Thursday, December 30, 2004

Two outta four

This will be brief b/c my brain's weary. I'm almost through my heavy work week. I picked up a few days this week (Wed, Thur, Fri) and another next Monday (actually my last day at RPCI) to earn some extra money for the move. Matt took time off work to be Mr. Mom, which he's doing an amazing job at! The kids are well-rested, clean, fed and happy when I get home. Matt even had a dance/jam/jump session with Izak tonight. Love it. He's such a great man. Thank God, thank God...

Will blog more after I rest some.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

I May Bottle.

This morning, at about 5:50 a.m., I heard Izak say his first sentence. It tickled me so that I just laid there and laughed. Z is an early riser, typically about 6:30 a.m.. He wakes up singing, sometimes jumping, sometimes banging about in his crib. This morning I heard a crash, then something that sounded like crying (you can never be too sure because Z does a great fake cry). So Matt crawled out from under the covers to go make sure our mini-Paul-Hamm didn't hurt himself. The second the door opened I heard the whimpering stop, and a little voice say, very clearly, "Bottle. I may bottle." What a scream! Matt laid him back down, told him that it was too early to get up, attempted to rub his tummy a little, but Izak pushed his hand away as if to say, "Look, I gave you a clear, indisputable request. If you can't help me out then please leave." By the time Matt came back into the bedroom we were both chuckling. And so began the morning.

I look forward to the day when Izak uses more words. I do okay with pre-verbal because I have a handicapped sister that has a very limited vocabulary, and I work with critically ill people, many on the ventilator, that can't talk, so I'm pretty good a charades and body language. But real words! How exciting! In speaking with other "experienced" parents (who don't know me well enough to know that this pisses me off), a comment that often comes up is, "Enjoy the silence because once they start talking/walking/crawling... (eyes rolling)." You know, there are plenty of parents in the world who wish their babies could communicate, but can't, for whatever sad reason. Don't whine about the gift you've been given! (my eyes rolling) Having a handicapped sister has changed the core of my mother's heart into something that doesn't allow me to blend very easily with the typical mom. My thoughts are often, Stop b*tching and moaning about the beauty of a healthy, growing, developing child. Get a grip. And while you're at it, shut up and celebrate! Geez.

Mothering is an amazing job, a feat to be performed with as much grace and optimism as you can muster. Why not muscle through the hard parts (yes, there are hard times) and welcome the new skills? Sure, none of us particularly like having our routine messed with, but greater than the predictability of our schedule is the gift of a healthy growing child. I've been surprised to find little areas of my heart that were secretly prepared for the development of my children to halt. It probably has to do with being from a home with a perpetual toddler. I was pleasantly surprised with Izak's ability to crawl, walk, jabber, and now talk. Thank you, God, for the new little words that I hear Z use. Thank you that Libby is close to rolling over, that she smiles and coos and can almost hold her own bottle. Thank you for this precious time.

Monday, December 27, 2004


This morning I'm enjoying watching Izak study his new Lady Blacksmith Mambazo. He looks up every now and then, laughing, imitating a particular sound, a certain rhythm. I think back to a negative review that I read on Amazon prior to buying "Shaka Zulu" (Grammy nominated, BTW). It said, "It sounded like buzzing bees." Nice. Way to be ethnocentric.

Along that same line, I had an interesting conversation with a man whose son had decided to go into the pastorate. In the midst of explaining it, he said, "I can't say too much; I have prejudices." I probed a little, since his son was in the United Methodist denomination. "Like gay marriage?" "Yes," he answered, "like gays and blacks. But I've probably said too much already." I felt this knot in the pit of my stomach. Wow, bigotry and discrimination in the same sentence. It was obvious to me that this gentleman had never truly gone been outside of his white, conservative circle; he'd never really loved anyone different than himself.

Connect that encounter with the tsunami that devastated Asia yesterday morning. 24,000 deaths and still counting. I am holding my breath to hear whether our friends in Tamil Nadu are still alive. Sam Stevens and his daughter Becky (of India Gospel League) have been to our church and our home. IGL is an evangelical church planting organization that has planted thousands of church in India. My prayer is that they are unharmed, but I'm sure that their people were impacted. Can you imagine? People from your church, children, babies... gone, never to be found again. The grief must be unbearable. May the church, the real Church rise up and pour out the love and power of the risen Christ in this day.

