How do I explain this Crazy to my Kids??

My friend is at the airport on her way to Hawaii.  Her family is pumped because they are heading to the Disney Island Resort of Mickey awesomeness.

But, six hours is a long time with three kids on a plane, so she herds her adorable brood of blond tots to the potty for one last go.

And this is what she encounters…

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Text from Friend: “How do I explain this to my kids?”

I won’t treat you to the text I wrote back because it’s politically incorrect.

But I will say this.  Be very careful near airports!

There are apparently uniboob half-skirted creatures walking around with surly expressions and no one can stop them from making weird faces and peeing in this airport bathroom because the government says you can pick your gender and expression.

I must confess some confusion over the peeing part.  If you are a dude and you get a sex change, do you lose or keep the unit?  Some do and some don’t right?

(In all honesty, my parent’s wouldn’t let me see the “Crying Game” which I’m sure would have explained some of this.

Do they have fake vajayjay’s?  And how do the doctors re-pipe?  Anatomy didn’t cover this and I’m afraid to Google it on my work computer.  It’s like Jr. High again.  I laughed with all the other kids about the “69” graffiti on the wall but I didn’t actually know what it meant until college.

So how do mommies and daddies explain trans-gender to the kids when we are clueless too?

I know there are a few TV shows on the Family Channel now to help us make sense of our changing culture–“I am Cait” and “Help..my dad is turning into a woman.”  But, strangely enough, I haven’t found compelled to watch.

So, here’s what I’m telling my kids.

Mommy doesn’t personally understand the motives to move towards trans-gender, but she does understand brokenness and its ramifications.  She know sadness and loneliness and the extreme measures people will go to find the elusive happiness that eludes them.

Your purpose and meaning go far beyond your sexuality.  Your identity is not in your maleness or femaleness or even in ambiguity.

Your identity is in Christ alone.  But  culture is sending a very different message to you.

The world says we can choose our identity by choosing our gender.  Mommy disagrees.  

Male and female God created them.  In God’s image.  We are all a reflection of our creator.

Our identity is in CHRIST ALONE.

I believe Trans-gender is throwing us all for a loop but it doesn’t have too.

It’s pretty simple.  Our job is to love God and love our neighbor.  And yes, that means the trans-gender neighbor-even if it’s awkward and confusing.

The truth is we are all in some type of bondage to the lies of culture.  Some of us just wear the chains on the outside and it’s more obvious.  I too have bought into the lies of sex, beauty and materialism equaling my worth.  Only a belief in something bigger can deliver us.

Trans-gender is complicated and messy and its’ really hard to explain to kids. But it’s a conversation we all need to initiate because it’s not going away. 

I hope you wrestle with this dialogue too.  Let me know what you think and how you are explaining it.

 

–Samantha

And please, I’m cool if you disagree but keep it clean. Only grown-up comments please.

 

 

 

 

Epic Firework Fail

Last year the 4th of July was miserable.  My husband accidentally launched our baby into a sand volleyball court from her stroller (oops) and then the fireworks scared the spit out of her. 

I spent thirty minutes crouched in a stranger’s open garage hiding behind a suburban cupping my hands over Kolby’s ears trying to block the booming cracks of the Ladera Ranch fireworks extravaganza as she wailed in big gulpy sobs.

But as much as last year’s 4th stunk Twinkies, it couldn’t be worse than the epic fail of the firework show in San Diego that went awry last night.

My family parked on a high hill this year above the Ladera show to: (a). maintain a safe distance from the scary noise for Kolby, and (b.) to have a car to stash our toddler if she went into freak out mode. 

The awesome part about our perched spot was being able to watch ten different firework shows from San Diego to Newport Beach. 

About 9:00pm we were watching a show in the San Clemente/San Diego direction when it looked like a bomb went off.  Flashes rocked the sky more intense than any choreographed show I’ve even seen.

I joked to the crowd we better pack up and head out because San Onofre was exploding.  Everyone laughed nervously, but we all scratched our heads as the most intense explosion we had ever seen went off for about fifteen seconds.

This morning I opened my computer to read in the news how a San Diego barge full of fireworks accidentally launched all at once.

That’s right…ALL AT ONCE! 

EPIC FAIL!!!

