Two sides of the Phil Robertson coin

I really wish I had more cohesive thoughts to share with you on this “scandal” (and I use that term loosely – the man’s thoughts on homosexuality are no big shock to me, and I don’t even watch the show.)

You take a devout Christian man, whose TV empire has been built mainly on the fact that he’s a devout Christian (or at least plays one on TV) (I’m going to get flack for saying that, I know!), and you ask him his views on homosexuality, it’s not bewildering that he answers in the negative. His answer was in my opinion crude, and as a Christian myself, NOT vernacular I’d have used, but the man has a right to his opinion, and the right to express it how he sees fit. Our Constitution guarantees him that. It does not, however, protect him from the consequences of expressing said opinion.

If you go on to read the full article, then you know that Phil says some other things that could be considered inflammatory. He eludes to the fact that homosexuality leads to bestiality. Now, I have lots of LGBT friends, and to the best of my knowledge, none of them has ever had sex with an animal. (I do, however, have straight friends that leave me wondering. Anyway…) He also talks about growing up in the Jim Crow era, stating that he never saw a black person mistreated, and he never heard a black person complain about white people. Is he then drawing the conclusion that racism is/was a myth, and that black people were “happy” with segregation?   I don’t know. I hope  not.

Do I think Phil is getting a lot of crap just because he’s a conservative Christian? Yep. Absolutely because I’ve experienced it myself. Seems tolerance is afforded to everyone these days except those that trust in Jesus. And I honestly believe, that when most Christians share their beliefs, on homosexuality, abortion, or other controversial subjects, like me, they’re not judging or condemning. I do my best to afford grace to whomever I meet, whether you agree with me or not. And even Phil goes on to say that he never wants to judge anothers intentions or heart when it comes to God. And I believe him.

But there’s another part of me that knows, despite what the media might say, that Phil is a savvy guy. He may have been born and raised in backwoods Louisiana, but you most certainly do not build a TV empire such as Duck Dynasty without being aware of the current atmosphere in America surrounding homosexuality, the church, racism and the like. So to claim ignorance because you are a product of the 60’s is foolish. BUT – in his defense, A&E was also not ignorant in hiring Phil  and his family, knowing full well his beliefs beforehand. So…

I guess what I’m saying is, while I understand both sides of the coin, I have a hard time committing to either one. So I wont be boycotting, signing any petitions, or joining any Facebook pages, groups or movements. But I will be happy to discuss this “scandal” with anyone who wants to have an open and real dialogue that includes all sides of the coin.

Christmas Re-post Re-post

Since I first posted this back in 2006, I’ve come back to it almost every Christmas, to remind myself that the birth of Christ wasn’t all angels and good-tidings, and this year is no exception. Coincidentally, way back in 2006, I had also just gone through a major surgery, and was in a place where things were in limbo in my life and I felt unsettled. Today, I feel much the same way. This year has thrown me for a loop – major health problems, surgery and several complications, loss of a job, and many personal experiences that leave me feeling more “Bah Humbug” than “Joy to the World”. But again, the article written by Phil Ware is a resounding reminder that Jesus came into this world in the midst of turmoil, despair, and insecurity. The “Good News”, for all people, is that His love isn’t discriminatory, or based on our circumstances, and He can relate to our brokenness as much as to our joy. That brings me comfort this holiday season.

From Dec. 2006: I came across this article that so eloquently conveys thoughts I’ve been pondering in my head all week. I’ve had a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit this year. The world seems to be spinning out of control around me. So much is uncertain…things aren’t bad per se, just unsettled. I want to feel the “warm fuzzies” and genuinely want to exhibit “goodwill toward all men” in my thoughts and actions. But it’s not been easy. I haven’t been able to “psych myself up”. So I’m thankful that this article and some revelation from the Holy Spirit have reminded me that while the story of Jesus’ birth is about peace, joy, grace and salvation, it is as much about turmoil, tribulation and brokenness.

