August 2004 Archives

Republicals, Evangelicans?

I don't know what to call them but they are my parents.

My mother called me and requested a favor. Ordering books from Amazon has been an easy one that I happily do for her. Age and technologically don't always go together(I am sure the 12:00 is flashing on her vcr right now) and, I can find a book on Amazon, order it and be done before she says, "do you have a pencil handy"?

The book for today's favor was "Unfit For Command".

I cringe as she tells me the title cuz I can guess what it is about. My parents being utterly obsessed with politics lately have read their share of literature. Sure enough it is a book on John Kerry and the Swift vet thing.


Although I am totally for freedom of speech I am tired of this subject. All I want to know about the candidates is where they stand on the "issues". So far I haven't heard much of that.

But I don't let on that her choice of reading material bothers me. I order the book and chat about other things. She is my mom and a we may have different views but that is ok. But it is ok because my mom isn't preaching to anyone with the idea that casting a vote for Kerry is casting a vote against God.

That concept truly bothers me. I admit I am not politically savvy. Living in the DC area and being surrounded by those who have politics for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, has made me painfully aware of that. But I do get a gross feeling deep down in my gut when I hear discussions about America being a "Christian" country. I thought it was a democracy.

too early to complain


7:25 in the morning. Who in God's name decided that high school should start at 7:25 in the morning? Were these farmers that did this? Who? ARGH!!

Today is the dry run of the morning schedule that will be ours starting monday, the first day of Daniel's junior year of high school. I should be grateful for yet another chapter in our life, but all I can think about is that I need a shovel to remove the sleep from my eyes.

It is hard to believe that summer is just days from ending. I love the sanity of a summer schedule. Bryan's job required arrival at a polite 9:00 am which with getting ready, making the customary cappuccino plus commute, leaves enough time to sleep until 8:00. Typically with this schedule Daniel would get up whenever, and fend for himself for food, etc. while I settled into my normal morning work-at-home routine.

Shifting gears into the fall, back-to-school schedule, means setting the obnoxious alarm for 6:00 am which gives enough time to make tea and oatmeal, lunch and cappuccino (in the travel spill-proof sippy-cup) and get my boys out the door by 7:00 am Ugh!!

I am sure God never intended this.

Once upon a time I would have looked at this kind of mandatory rise-and-shine as some sort of discipline building opportunity. Jogging,(I tried that once for about two weeks) quiet time,(never really good at that as I am driven to distraction) and a number of other seemingly virtuous attempts at making good use of the morning hour were on the list. Now, years down the road, I just think that sleep is the best thing and that everything else that motivates one to get out of bed before the sun is overrated.

Maturity, or laziness, call it what you will.

Now having sufficiently whined about the early hour I must admit that there is a good side. So I implement my mother's time-tested pick me up of "counting your blessings". Here are a few:

1. Waking up my son receiving the gift of his sleepy smile and a cheerful "good morning". What a kid.
2. Making him breakfast and hearing his appreciative "thank you" as I leave the oatmeal on his bedroom table.
3. Snuggling back into bed with Bryan for five more minutes before he takes his turn in the shower. (It takes Daniel an hour to get ready and Bryan takes a mere 15 minutes)
4. Knowing that the cappuccino-to-go is one of my husband's pleasures in life.
5. Realizing that we all work together so well because kindness abounds in this family and that this ritual has a shelf-life that when expired I will genuinely miss regardless of how much sleep is lost.

What a beautiful morning.

art day

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Art day. Fridays are my day for "anything goes". no business(unless really pressed) I try to reserve the time after noon to devote to creating whatever. Today it was first emptying my head with more thought about church in the never ending stream of semi-conciousness that can't be controlled. Oh well, I guess it is cathartic (ok I just looked up that word to make sure I spelled it right and the first definition involves a laxative:-0

Anyway, the rest of the day is fun because it can be anything of a creative nature. A while ago I added another coat of plaster to the walls of Bryan's new vocal booth. Another Anderson endeavor in this house of creativity we are transforming his office into a small recording/video studio. So plastering and painting although not " inspired" it is at the very least working with my hands and at the most a gift for my sweet husband.

