Tuesday, February 17, 2009

october 14, 2008...

...that was the day i gave birth to my second kiddo.

Hazel Emerson Mooney

now she's 4 months & she's really awesome.

what you don't know

there are lots of things people tell you when you are preparing to have a baby. sometimes you can take one of those birthing classes & they tell you all kinds of stuff in great detail from what delivery will be like to how to bathe the child & how to change a diaper. you think & prepare & think & prepare for this life to come into your own. sometimes you read books about what to expect & other times you ask friends about their experience. there are all sorts of discussions on eating & sleeping patterns & postpartum concerns. your ankles are swollen. you waddle. the nursery is ready. your house is as clean as it will be for quite some time. bags are packed for the hospital. names are picked out. everything feels pretty good & organized. all the information & preparedness is there in your head & you are as ready as you can be for the baby.
then the day comes. you spend a certain amount of time in a delivery room during this beautiful experience. you are wrapped up in love & emotion & life & exhaustion & it is amazing.
fast forward a few weeks or months & you think back on that day & realize something is missing. it was with me when i went in to the hospital, i know it was! i used it over & over in all the preparing. now that i am home & i really need it, i can not find it. where could it be? how could i have lost this? it's so important & i have never been without it.

then you stop & realize that in all the things that all the books & classes & people told you about... they didn't tell you about this. they didn't tell you what you would lose. then you realize where it must be...it must be where you last had it in the hospital. somewhere in all the excitement & hoopla, it got away from you. you don't know how it got left behind, but you are certain that still lying there on the hospital floor somewhere
it must have slipped out your ears during all the hoopla.
gotta call lost & found.

Friday, August 29, 2008

the safe myth

my in-laws are wonderful people. not long ago the family went out to this local mexican spot to grab some dinner. the whole group was there: my husband, his parents, his sister & her 2 little girls. as is routine in restaurants, we got seated, the waiter took our drink order then made his way back to take the meal order. then, as is routine with my in-laws, my mother-in-law pulls her purse into her lap & begins to search for it. my father-in-law is looking, in anxious anticipation of it. it is of vital importance to their dining experience & i have never seen them eat out without it. then, she finds it & sets it as a centerpiece on the table.
the travel size bottle of anti-bacterial hand gel, claiming to kill up to 99.9 percent of germs.
she coats herself with it, then he coats himself with it & they attempt to get everyone at the table to coat themselves with it. there truly is nothing like the aromas of alcohol & sizzling fajitas colliding together. i politely decline.
i can only speculate on how the restaurant gel routine came about. maybe my father-in-law saw a very convincing commercial or possibly my mother-in-law had a friend tell her of the preventative powers of the gel. regardless of how they got there, they have their gel. i guess we all have our gel. something that makes us feel better about the inevitable "germs" that are out there in the world. i would venture to say that for most, the deep-rooted issue of the "gel" is one of fear intermingled with control. we fear something, something we don't like or would be unpleasant for us & that fear leads us to think we just have to control the situation to make it right or clean or safe or healthy or better. it's sort of like when we learned about "if-then" clauses in grade school.
if i put on this hand gel, then i will not eat germs.
if i have a net on a trampoline, then i can bounce & not get hurt.
if we pass laws against abortion & homosexuality, then the country will be morally "safe".
if i eat right & exercise, then i will not get cancer.
if i study & search enough, then i have it all figured out.
i have no problem with any of those things. they are wonderful things. safety nets, hand gels, healthy lifestyle, knowledge, laws speak of responsibility & stewardship, both of which i am a huge fan & both of which honor God. my issue is not with the "if"s, but with the "then"s. we have this tendency in our western comfortable culture to hang our hat on those "then"s. everyone feels above them, the harm, hurt, accidents, pain, sickness, death that is a natural part of our mortal lives & the fallen world in which we live. we feel above it all because when the fear of those things creep in, we go into super control mode. more hand gel! taller nets! a newer vitamin! harder helmets! i can control this fear! i can make my world safe!
the truth is that the Creator of us, of the universe, of all that we are & see & experience is the only One in control. He is the only one that redeemed what went wrong in the garden on the cross. He is the only One that sees past the momentary "unsafety" & hurt to the character being built in us in adversity. not us, we can not make all things right or safe & believe a lie when we think we can. only One can....and does.
i am no expert on the matter & in fact more times than i'd prefer, i give into that sneaky lie. for instance, nearly 3 years ago this "if-then" statement was floating around in my mind as matt & i thought about starting a family.

