What Kind of Mood Are You In Today?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Ridiculous Blog Post

This blog is getting ridiculously serious.   It started out as a way to make people laugh and do a little self-therapy in the process, but I'm finding that my urges to write are taking on a more serious nature these days.  Maybe it proves that I don't do stupid stuff all the time.  :)

Update:  I now have a separate blog for these "ridiculously serious" blog posts.  Now there is a blog for both moods: "I Want To Laugh" and "I Want To Be Inspired."  

I read a book several months ago called, "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan.  Very challenging book.  It left me with a lot of hard questions and really no answers.  There is a part in the book that has haunted me.   This isn't a direct quote, but the idea is that we ask God why there are starving children in the world.  But perhaps God is asking us the same question.

Hmmm... as I type on my Macbook, listening to one of my 8,000 songs I have purchased throughout the years, my belly full after eating out and trying to ignore the Klondike bars in the freezer while my children lay peacefully in their beds, warm and safe in a house that has plenty of room for every person in our house to have their own space.

I don't know where that leaves me.  I don't know what my responsibility is to others in this world whose children are sleeping in a trash heap tonight after eating whatever they could find and drinking water that is full of things that could possibly kill them.  What am I to do about children in India who are being picked up by evil people who will cut off an arm and a leg of a defenseless child, then send him out to the streets to beg money for his master?  What is my responsibility to the 10 year old girl who is putting on a sexy outfit and makeup, waiting in fear for the next man to come into her room?

I want to jump off my couch, get on a plane and go rescue that little child.  All the children. Yes, I want to rescue all of them.

There is a possibility of our family going to India in the future to work in an orphanage.  There are two details that remain to be worked out and that is which orphanage to go to and the other is how-in-the-world-are-we-going-to-get-there? That's a pretty big detail and while there are things that make me hopeful, I'm not counting my chickens (or plane tickets) just yet. In the meantime, I am doing a lot of reading about India and I am realizing something - I am very naive! And that scares me because that means I really don't know what I'm getting myself into.

But the more I find out, the more I feel the need to help. When I read that they are having re-naming ceremonies for girls who were named "Nakoshi" at birth (Nakoshi means "unwanted") I realize that I have no idea what it is like outside of my own comfortable world.  When I read that India is considered to be the second largest "child flesh" industry hub in the world, I feel sick.  So sick that after my initial physical response, my secondary response is to emotionally turn my head the other way, to go back to my happy place where MY children are safe and MY children are loved, nourished, and wanted.  Yes, just stay here and make sure I do my part by keeping my children out of harm's way. Good enough. 

That lasts for about 5 seconds and then my heart breaks and I feel scared and I feel like I MUST do something.  I must make a difference.

But how? It's too big for just me or even a large group of me's.  Look at all the organizations out there who work and give and give some more and it seems that the problem of poverty and abuse in the world is just as strong as it ever was. What more could I possibly add? After knowing what I know, what is my responsibility?

Should I throw a few dollars in the offering plate? Fill a few more shoeboxes for the Operation Christmas Child distribution?  Sponsor a child overseas?  Bring a child into our home and spend the thousands of dollars to adopt them?  Move to India and spend the rest of my life giving a few children an opportunity to get out of the life they currently know?  Start a movement to end it all?  Give my life to affect change in the world?

Do you see where I am going with this?  I could do any one of these things, but what is it that a fellow human being should do?  I'm not asking what's the minimum, I'm asking where does my responsibility to the children of the world start and the responsibility to my own children end?  Should my children have to have a lower level of education so that a child in India can have one?  Should my children go without toys at Christmas so that someone else's children can have dinner on Christmas?  Can someone complete this thought for me because I am having a hard time even forming the question.

God doesn't say that it's wrong to have, but He certainly has a lot to say about having a hard heart toward those who have little.

At this point in my life, I am seriously at a loss. I do not have an answer other than I know I must take care of my own children (how that's defined, I don't know) and that what is expected of each of us is different. Maybe my realm of influence lies right here in my own country. Maybe that's exactly where God wants me and I got lucky because I don't have to go out into a scary world to make a difference. Maybe I am exactly where I can make the most difference. Then again, what if He is asking me to do more than I am willing to do?

I am hoping that a trip to see with my own eyes what life is like outside of the wealthy U.S. of A. will help me process these questions and that my eyes would be open enough to understand the answers.  I hope that one day I will sit down to write another ridiculously serious blog post and be able to tell you that I know exactly what it is that God wants from me and that I will wholeheartedly abandon myself to it, whether it be a stronger commitment to where I am now, a less comfortable way of living, or a life with new horizons and greater sacrifice.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Hey, That's My Son You're Talking About!

Men are so stupid.

Need proof?  Out of the thousands of sitcoms that have been made, name 10 men who had a brain.  Name 10 who didn't act like a child or who didn't need a woman to look after him.

Need more proof?  Eavesdrop on a group of women and you'll hear just how stupid and childish men are.

Need more proof?  Ask a 12 year old girl who watches TV and hangs out with mom.

What?  You take offense?  You disagree with thousands of sitcom directors, millions of women, and the majority of 12 year old girls?  Seriously?

Good!  Because I do, too!  After all, that's my son you're talking about!

When I see a sitcom portray men as unable to change a diaper and a woman...or a kid!...has to do it for him, I think, "Hey, that's my husband you're talking about!"

When I see them portray a teenaged boy like he's five while the teenaged girls are rolling their eyes and treating him like a child I think, "Hey!  That's my son you're talking about!"

When I hear women talking about how men can't do anything I think, "Hey!  That's my husband you're talking about!"

When I hear women say how their husband is just like their son...as if it's a bad thing... I think,  "HEY!!! That's my husband AND my son you're talking about!"

I'm simply tired of it.  I'm so tired of my husband being told that he is unable to think for himself, take care of children, or show emotion.  I'm so tired of women putting MY man down by griping about their husbands/ex-husbands/boyfriends by saying that their men aren't good enough because, well...because they're men.

Oh, and did you realize that your son is sitting there listening to all this and hears just how stupid you think he is?  Do you realize that you are telling him what it means to be a man...to you?  Oh, yes you did just call him stupid, lazy, and incompetent.

And as for TV, how DARE they spend 30 minutes insulting MY SON?!?  And how dare they feed that garbage to my daughters?!?

Listen.  Look.  It's everywhere you go.  Talk about a double standard!  Women, we simply wouldn't take it if we were portrayed as stupid and incompetent.

I'm sick of it, sick of doing it myself, because after all, that's my son I'm talking about!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Osama Bin Laden is Dead-This brings up an important point

The death of Osama Bin Laden brings up an important point:

We live in a very broken world.

I remember.  I remember waking up to a report of a plane crash, hitting snooze, then hearing of a second crash the next time my alarm went off.  I remember my husband's voice when he ran out of our room to tell us, or I should say, tried to tell us, that the Pentagon had been hit.  I remember putting my hand on my 8-month pregnant belly and wondering what this might mean for my children's future.

I remember watching the news reports.  I remember the speechless tears of my father-in-law as we watched people jump from the WTC towers.  I remember seeing the thousands of posters with faces of men and women who were missing all over the walls of NYC, representing the last and very faint hope that someone's loved one might still be alive.

Many of you may remember the picture of the African-American woman in her career clothing, completely covered in ashes, with a look of utter shock on her face.  And I don't mean surprise.  I mean she looked like she had gone into a medical state of shock and it very well could have been.  

I remember when our soldiers went to war.  I remember how in 12 days we took Afghanistan.  And I know this War on Terror has been long, though to be honest, I don't think it hit me just how long it's been until today.

I feel the need to insert some disclaimers before I continue.  I don't watch the news.  I don't listen to the news.  I find it a source of incredible negativity that I cannot afford to immerse myself in.  I am not an expert in politics.  I barely engage in them.  Not for a lack of interest mind you, but it just consumes me if I let it.  I am an emotional, live-on-my-gut-feeling kind of person and if you put me in the room to debate an intelligent, logical, and well-informed individual, I will lose, even if I am right.

And so, because of all that, I will not judge those who are cheering in the streets of D.C.  I will not judge my friends on facebook who are quoting Bible verses on how we shouldn't celebrate the death of the wicked.  I won't judge those who are flying facebook flags and posting patriotic videos and I certainly won't judge my military friends who have served in the Middle East who, interestingly enough, aren't saying anything.

I just think that Bin Laden's death serves as a slap-in-the-face reminder that we live in a horribly dark and broken world and I am mourning that tonight.  

As a mother, I'd like to spit on the body of Osama Bin Laden.  And yet, and I believe this with all my heart, we are but a few steps away from a heart as evil as his.  I am not so great a person that I am above evil.  None of us are.  I am as human as Bin Laden.  As I listen to people saying that justice has finally been done, I sit here and remember that justice is not being done to me.  It is mercy that is extended to me everyday.  

Why God allowed me to be born in America and not under the threat of men like Osama Bin Laden, I don't know, but I am thankful.  Why God allows me to sit here and write this while a mother mourns the loss of her child in a foreign land, I don't know.  And why He allows anyone into heaven, I don't understand that either.  We can walk around thinking we deserve it all we want, but count up all the wrongs you have done in your life and tell me that you deserve it.  Tell me, if you can, if buying a gift for an impoverished kid cancels out the time you yelled at your own.  Tell me, if you can, if standing up for that elderly woman cancels out the time you bullied someone in high school.  Tell me, if you honestly can, that all the good things you are doing for someone today somehow makes every hurt you've caused someone else go away.  It doesn't.

We are at the mercy of the God of Justice and guess what?  He offers forgiveness.

It's forgiveness that cancels it all out.  It's God saying, "Yeah, I know what you did and I'm not going to tell you for a second that it's o.k.  I'm not giving you any excuses and I don't want to hear yours."

It's as if I can see God looking at me with a look that says, "Let's get real, Rachael.  Let's just tell it like it is."

And then it's as if I can see God look over his right shoulder and point to something in the distance.  There is a smile, the kind of smile you see at a funeral when a funny story is told, and He says, "Look.  Look over there."

I see.  I see it now.  I see very clearly that justice has been done, but it wasn't done to me.  The abuse I deserved for abuses I have done has been laid squarely on the back of someone else-namely, Jesus.

"I forgive you," He says.  "For the sake of my Son, I forgive you.  Quit trying to prove that you are void of evil, because you're not.  You're forgiven and I can't put it any plainer that that."

Think about this:  who owes you?  Who kicked you when you were down?  Who took everything they could get from you and laughed at your gullibility?  Who cut you to pieces mentally, physically, emotionally, sexually?  Don't they owe you one?

Do you feel the need to cash that in?  Will that heal you?  Look, don't say it's o.k.  Don't give them excuses and don't think you have to listen to theirs.  Keep it real.  See it for what it is and call a spade a spade.  But we can't expect people to make up for every wrong thing they have done to you.  Shoot, don't think for an instant that they can ever make it up to you.  They can't, so let it go.  Forgive.  Write off the wrong that was done to you like a bad debt and move on emotionally.  You are broken, they are broken, and our world is broken.

What does that have to do with Osama Bin Laden?  Not much, I suppose, except for that fact that tonight, as I ponder the news that the man who was the mastermind behind 9/11 is dead, I mourn for our world.  I mourn for all the evil that is happening at this moment.  I mourn for the wrongs done to others and I mourn the wrongs I have done to others.  

When my grandkids ask, "Grandma, how did you feel when you heard that Bin Laden died?"  I will answer, "Sad.  Sad that the world can be such an evil place, that men can do such evil things, and that it took death to make him stop."

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Not Again...Phew! That Was Close!

A word to the wise:  shiny plates don't belong in the microwave!

Who knew?  Those shiny disposable plates are metallic.  You know, METALlic!  It never occurred to me.

I had popped it in the microwave with some yummy-VERY yummy- coffee cake on it...at school.

(Uh, oh.  Bring back any memories?  Like, when I set off the fire alarm at school?)

Again, I had popped it in the microwave and walked out to do something while my coffee cake was warming.  When I returned, my boss and the 5th/6th grade teacher were standing around the fire alarm, looking at it with concern.

I asked, "What's that smell?"

"We're trying to figure that out," they said.

I opened the microwave and POOF!  Out came a puff of smoke.  (Deja vu moment.)

If you remember, I work at a school and there are smoke detectors everywhere.  Having learned my lesson, I slammed the microwave shut and the three of us went into action opening windows.

"Are we due for a fire alarm?"  I asked.  "Well, at least it's not nap time like last time," my boss said.  (I cringed as I thought about that again.)

"So, when should we open the microwave?"  I asked.

The highly intelligent 5th/6th grade teacher said, "Here, take it outside."  (Wow!  Great idea!)

She carried it out and opened it.  We were all wondering what in the world made the microwave smoke. I opened it up and pulled out my plate.  It was totally deformed and had cracks all over it.  Ironically, it was the shape of an egg.  (That makes me giggle!)

The 5th/6th grade teacher says, "Ah!  It's a metallic plate!"

I am happy...oh so happy!... to report that the fire alarm did not go off.  Phew!  That was close!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Why You Should Not Go to the Bathroom at a Roller Rink

I nearly had one of THE most embarrassing moments of my life.  As if the rest of these stories aren't embarrassing enough, but this one could have been completely disastrous!

Have you ever gone roller skating as an adult?  Talk about awkward!  Here are all these 5 year olds flying by you, going backwards, doing flips and landing perfect pirouettes.  It's quite humiliating, actually.  You simply have to resign yourself to skating against the wall avoiding 2 year olds.

You get used to it, of course, and soon you are playing tag and violating other posted rules. (Hey, those aren't for adults anyway, right?) But that first moment you stand up in those roller skates completely rocks your world, as it did mine.  So, before venturing out to the floor, I wisely decided that I better use the restroom.

So, imagine the scene.  I'm on skates, thinking about actually letting the skates roll, but instead choosing to walk in them.  I hit the bathroom floor and WHOOSH!  Better hold on to the wall!  (Ick!) I make it to the stall and shut the door.

Uhhh, shut the door.


UGH!  The door won't close!!!  How am I going to navigate this on roller skates?

Well, ever quick on my feet-err, wheels-and having born three children, thus having to use a public restroom while holding an infant several times, I used my left hand to hold the top of the door.  My nimble fingers take care of the button and...well, I don't think I need to give too many details.

Ok, so now I'm ready to "assume the position".  I bend my knees and...

Uh, oh.  My arm isn't long enough to reach the top of the door from the sitting position and the door is so tall that I can't do the filthy-gas-station-restroom position.  (Ladies, you know what I'm talking about!)

Again, quick on my wheels and fast as lightning I grabbed the bottom of the door and sat down.

I finished, even managing to grab some toilet paper one-handed, and began to stand up and...boy, how do I put this politely?  Do what guys don't have to do when they go #1.  Of course, I'm struggling to do this with my hand holding the bottom of the door, so I do what is necessary and reach for the top.

And here's where I thought I would die of embarrassment.  I'm leaning slightly forward, the floor is slanted slightly downward and as I grab the top of the door, my wheels begin to move forward.

I'm standing there, pants down, toilet paper in one hand, top of the door in the other, and I'm rolling forward, heading out of the stall where I can hear some 12-year-olds talking and fixing their silly bandz.

My heart is pounding a million miles an hour.  This CANNOT be happening!!!  These 12-year-old girls are about to be surprised by an "old" lady in roller skates rolling out of a bathroom stall, pants down, holding a wad of used toilet paper.

Hallelujah, I regained control of my feet and I left the door to its closed-but-not-latched self as I hurriedly pulled my pants up and regained my composure.  Like I said, this could have been one of THE most embarrassing moments of my life and I am SO thankful it wasn't!!!