TBBT

The Big Bang Theory.

TV.

The first season was phenomenal.  It was saturated with science jokes and nerdy people enjoyed it.  We finally had a TV show that epitomized the awkwardness that is found in a geek.  We were proud of it.  Then it continued…subsequent season worsening as the show progressed.  It is still a funny show and enjoyable to watch, but it has deviated from the intellectual jokes into the typical monotonous sitcom which just is a series of sexual innuendos.

The most recent episode was a capstone to Sheldon and Amy’s relationship, but also the usual fare of sexual media.

I was excited for them but also deeply grieved.  Yes, they finally consecrated their relationship, but is sex the ultimate achievement in a relationship?  I don’t think so.  Is sex wonderful?  Yes, it is.  However, there is so much more richness to a relationship than physical intimacy.

We saw the episode where Sheldon had a ring he was going to use to propose to Amy.  The ring hasn’t been mentioned since.  Why didn’t he propose marriage for her birthday rather than sex?  Marriage is a greater commitment.  Sex is a big commitment but it is exercised so flippantly in today’s culture, I wonder if it has any substantial value nowadays.

It seems we will share our bodies before, if at all, we share our financial resources, emotions (heartaches, joys, etc.), histories, and heritage.  Why?

Isn’t it greater to commit your life to someone?  Why couldn’t Sheldon have married Amy as was originally brought up?  Why did it have to be sex first?

We live in a culture where pre-marital sex is high.  It is claimed that you’ll be able to see if that partner is physically suited to you.  Shouldn’t you have a physical attraction and you’ll be able to navigate the waters of increased intimacy after making a commitment to each other?  The beauty of sex in marriage and remaining faithful are the hiccups, the “figuring each other out” bit.  Individuals also live together prior to marriage thinking it’ll help them see if they want to stay together.  Deciding to stick it out, in spite of differences, is incredible.  Yes, there are times when certain relationships should be dissolved.  (Abuse and Adultery for instance.)

I’ll give a scenario of why intimacy doesn’t necessarily equate to compatibility.  In college, I had my first love.  My husband, Frank, knows that I had other boyfriends.  He knows that Jared was my first love.  Jared was a great kisser and we were passionate with one another.  However, we fought ALL the time.  We were definitely physically attracted and compatible in the sex department (no, we did not engage in intercourse, not that it needs to be said on social media…we were just really attracted to one another and this was not an area we had issues with).  If I had physical relations with him, it wouldn’t have revealed the flaws in our relationship.  It would have just left me more broken when we realized we weren’t going to work out.

My husband, Frank, on the other hand was not a good kisser initially.  (In high school, I had broken off relationships if the guy was a bad kisser.)  It was sloppy.  Yet, there was something about this man.  Frank had a gentle and quiet heart.  He was willing to buy me dinners, share money, talk about our struggles, comfort me with a really personal obstacle, and we enjoyed similar activities.  Over time, Frank became a better kisser.  We learned each other.  Our compatibility is incredibly strong, but physical intimacy didn’t need to be initiated to reveal that.  In fact, if we made the decision based solely on initial physical intimacy, we would have missed the incredible marriage we have today because we would have thought we weren’t right for one another.  We are perfect for each other though.  Frank is my best friend.  Yes, we are lovers, but he is so much more than that.  Also, if there ever came a point where we couldn’t engage in coitus, we know we have a deeper relationship and we’d stay together because our commitment to each other means more than physical play.

Sheldon and Amy had a relationship that seemed deeper than their counterparts.  They shared intellectual stimulation and enjoyed each others company without needing to engage in sex.  Now this is what they’ll talk about with their friends.  It grieves me.

When will our culture start conversations that don’t result in sex talk?  I don’t know.  I pray that I’ll stray from cultural norms and begin to hold conversations of more substantial merit.  Now, this isn’t to say we should be prudish.  We should discuss sexual matters in a mature fashion.

However, can we admit that there is more to life than sex? Those things should be talked about and enjoyed just as much, if not more than sex.

May the New Year bring conversations, media, and other activities that are oriented around other topics besides sex!

Happy New Year’s Eve All.

 

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Animals and Kids

Sometimes parents get offended when individuals without kids will compare owning pets to having kids.  While there are differences, certainly, I am here to say that I am not one of those offended parents.  I will unabashedly admit that my infant daughter and dog are very much alike.  If you are considering becoming a parent, but aren’t quite sure if you are ready, a pet is a great way to test the parental waters.

1.) They are needy: from bathroom breaks to feedings, animals and babies depend on you for EVERYTHING.

2.) Speaking of everything, it all winds up in their mouths.

3.) A diaper or in nature, you have to clean up their mess.

4.) They beg.  If you have it, they want it.  A whimper or tantrum, they’ll let you know they are frustrated if you don’t give them what you want.

