My first natural birth

This is the story of my second-born child, my first son, and my first natural birth; it was also my only birth with a doula. I wish I had hired one for all my births! I did not choose natural because I "want a trophy" or any other similarly silly reason. I chose it because I believe in it. I believe it's possible and beneficial for most women, not all. I believe it is a personal choice, and would not look down on someone for their choice. Choosing natural childbirth has changed the woman I am. It has deepened my faith in God and in myself. I have learned new things from each of my births. This birth taught me that I am strong, even when I don't think I am, even when others don't think I am, even when others think I may be crazy. Each of my natural births connected my husband and me more than my epidural birth. I don't believe natural birth is the only way to accomplish those things, but I know from experience that it can be a good way to accomplish those things. 

On Dec 26, 2005, Scott had the day off and I decided that I wanted to get all the Christmas decorations down so that they would be done before baby boy made his arrival. Who knew that would start a yearly tradition? After the decorations came down, I realized I hadn’t felt C move much in the past hour or so. I laid down and drank some orange juice to try to wake him up. He didn’t really wake, so I called my doula, Sherry Asp, and asked her opinion. She said to head into Reno and check his vitals. I started counting my contractions on the way to Reno, they were about a minute long and 10 min apart. He was moving a little now, but it was about 6pm, and there was a possible snowstorm that night, so we thought we would go ahead and get into Reno before the temperature dropped too much. At the time, we lived in Fernley, NV which required a drive through the mountains in order to get to a hospital. So, we called the Webbs, who were watching #1 for us, and they met us at a McDonald’s in Reno to take her. We grabbed some food for us too. 

We checked into the hospital, #2 was doing fine, and I was dilated to 6cm. We were admitted, and we called the doula to meet us there.

I should mention here that you can be dilated for weeks. I have been. Dilation is a measure, but it doesn't mean that birth is imminent. I believe now that I could have waited a week or more before #2 would have arrived. It turned out ok, but with later births 2 out of 3 later births, I chose to not pay as much attention to dilation. 

I informed the nurse of my birth plan - no drugs, intermittent monitoring (15min/hr), a hep-lock instead of IV, leaving the cord attached until after the placenta was delivered, and immediate nursing for the baby. (Tip: If you have a birth plan, choose 5 or so things that are most important to you, and highlight those. It will allow the staff to actually read your birth plan and help them to not see you as troublesome.)  She did the heplock and left. I knew my doctor was on vacation, he had warned me, so I knew it would be luck-of-the-draw. I also declined the hospital gown. I hated trying to keep that stupid thing closed with my first birth, and I saw no need for it in early labor. After about 20 minutes, the nurse returned to say that the doc on call really wanted me on monitoring the whole time. I politely declined. I also began to sneak chicken nuggets whenever we were alone in the room. While eating at one point, the doc came in. I thought for sure I was in for a lecture. He didn’t say a word. I explained to him that I wanted to be able to move freely, and that I discussed this with my doc (he was a supervisor at the hospital, so I thought a little name-dropping couldn’t hurt). He said he didn’t mind at all, that he hadn’t told the nurse I had to stay on the monitor at all. Hmmmmm. Someone lied. I still don’t know who. After about an hour, the nurse said it would just be easier to go ahead and hook me up to an IV now just in case something went wrong. I had hemorrhaged with #1’s birth, so I had already consented to pitocin after the birth. I asked, “Since I have the heplock, isn’t the time difference less than 5 seconds? I’d rather not. I want to be able to move around.” She tried to convince me that I could still move around, I would just have to wheel the IV cart around. Yeah, thanks, but no. The rest of the night was pretty uneventful. We watched Jay Leno, laughed, and goofed off. If I had been at home, I would have been sleeping, but I was too excited. I did nap off and on. 

