Monthly Archives: October 2012

The Fear of God

The Fear of God

Me a few years before “scared straight”–Church Edition

There is little debate that my internal struggles with a higher power have been numerous and I have little shame in blaming it on the seed that was planted in my mind at a very early age.  Even if intentions are well-meaning, the very act of introducing the idea of a supreme-being into a brain wired such as mine and the results are going to be messy, at best.  There is supposedly a healthy balance of respect, fear and love that spiritual maturity brings about.  However, as a child with a very active imagination growing up in church, my soul got snagged on fear.  This fear has haunted me in my own sad form of spiritual arrested development.

The entire first decade of my life, there were a couple of constants: If the doors to the church were open for services, my family was in attendance; The radio was always tuned to country music; and my mom never left the house without her bed being made and everything in its place. To this day, my sister and I can sing most of the words to a plethora of hymns and classic country and western songs (I am pretty sure that we could muster up a minimum of two verses of Just As I Am and all the words to Lucille by Kenny Rogers).  Basically, attending church was an integral part of my childhood.  Unfortunately for my well-intentioned parents, I was rarely an easy child.  My spiritual snag made Sundays literally hell on my parents as they wrestled, chased and beat my butt for resisting Sunday services.  It was even the theme for one of my high school poetry assignments:

 Fearing God

Now I lay be down to sleep,

I pray the Lord my soul to keep

A child of God I want to be

But Sunday church was not for me.

I kicked and screamed and was damn near beat,

But every Sunday I took my seat.


Alleluia and Amazing Grace,

Songs of love in a scary place

I hid my face tried not to look,

The preacher man is waving the book

I closed my eyes and I covered my ears

I tried to be brave, ignoring my fears


Fire, brim stone and eternal damnation

Lost souls missing out on salvation

Spending forever in a fiery lake

Is all too much for my mind to take

Please let him talk of the Promised Land

Milk and Honey I understand.


His message then took that sinister turn

My face grows hot and starts to burn

His words are out and I can take no more

I run down the aisle and out the door

My Daddy’s wrath is what I should’ve feared most

 But this child was scared to death of the Holy Ghost

Me (yellow shirt), Kim, and my Grandma (she didn’t make her bed every day).

It would be one thing if my fearing the Holy Ghost was the extent of my spiritual hang-ups, but that’s seldom how things go in my world.  The Thief in the Night, was a 70s Christian based movie that literally scared the bejesus out of me. The movie was shown to the congregation of our church and I was probably 8 or 9.  The film was about the rapture and basically showed normal people going about their everyday lives and without warning, one would just disappear.  I believe Kirk Cameron made a movie based on the same premise, but I am not absolutely certain about more modern versions, as the original screwed with me enough for an entire lifetime.   I would wake up from dreaming that I was walking home from school with my sister and all of a sudden she would be sucked up to heaven and my dirty rotten unready self would be standing there staring at a puddle of melting butter on the sidewalk.  Note:  I don’t have any idea why my sister would be carrying butter with her on the way home from school, but for whatever reason God always left me behind with a stick of melted lard.

               Years later, when I was a sophomore in high school I came home from school one day and found nobody at home.  This was not totally unusual except for one terrifying fact:  MY MOTHER’S BED WAS UNMADE!!!  I stood there looking at that unmade bed and waves of nausea began to wash over me and I thought I was going to be sick.  Never, in my sixteen years of existence on this planet had I EVER seen my mom’s bed unmade!  My mom is completely OCD in the clean and tidy department.  She makes Mr. Clean look like a slob!  My mind did a mental checklist of possible reasons my mom’s bed would be unmade at three-thirty in the afternoon and after justifying that even if a loved one had been in a serious accident, the clean-freak would have at least made a hasty attempt to put her bed linens in order.  That’s when I knew that The Thief in the Night movie had come to pass and I had been left behind.  I was shaking as the gravity of my situation began to sink in and l ran to the window to see if I could spot any other careless souls that failed to make the cut.  I was terrified.

My beautiful mom.

