31 March 2008
I think there is an 80s song..... we're gonna rock down to electric avenue, and our bills keep getting higher, higher!
Recently, we added a 5th line to our cell phone plan enabling my 10 year old son to join us in the cellular world.
I love my cell phone. There, I said it. I’ve just outed myself as a technology lover.
Thankfully I know other adults who love it as much. I watched a friend giddily text-messaging her husband at a card game last week – and so I know while I may be a minority I am not alone.
The thing is that now there are kids who are older than my son whose parents have decided that their children will not have a cell phone who have looked at us with disgust. I recognize it. It’s the hidden, unspoken, somehow silently agreed upon standard among parents that kids don’t get a cell phone until they are teenagers.
That’s not my standard. I didn’t silently agree. There are a lot of reasons we let him have a cell phone. First, my son has always been drawn to electronics. He has never liked toys. I see advantages as he texts other people – he’s writing, and spelling, and has learned a great deal of responsibility.
I don't have to explain.
But I hate the look.
The one that says, how dare you make my kid ask me why your 10 year old has a cell phone, when I won’t let them have one until they’re 13….15…whatever.
Be yourself. Make decisions for your own family and stick to them. Let me parent my kids and decide what and when the best is for them. Quit generic parenting. Consider your child and cast these ambiguous standards to the wind.
30 March 2008
29 March 2008
Before Dwayne married Shasta, I used to clean their house. The best part about cleaning day at the Douglas' was getting to visit with Mrs. Ruth. I could do most of the work in an hour or two - but I would often spend half the day there. Sometimes Mrs. Ruth would make lunch for me. She had a great sense of humor and a vibrant personality. I can remember a day when she was particularly anxious about her son, Dana. His marriage was going through a rough period, and he was getting into trouble. When I got there that day, she was just wringing her hands in worry. We talked for a little while and I ended up by her on my knees praying for her son. A few days later, she called me and joyfully reported that Dana had given his life to the Lord. His life really did turn around, and I counted it special that Mrs. Ruth and I got to share that miraculous answer to our joint prayer.
Mrs. Ruth will be deeply missed, but the indelible mark she left on the lives of those who loved her will remain.
I'd appreciate it!
East Texas is quite beautiful in the spring, with areas that literally look carpeted with ferns, pitcher plants, and flowers. In a few months the heat will make the outdoors less than enjoyable so spring here is when nature really shines. We walked quietly for a while, noticing animal tracks and the carnivorous plants that are indigenous to the area. But what could be more natural than our conversation turning to God.
The girls were both telling me how they feel far away from God. It hurt to realize that I was part of indoctrinating my children into a system of religion and obligation. It is hard to undo. It is difficult to articulate things to them in a way that doesn't cause them to think as I once would have that I have completely abandoned my faith. It scares me a little bit to see them free to love and worship God outside the confines of what the religious world tells us it should look like, and encourage them to step out for what will be certain scrutiny by the "church". I was fumbling with the words, and at the same time so excited that we were touching on something that is so life changing that they were spilling out in rapid succession. The church would tell us if we don't feel close to God to "dig deeper", chase harder, press in, pray more, read the Bible more, sweat, toil and strive towards Him. Although some of these things may have value, they also seem much more like vain human effort. Might I even be so bold as to suggest without offending my readers, that the attempt to conjure up this feeling of "being close to God" closely resembles witchcraft. The truth is that we are never far from Father. He was there with us in the woods, and when we sat eating dinner, and when we were laughing until we cried last night teasing each other. He is there. Our lives are to be a celebration of Him in all we do.
One of the girls attended church with a friend this past week, and was telling me it is where she feels the most uncomfortable anymore is in church. The music is repetitive, and the teachings are hollow especially where the youth are concerned, and no matter where you go, it is all predictable, even across denominational lines. We talked about every conversation with anyone who finds out that you don't attend church coming to this awkward place where you know they have an agenda to fix you, get you "in church", etc. Much of this is done in misguided love, and I hold no resentment, but it is a clear indicator that so many have traded relationship for formula, and intimacy for corporate worship.
We talked about how the Bible wasn't originally split into chapters and verses, and how what was often meant as a living narrative saying "see how this person walked" is often taken and broken into itty bitty pieces and given to us as a "do A, B, C and reap D" plan. It can be used in such a way as to almost omit God altogether.
