Sunday, January 22, 2017

Reflections from a Non-Marching Woman

So, maybe it's how I'm wired - I'm not really sure - but I am not of the opinion that large-scale marches are effective. I feel like activism is more effective in smaller, life-impacting, more personal doses. The concept of a small viral contagion growing and spreading - but more of the positive than the negative. Meetings, conversations, small acts of kindness, respectful debates - those avenues (and ones similar) have always seemed more effective to me.

For example: My cousin was at the march in Washington yesterday. He posted a video of a guy there giving out free hugs. THAT is the kind of activism I'm talking about - small acts of kindness that know no boundaries. Are you a woman? Have a hug. Are you non-white? Have a hug. Are you white? Have a hug. Are you LGBTQ? Have a hug. Do you have a disability, either visible or silent? Have a hug. Are you a person? Have a hug - no wait, have 2 hugs. Are you a person who is also walking a dog and may I pat your dog on the head or scratch your dog under the chin? Have a hug.

We need more free hugs. At the mall, street corners, hospitals. Just cheerful people in open spaces giving out hugs in a non-creepy, just happy-go-lucky way.

Anyways - it's gotta be how I'm wired. It really does. But marching-level activism just isn't my cup of tea. I am more likely to figure out how to be active in my sphere - and in my immediate sphere, I have a daughter that we are teaching and raising to know that she can be and do WHATEVER she sets her mind to, whatever she feels passionate about (and those who know Evie know that I probably couldn't hold her back even if I wanted to). We are teaching both of our children that kindness, love, helpfulness, compassion are the hallmarks of being a human and that UNCONDITIONAL love are what being a Christian is about. We do not judge others, we do not act in unkind ways, we do not bully, we do not hate. We repent when we hurt others and we forgive when we are hurt.

Having said that...

The level of solidarity that was displayed yesterday cannot be overlooked, no matter that others may try to do or say. There were no reports of violence (that I saw), and it was exactly what we expect peaceful protesters to do - even if just seeing the crowds in pictures made my anxiety level go up to a thousand, it's amazing to think that so many people of so many different background came together to stand up for what they believed in.

But - If the argument is that 3 million more people voted for Clinton than Trump, then why wasn't it more? Where was this energy 6 months ago? Why wasn't there more outcry as scandal after scandal was unsurfaced within the DNC? People took to social media - a medium that frankly has become so numbing to people that they just unfollow those who overpost political arguments they don't agree with. It's rather uneffective anymore. I saw some video of Hilary rallies - the energy looked like milk-toast compared to the energy level of a Trump rally. It was like golf claps versus a Raiders game. Seriously. This is coming from someone who could not get behind either major candidate - I just was shocked at the differences in the energy of the supporters.

So all of that to say: I hope that this level of peaceful protest and activism can be lived out daily in the lives of every American. A great way to changes lives is to be a change in the life of someone else. Maintain that energy, because there's midterm elections in 2 years and another presidential race in 4. I think that part of the reason that Trump won - honestly - is because we didn't see that level of energy from those who opposed him until it was too late. No one protested until after he won because everyone was convinced that Hilary was going to win, that it was in the bag. Then election night happened - and whether we agree with it or not, the electoral college is how we are set up to operate. It's not going to change any time soon so we need to work with what we've got as far as that goes. If you want to make a difference in someone's life, if you want to actually sway someone's opinion - you need to be in their life as well as in their newsfeed. You need to have that energy before it's too late. Those of you who attended rallies yesterday worldwide and posted pictures talked about the impact of seeing other people come together and the positivity and desire for love and equality and non-judgement that was displayed.

That energy can NEVER be felt in a social media newsfeed. You HAVE to get out there. You HAVE to be the change.

Let this be a starting point. The system isn't going to change any time soon and those who want change need to be active within the system. Find a life, change it. We fear what we don't understand (and yes, that's from a Garth Brooks song... in fact... let me close out with a direct quote...)

"The only answer to the problem is people loving people. That's the enemy of everything that's evil. Ain't no quick fix at the end of a needle, it's just people loving people."

