Hospital Frequent User’s Card:The Williams’ Qualify by a Landslide

I die every single day. Because when you are a mom, all of your plans are always subject to change. The day moves along as usual and, of course, you make plans, but out of nowhere they can change. This is what happened to us last week. I’d planned to go for a swim once Spence got home from work, but then Sabra started crying. Like really crying. Not whining, but screaming her head off – someone cut off my foot-level of crying.

We couldn’t get her to calm down, so after about an hour of wails, we turned to urgent care. They took her rectal temperature and followed protocol, but when they couldn’t find anything wrong, and shrugged that their labs were down, they dealt us the Austin default: “We’re going to have to transfer you to Dell.”

It was dinnertime – read rush hour – so Spence (before his back re-herniated) and I decided to split up. He would feed Brooks and put him down and I would haul our screaming baby across town to the place of nightmares for mothers everywhere. Dell Children’s Hospital is almost a curse word in mom vocab.

Somehow, my sweet baby fell asleep for the hour it took us to inch our way toward central Austin. After another hour of locating a parking space, we finally checked in at the ER. They were expecting our transfer, but that didn’t make the wait any shorter. Also, her crying suddenly switched back to normal baby crying.

Once we funneled through triage, I wondered if maybe it wasn’t just gas all along. When the second rectal showed no fever and I felt a few toots on my lap while waiting, I called Spence.

“That’s not the cry,” he immediately said after hearing her from the other end of the line. It wasn’t. We agreed that maybe it was gas and she’d probably be fine.

I gathered my baby load and headed back to the check-in. “We’re going to go,” I said, squinting my nose to portray some sense of authority. “I think it was just gas.”

The lady looked at me like I was the worst mother who ever lived. “I’d get her checked out if I were you.” Her tone of voice trumped my crinkled nose. I promptly wheeled my snap ‘n go back to the waiting area.

We waited our night away, and after a number of tests and a slew of docs who couldn’t find anything wrong with our baby girl, I signed the $250 bill for our copay and we drove back home.

Of course I wouldn’t have been able to sleep that night if we had just gone home when I thought the coast was clear. And, yes, the confirmation of my suspicions was probably worth the 250 bucks, but at the end of the day it was about dying to myself. It was about sacrificing dinner and my body, my money and my time because I love this little blue eyed wonder more than anything.

So, in essence, these are the only plans I have that aren’t subject to change:

  • being present for my kids
  • leaving the Facebook app off my cell phone
  • loving them
  • pointing them towards Ultimate Love and the Reason they have been entrusted to us
  • putting their needs before my own (at least while they are little and almost totally rely on me)

So, that’s my agenda and I’m stickin’ to it! I mean look at this face….

Pain in the Back

Sometimes the pain in life goes away, and you think everything might be okay. But then it comes back. This has been a rough week. Just flat rough. My stupid heel hurts again, which sucks, but that’s the least of my worries.

A year after Spencer’s spinal micro discectomy, he got a re-herniation. He goes in for another surgery tomorrow, which throws a wrench in everything. Our summer plans have been canceled along with certain liberties I’ve taken for granted, duties I’d delegated to Spencer for the next ten years. It’s funny how quickly you realize how good you had once something bad happens. I need my husband.

As we speak, he is upstairs in bed, where he has been a constant resident for the past few days. He can literally not even sit up, so the pre-op road trip today shall be interesting.

It has been a week of pulling double-duty, as he cannot lift the children and is constant pain. He laughs in the face of the sugar pill known as hydrocodone. It’s draining and difficult to watch.

I hope this surgery does the trick, but even the doc assured us that it may not. We may be back for a third or fourth one.

God is teaching me so much about my plans. It reminds me of James 4:13-15:

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

So, we’ll see what the Lord’s will is.

Sparkly Green Earrings by Melanie Shankle

I rarely read anything after the last actual page of a book, but I liked this one so much that I read the acknowledgments. You know a book is gold when even that section can make you chuckle. The author, Melanie, thanked her best friend for reminding her that if Paul Blart: Mall Cop could be the #1 movie in America, then there was a market for her book (read: people want to laugh).

I liked that the author doesn’t front. She is trying to follow Jesus, but she also loves a pair of Frye boots, which she knows is shallow and temporal. I love that she isn’t blind to the criticisms/eyebrow raises of having an only child or being a “writer.”

I liked that this author lives in San Antonio (in what I would gather is Alamo Heights, which makes me hold her at an arm’s length, but then again that is only my own judgmental lack of depth). I liked that she talks about locations I am familiar with and went to my sister-in-law’s Alma Mater.  

And, finally, I liked that she threw out her frank inside thoughts at every turn. Unconventionally. In parentheses.

This was a tasty frosty treat in the summertime for this momma.

Sabra: Love Costs

My good friend’s dad died in a terrible accident last Saturday night. He was 76 and lived a full life, but I found myself sobbing for days. I hardly knew the man, but he is – in a roundabout way – the reason we have a daughter named Sabra. See, on his first date with his future wife Margaret, he said, “If I ever have a daughter, I want to name her Sabra.” He’d heard this name in an old western movie and liked it. They married and had a daughter and you know the rest of the story. I got to meet this Sabra when I was a teenager and she was and still is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. We’ve gotten closer over the last few years and when Spencer and I had a baby girl last fall, we could think of no better name for our daughter than Sabra.

