Friday, August 31, 2007

Mother Teresa, Come Be My Light

Late night post...hope this makes sense:

Did you hear about this book coming out?

It is a collection of letters, written by Mother Teresa. The publishing of the book itself is controversial, in large part because Mother Teresa asked that her letters be destroyed. Nonetheless, the author claims that frequently "saints" ask this about their writings, but that the Catholic church will hold onto any writings it deems valuable to its believers.

Using realplayer or windows media, listen to this interesting story I heard on NPR today (on the show On Point):

Like many others, I admired Mother Teresa from early in my childhood, but if you've ever read a book on her, you'll know what I mean when I say I have frequently been disappointed with how media/books simplify her into something almost inhuman.

I can't help but desire to read the book. It sounds amazing.

I wish to discuss this further, though my internet access is still limited so it will be slow coming (my laptop delivery has been further delayed to September 10-12th). Still, if any of you are still reading and have been following this story or listen to the fascinating piece above, post your thoughts in a comment to my post.

Okay, I have to head to bed. It is 2am and I need to be up at 7.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


This was my post, but nevermind, as I have figured out the edit:

As I have not been able to figure out how to edit, let me just offer that I misposted last time about a book called _Ahab's Wife_. I inadvertently called it _Abraham's Wife_. Thank you to my mother for catching that.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

So I am on a whaling voyage

I am feeling really homesick, so after a phone conversation with my dw and children today, I called my mother to cry on her shoulder. She listened patiently for about twenty minutes, but she had somewhere she needed to go, so she asked my dad to talk to me. Whenever my dad talks to me about the situation I am in, he tells me this:

"Pretend you are on a whaling voyage."

My response today was: "Well, how the heck long does a whaling voyage last exactly?!"

My dad: "It could last TWO YEARS."

Me: "No way. The meat would go bad before you'd ever get back home."

My dad: "The whale oil is really what they were harvesting. It sold for a lot of money and made the voyage worth it."

(My mom, who was getting ready to go in the background but heard the conversation: "It's true. Read _Ahab's Wife_")

Me: "Fine, I'll pretend I am on a whaling voyage."

My dad: "There's no going back home when you are at sea, kid. But you know people have done it before you, so you can too. And lots of those whalers had happy homes, good families."

So I am on a whaling voyage. Ah-hoy! Better start learning some whaling songs.

Friday, August 17, 2007

It arrived!

I said I was on break, but I needed to pop on to write something.

I know anyone who has been in my shoes-- experiencing a lengthy separation from young children-- would understand completely. Today my first package from home arrived. It was a package I put together before I left of stuff I wanted to have with me in my new town, and G mailed it to me the day after I took off (I would have mailed it myself, but ran out of time).

When the postman rang the buzzer on the church door, and announced himself, I raaaaan up three flights of stairs to get to him. I just knew it was one of my packages, and I was bursting with excitement. The first thing I did was dig through it looking for the photos of the kids I had packed, and as soon as I found them, I could have cried. I miss them sooooooo much. Those photos mean the world to me right now.

They aren't recent photos. They're just the photos I could find as I hurried to get things packed up. And I have about six of K and only 2 of M, basically because most of M's were already in frames that had been boxed away by the time I was looking (M is older, so more of his stuff has had a chance to be framed). But I know have a bunch of photos on my desk, and somehow, it is a little easier to feel comfortable in this "strange office" with them sitting there.

I am so homesick. Yesterday I walked into a Staples (office supply) store and nearly burst into tears from the comfort of a familiar smell-- even if that familiar smell was only the plastic binders and printer ink. M is having a hard time too. Today we were talking on the phone and he started sobbing uncontrollably, "Mama....airplane...mama...airplane." My heart is so heavy, I fear it might stop.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Hit the Pause Button

...I will have limited internet access through around September 3rd, so definitely post to me if you have a name suggestion, but you may not hear much from me until September.

