Friday, July 30, 2004


I can almost remember a time in my life when I thought depression was a feeling.  That it was being sad all the time.  Not wanting to smile, crying a lot, acting, well, depressed.  I know better now.  There are certainly times when depression manifests that way for me, but usually that is not the case.  It would be easier by far if it were.  Then I'd have a few days of sobbing a lot, and I'd clue in pretty quickly to what was going on.  I should clue in to what is going on- I've been dealing with this for over a decade.  But it takes weeks, usually, before I realize it.

For me, depression is more like inertia.  First I just get tired, and maybe irritable.  I start snapping at stupid things, yelling at the kids and Jeff, feeling absolutely unable to drag my ass out of bed in the morning.  I start staying up later, because I really need some time alone, which obviously doesn't help the tiredness.  And slowly, so slowly I can't even tell till it's really taken hold, all the joy and life just drains right out of me and I end up sleepwalking through my life.  When I'm really depressed, I actually cry less, because strong emotion is something I can't access easily.  I become a completely cerebral and selfish creature, living only in my mind, which chases its tail endlessly, and existing only to serve my needs, which are mainly to sleep and find excuses to not show up for my life.  Now I know that on some level, this is just basic necessity- I'm too sick to live, so I just function until I get a bit better.  But I also know that I don't have the luxury of withdrawing completely.  I have a family, kids, friends, and a husband who need me.  And I know that my withdrawal does not serve the cause of health.  I can only get better by letting people help me.  Yuck.  Have I talked about how I hate needing help?

So thank you, all of you, who have been here, bearing witness, standing with me and standing for me.   Thank you Anj, for helping me see that this is a chance to give a gift to my children, who can learn that it's ok to have problems and not hide them.  I fear their pain at seeing me in need, especially my oldest, but I am starting to feel that God wants me to allow them to minister to me.  Thank you Sarah for coming over so many times these past few weeks, even though it's a long drive and I can't just hang out when you're here.  Thank you Rachel.  Thank you KP.  And thank you all the women (well, mostly women) whose words I read today and came away feeling a bit encouraged and a lot less alone.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Not now...

So I was reading this book tonight, and there was an exercise in it- the instructions were to tune in to your heart, get a feel for what was going on there, and what things felt like, how they looked, smelled, whatever.

Mine feels insulated.  The first thing I thought of was that it was wrapped in some kind of styrofoam-y packing stuff (not the peanuts, but the kind that's sort of like a sticky sheet- ya know?).  So I decided I'd better "unwrap" it and find out if there was a reason for the padding, and what was going on underneath it.  It's not in good shape.  Purple was the first impression I got.  Bruised.  And bleeding, although from a lot of little wounds rather than one big one.  Which just confirms the realization I've been struggling with for a few days now.  I'm depressed again.  I should have clued in when I started staying up till 3 or 4 in the morning, having trouble sleeping, not wanting to eat, not doing housework...somehow it didn't click.  It's been a month since this started.  What I fail to understand is how someone so internally preoccupied could miss something like this.

I've kind of been on the run from it, I guess.  Refusing to confront it, because being depressed is a damn scary thing when you have three little lives who are dependent on you for most of their basic needs.  They need a mommy who feels like cooking and cleaning; changing their diapers and reading them stories.  Not a mommy who wants to curl up in bed and cry for a while, then sleep for days.  I don't want to be depressed right now.  I don't have time.  But I guess I don't have a choice, either.  And since I don't have the option right now of treating it with therapy or medication, I'll have to do my best to treat it by doing things.  Going through old boxes, organizing pictures, mopping my kitchen floor.  Which sounds about as appealing as dental surgery without anesthesia, honestly. 

In a way, the fact that I have kids right now is a good thing, because I can't become completely preoccupied with my internal life now, when I'm unhealthy.  But in a way, it's not good, because they deserve better than I can give them right now.  They deserve a Mommy who is at the top of her game. 

Monday, July 26, 2004


Ok well, yesterday I promised to get back on here and write about the intentional community meeting Friday night, and tonight I still don't really want to do it.  But I will, because otherwise I'm going to forget everything of value about it.

It started with a train wreck, which people who know us well, know is completely typical of anything we decide to undertake.  I made a dessert, and forgot it.  We also forgot hot dogs to grill, and buns.  Oh, and snacks for the kids.  So we had to stop on the way to buy cookies and hot dogs and buns.  I don't recommend stopping for groceries at 6 pm on a Friday.  The store is, um, kind of busy at that hour. 

