If God chose Trump

Hey, if one now believes God chose Trump in 2016, then they need to accept that God chose Obama in 2008, and provided Obama with a Congress that voted in the Affordable Care Act and other legislation that helped the marginalized, the poor, and the immigrant. Those same people who say God chose Trump, want us to believe that God has reversed course and would have laws dismantled that were designed to help the people Jesus Christ called on us to feed, heal, care for, and love. I don’t know about you, but I can’t believe that God would flip-flop on this. It’s time to accept that our free will plays the deciding hand in the fate of this Nation. For better or worse, it’s on our shoulders.

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When the baby of the family turns 25

You would think that when your baby turns 25, you would finally be able to admit that you have gotten a wee bit older! I do admit it, I do! I mean, after all, Samuel Nehemiah Smith, III is one-quarter of one century old as of 9:09 am EST this August 19, 2018, and he’s the baby.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU BUBBA! We love you so very much! ‘They’ say at 25 a brain is fully developed, so there’s that. You may now rent a car all by yourself! Other things you may do at 25, graduate from Law School & begin your first ‘real’ job! Things you have been doing for 25 years…. you have been a wonderful friend to many, a caring brother, a loving son, a compassionate human being. You have had some spectacular accomplishments in life. You are a wonderful husband to your beautiful wife, Sarah. You have a sweet sensitive soul. You are also a lover of history, Doctor Who, soccer, board games, hikes in the mountains, and those Jesus referred to as ‘the least of these.’ You live out your love for the world. We live out our love for you. So…..

We wish for you the happiest of birthdays! Celebrate 25 well! Love, Mom & Dad

 

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Celebrating 24 with you just last year! 

 

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Love is the only thing that matters. Period.

We’ve been watching #QueerEye on #Netflix! And wow! The #Fab5 could teach a thing or two about love to so many Christians. Including me. Watch it, and start with season 2 episode 1 and a box of tissues. With all the negativity swarming our culture over the past two years, this show is a strong breath of hope. It’s truly all about love.

If everyone who calls themselves Christian, woke up tomorrow to the realization that love is the only thing that matters. Period. The world overnight would be a completely different place, in the most amazing and beautiful way.

That is ^ my constant prayer. I had always assumed we would leave a world to our children that was a better version than the one we grew up in. The past two years all but extinguished that hope. Still, there are little seeds of hope planted in my head, often from small, even strange events and situations, that make my heart soar. This show is one of them. Another one, the one that introduced me to this show, was spending a staycation with all our kids at home under our roof for an entire week. There is nothing like spending time with stellar, interesting, compassionate, loving millennials (and yes, we did determine they are all millennials… by a hair) to make me realize the world is going to be ok. They may have their work cut out for them, but they are clearly up to the task.

Ultimately love awakens love. Love ends suspicion of the ‘other.’ Love ends superiority and ushers in humility. Love ends inferiority as only love can do. Love awakens love, which awakens love, which awakens love. Love changes life’s trajectory. Jesus set the example by prioritizing people over his own religion, customs, and traditions. And he is God. How much more should we have the same priorities? We must show love, well, actually be love, above all else. By doing/being that, we acknowledge people are more important than the law. Every face bears the image of God. That is really hard to accept at times. When we start thinking ‘others’ need Jesus more than we do, we begin to dehumanize. Think about your own children and your relationship with them. Hopefully it is one of unconditional love. Great parents will break their own rules when appropriate. God is a perfect parent. Connect the dots. Love absolutely is the only thing that matters. Period.

I believe this next generation will change the world.

Meet my tribe. Some of the next generation world changers. I love these people. Period.

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Prophetic

This is utterly prophetic. mobile.twitter.com/SATXIndivisible/status/1018774655870619649/video/1

#russian #electioninterference

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Happy Birthday Red Rover

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First Smith to Cuba!

Dear Ari!

