Sunday, December 30, 2007

Rearview Mirror

Who knew the last post of 2006, would so sharply foreshadow the year that was to come.

May God grant us all a peaceful and beautiful 2008.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Revgalblogpal Friday Five: "Auld Lang Syne" Edition

Singing Owl writes:


It is hard to believe, but 2007 is about to be history, and this is our last Friday Five of the year.With that in mind, share five memorable moments of 2007. These can be happy or sad, profound or silly, good or bad but things that you will remember. Bonus points for telling us of a "God sighting"-- a moment when the light came through the darkness, a word was spoken, a song sung, laughter rang out, a sermon spoke to you in a new way--whatever you choose, but a moment in 2007 when you sensed Emmanuel, God with us. Or more particularly, you.


Hmmm... five memorable moments from 2007. Funny, I can't think of a one.


Oh how I wish that were true.....

I think I will skip to the bonus round, the God sightings.

When I first posted about the shock and grief that had come into my life there were over 70 comments on that post (it has since been deleted). This is a God sighting.


When I met up with a group of friends I met solely through blogging I was given the centerpiece of my living room, an oar that reads: "When you lose your sail, row." This is a God sighting.

My son. He is a God sighting.


Thanks friends. Truly, I have been blessed.

Apparantly blessings abound...
The idea… it’s a game of tag with a difference, rather than looking inwardly, we look outside ourselves and bless, praise and pray for one blog friend. By participating in this endeavour we not only make the recipient of the blessing feel valued and appreciated, but we are having some fun too. We’re going to see how far the bloggin’ blessings can travel around the world and how many people can be blessed! Recipients of a bloggin’ blessing may upload the above image {I chose not to use the image - Mark} to their sidebar if they choose to. If you recieve a bloggin’ blessin’ please leave a comment on this thread here so that we can rejoice in just how many blessings have been sent around the world!

I am going to bless...

Songbird - whose work behind the scenes at revgalblogpals is easy to take for granted. There has been a lot of transition in the Songbird household and she has handled it with typical grace and wisdom.

Listing Straight - she may have deleted her blog, but she is still very present in my life. She is a blessing and so to her I offer a blessing.

Identity Mixed - for HEALTH in her household in 2008. Seriously.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Designer Tree



Because I am so clearly all about arbor fashion and interior design, I am frequently asked what ARE the best dressed trees wearing this year. It is a fair question and although you won't find this tree in any department store or Main Street window, I do think you will agree that it is on the cutting edge.

We will begin at the top where you will see a large sized teddy bear. This bear and another white one below it have been pushed into the branches so that they are sitting comfortably and able to look out on all of the frivolity below. Around the upper bear you will also note glass ornaments. These ornaments are usually placed in order to reflect the light and this year, they are placed in order to keep the Tree Czar safely away from them.

Who is the Tree Czar? Well, every well-dressed tree has one. He or she is the one who dictates what shall and shall not be placed on the tree. Their mood can change on a whim and they can frequently be found harvesting what they seem to have just put on the tree. In the case of my Tree Czar this was particularly appropriate since his favorite ornaments are plastic apples that he cleverly places on and off the tree depending on the mood.

You will also note a smattering of hand-made ornaments featuring the face of our Tree Czar. These are essentials and will be carefully stored and reused every year.

There are additional touches including strands of beads and a couple of random balls placed in and amongst the branches but NO TREE is complete without....

a little red, fuzzy thing.

"What?"


The day before Christmas and a friend was standing with my Mom in our living room and realized there was a red fuzzy on her back. She kindly removed it... and the placed it on the tree.
We laughed hysterically as we attempted to determine why she thought the tree was a proper trash receptacle and then quickly decided that this was indeed not just any red fuzzy but was in fact:The Official Red Christmas Tree Fuzzy, 2007 edition.

We shall cherish it forever.... and the Tree Czar has approved its use.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Revgalblogpal Friday Five: Christmas is Almost Here Edition

With losing electricity and family coming in today I never caught up to the Friday Five but it was too good to totally miss out on it.

REVHROD writes:
I have debated with myself for weeks about today's Friday Five.
Self 1: It should be deep and theological.
Self 2: But it's almost Christmas, it should be fun and warm and sweet.
Self 1: But your last Friday Five was sort of silly. You should show your more serious side.
Self 2: You worry WAY too much!
So after consulting with my fourteen year old daughter, we're going playful, pals o' mine! I love stories, so I hope you'll tell some about your favorite Christmas memories.


What was one of your favorite childhood gifts that you gave?
One year I went with sentimental gifts. I think I was in college and it was cool because it might have been the first year I really put some thought into the whole present giving thing. Sadly it took me until college to give a decent gift. Sorry mom. Sorry Dad.

What is one of your favorite Christmas recipes? Bonus points if you share the recipe with us.
Applesauce Cake! - see # 5 in the link.

What is a tradition that your family can't do without? (And by family, I mean family of origin, family of adulthood, or that bunch of cool people that just feel like family.)
Ummmm...... It is a bit of a no-brainer, but Christmas Eve church service. Sounds like a no-brainer for a family with a clergy member in it, but I actually had it written into the custody agreement that I get The Boy EVERY Christmas Eve rather than alternating. It is just that important.




Pastors and other church folk often have very strange traditions dictated by the "work" of the holidays. What happens at your place?


Nothing happens. Sweet, unadulterated nothing. The Boy dictates the package opening schedule, the food is simple and delicious and you must come to us.


If you could just ditch all the traditions and do something unexpected... what would it be?Hawaii. Definitely Hawaii.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Perfect Attendance


When I first arrived in ministry I started a Bereavement service on Christmas Eve. It was at 3pm, candlelight lessons and carols was at 7. It worked well and was reasonably attended.

In 2003, I was the bereaved. I hadn't done one since.

Tonight was the Longest Night. For the first time since 2003 we hosted - and I led - a service specifically for those who have had years not so congruent with the forced joy of the season.

One person attended.

Well... my pianist had a tough year so even though she came to help me, she definitely got something out of it.

And the deacon who was there has had a tough year too.

Then, of course, there was me.

We moved our way through the planned service, I bagged my written sermon and talked about my tattoo... well, I tied it in anyway and when it was all over we hung out and were just quiet. We watched the candles burn and we appreciated the moment in a quiet Sanctuary when in just two days it will look the same but have nowhere near the same feel.

It was perfect.
Perfect attendance.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

REJOICE!!!!

WE HAVE POWER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Not only do we have electricity but I also managed to have the power to NOT reach through the phone and strangle the parishioner who was the first to get through after the alarm company's many calls and said, "You enjoy your vacation?!"
Lord, have mercy on his soul....
Speaking of the alarm company.... if the division of their service that keeps calling to say our ac power is low (ya THINK?!) and that our alarms are going off would coordinate with the service division that would tell me how to TURN IT OFF - well, that would be just great!
Things that are good....
My warm house.
Friends who called to say the power was on.
My parents for hosting 2 humans, a dog, a cat and a fish (the latter two are still there).
The electric companies from Illinios that are here to help. I waved and thanked each and every one as they headed back up the mountain where people are still without power.
My grateful dog who immediately celebrated by pooping in his own yard and settling down on the bean bag chair, under the tree, near the heating vent. Oh to be the dog.... (well, except for the pooping in the yard part. Thank God it never came to that).

