Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Fortunately, since we never throw anything away, there were two extra coffeemakers in the cabinet. One was missing its pot, either because it was broken some time ago or because someone is using it as a watering can for their office fichus. The other—which we are now using--is a tiny, four-cup pot like one finds in a hotel room.
I had a coffeemaker just like this one in the little two-room apartment where I lived for most of grad school. I guess it was really three rooms, since the bathroom did have a door, but calling it two rooms always brings to mind Tom Petty’s “The Apartment Song”: I used to live in a two-room apartment / neighbors knockin’ on my wall / times were hard, I don’t wanna knock it / I don’t miss it much at all.
I was just starting to make regular coffee (as opposed to sugary lattes) a habit, and Matt gave me the little appliance when he bought the nice big “Barista” brand coffeemaker we still have in our kitchen. Seeing this little pot takes me back to that little apartment and to that time of my life. It was the first—and only—place I ever lived alone. It is where Charlotte and I bonded for life and where Matt proposed. It was always too hot or too cold, and the tub drain frequently got clogged. My window was at eye-level with a swanky upstairs bar across the street where the staff would blast music as they cleaned up in the wee hours. One time, they got a trash bag stuck in a tree just outside the bar’s windows. The eye-sore bothered me so much that one night, after enjoying an appletini or two there, I leaned out the window, yanked the bag out of the tree, and gave it to the bartender to throw away. Half a block down was another bar that attracted a lot of bikers who would rev their engines at a maddening volume.
I remember getting up on Saturday mornings and making coffee. I would sit on the couch (from which I could reach the TV, the kitchen table, and my desk) and read or watch CNN. It feels like fall. Dressed in a sweater and jeans, I would walk the block over to Starbucks or the library at school. Matt and I would get together at some point in the day--though we had previously spent most of our time at his place on 18th Ave., once I got Charlotte we hung out at my place more, so as to not abandon the kitty! It was also in this era that Matt and I each had "our night" to cook for the both of us, and I recall having "Mexican night" and "Greek night" back in those days when fixing dinner for two was a big deal.
(You can't see much of the apartment here, but here's Charlotte and I in early 2005, Check back tomorrow for a Wordless Wednesday of "old" pics, i.e. the earliest digital pics I have, from 2004 and 2005.)
Monday, September 28, 2009
(1) Thursday 9/24. Granna gave Kate this fun set of first-holiday bibs--what a perfect way to kick off 100 Days of Holidays! (You can also see the shininess below Kate's nose--she had a runny nose.)
Friday, September 25, 2009
First, "tiny," with little frames showcasing Kate's tiny baby parts--her fingers and toes, eyes and ears. I arranged the twelve pictures into a 5 x 7 mosaic on Kodakgallery and then cut the delivered print into strips. The polka-dot parts of this page are actually from a Graco ad I cut out months ago.
"You" is my record of what Kate was doing at three months--sleeping through the night, cooing like crazy, sucking her fingers (like in the picture!) The big letters are chipboard, covered in paper and sanded down.
"Family." Maria got so many great shots of the three of us. I love the birds on this paper--it's Stampin Up!, like most of the papers in these layouts.
In the middle of the photo shoot, I was holding Kate and took a little hop down from a short rock wall, jostling her head against my shoulder, and she flipped out. She's normally a pretty chill, happy baby, but when she does cry, she makes a huge show of it, crumpling her face and throwing her arms out wide like "why, God, why?!?" She kept this up for a while, and as we tried to console her, we had to laugh at what a "drama queen" she was being!
This last one is comprised of my own photography skills, if they can be called that! "Half Year Half Pint" is my record of what Kate was up to at six months--creeping, sitting up (though not on her own, yet) and otherwise becoming such a big girl!
It's hard to believe it's been almost two months since those shots were taken on our trip to Chattanooga. I may have "scrapbookers block" now and again, but I love recording our memories and these precious moments that fly by so quickly.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
When I visit MCC now (not as often as I would like!) it bears very little physical resemblance to the church I loved in my youth. It has a new building in a new location, and a new pastor as well. I still see our old family friends, but I also see many, many people I don't know. A good friend with whom I grew up at MCC is still active there, with her parents and now her husband and son, and even she says that there are many, many people that she doesn't know.
But, you know, it's okay that we don't know everyone or recognize every face. Sure, it was nice knowing most people--the more active members, anyway--as I was growing up there. But knowing everybody is not what church is about. The church is not there to serve its own members or to perpetuate itself as a social club. Fellowship and study groups are nice, and serve a valuable purpose, but if those gatherings are ends unto themselves, then we have very much missed the point. We are called to serve, to reach out, to include.
There is an article I'll be including in an upcoming issue of Circuit Rider called "Incentives to Decline." It explains why some churches, even if they say they want to grow, really would prefer to stay the same, because growth would mean sacrificing some comfort, some intimacy, even some power. Bringing more people into the fold would mean they might not get as much say in decision-making. They might not like some of the physical and organizational changes that growth requires. They might not recognize every face or know every person by name.
