Category Archives: Livin the Daily

Is it bad to giggle at church? When no one else is?

So, funny realization on Sunday.  As we settled down into Our Pew I leaned over to Jason, “I just realized that I’ve only dropped Judah off in the 3’s class three times since his birthday.”  You know, the birthday that was in September.  Apparently our attendance has not been all that steady as of late.  In the past I would’ve noticed more, but attending Women’s Bible Fellowship and MOPS and the worship discernment meetings and listening to the services on my 12:00/2:30/5:00 am podcast listening times has helped me feel connected to the larger congregation, although in a somewhat compartmentalized/non-nuclear way.

Afterward the service, we went to the appropriate locations for Child Collection and Checkout and then ventured into the fellowship hall to have our pictures taken for the directory.  Because last time we took a picture (which we never saw because we’re not the sort of Paper Directory folks – my phonebook begins with a G and ends with an E), there was a lack of Abel-ness, and I can already hear the “why didn’t you take a directory picture when I was born?  Why is it the picture with you and my brother?  Why don’t you love me as much?  Whhhyyyyy?” whine, and I’d prefer to keep that to a minimum.  I’m certain he’ll have plenty of reasons to point out that his brother gets more attention than he does which may have something more to do with having an elder choleric brother more than anything (who at this very moment has brought me his Beginner’s Bible for Toddlers and has demanded that I “read da Bible NOW” instead of blogging.  Already wielding the healthy parent/spiritual guilt when trying to engage in an activity that does not directly revolve around him:  I wouldn’t *possibly* say no to an activity that betters his spiritual self!).

We ran into many friends in the Fellowship Hall, one of which asked how I dealt with service this morning in regards to past posts about worship and joy.  I believe the word he used was “dirge”:  “I’m convinced there will be no minor chords in heaven.”  And I told him that I actually had quite a bit of joy in service, to the point that I had to hide my face because I couldn’t stop giggling, as I was directly in the vision of the pastor as well as two pews over from the president of the college (aka. the man in charge of the institution which provides the paycheck to keep the internet connected so I can engage in properly ignoring my child’s spiritual well being).  Why was I so happy and joyful when my friend was not?  Because he did not have this going through his head.  Yes, we sang the song.  No, we did not dance, although one person in the choir had a tambourine, which in NFCland, is pretty Rockin the Casbah.  I think the worship pastor picked it out just to spite me.  🙂

Yesterday I read a post by a kindred spirit regarding the image she sees when falling asleep which is much more precious than mine but still in the realm of Infectious Biblically-Influenced songs.  This morning I wondered if that’s how God deals with all the doom and gloom in the world.  Because he gets to see all the funny dances and hear all the funny songs.  And when thinks get so dark and dreary, maybe what he really sees is an Irish Catholic man dancing to a Hebrew-oriented song or a toddler bouncing to obnoxious Christianese kid blather and that joy filtrates down to us so that we can manage to go on.  God must have some awesome Happy Places.

When Plans Go Not the Way You Anticipated

This is another day, O Lord.  I know not what it will bring forth, but make me ready, Lord, for whatever it may be.  If I am to stand up, help me to stand bravely.  If I am to sit still, help me to sit quietly.  If I am to lie low, help me to do it patiently.  And if I am to do nothing, let me do it gallantly.  Make these words more than words, and give me the Spirit of Jesus.   Amen.

A.k.a.  Please no more pukey and achey:  thankyouverymuch.

A Scare as a Prophetic Word

One of Judah’s favorite afternoon activities is to go get the mail.  He loves to get into the closet where the household keys hang from a caribeaner and run out to the mailbox, usually in barefeet, exclaiming that he can reach the mailbox this time, which of course he can’t because it’s a foot taller than he is.  A few times I’ve gone to get the mail when he’s supposed to be sleeping, but having been spied upon from his bedroom window, I turn around to the cries of, “Mama!  Ju-wah!  Mail!  Wait!” as he tears after me with his barefeet hauling as fast as he can go.  It’s quite precious, minus the fact that he’s not taking a nap like he should.