So we got there.  Late.  But only by about 10 minutes, which is amazing, since I was sure Jeff had been in the store shopping at least an hour.  We got there, kids got in the pool (and out, and in, and out...), had dinner (fabulous salmon and bread and rice and potatoes and salad).  Had dessert.  Then Carla put in a movie for the kids so we could talk for a while.

She (Carla) said some really nice things about my writing here, which I think I was kind of brusque about- I don't handle praise well.  We talked about parenting, and the book she wrote about it (The Myth Of The Perfect Parent?  forgive me if that's off, and email me so I can fix it!!).  Conversation was kind of all over the place, it had been during dinner as well.  But at one point they started talking about enneagram types and so I got to read a little about those and decide what I was.  My memory for details is crap, I am really straining for more of the stuff we talked about, but all I can think of is my impressions (emotional and intellectual) of the night as a whole.  I knew I should have written this earlier!

It was really amazing, but it's almost impossible to explain with words.  Most everything we did and said was fairly mundane and non-earthshattering, but there was this intangible other in all of it.  I was surprised and delighted by the amount of good-natured teasing, and the complete absence of pretense.  Looking back, I shouldn't have been surprised at all.   There should always be joy in community, or we are doing it wrong!  I hope we get to go a few more times.  I think I am almost going to regret starting a group of our own, because we won't have any of them in it.  It's really tempting to say "forget it" to making our own group and sneakily become permanent (rather than visiting) members of this one.  I'm so lazy! 

I'm still feeling out this bad few days I'm having.  More on that later.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

What possible reason?

Well, I've now gone from being on the verge of tears all the way home last night (and since then) to crying in front of my computer  for no reason I can pin down.  I mean, I cry easily, but rarely without a reason.  Even at my most depressed, I at least have a manufactured reason.  This is a little scary.   Thank goodness Allie is playing with her friends in the yard, so I don't have to try to explain.  Whenever she sees me cry, she tries so hard to cheer me up, that I just cry harder.  And I'm afraid she may take my tears personally, like she's done something wrong.  I don't want her to internalize that message the way I adopted the idea that I was to blame for my parents' anger and bickering and abuse.

Oh God, what is this about? 

enneagram test

Well, here's one from the same site as before.  We were talking about enneagram types tonight, I pegged myself as a type 4, and indeed, that's what I scored as here:

 Conscious self
Overall self
Take Free Enneagram Personality Test

and here:


I had a really, really good time tonight, but for some reason it was also a really emotional experience for me, that's something that needs more processing.  I'll post about it tomorrow.  I should have been in bed hours ago.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Today was a really great day.  I was bummed since Jeff had to leave for work early so that he could meet with Jimmy about coming to see them and the rest of the intentional community group tomorrow night.  But then, I was talking to my buddy Sarah on the phone, and she not only offered to come visit and help me make the dessert I was preparing for tomorrow, but to bring dinner, too!  Wow, I am loved.  It was fun having her here, and I know the kids enjoyed it as much as I did.  She even helped with their baths, which is beyond awesome. 

We are going tomorrow not to join their group, which is kind of at capacity, but to get a feel for what it will be like to start our own.  I guess since we're organizing it, you could kind of call us the "leaders" of the group we're creating.  Which should make things interesting, since I've never led so much as a singalong.  I'm really excited to get to it, but I'm thrilled that Jimmy and Carla are willing to share some of their hard-earned insights with us.  It is nice to not have to be lonely pioneers in this. 

But I must admit to being a weensy bit jealous that Jeff was the one who got to go out for coffee!  I'm sure he's equally jealous that I got takeout for dinner.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

In search of a vocation

listening to: Jeff comforting Allie

I'm titling this one in honor of Jimmy's fantastic blog, and the fact that he asked the other day what those of us reading were in search of.  My sense of calling is currently so ambiguous and elusive that I'm really struggling with the idea of going back to school.  I love school, but with all the difficulties it is going to create having both of us take a full course load, it feels like I should have a clearer purpose for going than "because I like to learn".  Or "because in today's job market it is important to have a college degree".  Gag. 

Then I read Jen's post quoting Thomas Merton

"A man knows when he has found his vocation when he stops thinking about how to live and begins to live. Thus, if one is called to be solitary,he will stop wondering how he is to live and start living peacefully only when he is in solitude. But if one is not called to a solitary life, the more he is alone the more will he worry about living andforget to live..."

It is obvious to me, reading that, that as stubborn an introvert as I am, solitude is not something I am called to.  Solitude allows my obsessiveness and melancholy too much rein.  I feel called to help people, to counsel them, speak words of healing and truth.  To listen to them.  To love them.  That last part, I think, disqualifies me from practicing psychology. 

