Movie Night Revisited

This evening, we watched the movie, Belle.  It’s based on a true story.  It broke my heart.  It’s a beautiful story.  It’s a victory story.  The trouble is the victory was won in 1779 and we are re-enacting similar battles, one relationship at a time, everyday.

In fact, this very evening, the local news featured a city man who strung his porch with blue lights for the holidays in support of the #policelivesmatter movement.  #Policelivesmatter seems to be a response to the #blacklivesmatter campaign which has competed since Michael Brown’s and Eric Garner’s deaths, though the news story focused only on ways one might identify with #policelivesmatter.  As my husband pointed out…  There has never been a problem with a failure to honor the fallen in the line of duty.

In the film, the beautiful thing is that everyone did what they believed was right.  The truth prevailed and wrong was defeated.  Perhaps it was a fairy tale and I should leave it at that and go to bed (it’s quite late).

I can’t.  I want to go on my face in front of the God Who Sees.  To wrestle Him until dawn.  To demand He bless me and my family.

To meet the sunrise.

I will have to be prepared to speak to something.  I don’t want to.  When we went here, it was only to become a family, not an activist.  Hate that word.  I don’t want to be naked, again.  The only one exposed and vulnerable.  The only one being told, “You’re wrong. Let me help you understand your experience, in terms with which I am more comfortable.”

Yet, I want action.  Need healing.  God’s proof of Himself.  Sorry.  I know He owes me nothing of the sort.

I’m stiff-arming Him on the work of the call.  I have to speak.  In one relationship.  At a time. Doesn’t matter how many people are standing around qualified to initiate the same discussion.  Same credentials.

My call.  My bucket.  My waders.  My shovel.

My blog posts run cryptic.  I don’t really know why.  Probably so they aren’t specific and measurable, so someone can’t read an old post and say, “Hey!  How’s it coming on that commitment you made back in blah, blah, blah.”

I digress.

If I’m honest (are we ever really?), I know why I’m vague.  I write to find out what I think.  The kabillion unpublished posts are proof of that.  I publish to dare to say something scary.  I guess I rarely do.  I think I’m being avant garde and the feedback is that I’m winsome and safe and, sometimes, deep.

I’m sorry.

I’m evasive because I don’t want to identify anyone in particular because I have to do business with my self and my responses.  Not take take account of another person’s business.  I have to reckon my call to speak in a loving, honest, incisive way.  If someone recognized themselves and took offense (it’s happened), maybe they didn’t notice that I left it not with their problem, but with my responsibility.  As a child of God, I’m responsible to speak the truth in love, to those who are going a way that will hurt themselves or someone else.  No matter the potential cost to my personal comfort.

Love is more than comfort.

Worth the work.

And the wait.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Thought Thursday


I keep trying to write three posts and I think the ideas are conjoined .  Because this blogging thing is like giving birth.  In five years, this post won’t vomit on the couch, but otherwise….  I digress.

In no particular order, I’ve been thinking this:

The poetry is there.  It’s there in the sh*t days.  It’s there in the drudgery.  It’s there in the “WHEN YOU HAVE A NOSEBLEED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT, GET ME!!! DON’T LEAVE THE BATHROOM LOOKING LIKE SOMEONE WAS KILLED IN THERE!!!”

It’s there when you are fried from stress and worrying about your kids.  Roaming the house with your insomnia for companionship, you look out the window at your ugly little neighborhood robed in peace and, at long last, quiet.

When you fight back.

When you surrender.

When your love looks like hate.

And you love something you should hate.

Life is simply lyric.

Whether we think so or not.

The next thing is this:

There is a trend in our area to make your homeschoolers take a 5th year of high school if the parent and the Independent Study Program administrator agree it would be a good idea.  To me this is like flunking your senior year.  A few months ago, a couple of moms tried to get me to hold my daughters back.

NO FREAKING WAY.  They will turn 18 a week after graduation which makes them among the youngest of their class, but it isn’t as if they are a whole year ahead.  Their credits will be completed.  I couldn’t, in my right mind, come up with an excuse to make them stay longer.

THEY’VE GOT TO GET OUT.

Sure.  I want them to stay.  I’m a mom and I’m supposed to feel nostalgic and resistant at the same time.  But that isn’t a sign something is wrong.  It is a sign something is very, very right.  They are designed, like the birds and fish and bears and stuff, to mature.  Grow-up.  Launch out on their own.

They need to find work they love. They need to fall in love and get married  and finish the last of that box of wine during a power outage and 9 months later give me a grandbaby.  I’ve earned her.

