Monday, May 30, 2011

I was raised in a family of fainters. You would hear the thud and run to find who had keeled over at the sight of their own blood. My dad and my sister would both try to warn doctors that they were likely to hit the floor, and then they would follow through. So I come by it honest.

Then I had R2 and people were always sticking needles in him and cutting his brains open and stuff and I just had to deal. I mean, I'd think, "Hey, I'm getting a little woozy," and then I'd just have to shake it off or maybe put my head between my knees and then get back up and take it like a man. So we went through a couple of years of blood and guts and surgeries and such, and then things leveled out and I started freaking out over scraped knees again.

And the MOG, he's on the road a lot, so I just try really hard to hold it together and put on the Band-Aids and then go lie down for a while, you know, play it cool. Still, somehow I transmitted the Wuss gene to Toby. We have the strain of Wuss Disease that is mostly impacted by blood and stories involving blood. Tell me a blood story while I'm driving, if you're suicidal.

So last weekend Toby and Bean and I went to a few garage sales, and at the very end, Toby and Brynn simultaneously tripped and fell in the driveway. I mean, simultaneously. It was like some kinda Rube Goldberg kinda deal. Brynn tore her tights but just jumped up and kept running. Toby took things harder. He started screaming and all the sweet old garage sale ladies came running. I tried to calm them and him, since we were like 1 minute from home.

My goal: to hide the fact that he was bleeding until we got home. I failed. He looked down as he was climbing in the car and saw 3 individual scrapes, all bleeding. He nearly collapsed on the curb. I had to lift him into the van and hand him a diaper to cover his injuries, because he couldn't see them. At all. Or the screaming, the screaming.

Once we got home, he hopped into the house, diaper in place over his knee, and the MOG fixed him up with 4 Band-Aids and an apple, because he "needed a nutritious snack". He hopped for the rest of the day and has refused to take a bath since, because of the injury. Sigh.

I can't blame him. It was awful.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Months ago, I talked about buying the cow, which could reference a number of things, but in this case is referring to purchasing the house we're living in.

See, the MOG and I are semi-nomads, although in recent years I have become significantly less nomadic. This is due primarily to the tendency of my mini-nomads to go up on the stage and moon the audience or scream and bludgeon their sister with a Bible during a particularly quiet moment of corporate prayer.

I've always been an apartment kinda gal. New carpet every year, gated front entrance, and most importantly, maintenance. I once called a maintenance man for a malfunctioning dryer, only to find I hadn't pushed the dryer door all the way closed. And there he was, resplendent in his paint-stained khaki uniform, closing my dryer door for me. For free.

It gets trickier, though, living in apartments with little people. If you're upstairs, they can't jump or flap their arms wildly on the floor all day long while watching Toy Story (see: R2). And there's no yard, and parking lot all over the place, and it's just not ideal.

So anyways. We've been living in this house for almost 2 years, and when our landlord offered us a) first dibs on purchasing or b) the curb, (kidding, Mark, y'all are awesome), we decided to try to buy it, rather than clean it and move again. Plus, this house is awesome. I mean, it's old, and it needs this and that, but it's really ideal for us.

Here's the thing, though. When you're 32 and 33 years old and you've never bought a house, this is scary stuff. I mean, lots of money, and responsibility and paperwork and maintenance and holy moly... I'm breaking out in hives as I'm typing all this.


So we're settling in a little bit, for the first time ever. I'm painting over all the wood paneling, which BTW is super time-intensive and tedious, and we're making plans for how to get new tile and change lighting and stuff like that, once our Miracle Covenant Love Gift Miracle comes and pays for it all. I imagine as soon as we close on it and get good and committed, something will happen and Richy will end up in California for 6 months or something. Ah, well. I'll finally get to paint that wall with chalkboard paint.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The MOG was in Texas for 48 hours or so this week, during some scary weather here on the homefront. I called during a meeting yesterday to ask him when, exactly, is the appropriate time to pray the rosary in a tornado. That's just a joke, we're totally not Catholic. But you know, I needed to know the specifics, like a) what to take in the basement b) when to go to the basement c) how to get 4 sleeping kids into the basement very, very quickly and d) when to hide under a mattress. I'm new to tornados.

One reason I cannot determine this information for myself is, I don't understand radars. The fact that there is some red stuff over to the left of us does not answer the question of should I climb into the refrigerator. 

You might not know this about Richy, but he loves him some weather. He spent 10 minutes looking at radars and called me back. "Oh yeah." he says, "It's coming."

