That this babe, this miracle, would come in the most humble of circumstances,
Unnoticed by all but the donkey, the cow, the sheep.

His mother, a young girl chosen for her innocence.  Her willingness.
To be found this worthy.  To be the vessel of the Lord.

I read.  I listen.  I ponder your words, and I am awestruck.
I am in the stable, in the rafters, looking on the entrance of the king.

(my personal translation of the classical text O magnum mysterium)

hurry up and slow down

My poor little special kiddos.

The other day we were scheduled to have an earthquake drill at school, but because it was Monday, and Monday was Pilgrims day, after all, I got all caught up in doing watercolor paintings of turkeys, playing with button spinners, and doing bean bag games, instead of warning and prepping my kids for the shaky, quaky event.

So instead of an organized line of children who calmly crawled under the tables, I had 7 children who heard the rumblings over the PA and then ran toward the tables, confused but hurrying.
This is a pretend earthquake.  Please get under the tables, but remember we are just practicing for an earthquake.  It's okay, G.  Everything is okay.  See how I am smiling while I talk to you.  No need to shake.  We are just pretending.

Other kids needed some encouragement to even notice something was going on that was out of the ordinary.
Do you hear that rumbling, K?  We need to hurry and quickly get under this table!  This one right here, K!  Fast now.  But we are only practicing, G., so don't worry.  But please hurry, you three!  

I am even confusing myself.

between JFK and MLK Jr.

My mother was 4 months pregnant with me when JKF was shot and killed in November 1963. I am a mid-60s baby.  There was a revolt that was starting as a secret effort in the minds of people who wanted to say something different than what was said in the 50s.  A new stand.  A new definition of roles and possibilities.

And then when I was 4-years old MLK Jr. was shot and killed on April 4, 1968.  His movement was also trying to say things differently.  I have a dream.  We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.(read this incredible speech here)

I am not really sure how, but I want to believe that though I was too young to have been changed consciously by these events, I was changed in some deep way.  Maybe it indirectly influenced me because I had teachers who were already adults during these history-changing events.  My parents were New Englanders who brought their three babies down to the south for more grass and trees and openness.  Unfortunately, there was also more racism and close-mindedness that went along with the beautiful surroundings I grew up in.  I felt it personally when I dared to dance with a black friend at a middle school dance and was shunned for days by my neighbor friends.

I also was born smack in the middle of the Vietnam war, which was from 1961-1970.  I have memories of my parents watching the news, but jumping up to turn the TV off when we wandered innocently into the room.  There was never a feeling of doom in my house.  Never.  But now I look back and see that times were turbulent and muscles were being flexed all over this country and beyond.

We each have a connection to the current events of our time.  I can now say that my own children were 13 down to 3-years old when 911 happened.  We did some talking, some crying, some evasive actions to avoid it.  But it will be something they relate to their own generation.

We are not necessarily defined by these events, but to think we are immune to their influence is naive.  I am a 60s baby, and in some small way in my soul, I carry some of that with me.

and down comes the gavel

It has been a tough thing to plan and manage my time.  I feel like I am smart enough to take care of these details, but they multiply exponentially in an amazing way.  I am finishing my licensing program this year, which includes 5 classroom observations and 7 serious, big-time, portfolio assignments.  Then I have 13 students that need testing and IEPs and meetings with parents.  My church responsibilities are heavy, but enjoyable, and I am still learning to do things right there.  And though they shouldn't be listed last, the family needs my attention, and guilt is prevalent in that arena. 

We do a good job with family nights on Monday, and reading scriptures during dinner.  That is going well.  I make sure the kids are at the table at 4:30 pm for study time, then music practice.  So the details are in place.  But I feel a little absent in my own life sometimes.  I know things will get better come April, when my schooling is finally over, but I don't want to get caught up in the "in only 6 months ..." game.  Again, absence.

So tonight I am trying to forgive myself and get present.  Because I remember when I was an at-home mom, with no school and no job, I still had feelings of inadequacies and guilt.  It is my way. 

musical monday: the house that built me

After a long day, including 3 hours of my own church, and then 4 hours in other meetings, I came home, put on my plaid flannel night shirt and stood in front of the mic.  It felt good and right.

This is for Charlene.

The House That Built Me

Kazzy's voice has been silenced by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act(see the details here). Sorry you can't listen to her sing directly. But send her a message and she'll try to work something out.

and I get paid for this

Sometimes people go to work and spend hours sitting in front of a computer.  I get to sit in front of this.

I am not kidding.  How lucky am I?

the percussionist and the luchador

Let me begin by thanking everyone for the support and empathy offered last week when I wrote about my motherly concerns.  #3 returned from his trip with the marching band tonight, feeling better.  Even though while he was gone the doctor called to tell us the strep culture did come back positive (after the swab in the office was negative).  After a good night's sleep in his own bed I am hoping he will be back to his voice-cracking, smarty-pants self in the morning.

And a letter from the missionary reassured us that although he was contemplative in his letter last week, that he was fine.  He is figuring things out as far as his own purpose is concerned.  He would like to have more contact and success with people he is teaching, but maybe it is his time to grow right now.  Maybe he will be the "one soul brought unto Him".  He is faithful and bold.  He has always been the one in the family to jump up and share his testimony of the gospel.  He knows what matters.  And even though I know these things about him, I still have that motherly concern.  It is involuntary, as many of you will agree.  But this picture helped to make me feel better.

disneyland, on drugs, and mexican melancholy

Tuesday night I put my 14-year old on a fancy, shiny tour bus with his marching band. They drove all night in order to reach sunny SoCal by 9 am Wednesday, where they were going to participate in a recording session before romping around and causing mayhem.

There were months of planning and saving and spending that went into this event, and a sore throat was not about to stop boy #3 from this adventure. The swab for strep came back negative a few hours before the bus, but, man, were we torn about this trip. We did get some antibiotics, in case, but still.

Then last night we got a call from a chaperone parent. The cough is starting. The mom worrying is in full force, and I am finding myself preoccupied by it.

News from #2 in Mexico also has me concerned. Just some frustration and even a bit of heavy self-evaluation on his part. Some young men could use a little more of this, but this son of mine slips into it a little too easily, and I fear he feels a bit inadequate. He knows this about himself, but I would like to sit beside him and hug him and offer some in-your-face comfort. And what is it that always makes me want to make food for my guys when they seem sad?

So today I will pray and make a nice meal, vicariously taking care of my absent kids.