almost 10 weeks.

i have always been terrible at casting my anxieties on Jesus. i really don't know how to do it, i don't think. i am a worrier. before i started having pregnancy symptoms, i worried because i wasn't having them. then i had nausea for maybe a week, but quit having it, and then worried again. actually, all my pregnancy symptoms disappeared in the 9th week. i am freaking myself out by reading pregnancy message boards & seeing people who have miscarried. i'm not sure if i am going to be able to really enjoy being pregnant, despite having an easy pregnancy so far, because i worry so much. it doesn't even seem to matter all that much that i had a blood pregnancy test last week that tested my hCG levels at 287,410. VERY HiGH, in case that number means nothing to you. i just keep worrying... what if the baby died, but not very long before that test was taken? i don't have my first OB appointment until next Friday. i hope hope hope it will make me feel better. we'll get to hear the baby's heartbeat. but part of me is dreading it... what if they can't find it? i know partly it is normal to worry, but i really am taking it over the top. i have no reason to think anything at all is wrong with my pregnancy, aside from having few symptoms. i have no health problems, no one in my family has ever had trouble with pregnancy, and for heaven's sake, the Lord spoke to my grandfather about my child before I even knew the child was conceived! I know what I really need to do is repent... I do not trust the Lord. I don't trust him that his plans are better than mine, no matter what happens with this baby. I don't trust him to bless me, & I don't trust him to comfort me. I am not being joyful in all circumstances, even in joyful circumstances! I am not really giving thanks, because I secretly think that he is going to take it all away from me. this is wrong, & not at all in keeping with who I know the Lord to be. bad things DO happen. they really do, sometimes. it's not that they don't, & not that they couldn't happen to me, but to expect that they are going to really shows my lack of faith. i really hate not trusting him. i'm sure i'd be a lot happier if i really did. trust me, we've talked about it at length, many many times over the years. but you know what i love about him? instead of being mad that i don't trust him, he just keeps giving me more & more reasons to trust him. which is totally awesome. i really do love him, lots & lots.


6 1/2 weeks in.

I love being pregnant. It's amazing knowing that the Lord is forming a human being inside me, a human being he already knows and loves and has a plan for. In fact, he was speaking about my baby before I even knew the baby existed. My grandfather announced to my family at Easter dinner in Evansville (before I had even taken the pregnancy test to confirm I was pregnant up here in Indianapolis) that there is a baby in the family. Apparently, for two weeks prior to Easter, he had been walking around the house telling my grandma that someone in the family was going to have a baby, they just didn't know it yet.

I feel so blessed to be able to carry this child who is already making an impact.

At the same time, I am scared to death. Not of being a parent - honestly, no way. I have always dreamed of being a mommy. I was made for this. I am constantly afraid that I am going to lose the baby or that something bad is going to happen to me now that I'm pregnant. I'm so scared of actually delivering the baby, too - ouch! But I need to trust God - no matter what happens, he is in control. Why is that so hard to remember?


a week full of blessings.

last Tuesday, Brandon & I closed on our very first home. it's a one story brick bungalow with 3 bedrooms & 2 full bath rooms, all brick & across the street from the park. it's a total dream come true.

then, on Sunday:

we found out that I am pregnant! whew. :) i had to take 3 to really give myself permission to get excited, because, as you can see, the 2nd lines are REALLY faint on the first 2. we are thrilled beyond belief with our little sweet pea!

i'm currently 5 weeks along, and feeling really pretty good - besides a little tiredness & feeling incredibly hungry. my first prenatal appointment isn't until May 14th, because they can't hear the baby's heartbeat until then, and i'm due on December 12th. :)

it can't go fast enough! i can't wait to hold my precious little baby. after he/she is fully gestated, of course.


being a better world shopper.

I recently bought this handbook, on the recommendation of my friend Carter. I have generally been a conscious shopper, buying organic & fair trade, and avoiding companies that I knew had a bad reputation for human rights violations or environmental irresponsibility, like Nestle & Tyson. But I wanted to be better - to know where my money is going, and to whom.

This book is incredible. It's very easy to use, & gives short examples of reasons why certain companies got their particular grade, and places to research to get more information. I am committed to never supporting any business which has gotten a "D" or an "F" now, and to try to support more of the businesses which have gotten an "A" or a "B." But man, it is difficult. Many of these corporations encompass TONS of different brands, and they don't have to tell us which brands they own.

