What a Difference Thirty Years Can Make by Tina Collins

Tina jpgIt was the fall of 1984. If the building were still standing, I could show you the exact place. It was a Sunday afternoon and I was home from college for the weekend. I was having lunch at a local restaurant with my dad after church.

For some reason, that was the time I chose to tell him that I was changing my college major. It was not a huge change, but it was, in his opinion, a rather bold change. I was making a switch from Music Education to Church Music. I remember him asking what I was going to do with a degree in church music. I could not be on a church staff or be ordained because I was a woman. Had I really thought this through? Now, Daddy meant no harm and he was not being discouraging, just practical. It was a bold move on my part and he knew that as well as anyone.

I had grown up in the same conservative Southern Baptist church my entire life. I knew women were not invited to serve on church staffs, but something I could not explain to my dad or the countless others that asked me the same question was that I only knew I HAD to do this. God was calling me to something, and I HAD to be obedient to God’s voice.

I found myself breaking new ground everywhere I went. In every church I served, with the exception of the one I am in now, I was the first woman on staff. I was the first woman to ever serve as a Minister of Music in those churches. It was a learning curve for everyone, including me!! There were folks in those churches who were warm, welcoming and supportive. There were folks in those churches who disapproved and made it their point to tell me often that I was not following God’s will for the church. With each passing year, though, with each church I served, it became a little easier. I became less of a novelty and more of an acceptance. I began to meet other women who were serving in ministerial roles and we worked together to help young women understand how to use their gifts and callings, too.

What I did not realize during many of those years was that my daughter was watching closely. She was absorbing life as a “minister’s kid” but she was also constantly being surrounded by strong women who were telling her that she could be anything she wanted to be. They were encouraging her to set her sights high and never look back, to never allow anyone to tell her she was not good enough or smart enough.

As I have watched Emily grow, I have recognized the beautiful gifts God has given her. Nothing, though, prepared me for Sunday, March 2. Emily stood in the pulpit of our church and preached her first sermon. At the age of twenty, as a junior in college, she is preparing for a life and work in ministry. Her calling? To work with impoverished children. She has already completed two summer internships, one in New York City and one in Washington, DC. This summer will take her to South Africa and a later trip to the Dominican Republic. Her thoughts are turning now to seminary and what is to come. She is remarkable. She is talented. She is beautiful.

On that Sunday, Emily boldly stood and preached about the moments where God is with us. She told stories of the children she has met and how they have changed her life. As she spoke, I could not help but reflect on my own road in ministry. It looks nothing now like it did on that Sunday afternoon thirty years ago, but it has been fulfilling and challenging. I pray that God has been seen in me. I pray, too, that I played a small part in breaking down a few barriers and making the path smooth for my daughter and the young women who will come after us, continuing to use our gifts to serve the Creator of all gifts. Selah.

Tina Collins is a graduate of Carson-Newman University. She has served churches throughout east Tennessee and is currently  on the staff at Ball Camp Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. Tina also sings with the Knoxville Choral Society and Knoxville Chamber Chorale. This post first appeared on her blog, Living in Two Worlds. 

Words for Warren by Pam Durso

I recently attended the Baptist Women in Ministry of Georgia fall gathering—and had a wonderful opportunity to meet new friends and to visit with some folks I seldom get to see. I had fun sharing about my work and the exciting days ahead. But the highlight for me was seeing Warren. I met him for the first time several weeks ago and fell immediately in love. So I was eager to have some quality cuddling time with sweet, sweet Warren, who is now three months old! And I was so grateful that his mom, Lee Ritchie, shared him with me!

Lee is my friend, and she minister to children and youth at First Baptist Church, Commerce. Lee is quickly learning about the joys and exhaustion that go with motherhood. When I had lunch with her a few weeks ago, I learned more about Warren’s birth—which was both a long-awaited, greatly anticipated arrival and an unexpected surprise. He came to his family through the gift that is adoption—and he is a much, much loved child.

So there at the BWIM of Georgia gathering, during the presentations, I stood at the back of the room and swayed and bounced and cuddle with Warren. He was happiest when he could see everyone and everything—Warren is an observer! He pays attention to all the things going on around him. And oh is he a busy boy. He never seems to stop moving and looking, straining to be part of the action. But the whole time Warren was quiet and happy. He only fussed a little, and Lee handed me his pacifier. I offered it to him and cuddled him up close, and while a gifted young minister spoke passionately of her work with refugees in Uganda, I began whispering in Warren’s ear—“You are so beautiful. You have a mommy and daddy who love you so much. You are a gift to them. You are so beautiful. You are so loved.” My words became a prayer as I swayed back and forth, and sweet baby Warren closed his eyes and went to sleep for a few moments.

