Posted by jael on Jan 24, 2011 in Education, Parenting, Politics, Spiritual Journey

Part of the rhythm of my daily behaviors include email, texting, Google, cnn.com, interacting with blogs and phone conversations.  I admit being more plugged in than some users, and far less than others.  Compared to The Husband, who also tweets, Facebooks and develops iPhone apps, I am a lightweight.  Round about Thursday last week, I wondered if I have become desensitized by my exposure to news stories.

Note that in my list of things I typically engage in during the day, TV was not among them.  I don’t watch local or national news broadcasts.  I realized years ago I had neither the schedule nor stomach for the pundits of media.  I hadn’t realized how little I had insulated myself from the dismal tone of national coverage. Like radiation mutates cells, has my attitude slowly distorted into ugly shades over time?

I’ve captured headlines since Thursday for your consideration:

31 Dead in Moscow Suicide Airport Bombing

31 confirmed dead and over 200 injured in a terrorist suicide booming in Moscow.

Steelers Versus Packer Super Bowl

NFL predicts record breaking sales for these two rival teams with zealously loyal fans.

You Know You’re An Extreme Parent If…

More information about Tiger moms, includes something of a check list to see if you are an extreme parent.  I failed. I think.  Help out on this one.  “You know you’re a great guide to your child if…”

Why do we care Julie Bowen, of the hit TV comedy Modern Family, shared a picture of herself breastfeeding her infant twins on Lopez Tonight?

Julie Bowen… Hot body on a hot show?  Certainly.  Her breastfeeding jugs (however lovely and life-giving to her suckling babies) worthy of a news story?  Not.

Why do Ugg boots cost $140-200 dollars?

These are boots that market ugly.  I don’t understand.

How can Don’t Ask, Don’t tell military expulsions cost $50,000 per expulsion.

Clearly, this begs the even more obvious puzzler, why are we still expelling soldiers, sailors, marines, and guards men on the grounds of homosexuality?

Woman versus Police Horse

Really?  Really?

What exactly makes Kat Von D a celebrity again?

Leather, body art and Reality TV, right?  Or is it the men on her arm?

Even if you like junk food, this year’s review of school lunches will trigger your gag reflex and convert you to wheat germ.

Tough Times for Men and Women in Blue

Please God, let it not be, we’ve become desensitized to cop killings.

I do not understand, but accept acts of unspeakable violence are part of our social fabric.

I do not like football, but concede millions of people are ardent fans.

I can not, however, understand why we’ve become a nation of celebrity-peeping Toms.

I do not believe our fiber has so dissolved that slapping police horses and killing cops is ubiquitous.

I reject this cynical bias.


I know the world is messy.


I know there are horrors enough in the dark to keep me up a lifetime of nights.


I know reports of such sells fear and ads.


I know nothing seems special compared to these suicidal-homicidal-psychotic-chicken-paste oozing-Packer-under-dogging-ugly-boot-lactating-horse-slapping-inked-out- nymphs-headlines.


I get that the neighborhood 7th grader who stuffed mail boxes and plans to collect old blankets and towels for SPCA animals this Saturday morning doesn’t play with the same panache .

I see why a surprise bridal shower for a soon-to-be-deployed-Army-doctor doesn’t compare to a hip check list that let’s you know if your helicopter parenting has escalated into extreme parenting that races your kids down a highway to nowhere.

I know, too, however that the only eternal commodity of this world is relationships.

Community service matters.
Surprise showers matter.
Calling your mom matters. Especially when you don’t want to and do anyway, because she really wants to connect with you.
Showing up matters.
More walking, less talking matters.

I don’t find recent headlines inaccurate as much as I suspect their motives.

They seek to incite, not to edify.

This is a bittersweet world, however, our potential to be of good use to each other bests our capacity to get it horribly wrong, and is less often the stuff of headlines.

As for me and my house, we look for reasons to believe that this is true.

Faith does not impair reason, it imbues Mercy.

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!


Vocabulary’s Eloquence

Posted by jael on Jan 20, 2011 in Education, Parenting, Spiritual Journey
Terms Definitions
archy government
ard always
cide kill
ician specialist
itis infection
aqua water
audi hear
bell war
cap take
cise cut
bio life
auto self
port carry
scrib write
logy science
dict say
cred believe
cent one hundred
neo new
ad to
cede go
miss send
centri center
biblio book
anthropo man

The Boy brought home this delicious vocabulary chart this afternoon.

