If this Child were born today–
The population of Jerusalem, at the time of Christ, was 40,000. Because of the tax decree and Passover, the population had swollen to a quarter of a million.The population of South Jordan is 60,000. (The town I live in)
Then, like us, they were caught up in the pressures of the day. They had no Kitchen Aid to help them prepare the Passover bread. Wives had the in-laws over, and felt the pressure of a mother-in-law’s gaze assessing her domestic skills. The husbands were pulling overtime as the town was over run with tourists. If they had had access to it–the out-of-towners would have been on Yelp figuring out where they could eat, complaining on social media and the lack of accommodations and over crowding. Undoubtedly, they would have left bad reviews on Travelocity.
They were focused on their comforts, jobs and other’s opinion of them, just as we are today. Tucked into our lives, we are comfortable and only worry about what others think of us Perhaps that is why the angels came to shepherds and not politicians..
Sheep herding used to be a noble profession, but after captivity in Egypt, the Jewish people adopted the view of those around them. The Egyptian’s idea was that shepherds were lowly, dirty and without influence. It was a lowly position like how we may view a Hell’s Angel biker. These shepherds were uneducated, mere hired hands watching sheep which were not even theirs. They were so lowly that they were not permitted to attend temple services—they literally were not able to go to church. Their profession was viewed as low as a dung sweeper or a tax collector!
So, when a baby was born in a meager manger, just a feeding trough for animals, the rulers of the land didn’t come. Sheperds, the low of the low, fell on bended knee, worshipping.
Wise men did come. After years of searching, they watched for the signs– they looked. They asked, “Have you heard of the Christ Child? Have you … have you? We have seen the signs!” They shared with all who would listen–even Herod. On bended knee, their silken robes pressed into the dirt, they offered gifts that a carpenter’s family would never be able to possess.
When the time came to flee into Egypt, how did they fund their travel? Perhaps through the wise men’s gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, the very temporal needs of daily life and relocation were answered.
They couldn’t offer the little family protection from those that would kill for political power or governmental control over men and wealth. Those forces overlooked the humble birth because of social class snobbery. You see they weren’t like ‘us’. The religious leaders overlooked the Christ; because He didn’t preach of war craft to over throw oppressors. He preached of peace, of the human heart, of forgiveness and of forsaking worldly wealth and power. All to be given when needed to serve God. He told them to leave behind their daily concerns for heavenly ones. The answers given were not popular–the media channels in Jerusalem didn’t put Christ on the front cover as Man of the Year. He wasn’t flashy, his followers didn’t even hold down jobs. The Jewish people missed the Messiah because they wanted a leader who would take away ALL their problems which suppressed them. They did not want a leader who said that by faith you will walk through your challenges and promised the way would not be easy. But it would be worth it.
They wanted a quick fix, soooo much like us today. Do we over look Christ’s message because it isn’t the answer we want? We see life tidy, in plot lines and look to gurus and Google for answers. Our society twists facts to fit the answer it wants, while ignoring God’s law and mocking faith as ignorance.
Why not use some kind of mass communication to brand the message and take control of the story line; get ahead of the opposition party! Wouldn’t that have worked better? ‘Like’ today’s post on Facebook or Instagram! Oh wait, that could turn ugly fast as people slandered Mary and let King Herod know the exact location of the Christ child.
God doesn’t work in mass announcements. He works quietly to the heart of each of us. He works with the lowest of the low. He works with us in our lowest times. When we are hurt, afraid, rejected; is that not when we hear the Angels sing the loudest? We want gifts that sweep aside our worldly concerns. Yet he builds us stronger through refining us and lifts our load with us. Is that not when we look up and see the signs of Christ’s light illuminating our path through the darkness of doubt? Do we await the dawn of redeeming Grace?
When we stand outside the false warmth of other’s good opinions, we can behold God’s Son touching our hearts.
Would we behold God’s Son? Would we hear the Angels sing of Peace,Comfort, Joy, Compassion, Redemption?
