Saturday, July 28, 2012

Called to lose

Jesus wept.  Moses struck the rock.  Jesus sweated blood.  Peter denied Jesus.  Thomas doubted.  

Sometimes we lose.  Sometimes we might even be called to be losers.  Jesus didn't measure success by accomplishment or organization.  Accomplishment and organization are the means by which we can be Mary sitting at Jesus's feet.

Sometimes a wild animal eats your chickens.  Sometimes your cute little homesteading effort falls flat on its face and you are left wondering, why am I even doing this?  Sometimes you realize that the blessings that are "pressed down and overflowing" are in a basket of perspective.

Sometimes the morning after being up all night with marauding, pillaging, murdering bob cats you hear your son and his sweet friend discussing the death and resurrection of Christ and sing Jesus Loves Me together in their little, tuneless, innocent baby-voices.  

Then you know that Jesus, the Christ, the King ate with the losers because he calls us all to be losers.  You know...people who can't.  People who need.  People who understand.  People who love.

Monday, July 23, 2012


I went for a jog this morning and was piecing together a rather fussy and serious rant about the shallowness of what Americans value and how segregated we are.  I had the first few line all mapped out.  There was hash and vigor.  But then our day started and the routine clicked and the babes pranced and the fuss just leaked right out of me.

We "broke ground" on Laine new garden.  He wants to grow tomatoes, green beans, carrots and lettuce.  I am beyond thrilled and a little intimidated.  We talked about what a garden needs, set our celebrity goats to clearing weeds (more on that later), and dug a little.

Then it rained.  Hard.

So, we did this.  By we I mean they.  And fun was had by all.

And Ollie has taken to doing a bit of preaching.  And Luke blames me!  *snicker* look at that finger!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sneak Peeks!

I am trying really hard to make this little house ready for a tour.  Do you remember this book?

I think my little house looks like The Little House.  This is not bad because I think she was a sweet little house.

Anyway, I can't wait to show you a little of what we have been up to.  So, here are a few scenes from our week and a few peeks in Our Little House.

Here are my new cedar preserving pantry shelves!

Laine ready for an Asheville Tourists Game just with Mama...

Throwing rocks in our own little creek.

Have a great Monday!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

We're Gonna Knock Your Walls Down

Keep walking, but you won't knock down our walls...keep walking, but it isn't gonna's plain to see, your brains are very small to think walking will be knocking down our walls.

Thank you singing french peas.

If this doesn't ring a bell, you need to brush up on your Veggie-lore (Veggietales).

Tonight the sermon at our Saturday evening service focused on breaking down the walls that divide us. One of the most dramatic walls that divides me from others is fear of being intrusive.  When I was in middle school I was crippled at youth group supper because I was always afraid if I sat down next to someone they would be disappointed.  I still am.

But that fear came from knowing that sometimes I was disappointed by the people who sat next to me.  Dear middle school me, please know this...really and truly the most important thing is to make everyone feel included.

I am afraid of talking to people because I don't want to intrude, but sometimes love is intrusive.  Sometimes it messes you up.  Sometimes it makes you leave a place you love.  Sometimes it isn't love of the people you are intruding on but the God who made them.

So, keep walking.  Every day.  Walking.  Because the walls will come down.  Just maybe they will be our walls. I am thinking in a bad french accent.  Zose stupeed leetle greps.

Friday, July 20, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

I know, I know..."no words."  

This picture captures my life right now.  We are in a mess.  My good camera is still packed.  Yes that is a camping chair as furniture.  Yes I am drowning a bit, but is you look closely you can see that all the best parts are still intact.  Buzz Lightyear toys, Annabel in a box, and oh, the colors in here!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Yes...but what can I do?

Here is my problem.  It's 8:00 pm.  Only 67% 33% (dang it) of my children are asleep, only 67% of the day's dishes are washed, 100% of the animals are unfed, wash isn't done, there are four unpacked suitcases and three loads of laundry in my bedroom, there is a box in my bathroom that won't let the door open all of the way, there are toys on the floor and we are out of bread.

So, normal day.

But, in the back of my mind, filed behind the basement full of junk (read: actual junk) and the woefully disorganized pantry, is this little thought: why am I here?  Not on earth.  Here.  This city.  I get why God called Luke here, but what about me?  What about stay at homes parents?  What can we do?

