still here, no change, all is well…

The past few nights I have been going through a ritual in case I go to the hospital before the girls wake up. I label things, hang more lists on the refrigerator, organize the laundry. Perhaps this is how some of you live all the time? Fascinating.

Then I get up every morning and start again. (Though I do find my own labels helpful…)

It’s a funny thing to feel so utterly indispensable in your own private world, while the whole time knowing, deep down, they can and will carry on. And if lunchboxes somehow get switched, all will survive.

So…we spent the weekend at a beautiful wedding with the dearest of friends, came home to hunker down for the storm, enjoyed a day off and today a school delay, put together a cat costume for tomorrow, planned a birthday for Saturday, wrote papers for a class not due for another week,  the whole time still list making, and labeling and trying to stay 4 hospital stay days, ahead of everything.

And I’m trying to enjoy even the neuroses of being ahead, knowing all too well that in 9 days or under, I will go back to being behind for no doubt the rest of my life.

Grateful over here for power and warmth, feeling the sweetness of all the offers of help no matter the hour, and praying for our friends in places ravaged by this storm..thinking, in a raw, heartsick kind of way, specifically of those being evacuated from hospitals without power, just nine short hours from here. Oh what sheer luxury my trite list- making is…


“In the Beginning, all America was Virginia” (William Byrd)

Oh, Jamestown, thank you for reminding us Virginians that we had a strong identity even before we were a Swing State…

And thanks for, yes, still being FREE for Williamsburg residents, even though it’s not advertised which makes me feel like I’m part of a secret society when I flash my ID at the cashier.

And thanks for spicing up our dress up routine…

for providing sisterhood shared experiences…

and for that moment of clarity in the Jamestown fort when I figured out what was wrong with my camera’s setting, making all the pictures foggy,

just in time to board the ships, and the camera battery to die…

But not before the realization that sometimes the difference between childhood and adulthood is as fine a line as viewing these historical bunkbeds as SO COOL or so infested.

Here’s to history!

What I’ve Read Lately…the serious stuff…

This book surprised me…it seems to be packaged as a ministry strategy book but is actually  a collection of beautiful essays regarding connections between arts and worship. If you are a Lauren Winner reader, she writes a great essay about her struggle in “over paying” for a piece of art. (This one has a place behind Madeline L’Engle’s Walking on Water, a definite must-read.)


It seems half my Facebook feed has read or watched Half the Sky. In many ways this is one author’s response  to that life changing book. James has written about women’s identity and place in the church and this volume is a next step: once women view themselves as whole, called, and Image Bearers, what is their call to help women in the most broken parts of the world? James’ (albeit gently) indicts readers with a limited understanding of the Bible if they possess a limited understanding of middle eastern culture- then and now. Just started this one and it is immediately compelling.

My sister handed me this one in August and I finished it in a night. She had it as assigned reading when she was in grad school and much of her work currently involves play therapy which this book vividly describes. Wow. Read this if you are a parent, educator or person who interacts with other people.

What have you read that’s challenged you lately?


What is your hope for your family?

This is not my family, though I am struck by how in some quick years I have gone from a startling resemblance to  Tina Yothers (Jennifer) to that of Meredith Baxter-Birney (Elyse). Are Lifetime movies next?!

We had crossed our backyard into our neighbors warm kitchen sunday night. My neighbor is a Doctoral Student in Counseling and had asked if she could interview us for a paper on families. Though we tend to be intensely private about the dynamics in this home (?) we agreed without hesitation. As we headed over, I did worry about all of our dysfunction being exposed and Travis worried that we would be so normal, it would be uninteresting. This is a common disconnect.

The questions began with our definition of family, progressed into questions about struggles, resolving conflict, resources and extended family.

But this last question caught me. Great Question. I love great questions – questions with answers that become evolving discussions and conversations rather than lists.

What is your hope for your family?

And it wasn’t spiritually charged…it was a concluding thought in a research process.

What is your hope for your family?

I can rattle off hopes for my children and hopes for my marriage and values and priorities for my family (must eat crusts, one day go camping)…and cliches I want to ever avoid ( scenes in buffet resturants.)

But what do I really hope for this ragamuffin social unit that somedays just appears to be happening around us?

And wrapped up in the answer are thoughts about whether the family is a launching pad or a finish line. Are our relationships an end in themselves or do they carry with them the resolve for a greater purpose? Does this family have vision for both its members and its non-members? Has the nuclear family become a source of weird idolatry at the cost of greater communities and people in need?

(My answer to all of these is…yes.)

But what do I really hope for?

