Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thursday's Thought

Taken with my iPhone ...

This year's costume is dedicated to Cassie and Zac, who live in New Zealand, where there are 10 sheep for every one person. Baa ...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Go shopping ...

"Cover me, momma ..."

Cover me, cover up my tears
Cover up this man who's covered up in fear
I need a peace of mind, I need a piece of you
To cover all that's gone and everything that's new
You unveil me with your mercy
I want to breathe you in
You unfold me, then you hold me

Cover up my heart, cover up my soul
Cover up this world and everything I know
You cover up the sky, you cover up the sea
Cover up the mountains and every part of me
Everything single breath I breathe -- cover me

I am still alive and covered up in years
Covered up in lines as innocence appears
So give me a peace of mind, give me a piece of you
To cover all that's old with everything that's new
You unveil me with your mercy
I want to breathe you in ...

-- "Cover Me" by Bebo Norman

When we played in the leaves yesterday, Cate was unsure at first. So I laid down. She quickly followed, realizing it was safe. It got me thinking about how insecurity can be transformed into comfort and joy when we trust the one leading us and when we are promised we're not alone.

"More leaves, momma."

Cate wanted more leaves. Then she wanted me to cover her in them. She's burst out of them with so much joy -- only to do it all again. She would look at with me those big, brown eyes and say, "Cover me."

Of course, sweet girl, I'll cover you today with the leaves and every day with all the love and comfort possible. And I can do that because God covers me with his mercy and grace. He'll provide piles of leaves to remind us to rejoice in the ways life changes from season to season.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Five parties ...

Yes, just this weekend.
1. Our 3-year-old friend Malaika had a birthday party Saturday afternoon. Cate loved decorating the pumpkin with stickers and swinging balloons at her friends. Then she seemed to think she was in a parade when the kids went on a hayride in the backyard.

2. The local Republican Party had its annual fall picnic, complete with its Ronald Reagan theme. Cate liked climbing on and jumping off the speaking stump. Maybe that's her idea of making politics even more entertaining. I enjoyed the jelly beans.

3. Continuing the autumn entertainment, our church had its annual fall party. The chili was delicious. The hayride was fun, especially because despite the fact the trailer tire went flat nobody had to walk. I actually neglected to take a single picture. Probably because talking with friends and keeping up with my 2 1/2-year-old near the bonfire and in the dark was plenty of multi-tasking for me.

4. The parties continued into Sunday. My two sisters-in-law and mother-in-law organized a fun, family baby shower for Ben. Thankfully, my mom and (nearly) sister-in-law, Laine, came down from Louisville to join in the baby fun. [That's Laine and me pictured together.]

5. We had a quick 30th birthday party with Charles, Angela and Christine later Sunday. (That's my brother-in-law and two sisters-in-law, for any new blog readers.) Basically, we gave them their presents and ate leftover goodies from the baby shower. But remember this hat? Oh, yes, it made a pass-it-on reappearance!

Now it's the beginning of the new week ... I need to go to the grocery store, wash some clothes and finish packing boxes.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thursday's Thought

Dear Little Brother,
Mom keeps talking about you being here soon. I have no idea when that means, but I see her getting ready for you. Your car seat is waiting in the back seat next to me. Momma washed and folded all these little clothes that people have given you.

And Grandmom brought some of our cousin Jax's toys for you. I particularly liked this seat. You'll learn quickly I like any seat that is [close to] my size. I told Momma and Grandmom about these animals, turned on the music and buckled myself in. They mumbled something about if I could do all of that, then I might be too big for the seat. I thought I fit just fine.

We're moving to a new house. Momma keeps telling me I'm going to have a big girl bed because I need to give you my bed. I'm not sure what that's all about, but I just tell her I'll give you a hug. I know those little diapers are for you too. I go in the potty now and like to celebrate my success with an enthusiastic "I did it!" directed toward whoever will listen. Sometimes I talk really fast and Mom has to asked me what I said, but she usually understands.

Big Sister

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Worth Repeating Wednesday

Few things define us more than how we struggle. When we struggle through the crisis with God all the way to the blessing, we are gloriously redefined.

--Beth Moore in "The Patriarchs"

I don't feel like I'm struggling now. But I did struggle. And I'm sure I will again. I clearly remember how I struggled to understand what being a wife means. Then I struggled again on my journey to motherhood.