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Higher Power

Really, ANY power would be good as the electric companies 'worst case scenario' for when our power would be back on is now THE scenario. Sweet.
I do plan on having church on Sunday morning no matter WHAT - byob (blanket).

I can't decide if my brain is numb or if I am finally a veteran of the holiday season or if I am in for a serious awakening but I am just not panicked... yet. True, I am looking at 3 services beginning Friday. The bulletins for all three are in various stages of done... with the Christmas Eve bulletin for 2007 not even touched yet but really, those Carols tend not to change words from year to year.

Here are some things that have been good:
My Christmas shopping is done. No really. I can't believe it either. I was waiting for a couple of things to fall into place so that I could finish and lo and behold the things I 'needed' were right there in the stores I hoped to find them. C'mon... that is another FESTIVUS miracle!

On Sunday as The Boy, The Dog and I were driving into town a car almost plowed into us, but decided that Sunday was not 'Ignore Your Red Light Day' after all. Considering I had JUST mailed the last van payment I am pretty sure that NOT getting hit was the mark of a serious shift in my karma/mojo/rain o' crap parade.

The Boy, always The Boy. So flexible and relaxed and easy-going and sweet and cuddly and fun.

Did I mention I am done Christmas shopping?

Just received a call, they have actually spotted work trucks in our area. Dare I dream the impossible dream?

Stay tuned....

Monday, December 17, 2007

Power Outage

Hi folks!

Brief version: Ice storm took out power from house and church since early Sunday morning, rumor is we are looking at Wednesday at the earliest. In the meantime we are hunkering down at my parents which is a far better deal now that THEIR power is back on. Let's just say that last night was a very, very cold night.

Yes, I now worship the electricity gods. Is there anything that we take for granted more?

Hope you all are well.

Good thing nothing big is happening next weekend or a week from now...

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Quest for Perfection

Did you ever not do something because you wanted to be extra clever about it or make sure it was especially perfect? You think of options and you do a few things but mainly you plan on it being perfect and fun and witty and great... and then you run out of time.

I am running dangerously close of doing that for a couple of Christmas presents this year. Where did I lose a week?

Anyway, the lovely Songbird made me these gorgeous, phenomenal, eye-catching, jealousy-inducing socks and I should have posted about them MONTHS ago but I had BIG plans for being clever and witty and... well, you get the picture.

So, although I may not be perfection - nor this post - this socks most definitely are.

THANK YOU!!!









Friday, December 14, 2007

Revgalblogpal Friday Five: Advent Waiting Edition



Thanks to Mother Laura for this week's Friday Five:

Can you believe that in two days we'll be halfway through Advent? Gaudete Sunday: pink candle on the advent wreath, rose vestments for those who have them, concerts and pageants in many congregations. Time to rejoice!

Rejoice in the nearness of Christ's coming, yes, but also in the many gifts of the pregnant waiting time when the world (in the northern hemisphere, at least) spins ever deeper into sweet, fertile darkness.

What makes you rejoice about:

1. Waiting?
Well, now that I am older my brain is able to about 95% wrap around the idea that things are usually worth the wait. The other 5% rejoices when the waiting is over!

2. Darkness?
The lights look brighter in the darkness.

3. Winter?
LOVE snow. LOVE playing in the snow. LOVE coming in and warming up.

4. Advent?
The controlled build up to Christmas is one I always consider fun and an honor to guide my congregants through.

5. Jesus' coming?
I'm very much for Jesus coming.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Santa Claws

This is short, but just too cute not to share (in this Mommy's humble opinion). He found the Santa hat and gave his own interpretation of Santa "Claus".

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Moving On

Two days since the big meeting and I am still tired. And I used ALL of my sermon mojo up last week and just have plain nothing to give this week. Sigh...

I still feel really good about what transpired Monday night. It was slightly less than 2 hours filled with forgiveness, apologies, explanations, consequences and attempts to verbalize where we all go from here. It was weird to see her again as when someone does something so dastardly you expect it to affect their appearance but of course it has not, she looks fine. I also found that in a way it was good to see her. She was my friend and I have missed her.

This is part of what I verbalized to her - she should be part of the team helping me through all of this, not the one who started the meltdown to begin with.

Anyway... it is time to move on from that part of this drama. As I have shared with a few friends I need to focus my energies on having the great Christmas that The Boy and I deserve. And then at the end of January my marriage will officially end and that is going to take some significant energy as well. I don't have any to spare on a couple that is no longer an integral part of my life any more whether they worship here or not (and I don't think they will).

Next on the mental 'to do' list is to forgive TDH but to that I just have this question:

How do you forigive someone who you know is not done hurting you yet?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Independence Day

Today's agenda includes:
Mailing the last payment on the car I use - CHECK!
Signing papers to separate out all of our insurance - CHECK!
Meeting with TOW1 and husband (and a mediator) to hopefully move on from this place - CHECK!

I believe tonight I shall sleep well - Done and DONE!

It went well. It all went very well. I am hoping to let my thoughts percolate through the day and have a coherent thought or two to post later tonight.

I will say this - I felt your prayers holding me and supporting me last night. I had no anxiety. I really even had no anger. It truly was a time of walking through it, learning from it and now moving on from it.

Thank you and peace, friends.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Where the Wild Things Are

I rarely (ok, never) post my sermons here but I figured since you all have been on the journey with me this far, I would share with you what the Holy Spirit provided for my congregation this morning.

As we continue to experience The Word of the Lord together, let us pray. Great Parent, Loving God, Great concerned and involved Lord, open up our hearts and our minds and stir up within us your Spirit, so that we might grow in faith and serve you with our whole hearts and minds. If these words are not your Word, may they be forgotten and come to naught, but if they be thy Word, may they adhere to our hearts, forever transforming us from glory into glory, into the creatures you would have us be, thou who art our rock and our redeemer, Amen.

Isaiah 11:1-10
A shoot shall come out from the stock of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide by what his ears hear;
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.

Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist,
and faithfulness the belt around his loins.
The wolf shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.

The cow and the bear shall graze,
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.
They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples;
the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious.

Matthew 3:1-12
In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’ This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said,
‘The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” ’

Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit worthy of repentance. Do not presume to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our ancestor”; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the axe is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

‘I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing-fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing-floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.’

The Word of the Lord.... thanks be to God!

Two years ago Uncle (brother-in-law) gave (The Boy) a book entitled Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. (The Boy) loves it for the same reason (b-i-l) loved it as a little boy as well as many others.

It is just too much fun to roar your terrible roar – ROAR!
And gnash your terrible teeth - GNASH!
And roll your terrible eyes – ROLL! (How do you make an eye roll sound?)

The book begins with a little boy, Max, getting into all kinds of trouble – including chasing his dog with a fork - and finally being sent to bed without dinner.

We all have these moments whether we are Max and causing the trouble or the dog, receiving the trouble or more often than not, some ambiguous place in between. We all have these moments where our basic instinct is to roar our terrible roars and gnash our terrible teeth and roll our terrible eyes.It is human nature.

Actually, it is base animal instinct to act and react in ways that defend our territory and give us a false sense of security.

If you take from us, we roll.
If you threaten us, we gnash.
If you hurt us, we roar.


