Yesterday was nothing short of divine intervention

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I’ve been thinking about God’s timing a lot recently, about how all things work as a part of His divine plan that we just cannot understand on this side of Heaven. Yesterday was an interesting day, to say the least. And without God’s amazing timing it could have worked out so differently than it did.

Depending on how you look at it, yesterday I saved the life of a baby or almost killed a baby. Without God’s amazing timing, that baby would have died yesterday afternoon. I guess I should start at the beginning.

Because of everything going on with the family right now, my weekly schedule has changed quite a bit. I used to go to my mom’s on Wednesdays, but I’ve started going on Thursdays the past couple of weeks. On our way there, I knew I was going to have to stop at the local grocery store, and I considered stopping on my way there rather than on my way home. In the end, I decided just to stop on my way home.

We spend the afternoon together and I ended up getting a slightly later start home than I wanted. While shopping, the boys dragged their feet and basically just made me crazy as I was just wanting to get home. We finally got up to the checkout, and as the cashier started to ring me up, I realized that I had forgotten the one thing my husband had asked me to pick up. I wasn’t going back through the store.

As I loaded the boys and groceries into the truck, I considered texting my husband to see if he really needed what I had forgotten. Then I remembered that the small town we were in had just opened a Dollar General and I could get the forgotten items there. It was the complete opposite direction I had planned on going, but I decided to run over there anyway. We drove around the block and pulled out on the main road.

Heading west, the sun was shining down on us, and it was a little hard to see. A car a little ways ahead of me swerved to go around something. I wondered if it was a bicycle. No, that’s to small to be a bike. Is there a dog in the road?

As I got closer, the object became more clear. IT WAS A BABY WALKING IN THE MIDDLE OF MY LANE!

I slammed on my brakes, turned on my flashers and put the truck in park in the middle of the road. There were a couple of cars behind me and I was scared to death that they would swerve around me and hit the baby. I opened my door as fast as I could, hollering to the boys that they were not to move, and motioned to the car behind me to stop. I ran up to this little girl who couldn’t have been much more than a year old toddling down the road.

Where I found her, there were a couple of houses on both sides of the road but no people anywhere. I wasn’t even sure what house she belonged in. A buggy stopped as I reached and picked up the little girl, and a man ran up and started hollering for her parents. I asked if the closest house was hers, but he didn’t know. I carried her up towards the house as another little girl, around five years old, came running up from around the back of the house. The front door opened and her mom came out.

I was so sick and shook up all I could say was, “She was in the road.” I handed the baby over and the woman just stood there looking at me. “She was in the road.” As I started to head back to the truck, the woman said that the child had just been in the yard and thank you.

I got back into my truck and the boys told me how nice it was that I saved that baby. I was just sick. I wanted to throw up. I was shaking.

How amazing is God’s timing? If I had gone over to Mom’s a day earlier like I used to do, I wouldn’t have even been in that county yesterday. If I had gone to the store before going to Mom’s, I wouldn’t have been in that town. If I hadn’t forgotten something, I wouldn’t have been on that road. If that first car hadn’t swerved, I may not have seen her. (Why didn’t they stop?!)

Everything that happened led up to me being in that place at that time.

The next time that something doesn’t seem to go according to your plan, or you forget something at the store and have to make an extra stop, remember this story. Maybe the reasons won’t be as obvious as they were yesterday but know that it’s all a part of His plan.

What happened yesterday was nothing sort of divine intervention. I was at that place at that moment because that was right where God needed me to be.

A Day With Grandpa

Yesterday was a really hard day. The boys and I went to see Grandpa for the first time since his diagnosis, and the first time the boys had seen him since he first got sick.

I have been talking to the boys about Grandpa John being sick. It’s hard to find the words to explain what is going on to them. I told them that he was sick. I told them he probably wouldn’t be getting better. I told them he wouldn’t be the same as he was the last time that they saw him. That he had a funny haircut and a bed in his living room. That he was in a wheel chair instead of his normal kitchen table chair. I told them that he wouldn’t be able to take them on a tractor ride or a walk to look for turtles. I told them they would have to give him soft hugs instead of the big, hard hugs that Connor loves to give that will knock a person down.

