Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008: Looking for Hope

Do you ever just wake up one day and notice something about yourself?

Just today on the plane, coming home from a wonderful vacation in Orlando, I did. I've been procrastinating on writing my typical "year in review" for 2008. I'm not sure why, since I love writing and I know I have feelings to hash out.

Anyway, as I dozed, it suddenly occurred to me: Hope has become my theme. Now, many of you might say, "Kristin, you KNEW that! You talk about it all the time!" But today it hit me that I've been actually Looking for Hope. In the past year, I've accumulated standing letters that spell HOPE, a worry rock that says HOPE, a sweatshirt that says HOPE, a tattoo on my left wrist that says HOPE, and shirt from a friend that says HOPE and a picture frame that says HOPE. Yesterday I was at Epcot in "Japan" frantically searching for any Oriental symbols for HOPE. I've been searching after, chasing after, seeking HOPE for all of 2008, and it's bleeding into 2009.

What is so humorous to me, is that HOPE is found in Jesus Christ. I know this. I tell others this. But instead, I spent a whole year Looking for Hope. When truly, I should already have it.

2008 was a better year than 2007, that's for sure. I remembered to live, in spite of my pain. We received answers, we did procedures, we fixed things. I realized that I could pray about my pregnancy desires--and better yet, I discovered the strength to pray for my friends. [And now a bunch are pregnant....go figure :)]

Just recently, right at the end of 2008, I had a friend speak truth to me.

You know, we all have different friends for different reasons. We all need a friend who will be blunt with us. Now, I'm not saying that I want ALL of my friends to be this way--can you imagine? But I believe every woman should have at least one friend like this one. One who will say it how it is, even if you don't want to hear it. Even if you posted a blog
stating that you don't want to hear it. This friend reminded me that, as much as I hate to hear it, it's okay that I'm not pregnant. I DO have time, I AM young, and actually, others might envy that. Not that I should seek to be envied, but it's important to remember that we all have our own struggles. Some have kids "too young"; others, like me, wait and wait and wait. Others, well, the timing seems to be perfect, but they've struggled in other areas of life. We all have our own journey. And I need to stop whining about mine.

I walked away that day and said, "Dang it. I hate it when she speaks truth to me. It makes me mad."

So thanks, Friend. You know who you are.


In spite of feeling like I "woke up" at the beginning of 2008, I still spent the year in frantic confusion, deep depression, on a roller coaster of desires, emotions and desperate pleas. Coming into 2009, I really feel clarity. I have some more perspective; a little bit more every day. Am I saying it's not still hard? Not at all. It still hurts my soul when yet another friend wants to suddenly meet for coffee (code in my life for "I'm pregnant and want to tell you face-to-face") And yet, I can Rest. (hence the new tattooed reminder on my right wrist). REST in the HOPE of the Lord. Another friend explained to me that old parents can be cool too. :) I've always wanted to be a young mom, but I'm starting to see that a few more years of life under my belt, a few more world travels with my amazing husband, a few more life lessons learned can only increase my ability to be a mom. Do I hope it comes soon? Of course. Do I still battle desperation and depression? For sure. But for now, I can rest.
I realized that I've been seeking God's BLESSINGS, not Him. I need to focus on Him--seek Him and the HOPE He offers--and leave the life planning and conception to Him.

2009 is going to be a good year. 2007 sucked (let's just be honest...), 2008 we received answers and dealt with some deep emotions...2009 we can rest.

Here's to a New Year!

2007: A Year Lost

A glance into last year's "End of the Year" recap. 2008's is brewing ...

Needless to say, if you've kept up with my life at all, 2007 was a tumultuous year. Starting off the year with a miscarriage should have been an indicator to me I guess.

I look back over the year and am in awe of how absolutely not myself I was. Who was I? Where did Kristin go??Normally fairly positive, optimistic, energetic and bubbly, I was down, depressed, and basically floated through the year without even realizing that time was passing. It's incredible how a year can pass and one day, suddenly, you're awakened to the truth that you didn't really live it. Sure, I walked, I worked, I traveled, I even did a full year of grad school. But I didn't really live. I was so focused on what I'd lost, what I was still not receiving, and what others had (by accident even) that I still didn't, that I almost forgot to live.

It's hard to look back and think these things...to realize that I was not me. That I, in fact, wasted a year. Yet, how could I have functioned at any higher level? When you are a mother, even if it is just the mother of a barely beating embryo, you are still a mother. And when that little life is taken from you, what else can you do but die a little yourself? I'm amazed that I found the strength to go on.

On that note, I cannot imagine having an abortion. I did have one, but my baby was already dead. The pain, the understanding of what the doctor was doing....how can someone do that when the embryo or fetus is actually alive? With a beating heart? This, I will never understand.

I trust that I will be a mother. I have to--I have no other option. To endure 2 miscarriages and still keep on trying--that requires enormous amounts of trust and hope. Hope--that's a good word. I don't think I've truly ever had to hope before. It's hard.