When the presentations ended, I had to return Warren to his mother. And then I moved on to mingle and talk with several women I had never met. One of those women asked me, “So are you connected to the little baby you were holding?” And I paused, and then I smiled and said, “Yes. I am connected to him. I am connected to Warren by love.”

Warren, someday perhaps you will hear the stories and know that we prayed for and dreamed about your arrival long before you came. And someday you will know that we celebrated your birth and that we are praying for your new adoptive family as you are bound together by love and that we are praying too for your birth family, offering words of gratitude for their grace and courage. But most of all, Warren, we pray that you will always know that you are loved—you are loved by so many and you are loved by God.

Pam Durso is executive director of Baptist Women in Ministry, Atlanta, Georgia.

Crooked is Okay by Tammy Abee Blom

I made a promise over the summer. I promised I would iron appliqués on the girls’ backpacks to celebrate the new school year. The girls and I shopped for the appliqués, and I stored them in the pockets of the backpacks and promptly forgot about them. Then I had sinus surgery and spent the week before the start of school recovering. On the day before school began, I pulled out the backpacks, and Audrey announced, “It’s time to put on those patches. I want to go first!” I was horrified. I was functioning on pain meds, and the world was blurry. But I had promised so I heated the iron. Soon I learned that holding my head down to focus on ironing the fabric caused drainage as well as searing pain. I looked up from the ironing board, and Audrey, my first grader, inquired, “Are you doing that right?” At that point, the task became a challenge, but I persevered until the butterfly and stars were ironed into place . . . crookedly.

I like my work to be done with attention to detail. The butterfly was listing to the side somewhat near the center of the pocket. I was annoyed with myself. I had spent all that energy and effort to iron appliqués on crookedly. I found myself brainstorming solutions for how to get that appliqué off and then sew it on, or to ask my husband to purchase another on his way home from work. Then I decided, crooked is okay. Audrey and Eve were pleased with their newly embellished bags so why was I obsessed about whether or not it was perfect?

I recalled a summer morning when I was sitting on the beach just in the edge of the surf. I was hypnotized by the rhythm of the water ebbing and flowing. My fingers were worrying some pebbles I had found in the sand. The pebbles were perfectly smooth. I thought, “I want to be like this pebble. I want some of my rough edges to be smoothed away. I want to be okay letting things be and not always striving to do more and be more.”

Recovering from sinus surgery rubbed off some of my rough edges. I learned I can’t always give my best effort to every task, and even more importantly, not every task necessitates my very best effort. To me, the appliqués had to be done with precision, but for my girls, it was just that Mom needed to keep her promise. As I continue to recover, I find myself slipping into that rough-edged person who reads every single word on all the back-to-school papers. I am trying to hang on to that person with the smoother edges. I want to relax into letting crooked be okay . . . at least sometimes.

Tammy Abee Blom is an ordained Baptist minister, regular contributor to BWIM’s blog, mother of two amazing daughters, teacher for children’s Sunday School, and lives in Columbia, South Carolina.

 

Simple and Good by Tammy Abee Blom

As the summer began, my girls and I visited my sister and her new baby. Cooking dinner is one of the standard gifts for new moms, so the girls and I prepared grilled chicken, boiled new potatoes, and fresh cantaloupe. I had promised myself I would keep the menu simple so I could optimize my time holding the baby. Cousins, grandparents, and the new parents gathered around the table and the time was so engaging. We shared stories, laughed, and passed around the baby. It was a very simple meal, but the company was so good.

I shared this story with my spiritual director, and she encouraged me to spend my summer looking for the simple, good moments. Now that school is back in session and the first signs of fall are appearing, I am savoring the simple, good moments of summer. These three moments are my favorites.

