Thursday, December 01, 2011

I'm back!

Ahem. My name is Margaret, and it's been 9 months since my last post.

All of you: Hi, Margaret!

Oh wait... you say the point is to put up MORE posts, not fewer? Hmmm... sorry about that. :-)

Well, the figure of 9 months since my last post is not without significance. Roughly a week after my last post, way back at the end of February, I was scarfing crackers, trying not to barf, and collapsing on the couch after work each night. Happily, the reason for all that unpleasantness is now napping in his crib, cute as can be, and 3 weeks old already. :-D Add to that a job change, a move to a new home in June, and care for an active 2 year old, and you have the reasons for my poor neglected blog. And even though I run the risk of crying wolf when I say this, I am going to try to do better in coming months. :-) More to come!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Follow-Through (or lack thereof)

I loved reading this post. This writer often says exactly what's been rolling around in my own head and heart, but I could never find the words to express it. (This is also why the internet is a constant reminder that I am not a naturally gifted writer!). One quote: I have always been plagued with a not-so-fun combination of literalism, anxiety, and pessimism. You do not want me on your group project. See? :-)
But the main point of this writer's post was to share some things she's been working on for New Year's resolutions (wise idea- post on the resolutions after some time to actually get them into place) and several of her action points are ones that I've been thinking about as well. However, I can't quite bring myself to put them here and speak them aloud, because I too suffer from a horrid lack of follow-through. I've been (rightly) called on the carpet a few times by Bradwick for going on and on about resolutions or goals that I really never make a concerted effort to actually do. It's not for lack of sincerity, because when I say a goal or resolution I really do mean it. I think that the main problem lies in my thought that chance happens easily and without much effort... that a resolution, once stated, should just settle over my life like a blanket, there to stay. But instead, when I'm faced with actually turning away from my comfortable default action, and putting in some effort to follow the ungrooved path, I give a limp little sigh and say to myself how I'll really do what I'm supposed to do tomorrow. And then guilt piles up to the point where I toss the whole thing, rather than have to look that guilt in the eye day after day.
It would be nice if this post would end with a full-throated "No more!" and a declaration that CHANGE has arrived, but that's not how it's going to be today. Being able to understand my thought process, though, will hopefully lead me one more paving stone closer to the gate marked 'action'.

PS- the radio silence of the past 2 weeks? Creeping crud, visiting relatives, mountains of schoolwork, and hosting a Bible study at our house... it's been a busy 2 weeks!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011


I had a lovely afternoon with Madeleine today. After picking her up from daycare at 4 (and hearing that she had another good day- hurray!) we went to get the car washed at Danny's Carousel. We stood at the window and watched the cars go through the automatic washer, soap and spinners and swishers- and Madeleine was very impressed. She was equally impressed with the Junior Mints I bought when paying the bill, which we sat and shared while watching the fish in the fish tank. We went out to sit on the bench and wait for the car to be dryed, and played silly together ("I've got your nose!" "Here, I'll put it back". She returned the favor, to my nose, my hair, my ears, etc. :-)
When we got home, we decorated for Valentine's Day by getting out the tablerunner and hanging some paper hearts from strings over the dining room doorway. Then we snuggled on the couch ("Me sit in your lap?") to watch Mary Poppins. I thoroughly enjoyed watching it with her, since I haven't seen it since I was about 7. After about 45 minutes I went to make carrot-onion-potato-kale-sausage soup (which turned out most excellently). We watched a bit more of the movie, ate dinner, and then played around on the couch. (Where was Bradwick in all this? At parent-teacher conferences, sadly) Then bathtime, story, brush teeth, prayer on the couch, lullaby, bed. During lullaby my nose brushed against hers and she started to giggle. We stood there in the dark doing Eskimo kisses and she giggled so much that she was still squealing when I laid her down.

I hope the future holds more kids for us, but right now, I adore this time I have to focus on my delightful little daughter.

Creeping Crud

I am finally out of the deep dark pit of creeping crud, after 2 weeks! First a cold, which became a sinus infection, which WOULD NOT go away. I am always over those things in about 5 days, and this was going strong after a week! Seriously, there were several times a day when my nose was completely stopped up. Have you ever tried to swallow when your nose is totally plugged? Serious unpleasantness! I finally caved last week and went and got some antibiotics, thinking that in about 24 hours I'd be doing much better... and it was still 4 days before I was feeling even slightly better! I was useless the whole weekend, which put all manner of things behind schedule (I need those weekends to keep up with my non-school responsibilities!) I did finally read the most recent two books in the Temeraire series, which was a nice diversion from not being able to breathe. But I'm finally doing better, and after some housecleaning last night, feeling back on track.

Writing this reminds me to stop a minute and be thankful for breathing through my nose. It's amazing how I take that for granted until it's gone. :-)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Yes, She's Definitely 2

Madeleine's birthday evening, after I picked her up from her 'fun day' with Grandma, was supposed to be a cute little family affair. We'd have dinner, she'd open her presents, we'd eat some ice cream, she'd blow out 2 candles and Brad and I would sing 'happy birthday' to her.

Instead, we heard "No, thank you!" to opening presents, eating dinner, taking a bath, or anything else we asked her to do. She mushed beans in her hair, almost dumped her plate off the table twice, threw peas, and barely ate half her food. We never made it to dessert or candles. We offered to sing and again, "No thank you!". Talk to Great-Grandma? "No thank you!" Open your cards? "No thank you!"

