Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A Big Family discussion I've never had

...until now.

So, last night I started back at the bookstore. fun! fun! fun! I love working there. I'm filling one of my coworkers in on the expansion of my family. A customer overhears the conversation and feels the need to join in.

"5 kids?! You have 5 kids?!"
(eyeroll and internal sigh)
"Yep. Sure do!"
"You don't look like you have 5 kids."
(this one always baffles me)
"uh thanks? Not sure what a person with 5 kids is supposed to look like, I guess."
"No, I mean. You look great! and young!"
(suspicious hmmmmm)

So far, the conversation is going as expected. I have had this conversation hundreds of times. But this is where is takes a turn into something that I could never have guessed at.

"You know what? You should be on Survivor!"
"Yeah, I can totally make that happen. I work with casting for the Survivor show."

Now, you, like me, are not believing this guy. You, like me, are thinking this guy is a total nutjob. So, you, like me, try to end the conversation as quickly as possible.

"You know what? Thanks. but that just wouldn't be possible."
"Seriously, you would be great blah blah blah"
"I really do work with casting. I'm in town for the holidays visiting my wife's family."
"Well, either way. You got the wrong gal. I am decidedly not a contestant for Survivor."
"Why not?"
"I can't even watch the show because of all the 6th grade pettiness. I have no interest in not bathing or brushing my teeth for a month. And I wouldn't leave my children for a month."
"But, you could think of it as a vacation. I'm sure you need some time by yourself."
"A vacation for me would not involve eating bugs on an island with a bunch of grown-up children. Now start a show about a mother of five kids who spends a month at a spa on a drinking binge and you can give me a call."
"A family of five could sure use the prize money."
"I would never win. I simply don't care enough. And a million dollars would be the minimum I would accept to be away from my family for a month. Sorry. This just isn't my gig. Now, when you start a new show about a mother of five who is given a housekeeper for a year, give me a call.

Now, while this guy was probably a fake. I did appreciate the distinct break from regular conversations I have about my family. and it left me walking around all night saying, "Survivor? Are you kidding? freak."

Dearie was very disappointed that I turned it down.

Infertility sucks.


A dear friend of mine just went through a painful cycle cancellation. It hurts every freakin time. every time. I hate the heartache. I hate the losses. I hate the hope. I hate the bruises from the needles. I hate what it does to marriages. I hate what it does to friendships. I hate the survivor's guilt that goes along with success. I hate the isolation. I hate the loss of faith.

Infertility absolutely annihilated my Pollyanna faith. And it continues to annihilate it. You see, I prayed for Julie. I prayed hard. And we are told over and over and over and over and over and over that whatever we ask for in prayer, we will receive. There are no vagaries here. Jesus is very specific.

Now you can try to talk around it. "God gives what we truly need." "God has a better plan for us." "God knows what is best for us better than we do." But let's face it folks, that's not what the bible says. Jesus does not say, "Ask and my father will think it over and if it fits into His plan or if He thinks it is best for you, then He will give it to you." Jesus does not say, "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed you can move a mountain, if my father had been planning on moving it anyway." That's not what it says. It says, "Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete." Very straight forward.

Well, I did that. I went a step further and I begged. I begged for Julie to have a new baby. I begged for my friend's 16 year old niece's leukemia to be cured. I begged FIVE TIMES that my babies be spared and that they be born into my loving arms. (One of those times my husband was doing mission work in Guatemala.)

But, Julie is crushed. Jenn is dead. And my babies are not with me.

There are only two explanations for this as far as I can see.
1.) Jesus was a liar.
2.) My faith is inadequate.
Clearly it is not number one. So, that leaves us with number 2.

This has put quite a dent in my prayer life, as you might imagine. I really don't ask much anymore. It seems to smack me in the face too often. It's that mustard seed faith thing. It kills me. Do I really not even have that much faith. I mean, I'm not a bible literalist. I accept context. I accept metaphor and parable. And I have tried to fit this into those categories. But it doesn't fit. It leaves me mute and tiny and powerless staring up a giant mountain of a mustard seed.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Merry Christmas from the Cakes House

Sorry, I know I've been a bad blogger lately.

Things have been a bit crazy. Well, Advent for a pastor's family is always full. Plus, the other regular Christmas activities. Plus, Skaterboy has flunked himself out of high school. He is very bright and we and the teachers and school tried everything we could, but it was time for a drastic change. So, he will be staying home. He will be enrolled in the Clonlara School after a month long time of de-schooling. Cross your fingers for us, we are going to need it. I'm excited and relieved and terrified all at once. I keep telling myself that it can't end up worse than all F's. We can only go up from here. It also helps that we have a very large homeschooling community in the city we live in (estimated at 15-20%) because the public schools are so bad. Of Skaterboy's 4 close friends, 2 of them are homeschooled for high school.

Dearie is keeping me on high alert as he starts seeking another call (pastor position). Things are coming to a close at his church so we need to be ready. He is looking at positions in Omaha, San Antonio, a small town in Michigan, St. Cloud, Seattle and a couple of others. Who knows where we'll end up. I hate this part of the gig. I never feel like I really get to make my house a home because 5-7 years later (average call time) we'll be on our way. It makes me anxious. It starts to give me a stomach ache. (refer to posts on hope and faith)

So, I am staying focused on Christmas. The kids are at such a great age for enjoying the season. Love it. My favorite Christmas moment this year was Jellybean "evangelizing" to my Jewish friend when she was over for a play date. It was hysterical. Jellybean was impatiently explaining the whole Nativity story when she showed my friend Mary and Joseph. "They're married," She explained "but they're still happy."


just wait until they have kids!

Here are a couple of other pics from the last week.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

love is....

finding the unexpected...

My children love baby Jesus. I think it is mostly because of their new sister and they are associating everything with her. Baby Jesus kicking inside Mary. Baby Jesus crying when he's gassy. Mary breastfeeding Baby Jesus. It has made him so...human this Christmas.
Dearie and I make lots of Talladega Nights jokes,

Ricky Bobby: "Dear 6 pound 8 ounce Baby Jesus, new born not even spoken a word, yet."
Carley Bobby: Hey, um... you know sweetie, Jesus did grow up. You don't always have to call him baby. It's a bit odd and off puttin' to pray to a baby.
Ricky Bobby: Well look, I like the Christmas Jesus best.

don't we all?

well, my kids have each been given a nativity at their baptisms by my mom. They like to play with them and act out the nativity. But the last few days Baby Jesus has been showing up in some unexpected places. I'm not sure who is responsible, but my money is on Porkchop. Every time, I've just had to giggle. It started with the detergent dispenser in the dishwasher and ended up right where one would want 6 pound 8 ounce Baby Jesus...

Happy Love Thursday

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Every time I breastfeed Ladybug...

