My opinion on Beauty and the Beast of 2017

Guess what I saw today? Yep. Beauty and the Beast… are you ready for my review? Well, if you are read on… if not, scroll on by.

Here goes in number order but not necessarily in order of importance:

1. The costumes were Phenomenal!!!! WOW!!! WOW!!!

2. The set and scenery and everything about the castle and the village – stunning.

3. I had no idea so many stars were in it! That was fun!

4. Don’t throw things at me, but Emma Watson’s voice sounded very “pop” when she sang and no one else did (similar to the new Annie) Whatever it was, that was distracting to me at first, but I got over it. And she was adorable.

5. In the scene where Gaston decides to Kill the Beast, I couldn’t help but think of Jesus when the crowd turned on him. See John 18:38 – 19:27 in the Bible.

6. I missed a couple of scenes, cause I brought Phoebe and we had to change a diaper so I am not sure what I missed. But overall, she sat very well. She didn’t even get scared, but “phant” was with, and he just makes her world a better place naturally.

7. Assuming I didn’t miss something major (again, I may have so don’t string me up if I did) I think the controversy wasn’t really about Disney’s first gay character – I think it was more Will Christians take the bait? I’ll be honest, I almost did – I mean, as a parent I am to navigate what my kids see and how I introduce life to them. Again, I may have missed something – but if I didn’t, what I saw was nothing. Until the last 1.5 seconds of the entire movie, the idea that La Fou had a thing for Gaston wouldn’t have actually been evident to me. If I had not heard of the controversy I wouldn’t have even looked for it. It would’ve gone right over my head. At the very end, you see La Fou dancing with a woman (partner dancing) and then the next time you see him during the song, he surprisingly finds himself dancing with a man.

8. Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, we are living in new and uncomfortable social waters for many. This doesn’t come as a surprise to our Heavenly Father and it shouldn’t come as a surprise to you. If you aren’t comfortable seeing this movie or supporting it – then don’t. And please continue to issue warnings about things that others might want to be aware of before introducing certain topics or subject matter to our kids. It makes me think of that childhood song, O Be careful little eyes what you see – so please keep that up! But at the same time, please be careful about speaking so boldly and adamantly about things until you know for sure, it is what you think it is. I honestly left and told Sophie – I think that was more to see if we would take the bait than anything.

9. It’s hard to know when to speak and when to stay silent. I feel that way about this post…

10. Because I need 10 points.  Continue to love your kids, your neighbors and those around you whether they like Disney movies or not.

That Morning When You Just Feel Funky

Do you ever wake up and just feel funky? I can remember feeling this way, even when I was a kid.  It rarely happens anymore, but it hit today and well, I just didn’t like it. I woke up, nothing out of the normal happened, Gus came into my room and crawled in bed with me, Brian was already up and heard the baby and brought her in and the three of us laid in bed before getting our day started by snuggling. I could tell though, something just felt eh… different.

All of my insecurities seemed to shout at me this morning… every one of them. Do you ever have that? I am certain it is “normal” but yuck! It’s that fast forward thing your brain can do – but it’s actually just playing moments of the past over and over in your head and it seems like you just covered the last 20 years of awful moments in about 2.3 seconds. As I type I wonder, maybe I’m alone on this one?  But something also tells me I’m not. And I just did a google search about feeling funky and it turns out many people have written many things like, “483 easy steps to get out of that funk and feel better” (that’s sarcasm for those of you not familiar with its frequent use by me) so it’s been confirmed – I am not alone.

Those moments that are playing over in my head, I handed over to God and told him I was leaving them at His feet and I wasn’t picking them back up. Do you know those moments? Those tend to be the ones that play the loudest on funky days. Ugh. I don’t like them, I didn’t like them when they happened and I certainly don’t like them stuck on rewind and repeat. Anyway, that’s where I’ve been today. No other shoe dropped that I’m aware of, although I was certainly waiting for it. Clearly, that was a waste of my time. If you have ever dealt with anxiety, don’t you think that might be the most frustrating part of all? That you realize it’s a time waster? Good moments passing you by because you are stuck in anxiousness? Ew. Yes. Yuck.

I know God doesn’t want me to spend even 2.3 seconds of my day on those things. I must hope everyone that I care about knows I love them and truly care about them even if sometimes I don’t show it the way I am expected to. It’s days like these I wish I could give everyone I know a big ole’ hug and just say “You matter to me whether you know it or not”. The crazy thing about these funks is that you can learn a few things when you are in them.  Today, oddly enough I saw a young man walking out of a nearby neighborhood in his full Portillo’s gear.  Hat, pants, apron etc… he looked very much like he was on his way to work and he was late. I didn’t know him and I had 2 young kids in the car, so I called my husband and told him about the young man and asked if he would try to find him and offer him a ride.  Brian was happy to do it. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find him by the time we got off the phone and he headed out of the house, although he did drive down several routes looking for the young worker. I hope someone else gave him a ride.

