Thursday, February 27, 2014

If I seem a little crazy...

...this may be why! By the time I was in the 6th grade, I'd been to six different schools (not counting preschool) and lived in five different states.

Oh, and thanks very much to my brother who sent this article to me. What exactly is he implying?

Kidding aside, as much as I changed schools early on, my parents tried to make the transitions a little easier on me by sending me to Christian schools that all used roughly the same curriculum with minor variations.  I may have been the new kid, but gosh darn it, I'd used the same reading and math books all the other kids had the previous school year. A small thing, perhaps, but it helped. And, from the article linked above, it seems any small help may be a big thing for the transient child.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The face of love

I'm such a sucker for stories like this one, where life takes an unexpected, horrifying turn and love shines through. 

They stand in such stark contrast to an interview I remember watching years ago, one of those Barbara Walters specials, with John and Bo Derek. For those too young to remember, Bo was the star of the movie "10" that famously included a scene of her in blond cornrow braids jogging in a swimsuit. During the interview, perhaps sensing that John was infatuated rather than in love, Walters asked him whether he would stay with Bo if she were disfigured in a car accident and got the response she must have sensed was coming: "No."  I was a teenager at the time of the interview and still remember the look of embarrassment and pain on Bo's face. John Derek has since died and, happily, Bo seems to have found a steadier love in John Corbett. Here's John C. telling the story of their first date.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Some lines are not meant to be blurred

Blurring the lines between people who are your spouse and people who are not is not a great recipe for longevity in marriage, as Mr. and Mrs. Robin Thicke are apparently learning.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Monday devo: Protecting what's really important

This morning I'm reading Mark 7:1-23, one of the many passages where Jesus chastises the "Pharisees and teachers of religious law." He did this a lot, calling them out for their hypocrisy and the way they liked to burden the people with made up rules that may have been intended for good originally but had come to be more important than the good they were supposed to accomplish.  As Jesus put it in verse 8, "For you ignore God's specific laws and substitute your own traditions."

Last week, I read a conversation (for lack of a better word) on the internet. A group of Christians were skewering another Christian because he took a different view than they did on an issue. And not a moral issue, but rather a political issue. In their minds, it seemed, to take any position other than their own was a sin. "Why don't your disciples follow our age-old customs? For they eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony." (Mark 7:5)

While I'm bothered still by the conversation I read, I'm challenged this week to think about the things -- ideas, traditions, etc. -- that I work so hard to protect that have little real value.  What burdens am I imposing on those around me because I think they should act or think a certain way when really, like the Pharisees, I'm simply imposing my own made up rules? 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Friday Fun

Head on over to the Child of Divorce, Child of God facebook page for a chance to win an autographed copy of the book!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Speaking of sweet songs

I'm loving this season of American Idol. I had stopped watching, in part because the judges had become so snarky and childish, but with Keith Urban and Harry Connick, Jr. in the judges' seats this season I tuned in and now I'm hooked. Besides both being fantastic musicians who are being respectful, honest, and encouraging with the contestants, Keith has such a sweet manner and Harry is hilarious and not bad on the eyes.

So last week, they aired just a clip of a song by one of the young hopefuls Sam Woolf, an original that he said he wrote when his mother left.  I found the full song on his YouTube page. The lyrics are sometimes a little hard to follow in the performance, but the melody is very nice. If you're a fan, tune in to American Idol because he made the cut last week and will be back to perform another day.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Sweet song

OK, I admit it. I'm a convert to country music.  I grew up on Madonna and Def Leppard, but somewhere along the way pop music took a turn -- and, yes, I got older. The techno vibes and oversexed lyrics just became too much.

When my youngest brother moved in with me for a few years awhile back, he brought with him a love for country music that I tolerated at first, and then found myself drawn into.  This has as much to do with a migration of country music as it does with a migration of pop.  Country music today feels like it has more in common with the pop music of my youth than what passes for pop today. With Keith Urban on American Idol and Blake Shelton on The Voice, I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in thinking this way.

All that to say, I'm a late adopter of the country music bandwagon. So, while this is an old song, it was new to me when I heard it recently.  The words of this song were so sweet and reminded me of things I've heard many children of divorce say about their own journey into parenthood.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Monday devo: Pity and anger

As promised, this is a new feature. I hope to publish a short piece every Monday, writing about something I've been reading in the Bible.  Because what better way to start Monday than to start it with God.

Last night, I was reading these words in the first chapter of the gospel of Mark: "A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. 'If you want to, you can make me well again,' he said. Moved with pity, Jesus touched him. 'I want to,' he said. 'Be healed.' Instantly the leprosy disappeared--the man was healed." (Mark 1:40-42).

Next to the phrase "moved with pity" was an asterisk that led me to a note at the bottom of the page that read "Some manuscripts read 'moved with anger.'"

I find it so interesting that these two words would be used in this situation. Pity denotes sorrow and compassion, and certainly we often feel sorrow for and compassion on those who are suffering.  "I'm so sorry for your loss." "I'm sorry this happened to you."

But anger is also a common and natural reaction to suffering. If we know who caused the suffering, we feel angry at them. Other times we feel angry at God, at fate, at the universe, at life. Things were supposed to be different and someone or something is to blame.  If we want to sound spiritual, we might call it righteous indignation. Anger.

Whether our reaction to suffering is pity or anger would seem to depend on our perspective. Are we focused on the person who is suffering? Pity that poor person. Are we focused on the cause of the suffering? How dare that person/thing cause this kind of suffering.

As he so often did, my guess is that Jesus managed to capture both sides at once in perfect balance -- pity for the sufferer, anger at the thing that causes suffering to be part of our world. 

A reminder to me as I start this week to not overlook the real plight of people in my righteous indignation and to remember in the face of suffering that this is not the way things are supposed to be.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Blog reboot

Hello friends! After another long hiatus, I hope to be back and posting regularly. I hope you'll join the conversation. In addition to the material that has been on this blog in the past, there will be some new features. I'm excited to be back and sharing this journey with you.