Crisis of Faith & Salsa
Not that I'm keeping score or anything, at all


So first of all, this is the second time I've written this entry, since I somehow managed to close my browser AS I SCROLLED THE MOUSE UP TO THE PUBLISH BUTTON, so please attribute any anger to that, and not the subject matter. The first version contained a shocking amount of non-bitterness, and really demonstrated my growth as a person, and while we're at it, let's just say it was the greatest thing ever written in the history of the English language, and this version is going to suck because GAR BLAM ANGRY.

Second of all: thank you. Thank you to everybody who commented on my last entry. Your responses were all so reasoned and diverse and thoughtful, and while it did get a little overwhelming at times, overall they made for excellent reading yesterday while I LAID AROUND IN BED WITH A GROSSLY SWOLLEN MOUTH FROM HAVING MULTIPLE CAVITIES DRILLED AND ALSO THEY SOOTHED THE PAIN IN MY HEART FROM THE DENTAL BILL I PAID. A DENTAL BILL THAT INCLUDED A COMMA.

Oy. But that's a different entry o' bitching. Today's entry is about y'all, and how much I appreciate the time you took to write about something so deeply personal...and so deeplier unhip. Also for mostly keeping the fire and brimstone out of the conversation. REPENT, YE BLOGGER, LEST THE DEVIL HIMSELF RISE FROM HELL TO HEAP DECAY AND DESTRUCTION UPON THOU TEETH AND GUMS.

I was also encouraged to see that most of you actually get my real point (which, given my incredibly imprecise and poorly punctuated writing, is easy to miss): the faith/religion/whatever of my childhood was very much an all-or-nothing concept. It didn't leave a lot of room for questioning (unless you were okay with the answer always being: FAITH, my child. You simply must have FAITH.) Either you believed every word of the Bible literally, including the 24-hour days of the creation story, and went to church every week and voted Republican and didn't smoke or drink or curse or engage in heavy petting...or you were simply not good enough.

Which is why it's still a real struggle for me to accept that I can ditch 99% of that and be anything other than a godless heathen. Which is exactly what I've secretly thought of myself for the better part of a decade now. Since...well, that's exactly what we always called the Unitarians and the wishy-washy "God is everywhere" people and OMG THEY ARE PROBABLY PART OF A NEW AGE CULT LOOK OUT BEHIND YOU IT'S SATAN! AAAHHH!

(And really and truly and honestly? I AM afraid of dying and going to hell. Rhett! Save me!)

And I know. I know! For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith -- and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- not by works, so that no one can boast. Dude, I memorized that verse for Sunday school about a million times. I think there was even a praise chorus for it. So I don't know where I got all tangled up in the crazy legalism. Maybe it was my own perfectionism, maybe it was some passive-aggressive ministering, maybe it was because I was so damned IMMERSED in it all the damned time, what with going to church five times a week and the Christian school and whatnot. Somewhere along the way I got caught up in a never-good-enough mindset where I would stress because I could never keep up with my morning devotions and began to have doubts about two of every animal REALLY fitting on a single boat and also? Dinosaurs?

And of course, let's not forget all the church splits and acrimony and just downright embarrassingly awful behavior I witnessed that was all done in the name of Christ.

Christ. My teeth still hurt.

Last night I had a dream that I was passed over from some awesome imaginary blogging-type job because "they" wanted someone who was more than "just a mommyblogger." And so they refused to even read the sample entries I provided, including the one from Tuesday. And I got all mad and stomped around because it was about GOD, MOTHERFUCKERS, and it was DEEP and only TANGENTIALLY mentioned my kid, so STOP PUTTING ME IN A CORNER, I WILL CUT YOU.

(Yes, I really told them I would cut them. Perhaps the dream actually symbolized that I need to brush up on my interview skills?)

(Also, I only included this story so I could transition from talking about God, motherfuckers, and get back to talking about my kid. Yes.)

Yesterday Noah and I were hanging out in the backyard. He was chasing after Ceiba and shrieking at the top of his lungs and no, I don't know why my neighbor sends her six-year-old out to talk to me on purpose now, while I sat out with my laptop sending whiny emails to people about my teeth. Every once in awhile I'd squirt him with the hose.

At some point I glanced at the clock and realized that it was seven o'clock. Seven! Noah eats dinner at six! Oh shit! But then I shrugged and forgave myself for the omg worst mother evah hyperbole o' guilt, because Noah was obviously having fun and would have let me know if he was really that hungry.

That's when I noticed that Noah was desperately attempting to suck up hose water from the planks of the deck.

So. Question. The whole grace-not-deeds thing. That totally applies to parenting too, right?


