Tuesday, December 22, 2015


A friend is coming over this morning.
M: Should we clean the bathroom, or just pray she doesn't need to use it?
N: I'll clean it.
S: I'll pray.

Monday, December 21, 2015

They do care

Last night we were all downstairs, and Noah and I were having a balance challenge to see who could stay on the fitness ball the longest. We've done this many, many times without incident, but this time I fell off my ball backwards and crashed my head on the basement floor.  Very painful. That's the bad part.

The good part is that all three of them rushed right over (having heard the thud of my skull on the concrete) and helped me up the stairs and put me in bed.  Noah brought me an ice pack and offered me food and water and aspirin.  Sarah brought me her Ramona Quimby book in case I wanted to read.  She also brought her white board in, and she wrote my pertinent information on it.

I didn't realize they were paying that close attention when we visited my dad in the hospital last month, but they must have been, because they remembered a lot of details from the board in his room.  The drawings on the right are to tell if I wear glasses, hearing aid, or false teeth.  On my dad's board, it said his name was Richard, but in the important information section, it said "call me Dick".  Every person that came in the room ignored his board and called him Richard.  Sarah wrote that my name is Mommy, Noah wrote "Call me Mom" in the important info.  Then he drew a stick figure saying, "Hi, Mommy!"

I know they love me, but it's sometimes a little less obvious in the teen years, so it was nice to see their concern. 

Teen book club

Noah read this book and went to the meeting to discuss it.  He was the only one who showed up.  The leader said he could leave if he wanted to or else he could just discuss the book with her.  He chose to stay, and they had a nice discussion.  It was a proud moment for me, as a mom and as a book lover. 

Christmas Revelation

Something awesome has been impressed on me this advent season that I want to write down, but I'm not sure I can express it well.  It started at a women's tea I went to on December 5 at Harvest Bible Chapel. The speaker, Jen Wilken, said something that certainly made me sit up and take notice: "We are all, in one sense, pregnant."

During those turbulent years of trying to get pregnant, I harbored a secret anger and jealousy for Mary.  Even the virgin could get pregnant when she wasn't even trying!  I was thankful for Jesus and his birth, but I was not fond of that pregnant virgin.  Infertility (and the fertility drugs I was taking) made me mad, in both senses of the word.

As I got older (and went off the drugs), the fury against pregnant women in general and the virgin in particular lessened, but a twinge of jealousy remained. So when this woman said I got to be pregnant too, I hungered to hear how that was possible.

This is the part that's hard to explain.  Her message was basically that we are born again in Christ and then in some sense, just as it was true of Mary, Christ is born again in us. His image is formed in us. Our bodies are the temple of His Holy Spirit. I'm harboring Life in my body!  I knew this, of course, but it just hit me right then.  I get to be pregnant too!  And it satisfied that longing I've had for 20 years to be pregnant and give birth.  I get to birth the image of Christ in the way I live my life, although I'm not doing a good job of it.  It's the highest honor and privilege, and it's the wonder of Christmas.  Now instead of despising that pregnant virgin, I feel that she is my sister.

So that was December 5.  A couple weeks later I was alone in the car (a very rare occurrence) and I heard a song that I've heard before and always liked, but this time I really heard it, in a way that made me pull over on the side of the road and just worship in tears.  I never told anyone this because it's so personal between me and God, but I'm writing it down now because I don't want to forget how He has ministered the wonder of Christmas to me this year like never before.  The song was Francesca Battistelli's "Be Born in Me", which is a beautiful song. The part that made me pull over was, "Make my heart Your Bethlehem. Be born in me."  I had been ruminating on that Dec. 5 talk in the back of my mind, and it all came together for me right there on the side of the road.

Fast forward to yesterday in church.  We were having a table discussion about our favorite Christmas miracle.  And this year's Christmas revelation came right to my mind. It's a miracle to me that I don't yearn with my whole being to be pregnant with a physical child anymore but am satisfied by God.  But how do you explain that to a table full of women who have all given birth, a single man, an old man and a really old man?  I didn't explain it well, and I'm sure they didn't understand, as no man or fertile woman truly can.

And finally, last night when I couldn't sleep, the words that came to my mind were the beginning of the first verse of Isaiah 54: "Sing, O barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy!"

Friday, December 18, 2015

Vile apple pie

Mike was telling Noah about "the Theismann" (Joe Theismann's famous horrible football injury back in the 80's).  He said, "My friends and I made popcorn and watched it over and over." 
Noah said, "You are a vile man, Dad." 
When we laughed, he said, "Was that not the right word?" 
I said, "No, it was apropos." 
He said, "What does apple pie have to do with anything?" 

