Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Benefits of Being Locked Out of the House with Olive

Today I spent the day with Olive, the Dog. She is my favorite dog. I'm not the only one who thinks Olive is cool. In fact, Olive has her own fan club--Emma Howard being a founding member, with an ever growing membership of people less than 4-feet tall.

Olive used to be my dog. But, before I got married, I decided it would be wisest to focus all of my energy on my new husband instead of having to divide it between my husband and my fairly high-maintenance dog. So my parents adopted Olive, the Dog.

Whenever my parents are gone for the day, I usually try to stop by and visit Olive. Today I picked her up around 11:00 and we hung out for a few fun hours. We drove around town (her head hanging out the car window and her tail wagging wildly). We took a walk in the park. We visited Elizabeth at Starbucks (well, I visited Elizabeth. . . Olive sat outside). Then we returned to my parent's house to play fetch.

My parents have a really cool front patio/courtyard. I decided this was a good location for fetch, given the cement walls and patio. We headed out the front door and as soon as the door was closed behind us, I realized I had successfully locked myself out. Now, if you know anything about my parents, you will know that security is a big issue for them. I knew there was NO WAY I would ever be able to get in unless someone came to rescue me. Thankfully, I was able to get out the front of the courtyard and use a neighbor's phone to call Elizabeth, who only had about 45 minutes left on her shift.

So, Olive and I spent 45 minutes hanging out in the courtyard and enjoying the lovely spring day. We played fetch for as long as either of could stand it and then we both found a comfortable spot (hers was the dirt under one of the shade plants, mine was a lawn chair) to sit and wait for our rescue.

If you've ever been locked out, you may know what it feels like to have no sense of time, to have nothing to entertain you except your own thoughts. So, I sat and waited and thought about what a lovely thing spring is and how glad I was that at least I had Olive to keep my company.

And then it happened. . . a tiny sensation, like the light stroke of a fingertip, like a little flutter, in my womb. And then again a moment later. Like nothing I'd ever felt. Very faint, but very distinct.

If I hadn't been locked out of the house, I probably would have been too busy to notice. Thank goodness I was forced to sit in the sunshine and enjoy the wakening of spring and the quickening of our baby. There are definitely benefits to being locked out of the house with Olive as your only companion.
"Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name." Ps 103:1

Friday, April 28, 2006


Yesterday was my third doctor's appointment. Our little baby is growing and healthy. It is so awesome, and reassuring, to hear his (or her) little heartbeat. Thump-thump, thump-thump. . . 156 miraculous beats per minute. God is amazing.

Her little heart has been beating for almost as long as I've even known of her existence. And, God already knows the exact number of beats it will beat. Every beat of our tiny child's heart is counted out and each of her days is numbered. God is amazing.

I have difficulty grasping the magnitude of the fact that inside me is a tiny eternal being. This baby, measured in ounces and inches, has an infinite number of days ahead of him. God created an everlasting soul. God is, right now, inside of me, wrapping that soul in sinews and skin. God is amazing.

Hearing that heart beating so rapidly and strongly is a tangible reminder of the increased responsibility I have to pray for the baby to whom that heart belongs. To pray that she will have a soft and teachable heart. To pray that God would be gracious and cause this little one to seek and love Him early. God can hear and answer those prayers. God is amazing.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


We've been taking weekly pictures, but this is the first noteworthy one. If you look really hard, you might be able to see a little baby bump.

Friday, April 21, 2006

The 2nd-Choice Game

Josh and I have a theory that in the Dominican Republic it is a tradition to ask for something you don’t want so that you can get what you actually do want. I like to call it the 2nd-Choice Game. Of course, not knowing the rules of the game ahead of time, we spent the whole weekend asking for our 1st-choice only to be told we couldn’t have it. I’m sure the Dominicans thought we were playing the game, too, and were quite happy to have our 2nd-choice. And, in reality, we did discover that “last choice” isn’t always so bad.

Let me give you a few examples. . .

1) When we arrived to the D.R. it was about noon on Good Friday. Being a very devout Catholic nation, we quickly discovered that virtually everything was closed. So we settled in for a nice afternoon in the hotel and planned on attending a jazz concert at a local restaurant (concert, date and time listed in a local weekly tourist guide) later in the evening. At the appropriate time, we hired a taxi and made our way to La Briciola, nestled in the heart of the Colonial Zone. Much to our surprise, the sign on the door read (in Spanish), “Closed for Observance of Good Friday.” So, we settled for the dinner at a local pizza chain (the subject of the next example) down the street. Had we asked to be taken to The Pizzareli first, I have no doubt that we would have ended up at La Briciola.

