It forces me to face the things in my life that rub my hope raw.
Nearly a decade and a half of supervising care for parents served as a distraction, and reason, for never quite getting to the things in the pile named “undone”.
Now the excuses (real and imagined) are gone. Facing that heap fills me with dread.
“If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of mine; and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32
I know this, intellectually. My life is peppered with seasons when I have done the work of continuing in His word–instinctively.
But that day is not today.
My Bible is open. My current study right here. There are sticky notes and highlighter pens of various colors, yet there is nothing that compels me to connect one to the other. I know myself well enough to know this won’t last forever. The grief numbs for now, but it won’t numb forever.
I miss my parents.
I miss having my Mom to watch my daughter for a few hours or overnight; one who loved to buy a ridiculous number of Christmas presents for everyone. It turns out there is no one to fill her shoes.
I miss playing bridge with my Dad, and not having to even think about “the estate” or “the trust” or (heavy sigh) having to talk about it with family.
There is an undeniable movement toward ease in the normal pressure of life, and I am certain it will be appreciated…eventually.
I don’t panic if my phone is forgotten or the battery is dead.
Homeschool can meander because there are no appointments that must be gotten to.
I’d rather be at the appointments–I wasn’t ready for my Dad to pass away yet–but I also recognize the potential of simplicity, and I do trust the Lord’s timing.
Even when I don’t understand it.
I love to sit out front and drink my coffee in the morning.
The blue sky and fresh air seem like good ideas.
And, of course, the green–the green of the grass, that actually isn’t. Grass, that is.
The blade of Fescue to weed ratio isn’t good. I justify myself by remembering that unless you look closely, the green is what is most noticable. Except, without interference, the weeds will survive and thrive and overwhelm the grass. I cannot avoid that reality.
(This is my life. I feel like the weeds are overwhelming the grass of my life.)
I have some bags of grass seed waiting.
I have so many good excuses for not using the seed. I tell myself:
It might not work. If you actually pull the weeds it will look worse. My husband isn’t particularly supportive of doing anything to make it better.
And the other reason, which is actually true, to do the job REALLY well would cost around ten thousand dollars. This is ten thousand dollars that I do not have and would not actually spend on THIS if I did have it.
I am setting all that aside to wrestle with two questions:
Am I ready to let go of the hope that the lawn can be any better than it is RIGHT. THIS. MINUTE.?
Do I believe the bags of grass seed, sitting against the house in the rain and wind and sun, might become unusable if I wait?
No. And, yes.
Today, my grass has been attended to.
I took the first of several steps. Hundred of weeds have been pulled and thousands of seeds spread. Surprisingly, it doesn’t look worse for the wear.
The bags of grass seed were already starting to turn. They had molded into a pile of dirt at the bottom of the bag, with a wall of sod up the side. A large portion of it, however, was still just seed and now it is in the ground. The only option if an improved lawn is my real hope.
I expect it will take four more bags of seed; four more times pulling weeds, raking dirt, and sprinkling wishes. If that is done with any measure of success, once spring arrives I might be able to “weed and seed” my lawn.
When you “weed and seed” grass that is mostly not grass, the results aren’t great.
Grief is hard.
Life is hard.
One of the most difficult, painful, grueling realities is there are lessons in life that can only be learned in the going through of the hard things.
I get to the end of the road almost desperate to go back to the beginning with the knowledge I acquired traveling, but that is not an available option. Letting go of that control is often heartbreaking for me. Being convinced you could make things better for people you love (and for yourself) if you had another chance is agonizing.
I’m not good at it. Opening my hands and leaving the stones of regret at the foot of the cross does. not. come. naturally. But it’s my only hope.
I bow my head, take a deep breath and ask, “How do I use this in obedience to YOU going forward?”
Then I sit back down on the same couch. The one that has welcomed me dozens and dozens of times, with the trusted counselor in his chair. He’ll smile, and nod, in total agreement that going forward is the singular option that is actually available.
When I was in junior high, female administrators could not wear pants. Title IX was enacted after I was born.
The Church, which I love in spite of itself, has not yet figured out how to wholly honor women and the Bible at the same time.
Women are still climbing and battling–living in a world that is overly influenced by looks and shape rather than brains and aptitude.
And yet we are allowing people to redefine what it is to be a woman without a fight. I simply do not understand.
I admit, I had never heard of Dylan Mulvaney before last week. I don’t do TiK Tok. I’m not likely to go down a rabbit-hole investing hours into watching Days of Girlhood documenting his transition to her. It’s not my thing. (Hours watching cooking shows? No problem.)
Last week, there was a huge kerfuffle about Budweiser sending her a beer can with her image on it. They were certainly producing it, and likely plopped it in the mail, during National Women’s Month. In 2015, Vanity Fair named Caitlin Jenner one of their WOMEN OF THE YEAR. In 2022, Lia Thomas won the NCAA Title 1 Women’s Championship in the 500-meter Freestyle, while competitors say her male genitalia was exposed in the ladies’ locker room.
I neeeeeeeeed to take a deep breath, stand tall, and say: People who are born male, then become transgender, are not women.
They can be brilliant and funny; charismatic and talented; they can make you laugh, and you can love their hearts; they can be your favorite people on the face of the planet, but a person born with an XY chromosome and a penis cannot become a woman because they want to.
It has no bearing on their value as human beings, but it has an enormous bearing on the value of being a woman.
I get it. So many out there want to feel like they are being nice. More than anything, they don’t want to be mean.
They want to be compassionate. Empathetic. Honoring. Sincere.
These are all noble and worthy desires, but can those intentions (in these circumstances) withstand the scrutiny of reality?
In a recent Facebook post, Influencer and author Jen Hatmaker said: “Trans kids are not identifying as such to win high school track meets.”
Okay. I’m willing to give you that.
But what she (and those who are on the soap box with her) need[s] to understand is that whether or not that is the reason they chose to be trans, competing in girls’ sports (while having been born male) gives them an undeniable advantage. Girls who have worked for years and years to succeed ARE MISSING OUT on opportunities and victories when they are given to transgender athletes.
That’s all there is to it.
Is that nice to the girls? Kind? Empathetic? Honoring?
At those moments, there is an undeniable choice:
There is EITHER fairness for girls OR opportunities for transgenders. There cannot be both, as it is now.
I realize the suicide rate in the transgender community is high. We should all want to eliminate the suicide risk for the trans community, but we need to find a way to do so that is not at the expense of our daughters.
For almost all of human history, societies have existed, treating men as superior, with women having no voice and no choice on many topics. After decades of battling for change and getting some, we are now willingly handing priority over to transgenders as though it was the only morally acceptable option.
