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Good Friday

“When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.”

And pour contempt on all my pride.

On Good Friday, this is what I did.  In my heart, all day long, over and over again, I poured contempt on all my pride.

It was a glorious day; chilly in the morning, bright with sunshine, full of promise.  But in my heart is was a solemn day.  I considered the cross on Good Friday, and it was painful.  It wasn’t painful because I felt bad for Jesus, or because of the injustices he suffered, or because gore turns my stomach.  It was painful because it is the most powerful reminder of exactly how badly I needed – I need – saving.

The injustice and brutality of the cross is a direct reflection of the gravity and atrocity of my sin.  Oh, my sin was costly – and it is paid for.

If you ever doubt God’s justice, look to the cross.   Indeed God is just.
If you ever doubt God’s mercy, look to the cross.  Indeed God is merciful.

He absorbed his own wrath with his own love.  He paid the debt that was owed him out of his own pocket.  That would be like the CEO of Sallie Mae paying my student loan – times a billion - in blood.

If you ever start feeling entitled to things because you are a good person, just look to the cross.  It will take your breath away; it will slice you.  You will pour contempt on all your pride.

On this Good Friday I was sliced and humbled.  I was so grateful that it felt heavy – carrying around all that gratitude.  I am grateful for a God who is so huge and great and just and loving that he came to ransom me, literally.  To pay the penalty for my sin.  To buy me back.  To save me.  He saved me.

He saved me.

_____________________________________

This Good Friday, Madeline had an egg hunt at school.  Her vision teacher tricked out some eggs (extra large, with big, bold “M’s” and polka dots on them), and we had planned to show up and help her hunt.  Yesterday morning I asked Dan to double check with the school and let me know what time to be there.  He returned at 7:45 to find me still in bed, bleary-eyed from nursing all night, and said,

“It’s at nine.”

“As in an hour from now?

“Yes.”

“Crap.”

 I put on my wings (coffee, not Redbull), and flew.  My mom and I had both boys fed, dressed, and out the door in time. We were ON TIME.  WITH A NEWBORN.  Granted, Sam ate his peanut butter toast in the car, but we remembered a bib!  And wipes!  WITH A NEWBORN.  And as if that weren’t magical enough, just when I thought Sam would never, ever, ever talk, he told me that he was happy.

YouTube Preview Image

Happy, happy, happy.  Peanut butter toast will do that a boy.

The egg hunt was a smashing success.

High on fresh air and productivity, we got home and hung some floating shelves in our bedroom that have been sitting around since we moved here in AUGUST.    Because power drills and hammers are ALWAYS a great idea with a newborn in a bouncy seat next to you.  We made up for this questionable parenting move by making an Easter Tree with the kids.

Henry’s job was to sit around looking beautiful and to break our hearts with his sweet, milk-and-honey baby breath – and he did it perfectly.

It was perfect.  It was grace on top of grace.

So that is what we did on Good Friday, while I poured contempt on my pride.

 

 

Here’s the Deal

Here’s the deal, friends.

The last of my three manuscripts is due to my publisher on the first of November.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT:  NOVEMBER IS ONLY 8 MONTHS AWAY.

If that sounds like a long time to you, well then, we have nothing in common.  As you might imagine, for the next 8 months, all of my best and favorite writing is going to the books.  All of my cheekiness, wittiness, insight, and heart is going to the books.  At least 80% of my sarcasm is going to the books.  Why?  Because the books are going to be fan-freaking-tastic, that’s why.

In light of the fact that November is ONLY EIGHT MONTHS AWAY, here is what you can expect around the blog between now and then:

1.

Hard truth: it will be a little bit quieter.  I am not a robot.  I function on sleep, coffee, and cake (like all normal human beings), and until we find a way to multiply sleep, and/or a way to make cake as nutritionally sound as spinach, I will have to take a step back around here.

2.

Better truth: IT WILL NOT BE SILENT!  Don’t get mopey and go anywhere, now, because quiet doesn’t mean silent.  I’ll post anecdotes, stories, quotes, and bunny trails that stem from all of my good thinking & book-writing.  That means that if you hang around you’ll catch some glimpses into the content and into my trains of thought!  I have 7 or 8 drafts in queue right now that I LOVE, and they’re certainly not waiting around until November.  There will also be a resurgence of fantastic Happy Friday images.

3.

A REBRAND!  This is my favorite, most exciting announcement.  By the time my manuscripts are turned in, this space on the internet will look totally different and awesome!  You’ll notice some changes and freshening up over the coming weeks and months, but mostly you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled for the big blog makeover reveal, which will include updated photography, fonts, logos, navigation, features, and more!  YAY!

