I couldn't just pick one song...there are lots. Back in the day when you used to buy a whole album...these would be good all the way through.
Sleeping at Last
Five Way Friday
I never quite know how to explain it.
And when you put a tattoo on your wrist, people are going to ask.
I have a short version where I just tell them it means “Yahwey” (which most simply put means I am), and if they keep staring at me blankly I explain that it is a Hebrew name for God. Not that I’m trying to call myself or compare myself with God. It is more like a reminder. That usually does the trick and I can continue on my merry little way.
But really that’s not why at all.
When Moses asked God his name, this is how he responded.
God said to Moses, "I am who I am . This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.' " Exodus 3:13-14 NIV
Is is not personal. It is how someone else introduces you.
But am is how you describe yourself.
Obviously God did not feel the need to finish the sentence because He is everything. Everything good at least. And so much more than our little human vocabulary could ever encompass.
I am also a lot of things……although my resume is not as all inclusive as God's but I am…… a lot of things. A mother, a wife, a child, a teacher, a friend, a sister, an aunt…you get the idea. Most of those are easy to say because they don't require any desire. I was born, making me a child. I got married making me a wife. I get paid to be a teacher. Don't get me wrong – they all take skill and work….but these are easy ones to admit and accept.
There are some damaging I ams out there that I have learned to avoid. Ones that for moments I let become my identity. Until I realized that God is so much bigger than that. And that I don’t have to be a mess, or an alcoholic or a failure. That I can just be. They can make up tiny slivers of my story. But they will never be who I am.
There are other I ams that are sort of wishful. Hopeful. Hesitant to come right out and say. Almost a decade ago I read Bird by Bird and decided that I wanted to be a writer. Notice I said I want to be…….not I am . Technically I am typing here. Using complete sentence ( well sometimes). I am writing……..but does that make me a writer? Of course. But that doesn't roll off the tongue or pen so easily because it makes too many assumptions. I don't assume to be good at this. I don't assume that any one will ever pay me for it. I don't want to say I am………and allow confidence in this hope or pleasure. I dabble. I blog. I read. Can I just be an amateur writer?
I don't think the word am goes too well with disclaimers. I run, but I see those skinny people in spandex at the gym or in races and think they are the runners and I well……..I am just barely keeping up. I think I have to be good at it to call myself that.
Thankfully disclaimers don’t apply to the I am a follower of Jesus. If it did I would look around at church and say those women - the ones with ironed shirts and memorized verses and who never say bad words or have too much wine – those are the real Christians. I don't quite have it together….so I must just be pretending or hoping to one day be. Thankfully, it doesn't really work that way.
I am because of what I believe. Not because of what I do or don’t do. But simply because I want to be.
So on that note, I gues am also a runner, a soccer player, a good joke teller, a photographer and maybe just maybe even a writer.
And on my wrist. So that I can see it loud and clear everytime I look down.
I remember and that I am so much.
Roles that I was born into or chose. Things that I do. Things that I hope for. And things that I believe in.
And those ugly labels. I am not that. I am something much bigger.
And mostly I remember that I am loved by the great I AM.
uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the
ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng
is taht frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae.
The rset can be a toatl mses and you can
sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae
we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the
wrod as a wlohe
OK, I know that I am guilty of a typo or two (or five in every post)....but I am not drunk. And if we are friends in real life some of you might think that is just one of my usual text messages.
But it is on purpose and I have a point. Promise. The previous paragraph was a slide from my physics lecture yesterday. And even though I was talking about vision and light and lenses and optical illusions, This particular slide warmed my heart a little and taught me a lot more about perception.
I have never struggled with perfection.
But sometimes I think maybe I should.
That maybe good moms never skip bath time and just let their kid fall asleep on the couch because it is easier.
And good teachers never have typos or lose papers.
And good wives actually know how to run a vacuum cleaner.
And good friends think before they speak.
Instead I take shortcuts and have slip ups and go through the drive through and do completion grades and forget birthdays.
My car and my desk and my house are a mess.
I’m not afraid to go out in public in my pjs and have just never really understood the whole super-mom, super-christian, super anything façade.
Most of the time I am just usually hoping that my fly isn’t down.
But a lot of people do.
And they are pretty convincing at it.
That they have it together.
That they can do it all.
That they know how to use a round brush and apply eyeliner.
And when it comes right down to it.
I let myself believe that they are better than me.
And I let myself feel a little second rate.
Like a dented can or damaged toy in the discount bin.
But maybe their perfect is just an illusion. Like all the rest of the slides I showed my class today.
And maybe all those details matter a whole lot less than we think they do.
And the paragraph above. Almost every single word is misspelled and it still makes sense.
You don’t need perfection to make your point.
Not even close.
You just have to get a few important letters right.
And in real life, as opposed to grammar.
Maybe there is just one thing we have to get right.
Which is love.
And if I can do that well…
Then I can keep my messy car and my messy house and my wrinkled pants.
Because what really matters aren't the letters or the details, but the whole.
And loving with your whole heart is about as perfect as a girl can get.
Even if her fly is down.
Growing up I had a mental file going where I would regularly store away pieces of information for later in life when I would surely need it.
I titled this file
“Ways I won’t be like my mother”
And when I was ten I filed things away like
“I will never make my kids make their bed”
“if my daughter wants to have her whole class over for a sleepover, I will let her. And I’ll even order pizza”
And when I was in junior high I added to it
“I will buy my kid expensive name brand clothes because if she is popular she will be happy”
“13 is not too young for a boyfriend”
And in highschool
“If she wants to pierce her naval why should I stand in the way of personal expression”
“It is way too embarrassing to call my daughters friends and ask if their parents will be home. I will just trust her.”
And in college
“Cs aren’t so bad. At least it is passing.”
“Padre is the perfect location for Spring Break”
And then I got married.
And I still filed away a few thoughts.
“like he can get his own damn beer”
“my husband better not talk to me like that and hopefully he can operate a washing machine”
But a few goods ones slipped in too.
Because my parents, unlike many of my friends are still married.
To each other.
And more often than not they are yelling at each other.
But sometimes I saw them dancing in the living room.
And they were always learning something together. Like golf, and sailing and cooking and country western dancing.
And maybe that would be a good thing to do with my own husband. (minus the country western dancing).
