It’s that time of year again . . .

February.

Just about Lent.

The time of year when I seem to dust off my blog and try to write stuff.

It’s kind of funny, I think.  Because it’s not like I plan these things.  And yet, when I look back over the years this blog has been in semi-existence, I notice that I tend to make renewed commitments to blog more come February.

Last year, however, I did not.

I haven’t looked back thoroughly enough to see if last year was the only year I didn’t make an attempt to write and blog in February, but as I scan quickly through my memory files (you know, the ones in my brain), I conclude that it’s possible.  How very telling–of what, I’m not quite sure yet–that last year would be marked by an absence of my mid-winter ponderings.  Perhaps because last year was one of the worst ever. Maybe worst isn’t the right adjective.  Maybe stretching/growing/owie/darkest/most oppressive/most soul sucking . . . yeah.  Worst might actually be just the right adjective.

So, that was last year, this is this! And here I am: back at the keyboard, doing my clickety-clack thang.

My last post is from nearly two years ago.  And I’ve moved three times since then.  More if you count the number of times we moved ourselves and all of our stuff in and out of a condo-like, hotel-ish lodge place during the late summer/early fall of 2013.

We’re resettled now.  In a different town, in our beloved home state, with a different vocations for each of us.  As we settle into our new life, I feel hopeful that this is where we’ll stay settled and content for a good long while.  And yet, I’m scared to death even to think such a think even for one instant!

We’ve been beaten down, stretched, wrung out, pulled, pushed, dragged, shoved, beaten some more, lifted up, and spun around.  We stand just inside the threshold of a whole new edifice, both literally literally and literally figuratively.

I want to say we stand here full of hope, overflowing with hope and confidence in our new beginning.  I want to say with certainty that we are in just the right place, at just the right time.  I want to say that we know something. anything.

But I can’t.  Because beaten down, stretched, wrong out, pulled, pushed, dragged, shoved, beaten, lifted, spun.

Because tired.

But this tired feels different from a tired we’ve experienced in the recent past.  This tired doesn’t feel like the one that results from submission to the oppressive and relentless burden of a taskmaster. This does not feel like the tired of surrender, or of defeat.

No, this bone-weary tired feels like the exhaustion that overcomes and overwhelms on the far side of the finish line. In the collapse after the marathon. Now, you know I’m no runner (even if someone were chasing me, I envision myself turning and trying to have rational conversation with my pursuer), but I would imagine that there’s a space in time, after the race has been run, but before victory has been appreciated (whether that victory come from winning the race, or, simply from meeting the goal), when one simply collapses, knowing it’s now an option.  A moment when the tension that kept the legs pumping, the feet hitting the dirt, releases, giving way to a trembling weakness.  A moment when, with a dizzying rush, the brain goes blank, no longer seeking out the finish line, but not yet assessing the outcome, simply standing still for that moment.

I imagine this time after a race.  And maybe it doesn’t exist in real races.  But it exists now, here, in my life.  We have passed a finish line for a race that seems to have started four years ago. My legs lips tremble, salty liquid escapes my brow eyes.  I’m not exactly sure where I am or where I need to go next.  Have I won the race? Have I lost?My mind can’t even go there yet.  All I know is that I’ve finished. Something. And for now, for this moment, I can stop. Every cell of my being is consumed by the gift of knowing I can stop. And for right now, for this moment, that’s all that matters.

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Our house, our home.

It’s taken me one day shy of a month to continue my saga.  You might want to go back and read the last post, because I’m going to pick up where I left off:

I wanted to quit.  I wanted to pack up my kids and our stuff and my books and head back home to the safety of our house.

Next up:  the apocalypse continues . . .

I finished that post in such a clever way, setting things up perfectly for this next installment in  Apocalypse Now.