I feel called to teach.  To communicate my deep sense of the love of God for the least of us, and to help us all develop a way of living in response to that love.  A way of living that communicates the love of God without a sermon, and better than words ever could.  In my experience, learning is a big part of teaching, and I feel called to that too.  I'm not much of a lecturer, though.  I prefer dialogue.  Being the "answer person" tempts me to pride; it also frustrates me.  So I don't see being a teacher as my gig, either.

I like to write, but it is something I cannot do without having events and people to feed the writing.  If I ever write a book, I guarantee you it will be non-fiction.  I love stories, but I can't write them.  So if I write, it will be secondary to my "real" job, and probably arise out of it.

Frederick Buechner said something to the effect that your calling is where the world's deep hunger and your deep gladness meet (forgive me for the paraphrase).  Jeff has had a strong sense of calling to become a pastor for about a decade now.  It's been confirmed by strangers, and as his wife, I've had more chances than most people to see how truly that calling reflects who he is.  What I can't see is my calling.  And people aren't exactly lining up to tell me, either. 

In feeling for the exact shape his calling will take, Jeff has always felt that he would be sort of a sidekick.  In a support role is, I guess, a more positive way of putting it.  In talking about it one night, I joked with him that we could start a church and he could be my second-in-command.  A light went on for him then, and it hasn't shut off since.  He says I am called to shepherd a church.  It is difficult, to put it mildly, for me to even seriously consider this.  The inner voices start clamoring.  "Who am I to-?  What makes me think-?  I'm hardly qualified, as screwed up as I am!"  But there is a small part of me that is excited to even consider it.  "You mean there's a job where I get to counsel, teach, help people, and love them?  This has to be too good to be true."

So I am trying to leave a space for the idea.  Because if he's right, I'd hate to let my insecurities stop me from doing the things I love.

I should have been a dancer!

Here's me dragging my soggy butt out of the water, and Doug laughing at my klutziness. Well, to be fair, he is probably just smiling, not laughing, or maybe he is laughing, but at my idiot decision to wear my shoes and socks in, rather than my complete lack of grace. For crying out loud, I look like I'm about to do that move from Karate Kid!  More pics from the baptism service can be found here and here (the latter has a super-cute photo of my Allie, way down at the bottom). Posted by Hello


If you have some time, I read a really interesting article today on greed.  One of the main thrusts of the arguments the author makes is that we need to reinstate the immoral/sinful nature of greed.  A lot of my pet issues (the prevalent power of commercialism, the unquestioned right of corporations to exercise power while answering only to shareholders) are things he touches on. 

Some highlights:

The evening news systematically distorts normal time. Downtown riots in Seattle are given less than a minute (some of which is the reporter's talking face), shift to shots of a dog frolicking in a fountain, shift to minutes of a freeway chase. The picturesque is pursued, the serious is trivialized.
These are moves in a war against logic. And if you watch television, you are having your thinking disrupted. The busy-ness of rapid shifts of focus, the effervescent color, the edgy, dramatic music, all make it difficult for viewers to build independent ideas.

Make no mistake, this is not an accident.  Television is a phenomenon alien to the human brain, and nothing will ever convince me that it's good for us.  There have been several studies showing that small children (under 3 years) experience changes in the way their brains are wired and developing as a result of viewing television.  Some have hypothesized that TV consumption by the very young may be at least partially responsible for the increasing rates of ADHD and other learning disabilities.  It certainly seems plausible.  What worries me is that kids start watching TV so young now- before they can even distinguish between fantasy and reality, much less understand the morality and underlying assumptions that individual shows promote.  If, as the author asserts, TV viewing makes it difficult to build independent ideas, what are we doing by indoctrinating young kids?  For the record, my kids do watch TV.  More than I'd like.  We steer clear of commercial programs, though. 

What about the churches? Their purpose for existence includes helping the weak and needy. Curious for numbers, I divided the number of homeless (conservatively estimated at 700,000 on any given night, 2 million sometime during the year) by the number of Christian churches. This nation is filled with churches: the World Almanac lists over 330,000 Christian houses of worship (61). If each church took in 6 homeless, there would be no more homelessness. (We are taught that God and money don't mix. But actually the struggle between church and capitalism has always been subtle.)

I wish he went into the church/capitalism relationship more.  This is something I've been pondering for a while.  Most churches I know are at least implicitly pro-capitalism, which I don't see as compatable with a kingdom mindset (although maybe I just haven't heard the right argument yet- I'm willing to acknowledge the possibility, however slight ;o)).  How do we fix this?  The comment that "God and money don't mix"- who has led us to believe that?  Jesus made some pretty harsh statements about money, and his actions don't leave a lot of room for doubt, either (the moneychangers in the temple is what I'm thinking of here).  We need a theology that covers even our money and how we spend it.  

