Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Happy Birthday, Ella!

Two years ago on November 7th, Ella descended into our lives with all of the beauty, splendor, and brilliance of an autumn tree shedding its color-infused leaves.



Happy 2nd Birthday, my sweet autumn child, my treasured daughter. You are loved, deeply & dearly.

Monday, November 06, 2006


I'm proud of me. Today I put Miss Ella down for her nap, turned the ringers off on every phone in the house, closed my email and internet applications, and WROTE for 2 1/2 hours straight. Right now I have 8 pages knocked off of what must become a 25-35 page writing sample for my application for entrance into a program leading to an MFA in Creative Writing! That's right folks, family & friends- I am finally biting the proverbial bullet. Ella is old enough to endure my absence during a handful of on-campus intensives, and the prospect of more babies will be on hold (barring the Lord's supernatural intervention!) until both Robert and I have completed our Master's programs- his in Non-Profit Management, and mine in Creative Writing. Write on!

A Word

Just a quick note to let everyone know that no, I am in fact not working. Yes, I got a job. Yes, I showed up for 2 days, and even a 3rd, on which I informed my supervisors that the position (one consisting largely of MATH) was not for me.

Also for the record, the math factor was not presented during the interview process....so no, I did not know what I was getting into. No, I did not accept a job I knew I would not be able to endure.

Yes, I left on good terms. Yes, Ella and I are back on the homefront. No, I am not without a plan. Yes, a post with more information is soon to follow.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Getting Off Easy Here

Here are two EXCELLENT articles on punishment vs. discipline, and grace-based, non-punitive parenting. I'm aware that I am completely taking the easy way out this time- but Ashley stated her (and our family's) case so well, that for now I'm just going to piggy-back off of her.

Happy reading, folks.


Imagine this ...

Walking into a little white church, a man stumbles across the lobby and struggles with his sinful nature. He enters the pastor's counseling office tearfully seeking guidance. After hearing of the man's inability to cope with his own humanity, the pastor orders the man to lean over his desk with his palms down on the lemony 'Endust'-scented wood. The pastor then pulls out a mahogany offering plate and begins to beat the sinner across the back. "This", says the man of God, "will help you to think before you drink again!"

Or, how about this scenario:

A young mother of three is having a lousy day. The demands of the home are overwhelming, she has a terrible headache, and her husband walks through the door and makes an unrealistic demand on her. She bursts into exhausted tears and retorts with angry words...so her husband calmly whips off his belt and begins to lash her bare legs, punishing her for her disrespectful attitude. She begs him to stop with mascara streaming down her face, but he persists, insisting that her pain is "for her own good." He then prays with his wife, asking God to forgive her sin.

Outrageous! Unmerciful! Unkind! Abusive!!

And yet this is how many of the smallest members of Jesus' precious flock are treated on a daily basis.

Jesus' blood was offered for every one of us, from the greatest to the least. The law was a light exposing every sin, but it did absolutely nothing to atone for those sins. Even the slaughter of animals was only a shadow of the grace that was to come. His blood and grace set us free! Totally free from the fear of punishment, totally free from the condemnation that burdened our souls.

"For God did not send His Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world through him might be saved." The gospel of John, 3.17

He didn't see us as candidates for hell. He saw children all born with a disease: sin. We could
somewhat control it on our "good" days, we could try to hide it and appear well, or we could totally succumb to it when we were too weak to fight anymore...but we all have it. He came as our doctor, not as our judge. He came to put on the same filthy rags we wore and say, "Watch and learn, guys. This is how you can lick this. And, by the way, even on your weak days, you don't need to throw in the towel, because I already defeated death for you. Follow me!"

"For we don't have a High Priest who can't be touched by the feeling of our infirmities, but one who has been in all points tempted like we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore draw near with boldness to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace for help in time of need." Hebrews 4.15, 16

If Christ has the grace and patience to gently guide and discipline us, prodding us, teaching us, showing us, allowing us to experience the direct consequences of our mistakes and picking us up when we fail...why can't we do the same for our children?

Why should anyone be considered weak who chooses to walk alongside their children and teach them rather than spanking them? (Teaching is certainly a lot more work than spanking. Perhaps we sometimes chose this because of our own lack of self discipline?) Why is pain needed to teach them how to follow our Shepherd? Didn't Christ take our punishment?

But punishment works! Yes, it does. People who are afraid of being struck by someone bigger than them are generally very compliant. And abused dogs cower with one stern look, and battered women try very hard to please their partners. But what pattern does this set up for the child? Obedience out of fear of punishment.

This is exactly why Christ came into the world. He came to do away with legalism and fear, and replace it with the kind of free life that enables people follow him with a full heart motivated by love. He freed us up to make mistakes, accept his grace, and wholeheartedly chase after holiness and true compassion for our fellowman. Our motivation for obedience doesn't have to be fear anymore!

2 Timothy 1.7- "For God doesn't give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of self-discipline."

Instead of motivating our children to obedience through fear of punishment, we can learn to equip them with the tools they need to discipline themselves. (HUGE difference between discipline and punishment, by the way. Punishment is forcing someone to pay retribution for their wrongdoing. Discipline is actively discipling someone and instructing them in something.)

