Tuesday, March 14, 2017

How Do You Do It?!

“How do you do it!?”
As a mom to four young children, I hear this question a lot and my typical response it to give a smile that doesn’t quiet reach my tired eyes and respond, “Poorly.”

Strangers just laugh and shake their head because they think I’m joking, my friends laugh because they know there is nothing funnier than the truth.
But for those of you too polite (or if we’re honest, too scared) to ask this tired mother in yoga pants and a 2-day-old bun how she does it, allow me to enlighten you:

1-Low expectations. I’m serious. You know how people always say the first kid gets handled with white gloves and the subsequent kids get less and less of the VIP treatment? Well, I never really did that. I cleaned my first baby’s dropped paci with my own spit and popped it back in her mouth, I attempted to dress her cute exactly once before she crapped all over the $75 baby dress, and Home Girl definitely never had a baby book. I just didn’t hold myself up to the impossible measures of modern motherhood and so instead I’ve embraced the “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” approach. My kids’ hair gets brushed 4/7 days on a good week, we try to get their teeth brushed once a day and they definitely pick out their own clothes….ain’t nobody got time for that when you’re trying to get 4 kids out the door in the morning. Basically if you think you’re expectations are too high, they probably are, if you think they’re normal, go ahead and knock them down a rung or two past that. 



Okay, right there.

2-Eat or starve. This one is simple biology, people. When faced with the option to eat brussels sprouts or go hungry, the kid will eat a brussels sprout. Or, if they choose they can go to bed without dinner, they will get nothing to eat until breakfast the next morning, which I guarantee you, they will wolf down with unbridled avarice. I refuse to make anyone special meals because they wanted the curly pasta instead of rice (myself excluded—shout out to the miserable experiment that is Whole30!).    

3-They won’t break. Okay, so technically they CAN break a bone but beyond the inconvenience of schlepping a kid around with crutches, is it really the worst thing? I’d rather deal with my kid’s potential injury and use it as a lesson learned, than walk around with bubble wrap. Real talk? I cannot understand the moms who walk around waiting to catch their precious tea cup at the playground in case of incident... I'm judging them and  I’m working on it—my apologizes to the helicopter parents. In this same spirit, one of my kids ate dirt for a while, I had a 2-year-old stung by a bee and one took a swan dive out of the grocery buggy at Fred Meyers onto the hard, tile floor. While defiantly not my finest parenting hours, they’ve all escaped the incidents relatively unscathed.

4- Chores. We don’t have a set list of daily chores yet (we’re getting there, I’m sure) but in a typical day my kids (5,4 and two 3-year-olds) will help unload the dishwasher, help with laundry, sweep and mop, clear their dishes, feed the dog and pick-up their room. If we’re not in a rush, I’ll even let the big girls pack their own lunches. I’m not here to be their servant, I’m here to be their mother and slicing off the crust of their perfectly proportioned PB&Js is not in the job description.

5-Humility. This one is a toughie but I’m trying. As you can imagine, with 4 small kids my house is chaotic a lot of the time and even though I try not to completely lose my crap on these kids, it happens. But what’s important is going to them and recognizing that screaming at them was wrong and I apologize. I want my kids to be able to admit when they’re wrong and correct their behavior, and how are they going to learn that if I never admit my own mistakes to them? Now, I’m not condoning screaming at your kids—it’s like it says in the Bible, just because Jesus died for our sins, doesn’t mean we have a license to sin; just because it’s a teachable moment doesn’t mean we should scream at our kids. But when you do lose your shit (we all do) it is important to go to them with humility and seek their forgiveness. This serves the dual purpose of modeling good behavior, and validating that they are people like anyone else who deserve the respect of not being screamed at.

And when all else fails, locking them out of the bathroom and drinking s glass of wine while watching Netflix in the bathtub always helps.  

Monday, February 6, 2017

My Husbband Wants to Move Me to a Morman Mansion and I Don't Know How I Feel About That

Obviously I have some idea how I feel about it or I wouldn't be writing this blog post but I'm hoping the writing process helps me ferret out some positive energy in this...developing...situation.

You see, when I got the email that we were getting an offer on our current home, I got a little choked up. This the home in which our babies have spent the bulk of their 3-5 years. And sentimentality aside, the property rocks. Our location is perfect and we actually have over an acre with a year-round (mostly) creek, 10 minutes form the thriving metropolis that is the 'Burg; so if we had stayed at the same number of kids we had when we bought this place (2), I'd never leave.

