Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Story of...

How have I lived my entire life without ever knowing about this short film?

It was made by Disney in 1946. The first part is an educational description of, well, why women menstruate. The second half is hysterical.

It includes such quotable gems as:

"Try not to throw yourself off schedule by catching cold."

"Some girls have a little less pep, a feeling of pressure in the lower part of the body, perhaps an occasional twinge or a touch of nerves. But don't let it get you down. After all, no matter how you feel, you have to live with people. You have to live with yourself, too. And once you stop feeling sorry for yourself, and take those days in your stride, you'll find it easier to keep smiling and even tempered."

"Exercises to relieve cramps are illustrated in the booklet. Try them. With the guidance of a qualified person, you may find they help."

"Incidentally, it's smart to keep looking smart. That well groomed feeling will give you new poise and lift your morale. Especially when it's backed up with year round fresh air and sunshine and plenty of rest and sleep. Because the best possible insurance against trouble on those days is healthy living every day."

Oh my goodness. Seriously. So hilarious.

To the three boys who read my blog...I'm sorry. To the five women who read it, WATCH THIS TEN MINUTE FILM. It will not change your life, but it will crack you up. Specifically between 7:25-8:06. Those were some of the best seconds of my life. You're all very welcome.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Love Child

Today, when I picked Garrett up from school, I was wearing nothing but a bathing suit, flip flops and a hippie/strapless cover up that I bought at a thrift store in San Diego last summer. This proved to be a bad idea because, while the garment is fun in a boho-chic, see you on the beach, sort of way, it also kind of resembles the love child of a tube top and a muumuu. This, in and of itself is not a big deal. I planned to jump out of the car, grab the kid, and hop back in the car, minimizing the number of students--who know me as a substitute--who would actually see me looking minimally clad.

But my kid's class was having a popsicle party outside. Garrett wasn't finished with his so we had to wait, while ALL THE CLASSES FILED PAST, for him to consume it. So there I was, looking like I belonged poolside (because, well, I did). Students, parents, and teachers, (specifically Garrett's teacher who, in fact, always looks cute and would never, never wear a baby muutube) all milled about.

My son eyed me. "Are we going to the pool or something?" No, Son. This is just a new style I'm trying out. I like to keep people guessing as to whether I'm nine months pregnant or not at all pregnant. Nevermind the bathing suit strap wrapped around my neck. Also, another clue was his little brother, clad only in swim trunks and a rash guard.

"When you finish your popsicle, yes."

He ate it quickly. That's when I noticed that he didn't have his basketball. Because of course he left it in his classroom. The doors automatically lock and I had to approach a fourth grade teacher to ask her if she could let us in. She was very nice about it. She didn't gawk at my interesting choice of clothing nor did she ask me how far along I was.

After the ball was obtained, we hightailed it to the van. Once inside I asked my son the dreaded question. "Were you embarrassed because I'm dressed like this?"

"Yes," he mumbled.

"Do I look silly?" I asked

"I saw you and I was like, 'WHA? WHY IS MY MOM WEARING THAT? She doesn't usually wear a weird dress and a bathing suit to pick me up."

"So, were you wishing you didn't have to be seen with me?"

"Well, once I realized we were going to the pool, I understood." Apparently we can cross the hippie look off of the list of acceptable attire when I'm going to be seen with my seven-year-old. But then I bought him a vanilla dish from Sonic and we spent two hours at the pool, so I'm forgiven.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Her Journey


From the eighth grade on, it was always honors. You see, in the seventh grade, armed with gumption (and devoid of tact), I marched up to my Language Arts teacher and asked her to recommend me for honors English for the upcoming year. Her class, I informed her as politely as possible, wasn't challenging me. I can still remember the look that crossed her face. Amusement, more than anything. In her next breath she informed me that she'd been teaching my class at an honors level all year.

I felt kind of small. Kind of small and kind of stupid. I imagined what the rubber bottom of my shoe tasted like. But, from then on, it was honors. Officially.

In high school, that meant a summer reading list. One of those summers brought Maya Angelou into my life by way of her book, Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now. I kept a large percentage of those summer reading requirements. As I skim over the pages of Dr. Angelou's book, I see my own handwriting, big and loopy. If the book had been previously owned, I wouldn't believe that the letters belonged to me. They look nothing like the way I write. A not so subtle reminder that these past 18 years have brought about some changes.

I wish I could blame the writing on someone else. That would mean that I could put the thoughts behind the penmanship on someone else as well. The ideas are remedial, at best. Pathetic, unsubstantiated drivel, at worst. But in the end, despite my banal criticism challenging the doctor to explain herself, and my sophomoric (freshmonic?), white-European commentary on racism notwithstanding, I fell in love with Maya Angelou.

Among so many other things, over the course of my own life, she taught me a little bit about why I wouldn't trade my own journey for anything. As life has happened, I have, on occasion, mumbled her very title as a sort of prayer-mantra. When I married my husband after almost marrying someone else, WOULDN'T TAKE NOTHING FOR MY JOURNEY NOW. When my baby was born after infertility and so many tears and a pregnancy filled with twice weekly ultrasounds and concerns of placental insufficiency, WOULDN'T TAKE NOTHING FOR MY JOURNEY NOW. When the judge signed on the dotted line and brought a fourteen month custody battle to a close, I held my youngest son close and WOULDN'T TAKE NOTHING FOR MY JOURNEY NOW

When, by God's infinite grace and wisdom, we end up exactly where we're supposed to be. WOULDN'T TAKE NOTHING FOR MY JOURNEY NOW.

On this day, I learned the sad news that the world has lost Miss Maya and I've thought of shedding a tear or two. Or perhaps a million. Because the world does not so easily replace such a phenomenal woman. Instead, I held her tattered New York Times Bestseller in my hands and I flipped through the pages.

"When I think of death, and of late the idea has come with alarming frequency, I seem at peace with the idea that a day will dawn when I will no longer be among those living in this valley of strange humors. I can accept the idea of my own demise, but I am unable to accept the death of anyone else. I find it impossible to let a friend or relative go into that country of no return. Disbelief becomes my close companion, and anger follows in its wake...

Also, when I sense myself filling with rage at the absence of a beloved, I try as soon as possible to remember that my concerns and questions, my efforts and answers should be focused on what I did or can learn from my departed love. What legacy was left which can help me in the art of living a good life?

