Thanks Giving

I unplugged
this week.
The noise in our world
both far and near
so loud.
I couldn’t hear
a simple gratitude–
not one.
Here I was
preparing for Thanksgiving
–an oven christening
–a home christening
–a family christening
and all I could do was stir
the simmering pot
of anger.
So I did the only thing I could think of
The only thing I’ve found to help me:

I unplugged.

I unplugged
and I raged.
I unplugged
and I wept.
I unplugged
and I did not hear a voice.

Rather I found
my gratitude
in a fifth grader asking
to help prepare the feast.
We christened our kitchen
in the peeling of the potato
the sautéing of the celery and onion.
the invention of a stuffing and cranberry ball.
As we–
step-mother and step-daughter–
mashed and chopped
our rhythm was a prayer of thanks.

You CAN’T Have It All

One of the big lessons of 2013 for me seems to have been “You can’t have it all.”  This might seem harsh, sad, or defeating at a first read.  But I have to say I actually find this lesson to be freeing, empowering, and relieving.  For the first time in my adult life I am neither in a career or striving for a career.  The breathing space of the last three months has opened me to realizing that the myth of wonder woman having and doing it all is just that…a myth.  At least for this woman.

It’s true, I am a recovering perfectionist.  A perfectionist who isn’t focused as much on perfect details, spelling, or cleaning but perfection in terms of expectations of myself.  I may need to cut myself slack in ways and places.  But I also believe there’s a gift in this perfection…the gift of accepting and acting on…you can’t have it all.  Perhaps I could keep fighting my own nature, and try to regularly repeat…”this is good enough; this is good enough.”  But for me that mantra didn’t seem to do much more than get me up and on the hamster wheel daily.  Until my unexpected sabbatical in the wilderness, I didn’t realize how divided I felt day and night.  Until my unexpected sabbatical in the wilderness, I didn’t realize how much of the last three years were spent fighting my own nature to prove that I could in fact have it all.  Until my unexpected sabbatical in the wilderness, I didn’t realize that in the world of blended family, time is gold.  Nights, weekends, and holidays especially.  That’s where forming family happens.  The good, the bad, the irritating, the idiosyncratic.  In my specific case, I didn’t fully realize how much career had prevented me from being present during these moments.

Much of the last three months have been grieving the loss of the myth “I can have it all.”  Fighting with God, fighting with myself.  Letting go of the myth that career and vocation are the same thing.  As my family and I travel into 2014, I walk with anticipation into a new sense of self and vocation.

Friday At Five–Babies Addition

Today’s Friday is about babies. Tell us about babies in your life, of all kinds, even ideas!

Tell us about the babies you’ve paid attention to in your life:

1. babies of family or friends

Goodness, I have a lot of “babies” in my life right now…no actual little little ones in our home but nieces, nephews, and little ones of friends.  Last week I posted my desires for my newest niece–Anna.  Can’t wait to see her next week.

(She and I apparently share the love of “couching”)Image

And slightly older babies…Stephen (who is now in kindergarten!) Rebecca and Cameron

Image(a little bit of cousin love with Stephen an Sophia)

IMG_0367 (Rebecca “Ringo Starring” on Uncle Joe’s makeshift drum head)


(“Hmmm!  Corn!”  Cameron chomps down on his

first ear of corn Grandma Malick style.)

2. animal babies–Where would life be without animal babies?  Our two kitties..Beezer and Bailey are now in the double digits but are still playful

IMG_0342 Rock a bye Beezer.  Papa rocks the Beez, who tolerates being treated like a baby because he gets a little closer to the ceiling fan.)


Are you my human or am I your cat?  Sophia and Bailey head to head.  Gabi is convinced…he’s her cat–so why argue–just read


3. babies you remember in movies or on t

There are two babies I vividly remember from movies or TV.  The first is from Spaceballs…as it spoofs on alien.  This clip is a hit in our household.  Enjoy:

Second the Dancing Baby from Ally Mcbeal

4. babies in the Bible

Moses and Jesus are the first two that come to mind.  Thinking about Jesus as a baby actually makes me remember my Grandmother, whose birthday was Christmas.  So we actually did celebrate a birthday at Christmas, but usually it focused more on Grandma than on Jesus.  One year my sister, Erin, who is now a graphic designer, created a mixed media birthday card pre-photo shop.  With mere scissors and glue she pasted Grandma’s face on the body of a baby and placed the baby in a manger under a star.  Happy Birthday to Jesus AND Grandma!  If I had a photo of this masterpiece, I would gladly upload here.  I figure if you’re gonna be irreverent with the Christmas holiday, might as well go all in.

5. anything that may be a “baby” arising in your own life

Babies in my own life…well in many respects my family is still in the baby stage.  The girls might entering “tweendom”–this land 969979_677157908966714_402066853_nreminds me why I became a secondary education major and not an elementary education major–but as a family unit we are still new.  And I am still new to step-motherhood.  Not for the faint of heart, the role of step-mother and pastor are like mirror images of one another.  In both you’re the newest person to the family; your arrival shakes the system; the world expects you to have some kind of Jedi-like authority; and if you can love with open palms, you receive more grace, love, and acceptance than you knew were possible.

(Believe it or not, there are three people and a cat in our bed…all taking a Sunday afternoon nap.  After preaching and the pool, who wouldn’t want to take a snooze?  Apparently, Papa.  Papa gets quiet time in the house.)

The other “baby” currently in my life is my time in the wilderness.  Ending my fourth week, I moved from comfortably numb and stunned to frantically searching for a map to settling in.  Not that I don’t have moments of frantic map searching, but all in all, currently, I’m setting up home and shop in the wild and enjoying the newness of my surroundings.  When a frenzy comes on, I’ve taken to lacing up my sneakers and going for a jog and praying.  The spiritual discipline of pounding pavement and praying may be ancient but is definitely in its infant stage for me.