The nurses changed shifts in the middle of the night. The new nurse said she had never had a patient choose to birth naturally before. She asked Sherry if I had had a bad experience the last time. Sherry just told her only I could answer that question, the nurse never asked me. The new nurse was very nice, even if a little clueless about natural birth. She seemed willing to experience it right along with us. She also told me that I should just do a shot of pitocin in my leg instead of putting it in the IV. We did decide to leave the heplock in, just in case, since it was already there, even though it was uncomfortable. (We never needed it.)

At about 5am, the doctor came in and said he wanted to check my progress. I was dilated to 9 cm, he told me. He then asked the nurse for a hook. She handed it to him. Immediately, red flags went up in my mind. “A hook? That can’t mean what I think it does? [to break my water] Surely he would ask first...” Very quickly, he had the hook package opened and in hand. I asked, “Wait... what are you doing?” He responded, very matter-of-factly, “I am going to break your water.” My head was saying, “Oh, really? You’re going to break something of mine, without asking me first? Nice try.” I managed to politely say, “I would like to discuss that with my husband first.” He looked astounded that I would dare even consider not going along with his will. He stood from the bed, stormed to the door, ripped off his glove, threw it in the trash, turned around and said, “You’re not at a 9 anyway, you’re only at a 6,” and left. Well, thank you, I didn’t realize they allowed two-year-olds to become doctors. I quickly realized his shift was over in 2 hrs, and he just wanted a paycheck for delivering my baby. I looked at my belly and told my little man to just hang in there till after 7, because I didn’t want that doctor anywhere near us again. I don't think he was quite ready yet anyway, so I never saw that doctor again.  

When the doctors changed shifts, the new woman came in, and was very nice. She was supportive of my birth plan, and checked on us every few hours, but largely left us alone, achieving a really good balance. We walked around the hospital a few times and basically just hung out, trying nipple stim and taking cohosh tincture. One time when the doc came in, at about 1pm, she explained that #2 was head down, and very low and said she would break my water if I wanted to. At this point, maybe I should have waited, but I was anxious to meet him, and had been in the hospital for about 18 hrs. So I consented, and she broke my water. 

Until that point, I had barely felt my contractions, but once the water was broken, they came fast and furious. I found relief changing positions, particularly on all fours. Sherry would gently tap twice on any muscle that I was tensing, something we had practiced. That was a reminder to me to relax that muscle. It was very effective, because it was something we had worked out before. I didn't feel like she was telling me what to do, but rather, using a gentle reminder to tell me something I wanted to do. The fact that it was non-verbal was nice for me also.
Now that I'm more aware of the power of human touch, I think that played a part as well. A gentle touch that not only told me to relax, but told me that she was here with me, supporting me, gently here for me. 

 I got in and out of the shower, each contraction getting stronger. I felt like I was in the movies, groaning and yelling. Sherry used counter pressure on my lower back, and Scott was very encouraging throughout. She did the hip squeeze - standing behind me, squeezing both hips up and in. I felt him move down, and at the same time, felt relief of some of the pain. Without those things, I don’t know if I could have made it through. During one contraction, with Sherry doing the hip squeeze, I thought, "If she did nothing else, this woman is worth every penny." I considered the epidural, but I ran through the reasons I had decided not to use it in my head, and remembered that I was most likely too close to birth to get one. 
C at 4 months

I told Sherry that I thought I needed to poop, and asked if it was normal. She said that it was fine and helped me to the toilet. It was there that I realized I didn’t need to poop, I needed to push! I decided then and there that I was comfortable on the toilet and would birth there. haha! Sherry got to where we were eye-to-eye and firmly (but nicely) said, "Kristi, you can NOT have this baby on the toilet." I trusted her and knew she would not have had that tone of voice with me if it weren't a good reason, so I got off and moved towards the bed. She later told me she has caught babies that way, but you run the risk of them hitting their head on the porcelain, and they go from warm womb to cold water. Obviously, I had not thought of either of those things!

