Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Is it forever?

I had an interesting conversation with one of my neighbors yesterday. I am just getting to know this woman and really through her girls who skate at the same rink as my boys. I know she is divorced and have put together that she has a new partner. The girls' father is remarried and it is his wife that takes the girls to ice skating most of the time. Yesterday though my neighbor was on rink duty and we started talking about taking kids to all their activities. My neighbor was happy to see her girls skate but was more than happy to let this duty fall to their stepmom most of the time. She mentioned that she gets every Friday, Saturday and Sunday "off" while the girls are with their Dad. I know she loves her kids but like any mom she enjoys a little me time, a little time to be off the mommy clock.

While I adore my husband, in my moments of exhaustion I can see some advantages to getting to split the parental responsibility between two sets of parents instead of full time sharing family life and being the one always on duty.

Okay, just writing that not only makes me feel guilty but also shows how far off the tracks our society has gotten.

To my neighbor marriage is a temporary state, something you commit to for a time. And then as you both change and grow, usually apart, you divorce and go your separate ways. No muss, no fuss. At least not for the grown ups involved. Except I doubt that is true even for the grown ups. While I understand this view in the modern world, I don't understand one's need to insist that this view is true for all. Because while the fairy tale may not be true, that we live happily ever after, after thirteen years of marriage I am still convinced that I am with my life partner.

I believe marriage is forever, which is why I took it very seriously when I made the decision to marry my husband. Yes I was in total infatuation/lust love with the man, but I also admired who he was as a person. I knew that in five years there would be times when I did not like him or us together but that would be true of anyone I married. This actually happened sooner than I expected in year three but we were both totally committed to being married for 80 years and working together to make it work, and work well. More importantly we were, and are, both more committed to God and following His commands than our own selfish desires. In the moments we often fail, saying a mean word, quickly snarking or putting our schedules ahead of the other person. We let our egos get bruised, our hearts get pierced and our resolve tested. And then suddenly God's grace moves into the broken places. God's word speaks to our agendas and pain. Our connection is restored.

Marriage for me is forever! I would not want it any other way. How can you truly feel loved if you are only loved in the good times? It is when you both stay even when you want to walk away that you truly experience love. And once you understand that kind of love, a love deeply committed to being with the darkest part of you, that you fall in fall in love all over again.

I am still so in love with my husband. He is an amazing husband and father. He is still my first choice for a dinner date or vacation partner. My first choice for any conversation and the first call I make when I need to talk or share a funny story. I am one lucky girl, married to my best friend.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mind Clutter or Really Important Stuff?

I have some deeper thoughts floating around my head and hopefully I will get to spend some time putting them into words soon, but I am currently busy trying to figure out how to teach Middle Man to armpit fart. He announced today in the car that he wanted to learn to armpit fart and that if he did he would stop burping on purpose all the time. This is my life. My life with boys apparently is going to involve lots of conversations about body parts and gross out stuff.

Middle Man also wants to have a Phinneas and Ferb summer vacation this summer. Not sure how to pull that one off but am thinking I might be able to sneak some educational stuff in between building a rocket and fighting a mummy. But again my mind is starting to think up summer plans based on the lives of Disney cartoon characters.

I am finding that these boys take me out of my box, A LOT. I love new things as much as the next person but I like my box as well. Having kids is a bit like walking out of Plato's Cave and finding out the world is so much bigger than you ever could have imagined. My boys are interested in things that never even made my radar. Trains, planes and motorcycles are all just forms of getting from point A to point B to me but to Little One they are something to be studied and also purchased because we don't have this particular Hot Wheel Mommy. Not to mention I get to do school all over again but from a very different perspective. I now get excited when I find a hexagon shape on the shopping cart.

The boys have also reminded me of things I used to really enjoy. Middle Man used to go in the backyard and just stare up at the stars which I once enjoyed when I had time, and lived somewhere warm enough to sit outside at night. I love watching playoff games with Hockey Boy and see him cheer wildly when the Red Wings score.

