Tag Archives: children

burnt burger buns

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They are a large part of what made me so grateful for the evening.

It was also fun that the three-year old kept asking about the “toast” in the oven. It’s not fun when the car breaks down, when questions linger in the air about bills and responsibilities and logistics. It’s not fun when things feel like they are spinning faster and faster and if one thing goes they’ll all go most likely. And normally a day like today closing out with burning burger buns would not be fun at all. But burnt burger buns and a three-year old asking about toast while the “adults” spill out their own worries and concerns and forget to notice the toast in the oven that will soon sandwich the burger beams helpful.

The laughs oozing from simultaneous exhaustion and relief over the dinner table are also part of what made me grateful for the evening. They were present not because it’s all figured out, not because things are resolved, not because the car is fixed, the bills are paid and the plates are stacked rather than spinning. But fun instead because after a three-year old prays, his tiny, waited-for and prayed-for face now here in the room with us hovering over those burnt burger buns he tried to tell us about, there are people sitting around the table eating, laughing, worrying and living forward. And doing it together in one way or another. It makes the day worth a toast again.

The burgers were delicious, by the way.
But it was the burnt buns that will make me remember to give thanks and pause for good moments and great friends.

djordan
Pine Tree

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don’t miss out

don't-miss-out

“Don’t miss out,” she said.
She was trying to get her two younger twin sisters arranged
In the laundry room before they came
dancing out to the music.

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I think I know exactly what is happening.
what means what
what is and isn’t important
what is and isn’t valuable
what is and isn’t worthwhile
what is and isn’t clearly meaningful when
push comes to shove
and kingdom math is done.

and so I do my best to
be involved in the things that
bring honor
and respect
and value
and power
and validity
to the pursuit of the
kingdom come on earth as in heaven.

but I find out–
more often than not–
that I had no idea what actually matters
what actually counts
what God is actually looking for
what moments are actually worth holding on to
as if we are holding on to life itself
because perhaps we actually are

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I heard her say,
wearing her dancing tutu as if
that’s what we always wear on a Tuesday night

“Don’t miss out!”

She yelled it in a kind of panicked voice,
as if it happens when we don’t know it is happening,
and if we don’t participate right then
the chance will vanish forever.
And she was telling the truth, of course,
as children often do.

“Don’t miss out,” she said
to her younger twin sisters, both in leotards
before they danced to whatever kind of music I could find on my iPhone.
And then they moved gracefully and childishly
from the flung open closet doors into the den
dancing to whatever music I offered for dancing.

And the room was filled with the promise
that we are all figuring this out
slowly and surely
when we don’t know what to do
and we don’t know how to do it
but we know that there is something
we can’t live life without
and it has to do with us dancing
in our leotards on a Tuesday night

because the Kingdom of Heaven is made clear
over dinner
on Tuesday nights
when we have no idea what on earth is happening
but we know, as if our lives depend on it,
that we can’t miss out.

So we have nothing left to say except
“Amen.”

djordan
Pine Tree Dr.

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worried about big legos

worried-about-big-legos

During a week filled with worries about class schedules, family illness, nonprofit fundraisers, big decisions, and tax nightmares, I found myself most concerned Wednesday afternoon about whether or not I would have a chance in the “intergalactic battle” being created at my feet with enormous legos.

I needed to type out a quick note for his grandmother on letterhead before our session was over, and I asked him if he preferred I do it at the beginning or the end. He said he would start building his army while I typed the letter, and then I could build mine, and then the war.

Halfway through the paragraph-long letter, I caught myself looking down at my feet and thinking, “How am I going to beat him? He’s built a fortress around his robots, and he has soldiers lining the wall on the inside and outside! I need to get finished with this letter so I have a chance at all!”

He was talking the entire time I was typing, which was adding to my stress. “You know I’m going to beat you, Donald. This wall is impenetrable. And these robots can break through all of your walls. Are you getting scared yet, Donald?”

And I WAS getting scared. I found myself trying to type faster so I could get to work on my own fortress and walls and robots.

So for about fifty minutes on Wednesday afternoon, I was laying on the floor in my office with an incredibly brave nine-year-old, who recently found his mother dead in her bed and called the police, worried about whether I had enough mega blocks to make an army big enough to contend with his.

I didn’t, of course. He won, not that I was trying to go easy on him; I wanted to win, but he beat me. We began to talk about his planning, his bravery, his skill, his initiative. These were all the things which led him to beating me in our intergalactic war on the bamboo rug in my office.  There were all the things which also led him to cope in miraculous and hope-affirming ways with the loss of his mother and a world turned upside down.

And it would be his lesson in these things which made me consider my class schedule, family illness, nonprofit fundraisers, big decisions and tax nightmares with the eyes of a nine-year-old who is much braver and stronger than I.

Every conversation is  privilege with answers waiting to be found by all involved. If it doesn’t feel that way, our arrogance is leading.

djordan
Pine Tree

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all the implications

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This video has been on my brain since I first saw in when it came out a few days ago on February 19.

Yes, it’s about bullying, but it’s about a great deal more.