We have such a unique opportunity as parents! We, who know all too well the struggle with our own human nature, can walk alongside our little ones, saying, "This is how I deal with this!" "Try this, instead" or "This is how God helps me with this problem". Rather than punishing (which is completely unneeded, thanks to Christ's sacrifice! Thank you Lord!), we can help our children learn to control themselves with a spirit of gentleness and love. What a chance of a lifetime!

Do I expect my girls to learn to obey? Abso-stinkin'-lutely. Do I realistically expect them to be able to control themselves all the time as children? Nope. (Man, I'm an adult, and I still mess up on a regular basis.) It's my job to teach them how to control themselves, and guide them towards healthy adulthood.

My goal for them as adults is love of God, kindness, and humble obedience to their Savior. Whether they are always "little ladies/gentlemen" isn't the issue. Whether they're "well-behaved" isn't the issue. I'm much more concerned about them eventually learning to be considerate and compassionate towards their fellowman for the right reasons, rather than being merely polite at the age of three because they fear a spanking.

They're going to mess up. My prayer is that eventually, they will willingly offer themselves as bond servants to Christ out of sheer love of the God-man, rather than fear that He will punish them if they don't.

Because punishment and fear of punishment is missing the whole point of following Christ.

"By this God's love was revealed in us, that God sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent His son as the atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Beloved, if God loved us in this way, we also ought to love one another.

In this love has been made perfect among us, that we have boldness on the day of judgement, because as He is, even so are we in this world.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out all fear, because fear has to do with punishment. He who fears is not made perfect in love.

We love Him, because He first loved us."

(The first letter from John, 4.9,10,11,17,18)


To discipline a child is not the same thing as punishing. Much confusion arises in this area of child rearing, because in Christian culture in the past 30 years, these two ideas have been equated.

Punishing a child focuses on the negative behavior and requires some kind of physical or emotional pain from the child. Examples of punishment would be spanking or some removal of emotional availability.

Parental discipline does not equal punishment. It means teaching the child and gently leading them towards the example of Jesus. No beating required.

Is parental authority God-given? You betcha! But it's not the kind of authority that demands to be recognized. It's the authority Christ modeled for us-gently correcting, appropriately rebuking, leading, illustrating, sheltering, and giving fully of ourselves. And patiently, consistently repeating that as many times as need be. We're given authority not to control our children's behavior, but to gradually teach them how to handle their own sinful nature and internalize godly morals. And that takes time.

The problem with punishment is that it addresses behavior instead of the heart. While spanking your child may produce faster results, those results are out of fear of punishment. The motivator for "good" behavior isn't love or kindness, or even respect for others. It's fear of pain.

Children aren't born with morals. In order for a child to internalize the positive reason why she should act a certain way (out of kindness, compassion, principle), she must be given the opportunity to fail and try again and again, all the while being gently and firmly prodded and guided towards right action. If physical violence is used to discourage a "misbehavior", then avoiding a punishment will be the child's main motivator for acting right. The imprint of pain caused by trusted adult is indelible. The child's moral development is somewhat arrested, because they carry the fear of shame/punishment into adulthood with them as their primary motivator for good behavior.

Related to this is the fear of losing love because of bad behavior. (Also a terrible reason to "act good".) No matter how many times a parent says, "This is for your own good" or "I'm doing this because I love you", what the child carries away with them is, I never want to do that again because I hate being hurt by my parent, and I hate disappointing them so.

The punished child responds with obedience stemming from the fear of displeasing his/her parents. They learn that acting "good" means being loved, and acting bad means withdrawal of love. As sons and daughters of God, are we not to extend God's unconditional forgiveness and love to each other? (And who are we, by the way, to play God and demand painful payment for sin when Christ has already taken the blame?)

From an immature child's perspective, what is punishment teaching them? What lesson do they really walk away with?

Teaching a child that a moment of weakness warrants corporal punishment sets them up for abuse and an unhealthy understanding of God and others later on in life. Thinking patterns established early on in life die hard, or not at all.

Here's what I mean. As a child grows to adulthood, in order for him to function in a healthy way within relationships, it is paramount for him to establish healthy boundaries for his own person and to respect the boundaries of others. Spanking completely undermines the idea of respecting his own boundaries from his earliest memory.

Spanking a child when he fails teaches him that his failing deserves a punishment.
It also teaches him that it's OK to punish others when they fail you.
How will that look when it plays out in his marriage? Friendships?

Spanking a child teaches him that when you get caught, you get hurt. Lesson? Don't get caught.

Spanking a child communicates that love and physical safety are conditional. If you mess up in a relationship, it stops being loving and safe. How will this effect his ability to be open and honest?

Spanking teaches a child that if she displeases someone else, her physical boundaries don't have to be respected. How will this look when she's dating an abusive guy? Married to an abuser?

Spanking tells the child that in order to be "cleared" from an offense, it must be punished. How does that effect his understanding of God's grace?

"This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you" communicates to the child, "You're making me hurt you. I wish I didn't have to, but you've forced me." I shiver while thinking of how many woman have used the idea that they're responsible for their own abuse as an excuse to stay in a destrictive relationship.

