19 November 2016

*deep, heavy sigh*

I'm still processing about this whole dumb election. Sorry, maybe I shouldn't call it dumb. I usually call things dumb when they make me feel things. But I gotta figure it out because there's still a lot of tension at our house and my kids are acting out more than usual.

So I wrote a Facebook post that got shared 32 times. Just sort of viral which is A-ok with me. The short version: "if you effing voted for him for other reasons, you effing better make a definite effort to fight racism, okay." I didn't actually cuss. It also got shared a couple times with the "this is my pastor's wife" tag which is...interesting. I wrote it while Roy was at a session meeting and he didn't know I was gonna do it. So I wrote it as a laywoman. I'm always on the fence between "sure, I'll take that platform" and "com'n dawg, I'm my own person."  In general I figure it's better for me to be my own person and give Roy deniability. *winky face*

The Friday after the election, I had already had a "run away" day [side note: I probably need to reframe that in a way that makes it normal for me to have a day off] planned. So I set off with some yarn, my african american poetry anthology, a journal, some cigarettes and tried to find some peace. The first thing I did was go to the cathedral basilica. It's a big ol' catholic church with a huge mosaic installation, mostly on the ceiling. (You can go to my twitter to find some pictures from there). I looked through the missal. I sat and thought about how the catholic church has been here since the beginning and has made tons of mistakes and, I mean, I'm a very happy protestant, not making any arguments here. But it's still here. One of the mosaics has the legend "blessed are those who hunger and thirst after justice." I cried a little; I prayed a little. I took a picture of their station for Mary for an online person I like. And y'all. While I was there, one of the immigrant girls from our youth group was there with her catholic school group. I didn't recognize her at first because I'd never seen her in a plaid skirt. So that was wacky in the best way.

[just to clarify: still a Presbyterian. Still hurting from the evangelical vote.] 

It's true, I've been doubting my church a lot. I mean, not our specific church at which my husband is employed. But the larger PCA and then the much bigger evangelical world--there's so many more Southern Baptists than I realize because I like my echo chamber to be Presbyterians and Leftists, not Baptists. I'd make a predestination joke but I can't remember the word I want to use--it's the one that goes with Augustinian. Pelagian, that's it. "Pelagians, who needs 'em!" (With apologies to my audience).

I don't know, I'm just so glad my oldest kid is only eight years old. If she were older (and/or less into Minecraft) I don't know...I just picture an Emily Raboteau novel-type situation. (Emily R wrote a novel that destroyed me and put me off lit-fic for years and years. Basically, a mixed-race family that ends up with the daughter leaving the family to live in Brazil and the black husband leaving the white wife for an African wife. and a son in a coma--I think he dies. Anyway, it's pretty much my worst nightmare in a book. Really powerful.) I have pretty strong convictions about infant baptism. And I love the PCA. Or I used to? The PCA was started the same year my oldest brother was born. Our family has been with it for almost the same amount of time. It's nurtured me, and thanks to my campus minister, woke up my social consciousness. If my daughter wanted to leave the little-c church that has been so good to me because she wants to be in a place that affirms her humanity, I mean. "Okay sis. I'll talk to daddy about resigning." It would hurt a lot to do that. I'm sure a lot of people wouldn't understand. And I would still push for a church that wouldn't make me and the kids get baptized again. And I'd still teach them the catechism and the WCF (okay so I'd just think about it a couple times a year but whatever). Good doctrine is great but if your "orthodoxy" doesn't affirm my kids' humanity? I don't really wanna be there. I'm thankful for our current St Louis bubble but if my kids ever want to pop the bubble, I gotta go with them. [WOULD OBVIOUSLY DISCLAIM THESE ARE THE THOUGHTS OF AN INDIVIDUAL AND NOT MY HUSBAND'S--and he can do what he wants and I'll go with him, too]

Jemar's thoughts here are great. 

