Monday, September 20, 2010

Will Six Babies Be Any More, Really, Than Five?

It hasn't really sunk in that we're going to have a sixth baby in a bit. Besides initially forgetting to call the doctor and then almost forgetting to go, we've been flying along at such a chaotic pace that I haven't given it any real thought.
'So, you're half way there' said my doctor this last Tuesday.
'Really? Are you sure,' I said, 'it can't be as bad as that.' 
And also, I had my due date marked on my calendar, just circled actually, with no explanation or anything. 'Why is that circled?' I inquired of myself and other others. That's not a quarterly report date, nor Ash Wednesday, nor any grading period. What is it!? 

But yesterday, as I stood leading the Nicaean Creed, it did occur to me that I was, in fact, more pregnant even than last week. And last week, after the creed, I knelt for the Confession, along with everyone else, and felt myself turning vaguely green and very light headed. So yesterday I stood for the confession, which felt really prideful and wrong. Its like standing for the Prayer of Humble Access, which I also did (stand, I mean)--so impious. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

7 Quick Takes

I'm really supposed to be fussing around running the vacuum and going through my to-do list, or something, but the kids are all down for a rest and I can't resist the temptation to sit here a few minutes longer in the calm and quiet.
I think its hysterical that Paladino for the People beat Rick Lazio in the Republican primary here in NY and that the very next day he announced that 'Andrew is just the status Cuomo'. I am so looking forward to the next few weeks. Non election years are So boring!
After two weeks of being half time in a classroom, I feel like I'm starting to get the hang of it. I Cannot Believe That I Only Have One Half Hour to teach writing to 4 levels of students! What a swift half hour that is every day. 
I just read the first draft of Matt's sermon for Sunday and almost burst into tears, it was that good. I praise and thank the Lord every Sunday when I sit down to hear the sermon that I had the foresight to marry a man I can bear to listen to preach--and more so, a man who's preaching nourishes me also. Would that every clergy wife could make such a boast. (I'm thinking particularly of the many many dreadfully boring sermons I heard as a child in various contexts. I would always try to watch the pastor's wife and imagine what she might be thinking as her poor husband blundered along interminably. Is she embarrassed? bored? does she think its good? is she making her grocery list in her head? What is she thinking!?)
Gladys' prayers are getting longer and more complicated every night.
"Dear Jesus, thank you for E, A, R, M, my Father, my Mother, my Great Grandmother, thank you that E got to go to school, thank you that A got to go to school today, thank you that R got to go to school today, thank you that the baby got to go to school today, thank you that my Father broke his leg, help him to feel better soon, thank you for dying on the cross........'
You probably get the idea. Keep in mind that she won't be three until next month, and subtract all the 'r's in the above prayer as she never says any of them. She won't say the word 'potty' any more but will only 'use the bathroom'. Gasp.
The continued outpouring of meals has been Such A Blessing. There's no other word for it. That, and the fact that Elphine has developed a real knack for quickly and efficiently loading and unloading the dishwasher has meant that life is flying along smoothly and bearably. I still do not love getting up at 5:30 every morning, but I haven't died yet. Maybe I'm getting to be a better more holy person.
Elphine started ballet this Wednesday. All the other girls arrived with with hair in perfect buns. I know this because I watched closely. I had struggled with Elphine's hair for about 20 minutes before class and managed to basically get it into a bun shape, but two minutes into class it had devolved into a pony tail and at the end of the hour it was a complete mess. HELP! Her hair is unbelievably thick, straight, and obstinate. Also, its not quite long enough, though she's been growing it for 6 months. Getting it into the shape I did was the most stressful 20 minutes of the whole week.
If you're looking for something to pray for, you can pray 1. that my dad will fly safely and incedentlessly from Dallas back to Nairobi over the weekend, 2. for a young lady of my acquaintance who needs God's protection and grace and 3. that my spelling will miraculously and supernaturally improve because four of my students spell better than I do and its turning out to be a real trial. And, what with one thing and another, I really don't have time to systematically go back and improve my spelling, any more than I have time to read a book, brush my own teeth, or sleep through the night. Let that be a lesson to all you young readers out there, LEARN TO SPELL IN THE DAYS OF YOUR YOUTH before the days of trouble fall and the years approach when you will say I have No More Time to learn to spell properly.

Go check out Jen, who doesn't have time to blog either because she has to climb in and out of her car through her window. 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Week in Review, or something

Forcing the children to wake up at 6:30 three mornings in a row came back to bite me this morning as they all climbed in at 6:25 baying and crying for chocolate milk. Chocolate milk! at 6:30 in the morning? I staggered downstairs and found an entire gallon of said milk in the fridge--I didn't dream and remember about it all night, but the children Did remember that some very lovely people dropped it off yesterday along with a tray of brownies, an enormous box of assorted pudding cups, ham and fruit.

Other things we've eaten this week? (none of it cooked by me)
Enchiladas and rice dripping with cheese and cilantro and tomato followed by cinnamon toasted tortilla points and ice cream.

Peanut chicken and rice with a gorgeous fresh salad and Three Different Colors of Grapes

Stromboli. Did you know that amongst the members of Good Shepherd there dwells someone who has devoted herself to the perfection of Stromboli? As far as I can tell she has achieved such perfection, even in this life. Had to force myself to stop eating, standing in the kitchen, alone, late last night, just one more bite...

