Thursday, April 29, 2010


I’m reading the Bible. All the way through. I’ve read, of course, significant portions of the good book, but never all the way through. I don’t know what compelled me to take this on right now; it just felt like the time to do it. So I am.

I’m through Genesis and Exodus. I was thinking about starting a whole separate blog about my thoughts on this undertaking, but I don’t think I will. I’ll just occasionally update my biblical journey on this blog. Too many blogs a confused person makes, I think.

So- Genesis. Let me tell you about Genesis.

Genesis contains the stories of the biblical patriarchs, i.e. the founding fathers of the Jewish and Christian traditions. These men include: Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. They are God’s chosen people. They are also deeply flawed: they make the same mistakes over and over again. They fail to really learn from history.

One common theme:

Enmity between brothers. Adam’s sons are Cain and Abel. Cain, out of jealousy, kills Abel.

Abraham’s sons are Isaac and Ishmael. Born of, respectively, Sarah and her maidservant, Hagar, Isaac and Ishmael are made enemies by their mothers. Their mothers, understandably, are jealous of one another. (Polygamy doesn't work, people.) Hagar and Ishmael are sent away by Abraham, though God takes care of them. He promises Ishmael shall be the father of a great nation. While Isaac is one of the founding fathers of Israel, Ishmael is supposedly the father of the Arab, or Muslim, nation.

Isaac’s sons are Jacob and Esau. Jacob deceives his father and steals Esau’s inheritance and blessing. Jacob flees afterward, out of fear, but the brothers do later reconcile.

Jacob has twelve sons by wives Leah, Rachel, and their two maidservants. Jacob’s favorite son is Joseph, born of his favorite wife, Rachel. Joseph’s brothers, jealous of Joseph, dump him in a well and then sell him as a slave. (Joseph reconciles with them much later.)

Some other stuff from Genesis:

Both Abraham and Isaac pass their wives off as their sisters and get in a bit of trouble for lying. Kind of weird.

Daughters are scarce in Genesis. Jacob has one daughter, Dinah, who is raped by a Hivite, Shechem. The rapist fancies her and asks for her hand in marriage. (So romantic! Reminds me of Luke and Laura from General Hospital.) Jacob’s sons get sweet revenge. They promise that if Shechem and his people become circumcised as Israelites, they will trade their sister and daughters for Shechem’s daughters. So, all of the males in Shechem’s city get circumcised, and on the third day after the circumcisions, when the men are in a lot of pain, Joseph and his brothers attack and slaughter all of the men and plunder their city, taking their women, children, and livestock as their own.

(When Caleb, Ben, and Daniel are of appropriate age, I am going to teach them this story. And then they can tell it to any of Ella’s potential suitors.)

Genesis is ultimately a book of stories about the patriarchs of the Bible. And a lot of them are scandalous. For instance, Jacob’s son, Reuben, loses favor with his father. Why? Because he did something stupid, that’s why. He slept with his father’s concubine. Come on, Reuben. Not cool. Get your own concubines.

Incest is rampant in Genesis. Abraham’s wife, Sarah, is his half-sister. Abraham’s cousin, Lot, has two daughters who get him drunk, have sex with him, and become pregnant. Jacob’s son, Judah, visits who he thinks is a shrine prostitute, gets her pregnant, and goes home. Turns out the veiled prostitute was Tamar, his widowed daughter-in-law. She ends up giving birth to twins. (And... it makes one a bit nauseous to think about how the earth was populated by just Adam and Eve.)

There are beautiful events that took place in Genesis, too, like Jacob and Esau’s reconciliation. They see each other from a distance and literally run into one another’s arms. Reading it made me feel a bit weepy. And then there’s the long-awaited reconciliation between Joseph and his brothers. Joseph, who after being sold into slavery becomes the Pharoah’s right-hand man, forgives all of his brothers and is reunited with his father, Isaac, who has been heartbroken ever since he lost his beloved son. The Bible is essentially a book about faith and forgiveness. Those who have faith and forgive are blessed. Those who lack faith and are bitter, nasty people, perish.

Jacob’s twelve sons form the twelve tribes of Israel. (Sort of. Joseph fathers two tribes and Levi’s sons become priests belonging to the Lord.)

And this is the history of the Jewish people.

Isn’t it?

