the hospital bag

I sent out a mass plea on facebook about a month before my due date asking for opinions on what to include in the bag I packed for our hospital stay. And ohhhh the opinions came in. A lot of it was helpful and a lot of it was overwhelming. Like all parenting advice, everyone reeeaaaallly believes in their own opinion. And why shouldn’t they? It worked for them.

But there are some things that just need to be learned through your own experience.

Adding to the clatter, here is a taste of what I experienced, for better or worse: Continue reading “the hospital bag”

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on expectations, epidurals, and everly: my birth experience

Disclaimer: this is most definitely one of those ‘My birth plan went out the window the second I went into labor and it was the best thing that could have possibly happened’ kind of blog. Be warned.


My birth DEFINITELY did not go according to the painstaking plans I made and practiced for.

I really wanted a natural birth, so my husband and I had been researching and practicing Bradley Method techniques for months. I had typed up my birth plan six weeks in advance, had given a copy to my midwife, and had 2 extra in my bag just in case we needed them on demand. I was educated, informed, and prepared. This birth was going to be everything I wanted. Continue reading “on expectations, epidurals, and everly: my birth experience”

one day more

Well here we are. We’ve made it. Today will (hopefully) be my final day without my daughter in my arms. We’re set to check into the hospital tonight to start prep work for my induction tomorrow. And after the longest, most challenging pregnancy I could have imagined, I’m ready.

I think.

The problem is that I am so anxious about the unknown(s) that I’m not really sure I’m facing this new experience with the confidence and peace I need to see me through. Let me share a little more about what I mean: Continue reading “one day more”

it’s been awhile, blog.

Indeed it has. I set out in 2016 to record much more of my life, my experiences, and my thoughts in this blog. And then I got pregnant. And it was so, so, so much harder than I anticipated or, really, could have prepared for. So I spent the better part of last year honestly just trying to survive.

There were moments of great joy and pleasure snuck into the crevices of all that is pregnancy but, to be honest, it was just a long, long exercise in letting go of control and breathing through the sickness. Which never really ended for me.

Now I’m just under three weeks away from my daughter’s entrance to the world (due to my gestational diabetes, I’ll be induced before her actual due date), and a new year has started.

I feel good about this fresh start (don’t we all?), and I’m eagerly looking forward to all the new seasons 2017 will bring to my door.

I don’t have many resolutions created for myself (my personal views on resolutions, in general, is most definitely for another blog at another time), but I’ve been asked by more than a few friends what my intentions are going to be for this year.

As an extremely goal-oriented individual, I’ve never had too much difficulty setting myself on a path or journey with a target clearly in mind. It’s always a tangible target, as well.

But this year I feel such a deeper need to grow in my ability to give myself grace, to be more patient with myself, and to learn to live in a more intimacy-and-person-focused orientation, rather than task orientation. As a “doer” it’s overly easy for me to run over relationships to accomplish what I set out to accomplish.

As a constantly-growing wife and a soon-to-be mama, I want to become more gracious toward myself and to hold my dreams, desires, and expectations more loosely. To be able to experience the curveballs of life with a laugh, and to become much, much more present in my every day.

To be kinder to ourselves, to offer a little more grace, and to allow a lot more space for mistakes and laughter is an awfully grand goal to pursue.

Thanks for coming along for the journey. ❤

it finally happened: the husband got sick

My husband and I recently returned from THE most epic vacay of our lives. Road tripping up the west coast from San Francisco through British Columbia, camping and hiking and biking and airbnb-ing and generally experiencing as much of God’s glory as we could get our mits on. I’m convinced the Lord’s throne resides out there.

And then we came home.

And a few days afterward, I came down with not one, not two, but THREE awful sicknesses: strep throat, a sinus infection, and a stomach bug. It was legitimately miserable. I thought the first few months of pregnancy were bad, but this smashed that completely. Outside of huge things, like malaria and the swine flu, I haven’t been this sick in years. It’s like I had somehow forgotten how to be sick.

And then, two days later, The Professor came down with strep. Which meant my season of sickness had ended (whether or not that was actually true) (it wasn’t). Continue reading “it finally happened: the husband got sick”

i am the master of my own body

Today is a day I miss The OM Place for giving me the best yoga classes I have ever taken. For helping me discover my voice and teaching style. For showing me how to care for others’ hearts and bodies, and for training me how to teach others to care for themselves. The OM Place gave me poetry.

Today is also a day I miss Exhale Studios and all of my incredible, fearless students who allowed me to hone my skills with them. Who let me speak into their souls in restorative, and who braved my crazy kriyas in power class. Who gave me surprise t-shirts and followed me to froyo after hot yoga each Wednesday night and laughed away the sweat and pain with me.

My body was my own back then. I was the master of my own body and my own breath and my own heart, and I worked hard and consistently and gratefully to get there.

