Motherhood Confession… tooth fairy edition

I have a confession…

(Did you just start seeing Usher in your head? If yes, we can be friends)

I digress. I have a confession… tooth fairy edition. 

I am the tooth fairy…

…in my house, I’ve been given this title. Perhaps this title was given to me by the assistant to the tooth fairy, also known as my husband. My children do not know this, but I’m going to blow my cover sooner than later. Want to know how I know? Because it’s almost happened already. 
[Also, Why is this even a thing? Teeth falling out? A fairy creeping in your house? ]

So what happened was…

My oldest lost a tooth. It was during pandemic times (which it still kind of is, right?), which meant my brain was fried and my memory is shh…sugar…it. I helped my daughter leave out her note for the bone collector tooth fairy. I then proceeded to forget all about what comes next. I went to bed and I slept soundly(ish). 
[Do parents ever sleep soundly? There is a constant risk of being woken up by womb gremlins, worrying over your children, and other such concerns.]

I awoke to a disappointed child…

The next morning I had a little girl confused and disappointed that the tooth fairy had not made her visit, taking a tooth, and replacing it with a gold Sacajawea dollar coin. I quickly made some excuse about why the fairy didn’t come, blaming an unclean room or some such. This led to a tidy room and a little girl ready to give this magical creature another chance. 

The next morning wasn’t much better…

Sadly, the assistant to the tooth fairy is a complete slacker and routinely falls short. They failed at their one task. Ensuring the tooth was collected and a coin left in its place. As if one mistake wasn’t bad enough, a second is almost unforgivable. So what happened next? A certain female parent went and placed a coin in an obscure spot and found it miraculously. The dismayed child was pleased with the discovery of funds but displeased that their tooth was left behind. 
[I am not entirely certain of the going rate for teeth. I’ve heard some fairies give big bills, some toys, and maybe some are giving Disney Trips. This fairy is too cheap. We have a roll of gold dollar coins as tooth money.]

What do we do with this forgotten tooth?

Leave it for the bone collector fairy to come by (again) to pick it up. I’ve heard the fairy tried to go to bed without making their final stop, but did manage to collect their forgotten tooth.
[I admittedly felt terrible about my forgetfulness, but I will fully own that I am an okayish mom.]

Did the tooth fairy learn anything?

Maybe? Maybe not? Did their spouse? You better believe it. They stayed on top of things and kept the fairy on task to ensure the job was done. Here’s hoping this continues. There are many more teeth to be lost, and another child left to lose teeth in our house. 
[God help me. Why are there so many teeth to be exchanged for currency?!]

the wonder of motherhood

little eyes staring up

minds filled with wonder

their lips overflow with questions

their ears cannot hear “I don’t know”

mom has all the answers

until she doesn’t

the day comes when she knows nothing

the wonder of motherhood

one day you know it all

the next you know nothing

but isn’t that every day of motherhood?

I’m a p…..?!

The question we all get asked…

What do you do?

For some of us it’s super easy to answer.

For some of us we pause knowing the reaction to your job can go a few different ways.

Then there’s me, who’s still not sure how to answer. You could also call it disbelief.

I’m a p……

Huh? I’m this thing that I thought I was never going to be. I’m this thing I tried to withdraw from the process of doing. I’m doing this job I’ve not (yet) been ordained to do.

I’m an associate pastor elect (the official term) for Christian Education and Discipleship. If all goes according to plan, I’ll be ordained one week into the new year. I am still in disbelief.

I’m the one who’s tried on many occasions to run from my calling. I’ve believed there are plenty of reasons why God shouldn’t want me as a pastor, yet Gods work in my life doesn’t depend upon just me. There are so many people who have been instrumental in my call to ministry and continue to nurture and guide me. There are also the newer people in my life who sustain me and keep me going in my new role. And each day, I wake up incredibly grateful for where God has called me to serve today.

What we do can feel like such a loaded question.

As a woman in ministry, this feels especially so.
Some do not have positive associations with the church or those in ministry.
Will I be on the receiving end of someone’s animosity against the church?
Will someone have issue with the fact that I am a woman in ministry?

While I could walk around worrying, I’ll hold onto the words of affirmation, gratitude, that affirm I am where I a should be. I will also hold with care the words of the women in my congregation who are grateful for a woman’s voice among the clergy in leadership. I work with two other great pastors, who are gifted in what they do, affirm and encourage me in what I do, and I’m so thankful to call them my colleagues.

Yes, I’m proud to say I’m a pastor, and cannot wait until I’m officially ordained as a minister in Presbyterian Church (USA).