Interestingly, just a few days ago, a Chinese group of evangelical archaeologists found what they believe to be Noah’s ark atop of Mt. Ararat in Turkey. The media announced this around the time I was reading the story of Noah and the flood. Coincidence? I think not. The world does revolve around me and what I am doing, after all.

Man finds ark? Or ark finds man?

There have been archaeological remnants that seem to prove that Solomon and David existed. King David’s palace was excavated, as was a tunnel described in the Bible during the reign of Hezekiah. The tumbled walls of Jericho have even been said to be found.

How about proof that the stories in Genesis and Exodus actually occurred? Not so much. There have been no artifacts found in the Sinai desert, where the Israelites spent years roaming about. The Ten Commandments written on two stone tablets? MIA. The Ark of the Covenant? Locked somewhere in a government warehouse- proof of its existence cannot be confirmed. The parting of the Red Sea? Nary a chariot has been found in depths of the waters. And the flood? While strict creationists insist fossils and current landscape features are indicative of a great flood, scientists are not only not convinced, they find the evidence laughable. After all, whole civilizations that date back to that time period were unscathed by any flood. A myth, they insist.
When it comes to reading the Bible as fact, archaeologists come from two general schools of thought: The minimalists believe the bible is a fairy-tale, and don’t pursue ancient civilizations and artifacts as detailed by the bible. Maximalists refer to the Bible as a veritable historic resource, and refer to it like any other ancient document. Some fall in between, believing parts of the bible, like the flood, to be allegory. Other sections, they believe, actually happened, or are at least based on actual events or people.

So what of this ark in Turkey? Is it actually a boat, or just a remnant of an ancient mountain-people’s residence? And if it really is a boat, how did it get to the top of a mountain? The archaeologists who found it say that the carbon dating on the wood dates back 4800 years, right at the time the great flood is supposed to have occurred.

Both atheists and evangelicals have a hard time believing this whole thing isn’t a scam. If the carbon dating is correct, there are some problems to discuss:

1) How can creationists (those who believe in a literal 7-day earth creation) believe that carbon dating is correct when it comes to this ark, but not when it comes to dating other ancient artifacts?

2) If the carbon dating is correct, why is there evidence of societies thriving during that same time-period? Why weren’t they wiped out in the flood?

3) How did Noah fit two of every animal on a ship? What did the lions eat? Dear God, what did they do with all of the poop? And are you telling me that all of the different kinds of animals were living in the Middle East during this time? Even pandas and kangaroos? How did they eventually make it to completely different continents? And, darn it, WHAT HAPPENED TO THE UNICORN? (And the dinosaurs, for that matter.)

I’ve always been a bit of a skeptic. (For instance, I don’t believe William Shakespeare wrote those plays and sonnets. If you weigh the evidence, the evidence points to someone else. Sorry, but it does. And I’m happy to debate the issue with you.)

I’ve never been a strict 7-day creationist. I believe in God, I believe he created the earth, but, as I weighed the evidence, I moved toward a creation-evolutionist standpoint. (I keep quiet about that, generally, because in Christian circles, the term evolution is akin to the f-word.)

So, it won’t surprise you that I’ve had trouble with the flood story, too. Ask an evangelical Christian if they believe the ark actually existed, and they will say, wide eyed, “Of course! The Bible says it did.”

And this is faith.

Some people come by faith more easily than others. I guess I’m the doubting Thomas. I’m the person who would need to see the holes in Jesus’ hand before I believed he had risen.

Everyone has faith in something. I have faith that my husband won’t run off with a cute little intern in Albany, leaving me to raise four kids alone. I base my faith on the promises he made me and on his character. Can anyone be certain John won’t leave me for a cute little intern? No. But I have insurmountable faith that he won’t.

Atheists have faith that there isn’t a God. Their faith is just as strong, if not stronger, than a Christian’s or a Jew’s or a Deist’s faith. With all of their scientific evidence against events recorded in the Bible, there is no scientific equation, and never can be, that proves the existence or non-existence of God. Or the flying spaghetti monster. Or any other weird deity you come up with. Because God is supernatural. And if you believe in the supernatural, anything is possible.

Even an ark atop of a mountain.

So, I’m doubtful, but I’m kind of hoping it is a boat up there on Mt. Ararat. Because sometimes I need to be wrong.