He thinks for a minute. "Might not be any big deal. Just go to bed and check the radar when Tristan wakes up at night."

I am not convinced, asking when, exactly, do we hide under a mattress.

"Well." he says, thoughtfully, "You'll hear the roof ripping off... just keep an eye on that radar. You'll probably have plenty of warning."

"If it hits our house, I'll find a way to get back to you," he says, like Daniel Day Lewis or Keanu Reeves or something.

It ended up being only thunderstorms, but I stayed up till nearly 1, watching the radar with a Ms. Teen America Puzzled Face.

He arrived home this morning, an hour before all of Kansas City started getting their ammo and heading for their basements, as there were, according to the Twittersphere, tornados all around us. Again, I am concerned. If most of our neighbors were holding prayer vigils underground, would it maybe be smart to join them? Richy is unconvinced. "It's not like, an F5," he says.

I pulled a reversal of my usual "submissive" shtick and headed downstairs. Toby and Brynn were in the process of watching Toy Story instead of doing their schoolwork. "Hey guys!" I said cheerfully. "Let's go hang out in the basement!" They were okay with that, as long as the movie came, too.

"It's probably no big deal," says Richy. "But put on shoes. Oh yeah, you're gonna need shoes, because if it hits us, there'll be broken glass everywhere. " He wanders off to find matches or to update his Twitter or something, casually.


We hid out for a couple of hours, most of which time he was outside watching for funnel clouds. He was right, it didn't touch us. But still. Somebody has to obey the weatherman.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

First, lemme throw a disclaimer at you: these are my opinions, and I don't speak for Radiant Worship, although Mr. Radiant Worship probably agrees with me. But don't take my word for it.

A lot of you know we did youth ministry/pastoring for 7 years, or so. Then we took to the road with an itinerant worship/preaching ministry and have been doing that for almost 9 years. So I'd like to think we know both sides of the coin, so to speak, for being in-house and also being the guest.

I started on this rant this morning, after reading some stuff that reminded me of what I am now calling Minister Entitlement Syndrome, or Man of God Syndrome.

If you are a member of a traveling ministry team, I'm talking to you today. It is essential, it is crucial that you have some understanding of what Jesus was and is like before you take the pulpit in any capacity. Jesus flipped some tables, yes. But don't think He did it without His heart breaking.

Jesus loves people. When you walk into a church with an agenda that includes reaping honor, you're off base. Jesus doesn't care about your ministry. He cares about people. He loves YOU, but it's not important to Him that everyone remembers your name and gives you a hefty offering.

Should we honor each other? Absolutely. Is it your job to demand honor? Uh, no. With Radiant, we've stayed in 5 star hotels and we've slept on gym floors. We've been given $50 offerings for trips that cost us $500. Does it sting? Well, yeah. Jesus' congregation murdered him. Ouch. And what was His response? He forgave them, rose from the dead and got right back to loving them.

It's not about your name, or your bio, your credentials or "your" anointing. It's about Him. 


Please, for the literal love of God, get over yourself and love the people He died for.

Monday, May 23, 2011

First, if you haven't bought our new single on iTunes, you should go do that now. It's the best 99¢ you'll ever spend today.  *Click here to listen and BUY it.* Then come back. 


Today I spent the day with little boys. 5 year olds, to be exact. 3 of 'em. Boys are not that complicated. If that is hugely offensive to you, you are probably not male. These little guys do exactly what most big guys do. They meet, greet and then get to work on whatever activity has brought them together. 



I just spent 30 minutes trying to write a blog about how boys are different than girls, but my brain is too tired and I am full of bologna, in a figurative sense. In a literal sense, I haven't eaten bologna since, like, 3rd grade or something. So I'm phoning it in, posting a video at 11:00 at night, just so I don't skip Monday entirely here on the ol' blogster. 




video

Friday, May 20, 2011

This morning I dressed in a denim jumper with a pink t-shirt underneath for modesty, tied my cheery plaid Keds, pulled my permed hair up into a colorful scrunchie, and gathered up all the kids and hit the road in our minivan. Well, I did take the kids in a minivan, that part is true.

Exactly 3 minutes after when we were supposed to leave, it started pouring rain. I mean, pouring. Like I was just waiting for Miley Cyrus to run past, her tears blending with the rain as she processed forgiving herself, or something. Now, I am not afraid of rain, because it is water. If it was acid, or butter, then I'd be hesitant to go out, but it is water. Toby and I made the mad dash to the van and Brynn stood under the awning screaming like Miley when the eagles ate the baby sea turtles. Eventually, we were all in the van and en route.

We arrived at the Mecca of Minivans and I, as usual, stressed about parking. I hate parking. Plus, with the tears of Miley falling from the sky I knew we needed a streamlined plan. Parked, rethought it, drove to the top level, realized there was no stroller ramp, reparked.

This blog entry is going to be too long, because I guess I'm feeling chatty. In Texas, I went to a couple of homeschool conventions that were like, in the Marriot and BIGGER (as in Texas) and pretty organized and such. This was a little different. It was one room with about 5 aisles of books and whatnot, and just enough walking room for 2 people side by side down each aisle. So the stroller was problematic. We made it to the back, where we found an abandoned stroller lot, and I carried Tris back out to the floor, where we found out it was CASH ONLY. LIKE THE OLD WEST. I mean, seriously. I can forgive the haircuts, but you should at least take checks, like it's 1996. I'm not even asking you to get that iPhone app so you can take debit cards. Just checks.

Back to the stroller, the rain, the van. I locked my kids in the car and went in the gas station to use the ATM without them, for the first time ever. Don't judge. You probably didn't rewind your movies, back when that was a thing.

Back in the rain, this time with my Baby Bjorn, may it live forever. Since there were only 45 minutes left in the sale, a lot of stuff was half off, so I got some great deals. I mostly bought toys, like building toys and smart-making stuff, and some books and OH! A complete, unopened pre-k Hooked on Phonics kit. (for Brynn, because Toby is more into Hooked on Astrophysics)


I got home and like the bargain geek I am, Googled to see how much I saved. I spent $19.50 for over $200 worth of stuff. I'm on a geek high for realz, y'all.

With my savings, I'm going to buy a plaid dress with a square lace collar and a wide plaid belt, and navy pantyhose and navy blue 1/4 inch heels. You know, for the banquet.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I suffer from a condition called Obnoxiousness. No doubt someone you know and love has it. One of the side effects of being obnoxious is Post-Party Regret.

As a child, I was some kind of hyperactive. I was never diagnosed with anything, in fact, I am realizing as I type this, I was never diagnosed with anything. Did you guys even ever take me to the doctor, Mama? Like for a cold or an ear infection or anything? Anyway. I bounced off the walls, called the radio station and did funny voices, tap danced in the hallway, and was banned from birthday parties with introvert moms. At school I racked up "tallies" (which were a sort of demerit system) for talking, because I couldn't seem to shut up. Ever.

My parents would put me on a no-sugar diet every couple of months, and then realize it didn't make any difference and abandon the idea. Those weeks without sugar were awful. Here I was, obnoxious, and now I was dealing with chocolate withdrawals.

So now, as an adult, I have basically learned how to shut it down and be a normal, kind of normal person. My condition flares up under the following events: I meet a new group of people, or I have a party. All the sudden, I can't quit telling jokes, and I'm laughing too loud and talking over everyone, and the new people are laughing with this wide-eyed nervous expression and I'm thinking sloooow dooooowwn you're going over the top but I can't stop because at least they're laughing and I'm a sucker for a good crowd.

I wake up the next morning with Post-Party Regret and the taste of old queso in my mouth. What did I say? I think. Did I really say everyone from Ohio is like that? Did I go too far? Why did I say that one joke that wasn't even funny? Did I leave an open can of Coke on the table for Toby to find? (Toby also suffers from Obnoxiousness) I'd imagine it's similar to waking up with a hangover, although I've never had a hangover. In fact, I don't drink at all, ever, (crazy family history) although I have been questioned about being drunk on more than one occasion, while being obnoxious.

I have a few friends who also have Obnoxiousness, and it's always nice to be at a party with them, because we just self-destruct on each other and spill salsa on the couch and laugh at ourselves, and all the normal people just, you know, act normal. Ah, enablers.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

So, I've got this blog, right? You probably knew that, since you're here and everything. A lot of times, I meet people and they're like, "So, what do you do?" and I'm like, "I sit on the couch." and then they're like, "Cool. What's your blog address?" and I'm all awkward inside because my blog address is not rememberable. I mean, it's better than my late dad's website (may he rest in peace) which was something like
http://www.mcia.com/sites/calvstan~234/dramateam.html
or something. But still.

And the MOG is always calculating ways to make a buck off my tales of grocery shopping and potty-training and whatnot, so he's been throwing catchy little blog titles at me and I've been shooting them down because I wanted a website with my name. Because I am a narcissist? I don't know. You tell me, about me.

So anyways, we bought this one. And maybe some day I'll get all designery with a logo and stuff, and maybe figure out some way to make money off all y'all. For now, though, it's just easier to point you to jessclark.tv. Because I am a reality show.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

republishing myself, which is lame, but Blogger crashed and I really liked this one. If you've already read it, I apologize to all 34 of you. 


Parenting is largely guesswork. Luckily, most of our children come to us young, so they don't realize they're experiments until much later.

There's so much to being a parent. Really, there are limitless ways you could screw up your kids. Every now and then I get a little freaked about that and I have to take a step back and think about what really matters to me.

When my children are grown, it won't matter as much if their plates had BPA; it will matter that we sat together at the table.

When they're grown, it won't matter as much that the house was never fully clean; it will matter that we had fun making messes.

When they're grown, it won't matter if they had expensive toys. It will matter that we made a card out of construction paper and mailed it to their grandma.

When they're grown, it won't matter that they had too much processed food; it will matter that they stood on a chair in the kitchen and stirred the batter by my side.

When they're grown, it won't matter that we didn't have nice furniture; it will matter that I was there, watching, while a superhero practiced flying from the futon to the couch.

When they're grown, it won't matter that money was always a little tight and bedrooms were shared; it will matter that they know children are a blessing, and there's always room for one more.

When they're grown, I want them to love God. I want them to love other people and be honest and kind and giving. I want them to know how to weep with those who weep, and rejoice with those who rejoice. I want them to know they're so loved. That's what matters most.

Monday, May 16, 2011

I made a dangerous choice yesterday, that might mean a lot more quality time with my children. Typically, I try to avoid quality time with them, since they're often sticky and take great pleasure at planting their elbows into my spleen at any given opportunity. Also, I love my eardrums. (disclaimer: this is a joke. I like my kids, even if they are a little smelly)

I got 4 hours of sleep in a row for a day or two now, and it makes me do things like paint the medicine cabinet and make schedules with color-coded activities.

Is it likely that in the near future I will throw all this to the wind and leave little bits of masking tape on the wall while handing my children my phone to engage their minds in mindlessness? Well. Aren't you optimistic?

So today was the first day of the new schedule, and Toby is following it with extreme precision, as I expected. One of the major changes was taking their computer time down to 2 hours a day. (If that still seems like a shocking amount, don't judge. You probably put the empty ice-cream container back in the freezer with only one little scoop left.) So that's one hour in the morning before we do their school and then an hour before dinner.

I predicted stormy weather, with scattered civil wars and lots of screaming, but, like many meteorologists, I was wrong. They actually played all day, with minimal mommy climbing. I mean, I did get an elbow to the face, knee to the gut once or twice, but ultimately the day moved at a brisk and relatively peaceful pace. They did cover many, many surfaces in stickers, and roll Tristan up in a blanket, and fall off the bed they were jumping on multiple times, and there was a pretty solid punch or two, but you know, nothing terrible. So. One day down, 14-20 years to go. We'll see.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Monday, May 9, 2011

You're probably thinking, that JessClark, she's a generous one. Well. That's creepy, but it is a nice segue into my topic, which is, I DON'T WANT TO SHARE.

I remember my dad saying "Don't touch my plate unless you want a fork in your hand." I get that. Look, I'm no Michelle Obama. You go on ahead and eat whatever you want. You want to drink melted lard with a Silly Straw, fine by me. Just don't ask me for a sip of my lard.

This is one of my many mild and non-alarming neuroses. I like food. I LOVE food. I celebrate food. Also, I ration food for maximum enjoyment. Say, for example, I have a 12 pack of Coca-Cola, the nectar of the gods. I will allow myself 1 Coke a day, to have as many Coke days as possible. If I have some other good and holy thing like beef jerky I take small portions and eat it very slowly, drawing the flavor of Texas into my very soul. Often, someone will come along and grab slice of jerky and eat it all willy-nilly. No respect. Or leave a half-drunk Coke around, ruined. This pains me.

Or, at a restaurant, just as my entree arrives, and the long wait is over, and I am back with my precious tamale or General Tso's, somebody decides maybe they are hungry, after all, and snags a choice piece. I am moved. I am disturbed. I cry out.

See, some people are sharers. And while I would never hesitate to share my futon with you (well, maybe not anybody), I would just prefer to share food with you that has been previously designated as a shared food, and is, you know, on a separate plate and such. If you are a sharer, this is bad form to you. You feel I am lacking some essential character quality, and it bothers you. You would never hesitate to give someone a swig of your Coke ration, or a monstrous bite of your cheeseburger. I don't get you.



And that is why I hid a box of Oreos from my husband for 5 days before he cleaned my kitchen and found them. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Do you know what's boring? Listening to people talk about how tired they are. Bor-ing! What more is there to say? I'm soooo tired, I could sleep right now.

Still, I think you should know. I'm tired. I have been trying really hard to write part 2 of my ministry wife series, but I keep sounding angry, and I'm not. I just get a little edgy you know, when I'm... anyway.

You forget this part, the not sleeping. I mean, technically, I sleep 2 hours at a time, and then wake up for a half hour or so, and then lay awake next to a full, sleeping baby, thinking about Osama Bin Laden and head wounds in general. If you're a grammar cop, yes, that sounds like the baby is thinking about these gory topics in the wee of the night. Inaccurate. Back off my grammar, my brain is also tired.

So there I lay or lie, very still so my elbow doesn't bump the baby, who I am too tired to put back in his crib, which is 5 feet away. And I think, and I feel my pillow on my face. And then I must sleep, because he is awake again but it's 2 hours later. And so on.

Around 5 am, he is jovial. The sun is barely coming through the skylight, and he is thrilled to find that I am here, and he is here, and here we are together, for the morning celebration. And I'm looking at him through literally foggy eyes, and he is the cutest thing ever. I try to convince his cuteness to sleep for the next 2 hours, and eventually win just as the rest of the house is stirring.

I've been doing this parenting gig for a while, and this is where I always get hung up. I don't like to let them cry. I like to spoil babies. I like to snuggle them to sleep, and feel their breathing change to match mine, and I think it's good for their soul. I could hardline it here, and win. But I won't. Not yet, anyway. I'm just gonna hang out here in denial and think maybe he'll hit some developmental whaddyacallit that makes him sleep, all on his own.


Next week! Brilliance! Wit! Delusions of grandeur!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I hate Mother's Day. I dread it every year, and I'm relieved once it's over.

It's goofy, because I am a mother. Like, a lot. That's pretty much all I do. And also, I'm all about holidays. If I could figure out a way to get a present out of Boxing Day, I'd totally do it.

But Mother's Day is different. I am a mother of 6 children, but only 4 are with me. My twins are in heaven, have been for almost 7 years. You'd think my living kids would be enough to make it a joyful day, but the ache never goes away. Part of my heart is in another reality.

I also can't escape the pain of so many friends, who are empty-armed, either from loss or infertility. I can't explain why it hurts, to be acknowledged in a Mother's Day church service. When the pastor asks the mothers to stand, or the ushers pass out flowers, I am painfully aware of those seated, and I remember the year my babies died, wanting to be anywhere but there, standing despite my emptiness.

My strategy now, and for years, has been to skip church on Mother's Day, and celebrate what I have. It's not as hard, now, to laugh through the ache. The ache is a part of me, it will always be a part of me. Someday I will be in one place with all of my children, and I expect flowers and a coffee mug, darn it. Or you know, some kind of heavenly thing, like a harp or something.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Monday, May 2, 2011

Well, I'm not going to blog about Osama/Usama Bin Laden being dead. Not directly, anyway. Evidently, everybody has strong and different opinions about it, and I don't care for arguing, unless I am very, very likely to win. Then, okay.

But what was fascinating to me last night as the events unfolded was the internetty aspect of it. (I'm a writer, I write.) I mean, here I am, cheerily surfing the web and watching Netflix or something, and all of the sudden Twitter just explodes with rumors, and I'm all like, "No way!" because this has been a long time coming.

So the MOG and I, being techno-geeks as well as game-day politics fans, tuned into various internet media streams to hear the President speak. It took him about 90 minutes to walk down the red hallway, so we used that time for speculation and the occasional Osama joke. It didn't take long to see that our social networks were strongly divided.

And that is what was super interesting. News was breaking here and there, and so we were all processing the same information through our various screens and then broadcasting our thoughts on the internet, and then maybe debating.

By the time it got to the actual news, you know, with the Prez, it had already sunk in and he didn't really tell us anything new.

It was so reminiscent of 9/11, and so vastly different. That day, we were at the mercy of the major TV networks. We watched and we waited, a whole country holding its breath. Last night, we had the world news at our fingertips, coming from prophets and atheists, anarchists and world leaders, civilians on the ground unknowingly live-blogging, and us, putting the pieces together and deciding what to believe.

I have political opinions, but opinions are never in short supply and I don't really care to convince you, you have my permission to feel however you feel. And tweet about it, so I can roll my eyes at you.
 
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