Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A liiiiittle Soap Box.

Singing reality shows really irritate me.  Every season, what appears to be an untalented "ugly" person comes out on stage.  The judges are, of course, skeptical of this persons worth.  The crowd has already categorized them into the blooper reel category as they exchange skeptical looks that say, "Who does this guy think he is?" and "Well, this should be good".  Everyone is on the edge of their seats; waiting for what is sure to be the moment of disaster for this person's confidence and self worth.  They're all practically drooling as the exposure of his imminent failure arrives... 

....until it doesn't! What's this? He's got an amazing voice!  How could this be?  An "ugly" person with talent?!  Shocking! We... we love him!  We love him so much we're going to stand and cheer and cry!  He.... he's going to win! How wrong we were! Our hero! Bring him a crown! What a huge surprise!  I'm so inspired!

and Simon takes this wrongfully judged person's talent all the way to the bank.

and we all get a touching little lesson on not judging people. 

Until next year.

When the entire scene plays out again.

As much as I enjoy watching people overcome and beat the odds that have been stacked highly against them, I will never support shows that promote this sort of cruel judgement of others.  Because more often than not, the person being judged who may not be all that talented is simply being exploited for money and ratings.  There they are - chasing a dream - only to be embarrassed on national television and youtube forevermore.  While the rest of the world sits back and feels reassured that, hey, we might not be all that special, but at least we aren't as bad as that guy.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Thoughts on Pregnancy: Fear Management.

One pregnancy symptom that very few pregnancy books, websites, and blogs talk about is fear.  I've always known that Moms worry for the well being and the safety of their children, what I didn't know is that the concern starts almost immediately.  

It's a fear that I've never really known before and that I'm just learning how to get a handle on.  I have never wanted anything as much as I've wanted this little child growing inside of me. To be completely honest, having my hopes this high is a somewhat terrifying experience.  I have never dared to hope for such an amazing miracle before.  I have always wanted to be a Mom but a gift of this magnitude is nothing I'd consider actually hoping for in the past.  

The other day I was feeling so worried about everything.  Will it be healthy?  Will it be born in the perfect circumstances?  Will it be born at all?  For being such an incredible miracle, it sure is shrouded in a lot of mystery and not a lot of guarantee that everything is going to be alright. As I tumbled down the rabbit hole of fear and worry I finally was able to stop myself and get a grip on my emotions.  I finally considered the simple truth that as much as this baby is mine, it is primarily His first. So I humbled myself and my need for control and reassurance and I surrendered the little life within me to the One who gave it to me in the first place.  As I finished my very first prayer offering this sesame-seed sized baby up to the Lord, I wondered, in my heart, how many times I would have to mutter those very same words over the course of this child's life.  (And if there is a way to possibly count to a number that high.)

For now I find comfort in simple things like a busy restaurant. I look around a room and instead of seeing 32 people eating, I see 32 healthy and successful pregnancies.  Maybe that's silly but for whatever reason, it's comforting to me! The entire way that I look at the world is beginning to change, and I'd say it's mostly for the better, at this point.  

Anyway, I've decided to stop taking my fears to google and to take them to the Father instead.  This has proven to be the only way to calm this Momma's heart and the only way to trust that even if everything doesn't work out the way I want it to, it will still work out exactly the way it is meant to.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Birth Control Quest: Oh, baby!

So that whole Fertility Awareness Method/Natural Family planning thing?  

Oh, Baby!

Worked exquisitely!

This was our first month trying to get pregnant and we were successful!  If y'all thought I was a huge advocate for this method of family planning before, you can pretty much consider me the President of their nonexistent fan club now! We successfully avoided pregnancy for 8 months and achieved it in 1. We are so overwhelmingly humbled and thankful because we know that this simply is not the case for many couples.  We covet your prayers for the poppy-seed sized life that is growing within me!

How we're feeling about the whole thing:

Baby Excitement!

