Video: December 2008 Archives

P.S. The holiday greeting from Momversation. The boys are hysterical and I feel a little like Steve Martin from his SNL Christmas skit:

Popping in for a quick update: I've contributed to another episode over at Momversation. It's funny; I've always thought - especially online - that me or anyone saying that we have clear-cut beliefs and that we find strength in our faith will elicit eyerolls or hateful commentary. (I don't just think; it has.) It's been my experience that taking this stance is unpopular. Sure, the majority of people in America identify themselves as Christian but that question is illogical if you're using it alone to define spirituality: ask how many people regularly go to church or read the Bible and the answers will be quite different. Really though, I think everyone feels that their beliefs will be criticized. It's an insecurity we all share. Yay!

I made several important points which weren't included in the final cut of this episode that I would really like to share here:

- I don't want to raise my kids with a blind faith, but with a discerning faith. I don't want them to walk into any house of worship and holler "I'll take what you're sellin!"

- I believe that when my kids leave my house they should have a solid foundation. I don't want them spending the better part of their most productive years trying to "find themselves" or wondering what they believe. I feel that it's my job as their mother to make sure that they are ready when it's time to leave the nest and to help them with their decisions now. It's not pushing anything down their throats, no more than telling them to eat their vegetables or that no, Green Day and Sum 41 are not real punk, listen to some Ramones or The Dickies.

- I don't think you need Jesus to be a nice person but if you want to get to Heaven, Christian beliefs dictate that you kinda require Him.

Not all Christians are like Carrie White's mother. Thank goodness for that.

A Christmas parable of sorts

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This morning Chris told me about a woman he passed on his way inside city hall yesterday. The woman was sitting on the steps wearing a pair of sweatpants and a tiny, inadequate coat. She asked him for some money.

"Sorry, I don't have any," he replied, before hurrying in for a meeting.

The image of this woman in the cold bothered him to the point of distraction throughout the entire meeting, but what bothered him even more, he said, was his dismissive reaction. Chris isn't a rich man, but he pulled what little he had out of his pocket and had it ready to hand to her as he left the building, but she was gone.

This has weighed on his heart heavily and he feels ashamed. Every single one of us has been that woman - maybe not in severity, maybe in a different form, maybe with a different problem, but each of us has been in a position where we have needed something from another. I know we have. We all have instances similar to this: where we see a person in need but yet we wonder if the need is real or if they're hustlers.

No matter our lot, we can always give to need but yet if we give to the hustler we feel as though we're essentially being robbed and we have less resources for those with true need and even less for our own. So we've all developed a practice wherein we try to quickly assess a person's needs. Do their pants look too new? Are their shoes too shiny? Because if they are then they surely must not be in need and, you know, need is an arbitrary definition that changes depending upon circumstance. You're behind a woman in line at the grocery store who's dressed in nice clothes and paying with food stamps; is she a hustler? Maybe. Or maybe she's too embarrassed or too proud to dress down to the expectations of need.
I've been in Chris's position many times and many times I've walked on by without saying a word. One day we were in the McDonald's drive-thru line and a man tapped on my window. He said he needed gas money as he'd run out. Could I help him? Two little pairs of eyes watched from booster seats behind me. I needed to choose my next move carefully. I'd just spent the afternoon at the grocery store poring over my list, making sure I had the necessary coupons and bought inexpensive and sale items.

He may well have been hustling me. He may have been lying about why he needed money. I reached down into my purse, opened my wallet, and handed him the only note I had, a five dollar bill. He thanked me profusely, looked straight down the barrels of my eyes and said "God bless you for this. I mean it." And then he walked away.

I didn't give him money because I wanted to buy a blessing from God. I didn't do it because I thought it was another test of faith that I had to ace. I did it because who on earth am I to judge this man? Me, a person who once had to leave her grocery cart at the store because my card was declined. Me, a child who had to borrow notebook paper growing up because I was too poor to buy any. I've been on the other end of this situation and I craved anyone, anything that would give me the dignity to bear it.

I don't want to come off as preachy by any means, but while everyone is out celebrating the birth of Christ, please remember what exactly that birth meant. Many years ago someone did pass by us when we were in need. He didn't pause to critically assess whether or not we were worth saving, worth helping, He just did it anyway.

Have a wonderful Christmas and best wishes for an equally wonderful New Year. I'll pop in sporadically with a photo or two before resuming regular posting after January 1st.

Kid-toucher websites dot com

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The internet is capable of two things simultaneously: it can make me feel connected and informed, and it can also make me feel completely neurotic. It's also hard to be a parent. Parenting in the information age? That much harder. Sometimes I wonder if the worry it gives me outweighs the benefits. I talk about it this week with some of the other ladies over at Momversation.

Are you ready for another kid?

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I recently joined the lovely ladies over at Momversation, the first of its kind internet talk show, and I'll be recording regular episodes. I'm excited about doing something in a different medium. My first one is up and it deals with the age-old question of when (and if) to add to your family. As I say in the video, it's something we've been discussing and we're being gently nudged by family. Which kind of weirds me out because, you know, they're essentially telling us to do it.

From today's soundtrack

I'm a fan of the Dropkick Murphys (their site seems to be down at the moment) and the video below is Liam's favorite song.

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Dana asks: "Thanksgiving Traditions: Yours or Your Mother's?"