Monday, November 29, 2010

Sunday Night Adventures

Why is this dark blurry picture of the Goat family being featured on the blog tonight?  Because last nights adventures simply needed at least one photo.  This photo was taken in the front seat of our car at 10:30 last night.

About 10pm last night Mr. Goat and I were relaxing after having gotten home from the ILs.  Baby goat was in bed fast asleep.  And then the fire alarm in our apartment hallway when off.

My first instinct was "What's that?"

My second was "Dumb College Kids"

Then I realized that I was no longer in college and it was unlikely that we'd been victim to a drunken prank.  So Mr. Goat and I grabbed our coats and the baby and high tailed it out of the apartment.  (We left the cats for speed but I felt guilty about it).

Once outside we realized a few things:

1.  There was no obvious billowing smoke so if there was a real fire it wasn't too spread yet.
2.  Even at 40 degrees and with a hat and coat baby goat was scared, cold and shivery.  Being jarred awake as you are grabbed will do that somewhat.
3.  We needed to find some place to wait out this emergency.

We hiked around to the front of the building where my car was parked outside accross the lot from the building.  As we walked 4 emergency vehicles pulled up to the apartment building.

We piled into the front seat of my car, turned it on and cranked the heat.  Soon baby goat lost the dazed scared look from the photo and he relished pushing all sorts of buttons in the car that he rarely has access too.  His favorites:  The wipers, the radio buttons and the front ceiling lights.

We camped out in the car for nearly an hour as the fire trucks dealt with whatever was going on.  People milled about - many in their cars many just around the apartment.  We weren't asked to back up so it seemed clear that while a real fire it wasn't an apartment wide inferno.

Finally about 11pm we were given the all clear.  The front hall smelled like a electrical fire which is what rumors say happened, somewhere on the 2nd floor.  I have no idea how much damage was done but on our end of the building the air was clear and everything looked normal.

Still I went to bed just a little more thankful of the things I have even while being aware that so long as I have baby goat and Mr. Goat that I will be ok.  (I still would have liked the cats to be safe for sure too but the rest really was of no major issue)  Sure there is irreplaceable stuff in our apartment but when push comes to shove all I need is my family.

The front hall still smelled smoky this morning - a reminder that it wasn't just a dream.  I hope whomever's apartment it was didn't lose too much and everyone was safe (none of the ambulances there left with anyone which is a good sign). 

Just one more thing to be thankful for this week.

50 Book Challenge Giveaway winner

I meant to draw for this last week and I never got to it.  I am sorry for the delay!  I hope no one has been fretting about who the winner is but either way, without further ado, the winner of our Signed copy of Silencing Sam is Bonnie from the Fragile X Files.  I think it was her first comment on my little blog so I'm thrilled she found me and that she won.  Congratulations Bonnie!  Expect an email from me soon.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The elusive Christmas Card - Shutterfly

Christmas cards have been a struggle for me.  I want desperately to send them out full of individual messages of love and joy to my friends and family.  I want the perfect photo for the perfect card.  I would love blingy envelopes and homemade calligraphied labels and the oddly shaped cool, expensive postage cards.

I want all of that....

Until Thanksgiving comes around and I realize that I haven't ordered a card, or written a letter, or even got my mailing list together from where it is trapped on an old dead laptop from two laptops ago.

Thankfully there is Shutterfly.  I have heard such good things about them and browsing there I know they have wonderful stuff and it is so easy to create a card.  The only drawback is that I maybe have too many options.  Like do you do a Christmas Holiday Card?  Or go more generic for all my non-Christian friends and go with a regular Holiday card?  Or maybe even pick up a few gifts for folks too like a baby goat photo calendar (photos of baby goat not included!).  And the color options, and how many pictures to use and everything.  The possiblities seem endless.  But it is fun to play, now I just need to make a decision!!

Hopefully the Christmas card will get out this year, unlike last year.  But if it doesn't it won't be because of Shutterfly.

I received 50 free Christmas cards for this little plug.  Since it is nearly half my Christmas list I hope you'll forgive the shameless plug - but seriously they are really cool.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Renewed

I didn't mean for it to be over a week since I blogged last.  I'm not sure what happened really other than illness and weather and holiday prep and a deep desire to sleep.  Still my blog is a place for me to share my thoughts and process my life and whether you noticed my absence or cared I still want to put the time into it.

We are at the ILs still, having come down on Thursday for the holiday.   Baby goat is napping the nap of several bad sleeping days (He just KNOWS when someone is having fun without him and woe to you if you try to put him to sleep during that time).  It is quite and peaceful and full of thankful family feelings.