The ones who rail loudest against the patriarchy are often also the ones rallying for transgender rights. Those two positions are sometimes directly in conflict.
Think about it: WHY IS THERE NEVER A TRANSGENDER MALE WINNING ATHLETIC EVENTS, BEATING BIOLOGICAL MALES?Why?
Why are there no transgender males heading up advertising campaigns for men’s products?
Why was the transgender male who killed 6 people at a Nashville Christian School openly and consistently referred to by her birth name and counted among the 2% of mass killers who are women in the media, rather than among his chosen gender?
I’ll give you a minute to just sit with those questions…
A biologically male athlete knows he never needs to be concerned about losing to a transgender male in any athletic endeavor. There’s no malice. There is no hatred or attempt to limit opportunities. There’s only facts: A from-birth male athlete will beat a transgender male athlete with statistical certainty.
Similarly, advertising executives know that men approach personal commerce with practicality: They will not choose a jock strap because someone who was born a woman, but now identifies as a man, wears one.
Men are not handing over sporting honors or influencer opportunities, but women are surrendering them to the movement of “inclusivity”.
As has been the case many times throughout history, men have nothing to lose in this game.
I burst out laughing when the NIKE Ad of Dylan Mulvaney wearing a sports bra came across social media.
I am a top-heavy, middle-aged mother who nursed three children. Gravity is not my friend.
I am entering a stage of life where I might be able to develop a realistic exercise routine. Having watched my parents age, I understand that mobility must be fought for in the later years. I really should go to the gym.
Sports bras are a real-life need for me.
Dylan Mulvaney can offer not one single applicable thing to validate my genuine consumer priorities. When choosing how to advertise, men cannot do everything better than women.
We need to find a way to have rational conversations about this. Cognitive dissonance is tough. People cannot rationally hold two conflicting thoughts as truth at the same time. Whether we acknowledge it or not, one thought will win.
In 2018-2019, William Thomas ranked 514th in 500-yard freestyle. In 2020-2021, Lia Thomas ranked 5th.
As a man, competing in the men’s division, he never stood on the winner’s podium. As a woman, she did. Lia Thomas knows that truth. No matter how many people affirm her journey, she knows the results were significantly different before and after the transition.
From a trophy standpoint, William Thomas was never as effective as Lia. From a reproductive standpoint, Lia Thomas will never be as effective as William.
Lia Thomas, who used to be William, had a physical advantage over women in the pool with her. Lia Thomas, who used to be William, has an irrevocable disadvantage when it comes to giving birth like women her age. She cannot do it.
No matter how badly a transgender person wants change; no matter how uncomfortable they are in their own skin; no matter how many people in the world say differently, they know their newly chosen gender identity comes with enormous areas of shortcomings. Transgender women cannot give birth. Transgender men cannot have spontaneous erections and impregnate a woman with their sperm.
Again, they can be scientists or artists; social workers or attorneys; doctors or actors; they can donate thousands of hours to non profits or build spectacular buildings; they can gather communities together for causes they believe in and change the world for the better; but men cannot give birth. Males transitioning to female cannot get pregnant; a pregnant female claiming to transition to male is a pregnant woman.
On social media, the conversations go south quickly. “I just can’t with all the hate!” One person responded to questioning of drag queen story hours. I am speaking only for myself here, but suspect there are others who agree with me:
I do not hate transgender people. In fact, there are several I love and would (literally) give a kidney to. They are brilliant and tender and talented. They have a complication in life that I do not share, nor do I pretend to genuinely understand. (Spoiler alert: I also have complications in life they do not share, nor could they understand.)
But I do hate the idea of giving kids hormone blockers. I don’t want to give my kids chicken nuggets with hormones in them, much less gender altering hormones.
I hate pretending that chopping off body parts is a solution. Do you know how a penis is created for a transgender male? According to the UVA Medical website:
We can give you male genitalia in two different ways:
Phalloplasty creates a penis and urethra (to stand while urinating). We use tissue from your forearm or thigh. …
Metoidioplasty takes your existing genital tissue and makes it longer, turning it into a defined phallus. This needs only one surgery.
They carve tissue out of one part of the body to create another.
For transgender women, the Johns Hopkins website mentions this:
Vaginoplasty: This surgical procedure is a multistage process during which surgeons may remove the penis (penectomy) and the testes (orchiectomy), if still present, and use tissues from the penis to construct the vagina, the clitoris (clitoroplasty) and the labia (labiaplasty)
There are often radical mastectomies and facial surgeries involved. It is a brutal road.
And what about the implications for a meaningful sex life? “We are going to take a scalpel to your reproductive organs and radically change your hormone levels” is never going to be on a pamphlet for thriving sexuality.
Again, I have never experienced this but intuition tells me it probably has a negative impact. Are people currently telling the truth about post-transition sexual fullfilment?
And MOST IMPORTANTLY is there any reason on earth we believe a 7 year old could be able to make an informed decision about such radically permanent outcomes?
Is it cruel to not allow a child to identify as their “preferred gender”, knowing that they do not have a brain developed enough to actually understand all the implications? Or is it cruel to start giving kids hormones to transition, knowing it means they will have a medical condition that requires ongoing treatment for the rest of their lives?
As far as I am concerned, we are all just a little bit nuts. Every human has some form of some kind of mental illness and should probably get some help. (In my experience, the ones who fight the hardest against this idea are the ones that need counseling 911 the most.) There is no judgment of value or worth to say trans kids need help, not hormones.
God so loved the world…all the world, not just the cookie-cutter, clean edged world…He sent His Son for all the world to have the opportunity to love Him. I absolutely believe that to be true.
However, I also believe the most loving thing we can do is to live in truth–even uncomfortable truth. And in order to get there, we need to have honest, rational conversations. So let me start: To the female executives at Budweiser and Nike, and all the progressive women out there, PLEASE STOP giving away the honor of womanhood and opportunities for women to people who aren’t.
Sometimes, never as often as I intended, but occasionally, I would link up with my online friend, Heather, for her once a month SHARE FOUR SOMETHINGS gathering.
I think about writing much more than I actually write, but my life is simplifying. Excuses might just be fading into the distance behind me. Link-ups serve as a welcome anchor. so when Heather decided to step back and Jennifer decided to step up, I put the thought in the back of my mind to participate.
Today, the final Saturday in March, I remembered…and so I am sitting down at the computer to type things out for just that reason: TO REMEMBER.
I’m grateful to be pondering the four somethings this new-to-me host has chosen: Something LOVED, Something READ, Something LEARNED, and Something FED.
(Actually, it is something ATE, but decades of reading Dr. Suess compels me to rhyme.)