January was dark.  I really did want to quit.  I doubted everything.  But then the semester started.  And my very first class on that very first day of my fresh start was with my very favorite professor in all the world.  I walked out the door into the cold January air at eight o’clock in the morning on January 22nd.  My fall semester had been the most challenging of all of our semesters in this fine institution.  It was very heavy on the Church History.  When I arrived for this degree program, I really was all fired up to study American Church History.  I had left behind my former academic passions and was ready to pursue this new one.  But as the semester progressed and I found myself in history classes and required, given the discipline, to bite my tongue on my judgmentalism strong opinions, I realized I’m no Church historian.  My passion for missional theology was reignited.  So when I headed off for that first day of class in January, it was to reengage my passion with the professor who had ignited it in the first place: missional theology.  

The first week of class held such promise for me!  Professor Awesome’s words washed over me, feeding my spirit-hungry self, reminding me what it is all about.  All of it.  All of life.  All of our lives:  participation in God’s mission to the world!  Once again, I was looking at Ph.D. programs.  This time, in missiology.  The future was bright.

And then.

Then.

then.

On January 30th, 8 short days into this semester, I received a phone call at 7:15 AM.  No one is dead, I’ll just take that fear right off the table.  But some thing died that day.  And it has taken me two full months to stop hemorrhaging from my heart.

Our house.  Our home.  The home we loved and wanted to hang on to forever.  The home we daydreamed about.  The home we planned to honor and do up right when funds were available.  Our home  had been irreparably broken.

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When we got to the bottom of things, we learned that our furnace had failed, turning off the heat.  This led to water pipes freezing and bursting and gushing water for over a day through from the second floor to the first floor, where it drained down through our basement.  7,700 gallons of water.

Our kitchen that we had renovated five years ago as part of operation “honor and do right by this house” took the brunt of the blow as it was below the affected pipes.

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Insurance will cover most of everything, though we’re still working through all of that.  I’m grateful for that.

But.  The people that the insurance company sent in to “prevent further damage” ripped up our hardwood floors.  Likely unnecessarily.  Certainly in a manner that raised all sorts of questions for us.

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Our house.  Our home.  My first home, really, despite the fact that I’d lived six other places in my life.  This one was home. We knew we had entered a phase of moving about here and there, but our plan was to keep the house where it was, renting it out, so that we could some day return to it.

I can’t really put into words how deeply this blow has impacted me.  I think that’s why it’s taken me a month to sit down to write this post.  I couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t face it.  I couldn’t think through it.  My floors that have eighty-eight years of footprints and memories embedded in them are gone.  And this house will never be the same.

People have tried to point me toward the positive.  And I appreciate their efforts, I really do.  But our house was like the sixth member of our immediate family.  It’s not about its value, it’s not about being fancy.  It was our home.

I’ve spent the last two months reeling from this blow.  I think I’m finally coming out of it, coming to a place of peace about it.  But how I have arrived in this place is part of the larger story of these past two months that includes other blows, other challenges.  It’s been a time of despair, of confusion, of more darkness.  And through all of this, I’ve been trying to work on this degree.  Dragging myself through classes, trying so hard to make it happen.  That, too, is a story for another day.

For those who are keeping score, the apocalyptic signs have now included natural disaster in the form of a hurricane and now tragedy in the form of flood.  Hold on to your seats, there are more to come . . .

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Ruth’s face, 2012 edition

When last we saw our fair heroine, she was bent in half from the blow to her gut leveled by Hurricane Sandy . . .

After dragging myself through November, I finally gathered the wherewithal to make it through my finals and my final papers.   I was in sight of the finish line.  It was the night before a sit-down final exam and due date for an 8-page paper for the same class (who does that to people??!!) when I received another blow.  And this one was bloody.

At 8 o’clock at night, after a lovely dinner out with dear, dear friends (celebrating the birthday of my curmudgeonly friend), Ruthie fell up the concrete steps to our third floor apartment.  When I turned to look at her, her face was dripping blood.  Dripping.  From inside her mouth and from the spot on her face where 2.5 years earlier a dog’s tooth had gone through to the inside of her mouth, a spot that had been repaired by a plastic surgeon.  I panicked.

Did she need to go to the emergency room?  Did this tear open an old wound?  WHY oh WHY?! does my poor baby have to keep suffering injuries to her face???!!

