On unnecessary outrage and fear toward Supreme Court decisions~

This past week so many posts flooded my news feed about recent Supreme Court decisions. Most were fair, balanced, compassionate, and loving, regardless if the author agreed with the Court. Yet, one of many posts by people in ‘Christian’ leadership in particularly caught my eye, as it did not fit the paradigm of compassionate and loving. He was not alone in his fear mongering, but he is the face of it today.

Rev. Mark Barclay it seems has an international following. So much so, that he raised money off the backs of hard-working people to buy a personal jet, followed by another fundraiser to raise $79,000 to have it repainted. I guess he bought it used. In my opinion, as a Christian well aware of the extensive needs in the world, no one living off donations has a need for a private jet. Period. That just seems crazy to me. But that’s a whole other discussion.

Especially in light of our pastor’s sermon on Sunday, the post by Rev. Barclay that caught my eye fails in so many ways. Simply put, it completely lacks an understanding of the Gospel and the teachings of Jesus. ‘The church’ doesn’t need ‘chicken little’ church leaders. It needs leaders who truly embrace the Gospel.

Those sucked in by this kind of leadership are often sheltered Christians who never get outside of their Christian bubbles. We need to know AND love those outside of Christianity. Too often Christians adopt the posture of fear and avoidance or antagonism. That is not the example Jesus gave us.

Jesus was driven by compassion. The Pharisees told him the godless and immoral were destroying the nation. Yet, Jesus ate with those godless people. In ancient culture that was equal to forming a business arrangement, giving approval, and establishing a relationship. Christianity is not an insiders club or the moral police. Rather, it’s throwing a banquet for ALL. Just as Jesus received sinners and ate with them. That’s the heart of the Father.

Our posture should be hopeful. Not fearful. Avoiding questions, or fighting is too often the posture. We should expect people to disagree with Christianity. Don’t be surprised by that or fearful. God is in charge. That has already been established. “It is finished.”

(Barclay: “Today I witnessed the beginning of the end. That’s right—the Supreme Court showed itself not so supreme today in its ruling on gay marriage. I see it as the sinners being legalized to overcome the Church and the truths of the New Testament Church (God’s Word).” Someone doesn’t know God IS in control. Really, he thinks anyone can ‘overcome the Church?’ He doesn’t know my God. Perfect love (God) casts out all fear.

We are called to live a humble life. God humbled himself when he entered humanity. Jesus extended honor to Levi and shamed himself (in the culture of the day) when he ate with him. Mark 2:13-17. That’s our example. He humbled himself to lift others up. We are called to surrender our needs and rights. We need to be ready to listen rather than fight. My prayer is that this great ‘apocalypse’ will force us to be humble and move us to compassion.

(Barclay: “It may be just my opinion, but it seems the justices today turned their back on the Church and gave permission for others to persecute us. Prepare yourself, Christian. I don’t see how you will stop the open persecution from progressing against the Church and what we stand for. They now have high court decision with which to go after us.”) Again, what God does he serve? A pretty impotent one it seems. Sad.

Jesus was more excited to be with sinners than the pious and religious people. We need to be friends with people who may never believe. Our job is to love and know people. Not be in their face telling them they are wrong. Our love and compassion will point people to our hope. Everyone is made in God’s image. We need to accept people as they are. When you meet the needs of people, they will see the face of God. It’s hard to argue with that.

(Barclay: “I’m not sure this won’t bring a horrible judgment on America. First we legalize killing babies in our mothers’ wombs (about 60,000,000 now), and now this. How long do we think we can mock God and still have his protection and blessing upon us? God, please forgive us for our sins!”)

Yes, Lord please forgive us. Forgive us for not having a loving, compassionate spirit. Please forgive our arrogance, our gluttony, and our lack of concern for others. Forgive us for focusing on things that distract us from your heart. Forgive us for not helping the poor and needy. Forgive our laziness and our selfishness, and our prosperous ease. We as a country have more than we need, while there is so much need and suffering in the world. Real suffering right outside our door.