It is this kind of understanding of basic animal instinct and human nature that makes the passage that was read in Isaiah so profound. Its poetry is a profound statement that I think gets lost in the repetitiveness of hearing it at every Advent and Christmas season. It is all too easy to get caught up in the foreshadowing of a newborn king in Bethlehem… and miss the profound imagery of sworn animal kingdom enemies lying side by side in peace:
The wolf shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze,
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.
They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

The new kingdom is still where the wild things are. What makes it new is that they have made the choice to be together.


Something else that too often gets lost in repeated seasonal readings is the impact of the opening lines of Isaiah:
A shoot shall come out from the stock of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.

I think we all can easily imagine a tree that seems dead and then a green leaf begins to come through. We watch this miracle every spring – I sniffle through this miracle every year!

But a leaf from a branch is not a strong enough comparison. The annual nature of this experience for us takes away the power of what Isaiah is saying.


The people Isaiah is speaking to are a hopeless people. They are God’s people and they have watched God’s messianic promise dissolve either by being conquered by the Babylonians or humiliated by the Assyrians.

Their hope is a stump.


I have a little experience with dead stumps. Not a day goes by where I don’t wish that a random accident had not deformed my left hand. I live with it. I have moved on with it. I have accepted it and I have accepted that there is no hope in it being rejuvenated or brought back to life.It is a stump.

If one morning I woke up and there was a sign of life – a shoot of growth showing that there was new life after all – it would be a joy that would cause me not to jump up and down in the air, but rather one that would rock me to my very core, drop me to my knees and cause me to give thanks and rejoice in this new opportunity to be whole.

This is the profound, transforming new life of which Isaiah speaks.

Isaiah speaks of profound hope.
Profound joy.
Profound transformation.
Isaiah speaks of a new world.


The key to understanding Isaiah’s word to the people of God about the new world is to understand that yes there is hope.
Yes, there is joy.
Yes there is transformation.
And yes, the wild things are still there.


“This new world is not just a pious expression of hope that will come to fruition automatically or by osmosis. The newness is an intrusive reality that disrupts all that is old and destructive. The reception of the new public possibility requires a decision that is both daring and costly. It is daring because we will not know how to act in a genuinely just community. It is costly because we benefit from and are comfortable with old, deathly patterns of life. The Gospel reading is both invitation and warning that we must make concrete decisions to reorder our life in ways appropriate to God’s new intention.”[i]

In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’ This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said,
‘The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” ’
Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit worthy of repentance. Do not presume to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our ancestor”; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the axe is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.


John the Baptist – last of the Old Testament prophets – too often with him we focus on his wild side. His choice of clothing. His choice of diet. His choice of living arrangements. These are not the choices of his that we should be focusing on.


How about his choice to rebuke the religious authorities of the day?
Or his choice to make the path straight to the one who is to come after him?
Both of those were conscious choices to go against natural instinct – the wild side.

For us, the choice that we need to make towards a new life in Christ might look quite different.
Maybe the wardrobe is fine, but the guilt we have been carrying around has become a burden.
Maybe our home looks to be in order, but a closer look at our hearts would show things to be in quite the state of disarray.
Maybe we eat well enough, but the word of forgiveness someone has been waiting to hear is not something we are willing to give.

Being a Christian means consciously making the choice to tame our self-righteous, terrible roars. We are called by God to embrace a new life and not fall prey to base instincts of selfishness and old habits. As Christians we are called to begin again; to make the choice to release hurts – to release haunts – to release habits that are keeping us from experiencing the new life in Christ.

It doesn’t just happen – this was my most recent mistake. I kept waiting to feel like forgiving. It felt safer in my cocoon of self-righteous anger and self-pity and no one blamed me when I roared my terrible roar and gnashed my terrible teeth. I deserved to do that and it felt so good to be so right in my anger and lean on our most basic of instincts.

But that is now who Christ calls me to be.
That is not who Christ calls any of us to be.


God’s present salvation for us is found in making the right choices. True, there is grace. It is grace with accountability. This is why John the Baptist attacked the Pharisees and Sadducees that came to him for baptism:
‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit worthy of repentance. Do not presume to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our ancestor”; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the axe is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

We are to work together in Christ to create harmony which is the source of our hope. Our hope is the motivation for our joy and peace in believing.
Choosing to work together in a new life for Christ is not a one-time only decision.
In some cases it is a constant choice for hope, for joy, for peace.

Those who roll their terrible eyes… have no hope.
Those who gnash their terrible teeth… have no joy.
Those who roar their terrible roars… have no peace.

The choice… is ours.


In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.


[i] Brueggemann, Cousar, Gaventa & Newsome. Texts for Preaching: A Lectionary Based on the NRSV – Year A. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 1995. p. 10.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Choices

The sermon I am working on for tomorrow is all about choices. As I was outside playing with my boys I realized that I needed to make the choice of whether or not I was going to be a part of all of this drama.


I am hereby choosing to step away from the drama and refocus my priorities on what is important:

What? Me Worry?

Seems there is a good chance that TOW1 (The Other Woman 1 for those of you recently joining in the conversation) and hubby and children will be in worship tomorrow. I meet with them Monday with a mediator.

I love Advent. So relaxing.

And I love that TDH gets to spend the weekend blissfully with TOW2 while I continue to slog through The Mess he left behind.

Sigh... chocolate martini at the Christmas party I am going to tonight? Can I get a "Hell yes!" from the congregation?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Myths of Parenting

There are some common myths that many of us tell ourselves before we have children about the kind of parents we will be. "I'm not going to use the television as a baby sitter."

Ring a bell?


My other favorite is "I am going to raise my child with gender neutral toys and not with stereotypical boy or girl items."

Then we watch as said child takes his gender neutral teddy bear, places it on its side and goes, "broom broom" while pushing it through the blocks.


One of my pre-child myths was that I was not going to make two different meal items. What I eat, is what the child will eat. Right.

I am willing to embrace that this is not always (okay often) the case but I certainly didn't see it coming that I would be the one eating a hot dog, peas and tator tots.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

You Can't Fix Stupid

The title of this post is a direct quote from my Admin when she saw TOW1's husband's name on the friendship registry from Sunday morning.

That'll blog.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Not Drowned Yet

Thank you all for you kind thoughts and prayers and symbols. Yesterday I walked into church and there was the husband and youngest daughter (The Boy's age) of TOW1. Thankfully I had come in early to greet folks and so I had time to leave, gather myself (read: attempt not to throw up or pass out) and then go back in.

Later in the day while thinking that I had handled that latest hurdle reasonably well, the back of my front tooth chipped off. Seriously.... "thank you sir, can I have another."

Enough on that.

Today The Boy and I had a good morning as we hung out upstairs so I could get some things done. He was more than willing to do so because this meant eating cereal and juice while watching tv on Mommy's bed. I just don't know what other way to do it since by the time he goes to bed and is sleeping enough for me to rattle around up there, I am too tired to think let alone pick up clutter - blech.

Then we came downstairs and pulled out some Christmas decorations. He helped by hanging up a few and in one moment of designing genius placed a small stuffed Christmas bear on the branches. It sits there nicely and looks pretty darn cute! I never would have thought of that.

TDH then came to pick him up for awhile so I could get some other things done and he could spend some time with his son since he doesn't see him again until Wednesday. That seems to work out well because that way when I am with The Boy on my day off I am really 'with' him and not worried about all of the other things I need to do.

When TDH arrived he was shown The Boy's new trick of being able to open the fridge and use the water dispenser (heaven help us all) and then The Boy grabbed his backpack and his hat and said, "Let's go Daddy." With coat and hat and backpack he could have been going to Daddy's to play or heading back to college.

