A Seat at the Table

Making Room for Others

 

This started out being honest words from my hurting momma-heart. But then I got distracted and, though my kid’s hurts are still too fresh in my mind, Lent started today. And it really does change my perspective.

So my kid is being ignored at school? Well, Jesus was spat on and beaten… She has been left out by her friends? He died because he wanted to save us. Jesus has a permanent place at the table waiting for us. It’s not dependent on how “good” we’ve been or what Christian boxes we’ve checked off for the day. We have a place because of who he is. Period. I’m so glad it’s not dependent on me!

Why did this hit me hard today? I’ve known it my whole life. And believed it, I think. I confessed it with my mouth but have my actions proved it? When I walk around this world, can you tell I know the most incredible thing that’s ever happened to humanity? When we meet Jesus – like for real- it changes everything!

I’m learning this finally.

My faith journey is changing the way I feel. I’m searching desperately for Jesus. The places I’m finding him are unexpected and beautiful.

From today’s Lenten reading:

“We ache deep within to meaningfully honor Christ’s resurrection. Yet, in practice, this focal point in the liturgical calendar is often a celebration of public holiday more than it is of humanity’s hope. At day’s end, we fall asleep well fed and perhaps event grateful, yet still somehow something short of awed. “

I want to find and cling to awe.

Happy Ash Wednesday and first day of lent. I’m praying this season changes everything for us.

(For the 3rd year, I’m reading Alicia Britt Chile’s book “40 Days I’d Decrease”. Today something new jumped off the page. Each year I see something I missed the year before. You can go here or here and read some of my thoughts from the last couple of years.)

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Faith and Nihilism

I met a nihilist today. Well, word press knows what that word is but I have never heard that word before my life.

Nihilism vs. Faith

It was fascinating to me to hear about something different than atheism. My brain cannot wrap around how someone from a religious background (and a pastor’s kid) can get to a point where he believes in nothing. He believes you live, you die, that’s it. It feels so hopeless.

He was just one more example of how we as a church have failed people miserably.

Miserably.

The world is so broken.

I talked to this young man for just a few minutes. But I cannot get his words out of my head. He loved God and the church (although he didn’t know what religion he grew up in). (Which is neither here nor there. It’s either Jesus or it’s not. Religion just muddies the conversation.)

He said when he was in high school and trying to figure out what he believed in what he wanted to do as an adult, the lead pastor of the church they attended was caught up in a “swingers ring” and it was crazy. The church failed this young man. In all of our religious arrogance, we forgot to love people and to show them who Jesus really was and what Jesus really thought.

I believe Jesus would’ve been hanging out in the tattoo parlor with me and would have been fascinated with this young man story but brokenhearted for what he had to say.

This is the root of the deconstruction of my faith.

I wonder how Jesus could love people so completely and we (church) could show it so poorly. So the deconstruction of my faith started with trying to figure out exactly who this Jesus figure was.

I believe in Jesus.

Don’t get me wrong this deconstruction of my faith really has nothing to do with who Jesus is to me. (So maybe deconstruction of faith is not the right terminology.) But I do know that we’re doing something wrong as a church.

I don’t want to be involved in whatever this man-made religion and rule led, performance based church that we created. I don’t want to be labeled and put in a box of people that really do a really good job going to church, reading their Bible and dressing well on Sundays. I don’t want to have anything to do with making sure that my faith is all about checking boxes and all about making sure that I’m doing what I’m “supposed” to do.

I want my faith to be an outpouring of who the person of Jesus actually was. When Jesus was here on earth, he fought with religious people. The people that he was angry with and followed tables at were religious people. Jesus enjoyed walking around and making jokes and experiencing creation.

He was the perfect human. After Adam and Eve, sin entered the world. And then nothing was right. Sin messed everything up. And then Jesus came to earth perfect. He was perfection. He laughed with his disciples. And he got angry at religious people that made up stuff to make themselves look better. He drank wine with people that the religious elite didn’t want to have anything to do with.

That’s the Jesus that I want to serve.

The Jesus that likes to sit back, tell a good joke and enjoy people. The Jesus that touches someone and completely changes their life. Jesus who came to earth to restore relationship with God because he desperately wanted a relationship with me and you. That’s the Jesus that I’m searching for!

I want my religion, my faith, (or whatever its labeled) to pour into people around me. I want the Jesus who completely change people’s lives in a conversation to be the Jesus people feel and want to get to know because of who I am.

So that’s why my goal is to love like breathing. I want to love people so well and so easily it is like taking a breath.

I’m going to go back to talk to my nihilist friend. I have no desire to make him change his mind. It is not my desire or job to force my faith on him. But if I can have a good conversation with him and maybe he sees a glimpse of who the authentic Jesus. Not the Jesus that the swinger pastor taught him about or the religion that the swinger pastor made him think he needed to believe and check boxes to saved. Not that!

