Oct 3, 2013

Are you ready?

When you waddle around in life 37.5 weeks pregnant, you BEG to be asked that one loaded question, "Are you ready?" It is asked of me multiple times a day, every.single.day. I know that people are being cordial and conversational, but I've run out of interesting responses.

Top three:
"...I think so..."
"...we'll find out..."
"...not really."

But today in the shower, I really started thinking about it. I mean, if all goes as planned, this is Grand Finale Grove. I will never (Lord-willing) never carry life within me again. (My cup overfloweth!) So, I'm rethinking my various answers to that oh-so-loaded question:

Are you ready...

...to no longer carry an additionally 40lbs around? HECK YES! Just ask my feet.

...to never again feel that indescribable feeling of life moving within me? No. It's quite possibly the coolest experience ever.

...to see The Boy and The Girl walk into the hospital room to meet their new sibling? No, not at all. They'll immediately both look 75% bigger, and 3 years older, and I just can't handle that.

... to have more than 6 wardrobe items that I fit in to? Yes, yes, yes. I simply cannot find one more way to accessorize and make them look different. I'm so bored with my options, and too cheap to do anything about it.

... to not fit into anything properly for the next 6 months? No, ugh. Talk about depressing. Maternity clothes are too big. Normal clothes are abnormally small. Bring on the yoga pants... and the treadmill.

...to no longer have an excuse for eating crap-ola beyond any reasonable hour? No, I'm going to miss the special time spent in the evenings with The Hubby, Ken Burns, and some Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Seriously, there's no reasonable excuse for eating that stuff at any other time in my life.

...to not get up and potty fives times a night? Oh yes, I cannot wait to sleep through the night again... oh wait...

...to get up fives times a night to nurse a baby/change a diaper/make sure my child hasn't died of SIDS? No. No. No, not at all.

... to find out if it's a boy or a girl? I'm pumped, but not nearly as pumped as I thought I'd be. I really have no preference one way or the other. I just want to have a healthy baby and simple delivery. I think the not knowing will just be a huge motivating factor when it comes time to push.

... to juggle life with three kids? Not at all ready. I'm OCD. I plan. I like a clean house. None of these things goes along with a newborn, a 2.5 year old and a 5 year old. Praying for lots of Grace!

... to sleep on my stomach again? YES. Oh I cannot WAIT to sleep on my stomach again. I'm pretty sure The Hubby can't wait either... I've been accused of snoring for the first time in 8 years of wedded bliss. How dare he!

...to hold the third piece of worldy evidence of how much The Hubby and I love each other? YES! I cannot wait! Who will he/she look like? Will they have lots of hair? What will their personality be like?

So, Am I ready?

I say, bring it on! This is life. We'll roll with it. We'll figure it out. We'll fail. We'll succeed. We'll survive. We'll thrive. We'll be Carried Along. We'll be exhausted. We'll sleep when we're dead.

12 days.

Apr 19, 2013

Pit Stop

Being that it's almost May in Indiana, it was quite necessary to name this post what I did ;) Other considerations were:
"Here We Go Again..."
"Yes, It's True" and
"Thank God Address Books Are Electronic."

About 18 months ago, when contemplating our move from Granger to West Lafayette, I made a very, very terrible mistake. The Hubby and I were on a walk and I uttered the following statement: "I think about the worst thing ever would be to move to West Lafayette, be there for a year or so, and then move to Indy."

Why, Stacy, whhhhyyyy???

It was 364 days ago that we accepted an offer on our house in Granger. Less than one year ago we agreed to give up the homepeople and life we loved. The summer was looney as we lived in a gazillion different places, finally finding a lovely little West Lafayette town home in late November to call our own.

Today, less than five months later, we sold our lovely little town home. In the six days it was on the market, we had six showings, and ended up with two offers. Yay. For. Us.

So, now, we're off to... Indy! Just as we were making friends... plugging in... and starting over, God has called us on to someplace different.

It's not devastating in terms of "oh-we'll-never-see-any-of-these-people-again." I mean, really, much of my family lives in West Lafayette and we'll only be an hour down the road. However, it is devastating in terms of "time-to-find-a-new-house/school/church/smallgroup/groupoffriends-and-hanging-with-family-will-be-way-less-convenient."

The biggest awesome factor is that no longer will The Hubby spend 70 minutes driving to AND from work five days a week. I am so looking forward to a shorter workday for him (ie. more time with us!)

God will give us the house. He will give us the church. He will give us the school. He will give us the friends. In the last 364 days I've learned to accept that those things will not be perfect replicas of what we had in Granger. That was then. But, I've also learned that He will use our family for the purpose of His Kingdom, and for His Glory, if we (read: I) just take a chill pill.

