The Child God Gave You

The offspring (can you call your adopted children, offspring?) were trying to look busier than their siblings, so I wouldn’t hand them a task.   I was distracted by the unanswerable questions that 16 year-old girls ask. If I answered straight up, they’d see my responsibility to minister to those I’m in relationship with. I get enough of that from Jesus, as it is.

Then, somebody did something awesome.

I’d like to give credit, but time passed.  I wouldn’t be able to remember 15 years of pop music if I made brain space for things like who did this one thing. The fact is, whoever did, whatever it was, is lost in the mists of time, but it stopped me in my tracks.

“It all boils down to loving the child God gave you.”

About 10 years ago, Robyn, told me to, “Enjoy your kids.”

I ignored her, because I was more concerned with fitting them into my idea of “what life should look like”, than who they were designed to be.

Today. I can’t not enjoy them.

My vision for homeschooling?  I had to let that go.

We’re dreadfully undisciplined. We don’t invite our germaphobe friends here. It’s like the zoo. I don’t give them all organic foods. We fight. They talk back. They have bad habits that need to be broken; they call them sociological imperatives. Their table manners and their conversation make me want to lay down in a darkened room and remain until God takes me home.

But.

Maybe we’re making up for lost time.

Maybe we did the rebellion thing when they were acting like mental patients as 10, 11, and 12 year-olds. One shares, as part of her Christian testimony, that her behavior toward me was deliberately destructive before she believed.

Maybe I’m an utter failure.

A long time ago, I told a counselor about my relationship with my dad, “He loves me, but he’s like that Eagles’ song, ‘Desperado’.  He just doesn’t always express himself.”

He looked at me for a long second and said, “You are telling me about your relationship with the picture in your head of who your dad is.”  He was saying, you have to deal with the dad God gave you.

I have to deal with the kids God gave me.

There was a moment last year that put every thought I had under the microscope:  :

“Why am I wasting time on this?”

“Is this important enough to dedicate the energy to?”

“I am holding on too tight.”

“It’s okay for her to pout, as long as she does the task.”

“Is that the worst thing that can happen?”

Those thoughts drove to the heart of living for my mental picture of the perfect child, the incredible mother, the ideal public image.

Of course, I’m back to majoring on the minors– Who didn’t put the freaking toilet paper on the holder?  Whose cups are all these in the living room?  Why can’t we follow the towel guidelines?

Back to saddling up and riding behinds.

Back to deciding if it’s a cross to bear or a broom to ride.

Enjoying them when they need their butts kicked.  It’s a complex art.

Someone has to do it.

Loving the kids God gave me.

Making up for lost time.

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wherever You Are

Dear Birth Mother,

I hope this finds you well.  The weather here is fine.

It’s a beautiful, awful day.

I am thinking of you and the selfless life-changing decision you made.  Of your stated reasons.  And the ones you will never tell.

And what I know is true about us moms.

You are thinking of us today.  Of the promise you trusted in, that someone would love your child with their unique needs.

No matter how fantastic the celebration, you’ll wonder what’s up with us.  I’m getting the recognition for how these guys turned out.

Well.  I need to let you know.

Most days, I am pretty sure that anything good in them is all you.

They are amazing.

They stop people in their tracks.

They move in incredible natural gifts.

They make the issues unavoidable.

Your decision changed your life forever, but if I may say.  It keeps on changing lives. More than I can count. Every day.

Wherever you are, I honor you.

With love.  Fearless.  Like yours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do You Mind If I Pass?

The girls are in a production about the Civil Rights Movement.  I learned what ‘passing’ was.  It’s when a light-skinned African-American person used ‘white-only’ facilities.  Quietly, respectfully.  Not drawing attention.  Hoping just to sit on a train, for example, if they could.

Oh.

Like me?

I heard my mother and grandmother discussing an event that happened a generation or two ago.  In the process of breaking up housekeeping of one of my great-great-grandparents, a photo was found.  It was a photo of a black woman.  On the back, it said one word…

“Mama.”

At the time, I said nothing.  Sometime later, I referred to that event.  Mother just stared. It was anger and “I-don’t-know-what-you-mean?” at the same time.  Had she forgotten?  Was it a secret?

