Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Why I Believe in Marriage Equality

I am a Christian, a follower of Jesus, an imperfect woman overwhelmed by the grace and mercy of my Savior. I find myself unable to even begin to express my gratefulness for his unfathomable love, for answered prayers, for my anchor in the storms that life throws at me. I believe in Jesus and, yes, I believe in marriage equality.  Since I've had about a million messages after putting the equality symbol on my Facebook profile, I thought I'd share with you just a few of the reasons for my support of the reversal of DOMA.

#1--To me, this whole issue is a civil rights argument.  It is not a religious one. In the United States, we are free to express our opinions (yes, even Christians can express their opinions and believe me...they do!). We are free to worship or not worship. We are free to choose Jesus, Allah, Buddha, Atheism, Wicca, Agnosticism, indifference.  In this country, you have the right to have a religious belief that states that same-sex marriage is wrong. You also have the right to have a religious belief that states that it is not wrong. This to me is the foundation of religious freedom. We do not live in a theocracy.  (If perhaps you'd like to try living in one, there's always Iran.) Marriage equality in no way takes away your religious freedom or your right to interpret the Bible any way you see fit. It merely asks for freedom to believe a different way and to act on those beliefs.

#2--There are some serious lies and misconceptions out there about the gay community.  I don't know any other way to say this except to just say it...there is no radical gay agenda!!!!!  Gooooooood grief. Gay people don't want to destroy the institution of marriage or the family.  Really, they don't.  They are simply asking for the right to marry the person they love, to have rights under the law of the United States.  They aren't asking you to change your religious beliefs.  (***Reality check***Let's be honest, heterosexual couples, Christian or otherwise, have done a pretty good job of doing some damage to the institution of marriage. I'm pretty sure the divorce rate is over 50% now.)

#3--In the US, many things are legal that some religious people prefer to not engage or indulge in.  Take alcohol, for instance.  Everyone over the age of 21 can legally drink, but many religious people believe it is sinful.  That's ok...then don't drink.  The same could be said of dancing, pot smoking, divorce and many other things. Remember that whole freedom thing?  Yep, it applies here.

#4--Did I mention this is a civil rights issue and not a religious one?

There is so very much more to this issue, but I have nothing more to say today as I am feeling a bit weary. And sad. There is a lot of darkness in this world, full of child sex trafficking, victimization of women and children, crimes of racial prejudice, starving families, wars, famine. So much heartache and sadness, loneliness and grief. We like to talk a lot about the dark, about the enemy--Satan, about the evil abounding in the world. Well, I think we need to remember to not blame the dark for the absence of the light. We are the light in this world.  We are supposed to go in the dark places and bring with us the furious love of the Father. Don't blame the dark for the absence of the light.  Go be light.  Love like the Father. Love with ferocity.

"The Father’s love for the Prodigal was a furious love that was not moody or capricious; it knew no seasons of change. The Father’s love had a single relentless stance toward the prodigal: He loved him. He didn’t just love him a little – he loved him with ferocity." Brennen Manning

Monday, March 25, 2013

Take Heart--They are Listening!

To all of you out there raising kids, I'd like to offer some words of encouragement. As the mom of three teenagers, I've spent years doling out advice, suggestions and, yes, commands. There have been times when my words were met with eye rolls or a glazed expression that made me think that what they were hearing was, "Blah, blah, blah, blah." However, like all parents, I persevered and continued to dole it out.  It's just what we do.  I know you can relate. I know there are times when you feel like quitting, like they are never going to listen. I'm here to tell you that they do listen.  They do hear and believe it or not, they even believe you--mostly.

If you know me or have read other posts on here, you know that I believe in eating good, real food. Well, my kids have heard every possible health lecture there could be. Really, they have. They've heard it all.  I just never thought they were listening or that they gave a hoot.  Guess what?  They do give a hoot! I've noticed them making good food choices, especially as they get older and start to figure out that eating junk makes you feel like junk.

My 19 year old son just started a new job and has been traveling for the past couple of weeks. During the first week, he told me he was eating mostly "bar food" which isn't too surprising. When he got home last night from his second week of travel, he proudly showed me some of the foodstuffs he'd bought while he was away. He did quite well. He also informed me that eating restaurant food was grossing him out and making him feel less than stellar so he had been eating lots of salads and had even sought out and found the local natural foods market. I am a proud mama.  Love that boy.
These are the purchases he was so proud to show me. 
 So in the interest of full disclosure, I also want to add that he bought this to go with his organic tortilla chips...

 The good news here is that he knows this is NOT a healthy choice. Being me and all, I had him read the label and explained to him why yellow no5 and corn/canola oil are not good health choices. Of course, he ate it anyway, but I am confident that he is taking in the information I give him. 

So take heart all you mamas out there trying to get your kids to eat good food...they hear what you are saying and even though every choice won't be perfect, they know what's best.  You are teaching them well. Keep on  keepin' on.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Just Once More

A few weeks ago, I promised a post about clean skincare products.  Today I thought I should make good on that promise. I know how frustrating it can be trying to find beauty products that are non-toxic but don't cost so much that you want to barf when you see the price tag.