But we didn’t get the mail yesterday.  It was stormyyuckynasty, so I decided the mail could wait.  Judah, however, did not:  and since I wouldn’t take him outside, he decided to play with the mail keys anyway, telling me that he hid them.  “Where are they?”  “MamaDaddy’s room.”  “Hmm, sneaky.  Go put them back in the closet please.”

Last night I had a writing group to attend, and wanting a little peace and quiet before leaving, I did what every sane mother has known to do:  I locked myself in the bathroom. Which, you know the sound of a locked bathroom door is the loudest sound on the face of the earth to an inquisitive toddler.  “Mama, what you doin?  Mama, I come in!  Mama, it’s Ju-wah!  Lemme in!”  I ignored him and contined to freshen up.  All of a sudden:  no power.  My folks had lost power at their place earlier that day, so I figured it just took its time winding down the valley.  But looking out my window I noticed:  my neighbors have power.  And walking out of my bedroom I realized the rest of my house had power.

“Jason, the circuit breaker up here needs to be fixed.”

A few minutes later I went back upstairs to get my shoes on and noticed something usual:

  • A carribeaner.
  • With two keys.
  • Placed in the electrical socket outside of our bathroom.

“Jason!  I know why we had no power.”

As I tried to kick the keys out of the socket, sparks started flying and lights started flickering.  Jason told me he’d get a stick from the garage to remove it.  Judah, sensing excitement in the air as only he can, came up the stairs in front of Jason.  As I started to chastize him firmly about keys and electrical sockets, he tore into our room as though to hide his misdeed.

“JUDAH!  STOP!”

We shrieked at him.  He grabbed the carribeaner, tore into his brother’s room, and burst into tears.  Tears not of remorse, but of terror.  We scared him.  But not as badly as he scared us.

Driving to writing group I called my dad.  “So apparently your grandson has a word of prophesy spoken over him:  he’s not meant to die tonight.”  My dad groaned repeatedly as I told him the story.  I was able to laugh about it some, and we joked about how Judah probably has an Old Testament-sized fleet of angels guarding him.

But then my mom called me back and left me a message — and the gravity of the situation hit me.  She did not laugh; she was really upset.  I started to realize what could have happened that night, on a very typical night, right outside of my bathroom.

Lord, thank you for your protection.  And thank you for being in the minute details.  And please give thanks to the angels who guard my son:  I don’t know what you’re paying them, but it’s gotta be good.

To Snarl or To Laugh: he didn’t care, as long as I was awake with him

It was 4:30am; Abel was awake, and therefore, I was awake. He wasn’t hungry: he was just fussy-hey-I-don’t-sleep-your-hours-woman-come-entertain-me awake. To let me know, oh so subtly of course, that he was aware of the goings on (or lack thereof), he would grunt. And sigh. And flop. And wriggle. In return, I would grunt, and sigh, and flop, and wriggle as I kept popping his pacifier back into his mouth. He was doing it out of hope; I was doing it out of annoyance and desperation. As I started to get really mad (seeing as how rational one is at 4:30am), I found myself muttering things about “why won’t you sleep?” and “this pacifier should make you happy” and “you’ll regret this when you’re a teenager.”

But before I got too mad and wound up, I started to laugh. Because a thought crossed my mind: if an alien was watching me right now, who would they think was in control? And who would they think was the sane one? Somehow I doubt I would be the answer to either of those questions.

The reason I thought of this is because I was listening to a Mark Driscoll podcast (no mention about male/female dominance/subservience stuff to get riled up about – phew), and he posed the question: if aliens were watching us, who would they think was in charge – dogs or dog owners? Dogs walk out in front of their owners. Their owners pick up their poo and carry it around on a walk. And the dogs get to stay home all day while the owners go out and work to keep up the home. Being a dog owner, I had to say: ouch.