Favorite verse from Genesis: God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning- the sixth day. Genesis 1:31.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Ella's World

Ella is different. We know that. Something isn’t “normal.” We are in limbo- waiting for an official diagnosis. The speech pathologists strongly encouraged us to get Ella evaluated. I took her to the doctor to get a referral so we could get an appointment at the Kirch Developmental Services Center at Strong.

There is a six-month waiting period to see someone there.

It isn’t autism. Anyone who has spent any amount of time with her can tell that. She is far too social. She makes eye contact. She gives hugs. She loves to be held. She doesn’t fall anywhere on the “spectrum.”

The pediatrician didn’t spend much time with us at our last appointment. He promised to call in the referral, listened to her heart and lungs and looked at her ears and up her nose- and sent us on our merry way.

I feel so rushed in doctor’s offices. Yesterday was my yearly OB appointment. The doctor was in and out so fast, I felt mildly offended. (And a little icky.) The rush makes me feel flustered- unable to organize my thoughts to ask the questions I have been meaning to ask. And then I’m left with the thought, “Well- I’ll write it down and ask next year.” Good grief- send me a kit and I’ll swab my own cervix next time.

My dentist’s office called the other day to change my Friday appointment to another day of the week. Why? The office would no longer be open on Fridays. I’m saving my pennies to get my teeth fixed and he’s taking off Fridays. (Our pediatric dentist is not open on Fridays, either. And during the summer, they are only open half-days Monday through Thursday.)

Doctors roll their eyes when patients self-diagnose. But honestly, when we’re brushed aside, treated efficiently but sometimes not thoroughly, when the doctors don’t take the time to talk to us, what are we left with?

I think I’ve diagnosed Ella. I think she has Receptive Language Disorder. All of the symptoms fit perfectly:

• May not speak at all, or may have a limited vocabulary for their age

• Has difficulty understanding simple directions or are unable to name objects

• Shows problems with socialization

• Inability to follow directions but show comprehension with routine, repetitive directions

• Echolalia (repeating back words or phrases either immediately or at a later time.)

• Inappropriate responses to "wh" questions

• Difficulty responding appropriately to: yes/no questions, either/or questions, who/what/where questions, when/why/how questions

• Repeats back a question first and then responds to them

• High activity level and not attending to spoken language

• Jargon (e.g. unintelligible speech)

• Uses "memorized" phrases and sentences

• They may have a problem with words or sentences, both understanding and speaking them

• Learning problems and academic difficulties

It’s been compared to aphasia after a stroke.

The problem is in the brain- possibly damage caused by a head injury, a seizure, or malnutrition.

Daniel was born at 7 lbs. Ella- 3 ½ lbs.

What happened? What went wrong? Was it my fault? I’m racking my brain, trying to think of a reason. If there’s a reason, maybe I can understand better. Maybe I can help. Because, although she can receive therapy to help her cope with her communication problems, there’s no fixing this. If this is what’s the matter with her, she will have communication difficulties her whole life.
I will be told not to get worked up. Wait until you receive an official diagnosis.

Can’t do that.

Ella has speech therapy three times a week. My schedule revolves around her therapy and I don’t even know if it’s helping because they don’t have an official diagnosis to work with. It’s very frustrating. I can now relate to those parenting magazine articles that encourage parents to be their child’s health advocate.

Ella, I’m advocating for you.

I’m going to do my best to make this better.

I love you so much.

Monday, April 19, 2010

One Year of HGL

Today is the… wait for it… first anniversary of my blog, Holly Goes Lightly, which has recently been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

In honor of this special day, I will be awarding one lucky reader with a very imaginary prize if he or she answers all of the following questions about me correctly. (If you are a faithful reader of the blog, this will be no problem for you.)

Here are the questions, and, godspeed, my friends:

1)For what Broadway show did Holly win a Tony award?
2)What was the name of Holly’s second bestselling novel?
3)What is Oprah’s nickname for Holly?
4)Who stalked Holly this past Valentine’s Day: Colin Firth or Colin Farrell?
5)Where is Holly’s summertime vacation villa located?
6)What is the name of Holly’s children's nanny? (Bonus: Why did her second nanny quit?)
7)How many children does Holly have: one or two?
8)Where is Holly’s penthouse located?
9)Holly sang the national anthem (and received a standing ovation) at: the 2009 Pittsburgh/ Arizona Super Bowl or the 2010 Vancouver Olympics opening ceremony?
10) When Holly passes gas, does it smell like roses or lavender?