Please, dear ones, understand that I would never accuse any well-meaning parent of purposefully harming their child. Unfortunately, intentionally or not, spanking is damaging. The good news is that Christ is the inventor of new beginnings. The past is the past, and we can only be responsible for the present. God's grace is sufficiant for us, and for our children!

So, is it possible to maintain godly authority within the home without corperal punishment? Yes, it is!

I love this quote from Corrie ten Boom (the christian woman who survived the Ravensbruck prison for hiding Jews in her family's home..her family is an amazing testimont to grace and forgiveness):

"...we were disciplined without spanking. I cannot remember being paddled as a child, but there was no doubt in our family that we were to obey Father...We never spoke of "line of authority in our home-it was simply understood. Father didn't have to stand up and say, "I'm the head of this home!" He just was. We never felt any desire to have it any other way, because love and security of all our relationships were built upon the established fact that God was always with us, and He had appointed Casper ten Boom in charge of the home called Beje."
-Corrie ten Boom, In my Father's House

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Home again

Hello to everyone, and thank you for your prayers. I spent the night in the hospital, losing my lunch over and over, while having nourishment pumped back into my body via IV fluids. I'm now taking a prescription medicine to curb any stomach bleeding, but the doctors seem to think that the bleeding was probably brought on by the "trauma" of vomiting, and did not precede my illness. What caused the violent illness seems to be anyone's guess- ranging anywhere from a nasty virus to the possibility of salmonella food poisoning (which is apparently making rounds on the east coast, now originating with lettuce and/or tomatoes). I appreciate your continued prayers as I find myself at home and on the mend. Thank you again for your prayers on my behalf!

Monday, October 30, 2006

PLEASE, PLEASE pray for me

I have fallen violently ill today and am vomiting blood. Please pray for me- I'm headed to the hospital, and I'm scared to death...

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Ovations Salon and Spa


Robert calls this my "feisty" haircut :) After growing my hair out for an updo in my sister's wedding I was feeling antsy. All in all, I think I'm a short hair girl. Today marked my first cut with Jennie at Ovations Salon and Spa, in the Northern Liberties section of Philly. Lucky for me she rocks, and so my short-lived search for a stylist is over. Standing ovation, anyone? ;) Posted by Picasa

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Wow. Just WOW.

Yeah, so I'm pretty sure that this little piece of information will be equally startling, alarming and offensive to pretty much all of my friends, not just those of the Anabaptist/Pacifist persuasion.

If you can't tell by the title of this post alone, I'm sitting here at my desk, (while Ella naps and my homemade pizza dough rises), shaking my head in utter disbelief. Well, disappointment anyway.

"Blessed are the peacemakers." -Jesus Christ
Amen and amen.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Good Friday

I hope it's not some sort of sacrilege to say that today, for me, is doubly good.

It is a Good Friday (capital "G") for all of the obvious and Holy reasons. I do not take this lightly, or for granted. Ella is taking a much-needed nap, and so Robert and I are attending our church's Good Friday Vigil (Stations of the Cross) in shifts. We'll pay 2 tolls today to cross into the city, so that we can each take time to grieve and rejoice over the sufferings of our Savior, in which we are so privileged to share. In which we find our justice, our purpose, and our hope for glory.

I hope that having given our full attention to the Lord's incarnation and desecration, and having firmly rooted our hope in the impending resurrection, that it will not grieve the Spirit when we spend our evening in pursuits far less spiritually attuned.

I am upstairs, at my desk, and yet am having no trouble making out each throbbing, passionate lyric as it pours forth from Patty Griffin's lips, and out through the speakers in the living room. The music soaks into the walls of my home, traveling up the stairs and seeping into my bones, an experience that is neither novel or unfamiliar. All morning I have been trembling with anticipation. My Friday is made good in so many ways, not least of which is the Patty Griffin performance I'll be attending tonight with Robert, and our friend Adam. It's been several years since I paid to hear Patty Griffin play in an intimate room at 3rd & Lindsley, and since I didn't pay to hear her at Dancin' In the District. It's been even more years since I was first introduced to her in a tiny little office in Houston, Texas, by a tiny (and charming) little Texan.

And so, on this Good Friday, I give thanks, in this particular order:

Thanks be to God who sent Christ Jesus to be my shepherd and the lamb of sacrifice. Help me to embrace the mystery of salvation, the promise of life rising out of death. Help me to hear the call of Christ and give me the courage to follow it readily that I, too, may lead others to you.

Thanks to Patty Griffin for coming to New Jersey, and to the Camden County Board of Freeholders and the Scottish Rite Auditorium for making it happen.

And finally, thanks Jenni Simmons for the introduction.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, March 20, 2006

The Verdict Is In

Yours truly has just been "crowned" Barrington's first ever "Community Center Director"!!!!!!!!!!!! After interviewing for the part-time position on Friday, I received a phone call first thing this morning, serving up the job offer on a proverbial silver platter. I really could not be more thrilled!

I'd been chasing down potential employment opportunities for a few months, and in the midst of it all something dropped into my lap that seemed almost too perfect.....While reading our Borough's Community Paper I came across a small add for a 20-Hour/week Community Center Director position for the town's brand new Youth Center. With a significant background in youth work, and with particular experience in building a youth program from the ground up, I applied. I felt good about it for a million reasons, not least of which is that I really believe in contributing to my community, in some tangible way, other than through the payment of rather exorbitant property taxes. Wink, wink.