I did pause before diving into plaster to poke at a digital project that I am doing with Sally. Very excited. Sally is one chick who really gets the creative process and I am so grateful to be collaborating. Anyway, I poked at one ancient stained glass image of Jesus and found that nothing was coming. No real spark. Of course if I get in that zone this weekend and it turns out to be all sunny out, I will feel conflicted. Go with the flow. So I step away and pray while plastering. Maybe inspiration will come later. No pressure, today I'll play.

did the church make me stupid


Beautiful day today. I look out my studio window and the sun is shining. I have come to appreciate the sun instead of totally taking it for granted. That was a bad habit that was formed while living nine years in Florida, and of course having been raised in Arizona, I feel most comfortable when it is blazing hot. Now in my present Maryland I look out on a sunny day and feel elated. When we moved here two years ago I must have known my spiritual plight because I prayed that God would make me grateful. Big mistake. Never pray for characteristics unless you are willing to be tested. Having said that I do recognize that God has been faithful and that the rewards have been reflected in the newer person I see in the mirror.

New in understanding.

I feel like I have popped out of a narrow tunnel into a vast landscape that has left me traveling at a snails pace carefully selecting each step as I go. The journey behind me seemed easier because it was well charted and well defined. Rules were welded in place with no room for discussion and behavior and body language fell in line with those around me. Looking back I think it was easy being evangelical. Maybe I am leaning hard on the stereotype, but I am also leaning on personal experience.

Did the church make me stupid?

I always thought myself a fairly intelligent person. When I was younger my sister and mother and I would have lively debates about the world and life, politics and philosophy, religion and sex. No subject was off limits and discussions were like sport. Sometimes the topics got heated but never toward anyone personally, because there was this unspoken rule that it wasn't personal and so you can truly say what you felt. This practice of open communication has served me well and laid the foundation for how I communicate in my marriage and to my son. In our house no topic is taboo.

But what I am wondering is that by being totally immersed in evangilicalism (by being in ministry) did I forgot what it meant to follow Christ? Or worse, have it actually trained out of me. Did all those years of going to church, being involved, hearing the sermons, taking the classes train me how to look and talk like an evangelical, not like a Christian. Sometimes I think it honed me into an intolerant and judgmental person.

It's like living on a tiny island for years and years only to be rescued and find that you have to learn how to fit into civilized society. When you are on an island, certain issues just don't present themselves, and so you forget that they exist in the rest of the world...

the little black book


I am no longer a participant in the annual scavenger hunt for school supplies. Not so long ago this time of year presented the familiar challenge of finding all the items on the list required by Daniel's school for him to attend and participate in learning. Pencils(a whole box) markers, colored pencils, paper, folders, ruler, protractor(what do they do with this thing) kleenex, and then the worst thing of all…

The black composition book.

It was the worst because it was never easy to find. And if you were a mother like me who was sometimes a little late in the game, the trip to Target proved fruitless because the seasonal "back to school" section would be completely trashed. Scrounging behind mostly empty, picked over boxes of "barbie" notebooks to find that illusive black "composition book" is an experience that stagnates in my memory as less than positive.

If you have been unfortunate enough to have this item land on your list I feel sorry for you.

What do they do with this thing?

Honestly, in all the years we participated in the back to school ritual I never once saw that composition book come home with anything written in it. In fact, once the prize was sent off to school it never returned. I began to believe that there was some sort of scholastic black hole that consumed hundreds of these things every year only to transport them through time and spit them back into a portal in Targets everywhere to start the thing all over again. Year after year we bought that book. Some years I wondered if it wasn't the same book, like recycled candy corn at Holloween.

By the time Daniel was in eighth grade I pretty much had the ritual down. We went to Target the first week in August rather than waiting until two days before school started. In fact, the ritual became one of those fun mother-son bonding experiences that I actually reflect on now with fondness. It often included lunch and deep discussions about life, but the quest for the composition book was always a frustrating key element in this bonding experience.

I thought that that little black book had left my life forever until it showed up again last year having hitched a ride home with my husband under the ruse that it was handed out at work with the instructions to use it in meetings. Apparently laptops were now deemed evil and forbidden in church meetings and replaced with the holier (and possibly less threatening) black composition book. For me, seeing it again was kind of creepy.