I know it speaks well of our parenting and the way we are handling this transition - not to mention The Boy's natural disposition - that he is able to make these adjustments from one parent to the other so smoothly. But I just hate that he has had to learn that life skill before even the tender age of 3.

Time to make dinner.
Peace, friends.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

row

In the interest of not whining, suffice it to say that I am ready to wake up from this mess now.
Please.
No more.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

I've Been Spoiled

As you read this I am traveling. Planes, trains and automobiles are all on the agenda today.

I am coming off of four days of being absolutely spoiled. Good eats, good beverages, good laughs, GREAT hospitality and I even used my time wisely. Sermons and worship planned through Easter. A major document related to my career nearly complete. This Sunday's sermon done and worship through Advent planned. It really is amazing what one can get done when she sets her mind to it... and doesn't have to make or clean up any meals, and has no toddler depending on her, and the phone is not ringing with church requests, and, and, and... I didn't even have to make the coffee in the morning.

Listing Straight and Mr. Listing and Little Listing absolutely went out of their way to give me a break from my life for a few days and it has been grand. I am rested, full and my batteries are recharged.

Truly, I am blessed to have friends such as these.

Of course we did warp Little Listing just a teensy, weensy bit. When she came in to say good night and good-bye to me she did not give me a hug. She did, however, ball up her cute little fist and gently tap me on the shoulder. ]*

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Friday Five


Parishioners pushing for carols before you digested your turkey?

Organist refusing to play Advent hymns because he/she already has them planned for Lessons & Carols?

Find yourself reading Luke and thinking of a variety of ways to tell Linus where to stick it? (Lights please.)

Then this quick and easy Friday Five is for you! And for those of you with a more positive attitude, have no fear. I am sure more sacred and reverent Friday Fives will follow.


Please tell us your least favorite/most annoying seasonal....
1) dessert/cookie/family food
Ribbon candy. It seems like a good festive idea until you almost knock everything off the table because it has stuck to the antique dish and when you finally get it pulled off EVERYTHING comes with it and then you break off too big a piece and you end up drooling on your grandmother's couch... good thing it's covered with plastic.

2) beverage (seasonal beer, eggnog w/ way too much egg and not enough nog, etc...)
Eggnog. Blech.

3) tradition (church, family, other)
Well, for lack of another thought - poinsettias. They are pretty and all, I'm just over them.

4) decoration
Mistletoe. I mean really?

5) gift (received or given)
Stocking stuffers from a hotel bathroom. Just sayin'.

BONUS: SONG/CD that makes you want to tell the elves where to stick it.
Felice Navidad. The contest is over.

I know, I know.... pretty grumpy for November but why not get it out of our systems now so we are free to enjoy the rest of the festivities.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Extrovert

Hello. My name is will smama and I am an extrovert. (Hi will smama)

Certainly I have come down the scale as I have gotten older, but still I find myself filled with all of those ENFJ traits. One way I really struggle at the church where I am currently called is getting work done there in the afternoons when there is no one around. There is no buzz in the hallway, no one to bounce a thought to (I often speak out loud with the understanding that my admin or whoever else I am around at the time does not need to respond to me in any way). In a lot of ways while I am working on sermons the Preacher Party and gmail chat have become my extrovert outlet. Yet even with teh internets, I lose energy faster than I do when physically with others.

I explained to Listing Straight that I needed to use some continuing education time or else I was going to lose it with the stipulations that I wanted people around me, but also needed to get some work done, I needed the resources I am comfortable with, but could not stay at home, but also could not be too far away.

We talked a bit about one option and then she graciously offered this one, which is that I get to hang out with her and her family, she is working and so I work then too and when we are done they feed me and we watch good tv and movies and occasionally we 'IM' each other even when we are in the same room because we are dorks and that is what dorks think is funny.

It is good.
Really, really good.
Perfect.

So far I have knocked out January thru March worship and sermon plans which this year includes the next BIG church festival so 'yeah' for me.

In other news The Boy seems to be doing quite well for which I am so grateful. He spent a fun day with my parents yesterday and today and tomorrow gets to be with TDH. Friday back with my parents and then on Saturday we reunite and as I continue in my quest for the "Mother of the Year" award we are going to see Thomas. And we don't just see him, we ride on him AND another train.

We are meeting friends of mine from home for this event but I am fully aware that I may be in full Mommy mode for a little boy who wants my full attention after being gone from him for so long.

And believe me, I am ok with that.

Monday, November 26, 2007

I'm Fine... Really

Tonight I drop off The Boy with his grandparents and I will not see him again until Saturday morning.
Oh. My. Gawd.
Just reading that makes my breath catch.

I am heading to a place of pampering and quiet (my friend's house down south) to work on worship and sermon planning at least through Easter. This is something I usually do in August but somehow that got lost in the serious shuffle.

The Boy will be splitting his time between TDH and school and grandparents - he'll be fine. I know that. Really. And I will be fine too. I mean, going to the bathroom without a pint sized chaperone describing what I am doing is a luxury I am ready to embrace.

Still....

I'm fine... Really.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Firsts


Nothing says 'single parent' more than lugging up the Christmas decorations from the basement by yourself.


Before our world was turned upside down my plan was to pull out every Christmas decoration and as they were going away post-Christmas make a 'youth garage sale' pile. However, our youth have quit the garage sale business and this year seems like a good time to go by the KISS approach: Keep It Simple Stupid.


There will be no post Church Open House on the last Sunday before Christmas and no other parties scheduled (I resisted temptation on that one) so there is really no reason to deck every hall.


I was wondering how much The Boy would even care other than yelling, "Careful Mommy!" down into the basement as I was pushing and pulling the tree box up the steps (just like in the days of yore). But when I opened the box his eyes lit up and he exclaimed, "Oh Mommy... it's BEAUTIFUL!"


I wonder what he'll say when I take it OUT of the bubble wrap!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

For four years now this day has been a hard one - 4 years ago tomorrow was the hardest day of my life. The only way to get through it is just to keep myself busy, which I did.

Newsletter is done.
Bulletin is done.
Sermon is done and preached.
I checked in with a couple of returned college students.
And because the weather was so nice I cleaned out the garden (TDH's garden) and two of our flower beds.

In even MORE fun news I received a text message from my b-i-l telling me to bring play clothes and a football tomorrow to Thanksgiving.

Friends, life is good.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Celebration of Discipline: 2007 Edition

I have been trying to problem solve some of our more stressful times together as mother and toddler son. The mornings of the work week certainly are a highly sensitive area and so I have begun two practices:


1) I have set my alarm for 30 minutes before The Boy on average gets up. I have an iPod alarm clock so it plays decent music, no blaring tone, and it means that even though it is earlier I am waking up on my own terms and not to, "Mommy, downstairs please. Juice please. Mommy!" So far this has made a difference. Has it made a difference to Nighttime Me as far as getting to bed earlier? In a word? No. Dadgum Jon Stewart and his Daily Show.


2) No computer in the morning. This is one I had committed to before but you know how it goes. You think, "Well, I'll just check email real quick" and then that turns into "Well, I'll just respond real quick" and for me that sadly can become "oooh, I can blog that real quick" - it's a vicious circle.


