Saturday, December 13, 2008

Dinner with the Barkers

I stumbled across these pictures on the Barker’s blog and decided to swipe them. Thanks John for your diligence with the camera. You consistently capture significant moments. . . Angela called on our way home from work Wednesday night and invited us over for dinner. What a wonderful surprise! It was much needed, though I did not delve into my current wrestling (of which I documented in my previous post), merely observing John and Angela’s graceful interaction with their baby girl, Briley, whispered hope to me. I pray our transition into parenthood will be as smooth as theirs has been. I am so thankful for their willingness to take us under their wing and introduce us to the intricacies of parenthood. We’ve learned so much through conversation and simple observation. . . We love you guys!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

a new storm. . .

The madness of work and academia is gradually subsiding. This is my final week of grad school prior to Jonah’s arrival, and next Friday is my last day of work until January 5th. On one hand, I sigh- greatly relieved, yet on the other I cringe. The impending calm seems indicative of the coming of a new storm. . . one that is unfamiliar and unpredictable. . . Time is ticking, and I'm more aware than ever that in these days I must actively prepare to survive the inevitable rigors and challenges of parenthood, yet I’m not sure where to begin. My mind is spinning with the responsibility of nurturing new life. During the months preceding this one, I’ve sensed an overwhelming empowerment of the Divine and a subsequent confidence, expectancy and joy. Yet, during the past week I’ve been filled with doubt, primarily centered upon my ability and resources. The uncharted waters ahead beckon the deepest parts of me. . . my greatest longings, yet fear rises in response, crashing and thundering my soul. I long for the breath and warmth of this life that grows within me, for the day when, alas, he settles into my arms and nuzzles at my breast, yet an awareness of the technicalities preceding his arrival loom 'round me. I have nothing for him but love (and a few adorable outfits his dad and I couldn't resist). . . no bed, no diapers, no changing table, no car seat. . . not a blanket or stroller. . . the list is seemingly endless. These things will come, I know, but then there's labor and delivery and breastfeeding. The horror stories of dozens ring loudly in my brain, threatening my rose colored (prayerful) fantasy. Questions spawned by their stories torment me. . . c-sections and babies that can't latch, practically starving to death. . . What if this is my reality? What if the experiences I've hoped and prayed for are never mine? What if I can't . . . if he can't . . . What if?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Our Fetal Doppler. . . :)

Allen and I have been completely fascinated by Jonah’s floundering in my belly lately, so we decided to purchase a Fetal Doppler to more closely monitor his movements and heart rate. We used it for the first time last night. . . My chest swelled with emotion as I heard him sloshing about and detected the rhythm of his heart, but the most captivating moment of all was listening to Jonah's heart race when his daddy began speaking to him. I had read that fetuses biologically react to familiar sounds and tones, even to light. That proved true through our Doppler. . . How amazing! How miraculous!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

1st Stop:
Allen's parents house for a Ferguson style celebration. . .

2nd Stop:
Nannie and Pa's house to celebrate with the Green's. . .

Final Stop:
Uncle Mike and Aunt Lisa's to party with the Willis Clan . . .

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Listening to Jonah

through a Fisher Price stethoscope . . . :)

Monday, November 24, 2008

childlike euphoria. . .

The essence of Jonah continues to unleash a flood of childlike euphoria in my soul. I have penned ramblings of this order in prior posts but feel compelled to expound as I am desperate to contain the sensitivity and vibrancy of this season, fearing it will pass. . . assured it will pass (as all seasons do).

I have squandered many months and years breathlessly climbing from one rung of expectation to the next on an illusionary ladder of success. Some steps were seemingly imposed by society, several were self-inflicted, and still others were riddled with traces of the Divine. The dagger of perfectionism drove me onward and upward and taunted me with whispers of gloom. Day after day, I fixed my eyes on one rung after another while simultaneously wrestling the insecurity that threatened to cripple my climb. This mad and furious striving appeared to me as light and goodness. . . as the adoption of all things “adult,” and though contentment was seldom found, I was assured that it was waiting to embrace me in the tomorrows lying just beyond temporal sacrifice. I was unaware that every moment of this mad dash to novel heights was suffocating my senses and reddening my world with shades of gray. . . until Jonah.

Amidst the fury of striving, I stumbled through a corridor of serenity, into the sparkle and substance of my dreams. . . Jonah. His life and innocence now spills into my veins, reawakening my senses, allowing me to once again perceive the magnificence of the world around me . . . even on misty and overcast mornings like this one.

