Tag: i don’t even know

nothing big

Right now, we have “nothing big” coming up, and I suppose that is good. Two years in a row of big moves is probably a long enough streak. At some point soon, we will work on booking a trip or two, and in December we’ll have The Wedding, but for now, there are plenty of small things in the works:

Antiquing.

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We’re at a point in life where some of the start-up furniture will need to be replaced, but rather than acquire more mass-produced press board, I want Real Stuff… wooden, aged, classic, full of character. Kirsten brought me to a bunch of cute antique shops this weekend… which happen to be in our town. Who knew? (I did, actually, but hadn’t ventured into this new terrain). Besides finding 101 things I would love to have, I got an amber glass owl to feed Paige’s new obsession and – yay! – rocking chairs for our front porch! I knew They were out there somewhere!

I definitely have sights on replacing Randa & KK’s dressers, my & Rod’s desk, and maybe finding a desk that’s all theirs (since they commandeer ours all the time). These things will take time, but the hunt is fun!

Eating at Home
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Restaurant food has become less and less exciting, save for the few privately-owned places who still prepare fresh and quality dishes. It’s more fun to grocery shop for things you know you’re going to eat (current favorite ingredients: avocados, eggs, Greek yogurt, and meat from an actual butcher shop, which is comparably priced to the grocery store, but looks and tastes MUCH better). It’s fun to plan new recipes or revive old ones (coming up soon: coconut curry… yummmmmmmmm). And it’s victorious to convince my husband that I can make him a better lunch than Wendy’s can!
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(There is a sandwich and some all-natural Pirate’s Booty under that napkin…)

 

Kids.
They are (all) still changing every day. I think I have accepted that there will likely be no more kids for us (I come to this acceptance about every other day, and in the mean time plot ways to convince Rod I was at my best when pregnant, or find my heartbeat accelerating when adoption is mentioned…). Anyway, we’ve come around to the time when our big kids are fun, considerate, and self-sufficient, and our little kids allow us, on occasion, to take naps or hold conversations. Everyone goes to the bathroom on her own and can pick up her own junk (well, except for Paige sometimes :) So, starting over with a baby is not on the agenda, but enjoying these magnificent people always is:
IMG_0629 Randa the retailer

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What ‘little things’ are you up to right now?

I trust God and it’s not ok

IMG_5370I had just finished chaperoning a field trip with Randa’s kindergartener class… 20-something 5 & 6 year olds in a small aquarium for 2 hours. It was sweet, fun, long… and Randa cried when she had to get in line to go back on the bus. In my head, I was grateful for the memories she was making, kind of like when I was in school (except it was a different, different world 30 years ago, and I think we had more fun…). But I was also thinking, for the elevety-millionth time, Should I homeschool? When should I homeschool?

I drove away and treated myself to lunch. I had a sandwich and soup, a big tea, and a book on my iPad. But as I often do, I checked yahoo.com first. And then I saw the news:

You know which news. 27 dead in a school shooting. i think at that moment, it was 14 kids and 2 adults. The tears and fear came immediately. What kind of world? What kind of person? Why??!

I only read a little before I turned away. I learned after September 11th what a news mrrogersbarrage does to me. I finished eating and did the Christmas shopping I had planned. At the mall, I reacted in a post-9/11 way… tears in the middle of aisles, reaching out to a few friends to say, Oh my God and God help us. Trying to make eye contact with strangers, just to feel the in-person human connection we long for in loss.

I found myself thinking of things to say on Facebook. I am certainly a product of my time. As a writer-by-soul, I often turn to Facebook to share life observations. But my phone was nearly dead, and the several drafts of “profound” things running through my head seemed like too much. And I finally told myself, You know, the world is not standing by waiting for your official statement on this matter. Just pray.

I prayed. And I picked up my kids and cried silently in the driver’s seat. I hugged my husband when he got home and talked to my mom, twice. As I read the bits and pieces – principal died, teacher who saved her whole class, 20 kids, 6 and 7 year olds, – I was, like you, I’m sure, dangerously close to being consumed by the grief and dread.

As a person of faith – specifically, a believer in Jesus Christ – I always try to be sensitive about my reaction in faith to horrible things.This list of what not to say in a tragedy is helpful.. because God does not need our children as angels to keep Him company, and evil existing in this world is really not about Him giving us “no more than what we can handle.” What humans could “handle” burying their 6 year olds or their 27 year olds? What community could “handle” this happening in their school? And what does “handle” even mean in this scenario?

