Monday, December 9, 2013

help us, save us, have mercy on us, and keep us, O God, by Thy grace!

Okay, now I can talk about being pregnant. I need to try not to complain too much. I'm not the first dame who's ever been knocked up and I won't be the last.

I worry that I'm not gaining any weight. We don't have a scale so I have to wait until I go to my midwife again in a couple weeks to find out. I just don't think I'm eating enough. I'm not nauseous any more, and I'm a glutton, so I'd be glad to eat more, but I am LAZY. I don't go shopping often enough and I hardly ever feel like making something in the middle of the day just for myself. But guess what, eating is my ONE JOB right now (besides sleeping.) And I love to eat so how could I mess this one up?

I think I'll try to keep a dumb food journal. I wrote down what I have had already today. Sorry this is so boring to everyone but me.
  • Two eggs scrambled on two pieces of whole wheat toast
  • 3-5 celery sticks with peanut butter
  • some rice and kimchi stew (contained tuna, tofu, egg, potato, chicken broth, homemade kimchi)
  • 2 small glasses of kombucha
  • 1 mug of whole milk mixed with chocolate almond milk and about 1/3 a mug of my husband's leftover coffee
  • A sandwich on whole wheat with goat cheese, cheddar, and homemade sauerkraut

Hey, that looks like a lot, and it was all yummy. But I'm still hungry and now I have to go to the store or eat kimchi stew for the fourth time since Saturday. See my problem?

I found a black, short, wiry hair somewhere in my food today and I wondered when a dog had been near my food, but then I realized it was from my husband's head! Hah!

A friend is going to come over to help me organize my kitchen. Thank God. I am so excited but also nervous because when someone helps you clean your house, any good impressions you made when you had them over for dinner before will be exposed as the illusions they really are! I don't think she wants me to clean before she comes over to help me clean, so here is the Real Stripling House. Friend, who's reading this but whose emulation of St. Nicholas I will not expose, you will notice that my place mats are dirty.

I had to play fourth-string cantor at church on Sunday. Thank God that we made it to the end without too many awkward, paper-shuffling pauses and with zero blasphemies. Our church really is not a very tough crowd because everyone knows the music quite well, but that doesn't mean that leading doesn't take a lot of energy, especially when you're not really a soprano! (In fact, it might be more difficult to lead such a group of singers than a group that doesn't know the music.)  Actually, besides singing loudly and out of my range for 90 minutes, the biggest energy drain was beating my hands, perhaps too expressively, to "keep time" (or, since there are no discernible measures, call it "temporal and emphatic interpretation of musical phrases".) That doesn't sound like a lot of exercise but I am surprisingly frail these days, and I don't do a lot of hand waving.

I did appreciate that feeling of struggle. It's easy to cruise through church when you're very comfortable with the service. We might approach some aspect of contemplation when we pray so automatically, but for me it's often insincere. Yesterday I had a few moments when I was either close to fainting, or could sense its approach from afar, and all I could do was grip the cantor stand tightly, turn my face to the altar (away from the music book, which I obsessively read even though I know the music by heart) and collapse completely into the petitions for mercy. Perhaps this frailness is a gift, since I am not experiencing the frailness and struggle that comes with typical fasting for Nativity.

It reminds me of that Sunday after we had a big party, when I was so miserably hungover that it was all I could do to stand up for the whole service. When every breath is a prayer for help, the words of the Liturgy become very important, and the heart can do nothing but cling to them. Judgement and pride and idle thoughts go right out the window. So I thank God for the humbling experience of a weak body, something that young adults don't think about too often, and I also thank Him that I am only the cantor when the stars align in the most unlikely of patterns.

P.S. This song is a knife.


  1. Congratulations on your pregnancy! Thought I'd pass on this link:
    Hannah have me a copy of these prayers when I was pregnant with my third and I really love them.

    I enjoyed your musings on having a weak body. Truly it's a humbling experience. Now just wait until you go through labor! ;-)

    1. Lisa, thank you! I love these prayers.

      I enjoy reading your blog as well! I used to teach in an Orthodox classical school and it's something I still think about, especially as my husband and I talk through what we'd like for our children.

  2. I did my best to sing my ever lovin' soprano guts out for you on Sunday, by way of vocal support. I'm sure the lovely family in front of me really appreciated it.

    1. Hey, they got to hear a professional performance for free. I'm sure they weren't complaining! I think I remember you saying that you don't like to sing loud in church so I appreciate the solidarity!