I'm not quite sure where I got the idea that most things in life should be neat, clear-cut, and compartmentalized.
Maybe because that would make life easier?
Maybe because I'm having a hard time sleeping lately, which knocks my reasoning skills down several levels?
Whatever it is, I know (but often try to ignore) that life is a process. Maybe it sounds trite, but it's beautiful. I'll see that if I stop my annoyance with not knowing answers, with not finding an elusive perfection.
Maybe I'll remember that if I'm really honest with myself about who I am and what's important. If I keep practicing living in the middle of discomfort (which can look like so many things), sitting with it, not focusing on the next moment, but instead breathing, living through this one.
I've been doing some practicing. I've been following up with what I said in My Best "Best" post. I've been realizing- I mean really realizing, not just taking in the words, but following through with actions- that living out my current best doesn't have to look fancy. It doesn't have to carry labels. It doesn't have to impress anybody. But it does have to be more than thoughts in the mind and words on a page and in the air.
It has to have feet, hands, skin.
On Sunday morning, after attempting to get back to sleep for an hour-and-a-half, the quiet of the beginning of the day called me downstairs. Just a few remnants of the previous evening's party remained, calling back ghosts of one of my great loves- shared food, laughter-and-conversation-filled rooms, stories, dirty plates, cups, people everywhere.
After all the frustration, struggling, tears, disappointment, and questions of the last several months, I still don't have a job title or any title that I can dole out to explain to people exactly what it is that I do.
But I know a richness that I think I would not have known without those struggles.
I have an appreciation for life that comes with acting on the things that resonate with who I am.
I have quiet mornings that allow me soak up those ghosts of the sights, sounds, and smells that add so much fullness to my life.
And I have a long list of thanks to give-starting with the one who made me- for the return of my formerly buried love of life.
Thanks to those who play or played some small or large part in my own journey of life.
I'm linking up with Heather of
I was awake around 5:30 on Saturday morning for no reason other than being pregnant. I used some of the time to do a little immobile nesting. I updated the budget with all the receipts I hadn't entered yet, did some planning for meals, and did some reading on Equal Exchange and the corresponding blog, and looked into joining up with a possible CSA. (I've done the CSA thing before but wasn't thrilled with my experience, so I didn't keep it up. However, I think there is a lot of merit in giving it another shot.)
All that reading got me hyped up. Sometimes I just need to be reminded that my choices include consequences for myself and for other people in big and little ways.I planned my shopping excursions to include more earth/farmer/local- conscious choices while still keeping my budget in mind. Actually carrying out that plan took some time, especially because I'm a slowpoke these days, but it felt good.
Today, in church, I wrote down this sentence soon after it was spoken: "If you want to live, do it."
I'd made a tentative plan to leave the meeting soon after it ended, but that didn't happen. Instead, I stayed and talked for an hour.
In that time, I was reminded by some sweet women that pregnancy is quite beautiful.
I was reminded that that thing that's driving me crazy because I'm not doing it? That's when I know it's exactly what I should be doing.
I was reminded of the importance of accepting help in order to be a good mother.
There is so much that is important for me to remember, to live by, to hold close to my head and my heart, but I have a hard time remembering it all at once.
I need other people to help me with that.
That's why I'm thankful for internet, for websites and blogs (and the people that write them) that inform me and inspire me about things like fair trade and adoption.
I'm thankful for community and relationships with people who are willing to share their stories and earned advice with me.
Because I need to be reminded of truth every day.
After waking up early this morning just to pee (I say "just" because sometimes I wake up also to drink a glass of water or eat or do all of those things), I could not fall back asleep.
(I think it's time to cash in the massage certificate I've been hoarding since last fall. )
By the time I got semi-comfortable, I was wide awake.
I grabbed my cell phone: 4:50 am. Sure, I can start my day right now.
To those who attempt conversation with me close to the nap I'm going to need to take later, I'm going to need some grace. I may not remember what I said or I may say something completely ridiculous. This could end up being hilarious for you.