I interviewed on Friday, felt confident in the aftermath, and as I already mentioned, the official offer rolled in with the tide of 9-5ers at the Municipal building this Monday morning. The pay is good, the municipal building is a 2 minute walk from my front door, and the hours are such that I will have no need of outside childcare for Ella. I'll be working a few evenings a week out of the house, supervising programming at the Youth Center, during which time Robert will watch Ella. And about 10 hours a week I'll be planning, promoting, and performing other administrative tasks (such as researching available grants, etc.)- FROM HOME!!!! Assignments I can easily complete during the 2 hours a day that Ella naps!

Furthermore, the position is brand new, which is why it's part-time. But the Director of Recreation talks about the growth of the program heralding in the evolution of the position to full-time, as the program and budget expand. (Which would likely coincide almost directly with Ella starting school in a few years!!!!)

I am so excited, speechless, and blessed by this opportunity! Thanks for letting me share. Grin. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, March 11, 2006

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood

I am almost afraid that by blogging about our beautiful weather, I will jinx it- send it back into hiding, and thereby be forced to bid it farewell. What a splendid and springlike day we enjoyed, this second Saturday in March!! We awoke to drunken sunshine, blissful breezes, and the static of Spring in the air...After mugs of coffee consumed and clean diapers donned, we made our way outside. It was a day to get our hands dirty!

We moved into our home in November, amidst the scene of leaves falling, and crunching brown beneath our shoed feet. In that cool month and those to follow, we concerned ourselves with the interior. We broke out gallons of paint, in shades of Ryegrass, French Roast, Teacup, and Plum Dandy, and buried ourselves beneath the work of refinishing floors, and rearranging furniture. We snuggled beneath blankets and throws, and wore extra socks and sweaters, as gas prices rose and our thermometer setting fell.

Our one nod to the exterior was the installation of our fence. Men showed up on our doorstep on December 5th to begin their arduous task. They played hookie on the 6th, when it snowed 3 disappointing inches, and returned promptly on the 7th to make good on their promise.

And today we made good on ours.

Robert cleared the yard of sticks and branches, roots and limbs, while I raked buckets-full of overripe autumn leaves, and hauled them to the curb. We chuckled as we came to the conclusion that our mulch-loving predecessors were yardwork-phobics. I cleared and swept, then re-organized our garage, while Robert dug at the stubborn roots of a bush, planted square in the center of the yard, for reasons we've given up trying to explain. Ella collected sweet gum balls and stones, teetering and tottering around the yard and driveway, covering herself in a dusty shell to be shed tonight in the bathtub.

And that is the scene in our house now. I have turned over bath duty to daddy, entirely. HE is drawing the bath. HE is dispensing the bubbles. HE is dousing and scrubbing and rinsing. And I am sipping Syrah, listening to the glorious ruckus a room-and-a-hallway away, and composing a symphony (aka- blog) to make music of our rather regular life.

Good night, fair readers. Sleep well, and dream of days like ours...

Thursday, March 09, 2006

No surprises here

The Five Love Languages

My primary love language is probably
Words of Affirmation
with a secondary love language being
Physical Touch.

Complete set of results

Words of Affirmation: 11
Physical Touch: 6
Quality Time: 6
Acts of Service: 5
Receiving Gifts: 2


Unhappiness in relationships, according to Dr. Gary Chapman, is often due to the fact that we speak different love languages. Sometimes we don't understand our partner's requirements, or even our own. We all have a "love tank" that needs to be filled in order for us to express love to others, but there are different means by which our tank can be filled, and there are different ways that we can express love to others.

Take the quiz

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Orange Hair

Courtesy of Meggo:

Incidentally, we both have dark brown hair with some lighter highlights....but should each apparently call on Ronald McDonald for our next dye job ;) LOL

Your Hair Should Be Orange
Expressive, deep, and one of a kind.You pull off "weird" well - hardly anyone notices.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Ever heard of the OPT? That is, the "Occupational Privilege Tax?" Me neither, until today...Today, when I went to balance our checkbook online, and found that Robert's automatically deposited paycheck this period was $52 short of it's typical sum. $52 short of what we needed to make our ends meet this week; to lick the stamp and put the bills in the mail. After a quick call to EAPE's accountant, we were schooled in the subject of the annual "occupational privilege tax." Get ready for this bloggers- because Robert is so privileged as to work in the city of St. David's,PA, he is also awarded the "privilege" of paying them $52 in taxes to do so! Words escape me.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Day Trip

Does anyone out there tune in to The Colbert Report?

Well, tonight Robert's employer, Tony Campolo ,

is making a guest appearance on the show. So, Tony, being the fun-loving employer that he is, is giving the office staff a half-day, and we are headed up to NYC for the taping. It's been a busy, and somewhat exhausting weekend, but we are muchly looking forward to our day trip.

So, even if you're not a regular viewer (I'm not!), tune in tonight at 11:30 EST/10:30 Central, to see Tony serve as an antidote to the one-sided Falwellian media representation that evangelicals in America typically fall victim to.


Back to your regularly scheduled linkage...

