Friday, April 26, 2013

Flapjack Friday

I make breakfast for my family every Friday.  For the longest time, I made pancakes.  So we began calling the occasion Flapjack Friday.  Then my son said he was growing a bit tired of pancakes and it would be nice to expand my horizons, so to speak.  So, I've started to vary a bit.  Nothing too exciting.  Sometimes French toast.  Sometimes waffles.  Breakfast burritos, maybe.  But generally, it's pancakes.

So, I wish you happy Flapjack Friday!  In the spirit of Friday, the best day of the work week, I've decided to try something new on my blog.  Sort of a Friday Faves type thing.  My husband kindly recommended something of this nature.  So, here goes.

My newest favorite to follow is:


I realize you won't care so much for him if you don't live in Kentucky.  I do, so I do.  He's an amateur Kentucky historian, he sends out witty tweets, plus he seems to be of the same political persuasion as me.  Which I won't go into, because I don't like to go into it.

Highlight of the week:
Beating my son, the classical musician, in a game we greatly enjoy:  Name the Composer.  We end up in the car together every Monday night so we listen to Performance Today on WEKU (one of our local NPR stations).  While listening, if we haven't heard the DJ announce the composer, we guess.  This week, I chose Chopin, and low and behold, it was.  I will preface it by saying Jamie tipped me off to Chopin by telling me Chopin wrote many waltzes.  I knew the song was in 3/4, which if you're not familiar with music.....waltzes are in 3/4.  So, before putting in his guess, he basically gave me the answer.  But I won.  I actually won.  Yeah me.   I'm still waiting for him to present me with a trophy.

Strangest issue facing the church today:
Pastors who can't shut up about their smokin' hot wives
Honestly, I hate the term "hot" as an adjective to describe women.  Please, if you find a woman attractive, call her pretty or lovely or beautiful.  Better yet, if you're a pastor, don't talk about your wife's looks publicly.  It has nothing to do with the spiritual health of your congregation.  You're only trying to help yourself feel more manly.  It's not working....for any of us.  So, just shut up and preach or counsel or do what pastors are supposed to do.

Confession of the week:

I've started eating more tofu.  Does that make me weird?  I don't know, but it does insure I get enough protein.

Book of the week:

I'm reading O Pioneers! by Willa Cather.  It was a free classic Kindle download.  Who needs James Patterson?  Willa's got it going on.

Pinterest quote of the week:

So true.

Difficulty of the week:
My dad, who lives in Oklahoma, had knee surgery on Monday and will hopefully be released from the hospital today.  I wish I was closer so I could visit.  His orthopedic doctor, Dr. Smith, is Ree Drummond's dad [aka The Pioneer Woman], so whether or not it means anything, I feel like he's in good hands.  I honestly think if she knew me, she'd be my friend. 

And finally, here's a prayer for the week regarding our neighbors.  Incidentally, we met one of our new neighbors yesterday.  He seems like a nice guy.  Which is good, because life is always interesting on Loudon Avenue.

Lord, help us to see that our well-being is inextricably bound to the well-being of our neighbor. Our sorrows are shared. Our longings are shared. Our fears are shared. Enable us also to share compassion, patience, and courage today. Amen.

Monday, April 22, 2013

the insanity of motherhood

I suppose there's some truth to it.  We moms are all a bit insane.  But I blame it on the child/children.

Packing lunch.  Who can remember who likes what?  I can for the most part remember which child likes crunchy peanut butter and which prefers creamy.  But at 6:45am it can be difficult to keep things straight.  Remembering to pack a spoon for the yogurt.  Chunks of cheese on the salad as opposed to grated.  On and on.  I estimate at the end of this school year, I'll have packed over 4000 school lunches.  Maybe I'll be presented with a watch.

Calendars, events, mood swings, the daughter gets through adolescence right before you look ahead to menopause......

Their needs and so called needs.  The humorous things referred to as [first world probs] like skinny jeans that fit properly and finding a clean water bottle.  "Can we go to the mall?" asks one.  "I hate the mall!" exclaims the other.  "Please pick up my library book that's in."  "Please copy 75 sheets of music."  "Please get me mascara.  Black/brown.  Not water-proof.  Smudge resistant though."  Do you know how many types of mascara Maybelline alone produces?  "I need deodorant."  "The dog needs food."  "I'm going on a field trip and need $27.50 plus lunch money."

