Infertility

Shiloh’s Message

Shiloh.iPhone Jan 2018 1229

Out of all the locations on our itinerary, this was the one I felt the most about. Excitement. Dread. Hopefulness. Longing. Comfort. Nervousness. Anxiety. Grief.

It was a Sunday, a little over halfway through our trip. We were spending the day with a renowned archaeologist, touring the region of Samaria: Bethel, Ai, Shiloh, Sychar, Shechem. Ancient cities which had been lost and rediscovered. Places where sacred history happened. Bethel, where God appeared to Abram. Sychar, where Jesus spoke to the woman at the well. Ai, where Israel lost their first battle due to Achan’s sin. Shiloh, where God’s tabernacle stayed.

Shiloh, where Hannah prayed for a child.

December days in Israel are short; we were racing the sun all day. “Let’s make Shiloh a brief stop,” I overheard our guide say to another leader as we loaded into the bus. “We don’t need to dawdle there.”

We stopped at several sites near Bethel first, and then Ai. Both locations had much to see and discuss. But my heart was already anxiously racing with the thought of Shiloh.

Shiloh, where a barren woman went to ask God for a baby.

I didn’t know what I was feeling, or what I should be feeling, so I tried my best to ignore whatever it was knotting up my stomach. I tried to focus on listening to the archaeologist, tried to appreciate the moment. But my thoughts kept jumping ahead to Shiloh.

Shiloh, where a woman like me prayed so hard that the priest thought she was drunk.

Just before noon, we arrived. Our guide had explained on the drive that we were going to stop rather quickly so we could fit in several more locations before the afternoon light started to fade. We had to walk a short way to get to the actual location of the tabernacle itself; along the path, we passed a visitor center. “This building was funded by a wealthy Jewish woman,” our guide explained. “She tried for years to have a baby, and finally pilgrimaged here to pray just like Hannah did–and then built this center in honor of her son, Samuel!” Someone who knew what Logan and I were facing nudged my arm at this story. “See? Maybe it will happen for you, too!” she whispered. I looked away, knowing I would cry if I made eye contact.

Shiloh, where God answers prayers.

I remember very little of what our guide said once we actually reached the site of the tabernacle. I prowled along the outskirts of the group, hiding my teary eyes by taking pictures. I wanted silence, solitude, time to reflect and pray–a chance to fall on my knees and beg God to send us a child, too. But our group was large, our guide was hurrying to get to the next destination, other visitors kept coming and going. iPhone Jan 2018 1228

“Well, I think that’s all we need to cover here. Let’s head back to the bus.” Slowly, reluctantly, I fell in with the rest of the tourists, though I desperately wanted to linger, to sit in quietness and feel God’s presence. Perhaps He would grant me peace. Perhaps He would give me assurance that I would someday give my husband a child. Perhaps He would send a sign that I could cling to.

But instead, I walked back down the path, clinging to Logan’s hand with all my might, keeping my head down so people couldn’t see that I was sobbing.

Shiloh, where God was silent to me.

I had hoped for some kind of sacred experience, some sort of message from God. But as we left Shiloh and headed to our next destination, I had no more assurance than before. God had not given me inward peace. I received no special feelings of joy or hope. Six months later, we are seemingly no closer to parenthood.

Shiloh, where my prayers were not answered.

Perhaps it was for the best. Had God done what I wanted–had He orchestrated the day so that I could have lingered and prayed at the site of the ancient tabernacle–perhaps I would have made too much of the experience. Perhaps I would have turned Shiloh into a shrine, begun to worship the place more than the God who sanctified it.

Shiloh, where I could not feel God’s presence.

Alone in our hotel room that evening, I wrote in my journal, venting my disappointment. I will probably never be able to revisit this sacred place; I lost my chance to pray where Hannah did. I left Shiloh with no peace, no confidence. And yet–I remembered that I serve a God who is everywhere. The One who loves me is always near.

I do not need Shiloh to get me closer to God. He hears the prayers I offer while I drive to work each day. He sees the tears I cry on my couch late at night. I cannot always feel Him, but I know He is here.

Shiloh, where the tabernacle is no more. 

For now He is here in us.

 

 

Advertisements
But Seriously, Infertility

Adoption Won’t Cure My Infertility, part 2

A friend recently shared an article with me that talked about infertility treatments, specifically the problems with IVF procedures. It was a pretty decent article, and I agreed with many of the hesitations the author had concerning IVF . But she lost me at the conclusion: “maybe a better alternative to IVF would be adoption.”

