Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Big Cat

I think I've been talking about it since Christmas, but -- hooray! -- this Sunday is the first Sunday of the new church.  And -- look! -- I can totally say the name without laughing now.  Catalyst. See! Mouth corners didn't even turn up.

Even though we have been working on this project for almost a year, this week has the freaked out air of a wedding or some such event.  There are things that can't be done until the last minute.  There are things that hadn't been thought through.  There are things that need to change, and I mean now!  Everyone is scrambling a bit.

Big Daddy Brent, as you remember, is heading the music ministry, and so last night went to the practice set up of the sound equipment. Or at least the parts we were able to purchase before the money ran out.  The rest of it had to be begged and borrowed.  (Not stolen, of course.)  Next comes the real pre-set up on Friday and then the real final set up on Sunday morning.

We also had to beg and borrow a last minute drummer when ours cancelled yesterday.  Getting a drummer isn't necessarily that hard, but he or she had to come complete with drums because money ran out before we could buy those as well.  Since practice time is at a minimum at this point, the drummer also has to know Brent and know who he works -- trickier yet.  Huge, huge, HUGE shout out to our blogger-friend Jeremy J for coming through in a pinch. (Did I mention huge?)  He claims the drums were dusty, but I don't believe it will take long for him to get into the groove . . . um . . . so to speak.

So, if perchance, you are in Central Minnesota this week and you are looking for a free cup of coffee Sunday morning, come on over.  Everybody is going to be new, so no one needs to feel left out or like they don't know what's going on because -- truthfully -- none of us do.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Poem for Tuesday

Colin had a tough bus ride home yesterday.  One of his the things he does to help cope with the autism in his brain is talk to himself.  He's reviewing what he said to hear it again, make sure it was right, practice for the future.  As you and I both know, though, people who aren't careful when they talk to themselves (alone in the car, maybe?) have a tough time on the school bus.

Colin knows that he does this -- which is either a blessing or a curse.  Now it's up to him to learn and control when it's okay and when it's not.

So here's a poem in honor of Colin today.  It's about junior high band -- one place where he really shines without having to work too hard at it.

And if you are a prayer warrior, will you lift up Colin today?  He has to ride the stinkin' bus every day.

The Junior High Band Concert
by David Wagoner

When our semi-conductor
Raised his baton, we sat there
Gaping at Marche Militaire,
Our mouth-opening number.
It seemed faintly familiar
(We'd rehearsed it all that winter),
But we attacked in such a blur,
No army anywhere
On its stomach or all fours
Could have squeezed through our crossfire.

I played cornet, seventh chair,
Out of seven, my embouchure
A glorified Bronx cheer
Through that three-keyed keyhole stopper
And neighborhood window-slammer
Where mildew fought for air
At every exhausted corner,
My fingering still unsure
After scaling it for a year
Except on the spit-valve lever.

Each straight-faced mother and father
Retested his moral fiber
Against our traps and slurs
And the inadvertent whickers
Paradiddled by our snares,
And when the brass bulled forth
A blare fit to horn over
Jericho two bars sooner
Than Joshua's harsh measures,
They still had the nerve to stare.

By the last lost chord, our director
Looked older and soberer.
No doubt, in his mind's ear
Some band somewhere
In some music of some Sphere
Was striking a note as pure
As the wishes of Franz Schubert,
But meanwhile here we were: 
A lesson in everything minor,
Decomposing our first composer.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Bunny Update

I'm sure that out there in the world, some of you have acceptable looking nieces, but -- honestly, now -- are they so darling they sport pink leopard kitty ears?

When you're ready to see if your guess of Baby Zah Zah was right, visit Cyberspace's blog here.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Preschooler Vader

Preschooler D and I just got back from a three day visit to see Baby . . . Oh, I can't say. I am sorry.  I don't mean to keep you in suspense this way but Cyberspace Sarah hasn't posted it on her blog, so I don't think I should put it on mine.  For now, we'll call her Baby Z.  You can decide for yourself if it's Zinnia or Zarathustra or some such thing.

