In 40 years when I look back on 2012, the word that will leap most readily to mind is baby. I spend the first two-thirds of the year pregnant, and the last third navigating the sleep-deprived waters of new motherhood. More than the babe happened this year, though. Asher's arrival is certainly the most exciting and transforming part of 2012, but other smaller things happened this year.

This is the year I gave up on knitting and dedicated myself heart,  mind, and soul to sewing.

This is the year I came to grips with laundry and grocery shopping.

This is the year I watched all of The West Wing and decided that I probably won't ever watch it again.

This is the year I went to see a movie in theaters by myself for the first time.

2012 is the year when I reached new levels of both confidence and vulnerability in my marriage.

It's the year I accepted that for me busy isn't better and that it's okay for my life to need a slower pace sometimes.

It's the year I read six nonfiction books and fell seven books short of my yearly goal.

2012 is the year I taught thirteen five-year-olds with one of my wonderful friends.

This is the year I bought a car and gave away half my wardrobe.

This is the year I came to a deeper understanding of discipleship and covenant-keeping.

2012 is the year I came to know myself as a mother; the year I came to better understand God's plan for me and my family; the year where my life vision was expanded and refined; the year where I opened my heart more fully to God, my husband, my son, and myself.


a Wilson Christmas

You'll feel like you're there. Promise.

{explanation: flying a remote control helicopter}

You felt like you were a Wilson there for a moment, didn't you?

Hope your Christmas was just as wonderful as ours!


Christmas morning

I got to wake up to this on Christmas morning.

And it was the best.

Also, Mr. Wilson scored another slam dunk this Christmas and is buying me a serger that I get to pick out. I know. I must have been extra good this year.



usage query

Would I say, "I am continually sleep deprived," or "I am continuously sleep deprived"? I'm too tired to make a sound decision.

But let's go with the latter.

I am continuously sleep deprived.


the importance of believing

I've had 25 Christmas Eve nights, but one in particular stands out to me. I remember sitting in my grandparents' living room opening our pajamas after our Christmas Eve program. All of my family was around and in the midst of Christmas excitement and conversation, I heard soft jingle bells. I called out, "Mom, did you hear that! That's Santa!" I believed that Santa and his reindeer had just flown over our house, and I believed it with all my heart.

Believing is harder now than it was all those years ago. Growing up is hard on believing, isn't it? All of us have dealt with broken hearts and unrealized dreams, with disappointment and grieving. Some days believing is just too hard. Sometimes the heart can't handle it. 

But what would happen if we all stopped believing? What would happen to our hearts? What would happen to goodness and innocence, magic and love? What would happen to our dear children?

So readers, with a heart heavy with our nation's recent tragedy and loss, I declare my belief. This Christmas, let's believe in Santa Claus again, believe in the magic of innocence. Let us strain our ears this Christmas season for the soft sound of jingle bells, for sometimes the good is hard to find, but find it we must. If we seek goodness and the light of our dear Savior, we will find it. We must keep believing.

Remember the Wise Men, who sought the Christ child, the shepherds who hearkened to an angel's call. Let our belief emulate theirs, let us believe in the saving and tender power of the Babe who would one day give His life for all of ours, for all of theirs.

I love Thee, Lord Jesus,
I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever and
love me, I pray.

Bless all the dear children
in Thy tender care,
and fit us for heaven
to live with Thee there.

{Away in a Manger, verse 3}

In the middle of this national grieving, don't forget or diminish the importance of believing. Listen for jingle bells and seek good. Our belief will prevail--through tears and heartache--and will lead us to the Light we so desperately seek.


lullaby prose

Baby boy.
Sometimes I gripe about how I nap through the night, never getting uninterrupted sleep.
But really, a part of me cherishes it.
Even at four in the morning, you grin so big I wonder if your sweet little face will turn into one giant smile.
And that smile is for me.
At four in the morning.
I love how earnestly you eat, steadily gulping while your eyes start to droop.
My lids, too, are heavy.
But I struggle to keep them open so I can study your perfect face.
When you were born the first thing I said was He's perfect.
He's perfect.
He's perfect.
He's perfect.
I said it over and over, marveling that your body, so soft and flawless, came from my scarred and stretched and swollen one.
I lean down to kiss your round cheeks, because those cheeks will slim some day and those kisses will be harder to steal than they are right now at four in the morning.
My messy hair brushes your nose, and you twitch but stay asleep.
I pull you close and whisper love.
I pray that a part of you will remember those whispers, remember this time when the world is you and me alone, remember that, next to your father, you're the person I love most.


the monday I became instafamous

This week has started off with misplacing my keys, consequently missing my ideal shopping window, and hearing some heartbreaking news.

My morning was softened just a little bit by seeing my Christmas tree posted on Nat the Fat Rat's blog. (Just keep scrolling through the post, and you'll spot my perfectly artificial tree.) So pretty much I'm famous now. Or at least #instafamous. For a morning. And just maybe that fleeting spotlight will make my afternoon a little bit better than it might have been.


an early weekend

When I woke up today, I decided that I would stay in stretchy pants all day, a luxury I haven't allowed myself for some time. I said to myself, "We're starting this weekend early!" And by we, really I mean me, because Asher's days are more or less the same, and Josh has to go to work so he can support me and my early weekending. As far as I'm concerned, though, this weekend starts now.

