Monday, March 28, 2005

a letter to my son on his first birthday

Dear Rowan,

Wow. What a year. The last 365 days have probably been the most altering and challenging days of my life. I did NOT know what I was doing when I signed up to have a child! (You might as well hear it now…Mommy and Daddy do not know everything!) This past year – the first year of your life on this earth – has changed me in ways too numerous to count. But instead of going into all that (you can read my journals someday if you want all those details), I’d like to tell you what I am grateful for on this your first birthday.

I am thankful for your robust physical health during your first year of life. I am thankful for your amazing – and I mean AMAZING – father. I am thankful to be forever physically linked to your dad through you. I am thankful for your wise and doting Paw & Gram Keyes and Grammy Cheryl. I am thankful for our friends, near and far, who love on you whenever we get together. I am thankful for your big, fat, squishy, kissable cheeks (both sets). I am thankful that you enjoy being outside, experiencing God’s garden. I am thankful for all the prayers that have gone up on behalf of you, Daddy and me. I am grateful for your smiles, your giggles, your wiggles, your ticklish spots, your coos, your babbling, even your cries. I am grateful for the fact that you recognize me as your mother. I am grateful for the ways you are already teaching me about the Lord’s love for me. I am thankful for YOU, the gift of Rowan.

Thank you, Lord, for blessing me with this child.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

paw & gram are on the way

My parents are traveling to Nashville this morning to celebrate Rowan's first birthday. I am so excited! Sometimes I think about the parents God assigned me to, and I think "it's not fair." It's not fair that I snagged such a great mom and dad, and so many people out there can't say the same. But I am oh-so-thankful. Thank you Lord, for parents who have stayed true to each other for 35+ years, and who have made You a priority in their family. They are by no means perfect. Our family has not been immune to disagreements and hurt feelings. The difference is, we've stuck together. We've mended our fences when they needed mending. I pray I never take that -- or them -- for granted.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

celebrities on for the long haul

I have a love/hate relationship with celebrities. I'm fascinated with their fame and their earning potential. At the same time, I can't stand the fact that actors/musicians/professional athletes are showered with...well...fame and an absurd amount of earnings. I also take issue with how so many of these folks are put on a pedestal, especially when they have so much trouble maintaining relationships. Thus I am always encouraged when I hear of celebrities who make family a priority, and have stayed married to their spouses through thick and thin. Below is a list of famous folk who have all been married ten years or longer. In Hollywood, that's making some kind of statement.

Paul Newman & Joanne Woodward, married 1958
Bill Cosby & Camille Cosby, married 1964
Susan Lucci & Helmut Huber, married 1969
Billy Crystal & Janice Crystal, married 1970
Blythe Danner & Bruce Paltrow, married 1970 (Paltrow died 2002)
Judi Dench & Michael Williams, married 1971 (Williams died 2001)
Danny Glover & Asake Bomani, married 1975
Ron Howard & Cheryl Alley, married 1975
Sidney Poitier & Joanna Shimkus, married 1976
Bernie Mac & Rhonda McCullough, married 1977
Peter Boyle & Lorraine Alterman, married 1977
Meryl Streep & Donald J. Gummer, married 1978
Mel Gibson & Robyn Gibson, married 1980
Samuel Jackson & LaTanya Richardson, married 1980
Dustin Hoffman & Lisa Hoffman, married 1980
Gary Sinise & Moira Harris, married 1981
James Earl Jones & Cecilia Hart, married 1982
Linda Dano & Frank R. Attardi, married 1982 (Attardi died 2004)
Ed Harris & Amy Madigan, married 1983
Dana Carvey & Paula Carvey, married 1983
Denzel Washington & Pauletta Pearson, married 1983
Morgan Freeman & Myrna Colley-Lee, married 1984
Jamie Lee Curtis & Christopher Guest, married 1984
Sigourney Weaver & Jim Simpson, married 1984
Madeline Stowe & Brian Benben, married 1986
Arnold Scwarzenegger & Maria Shriver, married 1986
Aidan Quinn & Elizabeth Bracco, married 1987
Tom Selleck & Jilly Joan Mack, married 1987
Ray Romano & Anna Romano, married 1987
Tom Hanks & Rita Wilson, married 1988
Mike Nichols & Diane Sawyer, married 1988
Kevin Bacon & Kyra Sedgwick, married 1988
Michael J. Fox & Tracy Pollan, married 1988
Kevin Kline & Phoebe Cates, married 1989
Robin Williams & Marsha Garces Williams, married 1989
John Goodman & Anna Elizabeth Hartzog, married 1989
Patricia Heaton & David Hunt, married 1990
Matthew Fox & Margherita Ronchi, married 1991
Steven Spielberg & Kate Capshaw, married 1991
John Travolta & Kelly Preston, married 1991
Sting & Trudie Styler, married 1992
Josie Bissett & Rob Estes, married 1992
Warren Beatty & Annette Bening, married 1992
Sela Ward & Howard Sherman, married 1992
Nia Vardolos & Ian Gomez, married 1993
Michelle Pfeiffer & David E. Kelley, married 1993
Mike Myers & Robin Ruzan, married 1993
Frances McDormand & Joel Coen, married 1994
Liam Neeson & Natasha Richardson, married 1994
Kathleen Quinlan & Bruce Abbott, married 1994
Ewan McGregor & Eve Mavrakis, married 1995
Lisa Kudrow & Michael Stern, married 1995
Holly Hunter & Janusz Kaminski, married 1995