Changing My "Name"

I've decided to change my "name" here. I picked out the name "the procrastinator" when I first started this blog. I figured if I was on blogging, I was probably going to be doing so because I was avoiding household chores. I was thinking a lot about procrastination at that time because I was in the middle of moving, and well, who likes moving?! I would rather do anything than move. Even with hiring a moving company to get us packed up this time around, I still found that there were plenty of "to do" list items associated with the move. So yes, I admit that procrastination was a big theme at the time I started this blog.

When I first selected the name, G asked if that was really the image I wanted to put out there. I shrugged it off at the time, but on second thought, she is right. So watch for a new name...coming soon (suggestions welcome!!).

You Might Be Wondering Where I Have Gone

...It's a good question!

Life got frantic as the move approached. I have now made the big move, but will have limited internet access for some time. You can definitely expect to see lots and lots of posting from me after September 3rd or so, when my new laptop arrives (picture below). I do hope I won't lose you if you are with me, and that you will check back around that time.


The Procrastinator

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Hurrying Around...This Will Be Quick

Later I will post on some things of substance, including the documentary G and I watched the other night about small town gay bars.

But, my mom emailed these to me today...

I thought number one was very amusing. I had seen the "Landlord," and was not particularly amused, but I enjoyed the outakes. Good ol' Will!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


Well, some good news from my day:

1. G's brother M (N's husband) test drove the car and said it was good. We have put down a deposit so that we can get an independent mechanic to check it out. I also looked up its true market value on, and decided I could safely begin negotiating the price at $10,300...still a lot more than we had wanted to spend, but the car is virtually new.

2. I had one more person from the congregation call back to volunteer in the children and youth ministry for the coming year. I had four volunteer slots open, and now only three. I'd like to leave town with them all filled, so I can rest well knowing that I left things in fairly good shape.

3. Some funds that were needed for a special program in the children and youth ministry were granted generously by the executive committee.

4. G's supervisor called and they chatted for a bit. It looks like G is going to have some more time to decide whether she will resign now, or whether she will wait until after K's case is closed (thus extending our months of dual income).

I LOOOOOVE good news!!


Lest I appear to be full of only despair right now, I thought I would share a couple of things.

First, as painful as it is to be moving before my wife and children are able to move, I am very much looking forward to my new ministry. It is truly, truly, truly exciting, and I feel blessed to be partnering with this congregation. I also believe the time to get settled in my work there without the usual, daily family obligations will give me better roots.

Second, there are some things bringing me comfort at this time. I think a lot about the men and women in the military who go through indefinite periods of being apart from their families all the time. It is difficult, but none of us are alone. My wife and children and I do not know when we will be reunited, but I am blessed, as I am not facing combat, but rather making an exciting and positive move in my life. Over the long haul, this move is one G and I chose because it will be good for our family. And while we do face the possibility of loss during this time apart, if we are unable to adopt K, we have to believe that in all likelihood, the system will allow her to be with her birthfamily only if it is safe. We want an ethical adoption. We pray we are correct in our belief, and moreso, we pray that the judge will rule with not only her safety, but with her best interests in mind.

Another comfort is this:

I had the pleasure recently of listening to the Rev. Meg Barnhouse ( Her song, "All Will Be Well" ( touched my faith deeply. She described the song as a conversation she has had in her head with the 14th century Christian mystic, Julian of Norwich. For an interesting sermon about Julian, check out: In any case, the song is tremendously comforting to me, and I have ordered the CD.

Oh how my heart breaks

Indeed, my heart is breaking. Just now I entered into the one week countdown until my departure. I am moving, and my family is staying behind until K's case is closed. I do have a visit planned for a couple days in early September, but even so, there will be twenty-seven days between the time I leave and that visit, and after the visit I will have to go back and continue waiting for my family. My heart feels raw. Just raw.