It’s been quite some time since I’ve had a regular yoga practice of my own. Call it mixed priorities, a lack of teachers who speak to me, or simply laziness. But there you have it. And not only have I been missing my practice, I am now growing a human in my personal space.

I am no longer the master of my own body. Continue reading “i am the master of my own body”

fearless, not situationless

If you follow the blogs of anyone who works at Adventures In Missions, you probably know that every Monday morning we start our work week off with an hour or so of worship together. The whole staff gets involved, there’s a revolving door of worship leaders each bringing their own gifts and flavor, there are prophetic teams and prayer teams, and a huge open space to shout it out for the Lord.

This morning found us singing

From my mother’s womb
You have chosen me
Love has called my name
I’ve been born again
Into your family
Your blood flows through my veins

I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

Over over we sang the chorus until it finally sank in. The Lord was speaking, and it was directly to me.

2 Continue reading “fearless, not situationless”

two weeks for type O

Hello friends. It’s been awhile. Over a month. Pretty atypical for me, but there you have it.

In the time I’ve spent away from blogging, I bought a ukelele and have learned a ton of chords and, like, five songs. I’m basically a prodigy. I’ve gotten one manicure but it chipped after four days. It was gel. I’ve finished reading three books. I had a birthday- my 31st! I rearranged my house. I enjoyed my first married Valentines Day- at a fancy winery for brunch. My husband and I finished paying off all of our (my) student loans and are debt-free. My job title changed, but my responsibilities and work load stayed the same (maybe increased a little). I discovered an allergy to hand soap, but only while wearing my wedding ring. I made the switch from steamed lattes to iced lattes. I visited Kentucky for my friend’s long-awaited and much-prayed-for wedding. Another friend got a puppy. I went ice skating. I went hiking. I became a certified Beauty For Ashes women’s ministry facilitator. I bought and wore two different (and completely ridiculous) outfits from the Goodwill. My mom came to visit and my brother had emergency gall-bladder removal surgery. I went kayaking. I graduated from seeing my chiropractor three times a week to just once a week. I started meeting with my friend Abigail every Wednesday morning at 7 am to talk about what we’re learning while reading the book Boundaries. I upgraded my phone. The bean boots I ordered in December finally arrived, but because of our awesome sunny weather I’ve only been able to wear them twice. My husband successfully held his first Calling Workshop and it was a huge success. I sold my old phone AND my old mac computer.  I fell in love with How I Met Your Mother AND The Newsroom. I got a membership to the local YMCA, and I go nearly every morning at 6 am. I found my fitbit and have re-instituted its use, logging in between 7 and 12 miles daily.

So you can see, it’s been quite the busy month.

woman-checking-email-on-phone-cooking_gdysia
basically me

Continue reading “two weeks for type O”

sorry is not the solution

This week I’ve been spending my time as CGA Cruise Director. It’s Welcome Week again- the first week of each CGA semester when new apprentices are asked to come away from distractions, noise, technology, and their daily norm (usually only 3 days after they arrive in our little town), and spend time refocusing and re-orienting themselves to their purpose: why they’re here, what they want from their season with us, and how they hear from the Lord.

It’s one of my favorite parts of the semesters.

I’ve been noticing, however, that there is one major phrase that keeps getting repeated:

Sorry.

It’s everywhere.

“Oops! I bumped into you. Sorry!”

“Haaa, I’ve been calling you the wrong name! Sorry!”

“Excuse me, just need to step over… Sorry.”

“Can you hand me that thing? Sorry.”

“I’m sorry, but I don’t agree.”

It feels like an epidemic. We’re just one huge sorry bunch of people.

It’s not only the apprentices- my girlfriends, my college roommates, my high school crew- we pretty much apologized for anything and everything- being women, asking for something, potentially disturbing someone else’s quiet… the list goes on.

We, especially women, have been taught to soften the blow of a request, an accident, a statement, a sneeze. We have been encouraged to apologize for living, just in case it offends someone else.

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Brene Brown, author of Daring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection, says “Even to me the issue of “stay small, sweet, quiet, and modest” sounds like an outdated problem, but the truth is that women still run into those demands whenever we find and use our voices.” She quotes research from Boston College, as well: [The researcher] asked, ‘What do women need to do to conform to female norms?’ The top answers in this country: nice, thin, modest and use all available resources for appearance.

This says a lot about the culture in which we girls were raised.

It’s no wonder that our automatic response to any situation that has the slightest potential to result in someone else’s discomfort, disturbance, interruption, annoyance,  or displeasure is “Sorry.”

We apologize for little, inconsequential things and big, unhealthy things (like being ‘too much’ or ‘not enough’ or anything that isn’t in alignment with what someone else decides we should or shouldn’t be).