As Presbyterians, we like to do things decently and in order.

To become a pastor there are things you must do. Here are some of those things I’ve had to do:

  • Become an inquire with your home church after 6 months of membership
    (☑️ November 2007 at Three Chopt Presbyterian Church)
  • Be accepted by the CPM as an inquirer
    (☑️ November 2007)
  • Complete a parish internship
    (☑️ August 2008 at Three Chopt Presbyterian Church)
  • Complete a non-parish internship
    (☑️ May 2009 at Virginia Commonwealth University)
  • You must graduate from seminary
    (☑️ May 2009 from Union Presbyterian Seminary)
  • Be accepted by the CPM as a candidate and the presbytery
    (☑️ October 2009)
  • Pass 5 ordination exams on Bible Content, Exegesis, Polity, Theology, and Worship & Sacraments
    (☑️ completed in 2009)
  • Complete a unit of CPE
    (☑️ May 2010)
  • Be certified ready to receive a call by your presbytery’s CPM
    (☑️ October 2020)
  • Find a call, aka a job in ministry
    (☑️ August 2021)
  • Be examined and approved by the presbytery where you will be ordained

In October, I preached before 1/3 of the presbytery, two months after my examination by the COM (committee on ministry) examinations committee. The final step in the ordination process is finally complete.

Could these steps have been completed faster? Absolutely.
Would I be the same person in ministry if I had rushed through them? Absolutely not.

Now I have a service of ordination and installation to finalize and a commission to to have approved by the Presbytery of the James (hopefully today). Theses services are slated for just after Epiphany, as I wanted to ensure that some important people in my journey to ordination could be there. In case you’re not aware, a service in the weeks leading up to or during advent is not an ideal time for those in ministry for an ordination service.

I am beyond excited and grateful for all that has happened and all that comes next.

P.S. If you are someone who has journeyed alongside me in this process… thank you! I seriously, could not do this without you.

okayish mom

Some have the goal of being the best mom ever. These are the moms who throw elaborate class parties, birthday parties with personalized gifts for each attendee, homemade lunches with had written notes daily, and the list goes on. If that is you: good for you. If that is not you: you’re in good company with me. I am unapologetically an okayish mom.

Do I love my children with all my heart?
There’s no doubt about it.
Do I think motherhood is a competition?
Perhaps to some, but I’ve opted out of enrolling in the competition.
Will I make it for every event my children have in life?
Nope, but I make sure someone who loves them is if I can’t.

If my answers above make me a bad mom, then you might as well start casting judgement.
If you’re hoping I’ll have a change of heart or be upset by your condemnation, prepare to be disappointed.

I’ve tried going above and beyond…

It didn’t go so well.
The deadline for being room parent was fast approaching and no one signed up for my oldest daughter’s class. I felt bad for her super amazing teacher, and volunteered. Then the deadline arrived, and I realized there was need for one in my youngest daughter’s preschool class too. So I agreed to be hers too. I didn’t want my daughters to feel like I picked one over the other.
The lesson I learned this year: I’m not room mom material.
Will I get a message out to other parents in a timely fashion? Absolutely not.
Will I give the teachers great gifts? I’m not sure if they’re the greatest, but they’re definitely nice.
All that to say, I’m not a bad room parent, nor am I a good one.
I am the world’s okayest room parent, and I won’t sign up to do this again.

I’ve tried doing what needs to be done…

And it turned out adequate(ish).
Girl Scout cookie season 2020, my oldest became DESPERATE to be a Girl Scout. I learned of another leader in my neighborhood that was willing to take more kindergartners IF there was a person to lead the Daisies (kindergarten and first graders). I was more than happy to be the super supportive leader of the Daisies, especially since it meant that I wouldn’t be in charge of the whole troop. This had been my hope all along, since I was a former Girl Scout council staff member. I knew how to do the things, but knew I didn’t have the time to run a whole troop. Super supportive parent/assistant…SIGN ME UP!

Class gift basket: contains some gifts and other parents hopefully added to this.

Fast forward nine months. Aforementioned troop leader informs me her husband is getting transferred out of state for work. We formulate a plan for the transition that is to occur in the spring. Well, the move happened sooner than expected, and by December I’m in charge of the whole troop, during a pandemic, when some girls are refusing to participate virtually, and I’m trying to figure out who’s who over zoom.