If I employ the legacies of my late beloveds, I am certain death will take itself and me as well." -Maya Angelou Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now

Death has taken her this day. But oh what a legacy was left. What literary contributions. What love. What life.She is no longer among those living in this valley of strange humors, but through her work and the lives, like mine, that she has impacted, she will not be forgotten.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day

On Friday I got the wild idea that WE SHOULD TOTALLY GO CAMPING ON SUNDAY NIGHT! WE CAN TAKE THE LITTLE TENT!! INSTEAD OF THE GIANT TENT!!! IT'LL BE A BLAST!!!! I got the husband on board and we were set. Except I needed to find a campsite. 

And that proved to be a bit difficult. What with Sunday being Memorial Day Eve and all. Troy and I simultaneously had the same thought, "BACKYARD CAMP OUT!" Mostly because, after ten and a half years of marriage, we've started thinking each other's thoughts. Or something. The boys, who did not know that we had considered going actual camping, were thrilled.

We BBQ'd hamburgers and hot dogs, ate corn on the cob, fresh fruit and potato chips. Then we washed all of that down with Cookie S'mores. (S'mores, take away chocolate, take away graham crackers, add chocolate chip cookies.) Also, it has been brought to my attention that no backyard camp out is complete without a Power Ranger.

I texted this picture to my mom and, approximately five seconds after doing so, Garrett declared, "Put away your phone! Put down your Internet! THIS IS A CAMPING TRIP AND WE DON'T HAVE THOSE THINGS ON CAMPING TRIPS!" I did as I was told. 

The universe is almost short one neighbor. You see, when a dog barks All. Night. Long. I don't actually get mad at the dog. I get mad at the owner. Because. SERIOUSLY? Can you not hear that? And if you really, truly can't, I recommend having your ears checked. I thought about banging on the door at 4:15 am to say, "BRING YOUR DOG IN NOW OR YOU MIGHT NOT HAVE IT IN THE MORNING!" I considered putting the dog in my own house so that maybe, just maybe, it would shut up so that my family might sleep. I considered murder. I did none of these things. I have no follow through to my grand plans.

At 8:30 this morning we met our friends at their house and headed across the valley to Bell Canyon.

And up, up, straight up, we went for two miles that took forever and a day because the trail is narrow and everyone (EVERYONE AND THEIR MAMA AND THEIR SISTER AND THEIR ELEVEN KIDS--because, Utah.) decided to hike that trail for Memorial Day. There was a lot of, "Sorry!" "Thank you!" "Coming through!" "Good morning!" 

First, we stopped at the reservoir which was less than half a mile up the trail.

My boys were thrilled to be hiking with their best friends in the whole wide world.

Then we hiked along the river. There were so many beautiful spots and I was glad that we had our good camera. I was not glad to see it flashing, "NO MEMORY CARD!" See, last night, during our camp out, the boys and their father made a cops and robbers short film. One of the adults in this relationship (not the one surprised to see that the camera had no memory card) forgot to take the card out of the computer when he--or she (NOT)--was finished loading the video.

One of the adults in this relationship might have said to the other one, "I'm sorry. Are you really going to let it ruin your day?" Because the other adult might have been about to have a hissy fit over it. The near hissy fit thrower might have decided that probably the other person was right. Even if she (or he) hates to admit it. She (or he) was happy to have a phone that takes good pictures.

Our kids were troopers, climbing, climbing, climbing the fairly steep trail until we reached our destination.

Unfortunately, we had to slide down a very muddy hill to get pictures of the waterfall and there just wasn't a great angle. Plus the sun was making it impossible to see my phone so I just clicked away and hoped to get something decent.

My children were covered (from head to sneaker clad toe) in mud. So much mud, they had to ride home in their undies but don't tell anyone because this brings the almost eight-year-old a great deal of humiliated feelings.

Also, I am WAY TOO HARD ON MY OLDEST KID and WAY TOO SOFT ON MY YOUNGEST and HOW DID THIS HAPPEN BECAUSE I AM AN OLDEST CHILD. The oldest fell into the mud first. In large part, I think he wanted this to happen. He is always "accidentally" falling into water. Or mud. Or whatever it is we probably don't want him falling into. The probability of it always being an accident is very low. So today, when he fell and covered himself in sticky muck like a pig in the dead of summer, I yelled, "GARRETT! COME ON! HOW ARE YOU GOING TO RIDE HOME?" (In his undies, actually.)

Not five minutes later, Matthew did the same, exact thing. Having been present for the oldest's lecture, he quickly said, "I'm sorry, Mommy. I didn't mean to do that."

"It's okay, baby. Hop up."

For real. Those were my reactions to my two children getting covered in mud. Now, in reality, I saw both happen. The first one looked like the acting in a B rated film. Controlled fall, covered in mud, "HOWEVER did that happen?" The second looked like a legitimate slip. But still. It's like I expect Garrett to act like a sixteen-year-old girl in an etiquette class and I expect Matthew to act like a two-year-old cross between a golden retriever and a real, live boy. What is wrong with me?

At least I recognized it, right? Does that get me some points? After careful self examination I have declared myself NOT mother of the year.

I'm going to take parenting classes. I think I'll let my first grader teach them, just as a way of saying, "Apparently, I expect way more out of you. Whoops. Sorry for that. Also sorry for that ulcer you're developing. Here's 200 bucks. That oughta pay for your first therapy session."

On that note, Happy Memorial Day!

Saturday, May 24, 2014


So I've done a little public speaking, here and there. The first few times, I was nearly immobilized by nerves. I mean, like, the caterpillars who usually crawl around in the pit of my stomach had branched out, formed chrysalises in every imaginable part of my body, emerged as butterflies and were flying through every inch of my being. It seems that each time I speak, the nerves get a little easier to handle. Now they are typically located in the pit of my core, where they belong. I start to hyperventilate only about five minutes before it's my turn to speak which, let's face it, is simply too late to back out.

I haven't been doing much speaking lately. That was just a long way of saying, nerves usually get better over time. The more you do something, the less nervous you are about it.

Except. No. There is an area, for me, in which this does not prove true.

I am not a singer, by nature. That is to say that while my car, my shower, and virtually every room in my home know that my life is characterized by loud (often off key) song, I'm not a stand-up-in-front-of-everyone-and-sing-a-solo kind of singer.