Energy has actually been somewhat of a hot commodity for me. I run out of it fast (unless I am running an event- then I keep going until my feet and back scream "no more!" at me and hardly take note of my need for rest). So much so that I (briefly!) considered hiring a cleaning service for my house. Me, the woman with no job and plenty of time to "get the house in order." Yeah, I nixed that idea pretty fast. Cleaning services are for families with busy schedules and 2 incomes, not women who have plenty of time to do it themselves.
My sweet tooth has been raging lately. I've been happy to comply, mostly within reason, but recently my sugar intake has been high. Sometimes that happens when I'm tired and not focused on making good choices. Too much sugar + not enough rest means an unhealthy mental state for me.
I found myself getting sucked into a "losing the baby weight" thread on a pregnancy forum I frequent. I found myself contemplating going on a specific diet plan post-baby, thinking maybe I should, when I know "just" listening to and honoring my body works best for me. Right now, my body is screaming,"no more sweets! But give me fruit!" So I'll comply, get some rest, and take care of the only body I have. That's enough.
(I don't think there is anything wrong with some of the eating plans out there. I just know from experience that choosing one labelled-in-capital letters plan leads to an unhealthy mindset for me.)
My physical activity this week has mainly come in the form of cleaning, shopping,and cooking (much of it in an effort to celebrate my mom's birthday), but I did manage to park myself in front of our TV for 2 yoga sessions.
Okay, now I see what people mean when they say I look like I have a basketball under my shirt. I know I've expanded at least a bit every where ,but this baby really does know how to carve out his own hangout!
Oh, the boy inside that belly makes all this tiredness worth it. I've read (here) that "he may be heading into a growth spurt. He can turn his head from side to side, and his arms, legs, and body are beginning to plump out as needed fat accumulates underneath his skin. He's probably moving a lot, too, so you may have trouble sleeping because your baby's kicks and somersaults keep you up. Take comfort: All this moving is a sign that your baby is active and healthy."
Alright then, Baby Boy. You win.
It's been 8 months since I officially discontinued my role as "youth pastor's wife."
I was a mentor.
A behind-the-scenes/ get-it-done/ideas/lunch and goodies "chef" of sorts.
I had the title I'd wanted for the last 9 years.
Oh, but titles-mere words- are not enough.
I-we-had to go.
My husband and I made the best decision we knew how to, and we left.
We had to.
There was relief, but there was also some nearly-unwelcome aftermath: What's next? What is my role? I knew what I wanted to do for these past 9 years, and now it was gone. That thing I had wanted? Brought me so much joy but also sucked me dry.
I had disappointment, confusion, recuperation, purpose, and some bitterness to work through.
The process hasn't come quickly.
But it's been 8 months, and I've been getting restless.
With the loss of a job, so much change-emotionally, physically, and mentally- that comes with becoming a mother, becoming some body's mother while still being some body's wife/lover/best friend, the change in churches (and also the closeness of some circles of friends that come with such a change)- with all of that, I've been feeling restless.
I've been searching my husband's-my very best friend's- eyes,words, tones for clues as to what I should be doing next. What do I do now that so much has changed? What is right for me?
I've been frustrated with him when he couldn't give me answers. Nobody else (not that I've asked "everybody") has been able to give me the answers I've been looking for, either. I guess I thought marriage gave Tim some magic super powers. I was mad when he couldn't get his powers to work on my time.
I'm not a very patient person, but I will agree that the time off has been a good thing. I left my last church burnt out-despite trying to cut back on emotional and physical commitments in a desire to renew my energy. I got pregnant a month later. I was exhausted in more than one way, and that's no way to jump into a new role. But I've done it- at least part of the time- kicking and screaming.
My cutie-pie husband and I decided to turn a wedding weekend into an extended last-getaway-before-the-baby comes. We left last Thursday night and didn't return until Monday night.
I am a big fan of exploring new places with Timothy.
