Friday, October 5, 2012

Finish line

That magical moment during the day when otherwise exhausted children suddenly decide to drop their deepest, most troubling thoughts or memories at your worn-out feet and look up at you with giant brown eyes that say "okay, lady, now what are you going to do with this?"

Bedtime sometimes leaves me speechless.
Like last night when I was doing my nightly whack-a-mole routine trying to get 5 boys into bunk beds, prayed up, tucked in, laying down, and staying in that position when out of the blue...
"Mom, Ethiopia is very, very hard."
And so it begins.
The snowball effect of three precious boys recalling events, retelling stories, acting out behaviors, and asking for confirmation that THIS place is where they will stay forever.

"Mom, I don't want to go back to Ethiopia. There's mean, mean people there. I want to stay here."

It is out of this hard place that my previous post on the Jesus who is the warrior, defender of the weak, reigning world champion comes in and holds me up from falling over into a puddle on the floor as I reach for that sweet boy and squeeze him tight and whisper in his ear
"Baby, you stay with ME. I'M your Mommy and I love you. NO ONE is allowed to hurt you here."

It was at that magical hour one night when I could see the hurt in our son's eyes and I came up with this little affirming statement for them that they repeat after me. I kneel down to their level and look at those gorgeous chocolate eyes and say
"I am my Mommy's baby.
My mommy LOVES me.
I am a treasure."

Yes...It gets me every time, too.

Sometimes it's mundane.
Sometimes I'm just over it and I wish they'd all just get in the bed and go to sleep by themselves.
But, I would have missed it when our former-youngest-child suddenly stood up for his brothers and said "when I get big, I'm going to go to Ethiopia and PUNCH them TWICE. In the FACE!" and inside my spirit did this giant "YEAH!!" shout of success and I couldn't help but smile and think... wow, he's protective of them. We've come a long way, baby! That's progress. That's bonding. That's brotherly love and that's a watering hole in the desert of attachment.

Oh, bedtime.
Mine needs to be earlier for sure... but the silence and the rest I feel in those few hours of quiet are at least as refreshing for my brain as the extra hour or two of sleep. I need that time to unpack my day, re-think things I said or did, compose myself for tomorrow and go over my mental checklists. I just need that little space between the days for myself.

Bedtime - it's the finish line for the day. It's the end of the "stuff" and it's the pause before the next "stuff" hits. It's one last hug and kiss, one more drink of water, prayers for stuff only kids think of, and walking out of the room with a deep exhale that says "see? you made it after all."

Thursday, October 4, 2012


I'm in a Wednesday night small group/Bible study right now that's really been good for my soul. We are studying Revelation in parallel with our Sunday morning lessons in church and it is slowly opening my eyes and confirming to me why it is that my entire Bible-reading life, I tend to turn to Revelation when I don't know what else to read. I'm always confused when people say they don't like this particular book, or don't think it belongs, or that it scares them... I'm in the "intrigued" camp.

Here's what I'm slowly realizing.

I've been taught what's in the Bible.

Don't skip that. Don't skim right over it.

I've been taught. We teach our kids to tie their shoes, to clear the table after a meal, to walk on the sidewalk on the way to school and to drive a car. We teach our dog to sit/down/stay. We teach our children multiplication and how to color inside the lines neatly.
I was taught the Bible by my family, the world, cliches, sound bites and 80-something credits of college Bible courses. 

But I'd submit to you that the Bible - the Word of God - needs to be LEARNED. It needs to be absorbed slowly, intentionally, and often. You need to put down your commentaries, put down your favorite lady-teacher Bible study books, put down your motivational poster quotation snippets and plaques above your door and actually READ the WORDS for yourself. Let them seep into your soul. Each word is there intentionally - so ask why it's there! You should be so familiar with the words and stories that when you hear a phrase, your mind immediately jumps to the words you've read. When a friend is struggling, you have an idea where to go for encouragement because you've read that encouragement yourself.

Last night in Bible study we were asked "What is your mental picture of Heaven?", and how our view may have been skewed over the years. I've thought more about my own answer last night and more about my own ideas that I was taught over the years (if you ever need to be entertained, be in a Bible study with me. I'm not famous for my "Sunday School answers").

The idea of sitting on a cloud for all of eternity strumming a harp is not exciting.
It's not even desirable.
Okay, some days I'd take a cloud-sitting break in a heartbeat because the silence might be nice for a while. But for ETERNITY?? No thanks. So is it any wonder that when we try to "sell" salvation via eternity in this kind of fabricated, cartooned, movie version of Heaven - we lose the attention of those we hope will hear?

And what of the Jesus we offer to the broken and hurting?