Because the horror. The possible probable voice crackage. The potential for humiliation knows no boundaries. Truth be told, I wanted, almost desperately, to sing in the middle school choir. I didn't because I was terribly afraid and, assumed, in all the wisdom of my twelve years, that I needed years of elementary singing experience in order to be of any worth to a middle school choir. More truth be told, I wanted to audition for singing roles in my high school musical theatre class but I didn't because I'd convinced myself that I'd most definitely have needed extensive voice training to do such a thing--even when my friends without such training were landing roles. In college I very nearly took voice lessons in the music department but didn't because THAT WOULD MEAN SINGING ALL ALONE IN FRONT OF SOMEONE WITH ACTUAL MUSICAL KNOWLEDGE. Somehow, I'm still not entirely sure why, I auditioned for a role in Into the Woods.

I bombed the audition on account of not being able to remember when to come in and making my pianist start over again.

Still, because I'm some sort of glutton for punishment, I auditioned AGAIN for a musical. This time, a role in Godspell which I landed in large part entirely because there were only seven girls auditioning for a show with five females. One of the girls had some kind of tongue issue and when she sang or spoke it would dramatically protrude from her mouth. That's a bit challenging when you're hoping to get work on stage. I don't remember what the issue was with the other girl but I'm sure there was something because there's no other earthly explanation for why I was cast. Still, it remains, to date, the most fun I've probably ever had on stage*.

When it came time to sing my NOT ONE BUT TWO solos, I thought I might shrivel up and die from nerves.

I sang this incredibly silly song called Learn Your Lessons Well--a song that features the phrases "swath of sinners" and "there's gonna be a quiz at your ascension". Not only does the song sound like something from a children's church camp, I'm fairly certain I disagree with 87% of its theology, I had to stand on top of a table while I was singing it AND (if memory serves me correctly) we were performing on a raked stage. For the first few nights, whenever it was coming up, I internally panicked, temporarily wished I would die, worried mightily that I'd miss the cue (as I had a past history of that and all), and sighed huge breaths of relief when it was over.When no one threw tomatoes at me, I got the confidence boost necessary to sing the second solo.

Not long after we moved here, I got the crazy notion that joining the worship team would be a good idea. I don't know, maybe I was attempting to reinvent myself. Maybe my love for music was finally taking over. Maybe I'd managed to sleep through a full frontal lobotomy.

Last summer I sang a duet with my friend, Abi (HI ABI!). I don't even remember how it all happened but it did and when I stood up to sing that song I thought I would literally die before it was over. I was shaking so badly that it looked like I had an actual disorder of the nervous system. Also, there was a great deal of excess sweating. So, pretty much, there I was, trying to sing a song to Jesus, all the while convulsing and perspiring. I imagine I looked a bit like a heroine addict in withdrawal**.

Then I sang a song with our worship pastor (HI CHRIS) at Christmas. And here is where history should repeat itself. Here is where I should sweat a little less and stand a little more still with each new singing experience. But. No. I simply do not trust my voice to sing the correct notes and the thought of having my voice crack or go sharp or go flat or just not sound very good in general in front of ALL THE PEOPLE is just terrifying.

We sang another song in the late winter.

And another one just last Sunday.

And I really love it. I do. I love the rehearsal process. Back in my college days, when I wasn't cast in a play (read: MOST OF THE TIME), I would hang out in the theatre. If I was cast in a show (read: NOT MOST OF THE TIME), I would go on days I wasn't even called just to be around all that creative energy, just to learn, just to be. I love, especially, to try to use my voice to bring God praise and honor.

I do not love the nerves. The nerves might kill me dead one day. They just don't seem to be getting better. But I made it through the run of Godspell without a single hurled tomato. So there's always that.

This cast features
1. One of my bridesmaids/best friends. (HI KRISTIN!)
2. Someone I dissected a fetal pig with and who happened to be one of my rocks when the poo hit the fan when I broke up with my fiance in the middle of directing her in a one act.
3. My ex-fiance.
4. Someone who announced onstage during a performance that she was pregnant (she had a husband so it didn't come completely out of left field but the timing was maybe not great). Said someone also had the most incredible voice. Of, like, ever.
5. Someone who's wedding I was a bridesmaid in.
6. Our college librarian.
7. My ex-fiance's roommate.
8. The child of a millionaire.
9. A person who, in one of our rehearsals actually said, "Oh, I just missed that note. That's the first note I've ever missed." And s/he meant in his/her entire life.
10. Me

*My resume is short, don't judge.
**But I wasn't. Drugs are bad.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

He's Got Our Backs

This was a real text conversation between my friend and me.

Me: So yesterday I finished reading To Kill A Mockingbird again. I must have been thinking of that final scene where Jem and Scout get attacked. I had a dream I was being chased by an assailant. I ran past a bus stop and Nathan* was there. I started screaming for him to help, using him as a shield. So tell him thanks for being my dream protector.

Friend: I will be sure he dusts off his shining armor just in case you need it again :). Too funny.

Me: I woke up and I was like...well THAT was interesting. And I mean...I was hysterical in the dream. It took him a good long while to figure out what the heck I was shrieking about. But know...he took care of business.

Friend: He does that. And yes, it does take him awhile to figure out what I'm shrieking about. So did he knock the life out of the guy?

Me: I was hiding behind him and I don't know what happened exactly. But then suddenly there were lots of people...hysterical screaming tends to draw crowds. But I did wake up with the thought, "Nathan saved my life." Which was then followed by my thinking that was a very weird dream.

Friend: I'm glad you're safe. And lest you think you're the only weirdo, I know Nathan has daydreams about saving...well, Troy's life. He imagines what he would do if a gunman came into Sonrise and threatened Troy. Often we choose seats based on his clear path to intercept the villain.

Me: THAT IS EXCELLENT! I often have daymares involving a psycho trying to kill Troy while he's preaching. Glad to know someone is already planning a defense.

Friend: I'm sure Troy is happy we are focusing on such things while he preaches. Very spiritual.

Me: Yes. Look at us paying so much attention.

*Name changed to protect the dream/pastor protector.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

FYI: Garrett is Still Alive

My children. They are made of sticks and stumps and dirt and bugs and exploration. They are part mountain goat, part wild man, part nature lover and all boy. Once a year, the Boy Scouts hold a scouting expo. It's designed, I think, to both encourage boys to join scouts as well as serve as a networking/social opportunity for those already involved. We currently fall into the former. But my boys need no incentive. They want to be Boy Scouts. (And, soon enough, that dream will be a reality.)