So as much as I would like to expound on the balance between serving and having time for personal relationship, I am currently busy trying to decide if I should help my son learn to armpit fart or not. I am leaning toward turning a blind eye when their Uncle teaches them. I am sure I will regret this decision when the teacher emails me to let me know Middle Man is doing it during class but I think there are certain things that are part of being an Uncle.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

School Carnivals

I am not a fan of carnivals. When I was a kid, I went to one of those parking lot carnivals that roam from town to town taking the money of children in exchange for silly games that are the start of our fascination with get rich quick schemes. Think about it. You give the game person a few tickets which feel meaningless but actually cost real money and you get a chance to win a big prize. Now you could have taken all the money you had and bought the a decent prize for yourself, though all the money you spent on tickets would probably not buy you the big panda bear the size of a four year old child. That is why you must play the game. I don't remember the details but I remember halfway through the evenings fun feeling pretty defeated and like I wasted my money. And I hate to waste money. I felt a bit cheated too. I don't think I have enjoyed a carnival since.

This week we had the boys' school carnival. I was not sure what to expect since it was our first time attending. I volunteered to help set up because I figured it would take both of us to keep track of our kids at the carnival. So glad I did. It was so busy that we ended up dividing and conquering with my husband taking Little One and I took the older boys. They had so much fun. They loved all the games, especially the dart ballon throw. They are such boys. I think popping a balloon with a dart and hearing the loud pop is probably prize enough for them. Though each booth had a winning prize and a consolation prize so you never walked away empty handed. They bowled. They fished for rubber duckies. They bounced their way through an obstacle course. They got lots of candy and a few little trinkets along the way. They had a blast. And I even had fun. It was fun to see everyone and know that the money raised was going back into our school. It was so fun watching them squeal with delight when they popped the balloon or saw a friend. It was a great night.

I guess there are some great things about growing up. The bigger I get the smaller the world is. The things that used to scare me or make me feel vulnerable no longer do. I'm not scared of the dark or the unknown. I actually sort of enjoy both at times. But I am still very uncomfortable around get rich schemes and am teaching my kids that it is better to save your money. So I guess the lesson was learned. The fun is in the games, not the prizes.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Boy Parts

When we were pregnant with our first baby, before we knew its gender and we still referred to it as the alien, for obvious reasons, my Beloved and I made an agreement that whatever parts the kid had, the parent with the same parts would have to have all future conversations and care taking of said parts. Notice I use the term parts here because before I had kids I rarely if ever said the clinical name for boy parts out loud. There were lots of euphemisms though. And then one day in Santiago, Chile, where we were living at the time, we saw our son's penis and testicles so clearly on the ultrasound that there was no doubt he was a boy. We were far from friends and family, before the world of Facebook, so I sent out a group email to tell the good news of our ultrasound. And then I spent a good ten minutes trying to figure out how to write what we saw. Do I just say he's a boy? Do I mention that we saw all his "junk". I am pretty sure that was the first time I wrote the word penis in an email or in writing ever!

Well since that time we have added to the penis count in our house and have had many penis related conversations:

Get your hands out of your pants!

Aim your penis INTO the toilet.

Bedrooms and bathrooms!

Go show your penis to your dad. I don't know what it is supposed to look like but it does seem red.

Recently we have had some new topics of discussion and they all seem to happen when my husband is traveling or at work. My favorite was when I was told recently, "Mommy, sometimes my penis gets stiff. Why?" Oh how I wished my husband was not in Florida at that moment.

I really want to help my boys develop a healthy understanding of their bodies. I want to be able to have open conversations with them when their hormones are raging which means I can't just tell him to wait until his father gets home in 4 days to talk to him about his penis being stiff. He was not asking for the entire sex talk in that moment. Penis for him does not mean sex at all. He just wanted to know why it gets stiff. My response seemed to satisfy him at the time. "I don't know but it does sometimes and it is totally normal. It happens to all boys. When Daddy gets home we can ask him about it more."

