The one where I curse, somebody gets uncomfortable, and I don’t really apologize

I’m going through the process of sharing old posts that were written but never published, for one reason or another. This one is from 2020.

For years now I’ve had this little flurry of an idea to start an anonymous blog entitled “The Ex-Pastor’s Wife.”

The premise is this:

It would be an enchanting little outlet to vent and complain about the unjust, ungodly, and unloving things that I learned and experienced while working in church ministry myself and then becoming a “pastor’s wife.”

I’ve never started the blog because each time I’ve considered it, it was in a moment of deep frustration or anger, and I felt like I might regret it later on.

Surprising, I know..

With a blog name like that I’m sure most of you were expecting it to be grace-laced with light and love and rainbow unicorns.

Let me pause and interject an important thought here though because some who read this may become instantly defensive and have their feathers ruffled.

I’ve met some of the most loving, wise, creative, and generous mirrors of Jesus within the walls of a church building. I’m grateful to pray and worship with a local congregation of believers. “Church” is probably written on my DNA.

I am a part of the church as much as she is a part of me.

But, can we just admit that some of her people do some upside down shit?

Not the good kind of “upside down” like when Jesus flipped tables in the temple.. Or when he said, “the first will be last, the last first.”

I’m talking about Stranger Things, hidden in plain site, corrupt and evil “upside down.”

I grew up in evangelical conservatism. And while parts of it are still as comfortable to me as my favorite chair, there are other parts of that world that seem like a real-life Stranger Things “upside down.”

And here’s the thing. If we can’t recognize and call out the weird shit that’s right in front of our faces, we aren’t being peacekeepers or neutral.

So while I’ve decidedly not started that blog (AND potentially given away a genius idea for someone on the web to create, you’re welcome), I’ve committed to finding a new landing place.

Instead of being angry and silent, I’m trying a new path that includes, but is not limited to, seeking healing and wholeness and thoughtfully looking for opportunities to talk openly about the broken parts of the system I can’t seem to get away from.

After all, I am a part of the church as much as she is a part of me.

a third of the way through

I’m going through the process of sharing old posts that were written but never published, for one reason or another. This one is from 2018.

Someone recently told me that I’m “a third of the way through.”

At 30, one third of my life is over. Just like that.

And everywhere I look I see messages telling me to, “BE BRAVE” and “Do the thing you’ve been scared to do” and”Stop putting off that idea!” And when I read these messages, I can’t help but think, “where do I start?

Which “thing” do I choose?

There are just. so. many. things.

I don’t know about you, but I struggle with a very serious case of “choice paralysis”. When I have too many options, I freeze up, have a micro panic, and then do nothing.

Because how could I possibly pick the best thing? And why would I pick anything at all, if it weren’t the “best thing?”

So I just pick no-thing.

-R

The Venus Flytrap and Her Invisible Seeds

Recently, we went to Hobby Lobby and bought a Venus Fly Trap kit for the oldest kid. Supposedly, inside it was everything you could possibly need to grow your very own carnivorous plant from your window-sill. I don’t consider myself a complete novice in the garden, but I’ve certainly never grown one that eats other living creatures, so it’s a little (or a lot, if I’m honest) out of my expertise.

Please don’t tell her this, but I’m leery of the fact that my child can grow this tropical plant in her bathroom because she hasn’t ever grown something from seed before, and this isn’t the easiest plant to start with. It has an incredibly long germination (aka seed to sprout) period. Also, it’s a plant that EATS BUGS.

However, far more important is the fact that we aren’t sure we even planted any seeds in the little container.

Yep, you heard me correctly. We read the instructions, and did everything they said. Then when it was time to carefully pour the seeds on top of the soil to bury them, we never actually saw where they landed.

There’s a chance they went right on the dirt, but there’s an equal chance that we missed completely and they landed on the counter or the ground. We don’t know. We couldn’t see or hear them fall. THE SEEDS ARE TINY AND LOOK LIKE DIRT. Give me a break, k?

The final instructions on the box read:

Place indoors near adequate sunlight and you will see a sprout in 6 weeks-3 months.

3 months.

That’s a long time to wait for a seed that may or may not have been planted to grow into a baby plant.

We’ve decided that we are going to stare at this neon planter for [up to] three months to see if we did, in fact, plant these seeds. I know most sane people would throw the thing away at this point. Or at the very least, they would buy more seeds and add them to the pot so that they could be absolutely sure that it had seeds in it. But where’s the fun in that?

