Monday, August 8, 2016

"Your Mom Goes to College"

The other day I received an email:

Dear Erika,
We are pleased to report that you have been accepted into the Memoir Writing certificate program. On behalf of the program team, please accept our congratulations.

Despite Royal's reaction to the news that I'm going back to college, "Well that sure makes you sound dumb!" (because "old ladies" only go to college if they're currently uneducated) I'm pretty exciting.

This coming school year I'll only have one student at The Stanley School. While I'm excited about it in some ways (so few dishes, so much quiet time), in other ways I'm feeling a little sad about my babies being all grown up and independent. I've been homeschooling for fifteen years! What will I do next?

I've put a lot of thought into my next phase of life. This is what I've come up with.
First, spend one year of OCD type behavior on my house and then...
Go back to school to become a:
Home organization specialist
Home organization therapist
Social Worker

I've since crossed off OCD house cleaning, teacher, home organization specialist, and social worker.
That left me with Therapist. I started filling out an application for a masters program when half way through I realized, after four years of school and 100K in loans, I'd still likely deep down in my heart want to write a book. I've wanted to write a book since I was twelve.

And so, ten minutes of internet searching later, I found a certificate program at the UW that fit what I was looking for. In one weekend I wrote a cover letter, a resume, and a writing sample- Hello intimidating. This may have used up all my OCD type behavior so good thing I'd already crossed that off my list.

I'm not sure if they take anyone who applies, or if they actually liked what I wrote, but either way I'm in and I'm doing it.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Don't Look Back, but I digress.

As often happens, I wake in the night and have a *profound* thought. The latest was, "Lot's wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt."

Last weekend Harrison was home (he's been living in Poulsbo for the summer), and by chance, Kyle and I each had time with our four birth children. Saturday, I took R and E to a birthday party and Kyle took the four boys to the Wing Dome. That afternoon he confided in me, "I couldn't believe how easy it was to be with those guys. It was fun; like actually great, to hang out with them." "I know," I said. Later that night I took them to see the new Jason Bourne movie (which sucked BTW. I literally laughed out loud several times because it was so stupid, no motivation for the plot but whatever).  Being with my four birth children IS SO EASY.

These are the moments when I look back...
But- Lot's wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt.

And here is where I digress.  I was feeling pretty deep about this looking-back-and-turning-to-salt-middle-of-the-night-profound-vision I had. I decided to refresh my mind and read the story about Lot and his salty wife in the Bible.

Have you ever read Genesis 19? I just did, and by golly; I'll sum it up. Some angel men visited Lot. The men in town demanded that these angels come out to have sex with them. Lot said, "NO! but please, take my virgin daughters and do what you want to them." The angels told Lot to get his family out of town before they destroyed it. Lot argued and whined before he, his wife and daughters agreed to go. On the way, his wife looked back and turned to salt. Later, Lot and his daughters lived in a cave. The girls decided that they needed babies, but Lot- their DAD- was the only man around. They came up with the brilliant plan to get him drunk and sleep with him. The plan was a success and Voila! the Moabites and Ammonites were born.

WHAT? So... I've read this before, and I must have been so horrified that I blocked it from my conscious mind and that's why I only remembered Lot's wife turning to salt. Now I'm thinking, "Why wasn't Lot turned into salt for offering to give his virgin daughters to an angry mob of horny men? Or why did God not turn him to salt when he argued with the ANGELS? What about when he had sex with his own daughters? Am I really suppose to believe he was so drunk that he didn't know what was happening?"

Yet, Lot's wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt. Huh.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Never Not Sore.

This week marks my three year anniversary with Crossfit.

I know people hate hearing about other peoples workouts, especially their Crossfit workouts, but bear with me.

During the past three years I've had several workout related injuries. I had "tennis elbow" for nearly a year, I had an issue with my left hip flexor causing pain during runs and lunges, and most recently the tendon that goes from my left shoulder blade to the base my left ear was strained causing awful headaches.  Adding to this, I was really sore for two years. Yes. Two years. Crossfit has a T-shirt that reads, "Never Not Sore" for a reason.

I've been tempted to give up on several occasions thinking I was ruining my body and imagining my knees blowing out and needing a hip replacement, but I enjoy my workouts so much that I've instead found a great physical therapist. I believe now that Crossfit hasn't caused these injuries, but has revealed my physical weaknesses.

I was thinking the other day that Royal has been his own sort of Crossfit in my life. These Royal Crossfit injuries are not physical but relational and emotional. I was emotionally sore for nearly 5 years. I've wanted to quit, thinking he was the cause of the pain. I've feared what may happen in the future. Fortunately, I've found a great therapist to help wade through the dark waters, and can now honestly say that he has revealed my weaknesses, not caused of them.

Physically, I feel stronger and have begun to push myself to improve in my workouts. Emotionally and mentally I also feel stronger. I wish it were possible to cry uncle and say, "Okay! Lesson learned!" but life doesn't work that way. The book of Isaiah (48:10) says, "Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction."

Yes, affliction. Growth takes pain whether we like it not. Maybe one day I will love this affliction in the same way that I love my Crossfit workouts. Initially I hated getting up at 5am to do ridiculous and painful exercises like 100 burpees, 50 pull ups, and 50 wall balls, but I've grown to love it and I've always loved the feeling that comes after a great workout.  I don't love the day to day conflict and chaos in my relationship with Royal. It's painful. It's relentless. But I do appreciate the spiritual and emotional growth it's allowed me.

Maybe one day I'll be strong enough to be gracious and joyful at ALL times, not just when the sun is shining.

I LOVE looking at muscle selfies- mostly because it cracks me up that this is now acceptable in our culture...
(I may write a follow up about this, but I want to quickly add that I do NOT believe Royal and Ena were put in my life so that I could become a stronger person or have personal growth. No. Yuck. Don't get me started. They were dealt a bad blow and are paying the consequences for things they had no control over and it sucks.)