Sunday, January 27, 2013


Being sick for a week has it's advantages. I had the opportunity to read one of Spencer's assigned texts for his Sociology class and it was actually really interesting.

The book is titled Generation Me by Jean M. Twenge, with a subtitle- "Why Today's Young Americans are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled- and More Miserable Than Ever Before". Nothing like a good positive grab line to get my attention.

It takes thousands of pieces of data, statistics from the 50's to 2006, and analyzes what it says about the growth and development of people born from the late 70's to 2000. Way too much information to try and condense it for a blog, but very much recommend it for those raising kids now, or born in that period. The findings made me really look at the way I see the world, myself and the people I love. Lots to laugh about, while still helping readers recognize some of the negative trends-and ideas on how to combat it.

In regards to the over emphasis on self esteem and individuality, the author quotes something Ellen DeGeneres said on her t.v. show that epitomizes the focus of this age group's beliefs: "The most important thing is how you feel and being happy." It's so easy to recite this doctrine when you grew up in "Generation Me". But as the book continues, the statistics don't lie- "Only 1-2% of Americans born before 1915 experienced a major depressive episode during their lifetimes, even though they lived through the Great Depression and two world wars. Today, the lifetime rate of major depression is ten times higher- between 15-20%...In one 1990's study, 21% of teens aged 15-17 had already experienced major depression."

Apparently, focusing on our feelings and trying to "be happy" is getting this generation no where.

The last chapter gives ways for parents and young people to apply the findings and it was my favorite part, because each tip lines up so completely with The Bible. It always encourages me (and amazes me) that God's Word applies just as clearly today, as it did thousands of years ago. Statistical evidence and scientific research continues to point to an All Knowing, All Powerful God who has our best interest at heart. Love that!
(I want so much for her to grow up with grace and wisdom.)
I crawled into bed the other night thinking of myself, and before I knew it...Steve was laughing at the basketball game, Jazz was cuddling up next to me, Jo was playing the drums on Brielle to get her to wiggle around, and Spence was laying there flopping like a dead fish to make us all bounce. Thinking about Generation Me, and looking at these "GenMe'ers", I couldn't help but praise God for family. One of the biggest reasons the author found that this Group is more depressed and anxious then ever before is that:
"It's almost as if we are starving for affection...we're malnourished from eating a junk-food diet of instant messages, emails, and phone calls rather than the healthy food of live, in-person interaction". No starvation around here- we can't get away from each other even when we TRY.

Bottom line, we need each other and it's far more important than our self focus. And I am so thankful God never ceases to remind me that.

Here's a taste of the tips she gave young people in combating some of the pitfalls she experienced in her 20's. (And I couldn't help but add the Scriptures that came to mind as I read them. If a teenager ever tells you God doesn't get this generation and the Bible is out of date, tell them they are dead wrong. He understood them BEFORE the statistics backed Him up. )

For Young People (Taken from page 238-241 of Generation Me.)
* Limit your exposure to certain kinds of TV. "Avoid shows that detail the extravangant homes and cars of wealthy celebrities. They're tremendously entertaining...but you see all of the things that you'll probalby never have. Avoid overexposing yourself to the lifestlyes of the lucky few and look around you in real life- there are probably plenty of people with less than you."
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." Philippians 4:8
* Avoid overthinking. " is linked to an elevated risk of depression. Talking it over with a friend is a far better solution. You're still considering your problems, but sharing them with someone else unburdens you enough to stop overthinking."
"Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up." Proverbs 12:25

* Value social relationships. "You are going to be much happier if you make the extra effort needed to see friends and family. You are going to hear a lot of people tell you that being alone is great, because of the old self-esteem mantra. But...People who have good relations with others- partners, family, friends- are happier and less depressed than other people."
" Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." 1Thessalonians 5:11

*Combat depression naturally. "I have already mentioned the first two- socializing and not overthinking. You are also less likeyl to feel depressed if you: (1) get enough sleep (2) expose yourself to sunlight for at least an hour a day (3) exercise regularly, and (4) eat a diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids. (Disclaimer: The study the author used for these findings isn't against medication, it was just saying that for "a lot of people [drugs] don't work- and if they do, it's short term. Relapse is a huge issue. So, if you can achieve superior results long term without medication, the advantage seems pretty clear." Steve Ilardi, University of Kansas)

*Cultivate realistic expectations. "Have realistic goals rather than believing you should "follow your dreams" no matter what."
" He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8

*Get involved in your neighborhood and community. "The fulfillment that GenMe seeks might be found in helping other people. It's one of the best ways to find deeper meaning in life and build those true relationships that are otherwise so hard to find."
" You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, SERVE ONE ANOTHER humbly in love." Galatians 5:13

Turn on your Kindle and get this book. It's worth it.
And if you have a chance, read this blog post of a GenMe'er, my amazing daughter (30 Days) , who made a decision based on instant gratification and self focus, and now is paying the cost. It's encouraging to see though, that she has now moved forward enough to see that even though she is a "product" of this generation, she doesn't have to continue in the errors. She really can choose to take the best attributes of Generation Me- independence, openness and intelligence, and meld them with the desire to serve rather than seek her own pleasure. And she can still find fulfillment. I kind of think she rocks.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Put some more wood on that!

