Good Christian B*tches - If the shoe fits...

I get a lot of emails from the conservative Christian perspective because of the home school groups I'm in. One came through a while ago very upset about the show Good Christian B*tches. It complained that our religious freedoms are at stake, directly linked to the amount of mockery Christians receive in the public arena. If television companies are allowed to make fun of Christianity in ways that it doesn't make fun of other religions without someone crying foul then Christianity is on it's way out and we should be very afraid. Disrespect = threat

So you know me. I had to see it for myself.

Oh, how I laughed.

You know what makes something funny? Something is funny if there is a nugget of truth in it, no matter how exaggerated it may be for comic effect.

I know the people who are upset about this show are probably not the same people the show is making fun of, they just happen to share a very broad religious designation that encompasses all sorts of different opinions and practices. I also know that there are many, many people who call themselves Christians and who live lives of sincere love and service for others.

Sadly, there are people out there like the ones this show is satirizing. There are people in this country who go to church every Sunday and still think black people are inferior to white people. There are still people who go to church every Sunday and care more about their social status and how perfect their lawn/nails/hair/car is than about the suffering, oppressed and dying in this world. There are people who call themselves Christian and believe that it's their God given right as "believers" and citizens to live a life of ease.

You know what?

Those people deserve to be made fun of. They should have someone pointing out how ridiculous it is that they claim to follow Jesus, a guy who owned nothing, lived off of the generosity of others, and went about doing only good for people in need and saying things to deliberately piss off the religious elite, while they chase their nice American dream lives with their nice picket fences and their petty disagreements and their empty pursuits.

Because if you are really following Jesus it's going to wreck your life. It's going to make you uncomfortable with your comfort, it's going to make your privilege sit uneasily upon your shoulders and you are going to have to do some serious soul searching about how you are going to live your life in such a way as brings redemption to this world, rather than feeds the brokenness and evil in it. You don't get to choose your cross.

And if a satire hurts, if it pricks you and causes you to feel a little uncomfortable than maybe that's a good thing. Maybe you should feel uncomfortable, and take a long close look in the mirror.  Because the truth can hurt at times, but it can also set you free.


The Problem with Katniss

I finally read Hunger Games this weekend. I can see why everyone is fascinated. It's a really compelling story.

The world creation, the plot, and the characters, are all well drawn and it took me a while to notice the problem with Katniss.

Don't get me wrong, she's a very interesting character. As a reader I care about her success and her struggle. I just wonder if anyone else thinks it's odd that compared to almost every other person in the book she has no character at all, not of the moral kind that is.

Katniss is a very good portrayal of a girl who survives, who has lived through trauma, who does what she needs to do to get what she needs to get. She has only formed deep attachments with one or 2 other people in her life. She is so narcissistic that she can't even see the possibility that someone else isn't playing the game and has a goal other than winning or survival in mind. Noble ideals are foreign to her.

I'm sure this is deliberate on the part of the author, and it makes sense in light of Katniss's back story. In literary terms Katniss is not what we call a hero, rather, she is an anti-hero.

Wikipedia defines an anti-hero thusly:

Unlike traditional heroes, antiheroes are not as fabulous as the traditional ones... They are not villains but not necessarily heroes. They may do bad things but are not evil. They usually fight villains, but not for the reason of justice. Their actions are motivated by their own personal desires, such as revenge. For example, an antihero may steal, vandalize, and perform other "bad" acts but may do so for a good cause.

Even the good things Katniss does are motivated out of self interest, rather than altruism. She cares for Peeta because it will make her look better to the audience, she tends to Rue because she wants to show her own rebellion.

In literary terms there is nothing wrong with a character like this and the other characters provide a good contrast to her consuming self interest.

However, the problem is this. Hunger Games is young adult fiction. Young girls are reading this book and idolizing a narcissistic self interested girl who's bursts of emotionalism are almost always rewarded. Is this really the kind of role model we want our girls to be reading about?

What happened to the days when literature for young people called them to a higher standard, and led them to expect more of themselves, rather than less?

A quick survey of popular heroines in YA fiction turns up Bella, from the Twilight series, Hermione from Harry Potter, and Katniss.

Bella is self absorbed, lacks self control and is bent on self destruction that others have to save her from. Not to mention that her great love is abusive.

Katniss is narcissistic, self absorbed, and prone to emotional outbursts that are rewarded rather than censured, encouraging girls to disregard self control and trust their hormone charged feelings and perceptions.

