It’s Slowly Coming Together

Picture 6
I used to pride myself on getting a house completely unpacked, pictures hung and EVERYTHING in only two weeks. We’ve moved so many times in the past 15 years I had it DOWN. I’d just look at Craig upon moving in and say, “Two weeks.” Presto, two weeks later it was done.

We’ve been in this house for 7.5 weeks now and guess what? I’m still not done. I’m blaming a significant portion of that on the fact that I’ve never painted rooms immediately upon moving in before and so far have painted Craig’s study, Millie’s room, the entry way/stairwell/upstairs hallway, and put a third coat on our kitchen plus painted the laundry room. I paint ceilings too. Y’all, that’s a lot of painting.

The other thing I’m blaming my delay on is being 37. I’ve discovered the older I get the harder it is to pull off this whole “Let’s move again!” thing. In fact, I don’t think I ever want to do it again. Ever.

Also, we didn’t have any bookshelves when we got here despite the fact that we did bring all of our books. It’s taken time to gather a new round of those here in Oklahoma City. It finally happened this week when I hit the jackpot by way of the OU Property Control surplus sale. Apparently they are normally open to the public on Wednesdays, but this week they had a unique situation going in that they are preparing for the demolition of one of their buildings. Rather than move everything inside that building over to their surplus site, they hosted a public 3-day sale in which all their awesome stuff that was already cheap on Wednesday became 25% cheaper on Thursday and 50% cheaper on Friday. I picked up three old university wooden bookshelves (think: tall, wide, STURDY, and already assembled!) for $20 each. On Thursday I went back for 3 more, then $15 each. I also got two old wooden desk chairs, one of which I’m sitting in right now and I love it. Piano benches are completely overrated as desk chairs.

Anyway, all that to say that while I still don’t have ALL the boxes of books unpacked, we’re much much closer than we were before Wednesday and that’s feeling pretty darn good.

I still have a significant amount of work organizing all the various closets this house has and aside for the pictures you see above, we haven’t hung much yet either. But it will eventually happen. It always does. This time it’s just taking a lot longer than it used to.

Advertisements

Thoughts on The Help

Picture 45

Craig and I took the girls to see an interesting movie this week. I wrote about my thoughts on The Help for WORLDMag.com this week.

=====

With the exception of, say, Julie and Julia, books are generally better than the movies based on them, right? It’s almost impossible to capture the entire essence of the printed word in two hours or less.

Earlier this week, my family was invited to a screening of The Help, and having read the book earlier this year, I had high hopes for the movie but a nagging fear that it would not live up to my expectations.

As it turns out, The Help was no different from most book-to-movie adaptations in that some things were left out, but those missing pieces did not diminish the stirring, heartbreaking, yet hopeful story of domestic life that took place during the 1960s civil rights struggle in Mississippi. (Warning: The film does contain a lot of vulgar language.)

Raised in our modern day culture, my kids are vaguely aware of the notion of racial tension, but they have never been personally confronted with it. Although my girls have an understanding of the history behind the issue-we’ve read books together like Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, and biographies of Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks-they have very little firsthand experience with the emotion attached to the issue or the hatred involved, and thus have a hard time understanding it as a concept.

Taking the girls to see The Help helped them understand just how serious, sad, and senseless the racial divide was in 1960s America. There was more than one tear shed among us as we watched how the white women portrayed in the film so poorly treated their black house help. We also felt the tension of the white women not being present with their own children, which in turn created a bond between the children and the black women who actually raised them, causing confusion for all.

As the film credits rolled, we sat silent for a while before leaving the theater. My oldest daughter gave me a look of disbelief as she asked if that was really how some white people treated black people back then. I assured her that in some cases it was all that and worse. She shook her head in anger: “That’s just . . . so . . . wrong.”

Agreeing, I explained that while we’ve come a long way in redeeming race relations since the 1960s, we still have a long way to go. I believe true reconciliation among the races will never be final this side of heaven. Once glorified we will finally fully realize that “there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

Still, with young hearts and minds stirred by movies like The Help and, most importantly, informed and transformed by the Gospel, perhaps we can see God’s Kingdom come and His will be done now, on earth as it is in heaven.

At least that’s what I prayed for my girls on Monday night.

 

 

You Too?

Do you remember when I announced to everyone that I wanted to be referred to as “The Edge” from here on out? It still hasn’t happened, but I’d still like to be called that.

I wrote about taking our kids to see the U2 concert for WORLDMag this week.

=====

Do you remember the first major concert you attended? I do. It was in the 1980s and I was around 9 or 10 years old. I don’t remember a single song sung, but the retina-scorching hot pink jumpsuits of the husband-wife duo of Farrell and Farrell have been burned into my memory for the rest of my days.

My next concert memories are of The Imperials, The Bill Gaither Trio, and Sandi Patti, not necessarily in that order. As my high school years approached I added to my concert catalog Petra, Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, and Steven Curtis Chapman.

I was well into my 20s before I heard anyone outside the world of Contemporary Christian Music. My husband-a musician himself at the time with a wider-developed repertoire-and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary with tickets to see Sting play the World Arena in Colorado Springs, Colo. It was a pretty amazing night.

Since then we’ve seen and heard Alanis Morrisette, Over the Rhine, Jason Aldean, Jewel, and a handful of others. Not all of them were equal, but they were all certainly memorable and enjoyable in their own way.

One October evening, at a conference dinner with singer/songwriter/producer/friend Charlie Peacock, we were all laughing about some of our first concert experiences. I believe I won for the most obscure Christian music concert attended ever. Charlie, who wrote a book on music, commented that when we become Christians, we tend to throw away our secular music. Then, when we became more mature Christians, we throw away our Christian music.

I still laugh in thinking about his comment. As one who cut her spiritual teeth in the ’80s, the only rational (or maybe just religious) response to music seemed to be to forsake what the world was putting out and hunker down under the safety net of CCM. Later on, as I grew in my understanding of Christ in culture, I began to appreciate the art of music as well as the message, regardless of who was producing it. Honestly, there is as much dangerous theology on radio stations supposedly “safe for the entire family” as on those that aren’t listener-supported.

We don’t limit our kids to the local Christian music station, but neither do we give blanket approval to all the other stations. The key for us comes in listening to the music with our kids. By doing so, they know we care about what they care about, and they learn to discern not only which lyrics are better left in the jewel case (my age is showing again), but also which music has better artistry to it, period.

This Sunday, we’re taking our kids to their first major concert. The venue is Busch Stadium in St. Louis. The band, U2. The six of us are really looking forward to it, and I’m confident that this will definitely be one concert our girls remember for a long time, if not forever. But I hope they’ll also cherish the experience of attending it together as a family and discussing it afterward (we’re driving the eight hours back to Oklahoma City the next day, so we’ll have plenty of time). And hopefully it will be pivotal in their lives as they go on to make musical judgment calls throughout their teen years and beyond.

And one day, when they are sitting around a table with friends laughing about their first concert experiences, instead of winning the award for most obscure concert ever, perhaps they’ll win the award for coolest ever . . . concert (and parents).

I Draw the Line at Udders

Many of you probably already know this, but today was Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-Fil-A. If you wanted a free chicken sandwich, you needed to wear a cow mask. If you wanted a complete meal for free, then you needed to dress like a cow “from head to hoof.”

If you know me at all, you know that free is my love language. Also, my 7-year-old desperately needed a project yesterday since half of us were painting the entry way/stairs/upstairs hallway and the other half were doing math. I asked her if she would make costumes for all of us to wear today. She was happy to oblige. She made them for five of us; Maddie made her own.

Here’s my herd before dinner tonight:

Picture 1
Here’s a special shout-out to Millie for making it happen for us today. Three cheers for the Mini-Moo: Mooooo, Mooooo, Mooooo!

Picture 2

Yes, it’s true. I’ll do almost anything for a free meal. But when we saw the 60-something granny walk in in her cow costume – complete with an inflated rubber glove tied around her waist – I did say out loud that I draw the line at udders.

Picture 5
Fortunately for us, udders were not required.

Thanks, Chick-Fil-A, for both the meal and the memories. We’ve been in Oklahoma for a month now. It’s about time we became versed in the ways of the cow.

Name that bug

DSC_0003
Millie and I spent a bit of time observing this scary guy the other day trying to figure out exactly what it was. Looks kind of like a wasp with a muff.

Educate me on insectology? What the heck is this thing? Were we right to be scared of it?

There are some things I regret

There are plenty of things in life I regret. I regret attitudes I’ve copped with my family in the past. I regret words I’ve spouted at my children in moments of anger. I regret ordering magazines that were being offered for $5/year because even at $5/year, I still don’t have time to read them and they waste away in a stack in my living room.

I wrote a piece last Thursday and posted it at WORLDMag.com. I don’t regret posting the piece, but I do regret posting it at WORLD.

If I could go back and change a couple of things I wrote, here’s what I would change:

1) I would have done better by my friend Wesley. I wrote him to get his thoughts on the issue and said I would probably quote him, but I did not not tell him I would most likely use the entire email he sent me. I used most of his email because I thought he had some really good things to say. Had he known I was going to do that he would have said some things differently. I wronged Wesley in that way and I am deeply saddened I did that. I regret doing it. I asked him to forgive me and he did. Wesley is a very grace-filled man.

2) I likely would not have used the term “celibate homosexual Christian” to describe him. I would change that term to a celibate Christian who struggles with same sex attraction. Most of the readers of that piece would have understood that a little better than the phrase I used and I get why.

3) I would make a one-word change in the middle of the piece from “should” to “can,” going from “I’m understanding a little better that what is commanded of Christians is simply not the same as what we should expect from those who do not follow the ways of God” to “…I’m understanding a little better that what is commanded of Christians is simply not the same as what we can expect from those who do not follow the ways of God.” It’s subtle, but it makes a difference.

4) I would have clarified more than once that my struggle wasn’t in what I believe to be true about homosexuality or what I teach my kids regarding it: I do not agree with the way the world and culture are going with the practice of same-sex marriage. I would have made sure my readers all knew my struggle was in understanding what to expect from an unbelieving world on issues of morality. I didn’t make that clear and I regret that.

I won’t lie and say that being taken to task by “big dogs” around the internet (I’m talking to you, Douglas Wilson) doesn’t sting. It does. But, in the words of someone wise tonight,

“I know this is discouraging. I would encourage you to ignore it and just keep blogging. Jesus loves you! The gospel is true. You’re a worst poster than you thought. You’re more ‘muddled’ than you ever dared to believe. You’ve become more liberal and tolerant and a product of your culture than you know. But Christ loves you more than you ever hoped. He loves bloggers like you, moms like you, thinkers like you, heart reactors like you.  He died for you and your kids and people that are ripping you and people who like you. I don’t mean that to sound silly or trite, but to encourage you that your confidence is not in what World Magazine thinks or those commentors think, but it’s really, really rooted in Jesus and what he thinks. And he thinks you are awesome!”

Those are some words I don’t regret hearing tonight.

The C-Stash Wins

Picture 20
I’d like to blame Michael Card and Steven Curtis Chapman for the tall stack on the back row there. They aren’t the only players in the C-stash, but they are mighty big contributors to be sure.

Yes, I spent the better part of the late hours a few nights ago realphabetizing all of our CDs. It’s a tedious job, but someone had to do it.

We do have a pretty awesome CD storage rack so they are displayed nicely in the middle of the study, but as I was shelving them the other day I wondered aloud just how long we were going to display our 8-track collection. I mean, of course we don’t really have an 8-track collection, but isn’t it just a matter of time before what you see before you will go the way of the musical dinosaur as well? How many years do we have left before our kids bring their friends home and mutter something embarrased under their breath about their parents’ obsession with 80’s hair bands?

Ah well, I guess we’ll enjoy it while it lasts. And if you have the hankering for some Journey, Bob Dylan or Raffi, then come right over. We have it all and more.