In my last post, I expressed some frustration with people who jump to adoption as a treatment for infertility, but I want you to know that isn’t the same as just a caring friend asking about our plans and if we’ll ever consider adopting. I already talked about how infertility can’t really be healed by adopting a child, but my second problem with the “adoption as an infertility treatment” mindset has to do with the serious and heartwrenching act of adoption itself. Relegating adoption to merely an infertility treatment diminishes its weightiness.

{Ok, I admit I’m delving into a topic in which I have no experience, as we haven’t yet started pursuing adoption. So if I’m way off base, please feel free to call me out!}

Adoption brings its own emotional trauma

I already talked about the mess of emotions infertility brings (and lets be honest, I’ll probably talk about them again because talking about my feelings is one of my main hobbies anymore). Not only does adoption not “fix” most of them, the adoption process is pretty stressful on its own. There’s the initial stress of meeting all the licensing requirements, then the uncertainty of waiting for a placement; the headaches of endless paperwork and legal proceedings. In many adoptions, the birth family will still be at least somewhat present in the child’s life–and the spectrum of experiences accompanying that interaction can be anything from 100% positive to nightmarish. Adoptions through foster care can include another level of issues and trauma. Jumping into adoption as a way to “fix” infertility is trying to merge two broken families and expecting no subsequent wounds.

Adoption shouldn’t be about the parents’ needs

Yes, we want to be parents. I would give virtually anything to suffer morning sickness and writhe through labor pains, to hear a little boy call me “Mama,” to be the one who has to tuck the kids into bed because Daddy just doesn’t do it right. I long to see Logan as a father, singing his weird little lullabies to our babies, immersing himself in the pretend world of a five-year-old, teaching a little girl how to spot all the turtles when we go for walks. But we can’t choose to adopt just because we want kids, and not because we are burdened for children who need families.

Adopting should be about what the child needs–unconditional love, commitment, safety, home. Infertile couples often make wonderful adoptive parents because their love and attention can be given completely to children who may need extra care. But I shouldn’t expect any child to erase or to resolve the issues I’m dealing with–especially not an adopted child who brings his own baggage to our family.  If I go into adoption expecting it to meet my needs and fulfill my desires for motherhood, how will I react when I discover that bonding doesn’t always happen immediately? When, instead of finally feeling healed and fulfilled, I must bear the added weight of a child’s past? And how will that child feel knowing she was the second choice for our family, that if we had been able to have “our own” kids we would never have considered her needs?

It may well be that infertility is the path that God will use to lead us to some special children He already has in mind for us; that our current experiences will shape us into parents ready to bear the burdens of an adopted child. Perhaps the cares we wear right now and the prayers that remain unanswered are the tool He’ll use to make us ready to love a child we wouldn’t have known otherwise. But when the day comes that we are Mom and Dad to children not born to us, I earnestly pray that the first thought on our hearts is the best interests of those children and their first families and not about treating my problem.

Adoption isn’t just for infertile people

When writers publish articles that say adoptions a “better option to treat infertility,” and when people suggest that we should “stop trying and just adopt,” (again, not the same as just a friendly question in a conversation about our struggle so far!), we start to get the idea that adopting is something that’s the sole responsibility of infertile couples. Those who have “their own” kids are content to admonish infertile couples to stop wasting money on treatments and think of the kids without homes instead, never considering if they themselves have a responsibility toward those children. Would adoption be more difficult with a house already full of kids? Probably. Is every family called to adopt? Of course not. But speaking about adoption as something infertile families should do leads to the idea that fertile families don’t need to.

ok, call me out. Am I completely unqualified to write about this? Am I still looking at these issues way too naively? What’s your experience with adoption, and what should I know as we prepare for that in our eventual future?

But Seriously, Infertility

Adoption Won’t Cure My Infertility, Part 1

It’s a message I hear often, normally from very kind, very well-meaning people.

“Have you considered adoption?”
“Don’t you think it’s selfish to pursue treatments when there are kids in foster care that need homes?”
“Maybe adoption is the answer for your infertility.”

I recognize that my thoughts on this are purely from the currently childless side. Someday, I trust that God will lead us to adopt, and I can only guess how my perspective on things will change then. But I’m fairly confident of one thing: adoption won’t cure my infertility.