And her poor siblings!  Isaac especially, I think, continues to have some post traumatic stress from her other facial injuries: the awful dog bite when she was three and the run-in with the post when she was 17 months old.  But God bless him.  He was a trouper.  His initial response was panic and “RUN AWAY!!” but he held it together for the sake of his sister and stood firm.  Hannah, too, held it together.  Heeded my instruction to try to remain quiet and calm, to refrain from asking me too many questions as I tried to gather my own wits about me.

Have I mentioned how the Go-To Guy for all things bloody (or vomitous, or bodily-fluid-y in general) in our household is, indeed a Guy?  The Man, to be exact?  I rely more than I should on his training and experience in first aid he received as a 7-year veteran lifeguard.  Also, I do little to fight against my general response of Flight to all things stressful.  I’m the one who holds and comforts, who tends to the care of the bystanders (i.e., the siblings) and who grabs supplies like paper towels, towels, ice, and bandages on demand.  I’m like the administrative assistant in emergencies.  My husband is the calm in the storm, the level-headed, the stare-death-in-the-eye-and-declare-it-not-really-death-just-a-boo-boo Go-To Guy.

And yet, here I was.  With my youngest poor baby bleeding and scared because she’s been down this road before and it weren’t pretty.  And my oldest poor baby trying to be ever-so calm and cool and collected while his uber-empathy was trying to take him over.  And my middle poor baby who would have loved nothing more than to take charge and fix things, if only she had the answers to all her myriad questions!  And, me.  Pretending to be calm.  Pretending to know what the hell I was doing.  Pretending to be in charge and in control, reassuring everyone of things about which I had no assurance.

Finally, I concluded an emergency room was in order, but I didn’t even know where an emergency room was!  So, I left my three babies in my apartment while I went knocking on the doors of neighbors.  It only took two doors to get the information I needed (oh! how I love living in an apartment complex full of people whose vocations revolve around helping people!).  When I returned to our apartment, I found a beautiful sight.  Isaac and Hannah were in front of and along side of a sitting Ruth, rubbing her back, touching her leg, assuring her it would be OK.  They had brought out to her the big bucket of stuffed animals so she could pick out the one she wanted for comfort.  (Ruthie’s one of those stuff-animal-obsessed kids.)

My two olders.  They had set aside their own fears and anxieties enough to be present with their injured sister.  My eyes are welling up with tears now as I remember it.  I know they were scared.  I know Isaac was having flashbacks to the dog bite.  And yet, there they were:  surrounding her with their love and care.

So, off we went, just Ruthie and me.  Thankfully, Ruthie’s very lovely, wonderful, I-love-her-so-much babysitter was able to come and stay with Isaac and Hannah while I took Ruthie to the emergency room.  No stitches necessary, though as I look at the scar that remains, I still wonder if we made the right decision there.  There was so much of a scrape, I think it was hard to see what all was going on.  Her tooth had, indeed, gone right through her skin to the other side.  Her lips had begun to swell.  She was an awful mess.  But not nearly so bad as the last two facial injuries, so . . . well . . . yeah.  My poor baby.

Finally, at 10:30 PM, we returned from the hospital.  I tucked my baby into bed and went back to the table to finish up my paper that was due the next day and to try to study for the exam that was covering church and state relations from around the 8th through the 15th centuries.  No prob, bob.  ::sigh::

I skidded into the end of my semester, handing in work I can’t even read again (neither my writing nor the graders’ comments), getting grades I hadn’t seen since 10th grade, and feeling overall completely defeated, out of my league, and like a dingbat for ever considering coming back to school in the first place.  January found me in near fetal position and sucking down the entire Friday Night Lights series in the course of three weeks between semesters.

I wanted to quit.  I wanted to pack up my kids and our stuff and my books and head back home to the safety of our house.

Next up:  the apocalypse continues . . .

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A hurricane is coming!! a hurricane is coming!!

