Monday, February 22, 2016

Walking Master Card Commercial

This last weekend there was a gigantic consignment sale of kids items near us. We've had a booth there for our photography every sale since (quite literally) right after I found out I was pregnant with Serenity. 

We always save a bundle on stuff for Serenity and props for photos, but after this sale, Serenity looks like she belongs in one of the "Priceless" Master Card commercials. 

From the top:
Blinged out Sunglasses - $0.25
Shirt - $0.10
Audrey Hepburn-esque White Jacket - $2.50
Metal Hello Kitty Purse - $2.25
Jeans - $0.25
Sparkly Pink Shoes - $1.50

Always being the best dressed person in the family:  Priceless!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Victorian Weirdness

I remember as a kid seeing an old Victorian post card that my great-grandpa used to propose to my great-grandma. It was super cute and kitschy with teeny tiny ribbons in different colors, each representing an answer. (Of course, the ribbon representing "yes" was missing.)

Since I had fond memories of it, I thought I'd look up artwork for old cards to use for making my own greeting cards. After falling down the Google image search rabbit hole, I discovered that my great-grandparent's generation were seriously, weirdly macabre. Since I found sooooo many odd cards, I figured the most expedient way to share them would be in a blog post.

So without further ado, here is a collection of the weirdest Victorian cards I've found the last couple days.

Apparently dead bird cards were a thing.

Because nothing says good luck like a dead bird.

Dead birds certainly make for a pleasing Christmas. 

Nothing says love like dead birds, am I right?

Because dead birds just SING Christmas joy.

Then there are the Krampus cards. Merry Christmas! Let's scare the little kids! 

Then there are the Christmas frogs. 
Merry Christmas! Let's be as merry as this frog dancing on a beach with bugs. 
Nothing says Merry Christmas like a murderous thieving frog. 

Then there's this interesting Christmas dinner.

 Last, but not least, this charming couple.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

2 Step Program

With the exception of a few people who only want to watch the world burn, most everyone on Earth wants to make the world a better place. Fortunately for Christians, the Bible outlines a 2 Step Program for bettering the world. Don’t let the miniscule number of steps fool you, though. It isn’t easy. The two steps go against the very fabric of our basest human nature.

Step 1: Love God with all your heart, soul, mind & strength. (Mark 12:30). When you love God with all your heart, soul, mind & strength, you will worship Him in the manner He desires. (Exodus 20:2-11) When you love God with all your heart, soul, mind & strength and worship Him in the manner He desires, you will become loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle & composed. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Then you are ready for Step 2.

Step 2: Love your neighbor as yourself. (Mark 12:31) When you love God with all your heart, mind, soul & strength, you will love your neighbor as yourself you will treat others the way you would like to be treated. (Luke 6:31). When you love your neighbor as yourself and treat others the way you would like to be treated you will: love your enemies, bless those who curse, do good to those who hate you, pray for those who use and persecute you. (Matthew 5:44) When we do all of the above we will be forgiving, no matter if the other party deserves it or not. (Ephesians 4:32)

When you love God with all your heart, mind, soul & strength and your neighbor as yourself, you will visit the sick and the prisoner. (Matthew 25:26) You will welcome the stranger, whether they be a visitor to your church and/or home, a tourist, an immigrant or a refugee. (Matthew 25:35, Deut. 10:18-19, Hebrews 13:2) You will treat those visitors, tourists, immigrants, refugees, etc. with dignity and love. (Lev. 19:33-34, Deut. 10:18-19) You will help those who are oppressed, like refugees, victims of domestic violence and other crimes. (Isaiah 1:17, Zechariah 7:9)

When you love God with all your heart, mind, soul & strength and your neighbor as yourself, you will give clothes to those who need them (Matthew 25:36, Deut. 10:18-19, Luke 3:11), you will feed the hungry and give drink to the thirsty. (Matthew 25:35, Isaiah 58:10) You will do everything in your power to help the poor, (Proverbs 14:31 & 19:17, 1 John 3:17-19, James 2:14-20), the destitute, the orphans and widows. (James 1:27, Deut. 10:18-19)

If every person in the world who professed to be a Christian followed these 2 steps, it wouldn’t take long for the world to become a much better place.  

