Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Things have changed.  Quickly, unexpectedly, drastically.  Things are different now than they were at the turn of the new year.  I have had to rush, hurry to catch up to the changes.  My mind has yet to wrap all the way around it.

Every time a friend whispers, "you're going to be a mommy," it's as if I am jolted back to reality.

My belly is just now starting to grow.

I am hungry all the time.

The fatigue is ebbing, I have a lot more energy in week 16 than I have since January.

The nausea is intermittent and almost seems spiteful.  I've figured out how to combat it, but not without some terrible bouts.

I'm doing most of this on my own.  Most of this I'm just taking with stride, rolling with the punches.  I am in survival mode.

And sometimes... I even forget to pray.

Until I start feeling poorly.  Until my stomach starts hurting.  Until I have a negative encounter with someone who will highly impact my child and my life.

Then I thank God for not leaving me even when I suck.  And I remind Him I have no clue what the hell I am doing.  And beyond the few things I can do to help, my baby's life and health are in His hands.

My baby.  My son or daughter.  In five months, I will have a baby in my arms.  With dark skin and hair and a name I choose.  This child will be mine to raise.  To teach.  To love.

This, in part, has become my mission.

But satan's biggest attack on my life right now is trying to convince me it is my only one.  That upon having a child, carrying, birthing, and bringing a child into the world on my own... everything else will cease to be.  That all other opportunities will fade away.  That any other dream I may have had, is gone.  Unattainable.

This isn't true.  It's just a nasty lie.

And when I recognized it as such, I heard my Father's voice.  Speaking life and peace, consistently and quietly.  Faithfully.

If I let go of who I am, the dreams I have, the passions God has cultivated in me over the past few years, then I will not be a good mother.

Just because part of my story changed, does not mean my purpose did.  Does not mean God cannot use me.  It just means ... things change.  And God does not.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


I heard your heart beat today.
Before then, and maybe for five minutes after -- as long as it took me to get out of the office and into the parking garage -- I had been denying it.  Denying you.
I cannot see you.
I cannot feel you.
I feel what your presence is doing to me, but how could I be so sure?
I was worried about you.  From the minute I called you mine.
But I was not ready to love you yet.
I loved you enough that I changed the way I lived.
The way I ate.
The way I moved.
The way I worked.
Because I knew I needed to do everything in my power to protect you.
And if you were to be mine, to hold, to love, to raise, to cuddle, to teach... you'd survive.
Like me.
And so today, we went looking for your heartbeat.  Buried deep inside me, under all the mess and all the dysfunction.
I laid there, sure that we wouldn't find you.  Convinced myself that I'd, once again, loved only to have lost.
I could not hear you for the sounds of myself.
And then I saw the light.  The light in her eyes flashed and she smiled at me, "I heard it. There it is.  The heartbeat.  It's perfect."
Your heartbeat.
The proof that you are still here.
That you are mine and you are growing and you are alive.
I choked back tears, because I do not cry in public.
I swallowed all the fears and worries, which had been leading up to that moment.
And I left.
Today was the day I was waiting for.
The day I knew everything would change.
Because now I have a name for you.
And now I am so very aware of how my body is wrapped around yours and what I must do to help you survive.  To help you grow so when you get here, the world will be no match for you.
My gift.
Not my mistake.
Not my regret.
Not my accident.
My gift.
You will be mine.  And I yours.  A family.
With a foundation of a heart beat, so buried, so rapid.
I loved you before.
I was just afraid to say it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

First Day of Spring & Being a Mother

Sometimes, things just take time.

You need to hold a secret close to your chest, veiled and kept safe, for just a little while longer.

Timing like this is something no one else ever understands.

It's always too soon, or not soon enough.

But the weight of it is your own.  And you alone know how to carry it, how far you can last with it on your shoulders.

One morning, though, you will wake up.  Knowing, quietly, that it's this day.

Some things just take time.