God calls to any, and all, who will believe. He asks us to testify one on one–will you? Will you? When we are busy with life’s pressures will we hear the Angel’s call? We are no better than a shepherd in Christ’s time. We parents have been asked to guard that which isn’t even ours. We are merely hirelings asked to spread the good news.
The lowest of the low and the wisest of the wise sought out the Holy infant. Will we be among them? Would we praise with Grateful hearts? It is my testimony that the Gift of the Savior is enough for our darkest day, our heaviest burden, He is the light. He welcomes all–even you and I.
Oh My… I am so EXCITED about the NEW Night Pak from SeneGence that I’ve been geeking out and reading everything I can about collagen and what it does or doesn’t for our skin. So if you want to geek out with me, read on! (Spoiler Alert: Special Offer at the end 😉 )
Only our skin, meaning mammal skin, can make collagen in the deepest layers. Collagen is a topical treatment unless your own skin produces it. Topically applied collagen will help lock moisture into the skin.
Night Pak by SeneGence and other “legit” collagen products should be applied at night, when the skin is at rest and thus the collagen can protect and promote your skin’s elasticity. When you wash the product off, you are removing the collagen ingredient.
As we age, our natural ability to make our own collagen decreases, thus the frenzied marketing about the ingredient. We all need it, but how do we get more of these important building blocks of youthful skin? You can’t drink it or take supplements that give you collagen; the digestive system breaks it down and it doesn’t help the skin. However a diet rich in Omega-3 has been proven to help promote your body’s collagen production.
There are three different approaches in skincare to promote collagen production:
- Scrubs— referred to as a scrub because it “exercises” your skin. Increased blood flow to the skin does help cell renewal. This is why facials are beneficial. I promote gentle loving on your face (without a washcloth) every night. A gentle, circular motion with your fingertips will increase circulation.
- Retinol/Vitamin A derivative, often called Retin-A – this stops the forward march of collagen degradation and promotes collagen production. In independent clinical labs, our skincare products with SenePlex Complex promotes collagen synthesis by 168%, which is 166% more than Retinol and 158% more than Lactic Acid! Yay super cool!
- Fillers offer fabulous, quick and visible results, but they break down the lower levels of your skin over time, causing permanent damage.
Here are some of the amazing facts about SeneGence Night Pak:
- Most collagens are animal-based. Ours is not! It is plant-based marine collagen. The marine-based collagen is very rare. The swirls in the product are the SenePlex.
- Night Pak strengthens your skin’s natural collagen matrix. SeneGence Night Pak has layered collagen to fill in those creases, lines and wrinkles with a marine-based collagen, not animal-based.
- Night Pak is layered with SenePlex, which increases cell renewal by 23.3%. SenePlex Complex has been scientifically proven in a lab and on thousands of women. It is broken down molecularly so it can penetrate into your skin and offer results like 55.7% reduction of wrinkles!
As always, SeneGence products are a better value than the competition when you look at our ingredients, scientific results and how long the products last— we really are in a league of our own!
Most women just want to know: does it work? Yes it does! You can watch this great video to learn more about it.
All of our skincare lasts over 6 months. So why am I excited about a product that only lasts 2 months? I’m so proud about the price point. Although it’s more than our other products, it’s so much less than similar products on the market. In my research I couldn’t find any other product with marine collagen for less than $110 a month – and of course none of those have SenePlex. Night Pak is only $42.50 a month! When you decide to subscribe to auto ship (you won’t want to run out of this!) you will get free shipping and you will get a FREE bottle every year!
My grandmother just died.
I am sitting here, typing, because death brings emotions we are supposed to process to express. So I’m checking, looking into finding words to say what I feel right now.
Grandmommie and I had little to no relationship. For years I wished it were different. The problem was Grandmommie loved me but she didn’t like me. You can love someone deeply but not like them. I realized that a thousand times in little moments but couldn’t put it into words in my own mind until I was in my early 20’s. I chased after her wanting her to approve of me, to find something she could like… but it always came back to the words she said and the disapproval. It hurt then. It hurt a lot. Especially in contrast with her words that were kind and approving for others. Those words, however much I craved them, were not for me. I learned to accept it. As I got older, in learning to like me I had to remove her voice from my head.
