Posted by jael on Jun 28, 2011 in Spiritual Journey

Pending relocation germinates my thoughts like dandelions. Ever since the possibility sprouted in our family garden, they’ve gone rogue.

Lists propagate like spores in a wet basement and I realize if we are called to this, we need an action plan _and soon.

I am more of a nester than a packer, so my best intentions meet the resistance of my own nature.

It will come as no surprise to you that I realized I could fracture some of Ben Franklin’s beloved aphorisms to speak to our situation and support literary procrastination.

Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Aphorisms Adapted for Mammas Stalled in Transition:

A good example is the best sermon.

A good example is an empty box.

A Slip of the Foot you may soon recover,
But a Slip of the Tongue you may never get over.

A Slip of the Purse you may soon recover, But a Slip of Geography may find you forever lost.

Be civil to all; sociable to many; familiar with few; friend to one; enemy to none.

Be willing to cast off everything; donate many; gift few; keep one; hoard none.

Be slow in choosing a friend, slower in changing.

Be slow in choosing an address, slower in changing.

Beware of little expenses, a small leak will sink a great ship.

Beware of avoiding goodbyes, a small leak will sink a great ship.

Beware of the young doctor and the old barber.

Beware the five-year-old with packing tape and the teenager with a box-cutter.

But in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.

But in this move nothing can be said to be certain, except Faith and Trust in His plans for us.

Creditors have better memories than debtors.

Disgruntled grandparents have better memories than their children.

Diligence is the mother of good luck.

Diligence is the mother of good planning.

Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.

Do not rehearse anger, or befriend anxiety. Dwell in possibilities.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Do not squander time for that is the stuff life is
 made of.

Do not squander Love for that is the stuff eternity is made of.

Don’t thou love life ? Then do not squander time, for
that is the stuff life is made of.

Don’t thou love God? Then do not squander prayer, for that is the fuel that feeds the soul

Drive thy business or it will drive thee.

Drive thy move or it will drive thee.

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


Guest Post by Nana: Gladioulus

Posted by jael on Jun 26, 2011 in Spiritual Journey


I’ve been looking over pictures of the Crayola house on Gladiolus Preserve Circle.  It appears to be HUGE, fun, bright and cheerful! It screams fun-loving family and KIDS.  Sherwin Williams refers to the colors as: “Exuberant, fresh, Optimism.  Tropical blooms. Sunny days. Playful exploration. It’s time to take a vacation and let our cares melt away.  Happy spaces are here again, bringing fresh florals, bright juicy colors and exuberant combinations.  It’s the kaleidoscopic spirit of the ‘60’s married to the jewel tones of the ‘80’s with a global twist.  Cultural influences and motifs mingle freely, creating a bohemian mosaic that sings in perfect harmony!”

…And, one last thing.  Ironically, in my Jesus Calling book, June 18th discussed one of my favorites and so appropriate for this time in your life:

Jeremiah, 29:11  My plans are to prosper you and not to harm you,…you can relax and enjoy the present moment…


Baby I have been here before
I know this room, I’ve walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you.
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!



Posted by jael on Jun 26, 2011 in Religion, Spiritual Journey

God cradled us in his arms today.

He broke down our every barrier with complete and personal confirmation of His will in our lives.

We stand amazed by His Sovereignty and trust in His Faithfulness.

We were reminded to never mistake the silence of God for the absence of God.

We were challenged to believe that God is most powerfully present when He seems apparently absent.

We are promised Holy and sure blessings.

We are called to walk to through the valley before we stand before the mountain of God.

Today God met us exactly where we stood.

He called us to the alter and bid us come.

He held us there and bound us to each other anew.

For of him,
and through him,
and to him,
are all things:
to whom be glory for ever.

We feel assured that He will build our characters in the desert and Portion us our daily bread.

We are grateful beyond breath and commit our hearts and feet to walk this out and Praise Him.

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
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah


Still Here

Posted by jael on Jun 22, 2011 in Spiritual Journey

Still Here

I been scared and battered.
My hopes the wind done scattered.
Snow has friz me,
Sun has baked me,

Looks like between ’em they done
Tried to make me

Stop laughin’, stop lovin’, stop livin’–
But I don’t care!
I’m still here!

Langston Hughes

I am profoundly grateful to those of you who have emailed, texted and called to inquire where I am and what’s up with the silence on bh.

Thank you for your love and concern.

Your kind words brought Still Here, one of my favorite Langston Hughes poems, to mind.

Long story short, I had an acute medical emergency last week that demands recovery time and generated some short term issues.

