I've Changed My Name

I am in my bedroom. Boo is outside. The door is unlatched. Can I tell you that my bedroom is not immediately adjacent to the front door?



I hear the door open.

Ding-Dong! Ding-Dong!



Mom! mom!


Nope - don't know what he was saying. Nobody here by any of those names.



All of Me

I was deeply humbled one Wednesday morning. Our little church has a little Bible Study every week. There are 5 of us when everyone makes it. It's intimate, gives everyone a chance to speak and an opportunity to share ourselves in ways that perhaps a larger group wouldn't.
I was sharing an anecdote, and in passing I mentioned that I could never be "an Elizabeth Elliott," when 2 of the women said "I think you're selling yourself short. You don't know what God has for you." I glossed over it then but as I thought about it later on, I was stung with embarrassment. Over these weeks, as it has been percolating in my heart, and as I pondered the 1 Corinthian passage below, I realized something shocking.

I do not want to give Him my all. I do not want Him to grow me as He wants. I love my life, meaning I covet this world. I finally like myself pretty well and though in itself is constructive, it's become a god to me. I like where I am and the (slow) rate I'm going. It's like I have the coaster brakes on. It brings to mind a previous post in which I share this:

I read a poem of sorts somewhere, that said something like this: I don't
want a God that is strong and powerful, I only want 50 cents worth. Not
enough to make me rich and fulfilled, but just 50 cents worth - just enough
to hold in my hand and put away in my pocket when I want to.

No more braking. I'd rather be flying.




"Everything is permissible"—but not everything is beneficial.
"Everything is permissible"—but not everything is constructive.
Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.
- 1 Corinthians 10:23,24 (NIV)

I watched "Sex and the City: The Movie" last night. Despite the questionnable content and clearly immoral nature of the series, I was fascinated by the cleverness of the writing, visual effectiveness and the reflection of our age and times. The movie, however, had no redeeming qualities. It definitely was not "constructive." In any way.



Bail Out

Religion and Politics. Two "no-no" topics. I write plenty on religion because it's me; who I am. Politics? Important, but not so much me. Oh yeah, I have lots of opinions, but not on this blog and not every day. A friend of mine had to make a brunch date with me to hear my political views. She paid, so I figure that was a good deal!

I don't care how the finanical bail out happens. I just want these 3 things to happen:
  1. Those financial institutions must pay back every cent, plus interest. (Just like Chrysler did, by the way.)
  2. Those CEOs and Sr. VPs have to give up their bonues. (39 Billion for just 5 institutions.)
  3. The individuals with the bad debt must be given grace by the institutions.



Oh Her!

I don't know about your kids, but Boo can remember some things, like the color and location of all elevators he's ever seen, but can't seem to remember anything about school one second after he gets out.

I asked him if he knew a little girl in another class named Nora. Now mind you, he goes to a very small private school. And I'm sure there aren't a dozen little Noras flitting about. Of course he says, "No."

Me: "Her name is Nora. She's a little girl in (his good friend) M's class."

Boo: "No." (Blank look on face.)

Me: "Nora. She's in Miss S's Kindergarten class."

Boo: (More of the blank look.)

Now maybe, he was too busy building his Lego fire house. Maybe he was preoccupied listenng to the Teletubbies. It's funny, (or not) but already, he acts like and responds like a husband. You know, he can repeat back to you everything that you said, but you know he didn't really hear you? A little man.

I don't even remember what happened next. Suddenly, it's all "She told me I'm going to her house on Saturday. I saw her at recess. She came when I was getting on the swing. She says she has two areas in her house with toys, a play room and her bedroom."

Is it something I said?!?


No Conditions

Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.
- Deuteronomy 15:10-12

Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless;
maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.
Rescue the weak and needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
- Psalm 82:3-4

A generous man will himself be blessed,
for he shares his food with the poor.
- Proverbs 22:9

Be generous and share your blessings...without conditions.



It is not good to have zeal without knowledge,
nor to be hasty and miss the way.
-Proverbs 19:2 (NIV)


Last Hurrah

On Monday, at 11:45 am, Summer will officially be over and Autumn 2008 will begin. I don't know why that makes me so sad, since I love Autumn and dislike hot.

For our last Hurrah of the season, we are headed "down the Shore" for the weekend. It is to be sunny and 70. Mmmm. I can just feel myself, sitting on a beach chair reading a good book. Hearing Booboo delight!

I'll see you in a couple.