And last:

Chatting with the therapist, I bemoaned that I was opposite of someone who is the “my kids speak four languages, play the musical instruments of dead cultures, and the governor calls them for advice” homeschool mom.  She pointed out that could be a way of keeping busy so you don’t have to think about relationships.    It could be true, because girls our age were taught to build a resume (Look out!!! French Club President, coming through!!!), so colleges and our peers could rank us.

Boom.

It healed my lonely soul.  I’m still growing in who I always have been, which really never was that.  I can stop measuring myself by the unit used to measure another kind of creation.  I can stop comparing apples with asparagus.

God has given me the desires of my heart.

For these three things, I am deeply grateful.

 

 

 

And the Trees of the ‘Hood Shall Clap Their Hands

This is the tree…

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This photo doesn’t capture the fullness of its beauty.

Throughout the year, I forget to be grateful for my home.  Because I’m wretched, that way.  I could be more specific, but I don’t need to rehearse my ingratitude.

So throughout the year, the tree is insulted by the neighbors’ dogs.

Then comes Autumn.

The tree rejoices profoundly.  In reverence and honor and worship, it puts on the most radiant complex colors.   I can’t even describe it and it seems my camera is a bit stumped, as well.

My tree makes the little troubles with the house worth it.  We all agree.

Gratitude is a color.

 

 

 

“You will indeed go out with joy and be peacefully guided; the mountains and the hills will break into singing before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”

It’s Not the Shoes

They say you never miss things until they’re gone.

My professors said,”You’ve got to do something about this anxiety.”  And, “Let something go.”

I chose to let the laundry go.

Friday morning, I had no clean underwear.

On Tuesdays, the girls are supposed to do laundry.  They did.  Theirs.  They left it in all stages of the process.  I backtracked through the mashed in the basket to wrinkle., the left in the dryer to wrinkle, and the mildewing in the washer.  I found not more than a half dozen items belonging to other family members in three loads of laundry.  The mildewing washer load had a single pair of my underwear but I didn’t have time to re-wash and dry them.

There are two options, as it was 8:03 and I had to be out the door by 8:10:

1) Re-wear the dirty ones.

2) Go “Commando”.

I will not burden your imagination with my decision.  Suffice to say, I find these alternatives difficult to rank in order of relative psychological comfort.

Today, I had the opportunity to attack the laundry problem, and was distressed to find:

–Mickey might have gone to work naked on Friday.  Which might be pushing “Casual Friday” beyond reasonable limits on a regular week, but this week he was supposed to have a meeting with the Bishop of the local diocese.  Lord, have mercy; Christ, have mercy.

–Marcus took a different approach.  Though I hadn’t done any laundry since last week, there were only three pair of his underwear in the laundry.  I decline to speculate on all that this implies.  I was however able to do an entire load of laundry consisting almost entirely of socks and underwear.

ACCIDENTAL THOUGHTS ON THE POWER OF THE RIGHT PAIR OF DRAWERS:

1) Have you ever searched for your favorite underwear on an important day?  This can either mean a day when you expect great things, like your birthday; or it can refer to anticipated stress, like a big exam.  Of course, you have.  The right underwear make a difference.

2) Do you have special underwear for different purposes? Of course, you do.  The right underwear make a difference.  For example:  When you exercise, there are some underwear that make you feel really sad.   Also, don’t even try to wear those five year-old Hanes Her Way under that prom dress.  And I assume you understand that you aren’t under any circumstances to wear the prom underwear to a meeting with the Bishop.  Of course, you do.  There is a right place and a right time.

3) There are some people who do not wear underwear.  This is a lifestyle choice and in no way my business to judge.  If this describes you, do you know that you aren’t to tell me about it?  Of course, you do.  Again, no judging, but I think “no underwear” people are missing out.

Awhile back, the time came to have a little more in-depth talk with the girls about romance and relationships.  It was sort of strenuous.  Like herding cats.  For those of you young parents who think “the talk” happens once, I wish you all the best.  That has not been my experience. When we were done, we went shopping for cute underwear.  Sound weird?  Of course, it does.  My point to them, then (and I need to remember it myself) was that you feel special for yourself.  Respect yourself and treat yourself well.

When I was about 15, I started shopping for high end underwear.  Mom made no comment. I was in 9th grade; P.E. and I had broken up years before.  It was the eighties, and we all dressed like bankers for high school. I wasn’t buying them to show anyone.  They worked just as well as the ugly  ones. I wasn’t buying them to communicate an identity– grandmother, skank, athlete.  I was buying them to celebrate- “This is not for boys, of which I am not one.  Oh, and by the way, I feel pretty powerful.”

