Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Feeling Fortunate...

I'm feeling pretty fortunate tonight.  I'm not particularly sure why so much tonight.  I guess it's been a night of reflection and fun.  I went out with some friends tonight and there wasn't anything special about the night.  It was just really great.  Elijah went with us and two of his friends met us for dinner. We all talked and laughed and told funny stories.  I realized while we were eating that it won't be long and impromptu dinners with Elijah won't be happening.  Someone told me today that these next few weeks will be filled with times of sadness.  I didn't feel that tonight.  As I thought about it I had my own little celebration in my head for all that he has become.  On Sunday he will officially be an adult.  That's crazy, right?  Eighteen?  How could he already be eighteen?  It doesn't seem possible, except it does!  It's what we've been preparing him for all these years.  We've taught him how to be responsible, how to care for himself, how to earn money and pay bills.  We've taught him how to make wise decisions and how to have respect for the things he has and how to strive for the things he wants.  Yesterday he received a letter saying he received a Guy Harvey Endowment.  He received a President's Scholarship, a Dean's Scholarship and an Honor's Scholarship.  Does it sound like I'm bragging?  Of course I am!  I'm proud of him.  We gave him a stable foundation and planted a desire to learn in him and it has paid off.  He has built from that foundation an earned everything he is receiving.  We can't take credit for it!  He truly has done it mostly by himself.  We don't check on his grades, his homework and anything else for that matter.  He's self-sufficient.  It's amazing.  
I don't really like the term blessed, although I've used it on a number of occasions.  This would probably be one of those times to use the word blessed for most people, but I think that word means nothing close to the way we use it.  If we didn't have all that we have we would still be blessed.  Today we are fortunate.

I'm sitting on my back porch in my new dumpster chair....which is fantastic and people throw really useful things in the dumpster.  I'm listening to The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack.  I love it.  I can't get enough of it. It's an amazing story of someone who had everything, but had enormous demons that got the best of him for so many years.  The music causes me to pause and think about how someone gets to that point that they are alone with nothing but the very thing that is killing them, yet they don't have the strength to walk away.  How does that happen?  How did we avoid that same fate?  It could have been any of us, but it wasn't.  I'm sure he never set out to be a junky, it just happened.  I look around me and although I'm not living in a mansion in Van Nuys, I still have it all.  I have an amazing husband who fixed dinner for everyone while I went out even though he isn't feeling well.  I have 3 incredible kids and amazing friends.  I drive an awesome little car and have nice things to wear.  I have a college degree.  I still have both my parents and one of my grandmothers.  I have wonderful memories to look back on and a future to look forward to.  It's enough.  Lately I've had a bad attitude about some circumstances that haven't been to my liking.  Tonight I'm deciding to put that behind me and celebrate what I have and persevere towards my goals.

The air is still tonight.  The sky is amazing from my view.  The music is fantastic.  I could sit here forever soaking it all in.  I hope you take some time to soak in where you are tonight....welcome to wherever you are...life is beautiful!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Barely On This Side Of The Hill

Tomorrow is one month away from my birthday.  That means I have one month left in my 30's and that is really hard to believe.  I know, I know...many of you have gone there and it's no big deal.  It kinda seems like a big deal to me.

These next 6-8 weeks are going to be busy times at the Porter house.  There are so many firsts and so many lasts for us and it's all crammed into the months of May and June.  It's going to be an emotional roller coaster for sure.  There are going to be extremely happy times and many times of reflecting on all the years that have passed.

To start out the firsts and lasts, I visited my grandmother in her home for the last time.  Although that really doesn't seem significant because she didn't die, it's the only house I have known. I love that house and have very fond memories of spending time with my grandparents there.  She was very heartbroken about having to move to an assisted living center, but I tried to focus on the positives for her.  She has Alzheimer's.  It's sad to see a woman who was so independent and very progressive for her generation become someone who needs lots of care.  I will cherish walking around her home on Sunday as she told me stories of how she came to possess things.  Elijah was with me and it was a great day!