The mornings clearly g0 better without it on. The Boy gets far more of my attention and I am able to accomplish some of the things I am just too fried at night to do. It is a no brainer. What startled me this morning was how many times I thought, "Oh, I should go turn on the computer." I had NO idea what a habit it had become. I have purposefully left it at work in the evenings before and nary had a second thought about it. But in the morning it had definitely become part of the routine. I'm glad I caught that.


Alright, back to the Thanksgiving Eve sermon which right now is certainly long enough to preach but says just about nothing.


Peace.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Rejoice in the Lord Always...

This was the theme of my sermon yesterday morning and in light of recent grumpiness I thought I should take my own advice. Right now I am rejoicing in:

- a new spinning class I am hoping to make it to by 9.

- the seminary intern we have who is preaching this Sunday - YEAH!

- America's Most Smartest Model - simply the best shit tv... EVER!

- a long snuggle with The Boy this morning which seems to have made us both feel better.

- a good 'come-down-off-the-ledge' conversation I had with a friend of mine while our kids played

Now onto another day of rowing.

Peace.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Awkward!!!

So I have found that in order to keep sane through all of this I have to keep my sense of humor. When I talk to TDH I try to keep things on a friendly level and I try very hard not to think too much about how deep - and evil - the wounds are. Still, I do get my digs in like the shirt The Boy wore and when TDH mentioned that today was TOW2's birthday I asked him if he had gotten her pacifiers or sippy cups.

While working on my sermon, TDH's name popped up as online. I know his wireless internet has been working off and on and I was going to congratulate him on it being on via chat when I remembered that he was in neighboring state celebrating TOW2's birthday. The following chat ensued:

me: TOW2 has wireless? - couldn't resist ;)
TDH: Yes...wireless...ummmmm - now what...
me: Now what? You don't have to chat with me, if that is what you mean. I can give you an update on The Boy if you would like.
me: Or do you not want your girlfriend to know you are chatting with your wife?

He logged off soon after that.

Idiot. I am now in a phase where I am frustrated to be living a stereotype. TDH is in his 40's. TOW2 is in her 20's... I mean could we have not been just a little mroe original than that?

Thankful

I am thankful this is the last wedding I am doing for awhile.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Revgalblogpal Friday Five: Think About These Things Edition

Special props to Songbird for offering this week's guiltless diversion where I can both get my mind off my sermon and work on it at the same time.

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8, NRSV)

Friends, it's nearly Thanksgiving in the U.S. and it's the time of year when we are pressed to name things for which we are thankful. I want to offer a twist on the usual lists and use Paul's letter to the church at Philippi as a model. Name five things that are true, honorable, just, pure, pleasing, commendable, excellent or worthy of praise. These could be people, organizations, acts, ideas, works of art, pieces of music--whatever comes to mind for you.

Worthy of Praise: My parents. My current personal crisis would be unfathomably worse if I did not have them here to help with my psyche and with taking care of their grandson.

Pleasing: Naps. 'Nuff said.

Honorable: Those who are in relationships that they wanted to quit at one time or another but instead they stayed, worked through it and they and the relationship are the better for it.

True: The bond I have with my son. Truly amazing considering being a 'Mommy' does not come naturally to me and truth be told, I don't often like other people's children.

Commendable: My friends - physical and cyber - who continue to do their best to help me keep my head above water.

Peace, friends.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Random 3am Thought

If Halle Berry and Christie Brinkley were left by their spouses... what chance really did I have?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Done

Things that Make Me Happy: The Domestic Goddess was here today.

Thus concludes the things that make me happy today report. The good news on the horizon is that Thanksgiving is early this year and in the recent past that has been when the emotional pall that I am under from Halloween until then is over.

I pray that even with the extra stress this year, that timetable remains the same... for everyone's sake.

Monday, November 12, 2007

One Day at a Time: The Next Day

Well I talked to TDH last night and asked him, "Are we really going through with this?"
His response? "With what?"
"This! Separation, divorce."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, are you still seeing TOW2?"
"............ yes."

Hello! If you are still pursuing a relationship with someone else then the answer to the divorce question is clearly, "Yes!" Grrrrrrrr. At least it worked to get me angry with him again. This is NOT a guy I want to be married to. I lose sight of that easily because even though he does all of these things he makes no move towards divorce. I had to hire the lawyer, I am the one who actually filed - and so it starts creeping in my head that I am rushing things rather than working on them. Now I have this post to go back to whenever I need reminding that I am not the problem here.

And isn't SHE getting a gem? The guy won't even make any moves himself to get out of his current relationship so he can be with her.
Good luck honey. I wish I could be there when it finally clicks in your young head that this is NOT the Prince Charming you had always painted him out to be.

I was planning on waiting until the divorce was final to change his nickname here (TDH=Tall, Dark and Husband) but it might help me to do it sooner. I have a lot of ideas and I can only imagine some of your suggestions but to keep it simple I could just go with TDX-ish (the 'ish' only until the divorce).

In the midst of ALL of this chaos and turmoil The Boy has had a major break through! Last night he would NOT let me put a diaper on him to go to bed and when I finally gave up he walked over to the potty and peed in the potty!!! Yeah!!!!!

So today, we are staying close to home... and familiar potties. Truthfully he has been moving towards ready, I have been the problem. When I saw him reading the book, How to Get Your Mommy Ready for Potty Training I knew it was time.

Thus concludes my cold and rainy Monday morning report.

Respectfully Submitted,
Will Smamma

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sunday Update

Just chilling out after my first FULL Sunday back in the pulpit. The sermon went fairly well although it took every ounce and every minute of the week up until church time to get it written. That always happens on my first sermon back.

Now The Boy and I are chilling out at home. I LOVE it when he points at me and says, "Sit on the couch." You certainly don't have to tell me twice.

As for the shirt, to TDH's credit, he thought it was pretty funny. In some ways that makes things worse. I talk to him and he seems like the same guy I have know for 12 years. He acts and talks like a man I would be interested in. I sometimes look at him and wonder how the heck things fell apart so fast and if this is really the way things have to be.

I mean divorce? Really? A year ago today we were fine. We were helping each other get through what since 2003 has always been a tough month for us and we were planning a HUGE Thanksgiving, discussing what a jerk his BROTHER is.

How did we get here?

There are no easy answers, I know. And because I believe in a sovereign God, I have actually let go a little bit of trying to find the answers. I am working very hard on letting go of the 'what ifs' and the 'if onlys'.
But cannot help but think that others have been through far worse than we have and made it through to the other side. Why did he quit on us? And should I be trying harder to keep my family together, rather than allowing the divorce to happen?

If TDH showed up at the door and said he wanted to take me up on my rhetoric about being willing to work on the marriage, would I REALLY be willing to do the work that salvaging our relationship - and our family - would take?

It just all seems so sad and disappointing.... and unnecessary.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Hee, Hee, Hee, cont...

Today TDH was forced to put our son in a shirt that reads "My Mommy is out of your league."

Here was the end of an email from him describing their morning:
We're planning on seeing you around 3:20 or so. He's wearing his new shirt and sends his love.

I just canNOT stop chuckling.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Appointment Television

Woe be to the person who gets in between me and Oprah tommorrow - it's an Osmond Reunion!

Wish I Could Be There

Tomorrow when TDH opens The Boy's bag to get his clothes he will find the ONLY shirt in there is one that says, "My Mommy is out of your league."

hee, hee, hee

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Changing the Subject

Does it bother anyone else that Carrie Underwood followed up Jesus Take the Wheel with Before He Cheats? I mean are you a choir girl or trailer trash - you MUST decide.

