Friday, November 19, 2010


These fall, almost winter, days feel so short! They are flying by, some productive, some totally unproductive. But what is productive when you have a small child? I can not believe that it is Friday again already. Here we are.

And there we are, below. This week's savoring has been a bit of a struggle. I'm trying to really enjoy and soak up the time that I have with Cordelia sitting in one spot, playing on the floor. I'm trying to bask in the security that comes with knowing that if I put her down somewhere, she will be there two seconds later when I turn to look again. Each day that passes, she becomes more frustrated that she isn't mobile yet. Our days are quite teary and dramatic, with breaks for the awe that only a nearly ten month old person can have. Below is a moment from this week that was full of delight. Cordelia spent the whole day saying "mama", over and over again. It is gifts like that which help me to carry on through the tears.

And here are the last of the colorful leaves hanging on. I tried to capture the fact that this little tree looks like the tips of its branches are lit up with little fires. Of course, I could never capture that! The picture below is enough to remind me that this is a time of change and letting go - and in that, there is great beauty. Ah, fall!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

good food

Yesterday, I had a MAJOR food fail. Everything went wrong for one reason or another. I had found a delicious recipe (red lentil soup) that I was dying to try, but I failed to buy one of the essential ingredients. I attempted to make our favorite bread (below) but the yeast just wouldn't rise. I was glad to have tested it, so I didn't waste all the ingredients. I had just enough to try again with more yeast - and low and behold, late in the evening, we had two steaming loaves coming out of the oven. (Who knows why the previous yeast failed, the second try was from the very same jar.)

Tonight I am trying again. In honor of this heroic effort to make dinner, I thought I'd share the bread recipe. (Also, lots of people have asked me for this bread recipe - check out King Arthur Flour's website: for more good stuff!) Let me know if you make this bread, and how it works out!

In further food news, I'm still thinking about my 6 meal shuffle. Haven't really made much progress on that. What I have done on the food scene is recommit to trying something new each week and try to relax. Both commitments are helping. I'll still write my 6 meal shuffle post before the month is out! Also, I loved your suggestions Meredith, Marcus and Blythe. THANK YOU!!

Oatmeal Bread - from the back of King Arthur's Bread Flour

3 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread flour
1 cup rolled oats (old fashioned oats)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons sugar or honey
2 teaspoons instant yeast OR one packet active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups lukewarm milk

* Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk before combining with the other ingredients.

Manual/mixer instructions: In a large mixing bowl, or in the bowl of your electric mixer, combine all of the ingredients, mixing to form a shaggy dough. (I add the ingredients in this order: warm milk+yeast mixture, honey, melted butter, oats, salt, flour.) Knead dough by hand (10 minutes) or my machine (5 minutes) till it's smooth. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and allow it to rest for an hour; it'll become quite puffy, though it may not double in bulk. (I spray a little cooking oil spray in the actual pans I'll be baking in. Then I divide the dough and place the two dough balls in the pans. Then, I cover with a damp dishcloth and leave it for about an hour or more.)

After you've let the dough rest/rise, preheat the over to 350 degrees. Take out the dough and knead each loaf for a bit. Then, shape it into a little log and place it back into the baking pan. Cut a slit into the top of each loaf to vent the steam. Bake for about 35-45 minutes.

My notes... The directions in the real recipe call for a punch down after an hour, followed by shaping and an additional rise for 1 1/2 hours and, eventually, baking as one large loaf. I really like how it turned out when I made this for the first time as two loaves. I eliminated the second rise and just baked the loaves after the first rise in the two loaf pans. The bread is slightly sweet (even more so because I drizzle some honey into the steam vent on the top of each loaf) and maybe denser than it would be if it had a chance to rise again. Then again, I don't have all day! We like having two smaller loaves. This bread is delicious toasted with butter. Oh so good!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

my ailing macasaurus

My laptop computer is making a terrible noise. Yesterday it happened just once. This morning, it has already happened more times than I can count. Everything is SLOW. The letters I am typing arrive on the screen with a disturbing time-lag. It makes me shiver a little and trips me up. I have backed up most things I care about - although I'm wondering what to do with my music... can I count on the ipod I have (of the same vintage) to be the backup for all those beautiful tunes? Oh, I am fearful. What change lies ahead?

