Monday, February 27, 2012

He lives

"He lives, He lives,
Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me
Along life's narrow way.
He lives, He lives,
Salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart."

i was lounging in the bath tub a few moments ago, recapping the week, the weekend and preparing for the upcoming week; when it occurred to me that i have become a "c & e christian."

christmas and easter church services.

this year, we didn't even make it to the christmas eve service. so, i guess that leaves me with the potential to just be an "e christian" this year.

ash wednesday was this week, its the day that marks beginning of the Lenten season for christians. it's a time when many christians fast or give up a daily luxury as a form of penitence. "from dust we came and to dust we shall return." this year, i have decided to give up shame. i say that slightly off the cuff, but also with some deep seeded truth.

i will never forget a very long trip i took to colorado (and you know how i dislike colorado!) the summer after my freshman year of high school. i was embarking on an adventure with young life, headed to frontier ranch. savannah didn't have a young life chapter, but my mother was savvy enough to find a spot for me and alyssa saxton to go. the lone savages, on a long bus trip, without knowing many people. my mom had packed a few things for me to open on my adventure and the first one, was her bible from her trip to frontier ranch 25 years previous to my trip. it was one of the greatest weeks of my life and a large potion of that was due in part to a note my mom stuck in that bible. i don't have it handy, its probably packed up with my roller skates and wedding album, but the note said something to the effect of wishing me to enjoy my experience, to open myself up to God and all of His wondrous possibilities. . . oh. . . AND. . . that you don't have to go to church every sunday to prove that you are a good christian, that Christ lives within our hearts and our actions.

i started this blog with the intent of recording your daily lives and dropping some wisdom on you, and i haven't been doing a very good job lately. if only there were a direct line from my heart and my head to this damn computer, things would be a lot more consistent. any how, i was taking my nightly soak this evening and thinking about how another sunday has come to pass and once again the roth family didn't make it to church. there is something calming about that bath tub and that time i spend with myself. its almost as if it is my sanctuary, because its my time to talk to God. i find myself lost from time to time and i get overwhelmed trying to come up with a proper form of prayer, so i wanted to impart this wisdom on you; God hears you no matter where you are! your dad and i have been praying about something big lately and its been wearing on me. i spent a good thirty minutes in the tub going over all of this with the big man upstairs.

i believe in a God that listens through your heart when you can't quite find the words. a God that forgives. a God that knows your thoughts and believes that your form of prayer is sufficient. of course we can always do more, we can always do better, but in that letter my mom wrote me 20 years ago, she told me to "always keep God at the center of your life and you will always find your way." more than anything- i know this to be true.

we tried out a new church last week, it was fine but lasted longer than i would have liked it to. i didn't necessarily connect with the message as i was wrangling vivian and eleanor was having a great time cooing and giggling at the elderly ladies behind us. i was raised in a disciples of christ church my whole life, baptized with my dad when i was 11 and was faithfully drug out of bed every sunday morning as a teen to attend sunday school and church. i remember the dread of getting up and going in high school. i rarely paid attention and most of the time took my game boy with me and sat up high in the balcony to embarrass my parents a little less. the irony of all of this, is that there is no place like home and when i feel the need to be re centered, i feel like my home church in savannah is the place i ought to go. there is something so very comforting about having that church family that welcomes me, and all of you, with open arms. the usual suspects are always there peppered in with many a new face. i like the predictability of it all and i find it immensely comforting, right down to the out-of-tune choir and the old fashioned hymnals. (for the record, i loathe contemporary church. who would have thought?) i love all the framiliar faces and songs. i love the way one of the stained glass windows is a slightly different shade of blue on the west side. i love the hanging of the greens service, with all the loyal families. i love the way the sanctuary looks and feels when its lit by candle light on christmas eve. and i really love how everyone has a "designated" pew.

it hadn't occurred to me how much of this part of my life is ingrained in me until jack started coming home from preschool (st paul lutheran) and singing songs of praise and i knew all of the words! thank you mrs becky schweizer! i know them all! and not just "jesus loves me" -- i know them all! rejoice! rejoice! it's really fun to join in with him and it makes me so grateful for faith based education since we can't seem to get it together to make it church on sundays.

my favorite part of Easter sunday, is the contest with my brother to see who can call or text each other first and shout "He LIVES! He LIVES!" its a favorite of mine, in those old, red hymn books. its also a nice reminder that He does in fact live. He lives within our hearts, within your hearts and if you always keep him there, everything will be okay.