A Card in the Mail. As all parents know, having the kids home for the summer changes all the routines. Change of schedules is not a bad thing. It is just a major revamping of how things get done, when they get done, and how long it takes all of you to sick of each other. Not long into the summer, I was ready to declare defeat and let anarchy reign. In the mailbox I found a card from my friend. On the cover was a child screaming, “Mom!” and inside were encouraging words for me. Through her words my friend conveyed, “I know you. I care about you. We are in this together.” My friend has the gift of sending just the right card at just the right time. Her caring is simply refreshing to my soul.

Swimming and Talking. I co-teach first and second graders in Sunday school. Between us, my co-teacher and I have six kids under the age of sixteen, so planning Sunday school during the summer months was a challenge until she invited me to bring the girls over to swim with her kids while we planned. Sitting on her back porch with the ceiling fan stirring the air and sipping glasses of iced tea were blissful moments for me. My girls wore themselves out playing with her kids, and I came home having shared my stories as well as planned several lessons for our class. I am grateful for my friend’s hospitality. Sitting with her is simply good.

Baked Spaghetti on Wheels. To conclude my summer adventures, I had sinus surgery. It was timely and greatly needed but slowed me down considerably. When I told my friend about the upcoming surgery she asked, “What night can I bring dinner for your family?” Later that week she arrived with comforting food and kind words. She noted that the cake recipe was simple. I know it was not simple for her to shop for food, prepare it and deliver to my house while managing her two children. However the result was so good. I am thankful for her gracious gift of comfort.

This summer I learned there are simple and good moments throughout my day, and I appreciate the encouragement of my spiritual director to be thankful for those moments. As I head into fall, I will continue to expect God’s grace in my life.

Tammy Abee Blom is an ordained Baptist minister, regular contributor to BWIM’s blog, mother of two amazing daughters, teacher for children’s Sunday School, and lives in Columbia, South Carolina.

 

Roses for Mother’s Day by Tammy Abee Blom

When I was a child, my mother cut red roses from her garden and pinned them on our church clothes. We, her five children, wore red roses, and she wore a white one. She explained the wearing of roses was to honor our mothers both living and deceased. As an elementary-aged child, I did not question this tradition of wearing roses to church.

When I was in seminary, roses on Mother’s Day led to an emotionally charged moment in worship. On that fateful morning the young children of the congregation went to the front of the sanctuary to be handed a rose to give to their moms. Gleeful little faces ran back to moms with calls of “This is for you, Mommy.” What a sweet moment until a woman in the front started yelling, “I want one. I want a rose.” This woman was a special needs adult who attended regularly. We all knew her, or so we thought. Turns out, she was yelling because she wanted to be a mother. She had asked her parents and her caregivers if she could have a child. She had been told, “No.” When those roses were passed out, her heart collapsed into pleas of wanting a rose, or as I now know, a child. The quick thinking, compassionate person seated next to her procured a rose just for her. In that moment, I began to question celebrating Mother’s Day as a part of corporate worship.

Later on, I served as a staff minister for another church. As we were planning worship for May, the music minister listed the hymns adoring godly families and loving mothers that he had chosen, and the pastor asked if the floral committee was doing the arrangement of roses. Remembering the cry of the lady who so wanted to be a mother, I asked, “Why are we celebrating mothers when so many families are blended?  When there are people who are alienated from their mothers?  When there are families struggling with fertility issues? Why not just celebrate worship as usual?” I was told by the other church staff, “Our congregation will expect us to celebrate Mother’s Day. There will be angry voice messages and curt comments later in the week if we ignore mothers. We can’t ignore Mother’s Day. Therefore, we will do as we have always done.”

It is easy to fall into the pattern of doing as we have always done while ignoring the real lives of our congregants. It is easy to forget that motherhood, either being a mother, wanting to be a mother, or losing a part of the mothering role, is complicated. Mother’s Day while joyous and sentimental for many congregants is a reminder of unhealed hurts and unfulfilled desires for others. My question is “Should we honor mothers during corporate worship when doing so causes discomfort to those for whom mother is not a joyous, sentimental role?”  I come from a long tradition of honoring mothers at church, but I also value the stories of friends and family who feel the pain of attending worship and feeling singled out because they do not have a good relationship with their moms or because of fertility issues. I believe worship should be a place of welcome and healing for all. Therefore, I now question whether Mother’s Day should have a spot in corporate worship.

Tammy Abee Blom is an ordained Baptist minister, regular contributor to BWIM’s blog, mother of two amazing daughters, teacher for children’s Sunday School, and lives in Columbia, South Carolina.