This old Mac PowerBook G4 and I have been together for a long time. I bought her and brought her home about a month into my first real job. That was the fall of 2003. The price tag was huge for me, but my modest paycheck was more than I had ever made. The computer seemed all glamourous with the all-over silver tone and touchpad mouse. I felt so cool. The one shining moment when this computer was top-of-the-line-new was probably the pinnacle of my coolness. I still think this is about the coolest computer around. And we have had a nice long time together. I am now feeling wistful about all we have seen and done together.

Let's see... there have been at least 100 sermons (in at least 5 different settings), countless pages of reflections during two years of chaplaincy, thousands of photos, weddings, thousands of songs and podcasts, memorial liturgies, bazillions of emails, youth newsletters, adult education sessions, worship bulletins, and the list goes on and on. Those pieces of paper are just signposts for the paths I've walked in these seven years. I've carried this thing with me - literally as a companion - down quite a twisty path. It feels like I will be losing more than just the physical and touchable when this little flat box dies. It'll be more like letting go, somehow. Hopefully I won't lose my memory too, maybe just a few of my memories.

I don't know if it is the end for me and this macasaurus. I do know I am grateful for the time we've had. I thought we'd make it an even ten years, but maybe that was just me. Maybe I'm too much of a dreamer to be realistic about these things. About six months ago, the guy in the apple store didn't even remember what a G4 was! Kids. Anyway, if you have the inclination, put out some good vibes towards old yukonsally here. And maybe some advice about posting from my iphone? Oh, hang on, old girl.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

mommy talk

So, Cordelia and I just came back from baby story time at our local library. It is, unquestionably, the best part of my week. We read stories, sing songs, blow bubbles, do a little baby dancing, and then it's done. Thirty minutes! Afterwards, I chat with the other mommies and Cordelia engages with the other babies and stuff in the room (she has some bells she is particularly fond of right now - think jingle-bells - she'll follow them around the room and be sad whenever one of the more mobile babies takes the bells. The bells are very popular.). Sadly, I found out today that next Tuesday is the last Tuesday until JANUARY. I know! Too long. Sniff.

Anyway, back to the point of the story here. This time, none of the folks who I know were there. There are a couple of mommies that I know from my neighborhood who attend regularly. So, I had to just jump into conversation with these other mommies who are nearly strangers. This isn't terribly hard for me, but I don't like it very much.

They were having one of those conversations that starts like this, "Does your baby crawl yet? Mine is all over the place!" Inevitably, the next mommy jumps in and starts talking about their baby and their baby's crawling. Then, another mommy will chime in and share about their baby. It goes on and on, mommies interrupting other mommies to tell about their little darlings. I realized today that this kind of conversation is not for me.

Now, I am the first one to talk about my baby. The first. I LOVE to talk about her. I started this blog here to talk about her, geez. But, when I am out having conversations, I don't want to have an exclusively mommy-talk kind of conversation. I want to talk about the big stuff. I noticed that none of these mommies talks about her feelings or reflections, but just shares what her baby is doing or not doing. This "conversation" makes me think of the times when I have driven across the country by myself. When I would arrive at a rest stop/grocery/ hotel/wherever, I would try to talk to whomever crossed my path. After so many lonely hours in my own little car bubble, I needed to get out and offload some of the thoughts in my mind. Sometimes the words would come out all disorganized and sometimes they would be brilliant. Inevitably, I would enter back into my little bubble at the conclusion of the break and wonder, "What just happened?" These mommy talks feel like that.

Because I have always been the "Queen of Deep", I know that I'm not always in the norm. I understand that some women may not want to share their innermost thoughts and feelings in public, with strangers. That's OKAY. But getting past this stage is important to me. I don't really want to do mommy talk any more. I want to have some conversation. Of course, it can be about babies.

I don't know how to do this. I just know I want to.

