Sunday, April 27, 2014

Is It Something in the Air?

Things have been crazy all morning at our house...and it's only 11!

Mike and I went to bed just after 2 AM, as usual. At 7, I woke up choking and coughing like I had just inhaled a piece of grass, or a gob of spit, or something. It took me a few minutes to finally stop coughing reflexively. I have no idea what happened there.

No sooner had I climbed back in bed and gotten comfortable than Cali jumps up on me to take her usual spot on my hip--except she decides to walk on every single pressure point from my knee to my shoulder, and to hit every rib in the bargain, so I push her off and tell her it's just not going to work this morning. I begin to fall asleep again when she once again jumps up on me. Of course, her added weight makes the position no longer comfortable, so I shift my weight--which means she decides to jump down. Apparently, that position would just not suit her at all. I begin to fall back asleep, and Cali once again leaps onto my hip. (We're nothing if not persistent in this household.)  I once again tell her it's not going to work this morning and tip her off, vaguely contemplating shutting her out of the bedroom, then realizing I don't have the energy to get up and close the door. She seems to agree this time, however, and decides to curl up behind me on the very edge of the bed.

Finally, I had found a comfortable position, Cali behind me, and had just fallen asleep. And then Megan woke up and began crying--a full 2-3 hours early. I leapt out of bed, walked into her room, gave her a toy flashlight and another pacifier after changing her diaper, and I told her it was quiet time because Mommy and Daddy weren't ready to get up yet.

I decided to just curl up on the couch instead of trying to get comfortable in bed again. All was quiet. Until I fell back asleep, at which time I was awakened by her voice over the baby monitor: "Up. Up. Up! Up! Up!" 

I ignored her the best I could, and she trailed off and began talking to--I assume--her stuffed animals, or the walls, or whoever toddlers talk to when they are apparently alone in a room. Over the next hour and a half, I was awakened periodically by her imperious commands: "Up. Uuup. Up!" Once again, I would ignore them, she'd realize she was getting nowhere, and she'd entertain herself.

Finally, at 9, I heard, "Up. Up, up, up! Uuuuup! Daaaa-dyyyyy! Up!" and some crying. The jig was up, so I got up and pulled her out of her crib, with three stuffed animals, one sippy cup, and one blanket in her arms. She discarded the blanket, showed me that the sippy cup was empty as she thrust it in my arms, and ran as fast as she could to the kitchen to await a refill.

As soon as her cup was refilled, she dropped everything, yanked the cup from me, sucked down a quarter of the water in one breath, then gathered up the three stuffed animals (all together as big as she is) and took off at full speed to our bedroom to find Daddy. I asked her where she'd gotten her speed and if she'd tell me the name of the dealer so I could get some too. (Inappropriate question to ask a toddler? Perhaps, but perhaps not. I seriously wondered if she had somehow learned how to climb out of her crib, open her bedroom door, climb up to my coffee shelf hanging on a wall, and snorted some of the grounds, then concealed all evidence of it and climbed back in her crib before waking me, but I can't figure out how she did that.)

So, back to the hallway and bedroom. I'm still somehow feeling like yesterday beat me over the head with a club and then ran over me a few times with a steam roller, even though all I did was mow half the yard (Mike did the other half) and spread straw around 4 trees yesterday. That's it, other than working at my computer. I lifted Megan up onto our bed, where she promptly threw herself onto her daddy's head to cuddle--for a whole half second. She began pointing to his ear and loudly and proudly announcing, "Ear!" And then she pointed at his eyes, then her eyes, then my eyes like a child possessed, repeating, "Eyes, eyes, eyeseyeseyeseyes!" Then she spotted Maury curled up at Mike's butt. She raced to him (as quickly as our very saggy and bumpy mattress plus piles of blankets and her three stuffed animals would permit) and, remembering our constant admonitions to be gentle with the kitty (I presume), pet him softly and gently, then tried to boop his nose. She looked at me, announced around her pacifier (she has this amazing ability to move the pacifier to one side of her mouth and either sticking her tongue out or talking around the edge of it, sort of like a man holding onto a stogie with his teeth), "That's a kitty!" When I said yes it was and asked her which kitty, she said, "Fat!" Well, she's not wrong.

