Identity Crisis

As most of you know, our kids attended Lutheran school for the 2 years prior to this one. When they were there, they always felt a little on the outside because most of the students were Lutheran. Of course, the school was run by Lutherans, too. So they always felt their “differentness.”

This year, our children are attending a more broadly evangelical school. I was told by the principal that 25 denominations are represented in the student body, including Roman Catholic. So I felt that there would be enough overall “differentness” that our kids would not feel, well, different.

Well, let’s just say that they still don’t feel like they “fit in.” My oldest son has been peppered with questions about his eschatalogical views because he didn’t agree with everything everyone in his Bible class was saying. My daughter had a lesson about giving her testimony in her Bible class, and she told her teacher she became a Christian when she was baptized. Needless to say, they have drawn some attention to their differentness without meaning to. I have been answering lots of questions about what do Baptists believe? How are we different from Lutherans? I’ll be the first to tell you that answering these questions at a level understandable to elementary school children is not easy.

Through all this, I have tried to impress upon my children the need to focus on the things we share in common with these other Christians. But I certainly understand the uneasiness the kids feel because they seem so different.

The ideas from this blog post from Mark express where my heart is. I would love to come up with a way to share this concept with our children’s teachers without offending them or causing them to think we aren’t believers.

Just thinking out loud . . .

Catching a Chicken

Fall is upon us.  Our pastor took this photo of Evangeline at our church’s harvest party last weekend.  As you might have guessed, this was taken during the Chicken Chase.  Evangeline nobly caught this bird and gave the dollar attached to its leg to her little sister who wanted nothing to do with catching a chicken.  I thought it was sweet of Evangeline from the start, but seeing how hard she had to work to get that dollar, I am especially proud.

The One About the Big Purse

This is my new big purse. I got it for $4.98 on clearance at Target (Originally $19.99).

It all started because I decided I needed to get a better day planner for next year. With 4 kids, work, and a husband with various obligations, I need something a little more comprehensive than my date book from the dollar store (despite the comment I put on my sister-in-law’s blog a month or so ago.) Back in my “career” days in publishing, a great Day Timer was provided for me by my employer. It was the small binder type in which you place new filler pages each year. The one the company purchased for me was real leather and had my initials on it. Since it was pretty nice and personalized, I never threw it away. So I dug it out and decided I would put in new filler pages for next year. I bought the new filler pages at Target on clearance, too. They were on clearance because they are the kind that you have to write in the calendar dates for yourself. (And, yes. I will take the time to do this. I’m already on May.)

I knew if I was going to carry around this big planner, I needed to have a purse big enough to hold it. I felt it was providential when I went to look at the purses at Target, and this giant purse was available at such a good price. So naturally, I bought it.

I brought it home and proudly showed it to Mark. I explained my great plan of carrying the planner in the new big purse. He smiled and said, “You’ll outgrow it.” Now, I admit to vascillating between tiny purses, medium purses, and larger purses all the time. But I haven’t carried a purse of this size with this carrying capacity since the 90s. There’s part of me that hates to carry a giant purse. But I much prefer carrying one big bag to carrying a fairly large purse and another bag of some sort. The new giant purse can handle my new planner, my over-stuffed fat wallet (filled with everything but money), a few cosmetic items, my prescription sunglasses, and it still has room for an extra book to take along places you have to wait. Or, you can stuff a pre-schoolers sweater or jacket in the side pocket when she doesn’t want to wear it anymore. It really is functional.

So here’s the real question: do you, like Mark, think I’ll outgrow it? I really think it will make it through the winter for sure. If it doesn’t fall apart from being over stuffed, it may make it through summer, too, as it would be handy for all those fun outdoor activities of summer. Only time will tell . . . . .

Of Reunions and Reminicsing

Ok. I am now admitting that my 20 year college reunion is going to occur next weekend. I have not been back to visit since the homecoming the year after I graduated. (If you’re doing the math, that was 1988.) I haven’t kept in touch with many college friends. And, I only communicate very occasionally with the ones I have kept up with.

Nonetheless, when I think about my college years, I have fond memories. I was so happy to be in a Christian environment after going to public high school and wanting so much to be around believers on a more regular basis. My college was rigorous enough academically to keep pretty much anyone on their toes. I squeaked out with an acceptable average. I did pretty well in the coursework for my major, and I had what college admission people would describe as a “well-rounded” college experience.

I worked on the college newspaper, the college yearbook, served as an RA for 3 years, went on a short-term mission trip, worked on the coffee house ministry team. I had 2 really good public relations internships–one for the Pennsylvania State Historical Commission and the other for the Tri-County United Way. Overall, I was busy but happy.

My sophomore year, my father passed away very close to the end of the spring semester. I was so thankful for all the kindness and Christian love expressed to me at that time. It made a difficult situation much easier to bear.

When I read my college’s alumni magazine, I always come away feeling “a little less.” You know, like I haven’t accomplished very much. It is hard to believe that 20 years have passed, and I am not really doing any of the stuff I thought I would be by now.

I am still almost always worried about money. I am still struggling with my weight–even more so in the last 3 1/2 years than before. I am not a corporate PR or publishing exec.

But then I have to think about what is really important. I have been happily married for nearly 16 of the last 20 years. I have 4 beautiful children. God has always met our basic needs as a family + some.

When the college writes up stories about alumni, they generally don’t highlight mothers of small children for their accomplishments. They also don’t mention all the things that the alumni they are featuring don’t have. It is good for me to remember that stuff.

I won’t be attending the reunion next week. It is a little too distant, both geographically and emotionally. I think I would leave feeling a little empty, which can’t be good for me in any way I can conceive.

Despite that, I am thankful for my college experience. Even though my college is what many of my current friends would consider liberal, both theologically and politically, it was a great place for me to grow and test the waters of life.


Tonight I was looking through old photographs to find one to send to one of the reunion coordinators. It was fun to show them to Evangeline. The picture at the top is (obviously) on graduation day. How young and fresh we look! It’s really amazing to me that I have been out of college now nearly as long as I had been alive then.

It has been good to reminisce. It reminded me of God’s faithfulness to me these many years. I am indeed blessed!

A Strange Thing Happened on My Way to Domesticity

After you get past the fact that my stove looks like a page out of 60s nostalgia, look closely at the photo. Do you see the broken glass?

So, here’s what happened . . . I was feeling very domestic, so after I made 2 homemade apple pies (from the apple picking outing of last week), I made a large lasagne casserole for dinner on Saturday night. I over loaded the pyrex pan, and, knowing it would run over the sides, I placed it on a cookie sheet to bake.

After 45 minutes at 350 degrees, I removed the casserole from the oven to set for 15 minutes. Then, I served up the casserole in bowls since it was messier than usual. Since it was a laid back Saturday night, we let the kids watch tv while they ate. I left the kitchen with my portion, and I didn’t re-enter the kitchen until I was finished. I was taking my bowl back to the kitchen, and I found glass all over the floor and the casserole dish broken in several places. The casserole explosion didn’t happen until at least 30 minutes after being removed from the oven.

First I double checked that I hadn’t left a stove burner on. No, that wasn’t it. All the burners were off. Ultimately, I guess it happened just because the pyrex couldn’t handle the heat. In addition to the mess to clean up, I was sad because the casserole normally provides for 2+ meals for our family. Needless to say, I didn’t want to try to salvage any for fear of including a piece of glass in someone’s food.

I was thankful this happened while we were all in a different part of the house and none of the kids mindlessly entered the kitchen bare-footed.

It was just strange.

Dog Days & Tuesday Tunes

Last Friday morning, I picked up this little guy from a church friend’s home.  If you read her blog, you will see that they were just ready to have a dog-free home.  We weren’t really looking for a dog, but Mark and I both thought the same thing when we saw his cute little face on our friend’s blog.  So we decided adding Simon to our family was a good move.  After 4 days, we still feel that way.  He is just the right size, about 30 pounds, he’s well-behaved, and he is friendly.  We are enjoying him and look forward to having him around for a long time.  The kids are enjoying him, too. 

As far as Tuesday Tunes go, I haven’t been listening to much adult music lately.  Veggie Tunes 1 & 2 are what Charis requests most in the van.  We occasionally get a dose of other children’s favorites like the “Hokey Pokey” and “A Tisket, A Tasket.”

Seriously though, I have been listening to old Rich Mullens Cds.  I just love the song “Creed” on his Songs cd.  This is nothing new, since Rich Mullens is no longer around to record anything new, but I just love the folk style of his music.  I guess I would call it pensive.

The other cd I have been pulling out lately is Michael Card’s Starkindler.  I love the old hymns set in new arrangements. 

These cds are like the music I enjoyed 15 and 20 years ago.  I am open to checking out new stuff, but I guess sometimes you just want to listen to something familiar that makes you feel comfortable and safe.