Funky Town

Boo has started full day school. I have been looking forward to this for all 6 years. When he was gone for half days, I purposely did not do any housework or errands unless I really wanted to do them. Those 2-1/2 hours I had to myself, I wanted for myself. I shamelessly spent them wandering the aisles of a thrift store. . . or Bloomingdales. (I know, I'm schizo.)

The other week, after Bible Study was over at 11:00, I realized I didn't have to rush off to the car line. I still had...3-1/2 hours. To myself. The past couple of days, I realized I do not feel like doing anything. Shopping does not excite me. (I might lose my blackbelt over this.) I certainly don't want to do housework.

Then, it dawned on me. I am in a funk. All those years, waiting for Boo to be in school all day. And all I can do all day. . . is miss him.



We Will Suffer for a Little While

Mother Jones has a photo essay on Ms. Ruth, who makes robes for the KKK. She loves and cares for her invalid daughter, and feeds her animals, and yet hatred reigns in her heart. It is easy to love those that are your own, but loving others is something she can't do.

"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor
and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies..." -Matthew 5:43,
44a (NIV)

Evil, Cowardice and Stupidity still walk the earth. But this too, will only be for a short while, until we go Home to our Heavenly Father.
"...though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kindsof trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, whichperishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result inpraise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed." -1 Peter 1:6,7 (NIV)
Ms Ruth is "blessing" this robe:

How, O Lord, do I love these enemies?



Go Michelle, Go!

Michelle Rhee, that is. The thirty-eight year old is fifteen months on the job as
DC's Chancellor of schools. She's not afraid of anybody and she's rockin' the boat!

You GO Grrrrl!!

Photo from EdWeek


Gong Li

I just finished watching "Curse of the Golden Flower" starring Chow Yun Fat (King & I) and Gong Li. I'd forgotten what a powerful force that woman is. If you saw "Memoirs of a Geisha," she played the aging jealous geisha.

I went through a Chinese movie phase and saw a number of Li movies. She is a ravishing chameleon. Meryl Streep has nothing on her. Li can be totally convincing as a country peasant or a conniving empress, as she was in "Curse."

She plays a peasant woman in "The Story of Qui Ju."

In "Raise the Red Lantern," she plays the fourth wife of a rich man, brought from the countryside. He psychologically tortures them all by extending, then withdrawing favor at random, causing murderous jealousies between the four women. Four is the unlucky number in East Asia, four, a homonym for "death."

And here she is as the woman who comes between two opera performers in "Farewell My Concubine:"

And finally, as the Empress in 10th Century Tang Dynasty in "Curse." Chow Yun Fat is fabulous and so is the scenery. It'll please the testosterone crowd, too.

See her just for her beautiful features, but also for her fierceness and control. Oh, and by the way? She's 42.




Boo has always been able to pay attention for long periods of time. I have a picture of him before he was walking, sliding our closet doors back and forth. Back and forth. Back and forth. Which led into a fascination with elevators. Garage doors concurrently interested him. Ironically, we are the only house in our neighborhood that has a carport. He has found that the Mother of All Garage Doors can be found at fire stations.

He earned $50.00 by doing chores to buy the Lego Fire House set. He's not so much interested in the fire engines but the garage doors.

It goes everywhere with him.

In Christ Alone, III

I've said it. I am able.

So why do I yell at my kid? My one. My only.
Why do I drudge up painful memories from my past? Why can't I let go?
Why do I get angry at little things? I mean disproportionately angry.

My little Boo is just awesome. My HH is terrific. Our life is sweet. So why? Why do I have these ugly feelings? It's easy to say "because I am sinful." It's true. But what does that really mean? Well, it's what I've lived through (nurture) in combination with the being I am (nature.) I am very sensitive. I notice the colors, the sounds, the attitudes all around me. I have a pretty vivid imagination that tends to fill up my head with ugly thoughts. I took insults to heart and couldn't let go. I internalized sinful attitudes that I didn't know I had! If I thought someone was bothersome, in fact, it was that buttons were pushed inside me. Buttons I didn't know I had.

Sin. The Original kind, pervades our core, every molecule and sphere of our being. The Original Sin became specific in my mom, my dad, me, neighbors, strangers, my body chemicals, and so on. My adoption into God's Kingdom shows me where I'll go in the end, but I need a map to get around here! Where's the map in dealing with rude clerks, my son's annoying habits, drudgery, hormones?

Stay with me. I'm getting to my point.

