Monday, January 28, 2013

Little Navajo--31 Weeks

How Far Along: 31 Weeks

Size: Ryan is likely a little over 16 inches long and a bit more than 3.3 lbs.

Gender: It's a boy--Ryan Christopher!

Movement: This weekend I told my mom I was starting to notice patterns with his movement and lack of movement (naps).  This week, he's decided to kick that to the curb and throw a continual salsa party.

Sleep: Oh gracious.  If I get up less than 5 times a night, I'm feeling pretty good.

(What I hate about lack of sleep:  if you mention it at all--even if you're not complaining--people tend to resort to the same snide comment:  "Get used to it!")

Maternity Clothes: I wear them most days.

Symptoms: The alien being that is my stomach.  Heartburn.

Aversions: Chicken.  Mostly.

Cravings: Last week, all I wanted was a box of pop-tarts, a Pasta House salad and a beer. 

For the record, no.  I didn't indulge.

What I miss: I'm so grateful to be pregnant. I can't think of one thing I should be missing.

Feeling toward pregnancy: I'd like to tell you I've handled my mild weight gain with grace and joy.  Occasionally, though, I fail to mention that Favorite, more than once, has had to answer this inane question:  "Did my stomach always look like this?"

Don't misinterpret.  I am so, so grateful for my belly.  Incredibly so.  My faith has been renewed in my body's ability to do something I thought it would never, ever do.

But...

There is a teensy part of me that worries about how my body will look two weeks after Ryan's delivery.

I have no delusions of grandeur.  I know it won't be the same.  A large part of me is grateful for that fact because when you've waited so long for something, the last thing you want is for everything to be the same.  I guess I just get nervous when it comes to establishing a new normal.

Best Moment this week: Num-Num and KK were running into the living room and screaming "SURPRISE" at Favorite as loudly as they possibly could.  And every time they did?  Ryan went crazy.  I think the loud noises scared the bejeezus out of him.

What I'm looking forward to: I get to have a baby shower!  Like with presents.  For a baby.  That's my baby.  With real people.  Loving on my baby.

It's just a couple of weeks away.  And then we're down to Project:  Organize the Nursery.  Favorite and I are hanging the peg board at the end of this week *hopefully*.  When that happens, I'll try to get pictures of how it turned out.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wednesday HodgePodge 1/23/13



1.  The popular saying 'All is fair in love and war' is originally credited to English writer John Lyly.  Is he right?

I think the crux of that statement says something about our lack of playing by the "rules."  It's one of those pithy statements made and accompanied by a smug smile and a rude hand gesture.

But to answer the question (finally):  No.  I really don't think he's right.  Of course, I don't really buy into the idea of fairness, either.
2. Are you a cereal eater?  What's your favorite kind?


Cereal is actually the love of my life (which is horrible as it's one of the worst things for my body!).  I love Frosted Mini Wheats, AppleJacks, Cookie Crisp and even Grape Nuts.  But my cereal repertoire is far from limited to these four choices. 

3. A five year old in Pennsylvania was recently given a ten day school suspension for talking with a friend about shooting one another with a Hello Kitty Bubble gun (the toy blows bubbles).  She did not have the gun with her at school. 


A psychological evaluation was also ordered and the incident was recorded on her permanent record.  The suspension was later reduced to two days and her parents are suing to have the incident removed from her file. Your thoughts? (If you missed the story, click here for details)


At some point when I was napping, adults really started allowing their strange preoccupations inform the actions of children.  And frankly?  I don't think it's OK.  I realize school shootings and the behavior that leads to those incidents needs to be taken seriously, but I also believe God put in a brain in my head (and gave me authority over some of these children) so I could use common sense when it came to dealing with these types of incidents.

This situation probably could have been rectified if the playground supervisor (teacher, principal, some authority figure) simply responded by saying, "You know, we really shouldn't point guns at other people--even toy guns.  But a bubble machine sounds like fun!  Does it make a lot of bubbles?"  The little girl likely would've understood the directive and there would've been no harm done in this situation at all.


I'm currently reading this book called Simplification Parenting and I've really started to wonder how much anxiety we're creating for our children by exposing them to these types of mentalities (and events--not sure your five year old needs to watch the CBS Evening News regularly).


