Saturday, January 29, 2011

Measuring.

I recently realized that I needed to get started on Judah's quilt again if I want to finish by his birthday. Two months might seem like a long time, but considering my current quilt-finishing trend, it's a bit of a stretch.

When I started back on it yesterday, I had this idea that I didn't need to make that many more quilt squares. I guess I was imagining them to be bigger than they are or something.

Tonight I actually measured them and did some quick math in my head to figure out how many squares I'll need to make a twin-sized quilt.

Turns out it is about 80. I kept trying to get the math to somehow equal a lower number, but I think that's the number I'm stuck with. So far I have 24 squares finished. Just over a fourth of what I need. Then I have to actually quilt the thing, which is actually what I think is the hardest part. I do love to sew, but with longer projects I often lose steam. I like the instant gratification of shorter projects much better.

I guess I know how I'll be spending my evenings for a while....

Friday, January 28, 2011

Requirements.

We (meaning Jeff) have been doing a little bit of job searching recently, looking over a few lists of open pulpits. PCA churches usually fill out a form that gives some basic info about the church. There is also a place where the search committee can rate what qualities are most important to them in the man they are looking for, as well as what priorities they have in the job description.

One church we were looking at actually had preaching of the word rated a "2" out of a possible 4. Clearly an older congregation, they were more interested in someone who could do a lot of visitation. When they rated what skills they were looking for, similarly, preaching was listed as a "6" out of 7.

At the bottom of the list, though, under the category of "Other" they had scribbled in "No inside pets" and circled "7" next to it.

We decided not to apply.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Aging.

I happened to catch a few minutes of the Rachel Ray show this morning while Judah was napping. A certain celebrity who shall remain nameless was a guest, and she was talking about how she tries to stay healthy.

I wasn't really paying attention to what she said, though, about her recommended supplements or diet advice. All I could think about was exactly how much plastic surgery she must have had. Almost everything about her face looked fake. Her nose, her cheeks, her lips, her eyes. Everything was too full, too tight, or too smooth. A little too perfect.

It made me a little sad for her, actually. Not that I think people shouldn't try to look nice, or even that I'm opposed to all cosmetic surgery. I guess I have just come to realize that some scars are worth having. Some wrinkles are hard-earned.

The thin, pink line on my belly? I wouldn't trade it for anything. The stretch marks I got during my pregnancy? I'll call them much more than a fair trade for what I got in return. Each line that appears on my face is just a marker for how far God has brought me.

I do not want to go backward.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Charleston

One small advantage of having fewer weekend responsibilities these days is that we can actually go away for the weekend. Most of residency we have been unable to take the quick weekend trips out of town since Jeff worked every weekend. And since I was working pretty much every week day, that meant we didn't go too many places.

We decided to head to Charleston this past weekend to visit with my brother and his wife. Even though we didn't do very much, I had a great time. We didn't quite get to see everyone we would have liked to, but we did visit our old church and Judah got to take a walk down the battery, our favorite place to walk in the city.

Every time I go back there, I think several things:
1. I am happy to be living in Greenwood. I do not miss the noise, the traffic, or the 150-year-old house we used to live in. (Although they've been doing a lot of work on it and it is so much nicer now. )

2. The city of Charleston is so beautiful. The old houses, the water, the palmetto trees everywhere. Greenwood just doesn't compare. I miss running through the old neighborhoods and along the waterfront. I never see dolphins when I run in Greenwood.

3. Greenwood needs better restaurants. And a Target.

4. I really, really miss our Charleston friends. We have some really great friends here, but I miss the ones there a lot. Sigh.

5. I love my brother and his wife and wish we lived closer to them.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sleep

One of Corrin's prompts for earlier in the month was about sleep and ways to improve sleep and finding out what the Bible says about sleep.

Instead of doing that exactly, I thought I'd share what I tell patients about good sleep habits.

1. No TV in the bedroom. Never. Ever. Ever. This is my #1 pet peeve. Especially for kids. Electronics are too activating to allow someone to have good sleep. I've had numerous people swear that they need to noise or whatever, but I do not buy it. Take the TV out.

2. Exercise. Daily exercise (though not too late in the evening) is one of the best ways to have better sleep.

3. Make sure your bedroom is comfortable - not too hot or cold and a relaxing environment. Quiet and Dark are also necessary.

4. The bed should only be used for sleep. Or something else that married people do. But don't work on the laptop there, get your bills paid, or anything else. You want your brain to associate the bed with sleep. Not with worrying about the mortgage.

5. Do an activity in the evening to wind down. I always read before bed to help me get sleepy. Personally, when I'm doing a lot of sewing in the evening I really have a hard time going to bed. For whatever reason, sewing is very activating and I have to sort of "cool down" before I'm tired after sewing.