I am thankful for the transformation that Christ has, and is taking me through in regards to how I view those who are different than me. Other races, other beliefs, other socio-economic brackets. My ability to love those just like me is cheap and weak and easy. But what about the culture that I do not understand? What about the people group that has no reason to reach out to me, who regard me as an enemy? What about those who struggle with their sexual identity? What about witches? What about democrats? It's so easy to sell verbal barbs that disregard groups of people that you don't agree with, but Christ called us to LOVE individual people who are different, who are lost, and who are seeking.

I think the groups I still struggle with not discriminating against are protestant denominations. I still catch myself categorizing and generalizing people based on the name of the door of their church. I use names of churches way too often.

So, for the record, I believe that Christ mandates us to love all individuals. How God doesn't just strike us dead when we belittle or berate others in our own self-righteousness I'll never know.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Christmas Night

Hi all. Don't know if I'll make much sense. I've been up since 5 a.m. and worked all day in the ICU. I'm a little cross-eyed from being tired. Last night I was having a difficult time mustering up the good attitude to go into work on Christmas, especially as another 10" of snow fell. Beautiful storm, one during which it would've been nice to look outside and say, "I don't have to go anywhere. Good." Instead I was fussing about whether I'd be able to get into work the next day. (For the record, we get doozie storms here. During one storm I was snowed into my car on the freeway for 5 hours. Of course, I realized that right after I finished my 32 oz. coffee... . At least it wasn't as bad the winter before where hundreds of people were stranded in their cars for 24 hours, or at strangers' houses. More on that another time.) But this morning it was gorgeous. They plow masterfully here in NY. Plows and snowmovers as big as my house. So the roads were great.

On my way in I felt so pleased to be going to work. I can't help it, I just love working at Roswell, so by the time I got there I was all smiles and "Merry Christmas"-ing my way along. There is something about working with people who have cancer, esp. in the ICU that keeps my occasionally piss-poor attitude in check. My thoughtful husband even packed up the babies and came up for a quick Xmas hello! It was great... I remember doing that with my mom when we were little and she worked. History repeating itself.

Once I got home we had a quick meal with Audrey, Larry, Ainsley et al. Came home and introduced Izak to the conecpt of opening presents, which he absorbed pretty quickly. His favorite gift so far-- his own CD player and a new Lady Blacksmith Mambazo CD. He started it over and over again, but by the time he was heading to bed he was singing the first song. Not bad considering it's in ZULU! Libby was into bows and ribbon, of course. Low maintenance baby this year.

But we are together, and healthy, generally happy, and much loved. A perfect Christmas in my book. Good night.

BTW, check out my husband's blog. WARNING: Only for the open-minded. If you haven't changed your mind about anything recently, then don't waste your time.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Christmas Eve 2004

Merry Christmas, everyone! What a precious time of year. I don't know about you, but having a baby boy has changed my perspective on Christmas forever. Two year ago I sang "Mary, Did You Know" for Christmas Eve services. I had a 2-month old little bundle of boy, all dressed up in his turtleneck (?!?! he HAD no neck!) bear sweater, and mini-khakis. Oh, and sneakers... with tread. Because you wouldn't want to slip when you're running at the age of 2- months! LOL! Anyway... the gift of Jesus coming to man, a father sending his son to certain death and pain... it strikes deeply in my heart now. There's a line in the song that says "Mary, did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new? That the child that you deliver would soon deliver you?" - whew, that was a tough thing to choke out every time I sang it. Even more than salvation of my soul, Christ has used the tool of motherhood to save me from myself here on earth. Without kids I can see where I would've been lost in self-centeredness, rigidness, and impatience. Did I love the Lord before I had babies? Yes. But do I understand now more than ever what kind of love the Father has for me and what He requires of me, sacrifice and service? Absolutely. And can I revel in a deeper, more mature love for Him and His children, my family?. Thankfully, yes. Sometimes I can barely look at that little boy baby in the manger, because the joy of new life and safe delivery has hanging in the shadows the shape of a cross. My cross. And that precious little baby took it from me.

Jesus, there are many people that I love in this world. Love deeply. But I would never give up my blonde hair, green-eyed boy for their salvation. Not my son. Thank you for the eyes that motherhood has given me to see the enormity of your gift. I am humbled in new ways each year as I reflect on your love for me.

