Monday, July 13, 2009

Check out Matisyahu's new single on youtube.

sometimes I lay
under the moon
and thank God I'm breathing
then I pray
don't take me soon
cause i'm here for a reason
sometimes in my tears I drown
but I never let it get me down
so when negativity surrounds
I know some day it'll all turn around
all my live I've been waiting for
I've been praying for
for the people to say
that we dont wanna fight no more
they'll be no more wars
and our children will play
one day
it's not about
win or lose
because we all lose
when they feed on the souls of the innocent
blood drenched pavement
keep on moving though the waters stay raging
in this maze you can lose your way (your way)
it might drive you crazy but dont let it faze you no way (no way)
sometimes in my tears I drown
but I never let it get me down
so my negativity surrounds
I know some day it'll all turn around
becauseall my live I've been waiting for
I've been praying forfor the people to say
that we dont wanna fight no more
they'll be no more warsand our children will play
one day
one day this all will change
treat people the same
stop with the violence
down the the hate
one day we'll all be free
and proud to beunder the same sun
singing songs of freedom like
one day
all my live I've been waiting for
I've been praying for
for the people to say
that we don't wanna fight no more
they'll be no more wars
and our children will play
one day

There is a lot of discussion in the new monasticism and emergent movements about pacifism. Most of it is theoretical and about our ideals. Maybe we should be focusing instead on what we do every day to promote peace. While not all of us will agree on whether or not Jesus called us all to lay down our swords, we should agree that eschatalogically God's goal is peace. If we are to be guided by living as if his kingdom has already come, what are we doing today to move toward a world without hate and violence?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A real Baby

it is easy in all of the preparations going on in these last weeks of my pregnancy to focus on getting a place ready, having the registries ready by the time everyone receives their invitations to showers, finishing birth classes, etc. It is a little like what they say about people planning for a wedding instead of a marriage. At least with my marriage I already had RJ around we shared our lives nearly to the same extent as we would after the wedding, and my mom planned most of it for me as I had to work so much. At that point really all I wanted was to lay down beside him every night.

This is so different. While I have all of these preparations that have to be made, I have never had a real live baby, my own baby, in my home for 24 hours before. I have been excited, yes, but nothing compared the thought that in 7.5 weeks I will hold my very own live baby in my arms. This thought takes my breath away. I have said to RJ playfully how cool it will be to meet this new person that is made up of both of us together, but it is to easy to say things and not think about what they really mean.

As I sit here with little feet rubbing against the inside of my belly every few minutes, adjusting in a space that is more crowded every day, I realize that in such a short time I will get to watch these feet move in the soft lighting of our family's beautifully prepared room, and reach out and touch the soft baby toes with my fingers. I can pick up this baby, and see his or her unique face and press it close to mine for butterfly kisses.

In my chair at work, my feet are swelling hanging down, and the familiar crick comes in my back. I have to be careful to eat regular snakcs or I feel sick, and if I get hot too it is so miserable. I can understand the woman who my midwife said just got tired of being pregnant. Who in their right mind would choose this over a baby? But I have to wait a little longer. Baby's lungs need a little more time, and there are no diapers on my shelf yet. Together Baby, Daddy, and I will be patient. We will stick it out these last few weeks, until we all get to meet eachother, and be a real new family.

Monday, July 6, 2009

I just really need to whine right now

I don't get off work for 2 hours. Even if we could afford for me to leave early I don't have a car. for the last hour I have been nauseated. I have a headache. I keep having hot flashes. My feet are swollen a lot. I feel constantly like I am about to cry, or maybe throw up. I just want some dinner and to go to bed. Do I really have to stay here doing nothing for 2 more hours!?!?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Meal System

My family and close friends have heard about 6 times "I finally set up a meal plan that I think we can actually use." I had almost given up, since one plan after another seemed perfect, and then failed to meet our needs. However, preparing for the impact a baby will have on our budget and schedule motivated me to try once again. Each time I am more prepared because I have found more resources, and am equipped with the knowledge of what made the past attempts fail. So, we'll see if this on sticks.

Here are a few pointers I have gleaned along the path of failure, which hopefully leads to success.

1. You can't hold yourself to other people's standards of frugality and nutrition. One family eats bean and soup cassaroles nearly every day to get their budget down to like 2.50 per meal. Another family eats only seasonal local vegetables, with no meat at all. Slow food people recommend buying only whole chickens. None of these things work for me. I could give you all of the excuses, but most of you understand because you have your own. You have to find the balance of all of these things that is best for you.