I loved the city of Chattanooga.
I have a friend who lives in the beautiful neighborhood of Lookout Mountain just outside Chattanooga, and I have visited her twice with an old long-time Bible Study friends.
My husband and I were looking into real estate investments for my father and potentially my special needs daughter. For reasons that are boring, we needed to look outside of East Texas and I felt the connections I had in Tennessee would give me a good place to start.
We decided on a Wednesday night to go look, began driving Thursday morning, and pulled in late Thursday night.
We’re not fast.
It’s a delightful city. We saw historic sites, looked through several neighborhoods, and ate scores of delicious food. I can’t wait to go back.
I finished ATLAS SHRUGGED several months ago, but find myself thinking about it often. I will probably re-read it again soon.
I want to live in Galt’s Gulch.
It’s a slog of a book…for a person like me who doesn’t read a whole lot of fiction, it took me longer to read than I anticipated. It is, however, a must-read, ESPECIALLY for the times we live in.
Beth Moore’s memoir, ALL MY KNOTTED UP LIFE, however, is not hard to read. I zipped through it.
She’s a great story teller and has lived a very complicated and colorful life. I often want more of the story than she wants to give, but enjoyed the book anyhow. She gets to be the boss of her own memoir.
I learned that I am still difficult.
This is a surprise to no one who knows me, but I find myself a tad bit disappointed that it is still true.
For multiple reasons, that are kind of dull, I haven’t been to Bible Study in many months. So, when the church we think about going to but never actually go to (having a special needs child who is now too old for children’s church has complicated things for us) was starting a spring study, I signed up.
I love studying the Bible.
But when one of the other ladies asked about a verse, and someone gave their answer, I completely disagreed. And, of course, my brain wouldn’t just leave it at that.
Noooooo. That would be easy.
Instead, my brain created the ESTHER 8:17 Evangelism Strategy in the drive between Bible Study and counseling–my Wednesday routine. Someday, I’m sure, it will be a big hit.
A few weeks ago I hosted a CARE DAY For The CAREGIVERS.
My 85 year old father requires round the clock care. He is in Assisted Living, but also has private caregivers 24 hours a day. It is hard and holy work.
Taking care of them takes care of him, and I have grown fond of them, so I made arrangements at a local spa for a private event.
They began at a ESCAPE ROOM for a team challenge, then joined me at the spa. They got vitamin IV infusions, a massage, and a choice of several other spa treatments.
I made signs hoping that 2023 is a year of HEALTH and HAPPINESS. For the HEALTH portion I had homemade veggie juice, fruit kabobs, and a delicious salad. For the HAPPINESS portion I had lobster Mac and cheese, steak, bread, and dessert. I made a citrus cake with blackberry curd filling.
It was all delicious. It was made with so much love for people who make my life and caring for my father work.
It’s a gift to be able to say THANK YOU. It’s a gift to take the time to recognize and remember…so thank you to all4boys for giving me the moment to do so.
The images almost all seem to be taken at night; the stark contrast of the dark sky with an enormous pile of hard-backed books engulfed in flames. Blond-haired, blue-eyed zealots screaming in victory with their swastika bands and Nazi values literally (pun intended) filling the air around them as the books burn in idea-controlling victory.
Yeah. That’s not me.
I am an advocate for tax dollars not purchasing vulgar or sexually explicit materials.
And rational conversation. I am an advocate to try to bring rational conversations back.
Last year I submitted a Book Reconsideration Form to my local public library for the book Blue Is the Warmest Color by Jul Maroh. I thought my premise was obvious: Cartoon depictions of graphic sex acts should be considered pornography.
Simple. Clear. In my opinion, reasonable.
I submitted my request (with attached photocopies of the actual book), and my request was denied.
Now, I am not an expert on pornography or sexually explicit material. It is not a piercing part of my story, nor has it ever been a struggle for me. (Or, to my knowledge, for my husband.) But in my limited experience and talk-show-watching-in-the-90’s knowledge, nearly everyone (of the stories I’ve heard) whose life was ripped apart by pornography addiction said the same thing: The first exposure to sexually explicit material was by accident.
They didn’t seek it out. They didn’t go to the corner liquor store and buy it. It was grandpa’s–hidden under the bed; or a cousin took them out back by the big oak tree and said, “Wanna see something?”
And the body responded without permission. From then on, they wanted more.
I would like to try to make less of that available in society. I think sexually explicit graphic novels tucked safely on library shelves are a risk.
Once my original request was denied, I took the next directed step, which was to present the matter to the library board.
Blue is The Warmest Color is a coming-of-age story about a teenage girl discovering she’s a lesbian. The sexual orientation of the story is irrelevant to my plea because in a graphic novel sketch of a teenager writhing in ecstasy as she receives oral sex, the gender of the person performing said act isn’t clear. It’s a back and back of a head.
Coincidence or not, once I submitted the request to make a presentation to library board the librarian chose to move the meeting to a larger public venue and rescheduled it to the first day of PRIDE month.
While I still believe these conversations are better had face to face over coffee, public speaking is in my wheelhouse, so the change of venue and filling the audience with angry people on both sides wasn’t a big deal for me. I was ready to move the conversation forward.
For the first time in my life, I actually put together a slide presentation.
I was clear. I was factual. I provided an alternative–simply ask the publisher to produce a version of the story without the nudity and illustrations of sex. Rap artists often have less explicit lyric versions of their somgs available for public consumption, asking library books to do the same is a viable alternative.
Once I was finished and sat back down, the audience was able to comment and it got a bit dicey. The police removed a woman from the audience. Both sides yelled. Some people made great points. Others screamed louder.
If I had to do it again, I would have stood up front as the speakers came up, so that they could talk (or shout) directly to me. Again, we need more conversations and I am not afraid of being yelled at.
One woman found me in the audience, looked at me and said, “I don’t think this is pornography.” So, at a break, I sat down next to her and what she did think was pornography.
“Why? So, you can be right?” She countered.
“No, because I think that is the next logical question to reach understanding,” I answered.
Less than a minute later she said, “I don’t want to talk to you anymore.” Okay. I thought we could find common ground. I was wrong.
For clarity’s purposes, and because it is mostly true, this is often presented as a left vs. right issue. I am solidly on the right. People on the “right” are called book banners because they have mounted together and started calling for what they/we believe to be indecent material to be removed from tax-payed for public and school libraries.
The left opposes that.
One of the most often used arguments from citizens on the left is: Why don’t you just do your job as parents and you decide what books your kids can read?
