Ten Tips to Keep from Showing Your Feathers on Thanksgiving

In the hope that you and I will not add to the number of turkeys present at our Thanksgiving feasts, here’s a reprise of my Top Ten Thanksgiving Tips .

  1. Ask others about their life more than you talk about yours.
  2. Say, “It’s good to see you,” instead of, “Wow, you’ve gained weight.”
  3. Ask the host(s) periodically, “May I be helpful in some way?”
  4. Say, “You look fantastic” instead of, “Wow, you’ve lost a ton of weight.”
  5. Ask someone in a painful life circumstance, “How are you doing these days?”  Most people appreciate the inquiry, even if they choose not to share.
  6. Cut up your food, not people.
  7. Advocate for children not to be pressured for hugs and kisses.
  8. Avoid the turkeys in the room – except the bird on your plate.
  9. If you become a turkey, apologize and eat humble pie.
  10. Most important:  Put a pebble in your pocket and, each time you touch it, give thanks for something. Gratitude is the best antidote for feathers.

    Photo credit: http://bpdbd.net/turkey-bird/

Pedophelia Is Not Christian

It’s past time to speak on behalf of the Christian Church and its witness.  Pedophilia is not Christian; no matter how much Roy Moore, Jerry Falwell, Jr., and some Evangelical Christians try to claim otherwise. The God of love and mercy for whom Jesus lived and died weeps and rages each time someone is raped, molested or sexually assaulted in any way.  God knows that even one such experience has a lifelong impact.  No matter how much someone claims these acts are done under the guise God’s will, destroying the lives of others in such a heinous way is never God’s will.

Brave women are sharing publicly for the first time their stories of being sexually assaulted as teenagers (as young as 8th grade) by the current Republican candidate for Senate in Alabama, Judge Roy Moore.  These women shared their stories privately years ago with family and friends; they did not wait until Moore was running for national office before telling what happened.  In addition, multiple people have reported that Moore was banned from a shopping mall and YMCA in his hometown in the 1980’s because of his known predilection for young girls.

Disgustingly, but sadly and not surprisingly, most of the political world, conservative media, and many Evangelical Christians are now contorting themselves to support this pedophile’s election to Congress.  Few call for him to pull out of the race or for voters to elect someone else (even a Democrat, if necessary).  I wish I could pray, “God, have mercy on their souls,” but I can’t yet.  Maybe I’ll have to leave the decision about mercy and forgiveness up to God.

Making their position even worse, most of the people who continue to support Roy Moore see no contradiction between his alleged behavior and his claim of Christian righteousness.   They continue to wrap him in a protective cloak of conservative Christianity because they think he is an exemplar of Christian morality.  And…wait for it…They argue that Jesus considers Moore’s behavior and multiple sexual assaults of girls inconsequential compared to the importance of having a Republican majority in the U.S. Senate.  How dare they!

An Alabama state official, Jim Zeigler, has been quoted nationally claiming that God has no problem with an adult male having sex with a 14-year-old girl.  As evidence of God’s benevolent stance toward such behavior, Zeigler claims that Jesus Christ is the off-spring of a sexual union between Mary (at age 14) and Joseph (an adult man to whom she was engaged), and that this was obviously sanctioned by God.  Most Christians I know would be horrified if they took time to realize what his argument really says.  The Bible says Jesus was conceived by Mary and the Holy Spirit, not Joseph.  This is known as the Doctrine of the Virgin Birth.  Those who acquiesce to these convenient convolutions of Christianity to elect a Republican pedophile to the U.S. Senate cover Christianity in slime.

Pedophilia is neither moral, nor legal, nor beneficial to a healthy society.  It has no place in our homes, schools, houses of worship, communities, or Congress.

Sexual molestation and assault always violate the victim/survivor’s humanity and being, but particularly so when she or he is a child or teen.  It ruptures the very foundation of Jesus’ message of love.  It is pure evil.

Therefore, I end where I began:  Pedophilia is not Christian.

“Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.  No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and God’s love is perfected in us” (I John 4:7-8, 12).






Elevating a new titanium plate in my right foot last month, I tried to find an image to counter my frustration at yet another setback.  That’s when I remembered Whack-a-Mole.  Yes! That’s it.

You know: the arcade game where you try to hit fuzzy yellow creatures as they pop up faster and faster in front of you?  If you whack enough of them, you get a prize.  I doubt that I’ve ever won a prize because my arm gets too tense to be effective.

Well, I’m playing life-sized Whack-a-Mole.  You know what that is:  You dribble coffee on your shirt while driving to work.  Then the printer runs out of ink.  Replacing it makes you late for a meeting.  As you’re buying gas on the way home, you realize you left your credit card at the restaurant where you had lunch.  When you finally curl up with the remote and chill, you hear the dog barf on the rug behind you.  Yeah, you know what I mean.

My sons are good at whacking fuzzy yellow creatures.  They advise me to keep my arm loose and stay focused.  Don’t worry about the ones you miss, just keep going. When the music stops, don’t beat up on yourself–laugh.

Here’s my translation for life-sized Whack-a-Mole.

  1. Stay loose, not tense. Because tension and frustration distract, slow us down and make us inflexible; take a breath, shake out your arms and let the feelings drip off your fingers like water.  Be intense but not tense.  It’s easier to deal with beady-eyed moles if you’re loose.
  2. Stay focused.  Don’t worry about future moles or fret about past ones, focus on bringing your best to the ones in front of you.  You’ll have a chance to whack future moles soon enough.
    cartoon whackamole
  3. Laugh.  Laugh at yourself.  Laugh at the absurdity of life and its endless supply of fuzzy yellow moles.  Laugh at the perspective that sees only moles and not the bigger context. Let laughter loosen your tension, then pick up the mallet and go at it again.
  4. Most importantly, pause each night to think give thanks for five things.  Gratitude shifts your mind from the moles you faced to a bigger picture.  It lets you set down the mallet for a time.  Remembering the goodness that exists in the midst of moles puts the creatures to sleep for the night and lets you look at the stars, instead.

I’m still playing Whack-a-Mole with health issues but maybe, just maybe, I can move to a different set of moles soon.  And, no matter what each day brings, I do pause at some time, picture fuzzy creatures with black beady eyes around me and I laugh.  It’s just Whack-a-Mole.  Stay loose, Barbara, stay focused, and give thanks.