Monday, November 15, 2010

many on monday - take 2

It's Monday and I'm as scatterbrained as I was last week - only this time I'm writing during Cordelia's second nap because I used up her first nap already! It has been a productive day so far.
  • I now believe that my girl will eventually crawl, or figure out some other means of mobility, eventually. She's been so frustrated (and still is, MAJORLY). On a bright note, this weekend she tried a few new techniques and moved a little! She still has a lot of learning to do and risks to take, but there is a teensy bit of progress and that gives me some relief from worry.
  • Oh, fall, you are killing me with the beauty! Thank you.
  • I can't believe that I am already half way through the month of November. I am really enjoying my return to blogging. I'm already making thought-notes about what comes next.
  • Speaking of fall, we had our first fire in the wood stove this weekend. It was delightful. That was actually only yesterday and now the house feels cold (though it is the same temp it always is) without the fire lit.
  • For the first time since we got married (I exaggerate, a little!), this weekend we did not have a major cleaning fit. It was nice to relax, but now I kind of miss having the feeling of a fresh start to the week.
  • We are in the midst of planning our holiday times. Though the logistics are a little cumbersome, it is so wonderful to imagine this time that lies ahead. Love, festivities, tradition, yummy goodies (!), quiet, surprises.... !
  • Speaking of the Christmas holiday... I have been doing a lot of thinking about consuming, gift-giving, traditions, and focusing on Christ. I'll have to do a post about it soon.
  • I'm knitting a sweater for my baby. This is my first "real" project for her. I crocheted a blanket for her and a couple of hats, but those were EASY. This time I have to follow a pattern. CURSES! DRAT! I can't make it up as I go along and that gives me night terrors. Just kidding - the little thing is coming out beautifully so far. I'll share progress reports as I go along. Maybe I'll have a crafty feature here.. ? I am already thinking of adaptations I can make to this pattern for the next time I make it!
  • We went back to baby story time at our local library last week. It was lovely and I think SO important for both of us. I rejoice that we have banished the sniffles and are on to better things!
Speaking of getting on to other things... I better get back to my housewifey duties. I need to catch up with that cleaning and planning meals, you know... ;^)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

thinking about the Word - week 2

I have always loved the prophet Isaiah. The words are comforting at times and totally discomforting at times. There is a hopeful, rabble-rousing quality. Make it better! God will help!! You've got a long way to go, but you will do it!! There is poetry here to soothe and inspire. These words are set apart from others in the sacred text for me, somehow.

When I read these familiar words this morning, I was inspired and comforted. I was blown off course and set to rights. What I heard was, "Trust. Trust. Be quiet and listen. God is making and doing more than you could have possibly hoped, more than you could imagine." I have come to expect this from the prophet Isaiah.

What I didn't expect was what jumped off the page at me, straight away. The latter part of verse seventeen - "the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind." Oh. Okay. That is a challenging word for me today.

For, though I love to hear these prophetic words, though I seek to follow and to trust, I do not let go of the past so easily. I'm kind of a keeper of memories and stories. I remember the times when I suffered and the times when I was filled with joy. I understand my life because I have kept these stories written on my heart. Now, I don't think the prophet is asking the people to wipe their memories clean - although I'd have to do some serious research to find out (and I'm pretty committed to my temporary retirement in this area). I believe the spirit of the prophet's message (as I hear it) is to start fresh. Give God a chance. Live in freedom and let go of those weighty grudges, fears, disappointments and misconceptions that keep us from living the gift that this life is.

To be clearer (maybe), if I apply this idea to my life, what I let go of are the things which hold me back. Say, for example, I am lonely and I meet someone who could be a friend. If I open my heart to this person, really let myself be known and know them in return, despite past hurts and disappointments then I am letting go of the former things. If, on the other hand, I close myself off because I have been hurt in the past - well, then you see I am letting the "former things" direct my life rather than letting what God has prepared for me come into it.

I have learned about vulnerability - you might say I've learned the hard way, just like everybody else. I don't want that to sound bitter, it is merely a statement of fact. I got hurt because I made myself vulnerable, more than once. Remembering these former things, these aches and pains is part of what makes me human. What I hear from the prophet today is that it is safe to let go of these former things because what is being created for me is so good, so beyond my imagining. No need to hold onto that old baggage, folks, you will be safe, whole and protected from harm. I know you can't imagine it, says the prophet. Just give it a chance. You might even take it a step further and say that, if we do not let go of these former things, we won't really get to this promised place, at least not in its fullness. But that might be a topic for another time.

