Friday, October 19, 2012

:0) / :0(

Estimated closing on Markham Street in a week and a half :0)

I wrote our new address out officially for the first time yesterday at the eye doctor's :0)

I spent way too much time last night browsing on Amazon; dining tables inhabited my dreams, and I've already thought of 2 things I want to add to my Wish List :0(

"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.  Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock." Isaiah 26:3-4

Monday, October 15, 2012

Stationed at the Watchpost

[Sharing with you my quiet time journaling this morning]

Father, I asked where I should read this morning, and almost instantly I heard "Habakkuk."

I did not remember that it is out of Habakkuk that Mark Virkler found his 4 Keys to hearing Your voice :0) [Andy and I attended this conference at our church last weekend; excellent.]

2:1-2 "I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what He will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint.  And the Lord answered me, 'Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.'"

This whole book is like a cultural conversation with You about the state of our nation.

Habakkuk's complaint could be boiled down to, "Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong? (1:3a)...guilty men, whose own might is their god! (1:11b)"

And the Lord replies to him, in essence, "Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded.  For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told (1:5)...For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end--it will not lie.  If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay (2:3)...For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (2:14)."  

[And this is what Habakkuk's conversation with God reminds me about my culture:]

H          O          P          E

Monday, October 1, 2012

How'm I Doing With Those Goals?

I did a math-y thing during quiet time this morning.  I mean, I don't think it would stand up to a statistical analysis, but I was proud enough of my method to show it off to my hubby across the kitchen table when I was through :0)  

Since we are substantially into autumn (the feeling of the season, if not according to the calendar), I decided it would be wise to assess my performance in the goals I've set for myself--something to do with Ephesians 5:15-17I wrote out 13 goals for myself, ranging from "reestablish a daily quiet time" to "connect with other stay-at-home moms" to "generate content for the library web page."  

And since we bought a house (because, yes, we DID buy that house on Markham Street!) and the majority of my time and thought process for the rest of autumn will be spent on moving our family to a new home, I need to make extra sure that I still give some attention to these goals.  I did, after all, make them intentionally and (still) consider (most of) them important 

So, in the photo is the math-y part, where I see how my performance stacks up on a scale of 1-10.  The good news is I'm doing really well on the two most important goals [daily quiet time (10) and enriching my prayer life (9)]!  And the other good news is that, having reassessed my goals, I have a clear picture of where I need to focus my energies to move from "goals" to "accomplishments"!  Using time wisely is a good feeling.  So good, in fact, that our God commands it of me--and of you! 

Friday, September 21, 2012

God Talking

Here's a disclaimer to begin my post: the final outcome of anything I'm writing about isn't yet known.  We're still busy waiting on God's just right timing to see how He'll unfold all these possibilities.  But a lot has unfolded lately.  

Two weeks ago, a prospective buyer came to see our house.  My prayer then was, "Father, whatever the outcome, please make this 'yes' or 'no' very clear very quickly, because I don't want to get my hopes up for weeks and have them dashed again."  (That's one of my specialties.)  So we waited 'til the other end of the weekend and got news back from our realtor: they loved everything about the house...except the bedrooms are too small.  Deal breaker.  So I cried a little and then brightened up, because I realized God absolutely answered my prayer.  I had no more than three days to plot out our future.  Thanks for taking care of my heart, Father.  

This week, on Tuesday, a knock on the front door interrupted our dinner.  Out of the blue, out of nowhere, the man on the other side of the door was interested in bringing his girlfriend up the next evening to see the house.  She and her two kids need somewhere to stay for a few months, then he'd plan to rent it out.  So they came, and they liked.  On Wednesday, he made a low-ball offer.  Nope, sorry, I said.  On Thursday he made a higher, but still too-low offer.  Andy messaged him back today with our counter and the offer of moving out in two weeks if we strike an agreeable deal.  The ball is in his court now!

Because of these open negotiations, and because our prospective buyer wants his girlfriend to be able to move in as soon as possible, we decided we ought to go see a house over in Lyons Falls that we've been very interested in seeing but haven't been very hurried about (remember my hopes-up syndrome?).  So, unexpectedly, it worked to go see it last night.  And we love it.  It's a beautiful little colonial that needs a few projects done on it--a very suitable compromise of a house for my fixer-upper loving hubby, and me, who wants to move right in to a house full of good character.  

Also unexpectedly, it has worked out that my father-in-law can come down tomorrow morning to see this house again with us and our also-available realtor. 

But this is actually all back story.  The main point of writing was to describe for you what happened yesterday in between receiving a still-low offer and arranging to see the red house: I heard the voice of God.  This is a big deal to me, because though I have certainly felt God's peace, God's blessing, God's answers to prayer, I have never been the person that can ask God a question and just have Him answer back.  "Conversational" has never described my prayer life.  Now, you might be thinking something along the lines of "Get a grip, Lydia," or "Time for a reality check," or just plain "You are going too far with this whole faith thing."  

