Monday, April 30, 2007

Rants and Raves

I feel as if CNN has turned into "America's Most Shocking Videos" or YouTube, rather than a news program reporting the most IMPORTANT news of the day. You know, the war? International suffering. Political news. Things of that nature.

I am so tired of viewing one disturbing video after another: beatings. car accidents. car chases. anything involving a celebrity.

Just because video is available doesn't automatically make it nationally newsworthy.

And how must those affected by this footage feel? How would I feel if someone I love was killed in a car accident and CNN showed live footage of the wreckage, for the whole world to rubberneck?

When did one person's sorrow and tragedy become another's entertainment? I guess it's always been this way. We visited Rome on our honeymoon and I've never been anywhere that made me as sad as the Coliseum.

But back to my rant about television news.

The final straw was the coverage of the Virginia Tech shooter - particularly his hateful video. As if this image could possibly be beneficial to a nation in mourning. I thought about the mothers grieving the loss of their precious babies. And I thought about the shooter's mother, too. I wonder if this troubled soul was as precious to her as my Nicknack is to me. Airing this video was tactless, macabre, and wrong.

There just seems to be no dignity left in the world. No sense of shame. No new low that can't be reached.

My consolation is that God sees and hears all. He knows how much the darkness of the world hurts and scares us. He mourns with us. He hears our cries for those who suffer. More importantly, he hears their cries. He knows them intimately, and cares deeply for them.

My consolation is that God is lightness, with no darkness. Not even a little tiny bit.

My consolation is that this world is not my home.

I don't know how a person who doesn't know our God can deal with the darkness of the world. Or the darkness in their own heart. Or the darkness brought into their very own living room every morning, through their television.

The darkness would chew me up and spit me out, if it wasn't for Him. I mean, I think I would literally need to be institutionalized. Thank you God for being my Comfort, my Shelter, my Tower of Refuge and Strength. My Rock. My Light. My Home.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Moving to Texas? Probably Not.

Just tried to jokingly talk my husband into moving to Texas. "I've heard nice things about Austin," I offered. "Too hoooooot," he whined, er, replied.

We decided to research Austin's climate. Thank you Wikipedia.

Unfortunately, I started to read outloud before I previewed the material. "Austin has... a, um... humid subtropical climate..." Oh.

Subtropical? Really? Hmm.

I continued reading aloud. Until I go to the last sentence of the paragraph. Then I tried to just let my voice trail ever so slightly as if I'd l merely lost interest: "...and tornadoes are not uncommon in the region." (quietly. in a monotone. so as not to compete with the History Channel.)

I glanced at Penn. Just sitting in his chair, half listening, half watching some show about something. Ha! He'd missed that last part.

30 seconds later.

"Wait... Whaaat?"

Darn it.

Don't you just hate it when what you said to someone only half listening finally catches up?

Well, we did agree to take a vacation to Texas next year. Not in the summer, though. And not during tornado season, obviously.


Edited to add: sorry so long AGAIN!

When I was an ICS (aka Immaculate Conception School - no kidding!) cheerleader in junior high school, one of the first cheers we learned was: "S-U-C-C-E-S-S! That's the way we spell... SUCCESS! Comets! Sucess!" Kind of a random cheer, I think. But very motivational.

Anyhoo, I'm one of those self-help book types. I can't get enough of them. I usually stick to Christian authors, although I occasionally read business books, as well. So you can imagine how my ears perked up when our Senior Pastor (Dr. Bryan Burton) opened his sermon with a question. "How do you define success?"

I quickly answered. Not out loud. It's not that kind of church. We're Presbysterians, for gosh sakes. Anyhoo, my thought was "success is achieving goals." I don't achieve very many goals. That's why I don't think of myself as a success. My husband whispered to me that his definition was "being happy." Which is why he thinks of himself as successful.

So anyway, our Pastor introduced us to the thoughts and writings of "Brother Lawrence," a monk who wrote about success as practicing the presence of God.

Pastor Bryan tied this in with our study of Genesis, and specifically, Joseph. You see, we've been going through the chapter of Genesis. Since January. January 2006. Two thousand and SIX. Just in case you missed that. Oh, from time to time we explore another subject for a sermon or two or three. We took a break during the holidays. But then it's right back to Genesis. And I've got to tell you... I love it.

