Scholarships and Discipleship
Aug 17th, 2012 by Sonja

As most of you know by now, LightGirl has been playing hockey since she was 12. To say she loves it is an understatement. If more than 7 days go by in a row in which she is not on the ice, she starts to get a little wiggy.

This year she is playing for a competitive travel team (Tier 1). The coach gave a version of the following to the team parents in a meeting back in June:

“We are a competitive team for this area. But there are a lot stronger teams out there. Put it this way … there are approximately 200 D1 (NCAA top level) scholarships for women hockey players. Of those 200, all but 11 of them usually go to Canadian women. The remaining 11 are spread out amongst all US women hockey players. We are going to play hard and practice hard, but if you really think your daughter is a serious candidate for one of those 11 scholarships, you are in the wrong program. “

My husband told me about this the other day as I wasn’t at the meeting. And I thought about it for a while. He’s right about this program … it’s a good one, but there are many others that are out there and girls who are going to go to a top-rated hockey college will be playing for those other programs … not here in Northern Virginia. He will push this team to do their best, but ultimately, any success these girls accomplish will not be here, but will be because of the lessons they’ve learned here … on the ice. And that’s a good thing.

I thought about this for a while and let it percolate as I thought about the church and the damaging, hurtful ideas I see out there being promoted by people who claim the name of Christ.

I thought to myself that it’s extremely unfortunate that the church does not have anyone from the outside that will be heard to say, “If you think you’re special enough to speak judgement into this or that situation, you’re in the wrong program.” You’re in the wrong place to be making statements about God and what S/He wants or will do or … anything. You … We don’t have the knowledge necessary to make those judgements. We don’t have anyone who can intrude on all the righteousness and self-righteousness to say, “Wait a minute. Stop and think about who you are and what needs to happen here.” What are the real measures of success? And are we chasing the wrong rabbit?

On Anger and Gender
Oct 17th, 2009 by Sonja

I’m sitting in the rink on an early, early Saturday morning once again, having driven here with a quiet but not sullen pre-teen next to me.  He was eating a bagel.  The pouring rain and inky, black pre-dawn required most of my concentration, but in the quiet times I’ve had recently I’ve been thinking about anger.  More specifically, how we treat anger and gender.  I had a couple of instances recently that brought it to my attention, one is personal and the other happened to a friend.

First, the friend:  Makeesha writes about her anger here – “I have never felt this much anger – ever – and I don’t know what to do with it. I know anger is a secondary emotion and I can identify the primary emotions but I still feel angry and I still don’t know how to stop feeling angry.”  Go read her whole post so you know what’s driving her anger … I’ve only copied the part that’s pertinent to what I’m writing about here.

I had a recent incident with LightGirl’s hockey team in which I had an inappropriate outburst at her new (male) teammates for treating her poorly.  She has a couple of guys on the team who are making life miserable for a lot of kids, but they are using her gender to make life miserable for her and that is steaming me up.  I lost my temper after a recent practice and … well … let’s just leave the details out of it, but the boys in question just laughed.  And, to be fair, I bet I was pretty funny looking.  We talked it through with her coach and it’s being worked out.  But that’s not the point of all this.

I began to specifically think about women and anger.  I don’t think women are supposed to be angry in our culture.  We’re considered either funny or unacceptable in some way when we get angry.  When men get angry, they are frightening and taken seriously. Women are … something else.

The other thing that I’ve been tossing around both in my mind and in conversation (with LightGirl) is the idea that we should “stop feeling” anger (as Mak puts it).  That anger is an emotion to get rid of.  What if it’s an emotion that is to signal that something is wrong (which it is) and it is to give us energy to change that wrong or walk through the wrong (if we can’t change it)?  I wonder a lot about our culture’s desire to ameliorate negative emotions so that we don’t feel sadness or anger or pain for too long.

Which brings me to a quote I heard on a new drama on NBC called “Mercy.”  The main character is being convinced against her will to get marital and PTSD counseling by some friends.  They are giving her all the standard advice about why she should talk about her feelings and her response?  “I like my feelings all pushed down and compressed.  That way they pop out at random and inappropriate moments.”   This is not the way we should live, but it’s the way most of us do live despite all that we know about how to be emotionally healthy individuals or communities.  No one likes to see a sad face or someone with angry eyebrows, so we put on masks for the outside world.  Women in particular are very good at this … and we’re expected to be.  We’re expected to smooth the waters for the family, for any given mixed gender group we are a part of, and when we do not the labels that are attached to us are not complimentary.  To say the least.

