Thankful Thursday: Borrowed Time

Thankful Thursday banner

Since I’ve reached the point in pregnancy where I was already hospitalized with Tirzah Mae, every moment seems overwhelmed with wonder.

I’m in my own home! I’m not in the hospital! I still have a (decently) clean house! I am still making my own food! I’m walking on my own two feet! I’m not hooked to a blood pressure cuff 24/7! I am drinking and peeing on my own power! I don’t need daily ultrasounds! I don’t have to lie still for two hours so the nurses can get a 20-minute “strip” of baby’s heartbeat and my own uterine contractions!

Even the most mundane things feel surreal – as if I’m living in borrowed time, magic time.

I have a normal pregnancy at this point.

This week I’m thankful…

…for a walk in the park
As this pregnancy continues to progress, exercise becomes more and more difficult. My knees and hips are looser and my balance is off – making it harder to do the squats and lunges that are the staple of my lower body routine. I’ve developed carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands (not uncommon during pregnancy) – making push-ups impossible and my other upper body activities (with free weights) more difficult. But I’ve been on bed rest before and there’s no way I’m letting myself decondition to that degree if I don’t have too – which means I need to find a way to keep active, even if I’m less motivated to do my usual routine. Daniel has been obliging, taking a walk with me along the river on Saturday, and running circles around Tirzah Mae and I as we strolled around another local park on Monday. I’m still aiming to do my usual routines at least once a week (an upper body, a lower body, and a core routine) – but it’s lovely to mix it up with some outdoor walking every other day or so.

…for a strong finish
I’ve greatly enjoyed teaching 3-year-old Sunday School this year. It’s been stretching in the best way – helping me to hone in on the main point of a text, encouraging me to think of activity “centers” that can spark conversations about the “big ideas” of a text. It’s also been stretching in a not-so-fun way. It’s the weekly struggle to get out of the house to be at church half an hour before Sunday School starts, with Tirzah Mae’s bags packed for both nursery (during the Sunday School hour) and the service (where we try to keep her with us.) Now that Sunday School has switched to its summer schedule, I’m glad to have a respite from the mad dash on Sunday mornings – but I know I’ll miss the lesson planning and brainstorming.

…for a landmark day
Tirzah Mae turned 19 months on Tuesday – which also means that it’s now been 19 months since my uterus was cut to allow her to enter the world. It’s best for a uterus to have 18 months to recover from an incision before it has to endure labor again – and mine has now had its 18 months plus one.

…for a good report
Yesterday’s OB visit was unremarkable – which is remarkable in and of itself. My blood pressure there was the same as its always been, my urine showed no protein. No concerns. I should keep doing what I’m already doing. I cried with relief as I drove on to our next task.

…for convenience items
I love to make our own bread, our own yogurt, our own laundry detergent. I can make a higher quality product for less money, and I enjoy “doing it myself”. But as this pregnancy progresses and I need to get off my feet more frequently, I’ve been reminded of the blessing that is prewashed lettuce in a bag, prebaked bread (also in a bag), and the first container of laundry detergent I’ve bought in six or seven years. I don’t have any intention of permanently switching to those products, but it’s nice to have them available when life intervenes.

And when I get done listing the nice-things-I’m-thankful-for, I fear that I may fall into the trap of thanking God only when things are going the way I want them to. I pray that isn’t the case.

Because ultimately, not being hospitalized isn’t the greatest blessing of this week. All the many wonderful conversations and conveniences aren’t the greatest blessing. The greatest blessing is that…

“Christ hath regarded my helpless estate
and hath shed His own blood for my soul.”

What! All this, and Christ too?