Hermione shines in contrast as an example of a girl who works hard, does what is right even when it would be easier not to, and is a good friend and a person with moral fiber.

And that my friends, is why my girls will be reading the classics for many, many years before they get their hands on most modern fiction. Because imagine Laura Ingalls, or Anne of Green Gables, or Jo behaving in such ways and getting away with it. It just would not happen.

Who were your literary role models growing up?

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We're all in this together

Because of the film Kony2012 everyone in America, and that means most of the resot of the people on the planet as well, have become enthusiastically aware of a serious aspect of evil in the world.

Invisible Children is amazing. They have just performed the single most impressive awareness campaign ever. EVER. What is more, it isnʼt finished. They have set the bar and set it high.

As with any time someone blows away the paradigm there has been some criticism. Mostly that they are not doing something about the problem. Against this there have been even excellent defenses.But I don't really want to talk about that.

What too many people forget is that we are all in this together. Everyone who is about making the world a better place is on the same team. To put it in business terms, all of us in the aid and development “industry” are units within the “Global Transformation Company”. We are all united in the same goal and to the same purpose. Our struggle is not against each-other. Our collective struggle is against the evil in the world. Invisible Children is currently the single most effective marketer on out side of the struggle.

Kony 2012 has created a tidal wave of awareness that has the potential to grow far beyond its specific message.

Regardless of what you think of Kony2012 the truth of the matter is that today, as people stand around and criticize one organization's awareness campaign, evil things happen:

children are being murdered
children are being forced to murder
children are being raped
children are working long hours in brutal slavery
children are dying because they don't have enough food to eat.
children are dying of waterborne diseases because they don't have access to clean water
children are begging in the streets
children are alone

and people, all over the world, are working to change that.

Now you are aware. Now you act.

So at our Charis Project meeting this weekend we thought, wouldn't it be cool to turn this conversation toward all of the other really great non-profit work being done? Wouldn't it be great if with the world looking at Kony2012 right now they saw a community of people supporting each other and working together to make the world a better place? So we invented the #kony2action and #doinggood hashtags. (Mostly because a lot of other good ones were taken.)

#kony2action is for catalyzing the energy of awareness into action. Because you can't un-know the evil that is in the world, and that folks are trying to explain it away by claiming that the accounts are exaggerated, or that what is being done to help is wrong, just doesn't sit right with you. Because there are organizations, all over the world, who are doing
something about the evil they see and you know about them.

Let's make sure the world knows and does something about Joseph Kony, by all means, but don't stop there because there are folks working hard, acting right now, to improve things in countries all over the world and they should be famous too.

Let's translate the effectiveness of Invisible Children's incredible awareness campaign into something even bigger than they imagined could happen, into making famous the many organizations who are united in the cause to transform the world and are doing the hard work of it right now.

Use #kony2action and #doinggood to recommend anyone you know is doing a great job of helping children anywhere in the world. Not to take away from #Kony2012, but to increase even further the huge good it has already done.

We're all in this together, and we're all working hard. Let's show solidarity and shine the spotlight on organizations that you know to be doing good work on the ground. (This is a time to praise someone else, not promote yourself.)

So friends, will you take a minute and tweet #kony2action and #doinggood and tell the watching world about what is being done to change it for the better and how we each can take action, or support someone who is?

Goodbye Echo

I had a different post scheduled and I will put it up later today, but I couldn't let it post without first writing this.

Last night I opened up facebook to find that someone I know died suddenly and tragically and I am just very sad.

The last time I saw Echo she was probably only about 12 years old, it was 2000. (For those of you counting I would have been 23.) I had known her for several years by then. Her family attended the same church as mine so we saw each other regularly.

She was different from a lot of other kids, dreamy and earnest and desperately wanting someone to shower her with affection and love. She was a bit odd, eccentric even and trying to hard to fit in. I was very fond of her.

I don't know the exact path that let that sweet and loving little girl toward a drug addiction, nor do I know what route took her to the place she ended up yesterday, coughing up blood without being able to stop, but it's not hard for me to imagine.

There has been a lot of death in my circles recently. I have no idea why this one has hit me the hardest. Perhaps because in my mind she is still the child I loved, and the intervening years have not gone by for me.

But I think it's mostly for who she was, the light that resided in her, and the horrible way in which it was quenched.

