Posts by ramaha

I’m crying mercy. I give.

Posted by on Jan 18, 2014 in perspective | 2 comments

My teeth hurt from my sinus infection, my ear is pulsing, and I can’t stay awake without the television on and a laptop in front of me.

I yell at my kids when I’m frustrated, and then get frustrated when they yell at each other, even though they are probably just copying me.

I have friends that I have all but ignored for months, e-mails that have been buried by junk mail, thank you notes that sit unwritten, even a sympathy card that is addressed, stamped, and sits un-mailed on the counter.

I have piles of outgrown clothes in the basement that needs to be sorted, salt-covered snowpants that need to be washed, and vegetable drawers in my fridge that need to be cleaned.

I started a read through the Bible plan on January 1st, and I’m already behind at least six days, my wallet is jammed full of ragged Christmas present receipts and I am entirely unprepared for the semester to start next week.

My treadmill sits lonely in the basement, my running partner and I disbanded because I couldn’t get my butt out of bed to run, and I’m not even sure if I could run around the cul-de-sac.

We learned the wrong words for the spelling bee, so Madi was completely unprepared, Parker forgot show-and-tell for yet another week,  I think I lost half of Parker’s decodables that he was supposed to read…and the quarter ended today.

I feel guilty for putting the kids in after school care, so I end up taking the kids to Burger King for milkshakes at least once a week…sometimes twice….and then we get home, and I let them watch way more television than they should instead of doing chores around the house to help me out. 

My word for the year was going to be “focus” (even bought a book about it), but I can’t seem to focus on anything. I’m distracted by the undone tasks and the mind-numbing television, and the urgent…always the urgent.

I was about two days ahead of myself, and then I got sick, and now I’m about two days behind, and I’m not quite sure how I will ever catch up.

How can I fit a doctorate program into this life that is ripping at the seams already? It seems laughable to believe that my life could get any more messy, and it seems selfish that I would ask my family to suffer the consequences.

I didn’t realize how much I relied on the interactions with friends and at Bible study during the day to help me cope, and now life is so different. I’m still finding my way at work – trying to build relationships – trying to figure out where I fit – trying to keep up with the workload – and it’s been hard. Relationships take so long. Too long.

I’m not normally a glass half empty kind of person, and even now, I find myself trying to find the counterpoint. The hope. The blessings. But for today, and maybe just for today, it’s being swallowed whole.

I’m tired, and sick, and my urgent list is too long.

I’m crying mercy. I give.

(in)Mercy: Helping to make Christmas special for Mercy House Kenya

Posted by on Sep 12, 2013 in ideas, Things I Love | 1 comment


Over the last couple of years, I have been tracking along with the (in)courage community, both because of the beautiful God-centered writing and the amazing projects that they have participated in. One of the connections they have developed is with the Mercy House in Kenya. Formed in 2010 by Kristen Welch, the blogger who writes at We Are THAT Family, and Maureen, a Compassion International graduate, the Mercy House facility helps support teen moms and their babies by giving them the education, nutrition, housing, prenatal care, Bible study, counseling and job skills they need for sustainable living.

So, the (in)courage community is banding together to give these girls five special gifts for Christmas this year, including a new van, generator, computer lab, additional classroom space, and another living space. I’m going to be specifically advocating for Phase 4, a computer lab for Mercy House, and will be back in November to talk more about it, but until then, you can visit the website for the (in)mercy project, and track the project’s funding progress in the sidebar!

I love the idea of equipping this ministry to do their work by giving them very tangible gifts. Don’t you?

Check out (in)mercy here!

Convocation. From a new perspective.

Posted by on Sep 6, 2013 in career, Cornerstone | 0 comments

I palmed my phone and tried to stifle a grin as I walked into chapel for my first university convocation as a faculty member. I had promised Ben that I would take a picture, so I tried to be inconspicuous as I snuck a few.

Screen Shot 2013-09-06 at 2.26.09 PM

It was a new perspective on this annual ritual, from my view from the fourth row. Surrounded by who are now my peers, I sang and intoned and applauded as we followed the program notes. Prayer. Hymn. Stand. Sit. Listen.

And then, at the very end, we stood and read aloud the Cornerstone Covenant, an affirmation designed to unite us as a community. A room of voices raised to show our commitment to common actions and attitudes. Maturity. Peace. Joy. Wisdom.