your dad asked me last week when we left the service if i prayed for anything. it was a strange question for me, because i feel like prayer is a deeply personal thing, but then he followed it up with "its not like you are wishing on a star, you are saying prayer." it has stuck with me all week, that we pray for things, for people and a lot of times it does feel like wishing. but take heed, children, they are so different. prayer is an act of worship through deliberate communication. its like speaking directly to God. through your heart. in the bath tub. where ever, when ever, find the time to do it and be faithful, little ones.

during this lenten season, i am giving up the guilt and embracing new possibility. i am going to rejoice for these gifts bestowed upon me, none greater than the three of you. He does in fact LIVE and i see it in your faces every day.

p.s. on a side note, there is NOTHING worse than a judgemental christian, so please, for the Love of God do not ever turn into that!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

life's a beach

i'm totally a creature of habit and writing in 2012 has not been habitual. i have spent a bazillion hours the last month "slurping" and editing the 2011 blog into a book form. i stare at the screen and click, paste, zoom, re size and transport until my brain hurts. hurts real bad. every time i wrap up for the night i am instantly transported back to my freshman year at northwest, working diligently on wednesday nights to get the newspaper to bed. that was back before computers were efficient and i still spent my time copying off print, rolling it through a wax machine and using an exacto knife to line up my columns. it was during that hellish year that i decided i would much rather be at penny pitchers with my friends and that maybe a life in journalism wasn't for me. after all,  print journalist rarely make that great of money. i mean, come on, a life of hair styling?! now that is where the big bucks are. genius choice.

bringing you up to speed this year:

neko dog turned 7 and your dad and i have both turned 35. i spent daddy's birthday in bed with a sinus infection, but fortunately we had celebrated a few nights before with friends at the capitol grille. my birthday was super bowl sunday which would be super if i were into football. i did however tag along with daddy to clearwater, florida the week of my big birthday. clearwater, happens to be the home of my alma mater, hooters! grandma said she would keep any two of you, so we were forced to pick one of you to come along. since eleanor is our favorite, we chose her. (kidding!) she flew for free and i am still nursing her so it was the logical choice. and she's our favorite.

she slept most of the flights both to and fro and was such a good girl the entire trip! she was the first of you to make it to the beach. we put her little toes in the water and she was most confused about what was going on. she is such a happy and content baby! jack has been to san diego, new orleans and denver. vivian has been to branson. i think we can sufficiently say that the middle child has gotten the shaft. i am only writing this so when the time comes that you are in therapy for all of the awful things i have done to you, this will serve as a record and you can just take this book with you to validate your arguments.

jack left on my birthday and went home with grandma and grandpa to springfield. he is the first of all of us to see the new house! he had a really good time being an only child! mom said the only time he cried was the night before they came home when she told him they were returning to st joe the next day. i missed him, but didn't realize how much until he got home. i spent a little too much time up in your grill and you found it annoying by the end of day two. when i asked what the best part of the trip was, you told me it was the party at the hotel. you all stopped in columbia for a masonic home board meeting for grandpa and had a dinner party. you met a new friend, named emily and had fun with a man named thomas. i asked you who thomas was and you simply replied, "he was the guy in the blue shirt, mom." of course! the guy in the blue shirt! :)

yesterday was valentines day and daddy surprised me with an afternoon massage apt! its one of my favorite vices! he also sent me the most gorgeous flowers- no roses, gerber daisies, tulips and hydrangeas. does he know me or what? then he made dinner plans for us and even had a babysitter scheduled--- all on his own! i was pleasantly surprised at his romantic gestures, as your father is not very good at keeping secrets. he was feeling sentimental, i suppose. eight years ago i sent your daddy a valentine and it was the catalyst that started our entire relationship. i wonder whatever happened to that valentine? and who would have thought it would all lead us to this point? for all of its cliched and mass marketing, its still a lovely sentiment to celebrate valentine's day.

vivian is still going strong in gymnastics, she jumps and tumbles all over the place. swimming lessons are not going so well, as she spends the majority of her time with a death grip on my swimming suit and climbing on top of my head. jack on the other hand, is doing awesome in swimming and is nearly swimming without a life jacket. baby eleanor is rolling over and just about to sit up unassisted. she is named for my favorite beatles song, eleanor rigby, and "rigby" seems to be becoming her nickname. although, vivian thinks its some part of our last name. i hear her in her bed at night saying "eleanor rigby. jack rigby. vivian rigby. mommy rigby. daddy rigby." its going to blow her mind some day when she learns that "bug" isn't really a part of her name.

i have nothing else newsy or interesting left to write about tonight, sorry to disappoint. its business as usual around here; chaos and love! and all you need is love, love is all you need. (but a warm, sandy beach from time to time doesn't hurt!)