But that didn't happen. Instead, about 3 minutes after moving in I got knocked up with the twins. And I love them and all their silly little boyness, but when you double the amount of children living under your roof, suddenly said roof seems quite a bit smaller. And I know as kids grow, the amount of crap they have does as well. I know that.

So while I love this home, I know it is too small, and frankly there is enough about this place that we would change that I can't justify trying to corner my husband into what I'm sure would become a multiple hundreds of thousands dollars renovation. So, we decided together we'd start looking for homes.

After about a 10 second conversation about moving to North Carolina which mostly consisted of me suggesting it and then my husband experimenting with how deeply his eyes could roll into the back of his skull, we started talking criteria for homes in our current location.

My biggest prerequisite is that the kids have a good education, which is admittedly hard enough to come by in this rural part of America but when you start dong the math, sending four kids to private school is about on level with that multiple-hundreds of thousands dollars home renovation I mentioned. So option C? Move to the best school district in the county. (There is an option D of home schooling which I haven't completely ruled out but I'm not even gonna look into it until the boys can formulate whole sentence...so, in like 10 years it might become a legit option).

The only hiccough is that the best school district just so happens to be 30 minutes away from the nearest town...the small, 20k person town in which we currently reside.

"Come on! Thirty minutes?! That's nothing! People commute 30 minutes every day, all across the country."

True, but those people usually pass a couple of grocery stores, a Starbucks and maybe a pharmacy or two. Wanna know what I'll pass on my 30 minute commute? Freeway exits.

I'm going to have to get on the freeway to get the kids to school (15 minutes away), get to a gas station (17 minutes away) and to the grocery store (28 minutes away).

I know there are plenty of people used to living "off-the-grid" like this, I'm even friends with some of them!, but you've got to remember: I was raised in the metro area of one of the 10 largest cities in America. The most off-the-grid I've ever lived is now, where I live off a gravel road and consider Marshalls THE shopping destination in town.

And now I'm gonna go live in a house (albeit a much bigger house), on a bunch of acreage, in the middle of nowhere? Does the garbage even run out there? What do we do, burn it like a bunch of rednecks? And if the well runs dry, do I send the kids down to the spring with buckets or just resort to drinking my own spit because just the idea of all that work wears me out??

I'm already envisioning signing the kids up for FFA so they each have an animal to raise and subsequently slaughter in order to feed the family and save on grocery store runs (I don't know, is that probably something they're gonna bring up to a therapist in 20 years?).

I have a 10 year plan that I won't divulge the details of here but suffice it to say that in about a decade, you should be looking for free-range, organic, non-GMO Appalachian-style moonshine in a discerning retailer near you.

I don't know, I mean I have journals from the 6th grade where I dreamt of living in a small cabin in the middle of Montana where I'd have to have supplies parachuted in so I never had to see anyone ever again. Maybe it's like that? Except of course that it doesn't account for the four humans I'm going to have to raise that hopefully won't aspire to the weirdo, Unabomber type existence I was apparently fashioning for myself during puberty.

I'll say this: the house is big enough. It's not fancy at all but legend has it the family that built it had almost three times as many children as we do so it has bedrooms and bathrooms galore. Bedrooms and bathrooms I'm going to have to child-labor my kids into cleaning but they're 3, 4, and 5, they can handle a toilet wand now, right?

Least you think I'm bragging about this fancy new house we're (potentially) buying, let me assure you that the word "fancy" belongs no where near the words "peel-and-stick tile" which is the primary flooring in this particular abode. They went big on space, small on finishes. But blue lament could make a comeback, right?

Anyway, half of the four humans I'm raising have the flu and I'm not far behind so I'll leave it at that. I'll probably be posting more on my adventures in home buying/selling later on but for now, if you have any words of encouragement, helpful advice, or tips on where to find the best long jean skirts, feel free to leave them here.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Life is Like a Pit Toilet

In the immortal words of Forest Gump, "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know whacha gonna get."

When we're talking parenting or motherhood specifically, we often hear how we're "in the trenches."

But there is definitely a stage of parenting where I say that life is like a pit toilet; you never know when you'll be surrounded by someone else's crap.