I asked if they had any questions. Connor told me that he had a question about animals. So I asked if they had any questions about Grandpa John. They had important questions like, “Why doesn’t Grandma fix Grandpa John’s funny haircut?” We covered what was going on the best that I could in one sitting. Connor told me that he need to just sit next to Grandpa John while he was sick.

We got to Grandpa’s just as the Hospice nurse was getting there. The boys became instantly shy, but we still got to see grandpa. And he behaved like he always did and asked Connor if he could run over Connor’s foot with his wheelchair to see if it would hurt.

We sent the boys out to play while the nurse was there, but eventually we did get to visit. I sat at the table with Grandpa. It was good. It was hard. It’s times like these that you just want to fix everything but there is no way to fix it. We laughed. These times are hard, but we aren’t just going to sit around and cry the whole time. Even though these aren’t the memories we wanted to be making, but we are going to make the best memories we can in the time we have.

Eventually Grandpa had to lie down and take a nap. And as he napped in the hospital bed in the living room, Connor sat quietly in the recliner next to him, reading his book and keeping watch. Grandpa woke to adjust and told us that he couldn’t find the light. We asked what light he was looking for and he replied, “The light of glory.” Oh, Grandpa, don’t worry. You’ll find it when it’s time.

Before we left, we all gathered around the bed, with Connor holding one of Grandpa’s hands and Cameron hold the other, and prayed together. We prayed for healing because our God is a God of miracles. Grandpa asked the boys if they know Jesus. (They do.) The most important thing to him right now is knowing that all of his family knows and loves Jesus. And then Grandpa gave both of the boys a dollar.

It was hard. It was good. It was emotional.

Once we were on the road, I asked the boys if they had any questions after seeing Grandpa John. They wanted to know why he gave them a dollar, and I told them it was because Grandpa John loves them. The only other question came from Cameron. He wanted to know why Grandpa John wanted to hold his hand to pray. “That’s not how you pray.” Then Cameron folded his hands and showed me that with folded hands is the right way to pray. I had to explain that there is no right way to pray and that sometimes people like to hold hands to pray.

Both boys put their dollars in safe places. Cameron slept with his by the bed with his hearing aids “because it’s a special dollar from Grandpa John.” They may not understand everything that is going on, but they do understand that something is different. That this time is different. And special. They are making memories, too.

It’s hard and we are all just taking it one day at a time. I’m trying so hard to find that fine line between absolutely believing that God could heal Grandpa and understanding that He probably won’t.

The God of All Comfort

This morning I was up with the sun, which is extremely unusual. I laid in bed and watch the sun begin to peek through the skylight in our bedroom. I wanted to be asleep, but the more I tried to fall asleep the less restful it became so I finally just gave in and got up.

I spent the sunrise out on the deck with my coffee and my bible and my God. I needed comfort and strength, and I know God knows what I need so I decided I’d just open my bible and read whatever I opened on. I found myself at the beginning of 2 Corinthians. And do you know what that book of the bible starts out talking about?

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

In those two verses, Paul uses the word comfort five times. He describes God as the Father of mercies and God of all comfort. How true is that? All of my comfort comes from my God.

He knows what I need and provides it for me. He knows every tear I have cried and all the ones I’ve held in. He knows when I am broken-hearted and hurts with me. He knows. And He gives me mercy and comfort.

I know that no matter what happens today, one day there will be no sickness and no pain and no more tears. One day, those who love Jesus will be together again with Him, and there will be no heartache and no tears. There will only be joy. One day it won’t matter how broken our bodies become on this earth because one day they will all be healed.

And while I may have tears today, knowing all this does give me comfort. All that we are going through right now is just a small blip in the big plan of God that leads us to Him. And His plan is so good.

And while we are just a small part in His big plan, I know that God cares that we are hurting right now. He feels our pain and knows our sorrows. He loves us more than anyone ever could, more than any of us can imagine. He wipes every tear from my face and holds me in His arms and lets me know that, in the end, everything will be good.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

God Uses All Things For Good, Even When It Sucks.

