nonsensical text

Monday, April 30, 2007

burnt ends

sleeping with bread

I have recently gotten far too much practice in the art of being drained of life. I don’t even have to do much to accomplish it. My arms often feel too heavy to lift. Even shuffling my feet along on the trek from kitchen to dining room feels like hours of jumping hurdles. Even though I am getting much better sleep than is usual for me, I never seem to feel well rested. Even thinking of what to make for dinner takes more mental concentration than I can muster.

Perhaps the aspect of this exhaustive draining that causes me the most strife is that I have a very difficult time allowing the blessings I have been given to flow out on those around me. The very quality of exhaustion makes me more prone to snapping at my children and accomplishing nothing around the house. This in turn leads to guilt. The guilt feeds in to an overwhelming inability to accomplish.

I know I have written about this before. It does seem to be a continuous cycle. I don’t know, maybe I just like to have something to complain about. But complaining does nothing to ward off the problem. In fact, all it seems to do is use up what little energy I have.

But, just like God provided manna in the wilderness, He provides small blessings for me on a day to day basis – little nourishing tidbits that serve to carry me through the rough spots.

Just when I think I can’t possibly keep my eyes open for another minute, a new trickle of energy carries me through the task at hand. Just when I am positive that my healthy emotions are petrified under a crusty layer of kool-aid mix, yogurt, and Elmer’s school glue, the warm sun and gentle breeze caress the skin of my cheek like the lips of a mother on the face of her newborn child.

Just when I think I can’t take another minute of the squabbling nature of sibling relations, I am privileged to witness the companionship side of the equation. My three youngest sit in a sandbox with the toddler next door and help her venture forth into a new era of discovery. All this, and no one got sand in their eye.

God is good – all the time.

All the time, God is good.


Sunday, April 29, 2007


I want to stomp
and complain
and let the three year old me
run rampant over the keyboard.

I want to type
and tell stories
and leave comments
and make phone calls.

I want to be a great mommy
and play games all day
with the people
who won’t be little much longer.

I want to clean my house
and organize it
so everything has
an away.

Or better yet
get someone else to do it for me
while I am unconscious
so that I won’t
feel guilty
for all of the things
I have let slide.

tired –
to the bone
in the marrow
through the bloodstream
to every pore
every hair
every breath.


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

a little bit of this…

I have been remiss in my general posting and bread baking duties. Once again, I prove ever so vividly my utter undependability (If you don’t believe me on this one, just ask my friend who emailed me over a month ago, and I have yet to send out a response even though I think about it every single day).

So, although I am not even going to attempt bread this week, I am going to try to catch up in many other small ways. First, Pam over at the MarillaAnne blog has posted the answers to two more of my interview questions. One of these postings is pretty recent, so I have an excuse for not updating about that one. The other…not so much. I also owe her a comment on one of her answers (that threatened to turn into doctoral thesis length – my comment, not her post). Have I typed even one word of it? No.

Emailing, commenting, blogging, all have fallen by the wayside in the past few days/weeks/months/years. But, if I sit here any longer ruminating upon all of this, I will merely type a post completely concerning my regrets without taking any steps to remedy them. So, the steps may be small, but I am tentatively venturing forth in the faith that any progress is better than none at all.

My good friend Spidermama has tagged me for the real moms meme. The objective is to make the statement, “Real moms ______.” The blank can comprise one word or a million. Posting a picture with the assertion is also an option. I’ll have to check around to see if I have any in my files because I STILL haven’t figured out how to work my Christmas camera. I guess that isn’t surprising since I haven’t exactly tried to do so.

Anyway, without further ado:

I sat at baseball this evening with the pink one. The blue eyed J-bird was carousing with his teammates as they awaited the arrival of enough additional players to begin the game. A seven year old boy wearing the uniform of our team slowly approached the field.

“Look mom! A beautiful chocolate boy!” the pink one exclaimed. “And there his two pretty chocolate mommies and his chocolate sister!” No, the child didn’t have two mothers, merely one mother and a teenaged sister who, I would assume, rather resembled an adult to the eyes of a three year old child. And, no, none of them were made of chocolate.

Here’s where the real mom part comes in.

Real moms don’t correct their daughters for making errors in political correctness just for the sake of political correctness. Real moms understand that a discussion on the finer points of accepted terminology would take no root in the mind of most preschoolers. Real moms find pride in the fact that their daughter, who has been exposed to people of many different ethnicities for her entire life (including in her own family), who up to this point has never given the slightest sign that she notices the differences in the color of people’s skin, chose to pull from her thoughts a connection to her most favorite thing in life – chocolate!

