Friday, May 11, 2007

Coffee Mugs or Cups and Saucers

Jeremiah came in to breakfast this morning and walked straight to the cabinet holding our every-day china. We DO use our china--all of it, but I got 5 or 6 coffee mugs in my every-day that sit on the top shelf, are kind of a pain for me to reach, and therefore rarely get used. These mugs, however, were exactly what Jeremiah was going for. I had just finished pouring the cream into his John Deere, Dollar General, coffee cup when he scooped it up and dumped the contents into his crisp white mug, imprinted with the markings of some molding in the Louvre.

"What are you doing?" I asked half laughing, half annoyed.

"I was just thinking in the shower that it would be really nice to drink coffee out of one of these cups this morning," he replied, grinning and beckoning me to join him for coffee.

I had to smile. This is my husband...his quirky side in full of the things that made me fall in love with him. I like that he can celebrate little things, like the pretty coffee mugs, but still be a man to the world in every sense of the word.

I do have a point for this little story. Yesterday, I was talking to Whitney about marriage. Mine in particular, but she is on the precipice of getting engaged and I heard personal questions in her tone. As I told her about some disagreement, she asked if I had seen that problem BEFORE we got married...translation..."Cole and I never fight, so do you think I am deceived, or is my marriage destined for the blissful state that I imagine?"

I don't know exactly what I said to her, but after I hung up I started thinking about the things that Jeremiah and I seem to get in arguments about. As I made a mental list, it began to dawn on me that it's the very things that I loved most about him when we were dating, that seem to become irritants now. This is certainly no new concept, but it always seemed like sort of a stupid idea until I realized that it was true in my own marriage.

Take the coffee cup for example: This morning it was just funny, sweet even, like when we were dating. BUT, what if I've had a long day with a fussy Pace, I've cooked and cleaned up the kitchen what seems like 15 times, I've put the last of the dinner dishes in the dishwasher, gotten Pace to sleep, and finally sit down on the couch--relieved that the day is winding down. THEN, what if Jeremiah wants to have tea and dessert in the pretty coffee cups with saucers, and cream, and Splenda, and lemon slices, and spoons for stirring, and dessert crumbs where I just wiped the cabinets,... Suddenly, it's a little bit harder to view it as a sweet quirk, it becomes more of a drudgery.

On a grander scale, I love Jeremiah's laid back attitude towards life. Who needs plans set in stone, we'll just figure it out as it comes. That attitude seemed to fit pretty well with my Type A personality when we were dating, but when it's Friday night and he suggests at 6:50 that we go to a movie, but has no plan as to what we should do with becomes a frustration. Or, when he forgets to actually ask off for his vacation week, after I have spent days trying to plan our a vacation...well, there may be an argument there.

One last thing that I will mention is Jeremiah's status as a Renaissance man (at least in my mind). He's a brilliant doctor, a talented guitar player and vocalist, a songwriter, a horseman, an athlete who excels at every sport he attempts, a carpenter, and a hard worker. Who wouldn't be in awe of all of these excellent qualities. It is these same marvelous talents, however, that drain his time away from me. I live in a state of wanting to be an encourager for my husband and his loves, but also wanting my husband.

So, Whitney and anybody else wondering if you could ever possibly have a disagreement with you future spouse...I pray you don't. I hope you will be a bigger person than to let little things like messes or delayed plans or busy schedules rub you the wrong way. However, if you are clueless as to what may cause you to call on God's patience, then try looking at the things you admire most :) It might just surprise you. In the meantime, I'll just be here trying to keep perspective on what really matters and praying for a little more self-lessness.

Friday, May 4, 2007

The Clark Tradition Continues

It's A Girl!!!!!!

I went to the doctor for my ultrasound on Wednesday. Jeremiah couldn't go with me, and I was feeling a little empty at the thought of finding out the sex of our new baby, with a nurse in a stark doctor's office. I kept asking Jeremiah, "Are you sure there is NO way they will let you off for like an hour??" He kept assuring me that there wasn't, and then one night he had a brilliant idea...Why not ask the nurse to write the sex on a card and put it in an envelope? Then I could run up to the hospital, he could (hopefully) come outside and we could open it together. I thought it was a very new and romantic idea (although one person told me that LOTS of people do that) and so that is exactly what we did.