But here's the deal.  When I received the second offer, my stomach was all in a dither over what to do.  My heart said that offer was too low and we needed to say 'no,' but my head just tried so hard to find a way to justify accepting it, mostly focusing on what a terrible sellers' climate we're in and that our house is only worth this only, first-ever offer.  And I didn't know how to pray about it, because I've given this situation over to God many times.  And I was not at peace, trying to either settle for a low-ball offer or settle for staying put in our little home for another indefinite amount of time.  And THEN!  Suddenly, not fitting in with my train of thought, came Proverbs 3: 5-6: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and LEAN NOT on your own understanding.  In ALL your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." 

And that, folks, was the voice of God speaking to me in direct answer to my dithering heart.  Because what else is the Word of God but His voice spoken to us by the Spirit in due season, in the perfect moment?  So whatever the outcome--if we strike a deal and I need to pack up this house in two weeks and live in a room with friends for a few more weeks while we finalize the purchase of our new home...if our current negotiations fall through and it feels like we're back to square one...if something entirely different unfolds--I will trust in my Lord with all my heart, because that is what He's told me to do. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Magic of Beaver Camp

Tonight, Lewis was not ready to sleep at bedtime.  So I strapped him onto my front and headed out to "walk the floor" of Beaver Camp at dusk. 

This is the last week of residence camp for the summer, and the last week for several of our summer staff members.  It is surprisingly close to the end of this season of my life on year-round staff.  So it's a nostalgic time.  This morning, when I met with Rash, she commented that she's trying to soak in as many images of Camp's beauty as she can burn into her memory, because it's likely to be a long, long time before she'll see this wonderful place again.  I find myself doing the same thing because, though I'll be back here before Rash, I don't know when I'll be here next with campers, surrounded by the music of a summer camp preparing for nighttime.  

My walk around camp took me out to the end of the dock.  The evening is so serene, and the water reflects perfect images; the only ripples were sent out by my footsteps down the dock.  In each direction I saw, I listened to, many different scenes of quintessential Camp. 

At Fireside, behind the Pavilion, I heard the conviction of Jay Trainor's voice proclaiming the gospel for 13 year olds: "And they both heard the voice of God on the same subject--but Ananias heard that message out of a spirit of fear...Saul had to have a dramatic conversion, because..."  And then later I heard those 51 kids respond as one with their desire to take the message of Jesus to their peers. 

In Balsam, Ris and Libby's girls chatted and giggled as they dressed for tonight's game of Persecution.  Ris told me last Friday that when she was 14, she was my camper in Balsam for 13-14 week, and it was one of her favorite weeks of camp ever.  And now, during (likely) her last summer ever at Beaver Camp, she gets to counsel 13 and 14 year old Balsam.  She is so thrilled!  And my spirit rejoices and is thankful. 

Across the lake, a pontoon boat motors into port, it's buzz growing quieter as it moves further down the lake.  It reminds me that Beaver Lake is much larger than it appears from the shore of Camp.  That boat's home is marked by a small light shining brightly across the water. 

Somewhere out in the middle, two loons tremolo and wail to each other.  It is such haunting, beautiful music!  To be woken by loons on the lake at night is to experience quiet wonder, to smile in your half-sleep. 

Right next to me, the masts and moorings of our small fleet of boats squeaked and bobbed against their dock anchors and cleats.  That is a gentle murmuring, a comforting sound. 

On Chicken Coop Island, the jubilant shouts and laughter of 10 year old boys rose and fell and then turned into...wolf howls.  They are camping out tonight, and their fire and flashlights were barely visible through the trees at the middle of their little kingdom. 

This place has a large part of my heart, and I am so thankful for the ways that God has woven Beaver Camp into my own story.  I am so thankful for a son who wasn't ready to fall asleep, sending me out across Camp to discover the magic of this night. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


"Every branch of mine that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit...Abide in me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me."  John 15:2,4

Father, thank you for this encouragement today.  Because you know what it tells me?  That I bear fruit for you, and so am worth pruning.  Thank you for pruning me and shaping me in to the topiary of everything you mean me to be.

Today I can pull weeds, and bake bread, and do more laundry, and play with my boys, and call for appointments, and write thank you notes, and organize a library binder, and go to church early this evening to share that beautiful library, and even share a meal with my church family.  Thank you, Father, for all the good things I can put my hands to today.  Amen. 
That was my journal entry this morning.  (Only my fifth entry since Lewis was born almost four months ago!)   The latest thing I am thankful for is that both boys are currently sleeping, and I decided to re-read this morning's thoughts.  Because now all my priorities are fresh on my mind again, so I can go tackle 'em :0)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sink or Swim...Is Flounder an Option?

