Archive for 2010

On being stretched...

This is a picture of Thursday's dinner. It's pork chop parmesan and it was pretty good. I snapped a picture because I was really proud of how it turned out, for two reasons:

1. This was my first time, ever, cooking pork chops. My family just didn't really eat a lot of pork while I was growing up.

2. The breading DIDN'T FALL OFF. Usually, when I try to bread and cook meat, the breading slides off regardless of whether or not I use egg or some other binder.

When Adam came in the kitchen to get his plate, he looked at the recipe that I'd copied to the white board on the fridge, and asked, "What did you change?"

"Nothing," I replied.

"Oh," he answered, sounding a bit surprised.

"I was too nervous about the pork chops to mess with it," I admitted. "Maybe I'll mess with it next time."

I tend to not really follow recipes exactly. I have a hard time getting through most recipes without tweaking them somehow; I just decide along the way that this ingredient would be better than that one, or that we don't really need that in the dish, or that a little more of this would be great. It was new territory to cook pork and to leave a recipe alone.

I've known for a while now that I really enjoy cooking and baking. I love making food. But I tend to get stuck in ruts and stick to the meals I can make without looking at the recipe. When I make cookies, they're almost always chocolate chip and I only get the recipe out to double-check myself. I have it nearly memorized already.

But I have a whole shelf of cookbooks (like, two dozen, maybe?) and the internet at my fingertips. I've been realizing that I need to stretch myself a little more in the kitchen. I want to. It doesn't mean that I want to start spending four hours on every dinner and have something new every night. I think my mental goal right now is to cook or bake at least one new recipe a week. It could be a dinner. It could be a dessert.

It could be a staple food. For all my time in the kitchen, bread still terrifies me. Yeast-breads make me nervous. I have a pasta press that I've used...twice? I have a pastry blade for cutting the butter into the flour that I've used...not once.

In my first apartment after I got married, my excuse was space. I really didn't have room to spread out ingredients and it was a lot easier to just make things I didn't have to think about. But now I have a little more space and the boys still sleep too much to count as a real excuse.

So, one new recipe a week? I can try that. I hesitate to say I'm committing to that because I'm as afraid of failure as I am of baking yeast breads. But it's good to be challenged and I'm willing to say I'll try.

And in a few months, some of those recipes will be baby food. :-D

The Little Engine that Would...

A few weeks ago, my mom was holding one of the twins and said, "It's so strange that babies need to eat every two hours. I wonder why God designed us that way?"

And I replied, "I don't know, but when I rededicated my life to Christ and was serious about it, I remember needing to read the Bible about that often. I was just telling someone that the other day."

It's true. When I was seventeen and confessed to my parents all the crap I'd been dealing with (cutting, depression, reading porn), and really started seeking hard after God, I was fragile. I remember feeling like I wouldn't be able to make it through the gentlest sort of outings. Going to the zoo or a bridal shower really rattled me; I felt strange and out of place. I wanted to spend every day, all day, at home. I spent almost all my free time reading the Bible and journaling. I'd journal seven or eight notebook pages, front and back, a day sometimes. I'd read chapter after chapter; I fell asleep reading Kings and Chronicles, I'd wake up in the middle of the night, read more chapters, wake up in the morning and read more.

I wasn't reading out of guilt or anything. I just honestly felt like I couldn't make it through the day without reading the Word that much.

And my twins are like that now. They wake up from naps and in the middle of the night, crying because they're hungry. They cry like I haven't fed them in days, when it's only been two or three hours. They just need to eat that often right now.

Over time, I was able to go longer without reading the Word and I didn't feel so rattled by going out to do things. I wasn't experiencing less of a need for the Word of God; I was experiencing a greater capacity for it. I could retain things longer and I was growing up. I still need to "eat" every day, but I've got more of it in my head to meditate on, too. And eventually, the twins will be able to go four hours...five hours...all night...without eating (so looking forward to it, too, let me tell you).