I generally struggle with the fact that Californians spend millions of dollars on fancy fireworks shows and yet continue to hose our schools, but this takes the cake. (and yes I know they come out of different budgets)

In fifteen seconds hundreds of thousands of dollars literally went up in smoke and probably scared the pants off the crowd in San Diego waiting for a glitzy show and getting Hiroshima instead, 

So, if you saw something weird in the sky last night you aren’t crazy and it wasn’t aliens, just good old California  blowing up our tax dollars.

Did you see the massive explosion? Thoughts?

Photo Credit: Travis Cass via Instagram

9 Blogs Worth Reading

About a month ago I got tagged in a favorite blogger dealio and now it’s time to return the link love.  So here is my shout out and THANK YOU to my nine favorite bloggers who inspire me every day.  Please check out their very unique sites and I hope you enjoy them every bit as much as I do.

9 Blogs Worth Reading

These Bones Cry Out  This young lady –Katelyn Beth reposted one of my purity blogs and I stumbled upon her website.  I was instantly hooked!  Like Starbucks, Pinterest and for the love of Target hooked.  Katelyn is an untraditional blogger, more of an idea catcher really, but this gal ignites the internet with her flow of thoughts.  She is raw, passionate about Christ, and whimsical.  Katelyn posts pictures, articles and quotes throughout the day and I can’t wait to open up my RSS feed for more. 

Donald Miller  This dude is one of my favorite writers and I love the dialogue on his blog. The community and buzz following him is entertaining in and of itself.  Miller’s site is geared for smart people who love Jesus, those who fight against religious mumbo-jumbo and strive for artistic excellence within the Christian paradigm. 

The Very Worst Missionary Jaime Wright is an unconventional and ridiculously funny writer who resides in Costa Rica with her missionary husband El Chupacabra.  Jaime is passionate about Jesus, promoting redemptive ministry that actually leads people to Christ, and uses colorful words (like douche and dumbass) that I so get into trouble for.  Jaime is a riot and she will steal your heart and force you to consider what it means to REALLY reach people with the love of Christ.

The Bloggess  This blog is my secret little habit.  Jenny is irreverent, slightly deranged, and so stinking loveable.  Warning: This site is not for the kiddos mainly because of foul language and references to colons.  If you have any sense of humor: you will die laughing, but be careful reading this while at the office.  I have had co-workers ask me what’s wrong as I’ve been gasping for air and snorting like a pig at the feeding trough.

Stuff Christians Like  Another satire blog.  I know, I know…but I do love to laugh.  This site is snarky and clever and the author –Jon Acuff, has branded the concept of self-deprecation towards the uptight and religious spirit.  I love the guest bloggers he showcases and it’s always worth a peek to see what he is up to.

The Blah Blah Blahger I met JJ at a blogging conference and out of the myriad of bloggers I eagerly checked out as soon as I got home, this is the one I keep going back to.  JJ has a unique ability to illustrate the ups and downs of single life with transparency, humor and perseverance.  I love hearing about her relationships, the trials of dating, and the joys of fixing up her home.  JJ and I don’t hang out (other than an email here and there) and yet I honestly feel like she is my girlfriend.  (That sounds so cheesy and groupy but its true)

The Cute Conservative  Dani Nichols tells it like it and dishes conservative political rhetoric with grace and pizzazz.  You can almost hear her sassy voice when you read and I can just picture Dani shaking her dark blond curls and stomping her cowboy boots over the political goons in Washington.  Dani keeps me up to date on real issues and her insight is smart, spot-on and always hits home.

A Fine Day for an Epiphany– Gretchen O’Donnell went to the University of Oregon with my hubby Tim and ministered alongside him through Campus Crusade.  Somehow through the realms of social media and Face Book we became bloggy friends.  I really enjoy this woman’s heart.  I don’t know if it’s because she doesn’t live in corrupt southern CA or what, but Gretchen from Minnesota comes across as a refreshing breath of serenity.  Her blog is encouraging, engaging and feminine and I am constantly drawn back for refreshment.

Rage Against the Minvan:  This minivan swaggering mama of four munchkins is my idol.  Kristen is the queen of the mommy-blogs because she breaks all the rules and redefines them.  Kristen is a gifted writer, an advocate and mother for adoption (specifically Haiti) and a witty satirist.  I love getting lost in her blog and reading and chuckling as a few minutes’ slip into an hour.  It’s that good!