Real moms hope that no one would ever be offended by the innocent words of their baby, but would instead see the love in that child’s eyes.

I am betting this meme has already made the rounds of many; nevertheless, I tag Mary, Mel, and Pam

Labels: ,

Friday, April 20, 2007

silly walk

Your Brain's Pattern

Your mind is a creative hotbed of artistic talent.

You're always making pictures in your mind, especially when you're bored.

You are easily inspired to think colorful, interesting thoughts.

And although it may be hard to express these thoughts, it won't always be.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

weighted in the balance...and found wanting

My husband made a pronouncement the other day. He is commonly doing that. Sometimes, he is sure that what he is saying is right; all is black and white; there are no shades of gray. Sometimes he uses the same certainty when he is aware that what he speaks holds controversial attributes, but he is ripe for a little discussion – especially with people of opposing views. I am not a pronouncer. I am an expounder. I take pronouncements and find their strengths and flaws. I consider them silently, or speak passionately, or write in the stillness of nighttime.

He said, “The law is made under the assumption that the majority of the people in a society wish that society to be a lawful one. When that is not the case, the law is powerless.”

There are many different avenues of this statement that I could explore, but, because of the roundtable discussion put into action by Julie this week, it immediately brought to my mind a clear delineation between justice and forgiveness while simultaneously magnifying their similarities and mutual dependence.

Now that I have you scratching your heads and muttering, “What the heck is that supposed to mean?” I will proceed to fly off on multiple tangents and likely not get to any clear explanation of my statement.

Justice is a fire that burns within the hearts of men when wrongs have been committed. Justice is a legal system set up to direct the course of those who wish to do right, and to bring consequences down on those who choose to act outside of its bounds. To many of us, justice represents what is fair and right. We rally around the flag of righteousness when the value of human life and dignity is laid waste.

God gave the law to Moses. He also gave instructions to set up cities of refuge.
"Then The Lord said to Joshua: "Tell the Israelites to designate the cities of refuge, as I instructed you through Moses, so that anyone who kills a person accidentally and unintentionally may flee there and find protection from the avenger of blood." -Deuteronomy 4:41-43

This very statement makes clear to me that our passion for justice is intrinsic to the fabric of our being – it is, perhaps, thread from the fabric of God in whose image we are made. It also tells me that our sense of justice is fallible.

In the same way, our legal system is fallible. Either in an effort to set up a system that prevents the just from being punished unfairly, a system is created which also allows for the unjust to avoid penalty; or a stricter system is erected which carries greater risk of convicted innocence but decreased instances of guilty freedom. In addition, when punishment is meted out, it cannot appease the loss completely. It cannot give back what was taken away.

Forgiveness does not excuse wrongdoing. It does not necessarily erase the punishments. It is not a get out of jail free card. Forgiveness and justice are not mutually exclusive. Instead, one serves to complete the other.

When victims’ families choose to observe the final moments of a death sentence carried to completion, it is not uncommon to hear them express relief that it is finally over, while paradoxically expressing some surprise that the relief was not as great a balm as they had hoped. When families sit in a court room and gasp in astonishment at the lenience of a sentence, or weep with dismay at a finding of not guilty due, not to innocence, but to a technicality of method, justice holds no healing powers.

In these times, forgiveness is a tool that is an even greater gift to the giver than the recipient. It is the saw that cuts the chains binding their hearts to the grief over the unfairness of it all. And perhaps, on some occasions, it is a gift to the receiver – the inexplicable gift that causes him to start on the journey of changing his ways.

I have heard it said that we judge others by their actions but wish them to judge us by our intentions. It is much easier to cry our for justice when we are the injured party. But, in the many small ways that we injure others – with careless thoughts, words, looks, or graver offenses – we pray justice not rain down on our heads.

Forgiving others is essential behavior if we are treating others the way we wish to be treated – following the golden rule. Forgiving others is easier when we can understand the why’s and wherefore’s. Forgiving others seems almost impossible when dealing with horrendous evils, yet we need to learn to hate the deed while forgiving the doer lest we begin the journey into harboring hatred. Harbored hatred always grows, and it will spill out eventually – often on those who are closest to our hearts.

I think forgiveness and justice are equally weighed – not like the contents of a balanced scale - in separate baskets, but more akin to the component parts of a suspension bridge. Without proper balance, collapse is imminent.

more thoughts on this topic can be found at Julie's rountable.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

no preservatives

sleeping with bread

I have never liked sandwiches. As a child, my mother would pack me a lunch with a single piece of white bread and a slice of the only lunch meat I would eat at the time (Lebanon bologna). I would proceed to take them apart and eat them separately – the meat first, and a few bites of the dry bread. Even now, I often have my peculiarities in that realm. I also tend to take other things apart that perhaps should remain together.