6. I'm not necessarily opposed to the family bed if that is what works for your family, but I have a hard time believing that a parent can sleep well with lots of other little ones in the bed with them. Furthermore, children need to learn to fall asleep on their own at some point.

7. If you find you are not sleeping well, stop all caffeine at noon or shortly thereafter.

So there's my sleep advice. Even though this is being posted at 6pm, I'm actually writing it at 9:30. Since I like following my own advice, I'm off to start getting ready for bed myself. I hope everyone sleeps well tonight!

January Reflections 2011 - Reading

Some recent favorites:

1. Kate Morton - Her books have a wistfulness about them that I found I really loved. The Forgotten Garden I really loved, The House at Riverton I enjoyed but less so, and The distant hours is on my short list of things I want to read soon.

2. Geraldine Brooks - The Year of Wonder might be the best book I read this year. The People of the book was a fascinating historical novel telling the story of a single book, and I also loved it. I'm excited about reading March, because it's the story of what happened to Mr. March, the away-at-war father in Little Women.

3. Wendell Berry - I have Jeff to thank for my love of Wendell Berry. He had read him before we got married and I hadn't even heard of him. I got started with The Memory of Old Jack several years ago, and have slowly been working my way through. Most recently I read Andy Catlett and Fidelity, which were both incredible. I think if I had to pick a favorite, I'd pick Hannah Coulter or Jayber Crow. He writes books that feel Christian, even though you wouldn't know it.

4. Frederick Buechner - I have Dave, Jeff's brother, to thank for my love of Buechner. (He also told me about The Brothers K, which is on my short list for best book I've ever read, so thanks, Dave.) I also had never heard of him until Dave said that he was one of his favorite authors. He's a pastor, but also writes these incredible novels and non fiction. I just finished Son of Laughter, which I'd call Jacob's autobiography. I wish there were more authors who are believers who could write like him. A Room Called Remember is a book of essays and memoir that I loved so much I could only read it in short chunks because there was so much I wanted to savor.

5. Sherlock Holmes - I got all of the Sherlock Holmes books in a very inexpensive bundle on the kindle. I don't know why I was so surprised by how much I am enjoying them. A very fun read.

Currently reading: The Book Thief, which is great so far.

What should I put on our kindle next?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lessons.

I went in to see a patient yesterday I've been caring for the last few days. Normally, he has a wife and daughter right there with him, a wife who proudly announced they had been married for 61 years. He was antsy to go home, although since he is really weak from his illness he needs to get some rehab before he can. I asked him the usual questions about how he was feeling, do my doctorly thing, and then we started chatting about his life. He fought in the pacific during WWII, and then was in Korea. I talked about my own granddad who also fought in the pacific. We were have a fairly breezy conversation about his life in the military which I could tell he had loved judging by the gray "high and tight" haircut he still wore.

In the midst of our conversation, he suddenly starts talking about his wife. And how once she told him she wanted a divorce. He started to tear up as he told me that the only reason she decided not to was because he told her she couldn't have the kids. Then he told me that she had some years ago kicked him out of the bed and told him to get his own bed. I was mentally reeling from the abrupt change of tone in the conversation. I am still often surprised by what people will tell me as their doctor, and felt overwhelmed by all the emotion and hurt that suddenly came tumbling out of him.

Being married 61 years is an amazing feat, but long is obviously not the same as great. I know that every marriage has ups and downs, and that in the course of such a long time, each partner is going to do things they're ashamed of, things they will look back on 15 years or 30 years in the future and cringe. A marriage is, after all, two sinners joined together. I guess I used to think that the main goal in marriage is longevity. I personally believe that divorce, except for a few legitimate cases, is wrong. Hearing this man pour out his sorrow yesterday made me want so much more than just having a marriage that lasts.

I want a union that glorifies the God who redeems us.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Snippets

I'm back at work this week, so the bits of my day that are leftover from work only give me enough time to write in snippets. The bits of brain power leftover from work also only give me enough coherent thought to write in snippets. Thus we have some snippets.

1. Walmart has a generic brand version of crystal light that is in the flavor of cherry limeade. It is AWESOME and tastes just like a cherry limeade from sonic. Especially when you mix in some fresca or diet sprite.

2. The worst part of my job is putting in the bills at the end of the day. I'm actually currently sitting at my computer at home, with our billing system pulled up. I haven't put in any bills since I started on Friday and I'm dreading it. And procrastinating.

