Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mile High Madness

After a somewhat harried three-hour plane ride, Jack and I arrived in Denver last night. We are here to visit two of my sisters, Anne and Melissa, who live together here and are trying to convince the rest of us to make the move West. It is sunny and beautiful today, and I am considering their request.

Let me just put this out there: This shall be a week of much merry-making. I miss my sisters. We gonna have us some fun.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

One last verse, so good it needs to stand alone

Matthew 25:41-45
Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.' They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least among you, you did not do for me.'

Dear Church,

So basically, if you refuse to give health care to the 30 million uninsured people of this country, you're refusing to give it to Jesus. Good luck with that, you know, in the next life.

Dear Country,

Thank you for passing this bill. We're not done yet, but this is a big, big step.

xx

An Historic Day?

Today, Congress may or may not pass one of the most important and controversial bills of the last several decades. Whether or not the bill is perfect, which it almost certainly is not, is not the question as far as I am concerned. The question is, what kind of nation do we want to be? Just watching this video made me so sad. It just made me sad. It's kind of long, but so telling.



The worst part of it, in my opinion, is the fact that the vast, vast majority of tea party members, anti-healthcare activists, and Fox News Junkies are professed evangelical Christians. The people in the video are what caused the very first cracks in the foundation of what was once a strong, life-giving faith for me. I simply cannot stomach being associated with such ignorance, such lack of compassion, and such scandalous misinformation. The bizzare mistrust of government, the institution responsible for public schools, fire departments, police departments, highways and transportation systems, fair labor laws, constitutional equality, and countless other things that were probably once vehemently opposed but now form the fabric of our daily life, I find maddening. Are they serious? I'm no champion of the government, God knows that any institution run by flawed people will naturally have flaws, but give me a break. Ameristan? Because of providing health care to its citizens? The ridiculousness of the argument is almost too obvious to bother arguing against, and yet it has so many people so angry.

I have to reiterate how much it breaks my heart that the most vocal opposition comes from people like my parents. My parents are doctors, intelligent, compassionate, generous people, and yet they follow this viral campaign of propaganda and scare tactics because it ultimately comes from a source they trust: the Church. The Church that was meant to be a place of sanctuary for the widow and the orphan, that was meant to care for the needy, that was taught from the beginning to put other's needs first. Paul originally ordered all Christians to sell their possessions and give to the poor and live together sharing everything. You know, like commies. The church was one big red commie-fest. But we forget that.

The best book I ever read that dealt with this, the book that saved me from joining the ranks of angry ex-Christians everywhere, was Philip Yancey's What's So Amazing about Grace. Yancey is an evangelical, a faithful Christian, but he is time and time again criticized about this book. It's message was simple: the Church should not, and in fact cannot, by it's nature, be involved in politics. A political church will inevitably be a corrupt church, because politics are power and power is a corrupting, corrosive force. The church is about grace and grace alone, scandalously so in fact, and because government is an enforcer, it cannot ever operate under the principles of the church. The government has justice, the church has mercy. The world needs them both, but never mixed.

Jesus never once took on the government, Yancey points out. He never once paid even a single second's worth of attention to any laws, never railed against political figures; in fact the single time he was asked about the government in any direct way he said "Give unto Caeser what is Caeser's." He had nothing to say about the Roman occupation of Israel, nothing to say about homosexuality or prostitution or drunken orgies or gladiator kill games or any of the laws of Ancient Rome. But he had plenty to say about the religious leaders of the day. He saved all his venom for them. He called them a brood of vipers, who ignored the poor and lined their own pockets, who followed every law to the letter but had no compassion or mercy, who were self-righteous and claimed to be close to God while turning away from the very people they were supposed to serve. Jesus never ate with senators, he never ate with religious leaders, he ate with society's rejects and taught his disciples to do the same. That was it. That was his message. When asked what the most important commandment, he answered Love God, and Love your neighbor. All other commandments come out of those two.

So I look at the Church today, and all I can see is that they have become the enemy of what Jesus taught. If he were to be born today, you know who he would come down on like a righteous tidal wave? Not Obama. Not democrats or republicans or abortion doctors or homosexuals. Oh no. He'd leave them alone. But he would have plenty to say to the people who use his name to advance their politics, who insist that the law of the land be work for what you get and not neighbor helping neighbor. It makes me so angry. (An aside: I feel the need to point out that there are many, many Christians I have met all over the world that exemplify loving your neighbor and being generous and compassionate. I am speaking here only of this strange, new, conservative right wing church that seems to have overtaken so many in this country).

