I am always amazed and appalled at some of the comments the authors receive.
I realize the internet allows us to voice our opinions in an anonymous, "safe" environment. From the comfort of our own home we are allowed to pass instant judgement on something that is not to our exact liking. In my younger days, if there had been ready access to this type of social media, I may have been hateful like that too. Just being honest.
My guess is that none of these people would have the guts to say these things in person. If they did, they would be recognized for the horrible things that they express. And they would be chastised or arrested for harassment or something.
The boundaries that exist today are moving targets. We can be arrested for questionable racial or sexual comments, but not for calling someone a liar, hypocrite, disingenuous, sneaky, mean-spirited, or ethically wrong. Where does one injustice begin and another end? Why do truths sometimes require whispering? I'm not advocating racial/sexual slurs, of course. And I'm not saying some people don't lie. But I don't understand the arbitrary rules people have created for treating others.
The internet is a place of truth and fiction. Some people write a combination of both. Some don't. I didn't know my best friend lied to me for years, why would I assume I know a stranger that writes a blog better than my best friend? Why would I feel comfortable making that assumption public? Why would I assume a complete stranger owes me anything? Why would I continue to read and abuse the blog author?
When did these words become irrelevant?
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Phil 4:8
There can be no room for nastiness if we abide in these words. Respect and honor can be maintained throughout a difference of opinion if we abide in these words.
I am humbled by the risk many blog authors subject themselves to by writing in a public forum. I never knew the complexity of guarding the heart or growing thick skin, just because they put themselves out there. Although some of these people are considered public personas, their lives are not subject to the intense scrutiny we feel we deserve. (I think the same goes for celebrities, etc.) And if we choose to scrutinize them, I ask you to do it under the provisions in Phillipians 4:8.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Because we have had gusts of wind at 48 mph, the girls decided they MUST play outside this morning. They dragged their grocery cart up the basement stairs, outside, and tied it onto my Littlest Girl's Big Wheel.
They have taken the term "bag lady" to the next level.
I realized very early on that "Thou Shalt Not Covet" is a commandment we, in America, don't do very well.
From an early age, advertisers pummel us with messages of sparkly, flashy things that will improve our lives or increase our popularity.
And that's on Sesame Street.
By the time we reach high school, the drive to be like our friends compels us beyond logic. All of us beg our parents for the right shoes, clothes, toys, cars. Just to be like every one else. Or a little better.
In college, the longing to be the same diminishes, as we "find ourselves." Unless we are in the Greek system. Just kidding. Well, really, I have no idea. I was never Greek. We become more comfortable with our identity. We learn to be independent, and that forces us to prioritize what is important. It's hard to buy the "right" shoes if we're struggling to make rent.
As we graduate and move on, we take jobs, get married, etc. The comparisons return. Do I make more than her? Is my job more impressive than his? How many square feet does your house have? Where did you go on vacation? What kind of car should I get next? Have you eaten at the uber-expensive restaurant down the street? Who did you marry?
These questions are raised as conversation. Feigning interest but secretly comparing. And we walk away knowing where we stand in comparison. It takes a strong person not to get sucked up in that. It takes a person who is adamantly wrapped up in their value to their Creator to not get sucked up in that. It is EASY to get sucked in. We've been doing it our whole life.
All of this to say: We went camping a couple of weeks ago. At a campground. A KOA. I have been camping before. We had a tent, a fire pit, the van, a cooler, and some bug spray. This camping experience was unlike any other I've had. The campground had two pools, horses, ATVs, ball courts, a movie theater, and a couple of general stores.
I let the girls play in the dirt. I didn't wear makeup the entire weekend. We may have showered once. We stayed in a borrowed camper that was very nice. Beyond anything we needed.
And on the tour of the campground in the 1947 firetruck, we met a couple from Utah. He told us of million dollar "campers" he houses in his warehouses for famous people. He pointed out one on our campground that was probably close to $250,000. And when we got off the firetruck, and I looked around, I noticed something. I was the only one "roughing it." All the other women had on makeup, cargo skirts, their manicured nails held Starbucks in the morning. The men were wearing their expensive sunglasses and riding their top of the line bicycles. Their kids were wearing Gap sweatshirts.
I was completely flabbergasted. Even camping, we must have it all. Or have what everyone else is having. When did it become so pervasive that we can't even go CAMPING and relax. Not be on. Not be worried about what someone else will think. Not look around and wish for something we don't have. Not compare our camper to theirs, our gear to theirs, our kids to theirs? It's CAMPING. FOR. GOODNESS. SAKE!!!!!!
And I was disgusted. And then I realized that if I camped a lot, I would be tempted to do the same thing. My harsh judgement felt right because I'm not super interested in camping. Therefore I can see the sin going on very clearly.
But ask me about real estate, girls clothes, nice shoes, Mustangs, or jewelry. Organic diets or exercise routines. I have opinions about those. I have to work to be content about those topics. I have to fight to be happy for someone who has more of those things than I do.
I have to find worth in the situation that God has put me in. All the time. "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those that love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." I don't need those things in order for my life to be good. I have a God that GUARANTEES that all things I go through are for my good.
That beats a dang million dollar camper. Every time.
They like to dress alike. They finish each other's sentences. They answer for each other. They want to be with each other all the time. The proudly introduce their sister to their friends.
One is tall.
One is short.
One is blonde.
One is dark.
One can understand all the familial relationships like aunts, cousins, grandparents.
One can memorize lyrics and do math.
One likes to be outside climbing trees.
One likes to be inside cutting out hearts.
One thrives on the energy derived from other people.
One prefers small groups of people she knows very well.
One likes her hair short.
One likes her hair long.
One prefers having her shoes on.
One prefers going barefoot when at all possible.
Someday, my guess is, they will be happy being different. They might be relieved to have some time independent from each other. They might choose different friends or activities.
But for now, they are twins. So close in age and in situation, they are comforted by each other's presence. They are entwined in shared histories. They have years of togetherness that draws them together. And they revel in each other's company.
My goal for them is that they become and stay best friends. Because there is no other relationship like the one you have with your sister.
Just remembered that title is a TV show that I love like hot poker to my eyes. But I'm too lazy to change it.
We went camping this weekend for the first time as a family. It's something we've said we were going to do for the last couple of summers, but we never got around to it. Thanks to some friends, we stayed in style in a 27 foot camper. Not roughing it, by any means. But for my 4 and 5 year olds, it was a good starter trip. Here are some pics:
The girls getting into the truck to leave for the campground.
They were very excited.
One of the beautiful views we had.
My Indian Princess on the Bouncy Pillow.
My Littlest Girl. On top of the world.
Or at least on top of the biggest sand pile I had seen at a playground.
Daddy and Daughter.
On a 1947 firetruck they gave tours on.
Another pretty view.
Early morning cup o' joe.
I mean, lemonade.
The girls had fun playing with these.
They have no idea what chess is.
As you may have noticed, this is not your Daddy's KOA. I was impressed with the amount of things there were to do. Pools and horses and ATVs were available, too. A far cry from a tent, a stream, and a fishing pole. There will be a time for that. But for now, the memories we made last weekend will be enough. And so is the laundry.
I introduced my girls to that cute, "Charlie Bit Me" video on YouTube. I'm not really remembering the reason right now. Maybe it was because My Littlest Girl spontaneously busts out with an English accent on occasion. Maybe it was because it was the only G rated thing I could remember being on YouTube. I can't recall.
Anyway, My Littlest Girl and I were enjoying some time together yesterday, and we were quoting that video. And she couldn't get the accent down, so we came down and watched it. Like, 5,6,10 times. Because it's cute. And she got the accent and we moved on. (Because I'm a perfectionist and my 4 year old needs to have a proper English accent if we're going to imitate little English boys on YouTube.)
Fast forward to today. They had a babysitter come stay with them for a couple of hours this afternoon. One that they LOVE. My Indian Princess was chatting with her. My Littlest Girl decides to join in the conversation. She walks up to My Indian Princess, and bites her on the back. Nice little teeth marks and welts and stuff. When asked why she did this, she said, "Because the Indian Princess was standing next to me."
And I know that's a legitimate reason to bite someone, because really. If we can't bite people we stand next to on the bus/train/grocery store line, what defense do we have??
But I still have to wonder if YouTube had a little something to do with it...