A Haines Home Companion: On Limbo

School Dance Night

I needed to pick up some things quickly from the store, so I told Jude to run and jump in the car. As soon as we reversed out of the driveway, I turned the music up on my phone and said, “you have to dance, if you want to be with me.” This is just Jude’s thing. He’s the feeler of my kids, like me. Self expression is a big deal, and so his shoulders bobbed, and his arms jerked up and down. Our heads kept beat.

When we pulled into the parking space, I turned the music off, and he said, “I thought we had to dance.” So I said, “oh!” and turned it back on. It was half dark. We danced all the way to the door, Jude moving forward, and I in front of him, dancing backward so as not to see who could see me.

These are the ways Jude and I bond.

Then Friday night Jude wanted to go to the elementary school dance. Isaac was doing math on the computer and wanted to stay home, which, of course he did, but my shy Ian wanted to go, too. I was shocked. There were moments on the dance floor that my girlfriend and I were the only Mamas out there swinging their boys around, but we know we won’t be dancing with them long. Also, there was a DJ, so let’s be honest: I’m going to dance.


I’m not always like this, but I’m in a phase where I hardly stop thinking about what a crush I have on my boys. Ian found some Forever stamps and made me a card. He said, “I found these pretty stickers and would have written I love you, but I didn’t know how to spell love. When he smiles, light pours out. I asked if there were any more of those pretty stickers, and he said yes and offered all of them to me. Ian is the happiest and funniest string bean I’ve ever known.

Last night we were treated to a DaySpring dinner after Holley Gerth and Tsh Oxenreider had their book signing at Barnes and Noble here in NWA. We had all our families together, which after years of online relationships really feels like finally coming to know someone. Once you know Mark Gerth, you fall in love even more with Holley. It’s the same for Tsh and her Kyle and kids. Back to Ian: he had ordered a cheese burger. After one bite, he exclaimed to all, “I’m so jealous of myself! Cut-in-half cheeseburgers are my favorite!”


Before a procedure at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, they wait until the day before to let you know what time to be there. They called and said, “See you tomorrow morning at 6:30 am.” Well shoot. Little Rock is a 3.5 hour drive from here, so I called my sister-in-law who lives there and always offers us a place. She made me tea at night and coffee in the morning. She put a Captain America mask on Titus, and he wouldn’t take it off. This is how he slept.

The last time he had an upper GI scope and biopsy, we were at Mayo Clinic, and his esophagus was terrible looking.  We assumed from there that his EoE (which is short for eosinophilic esophagitis) was to blame for his not gaining weight. He has continued to weigh the same since last July, so I figured that the upper GI from this week would prove that his EoE is still bad. We would give him steroids. That would heal him, and he would gain weight.

This time, though, his EoE seems to have healed, which means steroids aren’t an option and EoE isn’t to blame. We will begin adding foods back, but if he doesn’t gain soon, the doctor will place a button in his side for tube feeds. This was a bit of a shock to me. After my drive back to Fayetteville from the hospital, I could hardly move. We still know nothing.


Seth and I are obsessed with them all. They are such joy to us. The thing that gets me the most is how they love each other. They hug each other and read to each other. They yell, of course, but they mostly laugh. They are quick to see their brothers’ talents. They call each other out for the bad, yes, but mostly the good.

Isaac stands up next to me, and I can’t believe how big. He’s a good boy. He wants to be so good. At church on Sunday during the singing, I whispered to him that I don’t always understand what we’re saying when we ask for fire to fall down on us. He said, “It’s because God is a consuming fire, Mama.” Yes, son, He is.

Remember how I was taking a blog break because we were moving? Well, it didn’t happen. Two days before closing, everything got caddywompus. There’s still a chance, but the possible move is now three weeks out, and who knows if it will actually happen. We’re getting the beautiful chance to relive this past summer with boxes everywhere. It’s like house purgatory, the sort of limbo that keeps you floating between packing and putting things where they go. My space is important for creativity, so it would embarrass me for you to know how much time I spend in coffee shops.

I’m learning firsthand what I read about the waiters in the Bible. I have a brash way about me, but the wait is a privilege to be made meek. There’s always a promise in waiting for God. There are eyes un-peeling and un-peeling for the invisible, the unseen. We’re waiting. I’m waiting for more time with Seth. I’m waiting for a house and a healing. Titus is not broken any more than the rest of us are. I’m waiting for my own healing. Hope says it’s coming.

He’s coming. Kingdom come.

Don’t forget that this Monday we’ll be writing our March Marriage Letters. Check them out from last month: Once Upon a Time. They’re amazing.

March’s prompt is “When You’re Most Alive.”

Write to your spouse telling him or her when you see them most come alive. I realize this could quickly go the way of milk and cookies, but try to be creative. Let’s encourage each other. Let’s stake a claim in our marriages. Share this prompt with your friends and see if others would like to join us.