At this point, she collapsed between me and Mike (I had climbed into the bed and covered up when she began pointing out family eyeballs). Mike was snoring. (Seriously, he sleeps through anything, even though he'll insist he's been awake all night.) I had one of the stuffed bunnies--Klaus, a Christmas gift--start nibbling on her toes, and she collapsed in a fit of giggles. Suddenly, she was up and diving for Mike's head, so I distracted her by tickling her. She was distracted momentarily but not dissuaded. I left her there to torment--I mean, wake up--her father so I could put breakfast in the oven.

As I was hobbling back down the hall from the kitchen (somehow yesterday or last night, I managed to do something to make my knees very sore and stiff this morning), I heard Mike ask her if she wanted down from the bed. Oh, Lord in heaven, he had released her! I collected two of the stuffed animals. (The one that had been "nibbling" on her toes seems to have been "disappeared.") She took them and her sippy cup from me as I asked if she wanted to watch a DVD. She took off--again at full speed--down the hall and grabbed her DVD--Ice Age: The Meltdown (at least the third watching of it since Tuesday). She kept dancing and repeating, "Watch. Watch. WATCH!" as I opened the case, turned on the player, turned on the TV.

Confident that the DVD was loaded and would be playing soon, she pulled a throw pillow over to the floor in front of the sofa, and used it as a step stool onto the sofa, one stuffed animal in hand, the largest (Hoss, short for Hossenpfeffer, a bunny she received for Easter) having been abandoned unceremoniously when she grabbed the movie from her movie shelf. As she had nearly conquered the sofa, she realized that the small animal--Helga, another teddy bear she got at Christmas--had somehow fallen from her grasp and onto the pillow. She leaned over very quickly, flattening herself against the sofa and stretching her arm out as far as she could to reach Helga--and promptly rolled off the sofa and onto the pillow...with Helga firmly in her grasp. Barely blinking, and apparently not noticing that she had just rolled off the sofa, over the pillow, and onto the floor, she scrambled back up the pillow and onto the sofa, Helga in hand, then looked at me and patted the cushion next to her and said, "Sit."

I sat, and she curled up next to me, and all was quiet and serene for a few minutes as the previews played and then Scrat chased after his beloved acorn.

It was 9:15.

At 9:20, she spotted her shoes on the floor and squealed, "Shoes!" She clambered off of the sofa and grabbed her shoes. Thinking I could use this opportunity to finally use the restroom, I also got up. She rain after me, calling, "No, no, no, no, noooo!"

I stepped into the bathroom, and as soon as I reached the toilet, I heard the bathroom door closing behind me. Megan and her shoes had come in, and she had closed the door, which she has decided must be done anytime she enters a room except a bedroom. While I was using the restroom, she set her shoes neatly on the floor, together, as if they were just waiting for her to step into them, and then she squatted against the door and simply watched me.

As soon as I had finished and washed my hands, she got up, grabbed her shoes--once more proclaiming, "Shoes!"--and ran out into the hall when I opened the door. She took off like a rocket toward the kitchen, then flung her shoes away from her, spun on a dime, and took off for our bedroom again.

Mike was still asleep, but moving a bit and talking in response to her presence in the room. She began trying to climb up into the bed using the side rail for a footrest, so Mike picked her up. Somehow, as he was half asleep, he seemed to think she was going to rest quietly on his chest or beside him--a notion she disabused him of quickly.