I’m a parent. My kids read…a lot. I honestly never could have read everything they read before they read it unless I only allowed them to read books I’ve read over the course of my life. Back in the day, it wasn’t uncommon to spend $150 in books at the Christian bookstore, and have my kids read every book we bought by the end of the weekend.
Both of my older kids read the 900 page Harry Potter book in two days.
I could do that, too, if I did nothing else which is the difference between being a kiddo and being an adult.
I did parent. In fact, I was one of “those” parents. My kids were always the last in their peer groups to get cell phones. We never had cable TV in the house. We had a timer on our internet that turned off at 11 every night.
But we also carved out areas where they could have freedom and autonomy; the ability to discover and think for themselves in places where their safety could be reasonably assumed.
I think the library should be such a place.
And I said so and was denied. The really fascinating thing to me was that after my brilliant presentation (okay…maybe not brilliant, but clearly effort-filled) not one of the nay-voting library board members, nor the librarian, nor the sour faced city attorney (all women) approached me.
None of them.
Never before in any of my public service or public debate moments has this happened. There has ALWAYS–every single time–been someone with a different vantage point come afterwards and say, “Thanks for sharing.”
That is no longer the world we live in.
But I still think that the battle against sexually explicit or vulgar literature freely available to kids is worth fighting.
So I submitted another BOOK RECONSIDERATION REQUEST for the book ALL BOYS AREN’T BLUE by George M. Johnson. I included these quotes directly from the book:
“He reached his hand down and pulled out my dick. He quickly went to giving me head.” Page 268: “I remember the condom was blue and flavored like cotton candy. I put some lube on and got him up to his knees, and I began to slide into him from behind. I tried not to force it because I imagined it might be painful; I didn’t want this moment to be painful.”
“There is a fear, as with most things you are doing for the first time. But this was my ass, and I was struggling to imagine someone inside me. And he was…large.”
That’s not what I want my kids grabbing out of the young adult section of the library. That’s actually not what I want my tax dollars paying for.
Make no mistake, I am also the Bible Study teacher who railed against 50 Shades of Grey. I posited then, loudly and clearly, that Christian women were likely the #1 demographic for getting the book on Kindle because they wanted to read it, but they didn’t want anyone to see them reading it. I thought Christian women should not do that, told them so, and watched many squirm in their seats.
I’m a delight.
ANYHOW…the argument that the librarian uses to defend the denials is that the books are in line with the American Library Association.
I think it is a legitimate to ask: Do you believe the public library should strive to be politically neutral and morally decent?
If you voted for Biden, would you want someone who attended the Trump Rally in Washington DC on January 6, 2021, to be the head of the ALA?
The reality is that the American Library Association is an overwhelmingly left-leaning organization. You can go here to see where they make their political donations. The current head of the ALA is Emily Drabinski. She is a contributing writer at Truthout. This is a quote from her:
I just cannot believe that a Marxist lesbian who believes that collective power is possible to build and can be wielded for a better world is the president-elect of @ALALibrary. I am so excited for what we will do together. Solidarity!
Whether or not you agree with anything or everything, do you believe that is neutrality?
For a person like me, who moved out of California and to East Texas on purpose, the local librarian using the ALA as a defense is neither neutral, nor an honest reflection of the local demographic.
These topics often lead to in-person and online discussions that are HEATED. While I agree with the goals of people on the right, I find myself going toe to toe with them over approach as often as I go at it with people on the left over decency.
Both sides are too vague for me. The shouting matches often lack specific information that might be helpful. Let me fill in some gaps with MY OPINION. I can not read the future through a crystal ball, but I can articulate my fears and explain why I am scared.
I am afraid the next level on the downward slide is to normalize sexual activity between adults and children. Here are some indications I see:
The attempt to change the term “pedophile” to “minor attracted person”
The use of cartoons (graphic novels) to illustrate graphic sex
The increased use of the term “age of consent” and the number of places where that “age” is getting younger
To be transparent about my concerns, I believe there is a current in the stream of the transgender movement whose real goal is the legalization of sex between adults and kids. It is a lateral move to go from “An 8 year old should be able to choose their sex” (gender) to “An 8 year old should be able to choose sex” (have intercourse).
In 15 years, if that ^^^ has not happened, I will weep tears of joy as I happily admit I was wrong.
The book that solidified that fear and breaks my heart more than any other; the one that kept me up at night praying for the kid I am about to quote; the book that presents an idea without any correction or explanation or shouting from the rooftops “I AM SO SORRY THAT EVER HAPPENED TO YOU” is the book BEYOND MAGENTA.
It is a collection of stories of transitioning/transitioned transgender teenagers. On page 80 it says:
“I was sexually mature. What I mean by sexually mature is that I knew about sex. From six up, I used to kiss other guys in my neighborhood, make out with them, and perform oral sex on them. I liked it. I used to love oral.”
Oh, you precious little six year old…no one knows about that at 6 unless someone has done something terrible to you. You never deserved it. Someone should be in prison. I am so sorry that ever happened to you.
And as tragic as that was for you, those other kids in your neighborhood will now see you as their abuser, because six year olds are not supposed to have those things happen to them by kids or by adults.
I simply cannot understand why we don’t agree on this.
Picture it in your mind: A man is committed to grooming young kids. He’s dressed in a black outfit with a white collar. He takes an 8 year old by the hand, leaves the church and they walk to the local library together. He pulls the book off the shelf and they sit down at the table.
He turns to page 80 and with his finger goes to the part on the page. “I was sexually mature…I [love] oral.”
He puts his hand on the child’s shoulder and says, “Mature at 6? You are 8. They loved it. Do you think maybe you might, too?”
That is why I am a book banner.
We have a mental health crisis in this country. We are never going to be able to address it effectively if we cannot even agree on what is sick.
I plop down on the couch, again. A year’s worth of Wednesdays collected.
There is a phrase familiar to those familiar with 12 Step Recovery: Terminal Uniqueness. It is the idea that always having to be different–more complicated–life is worse for me than you–no one could possibly understand–I am unique–is ultimately a terminal disease because there can be no known solution if no one could possibly get you.
I don’t want to be that person.
So I sit, once a week, and flesh out the things about my life I want to change with someone I choose to trust.
I discovered, early on, that he and I have very similar worldviews, and so I ask him questions about living out my faith under the circumstances that I face.
How do I do this well?
Peopling is hard.
The journey with my own people (family and friends) has been challenging me. I am constantly traveling to the land of Failure; or at least feels like I am heading toward the land of Failure.
I shift my weight a bit on the couch as I explain that doesn’t necessarily scare me. What is more terrifying (most of the time) is the thought of nothing changing.
Who do I want to be?