The reason Mark brought this up was in the context of worship: do we worship creation or the Creator? Aliens might think that we worship dogs as evidenced by our actions. Some people do take pet ownership to unhealthy levels: there is a fine line between worshiping the creation and being a caretaker as an act of worshiping the Creator.

Same thing goes for parenting. I can worship my child: put all my resources, money, time, energy into this person. Or I can recognize that I can be the best caretaker/facilitator/host while on this mortal coil out of love, adoration, worship of the child’s Creator. A fine line, indeed.

Abel finally fell back asleep, and I did as well. But I couldn’t help thinking that if aliens were ever watching, they would be thinking that humans must get stupider and more subservient as they get bigger: with one tiny “thooey” of the pacifier, and he had me up in a heartbeat. Why would a little person actually *want* to have plastic in their mouth when they could have personal interaction? And what better way to get constant interaction than to use the plastic object as a projectile? Over . . . and over . . . and over?

Oy.

What Pods Do You Cast?

Lately I’ve been getting an energy spurt around 9:30 at night. Which wouldn’t be a bad thing, except that I end up falling asleep at 11:30, have one at-least-twenty-minute night feeding, have one toddler-waking incident, and end up getting up after the first morning feeding which is usually around 6:30. Which, again, wouldn’t be a bad thing, except that I have Turbo Tot and Attention-Adoring Infant to manage all day. It makes for some interesting brain functions (or lack thereof).

Last night during the spurt, I decided to start organizing – something I do when feeling listless or out of control in areas of my life. So I tackled Abel’s room, weeding out clothes and baby items he’s not going to use (like the piles and piles of burp rags I had saved from when his brother was little – it’s so nice not to have a yarfer), but then I was getting bored. Lo and behold, a thought entered my mind. “Wait! I could listen to that Graham Cooke talk on my ipod. But I’ve listened to it a lot lately. But wait! I could find something else to listen to . . . like a podcast. What a novel idea.”

See, my brother got me an ipod for Christmas because a) he loves me, 2) he knew I’m too cheap to buy one, and iii) he’s a big spender (when you have a gift). And I’ve used it here and there, occasionally on walks, but mostly Jason uses it while he’s mowing the lawn. Most of the time I have to have my ears on full alert lest someone start playing baseball naked after turning on the outside faucet. Oh wait . . .

Naked Judah

I went online to download Rob Bell‘s sermons – I’ve enjoyed them in the past and heard they were doing a “God is Green” series. Then I noticed the handy “people who download this listen to this as well” box, and oh how the clicking began. The most enjoyable podcasts I’ve found so far happen to be Alan Roxburgh on Allelon. As I weeded through clothes and toys, I got to hear stories about mission-shaped churches and church/coffeehouses and the world-wide emerging church rather than U.S. centered. How delightful to engage another part of my brain that is usually focused on tallying grocery needs and mentally calculating how many minutes of freedom left until the next feeding.

So, are you listening to podcasts? What are some of your picks? I’d love to add them to my subscriptions: I’m such an “ooh, something new!” junkie. 🙂

Back from camp and living in the daily

This past week was a great week. After spending a brief bit of time with my fam and leaving Judah with the grand’rents, Jason, Abel, and I headed out to spend eight days at Twin Rocks for the high school camp Surfside. This year’s theme was “Pursuing the Passion” and was centered around scripture in Philippians about pursuing the goal of Christ. I taught a class called “Passion in the Daily” looking at passion in our day to day lives: what is it? Why do we care? How can we discern and better pursue our passions? Jason provided Abel and I.T. support. And Abel provided many opportunities for people to go “aw” as they walked by.

In true Aj-form, I didn’t pull my class together until the day before teaching. In fact, I didn’t quite understand the schedule, even though the director emailed me the details. I taught two classes. Twice a day (class 1 twice in the morning, class 2 twice in the afternoon). For three days. The camp was fullfullfull, so the staff had been eating in the Friendship Center. Which is where I taught. So basically I was in that room from 8:45-3:15 each day – par-tay. 🙂 Actually, it worked out great – we had an internet connection, so I could check Facebook and my email while I had the high schoolers in interests groups discussion creative ways to pursue a specific passion.

