Monday, September 7, 2015

Weekly Smorgasbord

Some (relatively) recent links for y'all:

  On Faith:
Posted: 08 Aug 2015 03:16 PM PDT
"I was told for so many years to focus on my family, to make it good and strong and holy. But now all I ever want to tell my daughter is that it is sometimes those who speak the loudest about morality and spirituality who are all bluster and bluff. I want to tell her what I have learned, that there are those who seek out power in order to prey on others. I want to tell her that being pious and quiet and good will not save her. I want her to scream bloody murder at the first hint of predatory behavior. I want her to be badly behaved when authority figures behave badly...Dad is great, give us the chocolate cake. I want a blinding light cast on all of us. I want God to have mercy on Bill Cosby's soul. I want my daughter to know, for ever and ever, that she is never alone. I want her to know God never required politeness, and he never will. Because God is the kind of dad who gives grace freely, and we don't even have to ask." 

Woah. So good.
Posted: 10 Aug 2015 10:29 PM PDT
"So I told Jack, "Yes, all animals love God, but it looks different than how you and I love God," and that animals love God by doing what he made them to do. A kitten loves God by purring and washing its paws, and a bear loves God by catching fish and hibernating in the winter. A dog loves God by licking the face of his boy, or by rolling on her back to suckle her newborn pups. Sometimes I think of Christ's rocks and trees, and I wonder whether they would cry out to fill our silence, or whether it is only in our silence that we would notice they are crying out every day, through their very rock-ness and tree-ness: "Glory to God! Praise him for this, his majesty made plain! Praise him in the highest, and delight!""
Posted: 10 Aug 2015 10:34 PM PDT
"It's been a long time since I was 14, but the training in lava-words that God gave to me that summer has continued. The year one of our sons decided that his parents were nothing but a pain in the neck, he needed a gritty message of truth—not my opinion about what he should do with his life; not my broken heart handed to him in a bucket of tears. He needed God's Words about relationship and holiness; God's thoughts on planning a life and making wise choices."
Posted: 09 Aug 2015 12:28 PM PDT
(I love ALL of these, but especially "we acknowledge mystery" and "we love unconditionally".) Yesterday we were reading the kids' devotion and it was the story of Abraham taking Isaac up the mountain because God told him to sacrifice him (which, as an aside, is pretty much my least favorite thing in the whole Bible and I used to have such anxiety over that story). One of the questions was "How would you feel if God asked you to kill your child?" and Annie said "It would be hard to believe Him and trust Him....because God doesn't raise people from the dead in real life". We talked about how the stories in the Bible ARE "real life" and He really has that power and we talked about how it would be very, very hard to trust Him if we were Abraham. We also talked about how Abraham told his servants he and Isaac would both return down the mountain and how the writer of Hebrews shared that Abraham believed he would really kill Isaac but then God would raise him. This is obviously different from a more mature doubt and honestly a big part of me hopes she and Graves never experience spiritual doubt on an intense level. BUT, I am so thankful she feels comfortable sharing her heartfelt reactions and asking me honest questions when we encounter hard texts. I hope that is always the case and that there is never ANY road they feel like they must travel alone.
Posted: 12 Aug 2015 09:27 PM PDT
"Maybe he made fog so we would slow down, stay home, remember we are dust. Maybe he made it because the earth needed only a mist and not a heavy rain. Maybe he made it because we can't see through it and we need mystery because we need faith. I don't know why he made fog or why we spend seasons walking through it, our hands outstretched for some semblance of normalcy, something hard and certain and firm and known."
Posted: 16 Aug 2015 09:48 PM PDT
"As my heart rate and blood pressure returned to that of a sane and stable person I was able to reengage my muted life.  I was able to apologize to my husband and tenderly tuck my girl into the bed beside me and rub her head until she fell asleep.  And all the while I prayed desperately for gratitude over bitterness joy over regret surrender over control ...and it came."

