Thursday, March 19, 2009

Spring Breakin'

Davy got to hang out with the Meredith grandparents today and scored a Babies R Us trip along with a few other new things.

Lunch at Fernando's and first drink of water from a big cup. Mimi obliged when Davy showed interest. Grampa, however, tried to give her a sip of Dr. Pepper - NOT pediatrician approved. We were quick to chastise him.

She scored a baby jumper and got to try her hand at a sippy cup. Please check out the thighs - I'm afraid they will disappear as soon as she begins crawling.

It was a lovely day here in Dallas! I hope you are enjoying this weather as much as we did!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

She'll Tumble for You

When Davy was just a little over two months old, I got a call from Rachael telling me about Ephraim's fall off his changing table. I was horrified. Much like Rachael's set-up, we have Davy's changing pad on top of an almost 4 foot high dresser. We also have wood floors throughout the house. So when I heard Ephraim tumbling onto the floor from that height, I had a weird premonition. And yesterday morning for some reason I thought about his fall once again because I remembered he was 7 months old when it happened - the same age as Davy.

Yesterday after taking a walk in this gorgeous weather, I wanted to give D a bath. On numerous occasions I have left her on her changing table while I ran the bathwater. Recently I have had to strap her onto it because she has become such a wiggle worm. At this point, you're surely thinking, "oh no, Becky. I can see what's coming." Really? Because I didn't truly see it. I ignored my random thought about Ephraim's fall that morning, I ignored a little voice in my head that said, "why don't you wait until Russ gets home to give her a bath - then you'll have some help."

I had just started the bath water when I heard the BANG!- the excruciatingly loud thump and then the wailing that followed.

There is something that happens for me in emergency situations. I think my heartrate slows down and I have a weird calm. I couldn't even see Davy on the floor as the changing pad was strapped to her. I immediately scooped up her little naked body and did a very quick survey to make sure there was no blood. Then I just held her to me while she screamed. She was shaking and clinging to me. When I reached my precious mother in law, she immediately said, "I'm on my way!"

Davy is fine. She actually began grinning when her Gigi walked in the door. My sweet mother in law helped me to see that I had to listen to that little voice, the voice of the Spirit, when it is warning me. And Rachael called later and reminded me that this is merely the beginning of the falls, bumps, bruises, and scares. She's right. I can't fool-proof Davy's life. Sigh.

ps: Russ came home with 3 bottles of wine. That, my friends, is evidence that I married a good man. Momma needed a good cry, too.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Job No One Wants

I've been sort of quiet this week about the shooting at First Baptist Maryville, IL that occurred last Sunday. I'm sad every time I hear about a shooting that reminds me of what happened at Wedgwood Baptist 10 years ago. It's been ten years, you know? Honestly, there are times when I think, "now we can just move we can finally be done with it all." But the minute I heard about what happened to Fred Winters last week, I immediately knew that my dad would be in the spotlight. And that troubles me - only because it seems depressing at times that he is sort of the go-to guy for shootings. I honestly don't like that my dad is known for being the pastor of the church where one of the first large-scale shootings occurred, for several reasons: it cost us quite a few precious lives to gain that kind of notoriety. Also, it somehow seems to taint his ministry - to make his shepherding be about trauma & crisis instead of the longstanding passion and commitment that it has been. This kind of recognition is weird - I feel uncomfortable when folks say, "Wedgwood? Al Meredith? How do I know that name?" People are unnaturally drawn to tragedy - and I include myself here - like each one of us rubbernecks as we drive past an accident.

If September 15, 1999 had never happened, Dad would still believe that God is present, near, and faithful in tragedy. Were you to know him like I do, you would know that he came to believe this not due to the shooting, but due to his own personal pain. He would tell you that he isn't a good counselor, that he often lacks in mercy and compassion. But he loves to preach the Truth. And he is just messy enough as a person to be approachable as a pastor.

So, I am really grieving for the family of Fred Winters, and for his "flock." There is an imperfect fellow headed their way this weekend. I know he never wanted this job of being the expert on church shootings...but then again, that's the thing about signing up with God.