Nevertheless.

Whose mother? The answer is lost. Only Mother is alive to know it and, she isn’t talking.  There were the great-greats who both died, leaving the little girl who’d be my great grandmother, an orphan.  There is also the great-great who smoked cigars and only changed underwear twice a year–when she put on the winter underwear and when she took them off.  Her son would live 76 years, only to decide to end his life.

Someone kept a photo labeled, ‘Mama’.

My mother was born in the 40s.  My grandmother in the 20s. My great-grandmother died in 2005 at age 93.  If she was still alive, she’d be 101.  Given forty years for the two previous generations, that would place her grandmother’s birth in the year 1867.  Five years after the issue of the Emancipation Proclamation.  If by some chance my forebears in both those generations were older than 20 when my great-great was born, ‘Mama’ could have been born a slave.

It’s possible that the woman in the photo isn’t actually a relative at all, but a nanny.  Someone may have found a photo labeled ‘Mama’, and just never disposed of it.

Neither of those seem terribly likely, as this de-cluttering would have taken place before my grandmother was born.  Would it have been extremely likely that a white person, living in the 1920s in America, would keep a portrait of a black woman labeled ‘Mama”, if it held no personal meaning?

The photo, if kept, wasn’t kept by my branch of the family.  Of whom I am the only descendent.

May I pass?

Feel free.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lust: A Christmas Tutorial

The youth group has a question box.  You can put a question in and the leaders will take a little time on Wednesday evening to answer it.  Several weeks ago, someone asked if the word lust had only to do with sex.  Pretty good question.

Did I forget to mention that only men are allowed to teach mixed groups of people at our church?

Yeah.

So the person, who answered this, answered in the negative; that there is also a lust for power.  His example, people who run for public office.  Regardless of political party.

That was all.

It has troubled me for the entire time, that he didn’t talk about all the other drives of the flesh that we indulge.

I tried to bring the example of the desire to drive the “then-new-to-me” car on the road between Target and an adjoining suburb.  It features tight curves and ever-so-slight banking in a spot or two.  This vehicle is made to handle well and this little spot of perhaps a half mile is a delightful opportunity to sample that.  Really delightful.

Apparently, that was interpreted as me wanting to brag about the car.

I was interrupted and ignored.

There are a number of kinds of lust.  I avoided blogging it because, they’ll all find out soon enough and it was just me taking it personally.

So, in the spirit of taking it personally, I’m blogging it now.  Because I have a bad case.

You see, I have a cookbook collection.  Not like I am trying to build a library that will be donated for public use when I die.  But to use. Each one has a story and a reason.  I have hard and fast rules for selection, that even I don’t know.  I know when I see them.  I experience a kind of feeling of awe sometimes when I find a certain one.

I digress.

For Christmas, I started a little project.  I bought cookbooks for some kids (5) I love.  They are like nieces and nephews. Sort of.  Thing.

There’s the great used book store here, and I got in the cookbook section and found six (6) treasures.  I can’t decide which book to give which kid.  Because I want two (2) of them for myself.

Two.

Two.

 

Want them.

Both.

Want.

A lot.

So I’m sitting here trying to wrap gifts and looking through the books, especially the ones I want, but then I glanced through the one that was most expensive.  Now, I want it, too.

That’s what made me remember.

Lust.

Desire.

Well-engineered cars,

Cookbooks that take my breath away,

Fine leather goods, like handbags, wallets, belts and…

Yesterday, I was doing a little shopping.

I wanted to buy something for someone who reads this blog.  Who I’m responsible for dressing.  The cost was a little ambitious.  I got a little angry.

Because I wanted what I wanted.  And felt it was out of reach.

Non-essential.

There may have been some pouting.  I’m not scared, though.  Santa and I are on shaky terms right now (it’s another post).

Desire.

I’m not as tired as I was and I think I’m going back.

To be excessive in the essentials.

Lavish.

Soliciting for real connection through some other means.

Please.

Any self-respecting first-world woman, knows I’m talking about boots.

Two pair of size ten black leather riding boots.