When I learned of her dad’s death, I was sad. I was sad for her, for sure, but I doubly mourned the father I have never or will ever have. I know nobody is perfect, but when I hear about these above and beyond fathers who fly out of their way just to meet their daughter in an airport on a layover or take them to Paris when they turn 16, so they will always have their first Paris memory with the man who loved them first, I get sad. I get bummed for the rest of us. Heck, I tear up when dads remember their kid’s birthday!

I have a dad. Maybe he reads this, but probably not. I love this dad because he is my father, but he does not know me. And any time he has gone out of his way for me has been when it’s convenient for him. See, love costs. And outside of child support, I don’t know if I have cost him much – especially after the age of 18. And maybe that’s why I have a hard time looking at God like a father figure. I don’t particularly like my father and I’ve never felt safe and protected under his arm. I will cry when my dad dies. He is my father and at least I have that, but there are volumes more I will write once he is dead, so I’ll stop here.

My friend Sabra had a wonderful father, the kind I can only dream about, and I think that is why her heart is so gorgeous. She had parents who were married for 40 years and a father who reported directly to His Heavenly Father.

I pray that for our sweet baby Sabra. I pray that Spencer would be that father and, as his wife, I would help him be that sacrificial, present, God-fearing father.

Pain & Balance

Ouch! That’s all I have to say after getting two needles stuck in my foot at the podiatrist’s office yesterday. It hurt and I left annoyed.

See, I enjoy researching topics of interest –and when something is plaguing you, it becomes an interest. But there is a thin line between interest, obsession and full-on conspiracy theory-engagement. I may have recently fallen into the latter category in my search for foot health. Just like there is a natural food subculture, there is also a natural running subculture. I eased my way into minimalist running by trying out a pair of Newtons with a 60 day money back guarantee. I fell in love with them and never returned them. I was hooked – until I got injured in them. Cue intensive research.

All of my Google search combinations on running/shoes/injury have taught me one thing: Big Shoe is to blame for every injury on the planet. Yup. If we were all just minimally shod people groups, then we would be running well into our 90’s. It reminds me of when I read The China Study and learned that Big Dairy is the root of all evil – when you see people consume it, you want to ask them what it’s like to knowingly ingest cancer. Well, that’s how you start to feel about bodily ailments and shoes. It’s relentless.

But my pain was equally relentless, so I turned to the brainwashed ones.

After my injection, the podiatrist (whose education was probably fully supported by both Big Dairy and Big Shoe) said, “You need to wear a thick soled Asics or New Balance,” I rolled my eyes. Of course he would say that! They’ve gotten him!

I ended up there, getting poked with needles, because the pain wouldn’t go away whether I slept in a splint, wore toe spacers or walked barefoot. I was at the end of my rope, begging for cortisone shots! And that’s what I got. Sure, I missed running (and aqua-jogging is nowhere near a close second), but more than that, I missed being able to walk around like a normal person. It felt like I was stepping on a pebble with every step.

And now, post-shot, it doesn’t hurt. Imagine that – modern medicine doing something right!

At the end of the day, just like I now have a balanced dose of dairy in my daily food mix (what you may call the average American diet), I treated my ailment the average American way. And it worked!

Who knows, I may even to return to the average American shoe: The New Balance. What’s so wrong with balance and average after all?

Maugham’s The Razor’s Edge

I spent the first few hundred pages of this book under the impression that this was just a novelist using liberties in his writing style. And I liked that. But then I learned that these were real stories about actual people. The names have been changed, but the hero (if you can call him that) was a real dude.


I didn’t like Larry at first. I actually thought he was the most selfish person in the world for a while, but I’m glad I got to know him. Larry is bizarre and has a hunger for truth and I came away from this book curious about the correlation between having independent means and the search for God. It is surprising how many folks give away fortunes to find the truth. But I wonder if folks ever run after enlightenment in the face of poverty.

What I liked the most in these 300+ pages was this beautiful line that was spoken by a tertiary character: “…for my long experience has convinced me that the only basis of a happy marriage is complete fidelity on both sides.” I love this. It seems like I learn about an extramarital affair every few weeks. Inside the church and out, it’s happening. And it may be easier now than ever. You can store John in your phone as Johanna and delete whichever conversations you like. It freaks me out and yet I know it has been going on throughout the ages. But what I love the most is that this line was spoken by an immoral, worldly woman. How fascinating that God’s intentions can be found true even among the avant-garde who are too good for Him.

I would say that this book really boils down to a ten page conversation that takes place in a café. There is a story, sure, but this book is about one conversation, which is why the author has to set it up.

Larry has been enlightened.