Isaiah 65:17-25
17 For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind. 18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight. 19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and delight in my people; no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it, or the cry of distress. 20 No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days, or an old person who does not live out a lifetime; for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth, and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed. 21 They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 22 They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands. 23 They shall not labor in vain, or bear children for calamity; for they shall be offspring blessed by the LORD-- and their descendants as well. 24 Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear. 25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox; but t
he serpent--its food shall be dust! They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, says the LORD.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

wise words

It's been a long, not too lazy, not too busy Saturday. We have a certain baby who skipped her afternoon nap. She was cranky all afternoon and evening, but we made it. She has so many smiles for her daddy, literally lighting up the room, and that brings me great joy.

We went to a bookshop this afternoon and I got a new book, Mitten Strings for God by Katrina Kenison. The gist of it is this: families are too busy; slow down and you will gain the opportunity to create and celebrate discovery, wonder, intimacy, creativity, joy. Of course, when I spotted the poem in the opening pages, I flipped through the rest of the book looking for more poetry. Here is what I found. These words of wisdom are, among other things, what I am striving toward.

For the Children
- by Gary Snyder

The rising hills, the slopes,
of statistics
lie before us.
The steep climb
of everything, going up,
up, as we all go down.

In the next century
or the one beyond that,
they say,
are valleys, pastures,
we can meet there in peace
if we make it.

To climb these coming crests
one word to you, to
you and your children:

stay together
learn the flowers
go light.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Hello Friday!
I have decided that this habit of savoring, at least once a week, is good for my soul. All week I have been thinking about what photo(s) I might put here to show you what I'm savoring. That has led to reflection on gratitude and more savoring. Very good.

Here, we're having the last blast of fall colors. Things are more bare and spare. The weather is more dramatic and the colorful leaves show up more against the naked(er) branches. As I watch the leaves fall, I am savoring this magical time. Here's a pic from a few weeks ago of my favorite tree in our yard. It turned absolutely golden this year. This tree made it difficult to go inside.

This is Cordelia in mid-September. It's the best photo of what I am savoring about her right now. Her reflective nature impresses me. She watches things, considers things, and seems thoughtful. Cordelia is careful and cautious. This cautiousness is leading to her slowly, slowly developing the ability to move about. She is SO frustrated right now because she can see so much and think so much about what she would like to do with all the things just beyond her reach. Right now is a difficult time in her little life because of this challenging mismatch between her physical and cognitive abilities. But soon, or someday, I believe that her contemplative nature will bless her with many good gifts. So I am savoring this time, watching her abilities unfold.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

the food thing

Consistently, one of my biggest challenges in life is food. When I was single, I had such a hard time feeding myself that I got skinny. Eating alone just underscored my extreme loneliness. Plus, I was so busy that the effort of putting together those three squares a day was too much. Lucky for me, ministry involved quite a bit of eating with others, or I would have withered and expired. Really, it was quite bad.

Now that I am a wife and mommy, food is still a challenge. It has gotten better. I have realized what I am good at (baking) and what I am not (planning). I am not the most terrible or brilliant cook on the planet. This means that I have skills and potential, should I choose to exercise either of them. But mostly I am just scraping by.

I hate the planning. Hate it. I hate that my hubby mostly is a non-participant in the planning process. We have already had a million, zillion conversations that go EXACTLY like this:
Me: "What sounds good for dinner?"
Him: "Oh anything, whatever you like."
Me: "But what sounds good to you?"
Him: "Whatever you want."
Just when I get to the point that I stop asking these futile questions, he gives me feedback. Feedback that limits our already meager possibilities (such as: I'm tired of the stuff we've been eating.) or critiques a recent experiment, about which he said nothing but good things at the time. Ugh. I don't like being the sole input and creative energy behind the food production in the house. This is one of those hidden elements of the wife+mommy job description. I always expected to be the main food provider/creator, just not the only one giving input into the process.