Soon, Megan was back on the floor and running to the living room to watch her movie again. I decided to take the opportunity to start brewing some coffee.I was reaching up for a coffee filter when I realized things had gone very, very quiet, so I called out, "Megan, present yourself, please!" (she has agreed, by some miracle, to come running into my sight 98% of the time when I make this request, since she first started crawling). I heard her start running toward me, and then suddenly I heard a strange noise, Mike making a strangled sound, and what sounds like two objects colliding and water splashing.

I stopped what I was doing and, thinking that perhaps Megan and Mike had collided as he was walking down the hall and she was coming to me, asked, "What just happened?"

I heard Mike reply, "That's a good question. What the hell just happened?"

So, I abandoned the coffee-making pursuit and walked to the hallway. Megan was frozen in the doorway between hall and dining room, pacifier in her mouth, eyes wide, some bunny (Hoss?) her arms. Maury was running away. Mike was holding his water cup with one hand and rubbing his chest with the other hand, looking like he had just been shot. Apparently, when he got up, Mike had picked up Maury, who had still been asleep in the bed, and had begun walking down the hall. Something (perhaps my call to Megan, or her stomping footsteps?) had awakened Maury, and he had immediately made some unnatural sound, hissed, and used Mike's chest as a springboard to propel himself down the hall. The shock of his sweet-tempered cat suddenly awakening and growling at him like a demon from hell--along with the claws in his pectorals, and the weight of a twenty-pound cat--had caused his arm to jerk and his water to splash out of his cup and all over the wall and carpet.

I turned on the hall light and was going to grab a towel, and Megan decided to run toward Mike. Mike hurriedly handed me his cup and said abruptly and loudly, "Here, take this, and keep her away while I clean this up." Megan must have thought she was in trouble, because she immediately began to wail, her little eyes brimming with tears.

I hugged her and kissed her and reassured her that she was not in trouble, that Maury had simply freaked out and daddy was trying to clean up the mess without her help.

Finally, she was calm, though still breathing raggedly, her little chest heaving, and the water was cleaned up in the hall. I suggested that she and I go back to watching the movie. We got to the living room, and Mike entered as Megan was preparing to climb onto the couch. They settled in together, Megan on Mike's lap, calm as could be, and I walked to the coffeepot to finally start my coffee.

It was 9:38.

We sat together to watch the movie, then the timer went off on the oven around 10. I got breakfast out and set up the dining room table. Mike opted not to eat breakfast, and Megan chose to forgo my berry-apple crisp for a sleeve of crackers...which she took 45 minutes to eat. The first thing she'd done slowly all day.

What the heck is going on here today?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Special Requests?

Dear readers, I have decided to try to consistently post to this blog. I'm striking out in a new vein as I mentioned yesterday. I've got a couple of posts already planned, including one about sweeteners added to some strange things (no spoilers here!), and (eventually) reviewing some of my successful freezer-meal creations. But I would really like to know if you have any special requests.

I'm thinking specifically of food- or homesteading-related topics, even gardening topics. Basically, I'm happy to do some of the research or to share with you what Mike and I already know about any topic that you've been wondering about but just haven't had the time or the inclination to research yourself. I may not be able to accommodate all requests, and some might take a while, but I'm up for a challenge!

So, if you have requests, please comment below, email me, or let me know on Facebook.

Happy plotting!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Food: Is Organic Better? How Local Is Local? Should We Skip Conventionally Grown Food Altogether?

One of my friends shared an article on Facebook about a lawsuit against Kroger for its Simple Truth product labeling being misleading. The truth is, Kroger is no better or worse than any other company out there. FDA labels allow a ton of leeway sometimes. Don't just see something labeled as "organic" or "free-range" and think that makes it better or worse than another option. Here are some resources.

One of my favorite blogs,, shared some information a few weeks back about egg labeling. It's eye-opening, really. It just goes to show that foods labeled organic aren't necessarily better than foods not labeled organic.