2) The Pizzareli was hopping when we arrived (probably because it was the only place open in a city of about 2.5 million residents). We got seated at a table and after perusing the menu, decided we wanted two Fantas, an order of breadsticks, and a combination pizza. When the waiter arrived, we placed our order. He quickly informed us that they didn’t have any Fanta, and wanted to know what else we would like. I asked for mineral water (listed on the menu) and Josh asked for Coke (listed on the menu). A few minutes later, the waiter came back and said they didn’t have Coke and they didn’t have mineral water. Being the very bright guy that he is, Josh said, “Well, what do you have??. . . Sprite? Okay, we’ll take two Sprites.” Our Sprites arrived and were delicious. Why didn’t we think of that in the first place!? Oh, and by the way, we never did get those breadsticks!

Note—One reason we suspect this little 2nd-Choice tradition is a national sport the locals play with tourists is this: while we were sipping on our Sprites, we saw several other tables being served Fanta and Coke. Probably their 2nd-choices!

3) One our guided tour of the Colonial City on Saturday, we ended up at another pizza place for lunch (our only choice on the tour). We pointed to the #1 Lunch Special pictured on the poster next to the register—a personal pepperoni and a soft drink. You can guess what happened with the soft drink (see example 2 above). This time, however, the game got even more exciting. When our pizzas arrived, they weren’t pepperoni; they were Canadian bacon. We asked the server why we didn’t pepperoni and he simply said, “Oh, we don’t have any more pepperoni.” I think we would have gotten pepperoni if we had ordered ham instead.

I have at least 5-6 other examples I could cite to document the 2nd-Choice Game, but I’ll spare you. After a while, we agreed that the game was quite fun and really increased the mystery of being a tourist in the Dominican Republic.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Weird Cravings

I'm asked three questions daily by miscellaneous co-workers in the elevator on my ride to the 6th floor. The first two questions I can answer in a fairly satisfactory manner.

Q1: How are you feeling?
A1: Other than a little nausea and an early bed-time for the last 2 months, I've been feeling surprisingly well. Thanks.

Q2: So, are you showing yet?
A2: Just a little (at which point I stretch my shirt across my belly) . . . see. Give me a week or two!

The third question is much more painful because it forces me to confess my complete ineptness!
"So, have you had any weird cravings?" to which I'm shamefully forced to reply, head hung low and tears in my eyes, "No. No cravings at all, actually."

As you can see, it would be a huge relief if I could simply acquire a bizarre craving or two. Would any of you like to suggest your personal favorites? One lady I know craved motor oil. That one is a little beyond me, but if you know of any rare chocolate that couples well with organic peanut butter, or perhaps an exotic fruit topped with pickle juice that might be exciting elevator material, please, pass it along! If none of you come up with any good ideas, I may just be forced to resort to craving pop rocks and Shasta cola.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Dominican Republic

Here are some pictures from our recent travels to the Dominican Republic. We had a wonderful time. It's a very neat island and culture. Our only regret is that our time was so limited. Oh. . . and that everything was closed due to the Holy Week celebrations.

Pic1: We had just arrived after an all-night flight. Thanks to the man with severe body odor sitting behind us, and the never-ending turbulence, we didn't get much sleep. But the tiredness disappeared when we saw those palm trees and blue waters.

Pic2 : This is a sample of how pregnant tourists dress. Note the highly fashionable combination of skirt (only clothes that still fit) and tennis shoes.
Pic3: My favorite picture from this trip. This was taken inside Los Tres Ojos--three caves, complete with underground pools of sparkling blue water and bats flying overhead. I would have to classify these as the coolest caves I've ever seen. Do take into consideration, however, that I'm not a cave connoisseur and have probably only seen 3 other caves in my life.
Pic4: If you'll note, there is quite a bit of activity going on in this picture. Josh with his wallet out, the guy on the left trying to sell him a music c.d., the kids who attacked Josh's shoes with unwanted shoe scrubbing, and the officer who had just finished knocking the kid in blue over the head. I think we must have been wearing signs that said "Too nice to say NO!"

Pic5: The Santo Domingo skyline in the background. It is the oldest city in the new world, founded in the late 1400's. The Zona Colonial, the old city, has quite a few structures dating from that era. One of the restaurants we ate in was over 500 years old. Thankfully, the food wasn't :-) It was very fresh and by far, the best food we had while in the D.R.