if i do everything right while i'm pregnant, then i will have a healthy baby.

a few months later, i was pregnant & i did everything right. i drank no caffeine. i didn't drink alcohol. i didn't smoke or get near anyone who did. i took a prenatal vitamin every day. i exercised just enough, not too much & not too little. i drank a ton of water. i ate foods rich in vitamins & folic acid & dhas & steered away from fast food. my showers were never too hot. i never lifted anything remotely heavy. i got plenty of rest, never lying on my back. i made sure to not stand for too long or sit for too long. yep, i went through every "if" you could think of or read about. yet still, God Himself held in His hand my "then". my "then" was not a healthy baby. my "then" was a sweet beautiful, amazing, sick baby boy who lived for 99 days.
thinking we can do enough to be safe & do enough for our kids to keep them safe is simply a myth. only One holds our days in His hands.

"for YOU have delivered my soul from death, indeed my feet from stumbling, so that I may walk before God in the light of the living". Psalm 56:13

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

more like joey

i despise going to wal-mart. i have nothing against the company as most folks who despise going to wal-mart. it's just that i now live in arkansas, which is tragic when it comes to buying groceries. rather than a nice, clean, well-stocked, small parking lot albertsons or kroger you have no choice really but to go to wal-mart. where, even though nice enough & clean enough, you must park miles away, then attempt to play bumper grocery carts in the aisles with the other 5000 people in there to simply purchase a few provisions. (here is where i could write at least a few paragraphs complaining about the meat department at wal-mart where there is no real butcher, it just appears mysteriously on the shelves & no one know where it actually comes from. but that isn't what this is about, so i'll spare you)

instead of complaining, which i realize is all i have done thusfar, i decided to seek rememdies to this dilemma. through much trial & error, i have discovered the absolute best time to go to wal-mart. i'll let the cat out of the bag, just for you...it's tuesday morning. no crowds, new shipments come on mondays, no lines at the checkout, the produce is very well stocked & i only had to park a half a mile away.

so one particular tuesday morning, i grab my list & go to wal-mart. i am shopping fast & furious & focused so as to be in there for as little time as is possible. i do pretty good & all that stands between me & getting out is the check-out process. i proceed to the the lit up number 7 & find a beautiful, beaming asain woman greet me. her nametag says joey. she has somewhat of a mullet cut into her black hair. it wasn't the arkansas redneck kind of mullet, but it was wonderfully edgy & hip with a sort of reddish dye job on the top. i look way too much into these types of things but the "cool" mullet screamed of independence & personal style. when we first spoke to one another, it wasn't my typical wal-mart check out greeting of "did you find everything okay?", where i think of all the things i didn't find & then blatantly lie & say "yep". this woman was sincere. she smiled. she looked me in the eye. in a matter of only moments we chatted about so many topics -partly because of how friendly she was & partly because of how quickly she spoke- from the rising cost of groceries to her home in thailand & the best thai food restaurant here in town.

i found myself forced to leave because of someone in line behind me, but my true desire was to stay & talk longer with joey. there was just something about her that was wonderful. i don't know what it was about joey, but i imagine it was Jesus. either Jesus in her drawing me or Jesus in me loving her. by time i got to my car, my thoughts had gone to where they too often go, to myself. would anyone ever walk away from talking with me & smile, feeling so joyous, so lifted? do others ever desire to not leave a conversation because my words are so laced with grace & love & sincerity. does Jesus beam from my life? do i let Him love through me? deep within i know the answers to those questions are no. whether joey knows it or not, i got a glimpse of something i long for, long to be like....& the good news is that I can never be like that, but Jesus has that same desire for me & He can actually make it happen.

