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Archive for August, 2009

loopholes

We’re at the part of our regularly scheduled program where I start looking for loopholes.

Well, maybe not actively looking for loopholes, but today I thought one fell into my lap.  At church, Pastor Darren Whitehead talked about Matthew 7:7 – “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened to you.”

My ears perked up.  If asking was all it took then, man, I’ve been asking for a while.  Maybe I just need to remind God of what I want.  Maybe he just hasn’t heard what I was saying.  Maybe if I just reminded him of this verse, He’d say, “Oh, ok, that’s right, you got me, here you go!”

As with everything in life, context is just as important as content.

Matthew goes on to say, “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! ”

Parents do not seek to torment their children (well, bad jokes and green beans aside).  Matthew is right – parents do not substitute horrible things for healthy things simply to do harm to their children.  A rock instead of bread? A snake instead of fish?  What loving parent does that to their child?

Because God is my Father, then surely when I have asked him for a child, He is not substituting it with an empty womb just for jollies.  As a matter of fact, the last line of that scripture says that God our Father is even MORE generous than our earthly fathers.

So I come to a familiar place in my walk with God.  I am faced with two opposing ideas: either God is who He says He is and I am wrong, or God is NOT who He says He is and I am right.  In this particular case, the two options I was weighing were Option 1: God must not be a very good Heavenly Father OR Option 2: my brain cannot fathom the generosity of God.

Considering that so many things in my life bear witness to the great goodness of God and there is a 2,000+ year old book testifying to the grace and goodness of God, I have to say that Option 1 is not possible.  While I’d love to recount for you the many times I didn’t get what I wanted, each of those times is perfectly balanced with God providing something that I hadn’t considered – and it was infinitely better than what I thought I wanted.  And sometimes I didn’t get what I wanted just because it wasn’t good for me.  Like chocolate cake for breakfast.  Mmm.

Pastor Darren told a story about taking his 3 year old daughter to an apple orchard.  She immediately ran to the apples in the grass and picked them up and tried to eat them.  But the apples on the ground were rotten and wormy, and Pastor Darren took those apples away from her.  He lifted her up and showed her the fresh, ripe apples in the tree that were infinitely better than the rotting ones on the ground.

So often I forget to lift my eyes and see the better fruit that God has for me.  I am so focused on wanting an apple, I don’t consider anything else and run to the first rotting apples I see.  And that helped me see that Option 2 is the accurate view.

But the problem with Option 2 is that I want children so badly that it can be so hard to realize that God has a bigger vision for my life, a better view and a greater story to tell.  “What can be bigger, better, or even greater than having kids?” demands my temper tantrum throwing little self.

That just tells you how short-sighted and selfish I can be.

And the loophole closes.

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So I showed Frank my previous post.  He giggled.

As he read it, he giggled and repeated his own lines from the conversations.

And giggled harder.

  • Me: You really think you’re funny, don’t you?
  • Frank: (giggling) Yeah, I do.  Sadly, I am my own best friend. (giggling some more) ha ha ha – slow children – ha ha ha.  (shaking quietly on his side of the bed)  Ok, enough!

He’s still laughing.

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On our nightly ritual:

  • Frank: What time do you want to get up tomorrow?
  • Me: 6
  • Frank (leaning over to set the alarm, realizes the insanity of my request, narrows his eyes at me): C’mon Em, really? Really?
  • Me: 6:15
  • Frank: 7
  • Me: Frank, really, I’ll get up.  6:30.
  • Frank: 7
  • Me: 6:35.  And that’s my final answer.

On driving:

Scene: Frank is driving.  He is about to make a left turn, but hasn’t put his signal on yet or moved over.  In reality, he is going to make the turn just fine.  This is where I come in.

  • Me: (frantic) Left turn…. (and then remembering my manners) Please.
  • Frank: I know where I am going.   Remember how you were going to ask me “Do you know where you are going?” before you tell me where to go?
  • Me: Yes.
  • Me ( a few seconds later): Do you know where you are going?
  • Frank: YES!  We are going HOME.  This is our STREET.
  • Me: Oh, ok.  Cuz you didn’t get over, so I just thought you needed a reminder.  That’s our house on the left.

On sad one-liners:

Scene: driving past a “no outlet” sign.

  • Frank: Hey, you can’t plug in your hair dryer down there.
  • Me: Why?
  • Frank: Cuz they don’t have an outlet.  Get it? “No Outlet.”  You can’t–
  • Me: And we’re done.

Scene: driving past a “Slow Children Playing” sign

  • Frank: There are slow children playing here –
  • Me: Ok, enough.  Turn left! Please!

Scene: someone breaks suddenly in front of us.

