Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Myself When I Am Real: An Everyday Mess

People often say that one’s true character is most evident when no one is watching. We moved Sophie to her first big girl bed last week, and everything seemed to be going well. Wednesday morning I rolled out of bed a little later than planned. At 8:30 I still hadn’t heard Sophie, and so I got out of bed and went to her room to check on her. The sight which greeted me upon walking into her room cannot be adequately described in words. Sophie had taken a full bottle of powder, diaper rash cream, Vicks vapor rub and Vaseline and used her new sheets, bedspread and body as her canvas. Everything, including her, was covered in a layer of gook topped with a layer of powder. 


If I wouldn’t have been so angry, I would have taken a picture. I have never been so angry with my child--I didn’t know it was possible for me to be so angry at my child! (Oh how I look forward to the teenage years!) 

People disappoint us, even people we love the most. And I am quite sure she never meant to disappoint me. The entire rest of the day she asked me, “Mommy, are you happy?” The truth is that the person I am when no one is watching is just as messy as a diaper cream-powder-covered 3-year-old. 

That night, as I tucked Sophie in bed, I sang her a song which I sing her most every day: “I love you today; I love you tomorrow. I love you as deep as the sea. I love you in joy; I love you in sorrow. You can always come home to me.” (Andrew Peterson) Thank God we are living in grace. Thank God that he never gives up on us. Thank God that everyday messes can be moments in which we learn more about our own mess--and more about how to love and forgive.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

All About Love

"Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body." I Corinthians 12:12-20

The picture of solidarity that Paul paints for us in this text is striking. Two things stand out. First, we exist in a world in which power and position are extremely valued. Because of that, we have a hard time believing Paul when he says that the body’s “parts should have equal concern for each other.” God gave the gifts, and to God, we are all equally valuable in the Kingdom. God chooses to whom the gifts are given, and God is a God whose dream for creation is a dream of solidarity, equality, and mutual submission. It should be the church’s greatest joy to embody that dream on earth.

Second, our North American value of individualism often takes precedence over the Kingdom value of community. I don’t know about you, but I get extremely wrapped up in myself – I am my own biggest fan most of the time. Until we begin to embody the Kingdom value of community, selfishness and individualism will continue to trap us into ineffective mission and witness. So, what do we do? How do we begin to embody community? How do we work together as a body, equally valuing each member? Keep reading, Paul tells us the most excellent way...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Life and Knitting

Creating is underrated. Generally, I consider myself a creative person, but I have found a unique joy in learning to knit, and in sharing it with others. I have known for a long time that one of my most prominent "love languages" is giving gifts. So, having a hobby that I can share with others is awesome. 

Even more than that, though, is what I am learning about creating. I believe that an attribute of God that often gets overlooked is "creator." God is creative, and I am finding myself experiencing that truth as I, created in the image of God, create. And, in sharing my "creation" with others, I am learning about a new kind of connection with my creator who shares creation with us every day. My mother-in-law, who makes baskets and teaches basketry for a living, talks about this, and while I have always thought that was cool, it hasn't been until recently that I have really "gotten" it.

Through this hobby, I am able to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. Brian's aunt (who gave me my first knitting tutorial) sent me some gloves that she made me after I experienced a miscarriage several years back. I will never forget that, and every time I wear the gloves I remember that she was there for me--gently loving me and somehow walking the journey with me through her gift. I have made 4 baby hats in the last couple of weeks (and have 2 more in process!), to give to friends who are soon expecting. It is a joyous gift! But, one is for a dear friend who is walking a heart-breaking journey, waiting and knowing that the baby growing inside her will not be coming home with her.  

So, I knit, and I pray for her, and I cry, and I connect to the God who not only creates but can mend brokenness.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Stuff Sophie Says...

First, I'll start with a story from tonight: Sophie didn't ever fall asleep during nap time today, which means I put her to bed early. I read her one story, and as I was reading the second, she started drifting off. As I closed the book, she said, "We'll read the rest tomorrow." Usually, I am the one who says that we'll read more later, because of course she always wants one more! So, I turned off the light, and she promptly cuddled in to me with with her eyes closed and giggled. It was too adorable. I sang her a song and prayed over her as she gently slept, and rocked her for a minute then put her down. She, at least half asleep, curled up in her bed and said, "Sing one song...twinkle, twinkle...." and promptly began her heavy breathing, almost snoring. Priceless.

After a long day of mopping up water from my leaking laundry room window, no nap for Sophie, and a huge cupful of water all over my bathroom floor during bath-time (via Sophie), I can assuredly affirm that I am blessed beyond measure, and I am reminded to thank God for my beautiful baby and cherish every moment I have with her.

And now, some of the stuff Sophie says.....