I’m in over my head…

I’m not afraid to admit I cannot do something, BUT I do not like broadcasting that information to the world.
I need these girls living through uncertain times to feel like they’re in good hands, and to keep this troop limping along. Fortunately (for me), I have a friend helping in the troop who knows what’s going on. She’s super supportive, encouraging, and reminds me it’s a okay to do what’s best for me and my family.
I made the needed decision: I’m stepping down as leader of the troop.
I stepped into the role because it was what needed to be done, but it was not good for me.
Our end of the year parent meeting is met with many blank stares as no other parent wants to be leader either.
What’s going to happen to the troop? I have no idea, BUT I will keep Girl Scouting with my daughter.

Maybe I’m better than an okayish mom

I know that I love my kids and that they know this.
I know that I want to see my daughters be girls of courage, confidence, character, who make the world a better place.
I know that sometimes I have to lead, but sometimes I have to follow. Leading all the times leads to burnout for me.
To allow me to better than an okayish mom, I have to say no to things that I could do. And if I do those things I should say no to, I’m only going to be okayish.

Here’s to be okayish, loving it, and knowing your limits.

Off to finish being an okaying room parent, okayish troop leader, and loving my daughters fiercly.

do you hear me now?

you said things you shouldn’t

so i looked at my feet and walked away

another you said what cuts deep

i told you that it wasn’t okay

more yous said things that hurt

i yelled that it is racist and wrong

I looked with longing for a voice

but none of you spoke up

but the only voice i have is my own

i have avoided, whispered, spoken, and yelled

but none of you listened

so now my people are injured, dead, and dying

and still you look away

despite your closed eyes ears

i’m yelling, “STOP ASIAN HATE”

do you hear me now?

I’m Certified…

The last time I wrote about the ordination process, here on HebrewDawn, it was to say I was withdrawing from it. A lot has happened since then, I suppose there’s some updating to do between that post and sharing that I’m certified ready to receive a call in the PC(USA)…

After my last post, I received an unexpected message from a very dear friend who served on the CPM (Committee on Preparation for Ministry) at the time. They informed me that the committee had received my letter and wanted to be sure this was what I really wanted. They felt confident that I would someday finish this process, but understood that I was not in a place at that time to pursue accepting a call (hello, I had a three year old and a baby). They wanted me to know that if I proceeded with withdrawing from the process but felt the call to finish the ordination process later, that I would have to start all over.

What would that mean for me?

1. Apply with my church and then the CPM to become an inquirer (again). If approved during my meeting with the committee, I would have to wait six months to a year before I could apply for candidacy. During this time I would undergo a psychological evaluation, and have an annual consultation with my CPM liaison.

2. Apply with my church and then the CPM to become a candidate (again). In order to do this, I would need to complete the required paperwork, prepare seven essays (my understanding of Christian vocation in the reformed tradition, a statement of faith, an analysis of at least one concept from my faith statement, a statement of what it means to be presbyterian, a statement of self-understanding, a statement of my understanding of the task of teaching elders and my specific gifts for ministry).

3. If approved by the CPM to be a candidate, I would then have to go before presbytery (again) to be examined. If approved by them too, I would have to wait at least 1 year before I could apply to be certified ready to receive a call and complete some additional steps.

3. I would need to retake all FIVE ordination exams: Bible Content, Biblical Exegesis, Theological Competence, Worship and Sacraments, and Church Polity.

4. Complete a pastoral internship at a church, complete a CPE (clinical pastoral education) program, as well as the required personal and supervisor evaluations for each internship/program.

5. Throughout the waiting and work of the prior steps I would need to ensure I had an annual consultation at least once every twelve months with my CPM liaison.

6. Once the prior steps were completed I would apply to the CPM to become certified ready to receive a call. In order to do this, I would need to complete the required paperwork, prepare a PIF (personal information form, aka a Presbyterian pastor’s resume), write my statement of faith, and prepare an exegetical sermon.

When I realized I would have to repeat five steps that I had completed ages ago for something others and myself believed I was called to do felt crazy. Why would I withdraw from this process if I was going to pursue finishing it at some point? So the decision was made to stay in the process, and complete step 6.

I was ready to do this last year, but a massive project at work put all of it on pause until it was complete. I knew that being a SME (subject matter expert) for our conversion team and anything additional was just too much. If you or someone you know works for a financial institution and has been through a core conversion you know what massive undertaking that was. Once the conversion project was done and I felt like I could breath, a pandemic hit and the world stopped. As weeks turned into months, I realized I was not willing to wait anymore. By September, I was determined to finish what God called had me to start several years earlier.

October was a busy month of pulpit supply, work, Girl Scouts leadership, waiting to learn what school would look like in November for my kids, and finally meeting with the CPM (Committee on Preparation for Ministry) to apply to be certified. To say I was stressed, worried, and anxious would be an understatement.