A practical example- can we justify spending an extra couple hundred dollars to buy optional leather seats when we get a car?  Is that what good stewardship looks like?  I have dreamed in the past about starting an intentional community of Christians who own everything in common, who eat together, live together, help each other, and pool their funds...up till now, I've concluded it would never work, because sharing money is pretty foreign to Americans.  We talk a lot about my money, my taxes, my car...what a revolution there would be if we started thinking in terms of God's resources to further God's purposes.


Tuesday, July 20, 2004


listening to: nothing, see below
reading:  Ray Bradbury, Faster Than the Eye
Well, now you have proof that I was not struck by lightning.  No voice out of the heavens either :)  Although as Rachel warned me, that water was pretty cold (by the way, Rachel, if you're reading this, I really wanted to say hi when I saw you there,  but never got a chance).  It would have been a totally perfect day, except that I woke up with a scratchy throat, and since I never, ever  shut up (really!), by the time it was my turn to speak before heading out into the water, I was croaky and unintelligible.  This is a real tragedy, folks!  I can't sing!  Believe me, I've tried.  Well, ok, on the way home from church I did throw in Concrete Blonde, and was amazingly able to sing even the lowest notes of "Joey" (not totally abnormal- I normally fall between mezzo soprano and alto, although that may be hard to believe if you've heard me talk)...but as soon as we hit the chorus, Johnette went for the high notes, whereas my voice cracked, then gave out completely.  It still isn't back.  Thankfully, nothing hurts, I just can't talk.  So tonight I decided not to listen to music, so I wouldn't be tempted to try singing.  Maybe I can pay someone to call Allie every hour or so and remind her that it means I can't read stories either.  Make that every 15 minutes.
My registration hold for school is $10 in library fines.  Huh.  Don't remember any overdue books.  I have some more pretty pictures of the falls and of Doug blessing my kids (don't have the pics of my baptism yet), so I'll post some more over the next few days.  Allie was awfully cute with Doug- she was playing shy.  She wouldn't even say "amen" when he was done blessing her!  Poor girl has a lot of me in her.  I have trouble with even eye contact, unless I'm speaking to a group.  Now tell me that isn't weird- I can't look a server in the eye when I order coffee, but when I'm talking to a bunch of people, it's no problem.  So I'm working on that. 

Doug blessing Allie Posted by Hello

Sunday, July 18, 2004


Over and over as I strive to find my place in this world, I am tempted to kill my heart.  I've done it in the past.  As uncomfortable as the numbness that follows is, it has some distinct advantages over choosing to live fully and love vulnerably.  When I silence the compassion within, I am less apt to cry when I read something like this.  That story broke last year, and it still haunts me.  I can be more gentle and patient with my friends, because inside I am not raging against the things that have hurt them.  I don't get all worked up about kids who are starving or babies who are beaten to death.  I just breathe, in and out, in and out...and keep my distance from everything else. 
Passion is something that I deeply mistrust.  In others, and in myself perhaps most of all.  Earlier this year, I decided to stop smothering my passion and parade it instead.  Transparency.  When I embrace the passion that God has given me for people who are broken and people who can't see their own glorious beauty, who don't trust their worth, when I allow myself to cry the tears that they oftentimes cannot, I feel both fulfilled and terrified.  The fulfillment, of course, comes from being allowed to work the way God has wired me.  The terror is rooted in the fact that at times, it can all but consume me.  I love so deeply that it scares me very badly.  Patience and moderation are words from someone else's language.  And trust is still a risk, even with those I've  known for years.  There are people I would not hesitate to leave my children with who have not heard a whisper of my heart. 
But one baby step at a time, I am trying to change that.  I started with two very close, very dear relationships a few months ago.  Now I have started speaking here as well.  May I have the strength and perserverance to see this journey through to the end.  Amen.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

not in the mood
I can't find it in me to write about politics tonight.  I'm too preoccupied with everything that needs to get done before school starts in less than 6 weeks.
I need new glasses.  Sarah gave me her really cute frames, but I don't have insurance, so the lenses and exam are coming out of our checkbook.  We need to fix our Saturn so that we're a two-car family again.  I need to get things straightened out with North Hennepin  so that I can actually register.  Right now I have a registration hold because of a library book or something that I never turned in back in 1999.  I need to get my driver's license.  Maybe my permit before that.  It would also be nice to get the kids back on health insurance, but who knows if that will happen.
I added some links tonight, and also changed my comments to Haloscan.  And since I didn't make a backup copy of my template, I lost all the comments that were already posted here. 
Tomorrow I get baptized.  And I'll probably finish The Brothers Karamazov.  I've never been so profoundly disturbed and deeply encouraged by one book.  I know it doesn't end happily, and not knowing exactly what happens is bothering me.

