Friday, May 18, 2012

Confessions of a stay at home rock start: the blogging debut of Laura Whidden-Wetterlin (11-4-09)

So I went to Write about Jesus (a conference that teaches you how to write songs), and Guy Zabka told me that independent artists have to keep up with web networks and blogging. It’s strange that I value communication so highly, but despise computers unabashedly. If I must be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century then; so be it.
Everyone I met at this songwriting conference told me the same thing: ‘Laura, you have to write.’ Earthshaking in it’s simplicity, I know. One thing has been consistent about my writing over the last 4 years since I became a mother. Every time I start to write, a stream of astonishingly selfish and bitter and demanding thoughts come pouring out. I am so surprised to find this jaded little artist inside of me that I generally bring the song to a halt and walk away from the piano in a daze.

Well, according to the experts and novices alike, all that drivel has to come out of me whether I like it or not. My fellow musicians told me I must write in order to free up my creative process and allow songs to begin flowing again. They insist that if I can just get past the pent up aggression in my soul I will be able to write music that makes sense and brings hope to the normal loving humans who want to hear it. My therapist adds that I have to get the aggression out or else it will come out at times in which I have no control over it because of the enormous pressure building inside of me.
I fear expressing the deepest darkest, most immature places in my depths because I know these thoughts could be extremely hurtful to my daughter and my husband. I seem to blame them most when I don’t get what I want as soon as I want it.

There. I’ve said it. I’m angry at and blame my family when I don’t get what I want. This is the truth of the brokenness inside of me. Ouch.

Well, I know God somehow must be bigger than the 5 year old girl inside of me who wants to be a princess-rockstar. Instead I find myself the wife of a well -intentioned, human workaholic whose facial features and curls are very similar to my idea of prince charming. I live in an adorable apartment and have not one single lady in waiting to do the vacuuming, and no governesses to provide me with the hours of leisure I require. Not doing so well on the princess end of things.
I was starting to get some radio play 5 years ago, I had to do a second printing of an album or 2, I flew second class to gigs all over the country. I wasn’t a star, but I believed I was at least starting to orbit near a few of them.

Pregnancy was a pleasantly shocking/ startling/welcome/unwelcome revelation in my life. God was determined to give me the greatest teacher/gift of my life whether I thought I wanted her or not. She is so beautiful and healthy and quick to giggle. She wants to pursue life and fun and passion even more than I do (which is saying quite a bit). So my visions of castles made sense only in the light of the fact that I became and abject servant to a tiny little person with a big voice and a royalty complex of her own. She truly believes that I should facilitate her every desire and need and whim: with all her tiny heart. The trouble is that I suffer under the same delusion.

Oh God! How on earth can I be all the things I believed you asked me to become all at the same time?!!! It is too much: too much to become and too much to let go of all at the same time. It is Absolutely, unequivocally impossible. Thus begins the blogging journey of Laura Whidden–Wetterlin.

I see balance as I swing by (11-12-09)

My three year old has the swine flu. I like to be dramatic, so I prefer the word swine to the title H1N1 (much too harmless sounding). Temperature yesterday at the doctor’s office was 105 degrees!!!!! How can the pediatrician stay so calm??

I guess because they know more than I do about pigs and the flues they cause and are more knowledgeable about when to panic. So, no nerves here, just calm brow soothing and lots of medicine (but not toooo much). I guess all of growing up can be summed up in one boring word: balance. I wish there were a way to say it better. My bipolar self is totally attracted to extremes; I like to have amazing, deep conversations, not just good talks. I like to either shlump around in something drab and comfy OR wear an incredibly hip quirky outfit. I don’t ever aim for looking just “nice.” I either try ridiculously hard or I make no effort at all. The phrase “good enough” makes me feel a little nauseous.

So there has to be a better way to describe balance. It took me about 15 years of schooling to discover the freedom a perfectly respectable B or C can bring. It took (is taking) 13 years of counseling to believe that an 8 or 10 is actually a healthy size for me, instead of the size 4 jeans that are sitting in my drawer unused. I’ve pushed myself so hard in my spiritual life, always swaying between huge guilt over my various degrees of sinfulness, and crazy pride about my goody-two-shoes-I’ve-read-the-bible-through-several-times-and have a degree in religion- piousness. I think you get the picture.

