Mairsy Dotes

"No faith is as solid as a wounded faith."

At the calling of your hearts December 30, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 1:28 pm

Six years ago today, I donned an ivory satin wedding dress–the most amazing dress I’ve ever owned–slapped on a garter, and making sure I had my something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue: walked down the aisle to marry my best friend.

It was a modest ceremony–small, candlelit, and held in the sanctuary of my home church. We were surrounded by our closest friends and family. I remember turning to him to say my vows, expecting that I’d be a weepy mess. Indeed, I had a freshly monogrammed handkerchief clutched in my hand, just in case. But instead, when my eyes met his, I knew I wasn’t going to cry. I wasn’t going to weep delicate bridal tears. Everything in me rushed forward to this man, every particle of my self wanted to be with him, this was not a sad moment, or a bittersweet moment, or a moment that was so happyfying that I had to cry. It was simply the proudest, best, most certain moment of my life and I spoke my vows loudly and clearly, beaming up at him, trying to tell him with my eyes that there was not one particle of doubt or hesitation or wondering on my part.

When I look at our wedding album, and see how young we looked…how much more hair M had…the innocence on our faces…it seems odd. We were looking out at our future like bridal couples do: certain that their happily ever after is just waiting around the corner. Those two people in the glorious clothing had no inkling of the things they’d have to face in their lives together, or the forces that would conspire to tear them apart. They had no foreshadowing of the silly arguments, the misunderstandings, or the amount of WORK that being married would entail.

But on this side of the picture album, I sit. In my jeans and sweater, I turn the pages and look at the young woman in her satin dress and her guazy veil, her blond hair ringleted within an inch of it’s life, and I can barely remember her. I marvel that we thought, on that day, that we knew one another as completely as we ever could. We couldn’t imagine that we could ever be closer than we were that day. On this side of the picture album, I know intimately just how much this marriage has cost us, and how much it has given us. I know exactly how much work it has been, and based on past experience have a fairly good estimation of how much work it will be in the future. I know that fights happen, and they’re almost always over something stupid and SO not worth fighting over. I know that sometimes: they’re not over something stupid, and they are 100% worth fighting over.

On this side of the picture album, I look at my husband, sprawled on the couch eating leftover pizza and watching “Judge Mathis” on the television. He has less hair and more belly than he did on our wedding day. I have the same amount of hair and stretch marks on my belly. We’ve been through so much together…I wasn’t sure we’d survive all of it. But we have. On this side of the picture album, we’re a far cry from the people we were six years ago today. But I wouldn’t trade a moment of it.

When we first met, a friend of ours told me that she thought it was absolute bullshit that people love each other more everyday. She was of the opinion that love is finite, that you can love someone alot, but that there is a limit. She is wrong. This is a man who knows me better than myself, who loves me without question or reserve. He has seen me poop on a table and heard me scream while giving birth and is still able to tell me I’m the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen and mean it. We have laughed together and cried together. We’ve shouted at each other, and we’ve shouted at others on behalf of our beloved. He is “simply my best time, my sweetest laughter”. The love we have is too big to be measured or quantified. Because of him, bad times aren’t so bleak and good times are all the sweeter. With him, I have come to the wonderful understanding of the biblical concept of One Fleshedness. When I am apart from him, part of me is gone, also. Where ever he is, is where I want to be.

What we have struggled for, built, dreamed of, and fought for is so much more than I ever imagined marriage would be. It is our sanctuary when the world gets to be too much; our tent of celebration into which we welcome our beloved ones. It is the best thing in my life.

Come what may, Babe.

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Baby Steps December 24, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 11:09 am

 A year ago today, Linnea took her first steps.

We missed them, as we were off ranging most of north eastern Kansas doing Christmas Eve services, and yes: I’m bitter about that.

But as I was snuggling with her this morning, as I gave her her bath and blew dry her hair, as I played “kiko” (‘tickle’ in Linneaese) and listened to her tell me all about her day I sort of got to thinking about how much she’s grown and changed since taking those first shaky steps last Christmas Eve.