The Spirit will lead you on your walk, as you are made more like Him. He will lead you where you need to go: a friend, a stranger, a trial. King David asked for God to show him his sins.

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in (your) weakness."

- 2 Corinthians 12:9

Don't be afraid to be weak. It would only be admitting the truth. The Spirit can also lead you to a doctor or a therapist. He lead me there and my map is clearer than ever.



Where Were You When

I remember that very morning discussing how to get there.

My colleague and I were headed on a 2-day session at our client's in remote western Maryland. We had been there several times before, but this time, I looked on the map to see if there might be a better route. Should we cut west on the Pennsylvania turnpike then head south? or should we head south then head west along a Maryland highway as we usually do?

In the end, Vince and I decided to take the usual route across Maryland. We left early in the morning and we were busy talking about our families, the clients and other things that you typically share with a liked team member.

My cell phone rang as we were driving in the beautiful mountains of Route 68. My secretary called in a panicked voice asking if I had spoken with my husband. My heart started pounding and my head began to feel warm. My immediate thought was that something had happened with our family. She went on to explain in a breathy voice that America was being attacked. We had to drive quite awhile before we came upon a motel. We stopped to see what we could find out. The few patrons were already grouped around the lobby tv set and we watched, unbelieving, as we see in real time as the South tower is hit.

We had no choice but to keep going to our destination, a hospital. When we got to the parking lot, Vince and I both looking to the same Savior, against all professional tradition, sat in the office car, in our client's parking lot and prayed.

We found out that this facility was the third tier in the line of care in cases of catastrophic situations. By this time, the Pentagon was hit and there were conflicting reports about Flight 93. We started our meeting, which was to last 2 days, knowing that at any time, helicoptors and ambulances might be coming with the casualties from the Pentagon or Shanksville. We continued our meeting, heavy hearted, with the visions of the tower hovering in our hearts.

As the hours wore on into the late afternoon, with no radio contact, no helicoptors, no ambulances, we knew what that meant. Our clients, nurses trained in emergency preparedness, were frank. Despite the number of people that would have been injured, there weren't enough survivors for their hospital to be needed. We knew it was bleak news.

At the end of our sessions, Vince and I each headed to our hotel room. We each sat in our own room, feeling alone, feeling helpless, lost, and feeling like never before, a deep primal need to be with our families. We met the next morning for breakfast, neither one of us having slept well and continued our meetings. I don't know how we did it. We were there and we had to keep going.

As we drove back across Maryland, and as the news of the Shanksville tragedy became clearer, we realized that had we driven across Pennsylvania the morning before, instead of the route we took, we probably would have seen a plane in the sky, plummeting down toward an empty field.

I know that how I was touched is nothing compared to what others lived...are living through. But I was touched, as was every other in our country. And, it is nothing compared to people who live with this violence every day. They leave their family in the morning, not knowing if they'll come back with a limb missing, tortured for apparently no reason, or if they'll come home at all.

I have no conclusion to this story I've shared. How can there be? It is just my heart, poured out for the sadness and evil in this world.



Promises, Promises

I just want you to know I really did go to the gym.

I've belonged to gyms all my adult life. I used to poo-poo these 'all women' places as being for prisses. I'm not sure what turned me around, but I love my Curves! If you've worked out at those other testosterone-laden places, you'll know what I mean:

  1. I do not have to check if my lipstick is on straight.
  2. I do not have to go to a big old locker room and dress/undress with 20 sweaty people.
  3. I do not have to be concerned about my workout "outfit."
  4. I do not have to listen to Mr. Size 18 Neck grunt and groan.
  5. I do not have to watch a too-thin flirt flirt with said Mr Neck.
  6. I do not have to readjust the weights from 300 lbs down to, like, 80.
  7. And best of all. . . I do not have to wipe the equipment off after Mr Neck gets done. . . bleagh!!

Curves. It's workin' for me.