Today, I seemed to be in tune with all of the moments I had failed. Failed to write a thank you note or send a card when I should have, failed to do this or say that when I was supposed to.  Times when I failed to offer to buy someone’s dinner and I should have, times when I’ve said words that hurt someone even though that was never my intention. But I think it’s because of those moments that I noticed the young man walking, my senses were aware and heightened. I wanted to help and I wanted him to have a better moment.  I am hoping I can build on my insecurities.  I want to be able to speak truth and wisdom to my friends and family,  I want to pour myself into them, but leave more than enough at home with my family too. Sometimes in my darkest moments I find myself to be the most thankful. It is then that I quickly realize even with all of the dumb moments of my life – they are seemingly small in someone else’s. I also realize in those moments that I want to do better. I want to stop being selfish.

I want to do this:

Philippians 2:1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 

and this:

Philippians 2:14  Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.

I want to remember the next time I wake up feeling funky, I’m not supposed to stay there… but I am supposed to pay attention and be aware I’ve got some serious growing to do.

The Connecting Piece In a Greater Story

So in my typical, impulsive fashion I decided to cut my hair off. I have a favorite stylist, Sarah, but because she is my favorite stylist, she is apparently everyone else’s favorite too.  I can never get in to see her when the urge or impulse hits me to do something bizarre, like cut off a foot of hair. However, I sent Sarah a text message one night and said “What is your next availability for a cut?” Knowing all too well she would reply with something along the lines of “Dec. 11th” (currently it’s October). But because she is my absolute favorite and a treasured friend and a wonderful human being I asked in my impulsive fashion anyway. Her response came and she said “How about tomorrow at noon?” Clearly the stars had aligned in my favor ’cause I had nothing on the calendar preventing this divine appointment and now I was set to have something fabulous done to my hair! It was almost like Christmas Eve, okay maybe not that exciting but close.

I arrived at the salon with baby in tow and Sarah was running a bit behind, which really was no biggie to me, I had nowhere to be so I just waited. When she was ready for me, we excitedly started talking about the kids and giving each other updates and that’s when she said there was a new client in the back and I needed to meet her.  See, this new client had a bad color job done by someone else and her friend had referred her to MY favorite stylist to fix it and just by chance Sarah had a cancellation and was able to fit her in.  The same day she had an opening for me. Coincidence? I think not. Well, the next thing I know this new client and I are sitting next to each other and exchanging adoption stories – shocking I know.

She told me about her two beautiful children, she had adopted.  She had been their foster mom since they were born and had fought to keep them for four and a half years.  She was a foster mom, but these kids needed her to be their mom forever and she is… she is now their forever mom. Four and a half years of loving and caring for two drug addicted babies and not knowing if they will be taken from you is probably enough just to make most people shutter – it just sounds like self-inflicted torture to be honest and I have a feeling at times, my new friend might have felt that way.  She then went on to tell me that she had just recently received a two month old baby boy who was born addicted to Heroin. She made it clear that she had no more fight left in her – she was content with the two beautiful children she had.  The case worker for this new baby boy, convinced her that this baby would go straight to adoption – easy peasy – so she opened her heart and her home to this sweet baby boy who needs so much care for his tiny body to adjust to life without street drugs.

Can you guess where I might be going with this story? The adoption hasn’t turned out to be so easy peasy after all. See the man that is currently married to the heroin addicted birth mother is incarcerated for a long list of things including physically harming people. He served a 9 year sentence already and I believe is waiting to see what his next sentence might be. But guess what? Even though he might not even be the one that “fathered” the child… he is technically the baby’s father because he is married to the drug addicted mother and he has decided, he wants the baby. Yep. In prison, he wants the baby. I hope you are somewhat like me and thinking… how does that work? And what is he thinking?

I was at the Doctor today and because I was there for my annual appointment, the nurse I see every year was slightly confused as to how she missed my entire pregnancy. So I began the adoption story and discussion. We actually discussed several avenues and aspects of adoption and for whatever reason I told her my new friend’s story.  I have a feeling she might have been speaking from experience when she said “He wants that baby because he is selfish. He is bored and has nothing else to fight about in his jail cell. He needs something to distract him and this is it. It has nothing to do with that child other than it is a distraction and the thought that lingers in the back of his mind saying; what if one day that kid turns out to be something, I need to be able to claim him.” I’m pretty certain with the way she spoke, this was not the first time she had thought about a situation like this. She appeared as though she had some working of knowledge of circumstances like these.