4. Whatever happened to_______________________?

personal accountability

Anyone else feel like few people know how to own their own stuff anymore?


5. January 23rd is National Handwriting Day, billed as a day to reacquaint yourself with a pen and pencil.  Do you like your handwriting?  Do you prefer to print or write in cursive?  This date was chosen because its the birth date of John Hancock.  What's the last thing you signed your name to? 

I usually like my handwriting.  I sign checks at least once a month, but I spend a small amount of time writing every week in a personal journal.  I wish it were something we emphasized a bit more.

6.  Speaking of John Hancock, ever been to Philadelphia?  Do you have any desire to visit the city of Brotherly Love?

I've never been, but I also have no great desire to go.  Actually, Favorite usually has to pull me kicking and screaming on any type of vacation.  I have a great time once we're on our way, but in the planning stages?  I'm not a willing participant.

7. Share something funny you've heard a child say. 


KK recently asked me if Ryan was going "to come out through my belly button" and then looked very concerned at the size of my belly based on the size of my belly button.  She also proceeded to scream, "Hey!  It time to come out and pway (play)!"

I'm also always charmed by the way Num-Num theWonderChild has started to say, emphatically, "Nanks (thanks) you vewy much!" when you help her with her coat, give her a french fry, etc.  She just seems so relieved you've met a need she's had--like she's waited for the last six years for someone to notice she needed to take her coat off.


8. Insert your own random thought here.


LilBro is coming home this weekend to celebrate his birthday and Favorite is off on Saturday.  I am SO looking forward to it :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Peace: On Becoming Who I Want To Be

One of the constant themes in last summer's Women's Bible Study (Kelly Minter's Nehemiah) was "What is your purpose?"  That question was analyzed in conjunction with Nehemiah's actions throughout the book, and (for me) ended with my mom's eye-opening proclamation:  "I am a selfish Christian."

I still haven't recovered from her statement.  And, lame or not, it makes me think of Anne Hathaway's declaration from The Princess Diaries:  "And then I realized how many stupid times a day I use the word 'I.' And probably all I ever do is think about myself."

When I think of the things plaguing my sense of peace, I almost never think selfishness is the culprit.  But, in a lot of ways, the I'm-what's-most-important mentality is at the heart of my unrest.  It takes a hundred different forms--from "I deserve..." to "I suck..."--but each form rests firmly in a self-centered focus.

Frankly, though, a good portion of my day revolves around satisfying myself.  If I'm tired, I come home and do nothing.  But I rarely afford Favorite the same luxury--silently mouthing him for any housekeeping failure I deem important.  Needless to say, my silent suffering does little to encourage my sense of gratitude.

But that's where peace resides.

When I walked into my house today, I noticed a couple of things:  Favorite had unloaded, reloaded and started the dishwasher; he fixed the faulty light in our bathroom and reattached the light fixture that had been down for the last three months; he finished two loads of laundry. 

In the last month, he's noticed sleep has been hit and miss for me.  The declarations that pregnancy does get uncomfortable haven't been wrong--though I've been blessed only to be affected at night.  Fortunately, he hasn't just catalogued that information; he's used it to inform his activities for the day.  Now, he regularly does things around the house just because he wants to give me as much time to rest as possible.

He loves me well.

That's a large part of who I want to become--a person who loves well.

The upheaval over the last few years of my life has been evidence that so many things are temporary.  We get a season--a short season at that--to love the people who touch us, and truly loving them well sometimes means putting aside the things that bring immediate personal gratification.  (At least, until my desires get a bit of an adjustment.)

In the last few weeks I've purposefully put distractions aside to enjoy my people fully.  While I'm surrounded by a great community of people, I really feel like I have the opportunity to invest in a few of them deeply.  It means reducing my screen time and really listening to what another person has to say.  It means being aware of a change in demeanor and really attuning my heart to the needs of others.  It means practicing daily gratitude just for the gift of these people.

I don't always get it right.  But when my life is over, the one thing I want my husband and my son to say is that I made people feel like they were the only ones in the room when I was around.  And that I loved them well.

That's who I want to be.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wednesday HodgePodge 1/16/2013


1. Lake Superior University has once again published a list of words/phrases they think should be banished from the Queen's English...here's the list for 2013-

fiscal cliff, kick the can down the road, double down, job creators/creation, passion/passionate, yolo (an acronym for you only live once), spoiler alert, bucket list, trending, superfood, boneless wings, and guru


Which of these words/phrases would you most like to see banished from everyday speech and why. Go here to read more about how the words were chosen.

