Monday, May 30, 2011

What am I supposed to remember on Memorial Day?

It is funny/sad that sometimes we forget what it was we were supposed to be remembering on a day called Memorial Day. Every day in my e-mail box I get a little tiny bit of American History from a man named Bill Federer, in the form of an "American Minute". So rather than try to paraphrase down his answer to that question, which is already both concise and eloquent, I'm just going to quote it. If you want to receive these little history nuggets, you can go to

American Minute with Bill Federer

May 30

Southern women scattered spring flowers on the graves of both the
Northern and Southern soldiers who died during the Civil War.

This was the origin of Memorial Day, which in 1868 was set on MAY 30.

In 1968, it was moved to the last Monday in May.

From the Spanish-American War, to World Wars I and II, Korea,
Vietnam, Desert Storm, War against Islamic Terror, up through the
present, all who gave their lives to preserve America's freedom are
honored on Memorial Day.

Beginning in 1921, the tradition has been for Presidents to lay a
wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which is guarded 24 hours a
day, 365 days a year.

The number 21 being the highest salute, the sentry takes 21 steps,
faces the tomb for 21 seconds, turns and pauses 21 seconds, then
retraces his steps.

Inscribed on the Tomb is the phrase:


In his 1923 Memorial Address, President Calvin Coolidge stated:

"There can be no peace with the forces of evil. Peace comes only
through the establishment of the supremacy of the forces of good.

That way lies through sacrifice...'Greater love hath no man than
this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.'"

The New Face of Procrastination

When I was in Mrs. Needham's 1st grade class, procrastination meant having her tip my desk over in front of the class to reveal a whole semester's seat work, crumpled and incomplete, many assignments not even started, staying inside and missing recess, weeping for humiliation with my head on my desk.

In Mrs. Groom's second grade (yes, second grade) class, procrastination meant peeing my pants three times the same day. It also meant that at home, I could frequently be seen tearing at break neck speed from one end of the house to the other having waited until the last possible second to relieve my poor exploding bladder, knocking furniture, toys, people and potted plants out of my way in my desperation, leaving a path of destruction behind me like an elephant stampede in the jungle.

In high school and college, it meant sleepless nights and papers and projects turned in at or after the deadline, eventually taking an incomplete in couple of classes, only to then procrastinate again till the last possible day of the full year's extension to finish the required coursework.

As an adult it means doing laundry and dishes only when out of socks, underwear, and spoons. It means that tonight I got down to the last 10 diapers and the last 1/4 cup laundry soap before washing the other 80 or so diapers and making another batch of soap.

The mystery remains the same: Why do I do this to myself?

I don't know, but I have to say, it doesn't bother me as much as it used to, nor, I suppose, as it ought to. It does bother me when I see my husband ironing and rummaging through a basket of socks at 6:30 a.m. trying to get to work with a crisp shirt and two socks that match. But I have a life that allows for my delinquency. That is both good and bad. It means my stress level is not very high. I have a great deal of built in flexibility and very little external accountability. Most of the time, we get by. And most of the time, no one really cares.

Except my husband/best friend. I add stress to his life, which I want not to do.

It seems that I will only do what I am made to do, what I have to do. I know this about myself. It is my nature to only do what is required of me (again, how humiliating). The diapers and dishes don't bother me, much, except that I am setting a poor example for my children. But the bigger things, the important things, the things I am committed to with all my heart and soul, but not with my life and calendar, how will I get to those things? When will I do the things I long to do? What will it take? (I have often thought that the reason God put stink in the diapers is so we would be compelled to get the waste off their bums and as far away from ourselves as possible.)

My husband is a professional geek (read: computer guy) and lives in a world of artificial deadlines. There is a huge volume of stress created by the setting up of a timeline that is based merely on the fact that someone said it would be done by such and such a date. Did they know what they were talking about? Did they foresee and allow for this or that going wrong?

But they get a lot done that way. It's how business works. The motivation there is the reputation of the department, and ultimately, keeping your job.

