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

    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

    learning to be southern 

    I’ve lived my entire life in Richmond, Virginia and it’s only now, in my mid-thirties, I’ve fully accepted my southern roots. In all fairness, it’s been a lifelong process of learning to be southern.

    You see, I come from a mixed background and that has caused some internal doubt of my southernness. I’m Japanese, Cherokee, Irish, and Norwegian…basically a one-woman mixing pot. My mom was an Army brat and lived all over the place, but has lived in Virginia longer than anywhere else. My dad is from Danville, Virginia which makes him the most southern of us all. Neither parent really taught me the hallmarks of southern charm or little figures of speech, it’s mostly been picked up over the years.

    Through the help of patient friends and family, I’ve come to understand the importance of a pineapple in my home, when and why to bless someone’s heart, how I like my iced tea, and most importantly why y’all is the perfect southern word.

    Y’all has long been a word to be avoided in my vocabulary, but finally in my mid-twenties I began to embrace it. But that was only because of my studies during seminary, particularly with Hebrew and Greek. I came to the realization of how perfect y’all is when communicating. If you have taken a foreign language you’ve experienced the distinction between you singular and you plural and its affects on conjugation and syntax. How else can you articulate the plural form of “you” without it being cumbersome?

    Now in my thirties it’s in full-on use. Hate on the word if you want, but I think it’s perfect. If you walk into a room full of your girlfriends, wouldn’t “hey y’all” be better than “hey guys” since there are no guys in the room. If you walk into a room full of guys and girls, wouldn’t “hey y’all” be better than “hey guys” since guys are not more important that the ladies in the room too. AND wouldn’t it be better to be more inclusive in our language period?

    So if you come in my home, you’ll most certainly be welcomed by the site of a pineapple or two; we hope you’ll stay awhile and enjoy a meal. I also hope I’ll have no cause to bless your heart. AND if we do have the good fortune to meet sometime, please don’t be surprised by the “hey y’all” coming from the chick without a southern drawl…it’s because she knows the perfect way to communicate with all y’all.

    xoxo,

    C

    HebrewDawn: learning to be southern

    cleaning up our act

    Over the weekend I had family over for dinner and some brussel sprouts roasting in the oven. Seems like no big deal, but I burnt them. I was seriously looking forward to eating them, and so was everyone else. Like any kitchen mishap, I had some cleanup to do; the half sheet pan they were roasting on needed a good scrubbing. In using the old elbow grease, I had a revelation about our own need for taking care of ourselves and how it’s never too late to start cleaning up our act.

    HebrewDawn: cleaning up our act

    I neglected to get a before shot of my half sheet pan, but let’s just say it had a good layer of burnt brussel sprouts on it, along with seasoning from previous forays in the kitchen.  I had a moment of negative self-talk about how I’d let things get out of control; for how filthy my pan was and my neglect for scrubbing it all off earlier. But let’s be real, all the bacon, roasts (chicken, beef, ham), and delectable vegetables left their marks on the pan that a regular sponge or dishwasher couldn’t get off. It took me getting out the Brillo pad, scrubbing, and SCRUBBING to get that pan back to its shiny self.

    As I scrubbed and scrubbed, it got me thinking about the ways in which we take care of ourselves. How at times, a messy pan can be intimidating. How when our work is so clearly cut out for us, it makes us feel nervous. The pressure of can we/can’t we sets in and it’s downright scary. Let’s face it, we all kinda want to eat a little cleaner, to live a little more active lifestyle, to donate a little more to organizations we believe in…but finding the time, the energy, the money can make us feel anxious.

    When the scaries set in, the best defense is a small step forward. There are many little things we can do each day to take better care of ourselves. Instead of trying to wrangle them all at once, choose just one or two and see if you can stick to it. Park a little farther away from the office if you can. Challenge yourself to bring nutritious lunch to work for three days in a row. Set a “mental break” timer at work to give yourself a chance to refresh after a session of intense focus. When we break down our goals into smaller “bites” it can seem much more manageable. Plus we generate momentum by achieving these little milestones along the way.

    HebrewDawn: cleaning up our act

    Sometimes we don’t take the first step to take care of ourselves because we’re afraid of how hard it’s going to be. Sometimes we feel like that burnt brussel baking sheet; like we will never get back to our old self. But if we don’t try how will we ever make any progress? The first day is always going to be hard, but a month from now it will be easier and we will be stronger. Every day you show up, every day you try to reach your goals, you’re proving to yourself it can be done. This positive experience will snowball and it WILL become easier. Although you will have to experience it for yourself.