I wish you the happiest of birthdays my dear middle child! I am simply in awe that 28 years have gone by since you entered our family bringing with you even more laughter & joy. You were our planned, yet surprise child, not knowing if you would be a ‘boy’ or ‘girl.’ The arrival of Smith baby #2 happened quickly before our doctor was even able to get to the hospital. When we heard ‘it’s a girl!’, we thought, easy peasy another girl, we’ve got this! 2016_09_21_18_50_47But no, we didn’t. You were night and day different than your big sister in a great many of ways.

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Middle child 🙂

Over the years you’ve challenged us to be better parents, although I am confident at times you thought we were very slow learners. IMG_4108_2The sense of wonder and adventure with a dose of quirky humour you embody made it completely logical that Conner would one day show up in your life!

We are so proud of the person you are! What a privilege it was last summer to have you home for a few weeks planning your wedding. Truly one of the highlights of my life, a fun & exciting adventure. Enjoy and celebrate your first birthday as a married woman!! 

Love you so!! Mom

#morerandomphotos

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Dear Adeline,

UnknownWhen I started writing this online diary of public-private thoughts it was just before my first ever surgery and I wanted to leave something in writing for my family, just in case, you know….. Well, I am still here and since then I have often thought how wonderful it would have been had my grandparents left behind letters, diaries,  or personal papers, anything that gave a look into their private thoughts, concerns, admirations, struggles, loves, whatever gave a glimpse into their soul. I did interview my grandpa once, years ago. It was insightful, but I was in middle school, that interview would have been much more in-depth today.

I am certainly not a writer, but as I put my thoughts down here from time to time, it’s my hope that someday a future grandchild will ‘enjoy’ reading about her/his grandma, or Nonna :), getting a glimpse into the thoughts, prayers, hopes, and opinions on any given day in my life. Many years ago, during Ariana’s bedtime reading extravaganza, we were into a particular series of books in which the protagonist was named Adeline. One night Ariana declared that someday she might name her daughter Adeline. That memory was seared into my brain. Thoughts swirled in my head with that declaration, let’s just say, I love that name now. Anyway, since no other child has ever broached what name they may use someday for their future children, I’ll just address this note to Adeline.

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I had soaring hopes that when my children were all grown, the world would be an improved version, at least to some degree. With great consternation, I have to say today, that is not the case. Rather, we have taken too many steps backward. In the past two years, as a country and culture, we have sunk to a low I have never known in my lifetime.

My new soaring hopes tell me there is good news on the horizon. I believe with my whole heart, this new generation rising up will be an amazing catalyst for change, and all future generations will benefit. Love and peace will replace hate and war. Christians will no longer be seen as judgemental and hypocritical. They will be actual Christ followers modeling sacrificial love. That alone could transform our country and our world. Never again will 81% of Christians cave to fear and make an idol of a political candidate. A racist, misogynist, dictator wannabe will not be taken seriously, let alone electable. Our government will become a much more compassionate group of women and men, who understand their mission. They will be servants of the people, not kowtowers to corporations. Corporations will be held accountable to their employees, not just their stockholders. Poverty as we know it may not be entirely eradicated, but the playing field will be leveled, as the new and rising leaders make policy that benefits more than the 1%.

Call me a bleeding heart, a Pollyanna, or whatever else you can think of, but I see so much more good, pure, and lovely encroaching on the horizon. pexels-photo-132340.jpegLight does drives out darkness and pexels-photo-887349.jpeglove does win.

 

 

Posted in Compassion, Empty Nest, grandchildren, Peace & Politics, politics, Racism, Religion & Christianity | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Authentic people are everything…

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Except for the hair, this guy ^^^^^ has hardly changed over the past how many years??…too many to count! He is probably one of the most authentic people I have known. He doesn’t care what people think. He doesn’t seek to make an impression. He doesn’t try to be all things to all people. He is who he is, and he is okay with all of that. So am I. That’s not to say that he doesn’t care about people. He cares deeply. Yet, if someone doesn’t like him. He’s okay with that too.