I know the hurting and the broken are out there, but when do I have time to find them?  It is enough to stamp "SOMEDAY" on these thoughts and focus on me and mine for now?  How do I balance Mary and Martha.  Jesus might have had a very different take on Martha if he had been two.  Thirty-something Jesus might have valued deep conversation, but two-year-old Jesus wants snack.

Truth is, I have no idea what the answer is.  I am in the habit of jumping in and finding answers when they become little emergencies.  New approach: prayer.

I am declaring a ordinary time Lent.  I am not giving up Diet Coke again because no one wants me to choke someone, but I am going to spend 40 days praying about what people like me can do to serve those around them, and I would love to share this with anyone out there who is asking this question.

So, I am giving myself a few weeks to find my Lent things (journals, devotionals, cross thingy) then we will get to business.  On August 22, I will begin mid-term Lent (the 40 days less Sundays leading up to 6 months after Easter).  I will post prayers and Bible readings for each week and memory verses.  Maybe if I get the materials up early enough someone out there who is creative could think of some kiddo activities.

The reality of young families is that even the most successful churches aren't reaching them or meeting their needs.  Nap time, meal time, bed time and school time keeps families from engaging in traditional church activities.  I believe that God has a plan and purpose for these people.  Surely, it can't hurt to ask...right?

Sometimes life just calls for a nap.  

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Shortest Update Ever

Still here.  Still unpacking.  Goats and chickens in place.  Ready or we come.

Looking forward to showing you around the place.  The kids love the master suite.  I love my tiny bedroom with a patio.  Luke and Dad put in custom cedar shelves for my preserving pantry.

So, I need dirt.

I think this is where we started way back when.


And Sun.

And Seed.

And about 200,000 hours of sleep!

Friday, July 13, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Oliver Trotwood

What can I say about Oliver?  I didn't really expect him, but I love this quiet, gentle, persistent soul down to the bottoms of his chubby little feet.  In November of 2010, six months after Annabel was born, I set up my little nano-farm (smaller than a micro-farm...really just goats and chickens and zucchini).  In early March I was waiting for the arrival of the first of our (goat) kids and dreaming up all of the ways I was going to use the fresh, sweet milk.  I was running miles between my house and the barn making sure all was well and figured I must really be wearing myself out because I just felt exhausted.  Weary.  And...boy, my (all-the-time) car sickness was really getting bad.  And then I took a nap during the day. For an hour and a half.

Went straight to the DG and bought a preggo test.

Nailed it!

Didn't even tell Luke I was going to take one (because I am forever taking them to be sure...), but let him know in a hurry that I had.

Needless to say, I didn't milk that goat much.  Everything went on the back burner.  I was shocked and a little frustrated that my body was clearly never going to be normal ever again.  Then, that little guy began his magic.  His quiet little kicks, long naps and convenient night-sickness won me over long before he arrived.

Only catch was I really didn't want to give birth again.  Not yet.  I was itching to hold him (we didn't know it was a boy, but weren't at all surprised), but I was dreading birthing him.  I even told the CNM (certified nurse midwife) that my window of natural labor toleration was probably more like 18 hours instead of 24.  She smiled and said we would just wait and see how it went.

Estimations were for a eight and a half pound baby.  Nearing the end I was waddling as fast as I could after two kids and I was dilated to two cms a week before my due date.  I oscillated between wanting to cross my legs and jump on a trampoline.  Mom and Dad arrived as in-house childcare.  Everything was ready!  I was ready!  Dread or no, I was done done done with being pregnant.  I printed off a birth plan.  I think I even gave it to the CNM, but this time I just felt settled.  I didn't really want to birth a baby, but I knew I could and I knew how.

There are some things mamas just learn.

On Friday, November 4th, 2011, I went in for my last CNM appointment.  I was dilated to 4 cms and "ripe."  I let the CNM strip my membranes and prayed it would work.  Because Ollie had had a quiet morning, I let them run a heart rate and movement strip on him after my exam.  Turned out my quiet baby was active and strong just so gentle I could hardly feel him.  Bless that boy.

