Snow, Flower, Sun and Rainbow

I came across this very short poem I wrote about Wren when she was turning two.  She was full of energy and joy (as a matter of fact, she still is).  One of our favorite things to do together was to walk around the little circle in our old neighborhood.  She loved going outside to play no matter the weather.

The other thing about Wren was that her speech was slightly delayed.  I yearned for her to talk so I could know her desires… her dislikes… her imagination… her.  I’d get one word out of her, but I wanted more.

This poem was jotted down in the late winter long after the beauty of the first snowfall and I was getting antsy for Spring like I do every March.  The structure of this poem is akin to the Wheel of Fortune “before and after” theme.  Enjoy.

Snow, Flower, Sun and Rainbow

The robin in the white
Snow
A word she knows so well.

I hope she’ll learn
Flower, sun and rainbow
Should be here soon.

Lent: What are you adding in?

As a verb, lent is the past tense of lending.  It implies return.  As a noun, Lent is a religious period of 40 days before Easter in which Christians practice fasting or abstinence.  

I’m a Christian myself.  I remember once telling a friend I was Baptist, and I’ll never forget my father telling me I wasn’t.  Just because I went to a Baptist church didn’t make me Baptist was the gist of that conversation.  

I remember telling another friend I was a Protestant, and I’ll never forget my mother telling me I wasn’t.  She taught me that just because you aren’t Catholic doesn’t mean you default into the Protestant category.

I was a very confused child.  My parents knew what I wasn’t.

I learned I didn’t get corrected when I told people I was simply a Christian.  Although, come to think of it, my dad might have given me a lesson on how I was not just a Christian but a believer and a follower.

Growing up, I believed Lent to be a “Catholic thing.”  I didn’t know many Catholics until college when on Ash Wednesday I noticed quite a number of people walking around with dirt on their foreheads.  Upon closer examination, I saw that their faces weren’t dirty.  What I mistook for dirt, was an ashen cross drawn on their foreheads.

Making diverse friends of faith in college was easy for me.  I didn’t feel the need to go to the Baptist Campus Ministry because they’d be filled with nothing but Baptists.  (No offense to Baptists. In fact, I still go to a Baptist church.)  I went to another Christian ministry on campus, but I didn’t feel they were inclusive of non-Protestants (even those Lutherans and especially those charismatics).  I eventually joined Intervarsity and was enriched by a community of people who had one thing in common, their love for Christ.

So at this time of year, I would ask my friends on campus who were marked with an ashen cross what they were giving up for lent.  And then someone asked me.  “But I’m not Catholic,” I said, and then I realized I didn’t have to be Catholic to give something up for my Lord.  Over the years, I have given up soda, television, caffeine, Facebook (before I gave it up for good), and PG-13 & R rated movies.  I once gave up Scrabble on my iPhone.

It’s hard navigating the waters of Lent as a non-Catholic so I’ve kind of molded it into my own thing.  A few years ago, someone shared a secret with me that helped me out.  I learned that they break their abstinences on Sundays (called mini-Easters, I love that!).  If you don’t break for Sunday, then Lent would be 46 days long.  That’s a long time to go without coffee.

I’ve learned to not just give up the “vices,” but to fill the void leftover on focusing my attention on Christ.  That’s when Lent started to having meaning for me.

Lent is giving something to God and getting something greater from Him in return.

For this year’s Lent, I’ve decided to not give anything up.  I’m going to add something in.  I plan on reading my Bible faithfully.  

How about you?  What are you giving up for Lent, or will you add something in?

Fixin’ to be an old lady

My old next door neighbour greeted me one evening as I was sitting on the front stoop enjoying the wonderful weather.  “You’re fixin’ to be an old lady,” he said.

It was true that I was partaking in a generally thought of old lady activity:  knitting.

He also reminded me that I had a garden and baked goodies for the neighborhood.  I chuckled and then took a sip of my tea.

Perhaps he was onto something.  How is it that grandmas are so good at baking pies and quick at knitting socks?  How do they make biscuits without a recipe, measuring in pinches and dashes?

They don’t turn into grandmas overnight, obviously.  They’ve had decades of experience.

So while I still painstakingly and slowly knit each stitch and check each step of the recipe twice, I know that this is just practice.  At some point I’ll be proficient like a grandma.

So, yeah, I’m fixin’ to be an old lady, and that’s fine by me.

Head Count

We like to host.  It’s something that Okey and I have done since the dawn of our relationship.

The dorm rooms I had in college as an upperclassmen had a kitchenette.  The dormitory was initially created for married couples, although they didn’t serve that purpose when I lived there.  It had a little stove with two or three burners, an itty bitty electric oven which heated irregularly, and a mini fridge under the counters. In addition to the study desks furnished by the university, there was a table and a couple of chairs.  Whenever we’d make our dinners with our friends, we’d ask them to bring their table with them.  We also always ended up inviting people who would ask to invite someone else, and our slogan became “What’s one more?”

Well…  Now over ten years later…  We aren’t college students anymore.  We have a little townhouse with a galley kitchen, but we can do so much in it.  When planning out our guest list, we now joke, “What’s one more family?” Continue reading

How About that 2012?

I guess this is the time of the year where I sit back and reflect on whether it was a good one or not.  [Spoiler Alert:  It was a really good one.]  And I guess this is when I can upload really random photos from this past year that haven’t been on the blog. So, here goes!