Over the past couple of months we’ve been going through some hard stuff. My grandpa hadn’t been feeling quite right so he went to see the doctor. They put him on some medications and a couple of days later we were admitting him to the hospital. He was hallucinating and hearing voices inside his head.

After a few days in the hospital, it was decided that all of his problems were side effects from the medications that he had been on. They took him on the medicine, and he appeared to be doing better. Yes, he was still struggling with seeing things that weren’t there, but he was having good days, too. We all believed that once the medications had worked their way completely through his system that he would be well, again.

The next week he and my grandma (and parents and aunt and uncle and friends) all went on a cruise to Alaska together. Everyone was nervous but it was decided that they would go. And like at home, there were good times and bad. And in the end everyone was glad they had gone.

On the way home from Alaska, grandpa took a turn for the worse. And a couple of days after they were home, he struggled to control his left arm and leg and fell. We had to call the ambulance, and he was rushed to the hospital. Once there they began treating him as if he had a stroke. None of us believed it was a stroke. We argued with the doctors. We pushed for more tests and other diagnosis. Finally we pushed on the right doctor.

They did several more tests and determined that grandpa had not had a stroke. They found he had an abscess on his brain, so basically just a really bad infection. They started him on antibiotics for it and began to talk about surgery to drain it. They didn’t know if any permanent damage had been done, but we were all just so thankful to know what was wrong and that they had a plan to get him better.

I think that relief may have lasted 48 hours, maybe. Two days ago, the doctors took grandpa into surgery. We prayed, and asked others to pray, and waited. Grandpa came through the surgery great, but they did not drain the infection. Because, you see, it turns out it wasn’t an abscess after all. It is glioblastoma multiforme, a fast acting, incurable, cancerous tumor.

Best case scenario, God heals grandpa. I truly believe this is an option. With treatment, the doctors say he had about 14 months. Without treatment, the doctors are saying less than 6 months. Even with treatment, grandpa will continue to struggle with the use of his left side and continue to have problems with hallucinations.

grandma and grandpa

My heart is just broken. I cry until there seem to be no tears left and then I’ll think of something and find out that there were tears left after all.

I’m not ready for this. I haven’t heard all his stories. And then I look at my little boys who adore their Grandpa John and I know they haven’t heard enough of his stories. Or taken enough tractor rides or walks or gotten into nearly enough trouble with him.

And then to go with all the other crappy emotions I’m feeling these days, I feel guilty and selfish. If it’s this hard for me, then how hard is it for my mom? He’s her dad. How is my grandma coping? They’ve been married for over 50 years. And it’ll probably piss them both off when they read that.

There are things I know that help, or will help over the coming months. My grandpa and my God are tight. They are on really good terms, and there is no doubt where my grandpa will be spending eternity. And it’s so much better than anywhere on Earth.

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” I know God is using this for His good. But boy does it suck. And we may never know what good God is using this for, but I know He is. I know He has a big plan that I can not understand.

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I know that God will use all that we are going through, no matter the outcome for His good. I know that everything will work out according to His plan. I know that, in the end, we will all be together again. And there will be no pain, no sickness, no hurt, and no tears.

But today, even knowing all that, doesn’t make my heart hurt any less.

 

A Quest for a Church

In my last post, I wrote about wanting to be on fire again, to feel that passion about going to church that I felt as a teen. I’ve been feeling this way for a while and trying to figure out what to do about it. As I thought over the past few month, maybe even the last year, I realized how lukewarm I felt about, not my faith or my God, but about attending church. It also occurred to me that I wasn’t the only one in my home feeling this way.

We have missed way more church services than we attending. No one was excited about going on Sundays to the point where most weeks we didn’t even bother to get out of bed or dressed until it was too late to make it on time.

I’ve been “regularly” attending the same church since I was 14 years old. If you asked me where I go to church, it’s the one I would have named. But it’s not working for us anymore. Something has to change. And I have prayed to feel differently to the point where I am starting to believe that God has answered that prayer with a firm “NO.” It’s time to do something different.