If you've stopped by here, say a prayer for them all.

It's Probably Hormones

Current Status: watching Oprah & bawling my eyes out at that video of Christian the Lion being reunited with his former handlers...all to the tune of "I Will Always Love You."

Damn you, Whitney Houston!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Katesabuns: a Tribute

33 Years ago today marked the birth of my bestie, Mary Kathryn Orender, or as her momma has called her since birth, Katesabuns.

I cannot even imagine where I would be today were it not for that handful of friends who have given me a heart full of joy. Let's face it, friends make life a lot more fun.
~ Chuck Swindoll

Ten years ago while working for the Christian sports camp known as Kanakuk (or Kanakult, if you choose) several people mentioned to me that I looked a lot like another girl who worked there named Katy Orender. (Except they pronounced her name "O-render" instead of the correct o-REN-der, like surrender.) I didn't know her then but ended up meeting her several months later as I was driving to a new camp we were both working at together. The first time I met Katy I sized her up quickly. She had been waiting for a friend and I for about an hour as we were running late and she was sitting in her 4Runner, quietly painting her nails. I thought, "she looks pissed, and very serious." Katy didn't talk a ton during our first few interactions and I believed her to be perhaps a little aloof.

Sometimes I'm really bad at judging people.

Like so many Kanakuk friendships, I don't remember exactly how we became close so quick. I do know that I had a hard time understanding her because she mumbled terribly and talked very quickly. I later came to learn that she spoke "Orendernese", a language derived from #5 Stonebriar Way in Frisco where one's speech is slurred and crammed together, leaving listeners second guessing as to the message. Her brother, Patrick, spoke very fluent Orendernese. After one lengthy conversation in which I had been nodding periodically and murmuring "ummhmmm" over and over Katy asked, "you haven't understood what I've been saying, have you?" I was honest in my reply and she went into a peal of laughter and explained that she was really bad at enunciating. Thus, my first lesson in speaking Orendernese. (By the way, neither Orender parent has this language issue, though Mr. Bill does speak Interrruptese.)

I pretty much knew Katy was a kindred spirit when we took some time off together, driving through the Ozark mountains with the sunroof open, the Indigo Girls blasting, singing our hearts out and talking about the different books we'd read and loved. She was one of the easiest friends I had ever made.

Within 6 months I had moved to Dallas to live with Katy and her family to work for North Dallas K-Life, a youth ministry funded entirely by local families. I quickly learned about one of Katy's greatest qualities which she no doubt inherited from her family: generosity. The Orenders, all 6 of them, each show immense generosity to all they interact with...but I don't just mean financially (though they did take me to Maui 3 times!). Katy is so generous in spirit. She pours out her time for people she loves. She LISTENS. I can't recall how many times I blathered on and on about myself while she sat, eyes fixed, just listening. Katy is thoughtful. I had to learn to wait for her to begin talking. I would ask her a question and her face would go blank while she was preparing to reply.

"Katy...what is it? What's wrong?! Are you mad at me? I can't read your face!"
"No. I was just thinking about how to reply."

For 3 years we lived together and it was some of the most hilarious times of my life. We were SO VERY SINGLE while on K-Life staff. Often the only interaction we would have during a week was with teenagers and Katy's parents, Mr. Bill and Carol. One time, Mr. Bill handed Katy a wad of bills. "Why don't you guys go out and do something?" Hint taken. We had been lurking around home all weekend due to the exhaustion of youth ministry. We cracked up - it reminded us of that scene in 16 Candles when the kid's parents push him through the doors of the dance and he's left yelling, "But I wanna be with you guys!"

Everyone, even good friends, confused us. Wendy is infamous for calling me "Katy" or Katy "Becky". People were always asking if we were sisters. K-Life kids joked that we were twins.

We shared the same interests in everything: from the music we listened to, the books we read, the places we wanted to travel. It was during this time that we both got into running. I've run two marathons (Disney and San Diego, seen above) with Katy and she finished before me both times. We did finish simultaneously at a half marathon, though. But Katy is an incredible athlete. She's one of those girls who can play any sport and don't be fooled by her sweetness, the girl will CUT YOU, even during a game of Scrabble because she is also intensely competitive.