I am beginning to get this vision of what a truly balanced life looks like. It’s still cloudy and confusing, but I think it’s worth all the emotional work and confusion it will take to finally see clearly. I want to sleep 8-10 hours a day. I want to eat three relatively healthy meals. I want to write some music every day. I want to praise my husband every time he does something right, and not fly off the handle when I feel neglected. I want to cherish every singly good, cuddly, giggly, unexpected moment I have with my daughter and calmly discipline the things that she does to make her own life harder. I want to be totally supportive and selfless with my friends, and freely accept all the awsomeness they have to give in return. I want to Love God Desperately, and freely do whatever he asks, whenever he asks, no matter how hard or dumb or painful it seems.

Sounds good, huh? With all this utopia-esque dreaming I have one more thing to add to my ideal Laura; she would be gentle with herself when she inevitably messes up in all of these areas.
Why am I so mean to me??? BALANCE. I’m afraid if I’m not really hard on myself I won’t grow, and I’m afraid that if I am too nice to Laura, she will remain this small selfish needy person forever and ever amen. The only Being I’ve ever met who knew exactly how to deal with me in every moment is God. UtopiaLaura will only exist if he makes me into her. There Is No Other Way.

Lucky for me….lucky for us He is totally powerful and absolutely willing to transform us until we look like Him.



I don't think I'm asking too much (11-21-09)

I told myself I would blog every Thursday night, but I wouldn’t last night because I was too busy sulking about a fight I had with Cory. I know I’m blessed to have such a focused, truly loving, God-fearing man. Unfortunately this knowledge does not help me when he’s grumpy.
Some days I feel like I’m the most High-maintenance girl the feminist movement ever birthed, and other days I don’t feel like I’m asking too much. Here are my demands:

1: Look happy to see me.
2: Say (out loud…with words) that you’re glad to see me.
3: ACT as though you FEEL as though, I am the most interesting thing that has happened to you today.
4: Always make me believe that I’m more attractive that your various computerized devices. (iphones, ipods, macbooks, electric toothbrushes; etc.)
5: Save up some of your “happy-face-interested-voice” energy for ME.
These five points are, of course, in addition to his “Regular Duties” which are as follows;
1. Holding down a job that keeps me in the style to which I have become accustomed,
2. Paying the bills,
3. 3. Maintaining insurance good enough to care for a certifiably crazy wife and a daughter who is prone to catching diseases from swine,
4. Doing the dishes,
5. Leading us in prayer every night,
6. Pursuing his own health through working out 3 days a week, and seeing his own counselor,
7. Making sure that every program he plans for the youth is as amazing as he can possibly make it.
8. Maintaining extremely high standards for his ministry (see #7)
9. Caring for Lorelai whenever mommy decides she is no longer capable.
10. Caring for Lorelai whenever we decide mommy will be somewhere else.
11. Packing lunch for afore-mentioned child.
12. Driving child to school.
13. Disciplining child when child’s mother decides she is weary of doing so.
14. Planning and executing a date every single Sunday night for foxy wife and husband (this may involve the purchasing of various and sundry gifts, flowers, dark chocolates, etc., all for the purpose of delighting afore-said foxy wife……)

There may be a few more items for the “Regular Duties” list, but I’m tired of typing.

My friend Michelle came over last night and mercifully interrupted Cory and I in the heat of argument. She listened to me whine while Cory hung out in the living room. Michelle’s basic response can be summed up in the following sentence: “Are you affirming Cory on what he’s doing well?”

My head spins, ‘Of course I affirm Cory, I affirm him all the time….especially right before I point out to him exactly what I think he’s doing wrong.’



Sweet Jesus, what would it take for You to make me the kind of person who thanks people for what they are doing, instead of riding them for what I think is inadequate? Could it be possible that a dreamer/perfectionist/ ego-toting/ judgmental person like me could be transformed into the image of the One who gave himself until there was no breath left? Will I EVER learn how to turn the other cheek and give my hoodie to the guy who stole my coat? Could I possibly ever look at marriage as a chance to become holy, instead of my only opportunity for happiness??? Will there come a day when

I think of Cory’s needs as being as important as my own….


Praise God He is able to do even more than we could ever ask or imagine or think. I want to be thankful this week, not grasping at more. I want to be deeply grateful, not demanding to those I love.

So… help me God.