I don't have that. I have a husband and children who have needs, but even they are gracious and/or have adapted to my issues. But as one who belongs to Christ, I think the highest motivation to do something is because I am told in the Bible to let my yes be yes and my no be no. Which makes resolutions and goals, promises and vows a very serious thing.

I made a commitment to the Lord years ago to brush and floss the teeth He gave me each night. I keep that pledge unto Him. Even on nights when I've already fallen asleep, and don't want that nasty minty freshness in my mouth, I still almost always do it for one reason. I told Him I would. Sometimes I decide I'm not going to, I'm just going to take the night off, and then I remember, I told Him I would do it. So I almost always do.

There are so many things I would like to change about me, so many ways I'd like to live differently. If I were to make a rash vow right now about all of them, I would sign myself up for failure. Change is hard. What one thing do I want to give Him today? If I could change one thing . . . I can.

Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Even under this category, there are several sub-categories. It's not like you can just tick it off, 'sought Kingdom? check!', from your list. What does that mean? In what way can I seek His Kingdom each day, what can I give Him, what can I make a commitment to?

Measurable goal: I think right now the best thing I can commit to Him to do is to read my Bible every day. My husband does this. My daughter does it. So that's it. Each day, Lord, I will brush and floss the teeth You made for me, and, each day I will read Your Word and commune with You over the breaking of that Bread of Life. I'm not setting up an artificial deadline (though that probably wouldn't hurt), like reading my Bible through in a year. I am simply saying to You that my yes will be yes. Yes, Lord, I will read Your Word. I will abide in it. I will soak it up. So help me, God. Please.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Better than 10 sons

This is what they said about Ruth. She was better to Naomi than 10 sons.

Before I say more, I should clarify that these are my lofty ideals, and I highly doubt that my mother in law would actually say that I am better to her than 10 sons. It is simply my heart's desire.

I wish to be and pray to be such a blessing to the woman who gave life to my husband that she and all who know her would say of me that I am better to her than ten sons.

Here are some specific things I am trying to do toward that goal:

I am trying to turn any and all negative emotions into prayers for blessing, for healing, for her to know God's love for her, His presence, for His Word to come alive when she reads it and for her to be reminded of it when she is away from it, for Him to bless her work, her plants, her marriage, and her relationships. I pray that my children would be a blessing to her. Especially when the enemy reminds me of our differences, I try to lift her up to the Lord and ask His blessing on her.

(Bunny trail: I am actually convicted to do that any time my extremely critical brain points out some flaw or weakness in someone else - to immediately bathe that person in prayer, prayer that lifts him or her up and doesn't tear down, knowing that Jesus loves that person who is on my nerves or who I'm judging, and so, in my prayers, I am blessing them and praying God would teach them and grow and strengthen them however He sees fit - I'm not telling Him what is wrong with them, I'm praying the same things I pray for myself or my children - wisdom, peace, mercy, nearness of God, joy in Him, etc)

I am trying to honor her desires. I am not trying necessarily to please her, because we are different enough that pleasing her is probably not always realistic. But I do desire to honor her wishes, values, and ways of doing things as much as possible.

Finally, I am trying to never make my husband choose between my happiness and hers. There are times when he is in this position, but I hope to never put him there. If I am not pleased with the way something turns out, I try very much to keep my disappointment between me and the Lord, and not put my beloved in a place where he has to make an impossible choice.

Now he's a smart guy, and I'm a sub-par actor, so he often is aware of my struggle. But I'm still trying to affirm him as husband, and make sure he doesn't feel like I'm mad at him because he's trying to be a good son. My mother-in-law is most pleased with me when she sees that her son is happy and loved by me. She doesn't want me to try to please her. She wants me to please her son.

It is possible that I have, in reality, caused more pain than joy over the last 20+ years, but I have learned a lot through the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law relationship, and am probably a better person for it.

And so, like Ruth, I hope that I can be a blessing to her as well. But to be honest, as a mother of 6 sons, I can't imagine anything, especially me, being better than 10 of them.


