Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Sisterhood

I've been on a road trip this week, hence the dearth of posts, but I'm back and (mostly) caught up on the homefront, so hopefully I'll be able to post more regularly.

A few weeks ago Joshua and I spent an afternoon at the mall buying some new clothes for both of us. It was well-justified, of course. He is growing like a weed and I missed out on an entire season of cute spring clothes last year due to my ever-expanding belly. Anyway, while shopping I noticed a phenomenon that I also noticed in other times and other places--moms of newborns who all but ignore each other in public.

Until I had my own child I never considered myself much of a baby person. But now I am a baby fanatic. Whenever I see babies in Target (where Joshua and I make at least one stop per week), the grocery store, the mall, or wherever, I always try to greet the mom warmly and make some small talk with the baby (if said baby is awake, of course). It's my opinion that new moms can't have too much support and 'atta girls, and that babies can't be told too often that they're beautiful and wonderful. I only do this, of course, when I have my own child with me so that no one thinks I'm creepy stalker lady.

Anyway, I've noticed that many moms of newborns in public are reticent to interact. Everyone seems to keep to themselves--head down--push cart--don't make eye contact--half-smile if spoken to but keep moving. I think that we first-time moms are so used to the critique that bombards us constantly that we're afraid to interact with each other for fear of even more comparison and potential criticism...Whose baby is bigger? Whose baby is more developmentally advanced? Do you breastfeed? Bottlefeed? Have you started solids yet? The list continues, and the answer to each is an entree into all sorts of possible feedback. It's a shame that we don't feel like we can just support each other through this difficult time of mothering a new baby rather than feeling like we're constantly under the microscope. Of course, that's just a theory. Maybe other moms just think I'm weird for initiating interaction. It's quite possible.

Anyway, I've been "that person" whose baby is hollering in Target as many times as I've been supermom whose kid is a complete angel. I hope to get support in both cases, just as much as I hope to give it.

Friday, April 21, 2006

74 and Sunny

Who wants to sit inside and write a sermon today?

At least I got sleep last night.

A Moment of Silence

I recently had to observe a moment of silence for my old life. We got our latest copy of Chicago magazine in the mail and it's the "Best New Restaurants" edition. Now, in our former life, Jay and I would have pored over it for hours. We would've compared prices, accessibility by public transportation, type of cuisine served, and sample menus, and then we would've picked two or three to try. Each night out would have been a big event--dressing up, eating at a glacial pace to savor every bite, even getting appetizers and dessert!

Now we go to Texas Roadhouse. We know what we're going to order before we even walk in the door. We inhale our food and get out as quickly as possible.

But we have a really cute kid and four bedrooms!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Goodbye Old Friend

I just received a letter today from my ObGyn. He's retiring from his practice this summer. This makes me very sad. I went to him initially on recommendation from my regular doctor who was recommended to me by a co-worker. After my first visit I went home and told my husband that Dr. Z. was the doctor I wanted to deliver my child, should we be fortunate enough to have a child while still in Chicago. I doubted that would be possible at the time since I was working in the job from hell and couldn't even consider having a baby. But when things changed for the better and we decided we'd give it a shot, Dr. Z. gladly sat down with us and answered our silly questions, gave us good advice, patted us on the back, and sent us on our way to get to work. When the two lines showed up I couldn't wait to tell him, and he responded with appropriate enthusiasm.

He talked me through every single time I woke up bleeding during my first trimester, and answered every stupid question I could come up with during the first part of my pregnancy. I can only imagine that he rolled his eyes every time he saw a message from me, but he talked to me as if me and my pregnancy were the most important things he could think about. I was eventually shuffled over to another doctor in the practice since Dr. Z. wasn't into delivering babies anymore (he's much more interested in HRT), but I will always be grateful that he held my hand through the scariest and most overwhelming moments of my life.