    I want to end today by saying that we all have work to do in this self-improvement department. Deep down we all have things we want to do better, but it all starts with the first step. After all, little changes over time really make a difference.

    Let’s do this!

    xoxo,

    C

    coming out of the fog

    HebrewDawn: coming out of the fog

    My daughter is just about to turn nine months old, which means she will be out as long as she was in. As we hit this milestone I finally feel like I’m coming out of the proverbial new mom fog. If you’re in the midst of the fog you might know what I’m talking about. If your past it, I’m almost certain you know what I’m talking about. Whether we’re in it or past it, we all eventually come out of the fog.

    As a mom, it is always an adjustment to embrace your new found identity. You had this baby that spent nine months growing inside of you, but now it is learning to live outside of you. You spent months adjusting your growing belly and now you must recalibrate and learn to provide for this little person all the time. 

    Not only are you learning caregiving skills, but you also have this new identity called motherhood to embrace. You’ve gone from being your own person, and now your some little person’s whole world. If you already have older children, you’re learning how to share yourself with all the little people vying for your attention. No matter how many children you have, it’s always an adjustment to accept the new you.

    When you have a baby, they’re always worried about you having postpartum depression. No one talks about this fog you’re living in. With so many things changing in your body, your life, identity, etc. you spend your days with your mind spinning. I am here to share something with you that I’ve heard from almost every mom; adjusting to this new identity as a mother is a challenge for everyone. I’ve also heard from almost every mom that we do make it out of the fog and see our world clearly once more. The way we see our life and world may be different than before, but it is now filled with lots of love and joy. 

    yours in motherhood,

    C

    HebrewDawn: coming out of the fog

    slow down…

    HebrewDawn: slow down
    Lately, I’ve stopped taking the highway on some of the routes near my house because I’ve come to a realization. The view is much nicer when taking the roads less traveled. This new desire to slow down didn’t happen overnight.

    At least once a week for the last month I’ve noticed something new, discovered an interesting event when traveling near my house. Over the weekend a question suddenly hit me when debating taking I295 (an interstate going through part of central Virginia) or driving down Mountain Road (a road in Glen Allen where I live)…

    Why are you in such a hurry? Why don’t you slow down?

    Besides, taking the interstate rather than other routes isn’t always faster. Sometimes traffic is backed up and could have been avoided by staying off the highway. But most of all, if I did not to drive down the local roads I would zoom past what’s happening in my community.

    If I’m always in such a hurry, I forgo the opportunity to see the improvements that make where I live better. I miss out on the events that matter to the community in which live, and the chance to be a part of them.

    So now I ask you, why don’t you slow down? Why are you in such a hurry? What are you rushing past and missing in the world around you?

    Our desire to hurry isn’t always in the car. It’s in our desire to be “connected” to our digital world. Our need to monitor the updates, our mindless scrolling. Sometimes we forget that when we are “online” we are out of touch with what’s happening now. our faces are looking down, we fail to see what’s happening around us.

    Why are you in such a hurry? Why don’t you slow down?

    Let’s take a deep breath, and enjoy where we are and instead of always focusing on where we’re going. Let’s relinquish the need to be in control of everything. Let’s commit to allowing space to savor the good around us. Let’s stop rushing through life and start slowing down.

    xoxo,

    C

    HebrewDawn: slow down

    to the perfect parents

    HebrewDawn: to the perfect parents

    Dear Perfect Parent,

    I have a few things I’d like to share with you today. I want to commend your efforts at being the perfect parent, because it’s not somethings we all aspire to be in life. You believe in the depths of your being that you are doing everything exactly right, and that you have a thing or two you can teach the rest of us.

    You are decidedly the best example about breastfeeding or formula feeding, when to start your child on solid food, when to send your child to preschool and kinergarten. Oh! Let’s not forget about extra activities like soccer, dance, music lessons, and swimming. You most assuredly make time for your child to do it all. God forbid a parent choose themselves over their child wants.

    Do you sense my sarcasm yet? I hope so, and I hope you’ll join me in doing the following…

    No more shaming.

    No more blaming.

    No more judging.

    START supporting others.

    Let’s get our views of perfection straight and get them in check. They are ruining amazing mom/dad friend opportunities. Let’s not assume that someone is shaming, blaming, or judging us. Instead, let us assume that the perfect parents are all of us and that we all want to support one another.

    Let’s do this parenting thing y’all!

    C