So I have not come to any conclusions; I still have questions and wonderings about what role anger should play in our lives.  Should we embrace it?  Sit with it longer and see what it will tell us about ourselves and what we need to do?  Without allowing it to control us (that is).  Do you see things differently than I?  Are women treated the same as men in anger?  Or are they treated differently?  What are your thoughts about all of this?  I’d love to hear them …

What Has Been Going On?
Jul 11th, 2009 by Sonja

Where on earth have I been?

Right where I usually am.  My digs in Virginia.  I could say I’ve been busy and that would be true.  I could also say I’ve been dry and that would be true.  I could also say I’ve been processing some stuff and that would be true too.  So a lot of stuff’s been going on and it’s made for not much writing.  Some of that means that I’m getting more and more frustrated with myself, so that’s coming to an end … maybe.  I’ve got some ideas that I’ve started on and I want to flesh out.  Hopefully I’ll be able to do that.  For now though, here’s what’s been happening in the LightHouse over the past couple of months … well, some of the highlights anyway.

LightGirl’s U16 Girls hockey team finished their season 2nd in their league.  They went to an end of season tournament and played up a step in terms of the level of teams they’d faced all season.  They lost every game, but played hard and learned a lot about where they want to go next year.   They played three games in one day; these were 16 hard playing tired hockey girls at the end of the day.

I think she had a weekend off and then Spring Season began.  She played on co-ed intramural team and had a ball.  There was another goalie on the team so she had someone to share goaltending duties with, and two other girls that were her friends.  I’ve never met a coach who put less stress on his players while still managing to teach them and lead them.  He was really good with those kids.  I have to say … he made a terrible club president, but an excellent coach.

In the middle of that she had tryouts for the 2009-2010 Travel Season.

From the moment LightGirl thought about playing hockey, she’s wanted to play on a boy’s team.  Last spring she tried out as a skater for the appropriately aged boy’s team and missed it because she was afraid to play defense (she’d never played it before).  This year she tried out as a goalie for the U16Midgets.  That is the Midget team that are Under 16 years old.  Boys.  One day I’ll do a post on the nonsensical names for age classifications in hockey.  There were five goalies vying for four positions.  Two of the five were girls.  Another (different) two were wicked good.  It was a high stress weekend that brought on a minor (very minor) replay of pancreatitis for me.

LightBoy also decided that he would try out for a travel team.  His age group is known as the Pee Wees.  Between the two of them … LightGirl trying out for the Girls and the Midgets and LightBoy trying out for the Pee Wees … I believe they had a total of 13 ice times that weekend.  Did I mention it was Mother’s Day weekend?  I spent Mother’s day at the rink and received a soggy rose for my efforts.

By the end of the day on Sunday I could feel the familiar twinge in my upper abdomen that signaled my pancreas was not happy with something.  Fortunately, I know how to handle this now and instead of four days in the hospital I changed my diet and took it easy for a few days.

LightGirl was invited to join the U16Midget Minor team that Sunday night.  And we were left to wonder what the heck that meant.  It wasn’t long before we found out.  The club had a large number of players in her birth year (who will be first year players in that age classification … in other words they can play for two years as a U16 team) and a slightly smaller number in the year ahead of her; enough that they could field two teams.  One is a mix of both years; the other is just her birth year.  She is on the latter.  The club has been waiting to field a team that is year specific.  So it will be interesting to see how they do.

This raised some issues in our house.  LightGirl has played with the same girls for three years now and made some great friends.  It’s a close team.  The parents know each other fairly well; we do spend quite a fair amount of time together, afterall.

It was a hard decision in some ways and others a no-brainer, but LightGirl decided to play with the boys for the coming season.  So this summer has been about that transition.  Discovering who her new teammates are.  Off ice conditioning so that she can keep up with the boys.  And the emotional fall out of leaving her friends behind.

In the meantime, LightBoy has discovered a certain talent for marksmanship and computer programming.  So even while he is working his hockey skills, he’s also learning archery, guns and is building computer games using a program called Scratch.   He’s also decided that he wants to take on Linux this year, so he’ll be figuring that out along the way.  Twelve is an awkward age for boys, in particular.

He’s also been very interested in paintball and airsoft.  He has a lot of equipment and goes out with his friends to both official fields and backyards on missions.  They spend alot of time plotting, planning and strategizing.  He has also engineered at least one new gun for airsoft out of pvc and other parts including duct tape.  Yes, it does work.

