Since I've been gone...

Yeah. I really need to write more. I miss it. Thing is, I have no time now... my life is no longer my own. It belongs to a very short person who (very selfishly) needs to eat and poop and who depends on me to make those things happen... I jest. I love every minute of having a new baby again, but I forgot how hard it can be at times.

I'm attempting to be a stay-at-home, work-from-home mom, homeschool my son, and to be sane in the process of it all. It's just sort of working right now. Ashleigh has colic and reflux, so it's been a challenge to get her on much of a schedule, which has made my time to work and do simple things like showering downright unpredictable. And sleep, you ask? We're finally, six weeks on, beginning to only wake with her twice a night (it was every two hours until last week.. which meant that by the time I put her back down, I was sleeping an hour in between feedings. Unfun.) We'll get there... I just discovered the Baby Whisperer and I'm gratefully combing her site for all the amazing resources she has on scheduling and such (and by the way, why is everyone whispering these days? We have the Horse Whisperer, the Dog Whisperer, the Baby Whisperer, and now, I just saw on Discovery, the Shark Whisperer. Is there something special about whispering that I'm missing out on? If I become the Novel Whisperer, will I actually get a novel to cooperate with me and get itself written? The Laundry Whisperer? The Get-Off-Your-Butt-And-Go-Jogging Whisperer? I must research the practice of whispering further).

So I'm stealing a few snatches of time right now while the baby is asleep in her bouncer seat, and feeling guilty for letting her sleep because she's slept all afternoon. Usually I pay for it at night when she sleeps this much, but she has inherited my husband's knack for sleeping like the dead, so any attempt to wake her is usually futile.

Ashleigh is, by the way, amazing. We're at that perfectly cuddly 6-week-old stage. We're starting to get real smiles, and her little personality is emerging. I love this. I can sit for hours and watch her stare at the ceiling fan and smile at it. Everything is new and fascinating to her, and it's sweet to drink in that innocence. There is not enough innocence in the world anymore; working with teenagers in this age is a reminder of that, unfortunately. It's so refreshing to see a perfect little human with no knowledge of evil, or of heartache, or of anger. She is totally trusting, dependent, and willing to learn. I pray daily for the protection of her innocence.

And little Dave is smitten with her. I knew he would love her because he loves kittens and little kids and cute things. But he really, REALLY loves her. I'm so glad for that. He has a tender heart and will be an amazing big brother.

Anyway, I hope to begin falling back into my routine again. I'm slowly getting some things back: running, my dominance over my house clutter, etc. Hopefully things like sleep and writing will come next. We'll see.


mamma mia, here i go again/ABBA back together...

If only for an evening:


The four members of ABBA reunited for their first public appearance since 1986, gathering on the red carpet for the Swedish big-screen premiere of "Mamma Mia."

This excites me greatly.

Ok. I admit it. I LOVE ABBA. I love every song. Spandex aside, I actually find artistic merit in the work of Benny Anderson and Bjorn Ulvaeus...they invented their own unique "Wall of Sound" by stacking and layering every vocal, instrument, and sound that was recorded, and then by slightly "detuning" one of the tracks to create a chorus track. This was done before ProTools and digital recording, before auto-tune, etc. It was all analog, and it was brilliant.

As songwriters, they dominated. They have sold 370 million albums worldwide. Countless hit songs, numerous number ones in countries worldwide. "Fernando" beat out the Beatles "Hey Jude" as the longest running number one song. Call them cheese nuggets, but they were an important part of pop music history in the 70s and 80s.

I grew up on ABBA records. They were my first love musically. As a kid, I would hole up in my room, turn on "The Winner Takes It All," and get lost in the story and the emotion in the lyrics. It was the first time I connected song with soul and realized that music could move a person in a powerful way... and I was only 9. I had no personal experience with heartbreak and lost love at 9 years old, but that song took me there. It so captured the essence of devastating loss that I didn't have to personally experience the emotion to know it and to feel it.

For me, their music was the beginning of connecting emotion to music, specifically as it was so flawlessly and skillfully delivered by the two singers, whose interpretation of the lyrics made you the first person in the story of each song. When I started singing at 13, I unconsciously drew off of these women, my first influences, and it made me the singer that I am today: interpretation is everything. The listener must feel the soul and the emotion of the song. It's everything.

So laugh if you want... but almost everybody secretly likes ABBA. Even Bono says that they were one of the most important bands in modern history.

I'm just happy to see them all together again. Maybe now that they're all on speaking terms again, they can be persuaded to do a reunion tour (they were offered $1 billion for a reunion years ago, but they refused!).... I would fly to Stockholm to see that.