I was sharing with my girls, my testimony of how this is all deconstructing for me. I feel a lot like a butterfly just out of the cocoon, too aware of the shortness of my life to let fear keep me from flying. Even in my worst moments now, I know that I have not changed in His sight. I am not on the treadmill of guilt and obligation anymore. It set me up to feel deep down inside that I could never measure up. Even while I have come to these conclusions for my own life, I have still wanted my kids to remain where it seemed safe, just in case I was wrong. I am sorry that I haven't shared with them more through this journey that I have been internalizing so much. I know that it was Father who got us alone in the woods together yesterday, and I am so thankful He did. I can trust Him completely with their hearts as well as my own.
I have quite a few other little tweaks to make, but for now, I'm pretty happy. It isn't very colorful, but I'll have to keep working on it. It was nice to take a little time out of the chaos to do something that I enjoyed - a little creative outlet.
Let me know what you think!
28 March 2008
Kaitlyn's toe seems to be healing up quite nicely. The procedure was fairly routine, but she was a bit anxious about it. As she has a tendency to pass out, I was concerned. It seems to be healing well and with antibiotics and a lot of foot soaking, we're on our way to recovery, at least for her toe.
Her jaw seems to have alleviated quite a bit with some exercises given by the husband of an online friend, but her mouth still opens crooked - meaning one side opens more than the other. The doctor is convinced that she has TMJ, so we are going to consult with a dentist about some non-surgical and drug-free treatments.
My husband, the junk collector scored a go-cart in a trade made with a neighbor boy yesterday, so I suspect he and Kullen will be working on that most of the weekend. Kullen is very excited.
Kendra is working and trying to recover from spring break! She has filled her week with lots of activities.
I am gearing up for the Script Frenzy. I am preparing mentally to make space each day to write. I am thinking about things. I have never worked well with a format or outline from which to write. It either just flows or it doesn't. I is a bit daunting to think of forcing it to flow within the confines of one month, but I really need the motivation.
Last night we went and played cards at a friend's house and that was absolutely awesome. There are some terrific women and kids there and it is really fun getting to know them all better.
That's a wrap for now - profound thoughts are elusive. They're there but I can't seem to capture them.
26 March 2008
25 March 2008
I really don't have time for it - but at this point, I feel like if I don't take time to write, it is going to go by the way side, and I never will do it. As a result of never living toward my own hopes and dreams, I will succumb to a slow and painful death, dying a sad and crazy woman, mumbling "I'm a writer" "I'm a writer" through lips parched and swollen as those who come to wipe my butt in the nursing home look at one another and laugh knowingly that since I can now no longer get my fork to my own mouth without injury, I will likely never write anything worth reading.
Yep, not a pretty picture. Please support me in this Script Frenzy. It may be just the motivation that I need. You can even go here and get a little supporter's icon for your blog. Maybe you want to join too - super! It is not a competition. Let me know if you do so I can cheer you on!
Some ways you can support me are:
- ask me how it is going
- send chocolate
- ask me what my word count is
- send chocolate
- let me bounce story ideas off of you
- send chocolate
- read my blog regularly and tell me what a dazzling and brilliant writer I am
- send chocolate
23 March 2008
She never really was a baby. She came out of the womb speaking in full sentences. Aside from the baptism, the video was full of family moments. She often got pushed, unintentionally to the side, being the most independent of our children. She has strengths and weaknesses, gifts and challenges, she is feisty and loving. She is ready to bolt like a race horse out of the gates into adult life, and I will be lost. I didn't know I was worth anything until I became her mother. She has changed my life completely and forever. I saw the love of God in her eyes the first moment I held her. My shining star is about to take off and leave me in darkness. A mother's heart grows faint to think of it. I am going to go and have lunch with her during her break at the restaurant where she works. I have decided to grab every minute I can with one of the best people I have ever known as often as I can.
22 March 2008
Yesterday we went to see Horton Hears a Who which we all loved. Dr. Seuss is the best! It had a lot of intelligent humor and poignant moments. Be sure to turn off the Project Playlist on the left before turning on the trailer below.
Today we are distributing Easter baskets and having our holiday meal, because Kendra is working tomorrow. Our menu is ham, homemade dinner rolls, three bean salad and these Cheesy Potatoes Euphoria that I found at my favorite Slow Cookin' Thursday. I also followed her link to this Bird's Nest Cake which I decided to make!
I told the kids we might hit one of the local trails for a walk this afternoon. The weather is just perfect. The sun is shining and all the windows are open, and the slight wind outside is causing the windchimes to make a nice music on the front porch.
I don't know what you're doing this weekend, but I hope that your life, and the enjoyment of it celebrates Christ. It a lot more about the life we're living than the services we're attending. We were set free at the cross from the guilt and obligation. I will celebrate by living well.
