• When you get married you start to notice some little nuances that you’ve carried over from your parents. Little things like the way I load the dishwasher, or fold the laundry, or never finish one task because I remember the 13 others I need to be working on. Big things like the way I handle conflicts with Jeremiah, or who I expect to handle the finances, or what I expect our evenings will be like when he gets home from work.

    Then you have babies, and you start to notice that you picked up a great deal more from your mother in particular. Phrases come out of your mouth that you didn’t even know you remembered, “Eat you carrots and you’ll have strong eyes!”, “What did Mama say???”, “Green beans will make you strong, like Popeye!”, “Night, night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed-bugs bight”, “Do you want me to give’em a spankin‘?”(This was said about any inanimate object that caused us to heart our self). These and other little nuggets from childhood crop-up and remind you of your mom.

    I was OK with all of these inheritances. Some I would like to work on (like the way Jeremiah and I disagree), but all in all I was happy with these short visits to my childhood. Then, today, I found myself casually making the bed NAKED. 🙂 This is probably something that most of you don’t know about Mom (unless you are one of my sisters or Dad), but growing up Mom did a lot of little things around the house without any clothes on. As a young child I didn’t really notice, I mean wouldn’t all young children rather be without clothes than with them? But at some age you do start to notice and then at another age you start to get a little embarrassed. “Moooommm !!” my sisters and I would say and roll our eyes. She would smile but never offer an explanation. It was just her. If Dad was home, he would say, “Becky, you’re too big’a girl to be walkin‘ around here naked.” However, he always said this with a bit too big of a smile on his face 🙂

    So, I had forgotten about Mom’s nakedness until today, when I found myself making our bed without a stitch of clothes on. I didn’t understand why she did it then, but I think I do now. First of all, it’s just me and Pace, just the girls, and since she never had a boy I don’t guess there was ever a reason to be shy about it. Second of all, and I think this is the key, you just get distracted. Most days, I am stepping out of the shower when Pace wakes up. Like I am going to take the time to get dressed when she is crying for me to come get her. Then, I dry my hair (which is too hot for winter clothes), and by that time Pace is ready for lunch. While she’s eating I rush to make the bed since she’s distracted…. Before I know it, I have morphed into my Mom. Doing what I do, without any clothes. I can see now that this is probably exactly how it started for her, and before long, she probably didn’t even notice anymore. So, if you’re planning on dropping by our house in the middle of the day, just make sure you knock first 🙂

  • First let me explain this funny and slightly disturbing picture. Last week, I was humming around the house, doing what I do, when I suddenly realized that I hadn’t heard from Pace in a while. I mean heard from literally, because having a toddler is a lot like being suddenly struck blind. There is no way to keep a constant eye on these fast moving and curious wonders, so you learn to listen for them. I know exactly what my Tupperware sounds like as it pours from my cabinets. I know the rustle of pens clinking together means she’s in a drawer in the study. Clink, clink means she’s into the blue china in the dining room but clang, clang means she’s touching the crystal…AAGGHH! Rattle, rattle means the vitamins on the island in the kitchen are getting a good shake. Well, you get the idea that I feel my hearing has been heightened like a blind person, since I can accurately place Pace by the slightest sound. When I get worried, however, is when there is no sound at all. That means she’s really having fun. As you can see from the picture (which I hope doesn’t offend anyone), Pace discovered tampons in this quiet moment! Not only did she discover them, she pulled them out, one by one, and placed them into the toilet. I was so shocked and frustrated when I caught her mid-crime, that all I could do was laugh and go find my camera. So, there she is with that sweet, guilty look on her face. “What, is this a problem?”

    Pace will be 15 months old next week! I can hardly believe how fast the time goes. After her 1 year birthday, I quit meticulously recording every little milestone because she is just developing so rapidly now. It’s funny to look back and see that I wrote on my calendar the first time she made an “m” sound, but I didn’t write down when she learned to say her own name. She learns new words all the time now, and I don’t want to forget how precious each new step is. So today I made a list of every word she knows, and I will one day be able to tell her how vast her vocabulary was at the tender age of 15 months…!!80 words!!… Does that blow anyone else’s mind? This does not include the words that she has said once or twice and might possibly know. There are 80 words that she uses every day, or at least every week. I thought I might be exaggerating when I told the doctor she probably knew 50, but no she knows 80 and counting. OK, I’ll stop but can you tell that I’m proud?