I have been working with two friends (one of which is BlazingEwe) to start a new business.  Quilting, of course.  We have a website and we’re taking it slow.  We’ve sold two quilts on commission thus far.  It’s probably not a great time, economically speaking to start a quilting business.  Oh well … Our business is called Needle In Peace and that link will take you to our website.  Once there you can get to our Flickr site and see many of our quilts.

I also discovered back in March that my thyroid is failing.  This seems to be a family trait as my father, his sister and my brother all have the problem as well.  My primary care physician was attempting to handle this, but I’d prefer to see an endocrinologist who knows all the signs and symptoms as well as all the blood tests to look at.  So I have that appointment scheduled when we return from Vermont as I’m still not feeling quite well.

So … there you have it, in a very large nutshell.  Where I’ve been and what’s been going on.  More to come soon.

Kinda Big Day
Feb 22nd, 2009 by Sonja

LightGirl In Goal

UPDATE – Sunday morning … still in Richmond.  The girls won yesterday.  They played so hard and well.  LightGirl had a shutout … she didn’t let one shot past her.   This morning we play the championship game at 9:10.  This time we’re playing a team we’ve beaten three times this season.  And we’re the only team to have beaten them.  So it will be interesting to see how this game goes.

We’re hitting the road around noon today.   It’s kind of a big day here at the LightHouse and in several other homes of friends.

LightGirl’s hockey team is headed for the playoffs in her league.  This is LightGirl’s third season as a hockey player and her first in net.  It’s also her first season that has ended with a spot in playoffs for her team.

So we’re hoping and praying for a good game.  A game in which all of our girls play their best.  Would we like to win?  You betcha.  But after knowing most of these girls for three years now, I think it’s not really important.  What’s important is that they win the game that’s in their minds.  The one that tells them they aren’t quite good enough when the going gets rough.  So my hope and prayer on this day is that they will play their best game and leave the rink with that sure knowledge of having given it their all.  And it was enough.  The numbers on the score board won’t matter then.  The gleam in their eyes will tell the tale.  The bounce in their step will say, “I gave my best game for myself and my team.  And I’m proud of that.”

If you happen to think of LightGirl and her teammates today between 3:30 and 6 Eastern time, it wouldn’t hurt to say a prayer or think good thoughts about them and their best game and their self-confidence.  That they would remember who they are and what they know; warrior princesses of the ice battling over a bit of hard rubber.  :)  We’ll have fun, do well and leave happy.

I’m Not Dead Yet
Feb 20th, 2009 by Sonja

I'm not dead yet ...

Wow … I took a little blog vacation there.  I didn’t mean to.  In fact, my writing has really suffered for the last few months.  I think I’ve finally found out why.

I was beginning to think I was going to have to say a fond farewell and just turn my back on this place I’ve called home for the past few years.  The thought was breaking my heart.  So I just wasn’t doing anything at all.  But I didn’t have anything to write either.  And well … let me tell you the story.

In some ways it starts with my dad.  But if I tell you that part now, I’ll be giving away the ending.  I’ll just say that there is an autoimmune disorder that runs in my family and leave you hanging with that for the moment.

In other ways it also starts about sixteen or seventeen years ago as well when one of my doctors noticed that something was enlarged.  It was mysterious, there was no genesis for this.  And, apparently nothing to worry about; no tumors or growths.  It was just enlarged.  So we waited and watched.  Then a few years ago it shrank back.

And then this also starts with my fall off the cliff three years ago.  As it turns out depression and panic attacks are markers of this malady I am currently dealing with.  So what is it?

Well … here’s the story.  Around the time of the Inaugural Ball (for which I still owe you photos, although there are not many), I got a low grade infection/irritation in my nether regions.  It was not a big deal and something I’ve dealt with many, many times in my adult life.  I did not go to the doctor for several weeks as I was trying to heal on my own.  It didn’t work.  Went to the doctor.  He prescribed a round of antibiotics.  But it wasn’t long enough.  So they called in another round of antibiotics.

Through all of this I was just exhausted.  I can’t even begin to describe how very tired I was all.  the.  time.  I would fall asleep in my chair around 8 every evening and do nothing all day.    I was so cold all the time.  And gaining weight just looking at food.

I felt as though I was not shaking the low grade infection even on the second round of antibiotics.  So I went back to the doctor.  To my actual doctor this time, not just anyone in the practice.  At some point in the past month, I’d had blood work done.  Lo and behold … my thyroid is beginning to quit.  This explains almost everything.

It explains why I can’t hold a train of thought long enough to write.  Or even read.

Why my hair has been falling out in handfuls for three years.

Why, although my panic has been controlled, we can’t get it to go away completely.

Same for the depression.

