i googled “lists” to try to find a title for this entry, but didn’t find anything good.

This entry is going to be in what I like to call “List Format”. It’s a format that allows me to spew my thoughts at you, without requiring me to pick a theme or be coherent. Win. Win. Win.

1. Well, after months of getting the run-around, submitting and re-submitting paperwork, and a week in which the dream literally died and then was resurrected, Matthew and I are officially pre-approved. Hooray! This news has me perusing DIY blogs like this one (since our very, very small mortgage amount will require our house to be a major fixer-upper), and making lists of vegetables I want to plant in my very first garden. I’m trying to decide if starting seeds now, without a house, will demonstrate faith in a future home, or tempt fate. We’ll see. In any event, it’s nice to know that the last several months have not been a proverbial chasing of the wind, and all that confusion, miscommunication, and stress actually produced what it was supposed to. A potential mortgage.

2. I have officially reached the stage in pregnancy where things start to get uncomfortable. Like nonstop. My hips have begun the constant ache, which I hear is due to the fact that my joints are loosening up to prepare for actually, you know, birthing a child. Who knew? I mean, obviously every lady who’s given birth, as well as all the medical professionals, or the girls who actually listened to their moms talk about pregnancy, but it’s kind of astounding to me how many little details of pregnancy are unbeknownst to the average person (like me). I must have missed the conversation about your joints gaping in preparation for childbirth. Not to mention the fact that little Eliza loves to push as hard as she can on both sides of my uterus, causing me to gasp loudly, double over suddenly, and generally look crazy to the unaware passerby about five times a day. No, I’m not going into labor. My child is just trying to split my uterus. No big deal.

3. I actually think I will write a future entry about all of the myths/mysteries of pregnancy which have surprised me thus far.

4. Thanks to the advent of March, and the psychological well-being that word bestows upon me, regardless of the temperature, I have some plans for writing more consistently. I will perhaps share more in a bit, when the ideas take a more coherent form.

5. Matthew and I are going to see the Black Keys on June 10th! I am already thinking about who will babysit, and blown away by the fact that I have to figure out babysitting.

6. To delve oh-so-briefly into the political world, does anybody else think what is happening in Wisconsin is a little ridiculous? I mean, I totally understand budget cuts (I myself having lost 25% of my income thanks to them), and the public employees there seem to understand the necessity of everyone tightening their belts a little, and have agreed to wage and benefits cuts. What I don’t understand is the whole “oh and also we want you to give up your collective bargaining rights” bit. It seems to me that the only way to convince people to voluntarily give up their right to ever ask for anything ever again is to…oh wait. There isn’t any way you’ll get them to do that of their own volition. I mean really.

7. I wish my face would decide once and for all whether to be oily or dry. You might not think it’s possible to be both at the exact.same.time but my face is here to assure you that anything is possible.

8. I am not a lazy person, but I love my days off way more than the days I work. I know some people get the dream job that they just love, others like being at work because they escape from the families they can’t quite seem to enjoy, and still others find fulfillment in simply working hard regardless of whether or not they love their job. I, however, come alive on my days off. I can think about the future in a way that involves ideas and excitement instead of worry and fatigue. It’s a great feeling.

9. Instead of thoughts to share, I’m welling up with ideas and projects and stuff to do, so I’m going to get off this computer now, and go do something. And then maybe something else. And it’s going to be great.

no winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn

Springtime. That word has such a hopeful sound to, doesn’t it? When I was younger, I used to think that spring was overrated. I mean, it just rains all the time, and it’s not as warm as you want (you can hardly ever go barefoot), and anyway, summer is really where it’s at. As I got older, though, and winter really started to affect me more and more, my affection for spring has grown.

You may know the feeling. After the long, dark, cold, seemingly interminable months of winter, suddenly! One day is different. It’s a scent in the air, a bounce in  your step, a feeling in the blustery breezes that tells you spring is coming, is here, and winter once again has passed. And while your circumstances may be exactly the same as they were just a day prior, your mindset has changed. There’s hope, once again, after the months of seeming hopelessness. It’s not so bad after all, and you figure you can make it. What seemed insurmountable between November and February is attainable come March.

This week has held a hint of spring for me. I know it’s just going to get cold again, but I honestly don’t care. This week has reminded me that winter never lasts forever. Spring always comes, and whatever it is about winter that mysteriously affects me so greatly is lifted. I love that first true spring day, the wild hope that springs (ahem…haha) up in my heart, the urge I have to skip rather than walk, the crazy desire to wear dresses every day, even though really? It’s not that warm. This week, even the reminder that this day is coming, has remarkably lightened my heart.

boom boom boom.

