For the love of piles

I am not a dirty person. I like spills cleaned up immediately, and I think it's gross when leftover food gets the corners of the sink or counter crusty.

But just because I am a clean person does not mean I am a "neat" person. I appreciate a nice file folder as much as the next guy. Over the course of my life, however, I have discovered that piles hold a special place in my heart.

I really, really like piles.

Exhibit A

This was SUPPOSED to be a box exclusively for the maternity clothes JEB graciously loaned me, so as not to mix them up with my own wardrobe. It has instead become a dumping ground for clothes that have been worn briefly but aren't dirty enough to wash. I have emptied and reorganized this box no fewer than five times because of my love of piles.

Exhibit B

This is how I generally keep my shoes. I know: ridiculous. In my defense, most of my shoes come from Payless or Goodwill, so I'm not overly obsessed with keeping them in pristine condition. Still, it's messy and, I admit, childish. But I really, really like piles.

Exhibit C

Even my papers get a pile, or "stack" to use a nicer word. Though my old desk at the office looked like chaos to passersby, I knew what was in every stack and how to find a particular piece of paper in no time flat. I much prefer this to folders and a hanging file.

I used to think it was just laziness. But it's not. There is something in my psyche that prefers this method of storage. Is it the lifting and sifting? Is it the illusion of more "stuff" than is actually there? Is it just the chaos, plain and simple? I'm not sure. But the love is there, all the same. This is my ode to piles, which drive my husband crazy and which I've tried in vain to control.

Q & A with child

Being pregnant is not unlike being engaged. It garners you a lot of attention and a lot of questions. I'm a middle child, so the additional limelight is welcome! Though in pregnancy, one does get asked a handful of questions over and over again (When are you due? Do you know if it's a boy or a girl? Have you picked out a name yet?). Not that there's anything wrong with that; there are only so many topics that arise naturally. But just to spice things up, I thought of a new set of questions for the expectant moms out there.

• So...when did you conceive?

• If your baby is born a hermaphrodite, how will you decide its sex?

• Do you want the baby to get your husband's bone structure since you're a little on the husky side?

• Is whoever's taping the birth going to be positioned at your head or your feet?

• Is there a theme to these nursery decorations, or did you just pick whatever was left on the shelves?

• Any hemorrhoids yet?

• Did the doctor miscalculate your due date, or are all women as big as you at this stage?

• Am I invited to the shower?

I'm doing something I haven't done in years:

I'm watching the NBA finals. Neither my husband nor I have a horse in the race, but it's been fun seeing the so-far-successful efforts of the Celtics to topple the Lakers (we feel about the same way for the Lakers as we do for the Yankees or Cowboys -- which is not affectionately, to say the least).

One thing that's been getting to me during the series so far is this inexplicable expression Kobe Bryant gets on his face. It's kind of like a grimace but also kind of like constipation. What are we to make of this look? Are you mad, Kobe? Happy? Incredulous? Confused? Arrogant (ha!)? Or maybe you really are just constipated? Help us out.

I have no idea. At any rate, judge for yourself. I know it shouldn't affect the way I feel about him as a player...but it kinda does.

Happiest Baby on da Block

Needless to say, Superman and I will not be utilizing this soothing method (nor do I condone it -- but this is pretty funny).

Things they won't say about Lois when she's gone

She rarely copied other bloggers' posts.

She got a handle on her boy-craziness early in life.

She was extremely disciplined.

She was a tough-as-nails, outgoing child who thought sensitivity was for pansies.

She preferred outside friends to the company of her family.

She didn't have a clear idea of whom she wanted to marry before she met Superman—and even then, because of her cautious nature, it took her a long while to figure out he was "the one."

She lacked the tenacity to set her sights on something and really go for it.

She took sides quickly and rarely tried to see things from another perspective.

She knew how to hold onto every friend she made.

She much preferred the idea of a career to motherhood.

She never tried to milk the negative aspects of her middle position in the birth order.

She refused to judge people by their driving abilities.

She had phenomenal self-control with no hint of an addictive personality.

She married right out of college because she figured her husband was as good as anyone.

She didn't put much stock in religious faith and avoided any discussion of the issue.

"I know both how to be abased and I know how to abound..."

...both to be full and to be hungry."

These are the powerful words of Paul the apostle. Have I learned these lessons? Not entirely. But Sunday at church, my eyes welled up with tears as we sang the song "Blessed Be Your Name," and I remembered a very specific time I sang the words two-and-a-half years ago:

Blessed be your name / when the sun's shining down on me
when the world's all as it should be / blessed be your name
Blessed be your name / on the road marked with suffering
though there's pain in the offering / blessed be your name

You give and take away / you give and take away
still my heart will choose to say / blessed be your name

In December of 2005, Superman and I were still newlyweds and $2,500 had been stolen from us. It was just before Christmas. Living in a modest apartment on journalists' salary, having months before dropped $2,000 on a surprise transmission repair for our newly purchased car, it was quite a blow.

The Sunday after we lost the money, our church music leader picked that song for the congregation. I knew I had to sing it, even though they were some of the hardest words I've ever uttered in a song. Warm tears rolled down my face as my voice cracked: "You give and take away / you give and take away / still my heart will choose to say / Lord blessed be your name."

Fastforward to June 2008. My husband has just accepted a new job with a better salary and better benefits. He at last gets to leave "the temple of doom" and, hopefully, for the first time in years, enjoy his job. My heart overflows with gratitude when I think of his hard work being rewarded and when I touch my belly to feel a strong, healthy baby: "Blessed be your name...when the world's all as it should be."

Once we learn to both abound and to suffer need, to be full and to be hungry, the real challenge is never changing the song in our hearts. "Every blessing you pour out I'll turn back to praise / and when the darkness closes in Lord still I will say / Blessed be the name of the Lord."