Yesterday, when I read the news about the events at VA Tech, I was saddened – I am sure we all were, but one thing that made me the saddest of all was my initial reaction. I felt….nothing. My mind recognized it as a terrible tragedy, but I didn’t feel tragic. My thoughts went out to those who were suffering, but my heart didn’t flutter. I wasn’t surprised. I wanted to be, but I wasn’t. In fact, until I came across a list of the victims on MSN and read a short profile of Liviu Librescu, it didn’t hit home. He was a 76 year old instructor who was born in Romania, survived the holocaust, and emigrated to Israel before finally settling in The US. He died while blocking the door to his classroom, thus enabling many of his students to escape through windows before the shooter gunned him down. He survived so much only to be murdered in a place of higher education – a place where children are sent to arm them with knowledge and abilities designed to protect them from hopelessness and destitution.

The world has become a very small place. We are now able to hear and see news from around the globe while it is actually taking place. The hurts and ails of the globe are our daily diet. In years before communication lines were so swift, each community banded together in their griefs and joys. It was not necessary to seek a personal element because those suffering were a part of every day life in the community. Now, I may know what happens in another country, but I don’t know why six police cars and an ambulance are visiting a house two blocks away. I have become desensitized to much of the horror because, to some extent, it is no more real to me than the latest box office smash.

As my husband and I drove toward a concert hall this evening, I found myself watching the rush hour commuters at a corner bus stop. They probably ride the same bus with the same people on almost a daily basis, and yet, in the three minutes we sat at the traffic light, not once did any of them make eye contact with each other. We have likely all done the same on elevators, in grocery lines, in public restrooms.

I am glad to live in an era in which technology has brought the ends of the earth closer together, but I grieve that we do it at the loss of care for our neighbor next door. I grieve that the regular onslaught of the world’s tribulations makes me, personally, build a thicker shell of protection around my emotions.

Consolation is difficult to find when the nation has been shaken by any kind of tragedy, but there is some still. We, in much the same way as the village of old, stand together in our grief. Our minds turn together in prayer or positive thoughts for those afflicted. We each count our own blessings a lot more accurately for a moment in time. The political and spiritual divides continue to exist, but for the moment, the united grief takes precedence over the disagreement.

And on a more personal note, an Israeli professor who gave up his life that others might live helps me, for an instant, to take my eyes off of the hardened crust of apathetic depression which creates a barrier between the desolations and consolations of my own soul.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

tick tock

Just so no one thinks I am ignoring them....

The past few days have been pretty hectic around here. I was hoping to get something posted today, but it is shaping up to be a bit on the crazy side.

With any luck, I will get a bread post - or SOME kind of post written while I am schooling the kids. I tried that yesterday but my laptop kept locking up (and when I tried getting on the desktop briefly, all of my students vacated the table and hid). Ah, life.


Friday, April 13, 2007


Well, I threatened it in a comment on Pam's blog, and so it comes to pass. I am jumping on the Haiku bandwagon – I love Haiku.

There is a weekly prompt at One Deep Breath each week for Haiku. This week’s theme is bridges. You get two for the price of one (which is FREE, so don’t complain).

sudden sun drenched glade
fading into gentle dark
spanned by shadow’s bridge


the chasm between
broken heart and forgiveness
bridged by laden cross

Labels: ,

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Yes, I am at it again with the interviews. We all know it is all about me anyway, so suck it up! I know you want to pull out your Scrapbooks on the Atypical One in anxious anticipation of what will spill forth this time, so get to it, and let’s get started.

Julie of the Ravin’ Picture Maven extended her interviewing skills to any takers, and, well, her posts are always so open and thought provoking that I could not possibly resist the temptation. How silly of me to forget that I would actually have to re-assemble my brain in order to answer those questions with anything even mildly coherent. The results follow. I was certainly long-winded, but I’m not so sure about the coherent part.

In other news, Pam over at the MarillaAnne Blog answered question #4 from my interview questions to her. I recommend following all of the links. The trip may not be short, but it is worth the ride.

1. What hung on your walls as a teen, and why?

Goodness, this takes me back. In my first year of teen-dom, my sister and I shared a room. I believe there were pull out posters of Leif Garrett, Shaun Cassidy, Parker Stevenson and Scott Baio on the wall then – oh and I forgot Jimmy NcNichol. I guess I just really dated myself with that answer. In my defense, she was the older sister, so I can blame it on her.