The kind of friends everyone hopes to have.

This weekend, several of our very close friends came up to spend the weekend with us.  Rob & Kate drove from Kentucky and Chris, Rachel, & Ainsley from Ohio.  It was the most beautiful St. Patty's day weekend I have ever experienced (and not just because of the weather!)

We spent a lot of time outside...

Buddy GIF

Buddy and Ainsley became fast friends!  She giggled like crazy Friday night whenever he got close.  By Sunday afternoon, he was giving her lots of slobbery kisses (which we all discouraged) but was pretty cute nonetheless!

The girls also treated themselves to pedicures :)

Friends Portrait

We are so blessed to have the kind of friends that cheesy movies are made of, the kind of friends that everyone hopes to have, and the kind of friends that fill life with joy and laughter and depth and meaning.  

(...and distance means very little with friendships like that!)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Surprise Vacation!

Last week, I went on a surprise vacation to the Dominican Republic with my Mom!  It was just the two of us and we had so. much. fun! 

This was our ride to the Detroit airport. (A two hour drive, mind you!)  Our family is having what can only be described as a mild "car shortage" and this work truck was our only way of getting there!  Needless to say, it was a rather bumpy ride but quite worth the discomfort to go on a tropical vacation!

Our room was absolutely spectacular!  This was a business trip for company my parents own, so not only was everything all inclusive, but it was also the must luxurious trip we've ever taken!

The first night we went to the large group dinner.  There happened to be another group that, for whatever reason, had a fake red carpet with fake paparazzi.  Not able to pass up on the potential funny pictures, Mom and I snuck over and took a couple of our own shots!

 We spent a lot of time resting on the beach, reading, resting, swimming in the waves, and more resting.  We didn't want to have a vacation that left us tired and untanned, so we were quite intentional about the 'resting' part of things :)


On Friday morning, I was sitting out on our balcony and I noticed some people riding bikes.  I thought to myself, "Hey, that looks really fun!".  Later in the day my Mom said, "I know this might be kind of cheesy... but I think the bikes look really fun."  to which I replied an emphatic, "ME TOO!" So, we rode bikes twice!  It was such a treat to vacation with my Mom because we are so similar that we both could kind of read each other's minds which resulted in a very fun vacation!

After our first bike ride, we got all dolled up for dinner together!  I finally got to wear this perfectly fitting red dress my Mom got me for my birthday.  It is so feminine and modest and I don't think I've ever felt so lovely in a dress!  and don't you just love my Mom's polka dot dress? 

Mom and I also created a "Vacation Bucket List".  It included things like the afore mentioned bike riding, using the jacuzzi in our room, getting little braids in our hair with a bead at the end (a vacation tradition), massages, and.... the giant plastic water balls that we saw in the pool when we first arrived.  We decided that we HAD to do them.  It was absolutely hilarious and worth all of the embarrassment of looking like complete fools in front of a bunch of people!

The employees who ran this particular activity told us, "It's not hard, you just have to follow our instructions." aaaaand then they didn't' give us any instructions beyond, "Just stand up!  Yes, just stand up and walk forward.  Yes yes, stand up!" Oh language barriers, how they certainly make vacations so much more interesting!

A brief moment of success on my end.  I'm pretty sure 10 seconds later I was looking more like Mom in the picture above!

On our last night, we once again got all dressed up and went out to the final dinner.  I was so excited to wear what I call my "Taylor Swift" dress.  I wish that I had more reasons to get dressed up back home because I would wear this dress all. the. time. 

On Sunday morning we walked for the last time across the resort and took a couple of final pictures. 

 It was an amazing vacation and I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to have my Mom all to myself for a few days!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Belly Laughs.

A friend of mine posted this video on her Facebook page yesterday aaaaand it made me laugh uncontrollably.  So, I'm posting it here.

Last night, Josh and I danced around our kitchen floor while listening to it; interpreting each note with our own rhythmic movements.