Mm.

Mm.

Mm.

And I might buy a hot drink (with some kind of froth or something) while I’m out.

What do you say?  Is lust just a sexual term?  What do you hope Santa will slather all over you this Christmas?

 

 

 

Excuse Me, But Do You Have The Time?

To do something fun and friendly?

My friend Sam is in his last year of vet school.

He is the oldest of five children.

He has spent the last six years anyway, busily working away at becoming not just a vet, but a man.

He was on the team that went to India the year Mickey went.

He helped me figure out what was wrong with Low Self-Esteem Dog’s eye, when she tried to take it out herself.

He is seemingly unaware of his eligibility as a bachelor.

He is trying to win a weird prize.

An portable ultrasound for large animal use.

Glamorous, right?

Well, here’s the deal.

It’s a video entry and will be decided by votes.

He is the only student in the competition and most of the people I know, know him.

Except here.

If you wouldn’t mind stopping by and casting your vote, he would be so very thankful.

His is the last entry and it’s awesome as Sam is.

By all means, if you need to watch all the videos, feel free, because I want you to vote your conscience.

Because loving your friends is loving your friends IRL and Blog.  Right?

Thanks!

 

Writer’s Workshop: Back In Time

1.) Recycle a favorite post from July of any year that you have been blogging.  This post is actually from the ‘now defunct’ adoption blog, with updates per the ones that are accomplished.

There are 100 things I’d like to do before I celebrate my 100th birthday.  Well, quite number more than that, and the fun stuff more than once.  But you know…I have to digress in some direction(the jury is still out on whether I need some meds for the ADD)  [In 2012,I have not one, but two doctors opinions.  It’s not ADD.  I’m just annoying]  .  Since encouraged to take a moment to contemplate the future’s starlit canvas ( what?), here is the list of things so I have it written down in a place I might be able to find it to mark things off.