Today was the day of the expo. And this was one of the highlights.

Matthew, only five, climbed like a champ. He didn't make it all the way to the top but he got pretty close. When he was about halfway up, Troy and I switched places. Garrett was on the other side of the rock. So Troy came to watch Matthew and I went to snap a picture or two of Garrett.

Garrett scurried up this rock like it was nobody's business. Come to find out, by that point in the day, only five people had made it to the top via this side of the rock. Garrett turned out to be one of them. I told him if he made it up I'd snap his picture. 

So once he reached the upper limit, I positioned my camera. "Okay, let go..." the teenager holding his rope called up. And so he did.

And it is just no wonder that this child has a skull fracture. He probably has several. I don't really know what happened, exactly. When Garrett let go, he swung wildly to the right, dropped at least five feet (maybe more) before being "caught", swung like a pendulum back to the left, crashed into the rock wall, bounced away from the wall, crashed into it again, and then hung upside down as they slowly lowered him to the ground.

That's him, there. In the white helmet. Upside down. The ONLY reason I got this shot is because I'd already pressed the button to take a picture of him securely at the top. By the time my phone finally snapped the picture, he was at least five feet lower and upside down. I've NEVER seen the look he wore on his face while he free fell. It was a look that screamed, "I am going to die RIGHT now and the guy TOLD me to let go and now death is imminent." Except I don't think my seven-year-old knows the definition of imminent. So maybe his look conveyed more of, "DEATH! NOW!"

I didn't know what was happening, exactly. I wasn't sure what had malfunctioned or been operated incorrectly or what was going on but I started to lunge forward. I have no idea what I thought I'd do. There's no way I would have reached him in time if he'd continued to plummet. He was about 20 to 25 feet in the air. He probably would have bounced. But, well, he might have actually had a broken neck this time. And broken arms, ribs, cheek bones, clavicle. You name it, he may have busted it. The sky's the limit, really. Or, in this case, the ground's the limit.

My motto with these guys is that it's a fine line between keeping them alive and letting them live. I want them to live. I want them to suck the marrow out of life, to explore, to dare, to experience the rush of conquering fear. I don't want them to have regrets. If, in order for them to truly live, they must have an extreme existence, they may have it with my blessing. But my goodness, it's going to be a miracle if I manage to keep them alive.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Mom's Night Out

I'm in a secret best friendship with Sarah Drew. Mainly, it's a secret because she doesn't know. I'm planning to tell her soon. I just need to figure out the most effective way to get in touch with her without using conventional stalker techniques. 'Cause, you know, I want her to like me and realize that we're a match made in heaven. Not, say, call for a restraining order.
On Saturday I went with eleven other women to see the movie Mom's Night Out and I loved it. I laughed until my eyes were misted over with tears. And, okay, yes. It was incredibly far-fetched but most comedies are. I mean take, for example, my most favorite movie of ALL THE TIMES OF EVER, Father of the Bride. (Not the old, old one, but the old one from the early nineties.) Who would actually employ that wedding coordinator? What self-respecting father would pull a decades old tux out of storage with the intent to wear it to his daughter's wedding? What daughter wouldn't FIND HER FATHER AND DANCE WITH HIM AT THE WEDDING HE IS PAYING FOR? Comedies force us to suspend large quantities of disbelief on a regular basis.

The critics are raging. How dare we allow faith-based films? How dare any self-respecting woman desire to stay at home with her children? Obviously, we are giving our money to Christian propaganda that does nothing but support the subjugation of women.

I'm getting sick and tired of fighting against the belief that if a women chooses to stay home with her children, she's an idiot. Some women work because they want to. Some work because they have to. Some stay home with their kids. Why is it that we continue to cat fight about which one is better? We make sacrifices so that I can be home--it's a choice we've made. My husband and I. Together. I'm sick of the world weighing in on it, making me feel like I am somehow less of a woman--somehow a detrimental plague on society--because I'm home raising my boys.

And so, let me tell you what I think. I think it was wonderful to see a group of women who represented me--a stay-at-home mom with little kids who feels like she's messing up everything she touches. Not to mention the portrayal of a pastor's wife. Although, for the most part, Sondra really had it together and kind of made me feel overly inadequate. Take, for example, her opening scene. She's running around, doing eighteen different things, holding the entire church together, remembering people's birthdays and giving everyone she sees a personal little message to make them feel included and welcome. I think I actually shrunk down in my chair thinking, "I am not a good pastor's wife. I am not a good pastor's wife." On Sunday morning I can only be seen doing two or three things at once and I forget people's birthdays like you wouldn't believe. At least I don't have a Donnie Osmond tattoo (which is very good because that would be so incredibly weird and...retro but not in a good way). Anyway. My point is, it's important for all people to feel like they're represented in art. Not just the people who's agenda the critics are trying to push.

What I'm trying to say is that it's a great movie. It represents a lot of women I know. It's funny and touching and relevant. And, also, it stars my new secret best friend. (I'm even choosing to overlook the fact she kisses Jesse Williams on TV.) 

If you're a stay-at-home mom, have ever been a stay-at-home mom, have ever considered being a stay-at-home mom, or have a friend who's a stay-at-home mom, go see this movie. Forget what the critics say. I read a bad review of this film by a critic who gave a great review to Hangover 3. I just feel like, if there can be not one, and not two, but three movies with the title Hangover, there can be one movie about some church-going moms having a night out.

But then I'm a mostly conservative, church-going, pretty-much-stay-at-home mom myself so, clearly, I'm a completely stupid moron who's never had an original thought. Forget the fact that I'm college educated because I attended a small faith-based university. According to the secular world, that probably doesn't even count.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Age Matters

So there I am, subbing for 8th graders. Sure, sometimes they're belligerent. Sometimes they stare me down like I'm some kind of two headed maniac. Always they're glued to their phones like a gang of robotic half wits. But, mostly, they're fine. The only thing that gets a little old is the fact that there are six periods and I do the same thing OVER and OVER and OVER again. And usually it's some mind-numbing thing because the teacher didn't know ahead of time that I have a degree in Theatre or have taken extensive course work in English and Writing. This is a good thing if I ever sub for Alegbra or Earth Science or Boys' Weight Lifting. In those circumstances, I'd be thrilled to watch the first half of Stand and Deliver six times.