Why (as my brother with the same issue said) I can’t walk by sandwich without gaining three pounds.

Why I can’t stay awake past 8 in the evening.

And several other things that I can’t remember right now.  I’ve joined my family’s dysfunctional thyroid club (with my father and my brother).   So my doctor put me on synthetic thyroid hormone.  Things are beginning to clear up for me.

I’m doing some research and will continue to do so on what the best form of treatment for this is.  I know that tweaking the hormone replacement can takes months or even years.  But it’s do-able.  For the first time in a long time I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I might even find me there.  That is good.

On A Mission
Nov 13th, 2008 by Sonja

Or maybe two or three.

I made a decision last year sometime.  I don’t remember when it was.  But I remembered it this year and I had time to make good on it.  The decision was that I would make our Christmas gifts for extended family members.  I think the decision began sometime around “Make Something Day,” but by then it was too late for me.  Especially since I had 35 people in my house that day.  And it took me … uh … weeks to recuperate.

This year is different.  We’re not having a big, ornate Thanksgiving.  The day after LightHusband is taking the LightKids to go play paintball with one of his compatriots at work.  Most importantly, we are not painting the house all autumn.  On the other hand … this means that the house is all wrecky.  And making me slightly insane.

So I have spent the last several days pouring through tutorial websites, blogs and magazines finding cool things to make for my nieces, nephews, siblings, in-laws, out-laws, etc.   There was a condition though.  I had to have most, if not all, of the materials on hand for the project.  And it has to be fairly simple.  In other words, these gifts have to be made out of stuff I already have and not take too much time or energy.  There will be a few things I have to purchase (like some plastic mesh to make a fabric garage & doll house).  But for the most part, I will be able to make these gifts with stuff I already have.

Then I spent an inordinate amount of time organizing myself.  Making lists of what I would make and in what order.  I’m using Evernote to keep track of all the websites and people/gift recipients, and I’m using Things to keep track of the when and how.   If you’re also interested in making your gifts this year, start with Sew Mama Sew.  It’s a group blog and they’re doing gift tutorials every day this month that link to other blogs, which (of course, branch out to others.  For even more inspiration, they did this last year, so if you click on “November 2007” you get even more ideas.  Everyday they have gift ideas centered on a particular theme (such as teachers, or books or cold weather) with tutorials, gifts to buy that are handmade, patterns to buy and then homemade food recipes (like homemade marshmallows! yum!).

Mission number two involves the hockey team (what else?).  We’re traveling out of state about 12 days before Christmas to play a couple of games.  This involves a hotel stay.  I usually organize some activity while we’re in the hotel to prevent large groups of young women from roaming the corridors in the evening teeheeing and making too much noise for the other guests.  The girls don’t seem to understand that no one else wants to hear them.  So for this trip I’m organizing dinner out and then a Christmas party back at the hotel.  I thought it would be a good idea (based on some discussions last year) if the Christmas party were to involve some sort of charitable activity/donation to a local shelter.  So I have to call them this morning and find out what we might be able to do for them in that situation.  That’s just an extra wrinkle in my planning/organizing.  I’ve found a bunch of fun games for the tween/teen set that can be played in a hotel setting.  We’ll be having fun.

Mission number three is to return to my old tradition of making plum pudding this year.  I use my Welsh great, great grandmother’s recipe handed down to me by my grandmother.  I dropped it for a couple of years because I was having such a difficult time finding suet, among other things.  But I think I can find it again this year.  So I’ll be making my plum puddings in a couple of weeks.  Ready to go for Christmas dinner.  YUM!!

UPDATE:  Eureka!  I found the suet at a small local butcher shop about 7 miles out of town.  When giving directions, the man told it was next to some antique shops and he said, “But you have to spend more here than on antiques,” in a gravelly southern accent.  I cheerfully assured him I’d rather have some good beef than an antique (never mentioning that this close to DC they’re likely to be overpriced junk in any case).  I’m going to pick it up this afternoon.  And dig out my grandmother’s recipe to get the rest of the ingredients this weekend.

In all, though, my missions seem to be taking me away from the computer.  In addition, I’m trying to do more reading and I have some quilts that are slowly being pieced as well.  So if you don’t see me very much around here, don’t worry.  I’m still here.  Just trying to be faithful to my missions and get them accomplished.  You’ll prob’ly see more of me in the New Year.  As I stay off the roads while LightGirl learns to drive!!!

