Archive for February, 2011

Like The Baby’s school, many kindergarten classes celebrate the 100th Day with special activities centered around the theme 100.  The Baby is my fourth kindergartner.  We’ve worked hard to muster the same enthusiasm for her journey as we did for our first child.  I confess that quest has been uneven as we simply are not, and can not pretend to be, the same parents three kids and seven years later.  However, serendipity intersected her 100 Day countdown with my 100 posts milestone, and I am newly baptized with the novelty of the Benchmark 100.

The Baby’s teacher has planned a week long celebration to commemorate their 100th Day of School.  Mrs. asserts that there is just too much fun to accomplish in one day!  The Baby will skip count, sort, read books, share 100 Day items and write stories to amass in a class 100th Day of School book.

I thought it might be fun to think of some ways broken hallelujah can join the party. BLOGs can celebrate 100 too!

Ways to Mark the 100th Post

Many blogs have more than 100 posts, and are way more clever than this, (See my blog roll) but bh features special activities centered around the 100 theme. Here are some suggestions on how YOU can celebrate too!

Ways to Join the 100th Post bh Celebration
100day2.gif - 1.1 K First thing, pull up your Facebook page and mark this 100th bh post by adding brokenhallelujah.org to your page (if you haven’t yet).
100day2.gif - 1.1 K Next, follow me on Twitter, @jaelBH.  P.S.  It would thrill me if someone _other than The Husband or my BFF_ would send me 100 XOs.
100day2.gif - 1.1 K Read a post you have yet to read, or reread a post you liked and leave a new comment.  Extra credit given to new comments that are also 100 words in length.
100day2.gif - 1.1 K Read the first 100 words of a post backwards.
100day2.gif - 1.1 K Skip-Couting by 10: Enjoy 10 sips of wine, read a melancholy post, and laugh at me.
100day2.gif - 1.1 K See if you can eat 100 Cheetoes before you finish reading the About page.
100day2.gif - 1.1 K Skip counting by 25: Identify 4 bh core ironies.
100day2.gif - 1.1 K In no more than 100 seconds, find three things we packed for our Virginia Beach trip.
100day2.gif - 1.1 K Behavior Count/Skip Count by 10 hybrid: What are the Top 10 most often words used in broken hallelujah?
100day2.gif - 1.1 K Skip Count by 25: See how fast you can find 4 typos.
100day2.gif - 1.1 K Identify your favorite artist’s version of “Broken Hallelujah”.
100day2.gif - 1.1 K Skip Count by 25: Consider 4 things that are possible for your life that are not currently in place.
100day2.gif - 1.1 K Skip Count by 5: List 20 things that you adore about yourself.
100day2.gif - 1.1 K Snuggle your baby(ies) for 100 totally unplugged minutes.
100day2.gif - 1.1 K Skip Count by 10: Sing loudly in the shower for at least 10 minutes.
100day2.gif - 1.1 K Skip Count by 5: Mani/Pedi, baby!  You deserve it.
100day2.gif - 1.1 K Remind yourself 100 times over the next week how much value you bring to relationships.
100day2.gif - 1.1 K Make yourself a playlist of your favorite 100, 25, 20, or 10 songs.  Go for a long walk at your favorite spot and lift your voice in Praise!

Well I heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don’t really care for music, do ya?
Well it goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall and the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

Well Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
she tied you to her kitchen chair
And she broke your throne and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

Well baby I’ve been here before
I’ve seen this room and I’ve walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew ya
I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

Well there was a time when you let me know
What’s really going on below
But now you never show that to me do you?
And remember when I moved in you?
And the holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

Well maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who’d OUT DREW YA
And it’s not a cry that you hear at night
It’s not somebody who’s seen in the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

Three years ago today, Steven John Metsker, 49, passed from this life.  He left behind a wife, Alison, and his two daughters, Sarah-Jane and Emma-Kate.  His love of his family was his North, heart, home and compass.  Though his formidable talents enabled him to write books, master his profession, deliver value to his colleagues and clients, and serve as an eager, able and wise mentor as reflexively as most of us draw breath, his passion in life was to breathe Light into the dreams and talents of his community.  As such, Steve supported Alison’s passion for Maine, travel and cooking, and delighted in camping trips and school excursions with his daughters.  He was an especially present father, and foreshadowed the shifts in relationship that would evolve as his girls moved into their teenage years with relish.  Unlike the wary concern of many parents, Steve, looked forward to figuring it all out with girls.  He opined that he was aware that there would be difficulties ahead, but that he was certain that it would all be resolved because of the strength of their relationships thus far.  He spoke with deep confidence about their relational base, the homes they had carved for each other in their hearts.

