Holy Week: Wednesday and 12 grand.

What would you be willing to do for $12, 254?

Just recently I offered my relatives the chance to pie me in the face for 20$ ( I never got my 20$ by the way).
But 12 grand is a lot of money and I’d be willing to do a lot of stupid things for 12 grand.
I mean 12 grand would make my house payments for the good part of a year.
It finance a much needed kitchen re-model.
It would pay off the rest of my car and then still have enough left over to go shopping with.
I could go to Starbucks every single day and buy a latte for over 8 years.
It would allow me to have a maid come every week and a lawn service with enough left over for lots of meals out.
It would pay my childcare bill for the year.
I could take my family to Hawaii and Disney World.

I could even do a lot of good with that much money.
I could support 28 Compassion children for a year.
I could buy 25 cows on Heiffer International.
I could build 27 wells through the water project

So I’d be willing to submit myself to lots of hard work or silly things for 12 grand.
Like getting pied in the face 600 times.
I’d eat nothing but Spam for a month.
I’d publish my 6th grade journal on line. And trust me. That is some embarrassing stuff.
I’d be willing to let my kids dress me everyday.
I’d even shave off both my eyebrows.
I’d legally change my middle name to Buttercup or Cheesehead.
I’d even give you my dog. As long as you promised to be nice to her.

But I do draw the line somewhere.
I would never let anyone even think about harming one of my children.
I don’t take clothes off ( and trust me…you don’t want me to).
I wouldn’t cheat on my spouse.

So I’m wondering what kind of crazy things you’d be willing to do for $12,254?
And ask yourself where you draw the line.

Would you betray your savior and your friend?
Because Judas did. For about that much ( in today’s $, at least according to this website). And most other websites list the conversion at much much less. Either way, it was not worth it.

And now Friday is immanent. Matthew 26: 14-16
And from then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.
All for a crummy 30 pieces of silver.

Holy Week: Tuesday -There are better things than being useful.

So on Tuesday (before Friday) Jesus spent a lot of time teaching in the Temple (Mark 12 for one of 3 accounts), then dined in Bethany with his discples and was annointed by Mary Magdeline ( Matthew 26).

I know a girl who re-uses her zip lock bags. She even has a little baggy drying rack. She saves scraps of tin foil to re-use and never throws away wrapping paper. Unlike me she never has to buy those disposable plastic containers for leftovers but simply washes and saves all the ones that food already comes in (like yogurt or sour cream).
I admire this. Even if I like to be able to see my left-overs and like a fresh baggie for my sandwich. I mean not only is it better for the environment but it is frugal. And God calls us to be good stewards of our finances as well as this beautiful Earth. I could take a few lessons from this girl.

Sometimes we over do it.
This whole value on “usefulness” and frugalness and being practical.

Jesus lived simply.
Most of the time.
But I’m not sure that I’d call him practical.
He had the reputation of being a drunkard. A glutton. A friend of tax-collectors. Prostitues. And sinners. ( based on Luke 7:34-35). Now I don’t think there is any biblical support of Jesus really being a drunkard or a glutton (I mean come on he fasted for 40 days), these were probably comments from Pharisees trying to point fingers …..but you don’t exactly get that reputation by saving your tin foil. You get it by breaking rules and doing unexpected things.

Jesus stuck it to Martha. She asked him for some help getting her little sister in line to help with the cooking and cleaning and instead, Jesus told her that Mary was just fine where she was. At his feet.
Not very practical. Or useful. I mean if he wanted to eat dinner any time soon.

And then he praised a widow for giving away her last two cents.
Again not so practical.

And finally, the straw that possibly broke Judas’s back. On Tuesday night while dining at the house of Simon the Leper just outside of Jerusalem.
He not only allowed, but praised, Mary Magdeline for pouring out the contents of a very expensive alabaster jar of perfume on his head.
What extravagant waste.

The disciples at least, saw it as a waste.
Jesus on the hand saw it for what it really was.
Beautiful. Worship. Surrender. And incredibly tender.

The disciples had good intentions though. They were pretty indignant and
scolded the woman (as she washed His feet with her very own tears) for not letting them sell the perfume and give the money to the poor. Because that was the “useful” thing to do. The practical thing to do. The good steward thing to do.

Her act of worship was too much for them. Too extravagant. These 12 men who had followed him for years and seen him perform miracle after miracle didn't even respond this intensely. They were good students ( well most of the time), they had given up a lot to follow him. But they didn’t have a clue how to worship.

And I’m thinking if Mary had wanted to she could have anointed Jesus with only part of the perfume. And there would have been some left to sell or use again. And it would have been enough. And maybe the disciples wouldn’t have raised such a stink. But her outpouring was extravagant. Too much. Outrageous.

Which is exactly the same kind of gift Christ was about to give us. His own extravagant, outrageous outpouring of love on the Cross.

And the best part of the story he saved for last.
Then Jesus, with special emphasis, then said, "I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her" (verses 8-13).

With special emphasis.
Jesus wanted her story told with his gospel. Throughout the world.
Wherever his story goes so should hers.
He wanted to make sure that this part wasn’t left out. Or skimmed over. That it received special emphasis.
So that we don’t get too caught up with our “usefulness”.
So that we are not so busy doing good works and being good students that we forget how to worship.
So that we realize how incredibly extravagant and outrageous his gift to us is.

Holy Week: Monday and the Fig Tree

So in my head I was hoping to write this really profound post for every day of Holy Week....walking through what Christ did this week.
And yesterday was Palm Sunday and there was no post. I tried. But it really ended up being some lame editorial on Paris Hilton's million dollar pink Bentley compared to the Christ showing up on a borrowed ass. That was pretty much my best line and the rest of the post ended up in delete bin.
So for Monday I thought I'd try again. Excpet the scriptures are pretty blank on Monday except for a small section in Matthew and Mark about Jesus cursing out a fig tree.

Early in the morning, as he was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, "May you never bear fruit again!" Immediately the tree withered.
When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. "How did the fig tree wither so quickly?" they asked. Matthew 21: 18-20

This bit of scripture has always puzzled me.
Was Jesus having an off day? I mean impending death on a cross can really stress a guy out.
Did he really curse? Like with four letter Greek words and all. I mean how mad can you be at tree?
Was he making a show of his power? Which sounds a little un-Jesus-like.

But I think something a little more was going on here. I mean the guy can turn water into wine and feed thousands with just a few loaves and fishes….you think he would be able to scrounge up some breakfast.