That’s what all the news reports said back in October, anyway.  But that’s what they always say:  DEATH AND DESTRUCTION ARE ON THE HORIZON!!! BATTEN DOWN THE HATCHES!! (I don’t really know what that phrase means, but I love how it sounds.)  BUY ALL THE BREAD!!!  BUY ALL THE MILK!!!  BUY ALL THE WATER!!!

So, generally I don’t listen to all that.  Because they say it all. the. time.  Seriously.  Have these weather forecasters and news “reporters” never read “The Boy Who Cried Wolf?”  They really should.  There’s a lesson in that for them.  I’ve lived all but 18 months of my life in the land of Nor’easters and hurricanes riding up the coast just close enough to maaayyyyybeeee, posssssibly cause a problem.  And, admittedly, every once in a while they do, indeed, cause a problem.  But for weeks at a time, I hear about how This one.  This one is going to cause real damage.  And the newscasters are super stoked! to report the potential for complete and utter destruction and devastation.  What is wrong with these people?  If they’re right, it’s a tragedy about to unfold.  Tragedy! people.  To real, bona fide lives.  If they’re wrong, they’re scaring the pants off of people for entertainment.  bad.  Just bad either way.

So, October.  It’s October and I’m all buried in school work, dreaming and scheming of PhDing in the not-so-distant future.  Learning all about 1800 years of church history all at once, to various degrees of depth.  I’m not watching TV, I’m not really plugging in to the outside world much.  But then I see things showing up on my friends’ Facebook feeds about some storm on the way.  So I check out the links and I listen to the weather people tell me yet again that “If this air moves this way, and this air moves that way, and these three things come together allllll at the same time, then maybe, just maybe there might be COMPLETE AND UTTER DESTRUCTION AND DEVASTATION!!!  wooo-hoooooo!!!!”  and I roll my eyes and go back to the Middle Ages where people did up destruction and devastation with abandon.

As time moves forward, though, people don’t stop talking about this storm.  People talk and talk about how all those variables are coming together.  And I think, “Hunh.  Maybe we’re actually going to get some sort of storm this week.”  And so I drag myself out to the store to buy some water.  You know.  Just in case.

Well.  Turns out if you wait until the day before the storm’s supposed to hit, buying water is no longer an option.  Go figure.  And canned goods are slim pickin’s.  And forget about bread.  So, you feel like a doofus for participating in the frenzy and you feel like a neglectful mom for not actually acquiring the life-saving essentials that all the other good mothers have acquired.

The storm hits.  Her name is Sandy.  Perhaps you’ve heard of her?  and I live smack in the middle of New Jersey.  Perhaps you’ve heard of it?

Now, thankfully, I do live in the middle of Jersey, and not at The Shore.  So, we had insane winds and not a whole heck of a lot of rain.  So, no flooding.  But our power went out.  For a week.

While that sounds like no big deal, for this widow-light mom to three, attending grad school full-time, it really was quite devastating.  Quite destructive.  Because, really, to that point I was just hanging on by my finger tips.  Of all 13 semesters of seminary my husband and I had experienced to that point, that one was the most labor-intensive, demanding, challenging, difficult, overwhelmingly-holy-bananas-are-you-trying-to-kill-me-with-work??!! semesters ever of all time. ever.  (and, it retains that title, as this semester is far easier than last.)  So, this little storm named Sandy showed up when I had just kind of caught up after reading week, but still had a very tight schedule laid out for finishing all of my requirements for the semester.  And she took away my power.  And she kept my kids out of school for a week.  Which meant I had to actually be a mom to my kids for a week instead of handing them off the state for their care and feeding.

I did what any wise woman living in an apartment with no electricity to fuel her stove would do:  I ran away.  I gathered up my children and I headed for the hills.  Literally.  Higher ground, further from the storm’s devastation.  I spent the next week with family, trying desperately (but failing miserably) to keep to my tight school work schedule, trying to keep my kids feeling safe and content while we were living somewhere other than our already temporary home in New Jersey.