I miss being active in ministry. Teaching Bible Study and planning projects were sources of great joy and great purpose (and sometimes great conflict) and always great growth.
But I do believe in seasons, and this happens to be a season of mundane service by comparison. Stewarding my mom’s journey to the end, and now my Dad’s, is not fun, but it is where I am called to be.
I am reminded that an audience of One is all I can handle. There is so much disapproval to be handed out; so many “that doesn’t work”s and “you’re doing it wrong”s flung my way that I have to center on the Lord and HIS calling.
Am I being faithful to YOU?
“I am increasingly convinced,” I tell him, sitting comfortably on the couch, “that one cannot be in victim mode AND solution mode at the same time.” He nods in agreement.
And so, I must choose to look at the situations I face, either indulged in the compromised position of victimhood or actively looking for keys to positive change. This does not mean there are not times when I really am a victim, sometimes I am; it simply means that I cannot find solutions if my focus is in the wrong direction.
I am also mostly convinced that people don’t want solutions, especially if they require effort. Which brings me back to the number of times I hear, “That won’t work.”
Do I really want things to get better enough to change what I am doing?
This past summer, I took a road trip with my three kids and the dog, who is sometimes naughty. We traveled 3,775 miles from Texas to Vermont and back.
The dog was a perfect traveler every single mile in the car. State after state, stop after stop, he had no accidents.
He was quiet in almost every hotel room–except the sketchy one we stayed at in Buffalo, New York– and no one could blame him for that. He was just doing his job, and we still wonder what was being vacuumed in the room above us at 3:30 in the morning.
However, what we remember the most about the dog on the trip are the two seconds in which he snapped at my daughter’s boyfriend. Even though we knew he should be muzzled when he meets new people, we didn’t do it. Because of one tiny moment, all his beautiful behavior faded into the background of memory. It was an infinitesimal percentage of naughtiness that stands out most vividly.
I am like my dog. Sometimes, no matter how much good I do, I am judged solely on my weakest moments.
When I remember this, I go play with the dog and tell him I remember the good, too…
Can I accept, with grace, that life simply isn’t fair?
“Assertiveness is the goal,” my counselor explains. He has a teacher’s heart and sometimes illustrates concepts using the whiteboard in his office.
Whiteboard conversations are some of my favorite things–ask anyone who has done Bible Study with me.
“Being passive rarely leads to satisfaction in life; aggressiveness fractures relationships; passive-aggressiveness is insidiously destructive.” Being assertive and making my wants and needs understood with clarity doesn’t mean I get what I want. It means I am approaching my life in the healthiest way possible.
“Results,” he gently reminds me, “are the Lord’s business.”
“I know,” I say smiling, “but sometimes I hate that.”
Will I actually trust YOU with results?
With time, life shifts.
It’s easier to find things going well in my marriage. I keep my cool and almost never lose my temper.
I am learning to have adult relationships with my grown kids, and I know they know I’m on their side.
He reminds me of a principle he has shared before. “Do you mind if I text that to myself?” I ask. “I was thinking about that very thing the other day, but couldn’t remember the specific terminology.”
He smiles and nods.
Am I trying to solve a problem or win a battle?”
I remind myself of this saying each time the air in the room changes, and relational chills begin to encroach. For a once-battle-ready-warrior who is now battle-weary, I want the problems in my life to be solved–not just ignored in the hopes they go away.
In order to do that well, I continue to type out my prayer journal daily often, read the Bible, and plop on the couch once a week. I suspect I will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
It was four months ago today that my mom passed away.
It was an excruciating journey.
One you wouldn’t wish on anyone. Sometimes I can’t believe this is our story.
I am still numb.
I started counseling in the final year of her life, to process the grief and put a system in place to deal with the inevitable loss. I went to restorative yoga and took classes on breathing.
I gathered the tools to put in my toolbox. I suspect at some point the emotion will flow.
There were many good times. Up until the last month, there was always laughter. (Mostly from making fun of my Dad.) My mom had a wicked sense of humor passed on to both me and my son, and we used that tool effectively to lighten the darkness.
Speaking my mom’s language was a high priority. Managing anxiety. Building endurance. Seeking beauty.
“My mom has a poet’s heart,” I would tell every new caregiver who came to the house. “That must be honored.”
I found out after she had died that she had her own column in the college newspaper. I was not surprised she did, just surprised we didn’t know.
I am also not surprised that her words could have been written today–the timeless creature that she was.
I BEGGED her to write her memoirs and will never not be sorry that she never did.
HOW did MY MOM end her life unable to communicate?
I am grateful my faith is deep and I long ago learned to be okay in HIM, facing that which I cannot understand.
“I trust you to tell me,” my mom would say, “when it is over.”
I smile. Nod. Unflinchingly honest, I knew I would honor that request when denial and resources were both exhausted.
“I am so, so sorry, Mom,” I ache as we are talking about Hospice, “but I am out of ideas.”
Hospice was another road in the journey with unknown twists and turns, and none of us knew the distance from that beginning to the ultimate end. All we can ever do is our best, and we did our best trying to live while also dying.
We read to her a lot…me. Caregivers. Audiobooks.
Never as much as you would REALLY like–I share the same struggle with reading to my precious little peanut–but probably more than average.
As the days were coming to an obvious end, I ordered a book I remembered distinctly from my childhood, HAWK, I’M YOUR BROTHER.
I didn’t know it would be the last thing we ever shared…I honestly thought there was more time. The Hospice nurse guessed about a month–our crazy concoctions had fixed a few issues we were battling and there was no longer anything glaring at finality.
In the dynamics of my own marriage, my husband is usually gone for the hard things. Through no fault of his own, it’s just the way it has always gone and for that reason I believed my mom would pass away a few weeks later, while Carl was in California on business.
I was convinced of this, and comfortable with it.
So, when I sat down by her bedside that Saturday afternoon to read, I believed it was only another moment together in a lifetime of moments together.
The hawk is on his shoulder, ‘Fly now, bird. Go on.’ [The book reads.]
The hawk turns. He moves his wings…
Maybe he jumps a hundred times before he seems to catch the wind, before he lifts himself into that summer sky.
At last he soars. His wings shine in the sun and the way he flies is the way Rudy Soto always dreamed he’d fly…
The bird looks down and then he calls a long hawk cry and the sound floats on the wind…”
“I love you, Mom,” I say as I leave. “I know you know how much I love you.”
In hindsight I can see I was speaking her language–of freedom and soaring and permission to go–through a book uniquely part of our childhood.
I miss you, Mom. I don’t actually think you know how much I miss you.
You took her all the way to Dallas?” The Hospice nurse asked incredulously.
