Wednesday, January 13, 2016



Twenty years! We may not be doing something completely legendary as I suggested we should last year, but we'll make something happen eventually. Remicade infusion day isn't the best day to celebrate an anniversary, or much of anything! A date night and tattoos will be a good start, if the weather cooperates this weekend. Perhaps we'll take things slowly and make it a legendary year, instead of one legendary celebration. 

Twenty years seems so long, but so short at the same time. 

Year one, we lived in a two family house in Waterbury. We went to the bar after work to hang out with friends and play pool. We got tattoos. We were 21 and had no idea what we were doing.

Year two found us moving to a tiny house near a lake in Watertown.  I got my tongue pierced the same day my sister announced her pregnancy with her first child. We were 22 and had no idea what we were doing.

Year three, we were overjoyed to be pregnant, then devastated by miscarriage. The love and care with which you comforted me through the following weeks and months made me love you all the more. That the year ended with the birth of our firstborn son, Alexander, balancing one of the lowest times in my life with one of the most miraculous.  We were new parents and had no idea what we were doing.

Year four we grew as a family. We looked at a house and had keys in hand two weeks later. With the house came another pregnancy, announced again at Thanksgiving, a surprise to all.

Five brought us Zachary's birth, a new community of friends, and challenges of parenting two children under the age of two. We most definitely had no idea what we were doing, but we had lots of fun anyway.

Our sixth year provided new work for me as a church secretary and, as a result, it was amazing to witness your loving care for our baby and toddler in my brief absence twice a week. What a surprise when we once again made a Thanksgiving pregnancy announcement - and a surprise to you before that, when you answered the sight of the boys' "big brother" and "big big brother" with "as long as it's not a girl."

Seven dawned with a special birthday surprise for you - immediately before you needed to leave for work - of a tiny little dress, as my ultrasound that morning indicated that Alex's exclamations of "it's a girl baby" were correct. Just minutes old, Haley had you wrapped around her little finger as she snuggled on your chest. It was heartwarming to see how much you'd grown as a father, no longer so afraid of breaking the baby, and insisting on your own sling in which to carry her.
Eight and nine, quite frankly, are complete blurs. As parents of three very young children, we seemed much of the time to be treading water as we struggled to get enough sleep, pay the bills, manage a household, and as my health declined. I'm not sure we knew what we were doing, but did the best with what we had. We dipped our toes into homeschooling, enjoyed hikes, Tuesday Night Sunday School, and various playgroups. 

Shortly after we rang in our tenth year, we found out I was pregnant, totaled a car, and I lost my job due to lack of funds with which to pay me, all in the matter of a week. I was in tears for days. You helped me to know that we would get through it somehow. How you made it through my pregnancy hormones, OCD, and need to vent about how helpless and hopeless I felt during those first few weeks, I have no idea, but thank you for loving me through it. Thank you also for not expressing your fears about the logistics of homebirth until they failed to come to fruition when Coren was born, all 10lbs 14oz of him, in a kiddie pool in our dining room.

Eleven and twelve years brought many challenges and surprises. My health had its ups and downs. Renee lived with us for a while, which was both a blessing and a challenge. We relearned that she and you should never live in the same house. Ever. Even though you are friends. We were shocked when a pregnancy test revealed that I did not have food poisoning, but morning sickness. Twenty-three weeks of morning sickness. 

Year thirteen seems a fitting year for the homebirth of our incredibly unique fifth child. Before the year ended, Alia earned the nickname Dangergirl and your suspicions that this child would be scary were confirmed.

The following seven years have run together in my mind as a rollercoaster of emotions, physical challenges, and diagnoses mixed in with some of the best times we've had in our marriage. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, miscarried twins, was diagnosed with celiac, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylits, and autoimmune hepatitis. I was in and out of a wheelchair, on and off crutches. We found Epoch Arts and got involved in our amazing homeschool co-op. We finally made it to Camp Calumet and found our second home, which we frequent as often as possible. We added various "part time" children to our family. 

We have watched our children grow and mature. We have moved out of the breastfeeding, diapers, child-proofing, need to find childcare if we hoped to leave the house child-free stage to the can leave children at home and go to the movies stage. This Summer we'll enjoy a child-free week at Calumet while all five children are in Resident Camp. Awe- all of it. 

Through it all, no matter my health, my weight, my abilities, or my crazy ideas, you have loved me, supported me, and dealt with all the insanity I've thrown at you, both the bad kind and the good. I still don't think we have any idea what we're doing, but we seem to be having a good time whatever we're doing.

It seems to me that the past twenty years have been quite legen- don't have to wait for it anymore because our anniversary is today - dary! I'm looking forward to another legendary twenty years.

I love you, my honey!

Always remember...

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

I Hate It

Hate. It's such a strong word. Such an overused word.

I hate lima beans.

I hate this weather.

I hate doing the dishes.

I find it difficult to believe that people have intense and passionate dislike of lima beans. What did lima beans ever do to them? I dislike lima beans, but hate? No. (And I love doing dishes!)

I see more and more hate on social media.

Hate towards refugees. Hate toward Muslims. Hate toward anyone who doesn't agree with the person's opinions or agenda.

Not disagreement. Not dislike. Hate.

Someone hating a fellow U.S. citizen so much they would like to see them leave the country.
Someone hating a group of people fleeing from violence and persecution so much they don't want them as neighbors.
Someone hating a celebrity so much they suggest she should be shot in the head.
Someone hating a politician so much, they suggest he should be hanged.


And it's not one person spewing hatred. It's memes of hatred being shared by thousands. 

With all this hate, can we please be a little kinder to the dishes? (Doing dishes really isn't that bad. Really. Warm water, bubbles, time to contemplate life or nothing at all.)

But seriously - when did we become a culture of hate? Have I missed it all this time, or have I been too blinded by the love I feel for fellow human beings and the light shining from the people with whom I choose to surround myself?

I could say that I hate all the hate in this world, but that would be wrong. I don't understand hate. I don't like how hate feels or what it does to people physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I do not have room in my life for hate.

I do understand love, compassion, mercy, forgiveness, and grace.

I don't hate my abusers. I pray for them. I forgive them. I feel compassion for them in their brokenness.

I don't hate my illness. I give thanks for the gifts it gives me, for the lessons it teaches me, and for the inner strength it has shown me.

I don't hate people who are different from me. I don't hate people who believe different things than me. I don't hate people with whom I radically disagree or people who hate me.

I embrace diversity.
I pray for peace and grace to replace hatred in the hearts of others.
I don't let others' hate stop my forgiveness and love.

Please, spread LOVE not hate. Steep your spirit in PEACE. Let FORGIVENESS speak louder than anger. Exude GRACE.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Growing Into the New Year

With the dawn of 2016, it's time once again for me to choose my word for the year.

In 2016...

I hope to grow more fully into the person I strive to be ...more patient, present, and productive... healthier, more open to life's joys and blessings. 

I endeavor to grow in my faith, in my relationships, and in my creative pursuits. 

I plan to cultivate an atmosphere of learning for my children, encouraging them to explore new things and expand their horizons - and to delve deeper into the things that nourish their souls.

I will grow space in my house and in my life through making better use of the space we have, letting go of more possessions to make room for easier living, and to pare down obligations to only those commitments that sustain my spirit. 

This year I plan to grow as a person, as a mother, as a wife, as a friend, and in all that I do. I hope to grow a life that is in tune with my visions for the future ... for myself and for my family.