Marching To The Beat Of A Different Reality

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Cultivating Love

Image may contain: flower, plant, nature and outdoorDecades ago, I bought this little vase for my grandmother. She LOVED roses and grew them beautifully, caring for them as tenderly as ever she cared for one of us. For years and years, there was simply never a time I remember eating a meal without a bouquet of the most fragrant roses adorning the table for the pleasure of anyone who dined there. Even after she became ill - up to the time she just simply couldn't manage it - she would post a single perfect bloom as the centerpiece for our gathering.
Sadly, I have never had the facility for tending roses my grandmother had. Though I love them dearly, they don't seem to care for me, and rather than curse my inability to grow the one, I've embraced my desire to curate wilder stuff. Yearly, I allow sunflowers to proliferate in the garden, while also tending my zinnias, encouraging them to take over between the rows and ends. Miniature hollyhocks grow unbidden in my front flower bed and I often even move them to where they can grow the best.
Image may contain: flower and plantImage may contain: flower, plant and nature I learned many, many things from my grandmother, but among them, my very favorite, was the love of growing things - planting, nurturing, harvesting, cutting, canning, arranging - all these I learned from a woman who had infinite patience with my frequent questions and irritations. It saddens me that so many young people today not only grow up without this kind of influence in their lives - the kind that CHANGES lives and makes them want to STRIVE for better - but grow up without a desire or ability to nurture something other than their own feelings of sadness, depression, anger and victimization. No one who cares enough to grow something - even something as simple as flowers in a pot on their porch - can also grow these kinds of destructive feelings. No one who tends to the work of their hands can do so without eventually wanting to share the fruits of their labor with others out of the joy gained from the opportunity.

Image may contain: flower, plant and nature

Dear Lord, on this Sunday, in a world of hurting, anger and self-loathing, plant the seed of kindness in the hearts that will receive it. Give your children the desire to cultivate love in place of anger, kindness instead of hate, self-determination over victimization. Put it in our hearts to cultivate our fellow man above ourselves. Amen.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Honesty is Always The Best Policy - Especially With Yourself



Some stunning revelations from Bible study this morning. 

I'm using Beth Moore's "90 Days With The Beloved Deciple John". 

This morning the topic was Judas. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

As Christian Parents, We Should Parent As Christians



Unfortunately, this is never a popular type post, but nonetheless, I believe it to be very true, so I hope it will be taken to heart as an exhortation and not an admonition: 

Recently, I was reading Proverbs 2:1-5 this morning. Here Solomon asks us to 'turn our ears to wisdom and apply our hearts to understanding'. 
My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding and cry aloud for understanding, and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. 
My reading reminded me how often I become frustrated by the number of professing Christians who place their children in secular public school, not only allowing them to be present inside the belly of a rapidly devolving culture, but allowing them to participate in reading such 'literature' prescribed by teachers today as "The Kite Runner", "Glass Castles" and "The Bluest Eye".  

These are all books that have very sexually explicit language including curse words such as 'f**k', yet parents seem to believe - without attempting to read them for themselves before proffering them up to the developing minds of their children - that if the teacher assigns it, it must be fine. 

I don't believe this, which is one of the reason I removed my children from that environment, but I truly can't understand why other professing Christians would believe this. 

Some time ago a man caught up with me at church and asked me to counsel him about the education of his son, who attended a local public high school. His question wasn't even about literature, but I asked him about his son's reading assignments as our conversation drew to a close - because I had just completed an article for the Federalist about the prurient nature of high school assigned reading

Yes, he admitted, his son had been assigned one of the books on the list, yet he had not read it, nor asked his son to give him an account of his reading, nor, obviously, adjured him to stop reading it, nor confronted the teacher, by informing her he would not read it and she would have to allow him another reading assignment. 

Truly, if we - as parents - decide our parenting is going to consist of a series of parries and retreats, not a consistent stabbing at the heart of what they are doing when out of our care - OR if we choose to parent in ignorance of actual fact simply because we trust others to raise our children, OR decide we don't want to cause a scene, OR we don't know how to handle the information we might get - we might as well dig a hole in the sand and hide our head in it because we are no better than Jesus' comment about the blind leading the blind. Our child will fall into the ditch and pull us in behind him. 

Parents, we need to practice scripture - practice our Christianity - with our children EVERY DAY, not just Sunday. We are called to be salt and light it's true, but we are not Abrahams and we are not called to sacrifice our Isaacs on the alter of Paganism simply to keep from experiencing social discomfort. Please wake up. 