2007 is blurry to me. I do associate pain, sorrow and longing with it though, amidst the blur. Hopefully, 2008 can be a better year. While we still may not have a successful pregnancy, though of course I'm hoping for one, I think I've broken out of the fog.

Perhaps this year, I can be me again, except for those little parts that died right along with my babies.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Broken Trust

The devotion I read this morning in At His Feet by Chris Tiegreen reminded me of something my sister Tara said when Justin was at war. She said that she couldn't say she trusted in God's protection of Justin, and then also worry. Our actions speak louder than our words when it comes to our beliefs.
For people who have been promised provision, protection, comfort, guidance, forgiveness, salvation, and more, we spend an awful lot of time concerned with just those things. If we say we believe, but act as if we don't, which is a truer reflection of our real beliefs? Words or the attitudes of our heart? ... Our human tendency is to walk by sight, not by faith.
Do I trust God with pregnancy? Probably not. At least, not lately. I'm not sure what has changed. Wow--it's scary to realize the truth. Lately, I've stopped trusting. Blame it on the holidays, the hormones, or the stress ... At some point, I quit trusting. My actions have spoken--loud and clear.

Am I leaning on Him?


Am I trusting Him?


Am I hoping in Him (and not His blessings)?


Am I fighting Him?


Am I doubting Him?


Am I praying about everything?

Yes, but selfishly so.

Am I content in any and all circumstances?

Not anymore.

Why is it so hard to trust? Why is it so hard to be content? Why do I feel so obsessed? So overwhelmed? So narrow focused? How do I hope again, when hope disappoints? How do I rest in God? Why do I seem to find and lose and find and lose again His peace?

How does one restore a broken trust with God?

Monday, December 15, 2008

In Need of Rest

I’m so tired. I’m so tired of the emotions. I’m tired of the desire. I’m tired of the want. I’m tired of the pain. I’m tired of the sadness. I’m tired of the rollercoaster. I’m tired of the explanations. I’m tired of the nerves. I’m tired of the tears. I’m tired of the bitterness. I’m tired of the grief. I’m tired of the yearning. I’m tired of the drive. I’m tired of the planning. I’m tired of the need. I’m tired of the Hope. I’m tired of the doubt. I’m tired of the questions. I’m tired of the answers. I’m tired of the looks. I’m tired of the sympathy. I’m tired of the attention. I’m tired of the forgotten. I’m tired of the memories. I’m tired of the waiting. I’m tired of the counting. I’m tired of the unknown. I’m tired of the mourning. I’m tired of the depression. I’m tired of the fatigue. I’m tired of the longing. I’m tired of the thoughts. I’m tired of the second-guessing. I’m tired of the feelings. I’m tired of the advice. I’m tired of the pills. I’m tired of the wishing. I’m tired of the remembering. I’m tired of the jealousy. I’m tired of the competition. I’m tired of the numbness. I’m tired of the journey. I’m tired of the knowledge. I’m tired of the symptoms. I’m tired.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Frozen without a Camera

You think I'd learn.

I hate being caught without a camera.

Being that I fancy myself a photographer, you think I'd learn to have a camera on me at all times. Things catch my eye at the most random instant. You really think I'd learn.

Friday morning was one of those instances. I kicked myself mentally for not having my trusty sidekick to help me capture a moment. I will try to paint the picture for you with words, as I also fancy myself a writer.

More than crisp air--
Bitter air that bites at my cheeks
Air that transports me back to a time
A time when I lived in the tundra (AKA Minneapolis)

I breathe deeply
Just to feel the rush of almost pain
as frozen air invades my warm lungs

The crackle on the ground
The creak of the ice covered door
I love bitter cold mornings.

My fingers numb before I even started the car
My ice scraper almost useless
The ice, finally here, stubborn against my touch

The windshield fogs up
My tires spin as I drive
Heat begins to seep into my insides
as the car comes to life
the ice melts away

I look around me
snow lines everything
frozen in time
nothing escaped the hands of the cold

the road descends into thick fog
I can't see anything
except for the fog, the faint taillights ahead
and the frozen silent trees, standing guard

Tumbleweeds stuck in the fence
mid flight, frozen with snow
Old barns, big trees, perfectly still
Barbed wire caught in ice
mailboxes closed up tight
Chain link fence, each link lined with sparking white
Mist and fog float slowly
Almost frozen in the air

Through the fog
I see a glowing ball
A perfect circle
the glow of sun
piercing through mist

The road rises sleepily from this frozen wonderland
the sun takes charge
the landscape changes
shadows are cast as the ice meets its demise

Tumbleweeds are freed
Trees can now sway
Warmth crawls slowly across wheat fields
Releasing captives from frozen clothing

To my right, the mountains loom
covered in snow
glistening white
perfectly clear
Frozen in time

The stillness was peaceful
Nothing was disturbed
What a beautiful morning
A winter wonderland
Frozen white landscape

And me without a camera.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Behind the Smile

warning: brutal honesty below. read @ own risk.