That year, my grandparents died and we moved into their house. As a result, I had my own room for the first time. It was a pretty small room, but it was mine. I am relatively sure that the only things I had hanging on my wall at the time were a few poems and a poster of Styx from the Cornerstone album – remember albums? I think this was when I really started figuring out that many song lyrics were just poems set to music. I always had a preference for free verse, and musically speaking, I preferred lyrics which told a story and didn’t sound like forced rhyme (as a result, most of my favorite Styx songs were some of the lesser known ones). I also entered the age of liking folk around this time, so I may have had one or two Harry Chapin poems. He put out a book of song lyrics and poems entitled Looking…Seeing (very strange artwork in that book). I don’t think I had anything particularly decorative on my walls.

2. How do you make a decision? What factors weigh more for you? Do you rely more on logic, or emotion?

You really do want long answers, don’t you? This is akin to Mary’s justice/forgiveness question to you. I suppose it would be best to start off with a disclaimer. I really do not make decisions well. The flip side of my ability to often see both sides of any given situation is the inability to stop creating lists of pros and cons for each side. This is often true even for the simple things (like deciding to go out to eat. My husband and I are like the vultures from Disney’s animated Jungle Book. At all other times, he is pretty decisive).

I am an extraordinarily logical person, although my logic might sometimes be a shade on the atypical side. My brain is quite capable of taking in all of the important qualifying information, separating it into categories, and judging the potential risks and benefits associated. I rarely have any doubts about the logical side of my decision making skills, and yet…. If I make a decision based on logic alone, I never fail to feel a vague sense of everything being unsettled. I am sure to worry about every possible thing that could, and probably will go wrong.

I almost never rely on that logic when making a final decision. My emotions – guided by indefinable perceptions of the implications of decisions on those around me – demand to have their final say. I am an emotionally driven person in almost every area of my life. I simply MUST feel what I am doing, or I am unlikely to do it at all. Unfortunately, fear is a feeling, and there are times in which I make decisions by not deciding anything at all. In those instances, and in instances where I allow the logic to supersede the emotions (because I KNOW it is the right thing to do), I tend to allow the guilt voice to speak to me in the still moments for years to come. I guess this could qualify as regret – even when the results are shown to be confirmation of the original decision.

See that? I couldn’t even make a decision about how to answer this question. I was going to support it with examples and the like, but, well, then I would have to decide which ones to use. It really is amazing that any coherent posts ever come out of my brain!

3. Is your life what you thought it would be when you were 12? Either way, how do you feel about that?

Oh my goodness. Well, I must tell you, goals have never been my strong suit. I was always much more connected to the interpretation of atmosphere and the observation of things that were in the present. I have a vague recollection of thinking, while I was still young, that I would be at home with my mother forever, and taking care of her. She was a single parent to my sister and me from a very young age. I did have aspirations to become a singer when I was young, but I never had the talent to support that desire.

Now, by thirteen, I had started having much wider vision into the futurescape. Depression began to take a bigger role in my life. I am relatively certain that the goal of “starving writer” had entered my psyche by this point in time; however, part of me also assumed I was going to die relatively young. I am not at all sure that impression has changed, but my definition of “young age” has changed a lot over the years.

I did manage a few years of writing, but not professionally. I entered into an era of almost starving, but the writing dried up with the finances – possibly due to the fact that motherhood had entered the picture by then. On motherhood, I have been asked many times if I always wanted a lot of kids, and I have always answered honestly. I don’t think I ever gave it much thought. If pressed, I probably would have assumed I would have two children, most likely girls. This is because my mother and her only brother had each had two kids. My dad actually had four, but I grew up without him having much day-to-day influence on my life. I qualify it that way because his lack of presence had a lot of influence on my life, but not of the day to day variety.

As a teen, I once had someone say of me, “Whoever marries you will never be bored!” That was not necessarily a compliment. The fact is, I guess I always assumed that great passion would be a large part of whatever filled my future. In that regard, I would say my life is not the way I would have envisioned it at 12 (and I am also pleased to say that I have, indeed, become quite boring). Geez, four paragraphs have been written on this, and I haven’t even started on the second half of the question!

My emotions on the subject are like a bubbling cauldron of great contentment and vague regret. The ingredients are loathe to intermingle due to their chemical make-up, so each time I sample the steaming brew, I come away with a different taste in my mouth.

