This Bird Does It

Librarian ramblings


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After the stress

I’m all done. If you follow me on Facebook, or just know me in real life, you have heard this already. I’m sort of shouting it from the rooftops these days. ALL DONE! No more homework, no more assignments, no more papers, projects, or discussions. Tomorrow is graduation, and though I have elected not to attend, I’ll be officially a Master of Library and Information Science. A librarian. For real.

20151215_121607It’s not like I’m not busy anymore. It’s Christmas, after all. That’s the main reason I chose not to attend the graduation ceremonies tomorrow. The thought of dragging everyone up there for a 6pm ceremony, then bringing everyone home overtired and late, just didn’t appeal. Plus there are several other things on the calendar for Saturday, including a piano recital for the two big kids.

But somehow my brain is still processing this lack of school thing. For almost four years I’ve been in the thick of studying, or preparing for the next wave of classes. I’m having trouble just accepting that there is no next wave. Sure, I have to get a job now, and who knows what challenges I’ll find next, but this challenge has been met. And conquered. I’ve reached the shore and climbed out of the water. There are mountains to climb, and jungles to explore, but I think I’ll just sit here on the beach for a bit and enjoy my cocoa and cookies. Okay, maybe that’s not the best image.

Christmas is shaping up to be as lovely as anyone could want here. Except the weather. Not that I want to complain about something nobody can change, but I could use a few flurries. Or at least weather cool enough to force me to close my window at night! It’s like being back in Georgia. We may have to turn on the AC to run the gas fireplace on Christmas Eve this year. That’s just wrong.

Still, we’re rolling in blessings and I’m determined to remember each of them when I say my prayers at night. Enough blessings to induce guilt sometimes. I pray every day for ways to show my children how blessed we are. May they never, ever be unaware of how fortunate they are. I can’t stand to spend any more effort participating in the social media drama of the political discussions this month. I also can’t imagine remaining silent forever on some of these topics. But for the rest of 2015, I will enjoy these blessings with my family. I’ll keep teaching my children how blessed they are and encourage their compassionate natures. We’ll focus on the lessons of a tiny baby born in poverty who brought divinity to mankind. There’s no greater blessing than that one!

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A Decade of Parenthood (and other wonderful things)

Today my beautiful Girlie turns ten. Well yesterday, since I didn’t get this posted before midnight. The big double digit milestone is here. She is thrilled to be planning to get her ears pieced. She’s thrilled to be TEN. She’s thrilled. I am thrilled to have survived a decade of parenting her. I’ve got another decade and a half of in-the-trenches, minute-to-minute parenting to go, but this seems like a major milestone for me, and for her father, as parents. She’s a tween now, so I’m under no delusions that we’ve passed the really hard stuff. In fact I feel a bit like all of this has been training and now the really rough stuff begins. Like I’ve “leveled up.”

When my friends and I started having babies, we were a whole new generation of moms. Our mothers had moved away from extended families in large numbers. Maybe that’s because so many were children of divorce, I don’t know. I just know that it seems much more common for my generation to have grown up at least a long car ride away from our grandparents. Our mothers had the benefits of nearby aunts and grandmothers less often than their mothers had. I think they mostly did alright, but when we grew up, we didn’t expected that kind of “village” to help us figure out parenting. We turned to another kind of village: the internet.

Good grief we’ve made connections, there, haven’t we? You can find communities for whatever kind of parent you are, strive to be, our wish you were. Attachment parenting, natural parenting, new age parenting, whatever, there’s a group, blog, website, message board, something. You can find somebody to tell you that you’re doing it right.

At some point I stopped reading sites or blogs about “how” and just started enjoying other parents’ experiences. And here, I share mine. I fell into my own rhythm. Maybe we just had Muddle so fast that I didn’t have time to second guess anymore. I let the pressure off myself and started to enjoy the ride. We’ve come a long way. In my daughter’s first days at home, we took her picture with our ONE megapixel Kodak. Now I’ve got a camera on my phone (where I’m writing this post) that’s 10 times improved. Life is changing fast. I’m getting dizzy thinking of it. But we better just hold on. Because it’s going faster and I’ve got less control than ever.