Just a few days before this occurred, I was in a post-Bible study conversation about God’s sovereignty, free will, and the existence of evil. I made some pretty strong statements about what I “think” is the heart of God. A friend of a friend lost her young child recently, and the instinctive thought of “It isn’t fair” was met by my reasoning of, “To God, the most perfect solution to that child’s pain was to have that child with Him. He wants all of us with Him. He created us for His pleasure, and it causes Him pain to see us struggle in this fallen world.”

sandyhookDid I still believe that on Friday afternoon? Do I still believe that nightmare in Connecticut did not “take God by surprise?” Well, yes. If I do not believe in God’s love and authority in times of absolute horror, why do I believe in Him at all? But I also know this: I do not understand. It is not “ok.” And while I have peace that God rules the world and not evil, I do not feel peace about 6 and 7 year olds being murdered in their classroom (it hurts to even type that). And alongside that, I do not feel peace when mothers give birth to stillborn babies, when parents are murdered by their children or vice versa, when whole communities die of starvation or AIDS or massacre or an earthquake. I don’t think there is anything beautiful or peaceful about that. My logic hits a wall when things like this happen… and then, I choose to let my faith take over and go where my mind cannot comprehend. Because the Word I believe says that God causes all things – all things! (what?!) – to work together. And having been a believer in Christ for all this time (with some definite crises in faith thrown in the mix), I either believe His Word, or I do not.

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It was hard to let Randa leave for school this morning. Expecting that her class might talk about the shooting today, we dressed her in green and told her about some children in a different state that went to Heaven (and for those well-meaning ‘Christians’ who questioned that notion over the weekend, please stay away. Jesus does not need your version of PR). We came to find out that she had overheard her big sister talking on the phone over the weekend and already had an inkling of “the shooting.” Ouch. What an illustration: we talked in hushed voices all weekend and avoided the TV news, but our 6 year-old found out anyway. We can shield and protect our children with all our power, and then, regardless of faith or homeschool vs outside school, they will be influenced – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually – by forces outside of their parents.

Rod just informed me that the county police were outside Randa’s school when he dropped her off. What a dichotomy this brings to me. I am glad – I am a proponent not of making guns illegal (because murderers and terrorists are not law-abiding folks), but absolutely of having armed security in schools. I felt that way as a high school student, as a high school teacher, and as a school parent. I have heard lots of banter about airport security, etc. and I think, Yes. Our children are inside those government buildings. Why shouldn’t a good, trained, armed person be there to protect them? And I am sad – because I remember a time when the school doors were unlocked, before Laurie Dann, when it seemed there were still sacred places where evil didn’t go.

I remember wincing at the beginning of this school year when Randa talked about their disaster drills, about hiding under the desk with the lights off. We never had those when I was in school. I am glad she knows what to do. I am glad she knows to listen. I am glad that most teachers would do anything to protect their students. I am glad my child has 2 parents who would also do anything to keep her safe. I am glad we have faith in a God that is somehow bigger than all of this.

But for those 27 people, for their moms and dads, for a future that is more uncertain than ever, today I am just sad.

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sometimes

Sometimes I write because I have something Profound to say.

Sometimes I write because I have to talk and there is no one to listen except for paper (or, er, WordPress).

Sometimes I write to communicate.

Sometimes I write to prove a point.

Sometimes, like now, I write so that I don’t forget how.

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Life is buzzing by in a whirl right now. Days are long and nights are busy, and every one from the Daddy to the KK is passing each other like tourists on 17 bypass. Tonight I had a whole night off and was alone with just the girls, and we had no idea what to do with ourselves. So we ate pasta and played… not with the toys or the swing set, no at the pool or the beach, but in the garage.

{We’re sort of out of practice with the playing, I guess…}

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what makes us happy and what fulfills us and what people see when they look at us (the collective ‘us,’ not just, you know, us). I have been labeled a lot lately: rich, immature, popular, insincere, religious fanatic, not fancy enough, uncaring, in need of a haircut, scatterbrained. Some of those came from people who don’t know me, one of them came from me.

Other than the haircut (it’s seriously been like 14 months), I don’t think any of them are true.

But there is the realization within me that after 35 years of struggling with approval-addiction: I don’t have time to fight or to change what people who don’t know me perceive me to be. And the people who do know me… don’t need to label me.

(Well, except for Miranda. And she is the one who said I’m not fancy enough. No kidding).

I suppose when you look at someone’s online life – which, true though it may be, is crafted & edited for public consumption, or when you know them casually, or when you look at them from afar or on a surface level, you can draw all sorts of conclusions about her journey. You can assume her bills are always paid on time, that her house is never too dusty, that her meals are always Pinterest-perfect and appreciated by her adoring family, that her title (whether CEO of a company, CEO of a household, FREE-E-O of a start-up or charity) equates her to power and glamour. You can assume that she and her husband never fight, that her children never yell “I don’t love you” or throw shoes at her while she is driving or lie to her, that she has never neglects her friends or forgets to answer important emails or screens her calls because she is engrossed in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix.