I think of Kati Kim. everytime. I think about my 4 year old daughter. my infant daughter. I think about my husband and I taking a trip. I think about how I would be yelling at him to just turn around and go back the way we came. I think about waking up in the morning completely snowed in. I think about my panic. I think about yelling at Dearie again. and again. I think about how I would keep my children alive with just baby food and cheez whiz. I think about keeping my daughters entertained in a car for 9 days. I think about Dearie telling me he is going to go look for help. I think about pleading with him to please not go, they always say to stay with the car, just please don't go. please.

I think about watching Dearie as he walks down the road, maybe turning back and waving before he walks around a bend in the road...and I never see him again.

then I snuggle into my baby. I snuggle into my 4 year old daughter. I snuggle into my husband. I snuggle and snuggle and snuggle.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Love is....


Happy Love Thursday

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I Know a thing or two about conclusion

There are two pieces of information I hate giving out. I hate it because when I do, I can watch the person's face change recognizably as they judge who I am...

1.) That I am a pastor's wife.
2.) That I have a fifteen year old son.

I am by no means ashamed of either one of these things, but I hate the way they label me. they put me into a box. the comments that follow them. I am 35 years old and still I am judged for having a fifteen year old son. But folks, if we are going to deal with unplanned pregnancy (51% of all pregnancies) and if we are going to try to eliminate the need for abortions (21% of all pregnancies end in abortion, 14% in miscarriage, and 65% in birth.) than we are going to have to adjust our attitudes toward women. and toward the babies that result.

Take some time. Check out this demographic study. I'm sure the results will surprise you. They surprised me. And they will show us all how the battle we are having is so far from the point.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Speaking of Hope...

turns out I don't have any of that either.

I'm doing an Advent study called While We Wait by Mary Lou Redding. The first section coincides, obviously, with the first week of Advent whose theme is "Hope." Redding introduces the theme in a wonderful eye opening way. We start the study with Tamar and Rahab. Tamar posed as a prostitute to get knocked up and Rahab actually was a prostitute. I know, I know what you're thinking, "Merry Christmas!" But Tamar and Rahab are two of only three women mentioned in Jesus's genealogy. (The third woman is Ruth.) And both of them really put themselves out there in a bold way to bring about what it was they were hoping for. See, Redding opened my eyes about hope. Hoping is different from wishing. Wishing is passive. Hoping is active. proactive. nice, huh?

But then the questions started asking about the way God works through and uses people. Was I surprised that God worked through a prostitute? What type of people does God use? Would I expect God to use me? Now, the prostitute thing didn't really phase me. I mean, that is shown to us over and over in the bible. God using the "lowly." I think God works through everyone if given half a chance. Perhaps the more desperate among us are more open to the risk and ridiculousness where God tends to hang out. Most of us tend to talk ourselves out of the types of roads God wants us to walk down because they are crazy and because we can't see around the bend to what is waiting for us. We like to stay where we are comfortable. with what is familiar. It could miserable and toxic, but dammit it's therefore comfortable.

But God's grace requires risk and faith and hope.

Which brings us to the question about me. About whether I expect God to use me. I know he does. But, I am truly afraid of God using me. I am ok if God wants to use me in my comfort zone. ie as a mother, as a wife, as a friend (to friends I already have, of course), as a neighbor (to my close neighbors on my block that I know and love), as a pastor's wife (unless of course I am tired of listening to you complain). But, if God wants to use me outside of that comfort zone? No dice. not interested. too scared.

I was up for anything before this life. before beautiful children and before loving family. When I was just me. alone. I'd risk whatever to be of use. But now, I hide when the homeless person comes to my door and I'm alone with the children. I'm scared to move to a mission area that doesn't have state of the art medicine, I'm even scared of God using Dearie. We get plenty of mentally disabled homeless people come into the church during the day. And most days it's just Dearie and Elizabeth, the 94 year old office volunteer.

I am so tired of being afraid. I am so hope

Friday, December 01, 2006

YAY! Snow!

As pathetic as the snow is...the ice was monstrous. We are snow lovers. But we came here from Minnnesota. Unfortunately the kids have lost their thick skin.

This was 6am

This was 6:10am

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Love is....


"and a voice came from heaven, saying, You are My Child, My Beloved! In You I am well pleased and find delight!"
Luke 3:22

the baptismal gown Ladybug is wearing is 95 years old. It was brought by my grandfather from Ireland and has the names of everyone in my family who wore it for their baptism. There are 37 names and dates, including mine and all of my children, starting with my grandfather's brother in 1911 embroidered around the hem of the slip. Ladybug will be number 38.

Happy Love Thursday

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I Know a thing or two about

So, when we left off with our story, Baby Skaterboy had just been born and I was visiting Baby Quinn crying into his little sleeper...

That was the pretty part. But, as I said before, Once you choose Life...Life actually happens. I turned 20 a week after Skaterboy was born. I was completely in love with him. He was perfect. My parents let me stay with them for the first year. I went to school to try and finish my degree. It was hard living with my parents. I didn't get to be The Mom. The reality is that my mom was The Mom. And my mom and I have never had a good relationship. ever.

I moved out when Skaterboy was 10 months old. We were on public assistance for 3 years. Because I did not have insurance coverage for Skaterboy, he was on Medicaid. We were on the WIC program and government subsidized daycare so I could go to school. And I worked. The sad fact of it was I didn't get to spend time with my Baby Skaterboy. I was working too hard to make a life for us. You know, that Life that I chose. And don't think I didn't begin to feel like a schmuck because I knew I could have given him an easier life...just without me. It was just too much and I quit school. I started working full time and eventually made enough money and got benefits so that I could go off public assistance.

Public Assistance is NOT the free lunch that those who are not on it think that it is. The Office was a desperate place. just desperate and depressing. Not at all uplifting or empowering. You wait forever to see your case worker who only makes you feel like an even bigger loser. Then, after you have secured your benefits you have to use them. Humiliation number 2. Going to the grocery store and trying to follow all the rules for WIC, then going to the check out and praying that nobody comes up behind you, (which is why you shop as late as possible), then facing the exasperation and eye rolling from the checkout lady. You're a squished bug by the time you leave. Humiliation number 3...finding a provider that uses Medicaid. Skaterboy had a small bony nodule on the side of his head that my pediatrician sent me to a surgeon to see if he needed surgery to take care of it. I had to go to the state hospital. Another desperate place. Another long wait. When the surgeon finally saw us, he was so rough with Baby Skaterboy and so dismissive. "Yeah, we can do surgery on that." ummmm...or no you won't, Dr. Evil. We never got the surgery and the lump went away on its own.

My point of this part of the story is this...without public assistance I would not have been able to choose Life. It is an integral part of the equation that many conservative pro-lifers just aren't getting. If you want women to choose Life, than you have to help them get on their feet after life is chosen. Help them finish school, help them get insurance, help them with job skills. These are key.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Ladies and Gentlemen, We have a sleeper!!

I know I know, I'm jinxing everything I'm about to say. But I am so crazy excited I can't hold it in!!!