On another wonderful note, my friends, Ray Lees and Matthew Christman Lees, finally got married. Finally, the federal government recognizes that the two of them and their eight children are one, whole, legal, fabulous, equal, beautiful family! I’m giddy happy for them all. Congratulations to the Lees Family!


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Onward…

So, at midnight I can register for classes for spring term. Next week I’ll complete my first full year of the MLIS program. It’s going very fast and I’m starting to panic a little about finishing and not having any experience. I find myself thinking that I’ll do a thesis/research project for graduation, but that seems silly. I’ve GOT to get some experience! Had a lovely exchange on twitter with @winelibrarian and @sarainthestacks who were very helpful in offering thoughts on getting a job. They only confirmed that experience is KEY! I have to fit this in, and I know it, and I just don’t know how to do it. There were some helpful tips offered in all that, though. I think I’ll be looking to volunteer with digitizing archives, or at least photos. I’ve got to have some sort of job, or a volunteer position, or something, like now. I keep saying “after the holidays” but I think that’s a mistake, too. I can’t wait. Classes will start up again, and I’ll just put it off. I’m going to have to go ahead and get going BEFORE the holidays. At least get busy looking. I land what I land and start when they need me. Surely someone an put me to work a couple hours a week for free, right?

I’m feeling like I’m catching up. Weird, huh? I mean, I’m still behind in school. I’m still swimming upstream this term, but this weekend was sort of a lull before the final push, and I got some stuff done. The toilets are all clean and the floors have actually been vacuumed, so that’s comforting. I was supposed to take a workshop the weekend after classes ended, but it was cancelled, so that will be a clear weekend. Then Daddy Bird heads to his annual hunting trip with his dad and uncle for week on the 11th. I’ll be solo parenting for just over a week. Strangely, I look forward to that each year. I mean, I miss him, and the kids miss him, but I do tend to get a lot done without him here. I’m not sure why that is, but it just is. I’m so looking forward to getting the house really clean and ready to decorate for Christmas. I love my house, but never more than when it’s all dressed up for Christmas.

mlI had a weird experience in church this morning. It is Reformation Sunday, the day us Lutherans celebrate Martin Luther and how we’re not Catholic anymore. Okay, there is a bit more to it than that, but you get the gist. As usual, the lessons and point of the day is justification by faith. Grace, and grace alone saves us. I’m happy to drone on about that bit, but it isn’t really the point of this blog. What I want to relate is a feeling that came over me as we sang the final hymn of the service. The last verse…

“When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
Dressed in his righteousness, alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

On Christ, the solid rock i stand,
all other ground is sinking sand;
all other ground is sinking sand.”

Hope you don’t find this morbid or creepy, but let me just tell you now, I want this sung at my funeral. If you are there, sing it. Sing it LOUD! Even if it means nothing to you, sing it loud and know that it means EVERYTHING to me! And somebody make sure there’s brass. Because as our distinguished director/organist Josh Brodbeck put it today, brass is really just the bacon of the music world. I feel like I should write a whole post on the merits of planning, or letting other know your thoughts anyway, your own funeral. Yeah, I’m only 42, but I really want this sung at my funeral. I’m not kidding. It’s important to me. If you take no other message from knowing me, take this. Jesus Christ is my salvation and I do not deserve it, but i do receive it.

Okay, sermon over.


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FYI: It’s NOT that simple!

Yup, I’m probably going to piss some people off, but I’m gonna just take the risk. A few days ago I came across a blog post that has apparently made the rounds on Facebook and other social media, called FYI (if you’re a teenage girl), by Kimberly Hall. Mrs. Hall is the Director of Women’s Ministry at All Saints Presbyterian Church in Austin, TX. I mention her position just to give her a little credibility that her intent is good. Doesn’t mean I’d likely agree with her on every point of theology, or even most, or for that matter all parenting points, but it does mean that she’s likely given these issues some real thought and not just rattled them off with a self-righteous zeal at the top of her mind.

So, Mrs. Hall is of the mind that teenage girls should be more careful about the things they put on Facebook. (Here we agree and I’ll elaborate on my opinion shortly.) She regularly gets together with her three teenaged sons and one pre-teen daughter, and looks through the social media scene with them. (Not sure that’s how we’ll handle social media in our house, but we haven’t had to cross that bridge, yet, so it’s still to be determined.) She blocks those girls who might be “tempting” her boys to “impure thoughts.” (Okay, here Mrs. Hall and I part ways, though I think she means well. I completely disagree with this approach, but I’ll get to that, too.)

