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What If…God’s not a Hater?

Lover, not a Hater

Lover, not a Hater

In junior high I took part in a peaceful protest walk against abortion. As we walked quietly through the streets of downtown Phoenix, we prayed, strangers gathered with similar passion. Some people held signs with pictures of aborted babies, others with words or messages. I was young, and my eyes were affected by the sting of the warm bright sun and my constant attempt to blink back tears from the emotion of it all. And as we came to the end of our walk, the rallying point the Arizona State Capitol, there were equally as many people gathered to protest our protest, and just as many signs held high, and equally as much passion for their stories.

I met a guy in college who made me crazy. Craze. EEEE. The problem was, I couldn’t escape him. He was friends with everyone and everyone I was friends with was a friend of his. He was so, so…so happy and had tons of energy and would sing opera anywhere and everywhere. His freedom made me uncomfortable because I was an insecure teenager. I cared what people thought and his very presence made me uneasy because his comfort in his own skin made me crawl in mine. The thing is, at some point I relented and got to know him, and found out I loved his heart and relished in his passion for life and ability to express his love for God in how he interacted with people.  Looking back, I know his freedom was a catalyst in setting my own heart free from the opinions of others.  Everyone should be so lucky to have a Tor in their life.

As a grown up with kids, I now have interaction with the parents of my kids’ friends, and I want to know those people.  A couple of years ago, my daughter came home to tell me about her new best friend at school.  As I listened to her heart it was apparent this was long-term, so I made a dinner date with the friend’s mom.  In high school, I’m not sure we would have been friends, her more funky, smart, alternative, me, awkward, not knowing my place.  And as adults, well, it didn’t take long for her to see I talk about the God of the Universe as if we have a personal relationship, or for me to learn her passions about politics and social justice, from the “side” I didn’t grow up observing.  We could have easily walked away from that dinner with our preconceived ideas of “Conservative Christians” and “Left-Wing Liberals” and thrown away a really good thing.  But we didn’t.  The thing is, this woman is amazing and beautiful and equally as passionate about raising her children to make an impact in the world as I am, but if I had closed my heart to her because of preconceived stereotypes, I never would have learned how very much we do have in common and how much she inspires!

Anne Lamott is one of my favorite writers.  A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to hear her share candidly at the Storyline Conference put on by Blue Like Jazz author, Donald Miller and his team.  The following quote is so powerful I wanted to share it in light of this “What If…God?” series I’m writing here for the next few weeks.  I hope it challenges all of us to stop filtering our view of God through others and start filtering our view of others through God’s unconditional love.

“You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”
― Anne Lamott

What if God loves the people you hate?

 

Glass Class

For my 40th birthday in January, Jason and Emily gave me a gift-certificate to do a glass sculpting class.  Seriously, this was the most thoughtful gift I’ve ever been given.

Jason knows I am a huge fan of glass blowing and glass work.  Whenever Dale Chihuly specials are on PBS the channel turns no further…I am mesmerized by glass and heat and molten-ness and the whole idea that from a simple rod of glass come some of the most beautiful pieces of art in the world.

Well, I know it’s August and my birthday was 8 months ago, but today I finally redeemed my coupon and headed to a place called Glasscraft up in Golden, CO, to learn something new.  Last week my friend found out I was doing the class and decided to join me, so it was fun to share this experience with her, too!

A bit of history, though, first.  I grew up in Arizona.  For weekend trips now and then we’d head up to Sedona to explore and wander through the art galleries to appreciate the creativity of local artisans, check out the architecture (my dad was a builder), and to see God’s beautiful creation.  Our favorite place was called Tlaquepaque.  I’m not sure if the glass blower is still there, but when I was Emily’s age, (which is now 10 and I still have to post about that…), I would head straight to his shop and watch and watch and watch.  And, with my hard earned allowance money, I’d add to my collection of trinkets no one needs but every kid thinks they want: glass swan with blue liquid inside, glass unicorn, glass Pegasus, glass swan with different colored liquid inside…you get the idea.  Anyway, to a 10 year old girl, this was cool and I remember having an appreciation for glass work at the time.

Fast forward 30 years and today I got to dabble in the art of glass.

I did not blow glass, which is what I thought I was going to be doing, but that’s a class a little higher up the food chain for a first-timer.  I did, however, get to sculpt and manipulate it by rolling rods of glass in a propane/oxygen torch flame and stretching it to form it into leaves.  Unfortunately they are still at Glasscraft in the kiln…show and tell another day.

Molten glass is totally stinking cool!  Except it’s not cool, but so very hot!  And, thankfully the only thing I burned off my body today was a few knuckle hairs.  It could have been worse…I guess it’s been a while since I took high school chemistry and used one of those flint spark starters.

And, for the record, my knuckles look nice smooth…or something like that!

The class started at 8:30 but I picked Kiera up at 6:45 and made her go sit at Whole Foods to enjoy the quiet morning, first

glass rods

When wearing safety glasses, one must look like they are straight from MadMen

Kiera the ’50’s glass worker

Curtis our instructor

My flame

Kiera hard at work

That kid, across the table, is from the Royal Tannenbaums…well at least he looked the part…

Me rolling my glass rod into a ball in order to start my leaf

Overall, this was an awesome experience!

No matter what you choose, I’d encourage you to try something new, or something you’ve always dreamed of doing.  Dr. Daniel Amen encourages us, as we age, to stimulate our brains with new experiences and new ways of learning and thinking.  Today I made a few new synapses.  I feel a little smarter already 😉

Gender Fender Bender

I am pretty worked up about an article I read via Facebook, via Tiny Prints, via Parenting.com

First of all, as many of the fans of Tiny Prints pointed out, stick with making great prints and cards, skip the other agendas.  Their job is to make paper look great. 