{my almost-finished cocoa and almost-finished blog post}

There's so much that I could do today: read, nap, sew, bake, lounge. I might do all of it, or I might do none of it. And that is totally okay, because today is a stretchy pants kind of day, and I'm allowing myself a little lazy.


frosted window panes, Christmas tree rockin', roasted chestnuts and other merriments

When do you start listening to Christmas music? I pull up my Christmas playlists sometime around Thanksgiving, maybe a little earlier depending on what I'm baking in the kitchen. If you haven't listened to any holiday tunes yet, then get with it and put on some Amy Grant. Or the Carpenters (Josh's holiday music staple). Or Vince Guaraldi.

Josh tried to tell me last week that it was too early to listen to Christmas music. I just laughed and turned up the volume. Listening to Christmas music is more like a month-long event. I've been enjoying my usual favorites like the albums from Hilary WeeksDavid Archuleta, and James Taylor; and this year I'm also quite smitten with Jenny Oaks Baker's newest Christmas album and A Very She & Him Christmas. And my Christmas-ing is not complete without listening to Amy Grant's Home for Christmas, especially that jaunty ukulele rendition of "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree." When I listen to that song, I may or may not actually dance around my Christmas tree.

Speaking of trees, on which side of the Christmas tree lot do you plant? The side right next to Target, or the one at the edge of the wilderness? I'm a fake tree gal all the way, which here in Oregon is arboreal blasphemy. My four-foot fake tree is low maintenance, is always the shape I like it, and comes with the lights already entwining the branches. It's an obvious choice for me. But I hear that some of you like picking out a tree, like the smell, the tradition, etcetra, etcetra. I'll keep mine of the artificial variety, thank you very much.

Favorite Christmas movies? I can't go a holiday season without cozying up to It's a Wonderful Life and crying my eyes out. And I think I'll convince Josh to watch A Muppet Christmas Carol with me this weekend. Plus you can find me with a cup of cocoa in hand at least once throughout the day. In fact, I think I'll go make a cup now.

Your holiday favorites and must-haves? Please share.


grinding kind of day

Today was the day that defines daily grind. Laundry, grocery shopping, more laundry, minimal baby napping kind of day. And to top it off, it also turned out to be the I-think-I-hate-my-outfit kind of day.

To compensate for such a daily grinding, I downed half a bag of Ghiradelli chocolate chips as I finished designing a photo book for the babe (a project I'm actually super excited about that I'll show you later).

My arms ache, my legs ache, and I think I might need to open another bag of chocolate chips.

Good night.


on balancing and understanding, loving and standing

I don't think I've ever engaged in a political discussion on this forum before. This is a topic that weighs heavily on my mind often, so I feel the need to discuss it now: gay marriage, and why I'm against it.

I have many friends who will disagree with me, and that's okay. Because here's the thing: I understand the other side of this issue. I really do. And that's why making my stand is a hard thing sometimes. Back in high school, my stand on same-sex marriage was the same as it is now, but my approach wasn't very compassionate or understanding. Now, ten years later, my mind and heart are softened. I'd hope that any comments on this post, if disagreeing, will be respectful.

I believe in marriage. I believe that God created marriage to make us more like Him, created it for a man and a woman. I don't believe that marriage is taken as seriously as it should be; I see heterosexual couples disrespect and devalue marriage today, and that makes me sad.

I believe that homosexual men and women are no different from the rest of us. Some are good, some not as good. Some are kind, some are selfish. Some are compassionate, some intolerant. All of us are children of a loving Heavenly Father.

I believe in right and wrong, and I believe that I have the responsibility to stand for that right. I have a duty to teach my family right and wrong. Judging others is not something I need to worry about; standing for what I believe is. I believe in loving as Christ loves, regardless of our differences. I believe that He is our advocate, that He wants me to reach out to and love everyone. I believe that finding that balance between standing and loving is hard sometimes, but that continually seeking that balance is important and necessary.

I believe that there are things God asks of us that I don't understand. When marriage is doctrinally a union between a man and a women, I don't understand why God created some of us with sexual attractions to those of the same sex. I wish I did understand, but I don't. I believe that someday I will understand and that until that day I need to proceed in faith and prayer.

I believe that God gives us commandments because he wants us to be happy, and He sees a bigger picture, knows the best way to come to happiness, even when that way is hard. I don't believe that being gay is a sin; I believe that choosing to live a gay lifestyle is. I don't believe that choosing against what you feel is easy. In fact, I believe that those struggling with same-sex attraction struggle with something incomprehensibly difficult. I believe that someday God will compensate for that pain. Someday we'll all understand. Just not today.

Some say that legalizing gay marriage won't affect me or my family. But it will. It will affect my children and what they are taught in school. It will affect how I parent them. It will expose my children to issues and topics that they may not be ready to understand so young. I pray so fervently that I will know how to teach my children love and kindness and how to teach them right and wrong. I hope that I can teach them that balance between standing and loving.

I know we are all God's children. He knows us, and He loves us. As a Christian, judging others is not within my purview; both loving and standing, however, are.

If you want to know more about how my faith approaches same-sex attraction and marriage, read this official statement given in 2006.
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