A Haines Home Companion: On Leftovers and Becoming Whole

pregers2When my Isaac was little, I made charts and taught Bible verses and poetry to him. I was awesome. When I had a newborn baby Jude, I found out I was pregnant once more, with my Ian – thank you Jesus, a bad movie, and a bottle of wine. So I became awesome, again, and figured out how to grow a big baby bump under the baby I was carrying in a sling, while simultaneously potty-training a two year old. At the time I didn’t know I was awesome, but I was. It’s easy to look back and give myself credit, like how you look back at pictures of yourself and think DangOleShoot! Why didn’t I appreciate my place in life, the less-jiggly parts, and the lovelier skin?

Back then I kept my kitchen clean, and I read entire books. I wrote my heart out, and I responded to emails.

Right now, I’m feeling rather not so awesome. We all go through this, right? You know that phase when you realize you’ve gained several several pounds, and you’re pretty sure it was the daily bag of chips and chocolate bars that did it, the ones you ate so you didn’t have to properly deal with anxiety? And then your body freaks out, and suddenly you think you have cancer, and you have a hard time mustering the energy to walk to the kitchen, much less clean it? You know, when all your boys eat so much that you worry your home needs a second income, but then you only have a degree in poetry? You know, that phase?

I shared on my facebook page that I feel like everything is leftovers, which led to the best conversation. I had awoken in the realization that there hasn’t been a portion of my life that feels healthy and whole. It’s seriously so funny how one week you can be flying on metaphorical eagle wings, and the next week, you’re all angry and cookie-monstering into a bag of Doritos.


Yes, indeed. The above photo is a red flag. Those are crappy waffles on a plate. They had once been frozen and cardboardy, meant for one of my children. Next thing I knew, they became forgotten charcoal, and the boy had asked if he could please still eat it anyway.

Everything finally came to an ugly snotty end, when I confessed so much anger and frustration to Seth. He asked me what are my callings. Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago I was writing about my calling? Have mercy, Lord; I’m a sucker of a sinner.

I woke very early and knew immediately by the lonely, icky sludge in my heart that some things need to change. In fact, it’s one of those times that everything needs to change. I came to prayer with so many questions, and I read scripture and waited in silence until I heard answers. Sometimes you need to hear your calling again, The Woo of God. Sometimes you need to reboot.

His answers to me were clean and simple, not just about food, but that is how I’ve eaten since then. This quinoa is as complicated as I’ve gotten in two whole days, which as a new herbivore feels like FOREVER. I will look back on these whole-food moments and give myself some mighty credit. I’ll look back at these thighs and think “weren’t those great?


There were also other things I asked and heard regarding the blog and how to interact online, about all my fears of becoming a sell-out and playing the internet game. I prayed about book writing being a business and whether or not to engage online at all for fear of becoming a fake. He spoke, and it was good, and I am released. This weekend I’ve set aside time to listen more about how to rebuild community here online and in my actual factual real life. In case you haven’t noticed: the internet can put you in a lonely spot. I stand back a little walled off in both places, and love is not the root of that.

So much of my conversation with God had to do with the loneliness of writing and how lonely I feel at church because it has grown so much, become a sea of strangers. In a few days I’ll post about some of the church stuff for (in)courage, and honestly I’m super nervous about that post because I know that frustration with church is not the cool, mature thing. Sheesh, don’t I know it? It comes to redemption, though, so nobody freak out.

In other news:


This feller right here has gained back up to his highest weight after losing almost a pound, and it has everything to do with how the church loved on us this past Sunday morning. After many weeks of my just trying to get him to gain an ounce or two, he gained 8 ounces in 2 days. I’ll tell that whole story in a few days, too. I believe that Titus will be healed.


Then Sunday after church, Ian came home, asked his brothers for help to get the training wheels off, then he straight away rode his bike. I jumped up and down. Just look at my boys!

IMG_3043We had two birthdays this past week, and instead of having parties, we holed up for family movie nights. Snuggling is seriously good for the brain. Also, Ian gets a secret trip away with Daddy in a few weeks, and this coming Saturday, Isaac gets a many-mile bike ride with Seth up in Missouri. We’re giving experiences this year. I wish I could adequately show you how long and lanky my new 9 year old is. It’s weird. If he sprawls out in the floor, there’s nowhere to walk. Ian (newly 6) is already strangely lanky, too. He’s taller than Jude (7), and I imagine he’ll be as tall as my daddy and brothers, who are all 6 ft, 6 inches.