Baby goat's great grandma is here and it is so lovely to see them enjoying several days together.  He is charming and loving and thinks the space to run and play at Grandmas is a wonderful thing.  He's picking up new words - most notably Auntie Emily now has a name - MiMi.  He turned 21 months yesterday and I'm blown away by the fact that a mere quarter of a year from now he'll be 2!  It is so strange, but I am loving the boy he is becoming.

It is strange to think how far our little family has come even in the last 6 months.  We've grown together and I am really loving my life right now.  Which isn't to say I don't get completely stressed out sometimes, particularly when responsibilities and illnesses and stuff collide together.

I finally got my CPAP machine this week and am slowly getting used to it.  I often find I've torn it off in the night with no recollection of it but I think I'm improving.  I'm still waiting to notice a huge change but hopeful as time passes and I get used to it the benefits will be apparent.

Thanksgiving is the start of the real holiday season for me and I'm really looking forward to this Christmas season with Edward.  We went out and splurged on a family advent wreath yesterday.  It is beautiful and I am looking forward to starting our family traditions with a child who is getting old enough to marvel in things.  ChristmasFest (at St. Olaf) and Christmas in Christ Chapel (at Gustavus) are next weekend and that will be a chance for us to get immersed in the music and majesty of the season too.

Plus my first big Christmas program is getting prepped at new church.  I have to admit it is a lot of work but I'm really looking forward to it.

As for my weight loss efforts I have decided to blog about it periodically and am still deciding whether or not that should be here or at a new place.  I've made a friend at new church and we are going to be accountable to each other - authentically and honestly real - about meeting our weight loss goals.  While I still don't have all the answers I'm starting to feel confident again in my ability to make successful strides in weight loss.

I never wrote about all I am thankful for this week but suffice to say I am overcome with thankfulness of the family, friends, communities and love I have in my life.  I count myself very very blessed.  (And full of food).  Happy Thanksgiving my friends.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Baby Goat and Prematurity Awareness

If I tell people that baby goat was a preemie they find it hard to believe.  It is hard to believe that my 20 month - 98+% weight, 90% height, 98+% head, daredevil, precocious, precious child was ever 4 lbs 7oz and struggling to breath.  It is baffling really the change and growth that occurs in small children.  Today you'd hardly know.

But I know.

Each moment of 46 days in the NICU are burned into my brain.  46 days where the concept of joy, fear, pain, sadness, and wonder merge into a super emotion both exilarating and exhausting.  I don't wish a preemie or a NICU experience on anyone, but whenever I meet one I know that I can relate.  I know the language, the panic and the hope of the place.

Baby goat was born at 33 weeks - 7 weeks early.  He wasn't ready to come out but my own body made it necessary.  Even so we were so lucky.  My blood pressure could be controlled long enough to give him steroids.  Baby goat hadn't stopped growing at any point.  My doctor had pre-eclampsia herself (3 times) and knew just what to watch for. 

I didn't have the birth story that anyone plans for.  Baby goat didn't have the beginning I planned for him.  1 in 8 children don't.  I didn't hold baby goat until he was 2 days old.  I know parents who had to wait even longer. 
Holding baby goat for the first time

A friend of a friend lost her baby at 23 weeks today and I've thought about it all day.  We know so little about what triggers labor or illness or any of the emergencies that can require babies to be born early.  Too many people know the sorrow of losing a child.  And too many know the joy of watching a too small child grow and thrive through overwhelming odds.

It is imperative to keep supporting the research on prematurity.  It is not that long ago that baby goat and I never would have survived my pregnancy.  And there are still mothers and babies who do not.  That needs to stop.

My child is my daily miracle.  All children are whether they have his beginning or not. 

Baby goat went from this:


To this...


But I pray for a day when no one has to endure the NICU, the wires, the fear. 

Every year, 20 million babies are born too soon, too small and very sick-half a million of them in the U.S. November 17th is when we fight! 

I fight for baby goat.




Tuesday, November 16, 2010

On Becoming a Future PriorFatGirl

I was not chosen to be the next official Future PriorFatGirl.  And that...its ok.  I think two great people were choosen and I am still uplifted by all the wonderful support and encouragement I've recieved in the last few weeks because of this experience.  You can still read my nomination post over at Jen's blog and the facts of this really haven't changed.  I think I'd put myself in a holding pattern as I waited to see what happened over on the other blog.  I do that a lot.  I make a mental milestone in my head and wait until that milestone is reached to make any real changes.  Of course, reaching that milestone I tend to place another one before me.