I'm not complaining, as these requests are all part of the job description.  It's what I signed up for when I decided to have children.  But I think it all contributes to the losing of one's sanity.

As does their ever changing vocabulary.  Take the word "hella" for instance.  This is a fairly new one.  And I'm not sure if it's a curse word or not.  It seems to be used as an adjective.  So, when I hear it, I'm confused as to whether I should reprimand my children, as I would if they said, "I'm mad as hell." 

Then there's the music.  When did my daughter possibly have time to memorize the lyrics of every song on the radio?  She can go from Taylor Swift to Bruno Mars to Mumford to Rihanna.  The other night, she sang/rapped the song Heartless while her brother chimed in every so often on bass and back up.  And it was surprisingly decent.  Which makes me thankful she hasn't asked to try out for American Idol. 

Once you have a child, whether the child is an infant or nearly grown, or I imagine, completely grown, you have another person that inhabits your thoughts.  Someone you're responsible for, someone you must provide for.  Even though I share this duty with my husband, my children are still always occupying part of my thought process.  Every decision, nearly every meal planned, every trip even to the grocery store or movie theater involves thinking of them and their perspective.  How they fit into the picture.  And it can make a person a little crazy.

Because it's a struggle for one's mind to be in two places at once.  If I only had myself to think of, the mistakes wouldn't be such a big deal.  Over-commitment?  Much easier to overcome.  Too tired to function?  Not a hassle if alone.  Just crawl under the covers.  But if I need to pick up or drop off or provide a meal?  Well, the old brain has to fire up and tell the body what to do. And after many years of this, the factory gets run down.  Which is another way of saying, one loses it a bit.  The blood vessels running from the heart to the brain to everywhere else, start to deteriorate, like rust on the conveyor belt.  And the finished product isn't quite as sleek and shiny.  But, there is still a product.  Which is all that really matters, I suppose.

I appreciate the Sallinger quote though, in that he said mothers are only slightly insane, not completely.  I've still got a bit of sanity, a little reasoning, an ability to function clearly.  That's encouraging, right?

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Records Day

Today is Record Store Day and I wish you a happy one.  Last year I wrote an entry related to the day and I think it's worth revisiting:

Happy Record Store Day 2012!

For reasons unbeknownst to me, my children do not enjoy my stories.  You know, the "when I was a kid...." stories we parents like to tell?  I tell them anyway.  I actually have always enjoyed hearing about my parents' lives pre-marriage.  You get to a point though, when you think you know most of the facts.  Where they grew up, who their friends were, where they went to college, a few details regarding their romantic relationships before they got together.  Well, this past Thanksgiving, during a visit to my mom and dad's, I found out their first date, or at least close to the first, was to a Peter, Paul and Mary concert.  I found that to be very interesting information.  The early 1960s, all that was happening.  Did they just like the music?  How did they fit into the whole scene?
Peter, Paul and Mary [not my parents]
Sometimes I'm not sure if our kids realize that who we are today isn't who we've always been.  In other words, we grow up, mature and change a bit.  While I doubt my parents sat in on any war protests, I wonder what they thought about when they listened to folk music?  Or when they saw MLK Jr. on television?   Perhaps my workmates think I'm a hippie for a reason.......  Although I've never seen any photos or indicators pointing towards my parents as such.  Besides the folk music.  But maybe that's enough.

Last night, while attending our city's quarterly Gallery Hop, I overheard two women talking.  One was sharing about something her mom told her:   There was a war factory in downtown Lexington.  Her mom dropped out of college to work there; only women did.  I guess the men were away fighting.

I've heard of these places.  One of my grandmothers worked in one during WWII.  Yet, I've never heard of one in our town.  It's forgotten history.  The listening woman in the gallery told the storyteller she needs to get her mom to write this stuff down.  I agree.

Maybe along with Record Store Day, we need a Records Day.  A day to make sure we're passing on our stories.  Even if our kids don't care so much.  Someday they might.  And I suppose if I'd spent eight hours a day in a factory in service to my country, I'd want people to at the very least know about it.