It. was. amazing.

Monday, March 5, 2012

"So I Stay Near the Door"

"So I Stay Near the Door"
By Reverend Canon Samuel Moor Shoemaker, Jr., D.D., S.T.D.

I stay near the door.
I neither go too far in, nor stay too far out,
The door is the most important door in the world–
It is the door through which men walk when they find God.
There’s no use my going way inside, and staying there,
When so many are still outside, and they, as much as I,
Crave to know where the door is.
And all that so many ever find
Is only the wall where a door ought to be.
They creep along the wall like blind men,
With outstretched, groping hands,
Feeling for a door, knowing there must be a door,
Yet they never find it - - -
So I stay near the door.
The most tremendous thing in the world
Is for men to find that door–the door to God.
The most important thing any man can do
Is to take hold of one of those blind, groping hands,
And put it on the latch–the latch that only clicks
And opens to the man’s own touch.
Men die outside that door, as starving beggars die
On cold nights in cruel cities in the dead of winter–
Die for want of what is within their grasp.
They live, on the other side of it–because they have found it.
Nothing else matters compared to helping them find it,
And open it, and walk in, and find Him - - -
So I stay near the door.
Go in, great saints, go all the way in–
Go way down into the cavernous cellars,
And way up into the spacious attics–
It is a vast, roomy house, this house where God is.
Go into the deepest of hidden casements,
Of withdrawal, of silence, or sainthood.
Some must inhabit those inner rooms,
And know the depths and heights of God,
And call outside to the rest of us how wonderful it is.
Sometimes I take a deeper look in,
Sometimes venture a little farther;
But my place seems closer to the opening - - -
So I stay near the door.
There is another reason why I stay there.
Some people get part way in and become afraid
Lest God and the zeal of His house devour them;
For God is so very great, and asks all of us.
And these people feel a cosmic claustrophobia.
And want to get out. Let me out! they cry.
And the people way inside only terrify them more.
Somebody must be by the door to tell them that they are spoiled
For the old life, they have seen too much;
Once taste God, and nothing but God will do any more.
Somebody must be watching for the frightened
Who seek to sneak out just where they came in,
To tell them how much better it is inside.
The people too far in do not see how near these are
To leaving–preoccupied with the wonder of it all.
Somebody must watch for those who have entered the door,
But would like to run away. So for them too,
I stay near the door.
I admire the people who go way in.
But I wish they would not forget how it was
Before they got in. Then they would be able to help
The people who have not yet even found the door,
Or the people who want to run away again from God.
You can go in too deeply, and stay too long,
And forget the people outside the door.
As for me, I shall take my old accustomed place,
Near enough to God to hear Him, and know He is there,
But not so far from men as not to hear them,
And remember they are there, too.
Where? Outside the door–
Thousands of them, millions of them.
But–more important for me–
One of them, two of them, ten of them,
Whose hands I am intended to put on the latch.
For those I shall stay by the door and wait
For those who seek it.
I had rather be a door-keeper . . .
So I stay near the door

(My Pastor read this poem at church yesterday and it struck a chord deep in my heart.  Maybe it will in yours, too?  Either way, I find that it is easier to forget inspiring poems and, well, I don't want to forget this one.)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

My beautiful friends. (Dabbling in Photography)

On Thursday, I got together with two of my precious friends, Emily and Cortny!  I've decided that I'd like to get a better understanding of photography (for some reason my mind was having a hard time comprehending aperture and ISO) so we used it as a great excuse to have a little photo shoot!

Here are my favorites from the day :)

Me: "Emilyyyy, my hair is too big!"

Emily: "Yeeeah and you have makeup on your eye lid."

Emily: "Hey, if you were a character on Once Upon a Time, do you know what you'd be?!"
Me: " elf."
Emily: "Yes! Exactly!"

It was a superbly fun afternoon!  Plus I feel like I'm finally starting to understand photography a bit more! Huzzzzzah!