For example, Procter & Gamble makes over 30 different brands, all of which get either a "D" or an "F" in their respective categories:

Always (Feminine Care) = D
Bounce (Laundry Supplies) = D-
Bounty (Paper Towels & Toilet Paper) = D
Charmin (Paper Towels & Toilet Paper) = D
CoverGirl (Cosmetics) = F
Crest (Dental Care) = D-
Dawn (Cleaning Products) = D-
Febreze (Laundry Supplies) = D-
Folgers (Coffee) = D+
Gillette (Body Care ) = D-
Head & Shoulders (Hair Care) = D-
Herbal Essences (Hair Care) = D-
Iams (Pet Food) = D
Ivory (Soap) = D
Luvs (Baby Care) = D+
Olay (Soap) = D
Old Spice (Body Care) = D-
Oral-B (Dental Care) = D-
Pampers (Baby Care) = D+
Pantene (Hair Care) = D-
Puffs (Paper Towels & Toilet Paper) = D
Secret  (Body Care) = D-
Swiffer (Cleaning Products) = D-
Tampax (Feminine Care) = D
Tide (Laundry Supplies) = D-

They also make Venus, Eukanuba, Mach3, & even PUR water filters. & how many of these different brands do we regularly buy? Sixteen. Yikes. We have a lot of changes to make. It's amazing how much work can still be done when you think you're doing so well.

By the way, Procter & Gamble scores so low because they continue to put unsafe ingredients, like known carcinogens, in their products (they have actually worked to weaken laws about the amounts of toxins in products in Europe); they disregard workers' rights in foreign factories; and they continue unnecessary testing on animals.

For anyone taking notes, there are plenty of responsible alternatives to Procter & Gamble products. By category, the most responsible companies listed by Better World Shopper:

Baby Care: Seventh Generation (which I've seen in Kroger & Target), gDiapers, Aubrey Organics
Body Care: Druide, Preserve, Tom's of Maine (which is available basically anywhere also)
Cleaning Products: Seventh Generation, BioKleen, Oxo Brite, Method
Coffee: Thanksgiving, Cafe Humana
Cosmetics: Aveda, Kiss My Face, The Body Shop
Dental Care: Preserve, Tom's of Maine, Jason
Feminine Care: Seventh Generation, Diva International, Gladrags
Hair Care: Druide, Aveda
Laundry Supplies: Seventh Generation, Method, Oxo Brite, Biokleen, Planet
Paper Towels & Toilet Paper: Seventh Generation, Earth Friendly, Green Forest
Pet Care: BioBag, Natural Life, V-Dog, Swheat Scoop (cat litter, which we actually already use)
Soap: Tom's of Maine, Dr. Bronner's, Juniper Ridge, Kiss My Face, Aubrey Organics

More Information (and where I got a lot of mine!):
Better World Shopper
Responsible Shopper
Ethical Consumer


love & forgiveness.

as my church is wrapping up its sermon series on the Sermon on the Mount, i've been thinking about what has impacted me most about the teachings. Jesus tells us here to love our enemies, and to forgive those who sin against us. i have struggled with these two things my whole life, like everyone else, but i have really been striving to understand what he means, & how it's even possible to do this.

previous romantic relationships that ended badly have a strong hold on me. i hold grudges against certain men for hurting me, for abandoning me, for not loving me. this is something i am completely broken by - i feel guilty still caring because i am married to the only man i have ever known that i would want to be married to. for some reason though, this doesn't eradicate the leftover pain of rejection i have from some of my former relationships. this very struggle of mine, however, has led to an interesting learning platform regarding forgiveness & love of your enemies.

have you ever seen (500) Days of Summer? this movie could have been written about the relationship i had before meeting Brandon, except he was Summer, and i was Tom. it was excruciating, never being enough for him, and always being uncertain - hopes rising, and hopes dashed. & exhausting. i have harbored bitterness for him ever since. i would have preferred to believe that he was just incapable of love - except, like Summer, he was engaged shortly after we quit dating.

fast forward to a couple months ago: i am brought to my knees in humility by his fiancee. she very graciously invited me to an event at their home that i was dying to go to, and then treated me like a guest of honor in their home. she has shown me nothing but kindness, and although it was a little awkward for him, for me, & for Brandon, the evening was very pleasant. when i look back at it, and when i observe the degree of friendliness the 4 of us now share, i'm honestly ashamed of myself. not ashamed for being hurt - no, i think that was justified - but ashamed of my hatefulness towards another human being. not only that, but displacing my anger towards him onto his fiancee, who had never given me any reason not to like her, besides being the object of his love. but i am ashamed that although i know Jesus, and i love him, and i strive to follow him every day, i would not obey his command to love my enemy, & forgive those who have sinned against me.

this new road of friendship with them has given me cause for a lot of self-examination, and made me scared, doubtful, and wary - but over all of that, it has given me an incredible sense of peace. i no longer harbor disdain, bitterness, and anger in my heart. i am free now, thanks to Jesus, and it feels great.

as much as i love my husband, and as perfect & wonderful as he is, he is not the end-all-be-all like i thought he would be. i still need Jesus. i still long for him to fulfill me and to heal me. he has given me a good gift - the best gift - a righteous, strong, gentle, loving man to treasure me and cherish me and to share life with me, but he is not meant to replace Jesus.

so now i am free to love my enemies, free to surrender myself to Jesus in every way, and free to love my husband more fully because there is nowhere in my heart that i'm holding back from him.