I am certain that I will write about it in the future, but for now, I assure you that I am still here and am humbled to know you noticed my quiet and care enough to reach out.

Thank you!


Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah!

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!


July 1

Posted by jael on Jun 14, 2011 in Spiritual Journey


And I want my next words to be kind.
And good.
And, if not of merit, then at least of substance.

to say

We still don’t have family plan.









a sliver
of humility
a shimmer
of obedience

fills my

bids me



My will be done.

May it be so

Hallelujah, Hallelujah,
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah!


wikiHow Edit for Mammas

Posted by jael on Jun 7, 2011 in Parenting, Spiritual Journey

Today @ wikiHOW, the how to manual that you can edit you can find a manual about how to respect yourself during a breakup that you can edit.

wikiHow posts clean process pieces that most often employ bullet or numerical points. Additionally, their invite to edit brings out the red pen in all of us.

As I considered the advice offered to safeguard personal integrity during a breakup, I realized that with very little edits, the same bullet points could readily counsel Mammas on how to maintain self respect while rasing a teenager.

By their own invitation I offer my edits to this wikiHow post:

How to Respect Yourself While Raising a Teen

After their childhood ends, how can parents behave in a way that communicates to their teens that they are worthy of their adolescents’ respect? It’s hard because parenting a teenager is like slamming an icepick into your own ear and can make you feel you’ve failed somehow. Still, it’s important that parents respect themselves as a people and maintain their relevance in their childrens’ lives. Let’s assume you are a Mamma whose teenage son has just told you, “You always put words in my mouth. I hate you.”

  • Don’t beg.

He disrespected you. He’s already made up his mind. No matter how shocked, panicked, and in pain you are, don’t beg him for an apology, or worse yet, assurances. It’s very hard to do, but to let this end leaving you with some shred of dignity try hard not to cry too much – of course, it may be impossible not to cry. But crying a little, then saying, “I’m so sad about this, but if that’s your opinion, I have no choice but to accept it,” is much more dignified than screaming, “I am your MOTHER, you can’t talk to me like that!”

Ground him to his room sans technology and then pitch your hysterical fit.

  • Gather your supporters.

Now is the time you need your friends and family, more than ever. Call them and tell them that a large, hairy, smelly monster has eaten your precious, baby boy. They will hopefully come flying to your side to comfort and keep you company while you nurse your broken heart back to health. Don’t try to go it alone.

  • Recognize when it’s no use trying to talk to him any more.

He’s trying to not be seen as a bad guy, but the reality is, he’s betrayed you by growing up and moving on, getting hormones and texting girls who actually look good in bathing suits, and he deserves to be punished.

  • Don’t let him string you along after the fact.

He’s told you he that he hates you, but he still wants you to stop at Starbucks to buy him an iced mocha. Even though you still love him, this is a losing proposition for you. Your son wants to have his cake and eat it too – he wants to keep you in his pocket as wallet and taxi service. He’s relegated you to the position of a service provider. What an adolescent! No matter how much you love him, tell him this will not work for you, and let him know that he still has to kiss you in public, eat his peas, and say his prayers. Period.

  • Never let him see you sweat.

Once the big grounding is over with, don’t keep on letting him get to you. Even if you don’t feel like it, go get dressed up and go out with your friends. You don’t have to get drunk, or try to pick anybody up (like your son may be doing), but just to go and hang with pals is a good thing. Try to avoid going to places where you will be likely to run into him. If you do see him while you’re out, just smile and nod. If you feel like you might cry, excuse yourself and walk to the restroom. Do your crying in there, and don’t come out till you look strong again (even if you feel shaky inside, you must try your best to look like you’re okay).

  • Review the relationship.

There’s a good chance that now that your son is a teenager, you can look back and realize there may have been warning signs. Reviewing the relationship and recognizing that he gave up his sippy-cup and big, yellow Tonka trucks years ago can be valuable in later relationships for example, they can clue you in to dangerous signs of independence in your younger children, or let you have a chance to adjust your own behaviors, if you really believe you had some fault.

  • Listen to coming of age songs and stories.

It helps fill you with a positive feeling of power to hear songs like “Don’t Ever Grow Up,” and “Her Father’s Eyes.” It can help to hear other moms tell their coming of age stories, too. Just knowing that others Mammas have gone through similar heartaches can help you feel less alone. Crank up your stereo and rock out – it’ll help, too, knowing that someone wrote a song you can relate to now. You go, Mamma!

  • Let done be done.