In the movie Igby Goes Down, the main character has a conversation with a girl who has thought about joining The Peace Corps. He responds with something along the lines of, “Ah, go out your ‘Razor’s Edge’ experience; find the meaning of life.” Only now do I understand that he was referring to Larry and to this book. Larry had found his great teacher in India and had his transformative mountain top experience. He spoke candidly about reincarnation and actually made me think about its plausibility for the first time. Honestly, I’d always thought it was stupid. I mean a sperm and an egg join and what connection to the past can there be besides DNA? But I really gave it all some consideration: reincarnation, karma, the whole bit. And while I don’t buy it, I would enjoy a lengthy conversation with an apologist over the subject matter.

The Goodies: This book made me think and I like that. It was also a treat to experience Paris at its artistic height before WWII. And I like hearing how people spoke and thought almost 100 years ago – and a reminder that humans are just that, human, throughout the ages.

Hands-Free Mama

Hands Free Mama: A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters!

by Rachel Macy Stafford

Thank you, Rachel. This was such a good reminder that I need to leave my phone behind and live. Also, when I do so, I really don’t miss much! I needed to hear this and experiment just to make sure it was true. Thank you for giving me permission to linger with my children and let them take a long time to learn things because they will grow up and be gone forever. And Rachel, thanks for giving me the permission to throw on a hat and worry less about what people think. I often forget that’s an option that can greatly reduce my stress level on contact! My hat’s “on” to you!

Book Reviews: B.P.Dub-style

I read lots of books. And I learn some pretty cool stuff from some of them, so I feel like it is worth my time to record a few solid takeaways. But I don’t want to critique anyone or anything, because I don’t have the energy. There is already enough criticism and cynicism out there and I don’t want to add to it.

I’m simply going to “review” a few of the books I read by saying what I liked about them. It’s as simple as that! My hours are already spent – the book is read – so I’m just going to share some choice gems I gained along the way. That, my friends, is my book reviewing criteria.

Oldtimer Wisdom on my 3rd Mother’s Day

I have things to say. And because I’ve been a Mama for two years and two months, I think I’m finally entitled to add my two cents to the pool. So, Moms, here it is:

  1. Keep your eyes on your own plate. Seriously, this isn’t a race or a Pinterest competition. In the end, no one will care what you drove or how many times you volunteered or what kind of earrings you wore –and certainly those aren’t the things your kids will remember. Just do your thang and love on those kiddos hard core.
  2. Leave your phone upstairs. Just forget about it for a few hours and play. It’s fun. And not having a phone is freeing. Look your kids in the eyes, make-believe with them and hunker down to their level. One day they will be at eye-level. Yikes.
  3. Eat meals together. This is the most beautiful part of my life. Sometimes it feels like the only structure I have, but the rewards are plenty. That is one tradition I was taught that I will pass down.
  4. Finally, I got nothin’ but mad love for ya, Mommas. Being a mom is stinkin’ tough. Do what you gotta do and mind your own biz.

That’s all I’ve got for Mother’s Day 2014. And what a sweet one it is!

Special Delivery


Dear Brittany,

This is your body. I’ve been trying to get your attention, but you’ve been a little too distracted to talk. So I had to distract you, myself. Injury always demands attention! See, I’m pooped! I went from 111 pounds to a healthy 135 over a 6 month period back in ‘09. It was great to finally not be hungry and cold all the time. I really appreciate those extra pounds – they are necessary to keep me functioning at optimum levels. But, my dear owner, just as I was catching my breath and restoring what was torn down for so many years, we had a false start with a baby. From amenorrhea to regular periods to a pregnancy in under two years, I felt like an Olympic athlete after the Games. And before I could fully recover from that pregnancy, I was already harboring another heartbeat –little Brooks showed up six weeks after that miscarriage and I worked damn hard to keep him there. And I did. For 36 weeks. I tried to keep him in there as long as I could, but he was ready. So, in usual Brooks style, he showed up ready to do this!

I know you wanted to get back to life as usual, but birth is –hmm, how do I say this without sounding like nagging parent –super hard on me! You may feel fine, but I’m taking care of so much business that it would be best if you just ate, slept and feed your baby for those first three months. Of course, you didn’t do that, which is probably why we had to twice battle mastitis during that first nursing season.

That said, you were stronger than ever. I was stronger than ever. And together we did hard things. We endured natural childbirth and started running again. We completed two half-marathons with decent times and breastfed for 13 months. Lest you forget, for a about a month in there I was producing life-giving milk for Brooks while cradling Sabra’s first heartbeats. I have been pouring out life since the summer of 2011. And guess what? I’m tired.

So go a little easy on me. You came back too hard and too fast after baby’s Sabra’s 37 week gestation and, yeah, I’m injured now because I can’t do it all. Oh, and we’re 33 now, so I’m not as resilient as I was back in ’98. Rest. Let me rest. And enjoy your children while they are small. You have the rest of your life to run. Don’t miss this.

And, finally, I promise I won’t betray you! We are on the same team, remember! I need those extra calories and I need those F cup boobies right now in order to take care of that little lady asleep upstairs. The shortest road to insanity is comparison, so trust that I am going to give you honest queues and –pretty, pretty please –mind your own bee’s wax!


Your Bod