Whoever correctly answers all of these questions will receive a free copy of Holly’s bestselling memoir: Going Rogue.

First person to answer all questions correctly wins my book, which only consists of a dust jacket, but it's a cool dust jacket, I think. It took me like fifteen minutes to design it.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


I am a blogger for the writing website, If you feel compelled to read my thoughts on the struggles and joys of writing, my posts are published every Friday.

As a blogger, I get a free premium membership to the site. I have yet to figure out what this means, exactly, but I figured I’d better take advantage of it. I made up a lovely pen name, critiqued some people’s stuff, and garnered enough points to post a short story of my own that other writers could critique.

I waited with baited breath to see what people might say.

The story received mixed reviews. I was surprised that I didn’t take any of the criticism personally. There was no throwing of myself on the floor while moaning that I’m a worthless nobody, which relieved Caleb. (I’m kidding, I’m kidding. This has NEVER happened. Don’t call social services. Not yet, anyway.) I was, however, a little miffed that people didn’t get my subtle brand of humor.

In a nutshell, the story (which was written a couple of years ago) is about a girl trying to come to terms with the existence or non-existence of God. Deep deep stuff. It’s relatively short, only 1300 words, and is divided into five sections: Hannah’s (Hannah is my poor, confused protagonist) childhood, Hannah’s teenage years, Hannah’s college years, and Hannah’s early motherhood years. In the last section, Hannah’s husband bites the dust in a heroic fashion.

It’s a comedy.

Sort of.

Here’s an excerpt from “the college years” section.

Jason and his roommate, Seth, engaged in impassioned theological arguments and discussed people like Kierkegaard, Luther, and the Christian Platonists of Alexandria. Hannah knit them scarves as she sat, cross-legged, on Jason’s bed, and listened with acute interest, absorbing information and later writing what she learned down in a black and white composition notebook she kept under her pillow in her dorm room.

“That’s SUCH BULL*&%*!” Jason would often exclaim. Jason’s impassioned exclamations always piqued Hannah’s interest. He was the first Christian she had met who unapologetically swore in a loud and brazen fashion.

One afternoon, she asked her suite-mates what they thought about God.

“God is, like, within all of us,” said Stacy.

“I’ll tell you one thing. God doesn’t want us to kill babies,” said Shana.

“God is dead,” said Sam.

“Didn’t John Lennon say that?” asked Stacy.

“Yeah, I think so,” said Sam.

My critics’ major beef was with the conversation between Hannah and her suitemates. A UK critic was sure I meant flat-mates. A couple of critics informed me that John Lennon said that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus, not that God is dead. A third critic noted, with disapproval, that all of the suitemates’ names started with S.

This all amused me. I purposely had Sam wrongly attribute Nietzsche’s quote to Lennon. I also purposely gave the girls S-names- I thought it added to the humorous flow of the conversation, because the suitemates were obviously dingbats.

I was told the story needed to be longer. I was told I lacked focus. I was told the story was well thought-out. They found a lot of typos. That was embarrassing.

It was an interesting experience. Throwing your writing out there and asking for honest feedback is like begging for a piece of humble pie.

I often say to John:

“John! Nobody gets me!”

“Well, you’re very mysterious,” is his reply.

“Yes. Yes. Mystery is my passion,” I say, mysteriously. That is why I used a pen name when I posted my story. And it is why I will use a pen name when I rip apart other people’s writing on the site, as well.

"No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else's draft." -H.G. Wells

Sunday, April 11, 2010

For Cara: A Tribute to Country Living

I vacillate between wanting to live in a hip, urban environment like NYC or Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh is very hip now. Really!), or in the far-reaches of civilization- a country paradise with rolling hills, babbling brooks, and Amish neighbors who will help me build a barn for my horses, of which I will have several.

John wants to move to Kentucky, which is one of the last places in the U.S. I would choose to live (after South Dakota, Los Angeles, and Detroit). He is drawn to the state’s notable trifecta of sin and debauchery: bourbon, horse racing, and tobacco. (All to be enjoyed in moderation, of course, he protests.) I might consider Kentucky if I had my own racehorse. I would be both an excellent owner and jockey. I would name my horse Otis and we would rock the countryside.

