Man, don't I get that!
But a short while ago, while taking my girls to ballroom dancing, I was passing a table full of elementary school aged children putting together a puzzle, and a little boy said this:
Living lavishly beyond my broken heart.
I’ll live better than anyone thought.
No more words
I cannot think
My mind goes blank
How can it be
That I who stood
And watched you drive away for good
Be the culprit
Of this great drama
That plays out between us
I want to slam on the brakes
Make it stop
Spin the world back to the day I was his princess
Wearing the paper crown
And fuzzy bathrobe
Smiling through fever
Because he thought I was beautiful
And now the king of my heart
I can’t love anymore
Someone who loves with words
Yet in deed most unloving
An empty kingdom does not a princess make
And it is I who sit on a throne most pathetic
Wishing for butterflies
And bubble gum
Long rides gazing up at stars through the windows in the back of a Pinto
With the one
Who doesn’t remember that once, I held his heart.
I don't read the news very much. I will watch it about once a week or so with my husband when he is home on the weekends over a cup of coffee. All of us know that it would be more appropriately entitled "the Bad News" said with a smile by plastic Ken and Barbie wannabes. I think if you had someone like Mama from Mama's Family (a/k/a Vicki Lawrence - not to steal any of Keet's Carol Burnett thunder) delivering the news it would be as you expected, but we have the beautiful people telling us that the world is going to hell in a handbasket and smiling at us through perfect teeth, just to make you wonder if your feelings of doom and gloom are accurate.
I read this horrific story on my Google homepage this morning about a woman who died on a flight from Haiti because the two oxygen tanks that they brought to her were empty. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't you instructed that in the event of an emergency the little face masks will drop from above your seat and administer oxygen to every passenger on the plane??? Why could they not get oxygen to this woman? The worst part to me is that the flight attendant denied her oxygen twice before even attempting to help this obviously very ill woman. All of this comes from living in a world where everything anyone says is suspect, and the human element is removed. We don't have compassion for one another. My compassion is affected when I watch horror story after horror story on the evening news, which is why this post will end as it started with…I don't read the news very much.
#1 - "To bring up a child in the way he should go, travel that way yourself once in a while." - Josh Billings
#2 - “I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess” - Martin Luther
#3 - "You can drown in the shallowness of your own heart" - Dr. Flint McGlaughlin
#4 - "He who has no sense of self-importance cannot be offended or defeated." - W. Phillip Keller
#5 - "Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured." - Mark Twain
#6 - "God answers all our prayers, but sometimes the best answer is 'no'." - The Family Circus
#7 - Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.
#8 - "Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles. It empties today of its strength."
#9 - Once when John Holt (the father of unschooling) was speaking to a school audience, describing his views on their structured curriculum, a student asked him, "But surely there must be something important enough that everyone should learn it?” He thought for a moment and replied, “To learn to say ‘I’m sorry’, ‘I don’t know’, and ‘I was wrong’. “
#10 – “The woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to be ruled over by him, nor out of his foot to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected and near his heart to be beloved.” - Matthew Henry
#11 – “Not all who wander are lost.” - J.R.R. Tolkien
#12 – “The pessimist is the man who believes things couldn’t possibly be worse, to which the optimist replies, ‘Oh yes they could.’” -Vladmir Bukovsky
#13 – “Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.” - Martin Luther
#14 – “Of all the rights of women, the greatest is to be a mother.” -Lin Yutang
#15 – “I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere to go. My own wisdom, and that about me seemed insufficient for the day.” -Abraham Lincoln
#16 – “Who wants flowers when you’re dead? Nobody.” - J.D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye
#17 – “Every happening, great or small, is a parable by which God speaks to us. The art of life is to get the message.” - The Ultimate Gift
#18 – “Those who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security.” - Benjamin Franklin
#19 – “Everyone wants to tell you what to do and what’s good for you. They don’t want you to find your own answers; they want you to believe theirs.” - Socrates, Peaceful Warrior
#20 – “If God loved you as much as you love Him, where would you be?”