Relatedly, I'm really thinking a lot about joy and white supremacy/terrorism. There have been incidents of racial hatred in the greater St Louis area. Or I mean, The greater St Louis area has had incidents of racial hatred. My professor friend at SIUE has said there's been lots on her campus. But I guess that whole "dangerous urban life" thing is paying off because we don't have a lot of Trump voters in our geographical life. I think 80% (hahaha) of St Louis voted for Hillary. In our ward 2826 folks voted for Hillary, 302 for the other. So there's that. I realize I'm a straight white lady, and I'm fine by myself but I'm a straight white lady whose heart is connected to five brown people via a relationship that's particularly repugnant to white supremacists so...yeah.

Anyway, we went into the county on Thursday because I needed more yarn (I've only been crocheting since spring break of last year but apparently it's already a coping thing) and we had to go to Costco. We went after school, so the kids were all wound up and not staying by me. And I was nervous the whole time. Usually I can skate around on their cuteness, but the boys just got haircuts with linings that emphasizes their Blackness, and 8yo's teacher has been fixing her hair with twists and they weren't staying by me and being quiet--6yo was basically dancing through the aisles, not looking where he was going... and I was an absolute mess. I couldn't remember everything on my list or make good decisions about what to get (Fresh bratwurst? really?) I didn't want to saddle the kids with all my own fears so I didn't say "please don't make anyone have any reason to talk to or about you." But man I wanted to. And I realize I'm probably being maybe a little unfair to the Costco patrons some of whom looked at my rowdy kids disapprovingly but none of whom said anything, but that's the thing about racism, right? It distracts you. I mean, here's [part of] the Toni Morrison quote: "The function, the very serious function of racism is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work." I let my fear get into my head and the white supremacists won because I forgot to get chips and creamer and I'm going to have to go back today. So anyway, now to learn how to live with the right amount of caution, but not be ruled by fear, and to let my kids have all the joy and space to run around and be their own made-in-the-image-of-God selves. And Roy, too. But he's been living in this a lot longer than I have. *insert white wokeness joke here*

I don't have any positive next steps figured out yet. I didn't call my senators (sorry). I don't know if I have a sphere of influence that goes much farther than my kids. I'm honestly kinda scared that my place to go is to be the white lady who talks to white ladies who might not listen to black ladies which puts me in a weird place because I have found a pretty specific group of people I want affirmation from and it's not the white ladies. Okay, I'd probably take affirmation from anybody but I really want the group the rest of my family is in to want me, too. Please give me all the cookies.

08 November 2016


I can't blog tonight because none of the words I want to use are family friendly. Instead I'm sit on my stoop and smoke a cigarette and rage and hope. 

07 November 2016

Garden store breakdowns

Well I didn't actually break down in the garden store but I came pretty close. 

Standing in front of the bulb section just got to me. Crocuses and daffodils are some of my earliest memories. In Mississippi, they came up in February. 

We didn't move here in time to plant bulbs for this year's spring. 

Our church has a large budget deficit and has had to cut hours of some of our staff (but not Roy [but we are still paying for two places to live]). I am slowly realizing that despite how much stuff I love about St Louis, this move has been really hard in a lot of ways. 

Bulbs are hope. You bury them in the ground (right side up) and believe that 1) you will be there to see them bloom 2) they will bloom. 

I planted bulbs for the spring in the yard of a house we are renting. I planted irises (Dutch I think), daffodils, tulips, crocuses, and the bulb of the amaryllis I had in my kitchen window when we first moved in to our house. 

I'm not sure my heart trusts Jesus like I want it to, but those bulbs, man. I planted them. It's really hard not to believe that if I just had enough faith/prayed enough, God would sell our house and fund our church and everything would be fine and not precarious. But I planted the bulbs. I'll be watching for them as I struggle with the winter that's longer and colder than I'm used to.  I planted the bulbs. 


06 November 2016

It's Sunday

Sabbath hurray!