I was frustrated for a bit, but then thought, what a perfectly appropriate way to welcome age 2. :-) And, in Madeleine's defense, she had no nap today and was so tired that she could hardly see straight. She went to bed at 7:45 after complaining to me, "I'm sleepy!"

What I want to remember from today is: Two years ago today I was laying in a hospital bed, holding the most precious 8-lb bundle I could imagine. She looked up at me quietly with solemn eyes and I wanted to hold her forever.

Tonight I was standing in her darkened room, rocking her and singing her our goodnight lullaby after nightly prayers. She snuggled in my arms, sucked her thumb, and I still want to hold her forever.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Yay, it's Friday!

Hurray, it's Friday! I even got an early start on the weekend, although it wasn't for a good reason- Madeleine came down with a cold/ fever and by noon needed to be picked up from daycare. So I got to spend the afternoon with my cuddly, sniffy, sick girl... and since she's not too terribly miserable (well, she wasn't until bedtime tonight) I really enjoyed spending that time with her. Now it's sad because she was looking groggy and had a fever of at least 101 (thermometer was broken) and unhappy before bed. I hope she's better tomorrow!

Just for fun, I'm doing the 5 Question Friday thingy again from 5 Crooked Halos.

1. Where did you meet your spouse and did you instantly know it was love?

Hm! Husband and I met on April 12, 2003, on the front porch of Pastor Bob's house. My friend Candace had set us up on a double date (much to my dismay when she sprung the news on me!) so I was peeking out the blinds as he and N came up the pathway, trying to see what Candace had gotten me into. It was definitely interest at first sight, and that developed into love over the next several months of emails and visits. Even that first night we couldn't stop talking about all kinds of things we had in common and were interested in! After I went back to California, I hoped he would contact me and I did a little happy dance when his first email arrived 3 days later. :-)

2. What is your favorite room in your house?

My living room. I painted the walls bright green when we moved in, and I've enjoyed them every day since then. We have enough bookcases and stuff against the walls that it doesn't scream "GREEN!", and instead it acts a great background color. I give a happy sigh when I survey the room.

3. Can you wiggle your ears?

Not in the slightest!

4. What is your evening ritual?

Well, it's not what I'd like it to be, but... starting at 4 pm, it's 1) pick up Madeleine 2) play with Madeleine 3) cook dinner (most nights) 4) eat dinner with little M and Husband 5) clean OR play with Madeleine OR teach ESL 6) bedtime routine with M (Husband does half and I do half). Then, as soon as she's in bed, it's 7) check email/Facebook/Google Reader 8) do lesson plans 9) maybe watch a TV show 10) go to bed, usually around 11. Lesson plans take forever! :-(

5. How many hours of sleep do you need to function?

I am functional but unhappy with 6 (less than 6 and I'm not very functional!); I'm moderately productive with 7; I'm productive, cheerful, and creative with 8 or more. Sadly, my sleep deficit gets worse throughout the work week, and then I crash on Friday night, trying to catch up. I wish I could get by with less, just because there's so darn much to do, but I've discovered that one of the best things I can do for my state of mind is get that needed sleep!

And on that note, I'm off to watch Bones with Husband and then head to bed!

Pain in This World

Wow... I just read a most excellent post on the subject of pain in this world. So excellent, in fact, that I'm going to post Jamey's words in their entirety, because she's expressed so well the thoughts that swirl around in my own head, I don't think I could get them out any better.

I don't know where this is going. I'm just warning you in advance. Just in case you think I'm coming at this with an agenda or trying to make a point. I don't have one and I'm not. I don't even know what the next word is going to be as I type it. My life is like that a lot....

Being a grown-up was so much easier before I was one. I mean, did you ever look at your parents, even as a teenager, and think, "Wow, I bet they've got a lot of stuff on their mind." No. We all knew that parents had it easy. Work. Home. Clean. Pay bills. What's hard about that? Surely they didn't struggle, they didn't have friends having a hard time that they were trying to help, they didn't think about deep subjects, they weren't scared. They were just adults and what could possibly be hard about that?

It turns out...everything.

I mean, life is hard. What is going on with that? I keep reading these things (and I'm not actively seeking them out!) about husband's dying, children dying, awful things happening during wars, people have sick kids, wives have cancer, kids in Africa are starving. People are getting divorced, women and children are abused. Kids brought into loving homes have trauma issues and spreading their trauma into their new families. Moms are exhausted. Dads are stressed out. People don't have jobs, kids aren't getting good educations. People I love have cancer, are having heart attacks, are depressed.... Life is a daily struggle. Lives are going 180 degrees from the direction that seems right. Kids are hurt by adult decisions, adults are hurt by kids' behaviors, marriages are scraped over the rocks and both parties left hurt and bleeding. People are scared, alone, hurting.

I just don't understand. From the little pains to the enormous traumas, I don't get it. Where is the justice? How can this be okay? Where is God while the world breaks itself? Why does the suffering just go on and on.

(I'm just putting it out there, God, that I don't think this is a good plan.)

I grew up in church. I went to a Christian liberal arts college. I married a pastor's son and a Bible Theology major. I've read the books. I "know" the answers:

God is restraining himself. Grace and free will. Justice will be restored with the second coming. God weeps with us. And all of those other answers.

Theologically I can get it. Intellectually I can get it.

But my heart is not getting it.

The more I see of the world, the more I am given the privilege of seeing into other people's hearts and lives, the more I experience, the more I learn, the more I want to understand, the more I wish I knew how to respond, how to help, the more I want to help bring healing into others' homes, into my home, the more I seek, the more pain I find

the less I feel like I know God.

That's all.