I did a Google search for churches in our town and found that there are over 80 churches here. Wow. I’m pretty sure we should be able to find a church that works for all of us with that many to try. Right away we can rule out all of the catholic churches, any that speak a language other than English, and a couple of denominations that we know we disagree with their doctrine. I figure that leaves us with about 40 churches IN OUR TOWN!

We started our search on Palm Sunday. I had such high hopes for it. I really enjoyed the service and the boys loved the children’s service. However, there were some really big downsides. As a visitor, I felt so out-of-place trying to figure out how to get the boys signed in. When I walked up to the “Welcome Center” and asked how to sign the boys into the children’s church, they acted like it was the strangest thing they had ever been asked.

We finally got the boys signed up and settled and headed into the service. I liked the service, but with a guest speaker they passed the offering plate twice. This is one of the biggest ways to get us to never come back. The second issue was that the closing song actually turned out to be five songs making the service last over an hour and a half. At one point my husband had finally had enough and actually walked out. We crossed this church off our list of possibilities and moved on.

For Easter Sunday, we attended our regular church. My thoughts on this were that for Easter I didn’t want to take a chance on a service where I wouldn’t know what to expect and that I might not enjoy. Plus, since it was Easter, I assumed they would be having communion. Well, you know what they say about assuming.

The service was enjoyable, but instead of communion it was a baptism service. I normally love a baptismal service, but on Easter I really needed communion. It just reinforced my feelings on needing a new church.

Over the week following Easter, as we talked about what church we would try that week, I continually said I wanted to go somewhere that I knew I could have communion. I grew up in a Church of Christ, so I knew that they do communion every Sunday. There are three of them in our town. I started Googling them to find starting times and addresses. One is a teeny tiny church, and we were concerned that because we weren’t members of that church that they might not let us take communion. One was a United Church of Christ so I wasn’t sure if they have communion every week. The third doesn’t actually have “Church of Christ” in its name so we couldn’t figure out which church it was.

Finally my husband decided that we would just drive the 30-45 minutes to the Church of Christ I grew up in. My parents decided to make the drive with us. It was kind of like going home again. Unlike the church a couple of weeks before, everyone was so friendly. We still knew a handful of people there, and the pastor was the same.

The bulletin scared my husband a bit with all the songs listed but singing out of a hymnal is much different from what he was used to and the songs don’t last nearly as long. The service was very enjoyable, and it was so nice to sit in a service where the pastor wasn’t afraid to talk about the Christian being persecuted around the world or say that abortion is wrong. And towards the end of the service, I could feel my husband tense up next to me when the preacher said he had 45 minutes worth of talking left. But he relaxed as everyone else laughed, and the service ended right at an hour.

There were definitely some downsides. The most obvious being the drive. It is just too far for us to attend regularly. The next would be that even though I want the boys to know the hymns that I grew up with, I have been attended contemporary services for too long to go back to such a traditional service. And the next issue we had is the size. With the six of us attending, we literally increased the attendance by ten percent. So this is just not a feasible option for us at this point.

For our fourth church in four weeks, we decided to try a missionary church that we had been to a couple of times years ago. Again, I Googled to find the starting times. (Do you remember when all churches used to start at 10:30?) Their website said they had a 9:15 and a 10:45 service. We headed out Sunday morning for the 10:45 service. When we got there, the sign at the road showed the service times as the same as we saw online. However, as we walked to the door, there was another sign saying the service times were 9:45 and 11.

We walked in the doors and were overwhelmed with the people and the noise. It was so loud in the entry that my husband and I couldn’t hear anything the other said. I finally spotted the area to sign the boys into the children’s church (since at this church there was no one working the welcome center.). We got them all signed in and were pointed down the hall to where the classrooms were. However, we were not told which classroom we were to take them to.

I finally found the one with a sign saying 5 & 6 year olds. The lights were off, but there were two adults in the room. They told us for the second service all the kids go into the same classroom, the one for the 1 & 2 year olds. I was so confused by everything that had happened up to this point, I said to the woman, “Church starts at 10:45, right?”