Sandy sucked out an entire week of my life, of my school schedule.  And really, with that, she pretty much sucked out my PhD dreams.  I  know it doesn’t seem like a week without power should have that much of an effect, but it did.  I never regained that week, I never could pull together the rest of the work I needed to do to finish the semester up to my standards.  Even up to my lowered standards.  And the entire event left me feeling like I had been kicked in the gut.  Really?  The year my husband is far, far away and I’m trying to do grad school as a single mom is the year that the Worst Storm of All Time has to hit the state in which I am temporarily residing?  Really??!!

yeah.  just a kick in the gut.

more to come . . .

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widow and orphans. not really. part two.

It has been interesting in these last two years, while Ry has been wearing The Uniform full-time, to hear what people think about military folk, both the soldiers and their families.  The word that sticks out to me most is “hero.”  And I’ve heard it applied both to the one in uniform and the supportive spouse.  But here’s the thing:  I am not a hero.  My husband is not a hero.  We are 100% human.  Just as human as you are.  And just as needy for our spouses as you are.  You know how in love with and in desperate need of your spouse’s presence you are?  Yeah.  me too.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m not whining here.  I just have a strong desire to stop the “hero” narrative.  Because I think it pushes soldiers into this supra-human category–this echelon above reality, where all the magical creatures live, like the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy and Spiderman.  And my husband ain’t no Tooth Fairy.  Well, actually he is the Tooth Fairy, but that just means that he’s more willing to stub his toes in the dark messy kids’ bedroom than I am and I hardly think that qualifies him as on the same par as Spiderman.

My point is, I think by calling soldiers and airmen and corpsmen (and those guys who float on and under the water) heroes, rather than demonstrating your great reverence for what they’re doing, you are actually diminishing their sacrifices by attributing their willingness and capacity to do what it takes to some sort of Super Power, or other-than-human characteristic.  What I hear is “You have something I don’t that makes it possible for you to do this.”  Embedded in that, whether you know it or not, is the implication that it’s easier for my husband and me to do this thing because we’ve been gifted with some . . . well, something, that makes it easier for us to do this than it would be for you.  So in some weird, backdoor way, it lessens the weight and cost of our sacrifice.

Now, I realize that people who use these words are trying to say the exact opposite.  I do.  You’re struggling to put into words your appreciation and your admiration.  And I so appreciate it!  So, please don’t misunderstand.  I’m trying to help you in the struggle and tell you about language that isn’t so helpful.  And, maybe it’s just not helpful for me.  So, maybe I’m just helping you help me.  But maybe I’m also inspiring you to ask the soldiers and soldiers’ families you know how they feel about the “hero” talk.  Ask them if it helps them feel better about what they’re doing.  And if it does, by all means! continue to tell them that.  Because I know that more than anything, you’d like to help and support and express your appreciation for soldiers and for their families.

For me?  What I find most helpful?  Words like this:  “Wow, you must be dying a little bit inside every second your husband is far, far away.  I know that’s how I would feel.”

Actually, I have a real-life demonstration of what has been most helpful.  A very kind woman came to me, looked me straight in the eye, asked me how I was doing, and affirmed that “Yes.  This is so hard.”  And then she proceeded to equate my struggles and challenges with those that she faced when she was widowed.  She didn’t say, “Well, at least your husband is alive.  [Mine is dead.]”  She in no way tried to point my attention to the bright side.  She stood with me.  Eye-to-eye.  And said, “This is like being widowed.  Even if it’s temporary.  He’s gone.  And you’re here trying to do everything on your own.  And you’re trying to hold it all together for your children, be mother and father to them, while your beloved is gone.  It is so very difficult.”  I could have kissed this woman.  If that wouldn’t have totally violated my rules about strict boundaries of my personal space.

And this widow is not an anomaly!  Some of the most helpful and supportive encounters I have are with yet another (relatively young) widow in my life.  She checks in with how I’m doing.  She talks as if we have something in common, as if we speak the same language.  I’m humbled by her, because I am very cognizant that my situation is not exactly the same.  My husband is alive.  And he will be coming back to me.  And I still get to talk to him on the phone and see his face via Facetime.  I am in better shape than either of these women.  And yet, and here’s what’s most important, I think, neither one of them for a second suggests that my situation could be worse.  Neither one of them lifts up before my mind the things about this deployment business for which I should be grateful. Not a single, “Buck up!” or “Suck it up!” Nor, “Look on the bright side!”  No.  They look me in the eye.  They know and respect that I’m suffering here (on my own scale) and they neither minimize nor deny it.  They do not hide from my pain.

