Give Thanks

This year we have so much to be grateful for:
  • We have each other
  • We have our faith
  • We have started to find our place in our adopted Texas home
  • We have a comfortable house
  • We have great air conditioning and cozy heat
  • We have cars that run
  • We have jobs that we love
  • We have money to buy food, pay our bills, and to indulge just a little bit
  • We have dogs that love us and who give us the opportunity to do at least a little nurturing
In a world that's so full of violence, hate, heartache, and disappointment, it is so nice to carve out a little oasis of gratitude and happiness.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Six Years

Six years ago tonight, my family was meeting Mr. H-B's family for the first time. We had dinner at O'Charley's and my brother-in-law promised not to do anything to our car after our wedding reception.

Six years ago tomorrow morning, we drove to Louisville, Kentucky, where we would be married for time and eternity. We laughed and laughed and laughed that one of the questions we answered when applying for our marriage license was, "Are you related to your fiance? If so, how?" Oh, Kentucky...

Six years ago tomorrow evening, we both answered "Yes" to the most important question we would ever answer. We promised to stay together through the best and the worst of things in front of God, our families, and a few very close friends.

We have spent a lot of the last six years looking at each other like this - one of us sick, sad, or in pain. We have lost three grandparents and a number of important friends who have shaped who we are. We have lost the promise of five babies. We have struggled through a dissertation and two grueling job searches. It has not been easy, and I have wondered (perhaps too often), if it is worth it to suffer through so much together. But in the end, I am so grateful to have this man by my side. Sure, we have grieved a lot, but there have also been a lot of really, sublimely happy moments. I love him and I'm so glad he took a chance, against the advice of a lot of people, and just went for it.

Happy 6! I hope we have 60 more.


Moving Stats

1000 miles
26 feet of moving truck
18 feet of car carrier
15 Dramamine
12 tanks of gas
6 stops
1 overnight stay

We arrived safe and sound.

12 days of relentless unpacking
10+ trips to Target
6 trips to Home Depot
4 hours of picture-hanging
2 happy pooches (not pictured)
1 beautiful willow tree

We're happy to be here, Greta didn't puke AT ALL, and we're recovering from a late spring case of cold/bronchitis. Delightful.

I'm easing my way into my new job and we're settling in to our new Texas life (mostly by trying every flavor of Bluebell ice cream that exists). We made a trip to visit my brother and his wife and their four beautiful kids.

I think we're gonna like it here.


Because of Him

This video has made its way around the internet and I finally took a moment to watch it this morning. It is beautiful. I believe that He can ease our burdens, no matter what they are.


It's Ruff Being a Dog

Greta desperately needed a haircut a couple of weeks ago. Sometimes when your dog has long hair, it becomes necessary to remove dingleberries with a pair of scissors that you then promptly sterilize. Greta was also panting basically non-stop, a sure sign that she needed a haircut. Despite the lowered thermal output, she still looks like a depressed ham in the second picture. You'll be pleased to know that she has since recovered and is back to her adorable self.

When we adopted Maya from my parents 18 months ago, I had some pretty serious concerns about how well she would adapt to living in our house with Greta the Weirdo. I was worried about food guarding. I was worried Maya would feel abandoned or that Greta would be jealous. Since they both came from shelters, there's always the unknown 'what happened to you before we got you' issue. We knew that Greta and Maya could at least get along, having spent a summer together when they were both puppies.

My fears were mostly unrealized. Greta gained a little weight since there are now TWO bowls of food available, so we're watching that. Maya developed a deep and abiding love for the snow, much to the surprise of EVERYONE who knows her. This is the dog that always peed on the patio at my parents' house because she didn't want the snow to touch her at all. They both follow me everywhere and I have a love-hate relationship with that.

Maya still cowers in fear if Mr. H-B and I raise our voices or if we handle bubble wrap. She also makes these terribly sad whimpering and sucking noises if she's having a particularly intense dream. (Seriously, dog, what happened to you before we got you?) Greta still runs in terror if I even touch the vacuum cleaner, Swiffer, or broom. Maya, on the other hand, lets us vacuum the hair off of her.

The moment captured below, though, seems to be a clear assurance that Maya is happy here. Dogs don't typically show their bellies unless they trust you (or they're submitting to you - but let me tell you, Maya is not submissive...). Add to this the fact that she was asleep in this position, and I think we can just call this whole thing a success!