Katy has made me laugh to the point of tears streaming down my face more times than I can recount. I would share details but it just wouldn't make sense to anyone else. We have a million inside jokes and most of them are either movie lines, Becky-isms, or innocent things that Katy has said that end up sounding very X-rated. We were once asked by an employer to "please tone down your friendship because you are making other people feel left out." Man, that stung! We attempted it for a few days but then realized that we disagreed. We've never been exclusive, often including other friends, bringing people into the circle. But to avoid those inside jokes, that's just truly difficult!

The one who has endured this the most is Russ. When Russ and Katy immediately got along, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. In fact, in many, many ways Katy prepared me to marry Russ. He speaks a certain dialect of English known as Page-ese where mumbling and quickly spoken words tend to confuse the listener. Not me. I joined the family speaking Page-ese fluently due to my years with the Orenders. Also, Katy and Russ are both middle children. I'm careful to remember that they are both caretakers who long for people to focus on them.

Though this post is already incredibly long, I could go on ad nauseum. But I will instead post my Top 10 Memories with Katy, most of which only she will understand:

10. Late nights in front of our bathroom mirror, inventing "Gam Gam" and "Ramona" in the hopes that the kids would think it was somehow half as funny as we did.
9. "Strawberry Shortcake? I think I'll have to try that!"
8. Curled up in bed that late winter night, both of us finishing the final book of Lord of the Rings at the same time and crying all over the place as we said goodbye to Frodo. Good grief, we're dorks.
7. Driving down the Dallas Tollway on a very terrible Valentine's Day weeping as we sang our hearts out to "I am Rosemary's Granddaughter" and lamented our singlehood.
6. Watching "My Life" and sending you to your room because you were sobbing so loudly that the rest of us didn't feel we had any room to cry.
5. Skinny dipping in the K-Extreme pool after the most exhausting Changeover Day. Take THAT, Kanakuk!
4. New Year's Eve 2001 when we spent the night sledding behind the golf cart with Andrew, Chris and Erin, videoing the entire debacle.
3. San Franscisco Nightmare MASHER and sitting on the beach in Carmel, writing in our journals.
2. Grand Wailea Hotel in Maui...all those warm, sunny memories, sights and smells.
1. Can't choose between you being my maid of honor or the namesake of my daughter, Kathryn Davy.

Kates, thank you for being my best friend, my sister, my confidant, my support, and for showing me the love of Christ more times than I ever deserved. I can't wait to see what God will do in your life - but you're already famous to me! Your family is my family and my family is yours.

Happy birthday to you!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I realized yesterday that this is one of those weeks filled to the brim with the birthdays of some folks I just love to death! Ack! That's both a wonderful thing and a scary thing because it means I gotta get out of my little world and help them feel loved. (Deep breath)

Monday was Sutton's birthday. He is Russ' older brother. Wish you knew Sutton (if you don't). I ALWAYS have fun around Sutton, even if he's not having fun (wink: Dallas), because he is such a good-natured guy and takes endless teasing from us with a smile. He's also very good at dishing it out and gave me a hard time right away when I began dating Russ - something I appreciate in a future in-law! Sutton is one of those guys who is good at EVERYTHING. He would argue with me about this but Johnna knows what I'm talking about: farming, flying, hunting, cooking, eating :) So we are really looking forward to driving down to San Angelo next weekend to spend time with the other Pages.

Today is this kid's birthday. My favorite memory of Noelle (and trust me, there are tons to choose from) is that we were crying together while Andrea and Joe were driving away from their wedding ceremony back in 2004. In fact, Noelle and I both got into her Volvo and drove down Central Expressway, smoking our Parliament Lights and weeping loudly to "God Bless The Broken Road", bemoaning the fact that we were (painfully) single. Just how many times did we cry that night, Noey? (the last two cryfests were likely beer-induced, to be truthful.) Noelle played a huge role in Russ and I becoming a couple, namely that she was the glue that drew us together - I love you, Nizzo!