Best part of all: We don't have to pack and move ourselves. (Good thing, our small group isn't big enough for a fiasco like that...)

So, The Great Adventure continues. Who knew this was just a pit stop? Onward.

Mar 22, 2013

58: The Film

All I wanted was a simple cake idea. Our Little Buddy is turning two, and I want to incorporate a firetruck into his homemade cake. Where to get quick ideas? Pinterest. Oh. My. Word. Don't get me wrong, I love Pinterest, but my perspective has changed a bit.

It happened on Tuesday.

I love a good documentary. Something well thought. Something low budget. Something with heart and a purpose.

Tuesday night our small group got together and watched "58: The Film" and my world was rocked. (Bonus: It's on Netflix.) We popped popcorn, made cupcakes and poured our delicious drinks-- and within the first 10 minutes no one had an appetite.

"58: The Film" is about a movement to end extreme poverty around the globe, through authentic Christian living, based on Isaiah 58.

In this 72 minute film you see families who live in rock quarries... working to pay a debt that's impossible to repay. You see families of eight who live in shanties... the size of my walk-in closet. You see little girls sold into sex trafficking... so their families can afford to eat.

What I can't understand is that while some kids are left to work in a quarry for the rest of their lives because of their parents desire to put food on the table, we are busy throwing birthday parties for 8-year-olds that cost as much as a mortgage payment! (C'mon, they invited 38 kids!!!)

We (Christians) are so wrapped up in who should be allowed to get married, what gender should be preaching from the pulpit and who has the right to carry weapons, that we've forgotten our mission on this earth. We're distracted.

Point for Satan.

Suddenly, my closet is annoying. My pantry is annoying. The fact that my kids DON'T share a room is annoying. I'm disgusted at my own oblivion.

Point for Jesus.

A few weeks ago I heard an evangelist talk about Western Christians being "spiritually obese." We go to church and feast... we go to Bible Study and feast... we hang out with our Christian friends and feast... but at what point are we going out and exercising our beliefs. How and when are we being the hands and feet of Jesus?

I'm guilty, friends. I'm so, so pathetically guilty. But I'm admitting it, which is the first step towards change.

Ending extreme poverty is not impossible. Changing lives from our small-town Indiana homes is not impossible.

And a simple 9x13 boxed cake mix will be more than enough to celebrate 2 years of God-given JOY.

Feb 11, 2013

Think. Pray. Talk.

Editors Note: I volunteered to write this for our MOPS newsletter, so this is geared towards the Mama's out there.
Dictionary.com defines "intimacy" as a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person or group.

According to Wikipedia (the source of all things brilliant, no?), there are four different forms of intimacy: physical, emotional, cognative, and experimental.

Physical intimacy is sensual touching. This is where sparks fly. It's when you get inside someones personal space... holding hands, hugging, kissing, and perhaps sexual activity.

Emotional intimacy is when you know your soul is tied to someone or something. I'd argue to say that many of us Mama's have some sort of emotional intimacy with a gal-pal, or group of girlfriends-- perhaps a group of women that are in the same age/stage of life as you. (MOPS!)

Cognative or intellectual intimacy takes place when two people exchange thoughts, share ideas and enjoy similarities and differences between their opinions. Perhaps we commonly see this amongst our family, both immediate and extended.

Experiential intimacy is when two people get together to actively involve themselves with each other, probably saying very little to each other, but being involved in mutual activities with one another. This one might be commonly found in the workplace.

When it comes to [Physical] Intimacy in Marriage, I am no expert. (Yes, you just heard my hubby shout "Amen!" from the other side of the room.) I've LOVE the emotional stuff. What can I say, I'm a w-o-m-a-n. And, thankfully, my marriage was built upon an intellectual intimacy between The Hubby and myself. We met in college, working towards the same B.A., and built a killer friendship. Sadly, I must confess that our child-rearing often looks like experiential intimacy-- working towards raising intelligent, God-fearing, kids-- without often coming together on the how-to's and why's.

Physical intimacy in marriage, I'd argue, is as a result of the other three. What do you mean, Stacy? Well, let me ask you a few questions:

Emotional intimacy evaluation- What or who is your soul tied to? Your kids? Your girlfriends? Your job? How much time to you spend tying your soul to the man that God hand-picked for you? Do you pray together? Do you memorize Scripture together? Do you still go on dates (without your kids!)? What do you do to pursue one another (yes ladies, we can pursue our men!) outside of the bedroom?

Cognative intimacy evaluation- What does your husband care about? I mean, what really gets him chatting? Sports? Politics? Business ideas? When the kids are gone, what will you talk to him about? What gets you chatting? Have you shared this with him?