Steve loved figuring things out and enjoyed an intellectual base that would have intimidated the rest of us were he not so generous and humble.  Truth be told, he was something of a genius with language.  He worked his swift mojo with computers as well as puzzles, and woe be unto the poor soul on the opposite side of a gaming board.  He’d never make an opponent feel bad about it, but there was no winning a game of words, logic or strategy against Steve.  He respected people too much to simply let them win, and yes, he really was just that brilliant.  He was the kind of man who got up every morning at 5 a.m. to work until his family rose at 7 a.m., so that he could develop his interests, author his books, and study new trends in trade journals, yet would be available for family time. He balanced his excellence and intellectual appetites with service.  He was an ardent supporter of his wife, daughters and co-workers, especially those colleagues fortunate enough to work on his teams.

A signature phrase that Steve shared with such teammates was a single word of encouragement, commonly repeated, that became something of a mantra within his firm, “Persevere.”  With a simple nod, shoulder clasp, or characteristic smile, when Steve said, “Pesevere,” it meant more than be persistent, or refuse to stop.  When Steve said, “Pesevere,” he asserted his complete faith in the person to whom he spoke.  When he said it, it became a talisman, a promise that the solution sought was possible, and that the party working the puzzle had the mind, heart and pencil sharp enough to excavate the solution.  This was Steve’s essence as a husband, father and mentor, it was his passion in life to breathe Light into the dreams and develop the talents of others.  More than a brilliant intellectual, Steve was smart enough to realize there is no higher degree of mastery than to support others as they stretch toward their goals. He steadfastly partnered others in their journeys to pursue the calls upon their lives despite difficulty or obstacles.  Steve modeled value and perseverance.

Steve was my husband’s best friend.  My husband doesn’t love many or often.  His reserved nature is balanced by fierce loyalty.  Once you are in with my husband, you are all the way in.  My husband loves as deeply and well as he does selectively.  Above all else, my husband loved Steve Metsker .  This kinship was further seeded by an absolute respect for who Steve was as a husband, father and professional.  Steve was a daily picture of quality through relationships that my husband honored. Nothing prepared my husband for the gifts of Steve’s friendship or the grief of his death.  He was undone by both in turns.

The last time I saw Steve was in the hospital shortly before he passed.   During the visit, Steve and my husband chatted about work, critiqued movies and discussed audio book titles.  When it was time for us to leave, I challenged Steve to a family game night, qualified by the caveat that we did not have to face him in Trivia.  Among his final words to me were, “I want that.  I want all of that.  I want all of it, the games, the family night, those times.” As we walked to the door and looked back to extend our good nights, Steve waved at us both, nodded, and smiled his perfectly hopeful, completely encouraging, totally loving, perseverent smile.

Steve understood his situation and its potential impact.  Private communications he had evinced this.  He was clear, but chose to remain hopeful.  Steve dwelled in possibilities, a fairer House than Prose to gather Paradise.

Our thoughts have returned to him like magnets over the days, months, and now years since he left us.  He had called us to persevere, and in our own truths, and along our own paths, each of us has attempted to put our feet to that charge and walk it out as a way to continue to love him intentionally and connect with his character.  Over the span of time, I have been struck by how much more intensely spiritual a word persevere is than what I had originally heard as Steve coined it as a legendary, firm pledge.  As I have sat with it and partnered others who grieve Steve, I recognize his mantra is as much an oath of faith as it is a cry to continue onward.  To persevere is to accept the difficulties of a situation as a matter of course.  It demands we grok the darkness of despair, confusion and inertia that precedes epiphany, healing and movement.  It maintains that each of us is perfectly positioned to manage the dynamics in which we find ourselves immersed, because we innately intuit that we are simultaneously Provided with the resources, talents and ingenuity to surmount those challenges and reconcile growth.  To persevere is the pearl of great price.

As C.S. Lewis asserts, “The virtue of courage is a prerequisite for the practice of all other virtues otherwise one is virtuous only when virtue has no cost,” and Steve no more wished to pass when he did than did we.

He did not go gentle into that good night; he did rage, rage against the dying of the light.

That said, Steve died as he lived.

Courageously.

Well.

Aware.

A model of perseverance.

As certain as he was of potential outcomes, I contemplate the poetry of his charge to persevere.

He left us with this single call and the humble model of his excellent life.

I like to believe he knew how much he was loved and needed.

I like to believe he knew how much we would call upon his strength and example as we strove to persevere in the vacuum of his premature demise.

