Archive for April, 2011

Despite my mentors who chide I should remember why I began my blog in the first place and not get bogged down in Google Analytics or user traffic trivia, I confess I have felt a bit uncertain lately here at bh.

Most of that has to do with family process as we straddle a limbo that weathers and blisters in turns.

Those of you that know and love me know you should never, ever, never consider throwing me a surprise party. I am not wired that way, and the heart of the gesture would be lost in the dysfunction of my insecurity.

However, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE surprise and Just Because Gifts.

I love to give Just Because Gifts, and I am happy to receive them too because they are so rare and precious.

Imagine my delight then when I awoke to find this message from @gurple7 on Twitter:

…stumbled onto your website tonight when looking at various lyrics for “Hallelujah” by all of the artists that covered it to use in my blog. Love some of your posts and poked around a bit to look for a way to subscribe to your feed. Saw the recent tweets and “CHO” in one and then followed you to Twitter to find out if we live in the same town! (We do, by the way) How very cool. So you have a new follower who stumbled on you through several clicks on an internet search and lives nearby.

@gurple7 had given me the most unexpected Just Because gift in recent memory.

What she could not have known is I wondered of late if my blog was able to touch people. Naturally, I hit her blog, easily amused. I was humbled to find:

When there are no words…

This song always makes me teary and is perplexing so I have looked at different versions of lyrics many times in the past and was familiar with the long list of sites and blogs that try to interpret the lyrics. In my search tonight, Google returned way too many sites for me to read through, but after clicking on the third or fourth page of results, I ended up at a blog. A beautiful blog simply titled Broken Hallelujah. Each post ends with a portion of lyrics from the song. The writer is so poetic and genuine…though writing under a pseudonym. I was poking around trying to find a way to sign up for an RSS feed or subscription to posts when I noticed some recent tweets mentioning “CHO”. No, she couldn’t be. But obviously, I followed that rabbit trail, and yes, she is! She lives in Charlottesville! How fun is that!? I read more of her posts. Would have come to tears several times, except, as we have already established tonight, my emotions are congested.

And so, when there are no words

…I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah…

The gift of her insight galvanized my entire day.

Just Because one kind woman invested the time not just to read my words, but reach out to me, I remember why I lift my own broken hallelujah.

This was a Just Because Gift that bridged the anonymous internet and impacted me personally.

It was a Just Because Gift that reconnected me to the journey of why I began broken hallelujah.

It is also a reminder of why I continue.

I do it connect with The Light of the World, my process and my Praise.

I do it to use the voice Love lends me and thank Him for Provision.

I write to return to Him when so that I do not drown in my own misguided self-reliance and pride.

I am called to Trust Him here.

@gurple7 published the Truth more succinctly than I have ever said it:

And so, when there are no words

…I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah…

Amen, Sister.

Halleulujah!


Had an experience this week that made me consider the marketing allure of movie trailers. Movie trailers showcase the funniest, most exciting and intense moments of a film to intake preview audiences to want, even need to see the film. The best trailers make a crowd gasp, cry and burst out in choral laughter.

A morning this week made me realize that families have trailer moments too.  However, some of these clips are bloopers that they’d never want shown on screen, let before their school, church or work audiences.

In our house a morning glitch excavated such a drama and featured a typical teen, a harried  Mamma, and what happens when you don’t do what you should have done the day before a busy morning that the family has to get to school early for music sectionals:

_Cue Camera_

Dirty lunch box stows away in the cupboard (as if cleaned-out per child-chore protocol) and an empty, sticky, Sig bottle in the ‘frig (as if rinsed and wiped, as per child-chore protocol). Both items initially look normal and innocent, until the camera pans in and the audience can see the rat’s nest mess inside the lunch box and shine of slime on the water bottle.  Naturally, these jewels are left for the frantic Sectional-morning treasure hunt as the Mamma paws blurry-eyed about the kitchen chasing the clock and in search of caffeine.

The film features a family with four children. To survive, The Mamma expects the kids to assist with basic and age-appropriate chores. There’s no ambiguity about what she asks of them. They talk about it during family meetings. They post it on the family task board. When things run smoothly, they compliment each others’ successes and strategize their situational inability to meet deadlines.

The Mamma stumbles into the kitchen sleepy-eyed, muttering under her breath to the powers that be about the family’s inability to track the Sectional schedule. She shuffles bare food across the floor with bed head that rivals dreadlocks and blunders toward the coffee cup. She looks at the clock at the cup brews and acknowledges aloud, “It’s gonna be a close one.”

That particular morning, however, The Mama finds her chase with the clock impeded by factor of ten after she pulls out the offending lunch items. The Sig bottle is slick and lunch box a nest of crumbs, icepacks, dirty utensils and wrappers. Not only does the incident cost her more time to clean the items which she does so with such vigor the sponge she uses weeps for mercy, but she must also debrief with the teen.

Working herself up the whistling-Mamma scale of how-many-times-have-I-told-yous and what-were-you-thinkings, the summoned teen confesses in clipped Marine cadence, “Lack of foresight, Ma’am!”

The Mamma’s mouth gaps open as the camera zooms in for a close up. No response whatsoever, but her eyes twinkle with amusement. Even frustrated and with morning breath, she loves the teen.

_End Trailer_

The experience made realize how many times I would NOT want my family life on film.

I am grateful the teachers at my kids school don’t see every moment of what happens in our house before they arrive to their classrooms, well packed lunch boxes in hand.

I am relieved that every time we roll up to a church the Pastor didn’t have our marital conflict on his i-pod.

I am happy my kids can hit the soccer field and the coaches don’t know that they had to pull their uniforms out of the dirty close hamper because I didn’t get them washed again.

I hope to have a bit more sensitivity the next time I bump into someone else’s process and pick up the vibe they may have just exited from one of their own family bloopers moment.

I love relationship, but honor the blanket of privacy that covers a myriad oops.

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

He’s petitioned grandparents for a new gaming system.

He’s booked his buds for a cook-out, sleep-over.

He’s taking his girl out Saturday afternoon after he fences on The Downtown mall.

(Chaperoned.)

He texts as fast as the wind.

He began the year in a size 8 shoe, and I just bought him size 10.5 soccer cleats for the Spring season.

Men’s.

He has a discernable mustache,
his own distinct code of honor.
and a sense of humor that makes him crack himself up.

I love when he laughs at his own jokes.

He still hugs and kisses us goodnight and goodbye.

And writes poetry

(used with permission)

4/13/11

Emotions

It feels like a drawn out sigh,

The prickling of tears you wish you could cry.

It smells like sweat,

That horrible odor.

It looks like a bowed head,

A creased brow.

It sounds like hollow cheer,

But still utterly sad.

It tastes like glue in your mouth,

Silencing your cries.

It is hopelessness.

It feels like a fire

Burning white hot inside you.

It smells like burnt plastic,

Putrid and vile.

It looks like a beet red face,

Like a cherry about to burst.

It sounds loud and incoherent,

Hurtful and sad.

It tastes like a poison

Corrupting your soul

It is anger.

It feels like your flying

High in the sky

It smells like her odor,

That only you know.

It looks like togetherness

And a bonding of two.

It sounds like a heartbeat,

Quick and fast.

It tastes like delight,

And the food you most like.

It is love.

It feels like a warm blanket,

Made just for you.

It smells warm and familiar,

Like a distant memory.

It looks like innocence,

White and pure.

It sounds like a laugh,

Or a well sung song.

It tastes sweet

And also rich.

It is joy.

They feel like a drawn out sigh, like a white hot fire burning inside.

Like the feeling of flying high in the sky, like a warm blanket.

They smell like sweat and burning plastic.

Like an odor and a memory.

They look like a bowed head and a beet red face.

A togetherness and innocence.

They sound utterly sad, mean and horrid.

Like a heartbeat and a laugh.

They taste like glue and like poison.

Like delight and sweetness.

They are emotions.

I love our boy.

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
!

We share the humility and suffering of Christ and also share His conquest of death and find a new life after we’ve died

~C.S. Lewis

We are grateful to celebrate Easter this year with each other.

We are grateful for the opportunity to be with our Home Group.

We love Lindt bunnies.

We chomp Lindt hazelnut carrots.

We rejoice in the possibilities of Resurrection.

Our consensus as a family is that this year we enjoyed a day that celebrated the Face of Love more than jelly beans.

May the year ahead develop our characters to be brighter Lights and more eager feet in the Body.

Happy Easter.

He’s alive! He’s alive!

We can trust Him.

Please join our ardent and constant prayers that Ashley is healed completely in a way that shows all the Wonder of the World and Glorifies His name.

Help Ashley come awake.

Come awake.

Come awake.

Come and rise up, Ashley.

We truly believe in Resurrection!