So, here we are now. I have a picky husband with a limited palate and a baby just starting on solids. She isn't ready to eat what we eat yet and I'm kinda glad. Major changes need to be made in the food department. More consistent and nutritious meals need to be made. I need a regular infusion of variety. It would be SUPER if someone would volunteer to partner with me on this (most likely this is another person in a similar situation... anyone? anyone?). Accountability and friendship have always helped me to overcome my hurdles. I've been searching for the solution to this problem for quite some time. I found a woman who is blogging for the entire month of November about food (check her out at: and have found some tips there. I hope that her 6 meal shuffle will help me. I'll post about that next time I talk about food - with my own version of the shuffle. Any other tips or suggestions are totally welcome.

Humbly yours,
yukon "i'd rather be hiking" sally

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

good life guilt

Things are really good for me right now. My days are full but usually not stressful. I have regular breaks and me-time while Cordelia naps. The "work" I do as a mommy is fulfilling. There is nothing like taking care of a person 24/7 and watching them grow to make me feel useful/important/in the right place. We have gotten through some of the tougher parts of new-babyhood. I get to be the director of my days (with some consultation with the kiddo and within the schedule). There is much that is creative and life-giving about what I do. Cordelia is adorable right now - and I suspect I'll be saying that for, oh, forever. I'm in love.

All this is not to say that there aren't difficult moments or days or even weeks. After all, we just came through a bit of a sickly, crabby, rough patch. There are moments when I want to strap my squirmy, cranky, grabby, girl into a car seat or other restraining device and just be free, have myself to myself for a moment. Those moments come and go. Some days I am bone tired at the end of the day (or worse, at the beginning!). Or, I feel disorganized or lonely or craving for some intellectual stimulation. But all this "tough" stuff adds up to just the right amount of challenge. And, the love that I feel overcomes all of it.

This might just be the best time in my life.

For Doug, this isn't maybe the best time of life. Sure, he gets the sweetest look on his face when Cordelia is overjoyed to see him at the end of the day. He loves his little girl and that is obvious. But, he leaves home in the dark and has a cold, sometimes rainy walk to the bus and then boat and then bus again. He leaves his cozy home and goes to work every day. His work is stressful and not always a great fit. (sometimes it seems to be fantastic, so right now just isn't the best time)

I want ALL of us to be having the best time of our lives. I am trying not to allow anything to diminish the joy I feel. In the abundance perspective that I strive to hold, there is no limit to the joy available in this life. No limit. Just because I feel this joy, does not make anyone else's chance of joyfulness less. On the contrary, I believe that joy is contagious. My joyfulness actually spreads and gladdens others. None the less, it is difficult to see that as I go through day after day of, "WOW, that was another one to savor!", there are many loved ones in my life who are experiencing the opposite. They wish to forget, and hope for a new day.

My question for this day is this: how do I allow my joy to escape and become little germs of joyful contagion without flaunting it? How do I live this goodness fully while taking care of the ones around me who are in tender spaces?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Just a quick post today to say that having a sidekick or two around makes all the difference. Two friends came over this afternoon and we made biscotti together. It was very good, in all ways. A new baking adventure, delicious result, and bonds of friendship renewed. Delightful!
Now, I'm pooped. Overtired from the time change and eagerly lounging and vegging out. More substantive posts with be forthcoming!

Monday, November 8, 2010

many on monday

Lots of people do "ten on Tuesday"... why can't I do "many on Monday"? Seems like a good fit for a morning where my thoughts aren't organized into any cohesive theme.
  • Today is my littlest nephew's "inside out" day. Today we celebrate that he has been outside longer than he was inside. It's an odd thing to celebrate, I know, but I've been thinking about it A LOTt, wondering what I'll do to mark the day for Cordelia and I when it comes up in 2 weeks. Seems like something for the mommy and baby to celebrate together, don't you think? Also, a moment for the mommy to be incredibly nostalgic. Sniff.
  • Cordelia is navigating the time change pretty well. I decided that I'd try to shift her schedule by 15 minutes every couple days for a week. Theoretically, she'd be shifted by an hour and sleeping until 7am by the end of the week - all the while never getting overtired. Going to bed was pretty easy last night, and she slept until about 6am. What I have realized this morning, however, is that the WHOLE DAY needs shifting - naps, feeding, everything. That's a bit much for my feeble brain to handle! I'm constantly looking at our various clocks and translating the time, then adding 15 minutes or subtracting or wondering if I changed that clock anyway. Ugh. I am overtired for sure.
  • I'm having a tough time training my husband. I'm wondering if my job description might just be a little broader.
  • I think my post about the lectionary yesterday was lame. I wish I could have had something brilliant to knock your socks off with. Then again, I realize this is just a spiritual exercise. I am doing this blog to spark my own creative energy. So maybe I have a longing to knock my own socks off. In any event, it will come. I will choose to trust that.
  • The beauty of this fall is knocking my socks off. And I think it is calling me outside. I need to find and purchase some good, warm, outerwear for Cordelia and bust out of here on a regular basis.
  • Coming attractions (goals?) this week: go on at least one run; enjoy a day of visiting/baking with two dear friends; go back to baby story time (crossing my fingers for tomorrow!); hang some pictures; try a new recipe (any suggestions?); keep up.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

thinking about the Word

There is no end to the irony of timing. This situation isn't terribly ironic. But really, it does feel a little silly that the first time I consult the lectionary (with an intent to write) it doesn't do anything much for me at all. This evening I feel a lot like some of those Saturday evenings where I attempted to squeeze something, anything, out of the text that was enough for a sermon. Now that I'm doing this for FUN, I'm thinking, "are you kidding me?" I mean.. is anyone even reading this? But I digress... part of the discipline of preaching from the lectionary is encountering texts that seem difficult, mundane, ridiculous. This time, I am digging for what it is that I am to find in the text, not what I need to find to share with a community. It is a different perspective for sure.

The text that stood out to me the most was the one that spoke to a community (continuing with the irony!). The writer reminds the people that God has been faithful, will be faithful and will always be the holder, keeper and bestower of blessing. The best is yet to come. That is the message I hear. Do not fear what is happening now. Do not fear what is about to happen. God is in charge and you will be blessed, just as you have been before. Get to work and keep it up!

And... that's all folks. Really, that's it. Abundance. Go!!

Haggai 2: 1-9
2:1 In the second year of King Darius, in the seventh month, on the twenty-first day of the month, the word of the LORD came by the prophet Haggai, saying: 2 Speak now to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people, and say, 3 Who is left among you that saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Is it not in your sight as nothing? 4 Yet now take courage, O Zerubbabel, says the LORD; take courage, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; take courage, all you people of the land, says the LORD; work, for I am with you, says the LORD of hosts, 5 according to the promise that I made you when you came out of Egypt. My spirit abides among you; do not fear. 6 For thus says the LORD of hosts: Once again, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land; 7 and I will shake all the nations, so that the treasure of all nations shall come, and I will fill this house with splendor, says the LORD of hosts. 8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the LORD of hosts. 9 The latter splendor of this house shall be greater than the former, says the LORD of hosts; and in this place I will give prosperity, says the LORD of hosts.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

cereal for dinner

Tonight was to be our first real date since Cordelia's birth. Scott's 40th birthday party in Seattle - a real event! We worked out the innumerable logistics and steadied ourselves for the worry of leaving our little one asleep at a the guest of honor's house with a babysitter. Our only escape hatch was if she was still stuffy and cranky, still sick, we wouldn't go.

This morning I knew right away that we would not be going to the party. We wouldn't have a date and we would not need to worry about the sitter. We will save those adventures for some other day, hopefully in the not too distant future.

Meanwhile, instead of birthday delights, I had cereal for dinner. Instead of a night on the town, we are watching (ho hum) the FOURTH disk in a FIVE-part series on the Civil War. Oh, friends, save me. And save me SOON.

Friday, November 5, 2010


There's a blog called Soulemama ( and the writer puts up a post on Fridays that she calls, "this moment". It is a moment, captured by her camera, from her week. She doesn't write anything about it. I love it. But I guess I'm too wordy, and I might need to put up two photos. I want to let you know what I'm savoring. That's part of savoring it for me. And, well, this month is about writing so it feels like a bit of a copout (for ME) to just put up a photo and call it a day. So, this month there will be writing to go along with the moments I choose to share. And there might be more than one moment! It's my blog so na na na!