Each time God let me struggle, covered my mistakes with grace, and gave me opportunities to embrace who I was (and am) becoming.

I feel blessed. The big things like getting closer to adopting our second child and preparing to move across town are obvious blessings. Then more ordinary things like having a toddler who doesn't wear diapers during the day and usually doesn't wet her pants as well as the sunshine in the fall make me thankful. There are walks and talks with my closest nearest friend and phone calls and texts with my closest farther friend that remind me that God cares about with whom we share our lives.

And, thankfully, through it all -- struggles and blessings -- I can be redefined moment by moment.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

1.1 miles

This built-in piano is definitely the strangest feature in our new house. It catches anyone's eye just as they come down the stairs into the basement, which we hope to make into a family game room.

Yes, our new house. As of Friday, we officially own two houses, which, really, is a crazy, crazy thought. Our soon-to-be-0ld house isn't on the market yet because we hope to do some things [new roof, drywall, finish re-painting upstairs ...] first.

I still hope to be in my the end of the month. Yes, that's soon. Like a day less than two weeks. And it seems possible.

The Lowe's guys are going to install the new floor [carpet in bedrooms, laminate throughout most of the rest of the house] while the other guys who have been working [painting, mostly ...] finish tiling the 2 1/2 bathrooms. After that, we should be good to start moving things, then ourselves, into the house.

I guess that means I ought to finish packing this house so we're ready to go to that house, which is just 1.1 miles away.

Fall on the Farm

We went to MSU's Fall on the Farm yesterday, when it actually felt more like winter. Despite the colder temperatures, we had a fun time. She seemed so grown up, especially compared to when we took her last year. [And, if you look at last year's pictures, notice I'm wearing a short-sleeved shirt. This year I was wearing a long-sleeved T-shirt under my fleece and down vest. And, really, I could have used another layer.]

Cate especially loved the horse. That's her [above] riding Sugar. She loved being near the animals [below] and talking about them. But she wasn't so sure about petting the goats. She preferred the chickens! Her momma would have been the complete opposite, but as you can see I wasn't even in the petting zoo fence!

This tire horse swing was really neat.

Not only was it cold, but the days of rain leading up to the weekend left many muddy spots. Cate didn't seem to mind, surprisingly. She loved going through the corn maze, never noticed her daddy let us the wrong way once or twice and enjoyed carrying corn.

There are a few more pictures in my October album on Facebook.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Packing boxes

Yes, sweet girl, you're going to the new house with us, but I'm not going to pack you up with the baking dishes, books, picture frames and clothes. And I certainly won't need to label you with my blue Sharpie to remember where you go.

Thursday's Thought

Most mornings, I eat breakfast at the kitchen table with the lap top in front of me so I can e-mail, Facebook and read news. Yes, it's like the 2000's version of reading a newspaper while you drink your morning coffee. It works well for me, especially because I don't drink coffee or subscribe to a newspaper that comes in the morning.

Obviously, Cate has noticed my morning routine. Lately, she's been wanting to eat breakfast at the "little table." Today she insisted -- "Momma, help me get lap top. In toys box. In my room." -- that her lap top join her and her Eggo waffles.

Just because she's little doesn't mean she doesn't pay attention.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Oh, it's for Ben!

A friend brought over a present for Ben (because, sadly, she's moving away ...) and I decided to let Cate open it to see what she would do. And, to be honest, she surprised me with her enthusiasm.

Neatly rolled in the box were several outfits, including a St. Louis Cardinals jogging suit. Cate held them up one at a time, each time talking about how the pants, or shirt, or jacket were for Ben. And she was rather excited.

Today she was even telling someone about how she opened Ben's present and that he got some clothes.

So, here's to hoping she continues her enthusiasm when Ben actually arrives and isn't an imaginary baby we often discuss. And, speaking of which, the birth mom had a check-up appointment on Tuesday. At 33 1/2 weeks, Ben remained in-utero, which is the goal for at least several more weeks.

Worth Repeating Wednesday

For the next twelve hours I will be exposed to the day's demands. It is not that I must make a choice. Because of Calvary, I'm free to choose. And so I choose. I choose love ... Today I will love God and what God loves. I choose joy ... I will invite God to be the God of my circumstance. I will refuse to see any problems as anything less than an opportunity to see God. I choose peace ... I choose patience ... I choose kindness ... I choose faithfulness ... I choose gentleness ... I choose self-control ... Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. To these I commit my day. If I succeed, I will give thanks. If I fail, I will seek His grace. And then, when this day is done, I will place my head on my pillow and rest.

