Monday, May 30, 2005

the mustang saga

In the ongoing battle of the sexes, I am trying despererately to get my husband to sell his 1983 Mustang Convertible. (I know, doesn't sound too great, huh? especially when you find out it's an automatic!) We are moving in a few weeks (3 hours away) and why take a third car that he only drives a few times a year? And it's not even that special a car anyway! If it were a '67 Mustang - that would be a totally different story. But it's not. I cannot for the life of me figure out why he is so blooming attached to this thing. He had it when we met 17 years ago, and yes, it was a nice looking car back then. But not now. We have two other vehicles we drive. I don't want my kids in Hubby's baby that doesn't even have a roll-bar, but the man does not want to let it go. I'm thinking this must be his version of mid life crisis. He turned 50 about 6 months ago, and seemed to deal with it fairly well (especially when I surprised him with the Boston Terrier puppy he had begged for). He has the puppy (in addition to our 7 year old Golden and 2 cats), he has great kids, and wonderful (!) wife - why hold on to a piece of junk?

The car is actually up for sale, and I do believe we will have it gone before move date - but I can guarantee that I will be hearing about this thing when he is sitting in the old folks' home and hasn't driven in over a year because our son took away his license.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

independent feminist or looking for a sugar daddy?

Some thoughts lately - I have always been a very strong-willed, independent sort of gal. (It seems to be a trait in the females of my family - hope you're reading, Mom.) I seemed to be the only girl making the transition from junior high to high school who didn't fold to the pressure of guys not wanting a "braniac" for a girlfriend. So many of the really smart girls I knew just gave in - they had boyfriends, but they were no longer straight A students. I would look around and wonder where they were. And I gave absolute hell to any boy my senior year who dared suggest I was going to college to get my "m-r-s degree." (I really bristled at the thought of getting married right out of college - but there the man was - what was I supposed to do?)

And my number one pet peeve over the years? Wimps. Particularly male wimps. They make me crazy! If my kids ever want to push my buttons - they just whine and that really does it.

But yet - what is one of my favorite songs from recent years? Who's your daddy? by Toby Keith (no - I by no means agree with his politics - but his fun songs are just really fun and the man is talented and a big, linebacker kind of guy) So many of my strong female friends seem to agree - a strong man who is capable of taking care of us is just so unbelievably attractive. I don't want someone to be patronizing. I enjoy that my husband is proud of my accomplishments and gets a kick out of my tirades over some injustice in the world or any sassy comments. But do I really want to be in charge all the time? Absolutely not! In fact, it gets kind of stressful at times. "Am I the mom of the whole world?!"

So - how is all this balanced out? How do couples mutually relate to each other? And how does a man really be a man - not a wimp and certainly not a bully?

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Jonathan's mom

I am back from my week in DC (really had a great time, and even better once I stopped checking my work email!). I spent the whole week talking about Church History as Family Stories (really far more interesting than you might think). While I was there, my 5th grade son was dealing with a family story of his own. He has been good friends all year with a little boy in his class named Jonathan. Jonathan's mom is about 10 years younger than I am, a single parent, and also has a little 3 year old girl. There is no dad in the picture at all, but I know Jonathan's other relatives help out (the mom works as a third shift waitress at the Waffle House). I first met Jonathan's mom last fall, when she has just completed her third shift, but spent the whole day on a field trip with a bunch of 5th graders. (Those things always exhaust me - but I felt I had no room to complain since I had actually had a full night's sleep the night before.)

Last week, Jonathan's mom was in a very serious car accident. Until a couple days ago, they didn't know if she would make it. It's the end of school - so lots of field trips. Since I was in DC, my mom went with the 5th grade to the Wed morning minor league baseball game (the Tourists - says something about my town!). Jonathan came that day, and was just really having a tough time (understandably). My little boy Caleb and their friend Marquis were trying to talk with him. Jonathan said he wasn't sure if he wanted to live - he thought maybe he might just want to die, too. Caleb told him that things would be fine, and that he would grow up at get married and have kids (this does give me some insight into what my son wants in life). Marquis, apparently very active at one of the black churches in town, asked Jonathan if he had prayed about it. Jonathan said he had never prayed and didn't know how. So - Marquis and Caleb helped him (with Marquis taking the lead). Marquis told Jonathan just to talk to God - so Jonathan said, "Lord! What?!" Marquis told him that was not the level of respect the Lord and Savior deserved, and they were going to do this again.

Now - my mom is the one who has told me all this. She's trying to keep from crying because of this little boy's situation, but she said it was one of the funniest things she'd seen in a while.

So, Marquis gets Jonathan to fold his hands and just tells him what to pray. He tells him to pray for his mom to get better, and that if she doesn't get better, to forgive Jonathan for his sins so that he can be in heaven with her one day. Apparently, all this therapy and coaching as only 5th grade boys can give did help Jonathan feel better.