I don't want to do that again so I'm going to get a move on.  And in doing so I'd like to ask your opinion on whether or not I should document this journey.  Obviously it is a private thing but there is power in sharing it, for me and I hope for others.  But, this has not been a weight loss blog exclusively to date and I don't want to drive people away with a focused theme.  Besides I like having my blog to talk about anything that strikes my fancy or documents my families life.  So I've got a short poll.  Would you share your input with me below?

Finally I want to thank everyone who has visited or left me a kind note here, on twitter or on Jen's blog.  It means so so much to know that you believe I have the power to do this.  I often have trouble believing it myself but your comments reinvigorate me and give me strength to keep trying.  Thank you.  Thank you.  A thousand times Thank you.  I will be a PriorFatGirl someday.



(I had to redo the poll so please vote again if you already had!)

Monday, November 15, 2010

50 Book Challenge Success and Giveaway!

I am pleased to announce that I succeeded in my 50 book challenge for the year!  I finished my 50th book this weekend.  I'll keep track for the rest of the year and give you a summary of the year then but I want to celebrate in my 50 books.  It is not so easy with a child but it is something that centers me and I would miss it if I gave it up.  I've read some great books this year and arranged a little giveaway at the end of this post in honor of accomplishing this again this year.   Be sure to scroll down and enter.

50 Book Challenge 2010 - books to date

1. Follow the Model: Miss J's Guide to Unleashing Presence, Poise, and Power by J. Alexander
2. In the Company of Cheerful Ladies (No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency) by Alexander McCall Smith
3. The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales by The Brothers Grimm, Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm
4. The Other Queen: A Novel by Philippa Gregory
5. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
6. Blue Shoes and Happiness (No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, Book 7) by Alexander McCall Smith
7. The Good Husband of Zebra Drive (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Book 8) by Alexander McCall Smith
8. A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L'Engle
9. The Miracle at Speedy Motors (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Book 9) by Alexander McCall Smith
10. Stalking Susan by Julie Kramer
11. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
12. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson
13. Shanghai Girls: A Novel by Lisa See
14. A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L'Engle
15. Missing Mark by Julie Kramer 
16. Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell
17. Tea Time for the Traditionally Built (No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, Book 10) by Alexander McCall Smith
18. Angry Conversations with God: A Snarky but Authentic Spiritual Memoir by Susan E. Isaacs
19. Many Waters by Madeleine L'Engle
20. God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World--and Why Their Differences Matter by Stephen Prothero
21. Best Friends Forever: A Novel by Jennifer Weiner
22. The Apothecary's Daughter by Julie Klassen
23. An Acceptable Time by Madeleine L'Engle
24. Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories That Heal by  
25. Origins of Story: On Writing for Children by Barbara Harrison and Gregory Maguire
26. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
27. Noah's Compass by Anne Tyler
28. The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen
29. The Girl Who Played with Fire by Steig Larsson
30. The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner's Semester at America's Holiest University by Kevin Roose
31. Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
32. Love, Love, Love: and Other Essays by Charles Taliaferro
33. Her Fearful Symmetry: A Novel by Audrey Niffenegger
34. Feasting on Asphalt: The River Run by Alton Brown
35. Trailing Clouds of Glory: Spiritual Values in Children's Literature by Madeleine L'Engle and Avery Brooke
36. It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown, and a Much Needed Margarita



by Adriana Trigiani


The Double Comfort Safari Club (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency)
Allison Winn Scotch
Julie Klassen

ë


50. Cherries in Winter: My Family's Recipe for Hope in Hard Times by Suzan Colón

Pretty cool list huh?  I'm pretty pleased with it.  I had lots of variation - theology, memoirs, fiction, children's lit, murder mystery's, classics, modern novels, etc.  I'm happy to give you a review of any of the books too.  (The links are still to Amazon, I still dont' know how I feel about that whole mess they are in fully but deep down I'm too lazy to change all the links right now)

Anyway, back in the beginning of the year I read Stalking Susan by Julie Kramer.  Julie writes from Minnesota and her main character Riley Spartz reminded me an awful lot of my blogger friend (and Channel 9 Investigative Reporter) Trish VanPilsum.  The next time I saw Trish I asked her about it and found out that she'd been co-workers with the author years before.  (Apparently there are 3 local reports who all have some claim to the character profile of Riley)

I read Julie's other two books this year, the latest of which is Silencing Sam, and thanks to Julie Kramer that is the book I have to giveaway in honor of my 50 book challenge this year.  Best of all it is SIGNED!  (I just love signed books).  It is a fun read, a gripping mystery and a great, strong female character.  Plus it is set in Minnesota which is always fun.

And so...want to win this awesome signed copy of Silencing Sam?  This is a simple giveaway.  Just leave a comment with a book that you think I should read.  I am always looking for new books.  It may be that I've read it but I will still count it :)

I approached Julie about getting a book signed for this giveaway.  She one upped me and gave me a copy that I was fully prepared to pay for.  Because she is awesome.  Support your local authors!  Giveaway runs until Monday November 22, 2010 at 9pm.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Random Thoughts

* We still survived but it turns out that the stomach bug wasn't done with the Goat family this weekend.  It struck me and Mr. Goat in turn.  But it truly was a 24 hr bug it seems and we are mostly recouped.  It also struck at least 3 kids in daycare so I don't think baby goat was the source and I don't feel like an awful mother for not finding a way to avoid it.  And in the end, we still survived.  Also, clean sheets are da bomb!  Word.  (Even my sleeping toddler probably just rolled his eyes at that one).

* Giveaway tomorrow!  :)  It is going to be awesome!

* We had our first snow this weekend.  It was lovely and wet and heavy.  Thankfully we never lost power like so many others I know.  It also made me realize how ill equipped I currently am for the needs of a mobile toddler in the winter.  Thanks to awesome friends, I have some coats and snowpants and such.  Many of them are a just a bit too big so I'm waffling about whether to buy something smaller than will just last part of the year or just bundle him in too large stuff.  Also, boots, we need boots.  Target will be my after work destination today.

* Thanks to the family illness this week/weekend I feel like I dropped the ball on a few of my volunteers at work today.  I feel badly about it but I'm going to give myself some grace, make the necessary apologies and let it go.  I truly did all I could manage to make this weekend work and for 99% of the stuff it worked out fine.

* This Sunday was also Consecration Sunday at church (aka Stewardship Sunday).  Our lead pastor gave a lovely sermon and reminded me that nothing is truly ours.  We own nothing.  Even our children aren't ours.  Everything we have been given is because we are stewards of it for God.  It was a lovely message and really gave me the urge to stop more often and see abundance in my life where I often see want.  I truly have everything I need and so so so much more.  And I'm so blessed to be allowed to steward baby goat as he grows as a child of God.

* Have I mentioned that Mr. Goat LOVES trains?  I have all sorts of cute (blurry) pictures from our trip to the Train museum in WI from a month ago to share here.  He has been many times but it was baby goat's first trip.  Anyway, there is a Social Media push for Union Pacific to help design their next steam locomotive tour.  You can vote for your preferred city.  Plus if you vote using this link you can get Mr. Goat a point to help win a chance to be in the cab of a steam engine, which is sort of like sending me into space, or getting to go to the Oscars, or taking a 4 yr old to Disney world.  So I'd really really love it if you would use this link and vote for the tour.  And if you want to vote for Minneapolis that'd be great too.  (You do have to enter an email and then verify it, but that is all the necessary info you need.  I just put a first name and it went through).

*  Have you seen this?  It's has been making the rounds on the interwebs and it is quite hilarious.  There is also a Seminary one that someone made that is quite amusing as well.



* Harry Potter Movie Seven Part 1 comes out this weekend?  SQUEE!  (You know that train thing?  Yeah, its that's like that).  Anyone interested in a Sat. Matinee?  (As much as I'd like to do the midnight opening it seems unlikely I'll cave).

* I'm mentally prepping this year's geek kid gift list for next week.  If you have a favorite geek toy, product or experience that I should know about let me know!   I'm writing for geeks of all ages!

* I realized that we are less than 2 weeks from Thanksgiving and I am very excited all of a sudden.  I'm thrilled that baby goat will get to spend some quality time with his Great Grandma (one of them at least) and am really looking forward to hanging with the ILs.  Which is a great sentence to be able to write for anyone.

* Dry skin season is kicking in and I'm looking for a new good hand lotion.  Not pricy just your favorite that works and isn't greasy.  Any suggestions?

* After Thanksgiving is ChristmasFest concerts and then Christmas!  Where has this fall gone?  However, I loved that it seemed to go from 60 and sunny to winter overnight.  None of that annoying in between, windy, rainy, 40s stuff for me!

* That's it.  Mount laundry beckons.  Night blogland!  I hope you have an awesome week!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I survived

I think every new parent has a milestone that makes them more anxious than is probably necessary.  It may be labor, or breastfeeding, or vaccines, or whatever.  For me, it was the stomach flu.

I've never been good with dealing with the stomach flu.  I'm a big baby.  I don't want to see it, hear about it, talk about it or know you've had it.  Thinking about it makes me queasy.  When I didn't end up with any morning sickness in my pregnancy with baby goat I rejoiced.  If I can avoid throwing up I will at all costs.

Plus, after the New Year's Eve/Day flu experience at Mr. Goat's home (when we were still dating) my fear was multiplied.  And that is all I'll say about that, except that getting sick with your some-day ILs is a bonding experience you never speak of again.

And so the sight that greeted me at 1am early Wednesday a major bummer.  Poor baby goat had his very first stomach flu.  To be fair he'd thrown up singly a few times but it ended up being attributed to other things.  This was a true, multiple event, flu.

Yet.  I survived.  The mother instinct does kick in and you make do.  You comfort your child.  You clean up the mess, and clean it up again.  You do laundry.  You rearrange your schedule.  You cuddle on the couch watching NickJr and Sprout and PBS in a rare toddler tv session.  And you do it out of love for your child.

And then it passes and it wasn't as bad as you had built it up to be.

And you survived and so did your baby.

Still, if it doesn't come back anytime soon that'd be great.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mostly Wordless Wednesday - Baby goat speaks

Pardon the blurry crooked video but here is a clip of baby goat and his adorable voice (so turn on your sound).  As for the blur just blame the fact that he never stays still.

video

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Big words upheld by tiny hands

These last few weeks have been hard for me.  They were full of introspection and vulnerabilty and growth and hiding in  waves that are exhausting.  There are great connections that leave me spent and retreating to my introvertedness.  There have been tears of sadness, frustation and joy too.  And in the midst of it all are these BIG words that I am struggleing to define for MYSELF.  Words like:

Slavery

Freedom

Covenant

Health

Forgiveness

Grace

Self-respect

Worth

Vocation

Joy

Openness

Hope

Big words.  Big thoughts.  Big questions.

They swirl and appear in brief moments of clarity, like the pensieve from Dumbledore's office, but mostly it is a mist of thinking.  Sometimes they swirl fast with a franticness that demands my attention, sometimes they churn and bubble slowling drawing me to reflect and ponder. Sometimes thoughts are thought in places of anxiousness, sometimes from places of determination, but after two weeks the words remain swirling.

The words are good to think about.  The processing is part of they necessary way that I operate.  I know that.  I have to process and think and make those connections to move forward.  But it is exhausting.

But each day I come home to a smile and a hug and a "mama" and for a moment the words are small.  Grace, Love, Hope, Openness are real in his tiny hands building the perfect megablock tower, petting the cat, stealing mama's sweater.  His hands and heart hug the worry and wondering out of me and leave in its place... wonder.

Not the word but the living, the experience and mystery of a child of God giving and recieving love as the easiest, simplest, most joyful thing in the world.

Tiny hands.  Tiny hugs.  Bringing big words from out of my head and into my being, into my living.

Parents hope we teach our children what they need to know to live, thrive and love in the world.

But in reality they are often the ones doing the teaching, giving us the gifts of life and love in ways we've never expected.

Tiny hands are large enough to hold the biggest words and your heart at the same time.

Vote, if you want to

The voting is up today for the Future PriorFatGirl.  So head on over and vote if you want, even if you don't vote for me.  There are so many good nominations there is not a bad decision.  And every vote is a support of all our efforts and weight loss goals.  Thanks!

So if you want...vote

Monday, November 08, 2010

CSN Winner

I am pleased to announce the winner of my CSN giveaway.  Beth of Anti-Supermom is the winner!  Beth look for an email from me soon!  Thank you for all who entered and watch for another exciting giveaway coming soon.

Lutheran Geek Book Review: America's Prophet

It is probably a good thing that I'm not asked to review books very often because otherwise I would find even more books and authors out there in the world to add to my never-ending lists of books to read.  Still I love it when I am invited because that means that I get to delve into something I might not have picked up otherwise.  In this instance it was with TLC book tours and the book was America's Prophet: How the Story of Moses shaped America by Bruce Feiler.

And just to give you an idea here is the teaser on the back of the book:
The pilgrims quoted his story. Franklin and Jefferson proposed he appear on the U.S. seal. Washington and Lincoln were called his incarnations. The Statue of Liberty and Superman were molded in his image. Martin Luther King Jr. invoked him the night before he died. Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama cited him as inspiration. For four hundred years, one figure has inspired more Americans than any other. His name is Moses.

Traveling through touchstones in American history, bestselling author Bruce Feiler traces the biblical prophet's influence from the Mayflower through today. Meticulously researched and highly readable, America's Prophet is a thrilling, original work of history that will forever change how we view America, our faith, and our future.
 Are you intrigued?  I know that I was.  It helps that I seriously debated getting an Old Testament MA at Seminary, or that my dad is a history buff, or even that Mr. Goat has a serious History Channel addiction, but more than that I love delving into the conscious and unconscious way that story frames our cultural context.

