Ehh…Why?

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Since I have (cough) “grown-up”, I have wanted to let kids/teenagers know about the reasons why parents sometimes ask for things. Maybe its because when I was young-I was told to do this and that with very little explanation.  And though my mom was strict, now I see the reasons why some of these things were important (both due to experience and through structure). So I want to dispense some of this knowledge to help parents relax and help kids see something different.

1) Cleaning — I absolutely hated this as a kid. why clean my room when it gets dirty again? Why bother putting away the clothes you are going to wear again? And why bother putting them away so it matters–stuffing a drawer is easier. But as an adult (and from living on my own during my college years), there is a reason to cleaning. For one–things last longer when they are clean. Don’t believe me–leave something of yours with another person for 6 months… and tell them they don’t need to clean it. You’ll either be pleasantly surprised when it is still cleaned or frustrated you have to buy a new one because its disgustingly dirty. I learned this when I lived on my own. Dishes only got washed if I did them. Laundry was only clean if I made the effort to put it away. Now, I’m not saying the 5year old should know how to clean everything, but teaching children some mild chores as they grow that are age appropriate will help keep a parents’ sanity and help kids to appreciate cleanliness. Finally, being clean shows a level of respect.  Teenagers always talk about being treated like an adult and adults usually respond with “Act like one.” Well–here’s a way to do it.  Keep a tidy room & tidy self 🙂

2) The Negatives — I think i was robbed of many basic explanations as a child due to my mother’s struggle with my dad’s mental illnesses, but i was robbed of many negative experiences in my life. It probably also has to do with the fact I was the child my mom was never supposed to have. So I was doubly protected. However, as an adult, I have learned that limiting my interaction with certain things created a taboo about them. And while age is always a concern when discussing things like death, sex, and faults in oneself (or in your parents’ self), it should still be approached in reality. Telling kids that dogs live forever in some great green pasture robs them of the understanding of death. Refusing to explain mental illness to a child just because you don’t think they will understand only results in greater frustration later as an adult.  Trust me–kids know more than we give them credit for.

3) Go to school and do your homework — Now, I never had a problem with this. My mom was excellent at teaching (as she was a teacher) and encouraged me to use my mind. But I know there are several people who found this topic very difficult. here are some fun facts–I tested out of math in college because I did my homework and worked through calculus my senior year of high school. Yes–that’s right, I haven’t taken a math class since 2001 😀 Also, doing extra work gets extra credit. And parents–don’t expect perfection, even if you had a straight A kid.  My mom always said to try my hardest and if my hardest was a C then she would be happy. The backside of that is she knew I could get As & Bs so I tried harder. It worked. Finally, to get anywhere in this world you need training or school. Getting a job with my BA was easier said that done and getting a decent paying job requires continued studies, including a master or Ph.D. if need be. So might as well find what you’re good at, work through those pesky high school years and eventually it will pay off in the long run.

Finally:

Thank your parents–I didn’t really think about this much, but its extremely important. Kids should always thank their parents for the millions of things they do for them. Or honor your parents if they do not do anything for you. There is no reason to disrespect family (Expanded meaning–if you have a parent you do not know or do not care to know (as we all know about these), it does not give you the right to act towards him or her or your parental figure….i always meant this in a “don’t give them a reason to hate”, but I know that expects a certain level of “perfection.” I just don’t want one person’s evils to be superimposed on another person just because they are related.

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StoryTime!

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After spending a weekend in an environment soaked in creativity and artistic freedom, I began to realize that our lives are stories.  Whether we communicate our trails and errors through tales about storm troopers and rebels or through detailed drawings meant to invoke our feelings in color—as humans we all community through a language (visual and written) telling and interpreting our lives.

Christianity has aspects of this too…in fact all religions has a story-telling element.  Leaving aside any disputes in language/translation/doctrine, in Jewish tradition there is something called midrash. It is a story-telling aspect of faith where the author can take biblical characters and expand on the stories in the Bible based on research and doctrine to provide any insight to practice. In the Christian faith, we have parables where Jesus communicated a certain concept.  And the bible says we could not understand because we could not see, could not hear. Interesting, right?

And yet when we try to communicate things through comics, people freak out. Or through movies—people turn against the very creative outlet for thousands because they actually think they in and of themselves are evil.  Stories are not wrong. And using stories to express something you may not know is wrong or right is not a bad thing. How else are we to know? If God provided us a story, then why do we avoid using stories?  We should be encouraged about our stories, not downplayed.   And what I think makes it better is that as humans, we are part of God’s story and meant to be graphed into His story through eternity through Jesus.  Does that mean we stop telling our story? Far from it! It means we keep telling, acting and creating in harmony our stories while seeking and living the God-story we are called into.

