Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Amazing Supermom cooks!

When I am eating in a healthy fashion, which I am so far today, although Papa John's is on the menu tonight, and I have no plan, there is a smallish list of healthy wonderful things I like to eat that are delicious and completely healthy for my pregnant (or otherwise) self. So here is one.

Healthy chicken salad on bell pepper

Whatcha need: About 3/4 cup cooked shredded chicken (no pressure, but the tastier the chicken, the tastier the chicken salad)
A cleaned finely chopped stalk of celery
1/2 cup cottage cheese, low fat if you like
A bell pepper, halved with the junk scraped out
Some chopped walnuts, optional

Whatcha do: (in case it isn't obvious)
Mix everything but the bell pepper together in a bowl and stuff it in the bell pepper or maybe two, with a little salt and pepper

I would have hated this whole thing before going off sugar, by the way, but now, though I'm not excited while making it because what I really want is a bowl of crunchy raisin bran, it is really delicious and satisfying, full of veggies and protein for me.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Empty(er) nest

Right this moment, 5 of my children are at 2 different birthday parties, 2 are sleeping and one is upstairs doing a chore. Leaving 4 with me. Sort of. One of the four is deeply engaged in a well earned computer turn, conquering trolls, I believe, and a second is longingly looking over his shoulder.

My house feels very quiet and empty.

In an hour, all but 2 will be here, awake, and hungry. But those 2 will not return until tomorrow. And my house, even teeming with 10 young people, will feel "alone and in the winter" until they return.

Sure, we'll eat less food tonight, there will doubtless be less fighting, and the girls will not have to talk as loud to make themselves heard. Not worth it. I miss them. We all do.

And I wonder again, for the thousandth time, if a day will come when I don't feel like a part of my heart has gone walking around somewhere outside my body.

It's not that I don't have anything else to do. There are socks to match, dishes to do, songs to compose and record someday, maybe even a book to write. There are lots of fun and/or meaningful things I could see doing someday. And be content doing them. But the reality, I suspect, is that my favorite times will always be when my children are with me, and that the times when they are all here will happen less and less.

I just really like them. That's why I keep having them. I like them as babies, as toddlers, as little punks, as preteens, as young adults. They keep getting better and better. I love their faces and smiles and jokes and songs and games.

Thanks, God, for letting me be my children's mama. Thank You for today and tomorrow. Thanks for the hugs and kisses, the sick day snuggles, the battles to learn new things and the confidence acquired in the process. Thanks for letting me see bits of fruit. Make me a wise steward of what You trust me with. They are Yours, not mine. And I am also Yours.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Quote from daughter number 3 on a particularly tough day, "I told them I have hormones, and they didn't even CARE!"

Hormones are raging at my house, and it's not just me. I have 2 teenagers who have leveled off and are mostly delightful. But I have 3 pre-teens who are each and all a huge mess. And I, myself, am a mess. Together, well, there is a good amount of screaming, crying, and flat out despair. We are all more vulnerable to those particular fabrications of the enemy that creep up mostly when we are tired. As my 4th daughter used to say, "nobody's mad at me".

I'm reaping what I'm sowing, of course. Me. I am one big fat example of not self control. And I do mean fat. Sugar free chocolate is not my friend. Instead of creatively digging into the goodness God has provided in healthy veggies and proteins, my carb craving machine is all fired up and I'm out of control. My attitude is lousy.

I don't know if I've ever felt uglier. My rosacea is pretty bad. Make up helps, but not enough to make me want to do it every day. It just makes me look like a covered up bumpy mess instead of a red angry bumpy mess. I am the proud owner of some very expensive night serum, which I put on when I remember, day or night. But even if it would really work I'm not consistent enough to really fix it. I'm too lazy to wear contacts every day, and my glasses are bent and scratched.

I have often thought I am the biggest loser and the duggars rolled into one, but what I really need is an extreme makeover and clean sweep episode as well.

So in the midst of all this vomitous suckiness, I had my little devotional set at the house of prayer today. 2 sometimes wonderful hours with me, Jesus, a piano, a microphone and a handful of people coming in and out. And for a few significant moments, it was just me and Him. And, incredibly, as it turns out, He still really loves me and likes me and wants to be with me and is pleased with me and isn't firing me and wants me to try again and promises to help me. Isn't that just unbelievable?!