In the meantime, the best way to keep up is by following me on my social media accounts!

All the quippy thoughts that don’t make it into blog posts will be all over my Facebook page. This is a brand, shiny, new BLOG & AUTHOR Facebook page, so if we are personal friends on FB, you’ll want to give this new page a “like” and “follow,” too.  On my Facebook page there will be lots of updates, comments, pictures, links, and other fun what-not that makes me smile.  I will not shy away from corny.  Or memes.  Or internet cats.

Follow me on Facebook here.

I’m also on Twitter.  The way is use Twitter is, in a word, poorly.  Every three or four days I will RT everything I see that is hilarious, link to my favorite posts, reply to some folks, follow some folks, and then disappear for a little bit.  I sometimes start to post something on Twitter, but then think, no – that’s not funny enough.  So you know that if I tweet it, I love it.  My twitter feed is the upper echelon of my thoughts.

Follow me on Twitter here.

Pinterest will be getting all kinds of action from me in the coming months, because you know what I can do mindlessly and with one hand at midnight (and 2am, and 4am, and 6am) feeding an infant?  PIN.   I have all kinds of boards, including one for each chapter of “Ten Things I Want To Tell Teenage Girls.”

Follow me on Pinterest here.

I’m on Instagram too, because this is the 21st century and three social media outlets were not enough.  I will be launching an Instagram series/campaign/hashtag/whatever this month inspired by fun tradition between me and my BFF, and of course I’m BOUND to run into Honey Boo Boo at Wal-Mart one of these day, and believe me – when I do, I’m Instagrammin’ that business.

Follow me on Instagram here.

So in sum:

-GET PUMPED ABOUT THE BOOKS!

-FOLLOW ME ON YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS!

-And subscribe so that you won’t miss a post when I put one up over the next few months!

And that’s what’s up.
Much love!
Kate

Evasion

This afternoon I heard Sam crying in the living room and had the following conversation with my 5-year-old.

Me:  Madeline, why is Sam crying?

Madeline:  I don’t know.

Me:  (in mom voice) Madeline…

Madeline:  He fell.

Me:  How did he fall?

Madeline:  Something hit him.

Me:  What hit him?

Madeline:  …  Me.

 

 

A Survival Story

In a couple of years, this week will be a story we tell.

It will be like my, “Remember when, during my first month as an RA of an entirely freshman floor, our dorm flooded with sewage water?  In the middle of the night?  And the ceiling tiles were bulging with sewage and it was running down the walls?  During parents weekend?  And the power went out?  And the fire alarms went off all night long?  And it was pouring rain outside?  And a news crew showed up while our angry, smelly, sleep deprived girls were standing outside in the rain in their pajamas at dawn?  And then we had to go to class?”

This week will be a story like that one.

Except for this weeks story will sound more like, “Remember the time we had three kids, and THE DAY WE CAME HOME FROM THE HOSPITAL the 18 month-old started throwing up?  And then the 5 year-old started throwing up? And then came the diarrhea?  And then I got sick?  While nursing every two hours and sleeping in 1 hour intervals? In a house with a newborn and two vomiting children?  And two weeks later the 18-month-old got sick again?  Because apparently we got the plague that NEVER GOES AWAY?”

Yes, in a couple of years this will be a great survival story.  ”The week Henry was born” will be Conner family legend.  But it’s not a survival story yet; right now we’re still surviving.

Dan and I keep encouraging each other as we go through these long days:  ”This is not what having 3 kids is like; this is what having a newborn is like.  This is what a house full of norovirus is like.  This too shall pass.”

This will pass when the kids get well.
This will pass when Madeline can go back to school.
This will pass when Henry (and I) are able to sleep for longer.

This will pass.  Our mantra.

The last two weeks have brought us sweetness too, and it isn’t lost on us.

Hazy early mornings with a newborn on my chest.
Watching Sam learn what a baby is, and grow to love one.
Watching Madeline’s unflappable spirit; such a bright bubble that not even a stomach bug can get her down.

I’ve loved the sweetness, I’m just hoping for the sweetness with a little less Zofran and bleach and carpet cleaner and midnight laundry involved.

So if you’re a praying person, you can pray this virus out of my house. (And that tiny Henry stays well!)
I’ll bleach and you pray.
Deal?  Deal.