Where once the rain seemed like an intrusive force against me, it has become (in these days) an invitation to slow my breath and pace. The water shed from clouds of gray lures me into its grace while saturating my skin in the luminosity and radiance of God. I inhale these drops of majesty with wonder in my eyes and watch as they dance on the vibrant shades of towering trees . . . red, yellow and orange. . . seemingly celebrating their beauty before winter’s slumber.

This keen sensitivity and awareness has not halted my climb. I continue to strive toward greater heights, but my motivation has been renewed. No longer does fulfillment and reward linger in tomorrow. It is here and now. . . in this moment (and in the next). May I continue to see and smell and taste the wonder of God in the present, absorbing traces of his divinity every step of the journey.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

on the brink of 25 weeks

Jonah and I are becoming experts at packing-on-the-pounds. . . 24 and counting (we're up 6 from our last belly post).

This one's for Tarah. . . she specifically asked to see me with clothes on. LoL! And she likes my belly in stripes. :) Love you, Tar!

breath of our covenant

breath of our covenant,
intricately woven behind the veil
you fidget in my deep
a soft reminder of loves power
you are vibrancy
unfolding in damp darkness
a divine etch in creations story

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

23 week Jonah belly. . .

18 lbs and counting. . . :)

sitting down. . .

Jonah measured three weeks big during our ultrasound last week. . . looks like he inherited the big-baby-Willis-gene. Our midwife predicts he'll come early.

He's been quite active lately. . . definitely making his presence known. Every kick and squirm halts my breath. He completely has my heart!

Monday, November 10, 2008

frailty of life. . .

I dreamt in technicolor this weekend of a tragedy so heart wrenching I can hardly speak of it without feeling breathless. The details were vivid and stirred such deep emotion that a sense of loss lingered after I woke (and in a sense lingers still). I won’t delve into the details of the dream, primarily because I don’t want to relive it or remember it years from now, but in short Jonah was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness prior to birth and though he appeared healthy and beautiful in the days subsequent to his delivery, I was filled with the overwhelming knowledge that his life was slipping away before my eyes. . . While feeding him (with the warmth of his body against mine), I would cry, “Live, Jonah, live. . . I need you to live. . .” I felt so helpless. . . so desperate for him to remain with me. My heart aches as I write, though I know this dream is no indication of our current reality or what’s to come. It seems I’ve been ushered closer to the frailty of life and even now, as he squirms in my belly, I am reminded of the monstrosity of blessing embodied in the gift of a healthy child.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

a holy moment shared . . .

In response to a holy moment shared with dear friends journeying toward the sacred covenant of marriage:

I sensed power hovering in the atmosphere as we exposed the intricacies of our journey before you last night. The Holy Spirit is undoubtedly working to prepare your souls (mind, will and emotions) and purify your expectations for the most sacred covenant under heaven. It is our joy to open and invite you in to witness first hand his activity in our story. Continue to hunger for revelation, my friends. I am convinced that humility and a tenacious pursuit of wisdom are the keys to unlocking the riches buried not only in marriage, but in every realm of life.

Never forget: this earth is comprised of two kingdoms, the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light. The carnal tendency of humanity is to settle into the shadows, cloaked in fear, but we have been redeemed and inhabited by the very essence of Almighty God and are no longer prisoners of the night. We have been empowered to arise and move into realms of abundance and blessing that far exceed our capacity to envision. Purpose to live in the radiance of his glory, though it means all will be illuminated (even your darkest colors), for naked vulnerability positions the human soul for purification, healing and revelation of the mysteries of the kingdom of God.

May you daily see and hear in the spirit a beckoning to deeper realms of glory and may you consistently draw from the Divine power that inhabits your souls, victoriously overcoming every evil hoard seeking to breed dissention in your home. I am confident that marriage will be the most sanctifying experience of your life and together you will climb to plains of revelation and liberation you never thought possible. We stand with you, believing that God is uniting you for greatness and will guide you through every peak and valley. May the years of togetherness that lie ahead awaken slumbering potential in your souls and fulfill the overarching purposes of the Divine . . .

We love you.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

the dawning of a new day. . .

I am in awe of the recent outpouring of passion from the American people (conservative and liberal . . . of every age, ethnicity, and gender) and its impact on this country. A new day has dawned in America. I sensed it deeply last night and it lingers still. Though many continue their attempts to breed dissention, the vast majority have been awakened to the necessity of shedding prejudice and hatred and have purposed to cast aside differences and unite as one people under a common cause. I have seen hope in the eyes of the oppressed and smiles on the faces of those who bear the wounds of the injustice in our nations history.

