Saturday, January 22, 2011

Holy Ground

The three pictures are: Key, Kelly, and a Rwandan soccer ball.

Someone once talked about walking through a cemetery barefoot so as not to trample upon holy ground. It was a unique spiritual experience, and the person felt a closeness with God, an intimate bond. So one summer while visiting my parents, I took my daily walk through the Maryville College woods. And there at the edge of the trees next to the practice fields is a small cemetery. I took my shoes off, and I walked on the silky, moist grass in silence. And it was spiritual.

My oldest son, Key, suffers from a heightened amount of anxiety on a regular basis. We have learned lots of coping techniques. But what works better than anything is the great outdoors and good old fashioned prayer. Imagine. My eight year old has already figured out that life is easier with Jesus and a healthy dose of fresh air. So now I am a soccer mom carting two little boys all over the state to play in games and tournaments. Key is more relaxed during soccer season, for the most part. The one part that bothers him is the intense competition during tournaments. It is too much for eight year olds. As a parent I struggle between ripping him off the field or telling him to toughen up just a bit. Then, a couple of nights ago out at the soccer fields, I thought about my barefoot walk through the cemetery. I thought about holy ground. If it hadn't been freezing, I would have taken off my shoes. The realization I had is that holy ground is any ground. It is any ground we choose to recognize as part of God's creation. It is any ground that reminds us of Him. For Key, most of the time, these fields of green are holy ground. They are where he gets to run - lots. He runs in the outdoor air for 90 minutes several times a week. He sees his friends and he jumps and laughs and plays as an eight year old boy should. For that little while anxiety goes away. He is the boy God created him to be. So now that I have had this realization, now that I see newly holy in the ordinary, when he goes to tournaments (the one hard part of soccer), I can remind him not to stress, not to try to be perfect, not to worry about what others may think, not to try to be better than others - let all that melt away. I can remind him that he is on holy ground. His holy ground. He is not going out onto that field alone. Shoes on or shoes off, he has the Spirit in him, around him, standing next to him. Shoes on or shoes off, for this little while, fear isn't allowed out there - out on that field. Cause holy ground is holy. It is where for Key, he's free.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Lately we have been trying to figure out what would be best for our kids as far as their education is concerned. We want the best for them in every aspect, but I can only hyper focus and stress irrationally about one subject at a time. My focus used to be housing and therefore incessant watching of HGTV, but I found my dream home, so now I have moved on. And, no, we haven't bought it; we don't have the money. But never to worry, I am still decorating it beautifully and making precious Norman Rockwell memories with my family in that dream home as we speak. Anyway, back to the important concern for today - schooling. I have been obsessing about where my children may go to school. Note that we have not sold our home, not even shown it, so my obsessions are a bit premature. However, I keep imagining someone walking in to buy our house at the not perfect time, which would leave me transferring my children to a new learning environment during a school year. What's more, the learning environments are all getting rezoned in York (where that dream house is located) for the upcoming school year. AND elementary school only goes through 4th grade. My oldest kiddo is currently in 3rd. They instead have two middle schools (5th and 6th, then 7th and 8th) for students to endure before those high school years. I know the big wigs at the local school district have their reasons for all of this, and I know they just built the most awesome HS in the state in York, and I also know they are building a fabulous new elementary school as we speak. But it's just too much change for my little overworked brain to comprehend.

So I have decided to seriously consider homeschooling for our transition to take the pressure off me and the kids. Michael and I have differing opinions about what would be the correct path for our family, but we both agree it could be really good for our older child to have a year of nurturing transition. The initial plan was to move and have me start substitute teaching in their new school. Michael wants to stick to that plan. I prefer to throw all caution to the wind and keep my sweet boys at home with me. Luckily, we are willing to give the decision some time and we are both keeping our minds open. Really. I promise.

The point of all this rambling is this. I am exhausted. I have thought about this issue an unhealthy amount of time. I have become self absorbed - again. I talk to people about me and forget to ask how they are doing. I can't let it go, and it is getting to be too much. And so I have put it up for prayer. I am handing it all over to God. Which is what we are to do always; I just prefer to keep trying my way first.

Philippians 4:4-7 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


My good friend, Janet, drove down from Pennsylvania to visit her peeps. Janet, along with her husband, George, and their three boys, moved to Lititz, PA from Columbia this past July. Their youngest was about ten days old when they moved, and so they brought him back to get baptized. I was thrilled, being that I love baptisms AND I love the Scoutens.

I have to take quiet, deep breaths when they put the holy water on the head, so that I don't cry. I feel silly crying at every baptism, especially if I don't even know the people, but so be it. I can't help getting a bit teary.

When Key was born, we were torn whether to get him baptized in the Episcopal or the Catholic church. I am Episcopal. Michael's Catholic. We went with Catholic for the first kid, and so since I am not Catholic I needed to go meet with the priest. I also decided to take the conversion classes - not to convert - just so I would know what I was agreeing to. Anyway, after meeting with the priest, we filled out some paperwork on our background and who would be the godparents and their background, and so on. A few days later, I stopped by the church's office to leave a donation, being that I am much better at running errands than I am at mailing paper. When the secretary saw the name on my check, she asked me to wait. The priest wanted to talk with me. Turns out, my family's background was questionable. Michael being Catholic and all, was just fine. However, I had named my sister as the godmother, and she was Unitarian at the time. He was concerned, and so he asked if she could honestly state the Nicene Creed, particularly the part about the Trinity. I said I'd be happy to ask her, but what did he suggest I do if she said no? Well, since I had mentioned other siblings, another one might could stand in. How about my closest brother? I explained that he was currently attending a Quaker Church. That didn't work either. What about my oldest brother? Though he lived in Hawaii, he could fill in by proxy. When I mentioned he was Mormon, but he really did love Jesus, there was silence. Then, he very gently informed me that if my sister didn't feel comfortable saying the Nicene Creed, he knew of plenty of parishioners that would gladly step in as godparent for my baby. He had such a kind heart, and he was so sincere, I was touched rather than offended.

I think my mother laughed so hard she cried when I called her up to tell her she had raised unacceptable godparents for my first born.

My father still laughs every time he remembers back to sitting in the pew - not being allowed to take communion - and singing with the choir, "Let us all break bread together on our knees..."

When it was time to get the next kiddo baptized, we had just moved. So we went to the closest Episcopal church this time. Turns out they had just gotten a brand new priest with grand ideas on taking the sacrament of baptism back to the time of the apostles. We loved him, though he was a bit controversial. On the big day, he brought in fresh cut herbs from his own garden and the church's garden, along with his very best clear glass pyrex bowl. The baptismal font was not large enough for what he had planned. I tease, but it was actually incredibly endearing. When it came time to baptize my little Kelly, he covered him in water and then dunked the branches of herbs in the water. At this point he reminded the congregation of their own baptism and confirmation and flung holy water on the congregants using the herbs. My father felt it was too much, being that his prayer book got so drenched he had to lay it out to dry. Any woman wearing silk and caught by surprise was a bit upset. I felt it was quite refreshing.

Anyway, I love that every member of my family, Catholic, Episcopalian, Unitarian, Presbyterian, Mormon, Quaker, or what not, has been sealed. Sealed by the Holy Spirit. I love that the people I stand next to every Sunday, and my friends in PA, have been sealed. Sealed by the Holy Spirit. I love that every time another one is baptized, I think back to my babies, and that my family keeps getting exponentially bigger. I just love it all. And I almost get teary eyed all over again.