It sat, untouched on a bench in our living room for weeks. Like the mysterious missing socks in the dryer, I think it finally went back into the black hole from which it came because I haven't seen it since.

I don't miss scavenging for school supplies, but the days chatting about dinosaurs with a younger Daniel while hunting for just the right binder has been replaced with discussing Republicans and Democrats while shopping for just the right pair of shoes. Somewhere along the line the frustration of the task gave into the ritual of being together. And it is the ritual that is something I will probably miss when he graduates.

i can't finish it


Today I don't want to finish anything. Sometimes what is finished for me looks half done to someone else. If I have a moment of inspiration the afterglow is usually enough to get me through the hard parts, but sometimes finishing something is an act of shear will. My mother used to say I never finished anything. But when you are young living in your parent's house you have the time to explore options, and I found if one got boring you move on to the next one. I have to admit mom was a good sport about letting me paint a giant mural on my bedroom wall. She really was supportive about my artistic exploration in her own way.

Signing me up for an oil painting class when I was twelve was one of those supportive efforts that totally missed the mark. It was one of those classes where you gather at an art store and the instructor gives you your "kit" and then you all paint the exact same painting using special brushes that make trees look like trees and palette knives are used for adding "icing" on the mountains for snow. If mom only knew how so far off the mark she was she would have been embarrassed. But I love the fact that she wanted to support my creative gifts. Being a single mom with little financial resource it must have been a great sacrifice to put me in that class. So me and all the other students (all of them over 60) painted our cheesy mountain landscapes following the instructor's instruction and making trees look like trees and icing our mountains. I worked hard at making mine look just like the instructor's so my mom would be proud, and resisted the overwhelming urge to make my mountains purple. Pure torture. So my mom sacrificed in signing me up, paying for, and driving me to that class. I sacrificed by creating something that was not art so that she could be proud comparing mine to the other student's, ("yours really is the best one" she encouraged) and so that she could see me finish something.

One thing I do know in her accusation of not finishing anything is that I have mostly grown out of it. Seeing it as a character flaw most of my life caused me to work hard against it...

assumptions in a foreign land

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Dropped into a foreign land full of promise and hope. We land with a slight thud, but all seems well. The terrain seems familiar enough. Stepping upon the grass and finding it green like where we came from, it seems the same. We light a fire and place our parachutes upon it, after all we won't be needing them anymore. They blaze away, ashes rising til the final fibres are consumed.

There is no going back.

So we look down the path that is to be the next part of our journey. We know that this is a foreign land, but it looks pretty much the same, so we make some assumptions. The grass is green so it must grow the same as the grass back home. We meet the natives which we have come to join with. They seem happy and excited that we have come. They look the same as us, sort of. They speak the same language as the natives back home, so we make some assumptions. If they use the same words as we do they must be saying the same thing. So we join the natives on the path, side by side toward some common destination. We work at gathering wood for the fire and graciously help each other hauling water. We take care of all the obvious needs that we have in common along the way. As we continue down the path, sharing similiar tasks we start to believe that we are the same. Because we seem the same and are traveling a common path we make some assumptions. We must be heading toward the same destination. It is unspoken and undefined but it must be the same, so we move forward. Then something happens along the path. Another joins the journey. We welcome this new one as we help in the lighting of a fire to consume another parachute. We join together on the path toward the unspoken common destination. This new foreigner speaks the same language as we do, and as the natives do. Maybe a tiny accent but nothing that should hinder communication, so we carry on. The size of the path hasn't changed so we politely take turns in who will lead, who will follow, who will carry water.

Are you good at carrying water?

We continue on but somehow the journey has become more labored. As we walk, the path seems harder. Are we going uphill? The natives, the new foreigner, my partner and I forge ahead. We consult one another about the new incline. The consensus seems the same as we use words to communicate what we understand to be true. The words are the same from the foreigner, the natives, and us. The foreigner smiles, the natives smile, we smile. So my partner and I make some assumptions. We are all smiling, we must all be happy.

never assume.

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last shall be first

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from August 2004 listed from newest to oldest.

July 2004 is the previous archive.

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