I will not forget this, Mother. And one day I shall blame all of my existential gardening woes on you. Probably on my blog.



Oh dear Amalah. That grace most definitely must apply to parenting. That's all I'm hanging by!


They're supposed to eat dinner at the same time every day? Who knew? I would not be a good parent.


if it makes you feel any better, i gave up believing in God when I was about twelve and haven't looked back since. so, if anyone is going to Hell in the 'there actually is a God Oh No' scenario, it'll be me, not you. besides, if this God guy doesn't want me for being a person who thinks for herself, I don't want to spend time with him either. boohiss to anyone who frowns upon free thinking.


(Does it prove how badly I need a life that being the first commenter just completely made my day?) I don't care if it does. woo-hoo!
-And I love that you said "I'll cut you" in your dream interview. Ha!


It's mostly a surprise to me that someone who has endured the heavy-handed Christian upbringing can write so well, and so dirty.


i always say, "my dad is catholic, my mom is jewish, and i'm confused." we were raised learning about both religions, but we never really actively practiced either of them really hardcore. at this point in my early 20's, i place myself in the "spiritual but no religious" catagory. but sometimes i envy the convictions that some of my uber religious friends have. i wonder what it's like to believe in/have faith in something *that much*. maybe someday.




Sucking up water from the planks on the deck? Bah. If it weren't for that, my 2-year-old would probably be dehydrated some days. :)

Don't sweat it. You're a great mom.

Lisa M

...which is why I don't "do" organized religion anymore. Too much angst, too much about who's right and who's wrong. I think they are missing the point entirely. My 14 year old used to eat dirt and bugs. I'll let you know if he blames me or not...


Noah lapping up water off the deck? Teh AWESOME.


Yes, it applies to everything.

My teeth are aching in sympathy. I spent the better part of last year in the dentist office and sadly had to fork over the price of a professional Canon camera. I hope the aches ebb soon.

Heather B.

Wow. He looks like Jason. Like eerily like Jason.


I love that Noah's wearing a dinosaur shirt.


Sorry to hear about your teeth - I hate mouth pain!

There must be some grace factor in parenting. Look how good so many kids turn out even when their parents may have dropped the ball.


Amalah, Amalah, Amalah. Grace applies to everyone and every situation. If it doesn't ... we're all screwed with no lube girl! Seriously, I refrained from commenting on your previous post because I wasn't sure how to say what I believe. I'm very... ummm... non-traditional. It would be too long for a comment. Mebbe I'll do a bloggy post on it today. (Cause, we're so slow here at work lately an 8 hour shift seems to take 16 hours of mah day... meh) But yeah... Grace... its awesome... its saving... its... amazing... grace...


I think you would enjoy the Dar Williams song "Teen for God." That is all.


He is beautiful! LOVE that picture! Oh, and delaying dinner an hour? Not the stuff of childhood trauma. He'll be fine.
Thanks for all you do here--you are so much more than a mommy-blogger, and not at all a godless heathen, either.


How fitting that Noah is wearing a dinosaur shirt in that picture.

I really enjoyed your entry from the other day because it made me think a lot about me, and my kids, and what I am passing to them spiritually. I didn't reply then because I haven't finished processing it yet, but I wanted you to know how great it is to be able to read your blog and say "awww," or laugh, or be made to think - and sometimes all three in the same post!


Back again from yesterday ...

Not ALL churches are judgemental dens of hypocrisy (that iz a hard wurd to spel)even though a lot of embittered people who have fallen away from going to church claim they are. Just sayin.

Either way, it looks like you got some church at Chipotle AND a little Jebus on your deck too ... I see in the photo that your little boy is for-sure the face of God. I know because I have seen Him before, too -- in my baby daughter's eyes.

PS: Read some Anne Lamott if you get a chance -- Bird by Bird or Plan B. She has such an excellent perspective on Christianity / church / Jebus et. al ...


Another stellar entry. I really like people who curse when they write about Jesus. Not sure why. Maybe because it just goes to show how flawed we all are, even the most holiest of holy Christians. In college, I wrote an essay about how cursing is not wrong. Just goes to show how crazy we envangeically-raised people turn out sometimes...I really did that, a "It's not wrong to curse" essay. And I got an A on it.


My dad used to tell me, "It'd be a lot easier to be a Christian if there weren't any others." Despite being raised in church, as an adult I have found a relationship with God that is much deeper and more meaningful than the legalism communicated to me as a child. I am trying to pass on a sincere love for God (without all the extra crap) to my kids. I hope it's working.


