Sunday, March 25, 2012


I am now the mother of a boy who is taller than me and stronger than me.  I can't pick him up and carry him anymore.  He's 17 and almost old enough to register with Selective Service.  And though he's:

A normal boy.
A brilliant boy.
A college-bound boy.
A sweet boy.

He's not:
A black boy.
The above was taken from Denene Millner's blog entry entitled, Black Boy Swagger, Black Mom Fear. I read it and my eyes teared up.  Then I read this:  No Apologies.....  And my eyes teared up again.  I recommend you read them both.  

The mom who lives across the street from us is black, and so is her middle school aged son.  I don't know them well enough to know if he hopes to go to college or if he's a "sweet boy".  I imagine to her he is.  And now, after reading the above mentioned blog entries, I imagine that when her son is away from the house or home alone, she has a few more worries than I do about my son.  There's all the normal stuff.  The stuff I worry about.  Will he get in an accident?  Will he forget something important at school?  Will he get sick?  Will he be influenced by the wrong people?  But I've never considered my son having to fear the police or others in authority.  I've never thought about white women finding him intimidating and clinging to their purses as he passes them in a parking lot.  I've never thought twice about him wearing his black Tates Creek Percussion Ensemble hoodie.  When the police cruisers drive down our street, multiple times an evening, I've never worried they'd stop at my house because someone had [accused] my son of doing something wrong.  Simply because of his skin color.  Because that doesn't happen if you're white.  

Things I wish didn't happen.  Things I wish didn't have to be considered.  Yet, they're realities and sometimes tragedies, and a [sorry this is happening, I wish I could make it better] probably isn't enough.  

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


When you have teenagers [which we do], you can't bank on how the dinner conversation will go.  Often it's something like this...

parent: How was your day?
kid #1:  Fine.
parent:  [to kid #2]  How was your day?
kid #2:  Fine.
parent:  What'd ya do at school today?
kid # 1 and #2:  [in unison]  Nothing.

Other times, one can obtain more information from their offspring.  For example, after taking an important test, or after a field trip, or a day when they particularly like what's served for dinner.  But...I've found teenagers are much more likely to open up, so to speak, when you're one-on-on with them.  Dinnertime with the family is not when they usually want to talk. 

Well....Monday night was different.  Our family of four hit on world, local, and personal events: 

I brought up the KONY2012 video and the situation Jason Russell now finds himself in.  Passionate dialogue ensued.  [If, by chance, you do not know the circumstances surrounding Jason Russell, I suggest you do what I always suggest people do when they don't know something:  GOOGLE it.] 

A teenager was shot and killed Sunday afternoon.  Right here in our town.  Not your everyday occurrence in Lexington, Kentucky.  Apparently he was fairly well known at both of our kids' schools.  Meaning there was plenty of chatter and remembrance and the other stuff kids do when faced with this type of tragedy

Husband Chip has decided to read The Hunger Games.  Our kids say it's too trendy and/or popular and refuse to read it.  I guess they don't want to participate in {what everybody else is doing}. 

Daughter Allie is in a relationship.  That's what Facebook has told us.  So, of course, we had to ask her about this [relationship].  It involves a boy.  Who seems like a decent kid.  Who plays the drums.  Who has a twin.  

Allie just returned from a school trip to Washington DC.  We chatted a bit about it.

So I suppose we covered love and war and current events and popular literature, and possibly a few other things.  All while eating macaroni and cheese.  Plus fruit salad.  

Tonight [Wednesday] we enjoyed another meal together around the table.  Strangely, more conversation ensued.  Jamie still won't read The Hunger Games.  Allie is still in a relationship.  And we even talked about their school days.  Which, ironically, did involve some [nothingness].  

After dinner, Chip and I commented to each other that we really never know how the dinner talk will go.  More times than not, it's:

parent: How was your day?
kid #1:  Fine.
parent:  [to kid #2]  How was your day?
kid #2:  Fine.
parent:  What'd ya do at school today?
kid # 1 and #2:  [in unison]  Nothing.