I started following this  guy's blog this week:
His entry yesterday is another story about a Native American school most have forgotten.  Yet important, I think.  The students who attended there in 1830 might be happy to be remembered.

Because if we don't remember, it's just all blowin' in the wind.  Get it?  Peter, Paul and Mary/Blowin' In the Wind?  Yes, I'm corny.

Happy Record Store Day!  Make your kids listen to your stories.


Friday, April 19, 2013

stay calm and be a helper

stay calm
mind your own business
live quietly
work with your hands
do your own job

Nothing especially profound.  But words that speak to me this week.  You can find them in 1 Thessalonians 4:11.

Life can be ridiculous.  Tribulation is part of it.  But consider this.  If we all stay calm, if we live in peace and do what we're supposed to do, it will be simpler.  Work with our hands while living a quiet life.  And be a helper.

My friend posted this on Facebook this week:  

Be a helper.  [Kris, if you're reading this, it's YOU!]  

Who doesn't believe the world needs more helpers?  What qualities do helpers have? Generally they're calm, and focused on doing their job.

Mr. Rogers said:
"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." To this day, especially in times of "disaster," I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world."

I suppose we also have to remember to help the helpers. But really, if we're all doing what we're supposed to, it will work in a circle.  All of us calm, helping each other.  

"No matter how experienced the helpers, their lives are forever changed by these tragedies.  Thank them.  Pray for them."  ~ Brene Brown 

It's hard at times not to be overcome.  Personal stuff buried inside me.  All the issues my family faces.  College in the fall for our son.  A study abroad possibility for our teenage daughter.  Jobs and school and neighborhood stuff.  Passing grandparents and extended family.  Stories of people getting shot in places I've been ....scary stuff.  News from other places of tragedies.  People doing crazy things.  Realizing we control so very little.

It's good to be reminded to be a helper.  We don't all have to take charge.  We don't all have to be in the front.  But we can all help.  It's also good to be reminded to thank our helpers.  And pray for them.  The first responders.  The people who happened to be at the certain place at the certain time.  The people who go out of their way.  Sometimes it's their job; sometimes it's not.  

stay calm....mind your own your
be a helper

Saturday, April 13, 2013

blessed beyond(?)

I've decided to take a break from my current theme of ranting about my neighborhood.  Perhaps I'm beating a dead horse with that subject matter.......  Today's entry is on a different note: blessing.

I read it a lot.
Blessed beyond measure.
Blessed beyond belief.
Blessed, blessed, blessed.
When you search Twitter hashtags, everyone from Lindsay Lohan to Bubba Watson to Justin Bieber to Oscar De La Hoya have quite recently included #blessed in their statuses.  Plus a whole gaggle of ordinary folks I don't recognize.

I asked my friend over lunch this week a few questions on the subject of "being blessed."

Am I blessed because I have a husband and two kids?  Is she unblessed because she does not?

Are the two of us (my friend and I) blessed because we live in the USA, have enough food to eat, and jobs to report to five days a week?

Is my family blessed because my son is going to college next year on scholarships, provided to him because of academic and musical success? 

Getting to the questions.....  Sure I have a husband and I'm completely thankful to be his wife.  I love him beyond comprehension.  Yet at times I'd like to scream at him "You're an ASSHOLE!"  Does that alter the blessing?  Does that mean he's not blessed with a good wife during those brief moments of tirade?  Why do those who desire a spouse but have yet to acquire one struggle?  Why can't there be a mate for everyone in what seems to be a sensible time? 

Are we, citizens of the United States of America more blessed than the folks that reside in Cambodia?  And if so, why?  Why were we chosen to be placed here and not there and vice versa?

My son has worked extremely hard.  He practices guitar more than I've ever known a teenager to practice a musical instrument.  He has studied and chosen to be a good student.  Sure, to a certain extent he inherited musical genes and has an intelligent father who was accepted into the academically prestigious United States Naval Academy.  I will not go into details regarding my academic prowess or lack there of.....  Do you get what I'm saying?  To an extent, my son's success is not a surprise.  He was placed in a family which supported him and his endeavors and consists of members who themselves were from families who had supported their endeavors.