When we, as a church, embarked on this journey through Genesis our ladies groups also started The Patriarchs, a Bible study by Beth Moore. Well, obviously we finished that a long time ago! In fact, right around the time my little Nicknack arrived. (On a side note, don't you just love Beth Moore? I wish she would come be my neighbor.)

So Joseph is somewhat familar territory to me and I couldn't wait to hear about him again. We're up to the part where Joseph has been wrongly accused by Potiphar's wife, and imprisoned.

Our pastor talked about success as the world sees it. But he pointed out Joseph was successful, wherever he was. As a "household manager," as a prisoner, and as a powerful right-hand-man to the Pharoah.

Rather than achieving success, Dr. Burton talked about the concept of receiving success, much as we receive grace. Totally unearned. True success being "practicing the presence of God," whatever our situation. Having God with us and in us at all times.

Oh how I wish I had the spiritual gift that would be necessary to properly convey the message of the day. I plan to borrow a CD this week, so I can listen again. I also took notes that I need to review.

All in all, it was a wonderful service. We sang two of my favorite songs (Isaiah 43 and How Great is Our God). Nicknack, as always, had a ball in the nursery. We always go fetch him early so he can join us for the worship music after communion.

Then we came home to a sunshiney backyard, which the boys enjoyed whilst I worked on my accounting homework, albeit from the sofa, so I could at least watch them play in the new sand/water table.

Sundays are the highlight of our lives around here. I hope they're your favorites too!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

What is it about Texas?

I've noticed that of the dozen or so blogs I read on a regular basis, all but ONE of the bloggers are from the Lone Star state.

What's up with that?

Are all Texan ladies so funny, eccentric, and full of the Spirit?

I live in a very "unchurched" corner of the world - Seattle. I wonder what it would be like to live in a place where the majority of people worship as a family on Sunday.

My beloved Grandma (my mumsy's mother), Betty Jean was a Texan. She hailed from Ft. Worth, although she married my Grandfather when she was 18, moved far away. She and my Grandad homesteaded in Alaska and made it their home until their golden years, which they spent here, in Washington State. I've always thought of Grandma as an Alaskan. But I still have a soft spot in my heart because if my Grandma was from Texas, it must be something pretty special. She was one in a million.

I know that I could never live in Texas, however, for two important reasons.

1. The weather. Specifically, the heat. And the humidity. I just couldn't take it.

2. The insects/spiders. Now I don't know if this applies to the entire state, since it is, after all, such a big one. But I've heard tell of insects. Spiders. Scorpians. Cockroaches. Did I mention spiders? Now we have some pretty unpleasant spiders in our neck of the woods. They like the dampness and the greenery, I suppose. But they don't get terribly large.

On a completely unrelated note, I have to have trees and hills. My husband calls it "geographic diversity." I think Austin is supposed to be hilly and green, so that might work. I would miss the mountains, but I could live without them.

Finally, I don't know if our somewhat progressive political view would fly. Would we be the neighborhood pariahs? We're pretty "blue state." Although I am absolutely pro-life. We're actually pretty middle-of-the-road. But, you know, by Seattle standards.

And I'm not into guns. Would my son be a social outcast if he wasn't allowed to go hunting? Fishing would be fine.

These are things I would worry about.

So I'm sure everyone in Texas is sighing a sigh of relief because they don't have to worry about us relocating to Texas. There goes the neighborhood, right? But if it wasn't for the heat and insects, I would seriously consider trying to talk Penn into moving somewhere that seems to grow the loveliest ladies on the internet.


It hasn't escaped my attention that my blog entries are entirely too wordy.

This is going to be a problem, for me, I can tell.

I will need to work on keeping things concise. I shall try to "keep it simple, stupid."

But this will certainly be a challenge for me, as I tend to say (or write) everything that pops into my head. It must have been all those stream of consciousness writing activities in Mrs. Forster's English classes!

This blogging business is much harder than expected!

How is it possible that I have nothing interesting to say, yet manage to go on and on?

Mission Impossible: Make a Friend

I'm on a quest to make a friend. I just decided this, just this minute. I've been missing female friendship in my life for quite a while. But I've just decided to do something about it.