Isn't it amazing how God uses every part of life to teach us something? The Bible does compare us to infants; God doesn't leave the potential for analogy untapped. 1 Peter 2:2-3 says, "Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good."

We have to eat that often to grow up, just like my boys.

But then there are warnings, too. My boys are at a time in their lives that it's okay for them to eat as often as they do. If they're still eating every two hours and waking up that often overnight when they're one, or two, or five, something is wrong. But we put ourselves in that position as Christians. I put myself in that position sometimes. Hebrews contains a rebuke concerning this, in chapter 5:11-14:

"We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil."

Sometimes, I think I'm kinda here right now. I feel like in some ways, I need to retrain myself to distinguish good from evil. This is especially true in my choices in music, TV, movies...mostly, my entertainment diet. I feel like sometimes I'm not as discerning as I used to be, and I notice this more with the twins around. My reluctance to watch something while they're in the room is especially telling on me, I think.

I sort of starve myself spiritually, unfortunately. I'll wait until I feel like I can't go another minute without reading the Word, and then I'll rush through a chapter or two. I'll do it when I remember to, when it's convenient for me. And what does it say about the mature person and solid food? About distinguishing good from evil? They "who by constant use have trained themselves" are the ones who are ready for solid food.

So the problem is that I need to make myself eat when I should, or I'll just keep sliding backward until I again hit that point where I find myself needing to eat every two hours. My boys are really good at letting me know they have to eat because they have to. I need to be the same way with my inner man; I need to let myself know that I need to eat and then I need to DO IT.

So, what's my problem? I talked about it a little in the very first post on this blog, way back in February. I get lazy. I have a weak will. It doesn't mean I'm easily bowled over by others; it means I'm easily bowled over by me. My flesh gets its way more than it should (which should be never). In children, a lot of people call this tendency in children a "strong will," but I think otherwise (for children and for myself).

Charlotte Mason, the educator, says this about the will:

"The baby screams himself into fits for a forbidden plaything, and the mother says, ‘He has such a strong will.’ The little fellow of three stands roaring in the street, and will neither go hither nor thither with his nurse, because ‘he has such a strong will.’ He will rule the sports of the nursery, will monopolise his sisters’ playthings, all because of this ‘strong will.’ ...

"But, all the time, nobody perceives that it is the mere want of will that is the matter with the child" (Vol. 1, p. 320).

Yep, that's me. My boys, too, actually. We suffer from an extreme "want of will." In my boys, it's innocent-- they are too young to understand, to know better, to act otherwise. In me, it's a sin. James 4:17 is pretty clear on that point. ("If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.")

When it's been three hours and my boys are shrieking and I tell one of them, "Just be patient, I'm getting your brother," and he doesn't stop crying to just be patient and wait for me to get his brother, its because he lacks the understanding or the ability to will himself to stop crying. I'll keep saying it, anyway, because it's something to say and I think just talking to them calmly helps some. No problem, though; he's not doing anything wrong.

But when I hesitate to stop watching something or refresh Facebook fifteen times instead of reading some scripture in the morning, when I search aimlessly for stuff on instead of vacuuming my living room, it's because I'm acting weak-willed. I'm not willing myself to choose the right thing when I know what the right thing is.

Sometimes, it's not even a matter of content with my entertainment. Sometimes, it's just a matter of quantity. And let me tell you: I left the computer alone for a good part of yesterday and actually cleaned half of my apartment really well, and at the end of the day, I knew I had done some real work, and really enjoyed sitting down to read some of a Hardy Boys book (it's my quick-read before I start on something bigger again).

So, this post feels like it's been a bit of a mess because it's just been all over the place, but I guess I had more on my mind and heart than I realized. To sum it all up: I know when I will myself to choose the right thing, I'm a happier person, even if it's the harder thing. Whether that's doing the dishes (which I'm about to go do), reading some of the Word instead of some statuses, or being more discerning about my TV viewing, I know on the other side of it I've had a better "meal." When I let my flesh rule my life, I'm about as miserable as a toddler without a schedule.