As a pretty devout people pleaser, I have appreciated having this example in my life. Authenticity is a rare commodity in our culture. Living an authentic life can be a real challenge. It requires us to own our beliefs and needs, and to have a willingness to share them even when it is uncomfortable.

The great thing about authentic people is that their authenticity can beget authenticity, if you allow it to permeate your being. Soak. it. up. Hang around with authentic people!

This guy has the wisdom to release the hold of negative people on his life. He respects himself and those around him too much to allow negativity to be near long enough to plant itself into his life and that of his family. I’ve been blessed to be a recipient of that protection. By myself, I would have a tendency to allow that negativity to beat me down. It’s been a journey of learning to let it go.

This guy has never been able to be anyone other than who he is. He has never compromised. If you don’t like what you see or hear, keep moving, ’cause he’s not gonna change. Though when you see authenticity, you don’t want it to change. Lying has no part in authencity. You know you can trust those who are truly authentic.

He doesn’t live in fear of being ‘found out.’ Because he’s all out there. There is nothing in hiding. There is wonderful freedom in that. He has never had a drop of alcohol. He does not need any ‘help’ being his authentic self. He does what makes sense to him. He’ll consider other’s opinion thoughtfully, but he will remain true to his gut. One thing I have observed over the years is that his ‘sixth sense’ is (almost) always right.

Complaining is not his style. He does not dwell on what he cannot change. Boy do I wish I had that managed in my life! He plows full steam ahead with his motivation within, and makes the best of every situation. His authentic faith has always been a faithful guide.

I have been struggling with some things in life.

<<< This guy. He has been my rock. s-107

 

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Don’t stand up for Jesus

keep-calm-jesus-is-here-2Jesus is not in need of our defense.  He is not in danger—he has already risen from the dead!  Even before his crucifixion, Jesus refused to defend himself.  He insisted on not standing up for Himself, insisting that God would vindicate, God would justify.  Inevitably, whenever we speak or act from a place of defense, we too often veer from the constructive agenda of God’s radical love.  In the words of Marilynne Robinson’s wise novel Gilead, “Nothing true about God can be said from a posture of defense.”  Cross-shaped love speaks for itself but does not need to defend itself.  The unique claim of the Church is that the worst thing that could happen in the world has already happened through our violent murder of God, but God has already overcome through resurrection!  So for us, there is never a reason to feel afraid or threatened by outsiders or antagonists.  We are enabled through the cross of Jesus to speak and act in the confidence/assurance of love.

It sounds pious to “stand up for Jesus.”  But the reality is that Jesus does not ask for us to stand up for him—Jesus asks us to stand up with him.  Jesus is not in danger, but so many people around us are—in danger from sickness, terror, the broken systems of the world, even the consequence of their own choices.  The Jesus depicted in the gospels was not standing up for Himself, but for the broken people around him.  Jesus stands up for the woman caught in adultery, standing between the accused and her accusers.  That’s where Jesus was standing then, that’s where Jesus is standing now.  If we are truly serious about standing for him, then we will stand with him.  But if we, in a desire to protect Jesus from the world, attempt to leap to his defense, his message will be the same to us as it was for Peter—“put away your sword.”

Beautiful timely words by Jonathan Martin {jonathamartinwords.com}

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Recalling Sandy Hook by Joshua DuBois