Friday, March 16, 2012


It is 5:59 a.m.  I've been awake since, I think 3:37 a.m.  Daughter Allie left this morning for Washington D.C.  It's the 8th grade trip, and she had to report to school at 4:30 a.m.  The buses were to leave at 5 a.m., but alas, one child, or perhaps his parent, or perhaps both, was running late, so the departure was postponed 30 minutes.  I guess there's one in every crowd. . .at least one. . .

Speaking of crowds, I listened to this recently:  The Power of Introverts.  I am not one to spend more than a few minutes listening to stuff on the internet.  I don't have the world's longest attention span, therefore the [I think] 19 minutes was a stretch for me.  I believe Susan Cain is my new hero.  Maybe not hero, but she's now on the list of the 4 people I'd invite to a dinner party.  

Introverts get a bad rap, at least in my opinion.  Being labeled as {quiet} means you are looked over and talked over and promoted over.  Here's a quote by Susan Cain:
"I believe that introverts living under the Extrovert Ideal are like women in a man’s world, and that introverts today are roughly where Western women were in the 1950s and 60s – too often discounted because of an attribute that goes to the core of who they are, but poised on the edge of great change. "
A woman wrote to Susan: 
“I pursued a promotion at work and was told ‘You’re smart, you have great ideas, and you have done great things for our hospital. Unfortunately you are too quiet for the job.’ I am a nurse, I just obtained my Master’s in nursing administration and I have a research paper that has been submitted for publication in an international nursing journal. It frustrates me that I have to fight tooth and nail for everything simply because I am ‘quiet.’” 
I am proud of my kids for many reasons, and quite frankly people that constantly share lovely tales about their kids annoy me.  So, in risk of annoying myself, and possibly you, the reader, I will share this:

One of the things that makes me the proudest or shall we say, most pleased with my kids, is their love of being alone.  Daughter Allie can uninterrupted.  While she's a television lover and socially normalized and not really as introverted as the rest of the family, she can sit in her room with her Smash book and create for hours.  Last Saturday, while at son Jamie's All District Jazz Band performance, the guest conductor commented that he has to make his son, a current Julliard student, STOP practicing his instrument.  Every now and then he needs a break.  FLASHING LIGHTS!!!  Jamie can spend hours upon hours alone with his guitar or drum pad or recorder [not really the recorder].  

I guess what I'm saying is I think it's okay to be a librarian.  [It's early, please bare with me.]  It just seems the same people get rewarded over and over, often because they are loud or opinionated or have the so called leadership qualities that the world deems as positive.  I received the quarterly mailing from the college in which I graduated.  The same folks receive alumni awards that received accolades in school.  And they're generally not [the wallflowers].  Incidentally, I really like The Wallflowers, but that's another topic altogether. . . Again, it's early.

Assumptions can hurt people.  The lyrics of Kelly Clarkson's Mr. Know It All have run through my mind the past few weeks.  Do we care to really know people or are we  People want us to be something they want us to be.  Or they so often, ignore us.  It seems this is something I can't get away from, as I've blogged on it before:  Who I Am
I placed a library hold on Susan Cain's book.   I'm looking forward to reading it.  Alone.  While the rest of the family reads or practices guitar or creates in a Smash book.

Monday, March 12, 2012

do [nothing]

I am a do-er.  I have been told to [do] something for years.  At least that's what I heard; perhaps it was only my interpretation.  Yet, it's how it seemed.

  • Do ______ if you want to go to college.  
  • Do ______ if you don't want to get into trouble. 
  • Do ______ if you want a job.
  • Do ______ if you want to raise a successful kid.
  • Do ______ if you want to play the piano.
This especially seemed to be the case in regards to church and ministry.  Volunteer.  Sign up.  If you have a kid in the nursery, you must work in the nursery.  Or the other side of the coin - work in the nursery so a mom that has a child there can enjoy the worship service.   Bring in a canned good.  Prepare a meal.  Sit in on a planning meeting.  Sit in on another planning meeting.  Stay late and help clean up.  Teach a class.  Lead a group. 

