Spice Girl

I’ve never understood the Spice Girls.  Baby Spice, Posh Spice, Scary Spice, Sporty Spice and – what – Ginger Spice ?  I can never remember the other girl.

But I think if I were a Spice Girl (“If I were a Spice Girl….na-na-na-na-na-na…”), I would probably be Sporty Spice.  I am active.  I find sports and all that pretty inspiring. I have lots of running shoes. I look forward to the Summer Olympics with anticipation.  The stories behind the athletes make me feel like someday, given enough time and effort and better genes, I could compete on a world-class level. Maybe I could even medal.

I had someone I didn’t know “like” my post from a few days back.  I went to her blog, just to check it out and maybe “like” one of hers or leave a comment.  It’s WordPress etiquette, folks!  Anyway, she’s gorgeous.  She’s fashionable and an interior designer and a mama.  Sigh.  She’s glamorous.  She’s photogenic. She is, in a word, Posh Spice.

Insert another sigh here.

I will never be Posh Spice.  Being glamorous and high maintenance, coiffed and painted and clothed in the latest fashion is not me. I am relatively in style.  I wear clothes that fit and don’t cover myself in pictures of turtles or wear clothes held together with duct tape.  I am not secretly dreading an intervention from TLC’s “What Not To Wear”.  There are far more likely candidates, several in my neck of the woods, in fact.

But lately, I find myself wondering…what’s it like on the other side?  I have a few friends who are uber chic.  They dress well.  They are beautiful.  Their nails grow long and their hair looks, uh, purposeful. What bridge did they cross to get there?  Did they sell an organ?  Can I join this club, or is there a secret society involved that must approve me first?

The other Spice Girls hold no mystery for me.  Baby Spice?  Next!  Oh yeah, Ginger Spice?  Really?  Scary Spice.  Don’t I know you?  You remind me of a teacher I had in high school.  Anyway, the other “Girls” seem less interesting to me, less intriguing.  They seem to lack any special powers.

I mean, what if they were superheroes?  Baby Spice has the power of being girly.  Huzzah!  “I beat you senseless with my lollipop!”  Ginger Spice has…red hair.  Perhaps it catches on fire at opportune times, and her head becomes a flame-thrower.  Scary Spice has a special yell.  Whoopity do!  Doesn’t Tarzan have that, not to mention Billy Idol?

Since I default to Sporty Spice, I would have the power to run really fast.  Or maybe I could just look like I run really fast.

But Posh Spice.  She would have the power of glamour, the British spelling the only appropriate way to express it. There it is, the g-word. The online dictionary defines glamor/glamour as :

1. An air of compelling charm, romance, and excitement, especially when delusively alluring.
2. Archaic A magic spell; enchantment.
 
Delusively alluring.  Huh.  That’s not something I aspire to.  It has a negative connotation – a deceptively charming person who casts a sort of enchantment over another person. Okay, so maybe I don’t want to be Posh Spice.  She sounds more like a villain than a superhero. I don’t want to be deceptive in any way, and certainly not in a way that is enticing.
 
Back to Sporty Spice.  I can work with that. After all, I have the clothes already.
 
Or maybe we could come up with another Spice Girl?  Mommy Spice?
 
 
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The Third Man

Jashobeam, Eleazar, and ?

 

Disclaimer:  This blog is not about the United States, Russia and China, if Nixon’s foreign policy strategy comes to mind.

Today’s Bible reading consisted of David’s coronation at Hebron, fifteen years (it’s estimated) from when Samuel first anointed him king over Israel.  He was just a shepherd boy.  After the anointing and the accompanying feast, surrounded by his parents and six jealous brothers, he went back to the field.  As Jonathon would say, “Meh.  It’s great to be anointed.  But if God doesn’t confirm it somehow, it’s not going to happen.”

In the accounting in 2 Samuel 5, all the other tribes got together and said, “We are your family.  Even when Saul was king, you led the armies and the Lord told you would shepherd us. ”  They finally thought it was time to get with the program.  David had reigned over Judah for seven and a half years at that point.  He would go on to reign over both kingdoms, uniting them, for 33 more years. What humility to wait until the Lord’s good word came to pass!  He didn’t have to force it; he never sought to be king.  The people loved him and watched him in action to see if he was worthy.  They didn’t want another Saul.