I totally forget to feed my kids on time, all too often, if Hubby's not home. They'll come up and find me on the couch, typing away, and say "Mom, it's, like, 7:30. Can we have something to eat?" and I end up letting them have cheese and crackers for dinner.

Jennifer F.

Did you close comments to the last post or am I just an idiot who can't figure out this interweb thingy? Wait, don't answer that.

Anyway, I loved this post and your last one. That kind of honesty and humility is incredibly rare.

I was raised to be an atheist so I was one of those kids at Sunday brunch in flip flops who'd never heard about God. :) I recently converted and am now a devout Christian (well, working on the whole "devout" part), so your post really touched me.

Thanks, and keep up the great writing!

Sue Ann

As someone who identifies completely with you in the area of religious experience, I understand the questions that you raise, your inner strivings to become reconciled to who you are now as compared to who you were in the past as a church goer. I was raised Southern Baptist, graduated from a Southern Baptist University, joined the Charismatic movement in late 60s early 70s, moved on to a more "serious" devotion to God by joining a group who believed in the literal translation of scripture (as if that could be possible), and who, at last, began the long journey moving away from any and all religious beliefs. I am in the process now of reading The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. His rational approach to religion and the religious is helping me make sense and understand how I was possibly caught up for the majority of my life in such religious devotion. If you have not read the book, I would recommend it and would be very interested in how you felt after reading it. As for me, I believe that my choice to move apart from my religious past is the best choice I could make for what's left of my future! By the way, as a grandmother and one who loves children, I always look forward to seeing little Noah's pictures!!


I'm in the same boat with you- raised catholic, husband is a heathen baby, and our baby (10 months) isn't baptized and isn't going to be. I haven't set foot in a church in years. On sundays we pray at the altar of major league baseball and the sopranos. Anyway, I feel really guilty about all of this but I just read this lovely book by Howard Kushner called "How Good do we Have to be". It's all about religious guilt and how religions (he says) have perpetuated that guilt when there's really no need. It helped me get some clarity on the issue-maybe it will help you? Another note- I love this blog! You are hilarious!


Nobody puts Amy in a corner! Not even in yer dreams. Shout out for yesterday's post, BTW. Someone needs to put together an Amalah "Best Of"...


Every time I think Noah looks just like you, you post a photo of him like the one above and it's mini-Jason. And, ADORABLE.

Dude. Your dentist's bill had a COMMA? That is frightening.

Because my husband carpools home from 50 miles away, I usually don't even START dinner until 6:30 or so. If my boys are hungry, they know where the fridge is. And Kaitlyn can usually find a bottle or sippy cup with a few nourishing drops left in it, ya know? (kidding!)


can I secretly (as secret as a web blog comment can be) admit that I sort of like a little hellfire and brimstone in my Sunday morning coffee? I mean, I don't want to be beaten down, but just a little chastizing to remind me that I am a sinner and should always try to beter myself. Like I said, just a *little* to remind me that I'm not the hot shit I try to act like I am...

And as for dinner getting postponed by an hour--you're a fine mother... Just last night I was contemplating starving my 3-YO because I've gotten tired of catering to his idea of dinner ("Appa-soss! No-gurt! See-we-o!") and wanted him to eat what I prepared. Then I got the questioning from the husband, felt guilty, and bribed him with ice cream instead. So he ate 2 bites of casserole, then had one of those 4-oz cups of ice cream--talk about your pathetic parenting!


i have decided to make love my religion.

i know that sounds hippy dippy, but what it means is that i just live my life loving others regardless of whatever. in the end, i think that's really what matters. not the preaching, the judgments, the condescension and hypocrisy, the wars fought in god's name.

the bible says god is love, after all.


Faith should be synonymous with "struggle," because that's exactly what it is. I don't want to get preachy because I loathe that witnessy stuff. All I'll say is that
if we weren't good enough, there would be no Crucifixion.

It's really hard to see unfiltered Christianity because of the legalism so many have imposed, most of which has NOTHING to do with the big picture as John (or Luke?) said in the Gospel. I gave up on church for a long while for this very reason. Sorry if I'm rambling.


you forgot to mention the whole "I leave my kid in pajamas all day" part too! It's okay I do that most of the time anyway.

Usually lunch is half assed around here. They will only eat lunch or dinner, but not both.


That Noah is the handsome-est little boy evah, in the whole wide world!!

Li'l Foot's mommy

I so can not wait for Noah to have a BLOG!!!!!


"And one day I shall blame all of my existential gardening woes on you."

Bossy never thought about the fact that we bloggers are providing our children with traceable facts.


I'm sure that we'll have a blog...A Day In The Life Of Amalahs Son...He's so cute, and he was definately plotting something in the picture! btw, Dentists SUCK!


oops. I meant, "He'll" NOT we'll. I'm dumb like that!


Morning devotions? What? We're supposed to do morning devotions? I honestly can't tell you the last time I did a devotion at any time. It doesn't mean I've stopped believing, I just got busy and lazy and distracted. By life. By children. By the internet. And especially by this damn blog.
Seriously Amy, I think you are fine. As long as you believe in the Way, the Truth and the Life, that's all you need. God will show you your path when it's ready for you and when you are ready to take it. Some people can make Christianity so difficult, and it doesn't have to be that way. Christ's sacrifice also freed us from bondage to the law, it didn't create a new and even more complicated one. I really believe that most 'rules' are simply a matter of personal conviction, and not meant to be followed by everyone. If it was meant to be for all, the Good Lord would've spelled it out in His Word.
PS-God knew a loooong time ago that you wouldn't be a perfect mommy, and He still gave Noah to you. My recollection of Scripture is a little rusty, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't say "Thou shalt not let ye child sucketh hose water off thee deck." (If I happen to run across that Commandment in the future, I'll let you know.)


Dinosaurs AND Noah's're totally covered at the new Creationist Museum:


The whole saved by grace concept is really hard to swallow - for most of us. I'm thinking it's human nature that's to blame in this.
Grace most definitely applies to all areas of life.


OMG--I am in the midst of the same thing. Within the past couple of years, I have lost my religion ala R.E.M. Why? I don't know. I have many ideas, but this is your blog. :-) I just had to say, I'm there with you. Only my kids used to go to parochial scool and the whole deal and I actually have to answer the question, "Why don't we go to church anymore?" And I don't have a very good answer.


Ok this has nothing to do with the Bible or Noah or anything that you have written this week but...

Im so there!


The CUTE in that picture just killed me.

Also, GAR BLAM ANGRY made me laugh.

There is a wonderful Bible verse that I recently rediscovered, in the book of James, which our bible study group is discussing. Essentially it says, "Faith without works is dead." I think perhaps you were encountering the sterile faith of proclamation in your childhood, without seeing the fruits of faith in your daily life. I grew up in a nominally Catholic household, where we went to Mass each week (so the priest wouldn't see us missing), but God was not in our daily discussions, and prayer was not encouraged.

There are many Christians out there who don't just proclaim, but live their faith. I think you met one of those the other day, and I hope that you meet others as well someday. God bless.


My daughter will often lap up water from the open dishwasher door while I'm putting clean dishes away, so I wouldn't sweat the plank drinking one bit ;).


dinner at the same time every day?
you must be a first time parent.
some days isabella goes to bed without any dinner at all...

(please don't call social services..)


I never had religion, but I saw it, kind of, through my grandmother, if you count congregational protestants in new england. She took me to church sometimes, anyway. I never got it, myself, and ended up one of those atheists who are without the religious trauma.

So, without religion and without religious conversion experience either way, I came to believe in staying humble, in trying to better myself, and in letting people be who they are. Go figure! It's possible to care about the word without believing in god(s). Awesome.

As someone parenting in this decade, and even though I know better, I still feel like forgetting to make dinner at the usual time is a small crack in the fragile system that I call my life and shit! the whole thing is about to fall apart! Shit! Ha.


I think you have hit the nail on the head. I believe that it is people are more concerned with "sin" than God is. As far as God's concerned, sin was dealt with on the Cross, once and for all. If it was up to us to live perfect lives in order to get to heaven, Jesus would not have had to die on the cross. Living perfect is legalism, like you said. God is about life, love. Just like you watched that man in the restaurant be giving, humble and were moved by it: God loves that, so much more than someone shoving a Bible down someone's throat telling them to repent or go to hell. I think that if Jesus were walking the earth today, he would be hanging out at the local bar, loving people, serving people, just like He did in the Bible. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.


Amy, thank you for sharing so much about the way you were raised and the way that the church and faith were used in your upbringing. It is very courageous to be so raw with us, total strangers, about something so deeply personal.

Dude, you feed your kid dinner?


Sweet Amalah,

I have been contemplating your last entry and my comment on it since I read it on Tuesday. I've been there. Catholic school, though not to the extent of your experience. Church every Sunday. I pulled away in my college years, and felt an intense guilt for doing so. I had issues with the church. As an adult I could no longer sign on to everything the church stood for and needed time to wrestle with whether there was still a place for me there. Was I a hypocrite if I only believed in 99% of what the church taught?

Then my son was born. And I knew there was a God, for where else could such perfection come from? With this miracle before me how could I doubt the existence of a higher power?

His Baptism: me=Catholic, hubby=Presbyterian, baby=?

We decided to raise our children in the Catholic church since I was more likely to take him to church. Fast forward close to nine years: son is finishing 3rd grade in a Catholic school. I followed my heart and what felt right. If I had gone to church and it felt wrong I probably would have tried other churches, other denominations, other spiritual paths.

I kept coming back to providing my son the tools he needs to make his own decisions. Along the way we found an amazingly close-knit community of families who aren't afraid to acknowledge the true meaning of Christmas and Easter. In the four years since my son started kindergarten (the low-cost full-day K option in our area) we have built some of our closest friendships. The ritual of the Mass has brought peace and calm to my otherwise chaotic life (as much as is possible with a toddler and an active 8-yr-old).

This is not to prescribe a path for you and your family. What works for me may feel all wrong to you. What is right is for you and Jason to decide. How will you know? Test the waters. If anyone told me 10 years ago I'd be in this place in my life now I'd have laughed in their face, HAAA!

You are who you are today in part because of where you've been. Something right must have happened somewhere along the line.

First step: get out of bed Sunday morning.


After I read the post previous to this one, I felt compelled NOT to say something as it seemed obvious that your choices would be in stark opposition to what we believe. Today, however, I feel better telling you that if you live a good life because you want to (with ample wine and babies and decent friends), and not because you fear some ficticious consequences, you and your family may just turn out well-adjusted. That's the goal anyway!

But then again, I was raised with the choice to go to vacation bible school and church camp - which scared me straight - straight into deciding that religion was not for me. After that I chose to believe in dinosaurs and mother nature and the kick-ass perennials that keep coming up in my yard year after year... When I met my astronomy-loving husband, the massive scope of the universe just made it easier to see outside of our little world.

Big Mama

If grace doesn't apply to motherhood then I am so screwed.

And if those people don't hire you for the faux mommy blogger pretend job, then they deserve to get cut.


your childhood = my childhood

i, too, then more or less just walked away from it all.

anyway, if you have a should check out my cousin's blog. she was raised similarly (religion-wise), but had WORLDS more pain to deal with b/c of circumstances dealt her. if i had her life? i would prob NEVER want a thing to do w/ god or religion again.

thing is, now she's a minister in some much more jesus-centric denomination. and the more i read her writings....the more i'm interested in THAT kind of belief and relationship w/ him.....not in the bullshit rules and regulations and blah, blah, blah. very thought-provoking writing. and funny, too.

Her Bad Mother

Oh, sweetie. TOTALLY. And then some.


Foo - 2 delurks in as many days...

So re the grace question.

After 4 kids ages 1, 6, 9 & 17 I can tell you I have one major goal where my kids are concerned, which is: as long as they're out of diapers and sleep through the night in their own beds some time before their 15th birthday then I'm doing a great job.

Everything else is just part of the journey. :-)

Noah will more likely remember the sensation of warm water on the still-hot deck boards and the slow end to a gentle day, than the fact that his dinner was on time (or not).

Don't be so hard on yourself. Parenting is all about grace and learning to trust ourselves. If it weren't for grace we (and our children) would all be certified lunatics. You're doing an amazing job raising a great kid. :-)


I was not raised in a religious family in any way shape or form. I went to church with my neighbors (who were strict, strict Christians) off and on when I was little, but I never relly had any idea what it all meant. To this day it all still confuses the crap out of me. I just DON'T understand the whole "Jesus died for your sins" bit, no matter how many times my husband or anyone else tries to explain it to me. But, I am happy with living as agnostic, I believe that as long as I'm a good person and live a fair life, then I will be taken care of when I die. I think the hardcore religious groups sometimes take it too far and are missing the big picture.

Kathy/ Lessons from the Laundry

Okay, faith is a journey, right? So you've been stuck at the rest stop awhile. Some fly to the Caribbean and some drive to the shore. However you get there is up to you and God. I don't do guilt with faith or kids. We're all flawed and I find immense beauty in our blemishes.

I have four kids, they've eaten stuff outside, licked cats, skipped meals and laughed until they've peed their pants and been loved until they're secure.

Have fun on your journey...but get out of the rest stop because the vending machines have no wine. Trips are so much more fun with good food and wine.


I grew up with a mother who hated religion because all religion got her was a mother who refused to stop having children even though she was too sick to care for them. My grandmother believed that as a good Catholic, you kept having as many children as God would give you, NO MATTER WHAT.
My mother being the oldest, was the one who raised her siblings while her mom was in the hospital (and I do mean all of the time) and her dad worked second shift.

My dad associated religion with his Baptist stepmother, who on more than one occasion told him that as much as my dad disliked her, she hated him even more.

SO! I was raised without going to church. My parents told me that when I got older, if I so chose to, I could decide what religion I wanted to participate in.

After I had my sweet children, who most certainly will get into heaven, I started worrying. What if there is a heaven, and I can't get in? What if this life is really just a smidge of our existence and our "real" life starts after our death? What if I have to spend eternity without my children?

I'm still trying to figure it all out. We joined a Lutheran church because I liked their school. The "cliques" inside the congregation almost turned me away. I've purchased every self help book there is, but I've never read the bible.
Isn't the bible supposed to be the closest thing to an "owner's manual" for a human being that exists?

All of it is a journey. We might choose different routes to take but hopefully we all end up in the same place.

Great subject amalah! And as usual, your blog is the shit!

Katie Kat

A. Noah = CUTEST.CHILD.EVER. God, he's so cute... nmmmmummmy!

God is and always will be a difficult subject. Nobody will ever agree completely, and that is where the religion "fault" (as in HUGE ASS CRACK) starts and ends.

However, you really CAN ditch 99% of what you learned in church and still be a good person. It's just that the other 1% will always be there that you are either are too scared to go against, or believe might actually be true. I guess the way I look at it is like this: The folks who follow organized religion have ABSOLUTELY NO PROOF that they are right, or that believing what they believe gets us into any sort of groovy, all-inclusive, martini-bar afterlife gig. For all we know, we should have been worshipping tree frogs all along, and then won't we look silly at the pearly gates (or whatever).

BE A GOOD PERSON. Spread that goodness around, and it will come back to you. Or, be bad and get that back tenfold. It's up to you to wake up each day and decide what kind of person you are going to be. And that will rub off on Noah. And then HE can decide what fits his belief system.

My major beef with organized religion is that it is used as a measuring stick, and most of us seem to not measure up very well (by THEIR standards). I refuse to let some arbitrary rules made up by men and then twisted and manipulated to only suit the wants and needs of the followers of THAT SPECIFIC RELIGION tell me what to do or who to be.

That's it. Plain and simple. WELCOME TO GODLESS HEATHEN-DOM!


Hey whoa! I'm a Unitarian and I am super ultra cool thankyouverymuch.



It's just starting to freak me out a bit....we are too similar.

1. Fire and Brimstone upbringing. My Dad was a preacher-man....yah you can joke about me being a typical PK!
2. Clomid baby....born in '05 too.
3. F**king Zoo! Love it-Hate it!
4. Feeling like I've lost the religion I was brought up in.
5. Dinner...oops, she'll eat tomorrow!!!
Love to read your posts...helps me know my Mothering techinques are normal!


My kids (all four) at times drank from the dog's dish. The youngest one ate kibble. I think your ok with plank water ; )

Wacky Mommy

oh teeth teeth TEETH! i can deal with a lot, but the teeth make me edgy, when they're hurting on getting worked on.

I'm going to hell?


Great post, Amalah.
Also great comments!
I was raised as a Muslim, and you know what? I face the exact same kind of confusions. Even though logically I see no need to do anything religious, I keep on going back to god for small and big favors (isn't that pathetic!). I was raised (at school) to believe that Islam is THE ONE RELIGION, of course I grow out of that at age 11 or 12, but still as an agnostic, it is easier for me to make fun of Christianity, or Buddhism or other religions than to make fun of Islam. How is that for being confused?


I didn't reply to yesterdays post, but I thought it was really good. I totally understand the all-or-nothing feeling, as a) I also went to church as a kid and b) I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, SEVERE. And one of my first ever compulsions was to make sure I prayed because if I didn't pray, I WAS SO IN TROUBLE. So I prayed. And prayed. Over and over, because if I left anything out I would also be in SO MUCH TROUBLE. I think the all-or-nothing thing gives a real OCD outlook on things - all or nothing. What if you don't pray? What if you don't convert that little girl? I MUST DO IT ALL, AND I MUST CONTINUE TO DO SO BECAUSE I MUST NOT FORGET ANYTHING. I totally understand.


Huh, my dream last night was that I was in a culinary school to learn how to prepare hot chocolate. They had a fair, in which we could sample everyone's hot chololate. The dean (woman) of the school was saying that it was so we couldlearn that her's was the best, but I thought some other, nicer woman's was the best, and got excoriated for it. So I went and drank more of the other woman's HC. Good dream.


Great quote (paraphrased) from Galileo that pretty much sums it up for me:
"I don't believe in a God that would give me a mind and not expect me to use it."


I meant to email you after that last post, but then was moving and starting a new job and all of that.

