Genevieve C. West

Genevieve C. West

writer; consultant; wife; mom; wine; coffee; grace.

Church, Can We Talk About The Border Children? {Guest Post By Kristin Byrd}

Photo by Holly Brennan  http://lifeinthai.wordpress.com/

Photo by Holly Brennan http://lifeinthai.wordpress.com/

 

Church, Can we talk about the border children?

No really, can we please talk about them?

By in large, on a national scale, the church has been pretty quiet.
Crickets.
Deafening silence.

Is this a Christ like response to a humanitarian crisis involving children?

Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.
Matthew 19:13-15 13

10s of thousands, soon to be hundreds of thousands of children are being sent to our border.
They are marching with FAITH to a border of a country who holds wealth unimaginable to their weary souls.
They are marching to a border where 73% of her citizens profess Christianity.
In their innocent faith, they are expecting a Christ like response and welcoming.

They are receiving anything but.

While there is a lot of talk about what to do with these children, who are these children in regard to security risks, how do we prevent them from coming and how do we return them….
We are missing the MESSAGE.
God is sending these children.
And church, we are failing.

When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.” “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment. Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
Matthew 17 14

Church, we have to make a choice.
Will we be like the disciples who rebuke the parents and who have little faith that these children add value to our earthly “Kingdom” and therefore disregard that his kingdom belongs to THEM?
Brought in droves out of impossible and unspeakable tragedy and circumstances, they are “the least of these”.
Or will we be Christ like and pour out our blessings upon them?

Love them.
What does that even look like?
It looks uncomfortable. It looks counter cultural.
It’s looks self sacrificing.

Because here is the simple truth: As comfortable American Christians, we are more than happy to open our wallets.
But we are quite unwilling to open our doors.
This isn’t an issue we can pass off on the government.
This culture is seeping from our hearts and impacting societal norms, not the other way around.

The evidence surrounds us.
102,000 orphans reside in our country, legally free and waiting to be adopted.
Yes, we call them wards of the state.
They are orphans.
20,000 will age out of the system every year having never found one person to step up and say “you matter”.

In a land of over 229 million Christians, they will not find ONE.
Why?
Because we fear the baggage which was unjustly placed on the heads of children in the foster care system.
And We fear the demons which may accompany these child refugees.

“You unbelieving and perverse generation”
Church, this mirror is hard to look at.
I get it.
It’s ugly truth.
It’s a lack of faith my husband and I wrestle with.
This message is as much for us as it is for you.

I humbly ask for your prayers, for our family, that we may go where Christ leads.
And I beg you, don’t hide from this mirror.
Christ sees even what we refuse.

 

Kristin Byrd is a wife and mom who loves her family and loves Jesus. She lives in Bozeman, Montana with her wonderful husband and their two kiddos that keep them learning, laughing, and unbelievably sleep deprived. “Life is a beautiful mess and I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Telling fibs to children has long tradition among parents

Apparently, this must be a thing, because I was asked by The Columbus Dispatch what food secrets I keep from my kiddos:

twinkies.thecolumbusdispatch

Read the whole article HERE!

8 Weird Startups Getting Traction

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Mix ‘N’ Match Creamery has the honor of being listed as one of 8 Weird Startups Getting Traction at The Atlanta Journal Constitution!

mixnmatch.ajc

Read the article HERE!

Check out Mix ‘n’ Match Creamery for yourself!
Food Cart – Catering – Cafe – Events

We love our customers who love us on Yelp!

mixnmatch.gigsalad

Twinkies on the sly and other ways parents deceive

heraldtribunelogo

The Herald Tribune asked me if there were any deceptions in my parenting style. Read my confession:

twinkie.heraldtribune

Click HERE to read the entire article!

My Thoughts on Hobby Lobby

I have 3 kids peeling my brain as I try to write this, so bear with me.

photo (18)pictureperfect

I’ve remained relatively silent on the whole Hobby Lobby thing.
But since I’ve been invited into conversation about it, I’d like to organize and fully articulate my thoughts here instead of a half-assed social media “conversation” where no one actually listens to each other.

 

First, I need you to understand a couple things about me:

1. I am not in blind lock step with a political party or religious denomination.

As far as my faith goes… I guess you can call me a Christian?… but I’m not even sure what that means any more.
I love Jesus as much as I can, and I really suck at following the dude’s teachings.

I am not a republican.
And, although I come from a family of staunch Democrats, I am not a Democrat.
I am an American.
And I try to vote for what I believe would be best for the longevity, safety, and prosperity of our country and her people, with the information that I have at that time.

