Updated weekly. Usually on Tuesdays. Unless some small person eats my blog post.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


**Sorry, no funny post this week. I hope you'll enjoy these thoughts, and check back next week to find out what kind of mayhem is going to ensue around here once DB goes out of town the day after Christmas.**

Over the last two weekends, I have twice been privileged to sing in Christmas-related programs. And in both instances, at least one song focusing solely on Mary, the mother of Christ, was sung.

The first weekend, it was Breath of Heaven; the second, Gabriel's Message

I don't really know how to put into words the totality of the experience, but I wanted to try. It's only as I've become a mother myself that I have considered her story with any degree of personal interest. This year in particular, though, as our family faces a lot of uncertainty and I find myself "great with child" right around the Christmas season, I've spent a lot of time contemplating Mary and her faith.

Gabriel's Message centers on the story of the Annunciation, or when Gabriel came to tell Mary of her impending pregnancy. In the version our choir performed (which is not, I should note, the same as the one I linked to here; I'm unfortunately unable to find the one we did sing for you), there was a particular focus on the phrase he uses to describe Mary: "Most highly favored Lady." The words are used to reassure her, to soothe her, so that she knows that these things--this unexpected pregnancy, which she will have to explain to all--are as God wills, and that they are a blessing. At that moment, Mary replies, "Be it unto me as it pleaseth God." 

That reply is surely the most faithful, trusting, innocent, amazing reply that could ever have been made. I have to wonder if it had even crossed her mind yet all the trouble this was going to cause her and her fiance, Joseph. Did it even matter? 

Her faith is blindingly, starkly pure here. It's the kind of faith that makes me quietly shake my head and think that I am eons from that kind of trust, particularly when it comes to turning my life upside down. But Mary had that faith, and she showed it. 

Breath of Heaven is different. It's not based on any scriptural account, although I feel very strongly that it rightly captures at least some moments of Mary's life. This song comes after that first tide of overwhelming  amazement at what has happened to her. The angel has come and gone, she is heavy with child, she is (quite literally, in fact) walking down the rough road. She is, I imagine, getting leg cramps and possibly heartburn, not sleeping well at night, and having to ask Joseph to stop the donkey every hour or so for a bathroom break. She has had to face up to her family, her neighbors, and her friends who have eyed her ever-increasing belly and wondered at her story. She is tired. She is frightened. 

But she still has faith. 

She goes to God in this song, explaining to Him everything in her heart. She doesn't hide her fears, her insecurities, or her wonders. She doesn't hide from Him that she desperately needs help. She even shares with Him her worries about being inadequate. But she isn't coming to Him to ask Him to take it all away, or to change it. She does not, herself, question if this should be happening to her. 

Instead, she is simply approaching a Father whom she trusts to love her no matter what she is or what she fears and asking for His help. She is pleading for the assurance she knows that only He can give. 

Seeing both sides of Mary's faith has really affected me this year. We all have the moments of spiritual high where we feel we can do anything. Having an angel appear in my room would probably convince me that I could walk all the way to China and then move mountains without breaking a sweat. I have been in that place where Mary was; the moment of surety. 

Now our family has walked down the road some more. Things don't look the same from this far into the trip. It isn't what we expected. I have asked God several times to change it, to make it easier, to send me a horse-drawn cart (or a Ferrari) to get me the rest of the way to our destination. After the last two weeks, however, I want to be, once again, where Mary was. I want to be able to approach God in the way she is painted as doing in that song. 

This is true faith: To know that whatever it looks like to us, God has seen the end from the beginning, and He knew what it would look like in the middle. We didn't. 

Mary placed her trust in her Heavenly Father, knowing He would lead her to the end that she had already committed to, even if she couldn't see it. 

Mary was astounding. 

Her faith is why we have long since chosen to name one of our daughters after her. What greater gift could we want for our child than to know above all else that God loves her and will always do what is best for her? 

Because isn't that what faith comes down to? 

