Thursday, February 28, 2013

Lenten Journey in Pictures - Feb.

During the season of Lent I'm participating in a photo-a-day series using the above rubric. It's been a really fun creative way to put an image to the words. This is what I've done thus far for the month of February.

Day 1: Who am I? (Emerson took this picture)

Day 2: Return - A return to the state where I grew up

Day 3: See
Day 4: Injustice 
Day 5: Settle 
Day 6: World - Mine was never the same

Day 7: Wonder at the mystery of God's grace
Day 8: Evil: How are we all complicate in the evil around us? 
Day 9: Love: Be Love
 Day 10: Spirit - Emmy and her Godparent Delfin

Day 11: Live

Day 12: Vision: A new vision for the ministry of the church
Day 13: Cover- Don't cover who you Are
Day 14: Lift- high the cross

Day 15: Hear (a parishioner listening to me preach)

Day 16: Earthly - Emmy is amazed at the new growth in our grass


My baby is sick again & a new diagnosis...

Eli was diagnosed with pneumonia 2 weeks ago. He finished his antibiotics and he seemed better.  Then yesterday the symptoms started all over again, constant coughing, wheezing, trouble breathing, lack of energy, fever.

Off to the doctor this morning. After 2.5 hours, 2 breathing treatments and a chest x-ray (which scared Eli to death poor baby).

We learned that Eli has asthma. And while he is sick right now, hence the fever, the asthma is what makes a simple illness turn into a breathing nightmare.

The doctor gave him steroids and we were given an inhaler to use.

We have to go back to the doctor tomorrow to recheck his o2 stats and his breathing and then we'll make an appointment to learn how to manage his asthma and prevent further visits to the doctor for breathing issues from things like colds.

My poor sick baby, sat cuddled in my lap for the entire two hours (which is really really unlike him).

There was a moment when his hand was resting on my chest just like it did when he was a baby, and I had a hard time believing how big my 3lb boy had gotten.

We came home after the doctor and we both fell asleep for several hours.

I'm happy to report that Emerson went to school alone for the first time today and she did great. No issues at all!

Such a trooper with the breathing treatments. 
I think he fell asleep on the ride home mid-lick (which is why his tongue is out) Poor baby really wanted the sucker but had no energy to actually eat it. He held it for hours today.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Review: A Good American by Alex George

Alex George tells the story of new immigrants to American. By chance the two young immigrants arrive at their new home in Missouri not knowing anyone and not speaking a word of English.

This was a beautifully written book. With the story being narrated by later generations telling the family story. As characters, history, and story intertwine and this family learns what it is to be an American. That idea and looking different for each new generation.

I loved the writing and the character development in this story. The author has the unique ability to weave this story together in a beautiful way that will make you laugh and cry. Alex George tells a story of what it is to a be a new person in this country, town, and even family.

Beautifully written and I highly recommended it!

You can read more and join the conversation here!

This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own

Monday, February 18, 2013

Want to see my week...

This past week was crazy busy and I think in many ways represents a lot of what it means to be both a mom and a pastor.

Monday - I spent 5 hours in a "faux" interview for my upcoming commissioning interview. The next big step in my ordination process. 

Tuesday - Eli & Emmy made it through 1.5 hours of school before I had to go pick them up. Eli went to urgent care and was diagnosed with pneumonia.

 He got a big kick out of the fact that this was a fishy. He also was so proud that he remembered to bring Emerson home a sucker from the doctor. He got home from the doctor at 9pm and was disappointed that sissy was already in bed. He had it hidden behind his back and said, "Sissy guess what I got for you"

Wednesday - I worked from home in the morning and early afternoon with my sick babies. We worked on homemade valentines. Emerson was insistent that she make the cards for her friends at school.

Emerson gets a little excited about her "E"
After Marcus got home on Wednesday I headed to the streets to do "Ashes to Go" A ministry that brings Ashes to people, if they can't get to church. Not super successful in my city haha but it was a nice thought.
 A few scenes from the street.
Then Ash Wednesday worship, followed by my young adult small group.

Thursday - My babies were still too sick for school so I delivered their valentines. My mother in law is here and I pack my bags for Las Vegas to attend a church related conference for young adult clergy and lay people.  