I just can't do it anymore.

If one more pregnant woman complains about her morning sickness, I am going to scream.

If one more pregnant lady makes a face about the pooch on her belly, I am going to punch a wall.

If one more stupid person says, "At least you know you can get pregnant!", I am going to run away.

After screaming at and punching said stupid person.

If the knot in my stomach doesn't unwind and the pain in my heart doesn't lessen, I am going to die.

telling me to trust.
Stop telling me to hope.
Stop telling me I'm young.
Stop telling me there's a plan.

Just Stop.

If you don't know what to say, just leave me to my grief. Just shut up and leave me alone. Don't look at me with pity, but don't ignore me either.

Basically, you can't do anything right, so just stop. And be prepared for me to bite your head off anyway.

Or cry. Or scream.

Punch a wall and run away.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

He is "I AM" ... No Matter What I Ask.

As a blogger, if I can really call myself that, I tend to mull over my blogs for a few days before I actually form them into words that appear on this screen. For a few days now, I've been percolating ... the next blog was going to be titled "Life's Not Fair ... Kristin--get over it." See, I have this incredibly deep seeded belief that life should be fair. I'm sure it comes from my childhood, though I can't really tell you how. Perhaps a psychologist could.

The blog was going to list all the ways life should be fair, but isn't.

You know, like how it's not fair that Erik and I have been trying for 2 years to get pregnant, and still don't have a child.

It's not fair that husbands and new daddies get deployed overseas.

Or like how a close friend of mine lost another pregnancy.

It's not fair that some are out of work and can't find a job.

Or like how it's not fair that I've had to start over mentally on this "trying to conceive journey" but that doesn't mean I can forget the first year and a half of trying, even though it didn't really count.

I could list a million ways that life isn't fair ... but what good would that do?

That was going to be the title of the blog, but please notice: It's Not.

Last night, I was at a TobyMac concert. In the midst of all of the crazy jumping, fist pumping and lyric screaming, I had a moment with God. It wasn't a loud moment, or a dramatic moment, but it hit me hard.

Singing along to "Lose my Soul", I suddenly realized I was singing these words:

"All eyes are on You, Lord ... Don't wanna lose my soul ... I'd give it all for You Lord..."
And instantly "Even children?" rang through my ears.

I'd give it all for You, Lord ... and something deep in my soul challenged that by asking, almost scoffing, "Even children? Even your deepest, most instinctive desire to bear your own children and hold them close and raise them? You would let that go?" Even as I write those words, I weep. I weep because my soul aches for that experience--that need to be a mother.

And yet, when that challenging thought echoed through my mind, my gut-level, without-a-thought reaction was "Yes." Wholeheartedly, with a broken and trembling heart, I said Yes.

Yes, Lord, not even my deepest desire is worth losing You.

This shocked me.

I realized in an instant how selfish I've been. How self-centered, how single-minded, how narrow-minded ... how childish. Yes, it's unfair. No, it doesn't seem right. If life was fair and all was right, I would have a 1 1/2 year old. If life was fair and all was right, there would be no miscarriage.

No heartache.
No pain.

No desperation.

No bitterness.

But life isn't fair. And in it all, God is still good. God is still bigger. God is still my all in all, my life-giver, my shepherd, protector and friend. God is still holy and just. God is still GOD. And if God sat me down, face to face and said His plan for me did not include carrying and birthing children, I would be okay. I would be broken, and I would ask Why? I would probably fight Him and question His goodness, His greatness, His wisdom .... His love.

But that wouldn't change Him at all. My questions don't change Who He is.

He is "I AM"

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Passion: MIA

Passion - Boundless enthusiasm. Intense expression of emotion. Fervor. Compelling feelings. Outburst. Extravagant fondness.

We have lost it.

Or, at least, I haven't seen much of it in a while in the church, myself included.
Myself at the top of the list.

I see more passion for movies, sports teams and the opposite sex than I do for Christ.

What's interesting, is I know a lot of people who love the Lord. Who study His word, who wrestle with His principles. And yet, there does not seem to be a whole lot of


"David danced before the Lord with all his might ... 'I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes.'" 2 Samuel 6:14, 22

I had a college professor once who told me he thought the word "passion" had been overused and overdone.

This man was one of the least emotionally passionate men I have ever met. He is close to the most intellectual being I have ever encountered. Intellect is fine; it's good to challenge our intellect. We can even be passionate about intellectual things--even things of faith.

But not at the expense of Boundless enthusiasm. Intense expression of emotion. Fervor. Compelling feelings. Outburst. and Extravagant fondness.

It must be expressed through worship.

