Sunday, August 31, 2008

Labor Day

Rocks in My Dryer has questions about Labor on her blog. I borrowed them. You can too; just check Rocks in My Dryer at the preceding link.

How long were your labors?
Good question. With the last two, I had contractions off and on for 3 weeks.

Daughter #1:
I got to the hospital in the early afternoon, daughter was born the next morning at 3:05.
Daughter #2: light contractions all night, one hour of being uncomfortable the next morning, water broke, and 15 minutes later we had a baby. Easy. Fun.
Daughter #3: called the midwife at 6 p.m., daughter was born at 10....something. Or was it 9 something. The pregnancy fog never cleared from my brain.

How did you know you were in labor?
Contractions increased in frequency and intensity.

Where did you deliver?

First daughter: in a hospital, in a birthing tub.
2nd and 3rd: at home. In a birthing tub. 2nd dd would have been born at home whether we planned it or I'm glad we planned it that way!

No. The birthing tub is all I need.

After baby is born, I always have a piece of pie. It's great: the first really enjoyable taste in 9 months.

Who delivered?
Daughter #1: Nurse practitioner midwife.
2 and 3: Home birth midwife.
I loved both of them, and was barely aware of their presence during delivery....all three deliveries were perfect. Actually the phrases "the doctor delivered" or "the midwife delivered" are confusing to me. Perhaps other women have births like the ones I see on tv with the doctor yelling commands. I have not had that experience or the need for instruction during the birthing process. Pregnancy is difficult for me....birth has been a breeze.

This week's free book: A Walk with Jane Austen

I reviewed A Walk with Jane Austen several months ago (review here). This week I'm giving the book away! Here's how you can enter:

1. Leave me a comment (before Saturday at 5 p.m. Pacific time), with a link to your blog
2. Post a link to this post on your blog
3. On Sunday I will post the winner's blog here, and I'll e-mail the winner to get a mailing address

...and the winner is...


I'll mail the book tomorrow!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday funny

A few days ago I asked my daughters to return a pile of blankets to the basket where they belonged. The next day I reminded them to do this. Instead, they added more blankets to the pile they were building. By the third day, after more reminders, the pile of blankets was confiscated by my husband. (I usually require prompt obedience from the children, but the pile of blankets was in a location I don't view in my normal routine, and other than the reminders I gave them, I kept forgetting about it.)

My oldest daughter Faith is almost in second grade, and her spelling is still predominately phonetic. I am happy that she is sounding things out rather than memorizing the way a word looks, but she does need to practice some spelling words.

Faith became quite concerned that her favorite blanket would end up in a garage sale, and after the blankets disappeared, she brought us a note: "Please don't put my blankit in the grog sale."

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Donald Miller again

Donald Miller is very popular at our house, so I had to let y'all know that he has a new blog:

And while I'm talking about blogs, here's a resource for Christian moms: Virtue Alert,

a resource for starving students: Beyond Baked Beans,

and a blog about home organization : Organizing Junkie.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

a prayer

I missed this last night, but here it is from youtube: Donald Miller's prayer from the Democratic Convention.

The text of the prayer is at

Monday, August 25, 2008

Daybook Monday

Outside my Window... 94 degrees and a tiny hint of fall in the air

I am thinking... we haven't invited anyone over to dinner for awhile

From the learning rooms... my oldest is still working on her first grade math book. I think we'll start preschool for the two littlest next week.

I am thankful for... my husband's job and his commitment to provide for us.

From the kitchen... I started making kombucha last week and we had our first taste yesterday. Not bad at all!

I am wearing... purple t-shirt, black yoga pants

I am reading... Vittoria Cottage, by D E Stevenson. Her books are set in the World War II era, and most of them are set in small towns of Scotland.

I am hoping... to organize a file box for the notes I'm taking for my next Bible study.

I am creating... a simple scrapbook with Celtic prayers and inspirational quotes.

I am hearing... Sesame Street "Dancing with Triangles"

Around the house... much organization needs to happen

One of my favorite things... is coffee with milk and honey

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week... a little shopping and a library trip. And getting the children back in Chore Routine.

The Simple Woman's Daybook is hosted here.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I'm giving away a book!