Thankful Thursday: Mother’s Day

Thankful Thursday banner

This week I’m thankful…

…for help from my in-laws
Daniel’s parents visited Friday and Saturday. They divided their time between playing with Tirzah Mae so I could work on indoor pursuits undisturbed and working with Daniel on lawn stuff. With their help, a tree was cut down and about a half dozen more were trimmed – with all the brush taken back to our palatial brush pile – all without me lifting a finger or swelling an ounce. Nurseries were inspected, potential tree species evaluated, books on landscaping consulted. And despite not going out for every meal (in fact, we had some of their friends over Friday night), the house was in order when they left. It was a delightful visit.

…for a wonderful mother’s day
Daniel and Tirzah Mae took me to Pizza Hut for lunch after church – but Tirzah Mae must have been just exhausted from the excitement of having her grandparents there, because she fell asleep while we were still eating! She napped all afternoon, giving Daniel and I some wonderful “just-us” time (a rarity since we don’t have family in town and since I generally need more sleep than our toddler does!) We talked and digged through boxes in search of a missing notebook and just generally spent time together. It was wonderful.

…for a thunderous evening
One of my favorite memories with my own mother is going out onto the front porch during an evening thunderstorm, taking in the sounds and sights and smells and feel of the storm. The wind whipping just the barest spray of the storm on my face. The thunder rumbling from afar, the rain pounding on the pavement and unsettling the leaves on the trees. The dark sky occasionally made bright by lightning flashes. There is little better. I’ve been dreaming of a good prairie thunderstorm since we built Prairie Elms – and this Monday, we got one. Our small group was cancelled due to the storms, so Daniel and I and Tirzah Mae stood on the front porch, enjoying the back end of the springtime storm (which was blowing rain and hail at a 45 degree angle from the west – I was glad to have an east-facing porch!)

…for encouragement and prayers
As I enter the scary season of pregnancy (for me), I have been so blessed by those who have encouraged me with truth – reminding me that God is in control, that His purposes are good and cannot be thwarted. I have been so blessed by those who have prayed for me – and who have let me know that they are praying. I have been so blessed by those who have offered for me to text them, to call them, to arrange a get together anytime I’m feeling overwhelmed and need someone to remind me of truth. God has been gracious to grant me friends such as these.

…for an eternal promise

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
~John 10:27-30 (ESV)

When the clamoring voices of fear and “what if” crowd in, the promise of God remains sure. As one of Christ’s sheep, I do hear His voice. He knows me. I do follow Him. He has given me eternal life – and nothing can snatch me from His hand.

So I am thankful that I can say with the hymn-writer:

“Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
to guide the future surely as the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
all now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
his voice who ruled them while he dwelt below.”

Thank you, Lord, that you are sovereign over all things. Thank you for this week’s blessings, for the things I can clearly see as good gifts from your hand. But thank you also that you are sovereign over the waves that threaten to capsize, the winds that blow off course. Thank you that even these are good gifts from a gracious Father’s hand. Grant me grace to trust you today and every day.

Thankful Thursday: Generosity

Thankful Thursday banner

This week I’m thankful…

…for help hanging a mirror
Daniel arrived home Friday evening to find the house a mess and his wife frustrated. I’d dragged all the wallhangings out and laid them out on the floor to arrange them before hanging them on the wall. But when the time came to hang the big mirror that’s the centerpiece of the dining room arrangement, I couldn’t find the stud-finder (and that mirror DEFINITELY needs to be hung on something more sturdy than drywall!) I emptied all our toolboxes on every available surface in the kitchen and only found the studfinder (in the back of my car) after several hours of searching. Daniel was gracious to help me carry all the pictures and whatnot back downstairs and help me put away the rest of the tools – and to help me hang that pesky mirror right then and there.

Mirror wall in dining room

…for a birthday burger
We enjoy Red Robin, and belong to their loyalty club (or whatever it’s called – we get promotional emails and they give a free burger during our birthday months.) After the frustrating mirror incident (during which dinner was NOT made), we went out for my birthday burger. It was just the break I needed – and I enjoyed a delicious mushroomy burger (Daniel’s not the biggest fan of mushrooms, so when I make mushroom dishes at home, it’s usually pretty subtle.)

