Monday, August 24, 2009

On Fasting and Sitting...

My guys just went on a an "evening stroll" as Solomon said. I love much.

We are in the middle of a super fab adventure. TV fast. LOVE IT!!! Solomon was out out out of control addicted (as were Will and I do turning it on so that WE could selfishly have TOOOOO many breaks). So...Will suggested a TV fast...which is SUPER ironic because Cara Noel (who is someone that I dont KNOW KNOW...but we met at The Aids Walk in the OC and went to Rock Harbor together) was suggesting the same thing. I was longing for something like this but hate always being the one to suggest things like that to Will... Answer to prayer :) WE LOVE IT!!! It is amazing! Solomon is like a whole new child. IT was a bit like a heroine detox at first...he was freaking out the first morning...but now he says "I don't watch TV right? Can I play outside???" I am so so so so so happy!!! Cannot express how happy. We spend so much more time as a family...I am just sooo stinking happy.

My sweet litle baby girl is growing up too fast...I can hardly take it. She...umm...wants to sit up. She is nearly 4 did this happen. I fear she is teething too...because she bites me mulitple times with every nursing and I am really getting irritated by it!!! Grrr...

Sitting can this be happening...she wants to sit up ALL THE TIME...and she fake fusses to get our is SOOOO cute...I love her...oh I love her soooo much!!!

Its bed time here...the boys are back...time to love on the babes and then some alone time with Will...hurray!!

Need My Stash Fed...

Feed Your Stash Friday: August 21-28, 2009

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I Like Your Christ...

I got this article here...and I really found it interesting...

What if the Right was Right? A Reflection on the "Christian States of America." -Cynthia Boaz

I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians.
Your Christians are so unlike your Christ. -MK Gandhi