When my ride arrives for the airport the kids slam the door and lock it. I think they'll be just fine in the capable hands of their grandma and their dad haha
By thursday evening I'm on top of the stratosphere in Las Vegas for a mixer with other clergy and lay leader folks. After the stratosphere had my first encounter with Korean Karaoke. Best thing ever! If you haven't experienced it you must. It's brilliant. Back to my room by 1:30am, then sleep.

Friday - Conference most the day with amazing inspiring talks and music. Wonderful change of pace after a busy early week. 
Loved it. 

Friday night - Down to Fremont street in vegas. Some some interesting things... home by 1:30am

Saturday - More conference in the morning, then down to the strip for some sight seeing.

Got to hang out with some fellow clergy. We're all alums of the same undergraduate university. (Haven't seen one of these friends for 5 years so great to reconnect in Vegas)

Then in true Vegas fashion time for a buffet. We sat there for 3 hours eating, laughing and talking. Then I learned how to play craps. (I didn't actually play) but I watched for 1.5 hours and asked a lot of questions. Game 90% mastered. (Jack Black may or may not have been at our craps table, photographic evidence exists on another cell phone) Home that night at 2am.

  Sunday - Morning worship and the close of the conference. Had Vietnamese food for the first time, then headed to Hoover Dam before our flight home.

Many jokes about my height over the course of the weekend. (The others are crouching down in this picture I am not haha)
 Then we grew!! (Or the wall got shorter either way). I asked everyone to pose for this picture and surprisingly they did. 

Good times with some new and old friends.

Sunday night arrive home from vegas around 9pm. Talk to my in-laws for 30 minutes and pass out asleep.

Monday morning - Day off from work and home with my babies who in true form have been amusing me by saying hilarious things all day.

Emmy: "Could I have some paper and scissors, I won't cut my hair."
Me: I'm not sure I believe you...

Emmy: Mom why do tomatoes hurt our elbows? 

Eli: I can't find my spoon! I can't find my spoon! (He stuck in the back of his pants *shaking my head*)

I'm exhausted but fulfilled. How was your week?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

They made a fort...

Eli & Emerson play really well together 90% of the time, and even though they can destroy my clean home in about 2.3 seconds I mostly allow them to just play. They're little, play is healthy and good.

They love to take every single blanket and sheet they can find and do things with them. A couple of days ago they used our dining room table and an assortment of blankets to make their "cave".

They were pretty disappointed when they had to stop playing and go to bed, but I told them we could leave it up. So the next morning they climbed in and slide their plates of waffles underneath.

I love listening to them create stories and play. Even if I don't like the constant mess.

In other news I was trying to finish my sermon tonight and my entire family was being so loud. I jokingly told them all I was going to run away.

Of course Emerson decided she would come too. When I asked where we should go her suggestion, "Ikea and Costco" 

Sounds good to me. 

And speaking of Ikea, last time we went there they found this rocking moose. Climbed on and wouldn't get off. 

At least they were sharing I guess...

Good night. 

Pregnancy & Child Birth = Trauma...

I've had a realization lately. That when someone announces a pregnancy or goes into labor, my first reaction is one of fear.

Fear for all that could go wrong. During the pregnancy pray for a full-term baby, for a pregnancy free of complication, and for delivery I pray for normalcy and no complications.

Only after mom and baby are both safe, do I celebrate.

Yesterday, a friend of mine had a baby. Today she was out of the hospital and went to a high school basketball game to see her 3 year old daughter dance with the cheerleaders.

In her words she feels great.

This is so outside my realm of experience I have a hard time wrapping my mind around it. I was in and out of consciousness for over 24 hours after the birth of my children.

I met them about 36 hours later.

I didn't hold Emerson for 5 days.

I remained in the hospital for over a month between bedrest and post-delivery recovery.

Then my babies were in the NICU for almost a month.

After that, more trauma, more difficulties, more fear about my tiny babies getting sick, frustration over Emerson's inability to eat, and the fact that it took Eli about an hour to eat a few ounces of milk.

It sucked. The whole entire experience, and I forget it's not always like that.

I think if I could guarantee an uncomplicated pregnancy, a delivery that left me feeling great and out of the hospital 24 hours later with a baby that gets to go home too, I might consider attempting it all again.

But at this point, I'm still surprised when everything goes well. I need to work on that.

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Merton Prayer

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.

