(photo source: The Chronicles of Narnia FB fan page)
Happy Earth Day!
It occurred to me, as a person of faith, that Earth Day should be rally day for all people of faith. (more…)
(photo source: The Chronicles of Narnia FB fan page)
Happy Earth Day!
It occurred to me, as a person of faith, that Earth Day should be rally day for all people of faith. (more…)
Posted by Hugs, Kisses and Snot on April 22, 2013
Something has been on my heart since December. For the past 4 months I’ve been having an internal struggle and dialog with myself about this. I have debated whether or not to share my feelings and have waited this long because often, I don’t even know what my feelings really are. When you hear a Christian say “something has been on my heart” you better sit down or walk the other direction because things are about to get serious. (more…)
Posted by Hugs, Kisses and Snot on April 16, 2013
I hope everyone out there in blogland had a beautiful Easter.
I love Easter because after 40 days of denying ourselves this, that or the other we wake up refreshed and ready for new life. New life after death. Death and sin have no hold over us thanks to God’s most unconditional gift.
And now for an Easter photo dump. (more…)
Posted by Hugs, Kisses and Snot on March 31, 2013
Be Still, My Soul
Katharina von Schlegel (1752)
Be still, my soul: for God is on your side;
bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Trust in your God, your savior and your guide,
who through all changes faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: your best, your heavenly friend
through thorny ways leads to a peaceful end.
Be still, my soul: for God will undertake
to guide the future surely as the past.
Your hope, your confidence let nothing shake;
all now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
the voice that calmed them in this world below.
Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
when we shall dwell with God forever more,
when disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past,
all safe and bless-ed we shall meet at last.
Posted by Hugs, Kisses and Snot on March 11, 2013
I have a confession to make. My attempt to keep up with the daily laundry for Lent has been abysmal. By the third day I was already so far gone I figured that there was no way I could make it to the end of March. Every single day I either think “I’m going to start anew. I can do this!” or “I’m just going to forget about this whole stupid idea. I can’t put away laundry. I’m a complete Lent failure.” Unfortunately, most days it’s the latter. Thankfully God never gives up on me.
The other part of my personal Lent challenge, daily devotional, has been a little bit better than my laundry challenge. One of the devotionals from last month connected with me. Letting go. As parents we really want to hold our little ones close, and that’s okay, especially when the world is such a scary place. But if we hover and guard and don’t let them spread their wings they won’t ever learn to fly on their own. In our spiritual lives if we keep our cards too close to our chest or don’t take a chance when we feel the Spirit move, we may never realize our potential.
The following is from Selena Wright
On the day my daughter was born, something broke (besides my water!) A connection was broken. There was a cord that linked us together; it was her lifeline for nine months and on the day that she and I yelled and pushed our way to new life, I had to let go. I had to watch her dad cut the cord that connected us. t had to happen, but I still grieved.
No more kicks, no more hiccups, and no longer would she belong to no one but me. Yet that very cord that sustained her life would prohibit it. The cord had to be cut so that her dad could take her for a walk, so that her grandma could bathe her, and her sister could hold her. I didn’t want to let go when I thought of all that I would lose, our connection, my ability to keep her safe and warm, but it happened, when I consented to let go…it didn’t even hurt! It seems the things we desperately want to hold on to can only truly bless us when we let them go.
There is much in all of our lives that we create or hold or carry, from ideas and energy to forgiveness and hope. We get used to these things living inside us. When they remain in our head or our hearts, we have control over them and they belong to us alone, but if we keep them too long, they will die. They way of creation calls us to bring forth life and to let go. For only when we give our gifts to the world, can those gifts live and grow!
It’s so easy to stuff good ideas back down before they made us move and do what’s right. It’s easy to look the other way when we see something that quickens our spirit and says “do something before it’s too late!” It’s easy to convince ourselves to hold on to our good ideas or our hurt or our forgiveness because letting go is hard. Letting go means action and action takes work. It’s so much easier to stay complacent or overly protective. Like Selena Wright said; “Only when we give our gifts to the world, can those gifts live and grow.”
Is there anything you want to let go of?
Posted by Hugs, Kisses and Snot on March 1, 2013
It’s that time of year again…Lent. Once again I struggled with what to give up or add. I find it difficult to find things to “cut out” of my daily life. I can’t really think of a vice or something that I would go nuts over if I couldn’t have it for 40 days (except pasta and/or blogging, but let’s not get crazy). So, I try to think of things to add that will cause suffering and reflection. I seriously considered making myself get up before 6 a.m. every morning but let’s be real here. I would just be setting myself up for failure. Thursday morning after Ash Wednesday the first thing I thought to myself as I had to drag myself out of bed at 6:50 a.m. in order to fix Addison’s lunch was Thank God I didn’t go for that get up early thing. That was stupid. My next idea was to try to find time everyday to get outside and walk or exercise by myself. I quickly brushed that idea aside as it’s still cold outside and I hate being cold. Whenever I see people jogging in 40 degrees and wind I wonder what the hell is wrong with them. Plus, when would I find time to get outside and exercise? That would mean I would have to get up early. Nope. My next idea was to spend 40 days looking for the beauty around me and record my findings whether it be in pictures or a journal. When I said it out loud it sounded lame so I went back to the drawing board.