Psalm 150
Praise the Lord.
Praise God in His sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with tambourine and dancing,
praise him with the strings and flute,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Are we passionate about Christ? Do we have boundless enthusiasm? Do we express our fervor for the Lord as we are called to in Scripture? Do we dance, and sing, and make music for the Lord? Do we feel anything anymore? Are we moved to tears when presented with a description of our Lord?
Or have American Christians, in general, become so intellectual, so reserved, so un-demonstrative that we have neglected to do what David did--become undignified before the Lord. Have we forgotten passion? I desire

Boundless enthusiasm.
Intense expression of emotion. Fervor. Compelling feelings. Outburst. Extravagant fondness.

David was passionate in his worship, passionate in his anger, passionate in grief, passionate in his pursuit of God.

Ps 119:20 "My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times..."
Ps 119:81 "My soul faints with longing for your salvation..."
Ps 119:136 "Streams of tears flow from my eyes, for your law is not obeyed..."
Ps 101:1 "I will sing of your love and justice..."
Ps 60:1 "You have rejected us, O God, and burst forth upon us ...now restore us!"
Ps 119:120 "My flesh trembles in fear of you; I stand in awe of your laws..."
Ps 84:2 "My soul yearns, and even faints, for the Lord..."

It breaks my heart when I am with the body of Christ, and I sense almost no passion.

Friday, October 24, 2008

I AM Job.

I AM Job.
"The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised." Job 1:21
Gut wrenching pain to the depths of my being. Never before have such emotions racked my body, wreaking havoc on my soul, clouding my mind. Look at me--really look! Do you see? How can't you see? You see strength, you say. Resolve, determination, might.
Look again. Outward glimpses lie. Look closely and you'll see a heart that's barely beating, a mind that won't stop racing, emotions that rage savagely, doubts that clamor to overtake all and a faint hope that grows weaker by the day. Every morning is another crushing blow; every swollen belly a hit to mine; every baby a cutting reminder. Such depression I've never experienced---such intense anger I've never felt. Such pain ... I can hardly breathe.
Chaotic emotions, ever changing feelings, bitter dark thoughts, brief reprieves of hope and joy. The waiting, the wondering, the worrying ...which emotion will come next? Why am I crying? Why these tears? I don't even know--couldn't explain it if I tried. Raving lunacy; fury and sorrow. The rollercoaster of my life.
Silently I grieve, quietly I fret. My resolve evaporates more each day. My heart slows, hope wanes, memories fade, dreams die. Innocence gone, never again to be found. Overwhelming excitement will now be debilitating fear.
Tell me not to worry; tell me not to despair and I'll tell you of the gut wrenching pain to the depths of my soul.
I AM Job.
"and in all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing." Job 1:22

Originally written March 9, 2007
Re-posted in honor of grieving friends and my own continued emotionally taxing journey.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

My Heart is Aching

I am a HORRIBLE mother. Cat owner. Same difference.

I didn't notice my cat was missing for, like, many hours. I spotted some shredded carpet at the top of our basement stairs and thought, "Hm--why would the workmen who are finishing our basement have done this?" And then BAM--it hit me.

Where is Sheridan?

We often lose Sheridan because she is terrified of the men who are finishing our basement. They make many loud noises. And speak a language she doesn't understand. We'll usually find her in the guest room closet, nestled in the plastic of my wedding dresses. (no, that's not a typo. Long story.) If she's not there, she's often behind the master bathroom toilet, between the tub wall and our scale that rests there. If she's not there, well, then we start to panic, but usually find her under the couch in the living room, or on the top shelf of our closet.

She was none of those places today.

We remembered that for only the second time in her life (or, I guess, since the basement has had workers...so...) For only the second time in the past 3 weeks, she had ventured into the basement to explore the changes to her lair. Nicky explores down there whenever we let her, but Sheridan would usually watch warily from the landing of the steps.

Last night, she ventured down with us.

I thought I saw her run up, so I grabbed Nicky and we went upstairs. Closed the door. Went to bed.....and didn't realize that she never once pounced on our toes, walked on our heads, sat on our backs throughout the entire night. I simply didn't notice--not surprising. (Apparently, she sits on my head while I sleep and I don't wake up. I'm told this by my husband who barely sleeps.) Erik said he just thought, "Wow--it's sure nice that Sheridan isn't keeping me up."

I started to panic after realizing she must be trapped downstairs. That she had clawed at the door for hours, probably with Nicky meowing on the other side--the side of freedom. The only place she would be able to get away from the workers would be under the stairs, with all of our crap. So, we started pulling out suitcases, Christmas decor, summer clothes, and random baby gear that I got at a garage sale. We got a flashlight, and finally, after many minutes of peering and calling, we heard a faint "Meow?!"

We are horrible parents.

Sheridan is now cowering in the guest room closet, shielded from our view by the wedding dresses. She glares at us, and I can just sense her feeling of betrayal. She hates us right now. This is all compounded by the fact that she has a boyfriend who comes to visit, often late at night. We have to continuously scare said boyfriend away, because Sheridan gets so riled up, and they fight each other through the window. So, she is usually mournfully staring out the window, waiting for her Romeo to come visit her. Now our adolescent cat, will not only sullenly stare out the window ... I fear she will also pierce our hearts with her dagger-like stares of condemnation.