I think I left a pot of broccoli on the table. I did load but not run the dishwasher. My pastor's sermon was really good, but the best part of all was that Roy came home! I saw him first at church--I sent 4yo into the men's bathroom (he had been being a jerk to our pew mates so I took him out and then he 4yo asked to go to the bathroom)...anyway, I sent 4yo in and then Roy walked out of the bathroom. It was a little disorienting. He was wearing a flannel shirt and jeans just like he was from the country. 

It's Sunday; that's all I've got. 

(yesterday's lament)

Single parenting yesterday made me forget about actually posting this vs writing it. It's the Lament for that Trauma group.

oh God, hi.
You have been our dwelling place for all generations
and you stuck by me in college and still now with all my literal and metaphorical mess
you delight in me.
I would like to formally state a complaint:"
adjusting to new life stuff is hard and 
realizing it's hard is also hard.
lost babies and ending this childbearing season on a loss...feel like the warriors
my garden in huntsville, my routine,
Everything is different and
accepting the mercy of hard things.
"I don't know what I'm doing" wears thin.
I'm both tired and lazy, broken and tending towards indolence.
just an ol' mess.
So would you help me?
Jumpstart my brain into order
teach me to want goodness
help me with all that laundry.
I will praise you forever because I trust in you.

[I should know I wrote this at the park while my kids played]

04 November 2016


I don't have much to say today. Roy is gone on that men's retreat (silent! At a monastery!) and baby didn't take her nap at a good time, and I'm scheming to take a one woman silent retreat next week somehow. I think I need just a couple hours at least of not being in charge at all. 

I let the kids stay up late playing Minecraft and now they are in bed (four in a double bottom bunk) not going to sleep. I can hear 8yo laying down the law from three rooms away. I'm not sure baby will stay with them but it's worth a shot. She tends to poke and incite instead of sleep when she's with them. 

Also y'all, I really like "your mom" jokes (I'm so glad Roy married me anyway) but my favorite thing is doing them to my kids. They get the most confused. 

03 November 2016

Pretty sure this is a first draft


I've got a kitchen to clean and maybe some clothes to wash and a baby (toddler) not to wake up with my typing, but today I am actually sitting at the computer to write something instead of tapping something out on my phone because I almost forgot at the end of the day. I mean, it's still the end of the day, but baby didn't take a nap today…and also I read a lot of books today. But today I actually have an idea to blog about!

I pre-ordered Ronnie Dunn's new CD today. I saw the tweet about the Hamilton mixtape—and I was excited about it—and Roy was excited about some of the names I read out to him of the artists on it. And then NPR had an early-listen to Ronnie Dunn's CD Tattooed Heart. And I listened to it, and…it was my music, and fortunately, thanks to my book buying habits back when we weren't um, downwardly mobile, we have Apple credits, so I could just get it.

When I started therapy back in college, one of the things I had the hardest time learning was that people could be different than me and I could still love them and they would still love me. I wanted my relationships to be all about affinities, and the right choices, together. (In theory, at least.) I'll never forget the look my campus minister gave me when I made a "yuck" face at …I think it was his choice of bagel. Obviously, there's like a novel's worth of backstory there, but thank God for therapy. Growing up is hard, y'all. 

But what I'm trying to come around to is that when this rural-raised southern white girl started dating a urban-raised black man, there's a lot of stuff we didn't have in common. While we were dating, I think I watched almost every Spike Lee movie ever, because I hadn't seen a single one. Roy made me mix cds, and I listened to them over and over, trying to absorb the rhythm of the hip-hop he loves. (It's socially conscious hip hop [mostly]; don't worry mom.) I made him cds and introduced him to a few artists he now loves (including Sufjan Stevens of course).  But I spent time immersing myself into his genres and not expecting him to listen to all my music, including of course, the country music I listened to on the radio during the two hour rides to see him [cough and full disclosure, also go to therapy]. I enjoyed his music and was fed by it but my music kinda twisted his soul. Not to mention that one song on Charlie Daniel's Greatest Hits I had to skip because it had the n-word in it, and all the nostalgic songs about better times back in the day. 