I definitely shouldn't be allowed to blog any time after 1 AM ever again. What a fire that last post started. I received dozens of messages from people wanting to show their support, some wanting to turn me from my dark ways, and others fearful that I was abandoning the concept of church! Whew! Did I miss the mark on my purpose. I suppose that's the reason I am not a writer.

To clarify-
* I LOVE my church. It's a place where I can be me. Opinionated. Disagreeable. Loving. Merciful. I can pursue learning and growth, and I can disagree with some decisions.
* I LOVE people. Even when we don't see eye to eye.
* And I hope I never abandon the directive from God that tells us to not forsake meeting together, and "as iron sharpens iron", I hope I always rub shoulders with those who challenge me to really mean what I say.

Just as I can obey the laws of my country even though the sight of Obama's face makes my blood pressure rise, I can choose to submit to the things about church I don't agree with when it deals with preference. Changing ministries, how I "do" church, doesn't mean I don't like church.

As much as I am confused at times on how to relate "Cast the sinner out" in Matthew, with "Neither do I condemn you" in John, I do understand this-
"I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one- I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me." John 17:22-23
I am sorry if I caused you to be divided. There is a saying, "When you find the perfect church, and become a ceases to be perfect." I don't expect perfection from any church, especially because I am there! Thank you for giving me the grace to have an opinion, though. Let's keep each other thinking, allowing questions...and chances to get on our knees. 

So, on a much less exciting topic- thought I would tell you about BOUNTIFUL BASKETS! The greatest thing I have found in a long time, thanks to some wonderful CHURCH friends (teeheehee) who shared the tip.

I went to pick up my first basket today and was so pleased with what I got! I saved at least 40% on produce I would normally buy at Safeway, and I didn't have to settle for Winco's terrible quality to get the deal. Avocado, celery, carrots, greens, parsley, oranges, apples, potatoes, onions, fresh ginger, chili peppers- the list goes on! All so delightfully FRESH. Strawberries that aren't bland and a beautiful pineapple rounded out the treats.

All you have to do is go to and all the instructions are there. It's completely volunteer, so read through all the notes. You can place your "contribution" on Monday, and pick up delicious fresh veggies and fruits on Saturday! If you are a juicer, this is even better- they have add on baskets for just dollars.

Give it a try and see what you think, it was so worth it. Now I am going to go take my fresh strawberry cobbler out of the oven, and pop in the banana/strawberry muffins. Mmmmmm!

(Pictures taken from random blogs who love Bountiful Baskets too- we started eating ours before I could get the camera out!)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Haters gonna hate.

Timing is a funny thing. It always surprises me that you can go from a total "high" moment at the beginning of a week, only to tumble into disappointment at the end. I suppose its good in a way, it keeps us leaning on the wisdom of the Lord. Trusting His purpose makes it all a little easier to stomach.

The last 9 months have been a roller coaster. No doubt about it. But the learning and growth we have all experienced has been so worth it. I look at every moment of life differently now. When I am in a funk of course, I think of all the mistakes I have made, and say "what if", "if only". But when I am in my right mind, I just see all that God is doing to show who He is. A God who loves us, who wants to SAVE us from ourselves. A God who wants to be connected to us and change us. My peanut brain just can not grasp it all.

I was reading in the gospels tonight, and it just kept striking me that Jesus truly did come to change the way we ARE. The book of John was the very first one I ever read- even before I became a Christian. It's dog-eared, and worn but it still confuses me sometimes. Chapter after chapter, Jesus explains who He is. Clearly, directly. But I still don't understand Him or know Him fully. Because I am still a sinner. I get angry, and jealous. I can be bitter and use my tongue to hurt. I am far too opinionated and I eat too much. But He loves me in spite of me. Crazy.

I got to a passage in John 8  that just gets me every time. Click on the link and read it. It's the story of a woman caught sleeping around. Nowadays, it doesn't seem very shocking, does it? I think every one of us knows someone who could fit this woman's description. But back then- it was certain death. It breaks my heart when I picture her, face down at the feet of GOD, all her shame and sin laid out for everyone to see. I just want to run to her and hug her, to wipe her tears and tell her she is still valued. But the church wanted her stoned. They wanted her to pay for her sin. In blood. (And please don't think I am trying to do a correct interpretation of this passage- I understand that the religious leaders were trying to trap Jesus with His response. Trying to find a way to catch Him disobeying God's law so they could condemn Him. I just relate more with "Pharisees" now, as I am part of the "church" and a "religious" person. This is just thoughts on how I see it sometimes.)

As we face people who can't move past the sins of this last year, it reminds me of this story. I always read it and thought the "Pharisees" looked angry- red faced, raging MAD. Now sometimes I picture them with concern, with indifference, with an air of wisdom. Sometimes...I picture them as just men- who didn't want "dirt" in their "church". I don't feel irritated with them anymore, I just feel more sad.