In January, we went to Canaan Valley with some friends for some fun in the snow.   I really enjoyed snowshoeing.  I also made a goal to get in shape, lose weight, and stop drinking soda.

In February, we went back to Canaan Valley with one of Okey’s brothers and his wife.  I learned I will never be a skier.

March came, and we thought we were settling into 2012 just fine.  Then we got “the phone call,” and our lives literally changed forever.  We welcomed home our beautiful baby girl later that month.

April had a steep learning curve as we figured out the whole parenting routine.

May brought trips to North Carolina and Texas to visit friends and family, respectively.

We hit our stride during the summer months, continuing to make trips to visit family in West Virginia and Ohio as well as welcoming many who travelled on the busy highway near our townhouse.

At the end of September, we started the adoption finalization process, and Wren got her first tooth.  We also said good-bye to my brother and his family as they moved to Guam.

October was a lot of fun as we had a houseful of babies.

More Friends

In November, Wren was dedicated to the Lord.  We had a very special time of Thanksgiving at home.

In December, the adoption was finalized.  We also celebrated Christ Jesus’ birth for the first time as a family and in our own home.

Well, the year is over in a few hours.  I didn’t lose as much weight as I wanted, I’m still not able to run a 10k, BUT I have been coke-free for one year AND I have made a lot of fun memories with my daughter.  I am very happy with how this year turned out, and I eagerly welcome next year.

From our family to yours… Happy New Year!

Before and After: Baby Edition

Last December (2011), we packed up the car with our smart mutt and headed south to Raleigh.  At the time, our dear friends Oso and Sarah were expecting twin boys.  For the first time after many visits, we walked the main streets of the state capitol.  We returned to our favourite brewpub there — Natty Greene’s.  Our dog had a blast at the dog park near their house.  I remember driving past Occupy Raleigh which consisted of maybe ten tents.  We accompanied them to their new church, Vintage 21 East, whose seats were filled with young, energetic people.  We had a great visit.

Sarah was optimistic about our adoption saying that she expected our child to arrive around her own children’s due date of March 18th.  After a routine doctor’s visit in January (2012), Sarah was rushed to the hospital where she had an emergency Caesarian the next morning.  The boys, named Aaron and Eli, remained in the hospital for weeks.  Fast forward to this March… you know the story… our daughter was born on March 11th.

We returned to Raleigh this weekend, and what an incredible time we had!  Unlike the last visit, we had only two outings.  Sarah, Wren and I went to a fascinating fiber book club meeting on Saturday morning.  The topic for the meeting was fiction containing elements of fiber.  The books I remember off the top of my head were Spinners and A Curse Dark as Gold (stories where the tale of Rumpelstiltskin is revisited) and Extra Yarn (a charming children’s book about yarn bombing which I hope to add to my own collection).  The second outing was on Sunday morning.  This was the boys’ first time at church, and they behaved themselves quite well.

I think the babies were aware of each other, but they did not interact with each other (unless you count slow-motion punching and elbowing).  I will cherish the memories from this weekend forever.

about marji

There is a seven year difference between me and my closest sibling, Marji. I grew up looking up to her… until I was in middle school when due to our height differences, I had to look down to her. <insert canned laughter>

Well, actually, I still do look up to her…  If it weren’t for Marji, I wouldn’t be here today.  Seriously.  She saved my life on at least three occasions.

The first time she saved my life was at the beach near our house in Florida. As a little toddler, she carried me on her shoulders as we walking from the sand bar back to the beach. She stepped on a sand shark, and she controlled her urge to scream knowing that if she did so I would panic. She did a great job, that is, until she took a step and landed on the same shark again. As she had correctly predicted, panic ensued.  Despite it all, she kept me above the water until my kicking and thrashing subsided.

A few years and a few moves later, when we first moved to West Virginia, we had the great joy of being home alone together. I took this opportunity to go to my parents’ room to watch their television, eat candy, and jump on their bed. It was a lot of fun until a piece of candy lodged itself in my throat. Marji was there for me and successfully performed the Heimlich maneuver.  (And I have not once since then jumped on my parents’ bed while chewing candy and watching their television.)

I grew up in a mill town, and it was common to have semi trucks roll through Main Street. But for some strange reason, as I was crossing the street on the way to the community center one day, I froze in the crosswalk as the large truck was coming towards me. I must have been perplexed as to why it wasn’t slowing down as I was obviously standing in the crosswalk. Thankfully, my dear sister took no time to pull me out of harm’s way and onto the sidewalk.

If it weren’t for Marji, I also wouldn’t be the person I am today. She has always been independent and very social. She encouraged me to take part in a foreign exchange program. If it weren’t for her, I would never have gone to France.

She has had a good heart and loves the Lord.  She has been a wonderful mentor to me.  I love her so much, and I am so glad to have her in my life not only as a sister but as a best friend.  And I am so honored to have stood by her side on her wedding day.

To be very honest, it was hard the first time I met Mero realizing that I had to share my sister with him.  That she wouldn’t be my partner in board games anymore.  That she wouldn’t be texting me first anymore.  That she wouldn’t be sitting next to me in restaurants anymore.  (I’d like to admit I was exaggerating, but that was all true.)

However, I am just so thrilled that she found her soul-mate, and now she is married to him!  (This wedding was the primary reason I have been absent from WordPress for so long.)  I cannot wait for the next chapter in their lives as Mr. and Mrs.

For anyone that is curious, the photographer’s wedding pictures can be found here.