Take Two of These and Call Me in the Morning

What Herb and I need is God. We need him to weave sense out of the shards of our hateful comments, our tears, our pain. We need him to show us the light of our laughter, our kisses, and our tender kindnesses. We need him to unload the baggage we brought into this union. But Herb clings to his sleek red Jack Spade bag . . . and I refuse to give up my vintage teal and yellow paisley suitcase. We need him to massage us back to health and knead us into one. We need to confess and repent and forgive. We need to laugh and thank and play and pray. We know. But we stand here . . . intimidated? Or perhaps prideful. More likely, we stand here hindered by our own integrity, if that is possible. We want to approach God. We need to. But resist, for fear of treating him like a dose of Maalox . . . carelessly dumping heaping spoonfuls of the holy one into our predetermined drink of choice and expecting smooth and easy results within moments. We don't want to treat him this way . . . so we don't treat him at all.

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Oi . . . Oi . . . Ooooooiiiiillll

Dear Squeaky Wheels,
Here is some oil. Even though the post was entitled "Where I Came From" . . . and even though I don't have photos of either of you carrying me around in your womb for nine months . . . nor did we share a bed until I was in the third grade . . . and I didn't lock you outside in the snow when you were a vulnerable six year old boy with ADD - taunting you until you kicked in the glass of the front door, thereby getting you into trouble . . . and even though we don't share DNA or the same chin and eyes . . . and I don't remeber either of you sitting me down for a three hour sausage biscet breakfast in grad school to ask me about my finances or my relationship with my mom or tell me that the way I was dressing was finally the way women dress when they are opening their hearts up to being seen and noticed by a man and that i should keep up the good work . . . and i don't remember either of you spending countless hours quizzing me on my spelling words even though as a grown adult I still can't spell biscet . . . nor did either of you sit on my bed with me when I was 20 years old and a complete ass, face covered with snot and tears after I told you that I was glad you were studying abroad next semester so I would not have to live with you for three months . . . nor did you reply to my hateful comment with "I love you, you are beautiful." . . . nor did you sit praying for me in the other room as I behaved like a complete ass . . . but that's okay. Here's some oil.

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The Grizzley, Our God, and Oompa Loompas

i am reading a book called Story by steven james.
it is james' interpretation of what scripture might look like. yes, look like. and i don't mean that in the post-modern, psycho-babble sort of way. i mean, he uses words to paint pictures. he explores what god's story might litteraly look like if we could see it.

i am loving the journey he is taking me on. begining in genesis.

he takes: "in the begining God created the heavens and the earth . . . " genesis 1:1

and shows me this:
you clothe yourself with daylight.
you wrap the stars around your waist.
crickets chirp from the folds of your garmets.
grizzlies growl from the deep hidden pockets of your evening robe.

where do you set me upon yourself?
am i an earring, dangling in the moonlight?
am i a necklace, flashing by your breast?
where do you slip me on?
where do i fit into your tale?

and i think this:

i love the image of god's evening robe. i picture it as a thick billowing quilt made of burlap like the rocky mountains and silk like the adriadic sea . . . stiched together with tropical vines. hints of piercing bright blue like the eager eyes of my husband and the deep indigo sky of the evening i married him. specks of the grey from the coat of kelly's beautiful dog, and though i don't understand the purpose of pets, i love that kelly loves her dog. threads of the many shades of green from the lush rolling hills of the midwest. cinched with a rope braided of the cream of my newborn baby cousins and the chocolate of my sweet friend latonya. i love imagining that god keeps a grizzley bear in his pocket. and there the bear stands, dwarfed by god's glory but set freed by god's closeness to know his own wild roots. i like to wonder where and how and why he might choose to slip me onto himself, despite his perfection without me.

i love james' descriptions. but for some odd reason, when he describes eden . . .

"adam was one note, eve another, and god a third. and they were woven together in a melody of relationship none of us has ever come close to recapturing. we hear faint echoes of that original song. but we haven't heard the whole thing. not for a long, long time."

. . . i can't help but imagine the scene from willy wonka and the chocolate factory where the children are receiving their initial tour of the magical land. and while the idea of a dark (not milk) chocolate river is heavenly, i don't imagine the the "original song of eden" was sung by oompa loompas.