5.) Tell them not to do something and that is exactly what they want to do.

6.) Some love baths and others hate them.  Either way, a bath will be necessary because they always get dirty (see number 5 for example).

7.) They will wake you in the middle of the night.  You often wonder why they feign sleep.  Are you the only one who enjoys rest?  It feels that way in my house…except my husband likes sleep to and he can sleep through all the chaos.  *I might be a little resentful here*

8.) When they are excited they might pee, jump up and down, shriek, or any variety of actions to express their giddiness.

9.) At some point, they will want a cuddle, even if it is brief.  You are loved, even if it feels like you are a slave to your master infant/pet.

10.) While love is occasionally conditional, they do love you because they know you care for them.  That love is one of the greatest feelings in the world, even if that means they are tugging on you, nipping your heels, or sitting on you when you want to be left alone.

Just a little lighthearted comparison.  We bought Willow a dog companion as her one of her Christmas presents (not planned, just spontaneous on one of our “free zoo (aka Petsmart)” trips).  The dog we purchased is a 10 year old lab mix named Mitzie.  They are both fun to watch and see their interaction.  Willow is much more enthralled by Mitzie, but the more Willow drops food, Mitzie will learn that Willow should be her best friend.  Enjoy your children and/or pets this season and always.

 

 

Reflections on Saint Nick

I know it seems like I’m bashing on Santa recently.  I know that Christ wasn’t born exactly on December 25th.  The Christmas festivities actually have several pagan traditions at their core.  These traditions, like tree decorating, make sense when you realize that Christ’s birth doesn’t really have anything to do with the holiday celebration.  December 25th was chosen because it used to be a pagan celebration of winter solstice or something like that.  I believe it was Constantine who decided it would be a holiday to commemorate Jesus’ birth and the date was selected to draw pagans away from their idolatrous worship to worship of Christ.   However, Dec. 25th was chosen to celebrate Christ’s birth and is recognized by Christians throughout the world today.

I can’t really be upset over secular traditions “usurping” Christian traditions since December 25th didn’t really start out as a Christian holiday.  However, since culture now recognizes this day as a commemoration of Immanuel, I like to observe the more holy aspects of Christmas.

I respect St. Nicholas.  St. Nicholas was an upstanding citizen who contributed greatly to society using his wealth.  He should be recognized.  To the extent that he is honored, rather than revered/worshiped by greedy children, I like the idea of doing a tradition that teaches children about him.  My friend, Jamie, shared a link about how to celebrate St. Nick day on my Ho, Ho, Hope? post.  Check it out.

I liked the idea of teaching kids the folklore associated with St. Nicholas and why he gained such popularity.  I want my child to know that St. Nicholas’ actions  were all performed in the name of Christ.  In this manner, God holds his rightful place but the Saint is recognized and a child’s imagination is free to be engaged, differentiating truth from fantasy.

Thanks Jamie for that link.

St. Nicholas, I do think you were a pretty cool dude and Willow should know about you as a real historical figure.

American traditions of the jolly man creep Frank and me out though (as indicated in my last post of Breaking).  We do think the tradition of coins in a shoe is a fun and simple way to teach children about generosity.  A few simple chocolates are a more useful teaching tool about generosity than a surplus of gifts littering a tree’s stump, at least in my opinion.

So we are fine teaching the history of St. Nicholas, his impact on history, and even indulging in some pretend folklore, but because we do profess Christ, we want everything, everyday (holiday celebration or not), to be done in his name, not for or in our greed.

 

 

Breaking and Entering

Candles dripped wax on the sill

as children readied for bed.

After baths were completed and feet tucked in,

the light was snuffed and a quiet stillness enveloped the home.

Frosted windowpanes glistened in the silent night.

A blanket of snow snuggled the countryside to sleep.

All was calm.

The picturesque scene went disturbed.

A big black boot stomped through the white thicket,

the breath of its owner huffing and puffing.

Climbing over fences and up the rooftops

he dropped through the chimney,

the front door would be too suspicious.

Sneaking across creaking floorboards

he opened the cupboards and cold chest.

He munched on freshly baked cookies

and a glass of iced milk.

He went up the stairs and peered at the children,

the good little children.

Then he turned out the door and squeezed up the chimney again.

A week later, a girl in her fright told the police the man had a beard, hair like wool, and a fuzzy red coat as he watched her at night.

The officer said, “It’s okay little girl, in any other scenario we’d search for the guy and arrest him, but you see,  you need not be afraid of a large, jolly man who likes children sitting on his lap and ensuring your goodness, sneaking into your home as you slumber.  This is Santa!  He’s a magical wonder and you should be excited for his visit. He gives you what you’ve dreamed about!  However, he only gives until your parents grow weary of spending and want to be thrifty. Then you’ll find out it was really just mom or dad sneaking around the house for an excuse to not diet and partake in a midnight snack.  Want a cookie?”