My baby...she sleeps. We've had regular nights of 6 hour stretches (11p-5a) for a couple of weeks and last night it was 8 hours and 15 mins!! Can you believe it?!?!

This is unheard of in the Cakes Clan. NONE of my children have slept for 6 hour stretches until after 8 months! 8 months!! But not this Ladybug. *sigh* She may be the perfect baby.

...kinda makes you want to have another

Saturday, November 25, 2006

*sigh* How do I ever put her down...

Friday, November 24, 2006

Folks, I'm tired...

I am so very very tired right now. And my heart is discouraged. The recent events with Skaterboy have made me question everything. Who the hell did I think I was to be entrusted with the lives and spiritual well-beings of these five amazingly perfect little souls? How can I begin to do this? I thought I could. I even thought I was pretty darn good at it.

But now...I'm tired.

And that was just the moment I stumbled upon this. 1 Kings 19:5-7 (New International Version)

5 Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep.
All at once an angel touched him and said, "Get up and eat." 6 He looked around, and there by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.

7 The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, "Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you."

"the journey is too much for you."

If I try to do this alone, I'm bound to screw it up. But with God's grace and the angels He sends to feed me, we just might make it through.

I'm thankful that I am never left alone.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Love is....

Never needing sleep the way your Daddy does.

Happy Love Thursday!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I Know a thing or two about

Well, it's had to follow a post about your son's suicide note so I thought it appropriate to continue the story of how I chose life for him.

When I was a sophomore in college, I thought I was grown up enough to handle a grown up relationship. After less than a month of giving up my virginity, I found out how completely unprepared I was. I was 19 and pregnant. (I went to a wonderful organization that was incredibly supportive called Crisis Pregnancy. If you need help, I highly recommend them.)

I told my boyfriend. His only repsonse was, "Can't you get rid of it?"
I told my best friend. Her response was, "Cakes. Listen to me. You have to have an abortion. What about your future? You have so much going for you?"

over and over this was how my friends responded. I had only two friends who never mentioned abortion. one of them was Dearie. Truth be told, I knew I would never get an abortion. I already felt that love...but that didn't stop the pressure. It didn't help that I was a member of several feminist organizations on campus. But I couldn't for the life of me understand why if they were so gung-ho about my right to choose, why didn't they support me after I chose. Why did I become a pariah, why did they act as if I had betrayed them, why did they call my growing baby "The Parasite?"

I was terrified, of course, to tell my family. But, once they found out they overwhelmed me with support. I had been especially fearful of my grandfather's response. A large rock of patriarch. An old world Irish Catholic Marine. His response melted me, "But for the grace of God, go I." And I was suddenly comforted by the embrace of my faith. What better community to be a part of at this time in my life, than the church who fights for my unborn baby?

But this comfort was short-lived. Once I began showing, Sundays became more and more uncomfortable for me at my suburban church. The nasty looks, the rude though subtle comments. And the day I walked up to receive Communion and was turned away by the priest. In front of the whole church, he told me he hadn't seen me in confession so I couldn't receive. He didn't know I had confessed to the priest from my childhood.

I made contact with a couple who had been trying desperately for years and years to get pregnant. They were looking to adopt. I did not want to give up my baby. I loved my baby. But the injustice of it struck me, even then. Here were John and Megan. They had everything together. They were incredibly wonderful people. I spent time with them getting to know them and knew that they would give my baby the life that I would want to give him. We talked about where they would live because they were a local couple and I just couldn't imagine the pain of having my child growing up so close but without me. They were outdoors people, curious people, life of learning people. They were so perfect. Why couldn't they have a baby and here I was dumb kid knocked up less than a month after losing my virginity? I felt like in some ways I owed them this baby. It was only fair.

I cried and cried for months. I wanted him. I didn't want to give him away. And when I was six months pregnant, I had a dream. In my dream the Virgin Mary sat beside me and put her hand on my belly. She said, "You know, Jesus was an unplanned pregnancy. I was very scared. I was stigmatized. but in the end, look at what a special gift He was to the world. God chooses us. Who are we to wonder why." When I woke up, I knew that this baby needed me to be his mother. But, I had to let John and Megan know. ugh. I put it off for a couple of weeks. But I knew I had to let them know I had finally come to a decision. And I am still so ashamed of this...

I left a message on their answering machine.

A couple of months later, John called. I told him how sorry I was about my message. He shushed me.

Megan was 3 months pregnant.

I jumped up and down screaming with joy. I have never in my life been so happy for anyone's pregnancy in my life. It was like God telling me, "I got this one. You go ahead." I knew then in my heart I had made the right decision. When John and Megan's son, Quinn was born I went to their house with Baby Skaterboy. I sat and held Quinn and cried and cried.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

for those who saw my melodramatic post yesterday...

so, there I am looking for scissors in Skaterboy's room. And on his windowsill I see a list he has written of 10 reasons he should do his homework. I thought, "ah. poor little bastard." He's flunking out of school again b/c he doesn't turn in homework. of any kind. We've been fighting about this for years. We told him that if he wanted to remain in this private school, where they really are great with him, he needed to pull a C average. He's capable of waaaay better, but at this point a C average would be a dream. If doesn't pull the C, then he's out. We'll homeschool. He'd get kicked out at this rate anyway, and it's clear that school is NOT working for him. I hate what it does to his self-esteem and his stress level must be through the roof.

he has a history of depression, plus OCD, plus ADD. But has been off his anti-depressants since May. He hated them. Last week he asked to go back on. We are still waiting for an appt to get more. nice. He had been drug tested at school and that bummed him out alot. That he was doing do poorly in school that they thought he was on drugs.

So, under the list on his window sill is another paper. written very very neatly. my son does not write anything very very neatly. It starts out "To Whom It May Concern." To whom it may concern? How about the whole fucking world?! How about the whole fucking world?! That's who would lose if the world lost him.

So there I am, standing in his empty room, reading his suicide letter...

my god.

Dearie comes upstais when I haven't come back with the scissors and finds me frantically going through Skaterboy's trash can. Pages and pages of wadded up homework. done. but never turned in. WTF?! Pages from his song notebook. pictures he drawn. He doesn't even think it's worthy of giving away!

Dearie takes the note up to Skaterboy's school to find the head counselor who is also Skaterboy's homeroom teacher and soccer coach. The get together with Skaterboy and the staff psychiatrist. Skaterboy makes fun of my super sleuthing because he wrote that letter 6 months ago.

6 months ago.

They talk for hours. Sometimes just Skaterboy and the Psychiatrist. While I am sitting at home clutching my other children, tying to seem fine. It is determined that he is at no immediate risk. We have an appointment with his therapist on Monday.

Skaterboy and I talked. He says he would never do something like that. That he's too scared. Is that the only reason? He's been hanging out with the family ever since. not hiding in his room. He's seeing the idea and opportunites available through homeschooling as a good thing. He seemed glad that we found it and now hopeful...hopeful.

but once a mother has read such a thing...she is never the same.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

People ask me quite frequently why I have so many children. The question surprises me every time. I have never been able to put a one sentence answer to the question...until now. Until Meatball.