I would not trade my children for anything in the world. I appreciate my husband for his many good points (and tolerate the not so good – in part because he also tolerates mine). I have a decent life filled with the ever present joys and irritations so integral to human relations. BUT. I wonder sometimes how to reach deeper within and touch the passionate spark of essential me-ness in order to let it run free, even amid the triviality of dirty laundry and midnight cries. I ponder who I will be when the nest is someday empty, and I have very little idea.

4. If you overhear a stranger who needs help or information you could provide, are you likely or unlikely to jump in? Why or why not? Give an example.

I am an introvert. It therefore comes as a surprise to me that there are actually times that I will jump into a conversation with helpful information. If I am standing in line at the grocery store, and the cashier and patron in front of me are having a discussion about something, and neither of them knows the answer to a particular thing (“Do you know who sells kerosene?” for example), I am likely to supply the information if I am aware of it. Likewise, if I am in a group of parents at a rec sporting event and someone needs information about the way the program is run, where to find some athletic supply, or how to get to a certain field, I will pop in with the information. I must say that I tend to wait until I am sure no one else is able to supply the information first. Oh, and I always feel guilty when I do jump in. I hate to feel intrusive.

I think the reason that I am more prone to jumping in with information in these settings is that everyone is on a somewhat equal and unsure footing. If I have even the mildest tinge of doubt in my information, or if I feel that someone else there has even slightly more experience than me on the topic at hand, I am more likely to remain silent. Occasionally, I have been known to direct people to a good source of information on the topic. Now, if I am directly asked the information, it is a different story. I do not ignore direct requests.

5. What is something you wish you could do, but can't?

There are so many potential answers to this question. I wish that I could play a musical instrument. I wish that I could find my passion and be a better teacher to my children. I wish that I could master routine and exhibit a solid model of organization, cleanliness, and competence to my progeny. I wish that I could work up the courage to stand up for my own needs without feeling guilty (or becoming selfish). I wish that I could feel the same kind of rush that is obtained from a first kiss/first love/first personal accomplishment of deep merit without losing any of the stability and coziness of the familiar. I wish for many things. But, none of these truly fit the category because I could do all of those things if I simply learned to muster up a little determination. Therefore, I will simply say that I wish I could sketch artistically when all I can truthfully manage are unconvincing stick figures (they look more like noodles than sticks in my hands). Heck, I can’t even manage a straight line on my own.

Thank you, Julie, for what turned out to be some very tough questions. Thank you everyone else for wading through my literary equivalent of peacock strutting. May you each have a wonderful day. Now, where did I put those tissues?


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

quick bread – no rise time required

Early this morning, I actually typed a topic for today’s bread into MS Word. I had a lot of disjointed thoughts about where I was trying to go with it, but it will just have to wait until next week, due in part to the following reasons:

The desolations:
1. Not feeling so well today. I’m not quite sick, but very foggy brained (yes, h, more so than usual) with sore throat and EXTREME exhaustion.

2. Had to take my mom for the second in a series of three nerve block epidurals today.

3. Spent a portion of the day on the phone scheduling appointments (not my favorite activity).

4. Got something irritating in the mail.

5. The N boy seems to have pink eye (doc tomorrow)

6. A few of the other kids are coming down with the cold-like illness as gifted from their father and older brother.

7. I still have a sink full of dirty dishes – most of which have been there since last night.

8. I still have several hampers full of dirty clothes that I have needed to address for at least 5 days.

9. I have been to the grocery store five times in the past week, and I have not remembered even one of those times to pick up a particular item that has been on the list since before the first visit.

10. My bread looks more like lumpy drop biscuits.

The consolations:

1. My two oldest children are getting a kick out of dragging me around the house at bedtime in order to say goodnight to all of the little people. I do mean dragging in the literal sense, too.

2. Although my mother’s blood pressure did spike from nerves, she did much better this time around than last.

3. I got to spend a good bit of time talking to my closest friend on the phone last night. Lately, that has been a rare treat,

4. The irritating mail is just that – irritating. It isn’t a matter of pending financial struggle, nor is it heralding bad news. When the irritation passes, I will likely forget about it completely.

5. The pink eye is likely a side effect of antibiotics, so I can fool myself into believing it is therefore less contagious until told otherwise by a medical professional (and if any of you out there ARE medical professionals who would love to disillusion me, Shhhhhhhh, let me keep up my charade long enough for a good night’s sleep).

6. There’s a chance the kids coming down with this will be docile and easy to handle in the sickness induced exhaustive state.