Here you go: It is a tender time for the mamas in my life - tender sweet, tender tears, tender love. I am savoring the time we had all together this spring. Even though this moment didn't happen this week, it is with me right now.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Over the last week (since we returned from our visit to Butnerville) Cordelia has been sick. She's had a cold and her top two teeth coming in. Seems like quite a doozy of a combination because she just looks miserable. Snot, froggy voice, obvious discomfort in her ears, tiredness, and lots of crying. Our days have been full of little struggles. She's not even pooping well!

This morning it seemed that she was doing a little better. Her eyes were brighter and her snot was less. I took it as a sign that we should hit the road, get out! We have been staying close to home, just taking short walks and an occasional trip to the grocery or ferry terminal. Pretty boring stuff. I was feeling COOPED UP. When a dear friend encouraged my attendance at the local clergy lunch and sweetened the deal with the idea of shopping together, I packed the car and jumped in the ferry line. We went out! It was an unseasonably warm day, just beautiful. A perfect day for a jailbreak.

For the most part, Cordelia was a champ. She charmed my fellow clergy at the lunch and was a good sport about riding in the car. We had a pretty peaceful ferry ride over with me carrying her around, walking laps on the boat deck. But by the end of it all, things started to fall apart. I breathed a sigh of relief when she slept a little on the way to the ferry terminal on the way home. But the rest and the subsequent nursing were not enough and she started to scream as soon as I buckled her back in her carseat for the 40 minute ride home. She cried her heart out for that whole time. That kind of crying just kills me. And now I feel terrible about it all.

I guess I shouldn't have gone. But where do the needs of the mommy meet the needs of the baby? All of my effort is for her. It is all for her. But there are moments when I realize that I can't go much farther in the same direction. Something needs to shift now and then. These beautiful autumn days were breaking my heart, looking at them through the windows. I'm not sure my wanderlust or thirst for the wide world is satisfied, but I know that I'm not going anywhere until my little girl is better. Perhaps I can claim it was a rookie mistake?

She is sleeping now, down for the count, and I am hopeful she'll sleep all night. We'll have a quiet day tomorrow, catching up on rest and home. So much for the big, big world.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

morning thoughts

My first thought today was: I hope Cordelia feels better today because geez, she seems miserable. Unfortunately when she woke up I found her to still be snotty and cranky. This morning has been a tough one again and she is currently snuffing away in her crib for a nap. She cried through the 1.5 hours she was awake before I gave up and just let her go to sleep. I fear today is going to be another long day of snot, tears and constant holding. Ugh.

Well, now that I've put THAT out there... onto nobler, higher, more um, better thoughts.

In the last few weeks, I've really been longing for some adult conversation. I'm out of practice. And also, strangely, I like the sort of contemplative spirit of my days with a nonverbal person. I'm on the fence between needing to think/talk/read/write and needing silence. Up until I finished my fellowship as a chaplain (Fall 2009), I wrote and spoke and listened all day long. Two years before that, as a pastor of a small church, I preached every Sunday and usually led some adult Christian formation session at least once a week. These practices required that I be immersed in language and thought. My mind was crowded with words and ideas. That was the other extreme. Now, I "talk" with Cordelia, listen to music and sing along, sing without music, and am silent. I read blogs and facebook and short snippets of things throughout the day. I talk with Doug a little in the evening while he watches TV and I knit. I talk on the phone with loved ones now and then. That's it. I don't really read much poetry these days and can't remember the last time I picked up a novel. This is just a read-free time of life. That's just the way it is right now, and it's okay.

With this practice of writing for the month of November, I was hoping to start a new kind of conversation. So many words just float around in my mind, escaping capture throughout the day. I'm fine with letting them go. On the other hand, there is still an unmet longing to be in conversation. So, I'm capturing a few of those words and putting them out here this month, seeing what will happen. I intend to have a conversation with you, so engage with me however is comfortable. Write a comment here or on facebook, send an email, call. I want a conversation, not a diary.