The book starts out with the juxtaposition of two major family holidays of Feiler's:  Thanksgiving and Passover.  The reality we come to conclude quickly is that the basis of these holidays are tightly wound in America culture in ways we don't even expect.

If pressed I would have said that there were comparisons to Moses and the Exodus story in America's history but I was surprised how far reaching and purposeful many of them were.  Take the Pilgrim's - they clung to the Moses story as they crossed the waters of the Atlantic seeking religious freedom and seeking to set up a "holy nation"  If you replace Israelites with Pilgrims it seems like the same story and in their minds it was the same story.

Likewise Washington, Jefferson and the Founding Fathers grasped the image during the Revolution, going so far as to suggest an image of Moses for the US seal and comparisons between Moses and Washington.  (Crossing the Delaware for example).  Interestingly the book also talks about how Moses (and Washington) emphasized the need for stricter law and regulation in light of the new found freedom.  They both recognized, Feiler argues, that freedom and law often go hand in hand.

From the Founding Fathers connections to Moses and the Exodus narrative continue to be heralded and formative in the growth of the nation.  Both the North and the South frequently quoted from the books and story of Exodus-Numbers.  The slaves too sought for freedom from oppression and the literal slavery that makes Moses such a compelling figure to them. 

Many Moses' can be found around the Civil war - from Lincoln to Harriet Beecher Stowe to Harriet Tubman.  The nation, it seemed, raised up leaders willing to take the risk to call the world to "Let their people go"  Later Moses figures naturally go on to include Martin Luther King Jr. as well.  Feiler does not so much insist that in hindsight these leaders of our nation are seen as Moses but that during their lifetime they were viewed, participated in and even called on the story of Moses as a grounding force for the battle of liberty vs oppression around them.  To them and the people living the history of America they were the Israelites striving for freedom, grumbling in the desert and seeking the promised land.

The comparisons to Moses are not only found in leaders but also in our nations imagery and popular culture.   Feiler discusses how the Liberty Bell, the Statue of Liberty, Superman and DeMille's Ten Commandments all had ties to the idea of the Exodus story and its relevance to America today.  I for one, had no idea of the anti-Communist propaganda within the Ten Commandments as DeMille scripted it.

I found two things particularly compelling that I am still mulling over today in particular.

1.  I was fascinated by the comparison of Moses not gaining ultimate entry into the Promised Land and how it compares to the death of Lincoln and King in particular.  Would Lincoln or King have had the lasting impact on our nation had they not died when they did?  Could they have succeeded in being both the liberator and rebuilder of the nation?  It was fascinating to consider that the type of leader needed to thrive in the Promised land might not be the same one to lead you to freedom.  Feiler talks much about the importance of this act and you should read what he says on it.

2. I am also intrigued by the continued use of Moses in a much more secular world and am wondering how new Moses' may ultimately influence the current issues of our society - reconciling the Islamic world with our culture for one, or gay marriage for another.  Who will be the next Moses to stand up and say "Let my people go"?

I'm still thinking and probably will be for a while and as far as I'm concerned that always means that I enjoyed the book.  Still to be obvious, the book was interesting and well researched and it gave me a new perspective on our nation's heritage.  Even in its non-"religious" moments of history the story of Moses was a crucial one.  What is it that makes the story of Moses so compelling and easy to parallel?  Perhaps it is because deep down we are always starting again in the cycle of oppression to deliverance to covenant.  

I was giving a book to review from TLC Book Tours but was not compensated in any way, nor was I told what to write.  You can visit Bruce Feiler at his website, on Facebook, or on Twitter too.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Some Geek loves

There is no doubt that I am a geek in many senses.  If you've met me you know that I can hold up in many a geek conversation and topic.  So tonight I thought I'd share some of my favorite geek sites, shows and games currently!

1. Twitter - yes, I really mean this.  There are so many awesome geek contextions on twitter - writers, actors, producers and stars of some of the best geek shows.  They are often the "celebrities" that get twitter most.  Plus there are even many of the geek characters that tweet - including Sheldon Cooper and Lord Voldemort.

2. Epbot - This blog is written by Jen the author of Cake Wrecks.  Here however she shares all her other geek loves including steampunk, Doctor Who and Comic Con!  Plus when she makes something awesome and geeky she shows you just how she did it.  So much love for Jen!