I have considered the many drawbacks that come with country living. For instance, having lived within ten minutes of a Wegmans food market my entire life, I would have a hard time adjusting to shopping at a Grand Union or, even worse, a Super Walmart.

Second, there are the yokels to contend with. (No offense to my yokel readers.) Yokels are the ones who use their welfare checks to buy bourbon, tobacco, and horse bets, instead of spending them on trips to the dentist, which is what they really, really should be spending them on. I have a low tolerance for yokels.

And then there’s the garbage situation. My 87 year-old grandma has to drive her trash and recyclables to the dump every week. This does not appeal to me. A lot of people get around this hassle by burning their garbage in their expansive backyards.

This weekend, I ventured up to Chautauqua County for a lovely bachelorette party. (In case you were wondering, there was no bourbon, betting, or tobacco at this particular gathering.) I want to relay what country living has done to a sweet, dewy-faced newlywed named Cara.

Cara has been married for less than a year. At the gathering, Cara told of a recent marital conflict in her home.

She and her husband made the brave decision of adopting a puppy. Since they both work during the day, the puppy has been trained to do its business on newspaper. When she gets home from work, Cara takes care of the mess by simply scooping up the papers and throwing them in the kitchen trash, which is later transported to the backyard to be burned.

The conflict arose when her husband wondered why their kitchen smelled the way it did. When Cara explained that the “business” had been deposited into the kitchen trash, Cara’s husband became… upset.

Poor Cara is not to be blamed for believing that poop should be burned in the yard along with banana peels and cardboard boxes and newspapers in a bonfire behind her house. She came from a family that burned everything- television sets, the kitchen trash, pets that had bit the dust.

I informed Cara that John and I have a similar problem. Over the last couple of weeks- in moments I can only attribute to extreme laziness- John has taken to putting dirty diapers in our kitchen trash container. This annoys me to no end.

“What are you supposed to do with poopy diapers?” Cara asked.

The mothers in the group explained the wonder of the Diaper Genie. I submitted that a poopy diaper might go straight from the baby to the outdoor trash bin.

Cara contemplated this for a few seconds, and then asked, in all seriousness:

“Can you burn it?”

Ahhh… country living: nights where you listen to the sound of crickets intermingled with beautiful silence and the whinny of my horse, Otis; nights where you can gaze upon the wide open black sky that is sprinkled with shimmering stars; and, of course, nights where you savor the intoxicating smell of a good old-fashioned fecal fire.

Who needs Wegmans?

(Cara is the gorgeous girl on the far right.)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sopranos vs. Altos: Yes, I go there...

A few months ago, I joined the church choir. This was very proactive of me. We meet to practice on Sunday afternoons and sing during two services Sunday mornings. It is what you might call a commitment.

The choir director is an enthusiastic professional musician who attended the church I grew up in, so I’ve known him quite a while. He has great dreams for us; I think he wants us to be the next Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. He challenges us to sing complicated four to five-part harmony pieces. He recently procured a set of tympanis off of Ebay. He’s really gung-ho about the whole thing.

When I joined the choir, I was sent off to the alto section, which isn’t necessarily the section with women who have lower voices, but rather the section with women who can read music. Being named an alto was quite a shock to me. I’ve always been a soprano. Though my voice has gotten lower since the birth of my children, I can still hit a high A on a good day. Good days happen once every six months or so, but still.

Sopranos get the best parts. This is simply a fact. They almost always sing the melody and they get more solos. Being forced to sing as an alto has been quite a blow to my inner-diva.

However, if sopranos are prima donnas, then altos are snobs. As an alto, I’ve found myself sighing impatiently during the occasions when the sopranos sing harmony. So used to singing the melody, they need their part played over and over again. Altos think sopranos are helpless and needy and sopranos don’t think about the altos at all. Music is all very politically complicated.

I began to embrace my new alto status. I made notes in my music and learned how to find my pitch based on what the basses and tenors had been singing. I enjoyed alto camaraderie as we all rolled our eyes together after the sopranos screeched out a high-pitched, very flat b flat. We met beforehand in the practice room to go over the music, and divvied up the high and low alto parts.