Newspaper Outsourcing Editing to India

Now here's a fabulous idea.

Because outsourcing customer service call centers have been such a great success...

I know *I'm* always thrilled beyond measure after hanging up from a 3 hour conversation with an overseas, non-English-speaking CSR.

Good call.


I Can't Wait.


It's official...

I'm 6 months pregnant today.

That's very exciting.

I want a cracker.


I hate Windows Vista.

Windows Vista BITES.

I have three computers at work that are cursed with the dreaded Vista OS, and NONE of them ever work...

They especially love to crash just before a church service, sending me scrambling up long flights of stairs to the balcony (lemme tell ya, THAT'S fun when one is 6 months pregnant!) to rescue the computer operator and contol-alt-delete my way through a panic attack...

I HATE Vista. I hate it more than I hate the devil.

Bill Gates should be ashamed of himself for releasing such a shoddy product. It's worse than Windows ME, and that's saying something. I really want to sue him for pain and suffering... Vista constantly interferes with my JOB, makes ME look bad to my superiors, and never works when I need it to. My job performance suffers constantly because of this piece of crap.

I HATE Vista. I hate Windows. I hate Microsoft. Make a product that works, and I'll reconsider.

It's reason 7834212 why I'm a Mac girl.

/end rant.


Snails are faster than Kerrville residents...

I'm learning to navigate through life in Kerrville, slowly but surely. Really, more slowly than surely, because I'm learning that EVERYTHING in this town is done slowly. Like, death-crawl-slowly. Like, I-want-to-tear-my-eyeballs-out-slowly.

Today, I grabbed Punky from VBS and we were going to take my lunch hour to go to Wendy's and then to Wal-Mart. I'm pretty much already over the whole old people driving in slow motion thing, so getting there wasn't bad. We decided to eat inside Wendy's, something I rarely do, but I didn't want to sit in the Walmart parking lot and eat in the car. We went inside, stood in line, and after literally 10 minutes (and I was only third in line), I finally got up to the front.

Now, during my tenure in line, I noticed people ordering from both registers (I couldn't understand why the line was moving so slow with both registers open, but I did notice the staff behind the counter, numerous though they were, all leisurely strolling through the kitchen. Keep in mind that it was noon, the peak of the lunch hour). I stepped up to the open register, and watched as the staff continued their slow-motion pace. The family who was behind me in line stepped up to the other available register, and a girl immediately walked up to their register and took their order. She looked at me from her register and said, "Hi," and then went back to her order-taking. I stood there, still waiting for someone to come back to the register and take *my* order, since I was there first, but continued to be ignored. After the other family ordered, I said, "Umm, is this register still open?" The girl said, "No," and began to take another order. Umm, okay. So you *saw* me standing there, waiting to order, and you didn't bother to mention that the register... o...k. Sigh.

I stepped behind the people who were ordering at rude girl's register, ordered my food, and then stepped to the side to wait for my order. Most of my order was filled in a miraculous two minutes, but Punky wanted a shake, so we waited. I stood there with my food and watched as an elderly Wendy's employee with very brightly dyed red hair, God love her, slowly began to add the ingredients in his shake, and then she shuffled over to the shake machine and mixed it... slowly (keep in mind that I've now been in line for about 15 minutes. With the drive over to Wendy's, 30 minutes of my lunch hour have now been taken). Then, she slowly put his shake down on the counter next to her, picked up a rag, and began THOROUGHLY cleaning the shake machine. Yeah. From top to bottom. Inside and out. And she was wiping it SLOWLY...savoring every swipe of the rag, probably humming a little tune while she did it. The shake was sitting there next to her on the counter, I was standing there waiting for it, all she had to do was turn around and hand it to me, but no, she decided to pull a Heloise and scour not only the shake machine, but the entire counter surrounding it. Slowly.

At this point, I could feel my chest getting tight, and my breathing becoming shallow, and my blood pressure rising... I toyed with the idea of calling to her and saying, "Ma'am. Ma'am... yes, you, hi. Can I have my shake SO WE CAN EAT OUR FRICKIN' FOOD?!" My eyeballs almost began to shoot blood. But she was old. She was like 70, and she was working at Wendy's. I felt bad. I couldn't berate her for being tidy...

But oh my GOSH!!!! She *finally* turned (slowly) and picked up the shake in her little gnarled hands... and then shuffled SLOWLY over to the other counter, where she gingerly picked up a pair of tongs, got a cherry out of a container, DROPPED IT (I'm about to hyperventilate at this point), got another cherry, put it in the cup, put the lid on (which took another hour), and then shuffled to the counter, where she finally handed me my shake. With a smile. And I resisted the urge to snatch it and run, because I looked into her eyes, and they were kind, and I wanted to cry. She was sweet. She was working at Wendy's. Dangit.

