Tally Marks

“Because I’ve made too many mistakes.”

This was the raw response that fell from my child’s lips earlier this week. Sin had reared its ugly head in our relationship and the requisite consequences followed suit. Tears fell. The whole relational exchange was very normal (perhaps less than desirable, but normal)… up until that point. Listening as my child walked away, I overheard a disconcerting, caustic cluster of negative self-talk.  Read more

Grace Day

It comes every year on May 30th.

My husband’s birthday. I usually plan months in advance, thinking of ways to surprise and bless him, to honor him on the day of his birth. I look forward to celebrating, eager to shower him with affection and anxious for him to unwrap his gifts.

Birthday cake made from favorite candy and toilet paper rolls -- a nod to a marriage-long inside joke.

But he doesn’t share my enthusiasm. For almost as long as we’ve been married, I observe a reluctance to mark the occasion. A cloud-like malaise and general agitation sets in at least a week before his birthday and lingers for days afterwards. It doesn’t seem to correlate specifically with the number of his years; I noted this pattern before he even hit 30.

Instead, it seems to have everything to do with achievement. The passage of another year seems to be an implicit yardstick for how much he has accomplished in his lifetime. Each May 30th measures out not just the number of days and years that have elapsed but rather how much he believes he should have done by now.  Read more

Striving or Sitting: Dollars, Pounds and Resolutions

Like many of you, I’ve been reflecting on the last year and setting my sights on the next, waxing philosophical about my life and how I can improve it and myself. Through resolve. Are any of these common new year’s resolutions on your mind?

Weigh less. Exercise more. Eat better.

Work less. Work harder. Achieve more.

Spend less. Pay off debt. Save more.

Some of them are on my list, too. And I love lists. To wrangle the chaos of life into neatly bulletized lineups gives me the perceived control that evades me in reality.
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