Monthly Archives: January 2015

Mom Blogs, Psalms, and Unspeakable Joy

I happened upon two blog posts this morning. They were both written in the last few days. They were both about puking kids.

Here they are:
Sarah Bessey: “[Love Looks Like] 2:07 a.m.”
Leah Archibald: “Ignore My Previous Parenting Advice”.

I’m not really sure why I clicked them, to be honest. In my newly wedded, childless bliss, I’ve been less and less thrilled about Mom Blogs. I used to really look forward to being a  Mom, and thought I’d have a hard time with Eric’s “let’s wait 3-5 years” proposal. I’d read lots of these posts, loved talking to my friends about their kids’ milestones, and I’ve seen The Business of Being Born three times. But as I settle into married life, It’s nearly impossible to imagine being one of those puke-picker-uppers myself. I can’t begin to fathom the way our cozy, romantic life will be interrupted by kids.

So I only clicked on these links because I love both writers, and I thought I could learn something from some great writers and mentors to file away in my “Kids One Day, But Not Today” drawer. But as I read them, I found much more.

Both of these women were grudgingly working the thankless job of “puke manager” over the past few weeks, and lived to write about it. Within their stories about whining and sick kids, they asked a Big Universal Life Question that I’ve been asking a lot lately: WHERE is the joy in this?!

Early this morning, before making my rounds of the blogosphere, I was led early to Psalm 37 (today’s Responsorial Psalm in the Catholic liturgical calendar, which–by the way–has provided me a new daily discipline I’ve taken up and really enjoyed. You can find them and follow along here:

Psalm 37 is all about finding joy in the everyday. It’s not just about us finding joy, but totally exclaiming that God will bring us great joy every day! In the last week, the Catholic readings have reiterated the covenant God has made with us. I’ve been reading reminders from the Apostle Paul to the Jewish Hebrew Christians about God’s new promise of freedom over their lives. I’ve been reading psalms that are praising the coming covenant, reconciling God and His People.

I read the daily readings that tell me some kind of promise is over my life. I’m only here reading because I’ve won a small battle against a wintertime depression that has been heavily keeping me emotionally isolated for the last few weeks. I sit here reading, as the dread creeps up as the time passes, bringing me closer to another long day at a grueling job I really don’t love. I read, and I ask God those very same Big Questions Sarah & Leah are asking. **(SIDENOTE! I just realized! Sarah & Leah are two incredible self-sacrificing women of the Bible, too! They can be found in Genesis in pretty grueling situations, trusting God to come through on his promises for their life when they are barren and hopeless. Spoiler alert: He does and they become the matriarchs of the Jewish nation, and integral to the story of our faith. MIND BLOWN!!!! Anyway…)**

I keep asking:

“What EXACTLY does this promise mean for me? My situation sucks! WHERE is the promise? WHERE is my joy? WHERE are You, God?”

Both of these bloggers were full of answers for me today. So was Psalm 37.

Leah Archibald asks why it all feels like suffering sometimes, and she wagers that finding joy and gratitude in some really beyond-her-control crappy moments can make life feel a lot better.

Sarah Bessey finds full, meaningful, lasting, lifelong love in the ordinary, mundane and sometimes grueling parts of life. The night may bring puke, but joy comes in the morning.

And in Psalm 37, God makes a lot of promises.

He says we will:

live safely and prosper,
fed in security,
be granted our hearts’ true
be given
never fall,
never be abandoned,

and he will make our righteousness shine like the dawn.

He says, if we commit to him our way, he will come through. He will act, and he will rescue us. This isn’t an ultimatum. This isn’t the prosperity gospel. This isn’t a pastor saying if you just keep coming to church every week and quit smoking, you’ll start making more money. This is the covenant. This is the promise of everything God truly has to offer us. This is the fullness of life. This is the Good News.

This is a promise to those of us stuck in bed, look to me. I will give you refuge.
This is a promise to those of us trapped in our jobs, look to me. I will give you your hearts’ desire.
This is a promise to those of us cleaning up puke, look to me. I will never let you fall.

I think the Good News–the best news— is that in these mundane, boring or downright awful moments, we will know true, unspeakable joy.

Thanks to Sarah Bessey & Leah Archibald for sharing your love, thoughts, and words with us.
Thanks to my sister-in-law Rachel for having such a cute baby and letting me share her little face that will surely help God bring even more joy into the world.


The Promise is Hope

For all of you who follow my blog here, you may or may not be aware that I am also a musician! My husband and I make up the acoustic-folk duo, The Promise is Hope.

We’ve been chugging away lately, creating lots of cool things. We have two new videos, and are currently wrapping up an album.

To read more about us, and to see those videos, visit us here at our website!

Thanks a million, all you lovely people, you.

Can’t Wait for Wink!

