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.

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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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