Tonight I snuggled extra tight with the kids as they fell asleep. K fell asleep earlier than M, so M and I also played a little extra. The night ended with me rocking him and talking to him about when he was a teeny tiny baby. He loved it, and I know he felt wrapped up in my love. I hope the memory of that stays strong while I am gone. After he fell asleep, I cradled his head with my hand and tried to create an imprint of everything about it deep in my memory: the weight of him against me, his sweet smell, his soft, sweaty skin, the sound of his breathing. Even an hour after he had been asleep, I couldn't stop squeezing him and telling him how much I love him and will miss him.

G sobbed and sobbed.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Completing Sunday with a faith-related post

I stumbled across this blog entry the other day while searching for blogging samples:

I am curious what those of you who are fellow Unitarian Universalists think about this. It is definitely food for thought, and I haven't yet really fully developed my thoughts about it, but some of the things that came to mind off hand include:

1. The UUA just redesigned its website and is focusing its online material more on those new to the faith. I have noticed some content changes, and I am curious whether the quoted description of the faith is likely to change as well. A change would be consistent with some of the self-study work the UUA has been up to over the last few years. There certainly has been a movement toward greater assumption of the language of faith.

2. I'm not sure if this is any kind of official description, or if it is more a haphazard description that happened to be a visible one on the UUA website. However, it does seem indicative of the lack of clarity inherent in this stage of Unitarian Universalism's history.

This post led me to another discussion of related interest: and and

My thought is that these conversations have a core issue in common: our clarity of faith. As a faith made up of 90% "converts," I think collectively we are afraid to be clear because it brings up faith-related baggage. The worry seems to be summed up like this "If we clear about who we are, will we somehow end up leaving people out?" As a lifelong UU, I have witnessed plenty of the UUs I grew up with leaving our faith because of the lack of clarity. I am thankful for the self-study happening now among UUs for this exact reason. I think we lose as many folks from our lack of clarity as we might risk losing from a greater degree of clarity about who we are as a people of faith.

Am I making any sense? It is late, so this may be difficult to follow.

No word on the car

I'm betting it sold over the weekend, since weekends are popular times for car-shopping. N had car trouble today, and was unable to go test drive the Lancer for us. Boo hoo! I am feeling sorry for myself over it, as silly as it might be.

How to survive life with one skillet

So we are hoping to put our house up on the market within a week or so. We decided to have the movers pack up most of our things now so that our house shows better. The idea is that a cluttered house looks smaller, and small is not good when one is trying to sell one's house. We now have one medium size pot and one cast iron skillet in which to cook. We also have a microwave. Since G will be stuck with this situation for a while, I went online tonight to find skillet meal recipes. I have found some interesting ideas:

We live two blocks from a bakery where G could easily pick up pizza dough so she doesn't have to make it herself, so it looks like this could be fairly simple for her.

Another intriguing recipe from the same site is for "roast herb artichokes." You can view it here:

And check out this vegetarian "jambayla," which seems like a cross between some of our other family favorites:

This one wasn't too exciting, but a 15 minute meal sounds like a good plan:

Skillet lasagna also seemed to be a popular item in my search. We'd have to substitute something for the ground beef called for in most of the recipes (we're vegetarians), and we couldn't do it often since M has a dairy (and soy) sensitivity, but below is a picture from

I hope G has a chance to try some of these. Mmmm.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Oh, yeah, and a car update...

Forgot to say that N lost her keys this morning and spent so much time looking for them that she ran out of time to test drive the car for us. I hope it is still there tomorrow when she tries again!

Okay, back to work. Tomorrow is Sunday, afterall.

My family

For a silly time waster, go to Here is my family:

This is my lovely wife G, sort of. I do regret that her Simpsonized picture is missing her two nose piercings. Her skin is also a little lighter than her Simpsonized version, but they only give you so many choices, ya know. Anyway, things I am going to miss about G while we are apart include: getting silly together over the littlest daily things (and the silly little kitchen dances she does when we are cooking and getting goofy...don't tell her her secret is out), hearing her play with our kids when I am in another room working, watching Antique Roadshow together (we find it quite entertaining to watch people find out the monetary value of their collectables!), cuddling, and bantering all day about our loved ones and what they are up to.