All joking aside, I think there’s probably a couple life lessons that my kids can gain from this whole thing..

If we don’t get any plants out of the ordeal, Emma will probably be sure that her seeds make it into the pot next time.

But even more important is the fact that we will all wrestle with the unknown until then . We will all sit, and hope, and wonder. We will wait, and wait some more. And those are important things to do.

When I walk into that bathroom and look up in the windowsill, I can’t help but wonder if this is the stuff that faith is made of: the unknown, and the waiting, but the wonder and the hoping, too.

 

Hills, grasses, and the like

Have you ever felt like you aren’t quite fitting in?

Like you’re the only person in a crowd who thinks the way you do? Maybe you seem to always make choices that seem odd to the masses. Maybe the path you’ve decided to take in life looks different than most of those around you.

I think most people would say that they feel different sometimes. But I’m talking about something more specific than that. I’m talking about feeling like you are on the fringes for years, decades even.

For as long as I can remember, I have always felt a little different. It hasn’t necessarily always been a bad different. In fact, there are some ways that I’ve loved going “against the grain,” like they say.

But then there have been the other times: all the times that people have looked at me a little cock-eyed after hearing ways we’ve made choices that are different than most.

I’ll never forget the time we met our new neighbor, and she mentioned hearing that we had birthed our babies at home. Then she looked at us like we were the negligent parents that she heard about in nursing school, because why else would someone do that? Have I mentioned that we had NEVER met before? I digress…

Most days, these types of criticisms might make us laugh a little. But, on days when we’re feeling rocky, when we’ve forgotten who we are and whose we are, these types of judgments can be tough for first-born people-pleasing types, like me.

Have you ever been on a road trip and looked out the window just in time to notice one lone tree in the middle of a wide pasture?  There’s a whole panorama of life outside your window:  cattle, cacti, maybe wildflowers. But, for whatever reason, your eyes seem to focus on this lonely tree.

The reason the tree stands out to you is not because it’s the first time you’ve seen one like it.

You could live almost anywhere in the world, and you will have seen hundreds or thousands of different tree varietals in your lifetime. This oak, or pine, or tall spruce isn’t interesting because it’s new to you.

The tree catches your eye because of how it stands in contrast to the plants most near it.

For as long as I can remember, whenever I’ve seen a lone tree in a field, I have felt an odd connectedness to it.

There’s something  profound and vulnerable about this massive organism standing there juxtaposed against the gentle hills and short grasses around it. If she had eyes, she could see for miles what the soil could only dream about.

Maybe the fringe people aren’t crazy.  Maybe those of us who live a little differently are really just standing next to grasses and hills. They each serve a purpose, in their own right. They each have value.

But, if the world tells you that your differences make you less-than, weird, or other, you can just tell the world to shove it.  You, my brave and vulnerable friend, were never meant to blend in. You were meant to catch our eye.

 

 

 

 

 

Potholes and Tide Pools

Today we finished our school lessons early in the morning, so we were delighted to hear the raindrops begin outside our window. It would be a perfect day for a stroll in the rain.

The house that we purchased earlier this year is on a quiet street, in a quiet neighborhood, in a peaceful part of town. It also happens to be across the street from my parents – from the house that I grew up in. So, while it is rare to see a car drive past, the chances of it being a family member or friend are great. And we are enjoying every minute of it.

But back to the rain..

The kids and I have decided that nature walks are going to be a large part of our routine in the coming year. So today seemed like a perfect opportunity to jump in some puddles and feel the rain on our cheeks. We quickly threw on raincoats with our mostly bare feet because it is, after all, August in Oklahoma.  And we set off for a mini adventure in the rain.

Halfway down the street, we did what most folks would do in this situation. We got bored quickly, complained a little, and decided that our cozy house was more appealing.  So we headed back home.. until the five year old spotted the pothole.

This pothole is the same pothole we pass every single time we leave our house, every time we go visit Nana and Pop, and every time we go on our regular nature walks.

Except that this time it was filled with rainwater.

This time it looked completely different to the ones with the mystical ability to see beauty in potholes.

Most people reading this are probably familiar with the state of Oklahoma’s roads. Not to brag too much, but we are kind of famous for them. We complain about them to other Oklahomans, and curse the days that our coffee spills in our laps as we drive on them. The conditions of our roads have been terrible for years, and with the current infrastructure budget, I see no hope for change in the near future.

