The Perfect People Are Liars

ImageI would love to be one of those moms that was able to post beautiful pictures of my perfect children having a happy and harmonious day.  Exactly how does that work in other homes?  It seems that everyone on every social media outlet have this perfection … every single day.  The picture above is one of two pictures I’ve ever taken of all three of my beans somewhat looking into the camera.  It was a glorious day because there is one other photo that was also acceptable.  It has been blown up and printed.  It now hangs in several rooms in our home with the idea that there will never be another that comes even close to “print worthy.”  These photos were taken eight years ago.  Although I try and try again to get them all in one good and happy photo … it fails almost every time.  You would believe (as I have fooled myself to believe) that as they get older, this process would get easier.  This is nonsense.  As they get older they can fight more about the picture taking process.  I have great pictures of the girls by themselves and with one other sibling but trying to get all three of them together in one photo (all smiling and looking happy) is something I’ve considered impossible.

There were two other acceptable photos.  One from last summer and one from Christmas two years ago.  I cherish these pictures because they are so rare.  Then I see pictures of other family sibling groups on social media.  Their day is filled with sunshine and perfection everyday.  They post pictures of their angels smiling into the camera and doing cute things that only perfect children who are part of perfect families can do.

My pictures consist of silly kids making crazy faces doing awkward dances for the camera.  The chaos is evident even in the photos.  There are dogs walking by, an article of clothing in the background, a dish that did not get taken to the sink … you get the picture?  If not, here are typical examples.

The crazy kid dancing the silly dance with wacky clothes and makeup (note the blue Wegman’s bag on the floor) …Image

The girls decided to put on Dad’s shirt and disassemble their old My Size Barbie’s arms and legs for use as their as their arms (random shoes and water bottle on floor) …


And we can’t forget Wacky Wednesday from school spirit week …

ImageAs I look at these pictures, I think that we are a completely normal family and all those other people are liars.  Their life can’t possibly be THAT perfect.  For me to get the angelic pictures like the ones that others post, I would have to bribe and scream for hours pay someone else to have their children pose for my family pictures.

I’m so thankful for all these crazy fun memories.  We do live in a certain sense of chaos but it’s a happy chaos.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Not even like the perfect people.  It’s just not worth it to lie.



Note to Self: Never EVER buy SELF

So I really don’t buy many women’s magazines.  I don’t have a subscription to SELF and I can’t see myself ever having one.  If there ever came a time where I might have wavered on this … well, I won’t ever subscribe to, buy a copy of, pick up a copy off a waiting room table, or even look at a copy of SELF magazine again.

I am compassionate toward people and their battle with cancer having been a radiation therapist for the last two years.  I read about Monika Allen and what SELF did to her here.  Here’s a quick rundown of what happened.  Monika Allen was a cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy for a brain tumor.  She ran a marathon in a tutu.  A picture was snapped by a SELF magazine photographer and she was asked her permission to use it.  End of story.  Well, not really.  When it was posted almost a year later, the magazine made fun of her tutu wearing antics, and I quote, “A racing tutu epidemic has struck NYC’s Central Park, and it’s all because people think these froufrou make you run faster.  Now, if you told us they make people run away from you faster, maybe we would believe it.”  Should a women’s magazine that claims to promotes a woman’s physical fitness and SELF confidence be BULLYING a woman, or anyone for that matter, based on their wardrobe worn while running a marathon? 

Although I have no idea how Monika did what she did physically while undergoing cancer treatment, that’s not the issue at hand.  I actually am impressed with the fact that anyone can run a marathon.  I consider it an amazing feat to be able to overcome intense physical pain and exhaustion in the way that any marathon runner must.  I wouldn’t know because I can’t do it …yet, I may use this as inspiration to start running again.  I hope to one day at least huff my way through a 5KThe fact that a woman’s fitness magazine would make fun of any woman running a marathon for any reason is repulsive to me.

To be somewhat fair, SELF Magazine is running a self-serving interview/apology with Monika Allen.  It’s the least they could do after bullying someone from their own target market.  DUMB and INSENSITIVE.

So if you want to support Monika and her cause, Glam Runner is the place to go!  You see, those tutu’s she wears?  Her company makes and sells them.  The proceeds go toward charities that support cancer victims and cancer research.  Wow SELF Magazine, really?

And Monika, you are a hero to not only victims of cancer, but to all women.  You go on being that Brain Cancer Warrior!  An inspiration, a hero, a role model and a warrior is what you are!