Yesterday, I spent the entire day in bed, miserably ill with mastits. Miserably. 103.8 degree fever. deliriously painful breast. I was in bad shape. Luckily, the antibiotics and megadoses of ibuprophin kicked in fairly quickly and by this morning I was able to get up. I had to. Dearie had important meetings he had to go to and couldn't afford to miss another day of work.

So, I got myself up. "Are you feeling better, Mommy?" Meatball asks me.
"Better, darling."
"You still look sick."
"Well, I'm not completely better. But I am better."
"I wish you were completely better."
"Soon, darling, soon"

We all made our beds, I got the kids' clothes out and asked them to get dressed so we could start school. I showered, giving Ladybug a steam bath because we have a cold going around the family, got dressed, and was beginning to dry my hair. That's when it happened.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw this figure go bouncing by the bathroom door. I looked up in time to see it go bouncing back the other way. It was Meatball, putting on his shirt in a manner that most vaudevillians would be jealous of. As he bounced back and forth outside my bathroom in various stages of dress, his shirt on upside down and then finally right side up, hopping on one leg as he puts on his pants only to have to hop on two legs because he gets both feet into one pantleg (this is very sophisticated comedy for a four year old!) The most joy filled laughter swells up from my belly. I am laughing so hard, and I am so in love that I am overwhelmed. I begin crying with happiness and laughter. And then it strikes me. God has just passed before me and I had seen His face. And I was frozen. Frozen in that moment of complete joy. But, I was also in overwhelming awe. I seriously bent down and took off my shoes. (ok my pink fuzzy slippers Jellybean gave me for my birthday.) My bathroom floor had become sacred ground.

So that is why I have so many children. God shows His face to me through the faces of my children.

Monday, November 13, 2006



Sunday, November 12, 2006

World Kindness Week is Nov 13-18

Saturday, November 11, 2006

I know a thing or two about

And that's when I saw it. Those familiar two little gold plated feet secured to the lapel of her jacket. Familiar because I have stared at them, full of sadness, while I've listened to the judgments handed down by the wearer, "Well, I'm glad the baby didn't have to die just because you're a slut." "An 11 yr old and newborn twins? Interesting family planning." "You're not old enough to have a 15 year old."

I feel sadness because I think to many wearers, those tiny feet will lose the passionate protection once they get bigger. I usually ask the wearer, "What do those feet mean for you? What happens after those feet are actually born?" One of these days I'm going to have my own lapel pin made. Gold plated perfect newborn feet. or maybe my 15 year old's size 9s.

You see, after you choose actually happens.

Abortion has come to the forefront of debate again in recent years and I'm always fascinated to hear the two sides going at it. All of the ugly words and horrible malice thrown back and forth. I'm fascinated because for all their hard fought battles, both sides easily forget me. The scared, lonely, loving, well-raised, Catholic, hopeful, confused girl with her hands desperately clutched to her abdomen where a tiny baby is growing.

Two sides fighting viciously over my Choice. It seems the Choice itself becomes the main focus. All that matters is the Choice itself. Then once the Choice is made, the losing side will call me a name and the winning side will say, "Good Luck!" and there I am again. Alone. Desperately clutching my abdomen. Sure there are lots of programs offered out there by various groups, many by the Catholic church. But what about the church itself? My faith community?

Friday, November 10, 2006

Love is....

childlike faith...

Happy Love Thursday!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Do you have friends?

I mean real friends? Ok. so yes, I am going through a bit of the babyblues (don't worry, I'm keeping an eye on it) and this has put me in a hyper-sensitive state. Pair this with not wanting to end up bitter and alone with my liquor like my mom and you have some uberanalysis going on. And it is far from scientific.

I have told you all about not being any fun. But, it turns out that I am also not very good at being friends. It takes a special person to be with me. Luckily, I married such a person. Dearie is my best friend. We've been friends for 19 years. This is a wonderful wonderful thing. But, I'd really like to have a friend outside of my marriage as well. A friend who is a woman and a mom and wants to hang out. I've never been good at being friends with women. I'm not sure where I go wrong, but I definitely do go wrong. I do have a group of women that I hang out with once a month who truly like me and we enjoy each other's company, but I only hear from them the rest of the month through email. I have had close friends in my past...well, two. But one turned completely toxic and the other lives in Ohio (I don't).

I don't know if this is a common mom thing/SAHM thing/homeschooling mom thing/lots of kids mom thing or a Cakes thing. When I first moved back here, an old friend called me regularly and wanted to do things but then I go through cocoon periods where I just want to be alone. I lost her during one of these. I have tried to make new friends, but I don't make good impressions. Especially now with the baby blues thing. I was in Baby and Me Yoga today, a perfect opportunity to meet moms in my area, and by the end of class I realized I hadn't smiled at anyone the whole class. No smile. at all.

So here I am, wallowing in my isolation. The very isolation that I created for myself. I'm trying to reach out. Trying to force myself to talk to people. I desperately need to talk to people. But the problem is that I don't want to right now. Ok. tomorrow I will talk to someone. maybe even smile and be friendly. I'm not a snob. I'm not a bitch. I'm not even an uppity pastor's wife. but I'm afraid that is exactly the impression that I give.

At least I have 6 people in this very house who like me and like being with me. They even actually seek me out to be with. Need to focus on that.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

I love that new sling smell...

I got my new pouch sling in the mail today. Thanks to Niki from Coastal Sling Baby Carriers. She did an incredible job making my sling for me. It's such a great thing. You give her your measurements, pick out a couple of really cool fabrics, chat it up with her through email and she whips you up a real quality sling custom made to fit your body. and for much cheaper than if you bought one of those designer pouches. I know what I'm talking about here. I owned one of the designer pouches. This one is much much better. Plus, who doesn't love to support a fellow mom industry.

I'm a bit of a baby carrier junky. Call it my not-so-secret-weapon in the "How do manage 3 preschoolers and a new baby" arsenal. My kids call it my "pocket." "Are you going to put Ladybug in your pocket?" they'll ask. So, I'll give you my low-down. First, I tried the classic Baby Bjorn. I have shoulder and lower back issues. Let's just say that I didn't make it past 3mos and the baby looks so uncomfortable before than. And some claim this to be a bad position for newborn hip and spine development. I'm not a Baby Bjorn fan. It hurt my shoulders and my low back after wearing it for a short time.
My husband, on the other hand thought it was fine.

Second, with the twins I tried the Maximom twin carrier. Double the problem of the Baby Bjorn and lots of complicating straps to boot. Don't get me wrong, I used it. When you have two twins screaming and you're trying to comfort them, you'll try anything. I found slinging the twins to be much more comfortable for them and me.

