Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Surreal Life

Last night, at 12:30 A.M., from the depths of my Nyquil assisted slumber I awakened to the shrill tones of the phone in my bedroom. I climbed over my still sleeping husband to answer the phone and heard the voice of my seventeen year old who informed me that his car had stranded him at the Quiktrip on the way home from work. After prodding my husband awake and sending him off to rescue our baby my head hit the pillow once more. Only to be awakened minutes later by my fifteen year old asking me to explain the plot of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughter House Five. I think I came up with some sort of answer. Now that I think of it the Nyquil probably didn't hurt a bit and may even have helped. I drifted in and out while visions of schlachthof funf danced through my head and eventually the fifteen year old gave up on me and my husband ended up back in bed.

At least the four year old slept through the night.

Monday, July 23, 2007

A Woman's place

So, no sooner had I written my last post when some friends called us to invite us to dinner. Their purpose was to inform us that they plan to find a new church home. They are leaving over because they have been struggling for several months over the role of women in our church. Basically, they feel women have to much power. It's unfair of me to characterize their reason so simply but I'm trying to boil it down for the sake of space. I disagree with their reasons but I consider them to be adults and so my husband and I said goodbye to them with our blessing. The sad and tragic thing is they are taking their kids with them and their kids are great friends with our kids. In fact, I was hoping we could arrange some marriages between them. Well, at least they are not leaving town. And, there is still facebook.

It's got me all thoughtful though. Our church is really in transition right now and I need to be constantly in prayer because I believe changes are on the horizon. Great changes. I also believe we have rattled Satan's cage and are in for some upheaval. I believe Satan's greatest victory would be if he could keep us at status quo, keep us from making any changes at all. Or I could be wrong.

I wish I could put everything I feel about this issue into word's but it's a dark and stormy morning here. I've got a stupid summer cold and PMS so I need to quit right here before I let my emotions get the better of me. I'll weigh my thoughts and perhaps I'll get back to it some time.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Way to worship (dude)

As I am avoiding serious work, I will now write a second post for today.

Last Sunday as my husband, the four year old and I were eating lunch after church, a fellow church member came in with a friend whom I didn't recognize. Turns out it was a visitor to our church. How did I find this out? Well, like any well trained mother of teens would, I eavesdropped. Actually, I was enjoying some time alone at my table appreciating the fact that it was my husband and not I who was in the bathroom with the four year old. Ah, life's little pleasures. While alone I could not help but overhear.

The gist of their conversation was what he thought of our church. The one thing that bothered him was the amount of singing. Singing? I have heard this sentiment before but it never ceases to surprise me. His reasoning was that normal people sitting around having a conversation don't suddenly break out into song so why should we in Church. Interesting. I believe this is the same reason people give for not liking musicals. I was reminded, via an outsiders point of view, that not all of us experience worship in the same way. Is there a right way?

The church our family attends only sings acapella. In fact that is all they allow. They have scriptural reasons for doing this but, here's a little secret, I disagree. Here is another little secret. I love it! acapella singing, that is. I married into this church coming from a church that was very organ heavy. In college I attended a bible study group, non-denominational, that wouldn't sing anything if the guitar player wasn't there, or couldn't play a particular song. It was an eye opener, to say the least, when I attended my husbands somewhat small church and nearly got blown out the door with the power and sincerity of the singing and not an instrument in sight. They even harmonized. My goal is to see past my own opinion, e.g. not allowing instruments is a silly rule, and try to see the beauty in the reality. I can be comfortable in many worship scenarios, although I might have difficulty handling snakes. I have always felt that it was my job to seek God not to be entertained or catered to. With apologies to Mr. Kennedy: Ask not what the church can do for you - ask what you can do for the church.

Not everyone agrees with me. Big surprise. And I find myself in the interesting position of being intolerant of those whom I deem intolerant. So I, like *98% of the known world, am a hypocrite.

The fact that any church comes together in any kind of cohesive unit is a miracle. If you read the book of Acts it's a miracle that the church even survived the first century. These days there are so many opinions on what is and isn't worship. I'm not well versed enough to comment on the validity of any of these worship styles but I maintain that If God were not at the center, holding us all together (albeit loosely) we'd all be flinging out of control into the nether lands. Yes, we should continually seek God's will for community worship but I kinda believe that there is a lot of leeway there.

Back to work.

*an actual made up fact.

Blind cat's bluff

This morning I was entertained by the blind kitty. She found a little toy which she wrestled with and batted around for the better part of an hour. Problem was she kept batting it out of reach. Can you see how this would be a problem for a blind cat? I watched as she pawed around her immediate area briefly then she wandered, nose and whiskers down in a meandering spiral till she bumped into her prey and then the fun would begin again. I purposefully held myself back from retrieving it for her to see if she would be able to find it. She did, everytime.

I need to think on this. There must be a lesson in there somewhere.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Again with dad

My dad has been on my mind a lot this summer what with Father's Day and his birthday. I'm still thinking about him so I'm going with it. I may have things to come to terms with regarding my dad and this is as good a place as any to work it out.