To begin, I'll show my own very simple, small stash of stuff. (Aaaaaaah...accidental alliteration :-) I warn you, my stash is quite uninteresting, but more than adequate for me. I'm fairly low maintenance, the kind of girl that every few weeks (ok, sometimes months) looks down at her nails and says, "Oh good heavens, that looks awful!"  After which I may or may not remember to clip and file them, much less bother to put polish on them. Anyhoo...this is a photo of everything I have that goes on my face...
The glass bottle on the right holds my oils for oil cleansing and the jar is coconut oil. I've used the Aztec Secret Clay for years.  I love it and, if I remembered, I would use it once a week.  Of course, I don't. I do try to use it at last a couple of times a month, though. Mixed with apple cider vinegar, it makes a nice green mask and leaves my skin really soft and clear. It's also a great thing to use on a zit, if you happen to get one. The closest thing to foundation that I use is 100% Pure's Tinted Moisturizer.  It is lovely and is really my one splurge.  Honestly, though, a bottle lasts me about 9 months or longer. I use a bit more once winter comes. In the summer, my makeup usually consists of coconut oil and lip balm with the occasional bit of mascara, so I end up barely using any of the tinted moisturizer. I do love it, though...it is fruit pigmented, no yucky chemical colors or fragrances. If I can afford it, I buy their mascara, too, but usually just end up buying Physician's Formula Organic Wear Mascara which isn't a totally clean product. It is better than most, however, and that is acceptable to me. The eyeliner and blush are both from 100% Pure and the lip balm is Alba Botanica.  I keep thinking I should make my own lip balm, but just haven't done it yet. Pinterest overflows with DIY lip balm ideas. Perhaps soon.

These are my hair products. At one time, I tried the No Poo Method, but discovered that it does not work well with hard water. The girls and I were quite delighted to discover the Shea Moisture products.  We can buy them at our local Co-op and also at Target for a reasonable price. Hold and Shine Moisture Mist has been a most wonderful addition for us. Static and fly away hair are a constant pain in our collective rear ends during cold, dry winters and this spray is fantastic for fighting the frizzies!  (Alliteration...again! :-)  Hair spray has been a tough one.  Many of the "natural" hair sprays are just terrible. I've found a couple that work for most things, Giovanni Hair Spritz and Andalou Naturals.  If for some reason, we need a hairspray that really holds, we just use the toxic stuff.  How's that for honesty.

Alrighty. That is pretty much it. If you are looking for products, the No More Dirty Looks Blog has about a gazillion product reviews.  Many of the products are spendy, but it is worth looking into.  It is just a great blog anyway, funny and full of info. Don't forget about the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database which you can use to check out products that you find. Last but not least...remember to not stress about any of this.  Change what you can and don't worry over the rest.  I love y'all.  Blessings.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Bit o' snark about The Bible

Now don't you worry, all you evangelical types.  I don't plan on getting snarky about THE Bible, so you can put that dander right back down. I just have to say a few things about "The Bible", the miniseries. Not The Bible, the novel based on the miniseries based on the Bible.  Try not to be confused.

So...we all love Jesus around here and once we heard that the History Channel was doing a miniseries that spanned the entire Bible, we thought, "Cool!"  We've all seen the Charlton Heston version with it's overly dramatic characters and 1950's special effects.  But this is 2013!  A modern movie about the Bible would have awesome effects, realistic dialog, and an accurate storyline...right?  Whew, exciting stuff!

Last weekend we had some friends over for dinner and the first episode.  It quickly became obvious that this was like nothing we'd ever seen.  Take Moses, for instance, one of the heroes of the faith who is typically known for his humble spirit while leading the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt.  I never realized how wrong we were about him!  Wow, thanks Bible miniseries for showing us the real Moses...smug, attitude aplenty, creepy (the kind of creepy where he looks at you like you are a kid walking down the street and he is the guy in the 70's van who wants you to make a movie.  You know...Chester.)  I had no idea that when Mel Gibson yells, "Freedom!!!" in Braveheart, he is really just quoting Moses.  I also didn't realize that Moses had skulked around behind the bushes while performing miracles like turning the water to blood.  Silly me, I was under the impression that God would've wanted Ramses to know why these things were happening. Oh and speaking of Ramses, did you know that all he ever really did was yell, in a guttural sort of yell, "NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!  MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSS!" Well, now we know.

Some things were changed from the original story.  While it is true that many of these things are inconsequential, we all found it to be rather annoying. For instance, at one point we find Abraham and a much-too-young Isaac on Mt Moriah, awaiting the sacrifice that the Lord would provide. I'm preeeeeetttyyy sure that the Bible says a ram was caught in the bushes by it's horns, but in the movie version we see a tiny little lamb with it's foot stuck.  See what I mean???  Annoying. Why not just get it right?  Were there no rams with big cool horns to be found?  We have lots of them here in Montana, had they needed one.

Now about those awesome special effects....yeah...not so awesome effects would be more appropriate. Maybe they didn't want to upstage the effects in the Charlton Heston movie.  A bit of a bummer, I must say, and I am a huge fan of British television, a Whovian even!  I know my bad special effects.  Unfortunately, the makers of The Bible bring cheese to a whole new level.

I suppose I should say something nice about the show. We did kind of enjoy the kick-ass angels that helped Lot and his family leave Sodom.(There were no smart alecky sort of remarks made at all about how the angel that did all of the cool martial arts types of knife stunts was an Asian angel. Really, not one remark.) The consensus was that none of us had ever given thought to how Lot actually got out of Sodom without coming to harm. So thanks, Bible miniseries!

Ok, I'll stop now. The crazy thing?  We're watching it next week with the same friends. Thank goodness they are a smart aleck, snarky lot themselves. We choose our friends wisely. 
In case you've yet to see the novel based on the miniseries based on the book.