Saturday, July 6, 2013

Update From Your Friendly Neighborhood City Girl

Hey, all. Just thought I'd check in to the land of the living and give those interested a brief update. :)

I just went to the local farmers' market for the first time. There's something so refreshing about the atmosphere of a farmers' market. It gives you a feeling of simultaneous touristic novelty and civic familiarity. That is, until you ask one of the vendors if they take credit cards, like I did. Then you just feel like a typical clueless city-goer.

The last two weeks have been busy and pleasant. Due to the fact I'm an introvert, I have been feeling very fatigued though everything that's happened has been good. My parents visited us in NC for the first time June 16 through 22, and a few days after that, Ellie and I flew to Norman for a week to attend Laura Piersall's baby shower and visit friends. Seeing old friends greatly uplifted me! As I explained to Chris, by the end of the week I was ready to come home, but not to leave my friends behind. Would that I could take them all with me to Wake Forest, but alas, we cannot always get what we want.

Ellie did great on the plane, in case you were wondering how that went. I tell you, the girl gets more attention from random strangers than the Kardashians get from the tabloids. I guess that's what happens when you're the cutest possible baby of all possible worlds. I often wonder if that will cause a struggle for her if and when a second child comes along. If it does, that could actually be good, since don't we all have to learn at some point that the world doesn't revolve around us?

Also: Ellie is turning into an adorable girly-girl, which makes me mentally giggle with glee . She has recently realized (thanks to Laura), that headbands are pretty decorations for your hair. Therefore, she will incline her head if you hold out a headband to her, and try to put it on herself if you give it to her. She also learned how to brush her hair just by watching me. She's a smart cookie, that one!

Due to the visits and travels, I haven't written anything in a little while. I have, however, been tossing around a few projects in my head. Remember how I wanted to write a systematic theology book for teenage girls? Well, that is morphing into a desire to write a devotional, instead - a hermeneutically sound devotional that doesn't take one verse out of its context in order to make a point (albeit a good point). It is an attainable goal, and will challenge me in many ways - not only in writing, but in prayer and Bible study as well.

I'm also developing ideas for fantasy novel no. 2. Having a blank slate is incredibly freeing and refreshing. There are so many themes and scenes and characters bouncing around in my head waiting to be given life, be thrown out, or be modified and filed away for a later time.

I've read two very good nonfiction books this summer - "When People are Big and God is Small," by Welch, and "Love to Eat, Hate to Eat," by Fitzpatrick. I highly recommend the former to all Christians, particularly those who find that the fear of man (or, to put it euphemistically, "people-pleasing") characterizes the majority of their interactions with the world and others.

I urge anyone woman who struggles with either under- or over-eating - whether out of bad habit or an actual eating disorder/mental and emotional struggle - to read Fitzpatrick's "Love to Eat, Hate to Eat." As someone who has historically struggled with disordered eating and still often with disordered thinking, if you will, I found this book to be the piercing sword of truth I needed to make my heart feel the weight of the wrongness of my physical and mental habits. The author is dead-on about the root of the problem and the source of the solution. It is no surprise that this - the most "spiritual" advice I've read about the topic - has ended up being the most practical advice, as well. If you want to ask more on the topic, please feel free to contact me!

Well, there's a bit of my life in a nice little nutshell. I hope to hear from you, dear reader, in a comment, email, or whatever else you feel like. Until next time.

Monday, April 29, 2013

N to the C

Hello, friends all. I just realized I've been so caught up in the steady, sometimes mind-numbing, thrum of life - and have focused on my writing blog when I've had the inkling to blog at all - that I've neglected to write here. And that is my loss! Coming back to this blank page makes me realize how much I like to simply blog about life. There's a beautiful simplicity about the day-to-day that's not to be underestimated.

I was inspired to return by one of my dearest friends, Megan. Her most recent posts concern Facebook, and how it affects our perception of ourselves and our lives. Check it out, if you have the inclination!

What's been going on in the good ol' Krychocosm? Well, we moved to North Carolina. I guess that's kind of a big deal. Actually, it's almost the end of Chris' first semester at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Unsurprisingly, it's been fun and not too difficult for him, since he likes to write and read about theology in his spare time, anyway. There are certainly worse problems to have.