That was the case yesterday--regardless of the precautions I had taken (obsessively cleaning hands, keeping away from other sick children, feeding my brood a healthy, balanced diet) I still found myself knee-deep in the by-products of my children's excretory system.

It all started yesterday when I picked my eldest up from kindergarten. I had made plans to take her over to a girlfriend’s house so she could have a playdate with my friend's two little girls but then my friend texted saying her husband had the flu and we had to raincheck

No problem, I thought. As a consolation prize, I offered my daughter to trip to her favorite café while we waited for her younger siblings to get out of preschool. Although she was disappointed not so see her friends, she gamely agreed and even perked up when I offered the treat of a blueberry muffin and a lemonade.

It was while we were sitting at the café enjoying our snacks and drinks that her face suddenly screws up and she says "Mom, my stomach hurts."

Now, I'm no fool. I know there is a stomach bug going around but as I have said, I took precautions, so I ask her if maybe she just needs to go to the bathroom.

"Maybe." So, she goes to the bathroom. Twice. At this point a different girlfriend has joined us at the table and suggests peppermint tea.

Perfect. I knew she would love the treat of a "grown-up" drink. I order her a medium tea and get two cups so that I can cool some off for her and just drink the rest.

Wrong. She whined about the tea until it was time to leave, which I deemed was right after the started coughing--you know the couch--the "My throat knows I'm about to vomit before I do" cough.

So, I said goodbye to my friend and loaded up my daughter and went to get her siblings.

We walk into the school, hand in hand. My daughter has finally taken a sip of the peppermint tea and declared her stomach all better so it is with a light heart that I enter the preschool room to check out my boys.

While they are not in the room with the sign-out sheet, their stuff is and my light heart sinks when I see not one, not two, but three plastic grocery bags filled with soiled pants/underwear. (I should mention potty training isn't going super well over here.)

So, I trudge back down the hallway to get my boys. When I enter the room where they're playing they're sweet little faces light up and my train of thought shifts from that of a defeated, slightly sinister woman to mother-earth, embracing my sweet cherubs. As I hug their little bodies to me, I ask the teacher if we can just stick with pull-ups until my boys are more interested in potty training. I'm told that it is truly easier for the teachers to deal with soiled underwear than a pull-up. I nod and the teacher is truly sympathetic and because she is a saint (like I'm convinced all preschool teachers are) she apologizes to me because my boys aren't potty training. Because it's totally her fault and not at all their stubborn, gross, boyness. I assure her it's not her fault and start herding my brood out the door. That's when I see a huge wet stain on the back of one son's jeans.

Peed-on dirty laundry: 4
Robbin: 0

After I get my other daughter from her classroom (much to her displeasure) and I've corralled everyone from their mad dash in and around the parking lot, we head home.

As soon as I get home I changed both boys and put the back in pull-ups.

I switch over the (what I had thought was last) load of laundry that is already in the machine and start a new load with my son's pants and underwear.

I get the laundry turned over and my eldest daughter is curled in a ball on the couch.

"Mom, can I just go to bed now?"

"Sure, Kiddo. Just change into your PJs and I'll tuck you in." I absently take a sip from the cup from the café.

"Mom, isn't that my cup?"

Oh. Shit.

"Yup. Sorry Kiddo. I didn't realize you'd brought in your cup too." 

"It's okay, Momma."

While she is back in her bedroom presumably getting dressed for bed, I ask my husband if he wouldn't rather just order a pizza since we're having a realtor tour tomorrow and we just payed the house cleaner today.

"Don't you have something planned?" I close my eyes so he doesn't seem them roll to the top of my head and just nod. "OK, sure. I'll just make everyone dinner too. Please don't get up from reading your phone, I got it." Passive aggression, making marriages stronger since Adam and Eve.

I call everyone to the table after dinner is ready and once the 3 littles are settled, I go to check on y big girl. I find her naked, curled in a ball on the floor in her room. It is definitely her stomach but also her flair for the dramatic that has left her in this position so once I assure her that I will get her a vomit bowl for her bedside and help her get dressed, I finally get her tucked in.

The rest of the evening passes uneventfully and we actually get everyone to bed by 7:30 (I was in bed at 7:35--don't judge).

At 7:40 one of my sons walks into our room saying he has to go potty. One of my sons who peed his pants twice at school and refuses to potty train in general has come into our room saying he now has to go potty

Because of course.