I literally almost collapsed by the time I had the thing in my hands... my nerves were shot. Seriously. 20 minutes after I walked in and stood THIRD PLACE in line, I finally had my food.

We ate and then went to Walmart, which took another 45 minutes to get through... this Walmart here was designed by kindergarteners, apparently, and then I drove back to work, frazzled, my lunch hour over long ago.

I thought Bandera was bad when I lived there... but Kerrville operates on Retired Standard Time. No one is in any hurry to do ANYTHING. I guess I wouldn't be, either, if I had moved to Kerrville to RETIRE... but alas, I live among them, and I will be forced to either slow down and chill out, or I will have a nervous breakdown in about a month.

Just had to share.



I'm resigning myself to the fact:

...that sleeping is going to be merely a nice concept for the next year.

...that no matter how hard I try, I will not be able to resist breads and ice cream during this pregnancy.

...that some people just aren't going to keep in touch, and "busyness" is just an excuse for their lack of interest. However, rekindling old friendships is amazingly easy, and incredibly rewarding, thanks to technology.

...that sleeping in one's contacts is probably not the best idea.

...that someday I will want to write again. Also, I will have time.

...that I really should be playing my cello, and I must get off my duff and practice.

...that both candidates for president have wives that scare the living daylights out of me.

...that, no matter what, I will always crave the wrong things.

...that, in church work, there will always be some who will make it very hard for me to "be Jesus" to them. However, I must constantly remind myself that the three or four who make me cynical do not represent the body of Christ as a whole, and that most people are lovely, beautiful, and caring.


An Open Letter To Aslan

Found this on McSweeney's... thanks, Ed, for the heads-up. Hilarious for those of us Narnia geeks.


- - - -

To His Imperial Majesty, Aslan, the Great Lion, he who rises from uncomfortable and broken stone tables, son of the Emperor-Over-Sea, with extreme respect:

In the course of talking-animal events, it may become necessary for one animal—or human—or divine being—to come and rescue Narnia from its deepest, darkest hours. We're cool with that. We're just saying ...

Why does it have to be kids?

No offense to your wisdom and such, but, frankly, things don't go so well when they show up. Consider the results so far:

Visit 1

1. The illegal immigration of a dangerous terrorist responsible for annihilating the entire population of her previous world, thanks to the direct assistance of these kids.

2. Criminal disruption of a process critical to national security—namely, you, quietly and then gloriously, singing our magical world into existence, and us, quietly and a lot less gloriously, rising up from the mud, which we consider kind of important, if leading to very puzzling questions about our later biology and ecology.

3. And—oh, yeah—the first entrance of evil into Narnia, which transformed it from a place filled with merry singing to a sometimes dark and scary place filled with kidnappings, sacrifice, and war. (However, some of the signers of this letter wish to note that with evil often comes excellent beer, and they like the beer part, so: not entirely a bad thing.)

Visit 2

1. The sudden and terrible arrests of multiple Narnia residents, stemming entirely from the unauthorized visits of a small child to the forest area.

2. The sudden release of multiple dangerous creatures, who, until then, had been safely imprisoned as stone animals.

3. Your own bloody and demoralizing assassination.

4. The destruction of a valuable ancient stone table.

5. A major battle resulting in the injury and death of several Narnian citizens.

6. Restoration of a nonparticipatory monarchy, headed up by four children with limited education and absolutely no civil governing experience.

Visit 3

1. Eruption of war within days.

2. Major destruction of infrastructure, including a valuable bridge.

3. Multiple incidents of public drunkenness.

Visit 4

1. One kid turned into a dragon. Enough said.

Visit 5

1. Complete destruction of a vast and valuable underground city and mining complex.

Seeing the pattern here?

Frankly, we'd be less concerned were it not for our understanding that your true intentions are less to help us and more to help these children understand their own religion, which, we admit, sounds pretty confusing. End result: the kids get a deeply transforming religious experience, and we get left with shit. Excuse our language, but we're basically animals here.

(As a side note, did your foresight ever suggest recording that creation song? Because, from what we've heard from these kids, you could have made enough money from that recording to completely compensate us for the damages, at least financially. We're just saying.)

So, anyway, here's what we're getting at: Send us a hero. Send us a grownup. Send us someone capable of understanding the complex economic structure underlying Narnia, of understanding why destroying our mines is not exactly a major plus. Just stop sending us kids. And consider this message urgent. We understand that something called a last battle might be coming up soon, and we're a bit afraid that if you send us any more helpful kids they'll end up destroying our entire world. Sure, we could end up in some perfect magical mirror of it, but what are the chances of that?

