Thursday, May 02, 2013

Church Working Parent

Thursday mornings are hard.  Very hard.  Little Goat wants to keep sleeping and really who can blame him.  I want to keep sleeping too.  Thursday mornings are hard because Wednesdays are long.

Like we get to church at 9am (Preschool is also at church) and we head home at 8:15pm.  Little Goat too.  He is in Preschool and extended care until 3pm and then he is my helper, watching videos and making copies with me until evening programming starts.  Then he's in programming - either the nursery or my own program if I take pity on him (he's technically a year too young still, but if numbers are low it works fine).

We head home after things wrap up at 8pm after I clean up of course.  Dad is also on sight in the church choir.  Then we drive 20 minutes home and begin the bedtime routine.  Normal bedtime begins at or before 8pm.

On the one hand, I am grateful that Little Goat loves to be at church and really has a pretty good attitude about it all.  But on the other it is just hard on a 4 yr old to be out that long.  He needs downtime.  And when he kept insisting that he was sick this morning just to stay home and rest, I felt awful because I know it was a direct result of the long Wednesdays.

Sometimes I feel so paralyzed by it.  My work is crucial to our family for that whole money/benefits thing, but I also do enjoy my ministry.  I love to work with kids and even then Wednesdays are long on me.

Still I wish on Thursday mornings that I could be a stay at home mom.  Or that Wednesday nights were not church nights, because on Thursday mornings I feel acutely that I am failing my child.

But I make him get up, and eat breakfast, and put on his clothes.  And we are late to preschool, and there are tears (his) and drop off goes badly.  Despite the fact that he loves school.  He is just tired.

And I head up to my office up the stairs and I am tired too.  And there may be some more tears (mine this time).

But what can I do?  This is our reality so we push forward, Thursdays and all.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

What you don't see.

I see you sneering.  Judging my child and me for his behavior.  You see his loud "whispers" in worship, and his wiggles, and his difficulty staying still.  You see how he runs around following worship, often heading back to the sanctuary.  You see and you stop me and let me know just where he and I are going wrong.

But there are things you don't see.

You don't hear him whisper the Lord's Prayer along with the congregation.

You don't see his pride in his Father singing in the choir.

You don't see him sharing stickers with the kids around him who don't have them.

You don't see him wave his Palm with a Hosanna.

You don't hear the questions he asks after worship.

You don't see him thank the Pastor for the Children's gift.

You don't see how he listens in worship and how parts of the sermon come up in his play later.

You don't see him smile in welcome to all members of the congregation.

There is a lot that you don't see.  Instead you see what you want to see and nothing more.  You are entitled to your opinion on me and on him, but I ask you, who is truly being the better example of Christ's love here.

And frankly, regardless of your answer, I happen to believe that God gives enough grace for all of us. Hosanna, Blessed is He who Comes in the Name of the Lord.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

I miss it here

I miss this space.  A space without pressures, to just be me.  While there feels like there is pressure to perform in my other space, to lose weight in the "right" way at the "right" pace, I feel out of step with this spot that was just a place to be me.

I want to be able to write simply because today I am feeling sad and I can't quite tell you why.  Or that I am sick of the never-ending winter.  Or that my son thinks "poop" is the funniest word in the English language, and sometimes in the way he uses it, he might just be right.  (It is a hard-learned parent skill to keep a straight face when you really want to laugh).

I want to be vulnerable and authentically me.  I want to lament that I had no one to BOGO at Caribou today, though I brought a surprise to my administrative co-worker.

I created this place because here I was me, enough just as I was.  Right now that "enough" feeling is fleeting and transient.  Sometimes it is there but too often I am bogged down by my perceptions of the expectations of others.

So I am throwing a few words down, and hitting publish and putting the "just me" back out there. I hope I can stay.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Little Goat Votes.

Yesterday Little Goat voted for the presidential election at school. I think he was maybe a bit confused. Watch and see!


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Have I been away too long?

If I just write here today will anyone notice this spill of words on a blog that has stalled?

And what do I say?

Do I ponder the weight loss and stalls and blogging at PriorFatGirl, do I talk about hating potty training, or always being busy, or how little goat is not so little and enjoying preschool and how I can't help but feel a little hole in my soul over how fast he is growing.

Do I say that I miss this place, and you, and the sense of identity the blog helps me discover in myself?  Do I say that life is hard, and beautiful and sometimes I just want to sit awestruck in wonder of it all, but that there is always more to do.

Do I talk about that feeling that everyone seems to have it more together than me, even though I am fairly together these days as my own standards go. 

Do I talk about the funny stories, the painful ones? 

This blog is my blog and I can write about what I want, but the problem is I just don't know.  The words are wrapped up in a knot of yarn.  Tangled by a life of twists and turns and bumps.  I want to unravel that yarn but first you have to find the ends, and coax out the knots.

I want to pause and take a picture of my life and have time to study it before moving on.  To commit each moment to memory, but it seems to zoom by faster and faster.  And I tumble after it trying to keep up and hold on, and I wonder if I can possibly keep up.

What would it mean to just stop the running?  To sit and wonder and commit a moment to memory?  Am I brave enough to try it, even if it means being counter-cultural?