A Talent Wasted

I truly believe that my m-i-l's gift for manipulation - if used for good instead of evil - COULD have been used to solve the crisis in the Middle East. That is how much practice and energy she has put into it over the years.

But FIRST a couple of things I want to pull out from the comments in the previous post:
"If you don't have anything nice to say, come sit by me." - Identity Mixed, I LOVE it!

And the shoulder punch thingy *[ was invented by none other than Listing Straight because we are both abysmal at the whole hugging thing.


Now, back to this. While married I have been very careful not to go on rants on the blog about my in-laws - too stereotypical. But as we all know, too often there is truth behind stereotypes. In this case, I think my m-i-l may have actually raised her manipulation to a level where she can actually make herself sick.

Her son and I are going through a shocking separation and divorce. Although I try very hard to work with TDH and he with me when it comes to The Boy there are certain places I adamantly and angrily draw the line. For instance, his parents have requested that he bring The Boy down to southern, 'f'allic state for Christmas. HELL NO!

I realize that eventually I am going to have to let that trip happen, BUT IT AIN'T HAPPENING NOW!!! And it SURE AS HELL ain't happening on the first Christmas after our separation that I had NOTHING TO DO WITH. (Please excuse my 'yelling'. I am yelling with you, not at you.)

This has not been an argument between TDH and I, he gets that and is not even remotely pushing to bring The Boy down to see his family for Christmas. This is why his mother had to take such extreme measures. She is now in the hospital, needing a procedure they cannot do because of an infection and yet she somehow manages to mumble into the phone, "Sure would be nice to have you and The Boy come down for Christmas this year."

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!!?!?!?!?

I seriously think this woman would sacrifice her life in order to get TDH and The Boy down there against my wishes. If this be the path she chooses so be it, because he ain't going... and that would be her very last move.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Words to the Wise

I just received word that my soon to be ex mother-in-law is in the hospital with internal bleeding and an infection. Which brings to mind the phrase: If you can't pray for anything nice, don't pray for anything at all.

By the way, for those of you who followed the link, how about THAT foreshadowing?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Bubbles

At yesterday's church picnic I won a Beta fish. It came complete with tank and food, although the tank is small and I might cave and get it something bigger.

Yesterday I asked The Boy to name it. To prod him I would name possible 2.5 year old suggestions: 'Nemo', 'Rocket', 'Leo'. At each one of those he exclaimed "Yes!" but not to name the fish that but rather to watch that particular program on tv.

I stopped asking.

This morning he asked for me to sit with him and I told him I needed to let the dog out and feed the fish. "Feed Bubbles?" he asked while pointing to the fish.

"Oh. We named the fish Bubbles?"

"Yes. Bubbles is the fish."


Let it be so.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Triumphant Melancholy

Today I cleaned out the kitchen. One big pantry, the coat/junk closet and the counter have been organized and in some cases cleared - the TRIUMPANT.

As timing would have it TDH was in town and so I called him to collect his stuff and the transition from 'our kitchen' to 'my kitchen' was complete - the MELANCHOLY. You might wonder after 11 years of marriage how I know whose was whose. General rule of thumb: if it is from the 60's or 70's and should have been thrown out/replaced YEARS ago... then it is his.

A good and trusted friend of mine who has been through this in a far more intense way than I am going through told me that the phrase 'triumphant melancholy' is appropriate; and I should be prepared to use it often. Each success at moving on is also a reminder that life is not even close to how I imagined it would be.

I thought I was okay at first, but now I can tell from my weariness and other signs that I am not so okay. I will be, just not right this second. And that's okay. I guess.

This is starting to feel more and more like my reality and that is a positive step. I am now in month 4 of taking care of all finances and we are in a good place, not great but good and that feels good. I am using the entire master bedroom closet and I now sleep in the middle of the bed (okay, I have to REMIND myself to do that, but still I am doing it). And yesterday at the grocery store (a job I HATE and before 4 months ago haven't had to do in 11 years!) I had my list and my coupons and I was in and out in less than an hour and felt like I looked like I knew what I was doing.


All positive TRIUMPHANT steps in the right direction - 1 foot in front of the other, 1 breathe at a time, "just keep swimming, just keep swimming" and of course ... row.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Revgalblogpal Friday Five: Interview Edition

1. What was the most memorable interview you ever had?
Ummmmmmm. Probably the one I wrote about under question #3. Although now that I think about it I remember my first college interview as being a total disaster and I remember telling my Mom on the way there that it wasn't just a visit it was also an interview and her freaking out because I was wearing short and a t-shirt. No worries though, the college was in Florida so that was considered proper attire.

2. Have you ever been the interviewer rather than the interviewee? If so, are you a tiger, a creampuff, or somewhere in between?
Occasionally I have been the interviewer and I think I am in between. I like to think up scenarios even though when I am on the other side of it I HATE scenarios.

3. Do phone interviews make you more or less nervous than in-person ones?
Phone interviews are always a challenge and I remember one in particular where I just did a horrendous job of keeping everyone's names straight and answering the questions. They had listed in their information that they were looking for someone with a sense of humor (every church wants that and someone who preaches Biblically based sermons, you know rather than those Harlequin based sermons we keep hearing) and for some reason I answered just about every question they asked with, "Well, my friend said you had a good sense of humor so I thought I'd be a good fit."
Every. Question. It was terrible... but now I know better what church that is and where it is and I would not want to be there anyway.

4. What was the best advice you ever got to prepare for an interview? How about the worst?
The best - Well, now that I am older it seems like a no-brainer but after my first job interview out of college - which I didn't get - the pastor who was involved in the interview told me I should always have questions to ask the interviewees.

The worst - Go ahead and order the wine at the dinner interview.

5. Do you have any pre-interview rituals that give you confidence?
Just read over their materials again looking for specifics that I can incorporate into my answers... and oh yeah, check my teeth!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Shaky High Road

Can a pastor say, "I'm sorry, if you are a friend of hers then you are no friend of mine."

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Too High Maintenance

I don't like Halloween. Never have. I would often refuse to wear a costume when I was younger and I would stay home to hand out the candy.

Today I took The Boy to his music class and all of the other kids were in their costumes. Even the baby. THE BABY! HE DOESN'T EVEN KNOW IT'S HALLOWEEN!!! I have a costume for The Boy. He has worn it twice, once for pictures while at the beach and once for his school's parade but did I think to just randomly put it on him for our music class? No. Did they send out a memo? No. Perfect Moms just automatically know that 10/31 is a costume day and this Grumpy Halloween Scrooge Mom just wanted to get out the door and to the class relatively on time.

And I think that now gets added to my long list of reasons for not liking Halloween (right after 'adults have taken the fun out of it' and 'it is a holiday celebrating nothing and yet people spend gobs of money decorating their houses').

To add insult to grumpiness I cannot go to yoga tonight because there is no childcare because it is trick or treat night. Sounds like it's movie night for The Boy and I. Upstairs. With the blinds closed just in case someone actually drives here and comes to the door. I have laundry to fold anyway.


Yours Truly,

Grumpy Goblin

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Way to Do It

So I am still on vacation. The church gave me an extra week of professional leave as a way to help care for me during this time and I gotta say I could get used to coming home from being away on vacation and not having to immediately jump into preacher/pastor mode. I'm just kind of easing my way back into it; a Bible study here.... a few phone calls/emails there.... It helps that I am not preaching this Sunday.