Jesus is so smart. :)


my husband is awesome.

I love Brandon. Well, obviously. But he is the best person I know.

I talked to him on his lunch break and he was angry that his boss won't let him leave early today, even though he finished everything this morning, and it's Christmas Eve. Ten minutes later he called me to apologize for being grumpy at me.

Plus, he looks totally hot with his new haircut and trimmed up beard.


love your enemies.

lately in church and house church we have been studying the Sermon on the Mount. for many of the weeks, i have prepared the discussions we'll have as a community, which makes you think about it more, & i have come to a conclusion: i suck at being a Christian.

being a Christian, if you read the Sermon on the Mount, is all about turning the standard way of doing things upside down and doing them God's way. think you're blessed if you're rich and happy and well-liked? nope. he says you're blessed if you are poor, mourning, and persecuted. this puts you in a position where you can receive from the Lord, and that is where you want to be.

his ideas are so extraordinary, so... impossible. you're not just sinning if you murder someone - Jesus is setting the line WAY back at holding contempt for someone in your heart. it's not good enough to not hit someone back if they hit you, but you should instead show them that there's a different way to live, by giving them the other cheek as well. your identity, your power, your life is not defined by who they say you are. making yourself less will show them that there is more. and, the kicker - don't just love your neighbor as yourself, as if that isn't hard enough. but do this: love your enemies.

i am too self-centered for that. seriously? you want me to LOVE people who have hurt me? you want me to love people who don't like me? but, love holds no record of wrongs. love isn't easily angered. love always hopes, always trusts, always perseveres. how the heck do i treat someone mean like THAT? how do i forgive someone who doesn't care that they hurt me? how do i trust someone who lies and pretends like they don't?

i guess it has to start with forgetting about myself. it's not about me. there is a higher purpose than my life - God has a plan. he has a plan to redeem the world. he is going to turn this place upside down and make it a place where servants are leaders, where peace reigns, where hope prevails. he is going to make the blind see, the deaf hear, & set the captives free. this is the hope i have - that one day things will be perfect, the way they were meant to be. now i just have to learn how to let go of myself & love freely, the way He loves.

love will usher in the new kingdom.


read this book.

Not for Sale by David Batstone


marriage and the world.

read this article from time magazine.

it's refreshing to see such an opinion in mainstream media. not that marriage isn't a mainstream idea - it is. we should know this by what is said by the opponents of gay marriage - which is a majority of the country. but what comes out of their mouths about the sanctity of marriage usually sounds like a joke, since their lives do not echo their words.

more than 50% of marriages in the country end in divorce. many more than that either choose to never get married, or if they do, have affairs. and yet more than 50% of people are against allowing gay marriage because marriage is holy, and is meant to be between one man and one woman.

it's sad to be living in a world that is so broken. marriage IS important. it's important for stability, for security, and for raising up the next generation. it's important for teaching our children how to relate to other people, for teaching them their inherent worth as individuals, and for giving them a solid foundation in the midst of a hundred other things that are changing.

God created marriage because it is good. why should we be surprised though, that people in a fallen world are unable to maintain the beauty, sanctity, peace and health of a marriage? we can talk all day about how beneficial marriage is, or how wrong homosexuality or abortion, or anything number of things are. will this change anything? people in this country have one set of ideals, and live in a way that just doesn't jive with those ideals. what people need is healing. people need to be made into new creations through the power of Jesus Christ, and THEN we can talk about marriage and sexuality and life. without this power, society will continue to crumble, to go against what is good and right. as Christians, we ought to be focusing on loving the world into healing through Jesus, rather than telling them what is right and what is wrong, because this is what will truly make a difference.

in the meantime, though, it's good to see society, while in the middle of a moral collapse, still recognizes marriage as important and necessary. it would be even better if society lived it. but we need Jesus for that.


blessed are the peacemakers.

what does it mean to be a peacemaker in the kingdom of god? does it mean that we avoid conflict with each other? "if it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."

but is it even possible to live in relationship with one another in a community without conflict? conflict builds intimacy, so i don't believe we should avoid it. rather, perhaps we should ask how to be a peacemaker and a peacekeeper when conflict does arise.