But what fascinated me the most out of today’s reading was about The Three – David’s mightiest warriors, the inner circle.  I never noticed this before in all my times reading this account. The number three in Biblical literature symbolizes the Trinity. None of these could replace Jonathan, David’s bosom friend and son of Saul, but they were David’s bodyguards, his go-to guys.  Jashobeam the Hacmonite (why don’t any mothers name their kids after him?), leader of The Three and the mightiest (I Chron. 11:11).  He killed 300 enemy warriors in a single battle. Next was Eleazar son of Dodai. He once took a stand with David in a field of barley, fighting against the Philistines.  All of the Israelite army fled.  Only Eleazar and David stood their ground, I’m guessing back-to-back, beating back the enemy (I Chron. 11:14). 

There’s one more story of the Three breaking through enemy lines to get David’s favorite water from Bethlehem in order to quench their king’s thirst, and him pouring it on the ground as an offering to the Lord and in celebration of their loyalty and bravery. And that’s where the accounting of The Three ends.  We never discover who the third man was. 

It’s disturbing. Why doesn’t the scribe list the third man?

Benaiah son of Jehoiada could have rounded out the group.  He did many heroic deeds, one of the most notable being killing a 7 1/2 foot-tall Egyptian warrior with the Egyptian’s own spear, thick as a “weaver’s beam” (11:23).  He was very famous for this exploit and others, but not one of The Three. Was it Joab, David’s nephew?  He attacked the Jebusites first, earning a spot as commander of David’s armies (11:6).  

 One suspects it might be Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband, who David had killed but putting him on the front lines in order to keep Uriah from discovering David’s adulterous affair with Bathsheba . If so, David was treacherous indeed.

Or maybe it was a pre-Christ, fighting with David in battle, assuring him of victory and protection.  Maybe one day he just – poof! – disappeared, his work assuring David’s rule and lineage, knowing the Christ would come from David’s line, as prophetically foretold throughout scripture.  Sometimes the Holy Spirit is referred to as The Third Man, invisible but helping nonetheless.  It could’ve been God working on the ground, behind the scenes, to continue to fulfill his Word.

I like that answer.

Utopia

On the heels of a rough week, I offer this, my dream of a perfect world. Happy Friday!

I wake up.  All is quiet.  The sun is starting to rise.  The birds peep assertively but not deafeningly outside. I creep out of my bed so as not to awaken Jonathon.  The bed makes itself behind me, rippling quietly in the near-darkness.

I look at myself in the bathroom mirror.  I see perfectly with no corrective eyewear necessary, instead of my usual Impressionistic worldview. My hair looks amazing.  It looks deliberate and just a few strokes with the hairbrush brings it to perfect, shiny order – no grays.  Today, I want it to be golden.  And it is, just by snapping my fingers. I am still short, but nothing is wrinkly or saggy.  It’s almost as if I haven’t aged at all.

The scale says I’ve lost 2 lbs. overnight.  In my “today” life, that would be amazing and a bit alarming.  In this world, it’s normal.  No weight gain.  Ever. I picked my body’s set point and there the weight stays.

My quiet time with God is deep and peaceful.  I memorize an entire book of the Bible.  Oh, you already do that?  Die.  The sun is cresting the horizon, a pastel sunrise.  The air is sweet and cool, filled with the aroma of hundreds of blooming flowers. Anyway, I go out and run an easy 10 miles before breakfast without throwing up or collapsing.  I improve my time by several minutes.

After a quick shower and application of makeup (I need so very little), I find something smashing in my closet, a new blouse and no-iron shorts.  Who put them there? My personal shopper. She tracks sales at my favorite stores and knows  my sizes and taste.  She’s on retainer.

The day promises to be sunny and warm, but not too hot – never over 80 degrees.  I go downstairs and make a breakfast of pancakes, bacon and berries.  I do enjoy cooking.  Or maybe I make homemade cinnamon rolls.  The family wakes up on their own, on time, and graciously compliments my masterful cooking abilities and eats appreciatively. the kids interact playfully, joyfully, encouraging each other with kind words. They get dressed and help each other with minor tasks.  Jonathon makes the lunches. I take the kids to school in my red hover car (no traffic lights!) and Jonathon drives himself to work.

I return to a clean home, thanks to the maid service that comes in every morning to buff and polish.  I spend the morning tending my enormous flower garden, then work on my great American novel, due to be published in the fall.  It’s 90% finished; just putting the last touches on it.  My editor assures me it’s Pulitzer-worthy.

In the early afternoon, after a lunch out with one of my hundreds of friends, I take a book outside and read.  I enjoy fiction and non-fiction.  Everything I read is inspiring.  It’s so well-written, it brings tears to my eyes. I take a little siesta in the warm afternoon sun.  And I never apply sunscreen because my amazing skin repels sunburn.  So there!

