Sunday, May 29, 2005

Rick Steves

I had three pieces of my pie tonight. Maybe the swirled chocolate in the creme de menthe and creme de cacoa is making my brain swirl restlessly, around my pillow. Or, perhaps Rick Steves is to blame. We swirled his "Best of Travels in Europe" dvd in our player right before bed, and, now I have a strange longing which doesn't quite find its destination in our two week future Europe trip (in two weeks); rather, it finds its destination in the past, yet it's fruitless to go back there to despair under a mulberry tree, black locust, walnut-pocked ground where daydreams rule.
Yet sometimes those flashes make one want to cry.
C'est la vie.
I am excited for the trip, though. My daughter and I are going on a school trip to England, France, Switzerland, Germany, and the Netherlands. Although I'm not in my romantic twenties any more, immersed in continual fine British literature thoughts, I will immensely enjoy the opportunity to see ancient land (the same as ours, yet chronicled more definitively). I will actually walk into a concentration camp in Germany and climb the Eiffel tower and the Swiss Alps. It amazes me to even entertain these itinerary thoughts. The poor farm girl finally becomes worldly outside of her own head.
Speaking of, we'll travel to Southern Missouri on Wednesday to hang out on the farm. We have lots to do to prepare for both trips....
Am in a state of bon voyage. Am not trying to escape my giant (as Thoreau calls it). Am just wondering how in the world can I get any sleep in the meantime?! Send some zzzzzzzzzzzzzsss... I will need them!
Bien nuit, s'il vous plait!

Thursday, May 26, 2005


Like Jimmy Swaggart, our pastor came clean last night during service. He confessed bluntly and specifically about his "challenge spikes" both in ministry and family. He spoke of an insidious desire which drove him to an accumulation of a newly constructed big luxurious home, a BMW, a Corvette, a theater room, and whatever else satisified him on a short term basis. He looked out at us and said, "Your pastor is a materialist, and I'm not proud of it, and it has caused your trust in me to decrease." Many of his prior sermons dealt with the allure of status and symbols as a Christ substitute. Many of his future sermons will probably deal with the growth of our church and being faithful stewards of our financial resources. He felt like a hypocrite. He came clean. He's selling the house and he's sold the cars. He was stopped by those around him who saw his leadership and character being compromised. Stopped by God who wants more of him than serving the mortgage.

Honesty about process is welcome in my church, thank God, and my pastor certainly models it. When I hear a co-attender talk about her struggle with pot, I'm so happy that openness is acceptable. We can pray for her, support her, use her example to model our own struggles to live as Christ would want us to. I'm grateful to be in such an environment of grace and reality.

As we sang loudly last night, as the guitars rocked joyously, I felt led again to abandon my tightholds on how I should be before God. Praise means acceptable entrance. I'm accepted, and I accept the forward motion toward the door.

Thank you, God, for my church. Please bless and protect her within and without.

Monday, May 23, 2005


If they were Marilyn Manson, they wore excellent camouflouge. Some had eyeliner on even, while some were wonderfully healthy looking without. Some had rouge, some had none. An old 'au naturel' friend from church showed up and smiled widely at me. A woman with a wonderful smile led the meeting, while a "fundy" looking woman with a knack for funny kickers administrated by her side. Two women were in a small group that I led once at my church a couple of years ago. Several ladies provided ethnic diversity.
Then, the One Woman of the earlier posts showed up late. An open seat was next to me, and she sat down and said hello. Five minutes later, her kids hurried over to her and whispered, "Cody's here," like what they meant to say was "They're making us take the mark of the beast."
I was happy that I ended our last conversation with "okay, okay, okay" instead of "What! Your Perfect Kids started it! Good luck finding someone perfect enough for them to play with! Etc! Etc!" However, it was alright to sit next to her, although I felt no compulsion to invite any more relationship which is okay. I was so glad my friend Nisha recently assured me that awkward relational homeschooling things like this happen.
Cody had an awesome time; I'm so proud of him. He wanted to practice how to be a friend for an hour before we left home. He decided to try to be himself instead of some pumped up cussin' gamer dude who lives on the streets of Barcelona (although he did tell someone that his name was Jake). He loved it and can't wait to start the new co-op school. He made a new friend too!
I signed up to teach creative writing. Yeah! Teaching again.
Oswald Chambers in his meditation today gave me an appropo stern reminder about my worries about such things as homeschooling moms and connections: "' not worry about your life ....' Don't take the pressure of your provision upon yourself. It is not only wrong to worry, it is unbelief; worrying means we do not believe that God can look after the practical details of our lives, and it isn't ever anything but those details that worry us."
Okay, I guess I can stop worrying now and just invite the experience to happen. Thank you, God, for blessings and surprises.

