22 June 2019

In the old, old days, women stayed at home with their family, and their mother and father, until they were married. Men did too. They helped with the farm, the mill, the animals, the family business - whatever it may have been - and they helped out with the family home and family members. Elderly were cared for, children were cared for, single men and women had a place in their family and their church, their community and their society. And it was okay.

A long time ago, and probably it happened a lot before it was noticed on a larger scale, some men and women left home without being married and starting their own family. They left for work in the factories or the mines or cities, or they left to go to war or to do mission work. Some went to places of higher learning and became professors, doctors and lawyers. Elderly parents or those who couldn't care for themselves were cared for by other family members or someone in the community. Or an asylum of some kind. Sometimes the ones who left would send financial support. Sometimes they would start a whole new family in a new place, without an extended family nearby. And it was okay.

Some young men and women stayed at home though, and carried on the family tradition of making families who stayed or travelled together. And that was okay too.

Not so long ago, in some places, it was expected and often demanded that all children, upon reaching a certain age, were supposed to move out of their family home, whether they were planning to start a family of their own or not. Usually, it was preferred that they not be planning a family, but rather go off on their own. Whether it was for school or career, warfare or mission work, parents felt pride if their offspring went off on their own. Offspring seldom stayed near the parents or grandparents, and as time went on, there were so many parents and grandparents for one child to keep track of, all living in different places, it was best to merely maintain friendships. Sometimes the extended family is financially cared for, or visited. And, maybe, it is still okay. Sort of.

Family is a relative term these days. No pun intended. A travelling sports team. A group of workers from one office. A shelter full of runaways. A group of friends who have at least one thing in common.

I think a lot of things have changed that make it hard on everyone. We can't go back. "It is what it is" they say.

As an old fashioned person, I find it kind of sad.

12 May 2019

Old Fashioned Names

When you were born, we named you Heather. Your father thought it was a beautiful name. It was the name of the prettiest girl in his high school. I sometimes told others that last fact with a chuckle.  Not to belittle the name. It was just a cute story. I named you Elizabeth to, because that name was also beautiful to me. You have a beautiful name, which we chose with love. You were a beautiful baby, and a lovely child. Your smile glowed and you were always cute. Sweet. Pretty. And you grew to be beautiful.

Of course, all those adjectives and the names themselves are now... old fashioned?  They are attributed to ladies, young and old. Not usually masculine in any sense. These days, though, feminine and masculine names and descriptors are out of date. We, in the modern West, are not to be male or female, masculine or feminine, boy or girl. Genderless and grey. Romantic and/or sexual with anyone who is human. Fluid. Colour and origin can't be changed, so everyone must be accepted as human, and allowed and expected to be proud of who they are.

But these days, gender, which also can't be changed, and should also have been respected ... can be medically, chemically, psychologically changed, misinterpreted, flipped back and forth from day to day, from minute to minute.

Names and adjectives which describe "red and yellow, black and white" have become terms of derision, used within one group to build up one another and not allowed to be used by "the others" - those who are not "our people".  Regardless of the fact that we are one people. One blood. We are not to differentiate between shades of skin colour when it comes to work, religion, marriage and family, education, all while remembering that some social classes may have years and years of baggage pulling them down because people in the past didn't regard all shades of brown as equal people, notwithstanding words in some nation's credo.

Religious people are told to co-exist. And they do. Look at the rise of cross cultural weddings, neighborhoods, schools. If something happens to separate those of different ideologies, many people are quick to jump in and point out that it's wrong to put down or elevate one human above another because of a name or title that may be religious, cultural or political.

Sometimes old fashioned words divide and belittle humans. Prejudice and fear. Ignorance. Modernity and education seek to correct the old ways that hurt other humans and put walls between people. So new words are taken up and promoted: Indigenous. Autistic. Differently abled.

But men and women? Instead of modernity and education promoting the equal treatment of men and women, modernity has decided to eliminate male and female. To say that one is "pan-" or "fluid" is to say that gender is a societal construct, putting biological and chemical differences which can be scientifically described away. Leaving behind the idea that you can be romantically or

10 May 2019

I Am Old

I feel old. My thoughts are old. I feel sick. And tired.

And my daughter moved out yesterday.