Forgive us for worrying. Help us to consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! “And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? “If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters?

Most of all forgive us for our lack of love and interest in knowing people. People that bear your image.

And when all is said and done, “God presides over a universe that spans billions of light years and includes millions of galaxies and planets. He is outside time and has existed forever. I don’t know if He is discouraged or surprised by the actions of a country that has existed for 239 years and only makes up 4% of the world’s population. I think God is bigger than that.” He is definitely bigger than that.

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On the wonderfulness of social media ~

IMG_4956This represents wonderfulness.

Don’t worry. I know all is not rosy. I have heard the horror stories, seen the terrible and hateful comments, especially this past week.  I have been a witness to the bullying, and yet… I still believe social media is a blessing. I am not saying those terrible things are ok. I am saying what some use for evil, others can use for good. And in the end, we all know, love wins.

My reasons for loving the outlets known as ‘social media:’

*A world of great writing is out there. It is attainable by a few clicks of computer keys. I love bloggers, meaningful post writers, tweeters, and tumblr posters. The good ones. The ones that use social media to highlight the positivity and beauty in life. The ones who are honest and ask the hard questions. I just love it. I do.

*It’s such a wondrous thought to me that someday my grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, and so on, will be able to read and know what their grandmother was passionate about. I would have loved that opportunity at my finger tips. I did write a report on my Grandpa once in middle school. He was my source, but I would have relished being able to read what he had written over the years, in real-time. How fascinating that would be.

*I love the photos. They tell a story. I know we all like to present the most wonderful story in our lives. What is wrong with that? Nothing. It’s joyful and uplifting. We should all know by now that no one’s life is perfect. So let’s just stipulate that, and enjoy the lovely moments shared.

*It is also a blessing to share in other’s sorrow and pain and to offer words of encouragement with the ease social media affords. That should not in any way diminish the sentiment.

*Social media is a great equalizer as well. It allows people to easily find out they are not alone in a given situation. Someone out there has been there, or is there, and is ready to offer community, support, and words of encouragement. We are very aware how, in a particular situation, Facebook (almost literally) saved the life of a loved one.

*How great is it to keep up with friends and family, far and near?! I love that even though I do not see my nieces and nephews as often as I would like, I can still easily track their progress in life. I can watch them cross a finish line, hear and see them play at a concert, get a glimpse at their award-winning artwork-you see what I mean.

*I am ‘friends’ with all my kids. I follow them on twitter and instagram. They share so many articles, thoughts, photos, and opinions that inspire me. A weekend visit may not allow enough time to cover it all. It’s great to keep up in real-time. There are still texts, emails, and phone calls. Social media is just another excellent form of communication.

*I have always been passionate about the ‘underdogs’ of the world. It is overwhelming at times, but the awareness that social media affords is invaluable. Being able to keep up with our charities and what they are doing around the world, and being able to easily make donations has been a literal godsend.

*Social media is also an exceptional way to bring awareness to an issue or situation, or any social injustice that the mainstream media and/or politicians may gloss over or ignore completely. It often brings about change. Sometimes at warp speed. My most recent cause: Ideas on reconciliation, needs a grassroots uprising and is worthy of it. This kind of awareness is important and a huge blessing.

It’s not all about cute photos and kitten videos to me. :)



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On our last college graduation and beyond ~


Reprise: or, why I keep tearing up. #happytears

Originally posted on myfullemptynest:

2011_04_06_13_13_07I can hardly even think about all of this without tearing up. What a milestone. For us, and for Samuel Nehemiah Smith, III. This kid is putting me over the emotional edge this year. One, he’s my baby. Two, our last to graduate college. Three, (drum roll) he’s also getting married later this summer!!!! It is a lot to process.

My heart is so full. It’s bursting. (That’s either a beautiful visual, or a bloody one. The former please.)

He is such a sensitive and loving soul. When he was little, a simple disapproving look was all that was needed. Not that I believe in it, but no spanking necessary. He wanted to go to bed, early, as a toddler. No bedtime battles ever. He was willing to try everything we offered him to eat, including squid on a stick, which he loved.

