From New York to France to Spain to Tokyo, showing up to support @aus_rivers is a tough job but I do it out of the goodness of my heart. Now working on a list of new countries I’d like him to get gigs in where I can come “support” him more.

Joined by by dad and his wife today, taking in the Imperial Palace and Zoji Shrine before my nephew’s show.

🥂 🥟 🇯🇵 (This is my best emoji work yet)

Why yes I did leave my children unattended at a stupid American fast-food joint while I walked across the street for delicious ramen.

I think the @sensojitemple has been my favorite thing in Japan so far.

Harijuku and shrines and conveyor belt sushi and gardens and hedgehogs and Shibuya Scramble and street food and ice cream. What a day.

Bound for Harijuku

Jafta is in foodie heaven for his 14th birthday. #foodiejafta

Living that Tokyo life.

A quick 11 hour flight to Tokyo. 😳 I’m already tired. Planning a big trip the day after Christmas: would not recommend. The older three are seated far away from me and I’m not mad about it. We are coming for you @mybroadwaydream!

To quote @markhowerton: “Yes, matching pj’s. We’re divorced, not barbarians.” 😂 (Though he also might have said that second photo where Karis was blocking my head was the ideal shot.) Merry Christmas!

It begins

I went to a Christmas Eve service with my kids and ex-husband today. It’s been awhile since I’ve been to a Christmas Eve service, for a variety of reasons, least of which is the fact that Mark and I try to spend that day together for the kids and there is nothing more awkward than going to church where that act of walking in the door together springs into action a number of people excited to pastor us back into marriage, rather than accepting us as we are – a divorced couple not needing to be saved by any meaning of that word. I’ve also ambivalent about church in general for some time. I think, like many of us, I’ve been hurt by both the people of the church and the behavior of The Church of late. I’ve been angry about how the church had responded equality, to sexual abuse, to women’s issues, to politics. I’ve felt out of place and disenfranchised. And yes, I know. #notallchristians. But it’s sometimes hard to identify with the ways that our faith can be used to hurt others.
Tonight I drove by a mega-church with giant expensive road signs and greeters in Santa hats trying to convince people to turn in. I was part of a church like that for many years. I played parts in the Christmas productions. I sang the solos. I passed out the rave cards to neighbors. I never imagined I would one day be a person without a church, who would drive by the enthusiastic greeters and wince.
We went to a progressive church tonight where we know the pastor but the liturgical style is not familiar to me. I miss the charismatic worship of my old church history but I don’t miss the judgement. During “pass the peace” I didn’t know what to do, and the lady in front of me didn’t either and said so. And then she cried through all of the songs. I don’t know her story except that I could see there was some church baggage. I wondered how many of us felt that today.

I don’t have a bow to wrap this story with. This season is hard for a lot of us. I still wonder and marvel at the person of Jesus. I sang Silent Night with my family and in a room full of people and felt a sense of community and corporate peace that I haven’t in while. I miss church and I don’t. I’m okay with it and I’m not.

18 years of Christmas Eve brunches with this crew. Missing you @timtaber @tracy_albrecht_taber