Today, I had to listen as the students (not so) dramatically read from the stage version of The Diary of Anne Frank. SIX TIMES. It wasn't all bad. One girl read Anne with a decidedly interesting English accent while, simultaneously, another girl read her mother with a Russian accent. Okay. We make artistic choices. Sometimes they're good ones. Sometimes they aren't. Like one boy's choice to read the part of Peter with a tone that suggested a great deal of pent up sexual frustration. It was a little uncomfortable and I just didn't quite know how to handle it.

The very best part came, however, when a boy playing Peter (not sexually charged Peter, a different one) said, "You're crazy. She's only 13."

The girl reading for Mrs. Van Daan replied, "And you're 16. Just perfect. Your father's 10 years older than I--WHOA!" The entire class erupted with mirthful hysterics at the mere thought of ANY couple being that far apart. She continued, "That is NOT okay."

I decided not to regale them with my own story. No need to tell them about the cradle robbing love of my life and the decade that separates us.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

I sometimes have thoughts about my mother dropping dead.

A massive heart attack. Maybe a brain aneurysm. Perhaps she's diagnosed with one of the particularly icky kinds of cancer. The types that kill you in no time flat. These are relatively ridiculous thoughts because she's a healthy 56-year-old woman. She exercises more than I do. She eats well and I have no reason to suspect imminent death. Still, on occasion, I will suddenly think about what it would be like to answer the ringing phone only to hear the words on the other end of the phone that she's gone.

I don't even think I would understand the concept of putting one foot in front of the other, let alone have the capability of accomplishing the simple task of walking. I think breathing would feel the way it does when I'm nearing the end of a run--my lungs burning as though they are being stabbed by a red-hot pitch fork that was previously dipped in acid. Beyond the initial shock and pain, past the ugly grieving, would be the hours turning into days and, eventually, years without being able to pick up the phone and call her.

Because some kid did something funny.

Because I want to make sure I've got the ingredients right on a recipe.

Because I'm bored.

Because my right ovary is more than twice the size of the left one and WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN I AM PROBABLY DYING RIGHT QUICK. RIGHT?

Because I'd need her to say, "No, you're probably not dying."

Because someone hurt my feelings in ministry and DOESN'T THAT PERSON KNOW I AM DOING MY VERY BEST?

Because I need her to say, "Don't worry about it. You're doing your best. You're being a wife and a mom to little kids and working part time and leading ministry and that person needs to stop putting one more expectation on you."

Because I'll still lose sleep over it but at least I'll know that my mama's in my corner.

Because I spend a lot of time worrying about how I'm not something more. But the truth is, it was my mom who taught me--is teaching me--that it's okay to want my life's work to be about my children. It's okay to say that my career (or lack thereof) is not my legacy. My popularity is not my legacy. My children (and, more specifically, raising my children into godly men) are my legacy.

I have no earthly idea what I'd do without my mom. I would learn to put one foot in front of the other. I would, once again, resume normal breathing without pain. But someone would always, always be missing.

Thank you, Mom. Thank you for molding me, teaching me, loving me, accepting me, and being there for me. I am who I am today because of you. And while, on the outside, what I am may not look like much, I hope you're proud of your legacy.

Happy Mother's Day. I feel sorry for all the other kids because, clearly, I got the best.

Friday, May 9, 2014


Dear World,

I was badly in need of a makeover. It had been, well, a really long time. It was kind of like how you girls will go days, weeks, maybe even months without shaving your legs during the wintertime because it's too stinkin' cold outside to wear any kind of clothing that would cause people to notice. Or kind of like when you're a new mom and you just wear the baby barf clothes out in public because what's the point of changing just to have the kid puke all over you again. Even though both of those examples would have caused your younger self to, maybe, break out in hives. Sometimes you just need to shave your legs and change into clothes that don't smell like vomit. And that's what needed to happen to me.

I needed new pictures.

New captions.

Some BUTTONS to click on, even.

Lori is, like, the LEAST techy person you know who is actually under the age of 70. It's sad. So even though it's not like I look GREAT now, please acknowledge that a change has been made because she tried really hard and she did it ALL BY HERSELF.

Also, she broke up with Disqus because she couldn't figure out why none of you (or very few, anyway) could comment. Maybe you just stopped commenting because she stopped being funny, poignant, relevant or important. Maybe you stopped reading altogether and I'm just talking to the cyber abyss. But if, by chance, you are still reading and if, by chance, you were one of the ones having problems commenting, could you say, "Hi! It works!" or "Don't expect me to ever comment again because your writing is slop." Because, see, there were some people who could still comment and it seems that those comments are trapped somewhere inside of Disqus. Someone is almost always really immature when break ups happen. Take Lori, for example. She once broke up with a guy who then borderline stalked her and hovered in the doorway of her biology class for an inhuman amount of time, causing even the professor to become uncomfortable. (Just to play devil's advocate for the sake of keeping it real, the two were slated to get married so it wasn't your every day, run of the mill, break up but still. That dude behaved like what I'm saying.) Disqus stole ALL THE COMMENTS and WON'T GIVE THEM BACK.

So. Since she lost comments AND doesn't know that there is any way to recover them AND doesn't even really know if breaking up with Disqus was the answer, it would be super nice of you to let her know. You can always email her at if it still doesn't work. Or you can tell her on Facebook. Or in person. Or over texting. Just throw her a bone, m'kay?

Don't be like the dog on Pirates of the Caribbean who, for half a century now, has been taunting those poor pirates with that rusty old key.

The Blog

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Just a Boy

There are milestones in a child's life--learning to crawl, putting one front in front of the other, kindergarten, prom--that we wait for with (sometimes) eager anticipation. And then there are things we just didn't see coming. The changes they make when we aren't watching.

You mothers will understand.

You have a baby. He's small and helpless and hungry and wide awake when you want to be sound asleep. She's everything you ever imagined motherhood to be. Then, quite suddenly, he's one month old. Then she has a first birthday, a second, and so on. Still, as difficult as it is for you to believe that your baby has learned how to walk and run and use the potty without your help, these are milestones you expected.