The right underwear is a powerful thing.  Clark Kent knows.

It’s not the shoes.

 

NaBloPoMo_November_0

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emergency Preparedness: An Accidental Guide

God, in His infinite grace hasn’t meant my family to weather a power outage of longer than 1.5 hours duration.  In His mercy, he has understood us in our weakness.  Because He has promised not to send a temptation beyond what we can bear.  An hour and a half seems to be all He’s willing to trust me with.  And that’s fine with me.  I have nothing to prove in this regard.  On the occasions of the extremely short term outages we have experienced, I have found the following to be true:

1) The husband’s first task is to report directly to the refrigerator and open it in search of a snack.  “We can’t go hungry the whole time the power’s out.” (It has been three minutes.  It might be 6 hours.  Either way, YES WE CAN.)

2) The husband/dad’s covering the task of ensuring we lose a refrigerator full of food, frees the girls to run down the battery on any and all mobile devices and electronics.  “There’s nothing else to do.  We can’t watch Netflix.”  Lest you worry that we saddle our kids with all the responsibility.  Dad joins them as soon as he finishes his snack, bleeding the last pulse out of that iPhone battery.

3) When all batteries are run down enough that no charge is lasting to sunrise, that’s the time to change for bed.  It’s important, especially to the girls, to dress attractively.  Eyelet camis and co-ordinating shorts remind us that summer is never too far away, and help us stay in touch with the falling interior temperatures.

4) Meanwhile, someone should find all the candles and light each and every one.  Because we can’t watch TV, but we can read.  Like Abraham Lincoln before us, we are going to destroy our vision and use up all the candles. When bedtime comes we’ll navigate the house in total darkness.  Tripping over the shoes and backpacks will be fun.  Thank God we left them out.  Everywhere.  All the time.

5) It’s important to notify the utility services company.  In our home, this task is delegated to Dad/Hubby. “But I hardly have any charge.” Then in 45 minutes, protocol dictates that he second guess himself and do it again.  Just in case the recorded confirmation that he got the first time was in error.  Then go find the wife/mom and reassure her that they got it the second time.  Even though they got it the first time.

6)  You’ll want to gather everyone around and talk at length about all the things you can’t do.  No TV, computer, coffee, popcorn, showers, or flat ironing hair.  Of course, conversation should also include speculation as to the extent of the outages in terms of both geographic area and number of households affected.  To these imaginary numbers, should be included conjecture as to the cause of the outage.  Downed power lines, squirrel in the transformer, ice, storms, a stoned man stealing an ambulance and running it into the pole on which the transformer is mounted.  The possibilities are endless. Take advantage of this opportunity to fixate on the misery.

7)  It doesn’t require hot water to take a night time pain reliever.  (Contrary to what my kids might say.  Water in this primitive state is still potable.  The absence of ice will not create a health hazard. Neither will the lack of exposure to a tea bag.) Depending on how much is left in the bottle, you might see to it that your pain is relieved by administering the recommended dosage to your spouse and covering them with enough blankets to keep them warm and blissfully unconscious until power is restored.  If there is not enough for both of you and a decision has to be made, take it yourself.  He is on duty managing both the crisis and the emotions surrounding the technological deprivation.  Your children will sleep on their own with nothing to do.  Until the interior temps drop below 72F degrees.  Then you are gonna need to call in an expert.

 

I am participating in Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop and

 

NaBloPoMo_November_0

 

 

 

Table Manners and the Grace of God

Yesterday, I made my confession where table manners is concerned.  It’s shocking.

You raise them up.  Maybe, say, you homeschooled.  All along you thought it was about the way school is done in a world where there are no wrong answers (I wouldn’t let my kid become an astronaut under the circumstances).  Eventually, they get big and recalcitrant and you wonder.

Right now.

I’m just about back in square.  I was a little sideways for awhile.

The table manners.  They don’t play three musical instruments.  They don’t speak three languages.

They can dance.  One can rap.

I wanted a picture perfect.  I got a tear-stained, snot-smeared, spit-fragranced struggle.  And a rapper.  They are probably geniuses, but will openly admit they knew it was two against one.  Their test scores will get them into community college (which is freaking fine with me because it’s free.  Free.).  We get sideways looks because their future plans aren’t pre-med, pre-law, pre-vet, pre-professional.  They aren’t looking at schools that can beat the local university in football.  Never mind the Ivy League or the full ride scholarships in piano, voice, or engineering.

Two weeks ago, their friend told them their mother needed to get with it.

Because I’m trying to get into a better school?  Nope.