Maybe it has a little something to do with bearing fruit. Or only pretending to.
It wasn’t the season for figs at all when he approached the tree. And although the man had a lot on his mind he probably knew this.
Even though it wasn’t the season the tree showed signs of life. Of productivity.
And after a little googling, I discovered that fig trees have tiny edible things called taksh long before the figs ripen. These are kind of like little baby un-ripe figs. They are edible and were often gathered for sale in the markets. When young leaves are appearing in spring, a fertile fig tree will have some taksh on it. But a leafy tree with no sign of fruit will be barren for the entire season (learned that here). So instead of finding a tree with the something that looked like it atleast would have a snack he found one that was empty and would be empty for the rest of the season. I like that Jesus wasn’t concerned about the fruit being ripe or perfect. He was just looking for signs of growth and potential.

And this isn’t the only time Jesus talked about destroying a fig tree:
he told this parable: "A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, 'For three years now I've been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?' " 'Sir,' the man replied, 'leave it alone for one more year, and I'll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.' " Luke 13:6-9

And the rest of the intial verse….when the disciples noticed he talked to them about doubt and faith. Which seems like an unrelated topic to fruit or breakfast or a good cursing.

Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." Matthew 21:21-22

But maybe it does relate. This was it. They were down to the wire. This was Monday. He was leaving them on Friday and he really needed them to get it. To know that Jesus can stop a storm, heal the sick or wither a tree just by saying so. They needed to know that he was who he said he was. Because they were about to be tested. And this week didn’t really leave them any room for doubt. They were about to have to move some mountains.

There is all kinds of symbolism on the internet about the fig tree representing Israel, or the disciples or the Pharisees.
But there might just be a little bit of fig tree in me. A fig tree without much fruit. And often there is taksh ( potential) that I need to nurture and grow. And well other parts of me just need to wither. At some point we to start bearing fruit or we are just wasting soil.

slow growing

My 18 month old has very little hair.
I can just now get a little clip in there. Only for her to pull it right back out a few minutes later.
I’m not really sure why this bothers me.
She is stinkin cute.
But at least once a week someone stops me, at church or at the store and asks how old my son is. Or tells me how cute he is.
Even if HE has on a pink dress. I pierced her ears about a year ago to fend off some of these mistakes but it hasn’t seemed to help. One onlooker even bothered to ask me why I pierced my son’s ears.
I have stopped trying to correct them and just smile and give her age at the time. While cursing them loudly in my head.

My son of course was born with a big thick dark mop of hair and I’m pretty sure had a hair cut before he was even a year old. And olive toned skin and long thick eyelashes that a girl would kill for.

And then there is my bald ivory skinned little girl who you need a magnifying class to find an eyelash on.
And she is beautiful.
Really. People stop me all the time to tell me, and these people get it right.

But it bothers me.
And so I rub her sweet little head and wish that her strawberry blond curl (yes just the one) will grow a little faster.

And it is growing. But ever so slowly. Not at all on my time table. And she doesn’t seem to care the slightest that she is often mistaken for a boy. And I am being grown a bit in the process. Because I often want things to happen quick and immediately. Like to suddenly get hundreds of hits on my blog. Or to lose 10 pounds over night. Or to be able run 5 miles. Things that only happen slowly. On their own time. With patience and work and discipline.

And it might be months or even a year before I sweep up her hair in the cute little pig tails like all the other girls in her class. And maybe longer for some of my own hopes to be revealed.

So in the mean time I will keep painting little bitty toenails, putting my little girl in dresses and cussing quietly oblivious strangers. And the husband is oh so thankful for one less head to have to brush in the mornings.
And we wait for growth that will eventually come.
On it’s own time.

(and yes, that is her hand in a tub of chocolate frosting...don't judge.)

Friday Playlist - Got you Covered

I love a good cover. And here are some of my favorites.

1. Obidiah Parker – Hey Ya (outkast) This song makes me so happy everytime I here it. I’m not sure how they managed to make outkast folky but they so pulled it off. Love it.

2.Ben Taylor – I try (macy gray). This is Ben Taylor as in James Taylor and it is so amazing.

3.John Mayer -Free Fallin (tom petty). I used to sing this song at Young Life my freshman year of high school and love it. By Tom Petty. By John Mayer. By anyone with a guitar.

4.Kendall Payne – One (U2). This is one of my favorite songs of all times and I just adore this girl…..so of course it is a winner J.

5.Damien Rice and Lisa Hannigan -Get the Party Started (pink). Funny funny stuff that somehow works. Damien Rice could sing the back of a cereal box and I’d buy it.

6. Ryan Adams– Wonderwall ( oasis). I like his version better than the real one.

7.Across the Universe – Fiona Apple ( beatles). So pretty. Rufus Wainwright also does a killer version.

8. Blackbird – Sara McLachlan (beatles). Yes another Beatles song. I could make a list of just Beatles covers. Heck, just check out the entire I am Sam soundtrack….

9. Johnny Cash – Personal Jesus ( dépêche mode). The Man in Black can sing whatever he wants even bad 80s songs.

10. Josh Radin – Fly me to the Moon (frank sinatra). Not too shabby even if josh doesn’t have blue eyes.

Did I miss any??
just listen ...


About a month ago I took a photography class…and to begin we had to go around the room and say why we took pictures.
I am the kind of girl who in a group like that likes to have some smart ass witty thing to say. But my friends were the teachers and I couldn’t think of anything fast enough.
All I could actually think of was pouring over pictures albums when I was little. And going to my Aunt Bobbie’s house and looking at her albums over and over and asking her to tell the stories in each picture.
A lot of my memories from when I was little aren’t really memories at all. They are versions of me and events that I remember the picture of.
Like right now if I close my eyes I can see one of those square kind of pictures with the rounded edges of me and my family on vacation at the beach. I don’t remember the actual trip or the bad blue dress I was wearing. But I can clearly remember the photo and my painful looking sunburn. I’m sure that my mom sprayed me down that night with solarcaine or rubbed me with aloe vera. And that there was probably lots of fighting and wine and sand that never got out of our shoes. Tar stains on the bottom of my feet and sand castles washed away by waves. But like I said I don’t really remember any of that. But I do have the picture and on the back is scribbled in someone else’s handwriting
“Padre Island"

Last night I read, Kelly Corrigan’s Lift in a short sitting….because it is THAT GOOD ( and no this isn’t a blog tour where I got the book for free….I so paid full price for it and it was worth every penny. I’d be happy to give you my copy, but I think I will give it to my mom instead). It is a long letter to her two daughters. Because they won’t remember. And before she forgets. In it she states that most people only have about 10 really solid memories from before middle school. Which means that all these dance parties in the living room,
the 473 times I read Hop on Pop
all the times I got up in the middle of the night.
every stinky diaper.
Even the ridiculous over the top birthday parties and light sabers and snow cones probably won’t ever be recalled.

