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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Paula Dean WWJD

I posted a comment on my Facebook page that went like this.......

In less than 24 hours more than 50 people had made comments or likes. And the opinions were purely divided.

Now, when I posted the comment, my heart was thinking this .......

Wow, it must be really tough to be in the public eye where comments you make years and years ago follow you and can even have the power to destroy you.  That's a lot of pressure.  I can't even remember some of the things I said or who I said them about or who I said them to or even what my strong opinions or beliefs were back then.

 My heart hurt for her under that kind of scrutiny.

I wasn't thinking about my opinions on race, religion, politics, gray hair or butter.  But I understand the passion in some of the comments.

My friends that have adopted an African American boy that they are loving and raising with every amount of love in their hearts.  I understand that they never ever ever want their beautiful boy to feel the sting of racism.  They are protecting their son. I understand their passion.

Another comment that 27 years ago I was just a child at 20 but Paula is 66 and 27 years ago she was almost 40 years old and should know better.  A fact I hadn't considered.

Another saying these comments weren't 27 years ago but that had been the media spin.  More info I hadn't bothered to gather.

I love my Facebook friends because they are the most diverse group of people you can imagine.  They are every shape, size, color, political view, full religious spectrum, US and International crowd around.  I love them and their crazy differences.  I appreciate the unique perspectives that this crowd brings to me.  I learn from them because they see almost everything differently.

But just as I was appreciating the differences, I felt their surge of anger and judgement and the comment about white Christian views stung a little because, uh, well, I am one.  And the idea of lumping all of us white Christians together seemed just as hurtful.  There are some bad Christians out there, there are bad African Americans out there, there are bad Chinese acrobats out there, there are bad middle aged Italians, there are bad Polish atheist out there, there are bad right winged chicken farmers and bad left winged brick layers.  And there are just as many good ones too. Each and every one of them is a race.  The human race.  And every single one of them sins and stumbles and does things that no one would want the newspapers to pick up and run even if it was the last page, let alone the front page.

But what really got me was we are so easily divided.   Our country is more politically divided than I can remember in my 47 years.  The conversations of race still plague us today.  Women like Sheryl Sandberg are still writing books about women's rights in 2012.  We so easily divide. We pick our side ready to fight it out like the Crips and the Bloods in the streets.

It makes me wonder..... WWJD.  No really, what would Jesus do?  Now I'm no Biblical Scholar, I'm grateful for a Bible app so I can easily search and not be embarrassed that I still get my New Testament and Old Testament books mixed up, but one thing I do know is, Jesus didn't hang out with the "in" crowd in the safe places.  He hung with the beggars and the prostitutes on the street.  Doling out compassion like candy from a parade float.

No, I don't think he would have condoned racist behavior from anyone, but I'd like to think his interaction with Paula might go something like this....

"Oh Paula, my daughter, thank you for these delicious muffins and the side of bacon.  You sure have used the gifts I've given you well.  You've touched the lives of many and for that I am proud of you.  But honey, we need to talk, things have turned dark now haven't they?"  As Paula lets tears stream from her beautiful blue eyes and lays her head on Jesus' shoulder and sobs.  She sobs because she feels His compassion and she feels her regret.  The regret of any racist past and the regret that fame and fortune had become a burden to bear and she cries because she is completely overwhelmed and maybe embarrassed and ashamed.  

And through that compassion she sees no need to defend or deny or lie.  She just wants to be better and do better and rise up to meet the kind of pure love that has been bestowed upon her. 

And then I see Jesus saying, "You know dear Paula, we are all one race and one people under one God and you must do better. You must extend the grace and compassion I have shown you today, but first let me listen, let me hear you, let me take your burden." 
 Because really none of us know the truth but Paula and God.  And I have some healthy skepticism that says most of those companies aren't dropping her because of their strong values.  They're dropping her because they're afraid that you'll stop buying their stuff.

I have felt the sting of hurtful comments to my writing and to my speaking.  Some times my intentions were misunderstood but sometimes I was attacked simply for having a different opinion.

I'm not voting for or against Paula Dean and her choices. I honestly don't know enough to have a vote.  I'm just noticing that we have enough that divides us.  We are divided in our churches, in Washington DC, in our homes, on our Facebook feed and our Twitter stream.  Let's really buck the system. Let's do it with love and compassion and grace.    I know we'd learn so much.