A few hours later my mom and the rest of my family returned home.  They had left when my aunt had suddenly gotten ill and mom had rushed out to take her to the hospital.  Of course, they all got a big kick out of my crazy notion that I had been ‘left behind’.  Looking back, it really wasn’t me that was the crazy one.  Who let’s young children watch movies where people just disappear without warning???  Then there is the even bigger question:  WHO, OF SOUND MIND, MAKES HER BED 7 DAYS A WEEK, 365 DAYS A YEAR???!!  It is pretty clear that when your teenage daughter thinks the only reason that her mother’s bed would be unmade is the coming of the rapture, there is a lot of room for someone to learn to R-E-L-A-X, don’t you think?  After all, aren’t we just going to mess it up again when we go to bed?


  1.  After completing this post, I found the movie, “Thief in the Night” on YouTube.  There is a scene in the movie where a little girl goes to the neighbor’s house to borrow a stick of butter for her mom who is baking something.  The next thing you see is her doll and a melting stick of butter on the driveway!!! Freaky!!!!!
  2. It is my firm belief that in the past 24 years since the fateful day my mother left the house without making her bed, she has maintained a perfect 100% bed-making record.
  3. The pattern of my bed-making has no rhyme or reason what-so-ever and is completely random.  Some days I make it and some days I don’t.  My philosophy:  I don’t want to scare my children.

Sometimes You Just Gotta Let Them Jump

Sometimes You Just Gotta Let Them Jump

Evan and Kevin-Summer 2007

My children are lucky to have such a wonderful man for their daddy.  He loves them immensely, is involved in their activities, and will put a boot in an ass, if and when any of them need it (only one of our children has actually required a boot in the ass on a regular basis, but I will not disclose which one).  The girls describe their dad as ‘magnificent’ (gag).   When I asked the girls how they would describe me, they unanimously agreed on ‘crazy’.  Note: I wonder when the last time Mr. Magnificent did their laundry or ran forgotten homework to school?  When Evan was little, he and Kevin had a special club called the “Cool Cat Club” and no girls were allowed, not even a mom who happened to be a girl.

During the summer of 2007 we had planned a trip to Bull Shoals Lake with my sister and her family.  Due to my sister working weekend option at the hospital, we decided to let the men (the men being my husband, Kevin, and her hubby, Danny) take the boat and the some of the kiddos down on Saturday and we would drive the 4 and half hours after my sister got off work Sunday evening.  The guys took my niece, Lilly, who was 5, our son, Evan, who was 11 and our youngest daughter, Sophi, who was 8 years old.  My sister, Kim, and I would bring our oldest daughter, Riley and her BFF, Jackie and my two-year old niece, Olivia.

A day and a half after the men and their share of the kids ventured out, Kim and our charges took off for the lake.  There is no easy way to get to Bull Shoals, Arkansas.  The roads for the most part are two-lane highways that snake through the Ozark Mountains.  Because of its proximity to absolutely nothing, there is limited cellular service at, on, or around the lake and five years ago, there were even less spots with reception.  Because we couldn’t reach them by phone, we were operating under the assumption that our husbands were slowly puttering slowly around the lake with our precious cargo, obeying every safety precaution and avoiding any perceivable danger.  It was after midnight when we arrived at the condo and it appeared that the guys had, in fact, taken excellent care of the kids.  They were all sleeping soundly and aside from red faces and shoulders from lack of diligent sunscreen applications, everyone was in one piece.

The next day we all loaded up and launched the boat for a day of fun on the lake.  The day was absolutely gorgeous.  The sun was hot and bright and the lake was buzzing with boats and jet skis and the kids were anxious to start tubing.  They loved the giant inner tube that is towed behind the boat making for an exciting ride.  I was surprised when Sophi wanted to postpone the tubing and says, “Daddy, first let’s show Mom the rocks we jumped off yesterday!”  I think Kevin may have pretended that the wind noise from the boat was drowning out her request, but she persisted, “Daddy, please? She will like it.”

Kevin said, “Mom doesn’t want to see the rocks.  Let’s ride the tube!”

Evan chimes in, “Mom, these rocks are huge.  You have to seem them. You won’t believe it. Come on, Dad, let’s show them!”

