Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sunday Thoughts: Clothes, College, Cats, Calling, Church

Once again, some Sunday evening thoughts.

1. I sewed a new dress for the Valentines dinner the church youth group put on.  It was a vintagey cotton print that I bought in Thailand and I thought it looked Valentinesy as well.

After I posted a picture on Facebook, someone asked for particulars on the dress.

So today I posed in it, after Jenny yanked and adjusted.  She also said, "Now pose like a fashion blogger."

"Hmmm.  What would Shelley do?"

So I did this, and you can now set your mind at ease if you feared that I was going into fashion blogging any time soon.

But it was fun.  And the dress was fun to make and wear.

It's a very basic princess-seamed, no-waist dress.  So it looks better with a belt.

Jenny said, "It's cute.  I would actually wear something like that."

I was amazed, as we had a little. . . um. . .fight. . . tempest in a teapot. . . tiff. . . spat?? about that very subject this week.

She is playing volleyball on the school team and is thoroughly dedicated to improving herself, from "running lines" as her coach orders to doing the exercises Steven tells her to do to pinning volleyball pointers on Pinterest.

And she needed new volleyball shoes.  We went through this with Steven too, back in the day, when he "needed" a different pair of athletic shoes for basketball, running, football, practice, the high jump, and a youth group softball game.

But she finally convinced me so, ok, fine, if she'd pay for part of them.  And we found a cute pair on

Not long after, my old garage-sale tennis shoes were not only flopping at the sole but painfully pinching my second toe.

So I also went to PayLess and looked for a pair of shoes that came in 8-wide and weren't zebra striped or hot pink.

I ordered them.

I showed Jenny what I ordered.

They were exactly like hers.

The horror, People.  The travesty.  The violation of all proper boundaries.

And the complete mystification on my part.

I still don't know if it was because they were no longer unique, or because it was her mom who would have a pair like hers.

The next day, we loved each other again and worked out a solution that involved me exchanging the shoes but her doing the work involved.

And then today she says she'd wear a dress like mine.

There is much I don't understand, but I feel flattered.  A bit fragile as well, but still flattered.

2.  Steven was just accepted into the firefighter program at Chemeketa Community College in Salem.  I think it's a two-year course.  Which means that every one of our kids is in some form of school.

Matt is working toward a Master's in aerospace engineering at the University of Maryland (while still working for the Navy.)

Amy is studying Thai.

Emily is at the U of O [regon not hio or klahoma] studying communications.

Ben is at OSU [Oregon again] studying engineering.

Steven will soon be at Chemeketa.

And Jenny is in high school.

Paul is teaching.

Which leaves me, feeling just a bit left out.

3.  A mean cat showed up this evening and attacked Raven, the black kitty that Steven rescued from the warehouse and who still has "nervous abused child" written all over her face despite the love and food it's gotten since, and the snuggling in the sunshine with the other cats.

The three other cats, who have been doted on since babyhood, and who have security, laziness, entitlement, and languid self-confidence written all over their faces--they were left alone.

Which made us wonder.  You know how human predators pick on the abused and insecure, even long after the abuse is past?  It's infuriating.  Do cats--or maybe all mammals--have that same terrible instinct for picking out an easy victim, and making those who have already suffered too much suffer still more?

Emily brought Raven inside, because we all need to protect the ones who aren't strong enough to protect themselves.

4.  This morning at 7:00 I talked to Amy on Skype, that magic program that lets you sit in your office in your jammies and see your daughter in Thailand with your own eyes.  Yes, she looks happy, and not too thin, and her bruises from her bike mishap are healing.

And then your mom-soul feels full and satisfied and you thank God fervently.

I've been listening to John Schmidt and his German songs, including the Auswanderlieder, or immigration songs, that people used to sing to the departing family when they left for America, in my best German transliterating--

Nah Freunde, brillet net so sehr
Mir sehne nanner nieme mehr.

"Now friends, don't cry so much.  We won't see each other again."

Which is kind of contradictory if you ask me.

Terrible words, really.  Imagine how poor and miserable you'd have to be to uproot and take off in a gamble for a better life, knowing you'd never see your friends and family again.

Meanwhile, I really like Skype.

5.  I've never understood people who are horrified and distraught when someone leaves their church and goes to a different one.

I mean, yes, you miss people who leave.  And sometimes their life trajectory makes you nervous.

But. Churches have personalities and just as not everyone would want to be married to a bookish introvert or a back-slapping basketball player, not everyone fits in well at one particular congregation.

The important thing is that they find a solid, Jesus-loving church that works for them, and get involved.

That's what I think.

I have heard all about Leaving For All the Wrong Reasons and Going Down the Liberal Road and My Daughter Who Left Because She Didn't Want Anyone Telling Her What to Do.

Certainly there are times to be upset.

But think about it.

I remember attending a church where it was pretty much a sin to leave.  It was almost like escaping a cult, where if you didn't want to be brought before the elders and reduced to shame and tears, you had to sneak off in the night, just about.

Why would anyone stay there for any reason besides fear, which is a terrible basis for church membership?

I think if people know they are free to leave, they will feel more free to stay.

Quote of the Day on 3/14/15
Emily: So I've just had this conundrum all day.  Is Pi Day really at 9:26, since it's Daylight Savings Time?  I mean, should it be 8:26 or something since we're on fake time?
Ben: It's not a celestial event!  It's entirely man-made!


