Monday, March 29, 2010

From Victor to Accused

I love Palm Sunday. As a child, I loved to bring home as many palm fronds as I could scavenge from the pews after church. My uncle had this cool way of making them into crosses. And, of course I love Easter. It's the days between celebrating Jesus' triumphal entry and his miraculous resurrection that give us problems.

We like to skip over the icky parts. Those sad, uncomfortable, soul-reckoning parts. We want the glory and the hallelujahs without the groaning and gnashing. And yet....

Reading Matthew 21 can be a good way to start your Holy Week meditations. Yes, you get the spontaneous crowd eruptions and Hosannas! But you also see the beginning of the end. Those leaders simply did not like what Jesus was proclaiming. How dare he give people joy and hope? The audacity. What we see here is the quest for power that ultimately will bring about a horrific execution.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

When I read scripture, I like to put myself in the participants' shoes. I think about what the crowd was feeling to make them respond that way. What was different about this man that made them put their cloaks on the ground? What about the disciples? Maybe they were befuddled by all this attention. Maybe a little proud? And then there's the chief priests. As much as we'd like to disassociate from them, they represent a human element here, too. The yucky side of us that likes to be right, to be in control, to have final say. Here's this guy, refusing to answer "yes and no" questions and giving them these backhanded "oh, snap" parables.

Jesus rode a short wave of glory into Jerusalem whereupon he immediately began his defense. Dare we put ourselves in his shoes? His poise, his attitude, his words, all speak to a knowledge beyond us. This week, as I prepare for the ultimate celebration, I want to remember what the party's for. He rode in on a donkey and walked out with a cross.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

"Oh, yes!"

As the good doctor would say himself, "Ohhhh, yes!" Here it is in all its time traveling goodness. My daughter's finished Dr. Who T.A.R.D.I.S. bag perfect for overnights with the girls or cruising the Caribe with her fam.

I used heavy cotton webbing for the straps instead of jute webbing which I'm using on the next two, 'cause that stuff is a bear to stitch.

Also, I curse that blasted bias strap. When will I get good at that technique? Practice, practice.

She loves it. Now I just need to ship her off somewhere so she can try it out. Considering a K9 or Dalek covered toiletry bag for inside.

You like?

Friday, March 26, 2010

T.A.R.D.I.S. Time Travel Bag

Trust me; this all ties together.

Our family is big into Dr. Who right now. I mean really big into the show and all its miscellany.

Our family is also planning a giant ball of fun cruise in the summer with the grandparents.

Our kids all need new travel gear.

I stumbled upon this amazing travel duffel pattern on etsy and decided each kid could choose their own fabric to design their very own duffel for our trip.

I took the eldest to the fabric shop first, knowing she would have the toughest time choosing. She has interests in so many areas and her decision making skills verge on crazy making. I knew she would need lots of time. Turns out her favorite fabric existed only in her head.

Being the rockin' mama that I am, we struck upon a plan to make the fabric of her dreams and the T.A.R.D.I.S. bag was born.

Above see the fabric in its infancy. Tomorrow see the finished bag in all it's glory.

A word about the pattern. It is one of my all time favorites. Cherie writes amazingly well thought out instructions. The bag could be completed by a new sewer with a little help. Pockets, handles and opportunities to customize make this a new go-to pattern for me. Check her out on etsy. She's got some great ideas.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Love List Project

So I'm in the middle of making dinner, and I see this color on my cutting board. The inside flesh of a sweet potato. It strikes me: I love this color. I mean, I reallyreally love this color.

Then I think of my friend Kristin, and how over at her blog, she is working on something called The Love List project.

I promise to write more about this later. But....

I immediately tried to distill my love for this color into 140 characters so I could post it to her via Twitter. This is what I came up with, but instead of Twitter, I'm writing it here, because I want you to go look at her site and answer her questions about what you love and tell me, too.

I love the flesh of the inside of a sweet potato and a simply meal lovingly prepared.

Now, I must run because that lovingly prepared meal awaits.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

One Step Foward, A Sweet One Back

My youngest child has started reading. This marks a milestone for me, because I literally did nothing to help him. Well, okay, sure. I buy books and make them available and talk about letters and why books are good and normal parent stuff like that. But, nothing compared to what his eldest sister, my first child, got from me.

I was on her like flies on...well, let's just say I worked with her on her letters and numbers and her learning. A lot. I wasn't crazy, just a stay-at-home mom with only one kid, and nothing but time on my hands. I was of course, as a new parent, surrounded by the requisite parenting books extolling the virtues of reading to your child. Who was I to break with tradition? I read to my kid. My kid liked being read to.

Years passed, two more great kids joined our family and suffice it to say by the time little man arrived, I was so over those parenting books. We spent all our time in the car getting from one sister's thing to the other sister's thing. We did not have that time on our hands. We got in our reading at night, snuggling.

So it is through time, patience and the blessing of fantastic teachers, that my son is reading. Yay! Someday I will climb atop my never-far-from-me soapbox to tell you why reading to your kids is a good practice. But for now, allow me this indulgence.

