Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Two-Weeks Old...

Well, we made it to two weeks. I am finding ways to get the laundry and cleaning done and even got groceries last week. We've taken Atticus to church twice, to a baby shower, to our Monday night Small Group, to the Grocery Store, Target, and Home Depot. We go on a long walk every day -- sometimes with friends that come to visit, sometimes with Brad on the weekends, and sometimes just A. and I. "We" talk about all sorts of things on our walk. When I lived on the farm, I would always pray and sing and talk on my daily walk but haven't done that since I've been a city dweller -- though I probably would have fit in when I was living down by Stevens Park -- and even here people wouldn't be too concerned, they'd just "take note" of "the local character", shake their heads, and continue with their gardening or other home pursuits. BUT, now with Atticus as my walking partner, I talk with him for long stretches of our trip -- and sometimes we pray together or sing songs. I figure you never know how much he's absorbing -- he really seems to take things in. He's awake more and more through the day (sometimes still at night). I try to spend time focusing on him when he is awake -- we read books together and sometimes play the piano. And he loves "exercising" -- he gets his hands and feet flailing and kicking -- just like when he was inside me but with oh so much more room.
I'm not sure yet how to "process" being a momma, but somehow God is extending his grace to me to not need to have it all mapped out, pinned down, figured out...
And it is summer splendid beautiful.

So you know: Playing at the Minneapolis Zoo this summer are Andrew Bird and Susan Tedeschi. (And Aimee Mann -- Kara) (Also Indigo Girls -- twice, and Dar Williams). If anyone wants to come up for one of these concerts, let us know.

Monday, May 22, 2006

The Houses We Live In

Atticus and I are listening to Amos Lee -- such a happy album. I think he and Keb Mo are so similar -- both great morning music. I am reading in Isaiah and James for my Bible reading. Today I re-found Isaiah 30:15 "For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, 'In repentace and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength." Perfect reminder for this day.
Most days I wake to remind myself of two unchanging truths: That I am His and He is mine. That this is the day that He has made -- I will rejoice and be glad in it. After a night of very little sleep -- Atticus just was so frustrated and agitated last night -- I woke bleary-eyed, wobbly-brained, thinking nothing. But after an hour's nap and a few house chores begun and my son sleeping happily in my lap, I have noticed the sunlight and wind, the glorious morning I have been handed by my Creator-King. There is a two-story Lilac tree reaching up to my south west study window. I talked to my mom this morning -- she and my dad are planting the garden -- it is finally dry enough. My dad had just come in from roto-tilling the areas. He owns a Troy-Built machine -- which is one of his few prized posessions from our couple decades on our family farm. [Now my dad is a pastor of a rural Wisconsin church. My mom works at Border bookstore in the neighboring town.] I love that my parents still garden together. I love that my dad has an endeavor that brings him joy, that he has a way to work with his hands and grow things,
We will go for a long walk after lunch today...and drink in light and color and the pleasure of looking at houses. I've been reading an architecture book called The Houses We Live In: An Identification Guide to the History and Style of American Domestic Architecture edited by Jeffrey Howe. I've been enjoying it so much -- a bazillion pictures helping me identify the houses around our neighborhood. When I lived in Dekalb, IL I had a small casual project where I began taking pictures of distinctive house around town and, when the opportunity and whim arose, I would talk with the home-owner and find out what they knew about their home. Fascinating stories. I put all the photos in a book but never did get around to writing down the stories...
Yesterday Brad, A. and I took a long walk along Minnehaha Creek and then back through the neighborhoods south and east of our house. Mansion houses -- so much fun to walk through new unexplored neighborhoods.
Anybody reading this: Do you know of a good non-water-based gentle lotion brand? Atticus has some continuing dry skin problems and a friends recommended finding a different lotion from Johnsons. I've also tried Olive Oil with little effect. Let me know if you have any advice. Thanks!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

9 Months and 3 Days

Hey Everyone, I just wanted you all to know that I am beginning this blogspot to keep in contact with you and because I love writing and recording existence. Anyone who would visit this site probably knows that Brad and I were married last August 6th. We celebrated our 9 month anniversary 3 days before our son was born. It has been an inscrutably intense and catalytic 9 months. We both love being married and are continually surprised by the grace extended to us by Christ and by each other. The comfort of companionship is very sweet. And, despite my deep fear at my smallness of heart, I have fallen deeply in love with my husband. Brad has continued to learn the surpising lesson (for both of us) that despite my tangled labrynth of thoughts and questions and confusions, I am actually quite simple: I need the reassurance of un-conditioned love. Brad, above any other strength, excels at real-life love: knowing consideration and unfeigned affectionate everyday kindnesses. I would like to say out here that six things ring in my heart this year, six gifts beyond beyond: Christ has saved my soul, has saved my husband's soul -- captured us whole; God has given me my husband Brad; God has given me my son, Atticus; God has given me my dear dear family and Brad's lovely family for my own; I have the deep pleasure of keeping and making a home in this city cottage in the midst of a tree-filled, music-rich city; and my little family here has become part of a new church plant in north Minneapolis where we are growing in friendship with many families and delighting in the worship music and the rich preaching each week.
My heart overflows with gratefulness, gladness...contentment -- CONTENTMENT! Me -- who has always thought a fitting epitaph for my headstone to be: "Too much, yet never Enough." And now I think I can truly say, I feel...satisfied. (Albeit not stagnant satisfaction -- ever diligent foward and deeper and higher...but satisfaction nonetheless.)
As there is less and less space for "me", I am more and more free from the burden of myself. The liberation is cool water.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Atticus and the End of the First Week

Atticus Robert Johannsen
Born Tuesday May 9th 2006 at 10:16 pm
Weighing 6 lbs. 3 oz.
Measuring 21 1/2 in. long

Today is Atticus' one week birthday. He has gained about half a pound since leaving the hospital. Yesterday he stayed awake for about 6 hours and gave my parents, my brother Jon and Brad and I much pleasure as he looked calmly around, interacting with our voices and making funny faces.

We had met Brad at work and ate dinner at a very nice downtown restaurant, The Monte Carlo. When we returned home after dropping Brad off at work, my family left for Wisonsin. I had my first afternoon on my own. God continues to give me so much grace -- Gladness, genuine happiness down to my toes continues to uphold me. I am nicely healing from labor and have been able to do household chores in between feeding and playing with Atticus.

Today has been absolutely beautiful -- splendid with sunshine up to the 70 degrees. My friend Leah and Little Cal came over this morning for a long walk and stayed for lunch. Tonight Atticus and I will be a part of a friend's baby shower and give Brad an evening to himself.

All is so very good.