It seems so simple, so easy, so rational. Can’t have kids? Just adopt! But the problem with this line of thinking is that it reduces both infertility and adoption to very one-dimensional issues. In this kind of rationale, infertility is code for problem: wants a child and the only emotion associated with this problem is sad because doesn’t have a child. If this were true, yes, adoption would be the “easy” solution. A child would be obtained and the sadness would dissipate into joy. Unfortunately, infertility is much more than the basic lack of a child, and its accompanying emotions are persistent and tumultuous.

Adoption won’t heal my physical condition

While I often focus on the “babyless” side of things, my infertility is actual merely a symptom of a much broader problem–an incurable syndrome that affects my metabolism, moods, and general health. While I hope on my more optimistic days to eventually find the panacea that will completely reverse my symptoms, it’s just as likely that this is something I’ll be living with for the rest of my life–with or without children.

Adoption can’t fix my emotions

The last year and a half have been emotionally turbulent. In addition to basic sadness and grief, infertility has also brought feelings of inadequacy, depression, loneliness, jealousy, anger, fear, guilt, and doubtfulness. Sometimes I let them get the upper hand; sometimes, by God’s grace, I manage to control them. Either way, most of these won’t be addressed by adoption. Adopting won’t heal the loneliness I feel when my friends share their birth stories. I doubt it will completely fix the twinges of envy I feel when I hear pregnancy announcements. I don’t think it can silence the “Why, God?” I cry when someone else is blessed with a child and abuses him. It can’t magically restore faith in a God who has answered so many of my prayers with “no.” It can’t help stave off the self-loathing whispers of Logan deserves more than a broken wife and no matter what I do, I’ll never be good enough to deserve a baby. While parenting an adopting child will, I’m sure, bring just as much joy as having a biological baby, there are so many more feelings than the simple interplay of joy and grief.

God doesn’t explain His plan to us. And while I pray that His plan for us will eventually include adopting, I want my future adopted sons and daughters to know that they weren’t just a bandaid solution to my issues. When God brings them to us, they’ll be getting a Mama with some baggage, some scars, and those children won’t be responsible to fix these wounds for me.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue! Have adoption and/or infertility been part of your life? How have they affected you? Do you think I’m being an opinionated drama queen (always a possibility)? 

Part 2 to come (because yes, I have more opinions with little to no life experience backing them up!)

Home, Infertility

Voicemail

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017.

I finished teaching my last violin lesson of the morning and loaded up my stuff into the car. My stomach flipped as I pulled out my phone—I had heard the buzzing while I taught. Was it the call I was waiting for so impatiently?

It was. My whole body tensed up. I was still new to the smartphone thing, so I couldn’t help but read the transcribed voicemail before I tapped play.

Hi this is Dr _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_ the tally just letting you know that your progesterone levels was 0.15 which they need to be greater than 10 for us to consider them positive for ovulation so if you can call me back…”

No. No, no, no. That couldn’t be right. Obviously the transcription was faulty—it had had no clue what to do with my doctor’s name, so maybe the numbers were wrong too.

Fingers shaking, I pressed play. My doctor’s voice—educated, confident, and rather unemotional—rang out of my phone’s speakers while I sat in my car stunned, broken, unable to think. I played it again.

Your progesterone levels were 0.15 … they need to be greater than 10 …

Tears started pooling in the corner of my eyes. “Why, God?” I whispered. No other words would come. I was still sitting in the parking lot of the church where I taught violin, and I knew I needed to get out before someone strolled past and saw me, still sitting in my car, crying uncontrollably. I blinked back the tears as hard as I could while I drove out. When I was safely alone on the roads I let them flow.

I prayed as I drove, the broken, raw kind of prayer that doesn’t happen during church services.

“God, I don’t understand. I thought this would work … why didn’t this work … help me, help me, please, please help me …”

The phone call was in response to the blood draw I had had two days prior. Three weeks ago, I started my very first round of ovulation-inducing medicine. As a woman with PCOS, both my doctor and I were fairly confident I was never ovulating on my own—which is a pretty big problem, especially when you want babies. But the drug was supposed to fix me, at least for one cycle, and though I knew that many healthy people take more than one cycle to actually make a baby, I had faith. I believed that the odds didn’t matter. This would work; this would be our baby. Sometime between our winter birthdays, we would be visiting the birth center and bringing home our twins. Yes, twins. We have to work extra hard for kids, so why not make it a two-for-one deal? We prayed together, and I prayed alone, and I quoted all the verses that talk about God answering prayer, and I believed He would give me what I asked for.