When I was a newlywed she and my Grandfather would be traveling just 35 miles north of my home on a cross-country trip to go see my sister. This was great, they would be so close to me they could come see my life, see my cute little home and see me…really see me. Like a dream scene, I saw it clicking in their eyes that I wasn’t a loser. My husband wasn’t crazy for marrying me. They had asked him at our wedding why would he marry me? He was so impressive and I was so unaccomplished. It was the one smear on a perfect day.
BUT if they came to my house they would really see me, raw, and of course they would like me. They would be proud…when I made the invitation explaining it would be a small detour and I would make them a meal, I wanted them to see my home…the reply, “it’s not worth it, you understand Leta.”
And I did. I understood.
They didn’t say it in a mean tone. The facts were simply that detouring from the goal, the pre-plan wasn’t worth it—for me. I just wasn’t a priority. I got it. I hung up that phone and for the first time at 24 years old I forgave them for not liking me. I forgave them for not caring and promised myself to not expect it from them. That the hurt I felt wasn’t their fault it was mine for wanting something that couldn’t be given. They had been consistent in their approach to me—it was I who kept hoping for something different. I was causing me this pain.
I didn’t cry. It was what it was.
They are good people; they are loving and solicitous to many in the family. Just not to me, and that day I got it, I understood and I let be what was.
Going forward my responsibility was, as the Bible says, to “Honor thy father and thy mother.” I did that. I honored them with living a good life.
At times our paths would touch and I noticed I could let the disapproval slide. It was just their perception. They didn’t see me, the real me. And that was—well, I don’t say this in a tone; I say this matter-of-factly, with no bitterness—their loss. I didn’t have to make it my loss. I moved on.
One day 17 years after the day I let be what was.
I got a call in November 2012 and I was 39 years old—it was Grandmommie. She started by telling me about her mother, her voice was tenderly emotional. I had never heard this side of her. I didn’t know how to respond. I listened as she shared feelings with me. Then she said it, words that I’d never heard her say, “I am sorry.” She apologized for how she had treated me saying she “had wronged me”—we had a moment. A moment that I never anticipated having until at the feet of Christ. I felt it, she meant her words—the most amazing part was I felt forgiveness, the realization that I had forgiven her long before. I wanted to make this easy for her. I said, “thank you, this means a lot.” She told me she respected me, how I had dealt with the death of my daughter, she respected my connection with God.
Then it was over.
I would call on special days; we would talk for a moment. She would ask me about my parents, especially about my mom, her daughter. They talked often with her and she would want to know from me how Mom was really; my mother has health issues, skipping along the surface, never deeper. My mother told me that is all she needed to feel close. I don’t know really how to have a surface relationship, and I am not capable of duplicity, but I could have these brief conversations with Grandmommie. I could give her that.
I had received more from her than I ever thought I would in this life. I didn’t give into the hope that there would be more tender conversations, there weren’t. I helped buy her an iPad. She was grateful. That was the closest we ever came in the last 3 years.
Now. Right now. I know my grandmother and I are closer than we have ever been.
She isn’t truly gone, she is with my daughter, and she is in a good place where all the cloudiness of earthly perception will melt away. It’s more likely now than it ever was that she might stop by and see my life, see my house, see what I have created and say the words, feel the words I only heard once. She will be proud of me. She will even like me. She will get me. My exuberant personality that always bothered her as so inappropriate and unlady-like—I think she will find herself able to laugh with me now.
I am funny. I am really likeable.
Grandmommie helped me see that, because her perception made me really look at my own self-perception. She taught me that I can’t see myself through other’s eyes and I cannot expect or need from others what they cannot give.
So here I sit a couple of hours after her death thankful she was my grandmother. Because she taught me to forgive, to love others for who they are and to let be what is.
Will be seeing you around.
There is nothing I admire more in people than when they take responsibility for their words and actions. We all say and do things that are less than our best but we show our character when we take responsibility for what we do and say.