And if I stop, then how do I know I won't be left behind like my blog.  A casualty of busy.  Or is stopping the solution.

So what do you say to start again, or to stop and look and listen and feel, but then to move forward with intent?

I don't know, but I'd like to try.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Day out with Thomas

Whew, July is super busy with VBS and Camp and all sorts of things, but thankfully the worst is past and now I am starting to emerge again.  And yesterday we had a lovely day as a family up in Duluth.  We went up to see Thomas the Tank Engine and have a fun day away.  Little Goat had a blast and the pictures speak for themselves.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Book Review: The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation

I always am honored when I am asked to review a book for TLC book tours, they always seem to introduce me to really interesting books that I might not find on my own.  Whether I enjoy the book or loathe it (a rare experience for me), I always come away with some new information, ideas and knowledge.  Stephen Prothero's  The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation is no exception.

Prothero sets out to create a sort of American Canon, a collection of texts and commentaries that have deeply shaped the political landscape of the United States.  What I found so accessible in this book is that Prothero crafts and shapes the book in a parallel to the way that the Christian Bible is set up - a sense of beginning in Genesis, the foundation of the law, historical songs (Psalms), influential novels (Chronicles), and a host of other "primary" texts.  Take a look for yourself at the "The American Canon" as found in Prothero's book:
  • Genesis
    The Exodus Story
    John Winthrop, “A Model of Christian Charity (1630)
    Thomas Paine, Common Sense (1776)
    The Declaration of Independence (1776)
    Noah Webster, The Blue-Back Speller (1783-)
  • Law
    The Constitution (1787)
    Brown v. Board of Education (1954)
    Roe v. Wade (1973)
  • Chronicles
    Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852)
    Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884)
    Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (1957)
  • Psalms
    Francis Scott Key, “The Star-Spangled Banner” (1814)
    Irving Berlin, “God Bless America” (1938)
    Woody Guthrie, “This Land Is Your Land” (1940)
  • Proverbs
    Benjamin Franklin, “Remember that time is money” (1748)
    Benjamin Franklin, “God helps those who help themselves” (1758)
    Patrick Henry, “Give me liberty or give me death” (1775)
    Abigail Adams, “Remember the ladies” (1776)
    Sojourner Truth, “Ain’t I a woman?” (1851)
    Abraham Lincoln, “With malice toward none, with charity for all” (1865)
    Chief Joseph, “I will fight no more forever” (1877)
    Calvin Coolidge, ” The business of America is business” (1925)
    Franklin Delano Roosevelt, “I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American people” (1932)
    John F. Kennedy, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country” (1961)
    Ronald Reagan, “Evil empire” (1983)
  • Prophets
    Henry David Thoreau, “Civil Disobedience” (1849)
    Dwight Eisenhower, Farewell Address (1961)
    Marin Luther King Jr., “I Have a Dream” (1963)
    Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965)
  • Lamentations
    Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address (1863)
    Maya Lin, Vietnam Veterans Memorial (1982)
  • Gospels
    Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address (1801)
    Franklin Delano Roosevelt, First Inaugural Address (1933)
    Ronald Reagan, “The Speech” (1964)
  • Acts
    The Pledge of Allegiance (1892, 1954)
  • Epistles
    George Washington, Farewell Address (1796)
    Thomas Jefferson, “Letter to the Danbury Baptists” (1802)
    Martin Luther King, Jr., “Letter from Birmingham Jail” (1963)
What is so interesting is that Prothero himself admits that these are not necessarily the books that he would have chosen for himself to include, but are instead an attempt at compiling the texts, speeches, and writings that have truly shaped the American nation.

The other advantage to the way that Prothero has shaped this book is that each of the primary texts is surrounded by an introduction from Prothero and followed by several "commentaries" on it.  These are instances where the primary text influences other famous texts or speeches.  What I found so fascinating is that similar themes and texts were used by both political parties for their own means.   The Exodus Story for example influenced the rhetoric of both the Confederates wishing to leave the Union (making Lincoln into Pharaoh) and the slaves wishing for freedom (making the Confederates into Pharaoh).  This happened quite a bit, primarily in the earliest defining texts of America.

What this book gives is a lens from which to view things from a historical and intellectual perspective before leaping into the partisan politics that so dominates our political landscape today.  It is helpful to know that both JFK and Ronald Reagan quote from John Winthrop's, “A Model of Christian Charity (1630) for their own political gains.

Much like religious issues between the right and left are becoming increasingly polarized, so are political ones.  For me it is essential to go back to the primary texts (the Bible in religious instances) and the various texts that Porthero includes in his book, to seek out what the original historical context for something was, as well as the model of how that writing has later been shaped our religious or political history.

The goal of Prothero is not to get all American's to agree, the goal is to encourage dialogue.  One of the key elements that Prothero used to pick his texts was "the ability of a given text to generate controversy and conversation." (p. 7)  After all, it is the conversation and controversy that is foundational and essential to the American experience.

I think by reading the American Bible you won't always agree with Prothero, but that is the point.  However, I do think that your view of the American landscape will end up more nuanced and better able to recognize the themes and rhetoric that still dominate the American political scene today.