Thursday, November 08, 2012

The Church Wants Social Justice Back

There are two things I really don't like talking about. 1) Money. Oh man. I really don't have a clue where our money is, how much we spend each month or what we invest in. It's not that I don't care, it's just that I REALLY don't care. I give you permission the next time you see my husband to give him a sympathetic look or a pat on the back. That man is a good one. 2) Politics. The current rantings on facebook from both my liberal and conservative friends makes me well, sad. Not because I don't think they have the right to express their opinions or to disagree with each other (keep it civil people) but because I'm pretty sure Jesus desired for us to live in peace.

The 2012 election and some conversations with some of my friends has me fired up however. Then Beth Moore has to echo what has been rolling around in my head the past six months. (For the record, I love it when someone I respect is thinking the same thing.) So here it is; my political rant for this morning.

We, the Church, want social justice back! I don't know how you politicians stole it away from us but it's ours. Hand.It.Over. You use it to earn votes and to appear like a caring candidate. We do it to honor God and live out Matthew 22:39, "Love your neighbor as yourself." How did the Republican party get viewed as a rich, church-going eliteist group that doesn't care about the poor, the minority or the marginalized in our society? How come the Democrats are viewed as the party that cares about and for these groups? I don't see politics in the Bible when Jesus tells us to care for the poor, widowed and orphan. I don't see a donkey or elephant pinned on any disciples tunic as they shared their money with one another and then gave it away to others. Now I know some political experts and historians are shaking their heads right now and saying, "she is so naive and silly." I understand that both political parties have helped create their storied histories. I just wonder why we look to them for direction on social justice when we should be looking to the Church?

I want social justice back. I don't want it used for political gain. I want to live it. I want my heart to break for what breaks God's heart. Oh Lord; please break my heart for what breaks yours.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Parenting is Hard if You're Doing it Correctly

Alternate title: Good gravy; where did summer go?

It seems like everywhere you look you can find resources on how to parent better. In fact, there are so many great blogs about parenting that I hesitate to even write about it. But parenting is my #1 job. O.K. truthfully, it's really my only job right now unless you count working on my summer tan. I've been a mom for 13 years and these years have taught me a lot but really have left me with just three big desires for my kids.

  1. Know that Jesus loves you more than me and your dad ever could. He chose you before you were born and he chose you as he hung on the cross. Don't rely on your parents' faith to be saved. It has to get real. It must be personal. It has to be yours.
  2. Be grateful. Oh please be grateful for all the many blessings you have and all the amazing people that are in your life. Don't be discontent or think you deserve any sort of special treatment.
  3. You don't have to be the best at anything but you have to try your best at everything. Yep kids, even piano. When I see you not bring your instrument home or dog it on a windsprint at practice I just want to holler, DO YOUR BEST! If mediocre violin playing is your best, then I will proudly listen to you squeak through any song. If a "B" is the best you could do on that language arts exam, great job. And if you never score another goal but are sprinting after the ball giving it your best then this mama is one happy fan.
Here's to a great school year and a year of doing our best.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Always Learning

Here are the top ten things I learned by going to Detroit Tigers Game yesterday. Here we go.

  1. When passing the sunblock to your kids, remember to hit your own forehead with a little SPF 30. Oh, and your nose too.
  2. Arrive early for batting practice so you can catch your favorite Tiger warming up.
  3. Tell middle child that chili cheese fries will include faux cheese. "I didn't know it would come with fake cheese, mom." This isn't some tricky advertising babe; cheese is in it's name.
  4. Go get all of the snacks yourself or your new teenager will miss two home runs while getting Dippin' Dots and complain about it. For way.too.long.
  5. Have everyone use the bathroom before leaving the park because you will get stuck in the parking garage & traffic and now you've got a problem on your hands.
  6. There is a reason Eminem turned out the way he did. Have you seen 8 Mile Road? 'Cause we did on an emergency bathroom stop for one of our kids and let me tell you, there were bullet proof glass windows at every gas station and restaurant. Oh, and no public restrooms thank you very much.
  7. Take the grandparents with you. They have infinitely more patience for your kids than you do. Well, until one of the kids farts in the back of the mini-van.
  8. Consult the hubby about what beverage he is getting at the other food station before you stand in line at another one. Otherwise you will end up with two giant souvenir cups of Mountain Dew. Or what my kids like to call, "Mountain Burp".
  9. Play Family Feud (app on the iPod Touch) with well, your family. It's a hoot to hear the answers that they think will be on the board.
  10. Remind the guys behind you that even though they are enginerds (engineer nerds) they can still cheer and talk to one another at the game. Quietest bunch of men I've ever encountered and when I told them that they said, "well, we're not really baseball fans." Alrighty then. Welcome to Comerica Park!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Confessions of a Former Athlete

I was an athlete. I guess technically I still am since I play in a co-ed soccer league and love sports however my days of training for a sport are long gone. I grew up in a house with four older sisters and a mom and dad who encouraged (not pushed) us to try out for different sports. Some sisters played tennis, basketball and softball and we all played volleyball. I went to sports camps at Calvin College every summer because they were free (thanks Dad/Professor Pettinga) and it was close enough for me and my sisters to ride our bike there every morning.