I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.

Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.'

And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.

I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
~ Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude, Part 2, Chapter 2

I hadn't ever heard this prayer before but it was referenced on the season finale of The West Wing for season three. I love it.  

Thursday, February 7, 2013

First Week Down...

The week isn't quite over but tomorrow is my day off, so I'm calling it over for all intents and purposes. Marcus started his job on Monday and we did okay. He has to leave the house at either 5:30am or 6am. He rides his bike to the nearest train station and takes the train into the city. Aside from this morning when his 4 alarms didn't go off, and he he had to ride his bike to a further train station that's all been going well.

I've also mostly done okay juggling the kids and work on my own. Marcus packs their lunch at night before he goes to bed, so that's one less thing I have to figure out in the morning. On Monday they don't have school so they hung out in my office with me.

The played, colored, watched movies, and surprisingly I was able to get work done. It helps that the senior pastor has monday off so I don't have to worry about them disturbing other people.

Tuesday was a little bit rough. The both climbed into bed with me at 7am. Next thing I know it's 9:30am. They never, ever sleep that late. They're suppose to arrive at school by 9:30am. We were all out of sorts, they both had some weird symptoms, they were crying about not wanting to go to school, and since all that happened they spent another day in the office with me.

This was less good. I had some meetings planned and they were not super helpful with all that. Marcus had a really good laugh at my inability to get the 3 of us out of the house at a normal time. I'm exhausted all the time, (this is related to my crohns, my job, my kids etc.) I struggle with constant exhaustion and fatigue in a really profound way. I've been lucky that Marcus has been able to help with morning duties for so long.

Wed. & Thurs. were golden. Up at 8 out the door by 9 and in fact this morning we were out the door at 8:45am. So we're surviving.

Eli & Emmy are getting used to not having their dad 24/7. Every morning this week they've asked, "Where daddy go?" And when I tell them he went to work their response, "AGAIN?!"

"Why daddy have to work again."

Marcus is enjoying his job thus far. He's in training and has an exam tomorrow. He has to pass that exam and an exam next friday in order to keep the job. So prayers this all continues to go well. I've never seen him study so much.

Review: Touch & Go by Lisa Gardner...

Touch & Go is Lisa Gardner's newest Psychological Thriller. A family that appears to have it all. Loving couple, successful family business, teenage daughter. Then the family is kidnapped from their home, and as slowly their secrets start to unravel.

I'll be honest I'm not a huge fan of psychological  thrillers. I don't really have the patience for them. It drives me nuts to not know how it's going to end and who did what, because you know there's always going to be some weird twist and so the entire time I'm just waiting for that to happen.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read. I'm not sure it was such a fast-paced can't put down, need to know what happens, kind of a thriller, but it kept me entertained well enough.

The writing was mostly ok for me, I didn't find the revelations of secrets to be very shocking, but there were some surprises in the end.

If you're looking for a good read, enjoy thrillers, or just need to be entertained this book will do all those things.

I might check out some of Lisa Gardner's other books.

You can join the conversation about Touch and Go here

"This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own."

Monday, February 4, 2013

On Writing...

Today Eli & Emerson are at work with me, (they don't have school on Mondays). They've been great thus far. Playing, watching movies, just hanging out.

Emerson also likes to create and she came over to me and said, "I made an E"

And she did!! I'm so excited my babies are learning to write!

 It has a few extra lines going on, but it's an E.

Then Eli surprised me by writing each of the letters in his name as I requested.

I feel kind of bad Eli without a doubt got the easier name to learn how to spell haha.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

We're in a transition period again...

We're not moving (Thank you Jesus) but after a very, very, long time looking Marcus has found full time employment and he starts tomorrow.

This is wonderful news and a blessing to our family. However, it's going to be an adjustment for everyone to have two full time working parents in the house. This will be a first since we've had kids. We'll see how it all goes.

Marcus is in a training period for the next several weeks so he works 9 to 5, however he has to commute to the city by train so that will add an hour or so to his day on either side. So a long day for him and me. Especially since I'm left to navigate work and the kids and all of that good stuff alone.

We would love your prayers and we start this new stage. Here's hoping for a smooth transition, and a positive work experience which will lead to even better things in the future.

Also my work responsibilities have been increased, kind of a lot, so... ready or not here we go!