Everything about the baby (and her living quarters) looked healthy to my doctor. She weighs about 6 ounces, and on-line it says that at 17 weeks, babies are only supposed to be between 3.5 and 4 ounces. She's above the weight curve already! Don't you wish that more weight meant more healthy still? :)

A lot of people ask you, when you are pregnant, if you WANT a boy or a girl. While this is a question I always ask pregnant women, it doesn't change the fact that it's stupid. I mean what mother wants to admit to people that she wants a certain sex? What are you supposed to do after you find out, say "Well, you know, I AM disappointed but this is what I am going to have." Anyway, I got asked this question so often that Jeremiah can pretty much quote me verbatim. It got to the point where I couldn't look over at him when somebody asked me because I knew that I would crack up. If you haven't had the opportunity to get this answer personally here it was:

You know, I am really going to be disappointed either way (I know I should say excited either way, but that wasn't how I felt, and I decided to be honest about it). We want to have a little boy eventually, so it would be nice to just go ahead and have one. Then, the pressure would be off, and we would have one of each. But, I was cleaning out Pace's closet the other day and as I put away each of her little outfits, I got really sad thinking about never having the chance to put them on another little girl. Plus, it would be sweet for Pace to have a sister that close to her age. They WILL be only 23 months apart.

There it was and there it went.
Now, however, all I have done is think about all the marvelous benefits of having two little girls. I don't have to completely re-do the nursery, since it is already prepared for a little girl. They will both have been born at the same time of year so, hopefully, Pace's clothes will fit this new addition. With Jeremiah gone so much at this time in our lives, it will be such a comfort to have my two little girlfriends. I know that brothers and sisters can be close, but there is something about a sister's bond that is so special. I am thankful to know that Pace will have the chance to experience that. We have (at least) 2 more chances to try and have a boy, so why not have the girls together if we can? Finally, we will probably have one more baby while we live in this house, and with our limited number of bedrooms, the little girls will have to share a room. I have this picture in my mind of two precious little faces, tucked tightly away together in their big girl bed, telling me "Night-night" and anxiously waiting for me to close the door so their giggling can begin.

Thank you Lord for knowing what I wanted, even more than I did myself. And, as the title says...The Clark Tradition Continues...bring on more little girls!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Hold my Hand More Tightly

Mom is on her way up here this morning to meet with Dr. Austin. I haven't updated everybody on her condition in a while, and the gist is that she has just finished her 8 chemo treatments and had a CAT scan yesterday. In the meantime, we have gotten some scary inhibin levels (a hormone level that helps the doctors monitor how much cancer is in her body) back... Her level should be below a 5, and at the 4th chemo treatment it was around 740 (an increase from the 600ish level she had before she started treatment). So, the CAT scan was yesterday, and I think it is safe to say we were all a little leery of hearing the results. However, they showed that most of the spots were still the same size, a couple were slightly larger, and a couple were slightly smaller. Not a bad report, but not a really exciting one either. Through all of this, Mom has led us to BELIEVE with her. "The Lord has promised healing," she says, "now we just have to have faith." It's a claim that is easier to say than feel on some days, but the Lord has remained faithful to provide peace.

I was reading Streams in the Desert this morning (an incredible devotion, especially for anybody going through a desert in their life) and it was so powerful to me. I am not going to type out the whole thing, but I at least wanted to share some of my favorite excerpts:

God, who does not lie, promised. Titus 1:2

Faith is not conjuring up, through an act of your own will, a sense of certainty that something is going to happen. No, it is recognizing God's promise as an actual fact, believing it is true, rejoicing in the knowledge of that truth, and then simply resting because God said it.

I often hear people praying for more faith, but when I listen carefully to them and get to the essence of their prayer, I realize it is not more faith they are wanting at all. What they are wanting is their faith to be changed to sight.

Faith, when walking through the dark with God, only asks Him to hold his hand more tightly.

I just love that last line. It conjures images (for me) of a small child, lost in the dark woods alone, suddenly feeling a strong hand guiding them through. What a beautiful picture of what we all need. We don't know what course of action Dr. Austin is going to tell Mom she needs to take next. What we do know is that God, who does not lie, promised healing, and while we wait for it, we're just going to hold His hand more tightly.