Not my older daughter. She's 21years old and getting married in August, so I have time to plan, to pack her things with her, to get used to the idea that it's going to be a lot quieter around here, to notice all the things that she does now that will leave a hole when she's gone and to prepare for that feeling. We will celebrate her moving out with parties and a grand celebration of a small wedding with friends and family at the church's building where her father and her grandmother grew up. Sunflowers and lace. And joy. And a calm assurance.

I know I'll hear from her after the honeymoon, and she'll share stories of the fun, and the trouble, they have making their new house a home. A family.

My younger daughter left yesterday. She packed her backpack for school with more things than usual, and I asked her about it. She said it was books for school. She's in art, photography and drama. I asked her, "what books?" She said something about a project for photography class. Her dad drove her to school and dropped her off. I started off my day with our littlest girl's home school studies.

Then we got a jpeg of a letter typed out to us. She was saying goodbye in the letter. Our house was toxic and she needed someplace safe and healthy. She wasn't who she had pretended to be with us.

She lied to us for years.

I admit, I'm stupid sometimes. I gave her so many chances to tell me. I asked her straight out sometimes, and she straight up lied to me. I knew she was lying. I nudged and waited, and she wouldn't come out and just tell me what she was thinking. So she lied and hid and stayed on her phone texting and watching and never sharing.

And then a jpeg of a typed letter texted to us while she was at school, saying goodbye. Saying she was not coming home. Saying she was going to be legally changing her name. Signing the letter with the words, "your child," and her name with the parenthetical "for now" attached.

And for over 24 hours now we've all gone through the "steps" of grieving. Shock. Anger. Denial. Fear. Sadness. A quiet passes through and is suddenly torn apart when I wash HER cup. Her little sister asks again if she's coming back.

I guess she and the counselors at school decided that it was better this way. She apologized that it "had" to be this way.

Every paragraph break here is a cry break. I keep thinking it's like when my Dad passed away, only worse. I knew he was leaving. I knew he was right with God.

I'm going to be 51 years old tomorrow.  And I feel so old.

22 November 2016

What To Post in Social Media

Someone once posited: "What would Jesus post?"

I keep thinking, it's probably not: "Look at how bad things are! Look at what idiots some people are! See here, this bad thing? These bad people? Just look! Look and share with everyone how bad the world is! All is lost! Take up arms! Or at least pass on this post about the bad in the world!"

But I read the sermons and lessons he taught in the middle of a bad age. In the midst of bad, be holy, he said. Lean on him. When he had a problem with the leaders and Pharisees, he told them to their faces. He wept over the bad and the sad. He taught his disciples how to personally live rightly, in truth, with mercy.

He came to earth - and taught love and peace and submission to God, and suffered abuse and died - so that we could live. Abundantly.

What can I possibly do to change the feelings of others by posting something "faceless-ly" in Facebook? Can I even convince other followers of Christ that they might be missing the point that Christ made, even if I post his scripture? How much less those who don't believe in him, even if I post human opinion?

I read that we are to walk as he walked. Strengthening and encouraging others who want to hear. Not merely pointing out sin and then leaving people in fear and guilt, but also offering the good news, the Gospel: a better Way.


Today I am thankful for those who post good and healthy words. Who share joy and personal sorrows/needs as they ask others to come together in prayer, who realize that we all need each other. I'm thankful for those who post day to day good things: loving families, clever kids, the humor in a situation, encouraging stories, beautiful scenes of this earth we live on, personal victories and discoveries, hope. Even those who might post a thoughtful piece of warning or advice, if that ends with a call to humble action, for justice, or for mercy, or for good and healthy living.

"Do not let unwholesome, foul, profane, worthless, or vulgar words ever come out of your mouth, but only such speech as is good for building up others, according to the need and the occasion, so that it will be a blessing to those who hear you speak." Ephesians 4:29 (AMP)

Let your words be like gifts of gold wrapped up in silver. Like snow in autumn, they may come as a shock, but they should ultimately refresh others.


I'm just a middle aged white woman from the suburbs. This is what I know to do.

29 July 2016

"Don't Go Without"

Overheard: "Trying to grasp the overwhelming love and wisdom and power of Jehovah God with our finite minds is like trying to fit Niagara Falls through a straw."

As I was thinking about that quote above, I looked online to see if anyone else had ever used that illustration, and I came across this article. Good thoughts here. 

I have included footnotes for certain terms for those who may not be sure of the meanings. I feel that sometimes just using the plain words of scripture make more sense than trying to ascribe a specially invented word, which may not only cause confusion, but maybe division as well, since certain words and phrases may be so identified with someone that we don't agree with on all things, that we wind up missing the truths of what they observe.