(Thanks Mrs. Bailey!) ;)

Friday, February 24, 2006


“Every person is born into life as a blank page – and every person leaves life as a full book.” Christina Baldwin

“When a person dies, a library is burned.” Edmund White

So, a whole bunch of neat things have been swirling around me lately, which gives context to both my recent absence here, as well as my reappearance today. I’m looking forward to sharing some of the developments that are sprouting up, and blossoming into promising potentiality.

Let me start by saying how deeply I respect and admire full-time stay-at-home-moms. Having been one myself for 16 months, I am well aware of the commitment of energy, emotion, and non-stop, hard work and heavy lifting that the job entails. Frankly, it is the most rigorous work I have ever done. Hands down.

Furthermore, my months at home with my daughter have been incredibly rewarding, and I would not trade them for all the world. Ella is my gem, my treasure of treasures, and the time we’ve spent one-on-one has allowed for unparalleled bonding. The quantity of time we’ve had has been surpassed only by the quality of connection that it has fostered, as we nurtured a strong and reliable attachment through nursing, babywearing, reading together, napping together, singing and dancing together, all in the context of grace-based parenting.

The days are closing in on March 7th, when my Ella will graduate to the 16 month mark. (The same day upon which her daddy will be 6 days past his 29th birthday, and leaning hard into the living of his 30th year.) We are entering a new stage, as we leave infancy behind in the settling dust of 2005. Ella is not merely walking, but running, hurtling her growing body forward with increasing speed and agility. And while she’s been successfully climbing stairs for months now, this morning was the first where she descended them on her own, utterly independent of even a maternal nudge.

As much as my heart endeavors to deny it, tiptoeing along the edges of the now obvious truth, my Ella is no longer a baby. She is a quickly becoming a BIG GIRL. She no longer coos at me, but speaks to me in deliberate (if incomprehensible) strings of words, phrases….even paragraphs! She has a will and a way all her own. Her voice, preferences, and personality are emerging with gusto!

The other truth that I am exploring, and trying to find comfort in, is that I no longer feel “called” or inclined towards staying at home full-time. Just as Ella has begun to assert her individuality, I feel my own resurfacing. Ella is no longer dependent upon my constant companionship, nor does it solely fulfill her growing needs for social interaction. Now, more often than she is cradled in my lap, she is crawling out of it in hot pursuit of a friend her size….

Right in the midst of pontificating on these topics, opportunities appear to be dropping into my lap. Just as I am beginning to feel as if I might have some truly concrete direction in my “professional” life, doors are beginning to swing open. So, we are looking at our options for a part-time, play-based “school” for Ella, and preparing simultaneously for the career opportunities that seem to be opening up to me.

Right in the middle of all of this I’ve been reading this amazing book. In Storycatchers Christina Baldwin eloquently articulates my own love affair with the written word, and my lifelong obsession with the medium of story. Baldwin has brought to life all of the unsaid things that dance around my heart and mind on a daily bases.

(Sidebar- if you are one of my many accomplished writer friends, you must own a copy of this book.)

The 241 pages sandwiched between the covers of this volume have effectively reawakened longings inside of me that I’d long forgotten, or at least rested on a dusty shelf for a time. Passion is stirring. Ideas are whirring around in the blender of my head, and I predict that a scrumptious, sweet treat is about to emerge. Something that goes down smooth, and nourishes the soul. Something that bridges the gap between story and social justice, writing and ridding the world of inequity. A brilliant bleeding of the colors of my life, one into the other.

“When we live in a family, a community, a country where we know each other’s true stories, we remember our capacity to lean in and love each other into wholeness.” Christina Baldwin

As details materialize, I promise to divulge them. Until then, I covet your prayers for clear direction and Divine intervention.

May the God of all peace guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, this day and forevermore. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Quiz a la Robyn

Ok, I know, I know....I've been a lazy girl lately, posting only mindless questionnaires and silly quiz results. So sue me. Shrug.

Name: Lauren
Single or taken: Taken
Sex: Female
Birthday: June 4, 1979
Sign: I can't ever remember. Can you tell I'm not a horoscope reader?
Siblings: Brooke (23), Andrew (21)
Hair color: Brunette, with some caramel highlights thrown in for good measure
Eye color: Brown-eyed girl
Height: 5'3"


Who are your best friends?: Well, my husband. As far as "in real life" best friends go....I've recently been grafted back into the place where I grew up, and am trying to navigate the strange and uncertain road of knowing which relationships can be reignited, and where to initiate new ones. I'm pretty close to my sister. I've recently reconciled with my best friend from high school, Jessica. And I'm in the process of trying to build new relationships with the women at my church. I forgot how much time it takes to feel truly connected to people. So, right now I'm working at finding and developing best friendships, I guess. That was a loooong answer. Blush.
You have a boyfriend/girlfriend?: A husband, actually

F A S H I O N | S T U F F
Where is your favorite place to shop: For home fashions, I'm pretty addicted to Target. For my personal fashion, I'm a huge fan of Anthropologie, but can't afford their threads. Sigh.
Any tattoos or piercings: Ears pierced once. Used to have my cartilidge pierced. Used to have a belly button piercing. No tattoos- I am NOT a fan.