On Friday morning, I remembered that, at 16 years old- the first time I decided I wanted to "be a youth pastor's wife"- I'd determined that I would spend time sharing myself with teens even if I didn't end up marrying a youth pastor.
Hours later, I brought up my normal frustrations during a long drive.
Still Tim's magic wasn't working to my benefit, and it was then that he pointed out how I'd been acting during conversations of "what should I do?" I hadn't realized.
Tears washed over me, kind of like a cleansing of sorts.
I hadn't realized that I was still upset that what I wanted had been tarnished and then completely taken away.
Words came, but better than that, some clarity.
It's amazing what just getting away can do for the mind.
So. Maybe I needed that 8 months. I was worn out, spent. I think I needed to just be. I needed some time to just be Tim's wife. To be me. To take in all the changes. Despite my restlessness, I think it is ok- a great idea, even- to take some time off after a time of particular emotional/spiritual/mental (or even physical! - but that part doesn't apply to my situation) challenge.
But after those tears- and a few words- washed away the hurt I still had left, an energy remained.
I know who I am, mostly.
I am a woman who is energized by organizing and/or running events.
I like to be the one in the kitchen, while my house is full of laughter, stories, and eating.
I believe strongly in being intentional about sharing money, time, and other resources. I am energized by those kinds of things.
I feel most "myself" when I am consistently sharing my time with teenagers, and even kids. There are a number of ways to go about this, including:
- volunteering at a local church
- joining up with a local Big Brothers/Big Sisters program
- volunteering with Girls on the Run
- getting involved with the "yoga version" of Girls on the run, Believe in She
- being more intentional about spending time with my own family members
For awhile now, I've been thinking maybe I need to pick just one "cause" to help define me and my own personal cause, but now I hardly think that is the case.
You know what I think now?
Every day is a chance to live out who I was created to be- and share that. I happen to do that best through words, food, and shared time, but everyone has their own way they can live out their best best.
That really has me excited.
— Martha Graham
Last weekend, Tim and I turned a wedding into an extended babymoon weekend. It. was. wonderful.
I love experiencing new things with Tim.
Seeing new places.
Trying new foods, taking it all in. Sleeping in hotels, exploring.
I feel reinvigorated. And calmer, maybe?
There is so much swirling around in my brain; I'm hoping some of it will spill out into legible words later this week.
And I'm so grateful for some very special time set aside for just me and Tim as us. I'm so excited to meet my son. I want to see him, feel him, touch him. But I have a confession to make: I'm glad that there's still 10 or so weeks to go. I'm not ready to share my husband.
In other news...
I think Tim and I are getting closer to choosing a name for Baby Boy.
He's measuring a week ahead- again!
I'm still working on getting my iron levels up, but you know what? If they remain too low to give birth at the birthing center, I can be ok with a hospital birth.
I'm still loving my yoga dvd.
Baby Boy is estimated to be almost 16 inches long and about 3 pounds (maybe a bit more?).
I'm considering filling my freezer with meals for post-birth. I've seen some related posts around the blogosphere, but I'm thinking it can't hurt to ask:
-Do you have any favorite freezer meals?
-Any tips for freezing meals for a month or more at a time?
Tim and I are off on an adventure!
In the meantime, I want to share some of my favorite posts out of those I've come across this week:
My Friend is Sick: Should I Give Food or Money Jeannett brings up some great points and ideas about giving within our own cultures. (I'm hoping I remember her words when the next occasion arises!)
The Friend I Want to Be Kelle has me inspired to practice being a better friend right now.
Palms Up Stephanie writes candidly about her own efforts to encourage intentionally.
Recipes for Mom Ashley provides a detailed tutorial on how to cook dried chick peas- and how to do it well. (Hello, money saver!)
What are some of your favorite posts or articles from this week?
(a follow-up to this post)
I'm a person who will let anxiety pile up on her shoulders if she's not careful. I think I have always been this way. I'm not trying to make an excuse; I'm trying to say that it's something I have to learn to manage.