It has sat next to my work station in the kitchen all night, and I have picked it up several times to simply admire its subtle eloquence.

I have had more interactive, geek fun with this simple chart than I care to confess here.

You all know about my sink fetish now, (see Verdicality Grooming if you don’t know what I mean and track down the references) and I had wanted to go at least a week before further discrediting myself. However, isn’t this chart simply elegant?

Ask me.
Come on,
ask me;
I know you want to know.

What  kind of twisted, geek gaming is to be had with a diagram of such subtle grace?

Ah, me… so much fun:

1. First, and obviously, a Mamma’s gotta see if she doesn’t know more of the definitions than the kid, right? Game on! Who cares if he’s in the seventh grade, and I am supposedly better educated, it’s competition hour, Baby!

__No. It’s not important. I am not going to tell you who won or how many I knew the first time. And unlike my son, I didn’t have time to preview the list before we fenced terms__

2. Aren’t you just drawn like a magnet seeks North, to write down as many words you know that fit the terms’ patterns? Challenge level players must recite lists alphabetically for points to count.

3. Submissions!  Certainly there are some juicy, grand terms not included in the chart!  List as many as you can.

4.  Emendations!  Clearly there are terms that made the cut that are just too on the chin.  Which such obvious bricks would you toss from the load?  Justify each answer with a Haiku.

5. Make word-chains sentences.  The only words in sentences must be terms in the same order as the graph and the sentences must make contextual sense.

What’s sad about my idea of fun this week, is that I have done each of these activities.

At least once,
if not more,
and others not listed,
and People,  I enjoyed it.

Words simply fascinate me.  I love their consistent flexibility.

I love their liquid and transformative natures.

I see words in a chart, and I don’t see bars, I greet freedom.

Words invite us to wander around Purple, regal fields of intentional Creation and render possibilities.

Language liberates captive ideas to bridge discovery and miraculous healings.

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


see “One Chinese Mother’s Voice” on BlogHer

Posted by jael on Jan 17, 2011 in Education, Parenting, Politics, Spiritual Journey, Technology

BlogHer is an awesome space.  It’s like one big, cozy den in a real girlfriend’s house.  It makes me think of my friend, TJ’s, house.  Her place slings hash and parties more than any NYC bistro. Everybody feels happy and heard in her bright, citrus kitchen… children, couples, adults, girlfriends, and in-laws alike.  TJ knows her crowd, speaks the truth, and lives in a land where polka dots meet sass.  So when I’m stuck at home with a sick kid, or actively avoiding laundry, or coming down off work, or checking the pulse of recent headline buzz, I show up on BlogHer like I often wander over to TJ’s house.  I love places where I don’t have to worry what I wear, Starbucks is always welcome, and make-up is entirely optional.

I plugged into some BlogHer voices like passive-agressive earbuds more than usual last week, in bold procrastination of my urgent need to plan and host a weekend event.  I had one big case of Mamma- Performance-Anxiety, and believed I couldn’t consummate.  While there, I read “One Chinese Mother’s Voice,” The post is not only provocative and profound, but it challenged me to Surrender on a new level.

The post speaks for itself, and I encourage you to read it.  Though its entirety compels, an Hallelujah rose like a phoenix from the ashes when she sang:

Sure, the little voice produces an adult who knows how to work hard, achieve, and get into an Ivy League school. She believes she can accomplish anything if she puts her mind to it.

But that little voice also produces a person who worries about not accomplishing enough and frets about the next accolade.

The little voice produces a person who cannot accept the fact that there are actually things hard work alone cannot accomplish.

The little voice produces a person who can’t accept the fact that her competence comes in Christ alone.

The little voice produces a person who can’t accept the fact that she needs a Rescuer.

The truth is, all the hard work, grittiness, and achievement in the world cannot make you right with God.

That comes from admitting to Jesus that you can’t work hard enough, that you don’t know all the answers, and that you really can’t be confident of anything in life except Him.

When you let God’s grace invade every part of your life, it’s not so easy to suddenly turn that little voice off.  Thankfully, God’s grace, embodied in Jesus’ love, speaks a whole lot louder than the little voice.