Yes, life as an alto was satisfying. And less taxing on the old vocal chords, too. That is, until we started practicing the Hallelujah Chorus for Easter Sunday. My inner-diva came out in full throttle.

The Hallelujah Chorus is awesome. It might be my favorite composition in the history of compositions. Whenever someone tells me they don’t believe in God, I look at them, astonished, and say, “Have you never listened to the Hallelujah Chorus???” The Hallelujah Chorus makes me want to jump up and down and run around the room like a Pentecostal. And the sopranos, as usual, have the best part in the piece. They, alone, sing King of Kings (while everyone else sings forever and ever, hallelujah, hallelujah) and Lord of Lords! The tension slowly rises, and the focus is all on the sopranos.

Let’s not forget the final hallelujah at the tail-end of the song. Again, it’s all about the sopranos. One analysis of the piece states that “it ends triumphantly with trilling tympani and a huge plagal cadence on the word ‘Hallelujah.’” I don’t know about that (true sopranos care little about technicalities and music jargon- it is of diminished importance when compared to our soaring vibrato voices), all I know is that singing the alto part seemed… lame (in comparison to the soprano part.) I submit than when anyone thinks of angels singing in the sky, they think of the soprano part and not the alto part, or even the tenor or bass parts.

Like a true quasi-professional, i.e. a person singing in the local church choir who happens to read music, I sucked up my enormous soprano pride and learned the alto arrangement. And it was maybe a little bit fun. However, on Easter morning, I knew (with true soprano egotism)that the plagal chord at the end would have been all that more triumphant if I had been singing as a soprano.

Here are some pics of the kids on Easter:

Ella: Future Soprano

Friday, April 2, 2010


The Tale of Three Trees
retold by Angela Elwell Hunt

Once upon a mountaintop, three little trees stood and dreamed of what they wanted to become when they grew up. The first little tree looked up at the starts twinkling like diamonds above him.

"I want to hold treasure," he said. "I want to be covered with gold and filled with precious stones. I will be the most beautiful treasure chest in the world!"

The second little tree looked out at the small stream trickling by on its way to the ocean.
"I want to be a strong sailing ship," he said. "I want to travel mighty waters and carry powerful kings. I will be the strongest ship in the world!"

The third little tree looked down into the valley below where busy men and women worked in a busy town. "I don't want to leave this mountaintop at all," she said. "I want to grow so tall that when people stop to look at me they will raise their eyes to heaven and think of God. I will be the tallest tree in the world!"

Years passed. The rains came, the sun shone, and the little trees grew tall. One day three woodcutters climbed the mountain.

The first woodcutter looked at the first tree and said, "This tree is beautiful. It is perfect for me." With a swoop of his shining axe, the first tree fell. "Now I shall be made into a beautiful chest," thought the first tree. "I shall hold wonderful treasure."

The second woodcutter looked at the second tree and said, "This tree is strong. It is perfect for me." With a swoop of his shining axe, the second tree fell. "Now I shall sail mighty waters," thought the second tree. "I shall be a strong ship fit for kings!"

The third tree felt her heart sink when the last woodcutter looked her way. She stood straight and tall and pointed bravely to heaven. But the woodcutter never even looked up. "Any kind of tree will do for me," he muttered. With a swoop of his shining axe, the third tree fell.

The first tree rejoiced when the woodcutter brought him to a carpenter's shop, but the busy carpenter was not thinking about treasure chests. Instead his work-worn hands fashioned the tree into a feed box for animals. The once beautiful tree was not covered with gold or filled with treasure. He was coated with sawdust and filled with hay for hungry farm animals.

The second tree smiled when the woodcutter took him to a shipyard, but no mighty sailing ships were being made that day. Instead the once-strong tree was hammered and sawed into a simple fishing boat. Too small and too weak to sail an ocean or even a river, he was taken to a little lake. Everyday he brought in loads of dead, smelly fish.

The third tree was confused when the woodcutter cut her into strong beams and left her in a lumberyard. "What happened?" the once tall tree wondered. All I ever wanted to do was stay on the mountaintop and point to God."

Many, many days and nights passed. The three trees nearly forgot their dreams. But one night golden starlight poured over the first tree as a young woman placed her newborn baby in the feedbox. ”I wish I could make a cradle for him," her husband whispered.