So somehow, tomorrow morning, I hope to convey some of that wonderful, matchless grace of Jesus (sing it if you know it ... "deeper than the mighty rolling sea") to all the other walking hormones. And perhaps, by that matchless grace, we'll all survive the week.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Flunking Afro Hair

I struggle, often, especially around African-American strangers, with being a peach mom of a brown daughter. More specifically, I wrestle with being the straight haired, pressed for time mother with soon to be a dozen other children of a girl with marvelously curly black hair that I can either train to be worn "free" and get endless feedback and disapproving looks from said African-American strangers, or I (or eldest daughter) can learn to and devote many future hours to significant styling routines.

Eventually, my course will be determined by her preferences. But for now, it is mostly about not putting too much effort into hair that will have her breakfast, lunch, and dinner smeared into it within hours, counterbalanced with the desire to not have other people think I suck, and should have adopted a child with easier hair.

The very great reality here, however, is that she is my DAUGHTER. She is mine. She is engraved in my heart. Whether or not her hair style pleases others, she is completely and totally my own child. I will try to pull it together on the hair front. But I must never connect that particular skill set with my qualification as her mama.

What other people think of my parenting is not my gradecard. My gradecard is grace and favor and peace from the One Who delights in me and delights to give me good gifts. He is faithful and able to give me everything I need to be the mama He made me to be, for each of my overwhelming and larger than my time and confidence allows children. I am not big, strong, wise, capable enough, nor do I have enough time, but He is, and He does. Hollar back.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


I have a half written song called 'new day's resolution', which, ironically, I will likely never finish. It goes,

This is my new day's resolution
I'm gonna write more and sing right
And put some cream on my wart at night
I'm gonna talk less and listen more
And self-control the slamming of the doors

If New Year's Eve is the only occasion for saying, "It's time to try harder," then we are really kidding ourselves, aren't we?

But this isn't about your ordinary, run of the mill, self-improvements. This is about pregnancy/labor/delivery. Yes, I'm only 10ish weeks, but as I am pregnant, there's nothing I'd rather really talk about, so, here are the things I am hoping for with this dozenth pregnancy. (drumroll, please)

This stands to be my healthiest, thinnest, and therefore, lowest blood pressurest (just when you thought the grammar couldn't get any worse) pregnancy. I hope very much to stay on course living without sugar and caffeine, which I don't need, without empty carbs, which I also don't need, and with lots of protein and veggies and water, which I do.

The only way, really, to pull that monkeyshine off, is to stay in very near proximity to my Jesus, Who meets my emotional/hormonal need for comfort on a moment by moment basis. I am trying to read His Word more and What To Expect When You're Expecting and prego blogs and and articles and birth stories way less. (I've probably read What To Expect 25 times, parts of it more, could ace a quiz on it).

(less firmly resolved, but convinced of the need) I would really, really, honestly really like to try to move my butt a couple times a day for a few minutes a day, to the tune of 10 whole minutes on the treadmill, or walking up and down my stairs a dozen times, or taking the dog up the block to potty. Even once a day. Would like to try.

About labor, as always, would like to not be induced. This could happen! I can keep my weight down, walk, take the bp meds if necessary, and just let labor start. For those of you who have not quite memorized each of my numerous birth stories, I have only had 2, count 'em, two babies without the glorious blessing of pitocin. That is for sure a goal.

Either way, I am definitely looking for some changes in the labor and delivery. I am resolved not to care if the doctor makes it. I will not focus on the ever pressing question, "Are you feeling any pressure?" ("By the time I feel pressure, there likely isn't time for him to get here without the help of a transporter beam.") I am resolved to focus on each individual contraction as another step toward my baby. I don't care if it takes a couple days. I will not rush or be hurried through one of my favorite things.

And I have regretted every epidural experience but the first. I can do it without it. One contraction at a time, I can do it. I will dance and pray and worship my way through, not asking how long it will take, just enjoying (er, sort of) the journey. I won't get to have many more babies. Giving birth is one of my very favoritest things. I will cherish it. This is something God and I, and my husband, toward the end, do together.

I will eat healthyish in the hospital, and will not, so help me God, gain back all my pre-delivery weight in the weeks that follow the birth. This may mean deciding to pitch, rather than making it my personal mandate to finish off the marvelous vat of pasta con broccoli that my children have undervalued. I don't even know how to tell people what to bring, but I will figure it out by then. Veggie trays, salads without fruits, soups, if desserts, small amounts.

I will nurse whenever and for however long this baby wants to nurse. Even non stop, at first.

I guess that's a lot. I always think, at the beginning of pregnancy, how can I do better? This is how. Here's to the healthiest pregnancy ever (for me)! Cheers!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

indulgence vs denial

So I've been in this season of indulgence. I'm not eating sugar, not having (much) caffeine. But instead of living in a place where I am set apart for the Lord, drawing near to Him, forsaking legitimate earthly pleasures for the gaining of great eternal treasure, instead I've been walking out the equivalent of an "obedient" child *stomping* up to her room, slamming doors and kicking small children out of the way. Oh, I'm fasting. I'm a Nazirite, for crying out loud. I'm set apart, alright. I'm set apart with attitude.