We also had a very amusing talk yesterday about what happens when your penis gets hit with a hockey puck. Middle Man is getting ready to start wearing full gear which means a hockey cup. He liked the shorts but wanted me to take the plastic piece out because it was uncomfortable. Thankfully Hockey Boy was right there to explain to his little brother the importance of the plastic piece. Turns out if you get hit with a hockey puck in the penis it might fall off and then you would die. I had to step in with a few corrections to this information explaining that if you got hit your penis might be damaged and it is an important part of a boy's body. There were a few more funny comments but I think I will keep those in the family.

I try to follow Dr. Phil's advice and answer only the question asked which is good advice because it keeps me from scarring my kids forever with too much information. My boys know that God makes babies and that they live inside their Mommy's uterus and that eventually they come out. Just recently they asked how and we got to have that lovely conversation. But thankfully they have yet to ask how the baby actually gets inside the Mommy.

Who knew how quickly I would go from being really modest and never saying the word penis to saying it way too often. I think I have written it at least a dozen times in this post alone. I wonder what this will do in google's search engine.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Line Up!

The other day I was asking Middle Man about his day at school. I try to get them to tell me one thumbs up, one thumbs down if there was one, and something they learned that day. Middle Man was telling me that he had a good day. He was telling me about how he got to play at lunch recess which I was glad to hear because last week when I was visiting his class at recess because I happen to be in the building for something else, I got to watch Middle Man sitting against the wall during part of his recess. I am not a fan of missing recess for little kids but I am also not a fan of teaching kindergartners so it is not my call. Middle Man is motivated by positive reinforcements but is barely phased by negatives such as losing recess. It is just not a big deal to him.

So today he was telling me about playing at first recess and then he mentions that he did not get to play at second recess. "Why?" I asked and he said very matter of factly, "I did not line up after lunch recess." He did not seem to care that much. He did not have any thumbs down moments to report. Or so it seemed. But then when I asked him what he learned in school that day he replied, "to line up." Finally! He may pass kindergarten yet.

It is such a frustrating and hard lesson to learn. To have to stop what you are doing at the sound of a whistle or a call to line up. To have to change activities when you are having so much fun, especially when you have to stop playing to go inside to work. I can understand why he doesn't want to line up. I don't like to jump to for others and I have control over most of my time. Poor Middle Man is being bossed around all day long, first by me as I rush him onto the bus, then by the teachers, and then again by me after school. His big brother is always telling him what to do and his little brother is always getting into his stuff and in his way.

But the truth is learning to line up is an important life lesson. The community has to have rules and systems in place for things to work. We have to follow the traffic laws, stand in line with our cars and wait for the green light even when we think we can cross the highway safely. We have to show up at work every day, whether that is in an office or at home taking care of our kids. Lining up when the whistle blow is frustrating because we don't want to give over our will, our desires to the good of the group, or even our own good. We want what we want when we want it.

So while it seems so silly to teach kids to line up and walk through the halls quietly and in straight lines and then send them to middle school where they never line up again. There is a bigger lesson being taught. Sometimes we have to stop what we are doing at the sound of a whistle and get in line.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Minivans and Ashes

Have you seen the Toyota Sienna commercial with the mom in her robe hiding out in her minivan to get a break from her family? Here it is If you have not. Somedays I want to be that mom. Hiding out in my minivan. I have the Sienna, the robe and the cell phone, though I don't have a DVD player in my van. Instead of hiding in my minivan, I will go in my room with my blogs, coffee and DVR'ed reruns of The Office or the Daily Show and let my mind take a little mental nap.

This week I anticipated needing a few mental breaks. My Beloved was scheduled to leave early this morning for a week in Dublin. He was excited to visit a new country and I was happy it was only going to be a five day trip with him being off on Friday. So I scheduled our week, with babysitters for the nights I had meetings, and set up times to help with the school carnival on Friday while my honey was home with the kids. My Beloved filled his phone with new movies and music and got all his stuff ready for the trip. And then the Icelandic volcano spewed ash into the atmosphere and flights to Europe started being cancelled. The high pressure system, that brought the beautiful weather forecast to Dublin, also is keeping the ash in place high in the sky, making it unsafe for planes to fly. So my Beloved's flight was cancelled and the meetings he was supposed to attend have been changed to conference calls.

It turns out that all of our technological advances are no match for God's creation. We have figured out how to make aluminum cans full of people fly through the air, but an act of God in the form of a volcanic eruption can cause thousands of flights to be cancelled. The volcano does not care that people have to be at meetings in Hong Kong, that someone needs their flight to the US desperately to get medical treatment, that a happy couple is waiting for their family to arrive from faraway lands to celebrate their wedding. We like to think we can control things, that we can schedule and plan, pack and prepare. And we can. But in the end, God is in control. And our plans are at the whims of His creation, whether it is volcano, flood, unexpected snow storm or earthquake. Lately the news has been full of these acts of God. I think it is good for us to stop when these happen around the world and remember that God is in control of His creation.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tax Day

Recently I was talking to someone about what we wanted to study next in Bible study. Our last study had us looking at the devastations and disappointments of our lives, the big things that have changed us. My friend thought it would be nice to do a Bible study that looked at how to live a Christian life everyday, what should our every day, ordinary lives look like. Life is mostly about the road between the peaks and valleys. Now we just have to find a study that delves into the ordinary.

So today as I was bombarded with last minute tax advise everywhere I looked, I thought about the things we do that are evidence of our faith but do not look different to the rest of the world. For example, we pay our taxes. And honestly I pay them cheerfully. I really don't mind rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar's. (Matt. 22:21) I like my roads, my libraries, my schools. I like knowing the fire department is a 911 call away. I don't mind "sharing my wealth" because honestly it is not my wealth, and even if it was, there is no long term value in money. It is just money.

Because I don't mind paying my share and we believe it is important to be honest in both word and intention, we are also very honest on our taxes. We report all our income. We pay over the table even if it costs us a little more. We are conservative on our goodwill donation value estimates. We keep our receipts and don't try to "find" more tax breaks. Though we do enjoy the many deductions we do get to take that make our tax burden lighter. What I am trying to say is that we follow the law. At least as best we understand it and since we don't really understand it we have used the same trusted tax program for years because the people who write that program know their tax law.

Many people are ethical and honest on their taxes. It is sort of like those weird SAT questions. Ethical people follow the law. Christians follow the law. Therefore ethical people are all Christians? Obviously not. And not all Christians unfortunately are ethical. But in this one instance, on tax day. I would say that we are living out the convictions of our faith, our understanding of who God is, and His teachings on honesty and government and taxes. We trust that God is in control of our lives and that his precepts, his teachings, are for our benefit. We also trust that God is our ultimate provider. I don't need to cheat. Because it is not the money we "save" that provides for our needs. It is God that provides for our needs. Money is just one way He might do that.

Today is Tax Day. Just another opportunity for people of faith to put their trust in God, not money, and do the right thing. Seems simple, ordinary and not really inspiring at all. But that is every day life. The small decisions are where you find a person's true depth of faith. What is that saying, in a foxhole everyone is a believer? But at your computer, where no one is watching you give a value to that pair of shoes you gave to Goodwill, so much easier to waffle in your integrity there.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


One of my boys has decided that burping loudly, a lot, is huge fun. Another is crying all the time for no reason I can figure out. And to not be out done, the third has started peeing on the floor. He makes it too the bathroom but does not seem to have enough time to actually get on the toilet. All three have also started taking turns with the middle of the night wake up calls. Apparently I am living in a house full of newborn babies.

Turns out they are not the only ones trying to hold on to their youth. I was looking through my workout playlist and it seems I need angry tunes to get me moving on the treadmill. Nothing like American Idiot by Green Day or Pink's Stupid Girl to get my heart rate going. I am thinking this particular playlist would either shock or amuse my friends. Yesterday I was using the weights singing along (in my head) to Kanye West when I spied my pastor across the room. I am thinking he was not listening to Jesus Walks (which is a song by Kanye) too.