The kids return from school as if by magic, happy to see me.  “Hello, Mom!” they chorus.  They get themselves snacks and play with their friends after hugs and filling me in on their days. They’re both very smart and well-adjusted.  And they never use bodily functions as humorous asides. They volunteer at the soup kitchen and play sports. They speak 2 other languges. They excel at everything and never fight with anyone, ever.

Jonathon returns from work, roses in hand.  For me?  Of course!  They smell divine.  He’s also lined up a babysitter so we can go out to a Shakespeare production. No reason to celebrate; just because. I don’t recall the name of the play, but it is one I just reread recently, so the plot and dialogue is fresh in my mind.

Dinner is a lovely affair, tablecloth, candles and well-behaved children, outside on the verandah.  We aren’t too formal – steaks  from the grill, corn on the cob, salad and chocolate cake with ganache.  I whipped that up earlier in the day.  We enjoy each other’s company and tell jokes until the babysitter arrives.

She comes in the door, smiling, happy to watch our obedient angels.  We waltz out into the fragrant evening, glamourously attired.  And the rest I leave to your imagination…

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

I got called on the carpet yesterday about Zac.

Sigh.

We haven’t been getting along much lately.  Lately, all our relationship consists of is :  “Did you brush your teeth?  Wait – did you sleep in those clothes?!  You can’t wear those again today!” That’s been the flavor .  And Zac, true to form, has not been responsive to that sort of “love”.  He become surly.  He gets quiet.  Or, he talks back. 

None of these make me happy. Of course, I blamed it all on him.  I’m the parent!  I’m the authority!  He needs to learn to respect me as his mother, and women in general.  Fly that flag!

Except…I wasn’t respecting him. Respect itself has 12 different definitions.  Wow!  The one I’m referring to is #5:  the condition of being esteemed or honored.

You might say, “Well, you don’t need to.  He just needs to do what you tell him to do.”  He should.  He usually does, eventually, after the 4th time I say it, and then it’s done in a half-hearted, angry manner, if you can possibly be both at the same time.

But Zac is 12 now.  He’s a young man.  And Zac is very smart.  Telling him to do something, “Because I said so” doesn’t cut it anymore.  He needs a few whys.  He needs a bit of explanation.  Sometimes, he needs a few more choices and facts so he can make a good decision on his own. In short, we need to respect him a bit more.  We need to trust that the parenting we’ve done thus far will carry him down the right path.  Jonathon discovered this first.  He found out that his own attitude towards Zac was bad. He started calling Zac on disrespecting him, and tried to show him respect in turn.  It made a big difference in their interactions. Did you know your attitude towards someone colors all your interactions with them?  If you think someone is an idiot, everything they say to you sounds idiotic.  That’s your filter.  Something to keep in mind the next time you’re in line at a slow-moving checkout counter.

When Jonathon pointed out to me that i had not been kind to Zac, I was not receptive.  At all.  Because for me, Zac’s reactions felt unloving.  Yes, disrespectful, of course, but the lack of love hit me harder.  That’s often how we women react.  If we feel unloved, we can’t give respect.  Emerson Eggerich calls it “the crazy cycle” in his “Love and Respect” class.  Men need respect and women need love. I’m totally borrowing this but it goes around and around:  woman feels unloved >woman shows disrespect>man feels disrespected man becomes more unloving> woman becomes more disrespectful.  It’s a never-ending circle unless someone gets off the crazy train and starts behaving correctly.

Which is where I come in.  Hello, adult!  So I tried it this morning.  I gave Zac 2 choices at breakfast – breakfast burrito or cereal?  “Cereal”, he grunted.  Great!  One down, nine million to go.  And we just talked.  I didn’t remind (or nag!) him to brush his hair or read his Bible.  In fact, because he was excited about his upcoming band festival field trip, he was already dressed.  And not in yesterday’s clothes, but his band uniform. The anticipation of the trip helped, I think, but I’m hoping we’re on to something.

Everyone needs respect.  People need to be talked to like they matter, because they do.  It’s not just people you meet, strangers, but those in your own family.  Men especially need this.  Did you know the song “Respect” was originally written by Otis Redding?  Though Aretha rocks it, it seems more like a male anthem. My guys respond to it.  Help me, Lord, to offer it regularly.

I Like

I like a lot of things.  I love a lot of things.  But these are a few that come to mind on this drizzly April day.

Things I like, as of today:

1) Vietnamese iced coffee.  It’s iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk.  Oh yeah!  Almost makes up for the fact that it’s 50 degrees and raining.  I can pretend.