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Love, Hate and Neighbors

*note* This might be a little disjointed. I've been working on this off and on for a few weeks now.

There seems to be so much bad in the world any more. I don’t know if there really are more horrible things happening than ever, or if we just hear about it more, since the internet brings the entire world into our living rooms. There are terror attacks, earthquakes, civil unrest, refugee crises, wars, droughts, etc.

This is a prime time for churches to help the “least of these”. Unfortunately, it seems that many Christians have settled into the group on the left mentioned by Jesus in Matthew 24:31-46. I have seen so much hate spewed by so-called Christians in the last couple years, both in real life and on the internet. It is no wonder that in Matthew 7, Jesus says that he will tell people “I never knew you!” The visible, outspoken parts of Christianity don’t resemble Christ very much anymore.

Being a follower of Christ comes with a code of conduct. While it is elaborated and expanded upon throughout the Bible, this code of conduct boils down to 2 basic principles. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself." Luke 10:27 Like the lawyer in Luke, a lot of Christians don’t seem to have a good grasp of who their neighbor is. We’re so far removed from the culture and times of the New Testament that the impact of the story of the Good Samaritan, told to illustrate who our neighbors are, is greatly diminished.

So, how about an update?

A man was visiting a city for business when he found himself in a bad part of town. He was mugged, beaten nearly to death, and left in the gutter.

A short while later, a nationally respected minister, who had been volunteering at a small inner city church, happened on the scene on the way to his car. Fearing that the injured man was a ploy to get him to let his guard down, he hurried to his car while mumbling a quick prayer for the man, sticking to well-lit areas, and intending to call 911 as soon as he was safely away from the bad part of town.

The next person to come down the street was a community activist. If she ever saw the injured man, we will never know. She walked past on the other side of the street, in a hurry to get to her next appointment.

The last person to come across the badly beaten business man was a Muslim physician assistant who was heading home from her long shift at the free clinic. Seeing the bleeding and battered man lying in the gutter, she rushed over with the medical kit she carried at all times. After she got the man stabilized, she called 911. She rode with him in the ambulance to the nearest hospital. After she was certain that he was in good hands, and that he was going to recover, she headed to her home. Later, with her own money, she set it up for the best physical therapist in the city to help the business man on his road to recovery.

Since Syrian refugees are currently the target for much Conservative “Christian” vitriol, I chose to have the rescuer be Muslim. But insert a gay man, a Planned Parenthood worker, a bleeding-heart Liberal, and the message stays the same. Everyone on this planet is your neighbor. More to the point, like I’ve said before, and will say it again, and again, and again… Everyone on this planet is a child of God, and should be treated accordingly.

When we don’t help a panhandler because we think we’re scammers, when we say we shouldn’t take in refugees because one might be a terrorist, when we minimize the experiences of people whose situations we don’t understand, we are in effect turning our backs on Jesus, whose name we claim when calling ourselves Christians.

Maybe it’s because I’ve spent my whole life being “different” (geeky-homeschooled-bookworm Seventh-Day Adventist does not fall in the category of “normal” where I grew up) but it makes me heartsick to see people demonized, marginalized, criticized for being different, for falling outside of the publicized Conservative “Christian” worldview. But I take solace in realizing that that worldview is NOT the one Jesus encourages us to adopt.

A true Christian worldview advocates loving enemies, blessing those who curse you, doing good for those who hate you, praying for the ones who persecute, helping the helpless, turning the other cheek, and doing all that humbly, quietly. If more Christians fought fear, hate and evil with love, goodness and kindness the world would be a much better place.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Things you probably don't want to hear if you have a toddler in the house....

Now that I have a very active, talkative toddler, I have discovered some things that I really don't like to hear.