I wish my Caucasian friends with their beautiful African American boy could sit down and break bread with Paula and say, "Paula, please help us understand.  We've been so hurt by what we've read and we want to understand." I  know these people would take that meeting and handle it with grace. And then to have Paula feel safe to hear them and to feel their hearts without the fear of media or marketshare.  Now that's a special news report I'd actually tune in to.

That's actually what Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick Fil A, did with Shane Windmeyer, Executive Director of Campus Pride LGBT leader during the anti gay bandwagon the media happily stirred up a few years ago.
 Me: My Coming Out as a Friend of Dan Cathy and Chick-fil-A

 Sadly, the media wasn't clambering to tell the follow up story.  I hope you'll take the time to read it in the link above.  It's an article by Shane about his experience with Dan Cathy.  And for the record, Dan is a white Christian guy.  Thankfully there are some good ones out there.

The good stuff doesn't get much news coverage.  Have you noticed that?  So, before we jump on another bandwagon.  Just remember, a circus clown started that movement from a parade float.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

90 Perfect Minutes

Every few weeks my day starts out with 90 perfect minutes.  Today was one of those days.  It usually happens on a Saturday.  Not just any 'ole Saturday, even though Saturdays in and of themselves are pretty fabulous.  I'm talking about the Saturday with   no    plans.   Yes, the perfectly beautifully white canvas ready for you to create your own version of fabulousness. 

It starts early enough that I tip toe quietly out to the deck with my yoga mat, a device with my Bible app and some cool clear fresh water.  My deck looks over the lake that my husband built.  It still takes my breath away and we've lived here more than 5 years. 

It's summer but it's early and the air is crisp and the birds are so happy.  I feel that same giddy feeling I used to get on Christmas morning.  The anticipation of these moments fills me with joy.  Real joy. 

I can't describe it as quiet.  It's anything but that.  Birds and bugs and bees and hummingbirds.  It's a symphony really.  And for someone with a healthy dose of sarcasm for those trite descriptions of nature, seriously, it's like a symphony.  I feel like they let me hang out with them on these precious mornings.

I lay out my mat and go through whatever routine seems to fit the morning.  Sometimes begging the fat cat to get off of my mat.  He rolls around and begs for attention and purrs so loud I'm afraid he'll wake the others. 

I move and breathe, not with Olympic yoga aspirations, but with gratitude and joy and release.  All the while, the house is still dirty, the laundry still piled, the groceries still absent from the pantry.  And I am happy. 

I pull out my reading for the morning and let it steep into every fiber of my being.  Not just read it, I feel it. Then, the best part.  I am still.  I am quiet.  I am listening.  And in that quiet space, I am filled with a sense of strength and comfort and calm, so powerful, it sometimes takes my breath away.  And I am happy.  Truly happy.

Then I bring the rest of the world back in. I rub that fat cat's belly, tell him he needs more yoga.  I consider all of the options for the day.  Not that I'll do them all.  In fact, I smile knowing I can do absolutely nothing if that's what I choose.  I could clean, I could create, I could read, I could cook.  It's my canvas. 

Then slowly, one by one, the rest of the family rises from their slumber and the day gets more noisy and their expectations start to seep onto my canvas.   That's okay.  Because I've already had 90 perfect minutes. 


How do you spend your perfect moments?

Monday, June 24, 2013

I Miss the Old Days - When I Was Hungry and I Just Ate

I think it must have started shortly after the Y2K scare.  Eating was no longer just eating.  It was a therapy appointment and a science fair project.

It started with vanity.  Jeans that that rocked my butt, bikini ready, little black dress for Saturday night. 

Then it was less vanity more training.  Carb up for a long run, junk food weighs you down, be healthy, drink more water.

Now it's flat out fear.  I always thought reading and studying would help me be better.  Now I think reading and studying has made me a paranoid food schizo.  I evolved into this state.  In the spirit of full disclosure when my girl was a toddler and we would go through the pharmacy drive thru she would start screaming "fry fry" from her car seat.  It sometimes took miles for her to get over it.  Pavlov's dog wanted the treat after the bell!  The girl wanted fries out of that sack, not Amoxicillian!

