Thursday, June 28, 2012

So Why Does Bad Stuff Happen?

*picture found here

An old friend of ours received some scary news about his health yesterday. His name is Micah. He has four beautiful children and a wonderful (sassy... my kind of gal) wife named Courtney. It is possible that he has lymphoma. He's our age. Please stop and say a prayer for him. I know you don't know him, and it's harder to pray for people we don't know with feeling and conviction, but any prayer is a good prayer. That's my opinion.

Why does bad stuff happen? I asked that question a lot this time last year. I laid upstairs in my parents’ house, listening to Jane cry and laugh and play downstairs as my family cared for her. I vomited and had vertigo and couldn't even walk across the room. I was missing my baby's milestones. I didn't know if I would ever work again. I didn't know if I would ever be Matt's wife again. We would lose our house. Lose our lives that we had worked so hard to build. I also had crippling postpartum depression and migraine related vertigo.

I looked at the ceiling and gave everything up to the Lord.

I asked that he would take care of my baby.

I asked that He would heal me or let me die so I didn't have to live as an invalid and a burden.

It was awful.

And it was also the best moment of my entire life to date.

To give it all up to the Lord, to hold out our hand and look at everything we love... our homes, our lives, our relationships, our jobs... and really and truly give it to the Lord doesn't happen easily. We're greedy folks. We want to clutch it close to our chests and protect it. Shield it. Fight tooth and nail for it.

We don't give it up without a fight.

But experiencing what I did, coming to the very end of my rope, was one of the most beautiful ways God has ever moved in my life. He taught me things I never would have learned otherwise.

Last summer someone told me, "God didn't do this to you. He doesn't cause bad things to happen."

I realize that the Lord is not some lightning bolt zapping angry Zeus figure on high, cackling and laughing as we scurry and run in fear. That is not the God of the Bible. But my God, I feel certain, allowed me to go through those awful things in order to CHANGE me. I believe that with all my heart... although that's not something else anyone could have judged from the outside.

So why do bad things happen? Why is our friend struggling with something so scary at a young age? Did God do it? Did the Devil do it? Why did God let the Devil do it?

I don't know. And neither do you. But we do know God has a very specific plan for each of us. And as the verse above says... God is creating something new and beautiful to be born within each of us. Will I remember this the next time a trial hits? Will I nod my head and say, "That's ok. I can deal with it. God is creating something beautiful right now." Probably not. I'll hit my knees and cry and moan and wail. I'll pray. I'll ask why, because I’m just human. But I will not doubt that God's plan for me and those that I love, those that love him, in the very end, is beautiful and good.
So God bless you Micah and Courtney. He loves you. He knows you. He will never leave you.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Textured Wallpaper. Sorry Book Page Wall. It's Your Destiny.

I did it. I tried to love it. I do like it. But it's not enough.

So I'm changing my book page wall with some of this lovely wallpaper. It will look great, I feel certain. If Matt and I manage to hang it correctly.

That's one big if.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Jane Decides That Summer Is the Best Thing Ever

Summer hasn't been Jane's favorite season. She doesn't care for the sun shining in her eyes when she rides in the car. She doesn't like the hot seat belt in her carseat. But this weekend, that all changed when she donned a bright pink tutu bathing suit and took a dip in the pool her grandparents bought for her.

 She's a changed baby. I'm pretty sure if she could say it, she would be repeating "Pool? Pool? Pool?" all day long. She splashed and screamed and enjoyed watching her pink tutu swirl around her adorable pudgy little legs. Don't you wish it was the same for adults? But nooooo.
 I'm beyond on love with these little curls.

 After Jane's swim Matt grilled for us. It's not often that we sit down to an actual meal these days. They're mostly on the run, and mostly while Jane yells "NOM NOM NOM" which is Jane-speak for "I SHOULD HAVE HAD DINNER 30 MINUTES AGO."

But this meal was happy and peaceful.

And don't forget those super fancy electric candles we put on the table. I'm pretty sure these are a fad, one that we'll all look back on and snicker at for being so silly. But right now, when it's 100 degrees and I have a baby pulling everything in reach onto the floor, they seem pretty wonderful.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Textured Wallpaper. Yep

I predict there's some textured wallpaper in my house's future. Probably not navy, minus the knives, but textured paper all the same. Yep.