being a peacekeeper means being humble and gentle. it means striving not to be offensive, and recognizing when you have offended. it means being quick to make amends. it means believing the best about the people around you, and in doing so, having the grace to overlook an offense toward you. a peacemaker shouldn't stand at a distance and avoid intimacy with her community. instead, a peacemaker should embrace everything that comes with fellowship - and this includes the inevitable conflict. a peacemaker should be quick to apologize, quick to forgive, quick to forget. she should be slow to become angry, slow to judge, and slow to accuse.

a peacemaker's heart longs for reconciliation and intimacy with her Father and with her community. she is bent towards love and has a heart that is soft towards people. the holy spirit is her companion and she is able to listen to him, even in the middle of conflict and strife.

-- please comment. i'm working on an article on this topic. this is a very rough sketch of what the article would include, but any feedback is appreciated. thanks! --


another awesome commercial.

and this one is probably my favorite:

the old spice swagger commercial with brian urlacher. oh my gosh. hilarious.

i just saw the one with tony stewart, and it's not nearly as good. but it reminded me of brian urlacher.

who's laughing now? me.


a house is not a home without a cat.

i am spoiled rotten. we went to the humane society yesterday so my husband could get me a kitty for valentine's day, and we left intending to adopt two! here they are, little cuties. we applied for adoption, and we are first on the list for both of them. the adoption counselor just has to look over our application and call our apartment complex to make sure we're allowed to have pets. we'll get a call on wednesday telling us whether our adoption is approved, and then we get to go pick them up on saturday!

we originally just went to adopt this little guy. he was perfect - i love orange male cats, and brandon loves long haired cats. we got there right at ten o'clock when they open, and less than 3 minutes later, someone else showed up who was interested in him. but we were there first, so yay! first dibs on little mister. we stayed for about an hour and a half to play with them, and like four other people showed up who wanted to adopt him too! it was crazy. we were really relieved that we came so early.

when we were there, we found out that he has a little sister. we fell in love with her, too. she is so pretty! but she doesn't look anything like him. she is a short-hair, and is gray with black stripes. her little stripes are so perfect, and she has the prettiest face. the two of them were playing together the whole time, and we decided we can't separate them. plus, they'll have each other to be entertained when we're not home. so, we applied to adopt her too. and we're first on the list for her. yay!

there is very little chance that our adoption won't be approved. our apartment complex does allow pets, we don't have any other pets, and we don't intend to let these two outside. we're so excited! the humane society have named them bobby and barbie, but we're renaming them howie and ruby. short for chancellor howard von weasley wilsman and duchess ruby cleopatra sophia wilsman. if you've ever had a cat, you understand the need to give them both a royal name and a cute name.

the best valentine's day ever!


fave commercials of the times. and least faves.

brandon and i watch a lot of t.v. in the winter. it's either that, or freeze our gentleman and lady parts off in the snow. i love t.v. shows. but i generally don't like commercials.

but, time to look on the bright side! inspired by the super bowl commercials, here are my favorite non-bowl commercials:

the commercials rad list:

1. the miller high life commercials with the big dude who confiscates miller from establishments with ridiculous rules. he's hilarious.

2. i don't really LOVE this commercial until the end, but - the one with the men painted greenish-gray off the various American currencies [what's that commercial for??]. not the diaper one, though, the one in the auto repair shop."you also need one of these," as he holds up the dashboard hula dancer. "that is not what i need," says the dude. it's a lot funnier than i make it sound.

3. the subway commercials that rename fast food combos. "i'll take a bucket of please-keep-your-shirt-on." and the ones where people break chairs and their buttons. but NOT the five dollar foot-longs commercials. that song is killer! it was once stuck in my head for four days.

4. i particularly enjoy the progressive commercials with the weird sales lady named flo. brandon hates them. oh well.

5. i'll add more as i see them. i'm having issues remembering commercials right now, which is probably a good thing. except these following ones, which i particularly HATE:

the commercial suck list:

1. the glade commercials with the idiotic lady who lies about her candles and always gets caught. geez. get a life. no one cares if your candles are chic or not.

2. the OTHER air freshener commercials, with the cartoon animals who are like people who live in houses. seriously - how could an elephant EVER be married to a centipede? think about it. it's just not possible. and i want to smash that frog lady.

3. and how about every lame car commercial ever. they are all lame. and too loud. and so predictable. and there's no way i'm buying a new car any time soon in this economy.