  • Me: Frank! Stop!
  • Frank: Easy.  I got it.  Eyes down.  Why don’t you take a little nap?

On being panicked, looking for Frank’s log book

  • Frank: Emily, where is my log book?
  • Me: I don’t know.

– hours later, Frank finds the log book.

  • Frank: Emily, why was my log book with the Christmas decorations.
  • Silence
  • Silence
  • Me: Hmm.  I’m really not sure.  Did you put it there?
  • Frank: Emily. Who put away the Christmas decorations?
  • Me: I did.
  • Frank: So why did you put my log book in with the Christmas decorations?
  • Silence
  • Me: What was the question again?

On being sick.

Scene: The morning after Christmas.  I roll over to see Frank still sleeping, but I get the distinct sense that something is amiss.  What could it be?  I wander into the bathroom and see what I can only describe as a small disaster.  A bucket of – water? – next to the toilet.  And the shower curtain – is it? could it be? – might be stained.  I walk back into the bedroom and nudge Frank.

  • Me: Hey honey, what’s going on in the bathroom?
  • Frank: Yeah, I was going to tell you about that.  See, I got sick last night.
  • Me: (eyes narrowing) Ok.  What happened?
  • Frank: So I puked.  A lot.  And at about the sixth explosive vomiting wave, I lost control of my neck muscles.
  • Me: Ah.  So we need a new shower curtain?
  • Frank: Yeah, something like that.

Note on scene: this was the direct result of 3 lbs of prime rib and 1 lb of his mother’s peacans.  He can’t blame it on alcohol because, well, there just wasn’t any stomach space left for drinking at that point.

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give me Your heart

I think I am at the numb stage of this mess.  I am not crying about it whenever I think of it, but it almost doesn’t feel real.  A year ago, having children was a very real possibility, just on the horizon.  We were working to position ourselves financially, geographically, emotionally and mentally for the prospect of having children.

The possibilities were endless.

When we started trying, I started thinking about the possible due dates.  I would calculate the new due date, just in case that month worked.  A baby in September of 2009 was the first due date I calculated.

That is next month.

And I don’t say that as a “Next month is going to be a mess emotionally, so stay away” kind of warning (although, I might be a mess next month – I make no promises).  I say it as a way of marking time.

Then, now, and the space in between.

I was hopeful that when we went to Vegas, that when we came home, we’d be expecting a baby.  May 14th would have been the due date.  When I started to get hopeful, I thought about how wonderful it would be for a new baby and Frank to share the same birthday month.  Especially if we had a little boy.

When we started this journey, this hope for a baby was wide and vast and full.

And as the days and weeks and months ticked by, possibility was replaced by reality.

What is.

It is SO tempting for me to think about what could have been.

But what is the use of that?

There is only what was, what is and what will be.

And there is still hope, hope placed in a future and born out of the past and present.  Not hope placed in the woulda, coulda, shouldas.  Real hope.  Paul in the Bible says, perseverance in difficult times builds character and character gives us hope.

We talked tonight about the evidence of God in our lives.  I look at my life and I see God’s hand  moving in my life – sometimes vibrantly, sometimes quietly.

Being a mom isn’t about being able to bear biological children.  It’s about the act of mothering, nurturing, growing, building and loving.

And being a follower of Jesus is about loving as He loved.

When I left Bible Study tonight, there was a song playing on The Mix and the lyrics of the song were:

Give me your eyes!
Lord give me your eyes!
Everything I keep missing.
Give me your arms!
For the broken hearted!
Give me your arms
Lord, give me your eyes.
(Brendan Heath, Give Me Your Eyes)

That song met me right where I was at, right at that moment.  It’s about me (you, everyone) being after God’s heart.  Loving as He loves.  Being heartbroken for the things that break His heart. Celebrating the things He celebrates.  Greiving what He greives.

I have a long way to go.

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My brother Andy called me at work, very upset.

Andy is the Dali Lama of rock ‘n roll.  This kid usually doesn’t get bugged by much.  He loves cheese.  He loves cheese like the sea loves water and the sky loves blue.  He is one with the cheese, all mellow and melty.  Sure, sometimes he gets a bit crunchy when fired up, but generally, this kid is a happy camper.

So when Andy gets upset about something (aside from there being no cheese to eat), I tend to listen.

“You are not going to believe this,” he said.  Drama.

“What? What happened?” I asked.

“That stupid dog.”

“Did you back over him on the drive way?”

