Photoshoot

Lights dim, a screen blackens, and a belly wets with warm gel
Slowly the wand presses on the lubricated surface
and an image pops up on the screen.
A black and grey picture flickers with the movement of a babe
A once still, resting child now with sound waves animates.
The reclined woman grunts as flutters of the shifting twist inside her uterus.
A proud observer awes at the kick and punch of his kin.
Even though the flat-back woman moans due to the uncomfortable turns of this infant
both lovers smile at the treasure they’ve been given.
With joy they radiate thanksgiving for the promises of God
and a covenant of intimate oath that led to this creation,
a product of DNA combined and great love’s fruitful budding.

We’re happy to report that so far it appears the baby is healthy. We also have photographs (even though the technology hasn’t fully been researched for its effects on a child in the womb). I’ll try to post them soon.

Three decades of someone to have gratitude for

Dough spins in the afternoon breeze

while the grill’s smoke dances with the wind.

Vegetables crisp, in vibrant colored bowls, rest on the table

waiting to dress the sauce slathered cradle.

As the aroma of fresh cuisine lingers in the air

the chatter increases to meet the scents.

A group of friends wishing to demonstrate love

gather round glowing embers and a candle’s wax

singing songs of well wishes to issue in this new year,

the beginning of a new decade for a dear comrade.

She’s a woman who has fought for the silenced voices,

carried healing words to balm the brokenhearted,

helping to create beauty from ashes

simply for being an encouraging presence

and a devoted daughter of a most high king.

I am blessed to be part of her life, thankful for her hospitable spirit, and joyful that I partook of the festivities of which I’ve written about above.  This friend is a gift and a treasure.

Happy 30th Birthday Jamie.  I hope you know how much we love you and that you’ve been such a dear friend in everyone’s life that was present last night.  Our lives have been deeply enriched because we have known you.

Crazy Busy

It has been a while since I’ve posted.

We have received 150 samples from one client at work. Until recently, it was taking roughly 16 hours for sample preparation of roughly 10-14 samples each. They arrived Oct. 10th. We’ve had instrument failures. Glasses have broken. Yet still the president was running around freaking out and mentioning that this had to get done. It doesn’t help that I’ll be away for two weeks in November. I’ve been trying to bite my tongue as I don’t do well with micro-management, especially when pregnant. It stresses me out which makes me break out in rashes, have muscle tension, and cry.

Then in my personal life I have a friend’s wedding approaching. It has been quite stressful as there is a lack of communication. Also, I’m only a bridesmaid, not the maid or matron of honor and yet me and one other bridesmaid have been tasked by the others to handle everything. We have the most money out of all of them, but we shouldn’t have to carry the brunt of the financial burden. We don’t mind undertaking a bit more, but then we shouldn’t have to do the booking and organization. Wow, as I write this I realize how prideful and resentful I’m sounding. Christianity isn’t about convenience. I’m just supposed to assist and if God has blessed me with money than that is how he’s asked me to contribute. I guess I’m just stressed about finances for my own kid and the fact that my family needs to start saving. Is it ever okay to be selfish with money, when you are still tithing weekly but not giving to charities, when you are trying to provide for your own family?

Also, I’ve done quite a bit of complaining between work, in-laws, and friend’s idiosyncrasies. This, along with monopolizing my friend’s time (which, might I add, I asked if I should go and she said no so I don’t see how I’m at fault in the disrespect of her time, but perhaps it was just other stresses for her and she’s just trying to find an excuse to blame me), has led to her dissolving our friendship for the foreseeable future. It breaks my heart. I know that I have sins I need to work on. I do well when people don’t say you are a sinner, quit sinning, but rather ask questions about what could be the deeper issues, the root of the sin. I know I made a mistake and I’m not saying I shouldn’t be held accountable for that. I do, however, like when others admit their faults too. I pray she and I are both seeking what God is teaching us through this. It is hard. Especially since we’ve been friends for around 9 years.

Yeah, I’ve been busy. I haven’t blogged, but I’ve also been more diligent in Scripture reading and work focus. I feel like I’m growing though and perhaps there is hope that I might be a decent parent.

Date Uncertain

We went to an appointment yesterday and found out that we could be further along or not as far along in this pregnancy as originally thought. I was supposed to get an ultrasound in my first trimester but one of the midwives, the one I saw last time, never ordered a test to determine the due date.

Life feels like it is in constant flux these days. I know the kid will arrive when he or she wants to, but a part of me would like something to feel a little more concrete these days. I’ve had a slew of worries, concerns, and fears that all stem from lack of trust and uncertain circumstances/issues.

The issue with my friend remains unresolved, not for my lack of trying. Frank is starting a new job that could go well or poorly, we pray for the prior. I’d like to stay home but NJ cost of living will cause me to work at least some.