Experiential intimacy- What do you agree and disagree on about raising children? Have you had a discussion about this ... outside of the time-out you've just given your child while you figure out your game plan? What do you look forward to if/when you get to retire together? When the house is quiet and the last birdie leaves the nest, what will you go and do together?

If these things are discussed and addressed regularly, I believe physically intimacy with our spouses would become less of a chore and more of a celebration! (Which, by the way, is what God intended for it to be! See Song of Solomon.) Have you ever told your Hubby what turns you on OUTSIDE of the bedroom? Maybe it's folding a load of laundry, unloading the dishwasher without being asked, or something as sacred as leading your family in evening devotions. Does he know this, or have you only been able to spill to your girlfriends what he DOESN'T know.

When it comes to Intimacy in Marriage, I'd boil it down to this: What is the ministry of your marriage? What fruit of God is seen in your marriage, because of His uniting you and your spouse?

Think about it.
Pray about it.
Talk about it.

Feb 4, 2013


I love birthdays! I love cake... presents... surprises... endless FB love... singing... decor... gathering of friends and family... you know, all the things a good b-day entails!

This morning I started a new b-day ritual. I ran 3.1 miles. (Get it? 3.1 because I'm 31...) It was awesome. I'm still out of shape, but I did it. 400 calories- POOF- gone! (I'm thinking this ritual will be more impressive when I'm 65 and running 6.5 miles, no?)

About 20 minutes into this endeavor, two 70-somethings came in (wearing their jeans?) and hopped on the treadmills on either side of me. And, as I redirected my selfish thoughts ("I'm so much faster than them! Look at me go!"), it occurred to me that they're more than twice my age... and still working out. Instantly, I loved these ladies.

And, since I still had another 20 minutes of pain running, my mind began to wonder...

10 years ago I celebrated my 21st Birthday. On the one hand, that seems like an eternity ago, and on the other it seems like just yesterday. Either way, I cringe when I think about it. Some of my still very precious friends and I headed to a few of the local establishments (lots of options, thanks to Purdue), and we. got. loaded. There was a book for signatures after drinks... which were being served by the pitcher-full. There was a piano bar. There was dancing. There was fun and laughter. But, oh my word, there was more alcohol than I care to reflect upon. (This is not a judgement upon those who love this lifestyle. I'm just saying, it's not a good fit for me.)

This morning, my almost two-year-old, and my 4.5-year-old sang "Happy Birthday" to me with their Dad. (I might have asked them to stop, grabbed my video recorder, and had them start again.) It was precious. (By the way, who added the "cha-cha-cha" stuff? My kids think it's a riot.) We were all in our jammies, possibly on day 2 without a shower, eating oatmeal and laughing at D someone who toots a lot. Cherish.

My hubby, after a loooooooong night of work, was thoughtful enough to stop and get flowers, a balloon and a card, which I saw on the kitchen table when I woke up this morning. It could have been a bag of M&M's or even a bowl of pre-poured cereal-- the fact is, he remembered and inconvenienced himself to show me even more love than he usually does. (A year ago, he did this for me on my b-day.)

In 10 more years, I will be 41. HOLY SMOKES! God-willing, I will have a 14-year-old, 12-year-old and who knows how many (if any) other kids! My parents will be in their '70s!!! THEY will be the old people on the treadmills!

Woah. Now there's a new perspective.

Jan 23, 2013

3... 2... 1... BLAST OFF!

The final hours before one leaves for vacation are... long... chaotic... crazed? Can I get an amen? I put a ridiculous amount of pressure on myself. (ie. The car --and the people!-- must be fully loaded and ready to go when Daddy pulls in the garage. Out of one car and into the other. It's so pretty, and simple, and neat... in my head.) However, there are children to entertain (while packing for yourself and 3 other people), lists to check and *gasp* a schedule to keep!

One could spend these moments tongue-lashing innocent by-standers-- "We're leaving for Nana's when Daddy gets home from work in THREE HOURS... that's SIX more Dora episodes! STOOPPPP ASSKKIINNGGG MEEEEEEE!"-- or... bottle that energy and be effective.

I am a list-maker. I've been known to do things that weren't written on my original list, so I go back and add them to said "original" list just to be able to cross them off. I know, it's sick.


I heartily believe that because some extra time and energy is expended before departing, the arrival back into normalcy isn't such a bummer. (Oh yes, it's still a bummer... just not such a bummer.)

Here's my vacation to-do list... in case it can be of any use to you:

-Do laundry- You will bring plenty back with you. It's best to start with a clean slate! Plus, when you're packing, all wardrobe items are fair game! They're clean and ready to be packed!