20 March 2008
Pride and Prejudice was fantastic. It went off without a hitch. I got to have more than a front row seat as I was able to sit directly in front of the stage to feed lines if necessary - which it really wasn't. The kids all turned on - and as is typically the case in theater, all the rough spots were suddenly smoothed as the threat of public humiliation in front of an audience was greater than any fear over dropped lines, missed cues, or awkward movements. I went back to my husband during intermission and he generally is a tough critic. He was SO impressed! At the end the kids were well rewarded by an appreciative audience on their feet with a long applause. Anyone who missed it truly missed a great show.
I have taken tons of pictures - but most of mine came out a bit dark. Even lightening them with Photoshop didn't prove to be much help. I couldn't get my flash to hit them well on the stage. My favorite characters are at top left. The picture to the right is of Kendra and her friend Trent - who played Jane and Mr. Bingley respectively. Trent was struggling throughout the play to portray how "taken" he was with Jane's character. At the end of the show, they posed for this picture for me, which shows how much fun they had. I love it! At the bottom, the Bennet family - to them I say Adieu! It was fun being a part of your lives and now I'm glad it's over!
18 March 2008
On a personal note - these events are always a little bittersweet. Seeing the other students with their families gathered around is often a stark reminder that we don't have that. It is the reason we are in Texas and it seems we are often as alone as ever. I am extremely sleep deprived which is making my feelings about it worse today - isn't that how it always goes? This morning I woke up to *expletive deleted* because my husband and I both overlooked his cell phone in the pocket of his work clothes when they were put in the washer last night. Yikes. That was at 5 am after going to bed at 1:30. I tried to go back to sleep and I think the adrenaline of the day's anticipated activity is keeping me from it. I have also have a stiff neck and headache. But there is nothing to be done - the show must go on!
16 March 2008
The whole evening was full of the waltz, foxtrot and lindy, and a few classic wedding dances - like the chicken dance. Old were dancing with young, tall with short, and the ones who were better dancers were teaching the ones who were not so sure of themselves. A broom was passed around and dances were stolen without malice. Dressing up and smelling good for an evening has its perks too!
Here are pictures of the girls with their dance partners: Kendra with Daniel and Kaitlyn with David. They are brothers and such terrific boys. It was a great night for everyone.
Today, we're off to another long rehearsal as Pride and Prejudice is opening in just two short days! Aaaaahk! I am surprised that I had time to blog at all!
15 March 2008
At home finding these opportunities is easy - being gentle when someone has offended or done a wrong. Let's clarify to say the finding is easy, the acting is not. I think Jesus gave us the ultimate example of paying it forward, in laying down His life for us that we might in turn lay it down for others. If I can look at it in these terms instead of a religious obligation, it is a blessing and not a burden.
Yesterday was a long day, and I found an opportunity near the end of it to pay it forward. I really didn't want to. We had gotten up and rushed off early in the morning with much chaos at home for what turned into an almost 5 hour rehearsal. I stayed in the city instead of coming home, and ran some errands = no down time. Then we had to be back at the co-op building for ballroom dance classes. In the midst of all that I had about 800 emails (not an exaggeration) in my inbox that I knew I needed to sort through, 100 blurbs to write, and a ton of other things I've been flagging and backlogging during the busy week - although I've still managed to work my regular hours. I wanted to turn on my laptop and utilize that time to work through my emails just so I wouldn't have it to deal with when I got home at 11 that night. But I had promised to talk to the kids, 10 and 11 year old boys and girls that are helping to serve food at the ballroom dance tonight, about proper etiquette for servers. They were all bouncing off the walls, jumping rope, wrestling, running up and down the halls - and for most of the adults there this meant trouble. There was one boy in particular that slammed a couple of girls to the ground, in his zeal to steal a jumprope. Their energy level was only increasing. They did sit still for a five minute talk about how the serving was going to work, and various random things I could think of like how not to put your thumb in the plate you are carrying, etc. although I doubt much of it stuck. Then it occurred to me that there was a big empty playground outside. The weather was perfect. I decided to put my work aside for a while, and take the kids out into the beautiful evening weather. I sat on a huge wooden swing by the playground that is under a canopy of majestic trees with these kids who were just so fantastic. Different girls came and sat with me sporadically and told me how weird they thought my son was, how they don't like snakes, and a various assortment of topics. I overlooked a lot of things that other adults would never let them do, and watched with delight while they overturned a plastic hippo in search of salamanders, some of the girls getting brave enough to reach in and get them and run let them outside the fence so that the boys couldn't get them (they were saving them). There were several rounds of Hide'n' Go Seek in the fading light. It was some leisure, taking in the beauty of childhood in a gorgeous setting, and a chance to just sit and breathe in and out. There were no expectations. I just got to hang out with 8 pretty terrific kids on a beautiful evening. I thought I was doing something nice for them, but I think I am the one who benefited the most from our evening on the playground.
