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From Bible Bearer to Wedding Singer

For all my trepidations regarding my brother’s wedding and my children’s role therein, the event went quite swimmingly!

Edward clung to his Bible throughout the entire event like a tiny evangelist.

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He carried the Word reverently down the aisle, up onto the stage, and stood, beaming, next to the bride and groom.   We motioned him down, and he looked a tad hurt to leave the stage but protested in no way.  Whew!

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At the last minute, the child who initially planned to be a ring bearer, became a Best Man instead, and his cousin was named groom’s ring bearer.  Minutes before the wedding, however, this cousin declared she would not be a ring bearer and must serve as Maid of Honor.  The wedding coordinator looked down at the jumping, jittering mass of six flower girls and picked, at random perhaps or potentially for her certain degree of serenity, Sue.

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So my tiny Sue got to bear the ring down the aisle, arm in arm with her big brother, who was cool with it all except he got the grandmother’s flower instead of the correct boutonniere and it had pearls and a bow on it, and his tie was a zip-on.  (That’s just not cool when you’re nine!)

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At the reception, Edward got all hopped up on cling peaches and a spoonful of wedding cake icing and became what could be a foreshadowing of things to come: A Wedding Singer.

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Posted on 30 April '09 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 4 Comments.

Wedding Conundrum

Luke 5:34-39

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[34] Jesus answered, “Can you make the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? [35] But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.”

[36] He told them this parable: “No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. [37] And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. [38] No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. [39] And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, ‘The old is better.’ ”

old-wineskins

Posted on 19 April '09 by , under Faith is the Evidence. 1 Comment.

Dodging Tornadoes ?

Certainly, I’m not sure what is going on in my life at any given moment, but whatever it is of late, it has to do with dodging and near-misses.

Sunday afternoon, after returning from the wedding, we made a leisurely drive-stroll through Alabama. We stopped in one of our favorite towns, and former homes, Birmingham, and hit Cahaba Heights to eat at a cool place called Mudtown.

Edward spilled his Sprite, swizzled ketchup and twirled precariously on his stool.  Sue insisted on visiting the bathroom the minute we hit the place and rejected her chicken fingers because the breading was too “spikey.”

Things felt normal.

We’d already seen a rainbow earlier, and much to the excitement of the boys, an old couch floating in a flooded culvert, so we felt quite peaceful and jolly about the storms.

(Sorry I missed the couch in the shot! Isn’t this photographic excellence?  I know Karla will be particularly impressed for two reasons.)

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We’re relaxing on the porch with our salads and sweet teas, enjoying the break in rain,when the storm sirens suddenly go off.  H leisurely walks inside the restaurant only to notice blaring tornado-red Weather Channel panic.  Soon we are faced with several looming tornadoes quote close to the restaurant.

Our waitress speaks in shrill tones to her cell phone, “The tornado just hit my neighborhood!  My children are OK.  They were on the trampoline but my neighbor’s house is toast!”  She throws down our bill and rushes inside to check the weather.

Soon we realize that if we hadn’t stopped at this lovely spot, we would have driven right through one tornado and directly into the paths of at least three more!

Joseph began to feel a bit panicky, with good reason.  Two years ago, a large tornado hit our neighborhood, completely destroying one of our best friend’s homes, our former church and 13 other houses nearby.  The devastation was massive and shocking, and the freight train sound and fear of what could have happened have lingered with Joseph, and of course, many others.

With dueling cell phones connected to weather.com, we tracked the storms throughout the night, stopping to let certain angry “cells” pass and arriving home around 1 am with two sleeping children and one wide-awake Edward!  We barely missed one tornado that actually hit our town, causing damage to several businesses and homes, but thankfully injuring no one.

During the whole drive I felt undeniable peace.  I knew God was protecting us, and I knew we would arrive home unscathed, despite the rain, potential hail, other reckless drivers, hydroplaning and a host of other typical fears that generally plague me in situations such as this.  This assurance allowed me, often a fearful, anxious person, to (hopefully), pass my faith-confidence on to my son.