Our carpet, shredded now at the top of the stairs, will be a constant reminder of how horrible we truly are.

We locked our baby in the basement for an entire night. And if that wasn't enough, the workers were here today, cutting and nailing wood trim, from 11am til 3pm.

And she was cowering in the storage area, scared for her life!! My poor kitty cat.

The End.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

And we wonder?

Sometimes I've wondered why our teens today are so, well, less naive than I was.

And then I went to see Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist.

I don't wonder anymore.

What could be a cute plot, and is actually, was marred by the many not-so-hidden underlying themes. Themes that teach our adolescents that certain values are obsolete. As the comedic relief is a drunk senior girl, lost in NYC, and the ever-present gay sidekicks play a main role in the movie, the main characters propose, by their actions, that sex as high schoolers is normal, that the dating scene is something to get into around age 14, and that orgasming is something all senior girls should have done by now. It's no wonder that our teenagers today are confused about what is okay and what is not. Are there no boundaries anymore? Are there no standard values? No, because we live in a post-modern, post-Christian society. We live in a society where sex rules, lust lives strong, and many family values have gone by the wayside.

Now, I know this doesn't surprise anyone. I'm not saying anything new here. But here's my key question: How do we teach our youth strong Christian values--heck, forget Christian values, how about just plain old "respect yourself and set some boundaries" values--and still allow them to be introduced to what this world really is? As I think of becoming a parent, I know that I will not be able to, nor will I want to, shield my child from the things of our culture. My children, and children in general, need to be able to experience and begin to understand our culture for what it is, BUT, they need to be allowed to do this with a strong support system behind them to help guide them and answer questions as they arise.

I don't even begin to assume that I have the answers.

However, I do have insight that parents do not. Because I am young, and because I am not a parent, and because I work with youth, I am privy to many things. Things most parents would like to believe their precious children are not aware of, not doing, and not accepting as normal and okay. I promise to make as much of a difference as I can, but when I sit in a movie theater, surrounded by 13-17 year olds, all in their tight shirts, short skirts and saggy pants, I am reminded that there are a lot of teens who are not being influenced by someone with sound values. There are thousands of teens out there who watch Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist and assume drinking is funny, the gay lifestyle is normal, sex is purely physical, boundaries are non existent, and the goal in life is to satisfy any and all personal desires, no matter what the cost, spiritually, emotionally and physically.

And I used to wonder where teens were learning these things ... they learn some of it in movies, but I refuse to blame Hollywood. It all comes back to the parents. We cannot afford to allow our children to learn only from friends, magazines and movies. Parents and adults in our community must be committed to teaching our youth--to using the current cultural trends to facilitate discussions based on values and life choices.

The real devastating truth is this: parents might not even know, or they don't care. And that just makes me weep. Weep for the children who are being lured down a dangerous path, with no parental or adult guidance--because why?

Because we either don't care, don't know, or think we can't make a difference.

Monday, September 22, 2008

At Peace on College

It's so interesting to me that I am so at peace when on a college campus. Earlier in life, I thought it was just Northwestern's campus--where I went to school. It would make sense that I find peace and comfort there, considering my wonderful memories there. But I'm beginning to realize that I am most peaceful, most relaxed, and most "where I want to be", on any college campus. (I should qualify that--I do prefer mostly brick campuses with trees, flowers, and big lawns. :0) )

photo by Dan Heacock

I just returned to my hotel room in Lafayette, IN after wandering around Purdue University's campus for a while. Luckily, I blend in so no one bothers me.

I just feel so "right" when I'm walking around, on a beautiful evening, amongst college students. Sitting on a bench, admiring the incredibly well kept, old architecture, laying down by a waterfall and just being still.

I love being on a college campus.

And with this coinciding with my yearly "I want to make a difference for Christ in the lives of young 20 somethings" ranting, I'm finding it difficult to understand all of the yearnings inside of me.

It's just so strange to have such emotions for something, and a certain group of people, but have no idea what to do with it. And this isn't just a one time thing; it's consistently popped up in my life since graduating college.

Yet, I have very little to no desire to apply for a job at some college somewhere.

It's just like, I have this innate need to be on campuses, and this beginning of a flicker of a flame to perhaps maybe somewhat consider venturing into 20 something ministry.

But I don't know how.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Broncos Fever

Yesterday I had the privilege of attending my first Broncos football game--ever. Come to think of it, it was my first professional football experience as well.

Of course, I have a few things to say.

#1. A person really feels out of place at a Broncos game when not wearing any form of Broncos paraphernalia. However, I hate wearing orange, and I'm not even super fond of that particular shade of blue, so I wasn't feeling too sorry for myself. Maybe next time I'll just wear white; my pink shirt definitely stood out.

