December 28, 2006

Living at peace

Tuesday evening Allen and I went to see a wonderful friend of ours who has been a long time mentor to his mom. She asked us down so Allen could look over her computer, but we ended up talking about so much more than that. One of the things that both she and my mother-in-law have emphasized to me over the past few months is that the words we say and the things we think do effect our health and our bodies -sometimes significantly. Many times our aches and pains and weaknesses have more to do with our spiritual and emotional condition than what we're eating or drinking. To be sure, drinking cokes and eating sugar stresses your body. But a diet of water and raw carrots won't be enough to keep you healthy if your mind is full of fear and anger. Sometimes these emotions can have strange consequences. I, for instance, have struggled with nearly constant bleeding for the past month. To the best of our knowledge this bleeding is from burst capillaries -much like a nosebleed. The major cause of this weakness in my capillaries is an over-loaded liver. The main reason my liver is overloaded is because of wrong emotions on my part.

Once upon a time I wouldn't have responded well to someone saying that I needed to stop feeling a certain way and would probably have lashed out at them.
"You don't know what I've been through."
"You can't tell me I shouldn't be hurt."
"I can't help the way I feel; it's my parent's fault that I'm so fearful."
I felt entitled to my fear and anger, and I felt hurt by their perceived disapproval. Gradually though I came to see that I was indeed responsible for my emotions -even emotions that were provoked by painful circumstances in my life. They (along with my husband) began teaching me and encouraging me with God's Word by assuring me that "there is therefore no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus" and that "God has not given me a spirit of fear but of power and of love and a sound mind." I started to see that by living in fear as though I was condemned I was denying the Word of God in my life. Slowly I have started to reclaim God's Word by saying these things and believing that they are true in my life.

Tuesday, our friend gave me some more truths to contemplate. As we were talking she noticed that I tend to talk about my past quite a bit and that talking about it visibly stressed me. At which point she said I should stop talking about it. "Forgetting what is behind I press forward..." Part of me wants to hang on to my past and lean on it. Standing up straight and learning to run just takes too much effort. And yet leaning on my past means that I remain a cripple. The other thing she said I should do is start claiming God's peace in place of my stress and fear. Jesus said that He has left us His peace, and I need to stop clinging to fear and start resting in that peace. Immediately after we left her my bleeding slowed, and as I continue to reach out for peace and proclaim peace in my body the bleeding has continued to slow. Praise God who makes all grace abound to us.

December 20, 2006

A guide to grading exams

So my husband heard about this from some guy on has to make you wonder. I mean, I'm sure you've had the experience of not studying for a test and getting a good grade and then studying your brains out only to get a lousy grade. Maybe this explains things?

A Guide to Grading Exams (check out the comments too)

December 19, 2006

Why common tricks?

Go to any "housewife" blog, and at some point they will describe themselves cleaning the house or describe the method they use to clean the house. Countless women (and men) everywhere have that amazing ability to tame the tumultuous kitchen or calm a calamitous bedroom, but like most tricks there's a knack to it. Some women have to open their housekeeping binder to a certain page and pore over it for 10.8 seconds in order to tackle the bathroom floor. Others develop a magic sequence that allows themselves to dash through three stories like water running downhill. It's an immensely common trick, but it's a trick nonetheless. As I write this blog I'm trying to discover and develop my own "knack." Instead of trying to "force" myself to do everything I need to do, I'm looking for the satisfaction of weeding out the closet and the inspiration to level mountains in the living room. It'll take a while. Right now I'm still at the stage of dropping my balls after half a jug. Sometimes I make it to one. But I still spend a lot of my time chasing those dropped balls around. Speaking of which...I bet I could get this living room straight in about five minutes. Excuse me, I need to practice again.

December 18, 2006

Things that need to get done before we go see people for Christmas:

Do laundry
Clean up bedroom (and make sure it stays that way)
Clean bathroom and do maintenance on kitchen and living room
Wrap presents (first I have to put some of them together)
Decorate and deliver cookies to church office and possibly Allen's co-workers.
Probably a hundred other things that I'm not going to think about right now.