I got back in in the bed, again on all fours. We called the nurse, who, of course, had to check my dilation. She complained to Sherry that she hated checking dilation while I was in that position (hands and knees) because it was hard for her. I said, “Fine, I I’ll roll over.” I was a little annoyed, because, really, I am the one who should be comfortable, not her, but I didn’t want to be a diva. I rolled over, she announced I was at 10cm and fully effaced. By this point, the urge to push was undeniable and unable to be ignored. They called the doctor, but the one on call was in her office across the campus. So they called the perinatologist, whose office was in the hospital itself. I remember the nurses coming in and telling me I couldn’t push yet because the doctor wasn’t there. I said he better hurry up, or I was doing it without him. I looked at Sherry, and said, “I’m fine with you catching this baby!” She was training to be a midwife at that time (she is a midwife now). They told me I could turn back over if I wanted to, but I did not feel like I could move. They also asked if I wanted to feel his head, but I was holding myself up with my hands, because putting my hips down on the bed caused too much pressure. I said, “I would really like to, but I can’t.” I’m still amazed at my ability to form such polite sentences at the time (especially considering I yelled at the midwife with L’s birth, 2 years later. Maybe I was just more comfortable with my surroundings and freedom to express myself with L, or maybe I became less concerned with what other people think of me). 
C at 6 yrs (minus one day)

The perinatologist came in and introduced himself, Dr. Globe, I think. For some reason, I said, “I hope we don’t make a mess on your nice shirt!” I guess I really liked his shirt. It probably had something to do with the fact that all the other doctors had been in scrubs, and he was dressed very nicely. He told me that was not a problem, and put a gown and gloves on. Because I had waited so long, once he got into position, I pushed very hard, and C was out in about 2 pushes. Sadly, the doctor cut the cord immediately. I tried to say something, but he was very fast. I knew he did not have time to review my birth plan, so I wasn’t upset, but I was disappointed. They set him up on my chest, and I said, “Hi, little guy!” Of course, it was love at first sight. He began nursing like a champ right away. The doctor told me several times that he was not pulling on the cord, but that the placenta was coming on its own. I thought that was kind-of cute, and I really appreciated it, considering the doc had pulled it with R, and that is almost certainly the cause of the hemorrhage. They called the time of birth at 3:00 pm, about 2 hours after my water was broken.

They took C and put him under the bili lights while the doctor started to stitch me up; I tore because I pushed so quickly. I know I asked him about 12 times if he was going to use a local anesthetic. Childbirth without drugs serves a good purpose; stitches without them is silly!  He laughed and asked if I wanted them. I was very enthusiastic when I said yes. I said that I wanted my baby back, and the nurses said they were trying to get him warm. I told them that I was plenty warm enough to warm him and he wanted to nurse again. They gave him back to me, and he nursed again. I did have to trade back and forth with him on the bili lights to make the nurses happy, though. 

When they moved me to a new room, I told the nurse I had to go to the bathroom, and she insisted on helping me to the bathroom. She was surprised at how easily mobile I was, which I found somewhat amusing. It’s amazing what you can do when you can move your own legs! (With #1, I couldn’t move anything below my ribs until about 10am the next day, she was born at 12:37am; it was awful.) After the bathroom, I asked her to help me with my sweatpants, I had refused to wear the hospital gown the whole time. She joked about me liking to be covered in my own clothes. I said yes, I was just more comfortable that way. She took me to my new room, and we ate dinner - it was actually very good! Scott went with the nurse to give #2 his first bath, and when he brought him back, he was snugly wrapped in a blanket inside a stocking! I wish I had that picture to show you, but it's trapped on a dead laptop, still in my garage, hopefully awaiting a resurrection. 

