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Willow Trees and Ramparts

Today my dad helped Jack climb a tree for the first time in our backyard.

     When Matt decided he was set on this house being OUR house, I remember looking out at this yard and loving these weeping willows. Maybe it was my inner 90's girl calling to me with a scene from Pocahontas. I don't know. It took me a little longer, but I fell for the house, too. One day on my lunch break, I drove here, slipped through the unlocked gate, and knelt under this very tree to pray. I prayed that if this was the home we were meant to have, that our offer would be enough (it was, even after we decided to hold steady when someone came in with a counter offer), and that God would give us this home and children to fill it with. I pictured a couple of kids running around that yard, though at the time, we were still trying and failing to conceive, for no physical reason, which was breaking my heart. I also prayed His will above ours, knowing we would trust no matter what the outcome was.
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Recent posts

Post-Baby Wisdom: A Public Retraction

Okay, Timehop. Enough with the reminders from nine years ago.  I said dumb things before I was a parent. Everybody hear that? I want to publicly stand (sit, actually) before you all and say (well, write) OOPS SORRY. Some thoughts:
1. Almost nothing about parenting is as black and white as I thought it was.
2. I didn't truly know tired. Going significant amounts of time without sleep is tantamount to completely losing your sanity. You will do virtually anything to get it back. See Point 3.
3. Some of the things I said I'd never do are the very things I turned around and did to survive. I flipped quicker than a politician after an election.
4. A Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Ed. will prepare you to teach well and school you in child development, but you'll still feel like you know nothing about your own baby sometimes.
5. I was probably least receptive to the advice that ended up being the most helpful in the trenches. "Stop researching." "Prepare t…

On Motherhood and Grace and Doughnuts for Dinner

It's been a banner week for me as a mom. I've probably made 15,485 mistakes, conservatively.  I was doing pretty well today until the sun went down (you know, around noon, because I live in Evansville). I had a headache from the seventh circle of Hell, and I was driving up Green River Road with a screaming banshee in the back seat. Because I have a Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education, I employed the tried-and-true technique of yelling, "STOP SCREAMING!" at my sweet baby. Powerful stuff. Very effective. I was fairly flustered by the time I got to Schnucks. I wanted to get a couple things for dinner tomorrow but mostly needed ice for my raging Coke Zero habit.  Matt is out of town till tomorrow evening, so I knew he couldn't bail me out. After embarrassing myself a little in the parking lot - how was I to know all three cars around me were occupied? -  I carried Jack in with no car seat and no cart cover. I grabbed a cart wipe, but I decided I …

Empty Arms on Mother's Day--A Letter

To the woman walking through infertility:

     I see you. You are not forgotten on this day. I know what today can bring. I know what it feels like to look at the flowers for the mothers at church and do your best to hide the tears in your eyes, knowing there isn't one for you. I know your heart aches. I know your pride hurts. I know that what you go through every 28 days is a real and powerful grief. I know you mourn what could have been. I know you should probably buy stock in pregnancy tests. I know you're angry. I know you might secretly want to punch women in the baby section at Target. I know EVERYBODY is pregnant in your city, and the women who aren't pregnant already have perfect, bouncing babies. They probably have five. Probably quintuplets. I know you've been asked if you and your husband want kids. I know someone you've revealed your struggle to has told you how to fix the problem by relaxing and taking your temperature and trying harder and not trying …

Free Indeed

Over the past couple weeks, I've been asking myself what Christmas really means to me.  It's my favorite holiday for lots of good reasons, but what does that babe wrapped in swaddling clothes in a smelly manger really mean?

     Through the Word, new challenges, wise counsel, and the mighty prayers of righteous people, the Lord has given me freedom I had never known in my entire life.  It started with one weekend at a campground in the fall of last year.  That weekend ended up being the most spiritually demanding event of my life.  God took the sum of all my hurts, fears, failures, and grief, and He gave it purpose.  he also happened to turn my world upside down in the best way.  My mind was beginning to learn how it felt to really know peace.  I wish I could describe what it's like, after almost three decades, to have a still mind for the first time.  To pray and worship and hear birds sing without racing, never-ending thoughts to take you out of the present.  It is …

All of the Above

Upon re-entering physical therapy, I am always asked to fill out a form.  One of the questions I answered last week:
In the last year, have you lost a loved one, had a major job change, or become pregnant?
Why yes!  It's like they know me.  Honestly, with as much time as I've spent in physical therapy, they should know me.  I digress.
That standard question on the standard form has me thinking tonight as those events seem inextricably bound together in my mind.  Matt and I have had four major losses in three years.  We carry that grief right alongside the joy of this new life.
Tonight, as I find myself face to face once again with my shortcomings, clinging desperately to Romans 8:1, there are other voices I'm trying to hear.  What would my Grammy say?  Would she be telling me not to give this another thought?  To focus on this sweet baby?  Would Papaw be here saying not to worry because he'd worry enough for the both of us?  Just as I go back to the bible to hear tr…

On Waves and Daddies {Father's Day}

There is a reason I love this picture.  It was taken in  New Smyrna Beach, Florida in 1991. I was all of four years old. My father was teaching me a lesson tht has echoed throughout the rest of my life. I remember vividly the way he coaxed me out into the Atlantic, not content to let my worries keep me by the shore. There were forward steps I took myself; there were steps I was carried. Every time a wave came, my daddy would grab me by the hands and lift me straight up and over it, with my legs kicking the entire time, terrified he wouldn't lift me quite high enough to clear the water. Already plagued by a mind perpetually asking, What if? Every wave, every time...me flailing, my daddy saying, Lauren, I won't let you go under.  When I got too scared, he would have to pick me up and just hold me while the waves broke at his knees.  I don't think the story of Jesus calling Peter to walk on water was yet etched into my mind, but this memory will stay forever.

This is how I l…