I remember when both of my boys were nearly four. One day it suddenly occurred to me that they weren't babies anymore. I hadn't been counting their age in months for a couple of years but there is something about that toddler stage that just gets lumped together in my mind as a time when my children were very, very small. Then they turned four. I stopped thinking of them as babies--or fragile, small beings--and started thinking of them as little boys. It was a nostalgic, almost depressing realization. As much as I was looking forward to the next stage in their lives, I had to take a minute, in the middle of an otherwise busy day of chasing them around, to mourn the loss of the tiniest stage of their existence.

A couple of years went by. The youngest was still living in that sweet spot of toddlerhood while we held on to the last warm days of summer before we sent our oldest to kindergarten. It was a milestone I'd thought about and known was coming since I held that teeny newborn, fresh from my womb, in the arms that had longed to snuggle him since before I could really even remember.

Kindergarten ended and first grade started without fanfare. Honestly, I never thought about the fact that one day my kids would start first grade. In my mind, there would be kindergarten and then a bunch of years full of a lot of science projects and spelling words.

Really, relatively speaking, first grade has been fairly uneventful. (The grade itself, that is. The year has been a little crazy.)  But there has been one major event that I will forever associate with the first grade. I imagine that, for a lot of parents, it happens in second grade. You see, I stupidly assumed that there was the toddler stage, then the little boy stage, then a few preteen years and then a time when I would lock my child in his bedroom and let him out on his eighteenth birthday.

I was wrong.

There is a definite difference between a little boy and whatever my child has become. I suppose we just call it Boy. No longer particularly little, no where near a preteen. Garrett is older than most of his classmates and so, for us, it happened in the first grade.

Suddenly, he exchanges knowing looks with me when Matthew does something silly/annoying/babyish/obnoxious/all of the above. He laughs at things I think should still be sailing over his head.

"Hey, Mom!" he said and when I waited for him to continue he whispered, "I know the F word."

I swallowed hard. "What is it?"

He lowered his voice so far it was almost inaudible. "Fank," he replied. And while I am perfectly happy with him thinking that a made up word is the actual F word, I also know that his proximity to the real word means he's heard it a time or two and somehow, inherently, knows it's bad.

He has intellectual conversations with us.

He perceives things now that he never would have noticed before. He expresses thoughts and ideas and feelings differently now than he did just eight months ago. Somehow, quite when I wasn't paying attention, he grew up. Not all the way up, certainly, but enough for me to notice.

He's lanky and he has two big teeth jutting out from his upper jaw. He is becoming whoever it is that he'll be. And so, really, when I look back, it will be the first grade that I remember when I think of the time that my little boy pressed on and became just a boy.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Extreme Substituting

At 5:30, bleary eyed and still half dreaming, I accepted a job for half a day of kindergarten. Ninety minutes later, I climbed into brown dressy/churchy/worky pants, a pink and brown business looking shirt, and brown slip on, loafer-style shoes. Trust me, the importance of the attire will be explained later. At 7:50 I waved goodbye to the child who was racing me down the street. (I, in my car. He, in his Vans--surfer hair flying as he ran, waving.)

At 8:00 I checked in and was informed that the teacher I claimed to be subbing for only taught in the afternoon. I immediately pulled out my phone to show the secretary that I was right. I can do that now. The increase in my cell phone bill proves it. Before I could even turn it on though, she was on her phone.

"Hello?" came the voice clearly through the receiver.

"Who is this?" asked the secretary.

"Christy," the voice replied. That was the first name of the person I was supposed to sub for. What that meant was still a mystery to me.

"Oh. You're here. There's a sub here and I just now remembered that you're going on a field trip today. Do you need her?"


"Yes. I can't go. I was vomiting my brains out all night long. Send her down."

No! I'm so sorry. While I don't know what it's like to vomit one's brains out all night long, I am intimately acquainted with throwing one's stomach contents, all the bile there ever was, and possibly a spleen out all night and into the live long day. But I do not want to be sent down to catch (and thus experience) it again for myself.

The secretary hung up the phone. "Did you know you're going to the zoo?"

Yes, as a matter of fact, I always wear slip on loafer shoes to the zoo. I always wear dress pants. I always carry a large purse. And I leave my lunch at home because I think I'm going to be finished with this job by noon.

"I did not," I replied.

"Oh. Well. You're going to the zoo!"

I walked down the hall. "Hi," I said to the teacher who was sitting at her desk looking peakish in a red hoodie, her hair tied up in a messy ponytail. "I'm sorry you were throwing up all night." Because, you know, I genuinely was.

"You heard that?" she sounded mortified. "It just came on so suddenly. There's no way I can go to the zoo today. Oh. So. You're going on a field trip."

This was no longer news to me but was not, in fact, a thrilling piece of information. Being in charge of almost two dozen kindergartners ON A FIELD TRIP is not my idea of a good time. Add to that the fact that I would be wrangling kids I'd never met before IN BROWN SLIP ON SHOES AT THE ZOO and we had a recipe for disaster.

"Come over here and I'll explain everything," she said.

No. No. No. I will stand over here, a good, safe distance from ALL THE PLAGUE-LIKE THINGS YOU HAVE GOING ON OVER THERE. Just shout the directions to me from your desk. I'm fine where I am.

I walked to her anyway. I'm obedient like that. I tried not to breathe because, seriously, I doubt that woman's "up all night vomiting out brain matter and whatnot" has anything on me. I'VE LAID ON THE FLOOR OF AN AIRPLANE LAVATORY AND THROWN UP OVER INTERNATIONAL WATERS!

"Another teacher will be here. She teaches in the morning. I do the afternoon. You'll all meet in here. These parents are going," she handed me plague infested index cards which she referred to as Post-It notes but I knew it was just the lack of sleep, lack of food, lack of water talking. "Mark whoever is absent on this and send it to the office. Make sure each parent has the lunches for the kids they are responsible for. You'll do great. Have fun. Goodbye." She said a few more words, obviously, but that was the gist.

There should be a game show called Extreme Substituting because I would win ALL THE POINTS. And the bonus round. I mean, last year a kid took his pants off and today I was thrown into a river of demented piranhas and told to swim upstream. A COUPLE DOZEN KINDERGARTNERS. THE ZOO. AND ABOUT A FIVE MINUTE WARNING.

I had a brief daymare involving children being maimed by lions thus resulting in my being asked never to return to another substitute position ever again for the rest of my life. The bell rang, shaking me out of my horror story. I opened the door and welcomed the children in.