"with people, this is impossible, but with God all things are possible" Matthew 19:26

Monday, June 9, 2008

funny thing about fear

so it's been since february that i've posted anything. which, in reality doesn't matter because if all goes as i'd like with this little blog it serves as only a place where the nomadic thoughts in my head actually have a temporal residence. as strange as it sounds, my desire is for no one to even read it...

so, the big thing right now in my life is that i am currently in the process of growing another person inside of me. that's right i'm pregnant. i am 21 weeks, which i must always stop & do the math to know that i am just about 5 months along. in october, eliot will have a little brother or sister. it's been so long now since eliot was here with us. 1 year & 8 months since i have held him. not every day, but most i want to scream to everyone around of the great ache that is still deep within my heart. i step past pictures of him that line our shelves & am so weary of remembering. i want to touch him & be with him. i don't know what people think & i am not concerned with their opinions of me...but it seems as if they think that now that so much time has gone by & now that we are expecting another baby that everything is okay. everything is not okay. this pregnancy & this little baby forming in my womb is another leg of grief, of the missing eliot. it is no replacement. no words can express the difficulty & uniqueness of being pregnant with your second child when the first is no longer here. the journey is filled with hope & expectation, fear & anxiety, joy of new life intermixed with the lingering pain of life lost. this child will only know his or her older brother by pictures & the stories we tell of his amazing life. in a way this child will enter into life with some form of grief already there to deal with. what will it be like for him or her to grieve & miss eliot?

matt & i go into this pregnancy with a distinct past. we are 1 for 1 for having unhealthy children. we are 1 for 1 for losing a child. with those stats, some fear is inevitable. we fight it daily & pray, trusting, that God is fighting this battle for us. the funny thing when i think about fear is what in the world do i have to fear? nothing. i have walked through every parent's absolute worst nightmare and yet i sit here as somewhat of a survivor. a survivor whom Christ has carried through each moment. i realize that doesn't mean i want to walk through it again. i also realize it doesn't exempt me from walking through it again.

"for i hope in You, O Lord; You will answer, O Lord my God" Psalm 38:15

Sunday, February 17, 2008

lessons from samantha

about every week, i get an hour with one of the most precious people i've ever gotten to hang out with. her name is samantha. she's 9 years old & has downs syndrome. i am her "helper" at church. the lessons from that hour are endless & most likely ones that i'll continue to learn over & over again. since i've been spending time with samantha, the 20 minute drive on a saturday afternoon has been transformed from a leisurely drive to an earnest time of prayer. i long for each moment i spend with her to be wonderful for her & i must plead for Jesus to do that because without Him i got nothing to offer.

samantha comes to about my shoulders, towering above the other kids her age. she is also probably double their size & i have come to believe double the fun as well. she is amazingly flexible & her favorite way to sit is on the ground with legs out in front of her & her chest actually laying directly on her tennis shoes. each week when i arrive, i walk up the stairs to the children's "wing" of our large church & samantha is sitting on the hallway floor, leaning against the wall or against her tennis shoes, with her backpack on, holding her purple puffy jacket, waiting for my direction. i tap her on the shoulder & say hello. she looks up, smiles with squinty eyes & huge beautiful cheeks & gives a loud "hi!" as she waves with joy & begins the process of standing up. samantha essentially rolls over to stand up, and it's seems sort of an ordeal, but only if you're not samantha. when anyone is around they attempt to help her & she honestly looks at them as though they are crazy, as if she is saying inside "seriously? i got it & it's much easier without you". the standing is only a glimpse into her independence & spirit & character & beauty.