I let his father handle it and try to go to sleep--at this point my stomach has started hurting and I'm trying to sleep and ignore it.

8:30 my husband and I are still kind of chatting when we hear it: the cough.

We jump out of bed and run to our daughters' room. She appears to be sleeping peacefully and we are confused until the smell creeps up. I roll her over and there is a mound of puke underneath her sleeping body. Apparently, she also planned to go to go to sleep and ignore her stomach.

We wake her up and my husband gets her in the shower while I clean her mattress and change her sheets after laying down several towels between the sheet and mattress top. Luckily, the boys soiled clothes have finished cleaning and I can move laundry again to start the vomit sheets. I add the clothes from the dryer to the basket in my room, all the time thinking I'll have to either fold or hid the laundry before the realtor tour of our home tomorrow.

Its 9:15 and I'm almost asleep when the husband and I hear it again. We hop out of bed together and this time swap rolls while we cleanup the second round of puke.

The bedding from round one isn't clear yet so we put this load of vomit soaked bedding in the hallway by the laundry area.

This pattern happens at least three more times that I can remember (except my husband has fallen asleep so it's all up to me and my cramping stomach to clean the mess). I'm not sure what time I finally get to sleep--I do know that its late enough for at least one more load of laundry to be cycled through the washer and this morning when they boys woke me, I went into their bathroom and saw towels on the floor and a wet rag in the sink. I have a vague impression of the rag but I honestly don't remember touching the towels. Did I lay those out last night? Did my daughter?

I decide to grab my computer and write about this since I won't be going back to sleep and my stomach is still cramping (unfortunately my kids didn't inherit my steel-trap of an excretory system or this post would never have been written).

Just now, as I'm typing my youngest daughter walks into the living room to watch Sprout with her brothers. She comes and tries to snuggle me even though I'm surrounded by toddler boy on both sides.

"Babe, lets snuggle in just a minute, okay?"

"Okay…. Mom, my stomach hurts."


Monday, June 13, 2016

Break My Heart For What Breaks Yours

“Jesus, break my heart for what breaks Yours.”

The lyrics to that song ran across my mind as I was on the treadmill this morning. I was running and watching the TV on silent with my 80’s Pop for Runners soundtrack playing in the background and on the TV images of the Orlando massacre kept filtering across the screen. Reels across the bottom of the news program ran numbers of injured and dead while scenes of people hugging, crying, bleeding all over the street played.

And my heart broke.

My heart broke because of the people whose lives were cut too short in a senseless act of terroristic violence. My heart broke for the friends and families who would never get to share a meal or a laugh with the loved ones they lost early Sunday morning,

And then my heart swelled and I cried sweet tears when I saw the long lines of strangers waiting to donate blood to the victims. I was moved when I saw the montage of the signs of solidarity posted across the nation, all in support of the victims and those affected by the mass shooting early Sunday.

As the scenes of solidarity and support were showing, there was a sign on which someone had written, “Love conquers hate.”

And it hit me.

Love conquers all. Love rules, it wins. It vanquishes hate, prejudice, fear. When we love someone properly, without reservation and as equals, there is no room for any of those things.

Love covers a multitude of sins. Love suffocates sin, it washes over sin in a tidal wave that drowns sin so that all that is left is the beautiful calm of love.

So stop the hate.

Stop the fear.

Stop the disgust.

Because honestly, I think loving someone is a lot less disgusting than complaining about needing more stuff while I sit in my 3,000 sq. foot, air-conditioned home.

What’s disgusting is throwing out pounds of food because we’re full or simply don’t want to bother cleaning the Tupperware we’d store the food in.

What’s disgusting is screaming at my kids to “go away for five seconds!” because they’re wanting my attention, but I’m wanting to finish a blog.

Loving someone seems a lot less disgusting to me than any number of things I do on a daily basis.

Yes, I am a Christian and I believe the Bible is the ultimate Word of God and I do not deny that it says that homosexuality is a sin, and honestly I can’t explain it. But, thank you Jesus, that is not my job. God does not need me to explain for Him why someone’s being gay is a sin any more than he needs me to explain why some loving couples are barren while abusive drug-addicts are able to have kids left and right. God didn’t command me to go out and explain His ways and reasons to others (even if I were privy to them, which I’m not). I was commanded to make disciples of all nations and the instructions He gave me to accomplish that was simple: Love others.