removed post

Early this morning (or late last night if you prefer, it was 3 am or so) I posted a bunch about politics and my views, both in general and regarding my faith.  I was a little unsure about it, but I wanted to go  to bed, so I posted it with misgivings.  This morning, as soon as I got up, I decided to remove it, on the grounds that it was long and rambling and probably confusing.  So if you happened to read it, I apologize.  I'll be putting some of the same thoughts up in the next week or so, but only one or two at a time instead of trying to cover my entire political view at once.  Any questions or comments, feel free to post a comment or use the link on the left to email me directly.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004


listening to: Billy Bragg and Wilco, Mermaid Avenue

Sometimes I think that it is more trouble than it is worth to try to chase my dreams. Twice this past month I have emailed people to ask their help getting started (once about a project, once about finding a mentor), and neither has answered me. It's hard not to feel completely rejected, since these are people who I like, respect, and look up to. Part of me wants to go back to my old model of christianity- go to church on Sundays and be serviced. Because the other part, the one that wants to make a difference, to be transformed and help others with their own transformation, is tired and wants to give up. I want to pack up and hang a sign that says "closed for the remainder". It just seems like being at this point in my vocational journey is too much on top of being a mom. I need more support and affirmation than I have time to seek out. I need other people to speak into my life what they see God calling me to. I wish God would give one of my friends a prophetic dream, or something. Because knowing how hard running a two-student, three-kid household is going to be, I need a stronger sense of "yes! this is it!" than I have.

The humility of parenting

Allie: "Mommy, you're the best!"

Me: "Why, thank you sweetie. That's so nice of you to say."

Allie: "No, mommy, I wasn't talking to you, I was talking to my other mommy."

Meaning her friend Andy Jo, who was playing house with her.


Monday, July 12, 2004

post-gathering conversation at SP, July 4th Posted by Hello

Sunday, July 11, 2004

just what i needed :o)

listening to: Better than Ezra, Friction, Baby

The gathering at SP tonight facilitated some much-needed connecting with my heart. During our "body prayer" (don't know what to call it), I got a lot of perspective re: close male friend/boundaries issues. I needed that enormously. This has been a tough few months for me with friends. I've had trouble believing in them when they aren't right in front of me. Ah, trust. Maybe it is ordained that Jeff and I were assigned "faithfulness" as the theme for the day we are running the Vecinos Kids' Day Camp (theme: the fruit of the Spirit). Somehow, I can believe in my own trustworthiness, while disbelieving in my friends, most of whom are far more faithful and reliable than I. I'm really good at self-sabotage. Creating isolation and then convincing myself I can't rely on anyone. It's funny, in a cosmic sort of way.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

quiet, please!

listening to: Solomon's Porch, Homes for Guatemala V.3
reading: Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov (halfway there, and I was able to spell his name without looking at the book! woo!)

I'm just realizing, because I'm kind of slow about these things, how little space my life has for silence. Any kind of silence- contemplative, stunned, whatever. When I sit down for a few minutes and try to tune in to what is going on in my heart and soul, I get static. Meaningless chatter. I'm so discouraged by it. I know something is going on inside me- I feel all this unfocused negative stuff. I have no idea what the source is, and I'm having no luck finding it. I feel completely shut off from my internal life. Disconnected. Like it isn't even me in there, but some unsympathetic stranger who insistently bars my way. I get the feeling that it's "for my own good". I have a long history of protecting myself from feeling too strongly- it's a habit I'm trying to break, with some success. Because when I'm in self-protect mode, I walk around on auto-pilot and I can hardly feel anything at all.

It sucks.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Why is it...

That as soon as I start to feel like I have a handle on things, that I can be open and hopeful and even optimistic, I come down with melancholy? I know part of it is money- we never have enough of it. And the fact that school starts in just over 6 weeks is making me worry big time. Are we nuts to think that we can cut back to part-time income and make up the rest with our grants? We are getting the max from both the state and fed (three kids and one income will do that), but our budgeting track record isn't good, and I'm terrified that we're going to be halfway through the semester and run out of grant money. And part of me thinks we really must be nuts to do this when our kids are 3.5, 20 mos, and 20 mos. We're both planning on full course loads (which is necessary to qualify for the grants). The really scary thing is that, while I'm not sure we can do this, I know we have to. Jeff has felt called to ministry for a long time, so we're pretty sure he's getting a BA plus an MA (maybe in spiritual formation?). Me, I'm just along for the ride. I'm one of those geeks who loves school.