What, you might ask, is my plan? Good question. I'll have to think about that.

I'm pretty good at making friends. I'm terrible at keeping them. I'm a homebody, I'm very happily married to my best friend, and I'm very close to my mother. So, in the past, when I start becoming friends with someone, I usually don't end up putting any effort into the relationship. I don't want to talk on the phone with them because I do all my talkin' with my Mumsy. I don't want to go hang out because I like to spend my free time with my favorite person, Penn. I don't want to meet somewhere in the evening because It sounds like a lot of trouble and I'm already wearing my PJs b 8pm.

This wasn't always a big deal. But now that I'm somebody's mama, things have changed.

I love my darling husband just as much as I did before, but I need a Mom's perspective on things. He isn't ALL that interested in the elaborate first birthday party plans I'd like to discuss with him ad nauseum, for example. And my beloved mother is still the bee's knees. But, she leads a very busy life and has quite a draining career (as an elementary school counselor at a troubled public school) and lives two hours away. Also, she isn't a SAHM with little ones at home. Finally, now that I'm stuck at home all the live long day, I'd actually like to leave said domicile from time to time. I'd like an excuse to put in the hot rollers, break out the mascara, and put on something to wear that can't be classified as "loungewear."

I don't have a sister. I'm a total weirdo, so I don't really click with a lot of women I meet. The women in my Bible study already have a million friends and seem super busy. And of the few friends I've made since living in Seattle SIX years ago, one had kids and started ignoring me (this was before I had my own little one), and the others were "work friends," with whom I have nothing in common, outside the office.

I've only kept in touch with one friend from high school (barely), have forgotten the names of the girls I was friends with as a freshman in college (I only attended one year), and only occasionally e-mail my girlfriends from Connecticut.

I need a girlfriend.

I'm going to brainstorm a plan of attack and I'll post about this plan later.

Your nicknames, so far (in alphabetical order):

Angel Food Face

Baby - you thought this was your name until you were six months old and we started making a conscious effort to call you by your actual name!

Bink (since we saw your 7 week ultrasound) - we almost changed your name to Brinkley a week after you were born, because we kept thinking of and calling you Bink

Binkolas - your Daddy calls you this

Chipmunk (as in Alvin, Simon, et al) - because you look like one!

Guy-Guy or Little Guy-Guy

Little Christian - your DatDat (Daddy) has been calling you this since your Baptism

Little Man


Masher - because of the way you used to mash your mouth on everything during your early nursing days

Monkey - because you sound like one, sometimes!

Monster or Monner - because you act like one, but in the best way

Nicholas-Never-Naps - we've only called you this a few times, lucky for us


Nicknack - your main nickname, at this point


Nicky Lane - because your middle name is Lane, of course!

Pumpkin Muffin - I've always called cute things by this name, including every cat I've ever had

Sunshine - because you're ours

Happy Days

Today has been a great day. Actually, I'm having a great week. In fact, April has been good to me. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and I feel like a good mom! It's been a journey to get to this point, so I'm celebrating the way I feel!

I have to say, I handled the newborn months pretty well. Was I a hormonal mess? Yes. Did I cry about something almost every day? Absolutely. I cried thinking about the day Nicknack would get married and love another girl more than me. I cried because the love I had for him was so overwhelming I couldn't stand it. I cried every time I looked at his "one day" photo from the hospital, starting when he was 11 days old. He'd already changed so much! (That photo is still my favorite possession among everything I own.) I cried just thinking about all the newborns in the world who aren't wanted or loved. I cried thinking about what it would be like to be a Mama in Darfur. Or a Mama in a concentration camp during WWII. Or a Mama who couldn't afford to buy her children Christmas presents. Can you imagine? It got a little ridiculous. I cried often.

But I really was happy! Despite the sleep deprivation and nursing problems.

Fast forward a few months. Between Nicholas's fifth and seventh months I was became a little depressed. I felt so isolated and inadequate. I felt like a huge failure. I just knew that Nicknack, who was so unbelievably precious, deserved such a better mother! I told my husband and mother things like, "I might as well go back to work because Nicholas would be MUCH better off with a nanny or in day care. He'd be better off with ANYONE other than me!"