    She knows the color red and sometimes pink. She is walking, but isn’t exactly running. She seems to take her time and enjoy the scenery pretty much everywhere she goes. She knows horse, cat, and dog and can tell you the sound that they each make. She can name most of her body parts, and she knows the names of several of our family (and extended family) members. She cunningly knows to throw up her hands in question and ask “All Gone” as we walk by the bowl with the M&M’s. She loves to imitate me in the kitchen by taking a spoon and a bowl and vigorously stirring. She also knows how to give a hug and a kiss, though she is EXTREMELY stingy with her kisses and gives them to Daddy and her baby much more than Mommy. She is very independent and while she may act demure when she first meets a stranger, she is more than happy to go to their arms after about 30 seconds. She favors men over women, and Jeremiah takes this as a very bad omen of things to come. She can feed herself with her fingers and is very interested in trying to use her spoon (she can do it, but dipping the food out of the bowl is a challenge as well as keeping that tricky spoon from turning upside down). She knows how to blow on her food if she decides that it’s HOT. She can tell me when she wants a bite of my food, or a cracker, or milk, or water. She also talks us through her bedtime process: bath, teeth, lotu, papoo, night-night, lu-loo (Translation: bath, brush teeth, lotion, diaper, good-night, love you). She tells us when she wants a book and when she wants her baby. All in all, I think she’s a genius just like every other mother thinks their child is a genius.

    She has had an ear infection off and on since the middle of December and we are on our fourth round of antibiotics. She has learned how to pitch a fit, and can create one of the most high-pitched screams that I have ever experienced. For the most part, however, she is a very sweet baby, and I like to excuse the tantrums as direct results from the ear infections 🙂 (Jeremiah thinks I am deceiving myself.) Well, I know I just bragged my head off, but I am very proud of this little girl.

  • Sometimes, when I look back over my life, I’m amazed to see the evidence of God taking sweet care of me through the people he’s strategically weaved into my life. At every major transition , there was always somebody, doing His work, to help me.

    Transition 1: Let’s getter through grade school…
    After first grade, I left a small, private, Christian school and entered the public school domain. It was a scary transition for me, and I distinctly remember spending our recess periods standing against a fence at the far end of the playground all by myself. I just didn’t have the confidence to bust into the friend groups that had already had ALL of first grade to be established. Little did I know that God was whispering to the heart of a cool, spunky girl with a side pony-tail and crimped hair–her name was Whitney Ward. She already had a best friend (Allison Wells), and they were too cool for everybody else on the playground. However, one day she came up to me as I stood with my back to the fence and invited me to join their group. That was the beginning of my life-long best friend who has helped lead me through countless trials, and boys, and insecurities, and dances, and wardrobe malfunctions. She is the constant, and God’s first gift.

    Transition 2: Middle school to high school. She’s gone need more than just a friend here…
    I left the public school arena after 8th grade and switched to another private school, but this one was “a college preparatory institution.” If I’d been intimidated by those year-old friendships back in second grade, imagine my dismay at facing a group of kids who’d now been forming bonds for up to 11 years!!! Not to mention the fact that they had a reputation for being snobby, rich kids. When I first started at HA, I dreaded break and lunch so much that I would rather have been in class. I was no longer unable to introduce myself to people, (I had developed a bit more confidence than that) it was just so much work. There weren’t enough seats at the “cool girl” end of the table, so every day I either had to be early (which was virtually impossible for me who always had questions for the teacher after class) to get my own seat OR I had to ask somebody if I could share their seat. OOHHH the agony of it! I walk into the lunchroom, frantically scanning the cool girls and trying to decide who I felt chummy enough with that day to ask if I can sit butt-to-butt on a seat that’s about 6-inches in diameter. I am just going to admit right here that there were a few days that I simply couldn’t face it, and I snuck down to the gym locker-room to eat a quiet and stress free lunch.

    I digress, but God sent me two people to guide me through this big phase. The first was Lindsay Prophet. She was/is a genius and a cool girl. She took me under her wing in my 9th grade biology class and guided me through everything from geometry to organic chemistry. Somehow the Lord convinced her that she learned better if she taught what we’d learned in class. I was a gracious recipient of her new-found learning method. I’ve made it sound like Lindsay was my tutor or something, but that isn’t an accurate depiction. She was my dear friend, who was also a genius.

    Then, there was Michael Wydner. He was the baseball star, the SGA president, the class clown, and the teacher’s pet all at the same time. I was the new, shy girl who had an assigned seat right in front of him in history class, and God told him it was time to bring some personality out of me. He made me laugh so hard and also humiliated me so many times, that I had to learn to laugh at myself or I would have died of embarrassment. Somewhere in that process he also became my best friend. I got to see a side of him that wasn’t the class clown, and we had each other as both of our mom’s fought cancer and won. The Lord provides.