I remember taking her hands and dancing all over the room. I remember her climbing into my arms to tell me stories. I remember the curve of her chin and the length of her limbs even then, both graceful and gawky at the same time. I bet she grew up tall.

I remember as she spun around and around and around in her living room, showing off her dances.

My heart is on the ground.

Goodbye Echo. I love you. I wish I had not moved so far away and so out of touch that I wasn't around to tell you that every day for all these years. I wish I still had the chance to tell you again how special you are.

I know you are finally at peace, and I am trying to be glad for you, but it feels to be far too soon.

Goodbye my dear. I hope you are dancing now.


19 months

Dear Bam Bam,

Sometime in the past few months you have gone all the way from toddler to little boy, a little boy who doesn't talk yet.

You are fun, so much fun, and super intense. You want to PLAY! You smile and laugh and giggle, and ask for more: more tickles, more swinging around, more of looking at me. You are all alive, brilliantly, brightly alive.

I could not believe you were strong enough to lower yourself down here, but you were and did it over and over again.
For 3 days we fought about whether or not you would sit in your highchair to eat. I forced you into it and strapped you down, you angrily refused to eat, I refused to let you eat unless you were sitting down. It took until 2pm for you to eat anything that one day.

And then I saw you climb your way onto the bench at the table between your brother and your sister and look proudly at each of them, laughing when you saw them laugh, imitating their gestures and pulling yourself up tall, so proud to be one of the gang. So I put the high chair away and pulled out the booster seat so you could join the family at the table. Now I fight with you about staying seated while at the table, you get so excited.

You are the instigator, the distractor, the excuse in this house. "I didn't do my job because BamBam was sitting on me mommy." "But he was chasing me, I had to hide." He's taking away all my pencils, (Because I'm laying on the floor where he can reach them.)" Who would they blame for their failure to do their work if you weren't around, hmmm? :)

Today at lunch we were all taking turns quizzing each other out of these little question books we just got. People were shooting their hands up to answer and then we all looked over at you and you were throwing both hands into the air and grinning madly because you had figured out the game and were playing too. It was awesome.

You wave goodbye as if your life depended on it running while madly flailing your arm. You hug the legs of people you like, the list is growing every day, and lay you head on their leg as you do.

You love your evening routine. You've figured that part of the day out. First there's a bath, and then your dinosaur robe, and then I spread out a towel for you to lay down on and you get down on it, all by yourself, while I put on your diaper and jammies. You know that after this you will get mommy and daddy to yourself for a while because the big kids are already in bed and that's when you light up like Christmas and pull out all of the cute.

You throw the hugest fits now, like you're already 2. It's funny when small people are so passionately angry about things like, having the sharp knife taken away BEFORE you managed to put it in your mouth, or moving the stool you were climbing away from the hot stove, or bringing you in from the street and shutting the gate so you CAN'T run out into traffic. You are the throw yourself on the round and scream sort of fit thrower. We try not to let you see just how funny it is, since it's our job to teach you not to do it very soon.

You're a little OCD about shutting doors.
 You have all your teeth now! All of them. The past 4 days are the 1st time in your entire life that you don't have huge drool marks down the front of your shirt. Yay, no more wet shirts.

It's bittersweet to watch you grow, to try things, and fall, and get up again, fearless, and to say goodbye to the little baby that you once were. But you are so much fun and personality right now that it's easy to rejoice in who you are becoming.

"dddthiisss" your only word.

I love you dearly,

your mama.


The Simplicity Project - Too many clothes, nothing to wear

The Simplicity Project she laughs at the days

When I was 4 my mom went to the hospital to give birth to my little sister and my grandmother came to take care of us for a few days while she was there. My mom and I had spent quite a lot of time going through my clothes and choosing outfits for me to wear for each day that she was gone.

The second day that my grandmother was there I came upstairs wearing the second outfit that my mom and I had picked out. Her reaction, not knowing of this arrangement, was to tell me to get back to my room right now and change into the clothes I was wearing the day before. They weren't dirty yet and I shouldn't make more work for my mother by wearing fresh clothes when the clothes I had already worn could be worn a second time.

What followed was a knock down drag out fight in which my old school grandma forcibly changed me into my other clothes while I screamed in protest the entire time and cried the rest of the day because of it. My mom was mad and I believe came home a day earlier than planned.