Ester Feng, http://www.blogher.com/frame.php?url=http://www.estherfeng.com,  unglued me like bad 80’s hair on a too humid day.  The Holy Dove moves through her to minister to my heart.  Her premises about “the little voice,” are not to be denied.  In a cathartic spasm of PTSD, I realize how my own little voice still sometimes deafens me from the Still, Calm Voice of Peace.  I wish to plant no such little voices in my children’s intellectual maps.  Have I constructed a family culture wherein anxious children measure accomplishments with fretting fingers, strumming ever-shifting emotional abacuses in search of the next accolade?  Have I embedded the message that they need a rescuer like an in-grown toe nail to falter their steps in Faith?  As I intone the mantra, “Quality matters,” have I diminished their reality that true competence comes in Christ alone, and that there are things their hard work cannot independently orchestrate?  Is my own heart a place that Grace invades so that I may lead them toward Godly relationships and Love?

I walked away from the screen the first time I read Feng’s post, and knew she’s struck a secret chord, and like David pleased the Lord.

This Mamma needs be still, and know that God will be God to my children.   Only His voice may speak clearly enough to consistently mute the noise of this percussive world, so that my children may turn to him as their Him as their Portion Deliverer.

I need to be inside-out on Message with this Truth… My children belong to Him, and all the interactive book reports, music lessons, soccer tournaments, and healthy lunches in the universe don’t compare to the Glory of the Provision He brings to the lives of my children through Love.


Love wins.

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


Adolescent Marketing

Posted by jael on Jan 16, 2011 in Education, Parenting, Spiritual Journey

I have been annoyed and amazed in turns by email, sales ads, I have gotten since Christmas from Macy’s.  Their images offer icons that look like option buttons, that you can not click.  The only way to enter the sale is one “Shop Now,” tab, and once you get to the main page, the items offered there differ from those on the tease-ad page.  This all got me thinking about marketing in general.  Grocery and discount department stores are renown for sales ploys that get people in the doors with the promise of bargains, and then do their prankster pricing like the man behind the curtain to keep their books in the black.  My marketing musings made me consider my adolescent son, who has begun to learn how to craft a message to prompt permission or favor.

All this input prompts me to also consider the undeniable social reality of relational marketing.  Then a notion struck me like a mosh pit!  What would happen if adolescents organized?  How crazy would it be if there were a clandestine, fraternal, marketing order for adolescents?  Only those who knew the secret handshake or wore the signet ring with the infrared crest could enter the meetings dedicated to playing the parents one day at a time.  What if such an organization had sponsors, hip aficionados of context, that would coach our kids in the right way to massage a message or carry a load?  What if they tweeted daily persuasion tactics on Twitter and had a Facebook presence?  What would be the name of such an organization?  What would be the title of their on-line manual?  And would we, the uninitiated and technologically-outdated parents, even know such an order existed?

If The Boy, 12, told me that his Physics teacher was adding an extra 50% free to his test grade, I, The Mamma, of course would look for the catch.

If The Boy, 12, advertised that his English teacher was doing a half-off assignment load, I, The Mamma, of course would check the fine print (on the school’s homework site).

If The Boy, 12, offered me a FREE homework pass from his Geometry teacher, I, The Mamma, of course would scoff!  Like not gonna happen, Son, like Polar Bears are more likely on a deserted, tropical island, and I don’t mean an inane Lost plot twist.

However, in daily conversations, during carpools, at the dinner table, or during Family Meetings, like most Mammas, I am more easily persuaded to take Adolescent Marketing at face value.  After all, my first-born, only and sweet son, The Boy, loves me and wouldn’t contrive to trick his mamma.  Would he?

Maybe I shouldn’t be so sure.  Recent imaginings make me certain that The Boy could, in fact, engage in covert adolescent marketing campaigns of his own, and that I can be quite a mark.

True, the majority of his ads seem designed to persuade permission, not distort truth, but what if other tactics are being employed?

How many other ploys designed to fool Mammas are out there? What sly, dazzling marketing designs lie beneath the surface of adolescent permission-seeking promotions and rationale-deductions/social networks. . .

Here, confiscated at great personal risk by an undercover operative, are some of the most common Adolescent Marketing Antics of the Anonymous Association quoted from their own handbook:


Make big, bold confessions and independently offer unsolicited confessions of wrong doing. Adolescent Marketing Antics of the Anonymous Association (AMAAA) recommends this tactic called ‘consequence establishing’ when members have other, more major transgressions they seek to conceal.  Upfront admissions of minor offenses conceal the ‘original’ violation from view, and, if only for a very short period, help members avoid major parental penalties. In some cases, special rewards are even given by parents who see the member’s confession like a bargain, and seek to reward his honesty, but it’s actually the age-old bait and switch.