Not being one to give up (easily), I prayed a lot, wrote a lot, and did what was needed. On October 27th, I met with the POJ Committee on Preparation for Ministry at 1:30 over zoom. This was a meeting with the CPM like none other. Rather than waiting outside to be called in, I sat in a virtual waiting room not knowing who would be in the meeting other than my liaison and pastor. To my surprise, there were three very familiar, smiling faces, of people I’ve known from my time at Union Presbyterian Seminary. There were other familiar faces, some new, and there was a screen to provide me some space and distance for comfort.

After some questions, conversations, faith journey sharing (for those unfamiliar with my Buddhist background), and feedback, I was sent back to the virtual waiting room. There I “sat” while the CPM deliberated on whether or not I should be certified ready to receive a call. Unlike the physical waiting room at the POJ office, where I would sit with my pastor, I sat alone waiting and wondering what would happen next. After what felt like an eternity, but was probably 5-10 minutes, I was welcomed back into the meeting. I received the wonderful news that the CPM agreed that I should be certified ready to receive a call.

What does this mean now?

Now I must find a call (aka a job, for you non-Presbyterians) so that I can get ordained. My PIF is now up on the CLC (Church leadership connection), which is kind of like an online dating platform for pastors and churches. If my PIF matches the needs/wants of a churches MIF (ministry information form), we’ll get connected to see if they should interview me. In the meantime, I’m going to keep praying, doing pulpit supply, and keep hope alive that the right call is out there somewhere.

I’ve missed you…

For two years I’ve been blogging exclusively over on the new site, and not posting over here. In retrospect, we should have shared with you about the new site more on HebrewDawn. This site began as my own little space of the Internet, but it became a shared space for Erica and I. The two of us realized over time, as we’ve shared, that a rebrand was in order. But if I’m going to be completely honest, I’ve missed you, since the new site was launched.

In having a new site with a refined focus on wellness and self’s care, this has shifted me away from writing as much about faith and motherhood. Those are not topics most of our followers are interested in reading. Some of you that have followed for quite sometime will want what we offer on The91Rewind more than what I alone offer on HebrewDawn. Some of you may want my posts focused on encouragement, faith, motherhood, and the like here. The focus of HebrewDawn was and remains is:

words to encourage and inspire.

You are a diverse bunch that follow HebrewDawn, and for that I am grateful.

I’m not sure how often I’ll write over here. The content will still be much of what it was long before. More than likely, you will find:

  • what’s going through my head
  • what I am wrestling with in this current state of affairs (*ahem* #45)
  • what’s happening personally
  • what I’m studying about Christianity, world religions, or language (yes, I’m kinda nerdy)
  • follow along as I finish the ordination process ( yes, the same one I discussed withdrawing from before).
  • reflections on motherhood that I’m not sharing on Richmond Moms Blog (yes, I’ve started writing over there too).
  • Thank you for sticking around, waiting for me, and asking where I’ve been. I’ve missed you, and I’m happy to be back.
  • – CVP

    cheers to you!

    The year has just begun. It is full of possibilities and adventures and we are really looking forward to all that 2018 has in store. Not long ago we posted this little message:

    the 91 rewind: cheers to you

    To that effect, we would like to re-introduce ourselves as The 91 Rewind

    The 91 rewind: cheers to you

    Don’t worry! We are keeping all the content you enjoyed on HebrewDawn, but this time as a joint project between two friends who’ve known each other almost forever. We appreciate all of your support so far and we look forward to bringing your more stories, pick-me-ups, and good vibes.

    Crystal and I became friends in 1991 when I moved to Smoketree South. We have been besties since then, and although we have both grown and changed, a lot is still the same. When someone knows you like you know yourself, it can help you stay grounded. When the road gets rough, connections like these can help you get back to your authentic self.

    Crystal and I are very different but we are both honest to a fault. Our friendship has endured the test of time; probably because we have always kept it real with one another. We continue to help each other see the best in ourselves, accept what cannot be changed, and find the motivation to keep going on.

    We started this blog as a way to share-with everyone-the little pep talks, comic relief, and good conversation we have been sharing with one another for years. If our friendship has taught us anything, it is that sometimes sharing your story with someone else helps to lighten the load.

    The 91 Rewind is our version of a digital treehouse. It’s a place to get away for a moment, catch your breath, and find silver linings. If you need a refresh, a reset, or a “rewind and try again”, you’re welcome here. Come on over for a bit. Listen, share, but more than anything, just be yourself! We’re happy to see you 🙃

    cheers!