Friday, May 20, 2005


I've been puzzled about what to do. Yes, I'm trying a new smaller homeschooling group on Monday. Yes, my heart beats faster, and I'm doing rapid-eye-analysis trying to figure out the pitfalls and pitchforks around every bend of it. Nothing seems so evil as a corporate group of homeschooling mothers right now. Marilyn Manson, hello.
I think I'll tell them right up front instead of hoping/hoping that Cody is accepted "as-is" w/o explanation.
"We took Cody out of school because given his mild autism diagnosis, he was struggling with overwhelming sensory and social stimuli, not to mention physical health issues."
Way too scientific?
"Yes, it was stressing him and our family out tremendously." (Should I really reach out for sympathy like that?)
"We are continuing to work on these issues, and, even within these groups, I will need to coach and listen in order to help him understand appropriate social behavior."
Ooooh that word "appropriate" will make them fear for their children like the last lady did. He's not inappropriate like that, just a goofball who may say things in weird ways. He desperately wants to be cool and liked, therefore, he tries too hard and is off kilter.
Then, it would be aired. Perhaps I should have done that with the other woman; the one that recoiled, yet I truly think her views of "normal" were determined into hard rock code.
That reminds me of what Lianne Holliday Willey wrote in her book, "Pretending to be Normal":
"Yet no matter the hardships, I do not wish for a cure to Asperger's Syndrome. What I wish for, is a cure for the common ill that pervades too many lives; the ill that makes people compare themselves to a normal that is measured in terms of perfect and absolute standards, most of which are impossible for anyone to reach."
I like that re-look at normalcy.
Well, I will girder myself for Monday, re-read a bit more of Willey's tactics for disclosure, and pray that there will be some inclusive Marilyns at hand.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Keeping the oil

Okay. Last post was a bit bleak. My first encounter with a homeschooling mother's rigidity. I talked with my wonderful Iowa homeschooling friend mom who said that was, unfortunately, somewhat normal. She explained how to navigate, how to count your losses, how to understand the mama-bear approach that these women often have. I felt better, yet still confused about who to connect with. Should I go with the secular group and, perhaps, experience more tolerance for Cody? Or, should I seek out people with grace in the Christian group? I even know some people, why not connect more with them? Yes, an old shyness inhibits me too, although I've pushed way past that in the last 20 years. We shall see as time goes on.

Morning reading .... I love the book of Matthew. The story of the virgins with oil lamps is one of my favorite. I want to be one who preserves what she has in order to be included in the bridegroom's feast. It has been one of those parables that float in my mind much. The sheep and the goats (I was hungry and you fed me, ....) also is so full of wisdom and challenge. The reading about the arrival of the son of man brought about those apocalyptic visions which were so common in childhood, thanks to my pentecostal grandmother; I can read them now without fear, but with intense longing that I will be caught up in his glory, unsurprised, prepared, unswayed by falsity. It's a beautiful, mystical vision that the sky will open, wear out, and I will be swept up into .... ah, yes, fulfillment of desire, saturation, completion.