 

2. I have done a 180 in my beliefs over the past decade, so I really try to give others room for their differing opinions and changing beliefs. I expect the same respect from others, sometimes naively, as this rarely happens over social media.

 

Okay, now we can move on to the Hobby Lobby thing.

 

1. If birth control was over the counter, like condoms, then this whole conversation wouldn’t be happening.
So it sounds to me like the government is trying to control women’s reproductive organs way more than Hobby Lobby. I say we rally against THAT. Who’s with me?

 

2. From what I understand, employers are not required to provide health coverage for their employees at all. So it doesn’t make sense to me that the government would try to force them to provide certain things, even though they don’t force them to provide coverage in the first place. I’m so confused.

I’m so confused! It’s like choosing to give my business to Fred Meyer, but the grocery store telling me, “Thanks for shopping with us! Now that we’ve got you inside the store, you will be forced to purchase every GMO product we have in stock.”

 

3. I’ve read that Hobby Lobby used to cover ALL contraceptives, until they were going to be forced to.

Haven’t you ever been going along, doing your thang, and then you’re suddenly faced with an “Aha” moment?
Shiny new information that causes you to change your course?

  • Maybe you stopped using deodorant with aluminum because you read it causes breast cancer.
  • Maybe you stopped buying frozen chicken, and now only buy free range from a local farm where each chicken has a name, like on Portlandia.

So, that’s what probably happened here. An “Aha” moment. I’ve had them. You’ve had them. Maybe Hobby Lobby owners have them, too.

 

4. I appreciate other people respecting my beliefs, no matter how much of an idiot they think I am because of them. So I don’t like infringing upon other people’s beliefs, however erroneous I believe them to be.

  • If my Buddhist vegan friend has a moral obligation to not cause harm to any critter, and she believes that the soul of that grasshopper is just as important as yours or mine, then I would be a really crappy friend to ask her to squash that bug.
  • If you believe that there’s a real live little human soul in that egg, no matter how right or wrong I think you are, I am not going to ask you to change your belief, tell you you’re wrong, or ask you to squash that egg.

 

5. If that building is about to be demolished, and you’re screaming and hollering that there’s a kid inside of it, I’m not going to take the chance that maybe you’re wrong. I’m going to help you stop that wrecking ball and I’m going to help you search that building to make sure that no one is inside.

See, I believe that there’s a person inside that building.

Science is always changing, always learning, always discovering.
No matter how many top scientists tell me that I’m wrong, I’m just not willing to take that risk when the life of a child – of thousands of children – hang in the balance.

How dare you ask me to take it on faith that these scientists aren’t wrong?

 

6. It sounds like Hobby Lobby’s health care plan still includes access, copay-free, to the following categories of FDA-approved birth-control:

  • Male condoms
  • Female condoms
  • Diaphragms with spermicide
  • Sponges with spermicide
  • Cervical caps with spermicide
  • Spermicide alone
  • Birth-control pills with estrogen and progestin (“Combined Pill)
  • Birth-control pills with progestin alone (“The Mini Pill)
  • Birth control pills (extended/continuous use)
  • Contraceptive patches
  • Contraceptive rings
  • Progestin injections
  • Implantable rods
  • Vasectomies
  • Female sterilization surgeries
  • Female sterilization implants

What Hobby Lobby will NOT cover are four contraceptive methods that its owners fear are abortifacients:

  • Plan B (“The Morning After Pill”)
  • Ella (a similar type of “emergency contraception”)
  • Copper Intra-Uterine Device
  • IUD with progestin

Hobby Lobby does not prevent its female employees from using any of these four types of contraceptives. However, since they believe these innovations kill babies, they simply require that any employees who want to use them buy them with their own money.

 

Related articles:

Adventures In Boundaries

Photo by Michelle Miller http://instagram.com/mmleeann

Photo by Michelle Miller
http://instagram.com/mmleeann

Someone tried to run over my boundaries.
What makes me even more angry is that it almost worked.

I’m still unclear whether it was on purpose or not, since I gave them a similar scenario and they expressed that they would have been outraged… which I am.

And then Ellie (21 months) tried to wrestle away from me when I changed her diaper.

And then Evie (13) wanted to stay at the cafe longer, even though I’d already told her when I’d  be picking her up.

And then Kaylie (4.5) saw a box of special chocolates given to be by a client and asked if she could  have one.
No.
Five minutes later, “When can I have one of your chocolates?”

I. Lost. It.

“No! You cannot have my chocolates! Those are MY chocolates! Someone gave them to ME because they appreciate what I did for them, even if nobody else does!”

 

My wonderful, supportive, appreciative, loving, slightly scared of me husband, Eric suggests that maybe I’m moving into a season of needing to reinforce my boundaries better.