Anyhow, what I'm getting at is this.  Is life a math problem of sorts?

A + B = C, meaning you get what you put in?  A factual philosophy.  Work hard and you'll be rewarded.  Squander and you'll end up in need.  Are we victims of circumstance or results of God's plan, an out of our control agenda put into place before eternity began?

Or is life based on a strange hierarchy of blessing?  Some of us get more than others.  Simply because that's how it goes.  A "That's life, that's what people say," Frank Sinatra type song.

Some of us get spouses.  Some of us get spouses who send flowers.  Some of us get spouses who do laundry and like the same sports teams we do.  Some of us get spouses that beat us up.  Some of us get spouses who don't stick around.  And some of us don't get a spouse or at least not on our time table.

People with good grades are more likely to end up with a mental illness than those who do not.  Check out this article:    Straight-A Schoolchildren at Higher Risk of Bipolar Disorder.   Creative people, let's consider Vincent van Gogh who famously committed suicide, are more likely to suffer with mental issues.  So are the intelligent and creative blessed with talent?  If so, where does the struggle fit in?  I doubt we could reason mental illness equals blessings.

Is the person who was healed of cancer as blessed as the person who never got it at all? 

We like to nicely put on adages.  Better to have _________ than to never have _______ at all.  Or we tell people to look on the bright side.  We want to help others see the silver lining as opposed to the mess.

Look for the blessing.  Blessings in disguise. 

I'm having a hard time making sense of it.  Sure, I can count my blessings.  But it's hard to comprehend exactly where they came from.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

if you gave me $10,000

I've been on a neighborhood kick lately.  As in the one I live in.  Regarding this thought, my husband made this comment last week:

Someone can put in a donut store and a restaurant, but it's not going to really make a long term change to the neighborhood.

Sure, we enjoy our local donut and coffee shop.  The folks there are friendly and in my opinion, make the absolute best donuts in Lexington.  Yes, it's great to have a restaurant within walking distance of our home.  Yet, he's right.  People are still living in poverty, still out of work, still walking down the street with a bottle in their hand.  Nothing has radically shifted.  I suppose it takes more than a donut store to do that.

I asked my husband what he thinks makes a real difference.  How can we help make a change?  He recently had a conversation with a guy he worked with a few years back.  The guy, Ian Epperson, wrote a book about our particular area of town.  He's an expert of sorts, if there is such a thing, in pouring oneself into a specific, high need area of our city.  Here's what he said.......  [paraphrased]

It takes a few years before you start to see a difference.  Start out by sitting on your porch.  Be outside, be around, be present.  People will begin to know you're different, that you care about the neighborhood.  They'll become comfortable with you.  You'll eventually get to know them.
In other words, we don't have to go around, knocking on doors, inviting people over for a mixer of sorts.  Whew!  That was a relief.  Sure, I'd like to have neighbors over for a barbecue, but it has to happen naturally.  You can't impose yourself on people.  I truly believe that.  Relationships are a process and a forced process is just that.....forced.

I came across this recently:
Building a Better World...One Home at a Time

Granted, I'm a Shane Claiborne fan and if my kids weren't smack in the middle of teenage-ness, I just might push our family to move to Philadelphia.  Anyway, his group raises money and purchases homes in their neighborhood.  Then they sell them to people who otherwise could not afford a home.  Obviously, there are many benefits to a community where the majority of the dwellers are homeowners.  And we're not just talking economics.  One of the most, as my son would say, provocative, things in the above referenced article is this:
It's hard to be a friend and a landlord.  We always prefer to be friends so that can make us pretty bad landlords.
For sale and on my street
There are a few houses for sale on our street.  How I wish I could invest.  But alas, I cannot
due to our financial situation.  How I wish churches would invest.  Or Christian business people.  Not for the purpose of turning a profit.  But for the purpose of helping individuals and families who simply need a break.  Wouldn't that make for a lovely street?  Fewer landlords; more homeowners.