2. I think that it is insane to make a full time job of scouring sales ads, clipping coupons, and writing a spiral notebook full of notes on whohas the cheapest average price on green beans,and what that price is. I have a favorite grocery store. They are cheaper on somethings and more on others. I go there because they are friendly, it is a smaller chain (I hate walmart), and they have good produce. I also like to go to a local market that has both flowers and vegetables when the bulk of what I need is fresh. I don't care if several things on my list are cheaper at another store, I am not going grocery shopping at 2 stores.

3. I tried to be a cassarole girl, because it seemed like that is what everyone else frugal is doing. This is what I learned:
a.It's not that I don't like them, but I don't love them-the leftovers will probably rot.
b.They require a lot of specialized ingredients, like soups. These are either cheap, but processed and filled with preservatives, or something I would spend hours and hours making and canning myself. No thank you.
c.They make a large amount of food, but the leftovers can only be one thing. A meal with several components can be re-arranged to make several meals.
d.It is really cheap and easy to broil meat that was on sale and throw some frozen vegetables in the microwave with olive oil and a little salt.

4. Build in easy nights. If I don't plan to eat pizza once every two weeks or so, we will do it anyway. We will buy a pizza because I am tired, and the house is hot, and I just don't care any more. If it is not planned, I probably have something defrosted that will go bad, I will feel guilty, and we won't have healthy easy sides on hand to go with it. So just plan on it.

5. Eating out is not absolutely more expensive. We can buy a Hot'n'Ready Pizza, or a whole fried or bbq chicken for 5 dollars, and eat it with fresh fruit or salad at home. To me that is an excellent price for feeding two or three people. Also, sharing is terrific. If you count the cost of one meal/person at a restaurant, of course it is expensive, but if you realize that the chicken parmesan that is 10.95 at your local Italian restaurant will feed two people twice, and includes salad, bread, and wait-staff it's not bad. My parents get fajitas for two and a plate of three enchiladas to fee themselves, my husband and I, and my little sister at a great mexican food restaurant down the street from my house. If we get water it is less than $20 to feed the 5 of us till we are stuffed. They always have meat left over that they send home with me for a salad at lunch the next day.

I may post more later if I figure out how to link to PDFs of my meal plan and menus.

Monday, June 29, 2009


I can't remember if I have talked about plain dress/modesty on here before, but it has something that has been on my heart/mind for a long time. I admit I have been at extreme ends on this spectrum over the course of my years dressing myself. I think that both aspects are important, and both have contingencies that can be very judgemental and legalistic. I see the value for both, but in moderation.

However, moderation does not mean that it does not require a commitment. On many occasions I have fallen into the trap that if I don't feel attractive I can distract by wearing flashy,odd, or trendy clothes, or that if I just buy one more thing I will figure out my style. I also admit that on many occasions I have purchased and worn imodest clothes out of resignation to the state of what was available (i.e. it is easier to buy this pretty dress, even though it is too low cut/tight than to make something myself or wear the grandma clothes that are actually made to cover me up.

While reading the blogs of those who are more judgemental on this topic, I feel both guilty and frustrated. One young woman complained of the hypocrisy of young and older women at a christian women's banquet she attended sayin, "How could a woman not notice the kind of reaction she causes when she exposes parts of her body that should be seen only by her husband? I'm not one to judge another's motives for dressing a certain way, but I am convinced that every woman does know what she's doing when she dresses in a "sexy" manner." Does she really believe that every woman who does not dress to her standard of modesty is seeking approval by showing off her body? While I believe that there is a lot of compromise in this area, and a lot of desensitization, you have to make room for people to have their own convictions.

So this is where I am. I do feel compelled to dress in a more simple, modest, and feminie way. For a long time I have desired this, but have not been willing to make the commitment to do so. Reasons:

1. I am not sure what rules there should be. A lot of things are permissible, but not ideal. Also something may be modest, but not simple and vice versa.

2. It takes a lot of work and restraint. It is not easy to find or make clothes that meet high standards and yet look young and attractive. In Texas it gets hot, and I don't want to have to wear three shirts to cover everything. Sometimes when I feel crappy about my appearance, there is an imulse to buy something new and pretty to make me feel better.

3. Related to two, making a firm commitment requires a support group, and no one I know feels convicted about these things. Even my husband does not think they are important. My mother in law tries to dress modestly, but honestly her standards of what looks pretty and mine are very far apart. If she was my only support I would be encouraged to where whatever long skirts were at goodwill, and whatever wal-mart tshirts kind of matched. I wish I had friends to work through this with.

4. I have always been very interested in fashion, and it is a complete change of mindset to limit my personal style so much.