Of course, this threw somewhat of a wrench in my emotional machinery for a bit. Since Chris is working part-time from home and doing school, his schedule is fairly flexible. He's at home quite a bit, albeit working. So, I find it all too easy to try interact with him as if he isn't working. This was especially true after we first arrived here, since I was still adjusting and clinging to the familiar like flotsam in a shipwreck. I've gotten much better about respecting his space since then. After all, he's working hard for Ellie and me - to provide for us. I try to remember this when I feel the sinful resentment kicking in. I have to remind myself that he's not working because it's the most fun thing ever and he'd rather do that than spend time with me. He does enjoy work, but he does it for a God-ordained reason, and that is worthy of great respect.

Deer in the front of our townhouse - a regular occurrence.
Our sweet Elayne Kaylee is ELEVEN MONTHS OLD. Unreal! Her steady growth has afforded me all kinds of new domestic opportunities that seem a bit strange, at a glance. For example: I just pulled a whole squash out of the oven. It's for Ellie's baby food, but still. That may not strike you as odd, but baking whole squashes never struck me as something I would be doing as a function of motherhood. Her increasing mobility has afforded her all kinds of new opportunities for facial expressions, including the impish lip-quirk that indicates she did something she wasn't supposed to, and the bright-eyed grin with lifted chin that shows she is proud of a new skill she was able to showcase.
Proud of herself for eating a banana with her hands for the first time.

Behold, my beautiful squash.
As for me, well, this has been a period of rapid growth. As I described to a friend, there are those times in life when you go from slow and steady sanctification to a sudden leap that forces you to grow in some crazy ways at what feels like lightning speed. In reality, it's as fast as it needs to be, and there's more than enough grace to go around when it happens...but for awhile, you just feel a little bit bonkers, especially (I imagine) if you're a methodical, checklist-y person like myself.

This transition has brought sins and insecurities to the surface, forcing me to deal with them. The feeling of disorientation that came with moving caused me to cling especially tightly to the Lord, for which I am so thankful. Also, our new church has a reverence and passion for the holiness and glory of God that has challenged me right down to my bones. The clear exposition of Scripture has been nothing less than I suppose it always is and must be. The Lord has used our pastor, Dr. Andy Davis, to address difficult issues from Scripture, and I've come out the other side knowing and loving the character of our awesome God more.

So there it is, in a nutshell (or a maybe a squash rind). Hopefully, I'll update here more frequently so that those who care can learn more about what's going on with us than what Facebook statuses indicate.   Hope you're well, dear reader. By all means, leave me a comment telling me something going on with you.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Contemplations of a Young Mom, First Part

If I build my parenting around ways I can make Ellie like me more, I'm doing it wrong.

Maybe that seems obvious, but this very problem did not come about loudly, but subtly and quietly. Oftentimes, especially when Ellie was between 3 and 6 months and began to show personality and preference, I found myself feeling jealous of Ellie's affection and attention. "She seems to like this person more than me," I would think, or, "Why does it seems like she's happier with (insert name) than with me?"

While I, at first, battled these thoughts with the self-provided assurance that "no one can replace Mom," I began to realize that I was merely dealing with the symptoms and not the disease by doing so. I asked myself, what will it look like when Ellie is, say, 13, and has a favorite female mentor she tends to confide in more than me? Will I feel resentful towards my own daughter? Towards the mentor? Will I make desperate attempts to be more fun, or funnier, or more interesting, in order to draw my child's attention back to me?

I didn't want to be that woman. I wanted to love Ellie, love her well. And though I began to tell myself, "I only feel this way because I love Ellie so much," it brought me to the question: What do I consider love? Vying for Ellie's attention isn't acting out of love - it's acting out of insecurity. That's not how I want to parent.

So, what do I consider "love?" Well, what does Christ's love look like? Sacrifice, patience, care, and compassion, despite whether the person receiving those things would end up following him beyond the grave or deserting him at their first glance of the horror of Calvary. Christ's love didn't look to what he'd receive from the sacrifice. It looked to how to obey the Father. So should my love for my daughter, and any future children should God grant them to me, look - never expecting or exacting a reward for my faithfulness as a mother, but simply growing more in Christlikeness, for that is what God calls me to.

As Rachel Jankovic -  a Christian writer and mother I much admire - comments, writing about this lesson does not mean I have checked or could justify checking it off my sanctification list. These things I write about - these are the daily battles I fight. Chances are that if I feel like I have it down one day, I'll be struggling like crazy the next. Let us pray for one another, that we fight these battles better each time they come around by throwing ourselves upon God's grace. Amen.