When I was 19, I was living in Alaska; I had read many of Jack London’s novels so I anticipated outdoor experiences where I would discover my true self through minimalist living and tests of physical endurance: a girl meets nature. What I got instead was learning about the nature of myself.
One of those experiences came after church volleyball. I am not skilled in any sport that involves a ball. Typically, I am welcomed by my fellow players due to my humor. I am pretty funny. That day, I was on a roll, cracking jokes mostly about my own skills; self-deprecating humor is usually safe. I made one comment concerning volleyball skills wasn’t about me, but about another young woman. It landed not with a thud but with laughter. Later, as I was leaving with a group of guys attending me (this was Alaska, after all, so a young lady was always accompanied), I asked out loud, “I wonder if what I said could have been hurtful?” I was strongly assured I was too sweet, everyone knows I am so kind, I was too awesome to misspeak… all words I loved to hear! One guy, however,said, “possibly.” The possibility was worth investigating.
So, I went back in and approached the young woman who had been the brunt of my harmless, not-possibly-offensive words. “What I just said, I think may have been hurtful. I am sorry.” Today, 20 years later I don’t remember what I had said, but I do still remember the look in her eyes. As I spoke I could see how she responded to my words that what I had said had made her question my intent – it had hurt. And though she said, “Oh, it was nothing,” and she laughed,I learned something that day. It had not been my intention to hurt, yet I had hurt her feelings, even though 98% of the people there saw nothing hurtful in what was said. That experience has stood out to me as a pivotal moment. I am charming, it’s true. With that charm, I could get away with saying a lot of things and people will take it, even laugh. But I have to remember, words impact people in often unintended ways.
I admire the ability to say sorry because I don’t think it’s a skill that comes naturally to us humans. I think we have mastered saying sorry in a way that is laden with “why are you making me do this?” We are accomplished at the “sorry” with rolled eyes of our teen years. We are excellent at the “sorry” that comes with expectation that the receiver will in turn validate us. We have refined our ability to say, “I am sorry you are so hurt,” which is not a sorry at all. All of these kinds of saying I am “sorry” place blame on the other person and not on the one who did or said what they said. Or one of my favorites, “I am sorry it’s just that…” which comes off as saying “I am sorry but you…” where saying I am sorry is a YOU statement about someone else.
I am proud of my 19-year-old self that walked back in and apologized without conditions and then walked out. I later recommended a guy friend of mine ask out that young woman. They got married. I fell in love with the man that said “possibly,” because he had the character to call me out, to tell me the truth, not just the pretty words I wanted to hear; the type of words we all want to hear. I didn’t marry him, but I did marry someone with the same quality. My husband has many times been an accountability partner, aiding me to become my best self and me for him. We have said sorry to each other without “you should have…” And we have swallowed the sorry’s of blame.
I admire the ability to take responsibility because I have worked so hard to develop that in myself, to say sorry and mean it. It’s important to say sorry if there was a possibility of misunderstanding. I am pretty sure that Drama is really defined by “I don’t ever take responsibility for my words and actions,I want you to take that responsibility for me.”
How can we trust ourselves, the nature of who we are,if we are don’t learn and grow from our past, including our past mistakes?
Nathaniel and Ailsa yelled out “Happy Birthday Katelynn” excitedly seeing the balloons marking birthday: they are thrilled to see how their April Fools pranks are going. I got a bowl of salty cereal. They got me good. Grilling me on what surprises are to come, it’s a happy morning with more happy things on the way. I got some good kisses, perhaps because of that mouthful I swallowed with good humor. There were hugs, a prayer and they are out the door to school happy. That is what we want. You will hear laughter in the Greene house today.
Any mom knows that feeling when you first look in your baby’s eyes; it can’t be explained, its beyond description the love you feel and the recognition that a piece of your heart is always theirs. Katelynn would be six today. I can tell you that six years seemed impossible, yet here we are not only moving forward but happy. We are not happy she is gone, but happy that she ever came. Happy that I am her mom. Happy, and as funny as this sounds, that I am sane. Really, when I was first approached to write a book about Katelynn, my main concern was that I may be crazy later on, broken in despair. I am not, we are not, because we choose to be happy.