The first team I played on was in 5th grade and it was a rec. softball team. We were called "The Monarchs" and our toughness matched our name that season. I played with all of my good friends from school and a couple of years later even made a pact with them that at our last game we would all wear our training bras. I realized quickly that was a miserable decision as I itched and squirmed the entire game. I played three sports in high school and two in college and loved nearly every athletic experience I've ever had.

Flash forward to the year 2012. I'm now a mom of three. I have three different kids who are talented in different ways. And I have a confession, I really don't care if they are the best one on the team. Did you just gasp? :) I'm as competitive as they come and sometimes get frustrated watching beginner sports but you know what, I really just want my kids to like team sports. I refuse to buy into the notion that my kids had to start sport training while still wearing diapers. I refuse to spend a ridiculous amount of money or time on one kid in one sport. I refuse to believe that they have to pick a sport right now and specialize in it to make a team in high school. Why would I limit them in athletics when I don't limit their potential in anything else? Why do we as parents walk around and say, "my kid isn't athletic." It's like saying, "my kid isn't a student or a musician or a good person." Stop. Your kid may not have even tried "their sport" yet. Your kid may still be growing, developing muscles and learning all the necessary skill sets for each sport. Athletics is such an outward way for others to measure your child. No one stands over your child as they take a math test and cheers, "Yes! You got that one right too!" But maybe they should ...

Spring forward to this spring. Our soon to be teenager decided to try softball again after taking several years off from it. She got dressed for practice and was so excited to go play. When she arrived she quickly realized she was the only one not carrying a bat bag with her own bat and helmet inside. And as she played she also realized that the talent gap had widened since she last played softball for the Y. Her team is composed of eleven girls but eight of them are on two teams and have a special coach. So there were three girls who met with their coach and kind of practiced with this "elite 8". As she drove home with her dad, there were tears shed. And as a former athlete but more importantly, as her mom, that breaks my heart. So we'll regroup and decide if we jumped into the major leagues before practicing first at the minors. And we'll remind her just how talented she is at volleyball, singing, making friends, getting good grades, playing piano, playing the violin, reading, following Jesus and being our daughter.
 (Behold my perm. I know. I stand amazed at it's bigness too.)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Year, Same Randomness

  1. If my hair could talk this is what it would say to my straightener, "Alright. You win today but tomorrow I'm going to come back bigger and curlier than ever!"
  2. I sometimes like to wear my husband's slippers because it makes me feel petite.
  3. When the gym instructor says "inhale" I almost always exhale. It's like I'm dyslexic in my breathing.
  4. If I could teach a class to young female athletes it would be entitled, "How to be aggressive in every sport." I'm still working on marketing this.
  5. I think if every husband helped cook dinner his sex life would suddenly become much more active. Forget the old adage that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach it should go; if you want hot sex make a hot meal once in awhile. I like it. Who works in marketing?
  6. Hmmm ... what to write for number six after talking about sex?
  7. Sometimes I just feel off and then realize it's because I haven't read a book recently. Reading nourishes my soul and quiets it too.
  8. I'm hoping my mom can soon say goodbye to me after talking on the phone without crying. It's hard to hear her broken.
  9. I think every woman needs a sister and if you don't have one, go find one!
  10. Mexico. One month. Consider yourself forewarned stomach!

    Tuesday, January 03, 2012

    Thursday, October 13, 2011

    You're Better

    I've always been a confident girl. In fact, I was called "Gary" in college by a group of guys who thought I was as cocky as the NBA Seattle SuperSonics guard, Gary Payton. This cracks me up for two reasons. #1 -  I had no idea who Gary Payton was at the time and #2 -  I think this was the first time these boys ever met a confident girl. And I have my parents, especially my dad to thank for that. He quietly, mostly without words, reminded me every day that I was better. When you hear that word better it immediately draws a comparison. Who am I better than? Did I walk around school trying to prove to everyone that I was better than them? Nope. This wasn't how he used it. He told me I was better than:

    • talking behind my friend's backs.
    • talking negatively about a teacher or coach.
    • being silly or playing dumb so boys would think I was cute.
    • dressing in a way to attract attention to my body.
    • not trying my best at everything I did. School, athletics, music, plays. His attitude was, give it your all, all the time.
    • fighting with my sisters.
    • not respecting my grandparents.
    • not including someone because my feelings had been hurt before by him or her.
    So for all you grandpas, dads, husbands and uncles, remind your girls that they're better. They're better than accepting anything less than the best treatment from the world, the media and their relationships.