The kids are so little this Christmas season. I had hoped to have some sort of traditions in place, peanut brittle in the snow, reading the Christmas story, a decorated tree. *sigh* Not this year. I'm struggling to keep up with the latest need, stay out from under the pile of accumulating dirty diapers, and the toddler insists on un-decorating the tree as fast as I can put things on. We did go out and buy plastic ornaments so that he could "play" with it. It's his house too. So all of the ornaments are in a big bowl on the end table. I volunteered to work Xmas in ICU. I didn't have to, nor am I getting holiday pay for it. I deeply regret it at this point. I want to be home with the kids. I know, they won't know, but I will. And the reason I'm per diem if so I can be home for the important times. Actually, it just hit me. I've been SO irritable about being separated from them (just ask Matt. Poor guy) Maybe it's because they're actually my sanity during this time of transition. And even a bit of security. My girlfriend, Theresa, once said (and now I soooo understand it...) that when she had her first baby she saw how much Mary Jane needed her. But with her second, Ruthie, she became acutely aware of much she needed her daughter. It makes me cry as I write that. There must be something there...

Sara, TY so much for letting me vent via IM last night. I really appreciate it. (Can you tell I'm having a hard time getting my milk to dry up?!? LOL Sitting here with my bra full of cabbage, I smell like a salad!) Before we know it we'll be neighbors. The anticipation brings with it such a bitter sweetness, it makes me squirm. But your prayers and words of encouragement are such a source of strength.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Thursday, December 23, 2004

My small group

Last night was our annual small group Christmas dinner. I've mentioned in the past that my particular small group has been together since we moved here in 1998. There's usually been one of the four couples that is coming or going due to moving and life changes, but the Furrs, Musielaks and Gobles have been tight since the beginning. We have recently invited a new couple to join us. Jim and Kjica G., you guys are the perfect people for us. Welcome! We will miss you.

We feasted and then played games - Catch Phrase and Guesstures. Always boys against the girls. Last night ended in a tie. Believe it or not, the boys won Guesstures.

The gift that my small group has given me everyday for the past 6 years is that of safety. I have not been put in a high place from which I might fall. They have never been impressed by my "position," they have always been loving of my person. They've gotten in my face about sin and sloth, they've cheered me through deep waters, they've made me laugh until I peed my pants. They have been my inner family. We cry about the upcoming move, but I don't think they'd let us change our minds for anything now. They've prayed with us and have seen God's hand. They have placed their hands on us and blessed us, and in 4 weeks and 5 days they will release us.

I cannot imagine life without them close by. I don't think I've taken them for granted because I've always had such comfort in feeling their presence nearby. Even if we did all have the Verizon "IN" plan, it won't be the same.

My prayer is that we will continue to share a fellowship even over the miles, accented by times of seeing each other face to face. I can't pretend that the friendships won't change, because mileage does something to the practical side of relationships.

One of the best things about Heaven, besides God and all, will be living among by soul family for eternity. No tears, no miles, no sin, no fatigue... no goodbyes.

Mom and Liberty Kathryn Posted by Hello

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Being done

Lately I've spent a lot of time thinking about being "done." Not having more children via my body, anyway. It's a bittersweet thing. My experiences with being pregnant rank right up there with having a root canal without anesthetic or a nine month flu. I would probably chose either one over pregnancy. I have hyperemesis (excessive vomiting) for the endurance of the nine months. It's like the pregnancy test shows two lines and within a week I'm huggin' the porcelain throne. I used to laugh because people would tell me how much I glowed, and if I was feeling saucy I'd tell them it was from my multiple spa facials each day - the spray from the flushing toilet would give me that special something. LOL I even had the pleasure of vomiting both times all the way through labor... but within one hour of the baby being born, *poof* the nausea and vomiting disappear. The sores that I on my gums would heal up over night, coffee didn't taste like metal, and I had an appetite again. I did not have a good time being pregnant. Period.

I don't begrudge my girlfriends who have breezy nine-month experiences. I think that's great. Honestly I wouldn't wish my pregnancies on anyone.

But being "done"... it makes me strain to hear God's voice. I don't want to cut things off (no pun intended) if He desires me to bear another baby. The two children I have now were a result of His impression on my heart. I knew without a doubt when He asked me to become a mom. And two kids makes sense. But a third? I don't think so, I don't feel so, but my feelings in regards to childbearing cannot be trusted. We approach a date that will put a stop to the mechanical chances of more babies, but is this His will?