Here's another example, a great image from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CPSI):

I read a fantastic article a few weeks back about how some people forgo regular produce if they can't find organic produce, and the effects of organic pesticides on the environment compared to pesticides used by most commercial farmers. The effects are surprising to me after hearing so much about the dangers of commercial pesticides. Admittedly, my husband is well informed about chemicals, and so I knew that organic doesn't mean pesticide-free. Still, I was enlightened further by this explanation, which was a little less science-y than my husband's, and so a little clearer for me. 

The key, though, is to be informed. Don't just jump on any bandwagon without a lot of research and thought. "Green washing" gets a lot of people--any label claim should be suspect (think "low fat" or "sodium free"). Marketing isn't done for your benefit--it's done for profit. And remember all sellers out there are trying to make a profit--some try to do it while also trying to be good to the environment, and some don't give a crap about the environment. Some farmers grow food responsibly but can't afford to get an organic certification. There are a lot of hoops and requirements, some of which are out of the farmer's control. The key is responsibility

We prefer to buy locally whenever possible, though what grocers call local and what we consider local can vary by hundreds of miles. [A sign at our local grocery store claimed it bought produce from local growers--which in this case meant up to 400 miles away. That's a little far afield for our taste.] Of course, we also like foods that just cannot be grown locally, so we have to decide whether we want to benefit from them being non-organic and non-local or if we prefer to have whatever benefits they provide. (Hm, balance, perhaps?) Also consider, if you're going organic to benefit the earth, how far that organic produce/meat has to travel to get to you. If a lot of fossil fuel has to be burned for your earth-friendly food to get to you (say it's out of season locally), is it still earth-friendly? (Here's a tip: It depends.)

So, when it comes right down to it, balance and responsibility--educating yourself is the key. Whether you're trying to do better for the environment, better for your direct health, or a little of both, things are rarely black-and-white. Maybe organic is better for one food but conventional is better for another, and food from a friend down the road is better. This year, we'll be growing a lot of vegetables right next to a field that is commercially farmed, Our food could never be considered organic because of that, but we're still going to eat it over organic produce purchased at the local grocery store. We all have to make tradeoffs, and it's up to us as individuals to decide which ones we can live with.


Oh, it's been so long. Once again, I've fallen to using Facebook for updates, but not all of you are there. (Is anyone still here? I can only hope.)

I posted last nearly two years ago. Crazy. Today, however, I started thinking about trying to post regularly again, once again chronicling our gardening results, the growth of our family, and, mostly, tips about healthy eating that we've been picking up along the way..and the things we find that benefit our family in all ways. Okay, so that's a lot to cover, and there are plenty of blogs out there that do the same, but I can read them and bring them together here for you, our loved ones.

So, does everyone know where we stand? Megan Lenore was born in August of 2012. Mike left his job at Ball in September of 2013. He now works at home as full-time caregiver for Megan, and then part-time as a freelancer. I work full-time in my editing. This year, we're hopeful to have a good garden. We're not planting a lot of things, knowing how difficult most things are to grow in our soil. This  year, we're focusing on catching up on care of things that fell by the wayside while Mike worked ridiculous hours (plus commute) at Ball.

So, there's your update. Right now, I'm gathering together some information that I just posted on Facebook today and posting it here (see the next post).

* Stringham high: Family togetherness
* Stringham low: Taxes, know, the usual
* Stringham super-high: Did I mention family togetherness with a wonderful daddy and amazing daughter?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Approaching Delivery Day

With the craziness that is our lives in the spring and summer, given yard work and dear hubby’s ever-changing work schedule, I realize I haven’t written anything of length in a long time, only quick little updates on Facebook. So, here’s something a bit more substantial.
Everything is going well with the pregnancy. I’m a furnace and am miserable on most days it gets above 80 with no breeze if I’m outside, so I try to stay inside as much as possible. My blood pressure has been behaving, though my OB says he doesn’t think it will stay that way; he’s wagering that it will shoot up around Week 34. I’m hoping for NOT. I’ve had no headaches or visual disturbances to worry about. Occasional dry eye and blurriness from the pollen, and occasional headaches from muscle tension or congestion (again, thanks to the pollen)—but nothing that a single Tylenol capsule doesn’t get rid of.

