Monday, July 31, 2006

Happiness Is...

- being able to stay in bed until 3PM on Saturday
- not feeling sick 24/7
- actually feeling _good_ (i.e., normal) some of the day most days
- buying adorable maternity clothes
- being surprised when VNB picks out a sexy "hot, pregnant mamma" dress for you to wear on a date five months in the future
- owning pants that can be buttoned without discomfort
- getting to _wear_ adorable (and comfortable!) maternity clothes!
- being at work without fear of popping out of your shirts (even with a tank underneath, that's still embarassing), or people seeing your unbuttoned pants
- knowing that in six months, I won't have to commute to an office every day!
- icee pops

Friday, July 28, 2006

Guitar Envy

All you guitar enthusiasts out there, check out this site (REALLY - it's worth the time): This guy is amazing! He's excellent when he plays "normally" too (check out "Fusion").

Maybe if I play more often than every couple of months, someday I'll be as good as him.

Yeah, right!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


I've often thought about doing this, but haven't done it until today (when I was waiting just as fast as I could for a response from a colleague before I could really continue my work). I searched in the NIV for every reference to "hand" (which included any form of the word or any other word (like "HANDsome") which included it). My intent was to verify something that I'd long suspected: that the Bible doesn't talk about raising your hands in PRAISE (as is all the rage among progressive churches today), but rather in PRAYER.

Well, I was mostly right. Out of 1409 references to the word "hand," there is only one that says that we should raise our hands in praise:

"Lift up your hands in the sanctuary
and praise the LORD." (Ps. 134:2)
But there are twelve that say to lift your hands in prayer: Exodus 9:29; I Kings 8:38, 54; II Chronicles 6:12-13, 29; Ezra 9:5; Psalm 28:2; Psalm 143:6; Isaiah 1:15; Lamentations 2:19; Lamentations 3:41, I Timothy 2:8.

(The VAST majority were things like "lift a hand against" and "held in His hand," etc., but there were several regarding raising your hand in an oath and a few other miscelaneous ones).

So I guess I feel vindicated (although I wish that ONE hadn't been there)....but now I have no excuse to pray with my hands anywhere but in the air.

And on a slightly side note, this isn't to say that it's wrong for people to raise their hands while singing a "praise" song in church or where ever, since many of those are directed to God and are therefore prayers. I'm just saying that when we're "told" in church that it's Biblical to raise our hands in praise...well....yeah, that's in there once...but it's in there a whole lot more to raise your hands in prayer.

Heaven is a Wonderful Place...

So Jay's funeral was last Thursday. Except for the soloist who only just barely kept it together (yes, me), it was rockin' - literally. It started out with some of his favorite (rockin') praise songs, mellowed out in the middle for the sermon, and ended with one of his favorite Christian punk songs, followed by a song (sans words) written by two of his brothers and the boy who was driving. For not having any screaming, it was about as punk/core as you can get, and I'm sure it surprised a few of the older folks who came....but I and others could just see Jay rocking out with them.

Discussion afterward with my mom (she, Link, and Elianna came up for the funeral) prompted her to say that, despite her being labeled as "charismatic" when I was a child because she didn't say that it was abhorrent to God for people to raise their hands while praising...she still just didn't see heaven including music like what she'd just witnessed.

I just sorta laughed, because I didn't really know what to say. Being one whose music selection is extremely mood-based, and ranges from children's music to rap, and the heavier side of rock and everything in between, with healthy sides of 40s swing and "classical" (and an appreciation for well-done music of other styles), I could see how their song was worshipful...but I also "grok" plain hymns with piano/organ. I think heaven will get on my nerves (kinda like the local Christian radio stations), personally, if I don't get doses of all of them from time to time.

So in thinking about it over the last couple of days, I've come to this conclusion. On the day of Pentecost, when Peter was preaching and 3000 were saved, the Bible says that each "heard in their own language." It doesn't say that Peter spoke in tongues (as some would have you believe, although, Biblically, there's a place for that just didn't happen on that occasion that we know of) says that each individual person _HEARD_ in his or her own language. So the French guy standing next to you would have heard in French, while the Arab woman behind you would have heard in Arabic what Peter was saying in...Greek? I dunno. Whatever language he was speaking in.

I think Heaven will be like that. The "Heavenly language" won't be Spanish as our Hispanic pastor (jokingly)'ll be more like Farscape's translator microbes where everyone speaks their own language and everyone else just understands it. And the music won't be one particular style that every tribe and nation will suddenly agree'll hear what works best for someday my mom can be standing next to Jay as he headbangs, and can sing her alto straight from the hymnal with an orchestra, and both of them will _HEAR_ in their own (musical) language.

