Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

I’m having a baby.

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

There, I said it.

You have no idea how long I’ve wanted to tell. But the timing didn’t seem right.

It still doesn’t. But the fact of the matter is, I’m having this baby in two months, and well… maybe there’s no perfect time to announce the biggest secret, the most exciting news, to a blog readership filled with mostly people who already know because I’ve told them in person. It just makes my thoughts a little bit more uncomfortably spotlighted than normal to reflect on something so enormous.

I’ve surprised myself with how private I’ve been about all of it. Territorial is another word. I can also think of worse ones.

At first I wanted to just wait for sure until we were out of the “danger zone” of the first three months. But then we got used to keeping the secret, and there was something so nice about having the secret. Especially since I’ve been feeling overwhelmed by social media and oversharing in general these days.

And then we lost Kieran. Right around the same time we went slightly more public with this photo on Facebook:


And it seemed all wrong again, the mix of emotions and the needing to let myself sit with that reality for a while. Honestly, I went two good weeks hardly thinking about the baby.

So we kept it offline. And the more people we told in person, the more it seemed like that’s how life is supposed to happen. Not broadcast with big, bold pleas for attention or the assumption that this baby is the most important baby who ever lived. Because he’s not. (Not to you, anyway. And really, not to us either.)

But the unfortunate byproduct of my privacy is that people who do want to just genuinely share in our joy — maybe you, if you’re just finding out — haven’t had that opportunity.

So here it is — my coming out.

I am seven months pregnant with a so-far very healthy and active baby boy, due September 14, 2013.

Now to resist becoming a mommy blogger…



I wasn’t prepared for this.

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

A month ago, very early on Easter Sunday, we lost our favorite non-human.

I’m still processing; still asking hard questions and coming up empty. I’m still at a loss for words that will do it and him justice — they just don’t exist.


I got Kieran when he was six weeks old, with bright eyes, rough kitten fur and a fat belly. I was 18 and living in my first off-campus apartment, and he was one of my first significant steps toward independence: my first non-family pet.

Yet as much as he was mine, becoming a family together with Eric was effortless, and he became just as much Eric’s. Seeing how they loved each other has made the time of losing harder and easier all at once. It’s difficult for us to watch each other grieve, and a comfort to know someone else feels exactly the same. The whole Murray clan took a very hard hit with this news. All of us just adored him.

Kieran was suffering silently from heart disease, probably for a few years, and we had no idea. He was always content, never showing signs of discomfort until he went into sudden congestive heart failure the night before Easter. By 3 a.m. we had said goodbye. He was only seven.

If you haven’t owned a really, truly fabulous cat, you can’t know the presence they are… Kieran was more than a pet.


(He slept here most nights.)


(He adored a good belly rub.)

kittenlove copy

(With Cody, whose life was also cut far too short by heart disease.)


(He put up with anything.)


(Even the maintenance guy loved him.)


Oh, it hurts. It hurts to remember, and it hurts to imagine forgetting.

Two-thousand thirteen.

Monday, December 31st, 2012

A happy New Year
[Photo Credit]

Although I skipped over the usually obligatory Thanksgiving, advent, Christmas, and other end-of-year posts, I think New Year’s posts are some of the best in blog-land. There’s something so inspiring about reading everyone’s goals, focus words, and year-end reflections and accomplishments. (My 2012 year in review post WILL be coming soon, once my best and I have a chance to hash out the happenings.)

Some of these goals aren’t measurable or specific (we all know how “do ______ more” usually pans out)… but here are a few areas I’d like to improve:

  • Eating at the kitchen table. Right now we eat almost every night on our couch while watching Netflix (for shame!). This is because our kitchen table (first stop after the front door in our tiny apartment) is our clutter-catch-all, and we never want to both cook AND straighten the table. I’d like to use our cute placemats, pay attention to each other, have conversations, and get up from the kitchen table when we’re done (which I suspect will make cleaning up from dinner immediately a much more natural transition).
  • Start playing the piano again. My aim is once a week to start out. I figure if I do this, I will naturally want to play more than that, which is my eventual goal. To make this goal more measurable, I’ll probably decide on a few songs to learn and perfect.
  • Develop better routines. This is a biggie. It includes creating a rough weekly schedule that works with my highly variable work responsibilities, a cleaning routine that works for both of us, a gym routine and a morning routine. I started majorly slacking in the morning (and letting myself) when I got sick this summer, and now I can’t seem to drag myself out of bed until Eric’s almost ready to leave for work. Ideally I’d be awake with Bible read and tea/coffee had by that time, ready to start my work day.
  • Pick a few books of the Bible to read and re-read this year. I’m stealing this approach to a Bible-reading plan from this post by our good friend Paul. I’ve chosen Esther, Isaiah and Phillipians so far. Any suggestions?
  • Simplify and improve our eating. Eric and I have talked about wanting to start eating organic meats as a step toward improving the quality of what we put in our bodies. This means eating less meat in general and finding out where the best deals are, as our grocery budget doesn’t have much room to expand. We’ve talked about doing a CSA arrangement if we can find an affordable one. I love cooking, but grocery planning/shopping is one of my most hated chores.
  • Become a better photographer. This will probably involve working through some online tutorials, as well as practicing a lot. I’m looking forward to this goal as a fun one, especially with our new camera.
  • Work through a writing book slowly and do all the exercises. I tend to treat writing books as general inspiration, instead of really using them to practice skills. I have a couple awesome writing books right now, including On Writing Writing Down the Bones, Bird by Bird, and one from my mother-in-law called Writing as Way of Healing. I want to spend some quality time with each one.
  • Blog more consistently. I know I’ve totally neglected my blog this year. It was a strange year in some ways, especially with four months of sickness, which I think left me quite depressed in the low energy, just getting by kind of way. One positive is that that leaves me with tons of blogging material, particularly about my writing career, that I never got to in 2012. That should be enough to jump-start my new blogging habit.

Thanks for bearing with me through the breaks this year, friends.

2012 in review, coming soon! (PROMISE!)


9,000 words.

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

That’s what nine photos are worth, right?

This is so not the post I need to write — the one that follows up on the disease that lasted for months, or the one about how freelancing is going, or anything else that involves actual writing — but it’s the one that will break the silence and hopefully make it easier for me to get back to this again.

With real (hopefully awesome) pictures.

Because after months and months of research, waiting and saving, we invested in a new camera. It came the day after Thanksgiving despite Amazon’s guarantee (bummer), but we were still able to catch a few shots in and around Spokane and of friends and family after the holiday. Here are some of my favorites (whether artistically or subject-wise):


Eric and Kieran.


Us with little (I mean younger) brother and his wife.


My gorgeous mama.


One of my best friends from high school.


Neon bowling shoes.


A little MJ at the alley.


Old dog feet.


Brother-in-law pullin’.


Eric and Kieran take two.

Thanks for stopping by. I’m hoping to be back again quite soon!

A walk in the rain.

Friday, October 12th, 2012

We’re halfway through week 12 of my sickness. (Hasn’t it even been longer?) Other than doing an actual test for it, my doctors are convinced I had whooping cough. The worst is over, but I’m still on a couple medications to help my breathing and lung strength. Another thing to help: 30-minute walks. I prescribed them to myself, and I’ve been pretty successful with them this week. Today’s turned into more like 50, because the first day of rain brought such a new way of looking at things.

The dry weather turning cool has been good for giving the leaf colors plenty of time to process. But today they started their decomposition on my sidewalks, gilded with wetness. Mounds of them were in the street and people’s carefully tended summer lawns were covered in them.

I saw a man emptying large pots of some shrubby flowering plants. One day of rain in Portland is usually not enough to throw in the towel on your plants. But since it’s nearly mid-October, we know the jig is up — the rain has come, and it’s probably not going anywhere till June.

So, the rain — it’ll stay. And with it the darkness in the morning that I haven’t noticed till now that the sun is covered up with grey. Darker mornings and it will be even harder to get up, already with my post-hydrocodone coma and cozy bed daze and husband already up and showered. I’ve been easy on myself with sleep the last few months. And maybe that shouldn’t change just yet. (Except on days like today, when I worked late on a Friday because of the late start I gave myself. Oh, and probably because of the 50-minute walk I took in the rain.)