August 27, 2009

Too Fiery For My Own Good

Oh my gosh, I am so sorry that dog years are passing in between posts. It's ridiculous, I know. You have my job to thank for it. The job that sucks every ounce of goodwill and good thought towards people out.

I was telling my mom the other day that if we have a daughter, I hope she gets Matt's personality because I've always just been too fiery for my own good. Work has starkly reminded me of this.

To be quite honest, in the last several years, my personality had mellowed out quite a bit. I have been far less combative, opinionated, and argumentative.

(Do NOT ask my dad if this is true because that is how my dad and I relate - through fire.)

I don't think being fiery is all bad. I've rarely shied away from defending the needy and defenseless. I have a rock solid spine of resolution when it comes to right and wrong and defending justice and I can fight to the death if I have to. But to every good quality, there is the potential for being misused. Like just being opinionated and combative for no good reason. Just because I'm not afraid of a good argument.

I thought I was over all that, until I switched companies three months ago. I have had more face to face confrontation than I would ever like to see again. And the sad thing is, I can't be cowed down. Once my pride kicks in, I will stand my ground if it kills me.

I HATE pride. I'm serious. It has to be the downfall of every person when it's left unchecked. How I have pled with the Lord for a heart transplant.

The other day I was pouring out my soul to Matt, and I said, "I feel like I could scream from the pit of my bone marrow, I'm so frustrated with myself!"

He said many things in response to my tirade (all good, wise things), but the thing he said that brought me to tears because it pierced that very same bone marrow with truth was essentially this, "You know, a lot of times we just have to make a decision of what we're going to do. In Revelation, it says to repent, remember from where you have fallen, and do the things you did at first. It's sometimes a matter of simply stopping what you're doing now and begin doing what you did at first."

I need that tattooed on the inside of my eyelids and on my heart ventricles and on my brain stem and on my carotid artery. Places where I can't escape it.

In all this, the two things the Lord has specifically taught me this summer over and over are 1) His love for me is unconditional and unfailing and lavish (the song that came on just now is Unfailing Love by Chris Tomlin), and 2) He wants me to obey and believe Him.

It's hard to believe Him when you feel like such a failure, isn't it? But this battle is not over yet. And I will continue to put one foot in front of the other, even if I have to pull myself out of the mudhole that I just willingly threw myself headlong into.

Other than work, however, life is fantastic.

My husband is ridiculously wonderful.

Our friendships are great.

Our Peanut is still healthy and growing and becoming fluttery in my belly.

Our families are amazing.

Just work.

Stinks.

A lot.

Lord, help me.

August 19, 2009

To My Peanut

To my little Peanut,
You are 16 weeks old today. Womb-age that is. You're growing steadily and surely. Already it's hard to bend over, and I've never seen my rear end take on such a life of its own. You've given me the beginnings of a true baby belly. Definitely recognizable. No more "food" baby belly. (As in I've just eaten a giant Mediterranean meal and I'm sticking it out with all my might.) Your daddy and I talk about you all the time. We already love you so much. We talk about how we want to raise you and what we think you'll look like. He wants you to have my eyes. I want you to have his lips. And nose. And eyes. And hair. And smile. And personality. I pray for you, that as the Lord develops your physical body, He will also create in you a heart for Him. We argue about names, and the only ones we can really agree on for you are Mackenzie, for a girl. Milo, for a boy. I just read that your little ears have started to hear outside noise, and I love the thought that my voice will be the one you hear for 9 straight months, and then the next one you'll hear is your daddy's. It is impossible for us to even mention you without prefacing it with Sweet. Our sweet baby. At times I find myself not wanting to love you so much already, to protect my heart from any sort of pain. But a half second later I'm reminded of how completely impossible that is, that I couldn't not love you if I tried. More than anything, we want you to have a heart for the Lord, a humble heart. A heart that is moved by others. But if anyone breaks that heart, I'll kill 'em. We want to raise you in Costa Rica. Argentina. Paraguay. We want you to speak Spanish as fluently as English. We want you to know life outside of the four walls of the United States. But more than all these things, we want to raise you the way God wants us to raise you.

We love you, our sweet baby.

August 12, 2009

I've Had It

You know, I really do try very hard not to complain. Seriously. In general, but especially about my work, because I'm truly thankful I have a job when so many don't. Especially a job with such great perks.

But I've had it up tohere with some behavior.

We can be an explosively rude society, and I think it's out of control. We've just simply lost much of our good manners and politeness. Simple gestures of politeness such as saying thank you are becoming a thing of the past. Why should I say thank you? I'm entitled. You owe me a great experience and great life.

Just a few recent examples...

A man became agitated because I asked to see his driver's license one more time and threw his trash at my feet. And when I said, "Sir, that is not a trash can." He said, "I know," and walked away.

A woman told me that my efforts on her behalf to rebook her weren't good enough and I'd better do better.

A man told me that I would pay for his rental car. When I said no we would not, he said, "Oh yes you will, Delta's messed with the wrong person." (We didn't pay for his rental car.)

I'm sick to death of our society's rudeness. We need a massive reeducation of politeness and manners. Even a simple please and thank you are often a thing of the past.

Let's get it together, folks.

Or take a trip to Haiti for a week and get some perspective.

August 11, 2009

Marbles and Candy

I'm sitting here waiting for my banana nut bread to finish cooking so I can go to bed, since I have to get up at the butt-crack of dawn. It sure does smell delicious though.

I am officially (in 3 hours) 15 weeks pregnant. I'm starting to show a tiny bit more. We had our second appointment with the doctor today and everything is still looking great. We got to hear our little Peanut's heartbeat, and it thrilled me like it was the first time. I can't believe how quickly the weeks are passing by.