…for kitchen projects completed
My husband could have done all sorts of things with his Saturday morning. He could have slept in or watched television or read a book or worked on his personal projects. Instead, he woke up early, took off to the Home Improvement store and set to work installing my magnetic knife rack in the kitchen. And, since the drill was out, he hung my swinging towel rack while he was at it too. With those two tasks complete, my kitchen is complete. It feels nice, awfully nice.

Knife rack all suited up

…for a birthday windchime
I already wrote about this, but the windchime has been delighting me all week – whether it’s catching a glimpse of it out the window or hearing its music on a windy day.

…for a generous loan
A friend who had a baby the summer before Tirzah Mae offered to loan me some of her maternity clothes. Tirzah Mae and I went over Tuesday for a playdate/clothing try-on session – and I walked out with almost 2 dozen articles of maternity wear! I’m probably set for most of the remainder of this pregnancy.

…for the generosity of God in Christ
These gifts of patience and time and food and help and objects and clothing are all wonderfully nice. But nothing can compare to the generosity of God, who gave HIMSELF. Even if my house remained a mess, the studfinder remained missing, my husband hadn’t provided help, the burger hadn’t been free, the kitchen hadn’t been completed, the windchime not given, the loan of clothing not made – the gift of Christ is beyond what my heart can bear.

What? All this and Christ beside?

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”
~2 Corinthians 8:9 (ESV)

Thankful Thursday:

Thankful Thursday banner

The days and weeks and months continue to be busy – but good.

This week I’m thankful…

…for safe travels
Daniel’s Grandpa died a couple weeks ago and his funeral and burial were on Thursday and Friday of last week. Then my sister-in-law had a baby shower in Lincoln on Saturday – which meant we did a whole lot of traveling over the course of three days (something around a thousand miles.) In all our travels, our vehicle worked, we stayed well, and Tirzah Mae didn’t even complain too loudly about being stuck in her car seat!

…for precious last memories
By the time I met Daniel, his grandpa was already frail and housebound. Grandpa’s memory was failing and he repeated himself frequently. I can tell funny little anecdotes of the times we’ve visited, but the funny is tinged with quite a lot of sadness. But it just so happens that we visited Jack just one week before he died. No one had any idea how soon Jack would leave us – but I’m so glad we had that last visit. One day, I can tell Jack’s great-grandchildren about the last time Daniel and I visited him before he died. Jack asked the old familiar questions about jobs and families – but the overarching theme of his conversation was thankfulness. He was thankful for his wife and all the hard work she did bringing children into the world and raising them. He was thankful for his children, that God had given him five. “Are you going to have more?” he asked me, forgetting that I’d already told him we were expecting. “They’re worth a million bucks” he said. Precious memories I can pass on to our children.

…for ending and beginning with Betsy
Sure, we’ll probably do a thing or two more before we actually sell her, but we’ve got enough done with Betsy (our old house) that we’re ready to put her on the market. It’s a tremendous relief to me.

…for providential timing
Tirzah Mae rarely sits in her booster seat unless I’m sitting beside her eating – but it just so happens that she was still sitting in her chair from dinner (or already in her chair before second breakfast) when I dropped a glass bowl and a ceramic bowl on the floor (on two separate occasions). Since she was in her chair, I could clean up the shattered remnants of the bowls without worrying about her safety.

…for the one after whom all families are named
I’m moving along to memorize a second of Paul’s prayers for the Ephesians – this one in Ephesians 3. Paul writes

“For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named…”
~Ephesians 3:14-15 (ESV)

It’s encouraging to remember that God is the author of every family. May our small family reflect Him more and more.

Thankful Thursday: Prenatal visit

Thankful Thursday banner

I got a call from my OB’s office as we were traveling back from Lincoln. My OB is on medical leave, the receptionist told me, and would I like to reschedule my first appointment with one of his partners?

