I Winked at a Priest!

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It has been a year since I told you I was going to share about my experiences with the Anglican church vs. my Presbyterian background.  I would apologize for taking so long to actually write about these things, but I think this passing of time has allowed me to gain perspective so that I can tell the stories with light-hearted humor instead of homesick disdain.

We have been attending this church for over two years now and the first 15 months were filled with loneliness, insecurity, and blunder after blunder. I grew up as the preacher’s daughter, knowing everyone,  going to church, finding my seat and staying in it. . . quietly. Everything during the service was done in the foot of space my body took up on the pew. In this new environment I knew no one and was basically doing squats for an hour and a half each Sunday, what with all the standing and sitting and being forced to worship AMONGST/WITH strangers. If you talked with me during those 15 months, the ONLY nice thing I ever said was that the teaching was very good and theologically sound.

It may sound silly, but going into this different denomination was as dramatic for me as going to church in a foreign land. For the first time I was introduced to the liturgical calendar which meant that for a solid year I never knew what to expect at church. Just when I got the hang of something it seemed we changed “seasons”; the learning curve was sharp. My brain was in constant translation mode – folks were talking about familiar  concepts but using strange words (Vestry = Session [sort of, but not really, but sort of]; Eucharist = Communion;)

Let’s just talk a minute about Communion; at our little Anglican church it is VERY different from anything I have experienced before.  We come to the table every week and it looks a little something like this: the priest tells us that it is not an Anglican table only but the table of the Lord; all who have been baptized and long to follow Christ are welcome.  We dismiss row by row and form one line down the center aisle. You get bread from the priest in the middle and then you can sip from a cup filled with wine on either side or dip your bread into the cup of non-alcoholic wine. If what the priest mentioned doesn’t describe you, you may still come forward and just cross your arms over your chest so that he knows to pray a blessing over you instead of giving you bread. It sounds straight forward but was VERY problematic for me until VERY recently.

The thing is, you have to walk up and stand a foot from the priest and look him in the face as he breaks off bread and puts it in your hand saying, “Christ’s body, broken for you.” And he often says your name too. It is very personal and this southern girl always feels like she needs to say something in response. “Thank you,” perhaps?

Early in our time at this church, one of the ladies, Fawn, a deaconess, took me for coffee and asked how I was adjusting.  I shared with her about not knowing what to say and she giggled and suggested that many say, “Amen.” So the next week I had a new problem.  I went up for communion and there was Fawn standing behind the Priest – watching me.  Our eyes locked and she started smiling and I didn’t know what to do. I choked on my bread. . . and excused myself.

Then there was the Sunday I winked at a Priest. A young man at the church was studying for ordination and finally passed his exams.  This one Sunday was his first to administer communion and, sweet friendly gal that I am, when I went up to the table I wanted to encourage Dan – let him know he was doing a good job.  How did I choose to show that support? I winked. His eyes bugged out. And then I just died. I considered never taking communion again – the pressure was just too great.

What has happened since? I have landed on the “hick-nod” as my go-to when partaking in communion. You know, just the slight tilt of the head acknowledging that I heard the man but not necessitating a verbal response.

I must admit that I am still mostly distracted during communion.  It is hard for me to pray and be contemplative when I am herding cats (my three kiddos) toward the front of the sanctuary.  I will also admit that I now treasure walking up in the midst of our (now) church family to “do this in remembrance,” and in the midst of the Kicklighter family confusion and my sin have our pastor look me in the eye and say “broken FOR YOU.” So personal. So powerful.

Will I attend an Anglican church forever? I’m mature enough now to let that question hang and not pretend to know the answer. But I am finally okay with going to one now. . . and I no longer think my daddy would “roll over in his grave” at the thought.  I think if I told him what I’ve just told you his first response would be to ask if the priest winked back!

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Game Changer

Little has never let me take care of her nails…she’ll let me paint them but not deal with cuticles etc. If I have ever tried she screamed and ripped her hand away; it honestly hasn’t been a battle I’ve been willing to fight. Because of the neglect, half of each nail has been covered by cuticle.