For years now I have been debating with friends and family on the question of whether the United States can (and should) be called a "Christian nation," and for the record, I have always argued a vehement no. But maybe I'm missing the point. What if I conceded that question, just for the sake of argument? What if I let go of my adherence to the dogmatic belief that the United States is and should be based on secularism and enlightenment values? Just how might it change things? What would it look like if we considered the nation's most pressing policy questions through the lens of "Christian" principles? What would it mean if the right was right?
War and Guns
"If you cannot say on the basis of the New Testament that Jesus was nonviolent, you cannot say anything about Jesus." -John L. McKenzie, Jesuit scholar
Let's start with the most controversial of the themes, and since I'm not a fan of mincing words, here it is: the advocacy of war and violence as tools of expressing grievances violates the most fundamental messages of Christianity because Jesus himself was the most renowned voice of principled nonviolence that the world has known.
Historically, the most vocal support for U.S. war-making has come from those who identify themselves as devout Christians. Not only is that surreal considering the philosophy of Jesus, but the sinister irony is that the main targets of the "war on terror" are radical fundamentalist Muslims against whom a primary grievance is their propensity to (mis)use religion to justify acts of violence. So for pro-war Christians, violence is righteous if its targets are threatening to Christianity or Christendom. But in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives very clear instructions about how to deal with foes, and his notion of righteousness varies significantly from that of many Christian US policymakers:
I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;...For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye?...And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others?
In other words, loving your friend is easy. Loving your enemy is very difficult. So Christians (people who ascribe to live by the example of Jesus Christ) who advocate for war as a response to hatred and violence do insult to this key command. They are guilty of precisely the same kind of thinking for which they condemn their enemies.
Considering what Jesus' view of guns might have been is difficult given that firearms would not exist for many more centuries after his death. I have, however, heard more than one gun proponent point to the example of Jesus' "cleansing of the temple" as evidence that he would have not been as quick to condemn the individual's right to own and carry (and if necessary, use) weapons as, say, advocates of nonviolence might like.
The example does give pause. But consider this: the moment in the temple was the only act of anger ever shown by Jesus, and it was specifically directed against garish displays of greed and avarice. There is also no evidence that it was violent, and most contemporary scholars conclude it was not. The term in the original Greek (that was later liberally construed by English language translators as "whipped") literally means "to drive out." And the whip is mentioned in only one of four gospels (John), which is also the only gospel that mentions the role of sheep and cattle in the story. It's been widely understand for decades by Biblical scholars that the reference is to a cattle whip and was not used by Jesus on anyone. But even allowing for the most wide interpretation and conceding that Jesus used a whip to drive corrupt vendors out of the temple, his prayer on the cross during the crucifixion shows the truth of his heart. Instead of rage and bitterness, Jesus made a plea for forgiveness of those who condemned him to death. It is that example that we are asked to remember above all.
Taxes and Taxation
Believe it or not, there is plenty of evidence in the New Testament to suggest that Jesus was not only sympathetic to the maligned image of tax collectors, but that he advocated for more tolerance of those who had the world's most unpopular job.
He also commanded his followers to pay their taxes, and not to confuse the demands made by the state with those made by God. In an encounter between Jesus and and a suspicious mob who showed him a Roman coin, the Gospel of Matthew recounts the following exchange:
He saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's. When they had heard these words, they marvelled and left him.
The command is notable in that Jesus neither condemned nor praised secular authority, but simply requested that it remain distinct from the realm of God.
Jesus's attitude towards taxes generally can be summed up in the following exchange, recounted from the Gospel of Luke:
Tax collectors also came to be baptized. "Teacher," they asked, "what should we do?" "Don't collect any more than you are required to," he told them.
Together these excerpts suggest that Jesus viewed the payment of taxes as the responsibility of the citizen (who was not supposed to demonstrate stinginess), but also cautioned against greed or corruption on the part of those collecting the monies. Only those taxes which are necessary to the end of providing for the common good are righteous, but the question of how that figure is determined is left to the secular governmental authority and once settled, should be obeyed.
Foreign Policy and International Law
In order to fairly consider what Jesus' view on foreign policy might have been, we must return to the concept of nonviolence. I have heard it argued by Christians that it is morally indefensible for a nation-state in the age of global terrorism to take a position of nonviolence. We can't sit back and let terrorism just happen, the argument goes; a state is obliged to protect its citizens.
Notwithstanding the fact that Jesus did not concern himself with base matters like nationalism (because all of creation was his community), the assertion that nonviolence amounts to complicity is erroneous. Principled nonviolence is not just an absence of violence, it is a proactive commitment to social justice, and it is deeply rooted in the very simple idea that if you treat others fairly, you will have a lot less to worry about (this of course is also known as the Golden Rule.) However, many folks in the Christian war camp would have us believe that there is a moral obligation to meet terror with violence and war.
A century and a half ago, Abraham Lincoln, who himself was no stranger to war, remarked, "I am not so concerned as to whether God is on our side, as to whether we are on God's side."
With that one quote, the lens of the Christian audience shifts profoundly. Who are we, after all, to assume that because we had the luck to be born (or naturalized) into the United States that we have been specially chosen for benediction by God? Perhaps it's that our good fortune comes with a corresponding obligation: to use our gifts to help those less fortunate obtain theirs.
The United States can no longer ignore the interests of the people of the rest of the world, and a nation guided by Christ's example should know better than anyone that the most righteous approach to engaging with others is by locating our mutual interests as human beings. The reality is that states themselves are becoming increasingly irrelevant on the global stage, and the concept of citizenship itself is expanding and taking on global dimensions. If we are being honest about principles and values, there are very few issues where the roles of democratic citizen, true Christian (or Jew, Muslim, Hindu, or Buddhist), and decent human being should come into conflict in the 21st century.
A genuinely Christian lens on international politics would not call for violence against one people by another in the name of God, but would ask that all people recognize that our moral and democratic obligations extend beyond our own borders, and that our political, economic, and spiritual development is deeply interwoven with the corresponding development of others. We cannot actualize as a people (Christian or democratic) if we continue to be dependent on the domination and submission of other human beings around the world.
Health Care and Socialism
For me, one of the most surreal claims being made by some on the far right about President Obama's health care reform proposal is that it is evidence of his (secret) hostility to Christianity and Christian values. Some of the most extreme opponents of the president have even suggested that his (alleged) preference for (partial) socialization of health care is enough to prove he is the anti-Christ. (Blogger's note: I would hyperlink to a blog that makes the aforementioned claim, but I can't bring myself to give these folks any more internet traffic, so if you want to read this stuff, Google it for yourself. I have to draw the line somewhere.)
The notion that universal health care is anti-Christian (not to mention undemocratic) is, well, kind of crazy. It is impossible for me to imagine that someone who has read and grasped the meaning of Jesus' teachings on compassion and kindness could argue against the idea that a society (especially one with policymakers and citizens who claim to be guided by Christian principles) is supposed to take care of its people - all of its people.
How can we interpret the commandment of "Love thy neighbor as thyself" but in the most literal possible sense: that we must respect the needs and desires of our fellow human beings and consider them as equal to our own. Is there some subtext or qualification that I (a layperson) am missing? Should the commandment really be read as "Love thy neighbor as thyself, as long as it doesn't inconvenience you too much, or if your neighbor seems kind of lazy or weird or different than you"?
I remember a few years back, a(n outspoken, unapologetic neoconservative) colleague and I were having a discussion about this very theme, when he challenged me point blank to sum up the most fundamental tenets of Christianity in one sentence. I remember blurting out, "We must take care of the least amongst us." He looked at me stoically for a few seconds and then nodded and mumbled somewhat defeatedly, "I guess I can't argue with that."
So if taking care of the least amongst is the first responsibility of Christians, how can there be any debate on whether universal health care is "moral" or "ethical" or "responsible"? Sure, there is plenty of room for discussion about the logistics of a universal policy, but I am completely flabbergasted as to why we - in the self-proclaimed "Christian states of America" (and self-proclaimed model democracy, come to that) have not yet reached a consensus on this first, most critical point. If we aren't willing to simply say that yes, everyone must be taken care of (and we must as a society find a way to do that), then what exactly are we doing?
Which brings me to my final point: Jesus was a socialist. There, I said it. To read the Gospels and come away from them with a picture of Jesus as anything but an advocate of communally-shared resources requires a level of cognitive dissonance that I simply cannot fathom. Please let me be clear (before my detractors start firing up their email clients to send off that hate mail): I am not saying that Jesus was a Stalinist or even a communist, just that it's very clear from his teachings that he believed that people were happier and healthier (literally and spiritually) when they shared with each other.
For example, the following comes from the New Testament book of Acts:
And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.
Read that again: "Possessors of lands sold them and brought the prices of the things that were sold...and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need."
That passage bears an undeniable resemblance to the words of a political philosopher from eighteen centuries after the death of Christ, who wrote "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." But while Karl Marx's philosophy of contributing for the common good is viciously maligned in the United States today (thanks mostly to the gross distortion of his philosophy by the brutal ideologies of Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and others), there is little to no discussion amongst the Christian right about Jesus' own advocacy of the very same concept. Despite our verbal proclamations to the contrary, Americans (Christian or otherwise) have such a negative visceral association with the concept of socialism that we-thus far-have been unable to have an authentic, productive conversation about whether greed or compassion is the more moral (and productive) incentive for human beings engaged in the social experiment of the democratic nation-state. Regardless of how that discussion turns out, honest Christians are hard-pressed to deny that the example offered by Jesus' life tells us that if our own spiritual evolution (and frankly, salvation) is a consideration, we have no choice but to not only hold the needs of others in equal stead with our own, but must find ways to share what (oftentimes little) we have in order to fulfill that calling.
So if we concede that the United States is a "Christian nation," it follows that its citizens, as practitioners of the teachings of Jesus, should be: anti-war, anti-gun, anti-death penalty, pro-universal health care, pro-taxes and pro-(democratic) socialism, while also being - to the rest of the world - forgiving, meek, humble, generous and loving of everyone, even perceived enemies.
On the far right, it is often difficult to distinguish between policy and religion. Self-proclaimed Christians have gone to great lengths in recent years to tie religion to everything from health care reform to war to gun control, and the one common denominator pulling all these otherwise unrelated threads together is the notion that government presents the world's most insidious threat to the moral fabric of civilization. But these folks have it sadly backwards. It is not that Christianity is threatened by President Obama or the US (or any other) government or even by some vague notion of socialism. The regrettable truth is that Christianity has already been commandeered on the far right by the angry, the fearful, and the misguided, and if the religion (and by extension, the "Christian United States," since we're still working on the assumption that there is such a thing) is to thrive, those sentiments must be replaced with compassion, forgiveness, empathy and universal love.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