It’s about the impact of little things.
It’s about our own assumptions under which we bury others.
It’s about how art is redemptive and makes beauty of tragedy.
It’s about shared stories that crash into shared reality after being hidden for so long.
It’s about all the implications of all the things we find ourselves doing, thinking, saying, being,
both horrendously good and remarkably evil.
It’s about the bothness in all of us.
Our Cain and our Abel.
It’s about telling the truth.

This is good. You wont regret the time.

djordan
Summar Dr.

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he measured time in houses

When asked how long ago something happened, he said, “three houses ago.”

We were both laying on the floor of my therapy office, playing with cardboard boxes painted to look like bricks. Recently adopted into the “last house” he was placed in, at around ten years old, he’s in trouble here and there for stealing and lying.

I’m always amazed at how conversations are hijacked by the problems, and both parent and child never notice that the problem begins to run the show and determine who the child is and who the child will be. Most of the time, the therapist is fooled as well.

Trying to see how we could stack the cardboard bricks in ways that would almost crash down, but stay standing, it was his answer that snapped me out of my haze. It was his answer to a simple question that made me realize I had been thinking about him as a child who is a sometimes thief and liar, rather than as a child who, after his parents were caught and incarcerated for drugs, has moved so many times to so many different foster homes, it has become a reliable method of time-telling.

Me: “When did you last see your mom?”
Him: “Three houses ago.”

The session ended soon after, with block stacking and rearranging happening as I was realizing how off-track I’ve been in working with him. The only other words spoken once he answered “three houses ago,” were one last exchange between the two of us before our time was up.

Me: “Do you know I think you’re a pretty strong dude?”
Him: “No.”
Me: “Well, I think you’re a pretty strong dude. Can we discover together next time what it is that makes you so strong?”
Him: “That would be cool.”
Me: “I think so too.”

 

djordan
Nashville

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from the archives | a little help from his friends

 

 

In reflecting on the upcoming one-year anniversary of mosthopeful.com on August 23, I’m throwing some of the posts that readers have looked at the most back into the mix. Thanks for allowing me the space. It’s been a most humbling experience.

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View the original post and comments from April 2, 2012

a little help from his friends | guest post by Rayna Bomar

 

rayna bomar guest posts

This is the first guest post here on mosthopeful.com, and I couldn’t be more convinced of its appropriateness. Hugh and Rayna Bomar have become friends of mine these last few years, and their ongoing journey of remembering their son Sam has had an impact in my own life. I hope you glean from Rayna’s words about what has helped and what has not helped as she has been on her own very personal journey with grief. 

In August 2009, as my son Sam started his senior year of high school, I happened upon an essay by a woman named Mimi Swartz entitled “Empty Nest: In a Week He’ll Be Gone – And I Can’t Stand It.”  Her son, also named Sam, was leaving for college a year before my Sam would leave, and I read her words to prepare for what, I thought, I would be experiencing the following August. And, the following August, I did share some of the life changes described by Swartz – dinner for three became dinner for two, my schedule no longer revolved around the school calendar, and the “mundane rituals of child rearing,” just as Swartz had predicted, were gone.  But my role as a mother changed for a reason not anticipated. My Sam didn’t leave for college. Instead, he died on May 4, 2010, ten days before graduation.

There are many things that I could say about the past almost 23 months, but what I would like to do now is share some of the ways that others have helped us get through those months – and a few things that have hindered us.

My husband Hugh and I quickly realized that all grief is personal. What you have experienced losing a loved one, even a child, is not the same as what I have experienced losing Sam. My experience is not the same as Hugh’s experience. Therefore, things that I mention that have helped (or hindered) us may not help (or hinder) you.  I am an expert only about my own grief.

We have been most touched by the kindnesses that have been shown by Sam’s friends. We are in awe of the young men and women who are so naturally compassionate and who have put aside their own grief to help us with ours. They have taken us out to eat on Mothers’ Day and Fathers’ Day, visited on holidays, designed t-shirts and bumper stickers in Sam’s memory, mowed our yard, shared stories about Sam (what we love the most), written letters and sent cards, laughed with us and cried with us, helped with chores, preserved Sam’s spot in the high school parking lot, invited us to their celebrations- I could go on and on.  We are greeted with open arms and a hug. Sometimes we get more than one hug. They tell us that they love us. They share their lives with us and allow us to be part of their future. Their actions are drops of water on parched ground.

What they don’t do is, perhaps, more important. They don’t tell us that it’s almost two years since the accident and it’s time to “move on.” They don’t give us any advice.  They understand that our world changed when Sam died and that we will never be the same. They don’t expect us to be the same because they will never be the same after losing their friend. They don’t try to “fix” us. They don’t make any demands on us. If we feel like a visit, that’s great. If we don’t, they understand, and they don’t take it personally.

Maybe because of their relatively young ages (late teens to early twenties) they don’t have any preconceived ideas about how we should act or feel. Therefore, they don’t think they know what’s best for us, and they don’t try to impose their own feelings on us or try to dictate what is appropriate behavior.

Instead of trying to make us be who they think we should be, they already know who we are. We are Sam’s parents, and we always will be. That’s good enough for them, and it’s good enough for us.