I know you know I sell Jamberry and in the last catalog the company released a product called the Cuticle Remover Pen. I have used it for the past nine months or so and love it. I must admit the thought of using it with Little has crossed my mind, but the thought is quickly followed by this thought:image

This week Little has fifth grade graduation and the paint on her nails was looking chippy and gross. She asked if I would redo her polish and I decided this was the time! Today was going to be the day – I was going to try to tackle the cuticle dilemma!! I used the cuticle remover pen – applied the remover, clipped her nails, and went back to push back her cuticles. She watched Piglet’s Big Movie  and didn’t flinch. Yes, for the first time in 12 years she lets me get rid of them…no complaining.image

Her nails look healthy and THaT is what I am thrilled about. AND we didn’t have screaming and wailing. It might seem like a silly reason to gush about a company, but right now I am feeling the love and know this game changer came #becauseofjamberry.

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Oh Be Careful Little Mouth . . .

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When I was in second grade I was sent to the principal’s office for calling my teacher a dirty word. My friend and I had been goofing off during centers and our teacher sent us back to our seats. My friend wrote on the top of her page, “Mrs. Teacher is…” and then proceeded to write a list of things she thought of our teacher. I’m usually not a follower, but I picked up my pencil and copied my friend’s paper. I knew it was wrong – especially that one word in the middle of the list – but I wrote them all before wadding up my paper with a guilty conscience and throwing the paper away.

I thought it was over but it turned out that Anne had gone and dug the paper out and given it to the teacher. I was sent to see the principal, a letter went home with me to my parents, discipline was reserved for “when your father gets home”, and I got my mouth washed out with enough soap to do a family size load of laundry. To this day I still cannot say that word. I mean, why would I, but usually after I tell this story someone asks, “What word was it?” and I cannot/will not say it. My parents gave the right discipline for their daughter at that stage of life and for that bad choice – and I learned my lesson.

Jump ahead 7 years and I am a teenager having a sleepover in our Alabama basement. The girls were doing Mad Libs and the answers starting to get a bit racy (as racy as they get with 14-year-old-goody-8th-graders in a Christian school) and I went right along with it. Before going to sleep I stuck the papers under the bookshelf beside my sleeping bag and planned to throw them away in the morning. I forgot them. A week or so later my mom finds them, reads them, and I am called in for sentencing. This time I had to sit with my Bible, read Proverbs from beginning to end, and copy all the verses that dealt with the use of one’s tongue. Once again, my mom pulled out the right discipline for her daughter and that stage in life to deal with that specific bad choice – and I learned my lesson.

Jump forward 31 years and I am the mother of three living in liberal Colorado. My darling angel kids attend the local public school and the year is coming to a close. It’s been a great school year, we are cruising toward summer with ease, and then I check my email and see a subject line that reads, “[Bubba’s] Misstep.”  Oh dear. My mind starts racing.

The teacher wrote, “While I was out yesterday, [Bubba] made a pretty poor choice while using his laptop.  I had him write a letter to you to describe what happened.  It involved inappropriate language, which surprised me since he seems to be sensitive to this.  Please sign it or email to let me know you received it.”

Bubba left said letter in his desk, but that turned out to be a blessing for me because he had to sit and look me in the eye and tell me the entire story. I cried.  I relived my entire 2nd grade experience in a blink. I assessed the situation and need for discipline. Bubs twitched in the chair across from me.

He’s had his mouth washed out before and that wasn’t going to cut it this time. So, I bought myself some time with, “I’ll discuss it with your father when he gets home.”

No, that wasn’t all I said. I gave a nice little speech about his “pretty poor choice” and we talked about where he would have learned a word like that; it came to light that he learned it in the comments on his favorite video game/app. He has been plaything this game for 2 years and has moved on to creating his own levels and publishing them for other fans to play. His creations have gotten a lot of play time but when people write him their thoughts, they don’t know he is ten and use words they shouldn’t use no matter his age. I’ve been aware of this but have dragged my feet because he is developing skills in coding, etc.

Turns out daddy had to work late – didn’t get home until 9:30 PM – Bubba got a stress ulcer during the night – woke up and rocked on the bed until daddy told him the discipline.

