27 weeks

Today marks 4 weeks that I’ve been on bed rest. FOUR weeks. I can’t believe it’s been that long already, and yet I am so thankful these 4 “wow-this-baby-would-be-such-a-premie-if-they-were-born-now” weeks are over.

We’ve had some bumps in the road, including an ultrasound a couple of weeks ago that showed further progression towards labor and afforded me a night’s stay in the hospital. However, I’m now back at home, back to my routine, and checking in with my OB every week.

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I wish all days could be like this: 70 degrees and a visit from Suzie & nephew Hayden.

At my last appointment, my doctor told me she wanted to keep monitoring me, but there’s nothing she can do for me until I go into labor. The world of medicine cannot do anything more to prevent preterm labor. I’ve been looking to the Lord to sustain me daily through this pregnancy, and now I realize He is the only one who can do it. He is able. He is faithful. Our prayers matter–and I believe they are being answered! We’re at 27 weeks!

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”  -Romans 12:12

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New Year

As we entered into 2014, we didn’t make any resolutions for the New Year. It seemed a bit ridiculous, since our daily lives are currently dictated by what our bodies can handle. Ideas of losing weight & eating right are overtaken by hopes for a hearty appetite & energy to do daily activities.

Instead, we decided to pick a Psalm that would usher us into the New Year. We had heard about this from a couple that has done this for years–each year, picking a Psalm that reflected where they were and what they thought they would need for the year. They would memorize it so that they could return to it throughout the year.

Obviously we don’t know what this year will bring. The last 12 months have not gone as we had planned. Every time our plan doesn’t line up with God’s will, we’re tempted to believe things about God that aren’t true.  I’ve heard it said that fear is believing that God is not bigger than our present circumstances. The simplicity of that statement has been helpful as we find ourselves daily in a tension between moments of fear and seeing God’s faithfulness.

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We chose Psalm 86 for this year. The first 12 verses especially, describe the tension between the needs of our present situation and the greatness & faithfulness of God.         It’s what we need as we enter this new year.

Adventures in Babysitting


At the end of February, our friends Stacy & Alex went on a vacation to celebrate their 10 year anniversary. Tony & I volunteered to watch their children for the week. Luke (7), Baylie (5) and Emerson (2) are great kids, and we know them well, so that made the prospect of becoming temporary parents easier. However, it was still quite an experience!

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Our week started out with a “snow day” when an ice storm hit Indy. We were jumping in the deep end, and quickly had to learn how to keep everyone alive & happy. Here are some of the things we learned:

1. When stuck at home, build a fort. We let the kids keep it up for 5 days!

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2. Play games. Lots of games. Battles of Farkel, Jungle Speed, and Monopoly were regular parts of our week.  Even some of our other friends from training school came over for a game night!

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3. Get out and do something. Our excursions ranged from Lowes & the Library…

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…to climbing to the top of the Monument downtown.
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4. Sometimes nothing’s better than sitting down with a good book  (and what’s better than reading about “Insects in Action!” before going to bed!?)

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5. Feed them whatever they want! It’s only a week, and that doesn’t give us too much time to buy their affection.

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In the end, we made it through the week, and had a great time!

Remembering Grandpa Frey

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Opening a bacon wallet at our white elephant exchange. Christmas 2012.

 My grandfather died last weekend.

My beloved Grandpa Frey.

He was 96 years old, but still his death was a bit of a shock to me. I saw him just a few weeks earlier, and though he was weaker than normal, getting over bronchitis, he still enjoyed Christmas dinner, opening gifts, and of course, telling a story or two.

Grandpa had been a chaplain in WWII and a pastor to several congregations. Though I didn’t directly know him in these roles, it shaped the person I knew– someone who strove for peace and social justice in this world.

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Dad & Grandpa – 95th birthday. 9-2011.

Over the years, as I have become more interested in issues of social justice, I have loved hearing his perspective, as someone who  saw concentration camps and was a pastor during the Civil Rights movement. These conversations were enjoyable, and he would often mix comedy with wisdom. He always seemed to know what to say, and when to end with a quick “well, I think we’ve solved the world’s problems…for now at least”.

A duet with Aaron – September 2007

 I spent an afternoon recently looking through pictures I have of him. They speak rather well to the images I have in my mind, of the kind, quiet soul he was, always happy to see me and tell me a story. He is one of the only nanogenarians I know who enjoyed their days, and he told me a few years ago that he “never knew growing old would be so fun!”. Indeed, Grandpa did seem to have fun in his life, and continued through into his last years. He took up playing the clarinet, joining the community band after a 70 year break from when he had played in high school. SEVENTY years. I can’t imagine picking up a talent after that long of a break– but Grandpa enjoyed it, and played with the band for 6 years.

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One of the things I loved most about my Grandpa was that he was a great letter writer. His script could be difficult to decipher, but he was loyal with it, and I would enjoy a letter from him every few months. They would range from words of encouragement, to telling me about a good book he had read, or sharing a funny story. I just received my final letter in the mail two weeks ago.

In a similar fashion, he started writing his life story in journals when he turned 91. This was originally my brother & sister-in-law’s idea, and it was brilliant, because Grandpa kept this up, filling 5 journals with stories from his life. These journals were only turned over to my family upon Grandpa’s death– a bittersweet moment. As I’m saddened by the loss of my Grandpa Frey, I am excited to read and learn more about who he was. Surely his legacy will live on.

A Year of Plenty

One of the things I was warned of when entering training school last fall is the amount of suggested reading we’re given throughout the year. We are currently about halfway through, and I just this week, brought home my SEVENTH book.

Those of you who know me, realize this could be a slight issue, as reading doesn’t top my list of favorite activities. I wish I enjoyed reading more, and have in the past made a New Year’s resolution to read a book a month. (It was not too long afterwards that I decided the simple turning of a new year doesn’t help me resolve to make lasting changes in my life.)

P1110636My favorite book so far has been one I found in the training school room, though it’s not on our recommended list. It was an extra copy up for the taking, so I took it right home and couldn’t put it down.  The book Year of Plenty tells the tale of a family in Spokane, WA as they spent 2008 intentionally consuming products that are either local, used, homegrown or homemade. They did this for a year. With only 3 days to prepare. I realize over the past 5 years this has been a popular thing to do: change your lifestyle drastically for some righteous reason and then write a book about it. However, I felt this story was different. The Goodwins seemed to fall into their year of going without, stumbled a bit along the way, but found that life became richer when they raised their own chickens and walked their daughters to school.

I didn’t intend to read this book over the New Year. It just happened that way. Regardless, I’m thankful for the timing of it and find myself looking forward to 2013. This year holds the potential of moving overseas, to a place where many of these practices are a way of life. In the mean time, I like the thought of baking my own bread, eating seasonally, and buying more things locally. I want to learn to assign value without using dollars. I’d like to build relationships, spending more time at farmer’s markets and less time at Target. In the pattern of non-New-Year’s-resolution-ism, I have no grid or legalistic plan to use as a guide, just a hope that as I begin to dabble in a simpler way of living, I’ll find that it is plentiful.

How to Host a Clothing Swap

In all the different houses I’ve lived in around Broadripple, I’ve had small closets. Ones that require changing out the clothes with every season. I think it’s just something that comes with the territory.

Often when I’m pulling out my clothes for the next season, I feel a bit tired of my clothes. I don’t really need new clothes, I just need a change. So when I went to my first clothing swap at my friend, Jana’s house a few years ago, I realized it was just the thing I needed.

This time it was my turn to host, a task that seems daunting, but really is pretty easy…

Step 1. Have your friends clean out their closets, and bring their old clothes to your house. The more the merrier!

Step 2: Sorting clothes. I divvied up clothes so that one room contained pants & shorts, one had skirts & dresses, one had sweaters, etc…This is an organizer’s dream, so if this is overwhelming, find a “Type A” friend and let them help you. (They might take the extra step to set clothes out by size within the room, too!)

Step 3: Have your friends over! Since the clothes are throughout the house, people can break into groups and go into different rooms. Our rule was each person could take 1 item from each room until everyone has gone through, and then it’s a free for all.

Step 4: Encourage your friends to try on clothes. How else would you know that the little vest actually fits perfectly above your pregnancy bump?!?

Step 5: Take home your clothes! This is the exciting part, because now your closet is revitalized with a few new items. Of this outfit, the top, belt, jacket & shoes were items I found at the swap. Thank you, my friends!

Camping Season

Autumn in Indiana is beautiful. Last October, Tony & I were pretty busy with wedding details, so this year, we wanted to make sure we spent time enjoying the outdoors. For us, that means camping! We did get to go camping, however, we ended up going on separate trips on two different weekends. We both had a great time, but looking back, we laugh that we haven’t gone camping together this fall.

I went with a group of girlfriends to Red River Gorge in KY. This was my first time in the gorge, and it was as beautiful as I had always heard.But this trip had an element of challenge, in that for most of the women on the trip, this was their first time backpacking. So we started with a little trip, and just did the 8 mile Double Arch loop with one overnight.

It was a great trip! Beyond learning that we all really enjoy camping, one of our greatest discoveries was that Oreos make great smores… you should give it a try!

         

Tony’s trip was a bit more intense. Shocking, right?! He went on a 3 night trip to the Smokies with 12 other guys, including a first-time backpacker: our friend Welile from South Africa.

Thanks Josh Davis for this picture!

Sharing these experiences with first time campers has been quite fun. Tony enjoyed Welile’s excitement in even little things, as he would exclaim, “Tony, we’re sleeping under trees!!”

However, no story is better than one our Saudi neighbor told us about his experience camping in Brown county just a few weeks ago. He was telling us that he had a great time, but got in some trouble with the officials. Apparently he and his friends had purchased 2 goats at a farm on the way down to the park, and slaughtered them, not realizing that was frowned upon in state parks. They just couldn’t think of a better way to enjoy a meal over an open fire…