Friday, February 26, 2010

I Lied; I'm not really allergic to mushrooms

Mushrooms won't send me into anaphylactic shock or even give me the trots.  But when I'm ordering at a restaurant, planning dinner with friends, or discussing pizza toppings, you'd think they did.  When I'm making my special order of "no mushrooms," I think I know what everyone around me is thinking.  "She's not allergic, she just doesn't like mushrooms."  The reason I believe that is because when I hear someone say they're allergic to something controversial, like mushrooms, seafood, or guacamole, that's what I think about them.

In my "family of origin," the latest PC way of talking about the people who raised you, we tried every food under the moon and stars.  And we all had one thing or another that we didn't like.  Dad would pitch a fit whenever anyone had the audacity to put a few nuts in his brownie, and I famously uttered the whine of, "I don't like it..." to my grandparents over a spaghetti dinner, but neither resulted in any real changes to our family menu.  In the end, I was grateful to have been exposed to such a variety of foods, and developed a sense of adventure towards dining.  I ended up with an "eat it or don't" attitude about food preferences.  Fortunately, my kids are fairly good eaters, so my uncompromising attitude hasn't led to power struggles or starvation yet.

But my attitude has led me to feel very embarrassed about my repeated lies about mushrooms.  The truth is that I'm not allergic.  I actually love mushrooms.  But a nice pepperoni and mushroom pizza, as great as it tastes, haunts me with a green cloud of shame the next day that could singe your nose hairs (and causes my husband to plead with me to please tell people I'm allergic).

If I could just be a little more understanding of other people's food preferences (and some people's very real allergies), I could "put my behind in the past;" I wouldn't be embarrassed by my little lie.  But I am, so I must.  So next time you hear me order something "sans funghi," give me a little wink and let me off the hook, if you would.  Meanwhile, I'll try and be more gracious to you when you'd rather not eat pickled jellyfish.

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Luke 6: 38

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Pompous Consideration My Husband Might Kill Me for Confessing

When I can, I try to think like an 80 year old lady.  I figure since that's where I'm hoping to end up, and I hope to be happy when I get there, I should mostly do things that the old lady within me will approve of.  Sure, an 80 year old lady might not want to hike to a leper colony or fly to Bangkok, but I aspire to do those things, because I'm sure my 80 year old lady will love telling the stories over a nice game of Uno.

So, ever since our second daughter was born, I've had an ongoing internal debate over what my 80 year old thinks about large families.  Does my 80 year old want more cash and freedom to hit the flea markets in Bangkok, or more kids and grandkids to potentially visit her in the nursing home?  Both seem like gambles.  Nothing guarantees that my large family would be able to take the stress, stay nearby, love each other, and reproduce.  Nothing guarantees I will or won't see Bangkok in the next 50 years, either - or that I'll end up with a good story if I do go.  And, of course, there's the concerns of my husbands' 80 year old man to consider.

I've realized, as I've turned this dilemma over in my mind for a while, how incredibly arrogant reproduction is.  It was really a cocky thing to do, bringing that first child into the world.  By our actions, we made a statement.  "We believe that our DNA is so valuable, that the world needs it's propagation.  We believe that we are so mentally and emotionally stable, such great providers, such a bastion of love and social value, that the world is better off if they have our progeny in it."

Perhaps we should have thought this through before we had a kid, but we went ahead and had her, which made having a second child a no-brainer.  As soon as you think you can tolerate the sleep deprivation (and if you've been able to pay off the medical bills from the first one), you go for it.  The world does not need more "only children," after all.  We've all seen what happens when parents fail to create a sibling for a child.  So it was easy having a second.  And we've been blessed for the choice.  Our girls are bright, beautiful, and endearingly sweet.  I love every moment with them, and look forward to seeing them grow and become the women God plans them to be.

So what, really, what in the world, motivates me to consider a third child?  Especially when we've been so blessed in every way already?  How pompous am I?  To have a third child would say by our actions that the world doesn't just need a replacement for each of us - the world actually needs us to over-produce?  We're such fantastic parents that we think we can overcome being outnumbered?  We have the requisite time, provision, and emotional resources to take that crazy, cocky plunge again?  Get real.  No one's that good.  But I have to confess; it crosses my mind.

So, I hope you aren't disappointed to get to the final paragraph and find out that no, I'm not pregnant; you're probably relieved.  But yes, sometimes I'm pompous and arrogant, and really wish I knew what my 80 year old lady would prefer, because as the days go by, I know that we're going to have to make a choice whether our family is just right, or has room to grow.  And we can't change our minds once I'm 80!

They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the LORD, they and their descendants with them. (Isaiah 65:23 NIV)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

It Could Cost Me My Ordination

I realize that there is a lot at stake in sharing some things publicly and I have to approach today's confession with caution.  There are people's emotions involved and I really don't want to hurt anyone; unfortunately, sometimes we have deviant values and find ourselves led down a treacherous path.  I'm not even sure I can be redeemed, because I'm admittedly unrepentant.  So here goes.  My confession is this:  I am a Baptist Minister and I hate potlucks.  I despise the very idea that I should subject myself and my family to a meal that professes its success to be a matter of chance!