Aside: CVS recently had theft.  We live right behind CVS.  A person found one of our neighbor’s CVS cards.  Please pray for safety against people legitimately breaking into our home.  (It hasn’t happened yet, so please pray it won’t.)

 

Ho, Ho, Hope?

Trees beset with jewels,

garland adorning window sills,

lights glimmering along the gutters,

markets filled with shoppers,

and there are children sitting, requesting.

 

He’s a harbinger of hope, generosity, and forgiveness.

He embodies sacrifice.

 

Santa?

Yes, this season of expectation—expecting deliverance—is all for naught in today’s American, consumerist culture.  I don’t see Christ in Christmas in our culture.  Maybe he’s not supposed to be.  Yet, he is supposed to be ever present in the life of a follower!  I’ve had Christian friends say that we can look to Santa as a representation for generosity, sacrifice, hope, and forgiveness.  I’ll admit, I cringed and continue to do so.

There isn’t anything inherently wrong with Santa.  It is a fun tale and giving in the name of another can be enjoyable.  To dress up and pretend in a land of make believe is fun.  However, when we somehow turn Santa, a benevolent saint of old, into a Christ image, we err.  I’ve read articles saying that it is innocent fun to have kids delight in Santa but going so far to say that he can be a practical means of representing what Christian morality stands for.  While this might be true in theory, I don’t see it and I’d be hesitant to say we should look to anyone as granting us true hope other than Christ.

A saint is just that, a saint.  A saint is not a Savior.  A saint should not be worshiped.  [I do not believe that praying to a saint for intercession on our behalf is something idolatrous.  I have seen devout believers in the Catholic faith.  There is something different between having an intercessor and praying to something.]  In today’s culture, it seems Santa is revered, often more so than Christ (even among followers…where the problem exists and where my efforts are focused on in this post).

Some Christian authors stated that Santa can show children what the application of Christianity is.  However, I don’t see children applying Christian morals with Santa.  Instead, I see greed.  Kids are making up wishlists and thinking about all the STUFF Santa is going to bring them (not others, but them).  If you ask them if they have been good, “Yes, Santa is going to bring me lots of STUFF.”  The principle of be good, he’s watching, has been tossed to the wayside and replaced with parents overlooking disobedience and rudeness because withholding good things from your children because they aren’t being obedient is seen as cruel.

I’m digressing a bit.

Santa was a saint.  I’m not dismissing that.  He was a great man and to respect him is admirable.  However, respecting his behavior conduct is different than believing he gives to all children, everywhere because they believe in him (used to be merit (good vs. bad, making a list checking it twice) based but is now to any kid who has desire).

It isn’t even wrong to hold Santa in high esteem, so long as we don’t say he can represent Christ better than Christ himself.

Out of personal preference, we aren’t going to give Willow gifts on behalf of Santa.  We personally want to focus on Christ this season.  Gift receiving is fun, but there is so much more to this season.  Friends have told me that Santa represents more than gift receiving.  He teaches us to give.  Yet, most kids I know aren’t giving to others because Santa does so.  Kids are expecting to receive from Santa.  Any giving performed is because we as parents say charity is important.  Maybe Santa was a hallmark for giving in years past, but I don’t see witness of it in today’s “me” obsessed culture.

I’ve been told I’m depriving Willow of this magical experience.

Depriving? 

If you mean we aren’t going to implement false belief than yes, we are depriving her.  I don’t like the word deprive though.  In my mind, it symbolizes a withholding of good things, even to the extent of harming an individual.  Am I harming Willow by not practicing Santa belief with her?  I am hesitant to think she is harmed or will believe she was harmed by not telling her Santa is a real man able to give gifts to all in one night.

We’ll still teach Willow who Santa was.  We are just choosing not to promote a false belief in him.  There is a far greater mystery story we can give to her during this time.  Santa is nice and he can make us feel fuzzy, warm, accepted.  Yet, there is a greater promise.  Someone far greater than Santa can offer the world something far greater than any material item Santa leaves under a tree.

We have a Savior.  We have a Redeemer.  We have EMMANUEL!

Remember expectation.  Just like the Jews awaited a Messiah who would deliver them (and did), we wait for Christ’s return when he will make a new heaven and a new earth.  We remember a God who willingly became a man to die for us on the cross.  In humility, he came to the world in blood soaked straw, not a glistening pole of the North.

So while my friends can argue that Santa can teach invaluable lessons, I ask them this, “Since when did Christ become insufficient?  When did the story of immaculate conception and delivery become dull?  When did the wonder and awe of God with us lose its luster?  When did we have to supplement Christ’s teachings with that of another?  When did Santa’s behavior become a more readily applicable than Christ’s?”