 

Love Church? No! by Tammy Abee Blom

“You cannot make her eat,” said the pediatrician. I am certain I looked at her as if she had grown a second head. With my toddler, Eve, in tow, I had come for my well child visit and just rattled off a laundry list of ways I was trying to prompt a defiant toddler to eat.  Dr. Y repeated her comment, “Tammy. You cannot make her eat. There are some things we cannot make children do. You can set up appropriate boundaries for when she says, ‘no’ to all proffered foods but you cannot control when she chews and swallows.”

For several weeks, my toddler had been using her newfound sense of “no” in regards to her food choices. She would either eat nothing or only certain foods. I was convinced her nutrition was poor, and therefore, her health at risk. I was sure that as her mom, I was supposed to make Eve eat. The words from Dr. Y opened up a new world to me, a world where I could create opportunities but could not force the outcome.

Now as a pre-adolescent, Eve has found a new focus for her steadfast, “no.” Eve does not want to attend church. The daughter of a minister, Eve has been attending church since she was six weeks old. She has been given freedom of choice about participating in children’s choir or in children’s ministry events. She has not been given a choice about attending Sunday school and worship. However, she is consistent in her Sunday morning whine and protest. She lists all the things other kids (and adults) list as reasons for not attending church. She can be quite convincing, almost.

Eve is nine years old, and I take her to church despite her protests. I struggle with her dislike of church. As a minister, participation in a faith community is vital for me. Firmly I believe in the community of the saints, and I believe the saints sit next to you in the pews. I believe in the church universal. I believe that Christians all over the world gather to worship, and I want to be counted as one of their number. Attending church is bigger than whether or not I want to show up. I can explain that to an adult, but what do I say to a nine year old?

Currently, I tell her, “We attend church as a family and you are part of this family. Get dressed, and be ready on time.” As of now, I can take her to church but soon, the decision will be hers. Will my heart accept it if she chooses to not be a church goer? I know she is growing in her faith journey. She is learning the faith stories and has made a profession of faith. I am not worried about her loving God. I am worried about her turning away from something I value and hold dear. I guess this is a part of becoming an adult, part of casting parent as other so you can form your identity. But every Sunday, when she whines, “But I don’t want to go to church” my heart catches in my throat, and I wonder if I can accept that I can’t make her love church.

Tammy Abee Blom is an ordained Baptist minister, regular contributor to BWIM’s blog, mother of two amazing daughters, teacher for children’s Sunday School, and lives in Columbia, South Carolina.

Patiently Waiting by Tammy Abee Blom

I was pushing the double wide cart, juggling my list and pen and had zero kids in tow. Because the pantry and fridge were bare, I was in the midst of the “buy one of everything in the store” grocery run. As I checked items off the list, I noticed an elderly couple ahead of me. With cart, purse and two people, they had managed to block the entire aisle. There was no way around them and I couldn’t turn around because they were parked directly in front of the cereal that I had to stock up on. I waited. The couple didn’t move. I bounced from foot to foot hoping the movement would get their attention. They didn’t even look up from the envelope that they were rifling through. At this point I was curious how long this conversation would last and decided to wait it out. Suddenly the man turned to select an item and noticed me. He asked, “Oh have you been waiting? Thank you for being patient with us. I appreciate it.” I didn’t expect him to thank me for giving him to time to do what he was doing. I was surprised by his appreciation of my patience.

Later that day, the girls were getting out of the van and Eve spilled the contents of her backpack. Items rolled out of the van onto the garage floor and then her water bottle disappeared under the van. I sighed heavily. While Eve shoved items into her backpack, Audrey waited in her seat. She didn’t push her way out of the van or nudge her sister to move along. She just waited. Eve turned to her and said, “Audrey, thank you for being patient with me.” Twice in one day, I heard someone thank another for being patient.

What is the difference between being patient and waiting? I wait all the time. I wait for the school bus to arrive. I wait for phone calls to be returned. I wait for kids to brush their teeth. Waiting is an integral part of my life and yet, I have observed that patiently waiting is very different from just waiting. Patience is so valued that people will thank you for it. Patience allows the other person the gifts of time and space. The elderly man was thanking me for not curtly saying, “Excuse me” while I reached around him to grab the cereal. Eve was thanking Audrey for not complicating her chaos by climbing over her. Patience puts the other person first. Patience values the needs of others over my needs. No wonder people thank you for it. Patience is a rare gift!

