The quilt I made on Beyonce’s birthday

I overheard that Beyonce turned 33 today, one of the little quilt squares the radio handed me this morning as I was rushing out the door.

Every day I make a quilt from these handouts: worn bits of fabric, the crusts of bread cut from sandwiches, sneezes and spilled popcorn and half-comprehended news bulletins from the radio. I thread them clumsily together throughout the day, grabbing a moment to stitch and form a seam, fumbling through the hallways of academic buildings as the threads come unspooled.

I will try to wind them around the spool later as I sit by the beds of my children; I am held a willing hostage to the Frozen soundtrack, which we cannot let go of–the irony.

I try to add the moment this morning where I stood outside of my son’s classroom, a spectator to him calling his sister, already at the other end of the hall. I grab the square where she turned on her heels and came back and hugged her little brother. Where we could have had loose ends, a gaping hole in the quilt where the hallway meltdown ripped apart our efforts to all have a good morning, our girl busted out one important stitch.

I will patch the part later where our boy told me my stomach was the size of a chicken. I will try not allow that patch to call too much attention to itself, as did our boy when he told me over frozen yogurt, “Well, your tummy IS really BIG.” I will remember how I accepted his apology, just as the other quilt squares will absorb this unwieldy one into the whole.

This is the quilt I will wrap myself in at the end of the day, pondering what Beyonce will do as she begins this new year of life. What kind of silks and imported fibers will she have to work with for her own quilt; how will the couture fitting go and will she wear it better than anyone else?

I am the only one who will see my quilt, who will know the places where I pricked myself trying to bridge all the scattered pieces. I will run my hand over its ripples and edges and shoddy patchwork and I will call it significant, real, mine, beautiful.

bey

P.S. Happy Birthday, Bey.

10 years an #Adventist

Can you find me on the end?

Can you find me on the end?

This week I celebrate ten years as a baptized member of the Adventist church. I do mean celebrate, I don’t just mean mark, commemorate, acknowledge. I take joy in the fact that I joined this church ten years ago. I have never been more sure of anything else in my life. It’s true: I was only sure about marriage and motherhood on the other side of it. When I walked down the aisle in the other direction with my new man; when I held that baby in my arms–that’s when I knew. This is where I am supposed to be. But when it was time to stand up and do the hard work that being a church member (not just a visitor) requires, I was certain. I was walking in confidence and walking in the steadfast Spirit toward this step.

I made the decision to start the process toward baptism when I was 23 years-old. I didn’t really have a steady job, I wasn’t engaged, I didn’t have any family in the church. I had a promise from a friend that this would be a better life for me: a closer, more sober walk. It’s what I needed and I’m so glad I made the decision to get baptized.

This is not to say that it was an easy decision or that the last ten years have been a cakewalk. I have encountered some of the best people in this church: humble givers, servant leaders, courageous thinkers, brave workers. I have also encountered some of the worst of people in the church: conniving, proud, slanderous, gossiping, unfaithful people–and all of those people live in me. I am all of those people. I have been baptized to live an abundant life in Christ and yet I am not always quick to abandon the ugly and selfish that abounds in my own heart.

I now work for the church. I send my children to church schools. My husband counsels people through the church. Sometimes we feel like we live on a compound but I would not change a single detail because we are assured that this is where we are meant to be for such a time as this.

Will we be here in another 10 years? I can’t be sure. I do have some hopes for the next 10 years that are pinned to my heart like a kite–ready to catch air but not quite ready to fly alone.

For now, here is a wish list for my church (which includes me).

10 Wishes for the Seventh-day Adventist Church 
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1. That we would spend more time relishing Scripture than we spend debating our interpretations of it.
2. That we would no longer limit our perception of hospitality as simply “being greeted.” Was the church clean? Was there toilet paper in the bathroom? Were the pews comfortable? Was a good word offered? All those can be marks of hospitality.
3. That we would raise our children to be Christ’s hands and feet.
4. That we would realize that desegregating our church starts with us and that dismantling segregation starts with relationships.
5. That we would not quote Ellen G. White using esoteric abbreviations that no one else understands.
6. That we would realize that all those self-righteous bumper stickers about the sabbath aren’t converting anyone; they just make us look like self-righteous bumper sticker evangelists.
7. That we would be on the front lines of radical service everywhere.
8. That we would not align ourselves with conservative, liberal terms but with Christ Crucified.
9. That we would compensate people fairly, particularly women in ministry.
10. That we would continue to call the sabbath a delight. A delight.

Bathroom Humor

Just to offer our readership a peek into the stall of epiphanies, here is an excerpt from a recent inner monologue:

I really miss the Stall Street Journal. I thought all colleges had flyers and other literature papering their bathrooms. They were so enlightening; they just sort of assaulted us with helpful info. while we tinkled.

Ah, but here, here is something to read. We’ve got a free sleeve of Necessities Courtesy Bags.

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First of all, is that font with that pale blue 1950s bathroom tile color even used anymore? Or only ironically? And is that floral outline universally understood as the official symbol of feminine sanitary needs?

I’m really glad it’s called Necessities courtesy bag. It’s just so clear. You can put whatever it is you call Necessities inside of it. As long it is not heavier than a marble as the seams are rather flimsy, and as long as they have been trademarked, Necessities. Who knew that word was proprietary?

I’m thankful, also, they’ve labeled the bag a courtesy one. I wasn’t sure if I should compensate the invisible bathroom attendant that greeted me with an invisible wave when I entered. Furthermore, the subtext is extremely helpful: FOR YOUR NEEDS AWAY FROM HOME. It is kind of the purveyors of these courtesy bags to recognize that needs do not always strike at home. In fact, I find myself on the needier side whenever I am not at home (just me?)….

Courteous as well is the triple translation of this message. I hate it when I am in a bathroom where the necessities bag directives are not in my first language. I get so doggone confused, comprenez vous? These purveyors really are the most understanding of all. They surmise that needs do not arise exclusively in the home–but sometimes even outside of one’s home country!

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The message on the back of the bag is equally helpful (if, of course, you read English). One might wonder whatever to do with such a helpful bag. Keep as a souvenir? Add to a time capsule? Upcycle as Christmas tree ornament? The possibilities are practically limitless and yet here comes a polite request in Helvetica caps to please dispose of this bag. Presumably when it has courteously fulfilled your necessities. Confusion comes when the materials within might not be recyclable. I trust that disposing of this in a receptacle of my choice will still be pleasing to the good people of Necessities courtesy bags. They’ve already recognized I am not always home or even in my home country, leading me to think that a tagline for this bag in the future might be simply: When a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do….

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