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A Year in Faith: Close, but…

February 7, 2016

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On our way to service this morning, I asked the bears if they knew where we were in the church year.

Lady Bug yelled from the back seat, “FLINT!”

Lima Bean pulled her best older sister eye roll. “Not flint. And I know for sure it’s not Ash Wednesday.”

“Are you sure?”

Lady Bug tried again, “LINT! It’s LINT!”

“Well…”

“It’s not lint. That’s in your pocket. Or maybe your belly button.”

“And maybe your ears,” I contributed. “Not flint. Not lint. Listen today andsee if you can figure it out.

One last shout from the back, “LENT!”

Third time’s the charm.

Admin Rights

February 4, 2016

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My workplace is in the middle of a large project. I get to help a little, mostly by sorting out small things that may or may not be big things and getting them to the right people. Sometimes I get a little more responsibility, but right now I am in an in between role.

Tonight I was on deck to help with printers. This is a little amusing because I don’t even have local admin rights to add much to anyone’s computers. Even so, I am good at troubleshooting and am even helpful most of the time.

We had an urgent call from a department working on printing out many reports before one of our applications would be unavailable. “Magic Princess!” The summons came loud and clear across the phone line. “Quick, we need your help!”

I knew this was serious. We were on a tight timeline and any delays could become problematic. “I will go,” I answered quickly, “but I’d like to take Flutterby with me. She has more priveleges than I do.”

Permission was quickly granted and we hurried downstairs.

We were ushered into the locked department and greeted by a harried, but friendly coworker. “We’re here to help,” I announced.

“Great! So the reports are going to spit out here and you’ll need to put each patient in their own packet, staple them, and alphabetize them. When the whole unit is done, they go over on the other table.”

I looked at Flutterby.  She looked at me and smiled just a tiny smile. “I do have stapler rights.”

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An Actual Conversation: The Natural Order of Things

February 2, 2016

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Several Years Ago –
Lima Bean (the eldest): I don’t want to eat this. I don’t like it. It’s gross. (She shoves her plate away.)

Lady Bug (the youngest): Thank you for makin’ dinner, Mama! It’s delicious! (She eats another bite, clearly not enjoying the food, clearly enjoying her sister being in trouble.)

Today –
Lima Bean – Why is the heart fairy leaving us messages?

Lady Bug – Thank you, Mama, for the nice notes!

Birth order is a real thing.

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Affirmation

January 31, 2016

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My smallish bears are both of the female variety. They, and I, are keenly aware of the messages given to them by society, messages that most often center on appearance.  In our house, I work hard to balance those messages with other, more lasting, and maybe even more true, truths.

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This February, I’m doing a tiny project. Just fourteen days of non-appearance affirmations. From tomorrow through St. Valentine’s Day (an incredibly strange celebration in its own right), I’ll add a message to each bear’s door. The mindfulness of focusing on what I admire in them helps balance the sometimes heavy burden of parenting, shifting us back towards the glorious joy that is shepherding little minds towards independence.

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I don’t know if they’ll take much notice. I don’t know if this will be a memory they will carry for years and years. I do know that they need to read and hear these things. They are more than hips and eyelashes and hairstyles. They are whole souls with boundless creativity waiting to be unleashed. And they should hear these ideas at home.

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What message do you want your loved ones to know deep in their bones?

Sunday Sunshine

January 24, 2016

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Today was a good day for collecting joy. I was encouraged in my faith and in my parenting journey by my second church family. It is still amazing to me to have found this place in addition to my regular faith community. Hooray for the music and friendship that brought me here!

The sermon was challenging and funny without being pithy. A call to live apart from vengeance and apart from division. I want to listen again when I’m not distracted by music work.

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This was a split Sunday, with me dividing my time between the organ  (isn’t she beautiful?) and the piano. A bit of back and forth led to an unforeseen moment that nearly caused me to giggle my way off the piano bench.

I played half the postlude leaning precariously to my left, trying my hardest to keep the sun out of my eyes. Just at the end of the last verse to the last hymn I knew it was going to be a problem, but couldn’t shove the piano the right direction in time. I did manage to shove it, oh yes, but only made matters worse.

Better the postlude than the hymn. At least I wasn’t trying to sing any words! I can only imagine what the parishoners thought. They were kind enough not mention my sideways shenanigans.  Maybe they didn’t notice!

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And sunshine! I cannot complain about sunshine especially on these bitterly cold days. The drive back home was full of light.

After church I ran two errands that  involved minor blips threatening to become impossible barriers. I do this. Do you do this? One small thing isn’t in the right spot at the right time and suddenly a simple thing becomes large and unconquerable. 

Not today. I didn’t have the gifts, but ran home to pick them up and made sure they were delivered on time.

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I didn’t have the receipt for the wrong-sized tablecloths I purchased yesterday (how does that even happen?), but I went to the store and they let me exchange them without any trouble at all. Done and done!

I found beautiful things at the second-hand shop. What lovely things will these yarns decorate?

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And do you see that tablecloth?  The Kettle Slayer has been hinting to me that Christmas is over. I’ll get to the little tree and Nativity later. Before Easter.

Another find from today is this cross stitch picture. I’m not sure exactly where this will end up. I have ideas. Maybe the center panel of a quilt?

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My sunshiney day wrapped up with another Fine Cooking success and finally quiet time by the fire. Snacks, writing, knitting, peace.

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Where did you find joy today? Sometimes we have to dig deep to find it. Sometimes we have to stock up for a joyless day ahead. Keep your heart open!

Home Alone

January 23, 2016

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On nights when the smallish bears are away and the Kettle Slayer is working the dinner shift, I get to eat all sorts of wonderful things no one else in my house enjoys.

Tonight’s special – oven fried oysters with a spicy mayonnaise dipping sauce.  I sent a picture to the bears to show them what they were missing.

What do you eat when you’re on your own?

A Year in Faith: Telling the Stories

January 20, 2016

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The smallish bears are catching on to my project. At dinner tonight I asked if they knew what I was going to ask them.

Lady Bug shouted, “How was school? No, wait! What happened in church?”

They remember more than they think they do. At first both bears agreed that they didn’t know because they’d only read enough of the bulletin to learn when Sunday School would start. Singing, yes, but not which hymns.

They told me all about the Sunday School lesson. How Jesus turned the water into wine at the wedding. How he was all “nah mom, I don’t wanna“, but his mom was all “just do what he says.”

I asked why this story was important. Why do we tell it?

Because it’s the most easiest way to show that Jesus loves us because he does nice things for people.

Right…

What happened last week in church?

Again, neither bear thought they remembered. I went back to the beginning. We start with baby Jesus in Bethlehem, what’s next?

Epiphany. The three kings.

And then?

Jesus dies!

There are moments in these conversations when I’m simultaneously glad they’re absorbing something and horrified/amused that they’re not quite getting the big picture.  A year or so ago, Lady Bug drew pictures of Zues on the cross because he was the god she was most interested in at the time. This was even more amusing as Pablo is the head of the Christian Education committee. We’re doing great with these bears!

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No crucifixion yet.  Let’s think back. Birth, Epiphany,…

Baptism! Oh, I remember that because we did a silent play and so and so was Jesus and someone else was that other guy (pause) John, and I was God. I got to hold a paper dove.

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What did God say in the story?

This guy is my son and he’s awesome.

I’m not sure we’re clear on why we share the stories, but they are sinking in somehow. I’ll take it.

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