  1. I always enjoy hearing your thoughts. And just so you know, I regularly borrowed my mom's clothes and vice versa when I was a teenager. We would often come out of the dressing room at a store wearing the same thing. I don't know if that made my mom super-hip or me frumpy, but I always liked it. :-)

  2. Thank you for the update on what your children are doing. Interestingly, it was only a day or so ago that I found myself wondering about them--how Amy is getting along in Thailand, and what the latest news is in the others' lives. We occasionally drive by the Chemeketa campus in Salem, so I will think of Steven next time we go that route. What a wonderful blessing they are to you! But I hope those feelings of being left out are only fleeting. The role you have played in all of their lives is central, and even as young adults, they still need you!

  3. Nice Post again! I think you hit the nail on the head, with the church thing!

  4. You said about church what I have come to believe after a long and painful journey. I also believe that God sometimes leads us to different churches for seasons in our life, for reasons maybe only HE understands at the time so it's not wise for me to be ugly about where someone is going to church! At least they are going! And always if I am concerned, praying is a safe option. ;-)

  5. A Sister in Christ3/16/2015 6:01 PM

    Hi Dorcas, I've just recently started following your blog over the past few months, and I really enjoy your honesty and humor and encouragement. I actually started reading through your old posts because I like your blog so much. May I ask you a question? I don't understand what you mean in #5 on your latest post about people leaving the church.. Because being a part of a church is like being a part of a family, right? The family of God. It's not like deciding to try a different restaurant or shop at a different store. I think it's terribly sad when people leave my church. I see where they end up months or years down the road, and it's so sad. Most of them don't even go to any church anymore, or if they do, you'd never know it by how they live. I'd hate to make light of it like it's no big deal. Because I think it grieves the Lord when people turn and walk away. Inevitably, they give "spiritual" reasons, but in the end, it's kind of obvious that they want to live for themselves and the world. Well, that's my experience anyway. If someone doesn't want to serve the Lord with the people of God one church, will they really be able (or willing) to do so in another church? We all have the same truth, love the same Lord, and do the same work. So, I hope you don't mind my asking, but wouldn't it be a pretty serious decision to make to leave your church to go to another one? I confess that I'd never want to forsake my church family and the commitment I've made to the Lord and to them for a better fit. I'm not always happy with everyone because they have their faults (nearly as many as I do...), but we love one another enough to work through them.
    I really do like your blog! But I was kind of wondering about this...

  6. To the Sister in Christ:
    I think you have valid points, and of course there are people who leave for unwise reasons. Maybe my experience has been different from yours, but I've known a number of young people who changed and it turned out to be a good and wise thing. Sometimes a young person just needs a new start. Or a different church uses their gifts a lot better. Or geographically it works better. No church can do everything well. Some meet the needs of college kids better than others, some are better for families with small children, some better for the elderly. I think the many gifts/one body applies to congregations, not just individuals. I am glad not everyone is just like me and not every church is just like ours. But you are allowed to disagree with all this!

  7. Wonderful, fun, insightful, and delightful words. Just like always. Thank you!

  8. I always so enjoy your posts...things to chuckle about, things to think about... Thank you.
    Skype is also a good "friend" here at our house--four kids, four continents!! we make good use of it.
    Sue R.

  9. A Sister in Christ3/17/2015 10:02 AM

    Thank you, Dorcas, for your response to my concerns about people leaving churches. I've left a church before to attend a different one, so I'm of course not saying I don't think it's ever a good thing. I do. For the right reasons with the right attitude. But I liked hearing your perspective on it as well because we don't all have the same experiences. And it's helpful to listen to other people so I don't get too high an opinion of my own. Thank you for your insight :)

  10. I once had a cat that hated our big dog. But when hubby would wrestle the dog, and have the dog pinned on his back on the floor, suddenly from out of nowhere the cat would appear, biting and smacking at the dogs hind quarters. The dog of course was never smaller or weaker than her (a 90 lb dog v. a 7 lb cat) but even she recognized his moments of weakness and vulnerability. And took advantage of them.

  11. I love Skype too! Our daughter is in Korea serving as a linguist in the Air Force. It is so fun to see and hear her at the same time. I'm old enough to remember rotary dial telephones and prohibitive long distance rates. Oh what a day of miracles we live in. I thank God each day for the miracles of technology.

  12. Your daughter sounds just like my nieces - ha, ha. I've never been much into fashion and often don't know what the difference is/should be between teenagers and the middle-aged. Of course some things are obvious, but sometimes they look at me in disbelief to think I would even consider they would wear such an "old lady" outfit. Then other times they'll like exactly what I like. I don't remember thinking much about my clothes growing up, but I the youth are exposed to a lot more now through the Internet/TV/etc. than I was many years ago. I hope Raven's doing better!

  13. Ive fallen behind on my blog reading, and am catching up today. Wanted to make a comment on Changing Churches. I have changed churches several times, mostly because of moves. Churches, classrooms, families and people all have personalities. As a substitute teacher, I see it most in schools, but searching for a church when moving to a new city has shown me personalities also. The longer I live on this earth the more circumstances I find myself in and the different church I need. When my children were young, the children's programs were more important than it is now that my kids are in their 30s!
    I love your insights and smile at the growing relationship between you and Jenny