Have been trying to describe to myself what sort of blessing these meals have been. The whole week has been like a smooth capacious path free of stones and trouble. Standing in front of the week on Monday it seemed, frankly, like night time driving with rain--treacherous, and on the whole, a Bad Idea. But God, as usual, is the God who sweeps away the stone and provides meals for the worn out and people to sit in waiting rooms while your beloved is sliced open, prepared and ready to text and call you to let you know what is happening moment by moment, people who write down the exact minute he goes in and comes out, people  who drop off dinner, others who bring it, set it up, help you eat it and then clean it up for you, and over all, people who pray and pray when you yourself forget this most basic act of spiritual breath.

So how did the week unfold?

Well, on Monday, a vague rattle in our newly repaired car became most pronounced and joined itself to a bad smell and a drift of smoke proceeding forth from under the hood. Of course Monday was labor day, so all we could do was leave frantic messages with the mechanic who had recently received what felt like the entire contents of our pockets. I spent the rest of the day sleeping on the couch and making up hysterical Facebook updates that I never bothered to post.

Tuesday I carefully and gingerly drove the car to the shop after dumping as much anti freeze into what, I presume, is the 'anti freeze receptacle' as it would hold. 'That looks good,' said Matt who would be sitting comfortably at home while I went out in danger. The shop kindly gave me a loan car free of charge that wouldn't fit all the children. I raced home, gathered the girls, flung myself to school to finish setting up and meet more students and then flung myself back home to feed the children Top Robin (I know! I know that's not what its called) and wipe the grime off them in preparation for the first day of Soli Deo Gloria Classical Co-op. Collapsed into bed at 9pm and fell asleep reading Enchanted April.

Wednesday my eyes flew open at 4am and so was able to lie there and freak out for an hour and a half before it was actually time to get up. As well as getting ready for class, I helped Matt cope with the fact that he was supposed to not have coffee, nor water, nor anything at all until after his surgery. Left the three little ones home with their favorite person as they didn't fit into the car. Spent an excellent morning at school where we all learned to sit up straight (Stack Your Blocks) rise when called upon to speak, address each other formally and politely, and not waste a minute of the precious morning. In nervous anxiety entirely forgot the beautiful and moving speech I had prepared to give my writing and literature class. Gathered Elphine and Aloucious and ran for the door exactly at 12:05. Drove carefully but swiftly home, shoved them in the house and ran back to the hospital and up to a "room", arriving exactly 4 1/2 minutes before a groggy and smiling Matt. As he continued to regain his senses, he popped open his phone, checked his email and then called the car shop and was told that the car would be Fixed For Free!!!! as it was their fault, and that we could pick it up tomorrow. So amazed and grateful. Also discovered that Matt had read the bit in Ezekiel about how Ezekiel's wife was going to die right before going into surgery. Rejoiced that the text was in no way prophetic and we had both survived the morning. Further discovered that I had neglected to eat since the night before and that it is impossible to buy food at General Hospital. Went out of the hospital and bought a large sandwich to share with starving Matt. Finally discharged to go home. Found children happy and well and sat around in a stupor until wonderful friends brought dinner and shared it.

Thursday, agonizingly left Matt on the couch in pain and exhaustion and prayed that he would get some rest while we went back to school, taking a few more children. Picked up the car on the way home and thanked them So Much for their honesty and grace in fixing it for free. Drove home for the first time hearing No vague rattles of any kind at all. Did vast amounts of laundry, lectured Matt about his pain level and how he should call the doctor, and got the children into their beds for a rest. Neglected such a rest myself in preparing for day three of school. Enjoyed a delicious and early supper of rice and peanut chicken, forced Matt to take some excellent medical advice and change medication and went to bed at 7:30.

By Friday had become SO organized and clever that I woke up to find I had laid all the breakfast things out already. Stood around in a fog watching the children get dressed, clean up and eat their breakfast. Arrived EARLY at school for another profitable and excellent morning.

So you see, we more than survived what promised to be a trial. In a few moments I'm going to potter next door to church and fuss with Sunday School stuff as Mission Sunday is tomorrow. And there's lots of other stuff to do, amongst them being a nap, and some meditation on the goodness of God and the strength of his Body.

Monday, September 06, 2010


The leaves on the hill outside my window are changing already. I have it in my mind that the fall colors always peak on October 10th. This is the arbitrary and unscientific date that I have fixed upon, probably because for the first four years of marriage I was pretty sure that Matt's birthday was the 10th, not the 7th. Last year the leaves didn't peak on the 10th. Every year I worry, as indeed this year, that it won't be the 10th--it will be too early or too late. I think about this always as I drive, counting the trees that have a few leaves of color and the ones that have none at all. And then, for those few days in October, desperately savoring each drive until the leaves begin to fall and we begin the long inevitable slide into winter.

This year comes with great sorrow. The neighbors have, as far as I can judge, sinfully cut down Three Beautiful Trees that were particularly and painfully exquisite in the fall. I hovered at my window the days they were being cut, trying to see whether the wood looked sick at all, or if any branches were dead. After three days of window gazing I am SURE they were quite well and were therefore cut for a Bad Reason, whatever it might be. I said to myself over and over in rage and sorrow of the men out cutting and chipping and drinking thermoses of coffee, "They were like those who swing axes in a forest of trees." (Psalm 74:5 ESV)

Our wonderful guest preacher yesterday, Rabbi Ron Goldberg, assured us that Jesus would undoubtedly return around the time, if not on, the Feast of the Trumpets. What a glorious moment! All creation (or at least the Northern Half) in a splendor of gold, red, orange, to welcome him. If He doesn't come on the Feast of the Trumpets, I hope he will come on October 10th, when the leaves are sure to peak in Binghamton. I have faith that they will.