You might note that I took down a couple of pics. If you are desperate for more of the Boy and hismamma and you know AKMA then you will be able to find more.

Thank you all for your kind comments about missing me. It is nice to be missed.

I missed you too.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Home

Good trip. Real good trip. Some fun stories I am sure I will share as we go. There were of course some melancholy moments as well - all to be expected.

I did some thinking about home. What is home? Where is home? I spent some time eating personal comfort foods that remind me of home. I spent time with some folks who treat me like home - buying me stuff and loving me unconditionally since they have known me since I was Will's age and either they or their children were that age as well. I spent a Sunday morning in my home church and I stayed in two places that TDH and I at one time called home and visited another.

Where is home? What is home?

The Boy and I had a wonderful time together. For 10 days the agenda was pretty much set by him rather than by my schedule or my to-do list or my computer. It was nice. I wish his agenda started later in the morning but it was still really great.

Truly, I am blessed. My last ten days were spent with family and friends who might as well be family. I was constantly reminded of how much people care about me no matter where in my life I met them and no matter what hill or valley I am currently on or in. And throughout I had by my side my son with his precious smile and his big hugs and his funny 'stories' and his trusting hand in mine.

With him, I am home.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

2!

Things that make me happy: last night I was given the passcode to the garage of the beach house.

Out here it might stink like spread, but all I can smell is SWEET VICTORY!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sports Update

I had my reasons for giving up my obsession with professional and D-I football. So far, so good. Have I watched? Sure. No college, some pro. It will be on in the background on Sunday afternoons and I did check in on my team last night when the baseball game was on commercial. But so far, no more obsession.

One of the major reasons for that was that I don't want The Boy playing football and with paralysis, a broken eye socket, broken femurs and torn acl's on the list of NFL injuries already this year, I gotta say I'm still ok with that decision.

As avid of a fan as I am for only one beloved NFL team, my baseball fandom is a lot less obsessed. Some would say 'bandwagon-ish'. I grew up a HUGE fan of the blue and white pinstripes. When Reggie left and Dave arrived my young heart that did not yet understand free agency was torn. I remained a fan, but I also just love the game. And so frequently you can find me rooting for the underdog... or at least the team that hasn't won the big one in awhile.

This love continued as I enjoyed going to Spring Training games during my 10 year stay in Fallic Southern State. At my last stop in said state the mayor went to our church and she had many lovely connections not the least of which was free baseball tickets that she was able to give away to one very interested Youth Director.

This team is currently in the ALCS. This team has not won the big one in a long time AND is playing the team of my youth's nemesis. So it would seem like a no brainer to root for this team.

Yet, the last time this team was in the World Series was twelve years ago. Their victories and defeats were a big part of the conversations and plans I made with the man I was dating at the time. And now we are planning our divorce.

And so I am rooting against them because next week when I can stay up as late as the baseball games go I would like to watch the World Series with no memories attached.

It just is what it is.

Monday, October 15, 2007

4 Continued

Good day today so far. We hit the gym early today so that I could try out a new class. It all worked out well (although I sense that my abs are going to be voicing a different opinion when I try to get out of bed tomorrow). Then The Boy and I hit the pool for a bit and came home. All told it was about 3 hours at the Y.

TOW1 was there too but I never saw her or her husband. It was sad when The Boy said 'bye-bye' to their daughter when I picked him up from the childcare. They used to be buddies... well as much of buddies that two toddlers can be.

The benefit of the pool is that there is one very tired toddler already upstairs playing quietly in his room - per his request - so that gives me time to do some piddly things around the house like figure out what I need to tell the housesitter who comes in late tonight for her directions and to meet the dog. And of course, to touch base with YOU.

I am both VERY ready for this break and glad that I pushed it off like I did. If I took it right away when all of this was coming down then I don't think I could have appreciated it. Now I have combined it with time that was already scheduled to give me three Sundays off from preaching (the last one I will be in worship), I have gotten fairly caught up at work (and I have this sermon-less week to do a few more things), and I know better what needs to be done in the legal arena so I can leave with that as taken care of as possible.

I am 80% sure that I am leaving my computer behind because The Boy gets more of Mommy's attention when I don't have it AND a lot of work anxiety is attached to this laptop and a clean break for 10 days will be a good break. I will miss my cyber support team though :(

One more thing to share... yesterday a 90+ year old who was widowed in her 40's told me that not many people know it but her husband "stepped out on her" right before he died. She said - with tears in her eyes - that she believes this is why the Lord took him so early.

I didn't argue.

4


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Good Day Today

Thank you size 12 pants that didn't fit and then the size 10's did!

Thank you Red Robin and the sweet and savory Bonzai burger. Of course in order to keep the pants victory I will need to desist on the Red Robin victories.

Thank you Mom and Dad and a few friends.

Thank you The Boy for pulling it together and finally having a good time.

Thank you green balloon for aiding in that good time.

And thank you dog for comforting The Boy when he came home and told you that green balloon popped and balloon scare, balloon sad. Truly, you are Boy's best friend.

ADDENDUM: At 1:38AM the pitter patter of little feet came into my room, crawled into my bed and laid down next to me.
"Mommy... Mommy."
"What Will?"
"My balloon popped."

I am not sure if that was a memory or a bad dream but I let him stay. Besides... it was cold! :)

We're in Single Digits



Only 8 more days (and 1 sermon).

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Tao of Poo(h)

One of the challenges of this separation has been the single parenting aspect. Believe me, I know I am one of the lucky ones. My soon to be ex sister-in-law has four kids and has to deal with TDH's brother who is a self-medicating bipolar. (Let's not delve into the clear mental health issues on TDH's side of the family at the moment). TDH is a great Dad and wants to be with The Boy as much as possible and when it suits my schedule. Also, The Boy has an absolutely wonderful personality. I can say that freely because we all know that parenting only has so much to do with it. Some kids are just easier than others. The Boy is a dream - fun, funny, fairly laid back (for a 2 year old), inquisitive and charming.

That said, I never would have signed up for this on my own. Some women are so sure that they want to be a Mom that even single they adopt. This is not me. I always wanted to be part of a family. Parenting for me was always going to be a team effort. I am not very good with other people's kids and although I sometimes do some good parenting stuff (remember, I laminated his artwork for use as a placemat), I certainly do not know how to do 101 things with an empty egg carton. I handed it to him to use in his play kitchen and I frequently enjoy make-believe eggs. This is the extent of my egg carton genius.

This past Sunday evening through Monday were particularly trying. I have been fighting a headache/head cold and that fight left me exhausted. Combine that with the depressingly hot weather here and we ended up not doing much on Monday - my day off. This resulted in him not taking a nap and us alternately enjoying each other and getting on each other's nerves until he finally crashed at bedtime. Phew!

This morning I woke up to a new day! He was still playing in his room so I threw in a load of laundry and brought in folded clothes to his room and as the stench hit my nostrils he held up his blankies and said, "Mommy, poop on blankies."

And indeed there was.

Insert Deep Sigh Here

School is at 9, we leave at 8:30, the poo was discoverd at 7:45 and our frontloader washer may be energy efficient but you CANNOT add to the load once the water has gone in for obvious reasons.... I'll wait.... there you go - 'frontloader'.