But over the years, especially when learning to treat my son's ADHD, I started to pay more attention to food.  I didn't buy it completely at first.  Then I did some toxin cleansing myself and was shocked at the difference after an 11 day cleanse.  Shocked!  I had never felt better in my life.  I had my eyes completely opened. 

Now I'm wide eyed paranoid. 

Then this New York Times Article sealed the deal.  We've all been a part of their big scam. Read This:The Extraordinary Science of Junk Food

Yes ladies and gentleman, if you buy food from the grocery store then you are a pawn in their little game.  You are spoken of in terms like "share of stomach".  You are being duped.  Over and over and over again. 

Then I uncover another character in this scary movie, Frankenwheat. Yes, those are not your grandfather's Wheat Thins.  In fact, your attempt at health through whole grains might be making you fat and miserable.  Yep, hit my link above or google, Wheat Belly.  But wait until I'm done here or you'll be there for hours.

So maybe you'll just sit down and have a Diet Coke and let this all sink in.  Remember those jars of pig parts from the lab in science class?  You know the ones filled with formaldehyde?  Maybe just pour one of those over ice.  Yep, because those diet drinks and sugar substitutes are hurting you too.  That's here: Top 4 Most Dangerous Artificial Sweeteners

Now that we've all had a taste of their crack, they're counting on us coming back for more and more. Your health is last on the list of their concerns. L A S T. 

So now that I know.  I can't "un-know".  Which makes it really hard to go back to the carefree days of eating.  And it pisses me off.  Not only for me, but for the responsibility I have for my kids.  I want to teach them good health choices without being the psycho parent that won't allow any fun snacks.  You know what they do right?  They ask to stay over with their friends so they can stand in their friend's pantry dripping in Lucky Charms.

I think of people like my husband that loves to banter about politics and never wants to be controlled by "the system" I want to scream, screw the President, it's freaking Pillsbury you should be afraid of! 

Then there's the working mom convenience/inconvenience factor.  Buying fresh can't happen once a month, it happens three times a week.  And fresh isn't always fresh so organic cuts into my budget pretty deep.  I love to cook but not every freakin' night.  So I don't.  Then I cave to the drive thru once in awhile and not only am I weighed down by trans fats, my guilt makes me wretch. 

Every time someone in my house says, "what do we have to eat?" I curl up in the fetal position and scream, "Just eat an apple or a banana and leave me alone!"

Don't get me wrong, I'm still driven by vanity. Today I had the completely unreasonable thought, my friend invited me to go to the pool on Friday, I wonder if I can lose this gut in 4 days.

I just want to be 13 again when a trip to Burger Chef brought joy to me and to my parents. 


Image from GenXtinct

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Follow up to the Toe Post

You can't thank the Lord for cutting off a piece of your toe and not do a follow up post. So here it is.

I did learn that they make toe/finger bandages.  It's circular gauze with a tiny toe condom to fit over the gauze.  Who knew.

I also now have a couple of fears that I hope dissapate. One is using a knife.  I like to cook.  Never before has cutting up a nice piece of romaine or strawberries for short cake created so much anxiety.  I'm working through it.

I'm also protecting my toe like it's a newborn.  It's amazing how many day to day things want to bump you in the toe.  Dragging a garden hose, two Newfoundlands playing, carrying a lawn chair.  In the spirit of full disclosure, when my girl got too close to the toe crime scene wearing her roller blades and started to stumble I actually pushed her down.  Yep, she's now a middle child.  My toe is the new baby and she's going to have to get used to it.  (For the record, I apologized profusely to the girl.)

And the good Lord rewarded me today with a sermon just for me.  He reminded me to surrender, to give Him all of my worries and desperation and concerns.  So I did.  I even wanted to point at my bandaged toe during prayer and give Him a little wink.  But I was sitting by my good friend Amy and that seemed like too much to explain at the time.

So many things I was rewarded with today for my prayer of thanksgiving.  Seeing my friend Amy at church, seeing that Brene Brown will be speaking for our leadership summit in August, coming home   and setting up my great grandmother's wicker settee and letting myself snooze a bit.  Relaxed.  I gave it all to God so I can actually rest and enjoy this Sabbath Day. 