The month before Prom (or desired event like a concert or party), boast that  you have slashed your social engagements to polish your grades before report cards. But don’t say that you’re actually only reducing your face time with friends, and are gaming together on line as much as doing homework when you studiously sit at your computer. Nor should you mention that you send around 1,000 more texts those weeks.  In most cases, the halo effect of your proactive approach to school work will prompt the all-night-out permission you seek for prom night (or coveted event), and, in rare but documented cases, might even help raise your grades.

Teenage siblings can look Jumbo-sized and cool to smaller brothers and sisters.  As annoying as they are, younger siblings can be bribed to do chores, lend money and cover your absences quite easily and relatively cheaply.  Do not underestimate the power of Big Sibling Pacts.  You can make your younger siblings feel like you’re doing them a favor when you swear them to secrecy about who broke Grandmother Margaret’s antique candlesticks.

Certain everyday behaviors (such as consistent use of manners, keeping a tidy room, regular bathing, tooth brushing and making eye contact) are used to gauge just how trustworthy or otherwise reliable a teenager is.  If they’re consistently employed, they can ‘put a halo of good value’ around an adolescent… Even if the reality is very different.


This sci-fi nickname, coined by an infamous AMAAA alum, refers to the hundreds of ways we teens can shrink effort invested in chores while still appearing to have completed the tasks.  Parents might be responsible for making the Family Chore Wheel, but it’s the kids that control the how the jobs get done.

So, for example, when cleaning the litter box, put the majority of the effort into the first impression… the sweep around the box and the big chunks.  If you skip the basics or leave the lid of the box askew, you’re just begging for a parent to come behind and inspect your work.  The goal is to avoid inspections entirely.


How much is a kiss, hug or smile worth to a mother of a teenager? No idea? Well, that’s because mothers’ hormone levels juggle almost as often as our own as they begin their marches toward menopause.  Use the affection your moms seek to encourage their goodwill and favor…

I am unable to transcribe anymore of the purloined AMAAA handbook.  The document emitted a strong, sudden gust of Clearasil and self-destructed shrieking, “Ahhh, Maaa!”

AMAAA… “Ahhh, Maaa!

Parents of adolescents beware…

They have organized and are marketing their message…

And even though
It all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah!


If You Give The Mamma St. Francis of Assisi…

Posted by jael on Jan 9, 2011 in Education, Parenting, Spiritual Journey

Pastor’s message was a bit of a wash for me this morning.  Naturally, that had nothing to do with Pastor’s message.  I was uncharacteristically distracted.  My busy brain switched channels like battling siblings during Saturday morning cartoons.  I was supposed to be in 2 Corinthians, but I composed a to-do list for the day.  When the time came to reflect upon Luke, I remembered a theological grievance and turned to Acts instead just to prove to myself how right I was to be offended.  I noticed who was in front of me, and oh, look… didn’t she have her parents with her today?  And Oh, my, how it touched me to see three generations of a Mommy friend!

And like the mouse in If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, I was all, oh, that reminds me that I should email this other friend about something and where’s my iPhone (Give me credit, I did NOT actually pull it out during church), and oh, yeah, had I signed up for a parent duty for kindergarten this week?  Of course, that made me remember that I hadn’t helped the Oldest Girl research pediatric sleeping disorders for her latest Language Arts independent learning contract and, did I mention, The Middle Girl turns 9 on Tuesday?

Oh, yeah, 9.  And you know what?  In lieu of her usual BFF bash, she wants to have a Mother Daughter dinner this year.  Don’t even get me started about having the mothers of her friends here for dinner, because I am in recovery, damsel-it, and I won’t go there.

Meanwhile, Pastor is about to wrap his message on the difference between sharing Jesus and talking about Jesus, and he reads this quote:

Preach the gospel always, and when absolutely necessary, use words.

—   St. Francis of Assisi

And after I say to myself, “God, stop reading my intracranial email!”

I think, yeah, this is why I came today, to be reminded of this one sentence.