She responded with, “10:45 or 11. I don’t know. Don’t worry. You’re not too early.”

Are you kidding? Of course, I wasn’t too early. By this time it was 10:45 and I was wondering if anyone here knew what was going on or if they let you work in the kids area on your first Sunday.

I took the boys across the hall and found a teenager in charge of the room where there was nothing age appropriate for my boys. And while I certainly don’t mind a teenager working with the kids, I did want someone who appeared to care and/or know what was going on. I dropped the boys off and stepped back into the hall where my husband was waiting.

We just stood there a minute dumbfounded wondering what was going on. I noticed a back door with no alarm right behind us. I looked at him and said, “Want me to grab the boys and we’ll sneak out that door?”

We discussed it for a minute. What was the service going to be like if no one knew what was going on? What were the boys going to be doing during the service? Was the service ever going to start? We grabbed the boys and left. If it is this unorganized before hand, we weren’t hanging around to see what the service was going to be like.

For those of you keeping score, this means that in 4 churches in 4 weeks, my husband has walked out of half of them.

So what have we learned over the last four weeks?

1. The church we are looking for needs to be within a 30 minute drive from our house.

2. We want a contemporary service.

3. There must be only one time the offering plate is passed.

4. The service needs to be an hour long.

5. We would like there to be other people there around our age or at least other kids for the boys to make friends.

and most importantly to me at this point

6. The people in charge MUST know what is going on and what time the service starts.

 

We have laughed that we can attend a different church every Sunday for at least a year, and maybe that’s what we will do. As we’ve all learned, if it’s bad we will just walk out. I’ll keep you guys updated on our Quest for a Church.

What things do you look for in a church? What else should we be looking for?

 

Set Me On Fire

A while ago, I heard a song. It was Sanctus Real’s On Fire. It broke my heart and brought tears to my eyes. I’ve lived the life they sing out in the song.

Remember when you couldn’t wait
to show up early and find your place.
Cause you didn’t want to miss a thing.
And your heart was open and ready for change.
Oh, those were the days.
You were never afraid to sing,
never afraid to life your hands.
Didn’t care what people would think.

I remember what that was like. Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights, we were there. We were there early. We got together before and after. We were a solid unit for Christ. We were a family. We worshiped together. We mourned together. If one of us was hurting, we all hurt together. We were a force for Christ that was not to be reckoned with. And it felt as if nothing and no one could drive us a part.

You were on fire,
and church was more than a place,
and people were more than faces.
and Jesus was more than a name.

We were on fire. We loved each other and Jesus. Church was more than a place. And Jesus was definitely more than a name. We were living for Him. We ministered to each other and strangers. We came from different places. We were a crazy range of ages from young teens to early twenties.

But our age differences and where we had come from didn’t matter. We loved each other and Jesus fiercely. Nothing could stand in our way.

Remember when you weren’t ashamed.
To tell your friends about your faith.
A time when you felt the pain
of just one lost soul that was slipping away.
Your heart was soft, you had radiant eyes,
but slowly the pressures and burdens of life
pulled you into the dark of night.
But when did you lose your sight?

We weren’t ashamed. We wore our faith proudly. We wanted to reach more, do more, BE MORE. We started our own church services. We shared our mistakes, our pain, our triumphs, our hearts.

We didn’t all look the same. We covered a range of everything, from preppy to emo. We were a band of misfits with our crazy hair and piercings and our crazy love of God. And those of us who would scare strangers on the street with our looks were the most softhearted.

We took the phrase “Freedom From Religion” to heart. We didn’t need a bunch of rules and regulations. We loved God and each other.

Oh, you were on fire,
you let life put out the flame.

Oh, isn’t that the truth? Mistakes were made by people we trusted, people who should have been supporting what we were doing. And suddenly we were lost. We fell apart and away from each other. This breach of trust drove us away from each other, and some of us even away from God.