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i love my brother . . .

because he is the black sheep of the family . . .
balancing out my role as the pink sheep.

and because he took me to a tatoo parlour four years ago to get his "little sister" her first piercing
and he rubbed my feet the whole time.

because he always asks me to "go out" with him . . . .
it tells me he trusts me enough to share his life with me . . .
and because he remembers who I am when he picks the place we "go out" to.

because he likes to share his music with me . . .
but tries to find songs without too much "french" . . .
even though he probably thinks i care more than i actually do.

because he wants to go back to school
and i know he will
even though he is frusterated right now.

because he says he wants to come visit us this summer
and even though he knows that means sitting outside to smoke all week
and going to bed earlier than usual
i know he really will come

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Where I Came From: A Weekend In the Midwest

They know me. They drive me crazy. They reflect me. And sometimes that hurts. They challenge me. They love me. And that always feel like a nice healing balm on my dry, brittle heart.

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Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye

A Shout Out to my dear husband is a long time overdue.

* he is my favorite kind of contradiction . . . . sweet and strong.

* he makes the people around him feel like the most important person in the world

* and he is hopeful

* his smile is sincere. and so is the depth of his pain.

* he is growing.

* into an amazing man.

* who is real and strong and good.

* he encourages me.

* to do laundry on a regular basis.

* and to become the woman he knows God created me to be.

* and refuses to bite into the apple with me.

* he believes.

* in God.

* and the future.

* and me and him and our life together.

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Mad Hot

This movie leaves me with one question . . .
"Herb, will you dance with me?"

It's stuff like this . . .

and this . . .

and . . .
an eleven year old girl named Emma who says things like "It has been scientifically founded that women are superior creatures to men. That is clear!" and "Studies show that eleven year old girls are the primary target for kidnapping . . . you know - kidnapping. Those sickos that LIKE little girls!?!?!?" . . . .

that give me cause to throw up two big thumbs up (or in the words of my husband, two big"Schwap Daddies" . . . he told me today that he made this phrase up to go with a thumbs up. He is currently beta testing it for coolness) to this sweet little documentary . . .

Other favorite documentaries . . .

Born into Brothels
Super Size Me

What are your suggestions? I would love to incorporate more docs into my life.

Big grin and Schwap Daddy!

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The Man Keepin' Us Down

I called Old Navy today to cancel my credit card. When pressed to share a reason for my (personal) decision, I stated, "I just got married and now I am on my husband's account." After clarifying that my husband does indeed have an Old Navy account (read: we will still get your money, just with a different account number) I was told I had a "respectable reason for closing the account" and that it has been "taken care of".

Gee, thanks for approving of the way we choose to manage our finances.

Can you imagine what he might have said if my reason was, "I am trying to cut back on my consumer habits because I am uncomfortable spending hundrads of dollars on clothes I don't need when children are starving and dying of AIDS in third world countries around the globe"???? I doubt that would qualify as a "respectable reason" for closing my account.

Our world is jacked up.

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The votes are in. Amy and Reese are Looksies but NOT Twinners.
Sorry, A.

How about these sweet twin pictures?

This is me and my celebrity twin, the sassy and no nonsense Maggie Gyllenhaal.

And how about this picture of my husband and my FBIL, Jake. Yes, that would be Fake Brother-In-Law. They think because they were born seven days apart in 1972 that they are twins separated by their parents. But then again, Herb also implied last night at Bible Study that one of them is probably the Messiah since they are both 33 years old.

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Until I Can Figure Out How to Get My Dang PIcture to Show up with my Screen Name . . .

Here is what I love about this picture: It is so real. It shows my huge front teeth, my gummy smile, my squinty left eye, my baby face dimples . . . but I think it is so beautiful all at the same time. It was taken last month in Germany by my sweetie. I would love to tie in that behind me is part of the holocaust memeorial . . . but I am not quite that awake yet.
Yes, I just posted a picture of myself and wrote a whole entry about it. If you are uncomfortable about that, don't be . . . see post below.

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Shrink Me

A joke among therapists (and even more among those who have to work professionally with therapists) is that we have chosen our career because we are in fact the ones in need of therapy. It is true. I have rarely denied this. In fact, I often don't give myself enough credit. But as much as I am aware of my idiocincricies and the ways they interfere with my life, my relationships, and my pleasure I hate to admit them. I hate feeling like the perpetual client. But I know that part of why I am an effective therapist is because I understand where my clients are coming from.

So today, I took a big step. I went to a counseling appointment under the hospices of "interviewing" this man to see if we would "be a good fit". Talk about distancing yourself from somebody, geez! But five minutes into it, I realized I was home. So, despite the years of counseling I have previously participated in, it is time to say it . . .
Being married has brought up the things that I fear most. I am living out of fear. I am allowing my fear to run rampant like five year old boy with ADD through the heart of my marriage. And it is time to get that kid on some spiritual Ritalin.
This is me doing my part to make my marriage not suck.