Except she had a question first. Are you planning a home birth? Because none of our other providers work with home birth midwives, so… I tried to explain that while we’re hoping for a home birth, we’re also intending to follow with our OB in case a hospital birth is necessary. She was reluctant to reschedule me with another provider, given my home birth hopes. I began to get a little frustrated. “I still need my labs done, don’t I?” “Well, if you’re going to give birth in a hospital, yes.”


I finally convinced her that yes I really did want an appointment with someone and she offered the midwife. Great! I thought. While my OB is the only one in town (to my knowledge) that works with home birth midwives, I am familiar with the practice’s nurse midwife and know that she is pro-physiological childbirth and pro-VBAC and is on friendly terms with my home birth midwife (definitely NOT givens in the large group practice my OB belongs to.)

So when I arrived for today’s appointment, I was thrown off kilter to learn that I hadn’t been scheduled with the nurse midwife but with the nurse PRACTITIONER, an entirely unknown quantity.

This week I’m thankful…

…for good first impressions
I was prepared to tell the nurse that I’m continuing to breastfeed my fourteen month old (oh my – I just realized that Tirzah Mae is as old now as my big sister was when I was born. Crazy.) I was also prepared to face disapproval for that practice.

What I was not prepared for was for the NP to knock on the door while I was breastfeeding Tirzah Mae, to have her insist that I not interrupt “lunch” on her account, and to sympathize with me over how Tirzah Mae’s difficult start meant I had absolutely NO lactational amenorrhea.

She put me right at ease.

…for gentle probing and full acceptance of my right to decline
When I asked that we try doppler to hear baby’s heartbeat rather than doing a ultrasound, she asked if I was afraid of the procedure. I explained that no, I wasn’t but preferred to use the least invasive tests necessary to obtain needed information. She explained that yes she could use Doppler but that the heartbeat might not be detectable at this point. She didn’t want me to be worried, she said.

This made clear to me that she’s used to dealing with normal pregnant women who think the more information they have (as far as prenatal testing goes) the better. But her recognition that the purpose of ultrasound at this point is more for reassuring a mother that everything is fine than for any diagnostic purpose and her willingness to skip that for me encouraged me greatly. (For the record, we didn’t hear a heartbeat on Doppler – but we have no reason to think that all isn’t well with this baby.)

…for a timely reminder
When the NP asked if I had any questions, I couldn’t think of any. But when I got home, a blog post I was reading mentioned the US Preventative Services AHQR EPSS App to help clinicians determine which screenings and preventative services to provide their patients. Medical wonk that I am, I downloaded it and entered my information. And there, under Grade B recommendations was the use of aspirin for prevention of preeclampsia. My OB had mentioned that at a postpartum visit after I’d had Tirzah Mae. I called the NP to ask her advice – and since the reminder had come at just the right time, my case was fresh in her mind and the question easy to answer.

…for prenatal peace
Given what happened in my previous pregnancy and how my previous delivery turned out, it would make sense to be anxious this time around (yes? at least, it would be plenty normal.) But I am at rest with this pregnancy (thus far). Even as I hedge my bets, seeing both my OB (who performed my c-section) and my home-birth midwife, I feel at peace about whatever the outcome may be. God is sovereign over pregnancy and preeclampsia, over care providers and birth settings, over babies living and babies dying. So while I hope and pray for a long pregnancy (Maybe I can get that 41 weeks, 1 day I expected from my first pregnancy?), for an uncomplicated unmedicated home VBAC, for a healthy baby and a healthy me both through and after pregnancy…I am resting in the reality that God knows and God chooses best.

Thankful Thursday: November’s End

Thankful Thursday banner

November is when my old enemy, Seasonal Affective Disorder, returns with boxing gloves on, pummelling me in disability before chaining me to the couch. It’s not particularly pretty – and the effects are compounded by usually high expectations of what I want to accomplish for the holidays.

But November doesn’t last forever, and neither do my bouts on the couch. December dawns (sometimes in December, sometimes in May, depending on the year) and I emerge from the fog.