So—how do comics and movies fit into all of this? They are expressions of this story.  And it is wrong? No, you can’t tell someone not to express something. What do we do instead? Personally, I would look at the God-story we have (The Bible) and see where it lines up with these story expressions. For example, let’s take Hunger Games. Big movie, huge book series about a fantasy, utopian government gone haywire when one person stands out & up to survive. Sound familiar? The Capital = Rome? The Districts=people groups as defined by their work, and Katnis?—maybe us, maybe a significant leader (I’m not sure I would place her with Jesus as she makes mistakes) but as a character she addresses many human struggles, pain and suffering intermixed with love for family and love for others through a struggle to survive.  And you tell me we can’t watch but it does say “God is good” somewhere in the movie? You’re crazy.  If God is God, creator, than a it will be there….

God and Comics!

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So this past weekend my husband and I attended Comic Con. For this first time, we stayed from Wednesday-Saturday and enjoyed getting to see several celebrities, artists, and writers collaborating together and showing the world their stuff. It was awesome-I even found a comic about libraries and the shenanigans that go on…and got a Girl Scout array of “merit badges” to wear.

But what always surprises me-and eases me-is the discussions about religions that comics draw. Let me explain:

First there is the outspoken peeps–they are usually outside, with the loud megaphone, supporting or protesting that-and it breaks my heart. Comic con brings together so many types of people, why do they think it’s okay to judge. But nevertheless they are still there

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Second there are the people who don’t care. They are the ones that throw around religion like it’s a joke. I’d say game but considering this is a place gaming is taken very seriously joke might be a better explanation. These people make me laugh, but eventually make me feel sad too because what will they be thinking about tomorrow and the next day? Probably whatever some other joe thinks is funny.

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The last category are the people who seriously look at religion. Whether it be traditional looks at it (there is a Christian comic book society) to those who decided to turn it upside down with a graphic novel (yep, bought that)

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(It’s called “God is Dead” but read the back cover–this storyline would take a lot to research and involve)
, they at least interact and engage what faith means. And I love these people. Even with views different than my own- I love being challenges to think a little outside the box. And comic con does that. Even with religion. And maybe it helps all of us narrow down yet openly be able to describe what our faith is, our religious focus, you name it.

So-dare I say it- may God Bless comic con and for the possibilities it creates. And May truth, beauty, justice and love come out on top and not ten thousands arguments with bull horns about silly pictures and fantasy stories.

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Diet, Weight Gain and Babies, oh my!

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So again I have come back to dieting and weight.  Why? Well, for a couple reasons. Mostly because I just had my 6 month check up/blood work done and frankly, I have some interesting updates. Also, Shawn and I ARE planning in the next couple years to have kids (as in starting to try in a couple months) so my health is important to me.

Some things I have learned on my ever-continuing journey.

1) YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT. I never thought I’d say this…but when i was taking dieting seriously, I looked like it. Whether it was points or calorie counting or just plain “I’m eating something green”, noticed a true physical and emotional change. I felt better when I ate healthy stuff and disgusted when I ate bad things. Now, after throwing dieting out the window (to emotionally get stable), I gained all the wait back and 20lbs more from eating out at Jack in the Box every morning. i probably ate upwards of 3000 calories per day for weeks on end. And though you are probably thinking “but Sara, doctors have been saying this for years.” –I have problems with authority figures. I have to experience and know things for myself, not be given answers. Therefore, statistics do not phase me. In fact, they only make me pissed that I think i’m a number.

2)EVERYONE HAS THEIR OWN OPINION ABOUT DIETING again, coming from personal experience on this one. Everyone thinks they have the newest weight loss secret or dieting plan, but in reality-its only you who can figure out what is best for you. My best friend lost a lot of weight on Medifast. I tried it–i cried many tears. And not because I was happy. I’m realistic–i’ve been overweight the majority of my life. Watching skinny people complain about 10-15lbs makes me irritated. Or people who actually LOOK healthy thinking they aren’t. You need to find what is right for you, with a doctor or nutritionalist who is right for you…

3)IT DOES MATTER coming to a turning point in this dieting process–i realist that what I do really does matter. And it doesn’t just affect me–but others. It affects me if I want to have kids. It affects Shawn. truly–everything…Buying from the local farmers market helps sustain your local economy without supporting over-oppressive industrialized company. So if nothing else I’m going to eat better if not for the sake of others.