12-27-2013, 8 years old 

Christmas Eve

I am so excited today to have family in town. I am most excited that my kids get to hang out with their cousins! This means, however, that my house will have 8 kids, aged 9 and under in my house! So, this morning, when I got up and my kids were still sleeping, I decided to enjoy the quiet for a moment. I told my husband I was going to enjoy the calm before the storm, and I grabbed my kindle (thanks Mom and Dad!), and began to read my favorite devotional website. I decided to read this devotion, about what to remember about Christmas. I knew I would need the reminder, with the combination of me being postpartum, kids being kids, and adults who don't normally spend days on end in quite the proximity we would be. I read, and it touched my heart, to remember to love "the least of these" as we would love Jesus. But then the quiet was broken. But it wasn't broken by the clamor of children running to see if their cousins are here yet. It was softly broken. I heard my oldest daughter singing to my youngest daughter, "Glo-o-o-o-o-o-o-ria! In Excelsis Deo!" I was reminded, too, to see God's glory in the little things. To notice His features in the daily-ness of life.

To look in the bright eyes of my children and their cousins as they talk to me and see God's eyes shining there. To see the hands of a young child reaching for "Bup!" (up) yet again, and to see Jesus' hands, asking to be ministered to. To see a child carefully constructing an ornament, knowing that I will find its childish flaws beautiful and distinctive, and know too, that God carefully constructs each of us and loves some of the things we see as flaws as distinctive and beautiful individuality. To cook meals as though I was making them for Jesus himself. To feel the love I have for this zoo, and know that I don't even have a glimpse of the love God has for all of us.

Today, and everyday, I vow to see God and His glory in the smallest of things.

How will you change your perspective in order to see everyday things as holy things?

I have a question for you...

I've been looking at different sorts of blogs lately, and can't really tell where this one should go. So, I'm asking for opinions. Should I stick to one of these things or a combination? There's what I've mostly been doing, I don't know what to call it. Encouragement? Lessons learned? Devotional sounds wrong, but it is formatted somewhat like that. I've mostly focused on my walk with God, but I intend to branch out into telling my birth stories, and including natural birth/homebirth/breastfeeding/natural mommy stuff.

Then there's the crazy stuff my life brings - stuff kids (whether mine or a student) say and do, stuff I say in response, and one I haven't touched on yet - the weirdness of being a pastor's wife. I've also toyed with the idea of doing tutorials of some things that I've done, either crafts with or without the kids, baking, organizing, green cleaning, or something else, I don't know. What do you think? What would you like to see? What do you think works best here?

An answer

I stood in the strip of sunlight and watched them. I watched them walk and laugh, talk, smile, shrug, look at their toes. They would glance at me, try to get away with a minor infraction. They would smile my way, some genuinely, some politely, some suspiciously. There were groups, fist-bumping, hugging, joking. Suddenly, it hit me. I was standing there, surrounded by people. Not kids, not students, but people. I could see their anxiety and joy, their worry and their light-heartedness. So many times I shut myself off to their humanity. I see it when necessary, or on a surface level, but when it gets hard, when I see their hurt, I don't know what to do with it and I turn off. It's like a switch deep within involuntarily clicks over.

It's not that I don't care. It's not even that I don't want to care. I just don't know how to do it right. There are so many of them and only one of me. There is so much heartbreak, and I only have two hands that can't possibly make all of the wrong right. So, I do what needs to be done. Evaluate what they say, decide if a report needs to be made, and to whom. Once or twice, their reality has been such that is was all I could do to wait until they were out of sight before bursting into tears. The girl who described a situation and asked if it was rape. It was.

The questions began. How do I handle that? How does she? What is to be my role here? And, once I open myself to feel a small splinter of their pain, what then? How will I ever teach them something so trivial as comma usage ever again? How could I stand in front of them and focus on anything except their hurt?

For weeks, I felt this internal struggle. Where do I draw the line? I can't constantly allow my heart to break for them, or it would consume me. But I can't ignore their hearts either. I couldn't figure out what is enough. I watched other teachers, all on various levels of this care-spectrum, and wondered where I should be. Some of them were jaded, and didn't seem to ever care about the kids. Some of them became stepping stones as students used their backgrounds to get anything they wanted. Many more in between.