“Death ends a life, not a relationship.” Robert Benchley.

One of the upcoming ways you can join the Bomars in remembering Sam is by attending the 3rd annual Sam Bomar Night at the Jackson Generals. Half of each ticket pre-ordered with the promo codeSamBomar goes to the Sam Bomar Scholarship FundClick HERE to learn more, and to buy tickets for the event on June 23.  

For other most hopeful posts on grief, loss, trauma and resilience, CLICK HERE.

 

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a world lives in you

It’s surprising, really
the way it rattles the ribcage
and then leaps into the lungs.
missing.
missing and needing.
especially on days like today
the missing and needing arrive
when face to face again.
the miles and miles made it easier
to forget the ways they make up my world
to forget that it was them who began to teach me
who I was
who I was not
what the world could be
what the world actually was
how the kingdom insists on bursting through
how the kingdom waits to be released.

but today, this morning
on the edge of the literal sunrise
on the bumpy, muddy roads
on the way to school
when seeing your faces
and hearing your giggles
and feeling your faces
the way we feel faces when it has been so long

I was reminded that you are a part of me as I carry you inside me

and the only words are thank you
thank you to the kiddos who keep growing
growing in their shrinking sandals
growing in their brilliant brains
growing in my heart as they expand my world
expanding the spaces inside me that
had closed in a little too tightly.

And all is well once again.
And the world grows bigger once again.
And the kingdom protests once again.

djordan
León, Nicaragua

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invitation

INVITATION

If you are a dreamer, come in,
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic-bean-buyer . . .
If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin.
Come in!
Come in!

+ Shell Silverstein, from “Where the Sidewalk Ends” pg 9 

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real-life fiction | the weekly mash | 5.5.2012

This week’s mash ended up being a kind of theme around the parts, pictures and issues of the real world that seem like they are straight out of a storybook. Whether novel-informed architecture, children’s hopes come to life, or mushroom photography that looks like the setting of any number of fantasy books, here’s the weekly mash. Enjoy, and add your own links to other mashable real-world story articles below!

The Drawing Hope Project | inspirefirst.com

children's photos brought to life by photographers“The idea is very simple – take drawings done by young children who live with a health condition and turn them into photographs, using themselves, their families, their dog – whatever happens to be in their drawing – it could be Superman, an 84 legged octopus flying in the sky or a field of rainbow coloured sunflowers. The magic is in taking their imagination and turning it into reality, supporting the belief that anything is possible.”

(Legal) Mushrooms up Close | naldzgraphics.net
S
traight from the real-world, these up close photographs immediately make me think I’m flipping the pages of an imagination-driven children’s book. Real life looks computer-generated in these shots.

10 Buildings Inspired by Books | flavorwire.com
10 book-inspired architectural designs
These ten buildings were inspired by everything from The Hobbit to The Castle to Moby Dick. Alice in Wonderland is of course included as well. I would live in the castle based on Lichtenstein if I had to.

One Night of Supermoonlight | rt.comThe supermoon of may 5, 2012Even though these photos are from the “supermoon” on May 5, they look like they are straight out of the sequel to E.T. no doubt.

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Hope you enjoyed the mash. Know of any other links where the blur between real-life and fiction is perfectly indistinguishable? Post them below!

djordan
Pine Tree

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rise up

We were sitting around a table spread with pads, pens and leftovers a few feet off of Beale Street in Memphis. We had a two-day staff retreat for Area Relief Ministries, and we were closing up our time together with some overarching reflections on our different ministry areas, what we were seeing and feeling, and where we wanted to go in the days ahead.

Having been through the National Civil Rights Museum together, a staff of half women and half men, half black and half white, we were reflecting on our own experiences and those of the people we serve every day at ARM.  One of our staffers, Vakendall, started talk-praying in a kind of musical tone that he often speaks in; what came out of his mouth has been lingering in my head since then.

In reference to the photos and pictures throughout the Civil Rights Museum of men and women standing up to oppression, racism and violence with a kind of sharp meekness seldom see, Kendall asked, “Who told them they were somebody?”

As I think of the people who walk through the doors at Area Relief, the kids who show up at The HUB Club for tutoring and mentoring in the afternoon, the clients that sit in my office at Pathways fighting bravely against all shades of mental illness, I am now wondering who is telling them they are somebody.

Churches often get swallowed up in the business of deciding who is and who is not…somebody.

There seems to be a task at hand, a responsibility and a privilege bundled up together the moment eye contact is made with another. Just as we hope to be bearers of a holy image, we feel a call to look another in the eyes, reach down deeply, and speak of their somebodyness.

The people not in those photos at the Civil Rights Museum were likely their teachers, neighbors, postal carriers––maybe if we are lucky, even their pastors––the women and men who made it clear over and over again that they were somebodies. People who were made to be kings and queens, even if nothing else in the world at that moment suggests that is anywhere near the truth.

I’ll be more satisfied if I ever end up not being the person who speaks at the pedestal for the world to hear, but rather the one who told him or her that she was somebody.

djordan
Pine Tree

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