Silence is NOT an Option

Not Nationalism. 

 Not “Alt-right.” 

 Not White-Supremicist. 

 Let’s call this exactly what it is: 

 it is HATRED. 

 It is Bigotry. 

 It is divisive. 

 It is ignorance. 

 It is intimidation. 

 It is fear-mongering. 

 It is terrorism. 

 It is EVIL. 

 And it is murder.  
Giving Evil other names to make it more palatable only makes us complicit in it…and I want to be no part of this garbage.

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Vacation Musing

Not super-deep thoughts here but a few observations while on vacation in Red River, NM:

1.  Putting on ski boots reminds me a bit of giving birth.

2.  Being on the chair lift is a little like how I imagine heaven…peaceful, beautiful, and everything below shimmers and glitters when the light touches it.

3.  Being cold while having fun is a lot better than being cold while doing something you don’t want to do.

4.  No matter what you are doing, seeing animals in nature is always a thrill!

  

5.  Breakfast for dinner is always a good idea and earns me the title of mom of the year.

6.  I don’t know what the question is but a visit to the candy shop is always a good answer (Caramel and fudge-dipped apples with Oreos on them and amaretto fudge…oh my!)

7.  It’s not vacation unless we leave our nice, big, comfortable home to pay extra money to stay in someone else’s smaller, more dated house…but there is something magical about that…good times are sure to happen.

8.  If I am being totally honest, I still get creeped out by noises in the dark.  I was walking the dogs tonight and we all heard a noise and couldn’t see anything…walk officially over!  We got back to the cabin pretty quickly.  Cross your little puppy legs, boys!

9.  Even on vacation, the kids will find a way to fuss at each other, I will find a way to gain weight while exercising all day every day, and the puppies will still dig tissues out of the trash.  Yuck!

Happy Anniversary to the Love of My Life!

Stan, we have really come a long way from being those two fresh-faced, bright-eyed kids. Being married to you has been the most unexpected and undeserved gift I could have ever imagined. I didn’t think I could love you more than the day that we stood in that chapel and said “I do”…but I love you more deeply and more fiercely every single day. You have taught me how to understand grace, really search to know God, and truly become myself. You are still “my everything” and you will always be my “favorite person.” I love you baby! Happy Anniversary!          

5/19/15 Morning Musing: Change Agent

“I want to see justice served!” *someone else should get right on that!*  

“She has the right to feel safe in her own home.” *so she should make sure to speak up for herself.*  
“Bullying is wrong and kids should be able to get an education without fear of bullying.” *Let’s make some more rules about this.*
Yesterday, I saw a video circulating around facebook that I have seen circulating before: There was an over-weight quiet kid at a school being bullied by a loud but smaller (and very aggressive) kid. The bully is making a spectacle of their interaction so as to draw attention to how “tough” he is and he punches the bigger kid right in the face and the bigger kids does not react with violence. The bully continues to attack two more times before the the quiet, larger kid finally picks him up and slams him into the ground and rattles the smaller kid’s brain until I’m suspicious of permanent damage. Throughout the interaction, you see other kids watching and you hear other voices…and obviously, the bully had this planned because he had someone filming it for him and he retreated to the camera-person when the quiet kid finally retaliated.  
There were all of the expected comments on this post about the bully getting what he deserved and applauding the quiet kid for standing up for himself and there were several people saying how happy this made them. And I felt broken because I did not feel happy at all…I was sad…and pissed…and I did not feel like I saw justice…I felt like I saw a peaceful child pushed to a point of violence with no allies…I felt like I saw a kid get trapped between his conscience, the “rules”, and a sense of self-preservation…I felt like I saw retaliation and that is simply not the same as justice. Now hear me, I am not condemning that child for defending himself…not at all. (I’ve actually had conversations with my own kids about not allowing themselves to be bullied and knowing when it is the right time to kick someone else’s teeth out.) But here is what upsets me: That child stood there alone while surrounded by other kids. People watched and filmed this as though it were sport. There was cheering and commentary until this child was pushed past his ability to reason. And this kid’s torture and misery was entertainment. And people watched. And people filmed. And people made comments.
Where the hell was the outrage? Sure, we can make morally-correct commentary from our comfort and safety on our side of that screen…we can shake our heads and cluck our tongues at how bad bullying is…we can make our statements about not waking the gentle giant…and we can draw more posters and have more anti-bullying seminars…but where was the call to action on the other side of that screen? When did we become a society that was ok with anything as long as it isn’t aimed at ourselves? Why can’t we just stand up against injustice…for the sake of leaving the world a little better than we received it…regardless of who the victim is.
As is usually the case, I’m not really just talking about this one topic (bullying)…I’m talking about injustice whether it be overt or less obvious. I’m talking about choosing to stop violating our consciences by standing by. I’m talking about not making someone stand against injustice alone and over-whelmed. I’m talking about our sense of morality extending farther than just our own protected circumstances…past just our words. I’m talking about physical bullying but I am also talking about the gospel…and how if we are changed by it…truly changed…we can’t just let others fight alone against their own bullies (just like in the animal kingdom, bullies isolate their victim before devouring them)…we must be moved by our ideals past just talking and stand with the ones who are standing alone so that they are not more easily devoured.
So, how are you doing with this? Do your actions match your ideals? Would someone look at your life and say that the gospel matters to you? For example, if you believe that God loves people of every race, does your life reflect that? If you believe that both men and women are equally valuable, what are you doing to right the wrongs in your sphere of influence? Are you more concerned with following the rules or obeying your conscience (the Holy Spirit?) When was the last time you got uncomfortable for the sake of someone else? What do you stand for? Have you actually ever stood for it?
My prayer today is that God would take hold of our hearts and minds and itch us until we just can’t be still anymore. I’m praying that we would not be able to get any peace until we speak truth into people’s lives by living out truth in our own lives. I’m praying that we do more than rant and discuss…but that we will become agents of change. Much love friends,
Beks
Video I discussed can be found here: http://youtu.be/PMvVOJV5A6Y
Thank you to Barb Haesecke who helped me to see myself not as just a “cage-rattler” but as an agent of change.

