Friday, May 24, 2013

space for what matters.

Egg-Beater caught up with a 5 hour nap later that afternoon.
Lucky him.

When Jasper was born, he had colic and only wanted to sleep in his car seat with the visor down. Three months later, he was amenable to a rocking basinet that propped him upright a bit and snuggled him on either side. There he slept until he was over the weight limit and capable of crawling out.

We started with the crib up high and then down low when he became curious and mobile. Last Christmas it converted to a toddler bed and he could get in and out on his own. Now he’s inherited my goddaughter's IKEA bed. He sleeps a floor above us at the new house and loves it.

You might call this the opposite of attachment parenting. Until last night, I’d never slept in bed with Jasper and I only sleep in the same room with him when we're traveling. Sure, he’s fallen asleep on my chest a bazillion times before being mysteriously transported to his own bed, but we never wake up together at home. While bed sharing works great for many people (and I admit – I’m impressed by their hospitality), it’s not our thing.

Matt and I both sleep like crime scene chalk outlines and are serious about our zzzs. As our house filled with Jasper’s things, we agreed that we wanted a time and a space that could be just ours. And so our whispers before bed are often about Jasper, but not with him. In the morning, he pitter patters in and says, “Up, please!” for a few moments of play before the day begins. But the in between is spent happily apart.

We are grateful for a little boy who entertains himself in the early hours – reading books to himself, cuddling with his blanket, and singing songs before we come to get him. It seems we both enjoy our personal space and are glad to see each other at dawn.

We plan to take Jasper on his first canoe and camping trip this summer and have both wondered about what life in a tent will be like. And then this happened the other day and I made an exception to the rule. Jasper and I are up north with my family this weekend while Matt works a big tournament. This little toddler seems older all the time – remembering what you said yesterday and last week, helping you pack, walking down the steps and sidewalk all by himself, and then waiting patiently by the car door -  “Adventure, Mommy! See lake!”

I know I’m nostalgic and sentimental because of all these changes, but it’s also because I just signed his first field trip form. He’ll be going to the zoo with other toddlers from daycare next month. Someone will drive him all the way to Eagan and figure out that monkeys terrify him while bears do not. They will feed him lunch and make sure he doesn’t climb in a van with strangers.

It’s just a signature and it’s just a field trip.

But suddenly, I am in the same demographic as the mothers of these fourth grade boys who woke up, rode a bus, and went looking for fossils.  Suddenly, I can begin to imagine their pain and despair – depths I couldn't know last week or last year.

Jasper was thrilled to crawl up into bed with me. He waved goodbye to the air mattress on the floor and together we made a nest to ensure his altitude. And then we cuddled and squirmed all night long. He would sit up every time he heard the trains go by, his pointer finger to his ear until it passed. Whenever I woke up, his collick or his smelly socks were tickling my face, and, by morning his head cold had become my head cold.

But none of that mattered when he looked at me through his eye boogers and his smile grew wide. “Mommy’s bed! Jasper too! Oh, Mommy.” He threw his arms around me and we cuddled a little longer.  Two aching bodies still figuring this thing out and making space for what matters.

Monday, May 20, 2013


I made so many good cases for taking off the socks this morning. 
He's been wearing them for days. 
They stink. They're sweaty. It's humid. They look ridiculous.

But they stayed on. I dropped him off at school and blessed the teacher with a few words for context: 

We moved on Saturday. He's being a trooper and we're talking through the transitions, but there are a few things he's clinging to for comfort. Moose Socks are two of them. Be aware that he will want to make sure the moose can "see" at all times, so they need to be pulled up high enough for the "googley eyes" to show.

We've all got our things. I needed a rod to hang clothes in my new closet. Matt needs the garage to not look like a hazardous waste tsunami. Jasper needs to wear his Moose Socks all.the.time. 
(We splashed in some puddles on the sidewalk after dinner tonight, so they got all muddy and he finally wanted them off. Wash, Mommy. Make clean, please. Gladly.)

Jasper is adjusting to his new bedroom really well and loves all the new spots for his toys. We have three rabbits spending time in our backyard and he chases them around yelling, "Hold it". I'm not sure what he would do if he got close enough to hold one, but the chase should keep him busy for awhile.

We close on the old house tomorrow, so we took Jasper over to see the empty space. Everything is gone. Jasper's room is bare, but so is Mommy and Daddy's and that's okay. Things are at the new house now. 

We raced up and down the path in the backyard for awhile and then he hugged the tree. He learned to run in circles around this tree, chasing Matt and pretending to hide behind its narrow trunk. I have several pictures of them in this spot and will look for them this summer whenever I'm feeling nostalgic. 

Bye bye Dap-per's house.
Hi, new house.

Saturday, May 11, 2013


So many balloons.

We long to bring something tangible. Human begins are wired for ritual and spacial celebration. These things transcend religion and culture. We need to gather when we grieve. We want to offer something that makes our presence worthy and of good use.

The media is hounding three women and their families. They are camped outside, stalking and watching and hovering, waiting to ask them what it feels like to be free. Ha. Sounds to me like they're still trapped behind those balloons and the best intentions of the clueless and curious.