On Parenting:
Posted: 10 Aug 2015 09:57 PM PDT
"After you've sent your SOS and created just a little bit of margin in your physical or emotional space, fill your time until the house is quiet. Because the next and final step is the most important one. You can't skip it, but you also can't rush it. When your home rings of nothing but the beautiful sound of silence, walk softly down the hall, lean your ear close to make sure there is no sound of a little wiggling body, slowly open the door, and look. Look down at your baby sleeping. Watch her breathe. Marvel at how big she has gotten. Brush the hair from her face. Pull the blanket back over her legs. "
Posted: 12 Aug 2015 02:51 PM PDT
"I don't think I'll give him a toy gun for a long time. I think he'll still be just as boyish without one. I just don't want to encourage him to equate boy play with violent play. If he turns out to be the kind of boy who likes to play raucously, fine. But I'm not going to give him an implement of murder and call it a plaything, just because he's a boy. Likewise, if I'm fortunate enough to have a daughter, I doubt I'll be getting her any makeup sets.The fact is that most of the way we think about what it means to be "boy" and "girl" doesn't come from the Bible. It comes from Disney and the toy aisle."
Posted: 12 Aug 2015 02:19 PM PDT
"As I struggled to pray about this, I suddenly had a picture in my mind that I was a sponge, absorbing his sadness rather than fighting or controlling it. I tried to let his sadness pass through me rather than wringing it out of him."
Posted: 12 Aug 2015 10:28 PM PDT
"I am here now. I have cultivated a new life, a new path, a new career. It is wonderful and terrifying and messy and completely up to me. And yet, the wave still finds me. I'm working on ways to part it, like Moses, or ride it, calm and collected on my mental surfboard. Pull it back, like the moon."
Posted: 12 Aug 2015 10:20 PM PDT
"I surrendered, because I wanted to stay with her. But being with her cost something. It cost me my plans and my sense of control. It cost me a sense that our days were orderly and well-executed, that I was a fabulously creative parent. It cost me any illusion that if I just tried harder, being with my child would come naturally."
Posted: 12 Aug 2015 10:16 PM PDT
"Somehow she relieved some of the guilt I had felt and carried for many years. There were so many times I had wanted to apologize to her for moments of despair, weariness or exhaustion during her "little" years. Yet, God's grace had covered over some of my dark feelings and when I sought to practice joy in the midst, God took my little efforts and made them enough. I think sometimes mamas carry guilt for what is normal life in a fallen world. We will never be able to make the world a "Disneyland" experience for our children, but we can make our home a place of light-giving."

On Simplicity:
Posted: 08 Aug 2015 03:08 PM PDT
"What kind of parent holds their child's small hand and walks in the direction of less?" It was several years ago when I heard a news commentator say something about how "every American" dreams of giving their children more (materially) than what they had. I was still in the very, very early stages of this but I rolled my eyes hard. I was recently talking to my dad that growing up we had everything we needed and almost everything we wanted. I want Annie and Graves to have less...a lot less...than we had. But we're in a place with a lot of privilege. Less has never been chosen for us. It's always been what we've decided we wanted and I have to remind myself to be very, very conscious of that in an effort to stay humble.
Posted: 12 Aug 2015 01:19 PM PDT
"We overcommit to activity when what they really need is roots at home. When they've been driving hard at 6 hours of soccer a day they don't need to do more, they need to rest more. And the thing about kids is they don't know what rest looks like unless we show it to them."

On Storytelling:
Posted: 09 Aug 2015 02:19 PM PDT
"For our darkest moments, we may have to tell that story dozens of times. Or even dozens of dozens. Each time, that shadow of the past gets a little lighter, until we actually heal. There will still be a scar, of course, but you'll stop bleeding every time the wound is pricked. It turns out, one of the greatest gifts we can offer others is receiving their pain with grace. Every person must have real, intimate friendships that include mutual sharing of our dark stories to be healthy."