And then—The Voicemail. Not only was I not pregnant (twins or otherwise), my body had not even responded to the medication. I didn’t understand—I had been tracking my symptoms, positive I felt the classic mittelschmerz of ovulation. Logan and I had talked about “if it doesn’t work,” but even those discussions assumed “not working” just meant “not pregnant.” I hadn’t let myself consider what would happen if my body simply … didn’t respond.

But that’s where I was now. When I finally got home, I tried to sniff the tearfulness out of my voice before I called the doctor back. I don’t remember who I called first, Logan or the doctor. Probably Logan, though I doubt he would have been able to answer at work. I remember talking to him on his lunch break—I was curled up on the couch, crying, by myself, and all he could do was say “I’m sorry, I love you, it will be ok.”

The doctor, while nice enough, wasn’t quite as tender to my raw heart. She explained what I already understood—my body was so broken that the meds couldn’t get it working. She said we’d try again and sent me a prescription for a bumped-up dosage. My heart sank even further when she told me we were skipping the middle level and going straight to full strength. That means she’s not very hopeful about this.

Neither am I.

That one brief voicemail was enough to strip me of my simple faith. Did I still believe God would answer my prayers? Yes. But it wasn’t a brightly optimistic belief like at the first … now I was paying attention to statistics, obsessively reading success (and failure) stories, preparing my heart for the possibility that this time might fail, too. I couldn’t recapture the innocent faith I had before, where I just thought if I believed hard enough, God would do as I asked.

I knew now, somehow, that our fertility journey would not be as simple as I had hoped. The miraculous healing I hoped for probably wouldn’t come. We may only be able to afford one pregnancy instead of the dozen kids I had always dreamed of.

Today is the anniversary of that loss of “naive faith.” I can’t say that it was a bad thing to lose. We’ve had to work to replace it with a pushy faith, a faith that chooses when odds look grim. A faith that understands God may not answer how I want. A faith that acknowledges He is still good. A faith that refuses to give in to the pessimism, the despair, the statistics. A faith that says, “God, if You let my heart get broken again, I believe You will somehow carry me through that, too.”

“Lord, I believe, only help my unbelief!”

Home

Bittersweet.

Look! Two posts less than a month apart! Boy, am I with it or what? (Though I’m ignoring the groceries that need to be put int he cupboard, the dishes that need to be done, the laundry that needs to be folded, the supper that needs to be made, AND the library books that need to be returned to write this . . . so maybe I’m not “with it” at all. Ahem.)

A friend who blogs* recently wrote a post describing her current life. God has blessed her in many ways, and somewhere in her writing she said, “I’m in love with my life and with the God who gave it to me.”

I don’t know why that stuck out to me the way it did, but that phrase has been nagging at me since I read it. Because, some days, I am not in love with my life. In fact, reading about the specific blessings God has given to this friend, I caught myself thinking, “Of course you love your life! You have everything you could want!” Jealousy hissed, and superiority smirked. “Why does she get things so easily?” said Jealousy. “You’re certainly more spiritual, since your life is more difficult,” said Superiority.

But these old enemies are wrong. I don’t actually know all the circumstances and trials this sweet woman faces–just like I won’t share every detail of the difficult things I might face here. But even in times of smoothness and tranquility, having the right attitude does not come easily; we are tempted to still long after more, or look at our blessings as being earned and deserved. And certainly, undergoing one specific trial doesn’t automatically boost our levels of spirituality. We remember the stories of the saints who faced bitter and difficult times–but there are many, many saints to whom God has given a sunnier path. Abraham had every material possession imaginable, didn’t he? Yet he was a righteous man.

So I squelched the voices that wanted to drag me down into a bitter, sinful swamp, and I thanked God for the blessings He bestowed on this woman. He is truly good all the time to all His children.

And yet . . .

I am not in love with my life. The thought kept nagging.

Did this mean that I do not love the God who has assigned this path to me? Is such a  thought a symptom of a faithless heart and a discontented spirit? Or is possible that God leads us through seasons where we can cling to Him in love and in trust, recognizing that the circumstances surrounding us are less than lovable?

Certainly those affected by the recent fires and floods and hurricanes and earthquakes do not love what God has done–but they can still love God Himself.