As a pastor, I remember the feeling of putting my words, thoughts and feelings out into the world each Sunday. I left the church feeling vulnerable and wondering what work (if any) my words would do in the world. Not knowing, trusting the people and being vulnerable were each part of the spiritual practice of pastoring for me. Even now, three years later, I'm processing my feelings about that experience. Blogging feels a little familiar to me - but with even less structure (and with an entirely different aim, probably).

Speaking of structure... I think I need some. Not too much, but just enough to get me through the month. SO... Sundays, I'll have a peek at the lectionary and write out some thoughts. Fridays, I'll share a photo with you of a moment I'm savoring. There will be a post about food during the week - maybe a success or failure in the kitchen, a new recipe I tried, or just thoughts about this challenging part of my housewifey life. There will be a "babybook" post each week that includes a few of Cordelia's milestones or moments I want to remember for her. And, of course, there will be plenty of sharing about mothering and probably too many baby stories. I hope that helps us!

I hope you enjoyed the ride this morning... silly stream of consciousness, I know. It is what I had to give this morning, so I hope you weren't bored/disappointed/will never read this page again. And now, on with the day!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

the soap mohawk

Yesterday, Cordelia and I reached a much longed-for milestone - the soap mohawk. Ever since she was teensy-weensy, I have been attempting to get her hair to stand up on top of her head with the aid of baby soap at bathtime. Until last night, her fluffy chick head just didn't have enough long hair to make it happen. After each evening's attempt, I would rinse her sweet head and move on. Last night, I called from the bathtub to Doug to GET THE CAMERA. It was a sweet moment, getting a picture of those curls of hair standing up on her head, just like I imagined they would. Cordelia seemed proud of herself, reflecting my pleasure in her smile.

Who knows why I have so looked forward to the soap mohawk? Maybe it is because of all the other little babies I tortured in the bathtub with this procedure. My little brother was probably my first victim, followed closely by all the other little sweeties I babysat for and loved.

Certain life moments have stood out for me as they have arrived in our life with Cordelia. It has sometimes surprised me which ones slide by with hardly a nod and which ones cause tears to well up in my eyes. Everybody says that the baby time flies by. I can not count the number of times I have been advised to, "Enjoy it while you can... before you know it she'll be off to college." Comments like that make me panic a little. And time does flow quickly by. I can hardly believe that Cordelia is nine months old already, that she sleeps through the night, and babbles and snuggles and smiles and has clear preferences for things. Certain things that she used to do constantly have faded into the past. New tricks emerge onto the scene daily, if not hourly. This constant change and letting go can act on a person like a whirlwind of grief. I can see why people are always warning me about the perils of the passage of time. But honestly, I'm doing pretty well with it. Rather than mourning each change like a loss, I'm savoring. I'm savoring the right now of our time together. I'm savoring Cordelia.

Many of you know that I looked forward to having a baby from the time I was a teenager. I knew I would be a mommy someday. I HAD TO be a mommy. Now that the time is here, I am savoring it. There are moments of challenge and struggle, fear and sadness, just like in any time of life. Savoring doesn't mean that there is nothing bad about this time, nor that I seek to enshrine these moments or hold myself in this place in time. I look forward to things as much as I ever did. I'm chock full of longing, just like always. What savoring means is that I'm trying to BE HERE NOW as much a possible. I'm trying to keep myself from being sidetracked by grieving what has just passed away or what is the next coming attraction. It feels like a spiritual practice, somehow. And, so far, I think it is shaping me into a pretty happy person.
Of course, now that we've achieved the soap mohawk, we will be doing it every single time we're in the bath. AND looking forward to clips and bows and braids and ponytails too.

Monday, November 1, 2010

just crazy enough

HELLO November!
So, I'm just snooping around the web and run into a post (from my friend Jen and her wonderful sister who I haven't met over at: about posting every day in November. I've been (secretly) seeking something to help get me moving and writing again. This is IT. I am just crazy enough to try to do this. November will be post-every-day month (for me). Yahooo! Welcome to November. Leave a comment and let me know you are following along - and feel free to snoop back through the meager offerings here to read what else I wrote back in the dark ages of 2008.
What habit might you establish for a month (this month or any month)?
See you soon!