Fred Phelps is NOT Dead and Other Thoughts on World Vision


I am a woman.  I am a woman in seminary.  If you believe that these are two strikes rather than two strengths, we might not agree on some things.

The World Vision debate.  Why is this such a mess?  First let me say why it’s not a mess.  It is NOT a mess because some people have more conservative beliefs concerning LGBT rights within a Christian organization.  It is NOT a mess because some progressive or liberal Christians support LGBT rights.  It is NOT even a mess because World Vision supported certain LGBT rights and then unsupported those same rights.  This is what religious freedom is all about.  We get to believe what we want to believe on certain issues.  It just happens to be the issue of homosexuality under the spotlight for our generation.  Now back to the real mess.

The hate that was spewed was the equivalent of any Westboro Baptist funeral protest.  Some of the hateful words I’ve read “in the name of Jesus” broke my heart. I don’t want any of these “hate-scripture-hate” spewing people to ever represent me as a Christian.  Scripture should never be wrapped in hatred.  I know not everyone is going to agree with me.  It might even be that only a very few people agree with me.  The hatred started and the “love your neighbor” concept was thrown out the window.  And then there were the “I love the sinner, I just hate the sin” people.  It annoys me that I even have to type it on this computer.  Every time I hear it, I let out a blood curdling scream on the inside.  Sometimes I even let people who say it know what I really think.  So now you have the reasoning for the title of this post.  Fred Phelps is NOT dead.  His legacy of hatred toward our homosexual brothers and sisters will live on as long as we wrap scripture with hatred.

Hate spewing turned to sponsor pulling.  What about the children?

More of us on the “liberal” side of Christianity rejoiced.  It was a step forward for the LGBT community.  What about the children?

More hate.  More sponsor pulling.  What about the children?

For conservatives it became more about the homosexual sinner than about the children.  For liberals it became more about LGBT rights than it did about the children.

I agreed with World Vision’s first decision.  I support my LGBT friends.  I’m not one to quantify sin.  I have enough of my own to account for, so I don’t have time to worry about every other person’s sin. Where’s that doughnut I just had in my hand?

I also agree with the reversal.  It breaks my heart, but I agree with it.  Why?  Because it’s about the children.  The lost sponsorship was destroying everything that the organization had built.  Some call it pandering to the conservative right.  Yes, but no.  In my heart of hearts I believe that World Vision executives hate that they had to reverse that monumental decision.  They did what they had to do to make sure that their organization would be able to fulfill their mission.  They remembered the children.

If you dropped a sponsorship on a child please, please, please renew that sponsorship now.  World Vision did what you wanted.  It’s about the children.  If you have sponsored a child because of the first decision and are angry about the reversal, I get it, but please don’t punish the child.  World Vision is a good organization in which to send your donations.

Please don’t spew hatred in the comments, I won’t post it.  Don’t make it a scripture battle.  For every homosexuality-is-a-sin verse you have, I’m sure I can come up with a feed-and-take-care-of-the-orphans or a get-the-plank-out-of-your-eye verse.  I refuse to do a scripture battle.

Winter Refuses to Leave


I am officially ready for the end of winter in Upstate, New York.  I have been ready for this since the first of many “polar vortex” patterns.  My porch needs to be painted and my husband needs to take down the Christmas lights that didn’t work after about 3 nights of being lit.  Everything finally melted yesterday.  It was a sloppy mud pit walking from the house to car.  Robins were chirping.  Spring was in the air.  Now today schools for hundreds of miles around us are closed and neighbors are shoveling.  I usually wait for the snow to stop before I shovel but it’s not supposed to stop until we have 14-18 inches.  Days like today can only be declared pajama days in our house.

It will be over soon.  In like a lion, out like a lamb.  The birds will chirp again.  The snow will melt.  The mud will suck our shoes off our feet.  Many will soon be complaining about the heat.  Another season passes by.


“That all thing…

“That all things are possible to him who believes, that they are less difficult to him who hopes, they are more easy to him who loves, and still more easy to him who perseveres in the practice of these three virtues.”

Brother Lawrence quote from The Practice of the Presence of God

What’s Number One on Your TO DO LIST?


I am absolutely bogged down with so many things to do that I started making lists.  I AM NOT a list maker.  I have decided to juggle so many balls in the air at this point that I feel the unnatural-for-me need to organize.  I have a To Do list with six areas listed in order of “needs to be completed immediately” to “this is last because the actual project will not be done for several years.”

