Archive for July, 2009

Welcome, and let me introduce you to a friend of mine.

So I had a few new visitors to the old bloggy-blog yesterday. Welcome. Thanks for visiting.

Not every post is about the loss of our daughter. I do a little of everything, and I sometimes share things from day-to-day life.

And today is one of those days, because I had one of the best nights of my life last night, and I just have to share.

Abraham and I were offered 2 tickets to see one of our favorite musicians in concert last night. None other than the amazing Lyle Lovett!!!

Most of you probably know him as the funny-looking guy who used to be married to Julia Roberts. If that’s true, I feel sorry for you and I want that to change. 🙂

One of the things I love about Lyle (I like to refer to him on a first-name basis, just to pretend that he and I are friends) is that his style is so diverse—gospel, country, folk, blues. So if you like any of those genres of music, chances are you’ll like something of his.

He often tours with his “Large Band,” meaning that there was anywhere from 4 to 13 people on the stage last night during any given song. It was pure musical excellence.

I have to admit that I’m primarily a sucker for his croony, buttery ballads. And I love story songs, so I’m usually drawn into his music for that reason as well.

Last night, my favorite song they played was called “I Will Rise Up/Ain’t No More Cane,” which is a medley of Lyle’s original lyrics and melody and a South Texas folk song from the early 1900s, “Ain’t No More Cane on the Brazos,” a chain-gang song.

I found this video of Lyle and his Large Band performing it on Leno, so here it is. Enjoy!

And if you’re new to this blog, I’d love for you to subscribe. And I always welcome comments from new readers. Thanks for visiting.

July 24, 2009 at 2:36 pm 19 comments

We used to be happy people… I even have proof.

In early September 2007, Abraham and I traveled to Wheaton, IL for “one last hurrah” before our second child would be born.

We left our 2-year-old with my mother-in-law and hit the road in a sporty-looking rental—a highly impractical red Pontiac. I remember we stopped for a leisurely lunch on our way there, and I kept my feet up on the dash for a good portion of the six hour trip to prevent swelling.

While in Wheaton, we distributed books to the college students, compliments of Desiring God (the company my husband works for). We also went out to eat, talked with students, visited with Abraham’s brother and his family and other good friends. We were footloose and fancy-free.

And I was 36 weeks pregnant.

We took this picture of us to email to Orison so that he’d know we were thinking about him and missing him.

We Love Orison

What strikes me most about this picture is how happy we look.

One of the things I’ve been grieving this last year is simply that I used to be a happy person. It used to be that my days were primarily happy, with the occasional interruption of melancholy or difficulty. For the last 22 months, the opposite has been mainly true.

One of my good friends uses the phrase “secondary losses.” I think that’s what this year has been—a whole bunch of secondary losses. The loss of innocence. The loss of happiness. The loss of youth.The loss of simplicity. And when you experience those secondary losses, you grieve.

I look at those two people and truly wonder if that is the same person I see in the mirror each day. I feel like I’ve aged something like 10 years since then.

Today, memories like this one make me cry—hard. We had no idea that we were a few weeks away from one of the worst tragedies we’ll ever face.

So if you’re a mom like me, living without one (or more) of your children, take heart that this is indeed one of the hardest things you will ever live through. But that also means that you lived.

The lines around your eyes will deepen. But that also means you’ve seen. You’ve seen the chaos of pain. Your eyes have and will shed tears for people in their pain that you could’ve never understood before. This is a blessed gift.

Hold on with me. We’re gonna make it. We might not be the happy-go-lucky gals we used to be, but our lives here will tell stories of indescribable loss and the love of a God who made us to be exactly who we are—every line, every gray hair. None of it is wasted.

July 23, 2009 at 12:15 am 111 comments

Blogs I Read: Honey for a Child’s Heart

Gladys Hunt, author of the book Honey for a Child’s Heart, writes on her blog about instilling a love of Mother Goose into our children from an early age.

I’ve wondered what collections are best, and always felt overwhelmed by the number of options out there. Gladys gives a few recommendations to moms like me!

I would highly recommend subscribing to this blog. You know how some experts can make you feel really stupid and guilty about all the ways you’re failing in their particular area of expertise? Not Gladys! I’ve never felt guilted by anything Gladys has written about reading to children. Her posts are always interesting and give me new ideas for encouraging literacy in our family.

I really hope you enjoy her blog as much as I have!

July 13, 2009 at 12:35 am 19 comments

A Vacation from Perfectionism

Right now Orison, Morrow, and I are on vacation! We’ve been visiting my parents in Erie, PA and then their lake cottage in Chautauqua, NY. Abraham was here for the long weekend, but is now back to life (reality) in Minneapolis.

Being alone with the kids means I have lots of parenting choices to make. Normally, my default parenting style is to be on the strict side. I expect my kids to listen to the direct instructions I give them. When they don’t, there’s a consequence of some kind.

And in my normal life, I’m ashamed to admit, I say “no” a lot more than is necessary. I say no to things that are going to inconvenience me or make my life more difficult in the short term to save myself some work. It’s laziness, really. It doesn’t serve my children when I act that way.

I also struggle with perfectionism. I want life to be “just so” and when my plans are derailed, I act out in anger and frustration toward the people I feel are blocking my “perfect” path. Sound contradictory? Um, yeah.

But on this vacation, I’ve been making a conscious effort to be as permissive as possible.

You want to go swimming? Sure.
You want to ride your bike for the 90th time today?
Sounds great!
You want to ride on the tractor?
I’d love to take you.
Bedtime at 9pm?
No problem.
You want a piece of candy?
(Whoa, this is really not typical me) Pick 2!

I suppose when many of the typical life demands are removed, I have more freedom to say yes. I’m not as worried about meeting a timetable, I’m not as easily frustrated, and I stop seeing my kids’ enjoyment as an obstacle to my happiness. Instead, they start to be symbiotic—when I’m making my kids happy, they’re happier, and then I’m happier.

Of course the fundamental rules of life still apply:

Respect your parents.
Listen and obey when you’re told what to do.

Not only am I less stressed when I take the demands for perfection off myself and my kids, my kids are actually more obedient when it’s time to obey.

I know that God is helping me to love my children more thoroughly, not seeing them as small inconveniences. Left to myself, I’m selfish, mean, restrictive (for no good reason), lazy… the list could go on and on. But for this little stretch of vacation, I’m really hoping to learn to enjoy my kids more. Hopefully it’ll transfer back to my real life.

July 9, 2009 at 11:16 am 40 comments

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