I'm reclaiming YOLO.  I've heard so many ridiculous phrases followed with YOLO that I'm making it my life's mission to tweet even more ridiculous stuff and hashtag YOLO on the end for comic relief.  Maybe it will draw attention to the ridiculousness of the whole movement.

But if I were to get rid of any phrase?  "You'll have that."  UGH.  Do people just need something to say in response to a situation that requires no actual response?  My students use this one regularly and I just slap my forehead in disgust.  Basically I'm against raising a generation of people who say meaningless things just to have something to say.

2.  When was the last time you rode a train?  Where did you go?

I don't think I've ever actually ridden on a train.  I rode a subway in New York, though.  Does that count?  It was 13 years (!!!) ago.

3. Bagels-yay or nay?  Favorite 'flavor'?  Favorite topping?


I love bagels, but I don't eat them often.  I read an article once about how they are actually glue to your internal organs.  That freaked me out enough to include them only occasionally.


When I do include them, though, I enjoy Panera's Cinnamon Crunch with the honey walnut cream cheese.  It's a rare occasion I'll allow myself to indulge, but they are SUPER good.


4.  'Tis the season of awards shows...if you could star in a movie already made which one would you choose?

I would love to be in something like Easy A.  There's something about Emma Stone and her comedic delivery in that movie.  Frankly, I feel the same way about Ellen Page, but I'm pretty positive I don't look young enough to play in something like Juno.

5. The move towards single gender classrooms has been making the news in recent months....what say you?  Do you think kids perform better if seperated by gender and are taught differently or is that discrimination?  If you're a parent, is this something you'd support in regard to your own children? 


I'm not a fan--mostly because my classrooms revolve around discussion and regular conversation.  Those discussions depend on differing viewpoints so variety really is a necessary part of my day.  Guys view situations differently than girls.  I keep begging for a strong, catechized Catholic kid in my advanced American Lit class because none of my students seem to understand the Biblical allusions.  That student would be absolute perfection for class discussion.  Upper-middle class students often don't see the situational irony in "The Gift of the Magi" but it's rare a student with a lower socioeconomic status misses it.


I know those things don't just focus on gender, but I think it makes the point that all these perspectives are necessary to my classroom.  (Though not all teachers may agree--nor would I expect them to.  Each educator has a style that works for him/her.  Discussion just happens to be very effective in my room.)


6. What's your favorite thing about staying in a hotel?

The time away :)  Favorite and I used to love to stay in hotels when we lived in our trailer.  The rooms were so much nicer than anything we had at home so it was a total vacation.  Now, though?  Our house is pretty nice.  So it's rare a hotel room meets all the amenities we have available to us at home.  I guess the best part is I don't have to clean it.

7. Do you have a 'word' for 2013?  What's the story behind your choice? 


My word is Peace.  I've written about it here and here (if you are interested).  


I've been a little unsure about that word because I know the upheaval and chaos I'm getting ready to experience (ha!), but the first devotion in One Thousand Gifts (the new devotional book I'm using for the start of this year) discussed the fact that peace and gratitude are inextricably linked.  I felt like that was reassurance that those are definitely things I'm going to focus on this year.


8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Writing one day of sub plans is relatively stressful because it brings up all sorts of questions:  Will the students understand?  Will the sub follow my instructions?  Will the sub know what he/she is talking about?  Am I going to have to reteach this concept?  Is there any way I can delay this lesson until my return?


Six weeks of sub plans is turning out to be a little overwhelming.  So I'm trying to practice gratitude for the fact that I have six weeks worth of days to take off when Ryan is born.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

29 Weeks--Little Navajo



How Far Along: 29 Weeks

Size: Ryan is the size of a butternut squash.  He likely weighs more than 2 1/2 pounds and is over 15 inches long.  And in other fun news, he apparently needs lots help growing his bones as he will be sucking about 250 milligrams of calcium from my body per day.

Gender: It's a boy--Ryan Christopher!

Movement: He moves.  He shakes.  He gets the hiccups.  I'm starting to notice patterns with his movement.  For example, if I'm not up and eating something by 9 am, he usually does some sort of river-dance to remind me it's time to feed the baby.