While I was thinking about the whole experience, the term “dodging” kept running through my mind.  Yet as I worked on this post, I realized there was no dodging on my part.  Instead it was God who was guiding us through this literal storm just as He guides us through the figurative storms of life.  And whereas I so often rush to panic, and therefore cause alarm and terror in my children, by remaining calm and giving in to a new level of trust, I finally gave my children an important gift.

While I was pregnant with Sue, I had many occasions to “rush to panic,” yet early in the pregnancy a dear friend’s mother gave me this verse from Isaiah 28:16:

“So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘See I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed.'”

Certainly this verse spoke volumes to a mother with two recent miscarriages: the stone, the tiny embryo; the foundation, my womb.

Another translation of this verse reads, “If you trust in Him, you will not give way to sudden panic.”

Sue is almost four, and sadly I had “abandoned” this verse in an old flip-deck of verses I used to carry around.  I’ve panicked too many times when Edward or Sue crashed over backward in a chair onto the tile floor, fell off the patio table onto concrete, or simply ran headlong into a door jamb, their foreheads purpling with a burgeoning swell of unknown severity, ice bags applied, pupils checked, prayers muttered.

I’ve screamed too many times Joseph has almost fallen out of a tree, cavalierly employed a butcher knife to open a video game or been crunched in football by a hulking boy twice his size.

Sudden panic has been my middle name throughout much of motherhood, and I have realized this week that it must stop.


Posted on 23 April '09 by , under Faith is the Evidence. 6 Comments.

Is it Monday?

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Good Enough Mama is my friend.  Why not support her mumber action?  It’s quite fun!

867 Number of miles logged since Thursday’s wedding pilgrimage.

4 Number of Tornadoes dodged yesterday during our attempt at returning home.

3 Number of children who howled during the entire wedding ceremony.

0 Number of howling children who were associated with me.  (Miracles, miracles!  And thanks for your prayers.  They were definitely felt!)

2 Number of times the bride turned around to leer at the sobbing children.

777 number of prayers I prayed during wedding about the potentiality of disruptive children associated with me.

3 Number of promised child-friendly items served at wedding reception.  Below you will find the actual menu.  Please select the most child-friendly choice and let me know what you think it is because I am having a hard time deciding upon, or perhaps simply recognizing, child-friendly fare.  I had to actually “borrow” a can of cling peaches from the pantry and plop them in a plastic cup so Edward would have something GF/CF to eat after the promised french fries and fruit medly “went missing.”  Sue subsisted on M n Ms with the bride and groom’s name imprinted.  Menu: Crackers with kippered herring, cheeze “starling” and hint of dill; sweet rolls with turkeyporkpatty; pounded chicken wrapped with spinach; garlic toast with tomato chutney.  Children flocked, they dined, they embraced the culinary wonder…

0 The number of blogs I have read, or emails I have answered, since Thursday.  I promise to catch up this week!  Please stick with me!

Posted on 20 April '09 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 16 Comments.

Like Going to War

“Marriage is an adventure, like going to war.” -G. K. Chesterton

My brother will wed his lovely, albeit much, much younger, bride this Friday evening at a small church wedding in Nashville.  My group (three children and one husband of almost 15 years) will be sleeping in a friend’s home on a single blow-up mattress because my brother’s home is the site of the wedding reception.  We could have elected to stay in a hotel but why eschew such grand stories for mere comfort and a decent night’s sleep?

Seven cousins under the age of seven will serve as flower maidens, dripping rose petals throughout the church, clad in matching dresses, bows and ballet slippers yet to be purchased.  Three boys, nine and under, will serve, alternatingly, as ring bearers and Bible bearers.  Each boy will be wearing a matching pastel tie that each has loudly, vehemently, and honestly rather angrily, rebelled against, threatened to throw off at the last minute, etc.

Edward has been chosen as Bible bearer, thus we spend the rest of this week reminding him that Bible bearers have no speaking parts, no singing parts and no dancing parts.  Bible bearers, like spelling bee participants, are not entertainers.  They importantly, yet silently, walk down the aisle, clutching the Bible tightly, looking neither to the right nor the left, brandishing no strange gestures, no mouth noises, no unusual facial gestures, simply walking slowly, holding a Bible, and then standing still for the duration of what I pray to be a short series of wedding vows.