But I am feeling much the same way. How could my faith have been so absolute, literal, and legalistic for so long and now so very fluid and unsettled? In some ways it feels like not having a net anymore, but in other ways it feels like a good place to be. I'm not sure how this will end up. Thanks for writing what I'm feeling, but so much more eloquently than I could.


I was brought up Catholic- church, school, everything. We lived one block from the church and we HAD to go. The minute I could, I stopped going. I had no use for it whatsoever and figured it was all bs anyway. When I was in my late twenties I started thinking the same stuff you've been talking about. Long story short- born again, great church, passing it along to my kids in a (I hope) positive manner rather than forcing it on them.


White-bread Scandinavian Lutheran here. The kind that thinks it is a crime to cross the aisle to pass the peace 'cause "that's just not how it's done!" But in spite of all the "church BS" I have always managed to hang onto my faith.

You know --Jesus loves me this I know for he Bible tells me so -- I know it like I know the sky is blue and the sun is shining, and I breathe the air. I never questioned it. I never felt the need to debate or study or doctrinize it. It just is. I like it that way.

Amy H

All I can think of is your dental appointment. I mean, I know you wrote a bunch of deep religious stuff here...but my main focus is on how awful the dentist must have been and how scared I am to go there...if I ever decide to actually make an appointment.


I just had to comment that both of these posts are beyond awesome. I don't have deep thoughts to add, mainly because I don't nearly have it figured out for myself - but wanted to let you know I enjoyed reading yours.


I really enjoyed reading your last couple posts.

As someone who went to church growing up yet not being able to tolerate "those Jesus freak Bible thumpers" and then turning into someone who didn't go at all, I didn't really understand what Christianity was all about.

It wasn't until recently, through loving, non-judgmental treatment in 12 step programs that I was able to get deeply rooted in the Bible (and church) again and truly understand what grace, love and God is all about. It is all about what is in our hearts and how honestly and humbly we face ourselves...not what is (or has been put in) our heads.

Keep thinking about things...


I feel like apologizing for Christians all over the world for the way you have been hurt. And the way the term "religion" has such negative connotations...even for me. I don't know if you are interested, but a great book is Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. Freaking amazing. Or Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamotte. And they aren't Republicans! :)


It's funny, I was raised in a theologically-conservative home, but one without a lot of legalism and perfectionism and all that stuff. I got caught up in that stuff not because my parents taught it to me, but because theologically conservative churches tend to be gathering places for people who are really into the more legalistic aspects of their faith.

Every once in a while, I still find myself struggling to figure it all out. But I think that's what we're supposed to be doing. I don't think God expects us to have all the answers... I think he expects us to seek those answers, and to wrestle with the questions. The Apostle Paul said something about running the race that is before me, striving to the finish... he didn't say much about actually *getting* to the finish. I think that's what faith is supposed to be.

Sarah (In the Trenches of Mommyhood)

Congrats on your May Perfect Post about the f-ing zoo! :)

heather b (the other one)

I don't know how i feel about the whole religion thing. i was raised jewish and then recently my mom decided to switch tracks "because she never felt jewish" and informed that since she wasn't, therefore, I wasn't either.

I am still kinda trying to figure it all out myself at this point, at the age of 26.


I doubt if Noah was desperate for hydration - in his mind he was probably being a puppy dog and checking out how it was to drink water out of puddles. You're a better mama than you think you are - mostly because if you didn't have doubts, you'd be a bad mama. Does that make sense? No?

Neither does religion to me. I've managed to steer clear of it for years, finding God in a sunrise over a beach or in watching the birth of my grandson. I have no problem with God, I just can't intelligently buy the trappings that the various religions put with him, and I am too much a Leo and a woman who raised three kids by herself to just have faith.

Recently my son found Jesus. It's a great thing, I'm happy for him. It's gotten him off drugs, booze and smokes. But he wants me to go to church with him - for his baptism, on Mother's Day, etc. And I go because I am a sucker for my baby boy (who is now 35 years old). I sit/stand there and see these people really caught up in it, and I am jealous of them. Yes, I covet my neighbors' religion even whilst in the House of the Lord. It must be a great comfort to have that, and I don't, and I never will because I can not believe it. But there's this little yearning in me.

Not enough to make me join. Oh hell no. But enough to raise a conflict and make me just slightly guilty when my son asks me "Are you coming to church this week?" and I say "No."


Can't add to the religion discussion, so much great stuff has been said. But I do have to ask...

Could Noah look MORE like you?????

I think not.


Both posts were throught through very well. Thanks for sharing. I had a similar childhood and once I went to college wanted nothing to do with christianity; however, it was in college that I realized that what really mattered was a relationship with Him - not the actions.