IMG_3044I also thought it might be of some interest to you to see what I’m planning. My best friend and I are totally getting this tattoo together. I texted her this photo, and she approved. I wouldn’t mind adding some more faces in there, so please do maybe tweet me some pics, and I’ll be sure to consider them – maybe a face per knuckle or something.

This is possibly the longest post I’ve ever written, but I can’t end without linking to something super important this week. A baby’s life is in the balance and his family is in great need. The marvelous Emily Wierenga has worked her tush off creating an online auction for him. The stuff is super cute, y’all, and Christmas is coming.

Visit The Miracle for Maverick Auction here!


Also, if you haven’t seen Emily Freeman’s 31 Days posts about art? Oh they are the best. Read this one about how art is evidence of faith.

One more thing: I aim to be at Allume next week. Who’s going?


About me


Reply October 17, 2013

"I’ll look back at these thighs and think 'weren’t those great?'"

Great... yes. I'm winking at you now. ;-)

Reply October 17, 2013

Oh, I will be at Allume and would love to chat.

I relate to so much in this post about needing to reboot and hear your calling again. Or maybe, for the first time. I've been a food reboot this month along with AdvoCare. I'm near the end and realized I needed a calling reboot too. I've been taking a little blogging break this week to hear that. It makes going to a blogging conference feel a little weird. In any case, I'm excited to meet people like you that might understand this neurosis.

Prayers for you today.

    Reply October 17, 2013

    Neurosis? Oh yeah.

    Please don't let me get away without meeting you, Amy!

Reply October 17, 2013

See you at Allume next week! and, I get it, yep.

    Reply October 17, 2013

    rjb, you are such a mystery! Find me there, okay?

Reply October 17, 2013

Golly I love you.
And yes, all of this.

Michelle @ Life on the Horizon
Reply October 17, 2013

You so beautifully wrote so many things I've thought -especially about the loneliness. Thank you for sharing.

Hannah Novak
Reply October 17, 2013

This is my favorite part about the Internet - writing just to write, and connecting with friends over it just because. Thank you so much for this.

Leigh Kramer
Reply October 17, 2013

You are one of the best people I know, Amber. I learn so much from you. Keep writing it out.

And yay for Titus's weight gain!

Amy Smith
Reply October 17, 2013

You know, I know. AND, I covet your bread box.

Reply October 17, 2013

I just love how intentional you are with how you use the interwebby. Praise God for Titus and his weight gain. And yep, know those feelings you speak of, of stranger ailments.

emily freeman
Reply October 17, 2013

I love when you write about writing and calling and questioning it but also somehow not questioning it. Love all this, really.

Lori Harris
Reply October 17, 2013

love the way you wrestle with life and God and then write it all out-
you never cease to bring it all back to Jesus.
and the walled up thing- me, too.

Reply October 17, 2013

Hi, Amber! I'm just down 540 from you, and I've read your blog for some time now without commenting. My season is different from yours (though I remember those years so well), but I also need time to be still and quiet and think, like, today! Love your writing and your transparency.

Reply October 17, 2013

Ah... the food thing. Clean and simple. I could do that if I went to the store regularly. But TIME.

I often mind myself seeing similar patterns between my eating and food habits and my spiritual life. It really just all boils down to discipline and caring for myself. Am I doing what is good for me or am I doing what is convenient? Unfortunately clean and simple foods and spiritual growth are neither convenient.

Reply October 17, 2013

That picture of the boys in the driveway..tears in my eyes. Your family takes up so much room in my heart.

Reply October 18, 2013

How can I love someone so much that I've never even seen face to face?

In one week, that changes. (Not the love thing ... The face to face thing. See you at Allume.)


Bethany Bassett
Reply October 19, 2013

Those paragraphs about working out the sometimes-so-big issues of writing and online interaction and church alongside God... well, they didn't get much past my eyes before a very lonely and anxious part of my mind snatched them up as if they were new BFFs. I'm so hungry for that assurance and release as well. (I suspect that a lot of us are.) Thank you for sharing these glimpses into your world; they're much-needed reminders that we're not stuck in our icky heart sludge, that change is possible. xo

Reply October 21, 2013

This has been sitting in my inbox since last week. Normally if I can't get to a blog within 48 hours I take it as a sign that I'm too busy to read it, but every time I saw the title in my subject line something in me said "leave that one there until you have time for it".

Whew... so glad I did. And now that I've read it I'm not quite sure what to say other than: Thank you! And... I just love your honest heart. And I think you are pretty awesome. Right here. Right now. Because this fellow sojourner really, really, really needed these words today.


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Reply August 28, 2015

Good post. I will be going through a few of these issues as well..

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