12/30/14 Morning Musing: Except it’s not morning and I don’t have the mental bandwidth to muse…more of a catch up.

So, I’m sure that everyone is just on their head to know how Team Massey is doing with the skiing: Stan is practically a pro, the kids are progressing right along and doing great, and I’m still serving as a warning to others. I’m improving…which is good since the only other reward I have right now is…well…pain…everywhere…just…pain. On the plus side, I didn’t take anyone else out with me today (like I did in ski school yesterday) and I made a ton of people giggle (especially when I first started off by skiing down a long hill with my skis parallel to each other, my butt between them, and my back and helmet dragging on the ground while I giggled and cackled loudly past everyone who had control while going down that hill…but I stopped right next to Stan so…that’s a win!)

I think our whole family likes Beaver Creek over Vail. The kids definitely prefer the ski school at B.C.

So, the plan tonight is to move very little, stretch a lot, and wait for the meds to kick in. (I shouldn’t have to ice my hips too much since they spent so much time on the ground in the ice anyway! Ha!)

But seriously, greatly improving and gaining confidence (which by the way is when I would wipe out…maybe God is just keeping me humble.) Much love friends!

3/26/14 Morning Musing: Releasing the Crutch

Unedited version:

As many of you know, I am in the process of giving up Diet Dr. Pepper…well, specifically aspartame…but what that means is that I am giving up my beloved Diet Dr. Pepper. Also, as many of you know, I was poisoned a few years ago. How are these two things related? Well, I’m glad you asked!

When we were poisoned 6 years ago,one of the major side-effects was that I became allergic to 90% of my diet. Eating became an ordeal. I couldn’t eat out anywhere, it isolated me socially, and I was bitter. REALLY bitter. As in Naomi in the book of Ruth…you may call me “Mara” bitter…I was so very bitter…with a side of anger…and a good dose of righteous indignation also. It was a dark place. I felt at the time like I was losing everything: my health, my relationships, food, social interactions to any degree, my family, my mind…it was all-consuming. So, being the control-freak that I was, I determined that there was going to be something that was off-limits…something that nobody would take from me…and, it couldn’t be made of real food because I was allergic to real food: broccoli, cherries, nuts, green beans, pears, cranberries, oranges, spinach, wheat, oats, soy, yeast, sugar…yeah…everything that is real food that people eat…I was allergic to it…for years…and had to take 9 shots in my stomach every 4 days for over 2 years to get those foods back…did I mention that I was bitter? So, I decided that Diet Dr. Pepper, which has no real ingredients in it, was going to be my thing…my thing that nobody could take from me. It was a crutch for me…it gave me a sense of power…much like an eating disorder…it wasn’t about what I was consuming…it was about how I had something that only I could control. Nobody else was allowed an opinion about it. It was MINE!