I’ve finally settled on the same thing I’ve done for the past two years, reading a daily devotional. I’ve found it to be thought-provoking and spiritually rewarding so I figured the method tried and true. I mentioned above that my qualifications for adding something to my life are suffering and reflection. One may wonder how spending time each day in devotion can cause suffering. I’m here to report that finding 30 quiet minutes to myself is a difficult if not impossible task. Can I get an “amen sister” from my stay-at-home moms? My 3-year-old doesn’t nap so I have to learn to tune out the sounds of Dora and Max & Ruby (where are their parents anyway? I’m getting worried) if I want to spend any time in “quiet” reflection. The temptation to hide oneself in the bathroom in order to get away from it all is great. I wonder if Jesus felt this way. Desert, toilet closet, little hands rattling the locked door, Satan tempting Jesus to prove himself. I’m seeing similarities here. It’s all in how you look at it.
I’m toying with the idea of making myself put away the clean laundry the same day it has been washed. This may seem trivial to some but for me it could prove to be a real challenge. I don’t know what it is about folding and putting away clean laundry but I. Hate. It. And there is so much of it. There are only 4 of us but why do we create so much damn laundry? I keep wondering what women did before the convenience of a washer and dryer. What did Caroline Ingalls do with those dusty shirts and layers of skirts? What did Marmee and her little women do with all those petticoats and tight bodices? I’ll tell you what they did. They stunk. They had smaller wardrobes and wore their clothes over and over and over before they had to wash it. I guess they were used to the smell. It’s something to consider.
What are you doing for Lent? Adding or subtracting?
Posted by Hugs, Kisses and Snot on February 18, 2013
Its been three weeks since Sandy Hook. We’ve cried, mourned, been angry and started getting political. But life has picked up and moved on. America is now playing with their new toys and gadgets and are starting to put away the Christmas decorations. While the rest of us are moving on there are 26 families who are frozen in time. I can’t help but think about these parents who must find a way to continue with life. How in the world can they get out of bed in the morning, let alone send their other children to school? I think about this because every time I’m at Target I see Time magazine (or which ever magazine it is) with those 20 precious faces staring at me, daring me to think, what would I do, how would I carry on?
Have you seen this magazine in the check out line? How in the world did that phone call to those parents go? ”Hi, this is editor for Check-Out-Line magazine. We’re so sorry for your loss but we would like permission to put your child’s picture on the cover of this month’s issue.” What the what?! If I look at it even for a moment my mind puts my own precious 8 year old’s face in the mix. The emotions start swelling and I have to turn away. I have to turn my emotions off because if I allow myself to think about it I would become a blubbering mess as I try to unload my grocery cart. Then I start feeling guilty for turning away. Tonight my babies will be snug in their beds, but those parents have empty beds in their houses. My life goes on as usual and theirs will never be the same and somehow that gives me a sense of hopelessness and helpless. Hopeless because that is my gut reaction to how I would feel if I lost one of my children in the way that they lost theirs. Helpless because I know those parents will go on suffering while the rest of us get to hug our kids when they come home from school today.
The Sunday after Sandy Hook was the baby dedication at our church. It’s always a precious time and I always get a little misty eyed. There is a congregational response in which we all say “As a congregation of God’s family, it is our sacred obligation and privilege, along with these parents, to enfold these children in our affection and continuing care…. We pledge to forgive them in error, and protect them from all that is evil and unjust…” When I said those last words, protect them from all that is evil and unjust, my voice caught in my throat and I nearly lost it. There is evil in this world and sometimes we can’t protect our babies from it and what in the hell am I supposed to do with that?
So what do we do now? I’m sorry to say that I’m at a loss and I wish I knew the answer. We will have to have difficult discussions about gun control and mental health services and security in schools and who knows what else. So we will continue loving our kids, cherishing them and leading a normal life. But what about those families that will never be the same? I suppose the rest of us will get back into our normal routines, the kids will drive us crazy, time will pass and Sandy Hook will start to fade in our memory. Just like Aurora and the shopping mall and Columbine. We can’t live our lives in a constant state of anxiety or we will just spin our wheels and cease to become productive, loving parents who produce anxious, high-strung children. Can we lead normal lives but still remember the parents that grieve? The best I can come up with is Grace says “yes”. Grace allows us to love our families and allow our hearts to break a little for those suffering loss. Maybe we can’t travel across the country to hug those parents and bring them a hot dish but maybe we can do that for someone right in our own communities. Someone is suffering right under our noses, we don’t have to look far. Rather than tell them about the love of Jesus what if we showed it. It’s something to think about.
How are you moving on?
Posted by Hugs, Kisses and Snot on January 4, 2013
It seems like we’re all dazed and confused. We are feeling helpless as 26 families are beginning to lay to rest their babies and heroes. When tragedy strikes someone we love we have this knee jerk reaction to reach out and help. We make meals, we pray, we offer to take care of the kids. Anything to feel useful and hopefully ease the pain, even just a little.