But they will have my pictures and they will have my words. And sometimes that is enough to make a memory. Even if it is just the photographic version of one.

And today Tessie is a year and a half. 18 months. The point where you start leaving the word months off when someone asks how old she is. She will not remember anything up to this point. And probably nothing for a few more years. So I will have to do the remembering for her. If I were to scribble something on the back of this snapshot…it might be how we had a picnic that day at the arboretum and how she kept wondering over to other families to see if they had something better to eat or how she almost fell into the goldfish pond or how she spent most of the day trying to keep up with her brother who was on a personal mission to roll down every single hill. And I hope that in ten or twenty years when one of us stumbles across this photo ( that my friend Rhonda snapped) that even if neither of us really remember the grass stains of the smell of the daffodils, that we can look at that photo and still know that it was a good day.

she dared me

6 or so years ago I went to my first official high school soccer practice.
Well first one as the coach anyways.
Just a part-time assistant volunteer coach. But still a coach. I even bought a whistle.
I thought of all the people who encouraged me when I sucked. And the traditions and fun my old high school team had even when we lost almost every game.
And I cheered these girls on. I showed some of them how to shoot with the inside of their foot. I told them where to be on the field. I made others run for cussing and at the end we huddled up and I told them how excited I was to be there. How eager I was for their first game.
I went home on cloud nine and told my husband that I was born to do this and had a hard time going to sleep that night because I kept thinking about those 21 girls and anticipating our season ahead.

The next day around 3rd period I got an email that told me not to go to practice that day.
Or any day.

And I tried really really hard to not cry in front of all those kids who had no idea what I just read. But a few tears slipped out and I just tried to ignore them and distract myself with a boring lecture on thermodynamics.

Maybe I wasn’t born to be soccer coach after all.

Which makes me wonder what I was born to do...
I really like my job teaching high school.
I think it is important.
It is never boring.
And I love my students.
But I don't think I was born to do this.
And lately I just haven’t been here.
I mean I’ve been in the room. I’m still teaching solid lessons and my kids are still learning and having fun. I’m still trying to smile at them and ask how their weekend was and go to their plays…but my heart has drifted to other dreams.

Like writing and a few other adventures that I am even too afraid to pen here....

And I freaking LOVE Kelly Corrigan ( she wrote the Middle Place and had that amazing talk that was all over you tube before)…but this clip….I almost didn’t want to watch.
Because I am afraid to really whole-heartedly pursue what maybe I was born to do.
Because I really don't want to get another email telling me I'm not.

But you can't help but watch that video and try anyways.

my afternoon in hell....other wise known as the DMV

On Friday I worried when I could barely find a parking space. But my in-laws were watching the kids and it was Spring Break and I figured it was now or never to replace my driver’s license.
According to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles website you are allowed to renew your license on line or change your address or change your name pretty much anything except get a replacement. The punishment for losing your wallet is to sit in their little corner of hell for as long as it takes.
So I walked in. Saw the hoards of people and turned around and walked out. I just didn’t have the patience and couldn’t waste my last afternoon of Spring Break in line. As I headed back to the car, that little grown up in me decided I better be responsible and take care of it. So I went back in. I got in line to get a number and called Shaun to tell him how ridiculous the line was but that I was going to suck it up and finally take care of it seeing how I lost my wallet months ago. And just last week I even lost my back up license. (yes my irresponsibility is an issue for another blog post).I got off the phone with Shaun where I cussed the line and commended myself for sticking it out when a man behind me kindly tapped on my shoulder and said,
“Ma’am the line starts back there”
As in 50 more people in a line that I already thought was ridiculous back there.
To which I walked out the door.
Maybe just this DMV is crazy, so I tried another. I actually managed to get to the front desk this time but only to have the lady tell me that it was a 2.5 hour wait. So again I left and vowed again to try another day. Surely this was just lunch hour Spring Break crazy.

So today I hightailed it out of school and hit the DMV as fast as I could.
Again the packed parking lot and the crowd of people outside were a bad sign. But the line to check in was only about a dozen people deep which was much better than the 50+ from Friday so I told the lady that I needed a replacement license. Asked her if there was any way I could do it online (she said no) and took my number.
The red marquee said 36.
I am pretty good with math but refused to do that subtraction because I was afraid Shaun would make me walk to school if I didn’t come home with a license today.
I took one of the only free seats in the place and got comfy.
And I stared at the red marquee that never seemed to change.
Equipped with my magic phone I checked my email. I updated my facebook status. I texted every single person in my contacts. I played dumb games.
One hour had passed.
And the red sign only said 58.
All the cute 16 year olds dressed up for their photo and chatting it up with their friends were getting on my nerves. I looked for anything to read. Say a pamphlet on anger management or patience or calm breathing techniques but had to settle for the obscenities that were scratched on my chair and the forms I had to fill out were ridiculous. Instead of asking if you would like to be an organ donor now it says,
“In case of death would you be willing to make an anatomical gift”
An anatomical gift that is just creepy. Please take my organs but don’t wrap them up and put a bow on them. I checked yes anyways.
I re-texted everyone in my contacts just in case they didn’t get my first message.
I got caught up on my google reader and I cursed myself for leaving the house without a book and a bottle of hand sanitizer.
The red sign seemed to be broken. Really I wondered what would happen if I just unplugged it. Oooops.
But apparently someone had already thought of that because it was literally screwed into the outlet. And covered up with bars. And a security guard started to give me the stink eye.
People were literally cheering when their numbers flashed on the screen. And when my number came up I had to control my urge to do a happy dance.
Which was short lived because as soon as I went behind the magic wall where all the people with the lucky numbers got to go was ANOTHER LINE! This one was shorter and moved a tad faster but I was starting to see the hold up. There were 3 workers behind the counter and each one appeared at least 80 years old and I swear to you mine typed with one finger on the computer. I explained that I lost my license and needed a new one and that I already had all my proper forms filled out. She asked for photo id even though the whole reason I was here was because I had lost mine….but we worked something out. I gave my fingerprints. I smiled for a picture three times (because people walked in front of me the first 2 times) and I barely passed the vision test. I was just starting to think that I might make it home in time for dinner after all when I asked how much to write the check out for.
She then said, “Well would you just like to renew it”.
I explained that I needed a replacement not a renewal.
She said, yes, but your license will be up for renewal this June why don’t we just renew it instead.
So 2 hours and 58 numbers later I left with a paper renewal that….

holding out

The other day we got an unexpected check in the mail.
A fat one.
Not super fat, like go on a cruise kind of fat. But nice.
One that will keep us from biting our nails at the end of the month and let me pay off some medical bills and bought my baby girl a ridiculously cute Easter dress.