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This is a picture of my cousin's daughters. The big one is my birthday soul sister and the little one is our family peanut. I love them!

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Grace, she carries a world on her hips

We spent some time this weekend with a friend in need of some grace. And the person she needs it from can't give it to her. This same tune has been playing on the Harjes Haus soundtrack all week. I am also in need of some grace from someone in my life who can't give me the break I don't deserve but desperately require in order for our relationship to continue living.

It is so easy to be angry at these people who see our faults, point them out, and then hang them over our heads chanting, "You are not good enough!" It makes me so angry. We're wrong, okay?!!?!! Me, my friend, the whole flippin' world - we are wrong. Not just in what we did but in who we are. We are so wrong we couldn't possibly be made right on our own. We get it. So, just stop saying that. Just stop!

But when I woke up this morning, I realized that I understand where they are coming from - much more than I would like to admit. I realized that I do the same thing. I realized that it fits right into something that has been nagging me the past week. I expect so much more from Herb than what I am willing or able to give him. I demand grace from him, but I am very very slow to give it to him.

For me, the source is fear. I am so scared to make allowances for the faults of others in my life, for fear that I will be absolutely wiped out by their faults. I fear for myself. My life. My safety. I fear that if I overlook a misstep, an oversight, an unkind word, a miscommunication, a hypocritical action, that I am opening myself up to pain.

And maybe I am. Maybe grace requires pain? Maybe it can't exist without pain? Maybe pain is the source of grace? Maybe I have to count on being hurt if I give grace?

She takes the blame
She covers the shame
Removes the stain
It could be her name

It's a name for a girl
It's also a thought that changed the world
And when she walks on the street
You can hear the strings
Grace finds goodness in everything

Grace, she's got the walk
Not on a ramp or on chalk
She's got the time to talk
She travels outside of karma
She travels outside of karma
When she goes to work
You can hear her strings
Grace finds beauty in everything

Grace, she carries a world on her hips
No champagne flute for her lips
No twirls or skips between her fingertips
She carries a pearl in perfect condition

What once was hurt
What once was friction
What left a mark
No longer stings
Because grace makes beauty
Out of ugly things

Grace makes beauty out of ugly things

(lyrics by U2)

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My Sister Fraggle Rocks!!!

My sister has had a lot of transition this year. If you know my sister, you know that transition does not settle well with her. She would rather undergo Chinese water torture. But I must say, despite all of the changes in her life, she is doing well. Here is what I love about my sister. And I quote from a voice mail I received last week:
"It has been a tough day. So, I am going home to watch back to back episodes of Fraggle Rock! Can you believe it - I bought the DVD at Target for $7!!!!"
The girl may be down but she is certainly not out! I appreciate her.

By the way, do you think Amy looks like Reese Witherspoon? As my sister says, "It doesn't matter if SHE looks like me - anyone can look like a normal person. I have to look like her for it to matter."
Amy and Reese - Twinners?
I can hardly tell the difference.
Amy is much prettier and I don't see any resemblence.
Just a little bit - it is all in the chin. Amy is still prettier.
Free polls from Pollhost.com

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Putting all comments from the small hospitalized child about my "baaaaby" aside, I have gained weight.

My clothes don't fit anymore. Last night we went to Old Navy to see if we could find some temporary fat clothes for each of us so we can be comfortable until we loose some weight. After trying on about 23 pieces of clothing, I had two that fit. One was ruled out because it just wasn't that cute. The other was ruled out because even though it was comfortable, cute and flowy, I look pregnant in it. Or, in Herb's words, "You don't really look pregnant, but you look like those ladies that know they are pregnant and start wearing maternity clothes too soon." Better, but still not worth buying. But it gave me an idea . . .

"Okay babe, here is how we are going to solve my weight & clothing issue: You are going to get me pregnant so I don't have to worry about getting back to my regular size just yet and I can wear cute maternity clothes instead. I mean (head cocked to one side, cute look on face, while rubbing exaggerated stuck out belly), look how cute I would be if you just knocked me up!"

Needless to say, he did not buy a fashion crisis as a substantial reason to start our family just yet. So, we will continue working on our marriage, I will hit the gym, and hopefully in the mean time, Old Navy will keep improving their maternity line.