I was carrying this secret long before I was even aware of it.

Somehow prepared, somehow unsurprised.  I've been carrying it for longer than anyone else has known.

Giving myself time, though not nearly enough, to process and to absorb.

We may never fully wrap our mind around, no matter how much time we take.

And so I'm here to tell you my secret.

I've been practicing saying such words over and over again.

But each time they only sound more strange.

These things, which take such time, are not often received well.

They are not understood.  Not accepted.  Not embraced.

They are difficult to receive, these words.  You have no place ready for them.

But they come, anyway, requiring a stretching of your mind.

And a stretching of your graces.

You will be required to leave with unanswered questions.

To handle a measure of confusion, which may never fully clear up.

To look at me and reframe.  Apply your surprise and your disappointment and your shock to what you already know or don't know about me.  And choose.

Your choosing will take as much time as my secret-telling.


I've known for over two months now that I am going to be a mother.

I am almost four months pregnant, due in early September, just days after my younger sister and her husband are expecting their first child.

More than likely, at least for a season, I will be a single mother.

I will graduate with my bachelors degree in December, with a four month old baby.

I find out next month whether my child is a boy or a girl.


For years and years I have worked with children.  I have mourned over their struggles and hardships, and my heart has broken each and every time I have taken them home.  Such a sharp pain, a reminder they are not truly mine.  Though I call them such.

For years I asked God to give me one of my own.  To raise and love and cherish.

For years I have been writing about living a good story, striving to tell the best story I can with the days I've been given.  Taking risks and listening for a voice, for a word, most can't seem to hear.

Never in a thousand years would I have thought that in 2012, I would add "becomes a single mother" to my timeline.  Never would have I imagined I would become a mother before I became a wife.  Or the idea of being a wife would suddenly become so far-fetched.

But choices and actions lead to results and consequences.  Sometimes, the choices and actions of others impact us and hurt us and scar us in ways we are not responsible for.  Other times, they are the choices and actions we deliberately make and take ourselves, however motivated -- leading us down new highways, through new corridors.  Until we find ourselves here.

Some place we never thought we'd be.

But here I am.

Hearing whispers of a Father's grace and love.

Which, as quiet as they are, overpower the cries and judgment of the rest of the world.

On the buried rhythm of a strong, steady heartbeat, He has whispered clearly, "Anna, I will use this.  Anna, I love this child.  And, Anna, I love you."

And so I love this child.

This child of mine, whom I will love.  Whom I will take home at the end of the night.  Whom I will raise and feed and teach and nurture.

This child who will call me mommy.  

Some things just take time.

Like adjusting to this idea.

Like rebuilding and redirecting my life.

Like learning how to be a parent.

Like building the strength it will take.

But I have time.

And I'm giving you time.

Because you need it.  Like I needed it.

Take it.

Guest Blog: Same Heartbeat

My name is Larry, and I am Anna’s dad. I am writing here as a guest blogger to share a few things with you. I asked for this assignment.

I am writing to tell you about my first born daughter. I used to call her Soup Bean when she was little, and I’m not sure how she got that name. Except I like soup beans a lot. Certainly an acquired taste, don’t you agree?

When I think about Anna I think about how scared I was of her as an infant. I didn’t know what to do with a baby, and I was certain I was going to drop her or inflict some sort of pain on her. So my heart would beat fast when she was in my arms. That lasted until the first time she fell asleep on my chest, lulled to sleep by that same heartbeat. And I knew then that everything was going to be OK. At least that’s how I felt then. But I was wrong. Everything was not going to be OK. She had skinned knees and alligator tears and disobedience and scoliosis and adolescent hubris. Intermingled in the things that weren’t OK were things that were amazing, such as beautiful art and wisdom and poetry and imagination.