And I, along with so many others, am so thankful that Jonathan's mom is doing better and will even be able to come home in a few days.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

family stories

Well, I am still in DC for the week for one of my classes with my doctor of ministry program. My dmin is in Spirituality and Story, and the class this week is "Family Stories" - looking at stories of our past as Christians and incorporating those as part of our family history. (And we all know how family stories can be!) Thus - all the Bonhoeffer reading - a very important story teller in our family stories.

Being a bit of a passionate person, I keep wanting to "tell the stories" of the people who have not always had their stories told. Basically - anyone who was not male and not in a power position! I have pretty good classmates who tolerate my passion for these stories quite well.

It does pain me that the church has reflected culture at large in so many ways over the centuries. The stories of the dispossessed, the outsiders, the poor, the unwanted... these stories just get left to the wayside. Part of my mission as a minister is to tell these stories. And the older I get - the louder I want to tell them! There are far too many people in this world without voice. I hope I can in part try to change this.

Well...I have spoken loudly now via the internet for a few minutes. More on stories later!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Funnies from Bonhoeffer...

Still reading through Dietrich Bonhoeffer's letters (and afraid I'm developing something of a crush). Just wanted to share a couple funny things this man wrote while he was in prison. Soon before he was arrested, the never married 36 year old became engaged to 19 year old Maria. (There is even a book with their love letters - heart-wrenching...) Dietrich was writing to his best friend, Eberhard, who was newly married to Dietrich's younger niece. So here are two men in their 30s smitten badly with younger women. Dietrich spent some of his precious letter writing time (and this was one that did not go past the censor) complaining about Maria reading cheezy novels (my words, not his). My first thought was "Sexist older man!" Then I recalled grilling my husband on why he never read any books that weren't written by Coach K...

In another letter to Eberhard, Dietrich is writing about trying to get the most from each day - to enjoy what we can in the present. Remember, this is still a very smitten man who has only seen his fiance for a few hours in a number of months. And he has no idea when he will ever be released. He knows some people only put their thoughts into living in the past, or in the future (as in hoping for heaven one day). He wrote to his newlywed friend, "...for a man in his wife's arms to be hankering after the other world, is, in mild terms, a piece of bad taste..."

Truly hysterical! But also, just so true...

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Still Thinking...

So I am still thinking about Kingdom of Heaven. I have been reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer's letters from prison this week in preparation for next week, when I will be off in DC working on my doctor of ministry. Bonhoeffer is one of my favorite theologians. He was a Protestant pastor in Germany during the time of the Nazis, and actively plotted against Hitler - even to the point of being involved in a plot to assassinate Hitler. Bonhoeffer was not one lightly to undertake murder, because of his Christian beliefs - but he finally came to the conclusion it must be done to stop a very great evil.

I keep thinking about that from the perspective of this movie. At one point, the princess of Jerusalem asks the main hero, "Are you not willing to do a little evil for a much greater good, to save many people?" What a question to ask...

Anyone else read T.H. White's The Once and Future King? One of the main themes is that the end does not justify the means. I have always believed that to be the case. But yet - if I were asked to put my own soul in jeopardy, to commit some evil, to save many other innocents - would that justify my actions? Bonhoeffer has always been a hero for me - he was murdered in prison (after being there 2 years) just before the Allied Liberation - and he was my age. But we have seen so many people take this kind of justification and manipulate and warp it for their own ends - not for the greater good.

Back to the movie - How are we to be people of integrity? How does our faith inform the decisions we make?

Think I need to see the movie again and think some more on this...

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Where is Rio Running?

Thought I would offer a little explanation for Running Rio. Rio is my family name (hate to say maiden name - maiden only seems to remind me of Robin Hood or a really, really loud heavy metal band). Rio is actually French, however close enough to Spanish that it still means River. Yes, rivers do run - and as do most women in my shoes - I am running all the time. Run to work, run to the kids' school, run to the grocery store (can I make it there 4 times this week, or only 3?), run through the house trying to clean, etc., etc.

My last name has actually been hyphenated with my husband's these past 16 and 1/2 years - boy is that another story. My husband, who was the 3rd in the line of male names in his family, told me that he could never hyphenate while his father was alive. The clear implication was that he did not want to offend his dad (and I would not have wanted him to do so), but the dear man did join my husband's long departed mom a number of years ago - and the hyphen never came. It finally came out that darling Andy never had any intention of hyphenating - it was just an excuse to put me off the subject (hoping I would forget, I am sure). When I'm doing marriage counseling, I always tell the young women to do exactly what they want with their name, because they might find themselves complaining about it over 16 years later on the internet!

People in high school, and even college, used to call me Rio all the time. Of course, Duran Duran was quite the band then - and if they were singing about an incredibly sexy, alluring woman named Rio - I was not one to complain and insist on being called by my given name.

I still like being called Rio - even though no one really does it any more. It's more like Mom!, sweetie, preacher, or Amy. But you can call me Rio...