She’s lost the baby compactness…she’s all arms and legs, and when I carry her it is mildly disconcerting to feel where her little feet hit. They used to be up by my waist…then just below, then my hips. Now they smack me in my thighs almost at my knees. Her steps are no longer hesitant. Instead of needing to hold onto my hand for balance, she’s ready to run…I think sometimes I insist she hold my hand for my own comfort as much as for keeping her from dashing somewhere she shouldn’t. This time last year were were absolutely enraptured by her little sounds and coos and her two teeth. Now we have a very verbal little girl with a mouthful of teeth who spends her days chattering away.

As I look back at the pictures of last Christmas, I am amazed because last Christmas we had a baby. This Christmas we have a little girl. And I rejoice and mourn that at the same time. A mixed bag, I suppose, as all of motherhood seems to be. Or rather than “mixed bag” maybe I should say “bittersweet”. I wouldn’t trade where we’re at for anything…but I miss what we’ve left behind.

And now, gentle reader, I leave you so that I can spend more of my Christmas Eve snuggling with my little chatterbox. ‘Cuz we as fast as she’s growing up, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if this time next year she’s married. *sigh*

 

Name above all names December 21, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 11:29 am

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, I’ve been re-reading The Chronicles of Narnia ever since the movie came out and all the hype has been around. I haven’t seen the movie (having apparently traded having any sort of social life in exchange for motherhood–a trade that I was unaware of, but would make again in a heartbeat), but on many of the ‘boards I frequent, people are talking about it.

On one, there is fierce debate about whether or not Wardrobe (and, indeed, all the Narnia books) are to be read strictly as Christian allegory, or whether they can simply be a fantasy series for children. Personally? I could care less how one chooses to read the books. But, at the same time, I cannot read them without the Gospel stories at the back of my mind. I wonder how one would enjoy the stories (muchless love them) if one only read them as a fantasy story, rather than allegorically. I can’t do it. I can’t separate them.

It’s Christmas time. One of the scriptures we sometimes read (I don’t know if we read it this year or not, since I’m not preaching) speaks of the names of Jesus–Prince of Peace, Wonderful Counselor–and between having that running through my head, and the extra Narnia emphasis, it’s brought to mind one of my own personal favorite names for the Messiah.

Lion of the Tribe of Judah.

Reading Wardrobe as I do, I can’t help but think that this particular name was the inspiration for Aslan. But long before I knew of the wonderful world of Narnia, this name spoke to me…as though when I whispered this name, the bearer of this name whispered my own name back. For as long as I can remember, this has been the name I call upon when I am at my most desperate; most lonely; most frightened; most needing of protection or assurance.

As odd as it may be, I seem to have a fleeting memory of this lion…the scent of his mane, the way it feels against my face, the smooth warmth of his sides, the crushing gentle strength of his paws. I know that at times when I’ve been too spiritually beaten down to even pick my face out of the dirt, I’ve felt this lion standing over me. When I’m kept awake at night by various and sundry fears that I can do nothing about, I can sometimes lull myself to sleep by pretending that I’m resting against the lion…and sometimes: it seems too real to be imaginary.

Now, perhaps those who read Narnia as simply a great fantasy yarn would scoff at me. Or perhaps they wouldn’t. Perhaps I’m crazy–a deluded Jesus Freak who can’t deal with reality so she fabricates an imaginary lion to deal with it for her. Or perhaps I’m not.

At any rate, my prayer for you is that this Christmas is a blessed time for you–whether you too come and celebrate the birth of the Christ, or whether you celebrate the Solstice, or whether it’s Hannukuh or Ramadan, or whether you choose to worship at the altar of American consumerism–I pray that even for just a moment, you can have peace. That you can feel safe and cared for. And that, perhaps, through the dark times in life, you hear the silent paws of the Lion padding along beside you.

 

Odd Ponderings December 19, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 10:35 pm

So there are a few things that have been running around in my head lately. I’ll share some.

*I’m not sure why the Christmas CD we play at work has the Mexican Hat Dance on it. It’s very odd. The music is playing, it’s nice, it’s Christmas, it’s Christmas, it’s Christmas, suddenly it’s happy hour at Paco’s Cantina, then it’s Christmas, it’s Christmas, it’s Christmas again. It’s guitar instrumental music, but it SOUNDS like mid-recording session some rogue mariachi band broke in and wrecked the tape, and the suave and sensitive guitar players were like, “Screw it. Leave it in there.” It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

*There’s a phenomenon happening on women’s heads around here. It’s not a new phenomenon by any means, but since I’ve been spending more time with more women lately, I’ve been made aware of it in a whole new way. I’ve christened the phenomenon “Minnesota Hair”. Women who take their fine (usually thin, but not always) hair and tease the ever-living hell out of it, swirl it around on top and then schelack it into place with copious quantities of hairspray. It is never a flattering look, but many, many women are wearing it. (Note: Minnesota Hair is different from Kansas Hair in that Kansas Hair is usually permed, then teased, then schelacked. I know this because I witnessed the creation of Kansas Hair many a time while getting my hair cut at Kay’s Kut and Kurl. I’m SO not making that up.) Today there was a woman in the store who looked like she had an electrocuted airdale living on her head, and it was such a refreshing change from Minnesota hair I didn’t even stop to think how silly it looked. Well, until now.

*Linnea made us our first Christmas present. It’s a clay pot. Yes, dear readers, the Beege has received her first clay ashtray art project from her child. It’s a major milestone for the both of us. Granted, the teachers called them “pots”, but let’s call a spade a spade: it’s an ashtray. And I adore it. Right down to the crumpled and torn and tape-wadded way she wrapped it. It’s an ashtray, but it’s MY ashtray, so don’t knock it.

*I think if I have to watch “Finding Nemo” one more time, I’ll lose it. I suppose the saving grace is that Linnea has not decided to “speak whale”–yet—since she’s still mastering English. But the day is coming, my friends. The day is coming.

*Does it make me a bad pet owner that when my beloved husband tells me he suspects the cats have worms, my response is NOT, “Let’s call the vet and get them dewormed.” but, “Good, now maybe the 20 pounder will finally lose some weight.“?

IN OTHER NEWS
I had an interview with a church the other night. It went well. In being there and visiting with the committee, I realized that there is a LOT that I love about being a pastor, and that it fulfills me in a way that nothing else has. As I visit with other pastors, I realize that the load I was asked to carry in Kansas was a ridiculous amount to expect of anyone, muchless someone fresh out of seminary and a young wife and mother to boot. I feel the massive chip on my shoulder (that’s lived there for years at this point) starting to erode away…it helps to have other “people of the cloth” say, “Wow. What you had to do? That was a load of crap. I would have told the bishop to shove it.” Because when you’re in it, and as isolated as we were? You don’t know. You lose some perspective. You start to think that being a full-time pastor for three individual congregations with no other staffing support is really NOT that much to ask, and you’re a freaking pussy for not being able to hack it. Until you talk to someone who has been a pastor for decades and they tell you they would have never been able to last as long as you did in that situation. It helps me, anyway. Enough so that I can at least contemplate entering the door of a church as a pastor, without running away screaming and crying and rending my clothes. It’s a cautious contemplation, I’ll grant you. But at least it’s contemplation. At this point: I’ll take it.
 

Quiet Day December 18, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 4:15 pm

Today is a (blessed) day off. Work has been so crazy…yesterday we had all four registers going non-stop and STILL the line of people waiting to buy stuff was nearly out the door. Even though people are mostly nice and in pretty great moods (and those that aren’t tend to get jollied out of it while in our store, onnacounta we’re so friendly and all): it is still completely exhausting, so that the one or two people who ARE Christm-asses sort of hit you and you’re not really sure how to deal with them.

You live for your time away.

Today has been quiet. We cleaned the house this morning, and Nea is in the midst of a killer 3-hour nap. In fact, I should go wake her up so we’re not up until midnight with our wee girl. We’ve got Christmas music on the radio, and we’re just hanging out. Puttering around. Doing little chores that have been on the “To Do” list forever (and, apparently included on the ‘To Do List’ was watch ‘Empire Strikes Back’ and doze off since that’s how I spent about two hours of my Sunday afternoon).

*sigh* It’s good to be home.

 

“I tasted the snowing!” December 14, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 4:19 pm

Today was Linnea’s day school Christmas program. It was wild, chaotic, disorganized, poorly acted, and about the best damn thing I’ve seen in a long time.

I was so entranced by my daughter. I’m so used to just thinking of her as an extension of my self…first as a distended belly preceeding me into the world, then at my breast, and then in my arms, and now pulling at my arms as we hold hands.

But she’s her own little person…who knows things that I don’t. Who knows songs and dances that I didn’t teach her. Who kept escaping from the teacher in order to stand center stage in her cow hat and beam at the audience. Who, when the assembled parents burst into rapturous applause, glowed and then clapped back. Who is fast blossoming into this creature that I’m insanely proud of, and who I can’t see what sort of woman she becomes, and at the same time: I want her to stay little forever.

We were standing beside the car after the program, waiting for M to adjust the car seat, and Nea began to shout, “MAMA, I love you! Mama, I LOVE you! Mama, I love YOU!” And then she tipped her head back and caught snowflakes in her mouth. With a look of absolute joy, she announced, “I tasted the snowing!”

And me? I tasted the blessing.

 

A Magical Dinner Encounter December 13, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 7:25 am

Yesterday I picked Linnea up from dayschool and then went to pick up dinner from our current restaurant fave “Big Bowl”. Linnea loves their chicken satay, rice and potstickers, and we’re all a little too hooked on their homemade ginger ales.

As I carried Linnea toward the bar to pick up our bags of take out, who should be sitting just outside the bar area? Santa. I swear to God. Not your typical department store Santa in the angel-hairy wig and beard and red and white outfit with a pillow rounding out his mid-section. This particular gentleman had long white hair and a long white beard, that were clearly his own. He had on black pants and boots, a white flowy shirt, and black suspenders decorated with holly and ivy. He was not a fat man, but no “extra” padding was necessary to fill out his tummy. He was wearing silver half-glasses, and enjoying a heaping helping of stir fry.

When he saw Linnea, his entire face lit up and he said softly and gently, “Well, hello there, sweet tiny girl! How are you today?”

We haven’t told Linnea much about Santa…not for any reason, but just because we figure there’s time yet to get into all of that. She’s just now figuring out Christmas trees. But lemmetellya: She was enraptured.

“Who dat, Mama?”
“Why, that’s Santa Claus, Baby.”
(in a dazed way) “Danta Cwas.”
“Mmm-hmm.”

I walked away with a smile at the gentleman, leaving him to his Chinese food, and collected my family’s supper. As we walked away, I paused just long enough to say, “Can you say ‘Merry Christmas’ to Santa?”

“Mewy C’mas, Danta.” she whispered.
“Merry Christmas to you, too, little one.”
I thanked him, wished him a Merry Christmas, and left. Linnea with dinner-plate eyes watched him for as long as she could (thank God they are no longer weeping puss so that this action was a whole lot more appetizing for Santa than it would have been this time last week).

When we got home, I told Linnea to tell Daddy who we saw at the restaurant. Without missing a beat, she turned to M and said, “Bobby Hill.”

Snort. She’s so crushing.

But then she shook her head, dimpled, and said, “No, Daddy. Danta Cwas!”

God Bless this man for taking a few moments out of his dinner to spread the Christmas magic to my little girl. He didn’t have to do it, I wouldn’t have intruded on him, but he said hello to her first, and in doing so gave her her first experience with Santa that wasn’t scary, wasn’t somehow fake, and had nicely-scented Chinese food breath. He was magic. Thank you, Santa Claus.