In the last year or so, I've undergone some profound changes in my perspective about life, work, and family. As my imaginary readers know, kids are just not in the cards for us in the immediate future. For months I was completely devastated by this. I found myself sinking into depression and wallowing in self-pity. And then I read Lean In. Look, I'm in academia, so I know I'm not exactly Sheryl Sandberg's core audience. In fact, I even found parts of the book irritating and pedantic. However, I found many other parts to be incredibly useful in shaping the way I'm moving forward (for now).

One of the things that I really loved about Lean In was the discussion about priorities. I've found myself wasting a lot less time than I used to. That's not to say that I didn't watch the new Veronica Mars movie for a second time in 12 hours this morning. I'm just finding that I prioritize other things over television or Candy Crush (shhhh...I'm embarrassed by that addiction, too). Our TiVo conked out a few weeks ago, taking all of our subscriptions with it, and I can't even remember the names of all of the shows that I felt obligated to watch before.

I was called as a Gospel Doctrine teacher back in December. It is one of the most challenging assignments I've ever had at church - more so even than teaching myself to play the organ (at least I could assign myself simple hymns when I didn't have time to practice). The 2014 course of study is the Old Testament. I've never really studied that particular book of scripture, though I read it once through as a missionary (crossing things off a list, of course). I felt completely overwhelmed by the prospect of actually having to, you know, study before teaching. It doesn't help that the current manual is woefully out of date and, frankly, dull. Though there have been lessons that I dread, I have mostly relished the opportunity to teach on topics that are controversial and difficult, and am grateful that I have been forced to prioritize gospel study and research over other less spiritual pursuits.

I also appreciated Sheryl Sandberg's comments about throwing yourself into a career - not taking the easy path, just in case kids and family come along. (Well, at least, that's the message I got from it.) I actually found this particular concept to be in line with what I've been taught or understood all along - be open to possibility (marriage, kids, winning the lottery), but don't live like it's a sure thing.

With this in mind, and trying to move forward from painful losses associated with infertility, I have been motivated to throw myself into my career. I have taken on new projects, dedicated myself to learning how to write more and better, and taken a job that I previously would have thought was too challenging. I thought I didn't want to do more research; I thought I didn't want to have graduate students; I thought I wanted to teach a lot of first and second year classes. Though my new position is not at a traditional research institution (e.g., Big 10, Ivy League,etc.), I will be required to publish a lot more than I had envisioned when I thought about the future. When the offer came though, and even while visiting campus, I knew without a doubt that this is the right choice for me and that Texas is the right choice for us. I need to be challenged - just enough - to keep moving forward and to keep leaning in.

I'm excited to see where these new changes take me. I feel like the proverbial butterfly, just starting to emerge from a chrysalis, seeing the sun and feeling the breeze. So cheesy, I know, but the growth and change from the last year have been tremendous. I can't wait to see what's next!


Movin' On Up

  • Boxes purchased 
  • Moving truck rented
  • Books shipped to my new office (!)
To do:

  • Find a house to rent
  • Pack up our current house
  • Figure out how to transport the Vominatrix from here to Texas
  • Decide whether Maya can ride in the moving truck or if it would be better for her to keep Greta calm
  • Decide where we will stay between here and Texas
  • Finish the semester*
*This is currently driving me crazy. I can't seem to focus on school, research, etc... No surprises for anyone that knows me at all.


Deep in the heart of Texas

After a grueling job search, I'm so happy to say that we're moving to Texas. I have accepted a tenure track position at a wonderful university and am ecstatic to get moving on the next phase of our lives. 

(If you know the name of the university, please don't mention it in the comments.)


Scenes from a Snow Day

Today, I love the snow. I'd suggest not talking to me tomorrow when it's -40.

One of these things is not like the other:

Snow flutters and feathers down from a slate grey sky

Mr. H-B sprawls on the couch and gleefully absorbs entertainment

Greta and Maya drape themselves across the carpet after tearing through knee-high snow

I putter anxiously, desperate to keep busy and stay out of my nervy mind


Laundry Basket List

It may or may not have taken me 45 minutes to sort through the LAUNDRY basket of junk I cleared off of our kitchen table and my desk over the last few weeks (*coughmonthscough*).

In it I found three flash drives, pinking shears, alcohol wipes, a leather thimble, nail clippers, a vaccination certificate for Greta, and four campus mail envelopes. I feel like this is an unfortunately incisive insight into what my life really consists of.