I’m about to break it down in terms even a kid who isn’t majoring in bio-medical engineering can understand.

Get in.

Sit down.

Shut up.

Hold on.

I’m gonna tell you this, and I don’t want any arguments.  Well, I probably wouldn’t know how to move forward without arguments.  So.  Whatever.

I’m pretty sure one or more of my daughters was diagnosable with one or more of: ADHD, ODD, or RAD for most of their childhoods.  These people are adopted.  All of those are more prevalent in adopted kids; as are the 7 Core Issues – loss, rejection, grief, identity, guilt/shame, intimacy & relationships, and control/gains.

HELLO.

WE ARE STILL FREAKING ALIVE.

They are probably not diagnosable today.

I’m not claiming credit for anything.  I’m probably more like that person in the movies who plants their feet and ducks their head and lets the firestorm hit them full force.

It has been that ugly.

A year ago, I was rejoicing in the tremendous treasure that our lives are.  We are alive.  Healthy.  Enthusiastic.  Their teachers llurrrve them.  We enjoy each other.  We laugh, pray, shop, and gossip together.  We fight over clothes, chores, and school work.  I felt the full affirmation of God that we are where we are and it was just okay to be us.  On that day in May when Emma came home and told me someone had asked why she didn’t aim higher, I was shattered.  I let it drain away my joy.  Every place I look, there is a kid whose homeschooling family has lifted him or her up to super achievements.  And here we are, just in the middle. There is no way to describe this to anyone that’s going to make much sense.  I’ve experienced God’ pleasure.  Why worry about the opinions of a bunch of people?  Is that anyone’s worry but mine?

They will graduate under the sideways looks of all those close enough to us to wonder why we didn’t aim higher.

Higher than hoping to have a whole healthy family.

And not to see their food when they chew.

By the grace of God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Informed Consent

In the reading for my classes, there has been mention of informed consent, in terms of research study’s responsibility for letting participants know what’s up with the study, their part in it, any risks, and what they may expect in terms of an expression of gratitude… cash?  a warm handshake?  a giftcard to the side show freak superstore?

Informed consent.

Life has been calling my name.

Last night, I got in late.  It was a little past ten.

Shut up.

I almost changed my fb status to:

THERE ARE TOO MANY THINGS TO DO.

But I didn’t.

OK, I gotta let you know I just realized, how much flackbook subs in for actually living.  I mean, I knew, but it just took my breath away.  And don’t start with me.  We aren’t adopting.  No one is graduating.  We aren’t moving.  THERE IS NOTHING TO UPDATE IN MY LIFE.  “Washed the car.”

Maggie.

NO. ONE. CARES.

I digress.

I was talking about how I am using informed consent today.

So a gal and I exchanged blog names over a bagel and decaf.

The blog has been calling my name.  I’ve been telling myself I didn’t have time.  I have been telling myself the truth.

Everything has been calling my name.

I am up to my tramp stamp* in stuff to do.

No end in sight.

But this morning, I have looked back at the last year and a half on the blog.

God said, “See.”

I said, “Yes, thank you.”

There is where I track the wound, the treatment and healing, the return to the field of play, and the victory.

He whispered back that he wants to hear it too.

It’s not supposed to go by the wayside for birthdays and Father’s Day and volleyball and driving people to work who refuse to practice driving.  Not even for a clean house.

It’s a gift to me.

He offered it back to me.

The downside, is that I have to make it fit in with all the rest.  Discipline.

Just letting me know what’s involved before I agree to participate.

Informed consent.

The purpose, the risks, the payoff.

Let’s just be honest.

If I move my foot, He always gives more than I can enjoy.

Sort of like the promised land.

A battle to possess.

A taste of milk and honey.

The call to dance to His song in the night.

 

 

 

*I don’t have a tramp stamp.  I think I’m funny.

 

That Scandalous Post Where She Goes Right Over the Edge

NO, seriously.

I haven’t been alone since January.

People enter the bathroom when I am showering.  People talk to me the whole time I pee.

I am with someone all the time.  All. The. Time.

Gah, I love these people, but I cannot have the same conversation again.

I can’t read a book or everyone has a catastrophic breakdown, moral and otherwise.  The grocery store is just another kind of contact.  Strangers, who must talk with you.

Panera has a higher population density than China.  Except in China, I don’t know 40%  of everyone who comes through the door.  And it’s SO loud.  Panera.  And China.

We go to extracurricular activities and community events.

Not enough anything else.

They act up.

We ground ’em.

So…they can’t go anywhere.

No.  I gotta be real.  We don’t really ground them, anymore.  Per se.