If you’re looking for a tangible way to send some love to CT, check out what my friend, Scentsy Jenn (remember her?) is doing to help ease the pain.
Scentsy Consultants all across America are coming together to donate Scentsy Buddies to all the surviving students and their siblings. You can help by contacting her (firstname.lastname@example.org) or going directly to her website to purchase the Buddy Holiday Kit. This kit contains 2 Buddies and 2 Scent Paks for $25. https://jennsanders29.scentsy.us/
Scentsy Buddies will be mailed to a Scentsy Consultant in CT who will organize the distribution and are hoping to be able to have the Buddies sitting on every desk of the students when they return from the Holidays.
Jenn is not taking any kickback from this. She is donating all her commission from the Buddies sales to the Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Just one more example of how our light can shine in the darkness.
Posted by Hugs, Kisses and Snot on December 18, 2012
You know what’s awesome? Having your 2 year old tell you he needs to potty…while you’re in the shower. All parents of toddlers know that when a potty-training child says pee-pee, you jump. Nothing like leaning over the toilet, helping direct a stream of pee, wrapped in a towel and dripping wet. That was me on Friday morning.
After last Friday, this silly situation along with all the other ridiculous things our kids do to drive us crazy, were seen in a new light. I saw friends on Facebook anxiously awaiting their kids return from school ready for a big hug. Parents who wanted to crawl in bed with their small ones that night just so they could hold them close. Joining in play time instead of turning on the TV. The grief of the parents in Connecticut has become our grief and opened our eyes to how quickly childhood slips by. Once again, our world is turned upside down and we take stock of what is really important. Once again we wonder how, why and where. How and why could God let this happen? Where was God when this horrific event took place?
We all have to answer our own questions to make sense of the senseless. After reflection and tears I have come up with the only answer that I can imagine to make any sense. God did not allow this to happen. It just did. Horrible things happen in this world because it’s an imperfect world. Where was God? God was there. We call God compassionate but have we ever thought about what that really means? Com (with) Passion (suffering). God is there/here suffering with us. God is not far away in the cosmos watching it all happen. God is experiencing all of it with us, knowing the pain of those parents, holding those children in His love, experiencing our confusion and grief. How bitterly ironic that the unthinkable happened 10 days before we celebrate God made flesh. Just as we are about to celebrate God’s best expression of love, we experience the darkest part of free will.
One thing I do know for sure is that what happened is not a result of God’s anger at our country. Horrible things happening, hurricanes or otherwise are not God’s punishment on the east coast for falling away from Christian doctrine. If I hear of any blogger out there trying to spread this hate filled message I’m going to scream. Hear me loud and clear, trying to justify hate and evil with the will of God is a big hot steaming pile of crap and I’m not going to stand back and let Christians be led down that destructive and divisive path. You know how I know this to be true? Get ready because I’m about to pull out every bible thumper’s trump card. John 3:16 AND 17. We all know it, say it with me. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. Wait, there’s more and it’s really important. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. God made himself a part of this world to save it, not condemn it. He loved all the world, not just a select few who feel themselves worthy. All the world, the innocent babies, the beautiful heroes and the tormented souls. All that angry vengeful stuff went out the window when the cross entered the picture. There isn’t room for condemnation and revenge in compassion and unconditional love.
I can’t begin to imagine the sorrow and grief those families in Connecticut are experiencing. All I can do is hug my boys a little tighter, cherish their silly antics and open my heart to experience compassion for those that are suffering. Only when we can let go of hateful, angry rhetoric and the lie that God wants to punish us by allowing pain and destruction, can we begin to heal.
Posted by Hugs, Kisses and Snot on December 16, 2012
Anticipation. That is what comes to mind when I think about Advent. The excitement leading up the birth of our savior, counting down the days, singing songs of prophesies foretold and helping make Christmas miracles come true. Unchecked this anticipation can turn into anxiety. Checking off lists; did I get everything done? There are how many days left? I don’t have enough time! How much does that gift cost and how am I going to pay for it!? Anxiety invites in stress. One more present, one more pie, one more donation, one more ornament, one more office party, one more one more one more. Before we know it the presents have been ripped open and we’re already anticipating the New Year’s Day sale at Dillards. Where did the month go?
Thinking about Mary and her anticipation I can’t help but wonder, did she cherish every single day or did she feel a need to hurry it up? 9 months is a long time to anticipate God’s greatest gift. Did she worry about all she had to do to prepare, allowing the stress of such a responsibility weigh her down? Or did she take time each day to stop and meditate on the miracle that was a part of her and soon to be a part of our world.
During this Advent season lets not let the joy of anticipation slip through our fingers. Take time each day to cherish the wonder of God coming to dwell with us. It’s okay to be excited about presents and decorations, volunteering and baking. Sharing our time and talents are part of what the wonder of Christmas is all about. But don’t forget what we are preparing for. This should be the season to slow down and savor the days rather than race to the finish line.
Posted by Hugs, Kisses and Snot on December 10, 2012