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Mother’s Day Angst, Because: Social Media

Holidays on social media are weird, you know?

Basically everyone posts about the holiday that we already know we are all celebrating. Like someone announced, “We pause our regularly scheduled programming to bring you this bulletin: IT’S MOTHERS DAY!”

I have this inner hippie or hipster or something. It crops up unexpectedly, causing me to feel extremely resistant about doing whatever it is everyone else is doing. Because it’s already been done, man.

Mother’s Day, for example, people posted pictures of their mom or with their mom. Husbands posted pictures of their wives, declaring her to be the best mom. mothersdayMoms posted pictures of their kids, because that’s what makes them a mom. And even if people weren’t sharing pictures, they gave us status updates containing these same sentiments.

Being a cliche-hating rebel, I don’t know how to handle this.

Obviously, I too am celebrating Mother’s Day, so do I talk about it?

I want my social media presence to be an organic representation of my Instagrammable life, which means I should post. However, anything I could say about my Mother’s Day sounds just like the stuff that everyone else is putting out there.

So if I share any kind of Mother’s Day status, I’m a sheep, just following the herd. (Or fold. Or whatever sheep travel in.)

I can ignore the holiday completely, but then it’s like Mother’s Day isn’t even real. Because if you don’t Facebook it or Tweet it or Instagram it, it didn’t happen.

And if I post about non-holiday related things…

like a picture of my plain Greek yogurt with fresh berries, hand picked from my garden that have glow decoration accessories(but NOT an adorable breakfast-in-bed because that’s a Mother’s Day cliche that’s been posted 20 times before 9am)

…then I feel like a compete Grinch. People will probably think, “She must not believe in Mother’s Day. Maybe she’s judging all of us for celebrating Mother’s Day.”

Plus, I have to consider the pressure on the people around me. Do I want my husband to post a status about how I’m the awesomest mom in the world? If he does, he’s a sell-out, buying into greeting-card propaganda. But if he doesn’t, will people think he doesn’t love me? Or that I’m a bad mom?

To conclude, I should probably add a serious plea to break free of social media angst and be liberated from its control. I should tell you that you’re all beautiful, no matter what you posted on Mother’s Day and to just be yourselves. But I won’t. Because that’s SO been done before.

* Just to clarify, I succumbed to peer pressure and posted all kinds of Mother’s Day related pictures. But my husband kept it cool and didn’t do any cliche status update about my Proverbs 31-ness. He’s rad like that.

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The Turkey that Was Late for His Own Funeral

I know some of you are probably waiting with bated breath to find out what I messed up for my Thanksgiving Dinner. Because, you know it’s inevitable.


I don’t like meat items that still look like the original animal. Frog legs? No. Clams? No. Squid? No. Hogs head? No one’s ever offered, but no.

So a turkey is really stretching it for me. Because it’s just a naked, headless bird. So weird.

And last year it wasn’t even completely naked, because it still had one little feather sticking out of each of the wings. Horrifying.

This year was my 3rd time cooking thanksgiving dinner. (My sister claims it’s my 4th, so either she’s crazy or I’m blocking a traumatic memory.) So I SHOULD have it down. But that’s actually where I’m at my worst. When I’m like, “Oh, I know how to do this. No biggie,” that’s when things go horribly wrong.

So the day before Thanksgiving, I checked the turkey cooking chart on the box of my turkey-cooking-bag. Don’t judge me, it’s only my 3rd (or 4th) time doing this. Later that evening, without looking at the box, I asked Chris (who is my personal calculator) to do the math for me, “It’s supposed to cook for 10 minutes for every pound, and then add 15 minutes. And the turkey is 20 pounds.” He said that meant about 3 and a half hours.

We were planning Thanksgiving Dinner for about 3:00. And we were kind of locked into that, because, not only were Chris’ parents at our house, but we’d also invited some friends over.

Thanksgiving Day, I was feeling pretty chill, since the turkey only needed to cook for 3 and half hours. I lazied around, drinking coffee and watching the beginning of the Macy’s parade.

Around 9:30, I decided to get a jump start on the turkey. I was feeling really proud of myself for being proactive and not waiting until the last minute, since it didn’t really need to be in the oven until 11:00.

First thing I did was to check the box instructions again.

Guess what? The cooking chart said 15 minutes for every pound and then add 10 minutes. Now, I’m no mathematician, but I knew that when I had transposed those numbers, it drastically affected my cooking-time calculations. I checked it on my iPhone calculator, since Chris wasn’t around. 5 hours, friends. 5 hours.

And if I could have just popped the turkey in right then, it would have been fine. But it’s never that easy.

Because, even though I’d looked up on the internet how long it takes to thaw a 20 pound turkey in the fridge, the turkey was still frozen. The internet lies.