So, here’s how The Mamma plans to operationally implement St. Francis of Assisi:

  1. Make my Sunday to-do list before church each Sunday.
  2. Ask forgiveness as soon as I first realize I have trespassed against someone.  (Like today in church was the first time I had considered that maybe I owed the party an apology… Please!)
  3. Wait for Meet & Greet time to reunite with friends.
  4. Keep up with school emails and/or delete all by Saturday night.
  5. While I’m at it, keep the Sabbath, and commit to a no homework policy on Sundays unless it cannot be avoided.  (Let’s all agree, it could have been avoided in this case.)
  6. Actively choose the life I live.  No one who knows The Mamma thinks that she would host that dinner for The Middle Girl if she didn’t secretly want to thrill and delight her daughter with the experience.  Own your choices, Mamma!

Lather, rinse, repeat, and now, generalize!

Get out of your own selfish, self-absorbed head.

Oh, and call your mother, carry a meal, take on someone else’s burden, and when in doubt, shut up and do good… metacognitively and verbally!

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!


Starbuck Siren

Posted by jael on Jan 5, 2011 in Business, Education, Spiritual Journey, Technology

Greek mythology teaches us that the Sirens are mythical creatures with the head of a woman and the body of a bird.  Native to Sirenum scopuli; three small rocky islands, they lured mariners to their watery graves with their seductive melodies of their irresistable songs.


In the Odyssey, the Argonauts were able to dodge the sinister song of the sirens because their dude, Orpheus, recognized their predicament in time to pull out his lyre and sing his own Hallujah clearly and loudly enough that it drown out the sirens’ sexy and deadly tunes.  A bit of a maverick, Orpheus was clever enough to travel to the underworld and return.  A classic epic-hero-kind-of-guy, Orpheus travelled to hell and back in a bold attempt to rescue his wife, and knew how to weave and dodge.  In another trek close to the sirens’ island, for example, Orpheus instructed sailors to stuff wax in their ears to secure their safe passage.  Orpheus himself, however, had an appetite both for the sirens’ voices and their wisdom.  Lore told that sirens would impart mysteries to each soul that came close to them, a sagacity that quickened the spirit and mind.  He wanted him a double scoop of those goodies, so he ordered the crew to tie him to the mast such that he could hear their beautiful songs without willingly throwing himself forfeit to their fiendish hymns.

Now I am going to tell you something that might seem totally unrelated.

Don’t say, “Again?”  I can hear you when you say that.

CNN reported today that Starbucks has changed their logo.

For those of you that don’t know, I am a Starbucks girl.  If you don’t know my regular order by now, well, I guess you don’t really love me.  I think the only legal tender could be Starbucks gift cards.  The only way to gift a better experience is to give a Barnes & Noble gift card… books and beans, Baby.  Shaky Zen, and you know I love me the juxtaposition of trying to meditate with the quad pump shakes.

As you can see below, the use of the Starbucks Siren has evolved since 1971.  Clearly, the Siren was a somewhat closeted figure, and come 2011, Starbucks is all done with their Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policies.

Starbucks unveils new logo

I began with a brief overview of Siren lore for a purpose, People.  Let’s recall that Sirens are like mythological serial killers.  Before there was ever a CSI crime lab, these seductresses stole the lives of innocent sailors for seeming sport.  As much of a Starbucks fan as I am, I still gotta wonder how this murderess became a coffee selling icon.  Does the coffee lure innocent people to spend ridiculous amounts of money for an addictive drug and smash their financial peace on the rocks of their corporate island?

Or is the swift and heroic Starbucks consumer like Orpheus?  Will the go-juice administered by a friendly barista imbue nuance to aid our recognition of predicaments?  Will a venti skim quad shot no-whip Mocha stimulate in us enough acuity to prompt when to pull out our lyres and sing our own Hallelujahs clearly and loudly enough that it drowns out the sexy and deadly tunes of the world?  A bit sleep deprived and overworked, is the Starbucks consumer instantaneously transformed like Superman in a phone booth to become clever enough to travel to hell and back and return?

As delicious as are their $12 scones, and really if you have tasted the raspberry, I know you will back me up on this, does any modern day consumer have a yen for the sirens’ voices and their wisdom?  Lore notwithstanding, we’ve got Google to impart mysteries to souls that draw nigh.  Google sagacity quickens the spirit and mind… Do you know how big a google is?  It’s a big number.  I already got broadband, of course I want a double scoop of those goodies.  I order coffee so I am awake enough NOT to willingly throw myself forfeit to fiendish hymns.