And living like that isn't good for me, makes me less useful to God, and hurts my husband and my sons.

Thanks be to God for His grace. :) Tomorrow is a new day and "the Spirit himself intercedes for accordance with the will of God" (Romans 8:26-28). He works all things for good and has made, will make, everything beautiful. And that encourages me, even when I know I'm a mess.

Forget more sleep, I just need more arms...

The twins are four weeks old today and three days shy of a month old, but I'm still going to use the phrase, "When the twins were little," in this post. Here goes.

When the twins were little, i.e., a few days old, feeling like I was treating them fairly was really easy. They'd wake up, I'd feed them both, change them both, and put them back to bed. We were lucky if either boy opened his eyes for more than a few seconds during all of this.

(Just a note, now: This post will be shorter than the last one because I need to do some house-stuff and the boys are starting to fuss themselves awake.)

Anyway, time (okay, days) passed and they started to keep their eyes open more. We went through one or two days of a lot of fussing at nap time before I realized, "Oh, wait, they're crying because they're bored." My sons were ready to join the world! For like, twenty minutes after eating, anyway.

Now we're at the four-week mark and their awake-time seems to be about thirty minutes after being fed and changed, give or take ten minutes before they start yawning and getting cranky. And they like to look at toys or faces and get quiet and wide-eyed when people tickle them or talk to them. Also, they like when they're held and get to be walked around the apartment.

Also, tummy time is pretty nice, for like, five minutes. Sam can roll over from his tummy to his back already (yay for being four months ahead of the game!) and Theo seems less interested in moving; he just likes to stare, still. But then I'm trying to avoid flat heads and at the same time, don't have enough arms to carry both of them comfortably around the apartment. So they still end up spending some time on their backs, on a blanket (they still don't like swings or bouncers).

In a way, I'm okay with that when they're being played with. But here's where my desire to have more arms comes in: I'm starting to suffer from Mommy Guilt.

I remember being about thirteen or fourteen when my mom announced to me, at the start of a fall shopping trip, "We're not going to try to get all the kids an equal number of gifts for Christmas this year. I've decided we were focusing too much on trying to be fair and that's not the most important thing."

Well, I want to be fair. And sometimes I can't be. Sometimes, I shouldn't be. And that's hard.

If Theo got my attention for five minutes, I want Sam to have it for an equal amount of time. If I carried Sam around and talked to him, I want to do the exact same thing for Theo. And it took all of a few hours to realize that it's just not possible.

So I have to pray against the guilt and just deal with it, because "fair" isn't the ultimate goal in life. "Fair" isn't what I really want to be teaching them. I want them to get attention, yes, and I want them to get lots of it from me. If one boy is wide-eyed and needs some play-time or to be held, giving him that attention is great! But if his brother is yawning and getting fussy and really just needs sleep, it's not right for me to keep him awake and deny him that for the sake of "fairness" -- and, more unjustly for him, to make me feel better.

I'll just keep working on balancing that, but I gotta go. I have two boys to feed. :)

So much for that last post...

...all that writing about discipline and I haven't posted since February. :) But now I'm even more determined to write semi-regularly, at least. Maybe if I write frequently enough I can weed out my bad habit of punctuating nearly everything with emoticons.

What's my life look like nine months later? Well, it's got more children in it, and less sleep. If you're reading this, you probably know me well enough to know that I've had twins since I wrote the last post, but I'll announce it like it's news anyway. Two days after writing that last post, I found out I was pregnant and then another seven weeks after that I found out I was having twins. Ten more weeks went by and then we were told it was twin boys. Then three weeks ago, I had them.

I love them to pieces. We named them Théoden and Samuel, but they go by Theo and Sam (or bug or bear or fussbucket or any other host of fond nicknames).

Theo is on the left and Sam is on the right. We're pretty sure they're fraternal and I'm confident in my ability to tell them apart without any aids (like fingernail polish or, in our case, an orange Cowboy-and-Horse SillyBand on Sam's ankle, courtesy of Aunt Ania; we had blue fingernail polish that was donated by a kind friend, but Adam about had a meltdown when I mentioned painting one of our boys' toenails).