Except, as I soon learned, they weren't mine. They were the morning class. My kids stood outside for another five minutes. Parents looked bewildered. I tried taking roll with the wrong class. The other teacher finally came in.

"Hi! So everyone needs one of these," she handed me a bag of badges that proudly displayed the name of the school." While she called her own student's names, I attempted to figure out which parents belonged to my class. Turns out two of the parents I was supposed to have decided not to show up. I quickly started shifting names around on the VERY IMPORTANT LOOKING DOCUMENT. I called parents the wrong names after they'd told me half a dozen times. I thought the girl named Elliot was a boy with long hair. I finally managed to figure out which kids were absent and which were present and hand them off to their (re)designated parent.

"Should we take this with us?"

"Does he need that?"

"When we get there you need to take our zoo passes and our IDs and take care of getting all of us in."

"Can we switch? I know she would be happier with me and he'd be happier with his buddy."

I don't care. I so do not care. I am sure the teacher put a great deal of time and effort into these groups but I have never met them before in my life and I just do not care.

"Sure," I said. "Just let me change it on here." It's a good thing I'm a very organized individual who prides herself on not losing kids at the zoo. A lesser sub would have crumbled under the pressure and been found sucking her thumb under the flu infested desk. I'm not entirely sure why no one has handed me a teaching license yet. One of these days I'm sure I'll find it in the mail.

Dear Mrs. Doozleberry,

Here is your license. We know you do not have the proper schooling but, well, a kid took his pants off and then you had approximately thirty seconds to get organized for a field trip you didn't know you were taking. Enjoy your credential and the upgrade in pay.

Yours Truly,
The Utah Educator's Association (or whoever it is that gives those things out)

Once on the bus, the other teacher told me I needed to count noses. I cry-whispered under my breath, "But I don't know which noses are mine." Eventually, we tag teamed it and I was able to make sure that all of my kids had their noses accounted for.

At the zoo, I managed to get all the appropriate parents and students inside by handing several IDs and passes over to the nice zoo worker man guy. I even got the IDs back to their rightful owners. After that, I had almost three peaceful hours, chatting with the other teachers, walking around the zoo (in inappropriate shoes), and taking pictures of elephants to show my first grader. (Look what I did today--AND I GOT PAID!)

We made it back on the bus--every last one of us. No one was attacked by a bear, even. The parents were all really great and helpful. The kids had fun. And no one took his pants off. In case you're wondering, I pretty much measure the success of all days by whether or not someone takes off his pants.

Now all I have to do is sit back and wait to catch the flu.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Morning Jog of Death

I have a Netfriend (meaning I've never actually met her but we converse through email and Facebook) and she's a straight up hysterical blogger. I promise you that virtually nothing can happen during her day and she can still spin a trip to Starbucks into the funniest tale you've ever read. (Hi Tammy! You slay me. In a good way. Not in an actual death sort of way. Although, I imagine that if we faced off we could borrow our sons' Nerf swords and have quite the dual.) Anyway. Lately, I've sat down to write and thought to myself, "Self, nothing funny, poignant, or noteworthy happened today. Still, you should try to write something. WWTS?" (That's code for What Would Tammy Say because, y'all, Tammy would turn that Not-Much-of-a-Day into one good read.)

Today, I sat looking at my white screen, wondering what, if anything I could write about and then suddenly I thought to myself, HOW COULD I EVER FORGET, EVEN FOR ONE SECOND, THE FACT THAT I TUMBLED HEAD OVER FEET AND SPRAWLED OUT ON THE SIDEWALK FOR EVERYONE TO SEE? So now I've decided that funny stuff is more than likely happening to me on an hourly basis and perhaps some sort of early onset dementia is preventing me from remembering it by the time evening comes. Or smelly boys. They might be more to blame for my living on my very last brain cell than actual dementia.

Last year, Garrett ran track (stay with me, this isn't me giving a demonstration on how I'm down to just one living brain cell). He did really great once he shaped up. The first few practices though, they were brutal. He was holding his chest and crying and telling me he was dying and for a few seconds there, I thought my six-year-old was experiencing actual cardiac arrest. Alas, he just wasn't really in great running shape. It took a few weeks. Track starts again in two weeks and I've decided to help him get ready ahead of time, so those first few practices don't attempt murder on his young life.

We've been running around the block. It's a distance of not quite a mile.

It was a party this morning. There was Garrett, off in the lead. I brought up the rear with Matthew--who squeals in delight about how fun running is as long as we're going downhill but who sobs in great hysterics if there is so much as a slight incline--and the old and chubby and lazy golden retriever. Garrett got quite a bit ahead because, at the start of our run, our altitude increases by roughly twelve inches and Matthew was having none of it. He cried and carried on while I stood, jogging in place, reminding him that HE CHOSE TO RUN AND NOT RIDE HIS BIKE AND THEREFORE HE NEEDED TO PICK UP THE PACE AND TURN OFF THE TEARS BEFORE HIS BROTHER GOT SO FAR AHEAD OF US THAT WE NEVER SAW HIM AGAIN! This all happened in front of a man who was doing yard work and watching the scene unfold as though I was the very worst mother in the history of mothers and, yes, that includes Joan Crawford.

The slight incline evened out. Matthew stopped crying. We kept running. Garrett was a small dot on the horizon that I occasionally hollered at. "Great job! Keep going!" We ran along the busy street. Eventually, we turned the corner onto a less busy street (read: HALLELUJAH!) and kept jogging. Matthew was just a few feet behind me. The dog was beside me. Said canine kept having difficulty making up his mind. Did he want to be on the sidewalk or did he want to be on the street? Really, I think he wanted to be home, resting peacefully on the floor, gnawing on rawhide. As we ran along, he switched back and forth. Down onto the street. Up onto the sidewalk. Down onto the street.

And then it happened.

He hopped back up onto the sidewalk and somehow fate and the stars aligned and my lovably moronic dog put his right paw directly in my path. I saw it all happening in slow motion. The paw in my way. My foot crashing into it. The ground getting closer. Closer now. Ever closer.

It's been a long time since I've just fallen to the ground. I remember being little and seeing it all happening so slowly. Trying to right the body. Waiting for gravity to work it's magic. Wondering how it would hurt. Lemme just tell you. NOTHING CHANGES. That's exactly how it all happened. The only difference is I'm 32 now. I don't bounce. 