And my mom can cook. (and sew and balance her checkbook and sail a boat and can play the piano and sing on key and do a mean warrior pose and beat me at hula hoop on the wii ).
And so occasionally I would call her to ask her something simple like
What she puts in her spaghetti sauce.
And what book she was reading and if it was any good.
and a new mental file started to form.
“Things my mother knows that I don’t”
And I had to start cleaning out the old file a bit…because maybe a 13 year old doesn’t need 80$ jeans or to be trusted completely.
And then I became a mother.
And I realized that I had an awful lot to learn.
And how glad I am that I have someone to ask
when I want to know how to make a meringue on a pie stick up
or when I need someone to watch my kids because they are sick again and I just can’t miss any more work
or if maybe she wants to go shopping next time she is in town
or how to get rid of diaper rash and when to start potty training
or how to get my cholesterol down
or when my son needs a helmet and I don’t have the 3 grand to pay for it
or if she has any books I could borrow.
Let’s just say that the second file has grown a lot fatter than the first.
(and I realize that this is a little bit early for a typical mother's day post but it is part of a grown up version Mothers day project over at http://highcallingblogs.com/7638/mothers-day-project/. you know using words instead of maccaroni...although I am a little partial to pasta based jewelry).
People always talk about defining moments.
Phone calls or test results or near misses.
But I seem to have many more defining places.
In the hill country off of FM 1340.
Blue Ford rangers.
This weekend I went to a college reunion for a campus ministry that I went to back at Tech. And I was a little apprehensive and nervous because going back always seems a little like moving in the wrong direction.
But sometimes going back pushes you forward.
And I hesitantly walked down the stairs and tried to sort out the newness of the old room.
The same room in which my husband asked me out on our first date.
After about 20 minutes of wandering around seeing people that I forgot that I forgot.
And many more that I fondly remembered.
We all exchanged the usual small talk.
Where we live, what we do, how many kids we have. That pretty much covers it.
But eventually the band began to play.
And we sang a song or two a little stiffly.
And just like the lyrics all came back to me,
Something in my soul started to remember.
That girl a dozen years ago that used to be such a mess….
Sat here in these exact same old metal folding chairs covered in nametags.
And sang. And prayed. And listened. And wrestled (figuratively and literally). And laughed. And danced. And occasionally nursed a hangover or a heartache.
And her heart was shaped more in this room than possibly any other place.
And her heart was beating in my chest.
And she wasn’t all bad.
She was hungry and searching and wanting so desperately to be more like this God that seemed to always show up in the dark basement with stained carpet, watered down KoolAid and day old donuts.
And the music was exactly the same.
And despite the lack of donuts this time around and a room full of people with a lot more extra pounds and gray hairs.
God was still here.
And whispering some of the exact same things He did back then.
And that he wasn’t finished.
And the night lingered on and familiar voices sang and prayed.
And I had to fight tears several times.
But I would have had plenty of company with red puffy faces.
Because apparently a whole lot of hearts were shaped in this room.
And were quickly remembering.
Who they had been.
And who this place had helped them become.
And later the next night in pajamas with a bottle of cheap wine and an expensive wedge of cheese. With wheat thins and Styrofoam cups a few of us talked and ate and drank and remembered.
And the three of us are pretty different.
One has spent most of her time since then doing mission work over seas.
The other has raised her family and invested in inner city community and her neighbors, most of which don’t look so much like her.
And me. A soccer mom with a blog in the suburbs.
But we all struggled with the church as an organization, and poverty, and homelessness, definitive answers and apathy. And we talked books and music and babies and singleness and hope and cheese and justice.
It is was pretty easy to see that despite such very different paths our lives have taken in the last decade or so, that our hearts had been formed in the exact same place.
In a basement on 15th street.
Chasing Pavements- Adele
See the World – Gomez
Wagon Wheel – Old Crow Medicine Show
Travelin Thru –Jason Castro (or Dolly)
On the Road Again – Willie Nelson
Drive - REM
Fast Car – Tracy Chapman
Runnin Down a Dream– Tom Petty
Sweet Home Alabama – Jewel (yes, Jewel)
I’ve Been Everywhere – Johnny Cash
ok, I know it's a tad corny...but I like it :)
I have even dried my hair by hanging my head out a car window before.
And I can totally rock a ponytail. As in everyday for a month.
When it comes to haircuts, styles and products…I am cheap, lazy and not usually afraid to try something new.
First lets address the cheap:
I consider Pantene “fancy shampoo”
Conditioner is about the only “product” I regularly purchase…and I am pretty sure that isn’t really a product anyways. I would love a Chi but can’t make myself spend 100$ on something made to intentionally burn my hair. (but yes I do have a much more moderately priced flat iron that I use most days...well the days it isn't in a ponytail). I also only get a hair cut like 2-3 times a year. This is part cheap. Part lazy.
Which leads me to the lazy. Did you read the part about drying my hair out a car window? Or the one about only getting a cut 2-3 times a year? Also I loathe the round brush. Too much work. Most days I sit on the floor (while reading a book of course) and flip my head over and dry as fast as possible. Also scheduling a haircut eludes me. I don’t want to wait weeks for someone to “fit me in”. I want fabulous new hair right then. And I’ve occasionally gotten it. Just not yesterday. Not even close.
Also I’m not afraid to try something new or a little risky. If I only cut my every 5 months I want it to actually look like I got a haircut. Not some lame half inch trim. So I usually lose inches. I am not afraid of chunky layers or adding bangs or bold(ish) colors. Once in college I let my roommate (who had never cut anyone’s hair before) give me bangs. I let another friend give me highlights (I ended up with 2 inch roots because we didn’t know how to use the foil). I even let one of my students dye it red once. (Her mom wasn’t so thrilled about the stained bath tub though). One summer I used about 4 bottles too much Sun-In and had bright orange hair with the texture of straw. (check the facebook tagged photos...you will know the picture when you see it because orange straw hair is pretty hard to miss).
It’s just hair.
It grows back.
It never really bothered me.
Until this morning.
When I woke up with the worst haircut I may have possibly ever had.
I mean I wasn’t in love with it last night.
It was a little “helmet-y” for me...…but it was ok.
I thought I just needed to do it myself.