Thank you Bartlett Shale and Chesepeake Oil company.

But I still hesitated to cash it because I was wondering if we held out if we would get more. The check was for an extension on our mineral rights because they are drilling for gas in the vicinity.
When it was time for the original lease, a man knocked on our door and offered us a check for 800$.
I was thrilled. I didn’t immediately sign on the dotted line. I did a little research. I called my dad all to make sure that this was legit. Eventually we signed and cashed our check. I thought we were being responsible. And if you live in our area you know that most people got A LOT more than we did.

What we didn’t do, that our neighbors did.
Was haggle.
We didn’t try and deal and we didn’t ask for more.
Because neither me nor my husband are really good at that.
I mean I do take pride in a bargain, but I don’t like the haggling part.
And my husband….well he’d pay full price in Mexico if you let him.
So when we found out that our neighbors got so much more,
Suddenly I felt cheated.
Suddenly a surprise 800$ didn’t seem like enough and left a bitter taste in my mouth.
Because someone else got more.
And greed doesn’t taste very good.
I let what I didn’t have take the joy out of what I did.
Because when it comes down to it,
And the end of the day I was still given a pretty nice ridiculously unexpected gift.

So again I called my dad. Shaun got out the original lease and we asked around.
And eventually we cashed the check.
And celebrated our unexpected blessing.
Regardless of what our neighbors get.
Holding out for more might just rob me of what I have right now.
And that isn’t worth it.

found art and my old worn couch

I got married and moved to tiny apartment sight unseen in Arlington. Actually I was out of town at a shower so my husband did all of my actual moving without me.
Did I mention I didn’t know a soul in Arlington. I did have a few distant friends in the metroplex but quickly learned that the metroplex is a really big place and I better hurry up a make a few in my own zipcode.
And I thought it would be easy enough. Just like at summer camp or in college. But months passed. I joined a church, I started a new job (and a bad one at that) and still no real friends.
Did I mention that my husband also traveled. A lot.
I spent a good part of this year alone in that tiny apartment lonely and sad.
I mourned the loss of friends. I fought on the phone with my husband in some distant state. I wandered through Barnes and Nobles several times a week and saw almost any movie that came out. By myself. If Shaun was gone for a longer stretch, it would be weeks where no one touched me. Something I never noticed, but when 10 days would pass and not a single person hugged me or touched my hand I felt like part of me was growing cold. I longed for intimate friendships. I longed for my husband. I tried to make the best of it……..but mostly I just sat on the couch. I really started to hate that couch. It was my old tattered stained one from college propped up by a phone book.
I remember thinking that getting a new couch would make me feel better. And I waited for the furniture man to deliver my new happy flowery couch that was going to make me a whole new girl. One who wasn’t so sad and alone.
And briefly it worked. But when Shaun hit the road again a week later, I was the same lonely girl sitting just sitting on a new couch.
I do not remember this time with fondness.
But I did leave and cleave.
It wasn’t my family that needed leaving so much as it was the life I had built in college. The girl there was always jetting off to some event or to eat with a friend or out with her cute boyfriend.
This girl had to figure out who she was alone on the couch. Her ratty old one and her pretty new floral one. And even now on my toddler stained Ikea sectional.
And eventually that girl figured out how to be a wife.
And a better friend.
And ok with herself.

Yesterday, I finished reading Found Art by Leeana Tankersly and it took me back to that couch. The ugly stained one. And made me realize that I learned some pretty important lessons there. My couch doesn’t quite compare with her journey. She married and zoomed off to the Middle East with her Navy Seal husband and learned how to be quiet and how to be brave and alone and how to be a wife. She weaves her tales so colorfully that you can smell the spices and taste the sweet tea. She mostly talks about the transitions there and back and that is where I think the story really often lies. Mine and hers and yours. In transittion. I loved this book and am starting to think a little more fondly of my old couch.

Win my copy (which I was generously provided by the publisher in return for my reivew) by leaving a comment below ( I'll draw a number next Sunday for the winner). Or buy your own copy.
Read more about Leeanna here ( and trust me her story is way cooler than my lame couch). Or you can learn more about the book from other bloggers on the tour here.

four letter words

I’ll be honest.
I like four letter words.
And this isn’t some cute ploy where I am going to tell you that I mean words like “love or hope or nice”. Those are all pretty words. And I like those too.
But here I am confessing that I like the bad four letter words. And if you are already offended please stop reading…because it will only get worse.

I am a mom and a teacher so I have learned to control the potty mouth most of the time.
But put a glass of wine in my hand or put me in a “socially appropriate place” like dinner with friends, a girls road trip or a soccer field and you might be surprised at the words that fall out of my mouth. You might want to have some soap handy.

They are inappropriate I know. They are crude and crass and unlady-like.
But I still get a secret thrill when they spill out of my mouth
(unless it is in anger or pain and then there is no thrill at all only shame and hurt)
Kind of like I did when I whispered them quietly in my friend’s ear on the playground when I was 7.
Because at 7 and at 31 part of me likes to be kind of bad.
Not so bad that I get in trouble but a little reckless.
Not conforming.
Just a little bit of a badass.

And I worry about this a little because a “good Christian woman/mom” shouldn’t want to be a badass.
Or use the f-word. (no, not around my kids).
It doesn't exactly show up in Proverbs 31 description.
And so I did some checking, and although there are lots and lots of verses in the bible about the kind of things that should or shouldn’t come out of our mouths ( Ephesians 4:29, 1Peter 3:10, James 3:9-12) it doesn’t come outright and list what words are ok and which ones aren’t. Because mainly it comes down to what is in our hearts and what we are doing with our words (Luke 6:45) as opposed to the actual words themselves.
I’m not saying that Jesus would ok my potty mouth. And I’d probably watch my mouth around him too. You know, since he is God and all.
But, I kind of like picturing him dropping a few himself when he overturned the tables in the temple or chewed out the Pharisees.
He is perfect and holy and loving, but he is also all of those kinds of things I felt when I was 7 and swearing on the playground: wild, nonconforming and most certainly a badass.