Keep up the energy, keep it PEACEFUL, keep it RESPECTFUL, and be the change you want to see in the world EVERY DAY. Don't wait until it's too late. Be "we the people", don't be "we the newsfeed".

That, after all, is what makes America great.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Book Review & Giveaway: The Beginner's Bible

When my son was born, I began my hunt for an age-appropriate Bible that I could sit and engage with my kids. After much researching and opinion gathering, I narrowed it down to 2 - The Rhyme Bible and The Beginner's Bible - and settled on a copy of The Rhyme Bible. While The Rhyme Bible certainly had a level of engagement appropriate for the under 3 crowd - great rhythm, colorful pictures, and simple language - I was disappointed with the level of detail left out of many of the major stories in scripture. With one of my kids approaching 5 and the other approaching 3, I wanted something that was still age appropriate but more complete in its detail.

I no sooner had thought to myself "I should look into The Beginner's Bible again" then I got an email from FlyBy Promotions asking if I'd like to receive a copy of the latest edition to review.

Well... how about that?

My copy of The Beginner's Bible arrived as I was in the midst of Advent with my little ones and it was the perfect timing. I immediately cracked open to the Christmas story and the first thing I noticed was the the New Testament was clearly separated from the Old Testament. This was something that drove me crazy about The Rhyme Bible; I use that separation in my own personal Bible and find it incredibly useful to have.

The next thing I noticed is that this Bible reads much more like a story and less like a poem. Not only does it read like a story, it provides many more details to the little ones than the Rhyme Bible did. I love this aspect; having the stories of the Bible simplified for the younger crowd is hugely important, but there still needs to be enough detail to offer a complete story that can be impactful and memorable.

To continue on the example of the Christmas story - here is something I really appreciated about this Bible. This was the first time I saw the chronology of Jesus' birth story - from his birth to the arrival of the wise men - completely in line with true scripture. I truly appreciated that after the birth of Christ and the angels delivering the news to the shepherds - they did not skip the presenting of Jesus at the temple and the blessing of Anna and then followed it up with the visit from the wise men later on when Jesus was a child. In almost every other presentation of the story - including the famed movie "The Nativity Story - the wise men arrive as part of the events surrounding Jesus' birth.

The illustrations are very cartoony and the expressions are very well drawn and show the emotions of the stories very well. In the story of when Jesus stays behind at the temple as a child talking to the teachers, when they tell the reader that Mary was distraught that she and Joseph couldn't find Jesus - the drawing shows her with tears and a nervous expression. I love that the illustrations are so in line with the narrative; this is another level of detail that will help to make it stick with the kids in the younger age bracket.

Overall, I am highly impressed with The Beginner's Bible. The kids have enjoyed looking at the pictures while I read aloud, and the illustrations and prose have already started to spark questions and conversations. Usually when I write a review, I can think of something that I can offer as a pro - and for The Beginner's Bible I cannot think of a negative or a con or even a "meh" to offer up. If you're looking for a Bible that does a great job engaging kids, distilling the important stories of the Bible to a level that is great for kids but still is complete, and is a wonderful way to get your kids to start asking questions about God - grab yourself a copy of The Beginner's Bible.

Or... OR...

Enter to win a copy for FREE right here on the blog! 

I'll be giving away ONE copy of The Beginner's Bible to one lucky winner chosen at random. Here's how to enter - you can earn up to 3 entries by doing the following:

1. Share this post and comment below when you've done so.
2. Comment below with the story from the Bible that was your favorite as a kid.
3. Follow my blog on Facebook (click this link) and comment below when you've done so. 

Good luck if you enter - and if you're looking for a great Bible for kids, definitely consider getting this one! Oh - one other thing... entries will be open until Friday, January 6 at at 6:00 PM. I'll be announcing the winner by Sunday, January 8 at 9:00 PM at the very latest, but probably sooner.


For more information about The Beginner's Bible, check out any of the following:

The Beginner's Bible Official Website
The Beginner's Bible - Facebook
The Beginner's Bible - Twitter
The Beginner's Bible - Read more reviews & maybe buy yourself a copy on Amazon


Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:

“Guides Concerning the 
Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.