Tuesday, May 24, 2011

{whole children} :: inspired links

In the past few days, I have read some blogs that had me crying in my soup. Not because they were sad, or convicting in some way...but, just very, very edifying. They affirmed the place in me that struggles with feeling like I need to be "more."

I kept trying to formulate a wonderful and poignant piece to write and make you all feel the same way...but, I am in "sitting at the feet" mode, instead of "sharing my wisdom" mode, when it comes to parenting.

Since I clearly can't say the things that I want to say, with any more eloquence or portent...I give you the articles...the ones that have given my mother soul much nourishment in the past few days:

I hope that you get as much or even a little of the impact I got from each of these reads. I love the blogging community so much...it's like having coffee with a close friend almost every day.

Thanks to all the bloggers I follow every day...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

{whole me} :: a few bones to pick

This is going to be a fairly random, list-like post of some things that have been picking away at me. I really just want someone to agree with me, if I'm being really honest. So...in the spirit of getting things out of my head...I'm going to put them down here:)

I'm really not trying to be negative, but rather extend a commentary that negates negativity in a way that may come across negatively? ....No? I thought I take a stab.:

1. Even though it's old news, I'm annoyed by the people who were spouting off righteous indignation immediately after hear that OBL had finally been killed. I had a pretty heavy gut reaction to that event, and found myself sobbing with relief, over something I didn't realize I had much feeling about. About 5 minutes into it, people were already yammering on about how we need not unite over hate, and how we need not celebrate a person's death. Ok...I get it. However, I would like to put out a call to give it 24 hours, before we start in on that stuff. In the moment...it was a visceral reaction from way down deep. For me, it was a stunning reaction to the death of the architect of the moment that switched the pathos of my country's existence from light to dark; the one who made the day happen that tinged all days after it in a shade of fear. It was the day when I all of a sudden didn't let myself look too far in the future. So, yeah...I understand that we need to rise above. But, we have been a nation in mourning for almost 10 years, now. It stands to reason that there would be a strong reaction to the death of the murderer who got that ball rolling. Balanced and rational people will always pull it together...but, give the self-righteous B.S. a rest until the news has settled...that's all I'm asking.

2. One of my pro-choice friends said something to me, a few months ago, that rang a bell in me, that I was only recently able to identify. She said "it astounds me that pro-lifers are so ready to execute someone on death row...aren't they supposed to value life? It doesn't make any sense." Well...back atcha! It's amazing to me that pro-choicers are so ready to murder innocent babies, but are all up in arms about saving people who have chosen to take someone else's life, and be brutal criminals. Why are they more valuable than babies? (By the way...though I am pro-life, I'm not pro-capital punishment...which is why it took me a while to pinpoint what annoyed me about that statement.)

3. I read a review about Water For Elephants. Basically, it said..."yeah, the movie was beautiful, and the actors did a good job...but, it wasn't abstract, it was predictable, it was banal." Well, Boo. Isn't it OK to go to the movies to escape the unpredictability of life and to bask in the beauty and romance of a movie that may be corny, but also just heart-felt entertainment? Why must we downplay the intelligence of the movie, not to mention the movie-watcher, simply because the conversation wouldn't be long in a film class breakdown? I don't always go to the movies to have to decipher and write a dissertation. Get with the spirit, peeps.

4. I really want one of the people that are running the machine to do something just because it's right...not because it gets them votes or profit or gain. Even though I'll fight it until my dying day...I really just wish to wake up and not worry about the mutation of life. I love living this life...it pisses me off that everyone can't feel the same.

Truly...I'm not sad, or in a bad mood...I kind of just have this "Hey! Stop pissin' all over the parade!" feeling.
I read this quote the other day on Dig this Chick. It resonated with me:

"I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day." E.B. White

So...moral of the post? Can we please just lighten up?

Friday, May 13, 2011

{whole marriage} :: speak your peace

I have a challenge for all of us...all of us women, all of us wives.

It's happening more and more every day. I hear it from friend after friend after friend.

"Well, I think I made a mistake. He's just not the man I thought I was marrying."

Oh, there's a myriad of reasons...not passionate enough, not a good enough friend, not a good enough provider...he's a pig...he's not a good spiritual leader...he's floundering as a father....everything he does annoys me...

...hopefully you get the jist.

Well, LADIES!!...I have a thought. (And as I'm sure you're well aware by now...that means I'm going to share it.)

I think it's time that we shed the shackles of the messages that we are bombarded with every single day! It's time to think of things in a new light.