We chose a “put off the old/put on the new” discipline. We deleted Geometry Dash from every device in the house and he isn’t allowed to play with any electronics for the rest of the month. (I was planning for “until school gets out” but Bubba said it really should be through the end of the month because what he did was really bad.) Then we picked three verses that he has to write out once a day until the end of the month; the hope being that writing God’s word on His heart will, in fact, change his heart.

It’s been two days. I thought that copying the bible verses would be no big deal but you would not believe the complaining. I was expecting weeping and gnashing of teeth over the game being deleted but, other than it being the first thing he told his teacher when I took him to apologize, he hasn’t said much.

Only time will tell, but we pray that this is the right discipline for our son and this stage in his life to deal with this specific bad choice. And we pray he learns the lesson.

 

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Anglican Angst

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I was two years old when the Presbyterian Church of America was formed and I, of course, didn’t know that my daddy had been approached to pastor a small group of families who were pulling out of the PCUSA to plant a church in this new fledgling denomination.  My entire life has been spent in the pews of PCA churches and while I spent a small stint of time in a Baptist church during college and an EPC church while living in GA, I never moved my membership from the denomination of my youth.

When we moved to Fort Collins it became clear very quickly that the small PCA church here was not a good fit for our unusual family. We visited around and Honey got a glint in his eye over a small Anglican church; we have been there ever since. This has not been an easy transition for me and I have felt like a traitor, martyr, and foreigner at different times over the past year; at times I have just felt foolish.

After sharing with the pastor (I still can’t call him priest) my latest faux pas this week, he mentioned with a laugh that I should write down some of my observations, struggles, and blunders and, while he was partly kidding, I thought I might do just that. While it will be good for a laugh or too from the uninvested reader, it might also be therapeutic and help me process the season of life we are in and the “foreign land” to which the Lord has called us. And maybe, just maybe, when my kids are grown and called to live in a small town in Iowa that only has churches with which they are unfamiliar, they will remember these stories and find aid and comfort as they attempt to love and worship amongst a different tribe.

Or, let’s be honest, it might just become the subject of many a family joke of which I will be the brunt as they age. Yeah – most likely that one.

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Last Week 2015

2016-goalsIf I can get past the fact that my kids are stir crazy ’cause it’s 20 degrees outside with  8 inches of snow on the ground, this is my favorite week of the year. I love when the tree is down, the decorations are put away, and the house feels so ordered and clean (if I can get past the kids being home with their toys all over their rooms). The last week of the year begs for planning and dreaming for the year ahead and that’s my jam!

I’ve got out my planner and a notebook and some markers and I’ve read through last year’s plans (which were useless and forgotten) and I’ve been dreaming. Usually my dreams are big, numerous, and overly ambitious (read unrealistic); I have a feeling that this year they will look different.

I think I am going to peruse this list and choose one, two, or three things to make my own.

I think I am going to peruse this list and choose a few books to help create my book list for 2016. I read 37 books last year and this year I am going to decrease the quantity of my goal and increase the quality of what I’m reading.

I’ve been perusing some sites that include “Copywork” for the children in scripture. I am trying to think of how I can adapt this for my children’s growth. I really want to be purposeful with their little hearts this year.  Time’s a-wastin’.

That’s where I’m starting. I’m excited to spend sometime accessing where I am after a year of inactivity and apathy; I might use Zig Ziglar’s Wheel of Life and the list found here.

See, I can quickly get carried away. I’m just excited that I care – and I do care.  I’ve got three days to contemplate and plan – three glorious days!!! I’m so excited.

 

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Halloween Was SO Emotional

Took the kids to Respitality this weekend (local organization provides monthly respite for parents of children with special needs) and the theme for the night was all things Inside Out. It reminded me that I never posted Halloween pictures.

This was the first year we didn’t have an idea brewing in the summer. Seriously, my kids have always had an idea or I have seen a common love and the ideas have just flown from there. This year that was NOT the case. KB wanted to be Mal from Disney’s Descendants (costume=$80 store bought and almost as much to put together creatively) and the first week of October Bubba mentioned Toad from Super Mario. By that time Little had seen a Joy costume and said that would be good and I felt it was the PERFECT costume for our Little Joy and so I suggested everyone go as an emotion.