I could hear her eyes roll through the phone.
Today is my mom’s 82nd, and final, birthday.
What the judgy (but also incredibly efficient) Hospice nurse doesn’t realize is that I have had a lifetime of conversations, with my mother, about color and art and beauty.
Those are important things, my mom would say, that help to create a life.
And while my mom is clearly dying, she is also still living.
So we loaded up and went to VAN GOGH: THE IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE where we were surrounded by music, light, dimension, and history.
“Look at the wall, Jojo. It’s beautiful,” my son said.
My mom has an unmatched gift for covering walls with random artwork and making it look like they were created to go together. Spending her birthday celebrating art makes so much sense.
When my mom was (mis)diagnosed with ALS in 2017, she wasn’t sure she would make it to her next birthday. “This isn’t it, Jojo,” I told her. “I mean take the medicine, because I am not a doctor, but I am not convinced.”
We traveled tens of thousands of miles, she and I, chasing hope, and have spent ten times that amount trying to find not yet discovered answers.
My Dad funded a research study we knew wouldn’t be fast enough for us.
Brutal diseases beat even the most determined into submission, and Progressive Supranuclear Palsy has done that to us. “I am so, so sorry, Mom, but I am out of ideas,” I tell her. “You have people who love you here on earth, and people who love you in heaven. No matter what, you are loved.”
The book of Job tells us that our days are numbered by the Lord; With each day that passes, my mom’s number eeks closer.
So whether the Hospice nurse understands and approves or not, we will fill her days with beauty.
And the other thing that nurse does not know is this: I am my mother’s daughter. I will do what I damn well please.
I know it’s preposterous to say that I am stunned, but that’s exactly how I feel.
My brilliant, valiant, warrior of a mother went home to heaven on Sunday, September 12th.
I thought we had a few days more.
The resilience my mom has shown over the course of her life is remarkable. The resilience she showed facing death unparalleled.
“You have had such a great life,” I reminded her. “The day after your 40th-anniversary party you told me that if you died then, you had all you could have wanted. That was 17 years ago.
You have done well.”
She has kids who love her, grandkids who think she hung the moon, and great-grandkids that will hear all the stories.
I always say recovery is part of the fabric of my children’s lives because they each attended countless AA meetings with their Jojo. They met the people. They smelled the coffee and cigarettes. They listened to discussions of life, lived one day at a time.
She helped countless people learn a sober way to live.
My mom was an avid shopper. Under the Christmas tree always looked ridiculous once Jojo showed up with her presents.
She loved clothes and shoes.
She was remarkably healthy except for one terrible disease.
She tried nearly every crazy therapy I brought her way to fight a disease with no cure. Except the hyperbaric oxygen chamber–that was a “no”. She was claustrophobic.
She was a reader and a book buyer. There were thousands of books in her home. She was so smart.
She and my Dad traveled the world with retired judges. They traveled the country with their animals in a fifth wheel. They spent weeks in Hawaii in a time share.
She had a wonderful life.
She died peacefully in her sleep.
We made it through a patch several weeks ago when she was in pain and anxious. Once we got over the hump, we got back to all the crazy oils, and lotions, and crock pots full of warm washcloths and my mom died both comfortable and virtually medication-free.
We honored her decades-long journey of sobriety.
We surrounded her with caregivers who loved her.
Every night my son would help her over to see my Dad, and he would kiss her goodnight and tell her he loved her.
While I was in church yesterday, praying for my mom and listening to a sermon about heaven, my mom was getting ready to go…
The last words I said to her the day before were, “I’ll see you tomorrow Jojo. I love you. I know you know how much I love you.”
For whatever reason, we never really talked that much about my mom’s life as a child. There really is so much that we don’t know, but my Uncle David has been kind enough to help fill in the gaps.
Lora Jo Kuether was born on September 1, 1939, in Chillicothe, Ohio. This is one of the first things I did not know. The gentleman at the funeral home asked me, “Chillicothe. How do you spell that?”
“Ummm…I’ll have to get back to you on that.”
My mom always reminded us that September 1, 1939, was also the day that Hitler marched into Poland…so life for everyone on the planet was eventually impacted by the day my mom was born.
Her family then moved to Pelham, New York, where my mom grew up. She had one older sister and two younger brothers. They lived on a dead end street where they played ball into the night using manhole covers as first, second, and third base. Her Dad would holler, “Joey, Butch, Davy NOW!!” When it was time to go in.
When my mom was in junior high and high school she’d roll back the rugs in the living room and host sock hops. She was a cheerleader. She played on the LaCrosse team. She’d walk to church on Sundays with her mom—her Dad was already there because he was a Presbyterian Minister.
What I didn’t know until recently was that HIS dad was also a Presbyterian Minister…a respect worthy line of people who served the Lord.
When my mom was 12, her parents purchased a 21ish acre lot on Livingston Rd in Laconia, New Hampshire. It had a two room cabin, kerosine stove, and a well in the back. There was no running water. My Grandma Rithy named it “Hi Larkin”.
Her Dad bought a tent to put in the back where the kids slept on old army cots. Her brothers slept in the tent for much longer than my mom, who eventually joined her sister Annie and worked as a chamber maid at the Wicwas Lodge, where they got free room and board.
My grandparents made everyone work on that cottage to make it livable. They nailed floors and walls and dug a cesspool and well. That home stayed in the family until after my grandmother passed away and my parents bought it. And the grandkids would tell you the upstairs was not as livable as they professed, with the tilted walkway that you needed to traverse to get to the upstairs bedrooms.
In her final years, my grandmother was forbidden to go upstairs. Safety first.
After being tenderly and generously cared for by my uncle and aunt, my grandmother, too, peacefully passed away in that home, while my mom was on a plane to be by her side. Now she is by her side. I’m sure they are still talking and laughing together.
Hi Larkin burned down years later.
My mom went to Wilson College in Chambersberg, Pennsylvania, where she received her Liberal Arts degree.
After graduating from college she spent a year abroad in the Netherlands. When her parents and brother visited her there, her Dad bought a red Volkswagen that they drove around Europe in.
My mom named the car “Rubin” which meant RED in German.
She lived in the Netherlands with her best friend Kitty, who was originally from California, so when they finished their time abroad they moved to San Francisco, where my mom met my Dad—a law student at Cal State Berkeley.
They married in the spring of 1964, and soon moved to the Central Coast. My dad was first an attorney at Bill Wright’s law firm until he was appointed to the Judicial Court by then Governor, Ronald Reagan.
Meanwhile my parents were growing their family first with their son, Glenn, then daughter April, and third and final me. Three kids under the age of 5.
They were crazy.