It is also my friend Jess' birthday today! We met at Kanakuk many moons ago and she is now living in Ft. Collins, CO. Go see what her husband did for her birthday. I'm brimming with jealousy.

And tomorrow is another important birthday.

The bootilicious lady on the left will be celebrating far, far away from here. Kates, I think this will be one of the few times I won't be in Chicago for your birthday. Wahhhhh! More to come on that one...

On Sunday, these two ladies will celebrate their birthdays. While I won't get a chance to see Ruthie, I'll be sure and force this one to spend time with me once she returns from all her suffering for Vail.

So friends, I hope you all feel loved this week. You are all a bunch of dearies to me and I lift my coffee cup to you today and all week long!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Laughing Therapy

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Isn't She Lovely?

So Davy cut her first tooth this past week. And then she promptly returned to her usual temperament of smiles and gurgling. Except...

Sometimes Davy gets a little worked up when I enter the room - it usually has to do with her being hungry. Today I came home from the grocery store to find D and Russ sitting in the sofa chair, snuggled together, watching a movie. Before she caught wind of me, she was contentedly sucking on a pacifier and close to falling asleep. However, once she saw me she sat up! She started fussing loudly and staring pointedly at my chest. She then worked herself into a wail. It's like she has this crazy crush on me and life can be all good until I walk into the room. Then she just loses her cool and begins crying and grabbing for me.

This must be what the Jonas Brothers feel like.

Recession Proof Life

I've been thinking about ways to recession proof my life for awhile now. It began last Sunday while I was sitting in church. I was watching our pastor, Todd Wagner, while he was singing & worshiping. From high aloft in the upper right balcony, I could see Todd down on the floor off to the side, a little hard to see in the dark...but he was there, unaware of anyone watching him, rocking back and forth on his heels and singing with all his might. He had the happiest look on his face and I suddenly felt so thankful, so glad to know that he was enjoying himself while He was all caught up in thinking about God. That's when I began thinking about how it's possible to live with both peace and joy in the midst of this crazy economy and political atmosphere. Have you found yourself worrying lately about what is to come: whether you'll keep your job, find a new job, pay your rent, pay that bill, afford what is to come? I have.

In light of all of that, here are some of my thoughts and experiences about recession-proofing my life:

Get Healthy - Russ recently saw an alternative medicine doctor (thanks, McKeaiggs) about certain health problems he had been having, lack of energy being a big one. The doc put Russ on a wheat-free, dairy-free and soy-free eating plan and I've been following suit. We thought it would be tough. It really hasn't been. We're feeling good and losing weight. But the biggest benefit for me is that Russ' health is improving and we spend more time together cooking these days. Which leads me to the next idea...

Find a new wardrobe in your old closet - Okay, so one of the biggest reasons I enjoy my job is that I can wear jeans to work. In fact, good jeans are a staple of my life. I love designer jeans, unfortunately. And right now is just not a good time to go buy a new pair of jeans. But due to our new eating habits, I've lost ten pounds and, voila! I've been able to fit into three pairs of jeans that I hadn't worn since 2005! I've spent no money on clothes this year and am very proud of myself since I used to go shopping whenever I felt bored or anxious or insecure.

Plant a garden - This is also in line with our new healthy habits: I desperately want a garden in our backyard. One of our dear friends has been working on hers and has offered to help get us started. Planting from seeds is so incredibly cheap. And having fresh veggies in the backyard will keep me from ever walking into Whole Foods (or as I recently heard it called, "Whole Paycheck").

Turn off the television - Anyone who knows me well knows this is impossibly hard for me. I love tv and I love bad tv even more! But the tv keeps me from having meaningful conversations with my husband, keeps me from paying close attention to my little girl, keeps me from slowing down and listening to the Creator, and it actually influences me to spend more. When I lose an hour of my life watching (being honest here) "Real Housewives" on Bravo, I find myself thinking, "I do need to go get a new bookshelf for the study" or "I love those wineglasses I saw", etc, etc. I'm such an addict. So you out there, hold me accountable to this one, okay?