 

Henry’s Story

The events of Henry’s birthday:

10:30 am

I took Madeline on a girl-date for her very first pedicure. She chose silver glitter, I chose hot pink – in shellac because I have a newborn and ain’t nobody got time fo’ maintaining pretty feet these days.

12:00 pm

We went to Chick-Fil-A, where I met a blog reader.  We stick out, because of the pregnant belly and Madeline’s cane, but even so, this doesn’t happen often.  In hindsight, I want to find said blog reader and tell her, “Take your first impression with a grain of salt; when we met, I was an hour from going into labor.”

1:00 pm

I dropped Madeline off at home and went to Belks to do a little shopping.

 It got real at Belks, y’all.

Apparently, a woman’s water breaks spontaneously in only about 8% of pregnancies.   I am the 8%.

I was on the phone with my mom, wandering aimlessly through the layette section, admiring all the pure white baby sleepers and gowns and socks when I felt a little pop, and a little gush.

Don’t get excited and picture an embarrassing rush of fluid on the floor; God is merciful, and it was not so.  Instead, imagine me waddling bow-legged to the bathroom – thighs and knees pinned together – trying to act nonchalant while taking frantic little steps like an emperor penguin on speed.

Needless to say, I did not make any purchases at Belks.  I penguin-waddled to my car where I immediately called Dan and my doctor.

1:35 pm

It got real again when I tried to call my doctor.

It rang…and rang…and rang.

No answer.
No voicemail.
No fax-noise.
No nothing.

I tried again.  Endless ringing into eternity.

ARE PEOPLE NOT ALLOWED TO HAVE BABIES ON THE WEEKEND AROUND HERE?

We got creative and called people who knew people, who knew people, who knew people – and got someone who goes to church with us AND works at my OB’s office to call the doctor for me.  I had a foot out the door when she told me to go ahead to the hospital.

2:10 pm

I marched into Labor & Delivery with my little black suitcase in tow like I was boarding an airplane.  I passed an anesthesiologist who raised her eyebrows at me and said, “Look at you with your suitcase – pretty sure you’re staying?”

I smiled and said, “This is my third and my water just broke.  So yes, I’m staying.”

Then we waited.

We waited and waited and waited.  This was by far my longest labor, if you can even call it that.  I was having contractions consistently, and while they were getting stronger, they weren’t anything to write home about.

7:00 pm

I requested my epidural around 7:00 pm, while the pain was strong but manageable.  In hindsight I think I was just trying to dull the ravenous hunger.  It is cruel to be in labor at dinner time; it adds insult to injury.  My family kept leaving to go get food while I munched spitefully on ice chips.  I wanted fried pickles and chocolate cupcakes like a…well…like a pregnant woman wants fried pickles and chocolate cupcakes.

We ended up having to do the epidural twice; the first time it didn’t take on the right side of my body.  My anesthesiologist was the bomb.  She said, “My philosophy is, if  the whole pro/con, risk/reward of an epidural is for you to be comfortable, then we’re going to make you comfortable!  Otherwise, what’s the point?  Why even bother if you’re going to be hurting anyway?”

As a patient, I dearly appreciated her philosophy.

9:00 pm

I started pitocin.  This was a first for me; my other labors were so fast that it was never even a consideration.

In 30 minutes I flew from 4.5 centimeters to 10, and was ready to push.  My doctor estimated that I received about 3 drops of the pitocin – less than 4 miliunits.

9:45 pm

Henry was a rockstar, and, modesty aside, so was my body.  It miraculously rose to the occasion; I pushed once.  I don’t mean through one contraction – I mean one time – and there was Henry’s perfect tiny head.  2 more pushes for his shoulders and that was that.

10:03 pm

Henry was born at 10:03 pm, weighing 7.16 lbs and measuring 21 inches long.  A string bean, just like his big sister was 5 years ago.

He breathed his first breath of oxygen, he cried his first cry, and he nursed right away, right there in the delivery room – childbirth is a miracle of miracles.

And then we were five.
Woah.

Thoughts On My Third Baby: A Stream of Consciousness Post

If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (which you should), you know that this week, WE HAD A BABY.

Here are some sleep-deprived, Percocet-laced, stream of consciousness thoughts on my first days with my third child.

1.

Henry shares a birthday with Dr. Suess and Daniel Craig.   My favorite baby-related Facebook comment this week was, “May he count Dr Seuss’ wit and Daniel Craig’s abs among his many blessings!”   And all God’s people said “Amen.”

2.

