Tuesday, February 23, 2016

On Moving to a New Place


In 2012, about 100 blog posts ago, I set up this little blog called Permission to be Real.

It was born out of unexpected inner conflict when my youngest started kindergarten.

When I dropped him off for school the first day, I thought I might cry. Lots of my friends had cried. However, I’d dropped off my two older boys for kindergarten in previous years and did not cry. At all.

I thought it might be different with my youngest.

After I got him settled in his classroom, I returned to my car, slammed the door and for one second there was utter, blissful silence. Then suddenly, almost as an involuntary reflex, Händel’s Hallelujah Chorus rang out inside my mind!


Hallelujah! 

Hallelujah! 

It was as if an imaginary symphony had been invited to the first day of school, and I was the soloist. Hallelujah! The words and music just kept going in my head.

I laughed, but I also felt a little ashamed at that kind of maternal reflex.

My friends had shed actual tears, and I’d been driving away pumping my fist into the air singing the Hallelujah Chorus.

I didn’t want to fake sadness.I was glad for the changing of seasons and the new schedule. I wanted permission to say it out loud, “Hallelujah.” So I got permission from myself, and gave the name to my blog thinking maybe someone else needed permission to be real too.

Just as needs and schedules change when kids go to school, my writing schedule and needs have also changed since then. So I’ve been working on something that makes it easier (and prettier!) to blog and share. Namely, a NEW WEBISTE! (Cue the Hallelujah Chorus!)


I’ve renamed the blog Rest & Relief for Ragged Souls because life leaves me feeling a little ragged a lot of the time. I don’t have a lot of expertise in “10 ways to improve anything” or “15 hacks to make life easier,” but I am certain of this: Jesus Christ gives rest and relief for ragged souls.

Sometimes rest is a change of mind. Sometimes relief feels like a laugh. Sometimes both come from taking a fresh look at a familiar Bible story. 

photo courtesy of Nicolas Huk
However it comes, it comes from Jesus, and it is my pleasure to write about it.

So I’m announcing a move, from this corner of the internet to that one. If you’re already subscribed here, you’ll still receive these posts in your inbox, but they may look a little different as they will come from a new email address and mail service.

If you haven’t subscribed but would like to receive these posts in your email inbox, please click HERE and fill out that little form in the right sidebar and click “Sign up!” You’ll get an email asking to confirm your subscription, and after you do…Voila! A little rest and relief in your inbox!

Thank you, friends, for reading and encouraging. You multiply my joy!

See you next time at the new place!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

An Unconventional Valentine


It was what you might call an unconventional valentine. Early and unexpected. The best kind.

It didn’t come with doilies, construction paper, glue or conversation hearts.

There were no chocolates or stuffed animals.

It was delivered to me over a table full of Mexican food as we crammed in dinner between parent teacher conferences and basketball practice.
Artwork by Julie Chen: Get your print here

As it often does, our dinner conversation turned sour, and we landed on the subject of halitosis--bad breath. 

I’m not sure if it was the garlic or the refried beans that brought the topic to the fore, but in any case, the boys began to discuss the perils and hilarity of bad breath—their own and that of others.

They mocked each other about morning breath and other unpleasantries.

And though I was laughing a little inside, I bemoaned the fact that our conversations rarely cover topics that matter, and so frequently digresses into the realm of gross.

Maybe it’s just boys.

Maybe I haven’t been diligent about redirecting or disciplining this kind of dinner conversation.
Maybe both.

In any case, it was the most unlikely time or place to receive a valentine.

But I did.

As the laughter died down about decaying teeth and horrible breath, one of the boys looked at me and said, “Mom, thanks for making us brush our teeth.”

I almost choked on my chips.

I wanted to laugh, cry and shout “Ol
é!”

It may not seem like a big deal. Certainly a different kind of valentine.

And though he would deny it to the death, I’m choosing to believe it was an adolescent-boy's way to say “I love you.”

And I will take that over chocolates any day.