Soon my nurse left and my doctor came in and she was so happy to hear about our adoption and how smooth the process went and somehow we also got side-tracked with a conversation that landed on birth moms.  She offered her opinion that it was the most self-less thing a woman could do. She looked very reflective in thought, I could tell that she too had thought about adoption and unwanted pregnancies many times over the years. She said she had been in obstetrics for over 30 years and that over time she has noticed more people used to carry their babies to term and give them up for adoption than they currently do. She said “Today, they just pretend it didn’t happen.” She went on to say, occasionally she will have a young 19-20 year old girl that gets pregnant and wants to continue with school and she will carry and give the baby up but it’s rare anymore. She seemed to almost share my conviction that as a societal whole we are not to condemn lifestyle choices such as the Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner’s of the world, yet we have set some pregnant women up with so much shame and condemnation that they would rather try to pretend it just didn’t happen and choose to abruptly end a viable pregnancy.  It appeared, by her reflective tone, that she is often the only confidant some of these women ever have once they make the choice to “pretend it didn’t happen.”

In our somewhat brief meeting, my new friend at the salon had shared a specific phrase that tends to “ruffle her feathers” so to speak. I heard this phrase at one point during my visit to the clinic, “Well, she just needs to stop. She’s needs to stop getting pregnant.” See, it ruffles my new friends feathers because, if the mom of her two kids, (and hopefully a 3rd very soon) had just stopped; she wouldn’t have the beautiful children she is madly in love with! Adoption is often the only way some families are made.  I was actually caught off guard when someone at the clinic said it to me.  It actually felt like an attack on me! For probably 2 seconds I felt like saying “Wait a minute, if the birth mother of my child would’ve stopped, we wouldn’t be having this beautiful moment where you are so enthralled with my happy and beautiful baby!” Now let’s be clear,  I am not advocating for drug addicted women to continue to reproduce while they are using drugs. However, in the case of my new friend, this cocaine/heroin addicted woman is the reason she is able to even hold the title of “Mom”. So, let’s be careful what we say to adoptive moms.

I am also not condemning anyone that might be reading this post that has had an abortion… why would I? It is currently legal, it’s an option and it’s done and over with.  I am talking about a choice that is certainly also legal, has been tried and true and seems to be highly under-used. I know of it’s under-use because I have received several calls from heartbroken couples, hoping I somehow have the magic key to unlock the pain of looking into empty spare bedrooms and the longings to fill big spaces in their hearts.  My point in writing this is because I’m learning so much right now.  My eyes have been opened in ways they never have been before. I want to leave these words and thoughts for my children and let them walk along with me as we go on this new path. In the Bible, we are told to take care of the widows and the orphans. James 1:27 NIV says: Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Looking over several Bible commentaries on this verse, it looks like this verse literally means to take care of the orphans and the widows. 🙂 The passage conveys more meaning than that in its entirety, but the Matthew Henry commentary describes a portion of the meaning behind the verse this way, “Compassion and charity to the poor and distressed from a very great and necessary part of true religion: Visiting the fatherless and widow in their affliction. Visiting is here put for all manner of relief which we are capable of giving to others; and fatherless and widows are here particularly mentioned, because they are generally most apt to be neglected or oppressed: but by them we are to understand all who are proper objects of charity, all who are in affliction. It is very remarkable that if the sum of religion be drawn up to two articles this is one—to be charitable and relieve the afflicted.” (emphasis added is mine)

We are attending a fundraiser next week to help bring about awareness and raise money to help people adopt babies and children. This fundraiser helps to live out this very verse. Not everyone is in a situation to open their homes to longing children and helpless babies, but together we can all be aware that families, so many families are willing and able to provide homes and care for these babies when they are available.  There just seems to be a shortage of ones that are truly available. Ones that the mother is willing to say, “Just because it’s not my time to provide for this child doesn’t mean someone else can’t or won’t.”  In my opinion, and it’s just that… my opinion, my new friend who is caring for the heroin addicted mother and incarcerated father’s child; are not at a point right now to be parents to this tiny baby boy who desperately needs so much. A selfless deed would go very far in all of their lives right now. A simple signature would be all it would take to do what is best for that precious child.

My favorite stylist wasn’t available by chance the other day just so I could receive my cute new hairdo. My stylist was the connecting piece in a greater story about two women that have a hearts desire to care for orphans; regardless of how or by whom they came into this world. There are families and young couples – hoping right now that another women, who has just received the undesired news of her pregnancy will choose, even though the timing is off… to carry to term and simply sign a paper. Breathing life into a new child, a new family, a home, a bedroom, safe arms and loving hearts. And also allowing themselves to take a big breath and sigh of relief knowing, even though the pain is very real, they have just become a part of a small population, many might label, the most selfless of all.