Do you do drugs?: Nope.
What kind of shampoo do you use?: Well, I'm usually addicted to Bumble and Bumble Creme de Coco, but right now the budget allows for Nature's Gate Organics: Chamomile & Lemon Verbana.
What are you most scared of?: Not using my gifts and talents, and never fulfilling the dreams that are attached to them.
What are you listening to right now?: Sesame Street in the background.
Who is the last person that called you?: My mom
Where do you want to get married?: Got married in Forest, VA. Well, technically I got married first in Gatlinburg, TN. But twice to the same person, within a 4 month timeframe. It's a looooong, beautiful story. If you're reading my blog, you've probably heard it before ;)
How many buddies are online right now?: Don't know....not signed in to AIM.
What would you change about yourself?: Get into shape and lose the baby belly "muffin cap." Be more comfortable in my own skin, and more disciplined in chasing my dreams.

Color: Green
Food: PF Chang's
Boys' names: Were that annoying brand of people who don't tell our names, cause we don't want anyone we know to latch onto them and use them before we get the chance ;)
Girls' names: Ella Day, our daughter (and see the above question for future girl names)
Subjects in school: English, drama...I want to go back and study Creative Writing and Art Therapy

H A V E | Y O U | E V E R
Given anyone a bath?: My daughter, all the time
Smoked?: Once upon a time, socially, when I was a tortured and lonely soul and living amongst artsy folks who all smoked (and were probably all tortued and lonely souls as well)
Bungee jumped?: Nope, and no desire whatsoever to do so.
Made yourself throw up?: Nope.
Skinny dipped?: Yes
Ever been in love?: Yes.
Made yourself cry to get out of trouble?: Hmmm....probably at some point, though no specific incidents come to mind.
Pictured your crush naked?: Don't have to picture it, I'm married to him :)
Actually seen your crush naked?: See above.
Cried when someone died?: absolutely
Fallen for your best friend?: Yes.
Been rejected?: Yep...I'm in therapy learning to let the rejections go.
Rejected someone?: Yes. I was a fickle, fickle dater in college.
Used someone?: Probably.
Done something you regret?: ABSOLUTELY. But again, I'm trying to learn to live beyond all of that.

Clothes: The mommy uniform- Fleecy gap pajama pants and a camisole.
Music: Jill Phillips, Kingdom Come
Make-up: Not a bit.
Annoyance: Cost of living in NJ.
Desktop picture: Right now the only "picture" I have on my desk is a caricature of my hubby and me done by a street artist in Gatlinburg, TN, Valentine's Weekend, 2002.
Book you're reading: Girl Meets God, Lauren Winner. Light from Heaven, Jan Karon. Life of the Beloved, Henri Nouwen. (re-read for church cell group) Something Blue, Jean Christopher Spaugh. Your One-Year-Old, Ames. I read a lot. At once.
CD in player: Jill Phillips, Kingdom Come.
DVD in player: T-tapp Instructional 2 Workout

L A S T | P E R S O N
You touched: Miss Ella Day
Hugged: Ella, again
You imed: Hmmm...my sister and my mom IMed me at the exact same moment yesterday
You yelled at: my dumb dog
You kissed: My daughter, Ella. Can you tell I'm a stay-at-home-mom yet?? (Before that, my husband as he left for work this morning.)

A R E | Y O U
Understanding: striving to be more so
Open-minded: much, much more than at any other time in my life
Arrogant: i don't think so
Insecure: very, but i'm working on it
Random: all OVER the place. sigh.
Hungry: yes....3 cups of coffee on an empty stomach, and it's 10:20 am. enough said.
Smart: i test that way, but feel like motherhood has caused my brain to atrophy.
Moody: lately.
Hard working: it's what i strive for.
Organized: off and on.
Healthy: see my last two answers.
Difficult: sometimes
Attractive: hard to feel that way while wearing "the mommy uniform", but my husband tells me i still am. shrug.
Bored easily: yes.
Responsible: yes.
Obsessed: with introspection.
Angry: not often.
Sad: more often than i'd like
Happy: getting there.
Hyper: not since college. where did that energy go?
Trusting: getting back to that place.

W H O | D O | Y O U | W A N N A
Kill: nobody
Slap: trying hard to stop wanting to wound my wounders ;)
Get really wasted with?: nobody. but i am looking forward to a glass of red with my hubby tonight.
Talk to offline: a kindred spirit girlfriend (working on finding one)
Talk to online: christine bailey and christin kuretich....the former can challenge and inspire me, even over a computer screen...the latter never fails to put a smile on my face.
Sex it up with: my one and only

In the morning I am: Tired, amazed by my daughter, craving coffee, and stealing moments to check blogs.
All you need is: LOVE
Love is: steadfast, patient, like that comfy sweatshirt you've kept since junior high
Sexual preference: Robert
What do you notice first in the sex you're into: eyes

W H I C H | I S | B E T T E R
Coke or Pepsi: Coke
Flowers or candy: Flowers
Tall or short: Tall

Makes you laugh the most:probably my soon-to-be brother-in-law, matt
Makes you smile: my husband, my daughter, and like i said before- my former college roomie, christin
Gives you a funny feeling when you see him/her: some of the people from my past who i never expected to show back up in my life

D O | Y O U | E V E R
Sit on the internet all night waiting for that someone special to IM you?: no, but i do spend too much time sitting on the internet
Save conversations: i recently saved one with my brother- other than that it's been years
Wish you were a member of the opposite sex?: No. Wish I could get inside their brains? maybe
Wish you were younger: sometimes...on the one hand, i am so blessed with how my life is unfolding. on the other hand, i feel like i frittered away some opportunities that i'd like to have back.
Cried because someone said something to you?: yes. too often. i'm trying to stop being so affected.