I love Starbucks, but consider tea as I reflect.  Is it the product or the allure that sings the Siren’s song?

Yeah, I admit it, the wench can sing, but I think she looks better from the closet after I’ve had a cup of coffee.

And even though
It all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah!


2010 Take-Aways

Posted by jael on Dec 31, 2010 in Education, Parenting, Spiritual Journey

Along with lists and count-downs, (See Banned Phrases…) New Year’s is infamous for inventories.   We have been socialized to reflect, resolve and redefine ourselves with each New Year.  The number one New Year’s Resolution is to lose weight/exercise more.  After the food-glut highway between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, many of us gain up to 15 pounds, and it makes sense that getting our diets under control will safeguard our health and finances in the long run.  (Who has money to keep buying clothes in bigger sizes?)  Smoking cessation is another common New Year’s resolution.

I appreciate resolutions.  I am all about calls for personal growth or improvement, and have made New Year’s resolutions in the past.  This year, however, I am most clear on what I take away from the previous year, rather than what I hope to do differently.  I feel like I have finally learned some personal and precious truths and that it is time for me to now apply them in the year ahead.

As dysfunctional as it sounds, let me own my behavior and admit that I was at Barnes & Noble three days ago in the Self-Help section doing some reading about a topic for a friend.  Before there was Doctor Internet, there was Psychology and its scared text, the DSM IV Revised with which the somatic could self-diagnose.   Believe me or not, I really was in that aisle on behalf of a friend, however, while there, I read one of the most liberating sentences I had encountered all year.  While scanning an overview on a particular illness, I read, “…in many cases by ones mid 30s to early 40s, people mature out of this disorder.”

It was as if I heard the tumblers of a safe unlock.  My toes clenched so hard that I rocked on the back of my heels to keep my balance.  I could smell the fresh-baked cookies from the café as my thoughts turned to Praise.

In one sentence, presumably researching on behalf of someone else, I read the tag-line of my biggest take away of the year:  You can heal without even realizing you’re better.  The hope of it still delivers enough visceral impact to make me shiver as I type and my breath has become more shallow.  The very antithesis of despair, this idea asserts that sought growth may be incremental and subtle enough that it occurs beyond recognition.  That which you once were fades like blue jeans into a new pair of pants through good care and use.

I am in love with this sentence and transfixed by the idea.

From 2010, I take away the realization that I have matured out of at least one of my disorders.  My hallelujah is clinically less broken.  Sure, I still have plenty of work to do on my issue model, but I am certain that Love wins.

Effort matters.

Prayer heals.

God reigns.

On New Year’s past, I have weighed more and less than I do now.  I’ve been actively working out and never near the gym.  I’ve lived inside and outside of abuse.  I’ve hoped and bargained.  What is different this year is subtle, but distinct.  I have chosen to rise up and lift my voice in Praise.  I dwell in possibilities more often than I rehearse anger.  My incomplete and insecure Surrender has been matched by infinite Grace.

I Believe.

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!


List of Phrases Banished from The Family’s English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness for 2011

Posted by jael on Dec 31, 2010 in Education, Parenting, Spiritual Journey, Technology

Today is a day of many lists.  We’ve heard the count down of the Top 100 songs on the radio on the way to the mall for the biggest sale of the season, and tonight they will drop the ball in NYC.

One of our family favs is the list of banished words.  This year’s list includes several technology terms like “viral,” and “Google,” as well as “Facebook,” as verbs.  A couple of nuggets from Sarah Palin made the list like, “refudiate,” and “Mamma Grizzlies.” I won’t miss, “I’m just sayin,” also listed, but will grieve, “epic.”  The list is compiled using public input on words that are regarded as “so over,” (BANNED) from mis-use, over-use or uselessness.

Our family comprised our own List of Phrases Banished from the Family’s English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness.

From The Children:

“It’s gonna be a big day.”

“Don’t forget to set your alarm.”

“You got this one wrong.”

“That was due today?”

“It’s due tomorrow.”

“Sectionals are today.”

“Get out your planner.”

“Quality work matters.”

“Time for bed.”

“Have you played your violin?”

“Whose turn is it to do the litter box?”

“No, no, not like that, like this…”

“Are you paying attention?”

“How long have you been on the computer?”


“Should you be eating that with those braces?”

“When is that due?”

“Be careful.”

“Do you hear me?”

“Do you understand me?”