 Before I had a baby, I thought that all newborns looked the same.  I still think this, and I’ve had three babies.  Henry does not look like me or Dan.  He looks like Madeline did when she was a baby, which is to say he is tiny with enormous eyes that he hasn’t yet figured out how to open all the way, and, because his skin is still a little big, he looks like he could be cast in Grumpy Old Men.

I mean this in the highest, most loving, glowing way.  I cannot stop kissing his rumply little forehead because it is the most beautiful rumply forehead in the world.  In fact, I’m leaving you for a minute to go kiss his forehead and cheeks and nose and eyelids and lips and chin and forehead again.  Be right back.

3.

Okay, moving on.  Henry makes newborn noises, which is one of the most charming things about babies.  He sounds like a little truffle pig snuffling around, and he looks like a new baby bird when he opens his mouth and cranes his teeny neck for food.  It is why I called Madeline “Little Bird” for the first year of her life.  The cuteness turns me inside out and causes me to make involuntary squealy noises.

4.

When you have small children at home, the hospital is a like 5-star resort.  There are people who cook for me, do my dishes, change my linens, and clean my room for me.  I have a call button (which I imagine is like a dingly silver bell), and when I ring it nurses bring me glasses of fresh ice water and medicine.  People keep asking me if I’m anxious to go home, and I cannot understand why anyone would want to leave this place.

5.

After spending 48 hours changing itty bitty diapers on an itty bitty 6.5 lb bum, I came home.  I scooped up my big kids and one of my very first thoughts was how huge Sam’s butt is, by comparison.  He has the butt of a child.  A big, boy-butt compared to the itty bitty bum of my itty bitty baby.

6.

I tried to keep myself very well groomed over the last couple of weeks “in case I went to the hospital.”  I’ve learned that I cannot control the swelling, the sweating, the tears, or the tired eyes – but I CAN control whether or not my legs are shaved and that I am wearing mascara that isn’t from yesterday (or last week).  This month my skin was moisturized and my teeth flossed with unparalleled diligence…until the day I went into labor.  As Murphy’s law would dictate, none of the controllable things were under control when I went to the hospital, but my feet were freshly pedicured, so I feel this allows me slack in many other areas of hygiene.  (I also remembered to put on deodorant.)

7.

I was there, too.  I know all of the pictures so far are just of Henry, but I promise, I was there.

8.

It takes a village to raise a child; it also takes a village to care for a mother who’s just birthed a child.  In this era, when so many of our communities and friendships have moved online, I’m thankful for the outpouring of kindness from my local friends.  We are a tribe, and my tribe has cared for me.  My friend, Cody, brought blueberry scones to the hospital on Sunday morning, and my friends Jacy and Dana sent homemade sea-salted caramels.  Kim watched my big kids and cleaned out my fridge; Sandra did all my laundry and dishes.  My friend Sara brought cookies packed in an old spinach tub, “so there were no calories in them.”   It takes a village.

I can’t make sense of my village.  I’m still so new – only 7 months in this city, which has been just enough time for a handful of coffee dates, and somehow I have this tribe.  They make me want to expend myself for them in return; I want to turn myself inside out to help them and love them and be a friend to them with my hands and feet – with my kitchen and my car and my prayers.

9.

Henry is pure.  He is brand new; his skin had never touched anything before this week.  He is pure and new and innocent and utterly helpless and dependent on me.  A surprising thing happened to me in the hospital: as I snuggled his new skin against my warm, old, mom-skin, I started to get angry; I got angry at anyone who has ever abandoned or neglected a baby.  I felt ire rising up in my chest as I thought about how anyone could allow harm to befall something so innocent and new and pure.  My mama-bear fierceness for Henry blossomed into fullness as I held him on my chest.  The urge to protect and defend him is as strong as anything I’ve ever felt.  I know that I would hurl myself in front of a train or a bear or a gunman without blinking for this baby.

I might have expected to be overwhelmed by God’s grace, mercy, love, kindness, or joy upon the birth of my son, but instead, I was moved by His justice.  I am so glad that God is just;  I’m glad that God hates injustice.  I’m glad that no sin goes unpaid for, because I could never be okay with a God who would let someone off the hook for harming a baby.  I’m glad that God commands us to care for widows and orphans, and I pray for more people to understand that God means this literally, and that He’s serious about it.   I’m glad that God is a father to the fatherless and a defender of the weak.  The mama-bear in me, holding this brand new tiny human on my chest, is overwhelmingly comforted to know that God is just.

And those are all of my thoughts today.  Excuse me while I go snuggle my perfect baby.