Sleep: I'm getting enough to function most days, but I'm definitely not sleeping for long clips.

Maternity Clothes: I wear them most days.

Symptoms: Heartburn.  Whoo.  That one has become a doozie.  If there is a correlation between heartburn and hair, I'm actually giving birth to a monkey.

Also, my belly is huge and there's a Zumba class taking place in my abdomen several times a day.  I'm pretty sure both of those things count as symptoms.

Aversions: Y'all.  I thought I would've solved the great pregnancy vs. chicken issue, but I haven't.  Sometimes I can eat it.  Most times it makes me sick to my stomach.

Currently, though, Favorite and I are participating in Awakening 2013 with our church.  Since I can't do the Daniel Fast in its completion, we have cut out most processed foods, white sugar and white flour.  I've found that after so many days eating good food, my stomach doesn't handle "cheat" meals well.

Cravings: Peanut butter.  Water.  Milk.

What I miss: I'm so grateful to be pregnant. I can't think of one thing I should be missing.

Feeling toward pregnancy: This week Favorite and I had to watch the epidural video at our appointment.  That event was enough to move me to the realization that I'm going to be holding my son in less than three months.

My son.

When I felt moved toward the word "peace" for 2013, it wasn't because I believed God was indicating there wouldn't be anything worth fighting this year.  Instead, I felt like it was permission to lay the struggle down.

A few people have commented that I've been different since I got pregnant.  That's partially true.  I feel lighter--less burdened by my determination to continually bring my request before my Father.  Strong desires can't be measured in pounds.  They are measured in demeanors and preoccupations, and their weight is felt every single day by the people who carry them.

I've carried some of those preoccupations into this pregnancy.  For months, I was afraid of bleeding or placental abruption.  Until I reached 26 weeks, there was a level of intensity coupled with the strong sense of gratitude that overwhelmed me every time Ryan moved.  To say it simply, I didn't really relax.

Then the call to peace.  Before I found out I was pregnant, that call was meant to be in recognition of a Saviour who is eternally good because He is love.  Now that I am counting down the days to my son's delivery, the call is exactly the same--to recognize a Saviour who is eternally good because He is love.

That's the journey He's taken us on in the last few years.  But the difference isn't in the conclusion we arrived at long before we were aware of Ryan's tag-a-long status.  It's in the burden that no longer exists.  And a changing understanding of gratitude as a result.

Best Moment this week: Favorite was able to feel Ryan opening his hand through my belly--all five fingers and a palm.

What I'm looking forward to: Mom has purchased a serger, made a practice crib sheet and now has the material for the crib bedding in her possession.

Here is the collection:
This chevron fabric will be the bottom quarter of the drapes (plain red or gray fabric will likely be the top three-quarters) and the outer part of the bumper. 

 
The red minky fabric is going to be the inside of the bumper.  I'm also probably going to purchase this for the changing table:
 

Here are the rest of the fabrics in the collection:
  
 
For crib sheets, we'll be using the multicolored dot (second from the top) and the gray argyle print (fifth from the top).
 
In case you couldn't tell from my choices, I like the idea of using multiple patterns and sticking to a few bold colors.  That way, I can mix and match the wall art or other accents in the room without revolving around a particular theme.  Right now, we are thinking sock monkeys, old school Superman art and Dr. Seuss images.  In the future, there are a hundred things that would match a red/gray/aqua palate so we have lots of options.
 
I can't wait to show you pictures of a finished nursery. 
 
We're down to 76 days before his scheduled arrival and that doesn't seem like enough time to get a nursery together, write six weeks of sub plans and finish all of my organizational projects.  One day at a time, eh?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wednesday HodgePodge 1/9/12


1. What is ONE thing or area in your home or life you hope to report is completely organized when 2013 draws to a close?  Do you  have a plan to make it happen? 

My first goal is to get our bedroom in order.  There aren't a lot of disorganized things in there--just some spaces that need to be a bit more functional.  Some of that will cost a bit of money so it may take until the end of 2013 to make it happen.  I've already finished getting our closet together, and now I'm in the process of working on the small fixes that will make our bathroom a bit easier to keep clean.