Crazy sounding, yes, but written down for belief. I believe.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


The inevitable has happened. The sweet Christian homeschooling mother that prayed to meet me has just rejected us. She called to say that it wasn't going to work out with our kids. That Cody had hit her daughter (Cody said that she had hit him first), that other things came out, that the mix wasn't going to work. She said that she knew we were working "on issues" but she just didn't want to risk it, blah, blah, blah. I just listened and said, "okay, okay, okay". How can you argue against someone who's so immediately certain about things?
I can't tell Cody at the moment; he's ultra sensitive to the rejection side of things. I don't feel like a couple of hours of intense counseling right now.
I'm so mad and sad once again. Mad at Christian-mothers with formulas and no grace. She was so matter-of-fact about her standard and rejection. I'm just sad at mine and Cody's plight of being ostracized from the group that we belong to.
However, I know that, although she is representative, she's not the only kind out there. So, I shall just trust once again that we'll find our way somehow.
More reports to come.

Monday, May 16, 2005


The truest and most horrible claim made for modern transport is that it "annihilates space." It does. It annihilates one of the most glorious gifts we have been given. It is a vile inflation which lowers the value of distance, so that a modern boy travels a hundred miles with less sense of liberation and pilgrimage and adventure than his grandfather got from traveling ten. Of course if a man hates space and wants it to be annihilated, that is another matter. Why not creep into his coffin at once? There is little enough space there. From Surprised by Joy,Lewis.

In just a little while, I must go get my upper left wisdom tooth pulled. So, I've escaped into the book again and hooked into the above which made me smile, because I've always thought the same thing. I used to rant against cars when I was a young girl. They hit my dogs (1), and (2) they passed the most delightful things without notice! I was a woodswalker from an early age, and I knew what was on the ground. I explored the dens of glade and woods, the bottom of dried up ponds, dried up creeks (and roaring creeks after rain), rocky slopes, wild blackberry bush areas, etc. When in a car, I would look out and want to stop at 1) those rocks that I could jump on 2) those cedar trees to crawl under and find a secret sweet-smelling place 3) those blackeyed Susans and Queen Anne Laces and euchinea to gaze at and, 4) almost everywhere else that promised exploration and loveliness. I'm so glad that Lewis expressed this thought; it'll definitely help me when the dentist plunges in with his metal, unforgiving yanking scraping unnatural hardware. :)

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Billy Joe

Some young drummer is ricocheting in the neighborhood like the juvenile he is. It's 9:35 a.m., and I need more beauty sleep.
Last night, I made good a birthday promise and drove my teenager and boyfriend to the Green Day concert in St. Louis. The boyfriend inclusion created earlier waffling. Last time, we had talked, I was in my robe screaming at him because of a mother's worst nightmare infraction. Four months later, he gets in the back of my van, and, truly, it was alright. Although smelly (why are teen boys so smelly?!), he was polite, amusing, and intelligent. And, it became apparent that I was still in the running.
The radio did it -- we were singing, we were scanning, suddenly a compilation of Music Man instrumental showtunes came on, and my daughter and I gasped in delight and sang them with great comraderie and glee. She's still mine, I thought happily, despite the 16year old grunts and hideaway and BF-frenzy-focus. He was left out. Oh how we mothers grapple as we try to hold on. Score! :)

While they were rockin', I drove across the bridge to my sister's house who lives a mere 10 minutes away. She and I sat out talking before her teen daughters came home. She had a fight and a makeup with one; the other medaled at a regional's track meet which we celebrated. It was a lovely little visit; I love being the welcomed aunt.

The drive home on the interstate took two.5 hours. How come there's so many people out at 2:30 a.m.? Where are they all going? We dropped Stinkie off, and at home, my daughter expressed her gratitude to me. Parenting, what a warm&fuzzy schizophrenic life!

Friday, May 13, 2005

a beautiful rug

"Sometimes I can almost think that I was sent back to the false gods [of Norse mythology] there to acquire some capacity for worship againt the day when the true God should recall me to Himself. Not that I might not have learned this sooner and more safely, in ways I shall now never know, without apostasy, but that Divine punishments are also mercies, and particular good is worked out of particular evil, and the penal blindness made sanative." Surprised by Joy, CS Lewis.