I sat in the attic going through baby clothes the other day. Sorting, folding, remembering. And I was sad. The emotion caught me off guard. I think it's more related to the sadness of time passing. Of the babies growing, and recognizing that those moments are gone. Written. Recorded. And that's okay. There seems to be a part of mothering that sighs and strokes the past like a soft blanket. I think I understand the ethos of the word "pondering" now that my little ones are growing and changing.

More than anything I want to be obedient. Joyful and obedient.

I need to go. The sitter is here so I can go run errands. more on this later, I'm sure.

Friday, December 17, 2004

You know you have a toddler when...

You know you have a toddler when you're sitting alone at the lunch table eating cold, cut-up ravioli from a bowl with a tiny fork, staring at the green dinosaur placement, and drinking from a sippy cup while the boy is playing in the living room.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

House news and best intentions

Well... we have a new home awaiting us in Lake Villa, IL! Matt did an awesome job and it was such a blessing to have Rick there along side him. The two of them did a fantastic job and found us a great place to live. Big colonial, 4 br/ 2.5 bth... plenty of room to entertain, lodge, and grow. I keep telling Libby, "Soon you'll have a bedroom with a DOOR on it!" She is currently housed in the sunroom just off the kitchen in a PackNPlay. After she goes to bed all family members are confined to the living room. Lol. Don't know what I'll do if I can actually pop a bag of popcorn after 7 o'clock at night without waking the kids. NWCC, I sure hope you're ready to party!

All of the details which unfold with closing one home and selling another are staggering to a detail-oriented girl like myself, but I think one by one we're addressing the issues. I have spoken to two movers, one more to go, and we'll see who will get to move us. I'm trying to get all the doctors' appointments out of the way so nothing will be urgent upon arrival to a new town... prescriptions filled, teeth cleaned, etc. I am aware how desperately I need strength and wisdom to manage each day to the max. Then add on top of that my kiddie rodeo... yeeha!

Thought I might let a little irritation air out here on line, mostly because I'm convinced that the offenders do not read my blog. Lori C., Aud, Jennifer G, Carebear, this is NOT for you! This is not intended for any of my young mom friends with their hands full of babies. It is more about other grown-ups who should know better. So here it is. Your verbal good intentions don't necessarily translate into meaningful encounters with me. For instance, it's endlessly annoying to me when someone says, "I meant to stop by all week and see how you were... I've been meaning to call... I thought I'd come give you a hand... I've meant to drop you a card...but I was _____ (insert valid reason here)" What do you expect me to say to that?!?! The reality is your stuff is more important than stopping in to check on a friend. One of my pet peeves is when someone says, "We should [get together], [have lunch] or [come over to see the kids], or etc...," and I say, "That'd be great. I'm almost always home. Give me a call and we can make a date." And they never call. I think the intention was to imply, "Hey, I really appreciate you as a person. You're a good friend and I like you. I like the time we spend together." If that's the case then just say those very words, and I'll remember them and hold them close. But when you don't follow through, the message is that you don't value it enough. Now, I don't expect that my situation eclipses your life, but what really translates into meaning for a person like myself is action. The card while my husband was away house-hunting (TY, Donut, all the way over in Oregon!) The call on my machine that says, "I was just calling to see if you needed anything." (Aud, Laura G) The home-made yeast rolls. The e-mail (shout out to Kim D.) The hug in the foyer with the simple comment, "I have been thinking of you," or, "I miss you." That's the stuff that transcends the momentary struggle and gives me something to actually hold on to. Maybe the frustration is greater because I used to use the same words to try to communicate value, but in reality, I was accidentally setting people up for disappointment. Maybe it's because I work with the dying. Maybe it's because I'm trying to capture the drops of friendship here to take with me into a time when I will not be as well known or understood.

Gary Smalley talks about the 5 love languages that communicate love and meaning to an individual... touch, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, and quality time. They're all important, but a person tends to have one or two favorite ways to receive love from others. I've always been a "gifts" person. If you want me to know that you love me, a present is a great way to express it. But as I'm getting older, quality time is emerging as a strong second.

Perhaps it's because I see time taken for friendship as the finest gift of all.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Libby at play Posted by Hello

Toes good for eatin' Posted by Hello

My Buffalo Boy Posted by Hello

House hunt

Matt's plane touched down in Chicago just before naptime here. Let the house hunting begin!!! Reminds me of the Jerry Seinfeld commercial... "release the hounds!" I am so excited to see what God has in store for us, and I know that Matt is ready to get the process started. He has prepared very well.