More like me.
With out the slightly teased bump in the back.
But the image I saw in the mirror actually scared me.
So I washed and dried and flat ironed.
And it still looked bad.
I broke out a round brush and tried again.
I searched everywhere for clippies or hair pins or anything that could salvage my mop.
And so wished that it would be ok to wear a hat to school.
Or that I had enough hair for a ponytail.
Sadly it wasn’t.
I tried to tell myself that I was just being dramatic.
That my hair wasn’t flat and thin and sticking out in all the wrong places.
That I didn’t look like a girl from Tegan and Sara. (who I happen to love, I just don’t want to look like because what looks cool and hip on twin canadian rockers doesn't quite work for a 30ish soccer mom)
Instead, I hoped that maybe I looked something like the picture of Claire Danes that I gave the hairdresser….with chunky layered shoulder length hair and swoopy bangs.
I suddenly felt like I was in the 8th grade...I wanted to call in sick and crawl back in bed.
Or atleast put a paper bag over my head.
It’s just hair.
It grows back.
But still. A paper bag still sounds like a pretty good idea.
And to be honest I don’t blame the stylist.
She was nice and pretty and told me that I didn’t have too many gray hairs.
Which I'm not quite sure if that was a compliment or an insult.
Isn’t that like telling someone that aren’t really that fat?
So I marched off to school.
A little bit late.
It’s just hair.
It grows back.
It can’t be as bad as I think it is ….the whole way there.
And then I got to school.
And no one laughed or pointed.
But also no one really said anything.
Only a few people mentioned it.
And …. I teach high school. These kids notice if you change your shoelaces or use a new brand of deodorant.
Which means only 1 of 2 things..
One that no one even noticed that I got a haircut…so it must not be that bad.
Or, two, it is so bad they are being nice by not even acknowledging it.
Since I lost about three pounds of hair….it is probably option 2.
So, I’m considering just shaving my head and getting a giant dragon tattoo on my scalp.
Because that would be an improvement.
It’s just hair.
It grows back.
And please, please, let it grow in a hurry.
It is a definitately a funk.
And hanging out with friends and coffee haven’t seemed to shake it.
Today on the way home from a friend’s house Owen says from the backseat. “Mommy, when we get home can you turn on some music and I’ll show you my new dance move”.
And we got home. And I got the mail (bills) and called the husband about our broken AC, fed the dog, checked the messages, looked at my mess of a living room and forgot all about his new moves.
Until he asked again. To which I immediately cranked up the ipod and let the dancing begin.
And suddenly my funk turned into The Funk. A superdelic funk with moves I've never seen before. And then some I had...
I kid you not….my 4 year old son started doing the sprinkler. I almost wet my pants it was so funny.
I broke out the video camera…because I think the day your son tries to teach you the sprinkler (and thinks it is a brand new clever dance move) is worthy of saving forever. Unfortunately I missed this little move on camera. Apparently the red button, not the black one on the side means record.
But if you are in a funk…and need a laugh feel free to watch what I did catch on camera. If this girl can’t properly operate the camera….don’t expect me to be able to edit ( meaning this video is about 2 minutes too long)…or hold the camera without shaking or moving quickly. And you've all seen the inside of my car, so I shouldn't have to warn you about the state of my living room....
And I am starting to wonder what exactly he is learning in that preschool of his. Next time I am in a funk, I hope he learns the bus driver or shopping cart.
Flashback to your 2nd grade Sunday School class.
Remember that verses about the mustard seed?
He replied, "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you. Luke 17:6
He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:20
I have a friend with faith bigger than a mustard seed. She knows way more bible verses than me. Loves with a big giant heart and spent her first year out of college serving overseas.
But right now it doesn’t feel like it.
She is full of doubt and fear and anger and grief. Or at least I would be if I was her.
She has experienced the worst kind of loss and is facing the possibility of losing again.
And to that I want to tell God that it is too much.
To back off.
That they need a break.
If anyone deserves a miracle, it is her.
And she is wondering that if she just needs to have more faith.
To pray more.
To read more.
To go to church every Sunday.
That maybe then she will be healed.
And there are all kinds of verses and people and books claiming that you just have to believe.
more or enough.
The whole name it claim it nonsense.
That she just needs more faith.
That faith will heal her.
And I’m sure is afraid to let her self fully believe that she will be healed.
Because what if she isn’t?
Will her faith survive that devastating result?
But what we need to remember from 2nd grade Sunday school…
Is that isn’t a matter of more faith.
Because all it takes is just a little bit.
A mustard seed worth.
And if you can still believe in God and that he is good and has a plan
After losing a child.
That is humongous mountain sized faith.
Even if it comes with giant sized valleys of doubt and fear and anger.
And me and my mustard seed-ness pray with all my might.
And her and her mountain beg and plead and hope and worry.
And I pray for healing.
And she prays for healing.
And if you have faith. Even just a little.
Because all you really need is a mustard seed worth.
Could you pray too?
And we all pray for a faith that can heal.
Or one big enough to withstand loss.
Because both of these can move mountains.
(image copied from here)
I think occasionally that my kids are allergic to totally normal things.
Like me talking on the phone.
Because they can be just fine and content sitting in the backseat…
Until I try to call a friend,
And then sudden screams burst forth from the back seat.
Owen likes to tell people that he is allergic to chocolate.
Which he is not.
But apparently he doesn’t like it, so he says he is allergic.
Which is just crazy. ( the not-liking chocolate part).
They are also allergic to clean shirts which can only be remedied by staining them before leaving the house.
Owen is allergic to shoes and socks (stripped the second we get in a house …anyone’s house) and Tess has the opposite allergy. She must wear shoes at all times (anybodie's shoes). She throws fits when we take them off for bed.
And they are surely allergic to waiting in any kind of line (more screaming…which occasionally comes in handy when people gladly let us ahead of them at Target).
My music ( Shaun has brain washed them and they only like Flogging Molly, Van Halen and LL Cool J).
And any TV show that I am trying to watch ( more screaming….it took me about 3 days to get through last week’s episode of Parenthood)
And Tess’s newest allergy.
Having her picture taken in all the pretty Texas wildflowers.