Clean Up Good

This is not a blog about housekeeping. Or poor English. The title is as in "Don't I clean up good??" After almost 6 years of being a full-time stay-at-home-mom, I am dipping my toes into the icy cold waters of corporate America. I had an interview Monday morning at 8:30 AM. (Ha! makes it sound like I'm a morning person!)
I had a cute, trendy outfit picked out and made the mistake of asking HH what he thought. He was quiet. Not a good sign. He said it was better to err on the side of overdressing than under. I say it was a mistake to ask, because he was right. Always is. Dang.
So there I am, at 7:30, trying to pick out another outfit. And this is how the process went. I got the only skirt I can still fit into - the red silk number you see. Then I put on the only summer dressy top I could find - the b/w silk knit. Fortunately I have this great red bag with gold trim, and appropriate gold jewelry. And I was set.
Here's the thing, though. I didn't freak out and beat myself up (or anyone else) because I'm the heaviest I've every been in my life. I didn't bemoan how aweful I look and why don't I have the perfect clothes to wear? God's healing power, His wisdom, age, experience and lots of therapy! have allowed me to appreciate where I am and eschew the frivolous.
Yes, I sometimes (often) still fuss over frivolous issues. And yes, I was annoyed about the clothes. But I was annoyed that I had 30 minutes to put together a new outfit. I wasn't annoyed at my HH, who was, as I said, RIGHT. Again. (Are you reading this, Sweetie?) Nor was I annoyed that I was "fat." I looked back at myself these decades and see how at every stage, every age, no matter how good I looked, that I thought of myself as imperfect somehow. Very imperfect. So why keep berating myself over it? As I said, I am the heaviest I've ever been. But you know what? I may be even heavier next year...or I may get a terminal disease...or have some other tragedy befall me.
So what am I going to do? I am going to stop complaining and putting myself down about imperfect physical attributes. I am going to rejoice in today.
And then I'm heading to the gym.


In Christ Alone, II

The Power that saved you will also sustain you. The Miracle that brought you to life from death will also carry you through to the end.

But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because
from the beginning God chose you to be saved through
the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief
in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. - 2
2 Thessalonians 2: 13,14 (NIV)
You were saved by the Father.
The Spirit sustains you.
Until you share in the end, the glory with Jesus.

Be confident! Be sure! Be loving! As miraculous as it was that God saved you, He will also sustain you! When your kids are under afoot. When the drudgery gets to you. When the sox are on the floor. When someone insults you. It is no less miraculous that every day, you can grow to be more and more like Him. You were freed from bondage when you were saved....that means YOU ARE ABLE to live a holy life.

Because of Him.

Here's the other side of the proverbial coin. He also said:

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in (your) weakness." - 2 Corinthians 12:9



Love Note

Boo: Oma, I miss you when I'm at school.

Me: Oh honey, I miss you, too.

Boo: I think about you all the time.



First Day of First Grade

Here is my beautiful Boo, wearing his school Crocs on his first day of first grade today:

I think he looks great.


What a Croc

I, like many people, have a love/hate relationship with Crocs. Yes, the shoes. The resin anti-bacterial light-weight shoe. I love the name: a clever but simple combination of crocodile and clogs. They are cute, in my opinion, only if the wearer is under 5 feet tall AND under 10 years old. The brighter the color, the better. My friend's almost-3 year old daughter has a lavendar pair. Kee-yooot!

Boo loves 'em because his feet are always hot - even in the winter - and the Crocs are easy to slip on and off. So we went dashing to the outlet mall, where they are 5 bucks cheaper, to get him a "school" pair. Remember when school shoes were like, brown and tied up or buckled?? Anyway, it was obvious that school had started because the store was wiped out! I asked what they had in his size. I was told they had nothing for boys, that they only had GIRL COLORS. When I asked what these GIRL COLORS were, the clerk looked on a handy-dandy cheat-sheet and told me, "Light green, pale yellow... "

STOP RIGHT THERE. What is this?? Is this like, the United States? or some rigid conservative state?? OK, I admit I'm getting carried away. Are we really so paranoid? Are we afraid this will affect their s.exuality?? or is there something else I don't understand? This past summer, I overheard a mom telling - uh - let's say berating - her 6 year old son. He apparently had picked up and was playing with someone's pink pool toy. She mercilessly teased him saying, "Ewww, PINK! Are you a girrrrl?? Maybe I should buy you a pink backpack! and a pink notebook!" And on the painful tirade went. I know this boy is 6 because I know his apparently reasonable mom. OK, I would quietly discourage Boo from wearing pink or lavendar shoes. You know, for his sake.

While I strongly believe in the distinction of the 2 genders, I think it's more subtle and serious than these silly classifications. I don't know who decided green and yellow were girl colors. Did you know that up until the 1940's, pink used to be the boy color? The teasing/tirade that I witnessed at the pool helps instill in boys that femininity and things or activities associated with females is cause for derision. And we don't need more of that. For the sake of females and males.