We will not be able to win souls for Christ unless - and until - we can take back the responsibility of educating our own children. Evangelism starts at home and - unfortunately - there's no way to get around that fact.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Adopting Children From Overseas Gives Me A Definite View On US Immigration Policy


(This blog was published by the Federalist under the title, "My Family Had To Follow Immigration Law. Why Shouldn't Refugees? 2/3/17)"

In 2005, while at my grandparent's house, I met up with my cousin - who had been living in Zambia, Africa teaching English for several years - and his new Zambian wife. 

As I stood in my grandparent's kitchen marveling at the beautiful woman before me, I was simultaneously saddened by her story. Her sister had recently died from complications of Type 1 diabetes leaving seven children, the youngest of whom were only 3 and 8 years of age.  

All kinds of images ran through my mind involving young children left mostly unattended as older siblings went to school and the oldest brother worked to provide a living for the remaining family.

For whatever reason, I felt prompting from God that we should adopt these two girls and bring them home to live with us and our 2 boys - ages 1 and 3. After much discussion, that's exactly what we set out to do.

Zambia, unlike many countries across the world, had no international adoption agreement with any adoption agency in the United States. This meant my husband and I would undertake the process of adopting the girls on our own shoulders - without any help or guidance from an adoption agency. It was an essentially a "leap and hope for the best" kind of deal.

We began by securing the services of an attorney with whom the oldest brother was acquainted. Within a month of back and forth email correspondence, we knew we would have one heck of a fight through red tape, unclear laws, corrupt Zambian family and health services workers and an incompetent and unhelpful Zambian embassy.

A process that began in 2005, was finished by American and Zambian legal standards in January 2006, yet a sudden declaration from the Zambian embassy in February that year that we had no standing to adopt the girls, completely stopped the process and moved all the pieces on the board back to start, costing us more untold thousands of dollars.

Trust me when I say that Zambian/Oklahoma phone calls are neither cheap nor easy - Zambia is ahead of us by 8 hours - and I made COUNTLESS and REPEATED overseas calls to both the Embassy, my attorney and the girl's brother, to try and rectify the situation.

Finally - in March of 2007 (yes, you read that right) - I was told I could fly over and pick up the girls. Unfortunately, an untimely cancer diagnosis put off my trip to Zambia until the beginning of June - when I could squeeze it in between surgeries. 

Once in Zambia, I was kept for 7 days simply running back and forth between various agencies and the Embassy, greasing palms as I went, plopping hotel and meal charges on my credit card with a cringe, waiting for the time when all the stars would align and I could finally get on a plane home with two girls - now 4 and 9 - in tow.

Fifteen days after I arrived, I headed home to America with our new daughters, only to have to make appearances at the Social Security office, our local attorney and family court on our return - again doling out money as I went.

One day my husband David and I sat down to try and put a figure to the amount of money we'd spent bringing the girls home and it was well into the tens of thousands of dollars. So, tens of thousands of dollars and 3 years later, we FINALLY had two US Citizens by adoption living in our home as legitimate members of our family.

The struggles and strife incurred by our family for this adoption were many, and though we wouldn't take it back, it makes me VERY angry when I hear the complaints from Hollywood and others over the fact that America would ban certain immigrants to the country for a relatively short and defined - 90 day - period of time. 

While I'm sure there are many seeking the welcoming shores of the US - fleeing their country of origin for legitimate purposes of asylum, we have seen - again and again - the damage done by immigrants to these shores for no other reason than to hurt America and Americans. 

Why should we NOT vet people entering this country to make sure they intend to follow our laws and uphold our Constitution before allowing them carte blanche access to all the various forms of wealth our country has to offer? Why is that a racist ideal?  Why are those of us who simply want to uphold the same kind of immigration policy implemented by our last president, racist?

As I watched actors from the Netflix show "Stranger Things" vow - at the recent Screen Actor's Guild Awards - to 
“...get past the lies!” he continued. “...hunt monsters! And when we are at a loss amidst the hypocrisy and the casual violence of certain individuals and institutions, we will, as per Chief Jim Hopper, punch some people in the face when they seek to destroy the weak and the disenfranchised and the marginalized!”
I wonder how many of the actors on that stage have adopted children from other countries, or have given up their comfortable homes to put their money where their mouths are, ministering to the countless sick and unwashed in our country and others. I wonder if they have endured what me and my family - and COUNTLESS other individuals and families - have endured to bring children from across oceans into their families and homes in the US - at the same time knowing there are others who simply walk into the country with ease thanks to lax implementation of immigration laws. 