On my last short trip home, as I rounded the corner taking a left at the Sapp Bros watertower I heard my father's voice coming out of the radio. It's not as unusual as it might seem. He is a voice over artist in my hometown and I had managed to tune in to a hometown station. It was a bank commercial. The interesting thing about my dad's voice over work is the work he does for Back to the Bible which is headquartered in my hometown. My dad does a considerable amount of work for them and it always strikes me as odd because my dad is not a Christian. That's not judgement on my part that is his own admission. His beliefs are complex but that's a very different subject. I don't generally listen to Back to the Bible stuff. Honestly it seems kind of old fashioned to me.(Now that's a judgement) Occasionally, though, if I'm tuned in to the local Christian radio station (You know the station that got saved) (sorry lame joke) Ok, where was I. Oh yeah, if my car is tuned in to one of the local Christian radio stations, sometimes a Back to the Bible show will be on when I turn on the car. And, sometimes, as I'm reaching to change the station my finger will pause midair as I hear my dad's voice. Then I listen a little longer. There is one piece he did for them, a very long monologue in which he played the character of God. In it he recites a message from God about his son Jesus. A lot of it, as you would expect, comes straight from the bible. Three things struck me simultaneously listening to this particular broadcast. One, was the strange unfamiliarity of my dad's voice speaking in such glowing terms about Jesus, salvation, and a whole host of other Christian buzzwords. Two, was the fact that thinking of my dad as a Christian probably should not be such a impossible possibility in my mind. Not that he might be saved even though he professes not to be, but, that he might be saved some day. Some day wayyyyyyy in the future maybe, but the point is, I should not just write him off. And third, it is entirely possible that my dad "non christian" has reached more people for Christ than I have. Now that one kind of blows me away.

One more story because it kind of fits.

When I was in the hospital four years ago with my newborn baby, up in the middle of the night, I had the television on with the volume turned way down to barely audible. Out of the darkness and through my sleepy fog my ears perked up. It was my father's voice. I snapped out of my fog, looked up and turned up the volume. It was indeed my dad, doing a commercial promoting Nebraska golf courses. I was so familiar with my father's voice that even in my new mommy, middle of the night delirium I was able to tune into it. It was a very emotional moment for me, well, you know how emotional new moms can be. I also had a very strong indication, at that point, about how familiar I should become to the voice of my Father in heaven. I should be so familiar with his voice that I can hear it when I least expect it.

So, that's it for this weeks episode of theology with dad, both earthly and heavenly. Tune in next week when I'll probably prove once again how I fail to listen to my own lessons.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Midnight Bike Ride

bike crowdLast night our thirteen year old daughter joined my husband, the four year old, and I for a Midnight Bike Ride in our community. She has done this event with one or both of us, plus various brothers, for five years now . The bike ride is a blast. It is a ride not a race so it attracts all sorts. In other words, you don't have to be a fanatic bike rider. Oh, the fanatics are there, they just begin in front and finish the 12+ mile route in about ten minutes. There are also whole families riding together, Grandmas and Grandpas, big people little people, not quite sober people, and herds of tweens. Roads are closed on the bike route and the businesses turn on their sprinklers for us to ride through. It is really a great time.

The thirteen year old
Our night was nearly derailed by one of those "what kind of parents" moments. As in, "What kind of parents would bring their four year old out on a bike ride at midnight?" with my husband and I in the role of "those parents". The four year old started out asleep but woke up about fifty feet down the road in complete meltdown and could not be consoled. Not even with goldfish. We stopped and a comedy of errors ensued as a couple of police people on bikes approached to try and assist us. My husband had the idea that the four year old might just have to go potty and wanted to take him behind a tree. With the bike police there? I don't think so. I could tell he was fighting every instinct to tell the bike police to move along and help those who were really in need. In one of my rash motherly instinct moments I decided that the thing to do was for me to turn around with the four year old in the bike trailer and take him home leaving our daughter and my husband to finish the ride without us. Then I tried to pull him out of the trailer, without releasing the seat restraints. Oh yeah, that helped a lot. When I finally got him out my shirt got snagged on my handle bars and we both nearly toppled over. My husband could have helped but he was too busy stewing about the police harassing us. Then came the "I WANT MOMMY" screaming as I handed him to my husband so I could dismount my bike without falling. Finally, as we got him settled back in so I could turn around and be escorted back to my car by the bike police, he stopped crying and started eating goldfish. So I exercised my womanly prerogative to change my mind and decided to continue with the ride. To which the bike police replied, "whatever you want". So we began anew, in dead last. Meaning that almost the entire field of riders was witness to our family crisis on the side of the road.

pre meltdownThe four year old pre-meltdown

We made pretty good progress even with me now pulling the trailer. My big strong husband normally gets that privilege. The four year old, now being fully awake enjoyed the ride very much and was looking forward to the ride through the caves. In the Kansas City area there are several areas in which entire business parks are carved out of limestone caves. Our route took us through one of those caves. It is always a refreshing break from the heat and humidity that hangs in the air even at that late hour. Outside the cave I gave back trailer duty to my husband because it is quite a climb back up to the main road and I had already exhausted my aerobic threshold on the hills up to that point. We made good progress after that and didn't finish last after all.