I think that is the worst part of this for me. I feel like doing so many different things. For the past three years, I was pretty certain I wanted to be a midwife. Then in really thinking about that job- the on-call hours, the irregular schedule, the unpredictability- I thought, "this really isn't what I want for my family". And since I am much more empathetic than analytical, I think I make a better doula anyway. So, now I'm rudderless and adrift. I like counseling, but I'm such a strong empathizer that I don't see myself making a good phychologist. I like teaching, but adults more than kids, and dialogical (if that is the word I'm looking for) rather than lecture-based. I love exploring theology and thinking and wondering about God. I like writing. So one day I stopped dead and thought, "would I make a good pastor?"

I'm having trouble even approaching that question. See, I have no idea what pastors in the emerging church do, except that sometimes they get their own action figures (teehee! kudos to whoever made that, I got it from KP's links). I know what emerging pastors don't do (make a lot of money! haha). And I know myself well enough to be certain that it's the emerging church or nothing. I'm increasingly uncomfortable anywhere else. Isn't there just some test or something I can take to tell me what to do? I'm good at tests. Not so good at this self-examination business.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004


reading: Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov (probably for the next year!)
listening to: R.E.M., eponymous

So after my huge cathartic outburst last night, I'm feeling a little empty. Add that to the fact that for the third night in a row, I have a kid with a fever, and you get a short post. I think, to give some context to my intense negative outpouring, I'm going to make a list of things I am particularly thankful for right now (in no order):

that only one of my kids has been sick at a time this week!
returning to college this fall (still no clue what for!)
that I am a member of a very wonderful church family
many, many wonderful and strong and vulnerable female voices here in blogdom
a fantastic (saintly!) husband, who gives me space when I need it, and always listens without judgement
my oldest, "spirited child", who is like a mirror of my own inner turmoil, and has taught me so much
my little ones, who as they learn to speak are inviting me to fall in love with language all over again
my one good male friend, who is helping me to learn how to love members of the other gender in a way that is healthy (and who forgives my frequent confusion, and tolerates my unholy intensity)
my few good single female friends, who remind me how to have fun (and Sarah- amazing birthday gift. Thank you.)
my tandem-nursing and attachment parenting email loops, without which I wouldn't be as good a mom
much healing that has happened this year
and even the very emotional intensity that drive me nuts...i wouldn't be the same person without it.

"A true act of love, unlike imaginary love, is hard and forbidding. Imaginary love yearns for an immediate heroic act that is achieved quickly and seen by everyone. People may actually reach a point where they are willing to sacrifice their lives, as long as the ordeal doesn't last too long, is quickly over- just like on stage, with the public watching and admiring. A true act of love, on the other hand, requires work and patience, and for some, it is a whole way of life." -Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

Tuesday, July 06, 2004


I think I should probably give credit where it is due, at least as far as my blog title is concerned. It's from a song called "Poughkeepsie" by Over the Rhine, without question, my favorite band. This song has always been a reminder of hope in dark times.

words and music: Bergquist
recording: Good Dog Bad Dog

I thought I'd go up Poughkeepsie,
look out o'er the Hudson,
and I'd throw my body down on the river.
And I'd know no more sorrow,
I'd fly like the sparrow
and I'd ride on the backs of the angels tonight.

I'd ride on the backs of the angels tonight.
I'd take to the sky with all my might.
No more drowning in my sorrow,
no more drowning in my fright,
I'd just ride on the backs of the angels tonight.

There are those who know sorrow
and those who must borrow
and those whose lot in life is sweet.
Well I'm drunk on self-pity,
scorned all that's been given me,
I would drink from a bottle labeled Sure Defeat.

I'd ride on the backs of the angels tonight.
I'd take to the sky with all my might.
No more drowning in my sorrow,
no more drowning in my fright,
I'd just ride on the backs of the angels tonight.

Then the skies, they fell open
and my eyes were opened
to a world of hope falling at my feet.
Now I've no more or less
than anyone else has,
what I have is a gift of life I can't repeat.

So I go up Poughkeepsie,
look out o'er the Hudson
and I cast my worries to the sky.
Now I still know sorrow,
but I can fly like the sparrow
'cause I ride on the backs of the angels tonight.

I ride on the backs of the angels tonight.
I take to the sky with all their might.
No more drowning in my sorrow,
no more drowning in my fright,
I'll just ride on the backs of the angels each night.

raising the stakes...