I panicked-ly enlisted Chris’ help. Because we needed to get the nasty stuff out of the inside of the bird. (Anyone know of a turkey company that just throws the neck and giblets away? Please hook me up.) But all of the turkey’s holes were frozen shut AND it had it’s legs crossed. It wasn’t giving up without a fight. When we got it all unfrozen and unhooked, we pulled out the neck (ugh) and went digging for the giblets. No giblets.

After we’d both groped around inside of a dead bird for awhile, we called Chris’ mom. She wasn’t super interested in sticking her arm inside (can you blame her?) but she eyed it a little and said, “Well. I don’t know. They should be in there.” We discussed whether maybe they’d forgotten to put the giblets in. But I could never be that lucky. Then in a moment of genius or something, Chris found them in the OTHER hole. So awkward.

So we finally got the turkey in its bag (stop with the judging!) and into the oven. And it only threw our dinner itinerary off by about 30 minutes.

Everything else went pretty smooth. I did manage to fling some sweet potatoes around the kitchen, but that wasn’t much of a story, comparatively.

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On Lent and Liturgy

A friend suggested I blog about Lent. And you know, I’ve never been asked to blog about something specific before. It’s a challenge: like Truth or Dare, except I’m going to tell the truth AND take the dare.

I grew up in a very non-liturgical church culture. It was like we were so anti-tradition, that if we did something two years in a row, we got a little freaked out. Because if it wasn’t spontaneous, it wasn’t spiritual, you know?

But if that were true, we’d only read the Bible through once and then be done. So obviously, a good thing can be done more than once and still be good.

So, Lent. (If you’re all, “What is this Lent of which you speak, go read Wikipedia. They know everything.)

I think Lent could be awesome. Or it could be a waste of time. Based on your heart.

Participating in a spiritual ritual to earn God’s favor, lose some weight, fit in to the community or please your mom has about the same value as a New Years Resolution.

On the other hand, engaging in an activity that has a rich spiritual heritage and is founded in the truth of the Word can be life giving, if your heart is focused on Jesus.

What concerns me about Lent (or a 21 day fast or whatever tradition), is when we do it because we think the act itself somehow fixes us. Like it will keep us on God’s good side or whatever. That’s wrong and messed up.

It would be like if my husband and I celebrated Valentines Day to stay married. Imagine if we said, “Yeah, things have been rough lately. We haven’t actually talked in weeks and we’d rather watch TV than kiss. But when Valentines roles around, that will patch everything up.” Anyone would tell us that was crazy and we needed help.

For a marriage, Valentines can be a great reminder of our love. The holiday can give us an extra excuse to stop and enjoy each other. It can even help our hearts re-focus on our relationship. But it can’t create something that’s not there.

In the same way, liturgy can re-center our hearts on Jesus and remind us of His goodness. When it’s a tradition that comes around at the same time each year, we can look forward to a time set aside for the Lord. It’s even beneficial to engage in a spiritual discipline with other believers and grow our sense of community with the family of faith.

But if your heart isn’t focused on Jesus? Eh. You might as well just go eat that chocolate.

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The Santa Claus Conspiracy

Once a week, I volunteer in my son’s 2nd grade class at school. Most of the time, the kids just read with me. However, once in a while they end up sharing their own stories.

Last week, one of the little girls told me she recently heard jingle bells. So she looked out of her mailbox slot and saw Santa and his reindeer flying. “Maybe,” she said, “he was practicing.”

But he did drop off some packages at her house on his practice run, and they are still there.

She explained that sometimes Santa lies a little bit and writes, “From Mom and Dad” on gifts, because he doesn’t want kids to think the packages are from him. But they really are.

I have never, ever heard this theory before and find it very intriguing. It’s not parents who try to convince their children to believe in Santa. Rather, it is Santa who wants children to believe in their parents. Interesting.

This smart little girl also firmly believes in the tooth fairy and has a plan to save up 3 teeth to trick the fairy out of $3 all at once.


(If you’re curious about why my kids think about Santa, read The Truth About Santa and Spider Man)

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Thank Goodness It’s Good Friday

I have strict holiday rules.

I mean, I’m not some Martha Stewart-esque holiday girl. But there are certain things that are just important to me.

For example, no one plays Christmas music in my house until the Day After Thanksgiving or I will hurt them. All members of my family must wear appropriate festive clothing for anything Christmas related, such as seeing Santa, baking Christmas cookies or setting up the Tree (except my husband, because I can’t tell him what to wear). We do not open ANY Christmas presents until Christmas morning. Not even if my husband tries to melt me with pleading looks. (OK, I’ve caved on that one, but I’m not proud of it.)

It’s not just at Christmas. Easter has its fair share of important things. Children in my house must be dressed up. Floral for girls, ties for boys, etc. And pictures will be taken. Many, many pictures; before church, so that nothing gets spilled or smeared on Easter finery. And they’d better not even think about taking off those Easter clothes until after any potential Easter egg hunts.