Up and over the dog I went. He stopped abruptly--his neck being tethered to the leash in my hand, after all. I threw my hands out in front of me, landed hard on my right knee and hip, and skidded to a stop. "MOM!" the five-year-old behind me screamed, "Are you okay?" 

"Beck! YOU IDIOT!" I yelled at the poor dog who was already sitting beside me with a look of shame. I instantly felt bad because, well, he's a dog. It's not as though he planned to cut me off--box me out, body slam me--just to see what kind of reaction he could get. I popped up almost instantly because as far as I'm concerned, the faster someone gets up after a humiliating fall, the more face they save.

My knee was skinned and bleeding. My hands were scraped. My hip was sore and welted (although I didn't discover the welting until I got home on account of the fact that I didn't think it would be a good idea to pull my pants down right there on the sidewalk). But my forearm got the worst of it.

This picture was taken about 12 hours after it happened. The photo DOES NOT do it justice. It just looks like a smallish scrape. I assure you that it is really A HORRIBLE, PAINFUL, WAR WOUND OF DEATH.

We ran on.

When we got back to the house, Garrett was waiting. "What took you so long?" he asked. I held up my arm. At that point, blood was dripping toward my wrist. "OH MY GOSH! WHAT HAPPENED?"

"The dog--" I started to say. But then Matthew shoved past me.

"It was like this. I saw the whole thing. Becky--well, Becky--he came up and he stuck his paw out like this," he demonstrated. "And then mom's foot hit Beck's paw like this," more action moves. "An THEN mom went like this..." Apparently, I acrobatically cartwheeled through the air, landed, with a thud, on my side, and proceeded to skid several feet. At least, that's how Matthew remembers it. 

I'll take it. It sounds a lot better than, "My 32-year-old mother couldn't keep herself from falling when the dog cut her off." Additionally, I'm pretending that the structure of my knee hasn't possibly been compromised and that it doesn't hurt every time I take a step.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

An Open Letter to My Alma Mater *****Edited

Dear Point Loma Nazarene University,

In the last few moments, your budget cuts, previously unknown to me, have been brought to my attention and now permeate my thoughts. A simple Facebook message read, "PLNU Theatre grads. It's official. They are phasing out our major. We will no longer exist."

A lot of life has happened in these many years since I sat, boiling in black cap and gown, waiting to receive my degree on an uncharacteristically hot day in May eleven years ago. I don't agree with all the choices you've made, but I will continue to validate my experience because I believe, down to my very core, that I am who I am today--in large part--because of the four years I spent on your campus.

In those incredibly formative years, I gained significant head knowledge but, more than that, I learned about life. Those seemingly never ending years are now a mere spot on the radar of my past but, in them, I learned who it was that I wanted to be. As a result, I find myself passionately defensive of my education. I learned. I learned that my professors were right. They were wrong. And sometimes they were neither right nor wrong because it was often a matter of opinion. I learned discernment, when to keep my mouth shut and when to speak up. I learned how to live and grow and educate myself without my incredible parents by my side day in and day out. I learned about God. I studied His word. I took significant steps toward being the believer that I wanted to be. I will be ever thankful for all that Point Loma Nazarene University is to me.

It is because of all that that I grieve the decision you have made to phase out my major. I am deeply saddened by the information reported on your website. The truth of the matter is, I'm not using my theatre degree in the way it was intended. I'm not employed as an actor, director, or stage manager. I don't even work in a box office. I don't regularly consider the Laban Theory of Movement or implement professional make-up techniques on a daily basis. So if you're basing your decision on how many graduates are using their degrees for employment, I urge you not to look in my direction.

But I am using my theatre degree. I use it every single day in a vast array of areas.

I graduated from PLNU in May of 2003 and married my husband three months later. He was and still is a pastor. Having spent the past ten years as a pastor's wife, I have had countless opportunities to be front and center, including the many times I have shared from God's word at conferences and retreats. This skill was fine tuned through the art of being in front of people on stage in productions as well as through classes such as Acting I and II and Movement I and II. I taught drama in the Ramona Unified School District. At that time, I was using my degree for employment (using the knowledge I gained from classes including, but not limited to, Directing, Theatre History, and Stagecraft Techniques). I also used my acting training to effectively and comfortably communicate in the classroom. I now work as a substitute teacher, using my degree in much the same way. With substitute teaching comes the addition of applying my improvisational skills to interact in a variety of different classroom situations and disciplines as well as with students from kindergarten through 12th grade.

While not lucrative, I use the knowledge I gained under Paul Bassett at Point Loma's Salomon Theatre to write and direct church plays and participate in Vacation Bible School ministries. We do not always use our degrees for monetary gain. Sometimes, the Lord calls us to an area of study so that it will later benefit us in volunteer ministry.

From 2001-2003, I served as Salomon Theatre's Production Manager. This, along with stage managing, equipped me for a variety of different opportunities. I now plan conferences and retreats for our church. The theatrical managing disciplines taught me how to take an idea and turn it into an event by being mindful of each and every detail.

Truly, I cannot begin to tell you how often I use the knowledge I gained through the Theatre Department at Point Loma.

For so many of us, theatre is not just a hobby or a way to pass the time. I am deeply saddened that future students will not be able to experience the same education I did. To attend PLNU, gain a Christian education, and study theatre, was a dream come true. By making the decision to cut the major, you are choosing to send young students to secular drama programs when they would have preferred to study at a school that might have helped to reinforce their beliefs and values.Your website is quick to state that a theatre minor will still be offered and that PLNU will continue to stage plays. I trust that you understand what a terrible consolation prize that is. In a world that is so quick to cut the arts, areas in which humanity communicates its God-given condition, I would have expected more from a Christian institution.

As a side note, I am deeply concerned about the university's choice to phase out the Philosophy/Theology department. As my heart is bound to the theatre department, I am much more personally invested in your decision to cut it, but it confuses me that a religious school would do away with its theology department.

My heart is forever tied to the incredible education and experience that I received at your institution. I learned volumes about life...and about theatre. I made deep and continuing friendships. I made memories that will last a lifetime. I love Point Loma Nazarene University.

I love the theatre department. I am devastated that you have chosen to eliminate it. Truly, I wish that another choice could have been made.

***Edited to Add
A PLNU professor brought the following to my attention: The Phil/Theo decision affects only one small major within the School of Theology. The courses will be reorganized into major programs more appropriate to current student interests.