Before I get started on my real topic, I just have something I need to get off my chest.

Dear Fergie,

Generally speaking, when your job title is “performing artist” it’s a good idea if you can sing. Or, at the very least, if you can’t sing, you should do something else awesome to make up for it. Which leaves me with the question…what are you still doing here? What do you bring to the entertainment table?

Sincerely baffled,

Rebekah.

Ok. Thank you. Now I can move on.

I have to drive a lot for my job. I work with a developmentally disabled guy, and we are constantly driving from one activity to the next when I’m with him. And he loves to listen to music. Normally I bring my iPod and we listen to that. Because no way am I going to listen to top 40 radio all day long. This week, however, I was driving a different car and forgot to move my iPod to that car. Thankfully, since it had been awhile since I last caught up on what is going on in the world of bad top 40 music, I was sort of curious. It says a lot about what is important to my culture, after all. So for nearly two days, we listened to the radio.

It was exhausting. Literally. I’m not just talking mentally here…although the mindless, almost comedic, repetition of phrases does get a little tiring for the brain. No, I actually felt physically tired by the music. Almost without exception, it’s fast-paced dance-y club music, with lyrics about never wanting to slow down, or partying non.stop. or doing it all.the.time. being chanted over the noise. Dizzying. And exhausting.

There were a few unexpected respites from the mad dash for the next high, thankfully. The first respite was comedic in nature, and generally came in the form of some hyperbolic love song. There were several of these, but the best example by far is a song by Bruno Mars (yes, I just googled that…I do not know the names of all these one-hit wonders), the chorus of which goes a little something like this.

I’d catch a grenade for ya (yeah yeah yeah)/Throw my hand on a blade for ya (yeah yeah yeah)/I’d jump in front of a train for ya (yeah x3)/you know I’d do anything for ya (yeahs)/oh oh/I would go through all this pain/Take a bullet straight through my brain/Yes I would die for ya baby/But you won’t do the same.

Wow. Really? Really? You would do all that?

No. No,  you wouldn’t. And who’s asking you to, anyway? Before you write your next meaningful love song, Bruno, I suggest you take a minute to consider whether or not it’s believable in any way. You might also take a lesson from Flight of the Concords’ Jemaine Clement and ask yourself if you would really do that. The answer, most likely, is no. I flatter myself that my husband would defend me to the death if need be, but he’s not exactly running around begging to be let do it. That’d just be crazy. Which tells you how idiotic it sounds to be singing this to your girlfriend of fifteen minutes who’s already on her way out.

The second respite came in the form of one Taylor Swift, surprisingly. No, I wouldn’t exactly say I’m a fan of America’s newest sweetheart…she’s a little bit bubblegum and I like more substance in my music. But surrounded by other songs whose writers struggle to string one coherent thought next to another, her songs were refreshing. Still, it was much more exciting at the rare points of the day when they played a band like Florence and the Machine.

Toward the end of last night’s shift, my brain having been assaulted for nearly two days by mindless, pounding repetition, I was thankful to remember I had an M. Ward cd in the car. We sat back, relaxed, and let the beautiful combination of well-written music and lyrics wash over our tired ears. It’s been fun, top 40 radio, but I’ve gotten my social commentary fix and I won’t be seeing (hearing?) you for awhile.

homebuyer’s education

Today Matthew and I attended a homebuyer’s education course, put on by INHP (Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership). We were required to attend, as are all those attempting to receive financing through INHP. Naturally, I was dreading this day. I assumed that it would be like so many other mandatory classes: long, redundant, uninformative, and ultimately pointless and a waste of my time. A perfect example would be the defensive driving course I completed last night–and just so you don’t judge me like I judged people previously, you only need two tickets in a year to have to take the course–which was an abysmal waste of time.

In the case of this course, I was completely wrong in my assumption. This class was incredibly informative and helpful. I’d even go so far as to recommend it to anyone considering buying a home, whether or not you have income restrictions or intend to seek financing through an organization like INHP. We heard about each step of the home-buying process from professionals who work at each level: the presentation on shopping for a loan was given by a lender, a home inspector gave us info on the inspection, and we even heard about the tax benefits of home ownership from an IRS employee. It was phenomenal.

Obviously, INHP is an Indy-specific organization, but I imagine most cities and towns of significant size will have their own versions of non-profits with a similar mission. Of course I can’t vouch for the education programs at those organizations, but this one was great. And free!