I find that To Do lists are very helpful.  They are a reminder and keep me focused on the important tasks.  If I become unfocused then I tend to get absolutely nothing done.  I am the type that tackles all of the quick and easy tasks on the list first.  This gives me the immediate sense of accomplishment that keeps me chugging along through the rest of the tasks at hand.

I have recently become very unfocused and believe that is due to one unaccomplished task on my list.  I was faithful for several years in setting aside time daily for scripture and meditation.  I now read hundreds of pages of the Bible, commentaries and surveys weekly for my academic program in seminary.  I at first believed that this would be the same but lo and behold, it is not.  It is purely academic not spiritual. 

Spiritual renewal daily can be the defining factor between focused and unfocused.  I not only have to study theology but I must invite God to speak into my life everyday.  I must pray about doing what is right for the community of people around me.  I must seek guidance in my actions.  

” The Lord is just in all his ways, and kind in all his doings.  The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.  He fulfills the desire of all who fear him; he also hears their cry, and saves them” (Psalms 145:17-19).

The Ten Commandments with a Positive Spin

Thinking of the Decalogue, or Ten Commandments, put forth by God in Exodus 20, with positive wording is enlightening as well as refreshing. If “rewritten” positively, the Ten Commandments might appear as such: 

1) Worship Me and only Me
2) I AM, all that you need to worship
3) Speak of my Name in reverent and loving ways
4) Rest for everyone and all creatures all day every seventh day
5) Honor your father and mother
6) You will promote life in all that you do in every situation
7) You will be faithful to your spouse
8) You will give all that you are able
9) You will always tell the truth in everything you do
10) You will be content with all that you have regardless of how much anyone else has.

This list not only represents what may be considered a positive spin on the list of the Ten Commandments, but it is also a list of the characteristics searched for in a potential spouse, family, teachers, friends, spiritual leaders and anyone in which a considerable amount of time is spent.  Commandment 8, you will always give and commandment 10, you will be content with all you have are the 2 commandments I would like to discuss.

Do ALL that you can and give ALL that you can. This theory is that if everyone gives all that they can and does all that they are capable, the world would be a different place. Turning the commandment “do not steal” into a commandment of “give all that you can” speaks volumes. Paul writes about this very positive nature of the eighth commandment, “Thieves must give up stealing … work honestly … so as to have something to share with the needy” (Eph. 4:28). Giving to people in society who cannot support themselves is a repetitive command throughout the Bible. “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God … to care for orphans and widows in their distress” (James 1:27) is a description of this giving nature that God loves. Giving of oneself is not always defined as a monetary measurement.  Some things that can be given in place of money are time, advice, help, knowledge and friendship. These are just a few of the many things that can be given with a missional attitude.

As for the tenth commandment, the idea of turning “you shall not covet your neighbor’s house” (Exod. 20:17) into “be content with all you have regardless of what anyone else has” turns an anxious situation into a peaceful scenario. It is so easy to fall prey to the American expression of keeping up with the Joneses.  Someone may think, I see it, I like it and I want it too. If I do not get it then others are somehow superior to me within the culture that we live.  These are thoughts that may cause uneasiness within the realm of discontentment with possessions. If someone is content with all they have, how could they possibly want more? It is written, “there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment … but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these” (1 Tim. 6:6-8). With discontentment there also comes unnecessary cultural pressure to be superior. Wanting something that is not already owned, if there is not the means to acquire the particular desired item, may cause undue anxiety. Being content with everything that is currently under stewardship gives a sense of calmness and tranquility and keeps the godly person from sin. It is commanded by Paul to “keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have” (Heb. 13:5). With contentment comes peace.

It is amazing that the Ten Commandments are relevant in today’s American society just as much as they were in the ancient Israelite society.  Although the people of today’s American society may not treat the Decalogue with the same reverence as the ancient Israelites, it does not take away from the fact that these commandments have shaped the fabric of our culture, legal system and social morays. They have been passed down through the ages in these areas of every society and culture. Giving to the oppressed and being content with a simpler lifestyle, are just a couple of many trending topics in religion, politics and among social justice advocates.  It makes sense to put the positive spin on them from a theological point of view so that society is capable of appreciating the forgiving love and mercy of the sovereign God who wrote the laws.