13 March 2008
1 - 8 oz. block of cream cheese
pepperoni or any other toppings: olives, mushrooms, onions, sausage
Spread room temperature cream cheese in the bottom of a large crock pot. (If you're in a hurry or forgot to take the cheese out of the fridge earlier, just turn that baby up on high for a few minutes until your cheese is spreadable.) Pour 1-2 cups of sauce over the cream cheese, and add any toppings you want. Finish with mozzarella cheese. Leave that in a crock pot on high for about 20 minutes, or on low for about 45.
Serve on tortilla chips, baguette bread, garlic bread, etc.
12 March 2008
I've been writing this post in my head for over a week now. I have phrases and words, but I am not sure how it will all come together in the end. I have come head to head with the fact that I don't believe what I thought I believed anymore.
For clarification, I believe in God, but I don't see Him in the same "authoritative parent" frame anymore, but as loving, reconciling, and engaging. I don't feel the need to contrive a relationship of my own making, but know that He is a part of every breath I breathe, in all the life that I live.
I believe in Jesus, the Son of God who died on the cross for the sins of all mankind. He is that one great love. I was struck again recently with that awe of He died for me. Although, I am continually having my picture of Jesus repainted, as through the years, all the ungodly things done with His name slapped on them have really made a distortion of the picture I have of Jesus in my mind.
I used to be afraid to ask questions, feeling that either I should already know the answer, or thinking in my subconscious mind that I don't need to know, and can trust that others before me, either in church leadership or church history have already asked this question and figured it out. The few times that I had asked questions, I saw that it drew lines dividing the us from the them, so to speak, and this also caused me to shy away from such questions. Looking back to that girl from where I am now, I can't even believe she was me.
I am not afraid to think about universal reconciliation – I can't blindly believe that God made atonement for sin that some people may never be able to access based on location. If creation testifies to the Creator, I have to think in some places that must be enough. Of all things, we know that God is not unjust. Being destined for hell because you were born without the Bible or the gospel as westerners understand it does not jive with justice at all. It used to terrify me to question this – being taught that one needed the "sinner's prayer" and a brisk walk down the "Roman's Road to Salvation" in order to be right with God. I think there is more to it, and I'm not afraid to dig deeper.
I think we have gotten caught up in a lot of traditional thinking, and I am learning to question every single thing. Where did this come from? Why do we do that? I have just barely started to scratch the surface on this, but I am so excited at the ability to rightly divide what is of God and what is of man. Some of the things that I have attempted to address is where all the attitudes come from about dress, music, the rituals of communion, the obligation to attend church on Sunday, etc. Some of these deeply rooted Southern churches would have you believe that when God met Adam and Eve in the garden that he sewed them button front collared dress shirts and casual slacks for men, and a long floral skirt and blouse for women, and many missionaries set out to do the same. To go to the opposite extreme, we would all likely be wearing some fig leaf / animal skin combo. I don't know where we ever got the idea that to be Christian was synonymous with our culture, and say look like us on the outside and all is well on the inside.
A few weeks ago, I was watching a show where K.D. Lang was a guest. She was introduced and started to sing, and I suddenly became aware of something that was happening in my subconscious, the label "lesbian". It didn't allow me to appreciate her talent or her song. I was dumbfounded, and started to cry when I realized how beautiful, heart and soul she is. It was almost as if God allowed me to see her with His eyes. He doesn't see "lesbian" – He sees His beautiful girl. (More and more I would wonder if God even sees our gender.) This experience made me wonder how many other people I not allowed myself to enjoy or see beauty or value in, or for that matter love because my culture has assigned a specifically horrific value to certain types of sin, while shrugging at others. I can't live that way anymore.
I wonder about so many things. I'm not afraid to ask the hard questions, but I don't need you to answer them for me. Father and I will walk this out. I am not afraid to ask, to seek, to search, or to be called a heretic. In fact, wasn't Jesus called exactly that?
09 March 2008
I am sure that everyone is quite sick of posts about my eye dilemma - and I can promise you that there are other posts that have been writing themselves in my head. I will get back to them shortly. I know that it is just my eye, but it seems to have interfered with my ability to think. What is that about?
I did also remember a half sleepy morning waking up and rubbing my dry right eye while my contact was still in there - which is likely what caused the damage. The inflammation has cleared a bit today and I can see the redness/injury is around my iris in a circular pattern! I just recently started wearing a new kind of contact that you can keep in your eyes for 2 weeks - but when they are dry - you have to rewet them. Note to self: be more diligent about that!