Mary is beautiful; and while this Christmas season is a celebration of her perfect Son, I know that come Christmas morning, watching my children rip into their presents, its her I will be thinking of. 

Her, and the assurance that even a young mother like me doesn't have to be perfect and without fear always--just trusting, and willing. God will take care of the rest.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I love Sleep.

This is how I feel about Sleep:

This is how Sleep feels about me:

Thanks to my rather dysfunction relationship with Sleep, I have come up with a new motto for my life: When you're dead on your feet, there's nothing for it but to dress up the corpse and hope nobody notices.

However, Mysanity is the child of Sleep and I, and Sleep keeps trying to keep Mysanity away from me.

Therefore I will drag Sleep back into my life as many times as necessary to ensure that Mysanity ends up in my complete custody.

No matter where you go, Sleep, I will find you. This stalker ain't ready to give up yet.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Victorious.

I am officially a first-time survivor of National Novel Writing Month.

Go me.

I thought I would come out of this with some seriously awesome lessons learned, and I have. The thing is I thought they would be lessons along this line:


As it turns out, all good things happen after midnight.



It's not really as necessary as you think.

However, I can't really say I learned either of these things. I showered as often as I usually do (don't ask, it's not as often as it should be), the dishes stayed at a fairly manageable pile level, and the vast majority of my writing was done before two in the afternoon. Learn I did, though, and I thought I would share my favorite gems.


There was a lot of this going on during November, and I was surprised. Surely, I told myself, having not just myself, but also DB committed to my getting 2000 words a day in will give me the glorious freedom I need to WRITE WRITE WRITE as much as I want to!

It did.

But I didn't want to as much as I thought I would.

Turns out that even pursuing your dreams isn't all sunshine and roses. All those Hallmark movies lied to me. Who knew? I always had a fairly realistic idea of what motherhood would be like, so the hard work entailed in that particular dream weren't surprising. My utter lack of motivation to write on most days when I was trying to force 6 days a week out of myself was.

When I kept pushing through, however (thanks to DB the whip-holder on some days), I found that it could still be done. And the more often I pushed through with sheer grit, the more often I found myself having the days where I couldn't wait to get to my computer. I am becoming a self-arm-twising ninja thanks to NaNoWriMo!


When my children are not doing what they should be or are about to do something they oughtn't, they get a warning of the consequences to come. If they don't stop, I start counting to three. Generally speaking I never make it past two before said child backs down.

Turns out I operate the same way.

Set a timer for ten minutes of writing (a goal of good behavior), make it so it creates really super obnoxious noises if I don't write (warning of consequences), then flash really bright red lights at me if I'm not writing enough (count of three) before screaming at me with said obnoxious noise if I still don't write (PUNISHED!). This works seriously well. Fortunately for me, I didn't have to set up this entire gig; Dr. Wicked over at Write or Die has a program that does just this. With the threat of punishment hanging over my head, I was able to complete my daily writing alottment in 45 minutes to an hour.

I think I'm going to apply this wisdom to other jobs in my life. Need to cook dinner? 15 minutes on the egg timer! Dishes? 10 minutes! Vacuum? 5!  Who wants to see if I can find my entire list of groceries in THREE MINUTES?!? Pregnant mommy at a dead run, kids plastered to the inside of the cart, innocent employees flying everywhere!

Watch out, WalMart. I have an egg timer and I'm not afraid to use it.


Speaking of time, it turns out that there are a lot more hours in the day than I thought.  I was under the impression that I would be killing myself, trying to add these 2,000 words. As it turns out, I have plenty of time. I just don't use it as wisely as I thought.

Being that I've always considered myself to be pretty darn good at time management, that was a hard one to admit. NaNo makes me think that it wouldn't hurt me to track my time for a week or so and see how I'm actually using it, to make sure it's really going somewhere I want it to. After all, it's not like I can get more minutes for my days out of the bank or something.

So, NaNo, thanks for the lessons, and for the novel. And for this really goofy video that I'm still laughing about.

It was a good November.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.Creative Commons License
This work by Carolynn Dyer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.