Dear Sarah
Sep 8th, 2008 by Sonja

Unbelievable.  I scarcely know where to begin.  I should be glad, you see, that a woman is running for Vice President.  I want to support you.  You are, after all, a woman.  You are my age.  You have children the age of my children.  We even share the same moniker … Hockey Mom.  We are both Hockey Moms.  I’ll bet you even managed your kid’s team, the way I do.  Well, then again, maybe not the way I do, but we’ll get to that later.

Here’s the deal.  I can’t support you.  You don’t even know me, so this won’t matter at all to you.  But that’s okay.  I’m just using this letter format as a cute form within which to express my ideas.

There was very little chance that I would have ever voted for your ticket in the first place because of your running mate’s slavish adherence to the disastrous war in Iraq.  But I was hoping that Senator McCain would choose someone with experience, strength, wisdom and stability to bring to the ticket that I could give serious consideration to.  Instead, we are presented with … um … well … you.  You represent none of those things.  You may have that facade, but you  are like the movie set of a fictitious western Gold Rush town … all fizz and no bang.

Your candidacy is offensive to me and many other women.  It is patently obvious that it is an attempt to manipulate us into voting for someone we may not otherwise vote for, simply because you have breasts and ovaries.  I did not vote for Hillary Clinton on that basis and I won’t vote for you on that basis either.  I don’t know who is making the decisions in the Republican party, but it is insulting and offensive that they think so little of women voters.  Most of us would rather see a person in office who is carrying out decisions that we are interested in, than someone who looks like us.  As a woman, I am offended.

Your candidacy is offensive to me as a historian.  You seem to have no sense of the office or of your place in history.  Several months ago you candidly admitted you do not know what the Vice President does.  Yet, here you are putting your family on the line and in the spotlight for what can only be seen as personal gain, if you have no understanding of the office.  The office of president and vice president should never be sought for personal gain … read what George Washington had to say on this matter.  Or John Adams.  Or Abraham Lincoln.  Or John Kennedy.  Or even Ronald Reagan.  I would suggest, dear Sarah, that you take some time to study the difference between being smart and being wise.  It takes very little to be smart, most anyone can do it; especially if one has a good speech writer and the chutzpah to deliver as you seem to.  But it takes some time and study and dedication to become wise.  This is what we need in the Vice Presidency, wisdom.  You are smart, and you proved at the convention that you can be a smartass, but you are not wise.  As a historian, I am offended.

Your candidacy is offensive to me as a citizen and as a political watchwoman.  From looking at your history in government, you seem to have little sense that the primary role of a mayor, or a governor or a Vice President is to be a civil servant; with emphasis on the word servant.  This hearkens back to your lack of understanding of history, Sarah.  My guess is that you eschewed history classes as an undergraduate and just partied.  Here is a very short course.  What seems ubiquitous and unremarkable in 2008, was radical and unorthodox in 1776.  It was this … that the nature of government is to serve the needs of the people rather than the reverse.  It was this unlikely sentiment that got Thomas Paine, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, George Washington, and all of our other founding fathers into such hot water with England.  You seem to have forgotten that ideal and believe that being in government is to serve the needs of those in government.  Hence, you left your tiny town of Wasilla in state of outlandish debt, you clearly have no idea how to run the state of Alaska (evidenced by the line item vetos which make little sense) and I shudder to think what would happen if you were given the keys to office of the Vice Presidency.  As a citizen, I am offended.

Your candidacy is offensive to me as a Christian.   You understand so little of what our government is intended to be that I scarcely know where to begin.  But I’ll begin with scripture, Sarah.  With the Gospel of John and your acceptance speech.  In the Gospel of John chapter 13, we find Jesus saying this, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  My dear Sarah, as a Christian and disciple of Jesus Christ, would you please point me to the place in Scripture where Jesus is shown making fun of people for their choice of citizen action?  Where He makes jests at the expense of another person for any reason?  I’ve studied the Scriptures fairly intently and I can’t find it anywhere.  But I will acknowledge that I may have missed something.  I would also like to bring the following to your attention:  the two Great Commandments as Jesus spoke of them in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 22 ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  In what fashion may it be considered loving of your neighbor, to call him a racial epithet?  How is it loving the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your  mind, to stand before a convention hall filled people and lead them chants the way you did the other night?  In many ways that you might not have forseen you have become an icon for the Christian way in this country.  You must bear that mantle with wisdom and respect.  Or we will see more articles written like this:

Democrats are not the enemy of course, but even if they are, I saw no expressions of Christian love for them.  I saw plenty of sarcasm, put-downs, mocking, and bitterness.  Palin mocked Obama’s decision to serve others as a community organizer.  Giuliani, a very wealthy and cosmopolitan man himself, made fun of Democratic elites.  I heard misleading statements and flat-out lies.  Palin falsely suggested that Obama wants to read a captured Bin Laden his rights–of course, this is preposterous and Obama has never said this, but it didn’t stop Palin from spreading misinformation.  On a more mundane level, she also suggested she had sold an expensive government plane on eBay–it didn’t actually sell on eBay, but McCain is now falsely claiming that it did sell on eBay–at a profit (also not true).  Of course, McCain is no stickler when it comes to the facts–he falsely claimed in his own speech that Obama will raise your taxes, leaving out the important caveat that 95% of Americans get tax cuts under Obama’s plan.  Mike Huckabee fired off a zinger about Palin winning more votes in her mayoral election than Biden garnered as a presidential candidate.  Sounds great–unfortunately, it’s a lie.  I am no theologian, but I vaguely remember there being a commandment inveighing against this kind of thing.

With follow on comments such as this:

 Try to make a list of 5 great things that religion has done to significantly increase the happiness and well-being of humanity. Now make a list of 10 terrible atrocities that have been committed in the name of religion. Which list was easier to make? The Republicans suddenly make a lot more sense if you stop assuming Christianity has anything to do with love. Christianity is nothing more than the sum of the actions of all Christians. (emphasis mine)

Dear Sarah, remember that little bit I dragged out of the gospel of John … they will know us by our love.  I don’t care what you want, or what you think, or what you love.  You are vastly unimportant to me, because I do not know you at all.  Except for this.  I do know that for millions of people now, you represent Jesus.  What kind of Jesus will you be?   Getting laughs, applause, and/or votes by telling lies (no matter how small), and belittling others is unacceptable for those who claim Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.   Thus far, as a Christian, I am offended.

So, we come to the end of this small exercise.  To say I am disappointed in your selection as the Republican vice presidential candidate would be a gross understatement.  I am offended by the misogyny and manipulation that the Republican National Committee is attempting with your selection.  I am terrified by the betrayal of our historic national values that is at stake.   We are indeed at a turning point in the history of our country; I wonder how many people really understand this.  How many will look back and say, “I wish I had …?”

Respectfully yours, Sonja

Girls’ Got Game
Jun 15th, 2008 by Sonja

Happy Father’s Day.

It’s one that will surely survive in our collective memory as a family.

It began early; as in 5:30 a.m. One last early rink time for the season. We all went. LightBoy’s game was on one sheet at 7:20; LightGirl’s on the other at 7:30. I ran through the golden arches for a delicious, nutritious breakfast. Yum. LightBoy lost. LightGirl tied. But none of that is memorable.

LightGirl has had a crush on a teammate for a while now. About a week ago she got some intel which suggested that he was more LightBoy’s age. This was completely embarassing. Humiliating. Horrifying. In her words, she felt like a pedophile. Ewweth. This morning before the game I discovered she had bad intel. Her crush was her age. I passed this information along after the game.

So what do you think she did? Well, what would you do? Given that you definitely wouldn’t be seeing the guy again til September and maybe not very much even then.

Has she ever been on a date? No.

Has she ever had a boyfriend? No.

Has she ever been in any kind of relationship of any sort other than friends with a boy? No.

Has she ever spoken more than say fifteen words in a row to this kid? Uhhh … no.

So, of course, it goes without saying … ask him out. Ask him, where? Just … you know … out. On a date. Sometimes the mom is stoo-pid.

It’s helpful too, to have a friend by your side who will act as your voice when you and the guy stand there staring at each other. So, her friend did the actual, you know, asking. She said, “So … LightGirl wants to know if you’d go to the movies or something?” He said, “Sure.” and they both stood there and looked at each other … stunned. So GirlFriend spoke up again and said, “Now it would be good if you exchanged phone numbers.” So they did that too.

Then she came flying around the corner to tell me all about it. Grinning from ear to ear.

She spent the next half an hour texting him. Now she is firmly, giddily ensconced on the phone and computer with her peeps giggling and reliving the event. Imagining what will come next. And ad finitum. It is quintessential adolescence.

And just like that LightHusband and I have crossed a rubicon. It came upon us and we were across it before we even realized that it was there. I never even heard the echo of my feet on wood as the footsteps bounced back from water.

We are lucky, I suppose. She’s very confident. The young man in question is kind, upright, and a decent hockey player. We now have decisions of heavy consequence to make. Where should they go? What should they do? Now that the question has been asked and answered, will the “date” actually even take place?