Yes, we can respect Santa and the kindness he bestowed on less fortunate children.  He can offer immense hope to the children who don’t know a greater hope. However, for those who are the offspring of believers, can’t we offer a more wondrous story?  Can’t we teach our children we don’t need to twist truths to make them more appealing?  We don’t need to manipulate tales to create beauty, awe, or curiosity.  We have a true God who is far more captivating than any historical figure or fictional character!

We have GOD WITH US!

Isn’t that a greater cause for celebration and remembrance than a wrapped, material gift for me?  Thus, I like to argue that we aren’t depriving Willow of Christmas magic.  If anything, we are giving her the experience and hope of a grand TRUE story.  We are giving her the best we can give her, we are teaching her a Savior came to the world—for the world, for us, for her.

We are giving her hope…a great hope…in Christ alone!

(By the way, Willow means great hope (I was recently told this).  Christine means Christ follower.  We are teaching Willow Christine that there is Great Hope as a Christ Follower.)

 

Advent Reflections: Hope

Scriptures I’ve read recently and have truly resonated and as such, delighted, my heart:  Matt. 18:2-5, Ex. 14:14, Hab. 2:20

Eyes glisten with joy

at the  bell sounds ring.

Arms flail with glee,

trying to grasp the jingling ball.

Then a shimmer catches your sight and a

Smile adorns your cheerful face

for lights glimmering in the darkening dusk.

 

Observing you I wonder

if I could just be still.

Can I, rather than in angst and flurry purchasing unnecessary trinkets,

set aside time to be in awe at the sounds, scents, and illuminations awarded to humanity during a season of expectation reflection?

Might I, by quieting this restless soul, finally appreciate the hope of a God who came to dwell with man? Oh, our Emmanuel!

Can I, by watching you, finally be inclined t0 richer faith? Can I have a faith which rises with awe even in the mundane, everyday monotony?

Watching you, I just might understand this time

and finally grasp that child-like faith which grants authentic hope in salvation everlasting from the God who came to die, if only I be still.

 

If you are looking for a fuller experience this Advent season, check out a link a friend shared:  http://ccca.biola.edu/advent/#day-dec-3.

Willow helps me pause and reflect on finding excitement and newness in routine.

If you don’t have kids to watch and be renewed with amazement at God’s creation or want to supplement observing a child’s wonder like me, check out this advent project.

 

 

Promoting my better half

I haven’t really figured out what I excel at.  I enjoy parenting and writing, but I can’t ever truly master parenting and I’m a novice writer at best.  Perhaps that is a bit self-depricating, but I was always told to be “successful” (the American “dream” of owning a home, getting married, having kids).  I wasn’t told to follow my dreams.  Yes, part of my dream entailed getting married and having kids, but I have passions too.  I wish my income was linked to my passions, not a means to an end.

In this respect, I have a passion to encourage my husband and his skills.  My husband, Frank, is a talented carpenter.  He talks frequently about venturing out on his own or going to college to be a civil engineer.  Most of the time, he’s pretty content to keep doing what he is doing though.  Right now, he has a great boss (Jon Van Nest; if you are looking for carpentry work in the Califon area, contact him and his crew) with a decent salary.  Since Frank finally has a wonderful job (doing carpentry, getting proper wages, and work is consistent), he has little motivation to do outside work or education.  Even with his reasonable salary, I still have to work.

The long term plan is that I will stay home with Willow, our daughter, and homeschool her.  As such, Frank’s pay would have to be sufficient to cover our bills and even though work is generally consistent, Frank doesn’t have vacation time and work can be sporadic in the winter months.  My ultimate dream for us as a family is to own a mobile carpentry business.  We would network and through that networking, travel to individuals in need of home repairs at a reasonable or even discounted rate.  We would need enough money for food on our table, our home (tiny mobile house), clothes, periodic haircuts, fuel, and mutual funds (which would be used for retirement and Willow’s college fund).

Enter me, the boisterous, energetic, dreamer; Frank’s wife.  Frank has to be cautious when he mentions a dream briefly.  I am forever the dreamer.  I am motivated just enough to get something started.  I am easily distracted by dreams.  I tend to start a project and get excited than lose interest and the vicious cycle continues.  Frank is really great at completing projects, but not so great at starting them.  We complement each other very well here.  (Here’s praying God melded these traits together in Willow; so far it seems to be this way because she is calm, calculating, but personable and energetic.)

Anyways, to assist my husband with getting his business started, which could help me stay home and/or pay for his education until the ARMY reimburses Frank, I have started monopolizing on social media access to set up marketing for his carpentry business. Here is praying and hoping his business, ICE BOX CONSTRUCTION (his name choice for the company), grows and enables us to glorify God and achieve the opportunity for me to be a stay at home mom, perhaps flourishing my writing career on the side.

You can follow Frank at fjeisbacher@wordpress.com, @ICEBOXCONSTRUCT on twitter, and through his work page on Facebook.