More stories to follow. . .

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


As I recently mentioned, Easter candy was a regular tradition in my house. That got me thinking about traditions and how inexplicable some of them are but how we love them anyway. For instance, Christmas trees are absurd. If I decided to drag a 6-foot birch tree into my living room in the middle of April and decorate it with purple lights and packs of gum, I’m quite sure you would all question my sanity. However, if it were December, a pine tree, white lights and candy canes, no one would bat an eye. None of us loves the Happy Birthday song for the tune itself, but what would a birthday be without it? That’s what’s so lovely about traditions! There is no explanation for them and yet they are ingrained in us to the deepest level. They are a part of who we are.

We were created to love tradition. I firmly believe that. God made us in such a way that we need the stability of predicable change. He gave us day and night, summer and winter. And, He said that it was very good. It was good that our lives have a rhythm and an order. Not only did He establish days and seasons, but He also gave His people traditions. Just read the first 5 books of the Old Testament—it’s teeming with traditions. They’re beautiful and they were a blessing to the people of God. The traditions reminded them of important things in their past and promises for the future. The traditions reminded them that they were God’s, that they were different and unique.

And, we have traditions today that remind us of the same thing. Every Sunday we gather together to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s a reminder to us of what was accomplished and what will someday be accomplished. We celebrate the Lord’s Supper. We celebrate baptism. They remind us that God made us His people, we who were once not a people at all!

And, of course, we have other traditions that bind us to a particular family, a particular nation, a particular culture. We have our family birthday joke, our 4th of July parades, our Christmas Trees, our wedding cake. They are fun, even laughable at times, but necessary. They are more meaningful than we may realize.

So, may I be the first to wish you a basket full of malted milk eggs and stale marshmallow peeps! May they remind you that not only are you part of a sugar-loving family, but by His sovereign grace, you are part of God’s family as well.

Monday, April 10, 2006


On Saturday, a carload of us decided to visit San Francisco. First stop, Chinatown. We arrived just in time for lunch and after wandering around for about 20 minutes realized we had no viable criteria for choosing a "good" restaurant. Our first pick, the Golden Palace, was chosen based on the large sign on the building. But, as we approached, we saw that the Health Inspector had beat us by a week or two. . . the business was closed for health violations. Hmmm. . .

So, on we marched amidst the hanging chickens, foreign vegetables and ceramic Buddhas. And then a friendly Chinese woman on the corner waving a flyer and announcing "Flee! Flee pot stickas. Flee ice cleam. Have coupon. Have coupon. Look no MSGs." That's right. Free pot stickers, free ice cream and no MSGs (until then, I didn't realize MSG came in the plural). . . what more could we want!? The decision was made. And, I must say, the "flee" pot sickers and green tea ice cream were worth it. Not to mention the "flee" refills on the Shirley Temples =)

If you're ever in Chinatown, look for the coupon lady on the corner. She won't lead you astray.

Easter Candy

It's a funny tradition, I'll agree, however, Easter candy was a favorite tradition in our family. My mom always picked out our favorite candies plus one large chocolate bunny for each of us. Being the weird kid that I was, I would take an inventory of how much candy I had and would ration it out so that it would last me the whole year. I had my candy box--a little shoe box that I kept hidden under my bed--and once a week I'd take a little nibble from the earlobe of a Mr. Bunny and maybe eat a malted egg or two. And, of course, the Peeps. . . those were best when severely stale anyway, so by mid-summer, they were just reaching the height of perfection.

My brother was the exact opposite. Pretty much, by the end of Easter vacation, his entire basketful of candy would be demolished, save a few jelly beans hiding in the fake grass.

To all of those kids out there who are candy savers like I was, let me offer you a word of advice: If you have a candy-devouring sibling, you absolutely must find a better hiding spot for your candy than a box under your bed. I speak from experience here. . . it can be quite devastating to open your little shoe box in mid-September for your weekly nibble, only to find that your little brother has eaten your life's savings.