I have used the Dr. Sears Nojo sling. And used it here with Ladybug until my new pouch showed up. It is functional, but I find the padding to be excessive and bulky. The padded railing makes it difficult to adjust effectively.

Finally my all-time favorite and most comfortable carrier ever. The Ellaroo Wrap. (That's two day old Ladybug on the left and eight week old Porkchop on the right. Any family resemblance?) I bought mine from Vesta (who just redid her site and it is looking awesome!) At first, I balked at the price. But, I knew they paid fair price for the fabric from Guatemala and my husband was doing frequent humanitarian work down there at the time. In the end, it proved worth every penny. I wore Porkchop in that wrap nearly all day, everyday for a year. And could still carry him around the zoo all day at 30 lbs without any problem at all. No lie. It is lightweight and so incredibly versatile. Sure, there is a definite learning curve in the beginning. I used stuffed animals to practice my tying techniques before strapping him on.

"So, if the wrap is my favorite, why the new pouch?" you say. Well, the pouch is great for quick jaunts into the grocery store or to settle her down for a little bit at home. It's much easier to pop her in and out. I do start to get shoulder strain from the pouch after awhile, so for long periods I go with the wrap. I also prefer the wrap when doing most activites other than just walking around. The slings can swing when you bend down or do alot of housework or other things. The wrap literally wraps the baby to your body. It is much more secure. But it is alot easier to breastfeed in the sling. In my world, I think you should have both.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Love is....

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I had a Snoopy picture that said that when I was a kid. So, I thought it appropriate to use this Love Thursday to issue my Kindness Challenge.

The Kindness Foundation is listed under my things I love. I mean, what's not to love?! It's a foundation devoted to kindness! How great is that?! Well, November 13-18 is World Kindness Week. So, I am calling for an internet challenge! All you bloggers and non bloggers prepare yourself and your family for your own celebration by planning your random acts of kindness for World Kindness Week. You and your family will have so much fun you won't believe it! Then blog about your experience and add it to the Kindness website.

There are tons of ideas and resources on the Kindness Foundation website, including lesson plans for teachers and homeschooolers, e-cards, free downloads like kindness calendars and bookmars and cards to include with your RAKs. My family personal favorite is to do Kindness Drive-bys. My kids love getting suckers from the bank tellers, so we put together little baggies of Dove Chocolates and Kindness stickers (see the resources) or Wallet Cards, and stick them in the capsules of Bank Drive-thrus and send 'em through. The kids love it!!

Go on out and spread the Kindness!!

Monday, October 30, 2006

For us...for our children...

Another thanks to Chookooloonks for another great link. I headed over to check out a new blog...Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting and came out on the other side informed and relieved. Relieved because frank, honest talks of racism are not common. I hear over and over about how everyone I know is not racist. Bullcrap. Sorry. but folks we all are. And until we acknowledge our own racism we can't begin to address it personally or as a nation much less as the world.

So, here. I'll go out on a my racism manifests itself...
I grew up in lower middle class white suburbs. There were no children of other races in my grade school and three in my Catholic all-girl high school. I lived my younger developmental years believing that I was not racist. Well, of course I thought that! I'd never had to face it! It reminds of me of when Dearie and I took a call at a church in northern Minnesota. We were in a town of 2,000 people. No African-Americans except for a few children who had been adopted by white families. When a discussion of racism came up, the Minnesotans couldn't stand for how racist the southern states were. They looked down their snoots and criticized up and down at the "Southern Racist Whites." I couldn't help but chuckle to myself. When called on it, I explained that racism was not just a white/black issue. Just earlier in the conversation they had been cursing the Mille Lacs band of the Ojibwe tribe because they were making all this money from the casino on their reservation (reservation, people!) and they had to go work for the Indians, all the while the Indians got to take more Walleye from the lake that was on their reservation (reservation, people!) than the white people did. How unfair! Now, sitting from my side of the room where I had not grown up with close proximity to and the racism involved with Native Americans, this seemed as ridiculous a mindset as they did about racism involving African Americans. None of us are racist if we stay in our homogenous bubbles.

Dearie and I are now at church in an urban transitional neighborhood. It is an incredibly diverse neighborhood ethnically, racially, and economically. This is both its strength and its weakness. It is a tight knit neighborhood, but also at times it can be a pressure cooker. It is here that I have had to look the ugliness of my racism in the face. What I have a difficult time discerning most days is what is my racism and what is my classicism. Not that one is worse than the other. I'm battling them both. When I look at my internal responses I realize that I never thought twice about having a black woman for an OB-GYN. I would vote for Obama in a heartbeat. I remember being worried about walking to my car one evening because a rather sleazy white guy was walking out at the same time as me, but felt comforted by and stuck close to a black man in a suit. But, it concerns me that I really notice it when it I see a black father interacting with his chlidren in a loving way or that it sticks out to me when I see a regular black couple kissing, just a regular old kiss, on TV. or that I cringe when my 4 yr olds refer nonchalantly but loudly to other children's skin color. Like a mother who'd hush her kids asking about a man in a wheelchair.

I am most unloving to the youth and this breaks my heart. Not all of them, by any stretch of the imagination, but unfortunately the ones who need it most. So many idle kids standing around. First, I'm self-conscious. "What will they think of the white lady?" I've heard the things the adults tell the kids that come to our church. That we don't really care about them. That they are just charity. That they are just our ticket into heaven. I hate that. I've thought hard about those things, to see if they had ant worth, and they aren't true. Second, I'm scared of many of them. Their lot sometimes seems so hopeless and desperate. and third, and this is the one I hate most to admit, I see no hope for them. I'm tearing up right now just thinking of the sinfulness of that thought.

But that is where children get their moments to teach their parents. My kids basically assault anyone walking down the street. They run up to them and shout hello and ask them how they are doing...etc. You should see the "tough guys" walking down the street with their pants so low they have to hold them up and their sleeveless undershirts that hang down to their knees and their gold teeth and attitude. My kids don't know they are supposed to be scared of them. They shout hello and honestly start talking about the weather or telling them about something they had done that day. And that's where the magic happens...the toughies, they melt. The exterior evaporates and they smile and talk to the kids. Sadly, sometimes the toughie look at me with a kind of fearful expression, like "Is it ok to for me to talk to them?"

Perhaps the children need to start a website "For Children Committed to Raising Parents with an Anti-racist Outlook"

Friday, October 27, 2006

You're no fun anymore...