#2. As a pretty impartial observer (I don't really care about professional sports at all), I found the hoopla of it all fairly interesting. It would be fun to analyze all of the hype and try to better understand that crazed look in peoples' eyes when the mascot runs across the field. I think he looks silly, but apparently everyone else (i.e. Broncos fan) have some sort of incredible affinity for him.

#3. Ok, seriously--we wonder why these guys have egos? It's quite the spectacle just getting the players on the field. It's no wonder they think of themselves as pretty special. And I'm not saying they're not special (for all you sports nuts out there). I'm just making observations...

#4. Football is so much more exciting to watch than baseball. I never realized this before.

#5. I love my husband. Yes, this realization struck again. He was watching the cheerleaders and he said, "They all look so much alike ... they cancel each other out." Ha! Made my day.

#6. It's really easy to get caught up in the thrill of the game. Granted, the announcer said that yesterday's game was probably the most exciting one in Invesco's history thus far, but I also felt that even a dull game can draw people in and make them love football.

#7. I started the day as an impartial, slightly detached viewer. I moved into my usual position of observing, labeling, critiquing and analyzing. But, somehow, sometime, I crossed over. I may never purchase orange clothing, or get one of the "Broncos Country" bumper stickers, but I might just have had an awakening. Football is the quintessential American sport. It draws us together--no matter what our background, income, political views, ethnicity or status--and makes us a family. I now have a better appreciation for the American spectacle we all call football.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A New Stage

So, I have a masters degree. That's a little strange. It's odd that this incredible sense of "lostness" that I have indicates that I have another degree. What's even the point? I'm not sure. I never really was sure, as I'm not one to strive to climb the corporate ladder, or any ladder for that matter. What I do know is this: those classes kept me grounded and sane--and distracted--through the most difficult almost two years of my entire life. What would I have done with myself if I had not had my coursework to throw myself into? To stress about? To celebrate? To channel my emotions? I truly believe I would have gone nuts.

Some might say that I don't have a child yet because I needed to get school finished. Well, that might have something to do with the timing. I believe, rather, that I have a masters degree because God knew it would be the only thing that would get me through this trying time (other than Him, of course!). I don't not have a child because of my masters degree; I have a masters degree because it wasn't quite time to have a child. Interesting, looking back on it, how school ended up having such a unique purpose in my life.

What am I going to do without school? I am still not "with child", so here I sit. Feeling rather lost. Out of the past 25 years, I have been in school for 19 (not counting pre-school, because that's really more about socialization and learning to jump really high). During my marriage, I have been in school for 2 of the three years! Married people--what do you do with your time??

I guess I'm glad I have a masters degree. I've always excelled at school, so it is fun to know that I have accomplished this. I met a great group of people while doing it, and discovered things about myself that I never knew. I may end up teaching because of it. Hey--maybe that's what I'll do with my spare time. I'll go back to school.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Why am I tested?

God has this wonderful habit of testing whatever it is I just committed to doing. Isn't that just lovely? I talk to myself outloud and convince myself to yet again remember to trust in Him. I verbally remind myself to stop whining about the 'unfairness' of life and choose hope. I conjure up as many Bible verses as possible while I drive and speak them outloud, letting them soothe my soul.

And what happens the minute I walk through the door? I'm told a family friend is pregnant...again, I get an email update from another preggers friend, and I receive a baby shower invitation in the mail.

Now, I try not to be too dramatic about things (this statement is tongue in cheek for those of you who really know me), but seriously--how much more could I be hit with? I can only stand up under so much before I just collapse! I can only go so long before I'm ready to shout--"That's IT! I'm DONE! Forget it!" And yet, what am I quitting on? What am I forgetting? God? God Himself? I think I can just tell Him I'm fed up and walk away forever? Like that's going to help. I'm so incredibly tired of waiting, wanting, hoping, stuffing, sobbing, wishing, trusting, hiding, smiling, continuing on in the face of complete and utter disappointment. I don't even talk about it anymore; what's the point? No one understands, and to be honest, I'm kind of tired of the sympathetic half smiles. Not that I don't appreciate it, but I'm just tired of being that girl.

I know I need the Lord, but I sure am tired of being tested. But, I can't do this on my own. If I had to ... well, that would just suck.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Box Turtles: My Strange Obsession ... One Day

Previously posted on MySpace on Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Box Turtles
Current mood: Enthralled
Not many people in life have had the honor of feeding a cage full of box turtles. Let me tell you--it's exhilarating. (Please note the sarcasm in my tone). As I set the slightly moldy blueberries in the cage, a few heads "pop" up--as much as a turtle can pop. One brave soul crawls over, sticks his nose in and secures a blueberry--stuck on his snout. Not exactly the result he was hoping for, I'm sure. But, I can only assume. I then set the coveted "monkey" burgers that are soaking in a pool of water into the cage. Many stampede--sort of. The blueberry guy scrambles over, tugging the blueberry off his nose just in time to ram his mouth into the monkey burger--oops, my bad--it's not soft enough yet for him to eat. No matter--he'll just suck up the water like there's no tomorrow. Another little dude ambles over and proceeds to spend 3 minutes attacking the burger with no success--it's still too hard. Meanwhile, Weesie, the 26 year box turtle, simple sits in the corner with a look of wisdom on her old, wrinkled face. She truly is a relic. Two other turtles, recent additions from the backyard I think, have been mating this entire time. (I once tried to pull box turtles apart when I was a kid. Little did I know the pain that caused them.) So now I just glance at them from time to time. It's a pretty interesting process really.
The one little dude is still trying to attack the burgers; he stops to suck water for a while. Two tan ones come over for a try, but with no success. Man, I'm mean to put un-soaked monkey burgers in the cage! One tan guy sits on the blueberries to get to the burgers; apparently my berries are not too interesting to the turtles. I notice that one guy is chillin in the corner, his back to the world. He's zoning out the "window". His view? The wall.

.....As I sat and watched these turtles, fight so viciously for a bite of monkey burger, some not fighting at all, and some simply concentrate on procreating, I am amused. These turtles have been around my whole life; one of them, Clayton (I think he's the one who first attacked the burgers) supposedly is mine. These turtles have lived in this cage, eating these burgers, sitting on blueberries and mating just to mate (the eggs never live), for over 20 years.

The monkey burgers are soft enough now, but they've almost all lost interest. The one maybe called Clayton is eating; he conquered the burger. One little dude gave up and started eating the berries. The two tan ones have surrounded the guy who was zoning out the window--maybe they're giving a turtle pep talk. The two mating are still going; they've actually rotated an entire 360 degrees--pretty incredible since the male is sitting straight up attached to the female. Weesie continues to look on, content in her corner, watching the world through turtle-wisened eyes. I swear she's looking at me and smiling....maybe after 23 years together, she recognizes me. Op--and now another one is on the blueberries, a tan one has climbed on top of the Zoning guy, and the two are still mating in the corner.

Ah, the life of a box turtle. Maybe watching them is more interesting than I first thought.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Hope Forever

if you knew me a long time ago, say high school or even early college, you would never believe what i did last night. I'm not sure what got me thinking about it, let alone actually doing it. in fact, my husband had been requesting that i be okay with him doing it sometime, and that had left me feeling nauseaus. and yet, i beat him to the punch.

perhaps it has something to do with the fact that my little sister wanted to do it, or maybe it has more to do with my faint rebellious streak that comes out every few years. But i'm assuming it had more to do with the painful events of 2007 and the journey i've been on ever since january 22nd 2007.

the word "hope" has become a thing for me. hope is an interesting concept. to have hope that something will happen sets a person up for disappointment. i had almost given up even having hope, because hope lets you down. and i was tired of being let down. somewhere though, early this year, i determined deep in my soul to hope yet again. perhaps it was the answers we received, or a deep sense of optimism that i'm often unaware of. either way, hope has been rising in my soul yet again.

and so, it is hope that i chose to have tattooed on my skin. hope (in hebrew) as an ever present reminder to persevere in hope, to live with hope, to never forget that in Christ, there is hope--not disappointment.

for i know the plans i have for you, declares the lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and i will listen to you. ~jeremiah 29:11-12

not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. and hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the holy spirit, whom he has given us. ~romans 5:3

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Lessons on the Mountain

Lessons on the Mountain
my musings while climbing Grays and Torreys

1. Look up--a metaphor for life. When hiking, it's ironic that we all stare at our feet when the whole point is to see God's creation. Just like with life, it's safer, and easier, to focus on the circumstances around my feet--the boulders, the cliffs, the snow--instead of looking up to soak in God's majesty. Look up in the face of fear, and enjoy the view!

2. This wife learned a lesson in support. Erik got a pretty bad case of altitude sickness and could barely climb. I stayed with him every step of the way, even though I could have finished much faster. At one point, I could see my mom and friends at the top of the peak, relaxing, chatting, eating.....It's amazing to me that I can be so selfish. I was actually annoyed at Erik for getting sick. But God pointed that out quickly, and I learned a lesson in selflessness.

3. I am a doer; I accomplish stuff. Cleaning? Done. Friendships? Done. Prayer? Done. Grad school? Check it off the list. Done. While hiking, (and being forced to stop and wait for Erik), I learned a lesson in pausing. Pausing to enjoy the beauty, instead of just "doing". It might take longer, it might even require more energy, but pausing to enjoy the view was the smartest thing I did that day on the mountain.

4. Lesson learned: Oxygen is important.

5. Our bodies are amazing. When my lungs are screaming, "Stop!", and my heart is beating faster than it ever has before, all my mind has to do is say, "Ignore the pain; you can do it", and I keep on going. God has given me an amazing machine to use, and it's so wonderful when I remember all that I am capable of--mentally and physically.