He has a heart of compassion and…

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On our last college graduation and beyond ~

2011_04_06_13_13_07I can hardly even think about all of this without tearing up. What a milestone. For us, and for Samuel Nehemiah Smith, III. This kid is putting me over the emotional edge this year. One, he’s my baby. Two, our last to graduate college. Three, (drum roll) he’s also getting married later this summer!!!! It is a lot to process.

My heart is so full. It’s bursting. (That’s either a beautiful visual, or a bloody one. The former please.)

He is such a sensitive and loving soul. When he was little, a simple disapproving look was all that was needed. Not that I believe in it, but no spanking necessary. He wanted to go to bed, early, as a toddler. No bedtime battles ever. He was willing to try everything we offered him to eat, including squid on a stick, which he loved.

He has a heart of compassion and early on he realized it is better to give than receive. As a child he was constantly trying to give away his favourite toys to others. At age 4 he disappeared during the birthday party we had for his au pair, Svenja. He reappeared a few minutes later with his prized race track, wrapped in a kitchen towel, to give to her for a birthday present.

Even though he was often the youngest in his grade, his maturity level surpassed most of his classmates. He was kind, helpful, and never got into trouble. We loved going to his parent/teacher conferences to soak up all the positivity. :)

The acting bug followed Samuel throughout his life, beginning in preschool, then grade school when he played Caesar, followed by numerous other musicals and productions, including playing Jesus on a mission trip in the Dominican Republic. His last production was at Seattle Pacific University, and we were privileged to be there for that one too.

Traveling was a big part of our life when Samuel was little and we enjoyed so many amazing experiences. It stands to reason he was also bitten by the travel bug. We sent him alone to Rome one summer in High School, and to Normandy, France one spring break in college. As a huge history buff, those trips fulfilled a couple items on his bucket list. The mission trips we took as a family, when he was in grade school through high school, contributed to that huge heart of compassion for others. Traveling to Indonesia and Morocco during the past 4 years of college continued to fuel that. He has the biggest heart for others and for making the world a better place. (Where have we seen that before? -It is in their genes.)

Samuel embraced his faith as a small child. Even ‘evangelizing’ his neighborhood friends at their house, which resulted in him being sent home early one day. :) The evolution of his faith has been inspirational. He has taught me so much.

I’m not so ready to let him go. Not that it is my decision. Sending him off to Seattle for university has probably helped me in that transition… a little, a wee little.

It was there at Seattle Pacific University where he met Sarah Michelle Andrews, the girl he will now marry. She is a gift. She exudes the same joy for life and the ability to see beauty everywhere. They share a high level of happiness, and sense of humor, and a certain ‘go with the flow.’ They care deeply for others and so obviously for each other. They are simply two extroverts enjoying the journey of life. We look forward to the future with them.

Pray for Samuel and Sarah Sam&Sarah-2927as they begin life as husband and wife beginning August 7, 2015, and as Samuel begins law school at Gonzaga a few weeks after that. We are thankful for so many who poured into Samuel’s life over the past 21 years. Grateful beyond all reason.

Truly our greatest joy in life has been raising our kids. Enjoying them as adults has raised that bar.

Love you Bubba! Congratulations to you and Sarah as you graduate. We wish you all the best and look forward to celebrating your future with you!!

Love, Me, and Dad too!


Dancing in Indonesia – the bearded man in yellow


Samuel & Jeffery

Samuel & Jeffery in the Dominican Republic

Image 1 SamuelatSPU My kids with my Mom & Dad

Samuel in Indonesia


Alli & Paw Paw


On the Baltic Sea

On the Baltic Sea

Undergrad grad

Alli & little Samuel in Quebec City

DSCF0974 00000494 2011_03_16_11_20_17 2011_04_06_13_18_36 IMG_3193 00000103 00000117 IMG_4457 IMG_4499 20140310-175856.jpg 20140310-175937.jpg 20140310-175920.jpg 20140310-181538.jpg Image 8 IMG_0144 s-160 s-28 Sam&Sarah-2733 Sam&Sarah-2761 Sam&Sarah-2924



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The Future Mr. & Mrs. Smith


A new Mr. and Mrs. Smith on the horizon….