And it won't just be music either. A Christian artist/speaker that I know often asks "when did 'worship' become a genre of music?" To worship someone is to bring attention to them for what they are or have done. We are always worshiping someone/something - it's just human nature. Often its ourselves....sometimes it's someone like Michael Jackson or the Beatles or a thing like money. But worshiping God doesn't necessarily include music at all. I think in Heaven, there will also be painters and sculptors and engineers and teachers and preachers and lawn mowers and chefs who are doing their jobs in such a way as to say how amazing God is.

So while Jay and my mom are rocking out, there'll be someone next to them that they will see as worshiping in their respective ways, but who will actually be gardening and seeing them garden too. And God won't see (or hear) any of it, because the form of the worship is irrelevant....He'll see/hear what's coming from our hearts as we praise and worship Him in our own ways.

But that's just my opinion/imagination. Jay knows for sure.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Potty Humor

Here's a little potty humor to (hopefully) brighten your Friday afternoon.

Just remember, the alternative to laughing about it is to cry...or, you know, not share with the world at all, but really, what fun is that?

So I just had two distinct urges: 1) I had to pee, 2) I had to barf. The conundrum confronted me when I reached the ladies room. Which first? The smell of peeing often makes me gag which leads to barfing, but the action of barfing could possibly lead to peeing. Being a girl, those two actions require facing two opposite directions in relation to the toilet. Hence my dilemma.

Sensing that perhaps the barfing was the more urgent of the two (and being the one over which I have less control), I did that first and was able to hold in the other momentarily.

Now, I'm feeling _MUCH_ better and am happily (and hungrily) finishing off my lunch.

Ah the joys of future motherhood!

Monday, July 17, 2006

He Gives and Takes Away

Before anyone gets too worried about me, VNB, or the baby, we're all ok.

Monday, VNB and I set our plan into motion for telling our church about the baby. Our plan was to purchase the flowers for the altar and have it put in the bulletin that they were given by us in honor of "the surprise blessing we expect to receive at the end of January." We got a beautiful arrangement in a cute, white basket with pink carnations and blue.....somethings.....amid daisys and other filler.

Saturday, VNB and I got up at our "regular" weekday time (~4:45) and drove to Smith Mountain Lake in VA for his annual family reunion. After breaking the big news to his family (he was wearing blue, I was wearing as close to pink as I get), I rode with him on the wave runner once (he drove very gently), rode in the boat as he water skied, but otherwise, sat in the shade with the "adults." :) Except for my feet sweeling near the end of the day, it was a beautiful, fun, relaxing time. While VNB took one last spin on the wave runner, I floated in the lake while chatting with VNB's sister to cool off my feet. We then cleaned up, said our goodbyes, and began our trip home.

It took us five hours to get there, but after a long-cut, it took six hours to get home. When we were about 15 minutes away, we got a phone call from one of our friends from church. Three of the newly graduated from high school boys at our church had been involved in a car accident, two were flown to shock-trauma in Baltimore, one was dead on the scene. One of the boys I've known since the day his parents adopted him when he was a baby, the other two I've known since they were stinky middle-schoolers. I've been their youth worker/counselor, their teacher, and their friend for many years.

I'm also very good friends with each of their families. The family of the boy who was adopted (the Morrises) have been very close with my family since we first moved to MD in 1982. His dad can play any instrument with strings and has been heavily involved in the music ministry for many years. His mom is one of the sweetest people on earth and works tirelessly in the church. His little sister was in the Sunday School class I taught for several years. Jonathan himself has always been very head-strong.....but if focused on something always excels. He was in the front passenger's seat and apparently hit his head pretty hard on the window. Half of his face is swollen with bruises, in addition to other scrapes, cuts, and bruises. He's still in a lot of pain, and isn't doing very well emotionally.

The family of the boy who was driving (the Alcotts) became friends of mine when I was teaching that Sunday School class of 3rdand 4th graders. Tim's dad, Gary, taught the 5th and 6th graders, and his little sister Jenny was in my class. His older brother Drew was in the youth group and one of my favorites because of his....mischeviousness. While I was overseas, Gary emailed me every single week to keep me up-to-date on the happenings of the church and of his family. That simple action was one of the sweetest things anyone did for me while I was away. It kept me close to the happenings at "home" and definitely gave their family an even softer place in my heart. Tim was driving when the car went too fast around the corner, flipped, and hit a tree. He's probably in the best condition, and was even able to visit the family of the third boy yesterday. Both he and Jonathan were released from the hospital very early on Sunday morning. He's got scrapes and bruises, but is otherwise physically ok. I'm sure the emotional battle is only just now beginning, despite being taken aside already by the third boy's twin and told that it wasn't his fault. Their family was coming home from buying snow cones a few miles from their house. The boys were in the lead car with Drew directly behind them. He saw the whole thing. He either called his family immediately, or they were shortly behind him. He's been troubled with drugs and other rebellious actions over the past few years. This is a very precarious time for him, too.