It isn’t that I don’t like to work. I enjoy creative outlets like photography, writing, event planning, etc. I’m just not so good at the introverted daily grind of detecting trace metals in pharmaceuticals.

I’m planning for an un-medicated birth. I don’t like to numb myself, unless feeling deathly ill with a cold, with medicine. Why do I then work for big pharma? Am I just not trusting God enough with finances to pursue that which I’d enjoy doing? I’m here for a reason, what?

In a flurry of confusion it would be nice to have a better estimate regarding the little one’s arrival. Then again, this is just another timing issue I need to trust God with perhaps…

Biblical Conflict

If you have an issue with someone discuss it with them. If things still aren’t working go to two or three in the church. If it still is unresolved go to the church leaders. Then if the issue continues to be unresolved wipe the dust from your feet.

What do you do when you reach out to a good friend and there is silence? Are they not returning your messages because they are occupied?

Busy.

That’s a cliche word in our society. Americans always seem too busy. We are too busy with work, the gym, and electronic entertainment to deal with the complexities that are prevalent in community. I confess that I am guilty as well of claiming non-spiritual “busyness” as well. However, I often find myself talking with friends and getting rebuked then trying to pray and discern if it is an area where God wants me to grow or a friend is just being picky. Do I sound too proud in feeling like I try to work on friendships but feel a constant wedge because I’m maybe too open about my sin and others are closed books?

I’m trying to follow this biblical conflict model. I did it recently with the strain I felt between my friend and myself this past weekend. I text her. She normally responds quickly. I waited a week. Then I reached out to friends asking for prayer. One friend said that I shouldn’t discuss the issue with them and should flesh it out with this other friend. I agree. I thought that’s what I was doing. How long do we wait until the other person isn’t “busy” before we feel that it is biblically appropriate to bring the concern before others? Do we give the other person space but continue to have a heavy heart filled with concern that a friendship is fraying?

Why do I find it easier to address issues with men rather than women? Men seem to accept what is being said, in fact they are refreshed that a woman isn’t just forcing them to read their mind, and then we work out the problem. At least that is my experience with conflicts between men and women. Women hold grudges. Regrettably, myself included.

Kids are annoyingly observant. Our child will watch my every move. How am I to behave maturely and like the adult to help our kin navigate the intricate details of conflict resolution when I haven’t seemed to master it myself?

Vegan Faith is Weak?

I’ve been reading through the book of Romans lately.

Rom. 14:
A few days ago there were verses discussing the importance to not put a stumbling block in our neighbor’s path. If they struggle with a particular sin that we are to abstain. We’ve often heard that verse quoted in churches. What we don’t discuss is the fact that the verse is really talking about disputable issues. It isn’t a list of what you shouldn’t do, that eating something not within the Jewish dietary laws is forbidden; rather, it is a verse about unity and non-judgement in the church. Somethings we should just let issues go and if that means abstaining because our brother’s walk might be hindered than we should do it. It is better to let something go than to quarrel about it.

I’ve noticed that I am too sensitive. I’ve been told this in the past. I get upset and dwell on issues rather than addressing them with the person I have an issue with. I could also just decide to not let silly differences bother me. However, I have a nasty habit of thinking I’m right.

I think things should be put away and not left out (hence my issue with hoarding). My home is cluttered. Television is a mind-numbing, life-sucking activity. I don’t have cable, but if I’m honest than I watch far too much because I have the internet. So maybe it isn’t so much that I think I’m right and more that I see the sin in another, am frustrated that they participate in it rather than “setting an example”, and continue to focus on the issue in them rather than rectifying it in myself.

It is something I’d like to work on before our kid is born. It’s been a life long habit from what I can remember so it probably won’t happen overnight. I have to just give myself grace not to be the “perfect” mother and just continue seeking Christ, peace with my brethren, and give myself and others the grace God has given us.

Hush

Hush little child, don’t say a word…

While driving home from physical therapy yesterday, I heard the song The Throne of God Above.  While listening to the tunes, I got an image of Christ bending silent before his accusers.  He was beaten, bleeding and bruising.  Yet in the accost he did not defend himself.  Instead he looked onward with pity and prayed silently for God to forgive them.

It was in that moment that I felt like God was nudging me.  He was hinting that is where I should start, in silence.  I keep gossiping because I prattle.  It is okay to let ear drums be still.  My father reiterated this point.  I wouldn’t gossip if I didn’t talk about people or complain if I just was thankful.  Also, if I strain myself to only speak when I have positive speech to bless the hearing folks surrounding me than I would complain less, or at least my negativity would be confined to my mind.  Over time my lack of negativity being poured out would penetrate my heart and my thoughts would become more optimistic, more uplifting.