I am so responsible most of the time. But every once in a while I just want to enjoy a few minutes of who I was before kids, before I had to be the grownup.

At least I'm not peeing on the floor.

See another regression, justifying my behavior when a) I don't need to and b) by pointing to the extreme.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Doing it all?

I want to do it all. I want to make the healthy, homemade dinners. I want to take the training class at church that they want everyone to take. I want to take the boys to the park when the sun comes out and get all the laundry folded. I want to remember birthdays and find the perfect gift that is both thoughtful and tells my friend how special she is to me. I want to work out the right number of times and eat my five servings of vegetables every day. I want to be on the board, plan the event, manage the team. I want to do it all, be it all. And all while being calm, relaxed and focused on what is important.

The problem is I can't. I can't do it all. I may have the best intentions, but no matter how hard I try or how much I want it, I cannot do it all. And that is not because it can't be done because the truth is that there are women out there who do it all. We like to say that no one can but I know women who really do and not in a fake, you don't know what is going on behind closed doors. But genuinely talented, caring, giving, and well organized women who have an abundance of energy, a love of people and a MacGuyver knack of making the craft, cake or fixing the shoe all from their handbag. These are women I admire and am so glad are in this world. I need these women on my sons' PTA. I need these women to organize the church retreat. I need these women to remind me of our friend's birthday and to host the dinner party. These are amazing women. I am just not one of them.

God made each of us unique and special and when He made me, He did not give the massive energy gene. Nor the extrovert gene. No instead I am a person who needs my sleep, needs my alone time, and needs a good book. That is who I am. And I am okay with that. I really do wish I could do it all. But I know my limitations. I know what happens when I push those limits. It is not pretty nor productive. So I am not able to do it all. I'm sorry if I am letting you down, but I figure it is better for me to say no up front, than to fail you later.

But also know that I am faithful to my yeses. I have learned to be thoughtful in how I choose to spend my time so when I say yes I mean yes. I can't do it all so I had better do what I can well. I know who I am. I know more every day where I should be giving my time. What I should be doing with my free time. I know the laundry can wait but the sun won't so get outside while we can. So outside we went. And the laundry is still piled in baskets. Thankfully laundry can always wait for another day.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Church or Hockey?

So a few weeks ago we signed Hockey Boy up for spring hockey. It is low key, one hour a week and basically pick up games. Hockey Boy had been asking when hockey was going to start again and was really looking forward to playing spring hockey. I was not thrilled with the time, 8:30 am on a Sunday morning, but was just glad that it would not conflict with church. Then I got the revised schedule and realized it was church or hockey. We have missed a Sunday or two, well probably more than that, for hockey during the regular season, but we really try to make sure that Hockey Boy and myself are at church as much as possible, even if that involves pulling him off the ice early or going separately from the rest of the family to a later service. I could spend a whole blog page writing my frustrations about sports scheduling on Sunday mornings and explain how we started hockey in a program that did not play on Sundays but then moved home where they do but that is not really the point right now. The point was church or hockey?

I talked with Hockey Boy about the time change and explained that we would have to choose between church and hockey. I was delightfully surprised that his immediate reaction was to choose church. He was disappointed to not be able to play with his friends but he said he would get to next season. So glad he made that choice because I would have made it for him if he had chosen hockey. And it would have involved a much longer discussion about how God is our family's first priority. Turns out I didn't have to give that lecture because he had already figured that out for himself. He really does enjoy going to church. I don't take any of the credit for that, okay maybe a little because I am the one that drives him there all the time. But the real kudos go to all those who spent their time sharing the love of Jesus with him, who held him in the nursery, taught him his Bible stories at preschool, greeted him with enthusiasm when he walked up to the building, nurtured him while I was at Bible Study or the moms group, made church fun with cookies after service and games at midweek and vacation Bible school. I know I don't say thank you enough but I am profoundly grateful for the church families that have invested in my boys! Their time, energy and love have already reaped huge rewards - Hockey Boy chose church!