After quite a few years, or basically my lifetime to this point, I am inclined to surmise the world could possibly stop turning if I don't  Please don't believe I think highly of myself and my abilities.  I honestly don't.  It's just that work and doing and accomplishing something [even if it's minimal], is what it seems to be all about.

During this season of my life, I'm not doing a lot.  At least not a lot compared to what I've done in the past.  I'm not teaching or leading or instructing or playing.  And it, at times, feels odd.  I can easily develop those self imposed feelings of guilt.  There's a voice inside my head that says, "Join a group."  Or "Volunteer."  Or "Do something, because you're wasting time....."

I read this recently:

Stop looking for the next adventure, challenge, 
hurdle, drama, or excitement. 
Be present. 
Be here now. 
Stop trying to change people. 
Stop trying to do anything. Just be.

I realize that sometimes doing nothing is alright.  And maybe, just maybe, doing good doesn't have to be planned.  Maybe it should simply be a natural outpouring of normal, everyday life.  Perhaps we over complicate and over analyze and over ______  everything to the point that we're exhausted and doing purely for the sake of doing.  Maybe most of the time I'm so busy trying and doing, that I'm not listening.  And not seeing the most important. 

Saturday, March 10, 2012


A little out of the norm.  That's how my day started.  Instead of leaving at 7:45 and driving my daughter to school, I left at 8:30 with my son.  He had to report for an all day rehearsal at a different high school than the one he attends.  Which worked out well for me, as I wanted to attend my workplace's weekly prayer walk.  It was held in the same area of town that the high school is in.  It's so convenient when things work out this way.

I drove to the prayer walk location, identified a familiar car, and parked in the same lot, assuming everyone else was out walking.  I later found they weren't, but were meeting in a neighborhood clubhouse.  That's beside the point really.

As I was walking around the neighborhood by myself, I thought about the kids in our program who live there.  I thought about their families.  I prayed for them.  Then I remembered.  I'm quite surprised I hadn't thought about it before.  But, I hadn't.  My husband, son, and I lived in the neighborhood many years ago.  In 1995-96, actually.  On this day, March 9, 1996, I lived on Woodhill Drive.

I decided to walk by our old house.  To my happiness, it looked pretty good.  It seemed well kept.  

And I thought about redemption.  God has redeemed so much in my life since 3/9/96.  My final walk out the door of that house was not a happy occasion.  Had things continued as they were, our sweet Allie would not be.  But redemption changed all that.

Forgiveness and mourning and loss.  Changes and renewal and growth.  All of this because of redemption.  Not just once, in 1996, but continually.  A circular process of death and life.  

One of the reasons I like this time of year is because of the redeeming nature of it.  It's springtime, the season in which we prepare for Easter.  Changes are so obvious in the outside world.  And hopefully I'm changing.  

To say I'm thankful doesn't seem enough.  To share all the details that got me from Woodhill Drive in 1996 to Loudon Avenue in 2012 don't seem necessary.  Really, it's all about surrender.  And dying to self.  That's when deliverance comes.  

God rescued us from dead-end alleys and dark dungeons. He's set us up in the kingdom of the Son he loves so much, the Son who got us out of the pit we were in, got rid of the sins we were doomed to keep repeating.
Colossians 1:13-14 [The Message]

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Getting naked is part of the journey toward true confession.
~ tweeted by Denver Community Church

During this season of Lent, I've tried to think in terms of nakedness.  Not as in without clothes, but in terms of my soul's exposure.  What do I need to change?  What do I need to remove and not include in my persona going forward?  I'm trying to open myself up and not hide. 

Confession is good, right?  Good for the soul?  Isn't that what [they] say?