 

As the article says, “God didn’t prepare a pristine time where his Son could be protected and coddled!”. What makes me think I deserve a life free of difficult and sometimes scary circumstances and situations?

 

A Free-For-All Christmas by Phil Ware

 

Have you noticed that the Christmas season is more like “let’s get ready to rumble” than it is “O holy night”?
The midnight releases of video consoles, video games, movies, books and specialty gifts have caused rowdy stampedes. We’ve seen grown adults trample each other and get into fistfights over places in line and who got to a toy first. Yikes!Then from many who come from the normally dysfunctional family, there is all the family baggage that gets unwrapped with the Christmas presents. Innocent statements are misinterpreted resulting in hurt feelings. Stiletto sharp innuendos are used to carve up folks who are supposed to love one another. And then fights break out because someone corrects or disciplines someone else’s child. Double yikes!

 

Even the pilgrimages back to Bethlehem to celebrate the birth of Christ are complicated by the ongoing war between Jews, Muslims, and Christians in the very place where Jesus was born. These tensions threaten all of world peace in the land where the Prince of Peace lived, died, and rose again. Triple yikes!

 

While there is much about the Bible’s account of Jesus’ birth that is precious and touching, I believe it is also important to remind us that the Jesus story is not all sweetness and light. One of the most horrific stories in the New Testament is centered around the birth of Jesus. This story is sometimes called “The Slaughter of the Innocents.”
Jesus’ apostle Levi the tax collector records it this way:

 

Herod was furious when he learned that the wise men had outwitted him. He sent soldiers to kill all the boys in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, because the wise men had told him the star first appeared to them about two years earlier. Herod’s brutal action fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah:

 

A cry of anguish is heard in Ramah — weeping and mourning
unrestrained. Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be
comforted—for they are dead. (Matthew 2:16-18 NLT)

 

What are we to make of this?

 

The Lord himself said, “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed … (Matthew 24:6 NRS). We live in a free for all planet where sin has marred every level of relationships. The whole story of Jesus’ coming is tied to the real world in which we live. God didn’t prepare a pristine time where his Son could be protected and coddled!

 

Jesus was born into a vicious world of hate, war, struggle, and jealously. These fruits of hell would be ever-present for each step he took on the little blue planet he created. God had to use an angelic vision to warn Joseph and Mary to take the baby Jesus away to prevent his slaughter. Even from the first moments of Jesus’ arrival, even while listening to the angelic choir singing “gloria in excelcis deo”, we hear the rumblings of Herod’s jealous and paranoid bile.

 

So when things seem bleak or difficult or fractured in the coming days of Christmas, please remember, these are as much a reminder of why Jesus came as are the sweet sounds of angels, the excited presence of Shepherds, and the mysterious journey of the magi. Jesus came to save a broken world. He didn’t do it from afar, but from up close … in person … beginning in a manger … going to a cross … before conquering death and leaving behind an empty tomb.

In response to negative press about ostomies…

Here I go playing devil’s advocate again…
Much Facebook drama has been stirred up over the Cincinnati police using pictures of colostomies as a “scare tactic” to try and set teens and young adults on the straight and narrow. I posted my reply in an earlier status and you can go back & read it if you like.
As a result of the “outrage” several organizations have launched positive awareness “campaigns” encouraging people to write to the Cincinatti police with their positive portrayal of an ostomy, and encouraging ostomates to post pictures of themselves, many with their pouches hanging out, to prove that they are still attractive and sexy.

Let me be the first to say that I am ALL FOR THIS! I’ve spent the greater part of my life since the age of 17 involved in organizations that support ostomates, and work to promote positive portrayal of ostomy surgery.