I learned to juggle in elementary gym class.  Using silk scarves.  I succeeded with those slow floaters, but I have never managed to juggle anything more substantial.  Right now, I am trying to juggle what feels like way too many responsibilities, and it makes me feel pretty unsuccessful.  You see, it isn't so much the main bullet points on my list (mothering and sweetie-pieing, keeping house, managing the Beaver Camp office, managing a church library renewal, miscellany).  It's that each of those bullet points is made up of about 111 sub-points.  My dad would want to know the current "job description" of each of these different projects, but to make a long, not-comprehensive list here would just sound like complaining.  And he'll be up for a visit at the other end of this weekend, so I can describe for him directly :0)  

It's going to be OK.  The library grand opening is June 17.  We will starting living at Camp part-time the first week of July, which will allow me to work more days with greater focus (because Lewis will be with daddy and Lincoln tramping around with campers, instead of under my desk).  And then, before we know it, September will come and with the changing leaves I will come home to be with my boys full time.  Writing about this reminded me of a section out of Rachel Jankovic's book Loving the Little Years, so I just flipped through awhile and will share her thoughts on my current feelings:

It was somewhere around this time that I realized I had better strike the word   overwhelmed from my vocabulary.
God gave me this to do.  I may not be overwhelmed about it.  I can try as hard as I can, and maybe fail sometimes.  I can try as hard as I can and fall asleep at the dinner table.  I can try as hard as I can and be completely burned out at the end of the day.  But I may not be overwhelmed.  Actually, I may be overwhelmed, but I may not say that I am overwhelmed!  The words have a real power over us.  If you say it, you allow it for yourself.  You give yourself that little bit of room to say, "But I can't!" (p. 41)
For a friend last night, the fragment of a verse came to mind: "keep him in perfect peace."  I love that my Bible has a concordance at the back, and it took me right to Isaiah 26:3, which says "You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You."  What a fitting reminder for right now, when my quiet time might need to happen while brushing my teeth.  But it's so much better than no quiet time at all.  Jehovah Jireh ("my Provider") and his Word must be the foundation of all I undertake to do.  Because everything that's needed (and He'll help to know what is and isn't needed) I can do through Christ who strengthens me!  

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Best Laid Plans

I had lots of errands to run in Boonville yesterday.  It was beautiful outside, so I planned to end our trip with a picnic lunch in the park.  

But in Boonville, the sun shone bright...and the wind blew cooold.  That doesn't make for a fun picnic.  And boy was I bummed.

And then I thought, "Hey!  We'll have a picnic in our own yard, where it's just as sunny and not as windy!"

But when we pulled in the driveway, I found my toddler floppy-asleep, and Lewis content to nap in his car seat.  So I ate lunch without them, at the kitchen table.  

And at 2:00, we finally had our picnic :0)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

"Dare Alla Luce"

"The Italian phrase for 'giving birth' is 'dare alla luce,' which literally translates 'to give into the light.'"

          From the 2011 Christmas letter of Ed Schwabenland, friend of my parents

I want to ponder this awhile, then paint a sign with the phrase to hang on my kitchen wall (or other often-looked-upon spot).  There are so many  beautiful applications for giving a person or a thing into the light.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Philadelphia Story, or Grace Upon Grace: the Prequel

With family and friends at Church of the Savior, Palm Sunday 2012 (4/1).
Several weeks ago my brother sent me a text message: "Is there any way you guys could come down sometime this spring?"  He's a junior at Eastern University, Philly, PA.  The first (and last) time our little family made it down to visit was during his very first semester, when Lincoln was roughly three months old.  Obviously we were overdue for another visit.  The only problem?  I had just promised my husband we wouldn't travel anywhere during his spring break this year!
We talked it over in the following week and decided on a solution: I would travel down with Lewis alone on Palm Sunday weekend, leaving Andy and Lincoln home for a "man's weekend" together.  That way, Will could at least meet his new nephew before the kid is crawling.  
During this trip, and on my way home, the phrase "grace upon grace" first entered my head and I looked forward to writing about it for you; yesterday's post just happened to get written first, during that grace-filled breakfast.  Here are some of the reasons why my Philly trip proved so grace-full:

  1. The sun shone brilliantly all day Friday as I drove.  And I had new sunglasses :0)
  2. Lewis and I were pretty in-sync with our needs for bathroom and nursing breaks, which made for relaxed stops in Chittenango, the PA welcome center, and Allentown rest areas.  At the PA border, I even got to enjoy a beautiful view of the valley before me and all the travelers coming and going while Lewis enjoyed his meal. 
  3. I pulled in to Will's parking lot with just the right amount of time to hug him hard, deliver his loaf of banana bread and Earl Gray tea, and follow him to a good spot to settle in a bit before the start of his lacrosse practice.  
  4. During those thirty minutes, I met both Megan and Abbey, the two most anxious to cuddle my newborn among Will's many friends.  Arranged for cuddling to ensue at the dining hall table while I ate with free hands.
  5. Lewis had a diaper...meltdown...during that practice.  I congratulated him for not doing that in front of his uncle, who might never have touched him again.  And the thought of that made me giggle through the clean-up.  
  6. Took a walk around Eastern's beautiful campus, soaking in the sunshine and blossoming and blooming.  On one of the walkways, the chalked message "Are you ready to be transformed by God?" spoke very directly to me.  "Yes," I smiled, "yes I am!"  No matter that subsequent chalk messages further along the path proved it was an advertisement for a play on campus that night.  God knows how to get this girl's attention :0)
  7. I enjoyed an evening with college students, the first in a few years now.
  8. Then I followed my dad's very thorough instructions to my weekend home at the Allison's house, family friends who I haven't really seen in almost 7 years.  And we had a wonderful visit.
  9. Saturday morning their daughter Melissa brought her two boys over for awhile.  They are delightful.  I got to participate in a "road rally" on plasma cars in the driveway, and marvel with them at all the different birds visiting the feeders over our peanut butter sandwiches.
  10. THEN I got a quick visit with my old friend Eric, the boy across the street with whom I palled around as a kid every summer during the weeks we house sat for the Allisons.  Fourteen years since I last saw him.  
  11. I drove back to campus to meet up with my parents, who came down both to watch Will's game and to see their grandbaby.  
  12. Though it was a rainy, raw day in southeaster PA, I stayed cozy in a comfy lounge overlooking the lacrosse field, where I watched an excellent game (2 goals, 2 assists by my bro, and a big win for the team) while visiting with my parents and meeting lots more college girls enamored with my baby.  
  13. After the game, the team's "tailgate" party proved to be a muy bueno Italian feast.  YUM!
  14. Then we headed back to the Allison's for some muy bueno dessert and more visiting.  
  15. Sunday morning, we went all together to Church of the Savior, where I was in Sunday School from approximately ages 0-10.  So...almost 17 years since I've been there.  
  16. Chatted with a few families still there from when I was a kid.  
  17. Will took us to a yummy (though greasy) lunch at his local Five Guys.  
  18. For the first half of the trip home, I got the company of my wonderful dad, with whom I sang and talked about all sorts of good, meaty things before parting ways at a New York rest area.  And so, even though the drive home was through crummy weather, the mood inside the car was happy and bright. 
  19. My final nursing stop was in a comfy leather chair of an Indian souvenir shop in the Turning Stone Casino.  I'm not a big fan of gambling or the smoky game rooms.  But I'm just fine with their glitzy bathrooms and comfy, quiet places to sit...even if it is over the top to stock an Oneida Indian resort with Plains tribal artifacts.  
  20. Last stop: I picked up the other half of my family from the Putnam's home in Remsen, and swapped vehicles with my hubby so I could sing songs to Lincoln in the last 30 minutes of my trip.  I missed that little boy <3
This is a long read.  If you're all the way to here, thank you!  Now go do this for me: look around you, whatever your day is holding, and find your own graces-upon-graces.  They are there, and you'll be blessed!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Grace Upon Grace

This morning, I return to my job as Office Manager at Beaver Camp.  I've been home for about 7 weeks, enjoying the opportunity to grow and learn about my "new" family of four.  It's a good family :0)  That alone is grace upon grace. 

But there's so much more! 

In the past several days, I have not felt stress about the start of this new season; indeed, I've even looked forward to the going-ahead-and-starting of these next ten weeks (then yet another season will begin with the close of school and the start of summer's camp schedule).

Last night, Lewis slept for his longest stretches yet.  He went 4 and a 1/4 hours his first leg of the night, then another 3!  This meant that for the first time, I was only up twice in the night. 

And this morning, he slept through my 5am alarm, my shower, my dressing and even makeup, my preparations of Lincoln's breakfast before either boy was up, my own "first breakfast," packing some of our supplies for the day, making the bed, and also Lincoln's first breakfast once Andy got him up.

There have been no long stretches of crying, and Lincoln is currently tucking Lewis into the bouncer using the mostly clean burp cloth I always have close at hand. 

It is an immature measure of God's care for us that says "if He loves me, He'll do good things for me."  Of course hard and even terrible things happen to us--that is just part of living in a broken world, a broken body, with a sinful nature that reaps us unfortunate consequences.  However, He DOES love to shower us, His children, with good gifts. 

And this morning has already been a good--no, many good--gift(s)!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

For the Record

Lewis is one month old today (now yesterday, 3/28).  What I write here is for you who love our family, yes--but it is very much for my own record-keeping, since I haven't gotten the "baby's first year" milestone calendar I recorded Lincoln's first year in.