Some people have asked me, "Doesn't it bother you that your husband will buy you a house without you seeing it first?" No, not really. Could I choose to obsess about it, in light of the fact that I like control and this is about as out of control that I've ever been? Sure, but I'm not going to. And besides, Matt's best friend, Rick, is there with him. He is a detail-oriented kind of guy who will represent my interests too. We have grown to trust and love Rick's wisdom over the last 6 years. Never have we needed it more. Now that's Biblical community, Baby.

The first moving company came yesterday to prepare a quote for us. They actually specialize in moving pastors, which means schlepping books, lots of books, to the office after unloading the house. We will probably hear from two more companies as well.

Libby just awoke from her nap, diaper full of poo. The last few days it's happened like clockwork. Funny the little happenings that you note with regularity. No pun intended.

Tonight is the first of four Christmas performances. *deep breath* I've got some great baby cowboys working with the kids in my absence. Tonight will be the Thurstons, a fantastic newly married couple. (I will really, really miss all of the premarital friends that I meet through Matt's wedding ministry. He has done an average of about 20-30 weddings a year since we came here. Newlyweds can be so refreshing to talk to and listen to. This particular couple is just pure class.) I just have to keep counting down the hours until the crush is over. At present, it is 45 hours and 30 minutes. Then I feel like life will go on.

Stay tuned for more info on the house. :)

Meanwhile, here's some updated pics of the kids.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Surviving and thriving

This week I'm in survival mode. Our church is having the big ol' Christmas she-bang this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday a.m. X 2. Despite my anticipation that I'd have a more minimal role this year than last, I am finding myself smack-dab in the middle of the production again. Solo piece, duet piece, trio piece, and in the chorus, maybe even directing the chorus. *sigh* I didn't do a very good job of putting my foot down. Now, I could have gone to Ben and told him to bag it, but there's also the realization that this is my ministry and the area where I provide leadership, so suck it up and do it. (If we weren't moving I think I could've nixed it.) So in light of the fact that I need to be singing every night this week, I have come down with a nasty head cold. And both of the kids are boogery. And Matt will be gone this weekend Friday through Monday to find a house in Chicago. Surviving. Period.

Now, I prefer to thrive by keeping my schedule quieter and adding a few events here and there. I'm not a socialite, not in need of a lot of outings. I prefer home. After I came home from work yesterday, Matt and I went to the Musielaks (Rick and Carrie, Gavin and Eve) for pizza and conversation re: the house. Rick is going in my place this weekend to help Matt with the house hunt. Matt headed home early with a very wrung out toddler who needed an early bedtime, and Carrie brought Liberty and me back an hour later. We were laughing at our stark differences when it comes to being on the go. I couldn't help but chuckle when Carrie said, "I have to force myself to stay home two days a week, Mondays and Thursdays, and not do anything but let the kids play." And she is well aware of how hard I have to work to muster up the strength to get out even once during the week. I like being holed up at home. Not to mention it saves me money. I really am a "stay at home" mom. Lol. So you can see how going out 5 out of 6 nights this week makes me feel like I want to curl up and die. But instead of getting even more cranked up about it I need to take a deep breath and go with grace.

Izak sat at the breakfast table with me and chatted away this morning. It was a type of game... he'd start speaking very intently about something and I'd get to guess what it was. A song, a book, a clip from TV. "Blue hat, green, hat, yellow hat... oooops!" "Joy to the world! Joy to the world!" "I wish, I wish, with all my heart, to FLY with dragons in a land apart!" It was so sweet. His eyes would light up when I figured out the rhythm and what it matched. Then we would laugh, and he'd pick out something new. He was leaning forward on the table with his arms crossed beneath his chest, about a foot from my face, so engaged, so happy. And I thought, quiet moments like this with my son.... this makes me thrive!

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Liberty girl Posted by Hello


(Men, this blog contains very personal information regarding breastfeeding. You've been forewarned.)