But what strikes me about all of this is WHY does it take something negative like this to prompt people to be “loud and proud” about their ostomy? Shouldn’t we all be positive, loud & proud every day? I’d venture to say that our every day actions and positivity, shown to our friends, family, and strangers alike would go a long way in negating the stigma that many associate with ostomy surgery. If we were just matter-of-fact about our medical challenge, sharing it openly and honestly in a positive light to those around us, perhaps the public at large wouldn’t have such a skewed perception of our reality. Unfortunately, far too many hide their ostomy, hide the reality of it’s life saving ability, and only bring it out when it’s in response to something negative like the recent events in Cincinnati. Why? Why not be proud EVERY day?

Are you kidding me??

What’s wrong with America? How about this for starters?

How Does a 4 Year Old Spend $46,000 a Month?

Are you kidding me?? $46K a month in order to provide for him “in the manner in  which he’s grown accustomed” ? I have an 8 year old. She has gone to private school her entire life. And she enjoys several extracurricular activities. And she dresses well. And eats well. And I GUARANTEE you it didn’t cost me $46K a month – or even a year!

Absurd…

Adventures in Homeschooling

It’s official – we’re a homeschooling family! Well, technically I guess, we’re a “school at home” family, since we are enrolled in the Ohio Virtual Academy and not functioning as a “traditional” homeschool. Confused yet? Yeah, I was too. We’re new at this and I’m still learning all the correct jargon or homeschool-ese, if you will.

Our decision to homeschool has been a long time in the making and isn’t one we’ve taken lightly. A lot of research and prayer went in to this choice and I really feel like God has guided every step we’ve taken that led here. Jaidin went to a private, Christian school (a ministry of our church for 30+ years) beginning in pre-school. When that school closed at the end of her 1st grade year, we were devastated. Not only was it a fantastic school – but everyone there, from the administration to the janitorial staff was some someone we considered family. When I dropped Jaidin off at school every morning, I not only knew that she was receiving an excellent education, but that she was being cared for and loved like a family member. But alas – all good things must come to an end ( at least that’s how the saying goes), and at the end of 2009-2010 school year we had to make a decision about what her educational future would hold.  We checked out our public school system, as well as several other Christian schools in the area and made a decision to send her to another local Christian school.  We had a great experience there this past year, but it just never felt like home. She made friends, I connected with some of the other moms, and she had an amazing teacher, but we always just felt “out of step”. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t best.

At the end of this year, we had to decide what we wanted to do about 3rd grade. She had sailed through 2nd grade without much of a challenge, and dare I say, was bored much of the year. So when considering what we would do for 3rd grade, an excellent cirriculum was high on my priority list. I had been hearing advertisementa on  the radio for the K12 Virtual Academies, but honestly, wasn’t sure if I was cut out to be a homeschool parent. Never the less, I began researching several homeschooling and school-at- home cirriculums and began to see how this could be a really good option for us. I am blessed to be able to work from home, but wasn’t sure how schooling at home would fit in to my work  schedule. The K12 program really appealed to me not only because of the excellent, mastery-based courses, but because Jaidin would have an actual teacher. I am considered the “learning coach” and will be guiding her through both the hands on lessons and the online coursework, but there is a teacher assigned to us that we will be accountable to, and who will be the instructor. Very cool.

The best part of all of this is that Jaidin has been on board with this from the get go. It was actually at her prompting that we first attended a K 12 information session. When we left the meeting, she was so excited and said “That’s it – that’s what I want to do.” We talked a lot with her about the responsibility of being motivated each morning to get up and start school, the importance of being cooperative with me as her learning coach and what homeschooling would mean as far as social activities. She has continued to be enthusiastic and was beside her self with excitement when her cirriculum, school supplies and new computer equipment arrived on our doorstep.  We opened everything tonight and she must have asked me 10 times “Can we start school this week?!?”

School actually starts on August 29th, and until then, I am furiously searching for ideas on how to decorate and organize our “school room”. Jaidin will be sharing my home office in the basement and I want to make sure her “area” is kid friendly and fun, so I’ve been bookmarking online sites with cool ideas and will be shopping for desks and all the other fun stuff soon.