6. Mountains, whether real or metaphoric, are tough to climb. Without my mom, cheering me on, and commiserating with me, I never would have made it. And on the flip side, without Erik needing me, I might not have done as well. Life without friends--mountain climbing without support--I'm not sure how it's done. I guess it all comes back to this: It's all about community.

Lastly, and I quote my mom, "Climbing a 14er is like childbirth--in the midst of it, you think 'never again!', but a year later, it's easy to forget the pain, and easy to remember the view."

Thanks goodness the pain fades, and all I remember is the amazing feeling of accomplishment, the lessons I learned and, of course, the breathtaking views of God's endless majesty.

Friday, July 4, 2008

The Rodeo

The Wild Wild West. Apparently, that's where I live, though I choose to deny it. I've never been much for the open plains...I'm more of a city/suburban girl. Oh, I enjoy a jaunt with a horse once every few years, but that's about all. Boots, spurs, horses and cattle just aren't my thing.

Until tonight.

I may be a City Girl, but I'm a City Girl who likes to be able to say that I've experienced my city. And, in all honesty, a large part of Colorado as a whole is the Wild Wild West. And so, in an attempt to better understand a large piece of the culture we live in, Erik and I went to our first Rodeo--The Greeley Stampede.

1. The first thing we noticed about the Greeley Stampede is the amount of qualifiers in their tagline. "The World's Largest 4th of July Rodeo and Western Celebration". Does that mean there are 4th of July rodeos that might be bigger? Or larger western celebrations that aren't on the 4th? Just curious....

2. Second, I seriously felt as if I had been transported into the movie "Big" as we wandered through the carnival area. I never did find the fortune telling head machine that made Tom Hanks "Big"....Kind of bummed about that.

3. Thirdly, which I wasn't super surprised about having spent high school in Brighton CO, we noticed that another language was being spoken--and I'm not talking about Spanish. Cowboy-ese, I guess they'd call it. Wait, it wasn't even the cowboys. It was the people who came to watch the cowboys...so, Cowboy-fan-ese?

4. Mutton busting is the most hilarious thing I have ever seen.

5. Bull riding is awesome...when the bull riders stay on the bulls. I know it sucks more for them than for us, but wow--what disappointment. The announcers spend 4 1/2 minutes building the crowd up, telling us about these famous cowboys, how many trophies they've won, how awesome they are...and then they fall off.

All in all, the rodeo was a fun experience. Well, fun might not be the right word. Culturally eye opening might be. It was somewhat intriguing, satisfied my low-level of curiosity, and the best part of all, I can say I've done it. Which means, I won't have to do it again.

To each his own, and this was not "my own".

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Junior Highers

My house was a jungle last night. Picture this: 8 junior high girls, primarily 6th grade, crammed onto my leather couch in my living room. Pretty scary in and of itself, right? Well, now picture this. Giggling and inside jokes abound, but all noise ceases when the doorbell rings. Wide-eyed, the girls watch as the door creaks open...oh my goodness, controlled excitement breaks loose as the girls realize who is at the door---Brandon*. Relative maturity and "coolness" reign until the boy and his friend round the corner and head downstairs to join the other young males. Audible sighs of love and relief, mixed with giggles and high-pitched explanations follow for at least 15 minutes. Followed by multiple episodes of one or two "brave" girls running half way down the basement stairs to view the specimen himself. The ever assertive best friend sends the half eaten donut of the poor girl with the hardest crush on Brandon down with the youth pastor to offer the boy a bite--shared donut spit, mmmmmm.

(*names have been changed for the protection of the idolized)

Ironically enough, the lesson for the evening was "Temptation".

Later on in the evening, when the hormone-raging groups were allowed to mingle, controlled chaos was the perfect descriptive term. Junior high girls doing back walk overs, junior high boys hanging from the basement ceiling. Others giggling, flirting, and of course, screaming.

What a lesson in pre-teen hysteria, when the exhileration of the dance is enough to thrill all, even the 20-somethings hosting the wide-eyed, enthusiastic youth.

Originally posted March 2006

Polka Dot Plant

Have you ever seen a polka dot plant? I hadn't, until the one I have now was placed on my desk. Sure is a goofy little plant.

So here's the thing--who got to name it the Polka Dot plant? To be completely honest, it's not even polka dotted--it's speckled. Or maybe Splashed would be a good word. And it's slightly fuzzy. I think a better name would have been the Speckly Splashed Slightly Fuzzy plant. Polka dot plant just doesn't cut it.

Question: Does someone out there have the title "Senior Plant Namer"? "Executive Plant Picker Outer"? "Dean of Plant Names"? Seriously--I want to name something. What if I just decided to change the name of the Polka Dot plant? First off, would anyone even care? Or notice?

I'll bet the CEO of Polka Dot plants would care. Yep, I'll bet she would.