Certainly the apostle Paul did not love being in prison–but he saw and rejoiced at the good God brought from it.

Certainly Horatio Spafford did not love the circumstances that led to the penning of his timeless hymn–but he recognized that underneath the sorrows, it was well with his soul.

I do not compare myself to the victims of Harvey, or to believers persecuted for their faith, or to those who have lost the people dearest to their hearts. I see and give thanks for the thousands of beautiful things God has graciously given me: peace with Him. A wonderful husband. A nice home. Forgiveness every day. Provision for Logan’s school bill. Friends to laugh with. A cat (yes, this is an undeserved blessing of God–she makes the evenings when Logan’s away a little less lonely!). Peace and joy. Flowers in my windowsill. A good night’s sleep. A car with working air conditioner. Yarn to crochet with, a piano to play, warm blankets to snuggle under, a recipe for low-carb waffles . . . The list of things–both trivial and eternally significant–could go on forever.

But somehow, at the same time, I realize that there are situations that I wish were different. They do not need to be listed–that would too easily turn to complaining, which is not the point of this post–but they exist, and I imagine you, too, can think of at least a few things that you would change if you could. These are the things we take to God in prayer, the things that too often lead to grouchiness instead of gratitude, the things we must choose to find joy in.

I felt this conundrum for a while. If I really love God, does that mean I must be excited when bad things happen to the people I love? If I am really thankful, does that mean I must be filled with gladness when things don’t go as I wish they would?

Can I be thankful and sad at the same time?

I think that the answer to that last question is yes. When Jesus prayed all night in the garden, agonizing over the suffering He would endure, “I love my life!” were not the words on His lips. “Your will be done,” He prayed–but only after He said “Please take this cup away from me.”

Compared to the pain Jesus suffered, of course my little burdens shrink to inconsequential specks of nothingness. And compared to the burdens many others undergo, the things that grieve me seem light. But this does not mean I  must force a smile and grit through it, preaching “It’s not that bad!!” to myself day in and day out.

No.

God accepts my sorrow and He comforts me on the days when I hurt. He reminds me of the blessings He has bestowed on me and does not let me forget His unfailing love. He allows me to grieve, and at the same time, gives me peace to say Your will be done. I do not have to explain away or ignore the bad things in life to accept the fact that God is good–somehow, in a way I do not yet understand, He is teaching me to temper sadness with contentment and thankfulness with earnest prayer.

Some days are bittersweet–and in those days, God is still good. May He be praised.

*Dear friend who inspired this post: I am truly, truly glad for the way God has blessed you, and I am truly, truly glad your life is lovable right now. I know you’re heading into ministry, and you will face your share of difficult and painful days, so I’m thankful that God has given you this season of gladness first. May He continue to bless you and keep you close to Him!

 

Home

Hello Again

Dear blogosphere;

It’s been literal ages since I’ve last written here (though, to be honest, I’m not sure what the actual definition of an ‘age’ is, so it could be non-literal ages). Anyhow. It’s been quite a while. But I’m back for today at least, and maybe next week–or maybe not for another year. Who knows? Such is the beauty of my wild and free life. (Note: my idea of “wild and free” includes, ideally, the option to be in bed by 9:30 P.M. each night. So yeah. Pretty wild, amiright?)

To be honest, I’m not exactly sure why I am writing today, or if I really should be at all. This little blog was my outlet when I went away to college four years ago man am I old or what? and I’ve grown up just a bit since then; if I really want to do grown-up blogging, this isn’t really the place, with its awkward archived stories that are probably only funny to me anymore. But I’m not going to start a whole new blog when, in reality, today’s writerly mood may be a very brief whim, so instead I’m juxtaposing my newer, (slightly) more sober thoughts on top of a foundation of silly holidays and stories from the library. There’s probably a metaphor for life in there somewhere but I’m not that grown up that I care to flesh it out. You can be the thought-provokingly analytical one if you want.

(One thing hasn’t changed, at least: my inability to flesh out one coherent thought without rabbit trailing down several other more nonsensical thoughts, all included in the same smorgasbord of an over-comma-ed sentence.)

