Feminism vs. Women’s Rights

It has occurred to me lately just how far we’ve come regarding women’s rights in our culture, particularly compared to 50+ years ago, and compared even to a number of other modern day cultures. Equality has become more of a natural assumption than a cause to fight for.

Case in point: The 2016 American election. In the two or three years leading up to the election, I fully expected that Hillary Clinton would be running for the Democratic party and that a major part of her platform would be “electing the first female American president”. But that didn’t really happen. And it’s a good thing! As it turns out, generally speaking, this election was not about “man vs. woman” (though certainly I’m sure some individuals did see it largely in that light). It wasn’t about “the underdog female conquering the big bad oppressive man”. I cannot tell you how glad I am to see that! We’ve come to a place where gender does not even need to be a factor in an election. However you may feel about the outcome of this particular election, I hope you can join me in taking a moment to appreciate this. Continue reading

Christmas Freedom

ChristmasFreedomWhen I was a kid, I bought hook, line and sinker into the whole idea of “Christmas spirit” that the movies and TV shows feed us every year. I dreamed of one day having a lovely romantic Christmas with the man I loved, a wonderful time of family and good food, and general merriment. In hindsight, it was an idol for me that needed to be torn away. When I met my husband, that’s exactly what happened. I got a cold hard introduction to reality and my silly dreams were shattered. Christmas became a time of stress and misery as we battled ongoing guilt trips to buy gifts with money we didn’t have for people we didn’t see on a regular basis (and therefore had no idea what they might like or need), and travel to several different cities in bad weather to try and get in some “family time” with so many different people. Inevitably, most people were still unhappy because we’d have to chose one place to spend the 25th, and everyone else would feel slighted. And of course, ’tis the season for cold and flu, so we often felt especially miserable while trying to accommodate all the family demands. Continue reading

Slow Cooker Quinoa Cabbage Rolls

cabbage-rollsI have to admit it: I’ve never made cabbage rolls before, at least not until recently. It seemed like a daunting task. And with my chronic fatigue, the idea of spending hours making a dish that would likely be a flop was just not appealing. I have to plan my cooking projects carefully.

But then my husband and I were invited to a fellowship dinner at our pastor’s home. One of the dishes served was cabbage rolls.  With all of my food restrictions I had to ask what all the ingredients were, and was pleased to find out how few there actually were. And boy were they tasty!

So I decided to try making some myself. It’s officially fall now, so time to haul out the slow cooker and find some hearty recipes, anyway. Continue reading

Planning Your Own Funeral

Having worked at a church for nearly five years, I’ve been involved in the planning of quite a few funerals. I’ve witnessed the overwhelmed confusion of grieving family members who are left with the task of choosing what Scriptures should be read, which hymns or songs should be sung, how many people should speak, what kind of musicians should play, what bulletin cover should be used, where donations should go, etc, etc. Their world has just been turned upside down and they are just trying to get through the day. Some find this planning process to be a healthy part of grieving. But many others find it a very painful, difficult task, and often end up just telling the pastor or elder to make the choices for them.

When you witness this often enough, you can’t help but start thinking of what you might plan for your own funeral so that your own loved ones won’t have to take on that burden. Some of the more elderly ladies at that church have already submitted their choices for when they go. I love that idea. Continue reading

Ice Buckets & Media Overload

I’ve been stuck at home for the past two months recovering from major surgery, and have had a lot of time (read: too much time!) to browse around the internet – particularly Facebook – which has been an interesting and often frustrating experience. There sure is a lot of garbage floating around out there.

Facebook is a venue to spew your thoughts to your friends (or to the world), share the latest viral info graphic or video, and of course share lots of selfies, funny videos, and tributes to the most recently deceased celebrity. Don’t get me wrong, much of what I see is good. I follow a number of great theological leaders who often provide tremendous spiritual nourishment for me. This has been particularly important as I’ve been housebound for such a long time. And even before the surgery, for several years my abilities have been severely limited by crippling fatigue. I have more time on my hands than I need, but no energy or brain power to do anything with it. It’s hard to imagine what my life would be like right now without an internet connection! (OK, instead of having six books on the go, I’d probably have 20!)

icebucket

Anyway, back to Facebook… Recently the most popular thing to share has been video responses to the “Ice Bucket Challenge“, which is a clever marketing campaign to raise awareness and money for ALS research. The cause itself is wonderful. And the concept is brilliant. Posting a video of someone dumping ice water on you for a good cause has become like the new selfie. Only with this version, you get to feel good about yourself for helping a charitable cause. And there’s a social aspect to this, since you get to taunt and challenge your friends or celebrities, politicians, etc. to do the same. The marketing design actually targets and exploits our fallen, narcissistic human bent. And boy, is it ever effective! “Look at me! I’m on the internet and I’m being altruistic!”. Continue reading