Mostly, I have. Learned, that is. I use yoga, prayer, and writing to find some peace and gain some healthy perspective. It's freeing to learn to live out this moment, not the unforeseen next ones; to hand everything, big and small, over to someone bigger than myself; to be so honest-even if it is only on screen or paper- that there is nothing left to hide. It's healthy. When I do those things, I feel like I'm living well. I feel like I'm getting that fullness of life thing, like I'm so alive.
But sometimes- some days, some months, I forget that it's not that I'm all better; it's that I've learned how to live in my own skin. Anxiety is not something I can fix and then walk away from, leave alone, and be ok. I need my tools to really live. I'm not ashamed to say that.
So, lately, instead of agonizing over my big purpose in all of life, I've been praying that I will fulfill my purpose for that day...even if it's something that seems insignificant to me. I've been praying that I would have my eyes open enough not to miss out on ways to share more stories, time, food... life.
I've been trying to write more. I'm on my way.
And yoga? I've been taking prenatal yoga...although it's- of course- not the same as the "regular" classes I've come to love, it's still a practice in being present. For now, that has to be enough.
In fact, I'm headed upstairs to get in some yoga practice. (The free 20-minute download I'm doing can be found here.)
For those looking for a baby update, it's coming this afternoon!
Early on in my pregnancy, I decided that the kind of life I want to live as a mother includes feeding myself and my child(ren) lots of really healthy food, but also trips for ice cream, glasses of wine with my husband, picnics, and generally soaking up life. I decided that if living that kind of life- a relaxed, drink-up-the-moments life means I weigh 10 pounds more than I think I "should," I'm okay with that. I'm not saying I'm aiming to end up 10 pounds over that magic number; I'm saying that the number is not equivalent to health.
Health is so much more than food. I've had a very similar adage posted at the top of my blog for more than a year, and I'm still learning it.
In fact, even after making that decision, I was still learning.
Learning to live in and love my ever-changing carrying-a-baby body.
Learning to accept the fact that maybe everything will expand right now, but really...so what? I'm still beautiful. This whole process is still beautiful. I'm becoming some body's mother, and I have to learn to be ok with clothes fitting differently and coming up with strategies for getting out of bed.
I'll tell you what, though- I had some help with that process.
If you're pregnant and still working on a healthy body image (and it can be a process, so maybe you're already there, but need a refresher), here's what I suggest:
1.Choose to believe people-especially those close to you- when they tell you you're beautiful, adorable, glowing... It can be easy for those like you and me- when we're just feeling big- to dismiss compliments with a "oh, they're just trying to make me feel better." Probably not. You might feel huge, but face it, Sister, pregnancy is a miracle, and it is beautiful. Choosing to believe something good that's said about you when you believe the opposite does require some effort and repeated practice- but keep practicing. It'll come.
2. Keep in mind that those who make comments about your size are likely excited and wanting to participate in your pregnancy with you. This one was a difficult one for me to get over. I had the same person make multiple comments nearly every day about my size. I had people do the, "you're showing already? how far along are you? I didn't show until 6 months!" thing...and all sorts of comments along similar lines. It took me quite a while to realize that those people either don't know how to talk to a pregnant lady, are just excited that they can already "see" the pregnancy, just want to connect with you, or a combination. Most people don't mean any harm by the comments that upset you. Even after realizing this, I had some help...and when I've had a long day and get another "you're so big!" comment at the end of the day ,I still need some help some days. (Thanks, Tim!)
3. Wear clothes you feel comfortable and pretty in. It may take some time to find out what that is, and it may change, but the effort is worth it. For me, it's flowy dresses and skirts, cotton tank tops, and a pair of not-too-big-not-too-small maternity pants. I like to dress those things up with scarves or big necklaces.