Please check out these tremendous writers and enjoy!

 

 

Picture: Source: piccsy.com via Samantha on Pinterest

Baby vs. Puppy -The Final Decision

After a good deal of prayer, looking for various signs from heaven, and crying out for fleece (and then more fleece because God can’t really be serious about this), I think Tim and I are going to go for the BIG TRY.

For a baby that is. And some poor dog out there is out of a doghouse now because we dissed him.

Basically “trying” means we are having necessary sex vs. the unnecessary sex we normally have.  This makes it much more official.

And since we want a boy child who will be a tall and a  stellar athlete I will be donning sports apparel and six inch heels for the “trying.”  (I’ve found it’s best to be specific with God)

I know some of you are thinking…seriously?  Raising four children seems rather excessive these days.  (It’s so Duggar)

I know.  I know.  Trust me…I know.  The pitter patter of little paws sounded so appealing.

And let’s be honest here.  I’m already overwhelmed.  As I write this, I have a huge baby snot stain on my nice work pants and some buttons on my shirt have gone astray.  I’m lucky if I pull a shower every other day and my makeup is haphazardly applied at stoplights.

I was so exhausted a few weeks ago I actually ate a nugget of baby poop thinking it was a cheerio. Let’s just say it was an unpleasant surprise.

We have a three bedroom home and it’s pretty darn full.  The only room left to put a baby in is the cabinet over the TV that I can’t reach.  Or maybe in the closet or the bathroom (oh wait…that’s daddy’s Man Cave).

Then there’s the fact that my husband works non-stop (three nights a week and six days a week) and he goes to seminary on his only day off- which leaves me completely hosed from a help perspective.  Of course I do have the older two minions, I mean children.

Crazy right?  So I’ve been asking for a sign.  And every sign that comes across my path is anti-dog.  Remember when Snoopy was trying to hook up with that cute little girl and then he realized he was a dog and the relationship was doomed (maybe because he was a canine and she was human) and everywhere they went there were signs that said “No Dogs Allowed.”  Yep –it’s like that.

I tried the throw open the Bible tactic to get a word from God on my Kindle.  This method lacks the “wow” factor of dramatically flinging open the scriptures, closing your eyes and dropping a finger down on a verse, but it was still effective.  I opened my Kindle, clicked on my Bible download and Psalms came up randomly.  I glanced down with intensity and bamm…a verse on how “God knits us together in our mother’s womb.”  Shut the front door!    Another baby reference. (Or maybe a knitting reference, but God knows I’m not crafty so it has to be about a baby –right?)

Then my husband Tim says he feels like God is saying to him, “Be fruitful and multiply.” Youza!  I’m thinking, “Are you sure he didn’t say –be fruitful and multiply our income?”

But my biggest objection is really not the enormous amount of work involved in having another munchkin, it’s the same fear I struggle with everyday –that I won’t be able to love everyone enough, or I’ll feel even more inadequate as a mother than I already do, and oh yeah –that I won’t have time to write or volunteer as a room parent and then there’s all the additional mommy guilt trips.

I guess I have to trust that with four rug-rats and the always lively Tim Keller I will probably have enough material for a full season of SNL and as for the rest, I’ll just have to leave it up to God. 

For those of you still not convinced –namely me, I will suggest to you that I do have three great kids and (because of or in spite their mother) they are tremendous little people.  They are giving, loving, talented and irreplaceable. (And the world really needs more good people and fewer jackwaggons, dang it!)

So…now that we got that settled, here comes the fun part –making the baby. 

(More bun in the oven jokes to tentatively follow pending the “trying” phase)

PS.  I was joking about wearing the six-inch heels. 

What new, risky and bold decisions are you making in the new year?

My super-power is…

A woman came up to me last week at my son’s football game and said all in a rush, “I just discovered your blog and I’m like totally addicted and I had no idea you were so hysterical because in real life, you’re just, you know, the pastor’s wife. And, I’m not saying you’re dull or anything, but you’re not like all-out there in your face funny. And I really love your writing. I really do.”

“Uhhh, thanks,” I replied sheepishly.