“No. I dropped mom and dad off [he told me where, but I can’t remember], and they brought the dog and he PUKED on my passenger seat. PUKED.”

sarah and charlieCharlie, the dog, is a little King Charles Spaniel (or whatever he is) and he belongs to our sister Sarah.  He has this face that makes me want to snuggle with him all day long, but then he does the most atrocious things, like, for example, puke in my brother’s car.  And poop outside our bedroom door.  And eat the crotches out of dirty panties left on the floor, in open suitcases or in laundry baskets he can get into.

So while he is cute, his stock is on the low side with the family.

And puking in Andy’s brand new car, well, let’s just say his stock was downgraded to whatever is just above junk status.

“Well, the good news is that you can just wipe it out,” I told Andy.  Smart guy got the leather seats.

“Oh – it won’t stain it?”

“Not if you wipe it out.  But if you want to make sure that it doesn’t happen again, back over the dog with the car*.”

“I might.” Big sigh. Drama averted.  If the puke stained, I think he might have considered having an “accident” with the dog.

“Don’t worry Andy, I won’t tell anyone.”

*There were no animals injured or legitimately threatened in the making of this blog post.  I cannot confirm or deny that the above conversation actually took place.  I’m just saying that it might have happened.  I am sure that Charlie will live to eat the crotches out of a lot more underwar.  Godspeed, Charlie.

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Well, with a force that my body has not demonstrated in years, my period started again.

It was not the miracle I was expecting.

I fought back tears for a little bit in the bathroom at work and then I put on my happy face and went back to work.

What can I do about it anyway?

There is no use in wallowing, but man – this is tough crap.  I think that when Paul wrote to rejoice in our trials and suffering, this is what he was talking about.  When he said rejoice, did he mean crawl in bed and hide under the covers for a few days?  Cuz man, that is about as much rejoicing as I am able to do do right now.

But: When I look back at the person that I was just a decade ago and the person that God is shaping me to be, through the difficult circumstances and heart ache that we experienced, I believe that it is some kind of miracle.  Glory belongs to God, regardless of my circumstance.  Because of Him, this kind of empty heartache ends here on earth and is replaced with the fullness of joy we can have in Him in heaven. 

Praise God that He is a long term visionary. 

He knew that this day would happen and He paved a path for me that gives me hope in what feels like a hopeless situation.  Despite the bad test results last week and no pregnancy today, I know that there is hope.  And not necessarily that I believe that there is hope for a child (although I do hope for children), but a bigger hope for a future that is greater than this moment.  Our fertility (or infertility) may be a situation affects me, but it will not be a situation that defines me.

So I may be sad right now, because well, this is a sad time.  But I will not be sad forever.  God may not promise children to me, but He did promise salvation if I believe.

That’s a pretty sweet miracle.

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vegas

We interrupt our regularly scheduled emotional roller coaster for a brief recap of our adventures in Vegas.

Day 1:

My mom arrived at 6:15 a.m. to take me to the airport.  She’s a peach.  She watched me give myself my trigger shot and then helped me wipe off the dripping blood and gently confirmed that I gave myself the shot in the vein and “man, it’s already bruising!”  Awesome. Uneventful (blood-free) time at the airport.  Had a snack.  Got on the plane.  Mechanical issue.  Lovely. Had some soda (delish).  Arrived in Vegas.

First of all, Vegas wants your money.  If you didn’t know that about Vegas, they make it apparent the minute you step off of the plane.  “Emmmmily – oh, Emmmmmily!  Come play our slots!  Your bags are going to take a while – have  a seat, get out some quarters and let the good times roll!”

My will power was too much for them.  I walked past the slot machines with hardly a backward glance.  Hardly.

I picked up my bags at the carousel, called Frank and got on a shuttle to the Bellagio.  Arrived at the Bellagio, found husband, changed, went on a mission for food.  Emily was VERY hungry.  Mmmm.

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Then we proceeded to walk most of the strip, all the way up to the Venetian.  This is one place where one block of walking equals 12 blocks.

We saw 10,234 slot machines on our little adventure.

The below picture is us being awesome at the Venetian.

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The nice thing about the Venetian: indoors and air conditioned.  Dry heat is still heat, my friends.  Don’t give me crap about dry heat when it is 105 degrees outside.  Heat is heat.

I was glowing (or perspiring like a mo-fo).

After our sweaty trek, we went back to the hotel and got ready for dinner.  Because we are connoisseurs of the buffet, we were naturally looking forward to tables and tables of meat and cheese and other delightful confections.  First stop: the Wynn Buffet.

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This picture is me trying not to be too obvious about how hungry I am.  This is at the atrium of the Wynn hotel.  It was my favorite hotel in Vegas, hands down.

And this picture, well, this is me preparing to eat my husband for dinner.  And I don’t mean it like that.  Well, maybe I do.  You tell me: is this a “come hither” look or is it a “I want my dinner” look?
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Finally, after 45 minutes of hoping and dreaming and praying that we would one day be at the front of the line – we were!  Eureka!