I'm unsettled tonight. Jeff mentioned to me on the way home from a friend's house that he linked our pastor (the aforementioned Doug) to my Psalm, and this blog. Now I'm getting anxious, wondering who else knows I'm here! I never intended for this to be anonymous, really, but I never would have told anyone from the Porch about it either. Because I have a terrible time admitting imperfection or weakness. This may be the reason I don't have more close friends. I'm not good at confiding. Jeff has told me that I intimidate other moms, and while I'm not convinced that I really do, I have to admit it's possible. The face I show the world is as perfect as I can manage. I try to make my life look easy. Asking for help is not something I do. Admitting weakness is tantamount to admitting failure for me. When I had Gabe and Eva (two years ago this November), I should have called someone at church and asked for help. I should have called everyone in my family and asked for help. Did I? Of course not. If I had, I might have managed to nurse both of them- I think the major reason for my failure to get Eva breastfeeding was that I just had too much going on. Allie was not even two and a half when we brought them home. So now, we have to deal with a cow's milk allergy that might have been prevented, had I just humbled my pride and picked up the phone. By admitting my inability to deal with everything, I might have avoided failure. But instead, I chose to fail. That's one example, I have many others.

This is why I neglected to talk to anyone from church about my blog. Not because I'm embarassed that I have lots of emotional problems or trouble with emotional boundaries, per se, but because I'd rather lie than admit I'm imperfect. There. I said it. But if there is one thing I'm sick to death of, it is letting fear control me. I'm tired of trying to seem better and smarter and nicer than everyone else so they'll like me. Because the irony is, it isn't me they're liking at all, but the person I'm pretending to be. So at the end of the day, I'm more imprisoned than ever, because now I have to live up to what I've led them to believe about me. Or I can tell the truth, and risk everything.

I'm tired of living in fear.

Monday, July 05, 2004

finally committing

So I'm getting baptized in two weeks. It's kind of freaking me out. When I mentioned to Doug, he made a joke about me "dodging the baptism bullet" for this long. The more I think about it, the more I wonder why I haven't gotten baptized before now. I mean, I've been more or less a christian for what, like 15 years or so? Why have I waited till now? I think I'm secretly afraid that one of two things is going to happen:

1) I get struck by lightning and die on the spot
2) God appears and gives me a "how dare you" speech

Now, the god I believe in would never ever do either of those things. So it's a completely irrational fear. But it's a strong irrational fear. Plus, the kids are going to be anointed with oil the same day. So I figure I'm going to be up in front of my church for about half an hour. My fear of attracting attention is not helping me be at peace about this.

Maybe I have waited because up until now, I was never really able to imagine myself really going through with it. I know that I'm way psyched that it's going to be at Minnehaha Falls, and not some sterile baptistry. I didn't want to get baptized at a church I didn't feel committed to and loved by. I guess I'm a bit of a commitment-phobe. But we are really part of a family now, and I finally feel like making it official.

On a purely bragging note, Allie was showing off pics she took with my digital camera to people at church, and it was suggested that we have an Art Lounge for her work- I think in seriousness, actually- one of the things I love about our SP family is that they don't patronize kids. I don't think she'd dig the idea just yet, but by the time she's 5, I'm betting she'll have done it. That's less than a year and a half from now! Zoinks!

Two funny things Michelle told me Allie said to her:
"Your teeth are growing!"
"Mommy's nursies are bigger than your nursies."

This kid is a nut. I love her to pieces.

one week

reading: Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
listening to: nothing

Till I get to meet my friend Jane and her family! I shouldn't be this nervous to meet someone that I've known for three years, but there it is. We're supposed to spend the day at Camp Snoopy; it should be interesting with six kids and four adults. It could be hell on earth...we'll see, I guess.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

my psalm 23

I've been wanting to do this for a week or more, but haven't been able to find the time. Ever since I read instructions for writing a personal Psalm 23 in Idelette's blog, I've been determined to put one together. The first line came immediately, the rest took some nudging into being. After trying it both ways, I realized I needed to use feminine pronouns. Not just to be consistent with "mother", but because at this point in my life, I have trouble connecting with God as masculine. My relationship with my father is a very broken and complicated thing, and while I have let go of bitterness and forgiven him, I still have a lot of poisoned memories. To be totally honest, I don't relate well to males in general. And all of this colors my vision of God as "He". Consequently, God as Father often leaves me cold. But God as Mother-well, that brings me to tears. Tears of hope, awe, joy, and thankfulness.

The Lord is my Mother, I need not fear the Dark
She calls upon me to open my heart to others
And tenderly bandages the wounds they inflict
She brings me to the room of Her heart that is named for me
And calls me Comforter and Healer
She overcomes my fears with boundless, unfailing love

In the times when I am overcome with shame and doubt, certain I will be rejected,
I run to Her embrace, for She knows the good that is in me.
Her encouragement and praise renew Hope in me.
She gives me the courage to see others as She sees them
She allows me to grieve for their brokenness
I am overwhelmed by the love that She is.