Here’s a memory that still haunts me: We were riding bikes and she was in front of me and we were going pretty fast. Her bike slid out from underneath her and she went down right in my path. I will never forget that feeling as long as I live. My bike was mere feet from her downed body, and I was certainly going to run over her. My very own daughter. I lifted the bike with everything I had, still grazing her, and I wrecked just past her. My world stopped. Had I hurt my very own daughter? I would never do such a thing. I would (and have since) taken great strides to make sure she remained unharmed. I could tell you stories, some that even she doesn’t know, about my efforts to make sure she was unhurt.

I am writing to you because she is hurt even as I write this. And her hurt has been caused because she has made some poor choices, driven by faulty beliefs. She will tell you this. But she will not tell you much more than this because she doesn’t understand much more than this. Neither do I. Truthfully, it’s going to take some time for she and I to understand this enough to speak about it intelligently. It will likely be worth wait, because I’m pretty sure it’s going to be one hell of a story.

Anna is going to have a baby. And she is not in a relationship at the moment. Even as I write this I can see her losing control of the bike she is on, going down right in front of my eyes.

I am two people these days. I am hurt because she is hurt, and I would move heaven and earth to make her pain go away. And I am so excited about the life that is growing strong inside of her. Anna’s sister, Kat, is also having a baby, and they are due only a day apart. Kat felt her baby move today and I got to talk to her about that tonight. I am so excited about this. Being a granddad. The kids are going to call me Poppy (or Papi, still not sure about the spelling).

I am guest blogging tonight to ask a favor. Anna doesn’t need your pity. And she doesn’t need your judgment (unless you have perfected the art of living). She needs space to work on her own stuff, which she is doing, and she needs help celebrating the life that grows inside her. A true wonder. Her job is simple (not easy): Fix the mistakes, love the baby. You can help her with the second part if you choose.

Is everything going to be OK? Well, I don’t know that yet. I guess in the end of all things the answer is “yes.” But I don’t know how long we have to wait for that.

I know that in my family two young lives are developing, getting ready to walk into a world they know nothing about. In this messed up world I know they will be loved. And I know if either one is a boy he will have to be comfortable wearing the occasional dress and playing with Barbies and American Girl dolls.

And I am full of anticipation for that day when my grandkids fall asleep on my chest, listening to the sound of my heartbeat. I guess then everything will be OK again.

Midtown Pt. 1

I keep making plans that keep changing.  Best laid.

I went to Atlanta this weekend.  For the first time in three or four years.  I forgot about the headaches I get when I go down south, the change in the climate, the pressure change.  I forgot how antsy I get when I can't go where I want, when I want.  Atlanta has always meant losing my independence, all the while calling me to let loose and be myself.  Always a preview.  Always a sneak peak.

I went this time to see Tiffany.  That's what I told people.  That's what I told myself.

But I was actually going to check on something.  Something I had a suspicion of, but wasn't entirely sure of.  I didn't realize this was my personal agenda until I asked Tiffany to turn around.

We were in Midtown.  High rise apartments surrounded me, richly funded parks, well-paved sidewalks, girls walking their golden retrievers.  (This was not the Atlanta I love, and I was confused why my GPS was taking us this way.)

And then there it was.  Tucked just in front of a luxury apartment and an office building.

We didn't even stop.  Just slowly drove by.  I was deeply confused for only a split second until His voice swept over me.  "Don't be disappointed," He whispered in my ear.  We kept driving on and I settled back in my seat.  "That was not what I had for you."

Plans keep changing.  I keep having wild, noble ideas and make agendas and plans for myself.  I will do this, go there, then.  I keep embarrassing myself, having to tell you that things have changed.  And what I was so excited about, so set on doing, is no longer the plan.

I don't know if this makes me foolish or wise, the being willing to change.

We continued to drive through Midtown and I only happened to look down as we crossed a bridge.  I don't know what I expected to see, maybe another highway.  In Kentucky it would have been a creek.

But in Atlanta, it was the projects.  A different sort of living environment.  Built around a basketball court.  With a bridge built over top.

And on that basketball court were dozens of children and teenagers.

I think I scared Tiffany when I started hollering about how that's where I wanted to be.  Not in the yuppie park.  I also think she thought I was joking.  The last time I saw her, none of this had begun.  So maybe it looks like a wild infatuation with the black culture.  Which it is.  Or maybe it looks like a complete distaste for wealth.  Which it is.  But it is also... my heart.

Because regardless of the places I go or don't go, the opportunities I take or don't take, the plans, which change or don't change, one thing remains the same.  I know who my heart belongs to.  I know where to go to find my rhythm, my life.  In the longest time, that has not changed.  For the longest time, He's been confirming this in me.

Friday, March 16, 2012

wrecking ball

I am so over character development I could vomit.

Yes.  I said it.

Freaking leave me the way I am.  Just for a minute.

Let me wallow in my imperfection, in my own mess, in my immaturity, and my foolishness.

Give me time to let the sore muscles heal.  Because right now I'm not strong enough to withstand anymore of the stress.

Everything has been attacked.  Torn down.  Demolished.

The wrecking ball is still swinging, dangling from the crane.  Gawking at the wreckage of myself.  Slightly proud of itself for how quickly, how effectively, it humbled me.

I'm still standing, at least.  Covered in dust and debris.  Ears ringing from the racket.  Mouth dry, nose itching.  I am afraid to look around me.  I know I have to start over now.  The foundation is still here.  Solid and firm and unmoving.  But that's all that remains.

Character development started out as remodeling.  As rebuilding.  A fresh coat of paint.  Reinforcing a support beam.

Apparently that wasn't enough.

And resulted in this.

The hardest part of the demolition phase is the hope in the rebuilding.

Because standing in the middle of all of it, I certainly can't see the plan.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

walk away

Sometimes, I just need permission to slam the door shut.
Lock it.
Turn around.
Walk away.

I need you to tell me it's ok to do that.
To forgive.
And then prevent the hurt from happening again.

This morning, with the rain, I let it be washed away.

Something deep rooted.
Something long lasting.
Something painfully shallow.
Something painful.

I will not allow it to hurt me anymore.
I will not hold on to possibility.
Or the 'what if' of what lies ahead.

Letting go proves itself to be the hardest thing.
Strange, since I never truly wanted it in the first place.
Perhaps it's not the letting go.

It's the unknown.
It's the hatefulness put on me.
It's the absorption of scorn.

I needed permission.
And I got it.
"Go ahead," He whispered.  "You know the answer."

And I wonder if the hardest lesson is choosing to do the healthy thing, at the risk of being hated.

Shake my head,
knowing this shouldn't even be an issue.
This should not have taken up so much of my time.

But isn't that how it is?
We waste it all,
on the most undeserving.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Piled on.
Bend knees, lift weight, hoist, exhale.

Muscles and bones adjust under a new weight.
New pressure.

Take a few more steps,
old bags hugging my curves in familiar ways.
New ones rubbing blisters.

I think I have this pace figured out.
Pace measured, calculated.
Body settles under and adapts.

Until they ask me to add more.
"Here, take this."

It is slightly familiar,
this they're handing me.
I know it, remember it, know how to carry it.

But with this new load,
I can't find room.

My shoulders are laden.
My back burdened.

I remember what it felt like to carry that before.
The relief we all felt when it was put down.

The sort of burden, which tears you apart with its weight.
The sort of burden, which draws anger and bitterness and fear to the surface like a hot compress.
Intended to heal, but pulling.

It's just too heavy.
I shake my head, as words fly around me.
"No more than you can handle."

The words aren't true.
This, this is more.
What I've been handed, I cannot carry.

Truth bolsters me.
And with the quiet request, whispered through parched lips,
I ask what I know this burden is pressing me to ask.

Perhaps it is the purpose of the burden.
The mission of the weight.

To bring you to your knees.