    Transition 3: Now we gotta getter through college AND CHEMICAL ENGINEERING…
    They say it takes a community to raise a child. Well, it took 7 people just to get me through college. First their was Counsel. Sorority rush was the start of my college experience, and I felt myself thrust into a sea of beautiful and talented girls. I had Whitney by my side again but most other securities were stripped away. It seemed impossible that I would ever find my niche, my life-long friends, the girls who would stand beside me at my wedding…but the Lord was watching. Holly, Jessica, Lindsay, Mary Grace, Sara Beth, and Whitney (listed in ABC order because no one should be above another), lovingly referred to as Counsel. These girls were my support, my teachers, my confidantes, and most of all my FUN. Without them, I probably would have spent all of college studying and pining away after Jeremiah. To this day, they know more about me and have more bribe-quality stories about me than anyone else (except maybe Jeremiah :)) They are a part of me.

    Then, there was Stewart. Lindsay Prophet went on to UVA, and left me to face ChemE on my own. I looked out over my introductory engineering class and prayed to find someone who looked “normal.” In the distance I saw a Sigma Nu T-shirt and I thought, thank you Lord at least there’s one. When I graduated I told Stewart that he really should probably walk across the stage with me; he had certainly earned it. I must say that I did bring something to him, and that was discipline. Stewart is one of those people who is brilliant and could get by with very little effort (even in something as hard as ChemE). I forced him to do his homework and study for tests, even when there was a great band party going on. He, in turn, tried to teach my brain to think like an engineer. Another strong friendship was born.

    Transition 4: Marriage.
    God did something very sweet for me at this stage in life. This would seem like the biggest step yet, like the one where I would need the most support, the strongest hand to hold, but I was out on a cliff with nobody to my left or my right. I got married after my junior year in college and there was NOBODY taking that step with me. Counsel was completely dumbfounded by the thought of it! This, however, was the sweet gift…I only had Jeremiah. God taught me that he was that support and that strong hand. I had to learn to depend on him, and it was such a fun jump off that seemingly lonely cliff.

    Transition 5: Can she handle the working world???
    You graduate from college, you have a degree, and suddenly you are expected to KNOW something! It is terrifying. There’s responsibility, mass quantities to learn, and the people around you actually think you ARE an engineer. If all this weren’t enough, I was at a research facility in Wilsonville, with a bunch of brains, and desperate to find a normal person again. God didn’t make me wait long for this one, because I walked into work on the first day with a cute blond girl with a deep southern accent named Farris Wallace. We sized each other up and soon discovered that we could be girlie girls AND chemical engineers together. I had somebody to eat lunch with, complain about my husband leaving cabinets open with, and admit when I was intimidated and lost at work. God just kept on giving.

    (I realize that I have used the word normal in referring to Stewart and Farris. It sounds so shallow when I read back over it, but I really just mean people who are similar to me. I realize that I am not normal anymore than anybody else, and I had great friendships with people in my ChemE class and at work who I shared virtually nothing in common with. I am taking for granted that anybody who is reading this is my friend and knows that I don’t consider everybody who is not like me, to be not normal.)

    Transition 6: The baby carriage…
    Here I was again, back on the edge of that lonely cliff. I was 23 and about to have a baby. Counsel hasn’t even started getting married yet, much less thought about having babies. After trying to go back to work, God quickly tells me that He needs me at home. How I think? How can I quit work? How will we have enough money to live? Will I be depressed, by myself all day with no interaction? Before I actually quit, God sent over 2 of my neighbors who had both just (within 2 months of me) had babies and were stay-at-home Moms living on tight budgets. Lauren Brooks and Ashley Johnson. They talked to me about how they managed and helped give me the courage to take the leap I knew God was asking me to make.

    Throughout those first trying months of being a new mom, the three of us took countless walks, had tea on each other’s porches, read books and discussed them, but mainly we were able to vent all the fears and questions of motherhood to each other. God planted those two friends, literally right across the street.

    I am sure that most of you quit reading after paragraph one (that had to get boring for people who aren’t me), but I hope you will skim down to this last paragraph. After looking at my life, I’ve realized that God created me as a person who needs people. He knew exactly the friend I needed for every major transition in my life, and He provided them. It is so humbling to realize that the God of the Universe took the time time to bring people in my life to make it rich. Who am I…nobody, but to Him somebody who was worth it. How can we have a low self-esteem if we realize that? I am so thankful, and completely undeserving of all of these best friends.