Things that have changed:

  • My glasses prescription. I’m squinting at this computer screen and that’s probably a sign I need a check-up, hmm?
  • My marital status. Well, that’s changed from what it was at the beginning of this blog, though not since I last wrote. We’re coming up on our second anniversary already–but you probably don’t want to hear my philosophical thoughts on a theme of “my, how fast time flies!”
  • My home. When I started writing, I was a girl from St. Louis going to school in West Virginia, and now I’m a girl from who knows where, really, settled down in North Carolina for the foreseeable future.
  • My taste in food. Y’all. I like cabbage. This was a small revelation to me recently and I just wanted to share.
  • My accent. I’ve started unconsciously imitating my sweet husband’s pronunciation of “violin” and “child” (VAAAAH-lin and chAAAAAHld, respectively). Do I despise myself for it? Yes, yes I do. I need a cleanse in the good old old midwest, please. Then I can say things like “let’s have a little bit of lunch!” and “who’s that pulling up onto the yard?” and “oh fer sure” again.
  • My job. Four years ago, I was a college student/library assistant/fast food worker, and now I’ve become a pastor’s wife/nearly-full-time piano (and violin) teacher, with a dash of nannying thrown in for good measure. I stuck my toe in the direct selling business recently, too, but turns out my toes don’t like that stuff. (Sorry, person under whom I signed up. You’re welcome, all y’all facebook friends who are relived to NOT have another person begging you to buy their life-changing products.)

So. Why exactly am I writing again, when the internet has been merrily spinning on without me for a full year? I can’t tell you, really. I’ve just got a writing itch recently; I suppose it’s rather selfish: my thoughts are not exactly wise enough that I need to share them with the world at large. But sometimes, there are just things I want to say, and facebook doesn’t seem to be the place to compose drawn-out, rabbit-trailing essays. Maybe a true sign of maturity would be peacefully keeping my thoughts to myself, so there you go–I still am the little midwestern girl who felt the need to start a college blog four years ago.

The beautiful thing about the internet, of course, is that no one is obliged to read my pretentious ramblings, so my need to SPEAK MY MIND!!!! and SHARE MY WISDOM!!! can be sated without actually inconveniencing anyone at all. Simply leave here and head to an truly grown-up blog, or Pinterest, or an actual printed book (gasps of surprise are heard throughout the room!) and you will no longer have to deal with my introspection, poorly timed jokes, and miserable use of commas. For those of you who do take the time to read all the way through this, though–firstly, thank you: your dedication and perseverance are truly admirable; and secondly–no really why are you still reading this?; and thirdly–I hope that maybe, just maybe, someday I can say something that will be just a little bit encouraging to your heart. I can’t pretend that I’ll ever write anything truly wise or new, but I’d like to share what God is gently and patiently teaching me. You who are certified Real Adults ™ may quietly chuckle to yourself while sagely shaking your head. “What a youngster!” I hear you saying in the future. “She thinks she’s getting so grown-up and she’s really only displaying her ignorance!” And, of course, future hypothetical you is right–four years from today maybe I’ll feel the same about this post as current me feels about my first posts.

But that’s OK, I think. God designs us to grow and change and go through different seasons. My college season was a good one. I was very young and I had fun and I made good friends and I learned a lot. Now I’m in a different season–I’m still very young, in the grand scheme of things. I still have fun (though not quite the same kind; there’s a certain kind of fun that can only be experienced on a college campus surrounded by fantastic people, so those of you still in college, enjoy it. Wait. Do I have any friends in school anymore? Boy, I am old.) And now God is teaching me new things, and sometimes I need to keep them and ponder them in my heart like Mary, and sometimes I think it’s OK to share them. So I guess that’s why I’m here, though man it took me a lot of words to figure that out. Writing is therapeutic, y’all.

Welcome back to my blog. Though there might not be as many silly stories, I promise I’ll still overuse commas. Because some things never do change.

 

Book-y Things, Home, Marriage

We Try to Get Along . . .

. . . but sometimes we just don’t see eye-to-eye. Examples:

  • Pickles
  • Mustard
  • What to do with days off
  • How to organize closets
  • What temperature is “cold”
  • Movies

For the most part, these aren’t issues. We compromise: Logan lets me eat my pickles and mustard as long as I brush my teeth extra-good later. I went hiking on his day off instead of doing laundry. I re-organize his clothes every time I hang things up. He gets me extra blankets.

However. Other things are really too hard. Continue reading “We Try to Get Along . . .”

Home, Marriage

Snippets

Finishing our evening Bible reading:
Logan: “What time is it?”
Me: “9:30.”
Logan: “Oh my word! I had no idea it was SO. LATE!”