Thursday, March 17, 2005

a new kind of pain

Brandon and I were discussing last night how children have opened us up to a whole new kind of pain. The kind of pain that, as you're growing up, you only hear parents talk about...the pain of losing a child. With so many of our friends filling their homes with offspring, the chances seem greater that this kind of pain could enter our lives. It's unsettling to think about.

I just can't imagine Rowan not being around. The'm choosing not to go there at the moment. But I would be just as heartbroken if one of my precious friends lost a child. Hm. So many things I didn't bargain for when I decided to become a parent!

Monday, March 14, 2005

define "comfort zone"

From yesterday's entry in my journal:

"How much do you want us to push ourselves, God? I hear lots of talk in the church about stepping out of our comfort zones and about how following Jesus isn't about being comfortable and so on and so on. So what does that mean? How 'uncomfortable' do I need to make myself? Does this mean I need to travel to a foreign country where I don't speak the language and live in extreme poverty? Does this mean I need to live in a society where women have no voice? Does this mean I need to wash my clothes by hand, live without airconditioning, medicine or technology? Without our family nearby? Is this what living the uncomfortable life of following Jesus means for me? What the heck does that MEAN...'stepping out of our comfort zone'? How big a step are we supposed to take? How do you define 'comfort zone'?"

The questions never end!!!

Friday, March 11, 2005

shout-out to high point

This is random, but I feel like giving a shout-out to the High Point Fellowship family of believers down in Austin, Texas. I'd move back to Austin in a heartbeat, just to attend High Point. I pray that God is richly blessing that little corner of His kingdom.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005


Over to the right, I describe Brandon as being my beyond-awesome husband. He really is. I wish everyone could have a friend like Brandon. There are lots of reasons why I love the dude, but this morning it's because he gave a surprise party for my birthday last night! Around 7 pm, the majority of our life group showed up on our front porch and happily barged their way into our home. The evening was complete with pizza, cake, caffeinated beverages, and sweet cards from dear friends. What more could a birthday girl ask for?

Monday, March 07, 2005

behold the average-looking woman

Do you know what "dressing up" consists of for me? Lip gloss. Shiny, lip-smacking, fruity-colored lip gloss. When we girls went out last Friday night, I "dressed up" in jeans and a black shirt, with a swipe of gloss. Oh, and I donned a necklace, too.

Okay, so I'm not exactly a glam girl. Forgive me. I've been a little busy this past year. A few months after Rowan was born, I met another new mom at church. Her baby was four weeks old. The new mom was teeny-tiny (as in no "baby belly" hanging out over the top of her pants)...her hair was in place...she had on makeup...she was all smiles. She made being a new mom look like a cakewalk. I wanted to strangle her. But instead I just cried on the way home.

It's been almost a year since that encounter, and there are still times that days go by during which I sport a headful of Medusa hair, with nary a touch of mascara. I feel guilty. I feel ugly. (Wow, what an UPLIFTING blog entry!!!) I feel irritated that our society places so much stinking emphasis on physical beauty.

