Monthly Archives: November 2013

8 months of Summer.

Today marks eight full months//36 full weeks of Summer Faith hopping about on this earth. OH MY WORD this girl. She is so incredible: she is sweet, adventurous, curious, SO strong, really smart, and insanely beautiful. Sometimes Tim and I just stare at her with our jaws dropped or crying…or both. She is amazing. As you probably know, a baby wasn’t really a part of our plans, much less our IMMEDIATE ones–we were going to maybe revisit the subject once we hit 30. But I am overwhelmed with gratitude for this precious gift, and for the deep joy that she fills Tim and I with daily. So here is a brief update about her world!

*Her favorite things to do right now are crawl, pull up on absolutely everything, wave, and clap. So yes, this is pretty much the cutest month of my life. She is so funny, oh my word. While she sometimes has independent spurts and crawls off around the house on her own, she typically prefers being a shadow and crawls after Tim or me. This is particularly fun when I’m back and forth between two rooms, most often the kitchen and living room. She gets sort of centered in the in-between space, and never makes it more than three crawls in one direction before I’ve switched rooms again. It is so cute to watch. Sometimes she just quits and pulls up at lightning speed via our desk or desk chair.

*Other current hobbies of Summer include putting anything and everything in her mouth. The more obscene and dangerous, the better (I’m looking at you charger cords and rug fuzz). Consequently, she now understands the word “no”! Not obeys it, mind you, but understands it. Actually, just yesterday when some heinous thing was in her mouth, I said “no” and began to move towards her to get it, and she TOOK OFF crawling at lightning speed away from me! IT WAS SO FUNNY. Like what is she, a four year old running away from a spanking? How does she know to do that?!

*She also loves to investigate every sound she hears—she will not relax until she discovers the source. She is so curious! I will add though that Tim and I have been listening to Nick Offerman’s Paddle Your Own Canoe audiobook every time we’re in the car together, and she has now become so accustomed to his delicious voice that she no longer cares.

*She’s still finnicky about eating, but just yesterday she ate a bowl of cereal with small pieces of steamed apples in it happily. It was amazing. Tim and I were in shock. And awe.

*In the morning or post-nap time when she’s ready to exit her crib, she stands up and yells. She doesn’t cry for rescue anymore, just ensues in a rousing one-woman chorus of AGH AY AHH over and over until someone comes. It is truly to die for.

*So yes, AGH is her favorite word. It’s how she gets our attention, how she shows us something, how she indicates what she wants. It’s hilarious. I will admit that I’m growing a little more impatient as I wait for the mama and dada days. She occasionally makes these sounds, but rarely with two syllables in a row and not to indicate anything specific. ALTHOUGH when she cries, you can often hear a fairly clear “mama” in the mix somewhere…but it is definitely accidental and not meant to call me specifically. All in time!

*She loves to look in the mirror, wave to her reflection, watch other kids play, and take long luxurious baths. She is a total diva.

It has been such a privilege to sit back and watch this magnificent biological journey. There are so many things that instincts guide a baby to do. I didn’t exactly teach her how to crawl or stand—her body grows into these new developments. This has been a wonderful thing to remember on the days that I feel like I’m not doing a good job with this motherhood bit. I am quite convinced that she really must be the best girl on earth. We are so, so lucky.

Processed with VSCOcam with b5 presetWhen she learned to clap about ten days ago.
And here is a video of her squealing as I blow into a mysterious bottle and pretend to hide. 🙂

(excuse the poor quality, I used Photobooth in a hurry.)

Gratitude Lately.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

This week I’ve been grateful for the last colored leaves gracing our deck.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Bathtime funtime with this silly goose.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Colors and silhouettes and all of the natural things we are surrounded by.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Summer’s teething lips and the dress that matches Dolly’s.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Spying on story time with these two darlings.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

That somehow they become extra cute when they’re all bundled up and cuddly.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Our last days in this teensy mountain town.

Gratitude.

Every week, I’ll be taking a nod from one of my favorite blogs and just doing a quick update and practice in thankfulness.

So in the past few weeks, here are a few things I’ve been grateful for:

family

My sweet best loves who make everyday exciting.
kimery tim

Best friends who drive 5 hours up horrible roads to see us. And the beautiful scenery we’re surrounded by!

Processed with VSCOcam with b1 preset

Fresh air, mobility, and shared experiences.

pumpkin outfit

This perfect girl and the silly and adorable outfits she lets us flaunt her in (pardon the cleavage).

Processed with VSCOcam with m3 preset

My family that only gets better with age.

IMG_2319

Facetiming the best sister/aunt.

leaves

Watching this girl enjoy the seasons.

Happy Thursday everyone! May we each experience the amazing power of gratitude: how it turns everything into enough.

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
― Marcel Proust

on meeting rachel held evans.

Last year for Christmas, Tim gave me both of Rachel Held Evans’ books. I had asked for her most recent, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, but he got me both saying that he thought it would be helpful to have her whole canon haha. Boy am I lucky–he is so thoughtful. And right.