Of times I have had my heart broken: two.
Of hearts I have broken: i think maybe one.
Of CDs I own: over 500.
Of scars on my body: a few...all with a funny or memorable story behind them.
Of things that I regret: 5+ (and trying to live without regret)

Y O U R | T H O U G H T S
I know: that God has His hand on my child.
I want: to be a published author, go back to school, then work in art therapy, and be an amazing wife and mom in the midst of it all.
I have: to pry myself away from the computer as soon as I post this blog
I wish: I could be as carefree, content and completely happy as my friend christin. i aspire to that.
I hate: being stuck inside my own head.
I fear: not believing the right things about God.
Stuff I hear: the "buzz" of my computer and Ella banging her spoon on her high chair tray.
I search: for meaning, for truth, for God.
I wonder: if I'll be able to get out of the rut I'm in.
I love: my family in ways that words don't do justice.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Me to a "T"

Your Five Factor Personality Profile


You have medium extroversion.
You're not the life of the party, but you do show up for the party.
Sometimes you are full of energy and open to new social experiences.
But you also need to hibernate and enjoy your "down time."


You have medium conscientiousness.
You're generally good at balancing work and play.
When you need to buckle down, you can usually get tasks done.
But you've been known to goof off when you know you can get away with it.


You have medium agreeableness.
You're generally a friendly and trusting person.
But you also have a healthy dose of cynicism.
You get along well with others, as long as they play fair.


You have medium neuroticism.
You're generally cool and collected, but sometimes you do panic.
Little worries or problems can consume you, draining your energy.
Your life is pretty smooth, but there's a few emotional bumps you'd like to get rid of.

Openness to experience:

Your openness to new experiences is high.
In life, you tend to be an early adopter of all new things and ideas.
You'll try almost anything interesting, and you're constantly pushing your own limits.
A great connoisseir of art and beauty, you can find the positive side of almost anything.

Thanks Meggan and Makeesha...found this one by way of you both, and found it compelling and pretty darn accurate.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Say Anything

Your Life is Like


Goodness knows I'm a John Cusack nut...now all I need is one of these to sip on:

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My rhyme and reason:
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Bono Baby ;)

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And Now

Since our return to New Jersey, and subsequent purchase of a home with a mostly-empty basement, my mother has felt compelled to unload boxes from the recesses of her mostly-full attic into the dank, vacant corners of my "dungeon." Specifically, she is shedding my childhood "memory boxes." Even as I type that term, I begin to wonder whether memory boxes are a common element of everyone's childhood, or yet another phenomena unique to my Martin upbringing...

You see, in my childhood, there were no monsters hiding under the bed- only memory boxes. In the earliest years these were long, low cardboard constructs plucked from the shelves of Clover, Caldor, and Kmart. In later years they evolved into sleek, plastic Rubbermaid tubs, whose sides did not collapse, and whose lids did not crease and crack down their centers. I suppose the boxes grew right along with me, and with the mass of materials I deemed memorable.

In what most often seems a losing battle to keep one step ahead in the clutter race, I spent several hours this past weekend sifting through those memories, and brutally eliminating the excess. Letter books from kindergarten, my tiny handprints, documented for various Mothers' Day celebrations throughout the 80's, my first pair of reading glasses, and a Strawberry Shortcake wristwatch were just some of the spoils of this particular treasure hunt. I also combed through NKOTB buttons (once proudly displayed on my jean purse), lumpy clay creations from a childhood pottery class, and various articles of clothing, including an XL DC Talk concert t-shirt, and the one sewing project I turned out during a short stint in home economics - a hideous knee-length floral skirt (this was Christian school after all), pleated for good measure.

Amidst the giggles and snickers that punctuated my journey down Memory Lane, there was also a bittersweet theme that refused to be ignored.

The unfinished story.

Not the unfinished story of my life, as you, kind reader, might assume. But rather, literal unfinished stories, fleshed out in ink and lead, on all manner of wide and college-ruled paper. Pages and pages of characterization, storylines, plot summaries, and begining paragraphs...Yet not a single completed manuscript.

While I could easily shrug this off as a casualty of childhood impatience or distractibility, I am inclined instead to be gut-wrenchingly honest with myself. And in that spirit of honesty, I must admit that impatience and distractibility have remained my companions long since the chapters of my childhood were retired to a carboard memory box. Sadly, they have been the assasin of every story I've ever attempted to breathe into life.

So when the Barrington Borough sends it trash trucks barreling down Albany Avenue this Friday, I intend to haul to the curb more than a trashbag filled with the dispensible markers of an indispensable childhood. I'll also be unloading my proclivity towards procrastination, and the loaded gun that has effectively and repeatedly shot my stories dead, with the ammunition of fear, self-doubt, sloth and preoccupation.