I’m not holding my breath.  Would you?

Here is Edward today receiving a proper wedding hair cut–his busy hands unable to leave alone the fire bell that graces the “hair cutting fire truck” into which he was nearly unable to fold his gangly legs.

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That child has fun wherever he goes!  Would that we all had such attitude!

Yes, I’m going into battle here.

Please pray for me.

Posted on 14 April '09 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 13 Comments.

It’s Kind of Pitiful…

that all I can manage these days is Monday Mumbers.  Not to discount that weight-loss maven, cupcake rejecting Kia or anything, but I have scores of unfinished drafts and still have nothing ready for this week!  Without further adieu:

mumbers

3 Number of days I have before leaving for my brother’s “now-no-longer-a-surprise-wedding!”

77 Number of times I have panicked this weekend realizing all the things I still haven’t done to prepare for this event like: get children’s hair cut, (thereby qualifying for Stone Fox’s ‘Hair Dare’, I hope), buy matching shoes for boys (a wedding requirement), find a pair of khaki pants that will fit a rapidly-growing nine-year-old for longer than two weeks, lose 10 lbs, make pale pink rosette-shaped home-made mints with heirloom mint molds, and the list goes on…

20 Number of children at my house Saturday for a mudfest Easter egg hunt.  (We put down a tarp and taped off treacherous mud-seep areas!)

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24 Number of fleshly-colored turkey hotdogs H prepared for the Easter egg extravaganza!

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4 Number of “flesh-turkey” hotdogs consumed by guests.

35 Number of “standard beef” hotdogs relished by guests.

16 x 21 Dimensions of the over-sized Easter basket Edward insisted on using for the egg hunt.

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2 Number of “pitiful” Easter decorations I put up before the party and H took pictures of to make fun of my decorating attempts!

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Here’s my mantle graced with Easter lights and children’s pottery masterpieces!

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1 Number of children who captured a caterpillar, placed it in an Easter egg lined with soft leaves and exclaimed, “This is Fuzzy, my new pet caterpillar!  She will live in this egg, build her cocoon here and live happily ever after until she comes out of the cocoon as a beautiful butterfly and follows me around, flying just above my head, for the rest of my life!”

easter-caterpillar

Enough of the humorously pitiful!

What is truly pitiful is a fact our pastor shared with us today:  If you Google the word Easter in “images,” in the first 18 images (which comprise the first page), you will only see one image of Christ or the cross.  The rest are frolicking bunnies, bright eggs, ducks and fluffy chicks.  (Try it!)

Now that, my friends, is honestly pitiful because the true meaning of Easter is Jesus Christ!

He has risen!  He has risen indeed!  Hallelujah!

easter_prayer


Posted on 13 April '09 by , under Faith is the Evidence. 14 Comments.

Not Milquetoast

My brother, sister-in-law-to-be and nephew are in town so it’s been slightly crazy.  They are having a secret wedding in a few weeks, so there’s a lot going on.  Sorry I haven’t had time to respond to any comments but I’ll be back on track Wednesday.  In the meantime, enjoy this!

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Notice the glowing plastic wine glasses with 2% organic milk!

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Simplicity…

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Why can’t life be this simple?

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Good times!

Posted on 14 March '09 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 12 Comments.

Mourning Hair

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Perhaps I’ve gone over the edge with the T.S. Eliot?  I know people are reading my last post, but only a few have dared to comment.

Where is she going with this?

(One insightful friend did indicate she thought there was more to the post than just a hair cut.  Another friend called me “brave,” [isn’t she kind?], and promptly sent me the picture above taken a few days ago when I still had long hair, while another asked me if I was a modern-day Lady Godiva.)

Let me elaborate.

When I was almost three, my parents had another baby and cut my hair into a bad pageboy.  Then they sent me away to a spinster aunt’s for two weeks while my brother ‘got bonded,’ and my aunt bought me a horrific, leering-eyed clown jack-in-the-box at K-Mart, from which I’ve never recovered.

jack_in_the_box

So to get even, I stabbed my mother’s vinyl kitchen chairs with a cheap, serrated steak knife and pulled out the tufts of polyester fiber stuffing, ruining each and every chair.