How I earned my B

My grades came back in. I made an A in Medieval Lit and a B in History of the English Language. Oh, and I have a W for one class because I had to withdraw instead of drop. That's only the second B I've made in four and a half years of college, and I'm actually kind of proud of it. The first B I made was in a pre-cal trig class during my undergrad, and my mom never let me forget that I would have had a 4.0 if it wasn't for that one B. After that I worked my tail off to keep my GPA up. I succeeded too. I graduated Summa Cum Laude with a 3.97 overall GPA and a 4.0 in my discipline. When I went to grad school though things were a little different. I had a husband to take care of, which meant putting food on the table and doing at least a minimum level of housework. Then, after being married just a month and a half, I got pregnant. This was wonderful news, but it also meant that I had even more constraints on my time and activities. I couldn't spend all day and all night working my tail off. Even if I could have neglected Allen for a semester I had to take care of myself in order to take care of the baby. This meant dropping out of one of my classes and pulling back on two of my others. One reason for this is that over the past couple of months I've been dealing with a good deal of spotting. From all we know the pregnancy is fine, but several years of cumulative stress have weakened and ruptured various capillaries and caused my generous spotting. A large part of dealing with this has meant taking breaks, working through emotional issues, and distancing myself from my emotional commitment to getti been thinkingng perfect grades. The result: one A, one B, and one W. Earning that B was hard. I had to break a lot of bad habits and release a lot of negative emotions about how I viewed school and my own self-worth. Although others may see that B as me lowering my standards, I see that B as me raising my standards on the kind of life I want to live and learning to measure myself by God's standards instead of anyone else's. I'm proud of that A too- especially since I didn't put the effort into that class that I otherwise would have. It means that I really am smart and capable, that I don't have to work myself silly for fear that I'm not good enough or smart enough. But I think I'm most proud of that B.

What a blessed woman!

If you go over to Gentlewood Cottage you will see pictures of the most peaceful and beautiful birthroom I have ever seen. This woman has truly created a space for herself that is calming and relaxing. Contrast her lovely bedroom with the rooms provided by the birthing center. Even though I appreciate the birthing center's efforts to create a more relaxing and homelike atmosphere for laboring moms, they can't offer anywhere near the same kind of environmental control and familiarity that comes from establishing a sanctuary within your own home. Unfortunately, our small apartment isn't conducive to any such arrangements, and Allen and I agree that for our first it would probably be better to be at the birthing center than at home. Still, I can't help wishing that I could create a place to give birth. This is particularly important to me since doctor's offices have always made me uneasy and tense, and I don't want to feel that way when I go to the center to give birth. Even though I'm not due until mid-June I've been thinking about ways I could personalize my birthing room to take some of the medical "edge" off it. One thing I've though about is taking a strand of Christmas lights with me to birthing center. Christmas lights in June are about as unmedical as you can get, and for some reason I've always loved them. When I'm feeling busy and tense they relax me, and when I'm lethargic they help clear my brain. I figure that's a good thing in labor. I'll have to talk to one of the midwives about this when I go in next.

December 17, 2006

Sermon on Mary

John Stone, who works with RUF, preached today at church. That man is kind of crazy both in and out of the pulpit. I guess that's why they have him working with college students. But he preached a really interesting sermon. We're kind of used to seeing Mary "blessed among women" as this glowing, peaceful woman without thinking about what it really meant for her to be blessed. Basically we have a young woman who was going to have to try and explain being pregnant and a virgin in a culture where sexual sin could result in stoning. As John pointed out, Mary actually ran away from home to her cousin's house. Incidentally, this cousin was a post-menopausal pregnant woman whose husband couldn't talk. John's whole point with this is that God comes to turn our world upside down. Sometimes being blessed by God means having the stew scared out of you while God puts you through seemingly impossible situations. Why? So that we become poor and humble in spirit. To put it another way -God says that He most loves the poor and the humble. He also loves us. Therefore God keeps pushing us and bringing us to a place of poverty and lowliness. To be blessed by God is to be put in Mary's shoes. All of us want to be blessed; few of us want to really be put in Mary's position.