Originally posted on Steph Chew:


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On one heartbreak of Mother’s Day~

A dear friend of mine lost her child to suicide. Understandably Mother’s Day is a very difficult day. Today she shared this article with me. I don’t know the author, but she speaks beautifully to an aspect of heartbreak that Mother’s Day holds for so many.

“I am the mother of a child who died. And that makes Mother’s Day very hard.

Recently I was talking to a mother whose child had just died. “What about Mother’s Day?” she asked, through tears. It was hard to know what to say, because it’s a terrible day for those of us who have lost a child. Other days of the year you can maybe make it a few hours without thinking about your loss; other days of the year you can pretend that you are an ordinary person and that life is normal. But not on Mother’s Day.

On Mother’s Day it’s in your face that your child is gone forever. On Mother’s Day you can’t pretend you are ordinary or that life is normal. All the hoopla, all the Hallmark hype, the handmade cards and flowers and family gatherings, make it almost excruciating.

Our town has a Mother’s Day road race for which I am eternally grateful — especially because, in a demonstration of grace’s existence, the start and finish are next to the cemetery where my son is buried. On my way I can visit his grave and say what I need to say and look yet again at the name we chose for him carved into stone. At the end of the race, they give all the mothers a flower; on my way home, I go back to the grave and lay my flower there. And then I move forward with the day.

See, that’s the real challenge after losing a child: moving forward. It’s almost impossible to envision in that moment of loss; how can life continue after something so horrible? But life does continue, whether we like it or not. There are chores to do and bills to pay; morning comes, again and again. So you pick yourself up and you live, but you are never the same.

At first, we are different because of our raw sadness. But over time, the sadness moves from our skin into our bones. It becomes less visible, but no less who we are. It changes into a wisdom, one we’d give up in a heartbeat to have our child back. We who have lost children understand life’s fragility and beauty. We who have lost children understand that so many things just aren’t important. All that is important is those we love. All that is important is each other. Nothing else.

It can feel very lonely, being the parent of a child who died. Especially on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. We feel so different from those around us, all those happy people with children the same age our child was, or would have been. But over the years, I’ve come to understand that I’m not alone at all.

There is a wonderful Buddhist story about a woman whose son gets sick and dies. She goes to the Buddha to ask him to bring her son back to life; I will, he says, if you bring me some mustard seed from the home of a family that has not known loss. She goes from house to house but can find no family that has not lost someone dear to them. She buries her son and goes to the Buddha and says: I understand now.

That is what I understand now. It doesn’t make me miss my son any less, or Mother’s Day any easier. But it helps me make sense of it; loss is part of life. There are no guarantees, ever. Our children, and all those we love, are gifts to us for however long we have them.

I understand now too that we are together in this, all of us, in joy and in loss. It’s the connections we make with each other that matter — it’s the connections we make that give life value and help us face each morning. As G.K. Chesterton wrote, “We are all in the same boat in a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty.”

Years ago, I chose words to say each time I go to my son’s grave. It makes it easier to have a ritual. And over the years, the words have come to mean more to me. They aren’t just about about grief anymore. They are about who I am, what I have learned, and what I can give.

‘I will always love you,’ I say. ‘And I will always be your mother.'”

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On things that melt my heart~

On a day my heart is broken, something like this awakens my soul and melts my heart. Heart mended. 

Alli Smith shared Act SPU‘s photo.

1 hr · Edited · 

Here is my baby brother with students from Seattle. 

He called me late Monday night in the midst of our city’s utter chaos and said one of the most raw, sweet things I’ve heard this week, “I had to duck in the bathroom and cry today. It’s so obvious people are hurting and I don’t know what to do. I know how much you love Baltimore and it’s people. And I just don’t know what to do about all of these hurting people. I feel helpless.”