How’s that for three-year-old sibling newborn angst?

From that point forward I pledged to keep my hair long.  Long hair, for me, exemplified graceful, flowing femininity and acceptance.  It represented an array of hairstyles from pony tails to pig tails, Princess Leah braids to headbands, handpainted name baretts to yarn puff-ball cheerleading hairties, elbow-length, face-covering Dead head hair to shoulder-length, trimly cut wedding veil hair.  And of course the pregnancy-fertile mommy hair that promptly coated the shower stall a few months after childbirth.

Two Christmases ago I saw a friend I hadn’t seen in years.  This normally bobbed-hair, perfect lipstick friend had rangy, shaggy hair halfway down her back.  We were in the toy store debating the evils of various Transformers when I finally had to ask her what the deal was with the hair.  Was she getting the band back together?

She explained that she was growing her hair out for Locks of Love.  “Wow!” I thought.  I could do that.  I mean I grow hair.  I love my hair.  Still, I could do that.  I filed away a short mental note and moved on.

Yet that memory of her “hair plan” nagged at me.  God began to whisperingly remind me about my pledge.  Each month when I would visit my hair stylist, I would ask him how many more months it would take for me to grow my 10 inches.  At one point, it was June and I thought how lovely it would be to have short, smart, Summer hair.

Next I felt it might take until the Holidays to have the right length.  “Yes, after Christmas, would be perfect,” I would think.  “Then I will have long hair for all the holiday pictures and will still have some time to grow it out before Summer.”

This hair dance continued.  Month after month, I’d sheepishly enter the salon, clutch my long locks, and admit I was simply not ready to shed them.  Yet why?  Why was this shock of admittedly stringy hair so important to me?

Finally the whole affair became a bit ridiculous.  Wednesday afternoon when I told H I would be emerging from the stylist with a significant alteration, a strange Lenten offering, he looked at me in a bemused way and gave me a hug, (ie, he didn’t believe I’d go through with it.)

My “stylist” is a 20-something, super-straight, University of Georgia football fan with an 18-month-old son and lovely wife whose hairstyle I pirated.  The man is the best colorist in South Georgia, and he does a great hair cut too, but he can’t put hair in a pony tail.  He gave me what looked like the rubber band off of a newspaper and asked me to put my hair in a loose pony tail.

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Hurry up please, it’s time.

All I can say is as I did this, I felt this floating, surreal sensation as if my head was disconnected from my body.  In slow motion I watched him take the shiny scissors, clamp down on my hair, and deftly cut.  And as he cut, the visceral nature of what I felt can only be described as akin to having a baby pulled out of your womb.

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Those of you who have pushed and pushed to no avail only to have the unfortunate experience of a forceps delivery will know what I am talking about.  I felt as though something was being removed from me…something I didn’t want to leave…yet something I knew had to go.

So when Tari asked me this morning via email if I missed my hair, I had to answer that not only do I miss my hair, but I am actively mourning my hair.

While I am missing the way my hair felt on my back, and I admit to looking longingly at the stray pieces that litter the floor by my computer, what I lament the most is my own inability to find joy in sacrificing my hair.

Let’s be honest: this is a miniscule sacrifice in the grand scheme of things.  It’s not like I had to cut my hair to prepare for chemotherapy like several of my friends have done lately.  Why has this seemingly small sacrifice been so difficult for me?

While I believe there are several reasons from the frighteningly vain to the extremely personal, honestly I am still trying to understand it all.  Perhaps you have some insight, and if so, please share it with me.

I do feel God calling me to acknowledge my own struggle with a new level of faith, and this reminds me of Stone Fox’s revelations of late.

Or perhaps the decision is just as simple as God called me to cut my hair to help another person and I finally obeyed just because He said so?

newhaircut-eliz

Could it really be that simple?

Posted on 28 February '09 by , under Faith is the Evidence. 17 Comments.