Before we left the office, light irregular contractions had started.  We stopped for gas, went to the book store and headed home to pack our bags.  With the help of Mom and Luke, I sat at the dinner table through moderate contractions and helped bathe the big kids and put them to bed.  By ten, I got in bed hoping to rest.  I slept fitfully through contractions timing them about 10 minutes apart.  At 12:40 am, I woke up to active labor.  Annabel woke up whimpering at 1:00 am and she and I cuddled in bed as my body did the work of labor.  With the body of my toddler warm against my back, I dozed between contractions focusing on the breathing of my sweet girl and I was almost able to disconnect from the pain.  At 4:00 am, I felt my contractions getting stronger and decided it was time to wake Luke up.  Strangely, my greatest concern was that Annabel would be very upset by being moved.

Luke asked how close my contractions were.  My estimation was 7 minutes, but our plan was to go to the hospital pretty early so I could labor away from the house and kids (so as not to scar them for life).  As I stood up to go take a shower I marked a surprisingly strong contraction.  Luke began timing and when I reported the beginning of the next one, his face turned white as he reported that we were now at two and a half minutes apart.  Still, life must be lived, and children must be settled.  Focusing deeply, I hugged my screaming daughter goodbye and Luke presented Laine with a Buzz Lightyear doll (which Grammy and PopPop listened to for the next seven hours), and then we were finally off.  At 5:15 we pulled up to the hospital and got checked in.  Not only was I not making jokes, I wasn't talking.  THEY ASKED ME TO SIGN SOMETHING, and we went up to the most beautiful labor and delivery room I have ever seen.  It was big and quiet and light and there was a huge bath tub. Within minutes I was eased into the bathtub and Luke was spraying my back and the quiet, patient CNM sat by my side and did...nothing.  She didn't direct, she didn't fuss, she didn't ask questions, she just sat and watched.  Confidently.  Quietly.  Patiently.

At some point she told me that if I wasn't comfortable with a water birth I needed to get out of the bath. I looked into her eyes and asked if I could do a water birth.  Seriously.  During transition, I decided to try something new because I liked the sound of it.  The bath was so gentle and even during the worst of it, I could be pain free between contractions, so I stayed in.  It just felt right.  I had the arms of my husband around me and I knew we could do it.

So, still in the water, I felt the urge to push.  But my water wasn't broken.  Before when I had felt the urge to push with my water intact, we decided to break my water, but this time (new practice, new CNM) this quiet woman looked at me as said, "listen to what your body is saying."  Every overly analytical, controlling, first-born part of me wanted to weigh the risks and benefits.  What was going to happen?  What about bruising?  Then I was overwhelmed with the need to obey.  The need to push.  The need to be present.  After one push I felt my water break and felt absurdly proud and strong.  After three more pushes Ollie's head was out and then (after a weird little pause) one more push, and there he was at 6:56 am.  Gentle and sweet and hungry.  Little dude nursed like a big boy.

All 9 lbs and 9 oz of him.  

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Journey of a Thousand Miles

We took the first step!

Do you know that moment when you are moving when you start to hate every single last thing you own?  I do.  Please don't ask me where to put my orange peeler.  I don't even want it.  It is stupid and superfluous.

I have learned something from this move.  One: I am a crazy person.  Two: I am a box maniac.  I like to pack boxes that make sense.  You know...when you are unpacking.  Like, all the ironing stuff goes in one box.  Everything to make coffee goes in another.  If it doesn't fit, change the box.  And no, that shouldn't go in there just because it fits.  And I know it takes forever.

I. Just. NEED. To. Do. It. MY. Way.

I am nuts.  Pure and simple.

Here I am.  New house.  New church.  New dirt.

Sometimes, the thought of not watching the sunrise over the mountains makes it hard to take a deep breath.   Sometimes, the thought of driving away from my (hand double-dug, organic, ginormous) garden makes me sag with weariness.  Sometimes, not being able to let the kids run out of the house on their own hits me right in the gut.

But, then I remember God called us here to love and serve.  And no sunrise is more important than God's people.

And hey, I hardly ever made it up for a sunrise anyway.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Annabel Grace

I have known my children long before they were born.  I knew Laine was going to be a great sleeper, he was a boy, and would want to eat every three hours most likely at 1:00, 4:00. 7:00 and 10:00.