But then, hopefully, a tiny bit of the Spirit wiggles its way into my thoughts and tells me it's okay if I'm not wearing makeup. If God had wanted me to have thicker eyelashes, I would have been born with them. (Not that there's anything wrong with wearing makeup! I still use it when I have the me!) And the Spirit tells me that, even though my wrinkly, stretch-marked belly will never be modeling for Victoria's Secret, that belly is a badge of housed a nine-and-a-half pound blessing named Rowan. And the Spirit tells me that even though I'm not the most glamorous or fashionable woman around (not even close!), I CAN be a woman who fears the Lord.

Don't be concerned about the outward beauty that depends on fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. - I Peter 3:3

Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised. - Prov 31:30

Saturday, March 05, 2005

my first ever karaoke experience

In honor of my karaoke initiation, I'd like to present a few awards. Names have been omitted to protect the innocent. (Though if you're in my life group, you know exactly who I'm talking about!) One of our resident pediatricians wins the Most Adventuresome Award...for being the only one to sing and dance atop a table. The two nannies in our group tied to win the Too-Talented-to-Sing-Karaoke Award...for actually sounding good when they belted out their tunes. The physical therapist wins the Fly-Under-the-Radar Award...for somehow getting out of ever actually singing into the mic. The research assistant wins the Most Courageous Award...for drinking two beers on that new liver of hers. The music manager wins the Smooth Moves Award...for having the coolest dance tricks. And I win...well, I had a great time and I am blessed in I just plain win.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

a little venting

Oh me, oh my. People certainly DO have their opinions. The world would be a rather boring place without opinions, don’t you think? But it’s not the opinions that bother me. It’s the way the opinions are PRESENTED.

FOR INSTANCE…a number of the people I associate with did not care for President Clinton. Fine. I don’t care. Have your opinion. Debate about his politics. Disagree with how he conducts his personal life. This kind of clash of opinions makes the world go ‘round. But don’t pray at life group that the “right man” (meaning a Republican) will be elected so that the “antichrist” will not be allowed to rule the United States any longer. (Yes, this really happened.)

Another FOR INSTANCE…if you want to have 72 children, BY ALL MEANS, have 72 children. But don’t try to make me feel guilty for only having one, if that’s what I so choose. Or if that’s all I feel like I can handle. Isn’t it better to be a sane, peaceful, contented mother-of-one, than a frantic, weary, exhausted mother-of-twenty? We are not all cut out to be mothers of dozens, so do not write things on your blog like “[I] sometimes wonder what on earth mothers with only two children do with all their spare time” and “[I] secretly think that life in [my] family might possibly be a much more joyous adventure than life in smaller families.”

Whew. Just needed to get that off my chest. I hope I haven't offended anyone. That's certainly not my intention.

Just my opinion.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

an ugly head has reared

The past few weeks have been vaguely reminiscient of last summer for me. For those of you who don't know, my doctor diagnosed me with postpartum depression/anxiety when Rowan was about four-months-old. After the diagnosis, I completely cleared my calendar for the rest of 2004 and started an anti-depressant and weekly counseling. Because of the empty calendar, the Zoloft, and the counseling -- along with numerous prayers on my behalf -- I've been feeling much, much better these past few months. But the last couple weeks have been rough. I've been experiencing more anxiety, more sadness, more all-around crumminess. And I'm not sure what to do about it. What would alleviate the anxiety? Moving back to Texas to be closer to our families? Quitting breastfeeding? Taking stronger medication? Attending a smaller church where we could actually get to know people? Regular exercise? Going back to work part-time?

"But to keep me from getting puffed up, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from getting proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, 'My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.' " (2 Cor 12)

Maybe this anxiety is my "thorn in the flesh". But I sure hope not.

on that note

Well, I was planning on blogging about something deeply profound this morning but Little Light (click on her blog: Laments of the Unfinished) buttered me up, so I'm going to post a blog about music.

1155 songs

I can't remember the last time I bought a CD. iTunes has put an end to all that!

He's Watching Over You by Michelle Tumes (really needed to hear it this morning)

Do I have to limit it to five??? I love music. So hard to narrow it down. Two songs I find very moving and inspirational:
Every Season - Nicole Nordeman
Jehovah - Amy Grant
Three songs I listen to a lot these days 'cause...well...I just like 'em:
Sleeps with Butterflies - Tori Amos
Let Go - Frou Frou
Wise Up - Aimee Mann

J-Wild - he's already on the music-blogging-kick
Kate - she leaves lots of good comments on my blog
A blogger I don't know - just because