I just want to have a conversation with a really cool tattooed guy and see where it goes. And really love like breathing…wonder where this journey will take me next?

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Celebrating The Mother-Hood

Welcome to the New Year. So what if I’m a week late, that’s how long it took to find the “word” for the year and find the right words to kick off the new year.

Last year, my word was SPACE. You can read last year’s post here. Space became a very real concept for me. I spent time clearing out some space in my head and in my life. It morphed into more that I would have guessed.

The space became sacred. I spent the year saying no and walking away. I spent the year investing in people that fed my soul and healed my hurting heart. The space felt pretty empty many times. It sometimes felt lonely in a room full of people.

Because of the space and the big changes that felt necessary, I had to let some dust settle and the feelings to figure out what they were…. feeling. I stopped talking because I was not in a good space for sharing. I hid a little and invested in me time. On the other side of it, I feel a little numb and vulnerable. But the vulnerability found community.

Let’s talk about community. I think this will be my word for 2018. Maybe… I’m still not quite sure. The concept of community can be daunting for introverts. Even the high-functioning ones. But community is so important. Big or small. I need others around me to bounce off ideas and hear a “me too” when my kids are driving me crazy.

Community… or maybe a Mother-Hood!

We are going to celebrate here. Together.

We will talk about faith, deconstruction of faith, and figure out what’s on the other side of it. We will talk about community and how it is different for every one. We will talk about hard stuff because sometimes the talking can heal hurting. We will spotlight some of my tribe and some of my community mothers.

Basically, we will talk. Or I’ll type and you’ll reply and share. We are in this together.

Talk to you soon!

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Back to Real

I escaped this weekend for 17 hours.

I spent the evening with someone who loves me for me and she knows me better that almost anyone. She still let me talk and stayed up too late being my friend.

I spent the morning reading with this view. I came home okay with me. Okay with this season I find myself in.

Then I was exposed to people and all the insecurities jumped to the front of the line and I was left with the same defeat I have felt too often.

I’m certain there’s something broken in my way of thinking and analyzing right now. I’m certain it’s not as awful as it feels and you would find my hurts laughable.

I’m also certain I’m not alone. I know that our social media saturated world keeps us from being real and identifying real hurt and loneliness.

The seasons of life we gets caught up in are too often difficult and isolating. But we are all experiencing similar seasons. If we stopped and looked, we could throw out a “me too” more often than not.

We aren’t looking for help or advice on how to move through it, we just want a “me too”.

So I’m starting a series of posts about all the funk I’m fighting because I’m not shaking it as easily as I usually do.

My personality is bent toward the ho-Hums and narrow minded loneliness. I know that’s how I work and that it’s cyclical and that the loss of Summer should take some blame.

This series isn’t about you helping me. Or calling me out in a message about “all I have to be thankful for”… if that’s your response, these words aren’t for your heart.

These words are for you, friend. As you stare at your hand or at your screen and scroll through the beautiful pictures of everyone else having fun and friends….thinking you never get invited or never have good things to post…. these are your words.

This is my “me too” to you.

We are gonna work through this together. Coming out of the other side of this season ready and equipped for the next one. I don’t know what it’s gonna look like, but you should join me if only so I get a “me too”.

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A Love Letter to Hormones


These sweet babies are heading back to school on Monday. They will be in the same school again. I am so excited about this next step and our official entrance into “Middle” years. As much fun as they can be, this part of the journey is fraught with emotions that are new and weird.

We are blaming hormones!

I decided to start this new season with an honest love letter to hormones…

Click here to read the post on East Texas Moms Blog.

Happy School year to you and your babies.

 

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For the love of Baseball

I love baseball.

I love playing (softball) and watching and hearing and cheering. My love for the game started early in life. Growing up we lived about an hour from Rangers stadium and went to several games. My family was at the game when Nolan Ryan threw his 5000th strikeout. That kind of game and excitement will help you fall in love with any game.

I love the peanuts and the crackerjacks! (Honestly all concession stand food!)

In high school, I was a baseball groupie. Knowing the players, watching and cheering for my friends… all of it solidified my love for the game!

I'm lovethat my boy loves to play.

I love the high and tight haircuts.

I love the pop-flys.

And the concessions.

For most of my life I have spent time at a ball field-playing slow pitch and watch the boys! You learn lessons on the field that you won't get anywhere else.

Throwing the ball will relieve stress and help you bond with your kid.

All you need is a ball and a glove.

Take me out to the ball game any day! I'm ready.

Bull Moose is one of the mascots for the Frisco Rough Riders. If you want to watch a ball game, enjoy a hot dog, and pay about $25 for a ticket that's 15 rows from the dugout and includes all you can eat hot dogs and drinks…. check them out!

Click here for the schedule.