May brings the first time Brian and I will have an adult child.  Elijah turns 18 on the 10th.  He's always been somewhat of an adult anyway.  It's been an amazing journey watching him grow and mature.  He has such a bright future ahead of him.  I'm proud of the man he has become.  He's basically grown up with Brian and I and it has been such a delight seeing all that he has accomplished.

Of course, May brings the first time I will be over the hill.  FORTY-------how did that happen.  Where has time gone?  There are so many things that I have done, but so many things yet to do.  I'm thankful for the life I have had.  It hasn't always been easy.  Getting married at 19 and raising a family in my early 20's was oftentimes a struggle.  I can't imagine it any other way though!  It's what I wanted!  No, I don't have the job that I want for the rest of my life, but I finally graduated from college!  I get to coach high school sports, which is a dream come true.  I have close friends who encourage me and support me in the hard times and celebrate with me in the good times.  I have a beautiful family. I have a husband that is incredible.  He's more than I could have ever imagined.  Life is good!

June brings the last time I have a child in elementary school (thank God!!!)  It's hard to believe that Lilikoi will be in middle school with Lennon next year.  I'm excited about that.  Middle school brings about so many new experiences and I look forward to seeing how she grows over the next few years.

June also brings the first time we have a high school graduate!  Yay Elijah!  He has worked hard and earned a full scholarship to Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale.  That's amazing and a huge accomplishment.  It is so rewarding seeing all his hard work pay off.

Firsts and lasts....so much to celebrate and so much to reflect upon!  It's going to be a crazy couple of months, but I'm excited for that.  Life is what we make it and I think we've made a pretty good one!  I'm excited (and a little nervous) as we move through these next several weeks!  I'm sure there will be lots of tears and maybe even a meltdown, but all-in-all I'm glad I've made it hear!

Welcome to wherever you are......

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Intro to Nutrition Final Project

For those who normally read my blog the following post is a final project for an Introduction to Nutrition class that is wrapping up this week.  Hopefully the information in this blog will help others as they move forward to better health and nutrition.

Nutrition and Disease
Nutrition and disease go hand-in-hand.  A person cannot sustain poor nutrition without seeing breakdown and disease in one form or another at some point during his lifetime.  Without proper nutritional habits the body is unable to regenerate and grow in a healthy manner.  Malnutrition is commonly thought to be only for those who are underweight.  "Malnutrition includes deficiencies, imbalances, and excesses of nutrients, alone or in combination, any of which can take a toll on health over time" (Sizer & Whitney, 2012, p. 2).  A person can be overweight and still be malnourished.  Many diseases are directly impacted by the level of nutrition a person consumes.  Although some diseases are affected by genetics, even those diseases can be held at bay with proper nutrition.  Cardiovascular disease is one of those diseases.  A diet that is low in saturated fat, trans fats and cholesterol can help prevent cardiovascular problems.  A study that involved women with various lifestyle habits like smoking and drinking alcohol, set controls with different eating habits.  One group ate mostly meats and the other ate mostly fruits and vegetables.  "Strikingly, an additive effect of nutrition was found for every risk factor identified, whether or not nutrition related, or a matter of lifestyle like smoking, or even largely genetically determined as by family history" (Zyriax, Boeing, & Windler, 2005).  Osteoporosis is another disease that is greatly impacted by the amount of calcium a person takes in.  Many people suffer from diabetes.  Although medication is readily available to control diabetes there is much research available that gives way to diabetes being preventable or kept under control by proper nutrition and excercise.
A Healthy Diet
Most people know the basic components of a healthy diet.  They have a general knowledge of what they should eat and probably an even greater knowledge of what they should not eat.  Charts and graphs of proper nutritional recommendations are readily available for people to view.  Food selections purchased at the store have nutritional information printed on the packaging.  Unfortunately the information can be confusing and oftentimes very misleading.   The U.S. Department of Agriculture gives their recommendations for proper nutrition for Americans.  This information is available for people starting at age two.  Obviously, the amount of calories and types of food is dependent on the type of lifestyle a person lives.  A sedentary lifestyle requires far less calories than an athlete would need.  A healthy diet contains fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and protein.  If that protein comes from animals it needs to be lean meats.  Dairy products should be low fat and oils should be unsaturated.  Solid fats and foods with added sugars should be mostly avoided and only consumed occasionally for treats.  Although many Americans know what to eat, actually eating as recommended can be extremely difficult.  Food choices are often selected more from convenience than from need.  In the fast paced lifestyle that many people maintain, it is not always easy to have a well-rounded meal.  Fast food stops and quick snacks have become the norm for many Americans.  Preparing a healthy meal can seem time consuming, therefore people run through the drive-thru to help save valuable time.  All the while, they are greatly contributing to the promotion of disease within the body. 
Factors that Drive Food Choices
There are many factors that drive the choices people make when it comes to food choices.  As mentioned earlier, one of the main factors is convenience.  It is quicker and easier to go through the drive-thru to grab dinner than it is to come home and prepare a healthy meal.  The text tells us that social status and cultural background play a large part in the food choices we make.  Different foods are consumed in different cultures.  Children are raised eating certain foods.  These foods are directly related to the family’s culture.  Typically children will grow up and continue those same cultural ways of eating.  Social pressures can also impact the way a person eats.  People who spend time with people who generally take care of themselves with proper nutrition are more likely to make the right choices as opposed to people who spend time with unhealthy eaters.  Where a person lives can also have an impact on what he eats.  If someone lives in a tropical climate where fresh fruits thrive, he is more likely to eat fresh fruits.  Someone who lives on a farm where livestock is raised and slaughtered is more likely to consume meat and other animal products.  The cost of food is another factor in what someone chooses to eat.  People can only eat food that fits into their budgets.  Many people are emotional eaters and will choose foods that feed their emotions at the time.  If someone is overweight, he may choose to eat foods low in fat and calories in hopes that he will lose pounds.   Conversely, someone that is underweight may choose to eat foods that are high in fat and calories hoping to gain weight.  Finally, many food choices are made simply on general taste preference.  (Sizer & Whitney, 2012, p.12)  Advertising and food loyalty can also play a roll in food choices.  Millions of dollars are spent advertising different foods and restaurants every year.  A study indicated several reasons that college age students eat at particular restaurants.  Cleanliness and friendliness were the top factors as to why they chose certain restaurants.  Nutritional value was not a reason given for choosing where to eat.  (Knutson, 2000)
 Macro and Micronutrients