I think "back in the day" there must have been a sense of adventure in attending a potluck.  Will the dishes compliment each other?  Will there be enough fried chicken?  Does everyone have a requisite can of Cream of Mushroom in the pantry?  No one knew that mayonnaise becomes poisen after it sits on the counter for the three hours from Sunday School until after the service.  And there was no $6 buffet you could hit after Easter Service, where each kid can find their own favorite and eat without complaining or insulting your cooking.  Most of the people who still love potlucks remember the old days with fondness.

But those days have past and now the adventure is of a different nature.  There are three words that strike fear in my bowels, "Made From Scratch."  Which translates, "No professional has had any inpact on the outcome of what you are about to ingest."  My potluck horror stories started when I boldly invited my new boyfriend to come to a church potluck on a date (Ha!  Another confession!  Forgive me, I was a poor college student).  I don't know if they announced a theme ahead of time or not, but every single dish on the buffet had incorporated corn.  I shrugged sheepishly to my boyfriend, and scooped up meatloaf with corn, chicken with corn, corn pudding, and brownies with corn sauce.  We choked down a spoonful of each item and he began his love-hate relationship with the Baptist church that continues to this day.

In the years since, perhaps in relation to the age progession of the casserole-loving portion of our congregation, we have found a pattern to our digestive issues.  Namely, we usually have digestive issues within hours of attending a potluck.  Just to spread the love around, however, my husband's family has an Italian-American Reunion potluck each summer that achieves roughly the same results.  But if you didn't know two spoonfulls of polenta couldn't sooth the effects of hot Italian sausage followed down by fruit soaked in homemade everclear,'re probably already on Prevacid.

There is no question that generational differences are a source of constant challenge and amusement.  We have to share the road and the grocery store aisles.  We struggle to provide for and honor those who broke the path for us, while still making way for the new ideas and passions of the generations that are coming up.  We have such different ideas about what is "good" or "right," yet we need one another and, more importantly, we love one another.  So I still go to potlucks sometimes, but I don't eat much while I'm there.

'Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the LORD. Leviticus 19:32

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I Didn't Read Your Blog and Now I Am a Cyber Stalker

So, I had this vague idea that some of my friends had blogs, but I never really pursued it.  I maybe read a little here or there, but blogging was not really on my radar.  Then I got the inspiration that I needed a blog, and I'm at a complete loss about the ins & outs of the whole thing, so I thought I should look around.  As soon as I started looking for it, I realized it's all over the place.  For instance, even though I had never realized he was blogging, a friend had even announced my daughters' births to his blog-readers (trust me, he has other, far more interesting things to write about).  How do I know this?  Because now that I realized my friends are out there - I'm becoming a blog-junkie!  Filling in the gaps of all the stuff I missed this whole time.  But I felt the need to confess...I didn't follow my friends before and now I'm digging through archives.  It seems very selfish.

For me, "why" matters; having honest intentions is an integrity thing and essential to my relationships.  The broken trust of hidden motivations can be painful to rebuild.  For instance, back when my husband and I got engaged, it was, of course, monumental news to me.  At the time, someone who really mattered to me didn't even ask to see my ring.  A few months later, this person came to visit unexpectedly, and took intense interest in every aspect of our wedding plans, especially asking to see my engagement ring.  They studied it intently and asked all sort of questions about the finer details.  It was such a reversal; I was flattered and thrilled.  I thought they were ready to share my excitement about this huge new step we were taking.  But before the end of an hour, I found out they had just gotten engaged and the interest was out of comparison and brainstorming.  The visit wasn't to see me, or share in my excitement; it was to announce their news.  It really hurt and it took a while for that sting to cool.

This blog is not about "outing" others, it's about my own confessions, and the relationship that was hurt that day has since been healed.  I only share the story to explain why I might sometimes be over-sensitive to explain my motivation.  I'm not naive enough to think that anyone has been pining for my readership or would be crushed by my neglect, or my potential alterior motive for visiting their blog.  It probably doesn't matter to them whether I follow their blog or not.  But when I pop up as a follower all the sudden (if I can ever figure out how to follow someone), they'll be right to question my sincerity.  I hope they'll understand that if all I wanted was to see their layout, I could do that anonymously.

I'm cyber stalking my friends, because I'm sorry I missed out on so much that I didn't realize was there!  And, let's face it, I'm also cyber-stalking my friends because I just started a blog and I wanted to know what theirs is like.  I respect their writing, their style, their cyber-sense - and I want to learn from the best.

Be sincere in your love for others...Love each other as brothers and sisters and honor others more than you do yourself. (Romans 12:9-10 CEV)

p.s. Post your blog, in case I haven't found you yet.  Is blogger the only place you can actually "follow" someone?