Thursday, September 8, 2011

My Quilt.

The windows are open and Andrew and I are snuggled under the quilt I won in the third grade. Its moments like these when I realize that my sometimes bad habit of wanting to keep anything with sentimental value is totally acceptable. Many times, things are just things. Material possessions really don't mean much and are never promised to last more than a life time. My quilt, is not one of these things. It has been spread out across my bed for a few days now. Andrew brought it out from the hall closet the night we opened all the windows in our house. The quilt, although special, doesn't remain out all the time. Maybe that's the magnificence of it. I can almost forget I even own it, and then I see it spread out across my bed and its like we have never been apart. The quilt looks at me and smiles in its obscure and mismatched blocks of fabric, some pieces looking nautical and others looking like Christmas wrapping paper. It seems to shout out that fall has arrived. That all the memories I have of fall as little girl are just around the corner.

The quilt curls and folds around my very pregnant belly as I climb in bed, and lets me soak in the fact that this fall will be more different and special than any other. That my memories of fall will grow to not only be remembering my own cold cheeks from playing in the fall leaves, but kissing my baby's pink cheeks as he or she smiles up at me in new life wonder. That soon I will take the place of the mother who bakes all winter to keep the house warm with yummy smells and pleasant memories. Andrew slides into the quilt beside me, giving me a boyish smile that I love. And being the man he is, he already knows that before we sleep I will want to tell him the story of how I came to own the quilt. He almost realizes that as he now has the right as my husband to take out the quilt and cuddle with it too, he has to know the history to join in such a special bond.

"I still can't believe I won this quilt," I say with a little giggle and a half smile that makes me look more like I did the day I won it. 

"I know," says Andrew. Letting me do most of the talking.

I start in proudly, "Everyone in my third grade class got to help put it together. The reading teacher in our elementary some how came across the top of a quilt all finished but no backing on it."

So each one of us, with little fingers and little pieces of string tied the sheets together, making a warm and cuddly quilt. Martha, the reading teacher, then proudly wrote along the side in a big sharpie marker, "Tied by the third grade 1995-1996." She then told us there would be a drawing later in the week to see which one of us would get to take it home.

"I think I wanted that quilt more badly than any other kid in the third grade," I said remembering back. "I mean, what third grader is just dying to win a quilt?"

The day of the big drawing I told my mom not worry, that I had prayed and I knew God would give me this quilt. My mom probably smiled and nodded along, but secretly rehearsing a speech on how God answers our prayers in different ways. She later told me how concerned she was, knowing I would be pretty devastated after not winning it. 

I told my best friend Anna O'Brien during recess that I had never won anything before, but I was really hoping and praying to win this quilt. I'm sure she smiled and tried to reasure me that I would have a chance at winning.

When it came time for the drawing they brought us all in the same room, and put all of our names in a big red bucket. I know I had to be holding my breath the entire time she stirred up the names. And when her voice so clearly said, "Jeran Anderson,"  it felt that the moment had already been written and I was simply walking through it. I proudly came in front of the whole third grade class, (Andrew laughs that it was only 60 people, mocking my small town raising) and smiled my happiest smile and held up the quilt. 

Nothing that day could have quenched my joy. Not even the third grade's class jock (which in third grade means plays sports at recess and cries when he doesn't win). Andrew Mead was across the table from me at lunch and said in his most mocking tone, "Jeran, smile for me. Smile for me like you did when you won the quilt." The quilt was mine. That's all that mattered. 

My mom sat in our big white van, waiting for me to show up in her review mirror, empty handed and crying. But then she later told me she almost gasped as she saw her little redheaded girl bouncing down the sidewalk, queen size quilt in hand, smiling like I was holding the whole world in my hands. She told me she learned a lesson on faith that day. I think I just thought it was the best day of my life. 

And now, married and pregnant, cuddled under that famous quilt with the love of my life... I think maybe God let me win it because He knew I would keep it forever. 

But for now, the magic seems to dance around my room with the cool air blowing in from the window, and I have visions and dreams of having my own children run into our bedroom on fall Saturday mornings, ready to jump and giggle all tangled up in the quilt I won in the third grade. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Baby, Baby, Baby

Well I'd be lying if I didn't say that the biggest thing on my mind lately has been the baby growing inside of me. Even now as I sit here and write, the baby has started moving a lot more... kicking and tumbling around. At night I lay down ready to sleep and then the baby starts to move, and so does my mind. Thinking about all the little things that soon to be new moms think about I guess. To be honest, the last few weeks have been discouraging at times. With the heat above 100 almost every day, and people constantly asking how close I am... which when I answer, "a little over 3 months left" I feel like it might as well be 3 years. All the while growing, growing, growing. Recently though, I have slowly been coming to realize that although no one promised me pregnancy would be easy... that it is worth every moment. I am so ready to hold our baby, but not until God's perfect timing.

I could go on and on about how this truly is God's perfect timing for this baby. So many things point to the fact that this is His child, His miracle, His blessing to us... Andrew and I are simply once again saying yes to the Lord to use us. I know I have to take one day at a time. When I think about the fact that we want a "big" family or how soon I could get pregnant after this first one... a lot starts to race through my mind. But God never gives us our whole future at once. He simply lets the sun rise . And its my choice to get up and say yes to the Lord and what He has for me. Whether thats working at a coffee shop, or not doing anything but being pregnant and resting... or whether that's waking up to my four kids one day. Or waking up in another country. Each day is the Lord's. Thank God.

Its also hard for me to completely explain to people what God is teaching and working in our family. Andrew and I haven't said never mind to doing ministry here or overseas. We haven't decided to settle down and pursue the American Dream. Andrew and I both feel God's conviction and peace to keep working and paying off my student loans, and while we have been doing that... we have also felt the Lord calling us to be parents. We both want to love people where we are, and to live simply and give abundantly. Even through the coffee shop God has shown me so much about people. Really, the main problem with people not loving one another like we should is misunderstanding. Such great misunderstanding between so many people. So, maybe thats my mission here in Arkansas... to stop trying to look around and find a person I feel is worth loving... but to really get to know someone... and then LOVE them. To stop looking around for the Christian you want to see and BE that Christian.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Becoming a Mother

Last night I woke up about 4 am and the line from the movie Juno was the first thing I thought.

"I have heartburn radiating in my kneecaps"

I'm not kidding. I have had my share of heartburn. And this, by far was the worse. I felt like while I was sleeping someone had opened my mouth, poured a little cleaner in, then shut my mouth. "There you go... let that sit there for a few hours," says the Heartburn Angel of Death. I guess it was just the cereal and cheese I had eaten before bed, but it honestly felt like the same thing. So, after trying to take tums, eat a few saltines, and then throwing it all up...I was back in bed. 14 Weeks pregnant. Sitting up trying to sleep like big bird. And I told Andrew,

"You know, this baby better be very cute."

We both laughed, and I told him that I wasn't mad at the baby. But I did say that breast feeding at 4 am did sound like more fun than throwing up. There's something about pregnancy or motherhood that makes it all worth it to me. If I even had to do the last trimester all over again, throwing up and just eating kid cereal for almost 3 months, I would. There is something about the power and awe of knowing God is growing this precious little life inside of me, that I could never be mad or want to stop. Its a weird feeling because I feel like such a different person, but at times its still hard to believe a baby is actually in there.

Andrew and I waited through the first trimester to make our pregnancy public to more than close friends and family. There were a lot of questions up in the air, and we knew we needed to make a few decisions before announcing our plans. The baby wasn't an accident or surprise, although its always sort of shocking when you find out your pregnant. We had both felt the Lord really speaking to us in the first few months of marriage that He really had children as a blessing for us. Since middle school I have always wanted a big family, full of my own children and adopted ones. And last time I checked, that's not the dream of too many 8th graders. So, I knew deep down that this is the plan the Lord has for us. And the beautiful thing is, God had spoken this to Andrew's heart too.

Andrew and I are not extremely successful people. We will probably never have a lot of money. Andrew and I work at a coffee shop, and career wise, that's as far as we know. Sometimes Andrew can say one little thing, and I know that is the reason I married him. The other day while we were brushing our teeth before bed and discussing our future plans, I was telling him that even though things are scary I know that this is God's plan. And then he said,

"You know Jeran, like I've said before, I don't really know what I want to do in life, but the one thing I know I want to do more than anything is be a father. And I get to do that."

Melts your heart. It really does. And so, for now things are crazy while we pack up are little (but some how filled with crap) apartment to move across town. Across from the park and the library. Andrew will work at the coffee shop/ cafe this next year while he looks for jobs. And starting in the fall, I'll be a stay at home mom. Money and success is not what makes people good parents. It's having the dreams of loving something more than yourself. My future for now is not traveling the world or buying a new home. My future is full of dreams of tummy time and breast feeding and taking a walk with the stroller to go visit daddy at work. And while your dreams never seem to be quite your reality... the memories and love I have from my own childhood are not when we moved in to our new house, or when we went on vacation. I remember the most fondly spending so much time with my mommy and going to visit daddy at work. I was proud of my parents. For so much of my childhood I never noticed money. And even though children grow up to be disapproving teenagers, they eventually become adults that begin to remember how truly lucky they are to have parents that love them.

(Baby Nycum at about 12 weeks. I told Andrew from the looks of it, it seems we have a laid back baby that takes after his or her daddy.)