Some of us are still friends. Some of us are simply Facebook friends. There are some of us I haven’t seen in over 10 years. And while I haven’t lost my faith, I haven’t felt like I did back then since. These days church is just a place, and it breaks my heart. And there are times, even all these years later, sitting in that place, when all that hurt and anger comes back as if it just happened yesterday.

But He’s still calling out for you
cause He wants to light your heart again.
And set it on fire

Turn your eyes, turn your eyes
and don’t forget what it was like
Set me on fire, set me on fire
I wanna hold God’s people close
wanna feel the power of Jesus’ name

I don’t know how to get back there. I don’t know what I’m looking for. I pray for that fire to fill me again. I pray for that fire to fill us all again.

Set me on fire

You can find all the Worship Wednesday posts here.

Instead of the Bunny, Focus on the Lamb

courtesy of jonfletch via rbgstock.com

courtesy of jonfletch via rbgstock.com

Today is Good Friday and the start of Passover. Christians reflect on the day our Savior gave His life for ours on the cross, and the Jewish people remember the day God spared their lives and delivered them from slavery in Egypt.

As it happens every year at this time, I have found myself aggravated again on Good Friday. The boys were sitting down to watch some cartoons and became so excited. It was a new Wonder Pets! Connor comes running to find me, yelling, “Easter is coming! Record it, Mom!”

I went to see what was on and, sure enough, the Wonder Pets were talking about Easter coming. They were talking about collecting eggs and helping out the bunny. Oh, how I despise that bunny. I paused the show and told the boys we were going to have a talk before I turned it back on.

I asked, “Is the Easter bunny real?”

They both shouted, “NO!”

“What is Easter about?”

“Jesus!” Cameron answered.

Not to be outdone, Connor yelled, “Jesus is alive!”

We talked about it a little more and then I let them watch the show. As I walked away, I realized that we’re doing it right. It’s okay for them to watch the shows like that one as long as they understand what it’s all really about. And they knew what Easter is about with no prompting. They get it and understand it as much as kids that age can.

I let the aggravation roll off me. All the pictures of the bunny and Facebook post of Easter crafts and center pieces that are about nest and eggs and bunnies. I don’t have to let it bother me. I don’t have to let it affect the way we spend this weekend.

And then I thought back to the Jewish people and Passover. Last Sunday I attended a church where the message was given by a Jew for Jesus. It was amazing. I knew almost nothing about Passover, other than it was in remembrance of God freeing the Jews from slavery in Egypt. I learned so much.

I found it incredible how every part of the Passover meal relates directly to Jesus. The first time Christians had communion was at Jesus’s last Passover Seder. And as the Jewish people remember the sacrifice of a lamb to spare their firstborn sons, we remember the sacrifice of the Lamb who is the firstborn Son.

Last year on Good Friday, I took the boys on an adventure to find the cross. This year I’m focusing on the Lamb. When I see that bunny, I’ll remember the Lamb. And, when we are on our egg hunt, we will remember the Lamb.

Remember the Lamb who died so that we may live and rejoice that He is alive! The tomb is empty! Our Savior lives!

The bunny doesn’t matter.

From my family to yours, happy Easter.

You can learn more about Jews for Jesus here.

Oh, Indiana, You’ve Got Some Issues

For about the last week or so, I’ve been kicking this post around in my head. It’s been making me crazy. I am so disgusted with what is going on in Indiana right now. I kept hoping it would quiet down or that those who are ignorant would become informed. But instead of becoming informed on the issues, reading the laws, or even learning why it was written, hate has been spewed all over my state.

Of course, I’m talking about the Religious Freedom Reformation Act (RFRA) that was signed into law in Indiana last week. The headlines and loud voices are all yelling that it is permission to discriminate in our state. “Now you can refuse to sell a cupcake to all homosexuals in Indiana.” What a load of crap.

Personally, I think you should be able to discriminate against anyone and everyone you want to. Remember when all business had signs in their windows stating that they have the right to refuse service to anyone? Apparently those days are over. And, honestly, if a business is discriminating against someone or a group of people, word will get out, and the market will take care of it. If a business was discriminating, people would stop spending their money at that business and their doors would close. Look at what’s happening with the doctor in Michigan who refused to handle the care of a lesbian couple’s baby. That doctor is losing patients. People don’t want to see a doctor who would discriminate against this couple or their baby.