I guess I always thought the moment I had a child I would become a perfect person. I know that sounds strange, but it's true. The first inkling I had that motherhood wouldn't bring an instant "extreme makeover" was during my pregnancy. I noticed that I was still eating junk food. I assumed I would be one of those health nutty pregnant gals, because it was what was best for the baby. And here I was, living on macaroni and cheese. Hmm. I decided that the drastic transformation would accompany childbirth.

Giving birth was awesome. I've never felt such joy or pride.

But, imagine my surprise when I discovered that I was still not perfect. Self-centered. Still lazy sometimes. Still a procrastinator. Still watching too much tv.

In short, I was still me. LAME!

It has taken me several months to get a grip. The most helpful thing has been honesty of other moms.

One of my favorite aunts got wind of my delayed baby blues and sent me a lovely letter describing her own feelings of inadequacy as a new parent. This from one of the women I consider to be an ideal mother. I often wish I lived in a more old fashioned world. You know, where people stay in the same small town for a lifetime, surrounded by older and wiser family members and family friends. This letter gave me that feeling.

A few funny Christian mom blogs have been a saving grace. The transparency of these women has helped me to realize that most moms consider themselves flawed and sometimes feel unworthy. Laughing along at the antics of these strangers has helped to fill the friendship void in my life, and given me ideas and inspiration.

There is a website with nothing but "True Mom Confessions." Although I've sworn off this site (because a) it's too time consuming and b) some of the confessions are dark), it helped me to realize how many mom's struggle as I do.

My own mother has given me the best non-Biblical advice I've received, to date. "Muddle through." She revealed this parenting gem to me during one of many tear filled phone calls. I don't know why I think this advice is so profound; it would take 1000 words for me to explain. It just works for me. Her main point was that you just do the best you can, don't even AIM for perfection, don't sweat the small stuff, etc. The beauty is, you can't fail AND your kids never know the difference. I think this must be true, because I always decribe my mom as "perfect" and a "Supermom" type. From my perspective, she was the best. But from her perspective, she was just doing the best she could and hoping it was good enough!

So I've been enjoying motherhood a lot more these days. I realize I'm not a perfect mom, but I'm a GOOD mom. That's what I'm shooting for. And it isn't hard at all. Perfect: impossible. Good, I can handle. I'm finding more joy in the time I spend with Nicholas. Focusing less on me and my flaws and more on him and his amazingness. And I can used words like amazingness, because I'm good, not perfect.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

First Entry

Hello! I’m kittyhox.

How on earth did you manage to stumble upon my little corner of the world? I have no idea what you’ll find as I begin this blog, or whether you’ll find any value in what I have to say (whatever that may be). I plan to write about the things I’m thinking about, which usually relate to my family, my hobbies, my interests, and my goals.

I guess I shall begin by telling you about myself. Who knows - maybe we have something in common!

I am 30 years old. I am an only child. My parents are divorced. I was born and raised in Alaska; in fact I’m a third generation Alaskan. We moved to Oregon when I was 13, where I attended high school and one year of college. Then I decided to “take a year off” from school. That turned into about ten. During that decade I moved all over the place: New York, Northern California, Maryland, Connecticut, and finally, Washington State, where I now reside.

I’ve been married to a “husband-of-the-year” type (Penn) for almost five years. My suspicions that a dream husband makes a dream father were confirmed when our little bundle of joy (Nicknack) arrived last May. He is the love of our lives.

Prior to becoming a SAHM I worked for a bank. I am currently in school full-time, trying to finally finish up that degree I started so long ago!

I feel pretty isolated a lot of the time because, with the exception of my darling husband and dear mother, I don't really have any close friends. I rarely feel like a good enough wife or Mama. I lack the discipline to do the things that are most important to me, like focusing more of my time and energy toward my walk with Christ or losing the baby weight. The latter of which, to be honest, has been a problem long before the baby, but is less embarrassing with the word “baby” attached.

You’ll probably realize right away that I need a lot of work in a lot of areas and that self-improvement is one of the themes of my life.

So that’s me in a nutshell.

Thank you so much for visiting my blog and taking the time to read.

Take care!

~ kittyhox