What Animal Is Your FuzziBunz???

Feed Your Stash Friday: August 14-21, 2009

Just Unsure...

I wonder why I am so anxious and unsure of myself so often. I try so hard to be brave...but it is basicaly the hardest thing I can ever do...

You know...I have always struggled with anxiety...even since I was little. I am not a fan. But I do have coping skills now...

Will is away on business again. Its my first time alone with the kids. I mean, like for days and nights without him or my sister or whatever...

I hate the nights. I hate them even when Will is home. I hate when he falls asleep before I do. But when he is away...oh how I hate them. I made Shiloh sleep with me last night. How pathetic is it that I held her hand to fall asleep??? Pretty pathetic I'd say.

Its light out now...I could not be more relieved...

The privacy issue...I really want to make my blog private...and still think Im going to. But...I was thinking about just limiting my info about my kids, location and family...I dont know...Im toying with the idea...If all my favorite bloggers were private, I would be seriously missing out...but Im still sticking with what I am feeling about privacy...and praying about it...until the 2 week mark... Any thoughts???

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Captive Moments

Lately...God has been sending me a reoccuring message...
"Take every moment captive..." And yah know, I feel like I keep ignoring Him. Not ignoring Him really, just putting His request on the back burner. I love my babies...with everything I have, but my days get really stressful and I get lonely or have feeling that I don't feel like dealing with...or whatever...and I find myself using things to numb me...the computer, tv, texting...

I hate it!

I hate it!

I hate it!

I keep telling Will that I desperately want to get rid of the TV...or at least actually stick to the 1 hour rule...he will do neither...How can I complain though? Solomon wakes up at like 6 am (sometimes even earlier) and Will lets me sleep in...until he has to leave for work, which is 830, three days out of the week. I know he has to get up with him and that he is SUPER tired...but really, does the TV have to be on the ENTIRE morning???? Its REALLY annoys me. We talk about it and we both say...yes lets kick TV out...but it doesn't happen...ugh...

Facebook...seriously? I hate it...Corin said it best...I want to eat ice cream without feeling like I need to do a status up date "Amber is eating ice cream" ugh...what kinda of screwed up world do we live in??? haha

Texting is my life line sometimes...when Im having a rough day, it is all I can do to keep in touch with the "outside world." WE only have one car right now so when Will is at work...Im trapped...and I shouldn't look at it that way...but sometimes, I do...I want all of these distractions GONE!!! I am thinking about ditching my cell phone and getting a land line...I dont know...

I want to enjoy every single second of my sweet babies...they are growing SOOO fast...and how much time have I wasted on these numbing sources??? A LOT!!! It makes me sad...and I feel guilty. They are such wonderful beings and I do not want to miss another moment of their sweet lives. I don't know how to start this process...but it is looming...

This blog is going private...I have kept it public for a long time now...and yah know...I was questioning why. I love knowing people are reading my blog...isnt that weird? Like I need some strangers comments on here to make me feel like "somebody"???? How silly...that kind of motivation is not worth exposing my children, my family, my hearts intimate moments...I feel good about this decision...its a start...

...until I can convince Will to can the TV...I have convinced him to use cloth TP...ooops...did I let that slip... ;)

No more facebook status was consuming too much of my while cooking dinner I would have to take a photo to post to update??? more...I can't bring myself to delete it just yet (if ever) because it is a way that I share my photos and things with my family (being that they live across the country) but perhaps, I can find a better way...and cross another distraction out of my life...

I need to reignite this passion within me that I have been burying under a lot of nonsense...I need to sift the bulk and bask in simplicity...Im ready to do this...ready to light a fire...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Going Private...

I few weeks ago, a dear friends asked me for my email address because she was going to make her blog private and wanted to add me to her readers list...I started does one make their blogs private...? And I am not the greatest sleeper at nights, so I thought about it almost every night. Then...another blogger friend, who I have learned SOOOO much from (from home birthing to mothering and much much more) said she was doing the same thing. I started thinking of protecting my kids and my family and my motivies for this blog...and I started to think of doing the same I am going to...

In 2 weeks, I will set my blog to private. If you would like to continue reading, please email me @ so that I can add your email address to a readers list...thank you Jen and Corin for the girls are two amazing women...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Friday, August 7, 2009

And The Little One Said... "Roll Over..."

My sweet baby girl is 3 months old now. She rolled over...and continues to do so. But seriously...she REALLY moves...she creeps to all corners of her bed. I swear she crawls when I am not looking. Its kind of freaky...

She is as wonderful as sensitive and in love with her big brother. If she so much as hears a hint of his voice she begins frantically looking for him...and smiles bigger than ever as soon as she spots him. It is SO special.

Solomon is doing well. Will buzzed off all of Solomons hair today...I am NOT happy...oh just better grow back before my sweet friend Jen from comes to do our photos...

I think that is all in new news...trying to think of new ways to save money...any suggestions???