I have to share a story that Ravi Zacharias shared one time:

A little boy and girl were playing together one afternoon. The boy had brought his marbles, and the girl had brought some candy. The boy had the idea that they should trade each other; he would give her his favorite marble, and she would give him her favorite candy - an even trade.

They each took some time to select their favorite, but just before the exchange, the boy switched his favorite marble for one of his least favorite, thinking to himself that she would never know. They made the switch - she gave him her favorite candy, and he gave her his "favorite" marble.

But later that night, the boy lay awake, unable to sleep. All he could think was, Did she give me less than than her best too?

In other words, we assume others' thoughts and actions toward us, depending on our thoughts and actions towards others. We filter their actions and words through our own internal thoughts and actions. Are we dishonest? We easily assume others are too. Are we passive aggressive, taking opportunities to slight someone else whilst maintaining an air of "fun" and "innocence"? We assume others do the same.

I was reminded of that recently. The details aren't important, but it reminded me of the need to just simply be honest with one another. We can't have true friendship and fellowship with one another if we're hearing and/or seeing them through our own filters. Filters of distrust. Passive aggressiveness. Unforgiveness. Insecurity. Competitiveness. You get the picture.

So much we could avoid by being quick to forgive. Quick to believe the best about the other person. Quick to stand up for one another. Quick to pray for the other. Quick to praise one another in front of other people.

Friendships like that are wonderful and safe. Free of competition and strife and comparison. And that's what we're to be to one another in this great, big, wonderful, even difficult at times, body of Christ.

August 07, 2009

Be Free

So.

I was at work today using the bathroom and I had a thought that I've had before but never really realized until today that I'd had it.

You know?

I washed my hands, saw that the paper towel dispenser was out, and proceeded to use the blast-your-hands-dry air drier.

And I thought to myself: I bet the women in here using the toilet right now feel so relieved.

Because when I'm using the toilet, and someone pushes the air drier, I feel so at ease to just let it out.

Noise barrier, if you will.

And so I felt a deep sense of having done a sister well. Let it out, friends. Let it out. Be free.

August 06, 2009

Thankful Thursday

First, I just have to say that I am so sorry these posts have been so infrequent. Still working full-time, still have crazy hours, and still growing this sweet baby inside of me. Sometimes I only have enough brain cells left to putter. And minimal brain cells and puttering do not unite for enlightening reading.

But today, however, is Thursday. And we all know by now what a little Thursday means for us...some dang stinkin' thankfulness.

Today, I'm thankful...

...for delicious home-cooked food. I love to welcome Matt home with a clean and delicious smelling home.

...that I finally, finally (FINALLY!) earned enough seniority to bid (and get) weekends off (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, baby). Oh yeah.

...for faithful friends. My friend, Andrea (Dre) and I have been best friends since we were twelve and ugly, and to this day, it doesn't matter how many months pass without speaking, we always pick up where we left off.

...for Matt's surgery next week that will enable him to breathe freely, without any congestion or blockage, for the first time in his entire life.

...for mascara. Where would I be without it?

...for the good rain we got today that cooled everything off and helped with the fires.

...that my husband is so responsible and trustworthy. My heart truly rests in him.

Amen. And amen. Have a good night.

August 02, 2009

Two Years Yesterday

I've been camped out for most of today, since my insides wanted to be on my outsides. We did manage to take a good walk and do some driving around. I had to get out of the house, I was experiencing Cooped Up Syndrome.

Yesterday was exactly two years since we moved to Missoula. August 1st. Our first day here. I remember it like it was yesterday. We stayed at the seedy Days Inn downtown the night before. We drove our Budget-with-Jetta-towed-behind caravan to Union Square, our new apartment. Matt went to pick up our amazing friend, Baker McKonly, from the airport, who flew in for the day solely to help us move in (can you believe that??), we moved in, we had lunch at Rocky Mountain Grille, we very, very sadly said goodbye to Baker at the airport, and then we went back to our half-moved in apartment.

We didn't know one single person. Not one. We were 19 hours from the closest people who knew us. The first few days felt very adventurous. We completely moved in our apartment, explored Missoula, and met a friend at a coffee shop who introduced us to some churches in town.

But then the newness wore off. And we were lonely. Matt and I are the epitome of Social, and not to have approximately 15 people to call at any time to hang out with hurt our hearts. But since we are who we are, we threw ourselves into anything that could possibly involve meeting new people. We visited multiple churches, we went to Dinner Out at the Park (and salsa danced in front of about 500 strangers), we approached complete strangers at coffee shops just because they were reading a Christian book (ok, only one person).

And we prayed. We prayed for friends and a church. Finally, nearly four long weeks later, there was a culmination of answered prayer and persistent effort. We visited Christian Life Center and met what would become our closest friends, Chris and Gloria. It started like this: "Hey, good to meet you guys! (from Chris) What are you doing for lunch?"

That's it. Nothing earth shattering. Just a simple invitation to lunch. I remember the exact date. It was August 26th, Matt's birthday. My heart hurt so badly because nobody in our new town except me knew it was my beloved husband's birthday. But the Lord had a gift in mind - friends that would be closer today than we could have ever imagined then.

Maybe a simple lunch invitation is the only thing holding you back from a great friendship. Maybe a little (or even a lot) of prayer and effort and determination to make friends, to find a church, to develop a community.

These two years have flown by and they've been truly great. The Lord has multiplied our family here. It would take me a long time to begin to even name them all. Thank you everyone here for going out of your way to befriend us and include us in your family.