I'm thirty-two years old now. I have four kids, six or seven clean baskets of laundry, and more gray hairs than I'm emotionally prepared to deal with. Our life is pretty stressful right now, and there's a lot of things out there stressing me out that I have no control over. The best I can do is to ask Jesus to step in on my behalf. (Which yes, is no small thing.)  I'm getting pared down to essentials. And y'all, I'm a white girl from rural Mississippi. I may appreciate hiphop and even love some of the songs, but my mouth doesn't move fast enough to rap along with it. I need those plaintive melodies and the steel guitars and old dudes whose voices have so many things going on that even singing along to the melody sounds like harmony. I am who I am. 

It's likely I'd be addicted to Twitter anyway, but a large part of my twitter experience has been following black voices, listening and learning. I'm raising four members of the black community, and I don't want my ignorance to impede their being able to fully enter into it. I can't model black womanhood for my girls, but I can sure as hell know what it looks like, sounds like, and what hair products to use. I think of it as a room full of people that really isn't for me, but I'm saving seats for these precious lives I'm raising. So I cared that Beyonce had a new album out even though I've never listened to it, but I saw the reactions of the black women and could see that it's significant. (Roy, as an actual black person, doesn't really care about Beyonce and didn't know. My life is weird.) 

When I started dating Roy, I threw out my book of confederate poetry (even though I accidentally still have some bits memorized) and my dumb Canon Press apologia for slavery (that one I actually ripped up). I don't know what happened to the confederate flag I had on my wall in high school, but here's hoping someone burned it. Fighting white supremacy is easy, right? Just reject everything pre, oh say 1968? Later depending on where in the South you live. 

I'm kinda jealous of the people who can wear those shirts that say "I love my blackness and yours." I know there's that white lady don't wanna feel left out struggle going on. I want to be in the same club as my husband kids, even though I know I have all this privilege they don't…when I'm all by myself. The other day I described our family as "a black family." And I don't know what our kids are gonna do with their identities when they get old and interact more with the outside world. We'll see. But I'm hoping I'm making space for them to be whoever they want to be, but with a solid understanding of how the world usually sees people that look like them, and of course also who they are in Christ.

We're definitely gonna get the Hamilton Mixtape, because it took months but my kids finally love Hamilton, but I'm too tired to be anything more than the white lady God made me to be, and so with great joy and delight I'm going to be wallowing in that Ronnie Dunn album as soon as it releases.

02 November 2016

Hashtag quotidian mysteries

Today I have loaded and ran (run?) the dishwasher, washed two loads of clothes and dried one (and carried a clean load to the stairs), washed dishes (while listening to Stephen Colbert on Fresh Air), cooked supper [rice, frozen breaded chicken, frozen stir fry vegetables], and thrown out the disposable plates from supper. 

That's a lot for me, houseworkwise but apparently if you don't spend all day on Twitter, you gotta do something. I also crocheted four rows or so on the blanket I'm working on and kept an extra baby. So happy drinks for me! And I read a book. I think I forgot to make sure my oldest did her homework. 

I miss social media a lot (and I'm still allowing myself to use it when I'm sitting down at the computer) but even two days away during my regular life are showing me (two days are, right) that man, I was using it as a coping device, not in a good self care way but in a "man, I sure don't want to feel all those feelings" way. I'm pretty good at that, not feeling my feelings. During the most stressful moments of family life (especially those first thirty minutes home from school), man I wanted to be also out there in Internet land. Maybe I'll be able to keep baby from getting into everything now. 

This does tie into Humble Roots that I said maybe I would talk about today but I don't have the concentration to get into it after all. Maybe tomorrow, after I get 5yo's immunization record figured out.