When I think of the woman, I imagine her relief when Jesus rescued her. When she heard him say, "Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” I imagine her tears. Did she clean up right then and there? Did she never again sin- never again give in to the flesh? I wish I knew. I use to think so- but now I'm not so sure. I wonder how hard the road was to rebuild her life. I know she did it, I just know it. But what were all the consequences she experienced that John didn't tell us about?

I look at my daughter and her little family, and I thank God that she trusts Jesus with her life. I love that no matter how hard it gets, she refuses to quit. Her choices- good and bad- are out there, for the whole world to see. She experiences the hurt every day for her mistakes, while I know so many people- her friends and adults- who walk in their sin and just haven't gotten caught yet. Drugs, sex, immorality. Getting drunk off their butt on Friday and worshiping on Sunday. They get to stand where the Pharisees did. Pointing, whispering. Making decisions that only hurt, because their sin is secret. I feel sorry for them because they don't know that the damage is still being done, even if they still get to sing and worship on Sundays.

I am so proud of Jasmine and Spencer. They keep getting hit, but they keep getting up. I don't agree with them sometimes, but I LOVE the people God is growing them into. I love that they have come so far in so short a time, and that even when things are hard, they are learning to CHOOSE to submit to the authority God has put over them- not just to make up for past disobedience. But because they WANT to see God do big things in their lives.

We were confronted yet again with the hard consequences of sin this week. In theory we can say "you are forgiven in Christ" but in reality, people don't do that as easily. We all have principles to live by, but it's interesting that no one has any suggestions on what that looks like in practice. I guess for me- I'm tired of doing church and life the way "it's always been done". I want to be a person who can show grace even when it's hard. The kind of person who accepts others the way they ARE right now, rather than waiting until they clean up and put on their best dress. Lord, help me to find the balance between the love I have for your Word and Law, and the love I have for your broken people. Make me more like You, Jesus. A God who eats with sinners, saves the prostitute. A God who can love someone even like me.

To leave you on a much happier note- I might not like the "church" very much right now, but I LOVE God's people! Jasmine's friends had a baby shower for her this last Saturday and it was too perfect! All the pictures just give a tiny glimpse of the way these ladies blessed my girl, and showed her how much she is loved and cared for. It was overwhelming to see, and even more wonderful to watch Jasmine and Spencer process the kindness when they got home.

My favorite story was a surprise gift. One of my patients, who I worked with for over a year, is a dear sister in Christ and shares our love of horses and life. She heard about Jasmine and her shower through a co-worker, and wanted to do something special, "because I respect so much her decision to choose life" even when it's a hard road. So hundred of dollars later, Brielle has her crib, and all the accessories- from a complete stranger. This woman has never met my girl, I haven't seen her in months, and yet she wanted to share the love of Christ...the GRACE of Christ, just because. Now THAT, was a great day.
God bless you, friend. Let's never give up on each that our "whole spirit, soul and body may be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it." 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A year of "Letting Go". Goodbye, 2012.

If you had told me last January, where we would be today, I would have said you have an active imagination. But the reality is, we can't plan for everything, and sometimes, we just have to learn to let go...and let God. So instead of saying, "Goodbye and good riddance," to 2012, I am just going to wave and smile.

What I learned in 2012:

January: Enjoy the small things in life, the things that just happen.
  "“Four things on earth are small, yet they are extremely wise:  Ants are creatures of little strength,
    yet they store up their food in the summer; hyraxes are creatures of little power, yet they make their home in the crags;  locusts have no king, yet they advance together in ranks;  a lizard can be caught with the hand, yet it is found in kings’ palaces." Proverbs 30:24-28
Nerf worth the bruises and the blood.

February: Embrace the friendships around you. They are precious for as long as we are blessed to have them.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” 1 John 13:-34-35

March: Take time out to laugh, and relax a little.
 "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." Proverbs 17:22

April: Don't under estimate yourself.You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.
 (Philippians 4:13)

May: Don't neglect the friendships that have helped shape the person you are today.
"Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:33
June: Cherish every stage of your life. This month will forever be engraved in my mind. I will never forget the month I found out I was going to be a grandma.
"There is a time for everything..." Ecclesiastes 4

July: Always remember that we are a work in progress. This month I came to terms with a lot of things, and God just kept reminding me of 2 Corinthians 5. It was such a comfort for me as we processed our new roles, and I kept remembering what one of the skate church pastors use to say so many years ago when we first came to know the Lord. "Although this earthly tent is fatally bent, it's true contents are heavenly sent".

First job!!

Love these men.
August: If we want to get anywhere, we have to "row together". No matter how hard it gets.
" Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." Ecclesiastes 4:12

September: Little things can make any day better.
My grandbaby's footprint!

October: Life is a gift that should never be taken for granted.

 November: Sometimes deciding to do the right thing is hard, but it's always worth it. When we humble ourselves before the Lord, He WILL lift us up. (James 4:10)

December: Thirteen years is far too long to wait before taking a weekend away for yourself with a few good friends!
" Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord..." Acts 3:19

I am ready to welcome in a new year with all that it brings. Good or bad- I choose to thank God for the path He sets me on. Help me see You clearly, Lord.

"For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all... And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again." 
2 Corinthians 5:14-15