Thursday, February 19, 2015

Lent: Getting Away From the Noise

"White noise" by Morn - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 

Last night, many churches recognized the beginning of Lent with Ash Wednesday. Lent, the 6 week season before Easter Sunday, is a practice of prayer and sacrifice which started early in the liturgical church. In 2015, I think it has transformed to mean something different to each denomination - to each individual, really.

I’ve never been one to follow the “giving up” practice too literally. But I do take the time as a reflection, choosing to live my life a bit differently and shake up my routine. This Lent is no different.

I’m taking a blogging hiatus for 40+ days - a mini spiritual retreat in which I will stop focusing on my own words and how they fit inside the internet noise. 

I don’t plan to quit reading others’ insights, however, and I’d love to share them with you. Make sure you’ve “Liked” my Nature of a Servant page on Facebook where I’ll post the words of inspirational bloggers I follow today. I may pin a couple of ideas on Pinterest, too.

This Lent promises a few adventures for my family and me as well. Follow along on Twitter @andeezomerman or on Instagram andeezomerman to see what we’re up to.

If you’re just tuning into my pages, here are a few recent posts which mean a lot to me. It will give you a good idea of who I am.

Why We Argue About Yoga Pants
8 Ways I’ve Built Up My Self Esteem In The Past Week
To Those Complaining About “The Church”
The Thing Wrong With My Brain
What Is Your Passion? (I’ll be speaking during Lent, as well.)

Prayers to you as you head into your own Lenten journey, whatever that may be. I leave you with the meditation flowing through me as I attempt to rid myself of the noise this season.

Psalm 46:10
Photo Credit:Bob Gould

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

We'd Crucify Jesus

be a good american... follow blindly
Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons Madison

If a man came to America claiming to heal in the name of God, we’d call him a shyster. Or a tele-evangelist. 

If a man came to America challenging ideals and values we’ve clung to for decades, FOXNews Pharisees would fill airwaves with hate toward him.

If a man said to help the poor no matter the circumstance, America would tell him, “Hell, no. I’ll help on my terms only.”

If a man told America not to push first in line, not to climb the corporate ladder, not to base success on wealth and power, he would be ridiculed. And then shoved to the end of the line.

If a man came to America prophesying, but was not born here, well - never mind. He’d never get in the country to do so.

If a man came to America turning water into wine, we’d turn him into a party trick. Colleges and mom’s book clubs would love him.

If a man said to Americans, Sell everything you have and follow me. We’d say, We don’t actually own any of this stuff. We’re in debt.

If a woman claimed any of the above, she would be labeled blasphemous.

If a man came to America telling people, Leave your family and follow me. I will make you fishers of men. We would call the people following him “idiots” and stage an intervention. 

Christians believe Jesus will come again. What are we looking for? An Israeli, bearded man wearing a toga and Birkenstocks?

I’d be afraid if Jesus came to America, this pathetic lot. We’d crucify him. 

Then again, this pathetic lot is exactly why we need his return.

*Yes, Biblically speaking his return will be different. Take this as a point of reflection.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Good News This Week…February 14

News is strange as always. Hoping something here will make you laugh or uplift you in some way. 

Happy Valentine's Day to those who care about it. (I'm a scrooge.) And Happy Birthday to my mom! (I do care about that.)

Sharing a Moment:
I may not appreciate the day of expensive roses and chocolates, but I do love a good Galentine's Day. Last night, I spent the evening with some of my favorite ladies. Why does it seem my girls nights are less and less frequent? I need to remedy this.

Sharing Stories:

Middle School girls develop app for Alzheimer's patients
I love this on so many levels. Middle school! Alzheimer's help! Verizon - get on this please. Then get it to Apple.

Remake of Pete's Dragon
One of my favorite Disney movies of all time. While it sounds like it will stray quite a bit from the original, I am so excited to see Elliott again. "Candle on the Water" was sung in our wedding. This story has a special place in my heart. 

Time for a Life-Redesign
One of the women in a blogging group I'm part of shared this. I love the message and these are practical tips.

10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Dogs
Who knew I'd become a dog person. Our Thorr changed my heart. A lot of these were new to me.

