i thought i did everything 'right' in an effort to have a healthy baby. and i suppose i did. she was as hardy as they come and as peaceful as a baby could be. but i thought, for sure, that she'd come out on a guessed date and be easy for the birthing.

ok, so i was a little naive. the doctors: they guess. that date. it's just a guess. and childbirth, well, it's got a mind all its own. there wasn't a thing i could have done to make things happen any differently. i, just as loralai was, was a guest in my own body. i was at mercy of God's will. and he definitely showed me that all my planning didn't mean squat to what he was working out.

sometimes, you just have to surrender. i just have to surrender.

so february fifth came and went. and i walked. and waited.

and i looked at the camellias a little more - i even cut some and put them in vases. and i cleaned the house as i heaved my engorged belly around with me. and i cleaned dishes while standing at least a foot and a half away from the sink (try it. it's funny.). and todd rubbed my feet one more time with lotion, in hopes to ease my foot pain and push some of the fluid back into my body. and i prayed one more time that God would bring loralai to see us that night.

and i snuggled in bed. probably watched a wink of tv and fell asleep while todd shook his head wondering how a woman can fall asleep in mid sentence. and i awoke on february six to...to pregnancy.

and, i waited.