Here is what I would go to on first thought:

But these are modest too:

This is what I think:

Printed T-Shirts- I like these because they are simple yet expressive, modest yet young, inexpensive and widely available.

Plain T-Shirts- This is the same idea, but can be dressier, also baby doll T-s. Should be loose and long.

Skirts- I am okay with any skirt longer than knee length if it is not clingy. Broom skirts or petticoat skirts are best.

Jeans- I like jeans initially. I think they are very practical, simple, and attractive. They are widely available, and will last a long time. However, isn't femininity an important part of this? A lot of what attracts me to this is that when a woman is distinguishably modest it is a witness that beauty comes from a gentle spirit and that fashionableness is fleeting. I am not sure that this can be accomplished wearing pants. Even though they are modest or simple they are no distinct. I haven't made my mind.

Shoes- Should be comfortable and simple, not flashy or impractical.

Hair- I want my hair to be long again. It is an important part of my femininity that I have missed, and a way to look beautiful and unique regardless of clothes. Hair flowers are excellent.

Make-Up- I don't see any problem with wearing an attractive amount of make-up. I am not opposed to people wearing it liberally because they look whorish so much as because they look plastic and unattractive.

This is a rough idea of what simplicity and modesty might look like for me.
1.loose tee and longer skirt
2.dress like I wear, but with twinset
3.jeans worn when pants are most practical, but with longer top/dress
4.simple shoes, purse doubles as diaper bag, pretty long hair

Please, if anyone reads this, help me think through these things.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Wardrobe Building

So, no surprise I still suck at this. Oh well, it's good that I control this blog, however poorly, instead of it controlling me.

This post is about Wardrobe Building, if you didn't guess from the title, and more importantly, how its meaning has evolved for me.

I have always been interested in fashion, and since I am a realist, primarily in practical fashion; clothes that make up your wardrobe. Having traveled constantly for most of my childhood, my fashion philosophy can be summed up in the Diane von Furstenburg quote, "If you figure out your suitcase, you figure out your life." This also feels right to the simplist in me who wants everything I need to wear to fit in a suitcase, and the aesthete who believes that our design and lifestyle shoices really do speak deeply to our spirituality.

That's a lot of words to say that the things I learned today are just another step in a life-long journey for me.

Being poor, and a child, most of my wardrobe planning theory has been just that, theory, until recently. Two developments have changed this ever so slightly-Pregnancy, and Tha Amazon Universal Wishlist. Why these things you ask? This is why: For the first time in my life I actually have the need to build my wardrobe almost completely from scratch, and I have at my fingertips, the means to plan and coordinate things before I buy them.

From this more practical approach I have learned a better way to plan my wardrobe, and it is that which I want to share with you. If you are surprised that this now seems to be the point of this post, 6 paragraphs in, I apologize for being on of those people who turns everythin into a story, unless you like it, in which case we should be friends.


What pieces of clothing do you feel both comfortable and attractive in? This is a hard one, but I insist that the garments in your wardrobe should be both. While I appreciate many many kinds of clothes I tend to be most happy with myself in 1) Twinsets, 2) Empire Waist T-Shirts, 3) A-line Dresses, 4) Jeans, 5) Drawsting or Foldover Waistband Capris, and 6) Full Elastic Waist Skirts.

This is what I do: Pick a few colors that you already have some of these pieces in. If you are like me you are drawn to 3 or so bright color families. I also love neutrals with colored accessories (more on that in a minute). Now the action: you need to make sure you have several pieces in each color, so things go together. The fun part is that you can mix solids, neutrals, and prints. Also your green cardigan can be a different shape than your pink one.

This may not seem like anything brilliant, but I like it because it works better than the crazy completely from scratch without your personality approaches. Maybe I am dumb to have not figured this out sooner, but now I know, and now I can see more clearly where I have holes in my wardrobe.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

my mom always said that women have broad hips to carry the babies and men have broad shoulders to carry the burdens. am i trying to be the man and woman of the house?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Moving Forward

We are in a really paradoxical place right now as a family(it is so exciting that we are a fmily, not just a couple). While we are still stuck in Brownwood for another 9-14 months, welcoming our child is an amazing opportunity to move ahead into the simpler life we feel called to. Every step is a baby step, but hopefully we aren't taking any backward. I read and read, soaking up knowledge of how to live responsibly, and deliberately, prayerfully, seek the best balance for us.

Some decisions are clear, although not always easy, such as homebirth and cloth diapering. Others like energy consumption are more tricky. While it is very important to me to minimize our waste of materials, it is a lot harder for me to measure everything's "cost" in terms of energy footprint. Just minimizing waste is a monumental task. Our main sources of waste are food packaging, and paper cleaning materials. I would like to start with the food packaging, because paper towels, facial tissues, and toilet paper are very highly biodegradable.