#21 – “Some people are so open-minded their brains fall out.” - Rick Warren
#22 – “Common sense is wisdom with its sleeves rolled up.” - Kyle Farnsworth
#23 – “We cannot choose whom we will love if we claim to be Christians.” - Anonymous
#24 – “Live in such a way that those who know you but don’t know God will come to know God because they know you.” - Anonymous
#25 – “I might repeat to myself, slowly and soothingly, a list of quotations beautiful from minds profound; if I could remember any of the damn things.” - Dorothy Parker
#26 – “You have bewitched me, body and soul, and I love, I love, I love you.” - Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice
#27 – “Love is many things. It’s varied. One thing it is not and can never be is unsure.” Maya Angelou in Madea’s Family Reunion
#28 – “Things are more like they are now than they have ever been.” - Gerald R. Ford
#29 – “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should” - Ruth Beechick
#30 – “Just be.” –friend from college, Stephanie DuBois
#31 – “They need love the most who deserve it the least.” - Mama Evans
#32 – “The object of teaching a child is to enable him to get along without his teacher.” - Elbert Hubbard
#33 – “My mother said I drove her crazy. I did not drive my mother crazy. I flew here there. It was faster.” - Robin Tyler
#34 – “If we took long enough and hard enough…we will begin to see the connections that bind us together, and when we recognize those connections, we will begin to change the world.” - Muriel Rykeyser
#35 – “I’ve always been skeptical of those television healers who are bald. I mean, if I had that gift, that would be the first thing I’d fix.” - Tony Campolo
#36 – “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.” - C.S. Lewis
I have been thinking about writing this letter for several days now, but haven't quite had the words to capture my thoughts. Today, while in line at the grocery store behind an elderly man, I was inspired. I was thinking that once, like you, he probably had a mother who adored him. He looked a little lonely, disoriented, hard of hearing. He was fumbling in his pockets for the correct change, and attempting to strike up conversation with the cashier, who seemed less than interested. His boyhood days are long gone, but the things his mother taught him are likely still a big part of his life. It made me think of the things I want to teach you, and hope that you will keep with you until you are old.
Always remember that you are special to me. I will always love you. There is nothing that you could ever do to lose that love. Being your mom has taught me so many valuable lessons about life. It is a wild ride, and I am so glad we are in it together.
I love you with all my heart.
A comment my friend Kate left on my post about Christian Women has left me thinking this morning. She said the perfect Christian women need to be covered with mercy and grace as well, and that the need for control comes from a fear long ago of not having any. It was so right. The struggle comes in that hard saying of Jesus to love your enemies.
I really stink at that.
People have told me that I was good at that, but I am not. I learned performance behavior. Pretending you were a part of a family you weren't, dealing with a mentally ill mother, and acting like everything was okay when it was not. That has spilled over into how I deal with other people. When I try to love difficult people, it is generally in my own strength.
A few times I have had the Lord infuse me with a supernatural love that could only come from Him for people who were unlovable. I am sure He has done the same for others to allow them to love me.
It is so hard to love people who hurt your feelings, make you feel "less than", or seem to be irritated by your very existence. But I don't believe we get an exception with them.
Thanks Kate for the reminder.
Yesterday I spent half an hour with two of my kids in the closet. Why you ask? Hmm…well when I got up in the morning, the temperatures were in the 70s and the sky was clear. A short while later, out of nowhere they sky went completely black. In case I never mentioned it before, this part of the country has storms like you would not believe. It is intensified by the fact that we have an old house with older windows that just rattle with every rumble. This storm was right on top of us with lightning and thunder coming simultaneously. At one point there was a bolt that struck right outside Kendra's bedroom window where Kaitlyn was on the computer, and hit our air conditioner. Yikes! Right after that, golf ball sized hail came. Hail is an indicator for tornadoes. We scrambled around and gathered up all the animals, and brought them all inside. The thunder wasn't in a clap – it was a long rumble and each one seemed to last longer than the first, and everything got really weird outside – so I yelled for the two kids who were home to get in the closet. I took the laptop in there with me and checked out the Doppler radar – and sure enough, we were under a tornado warning until 4 pm. It was only noon. It was one of the longest afternoons of my life. We were spared but my nerves were shot. I am not cut out to live in this climate. The day before it had been sunny and beautiful, and this came out of nowhere. That is the hardest part – the unexpectedness.
I have been really excited to be turned on to some terrific blogs through the Emerging Women blog. It is so fantastic – the theology, the struggles, the encouragement, the freedom to explore faith, "tip sacred cows", and the amazing sisterhood that is found there has been a real joy lately.
One of my favorite new blogs from this blog ring is The Carnival In My Head. Perky author, Cathy posted about When One of Us Hurts, We all Hurt. She shared her thoughts about the book A Thousand Splendid Suns and how it explores the plight of Afghani women. She said how she was so overwhelmed at times she had to put the book down, and it made me sad. Sad because I realized how desensitized I have become to the overwhelming sadness, pain and sorrow in the world. I shared how as a child my parents assured me that there wasn't anything that I alone could do to help when I was moved to agonizing tears over hungry children in the world. In the conversation that followed, another commenter asked me how I thought as parents we could nurture this heart of compassion, this connectivity to the human experience the world over, and this inability to shrug at injustice and suffering in the world. (She may have just said "what's a mom to do?" but this is what I read between the lines.) What follows is what started out as a 'reply comment' that turned into a post of its own.