The family of the boy that died (the Groves) have been friends of mine for most of the last 6-7 years. I've been camping with them, Sherry (their mom) helped me to make some of my bridesmaids' dresses, I just sang at their oldest son Johnny's wedding a few weeks ago, and I've worked with them at many youth events...they're just a cool family with tireless energy for youth activities and church work. Hardest hit, of course, was Jay's twin brother, Jeff. The whole family is doing well, although there's naturally still some shock. I think his middle brother, Paul, is the one still the most in shock. He and Drew have been drug buddies off and on for years, but Paul's never left completely, always coming back in between (and sometimes during) bouts of addiction. But the whole family was at church yesterday because they knew that they needed the comfort of their church family, and that we needed them too.

So, after driving for 11 hours, and spending five hours on the lake, VNB and I headed to shock trauma to be with the families and the youth who were there. We ended up getting home around 2AM.

The Sunday morning services, of course, were difficult. Three of our pastors had maybe 2 hours of sleep, combined, and those of us who knew were like zombies, which really confused those who didn't know yet. But the touchpoint that everyone kept coming back to both Saturday night and all day Sunday was that there was no doubt that Jay was in Heaven, rocking out in worship, just like he did here on Earth only in ways we could never imagine.

On the advice of several people, I called the Maternity Center's non-emergency line, briefly explained what had happened, and asked them to call me back. My stomach was tying up occasionally, and I was a little dizzy from time to time, but really, nothing serious. It's just a precaution due to the long, physically-demanding day, followed by a long emotionally-demanding night and next (several) day(s). They probably won't even want to see me - I'll just tell them in more detail the various traumas, then explain in more detail about what happened with my body, and they'll tell me to try to take it as easy as I can over the next couple of days.

So be praying for the three families. For the guilt that the surviving boys (Tim, especially) will feel. In many ways, it will be far more rough on them and their families than it will be for the Groves. Also, for Tim's brother Drew to be able to live with the images he's seen while being completely unable to help in any way, and for both he and Paul that this helps to bring them further away from addictions, and not back into them. And for me, not just that "Lime" is ok (I'm pretty sure s/he is)....but the Groves have asked me to sing at Jay's funeral. Especially with all the pregnancy hormones making me always on the verge of tears anyway, that's going to be rough. Lastly, for the Grove family - that they continue to be examples to all of us in their understanding of hope and blessing, even in pain.

VNB had been concerned Saturday night about the flowers that we'd already bought, but I think it ended up being a good thing really. It was a good counterbalance - new physical life, and new life everlasting. As Job said, "He gives and takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord."

Friday, July 14, 2006

I'm a Hobbit and I'm OK, I Sleep all Night and I Eat all Day!

So, since becoming pregnant, I've also apparently turned into a Hobbit. Not only am I getting extra hair growing in places I'd rather it not be (my eye brows have always been "full," but now they're starting to creep down my eye lids), but I also eat a lot and frequently.

For instance, for breakfast this morning (which I never used to eat), I had a bacon, egg, and cheese Hot Pocket Biscuit. For "second breakfast," I had a fruit cup. For "Elevensies," I had a bag of Doritos, and am now wondering what to have for lunch, with the expectation that I'll snack on it most of the afternoon, then have another largish meal just prior to leaving work around 4:30, followed by pre-dinner snacking, dinner, and after-dinner snacking when I get home. Whew...all this eating makes me tired!

Eliana will have to tell me if there were ever any straight-haired hobbits (beside herself, of course).

Now, to please my mom (and to blend in with the rest of the Fellowship), I must get really dirty and have a single tear trickle picturesquely down my cheek. And start talking in an English accent.



VNB and I recently (finally) set up our official wedding album, and now have to figure out what other shots we want (several other prints of our choosing were included in the package in addition to the album itself). In looking over them today, I realized that I never told you guys a) that you can look at them online, or b) how to look at them online.

Anyway, if you want to view the "big day," go to At the bottom of the page, put in February 2006 and my first name. That search only brings up our pictures.

If you really want, you can even order some for yourself online. Chris, I know you still check up on me every now and again - there's a good one of you, Kenny-O and my church's trumpeter, and my Futron friends, there's at least one group shot of many of us (although some had left by that point), and several of me talking to "the old man."

