Wednesday, January 25, 2012

White Chick in Denial

I've had to move my work-outs indoors. I always have a difficult time transitioning from outdoor walks to indoor treading. I can't even cross country ski at the moment because all of our snow melted. The silver lining is that inside work-outs can include Pandora radio on my iPod. I don't have iPhone, so I need an internet connection in order to enjoy Pandora. And I do so enjoy Pandora.

This finally gets me to my point. I love Lecrae and 116 Pandora stations! My favorite album is "Man Up" by 116. I realize that I couldn't be less of the target audience. The intended listeners are, well, men, and generally from an inner-city background. I'm a white, small-town, suburban kind of chick. But I still love it.

I'm not sure if I should ask for permission to borrow the awesomeness of the African American Christian culture, if only for the time that I'm on the treadmill. I want to say a giant, "thank you!" to Lecrae, Tadashii, Trip Lee, and so many others who are producing theologically sound, high-quality, fun music. And thanks for letting me elbow my way to the front of the virtual stage, despite my minivan and complete lack of rhythm. It's definitely a good thing that they don't have to see the desecration that is my praise dancing. I'm pretty sure that the LORD is the only One who gets a kick out of that.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

[Insert Evil Laughter Here]

We got ourselves a skunk! My beloved hubby went downstairs to check it out, and there it was: a black and white pain-in-the-neck, behind bars. Somehow, I feel like I've accomplished something, although I had very little to do with it.

As I mentioned previously, I have no idea how many skunks there are. I'm desperately hoping that they see their friend in a cage and run for their lives. I'm pretty sure that isn't how it works, though.

This little victory has given us the courage to carry on. And carry we shall.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


We checked the trap this morning. The door was shut, but no skunk. Either the animals are getting smarter or the people designing the traps are getting dumber.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Smell of Death

We've been skunked! Thoroughly, unrelentingly skunked!

My initial reaction was guilt enveloped by denial. We're well passed that point now. We have recently learned that our house has had a long, sordid history with skunks, and that it has nothing to do with how much I clean the house or how domestic I am. So don't judge me, or I may just send the skunk to your house.

The good news is that it isn't dead. When a dead skunk decays, the smell can literally run you out of your house. The bad news is that we can't find the demonic thing in order to get rid of it. The other bad news is that our skunk may actually be a family of skunks.

We called in a wildlife control guy, who set some traps, but all we've managed to do so far is feed the skunk(s). He came back and re-baited the trap and we're hoping that tonight will be the last night that demon-skunk is with us.

Or else we'll become "the stinky people"... and we'll have no friends... and no one will visit... and my daughters will die old maids...

Maybe I should try some positive thinking. "We will trap the skunk. We will trap the skunk. Oh, please God, let us trap the skunk!"

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Almost Blogging

I know that it appears that I haven't blogged since last Saturday, but I've been doing quite a lot of "almost blogging." I've written several drafts, full of wit and pith, but with every almost-post, I came to the conclusion that it was too critical or could easily be misinterpreted.

Maybe I'm more aware than most of the potentially disastrous effects of a misstep in communication. Pastor's daughters grow up with a higher than average amount of pressure on our words and actions, and I am not someone with a sixth sense of what is appropriate and what is not. I have had to learn the difference between outside thoughts and inside thoughts, a lesson that most people seem to grasp naturally.

I know that there are many people who hold to the philosophy that the best thing to do is say what is on your mind without concern to those who are offended. I have a couple of problems with this idea. First, communication is a two step process. The communicator expresses a thought, and then the receiver interprets. To ignore the second part of the equation is foolish because you will never be able to fully connect with others without ensuring that the interpretation is consistent with the thought you wish to express. The second problem that I have with the "just get it all out" plan is that we all represent our ideologies to the world. I represent Christ, my husband, women as a whole, my parents, and my church when I express my thoughts. It's just, plain foolish to ignore the responsibility that I have to those whom I represent.

On the other end of the spectrum is the belief that you should never offend anyone. I have just as big of an issue with this philosophy as I do with the first. It seems like some people like to get their feelings hurt, and they spend their whole lives looking for the opportunity to be offended. It isn't everyone else's job to coddle them in their over-sensitivity. There's also the issue that there are times when the truth must be spoken, even though it is offensive. There are more than a few situations in which healing can only grow from initial hurt.