So that is where I must begin, in exercising silence and when I do speak, than it must only be that which is inclined towards encouragement and joy.  In doing so I’ll train this tongue, with the help of the Holy Spirit of course, to be a gift to those who are listening and only be praise that would usher glory to the throne of God above.

If  you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.– An adage from most mothers throughout time.

Haze

Weary bloodshot eyes are now dry with remorse.
The night was filled with floods of salted agony.
Why can I not kick this habit of complaint
that now the little ears can hear?
It seems I’m a sinner still and haven’t donned some grace
and bestowed it on my neighbors.
Why do I think myself more deserving of good news?
Do I really?
Could it rather be the surging hormones I can’t seem to restrain
and with it my tongue flicks harming unsuspecting bystanders?
I label them a friend but when commenting on their choices my speech is venom,
not the encouragement I’m commanded to uplift.
Now I walk with looming dread, fearing I’ll never get this right,
hoping life will change and maybe become a hermit.
It is easier to surround myself with imagined friends than endure the ebb and flow of community.
I know community is a beautiful web of fragile expression,
shared experiences- tragedies and joys.
However, I often wonder if I am serving my purpose, if I’m simply a burden to society rather than a contributor.
I ask myself why he hasn’t called me home.
Until he does, it seems I will wander in the fog, unclear to why I’m here
and what I have to offer.

Sufficient

It was good to see my friend this weekend.  It would have been better if I didn’t feel like I was intruding on her.  This past week had been overwhelming for her.  I’m a pregnant woman surging with hormones and emotions.  I’ve had many fears and frustrations lately which has escaped my mouth in the form of gossip.  I taxed her more and I could sense it.

As I walked out of her apartment and to my car I got the unnerving sense that I’m too unbearable.  I complain, a lot.  I’ve slandered far too many.  I never thought myself as struggling with elitism or piety.  My parents had said I do, but I ignored their cautions because they aren’t pursuing Christ and yet claim to follow him.  See, judgement!  Who am I to question the validity of another’s walk?  When did I become so lofty?

Then the my eye ducts turned on and the faucet of fury kept rushing.  I was angry with myself, angry at her for pointing out my sin and that I needed to stop, and angry that I feel like God hasn’t spoken.  Is it that I’m not listening and he is speaking?

Perhaps I’m too busy critiquing, gossiping, and complaining to notice what God is working in me.  I’m blind.  I know I love Jesus.  If I keep struggling with this and have for many years—easily 7 (before I wouldn’t have identified it as sin because I didn’t follow Jesus)—does that mean I haven’t truly repented and accepted the call of Christ?

How will I ever be a good mom with the waves of depression, the constant struggle with doubt, and the endless slander/gossip I partake in that all stem from insecurity and pride? God’s entrusting a life to me and why should he?  Frank is cut out for this and I’ve yearned for it, but am I meant for it?  I guess so because God’s granting it, but am I?  See, there I go questioning him again.  His grace is sufficient for me and his strength made perfect in my weakness.  Now I only need to get that through my stubborn skull, repent, and let him steer this ship.  I just like control and I don’t feel like I’ve had much for quite some time.  I can’t even control my temper or tongue (in speech (ex: gossip) and taste (I’ve gorged on way too many carbs and sugar through candies and the like)) lately.

He’s sufficient for me and this kid, but will I be a sufficient mother?

I’ve used the word sufficient too much here.

A Dream Lived

So the other night when revealing my pregnancy to friends at a church I used to go to, I started discussing poetry with one of my friends. He then asked me if I’d be interested in an opportunity I’d dreamed about- sharing my poetry publicly. Now, I’ve wanted to get published and use that as a sustainable income, but I’ve never thought myself good enough or qualified to attain such a lofty goal. I wouldn’t be published with this opportunity. I’d simply be bringing God glory on stage in front of a large congregation. My voice of praise would be live. I’d be heard. Now a part of me fears that I want to do this out of my own pride; that I am wanting to do it to be praised for the arrangements of words that I formulate. I know that this talent is not out of my own doing though. God gives gifts and he can take them away. I’m praying as to whether or not I should take this opportunity as it could be a stepping stone into living the dream of being a traveling writer or it could not be. I know that through it all Christ must be lifted high, not me. I need to start being made in the image of Christ. I know that when I accepted him as Lord and Savior that work began in me, but I feel like I need to take bigger strides in my spiritual walk now and grow increasingly humble because everything I do, the choices I make effect the little one growing in me. My decisions will continue to impact the life within when he or she is born and watches me, waiting to see what a God-loving life looks like and wanting me to follow through. He or she will notice authenticity or falsehood. I want to be an example for this child. Our legacy lives in our kids, if nowhere else. I want to be remembered for the dreams that were always pursued to honor Christ, not myself. Please pray with me about this opportunity and if so, what words should be written in my poetry that Christ will be magnified and his love revealed.