The last line of his letter states, "Thank you for allowing me to be your Dr. Z." The pleasure was all mine.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The No-Sleep Cry Solution

Elizabeth Pantley's got nothin' on me! First, make sure it's really hot in the house, especially in the baby's room. Next, get really cocky because you put your baby down "drowsy but awake" and he successfully fell asleep on his own. Then, wait for the fun to begin! Joshua's never been an easy sleeper by any means, but at least lately he's only been getting up one or two times per night. Tonight we've been up and down several times since 7:00 p.m. when I put him to bed the first time.

The main problem is that he relies on his bag sleeper for comfort. Otherwise, he kicks his legs nonstop and can't settle himself down. Only tonight it was too hot for the bag and when I tried to help him sleep without it he just kept kicking and kicking and working himself up more and more. Finally, Jay brought the box fan in his room and cooled it off enough so that I could put him in the bag. It's working for now, but I'm not getting my hopes up.

I usually write my sermon on Thursday. I may be too fried tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Not Too Surprising...

...although I'm not sure how it surmised that I believe that humanity is "totally depraved," and I don't think I would have identified myself as an evangelical, but I like John Wesley, so that's good.



You scored as Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan. You are an evangelical in the Wesleyan tradition. You believe that God's grace enables you to choose to believe in him, even though you yourself are totally depraved. The gift of the Holy Spirit gives you assurance of your salvation, and he also enables you to live the life of obedience to which God has called us. You are influenced heavly by John Wesley and the Methodists.

Emergent/Postmodern


71%

Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan


71%

Classical Liberal


64%

Modern Liberal


57%

Neo orthodox


54%

Roman Catholic


50%

Charismatic/Pentecostal


36%

Reformed Evangelical


29%

Fundamentalist


11%

What's your theological worldview?
created with QuizFarm.com

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Resurrection Day!

It's been a great day! I made it on time to the 7:00 a.m. sunrise service (I set three alarms) and really enjoyed the calm and contemplative feeling of those early-morning intimate moments. We had a great breakfast afterward and then had a wonderful 9:30 a.m. service. It was full of energy and life and joy...just the way worship on Easter Sunday should be.

We almost gave new meaning to the phrase Easter Egg Hunt. Our Chair of Education was out of town but had brought by the previously-filled Easter eggs and left them at the church. They were to be hidden immediately after the 9:30 service while the children were having an abbreviated Sunday School class, and then the kids would be set free to hunt. The only problem was that no one knew where the Education chair had left the eggs. We tore the place apart trying to find them, and finally the one person who knew where they were showed up and clued us in. It was a good save.

We hosted Easter dinner tonight for our friends with a menu of lamb, roasted carrots with rosemary, wild rice and mushrooms, chard, cornbread, pecan pie, and creme brulee. It was, as always, a great time.

Hope yours was wonderful, too.

The Biggest Surprise of All

Mary Magdalene's surprise upon finding an empty tomb couldn't have been close to the surprise I had today. OK, so maybe it could, but still...

I asked our Choir Director earlier in the week what anthem she had selected for our Easter service. She declined to share, stating that the choir was still working on the selection that she wanted to perform, but that she was reserving the right to bail at the last minute and do something a little more safe if she didn't feel they could pull it off. I didn't think anything more about it, not even when I tripped over an electric bass while going to greet Jay and Joshua during the passing of the peace. I knew that it must be a major production, though, because just as the music started the choir director looked over at me and mouthed, "You're going to love this." Then I noticed that Jay was holding a microphone. I didn't think too much about it as he had done a narration at the beginning of last week's anthem, and I just assumed he was going to do the same thing again.

But then...he started to sing...a solo...into the microphone...all by himself...alone...just him...singing...in front of a full church.

I can honestly say that I have never been so surprised in my entire life. I've always been very attuned to things happening in my life. I can easily pick up on "disturbances in the force" and am rarely surprised by anything. But this came out of left field. The ladies in the front row of the choir had to hold their bulletins over their faces to keep from laughing at the look on my face. It was shock and amazement.