Life might actually be better with a little less toe.  Just Sayin'.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6:33-34

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Thank You Lord for Letting Me Slice Off Part of My Toe

For months I've been getting messages. Taps on the shoulder. Whispers from God.  My daily Bible readings should have been written Dear Rebecca, at the top.  They were custom made for me. I read them, recognized they were for me, even shared  them on Facebook for others because they felt important.  I had an emotional connection to the message but I didn't do anything differently to respond to the messages.

This was a biggy .....

And during this time I was in the middle of working full time, trying to figure out the new summer reality with kids and camps and enough food in the house, AND cleaning out the house for a huge garage sale.  Cleaning out attics, and basements, and cubbies and closets, and pricing it, moving it, arranging it, advertising it. blah blah blah. 

I read this post and others and would feel it, know it was for me, and then decide that "when I got caught up" I would heed the advice and slow down and listen and learn.  Even typing it now I realize how ridiculous that is.  Yea, Lord you're in charge, just as soon as I get done, you can take over again.

I've witnessed over the years that when I refuse to heed the whisper and the warning, He will provide me with something to slow me down.  My own illness, or a child's illness, something I can't ignore. 

In an effort to incorporate some fun into this chaos, I invited friends to come over Friday night for Summer Solstice.  Exhausted from the sale, we ran into the grocery store and bought some meat for the grill and were planning to hang on the deck for a few hours until it was time to drag 8 tables back out for day 3 of the mega sale.

Did I mention how tired I was?

While wielding my Wustoff filet knife, that is sharp enough to perform an appendectomy,  I dropped the knife.

It was slow motion.  I tried to move my almost bare flip flopped feet but I was too tired and too slow.  I didn't really feel a cut, I just felt my body react to the cut.  My stomach fell to the floor and the blood rushed out of my face.  I think it's important to share that I pass out just from being inside a hospital and I close my eyes during surgery scenes in Grey's Anatomy.  I'm not really good in these situations is putting it mildly.

I turned to my friend and said, I think I cut my toe but I can't look.  How bad is it?  She should be a freakin' ER nurse, her calm borders on creepy.  I hiked my foot on the counter.  (Not the best day to put on a cute little sun dress )

She says, "oh no problem just a little poke, one little spot of blood, it's good, get some pressure on it."  Then I decide to look and see that the blood is spreading a little because I've sliced off just a small little piece of my toe.  Clean off.

And then it starts to bleed.  Now here's the deal.  It was a tiny little corner off the end of my toe.  But honestly, how big does the piece you cut off have to be to make it "worse".  In my book, anytime you slice off a piece of your toe, it's kind of a bad day.   It made me laugh when people would say, "Well how bad is it? And when I would respond, oh just a little slice, I wouldn't get the sympathy I clearly deserved.  Sympathy is delivered per square inch of toe apparently. 

So then I went into "I've got to sit down panicky mode"  My ER friend took over.  Caring for my wound, fixing dinner, fixing me a drink, getting me a magazine, letting me cry a little.  Just like that I was no longer in charge.  Grounded.

After a really nice dinner I didn't prepare, I shared my experiences with my friend.  I should have known it was coming.  I had ignored every other warning, whisper and tap on the shoulder.  Just moving frenetically with every day's goal to get more done.  Until I couldn't.

So tonight I sit, leg propped, reflecting on my stubbornness and my arrogance. Again full aware of how little I really control but how much I think I do.  Duh.

So I grab my Bible reading for tonight.  This.

And I giggled a little because I knew it was coming.  Just a little scolding.

So my response:

Thank you Lord for allowing me to slice off the end of my toe.  Thank you for my friend that stepped in to care for me and let me be vulnerable and weepy and not at all in control.  Thank you for this time to sit and heal and reflect.  I'm awake now.  Again.  I'm hopeful that I can keep the message fresh for quite some time.

I'm grateful that even though I stray and get too big for my britches too often, I can see my mistakes and still thank You for Your love and guidance.  I really didn't need the tip of my toe as much as I needed to be grounded and guided.   Maybe we can get Carrie Underwood to write a new song, "Jesus Take the Filet Knife" and Wustoff can produce it.