When I have been on mom duty for twelve hours and all that stands between me and some down time is teeth brushing, patience is not my first choice. However I have noticed plenty of other times during my day when I can patiently wait. I view patiently waiting as living out my belief that we are all created in the image of God. I want to honor God’s creations by giving them time and space, by putting them first. I fail more often than I succeed. However, patiently waiting challenges me to treat all as children of God. And I like giving gifts. While I patiently wait, I think, “This is my gift to you.” I acknowledge this is a work in process but it is one that I am enjoying.

Tammy Abee Blom is an ordained Baptist minister, regular contributor to BWIM’s blog, mother of two amazing daughters, teacher for children’s Sunday School, and lives in Columbia, South Carolina.

The Language of Tenacity by Christy Foldenauer

I’ve been learning the language of tenacity in seminary this year. I’m enrolled in ancient Greek.

Many of you will understand when I tell you that two things make me crazy. The first is when a friend or well-meaning person says jokingly, “It’s all Greek to me!” The other is when I meet someone who actually has found the Greek language to be a breeze. Recently I met someone who makes his Christmas lists in Greek to keep his family from knowing what he is purchasing. Never mind that he took the language a decade ago. People like that confound me.

I am somewhere in the middle with this language. It’s not “all Greek” to me, but Greek has certainly not come with ease. As I prepare to enter a second semester, I’ve realized that my first semester of Greek taught me much more than just the language. It turns out that learning Greek is making me a better person, and a better mom.

If you are scratching your head at that one, let me first paint the picture of just how difficult the language has been for me. I remember sometime around the third week. I realized that I wasn’t “getting” any of what I’d read or learned so far. Nothing was taking root for me. I started to doubt my ability to succeed.

Week four brought my most embarrassing moment as a seminarian (to date), when I raised my hand to ask the translation of a word I hadn’t been able to decipher, despite my best efforts. The answer? Jesus. Seriously, the answer was Jesus. (Go ahead and laugh; it’s funny.) At this point, I decided Greek was really not going well.

I vividly remember a conversation with my husband about six weeks in to class. As I drove to school, I fought the urge to turn around. “I cannot do this anymore,” I told my husband, my voice laced with desperation. He assured me that not only could I do it, but I should. “This is not the time to give up,” he urged. I consented. I love that man.

There was the day that a sweet friend asked me at break how I was doing. Unable to control my own feelings of potential disastrous outcomes, I cried. Right there, in the third row of the classroom, sandwiched in between a young guy who had Greek undergrad and was floating through (he probably made his Christmas list in Greek, for all I know) and a man well past sixty who might have had an even harder time with the language than me, I got teary-eyed on my friend. I know she’s sorry she asked. That’s the thing about seminary–you can’t go there feeling anything but great and leave without being asked. Ministers-to-be have a homing device for hurting people. And I was hurting– suffering under the mighty weight of Greek.

But I gutted it out. And I’m going back for more. In the end, my grade proved that my round-the-clock study and hard work was worth the effort, and I am so much richer for taking on something that proved almost impossible.

For starters, I am a far more empathetic parent when my child struggles with a concept. My oldest child finds math as hard as I find Greek, but we’ve been bonding over our inadequacies. When I told him about the day I cried in class, he looked at me with new eyes. “Really??” he asked. “Really, yep, I did. I got that frustrated. Do you ever feel that way?” What followed was a heart understanding that would never have existed without Greek.

This experience has also been a chance to model for my kids that moms can (and should!) try difficult things. My daughter sees me managing our family dynamic and challenging school work. I wonder if one day she will do the same. My mother did, and I still remember grad school projects that consumed some of her evenings. Having goals and going for them is part of being a strong woman and a good example for my kids, as long as I can maintain some semblance of balance between home and school.

At the close of my first year of seminary, on my last paper in Old Testament, my professor noted that she appreciated my tenacity. How I’ve treasured those words. I hid them away in my heart, like Mary.

You see, I’ve thought of myself as audacious many times, but not really a tenacious woman. This professor helped to redefine the way I see my call and gifts, and learning Greek has continued to develop my tenacity.

So I am learning ancient Greek, and Greek is teaching me the language of tenacity. And those two new languages make all the effort worthwhile.