A lot of sons grow up and realize their mothers aren’t perfect. Think of all the words that have flown out of your mouth like rabid locust, and forgive him. It will end up costing both of you fewer therapy sessions in the long run if you just accept you still belong to each other; he’s just becoming the man you raised him to become.

Pray unceasingly that he becomes a good one and try to remember this is his season.

  • Recognize that few people will respect you unless you insist.

If you don’t respect yourself, you’re giving your son the go-ahead to treat you like dirt. Don’t you dare do that to yourself! Stand up and insist that you be treated with dignity, the way all human beings should be treated. Allowing your son to walk all over you is the worst disrespect in the world.

  • Realize that you have addressed his behavior, not his character.

That puts you one step closer to negotiating how you and son will treat each other. Together you will create a compact about what behaviors are acceptable in your family. And whatever you do, never settle for brokeness.

and even though it all went wrong,
i’ll stand before the lord of song
with nothing on my tongue
but Hallelujah!


I Need…

Posted by jael on Jun 6, 2011 in Parenting, Spiritual Journey

to anticipate transitional speed bumps.

My son is a rising 8th grader.  If you do the math, this means that we have transitioned from a school schedule to a summer rhythm eight years in a row.

Each year, however, I seem to forget the inevitable transition period as we shift from the full warp of school pace to the impulse speed of summer vacation.

This year our youngest also being in school and two different school calendars augmented our adjustment phase.

We collided like combustible atoms all morning, and by 10:00 a.m. I had lost my zen, my patience, my perspective and I realized that I was more frustrated than I have been in months. I teetered on the edge of spraying anger around the room like rancid silly string. Before too much maternal anghts could ooze from the can like aresol hairspray and rip a crater in the ozone of our summer launch, however, I remembered something I said to a friend on the phone last night.

Last night I was all calm and philosophical like a woman who is not outnumbered by children 8:1.  Could it only have been last night, and not three weeks ago, that mediation seemed plausible and thoughts of summer smelled like warm coco butter?

Yes, it was just last night that I had donned my educator’s cap and opined to my friend that if children come to consensus on what their needs are and commit in community to meet each other’s needs, relationships flourish and behaviors shift to support positive group mores.

Last night that didn’t register as more redolent of crap than any diaper I changed today.

I grabbed the fleeing vestiges of calm like a bolemic mines the last traces onion dip out of the bottom of the tub when there are still Ruffles in the bag and shifted gears.

I absolutely admit that the intial phase of our family exercise was a bit tense. Picture children marched to a table as pencils and notebook paper slam into their work space in churlish percussion.

All was still when I told them that we were all going to write down ten things that we needed to feel safe and supported in community.

The Middle Girl asked a question that liberated the exercise from route to heart. She inquired, “Do you mean what do I need to be able to be myself with people? To feel safe.?”

Her question reframed the moment like an engraved invitation assures the reception of the wedding will have white lines, silver flatware and crystal champange flutes instead of a pig roast.

The attention of each person shifted as we discussed her idea. Soon the only noise in the room was the sound of pencils as they fox trotted across the ballroom of each page.

The results:

I need…

1.   to have my voice heard

2.   to be able to trust the other person

3.   to not be made fun of

4.   to share jokes

5.   to resolve arguments

6.   to love and be love

7.   to be respected

8.   to know the other person likes me for me

9.   to know that they care

10.                 to have good times

I need…

1.   people to be honest with me

2.   people to not put words in my mouth

3.   people to be nice to me

4.   them to be a good friend

5.   them to understand me

6.   them to be listen to me and think about what I said

7.   them to be fun be around

8.   them to be not mean

9.   them to be careful with people

10.                 them to like me

I need…

1.   to know that I am can trust them

2.   to know that they will treat me with respect

3.   to feel safe and safe and happy with the person, them being nice

4.   to know that they will always be there for me

5.   to feel safe with the person and knowing will always follow through when I ask them so I can count on them

6.   to feel free to be myself around them

7.   to know they will always be my friend and be loyal

8.   people to be kind

9.   know they will not tease or be mean to me

10.                 to trust they will never be mean just because it’s popular

I need…

1.   to feel included

2.   food

3.   God

4.   Freedom

5.   Courage

6.   Love

7.   You

8.   Justice

9.   Kindness

10.        People to be careful with me

I need…

1.   to feel considered, that my feelings are important to others

2.   to feel heard, that what I say matters

3.   I need to feel appreciated, that I bring value

4.   to be able to have fun

5.   to be able to contribute

6.   to know what to expect

7.   to know it’s not all about me

8.   to feel loved

9.   to laugh

10.                 to be able to take breaks

The ages of the speakers of these needs range from 5 (The Baby) to 187 (The Mamma, calcuated by the MyTrueAge formula like used on The Biggest Loser.)