Ok, maybe she really is allergic to flowers…or at least I am…but instead of the usual snotty symptoms she screams and cries and gives dirty dirty looks to whoever is behind the camera.
...and thanks to my friend Rhonda who somehow managed to get an almost smile.
She was smart and funny and played soccer and liked good music and was a complete smart ass.
How could I not like her?
I could see a little bit of me in her.
And some of the rocky she was traveling down and not talking about.
Because I’d been down my own paths.
It when you look at someone and see them going where you have already been,
You can’t help but want to go a little ways with them.
And ease the burden a bit.
Neither of us are really sappy like that.
So mostly we just talked about music and soccer….but we would occasionally venture into heavier topics like parents and love and worth.
And now she is a little bit more grown up, but finding herself on a less rocky but narrowing path…
So I took her out for some “career counseling”.
And I ate her chips and sucked on my drink and tried to make her think about her future.
And question where she is and where she wants to be and who she wants to bring with her.
And I kept telling her to leave. (not the table, just the town).
For a little while.
Because it is so hard to figure who you are in the same context you have always been in.
But she has good people with her and she doesn’t want to go anywhere.
And maybe that’s ok too.
Maybe lots of people (or even just one or two) can make that rocky path a little smoother. As long as they are willing to walk forward with you.
And we laughed and ate more chips and she suggested maybe that I should be taking some of my own advice.
Because I have been on this same path for a while.
And it is not a bad one. Hardly rocky at all.
But sometimes I wonder if I could hack it in a different direction.
All I know is that no matter what road I’m on….
My people are coming with me.
“Queen of the Mixed Tape”.
And I loved the title.
Because making a good mixed tape is really an art.
One that I took super seriously in high school and college. Not only did I spend hours choosing the PERFECT combination of songs, but I also spent hours making the best collage cover that seventeen magazine could provide.
I could really elaborate on the fine art of mix tape making….but think I’d just start to sound a lot like the movie High Fidelity so instead I just think I’ll let you put that one on your queue. (because John Cusak says it better than me anyways).
A little over a week ago I got a mix cd in the mail from one of my favorite people ever. And I haven’t been able to take it out of the cd player. (And there hasn’t really been an actual cd in my cd player in ages) If I switch cars it comes with me. Even Kid Kraddick has gotten the boot in the morning.
Partly because the mix master is younger and hipper than me and is making it in New York City so she knows a thing or two about good music and is always ahead of the curve. And partly because it makes me think about her and the kinds of things she thinks about and wonders how she knew that a particular song would speak to me so perfectly.
And since it’s pretty much the only thing I have listened to in the last 10 or so days ( thank you Karly) most of the tunes will be coming from here. It also has me aching to get up in the attic and hunt down some of my old infamous mix tapes so things could go really south in the next few weeks….
1. Hymn #101 – Joe Pug. (great voice and lyrics…reminds me a little of Bill Mallone)
2. Sleep at Night – Molly Venter. ( I could listen to this song 20X in a row and not get tired of it)
3. Breaking Bad Habits – Amy Kuney. (love to sing along with this one.)
4. Fragile Sometimes – Stephanie Smith (see comment on #2)
5. Coffee Time (live) – Ellis. (this song makes me happy…and I am now the newest Ellis fan. She reminds me a little of Ani)
6. The Part Where you Let Go-Hem (greatness)
7. House on Fire – Mellissa Ferrick (crank this one up and scream, I mean sing, along. My son was a little concerned about alerting the fire department though!)
8. Today has Been OK- Emiliana Torrini (my friend Beth sent me this song..and first play through I wasn’t impressed. Second time through…I was smitten)
9. I Want You to Be My Love – Over the Rhine (there was an over the rhine song on the cd, not this one, but it did remind me how much I like them)
10. All These Pretty Lights – Andrew Belle (sounds very Frayish minus too much radio play)
11. All I Can Say – David Crowder (really old stuff….and because I am seeing him tonight !)
12. Nursery Rhyme of Innocence – Natalie Merchant ( because she FINALLY has a new album out)
Happy Listening…now I’m off to the attic for those old tapes. Yes tapes. And next I’ll have to hunt for something to play them in.
(which could be almost any day)
But on this particular day there was a guy sitting at a table near me about a chapter into Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne.
I warned him to be careful reading that book.
He laughed awkwardly.
And I said, no really, be careful.
It’s a tough book to read.
And try and live your life the same way afterwards.
And so is this book.
And it is slightly easier to relate to than a radical from Philidelphia (who I happen to love).
Because she was a little more like me.
Suburban and comfortable.
With an unshakable sense that it is all a bit too much.
Too much and lacking all at the same time.
The book is about Lisa and her teenage daughter’s trip to Swaziland with Children's Hope Chest.
So before I even read this book I was sold.
Tom Davis and his amazing organization. check.
Lisa Samson ( uhm…have you read Quaker Summer….some amazing fiction….if not check it out from the library TODAY!) check. check.
But this book is different. So Quaker Summer made me want to go put colored dots all over my things ( read the book if you want to know what I’m talking about). This book might actually make me do it.
What I love about the book isn’t so much the stories about Africa ( although many of them moved me to tears). It’s more of the stories that got her there.
Because the story usually starts somewhere else.
And makes me hope that mine has already begun.
So take a few moments to check out the book and Lisa’s website.
And consider yourself warned.
Like the guy in the coffee shop.
This book will leave you unsettled in a really good way.
He is a full head shorter than everyone else on his team.
We get hand me down bikes and clothes from my friend’s 3 year old ( we are almost 5).
He still has a pair of 18 month jeans that fit ( mostly we wear 3Ts though).
And the other day when I picked him up from school his whole class was lined up. And he was the shortest. Even compared to the girls.
I worry about this. Mostly about what will happen when he gets to junior high. Or when his little sister surpasses him (and she is well on her way, she must have gotten my dad’s tall genes).
But he doesn’t seem to know yet.
Every few weeks or so he asks me to measure him against the door frame so he can see how much he is growing. The frame is filled with little sharpie marks and ages. More often than not when we stand against the door it is in fact time to make a new mark.
Progress in centimeters.
And just yesterday he told me that he was tall.
I didn’t have the heart to tell him that he wasn’t. And probably never would be.
To just get used to being short.