2) Fleece.  Say what you will, but it keeps you warm, comes in a rainbow of colors,  and is machine washable. Hey, I should know.  I’m still wearing it and it’s April. Take that, Stacy and Clinton!

3) Roses with scent.  Jonathon bought me some yesterday.  He sniff-searched through a whole pile of regal bouquets to find one that smelled like roses instead of plastic. So wonderful! 

4) Salad.  That’s new.  I’m starting to enjoy vegetables. I find as long as I add enough variety and crunchy stuff, as well as a good protein source, I can hang.  I usually need a piece of bread of some kind so I don’t crash in an hour, but that’s the fun part!

5) Naps.  Naps, now that I’m no longer 8 years old, are golden.  Naps goood. Want to improve your mood without food or sweating or spending any money?  Take a nap!  Seriously.  Now.

6) Jobs that have an actual start date.  I accepted the position at Harmony Hill (part-time bookkeeper) and my first day is next Thursday.  I will have regular hours, which translates to a regular paycheck.  Woot!

7) Jonathon has another interview with a new firm tomorrow. Keeping the options open, you know?

8) The trees.  Some have their first leaves, tender and electric green.  The cherry, magnolia, apple and even dogwood trees have blossomed, making the air sweet. Lovely!

9) Feeling like Shelton is home.  Finally, putting down our roots in a place.  Now, I’m looking for the wings.

Painting

I helped out in Ruby’s kindergarten class yesterday. I told her teacher – the English-speaking one – that I’d like to come and facilitate a painting time.  I’d done it before with another gal whose son is also in Ruby’s class.  My friend was unavailable this time, so I volunteered to do her one class, three kids at a time.

When I arrived, the teacher had forgotten I was coming.  No big deal.  I poured the thick, brightly-colored paint into trays, found some paper in the supply room and set out the brushes.  The teacher quickly painted an impromptu picture as a model:  flowers and grass.  She specifically instructed me – no suns, people, butterflies, etc.  This way, the kids keep moving  and don’t get stuck pondering a picture, or painting over and over on what they first put down. Made sense. With 20+ kids in the class, it was important to get everyone through before lunch.

We had a good time.  It was fun talking to the kids.  We talked about seasons, and I asked which was their favorite.  All of them said spring or summer.  We talked about brothers and sisters and silly things they did.  They asked me if I was Ruby’s mom, which I am. We got paint everywhere, especially on their clothes.  I think I still have some in my hair.

One particular group of all boys was very quiet.  This group contained at least 2 of Ruby’s “special” friends.  One little boy, a sweet-faced little Mexican kid, gave Ruby a Valentine’s Day teddy bear and balloon.  Another is the one who wants Ruby to “call him”.  Yeah. 

The boys painted intently, wrapped up in the moment of creating.  All I could hear was the brushes on the papers. They pushed big globs of paint around, swirling it onto the paper.  They knew what they wanted to make. If it didn’t turn out exactly like they thought, they improvised; they didn’t freak out. It was such a peaceful moment.  It made me think, Why don’t *I* create more?  Oh yeah.  Because I draw horribly and my craft skills – and some of you can attest to this – are almost nonexistent.  But when did I start caring about that?  These kids enjoyed the process.  They made huge, misshapen flowers with impossible color combinations. They didn’t critique each others’ work. They dribbled paint on the table and the floor.  Yet each and every one was proud to sign their name to their painting. Heck, they were excited to even be able to write their own names, something a lot of them could not do at the beginning of the school year.

It inspired and encouraged me.  If they can put themselves out there, unafraid to fail while creating something brand new, maybe I can take up some new endeavors and be fearless. Anyone know how to macrame?

Apologetics

I am apologetic about my post yesterday.  I am not defending it, in a formal way either written or verbal, as the traditional Greek apologia suggests, but truly, I am disheartened that I hurt some people by what I posted yesterday. I never meant to uncover or misrepresent anyone by what I wrote.  I am truly sorry. This is my apology.

Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, I forget that what I write about includes real people with actual feelings, and that things in leadership meetings should remain confidential.  I will try to do better in the future. I was wrong to not go directly to those who were involved.  I will be more proactive in the future.

I also deleted several comments on Facebook and in the comments section of yesterday’s blog. I did this not out of spite, but because the discussion got away from what I was originally trying to say in the post. I was concerned about the enforced legalism of a dress code. I meant no disrespect to those who responded.

And I did not mean to question our church’s leadership.  The leadership in our church is doing its best to tackle thorny issues.  I applaud its ability to extend grace and to leave the door open to differing opinions.