Friday, June 22, 2012

My Kingdom for a Good Family Photo

It's just not meant to be. Our three faces are never in sync.
Either Jane isn't look at the camera...

 Or we're both not looking at the camera.

Or Matt is... doing his own thing.

 Or Jane looks like we mistreat her.

You get the idea.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

This Kid

This kid's favorite color is purple.
This kid's favorite sound is when I bray "eeeawww" like a donkey.
Yes. I realize the irony.
This kid loves cheese and cauliflower.
This kid likes to drop food on the floor and yell, "Uh Oh."
This kid smiles every time she sees a dog.
This kid screams like a banshee when bath time is over.
This kid pats my face and says "Mama" when I rock her to sleep.
This kid is the sun to our universe.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Fifty Shades of... Wait, She Did WHAT?

I recently had lunch with a lovely online-friend-turned-actual-real-person. You know how it is. You instagram and blog and email with someone, never actually meeting. Boots (as is her nickname online) turned out to be as adorable in person as she is online. We chatted and ate Chinese when she mentioned she wasn't going to read "Fifty Shades of Grey."

She talked about her faith, and how she wanted to keep her mind on things good and holy. Truthfully, I was humbled. In my time I've read Danielle Steele, VC Andrews, and all those other writers who are famous not because they're good writers, but because they write smutty scenes so well. Heck, I'll pretty much read anything, usually hitting those "Valley of the Dolls" scenes and skimming through rolling my eyes and muttering, "Sure. Like THAT actually ever happens."

It's not that I seek out these kinds of books to read. It's just that I've been reading everything I could get my hands on since I was old enough to convince my mom I was mature enough to handle "Gone With The Wind" at age 12. I've plowed my way through Stephen King books, Edith Wharton, all the way to Erma Bombeck. I'll pretty much read anything.

Movies, on the other hand, are different. When I was younger my mom used to fast forward the "dirty scenes" or worse, she would pause the screen on said scene and go into detailed explanation about why whatever was going on was wrong and why we should never do it. That was worse than anything, glancing back and forth between your mother and someone in a contorted state of undress paused on the tv screen. She was a wise, wise woman.. because it made a dent. To this day I'll scramble for the remote and fast forward a "scene" or worse, reach over and clasp my hand over Matt's eyes. He really loves that. Especially in the theatre.

But I've somehow never really applied "movie morals" to books. While listening to my new friend tell me about her conscience and how she felt books like that weren't the kind of thing God wanted her to dwell on, I felt a twinge of guilt.

So I went online to find out what this book was about. I read the first few pages on Amazon and thought to myself, "Eh." Then I went onto wikipedia to read the synopsis. Yikes. THIS is what women want to read about?

And so for the first time, thanks to Boots, I'm hitting the "fast forward" button on a book. I'm not making that judgement call for anyone else. I don't want to live in a society where books are banned. Or when a boycott is required if you're of a certain faith. But for me, it feels better to draw a line in the sand. To not read about some idiot college girl with no self respect and a crazy S&M loving dude seems the wiser path.

I'm pretty sure the Lord would rather me read Jane's "Book of Colors" over and over and over as she insists on studying the purple page. Or as she says, "puhpuhl." There's no shades of gray there.

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Winner. A Man Smell. An Anthropologie-Inspired Project Gone Horribly Wrong

First things first.
The winner of Lori's wonderful book, The Jane Austen Guide to Life, is:
Kimberly Bailey!
Congrats Kimberly. I just emailed you.

The second topic of today is man-smell.
I used Matt's deodorant and body wash today because I ran out.
I smell awesome.
If I were a man.
You know you've done it too.

 And now for my third and most disastrous topic for this lovely Friday. I've been loving some little vases at Anthropologie for a while now. I found a craft idea on pinterest and thought to myself, "YES! I shall do it, and I shall outsmart Anthropologie, and I shall win!"

Apparently, I shall not.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

What I Wore, What Was Going On

Since these pictures were taken, the following has happened:

Our kitchen flooded (our washer lost her mind).

I discovered that I'd greatly underestimated the magnitude of the whole "teething" aspect of kid-dom.
Bless Jane's heart.
It's rough.
I found out the exact date that my sister is coming home for a visit from China.
I can't wait.
She gave me this bracelet.