On another hand, our fortunes run much deeper than that. Our definition of what is quintessentially adolescent is light and air. It involves words like, “giddy” and “peeps.” She will (Lord willin’ an’ the creek don’t rise) complete her secondary education and go on to get a college level education of some sort. There are many, many parents in the 2/3’s world who never even begin to think these words, never mind associate them with children in their family. Yet most families in our world … our 1/3 world, that is the industrialized, civilized, mechanized, and importantly educated, world do have the opportunity to associate words like, “giddy” and “adolescence” and “grin” and “date” and “secondary education” and “college education” with our daughters. Not only do we have that opportunity, we make the assumption that it is the right and natural course of things.

Maslow's Hierarchy of NeedsAccording to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs being secure in our bodily needs allows us to become more secure with our friendships, family and relational intimacy. This in turn builds self-esteem, confidence, etc. It makes sense in a way. One cannot build relational intimacy, when one is deeply hungry for days and months on end. Or living in a place where the water is not reliable. It is simply not feasible. So most Westerner’s (we of the 1/3’s world) would tend to think of education as necessary yet expendable. After all, an education will not build security. It will not fill stomachs or healthily hydrate starving bodies. It will not keep peace among warring neighbors.

Or … will it?

What we are coming to find now is that the key to world peace might just be …

… our daughters. Our collective daughters. The brown ones, and tan ones and yellow ones and pink ones. It’s not that they need to rule the world. Far from it. They just need an education. It is having an education that gives them self-esteem and self-esteem begets relational intimacy which then allows for safety and security and then they can help their families fill their stomachs and hydrate their bodies. It seems that Maslow works for us, but it may just be upside down in other parts of the world.

Give these girls some time … time to be giddy and grow up. Time to learn. Time to be girls, then time to be women. Time to read. Time to calculate. Time to have a date or maybe two. Time to giggle. Time to achieve. Time to gain confidence in their righteous state as children of the Creator. Time to earn respect. Time to bestow respect. They need our time, so that they may have a little more time. And in so doing it is our collective daughters who may just change the world … one village at a time.

Stayin’ Alive
May 22nd, 2008 by Sonja

I’m still here. I’m still alive. I don’t know what’s been going on in my head lately, but the well seems to be dry for the time being. I do have some things percolating, but the bubbles are moving slowly and gas seems to be on low.

What little writing energy I have has been going into exchanges with old youth group kids. They’re all grown up now, but we’re re-connecting on FaceBook and having some good conversations. Some of those have gotten sorta deep and required some thinking and processing on my part … and on theirs.

I’m also trying to finish up the school year with my kids, continue on with managing the hockey team through some choppy waters and dream about new adventures in quilting with some friends. I’m still around, and things will continue to arrive here, but I won’t make any promises about reliability in the near future.

I’ve got some reviews to post in the near future and some thoughts … and some photos of recent field trips.  So stuff is on it’s way soon, I just need to realign myself with some things.  Restructure my time and go home and rethink my life.  Or something like that.  😉

All Things Crash Together For Good
May 5th, 2008 by Sonja

Sometimes things crash together in my life. They make a big messy pile and I stand to one side looking at the pile and wonder about it. The smoke and debris rise, then settle. I may cough a time or two. I often get fairly emotional and wave my arms in the air a lot. Then I get to dig through the rubble to find out what is there. What I can recycle out of the mess.

It’s happening right now. In seemingly unrelated sphere’s of my life similar events are crashing, raising dust and debris.

We had a meeting last Wednesday evening to wrap up last season and look forward to next for my daughter’s hockey team. It was a two hour meeting. For the first hour and a half the TravelTeamDirector told us parents about how the club is in trouble. Nationally youth hockey is growing at about 3% per year and girls hockey is growing at about 10-12% per year, but our club is not seeing those growth rates. We are stagnant or declining. Hmmmm. He asked for our help over and over and over again. Talked about how much the Executive Board valued including parents. Talked about how necessary we are to the health and well-being of the club. Then he brought up the last item on his list (not on the published agenda, btw). Next year’s HeadCoach. The Board would like to install a man who’s daughter is supposed to move up to the next level because of her age. But they would like to apply for a waiver for her to continue to “play down” on our team. There is only one problem with this. It makes our team ineligible for league playoffs and tournaments because we are playing with an athlete who is too old. So, in essence, we are playing “for the fun of it.” It takes all the competitiveness out of it.

Several of us expressed our lack of support for this plan in no uncertain terms. We were ignored. Our very real concerns for the long term effects this would have on our girls team and program were ignored. The fact that a proposal of this nature would never, ever in a million years be presented to a boys team (else the presenters be laughed out of the room) was dismissed out of hand.