It seems impossible, but I realize often big and important things do.  I'm going to continue to brainstorm, considering the possibility I just might have to ask someone or a whole lot of someones to invest along with me.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

{moving in}

I am sometimes in awe at the strangeness of my neighborhood.  A huge, Victorian style home with an art gallery on the first floor and some sort of commune going on upstairs.   A Pilgrim Holiness church complete with women who only wear skirts – no pants.  A car door stuck perpendicular in a front yard [a decorative piece of yard art, perhaps?].  A yard sale that seems to have lasted longer than a week [maybe they’ve set up a retail business?].  An occasional gun shot, usually at night.  A professional looking young woman walking down the street midday on a Sunday, searching for her lost cat, Milton.  A normal family next door.  A man that struts around nude across the street.  Prostitutes soliciting on various Saturdays.  I could go on.   

While on the subject of strangeness, I took an odd phone call at work today.  I won’t go into all the details, but the man on the other line stated that in his retirement, he plans to relocate to Lexington [where I live and work] and work in inner city youth ministry.  He also mentioned he wants to live in the proximity of where he’s ministering, not on the outskirts [meaning he’d have to drive in].  While that is not an earth shattering declaration for someone to make, it strikes me as rather interesting because I come across many, and I stress many, people who want to be involved in ministry, even inner city type stuff, but do not want to live in the proximity of where they’re ministering.  They want to return to safety, to clean cut grass and no risk of someone knocking on their door asking for a pain reliever.   So, best wishes to the man on the line. Here’s hoping it works out and by the end of the summer I’ve entered his info into our volunteer database.  Who knows, he might even end up living on my street……..

It seems faddish now to be {missional}.  There’s lots of talk and hub bub around the idea of getting a group of folks together and {moving in} as opposed to out.  I liken it to the mega churches of America waking up and realizing perhaps it is time to try something different.  Years ago they moved out of the city into the suburbs.  Maybe it’s time to try the reverse.  Only they just send in a few, a select group who seem to find downtowns cool and know all the trendy places to eat.  While I’m not an expert on the whole {missional experience}, I am somewhat knowledgeable on the concept of {moving in}. 

I {moved in} with my husband, son and daughter.  We didn’t come as a large group.  {Moving in} was risky.  It involved giving up a lot of enjoyable comforts.  A local YMCA with an outdoor pool.  A garden in my backyard.   A relatively safe school district with relatively high academic standards.  A library I could ride my bike to if I desired and had the energy. 

Truthfully, we could have chosen {ministering in} as opposed to {moving in}.  We’d done a bit [actually a lot] of work with inner city folks, homeless folks, addicted folks.  We could have stayed on that path, driving home each evening.  But we decided to {dive in}.  We chose to {move}.  And I honestly feel {immersion} is the way to go.  Stop and think about it much and you’ll talk yourself out of it.  You’ll reason with yourself that you of all people have no business anywhere but where middle income, educated offspring of a two parent home belong. 

I realize I’m critical of the missional-ers, at least those who aren't completely sold out on the {move in} philosophy.  I believe the only way to learn to deal with it is to {dive in}.  {Dive in and deal with it}.  Again, {immersion}.  {Moving in, whole-heartedly}.  No intense studies or reading books by so called professionals.  {Moving in} and immediately beginning to observe your community. 

{Moving in}, not because the real estate is reasonably priced.  {Moving in} because you want to help redeem the broken.  {Moving in}, not because it’s trendy.  {Moving in} because you want your kids to experience life beyond the easy. 

I'm grateful for the guy on the phone this morning.  And I'm grateful for my neighborhood, even though it's strange.

Friday, April 5, 2013

conspiracy theory

My husband has told me many times I act like everyone is out to get me.  I confess this is sometimes true.  But I do have evidence.  Really, I do.  Trust me.

Anyway, I do love a good conspiracy theory.  I don't believe Oswald acted alone [does anyone, really?].

I think too much.  Not that I'm a great thinker, but I find my mind wanders and ends up in strange places.  My latest is a theory on why something did not happen.  To me.

While I definitely do not liken myself to anyone important and I'm sure people don't think about me near as much as I suppose they do, I've convinced myself some sequence of events led to me not achieving what I'd hoped to obtain.

