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