I’ll keep you posted on how this new adventure goes. Stay tuned…

Jaidin and her science cirriculum and equipment

Bless the Mommas!

Attention Dads (and kids)! Mother’s Day is THIS SUNDAY, May 8th and I know you’re already well on your way to planning the perfect day for the moms in your life. I mean, there’s no way you’d wait until the last minute, of course. Why am I even writing this – surely you’ve all already taken the kids shopping, picked out a wonderful gift and have plans to give mom the day off so that she can relax.

But just in case you haven’t got a clue how to bless your wife and the special momma in your kids life this Sunday, allow me to help.

E-Mealz is a pretty spectacular website who’s services I’ve been using for about the last month or so. This week they are offering a FREE menu and grocery list for Breakfast in Bed to help you earn some major brownie points on Mother’s Day. So stop on over to the website and download it (it’s in the left side bar half way down the page), take the kids to the grocery store, and surprise mom on Sunday morning with a terrific breakfast that’s easy to make (and fun for the kids, with minimal preparation and clean up!)

While you’re over there, order mom a subscription to E-Mealz so that she can stop stressing over what’s for dinner every night and YOU can do the grocery shopping because they provide a weekly list that even Dad’s can follow! 😉

In all seriousness, I hope my male buddies put some special thought and effort into blessing the mommas in their life this Sunday. She deserves it!

Spreading the Hope of Youth Rally!

Remember your teenage years? Wanting the right hair and clothes, having a crush on that special someone – who didn’t know you existed? Recall feeling awkward and out of place…all alone? Remember trying to fit in? Now imagine that you had a chronic illness that required surgery to save your life. What if on top of all the “normal” adolescent issues, you used the bathroom through a pouch on your side, because your diseased intes­tine had to be removed. How’d you like to miss your birthday party, the big game, even prom, because you were in the hospital- AGAIN! Sounds like a bad dream, doesn’t it?

For thousands of teens across the nation, THIS IS REALITY.

A reality that I was all too familiar with. Diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at age 9, I spent much of my childhood in the hospital. When I was 15, I had my diseased large intestine removed, leaving me with a condition called an ileostomy. The ileostomy is a surgically created opening in the abdomen through which doctors bring a portion of the small intestine. I now wear a prosthetic (called a pouch) on my abdomen that my waste is collected in. There are other types of ostomies,too, depending upon the type of bowel or bladder diversion the person is in need of.

When I was 17, I attended my first Youth Rally. It was there that I met young people from all over the country who shared my very same experiences. For the first time, I didn’t feel alone, and the support and camaraderie I received through Youth Rally shaped my life’s work.

I’ve gone on to be a Rally counselor over 12 times, helped to start a support network for young adults with ostomies and diversions, and have  led the ostomy community in the U.S as the president of United Ostomy Associations of America. I now work for an amazing company that makes undergarments for people that have had ostomy surgery, helping them regain their confidence and active lifestyle.

My passion is to let others know that no matter the trauma a person has been through, there is always a purpose for the suffering, and a light at the end of the darkness. I want others to recognize that they too can rise from the ashes of disease and live life to it’s fullest, something I have been doing since 1993 when I first attended Youth Rally as a camper. Rally taught me that I was not alone, and that is what made all the difference.

By returning to Youth Rally as a counselor, I have the opportunity to use my experiences (with Crohn’s Disease and 14 subsequent surgeries and as a leader in the ostomy community) to bring a message of hope to other young ostomates who may not see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Would you consider making a donation to help me share the hope of Youth Rally with teens from across the country?

Thank you in advance for your support!

*** To make a donation, you can click on the Sponsor Me link on the right side of this page, or navigate to my Youth Rally Fundraising page ***

For more information about Youth Rally, see their website located here

Me & former camper turned CIT counselor Kristen K. Two KK's = twice the shenanigans!