The next few weeks are going to be full of doctor appointments (OB, chiropractor, ophthalmologist) and classes (infant CPR and first aid, childbirth, childcare, hospital tour), along with many projects that my clients want done before my weeks of maternity leave and much overtime for dear M. We had two baby showers last week here in Indiana, and between the gifts we received and the money and gift cards, we now have the basics for caring for a newborn. Now we just need to get things unpacked in the baby's room, and we'll be as ready as it is possible to be to welcome a new person into our home and lives.

I’m at Week 32 when Father’s Day hits, so 8 weeks or less (I hope) until we meet Baby Stringham! I’m not incredibly uncomfortable, but Baby Stringham is now growing fast and large enough that it’s sometimes a struggle even to get dressed. I’m ready to be done, even though I’m enjoying the pregnancy. It’s close enough that my brain will now allow me to consider birth as a real possibility—something I wouldn’t give too much thought to before, after two miscarriages and all the difficulties I’ve faced in the past 2 1/2 years. Along with considering birth comes considering the possibilities of what can go wrong leading up to and during labor, including preeclampsia and postnatal hemorrhaging (that one based on my experiences with the miscarriages). These have been discussed with my OB, however, and we have plans in place. [I think it's good that the next few weeks are going to be so busy, so I can't devote too much thought to those things that might cause me anxiety.]

Still, I have begun a daily affirmation, which I’m going to share with you. Please feel free to say it each day with me, or to pray for us, or to do nothing but wait excitedly for Baby Stringham’s arrival—whatever floats your boat.

I am staying healthy for the remainder of the pregnancy, through labor and delivery, and after. My blood pressure is NOT going to rise. My vision is NOT going to worsen—it might even improve. My intracranial pressures are going to stay normal. I am not going to stress out and cause myself or the baby undue hardship. Whatever happens will happens, and we have plans. We know what CAN happen, and we know how to handle any of those things, which empowers us. Labor and delivery will go smoothly. I hope Baby Stringham will come into this world as quickly and easily as I did, but if not, so long as things move quickly enough that I can maintain my strength, all will be successful. I will not need pain relief or intervention of any kind, because my body will behave and will act appropriately. This pregnancy has gone smoothly so far, so there’s no reason to expect it will not continue that way through delivery and afterward. All is well. All will be well. Our little family is strong and can face anything together, and knowing that makes us even stronger.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Joy Is in the Living

As Christmas approaches, I feel the urge to write...especially because a friend told me the other day that she misses reading these updates. I apologize, dear reader, for not posting here more often in the past few months. I have been responding to the siren's call of Facebook and using it to update so many people about our day-to-day lives, even though not everyone is on Facebook very often.

So, here's a brief (let's not kid ourselves--it's as brief as I can make anything) summary of our year:

Mike began a contract in November 2010 at Ball Corporation, and in May of 2011, they hired him full time. He, the new man on the team, was going to be relegated to working a lot of overtime while everyone went on vacation in the summer. That never let up. Since about July or August, he has been working 60- to 84-hour work "weeks." Understandably, much of the responsibility for the gardening and care of the house fell to me.

In the spring, a lovely neighborhood dog showed up at our house and seemed to adopt us. We loved her greatly and renamed her Princess from Snowball, because she really was a princess. She kept us company and brought us much joy throughout the summer. Around the beginning or middle of August, she showed up a little injured one day. Then she disappeared.