Lewis is 11.2 pounds, 21 1/2 inches long.  He still sleeps the vast majority of the day away, though there are a few periods of alertness in which he likes to watch the world around him.  He is much better at nursing than when we began, but he still needs to be burped multiple times per side during his meals; he gets overwhelmed pretty easily.  And he has a really hard time getting some of his burps to go ahead and come out, so we go through periods of fussiness each day (or night) while he tells us just how uncomfy his tummy is.  Fortunately, once he's asleep for the night, he has not had trouble going back to sleep between meals. 
In this month, I've only cried uncontrollably in the middle of the night once--though I'm sure there have been more times that I wanted to cry and decided not to feel so sorry for myself, because all this is normal!  The night before last, I had the distinct thought, "I wonder if I'll ever be able to sleep through a whole night again, even after Lewis is sleeping all night."  And then I smiled to myself, because I remembered having the exact same thought in Lincoln's early days.  And the answer is YES! my body will definitely be able to sleep for a full eight or nine hours in a row again, and will return to a full night gladly (whether a "full night" will still last 8 or 9 hours is another story). 
Lewis is a cuddly baby.  This is a fact I love, because Lincoln was never much for cuddling, even at his tiniest.  It is a wonderful, wonderful thing to nuzzle a soft, fuzzy baby head again my cheek, to fold his little body in my arms against my heartbeat.  But it also means I have long days in which nothing much seems to have gotten accomplished.  I'm very aware of this sensation in the moment, but when I look back over the past month, I know it has been a wonderful month. 
He's beginning to look chubby, and the plumper his cheeks get the more he looks like his big brother did.  I could see from the beginning that the bone structure of his face looked a lot like Lincoln at birth, but his facial features were different.  Every little feature on Lincoln's face was the spitting image of his daddy, and though I could see Lincoln in Lewis's face, I couldn't see Andy.  We're not really sure that he looks like me, necessarily--but Andy is sure (and rejoicing) that he has my nose, at least.  I like the Huntress nose, but Andy apparently never has.  And this is random...but when holding up his ankles to change a Lewis diaper, his little joints do lots of cracking.  I am reminded of midnight trips to the bathroom when I was a little kid, and being comforted to hear the sound of my daddy's ankles popping as he turned them in his sleep in the next bedroom over.  So maybe he has Johnson Joints :0)  I've never had this experience with Lincoln, but it's an exhilarating thing to have a baby that looks like you, that people can visually connect to you.  It makes the feeling even more real that, from my own body, this brand-new little person was born, and some of who he will be is rooted in who I am. 
And his little grin?  The one that smirks across his face as tummy bubbles dissipate?  It's beautiful.  And I am so looking forward to when he will smile at us all for real. 
Welcome, again, to our family, Lewis Jeremiah.  We love you so much, and are honored to be entrusted with your care, your keeping, your raising and teaching. 

"My son, if your heart is wise, my heart will rejoice--indeed, I myself; yes, my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak right things...My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways."  Proverbs 23: 15-16, 26

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Bigger Than Before

Lewis is two weeks old today, and he is not a newborn anymore.  This is already making me a little sad, but I will blame my daily bouts of nostalgia regarding my boys' lost stages to my still-confused hormones.  Of course, there is truth is my nostalgia.  But I do thoroughly enjoy watching them grow up, too! 
Lewis just weighed in at a whopping 8.8 pounds.  According to my cross-multiplying for a tenths-to-ounces conversion, he has moved up from 7 pounds 4 ounces, to 8 pounds 12.8 ounces in these two weeks.  He still looks tiny to me, so I'm not quite sure where he's putting it...but I do see fullness starting in his face :0)
He's still sporting an umbilical cord stump, but his little circumcision "plastibell" came off a few days ago.  That's when I first announced to Andy that we couldn't officially call him "newborn" anymore. 
He's getting steadily better at handling his meals.
And he's currently been awake for 1 1/2 hours--a record length! 
Lincoln keeps trying to get Lewis to play, so he must see some progress too, haha.  Fortunately, tiny babies come soft and pliable, so the occasional whack on the head (all in good fun!) leaves him in tears but (so thankfully!) unscarred.
Yesterday evening I commented to Andy, "At his rate of sleep, Lewis is going to be a genius."  At my rate of sleep, I'm enjoying a very rare cup of coffee as I type.  Tea was not cutting it today. 
And Lewis seems about ready for a meal and a return to sleep, so I will tend to that.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

State of the Mama Address

Lewis is almost two weeks old.  And I'm surprised (as I always am with big changes) to realize how quickly "new" becomes "normal."  We are not a fully-adjusted, efficiently running family of four.  But we are taking steps in that direction.  

In the hospital, I was already marveling at how much better my body felt than it did immediately following Lincoln's birth.  With him, the labor popped every tiny capillary from my chest up, left me cross-eyed for multiple hours, required some stitching up, and very thoroughly wiped out my strength for a few days--not to mention the multiple weeks of bodily recovery needed before I felt pretty normal again.  Lewis, on the other hand, left me very, very sleepy, but much more comfortable.  And, fortunately, I was comfortable enough that I was able to sleep, with only occasional doses of pain killer (Lincoln left my mind buzzing and my body hurting enough that I finally asked for a sedative after about 40 hours of being awake).  In the hospital after Lewis was born, I could hold up the hair dryer myself; I took specific note of that little difference!  I also enjoyed my stay more this time, perhaps because I knew it would be my only chance to enjoy whenever-napping and cuddling with just my one new son before going home to cuddle my family. 

At home, I have yet to really experience mothering my two boys while my hubby goes to work; he was able to take a few days off, then a friend came to help me out with a morning, and my mom spent the rest of this past week with us.  Today, I get to write this for you because my wonderful husband has cleaned up our house and made me tea to start the boys' naptime off on a fruitful foot.  It won't be until Monday that I begin my first "real" week as a mother of two...and I have some trepidation about that.  I've been coaching myself in what (not) to expect--but I'm sure it will be just as hard in the moment of emotional overwhelm to cope with what isn't getting done in my life. 