This has become a running joke with Dearie and me. He likes to tell me that I'm no fun anymore. The truth of the matter is that I have never been fun. Seriously. Now, don't get me wrong. If we went out you'd have a good time. I am actually quite funny. But, not fun. I will never be the girl who drags you to all the clubs, or dances on the table (ok, a couple of times. but I had been partaking in adult beverages. perhaps I was, as my family says "overserved"), I won't run off and do silly things. It just isn't who I am. I am much more at home in the corner of a pub with a glass of Beamish. (Sorry, Julie, my family comes from Cork. You can still have your Guiness)

You see, I am a Melancholic. It's ok. That description is a little on the dramatic side. I'm not that bad. It's just the temperament God gave me. But, the problem with this temperament is that it's not especially compatible with 4 children 4 and under. Especially since I have a sanguine daughter. We couldn't be more different. I have come to forcing myself to be more peppy. more perky. I also have to force myself to be socialable, because let's face it, a gloomy pastor's wife does very little to help his career and smooth the relationship between him and the church. It can be exhausting. I'd rather take a nap.

Some of my friends have asked me if I'm worried about "losing myself" because I "fake it" so much. But, I don't think so. or maybe. but would that be so bad? I know that my temperament has many strengths that I am proud of, including a strong sense of social justice, but there are also some very dark sides that must be fought against to bring about a better balance. If I just hang out in my gloomy world simply because it's "authentic" what does that get me? Don't we all need to fight against our demons inside?

I mean really, how bad can it be when at the end of the day, my kids are happy and feeling secure, I'm feeling good because I had a good parenting day, Dearie's church members feel listened to and important? How bad can it be that I had to force it? And by forcing it, don't we end up bringing about a transformation in ourselves? When I wake up gloomy and force a happy face, I tend to surprise myself midmorning when I realize I am genuinely in a good mood. Isn't the perfect me, that me created in God's image that I am trying to uncover, worth a little "forcing?"

I'll never be fun. I'll never be Miss America. I'll never be surrounded by a big group of friends. But "Schubert, in his Psychology, says of the melancholic nature: 'It has been the prevailing mental disposition of the most sublime poets, artists, of the most profound thinkers, the greatest inventors, legislators, and especially of those spiritual giants who at their time made known to their nations the entrance to a higher and blissful world of the Divine, to which they themselves were carried by an insatiable longing.'"

Hey! That's pretty cool, too. Maybe even cooler than dancing on tables.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Silly city kids...that's not a real farm

Real blog tomorrow, promise.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

You're Killing Me, Here!

Skaterboy's first high school dance...sigh. Notice he's wearing Dearie's tie from our wedding...double sigh

Saturday, October 21, 2006

For us...for our daughters...

If you have a daughter and this doesn't have you weeping, you're a stronger mom than me. Hats off to Dove for their Campaign For Real Beauty. Sure, it's a marketing gimic. But better this than the alternatives. Your daughters should watch this one with you. It's such an amazing reminder. Have a look around the website. There is a lot of useful, interesting stuff on there. And yes, some product placement.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Speaking of Faith

Turns out I don't have any.

I've been thinking and praying about this a lot lately. A couple of things really got me examining this. First, the book If You Want to Walk On Water You've Got to Get Out of the Boat by John Ortberg and then the book The Myth of a Christian Nation by Gregory Boyd. In Ortberg's book he discusses our comfort zone as our boat. The things that we can't leave behind to be in full communion with Christ. In Boyd's book, he discusses our patriotism as a form of idolatry.

Now, patriotism is not my problem...but my family is. I don't trust God with my family. There I said it. I realize that Christianity/Catholicism has become a "lifestyle" for me instead of a pure expression of my faith. I read my bible every night, I pray and examine my conscience, I confess, I look for inspiration and how to better order my life. You see, I acknowledge Christianity as a wonderful, ethical, moral way to live your life. The loving your neighbor, the letting go of materialism, the caring for the poor and oppressed, the sacrificing yourself for those around you. I even use the bible as my primary parenting manual. I start and end each day looking at my parenting and whether I am expressing God's love to HIS children in a way that is fitting to the responsibility I have been given in raising them. And ditto for my marriage.

Sounds great, huh? But, I now realize I am nothing but a clanging gong. I don't trust God. He is too unpredictable for my tastes. He makes me nervous. Let's face it, there are plenty of good faithful people who have horrible things happen to their families. Hell, look at Job! Sure he got replacements for everything in the end, but I don't want any replacements, thank you very much. I want everyone that I have right now. safe. here. with me. You can have the house, the van, the life savings, but leave my family alone. They have become my idol.

I know what I have to do. I know that somehow I have to turn them over to his care. to truly believe that my children are first and foremost HIS children. But, the reality is. I don't want to. I'm too scared. I know that I can only protect my family with God's help. But that's just where I like it. With God helping me.

ugh. I have a lot of work to do. my boat is too comfy. I guess that leads me back to one of my favorite hymns but with less organ.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Love is....

Unadulterated joy. When your heart is so full that it bursts out of you.

Happy Love Thursday!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Not All in the Family

A few weekends ago, our neighborhood held it's annual art fair. It is a big big deal. And though Ladybug was only a couple weeks old, we all signed up to volunteer. Volunteering is something that is incredibly important to the health of our family. Even our troubled and difficult teenager (will blog about that someday) thrives when he is doing "Man's Work" with the other men of the neighborhood.

We live in a transitional, urban neighborhood that takes civic pride very seriously. (Does anyone remember that old cartoon where they say over and over, "Civic pride week, help beautify your city"?) And though we hear more police sirens than most people would be comfortable with, we love love love this neighborhood because of its community. My kids know and love all my neighbors and all my neighbors know and love my kids. We do quarterly block improvements, tending the block gardens and helping with anything neighbors need. For example, when my next door neighbor was putting in a brick patio, Skaterboy and Dearie were over there with another neighbor helping put it in.

So, for the Art Fair all of the kids helped rake leaves and pick up lawn debris in the boulevard so they could set up the tents. They love doing it. It gives them purpose and the feeling of belonging to something bigger. And God does command us to "Love our Neighbor"

I'm going to post some links over on the right to some great places to help you get started in finding family friendly things to do together to make the world a better place. It's important in this crazy, troubled world that we start to tip the balance and take away the fear. And you will be amazed at how naturally it comes to your children and how strong your family will become when you turn outside of yourselves and serve the world.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Cakes' Breastfeeding Tips pt.1

I promise I won't turn this into a strictly "Mommy Blog" but several new moms have asked for my breastfeeding wisdom (as if) and so I figured I'd put it down on blog paper. This not your basic info you can get from the books, It's just a bit of real world experience. So, definitely read the books. Please feel free to add your own tips in the comments section. This is part 1. I will add another installment next week that will include my favorite music to breastfeed by.

1.) Always, always, always ask for a lactation consultant in the hospital. This is the fifth baby I have breastfed and it still took us 2 days to perfect latch on. The hard part was that Ladybug was born at 11:42pm. I went to my recovery room around 1am. There are NO LC's around at 1am! I was lucky because I knew the signs of a bad latch (see number 2) but if I was a first time mom, and I was expected to breastfeed through the night, I'd've been screwed. Better yet, get yourself a nice doula/LC to help with delivery and recovery. You'll be amazed at how easy she will make things.