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Friends in all places

Today my dear friend turns 39. She is brilliant and creative and has experienced life very differently than I have. Twenty-eight months ago, 40 months from her 40th birthday, she began planning for something amazing. She set aside $40 every month to save for her 40th birthday trip. Who thinks of something so cool?

True friends will save your life when you feel like your losing it….mentally, spiritually, figuratively, and for-real-sy.

I am honored to have a few people call me friend. You know it’s a real friend when they remember your birthday (not because Facebook reminded them), when they have a great story about the thing that happened that one time, and when they can show up unannounced at just the right time.

Here are a few of my “keepers”. I hope to be the type of friend that is documented and beloved so I wanted to tell you about mine.

August 2 marks one friend’s birthday. This friend has traveled the world. She has spent time on different continents. She has experienced heartache that is unmatched by any of my life experiences. Her faith has been challenged and changed. My life is better because of her lasting friendship. She called me from another continent after my wedding to talk to me (delayed) and check in. This chick showed up at my house when my first kid was six weeks old and held him like she truly loved him. She is strong and fierce. Her value system is set in stone because of the trials she’s trudged through. I am honored to be her friend.

June 7th is celebrated by another friend. This woman held my hand as I tripped through my early 20’s and entered my prodigal season. She saw me for who I was and wanted to be even when I couldn’t quite figure it out. Our paths have crossed and separated. She continues to be someone I touch base with (Words with Friends counts, right?). If I ever get to hear her voice or see her face, it feels that no time has passed. She is and will forever and always be the one that held my hand so tightly when I wanted to let go.

February 28th is at the end of the month, so this friend celebrates all month long…and has for the 20 years I have been honored to know her. We met because she liked that I wore hats. She stayed because I was heartbroken and had absolutely no one in my corner. Every story from fall of 1995 to spring 1997 includes this woman. Even if she wasn’t present for the actual event, my mind inserts her into the story. I slept on her couch after a week of friendship and know that I could sleep there again if I ever needed to. Her life has dealt her some tricky cards including a few jokers but she is facing new challenges like a champ. Her dedication to life and her boys is unmatched and heroic.

October 9. Since I was 11 years old, I have celebrated this birthday. I remember the first time I saw her and thought she was really cool. So for 30 years this incredible woman has been my friend. Even during the prodigal season when I was running and tripping into life, she stayed with me, kept up with me, prayed and loved me well. She pops up at just the right times and continues to bless me with her friendship. For years I have wondered why on earth she would be my friend. I’m very thankful she is more confident in who I am than I am.

December 15th. Just when you’re getting the last of your Christmas shopping done, this friend celebrates her day. This friendship is sporadic and mostly via text. She’s snarky and fun. She sees life black and white. She is brilliant. Keeping up with her intellect is exhausting. She’s an entrepreneur, a teacher, a mother, and a fantastic friend. When she lived close to me, our seasons were mismatched and we weren’t able to find friendship easily. Now that she lives far away from me, I can send a random text and be confident she will be there with a sarcastic response or wise words.

July 15 passes by without me noticing. I found this friend’s birthday on Facebook for this post. Here’s why she makes the list. When my dad first got sick and my life first started falling apart, I found her. She was the person that reached down to me and hauled me out of my prodigal season. She showed me how to mother and wife and church-go without being hypocritical or superior. She loves well and forgets dates. She thrives in chaos when I list-make to survive. She has SO MANY CHILDREN and loves each maniac like a boss. Her life and mine no longer interact but her grip on my hand has never faltered. She believes in me more than I believe in myself and is an ever present reminder that my strife for perfection isn’t necessary beacuse who I am is really okay.

November 15. I have only celebrated with her a few times. But once “July” pulled me from the pits and gave me steady ground, this friend showed me what it looks like to have a dear friend (and group of friends…Holla!). She has similar interests to me. She loves the same music from the past to the present. Her daughter’s friendship with Katelynn has sustained us this summer. She is my adult friend. The one that liked me for who I am now, not because she’s been my friend forever. I treasure her more than she knows.

The beauty of stopping to write all this down is that I have so many more friends that have come to mind. So many more that I want to tell you about. When I starting working on this post, I had two to tell you about. Now there are SEVEN with so many more on the list.

The “secret agent”….the sister….the college roommate….the sisters-in-law….the teacher….the activist….the christian…the atheist….the author….the seller….the boss.

If you’ve met me in real life, it’s quite possible I have told you that I don’t have any friends. It‘s how I feel most days. For years this loneliness plagued me but as I spent the last year analyzing all of who I am, I realized that maybe my friends aren’t right here because there in all kinds of places.

Who is on your list?

    

 

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Letter to my children: Tween to Teen

Each month I'm supposed to write a letter to my kids and share for a blog circle… Let's not talk about all the recent months I have skipped and focus on this one. When you get finished ready (and enjoying) my post, click the link to hop over to Angela's blog. Follow the circle until you get back here. 