Have you ever had a long-distance relationship or had to spend days, weeks, or months apart from tithe one you loved? I can tell you from experience that it is no fun for either party. When you are captivated by love, the last thing you want is to be separated from your lover.  
Our relationship with Christ is a relationship of love. But it isn’t simply like the love we have for a spouse, a friend, or a child — it’s all of these and much more. They love God has for us, this agape reality, is transformative, renewing, and life-giving. It causes a tangible reaction in us; it’s like the reaction of someone who tis seeing or hearing for the first time or tasting steak when they’ve only had dried bits of beef jerky. As Jesus says, it is like discovering a pearl of great price, something for which we are willing to sell all of our possessions to acquire (Matthew 13:46). 
We were created to receive this type of love and, in doing so, become more authentic in our humanity than we could have previously imagined. Love from God is so indescribable because of his limitless and inexhaustible reality. We could say that receiving it is like attempting to funnel Niagara Falls into a straw. Realistically, it would destroy the straw, but in the true exchange, God enables, us, the recipients, to receive this powerful love in a manner that we were capable of processing. The Eucharist is the overflow of actual love, truly, personally, entirely. Jesus is intentionally concealed in the bread and wine so that we have the opportunity to receive him. He is the entirety of what we long for and the provision and conduit that assist us in making a truly authentic response. It is this exchange of his heart with ours that creates the longing.  
This encounter with God is beyond complete articulation, but he has revealed himself to us intentionally throughout time, showing us that even the limitations of creation will not hinder his generous reaching for us. God doesn’t want us to be away from him for even a moment, so the constant opportunity to receive him in prayer and the sacraments fosters love every moment. God has gone out of his way so that we can hear, see, taste, and experience him. He now invites us to bring him to those who don’t know what they are missing. 
One of my close friends was at a Marian site where he unfortunately brought little money. He worried that he wouldn’t have enough to buy something for his special someone at home if he used his funds for food every day, so he bought one loaf of bread to last him the five days. Every day he grabbed a chunk of bread and walked around the city, visiting the sites, praying, and learning about his faith. He would come home exhausted and hungry. On the last day of wandering about, he stumbled into he home in which he’d been residing, only to be greeted by the family who lived there. They said, “We’ve been wondering how you were doing. It seemed you were always on the go. We had a meal prepared for you every morning and night, but unfortunately, we missed you.” He could have feasted every day! The meals were part of the cost of his lodging, and he went without basic nourishment when he never had to. 
This is like our relationship with God. We often go without, starving because we can’t afford more. God has paid for the feast and always wants us to participate in it with him. He always sets a place for us in the hope that the will receive his generosity. Truly we go without because we are really unaware of what it means to be loved by him. The Eucharist is the feast that nourishes us as we walk about and encounter the world. The Eucharist is the beautiful fulfillment of finally being reunited with our love. 
Don’t go without. God is ready to bless you with a beautiful reunification. 

From the devotional: "Why The Eucharist Matters For Your Life: The Practical Reality of Christ's Power and Presence," by Chris Padgett (The Word Among Us Press, 2014) 

1 agape - c.1600, from Greek agape "brotherly love, charity," from agapan "greet with affection, love," of unknown origin. Agape was used by early Christians for their "love feast" held in connection with the Lord's Supper. In modern use, often in simpler sense of "Christian love". -- Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Eucharist "sacrament of the Lord's Supper, the Communion," mid-14c., from Old French eucariste, from Late Latin eucharistia, from Greek eukharistia "thanksgiving, gratitude," later "the Lord's Supper," .... Eukharisteo is the usual verb for "to thank, to be thankful" in the Septuagint and New Testament. --Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

3 sacraments"outward and visible sign of inward and spiritual grace," also "the eucharist," c.1200, from Old French sacrament "consecration; mystery" and directly from Latin sacramentum "a consecrating", from sacrare "to consecrate" (see sacred); a Church Latin loan-translation of Greek mysterion (see mystery ). 

Meaning "a holy mystery" in English is from late 14c. The seven sacraments are baptism, penance, confirmation, holy orders, the Eucharist, matrimony, and anointing of the sick. -- Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

4 a Marian site - the term Marian refers to Mary, the mother of Christ, so a Marian site is a place or shrine devoted to Mary and is a destination of a pilgrimage (spiritual journey) for Roman Catholics.