Our childhood was full of books. Their home literally had thousands of books in it, and their decor was centered around custom made bookshelves. The Pokey Little Puppy; The Tawny Scrawny Lion; The Bad Children’s Book were all read time after time after time.
She was creative. She wrapped presents in the cartoon section of the newspaper tied up with string. We made God’s Eyes with sticks from the oak trees in the yard and colored yarn. We learned how to paper mache.
She loved laughter.
I remember Saturday mornings when we were supposed to be doing chores and my brother would be laying on the living room floor watching the THREE STOOGES. My mom would let him slide from working because she just loved to listen to the sound of his laughter. His laughing filled her with joy.
She was outspoken. When my sister, who was a gifted athlete, would make a great play in the field, my mom would holler from the stands, “NOW YOU GET DINNER.” I didn’t know that my mom’s love of watching my sister play sports was, in part, because she was a gifted athlete herself.
My athletic skills are more like my father’s.
She volunteered in the classroom and corrected the teacher’s grammar. “ALOT” is not one word, it’s two. “LETS” needs an apostrophe every time.
She was a stickler for proper English. While at the dinner table, if one of us kids asked her to “Please pass down the milk,” she’d put it on the floor.
There. It’s down. We were proud of ourselves for remembering the please.
When we were all teenagers, my mom went back to school and got her teaching credential and master’s degree in English.
She was so smart.
In 1983, after an intervention planned by my father, my mom went to a recovery program at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara to deal with her addiction to alcohol. There she learned the fundamental basics of living ONE DAY AT A TIME…she became an active member of the Alcoholics Anonymous community, known as AA.
My mom, however, really needed a group that was just called “A”. I mean, when the queen of oversharing joins an organization based on anonymity it is problematic.
All three of us kids have memories of saying, “Moooommmm, the person behind you in line at Cornet’s doesn’t care that you are a recovering alcoholic.”
She overshared all the time…I remember after one of my brother’s little league games, at Shakey’s pizza, my mom telling all the other parents exactly who my sister and I had crushes on.
I didn’t know then how much I would simply miss the sound of her voice, even if it was oversharing.
In 1991, my parents moved to Marin County where my father became the special master to the courts for Buck Charitable Trust. My mom plugged in to AA there, volunteered, and worked with the aging population highlighting available community resources.
Long after the desire to drink had stopped, she kept showing up to meetings. “Some one was here when I first came,” she’d say.
But my mom’s real zest for life sort of began with becoming a grandmother. “JOJO” was her name, and grandkids were her fame.
She once gave me a card that said, “Perfect love sometimes doesn’t start until the first grandchild.”
She took them all to AA meetings. She went to dance recitals and ball games and birthday parties. She showed them how to compost. She let them stay at her house when they needed to. She taught them how to make a hospital corner on a bed.
She bought a ridiculous number of Christmas presents.
She and my Dad moved back to the Central Coast.
They traveled in their 5th Wheel, so they could take their animals with them.
They traveled the world with retired judges going to Alaska, and Cuba, and Europe.
Then they’d come home and invite everyone over and bbq ribs and steaks and before every meal they would lift their glasses in gratitude, toasting the blessing of their lives.
Years later my mom would say that was an important ritual because she could feel things starting to go awry, and she wanted to live one day at a time, grateful.
She loved adventure. She asked my brother to take her for a ride on his Harley, and he happily obliged. She and my husband began a tradition where he would take her flying in his plane every year on her birthday.
After we moved to Texas, Carl took it upon himself, each year, to take her to her AA birthday meeting where she’d get her chip and he’d eat cake. Once she lost the ability to speak, Carl would share and tell the community all about her beautiful journey of sobriety.
In a gathering like this, where the statistics are clear that someone here is struggling with some kind of addiction, I know my mom would want you to know that 90 meetings in 90 days can change a life. She would tell you that you, too, can have a beautiful and vibrant and sober life.
She believed that to core of who she was.
She believed that you could trust the process.
That when things get chaotic you should get really still.
That you could take a trip not taking a trip.
That bad things that happen are just AFGO’s.
That the old timers had a lot to offer.
That whether the disease is addiction or Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, living one day at a time is the only rational solution.
But the blessing of recovery inevitably follows the burden of disease. Our own personal and family dysfunctions color the lenses through which we see the world.
One of the things I did not know untilI put together the slide show we are about to see was this: MY MOM WAS BEAUTIFUL.
I spent my entire life not seeing it. I knew she was smart and funny and loyal and fierce, but somehow I didn’t see this. I don’t know how I missed it.
My prayer is that we all leave today just a bit more in tune with the abundant beauty that surrounds us…able to see clearly, as I see in the slide show, that things we perhaps have looked past for a lifetime, are here and waiting to be enjoyed.
Every month my online friend, Heather, hosts a link up where we share SOMETHING LOVED, SOMETHING READ, SOMETHING TREASURED, and SOMETHING AHEAD.
It is a great practice of reflection, and (when I am paying attention) gives me something to write about.
I loved my mom’s memorial service.
It was beautiful, and very appropriate for who she was.
I loved getting to see familiar faces.
While on the plane home from California, I started this:
I am still numb after the loss of my mom, and distracted by trying to help my Dad, but I will be massively shifting to new priorities come January.
Homeschooling with excellence and consistency will be at the top of my list.
My college student daughter spoke at her Jojo’s memorial service.
She was beautiful and eloquent and tender.
I was so proud.
(I do not currently have a photo of this…but will when the photographer send them to me.)
Life without my mom.
Life without trying to help my mom die as comfortably as possible.
These are all things on the horizon.
My world is currently off-kilter, but I know this, too, shall pass.
I look forward to the future. I am grateful my mom is no longer suffering…but I lament the loss of her words and stories.
I BEGGED my mom to write her memoirs, and she never did…so my little family is learning how much we never knew and I am inspired to come back–even if just sharing FOUR SOMETHINGS–to put things down so that my kids will have them, someday, should they want them.
My online friend Heather hosts a monthly link up, helping us to gather our thoughts, remember, and (for me evaluate) something loved, something read, something treasured, and something ahead.
I have participated almost every month in 2021…which is stunning. I find that I am very grateful for the moments of pause it requires…the chance to think about what I want my life to actually be. I am grateful to you, Heather.
May was a full and wonderful month.
I am in a season I refer to as STUPID SELF CARE. I call it that, tongue in cheek, because I am naturally a person that would rather avoid all that “nonsense”. I would prefer to just gut out the hard times and move on.
But that is not how life works. Also, as my kids are engaging in the world as adults, I find I really want them to practice good self care, so I have to act as though it matters. And, as it turns out, it does actually matter.