I have been chatting with a few different girls this week about boundaries- what they are, if they’re okay, how to create them…. and the biggest question I hear repeated in their soft, sweet voices is “What if my boundaries hurt someone else?”

GUYS. This is a serious problem.

First, many of us were raised without access to boundaries- the knowledge or the establishment or the maintenance of them. Our parents’ generation by and large did not discuss things like boundaries, so how could we possibly have known from an early age how extremely important and healthy they are? Now we’re all in our twenties and thirties, and not only have we missed out on how to establish boundaries that encourage health and growth, but we’ve been conditioned to apologize just in case we accidentally make a boundary and it hurts someone else’s feelings. Or pride. Or steps on the toes of what they require from us.

It’s hard to respect someone else’s boundaries if you don’t have any of your own.

This is a topic we could talk about for DAYS, but to save us both from that, I’ll just share one point. A point I think is most important when discussing boundaries, group dynamics, or even personal living.

Saying ‘sorry’.

Friends, ‘Sorry‘ is not the solution. Apologizing for the sake of softening the ‘blow’ of standing your ground, squeezing past someone in an aisle of Kroger, listening to someone else’s tale of woe (think about the last time you listened to someone’s hardship- was your response “I’m so sorry”? or something like “That’s such a hard thing”?), or breathing a little bit out of line is not the answer to how to be more feminine or what can I do to make people like me more. It is an offhand response that makes us smaller. A throwaway that takes up the space we’re meant to occupy.

And it needs to stop.

All you have to do is think about it. In any situation, when your programmed response is about to whip itself out, just think “Am I sorry for this? Genuinely apologetic? Do I need to be sorry for picking up this cereal box that is within 5 feet of this other person? Am I truly sorry for asking someone to pass the salt?”

And then you can choose for yourself how you DO feel about the situation.

If I’m not sorry, what can I then say to make myself known?

“Excuse me.”

“Please.”

“Thank you.”

And that’s about it. It honestly comes down to those three simple statements that we learned in childhood, right alongside the devious sorry.

You shouldn’t apologize for asking something of someone else, particularly if it doesn’t cause them discomfort. You shouldn’t apologize for setting boundaries that protect your emotional, physical, or mental health. You shouldn’t apologize for breathing and taking up space.

It’s one thing to walk around offending people. It’s another to take up the space you take up and not apologize for it.

And those are my thoughts this rainy morning. Maybe it’s a little haphazard, maybe a little too quickly thrown together, but you know what? I’m not sorry.

 

food poisoning is WAY worse than malaria

Disclaimer: I will be talking about gross things, and will use the word ‘vomit’ no less than 12 times, so if you have a queasy stomach, do yourself a favor and skip over this post. If, however, you want to hear the reality of food poisoning- read on, my friend.

Yesterday, around 1 am, I discovered that I had food poisoning. Well, I guess I didn’t so much discover it as it discovered me. Hiding under my covers. Like a big bad monster.

At first, I didn’t know that was what it was. I hadn’t been sick like that in years. It started with some intense nausea, and quickly evolved into the next natural step. You get where I’m going with this.

I vomited every 10-15 minutes for a couple hours before I started thinking maybe I was really dying. It was like my body was That Button in the hatch, from Lost. The nausea would build and build and build until I had to press the button (i.e. vomit) to release the pressure.

4-8-15-16-23-42-BLAUURRGGHHHH.

The nausea would mostly go away for a few minutes before it would start building again. I wondered if this was what new moms felt like. I can sleep for a few minutes, but then Baby starts crying for milk and I have to get up to do my duty. I decided I wasn’t going to have children anymore. Continue reading “food poisoning is WAY worse than malaria”

life and light.

I was reading Neil Anderson’s captivating book Victory Over the Darkness this morning, and I was blown away at what the Lord chose to reveal to me. This was the statement that captured me:

Light does not produce life. Life produces light.

It doesn’t seem like that overwhelming at face value. But what I take away from it has the power to be transformational.

It comes from John 1:4,

“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.”

Eddie Izzard is one of my favorite comedians. In one of his recorded stand-up routines, he calls to attention how terribly bored older (white) people sound when they sing their hymns (“HALLELUJAH” “HALLELUJAH” “HALLELUJAH”). Notice there are no exclamation points there. (Check this clip out; the good stuff is from 42 sec-2 mins, but watch it all if you have the time and are unoffendable) (Disclaimer– he is a transvestite and does, in fact, drop the F bomb once… because he’s British).

You get the picture. It’s so true! I grew up Southern Baptist and we were definitely a people that did not reflect a great amount of joy whilst singing our four-hundred-year-old hymns (although now, I’d almost prefer hymn singing to any new worship tune…not sure what that’s about… ok, moving on!)

The point is that in much of our Christian praise to the Lord, we have no life, no celebration! It does not bring light or life to ourselves or others. Continue reading “life and light.”