The White House is not supposed to be a place for brokenness. Sheer, shattered, brokenness. But that’s what we experienced on the weekend of December 14, 2012. I was sitting at my desk around midday on Friday the 14th when I saw the images flash on CNN: A school. A gunman. Children fleeing, crying. It’s sad that we’ve grown so accustomed to these types of scenes that my first thought was I hope there are no deaths, just injuries. I thought, Maybe it’s your run-of-the-mill scare. And then the news from Sandy Hook Elementary School, a small school in the tiny hamlet of Newtown, Connecticut, began pouring in. The public details were horrific enough: Twenty children murdered. Six staff. Parents searching a gymnasium for signs of their kids. But the private facts we received in the White House from the FBI were even worse. How the gunman treated the children like criminals, lining them up to shoot them down. How so many bullets penetrated them that many were left unrecognizable. How the killer went from one classroom to another and would have gone farther if his rifle would’ve let him. That news began a weekend of prayer and numbness, which I awoke from on Saturday only to receive the word that the president would like me to accompany him to Newtown. He wanted to meet with the families of the victims and then offer words of comfort to the country at an interfaith memorial service. I left early to help the advance team—the hardworking folks who handle logistics for every event—set things up, and I arrived at the local high school where the meetings and memorial service would take place. We prepared seven or eight classrooms for the families of the slain children and teachers, two or three families to a classroom, placing water and tissues and snacks in each one. Honestly, we didn’t know how to prepare; it was the best we could think of. The families came in and gathered together, room by room. Many struggled to offer a weak smile when we whispered, “The president will be here soon.” A few were visibly angry—so understandable that it barely needs to be said—and were looking for someone, anyone, to blame. Mostly they sat in silence. I went downstairs to greet President Obama when he arrived, and I provided an overview of the situation. “Two families per classroom . . . The first is . . . and their child was . . . The second is . . . and their child was . . . We’ll tell you the rest as you go.” The president took a deep breath and steeled himself, and went into the first classroom. And what happened next I’ll never forget. Person after person received an engulfing hug from our commander in chief. He’d say, “Tell me about your son. . . . Tell me about your daughter,” and then hold pictures of the lost beloved as their parents described favorite foods, television shows, and the sound of their laughter. For the younger siblings of those who had passed away—many of them two, three, or four years old, too young to understand it all—the president would grab them and toss them, laughing, up into the air, and then hand them a box of White House M& M’s, which were always kept close at hand. In each room, I saw his eyes water, but he did not break. And then the entire scene would repeat—for hours. Over and over and over again, through well over a hundred relatives of the fallen, each one equally broken, wrecked by the loss. After each classroom, we would go back into those fluorescent hallways and walk through the names of the coming families, and then the president would dive back in, like a soldier returning to a tour of duty in a worthy but wearing war. We spent what felt like a lifetime in those classrooms, and every single person received the same tender treatment. The same hugs. The same looks, directly in their eyes. The same sincere offer of support and prayer. The staff did the preparation work, but the comfort and healing were all on President Obama. I remember worrying about the toll it was taking on him. And of course, even a president’s comfort was woefully inadequate for these families in the face of this particularly unspeakable loss. But it became some small measure of love, on a weekend when evil reigned. And the funny thing is—President Obama has never spoken about these meetings. Yes, he addressed the shooting in Newtown and gun violence in general in a subsequent speech, but he did not speak of those private gatherings. In fact, he was nearly silent on Air Force One as we rode back to Washington, and has said very little about his time with these families since. It must have been one of the defining moments of his presidency, quiet hours in solemn classrooms, extending as much healing as was in his power to extend. But he kept it to himself—never seeking to teach a lesson based on those mournful conversations, or opening them up to public view. Jesus teaches us that some things—the holiest things, the most painful and important and cherished things—we are to do in secret. Not for public consumption and display, but as acts of service to others, and worship to God. For then, “your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you,” perhaps not now, but certainly in eternity. We learned many lessons in Newtown that day; this is one I’ve kept closely at heart.

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Thinkin’ about my daughter~

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One of my favourite photos I have taken of you.

Oh, how blessed I am to have a wise, honorable, and beautiful daughter. O.K. I have two, but today is Alexandra’s day. I want to celebrate today! It seems like yesterday that my journey as a mom began, and yet, here we are following the journey of another human being, filled with boundless compassion, creative ideas, and drive to bring heaven down to earth in every way possible. This kid has been my mentor. She has given me incredible food for thought along the way and has opened my mind to greater ideas and greater ways to love.

Love you so much Alligirl! We wish you the happiest of birthdays! ~Eternally grateful for you.

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