Think about the message of society:
  • If you need someone to love you, then you are not adequately loving yourself. i.e. You are incomplete, and to want to be in relationship is selling out.
  • If you need someone to tell you good things about yourself, then you have an ill-formed and inadequate self-image. You obviously don't respect yourself, and you are less than what you ought to be.
  • If you are not a lone wolf...and happy being one...you are needy, weak...hysterical.
  • Loneliness is a form of mental instability.
Ok...now that everyone is listening...go back, read through the list again...and pretend you are a man.

A year or so before I married my husband, I was at a friend's wedding. I remember the exact string of words that came out of the pastor's mouth, as he was addressing the bride. He told her...
"Your husband will live up to...or down to...whatever you believe about him. It doesn't make sense, it doesn't seem fair. But, it's the truth. You can take a man without much potential, and give him a mate that believes he can do anything...and he will be able. You can take a very capable man, mate him to a woman who believes that he is lesser...and he will come to believe it also."

I heard that, and it rang through my ears like a gong.

That's a lot of responsibility. That's a lot of pressure! Could it be true?

All you need, is to look at the beginning. When the world was perfect...when there was no sin...when there was nothing to be upset about...when Adam walked with God...God recognized a loneliness in him. BEFORE THE FALL OF THE WORLD...God recognized the need for man to have a relationship...OUTSIDE of his relationship with the Father.

It's important, people! The marriage relationship took shape before the fall of mankind. So, maybe the message that we need to not need anyone is a bunch of rubbish? Maybe it's a big, fat lie to put wedges in between people, so that resentment and bitterness take root and ruin lives?

Men need relationship. They need us to be their helpmates. They need our encouragement and our respect...even if, and ESPECIALLY if...they don't deserve it.

Guess what...even Adam...who walked with God...was taken down by the words of a woman.

Now, certainly...his sin played a role. He didn't stand on what he knew to be the truth. But, what I want to emphasize is this: even the guy who didn't have to guess at God's will...the guy who SAW God, and talked to Him on a daily basis, the guy who didn't HAVE TO go on faith....HIS WIFE'S WORDS had enough weight with him to make him act against what he knew was right!

This is not a new concept, ladies...we have to understand this!

What a woman says TO her husband, ABOUT her husband, AROUND her husband...even how she speaks of him WHEN HE'S NOT AROUND...it holds tremendous weight!!

Your husband does not live in a society that celebrates the man. "Man-ness" has been replaced in the psychological hierarchy by femininity. Oh, yes it has...just think about it. This society wants men to be in touch with their feminine side...to communicate for hours, to dress a little more civilized...to be a little softer...to be well groomed...to be sensitive and equal-minded....etc. etc. etc.
Oh yes...most of these things are good things...at first glance. But, beat this into the male psyche over and over and over...make sure that their warrior spirits are downplayed and their built-in need to provide for their family is looked at as sexist or "old-fashioned" at best...make sure they know that their gender is not well appreciated...and all of sudden...

we've diminished male-ness...and we're left wondering "where have all the men gone?".

Haven't you heard...having 2 genders is discriminatory. Oh...you hadn't heard? Yes...yes, you have. They just get you to believe a little at a time, until you don't realize what you are hearing.

So, then...can we really be that surprised that our husbands are all of a sudden not everything that we truly need? We've shot ourselves in the foot, here.

Ok, seriously...I can go on and on. I'm really just wanting to put out some food for thought.

What I really want to do is this: I want to challenge all the women who might possibly read this...

Be the biggest cheerleader in your husband's life. Be in his corner. Protect his reputation...even from his own inner demons. Appoint yourself the champion of his worth. Decide that no matter what the world tells him...you will tell him better.

For some, this is going to take some choking down of a big hunk of pride. It may be well-deserved and very much appropriate. Stick with me here...I'm asking you to drop it. Just like that. Drop it.

You may very well have to lie at first. Oh, faint! Get over it.

Speak to your husband as if he is already meeting the need that you are so desperate to get met. If you are angry with him for being lazy...tell him as many times as you can how much you appreciate the hard work he does...and how you don't know what you'd do without him. If you have been at odds with your husband...stop during the evening, look him in the eye...and tell him you are so glad that you are on the same side...how you love that you are in eachother's corners. Say these things through gritted teeth, if you need to...but, if you want to fix an ailing marriage...I'm telling you ...this is the secret.

You have a choice: Build him up or tear him down. When you looked into his eyes and said your vows...did you intend to choose tearing down? My guess is no.

I have people scoff at me all the time about this. "Why should I have to do this for him? He's the one who makes me feel like crap and doesn't say nice things to me!" My response is usually along the lines of..."do you want to argue semantics, or do you want to have a happy marriage?" It's time to get bold about this. This is something I do a lot. And, no, I'm not playing games with my husband. Most of the time, I realize that I am actually reminding myself of what the truth really is...because, usually I am the one who has been dwelling on his shortcomings.

No matter what the situation is in your home...go first. Women are just better at relational issues. It comes naturally to us. So, we can either belly-ache over the fairness, like we're in second grade...or we can get to the business of getting happy...making our marriages whole again. Dare I say...helping your husband to be whole, again? Your need will be met...and you know what? You won't care who made the first move...because you will have realized that the power of life and death is on your tongue...and, that you have used it for life.

Give it 3 tries. Watch the change in your husband. Watch him walk taller...watch him become more affectionate. Watch him become who you are needing him to be. It shouldn't be that shocking...you know how it feels when he recognizes and voices appreciation for you. If he doesn't...I'm willing to bet he probably will after this:)

Lastly...make it a priority to be concerned about your husband's heart. If you're not on his side...who is? I guarantee it's not the world he lives in.

You have the power to get your peace back...the first step is remembering how to speak it.

Just so you know...my husband is a pillar of man-ness, whose masculinity has, in no way been diminished. However, he too is subject to the building up or tearing down of my words. He has experienced both. Every time he has experienced the tearing down...our marriage has been torn down as well.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

{whole food} :: the first tomato

We were able to harvest our first tomato.

My husband, who doesn't like tomatoes, decided to taste it...

His eyes opened wide, with a look that said..."Whaaat!? THAT'S what they are supposed to taste like?!" So priceless.

He likes them now:)

Yep...no sour water, mealy, orangey-pink tomatoes here, baby:) It's all deep red, tart, tomato-y bliss that makes you just want to slice it up, sprinkle with some kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper, and eat it for a meal! Next stop: Caprese Salad...every single bit of which will be harvested from our yard, or made in our kitchen...Mozz, Tomatoes, and Basil. Oh...well, I guess we aren't cold-pressing our own olive oil, or making our own salt and pepper...so, there's that.

Oh my word, the rest of this society is missing out! I know we would be a much different place if everyone knew what vegetables are actually supposed to taste like! I just know it. What a travesty took place when we handed the care and feeding of our families and ourselves to a giant agri-business that doesn't care at all about us!

We're taking it back, people...taking. it. back.!

I'm going to make as many people taste my beautiful vegetables as possible so that maybe I can reopen the world of beauty, color, and taste to everyone. I want everyone to know what they're missing out on!

God didn't give us this planet in beige and grey! He didn't just send us tasteless manna from the skies. He created things to be pleasurable and wonderful! He made it so the health of our bodies, and joy of our hearts would be so intertwined that to separate the two would be to make the world...you know...what it is.

We are so under-living this life.

We are soooo under-living this beautiful life!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

{whole children} :: sell your labels somewhere else

I'm not one of those parents that thinks that their child is the most brilliant human being ever created. I don't hold delusions, and I don't subscribe to parental hysteria. However, I know that I have a child whose mind does not operate on the same levels of other children. I have a son whose mind is architectural, scientific, structural, mathematical...and very, very engineering.

It's rough for me, because I'm a literary. My son loves letters...insomuch as he can create their structure..."Mama, up-down-up-down makes an M...down-up-down-up makes a W." He could care less about stories. He could care less about the plot...but, rather..."mama, how did they build that building in that picture?" (got me, kiddo:{) He sees this world in a very different way than I do...in a very different way than it ever dawned on me to. It's extremely early for this personality to emerge to the degree that it has. So, no...I don't think that I have some sort of savant on my hands. But, what I DO KNOW...is that I have a child whose mind has surpassed that of his peers in ways that most people don't look for, at his age.

So, when he doesn't want to sit and listen to a story...a story, by the way, that he has had memorized for the last 2 years, because I read it to him every single night for almost his entire life, so far...I would appreciate it very much if it were not implied to me that his behavior might need to be addressed with medication at some point. I would appreciate it very much, if it would be considered that what is seen as a behavior problem, is actually a result of the subject matter he is expected to pay attention to, is way beneath him. I would like it to be known that... you BORE MY SON TO TEARS.

So...sell your labels somewhere else...'cause THIS mama ain't buyin'. Just because you don't have the energy to help my child flourish, doesn't mean there's something wrong with him...it means there's something wrong with you.

Mama Bear is out to play with those who seek to suggest that labels somehow belong on my child.

Monday, May 2, 2011

{whole me} :: mourning meaning

As I sat, watching the wedding of Wills & Kate this past Friday, I was struck by something unexpected.

I've never been one for much pomp and circumstance...usually scoff at the idea of formality. I much enjoy ease and familiarity...even with strangers. I like the idea, and have often prided myself on the ability to make someone feel as thought they've known me forever. I do casual. I'm not a private person, and though I sometimes wish I had a demure disposition, I have been known to "get to the point"...and not dance around with suggestions. Truth be known, I can be somewhat of an ice-breaker.

So, imagine my surprise, when watching this event that is arguably the most formal, pompous, demure, and rehearsed event there is...I was deeply moved. Never have I been a royal-watcher, but ever since Diana's death, I always wonder about and root for her sons...my ears perking up to see how they are shaped and what their life will be. So, yeah...I was interested in the wedding. I wanted to see it. What a beautiful moment.

But, there was something else...something tugging in a deeper place....

it was longing.

Longing?! Happy as I am for Duchess Catherine or Princess William or Kate...whatever you want to call her...I don't envy her the life she leads. However, the poise and calm with which she conducted herself, the majesty of Westminster Abbey, the horses with their polished silver, the choir of boys and men that sang...the hats (some of them, ahem)..this all added up to something that I think we are desperate for, in our society...reverence and effort.

It seems to me there's a general disdain for reverence, in this country. Maybe it's because we started as a country, through the circumstance of trying to escape the trappings of a ritualistic society. However, I think somewhere deep inside...our spirits are mourning....well, meaning. I realize that I am longing for a sense of deeper meaning...and, I want my community to share in it with me.

While watching some BBC commentary, a British man was being interviewed by an American reporter. She asked him what he made of the fact that so many Americans were captivated by the wedding...and, this was something that struck me...she said, "even though most would be embarrassed to admit it." *Why? Why are we embarrassed?...we certainly aren't embarrassed by our entertainment export...JERSEY SHORE!!! (Well, I am...but, in general...)* His response really resonated with me, and some of the inner apathy that so many people, including myself, have been experiencing, lately. He said, "Well, there has to be a certain deadness of spirit, doesn't there, not to want anyone to know that you think this is a beautiful thing?"

Why, yes...cute Mr. British Man...there does. Thank you for identifying that for me.

Think about it...as a general rule...we look sideways at enthusiasm. We look sideways at tradition. Don't be too happy...don't be too sad...don't be too Christian..don't be too tactful...don't be too kind...don't be too spiritual...don't be TOO excited...don't be TOO...don't be TOO! But, some things we are more than happy to celebrate TOO MUCH of. (Hello, celebrities with poor judgement!?)

Well...awesome. Where does that leave us? We don't want to put too much effort into anything. We don't want to treasure our pasts. We don't want to celebrate roots...we don't give a crap about heritage. We want to erase history in the name of progression, and we certainly don't want anyone to cling to the past...otherwise, you're backward thinking.

It's not that I don't appreciate progression. Things like civil rights, racial equality, communication...the ability to talk about things that desperately need talking about...the ability to question things that need questioning. However, I think in our classic, American "all or nothing" way of doing things...we've thrown the proverbial baby out with the bathwater.

We've progressed ourselves right into a shallow puddle of muck.

Respect, tact, reverence, decorum, dignity, rootedness...these are all casualties of "progression." I think it's time we start putting things under the right heading, you know? Like, maybe fighting against racism and sexism can be under PROGRESSION...and other things like sexual deviancy, hatefulness, and debauchery can stop being "forms of self-expression" and start being what they are...TRASHINESS.

I'm all about going against the flow of the machine...however, I dont' think that needs to be an excuse to conduct ourselves with absolutely no self control...no tact...no integrity. Maybe we need to be reminded that not every single thought, every single moment of the day, deserves to be spouted out whenever we want to. How truly immature of us. Maybe...just maybe...we should be humble enough to realize that we don't have all the answers. Maybe...just maybe...we should grow the hell up.

I think it's safe to assume, that as we move through this new chapter...after last night's news...maybe we should take a different approach. Maybe the venomous spew that seems to be so rampant amongst people with differing political opinions...maybe we could honor human sacrifice with the end of that. Maybe we could take back our lives from corporate interest...and begin working on human interests...you know taking care of those who need it...loving one another. Being civilized in spirit. Whatever that looks like to you...to me it looks like Jesus.

Maybe deadness of spirit isn't progress...maybe it isn't victory.

Maybe it's time that we lived...truly lived.

"The glory of God is man fully alive." - Saint Irenaeus


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