7. Some of those dirty dishes come from the lovely, homemade turkey noodle soup I am currently enjoying.

8. Everyone (other than me) still seems to have something to wear tomorrow.

9. In those trips to the store, I have remembered to pick up a few other things that I forgot to even put on the list, but I somehow managed to keep from adding a lot of other things we don’t need even though I went to the store hungry on at least two of those occasions. And I could actually afford to go to the store to get those things in the first place.

10. Some people find lumpy drop biscuits to be quite tasty.

May God give me the strength to always look at what I do have and help me learn to spend a lot less time thinking about the things I don’t have. May I never forget those days of a $20 two week grocery budget for 3 ½ people, a cat, and a dog – no matter how many years pass. May God take this overwhelming exhaustion and turn it into a respite from insomnia. And may He bless you each beyond measure as you go about your days.


Saturday, April 07, 2007

role playing (a.k.a. i get to ask the questions)

So, in the normal manner of things for me, I granted an interview with the wonderful Pam, and my words seized up like a 1976 Ford Maverick engine with no oil. My aspirations toward deep and meaningful questions flew away on the wings of the starlings leaving me to stumble forth with my feeble attempt at intelligent discourse. Who knows, maybe the Monkeys Typing Shakespeare Syndrome will make an appearance.

So here you go, Pam. Let me know when you have the answers up on your site.

1. Biblically speaking, who are your favorite historical figures from both the Old and New Testaments and why?

2. What emotions are evoked in you by sunrises and sunsets? Are they vastly different experiences to your internal and external senses?

3. What are some methods you use to keep a little bit of Texas with you wherever you go?

4. Can you give one example of a time in your life where joy welled up so much inside of you that it had to spray out, sprinkler like, on anyone who happened to pass by?

5. On a more lighthearted note, what is your favorite traffic sign and why?

Have at it (and if you need to wait until the illness-induced brain fog abates – or, you know, for the whole Easter thing - I will certainly understand).


no one likes the pink ones

I had to take the N boy to the doctor today. The child went and ruptured his ear drum (at least all evidence points to that, but too much ooze was present in the ear canal for complete confirmation). He was in that stage of slight betterness today that leads to greater whining and complaining. The youngest three, in my opinion, either got too little sleep or are in the day-before-getting-sick stage of greater whining and complaining (and tantrum throwing ad nauseum). As a result, the brief and unexpected trip with N boy to the doctor’s office today was almost as refreshing as a long weekend away in the mountains.

I asked the boy whether he felt well enough to go with me to the grocery store to get his prescription immediately following the appointment. Had he responded in the negative, I would have gladly taken him home before trekking out alone. He didn't, so we dropped off the prescription, and I began the very slow acquisition of a few small items. Having become accustomed to picking up a few prescriptions on a monthly basis, I have the timing aspect of this venture down to a science. The boy followed along like my hugging velcro monkey twin for the first half of the adventure then slowly oozed into a seat near the prescription counter when exhaustion got the better of him. Being a somewhat resourceful momma (who tends to procrastinate), I figured this was the perfect time to gather up a few Easter goodies for the little people. Purchases made, I hurried the packages out to the car and returned just as my number came up on the big Your Drugs are Ready Board of Doom.

This is all a very long prelude to simply ask one question. Whatever happened to plain old regular jelly beans? I know for a fact that I found them last year, though they WERE surrounded by sister beans of every possible gimmick. But alas, this year, there were specialty jelly bean-like creations of the ‘kissables’, lifesaver, bubble gum, and skittles varieties, but not even an empty space to suggest the one time presence of the more generic sugary goo. Have we become a society of so many specialties that we have lost the basic form?

…which reminds me of my mother. She has at least four doctors all dealing with different aspects of the same medical condition. When she has a question about something, it takes her ages to figure out which one she is supposed to call for that specific thing. It makes me worry that something will fall through the cracks (like the time she had pneumonia and her GP sent her to a specialty ER that is divided into departments. Because some of her symptoms were presenting like those she had with a heart attack, they sent her to the coronary care unit. No one ever checked her lungs. They sent her home, and we were back the next day because she was much worse).

And to think, I was merely trying to write about jelly beans. If you need any jelly beans in late April, I am sure we will be able to spare you a candy dish full of stale pink ones – if I can ever find the darn things, that is.


Thursday, April 05, 2007

another round of pink

me: C'mon kids! Get your shoes, socks, and jackets on. We have to leave for piano in TWO MINUTES!!!

pink: Here my shoesocks.

as we are attempting to put them on

pink: T wear shoesock?

me: Yes.

pink: And J, and M, and S?

me: Yes.

pink: How bout dad?

me: I assume he wore socks to work today.

pink: And underwear?

