Monday, August 21, 2017

2000

2000.

That's how many words I've written then deleted about the disgusting rally in Charlottesville, about the state of our country, about the level of division I see that feels almost cosmic in nature.

Cosmic, because how else could people see the same things so very differently? How could people tack the words "BUT" onto verifiable first-hand accounts of white supremacists with flaming torches shouting disgusting, hurtful words about African Americans and Jews? Honest to God NAZIS on US soil? How can we say, “We will never forget?” yet dismiss the significance of this kind of behavior? 

I know I have friends, family members and readers who believed they were making a moral stand by voting the current administration into office. I loved you. I love you now.

Some of you voted on one issue and felt that the ends would justify the means. Maybe you didn't feel like you had a choice to make. Maybe you believed one person couldn't do that much damage.

Maybe today feels like a time to dig in, again, especially when that is the example we see from the highest levels: name-call, accept no blame, call righteous anger "Hate" and dissension "Fake News!”

Or maybe it feels like time to reflect and reverse course. 

 What’s going on in our country feels evil and cosmic, while on the other hand earth-bound and base. 

Even though my words seem small, and they have been slow to come, the day of another cosmic event, the eclipse, seemed an appropriate time to pledge that I will not let myself get lulled into thinking any of this is okay: racism, sexual assault, hate speech, exclusion, and lying. I will speak out against it when I see it being condoned and encouraged by our leaders, and when I see it in my own sphere of influence. I will stay engaged and alert, even when it feels like my head is spinning. I will look to my own role in any of this, even if what I find is painful or ugly. I will listen to the stories and experiences of those who are hurt and in danger, rather than trying to come up with something to say myself, in order to make myself look or feel better. 

That’s all I’ve got today. 

With LOVE to each of you,
Micah 6:8


  

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Junk Drawer

When I designed our new kitchen, I included 2 junk drawers. The contractor pointed out that an extra drawer would encourage extra junk. I agreed, but that's what I wanted.

Junk drawers are a jumble of scissors, small tissue packs, bobby pins, matches, and sticks of gum. Batteries, a measuring tape, ear buds,  phone chargers, and random keys. Patches for river rafts and air mattresses, a tiny screwdriver for eyeglass repairs. Andrew's pacifier clip, and multiple lipsticks.

They are also the landing spot for things that serve no practical purpose, but have no other place to go.

In our home, those include a small plastic eagle we bought on a coal train ride in West Virginia. A  key chain with Margaret's and my photo on it. A tiny Magic 8 ball. Jack's kindergarten ID. A Darth Vader pen. Assorted novelty erasers. A headless Lego guy. Tim's first Blackberry that Margaret used to play to with, pretending she was a spy.

I straighten the junk drawer every now and then when it gets out of control. This gives me a chance to sift, sort, and remember. If these little things were packed away in a box, I'd likely never see them again, and I appreciate being able to touch them and move them about.

I know they will always be there because it is proven that no one ever cleans a junk drawer except for Mom. Sure, Tim will sigh and claim there are NO MORE NAIL CLIPPERS when he is looking right at them; he'll shuffle some stuff around, but he's not going to toss anything.

I like order as much as the next person, but I also love the little family museum I root through every day.

Now were did those scissors go?

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Novagratz Tufted Sofa Verdict

My Novagratz Tufted Sofa from Walmart came and I've been meaning to give you an update. Here's what it looks like in the ad:

I'd seen this sofa around the internet, especially in the emerald green, and I was intrigued. It looked so pretty and feminine. I needed a new sofa like a hole in the head, but I justified this purchase because this sofa is also a futon, and we don't have a guest room. I thought it would be nice to turn my office into a guest room when the need arose, especially because I'm not getting a lot of work done in there anyway. 

Delivery was free and fast (2 days)!

It came in a flat box, with the components (legs, arms) tucked in a zippered compartment underneath the upholstered seat.  It was Ikea-level assembly that involved minimal cursing on Tim's and my part.

I selected the dark gray:


I like that the tufts do not have buttons, because in my experience, those pop off.

The reviews said the couch itself is firm rather than cushy, and I agree. It is not a "sink into" couch by any means. The fabric is very pretty but does NOT look as durable as what I'm used to. For instance, our microfiber living room couch is third-hand, given to me by a friend, who got it from a friend, and it has had numerous spills on it, plus many napping dogs. My basement couch (yes, I have a couch problem) has a nice tweedy/chenille-type fabric that has lasted us 17 yrs without issue. The fabric on the Walmart couch, however, is a non-stretchy velour that resembles velvet. It feels pretty thin and looks like it will not be very forgiving for spills, snags, or dog toenails.

Reviews also pointed out its small scale. It definitely as a lower profile than my other couches. Think futon.

Here's what it looks like in my office:




Pardon the lack of a rug.

My sister spent the night last night and tested out the futon. She is our most frequent house guest, so is the best person to judge the new set-up. She got up extra early with Andrew today (is she a saint, or what?) and gave me her verdict when I dragged myself downstairs. She says it was indeed firm, but that she slept well. There is a bit of a gully where the two pieces come together, but she was not bothered by it. She emphasizes it is a futon for ONE person only, not two. Twin sheets fit on it.

Here it is opened flat, a simple process that took a few seconds:

And made up with twin-sized Laura Ashley sheets, circa 1985:


Does it really solve my guest room problem? No, not if we have more than one guest at a time.

Did I need it? Not really.

Other complications: It didn't look good with my existing rug, so now I'm on the market for a new one.