The idea of an Omni-Omni Jesus  (yes, I made that term up, unless someone else has already said it...) who looks like that Sunday School Bible story Jesus sitting on a rock holding a lamb while the little kids gaze up at him... frankly... He would be GREAT for story time at my house, or maybe in a particularly quiet time he could lead some little songs or hold someone's hand while I go get an ice pack. But strong enough to lift me up out of my deepest despair? Mighty enough to come rushing the gates of Hell to save me from myself? Umm... no offense, but I wouldn't want him to hurt himself rushing to my rescue.

Now, I'm not saying Jesus isn't big enough to be both... but there's a particular brand of effeminate Jesus that I just find distasteful by the standards I read in MY Bible. Mark Driscoll once said "I cannot worship a guy I can beat up." By the artists' interpretations of Jesus over the years, they have stripped him of all masculinity and reduced him to some sad, tame, metrosexual version of the lanky unpopular kid in high school. I mean this with ZERO disrespect to the Christ of the Gospels... but really people??? Is that YOUR Jesus?

I need the Jesus of Revelation and Daniel and Ezekiel.
I need the Jesus who storms in with lightening and thunder and brightness that knocks the strongest men on their faces in awe, fear and reverence.
I need the sword-wielding Jesus on a white horse who says "You are MINE and NO ONE will take you from MY hand."
I need the Jesus that inspires worship - spontaneous, genuine, heart felt, I-have-no-other-option-in-my-being-but-to-worship WORSHIP. Not some half-hearted, lip synced song on Sunday mornings.
I need the Jesus who fights for injustice.
I need the Jesus who says "I SEE where you are. I KNOW how hard this is. I struggled too and I'm WITH you in this."
The Jesus who grabs your face, turns it to his and looks right in your eyes and says with authority "I know the life are living right now is CRAP, but hold on because I've got you and WITH ME you CAN do this. I'm right with you."
For my friends who are dealing with horrible stuff and wonder where Jesus is... they need the warrior Jesus clearing the path for them, holding them up when they fall and strengthening them when they can't do it for one more minute.
For my daughters, I need the Jesus who says "unless I hold his heart- he's not the one for you." 
For my sons, I need the Jesus who says "Seek justice, love mercy, walk humbly with Me and lead your family in that same path." 
For my daily routine I need the Jesus who puts my busy hands in His and says "You are the mommy/woman/wife/friend/sister/daughter that I love! Your love is your worship. Loving them is loving Me! Quiet your heart and know that I am strong enough for all of this."
This is not what I hear coming from the mouth of pacifist 60's "Peace, Love and Lambs" Jesus in my kids' illustrated story book Bible.

To my non-believing friends, maybe your picture of Jesus was drawn by stained glass windows, felt boards and illustrated children's books.
Maybe you were hurt and someone said something like "This is God's Will!"
Maybe you blame Him for not being stronger.
Maybe you need someone to stand up for you, too - to toss some people out of your life, flip over some tables and show them who's the boss.
Maybe you need the Jesus we find in Revelation.
After all, it's the same Jesus from Genesis who crushes the heads of serpents.

He loves fiercely. He is strong enough. He knows. He feels. He protects and He saves.
He's the conquering King, I tell you.

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Moose cupcakes

This is not a food blog.
There are places you can go to read about food,
recipes, ingredients, and stuff like that...
this is typically not that place.
I made these cupcakes that I think are cute,
and since I couldn't find instructions online when *I* wanted to make them...
here ya go!
One of our daughters birthday fell on Labor Day this year. 
This meant I got an extra few days to send in her
"my happiness as a child in this class and ultimately my success in making friends and having good self-esteem depends on what birthday snack I bring in" birthday cupcakes.
Okay, so it's not quite that bad.
(yes it is.)
I emailed the teacher and found out they were reading the "If you give a Moose/Mouse/Pig..." series at school that week...
so a Google search was born.
This is what I came up with:

I made some cupcakes and some chocolate mouse frosting.
(hindsight -When you make these - use regular frosting. Don't go fancy. Keep reading for why.)

While they were cooling, I free-hand drew some moose antlers on plastic wrap.
(hind-sight - make some going in the opposite direction or you have one bumpy antler, one smooth antler. Also, make 20% more antlers than you think you need.)

Then, I had those large rolls of tootsie roll stuff - the ones that look like a Lincoln log.
I cut them into pieces and used my rolling pin to flatten them into a moose head shape.
Having never seen a moose in person, this was up to my interpretation.
Use a decorating marker to draw a moose-ish face on each one. I used a dab of white chocolate with a smaller dab of dark chocolate to make the eyes. I was going for non-creepy, cartoon-ish eyes.

Then, assemble your moose. (plural)

Okay. I have the world's most awesome cupcake carrier.
It holds 36 cupcakes and it's the sweetest shade of blue!
It was a gift - so no, you can't go buy one.

Moose Lodge. (hahahaha!)

Final note...

And if you happen to have leftovers that travel home in the Moose Lodge with their newly-7-year-old captor...
they may look like this when they get home: