Thursday, February 24, 2011


I tend to obsess over things.

When pregnant with Carter, my mind and my speech were littered with words belonging to Dr. Sears' books on natural childbirth and the "conspiracies" hospitals weave. Me and my best intentions hired a doula, practiced different birthing positions on a birthing ball, and had the hospital's number on tap so we could put dibs on a labor room with a bathtub while on my way to deliver.

Ten hours into labor, I asked for an epidural and ended up having to have a c-section.

My obsession back-fired.

As I processed the why's of my emotional attachment to the idea of natural childbirth, I found that there was some good in there. I really did have honorable motives, but those motives were also intertwined with fear, and pride, and that obsessive nature of mine.

So, about a month ago, when a friend directed me to some "traditional" and "real food" blogs and research, that old obsessive nature kicked in big time.

Some very real and persuasive motives captured my attention and launched me into Obsession-Ville again. Of course I want to eat healthily. Of course I want to feed my kids the best foods I can afford and prepare. Of course I don't want toxins and pollutants and MSG. Who can't agree with those premises?

There quickly arose a problem, though. What started out as something Good--the desire to learn more about nutrition for myself and my family--became saturated with Fear and Worry and Urgency. I allowed myself to be swallowed by fear, instead of stepping forward gingerly and with discernment.

Neal and I talked about my research over dinner at Carrabba's one night. As I contemplated ordering the GMO corn-filled polenta covered with factory-farm steak tips on skewers with pesticide-ridden grilled veggies (roll your eyes now, just roll them), I told him I'd devised a first step out of Obsession-Ville.

"I'm going to unsubscribe to my blogs. Like, fast from them for a week."

It's not that I don't believe a lot of the principles of these "real food" bloggers. I do. But I know that my nature tends to pollute the potential good with fear. And reading two posts every day about what I was potentially doing wrong was not helping. 

I think with all good things, all good changes of direction or new goals, fear will challenge our movement.

But it doesn't mean we don't move. 

For me, I had to unsubscribe. And then continue my learning at a much slower (and less judgmental) pace.

For others, it could mean granting yourself heaping loads of grace as you attempt to learn how to read the Bible. And for someone else, this could mean lowering your standards for that anticipated finish time of your first 5K--not stressing that you didn't train like you wanted to and choosing to be proud for just finishing the race.

Fear will always creep onto the path of the Good. In those moments, our decision should not be whether we should continue down the road, but how.

What Good have you attempted to do, and then encountered Fear? 
How did you move forward?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

what's yours is mine

You should know that I still go to the bathroom in front of my three-year old. Well, it's not really like, "let's-all-go-to-the-bathroom-together" kind of business; I just haven't gotten into the habit of closing the door.


(It sounds very wonderful, this idea of having one room to myself for a few minutes. Alone.)

A few days ago, I sat down to commence my bathroom-business and Carter said, oh-so-bossily,

"Mommy, that's my toilet. You have to use yours. Go use your bathroom, 

not mine!!"

And we began a debate that went something like this:

"It's not really your bathroom, Carter. It belongs to Daddy and me."

"No, it's really mine! Look, there's my toothbrush and my shampoo and my stool (pronounced "stew-loo"). It's my stuff in my bathroom."

"Actually, it really isn't yours. Daddy and I bought this house. And we bought you the stuff here in your bathroom. We just share it with you because we love you. We lived in this house, using this bathroom long before you were ever here...

(And no, I don't expect a barely-three-year old to understand that whole concept.)

So, Carter, I'm going to use this toilet."

I wondered, then, how many times God has tried to have that conversation with me. When he's tried to say,  April, I want to use this thing and then I pout and tell the God who has existed before time, who gives me the very breath I breathe, who made the cotton grow that would become my clothes, who designed the cow whose cream would make for glorious creme brulee, who had the audacity to grant me free-will so I could one day mimic the reasoning of a selfish three-year old,

that it really. all. belongs. to. me.

I heard God laugh while I sat on that toilet. 

He didn't have to convict me. I needed no scripture to be brought to memory. It was one of those wait-till-you're-a-parent-and-you-get-a-glimpse-of-what-you've-put-me-through kind of moments come full circle. The truth is, it all belongs to him. The truth is, it's ridiculous for me to have the kind of grip I do on my money, on my free time, on my decisions, on my prerogative. The truth is, the God-head has been doing this Life thing way before I came into the picture. He's been exerting his will, accomplishing his holy plans long before my stubborn will was ever given the opportunity to participate.

So, yes, God, you may have my money, my priorities, my stubbornness, my talent, my influence and my life, and if need be,

you may use my toilet.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I can be a brat

Grace is when your husband is making a spice mix for the fajitas and you tell him he should add cumin and he says he doesn't like cumin and you make him smell the opened jar and he makes a face and then you walk over to his spice mix and deliberately add cumin in an act of culinary stubbornness and general obnoxiousness and he stares at you in shocked disbelief, composes himself and then he tells you to go for a run, really, I think you'll be happier if you do, and I got dinner and Carter's fine and I love you.