All the while, I went about my business - my job of trying to teach them. I laughed at their silliness, became frustrated by their lack of responsibility, tried to express my desire to help them become better people. I would get distracted by lesson plans, attendance, deadlines, copies to be made, check marks on the never-ending to-do list.

And then one of them, one that I couldn't pick out of a crowd, did something to make me pay attention.

She tried to kill herself. She decided that life was too hard.

As I read the email, my heart wept. We were asked to retain as much normalcy as possible for the kids, so I went about the day-to-day. I collected homework, passed out grades. I tried to smile a little more, to see their emotions a little more, so as to be a help to those who had lost a friend.

Is this the answer? Allow your heart to break for them, but somehow manage to be strong for them when face-to-face? How will they know I care? Because I do have that answer. I have to care. I can no longer walk around pretending that they don't hurt. I have to allow them in. Now, today, that is so clearly more important than how well they compose a letter. It won't save them. It won't make their lives perfect, but it might help one. I don't think it would have helped the girl lying in the hospital on life support today. I know some of her teachers cared deeply about her.

I can no longer opt out of compassion for them. I can't pretend that my job is nouns and verbs and not love. Teacher or not, I am called to love these children.

I realize that I must walk this tightrope before them, strong and compassionate at the same time. I offer a hand, a shoulder to help carry their hurt. I tell them it will be okay.

When I am alone, I will do what I did today when they all left, and what I did when the girl who had been raped left my room. I bury my face in my hands and cry. I cry for their delicate hearts that can't see a way out. I pray for them to find hope. I pray for me to have strength and wisdom. I ask God, "Why?"

In front of them or alone, I will love them. I will care for them. I will pray that their hurt will be small, or, more importantly, that they can find Hope Everlasting. All the time, I will listen to the words they aren't saying. I will smile more, be more patient. They are people and they are children at the same time.

I will remember the quote, "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

Love note

A note I found, between my 5-year old son and my 8-year old daughter:

Him: "[her name]!! is! pretty!!!"
Her: "You are handsome!!! Thank you!"
Him: "Yuk!!!!!!!!!"
Him: "Sorry"
Her: "Help me out of the bucket!!!"
Him: "I wish I cold [could] marry you!!!!!!!!"
Her: "I wish you couldn't"

I had to get a translation for the order of the conversation. 
I immediately confiscated it, wrote the date and put it in the box with photos.
I will cherish it forever.
And, you know, embarrass him as a teenager when his girlfriends come over.

An experiment...

Let me paint a picture of myself this week for you.

Tuesday morning, reading emails on my prep period. I look around my classroom and see several stacks of ungraded paper, the board that needs labels, the blank bulletin board, the pile of books that needs organizing, the attendance binder that's ridiculously out-of-date and I don't really know what to do with, the desk that needs organizing, the files that need filing... you get the idea. I bury my head in my hands and wonder how on earth I can finish all of this.

Thursday night, I stayed at school until 645pm. I drive home, tired, but feeling like I had been productive. I get home to straightened living areas, thanks to my lovely husband. As I'm putting the breastmilk away I realize what I'm putting in there is ALL of the breastmilk I have. The baby is hungry, but I just pumped. I walk into our room which has been overcome by the mountains - plural - of laundry. Despite all my work today, I'm just more behind in other areas.

Saturday afternoon I ask, "Whose turn is it to pull off a paper chain?" [Our advent calendar this year is a paper chain, with each link having an activity on it.] My oldest good-naturedly replies, "Everyone's! We all missed our days!" I purposely made the weeknight activities to be very easy (the most difficult is "bake gingerbread" not coincidentally on the night before I'm supposed to bring gingerbread to school. Seriously, one says, "Eat candy canes.") So, we haven't even ripped off the chain for 3 days, and still haven't completed the 2 previous days' activities.