My second goal is to make our yard look like a yard instead of a jungle.  We plan to install a sidewalk this spring (YAY!) and then we can work toward landscaping, etc.

My third goal is to have a fully functioning nursery.  I figure it will take a couple of months after Ryan is born to know what works for us, but I have high hopes.  I'm trying to make sure everything has a space so organization is easier for all of us.

2. What's the worst uniform you've ever had to wear for a job?

I don't think I've ever had to wear a uniform for a job?  When I worked at the bank, we weren't allowed to wear anything denim so I guess that's the hardest it's ever been for me.  Granted, it's easier to wear professional clothing when one can afford to purchase said clothing...

3. What was your last kitchen 'mishap'?  

In an attempt to use my crockpot, I tried a recipe that was nothing but nasty mush.  Normally, I can choke anything down.  This, however, ended up in my garbage.  I'm not even sure what went wrong.

I try to experiment, though.  So it's not any surprise when things go awry from time to time.

4. How do you protect yourself from other people's negativity?

I hole up.  Often, while in quarantine, I'll stew over things said and really get my feelings in a mess.  Then, I find myself avoiding that person.  It's not really the best method, but I guess it's effective.

5. Who in your family do you most resemble (physically)? If you have children, who do people say they favor? Do you agree? 

I look like my father.  When he was little, LilBro and I favored quite a bit, but the older he gets, the more he looks like BigBro.  We all have the same smile, though.

In the past, people told me I favored my Aunt Ginger.  I don't think this is so true anymore.  And I've also been told I look like my Gramma Mays (though not nearly as much as my cousin Debbie).

Suffice it to say I resemble my dad's side of the family more than my mom's.  In fact, if I go to a funeral without my mom, her more distant family members have no idea who I am.  When I'm with her, they search my face to find some common traits, but I guess they come up fairly void.

6. January 8th is National Bubble Bath Day...will you be celebrating?

I believe in really hot baths and those are apparently unacceptable when one is expecting :(  I love a good bath at the end of the day, though.  It's a nice way to ease tension and reflect on the day (or read).

7.  Some of the 'world's best winter festivals' are - Mardi Gras (New Orleans),Quebec Winter Festival (Canada), Sundance Film Festival (Park City, Utah),  Rio Carnivale (Brazil), Sapporo Snow Festival (Japan), VeniceCarnival (Italy) and the Harbin Ice Festival (Northern China).  Of those listed (and if cost were not a factor) which would you most like to attend and why?


I know the point is to choose a festival and stick with it, but I'm not a fan of crowds.  I'd probably avoid just about all of them just to avoid the vast numbers of people flocking to one area.  The Sundance Film Festival does sound fun, though.  If I could go in a protective bubble, I'd consider it :)

8.  Insert your own random thought here.


My word for the year is peace so I'm trying to find it in the midst of creating six weeks of lesson plans for three different classes.  I'm so grateful to be able to take maternity leave, but the work to get to that point is a bit daunting.

I also realized this morning that I am almost 29 weeks pregnant and still not as fat as I was when I started my weight loss journey last summer.  It was a pretty encouraging discovery.

Monday, January 7, 2013

One Word: 2013

I do things better in hindsight.

Terrible third degree burns on my wrist?  Watch a little more carefully when I'm trying to pull a pan out of the oven.

Miss putting my car in the ditch by a millimeter?  Worry a little less about the june bug crawling up my pant leg.  (Except that would never happen.  I would almost wreck my car every single time to keep that monster from reaching my knee.)

You get the picture.

And that picture is exactly the reason I have difficulty determining my word for the year in advance.  I'm just better at analyzing and assessing.  We'll call it a gift.  And, frankly, my skills of analysis indicate my word for last year was Obedience. 

Now, though?  I'm not just entering a new playing field; I'm playing an entirely different sport.  Some of the skills I've learned are probably going to apply, but there's an entirely different set of rules and guidelines.

And I guess that's why God started emphasizing a word I would've never claimed as my own:  Peace.

It's a word that connotes contentment, doesn't it?  Laying down the fight and resting in the moment?

Since God is obviously more far-sighted than I am, I'm going to trust His judgment.  After feeling like the struggle was the majority of my existence for the last several years, I'm not disappointed for a bit of peace. 