When I read back over the last paragraph, I must consider I could be losing my mind.  Alas, bear with me, please.

I've pieced together events and occurrences and have come to the conclusion I have been exposed.  And the exposure has limited my opportunity.

I realize this all sounds mysterious, or perhaps ridiculous.  

While I don't feel it would be appropriate to go into detail, I will say this.  I must learn to let go.  Release.  Relinquish.  Move on.

I think moving on is quite possibly the hardest aspect of life.  Especially when you have given a great deal.  More so when you were willing to give even more.  When you thought it was your purpose or the cause to give your all to.

Yes, that's dramatic and sappy. But that's my story, or theory.

I say all of the above to make my point, which I realize is a long time coming:

It is time to move on.

I actually have physically moved on and I need to take it a step further and mentally do the same.  And emotionally.  And, dare I say, spiritually.  Despite all the nice chats about God's plan and purpose, it's come to my attention that whether or not it was once the case, it is not today.  Today's plan does not equal yesterday's.  And that's a difficult reality. 

I received a phone call a short while back.  I was busy at work and it went to voice mail.  It was a person I'd never met, calling from a place I at one time knew well.  And I realized I'm not over a disappointment.  Actually, I don't know if I could really classify it as "a" disappointment.  Maybe it's a series of them.

Do we ever [get over] all disappointments?  Why can't things be?  The situations and circumstances that to me seem so right, so perfect.  What I'd planned on and worked for and mostly hoped for.  For years.

My husband shared a bit of news with our family the other night.   An update of sorts that left me pleased we're not where we once were.  Yet it's still somewhat painful.  I'm still confused.  People do not understand.  Oh, they believe they do.  Or they're silently judgmental.  Or they really just don't care.

Talents and giftings and all of that stuff we're supposedly good at.  Goals we're encouraged to set.

I can relate to this guy's story.  While it does not mirror my family's, I empathize.

We cannot control other people's actions and reactions.  So we have to learn to let go.  My family is going camping this weekend.  I plan to conduct a brief, private ceremony, for my own benefit.  I will write a few words related to what I need to relinquish on a paper, then place the paper into the campfire.  I will leave my once dream, goal and aspiration behind.  For good.  While that may seem immature or silly, it's what I need to do, so I will.  I'm tired of dwelling on my supposed [conspiracy theory].  

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


There are train tracks beyond our back fence.  I remember getting the scoop regarding the train before we moved into our house.  The previous owner who is also our current next door neighbor told us..........  

The train only comes by once a day, usually around eleven o'clock in the morning, and it moves very slow.  

In other words, no biggie; it won't keep you up at night or scare the begeebers out of you.

And that was the case for just about two years.  Then the train schedule changed.

I know work is being done on the tracks near our home.  I know I've seen train cars with the RJ Corman logo going by and I've assumed this is temporary, only happening while the repairs are being made.  I'm hoping the train schedule will return to normal soon.  The new schedule makes our beagle howl.  She gets fired up every time she hears the train coming.  The new schedule means the train sometimes goes by at odd hours, not just at eleven o'clock.  

I've learned that other situations in life are similar to my local train route.  You start out with the schedule.  A plan is in place, a route map so to speak.  You know what to expect, where you're going, who's along for the ride.  Then, out of the blue, sometimes without warning, the train changes its route.  The husband's job changes or someone becomes ill.  The dream doesn't end up coming true.  The goal cannot be obtained.  You realize a person you trusted is not who you thought he was.  The money is simply not available.  Their priorities change.  The decision makers have had a change of heart.  You were once happy, but just can't find the joy anymore.

Off track.  It's a cliche term.  Maybe there really is no track.  I realize that often life does not go as planned.  Sometimes it doesn't go as anyone would ever plan, because who in the world would ask for this?  Honestly, sometimes I look at people whom we admire, those who seem to have it all together and are extremely successful, and I wonder.......  Perhaps they are not truly on the right track.  We deem success equals the right plan.  I'm not sure how that equates with martyrdom.  So maybe the pseudo successful just make a good appearance. 

Or maybe I just haven't come to appreciate how to keep the train on schedule, metaphorically.  I'd really like to figure it out.