I’ve already shared my political views on marriage. I don’t want the government involved in any marriage. I don’t care who or what you want to marry as long as you don’t force me to be a part of it. I certainly don’t care who you love. It’s none of my business.

But back to Indiana. This law wasn’t written with the idea of any sort of marriage in mind. Although it should protect those businesses who have a DEEPLY HELD RELIGIOUS BELIEF against A SPECIFIC EVENT, it was actually written because of the Hobby Lobby v Obamacare court case.

And, guess what, South Bend’s Mayor Buttigieg? Notre Dame University was protected by the federal RFRA and is now protected in the state by the state’s RFRA. So while you are speaking out against our state as a whole, maybe you should be speaking out against Notre Dame as well. Maybe you should be banning all city business with the university? Except that would probably be pretty dicey as South Bend’s mayor.

And just when I thought that things couldn’t get any crazier around here, they did. On Tuesday, a local TV station sent a reporter out to talk to small town business owners. They went to a local pizzeria that publicly shares that they are a Christian business, and asked them if they would cater a gay wedding. The owners told the TV station that they have never refused service to anyone for ANY REASON, but that they would probably wouldn’t cater a gay wedding.

For some reason, it doesn’t matter to people that they said that they serve everyone or that they have NEVER been asked to cater a wedding, gay, straight or otherwise. All that seems to matter is that they said that they would probably not be a part of a hypothetical situation. And for all the talk about inclusion and respecting people’s rights, this pizzeria has been attacked all over the place. This small town business has become the face for what is wrong in Indiana. They have had to keep their business closed for the last two days because of all the threatening phone calls and internet messages, including a tweet from a local coach asking who would join her to burn the restaurant down.

The owners are being attacked as a business and as individuals. How on earth can you believe that it is okay to attack these people just because they don’t agree with you? How does this help anyone? If you believe that their statements and stance are hateful, how does it help to reply to them with more hate? And how in the world can you expect me to respect your beliefs, if you refuse to respect mine?

Now, I’m not saying we all have to agree and hold hands and sing camp songs. It is perfectly fine for us to disagree on things. The real issue should be how we disagree. Can we disagree with kindness instead of hate? Maybe I don’t agree with you on the issue, but I’m certainly not going to hack your website and put porn on it or try to gather a group to burn your business to the ground.

All I’m asking is that my rights and beliefs be as protected as yours. You don’t have to agree with me. You can think that I am wrong. You can think that I am a complete moron for my beliefs. All I’m asking is that you respect my right to have my own beliefs.

Because of the attacks on the pizzeria, Dana Loesch, host of the Blaze’s show Dana, and her staff created a go fund me page last night to help them cover the costs while they have to be closed and show them that they are not standing alone. You can check that out here.

Moving Into Spring

After what has felt like an endless winter here of record breaking cold temperatures, the sun is finally shining. And around here, upper 40s and sun shine is worth celebrating by being outside. And I know 2 crazy little boys who aren’t about to waste this weather.



Earlier this week, they were shocked to see that the snow was (finally!!!) melting. So they put on their snow pants (mostly to stay dry not warm) and enjoyed what is hopefully the last bit of snow until next winter. They ran and laughed and played their little hearts out in the snow until they decided to come inside. And even if it is 50 degrees out, after you play in the snow you obviously need hot chocolate.





Today we met with our homeschool play group. The boys have never noticed the playground before, but they sure spotted it today. The freedom to run and jump and slide and play outside is something that they can not get enough of, and they didn’t even notice that no one else wanted to play outside. Today is one of those days where they have each other and the sunshine and that is enough.

How amazing is this planet that God created for us? That in the same week we could play in the snow and enjoy a trip to the park? That after a long cold winter the sun would shine and the air warm up? That after being hidden by feet of snow the grass would pop back up and begin to turn green?