I stood there with a dumb smile on my face not sure whether I should be flattered or insulted. And while I appreciate that she thinks I’m a funny writer, there’s this part of me, some striving little girl in legwarmers from the 1980’s that wants to be funny in public too (even though I’m most decidedly not).

I’m the girl who’s a bit socially awkward. I can fake twinkly gaiety and confidence around crowds for a set period of time, but I’m generally exhausted afterward (unlike my extroverted husband who’s like the energizer bunny).

I’d rather get to know a few people well at social occasions. I like deep probing discourse and intellectual stimulation. Smalltalk is death to me and what’s with the church hug? (I never know what’s appropriate) Either go in for the bear hug or go home-just don’t go in halfway and awkwardly hit my boob.

I am deeply envious of those quick witted folks who are stand-up comics on the fly. My friend-pastor Jeff Maguire is like that.  His body language alone makes me snort and blow corn out of my nose. I can laugh just thinking about him.

One time at a wedding, Jeff was out on the dance floor showing off his Rico Suave moves, when this little old lady inquired about him. “Is that young man a professional dancer or a comedienne?”

“Actually,” I replied. “He’s a pastor.”

Which has to be the least funny job of all time, right? It’s like we lay down our right to be a sarcastic on the altar of religion.

I love it when people find out I’m the pastor’s wife and this look of horror comes over their face. “Oh no, I just had a beer in front of you (or said a bad word, or talked about sex).”

Once the cat’s out of the bag, people stand up straighter, tell me how they should go to church more often, and then tell me how they are more spiritual than religious. It’s like we have to get the confessions out of the way and I have to make the sign of the cross over them before we can really get to know each other.

I met a unique young woman at a blogging conference recently who struggles with bi-polar tendencies. She was transparent and funny and I found her irresistible. She named her blog “Crazy is my super-power.”  I love it when people take their weakness and turn it around (with God’s grace) to be a force of strength and encouragement.

So I guess I’m a bit like Clark Kent-really, and my alter-ego is cooler than my regular gal aura.

And might I suggest that my super-power is funny and maybe that’s good enough. (Because even though Superman is awesome, Clark Kent isn’t cool, but we love him anyway)

But if I make you laugh hard enough to pee or snort corn, please let me know…comments make me deleriously happy.

What’s your Super-Power?

Just Being Real

I saw a Real House Wife from the OC yesterday at the grocery store. This lovely is my neighbor, if you count living in the track across the street as part of my hood, and I do, because somehow that makes me cooler (or maybe not).
We both had three kids trailing at our heels and our eyes met in a moment of “Lord have mercy on me,” or at least that’s what I was thinking with a crying baby, my son begging for coconut water that costs five dollars per eight ounces and my daughter trying to assemble the perfect cake making materials to create an atomic particle (will somebody please tell me how the crap am I supposed to make positive ions out of frosting?).
Right about then it hit me who she was and the “ding, ding, ding,” bell of acknowledgement traveled though my thick skull.
Trying not to be too obvious, I snuck copious glances and did the female version of celebrity gawking. She was dressed in fancy workout clothes (because that’s what you do when you are a hot reality star) and her long blonde extended tresses were flowing around her shoulders. She had lots of makeup on and was a perfect shade of bronze.
I, on the other hand, am proud to say I did not have snot or poop or pee on me. It was a good day.
We checked out around the same time and somehow ended up right next to each other in the parking lot. I walked over to my Nissan Xterra and she walked up to a white BMW and then realized it wasn’t hers.
She started mumbling cuss words under her breath and for the first time I saw a REAL woman. The scenario was funny and dumb and something I would do.
And for a moment, I connected with a single mom who struggles to remember where she parked the stinking car. And I know that feeling of panic all too well, that “Oh no, is this early Alzheimer’s setting in?”
I loved it! I love the MESS! I love it when we desperately need Jesus and I love it when people don’t have their act together and acknowledge it.
What I really want is a REALITY show where moms act like real moms.
• Real is: when they walk around all day with baby vomit on them and are too exhausted to care.
• Real is: when they show the parents pretending to be asleep when baby cries and then fighting over who will get up for the third time. “It is not my turn! It’s your turn jackwaggon.”
• Real is: when a mom prays for a girl who is a bad influence on her daughter to disappear and this bad girl moves and the mom shouts-“Yes Jesus Yes!!!!” and the daughter is baffled why her mom is having a big whoop dee doo in the kitchen because her friend (who didn’t even say goodbye) has just moved to Texas.
• Real is: when Facebook is the cause of endless arguments between teens and parents, and mom commandos the teen’s page and posts links to “Lord help me have a heart for the Poor and Needy.”
• Real is: when parents turn on Yo Gabba Gabba and park their baby in front of the TV and get crazy in the bathroom for five minutes because it’s the only time they have to be intimate.
• Real is: when neighbors come over and bawl and hug because it’s been a bad day and we pull out the Skinny Girl margarita mix and we encourage each other to forgive and forget, even when it’s tough and even when we know we are right.
• Real is: when real mommies and daddies fight and make up and pray and laugh at each other’s jokes, because mommy thinks daddy is freaking hysterical and adorable and the best thing, alongside Jesus and her babies, that has EVER happened to her.
I could go on and on… but for me, this would make REALITY TV far more real.