So yes, I pull the class together the day before, which had me wracked with guilt because in my head I heard my father telling me about why he never procrastinates and how he writes everything out and practices in over and over way ahead of time. And, of course, that’s the way it should be . . . or so my head was saying. But I finally realized, and came to some peace, about the fact that that’s not the way I work: I absorb a whole bunch of information, stew over it while engaging in daily activities such as changing diapers or trolling Freddies for marked down dog food, and at the last minute inspiration hits (or God has mercy) and I whip something out.

This time, thanks to my amazing hubby, I was able to have a presentation that incorporated things such as pictures of my passions (my fam, connecting with friends, writing on my blog, etc.), pictures of other peoples’ passions (the lego cathedral, the crazygood DDR kid, the Rachael Ray yummy noises montage). I also managed to work in videos by U2 (Numb), Dave Matthews Band (Too Much), and a clip from Talladega Nights – really.

The campers seemed to connect. Well, they had to, because I’m a good big sister and kept poking them with questions if they didn’t respond (ask my brother: I’m a poker). And they came back with some thoughtful responses (one group talked about txting as a passion and threw out the idea of “txting God” – so creative!).

I also spoke on Friday night worship about going back home and living out of passions. I didn’t really think about the content until my last Thursday class happened. Friday I pulled together thoughts two hours before dinner. Then, ten minutes before I was supposed to speak, I scrapped it all. Nobody knew except for Jason, but he’s finally getting a little used to my “trying things out verbally and then ditching it all at a moment’s notice for what I’m really supposed to do” tendency. A little. 🙂

I ended up feeling called to speak about Jacob and the time that God gave him the dream of the ladder and the angels and promised him an inheritance of the land he slept on. Jacob built an altar to remember that God was in that place. But did Jacob stay there? No: for his inheritance to come, he had to continue on his journey. But the altar served as a reminder to him and to others that God was at work – speaking of hope and a future to come. Personally, I wanted to live in my “camp experiences.” I thought life should be that way always: I experienced God profoundly and figured that’s what life should be like. When I got home and got back to normal, I yearned to go back to the camp experience. But I really needed to continue on my journey, looking back to the experience as an altar to remember that God was there and spoke of a future to come, but that the future would only come from living in my day-to-day existence. I think it made sense. I hope it did.

So now we’re adjusting to life back at home, full of poopy diapers and park playdates and paying bills. Living in the daily. Not glamorous, but it’s good.

My Combat Gear is an Ergo and Organic Elmo Snack Crackers

Life has changed, obviously.

Sleep is elusive.
Personal space is non-existent.
Things that are amusing generally consist of watching scrunchy baby faces and hearing the toddler instruct the infant to “take a nap” so he can play Chutes & Ladders with mama.
“How the morning went” is measured by how many times diapers have been changedandchangedagain because we now live with a two diaper pooper.

Jason went back to work last week. After he left and I realized I was alone with the four boys who aren’t able to carry on higher level conversations or rent a car (Judah, Abel, Orley, Jacks), I opened my Bible to Psalms: I read one every morning. This happened to be the psalm of the day. Verse 1 made me laugh a little bit, although I could also hear the foreboding “dun dun dun DUN” movie music: Lord help us all.

Permission Granted

I love my people.

Email Title: Graham Cooke – Permission Granted
From: Aj
To: Gregg, Dave, John, Keith, Steve, Joe

Greetings~
Hope everyone is doing well. So, who’s going to buy this book and let me borrow it? Somehow I don’t think Newberg Public Library will have it anytime soon. 😀

From: Dave
To: Aj, Gregg, John, Keith, Steve, Joe

So, what can we do for book starved Aj? I need to finish the four in my book landing order before I acquire any more. Or, at this point, I could ask Gregg: 1) If it’s OK to read books for devotions instead of the Bible. 2) If God would love me more if I just bought the new book for Aj.