In my sweet little mom brain, I am picturing a small boulder sticking out of the water near the edge of one of the coves with my sweet little dumplings climbing up and jumping safely into the arms of my husband into about five feet of water.  As my children continued to describe the events that transpired the previous day, the picture in my mind began to shift.

Evan:   “It is sooooo high to makes you feel like you are falling forever.”

What??  Okay, now I want to see the “rocks”.  I was very curious about their adventure.  “Did Daddy catch you when you jumped off the rocks?”  I asked, still clinging to the safe image I had conjured up earlier.

“No way!  Even Dad can’t touch there!  It is sooooo deep!” Sophi answered accurately.

“Uncle Danny and Dad stayed in the boat with Lilly and watched us,” Evan added.

After exploring a few coves that didn’t have the infamous ‘rocks’ Evan points out a landmark he remembered and we made our way toward the back of the cove.  “There they are, Mom!  Look!  People are jumping off of them!”  I follow my son’s finger pointed across the cove and my heart dropped into my stomach. The ‘rocks’ were not rocks at all, they were CLIFFS!  Natural stone platforms carved out of the bluffs positioned 15 feet, 20 feet, 30 feet over the water!!!  My babies did NOT jump off those!!!!  .  HOLY MARY MOTHER OF GOD, MY KIDS WENT CLIFF JUMPING!!!!!

As soon as Danny killed the engine, Evan and Sophi bailed over the side of the boat and started swimming toward the rock bluffs.  I looked at Kevin and gave him the “how could you let our children jump off a 30 foot cliff into 75 feet of water” look, for which he mistook for my, “aren’t our kids total bad-asses” look!!!  I watched in nervous disbelief as they scrambled up the steep slope and stood staring down at the water below.  With just a moment of hesitation Evan leaped off the edge of the cliff and disappeared into the aquatic darkness, his life jacket bringing him swiftly to the surface.  We all cheered and he lifted his hands in celebration as he bobbed in the water like a cork.  “Go Sophi,” he shouted to his sister as she was still peering over the edge. She looked so tiny standing there.  I wanted to shout for her to go back down the side of the bluff that she didn’t have to jump if she was scared. Just as I was about to verbally rescue her, she plunged off her perch squealing through her rapid descent. Riley and Jackie soon joined in the escapades and everyone escaped without any major injuries.  (Jackie had a little mishap on one of her landings, but we have agreed never to speak of it, so I won’t).

Evan-Getting Ready to JUMP

Watching my young children leap off the cliffs into the deep unknown waters below was a mixed bag of emotions for me.  As a mother, I often resist the urge to attempt to put my kids in a bubble and protect them from the world.  It’s a feeling I have experienced often:  Riley’s first day of kindergarten, the first time Evan dug in at the plate to bat in little league, the first time Sophi climbed on the block at her first swim meet.  There are times the feeling just stirs in my stomach and whispers in the recesses of my mind.  Other times it punches me in the gut and screams bloody murder.  One of the hardest things a mother has to learn to do is let go; finding the balance between keeping them safe and letting them live.  For me, being a parent isn’t usually black and white; there is that infinite grey area where my kids have to explore and as they grow older that area seems to keep expanding.  The area where they can feel the wind in their face, taste the salt of the oceans, and open doors to their own tomorrows.  I won’t always be here to make sure their life jackets bring them safely back to the surface, but my hope is they each know the depth of my love is infinite, definite and forever after.

Sophi’s Jump

My Chupacabra-Loving, Catawampus Mother-Guest Blog Spot by Sophi Thurman

My Chupacabra-Loving, Catawampus Mother-Guest Blog Spot by Sophi Thurman

Last night I was asked by my 13 year-old daughter, Sophi, to edit a paper she had written for her 8th grade Integrated Studies Literacy class.   Not only did I discover that she had written about me, but she had managed to capture her amazing ability to love me in spite of my quirkiness.  Never before have I felt so honored at being called an embarrassing goofball.   Copied and pasted in her own words, I am proud to share with you:

Sophi Thurman

October 4, 2012




My Chupacabra-Loving, Catawampus Mother


You could say the Thurman’s aren’t the typical family.  You could ask anyone who’s really spent time with us.  Actually, there’ve been countless times the words “the Thurman’s need a TV show” have been uttered.  Then Honey Boo Boo came and we’ve decided we can’t compare to that.  The crazy pageant queen has even been honored a Honey Boo Boo night, where we all gather in the living room and watch the redneck adventures.  I think the real reason of the Thurman’s Honey Boo Boo night, is to have one day a week when we can all sit down and feel better about our catawampus ways.