I am sure it would be beneficial for us to have a combined effort to decrease our food packaging disposal and also make an effort at recycling. Recycling is difficult because I am not certain that Brownwood has a center. I have heard both that there is and isn't one from various sources. Those who say there is say that is is on an outside edge of town down a very long dirt road. Even if this is so I know that the effort is worth it, and it is time to stop making excuses.

The other front at this point is to decrease our possessions. I need to make a detailed sweep of the house, and also we need to adopt a zero gain policy-meaning that while we minimize our consumption we do not buy anything new without giving the old away, we maintain, rather than increase our store of possessions. This is of course difficult while we are waiting on a baby, but since we are due for a major purge, I hope the balance will turn out favorably. We would like to have a garage sale with a lot of our possessions. Since we are going to be increasingly tight financially in the coming months, it is important to use what we can for income.

I haven't decided yet whether the best way to go about this is to plan very carefully ahead of time what we will keep and what we will let go of, or just to dig in and let my intuition guide me. My main idea would be to make a list of purposes for our family, things we want and need to accomplish, and keep only things that serve those purposes. I have been very careful with our Baby Wish List to keep things to a minimum, and choose only good quality things that we really need.

These physical things are of course what we get cought up in. It is easy to focus on what we can see. The big questions are; where does our ministry flow out of this? How do we simplify our time? How do we find a balance between frugality and nutrition? The biggest questions are; where are we going from here? how do we minister and support our family? how do we devote the right amount of time to each of the different things that are important to us?

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Friday, March 20, 2009

hah, the tuesday post never came. I forgot that even though it was my day off i wouldn't be free. We went to Austin, shopped, went the nutritionist's, bought fabric at hancock for my two fave vintage maternity patterns. hopefully i will have finished dresses to post on here soon. Old Navy Maternity was dissapointing. There was only half a section with like 8 garments. so, even though i really prefer to try things on first, i ordered stuff online. i can't wait for it to come. after we got back home we had staff meeting, small group, and nick & nicky's st. patrick's day bash. i was so tired, and my allergies have been out of control since.

wednesday and thursday flew by and i just forgot.

Here is the promised post on somethings i chose for baby and why.


I have gone on such a journey to choosing cloth diapers. When I first found out my mother-in-law used them, as well as having her babies at home, i felt like i would never measure up to her super mom status. Now we are doing both. i'm not really sure when the homebirth thing happened, maybe when my friend Siobhan had hers at home. Our friends Mitch & Rochelle Senti inspired us that cloth diapering was a feasible choice when we spent three days with them and their fifteen month onld last January and they didn't seem insane or overwrought.

Originally I looked at all-in-ones, since they were more like the disposable diapers i was used to using, but they are SOOO expensive, i had almost given up on the possibility. After reading the website i linked to last time, it seemed like prefolds, might not be too much of a pain, and after more research we decided on the following plan.

3 dozen unbleached prefolds, 3 or so prowraps covers (they are the cheapest and simplest, good for around the house), gdiapers little gpants (these are still only 10.95 a pair and are really cute and leak-proof), and gdiapers flushable inserts for when we go out.

There are a few benefits of this plan over all-in-ones. 1. the cost of course. Pre-folds are a dozen for $20 instead of $17-20 each. Also, they come in fewer sizes since they adjust more easily, so yuo have to get new ones fewer times. 2. other moms say that all-in-ones do not hold up well, because after multiple cleanings the thickly layered crotch wears out. Prefolds will quilt and only get more absorbant after many washings. 3. the gdiapers are a great altenative to regular disposables for when we are out, and have they best covers i have seen for a really reasonable price. The flushables are just that flushable, and they are highly biodegradable as opposed to regular disposables. they will spend about a month decomposing to a disposable's 500 years. also did you know that throwing away poop is illegal? it contaminates groundwater. flushing diapers sends poop to the water treatment facility where it belongs. The covers are great because they are made of cotton which is softer on baby's skin than nylon or plastic pants, but they have an eco-friendly waterproof liner that has elastic on four sides like a traditional disposable to keep moisture from leaking. the velcro closures go toward the back instead of over baby's belly so they are harder for little hands to take off on their own. All that in cute colors and still half the price of an all-in-one diaper. I'll take it.