Prayers for Emotional Wholeness, by Stormie Omartian, was helpful to me during a stressful time. The book is subtitled "365 prayers for Living in Freedom". Chapters include "When I Need to be Free of Anxiety and Depression", "When I Need Hope and Joy in my Heart", and "When I Need Greater Faith". Sometimes my mind would be completely blank of words to pray, and Stormie's prayers gave me a starting point. Each prayer has a Scripture that fits its topic.
I'm giving away a copy of this book this week. This particular copy has a black remainder mark, and a little price tag residue on one corner. I will send it free to someone who:
has a blog
leaves a comment here with their blog's address
posts a link to this post on their own blog before this Saturday, 5 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time
Next Sunday, I will e-mail the winner of the book to get a shipping address, and post a link to the winner's blog. (The winner will need to have a US mailing address.)

espresso at home

My husband bought us a Primula stovetop espresso maker (for the very small price of $7 at Ross), and with the addition of a milk frother (for about $12), we are making delicious mochas and lattes in our own kitchen. I am amazed that the process is this affordable! Two squares of Green and Black dark chocolate melt smoothly into the espresso (the Mayan Gold variety is especially nice) to make a silky mocha. What a perfect accompaniment to a morning quiet time or an afternoon writing session.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday funny

I haven't posted a Friday Funny in quite awhile. Today I recommend you read The Unquiet Years blog for a chuckle about Angelina Jolie.

I've also found some laughs at Rocks in My Dryer.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

timid tastebuds?

I saw an advertisement last week that I found disturbing. On the back of a Time magazine was an ad for a photo-developing website. The picture showed a man and a woman holding a glossy photo book, pointing at a picture of a hamburger. The text below described the couple's joy at finding "the best hamburger in Beijing", thanks to a thoughtful friend who made them a photobook to use when they didn't know the Chinese word for what they were seeking.

I find it mind-boggling that an American couple travelling through China would desire a hamburger. I can understand that if one lived in a foreign country, one might occasionally crave the food of home. But are the culinary horizons of American tourists really that narrow? Are we so arrogant that we expect our national cuisine to follow us around the globe? I cannot imagine seeking out a hamburger (available at dozens of restaurants in my hometown, not to mention easily prepared in my home kitchen) while halfway across the world, surrounded by culinary adventures that are only available in that exotic location.

The only explanation I can think of is that some people have very timid tastebuds.

Monday, August 18, 2008

growing through trials

I liked Phyllis Sather's blog at first viewing; one of my favorite scriptures is below her blog title.
Today I am recommending this post, and I'll share a quote from it:

Abandon your faith in God and turn away from the problem and you put yourself in a position to be swallowed up by what was meant for your growth. --Watchman Nee

Daybook Monday

FOR TODAY, August 18, 2008
Outside My Window... 87 degrees, with a few clouds
I am thinking... I need to enjoy my husband's last two days of vacation
I am thankful for... coffee
From the kitchen... biscotti
I am wearing... my pj's. Don't judge me. It's still vacation.
I am creating... a clean desk so I can scrapbook.
I am going... absolutely nowhere.
I am reading... The Elusive Mrs. Pollifax
I am hoping... to clean the school room.
I am hearing... Elmo. One of the more annoying voices in children's television.
Around the house... there is a bongo drum in our living room.
One of my favorite things... a cuddly four year old who at the moment prefers my company to her sisters.
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: I'm still thinking about Today. The rest of the week will care for itself.

Simple Woman's Daybook is hosted here.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

shining hours...again

Months ago, I promised myself that I would use this blog to record shining hours. I have not kept that promise, for as I look back at my posts I see dark dusty cloudy days. Admittedly, it has been a rough year, full of loss and physical challenges. But there have been so many shining hours...why don't I talk about them? Is it because the darker times must be written down to make sense of them or to release them? Is it because I find them more newsworthy? Perhaps I think no one wants to read that I had a great Saturday evening watching Britcoms on PBS and eating a concoction of leftovers that only my husband the genius chef could make appetizing?

Last week was a dark tunnel week, a week when loss and depression filled my mind and seemed to paralyze me. As always, it was difficult for me to admit even to myself that I was depressed. Yet when I finally did, I cried out to Jesus...the Light..the Lifter of My Beloved...and He answered, brightening my outlook.

Today I am on the edge of a migraine. My home is full of undone tasks that taunt me with accusations of failure. But in my quiet time I came across a glorious verse:

I am the light that shines through the cosmos;
if you walk with Me,
you will thrive in the nourishing light that gives life
and will not know darkness. (John 8:12 The Voice Revealed)

Glory be to God who has shown me that Light.

Friday, August 15, 2008

a Mom-shaped gap

I was looking around the Comfort Queen website and I found a Coaching service for $600 a month. I read what a Coach does and I began to think that I needed one, although I certainly can't afford it, but then I realized that I actually need a Mom.

I never had a really cozy relationship with my mom, but when she died I did feel that there was a gap in my life. Cathy (see Tuesday's post) and several other ladies at church abundantly filled in that gap with support and advice and friendship.

But since we've lived in the desert (6 years now) I haven't found a Mom. I know lots of ladies who belong to my parents' generation, but I don't have a Mom-type person to have over for coffee or to call when I'm overwhelmed.