There is a reason why we say things out loud. Marriage vows. Child dedication services. The Pledge of Allegiance. Corporate worship. It transforms a private belief into a public proclamation, adding weight to important words by giving them shape and sound. It is why I cried on my wedding day and why I often find myself teary-eyed when I pay attention to the words I sing on Sunday mornings. But on this Wednesday,  a document was transformed from words on a screen to a living promise as it was spoken by the students, faculty, and staff. I found myself standing a bit straighter as I read the Faculty Affirmation:

“As faculty we will advance the presence of Christ in our community by honoring those with whom we serve.
We will seek the best for our students by modeling Christ before them, challenging them to excel and treating
them with respect. In our disciplines we will continually grow in knowledge and wisdom, and seek to nurture
those qualities in our students.”

Yes. I affirm.


Posted by on Sep 4, 2013 in career, Cornerstone | 2 comments

cubackfinal I stood in the cafeteria entrance with a permagrin on my face. “Welcome to lunch!” I crowed , pointing dazed Moms and Nikon-laden Dads towards the shredded beef sandwiches, and jittery students towards the pizza counter. I was one of the “lunch greeters”, welcoming new students to their first official meal on Cornerstone’s campus after a morning of moving boxes into dorm rooms.

It took me back…way back to 1995, when my parents dropped me off at school. I missed out on new student arrival day, because I came early with the other fall athletes. It was a bit rough for a girl eight long hours from home. I remember passing out in my dorm’s loft in between grueling two-a-days, feeling desperately homesick, and shedding more than a few tears. When the rest of the students arrived, things didn’t get much better. I was still one of the “new kids”, so I clearly recognized that mixture of dread, excitement, and uncertainty in the eyes of some of the students heading towards the trays of brownies.

Thankfully, my memories didn’t stop there; I also remembered what happened over the next few weeks and months. Time passed. I quit volleyball and started playing soccer. I figured out what meals were worth eating. I adapted to college life. I thrived.

They will too.

I’m a “new kid” again this fall, right back on the campus where it all started. And while my mid-thirties sensibilities might keep me from crying into my pillow like I did as a freshman, I can’t ignore the uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach. I have been trying to ignore it, pretend that it isn’t a big deal, but as I watched the new students file past me, I realized that I needed to accept it to be able to move forward. Accept that I’m going to be jittery and distracted while I figure it all out. Realize that I might wake up with a sore jaw for a while as I grind my teeth through the night. Tell the people that I love how I’m feeling instead of just barreling through it on my own.

Change may come easier now that I’m older, but it is still a change. It is uncomfortable and challenging, but time will pass, and we will all adapt…the students…and me. It might take a few big plates of pizza and lemon bars, but we will figure it out.

We’re back on campus…ready or not.

an update on being “good enough”…

Posted by on Jul 24, 2013 in career, perspective | 0 comments

…the GMAT

Earlier this summer, I took the GMAT with mixed results. Actually, I was convinced that I bombed and that I was going to have to take it again later in the summer. Unfortunately, I had to wait a few weeks to get my final results, so in the meantime, I debated about what I should do. Take it again, because there is no way I could do any worse? Skip it, and move on? I was relieved when the results arrived, and solidified my decision. I didn’t bomb the other two parts of the test, and I had a pretty good GPA from my Masters program….10 years ago. Decision? No retake. Done…and done.

I still think it was an important lesson for me to learn that “good enough” can be just fine, and I don’t have to beat myself up about it. I am staring down a few years of hard work between getting acclimated to a new full time job, hopefully starting a doctorate program, and still keeping up with the home front, and I have an inkling that there will have to be plenty of “good enough” moments. A good lesson.

…the Scale

I also recently wrote about packing my scale away for the summer. I am glad I wrote about it, because I came home from our trip and really wanted to know if I had eaten my customary five pounds of fried walleye and grilled polish. But I didn’t pull it out. I even opened my drawer to put away my toiletries and saw a measuring tape sitting in there, tempting me to check my inches instead, and I didn’t do that either. Sounds small, but this was a big deal for me. If I don’t get my head straight before Madi becomes a teenager, I’m going to be in big trouble. How can I talk to her about building a positive self-image if I am not actively working on it myself? An ongoing challenge.

…the Job

I have talked on and off about this ominous “new job” of mine that will be my first full time job since I was pregnant with Madi nine years ago. To say that I am nervous about it would be an understatement. I took a survey recently that asked what I would do professionally if I wasn’t afraid, and at this moment in my life, I am doing something that terrifies me. It’s not about the work, because I have taught before. It’s everything else, from acclimating to the culture to finding people to eat lunch with to making sure things are taken care of with my family. That is what freaks me out, and is where my “good enough” lesson grows feet and sprints away.

The problem is, I’m not sure what “good enough” looks like yet in this new parallel universe. The ship hasn’t quite landed, and I’m still trying to figure out which way to hold the map. So if you see me wandering around with a dazed look on my face, just know that I might need someone to remind me that I will indeed figure this all out.



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