I knew Annabel was going to be spicy from the beginning.  While I was pregnant she never slept for long and she was fierce.  I didn't really have a boy name for this kid because she was a girl plain and simple.  No questions.  I thought of her as my little Hermione (Mom, she is from Harry Potter and you will just have to read the books to find out why).

My birth plan was the same with one important addendum: natural until 24 hours, then we would seriously evaluate pain control measures.  After three months of recovery and several months of physical therapy for nerve damage sustained during pushing, I discovered the importance of considering my health in birth planning.  I can bear a lot, but there is a line between being an heroic mother and being a martyr.

So, new plan in place, I waddled on toward my due date, April 28th, and I noticed something new and lovely.  I thought very little about the upcoming birth and, instead, just couldn't wait to meet my little pixie-pants.

At 5:00 am on Monday, April 26th, I heard Laine wake up uncharacteristically early.  My first real contractions had woken me up at 4:45 am.  I went in and gathered up my little boy and we snuggled for a few minutes on his last morning as an only child.  The three of us whispered together excitedly as my contractions  did their work.  As each contraction rolled over me I began to feel equal parts excitement, pain and calmness.  The fear was gone.  At seven minutes apart we (slowly) walked to our favorite coffee shop and got a bee thousand latte (honey, whole milk, cinnamon and the gold from a sunrise).  At five minutes apart we packed Laine up for his overnight stay with his God-parents, Mimi and Rich.  With Laine off for his adventure, I started focusing inward.  I had work to do.  I called my CNM, took a bath and when my contractions slowed down, went for a walk hand in hand with my glowing husband.  About 40 yards into this walk, right in front of First Baptist Church, I felt a change.  I stopped talking during contractions and knew we were ready.

We were so excited.  We were going to meet our baby.  On the way we hit two road construction flaggers.  You know, the thingies where you have to stop until the 30 mile line of traffic goes through then they flip the sign and you get to go...I am not kidding...two!  Luke was white by the time we got to the valet parking.  He mentioned grabbing a few bags as I got out of the car.  I don't remember responding.  I began walking toward the entrance and within seconds a wide-eyed wheel chair guy was asking if I needed assistance.  I am not sure what I said, but Luke came from behind and informed me I did want to ride in the wheel chair.  With my head lolled to one side and not making a single joke I was transported through the hospital at impressive speed.  Apparently I scared the little wheel chair guy because my tall, long-legged husband was practically trotting to keep up (somewhere way down deep I felt a smidgen bad about this...also, giggly...way, way down deep).  As we arrived at triage the CNM informed the nurses that this was my second birth and I needed to go directly to labor and delivery.  As I was only about 11 hours into labor I almost cheered.  Skipping triage was a definite good sign...except for the part where my body was turning inside out.

I walked into my room, shaky and focused, and saw...a girl from my youth group from high school.  She was several years younger than I was, and there she was and I was fixin' to be real nekked.  Half a thought of refusal flitted across the remote part of my brain that still had one shred of dignity left, buuuuuut, that was a very small part of me so I shrugged out of my clothes and got down to business.  Shower, tub, husband rubbing back, birthing ball.

As the contractions intensified, I swayed through them bent over the bed, and instinctively, I began to sing a lullaby.  It is one of Laine's favorites. It is simple and throaty and my soul groaned out its two note melody as I struggled to welcome this new life into the world.  Over and over I poured my pain into those two notes and felt my body connect to the joy of my wonderful, terrible work.  Luke's voice joined in softly as he steadied me.  Grace came down as a song, and, in love, we sang our precious daughter into this world.

True story.

Then I kinda forget what happened for a while.  But after what I am sure was a little slice of heaven, I was complete (read: ready to push).  I do remember hearing myself say, "I can't do this," and everyone getting really tense, but knowing that it was ok, because I was simply saying what women say during transition (hey, it was in the text book and I was trying to follow the rules).

At 5:45 pm, I began to push.  I pushed and the strength of my body was palpable.  I pushed squatting on all fours.  I pushed well and deeply.  Some little tiny part of me was intensely proud.  Most of me wanted to adopt.  After the longest 11 minutes of my life, Annabel Grace Lingle was delivered into my arms.

Luke announced (unnecessarily) that it was a girl, and I discovered that daddies are silly for their little girls immediately.

Can't wait for someone to want to date her.  Poor blighter!