3. ThinkGeek - This is my go-to shop online.  I love everything here.   So much geek love.  You could get me anything here I think and I'd be happy! :)

4. xkcd.com - I've featured comics from this before but I continue to be impressed by their cleverness and geekiness.  The best line is often the one hidden in the mouse selection.  It is another little easter egg in the comic.

5. Wil Wheaton - yes he was Wesley Crusher in Star Trek:TNG but he's been able to parlay his geekiness past his childhood fame.  Now he is an excellent author, blogger and geek-tacular social media fellow.  He also stars as "Evil Wil Wheaton" on my next geek love!

6. The Big Bang Theory - you have found this show already right?  I trust that you have and that I am preaching to the choir.  If not, start watching it (Thursdays on CBS at least in the Twin Cities).  This show has mainstreamed being a geek more than most other things right now.  It is hilarious and superbly scripted and acted.  Plus, evil Wil Wheaton!

7. Dr. Who - I wasn't sure if my love would continue as much this year as there is a new Doctor - Matt Smith.  But thanks to BBC America I've seen most of the new season and it was awesome.   If you don't have BBC America watch for it on SyFy soon I hope!

8. The Guild - This is a web series of videos about a band of fantasy gamers.  It is so funny and stars Felicia Day who also was awesome in Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.  Watch them. Start with season 1.

9. The Mythbusters - they have been around for ages now it seems but I still heart them.  They do just what I wish I could do - build stuff to prove people wrong (or right, but mostly wrong).  They do so with a good mix of real science, character hyjinks and of course, plenty of explosions!

10. Neil Gaiman - If you haven't read his books, stop reading this little blog and go to your library and get them now.  American Gods, or Anasi Boys, or The Graveyard book, or any of them really.  It takes a cool guy to take the concept of fairy tales and folk tales and transform them into modern novels.  Read them.

There you have it.  Some geek loves that are on my mind tonight.  If you have other geek-tacular things I should know about please let me know.  I'm always looking for new awesomeness!

Geek out,

Liz, the Lutheran Geek

Thursday, November 04, 2010

A glimpse into the future

Yesterday I was walking down the hallway of new church.  Mr. Goat and baby goat were having Wed night dinner and I was prepping for a class that I had to teach.  In a distance down the hall I saw a little boy, a 2nd grader, enter, run up the hallway part way and go into the Fellowship Hall.

His shirt was the same color that baby goat was wearing.  His pants dark and similar from a distance (black vs. dark olive but it looked the same at the time).  His hair was the same slightly shaggy haircut of the same color.

The child was laughing and joyful.

And for the moment I look and saw baby goat, my son, years from now. 

This is what I saw:

I saw him running through the halls of new church, with his friends and maybe siblings.  I saw myself prepping to teach a class with him in it.  I saw in the children's choir singing and goofing off but loving to sing.  I saw him comfortable and comforted by the church where we've made our home.  I saw him happy.  I saw him healthy.  I saw him, my beautiful boy, growing up in the blink of an eye.

Of course I didn't see him.  Two more steps down the hallway identified the child as one of the kids who was due to attend my class in a few minutes.

Still this vision has stuck with me today.  Children grow so fast.  It seems so cliche, but it is true.  At 20 months already his infant months seem farther away than preschool or even Kindergarten.  It is bittersweet but exciting at the same time. 

I pray my vision proves true.  I pray that he grows healthy and happy.  I hope he feels loved.  I hope so much for baby goat, but ultimatlely it boils that.  Happy.  Healthy.  Loved.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Nearly Wordless Wednesday

Photo taken of me at ZooBoo...


Not an incorrect crime but we can do better...


I'm thinking "Guilty of feeling sorry for herself"... or possibly "Guilty of too much awesomeness!"

What would your caption be today? (for you or for me)

(Please note this is meant in lighthearted fun to apologize for all the angst lately. It is not meant to be self-deprecating, just an attempt to not take myself too seriously)

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The aftermath

Yesterday my PriorFatGirl nomination post went up and I was buoyed immensely by the kind thoughts and love and care from so many people.  Each comment was a affirmation that I am on the right path and choosing to make the necessary steps, whether they are hard or not.  There was so much fear in me to share that post and I am grateful for the love and support you all showed me.

And yet being so open and raw has left me wounded and vulnerable today.  Does that make sense to anyone else?  Any weight-loss journey has a necessary battle being waged in your head - what to eat and why, how to exercise, why you have worth and value and why you deserve and have the power to change.  For every positive inner monologue there are equivalent negative ones and you can't be sure what side will win the battle in your brain.

Yesterday the negative retreated and let the positive win the day.  I was shored up and protected and motivated by your love, but the negative monster still waits in the shadows much like Gollum lurks within Smeagol from the LOTRs.