3. Anyone in the medical profession will probably understand this. Although you might not guess it, a patient's list of medications to which they are allergic can actually tell you a LOT of information. Well, mostly it can tell you about your patient's level of crazy. For instance, if a person is "allergic" to every type of non-narcotic pain medicine and can only take the very, very strong IV narcotics, you might come to understand that they likely have some issues with addiction. I do not think it is actually possible to be allergic to prednisone. Or benadryl. If either of those is in an allergy list, I am immediately more suspicious. More than two psychotropic medications listed in a patient's allergies? That tells me two things: 1. This patient was prescribed the medications listed 2. The medications didn't work, so whatever their psychiatric issue was it was hard to control.

4. Jeff and I were given a Kindle for Christmas. I LOVE it. There are tons of free or very cheap books you can get, especially classics. It's great to use at the gym or while I'm drying my hair since I don't have to hold the pages open. I've really been enjoying reading Sherlock Holmes, and also just finished Little Women. I tried to read it once in high school but found it boring. I'm not sure what my problem was then because I really, really enjoyed it this time.

5. On a serious note, please pray for Joanne. She is only 38 and just had a stroke. Her mom hosted a wedding shower for me in Colorado and is a good friend of my mother-in-law's. She is not doing well right now and needs our prayers. She has two daughters and a husband who need her.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A final Christmas gift.

Hannah told me that my nephew, Jack, would really enjoy a tool belt. He loves to help out around the house and over Christmas spent many hours piddling around the garage with his Granddad building things out of scrap wood.


















There are a few tutorials for tool belts on the web, but I didn't see any that gave you a tool belt that looked somewhat like real tool belt that an actual carpenter would wear. Mostly they just seemed to be glorified aprons. Not that there is anything wrong with that.












For mine, I used some webbing and scraps of canvas to give it a more rugged look. This was another project that came together really quickly.












Everything can slide around on the belt, which is also adjustable. The only thing I'd like to do different next time is to make the pockets a little different so maybe there aren't quite so many exposed seams. There are two pockets and then a loop for the hammer, but I think maybe I'll make either a third pocket or make one of the pockets bigger next time.

(And since I have 3 other nephews and a son, you know this is a present that will be made again. And again.)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Frustration - January Reflections 2011

I have decided that prayer is a dangerous thing. I used to pray to become patient. Then I waited for several long years to get pregnant. Since this summer, I have prayed for God's guidance as we look to our future. Then, just before Christmas, someone from our presbytery called Jeff to tell him that he had to stop preaching immediately. We had been in sort of a limbo where he was preaching, but not preaching every week, to try to abide by the rules set out in the book of church order. January second was his last sermon at our church.

On the one hand, this situation is very frustrating. I hate that Jeff is still waiting to be ordained after all this time. I hate that such a small thing (i.e. - Jeff's theological stance on what seems to us to be a minor issue) is standing in the way of our church having a pastor. On the other hand, though, I am somewhat relieved that God has given us the direction I was praying for. Obviously, when I prayed for guidance, I was hoping God would show us that he wanted us to stay here and fight. I wanted this situation to resolve easily and with the presbytery realizing it had made a mistake. As usual, his plans are different. We know now that God has another place where he'd like us to minister. We don't know where that place is; we only know that place is not here. As someone who is sometimes paralyzed by too many options, it is a bit comforting to have one option, no matter how appealing, off the table.

All I can say is that through this we have continued to see God's grace to us. After all he's brought us through in the past, we know his plan for our future will be wonderful.

(Incidentally, if anyone out there knows of pastoral jobs in the PCA/ARP/EPC, feel free to let us know!)

For more about January Reflections, go here.

Fashion - January Reflections 2011

I've never been very fashionable, so I do not have much to say about current trends that I like or dislike. I will say, though, I recently got two pairs of these pants and they are awesome. There is some stretchiness in the waist band and so for the first time I have pants that fit both my waist and my hips. No more gaping in the back. I'd like to call it the Christmas pants miracle.


















I have one pair that looks like this picture, and another pair in khaki. Seeing that they are on sale, I might have to go back and buy another pair.

9 months

This post is a week late. The main reason it's late is because I accidentally scratched Judah's forehead the other day like a mean, mean mommie. I didn't want a 9 month photo where he has a scratched forehead that I gave him. So here he is, forehead scratch all healed:

















He's gotten to be quite the scooter and can pull himself up with a little bit of help. He is very close to cruising around our coffee table. Actually tonight he cruised along about a foot by himself, very, very slowly. He has a few favorite games, mainly one we like to call "door" and another we call "blocks."


















I just started feeding him cottage cheese, which is easily his new favorite food. He still doesn't really talk at all, but definitely lets us know if he is unhappy. Since he is fast to smile and laugh, he also lets us know when he is happy. Stranger anxiety is really starting to kick in and he mostly wants to be held by his mommy or daddy.












He hasn't had his 9 month check up yet, so I'm very curious to see how much he weighs.