I have been thinking about something, mulling it over, and it goes something like this: There is, I think, only one reason to do or not do anything. I do what I do because I want to do it. All my other reasons for not doing something, if I really want to do it, are mere obstacles to overcome.

This past weekend, there was a conference that I wanted to go to. Now, there have been many things, over the years, that we have not tried to do because it was too hard, the kids wouldn't get enough sleep, etc. And now, with a dozen children between the ages of 3 months and 14 years, I just decided, we're going to go. I want my kids there, I want to be there. It will be hard, but everything is hard, and some things are worth the hard.

My friend told me about a wedding she attended last week. The mother of the bride was an exceptional person, in that she had been paralyzed at the age of 17, has limited use of her upper body, gets around in a specialized chair, and yet has given birth to and raised two children, and last week danced, in her chair, at her daughter's wedding.

At the conference I was at, the speaker talked about how the Israelites built a tabernacle in the wilderness. They had no food, but they built a smelting furnace to melt the gold they used to make the objects for the tabernacle. It was a ridiculous enterprise to undertake in the middle of the wilderness in a survival camp for more than a million people. But they did it.

I have reasons, good ones, to just get by, to not try, to accomplish little. But I desire to write songs, to write words, to worship, to read my Bible, to fellowship with God and humans, to have a home that welcomes my husband, to educate and disciple my children, to have a healthy body, to obey God and be a faithful wife, mother, friend, and steward. So even though I have many reasons to sit on my couch and just be a lump, I will endeavor to get a move on and be the person I believe I'm called to be. There are obstacles to overcome, but they are just that, and not reasons to give up, and overcome them, I will.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Update: 8 months

Eight months ago we became the tentative parents of our eleventh child, given to us by the Lord through adoption. I talked to someone recently about adoption, someone who also had a number of children biologically, and she asked me the same question I asked another adoptive parent when I was thinking about adoption: Does your adopted child really feel like your child?

The answer is a resounding yes. She is mine. As if she were flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone. Lying in my arms right now, sleeping, her beautiful long eyelashes, her hand reached up touching my face, being sure of me, she is mine. She reaches for me from other people's arms. She lights up when she sees me and quiets when she hears me sing. She cries when I walk away and explodes with joy when I come back. She is my daughter.

She has part of my heart all day and all night. Her eternity is, in part, my responsibility. And she fits just right under my chin.

It is strange to think, and too high for me, that God made her with the reproductive cells of people who didn't intend to make a child, and knit her in a womb of one who felt she could not best be her mother, and formed her from eternity in His heart for me. I am her mother. She is my daughter, my child, my pride and joy, my love, my treasure.

In some ways she is different than my other children. Her tender skin and hair need a different kind of care. Her hunger is satisfied not by milk made by me. And when she cries it breaks my heart. My other kids can cry, and I am okay with it. Not her. Her cry puts me on high alert from anywhere. I will not let her cry. Not when there is something she needs that I can give her.

I'm not saying I spoil her, or that she won't learn to wait for things - in a family our size, she will not forever remain the happy center of the universe. But having been there when she was born and tiny and not breathing, she has my heart. I love this baby girl.

I make a continuous effort to make sure I still get her as often as possible. This is tricky because technically she doesn't need me, and her fussy, cranky, always hungry baby brother does. She can go to anyone. She is a happy, content, easy girl. But even though she is easy to please, she really wants me, loves me, her mama. She is happiest with me or her daddy. So if you happen to be close by, and are wanting a baby to hold, it is easy to give her to you, I know she won't fuss, but I'd rather give you him. Because even though she doesn't need my milk, she needs ME.

Because I am hers, and she is mine.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

On the idea of writing a book . . .

I have wanted to write a book since probably the third grade. Actually, I wrote a book then. Maybe it was second grade. You know, the "young authors" thing. I did that. So I have always liked writing.

Writing on paper (even virtual paper) is different than writing songs. (at least that is what I think tonight) When I write songs, I want to play them and have people hear them. When I write on paper, there is more value to thoughts communicated, even if they are not read. I'm sure others would disagree, and maybe I would disagree on a different day.