The mother squeezed his hand and smiled as the starlight shone on the smooth and sturdy wood. "This manger is beautiful" she said.

And suddenly the first tree knew he was holding the greatest treasure in the world.

One evening a tired traveler and his friends crowded into the old fishing boat. The traveler fell asleep as the second tree quietly sailed out into the lake. Soon a thrashing storm arose. The little tree shuddered. He knew he did not have the strength to carry so many passengers safely through the wind and rain. The tired man awaken. He stood up, stretched out his hand, and said, "Peace." The storm stopped as quickly as it had begun.

And suddenly the second tree knew he was carrying the king of heaven and earth!

One Friday morning the third tree was startled when her beams were yanked from the forgotten woodpile. She flinched as she was carried through an angry, jeering crowd. She shuddered when soldiers nailed a man's hands to her. She felt ugly and harsh and cruel.

But on Sunday morning, when the sun rose and the earth trembled with joy beneath her, the third tree knew that God's love had changed everything.

He had made the first tree beautiful.

He had made the second tree strong.

And every time people thought of the third tree, they would think of God.

And that was better than being the tallest tree in the world.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

New Beginnings

So, it turns out I’m pregnant. We’re really hoping it’s not twins again. John is slowly getting used to the idea. I swear I don’t know how it happened! I mean, I KNOW how it happened, but, y’know. A happy little oops. You know what I’m most concerned about? Fitting five kids in our van. I so don’t want one of those mammoth ugly vans. They reek of utilitarianism.


That’s the best I could come up with.

Not only am I not pregnant, but I am adjusting to the idea that I will never be pregnant again. It is a bittersweet adjustment. On the one hand, I can’t wait until all four of my little boo-bahs are in school, so I can hop right back into bed after I ship them off on the big yellow bus. Or, I might get a job. One or the other. The sleeping scenario is much more appealing to me, of course.

On the other hand, babies are cute. At least, my babies were always cute.

Now that we’ve pretty much decided that this is the end, my only friend, the end, because all of the children are insane, we are faced with the task of deciding what to do with all of our baby crap. Or rather, I am faced with what to do. John would be happy to dump it all off at the Salvation army, and wouldn’t give a second thought to the tiny bobby socks, those one-piece playsuits with giraffes on them, and that little bib that says “I Drool, Therefore I Am.” I’m perfectly content to keep all of the clothes, our bouncy chairs, the crib bumpers, and the rattles and teething rings in the basement forever. JUST IN CASE. Our grandkids could use them. Or maybe a little baby will just arrive on our doorstep one day with a note that says, “I saw you with your kids at the park and I think you’d make a great mom for my baby. I’m just not up to it right now. Take good care of her.” (Do you ever imagine what you’d do in this scenario? It’s a perfectly plausible scenario, I think.)

Or, I could donate said clothes and baby accoutrements to friends and family. However, my many pragmatic in-laws aren’t reproducing as quickly as I would like. My sister has declared they are finished after just two kids (the nerve), and my brother and sister-in-law are working on their “careers” or some such nonsense. John’s brothers are taking their sweet time in the baby department, as well. I don’t know what they’re waiting for. No time like the present. Especially with the now-affordable health care for everyone. Their excuses are tiresome.

If you haven’t seen where I’m headed, I’ll just put it out there for you. Garage sale. Which is either a fantastic idea (according to some) or the worst idea ever (according to most.)

It means, of course, that strange babies will be wearing my kids’ stuff that I got at garage sales that other strange babies wore. Am I really okay with that? Will I be able to sell my daughter’s first little sundresses, or will I have a change of heart at the point-of-sale? (I worked in retail for a while.)

A garage sale could be fun. We could make a little bit of money, and Caleb and Ben could have an adorable lemonade/ brownie stand. No time like the present to start molding little capitalists! And to teach them not to be hoarders, like their mother. And father, for that matter. He has t-shirts in his drawer from high school.

A garage sale would help me move on, I think. A symbolic letting go of the baby years.

You should probably come. Only 1.50 for a brownie with chocolate chunks and chocolate frosting. (Remember- four kids to put through college.)

April Fool’s Day! (Brownies will only be 1.25 a piece.)