People tell me, “isn’t it a comfort to know where she is?” Yes, it is, but not really.
She is my baby. She is supposed to be here with me; I’m supposed to be crying over her first day of Kindergarten, not crying that my heart still wants to hold her… I could go down that path of bitter loss, but I won’t. That is not hotness. What does bring me comfort is that death has not changed that I am her mother. I am still Katelynn’s mom. I am Nathaniel’s mom. I am Ailsa’s mom. I am their mom.
That brings me comfort.
That gives me strength.
That brings joy.
She is learning as I am learning, teaching as I am teaching—we have an interaction. She sees me at my worst and my best; she sees me as none of my living children can. I joke that out of my three children she is the most demanding of my time and talents.
Here is the problem we moms have. It’s not easy giving our kids what they need, day after day, year after year. We wonder if we can do it. I wondered when Katelynn was placed in my arms if I could see her endure the life she had before her. We knew it wouldn’t be “normal” and it wasn’t. We never imagined it would be so short. Your mind just doesn’t go there, it can’t comprehend. Here is something odd: I still can’t comprehend it. I am in awe that six years later we still doing so well. I wish I could say its because I am just that awesome. Yep… I am that strong. But, I am not.
I pleaded, bargained, begged and agonized, searching for a different way than a life without her.
I want to be a good mom. I prayed for strength. That prayer uttered a thousand times has been enough; it’s become a habit I don’t even have to swallow hard to say. I thank God in every prayer for the comfort and guidance he gives us. I wonder if my husband even hears that line anymore that I have said it so many times. God does hears it, however.
My husband and I have talked many times in awe of what God has done. It’s not us. We were like two riders holding on to bucking horse hoping it would be over soon.
What you see the public me, I wouldn’t be the same without Katelynn. I had no ambition to be a speaker, to up my game in my makeup business. I was perfectly content to raise my kids, but I wanted more. I didn’t get what I wanted, so as a second option I followed the promptings given to build up my speaking. You know that question: what would you do, how would you live if you had no fear? I know the answer. I’m living it now. Nothing can hurt me like saying Goodbye to Katelynn did. One by one, I’ve let go of the things that hurt me and that held me back from being what God wants me to be. Because I am a mom, I can do hard things, I can do all things through God.
Before I became a mom, people advised me to take the time I drive with my kids in the car as an opportunity to talk to them. I’ve taken that idea on the road. I love the moments of bonding with my kids, hearing about their day, singing songs and having heart-to-hearts. The other day my son asked one of those really important questions during one of our drives. He said, “How do you know if you are doing what God wants?”
I was feeling very pleased with myself in a moment of motherhood eloquence as I answered his question. I could tell my answer had an effecton him, as he was looking thoughtfully ahead into the passenger side mirror. I knew he was deep in thought, perhaps looking into his soul. When he spoke I knew it would be profound… “Mom,” (pause) “how do I not have a mustache right now?!”
And then the moment was gone.
It just whizzed by.
I wish I could tell you that later the conversation picked up where it left off. But in reality, I don’t know if he heard a word I said, as he was so engrossed in the mystery of his facial hair.
That’s just kind of how motherhood goes doesn’t it?
My daughter recently said, “When I grow up, the first one I want to be like is Jesus” (How perfect is that? As I hear this, I am mentally high fiving myself!), “and the second one I want to be like is you, because you are so awesome.” (can I say proud momma?), “I don’t want to be like Daddy,” (what?!), “because he is a man. And I don’t want to be a man.” (the things kids say sometimes!)
I guess my kids are really thinking things through well…well at least they are thinking…even if they are saying things like, “It’s not my fault I am a good farter!” (my son didn’t say this—my daughter did). Or “My pits stink! They are wet and furry!” (that one WAS my son). Or my personal favorite quote, a commentary on my motherhood… “I’m hotness’s son.” Yeah, I guess at least they are learning something.
I am a Hot momma.
If you look up “mature eyes” on any internet search engine, you will find a pitch for skincare products and surgery. This perpetuates the idea that only young eyes (the kind that are airbrushed beyond reason) are beautiful. I am out to change that perception! When I meet with my clients face-to-face, I teach them about what I call the Anti-Aging Line™.