In July, we learned I was pregnant again. We were cautiously optimistic, but we didn't want to tell anyone until we made it out of the first trimester. In August, we lost that baby, as well. I was about 6 weeks pregnant. The good news was that the miscarriage went much more swiftly and effectively than the first. I still had to go to the ER because I lost so much blood, but it was over very quickly and I suffered no more than the "normal" ill effects of a miscarriage--almost all emotional, and only a few cramps physically. Overall, we were sad but hopeful. It took us less than two years to get pregnant this time, whereas it had taken us three or more years the first time, and this pregnancy progressed further, and we had a lot of emotional and physical support this time, in the form of very good friends, Becca Sparks Lowry, Christina James Chase, Dana Fischer Welborn, and Jill Bastian Truax chief among them.

In the late summer/early fall, Sir George, our older kitty, began to decline healthwise. I made an appointment to have him put to sleep, but either I waited too late or he decided he preferred to pass on at home. Becca was with me via text, and Tina was with me through the day. Both provided tremendous emotional support. George passed away at the ripe old age of 18. It wasn't as peaceful a death as I would have hoped for, but he died at home, with me right by his side. I was incredibly honored to be with him in his last few hours. I know, he was only a cat, but to share a natural death with another being you love is truly touching. George is "planted"--for whatever reason, that day, when I talked about trying to bury him, all I could say was "plant," go figure--in our front yard, under the maple tree and next to the boxwoods lining our driveway.

A very short time later, because Maury seemed to be very much missing George's company, we adopted Cali, a real sweetheart of a kitty. We were told she was a little more than a year old, but she is still very much a kitten, though she had already had a litter of kittens before we adopted her. She was not very keen on Maury at first, doing a lot of hissing and spitting and growling, but with patience and calm, he soon won her over. Within two weeks, they were almost as good of friends as Maury and George.

Our garden gave some good harvests this year, despite its neglect. Through the summer, we were on a night shift, so we didn't have long each day to really tend it. Even now, only three days from Christmas, we haven't removed the stakes or fencing from our garden, because we have so little time. In addition, this was the busiest summer *I* have ever had for my freelance work, and even though I had a full crew of people helping me, we were still swamped at maximum capacity with slow turnaround times for most of the summer...the summer I had wanted to use to go slowly so I could care for the house and garden while my husband worked insane amounts of overtime.

So, you ask, why aren't I mentioning my husband more? Well, because I barely see him. The only things I really know about him since August are that he is perpetually exhausted, he's trying to fix his Montero single-handedly, and he has a blood elf paladin that has partnered with my blood elf priest for the past two weekends in the world of Kalimdor while he has been too exhausted to do anything but sit in front of a computer and I've been too tired to care, as I'm in the first trimester of my third pregnancy.

We've shared the news of the pregnancy this time. Not telling most people last time turned out to be a little too emotionally stressful for me, especially trying to work out getting to doctor appointments and the like with Mike's very limited free time. Plus, I believe strongly in the power of prayer and positive thoughts and know that when two people get together to pool their "spiritual resources," they create benefits greater than two working individually. So, I'm telling anyone and everyone and unabashedly asking for prayers, energies, positive thoughts, whatever, to keep this pregnancy going in the right direction. So far, it seems to be working well. I've had some spotting in this pregnancy, as I did in both the others. The thing is, we don't know if the spotting in those other pregnancies were precursors to my miscarriage or if it's just normal for me to spot. With all the prayers and positive thoughts for us, however, the spotting has been minimal this time and has tapered away. Now, if it appears, it's once, maybe twice, a day, right before bedtime and right when I get up in the morning. I'm amazingly calm this time around. Even though I have yet to find an OB. Even though I have a history of miscarriage. Even though hormones are doing their damnedest to make me anxious. It's partly because I know that if I'm going to miscarry in the first trimester, there's not much I can do about it, so I take the best care of myself that I can, getting plenty of sleep, not overexerting myself, but still staying active, and eating the best I can with random nausea spikes and food aversions. With every new "pregnancy woe," as one of my friends called them, I cheer. I smile. And I share. And my friends on Facebook cheer with me. And smile with me. And offer words of encouragement. And so that's another reason I'm amazingly calm--because I know that, no matter what happens, I have amazing friends and family supporting me, cheering with me, crying with me. And that makes a HUGE difference.