Now lots of people are offended by this mother’s approach and she’s been accused of everything from slut shaming to irresponsible child rearing. There are all sorts of responses on other people’s blogs now, and here I go writing one, too. I was going to link to some of them, but I don’t want to get too off track. A simple Google search brings up almost 140,000 of them. Most of them are offended that she has put out the message that teenage girls bodies are bad, boys bodies are wholesome (she did include a bunch of pictures of her shirtless boys), and that it is entirely a girl’s responsibility to be sure no boy or man, for that matter, sees her a sexual object. After all, the male of our species is completely incapable of controlling either his eyes or his thoughts, right? Well, no, and I don’t for one second think that’s Mrs. Hall’s point.

Yes, it’s true, how a man looks at a woman, or young girl, and what he thinks when he looks at her, are not her responsibility. Each man, or boy, is responsible for his own heart and mind, and certainly the direction of his gaze. But why would we not tell our teenage daughters that it is silly, pointless, and degrading to ATTEMPT to control them. Posing in your bedroom without a bra, back arched, sultry pout and all, are DESIGNED to control the thoughts of the men and boys for whom they post these pictures. It is an ATTEMPT to make those males on their friends list see them as a sexual object, at least at that moment. Maybe not every pajama selfie by a teenage girl is taken with that goal, but to say that NONE of them are is disingenuous and does these girls another disservice. Will the young men who view these be destined to never see her as anything but a sexual object? No, of course not! But he has now gotten the message that she WANTS to be thought of that way. How horribly confusing to him. And NO, I’m not saying that the young lady wearing a short skirt is asking to be raped, or even to have sex. That is NOT the same thing.

We all agree that our society has over sexualized woman, and that our daughters are being pressured in ridiculous ways to be conscious of their sexuality from an insanely young age. It’s no wonder that they are trying harder and harder to “be sexy” from younger and younger ages. But that’s not what I want for my daughter. I don’t want her to post those pajama selfies. I don’t want it to even occur to her that she should post those. I don’t want her to spend one second ever feeling that she needs the kind of injection of self-esteem that might be gained from seeing how many “likes” or comments she can get from posting a sexy selfie intended to cause her male classmates to imagine being there in bed with her.  I can hope for the best and tell her body is wonderful, which it is, but why would I not also tell her to knock off the selfies with no bra? Why would I not point out how much I disapprove when I see her friends doing it?

And, boys! Yes, you are in control! Here’s a good post with the message I want my boys to get. But even that is almost too far the other way. Boys, you are totally and completely in control of your thoughts and eyes, and playing the victim or blaming anyone else for your thoughts and actions will always turn out badly. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t beware of someone, anyone, attempting to manipulate your thoughts, particularly in a sexual way. Not because she might succeed, and not because you might lose some of that control that you cannot lose, but because it says something about her. It tells you first of all that she thinks that’s a healthy way to interact with you. It tells you that she is gaining some amount, large or small, of self esteem by attempting to exercise a sexual power. She likely hasn’t given it that much thought. She hasn’t thought through the whole thing, but to say that she isn’t hoping for a whole lot of attention as a result of that post is not realistic. That attention gives her some boost of self-esteem, and I’m sorry that she feels she needs it. It doesn’t mean she’s a whore, or that she’s slutty, or that she has any intent to act on the thoughts she might be hoping to provoke.

They aren't teenagers, yet, but sometimes it feels like a freight train barreling straight at me!

They aren’t teenagers, yet, but sometimes it feels like a freight train barreling straight at me!

In the end it’s all about judgement, right? Mrs. Hall got all sorts of grief for judging those girls in their jammies. We want to teach our boys not to judge girls for posting pictures in nothing but a towel. We want to work hard, like this mother did, not to judge Mrs. Hall and her parenting decisions for her post. But none of that is realistic, either. No, we don’t want to make hard decisions on what kind of person someone is based solely on how short their skirt is on a given Tuesday. We shouldn’t BLOCK a young lady’s profile completely based on one poorly advised selfie. We shouldn’t decide a mother is screwing up her sons because of one rashly formed family social media policy. But as humans, we are always categorizing and organizing and drawing inferences based on available information. We HAVE to. Our brains are just wired that way, and we’ve been doing it since birth. The only part of that we can change is HOW we do it, and how permanent those judgements are.