I have been to a few concerts this week.
First was Muse (with Silversun Pickups) and they were artistically the most amazing band I have ever seen live.
And get ready this is a big but that is about to make me sound 60.
It was too loud and there was way too much electric guitar crazyness and feedback for me. I kept checking my ears for blood and had the most giant headache in the morning.
I was just starting to think that maybe I was getting too old for the live music scene,
And then I went to the House of Blues last night and saw Jennifer Knapp.
If you don’t know who the heck Jennifer Knapp is maybe because she hasn’t written or recorded anything in about a decade. And it was all acoustic-y Christian girl music. But. She. Is. Awesome.
I played that Kansas cd to death back in the day and drove all the way to plainview ( yes, that is the crazy way they name towns in West Texas…Plainview, Brownfield etc) to see her a decade ago. Then I watched her at a little Baptist college in the middle of nowhere in a sold out auditorium with a few thousand people. Last night I watched her step on stage at the House of Blues in Dallas ( in the little room, not the big one…because well it has been a decade) with a Blue Moon in my hand surrounded by only a hundred or so people. And as she hit the first chord I was immediately taken back 10 years in the best kind of way.
I was in Lubbock on college couches or in cars driving around the loop with the radio turned up talking about life and boys and jesus.

And I settled into the couch and I remembered and soaked in her chords. And the new ones struck my heart in the same kind of way.

Before the show, I met some old college friends for dinner and ate 4 bowls of chips and laughed a lot and talked about Haiti and photography and ex-boyfriends and homeless people and where we were 10 years ago and where we thought we’d be now and recovery and old roommates and more ex-boyfriends and I showed them pictures of my cute kids and we caught up and asked for another bowl of chips.

And well, when I think about it, 10 years ago and tonight, my evenings weren’t so different. I hung out with friends we rode around and sat on couches. We laughed and listened to good music and we mostly talked about life and boys and jesus.

(check out her new stuff whether you knew the old stuff or not)

Friday Playlist - takes you back

Last night I went to a concert that took me back a decade. In the best kind of way (so great in fact that it will get it’s own blog post)..so in honor of Jennifer Knapp’s comeback here are 10 songs that take me back.

1. Lay it Down – Jennifer Knapp. Lubbock and the loop and college couches.
2. True Blue – Madonna. Curt Loder. MTV. And bad bangs. I think I was only 10 or so but this was my discovery of music.
3. The Piano Man– Billy Joel. Riding in the car with my mom singing along. Billy Joel and Patty Lovelace was the only music we could agree on.
4. Everything I do- I do it for you. Bryan Adams – every junior high Methodist and Briarcrest dance I ever went to ( and all you BCS people out there got my reference). My favorite part about this song is the extra long pause at the end where you think it is over but it isn’t which makes for some awkward slow dancing moments.
5. All For You – Sister Hazel. Mo Ranch. If I start gushing about this place I’m not sure that I’ll stop. But sweaty summers floating the river, walking across the catwalk, loving and being loved by a Loma Linda lodge full of girls. I can here the screen door slam right now.
6. Wide Open Spaces – Dixie Chicks. My college apartment with this cranked up. Lubbock was my wide open space and this album was me and my room mate’s version of Meredith Grey and Christina “dancing it out”.
7. Gangsta’s Paradise – Coolio. The Bryan High parking lot 1996. I swear this was blaring out of at least one person’s car every single day as I got out of school. (and yes, occasionally even mine).
8. Cool Rider – Grease Soundtrack. I’m not sure which is more embarrassing this one or the one above it…but this takes me back to highschool hallways and cars and Grease marathons and chips and guac with some of my bestest friends.
9. Jock Jams (volume I) with classics like “Whoop there it is”, “Gonna Make you Sweat” and “It takes Two”. And I am immediately back on a yellow dog on my way to a soccer game or tennis tournament because there is nothing like listening to crappy music on your giant cd player that skips everytime you hit a bump to pump you up for a big game.
10. Shadowboxer – Fiona Apple. Making out on a bad Goodwill couch in a stinky boy apartment with my future husband.


1. Tess and her paci -- The sleeping situation still sucks...but we have been paci-free for almost a week and are now almost red blistery rash free. She better thank me for not having a red mustache scar when she is in junior high. And on a related note--toddler beds are not made for two. Snuggling up with her took me straight back to my college freshmen year with my tiny bed that pulled out from the wall.

2. The soccer update. Last night was the last indoor game in which they got creamed by an all girls team. We still have about 7 outdoor games to go but last night was a success. The trick -- not know how to read your schedule and show up thirty minutes late. Owen didn't have to get all worked up and he just hopped right in and started playing. No he didn't score any goals......but he tried hard and there were no tears. At least not until one girl reeled back and nailed him right in the face with the ball. Hard enough to stop the game and for both coaches (and mommies) to check for blood. Suprisingly, he wore the injury like a proud battle wound and made sure I told everyone how hard he got hit and how tough he was. Also medals and skittles and a pizza party with his team after the game helped him forget about his almost broken nose. On the way to the pizza party he was examining and trying to read the words on his medal ( name, team name, season and his #). From the backseat he asks,
"Mommy, does this medal say that I am AWESOME!"
"Yes Owen, it most certainly does"

cold turkey

Tess has been pacifier free for over 72 hours.
I’m not sure who is suffering more.
Me or Her.

My little girl who used to go to sleep without even a whimper at 8:00 pm on the dot, now screams for over an hour first.
Even if I am holding her.
She searches everywhere in case she has just misplaced it.
Under the pillow, under the bed….hoping that she will find a pacifier there.
But mostly she just lays there and cries….….I mean screams.

Instead of seconds of bonding before bed we now have hours.
And last night as she lay there crying while I tried everything I could thing of
Reading, singing, praying, etc.
I thought about her loss a little.
And I was quickly losing patience, and lots of much needed sleep to this incessant crying.
Because to me, it is just a pacifier.
A baby phase that I wish we could hang on to for just a while longer…
But thanks to super sensitive skin and multiple ear infections the pediatrician encouraged us to let go now.
But to her it is her comfort.

And as she screamed.
I wondered if I should give something up too.
Something that is a bit of a false comfort to me.
Like caffeine or wine.
Or whatever your vice.
Books or blogging or facebook.
And I tried to pick something to give up.
and that was the word that did me in.
Because I can give up almost anything for a season.
But forever without coffee or cable and I just wasn’t sure I could do it.
I had a lot of time to think while she cried.
And listing my false comforts and facing my resistance to surrender them was not a pretty site.
I wasn’t that different from the red faced and snotty stubborn girl beside me looking in all the wrong places for her comfort.
So I held her and we cried a bit longer.
As a mother comforts her child,
so will I comfort you; Isaiah 66:13

the good part

The last few days I spent a lot of time in the car…
Which means I read lots of books.
But it seemed like every time I was getting to the good part,
it was time to stop for gas or for lunch or to find a lost toy or my husband suddenly wanted to engage me in conversation or Owen want to show me something…..well you get the idea.

In a story, the “good part” is called the climax. (and I’m sure you all know this and don’t need an English lesson from a girl who doesn’t believe in grammar, but humor me
here…I am getting to a point…maybe….at least I hope to get to a point). When I googled climax (carefully of course or else I’d have all kinds of definitions that I could not post here)…this is the definition that popped up: “The climax is the result of the crisis. It is the high point of the story for the reader. Frequently, it is the moment of the highest interest and greatest emotion. The point at which the outcome of the conflict can be predicted.”

In addition to all this car reading, I’ve been thinking a lot about “my story”. And that it is pretty boring. If I was a book or a movie most of me would be edited out. And some of that is my fault. Exciting people takes risks. They do hard things and those are compelling. And I occasionally take risks. Like trying a new brand of detergent….but you probably don’t want to read about that.
But a lot of times what draws us in is a character’s struggle. And sure I’ve had mine. But lets be honest, most of them were middle class white girl problems which aren’t so interesting or so bad.

And I wonder why I write this blog. If I have anything to say that is of interest to anyone else. Because there is no tragedy here. My life is amazingly good and tragedy-free. Not perfect of course. We still get the flu and lose our patience and spill milk. And I struggle. With trust and discipline and pride. But we are all well fed. When we are sick we get better. We don’t always have nice new things, but we have more than enough. There are tears, but there is also lots of laughing. And the occasional living room dance party or water balloon fights.

So maybe if I want more people to read about my life…….I should start getting to the good stuff. Which in books consists of conflict and loss. In books this is where you get to “know what happens”. But in living, we don’t really ever get to know much more than a few steps ahead. And sometimes not even that. And also in living, as opposed to the reading or writing version of our lives….maybe this middle part…the boring part…is the good part. Filled with french fries and kites and roadside diners with twelve different kinds of pie.

Yes, this is definitely the good part. And it is far better than fiction.

The Friday Playlist - like the weather

This is Texas and just yesterday I was wearing shorts. But today it is chilly and overcast and yuck. Jacket weather. These late winter/early spring months I never know if I’m gonna need sunscreen or a hoodie.
My mood is just as flippant.
The sun, when it sneaks out makes my heart sing………and the clouds engulf me in this gray funk. So this playlist reflects that. The first five are warm and happy and make me smile…….and the last five are a bit more overcast.

And because Spring Break started about 5 minutes ago……this will have to be a quick no commentary version.

1. Sunshine– Matt Costa
2. Wagon Wheel – Old Crow Medicine Show
3. Come on Get Higher – Matt Nathanson
4. Wait and See -- Brandon Heath
5. Be OK – Ingrid Michealson

6. Hazy – Rosi Golan
7. Funeral Dress - William Fitzsimmons
8. All My Days – Alexi Murdoch
9. Comfort – Deb Talon
10. Circle – Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians

What is your favorite happy song....because I could use some more of those?

(ignore the commercial at the begining)

the f word

Yesterday my pediatrician used the F-word.
She suggested that I ferberize my sweet baby girl.

Maybe it was the bags under my eyes or my disheveled appearance or the fact that I nodded off in the waiting room that tipped her off.
But Tess is not a good sleeper.

My kids couldn’t be any more different. My son started sleeping through the night at about 9 weeks. And was in his own crib in his own room at only 4 weeks. And we threw out the paci before he was a year old. I read Babywise (The baby sleeping bible back then) and although I did not follow those methods rigidly, I did implore some of the techniques. And for the most part they were successful. Now, he did ( and still does!) hate going to sleep……and will fight it with every once of his being….and sadly just needs less sleep than most kids. So more often than not, you might find me getting into bed before he does. And nap times, we mourned the loss of those way too early.

Tess on the other hand needs more sleep just like me. But at almost 18 months she rarely sleeps through the night. Around 8 o’clock every night ( and sometimes before) she gets cranky. Sometimes we go through the routine of pjs, milk, book after book after book, and prayers. But even if I skip those sweet steps when I lay her down and she rolls over snuggles up with whatever dolly or toy is in her boy and goes to sleep with out the slightest protest.
Until about 11:30.
And/or 2:30.
And sometimes even 4:30.
Keep in mind that my alarm goes off at 5:30 and the first bell rings at 7:05.
Sometimes giving her a pacifier will put her back to sleep.
Sometimes a quick snuggle and pat does the trick.
But more often then not she ends up somewhere around 3 am wedged between us, stealing my covers and slowly elbowing me off the bed.
I know what the books say.
Let her cry it out.
Or go back in every 5 minutes and check on her and then every 10 and then every 15 etc.
We did this with Owen.
And it worked.
Because after about 10-15 minutes of screaming he would get bored or tired and just go back to sleep.
And we have tried this dozens of times with Tess.
But after 15 minutes Tess is just getting warmed up.
And by then she has also woken up her brother.
And now we have 2 children seeking comfort and my covers in the middle of the night.

So we do what works….which is give her a paci. Give her snuggle and if all else fails or we are just too tired to go through steps one and two, we hand over our covers.

So yesterday the pediatrician suggested that we lose the paci. Because I have a red-headed baby (don’t know where it came from) with fair and sensitive skin and the pacifier has rubbed a raw chapped mark across her upper lip and cheeks that has been there for months despite all the Vasoline I lather on it.

And I know that the doctor is right…………but this paci is the only trick I have up my sleeve at 2 am. And about half the time it even works.

And plenty of friends give me advice about being consistent for a few weeks. And letting her cry and scream for hours in the am. And I know that they are also right. But being consistent also means consistently not sleeping. And dealing with a 4 year old who has been awoken and now suddenly wants a snack and to watch cartoons ( at 2 am).

And so I say to Dr. Ferber, that he is welcome to come visit my family over Spring Break and ferberize my sweet little thing ( who is anything but at 2 am) himself. And I hope he can make a mean snack and likes whatever cartoons come on in the middle of the night. And let the dog out and then back in again. And then I want him to try and wake up just as we were all finally getting back to sleep….and then go teach 170 high school juniors and seniors…and then go to soccer practice and the grocery store and the Y. Grade a few papers. Watch some TV. Play with legos. Play chase around the living room. And read the same board book over and over. And then do it all over again the next day and the next or however long it takes for his little method to work. Because I am getting tired just writing about it.

Sometimes parenting books offer good sound advice. And we will try to lose the paci over Spring Break. But I think I will keep my little girl un-ferberized. Because sometimes you just have to do what you can manage. And my favorite mornings are the ones I wake up next to only my husband and realize I was given the magical gift of uninterrupted sleep. But this morning I woke up next to a soft and squishy toddler in pink jammies beside me. And her little tuft of red hair was sticking up. And I don’t remember when she got to be so long or what time she ended up between us. As she snored softly, I thought this isn’t so bad either.

Biology Books and the Bible (and no...this is not an evolution post)

My AP class is kicking my rear.
The readings, the notes, the labs, the tests and the late nights.

Did I mention that I am the teacher?

And I know this material.
I’ve taken the class. I’ve been to summer workshops. I’ve racked up hours and hours of college and graduate credit in the subject.
But it is so easy to forget.
And on those mornings when I don’t really prepare.
They can tell.
The smart kids sitting their with their pens out waiting for me to fill them in on the steps of the Krebs cycle or the enzymes responsible for DNA translation or (their favorite) the ins and outs of the reproductive system (and yes, bad bad pun intended).

But on those bad mornings. I stumble through. I mispronounce. I skip important details or I try to pass off someone else’s power points as my own.
And power points are like some kind of magic sleepy potion. And they try to stay awake and I try my best to remember all the important parts.

But last night instead of watching TV I spent a few hours with my Biology book.
The same exact one I read in high school.
Cover to Cover. (well ok, maybe I did skip over a few parts).
And college.
And graduate school.
Because even though I have read it before. Even though I already passed the test…..I have grown a little rusty.

And this morning I killed it. I nailed all the enzymes and steps and diagrams.
We tore through the notes. We all stayed awake. I had good examples and analogies and activities. We even finished a few minutes early. I answered questions with ease. And didn’t feel like such a poser up there.

And it got me thinking about a slightly more important book.
One that I have also read cover to cover.
In high school and in college and a few times after.
But these days am more likely to skim.
Or let collect dust.
And I am getting so rusty.
So it seems, that this teacher has a little homework of her own.
(and I'm not talking about the Krebs cycle)
Becuase it turns out I can learn a lot more about life without a textbook.
But from a worn and tog eared brown leather book instead.
And the important parts are already highlighted in red.

game day

“But I don’t want to go to soccer, I’m tired”
says the boy who has been running circles around the living room for the last hour.

“No, I don’t want to wear my jersey”
says the same boy that slept in his uniform just last week.

And so I do what any good mom would do, which is start bribing my kid.
I promise him ring pops or pizza or new toys for having a good attitude, listening to his coach and trying his best.
But those things are not quite enough to make him eagerly lace up his cleats.

Owen actually loves soccer practice.
And is one of the best dribblers on the teams.
And he loves kicking the ball around the living room and in the front yard.
But games days are hell.
Instead of being a proud momma on the sideline snapping pictures
I am usually trying not to cry.
Because Owen has realized that he isn’t really good at it.
That the other kids are bigger and faster and score more goals.

And today his team won. And they haven’t won many games.
And they cheered and lined up eagerly for patches and snacks and high-fives.
But we will still drove home with a heaviness in our chest.
Even Owen crunching on his ring pop wasn’t really up for celebrating.
He kept asking to try a different sport.
One that maybe he’d be better at.

And I am more than happy to let him try something new.
But I think it is important that we finish out the season..
(and today was this was the first game….it could be a really long spring!)
And I’m not so sure that trying something new will solve the problem.

And I’m ok that my son isn’t the star.
I’m ok if he wants to play t-ball instead of soccer or the piano or ice dancing.
(ok maybe not ice dancing)
But I’m not ok with seeing him heartbroken.
Because this 4 year old has just realized that trying your best isn’t always enough.
That someone has to be the worst.
And that is a lesson that I was really hoping he wouldn’t learn for a good long while.

So in the meantime
I will keep buying lots of ring pops and cheering and smiling and hoping he learns a bigger lesson between now and the end of the season.
That there is always someone out there who will be better at it.
Cuter, smarter, richer, faster, stronger.
But not for a second should we let them steal our joy.
(or the ball).

The Friday Playlist --The I'm embarrassed to have this on my Ipod edition

Sure, there are plenty of embarrassing musical phases I have been through….like the Spice Girls or Hanson or Air Supply or Public Enemy (and for the record, I still like Air Supply)…….but these are songs that are currently on my ipod.

Party in the USA – Miley Cyrus. Yep. I paid 99cents for this and love to run to it. Tess surprisingly hates this song. Her daddy is so proud.

Redneck Girl – Bellamy Brothers. Ok, I am so city girl with my lattes and sushi and like to pretend to like hip indie folky artists……..but this song makes me want to hop in the back of my brothers truck head into the country and catch some fish, pick some dewberrys or shoot at empty cans.

Ice Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice. Even Owen is starting to learn the words. As far as I am concerned, this song is a classic.

Material Girl – Madonna. Ok there is NOTHING embarrassing about Madonna. But if you happened to pull up next to me at a red light while I sang and DANCED along to this one……..well that could get embarrassing.

Fireflies – Owl City. This song should teach me to wait a good week before buying a song that gets popular radio play. If I hear this song on the radio one more time, I just might vomit.

Everything is Boinga – Backyardagins. Yes I have small children. And to my defense, this one is sung by Alica Keys.

My Humps – Black Eyed Peas. Ok, this one should have never been purchased in the first place…much less….kept in the rotation.

Party Like a Rock Star - -Kids Bop. Not sure which one is more embarrassing – this song or that it is the Kids Bop version.

I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas – Gretchen Wilson. No comment.

Fast Car – Tracy Chapman. Ok, this is not an embarrassing choice. I still love the song……….but what is embarrassing is that I used to think that Tracy Chapman and Lenny Kravitz were the same person. I also got Boy George and Cindy Lauber confused ( but that one is a little tricky!).

So time to fess up, what embarrassing tracks do you still listen too?

writers block and better blogging

Lately I have been trying to kick this blog up a notch

And yes, I know, I should probably start with a real layout rather than the generic blogger one…or that I should move to wordpress…or buy my own domain…or add more pictures…or ask more questions….or talk about controversial things…or comment more…

But I thought maybe I should just start writing better.

And more frequently.

And worry about those other things later.

But here is the catch.

Lately I haven’t had much to say.

I’ve been cleaning up old posts that never got published.

I’ve been reading an old journal (thank goodness I didn’t have a blog back then or I’d be mortified!)

Thinking and pondering and remembering and pulling at straws.

This was almost a post about chili cheese fritos.

Lately I have been indulgent.

Finishing off the fritos.

Spending without thinking.

Speaking without thinking.

Having too much.

Breaking the rules.

Not lenting.

And other things that I won’t bother to post for the world to see.

Or the dozen or so of you that read this blog.

But it has left me feeling bloated and empty

And wordless.

Because I only write good things when I live them.

So I know there are lots of posts and books and seminars on what makes good writing and maybe you don’t want to listen to a girl with a blog denouncing grammar….

But here are my tips for good writing:

(and yes, I am well aware that it sounds suspiciously like Donald Miller’s last book)

  1. Seek out people’s stories. Especially people who are not like you. And really listen. Because eventually you will run out of stories of your own and might end up writing about fritos.
  2. Try new stuff. It makes for good material even if you suck at it ( don’t believe me, read my Zumba post.)
  3. Do hard stuff or things that you are afraid of. Like giving away half or going to a writing conference.
  4. Be present. Notice your kids or your friends or your students or your co-workers or the flowers. Soak it all in. Roll around in it. And remember it later. Every single adjective.
  5. Read good stuff. Nothing inspires me to write better than reading good writing.
  6. Write anyways. Even if it is about fritos.

And please notice that everything except the last line wasn’t so much about writing but about living.

So I am going to try and put down the fritos. Ignore my TiVo. Start over.

In other words, I am going to live better.

And maybe the writing will follow suit.

ahead of the game

I can hardly believe this….but next year Owen goes to kindergarten.
As the current school year creeps by, I suddenly realize how close the next one
(and the next 18) are getting.
As a teacher myself, I wanted to make sure that I was preparing him…I mean a kid should know a few things before you send him off in the world.
So below is my list of things that maybe he should accomplish before the big day:

1. Be able to read – uhmmm not quite, although he has started to figure out some of the words I spell, like “Shaun should we go to the z-o-o?” and Owen, “I want to go to the zoo, I want to go to the zoo!) Or “Where is the last c-o-o-k-i-e?”, and Owen “in my tummy”. Really maybe we should wait to teach reading and spelling skills until like 4th grade or something.
2. Ability to tie his shoe –negative. Even I still get confused with the hole bunny in the whole story. I am a fan of Velcro. Hopefully Velcro and white slip on grandpa keds will make a come back.
3. Ability to tell time –also a no. We use time increments of Blues Clues episodes and commercial breaks. Not so much the big hand and little hand.
4. 100% potty trained. Of course. Although he does occasionally drop trou in the middle of the front yard ( we live on a street with lots of boys). I wonder how this plays at recess. Can a 5 year old be sent home for indecent exposure?
5. Can count to 20 – yep, as long as you don’t mind skipping #14 or if twelveteen is an actual number.
6. Sing songs/recite poetry. We so have this down. Well, as long as elementary school music class include classics like “we will rock you”, “brass monkey” and the well known poem “Beans Beans the Magical Fruit”.


There is lots of discussion to be had on the voice of God. What He supposedly sounds like and how do we know when it is actually Him talking.
I guess it is different for everyone, but for me it is usually a quiet assurance. Something placed in my head that doesn't seem like it came from the rest of me. Some advice or direction that is going to feel suprisingly good when I act on it.
Sometimes it is so random and out of place I know it is God.

The other day I had one of those moments. We were riding in the car and my thoughts were drifting. I caught a little bit of bitterness in my thoughts about a friend. I swear God decided now would be a good time to speak up.

"Forgive her."

This totally threw me off. I had already.

Without going into much back story, but still filling you in on enough for this to make sense.....let's back track a bit. Once I had this friend and we had a bit of a falling out or apart. I was left with really hurt feelings. This isn't the first or last friend that I have "broken up" with or drifted away but for some reason it hurt more than most. We both contributed to our mess and we never quite managed to patch things up the way they were. And it wasn't for lack of trying. She was slightly wiser and understood that things were to never be the way they were. I kept trying to make them. Even now, years later...sometimes I still do.

I forgave her outloud, silently and all kinds of ways for the initial hurts. We still stay in touch, sort of. We aren't close and don't call each other weekly and chat for hours. But there are occasional emails or texts and we occasionally remember birthdays. Which to be honest is as much as I have going with some of my old friends that I am on good terms with. But every once in a while a hurt will sneak in. And hang out and eat at me for awhile.

So on Hwy 161 when God says forgive her, I am at a bit of a loss. We covered that already God. Years ago. Did you forget?
No child. Forgive her for now. For not conforming to your expectations.
You see I forgave the initial hurts but never quite adjusted what I was hoping for. Even when the terms were good I managed to feel a bit rejected with every contact. I needed to forgive the current. And it wasn't even anything she was doing. I was.

Just because we forgive someone for something they did does not mean it will make it any better. It might. I just forgave a time frame or situation. Not the actual culprit. My own heart. My own hopes and expectations and desires that weren't being met and weren't going to be met here.

So I did as God said. I felt a bit silly becuase I wasn't even really sure if I meant it, or if it was something I needed to do, or if I was just making up nonsense again.

It was silent and only took seconds but suddenly I felt lighter.
It didn't really "fix" anything. And there was no booming voice or soothing reassurance, but sometimes God talks like that.
In quiet relief.
On Highway 161.


Just yesterday I was on the phone with a friend who was upset about something.
I played the role of good friend and listened.
And then something terrible happened and I opened my mouth.
And kept talking until I think we both felt terrible.

I meant the advice I gave my friend.
But it wasn’t very timely.
What she needed right then was someone to listen and sympathize and make plans to go drown it in coffee later.
Instead I tried to provide answers that were a little harsh.
Even worse.
They advice I gave is rarely advice I follow in my own life.

So I hung up and felt pretty unsettled.
You see I like to defend my friends.
I like to “be on their team”
Even if we disagree.
Because I hope they would do the same in the many scenarios where I don’t deserve it.
Being against them makes me uncomfortable.
I’m not saying it isn’t important to speak up or that you have to agree or that you shouldn’t offer sound advice when it is asked for.
Sometimes important things are hard to hear.
BUT in this particular case
No one asked.

And so about an hour later I called back and apologized.
Not completely for what I said.
But how and when I said it.
Which was equally awkward to the conversation we had earlier.
Maybe even more so
BUT in this particular case
The words weren’t so much hard to hear as they were hard to say.
And I think maybe the most important ones are.