I try really hard to not wish time away. And although I am very much ready for spring, we have enjoyed this winter probably more than any other. We spent more time together, just the four of us. We played games and the boys learned how to play cards. We laughed and we loved. 

I may love the sunshine and the heat of summer, but this year I got a new appreciation of winter. And maybe God gave us winter, not just as a way to rest and recharge, but also as a way to reconnect with each other.  

Net Neutrality and Freedom Online

Sometimes there are things that happen in the world around us or in our communities or our country that I feel the need to talk about. Normally I leave politics at the door here. Mostly I talk about faith and my family or my life in general. This is one of those rare times that I feel the need to talk politics.

There is a lot of talk going on right now about the FCC and Net Neutrality. Those in favor of net neutrality are telling us how great it will, how free the internet will be with the government regulating it. Really? I would say that the internet is pretty free right now.

When I decided I wanted to start a blog, I googled hosting websites and came across a couple different ones that were free to get started. I checked them out and finally settled on wordpress.com to host my blog. I came up with a name, put in my email address and chose a password and *BAM* a website was born where I have the freedom to put anything I chose. I didn’t have to ask permission from anyone to start this. I can say anything I want to here. I am FREE to do with this area as I please.

If the FCC classifies the internet as a telecommunication service rather than an informational service, everything changes. No, it won’t change overnight. You won’t wake up the next morning and everything be different, but things will change. The government will suddenly be regulating the internet.

Let’s say you’ve got this great idea to make soaps and lotions. You start out making them just for yourself, but they are so great that you start making them to give as gifts to your friends and family. Your friends and family love your products and tell you that you should start selling them. You think about and decide to go ahead and give it a try. You decided to start a web-based business selling your soaps and lotions. Today you can do it. Find a hosting company to host your website and start selling your products.

When the government takes over the internet, what do you think they are going to want you to do before you start selling your products? Well, what does the government want (force) you to do if you want to start a business in your town? Well, you are definitely going to need a business license ($). There are going to be some fees ($). You’ll definitely need an inspection ($), and probably several of them ($). You did get a permit ($) to make those lotions and soaps here, right?

Let’s say you are a great baker. You love baking cakes and decorating them, and it turns out you are pretty good at it. Some friends ask you to bake a cake for their baby’s first birthday. They take a bunch of pictures at the party and post them to Facebook. “WOW! Great cake! Where’d you get it?” And suddenly, you’re getting asked to make cakes for birthdays and weddings and all sorts of special occasions. You decide to go ahead and give your cake business a name and a Facebook page so you can start taking orders regularly. Maybe you can even make a living out of doing something you love.

And businesses aren’t the only changes that could be coming with government regulation of the internet. Maybe you think the internet could use some regulation. I’ll be the first to agree with you that, along with the many, many good things, there are many, many bad things as well. Although I’ve never looked for it, I am positive that you can find any type of porn you could ever want on the internet. There is probably a site for every type of hate and oppression imaginable. Let the government regulate that, you say. Let the government shut all of the hate down, you say.

Well, doesn’t that sound great in theory. But who gets to decide what stays and what goes? Who gets to pick what qualifies as hate? Right now a lot of people who have never listened to a word he has said would tell you that Glenn Beck spews hate, even though every day he says we should love each other regardless of our differences. But he spews hate, they say. Shut him down, they say. And if you don’t agree with him maybe you think that is a great idea.

But think about this. What happens when we have a different president? What happens when power changes hands? What if those in charge thought that everything on MSNBC is hate and start shutting those people down?

What if those in charge decide that talking about God is hate speech? Or if you write about being anti-vaccination? Or if you home school? Or if you just disagree with the things that are going on around you? Slowly you’ll start seeing the bloggers disappear. What about all those bloggers that share news and political opinions? What if the government decides that they aren’t real reporter, they aren’t real news sites? And then they disappear, too.

Right now you can go online and say whatever you want. You can take videos and millions of people can view them.

Right now the internet is free.

 

I would ask you all to please go to this website and sign the petition asking the FCC not to take over the internet.