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Tuesday, January 31, 2006


She's actually thrilled at the prospect of being Auntie's flower girl in April. Shrug.
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Bewildered Birthday Girl

The first year flew by, and so have the subsequent 3 months!
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Messy Mouth

First self-feeding. Priceless!
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The loves of my life

There they are...back in the summer months! Aren't they a gorgeous pair? I'm so blessed! Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 30, 2006

No contest

big surprise:

You scored as English. You should be an English major! Your passion lies in writing and expressing yourself creatively, and you hate it when you are inhibited from doing so. Pursue that interest of yours!





























What is your Perfect Major? (PLEASE RATE ME!!<3)
created with QuizFarm.com

In the spirit of my new title

You may have noticed a somewhat sudden departure from what we'll call an "e.e. cummings-esque" blogging style, to one that is decidedly, well, grammar textbook-ish. The thing is, in my new capacity as Editor for Red Ink Revisions (www.redinkrevisions.com) I feel an unprecedented responsibility to represent a certain level of individual grammatical integrity. Shrug. There you have it...

On the prowl

Ok, for all you hip mamas out there in cyberspace, I'm searching high and low for cool kids' music. Nothing contrived, syrupy sweet, or "endurable", thank you very much. I'm talking things in the vein of "For the Kids Too" http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0003JANQE/qid=1138627218/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/103-7138898-0347040?s=music&v=glance&n=5174. Silly is ok. So is upbeat. But the music and vocals must be adult friendly. So....comments, anyone?

Sunday, January 29, 2006

That blessed thing

One blessed thing I miss about my nursing relationship with Ella is that while she was nursing she never got sick. Truly...in the nearly 12 months that she nursed she got sick not a once. And by extension, neither did I. But alas, she is now nearly 15 months, completely weaned, and I am sick. First, she came down with a runny, yucky nose. And being that she smears the leaking contents of said nose on every surface in her tiny arm's reach, Mama followed soon after.

Yesterday was the first weekend day in many in which our family had nothing scheduled to do, no where we were expected to be. And as fate would have it, I awoke to a swollen, throbbing throat, an aching body and a clouded head. So, rather than do something fun and spontaneous with Ella and Robert, I spent the entire day confined to the couch, and cuddled up with the remote control.

Yesterday it was nearly 20 degrees above the regularly scheduled temperature for January, and I managed to inhale only 2 or 3 glorious breaths of that springlike air, while retrieving the mail. The sun beat down on our cracked sidewalks, and beckoned the weeds to reach their scrawny arms to the sky. Meanwhile, the only thing beating down on my head was the cold that was busy taking up residence there.

Today I feel much better, and while the temperature is still acting out of character, the clouds have moved out of my head and are bearing down on us here in Barrington. Phooey.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

our home

i'm posting these pictures, because we're homeowners. and because after years and years of renting creme-colored apartments, we finally dwell in a cozy land of color! seriously, i love our house. it's small, and old, and will probably take as long as we live in it to "touch up" to our satisfaction. but it's a house. with a yard. and cheerful, colorful rooms that we not only live in, but occupy as well.

so, for anyone wondering about this place of which i speak, on with the tour:

(**quick disclaimer- all of the pictures posted today are interior pictures. on the day i shot them, all of my digital camera batteries were dead until well after dark. in the next few days i promise to get outside in the light of day, and document the exterior as well!**)


from our enclosed front porch, you enter directly into our living room:


the living room boasts 3 windows, which will soon be dressed in roman blinds made from this fun and funky fabric: http://www.tonicliving.com/details.asp?productid=194&currentpage=2 the color pallete for the room was chosen with this fabric in mind.


our favorite bookshelves found a home in our living room:


to the right of the living room you look directly into the dining room, which is painted a rich, chocolate brown:


and from the dining room you enter into the kitchen:


2 more views of the kitchen, from the opposite doorway:



also on the first floor are,

our one and only bathroom:


our guest bedroom (robert calls it our "ode to autumn"):


(the boxes in this picture contain white 2" wooden slat blinds for all of the 2nd floor windows)

and ella's purple playroom (featuring magnetic walls):


(this is our favorite "storage solution" in the house, holding all of ella's picture books and toys!)

and now, follow me to the 2nd floor. (technically, a 1/2 story. we live in a bungalow built in the early 1900's, with lower, sloping ceilings on the second floor)


around the corner, and up again:


to the landing, which we've converted into an office.

rounding the corner at the top of the stairs:


looking back toward the staircase, at our corner-situated desk/workspace:



and turning towards ella's room:


upon entering ella's room (notice the quilt hanging where the blinds await installation):

(also, the all-yellow walls will one day boast white and pink stripes)

and to the left:


further left (featuring the closet awaiting a door!):


and back to the right of the crib (built-in dresser awaiting trim, and wall art awaiting hanging):


and further to the right:


and last, but not least, the master bedroom (window also awaiting blinds):



also boasting great closet space, lacking only a door:


a nice nook for a vanity (with a mirror longing to be hung):


and finally,another built-in dresser, awaiting finishing/trimwork:


hope you enjoyed the tour...as you can see, we're still working on our house, but feeling fully at home!