BECAUSE WE NEED A LITTLE SPACE.  AND THAT IS PUNISHING ME.

Did I mention, they never go to bed? I mean, they do, but it’s so freaking late.   I haven’t got what it takes to stay up and prowl around after they’ve gone to bed (I’m too old.  If I had my way, I would eat dinner at 4:3o and be in bed by 8:00.).  That’s an inconvenience in all the ways you grown people just figured out.  So, yeah.I..’m not just tired of being with people, but I’m not complaining.

I’m complaining.

They won’t practice driving so they can get their facacta licenses.

So I have to take them everywhere.

I love them.  They’re better than your kids.  A lot better (Don’ t even start, you’re supposed to think that about your kids, too.).

They can memorize anything the first time through.  All three of them.

They love food.  All of it.  No picky eaters.

They are nice people.  Every one of them.

The dogs.  They’re nice, too.

The kids are fun.  They get it from me.

They’re good kids.  Except for right now.  Right now, they’re up to their collective arse.

And I have to be the enforcer.

Tonight, was the Spring Concert for choir.  I love choir.

Except.

I’m.

Fried.

Like an egg.

Totally fried.

 

 

 

 

Jumping Off

You know when you were a kid and you would climb the diving board for the first time in the summer.  It had been a long time since you’d been so high in the air, mostly naked, and you’re about to jump free any bond to the earth and hit the water, which is probably too cold.  But you’re so excited and people are waiting….  You have to go.

It’s the chance of disaster that makes the blood race.

You could lose your suit.  You could get water so far up your nose that your dirty mind is no longer.  You could get that saddest of results– the pool enema.   You could drown.  Or you could simply look like a cartoon and get a nickname that you carry to the grave.

But it never stopped you.

You went anyway.  For the promise of relief from the heat.  To fly for a second.  For the momentary feeling of weightlessness.  For the feeling on your skin; first the air and then the water.   For the little brain rush of doing something a little dangerous, but with a certified lifeguard on the chair.

So you grow up and view the diving board as a ridiculous way to hurt for three days.

You have other planks to walk.

Deciding if it is worth the risk.

You’ve had the brain wash.  You’ve had the enema.  You already have the bad name.  You’re already naked in midair.

You have to decide if the damage to future relationships is worth it.  Because you know you don’t care about the relationship with the person you’d need to speak to.

You have to decide exactly why you want to make the jump at all.

For the bliss of the flight?  For relief from the heat?  For the weightlessness?

For the washing of living water on a thirsty soul?

I hate this.

Geronimo.

 

What Are You Afraid Of?

As I write, I’ve been battling a migraine for five days.  Pragmatics indicate an exam by a licensed medical professional.  The pain has made me too tired to put up with a doctor’s crap.

Memory takes me back 22 months to the start of a headache that lasted several weeks.  Fear grips me.

Momentarily.

Then another memory comes into focus.

And another.

And another.

I fear nothing.

I’ve lived a good deal of my life bound by fear.  Of whatever.  Once the fear is installed, it can borrow objects.  Once one is removed, another can take its place.  Seamlessly.

It’s not the object.  It’s the feeling.

Addictive.

Like hard liquor or Candy Crush.

It’s a chemical in the brain.

I’ve been a pretty fearful person.

One day, I got a call that changed everything.  The standard for the worst that could happen changed.  Statistically, it was unlikely to happen twice.  And then.  Everyone survived.

I stopped obsessing about impressing.

The “four-second rule” turned into the “three-minute rule”.

I fought for “truth-in-love” honesty.  I was spectacularly clumsy and awkward.

Stunningly.

Permanently. Irrevocably.

Make-a-freaking-name-for-yourself.

Clumsy.

Truthful and loving?  Yes.

Smooth?

No.

Because it was “Get it all out there and it will be messy and disorganized, and we’ll sort through it.”

In my religion, people don’t do it that way.

It feels weird.

But. You know Maggie.

We all lived.  I became fantastically in love with it.  Jesus.  People.  The process.

Totally unafraid.

You may be afraid of snakes or clowns or public speaking.  Or, maybe you deeply fear something much more complex.

Listen to me now, while I am still sitting up.

The worst that can happen already has.  And we survived.

Go ahead.  Join the circus.  Get that basket and play the recorder.  Preach that sermon.

Ask that princess, who is so obviously out of your league, to the ball.

Offer your friendship, full and free, to someone incredibly cool.

The worst that can happen?

Is none of your business.

Grab onto what scares you, now.

Throw your head back.

And laugh.

 

 

 

 

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