I just keep hoping and praying for the best and telling the baby that he or she is very, very loved and will be fortunate to be born into such a loving circle. In addition, the baby will have a grandpa (we haven't yet worked out if he wants to be Pappaw, Grandpa, Gramps, Geezer, etc.) with a new lease on life. My dad had bariatric surgery not long after our miscarriage in August. My mother tells me I won't recognize him, as he's lost more than 100 pounds. I'm looking forward to seeing him tomorrow to see him at the lightest I've ever seen him. Hell, he might even be lighter than me now...I have no idea!

We miss Mike's friends and family in Oregon, but our friends have really stepped up to help lighten the sadness a bit this year. Though we didn't get to travel to share Thanksgiving with my parents or his, and though none of our family members could share that holiday with us, we did get to host Becca and her husband, Shaun, and we had a great day.

And so, as Chanukkah has begun, people all over the world are celebrating Yule, and Christmas approaches, we are happy and hopeful. Mike is researching options for starting his own business. He's also trying to study so he can take a test for another certification. And he's enduring the incredibly long hours at work, getting whatever experience he can as he sorts out when he will leave if he wants to leave, and what he will do when he leaves. He's got two (nonconsecutive) weeks of vacation coming to him in May if he's still at Ball then--the first vacation he will have ever received. That's right, EVER. Since leaving grad school, he's been unemployed or employed in seasonal jobs or working as a contractor and in jobs that don't award vacations or that give vacations only after a full year of employment. So, May is when we have our sights set on him taking more than two days off. He may be taking a week-long certification class, but who knows?

2011 has been a challenge for us, but it has also been rewarding. We've had sorrow, and we've had joy. And I'm sure we have more of both to come, but we look to 2012 [even the coming return of Nibiru/release of Becca 2.0/end of the Mayan calendar/shift of the magnetic poles/return of Cthulu/galactic alignment/return of Jesus/Armageddon/cosmic shift in consciousness/zombie apocalypse (well, *I* can never look forward to a zombie apocalypse. We all know my fear.)] with hope. It's the only thing that keeps us going--aside from each other...and all of you.

So, to all of you, I wish you the happiest of whatever holidays you are celebrating, and the rosiest of new years. Thank you for being there for us, and for loving us. We appreciate all you do for us.

* Stringham high: Life is beautiful.
* Stringham low: Separation from loved ones for far too long.
* Stringham super-high: Our blessings, including loved ones, are too numerous to count!

(Remember that if you view the post on my blog, the title links to a video specially chosen for the day.)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Life's Purpose, in Context

Last night, a little wistfully, I was going through the children's books that I have "waiting" in the guest room, which will eventually become the kid's room when we have a kid. I came across a book from my childhood, "Prayers for Children," a Little Golden Book. In it, I found a prayer that must have had a huge effect on me, because what it requests is what I've always striven for my life to be, even when I hadn't read the book in years and had forgotten completely about it while it was tucked away in a closet.

A Child's Prayer

God, make my life a little light
Within the world to glow;
A little flame that burneth bright
Wherever I may go.

God, make my life a little flower
That giveth joy to all,
Content to bloom in native bower,
Although the place be small.

God, make my life a little song
That comforteth the sad,
That helpeth others to be strong
And makes the singer glad.

God, make my life a little staff
Whereon the weak may rest,
And so what health and strength I have
May serve my neighbors best.

God, make my life a little hymn
Of tenderness and praise;
Of faith, that never waxeth dim,
In all His wondrous ways.

--M. Betham-Edwards

This prayer/poem sums up my life's goal succinctly, to make a difference in the world through small ways, through living and being me, always conscientious of others and of the effect that my behavior has on others.

* Stringham high: Quick recovery
* Stringham low: Second miscarriage, and Mike's job woes
* Stringham super-high: We're more fertile than we once were!