Nineteen years later I lived with my grandparents for several months. My grandma really did wear the same clothes every day until they got dirty. She wore an apron to keep that from happening. She changed into "work clothes" if she was doing anything particularly messy, and she always looked good. Her summer work uniform was almost always a light cotton blouse, white, and tan trousers. She had a house dress that she wore in the morning before she readied herself for the days work that was a really nicely cut wrap around affair that she probably sewed herself. She exercised in her underwear, which is something I discovered by accident when I came upon her in the basement one morning unawares.

I find myself doing the same thing more and more often as I get older. (Well, I don't exercise in my underwear. Having an audience of small children discourages that sort of behavior.) I will wear the same clothes 3 days in a row as long as they smell alright and don't have food splatters. I wear aprons when I cook. So, I rotate the same 5 or 6 outfits all the time and have drawers packed with clothes that I hardly ever wear but think I might some day.

I dislike trying to get dressed up because I only have a few things that I like anymore in a closet full of things, and I don't seem to have any in between stages of looking nice.

I need a mom wardrobe, and a much smaller but still functional CFO wardrobe for meetings and such, and I need too be able to look dressed up on occasion in a grow up sort of way for events.

Does the mountain of clothes I currently have accomplish this? Not really.

Do I need to keep the 5 target long sleeve tees that I bought a few months after having BamBam when they were on clearance so I could have some shirts that fit and could be worn under things but are now a few sizes too big and I wear for pajamas most of the time? They are very comfortable, nice fabric and colors.

I wear 2 pairs of jeans in rotation, exclusively, for pants, and I have many more pairs in the drawer, not counting summer wardrobe, that I don't wear. Why am I keeping them?

I am always worried that I will give away all of the extras and then something I have worn exclusively for months will finally wear out and I will wish I had held on to those extra items.

This is silliness. I don't need that many extra. Do I?

So here's what I'm aiming toward in the next few weeks.

Mom wardrobe - Winter

7 tops that fit nicely and are comfortable. (I usually layer them over camis.)

Only camis that I have actually worn in the past 5 months. The rest can go. (What about the ones with torn lace? Keep and sew or get rid of them?)

6 casual everyday cardigans, I love sweaters, for variety.

2 pairs of jeans
1 pair of trousers
1 pair of corduroys ( so comfortable I have a pair that are too big and I could maybe alter.)

1 pair of sandals that fits well and supports my feet properly. (I will have to wait for these because I don't have any money to get them.)
1 pair of cute lace up shoes that are not meant for exercise. (Must also wait to shop.)
1 nice pair of boots (Thrift store?)
1 pair of running shoes

2 dresses that are comfy and flattering and go anywhere.

CFO Wardrobe

2 pairs of trouser type pants, grey and black
1 black skirt - Knee length

4 blouses

2 business cardigans

1 pair of sensible black heels, short so I can stand in them

1 3/4 length black trench coat, lined

(I can use the boots from the other wardrobe too, depending on what style they are.)


2-4 nice dresses that can be dressed up or down easily and are flattering in cut and length.

I already have shoes to wear with them but another pair of pretty sandals would be nice.

What do you think? To much? Too minimalist? Is there anything I'm forgetting about? Please tell me what your wardrobe basics are that you couldn't live without.

I'm planning to show you pictures of this weeks keepers, rejects and not sures, as soon as I get them taken

Share your simplicity project.


Silly Faces at the Baby Gate

I found these photos last night that I took sometime last year. BamBam and Little were watching me through the baby gate so I started taking pictures. This is back when BamBam tried to eat everyone he loves. Actually, he still does that on occasion.

They make me smile.

look how little he was.


Pretty, Funny, Happy, Real - Safari Park

Thursday we decided last minute to head to the Wild Animal Park. It was chilly, I wasn't expecting much, but the kids have season passes that were a gift so it's no big deal if the day isn't perfect, we can always go back. I'm glad we went.

We walked up to condor ridge for the first time, and past it to the old world garden. Crazy, crazy looking plants. There was no one else there, for quite a while, so we walked and explored and had lots of fun.



BamBam blowing raspberries.

The Boy has his own camera now, a very early digital passed on by the great grandparents. They posed for him, but wouldn't for me.


a boy with room to run

butterfly dreams

He loves this little tunnel

rockstar pose

baby elephant nursing

A mud hut in the Nairobi themed playground is a replica of many family's real and only home.

stop taking pictures and give me pretzels

round button chicken
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