Sophie: "Maybe I need an office."
Me: "Really? For what?"
Sophie: "For my work."
Me: "Oh, what work do you have?"
Sophie: (contemplatively) "Red...or maybe, pink."
Brian made Sophie her very first hot chocolate a few weeks ago....
Sophie (bemused smile on her face): "I like it a lot."
Daddy: "Why do you like it so much?"
Sophie: "It makes me happy."
Sophie, to Brian, "You're not a man, you're a dad-man."
Sophie, re: Maria and Captain VonTrap: "SHE's captain now."
Sophie: "I'm really busy doing my work."
Me: "What kind of work are you doing?"
Sophie: "I am going to the city."
Sophie: "Oh, hi Friedrich (from Sound of Music), it's me, Sophie. I'm just calling hum, yep."
"That was a GREAT movie." (after seeing Tangled in the theater)
"She has a BEAUTIFUL dress." (in reference to any dress, bathrobe, towel...her taste is not discriminating at this point!)
"Pissketti" instead of spagetti
"Cloff-cloff" instead of washcloth


Friday, February 04, 2011

How Long, Lord?

I got a phone call on Monday; the kind of phone call one never wants to receive. My friend, Tom, who plays drums for the worship band of which I am a part, lost his 8 -year-old son in an accident that morning. I felt like the breath flew out of my lungs. Disbelief. Anger. Unspeakable sadness. How could this be? I didn't want to believe it. I still don't. Aiden Patten's funeral is on Sunday.

During another time of unspeakable pain and tragedy, I am reminded of an article Keith Huey wrote in November after Jeremy's death reminding  us of the apostle Paul’s response to suffering. This same question is presented over and over again in the Psalms, and it is not one that asks, “Why?,” but one that asks, “How long?” Read this heart wrenching text from Psalm 6:
“Have mercy on me, LORD, for I am faint; heal me, LORD, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in deep anguish. How long, LORD, how long? Turn, LORD, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love. Among the dead no one proclaims your name. Who praises you from the grave? I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes.”
Let us lament together, trusting that God can handle our hurt, anger, and deep sorrow. But let us also hope, trusting that God walks in the dark places with us, and that though we will never understand we put our faith in a God who does - a God who came down and suffered with us. Psalm 6 continues:
“Away from me, all you who do evil, for the LORD has heard my weeping. The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer.”
May we find the freedom to lament and the courage to hope.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Knitting Adventures

So, I have been knitting like crazy since Christmas, and I have completed several projects. Here is what I have done so far....

 A scarf(ish) for my sister-in-law Sara.

 A scarf for my mom.

A scarf for Sophie.

And, dish cloths...I have made several of these, actually. 

I am pretty much stuck on squares and rectangles. I want to learn how to do hats, but I am going to have to watch some more YouTube tutorials first to figure that one out :).

Friday, January 07, 2011

"What I Did On My Christmas Vacation"

I feel like I am about to begin an essay for a 6th grade English class....

After the students left, I thought about crashing on the couch indefinitely for 2 days, but instead had one of the fullest weekends imaginable! Graduation, Christmas with Brian and Sophie, Church, Cass Park, and Christmas with my family. The next morning, I cleaned out and rearranged the RD office in Student Development with Debi and Heather...accomplishment # 1! For the rest of the week, I worked diligently to prepare to leave for WV, getting caught up and planning ahead on work before leaving, wrapping Christmas presents, and packing.

We traveled to West Virginia for a little over a week, which is always a good time. I only checked my e-mail twice in 9 days, as opposed to constantly while home - that was refreshing. Sophie found a new love: cookie making with Gran. I think that was the highlight of her Christmas break....

This time last year, I was working diligently on my thesis. In fact, I spent New Year's Eve day, 2009, in a coffee shop in Charles Town, WV reading about postmodern theory. Exciting, I know. This year, a week removed from graduation, my goal was to spend some time relaxing while on vacation. Imagine that! I finished a novel I was reading, and after that read Phil Vischer's autobiography, "Me, Myself and Bob," which was great, and which I had wanted to read for a long time but hadn't taken the time. We are big Veggie Tales fans in our house, and to hear the story behind Veggie Tales, along with its creators' struggles in the journey, was encouraging. Accomplishment # 2.

I was also able to spend some time with Brian's aunt, who is a quilt-maker and expert knitter. After an afternoon with her in a yarn shop, she convinced me to learn. I literally received a 5-minute tutorial from Celeste when we arrived home before she had to leave me with a set of needles,  a skein of yarn, and a very confused look on my face! Over the next couple of days, I watched several tutorials on YouTube and figured it out. After working on the scarf (that was originally going to be a dish cloth until I realized the knitting was too tight for that) that never ends for a week, I decided to make it into a blanket for Sophie's new fairy dolls. After a trip to Joanne's, I promptly began another scarf with larger needles and yarn, and a dish cloth with the proper size needles. FUN! Accomplishment # 3.

Since being home, I have caught up on work, continued knitting, begun a new novel, cleaned out several area of the house, and prepared for students to come back on Sunday (including a new bulletin board which will be put up as soon as I post this....).On the docket for the rest of this week: Begin Joan Chittister's book, Wisdom Distilled from the Daily, prepare for speaking in Temple on Thursday, and think about a Rule of Life.....and more knitting.

P.S. We also took Sophie to see her first movie on the big screen, Tangled, last night. She sat with wrapped attention the entire time. In her words, "That was a great movie."