And maybe that is the real key.  We humans have a tendency to run the opposite way from pain.  I know I do.  When I can.  Even when we see pain in others, our first reaction is to “RUN AWAAYYYY!! RUN AWAAAYY!!”  And maybe widows have gained the capacity to stare pain and suffering full-on, to stand in the midst of it, to feel and experience the full weight of it.  They know there’s no escaping it; that there is no way around it, only through it.

I know I’m not really a widow.  That’s why I stand humbled by the care of these two bona fide widows.  I am fully aware, and fully grateful that my husband will, indeed return to me in the not-so-distant future.  I’m even aware that on the Grand Scale of Suffering, this really is barely a blip.  (Though I would refer you to this post for my feelings about comparing pain and suffering.)  But I am struggling.  And hurting. And, yeah, suffering through these long days and months.

So, am I a hero, then?  No.  No.  Good grief I barely know what time of day it is and generally forget to eat and I use run-on sentences like someone’s paying me based on how many words I can cram between periods.  I am completely human.  As is my husband.  And I love my husband.  And he loves me.  And our day-to-day lives depend upon teamwork, mutual up-lifting and mutual dragging-along, upon laughter together and the sharing of household tasks like cooking/cleaning/laundrying/grocerying/garbage-taking-out-ing/etc. etc. etc.  Our day-to-day lives depend on these things.  Every day.  So, yeah.  For a year (more or less, give or take) apart?  It feels exactly how you would expect it to feel.  Difficult.  Painful.  Sad.  Lonely. Interminable. And all around pretty darned lousy.

Why do we do it then?  Well, because it’s his job.  It’s the vocation to which God has called him.  It’s the work for which he is most gifted and about which he is the most passionate.  Because he loves soldiers.  And he loves to care for them and to be there for them and to support them and to challenge them and to play football with them (and pretend he’s as young as they are) and to be with them. and for them.  To be walking, talking, breathing grace to them.  Right where they are.  That’s why we do it.

Because once our savior stared pain and suffering full-on in the face and did not turn away from it.  Because living the life to which he’s called us requires us to do the same.  May he take our little efforts and bless them and multiply them to be a witness—for as many who see—to the One who truly sacrificed, who suffered willingly and graciously, for true Life, and Life abundant.

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Widow and orphans. not really.

When last I posted.  yesterday?  the day before?  three days before?  last week?  I have no idea . . .

When last I posted I mentioned something about batten down the hatches, get your life in order, my life’s gone all Apocalyptic on me.  I mentioned several signs of impending doom.  I thought I’d lay them out one by one.  Giving a good glimpse of my whiny life over the last several months.

So.  To begin:  widow and orphans.  So, I used to have a husband who lived with me.  And he was very nice.  He was super incredible (I-think-she’s-just-making-it-all-up-to-make-us-jealous) nice.  He still is.  He’s just not living with me right now.  He’s in a land far, far away.  Sent there by the military powers that be.  Serving about a mega-church’s worth of soldiers as crises arise in their lives.  He’s working hard, working well.  Completely safe, really.  The biggest threat to his life is that he’s an introvert surrounded by people all. the. time.  But it’s his job and he likes it and he’s doing great at it.

That’s the shiny happy talk.  The less shiny?  the less happy?  Holy sister of fruitcake! this is haaaaaaard!  Every. single. day:  it’s hard.  It’s hard in the morning. it’s hard in the noontime.  Insanely hard at suppertime.  If you’ve read my blog before, you might have picked up on the fact that Ry does a. lot. of cooking in these here parts.  Like, a. LOT.  And now he’s gone.  And these children.  These growing children! (the boy is pushing 5’3”, 111 lbs., for those who are keeping score.) These children keep insisting on being fed every single day.  I don’t get it.  And you know what else I don’t get?  Why, after Ryan left, food stopped magically appearing on our table.  I don’t get it.