Over the past few months I've really struggled with the goodness of God. Sometimes I'm overwhelmed by it, and other times I doubt God really wants to bless me at all. Today's sermon really helped me think about the ways God blesses us. Even now I can't say that I'm really thrilled abing to have to try and explain being pregnant and a virgin in a culture where sexual sin could result in stoning. As John pointed out, Mary actually ran away from home to her cousin's house. Incidentally, this cousin was a post-menopausal pregnant woman whose husband couldn't talk. John's whole point with this is that God comes to turn our world upside down. Sometimes being blessed by God means having the stew scared out of you while God puts you through seemingly impossible situations. Why? So that we become poor and humble in spirit. To put it anout how God "favors" me. I'd rather God favor me with a beautiful house in a wonderful community. Maybe He will. But I can't that God doesn't favor me when I walk up four flights of stairs to an itty bitty apartment. I know that God is good. I'm starting to believe that He is good to me. Hopefully there's coming a day when I can fully trust and rejoice in God's goodness. I have a feeling I'm going to have to go through some more fist-shaking before I can get there though.

On buying pants

I really don't like buying pants. They never fit me right -either they fit in the waist and not in the leg, or they fit in the leg but not in the waist. I wouldn't have bothered trying to find any except that last night I had to unbutton my pants after dinner to make room for baby and supper. That's fine on the way home with just Allen in the car, but I figured that wouldn't be appropriate for Christmas dinner with the family =O So after last night I broke down and bought my first pair of maternity pants. I don't mind getting a baby belly; it just seemed a little silly to be buying full-fledged maternity pants when I've only got this little pooch. The cool thing though is that I found some corduroy pants. I adore corduroy, but I haven't been able to find a pair that really fits me since I don't know when. It's pretty cool though. I'm finally starting to "feel" pregnant.

December 15, 2006

navel gazing

Ok, so I'm looking at my tummy when I notice that it looks a little softer than usual. Poke, poke. It feels softer too. "Oh no!" I thought "I'm getting fat!" Sounds a little dumb, doesn't it. (laughs) I know when you're pregnant that your tummy starts sticking out at some point, but I wasn't sure about this soft, pudgy thing my tummy was doing. Then last night I was laying on the couch playing with my tummy (notice the trend?) when I noticed that I could push it out a lot further than I could B.P. For some reason this fascinated me, and I told my husband that he really needed to see this. Bright fellow that he is he noticed that my skin gets a lot tighter when I push out my stomach. Ah ha! My body is storing fat and skin right there so that I won't get horrible stretch marks when baby and I really start growing! No wonder I've been wanting so much cheese and ice cream and butter these past few days. The mystery is solved. I'm glad I've got this wonderful body that knows what it needs to take of me and baby.

December 13, 2006

A woman's work is never done...

Well, I suppose a man's work really isn't either, but at least men generally have established hours. To be perfectly honest, most days I would much rather go shopping or read or poke around on the internet rather than take care of this apartment. Yesterday though I decided to bite the bullet and get a few things done. So I pick up things a bit in the living area and pull out the vacuum. That makes the floor look nice, but the table and bookcase are all in disarray. I straighten up the bookcase, replace the dirty place mats on the table, and wipe it down. I even wipe a lint brush over the lamp shade. For some reason I seriously don't like doing dishes, but after a "You can do it" from my husband I get all the dishes rinsed and stacked in readiness to be washed after supper. My dear husband helps wash for a little while before going to play a computer game with his brother. There's a stack of plates left that Allen has promised to wash later. "Eh, why not?" I even carefully wipe down all the counters after I finish.

Now I really do try to keep things up around here, but with school and holidays and my recent round with the flu I've never really established a routine. I felt really good about how the apartment looked yesterday evening. I even lit some candles at supper time for no good reason. That was yesterday though. Today I went off to finish Christmas shopping and track down cookie ingredients (I had no idea meringue powder was so hard to find), and when I come back the apartment needs going over again. So maybe the floor is vacuumed, but the living area and kitchen have apparently spontaneously generated a new layer of clutter. And as I was writing this my pot boiled a bit too energetically and now I have a puddle on the stove. And it's almost nine o'clock. Well, I did feel energized and renewed after I'd "renewed" my surroundings. I suppose I should consider this as another opportunity for emotional uplift. Hmmm...I could stand some uplifting.

December 12, 2006


Instead of trying desperately to keep from hijacking other people's blogs and such for my own personal use, I thought I would just make my own. It's nice to have a place to say all those things that you really would like to say out loud but wouldn't otherwise be able to. But feel free to poke around and post comments and ask questions. I really am quite friendly.