So writing a book in this day and age, the Age of the Kindle, Nook, and iPad, is relatively cheap and easy. You don't have to prove your value or concept. You pay a relatively small amount, format the thing and voila! You have authored an ebook that your 10 closest friends, your mom, and your Auntie Evelyn can all buy for a buck ninety nine, of which you get 40 percent or something. Or for a little more, I think you can do a print-as-you-go deal, where the company only prints a book if someone buys one. I think those books are more expensive than they would otherwise be, but it is an option if your Auntie Evelyn doesn't own an above mentioned electronic book-replacement device. (I do have an Auntie Evelyn, by the way, and I don't think she does.)

So, taking the difficulty and expense and possibility of rejection out of the picture, I am then faced with other questions: Why would I write a book? What do I have to say that hasn't been said already? What would I call it? And the most important question is, what would the cover look like?

For years, since I started calling myself the amazing supermom, I thought I'd write a book and call it, "The Adventures of the Amazing Supermom, and other, humbler tales". Turns out there are several Supermom books out there, and most seem to be about women who have jobs and kids. Not me.

(To clarify: I am the Amazing Supermom because I can find something in a drawer even if it under something else, because I know how to change the toilet paper roll after it runs out, because I can flip pancakes while nursing (left side only), and because I can nurse two babies and give a bottle to a third while helping with a Geometry proof.)(And because I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me, even when I'm tired, even when I've got pukers, or mess-makers, or whiners, even when I'm hormonal {when am I not hormonal, is there another way to be?}, even when I don't feel loved or listened to, even in the van when everyone's fighting and I have to mute the radio every one and a half minutes to try to solve a problem 3 rows away that I can barely hear well enough to understand, even then, I can do all things - and the hard times just make me dig deeper to find His strength.)

So I think I would write about that. About leaning, and about stuff I've learned, and about the craziness, and about the glory of it all.

But I don't know what to call it. I said, what about 12 kids in 14 years, and Eldest thought that was the most boring title ever. And the cover has to communicate what the book is, as a thumbnail. Really. How much can you actually communicate in a thumbnail?

Anyway it is a lurking idea.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

4.5 lbs

In 6 days I have lost 4.5 lbs. I have eaten less. Except on Thursday. I binged on Thursday. It was a birthday, the anniversary of becoming the mother of 10. And it didn't feel good, and eating better on Friday did feel good. Weird.

And today, sitting in church, even though I still weigh 243 lbs, that's Two Hundred, Forty-Three Pounds, I felt thin. Isn't that ridiculous? That stupid little four and one half pounds didn't make me look different, didn't make my clothes fit different, didn't make going up the stairs feel any better, but it made something inside me feel a little less hideous, a little less out of control, a little less obese.

I would like to start walking or lifting or stair climbing or something, but I haven't yet. I'm doing again, counting calories and nutrition, putting in my water and fruit&veggie intake.

My eldest daughter is my inspiration. I want to be someone she can respect, not be embarrassed of. I want to be someone I can respect too.

I've often heard people say that something doesn't taste as good as skinny feels. And my response has been, I haven't got a clue how skinny feels. But today, near the height of ridiculousness, I feel a little skinnier.

There are, in my kitchen, about 25 chocolate, fudge filled mini cupcakes. 93 calories each. I've had two. There were enough for all of us to have four apiece. I am not going to eat any more. Normally I would give everyone else 3 and eat a dozen myself. Not kidding. They're little. One here, one there.

I haven't really had much coffee this week. It just hasn't tasted that good. And I have avoided sugar, for the most part. I feel less inclined to binge without it. I've had a little, but it feels good to exercise my self-control muscle.

I know it will continue to be hard, and sometimes harder, and maybe sometimes impossible. But I want to do this and I need to do this and I have to do this.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Something I am pondering . . .