Every morning, I brush my teeth and wonder what I'd like to write about next. I count the days since my last blog post, and think, "If I really want to do this, I need to practice. I need to write." I rinse and spit, go on with my day, and don't write anything more than comments on essays and Facebook.

There's just not enough time in the day. I constantly feel overwhelmed. Part of this, I know, is due to postpartum anxiety. It makes me feel, well, anxious, about everything, all the time. I'm working on figuring out what all I need to be doing to combat it.

Every day, something tells me I'm not good enough. Not an actual person, but something. It might be the pile of dishes, laundry or ungraded papers. It might be the look on my kids' faces when I tell them we'll have to do today's, and yesterday's activities tomorrow, because it's already too late. It's the blog that sits unwritten for a whole week. It's the checking account, the fast food wrappers, or the cluttered bathroom counter.

I slide in a few minutes late to another meeting, the snarky, not in a good way lovely teacher beside me says, "Oh, I expect it now. You're just late. It's just you." I smile sweetly mention how my plate is very full and think, "You've known me for about 2 months, and that's what you got?"

So, I decided to conduct an experiment. And, of course, I need to document this experiment for my own sake, and you get to follow along and laugh support me! This is my so-ridiculously-simple-tons-of-other-people-do-it-all-the-time experiment: no TV, no leisure reading, no Facebook, no Pinterest between the hours of 630 am and 8ish pm (whenever the kids are in bed). I will only use the computer for work, and work includes writing, because I really want that to be my "work." I want to see just how much I can accomplish without those distractions. If I am working at all my jobs (teacher, mom, wife, etc) for those hours, and I still can't accomplish it, it doesn't need to be done that badly. Or, I need to cut back. This week, I hope to get some answers to that.

Does anybody want to join me? Is there anything that you need to cut out of your day so that you can focus on your job, or, like most of us, multiple jobs?

I find the strangest things...

That's a plastic fork. In my Christmas tree.

And that's another one. 
That is all.

Sunday mornings

I have a confession to make. I hate Sunday mornings. This sounds bad, being a pastor's wife and all. But that's why I hate them. I have 5 kids to get ready, largely by myself, as Pastor Hubby is usually gone before we all get up.

That's not all, though. I noticed, back when I had a measly 3 kids, that on other mornings, I could get all of us ready more easily than on Sunday. It was hard, but Sundays were killer. And, when I finished and we were all loaded in the car, on other days I felt like "phew. ok, now we can get on with _____." On Sundays, though, I was (am?) a crazy person. My mind is my enemy. Here's a small peek:

"I can't believe I couldn't find those shoes. I'm a terrible mom. She's wearing tennis shoes with her dress. Who lets their 2-year-old wear tennis shoes with a dress? No one who has their act together. At least she has on a dress. I should have just put her in jeans since I couldn't find the shoes. But none of her jeans are clean. Because I suck. I can't even keep us all in clean clothes. And, of course, I'm late. If one person says a single thing about how I'm late I'll tell them to shove it. I'll smile and say the minute they think they can get 5 kids aged 8 ready, in addition to themselves, they're welcome to take over, because I'm clearly bad at it. No. I'll just say they're welcome to come help me at any time and leave it at that. Kill 'em with kindness. or passive-aggressiveness, whatever. And if they say something about the shoes..."

Of course, this internal dialogue is punctuated by 47 questions until I finally yell, "I don't know! No more questions this morning!" Which in turn starts a whole new guilt-circle. "Why did I yell at them? I want them to ask questions. That's how lifelong learners are created. Will I ruin their curiosity if I keep this up?..."

Now, you might think that people routinely blast me at church, based on my statements above. But they don't. At least not at this church. So why do I get myself all worked up imagining insults? Because that's how Satan works. I don't believe in "the devil made me do it." I do believe he is alive and well, and does his best work by whispering our own failures into our ears. He makes it sound like it's our own voice (saying I'm a terrible mom) or others (who would bother to say something about my daughter's shoes?).