What real stuff do you think is missing on TV?

Facebook Squabbles

I admit it, I love Facebook.  I am a total media geek addicted to the social realm.  I tweet, link, post and blog mostly on a daily basis. Usually all this talky talk is a good thing, except for when it’s not.

Let’s just say, intent and interpretation can have a vast chasm between them.

On Saturday evening, as the blessed second day of July came to a close, I decided to thank all my friends and family for my lovely birthday wishes.

So, I took a silly picture of the baby and me and posted it to Facebook. My status comment said, “Thank you, thank you for all the birthday blessings!  Thirty-nine never looked so good.”

Now, just for clarity I was in jammies. No makeup, no hair styling, just a darling baby and a blissful mommy with a heart full of gooey emotions.

My husband glanced at my post and commented, “Umm, that seems sort of vain,”

“Huh?” I replied.

“Well, it could be interpreted you think you look pretty hot for thirty-nine.” Tim suggested. “I don’t think you mean that, but some people might.”

My eyes filled with tears and spilled over onto my cheeks. “That’s not what I meant at all!

What I meant to say was –turning thirty-nine isn’t as daunting as I thought it would be.  My life is bubbling over with precious riches like my toddler, tween and teenager. I don’t feel old; I feel twenty-nine with ten extra years of wisdom.”

“Ok” he said. “I understand your intent but other people might not.”

I lurched for my laptop and angrily deleted my post. I thought about trying to reword it but all my attempts sounded pathetic.

“Umm, yeah… I don’t mean I look hot for thirty-nine. I mean, I don’t look bad, actually, I think I look pretty good for birthing three kids, but I didn’t mean –aren’t I hot? But, if you think I’m pretty, that’s ok too, because it’s nice to feel attractive, but I wasn’t looking for a compliment or trying to brag all over Facebook like I’m some sort of diva.”

I admit I’m vain, but not that vain.

Right. Delete seemed to be the best option.

Over a yummy margarita and chips on Sunday at Casa Ranchera (yes it’s my favorite restaurant); I shared my Facebook tale with some of my closest friends, relative newlyweds who are beginning the journey of navigating marriage.

The husband laughed with a knowing look of insight and said-“Facebook causes more arguments than anything. We spent a whole counseling session over a misunderstanding regarding a picture my wife posted. “

He thought the picture portrayed him in an unflattering and possibly angry light. She thought it was funny. Then he really did get angry and she got hurt.

Bamm! $150 bucks on Facebook therapy.

I’ve learned the hard way, as in some counseling sessions of my own, not to write about my husband or post on my blog without his approval (as a pastor he doesn’t approve of the humor or shock value in some of the stuff I find hysterical, like an occasional well placed bad word, his unedited opinions and anything remotely sexual.

Social media inevitably leads to social conflict.

The beauty (or maybe the detriment) of Facebook  is that it reflects ordinary life, with all the misunderstandings between men and women.  But the old petty arguments are now  magnified in front of five hundred of our closest friends. What used to be an annoying slip of the tongue now morphs into a media fiasco.

Maybe in this new social planet, some things are simply better left unsaid, at the very least edited, or if it’s really funny…maybe worth a little squabble.

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