Thursday, May 25, 2006

Such a Peachy 24 hours!

I am not usually a "gusher" about life but I'm a pretty happy camper right now.

Yesterday was Michaela's awards assembly at school. She got 19 of them! The academic ones were a given but we loved the ones voted on by peers. Some kids got "most responsible" some got "most athletic" some got "most creative" - I love those. Michaela was voted as "most friendly girl in her class" and "best singer." Those meant as much as "Top Math Award" I promise! It was fun and I was a proud Mama.

However, it is what happened after school that is the best. She scored the big dollars during her birthday and has been saving them up for something special. She decided she wanted a Tamogotchi v3 (virtual pet/person thingy). They are $15 and she has way more than that. She did buy a few things at a concert, the new High School Musical DVD (so my DVR can be released from that prison) and some other stuff. Well, off we go to Toys R Us to make the purchase and she decides to buy one for her friend also. Apparently, the two of them are the only two 4th graders on the planet who do not have one. Her friend's parents are going through a divorce and so she decided it would be a nice surprise to get her one "because of what is going on at her house." Wow - this is my child who is tighter than bark on a tree. I was so proud of her. It was huge. It was fun and I was a proud Mama.

And then last night there was American Idol. Seeing as Chris and Elliott were voted off in some obvious conspiracy (why else would my boys have been taken out, I mean taken off?) I was so happy that Taylor won. He is the quintessential "drunk dad at a wedding" guy who has so much fun it is infectious. But then, not only did Taylor win, Clay Aiken made an appearance. I was sitting just grinning at the screen. At times to protect my reputation I have been a closet Clay fan. Yes, I own the CD and his book. He makes me happy. Well, last night I realized what a huge fan I am. I was all alone watching the show clapping at the screen and smiling at it as soon as I saw him on stage. Gosh, I am going to be harrassed by this confession if my friend Angela reads this.
It was so much fun and I saw all those AI contestants had really proud Mama's!

It doesn't take too much to keep me chipper - a few awards, a good dose of generosity and a song from Clay!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Saturday Morning Breakfast

Immigration yesterday, breakfast today. That is kinda' how my brain works!

Why this is blog worthy I am not sure, but here goes anyway. We usually eat cereal, toast, english muffins or similar fare on an average morning. However, Saturdays are different. I love it. It is the time when the bacon, sausage, biscuits, pancakes and all that good-for-your-tastebuds but bad-for-your-life-expectancy food comes out. But each week, I smile as I look at my plate because I imagine some of our friends responses. In South Africa, a "Full Breakfast" is based on an English Breakfast. That typically includes fried tomatoes, sauteed mushrooms, baked beans. Just in case anyone is tracking the food groups by Venn Diagram as I compare and contrast cultural breakfast food experiences, Pancakes and Waffles are dessert foods at home and not a typical breakfast food by the way. Of course it also includes a fish called a Kipper or Haddock which we do not routinely make here just because we can't find it. So don't worry if we invite you over for breakfast we will leave out the "vegetable" portion.

The point is, I love the fact that we can slow down enough to eat a yummy breakfast, mess up the kitchen and wonder around in pj's longer than we should.

Friday, May 19, 2006


If you read this blog, you probably know that we are permanent residents, but not citizens. We have been permanent residents for 5+ years and now we qualify to apply for citizenship. That was about a year ago and we have not made the move to apply yet. I just can not forsee us giving up citizenship in South Africa. That is a huge deal to me and I am not ready to even embrace the idea. We are unable to vote until we are citizens and that just suits me fine! I wouldn't know what to vote anyhow. I am very conflicted politically. I would on a quick surface scan describe myself as Democrat when it comes to economics, global policy, defense, social justice and some moral issues. I would describe myself as Republican also in a few areas related to moral issues (probably not the ones you would think).

But before anyone is offended, let me just explain that we have lived in the US for 15 years total,
6 of those on "student visas" 4 on "religious worker" visas and the last 5 as "green card holders" - never illegal! And, paying taxes the whole time (except when we did not earn enough as student employees).

I have tried to contain myself during the last month or so as people battle out the issues and implications over immigration. I have a lot to say, but would like to maintain my friends so I am not saying it all, but this is crucial.

1. When we become gloabl citizens, we see that people are just like us. Kids in Lithuania watch MTV and post on MySpace. Moms in Jordan order Pizza on nights they are too tired to cook. Families in South Africa, New Zealand, Greece - picnic in the park and enjoy days on the beach. Mothers and Fathers in Sudan, Paraguay, India, Rwanda cry the same tears when their children are taken in death. When you see people and realize they are just like you, you are more likely to care about their plight and want to do something to change it!

2. When talking about the current issues of limited borders etc, remember that regardless of your take on people flow across the world, no human being is ever illegal or illegitimate. Their status may be in question but their humanity is not!

