Bearing Witness to the Story

Kentucky doesn’t understand spring so as the sun beat down hotter and hotter Wednesday morning, I moved the brush. I knelt on our patio, stroking stain into the wooden benches. While I moved the brush and chatted with my sons, I prayed. My best friend from college had an emergency c-section with her twins last Friday. They are tiny, the smallest under two pounds. That tiny baby was in critical condition.

One of my most distinct memories is sitting in a Fazoli’s in Lexington, Kentucky, pretending to eat while my own newborn was being prepped for transfer to a different hospital. It was a gorgeous spring day. The sun shone and across the parking lot was a large display of flowers and hanging baskets outside a nursery. The cheerfulness felt like an assault. The sunshine and the flowers didn’t change the fact that the hospital had told us there was nothing they could do for Micah. The attendant the night before had left it at that. The resident that morning had one more idea. I realized, looking out the window, that everyone else was going about their lives, enjoying being alive instead of feeling held hostage in a nightmare.

Nurturing the Spirit of a Beginner

Wednesday morning, I scrolled through all the pictures on my phone from mid-2016 to 2018. It made me feel full, as if I had eaten a good meal and was settling in for a nap. I watched our babies grow, even seeing the startling realization that I was pregnant for the fourth time unfold in the photos. I cut my hair short. I learned how to dress myself. I made space for work and redecorated our home, changing the spaces to suit our growing and maturing family. The faces of my closest friends showed up beside my own and the seasons cycled, bare branches shifting to the explosion of green summer. I wanted to go back and hug my babies, yes, but I also wanted to hug myself. The main thing I felt for the me in those photos was compassion. Life was full and hard and so much good was growing even if I was too exhausted to see it.

I knew those seeds were germinating. That’s why I took the photos. I wanted the record of what looked like nothing because one day I would know it was something. This is the startling truth of our lives at every point. These ordinary days, where we wrestle for hope and discipline and faithfulness, will burst forth with some new life. We just might not see it for a few years; in the moment, it simply looks normal. It was true in 2017 and it’s true today in 2021.

Resources for Hold Up Weekend

My friend Megan Anduzlis and I have started doing Hold Up Weekends to help believers “hold up” for a minute and think before responding. We share a resource, wait a few days to give everyone time to read/listen to the resource and think about it, and then hop on an Instagram live to discuss the content. You can watch the last one we did here.

One of the goals is that we practice thinking about what we are consuming instead of being content with a quick reaction. We want to think well and converse graciously; since this is not our natural reaction we have to cultivate this approach. This is a space to practice those skills.

My Why and How of Reading

For the past few years, I’ve shared the books I’ve read on Instagram. I save them in a highlight, occasionally offering commentary on the book or mentioning who it would most benefit. Often, I get comments on how much I read in response.

I remember a reading competition in elementary school (Did they combine reading with a competition? You know I was there.) that I won by reading over 100 books. It shocked people and I felt judged. Either it seemed they did not believe I had read the books or it was impossible that I could have read them or didn’t I simply have something better to do?

It’s entirely possible that the commenters meant nothing besides congratulations and a teeny bit of shock. But we pick up shame and wear it as an undergarment, hidden under other clothes, from a young age and that’s exactly what I did. I’ve always felt a teeny bit embarrassed at how much I read.

I do a good job shrugging it off now most of the time. I love to read. I read quickly. I choose to read over doing other things. This habit has been a great benefit for seminary which comes with a part-time job of reading.

Rare Disease Day 2019: when you’re reminded it’s rare

In January, we got phone call from Micah’s nutritionist. She announced that the company that makes Micah’s medical formula was discontinuing the product, but she would send us some samples of another option. (There are only a few formula options for Micah’s disorder.) These samples would be similar to the old powder formula that he used as a baby.

It felt like the air was sucked out of the room. I was back in our apartment kitchen, looking at an immersion blender and a collection of small bottles as I mixed formula and measured each feeding into separate bottles. This was my nightly routine once we had tucked Micah in bed. Then I snuck away for a little bit of sleep before the alarm went off, waking me up to feed him again. Occasionally I would wake unexpectedly and panic for a few moments. Was it time to feed him? Had I already fed him? Had I overslept the alarm?

Pick the Adventure Your 80-year-old Self Will Be Proud Of

I’ve talked about getting my nose pierced all year.  Actually-hold that-in spring of 2017 I went to a homeschool conference with a friend and we had a long conversation about my getting my nose pierced. Another friend and I tossed the idea around at the beginning of the year because she wanted to pierce her ear cartilage. But I let it drop even though I’ve wanted to do this for three or four years.

I hadn’t thought about it seriously in months. The day after Christmas I walked by the mirror while I was picking up the bedroom and “you should go pierce your nose” seemed to be written in all-caps on the mirror. I stood and stared at my reflection in the mirror and, for some reason, felt certain that if I did not go pierce my nose then, I would never do it. And if I never did it, it would start a trend of not doing things and I would have a long list of regrets when I was an eighty-year-old woman looking back at my life. I grabbed my friend and went two days later.

Broken Ankle: Round Two (Ding, Ding)

Sunday night I came home from church and started playing basketball with the boys. Justin had taken the two older boys to Kingsport with him the day before to drop off some furniture and pick up the goal, and I had kept the two smaller boys home (one was sick) and cleaned up the office stuff in the hallway. And the craft/homeschool/extra snacks/toys closet. And the boys’ dresser drawers.

Sunday afternoon was the earliest the goal was ready to use. They played out for a couple of hours and went back to it as soon as they piled out of the van after church. I grabbed a ball and joined in. I went in for a layup, watching the shot to see if I made it (I did, by the way), and landed with my foot mostly off the concrete pad. I went down fast and sat down on the base of the goal.