Thy will be done.

Nothing that is asked of me compares or is beyond my strength Through Him that gave all.

We can trust Him.

Let no one caught in sin remain
inside the lie of inward shame.

Hallelujah, Hallelujah,
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah!

Holy Saturday.

I gathered with the Body on the front lawn of Ashley’s house for a prayer vigil.

We joined hands in a circle.

We lifted our voices to cry out to the Light of the World.

Even the robins joined us to glorify Love and pray for healing.

We prayed.

We sang Praise.

We faithfully lifted our hopes by prayer and petition, Thanksgiving we presented our requests to God,
as the Peace that transcends all understanding filled our hearts with Love.

We can trust You.

We do trust You.

Help Ashley come awake.

Come awake.

Come awake.

Come and rise up, Ashley.

And so,  if I really believe in Resurrection, I must surrender anew.

Thy will be done.

Nothing that is asked of me compares or is beyond my strength Through Him that gave all.

We can trust Him.

Let no one caught in sin remain
inside the lie of inward shame.

Hallelujah, Hallelujah,
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah!

Been too far away too long.

Not feeling the hallelujah I seek as my refuge on this platform.

Only the broken.

Completely uncertain if my words matter.

Overwhelmed.

Had two tough discussion with my mother today.

Our Mommy-daughter issues won’t be over until we’re both dead a century.

Got in a traffic snarl so big and congested I seriously considered urinating in a coffee cup.

It wasn’t shame that stopped me either, it was the horrified look on my daughter’s face who rode shot gun.

Agog at the divide of social hierarchy and how agelessly it chaffs… it’s only equal opportunity element.

Had a fight with The Husband big enough for the Banned Word List Committee of 2010 to reconsider the term epic.

Feel far away from what I know.

Sound far away from Truth.

As I recall again it’s Holy Thursday, I reconsider that garden.

Those prayers.

Big shoes.

And so,  if I really believe in Resurrection, I must surrender anew.

Thy will be done.

Nothing that is asked of me compares or is beyond my strength Through Him that gave all.

We can trust Him.

Let no one caught in sin remain
inside the lie of inward shame.

Hallelujah, Hallelujah,
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah!

Don’t do it.

If you’re mad, don’t do it.

If you’re uncertain it’s necessary, don’t do it.

If you feel intensely that you must send the message RIGHT NOW, don’t do it.

Just don’t.

Generally speaking, the number one best rule of thumb for professional email etiquette in regard to the REPLY ALL button is to not use it.

In the best of times, email is a flat and tricky communication stage.

Email communication is easy to misinterpret and rife with potential for conflict in team dynamics.

The most effective email communications are:

  • Timely
  • Appropriate
  • Necessary
  • Productive

Many teams find it helpful to establish communication protocols for email. An example of a commonly used model is:

Email messages will be

  • Private
  • Productive
  • Professional
  • Positive

Another more annotated model asserts:

Email communications will speak:

  • Abundantly
  • Accurately
  • Appropriately
  • Aptly
  • Advisedly
  • Anointedly

It is often helpful for teams and families come to consensus on how they agree to communicate with each other.

Professionally, I plan to fast the REPLY ALL button at every opportunity.

Personally, as a Mamma, I am convicted to prayerfully contemplate the challenge to communicate anointedly.

Imagine how much more access my children would have to The Face of Love were every word I spoke earnestly considered and intended to bless.

The idea humbles and inspires me.

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

Saturday mornings in our house usually entail an obstacle course that rivals Quantico. This morning, however, I awoke to a still darkened room and house. It took me a moment to orient, as the digital data of the alarm clock did not match the house’s stillness. Gradually, my ears woke up enough to register the pattering of rain on the roof.

Rain Day!
All fields closed!

I sunk back into the still-warm dumpling of our duvet. I sighed with enough breath that it made my nose whistle.

A Rain Day is the parental equivalent of a Snow Day. The difference between the two is infinite. On a Snow Day, the kids’ plans go on hiatus, but parents must still work, triage care for the children, and brave treacherous road conditions.

On Rain Days, conversely, the entire family’s plans go on hiatus. Like a precious pearl on the shore, a Rain Day is not just a found treasure, but a day that the family calendar is free. I know you’re busy too and appreciate a free day on the family calendar is more rare than a blue moon.

Children’s literature heralds the magical properties of the blue moon. On such days unicorns can be freed from captivity, princesses can be awoken from spells, gardens can bloom healing plants, and peace can arc like a rainbow against a dark sky.