However, my five year old doesn’t seem to mind today. Her face lit up with wonder this morning as she discovered a tiny ecosystem that  existed in a pothole at the end our driveway.

She immediately called it a tide pool. She’s never seen an actual tide pool. But I don’t think her analysis was too far off.

We even found some nearby moss to add to our tide pool as “coral” and “seaweed”.

Over the last few days, I’ve been talking to my kids about the phrase, “the grass is greener on the other side” in hopes that it would cultivate in them an awareness of the many blessings we already have.

Today, however, after a long time of joyful play in a pothole at the end of my driveway, my kids weren’t the only ones who came away more aware of their blessings.

Yeats may have said it best:

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”

The Ring

I’m going through the process of sharing old posts that were written but never published, for one reason or another. This one is from 2014.

Round one. This love. Intense. Endless conversations. Can’t catch my breath. Can’t sleep. Can’t eat. Obsessed. Heart pounding in my chest. You see me.

Round two. No one fights fair. This passion. I swing and I miss. More and more. Over and over. You see me.

Some changes. A new adventure. Life upside down. These fingers. So tiny. Can’t sleep. She won’t sleep. New job. Can’t focus. Please whisper. New sibling. More laundry. Interruptions. These dishes. Don’t wake the baby.

Some days it feels like us on pause.

Wanting to push play.

Waiting to push play.

And then forgetting to push play.

What round is this?

I can’t see you.

I can’t even find you.

Where are your hands? Mine are so lonely.

Find me again.

A tribute to you, love. For remaining. But for so much more than remaining.

Hands

I’m going through the process of sharing old posts that were written but never published, for one reason or another. This one was written in 2014.

These hands of mine

wouldn’t stay to myself,

tickled you,

slapped you,

but missed.

and then didn’t miss.

They got a ring,

threw it at you,

then put it back on to stay.

They held you close,

and pushed you away.

They’ve pointed fingers,

wiped away my tears,

and a few of yours.

They’ve held our babies,

rocked them to sleep,

rubbed sleepy eyes,

changed diapers,

cleaned spit up,

then done it all again the next day.

They’ve cooked meals,

shared wine,

and even more coffee.

But my favorite thing they do is hold you.

 

the one about to-do lists

I’m going through the process of sharing old posts that were written but never published, for one reason or another. This one is from March 2015.

So, life has been more busy than usual lately. And some things have been put on the “less important than feeding your children, doing finals, and learning a brand new job” back burner. You know the one. My urgent list currently has: school, helping the hubby start a business, coordinating a fundraiser, and breaking both my children’s fevers on it. The 2nd place list has wedding anniversary and getting my chickens to stop eating their own eggs.  Continue reading “the one about to-do lists”

Birthaversary

Warning: birth story ahead.

Our third baby turned 2 this week. And it’s bringing back all the feels. Especially the ones about how it’s taken two whole years to not feel a bit shaken from his entrance. After having two natural births, I felt like I knew what I was getting myself into. But it’s true that no two births are the same. And laboring with Charlie was very different than it was with my girls.

Two years ago the midwives almost didn’t make it in time. So in between contractions that were two minutes apart, I prepped Adam on what do in case the baby arrived before they did.

Two years ago I reached the end of my rope and then some. My midwife told me I had to push harder, and with a death stare, I non-verbally told her where she could take that advice. [hint: a place of eternal fire] I screamed at God, “YOU have to do this because I can’t.”

And then just like that, in less than 3 hours, my terribly average body gave birth to all 10 lbs 6 ounces of him in our home. With no complications.

It was a miracle.

Childbirth is a miracle.

I live in an area where nearly everyone is terrified of birth and/or resentful of it. I rarely feel safe talking about how beautiful it is. I certainly don’t admit that I’m thankful for it and feel empowered by it. I’m usually afraid I will offend someone or hurt their feelings.

Birth is such a tender topic.  Naturally so, because it involves one of the most spiritual and intimate experiences we have in life.

And somehow, somewhere we have lost that truth.

But it’s holy. So I think that’s what I’ll call it.

The One about Having Small Children

I’m going through the process of sharing old posts that were written but never published, for one reason or another. This one is from 2015.

In case anyone is curious, or simply wants to know that they are not alone or crazy in the whole thing called child-rearing, here is one depiction of parenthood from our family.

Last week, the five year old brought the most sentimental and precious family heirloom quilt into the backyard for a picnic. I didn’t know that it went outside with them. And they, like perfectly normal

edit: case in point.