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    Thirty by 30: Installment Nine

    May 8, 2008 by Brandy Vencel

    To those of you who sent me maternity clothing advice in one way or another yesterday, I offer a hearty thanks! If all goes well, I will do a bit of shopping today. I have some birthday funds that should be just enough to boost the wardrobe into the summer months.

    One more question, though: does anyone have a favorite brand for maternity slips? I have one slip, but it is getting quite old. I agree with KansasMom that shorts are especially unflattering when pregnant {not that they ever flatter much}. A couple skirts I’ve seen could use a slip. What do you think? Any suggestions?

    And now the list…

    1. One key to having a peaceful life is giving others the benefit of the doubt. I have ran across a number of people in real life and on blogs who seem to always be in a fight with others over something. I don’t mean some sort of idealogical disagreement. I mean a fight, where emotions and offense are running high. One thing all these people seem to have in common is that they assume the worst in others.

      I have also met many women who far surpass me in graciousness. One thing those women have in common is that they are always giving others the benefit of the doubt.

      Now, I don’t mean that these gracious women are naive. They are fully aware of the sinfulness of mankind and all that fact entails. But they also acknowledge that most people aren’t as fallen as they could be and want, just like the rest of us, to live in relative peace with others.

      I think that giving others the benefit of the doubt is even more important when reading an email or blog or article, or even talking on the phone. In speech, we often say things we don’t mean because our culture as a whole doesn’t practice speaking with precision. In writing, we are unable to understand how others might take things. Many “offenses” are given inadvertantly, I think.

      Now, there will always be people out there who really like to start fights. Those are the kinds of people I tend to avoid if at all possible. Now that I think about it, maybe one of the reasons a gentle answer turns away wrath is because it gives people a chance to clarify what they meant before the situation escalates any further.

    2. A lot of marriage problems can be solved by owning a jacuzzi and a blender. A wise couple taught me this, but they would be mortified if I told you who they were, so I will just say that they are wise. This couple has now been married many decades and still has a night a week that they head for a date in their jacuzzi with margaritas in their hands.

      What I learned from this isn’t really about jacuzzis and blenders. It was about planning special times together right there at home. A lot of marriage books emphasize the importance of dates to the survival of the marriage. But dates are expensive. They also take a lot of time that young parents often feel they do not have. And if you don’t have family nearby, you can also spend a pretty penny on babysitters.

      But what if, instead, after the kids were in bed, there was at least one night a week reserved for the nurturing of the marriage? What if there was a shared activity that both husband and wife enjoyed that would give them a chance to relax and enjoy each other’s company? This world has such momentum that it is easy to forget to stop and simply be together.

      When Si and I were first married, we had Saturday afternoons during E.’s nap to spend together. We used our blender to make virgin strawberry daquiris or yummy tropical smoothies and headed out to our hammock. Since we lived in Uptown Whittier, the weather was good 98% of the time. We’d lay in our hammock, sip our drinks, and talk.

      It was that simple.

      And yet I really think it was times like that which lay a strong foundation for our relationship.

    3. Strange things happen when you’re pregnant. Every mommy talks about how her body is never the same. I’m no different. I have never reached the weight I was before I had my first child. {(Of course, it would probably help if I could spend a little time not being pregnant again and again and again…}) And the seven months of bedrest during my second pregnancy changed my metabolism forever, I think. Even mommies I know that appear to shrink back to where they used to be have assured me that it isn’t all in the same place again.

      But that isn’t what I mean.

      Really, though I want to be cute and fit again, I love my children and wouldn’t have it any other way. {Well, if I could have it sans nausea, I’d take it.}

      Here is what no one told me before I had babies: Say goodbye to your straight, blonde hair.

      I had {fairly, not perfectly} straight, blonde hair. I did! If you saw me now, you probably wouldn’t believe me. After I had my first child, I had a large amount of hair loss. My doctor told me most of his patients complain about it, and he never noticed a problem.

      My hair grew back in. And it was darker. And wavier.

      After Number Two, it was darker still. And wavier.

      After Number Three, it was so dark I think I’d call it brown. Or really dirty blonde. Oh. And it’s curly.

      Weird!

      I have a friend who, in high school, had really tight curls. Two pregnancies later, her curls relaxed so much you’d probably say her hair was wavy if you saw her. She agrees that pregnancy was the culprit in her dramatic hair change.

      Forget the weight issues. I have no idea what to do with my hair!

      Other women have as souvenirs varicose veins {some that you can’t see but are actually quite painful}, stretch marks the shrink but never totally disappear, and other things that are too delicate to mention.

      Good thing the best souvenir is the baby, who grows into a child, who is a heritage from the Lord.

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