2.) Signs of a bad latch:

  • Dimples. Baby's cheeks should not dimple when she is nursing.
  • Mush mouth. Baby's upper lip should not be all mushy and sucked in.
  • Straw sucky noises. This is hard to explain. Noises from baby should be more "slurpy" sounding than kissy/straw sucking noises.
  • Bottom lip flipped down and out. Baby's bottom lip should be flipped open and under. Like if you just grab your bottom lip and pull it down in a pout.

  • 3.) Lots and lots of lanolin for the first few weeks. I personally prefer the Lansinoh brand over the Medela brand, only because it is more liquified so easier to apply to the nipples. Though that can be easily fixed by rubbing the lanolin between your finger and thumb to warm it up. I also like to just apply a dob of it to my breast pad, especially during the ultra-sensitive time during engorgement when your milk first comes in.

    4.) If it is going to touch your breast, make it cotton. No kidding. Cotton nursing bras and cotton breast pads (see #5). I have been particularly happy with the cotton nursing bras at Target sold under the Liz Lange label, and they are only $11.99 so you can stock up. I recommend 3 nightime bras and at least 3 daytime bras. The thing is, if they get wet from leakage you really need to change it. The dried milk can begin to grow bacteria and if that gets into your milk ducts, you're in trouble sister. I have battled mastitis. It is not at all fun. Very very miserable and painful. Target's nursing "sport bra" makes a nice sleep bra. I don't think it is near enough support to do any real exercising in, but it is very comfy. I would also stay away from underwires at least for the first few months. The underwire can put too much pressure on a milk duct and cause it to clog. Clogged milk ducts are also very uncomfortable.

    5.) Leakage. In the beginning it is inevitable. I have found personally that after a few months when my milk supply evens out, I don't have near the amount of problem with leakage as in the beginning, especially, right after your milk comes in. Again I recommend using cotton nursing pads. I love love these I go through probably 4-5 pairs a day/night in the beginning. So, having 10-12 pairs on hand would be helpful. I wash mine with my baby laundry, but bleach them once a week to be sure to kill bacteria and to wash away some stubborn lanolin. I do use disposable breast pads when I go out, b/c the cotton ones don't fully protect against the early month's let downs, though you can help a bit by pushing the offending breast in and up. I like the Lansinoh ones and it's nice because they come individually wrapped so you can throw a few in your diaper bag and purse. But at home I use only cotton because eventhough the disposables say they are breathable, if they are leak-proof there can't be a whole lot of breathing going on, which can lead to cracked and irritated nipples. To help keep my cotton ones dry, when I nurse at home I undo both sides of my bra and hold a burp cloth up to my free breast. Again, once it gets wet change it.

    Friday, October 13, 2006

    Henceforth to be known as...Ladybug

    Ladybug arrived on September 21st at 11:42 pm. She weighed in at 7lbs 14 oz and was a towering (for my family) 21 inches tall.

    Mom and baby are doing well. The rest of the family has lost its mind...

    Sunday, September 03, 2006 be a daughter's mother

    If this little girl, this one with the goofy grin in her Snow White costume, this curious one who loves finding tadpoles, this sweet dear one that gives the best cuddles, this one that you waited so many years to have and fought so hard to keep safe until she was ready to be born, came up to you and said, "Mommy, why won't the other girls let me play with them?" would you crumble inside? Would you gather her into your lap and just cry? Because it was all I could do to not cry. All I could do to not walk over to the other little girl and put her over my knee. All I could do to stop the flash of all the other little girls that will make my daughter hurt, doubt herself, wonder what is wrong with her.

    I don't know that I handled it well. I don't think I did. I said loud enough for the other two girls to hear, that sometimes girls were just mean. Some girls just don't know how to play with more than one other girl. Why? I don't know, but I do know that it hurts our feelings. Jellybean, doesn't understand girls. She gets so excited when there are other girls around because she has three brothers. And most girls and other kids in general absolutely love her. Love to play with her. She's sweet and fun and can play soccer as easily as dolls.

    Unfortunately, there is one girl that does not like our daughter. or any of our kids, come to think of it. And more unfortunately, Janey is the daughter of my husband's best friend. I hate when we get together as families. And that is so hard because I love this couple. The wife is in my book/dinner club. She is so funny and irreverent and smart. But their kids...that's another story. You see, Jellybean was playing just fine with Katie, another 4 year old girl, after Janey refused to talk to her. (Before we went to this BBQ, Jellybean actually asked me what she should do if Janey wouldn't talk to her. I told her their would be plenty of other girls there, too.) Well, Janey finally decided SHE wanted to play with Katie and as quick as can be, Jellybean was cut off. Just like that. and they are only FOUR years old! Jellybean tried several brave times to get back into the action, but eventually played with her brothers and then by herself.

    I know it is this one girl's problem, not Jellybean's. Plenty of kids like her. But think about it. Doesn't the one that doesn't like you begin to overpower all the others in your mind? You don't think about them. You focus in on why this ONE person doesn't like you and what must be wrong with you. And then I have to pray and pray that I am not also contributing to that feeling. When my ears are so exhausted from listening to her nonstop talk that I honestly fear they will fall right off. When she wants to be me so much that there isn't a chore that is too mundane for her to superglue herself at my side so she can attempt it. I pray that I am not mean, that I can be that reflection of Divine love, that I can help build a self-esteem so strong that no one can touch it. I thank God everyday that Jellybean will soon have a sister, God willing. And that eventhough there will be four years between them, Flea will always think that Jellybean is the greatest.

    And when they are grown they will have each other. Sisters.

    Saturday, September 02, 2006

    Last night my dinner club went out to a restaurant that Zagat's has rated in the top 10 in the nation. It was phenomenal. To my surprise, I walk in and at the reservation desk is standing a a man I was very good friends with in high school. A man I used to go to concerts with all the time. Everyone from 10,000 Maniacs to Nine Inch Nails (The Pretty Hate Machine tour.) We always had a great time. Unfortunately, it turns out he also had a monster crush on me. I seriously, had no idea. he never breathed a word. I ended up marrying another friend we hung out with in high school. ouch! Well, now he is Executive Chef of this restaurant.

    The sad thing was, I was so happy to see him. I really liked him alot. He was such a fun, good friend. He came around and gave me a hug and we tried to chit chat, but it was crazy awkward. (I think it had a lot to do with the Hilary Clinton hair that I'm sporting right now while I try to grow it out. Honestly, yesterday I finished drying it kind of down and Dearie gave me a bit of a grimace. I told him to stop looking at me like that. He said, "Like what?" I said, "Like, 'Nice wig.'" It's very very bad right now.) Anyway, he was just weird. And that made me sad.