Reading and snuggling with my new reader delights me like little else. The light bulb of awareness, excitement and joy is intoxicating. We gather up a huge pile of "just right for me" books and settle in. Since he started reading, he has a new habit. He located two of his oldest baby blankets and spreads them ceremoniously over us before we read. I ask him, "Why do you want those blankets?"

He says, "Because they remind me of when I was a baby." Which is just plain sweet. (See also: how to melt mama's heart.)

I wonder if what he's doing is holding on to his baby self. The one who needs mama nearby, the one who can't do things for himself like big readers do. His blanket ritual has him straddling two worlds. I can't help but think his blankets and his books help him make a smooth leap into moving farther and farther away from me. It's part of life, but I'll hold onto his books and blankets and him for as long as he'll let me.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


I ran into one of my favorite people on Thursday afternoon at a middle school track meet. I hadn't seen her all school year; our kids don't seem to be in the same circles. Doesn't it stink when your social life is dictated by the hormonal whims of your kids?

I was standing alone, not in the bleachers, watching the track meet and my other two kids run wild in the early spring glory. Other parents milled nearby, but none I knew. Then, my friend walked past. I was so happy to see her I blurted out her name, knowing she was on her way to watch her own daughter at the opposite end of the field.

She patiently stopped to talk to me. I think we chatted so long she missed her daughter throwing the shot put, farther than the boys. You go, girl.

My friend has been through a few rocky years but seeing her, she looked poised, confident, happy, and just settled. She's buying a house. She loves her job. She enjoys every moment with her kids. She used to come to a Bible study I taught. Now she was teaching me.

I shared some struggles we'd been having this year and she listened. She gave me a challenge, she told me it works out. She said all the right things.

I have many acquaintances. I know lots of people. She is the one who had this just-what-I-needed message for me.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Lean on Me

Last night a group of women gathered at a new wine and tapas bar in Tulsa. (LXi for those of you playing along at home). The reason we grouped together there, aside from the fantastic food, gorgeous cocktails and spare, child-free decor was to celebrate a friend who is moving from Oklahoma to Wales.

We sat on sofas around a huge table, playing musical chairs every so often in order to chat with all the others. Laura, the guest of honor, spoke about the home they are returning to, the village school, the commute. Of course, we talked about friends. Laura said when they first moved here, they knew it was a three to five year commitment; she thought she could grit her teeth and knuckle through without putting down deep roots.

Her experience mimicked my first few years in Oklahoma. I thought our stint here would be three years, five max. Fifteen years have passed.

Even if we had only been here for one year, I could not have made it through without friends. Friends like Beth, and Suzi. Laura, Julie, Krista and Lucy. Work friends, church friends and playground friends.

I railed against making new friendships and yet they cropped up unbidden and joyful, like the sprouts of seeds I'd forgotten I planted. A luminous surprise on a gray day. At once I didn't want to sow the seeds, knowing I needed them desperately.

Even though Laura's moving back to her home across the sea, it is a place where she doesn't know anyone. And she will have to begin again, with those first awkward chats at the park or school. Of course she'll be fine. She's amazing. But the older we get the harder it is. I think we avoid trying because it's uncomfortable. It takes energy. It takes tearing down the intimacy walls that we had already left exposed to those old friends.

And? It's worth it.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Mountains and Miles

This weekend, I drove from Tulsa, OK to Urbana, Illinois to celebrate the 40th birthday of my dear friend Kristin, whom I met 20 years ago. We met at the Jersey shore in the summer of 1990. We were hippie Christian college kids with our worlds before us. During that intense summer living in community with a dozen or so other students, studying our faith in an academic but delightfully fun environment, it was only natural that enduring friendships would spring up. One like ours.

Our friendship continued while she finished school in Michigan and I finished school in Pennsylvania. Our lives crisscrossed the Eastern side of the country as we married and birthed babies and moved to where the jobs were. In a conversation, back in the day, we talked about how we were always connected, over mountains and miles.

We are still separated by miles and mountains. But when her sweet husband asked me to come in for the party, I knew I wouldn't miss it. I met so many fantastic people: Lorna, Dorie, Rebecca, Jubal, Renee, Havah, Rachel, Becca, Paige, Lawrence...the list goes on. Kristin and I did exactly what we needed to do. We talked. Over gorgeous meals, in the car, in the dining room, in two cafes and one bakery, in the mall, at the door, in the kitchen, on the stairs... a blur of voices tripping over each other, urgent at times to get it all out, slow and pensive at others, reaching for understanding.

I have so many thoughts to process from this trip it can't all be summarized here. We talked a lot about friendship, real, true, fast adult friendship. The kind that happens organically and strikes deep roots. Kristin explained how some deep friendships had met rocky, unsatisfying ends. She talked about a few relationships whose fragile buds were still getting used to the idea of spring. There was a sense of the inevitability of shifting lives and friendships that can leave us feeling unmoored.

But at her party, looking around the room full of diverse, truly interesting people, I saw how deeply she is loved.

Here is a woman who knows how to connect, to choose her friends wisely and well, to find what she needs and be what others need. She laughed, and hugged, and talked some more. Through all the curves our lives have taken, this could have been one of those disposable friendships of youth. It isn't. We still connect, are still connected, across mountains and miles. I am honored to have celebrated a big day with my dear, "old" friend.