Discussing the names of our future children:
Logan: “I feel like you’re relegating all of my ideas to middle name status.”
Me: “What are you talking about?”
Logan: “You know, like Hazard. . . . ”
Me: “Hazard. has NEVER. even been a middle name option. Ever.”
Logan: “I thought you said we could use it for a middle name!”
Me: “I probably said we could use it for a dog’s name.”
Logan: “But we don’t want a dog.”
Me: ” . . . .”

I’m not the only critic:
Me: “How about Eleanor?”
Logan: “EVERYONE would IMMEDIATELY think of Eleanor Roosevelt.”
Me: “She’s been dead for many years.”
Logan: “It’s a cultural reference.”
Me: “You’ve never even heard of Beyonce*. What do you know about cultural references???!”
—*note: this is not something I hold against the man.

On cleanliness:
Logan: “Is this a chip on the floor?”
Me: “That would imply that I ate the chips while you were gone . . . and that I was too lazy to vacuum . . . would you imply those things about your wife???!!?” Continue reading “Snippets”

Home, Music

On Ants and Jobs and Graduation

Greetings again!

I thought, back in March, that perhaps I would begin blogging more frequently since I had so much time at home. And I would have, too, except after my last post I realized I had absolutely nothing to write about.

We still had ants.

We were still eating chicken.

We still played gin rummy in the evenings.

What else could I have had to say?

However, with the passing of months, some things have changed, warranting a new blog post:

We no longer have ants!!!!

Exciting, yes? I’m sure any woman who’s ever dealt with a month-long infestation of ants in her kitchen will share my joy at being rid of the annoying little things. When we finally got rid of them for real, I wandered around the kitchen in amazement every single morning, marveling at the ant-less-ness of the sink, counter, cupboards, and dishdrainer.

Those were good days.

Aside from our ant-freedom, what else is new? Well, we’re still eating boatloads of chicken, but we have cut back on our gin rummy habit. Not because we’re tired of it (well, Logan might be, but he’s a champ and hasn’t said so), but because our evenings have gotten preciously short. God opened a door to a piano/violin teaching job at a local studio about a month ago, and the after-school lessons have dramatically reduced our gin rummy playing time. Sad, I know, but we’re adjusting.

And guys. I was made to be a music teacher. I love teaching lessons. I (briefly) toyed with the idea of being a classroom teacher several years ago, but my month-long experience in China showed me that I can’t handle large groups of kids. Don’t get me wrong: I LOVE kids. (See? Italicized AND capitalized means I’m for real.) But I’m not good at classroom management, and I hated trying to teach to the average: Johnny never learned anything because he was more advanced than the lessons I was preparing; Samuel struggled because we were moving too fast. I’m sure that real teachers would have all sorts of ideas for individualizing and modifying lessons for “exceptionalities,” but it wasn’t for me.

This, however, is for me. I love getting to know students one-on-one. I love the way their personalities and learning styles show so clearly when they’re on their own in the lesson room. I love being able to slow down to explain phrasing a little more clearly if I need to. I love coming up with fun ways to drill rhythms and note names. I love being able to move an exceptional student ahead to something that challenges her. I love seeing students come back after a week of practice having mastered something that had challenged them the last time. I love praising them and seeing their confidence grow. I love the little girls who skip into the room with enthusiasm. I love making the quiet teenage boys laugh, even if it’s the only non-piano noise he’ll make all lesson. I just love this job.

Looking back, God’s hand is so clear in every step that brought me here. Reflecting on His goodness in preparing me for this place is a long enough tale to warrant its own post, really. It’s embarrassing to think about all those times I cried during lessons (Mrs. Boone was a literal saint, and never once sounded even the slightest bit frustrated with my snotty sniffling). It’s odd to remember that I went through 2 1/2 years of college NOT intending to study music. It’s incredible (as in “completely unbelievable”) to realize I made a decent grade in every semester of ear training. And it’s wonderful to realize that God opened up this job at just the time I was ready to start working; that He directed me to the job posting when I hadn’t checked for music jobs in over a month; that the studio was willing to take a risk on someone who hasn’t taught violin before; that my interviewer was so gracious about the fact that I was an hour late to our meeting (unclear Google maps + accidentally getting on a highway that only has exits every two miles . . . ).