Nutcracker Dreams I Don’t Deserve

Every year beginning when I was three, my mother and grandmother would take me to the Nutcracker.  I grew up in Nashville, TN, and the ballet there was lovely and quite established.  I would dress in my best Christmas dress, tights and patent leather shoes.

One year, I even had a tiny white fur muff with matching hat.  I supposed looking back, this tradition meant a great deal more to me than I realized at the time.  I have mourned its passing each year since I left for college, and then later when my grandmother died right before my wedding day.

This year, however, in a sort of unexpected blessing, the tradition was rekindled with my tiny Sue who is finally three.  She’s old enough so sit through a ballet without wailing, talking incessantly or needing to nurse.  Right before my eyes, God has transformed her from a chubby, bouncing toddler in to a tender-hearted, long-legged, inquisitive little girl.

I have written before about my pregnancy with Sue, and how, after two miscarriages, I longed for a healthy baby with a fervency I’d never felt before.  I have many dear friends who have battled infertility for countless years.  Some have ended their struggle with a biological child, and others with the grand blessing of adoption.  I certainly cannot imagine those kinds of struggles, but I am certain that in loaning us Sue for a short time, God gave us His best.

So yesterday, when God blessed me with the chance to take my own smallish girl to the ballet, I relished in the event.  I tried to capture many moments in my mind and in my heart.

Here she is waiting in great anticipation for the ballet to begin.

She sat riveted to her seat, mesmerized by the music and the dance.  When we got up for intermission, she was worried that the ballet was over.  When we came back after getting our candy and taking a potty break, she exclaimed, “Oh goody!  We get to see it again!”

“Mama, I want to be there, on that stage, with them.  I want to be there dancing with them.  Can I be, Mama, can I do it?”

“Absolutely, sweetheart, absolutely.”

Posted on 2 December '08 by , under Faith is the Evidence. 21 Comments.

“Casseroles, Shut-Ins and Feminism”

There’s not a lot out there on the “shut-in,” and sadly, people just don’t talk about them much anymore.  (They used to be an official heading in most church bulletins in the South.)  One thing is certain, however, the shut-in is desperate for casseroles—and lots of them.

In case you’re not Southern, Dictionary.com defines a “shut-in” as a “a person confined by infirmity or disease to the house, a hospital, etc.”

As a former graduate level feminist-theory student turned Christian homeschool mom, I have an interesting perspective on the casserole.  When I finally succumbed to marriage at 27, I was fresh out of grad school.

So it’s no mystery why I sobbed openly when my mother’s cousin presented me with a blue and white quilted “casserole caddy” (complete with a pink bow) during a wedding shower held in a church multi-purpose room.  At that point, I had never made a casserole, could not imagine myself doing such, and was convinced my life as a married woman would render me scrubbing grout lines and analyzing the benefits of Biz over Whisk.

It’s also not surprising that a few weeks after marrying, I began drinking a few too many Joseph’s Cherries (raspberry seltzer with grenadine and vodka) and trying my hand at huswifery.  The results were tragic:  Endless, crumbly, dry peach cobblers and an attempt at falafel that tasted like soap.  H renamed the dish “cho cho balls.”

Now, 13 years and three children later, I actually have a casserole argument.  H exhibits severe disdain for my casseroles; yet he exults that if I am providing a meal for a “shut-in” family, my own family goes without.  And that is true.  But truthfully my own family is glad–they will get takeout Mexican.  And the shut-ins’ are happy to see my casseroles coming!  They are shut in—they have no choice…no ability to go out and get some alternative.  And I’ll tell you they all ask for the recipes when it’s all said and done so what does that say about my casserole-popularity?

I have two offerings for the shut-in: “Wild Rice Chicken Casserole,” or a “Cheez Whiz Spaghetti Casserole.”

So my dear friend Ashley calls me yesterday to make sure I knew some friends had a motorcycle accident and were going to be “shut in” for a while.  She asks, “So which one are you doing, “the chicken” or “that Cheez Whiz thing?”

Am I that predictable?

“Yeah, it sucks to be a ‘shut-in’ in this town,”  H encourages.

Posted on 14 July '08 by , under Huswifery. 4 Comments.