Baby Z is teeny tiny and we just fell in love with her weensy self.  We absolutely had to buy her an itty bitty bunny to ride around in her baby carrier with her so she wouldn't get lonely.  I was freaking out that she did not have a small stuffed animal in there with her.  In this photo I am holding hands with her until I can find something for her to hold.

Okay, truthfully, Preschooler D could have cared less about Baby Z, but he was beside himself to see Aunt Sarah and have her -- almost -- to himself.

So anyway, we did some shopping while we were down there, and D started to notice the Halloween decorations and he was getting pretty excited.  One night on the trip back to the hotel I said, "D, have you thought about what costume you would like for Halloween?"

His answer:  A witch.

Now friends and loved ones, gender issues aside, have I not made it perfectly clear by this time that I am a die-hard peacenik evangelical Christian?  None of those things match with my preschooler being a witch for Halloween.  I mean, beside the fact that the crowd I run with is deeply into "harvest" parties verses Halloween Trick-or-Treating, I personally just can't get into the before-school-set running around as masters of the dark arts.  No, no.  Cousin Natalie passed down a tremendously cute monkey costume complete with stuffed banana.  That's more what I had in mind.

So I said, "Well, D, that's one idea, OR you could be -- maybe -- a cowboy or a Star Wars guy."

"Oh!"  He exclaimed with delight.  "I'll be a Star Wars witch!"

We're going to have to work on this.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


 I haven't forgotten about you.  No Name Niece got a name . . . and a very good one at that! Preschooler D and I have gone down to visit.  We'll see you in a few days.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tiny Baby No Name

Tiny niece was born last night, but she has no name.  Here's why.

I had to talk myself out of a "quick" road trip down to see Cyberspace and Tiny Baby this morning.  Preschooler D and I are going to go next week, but today I am too far away . . .

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Poem for Tuesday

My sister, Cyberspace Sarah, is giving birth as we speak.  She was not at Target as she feared, but in her very own home, so all's well that ends well on that one particular front.

While we wait for tiny baby, let's hear from our old buddy, poet laureate, Carl Sandburg

Baby Face
Carl Sandburg

WHITE MOON comes in on a baby face.
The shafts across her bed are flimmering.

Out on the land White Moon shines,
Shines and glimmers against gnarled shadows,
All silver to slow twisted shadows
Falling across the long road that runs from the house.

Keep a little of your beauty
And some of your flimmering silver
For her by the window to-night
Where you come in, White Moon.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Disney Moms

You know I'm what they call a Mousejunkie, right?  Somebody who hides their bad Walt Disney World Resorts habit from other adults?  Yes, well, that's me all right.  Mousejunkie author Bill Burke describes traveling to Orlando as getting a "Disney fix."  I don't know if I'm that bad, but it is true that I am currently wearing a discreet Mickey Mouse watch and even more discreet Mickey Mouse flip flops.  The ears on on the bottoms.

Every year the fine folks at Disney create a Disney Moms Club panel of moms who get to travel to Disney in December and then spend the rest of the year answering Internet questions.  My love of Disney and my Internet addiction all rolled into one!!  Who could be more perfect for this job?!

Yet,  I have been rejected four years in a row. (Sad face.)

There's thousands of applicants. (Sigh.)

It's just a pipe dream. (Deeper sigh.)

Dear Friends at Disney,
If you pick me, I promise to look like this all year.

How could you resist this pixie dusted face?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Blog Writin'

So, I'm watching the POTUS have a press conference this morning and . . . Let's just review for a moment that fact that I am a big bipartisan peacenik.  What I have to say is nothing personal . . . I was brushing my teeth or trying to make my midlife crisis longer hair not stick out at odd angles when I started to notice that when the President was talking about lower taxes or health care or things that might be interesting and personal to Joe Taxpayer, he slipped into an easy "one of the guys" pattern of speech.  A lot of g's were dropped at the end of his verbs.  Contractions were made when they shouldn't have been. It was stuff like "We're workin' . . . We hafta . . . We're gonna . . ."