I realize this is a really long post, and kind of off the health care topic, but I think it's apt. Because health care for all is just one of the many evolving aspects of a good, citizen-centered nation, the ultimate in neighbor helping neighbor philosophy. Never mind all the myriad practical reasons to put it into place! I hope, I really really hope, that it passes.

Now I'll just leave you with this: a video taken at an anti-health care rally in my own state last Wednesday, followed by a mess of Bible verses showing just how ridiculous this line of thinking is for any human being, let alone the ones who are supposed to be living by what the Bible says.



Deuteronomy 15:7, 11
If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.

Leviticus 23:22
When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God.

Proverbs 11:24-25
One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.

Proverbs 14:31
He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.

Proverbs 28:27
He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses.

Isaiah 1:17
Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.

Isaiah 58:6-7;10
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-- when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? ...and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. (My aside: this was in response to the people's tendency to spend their time fasting and praying to be more holy. God had this to say: save your fasting. Go out and DO something. Just another l'il note)

Ezekiel 16:49
Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. (My aside: notice the sin of Sodom was NOT homosexuality, bu indifference to the needy. Just a l'il note)

Mark 10:21
Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

1 Timothy 6:17-19
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

James 1:27
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.

1 John 3:17-18

If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I want this to be me



Maggie May posted this on her blog, and it made me so happy. Right before it made me green with The Envy.

I have decided that I am going to do this too. I am going to do this and one day you will be watching me up in this piece. Obviously I can't do exactly this though, so I have been trying to come up with ideas of what I could do all over the world and film and then make into a nice wee video.

Here's what I have so far:

1. Me attempting to do the splits all over the world (Where the Hell is Bendy Becky?)

2. Me flashing strangers all over the world (Where the Hell is Naked Becky?)

3. Me talking to myself all over the world in the manner of a crazy person (Where the Hell is Crazy Becky?)

4. Me making out with David all over the world (Where the Hell is Necking Becky?)

5. Me changing Jack's diaper all over the world. (Where the Hell did Jack Poop?)

What do you think? Any suggestions?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Friday, March 12, 2010

Cousins



I wish we all lived closer together :(

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Blastoff!

Up and running for your perpetual amusement:

Bex, Obsessed

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Our Bodies, Ourselves

WARNING: LONG POST AHEAD. GET SNACKS.

I've never been terribly insecure about the way I look. It's not that I harbor any delusions of myself on the attractiveness scale, it's just that for the most part I am happy with my lot--that of being, simply put, pretty enough. I will never take anyone's breath away on first glance; I will never be the first girl noticed in a room, but I've always been okay with that. Because on the other hand, I'll never be the last girl noticed either and I know it. I like to think of myself as a sort of wallflower. Yes I may not be strikingly beautiful, but I am a flower nonetheless and for the most part the men I have dated have thought I was beautiful. And that is enough for me. Most of the time. Obviously I have my moments--those times when I wish I were a classic beauty, or at least just plain sexy--but they are just that, moments. I can live with being me.

Correction: I could live with being me back before I had a baby.

I have struggled with my weight in the past. In my teens I could eat the entire contents of the fridge without gaining a pound, but that all changed once I turned eighteen. The freshman fifteen hit me like a ton of bricks. But even that wasn't so bad compared to what happened to my body after a serious illness. Twice in my life I've been so sick that I lost a lot of weight, and as soon as I was better my alarmed body packed on as much as it could. So I do know what it's like to be overweight.

At times it stressed me out, and I would crash diet, but it never worked. Finally I would just kind of forget about it and go on living, and after several months I'd be myself again.

But since I had Jack, I'm aware that I will probably never be myself again. Never mind the weight--I'll get to that in a second--I'm talking about the things that are entirely out of my control.

I'm talking about how my once perfectly shaped breasts are now exactly half an inch lower on my chest, and have a distinctive--ugh!--overlap. They are not horrible at all really, they could be much worse, but gone is the perkiness of my youth. I always thought that the singular benefit of having teeny tiny boobs was that they wouldn't sag. How foolish I was. Still, I tell myself, I got off relatively easy in that department. At least they are bigger than they were; I have that much going for me.