So here I dwell on the median between the ditches of complete insensitivity and oversensitivity, guarding each word as if it could be my last. There are times when the only right thing to say is nothing, and the only opinion that needs to be expressed is the opinion that not every opinion should be expressed.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Kids and Their Imaginations

Ella loves all things Narnia. She isn't obsessed (yet!), but she asked to buy "Voyage of the Dawn Treader" with her Christmas money, and she has been watching it and its predecessors ever since. As I was watching the original today, I began to think about the process of writing such a story. C.S. Lewis is quite obviously a genius, and his background in medieval literature and preoccupation with mythology obviously had an impact on his work. Still, there's something that Lewis and his friend Tolkien tapped into in a distinctive way. I began thinking about the way that Lewis captured childhood imagination with unmatched artistry.

What is it about children that makes them imagine such grand things? Everything that they see can instantly become a part of a mythical adventure that only they can comprehend. I began to consider the possibility that children are more acutely aware of the fact that something is missing in this reality. As they grow older, they become more accustomed to the absurdity of normal, and they slowly lose their grip on the truth within their myths: There is so much more!

As I read the book of Judges, I found myself questioning such a reality that could house such horrific ideas and such completely broken people. Of course, I am quickly snapped into an equally broken present time, which brings me back to the idea that it isn't children who live in a fairy tale. We are the ones who deny what is so utterly obvious to the younger members of our society. There is something more, something greater, something more real than can be perceived. There is a central part of our reality that demands to be discovered, not by touch or sight or sound, but by the inner person that hungers for something more, something complicated, wonderful, inexhaustible.

Maybe children just like to play pretend because they're so small and their minds haven't learned enough about the world to keep them from wandering. Or... Maybe... they're just holding on to the intrinsic desire of the human heart to return to the greatness of the unfallen glory in which we were meant to reside. I'm not sure which is more likely, but there's still a piece of that child in me that begs to ask Ella's favorite question:


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Christmas Stories

I know that I'm incredibly late in posting these, and that most of you are done with the Christmas holiday, but give yourself permission to re-visit Christmas for a few more minutes in order to enjoy these family photos.

This is how Edwin wrapped my present. I really get into wrapping, but I found this method especially adorable because it's from my man.

Ella snuck down to her presents before we woke up. She came upstairs with the only unwrapped presents (pillow pets that she and DeLaynie bought for each other), and said, "Hey! Mom! There are tons of presents down there!" I was obviously shocked that the gifts had suddenly appeared in our living room. Ella then told me that there were "More than 11 of them!" When asked where they came from, she responded, "Hmmmm. I have no idea." (The baby princess dolls are from Edwin's brother and sister-in-law, and the girls absolutely love them!)

DeLaynie is more experienced in this whole Christmas morning thing, but I don't think she slept more than a couple of hours at a time for a week before the big day, she was just so excited. They both ended up in our bed on Christmas Eve, but I have no idea where Edwin was, probably in their bunk bed. There's nothing quite like seeing a little girl in the midst of a sea of wrapping paper, ripping into a new gift with total excitement.

This was the best facial expression of the morning. Although the still photo can't capture the shaking, you can at least see Ella's sweet face about to explode. Edwin and I have no idea why she was so excited about "Sleeping Beauty," but she it appears that she has always wanted it.

Christmas on Sunday has its benefits and its challenges, especially when you're a ministry family. Edwin had to preach with very little sleep, and I had the joy of trying to keep two excited, exhausted little girls quiet through a church service. On the other hand, it really was a joy to be with our extended family on Christmas Day, and it was a real privilege to enjoy corporate worship on the day we celebrate the birth of our Savior.

At the end of the service, our church gave us a gift, which the girls helped to open. For some reason that I will never comprehend, DeLaynie yelled out, "Underwear!" as she was helping to open it. Apparently, the same girl who is too shy to get in front of the church and sing Christmas songs is not too shy to get in front of the church and scream out the word, "Underwear!" My sweet DeLaynie is such a mystery at times.

I hope that you had an equally delightful Christmas, full of stories to tell and pictures to show.