Slowly though, I was healing and getting back different foods. Even after I quit praying about it, God continued to heal me. Even where my faith in him stopped, he continued to work in me. Today, I have back every single food item except for cherries…not so coincidently, it was the only food item that I didn’t take antigen injections for. But I have remained emotionally and physically addicted to Diet Dr. Pepper. I have certainly had a physical dependency where aspartame is concerned but…more than that…it was my crutch…my control…it was MINE! I felt comfort through having it because I controlled my world through this. The man who poisoned me didn’t get to dictate everything about my existence. However, I am ashamed to say that I was not letting Jesus have this part of me. Through gentle proddings from the Holy Spirit as well as some extremely gentle prodding from wonderful friends (Stephanie, Lisa, Stan, Nic, Carrie, Susan, and several others) I gave up all aspartame 4 days ago. Not on my own power, but because God has brought me to a point where I don’t still need the crutch. I am stronger now physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I have support from people around me who, for some reason, are invested in me even though I don’t see some of them face-to-face EVER!

So, I’m wondering…do you have a crutch? Is there something that you have made off-limits to God? Is there an area where you need encouragement and prayer? I’m here and understand the value of encouragement if you need it.

2/20/14 – Quick Evening Musing

Quick Evening Musing: I think that these people have caused immense pain and damage and I think doing the same to them won’t make people feel better…it will only leave them feeling bitter and hollow afterward. Continuing hate is no way to bring about love. I find it ironic that they are asking for the very respect that they refused to afford to others…the respect that all humanity deserves. Wouldn’t it be a beautiful thing if the people that they said were hated by God showed them the love of God in a selfless and dignified way?! That is what I will be praying for. Let’s rise up people and require that they rise up too instead of letting them sink and requiring that we sink with them.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
–Martin Luther King, Jr.

http://www.power1057.com/common/page.php?pt=Westboro+Baptist+Leader+Dying%2C+Relatives+Ask+for+People+to+Not+Protest+his+Funeral&id=18773&is_corp=0

Picture taken from:
http://www.gossiprocks.com/forum/faith-religion/187224-josef-miles-9-year-old-boy-protests-westboro-baptist-church.html

3/20/14 – Morning Musings – The Lure of the Forbidden

Lately, I have noticed that my kids are obsessed with all things butt-related. Any kind of potty-talk or bottom-talk is somehow hysterical. I know I am not the first mom to complain about this and I know that mine are not the first kids to giggle incessantly about being a butt-face or whatever. But…as usual…it got me thinking again. Why? Why aren’t they obsessed with hands or elbows or hair? The answer is easy: those aren’t forbidden topics. (I’m using the word forbidden here even though it isn’t actually forbidden…we don’t have any topics that are off the table in the Massey house…I just ask them not to talk about this stuff all the time…especially at dinner.)

That got me thinking about the lure of the forbidden…you know what I’m talking about…the stuff that we have some sort of line drawn about…that is always the line we are wanting to trample over: No soft drinks, no caffeine, no sweets, no carbs, no sugar, no cussing, no nail-biting, no unnecessary purchases, no staying up late, no tv, no whatever. Sometimes, I think that the reason we want to cross the line is simply because we have drawn it. Don’t think about polka-dotted elephants!!!!! Now, what did you just think about? Probably what you were told not to think about if you are anything like me.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t ever draw boundaries…boundaries can be very healthy (http://www.examiner.com/article/why-children-need-boundaries) and necessary…but…maybe we shouldn’t draw them EVERYWHERE. There are several studies on will-power and what seems to be universally accepted is that there simply are limitations. Think about diets: You can be good all day long and then when you hit evening, the munchies are out of control. Am I right? You have spent energy all day fighting against temptations and now that you are tired, stressed, or just plain done, you start wanting to cheat. That is because your will-power has given out. (a term called ego-depletion: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ego_depletion) This is where I think having things that are forbidden are a hindrance to you. I think it is much better to approach things in moderation. For example, if I give up chocolate, I’m not only destined to fail, I am going to take everyone around me into a deep dark abyss of depression while doing it. Instead, I like to have a little taste of chocolate first thing in the morning. Then, I’ve had it. It isn’t forbidden. And the world didn’t end when I ate it. So, now I can go about my day without the obsession or bingeing.

I have a theory that we sometimes obsess on the non-essentials and then end up losing control in more essential areas. If you are like me, you need to prioritize. I would rather use my self-control in areas of avoiding sin (like an affaire, being unethical financially, lying to my friends and family, gossiping about some gal that I’m jealous of, etc.) instead of in some pointless quest for perfection that will never come to fruition (like having the perfect body, being super-mom, developing some ideal network, or being perfect at some job.) We simply have limited will-power because we are humans…we just need to decide not to major on the minors.