--Max Lucado in "When God Whispers Your Name"

Monday, October 12, 2009


I'm not sure I can call it Homecoming when I live here. But other people come "home," and I benefit.

While I enjoyed college, I haven't once wished I could go to class some more. Living in Murray means I get to regularly attend Racer football and basketball games. And, yes, sometimes I wish more of my college friends lived here, although I'm happy a few do. That just means I enjoy catching up with my college friends and meeting their families as they grow with spouses and kids.

And in this parade-obsessed town, the Homecoming Parade is my favorite. [It beats the hot weather of the Fourth of July Parade, which features plenty of patriotism, stars and stripes, and the cold weather of the Christmas Parade, which still seems strange but is usually good with different holiday floats.] But the Homecoming Parade has much spirit and, thankfully, Autumn decided to join us for the weekend.

Parade-watching is serious business! Cate was so cautious and meticulous about getting candy. If a piece was out of reach, she'd ask if she could get it. And if there were a few pieces, she'd pick up one at a time, asking each time if she could get the other. [Below] Cate waved to Racer One. "Hi, Racers ..." and then "Bye, Racers" as he walked past her.

Although she definitely enjoyed the candy, these hand clappers she got during the parade were a fun toy at the football game ...

"High five, Daddy!" And hooray for Homecoming.

After the game, we went to have a party with Murray Christian Fellowship alumni at my in-laws' house. [That's everyone pictured above.] Again thankful that Autumn decided to join us, we ate chili, warmed up around the bonfire, went on a hayride and enjoyed catching up with old friends.

As a fund-raiser, Josh Sharp was donating his time to take pictures of people at this fall scene. Any donations went to the campus ministry. Thinking they would completely deny my request, I asked Luke and Cate if they would let Josh take their picture. Without hesitation, they did. In fact, Luke liked sitting there so much we had to ask him to get up so we could have a family picture taken!

There are more pictures from Homecoming, and, really, all of October in an album on Facebook.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Prom, again ...

My high school boyfriend Brian and I before my senior prom in 1997

I went to prom Friday night for the second time in my life. Well, OK, so it wasn't really prom. But it reminded me of prom, for obvious reasons. Mostly the fact it was a formal and there was music. This time though -- 12 years later -- the point was to raise money for our adoption, thanks to my creative friend Cate. (Yes, she's the same friend who helps us with injuries. She's a rather handy friend to have around!)

Maybe you should know that in 1997 I had to be persuaded by my best friend and mom to go to my senior prom. I [along with Brian] tolerated the evening. But we didn't go to his senior prom. One was definitely enough.

My attitude was much different this time.

My husband Greg and I present day.

But some things remained the same ...

I still don't dance.

Both dresses were purple. [Although I'm sure the more recent version was cheaper, considering I bought it at Goodwill for $5.]

I heard "Ice, Ice Baby." [OK, so I'm just assuming I heard this song both times. I know I heard it Friday night.]

Organizer Cate and our little friend Caedmon, who was quite the dancer.

It was a fun night that again reminded me of how blessed we are to have the community of friends we have. We enjoyed each other and raised $460. I had no idea we'd come away with that kind of financial support. What can I say - my friends are fun and generous!

Because I know you're dying to see more, you can. Here.

Nursemaid's Elbow

After I got done socializing after church, I went looking for my family and found Cate crying while she stood at the water fountain with her arm running under the water. Um ... obviously, I missed something.

Turns out, Greg was spinning Cate around (holding her by her arms), like he often does. Apparently while he was spinning her, he felt something pull in her arm. He thought her right wrist was hurt. Our athletic trainer friend Cate (who previously tended to a Taylor family injury when Greg sprained his ankle ... ) felt her arm. She didn't think anything was broken, but agreed something didn't seem right about her arm or how Cate didn't want to use it.

We held ice on her wrist and gave her some ibuprofen. We decided to go on and eat lunch with our friends to see if how Cate acted and then decide if we needed to make an emergency room visit. She ignored her food, which, if you've ever been around us, is completely out of normal Cate behavior, and ended up falling asleep on my lap while sucking on her left thumb. She never sucks on her left thumb. Always the right. And when she was awake, she held her arm bent, close to her body.