CRAZYBELOVED ONE HUNDRED THINGS I WANT TO DO BEFORE I TURN ONE HUNDRED

  1.     Be debt free–all debt: credit cards,
  2.     Home
  3.     Auto. Did it, paid one off.  Bought a new one on Monday.
  4.     Save to pay for College,
  5.     Weddings
  6.      And retirement.
  7.      Be finished with this house, by renovation or evacuation.
  8.      Participate in the Neighborhood Christmas Tour of Historic Homes.  I volunteered, again.  Got my fill.
  9.     Find a vacation rental we can return to year after year…we are thinking Outer Banks.
  10.     Be well-read instead of just a reader.
  11.     Finish the story that lives on my shoulder and never skips a day of asking to be written.
  12.     Publish.
  13.     Become known for my hospitality (don’t think Martha, think iced tea in mason jars and laughing until 3 a.m; not moving from the dining room to the living room because it might break the spell).
  14.     Learn to like feta or some other objectionable trendy food.
  15.     Become a REALLY good cook.  Not a gourmet chef.  A Good Cook.
  16.     Own a little neighborhood coffee shop.
  17.      Enter the Pillsbury Bake-off.*
  18.     Figure out a way to share with others in a way that meets needs that are beyond shelter and food.
  19.     Get consistent with my nutrition and exercise.There are not really days off in life.
  20.     Lose 10 more pounds. Change this to twenty.
  21.      Be organized. Real life, finished singing the same old tune, once and for all.
  22.      Have a house that appears to have been decorated with any amount of deliberateness.
  23.      Have 15 minutes of fame for something pleasant.  Not for being a stupid idiot.
  24.      Be a good listener.
  25.      Visit the following: Grand Canyon.
  26.      Philadelphia
  27.      Washington D.C.
  28.      Alaska
  29.      Mount Rushmore
  30.      Kenya
  31.      Spontaneously jump into the car and take off for the beach.
  32.      Get an slr and learn how to use it*
  33.      Kick a bad habit– TV, caffeine, sugar.
  34.      Go geocaching*
  35.      Farm (you know, a garden and a goat and some hens)
  36.      Dress Fabulously
  37.      Have a “signature scent”.
  38.      School my kids to graduation. To the option to go to a really good college.  If they choose.
  39.      Get through this “teen” stage with my girls and move through to a fun healthy relationship.
  40.      Be the mom who has the fun ideas and executes them simply and economically.
  41.      Be the good grandma.
  42.      Have enormous great holiday celebrations.
  43.      Meet some of my favorite bloggers in person*  Met Shell, at Blissdom; sent by Jennifer.  Found a ton of new faves.
  44.      See some important relationships healed on both sides.
  45.      Invite my cousins, SILS, and nieces & nephews to come visit and have them come or want to come.
  46.      Get a cabin in the mountains for Christmas
  47.      Be the family with season passes for the good stuff (not the living history museum).
  48.      Have the courage and wit to stand up for the right so well that people are persuaded without being angry first.
  49.      Learn to scuba dive (from Lance who promised it to us for a wedding gift).
  50.      Learn to climb rocks.
  51.      Get proficient at some sort of textile related craft.*
  52.      Dance in the rain, again.
  53.      Take Mickey to see the Yankees.
  54.      Buy him a(nother) ’65 Mustang.
  55.      Be better at my job.
  56.      Hang out with the Fergusons, again.  Did it.  Last Mother’s Day…Already time to put it back on the list.
  57.      Win something big.
  58.      Own an RV.
  59.      And the big @#$ truck to pull it with.
  60.      See a miracle.
  61.      Visit Boston.
  62.      Know someone who eventually becomes REALLY famous.(Every Oklahoman who knew Mary Hart when she was on Dannysday.)
  63.      Help my kids search their heritage when the time comes.
  64.     Go snowskiing.
  65.     Spend Christmas in New England.
  66.     Do something that would make my aunts and cousins proud.
  67.     Raise beautiful flowers.
  68.     Keep a journal.
  69.     Have another transcendant friend.
  70.     Be really old and have people asking what the secret is and saying crazy stuff like eating bacon, smoking tiparillos, going without sunscreen, drinking a shot of cheap tequila every time I go #2.  Or whatever.
  71.     Build a home in the plan of either the 83rd street house or my Grandmother’s house.
  72.     Not skydive. So far so good.
  73.     Watch the sunset over a rocky shoreline, drinking wine, while my flat stomach peeks out the bottom of my camisole over the comfortable expensive jeans.
  74.     Visit all the amusement parks so my husband can ride all the roller coasters(I like a day at the park, but don’t particularly care for coasters.  Mickey and Diva E’s joy would be enough).
  75.    De-clutter my house.
  76.    Learn to speak Chinese
  77.    Stand-up at an Open Mic Night
  78.    Enter a Chili Cook-Off.
  79.    Win.
  80.    Love.
  81.    Help.
  82.    Sing.
  83.     Rejoice.
  84.     Be a cause for rejoicing.
  85.     Encourage others.
  86.     Teach my kids the same.
  87.     Teach my kids our family history and theirs.
  88.     Get the Thank Yous out in a timely fashion.
  89.     Get a niece from China. 
  90.     Move the washer and dryer downstairs to the right spot.
  91.     Have a collection of something interesting (-er than coffee mugs and cookbooks).
  92.     Have good hair and skin (please God, one time before I die).
  93.     Not end my 15 minutes of fame by being a stupid idiot.
  94.     Never EVER meet Tom Cruise (or Angelina Jolie or Kate Gosselin or Meredith Viera or Nicole Kidman).  Right on schedule.
  95.     Be prepared in case of an emergency.
  96.    Get a boy’s room ready with a cowboy theme.
  97.    Finish raising the funds for this adoption.
  98.    Pack well.
  99.    Fly to China.
  100.    BRING MY SON HOME!!!!

Now wouldn’t it be fun to pass your list to the person on your right and help make each others lists happen?

 

This is my first time to choose a Mama Kat prompt to write on.  It is a load of fun. [I try to link up often.  It’s still fun.]

I am linking this post to Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop, still.

 

 

*some of these need to give credit to Jennifer @ Momma Made It Look Easy.  These are the ones I might not have remembered if I hadn’t read her list.  Any other duplication is because we seem to look forward to some similar things.

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