Well, sometimes, just being a presence and standing in the gap for hurting people is doing a lot.


Ariana Smith

I love my siblings.
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#balitmore #prayforbaltimore #baltimoreriots #actspu #spubsu

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On Mimi~


Still missed.

Originally posted on myfullemptynest:

b. April 21,1930 d. April 21, 1992 A life extremely well lived. If only she had stayed around a while longer she would have met her grandson, Samuel Nehemiah Smith, III; she would have witnessed her grandchildren grow up to be truly amazing adults. She would have enjoyed that they enjoy and have her knack for cooking, baking, and entertaining. She would have seen that they too care for those less fortunate and have compassionate caring hearts. She missed so much. We miss her.


In loving memory~

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On things I wish I had known before marriage~

My son is getting married later this year. He will be 21 on that day. Young, but then I was 20 when I got married, and we know how that turned out! Very well thank you! Even so, 35 years ago it would have been helpful to know a few things. FullSizeRenderAt the time, we just didn’t know what we didn’t know. Here’s a few, in no particular order:

That birth control can make you crazy. Looking back I can now see that all ‘fights’ early in our marriage were on a pretty regular 28 day schedule. I am not saying without ‘the pill’ we would not have fought. What I am saying is, that freakishly little pill greatly intensified what would have happened organically between two strong-willed, opinionated people. Had we understood that, we could have better dealt with all the ramifications.

That you don’t need to settle an argument before going to bed. Sometimes it is just better to call a truce and take it up again in the morning. Everything looks better in the light of day.

Don’t be selfish. This may seem like common sense, until you process all the ways we are unintentionally selfish. My early marriage thoughts were focused so much on what Sam would do for me. Including being my own personal spider killer.

Communicate well. Don’t expect someone to be able to read your mind. Talk about it. Calmly and kindly. If you think something nice, say it. If you think something mean, squelch it. Do not say everything that comes to mind.

Recognize the commitment/covenant of marriage. This means divorce is not an option. Choose to love and keep on keeping on through the difficult times. You wouldn’t ( in most cases) divorce your children or parents. You choose to stick with them through the long haul. Why not keep the same idea of longevity with the one you exchanged wedding vows with, once upon a time, at the beginning of your fairytale? This alone will elevate a relationship to a whole higher level. It’s restorative. The sweet times become even sweeter. There is a level of trust that is undeniable and unmatchable. And P.S., the grass is NOT really greener on the other side. If it looks greener, it’s because it’s covered in “fertilizer,” aka B.S. The really gross stinky kind. Watch out if you step in it.

With our 35th wedding anniversary coming up I guess you could say we have done pretty well recognizing the importance of the commitment/covenant of marriage. We may have plotted to kill one another from time to time, well,  more likely a fleeting thought, but we never contemplated divorce as an option. Birth control is no longer a problem. We no longer need to call a truce before bed. Yet selfishness still creeps in from time to time and once in a while I do expect Sam to read my mind. I wish I could give him that super power. It would save a lot of time. Still, he is truly my best friend and I will choose to love him until the day I die.

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The Greatest Sin of All Isn’t Unbelief or Disobeying the Bible


“… if God is love, then the ultimate sin we can commit against God is to not love others.”

Originally posted on Ed Cyzewski :: Freelance Writer:


I spend a disproportionate amount of time thinking about Matthew 25. It strikes me as one of the most important passages in the Bible because it describes a striking scene where the true followers of Jesus are separated from the false followers. Perhaps something about my “closed-set” evangelical background draws me to this scene.

My particular fascination has to do with this: Evangelicals, based on Paul’s letters, teach that the righteous are saved by faith, but this passage teaches that we’re saved by what we do.

Jesus doesn’t welcome people because of what they prayed or believed. He welcomes those who gave food to the hungry, visited the prisoners, and clothed the poor.

I don’t want to necessarily create a false dichotomy here. Of course real, genuine faith is confirmed by our actions. In fact, the word we translate as “believe” is the verb form of faith, which means we’re…

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