Bad date

I decided to take my 14-year-old on a date to his favorite lunch place and Christmas shopping for his sister.  On the way, I tried to talk to him.  He was unresponsive.  I looked over and noticed his ever-present headphones covering his ears.  Sometimes he's listening to something and actually can't hear what's going on outside of them, but other times I suspect he's pretending to be unavailable but is listening to everything.  I knocked on his headphones and signaled that I would like to make contact.

He inched one headphone forward an inch so he could at least partially hear.  I asked if he could take them off long enough for me to tell him a quick story.  He shrugged and complied.  I said, "I went out with a guy one time who turned on the radio in his car immediately after he started the car.  It was our first (and, as it turns out, last) date, so I thought we would be talking, getting to know each other.  That's the point of dating, after all.  But there was no conversation possible with the loud heavy metal music blaring throughout the car.  After several minutes, he turned the volume down enough to say, "You're pretty quiet" and turn it right back up before I could even respond.  That's the only thing I remember about that date and about him.  I don't even remember his name.  Don't grow up to be that guy."

He looked unimpressed and put his headphones back over his ears.  I hope he noted it on some level. It's hard to relate to him lately.  When he was younger and people saw me genuinely enjoying him, they would caution, "Oh, just wait till he's a teenager!"  I really believed that the fun, happy, kid with the great sense of humor and unflappable joy would never become a sullen, self-absorbed, angry, moody teenager.  I thought something must have gone wrong with those other kids, and it wouldn't happen to ours. I miss my sweet little boy.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


We've been studying World War II and the Holocaust. Today we were reading about the Trail of Tears, and Noah said, "How is what we did to the Indians any different than what the Nazis did to the Jews?"  Insightful observation.  Then Sarah said, "WE didn't do anything to anyone. We're Asian."

Monday, December 14, 2015

Sarah's first gymnastics meet!

Sarah's first competition was with Gym Corner's Silver Senior Excel team.  It was the Justin Spring Invitational in Champaign, IL.  She was very happy and excited to compete. 
Her scores:
vault: 8.6
bars: 9.2
beam: 9.15 (5th place)
floor: 8.75
Before we left home. Hair done, all the proper clothes on, bag packed.  

Her winning beam routine

on the podium, collecting her 5th place medal

Noah was less than thrilled to be forced to attend, but he did it.  We sat through five hours of gymnastics and a three hour car ride to see Sarah perform for a total of five minutes. 

The team placed first overall! L to R: Meghan, Lauren, Brooke, Grace, Brooklyn, Sarah, Kaitlyn (coach Krista)
Sarah ended up 6th overall, and she qualified for the state meet.  She chattered excitedly all the way home.  It was close to midnight when we got home, and she slept till almost noon today.  We did an abbreviated school day and were thankful for the flexibility of homeschooling.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Monopolized. Again.

Breakfast was over. Devotions and reading done. We were about to start math when Sarah asked if we could play just one little game of Monopoly. By this point in my career, I should realize that there is no such thing as a "quick", "short", or "little" game of Monopoly.  I wanted to say no, but somehow what came out of my mouth was yes. 

Three hours later, I said, "Whoever is winning at 1:30 shall be declared the winner."  Sarah  played a smarter game than usual and hung in there a long time. Noah was playing his usual super-high-risk game, and I thought surely I would win. 

By this point in my career, I should realize this fact: Noah ALWAYS wins at Monopoly. But I started a little confident trash talking when things were rolling my way.  Sarah, who recognizes the aforementioned fact, cautioned me: "Don't break out the eggnog just yet, Mom."  

Noah landed on my railroad and was $10 short on what he owed me.  He gave me all his money and said, "I'll ride in the coal car."  Later, after the tide had turned, I landed on his hotel and couldn't quite pay all I owed.  I gave him all my money and said, "I'll stay in the room right next to the elevator." 

In the end, he owned absolutely everything and was filthy rich.  How does he always win?!


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Old time blinkers

My left turn signal burned out, so instead of making the dangerous left into Kuk Sool, I went around the block, making all right turns, and came in the back way.  Noah suggested I just stick my arm out the window and make hand signals.  
M: I don't even know the proper signal for "I'm making a left turn".  
N: Didn't they teach you the standard signals in driver's ed?
M: No. We used electronic turn signals.

S (incredulously): They had electronic turn signals way back when you were in driver's ed???