All I’m getting at is that this is a tough parenting dilemma. There are a lot of people making all sorts of absolute statements and getting more and more polarized about this and SO MANY other things. Why must every issue be all or nothing? I want my sons to know they are in control of their thoughts, but it’s not realistic to expect them, as hormone-crazed teenagers, to look at that braless cutie and NOT have a sexual thought. I want my daughter to know that her body is fantastic, and a gift, and though it will give her lots of sexual pleasure, it is not dirty, but I also don’t want her posting pictures like those we’ve been talking about all week. There is a medium. There are so many shades of grey.

 


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This I believe…

So, I’m swamped.  Two classes, both accelerated for summer, all three kids home, softball, baseball, church, family, stuff.  I’m swamped.  But I wanted to share this.  That’s what a blog is for, right?  I had to write this for a class.  It was an excellent exercise.

This I believe . . .

I believe in me. I believe I am strong and capable and still constantly struggling to remember that and to motivate myself. I believe that my weaknesses make me stronger and that my strengths can sometimes make me arrogant and weak.

I believe in my family. I believe that my parents did the absolute best that they could to raise my brother and me, and that they succeeded in more ways than they failed. I believe there was a great deal of luck thrown in with their successes, and a great deal of love to mitigate their failures. I believe that my husband is the best decision I ever made and that my children are our greatest accomplishments. I believe that there was no luck in choosing the right husband, but there is a bucket of luck in how blessed I am to be raising these particular amazing kids. I believe it is my job to live everyday with the intention of doing the job of raising this family to success no matter what luck we end up with.

So, I suppose, what I believe is really about family and love and faith. I have no intention of preaching a sermon in this essay, but my faith in God and my salvation is certainly at the core of everything else I believe. That faith cannot be left ignored in an essay about what I believe. It is the core of who I am, a child of God, and how I live my life. It is what informs my belief in me and in my family and my place in that family and the world. I believe that without my faith, I would struggle, finding the questions of my everyday existence too difficult to bear and too complicated to ponder. It is my faith that shores up all other beliefs.

And I believe in science. I believe that science and religion are not contradictory forces. For religion to be taken seriously, it must never try to force a mystical explanation when a perfectly good empirical one exists. Having faith in a creator only increases my awe as I gather information about His creation. Science that rejects all faith is only another form of religion, but one with a much more pessimistic conclusion based on what is unknown, rather than what is known. All that said, I believe that each individual has to arrive at their own conclusions regarding science and religion, both separately and how they relate to each other. Whatever conclusions one reaches, I believe that they are only valid if they help the individual to live a happier or otherwise more productive life.

I believe that humankind is constantly reaching, and attempting to improve our situation, our comfort level, whether comfort in knowledge, spirituality, or physical surroundings. The vast amount of information generated everyday piling up on the human race’s full body of knowledge is extraordinary. Some of it is junk, some of it can lead to wisdom, but all of it is just there. I am excited as a person at the notion of saving tiny pieces of the shared knowledge of our species. Sharing those pieces with others who are interested is a fascinating concept.

I believe that none of us as individual members of humankind can grow and reach our full potential without access to the wisdom of those who have gone before. It is because my children are blessed to live in an affluent suburb with free access to books and other learning materials at home, at school, in their library, that they will be able to use their God-given talents to whatever full measure they are driven. It should be someone’s mission to bring those advantages to those who do not have them. And that access should be guarded by those who enjoy it, as well as those who work to grant it.

I believe it is nothing but good for the citizens of any town, state, or country to have more and better access and the right to use that access as each individual sees fit for their individual

journey of discovery. That might mean a spiritual journey, a scientific quest, or just a leisurely stroll through a fantasy fiction novel. Ideas, as much as information, must flow freely between groups and individuals and be evaluated constantly by each entity in contact. As well, I believe that the journeys of those who came before us should be preserved and shared with future generations, if for no other reason (and I can think of many other reasons) than to keep us from repeating the mistakes of those who came before.


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A Jumble to share

Today is one of those days where I feel like I have a lot to say, but none of it is coming together in my head in any coherent way.