So we are nursing primarily, but it is always good to keep bottles and a pump around just in case. we got a free Playtex naturalatch bottle from motherhood maternity, which i really liked the nipple on(I gave it to Elliott one time when he was over for a visit and he put the whole thing in his mouth like they are supposed to do with nursing. What i didn't like is the disposable liner. Then i got an e-mail from one of those random pregnancy websites that sends me a dozen a week, announcing Playtex's introduction of the new "wide nipple" for their vent-air bottles. These bottles curve in the middle, which really does make them easier on your arm to hold for a long period of time, and have a venting system in the bottom to prevent air bubbles without a liner, so you aren't throwing away anything. The new wide nipples look just like the naturallatch to me, but are made for this bottle. Perfect.


We are using mostly babys bliss and burt's bees for washes, diaper cream etc. because we like it natural, and of course baby bliss makes the ever praised gripe juice, which all mothers in washington told us was a lifesaver.

We do want a boppy pillow, and a bumbo seat, but will look for used, since the brand names are so expensive new.

I think Puj's go sling is the best sling it seems to distribute the weight more evenly so yuo can use it with a bigger baby, it comes in pretty fabrics, and is $48 instead of the other brands which are $70-90. Mom says we should get one and then make more like it. My other favorite carriers are meitais, which are also expensive, but i am lucky because i am getting my friends hand-me-downs she got on etsy.

We are using a port-a-crib, because I think the regular ones are ridiculously huge, and baby is going in our room. Ours is dream-on-me two way from babysrus because it will work with an older baby, it is very inexpensive, and it comes in the pretty dark wood color we wanted. It just came and I can't wait to put it together tonight with RJ.

most of the clothes on our list are from the gap. they have really well made cute stuff, adn their neutal things have a lot of brown instead of pale yellow and green which are unflattering on most skin types, and just not very cute. they don't have a neutral section, so you have to look through boys and girls, but we like kind of androgynous stuff, so we do that at most websites anyway.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Confession: I am a terrible blogger

My second trimester started yesterday. We are one third of the way from "Let's take a chance" to "It's a ..." and I haven't blogged since the announcement. We are both working, and settling into a schedule. It seems like each semester it takes us 2 or 3 months to figure out the routine, and then it's over and we have to start again.

Baby is growing like crazy. I know this because even when Iam hungry i have no room for food, and my stomach is very sensitive to pressure. I keep forgetting NOT to lean up against bathroom cabinets to get a closer look at my make-up. ouch. I am mostly uncomfortable all over as my muscles stratch and move to make room for our baby dinosaur (this is what my tummy sounds like).

I have studied and learned so much, and should have been blogging it all, but I didn't. Maybe I can go back and cover some things. Having friends and a cousin who are great mothers has helped so much in knowing how to make a home for little one.

Today i will just post a few links that have been really helpful to me.

For godly mom advice:
particularly this post with links back to old posts. Jessica's writing has been so helpful to me as I prepared for this new part of our life over the last six months.

Old Navy has the cutest affordable (affordable as opposed to Isabella Oliver) maternity clothes, hands down. Gap has the cutest baby clothes, especially for us since we won't know Baby's gender until he or she arrives. Universal Wishlist has been my best friend. I can search all over the web to find what is best for Baby at the best prices, and save it all in one list. Also I can have several lists. I have Baby Essentials Registry, Baby Clothes, Stuff For Later, Books, and Mommy Clothes. It has helped me organize our spending, and gift lists so much better than I was able to do with my wedding registry.

Until I read this website, I really wanted to use cloth diapers, but had no idea where to start. It gives information about all the different kinds, and helped me to make an informed decision, and feel more confident about my ability to cloth diaper.

Last, but not least, Texas Midwives helped us to find a wonderful midwife. I had looked and looked and until I found this website I was desparing that we would ever find a midwife who would work in Brown County. Our Midwife, Betsy Robinett, also has a lot of usefule information on her website.

Tomorrow (hopefully) I will start explaining some of my choices and why I went with them.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Ate a Baby

So, RJ (my husband) and I are expecting a baby in September. It is kind of surreal right now. I have symptoms that match up with what I have read to expect, but nothing that screams BABY to me outside of this head knowledge. So basically everyone has found out before they were supposed to, and I am really excited in some ways, but I don't feel pregnant, and while I want to talk about it all the time, there is really not much to say at this point.

I feel like there is something more that I should be doing than writing up a meal plan and rearranging bedroom furniture. Mostly I feel fat, and very sleepy. Everyone keeps saying congratulations (one lady even told me "good job"), but I don't feel any different than before when I was just dreaming of having a baby. Suddenly nine months seems like such a long time until it will be real.

It's too early to buy stuff, too early to decorate, too early to make some sort of a list. Did anyone else feel like this when they were first pregnant?