I’ve known for some time that to play girls hockey in this club is a backwater team. Parents of female athletes are not known by other parents in the same fashion that parents of male athletes are. As in any organization, it’s “who ya know.”

I’ve continued to process this information and at the same time out in the corners of the blogosphere that I frequent there has been a renewed discussion about how male-centric the church in general is and whether or not it should change. If the emerging stream is changing that and how is it doing that. Jenell Paris wrote Cacklings From an Emerging Crone and Grace wrote When “Sorry” Isn’t Enough. You can also find some excellent words on power sharing by Makeesha here and here and Change, Power, Access by Rose Madrid-Swetman. I think Kathy Escobar may have started it all with Auntie Kathy, Are You Sure It’s Not Wrong For You To Be A Pastor? in which she shares e-mail exchanges with her 14 year old niece about her call to be a pastor and her passion for equality:

you see, the “we don’t really value your voice” message goes far beyond just whether or not women preach or teach. it’s the subtle ways women don’t have equal power, leadership, value, or voice, where entire generations of misogyny are built upon a few passages of scripture and the liberating message of Jesus gets lost. i am well aware many women have no desire to be a loudmouth like me. but i know they are strong and powerful in different ways and won’t get the chance to step into it ”unless it directly benefits the system somehow and it will only be to a point that the men in power feel comfortable with.” women will stay in churches year after year after year after year that subtly or even directly keeps them stuck, limited. …..

Jesus is a restorer, a rebuilder, a redeemer. but i believe sometimes we need to actively participate in his redemption. to me, i think it requires speaking out with more than just words against the subtle and direct ways we are silencing and devaluing 1/2 of the population. please, God, redeem this mess we’ve made.

You see among many things, I’m an observer of patterns. I watch the way people behave and see patterns. Sometimes it’s in individual relationships, sometimes it’s in larger group dynamics. Among the patterns I’ve observed is that power acts like drug on the mind. Exercise it and it will grab more of your mind, like endorphins. Power over others makes us feel … um … powerful in the moment. How it was used and whether or not we are mentally healthy will later determine our sense of dis-ease with a misuse of power.

One of my favorite scenes in a movie ever, is the scene in Pretty Woman when Julia Roberts has come back to the hotel without any new clothes because none of the Rodeo Drive boutiques will serve her. So Richard Gere took her back to one, flashed his cash or credit cards (I forget which) and said, “We require a lot of sucking up.” When the manager of store started to fawn all over him, Richard re-directed the guy to Julia very dismissively. It’s hilarious and so overdone. And yet. That is the economics of all relationships … overdone, overexposed, gross in it’s ineptitude. We all require sucking up and we all suck up to each other on some level or another. In our marriages we love each other, so we suck up to each other as a natural consequence of that love. The payback is not financial, it’s emotional. In our friendships (depending on the level of friendship) a similar thing occurs. Once the circle moves out to acquaintances, sports/team relationships, business relationships and church relationships the transaction is more ritualized and the sucking up is more apparent. The hierarchy is more transparent as well.

So, the question is does power belong in a church in the first place? We talk about it belonging to the men, or being shared or being given up to women? But … does it even belong in a church in the first place? We talk about hierarchy, power and all the trappings as if they belong … creating assumptions that are not necessarily true. When I read the Gospels, I see a Jesus who questioned those assumptions and lived outside of them. He did not participate in the sucking up transactions. He did not participate in the hierarchy. He put aside all use of power, though all the power in the universe was at his disposal. What does the church do?

We look like a mirror image of my daughter’s hockey team. Somehow … I thought we were supposed to be different.

UPDATE: As I follow the ongoing conversation at Jenell Paris’ place this comment was made by Lara and it provides a beautiful picture of what equality in the church could look like and it is dramatically different from the dog-eat-dog equality we see in the rest of the world.

Biblical equality is not really about leadership, once we get down to the nitty-gritty. It requires a complete revisiting of the idea of leadership. We reject the worldly views of leadership and recognize that everything in the church is really about service. We are all servants, we are all to sacrifice for one another, none of us is to lift ourselves over the other. Instead of viewing Biblical equality as an efort for women to climb to the top, it is better to see it as all of us becoming more humble and willing to serve one another.

That leads me to the other point. Because Biblical equality is really about submission instead of leadership, nobody has to tell egalitarian women to submit. We already do, as do our beloved egalitarian brothers and our traditionalist sisters. The people who really have major issues with submitting to others are traditionalist men who believe that the sexual hierarchy exempts them from the clear Scriptural command to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

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