The three main macronutrients are carbohydrates, fats and proteins.  They all provide energy to the body.  Carbohydrates give the body much needed glucose to fuel the body.  It is important to make sure that the carbohydrates are not from refined sugar sources. Americans should consume 45-65% of their calories from carbohydrates.  Whole grains, fruits, brown rice and vegetables are great sources of carbohydrates.  Fats are important because they store the energy.  Energy has to be stored to a certain extent to provide fuel for the body when calories are not being consumed.  Unfortunately many Americans store too much fat.  Fats also proved the energy muscles need to work properly.  Fats help insulate the body and protect organs.  Cell membranes are also mostly made up of fats.  Unsaturated fats are the healthiest fats that can be consumed.  Seeds and nuts are great sources of fats.  Olives and avocados are also healthy fat choices.  Proteins help build new tissue.  They help replace old cells and help fuel the body.  Most people are aware that proteins come from meats, but proteins also come from dairy products as well as fruits and vegetables.  Corn , avocado, and legumes are great sources of proteins along with roast beef, tuna, chicken, beef and other meats.  (Sizer & Whitney, 2012)   The body does not require as many micronutrients as it does macronutrients.  Vitamins and minerals are micronutrients.  Calcium is a micronutrient that helps with bone growth.  Phosphorus maintains acid balance, carry, store and release energy, and it is a component of cell membranes.  Magnesium helps with cell function and helps metabolize other vitamins and minerals.  Sodium balances out fluids and electrolytes.  Potassium is vital for proper heart function.  Iron aids in red blood cell production.  These are some of the minerals the body uses.  There are many more.  (Sizer & Whitney, 2012)  Vitamins are very important parts of the human diet.   Some vitamins can also be obtained through spending adequate time in the sun.  Each vitamin has its own unique job for helping to keep the body in proper health. 
Digestion, Absorption, and Metabolism of Macronutrients
Digestion of carbohydrates starts with saliva breaking down the starch in the mouth.  Once in the stomach the digestive enzymes continue to break down the starch into disaccharides and polysaccharides before it moves on to be absorbed by the body and used to fuel cells.  Sucrose and lactose are broken down into monosaccharides in the lining of the small intestine.  They then go to the liver to be converted to glucose before being carried by the circulatory system to be used as energy.  Fiber is not typically changed in digestion.   Not much fat digestion takes place in the stomach.  Bile mixes with the fat in the small intestine.  The pancreas has enzymes that divide them into small molecules so that they can be absorbed.  Then they are absorbed by the cells of the intestinal villi.  The text states that up to 98% of consumed fats can be absorbed.  Protein digestion begins in the stomach where the proteins are uncoiled and broken into smaller pieces.  Once in the small intestine, alkaline juices from the pancreas neutralize the acid.  After the final breakdown the circulatory system distributes them through body to be used as needed.  (Sizer & Whitney, 2012)
Underweight, Overweight and Obesity
Proper nutrition is a main piece of maintaining an appropriate weight.  People who are underweight do not consume enough calories to maintain their level of activity.  The body uses stored energy which causes the weight loss.  Overweight people can eventually become obese.  They consume more calories than their level of activity requires.  Diet can balance out nutritional needs with activity output.  Eating foods that provide fuel and not overeating or under-eating are the key to maintaining a proper weight. 
Nutritional Requirements for Life
During pregnancy a woman needs to consume 340 more calories each day in the second trimester and 450 more calories each day in the third trimester.  She needs 175 grams of carbohydrates and an additional 25 grams or more of protein.  Pregnant women also need increased amounts of folate and vitamin B12.   According to the text infants need 100 calories per kilogram of body weight.  If it is hot outside a baby will need additional water.  After about 4-6 months a baby can start to eat solids.  These foods should be rich with iron and vitamin C.  During childhood calorie intake ranges from around 1000 – 2600 calories a day depending on the age, sex and amount of activity for the child.  The younger the child the more glucose he needs to help with brain development.  A child needs 15 micrograms of Vitamin D and 7-10 micrograms of iron.  Adolescents need 8-16 micrograms per day of iron depending on age and sex.  They need 15 micrograms of Vitamin D every day.  Protein needs are the same for adolescents and adults.  Adults need 25 grams of fiber each day.  They need 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B12.  The older a person gets the more water he needs to consume to prevent dehydration.  (Sizer & Whitney, 2012)
My Diet Plan
My current diet consists mainly of convenience foods.  As a mother of three who works a full-time job, coaches high school athletics and goes to college, I have very little time for food preparation.  Although I am completely aware of what and how I should eat, putting that into practice is a completely different story.  Eight months ago I quit drinking anything, but tea and water.  My new goal is to also quit drinking tea because it has unnecessary sugar that contributes to my weight.  I also quit eating fast food burgers in June, but continue to eat chicken and fries at fast food places.  My new goal is to slowly quit that as well.  Luckily, I am not an overeater.  My main issue is sugar.  I have a serious sweet tooth and love to eat hard candy and sweets throughout the day.  This week I purchased dried fruits that I like to help replace the candy snacking.  Finding vegetables that I like and switching my diet to mostly fruits and vegetables will help me continue to lose weight and achieve better health.  “Parents’ obesity is the most important risk factor for childhood obesity” (Maffeis, 2000).  I do not want my children to be overweight.  So far they are not, but the habits I teach them now will be the ones they carry on into adulthood.  I want to make sure they are learning healthy habits.  