This week I’m thankful…

…for medication
It always feels like a failure to go back to my doctor and ask for medication yet again this year. Shouldn’t I outgrow the disorder, I think. Shouldn’t I just be able to manage? But once I’m outside the fog, I remember that taking the medication isn’t failure, it’s victory. It corrects things just enough that I am capable of trying to manage. And I am so thankful for it.

…for my husband
When I am inclined to fret and fuss about my circumstances, about my own failures, about how I’m not normal – Daniel reminds me that I can’t expect to be the same or to feel the same now as I’ve “always” felt. My circumstances are different. I’ve never been 30 before, never had a one year old before, never had a 30 year old husband before :-) It’s okay for me to feel different. I am different. And that’s okay. Almost 3 years into marriage, my husband remains a potent evidence of God’s grace in my life.

…for family
We spent the last week of November with our families in Lincoln. My brother from Wisconsin and his family were in town and I enjoyed the ultimate in therapy – long conversations with family, low stress games (we played lots of Forbidden Island and Pandemic, both cooperative games), sleeping in, and no pressure to keep the house clean.

…for delight
There have been hard parts and fun parts of every stage of Tirzah Mae’s development (except maybe the three month long newborn phase – that was just hard). But this has been the least hard and the most fun stage so far. Tirzah Mae is imitating. She pantomimes pumping the hand sanitizer bottle and then wiping her hands together. She delights to wash dishes with me. Nothing suits her better than to stir some imaginary batter in a sour cream tub while I’m stirring real batter. She “folds” laundry and “reads” books and wipes the floor. She tries her hand at brushing her own teeth (now that I’ve realized I can harness her imitative power by brushing my own teeth in front of her). This stage is a delight, and seeing her imitating me has been a bright spot amidst the darkness of the season.

…for last year’s mercy
Even as I felt I was sinking this November, I was (and still am) acutely aware and overwhelmingly thankful for last year’s mercy. I’ve had Seasonal Affective Disorder for at least 15 years, have required medication to cope for the past 10 or so. But last year, I was off my medications, I was pumping and traveling to visit my preemie in the NICU, I was immediately postpartum with a birth experience that was exactly the opposite of my hopes – and I had no depression at all. God was so merciful to spare me that last year.

…for the One whose power is made perfect in weakness
Every year, when the strongman overcomes my defenses, when I find myself waving the white flag in surrender yet again, when I am again taken captive to the encroaching darkness, I am reminded of my need to rely on God. My body, my mind, my heart are so frail. I feel at the mercy of the sun, but that is when I must fall on the mercy of God. And when I fall upon His mercy, He shows himself strong, again and again and again. When I am weak, He is shown strong.

Thank you, Thank you, Lord.

“My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
~Psalm 73:26

Thankful Thursday: Looking Back

Yesterday, Facebook reminded me that it’s been one year since the urine test at my midwife’s office confirmed that I had preeclampsia. I was 30 weeks and 5 days pregnant.

You can read about my initial reactions here.

After a brief moment of grieving over the homebirth I knew this ruled out, I made Matt Redman’s song “10,000 Reasons” my prayer and my resolve.

“Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes:

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
O my soul, worship His holy name
Sing like never before, O my soul
Worship His holy name”

I didn’t know what all would come to pass.

Hospitalization. Monitors. IVs. Throwing up in front of my husband and the nurses, unable to even move my arms to keep my hair out of the way. And that was just the first day (a year ago tomorrow).

Topping two hundred pounds. Having a “bottom number” blood pressure reading that would be bad if it was the “top number”. Pneumonia. Fluid restriction. Liver shutting down. Not being able to see color for six weeks.

Labor induction. Uncontrollable shaking. So swollen I couldn’t see. A c-section.

Two hours before I could touch my baby, a half dozen before I could hold her. Twenty-six days before I could take her home.

Her first taste of breastmilk came from a bottle. It was mixed with formula. Her first latch wasn’t at my breast, it was at a nipple shield. Only one breastfeeding session a day for that first month.