“What did you say?”

“No means no.”

“What is the problem?”

Anything that begins, “How many times have I told you…,” “Did you remember to…”  “Don’t tell me…” “Don’t forget…,” or “What did I say about…”

From the Parents:

“My bed is wet.”

“Can I go?”

“It wasn’t me.”

“No I didn’t.”

“My soccer game is at 9:00 a.m.”

“The cat puked again.”

“She won’t clean up.”

“I didn’t know.”

“There’s a dance Friday night.”

<At any meal> “I don’t like it.”

Anything that begins, “I forgot..,” “It’s due tomorrow…,” “I got assigned a long term project today…,” “Can I invite…”

Though the words vary, I think our family is in consensus on it’s more fun to play and eat ice cream than do homework or chores in 2010.

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!


Facebook Tag Sends Pic of 12 Year-Old Granddaughter French Kissing to Grandparents & Family

Posted by jael on Dec 28, 2010 in Education, Parenting, Spiritual Journey, Technology

There are many firsts that young mothers compare over playdates or in phone calls to their BFFs.  First through the night sleep, first time sitting up, first time crawling, first steps, first day of kindergarten.  It goes on and on across generations and time like the tide.

There are other unpublished firsts that rarely make the coffee date agenda or conference call.  Unpublished, that was, until Facebook.

So, you know how you don’t usually get the low down on the first time your brother’s daughter French kisses a boy?  Never fear!  Facebook is here.

Thanks to the lesser touted and more pernicious gifts of modern technology, if your niece French kisses a boy, at say, a school event, or even better, a party she is not even supposed to be at, and her BFF catches all of it on her smartphone, then a complete stranger can post it on her Facebook account, tag your niece, and you, your parents, all of your niece’s friends, and even the tech savvy grandparents, who only have accounts so they can keep in touch with the grandkids, will have those juicy pics waiting for view the next time they sign on to Facebook.



Both taboo firsts happened in my family today.

Call me conservative, but I think 12 is way too young for French Kissing.  And now, there it is, her premature choice available for family viewing and commentary.  Sadly, I think the family might be less kind an audience to the choice than her middle school brethren.

Not that I’ve talked to any of them about it… It’s not like I got a handbook on how to navigate sticky familial technology outings…

I am, however, smart enough not to call my brother to discuss it.

I also showed it to my kids.


Not in a snotty, ha-ha, look what happened to her way.

There-but-for-the-Grace-of-God-go-you-and-I was more the touch and feel of that discussion.  My children adore our niece.  They were shocked that she would kiss a boy, her friend would post it, and that such private pictures of her could show up in their father’s, uncle’s, grandfathers’ feed.

Moments that used to be secret diary scribbles, are now irretrievable public data.  Once it’s out there, it’s out there, Baby.

Great pic for potential internship review committee members to sweep during all too typical applicant social-networking audits.

And don’t miss the point that the girl in the pics is 12.  You have to be 13 to even have a Facebook account.  It is widely known that kids just lie about their birthdays to get accounts as early as 8 and 9.

Facebook bit my family back today.

Think about your kids’ access, so the next time you log on to your account, you don’t see something like this:

About Me                 Child Youknow Personally

Basic Info
Sex: Female
Birthday: April 1, 1998

Parents: Dead to me.
Siblings: none
Relationship Status: Hungry

Interested In: Men
Looking For: A Hook Up

Current City: Miami, FL
Hometown: Las Vegas. NV

Favorite Quotations “Be Who Yu Are,, And Not Who Others Want Yu Too Be”… “If I Could Choose between Breathing And Loveing Yu , I Would Choose My Last Breathe To Say I Love Yu”…. “What Hurts The Most Is Being So Close”

Texting, Hanging Out With Friends, Dancing, Singing, Color, Shopping, Traveling, Talking to Friends, Chillin’ with any of my friends, Xbox 360, Laptop, Eyelinger, Phone

Music Never Shout Never, Drake, Micheal Buble, B o N, Big Time Rush, Lil Wayne, Owl City, Michael Jackson, Travie McCoy, 3OH!3, Justin Bieber, Randomly singing lyrics that fit what someone has just said, Hearing part of a song and thinking, “That’s going to be my next status,” I Like All Genres of Music, Cash Money and 55 more