Catawampus is one my mother’s favorite words (she pronounces it CATTY-WOMPUS, and I find much more enjoyable to say it that way).  It’s everything it sounds like and suits my mom perfectly.  Not a day goes by that you won’t hear her say “catawampus this” or “catawampus that” or “that was all catawampus”!  Maybe on the day she finds something on chupacabras, a mythical creature from Texas that she is a die-hard believer in.  One time she even, “saw one in the road, I swear!”  My mother is also terribly afraid of coyotes.  We’ve recently moved to a farm and like to go visit, Festus, the donkey or take walks to Uncle Bob’s.  Sometimes if we hear a coyote, I will run ahead of her just to hear her say, “Sophi, stop!  Don’t leave me! Please wait!  I’m going to die, oh my GOD!”  But all these quirks and catawampus things about my mom are what I love most about her.  She teaches me that being yourself, which might be a little weird, is OK.  She reminds me that if you friends don’t like you the way you are, they’re not real friends.

When you think about Karri Thurman, the first things you would think of are all her embarrassing and funny (mostly embarrassing) moments.  The way my mom tells stories will make you remember them forever.  She is even better at writing them.  Sometimes it can even be annoying at how much she gets into her stories.  She still thinks of my dog as a retired FBI agent who is best friends with a pigeon that speaks Portuguese.  One day I even found him with a toy spy kit from the Dollar Store.  So, my mom decided to start a blog to share all these stories.  She titled it, “Heavy Sighs and Smiles”, referring to the signature sigh she lets out when she is frustrated.  The smiles are for the occasions when we all take joy in laughing at mom.

One of everyone’s favorite moments of Mom (which I am still waiting to read a blog about) is when she was hanging off the boat by her bikini bottoms.  We were at the lake with friends and tied up to several boats that consisted of strangers or people barely known to us.  My mother tried to get into the water without anyone noticing, but ended up slipping on the wet ladder.  My mom was caught on the ladder by her bikini bottoms, face down in the water and her rear-end showing to some deeply disturbed people.  Most of them laughed it off with giggles while my mom dangled there until a brave soul came and unhooked her.  The bikini bottoms looked as if a wild animal had gotten ahold of them, and tying knots where they had torn didn’t help much.  It was obvious to everyone that my red-faced, awkward laughing mom needed a new pair of pants.

Instead of acting like she wasn’t my mom, or never talking to her again out of sheer embarrassment, I decided to learn from her.  Because even she laughed it off rather than never showing her face again.  Strength is one of the most important lessons she has taught me.  If you’re hurt, don’t baby it; If you don’t want to do it, do it anyway.  My brother has terrible anxiety and she has been there every step of the way.  My mom has stayed strong for him, for her and for the whole family.  Even when she snaps and breaks, she is letting me know that letting someone else be strong for a change, is perfectly alright too.

To me, a mother full of love and care and guidance, maybe not so much grace, is what a girl needs most.  Everyone needs someone to teach you right from wrong, even though she makes mistakes every day.  A girl needs someone to be proud of them, but not super proud of them, because they are always pushing you and always wanting you to do your best.  I also believe that everyone needs a crazy sports mom that gets a little catawampus on the sidelines.  My mom happens to fit all of these roles and still has time to love me eight times around the world and back.  Karri Thurman, who some call crazy, most call hilarious, and all call catawampus, only has a few lucky ones that get to call her Mom.  She means so much to us, to me, and I wouldn’t trade anything for all those embarrassing moments, or breakdowns, or all her catawampus ways, because those make her who she is, and that’s exactly what I love.