Sure, it's a little uncomfortable to return to my home church and not feel quite as "at home" as I might if I knew every person's name or knew where every room was located, or if I could return to the exact places where special memories were made. But that feeling pales in comparison to the excitement of seeing this congregation that is so close to my heart grow and thrive and make a huge difference for the kingdom of God.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
I spotted a beige hearse parked outside Lifeway, and thought about how if I used twitpic, I could tweet this funny sight, perhaps with a caption like "Lifeway: Biblical Solutions for Life... and Death."
The light turned green. I pressed the gas and lurched forward about six feet before seeing a maroon sedan zooming into the intersection. Fortunately, since I was starting from a dead stop, I was able to brake and quickly stop, and the sedan swerved around the nose of my car. The driver was apparently trying to beat the light, and missed big time.
My heart raced as I continued through the intersection and headed home, thinking about how close I'd come to having my evening ruined and my almost-paid-off car totalled, if not something worse. I drove cautiously, my usual eagerness to get home to see Kate quickly tempered by my desire to get home to see her at all. Times like these are great for counting your blessings.
Maybe I'm the only one, but too often, I find myself dwelling on the negatives in life, the things that aren't exactly as I would wish them to be. I wallow. I complain. This makes my dear husband feel guilty and frustrated, and only serves to ruin both our moods. Then I berate myself for throwing a complaint-fest, which just brings me down further.
There are so many positives in my life, it is a shame that they don't mold my attitude near so much as the negatives. I know I don't express gratitude for all the wonderful things in my life nearly often enough.
Like my precious daughter. I have never known this kind of love. Holy cats, she's amazing! When I look at her, I feel like the Grinch, whose heart swelled to ten times its normal size.
Like my incredible husband. He is far better to me than I deserve. When I behave terribly, he responds in love. He is so sweet to me, and I can only try to be as loving toward him as he is to me. He is an amazing father, partner, pastor, and friend.
Like my wonderful parents. We talk almost every day, and I can always count on their support. I always wanted a sibling, but I think being an only child has made us closer. My in-laws are incredibly generous and loving as well, and all our parents are terrific grandparents to Kate.
Like a roof over my head. The distance of this abode from my work and most of our friends is chief among my complaints in life, but we are incredibly lucky to have such a house, and especially to have it free of charge (as a parsonage). A home is such a basic thing, and yet should never be taken for granted. There are too many that go without it.
I could go on and on, of course--giving thanks for our jobs, for our health, for food to eat and clothes to wear. For the silly little things that bring joy to everyday life--reruns of Friends and good songs on the radio. I am so blessed, and I so often take it all for granted.
What are you thankful for today?
Monday, September 21, 2009
- How loud is the noise?
- Is the noise positive or negative? (cooing and laughing seem more tolerable than crying or screaming)
- How important is the element of worship the child is distrupting? (this one, especially, is highly subjective)
- Is the noise likely to cease in the next 30 seconds?
- How annoyed are the people around you? (I always sit up front, so I am terrible with this question; I can't see people turning around to glare at me or whatnot.)
- If I take her out, should I take all our gear? Where should I go? If she quiets down (which Kate usually does the moment I stand up to leave) how long should I stay out?
Kate is a good, happy baby--even good, happy babies cry sometimes!--and I really wasn't frustrated with her, just with the situation. I felt like "why should I even come if I spend the whole time out in the hallway or narthex?" This is exactly why a church nursery (and/or a cry room) are so essential.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
You can learn the "doing" of ministry from books and classes, Matt says, but learning the "being" of ministry takes the care and nurture of a trusted mentor to help one see and understand the calling and gifts God has placed on one's life.
Matt is truly called and gifted for ministry. It's all guts and no glory, and he does it all for love of God and love of people in the name of Jesus Christ.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Nonetheless, her two little "toofies" are definitely here, and for the first time today--visible to the camera! She's eating around 15-18 different foods--pureed fruits and veggies and several kinds of cereal. She's even starting to get the hang of finger foods of the dissolving sort--rice puffs and such--but with these teeth, she'll be eating table food in no time!
Friday, September 18, 2009
and partially because I miss Kate so much some days, especially on Fridays when I'm excited to get home and spend a fun weekend with her...
I (and maybe you) need a KATE FIX!
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
All this at only 7 1/2 months old! It won't be long before she's walking!!!
Sure enough, when we were in Louisville for Labor Day, she stood up in the crib in an act of protest against taking a nap. (BTW, that was my crib when I was a baby.)That night, she did it in her own crib too, and we promptly lowered the mattress to the very lowest level. It's practically to the floor, and that is where it will remain when it becomes a toddler bed, until she's ready to move to a "big girl bed"!
Monday, September 14, 2009
I am clearly a very lucky girl, to have such loving, wonderful grandparents. I love you all!
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Kate got to come too, and it was actually the first time she had met some of the Miller family. Here she is with Nala (my mom--short for Nana Laura) and maid of honor/sister-of-the-bride Layne.