I can't believe it's been 9 months! His birthday will be here before we know it.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Saturday, January 08, 2011

January Reflections 2011

Anyone who has spent any amount of time on my blog will know how much I love to craft. For the last 3 or 4 years I have made nearly all of the gifts that I've given. (If I could figure out how to make various electronic equipment, books, or dvds, then more of the men in my life would have been given homemade gifts.) I love giving things that are unique and that I invested some time and thought into.

I also love getting homemade gifts. Hannah made us some barbecue sauce that I can't wait to use. Melanie framed a page from an old hymnal with "All for Jesus" on it. I'm very excited about hanging it up in Judah's room. My brother Andrew recorded himself playing the same hymn on the guitar and singing it, another special gift that will be the first thing I add to Judah's goodnight mix when I make it.

I'm not sure I can post a list of everything I made this year, but here are a few things:
1. Baby Shoes for Judah
2. Sun Hat for Judah
3. Judah's nursery, parts 1 and 2.
4. Various Christmas Gifts.
5. A halloween costume
6. Babylegs
7. Pants
8. An elephant.
One of my favorite recent sewing projects was handsewn felt Jesse Tree ornaments, a project I couldn't quite finish before Christmas. I have yet to post photos of them, but am planning to do a few posts about them soon.

For a few further thoughts about sewing and why I do it, I'll direct you to this post, which more fully elaborates one reason I love it so much.

I'm excited about more crafting in 2011. My goal is to finish Judah's quilt by his 1st birthday. I got a serger from my parents for Christmas this year, and I'm hoping to learn how to use it and maybe start sewing with some knits. Of course there are always plenty of projects that catch my fancy as the years progresses. Just yesterday I found this list and it made me itch to make something.

For more about January Reflections, visit here.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

January Reflections 2011

I am blessed beyond measure. My favorite moment this year is one that is replayed every night.

His pajama-covered feet dangle down nearly to my belly button. His head rests on my shoulder. Two small arms hang down loosely, one falling over my arm. His whole weight just rests on me. On my shoulder, my arm, and against my chest. I can feel the whole of him, this child that I waited so long for. He is sleeping. Peaceful. Content. Relaxed. His belly has just been filled with mama's warm milk while I sit in the near dark of his room. We sit in the chair for a minute rocking while I smell his hair and praise God who sent him to me. I stand up to walk to his crib and sometimes he burps. I snuggle my cheek against the back of his head and enjoy the weight of him before slowly and gently laying him back down.

My heart feels full.

(For more info, go here....)

Monday, January 03, 2011

Christmas gifts for the ladies....

For all the women I made gifts for, I found a great (and fairly fast!) tutorial over on Noodlehead via Sew, Mama, Sew.












I absolutely loved this project - it doesn't require much fabric, comes together fairly quickly, and you end up with a nice-sized clutch to use. I was able to use up some of the beautiful fat quarters I've been hoarding. I actually made mine a little bigger than she does - she recommends using an 8" zipper, but all I could find were 9" ones, so I just increased all the dimensions by about an inch.












If you are related to me and haven't gotten one of these from me, yet, your time is coming....

January Reflections 2011

To participate, head over here.

I remember once soon after Jeff and I were married being asked if there was anything that had surprised me about being married. At the time, there really wasn't. I loved being married. I especially loved (and still love) being married to Jeff.

What has surprised me since then, though, is how much we laugh. We laugh over meals. We laugh together watching TV. We laugh in the car. Sometimes when we are arguing it ends in laughter. My favorite moments being married to Jeff are when we are lying in bed at night and he makes me laugh so much I get the hiccups.

I guess it shouldn't surprise me too much, then, that one of the things that I love most about Judah is how easily he laughs. I love that he has ticklish ribs, ticklish knees, and a ticklish back. I stick out my tongue at him and he laughs. He sometimes will grab at my nose and I make a honking sound and he laughs. I often pretend that I'm eating his fingers while he is nursing and it makes him laugh. The sound of Judah laughing has easily become my favorite sound.

I don't know what 2011 will hold for us. We will be starting to look for a new job for Jeff, which will likely mean a move to a new city. I'm sure in the midst of all the changes that I expect to come our way there will be many moments of joy and some of tears.

One thing I pray is that no matter our circumstances in the years to come
our house will always be filled with laughter.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

The New Year.

It's hard to believe that 2010 is already over and 2011 is upon us.

My life has been changed so much this year. I went from longing to have a child, to holding someone in my arms with impossibly tiny fingernails. I finally finished all the training necessary and became a real, live, 100% board-certified family physician. I have discovered how much I love motherhood. And God has continued to be faithful to us, even the midst of trials.

I look forward to seeing how God works all things for our good as we start our new year.