On Nature:
Posted: 08 Aug 2015 02:09 PM PDT
"And this is my vow: to map this place with my walking. To, every day, wake to the gratuitous wonders served up by the hand of a generous Creator. To breathe in creation, and in that breathing find myself restored, recalibrated...Besides the physiological benefits, a recent theory on the plant-brain relationship centers around a psychological benefit dubbed the "provocation of fascination" effect. In other words—forests incite fascination, aka wonder. And wonder is psychologically good for us. It is also good for those around us. A study just coming out in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology shows empirically that people who participate in wonder-inducing activities are more immediately altruistic. In other words, people who regularly look at trees or the night sky are more likely to make their world a better place. In SheLoves parlance, they are more likely to be women who love."

On Feminism and Feminine Hygiene:
Posted: 09 Aug 2015 11:46 PM PDT
"In response to her essay, other cis gendered female and LGBTQ engineers have been tweeting their impressive credentials with her hashtag — shutting down stereotypes and showing how widespread and diverse the population of engineers really can be."
Posted: 10 Aug 2015 08:06 AM PDT
"Diana Sierra, founder of BeGirl, the company that makes it, explains that the underwear is reusable. It comes with a mesh pocket that girls can fill with whatever absorbent material is readily available, from cotton to grass to torn-up fabric.So you go kind of like McGyver-style," she says. "Just stuff it with anything that is safe."

On Reading:
Posted: 10 Aug 2015 07:57 AM PDT
"The first time people read - or watch - through, they are focused on events and stories. The second time through, the repeated experience reignites the emotions caused by the book or film, and allows people to savour those emotions at leisure."

On Being Pro-Life:
Posted: 12 Aug 2015 02:14 PM PDT
"Pro-life: this means more than good people think, means more than left or right. It means being: human, prayerful, present, alive."

On Internet Snooping and Stalking:
Posted: 12 Aug 2015 02:10 PM PDT
"In a dozen keystrokes and two clicks, I'd gained access to more specific information about my downstairs neighbor than I have about most of the people I actually know."

Noteworthy Quotes from the Week(or Month):

"It's just when you have everything together that life falls apart. Our God, though, is an expert resurrector: broken pieces are his preferred medium." -Nick Lannon 

"I see Donald Trump says that he has 'many executives that are women'. Might have been better if he had said 'who are women'" -John Cleese

"What typically happens when a Christian leader falls is that they disappear and only reappear when they're strong and shiny again. No one ever sees them in their broken and weakened condition. When we do this, we send the message that Christianity is only for good and strong and clean people. But believe it or not, Christianity is not about good people getting better. It is, rather, good news for bad people coping with their failure to be good. The message of the Christian faith is that because Jesus was strong for us we are free to be weak. The gospel of grace, in other words, frees us to let people see us at our worst so that they can see God at his most gracious best. After all, this whole thing is not about us and our reputation and status and strength and competence. It's about Jesus, what he's done, and who he continues to be for broken down ragamuffins like me." -Tullian Tchividijian 

Here is a post from the student who filed the lawsuit a couple of years ago. I think it is interesting that she fought for her rights and also supports the rights of BHS families to stand and show their love of Christ--
"Last night, Brandon High School (which is within the Rankin County School District) cancelled their band’s halftime show shortly before their home game. They cited a federal order delivered by Judge Carlton Reeves and claimed that because the halftime show featured a Christian hymn, they could not perform in fear of a $10,000. The entire state of Mississippi is up in arms- but the majority doesn’t seem to actually understand the facts. I would like to clarify the situation.
1. The court order did not address the band’s halftime show. It was the result of a prior lawsuit that found Rankin County School District in contempt of court for violating the Establishment Clause and a Consent Decree. I was plaintiff of this lawsuit and so I can vouch for the details of that lawsuit.
2. No one reported the band’s planned show. The school itself made the decision to cut it. From what I’ve seen posted by band members, they had been rehearsing the show for a little over a month. The court order was released well over a month ago, and the lawsuit has been ongoing since 2013. Which means that the band director and the school likely knew that they were in danger of violating the order. This indicates they intended to shock the community by cancelling it and that reflects a lack of respect on their part towards the students, the law, and the community.
3. I’m not actually sure if the halftime show would have incurred the fine. It could definitely be legally challenged and may have led to the fine, but no lawyer or judge publicly made any statement indicating that it was illegal. The call was made by the school preemptively.
These are the facts of the situation as I know them. In response to the cancellation, the fans stood up in the stands and sang the hymn. Although my heart goes out to the students who may have felt uncomfortable in that situation, I am proud of the legal and unifying action taken by the fans. Both the right to free speech and freedom of religion (both free exercise and establishment) were protected last evening, and that’s a beautiful thing."