Boston.  Oh, wow.  I think I am processing this the best anyone could, but it just stays with me.  The bombings happened, and since we don’t really know, yet, who or why, that’s all I have.  They happened.  Lots of people were hurt.  Three people died.  I am, of course, horrified that this could take place in my country.  My country that I thought was above this, safe from this.  Not a country where suicide bombers are part of weekly, if not daily life.  Not even a country where bombings are monthly or annual events.  The USA, the United States, America!  We are a lot of things to a lot of people around the world, but not this.  We have drunk driving that kills people, gun violence that kills people, teenage suicide from bullying, obesity, cancer from questionable food additives, blah, blah, blah!  But people do NOT regularly die in bombings here!  And the only people you hear of with limbs blown off lost them while over in one of those other countries fighting for ours!  So, I’m processing all that.

But then I see another picture of Martin Richard.  I’m sure you’ve seen this picture by now, it’s all over the news channels and social media.  It’s so dear and so sweet, and what an innocent face.  And he’s holding that poster with that message.  “No more hurting people.”  That’s not a line a teacher gave him.  I don’t know what the assignment was, but it wasn’t “print ‘no more hurting people’ at the top of the page.”  That came from him.  That came from his own heart.  Every time I see this picture I get weepy.  Somehow I just can’t process the death of this one eight-year-old.  Sandy Hook saw the deaths of 20 kids, not to mention the six adults, and it was horrible and I cried and I grieved.  Somehow, it was easier?  No, that’s not the word, just more readily processed.  Maybe that it was so big.  Maybe because there were ALL those sweet faces flashed on our screens every night for weeks, even as the networks worked to tell us a bit about each child.  Maybe it desensitized me a bit from the real pain of that tragedy.  Maybe.  I don’t know.  All I know is that Martin is harder for me to wrap my head around.  I have an eight-year-old boy, but he was just seven, a second grader, when Sandy Hook happened, just a year older than those innocents.  I don’t KNOW why it’s so much harder, but it is.  The child had just run, in utter joy, to hug his father at the finish line.  I haven’t seen any pictures of those moments, if they exist, but I can picture it.  And I do picture it.  I can’t help picturing it.  That father-son hug in a moment of triumph.  It haunted my dreams last night.

But then, I do want to talk about the other stuff in my life, because, well, it is moving on.  The main tasks in my life right now (namely feeding, cleaning, cleaning after, and supervising three kids) don’t wait for me to sit and watch the news and try to figure out how I feel about the death of a child I never met.  It isn’t my job to find the perpetrators.  I can’t help with the investigation.  I’ll get on with life and pray for all those whose jobs those are.  I’ll pray for Martin’s family, and all the others who were killed or injured and their families.  I’ll pray for me and my family.  I’ll keep doing laundry and making meals.

And potty training.  I’ll get on with the potty training.  As best I can, anyway.  I’m sort of on this ride alone now, I think.  He showed a little interest yesterday, so we jumped on that.  Two hours and four pairs of underpants later, my patience was worn out, there was half a roll of paper towel in the garbage, and Baby Bird got a mid-dinner bath.  I’m glad he showed some interest and I hope my frustration didn’t show too much, but I would not say it was a successful day.  If I get that load of laundry done, we’ll try again this afternoon.

My weigh-in was Monday.  I mentioned that I was up a bit.  Not much, just about a pound, but that’s the wrong direction, isn’t it?  As of this morning, I’d dropped that and another half-pound, so I have high hopes for next week’s official weigh-in.  I was bummed about the wrong direction of this week’s number, but really, it isn’t too bad.  Consider that last Thursday I ate a big dinner of rouladen and spaetzle at a local German restaurant in Kent.  And Saturday night I had wine and cheese with my girlfriends.  And Sunday after the hymnfest there was a wine and cheese reception, though I did call that dinner.  So, really that little bit wasn’t so bad.  I’m rather proud of myself for jumping right back on the wagon this week.  Of course, Thursday through Sunday is always the hardest, so here we go…

I have to get moving.  A couple pounds have come off, but only a few.  I have to get moving.  I know it, but I don’t like it.  I’m not going to think about that anymore today.  Maybe tomorrow.