Love them like I love myself. And while there are some sins of my past that haunt me from time to time, I do not look at myself as a dirty sinner. I have been saved by Grace and know that but for the grace of God, so go I. And so I will love you like I love myself: imperfectly but with the knowledge that you are a beloved child of God.

So I will love you. I will love him. And her. And them. Because that was what I was commanded to do. That is what He has shown me and that is what He has asked me to do for others.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Trans Bathroom

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

That sentence is found in the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence. While it is not the law of the land like the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence espoused the beliefs that set the foundation for our country.

When the document was written in 1776, the phrase “all men” was a little misleading because of the fact that slavery was alive and well in the newly-formed country. Fortunately, in the 240 years since the words were written, we have established a more holistic view of that certain phrase which we have adopted to mean “all people.”

It is in that spirit that slavery was abolished, women got the right to vote, homosexuals got the right to marry, and now, yes, transgender people get to use the bathroom they gender-identify with.
Now, I think our government has gone amok and is legislating things the founding fathers never imagined they would. For example, I don’t think the federal government has any place in my marriage or my healthcare or who I leave my vast fortune to when I die (pah!), but just because I think the government should butt-out doesn’t mean they’re going to, and the latest place the government has decided to interfere is where I go pee.  

Look, I am not gender-expert and as straight, middle-class, white chick, I own the fact that I am pretty clueless about the subject, but my shallow understanding and view on the topic this: gender is a social construct. It is not about having a penis or vagina but how you express yourself. Society tells us that dresses and make-up are “feminine” while chewing tobacco with a buzz-cut is “masculine” (for example) and my experience is that gender a fluid thing. I love going to the spa or getting my hair done but I also love drinking cheap beer out of a camo coozie and watching football on a Saturday afternoon. The idea of hunting holds no appeal to me but I love to shoot a gun. I refused to wear pants until the 4th grade and now I basically live in jeans and a t-shirt. I love being handy and almost resent my husband when he gets to build the kitchen cabinets while I get stuck painting them (but to be fair, I’m not exactly a “detail” person).

I get that those example are very simplistic and I’m not trying to insult anyone with a better knowledge of what it is to be transgender, this is just my narrow understanding and how I’ve been thinking about the issue since the whole North Carolina bathroom-thing happened.
Suffice it to say some of us identify more strongly with what society has told us are “feminine” things while others identify as more “masculine” and the majority of the time, biology and our interests or desires align. Sometimes, they don’t.

Again, this isn’t a well-researched, scientific dissertation on gender identity or even a holistic view of my personal opinions, but I felt like I wasn’t reading a lot of articles that represented my feelings on the issue, so I figured I’d put it out there. For better or worse…probably worse. Thanks, internets.

I am a conservative, Christian, mom-of-four. Because of my conservative values, I think our government has over-stepped its boundaries time and again and I believe this ludicrous directive from the Obama administration is just one more thing. To be honest, I have never noticed if I was in the bathroom with a transgender person before, and I’ve used many a unisex bathroom in the past, so the only thing that bothers me about the transgender bathroom thing is that it has become a thing at all. I’ve heard 1000x more accounts of people policing bathrooms and being in the “wrong” bathroom since the North Carolina thing happened than ever before and it is idiotic. It is impossible for me over-state how I believe our first misstep as a society was to allow the government so much leeway into our private lives.

As a mom, I can tell you that if I am in the bathroom with one or any of my kids, and a person peeps under the stall while my kid is doing his or her business, I will swiftly kick that person in his or her teeth and call the police. I don’t care if it’s a man dressed as a woman, a woman dressed as a man, man dressed as a man or woman in a banana costume, if you’re abusing my kid, I will f*ing murder you. Period.

If I’m not in the bathroom with them (they will be in school eventually) then I exercise my right to send my kid to a school with whose policy I agree…or, send them to public school, whose Title IX compliance has been protecting the rights of kids since 1972. Schools have had to make accommodations for kids for a long time, and this includes transgender kids.  It’s not like Joe Senior is going to come to school in a dress one day and declare he is transgender so the principal will let him in the locker room to prey on Freshmen girls; there is a difference between someone who truly feels like they were born in the wrong body and someone who decided he or she wants to have a little peep show in the school bathroom, and hopefully the people whom you trust to educate your kids are smart enough to know the difference.