But they look very different to me, now, and several other people, so Sam's SillyBand is now on my wrist and we're winging it. So far, we only get them mixed up occasionally for a second or two when we're super-tired, and that seems to be more a case of mixing up the names than the actual babies (i.e., "Does Sam need a diaper change? Wait, I meant Theo.")

That's pretty much what's happening in my life right now, along with trying to keep up with my mild to-do list and breastfeed two very hungry, very noisy little boys every two and a half hours (sometimes three hours!).

My mom suggested I start blogging again when I mentioned the desire (need) to keep writing but expressed my doubt about tackling NaNoWriMo right now ( and this is the first year in six years or so that I haven't at least TRIED to start something by the first week of November). "Blog about being a mom," my mom said, "you read enough mom-blogs; write your own!"

So, yes, this is turning into a mom-blog. And in my first official mom-blog post I'll share some things that I've learned since becoming a mom (that's SO WEIRD to type). I'll make some lists and elaborate on some things, not so much on others. Even in list-form this might get a bit disorganized and this post is going to be nearly forever long. That's okay. At least I'm writing.

Things That Surprised Me About Labor and Beyond:

1. After hearing lots of people tell me that labor was hard and exhausting and draining and that only those "super-people" could do anything right afterward, I was expecting to feel, well, exhausted and drained after giving birth and to not want to move or do anything for a bit. But when the nurse told me I could get up about forty minutes after labor, and that I could take a shower after about an hour, I nearly leapt out of bed. I felt so ready to be on my feet again. Before you start hating me, though, I'll add that I felt queasy and ready to lay back down after about three minutes. But I was ready to be mobile right after giving birth and never felt like I couldn't get up and do stuff.

2. For some reason, I thought I would feel completely different after having kids. I'm not sure why. Maybe this was residual and attached to ideas my younger self had about mom-hood. In particular, the ideas in which my nine-year-old self imagined that when I became a mom I'd instantly be taller and have long, straight blonde hair like moms in 1990s Disney movies. I ALWAYS pictured myself looking like this when I had kids, until I realized around age 11 that it was highly unlikely my hair would change that much.

Perhaps the change I anticipated was a mental and emotional version of this; I just expected to feel completely and totally different. And I didn't. It wasn't really disappointing, though. It was actually reassuring. I remember thinking sometime during the second day in the hospital, "Hey, I'm," and I liked that feeling. I love, love, love my boys and rather than feel like childbirth completely changed me, I feel more like I've just always had my twins around. I've never been nervous holding either of the twins and it feels like I've been handling newborns for a lot longer than three weeks.

3. When I was five, I started praying for identical twin boys. When I was dating Adam, I warned him about this. When I got pregnant, Adam was convinced it was twins while I was only hopeful (desperately hopeful!). When I found out it was twins, I knew Adam really wanted daughters, so I started hoping it would be boy/girl twins for his sake. We even picked out boy/girl names. My mother-in-law (and some others) kept telling me that if it was twins, it was going to be boys, because that's what I'd prayed for, right? And they were right. (Adam, to his credit, was super, super excited about the fact that we were having two boys.)

So, when we knew that it was twin boys, I just sort of assumed (and clung to) the idea that they were identical. I even had some dreams about it (and my dreams about children have been God-inspired spot-on in more than one instance). Medically, we didn't have any proof either direction. And then they were born and we couldn't tell them apart except for their hospital bands...until about nine hours after birth, when we noticed their ears were a little different. And their hairlines and hair color, and their face shapes. And so on and so on, until they looked totally different to me.

And you know what? I wasn't disappointed at all. I had a moment about a week ago when I looked down at both of them and was just so very happy that they looked so different, not because it was easier for me but because I'm looking forward to all those differences and watching them grow up as two definitely separate people. When God answered my prayer, He knew better than I did which parts were good to say yes to and which parts required a gentle, "No, here, this instead is good."