Friday morning I went to the post office.  I had a letter to pick up that wasn't mailed with adequate postage.  The USPS is not willing to front me the .45 necessary to successfully deliver it, so I headed in with my little "attempted delivery" slip.  There were a few people in line.  There was one postal worker behind the counter.   The worker was enjoying a conversation with the customer she was assisting.  While she [ever so slowly] worked, she chatted away with him.  He was a senior, as in citizen.  He had a young girl with him.  I commented to the lady behind me in line.  I pointed out the customer didn't seem to be in any hurry.  The lady behind me agreed and seemed agitated, needing to get her little girl somewhere before heading to work.  As time continued to pass [again, ever so slowly] I became more impatient.  Then it hit me.  I realized who the elderly gentleman and the girl were.  They're in our program.  As in one of the initiatives  my workplace offers.  He's a grandpa raising his granddaughter.  Just the two of them, on their own.  I drove the girl to a Christmas party this past December.  I took her home, found out her grandpa had taken public transportation to Walmart, and wasn't able to get back until the bus schedule allowed.  I escorted her to a friend's for safe keeping until he could return.  

I can't imagine being raised by my grandpa.  No mom.  No grandma.  No sister in the house.   There have to be some major difficulties there.  Yet they're doing their best.  I was at the post office at 8:20 a.m.  I'm guessing the girl should have been in school by then.  

Needless to say, I felt crappy when I realized who was holding up the line.  I know a bit of their story.  Not much of it, really just a very small part.  Yet enough to know frustration toward them is unmerited in this situation.  I need to extend some grace.  So I confess that.

Confession is good, right?  Good for the soul?  Isn't that what [they] say?

I know, as in absolutely know, I need to become better acquainted with my neighbors.  I've lived in my house for just over a year, and I've not bothered to do this.  I wave if I see them outside.  I say hello, maybe chat a bit.  But I've never purposefully set out to get to know them.  The four houses closest to us are filled with folks that are very different from each other.  Different ages, different races, different backgrounds, different stories altogether.  I know that much, yet I need to find out more.  Not just so I can say I did, but because I really should know my neighbors, right?

Confession is good, right?  Good for the soul?  Isn't that what [they] say?

I worked the gate at a high school band fundraiser yesterday.  Which means I took $8 from everyone over the age of 6, who came to watch an indoor percussion and color guard competition.  Many people grumbled about the cost.  Many obviously lied [in front of their child] about their child's age so they could get in free.  Senior citizens asked about a discount [there isn't one].  Military people asked about a discount [there isn't one].  People with eight year olds complained they had to pay full price for their kids.  I tried to smile.  Despite what many seemed to convey, I don't set the prices for these things.  I'm just a band mom.  A band mom who doesn't care to work in concessions and deal with nacho cheese all day.  One lady grumbled about tax dollars.  I don't believe this event had anything to do with taxes, although she was there to watch a private school perform, so maybe she feels everything that occurs in a public school has to do with taxes.  Strange.  A mom dropped off her son to watch his girlfriend perform, yet didn't bring money for him to get in.  She asked if we could locate his girlfriend so she could pay.  What a cool mom.  Asking a 15 year old girl to loan your kid $8.  Again, they were from the private school.  I'm seeing a theme here. . . . Anyhow, seven hours filled with public interaction.  A day that can make one dislike most people, a bit more than usual.  Yet, thinking back to the above mentioned grandpa and granddaughter, I realize everyone has more of a story than I know.  A grumbler over $8 might have gotten laid off last week.  A grumbler might be dealing with a teenager with major issues and challenges.  A grumbler might be dealing with a husband who hit her last night.  

So, I once again confess.  I'm not always patient and I'm not always kind.  I don't always have a lot of hope for people.  Sometimes I don't feel like I can make any real difference or that anyone really cares if I even try.  Which of course, is not a positive outlook.  So, I confess again.  And attempt to try harder.

Confession is good, right?  Good for the soul?  Isn't that what [they] say?