I contacted the hockey league to let them know that Hockey Boy would not be playing because the schedule was during church. I expected that to be the end of spring hockey. But guess where I was this morning. Yep, sitting in a cold rink, watching Hockey Boy skating and loving it. The coach let Jonah skate up an age group so he could still play this spring. Turns out it was not a choice of church or hockey.

At least not this time.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Choose Life

I was doing really well with my one year Bible reading at first. But then life and my more truly my distractions got in the way. So today I had 12 days of reading to do at one time. While it takes a long time to do, I sometimes enjoy reading in larger chunks because there is a flow to the stories and connections across the books that I sometimes grasp more clearly when I am sitting down for a longer period to read. Of course, when I actually stay on schedule and read daily, I see a lot more connections to my daily life in the readings which is probably more beneficial. Not to mention that when I am reading daily I am sitting before God daily, listening directly to His words that He gave me in the Bible. This blesses me and my life more than I think I realize. So really I should be reading staying on schedule.

What struck me today was the time God spent telling Moses over and over again in Deuteronomy that if we obey God's commands we will be blessed and if we disobey God's commands we will be cursed. It is pretty clear.

See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.

But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.

This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Deuteronomy 30:15-20

Now we live in a world post Christ, post His payment for our sins, so we like to focus on the grace we have received. Truth is we are saved by grace not by works, by the work that Jesus did not our good deeds. But that does not mean that we would not be so much better off today in this world if we loved God, walked in his ways and kept his commands because we would. There is eternal consequences and then there are very real earthly consequences and discipline for our actions and attitudes here on earth. I like to think about God's grace. I like to claim my identity as a child of God. But I really don't like to think about the obedience side of this relationship. Just like my boys love when Mommy is all cuddling and loving, when I calm their fears and care for their needs, I love God when he is taking care of me. Also just like my boys, I am rebellious, I want to do things my way, I want to be in charge. I want to take the easy road and I want things done for me without me having to work or save or delay my gratification. But the same things I say to them about making good choices, walking in God's ways, being obedient, apply to me and my life. When I make good choices, when I use kind words, when I am diligent and hard working, patient and forgiving, my life is blessed.

This doesn't mean that bad things don't happen because they do. Bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. But I think we ascribe life's struggles as trials instead of God's discipline way more than we probably should. It is so much easier to say "I am suffering persecution for Jesus" than to admit that maybe my life is spiraling out of control because of sin. We so easily see it in others but it is hard to admit to in our own lives, even when we know deep down we probably deserve exactly what we are getting. I think it is time that we start honoring the grace we receive from Jesus by walking in His ways. Not just because it is the right thing, but honestly it is also the best thing for me.

"Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life."

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

He Saw and Believed

I like Easter but not like I LOVE Christmas. I should LOVE Easter. I should be jubilant, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. He is Alive I should be greeting others with just as I Merry Christmas to everyone I see in December. Easter should be a great party. It was Jesus' resurrection that made gave the Christmas story its meaning. Without the resurrection, Christ's birth would be that of a great teacher, maybe worthy of a holiday of the MLK Jr or Columbus Day. A day off for banks and some shopping, maybe a special news segment about the history of the holiday but that would be it. Jesus was a great teacher, a miracle worker but without his resurrection that would be the end of the story.

I imagine that is what the disciples were thinking after Jesus' crucifixion. I imagine they were mourning the death of a great prophet, a great leader, a great friend on the first Easter morning. They were probably mourning the death of a great cause that gave their lives such incredible meaning. Even though Jesus had told them that after three days he was coming back again, they were not at the tomb waiting to see him alive. The women, fervent followers of Jesus, who got to the tomb first were going there to finish the embalming and burial process. They were expecting to find Jesus' dead body. Mary Magdalene goes to get the disciples, tell them of the empty tomb.
So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. John 20:3-8
Like the disciple, it was not crucifixion but the resurrection that defines Jesus. "He saw and believed." Can you imagine how much deeper his pain must have been once he believed that Jesus was who he had said he was. When John, the disciple, realized that the world had cruelly tortured and killed the son of God. They killed God. And yet, God loved his children so much that He was willing to humble himself, accept their anger and violence, submit to the laws and punishments of this world. And in the end, Jesus was victorious. He rose from the dead just like he said.