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I have preached a sermon to myself over the past few days. It focuses on what we are called to do, and what we are not called to do. It focuses on giving our best, even if the people around us, even if the ones we count on, give their worst, or give nothing. It focuses on being focused, on not losing sight big goals or important dreams, but also on not stomping on details on our way to see our visions fulfilled.

It focuses on doing what we need to do, and not thinking about what we don’t have.

~

So anyway. I just needed to write.

Save

out of balance

When there are not enough words, or the right words, to sum it up, to offer, to describe, sometimes, we must simply rely on emotion, on silence, on pictures.

These days, my mind is consumed with balance. I am out of it right now. Work and the girls consume all the time and energy I have. Rod is traveling for the third week in a row, shows at the theatre are now 6 nights instead of 3, and you know…life surrounds us. My girls are feeling the exhaustion and KK in particular has been  s t r e s s e d  out. There is not a lot left for other things, and I feel the loss in particular when it comes to my friends in Chicago. Even the time to text random thoughts through the day has been depleted. I know they’re reading this, and I know they understand; I just hope they also know how much I love and miss them.

All that said, when people are getting killed in movie theaters, my problems are trifles.

So I have no real words tonight, only the need to keep this Chicagolina touchstone going… to tell you we have a few interesting struggles and adjustments right now, but we’re all right… to say I still believe with all my heart that God is in control and the love He gives for us to share is more than enough… to share the pictures that make me smile when I run out of words:

(Ok, well, what’s in the wrapper makes me happier than the wrapper itself…)

(And note to self: stop eating dinner in the car…)

(…or eating popcorn for dinner…)

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May your specific prayers be answered and angels posted in the corners of everywhere you go.

 

 

 

Content matters

In this particular entry, I am speaking of the guts of something, not the state of mind.

While we were in Branson, I made one of those random observations, kind of passing, probably to Rod, that turned out to be telling and true and maybe even a little wise.

It was about the state of something. I don’t want to say what. You might be able to guess. But here is the paraphrase:

“Everyone is focused on the person delivering, rather than what they are saying.”

How true is this about so many aspects of current American culture? I mean, while I usually don’t go “there,” we definitely elected a President based on his charisma and outward appeal rather than the meat of what he was saying (not that he has done very much of what he said he would…except, you know, change stuff…)

It’s true in our entertainment, too. People tend to be too lazy or too distracted or too divided in their attention to really get what is being said in a number of media. I read an article this weekend that, while not news, made me both laugh out loud and shake my head at the result of such folly: back when the band Evanescence was new on the main scene, all the rage, and Christian stores were stocking their CD, which in even a casual listen, and definitely in a simple look at their videos, was not Christian music. Simply, they happened to use few key words and phrases that caught the ears of some store owner or promoter who was trying to be cutting edge and then…well, next thing you know, Amy Lee is quoted in Entertainment Weekly telling those store owners how ignorant they are.

For awhile my passion for a life-work kind of ongoing project has been waning. I told myself the payoff was coming, when in fact, the payoff had already come. I’d had some amazing conversations with new people that added to my life in a variety of ways. I learned some stuff. I built a portfolio. ‘Nough said. And while I am not condoning giving up as soon as something stops being fun (the mindset partially responsible for current divorce rates…), I did wonder if I had been wasting my time. Was I pushing too hard? Was being the deliverer of a product more important to me that the product I was delivering?

After several months of contemplating, I believe my answer is no. I am glad for the time I spent building something, even if now I’ve let it go. And while I did not have the time to put my true gifts into it (because my gift, I know, is words…even if my talent was more useful, I’m not as good at it), now I am clear about what is next. I need to write. It is one of the things God created me to do.

But I was not in charge of all the guts of said project. And the guts, per se, had clearly become less important. And the guts, which might be analyzed by few, were important to me. When the guts are no longer healthy, it feels like time to sh…um, to let go of the metaphor and move on.

I am sad that so many people are more interested in the results of a product than in the quality, the guts, the content of what they are presenting. I happen to work near an industry in which ‘shininess’ is often preferred over sincerity, where names mean more than people, where a glass ceiling is acceptable though it is in conflict with the doctrine put forth, where status quo is lauded as innovative in order to keep boats from rocking, where lies are believable as long as the right mouth spews them.

Whether it is a song, a project, a publication, a child you’re raising, or just an encounter with another person, the end result is more than a smear on a canvas. It should have depth. It should last. It should be your best.

My dear friend and mentor Sue presented this in a different light two weeks ago. Her words have stuck with me. It’s easy to communicate. We can talk, talk, talk, Tweet, complain, wax witty, what-have-you all the live-long day. But if we aren’t connecting with anything, we’re basically offering up empty space.

I won’t be satisfied with that. I want to offer something that matters and is lasting, in the words I present, the relationships I keep, and the home I tend…and in the person I am. I fall short of this many times, but God help me to be aware when I do.