I thought my teenager should have a warning of how it’s gon’ be:

 

Picture a beautiful, green lawn.
I have a cute little white picket fence to protect my perfect lawn.

BUT… someone starts leaning on my little fence, bending it inward.
Their toes edge their way into the grass, causing the blades to crumple and bend.
If enough toes tromp on the edge of that grass, it will start to become brown, bent, and ugly.

My lawn now needs some TLC.

Then someone tags my fence.
Someone else decides it’d look better blue and starts to paint it.
Someone else kicks in one of the pieces of wood, breaking it in two and making it lean even more inward.

Now my lawn needs some TLC… and so does my fence.

So in order to get my lawn back to a healthy state, I need to first make sure I have a good fence to protect it.

And in order to mend my poor ugly fence to make it strong enough  to protect my lawn, I’m going to have to protect that little fence from harm until it’s whole.

 

So on the other side of my beaten up little picket fence, I’m now going to build a super tall prison fence.
With a padlock on the gate.
And barbed wire at the top.
Possibly even a big “Beware of Dog” sign
And poky stakes sticking out from the bottoms to keep folks back, like it’s designed to catch zombies.

Once my new perimeter is established and everyone who tries to get to my fence is stopped short by my big prison fence, then I can make the necessary repairs to the picket fence.

I have a feeling my cute little white picket fence will be a little stronger this time.
Maybe reinforced on the other side so it won’t bend so easily the next time it’s leaned on.

Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life
By Henry Cloud, John Townsend

Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream Experience in Pictures

Vanbrosia was awesome enough to capture her Mix ‘N’ Match Creamery experience in pictures!

mixnmatch.vanbrosia

See the rest of her photos HERE!

Check out Mix ‘n’ Match Creamery for yourself!
Food Cart – Catering – Cafe – Events

We love our customers who love us on Yelp!

mixnmatch.gigsalad

Marriage Is Hard

image

 

I love you.

It’s not a blind love.
I see you.
I know who you are.

We’re in this together.
We’re both messed up… Though it manifests in different ways…

I have a husband who knows he can trust me, who knows that he can tell me anything, no matter how awful, because by God’s grace, I will bear it with dignity, and we will move forward as a team.

And when I royally fuck up, as I know I’m bound to because I’m a sinner, I pray that my husband will show me the same mercy and understanding that Christ has shown us.

Marriage is not about being perfect.
It’s not about expecting perfection, from yourself or from your spouse.
It’s not about never making a mistake.
It’s not about hanging onto pride when you’re the one who’s been betrayed.
It’s about building a life together, as one team.
A home, a family, a mission, a marriage, a working model of Christ and His Church.

I don’t have all of this figured out.
I have no idea what I’m doing.
I just know that I won’t let anything come between us.

Relating To The World {Guest Post by Jon Levesque}

{Guest Post by Jon Levesque}

 

I have related to the world in many different ways throughout my different life periods.

In my youth I was selfish, greedy, envious, jealous and violent.
All of these traits intertwined within me and I don’t think I could have ever shown where one ended and the other began, it is just who I was.
A Bulldozer, a steamroller, I didn’t care about you… I just wanted to survive and at this point in my life, survival was justified by any means.
If you had something I wanted, I wanted to take it from you.
If you could help me in some way, I’d take that and roll right over you in the process.
I can recall many times being called a Bulldozer… Sometimes it hurt me to hear, to know that I couldn’t relate to myself, relate to others… That my only tool was a hammer.
Other times I just knew this label to be true. I mean, this is how I was raised. To believe that I was the only one who mattered in my life. Look out for me at all costs, regardless of what happened to others in the wake of my grasping at everything I could get.

 

As I got a little older, life evolved and my situation became less dire.
It was less about survival and more about sustaining.
This helped a little, but, I still didn’t get it. I still had no idea who I was or what I wanted from life.
I had no definition of who I wanted to become.
Now, Instead of being violent, I was just angry.
I could control the physical but what raged on inside me didn’t allow me to relate to the world.
Hell, it didn’t even allow me to relate to myself.
I would go through life carrying a house of cards, and when the wind blew and threatened my tiny paper thin walls, I would lose it… I would be yelling at cars in traffic, I would be yelling at shit I had to work on cause I couldn’t figure it out quickly enough, I would be yelling at my kids for having opinions counter to my own, and at my wife for asking me questions.
How could I answer anything when all I had was questions of my own?
I had no idea who I was and yet here I stood a man with responsibility and people who depended on him, all the while feeling like nothing but a fake.