I’m going to go ahead and say thank you now, too. I know that so many of you pray for our family. It’s not that I’m not sad about Titus, but multiple times throughout the day, I see fear and frustration as an option, but then I do one of those weird cry-hiccups, overwhelmed with gratitude. I am overwhelmed with how good God is and how good His people are. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather know. Thank you for praying for us.

About me


Soul Practices, Part 1: An Introduction
January 17, 2017
When There’s a Lion in Your Yard
November 18, 2016
What do you taste?
November 08, 2016
Stay in It: The Un-Ministry of Love in the Time of Locker Room Talk
October 11, 2016
Dog Days
August 26, 2014
Be the child, then revolution.
June 02, 2014
You Inherit Me
May 21, 2014
You Have Not Come to Darkness
April 30, 2014
Thoughts On the Wait
April 07, 2014


Reply February 27, 2014

You're so beautiful and put together. The first thing I thought when opening this post was: I can't imagine going to the grocery store looking like that. Good on you. Praying for Titus and your family. Looking forward to Monday. Something kind of...significant?...happened (in a round-about way) because of the letter I wrote last month. It's good for us, so thank you. I wish he blogged, but he says that--if he did--it would be only to refute all the crap I put out there. =-O I have no idea what he means, of course.

    Reply February 27, 2014

    Oh Brandee, I bet I went to the store in sweats and a big headband. That picture up top is my dolling up for the school dance. :) Sorry to say that it took work!

    It's a big deal that stuff is coming out of your letter. I think it's been good for a lot of people. Sometimes just the stopping to think through marriage for a skinny minute is an investment that says your marriage is worth it.

Megan (FriedOkra)
Reply February 27, 2014

My little boy makes me hear all my favorite love songs with new, fresh ears. He's been doing it since I was still pregnant with him. I didn't know loving a boy could be so simple until him. Waiting with you, for all of everything, love.

    Reply February 27, 2014

    Yes, the songs. Also something else is that fine-looking, handsome men and terrible-looking, mean fellers turn into their Mama's babies to me. I see them as grown boys whose mamas love them - or ought to have loved them.

      Donna C
      Reply February 27, 2014

      That happens to me too! It's the weirdest thing...

Annie Barnett
Reply February 27, 2014

Oh, Amber. You gift us by sharing the way you dance in the dark and wrestle through these hard places. I'm sorry for all the hard waiting, even though it's carving out beautiful things in you. I know it's not easy. Praying for Titus and the move and for even more joy in the in between places. Love you guys.

    Reply February 27, 2014

    We love you, too, girl. We were just talking about you last night with Tsh. :)

Reply February 27, 2014

These are my favorite posts - the ones about living daily and loving your boys and struggling with all the crummy things that life tosses in everyone's way. Thank you for sharing and inspiring me to see all the moments of my life.

Donna C
Reply February 27, 2014

Oh girl - I can't believe you're stuck in limbo with all the boxes AGAIN! I am also deeply impressed that you're not having the world's biggest tantrum over this all, coz I'm pretty sure I would be.

    Reply February 27, 2014

    Oh Donna, I pitched a fit last summer, and it just wore me out. That's the long and short of it. I don't have the energy or desire for anything other than what God has for me right now. I can't afford it, you know?

robin troxell
Reply February 27, 2014

been thinking about titus, and you, and healing. xoxo

Angie Ryg
Reply February 28, 2014

I whispered to him that I don’t always understand what we’re saying when we ask for fire to fall down on us. He said, “It’s because God is a consuming fire, Mama.” Yes, son, He is.

Oh, this is sweet beauty and grace and hope all wrapped in one beautiful moment.
Always praying for "home" for you!


Diana Trautwein
Reply February 28, 2014

Well, shoot. I am more sorry than I can say for all the limbo. Continuing to pray for that sweet boy - and all your sweet boys. My goodness, they're gorgeous, Amber. I love reading about how you and Seth love them so -- good for my mama-soul and my grandmama-soul, too. I'm in a weird limbo right now, too - it's not fun, but I'm trying to have eyes to see what there is to learn while I'm here. Thanks for modeling that so well for me and so many others.

Kris Camealy
Reply February 28, 2014

oh Amber, your beautiful family is in my prayers.

Reply July 23, 2015

The best diet is one that aims to be healthy rethar than focusing on losing weight. A healthy meal plan would be something like.Breakfast = porridge or muesli.Lunch = mixed bean salad with cottage cheese or avocado with lemon juice/olive oil/salt on wholemeal toast.Dinner = grilled fish, brown rice and salad or grilled chicken, houmus and salad in wholemeal pitta.Snacks = sticks of celery, carrot, red pepper and cucumber and/or roasted almonds.

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