the format for kids at our church is a large group session of singing & skits & learning followed by breaking into small groups to further discuss the lesson. samantha occasionally sings the songs & occasionally listens to the lesson. when she doesn't feel like participating, she just lays on her stomach quietly as if she is waiting on something worth her attention. last night the lesson was on following Jesus. the skit showed a woman copying every move of a man on stage. he yawned, she yawned. he put on his cap, she put on her cap. you get the idea. when the skit was over, the man came back on stage for some crowd interaction. he asked everyone to raise there hands if there was a person in their lives that they wanted to be like. a room full of 1st, 2nd, & 3rd graders shot up their hands, each longing for their moment of fame, their time in the spotlight, when the leader would call on them & the entire room would listen to what they had to say. samantha & i were sitting in the back & after a few moments of the hand-raising & the leader calling on a few kids, samantha's hand shoots up. now, i'm fairly certain that prior to this moment samantha didn't know what question had been asked or even that a question had been asked. but, just like every other kid in that room, she wanted her fame. her left hand was high in the air & her right hand pulled with great force on the sleeve of the raised left hand. the leader continued to call on kids. samantha continued to shake her hand in the air & say under her breath, "me, me". then, as if in slow motion, the leader's eye caught samantha's hand & he pointed for her to answer. a room full of little faces turned & saw her hand raised. there was a long silent pause, as if samantha was contemplating her answer and the kids were in great suspense. then, she let out some gibberish. no real words, no real sentences, but something tells me it made perfect sense to her. the leader was thrown off a bit & slightly perplexed & eventually said, "great". in an instant he was on to the next kiddo. but the interaction wasn't over for samantha. as soon as the word "great" came out of his mouth, she pulled one fist into her chest & said "YES!". then, she pulled both of her fist in to her chest & said "I DID IT! I DID IT!" with that huge smile, and the squinted eyes & the big cheeks. fame. accomplishment. joy. her enthusiasm was contagious & my heart fluttered with excitement for her. i don't know if i've ever seen anyone as happy as that.

we should all be a lot more like samantha.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


i have 2 thoughts that are ever in conflict with each other:
1. most aspects of my day to day life, my world, if gone unchecked, can seem mundane...lonely...small...lacking...empty.
2. there are specific ways that God has crafted the makeup of all that I am & because of His mercy & love & creativity, i enjoy things & there is fullness of life to be lived with Him each second of each day.
i forget that. so, this post is a reminder of things that i enjoy. now, if i know anything, i know that God does occasionally call us to things we don't necessarily enjoy but are for His glory & our good. that is a different topic for a different day.

--> music...especially the kind that speaks to my heart & in unexpected ways tells a great story.
--> watching & observing strangers & making all kinds of guesses as to what they are like...and checking out their style & what it might say about them...which is mainly why i like the next one so much
--> new york city...all the diversity & people & art & business & noises & fashion & really it's like the biggest library ever of people, each with their own story of life.
--> fashion...i think that what we wear is not all there is to us by any means, but it can be such a fun way of expression...like a blank canvas for colors & textures & style & even sound (heels of shoes clicking & the swishing of a flowing skirt).
--> giving people gifts that aren't things that i like, but things that will make them smile & help them tangibly feel the love i have for them.
--> the color teal...the color yellow, but not too neon of a yellow...the color red, really any shade from coral to maroon...i guess i like all type of colors & color combinations.
--> relationships/friendships...and i don't mean having a ton of friends. that's fine & well, but i'd much rather have a few that are close than a ton with no depth. i long to have people in my world who i can call at anytime...that i can cry with & laugh with & i love the people in my life who knew my son. it is so important to me to have those who aren't afraid to bring him up & even have pictures of him around & just remember him with me...it makes the loneliness of grief not so intense.
--> clouds...the big marshmallowie kind that move pretty fast through the sky on a windy day.
--> worship...it always gives perspective on how little the things that seem to matter to me really are & it reminds me of where eliot is...that his life didn't actually end, but only just began & most likely a huge part of his new life in eternity is worship...and it makes me feel like we are doing the same thing...and therefore, it is one of the few times that i remember & miss him & smile all at the same time.
--> coffee...even though i am cutting back on the caffeine intake, i still can't resist the steaming cup of decaf. henri nouwen talks about how the "cup", whatever it is a cup of, makes us sit & stop & think...as crazy as it sounds, i think my "cup" of coffee is a vital part of my friendship with God.
--> walking to where i need to go. i love that we live where we can walk to the store or to coffee or out to eat or to meet matt at school...i should do that more often.

i guess that is what this little exercise is all about. things i should do more often. things i should look at more often. things i should think about more often.
for the 99 days that eliot was here, matt & i stopped, slowed down, & treasured the most amazing gift God had ever given us...we looked at him, studied him, took in everything about him & enjoyed our son. although the other gifts, the ones mentioned above, seem to pale in comparison to eliot...we should enjoy them for what they are & Who they are from.
the norm these days is to go, go, go
i want to be different & just slow, slow, slow
down & enjoy.