Am I glad I bought it? Yes!


Grade for Novagratz couch/futon:

B or B+

Would I recommend: Yes.

p.s. This is not a sponsored post.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

My Weekend plus A Giveaway!

What a wonderful weekend at the national gathering of the Bereaved Parents of the USA. I was honored to be asked to speak twice: 1 keynote, 1 workshop. I was stressed going into Friday because I wanted to honor each parent's experience, and be a light if I could. But with Andrew having a scary accident in the driveway last week (he's fine but oh my!) and Tim being out of town, I was afraid that my talks wouldn't come together. Fortunately, prayer helped, and by the time I got up in front of the amazing parents of BPUSA, it flowed.

It was awesome spending time with online friends I know from support groups, and Tim even made it back in town to join me Saturday night for a long-overdue date night. If you had told me a few years ago that our date night would be at a convention for bereaved parents, or that I'd be asking my 40-something girlfriends for overnight childcare for a TODDLER, I would have thought you were NUTS!

One of the highlights was meeting and talking to Pam Vredevelt, author of the well-known book, Empty Arms. She has helped so many grieving parents over the years after baby loss. We know a bunch of the same people in the Christian publishing world, and it felt like I'd known her forever.

I was able to take look at her latest project, Empty Arms Journal: 21 Days of Good Grief Exercises for Healing After Miscarriage, Stillbirth, or the Loss of a Baby and was so impressed. Pam also offers an Empty Arms Online Course.





I'd love to mail a copy of the Empty Arms Journal to a reader for herself or a friend who is experiencing baby loss.

If you would like to enter this giveaway, please do so below. There are no requirements other than leaving a comment on anything you wish.

Love and Hugs,

Anna

a Rafflecopter giveaway



#affiliate link included

Friday, July 28, 2017

Today

On soaking, rainy days like today, when phones beep with flash flood warnings, my family is on many hearts. But to me, they seem like any other day.

Why, I wonder?

I think it's because when I think of Jack, I think of his laugh, his understanding, his compassion, his great love for me. His hair, his speedy talk, his interests, his sleeping figure, his vise grip on my hand in the dark. Some memories are growing hazy, and I wonder what I've already forgotten, but I can't forget his essence, his soul, his love, his space in my heart. They are with me right now.

Even though I am less than a mile from the creek where he died and must drive over it many times a day, he is not the boy in the creek to me, and for that I am grateful.

I think that's why today can just be another day.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Oh Crap!

Today was a long day.

I was up before 6 with Andrew, and faced blazing hot temps outside that only a toddler would love. We had too much tv time, as I tried to keep him cool, and I didn't get one non-baby-related thing done.

I also felt pretty lonely, yearning for adult conversation, but also for alone time and the opportunity to write and create. Mid-morning, I took Andrew to the fancy-pants gym to go swimming, but it was at least 45 minutes of prep and wrangling for 20 minutes of fun. I saw moms and their kids socializing in the gym cafe and wondered if/when I'd ever feel up to that again instead of trying to do this mom thing solo. Perhaps I'm doing us both a disservice by not reaching out for activities and playdates. I know that being busier and more plugged in would make our days go faster, but it just seems like such an effort.

Margaret stayed holed up in her room most of the day.

At 5:30 p.m., as Andrew and I played, Tim sent the dreaded "I have to work late" text. I'd been hoping he would walk in the door any moment.

When Margaret came down and smelled the prepared dinner I'd picked up at the grocery store to save time, she rejected it outright and claimed the odor might make her vomit. I'm not saying it smelled good-- it really didn't-- but when I didn't care for my mom's dinners, I'm pretty sure I kept my mouth shut and made myself a Lean Cuisine. At least I hope I did.

Anyway, after a "disgusting" dinner that Andrew loved, during which I taught him how to put black olives on his fingers, I took him upstairs to change his stinky diaper. Too late-- I could feel dampness seep through my dress as I carried him on my hip. Oh well, we were cruising toward bath time anyway. He wailed and flailed as I cleaned up his bottom, so I decided to let him have some naked time while I started the water. I didn't feel like wrestling with him any longer, and what was 5 minutes diaper-less? His wails turned to smiles as he got busy pushing Tim's new roller suitcase around our bedroom, his chunky tush getting a nice airing out.

When I'd readied the bath, I stepped into the bedroom to grab him and noticed moisture on the floor. A little pre-bath pee is not unusual, and easy enough to clean up. But something else caught my eye. Pile after pile of frothy baby poop-- that he was running over with the suitcase while making car noises.

Some days I'm kicking geriatric motherhood's rear.

Other days there's not enough ice cream in the world.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A-Camping We Will Go!

So remember last year when I took a 3 month old tent camping? With no running water? And my breast pump broke and I had to milk myself like a cow? Yeah. Well, a lot of you said this year would be even tougher because Andrew would be mobile.

Indeed he is.

In short, I'm a wee bit nervous. And, having been sick all week, my energy is WAY DOWN.

We leave in 2 days and I can barely fathom what this is going to be like. Well, I guess I can: It's going to be hot. Dirty. There is still no running water. But there are fire ants, ticks, bees, a river, boiling oil, a fire, and possibly bears.

There will also be mountains, family, and friends. And we bought a larger tent to accommodate a Pack and Play, so it could feel like a palace.

Will you say a little prayer for us? Specifically for Andrew's safety and my sanity? I'll be ready to report back early next week. In the meantime, tales of some of our earlier trips:

2013

2010

2009

2008