Bubba was immediately on board and asked if he could be Anger. We all voted that it would be a fitting costume and went on. KB pitched a bit of a fit about not being the cruel daughter of Disney’s scariest villain. I gave her the choice between Sadness and Disgust but her attitude was so . . .well, disgusting, that I made the choice for her and went to Goodwill to look for a dress in green.

By the time it all came together everyone was content and they had a GREAT time wearing their costumes to school during the day and Trick-or-Treating that night. Our neighborhood is FULL of kids and Halloween IS BIG. It was super fun; felt like a community. But I didn’t get all teary. . . I kept my emotions in check. *wink* Get it? My emotions?

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As a bit of a side note, the kids carved pumpkins for the first time in their lives too.Now, for those of you who are shocked by that, calm down! I didn’t carve a pumpkin until I was 30 so they are way ahead of that curve. Plus, we have a couple special brains kicking and so sharp objects are not what we reach for first when celebrating a fun season!

Each one did their own and each one rocked it. It was a fun memory – I know because KB said, “We are making a fun memory. You like that don’t you mama?”

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Wrestling a Wrackspurt

luna_lovegood_and_wrackspurts_by_amarantbus-d4vs1x4“A Wrackspurt. . . they’re invisible. They float in through your ears and make your brain go fuzzy,” she said. “I thought I felt one zooming around in here.”  Luna Lovegood, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. 

For the past 13+ months I feel like I have been doing battle with a wrackspurt . . . and mostly losing. I consistently find myself unable to think – unable to get my thoughts into a sensible order. It has been of a cycle that has caused me to live a bit reclusively; I’ve had limited contact with the outside world. (That sounds so sci-fi it’s ridiculous.)

I haven’t felt at all like myself and I guess one could see why. My temperament leans toward anything BUT reclusion and the zooming in my mind that I am used to are thoughts and ideas and plans for fun. This past year has not had any of that.

Why am I bringing this up?

Today I was driving down the street and I survived a wrackspurt attack and then had a moment of clarity. . . understanding, if you will. A dear friend wrote to me last night and I shared a couple of thoughts with her. She wrote back today and pushed me to think a bit further and even commit to action and my brain shut down; I could not respond to her.  My brain went fuzzy and I didn’t know how to explain to her what I was thinking (’cause I didn’t know) and didn’t have the emotional energy to try to focus enough to work it out. I went back to making Halloween costumes as if the conversation hadn’t happened.

In my car this afternoon, on the way to pick up the kids from school, I found my thoughts returning to my friend and the conversation. My first thought was fear that she would be upset with my silence but that was short-lived. She has known me long enough and loved me through enough that this fear was unfounded. My thoughts moved forward and I heard myself think, ” Why can’t I get my thoughts together? Why don’t I want to put the effort in and do what she asked?” The next thought was like a movie screen – not so much words of explanation but a picture of what was going on in me.

I keep thinking my life now . . . the way things are now. . . are temporary. I think somewhere deep inside I just keep waiting for things to go back to normal. NOTHING is as it was and, in my humble opinion, NOTHING is as it should be. I keep being shocked that I am where I am living as I am living with the people I am with and without the people I am without and I keep waiting for it to be over. It isn’t a conscious and purposeful waiting. I honestly don’t know that I have had the thought before today, but the thought today was more of an “oh, yes” instead of an “Ah Ha!”

It seems silly that I have moved around quite a bit in my life and all of a sudden I am not taking issue with the changes. As I try to process the whys, I realize that there has always been a constant home, an anchor of sorts. That has been tampered with and it feels like the fabric of reality has a rip in it; nothing will ever be solid again. Every moment seems precarious. My heart is cynical. heavy. bitter. alone.

Even this entry feels disjointed – wrestling with wrackspurts as I write. I am hoping my friend will read this and know what I didn’t write back today. And I hope another friend reads this and knows why I haven’t returned her call yet. I fear a wrackspurt attack while we converse (by pen or voice) and the fear can be paralyzing.

I was just reading through a bit more of Harry Potter and it seems Luna’s father created some sort of wrackspurt siphon, “to remove all sources of distraction from the thinker’s immediate area.”  I gotta get me one of those!! Until I find one  – patience please, dear friends. 

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