B-C Zyriax, Boeing, H., & Windler, E. (2005). Nutrition is a powerful independent risk    factor for coronary heart disease in women--the CORA study: A population-based        case-control study. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 59(10), 1201-7.            doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602233 
Knutson, B. J. (2000). College students and fast food--how students perceive restaurant   brands. Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, 41(3), 68-74.   Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/209704834?accountid=32521  
Maffeis, C. (2000). Aetiology of overweight and obesity in children and adolescents.         European Journal of Pediatrics, 159, S35-44.             doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/PL00014361
Sizer, F., & Whitney, E. (2012). Food Choices and Human Health. Nutrition Concepts &   Controversies (p. 3). Belmont, CA: Yolanda Cossio. (Original work published           2008)

Friday, May 10, 2013

Let's Ruffle Some Feathers

No better way to start off a Friday than by ruffling some feathers!  Seriously, this post may make some people mad.  I keep seeing all the posts on Facebook about Abercrombie & Fitch.  Honestly, I really don't see the big deal and here's why.

All companies market and cater to a specific demographic.  This happens from the lowest end to the highest end.  It's what companies do.  There's nothing wrong with Abercrombie doing the same thing.  The main difference is that he spoke what the company thought. 

Now many of you may think I should be offended by his words.  I mean let's be honest, I definitely can't fit into his clothes.  I'm an extremely overweight, 37 year old mom.  I have curves and rolls and there's no way I could even come close to getting them on.  However, that hasn't always been the case.  I've been the really thin girl with an amazing body.  I fully know what 36-24-36 looks like.  I've been that.  I would love to be that again, but I'm lazy.  Fat people are lazy and have no self control.  Rarely are fat people fat because they have a medical condition.  They may have a medical condition that helps to keep them fat, but it is unlikely that the condition was the culprit in the beginning. 

If you've been to school you are fully aware that there are the cool kids and the not-so-cool kids.  It's a fact of life.  To deny that is ridiculous.  If you are going to act like that offends you and goes against everything you stand for, then I say let's go through your closet and the closets of your children.  I'm sure that you want to give your children the very best (in terms of what society says is the very best) and see nothing wrong with the purchase choices you have made.  I would agree, but doesn't having $100 sneakers and $50 jeans seem excessive when there are other options out there for a fraction of the price?  What's wrong with Walmart sneakers and clothes?  Does your 8 year old really need $250 Beats and a $200 iPhone?  Probably not, but the fact is that's what the cool kids have and you want your kids to have it too!  Is a $150 fleece North Face really necessary here in the great state of NC?  Are Sperry boat shoes a must when rarely do they actually see a boat?  Don't you think that those companies know they market to the cool kids?  They may not say it, but it's definitely their intention.

I love Victoria's Secret.  First of all, they are one of the best companies I have ever worked for.  They take care of their employees.  However, they have very few things in the store that I can wear.  I can't fit into a 38 DD bra.  It just doesn't work for me.  I have never seen a VS model with some meat on her bones and I never will.  Is that intentional that they hire rail thin models and only carry specific sizes?  Of course it is.  They may not verbalize it, but that's the intention.  It doesn't bother me at all.  There are many other companies that sell things I can't wear.  It's just the way life is!

I am a very principled person!  I say live and die by your principles.  If this is truly something that goes against your principles then stick to it.  Get your kids clothes at the cheapest place possible, trade in your nice car for something cheap that gets you from A to B, sell your Coach purse, use Cover Girl make-up and carry a flip phone.  Quit having your nails done and stop buying expensive kitchen stuff.  You can join the teams that everyone gets a trophy, play Upwards bball, and home school your children so that they are never aware of the differences in status.  I see no other way to get around it. 