I'm reading Lewis again, and I'm becoming stirred and thrilled as I recall the elasticity of his perspective as demonstrated in the above quote. I love how he regards imagination as an avenue to the Joy, the truth of the longing. Imagination is okay, not dangerous, as it can lead to the longing for good, and, ultimately, for God.

I took a CS Lewis class in college and experienced his leniency unlike any legalistic barnburning sermon ever heard (I had heard a-plenty too). His Narnian chronicles made me dance in the cowlot (see earlier posting) because it presented graciousness and gentleness and acceptance in the character of Aslan who was an allegorical God. I reacted with my first real act of worship to his Possibility that was depicted in a way that caused me to accept the goodness of His Reality. Ah, that was a gift.

Since this earlier college time, I've put Lewis away for a bit (of course having read thousands of quotes of his in almost every religious book that one picks up; the authors appear to want to make their statements credible by affirming it with "a Lewis"). It's almost like I know that I will want to stir and stew and spring up when I read some of the thoughts that he pulls together without fear of being a heretic, without fear of letting his mind wander, and knit, and weave together a most unusual beautiful rug. He's work in that way. But, I've missed it too, I'm realizing as I dig in to this book.

Thank you, Lord, for making diversity and beauty and imagination. I want to learn more about You.

Thursday, May 12, 2005


I woke up sad this morning over lost friends. There was a dream involved in which I knew what was going on with someone whom, in reality, I've lost touch with. The dream made me think about the train of others that are chugging on without me: some are by their choice, some by my negligence, some by situation. I can get bogged down in sadness over such things. I tend to care a lot, but I tend to become overwhelmed with too many pots in the fire, with too many at one time. And, of course, I have other irritating idiosyncracies which don't help. And, they also provide their own and have time issues, etc. Sigh. A natural thing, I guess, to not do friendship well all the time.
I'm just not liking the shifting, although I know it's typical, isn't it?, of friends moving in and out. I think I would love to have the stability of people who stick and accept no matter what. Of course, I have a few of those, but will they stay? Will I stay with them?
Alright, this is a morning fret. I just have to trust, as the good Spirit orchestrates, that I will be taken care of in this area, and that I will learn how to take care of.
Thank you, Father, for the higher relationship wisdom that you emanate. Truly needed and appreciated.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

and Away!

Thanks for putting up with my attempts at poetry yesterday. Ah, it's one of those things that need dutiful construction time to make it ping! and be entire-expressive. I love those snippet words, images, that convey, however.

C and I've been jumping on the trampoline this morning, laughing, falling. The dog has been there too with a four-foot touchdown, looking awkard, looking like he's smiling at the craziness of the moving ground. My aging back has flared with muscle aches, yet there I go up, up, up. I want to go down, down, down into fanciful positions; however, I learned my skeletal lessons the hard way not too long ago. That suspension is the joy, though. As Bo jumps on the bales, so we join him in the between worlds.

We also like to read our school books on it in the morning. We hear the neighbors behind our wooden fence; they are calling their cat "Willllllleeeeey"; they are commenting on this and that. We could spy if I didn't want spying to happen to me. We can almost see what they look like when we arise in the sky. Perhaps we can call out an introduction one day. "Hellllloooooo!"

I'm happy today for Ulchenna and Joyce of the "Amazing Race". Cody and I were up late cheering. Such a sweet couple! It has been a fun show to watch. Now, with American Idol almost over, we're almost free for the summer from the grip of reality. Now, onto fantasy as we climb higher and higher into the clouds on our trampoline.........::::::::!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

A scene

all sorts
healed in the foothills.

We often see you as a robotic medicine machine
among four thousand.

Objective doctor of odorous sin.