-Clean/straighten house- The depth of this one is totally dependent on time allotted. At minimum, straighten up. If you're super-mom, dust, vacuum and clean toilets. (It's best to not let anyone else know if you've gone this far. You. Will. Be. Judged.)

-Update return calendar- Say what? You know. You maximized your vacation time. Therefore, 10 hours after you pull in the garage, life is back into full-swing. That means you're responsible for pre-school snack for 18 starving children; Hubby has to pick up the car that was left for an oil change while you were out of town; and, it's your turn to drive carpool. Taking a few minutes to assess the situation before you depart will make the return to reality no big deal. It might also make you savor those last few minutes of vacation :)

-Pay/mail all bills- People. You're about to spend all your dough on vacation. Pay your bills BEFORE you leave and come home to no worries!

-Stop/hold newspaper and mail- No, you don't want the burglars to know you're away; however, they probably already do because you posted it all over Facebook. Justsayin....

-Print boarding passes- I HATE it when we forget to do this! It's on the list, though, so consider it done.

-Empty trash and recycling- Nothing gnarlier (add it to Websters?) than a weeks worth of trash, rotting inside your home. Throw in a few week-old diapers and... yummy! Spare yourselves this calamity.

-Run dishwasher- If you're super-mom you will also unload it. But, just running it will be satisfactory.

-Close all windows/blinds. Set thermostat at 60* or 78*- depending on season. No need to heat/cool air that is unused.
So there you have it. Go! Play! Vacate! Am I forgetting something??

Jan 5, 2013

Her Galaxy

Some of you loyal readers (all 3) might know my mom is an outstanding real estate salesperson in the metropolis of West Lafayette, Indiana... in the shadow of the golden... er, Purdue University.

What you might not know is that in the early '90's she became a part of an elite group of Realtors from across the country who were dubbed "Howard Brinton's STAR Power Stars." Basically, Howard-- a real estate and leadership guru-- did his homework and acknowledged the top real estate sales people across the country. Each month, he would feature one "STAR of the month," who happened to be the next inductee into this elite group. For my mom, Cathy Russell, that was February of 1994. It was just after my 12th birthday, and I had no idea how it would impact the rest of my life.

Her fellow STARS were (and continue to be) some of her best friends. They've challenge her in her business as they have gathered twice a year for the last [almost] 20 years to swap ideas and inspire one another. They're also sounding boards when a "rainmaker" needs to vent... encouragement when overcome with illness... and a swift kick in the pants when one might start to get lazy [read: behind on technology].

Every summer we got the awesome experience of a week away at an incredible destination... Orlando, San Antonio, New York... and on and on and on. Basically, we'd swim all day in the hotel pool and eat great food while Mom went to sessions and taught others her trade. Then came the years that I got to go as an attendee. I graduated from college and join my mom's team. Talk about not missing a beat... these conferences were awesome! It was like standing in front of a fire-hydrant of information.

Wikipedia says, "Stars can form part of a much larger gravitationally bound structure, such as a cluster or a galaxy."

That's it. This group has become mom's galaxy!

But, as I started thinking about it, they're also part of mine...

Amy Stoehr was mom's first assistant, and left to go be Howard's go-to-gal. She was like a big sister to me! I did (and still kind of do) want to be her ;)
Randy Keys' Christmas parties at the Indianapolis Zoo were always so fun!
Jana Caudill is our next door neighbor at the lake. We live our summers with her family, and have for years!
Beth Mason and Janet Parson's helped mom get me into my wedding gown on that most-sacred of days!
Steve Westmark was at the hospital for the birth of my first born child!

A galaxy indeed!

For the last few days, Mom has been in Utah, celebrating the life lived by Howard Brinton. As I've watched the photos float across my Facebook home page, I started thinking about what Howard meant to little me. He was goofy, and smart, and made an adoring 12-year-old fan feel awesome when he gave ME (!!!) a hug at one of those annual conferences.

"For at least a portion of its life, a star shines due to thermonuclear fusion of hydrogen into helium in its core, releasing energy that traverses the star's interior and then radiates into outer space."

As I came across that statement, I couldn't help but think of Howard. For a portion of his life-- most of his life-- he shined. The thermonuclear fusion (whatever that technically means...) in his core released energy... and then it radiated! He poured into others, helping them to become the best of the best!

At church last Sunday, the pastor challenged us with this question:

Howard's seems so clear to me: Be a shining star in the galaxy where God has placed you.

Thank you, Howard, for bringing mom into your group. And, thank you STARs, for being the galaxy in which mom perfectly fits.