When, however, the President was talking about international policy and the suchlike, his elocution improved like he'd just done six weeks with 'enry 'iggins himself.

Like I said, I don't blame him.  He's got a big, big staff.  He's probably got somebody whose job it is just to figure out when he should drop his g's and when he should not.  What do I know about how the American public likes their verb tenses?  It could be that I am the only person here who feel as though my President should sound like he just completed a doctoral program in speech at Oxford.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Grieving Our Church Home

I told a friend this morning I was heading to a lunch meeting with the conference director of church plants.  My friend asked if the director was promoting the Trenton Hyacinth.*

No, not that kind of church plant.

You may remember from earlier in the year that Brent and I are committing to a new church plant called Catalyst.  I can almost say the name now with a straight face. Almost.  Anyway, we continue to prepare for our first service which will be in October.  We will have one service a month for the rest of the year until January when we start weekly.

We were supposed to have a lovely parent/child relationship with the church we are leaving.  Many new churches are started because some people got mad and a church actually split.  This was supposed to be a sign of health in our parent church.  The parent church gladly sent a few on their way to start anew.

For the most part it has worked out that way.  Most people are very friendly about it.  Most people are very encouraging.  Some aren't.  Brent and I have not personally been approached to be talked out of leaving, but others in our group have.  (Maybe people are glad to see us go!)  I have been called traitor in an "I'm kidding . . . but not really" way.

We are hearing tales now that the parent church is kicking us out of the nest in ways we had not yet expected.  It's a little sad.  A little disappointing.

On the first Sunday we went to parent church 13 years ago, we walked into a gleaming white sanctuary with a fabulous piano player playing under Lawrence Welk chandeliers.  It was a warm and welcoming family.  Over 13 years it has grown to 900 people a Sunday in a new "worship center" instead of a sanctuary.  This fall they are remodeling the old sanctuary and the Lawrence Welk chandeliers are coming down.

Even if I wanted to stay at the parent church, it is no longer the church I arrived at 13 years ago.  I am not the same either -- but I am experiencing some grief over what was.

It's like a kid going off to college.  It's the right thing for the kid to do.  It's time for her to go off on her own.  Even if she stayed it wouldn't be the same.

But you feel a little sad.

*I figured he was talking about a flower, but the Trenton Hyacinth is an AIDS foundation. Gardener friends and loved ones, you'll have to tell me if it is also a bulb.  This particular friend is just that way and may have been teasing me more than I knew at that moment.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Poem for Tuesday

By law in the great state of Minnesota, public school could not begin until today after Labor Day.  Colin, resigned to it, marched off like the good little soldier he is.

Every time I look at this picture from today, my mind replaces it with this one.

Shoot. I need to go get a Kleenex.  Here, read what Howard Nemerov has to say about this.  The little first grader he writes of turned out to be a professor of Art History and American Studies at Yale -- and so we give in to hope for our middle schoolers with sticky lockers today.

September, The First Day Of School
Howard Nemerov


My child and I hold hands on the way to school,
And when I leave him at the first-grade door
He cries a little but is brave; he does
Let go. My selfish tears remind me how
I cried before that door a life ago.
I may have had a hard time letting go.

Each fall the children must endure together
What every child also endures alone:
Learning the alphabet, the integers,
Three dozen bits and pieces of a stuff
So arbitrary, so peremptory,
That worlds invisible and visible

Bow down before it, as in Joseph's dream
The sheaves bowed down and then the stars bowed down
Before the dreaming of a little boy.
That dream got him such hatred of his brothers
As cost the greater part of life to mend,
And yet great kindness came of it in the end.