- -


Wha? oh... hello... where was I?

So... hi!

I fell off the writing/blogging wagon. It's been crazy-busy around my house(es) and I just haven't had the time to sit down and be a good little writer. We've had several major life events in the past few months, and my computer just hasn't been a priority lately.

To catch up those who are interested:

We're expecting a baby in October. Weird, huh? It's strange being pregnant again after eleven years, and it's even stranger trying to wrap my brain around us having "kids" instead of "a kid." It sounds so... like my parents: "Honey, let's get the kids to bed..." wow. It's been so long with just David, little Dave, and me, just the three of us, that it's hard to fathom having another person joining our household. Little Dave is going to be a great big brother, but I've had so many panic attacks already ("They're going to be 12 years apart! They'll never really know each other!!" and "Omigosh... when little Dave starts driving, the baby will just be entering Kindergarten!" which leads me to, "Holy schneikes, when the baby turns 15, I'll be FIFTY!!!!!").... but it's going to be amazing to start over and have the opportunity to do all of those "firsts" again -- first steps, first words, etc.

So I'm four months into my pregnancy, just starting to feel those little kicks, starting to feel fat, and thoroughly savoring pregnancy this time around. We find out on the 27th of this month (hopefully) if it's a boy or a girl.

Next unexpected life event: we've moved from Boerne to Kerrville, which is something we really were never interested in doing. Funny how God changes things, eh? We just happened upon a great house, and once we did the math and realized how much stinking money we were spending on gas driving 60 miles a day to and from work, it just really made sense. We are five minutes from the church, and, once school ends for little Dave, we'll be saving a LOT of money. Plus, the house is perfect for us, and we needed something a little bigger in light of our growing family. However, for the past month, my life has consisted of packing, boxes, tape, cleaning, and sheer exhaustion as we have moved piece by piece

Finally, at the church, my job has expanded once again to include yet *another* hat to wear: I've taken on the position of interim worship leader. I think that makes the total number of jobs I do come to exactly 9645. But who's counting?

This has been a strange year for me in that regard. Vocationally, I've always been a singer and a musician first, but for the past year, I really hadn't sung a note. I got hired to do technical work, and my job has become the catch-all, "anything-technical-that-no one-else-wants-to-do" job...web design, podcast production, video editing and production, graphics design, book editor, sound operator, mediashout expert, computer network overseer, and "Sarah! Come fix my computer!!!"... all stuff that I was never trained to do, but that I just know how to do because I was a stay-at-home mom with lots of time on my hands and just enough left-brained curiosity that I learned. And that's all cool... I love what I do, and I can't believe they actually pay me to play with tech toys all the time... but it's not what I was CALLED to do.

I was called to be a singer and a writer, and, if I'm really honest, worship leading is specifically the form of singing and writing that God called me to years ago.

It's been YEARS since I led worship, partly because I ran from it for awhile, and partly because I wasn't given the opportunity. God kept me out of it for a long time, made me die to my desire to do it for me (worship leading cannot be an outlet to fulfill your own selfish creative whims and need for recognition, or it is done in the flesh, which is not glorifying to God), and I was dormant in that area and wondering why.

A few months ago, our music minister left, and I was asked to take on the role of leading the contemporary service at church on Sundays. It's been nice, and it feels right, like putting on old shoes...there is something very peaceful about finally being able to walk in the area of my primary gift.

I'm not sure how long this responsibility will last... they are actively seeking another music minister... but I'm honored to have the opportunity as long as it's entrusted to me, and I will learn and grow in this area for however long this season lasts.

Anyway, that's life for now. Hopefully, now that we are a little better settled, I can get back into the writing routine again.

For now, I'm off to put together some furniture we purchased last night from the wonderland that is Ikea. Man I love that place.


Live Blogging American Idol

So I just found this awesome new widget, and instead of going to the gym, which I am supposed to be doing, I am sitting on my couch being a loser and playing with my new gadget.

I could be liveblogging something meaningful, like the primaries, but I am choosing to be mindless. Call it Guilty Pleasure Night.



I'm...so... out of shape.

Referring back to a previous post regarding my desire to write, run, and pray more consistently, I am painfully aware of my failure. I'm a slug.

I haven't worked out since October. The miscarriage sent me into a physical slump of laziness. I just didn't have it in me to work out. Then the holidays happened, and chips and queso took over. Ugh.

I haven't written since November. Again, the holidays. But it's almost March. I need to declare an end to my own personal writer's strike now, please. Thank you.