Jay and I both like to sing, but that doesn't mean we tried out for American Idol. We can both match pitch reasonably well, but our voice qualities leave something to be desired, or so I thought. In fact, Jay's only been singing in choir, any choir, since September. It isn't as though he's been doing this for awhile.

And here's the thing--he did a really good job. And I'm not just saying that because he's my husband and I have to say it. He really did an excellent job. I'm still in disbelief. It was the second biggest Easter surprise of all.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Humbled

Tonight after Bible study we were sharing prayer requests. One of the men in the Bible study asked that we pray for me, for "the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart" as I prepare for Sunday. That's actually been on my mind a lot this week, what with it being my first Easter as a pastor. I know that there will be a lot of people there who don't attend church regularly, who only come because it's Easter and they feel obligated. I know that this one Sunday could make a big difference in people's lives the way any one-shot deal can make a big difference. I've put some extra thought into my sermon, I've tried to make it more interesting than usual. I've paid particular attention to length and to making it accessible. In short, I've given it more time and consideration than I normally do. But at the same time I've also been trying to remember that it's not about me...it's never about me. It's about what God can do in people and for people on any given day.

But it was humbling to have one of my parishioners treat it with such gravity. Often I hear that it's no big deal, everything will be just great. But tonight I felt like I had some companions on the journey who really got where I've been this week. I felt as though, if I look out into the congregation on Sunday morning, a little more nervous than usual, there will be some folks out there ready with the wink and the thumbs up. It's good to have people who get it.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Learning Curves

I've climbed some interesting ones in the past week. The most daunting was the Holy Week learning curve. I was on maternity leave for the entirety of Advent and Christmas, so I missed the opportunity to learn how my congregation "does" major holidays. I'm catching up now, however, and faster than I thought I would. After a meeting last night, one of the congregation members pulled out the "Easter box." It's the size of our family's Christmas box, and it was amazing to watch them sort through it. There was a list as long as my arm of things that needed to be hung, mounted, assembled, and otherwise set up before Easter morning, and the folks who were present could rattle it off as quickly as I could tell you my own name. It was quite amazing. I hope I remember it all for next year.

Chairs. We bought these dining chairs at Ikea a few weeks ago. We already had four, and since we actually have a separate dining room now and a big Easter dinner coming up, we decided it was time to get four more. I put the first four together myself the first time around, which was several years ago, so I figured I'd tackle these. The first one wasn't so bad, but I chalked it up to a warmup. The second one was a disaster, and the third was no problem at all. Hah! I thought. After seven practice runs I'll be able to put the last one together from sheer muscle memory. Nope. I practically had to take it apart when I reached the second-to-last-step and put it back together again. And it isn't as though it's that complicated.

The Boy Child. I've been cursing the winter weather since the boy was born, bothered by the fact that he's always in multiple layers and can't spend nearly enough time with his cute little rolls and blobs hanging out. Well, today it got hot. 80 degrees without warning. Not wanting to turn on the air conditioning, we opened the windows and dressed him in a light sleeper for bed. Two hours later he was awake and hotter than the blue blazes. It took us a month to figure out how to dress him just right for winter. I hope it doesn't take another month to get him comfortable for summer. Of course, as soon as we figure that out it'll snow. I love Illinois.

Secret Life of LOTR

I think TBS shows at least one, sometime two, of the LOTR movies every weekend, but recently they've been playing some new ads. The ads show some choice scenes between Frodo and Sam while "Secret Lovers" by Atlantic Starr plays in the background. I don't know if it's the use of a great 80's roller rink classic to back a Tolkien masterpiece or the boldness of TBS to highlight one of the more subversive elements of the LOTR novels, but I laugh out loud every time I see it.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

It Was Going to Happen Sooner or Later

It was going to have to happen eventually, so here I am with a blog. I'm not sure how I feel about this yet...I suppose I'll warm up to it.