For me, that's just not real life and I would doubt it is for you either.  What we must teach our children is that our value doesn't lie in these things.  Our value lies in the fact that we are God's children.  We teach them that in the end that's all that matters.  We teach them that throughout life we will have high points and low points and we must learn to be content in all of them.  Show them that love doesn't come from the dollar.  When we do this, they will learn what is most important!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Lebron James & The Kid

When LeBron left the Cavs I lost a lot of respect for him.  Prior to that I was a huge fan.  I had seen several interviews with him and I really liked him.  I was really turned off by the way he handled things with leaving the Cavs.  Now I'm not so arrogant to think that I know even a fraction of what is involved in the business of moving from one team to the next.  So I know there's a lot that I don't know.  People like to compare LeBron to Michael Jordan all the time.  Who's the better player?  I don't think there's an argument there worth discussing really!  I know Michael built a team where he was.  I think LeBron should have as well.  He didn't need a televised decision and all that went along with that, but he's a celebrity.  People love the drama of things and that's exactly what LeBron did.  He gave the whole basketball community, fans and players alike, some drama for a time.  OK - enough about all that and on to Friday night!

Friday night Brian and I went to the Bobcats game against the Heat.  We are season ticket holders so we go to a lot of games.  I love NBA basketball.  I know a lot of you don't for whatever reason and that's fine.  I do! I love to watch the benches of the teams.  It's exciting to me to see the players get into the game and I love to see how they interact and respond to the fans.  Sometimes I'll get so wrapped up in watching them that I miss parts of the game.  Friday night was no different.  LeBron and Dwayne Wade didn't play.  They entered the court late and were greeted with cheers from a packed crowd.  They took their seats behind the bench. I enjoyed watching them talk to each other and the other players.  The like watching the cool plays just like the rest of us.  Sometime in the second half of the game I saw LeBron motion for a security person to come to him.  The security guy came over and LeBron turned and pointed into the crowd.  I couldn't see what he said, I just saw him pointing.  I immediately thought someone was hassling him and he wanted the guy removed.  I was wrong!  The security guard went about 10 rows up and got this kid and brought him down to LeBron.  I saw LeBron introduce him to Dwayne and then LeBron got the kid a folded towel to sit on so he could see over the guys on the bench.  It was fun to watch them interact with him for the remainder of the game.  It was heartwarming to see all of this transpire.  I know that made that kid's night, week, month!  There was no one there videoing him do that.  He was just being kind.  He recognizes his position and influence and he was gracious to a fan.  That kid will never forget Friday night and neither will I. 

It's sad that we usually don't hear about celebrities doing things like that.  We usually just hear the bad.  I'm glad I was watching.  LeBron you have a fan again. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Finding The Light

This is just a copy of a blog I posted about a month ago.  For some reason it showed up as a new blog site for me instead of my regular blog site.  I wanted to be sure it stayed in my Welcome To Wherever You are blog site.  There's no new material, just copied and pasted for it to be in the right place.

It's been a really, really long time since I've blogged.  I've wanted to for quite awhile now, but I've really had to sit and think about what it is I wanted to say.  I have had a major life change in the past few weeks and I didn't want to blog about the details of that, especially not right after it happened.  I didn't want my anger in it all to affect my witness for the future.  I've had some time to step away from it.  I've known that it is important to step outside of any situation and get somewhere that allows me to look at the situation as a whole.  That's what I've been trying to do these past three weeks.   

I took a week off and didn't listen to any of my favorite pastors - something I usually did every week.  I also took a couple of weeks off from attending church.  I needed time away.  I needed time to let my anger subside.  I had been avoiding trying to connect to the hurt of it all - that's not my style.  It's easier for me to be pissed about the injustices of any situation instead of seeing the hurt that comes from those injustices.  I'm a very passionate person.  There are few things in life that I commit to doing without being fully engaged and passionate about it.  I just don't see the sense in living that way.  I say, "live full-out, that's the only way."  I've built protections in my own systems of thinking that make it easier for me to deal with the anger than for me to deal with the pain.  The problem with living that way is that it causes a disconnect from the full implications of any situation.  There are countless songs about being broken and dealing with hurt.  It's funny how it seems like those have been the songs that have randomly come on my radio when I've been in the car lately!  I think it's been God's way of trying to tell me that EVERYBODY deals with pain and brokenness.  EVERYBODY has to deal with real hurt at some point in their lives.  He has shown me, especially these past few days, that to be passionate about something, truly passionate and all that it encompasses, I can't just deal with the anger of it all.  I must also deal with the hurt and pain.