When I teach them about the Anti-Aging Line™, I find women refer their friends to me like crazy; because once you understand this, you really can improve your makeup application. I have been collecting pictures of my willing clients so you can see this on other eye shapes— that way you can find the Anti-Aging Line™ on yourself.
Find line between the corner of your nose, eye and where your brows should end.
Here is my mug:
Here is a close up.
Notice how I keep my makeup within the purple line? Each part of my makeup pulls the viewer up to where I want them to look. I don’t accentuate the downward angle of my eyes, because that points out the wrinkles. If I were to draw my makeup on my lid like we typically are taught, I would be accentuating the wrinkle, or the hinge that is there. When we are young, our eyes are angled up and we can do fun and funky makeup applications—but as the eyes come down, that doesn’t work. I’ve found that if you keep your makeup within the line, you are fine!
If you would like individual help with this, I can meet with you one-on-one in person or through Skype! You can contact me by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling me toll free at (801) 455-7364. I’ll have a video up soon showing you more about the Anti-Aging Line™.
Before my daughter, Katelynn Faith was born, we knew she had a rare chromosomal anomaly. We knew that Katelynn’s differences had made her special and she would be given every opportunity to find her way in life. Katelynn is strong. During her time at the hospital, people could see how special she was. She was surrounded in a sterile, cold environment, and yet she locked eyes with those around her. People could feel her presence and attentiveness.
Every morning before going to the NICU, I remember sitting on my bed, looking at my wheelchair. I would think about what I needed to accomplish. I knew the day demanded more than I had; getting out of bed and getting ready was already so draining. So, God and I had a conversation. I told God how much I felt I could do of my day—usually less than 10%— and asked him to take care of the rest. I knew he had to carry me, because I had to be awesome, I had to be beyond my best for my three children depending on me. They looked to my attitude to see if they could get through this. I would not let them down because I was their mom.
I have been blessed in my life with having a close relationship to God. I know he has carried me and comforted me in some of the hardest times of my life. My relative, Stephen, is going through the similar need to ask God to carry him when he can do no more. Stephen has a Chiari Malformation Decompression, which is a rare brain disorder. Last year, a surgeon tried to fix the problem, and was unable to help. Stephen’s condition has been worsening, with Parkinson shakes, Grand Mal seizures, and periods where he doesn’t know who he is or where he is. He has liquid pressing against his brain, which is an additional problem that is causing a lot of complications. Stephen has been unable to work for more than a year because of his condition. In November, he was told his brain was starting to necrotize (die) and that he didn’t have much longer to live. When my niece, Sheraya found out what was going on with her cousin, she stepped in with fundraising to help pay for some of the medical costs. As Stephen’s story spread, a specialist on Stephen’s condition from New York got involved. In January, Stephen went to New York to see Dr. Bolognese and found out his condition was NOT fatal, and is operable.
My niece, Sheraya, has spoken to me about how it’s hard to see Stephen suffering. He’s in his early 30’s—and when he was younger, made decisions that led him down a scary path. It’s hard to see him change his life so drastically, and to have made his peace with God, only to have him now suffering daily from this illness.
Now we have hope, we have a goal—to raise the money for Stephen to get back to New York and get the surgery he needs to save his life. Stephen, and his wife, Lesley, are so upbeat and positive. Throughout the whole experience, Lesley has been looking forward, and has not lost faith that Stephen can get the help he needs. Stephen is taking life by the horns, and fighting a battle that is overwhelming. If you are interested in learning more about Stephen’s story or helping him get to New York, you can go to his website, BelayingStephen.com or his fundraising site, gofundme.com/belayingstephen.
I’m grateful for all I have in my life, and the fact that we were able to care for Nathan through the bus accident and heart attack, and then Katelynn through her time here. As much as we try to look on the bright side, the bitter truth is, crummy things happen in life. But, we can choose to come out of those experiences stronger, surer of ourselves, and more determined to love and cherish the people we have.