So, here’s the article

And here is where I open my can of whoop ass:

Where to even begin?!  So, these “liberated”, free-thinking, “gender-neutral” parents decide to raise their “infant” as a non-gender until the age of 5 when they “reveal” his gender due to a kindergarten application process.  They wanted him, Sasha, to grow up unbiased in gender until he was old enough to choose, therefore they did not allow certain toys such as Barbies or fire trucks.  Last time I looked, you know, flipped a truck upside down, I just never seemed to come across genitalia.  Who knew fire trucks had penis’ but apparently that is what these parents thought. 

First, let me get genitals off my chest for a moment:  just because people have certain body parts does not mean they should procreate.  And, if they did indeed procreate, it doesn’t mean they were cut out for parenting.  Here is where I encourage people to lovingly give their children up for adoption to people who aren’t able to procreate but were designed to be parents. 

The presence of genitals does not equal loving parenting.

And why do people want to be parents, anyway?  This is something people should actually think and pray about before having unprotected sex, within our outside of marriage.  *No, I am not advocating sex outside of marriage.  God didn’t set this rule in place to be a big jerk who likes to take the fun out of a spicy evening.  Have a spicy evening with your spouse, that’s what He was saying.  And, Yes, I am advocating safe sex.  Entirely other post I have brewing in my head about this topic…wait for it
But truly, just because a person has gotten married doesn’t mean the automatic next thing to do is to become a parent.  Especially if they are totally inclined to self-absorption.  The lifestyle and calling just won’t work for you…

My disgust for their (people in the article) parenting lies deep.  And yes, I’ll probably get feedback from some out there reading that I’m judgmental and “to each his own”  or “their own” in this case.  But this is my blog and here is my spiel.

For the liberated, free-thinking people who believe they are allowing their child the ability to choose their gender by avoiding their gender altogether for 5 years or however long some may choose, they are denying them their basic human right.  And that’s just on a political spectrum of being a human born in the United States of America.

What about the bigger, much more important picture of a human being born on God’s beautiful green earth?  God designed each of us with gender.  It was the beginning of our identities.  “And God created them, male and female, He created them…AND IT WAS GOOD”  (Bold, mine!)

The stereotypes, both positive and negative, that surround gender are man-made

“Fire trucks are for boys.”

“Barbie dolls are for girls.”

“Pink is a girl color.”

“Boys should like blue.”

Penis’ are for men.  That’s the part they are made with.  Vagina’s are for girls.  It’s the part designed for them.  Penis’ and vaginas are not stereotypes.  They are genitalia.

Have we really not come that far in the last several hundred years, at least here in America?  Em and I just completed one of my old books from when I was in Junior High called, “They Led the Way” about early American women who stepped over popular stereotypes like women’s suffrage, education solely for males, and women running for public office.  And what about equal rights?  What is that all about if the basic truth of an infant is taken away from them for their most formative years?  Who’s going to pay Sasha’s counseling bills?

My friend would call this a “First World Problem.”  I’m FOR SURE posting on that another day.  But seriously!  In the Third World, sometimes parents don’t name their children for several years because of the high infant mortality rate.  Is this fair?  No!  It’s child neglect and abuse just as much as denying a child to know their basic gender.  How EDUCATED, UNBIASED, and FREE-THINKING, are we that these are the issues we face in the First World and not if we should or shouldn’t even name our dying child who is starving to death or has fallen sick with a horrendous disease that could be prevented through medication or clean sanitation and a balanced diet?!

THESE ARE REAL SOULS, PEOPLE!

I went to High Tea the other day to celebrate my mom’s remission from breast cancer.  We were served at this “girly function” by men….  And let me clarify, it’s not a “girly” disease.  Men have breast cancer, too.  They don’t have cervical cancer, and women don’t have prostate cancer, but if a “non-gender” raised boy gets prostate cancer one day, don’t you think he’ll know he’s a boy?

Our society is becoming more and more perverted, meaning sick and corrupt, as it becomes more and more “free” in its thinking.  This is not to say people should not be free to think for themselves or make choices of their own.  By all means.  God created us with FREE CHOICE.  It was His first gift to us, but it came with a heavy price.  We’re trying so hard to drop lines that divide, creating GRAY, but not in the areas that matter, and so what will the next generation do?  Dear God, please come back before we have to see…

What these parents could have done to love their child unconditionally rather than try to control his environment in the strictest of ways, was to love the child they were given, who incidentally was a son, to be a healthy, happy, and confident person. 

Our jobs as parents are not to freakishly try to control our children by boxing them in from the fears we ourselves have, and I’m talking to over-controlling Christian parents here, too.  But its to teach them, direct and guide them, watch for their God-given gifts and strengths to shine through and then nurture those gifts through direction and unconditional love, even establishing healthy boundaries, so they can be the best they can be, not be who we want them to be.  This is good parenting. 

Not hands-off ignorance.

Deep breath.  Okay.  I’m off to get my son from his crib. 

He is a boy and he can be whatever God has called him to be, for God’s glory, not my own scientific experiment or political agenda.

Head Over to "Confessions"…

Helping out at Big Sis’ class before Christmas.
So BIG in Mexico eating guacamole.
Sitting on a big boy little chair at Bebe’s house.
Celebrating 40 with my family.
Just hanging out, having a drink in the drawer after a hard day of walking.

I shared a bit about Ryan today on my “Confessions of a 2nd Grade Closet Eater” blog. 

That boy has been teaching me a ton!  I tell you what, if we slow down and pay attention to the sweet, simple things in life, the potential for learning is limitless!