That was a little preachy and so I will end now!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Armchair Mystic

I am currently reading the book Armchair Mystic. As I said in a previous post, this is one of the drier times of my Spiritual walk. However, this book is proving to be a great source of encouragement and growth for me.
I think when I look back at my life I notice a trend. I have used my outgoing personality as an excuse to hide from solitude with God. I get my biggest buzz from corporate worship experiences in various settings or from serving and being with people. I have admired those who appear to be "closet Episcopalians" and thought that their excercises of silence, solitude and silent retreats must be very helpful for them. But, with great certainty I have always known it was not for me. That was my first mistake!
During the current journey I am on, I have been wrestling with a new understanding of prayer and how it plays into our ecclesiology. One of our ministers is providing some spiritual direction for me as I struggle through this stuff. He suggested the book and some additional things for me to do.
This is what I love about the book. It is realistic. It acknowledges that personalities like mine will probably never fully embrace the life of a contemplative, but it explains why a personality like mine needs to incorporate aspects of the life of a contemplative. For the first time in a long time, I feel like the times I am spending with God are truly intimate and not "work."

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Lessons I should have learned long ago

Okay so Missy, Angela and I are trouble. I love it! We perhaps rank as the "most untraditional minister's wife" gang in the SouthWest. In fact when we roam the halls of the church offices, it is not unusual for people to comment about us. The most pitiful thing is how easily we are amused - no really. It does not take much and we are cracking up. However, shallow we are not!

Here's the thing. If you happen to like a pair of jeans that, say, your single nice looking Young Adults Minister is wearing. Rather ask the make. Or, you could decide just to look for yourself and pick up his shirt, check the brand name on the waistband and move on. Of which I chose the latter and almost had him in cardiac arrest. My abovementioned friends burst into instant shrieking laughter and all the other ministry staff present were more than a little amused also.

But here's the thing. My intention was to not have to interrupt his conversation or even embarras him with the compliment and further questions about where he bought them etc. No, I chose to horrify him in discomfort and embarrasment all at the same time. My plan was good, the execution lacked a little finesse and perhaps a boundary or two.
Geez Louise, when will I learn.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Song brainworms

Music is so important in my world - especially my worship.
Usually you can catch me humming a worship song from Chris Tomlin, a ballad from Bebo or something from Casting Crowns, MercyMe or Newsboys (I can get the accent on this one). Lately, it has been "Bad Day" by Daniel Powter. I've been known to even get the Wiggles, Barney or Dora stuck in my head for days. Hot potato, hot potato.....
However, this morning it's a little different. Tell, me why the brain of a middle class, anglo mother of two, minister's wife is stuck on Ridin' Dirty by Chamillionaire! Yikes - for everyone else's sanity and my personal purity I am praying this one departs as quickly as it arrived.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

With a Little help from my friends...

Spiritually I am in a dry place right now, and I do not just mean Amarillo! I have had seasons like this before when I feel disconnected from God and my life of being a Jesus follower seems rote and empty. I am not longing for the word and prayer is a struggle. I know that some of it has to do with recovery from the surgery and a little depression that I am feeling from it all. Some has to do with the fact that God is teaching me new things about prayer. Some of my foundational beliefs are being transformed. Getting here has been hard because in just a few weeks I feel like I have gone from regular me to deist, to semi-aetheist and back to deist and now I am on new ground and something good is going to emerge.

But here is the cool part. As a ministers wife, involved member at our church, ministry leader etc I have been able to share these feelings with some friends and they are not having a cardiac arrest or wondering about my salvation and or impending doom. How great is it to be able to share your authentic struggles and feel safe enough to know its okay! Besides a few girlfriends & my small group I have found community in our church staff workmates. I had lunch with one of our elders wives and then with all respective appropriateness today I had a time to share my heart and struggles with our worship minister. I count him as a special friend, in fact I wonder if we were separated at birth (10 years apart :-)) I found a safe place there in the midst of him being able to point me to truth about my thinking that needed changing. I was also able to seek the counsel of our young adults minister and have him guide me in my pursuit of a different understanding of prayer. I admire and respect both of these men greatly and they extended the same to me today. I love being able to serve a church with a ministry team that is seeking community with one another and desiring to live truthfully together. I was able to walk away from both of these encounters today knowing that none of these people thought less of me, and both love me! Thanks guys.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Double Digits

May 1 1996 we became parents to Michaela Kasselman. Yes, she turned 10 yesterday. Unbelievable. Her party was Friday night and we survived a sleepover with 13 girls. I do not know what possessed me, but we made it through and can mark that one as done, never to be repeated!!!
Michaela loves hanging out with friends. She is a gifted singer and a piano student. School is easy for her and academically she is very advanced. She is detail oriented and very logical in her thinking (way more like David than me).
We love all those things about her, but most of all these are the things I love and admire about her.
...she always make a point to befriend the new kid in school.
...she likes and is liked by most kids who meet her, but it does not matter that her crowd is not the popular crowd.
...she is a concert rat.
...she has a keen sense of humor that is maturing all the time (wit can so easy sound like "cheek")
...she does a lemonade stand each year and donates the money to our Outreach ministry.
...she is a fabulous big sister and her and Spencer really love each other!
...she is a growing child of God and I can not wait to see what He does in her life.
...she loves foreign travel and soaks up anyplace she goes.