When I change for bed at night, every article of my clothing smells like the musty sweetness of breastmilk. It is my constant companion. I remember it when I absentmindedly pour myself a cup of coffee, and realize it’s my husband’s brew, and pour every last delicious caffienated drop out. I have taken to a delicious decaf cinnamon tea, which I drink constantly in place of my old bitter brew. I remember it when I go to schedule meetings while at work, trying to navigate around my private appointments to pump. I remember it on the weekend, when I am immersed in chores and laundry and dishes and little housecleanings, and my husband’s play with Miles is interupted by an urgent need for a snuggle and nurse.

This is the biggest sacrifice of self I have ever offered another human being.

There is sacrifice in marriage, which is a post in and of itself, and that is different. That is sacrifice for someone who is able to communicate their needs and compromise.
There is sacrifice in pregnancy, and that is different. I gave up certain food and drink, but it was temporary, and contained, and for the most part did not change the shape of my days and nights.

This is continual. Every three hours at work, I stop and think of my baby as my body works to provide his nourishment. When I am home, it’s when he’s tired, or frustrated, or just needs reassurance. It’s when he’s hungry, of course, and it’s when he wakes in the night and cannot calm back to sleep. It’s in the grocery store parking lot, at his grandparents, at a rest stop.

I am here when he needs me. Whenever that is. Wherever that is. While I may attempt to buy a few minutes with a toy or a distraction, I am ultimately at my child’s beck and call.

And in my humanity, this is exhausting. Emotionally and physically. And I am reminded of our Lord’s words “This is my body, broken, for you” and I remember that this is a part of my ministry, my earthly calling. And tonight, when I am tempted to feel weary as the sweet mustiness reminds me, yet again, of the small life that depends on me, I will remember the far greater bodily sacrifice offered me, and I will rejoice.


you are mine to keep warm

As Jesse and I prepare to become parents this fall I am seeking to remember all that I have learned from my single years as I heard my pregnant friends’ grand statements about their parenting styles which they went on to eat in the form of (not-always-so) humble pie later on.

I don’t have any grand statements. We know nothing about being parents except that which is instinctual to being human. In fact,  we are currently approaching parenthood with a humility that is rare (and refreshing!) for me.

We plan to have a natural childbirth, cloth diaper and breastfeed. If these things do not happen, we will celebrate whatever birth method brings you into this world. We will change your diapers with love regardless of whether they are Huggies or bumGenius. We will feed you, regardless of whether we need to purchase formula or not.

We love you. We will rejoice in the brilliance of what God is knitting together in my womb, and we will teach you to rejoice in the rest of what He has done. This world you’re coming to join is flawed, but it is not possible to worship its Creator while condemning all that He created. He created a world with languages as diverse as the cultures across the world. Yes, there is evil and hunger and war. There is also music and dance and art and literature.

We don’t know what the years hold for our family. I can guarantee you that there will be sorrow and trouble, and there will also be great joy. We can’t wait, little one. :)

as Christ loved the Church

How can the man who says of this verse – I Peter 3:1, “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands”:

This also does not negate the equality of husbands and wives, again they are both image bearers of God. … There is equality and deference and respect, and that is the way God has ordered the world … Now what we mean by “be subject to” or “submit to” is that the husband is to lovingly humbly, sacrificiously, selflessly –let me put lots of words behind this– lead his family. And that the wife is to respect him and follow his leadership. This is not chauvinism. He is very clear that he is against chauvinism. We read elsewhere, in Ephesians 5:25 that husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her. This is sacrificial, humble, selfless leadership.” (emphasis mine – hear full audio here)

Also say this:

Without blushing, Paul is simply stating that when it comes to leading in the church, women are unfit because they are more gullible and easier to deceive than men. While many irate women have disagreed with his assessment through the years, it does appear from this that such women who fail to trust his instruction and follow his teaching are much like their mother Eve and are well-intended but ill-informed. . . Before you get all emotional like a woman in hearing this, please consider the content of the women’s magazines at your local grocery store that encourages liberated women in our day to watch porno with their boyfriends, master oral sex for men who have no intention of marrying them, pay for their own dates in the name of equality, spend an average of three-fourths of their childbearing years having sex but trying not to get pregnant, and abort 1/3 of all babies and ask yourself if it doesn’t look like the Serpent is still trolling the garden and that the daughters of Eve aren’t gullible in pronouncing progress, liberation, and equality.” (emphasis mine – quoted from article here)

(First, this is Mark Driscoll’s example of deference and respect?)

Let’s leave the awful woman-like emotions out of this, shall we? There’s a fundamental logic problem here. Is he really arguing that  women should not lead the church based on the culture of our fallen world and the contents of grocery store newstands? So I assume that’s where we should look for validation of God’s plan of male church leadership? Is that evidenced by Maxim? Playboy? Internet porn stats? The fact that 30% of Americans say they know a woman who has been physically abused by her husband or boyfriend in the past year? What about the fact that on average, more than three women are murdered by their boyfriends or husbands in this country every day?