    But then, after we had all ordered (they have this great 1/2 entree for 1/2 price thing so you can basically order two entrees and get to try lots of stuff) well, suddenly this other food starting appearing that wasn't even on the menu! Compliments, you know. And it was all incredibly tasty. I ordered The Pan Roasted Marinated Chicken with Local Yard Bean and Sweet Corn Succotash, Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Sweet Corn Sauce AND Char-Grilled Hanger Steak with Amish Blue Cheese “Tater Tots”, Creamed Local Spinach, Collinsville Horseradish. Blue cheese tater tots?! They were incredible! Yummy yummy yummy,

    Then, we were debating deserts and we ordered, but out came our waitress with this three-tierd tray with basically two of every desert on the menu, plus this custom arrangement of goat cheeses...I was in heaven and shoveling the stuff in left and right. I had to be rolled out of the restaurant. And I thought, phew! I must have misread that whole encounter. I mean crap! It's Friday night at this hot restaurant and he's the freakin EXECUTIVE CHEF!! Well, we spent 3 hours there eating and drinking (1 glass of red wine, people, relax!) and I asked my waitress if he had time to come out and say good bye so we could thank him. The waitress came back and told us he was cleaning himself up and would be out in a second.

    He came out, we ooohed and aaaahed and thanked him. But again, he was really really... weird. Not at all comfortable talking to me. And I left, sad. My friends agreed with my assessment so I know it isn't just my paranoia. And it's bothering me. I'm thinking about sending a simple thank you note and then just leaving it alone. But would that be appropriate? And I loved the restaurant and I know Dearie would love it too. I don't want him to think he has to do special treats if I come back. He invited Dearie and I to come in, but from his weirdness, I don't know if he really means it. It seems tacky to me. But, it's not like I can sneak in, if he came out and saw me...that would be really tacky.

    ugh! maybe I should just leave it alone, alone.

    Thursday, August 31, 2006

    Love is...

    Once again it's Love Thursday

    Love is...
    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
    When you just can't get close enough...

    Tuesday, August 29, 2006

    Warren and Boyd Blow My Mind

    A couple of weeks ago, after Dearie and I finished up David Letterman, we happened upon The Charlie Rose Show. As guests, were Rick Warren and Gregory Boyd. Now, I read The Purpose Driven Life and Dearie has read The Purpose Driven Church. The man is no idiot. He has alot to say. I ended up not liking the book, though because Warren made God sound like a whiny teenage girl. God wants me to constantly tell him/her how great s/he is. And God tested our friendship to make sure I really liked him/her. etc. etc. It just made God sound so...pathetic. I'm pretty sure God is confident in his omnipotence and God knows my heart and my weakness.

    I had never heard of Gregory Boyd until coincidentally a few minutes before we came upon the show, Dearie was telling me about his church in St. Paul. (We love St. Paul and miss Minnesota terribly) from the New York Times article (there is a link on his website) " Before the last presidential election, he preached six sermons called “The Cross and the Sword” in which he said the church should steer clear of politics, give up moralizing on sexual issues, stop claiming the United States as a “Christian nation” and stop glorifying American military campaigns. 'When the church wins the culture wars, it inevitably loses,' Mr. Boyd preached. 'When it conquers the world, it becomes the world. When you put your trust in the sword, you lose the cross.'" Boyd is a very influential conservative Christian minister. And this sermon series lost him 1,000 of his 5,000 members.

    As we watched the show, my mind was completely blown. And in a good way. I felt such joy and warmth welling up in me. Here were two of the most influential Evangelical church leaders. Warren talking about ecumenism and finding common ground and that as Christians we have more in common than we do dividing us. And Boyd saying "When were we ever a 'Christian' Nation?" When we were slaughtering Native Americans as we colonized their land, when we were capturing and dragging thousands of African peoples here to be slaves? All I could say over and over as I listened to him talk was "Holy Crap!" I've just ordered his book based on the sermon series.

    So, does this mean that I am moving farther from the left and more toward the center? Does this mean that they are moving away from the right and into the center? Yes, and no. No, because hopefully God will continue to reveal him/herself to us in vastly different ways so that we can see how none of us has a handle on who God is. So we can begin to understand that God surpasses our measily human understanding, is bigger than any box we try to put him/her in. I still disagree theogically with many of the Fundamentalist beliefs, and many of their social stances. But Yes, we are hopefully moving to the center, if the center finally becomes God and not our idealologies and earthly agendas. Yes, if we are ready to learn from each other. Yes, if we finally get the religion out of the government.

    Monday, August 28, 2006

    Hmmmm...not quite sure what to make of this.

    But, Hey! We're doing our part! The Fertility Gap

    "Liberals, it is said, have a baby problem. They don't have enough of them, compared to conservatives. And this failure to replenish their ranks is a reason why they lose elections. Call it a fertility gap.

    "The political right is having a lot more kids than the political left," Syracuse University professor Arthur Brooks says. "The gap is actually 41 percent."

    It goes on to say basically that liberals are so anti-family that it only makes sense that we are being outnumbered. Whatever. I mean, honestly, whatever. I hate that the article makes it sound almost like this is some kind of a political strategy. I know alot of conservative large families. And I can tell you, they are wonderful people. We would disagree on about every issue you could throw out there politically and probably theologically, but nonetheless these are wonderful loving families who have lots of kids because...well, they love kids!

    And should it become a battle cry for liberals to start having larger families just so they can keep up with the conservatives? That seems like about the worst reason I can think of to have children. Like some kind of wierd population race! That's way too creepy. UGH! I am just so tired of everything becoming a devisive issue along party lines! Get over it!

    Sunday, August 27, 2006

    15...There's still time for you.

    ahhhh...15. 15 sucks. 15 was definitely the hardest age. and you are. Mothering 15 is even harder. trying to let you be who you are, who God is trying to break out of this childhood shell. Trying not to fix everything that I did wrong at 15. Trying not to make your 15 world's above my 15. But, that's just it, isn't it? It's YOUR 15 not mine.

    I don't have any idea what boy 15 feels like. I only know what girl 15 felt like, and it sucked. 16 will be better, 17 will be even better, 18 you're tops, 19 was my favorite. 19. I was only 4 years older than you are now when I had you. 19. What a baby. with a baby. But, we've done alright. We've come through.
    But, 15. 15 and only making the bench for the freshman soccer team. 15 and having a great girl for a "girlfriend" someone who is your friend, who likes what you like, who plays guitar with you, who listens and cares for all the worries that I can't help with anymore...because you're 15.

    15 and starting fresh at highschool. 15 and wanting to do good, wishing everyone would get off your case and just let you do good. 15 and being an awesome big brother to a sudden brood of little brothers and sisters after 11 years of being an only child. 15 and wanting to connect but trying to figure out how on this new playing field.

    Your 15 makes me cry for the growing pains you'll go through, the uncertainity, the fear. A mother's fear that you won't make it through. That you'll hurt too much. That I won't be enough....and I won't. I'll pray hard for you everday you're 15. Pray that you'll know what we know, that there is a strength and a sweetness and a generosity and a sense of humor and of creativity that the Divine has written on your heart. And you WILL find your place. There's still time for you. Take it slow. Have faith. Have hope. Believe in love.