"I struggle all day to come out a winner. I fail again. As the sun sets, one thing gives me comfort: Christ came for losers." -Nick Lannon

"The sentiment, "If it was your mom," or, "If it was your sister," is all well and good, but it sometimes misses the simplest point: a fellow human has been disrespected. That's enough to be upset about." -Preston Yancey
"Today, a student at Mississippi State called in a cry for help. He was thinking about taking his own life, maybe hurting others in the process. He was calling so that someone would stop him, and they did. Thankfully, no one was hurt.I think what that young man did was brave. He realized that his head wasn't right, and he reached out to keep from doing the wrong thing. The university took the possibility of danger seriously, as they should have, and they intervened. Hopefully, he will be able to see this as a positive turning point in his life, despite the fact that rumors and panic blew the situation out of proportion. MSU friends, please do not demonize this young man. Mental illness is real and many people suffer from depression. Recognizing that you're in over your head and being honest about it is an incredibly difficult thing to do. What could have turned into a terrible situation was avoided because of HIS choice to tell someone. He shouldn't be punished, he should be embraced and loved and assisted. He was not a shooter, he was a struggling college kid. If you claim to have never struggled, then you're kidding yourself, or you're incredibly lucky. Have some grace. PS - as many of you know, I have dealt with depression myself. If you ever need someone to talk to, I am here." -Betsy Gill 

Noteworthy Images from the Week (or Month):

Someone in the comments said "all these are nearly impossible with small children". Which is why you gotta self-care, folks. I know it's hard...I am with them all day, every day most of the time. But be a good momma (or papa), not a martyr.

From "Facebook memories" or whatever. Oh my goodness. It took me a minute to catch my breath. Long days, short years, yada yada. He's only gotten more charming.


And for Christians wanting to live in a theocracy, sorry. P.S. God is in everything, and will continue to be in everything, there's no need to be pushy about it 

Noteworthy Videos from the Week (or Month):

Check out lil man (video @funnymaine)
Posted by Baller Alert on Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Glory - 5th Grade Ms. TomlinPS 11 Brooklyn PTA - Clinton Hill Brooklyn, NY - 5th Grade students performing "Glory" for Black History Month Showcase. As a parent, these kids give me hope - I am proud to be part of this community.PS11 is a public school in NYC and a 2014 National Blue Ribbon School (one of only 337 in the entire country!). The 5th graders are going to the White House for a tour in May. Meeting President Barack Obama would be an amazing experience for these kids.Please share and help make it happen!
Posted by PS 11 Brooklyn PTA on Thursday, February 26, 2015

CHILD ABDUCTION!! Must Watch.Save Your Child's Life!!"Video by Joeysalads, Follow him"
Posted by on Monday, May 11, 2015

[We talk about it some (not every day, though, are these folks serious?). Good reminder and it did get me thinking. I think I haven't done enough as far as explaining what a stranger is, when it crosses the line (please DON'T run to me every time an adult says "watch out for the swing", ahem, Ann Peyton). and roll playing these situations. Making it a priority!]

Hope you found something interesting or inspirational!

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