And not only did He provide a job that I absolutely love. . . God’s also provided a wonderful church family where I’ve been able to get involved musically. I’m using my violin and my voice, and yes, even playing handbells again! He’s so good to me.

In other news, congrats to all ABC’s graduating seniors! We wish we could be walking with you . . . but let’s be honest, we’re really happy about NOT walking with you. Not because of you. You’re awesome and I loved having you as my classmates for 2 1/2 years. Because of other things, like travel expenses and dumb hats and the fact that Logan’s parents can’t be at two graduations at once (and Charis’s doctorate is a lot more important) and stuff like that. Anyhow. If any of you are reading this (which you’re probably not because packing and family and Bible conference and wedding plans, for half of you at least), just know that Logan and I wish we could hug you goodbye once more before God scatters us to serve Him all over the earth.

Alright. I’ve rambled about ants and jobs and graduation, but it’s time for the really important stuff: laundry and cleaning and paying bills. And also putting on warmer clothes because North Carolina is SERIOUSLY bipolar and keeps tricking me into boxing up all my sweaters.

Rude.

 

 

Home, Marriage

Bugged

Once upon a time, I liked crickets.

I remember this distinctly. I had read a book about them–whether for school or because I was a scientifically-minded ten-year-old, I remember not–and I was subsequently fascinated with the creatures. I remember catching them and putting them in a big bucket with the neighbor kids. Then I would spout random scientifical facts I had learned from my book. Yes, I was that kid.

While I’m still that kid in the sense that I will spout whatever random facts I know at any given time, I have no idea what happened to the cricket-catching kid. The only explanation I can think of now is that I was under a spell. Because this Betsy hates. all. bugs.

Period.

Growing up, grasshoppers were my greatest fear. Any time Mom sent me out to the garden, I walked in mortal terror that one of them might jump on me. I could NOT think of a worse fate.

After my family moved, cave crickets became my new Enemy. Yes, with a capital E. I am still solemnly convinced that they are the locusts of Revelation 9. If they don’t originate in the Pit, I don’t know what does.

Man, I hate those things.

Luckily for me . . . I’ve moved again! And now I have an obliging husband who will get of bugs for me. Normally, this plays out like so:

Me: Can you please get rid of that spider?
Husband: It’s a daddy long legs. It’s not hurting anyone.
Me: But I don’t like it.
Husband: Whatever. [removes spider and releases it outdoors]
Me: Husband!!!
Husband: I got rid of it.
Me: Well, when it comes back into the house . . . I want it DEAD.

It’s not that I hate or even fear daddy long legs. I just don’t like sweeping cobwebs all. the stinking. time. However, I can deal with daddy long legs and cobwebs. In fact, I can even kill them myself when Logan’s at work. (But don’t tell him that. I need him to think he’s the only one who can handle them.)

Other things, however, are different.

Yesterday, I was sitting on the couch, calmly minding my own business, looking for a job, when some sort of creepy thing was in my peripheral vision. I didn’t know what it was because my cat-like reflexes took over and I flailed helplessly until it was gone.

It came back later, not too close to my face this time, and I was able to calmly squish it with a nail polish bottle. BUT IT APPARENTLY DIDN’T DIE. Because I saw it again after supper. At which point husband was home and able to kill it for me. ❤

Husband: I wonder if that’s a termite.
Me: No.
Husband: I don’t know . . . it kind of looks like one.
Me: NO.

Immediately, I had visions of our landlord having to replace all the floors and boards in this house, forcing us to camp in my in-laws’ basement for an indefinite period of time. (I could visualize this easily because Logan’s brother & sister-in-law literally just went through that.)

But I got over it. We played a calm game of gin rummy. We got ready for bed. I went to lock the door.

Me: Logan. Logan. LOGAN! KILL IT!
Husband: What is it?
Me: SOMETHING NOT GOOD!

The huge black thing quickly scurried under the edge of the couch, narrowly avoiding my husband’s shoe. I had a little meltdown.

Me: Was that a roach? I don’t want roaches! I don’t want termites! I DON’T WANT BUGS!
Husband: I’m sorry, sweetie. I guess I forgot to mention that the south has a lot of critters.
Me: [slowly calming down] Can I get a little consolation prize at least?
Husband: Sure.
Me: Will you please kill that spider??????????

And all was well.

Until this morning . . . when I found ants in my kitchen.

Please pray for my husband. It’s been an emotional time for him.