Why were blankies so important? Because today his Dad picks him up from school for him to stay overnight and so in the backpack there must be pajammies, clothes for tomorrow and The Blessed Trinity of Blue, Other and Pooh.

My son has three blankies. One is yellow (unlike this picture) and has the stuffed head of Pooh in the middle (which I have actually always found a bit disconcerting) - Pooh Blankie.

One has blue stripes - Blue Blankie.

One is a lighter shade of Blue - Other Blankie (pronounced 'udder').

In the immortal words of Jinx (Jeffrey Tambor) in Mr. Mom I always try to, "Keep that sense of humor. It's critical."

And so when I prepared the blankies for the wash so that they could be dried so that I could run them into town in time for his Dad to have them for naptime I had to ask myself, "How IS it that every time we have had a poo escape incident that Blue gets it, Other gets it and yet ironically enough the poo never gets on Pooh.

No Contest



In discussing the schedule for last Tuesday I mentioned that I had a counseling session on Wednesday and would then know which was more therapeutic. There is no contest - it was the tattoo.

Wednesday's counseling visit was very disconcerting - too much focus on the practical and not enough on the emotional. I need in a counselor someone who will push me emotionally, not someone who pushes me to talk about how okay I am, and how okay I eventually will be. The latter is ALL I do.

Then there is this - the counselor asked me if I ever thought about how these three random things have all come into my life (loss of finger, loss of child, loss of husband). What do I do with that?

Ummmm, frankly if I think about it too much I don't want to leave my house for fear of being hit by a plane falling out of the sky (randomly and all) so can we talk about something else please?

I rationalize it all by thinking to myself that random accidents happen to everyone. Losing a child certainly isn't that uncommon and the divorce rate for couples who have been through losing a child is practically off the charts. Granted.... our divorce is most likely not directly related but this is how I rationalize.

I am not quite sure where he was headed - maybe somewhere good - but all I keep thinking today is that his line of questioning would have worked really well for an anxiety medication salesman.

And yes, Mr. Counselor, I do get the foreshadowing and irony involved to my finger being lost due to my wedding rings. Thank you for pointing that out.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Perfect Timing


After 180 years of ministry without, the Sanctuary of my church now has air conditioning.

In October.


Sad thing is we actually could have used it yesterday but I didn't have the guts to turn it on in October.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Revgalblogpal Friday Five: Thankfulness Edition


Good timing on this one as I am battling a headache (real and in the form of the soon-to-be-ex) and need to think of some things of which I am quite thankful. Obviously this week there is the clear-cut, bad ass choice but it got a week of posts so I will focus on five other things.

This one is going to be veeeery simple: List at least five things (people, places, graces, miracles...) for which you are thankful. You may elaborate as you wish, or keep it simple.

1) Family - My parents live about 20 minutes away. I have NO idea how people get through life without family support.

2) Friends - See family! I have friends who make me laugh, friends who hear me out, friends who call me on my bs, friends who pay for me to come and visit them and eat their food, friends who read what I write on the internet and friends who let me use their beach house (in only 14 days!). I am a firm believer in the theory that you are only as strong as the support system around you.

3) The Beach - I shall see you soon, my love.

4) Leaf Wreath - Now I know why parents have boxes of arts and crafts projects that to the naked eye look like recyclables. So far I have the very first art project on the fridge (which is often greeted with a gleeful, "Mommy, I draw that!"), a laminated placemat, a beautful book of leaf tracings and this wonderful door ornament. All of them made by...

5) THE BOY! - Cliche maybe but this is not some random, 'of course' statement. A lot of thought lately has gone into whether I should have entered into this marriage in the first place and has it been worth it and the answer is an absolute YES. There are many reasons why this is so actually, but THE BOY makes it a resounding, no-doubt-about-it answer. I will never forget the joy as his cries cut through the delivery room, the look on his Father's face, and the feeling in my own heart. And it has only gotten better since. Truly, I am blessed.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

To the Mom Who Still Glares at Me

I am so sorry.

First, let me tell you that I TOTALLY understand that your child was comfortably sleeping in her car seat when you came to pick up your toddler from the same school that mine goes to. And I TOTALLY appreciate that your plan was to carry the sleeping child in her car seat and pick up your toddler from his wonderful first day of school and have time to hear from him all about his day... maybe even look around the facilities a little bit.

And when my car alarm went off frightening your sleeping child into an immediate state of wailing frenzy you had every right to be absolutely infuriated at the owner of the offending vehicle. And then when that owner looked at you practically catatonic with an alarm blaring that Helen Keller could have heard from 5 miles out and said, "Is that my alarm?" Indeed... incredulous is absolutely the word to use here.

Please know that I too really was stunned. And I am not an idiot, I was just a Mom in the midst of picking up her own son from his very first day of school and entering a new world where his Dad was there too, but not because we are a family any more but rather because my son was going to his house afterwards. I unlocked and opened my van to pull my son's backpack out that had his clothes and toothbrush in it and for some random, inexplicable reason the car alarm went off.

No key pad had been touched and the doors were already open - this is why I had that look on my face.

I turned off the alarm. I apologized and I apologized again and then realized there was nothing else I could do.

So you see, it was an accident. I didn't set it off on purpose and I own the fact that I came off looking like a little more than an idiot. Your daughter appears to be fully recovered now and so I ask please... can you stop glaring at me now?

Peace.
Will Smama

ps - Have you seen my bad ass tattoo?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Bad Ass

(More pictures below)
Bad Ass: Going to get a tattoo.
Not So Bad Ass: Planning Holy Week with the local ministerium before you can leave for said tattoo.

Bad Ass: Getting a tattoo.
Not so Bad Ass: Getting into your minivan afterwards... that was parked in the library parking lot no less. (Although the child's seat and the blanket covering the seat where the dog sits are decidedly bad ass.)

Bad Ass: Not limping at all from the tattoo.
Not so Bad Ass: Limping anyway due to the self-inflicted children's gate wound.

Bad Ass: Getting a beer with your friend after the tattoo.
Not so Bad Ass: Getting groceries by yourself at Walmart after the beer.

Bad Ass: Knowing that the lotion you need for tattoo care can be found next to the diaper wipes - a-THANK you.

Bad Ass: In response to the tattoo artist asking you how high your pain threshold is simply holding up your left hand and having him nod and begin loading up the ink.

Bad Ass: At the end having the tattoo artist say to another one that you 'sat well'.
Not so Bad Ass: Realize that when you and your friend are saying the same phrase outside the tattoo parlor that you sound like you are talking about how well your dog did at the vet.

TOTALLY BAD ASS: In front of snooty mommies at the music class, having your toddler son exclaim. "Wow, look Mommy! Letters on leg!!!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

F'ing Awesome!

Sorry, but that is the only phrase for it. What an amazingly Holy moment. So very great and wonderful and a tad painful, but WELL worth it. It doesn't even hurt now. I can handle momentary stinging, it is long-term throbbing that gets me down and the tattoo has caused no throbbing.

Photo Essay today, narrative essay tomorrow.


A blank canvas... (with pretty pink toenails - huh?)





First, the stencil. This part didn't hurt.


Then the needle... um yeah, that stung a bit but it really wasn't that bad.





The outlining is complete.


Then came the color:




Final Product:

Yes, the middle letter is still a bit flat on the bottom but we liked the edgier look to the angles.