Do you know what my girls are doing right now?

Ask me.
Come on, I know that you want to know.

All three of them, and a BFF, are snuggled under a blanket watching Tangled and eating Jelly Belly jellybeans.

Before you call a dentist or go all legalistic on my Mamma logic, I want to testify that they are doing this thrills me.

Like so many, too many children of this modern age, my children are over booked and under rested.

Being under rested is different from being sleep deprived. Generally speaking, my children get enough sleep. They do not, however, get enough rest. Just like you and me; the extra-curricular activities portion my children’s time into pieces. They desire and have chosen how their time is metered, but they are constantly on the go.

This rest is a blessed Sabbath.

Today, in addition to Jelly Belly jelly beans we have planned:

4 haircuts.
(The kids have not had hair cuts since November, and, as they are novel, enjoy them as a treat)
Family Home Movie.
Ruffles & Dean’s Dip.
Smartfood Popcorn.

The kids will enjoy egg pizza for dinner, and the husband has been delightedly musing over a shrimp creaole recipe for hours. It’s almost as fussy as is he, and his delight is more poignant than the cayenne pepper in the air.

I would write more, but this fruit is time gifted from a bonus day and the wine decants to fill my cup.

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!

Being away from home last week allowed me to appreciate things about our home that I don’t always attend to during the normal rhythm.

We stayed at The Husband’s brother’s house for 8 nights.

He and his family could not have been more accommodating or welcoming.

In fact, The Boy wanted to take Auntie D home.

Their gracious hospitality aside, what I missed most about our home being in our own space.

I missed being able to go to the ‘frig in the middle of the night in my underwear and drink from the milk carton.

I missed having room to spread out my toothbrush and face lotion.

I missed the kids knowing where find things without help.

I missed missed wiping the kitchen counters.

I missed eating as little or as often as I liked.

I missed my laminator.

I missed The Husband being able to sleep through the night.

I missed decompressing the day with the kids while setting the table and boiling pasta.

I missed shoes in cubbies or closets.

I missed the simple routines that makes our house a home.

I missed our night-night song.

I missed the simple comfort of comfort.

I missed the hills of Charlottesville enshrouded by our blanket of community.

I missed home.

I love our home.

I love our babies.

I love our babies in our home.

I love being in our bed in The Husband’s arms.

I am so grateful to be home.

I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah!

User Error ate my first attempt at this post. Here’s another go:

imgres.jpeg

I picked up my niece from school today, a treat as rare as a holiday as we live more than 1000 miles apart.

The encounter grafted the familiar, sitting in a car in a Mommy pick-up circle, with the novel, picking up L Girl, and conjured the idea of fruit hybrids sometimes seen at Sam’s Club. The Grapple, for example, a mix of grape and apple never conceived in The Garden, was unanimously vetoed by even the most experimental of produce consumers in our family, The Husband. This is a man who will buy anything in the produce section that is unfamiliar for the cullinary literacy of our children. He practices this rite as faithfully as he extends love to them every weekend with some handmade carbohydrate that demands maple syrup.

All this food nostalgia prompted a whimsy seed, and by the time L Girl got into the car, I had confections on the brain. I asked my niece if she wanted to surprise her cousins with an unexpected after-school treat and its was game on.

When I asked her what might sound good, she said, “Dairy Queen,” in a tone of hushed adoration that teenage girls generally exclusively reserve to describe teenage boys.

We ordered Blizzards, “(c)reamy smooth DQ soft serve blended with your favourite candy, cookies, or fruit add up to one irresistible taste sensation,” and headed home.

Eager voices heralded our return with synchronized cries of, “Dairy Queen!” as if it were the generational ring tone for yum.

imgres.jpeg

We arrived to find 11 eager faces and held only 5 Blizzards. Of course we shared, pouring out cup after cup the precious exlihar into Chinet Kirkland Signature Red Cups. Like the loaves and fishes, those Blizzards multiplied to satisfy grandparents, aunts, cousins and babies.

Oreo-mustached children giggled and swapped bites on spoons, a-forever-on-her-feet-granmother sat down with a cup, and our family simply sat together and chatted. The moment was as sweet and unexpected as the treat.

Love was spoken audibly enough to taste.

I learned that Oreos are magical, soft serve ice-cream transcends generations, and sometimes, Our Daily Bread is served by Dairy Queen.

shop-dq.jpg

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
!