A school is where they grind the grain of thought,
And grind the children who must mind the thought.
It may be those two grindings are but one,
As from the alphabet come Shakespeare's Plays,
As from the integers comes Euler's Law,
As from the whole, inseparably, the lives,

The shrunken lives that have not been set free
By law or by poetic fantasy.
But may they be. My child has disappeared
Behind the schoolroom door. And should I live
To see his coming forth, a life away,
I know my hope, but do not know its form

Nor hope to know it. May the fathers he finds
Among his teachers have a care of him
More than his father could. How that will look
I do not know, I do not need to know.
Even our tears belong to ritual.
But may great kindness come of it in the end.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day

So far this Labor Day, I have done 2 loads of laundry, emptied and filled the dishwasher,  made popcorn, made grilled cheese, broken up countless brother fights and I'm about to head out to the lawn with Brent to pick up sticks.

Why do they call it Labor Day again?  Brent actually went to work.

My main goal today is to keep things calm and peaceful as "we" anticipate getting on the bus tomorrow.  I think like all first days of school for most people, once the deed is done, he'll be fine.  Older brother Jeremy called today to give him a good pep talk.  Jeremy has to go back to school tomorrow as a music teacher, so maybe he needed one just as well as Colin did.  They are pretty good at lifting one another's spirits despite the age difference.

I am excited for Colin and even though they can barely speak to each other today, I am positive Daniel will miss him around too.

Change is good.  Change is tough.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

At Least It Was Empty

I just smashed my favorite tea mug to smithereens.  It was made by a quirky little potter who took my face in her hands and told me I must never apologize for my name -- something I have been doing for as long as I can remember.  I was called by two names or by a version of my middle name, and that confuses people.  I have -- honestly, now -- had people get angry.

"Lisa? From Elizabeth? I don't get that!!Beth, Betsy, Liz, those I've heard, but Lisa?!?!"

I am most comfortable being Lisa, but it's not really my name.  I don't mind Mary Lisa. Mary has never felt like me at all.

Quirky little potter lady told me my name was beautiful and chosen for me alone.  She told me that God knew my name and I was as beautiful to Him as the Mona Lisa was to the world.  She said Mona Lisa had sort of an off name too. Actually I think, it means Madam Lisa or Mrs. Lisa, but I wasn't going to bring that up at that moment.

My mug was just a thing.  Thing's get broken.  For the most part they can be replaced . . . but it made me sad.

It was the kind of day that makes you wonder why you got up.  I'm pretty sure I need to take to my bed now.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Who's Nervous Now?

I won't mention any names to protect the innocent, but a certain middle schooler in our house was feeling pretty anxious about going to school open house last night.  There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth and angst about classmates and teachers and such.  Mother had to pull out every trick in the book including, "Your other choice is to stay at home and be home schooled by me."  He thought long and hard about that while I -- panicking -- prepared a brief "God has not called you and I to do home schooling together" speech.

In the end he and I made it to school open house.  The big surprise of the night was that little Mrs. R whom he thought he was going to have for a teacher was switched at zero hour by Mr. M.  It's perfectly all right.  Colin and I are open to change. (Hahahahahahahahahah!!! I thought I could do that with a straight face. Ahhhh . . . ) Mr. M looked a little dazed.  He was back in the room he packed up and left last spring to move to another building only to have to pack it all up again and move back yesterday.  He rolls with the punches.

In case you're new, Colin has autism spectrum disorder. He's very high functioning, but he has a variety of teachers.  Mr. M is his homeroom teacher.  Then he gets pulled out for math and reading, speech therapy, occupational therapy, adaptive phy ed . . .  He gets a lot done in a week, including band.  I am ever so slightly proud of him.  He works hard, but I think I feel for him in an extra way when school starts.  There's so much to get done -- so much to get used to.

So after all this meltdown yesterday, we got out of the car at his school and I realized we'd forgotten his backpack full of school supplies.  I started freaking out.  "We could go back!  Should we go back?! Does it matter if you don't have it?!"  My son looked at me and said, "Mom! I can just bring it on Tuesday.  It's all right."

Oh, sigh.  Who's nervous now?