Like anything else, though, I'm sure claiming peace in other areas will have to be purposeful.  (Claiming peace with my weight or with mothering may be interesting ventures.  But if I've said it once, I've said it a million times:  Most of my fails are epic in nature.  You might want to stick around to read about the spectacular disaster my year of peace may be.  Ha!)

Do you have a word for 2013?  How did you claim your word?  I love hearing these stories.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Over Christmas, I Took a Break

The holiday season is over.  That brings a sigh of relief from a lot of people and a lot of frustration from others.  For me, it's a mixed blessing.  I remember how difficult Christmas has been for Favorite and I in the past; however, it's also the one time during the year we see and spend time with our entire family.

This Christmas brought a variety of blessings.  First of all, my mom retired.


 
 
 
My brothers, SILSheena, Nik-Nak, Gloria & Jason and PastorJosh and the CCL (and Tu-Tu) managed to keep a secret, invite friends, get food together and talk Mom into coming downstairs in order to make the surprise happen.
 
Pictures, of course, might be a bit more explanatory.
 
 
She turned her back to us because she was crying.  Her first reaction was "My kids are here!" because BigBro and SILSheena actually came in a day before they told her they would be in.  Then she realized all of these people were there for her.  My picture of her initial reaction wasn't good, but she was shocked--she even dropped her purse.
 
I can't believe we managed to keep it a secret, but we did. It was a good night filled with old friends, new friends, family and lovable people. I gotta tell you this: there's nothing like calling people, making a request and then knowing those people will wholeheartedly back your endeavor to the best of their ability.
 
Not only did we have several people help with food, there were several people who helped clean up our mess and even more who brought a sincere attitude of celebration (like Roger!) for the sake of my Mom's accomplishment.
 
I wish I would've taken pictures at Christmas. Apparently, I failed to even get my camera out for our holiday. I was too busy hanging out with family, I guess. It means I have no pictures of BigBro and SILSheena at Christmas :( And I also failed to get pictures of the monstrous snow we got the day after that kept BigBro and SILSheena stranded at our house until we could get my car our of my terrifying driveway.
 
For the new year, my family and I celebrated at a local watering hole with PastorJosh, the CCL and Num-Num the WonderChild.
Tim and Nik-Nak were there and KK got to sit with her new best friend. 
 
 
Seriously, though, KK is the cutest kid ever.  Over Christmas she kept tapping my belly and saying, "Who's in there?"  I would respond, "I don't know.  Who's in there?"  And she'd scream, "BABY RYAN!"
 
Things got a bit more interesting when she asked me if he was coming out through my belly button (umm...not quite, but something almost as uncomfortable) and if he could come out and play now.  Then, new year's eve, she tried to cut him out of my belly with her play knife for cutting her velcro veggies.
 
She's adamant Ryan needs to play.  And surely he'll love her little face.
 
 
 
Thankfully, she'll be around to entertain him since LilBro and Nik-Nak are getting married next May.
 


My date was MIA due to work.  Favorite was actually mandated twice over my Christmas break, and I sincerely hate he has to work these holidays.  Thankfully, I have a cousin who is willing to pinch hit--or at least sit beside me during a meal--so I don't feel so alone.

 
It was a sincerely awesome break.  I didn't accomplish anything revolutionary, but I really enjoyed having the opportunity to lay around and visit with people I love.
 
And now, I'm waiting for my rockstar retired mom to figure out a crib sheet pattern so we can get on this nursery business.
 
 
 
Before you know it, I'll be posting a baby announcement.  And we can't be unprepared.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Resolutions 2013

At almost 28 weeks pregnant, it doesn't make sense to resolve to lose half my body weight before New Year's Eve next year.  Additionally, pledging myself to be on the cover of People Magazine for losing half my body weight might also be an unrealistic goal.

So what follows may not be quantifiable the way weight loss often is.  But I've realized maybe I need a little less "quantifiable" in the way of goals and a little more direction.  As I looked over my goals last year, I realized a lot of them were about living better--simplification, going with the flow and appreciating my body and its requirements.  I'd like to continue tapping that mindset--especially since I have no idea how Ryan is going to change our lives.

1.  I plan to participate in Awakening 2013 (including a modified version of the Daniel Fast).

Every year, my church encourages congregants to commit themselves to 21 days of fasting.  Basically, the book of Daniel outlines Daniel's commitment to eating in a specific manner to show decadence is often detrimental.  (Of course, there's more to it.  This is an over-simplification.)  The fast asks participants to limit themselves to fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts.  Things like olive oil are allowed; however, other additions like butter, sugar, etc. are not.