I was reading the last part of Isaiah 58 the other day, where he talks about the Sabbath, and it made me wonder, not for the first time, why "Remember the Sabbath" is the only commandment we deleted. I guess it is because Jesus had so many skirmishes with the pharisees about healing on the Sabbath, and the apostles let the New Testament church off the hook in some ways, but this passage makes me think we are missing something if we just forget the whole thing.
I think we would do well to remember the Sabbath. I don't know what this should look like. I think it is like bringing your tithe in, there is a blessing to be found for those who keep it. It just doesn't make sense that it was such a big deal in the Old Testament, and that it is simply a delete now.
Just thinking about it.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Trying again

This blog thing is funky, because realizing that anybody is reading threatens the integrity of writing for my own sake. I write because it is good for me to write. It helps me think, helps me process, helps me work through things. This is a post like that, so feel very free to not read it.

Today was my first day of trying again to be a healthier me. I ate in a pretty healthy way. Maybe a few extra bites of trail mix, but other than that, I did well. I drank plenty of water and ate what my body needed. No comfort food.

So I'm feeling rather uncomfortable. Empty. Sad. Sometime soon I will feel strong. But not now. I feel weak.

I just went and played my freshly tuned piano (first time in at least 4 years) while my husband and children listened. Most of my kids haven't heard me really play. So tonight I played Mozart, Beethovan, Bach, and Keith Green's Prodigal Son Suite.

It helped.

It helped to play the music I played when I was young and strong and confident. I can't go back to being twenty. But I can pursue the better version of me, that is healthy, strong, dare I say disciplined.

My piano was full of dust, dice, a match box car, and a number of other bonus features. The piano tuner completely dismantled it. It was fascinating. And I have to say I had no idea how bad it sounded. Until she was done. And I nearly cried. It was beautiful. It played the way it was meant to play.

I guess that is what I need. A complete dismantling, cleaning, tuning, retuning, oiling, fixing. This season I feel a little dismantled. That's okay, but I've been leaning hard on the comfort foods. And now that's gone. And that's hard. I know I need to learn to lean on my Beloved, on Jesus . . . finding more power than I'd ever dream. But tonight a handful of chocolate chips sounds ever so much more appealing.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

An actual parade

So here is the summary of my mother's day, having given myself several pep talks before hand: I received my final gift for the National Holiday week between birthday and mother's day, a shirt with the superman shaped crest with tasm (the amazing super mom) in it, with my blogspot address on the back, which was pretty cool. On the front, my husband affirmed me as a mom, on the back, as a human.

It went somewhat predictably down hill from there. A bowl of my favorite cereal for breakfast, we got everybody ready in matching shirts, travelled to my sister in law's home, ate the frozen pizzas, birthday gifts for sk10, including a dress that didn't match all of us (oh well) which she subsequently dirtied in a way that would inspire a Tide commercial, or that oxi-clean guy, pizza, bbq potato chip dust, fruit roll up, chocolate pudding and grape soda. Then we left.

My husband, who has really outdone himself all week, picked up on my sullen mood, and was understandably discouraged, having really laid it on the line. He also understood that even though the week was good, mother's day itself was in fact a let down. We were both understanding, but it really bummed him out that I was bawling, and I felt like a failure because I couldn't appreciate all he had done for me (sounds just like the battle I anticipated, doesn't it?).

Eventually, because we arrived at the town we were going to eat lunch, I pulled it together and stopped crying (gave myself a royal headache, by the way). I received, because my husband loves me and truly wants to please me, the best fast food that particular small town has to offer, and it was delightful.

We were sitting outside the restaurant, all the kids in matching shirts still, me nursing a baby, a daughter feeding another baby a bottle, people driving by, and I just thought, what a powerful testimony on mother's day of life and the blessing of the Lord. And of course, sitting there drinking my hazelnut iced McCoffee, I was again thankful that I am surely one of the most blessed women alive.

The trip home was much better than the way there. We got everything inside without any major meltdowns. We played outside for a bit with neighbors. We came in and I plopped on the couch, nursing one baby, giving a bottle to another, and, no kidding, my children came before me with their homemade mother's day cards looking for all the world just like a parade.

The cards were great, and I do feel appreciated. My favorite was from my eldest, saying how glad she is that I am her mom and her friend.

I loved that parade.