Keep on questioning your beliefs - that's not a bad place to be!


Again, we are walking in similar paths. I am in the middle of root canal visits as I out off getting cavities filled while I was pregnant. Mistake. Big Mistake. I also have recently found my way back to church again. While I am a "pick and choose" Catholic (I DO believe in birth control, especially mine) and my husband works at a Catholic HS, I am rediscovering what was said in church all those years that we HAD to go on Sunday, but never explored WHY we went. I am raising my girls Catholic and my oldest (Noah's age) has a stuffed nativity set from Christmas that she still plays with and knows the baby Jesus. But out of the mouths of babes, recently she saw the crucifix on the wall and said, "Mommy. Jesus. Boo boo hands". I almost cried. While we dont have to ram faith and religion down their throats, teaching children morals and ethics is important. You teach Noah something every day. Questioning faith and how to practice it is better than following blindly. H. How to think critically is a great gift. How to express it is a greater gift. Don't knock yourself. You are doing great.


I had my teeth drilled on this week, too. And last week. Three days later and they are still bothering me. I think I need a new dentist.

Eat at the same time? We don't even eat at home. I have the only 2 year old that knows he needs to ask for a box when he is done eating and has to sign the credit card slip so we can leave.

Now that's great parenting!


The grace ABSOLUTELY applies to the whole parenting business.

He's so darn cute! I forget how much they change in those first two years of life.


I too would like to apologize for those "Christians" who made you think it is all or nothing.

I am Christian. But, oh Lordy do I need forgiveness. And, hello wine is too good to pass up.

It is unfortunate that all the crazy Christians are the loudest and the rest of us who live normal lives have to listen their crap too.

I think it was Martin Luther who said sin boldly but forgive even more boldly.


just poking in again to second the Dar Williams comment. ANY and ALL Dar Williams is actually just... beyond words brilliant.


i was raised totally religion free. i don't think my parents ever gave a thought to their immortal souls. and that's how i was, too, until i got pregnant with my oldest. to create a new life inside your belly... a whole new little person with her own mind and her own ideas... and not feel a Creator behind it all??? just blows my mind. now i proudly call myself a Christian. I drink, i swear, i yell at the kids (who i love dearly) and remind those who think Christians have to be perfect that i am certainly not perfect, but i am forgiven.


Hey, I'm a devoted Christian, and....drum roll please...

I am also a democrat! I too, hate the assumption that all the "good" Christians vote republican. Boo Hiss! Not true!

I love the Bible verse you quoted. Really what its all about is accepting Him. We're all gonna make mistakes sometimes (er, a lot of the time), and I've even called people mo fo's too. And inanimate objects. But that's another story. ;) Bottom line, I'm still going to heaven when I die, and I'll try to do better next time around with the whole inanimate object=mo fo deal.


And about your dream: tis the season for crazy dreams I suppose. My ds turns 4 this week and I dreamed my sil gave him $10,000 for his bday! lol!


As always, thanks for sharing something so personal and reminding me why I love to read.


Dinner at my house has often been a popsicle and jello because, hey that's what warm summer days are about.

And grace, well for me, grace is the little boy who forever changed me and my world. And who makes me hope for all the good and happiness I can muster. And whom I know, to the tips of toes, is the best thing I will ever do in this world.


The Chipotle post was something else. I am a Christian and the self righteous-Corncob-up-the-butt ones make me crazy. Thing is, everybody's trying to figure it out. Sometimes the ones who are so fervent in witnessing do so because they are so pumped about what God has done in their lives. I prefer to witness the way the guy at the restaurant did and let my life be the example...not of a perfect, blameless and oh-so-righteous person, but, an extremely flawed person who is just trying to get through everyday, meeting obstacles and challenges, just like everybody else.

Thanks for sharing.


Yikes, I have a dental appointment on Tuesday that sounds very much the same, including the comma. I need to remember to stock up on things to eat that won't make me cry.


Am I the only one who saw the title and started singing, "I get knocked down, but I get up again.."

Yes? Okay. Move along, folks, nothing to see here.

"She drinks a whiskey drink, she drinks a vodka drink, she drinks a lager drink, she drinks a cider drink..."


I never understood the "without works" thing.

As a below-average Catholic, I always took offense. It seemed to me if you said you believed and did nothing about it, you sure had license to do whatever the heck you wanted. (witness: current administration). (wow! politics AND religion!)

The whole Catholic guilt thing is, you're saved if you're sorry about your bad actions, but gosh darn if God isn't disappointed. Couldn't you TRY to do better?

Only tangentially related: I think Noah and you will be okay with him drinking off the decking.

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