Our church has a mentoring program for women but it focuses on the spiritual side of things. I tried it for a year and a half, with two different mentors, and they both studied the Bible with me, but neither offered practical advice. I need the How-to-Arrange-Your-Kitchen-Cupboards advice and the Teaching-Your-Children-to-Share advice. My best friend's mom even watches her kids so she can spend weekends away with her husband occasionally.

Jesus my Savior,
You promised that
You would not leave us orphans.
I know You will provide
everything I need
to be a good mom
and housewife.
Lead me to helpful resources
and give me the energy
to be what my family
needs me to be.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

something I needed to read today

I'm not familiar with this author, nor have I read more than one post on her blog, but I loved today's post:

And by the way, I've been updating my list of Blogs I Read, to the right of my posts here. Do check them out.

Good things

It's important to treat as a bonus,
not a right,
every single good thing
that is given to us.
--Jean Watson, in Bereavement

Each thing I have received,
from Thee it came,
Each thing for which I hope,
from Thy love it will come,
Each thing I enjoy,
it is of Thy bounty,
Each thing I ask,
comes of Thy disposing.
--quoted by Calvin Miller, in Celtic Devotions

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My friend Cathy died last night.
I saw her three weeks ago and she told me "I won't be here much longer. Thank goodness." Near her chair were three devotional books, her Bible, and a book about facing the end of one's life. She talked about her church (where I used to attend) and how concerned she was because all the new members were old people. She wanted to see the church reaching people of all ages...and I think Cathy always fit in with the younger crowd better than the elderly.

Cathy spent the last decade fighting one health challenge after another, but her thoughts were always on other people. She managed the prayer request network at her church, scrapbooked lots of family memories, and invited college kids into her home. Cathy and I had lunch together every week for two years. Cathy was one of those people who gets older in years but never in attitude.

I will miss Cathy, but I know she is pain-free at last, and I know she is enjoying the fellowship of the saints and the Lord Himself.

Monday, August 11, 2008

meaning in the blank space

I began this blog in a very stressful season of life, filled with physical pain and emotional stress. Blogging about everything from vacuum cleaners to itunes helped preserve my sanity. I took a blogging break this summer while my life was full of travel, nostalgia, and appreciating the cool weather of the Pacific Northwest.

Now we are home and it is August in the desert. Discouragement and exhaustion follow me around. For one crazy twenty-four hour period last month, we considered moving to Portland, Oregon. It truly was not a financially wise idea at this time. We know it is sensible to stay in the desert another year, saving money and sorting our belongings thoughtfully. But...I glimpsed the future and I wanted to jump into it. It still calls to me, making me discontent with the dust and the heat here. In August there are no women's activities at church, friends are travelling to cooler climates, and the month stretches out like a dry hot dreary winter with no holidays.

Before we went on our trip I ordered several Quiet Spaces booklets. Quiet Spaces is a magazine from England that explores "prayer and spirituality." I love the short articles by authors from various denominations. I thought some back issues would be perfect for our trip. But they did not arrive before our departure.

Last week we returned home and sorted through the mountain of mail. The Quiet Spaces "Creation and Creativity" issue was one of the first things I read. I was fascinated by Margaret Silf's words about the night sky in the southern hemisphere: "Aboriginal people find meaning in the dark spaces between the stars, rather than in the patterns of the stars."

Meaning in the dark spaces. Something within the blankness matters. I may be discouraged...bored...tired...but within this dry and dusty month I will listen for God's voice.

a prayer from St. Clare

What you are doing, may you keep on doing and do not stop.
But with swiftness, agility, and unswerving feet,
may you go forward with joy and security
knowing that you are on the path of wisdom and happiness.
Believe nothing, and agree with nothing
that will turn you away from this commitment.
Nothing should be allowed to prevent you
from offering yourself to the Most High
in the perfection to which the Spirit of God has called you.

--from an e-mail from Paraclete Press, promoting their book The St. Clare Prayer Book.

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY, Monday August 11, 2008...
Outside My Window... straggly herb plants under a palm tree
I am thinking... I wonder if this is our last August in the desert
I am thankful for... my husband's fabulous cooking
From the kitchen... bacon-carmelized onion-scrambled eggs-gnocchi
I am wearing... my robe. Yes, at 10:20 a.m.
I am creating... long-overdue blog posts
I am going... to the library
I am reading... Thin Places, by Tracy Balzer
I am hoping... my sore neck is finally better
I am hearing... the Olympics on tv
Around the house... my husband is on vacation for a few more days
One of my favorite things... coffee
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: a breakfast at a French bakery, a dinner at a Morroccan restaurant
The Simple Woman's Daybook suggests sharing a picture thought right here, but I haven't figured out how to get blogger to put a picture at the end of a post.