I sold my office desk to make room for a guest bed.
I know.
I know.
But with our house serving as Grand Hotel for all Jane's visitors,
it was time.
Don't worry.
I'll still be writing in there.
It's still my library.
Just with way comfier seating.

Matt and I discovered that you really can function on 4 hours sleep,
night after night,
for days on end.
(*see teething reference above)
You may not be the brightest bulb in the box.
But you can function.

So that's what I wore, and what was going on.
If you'll excuse me, I'm going to try to stay awake.
And not worry about anymore kitchen floods

Book giveaway winner will be posted tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Book Giveaway. And Not Just Any Book Giveaway. A Book About Jane's Namesake Giveaway.

Lori wrote this adorable book and graciously sent me a copy. I'm almost done with it and I have to say... this is a keeper. Just send me an email to enter to win! (mabelsblog(at)yahoo(dot)com)

Friday, June 8, 2012

A Little Light Reading With Breakfast

Remember when I explained that the house-change-bug had bitten me? It's still happening. Which is why our neighbors are hearing odd, ghost-like moans of anguish in the dark of the night. That would be Matt, crying softly to himself and wishing I would stop moving things where he can't find them.

I've been working on a book page wall in the dining area. That wall has been screaming for something, and the new curtains just didn't jive with the aqua paint. I used delapidated copies of King Arthur and Robinson Crusoe. Believe it or not, this wall only took a few nights to complete. I watched tv while I did it, which I find is essential to my happiness. If I'd had total silence, no tv, and just me and that wall... I might still be drooling into a cup.

My ultimate dream for this wall is this wallpaper. But at a billion dollars a roll, that's never happening. So I'm trying this on for size. I just stuck the pages up with painters tape. If I like it, I'll make it permanent. If not, I'll move on to something else.

*insert another cry of sadness from Matt here*

 I got an email question about these guys. They're little quirky wooden boxes I found. The have tiny doors with glass hinged onto the front. I just love them. I put a couple of battery candles in them and it's like instant sconces without the electrical bill.

If anyone out there in blogdom knows of a knock-off wallpaper like the one I covet, give me a shout!

(mabelsblog (at) yahoo (dot) com)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Anthropologie Tablecloths Into Curtains. Like Sands Through The Hourglass...

Since the acquisition of a new couch and my beloved Weasley China Cabinet, our living room has (is) gone through a lot of changes. It's a little bit like a Days of Our Lives, living room edition.

"Hey, look! I moved this buffet."

"Never mind, I moved it back. But I changed the art wall."

"What do you think about wallpaper?" *Matt shrieks like a banshee and spooks Mabel*

"Should I spray paint this?"

You get the idea.

A lot of people decorate a room and leave it that way. Those people are usually stable, settled souls unlike myself. Every five years or so I get a major itch to change things. Last weekend Matt and I had a date night that conveniently took us close to Anthropologie. I'm sure I need not tell you that Anthro is having it's huge clearance sale. And I found a bundle of tablecloths (72 x 90) marked down to seriously low prices. Clutch your pearls prices.

They were the perfect length and better yet, already hemmed and ready to hang on the ring hooks I already had. I never considered the color navy as a neutral before. It always seemed too heavy for me. But I love these curtains. They're so cheerful and mesh well with the existing colors. It's nice to have a neutral option other than brown or black.

So those are some of the changes happening around here. Did I tell you my doctor cut my migraine medication in half? I have so much more energy now... and no vertigo so far. With all this new-found energy comes more house changes. I heard Matt whispering on the phone last night, "Hey doc? Would you mind upping her dosage again? Her projects are wearing me out..."

Just kidding. But in his mind, I bet he entertained the idea.

More changes are coming. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Adorable Shoes. My Child Won't Be Still.

 My sweet and oh-so-talented friend Celeste sent Jane a present last week.

These are perhaps the cutest baby/kiddo shoes ever. I tried very hard to get Jane to model these for me, but alas, she had other plans. I never realized how totally impossible it is to get a 14 month old to hold their feet still. It's comparable to teaching Mabel how to roll over (her rotund tummy makes that whole scenario quite impossible).

But as you can see, these shoes are beyond adorable. Thank you so much Celeste!

Check out Celeste's site for more super cute (and insanely affordable, $8) baby shoes, as well as other fun stuff.