Wednesday, September 22, 2010

sabbath-keeping: a visual liturgy

These are photos from a vacation we took last month. It was a beautiful time of resting, playing, reading, talking, and being together: in other words, sabbath. [Disclaimer: One of our children is slightly more, shall we say, expressive than the other. We love them both, but end up taking more pictures of the younger.]

Call to Worship

The Greeting

Prayer of Invocation

Song of Praise


Assurance of Forgiveness

Passing of the Peace




Silent Prayer

The Lord's Supper

The Benediction

The Sending

Friday, September 17, 2010

they said it

[after getting PJs on tonight]

Dexter: Mommy, I love you. Aaaand... [leans over and gives me a kiss.]

Me: Ohhh sweetie, I love you too!

Dexter: Mommy, if we be together, we don't even need to have any snacks.

Knowing how much this kid loves snacks, this is probably the sweetest thing he could ever say to me!

5 reasons vacuuming is like therapy

1. It creates space to say what you're really thinking and feeling without worrying about who is listening.

2. It offers a time of respite from the noise and chaos of daily life.

3. When you get done you generally feel better about yourself.

4. You can't multi-task: you have to be fully present to the matter at hand.

5. It doesn't make your whole house clean, but it is a good place to start.

Monday, September 13, 2010

big days

We've had some big days around here.

1st Day of Kindergarten

a wee bit excited we were.

3rd birthday

OK this cake picture needs a disclaimer: normally I am the mom who bakes a cake from a mix, slaps some frosting on, writes 'happy birthday' across it and calls it good. When I deviate from this, it is usually disastrous. [Case in point: for Nate's 3rd birthday I tried to bake a 'healthy' apple cake. It weighed approximately 30 pounds and was so dense that parents had to use a fork and knife to cut it into bite-sized pieces for their toddlers. Mortifying.] But this Thomas cupcake train seemed idiot-proof enough for me, so I went for it. And mark the tape, folks - I managed to not screw it up!

1st day of preschool

On the way home I tried to ask Dexter about school.

Me: So how was school?
Dexter: Good.
Me: Did you meet some new friends?
Dexter: I don't want to talk about it.

Um... I'm sorry, I ordered the toddler but you seem to have brought me the teenager by mistake. What in the world will he be saying in the car on the way home from 8th grade?!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

they said it: football season

Last night we started what will probably become a tradition around here: Family Football Night. Here are some bits and pieces of the dialogues it produced...


Nate and Dexter, wanna watch football with me?

Nate: You said we couldn't watch anything else today.

Jon: Well... we can bend the rules for football. [Gets the kids settled in the armchair with him.] Ok Dexter, the man on the left is Kirk Herbstreit...


Boise State was playing Virginia Tech, but as Jon explained the game to the kids it was easier to just call them the blue team and the black team. Which was fine until a Tech blitz...

Jon: Look at all those black players!! Um... I mean... black-jerseyed gentlemen!


Dexter [after seeing the Tech mascot]: Hey! I just saw Red Robin!


Nate: Daddy, when they all get together and crouch down are they telling a secret of what they should do?


Jon: OK, the referee threw a flag because that was an illegal tackle. The guy was already out of bounds, so the tackle wasn't allowed --

Nate [interrupting, in a teenager tone of voice]: Daddy, I already know what illegal means.


Nate: Look Daddy, it's a helmet with a bunco on it!

Jon: Um... you mean a bronco?

Nate: Oh. Yeah, a bronco!


Dexter: Mommy, someday will you watch me in that game? Someone will tackle me I think. I will run to the finish line!

Friday, September 3, 2010

the flip side

How many books, news stories, TV specials, etc feature stories about one individual with vision/endurance/luck/a good idea who made a huge difference in the world? We love these stories right? I just read a great story like that (Three Cups of Tea - excellent, highly recommend it). Good stuff, inspiring, yes yes. It's true, of course - one person can change the world.

For some reason that possibly only intensive therapy will someday uncover, I have a nasty habit of taking something good and true and twisting it in my brain to make it oppressive and harmful. (On second thought, perhaps I can skip therapy as this sounds a lot like Genesis 3 and therefore is probably just a normal part of being human. Hooray, no co-pay! Then again, therapy might be just the ticket to navigating the tricky parts of being human... Hooray, insurance!) Anyway, here's how I've twisted this: if A) some people have managed, by doing just the right thing at the right time, to make incredibly significant and positive changes in horrible situations, then B) I, being an individual, should be able to do the right thing at the right time to make significant positive changes in the difficult situations within my sphere of influence.

The problem is that B simply does not follow A. Just because an individual can theoretically "make all the difference", that does not mean that if I see a problem that I necessarily am the one who must figure out the right thing to do and do it [See also: hero complex]. I've been stressing out about a bunch of different situations over which I have, at most, only a perception of control, and feeling a sense of obligation that it is up to me to fix things, and then a corresponding guilt that I can't seem to do this. But if B doesn't follow from A, then what am I freaking out about?

I find it fascinating that a good, true, and positive message can have a flip side that holds so much power over me. Did anyone ever say, "Haley you better fix this! True, you're only one individual and its a complicated situation involving many people, but remember: one person can make a difference!" Of course not. But I subconsciously believed it anyway, which makes me wonder: what other messages have powerful flip sides?

"You can be anything you want when you grow up."
"He got what he deserved."
"Everything happens for a reason."
"It will all work out in the end."

I'm not saying we shouldn't ever promote these ideas, or that the positive outcomes never outweigh the 'flip side' messages. I'm just noticing that how we spin and interpret these messages can sometimes hold more power over us than the messages themselves. Have you experienced this? What do you think about the messages above and how they could be (mis)interpreted?