This is my baby boy M. He's 28 months. What I am going to miss most about him when we are apart is his laughter...his hysterical, full body, from-the-gut giggle. I am going to miss wrapping him up and pretending he is my burrito. I am going to miss his kisses. I am going to miss his snuggles. I'm going to miss his smell, and the feel of his sweaty little body all curled up in my arms when he is going to sleep. I am going to miss witnessing all the things he is curious about in this world. I am going to miss the way he takes care of his little sister. I am going to miss it when we are driving and we are getting close to his uncle's office, or Taco Time, or Costco, or the firestation, and he announces that it is coming up. I am going to miss his announcements about police cars, fire engines, and ambulances. I am going to miss his silly sneaky smile, the smile he gets when he is about to do something that will make me laugh. I am going to miss when he does this funny "ho-ho-ho" laugh in immitation of one of the laughs his "mimi" (grandmother) does. I am going to miss playing in the pool with him. Oh my G-d, there is so much I will miss.

And this is my foster daughter K. She's 17 months. While we are apart, I am going to miss her little run. I am going to miss her playfulness. I am going to miss all her little words. I am going to miss the way she brings a book to me, and then backs up butt first into my lap so I can read it to her. I am going to miss the way she pretends to feed me. I am going to miss her sweet laugh. I am going to miss watching her be so fearless with the world everyday in so many ways-- her growing love of adventure. I am going to miss watching her get taller day by day. I am going to miss her trying to wrestle me when she sees me getting silly and wrestling her big brother. I am going to miss watching her pretend EVERYTHING is a phone. I am going to miss her stubborness. I pray, pray, pray that this will not be one of the last times I see her. I pray that we will be able to adopt her so she can stay safe and healthy and with us. Oh, lord, do I pray.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

I hope you will forgive me

I've been writing blog posts in my head for the past few days, in anticipation of actually creating a blog. I have been waxing poetic all over the place. But now that I am actually sitting in front of my computer with a blank page, my mind has suddenly frozen. Forgive the rough start that I am sure this will be as I test drive the world of blogging. I hope that in short order you will find this a very interesting place to visit.

That said, I am exhausted right now. G and I just sat down and plotted out what our next nine days-- my last nine days here in town before I move-- will look like. The list of things to get done is endless, and when I think about it, it makes me want to sleep. Of course all I really want to spend my last days here doing is savoring these moments with my family before we are apart.
I guess this would be one of those instances when I should just do what I can, and then surrender the rest.

On a brighter note, here is a little car-related story. We've gone back and forth about purchasing a car for life in our new state. We have a 2001 Mazda MPV and a 1993 Toyota Corolla. The Corolla has been so trusty and good to us, but we have put tons and tons and tons of miles on it. We've had some trouble deciding if it will be worth the cost of having it moved with all our stuff.
I think we have been pushed into a decision, now, though, since I will be leaving on a plane at least a couple months before our stuff is moved and the rest of the family arrives. So we've been talking, and we have decided I may truly need to buy a car.
When G and I shop for cars, we tend to hold out for the rare "older" car with low miles thing. Five years ago we bought a 1983 (!) Dodge Aries with only 33,000 miles on it for $850. When we took it to the mechanic to get checked out before we bought it, she said the biggest problem with the car is that it suffered from lack of use. Had I not been rear ended a half year later, I am sure we'd still be enjoying that gem.
Anyway, we are lucky enough to have stumbled upon this beautiful station wagon above. It is selling out in our new state. It is a 2004 but has just under 7,000 miles on it! We had been wanting a wagon for the ease of fit with the two car seats. G's brother's wife, "N," is test driving it for us tomorrow. I'm not sure how we'd come up with the money for this kind of a purchase, but the low miles just might be worth some tricky financial moves. It is around $11,000. I'm excited to hear how the test drive goes.

Friday, August 3, 2007

I'm here to blog

Yep, that's right, it's me. I'm here to tell ya, that is what my life is like right now.