Yet to be in the crowd and stare
back at you, after you carress my
withered foot for me to
test my leaps,
you glisten with tears:

Jewels to offer in
response to my
release from pain:

Subjective sweetness of surrender to
my care.

You obviously felt resultant
health and joy from each touch you gave.

And even reading now in cold text(Matt. 15)
about the fortunate in Tyre and Sidon,
I realize that I dully believe
that you must still walk again,

for our pain,

glistening for our joy when we
surrender to your
meandering and potent
compassionate measures of grace.

Allow me the life fully described
by a healing of my faith.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

A Lutheran bucket

Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what's best -- as above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and fogiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You're in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You're ablaze in beauty!
Yes. Yes. Yes.

Last Sunday, we said the Lord's prayer, KJV style, at the Lutheran church we visited. The prayer felt important, well-clothed like a grandmother in a dress and accessories and matching purse&shoes and rustly panty hose. I wanted to lean into it and smell it, happy with being back in a familiar lap. From the balcony, a men's choir broke out with quaint authority. Trumpets sounded like a promise of forgotten triumph. A robed man walked down the aisle with the cross which we were instructed to follow with our eyes.
My eyes became embarrassingly full of liturgical nostalgia. None of the Lutherans standing around me appeared emotional, though, so I blinked the tears away, quickly aware of how much I would love to be emotional and wail out in longing for the well-preserved Christ of the day.
However, of course, I strove for the more acceptable presentation of detachment.
Forty-five minutes later, after many hasty grabs at the program to see where to read, what stanza to sing, what verse to remain quiet, what Church to bless as chosen, who's allowed to receive communion, when to stand and sit, why the doctrine is upheld, I became very irritated. The first 15 minute pull was gone, drowned in a schedule which we followed most mechanically. The pastor was barely audible due to children all around me (which I enjoyed in some ways ~~ they became the Life embodied, yet wouldn't they receive more by being in a setting which allowed them to play and discover and learn stories on their level?).
When the time came to go home, I felt a strong inclination to get a full bucket of KFC as a traditional antidote to a traditional service in which we endured to the end. We made it! Now, let's eat!
So, when I saw the Lord's prayer written in "The Message" this morning, I smiled in remembrance of my Lutheran hour, and wondered if such a lovely interpretation would ever be allowed to float out into the air to co-mingle with the trumpeting. I'd love for them to entertain variety.
However, most likely, if I memorized this version, I'd have to blink it back too. I can just imagine the stares that I would receive for being different, and for upsetting the generational flow.
Yet I know for some people, this works, and I don't wish to deny that. For the Bible says, "It's easy to see a smudge on your neighbor's face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own.....Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor" (Matthew 7 -- the Message).
May we all worship God according to our ordained way, regardless of the variety. May I be allowed to remember the Lutheran experience in the way that corresponds to the needs of my spirit and soul.
Thank you, Lord, for authentic variety. You make experience 'good'.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Point A

And, so it happened. The sun agreed, and children swarmed in play on the big, city park playground. The lilacs announced the toddler area as Cody and I scoped out the activity for bigger children and friendly homeschooling parents. I sat on a rock, wondering about a small group clustered over near a tree. One woman seemed to be pacing, staring off, abrupt; two others were perhaps doing a craft. I was a bit too shy to approach. Suddenly, a blond woman asked the people next to me if they were with the homeschooler's group. My cue.

We're both newbies, trying to find a place. She and family have just moved here. She has a 7 year old son and a 6 year old girl. We talked churches, relatives, curriculum, child behaviors, and more. We exchanged numbers and discovered we live a mere two miles from each other.

Nothing surprises me anymore with God in the mix. He obviously enjoys coordinating our movements, home locations, and definitely our friendships. I've experienced this time and time again. She had been praying to meet a friend. We exchanged numbers and have plans to check out other homeschooling groups together and to get together soon for a play date.