08 March 2008
06 March 2008
Could I escape a moment
Have a thought all to myself
And dream a dream
Dance a dance
Or paint a piece of furniture red
Begin a novel
Write a letter to a friend
Walk carefree in the rain
Without a thought
As to who will wipe the mud off of my shoes
The days it seems
Before they even begin
As moment fades to hours
And hours into days
That write lines upon my face
And cheerful possibilities are swept away
The tyranny of the urgent
Can anybody else answer the phone
Pay the bills
Wash the car, bathe the dog
Make the grocery list
What I wanted so much
To be a mother and wife
Now threatens to take my own life away
As day after day
I get lost
In what some would call
Lest anyone think I don't love my family, please know that I do. Sometimes I just crave a minute, or maybe five or ten consecutive ones to myself, that are otherwise unaccounted for.
A short while later Kaitlyn said she got a new blog too, where she shares her deep thoughts and interesting music! What's up with that on the same day??
Some of you have already visited Kendra's blog, where readers can get a reali-tea check.
Wow, all my kids finally got bitten by the blogging bug!
CHICKEN SALAD CROISSANTS
2 cups chunked cooked chicken
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
4 large croissants, split
4 lettuce leaves (optional)
In a large bowl, combine chicken, mayonnaise, walnuts, cranberries, salt and black pepper; mix well. Spread equally over croissants and add a leaf of lettuce to each, if desired. Serve immediately.
We at ours on homemade bread - and it was equally as yummy.
What are you cookin'?
I also have this nifty little blockquote thingy going on! Isn't that special? I can't wait to use it from time to time when I want something to stand out.
If you are thinking of a change - I would highly recommend Goofy Girl - she's terrific and very patient! I have some itty bitty changes to make to the sidebars - but I am pretty happy with the new look.
What do you think?
05 March 2008
As I am typing this I hear the sound of breaking glass - and have to go clean up an oil lamp that got knocked over in the living room. Ugh.
I have too much stuff in my basket. I can't wait for summer. Need.more.lattes.
In case you haven't noticed my blog has gotten a lot quieter! After Emily's comment yesterday I realized that the music player on my blog was even getting on MY nerves. I have another one that is a little gentler that goes with my new blog design that will be revealed soon, very soon.
04 March 2008
03 March 2008
Saturday: Cold Mounain
I think I used to have a more cavalier attitude about war - that it was something that has been happening since the beginning of time, and it is just what we do. I can't imagine having the power in my hands to take another human life. What has come at a terrible price may not even be peace at all.
I think right now I am kind of raw from a personal situation that has just left me in a semi-grieving state. I think that I am starting to feel things again - hurt, worry, wonder, be afraid. I am not sure where this road is leading, but I know that I must follow it - even if it hurts, I am willing to wake from the semi-conscious state of existence.
02 March 2008
I am coming to terms with the truth, the realities of what is and have had a lot of pain as I have let go a little at a time of what will never be.
He will never say he's sorry.
She will never see your side.
The pain will never be acknowledged.
The power to hurt me is mine to give away.
Pretending perpetuates a lie.
I am enough, whether they acknowledge it or not.
I don't have to try so hard.
That which is named love that only ever hurts is not love. Call it what it is - agony, cruelty, selfishness.
I will never be thin enough, pretty enough, smart enough, wealthy enough, marry a man who is good enough, give birth to special enough children, have a nice enough house, drive a nice enough car, wear my hair the right style or color, make the right choices, say the right words, wear the right clothes, live in the right neighborhood, keep my house clean enough, have the right friends, sing, dance, read, write, breathe, walk, speak, run, jump, sit, stand, never never never enough to earn their love or approval. It will always elude me, like a ghost I chase or a dream I wake from before I reach the end, before the hero makes the rescue.
To them I will always be an unmet obligation, a thorn in the side, an unspoken guilt hanging over like a cloud, a place to perform with shallow birthday cards, and promises that aren't worth their spoken breath. The purpose served as a pawn in the game they played as opponents has been fulfilled. The thread that tied adversaries together, resented just because it exists.
I am waking up.
Goodbye Alice, it's been nice knowing you.
Melodramatic? Yes. True? Absolutely.
01 March 2008
I have been fighting off a migraine since yesterday evening. Even the light and sound are bothering me. I have taken as much ibuprofen as I can take without pickling my liver, and as soon as it wears off the pain in my head starts to rage again. I hate having a headache!