Transgender people are not pedophiles or rapists, pedophiles and rapists are pedophiles and rapists and they are not a protected class.

I’ve expressed my beliefs as a conservative and a mom, so the last thing I’ll say is that why I understand the fear that comes from what you don’t understand, I’d say we Christians are time and again picking the wrong battle. I don’t dismiss the concerns of my fellow Christians that this is just one more step down our society’s path toward a moral-less culture, but to them I would respectfully say, look around you: we have middle schoolers trading sex for Adderall; every other show on television shows people having sex and glorifying promiscuity; drugs are rampant in our society.
I don’t think we’re headed to a moral-less society, I’d say we’re pretty much there.
Which is why I think it is so important to choose our battles wisely. Every day I pray that my kids are safe, healthy, and happy and using the same bathroom as a transgender person does not put that in jeopardy, but there are a lot of other things that do.

How am I supposed to teach my kids that promiscuity is dangerous and that their bodies are sacred and the giving of them should only happen in the presence of true, abiding love when the sex-lives and naked bodies of celebrities are splashed across the cover of every magazine in the grocery store. How am I supposed to tell them that drugs are dangerous and can harm them and directly impact their brain-development if doctors are over-prescribing medication and our state government says pot is okay? How do I teach them that money is the root of all evil when our whole way of life is centered on the making and spending of it?

All I can do is to teach them what I know—from my own experiences and from the Word of God. And what I know is that we are called to love one another. To personally fight the good fight of faith. Jesus always stood firm on His convictions but never put Himself above others. His desires, His beliefs, He never imposed them on anyone. He clung to the Word of God and lead by example.

For me, when I’m standing at the pearly gates, I’d much rather tell Saint Peter that I complacently peed next to a transgender woman than sat idly by while my brothers and sisters in Christ were being persecuted and murdered ½ a world away.

We live in a messed-up society, and our privilege has blinded us to the real issues in this world—and I include myself in that. I get overwhelmed thinking about what I could possibly do to help Syrian refugees or people persecuted by ISIS, so most of the time I simply ignore those injustices. And that is completely wrong and cowardly. Every day, men and women are being tortured, beaten, starved, raped, and persecuted; in our own country, we have such a vast wealth disparity that there are people who own multiple planes and homes across the globe while toddlers are chained up and starved to death…but the thing we cause a fuss over is where someone goes to pee?

I’m not saying we can fix everything, but I just think that if we gave a damn about the stuff that actually mattered, then we wouldn’t have time to get all worked-up about where someone goes to the bathroom and the government would have to focus it’s time and energy on those things that are actually important instead of policing restrooms. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Lesser of Two Evils

Man, I have written like 7 pages trying to put all of these feels down into one blog.

And before I start I just want to say that I don't make a habit of socializing with ignorant a*holes so no matter which side of the political spectrum you fall on, I 100% respect your right to your vote. I am not judging you--that's not my job and with 4 kids running around, aintnobodygottimefordat anyway.

I am really just writing this to try and process my own feelings so I can figure out how and if I am going to vote.

You have been warned.

I HATE that Donald Trump is the Republican nominee.
I HATE that for the first time since I was able to vote, I am considering leaving my vote for President blank.
I HATE that whoever will be the only alternative to Donald Trump is so ideologically different from me.

I hate all of this because I am not ignorant to the fact that men and women died to give and protect my right to vote.

I don't take that for granted.

But what am I going to do?

I am fiscally conservative. I believe in free enterprise. While I am personally socially conservative, I honestly think a lot of those issues should be taken up at the local levels and not slugged out in the Federal government.

If I had to label myself, I'd say I fit pretty squarely in the Libertarian slot, but with the corrupt two-party system we have, there won't be a registered Libertarian on the ballet for a while yet, so usually I vote Republican.

But not this year. While I can't bring myself to vote for a person whose ideological beliefs are so vastly different from my own, neither can I vote for someone who clams to be the banner carrier for socially and politically conservative people, all the while epitomizing a bigoted, ignorant, lying ego-maniac.