1) Suspicious silence
2) "Watch!" as she is standing anywhere but the floor/ground
3) "Uh oh."
4) A loud thump, followed by wailing.
5) Sudden, terrified crying in the middle of the night.
6) Creepy laughter
7) Hearing your sweet kiddo's voice suddenly drop a couple octaves as she jabbers to herself in the car seat.
8) Inexplicable, high pitched shrieking.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Shiny, Captain!

It only took 2.25 years, but we finally got Serenity to say "Shiny, Captain."

The other day she was parroting everything her daddy said, so, clever boy that he is, he nonchalantly said "Shiny, Captain."

Unfortunately, I wasn't quick enough to record her saying it, and she has steadfastly refused to say it again. *sigh* Toddlers...

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


Symbols are powerful. While different symbols can sometimes mean different things to different cultures, symbology is a shared heritage of all humanity. Some symbols, like the ankh, were particular to a specific culture. Others, like spirals and swastikas, are practically universal in their use across ancient civilizations.

But just like in language, where words can change meaning over time, symbols can change meaning, especially if they are tied to a noteworthy event. The cross, used as a device for torture and execution for centuries, through the development of Christianity became a symbol of hope and life. The pink triangle is another example of a symbol of death completely changing it's meaning. The downward pointing pink triangle was used in concentration camps by the Nazis to designate the people who were thought to be homosexual. Now, in modern society, that symbol that once marked people for death has been flipped to point up and now stands for gay pride and gay rights.

Conversely, when a symbol that for a long time has meant something good is co-opted by someone with evil intent, the meaning changes in a different way. Because of the Nazis, the swastika is now a symbol of ultimate evil to most people. The scope of the horrors committed under that symbol means that the perception of it is irrevocably changed.

Because of a terrible loss of life in South Carolina, another symbol is being discussed, debated and decried in the media. It gets called several names, the Rebel Flag, the Confederate Flag, etc. I've seen plenty of people, in an attempt to downplay the negativity aimed towards the flag, argue that it's not the “actual flag of the Confederacy”, that's it's just a battle flag. While it is true that it bears no resemblance to the original “Stars and Bars” flag of the confederacy, most people don't realize that that design was incorporated into a re-design of the Confederate flag in 1863. There are apologists posting on Facebook about the grand ideals that the colors and design of the flag were meant to represent. None of that matters a bit. Regardless of what it originally stood for, the Rebel Flag represents oppression, division & hate to roughly 40 million people in the United States.

It is the symbol adopted by a group of people who committed an act of treason not to ensure freedom for all mankind, but to prevent an entire group of people from achieving freedom solely due to the fact that their skin was darker. There are plenty of people jumping on the slavery argument as well, insisting that the Civil War wasn't fought over slavery, that it was fought over state's rights. But what rights were those exactly? The cornerstone right that the Confederacy was fighting for was slavery. To say that the Civil War was not fought over slavery is to ignore historical fact. To ignore direct quotes from the leaders of the Confederacy.

Alexander Stephens, who became the Confederate vice-president, gave a speech enumerating the differences between the constitutions, ideologies and beliefs of the Union and the Confederacy. The key difference between the two nations? Here are Stephens' exact words;
Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition.” Sounds like slavery was a key component to what the Civil War was about to me.

In light of the knowledge that the Confederacy was well aware of the importance of slavery to their ideologies and the cause of the war, and the fact that the flag has been used in the following years by countless other groups of people whose purpose was or is to continue oppressing and harming people who are not white, how can anyone, in good conscience, defend the use of it in merchandising or public places?

If, as a decent human being, you wouldn't be ok with the use the swastika, why would a reasonable person be ok with the use of the rebel flag? Just like the swastika, the rebel flag should be relegated to the museums, another bit of the past that we should reflect upon with shame, and a resolve to do better.

In a nutshell, my take on the Rebel flag flying outside the capital in South Carolina is this. Using a symbol of oppression in a governmental capacity is indefensible. Period. It is only adding to the division of our country along lines of race. If you are a person living in the southern part of the US and want to have a symbol to show your pride in being from the south, please, pick something less divisive, less loaded with negative implications.  Life is too short for hate and intolerance.