So on I march, through the year.  Feeding these beautiful little people I live with, trying to finish this degree that seemed like a good idea to start (and likely was and continues to be a good idea), and trying not to think about just how desperately I miss getting to see my best friend every day.  On the bright side:  I dropped a few pounds when I stopped eating all those waffles and pancakes and chocolate cakes and cupcakes and ganache and ebelskiver and fresh bread and biscuits and . . . and . . . and.  However, as the months have dragged on, I may or may not have replaced some of those calories with some liquid beverages I bring out after the kids are in bed.

At the end of the day, I’ve decided I really like my husband, I really like being married to him, and I especially like being married to him while living in the same hemisphere  continent country time-zone house. I like to live in the same house he does.  And not just because of his passion for making magic with flour.  Although, that nearly covers it.

 

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Out of the Ashes

I’m not making any plans.  I’m not making any promises.  No schedules, no goals, no nothing.  I’m only here to say I’m thinking I might like to maybe write a blog post again. Every once in a while.  Maybe.  Or maybe just today.

I just went back and read my posts from last February where I talked about the RyLee Adventure in Colon Cancer.  I discovered there that I had discovered then (I’m a little rusty.  and tired.  bear with me.) that, apparently, there’s this pattern to my crazies.  Seems like lots of stuff gets stirred up in my life during the months of January and February and into March.  God comes in and shakes things up, stirs things up, makes some changes, leads us elsewhere, does something that leaves me feeling “Woah! what just happened there?!!”  Or, maybe that’s just how I see this year’s adventure.  I’m not sure it’s always been so LOUD AND IN MY FACE as it has been this year.

Yes.  Screaming.  God’s screaming in my face, but I don’t know what he’s saying.  Or it feels that way, anyway.  Perhaps it’s simply life that is screaming in my face and God’s there talking to me like always but I just can’t hear him for the screaming.

I don’t even know where to begin.  I did this last February and March.  Wrote about the crazy stuff that happened the previous January-March and how it led up to the stirrings of February through March of 2012.  And here I stand again.  Looking at this crazy pile of life and wondering where to begin to lay it all out.  Last year I did a handy dandy timeline.  I don’t feel so linear this year.

Another pattern I was thinking about the other day?  Lent.  Lent is a category in the menu over there on the right side of your screen.  Every year during Lent I pop on here and talk about my ambivalent relationship with Lent.  It’s often accompanied by some Grand Plan to blog every day.  I’m not even going to whisper such a suggestion this year.

Yet, here I am again. Thinking about Lent and my ambivalence toward it.  And here’s why I’m ambivalent:  I don’t want to observe it because I’d like to eschew all things Liturgical Calendar like a good Old School Presbyterian should (I’m not sure if I mean to say that I’m a bona fide Old School Presbyterian or if I mean to say I’m just kickin’ it ol’ school Presbyterian. either way . . . )  I’d like to eschew Lent.  As a creation of tradition, not Scripture.  Kinda like the church’s version of “Mother’s Day is just a ploy by Hallmark.”  Anyway, I’d like to eschew it (tell me that’s not just the funnest word ever, am I right?), and yet every year it seems I get shoved out into the desert during Lent.  To wander around and contemplate my vocation, and be tempted by Satan to just run far, far from God.  To thirst and hunger and experience a spiritual fast.  This year is no different.  In fact, this year might be the desertestest yet.

I’m in school now, you know.  Nearly a Master of Theology now.  They teach us fancy theological terms like desertestest here.

Where to begin to tell the story . . .

Well.  The past five months have brought me hurricane, ER-worthy injury to the small and vulnerable, pest infestation, flood, and fire.  All while I’ve been–in practice, not reality–a widowed mother to orphaned children.  This year my life decided to go Apocalyptic.  I might spend some time writing about that in these coming days or weeks or months.  Or I might not.

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Filed under blogging, Gospel living, Lent, theologizing