Who knew we had so much in common… like we were related even!

There was genuine accord and group consenses that we all operate with the same basic sense of needs. The kids made their own novel and insightful connections that fractured the axiom that the majority of unhappiness in life is relational as a new truth for the next generation.

We committed to respect and meet each other’s needs.

Our communication extended relational hospitality and a vocubulary common to each other’s process.

It was not the beginning I expected for the first day of our summer vacation together, but it was the one we clearly needed.

I know this by its fruit.

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


Piping, Red Hot Concessions for Sale!

Posted by jael on Jun 5, 2011 in Spiritual Journey

As I researched summer engagements for our children, I happened across this concession stand menu for the 2011 EAST Conference:

2011 EAST Conference

Convention Center Concession Stand Menu

Hot Dog $3.50
Sausage $4.00
Nacho $4.00
Chili Nacho $4.00
Chicken Tenders Basket $6.50
Frito Pie $3.50
Pepp. Pizza $6.00
Cheese Pizza $5.00
Corn Dog $3.00
Fries $2.00
Hot or Cold Sandwich $5.50
Salad $4.00
Hamburger $5.50
Cheeseburger $5.75
Medium Soft $2.75
Large Soft $3.25
Small Coffee/Capp. $1.50
Large Coffee/Capp. $2.00
Frozen Lemonade $3.00
Energy Drink $4.00
Sport Drink $3.00

Like you, I’m not going to hazard a guess on the recipe of Frito Pie, or its gastrointestinal consequences, but the lineup does spark a query.

No, not, “Would you like fries with that?” though I am surprised potatoes were not represented in this culinary pageant.

Before you worry this is another rant post about childhood obesity, the horrors of corn syrup, or the processed garbage we feed our kids, I promise you it’s not. On those score cards, this student-conference  fare speaks for itself.

However, don’t you wonder why concession stands pander greasy junk food and not yield boons?

A concession is a thing that is granted, especially in response to demands, or a thing conceded. This definition conjures up mediation, not pizza.

How would an actual Concession concession stand menu read:

2011 Concession Conference

Concession Center Concession Stand Menu

Acknowledgment $5.50
Admission $6.00
Assent $3.50
Confession $7.50
Surrender $9.99
Yielding $2.00
Adjustment $1.50
Allowance $4.50
Boon $12.99
Compromise $9.99
Grant $2.50
Indulgence $6.00
Permit $2.00
Privilege $12.99
Sop $1.50

Whatever the dietary implications, I gotta believe that relationships would be much more healthy were Concession concession stands as easy to frequent as concession stands.

Supersize me a Big Gulp of Surrender, please!

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


Brown-eyed Daughter

Posted by jael on Jun 4, 2011 in Parenting, Spiritual Journey

The Oldest Girl’s last day of 5th grade was Friday.

As regular readers know in her short, young life, she has battled birth defects, critical surgeries, and Mean Girls.

Her heart of faith is a constant Hallelujah in my life.

In her own words, and used with permission, this poem encapsulates a recent victory:

I was in school, and I had some free time. I decided that I would write a poem, and not just any ordinary run-of-the-mill poem, no! I would write a poem worth remembering… Hope you enjoy it!

There Was A Girl.

There was a girl,
a blue eyed beauty

There was a girl, a tall girl,
a strong girl

There was a girl,
with golden hair

There was a girl,
a brave girl, a safe girl

There was a girl,
with lots of friends

There was a girl,
a kind girl, a delicate girl

There was a girl,
who lived on reputation

There was a girl,
a sad girl, a quiet girl

There was a girl,
a wolf in sheep’s clothing

There was a girl,
an ignored girl, a bruised girl

There was a girl,
she was “in”

There was a girl,
a wise girl, an independent girl

There was a girl,
who wasn’t satisfied

There was a girl,
a calm girl, a godly girl

There was a girl,
who went in with bad intentions

There was a girl,
a hurt girl, an attacked girl

There was a girl,
who hurt on purpose

There was a girl,
a scared girl, a marred girl

There was a girl,
who had no regret

There was a girl,
a sad girl, a regretful girl

There a girl,
who was just mean

There was a girl,
who couldn’t take it any more,

she decided to stand up,
to say “that’s not cool, OK?”
She knew it was a risk,
but she prevailed

There was a girl with brown hair,
no blue eyed beauty could compare

She couldn’t be more correct.

And, yes, I am unspeakably proud.

Baby I have been here before
I know this room, I’ve walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you.
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!

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