Here are some snapshots from the past week and a half:
  • Lewis is a little peanut, tinier than Lincoln ever was.  And he loves to snuggle!  It is such a peaceful joy to cuddle him against me, any hour of the day or night.  
  • Last Friday I got Lincoln ready for bed for the first time all week.  That included the first diaper change, the first toothbrushing, the first goodnight prayer.  And I prayed it through my tears, overwhelmed by how very much had changed forever in the course of the week.  As I write, that same thought is making me well up again.  
  • I feel most confident in the routine of our evenings.  Of course, tonight we'll spring forward and lose an hour of sleep...unless I'm able to adjust timeframes to shut things down early...
  • When Lincoln arrived, I was disappointed in my own reaction.  Those first weeks that I thought were supposed to be full of wonder and joy?  "BORING!  When will this kid ever spend some (day)time awake?"  These days, I am VERY thankful for my sleeping son.  This must be a feature that God programmed just-rightly to accommodate multiple children! 
  • Lincoln loves having a baby around, on whom he can lavish kisses and ensure that all facial parts are present.
  • But he's beginning to show signs of distress over it, too: three days in a row of refusing to eat normally, suppers marked by wild tantrums, one slap to the top of Lewis's head, overjoyed (not just excited) when daddy gets home from work to chase him through the house and wrestle.
  • Lewis is slowly getting better at nursing.  For the first days at home, he ate like a bird, repeatedly falling asleep after 3-minute snacks.  But I'm beginning to see some filling out in his little face.
  • Last Sunday, I tried to put my wedding ring back on, and settled for it on my pinky finger. Last night, I got it back in its proper place!
  • On Thursday, two landmarks: I got into my real jeans again; and I ran through the rain out to my car and back without thinking about it--but when I realized what I'd just done, I was so excited!
  • Lincoln made good friends with Granny B this week.  When she left, he went all over the house looking for "B."
  • I am not able to nurse modestly yet.  Not sure how long it will take to get the hang of that skill again.  
  • Andy and I have switched sides of the bed so I can get in and out to nurse Lewis more easily.  For some reason, this makes Andy sleep in the middle of the bed more than ever.  Which used to annoy me, but now it feels good to have him cuddled up against me during those chilly night nursings.  
  • I've begun to think about the office again and wonder how things are going there, though I haven't had a chance to actually check in with anyone there.  
And this has taken all afternoon to write, because 20 minutes into it Lincoln woke up and needed some stories read.  And then I needed to feed Lewis.  And since then, because he's a cuddler, I've been typing with one hand.  But it's dinnertime.  And there are several things on the list on the whiteboard.   And this is the most important night to go to bed early, right?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What's in a Name?

Today, February 28th, 2012, is the birthday of my second little boy!  He is beautiful!

Excerpted from my journal entry of February 20, 2012:

We surprised ourselves last night by changing our son's name.  All along, we thought we had been set on Jeremiah, and were still just debating his middle name.  But as of last night, it appears that this little boy will be named Lewis Jeremiah Huntress.  Help us as we grow into his name, Father, to embrace his name fully.  

Lewis: royal; Germanic; "famous fighter"
Jeremiah: "Yah raises up"

Really, this is quite a name to live up to!  

From our presbytery, June 14, 2009 (prophesying over our own, yet-unborn children):
"It's going to take work but I'm telling you, those children are going to serve God.  You mark my words, I see one pastoring, I see one involved in government, and one involved in the educational system, and they are going to--the Lord tarries, these children are going to be history makers, and they are going to come right from you guys.  Hallelujah!"

To make history in any of these three categories, a man would need to be a famous fighter, raised up by Yah, a man of integrity and zealous for the truth of God.  He will need to be so courageous.  

Amen to this, Father!


We actually chose "Lewis" in honor of our mutual favorite author, Clive Staples Lewis.  The meaning of his name I discovered afterward, and simply strengthens the conviction that our little boy's name holds meaning for who he is in God, and the purposes cut out for him. 
Also, "Lincoln and Lewis" is cuter together than "Lincoln and Jeremiah." :0)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

"Cross-References" Challenge, Week 1


Sermon Series “Look & Live: The Cross of Christ”
Week 1, February 26, 2012
A publication of the Andy Green Memorial Library

Last week, we were encouraged to read the account in Genesis 22:1-18 of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his only son Isaac as a sign of his faith in God’s promises (see the promises in Genesis 17).  This account holds several keys to help us understand the fullness of God’s giving His only Son for us on the cross. 

This week, challenge yourself to study and understand these connections better:

         Do a Chapter Summary of Galatians 3:1-4:7.

“This method (chapter summary) is important because it enables you to begin understanding chapters of the books of the Bible.  It is a popular method for those beginning Bible study because chapters are usually fairly short, and it does not require deep study to do a chapter summary.  It is a valuable method because it can be quickly learned by a brand-new Christian or someone else who is interested in doing meaningful Bible study.  It is an excellent method with which to begin a lifetime of personal Bible study…”
-from Rick Warren’s Bible Study Methods

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Best-Laid Plans

I appreciate my baby doctor.  

Today, February 24, completes the ninth day of irregular contractions.  My master plan of "baby born at start of winter break week" failed; that would have provided help from my mom and others whose schools observe winter break (hubby's doesn't), allowing him to use his available days off in this following week, thus extending the amount of help I'm able to have once home. 

So the next-best plan is "baby born on the weekend," allowing Andy's days off to happen once we're coming home, instead of sitting around in a hospital for three days.  

I expressed this to my doctor in this afternoon's visit.  And so, though pregnant ladies are not strictly "eligible" for labor induction until 39 weeks' gestation (I'm currently 38 and 2 days), he determined that my body is ready enough for this process, and "slipped" during my exam.  Membranes stripped :0) 

And I have had more contractions than usual through the evening hours (keep it up, little man!).  But I'm hopeful that he will wait until early morning to really get going.  Because, though my doctor isn't on call this weekend, he's available during the day tomorrow.  After nine months of taking care of Lincoln, he was not the one to deliver him, and didn't actually meet my son until about three weeks ago.  I'd like him to be able to meet this little guy at the get-go; seems there would be immense satisfaction in seeing a baby through from beginning to end!  (There's also approximately the first big winter storm of the season cranking through the night, so driving would be safer in daylight...  The irony would be pretty complete, though, if he arrived in the midst of the storm--sort of like our wedding day on the Fourth of July, on which it poured all day, with a full month of sunshine either side of it!)

And if there's no baby tomorrow, or this weekend...well, we'll cross that bridge if we come to it.  Psalm 139:16.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Teasing Me

On Wednesday night, I started having contractions.  So I packed everybody's bags for hospital/babysitter stays.  Because, with Lincoln, the start of contractions was the start of the real thing, and eight hours later there was a baby on top of my belly instead of inside it.  

Not so with this little one.  Sigh.  At Thursday's baby appointment, Dr. Crawford pronounced me 80% effaced and a centimeter dilated.  Which is good.  And pretty certainly indicates this baby will be here before his official March 7 due date.  However, he's not here yet, and I've spent the past three days just...waaaiiittting.  I don't have a real right to this yet.  Many mamas, of course, are still weeks away from delivery by the time they're at 37 1/2 weeks preggo.  

But I'm ready :0)  And I don't want to unpack my hospital bags, but I also don't want to continue hauling them to and from the car every time I leave the house.  You know, just in case.  Because once labor DOES start, it'll probably go fast.  

Or not.  He might tease me throughout that process, too! 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I Have a Voice!

And I didn't realize it before yesterday's ENT appointment.  Every few days, I've been "testing," some sort of one-liner, to see if there's any vocalization happening at all.  And there's been a little bit sometimes.  But 1 1/2 weeks ago, that one-liner was enough to kill the voice, so I really hadn't pursued any speaking at all.  

The ENT used a laryngiscope to take a good look at the vocal cords themselves, and pronounced no damage done to them.  Thank You, God!  To continue the healing process, I need to speak with my voice when needed--not whisper--and continue to rest it.  No singing allowed for awhile yet (and, of course, as soon as I left that appointment I have had to remind myself many times to "stop that humming!" and "no, no singing allowed!").  Whispering contracts the vocal muscles improperly, and when whispering exclusively, bad habits can be formed that would require speech therapy to get the muscles working properly again.  Singing, too, is strenuous on already-strained cords.  But the doctor foresees no long-term damage, and said this isn't likely to result, either, in a perpetually weak voice.  Just the result of a really violent-coughing case of bronchitis.  Thank You, God!  And what's more, I shouldn't require any follow-up appointments!!  Thank You, God!!  That would be exponentially more difficult with a newborn AND a toddler, sheesh!  If my voice hasn't returned to normal within 4-6 weeks, I am very welcome to call them back to reevaluate.  But at this rate, I'm trusting that 4-6 weeks from now I'll be reading animal-noise books with Lincoln like a pro again :0) 

As a bonus, they gave me some free advice to take home to my hubby's ears, which have had stubborn fluid persisting behind the ear drums for the last couple of weeks so that he hears everything as if with large seashells over his ears, the wind whistling to drive him batty in one of them.  We've been joking about the wife who can't speak and the hubby who can't hear...

And this may well have come about in the nick of time, too: I've been having periodic contractions throughout the evening.  We may have another little Huntress boy by tomorrow :0)

Monday, February 13, 2012


As in: "above, beyond" outside of my own abilities.  These are the tasks before me, as I prepare my home and ready the Camp office and train my maternity-replacement and help my little boy understand what's about to happen and (perhaps) tie up loose ends like baking Valentine cookies for my husband, and sending leftover Christmas cards and making car-part appointments--while already overtired, and without a voice. 

My biggest fear is not actually pre-baby, but once he's arrived: that I will be actually unable to be "alive, alert, awake, enthusiastic" (mostly the alert part is of concern...), and that my inability to be alert when it matters could allow harm to come to my boys.  Because that feeling of being actually unable to keep my eyes open?  Already happens.  Fortunately, Lincoln is able to play pretty safely while I doze on the couch awhile.  Add in a new baby, and that is not feasible. 

Superlydia is unable.  But with Christ, Philippians 4:13

Therefore: Superlydia + Christ = Able

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Last Monday, Andy stayed home sick.  With his hoarse voice, he called to start the process of getting me scheduled to see an ENT (ear, nose, and throat specialist; otolaryngologist), which arrangements the primary care doctor actually organizes.  "We'll call you this afternoon with your appointment time."  Andy slept in the afternoon, and I answered the ringing phone to get the needed information.  The good news: an appointment is scheduled.  The bad news: not 'til February 22.  Three years ago I punctured my eardrum and went to this ENT; because I'm already a patient of his, I'm not allowed to switch doctors.  Sorry, but he's on vacation.  

This was bad news to receive, for two reasons.  1) I don't know what's wrong with my voice until I see the ENT, so don't necessarily know if I'm causing further damage or how long a process this will be, or if any of the damage will be permanent.  That is scary.  2) I'm going to have a baby any week, so waiting two additional weeks to start seeing a doctor with  whom I'll undoubtedly need follow-up appointments, an hour from home, is a pain in the butt, if not actually impossible. 

I cried, quite a lot actually, in my quiet home full of sleepers.  I found that not only does crying bring on the usual stuffed nose and ruddy, puffy face--but apparently crying involves the vocal cords, and the stress of sobbing really made my throat feel terrible.  I was still a weepy mess when Andy woke up, and after finding out why, he sent me out the door with a hug to think and freshen up and settle down with another walk on a beautiful day. 

When I came home, I pulled off my boots at the back door, and pulled off my wet, sandy-hemmed pants to toss in the laundry basket, and was about to run through the living room to re-dress when Andy called me over to his arms.  He had just put "Happiness" (You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown) on the GrooveShark queue, and he wanted to dance.  I asked if I could, you know, go put some pants on first.  He said, "No, it doesn't matter," and proceeded to hold me close, standing there in leg warmers and a big fuzzy maternity sweater, so, so thankful for this man who loves me through it all.  I cried all over again in his arms while listening to the lyrics about life's simple pleasures.  But this time, I cried because of the goodness of the moment, and the reminder that everything that matters most is whole and just right.  Happiness is remembering to be thankful for the small things, because all together they make up our Big. 

Happiness is finding a pencil, pizza with sausage, telling the time.  
Happiness is learning to whistle, tying your shoe for the very first time.  
Happiness is playing the drum in your own school band, 
and happiness is walking hand in hand.  

Happiness is two kinds of ice cream, knowing a secret, climbing a tree.  
Happiness is five different crayons, catching a firefly, setting him free.  
Happiness is being alone every now and then, 
and happiness is coming home again.
Happiness is morning and evening, daytime and night time, too.  
For happiness is anyone and anything at all that's loved by you.  

Happiness is having a sister, sharing a sandwich, getting along.  
Happiness is singing together when day is through, 
and happiness is those who sing with you. 
Happiness is morning and evening, daytime and nighttime too.  
For happiness is anyone and anything at all that's loved by you.

How Marvelous, How Wonderful!

Ephesians 5:19 refers to "...singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart..." a phrase that I see daily on my fridge calling out from the magnet I painted years ago for my dorm file cabinet.  It takes on new meaning for me right now, without a voice.  I took a walk this afternoon, my first in what seems many months, because the dry road edges and rare sunshine have beckoned me all day, and my cough has finally subsided enough I feel I can go out in the cold without much risk.  How wonderful to see defined little squirrel footprints traced all over the dusting of fresh snow; to speculate over how many neighbors' footprints, along with their dogs, I am following behind; to close the bottom of my sweater against the occasional cold breeze; to see the dancing tree shadows again, because finally there is sunshine to light them up; to look overhead and smile at the blue sky and the mares' tails blowing off the front edge of the coming cold; to feel my muscles working together to carry me uphill; to hear the chickadees, crows, breeze in the pine boughs, the life-sustaining fluid sloshing around my baby.  I think of my coming baby boy, who could arrive any week, and trust in God's perfect timing despite all my various worries.  I daydream about holding him for the first time, and introducing him to Lincoln and making him a perfect part of our little family.  I smile as I come around the bend in my road and see in the distance the purple front door of my home, and Lincoln's bedroom window, and the garden fence we built, and the for sale sign at the end of the driveway--and again find my contentment in the trust I can safely place in Him to arrange our lives just-rightly.  And behind all these things, keeping rhythm with my steps, my heart sings the refrain of the old hymn, "how marvelous, how wonderful is my Savior's love for me!"

Friday, February 10, 2012

Something to Say

I've thought before about writing a blog, and felt that I had nothing much to say.  But two weeks ago I lost my voice--really, thoroughly lost it--and I find that, yes, I have some things to say.  I am choosing to trust that someday, before too long, the Lord will restore my whole voice.  And in the meantime, I will practice the discipline of saying things that matter through my writing, using my writer's voice to highlight the goodnesses of my God in everyday life.  

Psalm 139, my favorite whole-chapter scripture, begins this way: "O Lord, you have searched me and known me!  You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.  You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.  Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.  You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it."