I guess you had to be there.


Monday, April 02, 2007

thinly sliced...

There is, often, in the heat of battle, a rush of adrenaline which will keep a soldier on his feet long past when the nourishing effects of his last meal and his last hour in bed trickle away. For the past week, I have fought the battle of motherhood – soldiering forth to tend my ailing flock. As the battle draws toward a close, I find my energy reserves depleted far beyond the drain of the day’s activities.

It seems ironic that I would feel the most alive over the past week in those times when I had the least sleep, the least rest, and the greatest demand on my time. But that is exactly the way of things. In caring for sick children, I always seem able to find one more ounce of readiness to reach out to them in their misery.

But lo, the time comes when they begin to feel better. How quickly my mood changes! The compounded (and unheeded) exhaustion erupts in irritation. Why is it that a simple request for a drink can act as a catalyst to so many different emotions? If my eleven year old asks me for a drink when he is at his worst, I go above and beyond the call of duty (often with an air of compassion and subservience). Add 36 hours to the equation. He is now feeling much more human, and has put forth the energy to engage in several enjoyable activities. Should he then ask me to get him a drink (especially if I was just about to sit down for the first time in awhile), suddenly I am struck with just how much I am taken for granted.

I am drained! I am tired! I am selfish and would like for things to be about ME for five minutes because they have been about everyone else for an entire week. I grab hold of my righteous indignation and wave it about like a banner inside my thoughts. I play the martyr and get the beverage anyway, making sure to drop clues all along the path that indicate just how much I am being put out.

Yes, I have felt the most drained of life, over the past week, immediately following the adrenaline crash. But tell me, does that give me the right to take it out on those around me as if it were somehow their burden to bear? Instead of embracing passive-aggression, wouldn’t it be so much better if I learned to lean on the Lord in precisely those times?

I’ve heard it said that the true measure of a person’s character is the way they act when they are tired. When that realization hits home, I am humbled. But I need to learn to realize and be humbled before allowing myself the gripe time. Then I will truly be alive.


Sunday, April 01, 2007

the insomniac tells all

That bated breath has likely turned your face all shades of purple. The interview as performed by Mary has finally arrived. You may now inhale. Good. Now exhale. Yes, yes, very good. Now get out those munchies and take the needed bathroom breaks because I don’t intend to stop along the way.

You will be stuck on a deserted island and have to pick two food items, one staple and one guilty pleasure. There is plenty of fresh water on the island already. What foods will you choose?

Now see, you have hit upon an embarrassing little secret here. I am a horribly picky eater. My husband is a picky eater, but in completely different food groups than me. Somehow, this genetically combined into a punnet square of children, 3 of whom are as picky as we are, 2 who are MUCH pickier (though I didn’t know that was possible), and 1 child who is willing to try almost anything once. That, of course, has nothing to do with what you asked.

I suppose for the staple I would have to pick N.Y. strip steak. Since this is an island, there are bound to be assorted fruits and crabs and such (see, I am well versed in Survivor 101 – Mark Burnett style). One guilty pleasure in food circles….ah. In the age before tooth sensitivity, it would have certainly been something chocolate. But alas, the effects of age are far reaching - oops, tangent again. Pepperidge Farm strawberry Verona cookies. I will be suffering Coca-Cola withdrawal, but there will be no one else there to endure the effects of my angst, so I will survive it.

Other than the Bible, what philosophy, book, idea has had the greatest affect on you?

Oh, that is indeed a difficult question. I tend to pick up little bits and pieces of things I read and drop them into my soul when they just ring true. Choosing just one from an entire lifetime of reading (which also necessitates actually remembering the sources) is going to be rough.

I would have to say that C.S. Lewis’s description of God being outside of time so that He can know quite well what our future holds - not because it is predestined, but because He sees all times at once. I believe that is in The Great Divorce.

Is it more essential to develop beliefs or gain knowledge?

You know I have taken the MBTI, and I know you have taken it. I bet you already know what my knee jerk reactionary answer will be. I will say it is more essential to develop beliefs. Those beliefs are then supported with knowledge (a la Psalm 111:10), but accepted upon faith even in the absence of true certainty. This is not to say that one should simply have beliefs in things merely to have beliefs. I can believe with all of my heart that my empty soda bottle is a submarine that will carry the rulers of the dust mite kingdom to the sunken isle of Atlantis, but that isn’t going to make it true.