Lately I have reading this book ( that I’ll talk more about tomorrow) that has left me unsettled. Left me wanting for a bigger life than this small suburban one I am in.
A few months ago I almost went to Haiti.
But for those days where I thought I might be going I was so excied.
This was BIG.
This was scary and uncomfortable and I couldn’t wait.
Because I feel like I have been living this small little life for a very long time and keep waiting for something big to happen.
Don’t get me wrong.
My life is ridiculously good.
But good and BIG aren’t the same thing.
Sometimes they are even mutually exclusive.
And the trip fell through and I went back to feeling small.
Doing small things for my great big God.
And a little let down and disappointed that God still doesn’t have big things in store for me.
That I am still so scared to pursue the big on my own.
But maybe big doesn’t have to be across the globe.
Maybe something pretty big is sitting across from me as I type.
All 39 inches of him.
I'm usually going for transparent and authentic.
But I've been hiding a big ugly secret.
Some of you type A perfect moms who actually like vaccuming might want to look away.
Because I am a slob.
My desk is covered in handouts, things to copy and forms that were due last week.
My bedroom floor is covered with clothes more often than not.
You could sprain an ankle on my living room floor if you don't keep an eye out for legos and hot wheels.
I don't change the sheets every week.
Just for starters.
But what I am most ashamed of is my car.
It is hideous.
The only car I know that is worse than mine is my husbands which has a foul unidentifiable odor.
Really, and there is only a short list of people that I will allow in my car.
And most of them will gladly offer to drive theirs. And I happily play the passenger and take control of the radio.
And this isn't just some cute and funny blog. I mean it.
I am ashamed of my car. I don't want new people to see it because I am afraid they will go running and screaming and make friends with someone who knows how to use the vaccum at the car wash and throw away her trash.
I would like to blame all this car shame on my two small children...but the truth is my car has always been this gross.
I've just gone from Twizzler wrappers and gym clothes to cheerios and sippy cups and empty coffee cups. It seems ok for a teenager to have gum wrappers and soda cans on the floorboard....not so much for a grown up mom with dental insurance and full support panty-hose (ok, who am I kidding...I haven't worn hose in years).
Occasionally I will get disgusted enough and clean it out. We will take a family trip down to the car wash and vacuum my little heart out. My husband even puts the sucky hose on my son's head ( which is also probably gross...but so funny).
And the next day it is completely filthy again. It is a hopeless battle that I always seem to lose.
Today I was exploring new blogs and stumbled across this one: tales from the motherhood and she is having a dirty car competition. And guess what there are other slobs out ther like me. Who are willing to post PICTURES of their mess on the INTERNET for the whole world to see ( and shame). The thought of doing this literally makes my stomach hurt. BUT....there is a rubber chicken up for grabs...so what they heck. Here goes. (and feel free to head over there and vote for me starting on the 16th...again let me stress there is a rubber chicken on the line).
backseat floorboard. You might notice some board books, water bottle, Albertsons monopoly tickets, textbook, and my most favorite: The Space Shuttle Operating Manual. It happens to be my four year old son's favorite book. No, he can't read yet...but I feel confident that he could land a shuttle in a pinch.
console. check out those stains. maybe they are there from people walking on my seats with their dirty feet. And yes that is some Lactaid in my cupholder. You never know when you are going to have to stop for icecream.
And that has always troubled me a bit.
Because I think maybe I have been afraid of being guilty of that.
Worried that maybe I should put this blog thing on hiatus for awhile and see what happens. That I should step away from the lap top and do the dishes or grade some papers or play yet another game of Candy Land.
But this isn’t a breaking up blog post.
With some evalutation, I have come to the opposite conclusion.
I live better when I write about it.
I process nothing internally. It all has to be outloud.
Or in this case. Typed out.
So writing about it. Often gets me to a point that I didn’t know was there before I started typing.
And the rest of the time, I just ramble.
And also the potential for writing about something makes me a little bit braver. It gives me that extra incentive to try something new. To learn someone’s story or to push myself in a way I hadn’t before. It makes me want to do new and hard things. For material. For the lesson. For the experience. Sometimes I worry if this is cheating. A secret motive or an agenda. But mainly it is just an extra push to get me past the fear of something new.
Most of all I want to keep this up for the remembering. I think people who are more artistic than I, look at the world with a different eye. They see characters and photographs and paintings. I am not that good at imagining. But writing about my life has started to re-shape my moments. The good ones and the hard ones and especially the ones with my family that I want to remember. Get soaked in. And remembered. And re-typed later with every adjective. And I’m wondering if I would notice these moments in the same way if I didn’t plan on writing about them later.
I have gotten to a point where I want people to read this blog. I’m still not really sure what I’m doing with it. If I am working on a writing platform or looking for community or plan on one day selling my soul to advertisers. But I do know that no one will read this if I don’t have anything to say. A life of me sitting on the couch watching Ellen and eating chocolate may be enjoyable. For a little while. But is mostly just boring. And so, writing about my life….has often made me get up off my couch and attempt to live something worth reading about.
There are lots of blog posts out there that beg the question, Why do you blog? So I won't do that. But I will ask what I think is even a more important one....
How does writing about your life affect how you are living it?
This afternoon me and my husband ran the Fort Worth Mud Run.
Ok we ran some of it and we walked ……..and we crawled and climbed and waded the 6.2 miles in our boots and long pants.
It was hard.
There were 15 or so obstacles along the course like over-unders, walls to climb, pits to slither through and nets to go under and lots of running.
There were mini Marines ( like 8 year olds) yelling at you to keep running. To jump in or they’d push you. That their grandmother would get a better time than I would.
Occasionally we would stop to catch our breath or to pour mud out of our boots. I needed my husband behind me to give me a good shove over a wall or out of a pit. And I skipped the top plank of the dreaded “Stairway to Heaven”…which is not at all a stairway and more of a giant really tall ladder. (did I mention I am afraid of heights). But mostly we ran, even with our boots full of mud, and We Finished.
Slowly but surely and together.
Wet and dirty and aching.
Today there are blisters and cramps.
Tomorrow there will be unspeakable aches.
Occasionally on the course I wondered why I was doing this.
Why I kept pushing my self to run. Why I was so determined to make it up the nets or over the wall despite my lack of any upper body strength whatsoever.