Christy Foldenauer is a speaker for retreats and services and a student at Baptist Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. Learn about her ministry and read her blog.

Feed Yourself by Tammy Abee Blom

I swung into the parking lot of the grocery store and switched on my favorite radio station. I stabbed the straw in the to-go cup and unwrapped the burger. It was lunch time. I had exactly twelve minutes to eat because I needed forty five minutes to purchase groceries and then high tail it to school to pick up the girls on time. Without much enthusiasm, I ate my burger and looked around the parking lot. With surprise, I noted I was one of four women eating lunch in her car. As I ate the burger that I had purchased for convenience not preference, I caught the irony of my situation.

I respect my family enough to purchase fresh vegetables and fruits as well as whole grain breads, but I don’t respect myself enough to sit down in a restaurant and eat the salad that I desired. Instead I was shortchanging myself. My goal for this errand was to feed others, but I wasn’t respectfully feeding myself.

The word “respect” stuck with me as I loaded the groceries into the van and then headed to school. Not surprisingly I found myself singing along with Aretha Franklin “R-E-S-P-E-C-T  . . .  find out what it means to me.”  What does it mean to me that I provide for others and don’t do so for myself? What happened to making sure I am fed?

And of course I don’t just mean eating the salad I want. Getting fed embodies all areas of my life. Respecting myself means taking time to do the things that energize me. It means spending time with people who know me and know God. My goal for January is to respect myself. When I find myself impatient and flustered because of the demands of the schedule, I mentally ask, “Are you respecting yourself? Are you treating yourself the way you expect others to treat you?” If the answer is no, I stop the activity. All of us are created in the image of God. Our worth is assured through our creation. Because we answered the call to help feed others (literally and spiritually) we must honor our work by respecting ourselves. Respect. What does it mean to you?

Tammy Abee Blom is an ordained Baptist minister, regular contributor to BWIM’s blog, mother of two amazing daughters, teacher for children’s Sunday School, and lives in Columbia, South Carolina.

My Necklace by Tammy Abee Blom

Sometimes we stumble upon the things that make all the difference. While shopping with a friend, I saw a necklace with a gold outline of a leaf. To my delight, the leaf concealed a quotation by Emily Dickinson, “That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.” I left the shop with the necklace securely fastened around my neck.

At that point in my life, my family had just moved to South Carolina, and I chose to be the full-time at-home parent. I wanted to use that first year to help my four-year-old daughter prepare for kindergarten. I knew she needed to participate in a preschool program as well as pursue speech therapy. Also my youngest daughter was just eighteen months old, and I wanted to keep her close during her toddler years. When I made the decision to be full-time at-home, I didn’t know I would need a daily dose of comfort and hope. This is where the necklace came in.

You have heard it said of mothers that the “days are long but the years are short.” I am here to tell you the days are long. The hardest part of my role was the constant interruptions. I could not unload the dishwasher without filling a sippy cup, locating a lost crayon, or helping settle a squabble. I felt like I couldn’t think because I never got to complete a thought. My fingers would reach for the necklace, and I would remind myself, “This is only a season of your life. That it only comes once makes it sweet.”

Then there were the moments of sheer joy. Watching Audrey swing as high as she could and then squeal, “Momma. Look Me!” Or clapping with delight as Eve made her first clear /k/ sound. Hearing her say, “cookie” rather than “tookie.” Seeing the triumph in her eyes were magical. In those moments, my fingers would travel to the necklace, and I would remember, “The girls are only four and two once. I am so lucky to be here for these moments.”

Instinctively, I purchased the necklace knowing it spoke to me in some way. I had no idea that I would count on it as a physical reminder of comfort and hope during a year of transition. And now, I am in another year of transition.

Audrey is a kindergartener, and Eve is a third grader. I am no longer the parent of preschoolers.  I am the parent of school aged kids. Again, my role is in transition. Robert Wicks in Snow Falling on Snow suggests choosing a word to live with during transition. As 2012 begins, I am discerning my word. I want a word that is multifaceted, intrigues me enough to hold onto it for a year, and connects with my journey. Of course I would love to discern the word in a moment of clarity, but as often happens, I expect to stumble upon it.

Tammy Abee Blom is an ordained Baptist minister, regular contributor to BWIM’s blog, mother of two amazing daughters, teacher for children’s Sunday School, and lives in Columbia, South Carolina.