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Without preparation, I heard

Without preparation, I heard.  Just to repeat.  It was amazing.


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Without preparation, I heard

Photo from kent.edu

Photo from kent.edu

When I found out that Elie Wiesel was to speak at Kent, and that as a student, I could get a free ticket, I did not hesitate to claim my ticket and spring for one more at just $20.  A very reasonable price for the opportunity to see such an incredible figure.  Holocaust survivor, writer, humanitarian, teacher, all around amazing man.  I had grand plans to reread Night, which I haven’t read since high school, and look up more of his work.  I wanted to be prepared to see him.  To remind myself of his talents in storytelling and presenting a spiritual message in a physical story.  Yeah, big plans that never happened.  And for once, I’m glad I didn’t get around to my big plans.

I am certain that Professor Wiesel has given pretty much the exact same talk many times.  He was introduced by the president of the university and we could all hear him clearly and watch as his words scrolled under his picture on the two giant screens, closed caption style.  Then when the professor started to speak, my heart sunk.  I could barely hear him, and I couldn’t understand him at all.  I read the scroll of his words, but clearly the person imputing his words was having trouble, too, so it was delayed and not even close to verbatim.  But the place was silent.  Everyone in the place, more than 5000 people, strained to hear him.  We sat up straight, tilted our heads, and struggled to drink in the message he was delivering.  There was a collective response to the difficulty in hearing him that surprised me.  We, as a group, all seemed to lean in, to wish the microphone or sound engineer to adjust it so we could hear better.  We physically wished to hear him.  It was moving before we even found ourselves understanding him.

But we managed to follow his talk.  Between lip reading and the slightly delayed scroll of paraphrase, we managed to follow the first several minutes of what he came to tell us.  He talked about April 11, 1945.  He talked about the liberation of Buchenwald and how they didn’t know what to do.  The Americans showed up and said, “Hey, you’re free!”  And the Jews in the camp just looked at each other in confusion.  What is this “free?”  They’d very nearly lost the ability to even comprehend that concept.  Can you IMAGINE?  So, they prayed the prayer of the dead.  Together, at the same time, just began just praying for the dead.  We took this in.

He talked about education.  His, his oppressors, in general.  He asked how could this happen.  How COULD this happen?  It wasn’t a lack of education.  These people had fancy degrees from the best schools.  They WERE educated.  And, yet, this happened.  These things happened.  And if we as a civilization get some sort of collective Alzheimer’s disease,  it can happen again.  It will happen again.

So, he tells us these things, and by now the moderator and the sound engineers have offered him a handheld microphone, which he accepted to great applause from the audience.  He tells us all this and we listen, rapt in our attempts to hear every word.  Then he starts to talk about hope.  How can there be hope after an experience like the one he had at the hands of the Nazis?  How can hope and faith survive after such things have happened, perpetrated by the some of the best educated in the world at the time?  How can there be hope for the future.  His answer was so simple, so basic, so wonderful.  It amounts to this: nobody can take the hope from anyone else, ever.  If we see no hope, we must invent it.  We must invent reasons to hope, or just hope itself.  It is not for him, or anyone else to TAKE another’s hope.

He talked more about faith, and tradition.  He has, obviously, a very Jewish perspective on these things, but that perspective was not lost on this Christian.  He talked about how his faith has been tested and he has arrived at a conclusion.  That is that sometimes it does not matter that you question your faith.  Faith is more than “I believe.”  He is unable to turn his back on the faith of his parents and grandparents because of what they believed and because of how they lived it.  It would not be right for him to deny THEIR faith, their traditions.  I was reminded of a conversation I had with my daughter a few months ago.  She was in tears because she had worked herself into a tizzy because she found herself questioning her own belief in God.  I held her and assured her that it is absolutely okay to question.  God does not expect an eight-year-old girl to understand and accept the answers that generation after generation of grown ups have devoted their lives to figuring out.  To not doubt is to not really value the faith you have, I think.  I assured her that it is enough, at eight years old to simply accept my faith and that I tell her it is true, and that God will never, ever turn His back on her for her doubts.  (I know that many of you will disagree with me on this theologically and philosophically, and I will be happy to discuss it in more depth later if there is interest, both from a religious and a parenting view)

There was so much more that he said about hope, over an over that word, “hope.”  I can’t even take it all in.  I will dig out my paperback copy of Night.  I have reserved several other of his works at my local library already.  I left last night wanting to soak him up and immerse myself in his message of hope and wisdom, and by extension, of love and forgiveness.  He strengthened my faith, and I wanted more of that.  I am glad I didn’t read more before last night.  I might have been more familiar with the things he said, as I’m sure he has said them all before many times.  But it wouldn’t have filled me in the same way.  It wouldn’t have been the same breathtaking experience.  I don’t think I could have heard him, really heard him, with the same full meaning.