Rules of Engagement

These are the rules I try to fight by in marriage battles.

1. Always remember to never use the words 'always' or 'never' in a fair fight.

2. No spear throwing, meaning, if a spear (insult or accusation) is thrown at you, don't pick it up and throw it back.

3. If what you are about to say will tear your house down rather than build it up, don't say it.

4. Deal with the current issue, not with a list of historic issues. If you are bringing up history, you have unforgiveness problems.

5. Don't bother to make a joke in a fight. If one or both of you is hurting, the sense of humor function is probably turned off, and attempted humor may make more pain.

6. Don't fight angry. Work the anger and emotions out between you and God, then talk about the problem when you are in control of your emotions.

7. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8. Go for the win-win-win. If you feel better but your spouse is laying bleeding on the floor, you have not won anything.

9. A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

10. Wait until a good time to talk. It is not only appropriate to call for a cooling off period, it is critical.

11. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Or, put another way, I desperately need Christ to have mercy on me, therefore, I will extend mercy to others, including and especially my husband.

12. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you.

13. Hope in God, Who is faithful, and Who gave you your spouse. Nothing is too hard for Him. The heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord, and He turns it whichever way He wants it to go.

14. You have an enemy, and you are not married to him.

15. Read Proverbs often. Daily if possible.

16. After you fight, make up. You know what I mean. Do it.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Taking captives

Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl. More than almost anything, the boy wanted to make the girl happy. He wanted her to feel loved, wanted, appreciated. But alas, he was unable to do so, at least not all the time.

The fault was not his. And it was not entirely hers. The fault lay with the enemy of their souls. An enemy that had hated long before they were created, that hated their Creator in fact. But the Creator was so strong, and the enemy, being a mere creation himself, was far to weak to get to the Creator. But the creation, specifically the boy and the girl, were within his reach.

And reach he did. He reached into their hearts and minds and fought with his most powerful weapon: lies. Also known as half truths, his lies were so powerful, they earned him the title 'father of lies'. The lies would seep into their hearts as if they were their very own thoughts. And the girl thought these thoughts and owned these thoughts, thoughts like: the boy doesn't want to listen to me; the boy just wants to play with his toys; the boy doesn't care how I feel; this will never get better; I should just give up.

And the lies threatened to take over, morning after morning. But the girl was not completely helpless. She had a powerful weapon as well. Because the Creator had not left her alone. He had said He was always with her and would never forsake her. In fact, He said she need only resist the enemy and he would flee from her. But He had instructed her to take her thoughts captive. Capturing thoughts, though it sounds simple, is very difficult. In fact, it requires the skilled help of the Creator to accomplish it.

So, the girl, remembering the Words hidden in her heart, reached out with the faith that the Creator was stronger than her enemy, and said the magic words: help please, it's too hard, I can't. And to her wonder and amazement, the pain that had just been crushing her tender heart and mind began to melt away. The lies didn't seem true anymore. She remembered that the day was a good day and she had much to be thankful for.

In fact, while the reader may be impressed at the girl's creative ability to hide the exact nature of the cause of the tiff she had with the boy, the fact is, though it hurt so badly at the time, she no longer remembers.

I love a parade.

Actually, I don't. But it is a better title than "Mother's Day Eve".

What I love is being celebrated. Or more accurately, feeling appreciated. A year of changing and rinsing and washing and drying and stuffing diapers. A year of making meal after meal that is as big as many people make for a holiday, two or three times a day. I've bought and put away groceries, I've ironed shirts, I've matched socks, I've taught school till my voice was ragged. I've been to doctor appointments, music lessons, and dog poop collection excursions. I've labored and given birth. I've gotten up in the middle of the night and nursed and cleaned up poop, pee and vomit. I have worked hard for no money and very little appreciation. I deserve an ever-loving parade.

But I also have a mother. And my husband has a mother. And we are in Indiana celebrating our mothers. And while the week (roughly) between my birthday and Mother's Day, known at our house as the National Holiday, has been a great week of celebrating my existence, it was not a week of saying thanks. I still had to do all the same work, I just ate more chocolate. Birthdays are different than Mother's Day. Birthdays are about celebrating the birthday girl or boy. Mother's Day and Father's Day are about saying thank you for things you normally take for granted. Take a break, Mom. Put your feet up, Mom. Thanks, Mom.