And I'm eating everything but sugar and caffeine. And lots of it. And I'm miserable. I feel lousy. I'm amazing at 3 suit spider solitaire, though.

But that whole spirit vs flesh thing, my flesh has totally been winning. I'm not even trying. Just giving up and feeling crappy. Everyone's been sick. Now I'm sick. My regular clothes don't fit right and my pregnancy clothes don't fit right. And I am absolutely a raging hormonal maniac nearly all the time.

But eating for comfort and pleasure isn't helping me be healthier or stronger, physically or spiritually.

So today was different. I put my flesh down for the day. I feel that empty feeling, but also stronger and less disgusting, more in control in a submitted to God kind of way. Safe.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


i have a cold. not bad. several kids have something also. sometimes just the feeling of children who are not healthy is overwhelming. a recurring diaper rash, a dog who seems to think the living room is the appropriate place to poop, a broken dishwasher . . . all these gnaw away at my shakey perceptions regarding my own competence.

i am pretty hormonal, but am getting used to it. not sure if the people i live with are, but maybe.

we are back to the state of the laundry room floor being about 2.5 feet deep in somewhat clean if rather wrinkled clothes. seems like the laundry room floor is my act-together-ometer. it is how one could measure my margins. it is the first thing to go on a long, ever-growing list. so for weeks i've been in that daily scrape-through-to-find-a-couple-roughly-matched-socks-and-a-pair-of-underwear-or-just-stay-in-pajamas-because-that's-the-next-best-thing-to-staying-in-bed-which-is-what-i-really-want-to-do-anyway state of mind.

i shouldn't really be measuring right now, though. until friday (5 days ago) we were blessed with visiting family off and on for nearly a Christmas month, i'm in my first trimester and i'm sick. being behind on laundry is completely appropriate.

what's not appropriate is giving up. because i have lots of hope. i have lots of joy. and i have a baby growing in my belly. how marvelous.

my cousin is pregnant. i'm excited. sometimes when someone gets pregnant that isn't married, which is her case, we don't know how to respond. but really, that's kind of mixed up thinking, to me. most of the time, when that happens, we already knew they were messing around. we knew the situation was not what we desire most for her. that isn't news. whatever our response was to that life shouldn't really manifest now. (i know that sometimes people find out someone's activity because of a pregnancy, but usually, for discerning people, we already knew there were goings on.)

the news now is a baby. that's wonderful. a baby is wonderful. to get mad now because she is having a baby is ridiculously poor timing. now is a time to rejoice. a baby means God chose to do a good thing in her. He is up to something for her good. He loves her tremendously. i've been praying for her and i'm excited to see what He will do through this new life.

a baby is never bad news. even when created in seemingly difficult or unfavorable circumstances, even when it isn't the way we would have planned it ourselves, even when the person is poor or sickly or unmarried or already has more than a dozen kids or has an incompetent cervix or an incompetent husband. when God makes a human soul, God Who sees the end from the beginning, God Who does what He pleases, God Who does not make mistakes ever, it is always good. always. good.

if God thought it was a good idea to place a child in the womb of my cousin who i love, who isn't married yet, whose future i do not know, but whose good i desire, i can and will greatly rejoice.

and if God thinks it is a great idea to put another little one in my womb and heart, even if we are sick and messy and all i want to eat is carbs and i just want to go back to bed for a week, i will also greatly rejoice.

God is big into unlikely heroes. not many wise, not many noble. He loves making something of nothing. He loves warriors hiding in winepresses, youngest sons out in the fields counted out by everyone else, unmarried virgins, women too old to bear children, Moabitess widows, harlots, tax collectors, stinky shepherds and pagan astrologers. and my beautiful cousin. and me. He's like that.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

announcing ...

Behold, I bring good tidings of great joy that will be to all people: for unto us a child is to be born. Unto us a son (or daughter) is given. And his/her name shall be called ... Well, we haven't gotten that far yet. Right now we're calling the baby Lucky, since it's the lucky 13th baby. What?! 13 isn't lucky? Oh, well, I don't believe in luck. I believe in Jesus, and that He makes babies and that He calls them good gifts.

So there is great rejoicing in the land. God has said yes to our yes and trusted us with another treasure. How marvelous, how wonderful, and my song shall ever be, how marvelous, how wonderful is my Savior's love for me.