4. Confession: Of all the things I worried about during pregnancy (listeria from lunchmeat! salmonella from eggs! heart rates! fetal movement! nutrition!), there was one thing that actually terrified me. I feel like, for the most part, I was pretty good about handing things over to God and leaving worry behind. But one thing pestered me even when I prayed about it.
I was absolutely, totally, shaking-in-my-socks terrified about postpartum depression. I'd read blog entries about it (positive ones, about coping, even!), I'd read about it in pregnancy books, I heard people talk about it, but those were only reminders that it was a scary thing.

The real reason I was terrified was because I remember (I remember it in my bones, at the back of my mind, in so many scars) what it feels like to be really and truly depressed. I remember what that chasm feels like when you're stuck in it; I remember what the darkness looks like and how it clouds your thoughts and sets your teeth on edge and sucks the life, the energy, the strength from your limbs.

Oh, I remember. I've been there.

And I tried not to think about it. But when that first wave of darkness shook me in the hospital, when I was sitting on the edge of the bed holding a sweet baby boy and talking to a visitor, I grew quiet. I tried to ignore it. But it wouldn't go away. For those of you who haven't been there and don't know, when you're facing the prospect of depression after getting through it once (or twice, or three times), being overwhelmed with it again is sort of like this: It's like that scary moment when you fall backwards and feel like someone isn't going to catch you, mixed with sliding down, like you were doing that trust-fall game but no one is behind you and then you hit the ground and it knocks the breath out of you, and before you can breathe again, you're going down the biggest slide on the playground backwards with no way to slow yourself or catch yourself at the bottom.

Yeah, that's kinda what it feels like. Kinda.

Anyway, I felt like I was on the edge of that, teetering on the slide part, and I kept pushing it away but it wouldn't leave. I read a Psalm, almost at random and sort of frantically, because I knew that the Word of God was one of the only things that could actually hold it at bay (can I get an Amen?). The visitor left (I honestly don't even remember who it was, I was so preoccupied), and I immediately did the one thing I had promised myself I would do: tell Adam.

My biggest mistake before, when I was dealing with depression, was never talking to anyone about it. And so I was determined to be super-vigilant about it this time, and tell Adam every time I felt so much as a twinge of just "downness." And he gave me a hug (or two, or three) and prayed with me for a minute and encouraged me to take a nap, and you know what?

It helped. I woke up and didn't feel that same panicky "nearly lost"-ness. And the next time I felt it, I did the same thing: I read some of the Psalms, I told Adam, I cuddled for a few minutes, I took a nap.

And it didn't get worse. It got better. Every time I started to think I was perched backward on the peak of that nasty playground slide again, it was less time than it was before. There was one really rough night when I pretty much sobbed into Adam's shirt and babbled fairly incoherently about how scared I was of being "there" again, but even after just crying for a few minutes, I felt better.

God's been really good and it hasn't been nearly as bad as I was afraid it would be. He's protected me from a lot and He's helped me really apply a lot of what I learned about prevention the last time I was recovering from really severe depression. It's only been three weeks and I've already gotten to the point where I feel a momentary twinge of that "top of the slide" feeling every few days, if I'm really tired, but for the most part, I'm just actually and honestly doing really well. God is my rock, He really is, and Adam has helped so much.

5. This whole list could have been like a month's worth of different posts. Oh, well.

6. Does it take longer for me to do stuff around the house? Yes. Am I more tired than before? Yes. Is the prospect of making dinner or doing dishes overwhelming? Nope, not really. Not in and of themselves. What's overwhelming is if I expect too much of myself on any given day; and I usually have to set the bar a bit lower than before. But life goes on; babies are a wonderful addition to our family, they aren't the whole of our family. I've been surprised by what wears me out, but more surprised by what doesn't. Also, facebook is far more detrimental to my to-do list than taking care of Theo and Sam. Sometimes, I have to make myself nap, though, instead of plowing through the stuff I feel like I should do. But the things I need to do, like, you know, making dinner for me and my husband, feel pretty normal (i.e., life before twins) unless it's just been a really rough day.