4. Read things that help you get where you want to go. I'm a big fan of blogs, so when I say "things," for me I mean "blogs," but for you that could mean talking to people with healthy body images, reading a book, finding an appropriate online forum...One blog that's been especially helpful for me in my healthy body/mind/life efforts is Weekly Bite. Estela offers several articles in her "Nutrition Bites" section that have proven beneficial to me in the past, but the article I kept referring to-especially in the beginning of pregnancy- is "Pregnancy and Weight Gain Worries." That woman knows her stuff!
What am I missing? Is there anything you would add?
I weighed myself this morning.
I knowI said I was going to stick to weigh-ins at appointments. But I wanted to know how much I'd gained at my half-way point last week, and the curiosity rolled right into this week. I'm eating mostly real food, no meat, lots of nutrients and looking to learn and try more. (I tried a gluten-free version of this recipe last night and loved it. I was ecstatic and spurred on to do more experimenting in the kitchen.) I can live like that (now and after pregnancy), so I've determined I have to be happy with whatever the number is.
I've listened to-and read- enough to know that every women is different. I've heard stories from women who said they threw up throughout their entire pregnancies and gained 60 pounds. I've heard stories from women who ate almost exclusively junk through their pregnancies and gained 20 pounds. I know that weight is just one means of measurement, one which I've determined will not measure my worth.
But I'm a curious girl. I like to learn about what's going on with my body and my baby's body.
So I stepped on the scale.
I had a moment. Maybe I held my breath a little. I'm up 10 pounds, a number I'd arbitrarily hoped I wouldn't reach until my next appointment (July 1st! Hooray!).
And then I had another- a better- moment. This is the most beautiful 10 pounds I've ever carried in my life.
All of this? This physical, mental, and emotional shifting is a process. Most of the time, I'm loving it. And when I don't love it, I know the process is still good.
- Baby K. has taste buds and can taste what I'm eating. If I want my baby to eat veggies, the baby is more likely to eat them if he or she has already developed a taste for them in utero.
-I'm feeling the baby move more and more- sometimes I can feel the movement with my hand. I'm so excited for the first time that Tim gets to feel the baby, too!
-Favorite things to wear: flowy summer dresses and skirts, cotton tank tops, and one particular pair of maternity pants that my sweet friend Charis let me borrow.
-Current cravings: mostly cheese. I ate a block of extra sharp cheddar cheese in 4 days. That's when I knew it was time to seek out some alternatives to put into the rotation (like the above-linked recipe).
-It's looking like I'll be able to give birth at the birthing center after all! That is, provided my big belly isn't home to two babies, which I sometimes wonder. (Good thing my suspicions will be put to rest in about a week and a half!)
I think I woke up grumpy this morning. I just wanted to go back to bed, sleep for another hour or two, and start over.
Lucky for me, my husband knows and loves me well and knew something was up. He said something (I don't remember what it was now!) that had me cracking a smile, after which I ventured downstairs to come up with something to bring make, pack, and eat for breakfast.
Nothing looked good.
I briefly considered stuffing any combination of sweet and fatty into my mouth...for comfort, for relief, for numbing, really. (I was still feeling pretty grumpy.)
Except that lately, that's not me anymore. Something about listening to the way my body feels when I eat meat and then not eating it anymore...something about this baby growing inside of me (and maybe one or two other changes)...has me doing pretty well with intuitive eating- even intuitive exercising. I feel great.
(Stuffing my face doesn't leave me feeling great. )
But I have this sort of love affair going on with food. I enjoy the process of eating, of preparing, of textures and flavors. That interest is not likely to end.
I came up with a new definition of what it means for me to comfort eat.
And then I made myself a bowl of comfort. I chopped and stirred and measured-in preparation of eating something entirely soothing- when my body was ready for it.
That's about 1/3 cup oats, 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1/2 chopped granny smith apple, cinnamon, a little earth balance, a little sucanat, a chopped-up mini apple pie Lara bar, and a spoonful of peanut butter.
Thanks to my sweet husband, a short prayer, and a realization that I can choose my attitude, I was already on my way to coming out of my wrong-side-of-the-bed mindset. But after making that bowl of oatmeal? I was all the way out.