Thursday, December 24, 2009

These years next to you

The anniversary trip just didn’t work out this year. My fabulous sister-in-law offered to watch Emily so Rob and I could get away for an overnight trip, but it wasn’t meant to be – first the blizzard, then teething too intense to morally ask someone else to handle at 2am (and still be invited over for Christmas). Someday we’ll take her up on the offer. The selfish part of my nature is brooding over the loss of a quiet room where I can hug my husband without interruption and maybe even watch a movie in one sitting. But the mother in me knows that the days are numbered where I can solve my daughter’s problems by simply holding her in my arms and singing to her. And that job matters, and is something to cherish while it lasts.

This picture is of Rob and I’s very first conversation: the changing of the guard in London (isn’t that great Pretty Mahana captured that when she took random pictures of our group?). I’ve been thinking a lot about the girl I was then and the woman I am now. Some things have stayed the same, but I’m very different in a lot of ways. Over the years, I’ve failed and succeeded, worked and played, laughed and cried, and tried on and abandoned different roles. Together, we’ve moved through cities, degrees, jobs, health conditions, and a whole lot of diapers. And I feel so grateful to have a husband who has loved the person I am at every step along the way, and has given me the support I need to grow into the person I am today. Happy Anniversary, Rob.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mother/Daughter





OK, so you caught me. I don't have anything insightful to say. I just wanted to share some cute pictures of Emily and me. But I love this little girl, and I'm having so much fun growing up with her.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Bethlehem


For our congregation's Christmas party, we did "A Night in Bethlehem." We set up a market with food stands and activities, dressed up in vaguely time period costumes, and did a nativity pageant. Rob & I were in charge of the bakery stand, where I thoroughly enjoyed haggling with kids, and we played Mary & Joseph for the pageant. We opted to use a doll instead of Emily for baby Jesus because aside from all the gender issues involved in that, we figured her trying to crawl out of the manger while happily babbling "da da da da da!!" would ruin the illusion of being freshly born.


It was a good time, but I especially enjoyed the chance the pageant gave me to think about Mary. I love Mary, and becoming a mother has helped me gain a new appreciation of her. I have a better understanding of what it would mean to ride on a donkey when nine months pregnant, and the tasks that were expected of her once her son arrived. But the things I love most about her are applicable for everybody.


I love her responses when the angel comes to tell her of her role. I relate to her feelings of "How shall this be," when faced with a responsibility that seems beyond comprehension, and love her faithful "Behold the handmaid of the Lord." She knew who she was, and she knew what God wanted her to do. It gave her the strength she needed to face the difficult road ahead.


But most of all, I love that she was a thinking women. When others simply wondered or even doubted, Mary "kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart." To me, "keeping" implies making it a part of who you are. And I love the imagery of pondering these things in her heart, not just her mind. I hope that as I come to know the savior, I can follow her example.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Prayer

I've been thinking a lot about prayer recently. Specifically, I've been thinking about how to avoid becoming mechanical in my prayers for long term situations. Christ tells us to avoid vain repetitions in our prayers. But we're also told to pray always, and that some blessings are dependant on being asked for. It is very important to me to exercise faith in God by asking, but sometimes I worry that I'm stumbling into the territory of vain repetition when I do so.

I love the act of praying for others. I love that it keeps me from becoming tangled up in my own life, and helps me focus on what I can do to help others. I love the bond that comes with others through shared faith and shared petitioning. I love that it reminds me that God is in control. But sometimes I get into habitual phrases if the need lasts, especially when that need doesn't change: the job that still hasn't materialized; the missionary service that lasts for a set period; the chronic health condition. I find myself grouping people's needs into categories, losing the crisp details of their circumstances into an unfocused "bless them with the health they need." And I feel something important is lost when I do that.

So I guess what I'm asking for is advice. How do you keep your prayers fresh when the need doesn't change? How do you approach praying for the long-term needs of others?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What I've been doing instead of cleaning, Pt. 2

:) Apparently not taking very good photos to illustrate the events, but here is what I've got:


We spent Thanksgiving with Cristie and her family up in Baltimore. This picture is of William getting dressed up to play the "Dread Pirates" board game with us. Aren't my cousins fun? Anyways, it was fun remembering that last Thanksgiving, Cristie and I were both morning sick, and here we were, a year later, with those wonderful little people to share the day with us. They were definitely worth the effort.

Saturday we met up with Rob's dad and Mary Ellen on the mall and went to the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden and National Gallery. I feel very lucky that we've gotten to see so much of them this year.

And other than that, I've been working on Christmas preparations, anniversary preparations, and watching Glee (because, really, who needs clean dishes when you've got a football team dancing to "Single Ladies").