Clearly, the fast leaves out some important food groups for those who are gestating.  With that in mind, I intend to include dairy (whole milk, half &half, greek yogurt, etc.) and lean meats (chicken, fish, turkey, low fat ground beef, etc.).  And even though the diet allows no beverages but water, I will probably continue drinking my morning cup of coffee due to the fact that coffee keeps things...um...in working order.  (Unfortunately, that's one drawback of pregnancy.)

This participation should be a kick start to continue cooking on a regular basis and quit grabbing a handful of this or that in order to satisfy my hunger (which I started doing about a month ago).

2.  I plan to focus on making my house a home.

Favorite and I have lived here for two years and I have yet to hang a picture on the wall.  Not. One.

I've worked toward getting things organized and functional, but some things have limited us from really pulling rooms together and making spaces we want to inhabit.  Since Ryan is on the way, I'll probably start with his room (it makes the most sense) and gradually work my way through the house.

My goal is a homey, comfortable, functional space all of us can enjoy.

3.  I plan to give things my best effort, but let go of what doesn't work.

There is a whole list of things I really want to try--especially with Ryan.  I'm going to read BabyWise.  We're giving cloth diapering a shot.  I'm going to commit myself to breastfeeding for at least a month.

But I don't want to make myself a crazy nutcase if those things don't work.  In the past, I've been a bit of a nazi about schedules and expectations, but I know that's not the type of person (or mom) I want to be.  So I'm basically giving myself permission to relax.  What better way to enjoy a new chapter in life?

Clearly, there are several other things I'm going to continue focusing on:  my relationship with Favorite, my prayer/devotional life, my job as an educator.  But these three things are my top priorities in 2013.  I think the lack of specifics are going to give God room to continue moving in my life, and more than anything?  That's what I want for 2013.

Do you have specific goals for 2013?  Share your thoughts.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Reflection on 2012

At the end of 2011, I felt completely done.  Some events from that year had evoked large amounts of change while other things maintained the frustrating sameness from years before.  So when I made my resolutions for 2012, they weren't the far-reaching and unachievable goals from the years previous.  I just didn't feel like I could handle the cycle of failure in which I'd felt stuck.

But several far-reaching and unachievable things happened in 2012.

First of all, I found myself a bit more relaxed in 2012.  Even though I didn't pray for it, God granted me the serenity to accept the things I could not change and the courage to change the things I could.  And in His grand sense of humor, He started with the very thing I swore I'd never do:  running.

I didn't become a marathoner.  Nor did we actually get the opportunity to run that 5K.  Other things blockaded that particular plan, but we did train consistently.  In fact, it's one of the things I've missed in the last few months.  And, just like the CCL promised, I didn't die.  And I won't die when we return to training after the birth of our babies.  (Have I mentioned the CCL is also expecting?)

Oddly, I was willing to bend my knee to God's authority in a hundred different ways, but He managed to address the parts I had sanctioned as untouchable--even if I had sanctioned them unknowingly.

Like wallowing in my circumstances.

Early in our Made to Crave journey, I decided to quit because the early results were the same as every early result I had ever gotten from a diet plan:  frustration.  Then God asked me to do something I'd never really done before:  believe in His work in me.  Essentially, that meant maintaining a sense of consistency because God had called me to obedience--not because I was deriving some immediate sense of satisfaction from my actions.

In the last year, I learned a lot about needing.  I learned a lot about God's provision.  And in my journey to find peace with my body and commit to continued obedience, I discovered that I probably wouldn't achieve the same goals everyone else in my group was achieving.  God gave me something else instead.

I got pregnant.

In 2013, I will become a mother.  Favorite and I will celebrate 10 years of marriage.  Life is going to change.

But given that I spent the better part of a year working toward change (albeit, a different change than this one), I'm pretty excited.

I'm working on my Resolutions for 2013, and I intend to share a few pictures and stories from Christmas break (including a completely hilarious--and non-sexual--story about KY warming liquid).  Maybe that will happen by the end of the week. 

For now, I have a date with Favorite and my parents. 

The Hobbit awaits.