I honor how majestically Alison, Sarah-Jane and Emma-Kate have lifted each other, Faith, Light and Love to persevere.

Grace beyond Mercy, they vaulted their own brokenness to help us Rise.

I honor Steve’s family who celebrates his anniversary with tears and pedicures.

With pedicured and well muscled feet,  they deeply commit to walking out his legacy in their lives together.

We miss you, Steve.

We love you, buddy.

We persevere.

Well there was a time when you let me know
What’s really going on below
But now you never show that to me do you?
And remember when I moved in you?
And the holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah!

Most people who love film respect that Roger Ebert’s nod has industry strength as colossal as the emperior’s thumb.  He also wrote one of the best Twitter conversion testimonies ever in “Tweet! Tweet! Tweet!”

Like Ebert, I vowed I would never tweet.  He sums it up beautifully, “I vowed I would never become a Twit. Now I have Tweeted nearly 10,000 Tweets. I said Twitter represented the end of civilization. It now represents a part of the civilization I live in. I said it was impossible to think of great writing in terms of 140 characters. I have been humbled by a mother of three in New Delhi. I said I feared I would become addicted. I was correct.”

He nails the landing there.

When you say it right, 140 characters are entirely sufficient.

As you can probably guess, like every little swallow, every chick-a-dee, every little bird in the tall oak tree the wise old owl, the big black crow, flappin’ their wings singing go bird go, I recently began to tweet.

Rockin’ robin, tweet tweet tweet
Rockin’ robin’ tweet tweetly-tweet
Blow rockin’ robin
‘Cause we’re really gonna rock tonight

The Husband says it’s like Guitar Hero all over again. I am smitten. Even better, no one expects me to share tweets with the kids!

I have been awed by the generosity of shared resources and intelligence.  Tweeters point to helpful websites, share market strategies, support each other’s blogs, offer advice, post meeting opportunities, lend an ear, and offer to meet you for coffee.

Like Ebert, I have been amazed and humbled by the wit of these song birds.  Tweets can be totally random, clever, crude or timely. Steeped in real-time context, it’s conversational, but no one considers you rude if you don’t contribute.

Here are some of my favorite tweets in my short tenure on my new Twitter adventure:

Tweets are a divine example of less is more.

Like a virtual box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.

You’ll be happy to know had Forrest Gump been on Twitter he could have tweeted  that.  Like many of his famous quotes, it’s under 140 characters.

There’s a blaze of light
In every word
It doesn’t matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
!

Last night 12 year-old boy comes home with a plastic trophy filled with candy after the school dance:

The Boy:  I won this.

The Mamma:  Really!  Wow!  How fun!  Was there a dance contest?

The Boy:  Uh.  No.  Cutest Couple.

The Mamma:  Couple of what?  Socks?  You didn’t wear gloves….

The Boy:  Cutest couple, <mumble, mumble that sounds suspiciously like, ‘You stupid, old woman,”> Cutest Couple, Mamma, not nicest pair.

The Mamma:  Oh. <The Mamma lowers head between legs and frantically breathes in-and-out of Chipolte take-out bag.> What do you mean couple? <She gasps breathlessly, after slowly lifting her head.>

The Boy:  I took K.  We were a couple.  Everybody voted.  We won.

The Mamma:  <From ground, The Husband checking carotid artery for pulse, croaking, not groking.> What exactly do you mean you took K?

The Boy: <Looking down at his mother as if she’s not only acting like a complete idiot, she has the IQ to match,> I texted her two weeks ago.  She was my date.

The Mamma:  <Unable to speak as The Husband frantically tosses Ativan down her throat as if candy from a Peez dispenser.> Hmmfff?

The Boy:  Yeah.  No big deal.  We were like very causal.  Meant nothing.  We were just, you know, the cutest couple.

**************************************************************************************************

Yes, it really happened.

Aspects of the conversation were changed to protect the innocent.

No, The Husband did NOT really medicate me.

Absolutely, I am way too immature to handle this.

Most days The Boy and I compete to see who can act the most 12.  I often win.  12 was one big year of pain and dysfunction for me.  I remember it vividly enough to have flashbacks.

Yet, it’s not like I shouldn’t have seen this coming…

When a series of events culminated to The Boy’s cellphone being confiscated for a couple of days, I can now look back at the encounter through a different lens.  When it happened, The Boy looks at me with such agony that it was as if I had chopped off his manhood.  He was mortified.  As we rarely have to consequence The Boy with anymore than a good talking to, I thought he was simply indignant that I went there… used my big, bad Mamma power and took his phone.