I would be happy to loan books I own, but haven’t had time to read:
-SIMPLY CHRISTIAN by N. T. Wright

-THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO STARBUCKS by Leonard Sweet.

-THEY LIKE JESUS BUT NOT THE CHURCH by Dan Kimball. Actually, I’m going to his seminar at the seminary this Wednesday and Jules said he wanted to make sure they gave me a copy. I think it was just released yesterday?? (So why do people keep giving me books when Aj actually reads and reflects on books?)

-DARE TO DISCIPLINE by James Dobson Under the right circumstances this book could be given to Aj!

I’m just finishing Luke A.’s copy of EMERGING CHURCHES by Eddie Gibbs and Ryan Bolger. This book is a good read. (Another question for pastor Gregg: Is it OK to loan out a loaned book? If it is, I also have Leonard Sweet’s OUT OF THE QUESTION INTO THE MYSTERY)


From: Gregg
To: Dave, Aj, John, Keith, Steve, Joe

You know, Dave, if you were actually READING those books, you would realize that you don’t need to ask your pastor these types of questions. JUST ANSWER THEM YOURSELF!!

But since you did ask: Buy AJ a $400 gift certificate at Amazon. She deserves it. And you may loan out any loaned book you want, as long as it isn’t MINE.

🙂

From: Dave
To: Gregg, Aj, John, Keith, Steve, Joe

Now I’m trying to find a BOOK on guilt to deal with a new set of problems in my life since answers are found there and not from your pastor. And, I’m about to start the AJ CHARITABLE BOOK FUND with a goal of $395 as I will cover the needed balance for the gift certificate.

From: Joe
To: Aj

Hi,

I just bought it. Apparently great minds work along the same path – or maybe the Holy Spirit has something to do with it. Anyway I will read it soon and you are welcome to borrow it then.

Love,

Dad

[The reason I sent the initial email is because I think this book sounds amazing and totally right up the alley of what a lot of folks have been talking about, but Graham has such a gift of wording it so that the real issue is totally nailed. Not that folks need to contribute to the fund that [updated] not Dave but Gregg who is funny and hilarious is spearheading. But donations would not be met with objections 🙂 ].

And Think About What I Call and Ask My Husband

The other day I was driving home from the library, and I had a thought (no, it didn’t hurt much). I grabbed my cell phone, because sadly enough, it’s much safer for me to talk on the phone while a certain Little Man is contained by straps in his carseat than it is to talk on the phone at home when Dr. Entropy has no restraints.

“Rose Valley Friends Church, Bobbi speaking.”
“Hi, may I please speak to Joe Gerick?”
“May I ask who’s calling?”
“His daughter”
“Oh, just a moment.”
[Long pause.]

“Elllo?”
“Okay, so I read the chapter out of the book you gave me, and if we’re supposed to do all things with praise and thanksgiving and not grumble at all, then how do we exist in a dysfunctional church situation? Cause the New Testament may not have any grumbling in it, but it certainly does call Christians out when they’re not following their role as part of the body of Christ. So how do you live in that situation?”
“Uhhhhhhh . . . . .”
[Pause]
“Wait: you’re not my dad.”

Nope: I had reached my dad’s co-pastor whose daughter happened to call when I did; the lines got crossed.

“Nope, he’s on the line with my daughter, and I really hope she’s asking him an easier question than that!”

I apologized profusely, laughing (and my backseat driver was laughing as well; he didn’t know why; he just thought it was appropriate), explaining how I tend to just dive into conversations with my dad because I like to keep him off balance (I feel it’s my duty as his daughter to keep him on his toes and not always be so confident in his answers).

So I finally got connected with my dad:
“Hey, Sweetie!”
“Oh, Dad, two things: I think I really confused Jeff, and I think he’s *REALLY* glad I’m not his daughter.”

Dad laughed. A lot.

And of course he had an answer and more. Cause that’s Dad: he knows. And that’s me: I confuse. 🙂