I have been a prayer slug, too... although certain life circumstances of late have caused me to look up a little more often. I am having to walk by faith and not by sight these days, and that is good. Fear creeps in through the tiny cracks of my thinly-paned heart, and I have to constantly bring it back to God. "Do I trust You?....yes. I will trust You."

Changes are afoot. I have to come to hate where I am before I can move forward.

This afternoon, as I was sitting in my room on my laptop, I heard a loud crash in our walk-in closet. I ignored it, too lazy to get up at the time. An hour or so later, I went into the closet to find that the entire shelving unit had come loose from the wall and fell to the floor, dumping our entire wardrobe and rendering the shelf no longer useable. It's going to be an annoyingly large task to fix the mess, and it's going to require new shelves (actually, a total closet makeover, most likely).

The upside of it is that our closet has been disorganized for a long time. This closet disaster is really just what I needed to get off my duff and make a change.

I guess getting fat, forgetting how to write, and getting depressed for lack of prayer are the agents of change I needed as well.

Wish me luck.


Back to Work

Hollywood Hole

I hate that I am so quick to turn off my creative self. I have been creatively "AWOL" since early November, when the rush of the holidays took me hostage for awhile. Like a miniature tornado, the Christmas season whooshed in and swept me up and away from my novel -- which was coming along splendidly, by the way, thank you very much -- and sucked me in to a swirling blur of play practice, family, youth retreats, wrapping paper, and dishes. And then, just as suddenly as they began, the holidays abruptly fizzled and dissipated, and on January 2, I was left standing in my living room looking around at the mess and wondering where to start trying to get back to doing whatever I was doing. What was that? I forgot.

And then I entered the January vacuum. The "shoulds" attacked: "You really should start thinking about getting back to the gym, fatty." "You should mail those packages." "You should start paying attention to the presidential election and be informed." "You really should be more organized." "You should work out a new budget." "You should be investing in your retirement or you will die poor and angry." All of the "shoulds" hung around my head like shiny trinkets, their sparkle and glitter distracting me, calling to me, teasing me with their pleading little voices. They all demanded my immediate attention. I became restless, wanting change but not knowing where to start.

I finally settled on the organization thing, because, well, that is what one does in January after taking down the Christmas tree, right? It's pretty easy... unlike solving the 2008 housing crisis and figuring out my retirement. The next several weeks involved much sorting, cleaning, dumping, donating, and exploring boxes I forgot existed. I got lost in my garage one day, my closet the next, and I found myself obsessing about shelving and space bags and wanting to spend all my Christmas money at the Container Store.

I wish that Writer Me was as loud and obnoxious as Manic Me. Writer Me is entirely too passive. Writer Me just shrugs, sighs, and retreats when Manic Me starts crazymaking. Every now and then, Writer Me will try to get a word in -- it happened when I was madly cleaning out the garage, going through boxes, and happened upon a large box. I opened it to see if it was a "keep" or a "donate" box, and found that it contained all of my best books. Writer Me came out of hiding briefly, just to give a look of tacit disapproval, and I felt a twinge of combined guilt and epiphany wash over me. It was a reminder. Oh, yes, that's what I'm supposed to be doing. Something with books and words and... oh, yes... writing them. Hmm.

Then I closed the box again and went back to my task. Must....clean...the....garage.

Long story short, we finished the garage and I cleaned my closet and I'm over it now.

So now I think I'm ready to let Writer Me back out and get back to work.

Julia Cameron inspired me today. I picked up my copy of "The Right to Write" and was thumbing through it, and she says of the writing life, "I like writing to be...portable and flexible. I like writing to be something that fits into cracks and crannies. I don't like it to dominate my life. I like it to fill my life."


I get overwhelmed sometimes by the feeling that I must quarantine myself for hours without interruption in order to be effective as a writer. When I slip into this mindset, though, it paralyzes me, because I know I'll never be able to find that time without sacrificing family time or time that should be spent doing something more practical, like cleaning my house. I can't fit it all in, so the writing stops. When the writing stops, I get antsy and detached because I feel like I'm not being a good steward of the gift God has given me.

I like the idea of it filling my life instead of dominating. I can do that.

So this year, my resolution for Writer Me is to shift the thinking. Find nooks and crannies to fill with this glorious gift that God has given me, and let Him glorify Himself through me in this way. I'll take care of the quantity and trust God to take care of the quality. Manic Me may not like it much, but she can get over it. Charles Hummel called it "the tyranny of the urgent," and I'm tired of being ruled by it.

"I myself do nothing. The Holy Spirit Himself accomplishes all through me." -- William Blake

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