I think this is why I have trouble celebrating and getting all holidayish about Easter. Because while I am so incredibly grateful for Christ's death and resurrection for me, I am also so saddened by what we did to him on that day. And how we continue to mistreat him day after day. His resurrection points so clearly to his death, to our cruelty, to our sin, to our need for Him.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


So after I got posting about my love of all things Apple and my amazing anniversary gift from my husband I hopped onto Facebook and saw a few comments from friends about a picture "I" posted. Guess I was caught. Here is the picture with and accompanying caption.

Jen's husband has hijacked this post. The photo was not staged and I just wanted to share the joys of my wife's life. MacBook, iPhone and iPad... I don't know what it means about ADD nowadays or Apple's addictive powers.

I was actually checking up on my favorite bloggers on Twitter while I waited for the iPad to sync with my laptop. Pathetic or good use multitasking?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Anniversary to Me

I know that my anniversary was last month. My gift to my husband was a blog post about how wonderful he is. Not sure how great a gift that was since he does not read my blog. Today, I got my anniversary gift from him. He gives much better gifts. I am joyfully writing this post on my new iPad. He had me reserve it when they were first announced. So glad I did because when Middle Man and I got to the Apple store this morning we got to go in a special line which was way shorter than the 25 person line. More importantly to us, we got to go right inside the store and not stand in the rain though I was ready to stand in the rain. Going through the process of buying my iPad reminded me again why I am a loyal and early Apple adopted. Yes, they make amazing products that I LOVE, but it goes deeper than that. I love how I am treated in an Apple store. I love having friendly people excited to be at work, who want to answer ALL my questions and help me find exactly what I need (want). It' relational to me. I have confidence in the products because they have served me so well in the past. And there is the obvious coolness factor. I may not be up on the latest fashions or up to speed on the newest happenings in the work place, I love having the newest Apple toy.

It is taking a bit of practice to use the keyboard but I am already totally in love. I have visions of myself sitting in Starbucks, sipping my hazelnut mocha and typing a blog on my iPad. Or lying in bed reading my new book that I bought online and is now sitting on my iPad book shelf. I love the idea of having everything in one place. That is until it runs out of battery or the kids (more likely me) spill water on it. Then I guess I will have to pull my Bible off the real bookshelf and use it to catch up on my one year Bible reading plan. But in this moment I feel immense joy typing on my iPad and incredible hope, knowing all the new apps being written right now to make my life easier and more fun. I am tempted to finish writing quickly so I can go explore some more. There must be so many new cool things for me to discover.

This Easter as I read the story of Jesus' death and resurrection on my iPad Bible app, I know that my joy and hope are not based on temporary things like a new toy. My joy and hope and peace come not from the people around me or my circumstances but from my understanding of what Jesus did for me this weekend almost 2000 years ago.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

Thursday, April 1, 2010

What I Learned Skiing

So I have been neglecting this blog this week. Not so much neglecting as actively ignoring this entire section of my web browser. I have had some ideas of post to write but I guess decided the pool of malaise I was drifting in this week was more to my liking. It did not involve thinking, it barely involved moving out of a sitting position. I am still enjoying the view from my pool of malaise, which is now a combination of unmerited agitation and an weird feeling of being underwhelmed, but it is time to post something. Good thing I have some sense of discipline in my mind that combines with feelings of guilt to get me moving.

So here are two things I learned while on Spring Break last week.