Three months before her first smile. Eleven months before she’d sleep more than three hours consistently.

It’s been a hard year. A very, very hard year.

But one year past the official declaration of preeclampsia, another song by Matt Redman springs into my heart and from my mouth as tears roll down my cheeks.

“Standing on this mountaintop
Looking just how far we’ve come
Knowing that for every step
You were with us

Kneeling on this battle ground
Seeing just how much You’ve done
Knowing every victory
Was Your power in us

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did you leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful”

Thank you, God, for your faithful presence, for your enduring grace, for Tirzah Mae and I alive today – on this day one year out.

Thankful Thursday: Teething

It’s another of those weeks when thankfulness seems hard – but really, it isn’t all week. If I could think beyond the fog of the past two days, I know there are plenty of wonderful things that it would be easy to thank God for.

But the past couple of days have not been particularly pleasant. If I’d have known Tirzah Mae’s nap on Tuesday afternoon would last ten minutes, I wouldn’t have started scrubbing the bathtub. If I’d have known the next one (after I’d nursed her back to sleep) would last 12 – well, I don’t know exactly what I’d have done if I’d have known this was coming.

THIS, of course, is teething. Her second tooth broke gums yesterday, but she is apparently not done yet. She slept with me the last two nights, by which I mean that she slept in five to ten minute segments on top of me while I moved my head back and forth desperately trying to get comfortable before she awoke with another desperate scream and started scrabbling for the breast.

I didn’t get dressed yesterday. I didn’t have opportunity to take a shower. She was eating at least every 15 minutes, with only catnaps in between.

It doesn’t feel like I have anything to be thankful for.

But I must apply correct theology to teething and recognize that even a sleep-deprived mother has plenty to be thankful for.

Today I am thankful that God is infinitely more patient with me, His child, than I could ever be with my daughter.

Today I am thankful that God’s grace to my daughter is infinitely deeper than I could ever extend to her.

Today I am thankful that God sustains mothers and comforts children.

And I begin to repeat myself in my mind and as I type: Today I am thankful that God is patient.

I hear Tirzah Mae fuss from the bed where she has been sleeping for the past half hour (why, oh, why did she decide to make that longest stretch after I’d already had my morning coffee?) and I no longer have opportunity to think up new thankfulnesses.

So I repeat those again and again.

Thank you, God, that you are patient. Thank you, God, that you are gracious. Thank you God that you sustain me and comfort my daughter.

Thankful Thursday: Routines, New and Old

Thankful Thursday banner

After the busyness of last week, it’s been wonderful to ease back into some normal routines – except that I’m not just going back to normal. I’ve begun to feel that I spend a lot of my day purposelessly on the computer – and then feel rushed in caring for Tirzah Mae and for our home. Yet as a younger woman, I have certain responsibilities, certain things to which God has called me: “to love [my husband and child], to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to [my] own husband, that the word of God may not be reviled.” (Titus 2:4-5 ESV) When I let computer time eat away at my time, I am not exercising self-control. Depending on what I’m reading (some of the “gossipy” stuff can be a real temptation), it can lead me to not be pure in mind. It keeps me from working at home. It inhibits my ability to love my husband and my daughter well.

So I’ve been working to intentionally prioritize the things I ought to be doing – instead of letting the computer distract me from my real job. And since routines are how I roll, I’ve set specific routines in place to help me do what I ought to – and to provide structured and productive computer time.

This week I’m thankful…

…for getting up earlier
Daniel had been in the habit of bringing me breakfast in bed around 7 – which has been wonderful. But Tirzah Mae is often awake at that time and we had been breastfeeding in bed around that time, which means she wants to strew my eggs all over the bedsheets – which is not so wonderful. This, combined with a desire to be more productive in the mornings, has compelled me to start getting up in the mornings so we can sit at the table for breakfast. This week, I’ve been getting up at 6 or 6:30, helping Daniel pour the coffee or toast the bread, and then sitting down with him (and Tirzah Mae if she’s up) for breakfast. Then, rather than my previous habit of lingering over my coffee in front of the computer, I’ve been staying at the table with my Bible, spending time in personal devotions then in Sunday school preparation.