In order for meaningful knowledge to come into the mind, the spirit has to have a starting point. If you went to the library to do a research paper, you wouldn’t research and write the paper without first picking a topic.

Blogging: Why do you blog and how has your perception of blogging changed (or not changed) since you began?

You’re a sneaky one, you are – working several questions into the guise of just one (on more than one occasion, I might add). Why do I blog? The answer is multifold. I had some online friends who blogged. The writer inside of me, the part of me that always needed to write, wanted to come out and play with them. That is part of the answer. But there is more depth to it than that. Following links on blogs that led to other links and other links led me sometimes to rants and outpourings of feeling that were in disagreement with my beliefs. I have no problem with that. What got to me was the fact that some of those disagreements were phrased as judgments of character. That was hard for me to take.

That was part of what worked me up to the point of being able to actually set about it - that and John Stanko – who is linked on my blog – preached one of his Purpose messages at our church, and I just felt like God was telling me that it was something I should do. I realize saying I felt like God was telling me to blog might come across as arrogant, but that is not how I mean it at all. In fact, quite the opposite is true. My faith is often a very quiet faith. Perhaps it shows to people in the real world more by my actions than my words much of the time. My very insecurity finds comfort in the anonymity of this medium. Ironically, I have never used my voice to lay down any of the thoughts which were brewing in my mind when I originally set out on this venture.

My perception of blogging has perhaps not changed so drastically. I have had online relationships with people for many years in other ways, so the community aspect of it did not take me by surprise in the least. I guess I would have to say that the things which took me the most by surprise were that I had anything to say at all, and paradoxically, that I regularly ran out of things to say. It also amazes me that anyone who didn’t already know me online actually reads my humble words (and, if they have gotten this far in this massive tome, they must actually find something enjoyable in it too)!

Name your favorites in the following categories:

Song: currently it would probably be MercyMe Undone

Movie: I have two categories in favorite movie (and usually more than one choice for each).
Favorite overall: Schindler’s List
Favorite for sheer re-watch-ability: Armageddon

TV Show: Right now? Geesh, probably Heroes (but most of my true favorites are no longer on the air)

Book: Ah, here I CANNOT pick just one. My favorites would likely be The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Harry Potter books, A book entitled Notes to Myself by Hugh Prather, and many, many books which have touched me much more deeply than I could express. I really should have done the book meme.

Artist: I really just like what I like. I cannot say that I am well versed in art as a whole, but there are certain things which touch me. I would say Michelangelo is one artist who does that on a more consistent basis than many. I also love Norman Rockwell. I tend to be deeply touched by photography too.

How did you and your husband meet? A funny thing happened on the way to the forum….

Okay, so technically, we had sort of met before this event, but we hadn’t really talked, so we stick to this as the story of how we met. We were both working midnight shift in a fast food establishment which got robbed. We were locked into the refrigerator with all of the other on duty employees. This is how we discovered we had faith in common and began a friendship (during which we were both quite firmly attached to other people). We remained friends for about 5 years before he asked me to marry him. One would think five years would have been long enough for him to realize what he was getting himself into!

On an interesting side note, the bank I worked in got robbed the day we started premarital counseling with the pastor who was going to marry us. That’s some kind of legacy to hand down to the kidlets, don’t you think?

It has been nine years since your son died. How was atypical "before" different than atypical "now"?

Atypical was a lot more typical. The first thought in my mind when hearing a couple announce the newly discovered sex of their unborn baby was not one of fear that something would go wrong. I had a naïve belief that getting past the first trimester meant a baby would be coming home to live at the end of the journey. Although I always tried to see the deeper things in life, Caleb’s death helped me to really concentrate on not taking things for granted. This was especially true in the beginning, while the grief was still fresh. Everything fell into categories of deeper meaning or complete triviality.

My marriage improved because it was so much easier not to sweat the small stuff. My faith matured. Although I had experienced loss before, although I had felt deep connection to God before, now I knew for sure that He could carry me through even those moments in which I couldn’t muster up the will to take the next breath. He would hold my hand and lead me on the journey, no matter how long it took. He would bring people into my life who understood the truth that a lost child is still your child, even if you don’t get to raise him – who would remember the birthday of a baby that most find it easier to forget. He would cry with me, for He too lost a son.

And on that note of intermingled hope and sadness, the interview draws to a close.

The other portion of this interview compels me to extend the offer of my interview skills for your personal use. I have stated the methods in my previous interview should you care to take me up on it. If you slogged your way through this post, I offer you my heartfelt thanks (and a congratulatory muffin).

Sweet dreams.