Movies Toy Story, The Blind Side, I Shall Call Him Squishy, and he shall be mine,      and he shall be my Squishy…, The Hurt Locker, Easy A, Disney, Buddy the Elf, Finding Nemo, Disney Pixar, Paranormal Activity, Step Brothers, Official Vampire Suck Movie, Harry Potter, Are we Done Yet? and 4 more

Television MTV’s 16 and Pregnant, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Ghost Whisperer, Make It or Break It, Teen Mom, Jersy Shore, My Life As Liz, “I HOPE YOU GO BALD!” “I HOPE THEY CANCEL OPRAH!”   “YOU TAKE THAT BACK!!!” Spongebob’s face when he figured out Squidward likes Krabby Patties, Miley, don’t you know your party in the USA can’t start until KeSha walks in?, So You Think You Can Dance, Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory, Rob & Big, Jershey Shore and 25 more

And even though
It all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah!


Reasons A Mamma May Be Forgetful

Posted by jael on Dec 26, 2010 in Education, Parenting, Spiritual Journey

It is common for mothers, even those under the age of 30, to be forgetful. While it may feel like you have Alzheimer’s at this young age, it is more likely that there are other reasons that affect your memory.  Before you fret that you  have actually lost your mind, consider these triggers associated with forgetfulness.


Need I say more?  We color-code family calendars.  We put post-its on the front door.  We jot notes in Sharpie on our wrists so that we see them when we drive (a great way NOT to forget to pick-up a kiddo at location other than the usual carpool time or place), our phones beep reminders at us, and we can’t make an appointment for a pap smear unless we have our kid’s soccer schedule posted by time and field.   These examples show two things… we are busier than we probably should be, and, nonetheless, we get even busier trying to implement strategies to get ‘ir done.  Such constraints lead to stress.  We all know that stress wrecks havoc on the body, but it can do a big number on the mind as well.  Memory is a prime target for stress.  The basic formula is the more stress we are under, the more we may be forgetful.

Reasons You May Be Forgetful at a Young Age – Holiday Problems

Holiday disorders, such as hyper-cookie-consumptionism and hypoensitivity to dietary cues that inhibit compulsive eating, have been known to affect one’s memory. If you have a family member with is known to have binged on Sweedish cookies, especially during the Thanksgiving to Christmas corridor, then there is a good chance that you may have or develop it yourself.  A logical question is to ask how excessive cookie ingestion can cause memory issues.  This becomes crystal clear when you stand in the middle of your own kitchen dressed only in a thong, at 1:27 a.m., with a tuperware full of sugar cookies in your hands, and you’re mindlessly eating them one after the other while shopping Ebay for black velvet paintings of crying clowns.   The brain is kind, people, there are things that are simply too traumatic to remember.  Furthermore, who wants to remember that as the cause for having to go up a pants size in January?  Life is hard enough getting the kids back into the routine of school and practices, let alone being held hostage to such unwelcome memories.  In order to experience the best memory that you can if you have a hyper-cookie-consumptionism or hypoensitivity to dietary cues problem, you may need see a doctor or nutritionist for necessary medications or treatment protocols.  Then again, you could just STEP AWAY FROM THE COOKIES.

Reasons You May Be Forgetful at a Young Age – A Lack of Sleep

A lack of sleep is known to cause forgetfulness. However, this cycles us back to stress, as many people often find they lose sleep when they are stressed. When we are tired, we often do not think clearly and make irrational decisions like eating cookies in the middle of the night in our underwear.  It’s not that we would not prefer to sleep, it’s simply that we have too much to do, not, however that we can remember what that is so we color-code family calendars.  We put post-its on the front door.  Wait a minute, did I already say that?

Reasons You Shouldn’t Worry If You Are Be Forgetful at a Young Age

1.  If we can’t do any more than we are doing, our best has to be good enough.

2.  Cookies are yummy.

3.  We can’t afford to lose anymore sleep.

The season of raising children is a dense time of saturated experience and emotional intensity.  There is only so much nuance and detail a brain can store without loss of our joy, pace, or humor.  I don’t have to remember how high The Boy’s fever was when he got the H1N1 last year, and we were worried The Oldest Girl might catch it too and impact her heart.  That was a lifetime of fears and tears ago. Some of you remember more along the way as you raise your kids up.  Some of you remember less.  However, what matters is if our children are well and that Love wins.

Realizing that  I get it right more often than I get it wrong isn’t vanity, it’s sanity!

Maybe I’ve 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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