But mostly I thought it was fun.
I’m not really that fit or a gym rat or an overall fan of pain. But there is something about crossing a finish line. Pushing yourself beyond your limits. Doing something hard and succeeding. Sloshing through the mud and making it to the other side.
I always intend to go with them. And I have a time or two (another post from another time here). But usually I just sleep in or go get coffee with a friend or jet off to a soccer game or birthday party.
But this Saturday. I went.
The group serves homeless people lunch in a park next to a large homeless shelter (the one in Same Kind of Different Than Me…if you’ve read the book) and the park is always full of "residents" as we are supposed to call them.
On the way to church I was feeling warm gooey good from doing something that I know God calls us to do. For doing something that I am passionate about, even though I don’t act on it near as often as I’d like. And I couldn’t wait for the drive home where I’d feel even better about myself.
After cooking and loading up we talked a little safety and had a short devotional.
It was the obvious verse.
The one about the least of these.
"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me." Matthew 25:35-36.
And I continued to feel all warm and good inside for being so obedient.
In my head I was replaying all the talk about serving the poor and being the hands and feet of Christ.
But she kept reading.
"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'" Matthew 25: 37-39.
And it turns out that Christ in this passage wasn’t the do-gooder. He was the one receiving. I think maybe I’ve had it backwards all this time.
And so we headed out and set up. And the park was filled with the least of these.
Old, young, ill, smiling, cursing, talking to themselves, playing basketball, gardening, basking in the sun, dirty, hungry, thirsty and all waiting in my line.
Christ. Each and every one of them.
And they waited for me to pour them a cup of pink lemonade.
Which I did no longer with that good smug better than you feeling in my heart.
Instead I smiled. I looked them in the eye. And I tried to touch their hands as I handed off their cups. Because how often do you get to touch the Christ.
Today I did it at least a hundred times. Probably more.
1. When Your Minds Made Up: Glen Hanssard& and Markete Irglova. This is from the movie Once which is so so good. (as is the song, starting to think this might not be as embarrassing as I was afraid it might be).
NEW RULE: I will skip songs that are my husbands...b/c I really have no commentary for the Wombats or every Flogging Molly song ever written.
2. The Proffesor (Live): Damien Rice. Warning Explicit Lyrics which maybe those of you who haven't seen this fella in concert didn't see coming. He is not sleepy in real life. He rocks out and has a potty mouth. This song even has parts in French. No idea what it is saying....but it is probably bad too.
3. The Rockafeller Skank:Fatboy Slim. Glad you all enjoyed your trip back to 1998. Not a bad work out song...and the Praise You video was genius!
4.Anna Begins: Counting Crows. I love Counting Crows. I want to put some on and drive around in my car right now. Maybe my cranky sick child will even fall asleep if I do.
5.Make You Feel My Love (Live): Adelle. This girl has the most amazing voice ...and I love this song...but can't help but hear Garth Brooks in my head while she sings it.
6.Infinity: Merrick. so pretty.
7. Last Christmas: Jimmy Eat World. Proof that I am not cheating. ok, maybe I should clean off the Christmas songs....but I love this one. If it comes on ...even if August...I usually don't skip through it.
8. We Will Rock You: Queen. ok this is really one of Shaun's songs. and a song that Owen knows almost every word to....and frequently requests.
9. Wild Horse: Sundays. love this cover.
10. Love’s Recovery: Indigo Girls. possibly my most favorite Indigo Girls song of all times....and there are so many to choose from.
11.Save You: Matthew Perryman Jones. Saw this guy once 10 years ago in Lubbock and he was amazingly intense. This is some newer stuff and still good.
12. Never Again: Kelly Clarkson. More proof that I am not cheating. Don't hate on the original American Idol who happens to live almost in my town.
13. Get Him Back: Fiona Apple. Not one of my favorites from her...
14.Where is My Mind: Pixes. Also one of Shaun's but one that I actually like and crank up. Also exactly what I have been wondering for the last few weeks.
15.The Story: Brandi Carlile. Love to sing along with the kind of screamy part of this song...and speaking of Brandi...one of my favorite people on the planet just mailed me a mix cd with her live version of Before it Breaks which is greatness.
16.Free: Gavin DeGraw. Please forgive my One Tree Hill phase. But I still kind of like this song even though it is a little sleepy ( yes even for me)
17. All This Beauty - Weepies. One of my most favoritest duos. ever. (stick with the first album though)
18. Faith My Eyes: Caedmon's Call. A little old school but still great.
19.In the Sun: Micheal Stipe and Chris Martin. Don't know how this song hasn't made a playlist before. Go listen to it right NOW!
20. Lullaby: Dixie Chicks. Such a pretty song. (confession -the real #20 was Girlfriend by Avril Lavigne...but we just couldn't end on that sad note).
....looking for some new theme ideas....taking requests.
That cheetos and gogurt counts as a healthy dinner for my kids.
That my jeans shrunk in the dryer. A lot.
That you can’t really tell that I didn’t shave past my ankles in these pants.
That no one will think less of me when I show up to a kids birthday party with the present wrapped in paper bags and duct tape.
That I can hit snooze one more time and still get to work on time.
That I have the time and money to stop and get coffee on the way to work.
That I will actually grade all those papers I brought home with me.
That no one will notice that I am wearing one St. Patricks day sock and one Easter bunny sock. (so got busted on that one).
That I will be able to take a nap when I get home.
That no one notices that I don’t really edit my blog.
That my sons pants still fit ( at least most 4 year olds don’t know what highwaters are).
That 31 is still young and hip.
That if I put on fancy earrings and mascara no one will notice that I didn't wash my hair.
That nachos with extra jalapenos are a good idea.
That just because my kids are mysteriously quiet that they aren’t coloring on the walls.
That non-washable crayon will actually come off of the wall if I just scrub long enough.
Those jeans. The ones in the back of my closet will one day fit again.
That I will remember that thing I told myself not to forget.
That it is ok to wear white shoes before Easter.
That my daughter needs another cute dress.
That the expiration date on the milk is more of a suggestion than a hard fast rule.
That food doesn’t really get that dirty when dropped on the floor.
That I will eventually find all those lost earrings and socks and should absolutely not throw away it’s missing pair.
That my husband doesn’t mind hanging up all the clothes.
And while we are on the topic of clothes (yes again), that the pair of jeans I just pulled on ( the ones that shrunk in the dryer) are on the floor somewhat near the laundry basket and therefore must be clean.
Ok, so those things are a bit silly. And I know most of them aren’t true. ( well except the one about my jeans shrinking in the dryer). They are just things I tell myself to make myself feel better or make it through the day. They aren’t all positive or at all seated in reality….but most of them are harmless. Maybe you have even told yourself a few.
But there are some bigger lies. Yes, they are lies. That we know really aren’t true. But we sometimes think them. And live like they are. And those are much more devastating.
Like,God is disappointed in me.
God can’t hear me.
I can’t hear God. Or
I need to be good so that God will love me.
Those lies can do some serious damage. And they are things that I don’t say out loud and would never publicly agree with. But sometimes creep their way in.
Because lies and deception are sneaky like that.
And if you haven’t caught on yet, this post is really a book tour for Susanna Foth Aughtmon’s new book My Bangs Look Good & Other Lies I Tell Myself where she faces all those lies and about 20 more head on. So we don’t fall for them. ( as well as sharing her great bang-tastrophe of 2008 which is almost funny enough in itself to merit reading the book). And I found myself laughing and relating and I felt a bit exposed. Which is how you feel when you uncover a big ugly lie and replace it with truth.
Want to know more about the book and the author?
The book is out an available bookstore from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group or you can buy it here . Check out Susanna's blog.
Or you can comment below with one of your own lies and win my copy. I'll pick the winner at random on Wednesday.
Or even double digit comments.
Sometimes you need real live friends.
The kind with skin that you can touch.
So today I did a brave thing.
And I so won’t be posting this today
Or any time soon
Because I’m not that brave.
So I’ll hold on to this post awhile.
Until it is funny.
But this morning I walked downstairs and asked someone to go get coffee with me.
That was my very brave thing.
And here is why.
Because me and the girl aren’t really friends yet.
We have worked together for awhile.
But it is a big building and I could go weeks without seeing her.
And we are facebook friends and occasionally comment to the other.
But I really don’t think that counts.
But she reads my blog.
And likes it.
And because of I can tell we like some of the same things ( like Jen Lancaster and Jesus)…I thought maybe we should try and be real life friends instead of just virtual ones.
Seeing how, we work in the same building and all.
But somehow it was way easier on the playground to make friends.
In elementary school friends were just there.
In the desk next to you or right next door.
In high school there was a little more choice involved…but it was pretty easy to bond over a cute boy that you both liked.
And in college.
Still pretty easy.
Friends filled the dorms and classes.
And somehow I thought that making friends would keep being that easy.
But it has only gotten harder.
I mean I may be a little more secure than I was back in the sixth grade.
But I think we all still worry and wonder if people will like us.
And this isn’t some sad lonely I don’t have any friends post.
I do. I have great ones.
And I could always use a new one.
Because I love learning people’s stories.
Because each friend. Real or virtual adds a little bit to mine.
And this virtual bloggy world is pretty amazing.
I mean sometimes it is even easier.
A stranger who reads my blog could possibly know me better than friends I see all the time.
And sometimes I think I might just be better on paper.
All edited and polished and picked and chosen.
Without interruptions or small talk.
And it is a little easier to go a little deeper on here.
Because I don’t have to look you in the eye or hear you if you laugh at me.
But you can’t go get coffee with me.
Or share fondue.
Or chips and salsa.
Or pretty much anything else that has to do with food and laughing a lot.
So sometimes we need to stop reading or blogging up updating your status.
And occasionally even stop calling the usual girls…..
And walk down the hall…or the street…or across the playground…or pick up the phone.
And ask her to go get some coffee. Or ice cream. Or chickfila.
Or pretty much anything that has to do with food and laughing a lot.
I felt tremendous pressure to be snarky and funny and still somehow a little sentimental like my friend Sarah usually writes.....so go check out her blog ( and read my post!).
1.This picture. If we are facebook friends you have probably seen it. My husband hates it…so I’ll probably delete it soon. But it is too funny not to show.
There are a couple of things I want to point out: Notice the bunny ears and the Star Wars Easter bucket. We were about to hunt eggs and he decided that he needed to go to the bathroom. There was already one little girl in the restroom and Tess would have thrown an all out fit if I took her inside. And why do that anyways if there is a nice flowerbed that can be watered. If this were my house on my cul-de-sac full of boys there would be nothing unusual about this photo. (The give away should be that the flowerbed isn’t full of weeds). But it isn’t my house, it is my friends in a slightly nicer neighborhood on a much higher trafficked street. Also she was not around ( she was hiding the eggs) to ok the “watering”…b/c she so would not have been ok with it. She also wouldn’t have been ok with the fact that he was aiming for that cute little ceramic frog. If you are ever in my neighborhood though….feel free to let your child water my weeds. Grown ups on the other hand must use the back yard...I mean the toilet.
2. Easter baskets….and the Easter bunny. The Easter bunny is kind of creepy. So is Santa if you think about it….but not nearly as much as giant bunny dressed in a hideous outfit. So we have never really done the whole Easter bunny thing. My kids have enough stuff as it is and it seems like we get as much candy at Easter as we do Halloween and they’ve never had the expectation….so I skipped the Easter bunny part. But this year, my son has noticed and begged for one of those giant hideous Easter baskets on display at Walmart. You know the big ones covered with cellophane paper filled with chocolate bunnies and dollar store toys. He wanted one in a bad way…..and I just couldn’t do it. Besides he hates chocolate ( I know, I’m not even sure he is my kid…there must have been some kind of mix up at the hospital or something.) Instead I got my kids a toy (non Easter related) that I know that they would love and placed it in their Easter basket after they went to bed Saturday night. We didn’t talk about the Easter bunny at all but instead I told him that he would get a special Easter gift…and I tried desperately to relate this to the ultimate gift that Jesus gave us. On Saturday night we made those Easter cookies….the kind that you leave overnight in the oven and that tell the Easter story as you go. I was trying desperately to fill their little heads with the meaning of Easter and not so much about bunnies and gifts and little plastic eggs. And I was just starting to think that I had done it until Sunday morning. Owen woke up and was beyond excited to find a remote control R2D2 in his basket….because nothing says Christ is risen like a new StarWars toy. He looked at me in wonderment and asked me if Santa put it there. I told him “No, not Santa” and told him to try and remember our conversation last night. He sat there and thought for a bit and then got all excited….I could literally see his little light bulb go off….and exclaimed that God did it and that he must have done it because of those cookies we made him. The theology and Santa-cookie confusion were way off, but I just said yes Owen. God must know how much you love Star Wars. We will work on the theology a bit more for next year.