Kids More Serious About Volunteering
I'll agree to this. I'm seeing it often. And most schools are including serving as part of the curriculum. I have high hopes for the generation of my daughters. They have to make the world a better place, right? It's hard to imagine it could get worse.

Sharing a Video:
Jon Stewart's announcement this week shook me a bit. Who will I trust on television now? Certainly not actual "news" shows, right? This video by journalism students rightly picks on FOXNews, though other news shows could easily be called into question. Good job, kids!

Here's wishing for you a good news week all around. 

Share more of life with me 
on Facebook
on Twitter
on Instagram
on Pinterest

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Why We Argue About Yoga Pants


Yep. Yoga pants. Please tell me you’ve read, seen or heard of the controversy? It’s been ev. ery. where. You’re not going to make me link to it, are you? Ugh. Ok. Here it is.

Last week, Ashley P. Dickens published this beautiful post: Ten Things We Should Get Angry About Before Yoga Pants. And she’s right. There are so many more important topics on which to focus. 

Who cares if the original poster doesn’t want other men lusting after her because she’s wearing lycra instead of denim? A lot of people actually. So why the shallow, lame debates? 

It’s easy. Heated debates about leggings are easy. I can do it from my laptop while drinking coffee and watching The Daily Show. I can fill my Facebook wall and Buffer my Tweeted opinions. And I can get rid of all of this built up rage inside of me stemming from actual devastation in the world.

When I think about the hardships Dickens listed they really get me down, you know?

Humanitarian aid: Too hard. Don’t want to research and bum out my mood.
Foster care: Too hard. Don’t want to disrupt my lifestyle.
Malnutrition: I send my money to World Vision, don’t I? Let them take care of it.
Human trafficking: So sad. So heartbreaking. But what can I do about it? I think my daughters are safe.
Ebola: Don’t make me think about this. Too scary. Stay away - preferably in another country far, far away.
Persecution: As long as it doesn’t happen in my bubble, I’ll pray it goes away. That should do it.

But yoga pants? This is a fight I can win! This is a fight which affects me! 
I have yoga pants. 
I wear yoga pants. 
I will most likely die in yoga pants. (But please make sure they are high waisted. We don’t need my belly hanging out in the coffin.)

And really, isn’t it all about me? I can be an activist! Just give me a problem I can solve without getting off the couch. 

**If you are not familiar with my writing, please take this as tongue in cheek. I do care about important issues, I promise.**

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

I Almost Didn’t Vaccinate Our Kids

Syringe and Vaccine
Photo Credit:Flickr NIAID

We knew our pediatrician before we even thought about having children. Karen went to our church. Her kids were in my youth program and in the midst of her divorce, we became closer friends.

When Emma was born in the year 2000, she got all of the normal pokes and prods babies have been briefly (10 seconds, max) traumatized with since...oh, I don’t know...a long time. Annika came in 2002. By that time media reports of the MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) shots possibly causing autism started to gain wind. 

Living in liberal Oregon, I am the first one to tell you I fall into the locally raised, organic, hippie mentality. Not wanting Annika to get the MMR shot followed my usual course of thought. 

Apparently, I am a lemming. 

I didn’t want my child to come into unnecessary autism risks . And really, no-one has mumps, measles, and rubella anymore. (Here’s where you say: Yes, Andee. There is a reason for that.)

When I brought Annika into her first ever pediatrician office visit I told Karen I wanted to wait on the MMR shot.

Why? she asked.

I told her about the media reports.

Andee, the information we have about preventing these diseases far outweighs the initial reports which haven’t been truly vetted yet. It’s your choice, but I am your friend. I would never tell you to do something if I thought it would harm your kids. 

I thought about it for a second. Who was I going to trust? My friend and confidant - or Jenny McCarthy?

Annika got her shots that day.

I know some say they would never insert chemicals into a child’s body. But some of these folks also let their kids consume Cheetos, Oreos, and M&Ms - so I’m not too worried.

Karen passed away last year. Not only did I lose an amazing doctor who put up with all of my freaky concerns over 14 years, I lost a friend who put up with all of my freaky concerns over 18 years. If she were still here today, I’d text her right now and write, You were right! I love you and thank you for keeping your head on when mine clearly leaves my shoulders. 

So, God? Pass that message on for me, will ya’?