Sunday, May 03, 2009

Leonard Cohen vs. Mamma Mia

I've been wanting to see Mamma Mia! for quite a while...I like musicals, because it's always interesting to see how the music fits and moves the story along. I also like seeing current movie actors sing. Its always kind of surprising. For some reason I don't expect actors to be able to sing, which is kind of silly, since most of them probably have other skills besides acting. Hugh Jackman was a big surprise...but I digress.

Anyway, I was disappointed by Mamma Mia. I just had no point of connection with the entire foundation of the movie. The story...a young girl getting married finds her single mother's diary, and learns that there are three men who could possibly be her father. She invites all three of the men to her wedding without telling her mother-hoping to learn who her father is, and fill that dad shaped vacuum. Lots of dancing and drama later, the mother marries the man she loves the best at the wedding that was to be her daughter's, no one knows who the father was, and the girl leaves with her fiance to have adventures in the big world.

In stark contrast is my gut-wrenching indentification with Leonard Cohen. I posted about the concert earlier, and what an amazing experience it was. How is it possible to be so completely drawn in with one artist, and so completely outside with another artist? Nathan mentioned that he's been listening to "Closing Time" by LC a lot lately. So tonight I went online to listen to it. And what was funny to me was that the song starts out a lot like Mamma Mia--women dancing in a bar, everyone having fun. But then it shifts to a much deeper reality/pathos as it progresses. That second half of the song is what Mamma Mia was totally missing. I couldn't help being struck by the obvious contrast, and how I am so clearly on one side of the fence.

Friday, May 01, 2009


I went to the healing team to be prayed for last Wednesday. Before I came in, they prayed to find out what the Lord had for me that day. One of the pictures a lady got was of me trudging slowly up a hill like I was carrying a big burden. So she said that she thought I was carrying a burden that I wasn't supposed to be, or doing something that I used to have grace for, but didn't anymore.

Casting my mind about for what that could mean, I realized that the only thing in my life that made me feel that way was the laundry and housework. Its just never done, and whenever I ask the kids to help, not much happens. A couple of weeks ago I had a dream where I was telling the kids to do chores, and they just turned around and wandered away. I woke up really mad.

The ladies didn't really think it was about housework. I guess most moms feel overwhelmed. However, when I told Will about it, he said immediately, "It's about the laundry!" Ah! I was right in the first place. So he proceeded to confront me on my lack of delegation with all the household chores, and told me some stories about how bad his chore load was at age 11. Bad.

I have something in me that believes that the kids should have fun, and not have to work. But on the other hand, I definately don't want to raise a bunch of entitled mess makers. So, I got to work on a chore chart. I made a list of all the things I don't like to clean, and places where other people make more messes than me. I assigned each girl three jobs per day, and Sam two. Everyone helps unload the dishwasher, and then each girl has to help either before or after dinner. Then all three have one other job per day. I've got the girls cleaning their bathroom, mopping the kitchen floor, doing their own laundry, and tidying and vacuuming two main rooms per week. Sam has less demanding jobs, but they still meet a need.

So, this week was the first in the new regime. On another chart, I have money value attached to each job, and some others as well, so that everyone can fill in squares when they do their work. At the end of the month they count up their money and get their allowance.

It seems to be working. I like spending time with one girl per night making dinner. I get to teach them about cooking, and they get to chop things. Or stir things. Or empty the trash. The house is cleaner than usual, and the laundry isn't out of control. Pretty nice. Now I just have to enforce it all. I told them that if they complained they wouldn't get paid for the job. The burden is lighter. Thank you, Lord! You make my path straight-not uphill!