4. i'm sure i'll think of more of these, too. feel free to contribute.


my fairy tale life.

i really believe i am the luckiest woman in the whole wide world. here's why:

i am HAPPY. that's a pretty huge deal these days. compared to people around me, and the American public at large. but not only that - it's a huge deal for me. i have struggled my entire life to be really, truly happy. i've thrown myself in headfirst to things that i imagined would bring me happiness, only to be desperately disappointed.

but here i am, 25 years into it, and i've found happiness. i have a loving, wonderful husband who delights in me and is proud to let me delight in him. all morning he has been singing songs, inserting his nickname for me into them. he lights up when i do the same thing. our lives are one life now, and neither of us have any regrets. we have the same purpose, the same goals, and the same dreams. our marriage is drenched in love love love.

i have a community of other Jesus followers that i live life with. my house church is full of other Christians who have different perspectives and personalities, and i wouldn't know what to do without them. we meet together and struggle through life and philosophy, but best of all, we love each other. despite our flaws. we worship together, pray together, learn together, eat together, work together, and serve together. it's a beautiful example of the church.

and outside my house church, i have other friends who mean the world to me. sarah, who has been a faithful devoted friend since we were freshman in high school. tara, who i love to love, despite our differences. my life would not be complete without these girls. they are an essential part of my happiness and my sanity.

and my family is incredible. i have the coolest people of all time in my family. my mother is a passionate, loving woman who only wants to be good and right. she is one of the bravest people i've ever met. my brother jordan was born with a heart overflowing with love and compassion. plus, he's interested in everything. and one of the smartest people ever. top two, with my sister hannah. i'm not sure who's smarter. but hannah knows EVERYTHING, and she is so unique and beautiful. and my baby sister bonnie belle has the gift of friendship. she has more friends than anyone in the whole world, and all of them consider her their best friend. she has this uncanny and precocious ability as an 18 year old to see the world past her own nose. i'm sure that's why so many people love her. she is wise beyond her years and compassionate beyond her years. and my grandparents are just these amazing, God-fearing people who live their lives to please him and love people. my pawpaw was my favorite man in the whole entire world until i met my husband. and i have these great, interesting cousins and uncles and aunts, too.

and i love my in-laws. how about that, huh? they loved me immediately, the second they met me. i never have had to prove anything to them, except that i love their son. which had to be obvious. lisa is the sweetest woman, and bruce is a hilarious man who is devoted to his family. my new sisters-in-law are wonderful, and wow, just the whole family is great.

i guess what i've found is the key to my happiness is to surround myself with people who are full of love that spills out of them, and to lavish them with love as well. just to love and be loved in return, like in moulin rouge.


the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

does your view of heaven affect the way you live your life?

this is the main point we discussed tonight at house church. and i was inspired to document my answer, because what i said out loud tonight was sadly inarticulate.

but i'm so inspired by the idea of heaven! not like some distant place in the sky with streets of gold and mansions and pearly gates, but the dominion of God that is at hand.

God, in his nature, is totally good, completely pure and holy. he IS love. so his dominion? no tears! no mourning! no crying! no pain! no death! (see the end of revelation for a complete description). God's kingdom is all about redeeming what's lost, healing what's broken, and making all things new. THIS is what heaven is.

and heaven lives in us, who are followers of Christ. he is making us into new creations. he has placed heaven, the kingdom of God, in our hearts. we are living it. now. he is making US new. he is redeeming US. he is healing US. and as his followers, he calls us to usher in his kingdom. to make disciples of all nations. our job is to bring his light to the dark places. everyday, says my friend j.b., we offer people heaven or hell with how we choose to treat them.

how amazing that we get to participate in the coming of the kingdom of heaven! how amazing that every day i get to witness heaven coming in my own life as i become more like Jesus. how amazing that i get to see God bringing heaven into my friends, like h.m. who is conquering addiction after addiction and being healed from her brokenness. how beautiful to see God's children offering heaven to the world as we clothe the naked, feed the hungry, care for the sick and the imprisoned, and love the unlovely. how exciting to imagine what it will look like when this is all fulfilled. when ALL things are heaven.

heaven starts here. heaven is coming NOW. be a part of it! embrace the journey instead of waiting until it's over.


i don't know why i created this blog.

but i did. so i will write.

i'm sick, and bored. [oh, THAT'S why i created this blog]. i've been watching too much tv. know what i've noticed? practically every commercial makes men look like complete idiots. is this where feminism has brought us? seriously, just pay attention. there is a plethora of media advertising with women exasperated with their bozo husbands.

i am a feminist, though. but i like men. there are very few men in my life who are actually idiots. i like having them around. and my husband is a gem. i just happen to believe that i am equally as intelligent.

why do people want to buy things marketed by stupid men and their bitchy wives?