…for getting back into exercising
It’s hard to return to an exercise routine after I’ve been gone for a while (even just those five days off mean renewed muscle soreness and being more out-of-breath.) But it feels good to be moving again. And with the jump-start that getting up a little earlier (and getting moving earlier) provides, I’ve been able to get both the exercise and my hygiene routines in while Tirzah Mae takes her morning nap.

…for intentional playtime
Perhaps the biggest thing to suffer because of my aimless computer time has been time just playing with my daughter. Now, I believe (strongly) in the power of undirected play for children – but children also need their parents’ undivided attention every so often throughout the day. Not having the computer be my default (or trying to cram all my household chores into the wee bit of time left over once I’m done at the computer) means that I’m making time to walk with Tirzah Mae around the living room a couple times a day, that I’m getting on the floor and just letting her climb over me while we laugh together, that I’m reading to her more.

…for a clean kitchen
It used to be that I’d let the dishes slide until I was already in the kitchen preparing dinner. Then I’d go through the house and get all the dishes and wash them and dry them and put them away and wipe the counters – and just as soon as that was done, I’d set the table so we could make the next round of dishes (that would then sit on the table or the countertops) until I was in the midst of preparing dinner the next day. Now, I’m working to get the dishes done right after lunch, which means I can have clean countertops from lunch to dinner prep – and have dry dishes in the drainer to put away just before dinner so that I can clean the dinner dishes right after dinner – and have clean counters again until lunch. It’s great.

…for afternoon naps
Rachel at the Purposeful Wife shared about power naps this Tuesday – and I put it into practice starting that very day. The early morning Monday did leave me feeling pretty fatigued by the end of the day – and I didn’t want to burn out. Seeing that article, I purposed to make a power nap the first thing I did after I put Tirzah Mae down for her afternoon nap (even if I was in the middle of dishes!) And I have, Tuesday and yesterday. I didn’t actually sleep either time, but just the 20 minutes of rest gave me sufficient energy to finish the day out and to do so with a good attitude (that’s the REALLY important thing!)

…for enjoying non-computer forms of enrichment
I already mentioned playing with Tirzah Mae. What fun it is! But now that I’m back to exercising, I get some reading in (while marching for warm-up and cool-down). And now that my bathtime coincides with Tirzah Mae’s nap, I can get some more reading in during her nap. And when I’m doing dishes? I’m listening to podcasts, a couple new ones that I’m really enjoying. Then, when I do sit down at the computer, whether while Tirzah Mae is nursing or during my dedicated time in the afternoon, I can enjoy computer tasks and entertainment without guilt.

…for the hymns at the end of the day
It’s one of those old routines, but one I’ve not always been faithful with. When I put Tirzah Mae to sleep, I change her, I feed her, I read her a story from the Jesus Storybook Bible, and I sing the next hymn I know in the hymnal. (Now that she’s got teeth, toothbrushing goes at the end there!) And this week, I sang hymn #259: “Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted”.

“Stricken, smitten, and afflicted,
See Him dying on the tree!
‘Tis the Christ by man rejected;
Yes, my soul, ’tis He, ’tis He!
‘Tis the long expected prophet,
David’s Son, yet David’s Lord;
Proofs I see sufficient of it:
‘Tis a true and faithful Word.

Tell me, ye who hear Him groaning,
Was there ever grief like His?
Friends through fear His cause disowning,
Foes insulting his distress:
Many hands were raised to wound Him,
None would interpose to save;
But the deepest stroke that pierced Him
Was the stroke that Justice gave.