7. Patience. I expected to not have as much of it, really. I like to hope I'm a fairly patient person during the day, but I know me and I know that one of my weaknesses is that I like sleep a lot. Part of this is because I have this terrible habit of waiting until I'm absolutely, totally dead on my feet before I lay down (and this was before I had kids), and then I really, really don't want to wake up for a long time. And if someone tries to wake me up, I can be a serious grouch about it. I've said some of the nastiest stuff to Sarah DeRoos, Adam, my parents, and siblings (and some other friends) while they were trying to wake me up. So I was afraid I'd be really short-tempered with my boys now that they're in the "wake up every two hours" phase of life.

I'm less short-tempered than I thought I'd be. Note, I'm not perfect; there are still times when I want to cry because I'm so tired and frustrated because I have to be awake (not the same as depression crying, though, not by a long-shot). More than once I've rolled over in bed after a just-fed boy fusses loudly nearby and moaned to Adam, "What's wrong with him? Why can't he just sleep?"

But there's seriously something amazing about the same hormones that threatened to drag me back into depression. I can be half-awake, on the verge of tears, ready to throw a glass of water or a book or anything with some crunch to it and...I glance down at a whimpering boy who really doesn't want to be cleaned with a cold wipe while I'm changing his diaper, or stare into the also half-asleep face of my tiny son while he makes contented you're-finally-feeding-me noises and I'm all like, "Oh, Sam-bug, I love you *hughughug*" or "Oh, Theo-bear, only a minute longer, buddy, we're almost done with this diaper-changing thing," and part of my brain is like, "How do they do that to you? Is it because they let you pick out all their clothes?"

No, it's because they're my sons. And while the following is not always true (sometimes I'm still mean or thoughtless), they even make me nicer to Adam sometimes, and I'm like, "I'm sorry you're so tired, here, just go back to bed, I love you, I'll make you cookies soon."

Hormones are weird but God is using them despite myself. Lots of things are hard right now and I think I'll cry for joy the first time I sleep for like, four whole hours at once, even, but sometimes, they aren't as hard as I thought they'd be and I'm not always the monster I could be.

8. I definitely married the right man. I even told him earlier tonight, "I loved and respected you before, but you've been seriously impressing me since the hospital."

And he has been. When I start to fall apart, he's always ready to pray with me, calm me down, promise me that it's not going to be forever. He's given so many hugs, changed so many diapers, done so many dishes, and gone to school and finished projects and graduate assistantship work on top of all that. Then he still manages to come home and give me more hugs and assurance and cuddle his boys. I don't know how he does it. He loves his family in such an evident way; I'm so blessed.

9. My mom is a texting beast. She went from not texting at all to texting with me all the time. I'm still on a limited texting plan, for those of you who have my number, but you can email texts to pretty much any phone and pretty much any phone can reply directly to an email address. She's been so there for me, even when I just need some grown-up conversation when Adam's away at school.

She's come over and cleaned and talked and helped out, but on the days when I'm here by myself, I'll have either GoogleTalk open or my Thunderbird email client and I'm texting or IM-ing her like an addict and she replies and talks and lets me obsess about my kids and ask her all kinds of questions. Also, she got me pretzel M&Ms the day I came home from the hospital, and seriously, that's like the best candy ever. I keep telling Adam I have to go buy more before they stop making them. Anyway. My mom is cool, you know? So are my siblings and my dad, who have sacrificed time with her, and have helped clean or do laundry (Ania, you know who you are), and have just generally been super-excited to be aunts and uncles.

And now this post is forever long, like I warned you it might be, and it's getting late (I mean, is late) and I'm getting too tired to think of a proper ending. So, g'night, and hopefully it won't be nine months before I post again...

I'll think of something again soon, I promise. I've missed writing.