I hope for what Paul prays for in chapter three of his letter to the Church in Ephesus…for this group to be rooted and grounded in love, for the power to grasp how deep and wide the love of God truly is and to know that Love that is beyond knowledge…and to be filled to the brim with the fullness of God, so that fullness can flow over to the world around them.

That’s all.

Oh and I hope everyone is good at telling funny stories and we always laugh a lot. I like families that laugh.

What are some hopes for your family?


photo credit


Because Parenting is for Life…

My parents bought us a new crib. I found one that has a small changing table attached. (I have 74 inches of space for baby furniture.  Think small, people.) This is after insisting that they did not need to buy us anything. 15 minutes after, I think. I call my mom from Wal Mart upon discovery of this crib. (O and I frequent Wal Mart on Monday mornings. It’s grown on me. I have no melatonin left in my skin, but they have Lunchables really cheap and Lunchables are just as cool as ever.)

Then I went home and read the consumer reviews – which rave about the product, and MOAN about its assembly. So I attach a rider to this request I wasn’t going to make…”CanyougetmethiscribandwhenitcomescanDadassembleitforme?…”

My Dad whittles entire sea vessels out of his bare hands. Surely, this would be a small chore.

I mean, all this crib took was an allen wrench…and 1400 hours and HIS COMPLETE SANITY.

Friday, he drives crib in boxes to Williamsburg.

Attempts assembly for 3 hours.

Bashes his face against the wall.

Puts crib back in car and drives back to Virginia Beach.

In the comfort of his home, amidst the soothing salty air, he assembles crib.

Puts back in car, in one piece,  Monday morning, drives back to Williamsburg.

(Do you see this next part coming?) Crib will not fit through doorway of room.

He partially disassembles the crib, moves it into the room and reassembles it.

He then leaves my home. Probably for forever.

Or until I call him to come convert it to a toddler bed…


Oh for the Eyes to See…

I was caught putting this in the recycling bin the other day:

 I mistakedly assumed I was in the clear because:

A. It wasn’t a piece of artwork or a craft (what are the rest of you doing with all of those?)

B. In regards to artwork and crafts, we I lift up recycling as not throwing away, “but contributing to the growth of new trees.”

From death, life.

But, I am rarely in the clear – Viscous Disposer and  Purger that I am.

“Daddy said I could keep it!!!”

“But what are you going to do with it?”

(indignant pause) “So many things.”

And she did. It was Red Riding Hood’s basket, part of a ribbon pulley she built, and one night, when we walked to dinner, she carried a single chicken wing back for Travis.

The Purger stands corrected.

“Reason is the natural order of truth. But imagination is the organ of meaning. ” C.S. Lewis

And All I Ever Really Wanted Was…

And I know it’s a chain. And it’s located in a Town Center/MultiPlex/Fake Downtown near you and me. Well not really me, which is why I started wanting to go there last spring. We are within an hour of this lovely high end franchise in either direction. Perhaps for my birthday? The next time we were in Virginia Beach? Could I make it there and back before preschool pick up?

But I chose not to be patient.

And instead I gorged myself on cheap Chinese take out. True confession.

Chinese Take out is respectable. We got some with friends and ended up with all the leftovers. Therein lies the problem. Chinese Take Out = Respectable. Leftover Chinese Take Out = High risk.

It was a crazy week and one fateful night Travis walks into the kitchen to find me reheating and ingesting leftovers for the third (fourth?) night in a row. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” This stuff was not meant to be eaten more than once?!” Excuse me. Are there rules? Because no one told me there were rules.

There are rules.

I didn’t get sick. But when he surprised me with reservations at PF Changs a few weeks later, I turned green at the thought. And this was my window! He never wants  Chinese. He always wants  Italian. Sometimes high end, sometimes low end. Sometimes Ci-Ci’s Pizza. But he never wants to eat Chinese.

But I just slammed the window shut and enjoyed some Penne alla Vodka. Extrapolate your own life application here please.

That was May, allow for five months of recovery…and the desire returned!

So when my sister wanted to celebrate Cinderella Simone’s eminent arrival…

I saw the window open once again. And went for it.

(Woohoo sporting the Jessica Smith necklaces!)

It was glorious. Some of my fabulous Virginia Beach girls, balloons, lettuce wraps. For a brief moment,  I felt like a city girl, dodging cars in parking garages, not horses and beer wagons.

The best things are worth waiting for. (Remind me of that in approximately 3.9 weeks)

There’s actually a new resturant down the street called Peter Changs, which I ignorantly wrote off as A. a PF knock off or B. another AYCE Buffet, help us all. But, apparently it’s supposed to be amazing…Has anyone been there? And what are your favorite Town Center/Soul-Less Multi Plex Hot Spots?