I think that it comes down to respectful parenting - which to me is conjoined to our family breaking out of the traditional church which not only de-values women but also children. When my kids are upset, I don't minimize it anymore. I don't rub it off. We feel it together. We hurt, we pray, we cry. My oldest was about 11 when our church was taking a group on a mission trip to an area in Mexico suppressed by extreme poverty. Because she knew that she could not go, she decided to do what she could. She saved her allowance and money she found here and there, and took it to the guy who was leading the trip - a very activist, compassionate type - and handed him this baggie of change, and asked him to do something nice for the children when he went to Mexico. It was THE delight of her life when he came back and showed her pictures of the children eating ice cream that SHE bought. It didn't save the world - but it made the lives of some children better even if for only five minutes. I think if we could focus more there – something small we can do, we are so less likely to be overwhelmed.
If we let our children's hearts of compassion be engaged, and step out of the way I think we can harness the power that will change the world five minutes at a time. This doesn't mean we have to foot the bill behind every idea they have - but support it, help them, give them opportunities to earn money or help them find resources.
Letting your children grow into compassionate, aware, human beings that care about others and the world around them is a risk. Sometimes it means that people will take advantage of their caring hearts. Sometimes they will be used for their generous natures. Sometimes they will be vulnerable to others. You can't teach discernment, but you can model it if you choose to live out loud outside of your own head and let them know why you are doing something or not doing it. And sometimes, we will model it wrong, but as a parent I have chosen to let my kids learn from my mistakes – and boy is there ample opportunity for that. Just yesterday I was in the mall with my daughters and I said, "I have a hard time enjoying the mall when I know there are people in the world that don't have anything to eat today." Yep, I am a real party pooper that way. But, in typical teenage girl fashion, the gushed that they loved the mall. They're allowed. I didn't shame them for it though I secretly felt the urge to regurgitate that I birthed these often superficial beings. I just let them be who they are – and hope that I can learn from them, and they can learn from me. As a wise sage once said, "we're all in this together". Or maybe that was High School Musical. Dang! Sound theology is everywhere.
I got this link of an interview with Tony Campolo today on a yahoo group that I frequent. It was great. One of my favorite sermons ever was the time my pastor impersonated Tony doing one of the sermon's that he is most famous for called "It's Friday, but Sunday's Coming".
In the discussion that followed the sharing of this link, my friend Jenny said she loves it when Tony shares this with groups:
"there are [some number] of children starving in this world today, and most of you don't give a sh*t ... and what's even worse, most of you are more concerned right now about the fact that I just said sh*t than that I just said there are children starving."
Sometimes we just miss the whole point.
FAVORITE CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS
1 4 lb broiler or roasting chicken
2 quarts water or chicken broth1 onion, whole
1 bay leaf (optional)
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
pinch of black pepper
2-3 stalks celery, whole, plus leaves
Wash chicken, inside and out. Place in a large enough pot to cover with about 2 quarts of water or chicken broth. Add celery, a bay leaf (optional), parsley, pepper, onion and garlic. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce heat immediately to low; simmer for 60-90 minutes until chicken is very tender. Remove chicken from the broth and set on a dish to cool. Continue to simmer the broth over low heat while preparing the dumplings. When chicken becomes cool enough to handle, cut into bite size pieces, removing bones and skin. Set de-boned chicken aside.
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons cold butter
1 cup buttermilk (I used 1 tsp. vinegar in a cup of milk)
In a medium bowl, combine flour and salt; cut in shortening using a pastry blender or a large fork (pastry makers mix in the shortening using their hands - if you want to try, dip your hands in ice cold water for a minute, then dry your hands first; it's important not to melt the butter!) Add cold buttermilk, a few spoons at a time, mixing the dough from the outside in with fork until a dough forms (do not overmix - about 2 minutes total). Roll dough out on a work surface which has been lightly sprinkled with with flour to prevent sticking. Roll dough out thinly, about 1/8" thick, then slice into strips, each about 2 inches in length. Gently drop the dumplings into the simmering chicken broth. Stir them gently to prevent sticking. Add chicken, pepper and butter and simmer for another 10 minutes or so before serving.
Kullen showed me this awesome site called MagMyPic
- and he helped me choose a picture for my magazine cover.
This was pretty fun! Except lordy lordy - I just realized that my blogging audience had to see a picture of me TWICE in one day. Sorry about that folks, your vision should return to normal shortly!!