This all is eventually leading up to the ending word: babies. Shawn and I are going to start trying within this next year. And while reading all those books I need (because my mother is no longer here), they continually mention that working to be active and healthy is a great way to prepare for having kids. And that is something I want. I would love to have a kid who doesn’t have to experience being overweight–though if my child does gain I will still love them none the less and let them know that God is there.

 

Religion and Reality

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I want to get something off my chest.

Religion and Reality are not two different things. We have come to an era where everyone, whether it be those who claim Christ as King or those who thing we’re all a bunch of idiots, believes that religion is outside the means of reality. I want to set the record straight. Religion and reality should not be enemies.  Just because God created reality and can be outside of it, does not mean that we are to place religion outside of the reality he has created for us. Why would  want to believe in something that doesn’t have anything to do with this world? When people say “I can’t believe in a God who does “x”…”, my typical reaction is maybe their view of God needs to change instead of their typically view which is to throw God out of the picture.   On the other page–people usually talk about God not connecting with this world, where as I see Christ and see nothing but God interacting with this world. The enlightenment has brought us to today where we think that reality and science are contrary to religion. It also doesn’t help that protestant theologians during the same period pushed faith away from scientific study. Look at Galileo–that will show you an interesting study in science and faith. And then look at Dan Brown’s book Angels and Demons–it forces people to consider faith and science together yet is pushed away as it is a fiction book and even downplayed in the movie because of our society’s goal to push science and religion apart.

Here is a quote from N.T. Wright’s new book Surprised by Scripture. It was nice to hear it from a more well-known theologian. I wish more would speak of this…

“And the Christian claim was from the beginning that Jesus’s resurrection was a question NOT of the internal mental and spiritual states of his followers a few days after his crucifixion but of something that had happened in the REAL, PUBLIC world, leaving among its physical mementos not only an empty tomb but a broken loaf at Emmaus and footprints in the sane by the lake, and leaving his followers with a lot of explaining to do but with a transformed worldview that is only explicable on the assumption that something really did happen, even tough it stretched their existing word views to the breaking point.”

Wright talks about we have come to believe that “believe is contrary to “knowing.” When you believe something to be true versus knowing it is. Again–Science/Reality versus religion.  Science doesn’t even explain everything–many ideas are just that–ideas and theories that have trended towards a certain result but could spontaneously do something else. Or unexplained phenomena. I’m not even suggesting that religion is an answer and it is certainly not the opposite of the situation.

So please, remember whether you believe in something or not–science is not against faith. It is the study of natural things in this world through research and experiment. It is a study of how the way things are. And religion and faith are explanations of why things are what they are. Shorthand: science says what; faith says why. They can work together–very easily in fact. And if you want to claim that the “What” is the why–then its your theory of why…which is a philosophical study–NOT a scientific one.

by the way–i never thought googling for an image of religion/science would be hard. its all just memes about people’s opinions. A little more creativity please?

Does This Mean I’m a Horse?

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You know those “suggested posts” you see on Facebook for plated meals or packaged snacks? Well, I decided I would be “curious” and check one out.  It 1) gave me an excuse to get a little free food and 2) actually sounded interesting.

So I look into graze

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Graze is an interesting site.  What they do is weekly (or however often you desire), they send you 4 small snack sized munchies to enjoy. And luckily its not just the same almond, carob and coconut strip mix you see in the store. No-its got a unique variety of fun flavors for those of us who like to try “a little of this…a little of that.”

 

 

 

This was my first taste – all fruit (apple/strawberry/currant) It was tasty. Dried fruit but considering they get shipped I’m not that upset. These are the pending snacks below. I recommend it all! I’ve since eaten the chili & lime pistachios. lots of flavor. 20140629-145135-53495356.jpg

New reading thoughts

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I have reached a nice breaking point in my life. With a Masters degree in hand and the pursuit of a PhD closer than yesterday, I finally get to follow and read some material I have wanted to read for some time. Additionally, waiting for school to finish has resulted in experiencing the publication of material that is heading in the direction I’m interested in. Also it has provided some additional insights.

So here is my “hmm” moment for the day:
I have come to realize that most thought is not new-just regurgitated ancient stuff that we as humans, as Americans, and as scholars have yet to figure out.

Any thoughts?

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