And now I gotta run. As I type, our dinner is burning.

on hard times.

Intro/Disclaimer: This post deals bluntly with matters of faith. I promise that I will write about other things too, as I continue to write. But as this is not a niche blog, and I am not writing only about food, or the arts, or pop culture, or, yes,  faith, I happily plan to write about all of those topics, as the mood strikes me. If the thought of reading in depth about someone’s faith in Jesus makes you uncomfortable, I am not at all offended, and urge you to read again when the material is more to your liking. If, however, you don’t mind reading about how a decidedly (at times depressingly) normal person who is a Christian reacts when she doesn’t get her way (EVER!…sorry, overdramatic…) then by all means, read on.

In the nearly two weeks since I last wrote, I have been desperately trying to write again. I have grasped at topics in a way that is reminiscent of my brainstorming sessions for final papers in college. I could write about the way pop music is drawn to hyperbole! I could write about the current political situation! I could write about menu planning! I could…but frankly, I couldn’t write about any of those things, not these past few weeks. My mind has been far too preoccupied.

Recently, life has accelerated in its hurtling down the road to out of control. I found out I lost a little over 25 percent of my hours at work due to budget cuts. We were given an old car to replace the one that got totaled by a guy without insurance, only to find out that this car was in just as bad shape as the other. Leaving us in ownership of three cars (two of which did not work) and desperately scrambling to get rid of the two without landing deeper in the hole. We also found out that a house that seemed like it might (finally!) work is pending, and we are still in the process of getting pre-approved (goodbye house). So, rather than a calm and coherent outline of an essay on pop culture, my brain has been filled with something a little more along the lines of a constant, quiet scream. Or, say, if you could mentally hyperventilate…or, if you prefer words, something along the lines of “oh shit, oh shit, oh shit” repeated over and over. (I’d like to interject an apology here to those who think that Christians should never curse, and therefore might be offended by that last bit. By writing that, I am not saying that Christians should curse. I am just giving an honest portrayal of where my head has been the last few weeks.) My life has been hectic, loud, and frantic, and my head even more so. And I have been in no condition to write.

So, today, as I made the hour drive to Lafayette just to hand over a car’s title to a man who would tow it away (and give me some money for it too), I drove in silence. There and back. And slowly, over those two hours of silence, my brain quieted down too. Coherent thoughts and sentences returned, and therefore, I write.

I know a lot of people who say that everything happens for a reason, and I completely agree with them. I’m not sure what most of them think the reason is, but based on what I believe is communicated in the Bible, I think that the reason is our good, and God’s glory. And what the Bible says is good for us is not always what feels good, but is always that which will make us more like Jesus. Now, that reason is not always comforting or easy to accept. Actually, I would say from experience that it is never easy to accept, and very rarely comforting, initially. For example, I recently accepted a small position with my church, and I was really excited about the prospect of having a couple hundred bucks each month to put in savings, as opposed to the couple bucks we have historically been able to put in savings each month. And when I heard that I was losing all those hours at work, my initial reaction was decidedly not to be thankful that the new position at work covers my losses (with 12 bucks to spare). Instead, I threw a mental hissy fit, accusing God of hating me and never giving me a break. The same reaction occurred when the car “solution” fell through. As time progressed and I reminded myself of what I know to be true, my reaction changed a little. I can honestly say that I am very thankful for the timing of the other position at church, and that we are maintaining our status quo, even if we are not improving our situation much.

This about-face is not to say that I am not still completely bipolar in my reactions (but I’m in good company: think Paul, “the good I want to do I do not do, and the evil I do not want to do I do”). My emotions utterly rebel at the thought of ever having to go through anything hard, at the same time that something deeper within me assents to the good that I know God is working in my life. Reacting in a way that is increasingly more like Jesus does not mean that the normal, human side of me will cease to react at all. Even as I write this, panic again rises within me and I have to remind myself again of what is true: even Jesus asked not to suffer, but His ultimate prayer was for God to do what He wanted. I don’t wish to compare my difficulties to the suffering of Jesus, or what other people endure. Nonetheless, it has been hard recently. I think we trivialize the work that God is doing in our lives when we act like everything is easy and just spout cliches. How much more meaningful to fully admit the struggle within us, the cursing we mentally direct against pain and suffering, and compare it with the slow but inevitable work for good that is wrought within us.

Still, if anybody knows of a job that for some reason wouldn’t mind hiring somebody who’s going to have a baby in 13 weeks, please let me know! Just because I know that hard times are good for me doesn’t mean I’m fatalistic.