Friday, April 07, 2006

6 Months and Counting

Tomorrow is our 6-month anniversary.  It's funny when I stop and reflect on where I was a year or two ago.   Two years ago, I was asking God if I needed to abandon my hopes of ever being married.  There wasn't a soul in sight! Last year at this time, Josh and I had known each other for only 5 months.   We were fairly confidently that God was leading us toward marriage, but there was still a lot of learning to be done before we could make the decision to move in that direction.   Obviously, we did come to that conclusion.  =)


Compared to most "typical" dating relationships today, we kind of rushed things--we met and married in less than a year.   But, in the things that actually count, we didn't rush.  We truly sought to glorify God in our relationship.  We sought the counsel of our families, listened to the wisdom of our trusted friends, and worked hard to follow God's standards for how we treated each other emotionally and physically.   Even though it was less than a year, in some ways, I think we actually learned more about the important issues during those 11 months than a lot of couples learn in 5 or 6 years of dating.   God's design for romance is not only better than any other way--it is infinitely better.


Last night, Josh told me that he wanted to take me somewhere to celebrate our first 6 months of married life.  So, this morning we booked a whirlwind vacation to the Dominican Republic.   It'll be a short trip, only 3.5 days, but I'm definitely looking forward to the adventure.  Soon enough, we'll be trying to adjust to life with a baby, so while we can, we're making the most of our freedom!  

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Speaking of Travels

This is another favorite photo. My friend, Yvette, and me at the Westin in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. We went in 2004 and had a blast. I never thought the desert could be so beautiful.

White Wisteria

Last night my husband and I planted wisteria in our back yard. Until last night, I never knew white wisteria existed. All I had ever known was the vibrant purple/blue wisteria. My mom owned a house whose back arbor was heavy laden with the beautiful purple flowers every spring.

Sometimes God teaches me Lily Lessons when I'm least expecting it. White wisteria was one of those lessons. When I realized that two of the three plants my husband bought were white, not purple, I felt a sudden overwhelming disappointment. Being rather slow to learn, I let myself wallow in that feeling for at least an hour. We finished our planting and came inside to admire our handiwork from the back windows. I was still feeling disappointed. After all, my visions of gorgeous, purple draping flowers were disappearing before my eyes. It was then that God reminded me, through the words of my husband, that white wisteria is nothing to be disappointed about. Different than my expectations, but beautiful nonetheless. Isn't that how God usually does it? Our lives may not look like we expected, but He promises to make all things beautiful in time.

A Magical Honeymoon

There is something magical about a honeymoon. For me it was a combination of 1000 things. I'll only name a few here, to spare you, though. One was the fact that for the first time in my life, I was traveling with a boy. Boys, as I am discovering, are much different than girls. I've always had a ton of fun traveling with my girlfriends. I'm thankful I have been able to travel with my girlfriends as much as I have. I've been to Europe with my friend, Jen. West and Central Mexico, and England with my friend, Yvette. The Midwest with my friend, Kay Ann. And misc smaller California excursions with my friend, Christianne. And, I enjoyed all of those trips immensely. But, traveling with a boy is a new and fun adventure. We went jet skiing (something I probably wouldn't have tried on my own) and rented a jeep and took it for a drive deep into the jungle.

Another was just the fun of getting to learn all about this man I was now calling husband. Before we married, we had spent lots of time together. But, once you're married, you learn all kinds of things about your new spouse (and yourself) that you could never have guessed beforehand. For me, thankfully, all of those things were happy discoveries. I found out that even first thing in the morning, my husband is in a calm, cheerful mood. I should have guessed it, because 99% of the time, that's the mood he's in. But, until I woke up next to him, I couldn't be sure. I also discovered that he is a very clean and tidy person. Again, this was something I had suspected, but until you're living WITH the person, not just visiting their house for a few hours after work, you don't know for certain. And, I discovered that my husband is a man of integrity. I knew that, of course, before I married him (one of the reasons I did marry him). But, seeing him in every situation, under new stresses in a foreign country, tired from traveling, and other circumstances that would normally make people compromise, he lived out his Christian faith in a simple and tangible way.

We had a magical time. The weather was idyllic. The hotel room was enormous and beautiful. The food was excellent. And the company, superb. I had been extremely ill with the flu the week prior to our wedding, but God graciously put the illness on hold so that I was able to fully enjoy our week in the Mayan Riviera (south of Cancun).

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Getting started

Hopefully I'll have something interesting to write one of these days. Probably tomorrow. I'm sure by tomorrow my life will be much more interesting.

Actually, today is my second prenatal appointment (my husband, Josh, and I are expecting our first baby in October). So maybe I really will have exciting news to report back with tomorrow.

Until then, I just wanted to get something up to feel like I had officially entered the blogging world.