Then there are the stretch marks. I am not one of those women who can say they love their stretch marks because they are a proud reminder of their womanly power to create life or some bullshit because it's simply not true. If everyone got them, that would be one thing. If there wasn't some stretch mark lottery that determined that this person shall get stretch marks, but that person shall go unscathed, then I would be proud of them. Then I would wear them like a badge of honor. But not everybody gets them. My sister, for instance, never got them. So there was a chance I wouldn't. And yet. And yet! I did. It is a completely unfair system, in line with all the other unfair systems that determine what's beautiful and what's not.

But I digress.

Yes, so I have stretch marks. And I have no right to whine about it really, because they are not that bad. A few that circle around my belly button like water rippling after a stone. They have faded considerably, and I have high but stupid hopes that maybe they'll disappear. I have even enlisted the help of Retin-A to help to that end. We shall see.

But now we come to the weight. Ah, the weight. The weight! I currently cycle through about three outfits, all of which are only fit to be worn to a gym. Every day I dress for the gym, if I bother to dress at all. I have been known to sleep in my clothes, and then wake up and wear them all through the next day. Part of this is due to my struggles with depression, but the other part is just because why bother? I feel like there's nothing I can put on that will make me feel like myself.

I am simply unrecognizable. I am a whole different, bigger person. I thought the extra thirty-five pounds would come off naturally, as it has in the past, but no can do.

Let me just interject that I realize I am being whiny here. I know that I do not even qualify as obese, and that there are so many women out there who struggle so much more than I do. But I'm not talking about them, I'm talking about me, and this is my struggle. This is my own unique little struggle, and I'm putting it out there because I feel awful about it.

Anyway. The point is, I am done. I cannot accept that this is me, cannot remain complacent about it and just let more and more time pass. I am so unhappy about it that something must be done.

The trouble is I am kind of an all-or-nothing person, so I get really psyched up, try a crazy diet and exercise regimen, and then give up. As I said before, the only thing that works is just making a few simple changes and then forgetting about it for a while. So I'm fixing to make some simple changes, yo.

I am starting a new blog. Don't feel that you need to visit or anything, because I assure you it will be extremely boring. I'm only doing it for the purpose of accountability. If I have to document my progress, I'm more likely to follow through. I'll set it up today, and post a link tomorrow for anyone who may be interested.

What am I going to post, you might ask? Every single thing I put it my mouth. I am going to take a picture of it, and then I am going to post it for the world to see. Every Reese's Peanut Butter Cup furtively eaten in the kitchen late at night, every single glass of red wine that I drink, even on the nights when I will be embarrassed by how many of them there are. I am going to have to eat better, eventually, just for the shame.

I will also post every bit of exercise that I do, or lack thereof. Then the world will know at last what a lazy, couch potato butterball I really am, and I will be forced to change my ways. So I hope.

I will also post the twist and turns on my road to reducing the physical reminders of pregnancy: the aforementioned evil stretch marks, for example. I'm a gonna see if they'll go away with a lot of vigorous throwing money and cream at them.

I will also post measurements, which is scary, and pictures, which is scarier. I appreciate that this may make me a laughingstock. But I have a good sense of humor. So I'm doing it y'all. If you want to come along, feel free. But honestly, it will be a total snoozefest. Except for the schadenfreude of seeing how I fail (cos I will, a lot), and for the times when you marvel at exactly how much I eat. Sometimes I marvel myself.

It is time. It is so way past time.

Monday, March 08, 2010

The Big Oops

So I've been back on Effexor for a wee while now, and slowly I am feeling close to my normal self. We're not all the way there, but I can see something recognizable on the horizon.

That being said, the only side effect of the drug is the fact that I can't sleep (yeah, I know, only....ha). It makes me, for lack of a better word, squiggly. I can't stay in any one position for more than a minute, and end up tossing and turning and residing in this odd place where my brain is sort of asleep but my body is all over the place, constantly waking my poor brain up. Not pleasant in the slightest. So I take another drug, Trazedone, to sleep. (Aside: Yes, I am on two drugs. But if I have to choose between two drugs and days full of black voidiness, I'll take the drugs.)

This is all beside the point. The point is, last night we stayed up to watch the Oscars, which dragged on foreeeeeeeever so we didn't crawl into bed until after midnight. Par for the course a few short years ago, but unthinkable now. And I must have been really out of it because I accidentally took an Effexor instead of a Trazedone. Needless to say, the night dragged on and on, with nary a snooze in sight. It was, in a word, awful. So I am in a bit of a stupor today.

Was it worth it, you ask? The Oscars, I mean? Meh.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010