Come to find out when he got the phone back the morning before the dance, he had 17 messages waiting for him.  My boy like had to explain… I didn’t have my phone with me… I’m not ignoring you… We are still on for the dance… See you there….

Glory!

My son is old enough to have to manage dating situations and massage the esteem of girls.

<The Mamma lowers head between legs and frantically breathes in-and-out of Chipolte take-out bag desperately hoping that is the only part of girls he will ever-ever massage.>

The Husband’s out of town… where’s that Ativan bottle?

How calmly does the orange branch
Observe the sky begin to blanch
Without a cry, without a prayer,
With no betrayal of despair?

How calmly does The Mamma blanch
Observe The Boy’s strutting panache
With a righteous cry and much prayer,
With total and transparent despair…

There’s a blaze of light
In every word
It doesn’t matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
!

The following Field Trip Release Form from my daughter’s school did little to inspire my confidence:

Translation:

THE SCHOOL

000 Ways You Can Sue Avenue
City, State, Zip
109.940.0242

FIELD TRIP RELASE FORM

I, the parent/guardian of ____________________________________, wish for my
son/daughter to avoid the social ostrichization of being the only student in his/her class NOT able to attend this field trip unless I sign this snarky, prophylactic document that permits him/her to go to _____________________ on the following date ________________________.

I am aware that we live in the Land of Lawsuits, and potential plaintiffs, em hm, I mean, parents, have been known to sue in response to the wayward goings-on that must have occurred at previous school’s field trips, or we wouldn’t need this form to protect you from further litigation.  I understand that this may well be another one of those off campus excursions wherein a student, potentially my son/daughter, may be injured, maimed, run-over, or fall victim to some other kind of bloody, painful and unexpected bodily harm.  I do hereby expressly promise not to blame your school or peeps if my child is physically or emotionally traumatized as a result of his/her participation on this trip.  I understand that it is entirely possible my son/daughter will experience harm, up to and including apocalyptic doom, during this school sanctioned sojourn, but you’re telling me upfront that were that to happen, it is my problem alone and that you are not to blame, nor will you accept the legal responsibility for the care and protection of my child in your custody.  Furthermore, I understand that if I don’t sign this form written exclusively for the legal protection of you and your school, not my son/daughter or family, you will not permit my son/daughter to travel with her classmates on this trip.

_______________________________________
Signature

________________________________________
Date

_______________________________________
Relationship to Student

*********************************************************************************************

I, the parent/guardian of _________________________________________, submit to the my son/daughter’s participation in this school activity/trip to ______________________________
on the following date ______________________________________.

I consent to any and all emergency medical treatment, as deemed necessary by by the school’s staff or authorized agent being provided for the above child without notice to me and without any further requests for permission from me, because as I was told, this calamity was entirely possible as a result of the school trip, and it’s still not your fault. Furthermore, as you do not take legal responsibility for the parental locus you extend to my child while in your custody, of course you will not guarantee that in the event of an emergency you will contact me in a timely manner to participate in the treatment plan of my injured/slain/comatose son/daughter, neither do you even promise to contact me at all.

You feel no obligation to state that you will make every effort to secure the safety of my child during school related trips, and instead alert me that is it not your job to call me when things to go bad, but I must sign-off on this too, or my kid still can’t go on the class outing, and it makes you mellow to know you’re legally protected before you embark on this endeavor.

And yes, there are better ways to write these forms that might cause less trouble and parental anxiety, but my piece of mind is no more your problem than if my son/daughter gets hurt.

_______________________________________
Signature

________________________________________
Date

_______________________________________
Relationship to Student

Now I’ve heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don’t really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Halleluja
h

There’s not one change in our bodies most Mommies don’t accept like Purple Hearts, but Glory, doesn’t it do a repackage on our original model design?

curses Childbirth Wrought

BLOATED afflicition,
bane CELLULITE,
BIGGER HIP burden,
calamity CHANGE IN VAGINAL CHARACTER,
VARICOSE VIEN cross,
curse CONSTIPATION,
LARGER SHOE SIZE disaster,
evil eye WEIGHT GAIN,
STRETCH MARK hydra,
jinx INCONTINENCE,

HEMORRAGIC MENSTRAL ordeal,
misfortune PROLAPSE
DRYNESS pestilence,
plague DEPRESSION,
SAGGY RACK scourge,
torment MUFFIN TOP,
GREY HAIR tribulation,
trouble HORMONE IMBALANCE,
MEMORY voodoo,
vexation IDENTITY.

Well baby I’ve been here before
I’ve seen this room and I’ve walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew ya
I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah