Monday, April 06, 2015

I lied

I just had one of those moments as a mom.

I am sure there will be many more to come. And I have, in fact, already had many of them with my second-born. But with my first child, we have not had many moments like this yet. Until tonight.

Let's back up and give a bit of the background. On Friday, Jeremiah had a friend over for a playdate, a boy from his class. This boy told me, toward the end of the playdate, that Jeremiah has a solo in the community gathering coming up on Monday. "...Um, the what? He has a solo? What is this, is it a concert? Can I come?" The friend looked at me pretty matter-of-factly and said, "well, yeah, I think you could come, it's just a community gathering." To which I replied, "Why has no one told his family!?"

He just looked at me. "But I just did."


You did, son. You're absolutely right. But, in an adult world, I feel like the music teacher or his classroom teacher or someone at the school, or, I don't know, maybe my own SON would have informed me of such a momentous occasion as a music teacher's child having his very first solo!

But, no one did. And I meant to email them and find out more information. But I did not.

And then briefly remembered last night that I needed to remember to attend this community gathering in the morning.

But guess what I forgot to do?

Not only that, but I didn't even remember that I forgot to attend until my brown-eyed bean pole of a 7 year old boy looked up at me when I finished checking his teeth tonight before bed and asked "did you think I did a good job with my song today?"


I contemplated for, maybe a full five seconds what the consequences of lying vs. not lying would be...and then I lied into those trusting eyes and told him, yes, you did a fantastic job...I was so proud of you.

And he beamed and said (a bit uncertainly) ,"I didn't even see you there."

And I lied some more, saying I had to scoot out quickly afterward.

He kept prying, in his innocent way, wanting more information. Why did I have to leave early? Where was I sitting?

And it snowballed, as lies often do. And I felt sick. Not only had I missed something that I could never get back, but I had disappointed my son in, now, more ways than one.

I ushered him upstairs and we prayed and sang a song, and he told me he loved me more than all the blades of grass in the world...and I couldn't keep it up. I told him I had to confess something to him.

I told him I had lied to him, and I wasn't there this morning and had forgotten and I felt terrible and then I lied to him to make him feel better that I wasn't there, but that was wrong and I am so very sorry and can you ever forgive me?

He turned his head from me and sobbed into his pillow. It was a feeling I have never felt with my oldest until now. 

I had let him down.

But, after a minute, he turned his red face to me and said, "I forgive you for everything."

My beautiful boy with a big heart.

I hugged him and we talked for a while about how I didn't want there to be dishonesty between us, and how mom forgets a LOT of things right now, how even adults aren't perfect, and how he can help remind me ("I can tell Dad, and he can help remind you, Mom!"), how we can maybe reenact the solo so mom and dad can hear it, and how this does not in any way mean I don't love him. He seemed to accept this fact, and I hope somehow that God can use this for good.

I feel like a heel.

This just makes me sad on multiple levels. I CAN'T BELIEVE I MISSED MY SON'S FIRST SOLO. I can't believe I didn't even remember something that was so important to him.

But, unfortunately, I can believe that I lied to him about it.

What is actually a new thing for confessing the lie to him. Not that I've lied to him about things very much at all, because I haven't. But, if I have a pet sin, lying is it. Especially what we in polite society like to call "white lies." It is so easy to use them to get out of accountability:

"Oh, I'm just swamped right now, can I call you back later?"

"Sorry, I ran into some traffic. It's pretty bad on route one right now!"

"Oh, yeah, I sent it in this morning!" (quickly runs back and puts letter in the mail that afternoon)

I tell myself I'm doing it to spare others' feelings or worrying...but really I'm doing it to save my own face, name, and reputation. And it's absolutely wrong and it's absolutely sin. And I do NOT want to set a precedent of that with my son.

I was caught in the wrong, and I lied to him. He forgives me, God forgives me, maybe I can forgive myself here someday. Jeremiah's disappointment in my absence there this morning is now mingled with his disappointment of his own mother lying to him. Two wrongs do NOT make a right.

But thank you, Lord, for giving me the courage to confess to him. May you use this, somehow to work out your glory in him and in our relationship.

While I feel like a terrible mom, I think this way is better than letting him believe I was there...because he really seemed like he did accept my alternate truth before I confessed the lie. Who out there disagrees with me? Is this not a big deal? For me, it came down to conviction. I felt the Spirit prodding, and I obeyed. And pray that God will use my brokenness to shape my son better than my pride could.

Thursday, March 05, 2015


I have been slowly transitioning our way of eating the last few years - into a more or less whole food or real food diet. We're not fanatic about it (, especially with CHIPS. Who can not eat CHIPS!?) and there are fairly regular deviations from that way of eating. But for the most part, we don't eat a lot of processed stuff, I make a whole lot of things now that I never really knew that I'd want to make. I thought I would chronicle the changes here, since I realized the other day that I use this blog as a bit of a memory keeper, since my memory is pretty terrible.

*Disclaimer* (or *note* or *something...*) - THIS IS NOT TO JUDGE YOU OR MAKE YOU FEEL BAD OR MAKE ME LOOK GOOD OR ANYTHING AT ALL IT IS SIMPLY FOR ME TO REMEMBER BECAUSE IT HAVE A TERRIBLE MEMORY. This list has been years in the making. One day I won't remember all the things I decided were important to do when the haze that living with three young kids is lifts. 

So, I have been, for about half a year now, making a few things that I used to buy:

- plain yogurt (in my crockpot)
- bone broth
- sourdough bread (and sourdough pizza crust and sourdough pancakes)
- homemade granola
- cloth wipes (to go with our cloth diapers)
- cleaning supplies (disinfecting wipes and sprays)
- hot chocolate
- salad dressings
- laundry detergent
- nuts (ok, not physically growing them, but soaking and roasting them)
- herbs (again...growing them, not making them)
- toothpaste
- essential oil medicinal remedies (like homemade vapor rub)
- playdoh

I find I like the challenge of running out of something and trying to either make do without it, or make it myself so I don't need to get it at the store. There have been colossal fails (um, like the time I tried to make apple cider vinegar and instead was breeding disgusting maggoty fruit flies...<shudder>)  But, the above successes are a viable part of our lives now. And our grocery bill has gone down because I can make these things instead of buy them.

Who knows where we'll be in a few years. I don't think I'll be the type to want to grow my own barley to grind my own flour to make my own sourdough bread. But I never thought I'd care enough to make my own yogurt either. Life changes you...and you should never say never.

I'm not opposed to occasionally buying things, either, FYI. I just like to save money.  That is literally, most of my motivation.

Over and out. :)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

God wants you!

So, being a mother of three and wife to a seminarian and working out of the home is HARD. There is no other way around it. It is hard and frustrating. It is also rewarding and fulfilling. But sometimes, it is hard to get past the point of seeing the hard and frustrating. And I don't know about you, but sometimes I get into a stage of not-so-rosy-colored-glasses days. It becomes so easy to indulge in self-pity and the comforting self-talk of others' problems making my own. It makes me feel so much better about how much work I'm doing and how I'm just so under-appreciated and how could I possibly be hard on myself when no one else I know is doing the things I am doing?

mom, how could I possibly make life hard for you?
My cuteness cancels it all out, don't you know?

The problem is, comparison is an ugly game.

I end up feeling better for a short amount of time, but then needing the self-talk soon enough again.

We women do that, don't we? We compare haircuts, fashion statements, laughs, attitudes, work history, reactions, prejudices, kids, shoe size, spouses, spiritual walks...

Sometimes it's innocent enough...little comments with a best friend about the stranger walking by ("ooo, I wish I could wear that!" "my hips would never fit in that style of skirt"). And sometimes it's judgmental...thoughts about that 4 year old kid in nursery who cries/screams very obviously for his mom until she comes and he calms right down ("well, if she didn't cater to that behavior, it wouldn't happen!")

sometimes a child's behavior is SO much more than just a parent's prior reactions to it...
...we should err on giving a little (a lot?) of grace with parents
But really.

What does all the comparison talk, whether to tear ourselves down or build us up, do?  What does it DO? It sets us against each other, and against God. It gives us a reason to think we are all-knowing and prideful, or a reason to doubt God's good creating of us exactly the way we are.

I happen to be a fairly insecure person who many folks read as very secure. When they tell me this, I'm not always sure how or why that happens, but I think it is because, in recent years, I've become more secure in God's knowledge of me. I don't always trust Him as I should, I don't always like what He puts in my path...but I do trust that He knows me and has created me and has put people in my life to help me become more His.

the many moods of J - , er...Despina

This has been, and continues to be, a work in progress. I go through many, many days of insecurity and taking my eyes off Christ and noodling around wondering if anything I am doing is making any sort of a difference to anybody and WHY am I even here. Especially since quitting my job and starting this First Steps business, and having three kids who, really are pretty terrible on my self-esteem (need to be knocked down a few pegs? Have a few kids and you'll never recover...ha!) is tough!!

So, anyway. This post is a little reminder to myself to not fall into that trap of comparison. The only one I should be comparing to is Jesus, and well...that's really no comparison. But rather than throw myself in the mud (or growing pile of dirty dishes) in despair, He reaches out to show me my value as His. Regardless of what I do or how I do it or how much I do. We think it's important - but He doesn't. He just wants us.

ok, so this still makes it seem like God wants something from you...but I thought it was funny.

If you see me in the depths of despair some days...feel free to speak this truth to me. I don't want the "oh, you are doing just fine, look at this thing, or that that you're doing..."  That's a nice salve, but I want the true healing truth. I am important because I am God's child, and not because of what I can do or be.

p.s. - don't you love how many italics I used? :)

Friday, November 14, 2014

I do other things!

It's so much easier to post about the family, most times. I don't have to analyze too least at this stage...just enjoy the strange, wonderful thing it is to have little people in the house.

But, I am doing other things besides mothering. I am still teaching, just not in a public school setting. And it is going fairly well. I am still singing, just not frequently, and it is going fairly well. I don't post about those nearly as often as I think about them or do them. It's just harder to make coherent sense out of them when I get a chance to sit down and reflect.
some cutie patoots from my 2 year old First Steps in Music class last year

So, teaching. I am teaching my First Steps in Music classes for the littles and it is pretty fun this session! Not that it wasn't the last couple sessions, but I am enjoying this batch of mothers and children very much. Many of them are from my church or the seminary, which makes for a deeper immediate camaraderie. I don't get much time to fellowship with others at church right now (being at church with a child Isabelle's age is no picnic - it's no naptime = ugh), so it is hugely encouraging to me to be able to talk with some dynamite women every week and feel like I'm still part of our church community. I mostly have a bunch of 2-5 year olds, which is a switch from my last couple sessions of mostly younger kiddos - and I definitely enjoy the older kids' class more. It is very similar to how I teach a young elementary class - so it is very comfortable for me.
an example of the activities we do in my First Steps in Music 2-5 year old classes

The only squidgy part this fall is I am doing my FBE (Field Based Experience) for my Masters of Music Education program using First Steps in Music as the Experience a.k.a practicum. It is easy enough, it just takes a long time to be analyzing and writing out everything. It has been encouraging to be observed and affirmed in what I am doing though. I am very ready to not have this Masters hanging over me!
from this past spring's Cosi fan Tutte

I also have been singing, albeit not as much as I would like. I am teaching privately more this year than I have been - I have 5 students so far this year, with a potential 6th starting up next week. This has actually ended up being the meat and potatoes of the income I am bringing in. It's just strange to me, because I haven't advertised for private teaching much at all in the past few years, and this year I have people asking me left and right if I am willing to teach. It has been a rewarding experience this year too, instead of the dread and agony I tend to feel after private lessons in the past. I find it much easier to relate to a class of people than during a one-on-one time. There is one woman I am teaching voice to who has been especially fun - she and I learn similarly and therefore speak the same language, making the imagery click and teachability factor go through the roof. She is sounding really great lately, and I am so excited for her, and excited for me that I am helping her in some way. She is also someone that I have considered asking to be a sort of mentor for me...she is gracious and funny, is about 5 years ahead of me in parenting years, but is about 15 years older than me.  We get along very well, and she has such a strong sense of God throughout our life here on earth, which is hugely encouraging to me. I hope I will be able to actually spend some good time with her over the next few years.
because, really...who doesn't want to spend more time with this weirdo?
(that's me, by the way...)

So, teaching singing is different than performance singing. I just don't know how to fit that in. I am singing for occasional (paid!) gigs, either through my church or friends who need someone to fill in.  And I love those types of things since I can't commit to a weekly rehearsal right now. And it is really hard to go anywhere at night right now because Isabelle is so mommy-dependent. I just keep telling myself that it is a season of life, and things will get easier and maybe someday I might be able to go to the grocery store after 7pm or even on a date with my husband...but let's not get too crazy. :)  This is why I stayed home - to take care of the littles and be available. And, by the grace of God, I am!
Izzy, when she was about 8 months old -
she was handed a lightsaber and didn't know what to do...
So, I do other things besides just mothering. I just don't blog about them often. Someday I will do posts that aren't updates...more thoughtful ones. Have a good day all!  

Friday, October 31, 2014


Life is going by very fast these days.

I blink and it's the end of October and Jeremiah is practically 5 feet tall and eats more at dinner than Jon and Isaac is not far behind and oh my word how are we going to feed these children on a pastor's and teacher's salary?

There were only 3 meltdowns by our middle son today - 2 of them somewhat warranted, with the wounds from elastic bands and pavement to prove it. The other one could have been avoided if I had realized it had been about 4 hours since he last ate anything of substance. After the outburst, grab a couple spoonfuls of the lunch I left out on the counter that he refused to eat and make him eat it because this is why you are crying, my son - please eat!

I vacillate between survival mode and callousness some days, while desperately wanting to live in every moment but afraid of what I will see of myself if I do. Today, I saw a beggar who is trying to be something but can't and wants to be accepted but is criticized and fails miserably at putting on a public face when teaching friends out of her home.

I love that I am home, teaching what I am skilled at, and able to give to my husband and children by holding down the fort.

I don't love that I take so much personally that isn't meant to be so, and feel boxed in at times, and have a tendency toward melancholy as winter approaches.

I so wish I could constantly be salt and light and never worry about pleasing everyone but still have assurance of everyone loving me.

Ah, the warring nature within ourselves. Delightful.

Friends and Family, I ask for grace. I feel like I am supposed to be an adult who has three kids and and a husband of almost ten years and a budget and meal plans and she-knows-what-she's-doing and did-I-feed-the-baby-this-morning? and why-does-anyone-trust-me-to-do-anything...I feel just as lost as ever sometimes, just with larger stakes on the line.

I ask for grace as I interact with you and maybe don't seem as connected as you might want. I ask for love when I am unlovely and selfish. I ask for you to treat me as I do not deserve, but so desperately need. I ask for you to be Jesus to me. It is becoming hard to focus my eyes on him when in the trenches of family life, feeling my way through this wonderful, blessed life. I know He extends to me His burden in exchange for mine, but I still amazingly am foolish enough to try to shoulder my own out of guilt that our culture tells me to just handle it, already.

But, I can't.

No, nothing is catastrophically wrong. We are, in all things, primarily doing well as a family unit. It is just good to admit how much grace I need sometimes. I get tired of trying to do it all. I get tired of trying to do it, any of it. I get tired of trying.

Thank God for Jesus. Thank you, Jesus, for loving us where we are at and being pleased to move us from there as You see fit. And thank you for showing grace when we need it most.

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. - John 16:33

Friday, October 24, 2014

All about that bass

Check this out:

Love her voice, she's an amazing bass player, and the style is right up my alley now. I do not love the lyrics...but there are few pop songs right now that I DO like the lyrics to, which means a few things, I think:

1. I am getting older and more sensitive to terrible lyrics.
2. I am getting older and more apt to cover my childrens' ears or sing very loudly over the terrible aforementioned lyrics.
3. I am getting older and more apt to complain about the songs on the radio glorifying lust and sexual freedom and selfish gain, etc, etc.

So, the overall theme here is I am getting older and do not like today's music. But, I am a hypocrite in the highest form, because when you put today's terrible lyrics to a past generation's musical stylings...I love it and think it's cute and sassy instead of in your face and raunchy.

So, there I be. Ridicule and judge, but ask yourself - do you do this too? Maybe you love classic rock and can't stand jazz. Maybe you love jazz but hate hip hop. Maybe you love anything emo and nothing electronic. Maybe you listen for the words, maybe you only hear the notes and rhythms.

Each generation has it's own music and judges the next generation's terrible taste. It's safe to say that I have always loved music styles from the past, but I definitely used to tolerate pop music better than I do now. Which, I think, means that the next generation is grating on me. I am becoming a crankpot old lady who will roll her eyes at my rapidly growing son's taste in music and try to make sure jazz or motown or classical is played during dinner for at least 10 minutes so they get a well-rounded radio education. :)

Thursday, September 18, 2014


So, haven't posted in FAR too long, but we are going with a rant here. Just recording for posterity's sake. :)

I signed into my USAA account and they informed me that I needed to update my occupation status so as to make sure it's really me or whatever every time I sign into their ridiculously secure site (they never trust it's me no matter how many times I secure a computer source or type in umpteen passwords...but, hey, they are really really really protecting me, right? It's a good thing, I know.) I went through and chose from drop down menus what I do for a living -

Self-employed - CHECK

Education field - CHECK

music teacher - NOT AN OPTION

Actually, the only option available to me, besides "Musician" was "Self-enrich Ed Teacher."

What the crap.  Not okay...this is such a shallow definition of what we do as music educators.

I don't normally write complaint emails, and technically this was a "suggestion" email, but I shot one off rather quickly, surprising myself a bit with my passion in this regard (I guess these last 5 years of Masters of Music Education study have done something...)

To whom it may concern:
It greatly disturbs me to see that the only option for me to select as a music educator is "self-enrich ed teacher" seems obvious to me that someone who does not value and/or understand the impact music and the arts has on culture made this list of occupations.  It is insulting to assume that music only enriches the individual - it has that purpose among others (building community, cataloging history, capturing cultural context, allowing for emotional connection and expression between parties, etc...I could go on) Please consider changing your occupation options to include "arts teacher" or some other similarly more adequately defined description of what we do.  Thank you.
Sincerely, J
As a music educator, this just gets to me, because there has become this assumption among the general public that music has to be "fun" and "self-fulfilling" at all times. It really does so much more than that, but it is under-appreciated as what it is and instead thought of for what it can do for everything else at the most (music study will increase your child's test score/brain balance/teamwork/insert anything and everything here because it does! But that is only one part of it, and really only the residual part! Those are some wonderful effects of music in a person's life, but that is so little of what it is. Music breathes life into a culture and creates community as people express emotions and thoughts in a way that is all-but-unreachable too often otherwise. Music reaches across race and age and language and gender to unite us as humans who enjoy camaraderie in this way. Music allows us to worship our Lord and Savior in a way that glorifies Him alongside the angels' singing. Music captures snapshots of history and culture as you research back to understand how folks used to live. It is, of course, amazingly self-enriching, but it does not stop there. If I couldn't sing, I don't know how I would understand the world sometimes. But that is far from the only reason for my teaching it.
What are the thoughts here?  Am I just so in my own little music educator world that I am offended easily, or does this seem a bit off to you as well?

 I will try to be posting more often - the baby has been cruising and I am just plain tired at the end of each day! It's a full life. :) i thank you God.