Greg ended up calling a friend from church who is an emergency room doctor. Conveniently, he was working and said we could come to see him. Based on the phone conversation with Greg, he said the injury sounded like nursemaid's elbow. He repeated the diagnosis after Greg showed him how he was holding her. Then he kindly fixed her elbow.

I read online this common injury to toddlers is most often caused by tugging on uncooperative children's arms or swinging kids. Greg will now be holding Cate under her arms when she wants him to spin her.

She's fine, and, just like the doctor said she would, started using her right arm a few minutes later. And, you know, Greg and I survived our first parental experience involving our daughter, an injury and the emergency room.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Thursday's Thought

Taken by Courtney last week when we played at the park.

Everybody is busy. And because of that fact, I want to make an effort to have dinner at the kitchen table, play in the backyard (especially now that the humidity is gone!), spend time with people who matter to me and not be so bogged down with getting from one place to the next that I don't have time to slow down and enjoy the ordinary details that make any journey worthwhile.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Worth Repeating Wednesday

We often think receiving what we've been guaranteed ought to be a cakewalk, but Scripture shows the opposite is more often true. The most profound things God promised were often fulfilled against the greatest odds and through the most difficult hardships. To God, faith is often the point -- God does nothing cheaply. Perhaps the divine nature of a promise fulfilled guarantees its expense. We may receive a hundred unexpected things from God with delightful ease while the fulfillment of some of the things we believe He promised us proves virtually impossible. You see, the impossibility is what makes the fulfillment of the promise fall under the God category. God makes promises man simply can't keep.

--Beth Moore in "The Patriarchs: Encountering the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob"

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

House. Baby. Potty. Presents.

I packed some china -- which has still yet to be used in our seven years, two months and three days of marriage -- in cardboard boxes yesterday and piled them in our kitchen. I carefully arranged some candles and wall decorations in another box.

Then this morning I met our birth mom at the doctor's office, where we proceeded to see Ben via ultrasound. He didn't cooperate for pictures, but at least he's cooperating by staying in the womb. He measured 4 pounds, 2 ounces and about 17 1/2 inches at 31 1/2 weeks. Good boy. Now just grow some more, let those lungs develop, and we'll meet you soon enough.

But, hey, his room at the new house is painted. As is the kitchen, our room and the living room. The den -- where we're bound to spend most of our time -- has some paint on it, but covering paneling will probably take another coat. The carpet and laminate are ordered and scheduled to be installed in a couple weeks.

Meanwhile, I've been taking Cate to the potty. Oh, and yes, I say potty now on a regular basis like it's a normal adult word. I think went three times in Taco John's today for lunch. The trips come and go in spurts. She can hold it fairly well, but when she has to do more than pee (like describing poop is classier than just saying so ...) she usually has to make multiple trips before she decides she's ready to sit there. But, really, that's better than the alternative.

We've been potty training for a month now. And, really, I don't have any complaints. I did, however, buy prune juice to help certain bodily functions along in my slightly stubborn 2-year-old girl.

Now that it's nap time, I finished a few things that were deemed priorities, and now I have the urge to organize all the Christmas presents I've bought. Somehow that doesn't really seem like a priority.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Going "home"

Katie and I have many, many pictures of ourselves like this. Hugging each other. Tightly. I've described her before as my friend who most feels like home. I'm at home with her. She reminds me of home. Her home is as comfortable as my own home. She is home to me. We've been friends for 19 years, pretty much since the day her family moved next door to mine in Mockingbird Valley subdivision in October 1990.

We watched the Jessamine Jamboree parade, but, really, we were just happy to be together.

We took Cate to her first Wildcat football game. She missed the horse that runs around the track when (if ...) Murray State scores a touchdown. But she still got the popcorn she associates with football.

I experimented with my camera. Despite the Wildcats' loss, I figured blue was the appropriate color to focus on. We were at Woodland Park waiting to hang out with Jodi. As you can see, Cate was ready to go ...

She loved this see-saw.

And she had a couple boys (one seen here ...) chasing her. When they started to go play somewhere else, she said, "Hey, guys, this way. No, come here." Nothing like a girl who knows what she wants!

Cate liked visiting with Charley. Apparently they had important things to say to each other.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thursday's Thought

Currently, Cate could be an advertisement for popcorn and black olives, although not together.