Almost without fail, I arrive at church on Sunday morning completely defeated. People smile and say, "How are you today?" I very often reply, "I'm here." I'm saying that it took every ounce of my energy and will to get here, but now I'm done. It's part truth and part shield. I am afraid they're going to say something negative; I hope that if they understand just how vulnerable I am at that moment, they won't.

An amazing thing often happens, though. By the time I get to church, I'm already broken. I'm already crying out for God's grace to relieve me from the misery of myself. I worship and I learn. I am made new, over and over again. I am able to say to Satan what Joseph said to his brothers: "You planned evil against me, but God turned it for good."

So, late this Saturday night, I'm doing something I've never done before. I'm welcoming it. Bring it, punk. My heart immediately says, "No! I take it back! Scott's preaching tomorrow! I don't want to be late!" But, I've been learning lessons lately about welcoming, even enjoying the hard times, because they make me stronger; they make me who I am meant to be. I mean, if it weren't for those two lines, I wouldn't be writing this now. I might be preparing to run a half-marathon tomorrow, but I wouldn't have run the marathon required of me this year. As hard as these lessons have been to learn, I wouldn't trade them.

I'm ready for tomorrow.
Yes, my mirror is dirty. You got somethin' to say?

New direction

So, I've always always always wanted to be a writer. This week, after my evil last class left, I decided I'm going to be! For the first time I took that little whisper from the back of my head, brought it to the front and declared, "I am going to become a writer." Obviously, I'll still teach for the children awesome pay health insurance. I like teaching, I really do (although that last period makes me want a refund on that degree nearly every day), but I love writing. Sometimes I feel like I have to do it or I'll explode. At those times, I usually write the things that have been on this blog up to now. The things that affect me, that change me in some way. But I also often feel like I have to write about the crazy, stupid, ridiculous stuff that happens to a mom of 5, teacher, and pastor's wife.

I considered starting a new blog, but I knew that I would never keep up 2 different blogs. Then I realized that reading about the ridiculousness of my daily life can only help people to understand the moments when I come to a new realization. I love Beth Moore. But I can't be her. I do not always have nice hair. I am lucky to have clean hair. I have to be the kind of person who will tell you about the time that her 2-year old would smear poop everywhere at every opportunity he got (and she consequently nearly lost her mind). The kind of person who would love to use cloth diapers but simply can't even keep clothes, blankets, sheets, and towels clean for 7 people. The kind of person who looks at her kid and cracks up because of what just came out of their mouth, leaving the kid standing there looking at her like, "What?" or, probably, "What is wrong with my mother? Are all mothers like this?" Or the one that laughs when she finds a poop trail because if she didn't laugh, she'd cry. The kind of person who sometimes has to abandon her family and head to Starbucks with a Bible and my macbook because I so badly need to hear what God has to tell me... and to write it down.

I have to be that kind of person, because I am her.  As a kid and teenager, I flip-flopped back and forth between trying to be the cool girl or the perfect girl (the two stereotypical pastor's kids). Then it was the perfect wife, then perfect mom, the crafty mom, the hippie mom, even the laid-back mom. None of those quite fit. They were like the PE clothes I got in 6th grade. I ordered a size medium because I desperately wanted to be a size medium and I didn't want the other girls to know I really needed a large. All that year, I had to wear too-small PE shorts, when my friends were wearing baggy ones. They were tight, and I felt like everyone could see just how fat I was (I probably wasn't actually fat, but I was a junior high girl, and unfortunately, that's somewhat normal in our culture). I realized that it didn't matter what the tag said; what mattered is how it fit me. So, I'm on an adventure to figure out just what type of writing fits me.

I'd like to invite you to come along with me as I share the stories of the daily life of someone whose cup is so full that it's always spilling over. Sometimes it's a beautiful mess, sometimes it's just a hot mess. Either way, I'll share and I hope we can help each other along the way.