At 2 a.m. it was my turn to do the flu dance. It doesn't appear that I have the all-out puke 'till you drop version, but I'm a bit off. So I awoke feeling pretty gross, dreading the day of taking care of the kids alone while hubby went to the office. The last few times that I've sat down to BF (breastfeed) Libby I've noticed what appears to be a significant drop in my milk production. I don't feel as full, she's not satisfied, and more often than not, I supplement with a bottle of formula later, which she scarfs. She's been a much better BFer than brother was, so I expected this to be a lasting engagement, but here she is almost 6 months and I feel that she's weaning. I would like to continue BFing 3 or 4 times a day, but currently there's not enough substance for that to be anything more than a snack.

I don't want to get into the impassioned discussion of BFing exclusively vs. supplementing with formula vs. introduction of solids, blah, blah, blah. Really, I don't want to go there. I have plenty of LLL friends, I know who I want to talk to if I think that rectifying the issue stood a chance. I am very polite when it comes to discussing BFing, but my personal feeling is that it is not the cornerstone of my mothering experience. I am not defined by whether Libby BFs or not. And I have always said, if I could choose a good eater or a good sleeper I would pick the sleeper anyday. The funny thing is that she's not a good sleeper either. LOL So do I feel ike she's detaching? Pulling away from me? No. She and I have lovely parties where we flirt and coo and play. She is very into me. It's just that my milk is drying up. Izak weaned abruptly at 8 months, and that week I started my period. A friend noted that research says the BM changes taste with the swing of the menstral hormones, takes on a salty flavor... can't verify that. Didn't try it.

The thought that does leave me sad (and truth be told, a little angry) is that she may be reacting to the stress I've been under for several months now. Babies pick it up, and stress has an impact BM production. (BTW, the recommendation to pump a few extra times a day to fix everything makes me want to run screaming. Scheduling time to pump and keep chaos at a managable level is not, I repeat, not a priority at this time.) I have the normal struggle of keeping guilt at bay, the looming suspicion that my second child is getting the short end of the stick. So I have an opportunity to let myself off the hook and allow myself to see that she's doing great, is happy and thriving on whatever she decides to drink, or I can shoulder that guilt.

But today my heart is sad. And the tears are flowing. And I feel weary and alone. And my daughter is weaning.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004


This is the mantra of my next 60 days in Buffalo. Every day, every hour is filled with the challenge of prioritizing. What's urgent, what can wait a day, what will simply never get done? Issues seem to multiply when I'm not looking, and my checklist is practically useless. I am gingerly undertaking projects with the hopes that I will pick the right ones at the right times and maximize my outcomes. Dear God, make time stand still!

Last night I settled into a fantastic night out with my friends and, for the first time ever, didn't rush to get to a Christmas cast rehearsal (which I missed BTW). The priority was fellowship, affirming these friends who have walked through life with Matt and me since our first weekend in Hamburg. Larry and Audrey had just closed on their first home, Carrie and Rick were talking about their 6th wedding anniversary (we met them their first Sunday at church after their honeymoon), and Matt and I were, of course, sharing about Chicago. It was an evening alive with the energy of good friends unfettered by children (between the 3 couples we have 5 kids 3 years-old and under). The evening felt like it went a little slower than usual. Several times I would just gaze around the table and take it all in. My best friends.

Carrie leaned over the table and said, "Furr, has anyone be more pathetic than I was about you guys moving to Chicago?" Matt and Carrie have this synergistic-extroverted-club thing going on, where Rick and I enjoy the quiet pleasure of calculated introversion. So we all stopped to think, who has cried more or been the most emotional, and we laughed. The moments are so bittersweet. Because even though we were all laughing about it last night, there will be buckets of tears soon enough.

Audrey and Larry were recounting how Ainsley, their fantastic little 2 year-old is saying, "Furr go Ca-go. Very sad." She and Izak are exactly 2 months apart, but she buries him with her verbal skills! They were laughing about how little Ainsley almost let the cat out of the bag at a family gathering about our moving, when our small group had been so, so careful about keep our confidence in this long process. And I always delight in how the Gobles become so animated with their stories about their daughter, the little life that was preceded years and years of prayer and procedures. Audrey and I carried our first babies at the same time, pregnancy buddies. Everybody should have one. When we weren't looking, Larry snuck off and picked up the tab.

In my introversion I tend to lean into tasks, projects, lists. I consciously conserve energy and words this way. But God is faithfully keeping relationships in the forefront of my mind. I'm going broke on babysitters, but there are relationships that must be affirmed. This is priority. I want to make the time to be available to the friends who have been so open to me over the last 6 years.