We have opted for the path of least resistance, settled into cynicism and wallowed in our political and religious woes for far too long. I am convinced that positive change hinges on our ability to rise from the ashes of our past and toil for the convictions that grip us . . . to vocalize our concerns in a constructive manner and be an active participant in our country’s democracy . . . Never before have so many individuals seen and embraced this truth and exercised their civil liberties. This is a pivotal point in our nation’s history. Truly, we are the Joshua generation, entering into the Promised Land prophesied by those who came before us. . .

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

When I dream of Jonah. . .

I see the face of my princely husband. . . and I melt.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Honeysuckle Hill

Allen and I rarely venture beyond the city and suburbs into rural territory, but recently the beauty of fall has beckoned me into wide open spaces. I’ve longed to escape the city lights and get lost in the hills of Tennessee under a blanket of stars. . . Tonight my longing was fulfilled. We ventured to Honeysuckle Hill, a farm about forty-five minutes west of our home. The cool, crisp night air was refreshing. We lassoed fake bull heads, swung on saddle swings, drank hot chocolate and apple cider, rode on a huge trailer behind a tractor with our feet propped on bales of hay, saw three shooting stars, and experienced our first corn maze. We were more interested in searching for private corners of the labyrinth, than finding our way out. I didn’t know kissing behind cornstalks could be so magical. :) It was quite a romantic adventure. The simplicity and organic nature of the country soothed our souls. . . Cheers to love and a much needed escape from the ordinary!

Looks like we captured a ghost in the cornstalks, but it's actually steam from Allen's hot chocolate. . . pretty neat, eh?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

feeble and breathless. . .

I am conflicted, plagued by an inner war of possibility and ambivalence. I struggle frantically beneath the weight of lies and apathy; they sit heavy on my shoulders, grounding the cause that silently cries out from the core of my personhood. I burn. I plan. I toil. I waste away, fear-bound and distracted. I ache to experience solidity of focus and determination, yet I’m prone to wander toward the enticement of pleasure, turning my gaze from the road of struggle which leads to the fulfillment of the passions that grip me. Stagnant, motionless waters of potential pool within as minutes, hours, days . . . months and years pass me by. When will I break free of all that binds and stifles the essence of my call? When will I fiercely arise in fortitude of purpose, fix my gaze and relentlessly pursue all that is required?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

pirate ship pumpkin :)

We’ve had such a relaxing, magical day. . . After church we played Frisbee by the lake, skipped stones on the water, cuddled and chatted under a weeping willow tree. The cool, crisp air revived our senses. On the way home, we picked up a pumpkin to carve for Jonah. Allen's family never participated in traditional Halloween festivities, so it was his first experience with pumpkin carving. It brought back a flood of childhood memories for me and observing the novelty of it for him was so much fun! Cheers to love, family and Fall. . . a season that mystically invites us to revel in the wonders of creation and unleashes a flood of childlike bliss in the human soul!

Allen's scary pirate face. . . arrgh! :)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

shades of hope. . .

The baby boy growing in my belly is changing me more rapidly than I ever expected. My waistline is steadily expanding, and my ever-evolving shape is coupled with an intense sensitivity that I cannot describe. Those who know me well are acquainted with the tenderness of my soul. I am easily moved. . . all things are sacred, but in recent days I’ve sensed that my heart is peaked to absorb the divine in all that is typical, mundane and ordinary. The tiniest things trigger tears, not often the sorrowful kind, but tears of joy and expectancy. . . Articulating what I’ve been experiencing is a bit frustrating as I feel my vocabulary is too limited to adequately deliver the stirring within. It’s as if all things are technicolor, riddled with vibrancy. . . shades of hope. . . The atmosphere seems light and playful, full of sparkle and bloom. . . Perhaps, the child stifled in my soul by years of adult masquerade is finding liberation in this preparatory phase of parenthood. Could it be that Jonah will usher me into realms of childlikeness I abandoned long ago and remind me of the wonder and marvel of our existence? Could it be that his sheer presence, even now (though veiled within me), holds revelatory power. . . power to increase my receptivity to the whisper of the divine in every moment? Fascination fills me. I expected to be revolutionized by motherhood, but I did not anticipate this. . . this stirring. . . this profound evolution of heart and soul. . .

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

It's a BoY!!! :)

Jonah Elliot, our BeAuTiFuL BABY BoY! :)

The cutest bottom in the world. . . :)

Jonah sucking his thumb. . . :)

Jonah worshiping. . . I love that little hand! :)

Jonah's ear. . . :)

Jonah's fingers. . . :)

Jonah's fist. . . :)

Jonah's feet. . . :)