 

As life continued, I somehow managed to keep moving forward.
I had a shiny new job that paid me well, and I racked up all the debts and collected all the Stuff to go with it. Ah! Success!
Then I found Church, I found this building full of people that acted differently and said things differently… I wanted to be like them and so I adapted how I related again.
Except this time something different happened… I split.
Literally, my person split… I was two different people living two different lives because one is how I wanted to relate and the other part of me… The “Who I was, previously”, fought hard to keep surviving.

 

I was a totally real, somewhat functional, walking inner Paradox, and it looked like this:

On Sunday, I had a big smile. I talked of the greatness of my job, my family, and my bank accounts and of course some of God too… On Tuesday nights when we led youth groups, I was fun and cheery… I was a buddy to all the hurting kids.
I hid my limp really well!

Every other day, every other moment, I was still me.
Struggling to find myself in this duality.
I struggled with lust constantly, Looking at porn and even carrying on secret relationships with other women over the internet.
I struggled with finances, I spent way more than I made… I struggled with intimacy with my family… My wife was just there to serve me and my kids were great things to look at.
All of this stemming from the fact that I had no idea how to relate to myself.
I didn’t know who I was, I never had anyone guide me.
I didn’t know who I was supposed to be, I never had an example to follow.

 

I struggled with God, being led to believe that I had to believe all the things these people believed to achieve that magical formula… I was told that questions were better left un-asked, that truth was absolute and that by these definitions most of the people I knew were going to Hell. I wanted it to fit so badly… Maybe if I was just holy enough, If I prayed enough, If I led enough groups, If I read my bible and believed how they believed, that somehow I would be healed of … Being Me…

 

It didn’t happen like that… Not for me. Instead it gave me a guilt complex that I was never good enough.
That my life wasn’t exemplary enough.
It led me down a path of trying all the harder to find out how to relate to myself, but it only drove me further away.

 

But alas, as with any good story… there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

First, I had to hit rock bottom. Everything had to be broken before it could be rebuilt.
I had to almost lose everything.
My family, my ideas of God, My sins, Loved ones, my habits and hang-ups… and ultimately… Myself.

Losing myself was the only thing that helped me find how I would ultimately relate to the world and within all of that, find the true me.

In losing myself, I gained perspective on relationship with God.
In losing myself, I gained perspective on relating with those I loved.
In losing myself, I gained a passion for others who are lost.

 

I didn’t do this alone or overnight… It took my wife almost leaving me.
It took my friends backing away in disgust at my hidden life.
It took therapy, and lots of it.

It was never easy, but each step of the journey I have gained something.
I have gained another new brick for my foundation and another piece to my story, and ultimately learned that at the end of all of this, one single thing remains and that is how we have loved.
How we loved our family, how we loved our spouse, and how we loved ourselves.

 

If we do not relate to all things through love, then the way we relate is broken. (Tweet this!)

 

There are 7 billion individuals on a snow-globe hurling through space at 67,000 mph, all being held down by invisible forces as we rotate around a single star, one of which there are billions.
Our individual lives are but a vapor, all we get to leave behind are our stories, and we don’t even get to control what stories will be told of us.
Instead, all we get to do is live day to day and hope our legacy is carried well.

 

We fight with each other over stupid things like religion and politics, we are more worried about being right than we are about treating each other right.
We separate ourselves into labeled groups and point fingers at each other from distant places, neither side ever seeking to understand the other.

 

Life and how we relate to it, Should be done with wonder and mystery.
Each of us is so very unique in how we are crafted. Our back stories, our pre-dispositions, our upbringing and the things we are taught make us all snowflakes… and that fact is magical. We should relate through love to our fellow man. Instead of walking past the homeless man and judging him, shake his hand, treat him human, and find out his story. Instead of telling people who have less than you, to work harder, share your story with them so they can better understand the path to success… Instead of sitting home talking about how bad the world is, change it in small, tangible ways right in your community. Allow the same freedom you want, to others. They’re just as valuable and awesome as you are.

 

Relating to the world is about Love. Love each other well, Be Kind to all people, Share what you have often and try to be better tomorrow than you were today. This is how to relate to the world with true significance and how we craft a better world for our children.

 

 

imageAbout Jon Levesque:
Aspiring Evangelist and world changer from Seattle. Lover of People and a total tech nerd. Passionate about Family, Faith and Fun. Jon writes about his faith, cultural issues and the tensions of post-modern Christianity.
jonlevesque.com
@JJ_Levesque

Hide the iPad, lie about the fast food

I was asked by The Vancouver Sun if there were any secrets I was keeping from my kiddos…

twinkie.vancouversun

Click HERE for the whole article!

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