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Holy Week

My head is swirling with too much to say.  I should sit down with paper and pencil and try to make sense of it, but I don’t want to.  This isn’t a school assignment.  I can ramble here if I want to.  You can read if you want to.

Spring break!  At least for the big kids.  They have no school this week.  Since it’s Holy Week, traveling isn’t an option (it was never an option this year, but I tell myself it’s the school district’s fault), so it’s really about wearing your pajamas as much as possible and possibly seeing if you can completely dry out your eyeballs by forgetting to blink while playing hours of video games.  Don’t judge me.  They have amazing hand-eye coordination.  They’ll probably be fighter jet pilots someday.

Monday we all vegged as much as possible.  I finished my class Sunday night and it just felt good to not yell at anybody to practice piano, do you homework, clean your room, get dressed, brush your teeth, let’s go, let’s go, let’s GO!  Yesterday everyone had to clean their room.  It went better than it has in the history of room cleaning at the Bird House, anyway.  I only had to raise my voice a few times, point out a few problem spots, and it got done before mid afternoon.  A miracle, really.  And nobody cried.  THAT is the miracle!  I have the most dramatic children and I have no idea whatsoever where they get that!  *you can picture me turning away with my eyes closed and the back of my wrist pressed to my forehead now*

Today we get busy again.  Not, oh dear we’re sooooo busy kind of busy.  Just doing stuff.  The Middle Bird is going with a friend to a fun gymnastics facility for an open gym.  I’m keeping the friend’s little sister so the friend’s mom can watch Middle Bird and the friend, as they seem to get quite silly together sometimes.  They’ll have fun!  Tonight is choir practice and I guess I better figure out how to feed the troops before I take off.

Tomorrow is Middle Bird’s EIGHTH birthday!  I don’t know how that happened.  It’s going so much faster all the time.  I’ll save the “isn’t he the neatest kid ever” post for tomorrow, but he is just about the neatest kid ever.  Just sayin’.  We’ll be having another family over tomorrow afternoon to play.  They have three kids, too, and the ages fall in between ours, so it works out well.  And the mom and I might get to have actual conversation if we ignore the chaos.  Well, we’ll see.  And of course it will be Maundy Thursday, so I’ll have church in the evening.

222981_10150160037364748_3267061_nFriday is Good Friday.  Perhaps my favorite service of the year.  It’s like a sore tooth you can’t stop poking with your tongue.  Morbid, I know.  But you can’t have the joy of Easter morning without the pain of Friday’s crucifixion.  Seems like there was a movement in the late 80s and 90s to make Good Friday services more meaningful and frankly more morbid. I remember attending a service one year where each member of the congregation went forward, picked up a hammer and struck the massive nails on a close-to-lifesized cross.  It was powerful.  It was amazing.  It made me dwell, wallow even, on the fact that Jesus died for ME, personally.  I felt the weight of the responsibility on my shoulders as I lifted the heavy hammer and guided it’s weight down to the huge nail.  I felt it in the ringing in my ears as each of us banged that nail.  I felt it in my chest with each blow.  It stayed with me through the weekend, too.  I think the power of that service actually intensified the joy of Easter morning.  I greeted my family and fellow church members with “He has RISEN!” and “He has RISEN, indeed!” over and over like so many other Easter mornings, but that year it really seemed like a cry of relief.  Like every other year, I had known it was coming, that He had died but would rise, but THAT year it felt more of a relief.  A tiny bit closer to what the disciples must have felt.

So, Good Friday service will be meaningful, I’m sure, but I’ve never attended another service where we struck the nails.  I’d like to do that again someday.  Guess I probably ought to sign up for some committee or other, huh?  Yeah, because I need some more commitments.  🙂