Ye who think of sin but lightly,
Nor suppose the evil great,
Here may view its nature rightly,
Here its guilt may estimate.
Mark the Sacrifice appointed!
See Who bears the awful load!
‘Tis the Word, the Lord’s Anointed,
Son of Man, and Son of God.

Here we have a firm foundation,
Here the refuge of the lost.
Christ the Rock of our salvation,
Christ the Name of which we boast.
Lamb of God for sinners wounded!
Sacrifice to cancel guilt!
None shall ever be confounded
Who on Him their hope have built.”

What delight have I, to open and close each day gazing upon the Lamb – stricken, smitten, and afflicted for me!

Thankful Thursday: A busy schedule

Thankful Thursday banner

I’ve wanted to skip Thankful Thursday all week now. Every time I’ve thought of what I might say over the past week, I’ve fallen into a doldrums. What have I to be thankful about busy, busy, busyness that makes me feel like I’m perpetually playing catch-up at home.

But then, finally, I realized what this busyness represents – people – and, for that, I can be very thankful.

This week I’m thankful…

…for crafting with a friend
It’s been several months since we last spent time together, so spending Saturday morning working on our respective projects while catching up on life was wonderful. I got some pompoms made, she got some quilt blocks sewn. And we visited. Nice.

…for fajitas with an out-of-town friend
He was coming back into town for a wedding and asked Daniel if he’d like to hang out sometime. Daniel thought Monday night, since I’d be gone at a meeting, would be a good time – and invited him to dinner beforehand. We had fajitas before I left for my meeting – and it was nice to hear what he’s been up to since he moved.

…for settling things
Our monday night meeting was for Sunday School, and our classroom team hammered out the teaching schedule and center schedule and all that. I don’t particularly like evening meetings – but it was wonderful to have some resolution about how we’ll be doing Sunday school this year.

…for old friends at Happy Food
Tirzah Mae’s birthday buddy, who was born on Tirzah Mae’s due date, moved away a couple months ago – but her family was back in town for a wedding and came to our Tuesday Night dinner club. The two children tentatively interacted with one another and the two mothers compared notes. And it was tremendous fun.

…for friendly faces at church
None of our team particularly wanted to put up a bulletin board before the Sunday School “Meet the Teacher” event this next Sunday – but I had an idea and I’m at home all day with Tirzah Mae, so I had the time (right?) I volunteered to put up the board. Tirzah Mae and I went out yesterday to assemble things – and Tirzah Mae got held by, well, everyone in the office :-) And, as we went from resource room to resource room, we ran into a friend, setting up her own classroom, along with her three children. She told me that the kids had just been telling her “Remember when we went to Barn’rds and met Rebekah and Tirzah Mae? I’m so glad we did.” Awww. The five-year-old opened the elevator doors for us (Tirzah Mae was in her stroller) and told me that we should come over again – and maybe spend the night :-) I agreed that we’ll plan on spending some time together soon – but that we probably needed to sleep at our own house!

…for friends with skills
A friend of ours, a realtor, is coming to look at the house this evening to give us recommendations for whether/what we should fix/improve before we put it on the market. It’s nice having a friend who we can trust who’ll give us advice (even though it’ll be a while before we’ll actually be putting the house on the market – probably. maybe.)

…for the promise of new friendships
We’ve been trying to get together since our Bradley method childbirth prep reunion in January. But life as a brand-new mom (or, in her case, as a newly-minted mother of two) is busy and we’ve gone back and forth with emails but haven’t set a date. Except now we have one – and Tirzah Mae and I are so looking forward to spending time tomorrow with our new friends.

What have I to be thankful for when life is busy?

I am ashamed for this week’s attitude. All my fussing over feeling rushed at home. The busyness of this week is because we have friends. We have people we love and who love us. And that is something worth thanking God for.

Thank you, Lord, for the many people who make our lives rich and full. Forgive me for valuing my processes over people, for complaining when these gifts interrupt my routine. May I ever rejoice in your good gifts, holding my plans loosely and embracing people tightly.