1) Take the lesson FIRST or better titled, "Blog Karma". So as I posted before, our family went to Sunriver for spring break last week so we could learn to ski at Mt. Bachelor. Our original plan of learning at the site of this year's Winter Olympics had to be scuttled when I lost my passport. I was nervous about learning to ski which I chronicled here so I told my Beloved that he needed to be the enthusiastic one at the mountain. Turns out he was so enthusiastic that once we had the kids all settled in their classes he was ready to go get skis on and head up the chair lift. Me not so much. Not only did I really want to watch my kids learning to ski and snowboard, but I really, really did not want to go up the chairlift. We had a lesson scheduled for 1 pm and I was content to just wait until then. I don't know where all his enthusiasm came from, but my Beloved really wanted to get up that hill. So next thing I know, I have on rented skis with boots that were not terribly comfortable and am getting ready to go up a hill, on a chairlift, high in the sky, and the only way back down was on skis. I did pretty well getting on the lift, managed to not panic seeing how high we were, and got off the lift without falling. Unfortunately that would be the high point of that run because once my skis were pointing downhill, well, it went downhill. I fell. I almost ran over groups of small children. I barely missed going down the freestyle run. I tried to listen to the instructors with their groups on the hill for some hints. I liked the one lady who had her student walk sideways down until they got to the easier section. That worked for a bit but then my feet went numb. It is really hard to ski or even think of anything else once your feet start tingling and go numb. I just wanted off that mountain. So I took my skis off and slowly walked my way down the mountain. I am sure it is not good for the snow to have my boot marks ruining the run but it was either that or lay down and give up. In the time it took me to get down the mountain, my Beloved had made four runs. So on top of me totally failing at skiing, my husband was excelling.

Once at the bottom, I pulled of my helmet, my boots and my jacket. I was hot and sweaty from all that work. I was ready to give up but I knew I couldn't. For one thing I am way to cheap and I spent a lot of money for a day of skiing and a lesson. And also, I had to try again. I had been warned that learning to ski was hard. That I would want to cry, which I did, but that it would get better. Same thing I said to Middle Man when he was frustrated with learning to skate. I wanted so badly to put the skis on and be good at it right away. I did not want to do the hard work. But just like I wrote here it was going to take hard work on my part. See blog karma.

Once I could feel my feet again, I went and got new boots. Those new boots felt like heaven comparatively. I then headed over to my lesson. Because my husband was doing so well he got to move up a class which was a very good thing. I got to be in a class with three other moms who were all trying skiing for the first time. And our instructor happened to be the one on the hill that had her student walk the hard parts. She had seen me on the hill which was a huge help. Turns out my time on the hill alone without a lesson lead to "trust issues" which were going to take some time to correct. Some may learn by doing, I learn by reading the instruction manual, watching someone else a few times and then tentatively giving it a try. I now know to always do the lesson FIRST! I felt frustrated by my fear and my lack of skill. I wasn't getting it as fast as I wanted. But by the end of the lesson I was back on the chair lift. I was able to make a few turns. I still fell a few times and once needed help to get my skis off just so I could get up. I made it down the hill this time with my skis on my feet. I felt like I had won the race. Though when they all went off for one more run, I decided to savor my victory at the bottom of the hill. I would come back another day but for that day I was done.

and 2) I totally get stage mothers now. I had so much fun watching each of the boys learning to ski/snowboard. I loved seeing Little One in his orange vest going up the magic carpet on his tiny skis. I got so much joy watching Middle Man work so hard to move on his skis on day one and then by day two, he is going down the little learners hill by himself. He is so much better than me already. And I got a very weird sense of accomplishment seeing Hockey Boy go up the chairlift for the first time with his snowboarding coach. Knowing that he had learned enough to be on the real hill. By the end of the third day he was a real snowboarder, well he is at least ready for the green runs. I had given my kids a chance to learn to ski and snowboard and they each did amazing. I loved sitting at the lodge in the warm sun watching them learn and try something new and hard. And not only did they try but they were successful. So I'm sorry to all the stage mothers I ever judged. I get it now. Though I hope I can manage to not put all my needs for accomplishment and my sense of identity in who my kids are and what they do. I don't want them to live out my dreams. But I love watching them grow into themselves.