Why should our family have had to struggle so mightily with the entry of our children into this country, only to be threatened with a "punch in the face" for seeking to protect our naturally-born and adopted children from the calamitous situations occurring in our country and across the world as a result of terrorism, due in part to current ongoing unchecked immigration and lax immigration laws?

That makes us willing to "destroy the weak and the disenfranchised and the marginalized"? Haven't we international adopters actually done the exact opposite? 

It frustrates me to no end that for eight years I endured President Obama and his policy of stepping into every single individual civil rights infraction he perceived - no matter how small. Does no one remember the "Beer Summit"? 

I do. I remember that - at that moment - I began to understand I was a white person. No matter how he crowed about racial equality, I believed I was someone our President disliked and distrusted because of my skin color. I remember getting to a place where I began to actually feel dread that I would/could be fined or even thrown into jail for not coming into lockstep agreement with the Obama administration's ideals of tolerance. 

When you're an evangelical Christian and other evangelicals are losing their businesses and livelihoods for no other reason than not wanting to bake a cake, or take photos, or supply a venue for a gay wedding, due to your beliefs, it's concerning. It makes you wonder which religion is to be tolerated, and which is to be mocked and denigrated all under the banner of "tolerance, equity and inclusion". When you're a white person in this country and you're sneeringly told you exemplify 'white privilege' - a notion not only held by the president of the country in which you are a resident - but UPHELD by the same, how do you not feel marginalized and even threatened?

Interestingly, evangelical Christians didn't lash out in our concern and threaten to kill, or punch people, or stop travel at an airport or block lanes of traffic to make our points. We merely paid our fines,disengaged from the public as much as possible to 'fly under the radar' of the Obama administration's flaming "Civil Rights" sword, and waited. We waited until we could vote for 'change' WE believed in. We voted, in droves, for the 'change' Donald Trump promised - to Make America Great Again - because we thought it could mean an end to President Obama's personal belief in selective equality and the beginning of one geared more toward the equality of ALL. We didn't yell or scream or create protest after protest, we just waited silently to pull the lever in the voting booth - and we did.

Though President Trump's 90-day vetting order is resulting in cries of racism, Johnny Walker, Chris Kyle's Iraqi translator wonders
“What about all the other rich Muslim countries? They banned Muslim immigration from the very beginning. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar— are they racist, too?”
Though the media is full of stories and pictures describing rioting and protests over POTUS' new immigration order, those of us in the middle - the ever-decreasing silent majority - support him. And there is reason to do so. Just a glance 8 US Code 1182 would point directly to enforceable code for foreigners entering this country quite apparently being selectively followed (at best) in previous years. Why shouldn't our incoming POTUS enforce current code? As an international adopter, our family were made to follow these rules, why should others be exempt?

I know that we Christians are to get along with - and even love - our fellow man, but more and more I'm wondering how that highway is driveable. Hollywood and the Progressive Left seem to become more unhinged every day, clearly having no idea they are both irrational and emotional beyond reason.

How in the world is it possible for the unreasonable to hear reason - for the emotion-driven to put aside their rage and engage the brain? I honestly don't know, but I do know that the unraveling of society is making me sad - and nervous. A civilization this divided, is destined to fall.

Friday, January 27, 2017

I Don't Want To Be Represented By Women Who Don't Represent Me



Seeing pictures of women wearing 'pu**y' hats, and/or dressed as vaginas trolling up and down streets all over this country has sincerely made me sick to my stomach.

So self-centered - with such little concern for their fellow man - these women seemingly can't comprehend that THEY are the privileged few from across the entire world simply because they can stop their whole lives, travel to their state's capitol - or the nation's capitol - and take a day to do nothing but walk up and down a street with signs and goofy clothing.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

What We Deserve

 

Some time ago I opened my Facebook page to find this meme. Now, I've noticed this not-so-subtle social engineering garbage being pumped into my Facebook feed for months now, but this today was specifically egregious to me. 

Why is it that we DESERVE everything we can possibly put into a sentence today? We DESERVE phone service and cable TV. We DESERVE an education and the latest hairstyle. We DESERVE equal access to healthcare. Interesting. Upon what is the word 'equality' based in this sentence? I mean, what kind of healthcare access is equal? 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Stepping Off Life's Treadmills



Treadmills. For as well as they can bear us up and move us along they can certainly be hard to spot in our everyday lives. 

 My big "for instance" here is public education. Most parents think nothing about sending their children to their local public school. We didn't. We even moved to a neighborhood with a 'better' public school for our babies to attend when they got old enough. In fact, it never occurred to either David or I there might be another option until our oldest son, suffering at the hands of classroom bullies - including his teacher - begged me to pull him out and school him at home.