Monday, January 31, 2011


I actually had the thought this evening as I was packing up to go home after my classes: I feel so sorry for all the people who did not get to spend the last hour with my writing class. Really. I am so blessed.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


"It is flawed and fleeting, and sometimes it is work to love it.

And maybe in the work of loving it is the greatness."
--DaMomma on life as mom


I realized today that Saturdays are hard now. In a different way. They used to be hard because we were trying to prep for church spiritually and clean the house for church and do necessary errands and we were pretty much guaranteed to hang with a little kid or two for the day. Now, I wake up when I wake up on Saturdays, not when a little voice gets me up. I look at the day ahead and it looks comparatively empty. Not that I feel any boredom, and not that there aren't millions of things on my need-to-do list. It's just crazy different. I step into the hallway and glance toward the living room, immediately aware that only light cleaning is needed to prep it for church. The days of trying to shovel our way through toys and various other things to just find the sofas have passed. Even before cleaning, the living room looks fine. Really. Probably part of the lack of mess is due to the fact that I haven't learned how to live in those front rooms again yet. I still find myself doing almost everything in that same little spot on my bed. I have forgotten what all that space is for. The space in the house, the space in the Saturday.
One morning this week I suddenly became aware of the reason that the other half of our bedroom is piled with huge stacks of everything under the sun. The boxes and books and papers and clothes are all there for one reason: Em's crib isn't there. This is true not just in that sense that unoccupied space draws clutter like a magnet
but also because I have not been able to bear the obvious absence of the crib. Of course, we had been planning for the crib to move out for quite a while, but I realize now that all of my plans for rearranging the room still involved making a sleeping space for Em somewhere in there, just without the cumbersome crib. Thus, the piles of junk have been more comfortable to deal with than an Em-less rearrangement or worse yet--an empty space--would be. So I am no longer thinking in terms of clearing everything out of those piles or rearranging our room. I'm just going to try, a few times each day, to put five or ten things away from those piles. Baby steps.
My hope is just a habit.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

As usual, great thoughts from David Lose at this week:
"When I was in graduate school, one of my teachers, Dr. Cleophus LaRue, would regularly address me as "Dr. Lose." Eventually it made me uncomfortable enough that I said to him, "But Dr. LaRue, I haven't earned my doctorate yet. I don't think you should call me that." "Dr. Lose," he patiently responded, "in the African-American church we are not content to call you what you are, but instead call you what we believe you will be!" Blessing. Unexpected, unsettling, nearly inconceivable, yet blessing nonetheless.
So here's the question I am left with this week, Working Preacher: What would it be like just to bless the congregation. To tell them that God loves and adores them, that God wants the very best for them, that God esteems them worthy of not just God's attention but God's blessing.
Whatever we do, we need to think hard about how to help people hear and believe that they are blessed because, as Dr. LaRue knew, we become what we are called, and calling our people blessed will over time transform them to be God's blessing in and to the world."

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

birds of a feather

You know how being surrounded by sleeping cats makes you think it's exactly the right thing to sleep all day? I think I have that kind of misguided connection with characters in the books I'm reading sometimes. If I'm reading about a writer who scribbles poetry down on napkins, that behavior suddenly seems so much more "normal" than usual. So I'm thinking it is not a good thing that the main character in the fluff novel I'm reading on the bus is a 16-year-old-girl who is excluding people from her life one by one (for their own safety of course). At least I wrote it down. Good news is that I'll be done with this book tonight. Maybe I need to choose the next bus fluff more carefully, given my tendency toward over-identification with characters.

1,2,3,4, Really?

I was counting out copies of a worksheet for my class and got this song stuck in my head: "1, 2, 3, 4 monsters knockin' at the door." Yes, Feist via Sesame Street. I promise we have not played that youtube clip once since Emersyn left in November. And yet . . .

Sunday, January 23, 2011

What happened to the UNsilence?

I know. Looks a lot like silence around here. And I'm not making any promises to be less silent. I feel like I may be moving into a cocoon for some transformation, and cocoons are pretty quiet.
Emersyn the two-year-old who was sharing our room, moved out with her family in late November. Thus, no cute Em stories to post. I still miss her every day, but I have gotten past the point where I burst into tears every time I hear a toddler cry or have to redirect my shopping cart away from its habitual path toward the diaper aisle. Who knew NOT buying diapers could make you cry? But I know that I still walk around with a gaping hole near my heart.
I still have a full and incredibly blesses life. My 12-year old daughter is one of the most creative and open-hearted people I have ever known. As I sit silently hidden away in our room, I can hear my remarkable husband having theological conversations with whichever twentysomethings are around at the same time that he paints walls and washes dishes. My classes at El Centro Community College made and are--as usual--filled with delightful students from a huge spectrum of backgrounds. I feel so fortunate to still have both of my precious parents just a few hours' drive away. Our twentysomething guys seem to be making positive steps forward in their lives. The people who I am privileged to be church with locally are amazing.
But still, the cocoon calls.