3.And for church. Which was packed. There was no Sunday school so the place was crazy full of kids and they did something out of the norm. And something I love and reminds me of my church growing up. A children’s sermon down at the front. As soon as they asked for the kids to come forward…I pushed my shy little guy out and he not only scurried down the row around the other at least 50 kids that had beat him there and attempted to plop right into the childrens director’s lap. Where he proceeded to tell her in great and enthusiastic detail (and the rest of the packed church) about the dragon movie he saw last night. Because again, nothing says Easter ( well except for Star Wars) like watching a cartoon about training a dragon. He then eyed himself on camera ( we have those big projectors) and proceeded to make funny faces at himself for the rest of the sermon. The only thing that I think might have made it worse was if he had decided to “water” the altar or tell everyone that God brought him a Star Wars toy because he left him some cookies. We might just have to change churches.
I could literally feel the acid seeping up my esophagus.
After multiple failed attempts to go back to sleep I finally got up and fumbled around for some antacids before eventually finding slumber.
This isn’t normal.
But I know exactly what it means…
Besides the fact that maybe I should have skipped the spicy wings at the movie last night.
But that it is time to slow down.
And stay in.
And pick up dinner.
To give completion grades.
To maybe skip a party ( we have 4 in an 8 day time frame…plus 3 Easter parties).
To run later.
To hit snooze one more time.
Lately I haven’t been firing on all 4 cylinders.
I’ve been showing up to the wrong places on the wrong days and at the wrong times.
My husband is losing patience with this not-so-there version of me.
And yes. Plugging all the appointments and practices and parties into my iphone might help. I’m not really a planner kind of girl. I’m just used to remembering things. And I’m used to being able to get it all done. To make the soccer game and birthday party and mow the grass all in a single afternoon. And still squeeze in a blog post and a cup of coffee with a friend and maybe even a load of laundry.
But getting it all done is giving me heartburn. And next I’ll be back at the gastrologist.
So from here on out.
I’m going to be content just getting part of it done.
And I give you permission too.
So here’s to a week of rest.
pb&j for dinner.
And throwing out the antacids.
My kids are sick alot. The topic makes frequent blog posts. We have toured the local ERs, we have had staples in the head and glued up a gaping chin. We have had specialists, and PT, and Xrays, many many breathing treatments and even one extended stay. We even spent four long months in a helmet.
But right now seems like an all time low.
Which isn't nearly as scary as it sounds.
We aren't in a hospital.
O seems mostly fine.
An icky cough, a nagging fever
But people die from pneumonia.
And this is the second time this season that he has had it.
The damn internet has me convinced that he has some kind of autoimmune disease or cancer or worse. And my friends drop less than subtle hints that maybe he should be tested.
Other than worried mom mode and about 100$ worth of drugs.
It is a normal night in the Hurst household.
Shaun went to a movie. (ok, that isn't normal, rather a rare treat)
I worked on some lesson plans and made bottles for the next day.
Tess had a crying jag and then entertained herself with her newfound ability to roll over.
O ran around crazy, destroyed the house and then retired to my bed to watch cartoons. (just imagine what kind of damage this kid can do healthy!)
But I have this constant urge to squeeze him. Hug him and hold him and hope that he is ok.
I have this fear in the pit of my stomach.
I want someone to promise me that this will pass.
That it is no big deal. That our turns getting sick this season are over.
But we aren't promised anything. It is all a gift. Every sweet second. I struggle with this. I struggle with the fact that I am not promised a first day of kindergarden or a first date or a high school graduation or a wedding or grandbabies or even tomorrow. Not only do our kids come sans instruction manual but they also come without a warranty.
I want to reassure myself. Tell myself that a good and loving God will make sure he gets better. A good God will protect my son. A good God will keep him safe.
we are not promised safe.
God's good is a much bigger and broader definition than our own.
which is kind of hard to swallow especially when you are talking about my kid.
My sweet and feverish son.
and also when you are talking about His.
(scriptures for what happened on that Friday: Luke 18:2-19:42
and a prologue: O got better, only to come down with a nasty case of shingles on Easter Sunday ...but this year has been so much healthier!)
About 20 minutes earlier than usual ( ridiculous time to go to work I know, but that is a topic for another blog post).
And I pulled into my church parking lot.
An almost empty church parking lot.
I read in my church bulletin last week that they chapel would be open from 6-8 am for anyone who wanted to take communion on this Holy Thursday.
I love the act of communion and have been getting up early every day this week to observe Holy Week. And so I thought that this morning instead of sitting on my couch reading and quiet that maybe I should go to the chapel instead.
But after I pulled in, I immediately thought about turning around and getting a coffee instead.
I was a little uncomfortable about the idea of showing up at church at 6:27 am.
And I didn’t know what to expect.
If this would be weird.
If I was supposed to say anything or do anything special that I didn’t know about.
And I worried about who would be there.
If there would be a lot of people, businessmen off to work, or those really religious types doing some serious prayer or a bunch of old ladies who couldn’t sleep. Or if I even had the right day. I could still just go to Starbucks.
I had to keep telling myself to get over the awkward and just to go in.
And so I walked into the chapel.
Which was totally empty except for a minister in a robe reading in the front pew.
She welcomed me and told me to kneel at the altar.
And she read aloud this passage from Luke 22:7-20.
For just me.
And she offered me the body and the blood.
Shed for me.
And in this moment it was just me.
And the realization of what Christ did for me in particular.
Not a church filled with people.
Or believers all over the wold.
But just me.
Shook me in my soul.
And I lingered at the altar a bit. And the pastor returned to her pew and reading. And I walked out to my car and wept for what Christ did for me.
And you too.
(for more readings on today: John 14-16:33, Matthew 26: 36-46)