These girls don't need your rained-on dollar store stuffed animals. They don't need balloons that will deflate before the crowds do. They don't need 24-hour news coverage or people treating them like they're still 14 years old.

I don't know what they do need, but that's not my job. There are plenty of loved ones and professionals handy to help them sort that out.

Instead, I am in the business of knowing what the crowds need. I am a public minister, accustomed to facing large groups of people week after week. We are always dealing with a thousand different things, but we are also dealing with the One Common Thing.

People need a place to come together. Some show up because they always do. Some show up because folks count on them. Some can't figure out why they've come - they're just there.

And then the crowd gives me ten minutes to tell them the truth - every week. Every Sunday I stand in front of them and tell them the two-fold truth about this life: It is hard and shitty sometimes. But it is also beautiful and completely worth the mud-wrestling.

We choreograph prayers around the world's aches and pains, joys and dreams.  We pass the plates and collect diapers. We acknowledge that our need to give comes from being made in God's generous image. We hear stories about God's reputation for showing up and loving fiercely. We pass the peace, which is more than Howdy Do. It's a chance to set down our differences and categories. With a touch, we bestow the perfect peace of God, which passes all understanding. We become tangible signs of grace and relationships the world so desperately needs. We break bread, remembering that God makes enough and we are helpers in that "enough-ness" scheme.

We take an hour to find strength in each other and the Great Story. Our holy language is the postlude of our ancestors' traditions and the prelude of our descendants' faith. And something about that fills us with community and purpose that can weather the storms for another six days.

Helium fails, but our need to congregate does not.
May the crowds discover new places to gather and rich gifts to bear.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


I was pitting out and awkward until this very moment.
And then all was calm. And funny. 
I stopped sweating and I started laughing.

It didn't feel like my wedding day 
while someone stuck fake eyelashes on my face 
or while dear friends gathered, hair teased. 
But it felt like my wedding day hours later - 
once Matt found me in a quiet back yard and made me smile.

I am blessed to love the one I'm with. 
Those who are 
know the deep power and wide gift of partnership.
I did not have to fight for this day 
or prove my love 
or receive less than others.
It was given freely 
just like the vows we exchanged that day.

Today I am blessed by the love of a state and its leaders
who are brave in saying YES to love and marriage...
for everyone who loves the one they're with
for everyone who wishes to say I DO
for everyone who yearns to carry the whole promise -
all the joy and the sorrow, the grace and the work
just like us.

There is room for all of us in this moment and this love.
I'm sure of it.

Welcome to this moment and this love, Minnesota!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

wide love.

On Thursday, Minnesota's legislators will cast votes about marriage. 
Minnesotans have two days to contact their leaders with thoughtful encouragement. 

God of love, there is room for all of us in your Kingdom. You have made space for justice and peace, equity and hope. You have declared that we are no longer Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female - we are all one in Christ Jesus, called to treat one another with that same holy love you have shown us. May we vote and live that mercy on Thursday. Show us how to make space for justice and peace, equity and hope, so that your Kingdom may be seen and known right here and now in Minnesota. Amen.

To read my blog about last November's (Anti)Marriage Amendment, click here.

Sunday, May 5, 2013


I paused before saying the words of institution a few Wednesdays ago. I was choosing which piece to hold up while talking about the promises that come with Jesus broken. On Wednesdays, the bread comes pre-broken because we're using leftovers from Sunday morning.

When I was little, my dad used to make leftover omelets. They were generally gross or adventurous - all items you normally wouldn't see in an omelet. If a food made it into the omelet, that was a last resort - it had no other options and this was likely its last day alive before Mom tossed it. I'm pretty sure my dad is void of tastebuds, so his ability to create and eat (and actually enjoy) them came in handy when it was time to clean out the fridge before a grocery run.

Regular non-omelet leftovers are the best. You already know what you're getting and there's something sentimental and familiar about coming back to that same meal again. You heat it up and remember having it for the first time. There's no prep work involved - you just dive right in and the hunger disappears much more quickly than it would if you needed to make something from scratch. I'm a pretty mediocre cook and get crabby when my blood sugar is low, so day-old leftovers are dear to me.

So is Recovery Worship. I show up on Wednesday nights more ravenous than I first realize. I'm hungry for that time together, circled around the word and the bread. I'm eager to sing and sit and reflect. Everything about this time together comes pre-broken: the people, the stories, the forgiveness, the meal, and the laughter. We dive right in and gobble up the leftovers. We don't need a recipe for being vulnerable and we don't need to follow instructions about sharing grief and multiplying joys - it just happens. We show up pre-broken and ready to go.

I continued with the words of institution, saying that Jesus once took bread to bless and break among friends and deniers, brothers and betrayers. He shared it, explaining that his body would be broken for the sake of their brokenness. His cup would be poured out to filled their cups and the cups of everyone who needed it and who thought they didn't need it. Everyone.

In those words, Jesus explained that the meal gave us permission to come broken, to bring our delicious day-old dinners and our bottom-of-the-heap omelets, too - whatever we've got and whatever we're missing are welcome - because at Christ's table being broken is a prerequisite and there is always, always enough to satisfy.