Tomorrow, in celebration of Mother's Day, I will get up before I'm done sleeping, wake my children up and dress them quickly, snarf a breakfast of cereal and milk, and drive an hour and a half to meet up with my in-laws, where we will eat frozen pizza and pretend to be excited while my mother-in-law pretends to be surprised to see us, even though my father-in-law spilled the beans days ago. Then I will spend the rest of the day riding in the big van, listening to children watch the movie, ask to go to the bathroom, complain about where they are sitting and the placement of their siblings heads and be out-loud thirsty, hungry and especially uncomfortable.

[Bunny trail: my youngest son, sk12 (S is an initial, K is kid, 12 is the number of child I'm talking about) has, since birth had what I affectionately call strep butt. He had a rectal strep infection, something I didn't know existed, and was therefore miserable. He is now less miserable, but still doesn't like riding in the van - which has been the case for a number of my children. In fact, I am beginning to be suspicious that some of my non-van-happy kids are actually in the infant stages of carsickness.]

At any rate, youngest son cries for most of the 6 or so hour van trip, and on the way here, there were 1.5 hours construction, which I assume will be there on the way home as well. When we get home we will have a dozen crabby children, laundry to do and put away, and a large general mess.

I may, when we drive through McDonald's on the way home, get a special drink from the McCafe. Might even get an apple pie.

None of this sounds Mother's Day-ish to me. I don't want to sound ungrateful. My husband has been focused on appreciating me all week. Tomorrow is just a day. I hope our mothers feel loved and honored tomorrow. I hope they like the plant and homemade cards we give them. I hope to honor them. But honoring is complicated as an adult.

What does it mean to honor my mother and husband's mother at this phase of life? Does it mean making them happy? That hardly seems like something I should take responsibility for. Does it mean always doing what they want? What does it look like to honor your mother as a grownup? I suspect it requires a substantial reduction in the amount of eye-rolling I sometimes do. It probably means that when I have an issue with one of them that the enemy is rubbing my face in, I should choose to bless and forgive and not have a list, long or short, of pet peeves and grievances against one or the other of them. It probably means lifting them up in prayer whenever I think of them, especially negatively.

Like, for example, tomorrow, when I'm in the big van, listening to my children complain and eating my cold cheeseburger and drinking my lukewarm McLatte, all so that I could be with my mother this weekend and not surprise my husband's mother for Mother's Day. No parade after all.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Dancing is for . . .

Girls? Sissies?

I go to one of those churches where people dance. Which is to say, it is culturally appropriate to dance at my church. Or at least, we say it is. Really, it is culturally appropriate for children to dance. Especially girls. And some women. And men who are either extremely confident, passionate, or weird.

But really, most people don't. Wouldn't feel comfortable. Most of the time.

I fit into the category of "some women" and I do dance sometimes. Sometimes I can't help but dance. Not that I'm a particularly good dancer. And as Chris Farley proved in the old SNL Chip'n'dale's skit with Patrick Swayzee, even if fat people are good at dancing (and I said already that I'm not) it still doesn't look very good. Still I dance, especially with my children.

My older sons are out-growing dancing. Which means my younger sons will never probably do it.

The interesting thing to me is this: in many other cultures (specifically, I'm thinking about the Masai in Kenya and Native Americans), do you know who dances? The warriors. Those headed into battle. Those who have returned from battle victorious. The men.

And I'm just musing here, but perhaps men NOT dancing now is actually the result of the effeminization of men in our culture. Perhaps the men don't dance now because they are not man enough to dance.

Is dancing in worship just for the children, the women, the weak and the weird? No, dancing is for the mighty, the strong, the warriors. It's an upside down kingdom, to be sure. Strength in weakness and all that. But seriously, guys, come on. Sometime, when you feel it rising up in you, just man up and dance.