I’ve decided that for me, having it all is simply not possible. I am not perfect. Hell, sometimes I’m not even mediocre. But, I can set myself up for success or failure by having appropriate expectations and by setting those expectations. So with that being said, I’m going to go have lunch with my girlfriend and I’m going to feel good about it. I hope you have a lot you can feel good about today also.

3-18-14 Morning Musings – My Deliciously Satisfying Marriage (Warning: lots of sappiness and run-on sentences ahead…I may need an editor.)

Since, I am frequently asked about my marriage, I thought I would just throw some of my observations out there. This is strictly observation about my own marriage…not a comparison to anyone else’s.

1. Kindness: Stan and I are sincerely kind to each other. We can’t help it. We love each other so deeply that we want what is good for the other above what is good for ourselves. We have a deep respect for each other and that shines through in how we treat each other.

2. Investment: I don’t know anyone who has invested more into me than my husband. He is so encouraging of my dreams and helps create time and finances for me to pursue them. When I am heading in an unhealthy direction, he is invested enough to gently tell me what he is seeing…he isn’t afraid to have the hard conversations with me but we have them in a way that does not make either one of us defensive.

3. Trust: We trust each other to no end. Does that mean we have never violated that trust? Of course not. But we talk about things, remember each other’s character, keep steering the other toward God, and move forward after we fail.

4. Decision: We have both decided that we are in this permanently. We do not entertain the idea of divorce and we don’t ever use that word when we argue. It simply is not an option so that gives us the freedom to disagree. We don’t have to pretend and be false with our opinions due to fear of the repercussions because we know that the answer is simply that we will have to work it out somehow. Taking the option of divorce off the table simply makes things less volatile for us and creates a safe and stable environment to be real.

5. Attraction: Quite honestly, I don’t think there is a sexier man on the planet than my Stanton Billy. And while I certainly appreciate his body, it’s not all about that…it’s the other things: how he simply can not stop himself from helping me if I am doing laundry when he is home, how he fathers our children with tenderness and patience, how he engages me in conversation about my thoughts on different matters, how he pursues me and makes me feel attractive, how he wants so badly to rescue me when I am hurting but holds himself back just enough so that I am empowered through my struggles and get to become the best version of myself, how he flirts with me, how he makes me laugh…you know…those deep belly laughs that fade off and then suddenly start back up again because it tickles you so much, and how he never tries to change me even though our personalities are remarkably different. I could go on and on here because I don’t think attraction is just about the physical aspects…I think it’s about a thousand little things that we choose to appreciate about each other.

6. Sex: All I’m going to say is YES! Thank you God for sex!

7. Faith: Stan and I encourage and challenge each other’s faith all the time. We talk about what we believe and probe each other to dig deeper. We spur each other on and learn more about Jesus through our relationship.

8. Study: We have observed what gets each other riled up as well as what results in excitement. We know each other’s histories and damage and we never exploit that. We take time to be students of each other and make it our business to become experts on encouraging each other. We are best friends.

Again, please do not take any of this as a comment on your relationship experiences. If you are in an unsafe relationship, please make the changes necessary to be healthy.

3/4/14 – Morning Musing: True Reflections

This weekend, we were at a Marriage retreat for blended couples and something occurred to me: I think that we often see ourselves as hopelessly broken people coming from hopelessly broken backgrounds and families. I think that we see rips, tears, cracks, holes, and missing chunks that have occurred in us through our sin, the sin of others, and living in a broken world.

The thing is though that I don’t think God sees us that way. If we know Jesus, I don’t think that God sees the damage, short-comings, or weakness…I think he sees Jesus…a reflection of the Almighty. I think that if we allow him to, Jesus lovingly cares for the breaks and wounds…he fills in the gaps and repairs the cracks. I think he fills the missing pieces (again…only if we allow him to do so.) We are then a beautiful reflection of an enormous and wonderful God. (Ok gals…focus…don’t get stuck on the word enormous here!)

Not only that, I think that when we allow Jesus to fill those voids and we become Christ-reflections in our brokenness, that we are showing the real Jesus to the world. ..which is a far cry from the false version of Jesus that many Christians unfortunately and proudly represent. So, instead of hiding our brokenness or being defined by it, maybe we should own it…along with the true source of our rescue. Without both parts (the challenge and the rescue) there is no story to share…and aren’t we supposed to share our stories?

The photo was taken from here: http://thewritersguidetoepublishing.com/forward-to-the-future-tomorrow-always-comes/mirror-self-reflection-image