Get outside - See my progression here? Getting outside helps me get healthy, lose weight, work on a garden, get away from the tv...and for me it is crucial to reconnecting with the Father. I'm one of those people who feels closer to God when I am in nature. Not to mention that someone else in our house loves the outdoors as well...

Spend time around loved ones, especially children - Being around kids keeps my mind fresh in that I find myself seeing the world through their eyes; everything is new. Grab a favorite kid in your life and marvel at how amazing this old world can be. Sit in the backyard with your family. Talk. Tell stories. It's wonderfully rejuvenating.

Remember that your grandmother wouldn't have been scared of this Recession - In fact, since she was a child of the Great Depression, this would have been right up her alley. She knew how to make food go far - one time she tried to serve my baby brother the same bowl of Captain Crunch he hadn't finished the day before (she'd just put it in the fridge). She knew that the frayed edge of an old sofa just needed a nice doily atop it's arm. She wore the same bathing suit for about 35 years and when it's neckline began to sag, she simply sewed a handkercheif in to cover her ample bosom. She loved the simple things in life. Each night during the summer she would carry a cup of coffee out to the roof of the boating dock. When the moon would come up over the water she would exclaim as if on cue, "A path of diamonds...right to our door!" Gosh, thinking about the state of the world today really makes me miss her. She truly didn't sweat the small stuff. This might have been due to the fact that she prayed simple prayers all day long. She may have been a bit disconnected from the world at large but she was connected to the One Who makes it go round.

So back to that bucket of beer at the top of this post: Russ and I had decided to go to dinner last night to celebrate our anniversary. In the past we've spent quite a bit of money on a nice dinner, bottle of wine, the whole shabang. But we're trying so hard to save right now. So we had decided to skip the big deal and go somewhere inexpensive. It almost seems like every year we pull back a little more. I wanted to have a good attitude and I wanted to be the encouraging wife, like my grandmother was, not caught up in the entitlement & materialism that is so prevalent right now. But I was feeling sorry for myself. I went to go sit in the backyard and pray. "God, I need You to screw my head on straight today. I don't want to be a martyr, to feel self-pity and get caught up in the little things."

It was like God pulled me up by my shirt, popped me on the butt, said, "C'mon! You can do better than this!" and sent me back indoors. All I really wanted was to sit and talk to my husband, to ponder the past 3 years and remember how blessed we've been. So we went to Flying Fish and enjoyed a bucket of beer (we couldn't even finish 2), fish tacos, boiled shrimp and oysters on the half shell. There were kids everywhere and one very old lady decided to rest on her walker right in my personal space. But it was fun. And it was cheap. And that is good!

Would love to hear any of your thoughts on how you're surviving this economical climate, especially mentally and spiritually!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

3 Years and Counting!

If you're joining me today, be prepared for a long post. I can't let the day go by without sharing about the best gift God ever gave to me, second only to my salvation. Three years ago today I was all twitterpaited and anxious, hoping for no rain and praying that my dad wouldn't embarrass me at the altar.

What a happy and holy fashion it is that those who love one another should rest on the same pillow. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

I met Russ 15 years ago at a Phi Delt date party, a camping date party no less. He was there with a pledge sister of mine. He seemed nice. His date broke her leg whilst at said party. He was quite the gentleman, making sure she got to a doctor to get a cast on and then bringing beers to the tent where she continued to stay and drink. (Oh, Texas Tech.) Russ was a good guy at Tech. I'd see him occasionally: "hi!" That was about it. (Isn't it interesting to think back on the beginnings of what would someday become the most important relationships to you?)

Several years later I looked the best I'd looked on the outside: tan and thin. We ran into each other at a bar in Deep Ellum. Russ tells me he wondered then if he should ask me out. For whatever reason it didn't happen. That was a blessing - because though I might have looked good, I was a wreck inside: depressed, anxious, suicidal, keeping it all together for the watching world.