So, this is my attempt at blogging. Again. It's partly because I've been thinking about a lot lately, partly because I just need to be more disciplined as a writer. The verse on the banner is one of my favorites and I think it sums up pretty well the width and breadth of the human search for meaning-- we have eternity set in our hearts and we can't get away from it. It drove me to the Cross and to Christ, and if it hasn't for you yet, keep searching. God will be found by those who seek Him.

And I'll launch now into my thoughts.

Today, after church and lunch with some friends, my husband and I were sitting on our couch. I was leaning against him and his arm was around me and I knew he was falling asleep. I was torn because my mind was racing. The school week, with all of my nineteen hours and homework involved in that, will start again tomorrow. Sunday is the last chance I have during the weekend to go grocery shopping, clean, do any laundry, menu plan, etc. etc.. I enjoy doing those things (most of the time). I also enjoy sitting on the couch with Adam. I knew he enjoyed sitting there with me.

I really wanted to get up, though, and just start working. In a way, I could even justify it because they are things I've committed to doing as a wife. They're part of what I understand my role as a wife to be and I like that definition; I don't feel enslaved by it. But despite all those things brewing in my head, I knew I just needed to sit there and relax a wife. And enjoy that part of it, too (I usually do!). So today, fortunately, I stayed put and took a nap. It was nice.

Unfortunately, I'm not always that patient and don't act with as much wisdom. I've only been married five and a half months and there are already times when, much like in my relationship with Christ, I've been too much of a Martha and not enough of a Mary for my husband. He's a very gracious, forgiving person, and I'm very blessed in that, but I don't want to fall into the trap of taking advantage of his easy-going, quiet nature.

At nearly six months, this is a balancing act I'm pretty sure I'll be working on throughout my marriage. To those of you who are unmarried and thinking, "I'd give anything to just fall asleep on the couch with a spouse," hold on to that. And then remember it. I was thinking it once, too. But it can be hard (not impossible, though) to stay put when you're comfortable with that other person and see them every day.

I sometimes feel like the line of a Gillian Welch song, "Look At Miss Ohio." The line, a refrain in the song, is: "I wanna do right but not right now." I love my husband and I'm thankful for all the ways that God has provided for us. But sometimes, I don't feel like washing the dishes or cleaning the bathroom and other times, I don't feel like staying put on the couch and just being a comfort to my husband. I get mixed up and start to think I should do those things when I feel like doing them, which often means I'm ready to go when I should rest and ready to rest when I should go.

In my devotions today, I read Numbers 9 and journaled about a particular verse. This one:

"Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted, they would set out." (Nu. 9:22, NIV; Read in context here.)

I didn't understand why it stood out to me so much and it scared me a little at first because I'm used to seeing everything on BIG terms. The cloud moving meant to me, at first, that I should follow God in big things. And I should. But I'm gradually realizing that for me right now, it also means acting at the right time in the little things. It's maybe ironic that one of my favorite verses is the banner verse from Ecclesiastes, but I rarely pay attention to the rest of the chapter, which opens with the famous "Time for everything..." poem. After that, in v.17, it says,

"I thought in my heart,
'God will bring to judgment
both the righteous and the wicked,
for there will be a time for every activity,
a time for every deed.

This blog is part of addressing my biggest problem right now: Discipline. I told a friend a few weeks ago that the thing I seem to struggle with the most right now is laziness. And when I let it rule me, it poisons everything I do; I menu plan during the precious hours my husband is home and I could be enjoying his company, I put off menu-planning when I have the hours ahead of me to work. And I tend to think that laziness isn't just not doing anything, but it's the lack of self-control that makes you think you can do the things you need to do whenever you feel like doing them (i.e., in the future, leading to panicked work and the loss of enjoying important moments).

So, here's to discipline and finding some beauty in that sink full of dishes or the arm of a husband.

The NIV translation of the banner verse says "God makes everything beautiful in its time," and perhaps the right time is part of what makes everything beautiful.

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