Friday, April 5, 2013

My New Home

Hi, Everyone! For a long time I've been meaning to create a website/blog that would look a little more professional. My new site is up and running over at ambervanschooneveld.com. I named it such so that only people who really like me (and therefore know how to spell my name) can find it.

From here on out, I'll be posting there rather than here. I'm not quite sure if I'll begin redirecting this site to that site, but I may not.

There are a couple new posts for you to see there, including Alex in a wrestling match with her dad. How could you miss that?

A couple navigational tips: On the homepage, the rotating featured images/posts at the top are static, meaning I have to change them manually. (So they won't necessarily be the newest posts.) But if you scroll down, you'll see the newest posts. I've also divided them up by category, as you'll see on the top menu bar, so if you want to see all the Allie stuff or life adventures, go to "Life & Family." If you want to read about Compassion, you can go to that tab. My more serious thinky-dinky posts will be under "Deep Thoughts." And lastly, the sonnets I've started writing will be under the "The Bible as Sonnet" tab.

I hope it works out well, and let me know if you have any problems! I'm not quite finished importing/tagging all my old posts yet, and still have some little quirks to figure out. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Living as if I'm Waiting

Hey kids! Before I launch into a post on waiting, I just wanted to let you know that you might be waiting a little for posts here. I'm in the process of importing my blog to a new site, and I also have a couple of freelance projects tying up my time right now. Thanks for being patient!

I wonder how much of my life has been wasted living as if I'm waiting. There's always something that's not quite right or not quite complete in life. There's the major milestones: a spouse, a job, a child. And then there are the little things that we tuck in our minds: "If I could just get this; complete that; change this, then I'll be happy. Then I'll be on track."

But completion, perfection and material attainment are illusive and in a never-ending game of one-upsmanship.

Lately, I realize I've been living as if I'm waiting. Mike and I have been trying for Baby Two for what feels like a really long time (though I know it's not that long in reality). And I realize that my mindset has switched to waiting mode. It's subtle, but it's there. It's an almost subconscious feeling that I'm just waiting for life to get started, to get on track.

The problem with waiting mode is it steals us of our joy today. Nothing will ever be complete or perfect this side of Hades. We can't wait to embrace and live fully in the joy God has given us today.

I'm preaching to myself here: I know that others have experienced tragedy and to simply say, "life isn't perfect, live in today anyway" would be trite and even cruel.

But in my circumstance, my negative mindset of waiting is really the result of my frustration with things not going according to MY PLAN. I was never a woman who desired to have children, and I still don't have that deep, visceral desire for more children. But it is my plan to have more children, as part of my nice, neat life plan. When that plan doesn't go according to my schedule, I get annoyed. I start living in the theoretical future, rather than the present.

This was my same reaction to Mike's unemployment and my inability to become a stay-at-home mom. I never had a deep desire to be a stay-at-home mom. But I thought it was what I was supposed to do, and so it became part of my nice, neat plan. When that plan was frustrated, I made myself sick with worry, frustration and waiting. (In the end, my life, though not as planned, is so absolutely ideal for me. I get to work from home with my lovely daughter while still engaging in fulfilling and invigorating work. I wouldn't change it if I could.)

The lesson for me is: Stop waiting until life is just so to live each day with fulfillment and gusto and joy. "Just so" will never come. But the today that I have is beautiful in its own way. As Solomon wisely said: "He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart" Ecclesiastes 3:11. Though we long for the perfection of eternity, God has made this time beautiful in its own way. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Ecclesiastes 3

Here's another sonnet, based on Ecclesiastes 3, which I wrote while Allie took a very short nap. (Which is my way of saying, please don't judge it too harshly.) I don't like how quickly my sonnet switches tone, but then that is how Ecclesiastes has always been itself.

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Oh what a burden God has laid on us.
To work for nothing 'till the day we die
And then be judged for every deed and lust.
Yet somehow all is lovely in its time.

There is a time dance, a time to mourn.
There is a time to laugh, a time to weep.
There is a time to plant, then rip up thorns.
A time to throw away, a time to keep.

We live in details of the day by day,
But want eternity above all else.   
Although we can't fathom all of God's ways,
He does it all to pull us to Himself.

The gift of God is to enjoy our toil,
To do good and be happy on this soil.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

The toothbrush symbolizes how Jesus has brushed us clean. Or I just couldn't get it away from Alex...


Here Alexandra is in the group of kids just before the Easter egg hunt - on the left in the back.


She understood the concept of picking things up and putting them in a bag, but she was fairly liberal in what she chose. She picked up one Easter egg, along with a rock, some garbage, a pine cone, and a twig. 

This weekend her grandparents from Sterling came and we got to go to the zoo and on a nice hike too. 


She wasn't keen on being carried, so she had to hoof it quite a ways, which she did rather unwillingly, although her new best friend, Owl, helped her. 



We got to take a lovely Easter walk today in the warm weather at Woodmen Valley Park.
  

 
Alex's cousin also came down this week for spring break, so she got to hang out with him at Garden of the Gods. 



Have a happy Easter! 
 
"This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations." Luke 24:46-67

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Ecclesiastes 2



Here's my second installment of  Ecclesiastes, based on Ecclesiastes 1:12-18 and Ecclesiastes 2. Alex only took a 45 minute nap in which I wrote it, so this one is pretty rough. But if I wait to publish for perfection, it will never come. I find writing these very fun. I assume I get that same thrill that others get from doing crosswords or Sudoku. I realize, though, that I've never like those because they're too close ended - there's a right and wrong answer and no room for imagination. So this is my official crossword puzzle.

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To test this life and see what is worthwhile
I spread my arms and welcomed in all ease.
Stacked gold and wine and cash in one great pile,
But in the end it smelled like rotten cheese.

Instead I turned to study all that's wise.
But with much knowledge comes a lot of grief.
Unlike the fools, the wise at least have eyes.
But in the end death takes both like a thief.

And so I turned to build something so grand.
From homes to gardens—even reservoirs!
But in the end they will dissolve like sand;
I'll be forgotten just like all the poor.

All that is left is to enjoy my lot.
For God has given me all that I've got.  

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Meaningless

Though you might not be able to tell, I actually started this blog to practice writing, and not simply as a baby video depository. Today I had my quarterly review with my boss, and he suggested I take some time to write in another genre to keep my skills fresh. So, inspired by John Van Dusen who occasionally rewrites Scripture in sonnet form, I decided to rewrite Ecclesiastes (or at least some of it) in sonnet form.

Of course, Ecclesiastes is one of the most beautiful and poignant pieces of ancient literature, and any recasting of it will pale in comparison to the original. But that knowledge won't keep me from having a little fun. So without further ado, here is my sonnet based on Ecclesiastes 1:1-14.

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Absurd, inane, in vain are all our trials.
Our work, our play, our love are but a joke.
The old and young both die, despite all guile.
The sun looks on and laughs; we are but smoke.
 The world echoes itself, an endless mime.
The wind blows north, then south in aimless chase.
The sun comes up then sets a million times.
And to the sea all streams endlessly race.

Just as the sea, our hearts are never full.  
But what will be has already been done.
It is banal and irksome and too dull.
No novelty exists under the sun.

We might as well go try to grasp the breeze.
This world is an absurd and futile tease.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Adorapuss

Mike says I'm being indulgent, but I just had to upload both of these videos. Isn't she pretty? And funny? The former comes from me. The latter from her daddy.





Oh, and for my family who isn't on Facebook, look at the new life skill we've taught her.