In that spirit, because this season with my parents is HARD–not just for me but also for the people who care for them day in and day out–I hosted a SPA/SELF CARE DAY for my parents’ caregivers.
I coordinated with the establishment where I do yoga and counseling. We had a custom Restorative Yoga session, then each woman received a one hour massage and 1/2 hour NuCalm session.
I had food and drinks and gifts set up for them to enjoy in between sessions.
Living Well has a lovely pool area where we hung out, soaking in the beauty.
One precious woman told me, “This was the very best day of my life.”
Here’s the thing: I suspected that if I handed out gift certificates many would go unused.
Caregiving is hard and holy work, and the kind of people who do caregiving are often the kind of people who put themselves last. That practice (of putting yourself last) is actually not in my parents’ best interest, I explained.
“I cannot offer you job security,” I confessed. “My parents are old and ill. But I can promise to appreciate you while we are in this together.”
I could offer it to them because I was familiar with the location by practicing self care myself. I lovedthis day. It was a wise thing to do for my parents, because taking care of the people who take care of them makes for much better days for everyone.
May was a good “reading” month. On Audio I finished Mike Rowe’s The Way I Heard It, which I absolutely loved. Ryan and I also finished a couple of Penderwick stories…getting her to appreciate audiobooks as much as I do is a process that is not going as well as I would like.
In addition to these, I also read Matthew McConaughey’s Greenlights, which was very entertaining.
The format for The Dept. of Speculation was wonderful. Was it a novel? Is it her memoir? I am not exactly certain.
That SoundsFun, by Annie F. Downs was okay. It’s a very easy read with some great parts, but I didn’t necessarily leave the book dying to dig in to All Things Annie F., if you know what I mean.
I always love Lysa TerkHeurst, but my by far favorite was Maybe You Should Talk To Someone, by Lori Gottlieb. When she wrote, “Yes, I’m seeking objectivity, but only because I think objectivity will rule in my favor,” on page 38, I was a fan for life.
By the time I reached page 70, I ordered a copy for a dear friend in California, and had it shipped to her. It is incredibly entertaining with great nuggets of wisdom tucked in.
This is an easy one: My mother/daughter trip to Gulf Shores, Alabama.
In my prayer journal I often beg the Lord to help me create a life I love, in the midst of the life I have.
Reagan was at a new school, with a new major (hopping from a writing major to a Biology major/Chemistry minor at a school 5 times the size of her first college is not for the faint of heart), in the middle of a global pandemic, with a huge class load. It was the toughest semester she’d ever had.
Because I am in the aforementioned Stupid Self Care Season, I told her that when one is in the midst of a temporarily stressful time, it is wise to schedule in a break. “Help yourself recover,” I told her.
Sun, sand, and good food are helpful in that quest. I wanted to try someplace we had never been before, so Gulf Shores got the nod. Reagan flew from Vermont to Pensacola, and I drove to pick her up so we could spend a few days together.
We went on a dolphin watching cruise.
She told me she has taken to bird watching and has an app on her phone which helps her identify species and keep count of sightings. So, I handed her my camera, and told her to have fun.
Everywhere we ate had delicious food. We devoured peach French toast and Eggs Benedict; Burgers, fries and milkshakes; delicious steaks and scrumptious seafood. She can get on the thin side when she’s stressed, so I loved feeding her whatever she wanted.
We read books, rested, and talked.
I think she is so beautiful.
I treasured every single minute.
It’s my very favorite. I will keep homeschooling because it is going well, but the afternoons at the pool and FINALLY trekking to the water park are always a delight.
We are visiting a local town for the 4th of July, which we are looking forward to, and I am meeting my BREAKFAST CLUB friends from California in Ft. Lauderdale soon after.
And I look forward to reflecting on my Four Somethings in June, grateful for the opportunity to do so.
My online friend, Heather, hosts a monthly link-up called SHARE FOUR SOMETHINGS: Something Loved, Something Read, Something Treasured, Something Ahead. Bless her and her diligence. She is currently on an extended family road trip visiting National Parks. You can follow her trip on Instagram!
Wow. This should be much easier than it is, and this is why this is such a good discipline.
But as I sit and think, one thing comes to my mind: My kids. In particular, my older kids.
My son moved here to help care for my parents, and I just LOVE having him around.
My daughter is having a TOUGH semester at school, and I have planned a mother/daughter getaway at the beach for a few days when the semester is over to help recover. I can’t wait.
Parenting is haaaaarrrrrrddddd. I have failed ridiculously over and over again. I require an enormous amount of forgiveness and grace on a regular basis. But I sure do love my kids. (98% of my actual in-person life is doting on Ryan, so there’s no harm in leaving her out of this one.)
I finished Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans. I expected to both like it and dislike it much more than I did. Like it because I had REALLY high expectations for her writing style. She is highly regarded within the liberal Christian culture, so I think I expected her to be so moving and eloquent it might make me re-look at my conservative values.
I expected to dislike it because I wondered if it make me question things, or look at my faith differently. (I wondered if I would be defensive.)
MANY of the points she makes I have made to others in my own journey. But the parting of ways comes to this: she seemed to think she believed what the Bible taught incorrectly rather than considering that people lived what the Bible taught incorrectly. It has heightened my resolve to really know what the Bible teaches and how it applies to me. (Which has me on the craziest journey through Proverbs 31…but I digress.)
I am also reading the devotional Seeing Beautiful Again by Lysa Terkeurst, and How To Do The Work by Dr. Nicole LaPera. Summer is coming, so a few novels will be mixed in…
I treasure Tuesdays.
My precious little peanut spends all her time with her mom and dad. We adore her. We treasure her. We protect her.
But it makes for a small world, that is not particularly in her best interest.
It has not always been this way but life circumstances, followed by a pandemic, have created our own, personal dysfunction.
Recently I hired a tutor to come work with Ryan on Tuesdays. I get all the activities prepared, and they spend hours together. At first Ryan wasn’t thrilled, but this last week we added decorating sugar cookies to the list of activities and things are looking up.
Meanwhile, while they are doing homeschool, I go to restorative yoga, then counseling, then lunch, the marriage counseling. It is a day purposely devoted to a better, fuller life and I am grateful.
Actually, there is a LOT to look forward to in large part because of my Tuesdays. There are patterns I am putting an end to, which means that the future looks brighter in several areas.
I am becoming a person with better habits spiritually, financially, and emotionally. I will add better health habits in the future, but for now I will praise the progress where the progress is.
And, of course, I look forward to a few days at the beach with my college student daughter!!
I am resting on Proverbs 31:18: She senses that her gain Is good.