Our delight over our first meal resulted in two of the only food photos of the trip, but I am not going to post those here.  I don’t want anyone to be jealous (and also, Frank didn’t upload them to our Flickr account – dirty!!)

Then we walked back from the Wynn and decided to try to take in a very scandelous free show outside of Treasure Island.  Lots of gyrating female and male dancers in skimpy clothing.  Good thing people brought their kids.  “Hey kids, look what you can be when you grow up!”  Awesome.

Anyway – here is me outside of the Wynn.  Love. It.

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And ladies, don’t get jealous – he is all mine:
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Then we stopped at the Bellagio to take in the famous fountain display. For a desert, that sure was a lot of water.

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And then… bed time.  Cuz we party like rockstars, yo.

Day 2:

Got up, tried to go for a run.  While Vegas is a town that accepts only beautiful people (naturally attained or otherwise), they sure don’t want to do a lot to help you get beautiful.  Because when you are running on a treadmill, you can’t play the slots.  And if you are not drinking or gambling, they are not making money.

What I am trying to say is that the fine folks at the Bellagio wanted us to pay $50 for both of us to use their fine workout facilities.

No. Thanks.

Instead, I opted to sit at the pool and consider life. And read a saucy romance novel.

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And here we are together, hanging out by the pool. Frank is trying not to angry about the lack of frosty beverages in his hand.
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Once we were finished with being awesome poolside, we decided to enjoy yet another buffet. Mmmm.

And then we walked the strip.  In the Dry Heat.  Not so dry when you’re sweating through your socks, though.

Which leads us to Caesar’s Palace.  “Caesar, let’s go that way!” “No, Frank and Emily, let’s go THAT way!” Well, the Roman empire is no more, so I guess we all know how it turned out. Should have listened to us, Mr. Caesar.

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Frank asked the Egyptian Santa for a flat screen TV for Christmas. We will see if Egyptian Santa delivers.   (I’m not betting on it – he looked a little shady)

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And then, in the middle of the desert, we have the NYC skyline:
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Later that night, after I showered (again), we went out to the Palms.  The Palms was very cool.  We went up to the Playboy Club (which was more tame (visually speaking) than any of the casino bars, by far) and had a cocktail.  Then we headed over to the other tower of the Palms and went up to the Ghostbar, which was Frank’s favorite bar of all.  He was giddy with excitement.  Giddy.  I’m not kidding.  Have you ever seen Frank giddy?  Well, I have.  This is what it looks like:

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I know. I wish he’d just calm down.
And here are more pics of Vegas from that night:
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Day 3
The Grandest Canyon of them all. And probably the best day of our trip. I loved, loved, loved it. Except for the part where I almost puked. And the part where we got stuck in the rain. But whatever – a small price to pay, in my opinion.  I’d do it all over again (but with an umbrella).

Our airplane:
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The Hoover Dam (ha ha):
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A view from the ground:
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“Emily, look off into the distance at the other side of the Grand Canyon, really feel it. Work it. Noice.”
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We were RIGHT. THERE. We were here, and the Grand Canyon was right THERE. Whoa.
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Oh, and then it rained.
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But the storms made for some cool views on the way back.
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Tired, mostly dry (but a little wet), we made our way back to our hotel.

Because seeing one of the most magnificient wonders of God’s creation wasn’t enough for one day, we also went to see Cirque du Soleil’s “O”. “O” is the phonetic speaking of the french word “Eau” which means “water.” (Not sure why I used all the quotes, but really – if you stayed with me this long, you probably don’t care. You probably just want me to end this torturous play-by-play of our vacation and put you out of your misery. Quotes are the least of your problems if you made it this far.) Anyway, the point being, the stage was water. Or, more accurately, it was a pool with an adjustable floor that went up and down depending on the scene.

“O” reminded me of two things: 1) I am not flexible. The most daring feat I accomplish is touching my toes. Touching my toes while balancing on the forehead of a woman who is balancing all of her weight on her big toe, which is securely placed on a trapeze – well, that’s why they made the Darwin Awards. 2) I am a spoiled brat. After the first two amazing sequences where people were swinging through the air, attached to another human being by only the friction created by their leg hair and their abnormally strong big toes, I started to be less impressed with, say, diving off of a several story platform, into a pool of water. I can barely bring myself to jump into a pool from the side, much less a diving board SEVERAL stories in the air.

My own personal guilt aside, it was a beautiful show. I really enjoyed it.

Day 4:

Went home.

***

And I’m spent.  Thanks for reading about our Vegas adventure!

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