Synchronicity with the wave of his hand, and we're off like a prearranged event!
Thank you, master-planner!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Marthaistically, I submit

I'm taking a breather before beginning =>

artichoke heart squares
raspberry gelatin delight pie
oatmeal and carmel chew bars
angel hair pasta salad (darn! I forgot the angel hair pasta -- it'll have to become Gemelli salad because everyone has a spare box of cheap pasta in their cupboards!)

crazy dressup prop finding
carnival music scouring
program detail notching
prayerful readiness to the final evening of the "Abba's Child" study.

The last evening of our Wednesday evening women's ministry group is finally upon us. I was like that WB Yeats' creature slouching toward Bethlehem this whole semester, barely making it, shaking in my boots in front of the 60-90 women, wondering how to handle depression, crisis, and doubt gracefully in front of others. Fortunately, my small group study "Abba's Child" dealt with being authentic and realistic and fingerholding when necessary. Thank you, Brennan Manning, and, primarily, thank you, Savior of women who have a list of Martha duties, because when Mary rises, doesn't she want to spread her joy of relationship with You to others? You are our Savior in many ways.

Well, may God takeover these duties and transform them into acts of worship and servitude. Please bless our gathering this evening as we focus on your glory.

Off to the refrigerator

Monday, May 02, 2005

Daniel Boone was a man, free to hunt

It's one of those homeschooling days ...
Cody had another insomniac night and woke up upset at himself, us, the world. I was able to get him to do one History quiz, and then I thought it might be good day to watch the old black and white Daniel Boone movie as a follow up to a Davy Crocket book that we had read (somewhere logic in all that) as part of a focus on the West.
The movie was .... interesting => the old voices, faces, ideas. One awesome thing in it was when the wagon train had to cross the river; it showed women, with dresses flowing backwards, hanging on to the harness straps of the swimming horses against the heavy current.
Then, we tried to play before reading a nonfiction book called "Kids of the Wild West", but the outside play was full of Cody's anger, frustration, big sweeps of hopeless emotion about himself.
We don't have as many days like this, and the last few weeks of homeschooling have been great, but today, he was tired and cranky.
And, now, I've picked up the mood.
Our reading went out the window. Now what besides my venting?
Perhaps some art?
Perhaps an outing for some ice cream?

Perhaps a prayer....

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Been tagged

I've been tagged by "Stranger" a friendblogger whose wonderful site is on my side bar! Anyway, she thinks that I will enjoy completing the sentences below in my spare time. She thinks that I could be more active in the blogosphere. She thinks that white bras are always bad with white shirts. Methinks she thinks too much. :) Okay, LT, here goes! (It's just that I don't know who I will tag next, so if anyone who happens to read this wishes to be tagged, save me and lemme know!) The directions are to pick three below and complete the sentence.

The Questions: If I could be a scientist...If I could be a farmer...If I could be a musician...If I could be a doctor...If I could be a painter...If I could be a gardener...If I could be a missionary...If I could be a chef...If I could be an architect...If I could be a linguist...If I could be a psychologist...If I could be a librarian...If I could be an athlete...If I could be a lawyer...If I could be an inn-keeper...If I could be a professor...If I could be a writer...If I could be a llama-rider...If I could be a bonnie pirate...If I could be an astronaut...If I could be a world famous blogger...If I could be a justice on any one court in the world...If I could be married to any current famous political figure...

If I could be a farmer, I'd be much nicer to my husband I'm sure, and I would drive an old pickup truck like it was an Italian racecar, and I would proudly wear t-shirts from garage sales which I could stain-without-worry like my little, cute momma does.

If I could be a bonnie pirate, I would sing merrily and evil-ly and whittle my wooden leg and endure toothaches with a cuss and a smile, and drink lots of whiskey without any regard to what my church women friends thought. Can I begin tomorrow?

If I could be a librarian, I would be secretly curious about the titles certain men checked out, particularly if they were intriguing in any way. I think that I would like to think about what might be in their heads. I think being a librarian would be bad for my marriage. :)

That's it. Not such a bad initiation into cyber fun& games. Please give me your permission to be tagged!