We are a people in need of redemption. All of us.

There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. – Romans 3.22-24. 

Those verses always bring to mind another favorite of mine: 

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. – Galatians 3.28

Let’s think of this another way – there is no difference between male and female, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Leaving aside whether or not I agree with the position Driscoll ends up in, I object and am righteously angry with the way he chooses to defend and express his position. God did not choose men to lead the church because they’re slightly less broken than these womenfolk they accompany. God’s choices do NOT have to do with the relative sinfulness of  the fallen people we are, it has to do with His plan for His church and their salvation.


Today, we are getting married. To all of you across the country who are not with us today as we quietly start the next phase of our lives – thank you for everything that you have done for us and with us that has led us to this point together.  Thank you. We both love you all.

From several years ago:

“There are so few people given us to love…If you can, at nineteen, count the people you love on one hand, you will not, at forty, have run out of fingers on the other.  There are so few people given us to love and they all stick.” – Anne Enright

Excepting my family (of course you love your family, and of course they stick,) at nineteen, I don’t think I’d hit the halfway mark on my first hand.  I mean, I love people all over the place – I’m a pretty affectionate sort of person, anyone could tell you that. But there are very few people in anyone’s life who are “given us to love” – and I could still count mine on one hand. These are the people who you love with a desperation, with a longing that is expressed in inarticulation.

These are the people who taught me that sometimes laying down your life for your friends requires living.

“But love is the answer to a question
That I’ve forgotten,
But I know I’ve been asked
And the answer has got to be love.”

– Regina Spektor, Reading Time With Pickle

Today, I miss you, Cori Lee. Wish you were here to play with my nephews and niece, to creatively come down the aisle in a wheelchair and to prop your chin on your two fingers and ask my groom a confusing existential question or two. “Tell me about your formative years.” Wish you had been here to spend last night with me, to get your nails done with my sisters and I and to laugh hysterically  with us. I miss you. The mind reels, Cori.

Asher to Zed

Do you like baby pictures? Would you like to see a couple?

Thursday my sister and I and my nephew drove to Memphis. We left at 2am. I’m not really sure you can call that morning. Asher travelled with all of the pent-up energy of 15 months, and we made it to see this guy, Martin Edward.

We ran errands, did dishes, took out garbage, and took long walks through Costco.

Melody also introduced our two short ones to each other.

There are actually three babies in this picture, just two ex utero.

And then we came home. Asher was less impressed with the second 10 (then 12) hour trip in four days, but we all survived, thanks to Starbucks, Panera Bread and Aldi’s honey wheat pretzels.

Anyway. I’m back.

not the nose in the book penalty!

See, here’s the deal. In every family, every individual is known for something. Just last weekend my sister pulled something that made us smile and say “Classic Emby.”

As I did that, shaking my head at my little sister, and taking another sip of coffee (seriously, I don’t think Jesse has seen my parents’ house when we didn’t drink at least two pots of coffee, regardless of the number of people who show up) I wondered, what is it that they shake their heads about and say “Classic Coral”?

It didn’t take me long to figure out what it was. Mom and Dad are still laughing about our last car trip togther. It’s the middle of Montana/Dakotas/Minnesota and I’m in the back seat, nursing a chai and completely immersed in my Kindle and Anne of Green Gables. I hear the tail end of a conversation, and I jump in with my two cents and am met with a moment of silence and “Coral, we’ve been talking about this for the last half hour.”

“Sorry. I was reading.”

That, my friends, is a classic Coral. Although there are other varieties, (including the asking of directions to the dentist you have been going to for the last ten years, because every other time you have gone there, you were in the back seat with your nose in a book) that is what it’s all about.

Safety Second!

When my sister and I were in Uganda, summer of 2006, we met two young men who were visiting at the same time. Christopher and Jake became our fast friends, although we all hailed from different parts of the US. One week, when Mel and I were sick with malaria, they decided to cook us dinner, a chore we usually fulfilled.

Breaking out the macaroni cheese packets brought from home and a box of noodles purchase in Mbale, the boys' set up took longer than it would have taken us to make a whole dinner. Christopher, an avid photographer from southern CA, set up his camera to film the whole thing.

Even now, when I watch it I laugh until I cry.

Christopher's personality, already larger than life, takes over, and Jake, a humble farm boy from Montana, has to work to hold his own. They discuss love songs, and then, when one of them nearly burns down the kitchen, Jake says "Safety first!" Christopher turns to the camera and replies "Love first. Safety second."

When pressed, later off camera, it was determined that it was:

Love first.

Safety second.

Then cheese, bacon and worchestershire sauce, in that order.

Good to know, boys. Life lessons all around.