To my Christian friends who would tell me that Trump is the lesser of two evils, I would point out that this man has told the world that he is a Christian that does not need God's forgiveness. He is a "Christian" who shows his love for his fellow man by insulting them and bullying them and lying to them, all without remorse--his hateful vitriol does not allow any room for that kind of self-reflection. And while we know that that isn't what a Christian is, how do we explain voting for him to someone who doesn't? I mean, one of the biggest gripes non-Christians have is with the hypocrisy they see in our lives...is this not making sense to anyone else??

The answer is that we can't explain it. It can't be justified.

If we say we love God, if we truly seek to put Him first, how on earth are we going to elect a man like that to the highest office in the country?!

And look, there are a number of reasons I can't support a Democratic nominee either, but it won't be because the very idea of that person makes my stomach turn.

I get it, fellow conservatives--if we don't put someone in there, it'll be 8 more years of the same, and that sounds terrible. But I don't know that it is any greater evil than explaining to my children why I voted to put a man who made a mockery of my faith--who claims to be a Christian who doesn't need Jesus--into the most powerful position in the country.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Good Friday

I've been waxing slightly philosophical today, whether it's from this migraine I've been sporting the last 4 days or the fact that the girls were in preschool, my headspace was such that I found myself, for the first time in my adult life, really contemplating Good Friday.

Why isn't Good Friday a bigger deal for us Christians? We celebrate Jesus's birth with cards and gifts and a whole freaking season's load of festivities--what do we do to recognize His death, the catalyst to our salvation?

Maybe Lent if you're a Catholic or a weirdo Protestant like me.

There’s a lot of hype about the Easter Bunny and eggs and hordes of chocolate on Sunday to celebrate His resurrection, but what about his actual death?

Now, I'm not saying we should put on our party hats and bust out the confetti to celebrate that the Redeemer of our souls was gruesomely tortured and murdered, but I feel like it should be a bigger deal.

I think that we get comfortable with our traditions though. Its comfortable whipping out the manger scenes and chopping down a tree the Friday after Thanksgiving, it’s nice to go Christmas shopping and wrap gifts and it's really fun dressing our kids in gaudy Easter outfits to go play in the yard and search for eggs. All of that is fun and good and there ain't nothing wrong it...except it’s just comfortable.

But death? Brutality and torture and ugliness? That's not something that’s comfortable to remember, so I think that's why we as a society must gloss over it.

But if we believe that Christmas is worth celebrating as the birth of our Savior and that Easter is worth celebrating because of His resurrection, then we shouldn't ignore the importance of Good Friday.

And that speaks to a larger problem with us Christ-followers today, especially us American Christians: we are comfortable.

We lead a pretty cushy life, even the ones struggling (and God knows there are many of us) have it a lot better than our brothers and sisters in other places across the globe.

And our unconscious addiction to comfort means that generally we don't like to talk about messy or difficult things. 

It's why we gloss over the bloody, excruciatingly painful death of Jesus and jump straight to the bunny rabbits, and I honestly think it’s why so many non-Christians have a problem with us.

I think it could be where this idea of Christians being hypocritical comes from.  We'll stand at the pulpit all day talking about your sin or her sin or his sin, but conveniently neglect to speak of our own. Its uncomfortable telling people our flaws--we want to be liked!

But if you are worrying about people liking you, then you have already lost the point of your faith.

We are called to cast off the desires of this world and follow Christ, not try and conform to the expectations of our world hoping it'll get people to like us.

How normal was it for Jesus to wash the feet of His followers? Or to befriend a prostitute? Or choose a tax collector as one of the ones who would spread His message?

No, if Jesus had decided he'd rather be comfortable and liked, he would have been regurgitating everything the Pharisees were saying but trying to tint His message so that people would hopefully catch on that He was the Son of God. 

He might have lived a long, happy life as the nice carpenter next-door if it weren't for the uncomfortable truth that He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

So Christians, can we try to resolve to stop embracing the comfortable. Let's talk about the mess we have.

When I taught, I'd call it having a "heavy, deep, and real" conversation with my kids. Because once you are able to share your flaws and share your sins and all of the uncomfortable messiness of your life with others, the more clearly they see your need for Jesus. 

If we're all so perfect, why did He have to die?

Let's be honest about our messiness, let’s not forget the ugliness, and let’s make ourselves uncomfortable because it is in the truth that Jesus is able to work in us.

Anyway...that’s a roundabout way of saying we need to remember what today really is. What really happened and why it happened and we need humble ourselves and to shout hallelujahs and thank yous since He took that burden from us.