But in any case, for anyone out there getting married in the near future, The Pros was a good way to go for us. Photography was the one thing I didn't want to cheap out on, but they offered a very good package for exactly what I expected to pay for even a "cheap" ok-ish package. We went to a little presentation where we got to see examples of the work of several photographers, then got to choose the one that best fit our tastes. Plus, they give the added bonus of back-up photographers, in the case (as happened with ours) where they can't make it for whatever reason. The guy we ended up with was very personable and very good with the little ones involved, not to mention that his last name was Tribble! :) No Trekker can go wrong with a name like that! There are, of course, a few things I wish had been done differently, but a lot of that is due to the rush we had after the wedding due to the wacky tux hi-jinks pre-wedding, so I understand.

Anyway, if you're bored sometime and feel like looking at pics of people you may or may not know, this is a good way to fill some time!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Oh yeah...

I was just reading over my blog and realized that I'd never told you about my new job. I'm working for my old company. I started June 5th and still have yet to really be given a billable task to do (that is, something that we can charge to a customer). We've got a couple of "development" types of things that I'm working on, but nothing "real" at this point.

But back to work for me.

Great Expectations

Hey All!

I'm not dead, really....I'm just really bad at keeping secrets, so it's far easier to hide than it is to cover.

So, my sincerest apologies to all of you (especially Jenn J. and Tom G.) who have written/called, and to whom I haven't responded. I'm getting there, I promise.

Anyway, as I told another friend today, married life is great, but the honeymoon is definitely over - and the baby's due at the end of January, 2007!

That's right, VNB and I have "great expectations" which have made me rather ill, pretty much since day one. This week is approximately our 12th week, so we're just now getting into the 2nd trimester, when everyone says the "morning sickness" (HA! "All-day sickness is FAR more like it!) will get better "soon." I'm looking forward to that day!

It's a "little" sooner than we'd planned, but we think the reason for that is that VNB wasn't specific enough. He said that we'd start a family after a year. What he didn't say (but what he actually meant) was that we'd start trying to have a family after a year. So......God, with His wicked sense of humor took us at our word....and decided to give a whole new twist to the "paper anniversary." :)

But the due date is perfectly scheduled, as usual. It's the day after VNB finishes his store's semi-annual inventory, making him free to walk away for a week from work without any second thoughts. Oh....but if you work at my current company (or still interact with someone who does)...they don't know yet (well, a couple of people do, but not "management"), so don't spill, please! I'll probably let them know by the end of this month. I was gonna wait until my 90-day review (at Bear's suggestion).....but my waist has already grown four I'm thinking that by early September (assuming they do it on time, which is unlikely), it'll be a "little" obvious, so I should "probably" mention it to them before then.

We had our first "big" doctor's visit last Thursday. I was thoroughly checked out, and we got to hear the baby's heartbeat. VNB and I were both _VERY_ relieved to hear only one. :) But it was a strong one, and everything looks good! We'll go back in mid-August for another check up, at which time I think they'll prescribe our first ultrasound!

We're actually not going to a standard OB/GYN, but instead to a practice of Registered Nurse Mid-wives. Now before you email/comment saying that I'm going to get sliced up with bear knives and have leeches put on me, realize that these women are all RNs who have completed a graduate program in nurse/midwifery. They approach childbirth more holistically/naturally than most "regular" docs do in that, they let you do what seems comfortable to you, while still being safe for your baby. They _only_ take low-risk pregnancies and refer everyone else to "real" docs. They also have a great relationship with the hospital down the street. We have the choice of planning to give birth in the hospital or in their birthing center, but the first thing we have to sign is a legal statement saying that we won't fight them if they tell us we have to go to the hospital. One real advantage of going to the midwives is that their office is right in between mine and VNB's, so we can both easily make all appointments! Another cool thing is that these are the same midwives as those who helped my mom give birth to my little brother (as in, the woman who checked me out on Thursday was the primary midwife at his birth, and the lady who founded the place).

In other news, we're trying _not_ to find out the sex of the baby in advance. I think that's gonna be harder than VNB realizes, but that's ok. I'm not a big fan of the color pink anyway, so it doesn't bother me to have yellows and greens with some blues mixed in.

Y'all are welcome to make name suggestions, to which in response we will smile, nod, and say "that's a nice name," then we will go on our way and pick one out for ourselves. You'll find out the baby's name when he or she is born.

If I remember, I'll keep a running tab on size/weight deltas (that's "changes" for all you non-geeks out there) in the side-bar.

Oh, and any FBCL folks still out there, we're telling the church as a whole on Sunday, so, while it's not really a "secret" anymore, it's also not common knowledge yet. So, if it slips, it's no biggie, but we'd prefer to tell people in our own way if we can.

Speaking of which, I need to call the church office!

I promise I'll write more now that I don't have to pretend that I don't feel like crap!