An Old-Fashioned Bipolar Thanksgiving and other random thoughts... (Thanksgiving 2009)

Well, Folks, I had a good old-fashioned bipolar thanksgiving. A good portion of laughter with a side order of crazy crying and hiding in my room. We all survived and even managed to enjoy each other a great deal between episodes. Don’t panic, I’m fine, I just didn’t manage my sleep very well and it came back to bite me in the buttered rolls. I’m still not quite back on schedule. As I type it’s pitch black outside our 2nd story window, but I’m looking forward to a relaxing Sunday ahead.

Speaking of Sundays, 2 weeks ago I went to my friends house to do some communal crafting. We (my husband and I) are currently in a new form of self-denial wherein our budget is under strict control. This self-imposed torture necessitates some very creative thinking for holiday gifts. I’m making various complicated items involving feathers and sparkly things. I’m a social liver (not the organ, the verb). So I usually try to find another human to involve in as many activities as possible. I drove to the other side of town where my buddy was making crafts out of boiled sweaters (don’t mock, they’re adorable). We spent 2 hours together and I, being myself, talked pretty much the entire time. My crafty friend listened and loaned me her scissors, and was extremely sympathetic. You see, my 2 hour diatribe expressed my continual confusion and frustration with being a good, mature wife. For those of you’ve who’ve read my 3 previous blogs, I’m sure you’re noticing a theme.

I’ve always wanted to be married. I grew up the only daughter of a pastor and a musician. This meant I’d been to approximately 3 billion weddings by the time I was 12. The first and only item I ever stole was a white lace Barbie wedding gown (no, I’m not kidding, my mom made me take It back and say I was sorry to the sales lady, I cried a lot). There has never been a time in my memory when I didn’t picture myself as the other half of Mr. Right. I’m a hopelessly-hopeful romantic.

After 5 grueling years of dating various Mr. Wrongs and Mr. Almosts, and Mr. Boy-that-was-a-close-call-s, I finally found Cory. He loved me and told me I could eat anything I wanted, and shaved my head, and let me wear combat boots with my entire wardrobe, and held me when I cried, and helped me remember to take my medication and listened to me talk incessantly, and followed me around to various attempts at Christian Rockstar-dom, and still managed to make me believe that he was enjoying all of this.

We got married on an Island at Sunrise one July morning, and I had the luxury of feeling absolutely confident that I had made the right decision. Now, 9 years later, I’m still sure that there is no man out in the world who would be better for me or treat me better than Cory David Wetterlin. The only persistent problem is that I really seem to wish I hadn’t married a man, a really truly Human man.
I think I want a robot, or an angel, or maybe something with a remote control. Don’t get me wrong, Cory’s a great guy, he’s just soooo homo-sapien. You know the type-sometimes makes mistakes, occasionally falls short of my expectations, prone to imperfection. I’m sure you won’t believe this but Cory is Completely incapable of reading my mind!!! Is this behavior to be tolerated? Well, if I ask Jesus, he seems to say yes. He tells me that the fruits of the Spirit are Love, joy, peace, patience, and self –control. He says that love is about giving of my self and serving, not about getting everything I want. He says that if I want to be first I need to be last, and I have to turn the other cheek, and basically put my life on the altar of sacrifice as an offering to Him. I don’t understand how to balance absolute unselfishness with human marriage. It seems impossible, impractical.

So as my friend arranges her woolen masterpieces she listens quietly. I pack up my crafts and she prays with me and we both go our separate ways. I’ve driven about 5 miles when I get a call from her on my cell. “So, Laura, I’ve been thinking and praying about your problems with Cory and I felt like God wanted me to tell you something. I think you need to try not saying anything negative to your husband for the next two weeks. I tried it once, and it totally changed the way I looked at my spouse. Just a suggestion.” I’m embarrassed to tell You, dear reader, that in the last year I’ve had no less then four people suggest this same basic concept to me. I’ve ignored them all. Somehow wool-girl was the voice that finally got through.

So the last 2 weeks have been an exercise in holding my tongue and taming my temper. It hasn’t been easy, but somehow in trying to control Cory less, I’ve felt more in control of myself. I can’t really explain it, I guess it’s a kind of relief to let go of the struggle of trying to make him exactly who I want him to be. I’ve actually enjoyed reminding us both of Cory’s many talents and strengths. I feel….better. I’ve been dared to love unselfishly, and I’m beginning to see the freedom in it. I’m not sure where this will lead, or how I’ll do next week, but for now I’m pleasantly surprised and hopeful. God is Good, and Cory is truly an incredible person.

I guess I’m getting better at this already…..