In the caveIn the caves

Me and hubby

At the conclusion of the ride we got to eat Chris Cakes. Nothing like pancakes and sausage at 2:30 A.M.

This morning my daughter got on the bus to join her brothers at camp. Next year it may be just my husband and I and the four year old, (who will be five by then). Hopefully we can switch him to a tandem bike. One thing is certain, we will make sure he is awake before we start.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


I've been burning up Interstate 29 all summer. The latest circuit involved picking up two of my kids who were visiting cousins that are staying with my parents for a while. Today two of them leave for a church camp for the week. Tomorrow the third one leaves and it's just my husband, the four year old and I for the week. I am feeling it. I am fortunate to have the four year old the cat and the dog to care for and keep me from locking myself in my bedroom for the week and sleeping it off. Although, the truth is, the way I've been sleeping lately, I could use about a week's worth of sleep. I've really grown weary of saying goodbye to my kids and/or husband this summer. Every time I turn around another one is leaving. And yet I crave a little bit of time alllllll to myself.

Life is just full of paradoxes isn't it.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

My new addiction

Like I need one...

My little mermaid

Oh to be four years old again. Unencumbered by gender specific role play the four year old has become, in the last month or so, Spiderman, Superman, Mario, Sonic, Yoshi, Knuckles (think video games), little Barbie and a mermaid. His last incarnation is the mermaid, I believe, brought on by his swimming lessons. Occasionally one of the family will prompt him, asking if he is really a merman or Spongebob character Mermaid Man, but no, he insists he is just a mermaid. He also insists that I make him a mermaid costume. In an effort to stall his persistent demands I asked him to do a sketch for me of what he wanted.

Seems simple enough, although, I'm not sure where I will get the curly hair.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

New camera!

When I am trying to work thorough something I often dream about it at night. Lately I've been dreaming about F-stops and shutter speeds trying to figure out our new digital SLR. Woohoo! In defense of our purchase we consider it a long term investment to reduce the cost of taking senior portraits. Oh. My. Word. Are they expensive. Now we will take them ourselves. Or, rather, my sister the photographer will take them using our camera, because, you know, just because you get a fancy schmancy new camera does not automatically make you a great photographer. I'm working on it though. Here is a photo from last night's fireworks.

Focal length 38mm
Exposure 15 secs
Aperture F-16

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Boom my brain has exploded,

I sneaked off for a couple of minutes with the computer this morning. I've got a mixed bag that I need to air out.

Last night my husband and I went to see a movie, The Fantastic Four. It was entertaining. I had to get up at one point and walk down several rows to ask some teens if they wouldn't mind not talking so loud. I made a point to look them straight in the eye. They did quiet down. I walked back to my seat feeling all, yay for me! After the movie my husband asked me what I said to them, so I told him, and he asked me if they did stop talking. You see, he never even heard them talking in the first place. This, my friends, illustrates the difference between the female and the male brain. Now I understand why, half the time, he has no idea I've been talking to him. For fifteen minutes.

Today is the fourth of July. Hooray for explosions! We were never allowed to have fireworks of any kind as children. My dad was dead set against them. This from a man who fought bottle rocket wars in his youth. The only person this ban had any effect on was me and probably my baby sister when she was older. We were the good children in the family.......My brothers all managed to get their hands on fireworks one way or another and lived to tell the tale.

My most memorable fourth of July was spent at World's of Fun, our local amusement park. It was one of those freeze frame moments in my life that stopped the passage of time for a breath or two. My middle son, now the fifteen year old, and I ran to catch the last ride of the night on the Orient Express, a looping roller coaster that is no longer in existence. On the long slow climb to the top, before the "big drop" we watched a 360 degree panorama of firework displays going off all over the city, as far as the eye could see. There were big city displays, huge and loud, along side little neighbor hood shows, probable illegal. Something about the moment was breathtaking. And just like that the moment was over and away we went over the drop and looped our way to the end. The park display was kind of a let down after that.

Yesterday was my Dad's (the firework police's) birthday. I was in that freeze frame of mind and I remembered the time my dad stood up to a crazy neighbor who was angry at my brother for some indiscretion. My dad was, judging by his appearance, a bit of a Hippie. He was somewhat on the older edge of that movement, being in his thirties, but he hung out with the theater crowd. Our neighbor was high and tight with a haircut to match. His son was a royal terror. One day he came, fuming, over to our house to settle the score over whatever it was that my brother had done. He banged on the door and my dad, bearded and long haired, probably wearing his dashiki, answered cutting him off in short order and telling him off in no uncertain terms. In my memory the neighbor went home with his tail tucked between his legs and my dad rose several degrees in my estimation. I was sort of intimidated to tell the truth. Then on some weird level the whole incident influenced my views on the Vietnam War. At age seven. That's a whole other entry, though. And now my brain is tired.