Her patience and generous heart guide me into wholeness and maturity.
From within the shelter of Her arms, I will discover my wings and fly to meet the dawn.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

all about my weekend

listening to: The Posies, Frosting on the Beater
reading: Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

Thanks to the talented hands of Lori Tennenbaum, DC, my back is not hurting, and my feet are not numb. Jeff and I had a glorious "date" last night. We bought a 6pk of Newcastle Brown on the way home from grocery shopping, put the babies to bed, and drank and talked for hours. My big girl is at her great-gram's this weekend, so while I still have to be mom, it's almost like working when the boss is on vacation.

My parents are in Missourri (o land of my birth!) and my brother and Sarah are at Convergence for the weekend. It's kind of a good thing, I'm pretty burned out on people at the moment. Enough that I completely blew up tonight. I'm thinking I side with my brother when he says there's some kind of malevolent presence living in my parents' house- we went there briefly tonight, intending to stay, but after an hour I was too irritated from chasing babies to really consider it, so we drove home, and I got out of control soon after that. We were fine on the way there, chatting and laughing...hmm.

I really, really need church tomorrow. I know it's because I haven't been taking responsibility for my spiritual growth and renewal. Like any good consumer, I'm waiting to have it served to me tomorrow (oooh! self-deprecating sarcasm!).

I took the Myers-Briggs again today, just for fun:
INFP - "Questor". High capacity for caring. Emotional face to the world. High sense of honor derived from internal values. 4.4% of total population.
Take Free Myers-Briggs Personality Test
personality tests by

Same as it always is. I like the "name" the Keirsey gives to my "type" better (Idealist-Healer), because I think it is more usefully descriptive (what's a questor, anyway?). I'm not much of one for personality tests, but the MBTI has always had me pretty well pegged.

I had more to write about, but it's flown straight out of my head.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

oh my dear, what shall i say?

listening to: Tori Amos, Little Earthquakes
reading: J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
I'm trying to decide how confessional I want this blog to be. How much of my life to I want to parade before strangers? I guess I'll give it a trial run and throw myself on the mercy of the editing feature.

I have this friend. Not my oldest friend by any means, but definitely the friend I am able to be the most honest with. Someone that I rarely feel the need to hide anything from. And there is some emotional confusion (on my part) mixed up in our friendship. He's been very patient about it. I cycle in and out of this confusion every few weeks. It isn't anything that threatens my marriage (or my husband, who has full knowledge in this). The only things it really affects are the friendship itself and my self-image, which tends to spiral downward pretty quickly when I am feeling this confusion. I can't really say *how* it affects the friendship itself- on his end- because we've never discussed it. His choice. But it means that I spend more time than I should saying things that aren't precisely wise, then coming to my senses and asking forgiveness for putting him in an *extremely* awkward position. Then I completely ruin things by doing it again a month later.

So I ask you...why in God's dear name do I continue to torture someone I care about as deeply as I care about anyone? I don't have a good answer for that. I can't even make up an answer that justifies my actions. Maybe the unconditional acceptance that this person has always shown me is too intoxicating for me to voluntarily let go. Maybe I really do believe that severing a relationship for the other person's "own good" is presumptuous. How can anyone but God know what is good for someone? And maybe- just maybe- I am serving some blessed purpose in this. I know that my life is richly blessed by this friendship. Maybe his is. Although I don't think it is likely. I think that he is just more kind and tolerant in this than most would be. And so I try to be the same in return, and to be fair, it isn't easy having a best friend who doesn't like writing email and is fairly incapable of self-disclosure. "To be fair"- that's BS, pure and simple. Nothing about this is fair, and that bit smells like me trying to shift blame. None of the blame for this rests with him. That is fair.

So for now, I am spending my spare time (ha! what's that?) contemplating this. I don't have any answers. And I'm afraid that these questions are just going to continue to go unanswered.

and away we go...

listening to: nothing
reading: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Well, I don't really know what I am doing here or why. This may well turn out to be the world's most boring blog. I don't even really have a clue what to say in this, my inaugural posting.

My back feels like it is broken. I think I have lost my best friend. I am enrolling in school in the fall with no idea why or what for. I have a great church that I cannot participate in as fully as I would like, and a great family that I do not pay as much attention to as I ought. My heart is sore and my mind is nearly empty. I have lost the middle book of my favorite trilogy. I am consumed by a sense of impending loss. I don't know what I should do about that.

Maybe this is a bad idea.