And then there’s Good Friday.

I’m very particular about Good Friday weather. I don’t appreciate sunny Good Fridays. No, Good Friday should be rainy, foggy or at the very least, cloudy. And people should wear black. All black, preferably.

In all seriousness about Good Friday (not that I was joking before), I really do feel that there is an epic solemnness about this day that should be observed.

I grew up in the Charismatic church culture, where Good Friday was kind of passed over as a dreary inconvenience. At least that was my impression as a child. Maybe I’m wrong and everybody LOVED it. I don’t know.

But typically, all we did to “celebrate” was a prayer meeting over the lunch hour. And then, when I got immersed in the “revival culture” (if you don’t know what that is, you can message me and ask… or something), Friday night services were already the norm, so we pretty much did business as usual on Good Friday. And honestly, many churches don’t have any type of Good Friday gathering.

And I just don’t get that.

Good Friday is one of the most important days in the whole Christian calendar. I mean, we do realize that without Good Friday, there is no Easter, right? Without Good Friday, there’s no lily filled sanctuaries, no Sun-Rise Services, no chocolate bunnies, no egg hunts, no forgiveness of sins.

Without Good Friday, our whole faith ship is sunk. So why don’t we celebrate it? It seems like it would be normal to embrace the wild wonder of a Life sacrificed, revel in the mournful awe of Holy death, embrace the momentary gloom that will be replaced with resurrection splendor. Is it really so inconvenient to halt our normal routine and reflect on the fact that Jesus died so that we can live?

So I’m so excited (in a calm and mournful way, of course) for Destiny Church’s Good Friday Vigil.

We’re going to have a candle-light gathering in our living room, where we’ll sing about the beautiful cross, meditate on Jesus’ great sacrifice, share Communion and embrace the deep darkness that preceded the light.

And yes, a couple of kids will probably have a jumping contest in the playroom immediately above our vigil or wander through making car noises. But you know? I don’t care. I’m going to fully delight in Good Friday. You can count on it.

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My family came to visit us for Thanksgiving and I did something I’ve never done before… I cooked my first Thanksgiving dinner! Yes, the dressing came from a box and the turkey was in a bag. The cranberries were canned, the gravy came in packets, and Pillsbury made the pie crust. But the mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes were as homemade as could be! And everything tasted good. So I felt proud of myself!

Isaiah could barely wait to get through Thanksgiving for the Christmas season to start. Unfortunately, he thinks he should get presents as soon as the Christmas tree is up (which it is, minus decorations). Every time Chris leaves for work, Isaiah asks him if he is going to the store to get presents. He lists off to his Grandparents every train he is in need of, so they will be sure to know what to get him. Today he was asking about presents for the millionth time. Chris told him he had to wait until Christmas and Isaiah responded, “But Daddy, I’m going to die!” We assured him that he could wait and it wouldn’t kill him.

Our son isn’t totally focused on the material aspect of Christmas. Since his birthday is not long after Christmas, he has gotten a little confused on which holiday is which. The other night I asked him who’s birthday Christmas was, to see if he could remember our previous conversations. At first he answered, “Mine!” Then he tried, “Mommy’s!” I told him it was Someone even more important. Then he remembered and proudly exclaimed, “Jesus’ birthday!” Then he said, “An’ it’s going to be Jesus’ biggest, best birthday eber!”

Isaiah is full of imagination and he’s starting to see things that I totally miss. We were piling in the car to head off to Library Class, when Isaiah said, “The tree has a cross face,” (he watches Thomas, which uses older British expressions like being “cross”). I was in a hurry and casually brushed him off saying, “No, the tree doesn’t have a face.” “Yes he does!” Isaiah argued, so I made him point out what tree he was talking about. Sure enough, the fir tree in our neighbor’s yard had big gaping holes in exactly the right place for two big eyes and a crabby grin. I assured Isaiah that the tree was silly-cross, and that seemed to satisfy him.

Leah has become very interested in music lately. Whenever she hears music playing, she starts clapping, swaying and lifting her hands. She’s a little worshiper, which is funny because I realized the other night, that one of the reasons I liked the name Leah, is because the Leah in the Bible learned to be a worshiper. So names really do have impact!

Leah isn’t quite walking yet, but she has taken a couple of steps before she realized what she was doing. Then she promptly sat down. She’s been eating up a storm lately, so maybe she’s building up her muscles. As for talking, she mostly says, “Checher” or “Chesha”. She can say the names of everyone else in the family too, but she’d much rather talk about the dog. She says “dan-do” (thank you) and I got her to say please once. She says, “look-it” and copies other words we say as well. With her brother’s teaching, I’m sure she’ll be saying “present” pretty soon!

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