So awaking this morning the negative monster redoubled its efforts...
"Now everyone knows your weaknesses.  They will judge you.  You are grasping too high, even if you do become a PriorFatGirl, do you really think you can succeed and inspire anyone?  And really, won't it be a popularity contest in the end, and you've never won one of those anyway.  It is a competition and when it comes to weight you just can't compete.  You are NOT the Biggest Loser after all, although seperately the words are apt.  What makes you think that YOU can succeed now when you have a consistent track record of failing."
And so on.  And yes I realize that I need to quell these voices and that they aren't real and that it is not helpful.  I've spent most of the day avoiding food, avoiding the inner monologue and surrounding myself with positive things.  I don't want to give into the negative self-worth monster.

I hate that monster.  If it was anyone else I would insist that the monster is lying and that you need to give as much grace to yourself as you do for other people.  I know that.  I know there is grace abudant and sufficient for me.  I know I am given grace far beyond anything I could ever deserve.  I know that I am valued and strong and WORTHY OF LOVE.

But today I'm raw.  I'm tapped out and vulnerable.  I worry that I don't have enough to give and am not strong enough to succeed on my own.  Ultimately I know whether I blog about it on PFG or here or not at all it is ultimately a journey to be taken alone.

I've tried to bury my head in the sand, to say the outcomes of this particular opportunity don't matter; what matters is the strength and conviction to begin.  I repeat it endless like a madman's mantra seeking to shield myself from the negative monster waging war in me.

There is a quintessiental movie battle image in my head.  Two opposing armys line up on a large field.  Both sides know that this battle will decide the day and the stronger army, those oppressors in power, are confident that this pesky uprising will be dealt with quickly.  The rebels are afraid and determined and have all the heart and moxy that makes them the protagonists and heros of the story.

But unlike a movie I cannot be sure that the rebels will prevail. In real life sometimes the oppressors continue to oppress.
I hope and pray that this time I am William Wallace... and Robin Hood...and Luke Skywalker...and Frodo Baggins.

I pray for the strength of character to keep the journey whether or not I "win" the luxury of doing it in an established blogging community.  After all I have an e stablished community here.  It isn't about the competition when it comes to weight loss, which is hard for a competetive person to admit.  ALL people seeking to lose weight, whether it is 20 or 200 lbs are waging these battles.  We aren't in competition with each other, ultimately we are in competition with ourselves.

I am my own oppressor. 

I am my own hero.

And today I stand in a field facing the enemy, feeling wounded and vulnerable, praying to my God for the courage to lead the charge and take the scary, difficult, ugly, and bloody steps to my own freedom.

Monday, November 01, 2010

What's small and green and addicted to candy?

Baby goat of course.

Addicted may be too strong a word, but he certainly understands that there are forbidden goodies in the bright orange pumpkin. Honestly you give a kid one half of a fun size white chocolate kitkat and his eyes bug out and he only says "MORE" pointing at the bucket for the next hour.

But we had two adorable costumes for baby goat this year: One you've seen before, the cute froggie costume.  He wore this at ZooBoo but seeing as it was a bit chilly during Trick or Treating last night we went for warmth!


What I missed a picture of was the fact that we Trick or Treated with my friend Suzi and one of her daughters. Her daughter was Snow White, so we had a princess and a frog prince! I wish I'd made him a little crown!

Baby goat did pretty well trick or treating.  He definitely caught on to the process and Suzi's neighborhood was so nice and kid friendly which was great!  Still we only made a large block before it was time to let the others go ahead and head back home.

We were able to wear our geek-tacular costume at our church Halloween party on Saturday and it turns out that that costume was another little green creature....
YODA

It turns out that baby goat wasn't too keen on the Yoda ears.  Despite the fact that the costume was large on him the headpiece was really to small for his gigantic baby goat head!  Still you take away the ears and instant Obi Wan Kenobi!  Here Obi Wan is enjoying orange frosting and getting it all over his costume.


Here Obi Wan has abandoned the party fun for Duplos.

Finally we have a half boy, half frog trying to raid his pumpkin halfway down the apartment hallway.  He clearly knew that it was exciting stuff in there!

I hope you all had a great Halloween!

Heart on my Sleeve

I'm excited (and terrified) to share a link with you today.  A few weeks ago I entered myself into the running to be one of Jen's Future PriorFatGirl's.  Jen lost 90 lbs and was looking for another blogger to join her weight loss community.  So I entered.  My nomination post is up there today.  Voting takes place sometime later this week or next.  I'm not sure.  If you want to read it you can, just be gentle!

Liz, a Future PriorFatGirl?