In 2003 I began seminary and my counseling degree while Russ was well into law school at SMU. We got reacquainted and began to spend a lot of time together. (A swift thank you to Michael Aars here.) We really became friends. He was someone who I thought about setting others up with - but never did. He got into a serious relationship while I continued to pine for guys who weren't interested in me. We both suffered from a bad case of romance addiction and unrealistic expectations - the plight of those who believe what the movies tell you.

By spring of 2004 Russ had gotten out of his serious relationship, I had spent enough time in counseling and recovery to know I wasn't any good at choosing a mate for myself. We had a conversation while at a Country and Western dance hall. I was doing my typical "I flirt with my guy friends to get attention while clinging to the safety of simply being a tease." Russ brought me a beer and I said something like, "now, why haven't we ever dated?" And then God smiled. Russ began his best lawyer's argument about why that truly was a good idea and proceeded to share that he was interested in me. GULP. I didn't like not being in control of this conversation. I tried to shut that kind of talk down and suggested we just dance. But damn if he wasn't the best dancer. I will never forget that I cried on the car ride home because I felt angry with God for springing that entire night on me. I was so confused.

And hey! It only took about 8 more months of that kind of back and forth for us to get together! Bless him, Russ exhibited true faith during those months. I tried to cling to my own spiritual pride: but! He's Presbyterian! He didn't do Young Life or Kanakuk! He doesn't play guitar or lead worship! He's gonna be a lawyer! My, how patient God was with me during that time. He gently showed me that those things were all just THINGS and hadn't I sworn to Him years before that I was trusting Him to show me who my husband would be? Miraculously, and not without quite a bit of struggle, sin, and pain, we finally began dating in December of '04. We knew then that we would marry each other.

We never really had that honeymoon period that people talk about in dating and marriage. From the very beginning Russ and I were always talking things out, negotiating our hearts with each other. We can both be very intense. Our fights were painful. We'd never really gone the distance with other relationships we'd had. Certain well-meaning friends told us, "maybe it shouldn't be this hard." But we knew we were supposed to be together. We had to work hard, even in dating. We had to pull back from our social network to avoid running into exes and all the insecurities of our single lives.

We had to be around people who had more "seniority" in relationships, who had fought and learned how to stay together. We needed to talk with folks who would tell us, honestly, about their hardships and then give us hope! We went on a wonderful trip to Colorado with Jonah & Ruthie Werner and we all just talked about our junk. It was so refreshing and so confirming.

We would later come to realize that it was that kind of marriage that we wanted to model to other people: vulnerability and honesty as a means to encourage. However, the spiritual pride was still present. When one couple, Sarah and Cary Tucker, mentored us through premarital counseling, we clung to something they told us: "You guys really seem to have worked through so much!" We took that to mean: We rock. We're gonna hit this marriage thing outta the park!

Wellll, we didn't quite do that. The first year was HARD! Russ was traveling constantly with work, and wondering all along, "do I really want to do this for the rest of my life?" I was still doing my own thing, graduating from seminary and working on acquiring hours for licensure. We were living life with the focus on ourselves. We really didn't know that it was death to self that God was calling us to...We had to learn how to become one. No small task, by the way.

Love seems the swiftest but it is the slowest of all growths. No man or woman really knows what perfect love is until they have been married a quarter of a century. ~Mark Twain

Nothing will put both a strain and a bond on your marriage like a baby. I remember being awake at 2am in the hospital the night after Davy's birth and feeling such an overwhelming love for the guy asleep there on the chair next to my bed. At that moment, I could not have been more grateful to Jesus for choosing him for me. God knew what was to come for my life, and for Russell's, and He waited for the perfect moment to reveal it to us. God is so faithful in romance: He is the Author of it, the Sustainer of it, and the Perfecter of all it is meant to do for us.

Russ, I am so, so thankful for you. I can't even write this without the tears coming. I truly love you more today than I did on that day 3 years ago. Thank you for staying committed to me, this mess of a person. Thank you for being such a good father, provider, friend and husband. I am your biggest fan. No one loves you like I do, baby.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Bizkit Needs a Helmet

(via Dooce)

This is for my aunt Diane and for Michael Page, who didn't know I had a blog.