My first introduction to Rachel was in a World Religions class my senior year. Our professor showed us this post, and while it wasn’t written by her, I knew she must have been pretty awesome to have this featured on her blog. For some time I would randomly visit her website, read some things she had posted and walk away really grateful and happy that someone out there had the ability to write so well about things that I felt I couldn’t, simply because to gather all my thoughts on these subjects and wrestle them down into actual words and sentences seemed like so much work (and by this time I was pregnant anyway, and making placenta is just truly exhausting). This is how I heard about her book, and I was ECSTATIC that not only was a young woman confronting the ideas that calling anything “biblical” is quite silly and that the Bible offers one actual stance on womanhood, but she actually took various instructions from the Bible as they related to women and lived them out literally for a year. So yeah, this gal sincerely refrained from touching anyone for twelve days during her period. She. is. awesome. I’ll let you read the publisher-approved Amazon description of it here.

But anyway, my biggest takeaway from this gem of a book was the idea of a “hermeneutic of love.” Tim and I have so many conversations centered on the frustrating task of interpreting the Bible, including how upset we get when people assume it’s a simple task and that there are little questions to be asked of it. Plus we both know just from, oh I don’t know–living life–that it is 10000% impossible to approach anything without some sort of filter or even ambition. And even if you are coming at it as objectively as possible, without any goal in mind, you cannot shed your layers of experience, personality, and ideas of who God is as you read the Bible. I’m positive that this is why there is so much debate about many of the Church’s “touchy” subjects–especially women. But Rachel reminds us that Jesus is the fulfillment of, well, the Bible. He is the standard of perfection–the human example given to us (& GOD ON EARTH) and the one that we should emulate. And when asked, Jesus offers that the greatest commandment is to love. EVERYONE. What a beautiful lens through which to read the Bible. And of course, one could easily go into specifics on Jesus’ wonderful, edifying, and important relationships with women as further instruction, but this hermeneutic of love offers so much. It encourages us to speak kindly, listen to other views, and–dare I say it–perhaps interpret the Bible in a more progressive, “What would Jesus do with this group of people now?” kind of way. I don’t know, I loved this book to pieces. I highly recommend it to ALL.

A few months later, I read her first book, Evolving in Monkey Town. This was a sincere treat for me, because during her junior year of college, she entered a very similar faith crisis as I did my junior year of college (but you know, ten years later). Her thoughts and ways of contending with ongoing doubt spoke so deeply to me as I continue to question and wrestle and doubt (as I surely will for all my days sigh). So seriously, if you’ve ever had just the slightest doubtful question and are not okay with trying to completely shut it up but would rather live with it and soak in the tension, please read this book. I’m pretty sure she’s revising it right now so a second edition should be coming out fairly soon. (Another book of comfort to me was In Praise of Doubt.)

ANYWAY, last night, Tim and I (and Summer!) ventured to Asheville to hear Rachel speak about this year of “biblical womanhood” and have a Q&A session. Tim and I were in. our. glory. As grateful as we are for this current season and the tremendous gift it has been to spend these 18 months in Highlands, we are severely devoid of “fellowship” (GAH that word) with people of like-mindedness, people who are willing to challenge us, and jeez I don’t know, Christians at all. And some of this is our fault, because we have been slightly reluctant to get too involved with the church we go to (because we are leaving soon, theological differences, lack of young married couples–much less 23 year old parents, etc.). But some of it is also work schedules, and that we are living in (partial) seclusion. But to be able to have a quick chat with Rachel and her husband Dan, to ask some questions and hear ideas from them, to just have a small interaction of this nature sincerely refreshed our souls so much. (Obviously, we really miss Taylor. 😥 We react similarly every time friends come to visit haha.)

We are so excited about taking our time to find a church in Florida, getting to know the people there, obtaining mentors (I’ve never had one but my friend Naomi tells me it’s the sheet) (Rachel plz b my long-distance mentor, thx bb), and just hopefully being a part of a group or network of people in which we can be honest about our questions and thoughts, challenged in these, encouraged in these, and pushed toward excellence and ongoing growth.

My personal challenge for myself as we enter this new time in our lives is summed up in this Henri Nouwen quote: “Sometimes I feel imprisoned by my own insights and ‘spiritual competence’. You alone, Lord, can reach out to me and save me. You alone.”

I want to sit through a church service without making a mental list of all the “wrong” or “backwards” things I just heard. I want to shed any idea that I have an elite view of how to live a Christian life. And I want to remind myself of the potency of the resurrection every single day, holding Jesus’ act as my motivation for doing everything instead of my pride or insecurity (what’s the difference, people) or fear.

I want to not be intellectually lazy. There are some days that I, embarrassingly enough, choose to read an article on Kim Kardashian’s parenting habits over one on the latest in Syria. When I have new questions and interests, I want to purposefully set aside time to research da hellz out of it. Ja feel?

And I want to be an excellent mom. A mom worthy of the praise-phrase eshet chayil! (Link is to a guest post by Rachel on another blog.)

(Majah props to Rachel and Dan for inadvertently helping us to sort of create these goals.)

So here’s to Asheville, Rachel and Dan, the most perfect partner Tim, moving, humility, and growth. (And hopefully no pregnancies in 2014.)

Rachel’s Amazon Page
Rachel’s Website & Blog