Michael and Katelynn,

First of all, I love you fiercely. This summer has felt full (even if you swear we haven't done "anything fun" and were expecting an "extravagant" summer.) Whatev's! We have been around Texas and in a couple of states. We swam and played and made so much slime. We partied for the birthdays and spent extra time with our cousins. We have had fun. I think we have had fun. You seem to be smiling in a lot of pictures even if you claim that there has been no fun this summer… I'm sorry if you hate that I work…. me too. Except that I don't. I like working and feeling like a grown up. I like the independence that I feel when I go to work and produce. Don't get me wrong, I would love to stay home, but we all know that I would be grouchy and you would be ready for school to start. (Here's proof from the last time we were home together too much…)

Beautiful Katelynn, pre-teen sure does look good on you.

Gone are the days of Elementary school. I can not wait to watch you bloom when you start middle school. And even though you want to be so grown, I have to remind myself that you are only 11 and not quite a teenager. It's not fair for me to hold you to the same standards that I have set for Michael. Thank you for handling this summer gracefully and emotionally. Getting you a phone at the beginning of the summer was such a good idea. You are creative with your phone and communicate so much with it! (Some would say too much…)  Thank you for being my girl and for always having my back. Thank you for knowing just when I need a hug and a reminder that boys can be dumb sometimes. We have one more month of school…I'll work on making it extravagant!  - Love you too the moon and back!

(She sings and dance in the rain. He practices driving my car in the driveway.)

            

My dearest Michael…. 13? What in the world? 

How did this happen? I can not believe that you are 13 and going into the 8th grade. It floors me. This has been quite a summer for you. Besides fully embracing teenage-hood by staying up late, being a little hyper, and sleeping until noon, we have traveled! I will always be thankful to you for going to New York with me. I will forever remember what we experienced on the trip. These are memories for me that I will cling to!

Being a teenager is going to be a snap for you. You're smart, kind, funny, appropriately inappropriate, and handsome (even with the Jew Fro). Since we have the first year of school sports behind us and I know what to expect, I'm really excited to watch you and your friends play this year. I'm really excited to see how much cooler you get between now and next summer.

Here's just a couple of things I want to tell you… Answer your phone when I call. I need an appropriate text response to a question…"K" doesn't cut it when I gave you an either/or question.

Thank you for loving me so well. Thank you for picking and laughing. Thank you for being pretty cool and for the minimal eye-rolling. -I love you more…

Click here to follow the blog circle. Be inspired by these incredible women that document their children's lives… Maybe you could write a letter too!

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Countdown to the big 4-0!

In 13 days I will be 40. I wanted this year to be extravagant. Or at least not the same as always. I purposefully opened my eyes to my failures and what makes me tick.

I’m lazy and entitled.

I’m not a goal setter.

I’m a trend follower.

I’m a kindle reader that collects self-help and Christian authored books.

So, to celebrate the last remaining days of my 30s, I decided to really write. I love writing. If I could be paid by letter (and backspace), I’d be rich. Instead, I’ll stay middle class and share with you each day a little about what I’ve figured out/identified/enjoyed. I’ve failed at “Write 30 Days” already, so I’m halving it and taking away 2….

First off, I had to start with my letter to my children. It’s a post I should write every month but I rarely make the time to do. It is posted here. I don’t think I give my kids enough credit for having to live with me. My letters to them make me stop and appreciate where we are and what we have worked through. I need something to make me stop and see life as it flies by. These letters serve that purpose for me.

My dream is that Michael and Katelynn will go back and read these during those years they are no longer living with me. Maybe it will help Katelynn survive having her own mini-me when she reads my struggles. Or maybe she can read it and be reminded just how much I really love her. My kids are by far my greatest accomplishment and I’m only about half-way through. 

However they use the letters, it will make me happy. Because at least someone will be reading my words.

 

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I’m ruining my kids’ summer on purpose 

During the school year: They are making memories that doesn’t include me. Experiencing joys and hurts that don’t involve me. They don’t want my help but sometimes need it desperately. 

First day of summer: They are bored. And can’t play with others (sibling counts as an other, right?). They have grand ideas from YouTube but need my help to implement. 

I’m already tired. 

We are taking away electronics this summer. Not all the time, but mostly. I want them to be inventive and creative and find fun. Right now they are needy, YouTube watching zombies. It’s annoying but I created these monsters. It seems appropriate that I break them. 

I’ll be here telling you what a terrible idea it is each day they fight and argue and are bored. My hope is that June’s boredom will turn to a strong creative summer finish. 

Today’s start:


So far… it’s not fast enough and there’s not enough water. 

The solution was easy:

“Figure it out… its water and a slip-n-slide. I can’t help you with your first world problem.” 

Happy summer! 

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