    C+E

    new year newness

    If you’re a longtime reader of HebrewDawn you know that things have evolved over the years. Initially this was a personal blog for Crystal sharing funny things that happened (*ahem* is this Keisha?), foot surgeries, and the birth of kids. Then this site evolved into what it is today. A place for people to come and find words to encourage on the journey to being our most authentic selves. During this site evolution, Erica came on board, and the dynamic duo of two best friends brought HebrewDawn to new heights.

    As time has gone on, HebrewDawn has grown, and new prospects are on the horizon we, Crystal and Erica, we realized that we needed a new site needed and a new name. This site hasn’t been just Crystal’s for quite some time, but HebrewDawn is not reflective of both of us. We thought of waiting to share this news with you once all the details are ready (logo, site rebranding, etc.), but we wanted our faithful readers to know sooner than later. You’ll notice that some fonts have changed on our site already, today our Instagram handle is changing, a new logo is coming, and so much more.

    We are excited to share with you about our process as we go, but we want to assure that the only real change you’ll notice is our name. The content type will remain the same, but we dare say the quality will continue to get better. We are super excited for 2018, continued growth with you, and seeing what’s in store for….

    HebrewDawn: new year newness

    you survived…celebrate that!

    HebrewDawn: you survived...celebrate that!

    Here we are…down to the 11th hour in the year 2017. Social media is rife with emotional diatribes and reflections of the past year. Some include a laundry list of accomplishments, others include a giant list of things to never do again. No matter what happened this year — good or bad — it seems we all want to talk about it. Soooo, let’s talk! How did it go for you? Was it the #bestever? Was it totally forgettable? Perhaps it was somewhere in between…

    Full disclosure-having a winter birthday has made me into one of these wistful wintertime wonderers. Around the beginning of December each year, I start this little scorekeeping activity. Did I do everything I said I would? Did I do it well? Did I suck less at some things and excel at others? Did I completely change my life for the better? If I didn’t, do I still have enough time left to make my mark?

    I gotta tell ya, as important as I feel it is to self-evaluate, I generally feel pretty awful about myself after this little exercise. Why? Because I’m always so disappointed. I’m really good at finding room for improvement, everywhere, all the time. This is a great habit for productivity and goal setting, but pretty miserable for self-esteem. Sometimes the accomplishment is survival. Sometimes, like my best friend Crystal says, done is enough.  So that’s how I feel about this year. It’s almost done, y’all!

    As long as I can remember, I have tried to “figure it out”; tried to equate what I have with what I feel I deserve. And guess what always happens? Since I am the common denominator in the events of my life, I  have to blame myself for all the shortcomings. I resent my multitudinous bad habits. I am envious of what others have done that I believe to be better or more important than my own accomplishments.

    This is all negative reinforcement and I find myself asking why I do this? What is the point in keeping score? Tallying arbitrary accolades that mean very little to anyone else and say very little about the person I am. At some point, will I accumulate enough positive life events to win something? Will 365 days of AWESOME bring me to some amazing place of clarity and self-actualization?

    The logical part of my brain is laughing at the mere thought of this. If we know perfection does not exist, why do we still expect it from ourselves? The purpose of life is not to be perfect, but to live; to continue experiencing one moment to the next for as long as we have moments on earth. In order to do that, we must be present. We have to participate in all the moments fully. We have to find the best in every moment/day/year…even the really sh*tty ones.

    Through my yoga teacher training, I have come to accept that we can only control our reactions and responses. From this latest year on earth, I have come to learn that life really isn’t fair. It is from this place that I offer my conclusions on the year 2017

    1. Some sh*t happened.
    2. Some of that sh*t was positive – YAY!
    3. Some of that sh*t was negative…but it provided a chance to learn/regroup/restrategize-still a YAY!
    4. So far, I’ve managed to survive every day..even the really sh*tty ones.

    Whatever happened this year, be grateful for it and then let it go. It hasn’t taken the breath from your lungs, the love from your heart, or the thoughts from your head. Celebrate every d@*% thing that you went through this year because it made you tougher, stronger, better. Bad things help us know and trust ourselves more. They make us resilient. Good things help us stay motivated to continue doing more. They empower us. So really, all things are good things, if you want to see it that way.

    We are ALL strong. We are ALL overcoming. We are ALL brave. Let’go into this new year with a goal to make it through the whole stinkin’ thing, NO MATTER WHAT!

    I believe in you guys…

    xoxo,

    E

    HebrewDawn: you survived...celebrate that!