I’ve blogged once or twice about this awesome non-hormonal birth control method called the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM), and I’ve also highly recommended the amazing app called Kindara, which helps me out with charting a ton (and is really the only app out there that is really, REALLY using FAM and not just a period/ovulation predicting app, WHICH ARE TOTALLY NOT RELIABLE FOR EFFECTIVE BIRTH CONTROL, FYI!!).

I’ve also been using a run-of-the-mill BBT thermometer for the last 6 months. I have this one. It’s been alright! It beeps sort of loudly, which wakes up my light-sleeper husband, and makes it hard to discreetly use on family vacations in the little camper. But it’s fairly quick and has always seemed really accurate. It’s worked really well for me, but it got lost in the mail once when I left it in Connecticut. When I lost it, I stubbornly ordered a cheaper thermometer, figuring, “Oh, what’s the difference.”

Oh man. Let me tell you.

This thing was the worst. It doesn’t beep, leaving you with no idea whether or not it’s actually working. So, in the FIVE WHOLE MINUTES it takes to find your temperature, you occasionally take it OUT of your mouth thinking, “Am I sure I turned it on?” and completely screwing up your reading. Plus, it has no memory feature. So, you have to grab your chart and write down your temperature right then and there. My bad for not reading the details on Amazon, and for paying way less money for a thermometer. A few times I woke up at 7AM to take my temperature, and ended up wanting to snap the thing in half. So much for quickly recording and sleeping in on a Saturday. We didn’t have any unprotected sex during the time I had the thermometer, because I really didn’t trust a single reading. And the Golden Rule of FAM: When in doubt, DON’T! Lesson learned…

So, I bit the bullet and ordered the first Nexcare thermometer again, and have been happily charting again ever since. In the meantime, though, I pre-ordered Kindara’s amazing new development: Wink! I am so stinkin’ excited for this product to come out. This thermometer will send your temperatures straight to your smart phone’s Kindara app, virtually charting FOR YOU. It also doesn’t beep, but instead it winks at you when it’s done! How clever and charming… and quietly discreet. It is supposed to be fast and incredibly accurate, and basically looks like mascara. While I’m not super stoked about the whole “make sure you hide your feminine products” phenomenon, the thermometer is aesthetically pleasing, and that’s always a plus.

So, whether you’re already charting, or have been charting for a while, let me strongly recommend you download Kindara (if you haven’t already), and pre-order Wink. If you use my referral link here, Kindara will give you $10 off your order, and send me a check for $10, too.


Book Review: A Good & Perfect Gift by Amy Julia Becker

I typically have two reading speeds. 0 or 160.

After I read the first chapter of a book, I choose my setting. I either put the book down, never pick it back up, and return it to the library before the due date (which my $10 in late fees should tell you I really didn’t care for that book.)

Or I devour the book in two helpings.

My husband will tell you we had to stop trying to read books “as a couple” because I would speed ahead and finish the book in a day, leaving him in the dust, or I’d completely lose interest and come home with a pile of new library books later that afternoon. (Patience isn’t my best virtue. He’ll tell you that, too.)

After reading the first chapter of Amy Julia Becker’s memoir A Good & Perfect Gift, I had immediately set my cruise control to 200. I’m pretty sure I was late back to work on my lunch break because I couldn’t put the thing down.

But then, as I started to notice that my right hand left clutching only a thin section of pages, I halted to a park, and haven’t gotten back in since. 200 to 0.

I just don’t want it to be over.

I don’t want to finish the book. I don’t want to give it back to the library. So, I’m just not reading it anymore. It’s tucked away, perfectly snug, in my little green bag. I take it with me wherever I go, but it hasn’t been touched in over a week. I only have one renew left until the library will force me to return it. I have to finish it in the next 2 weeks, or else it gets sent back to the other side of the state from where it was sent.

My days are filled reading articles and books that argue back and forth over the harshness of the Church. They are hijacked by regret an hour after sharing a post about the LGBT community and Christianity, as I read the thread of angry comments under the post. They are failed attempts at kindness toward the crummy customers at work. My days are a striving effort to be better, kinder and smarter, to do more and succeed, and say and write and be all the right things at all the right times.

And then there’s this book.

This book!

It just had this way of slowing me down.

As Amy Julia Becker describes loving her daughter for everything she is, I can’t help but know and experience the way God loves me for who I am.

As she notes the way her fear and worry over all the things Penny can’t or won’t be able to do begin to dissipate, and her joy over everything Penny is and does and embodies begins to blossom, I feel lighter. I feel better. I feel really, really loved. If parents have the capacity to love their children so thoroughly this way, Our Father in Heaven must be able to love me as perfectly, too.

I guess that explains why I couldn’t put the book down. And why now, I can’t pick it back up. We only get small moments to know, little glimpses to see, just how good the Kingdom is. We only get little tastes of God’s great feast for us. I devoured my latest one in two helpings, and now I don’t want it to end!

Luckily, she wrote a second book.