I went to two church services on Sunday.  Both services had great messages.  They both spoke to me in so many ways.  I felt God's hand on my shoulder encouraging me to soak in all that was being said. I was listening harder than I think I've ever listened hoping that there would be some words I could take and apply to my situation that would make it all better.  I was hoping that I would hear something, miracle words I guess, that would help it all make sense.  During the evening service I heard these words:  "Sometimes God has to consume our convenience so that we can be consumed with God."  WOW - those were the words.  Those were the words that I had been needing to hear.  They were not the words that I was expecting at all.  What I realized though, is that my convenience of my job was actually lessening the time I spent in real worship of God.  I had become so wrapped up in the business of it all because that was my job, that rarely was there time for worship.  That doesn't mean that I wasn't hearing the Word where I was, I most definitely was.  The Word was being preached and praises were being sung, but I wasn't worshiping.  I was finding it harder and harder to step away from the work of it all to embrace the worship of it.  Things have been becoming clearer and clearer over the past 72 hours.

Now to the hurt of it.  People say that the best way to work through problems is by making a pros and cons list.  I have been halfway doing that.  My cons list was short, not unimportant, but just really short.  My pros list was pretty long and most of it was fueled by the anger I have been feeling.  Sooooo...today God spoke to me in a way that I found myself completely broken.  I listened to a pastor that I listen to on a regular basis.  I heard his words of love for the next generation and how important it is for us as people and as a church to invest in the next generation.  I listened as he talked about being an Eli.  For those of you who read this and don't know about Eli and Samuel, read 1 Samuel 3.  As I listened to the message, I realized that the real hurt in all of it was the people I would no longer have an influence over.  I realized that this summer I won't be directing a youth camp for 60 kids that I love and care for.  I've poured my heart and soul into that camp for the past 3 years.  I'm good at that!  I love those kids.  I've found the balance between being their leader and being their friend which can oftentimes that's a hard balance to figure out.  I know my most fulfilling times are when I am with those kids.  I'm an Eli to them.  It hurts to know that someone else will fill my shoes there this summer.  Someone else will fill my shoes each Sunday morning standing on the patio welcoming people with a warm smile that comes from the heart.  This is my broken place.  They finished the service this week with a video and someone was singing the Pretenders song "I'll Stand By You."  I would guess that when Chrissie Hynde, Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg wrote that song they never imagined that it would close a church service.  It spoke to me today.  I could hear Jesus saying those words to me. 

Now the real healing starts.  Today is a good day.  I have real perspective on the situation.  Am I still angry?  Of course I am.  Do I think the situation was handled in the way it should have been?  Of course I don't.  But do I see God in all of it?  I do today!  God has provided me hugs and encouragement everyday for the past three weeks.  People have reached out to me by the dozens.  Their words have meant so much to me.  I've felt affirmed in those words.  I've felt love in those words.  I am eternally grateful for the support and encouragement.  Life is good for the Porters.  People keep asking how we are.  We are good!  Life moves on and seasons come and go.  This season of my life has come to an end.  It's been like autumn ending and winter came these past three weeks!  They have been hell, but spring is here and new things are growing!  It's been sad, but now it's exciting!  You hear over and over that God doesn't give us more than we can handle.  I don't think that's true at all!  Bad things happen, hurt happens and through it all God wants us to need Him.  He wants us to turn to Him for help.  He wants us to realize we can't do it on our own.  It takes Him!  That's the sweet spot!  I hope all of you find the sweet spot!  I'll close with the lyrics to the Pretenders song.  I hope in some way it ministers to you as it did me!  Welcome to wherever you are! 

Oh, why you look so sad?
Tears are in your eyes
Come on and come to me now
Don't be ashamed to cry
Let me see you through
'cause I've seen the dark side too
When the night falls on you
You don't know what to do
Nothing you confess
Could make me love you less

I'll stand by you
I'll stand by you
Won't let nobody hurt you
I'll stand by you

So if you're mad, get mad
Don't hold it all inside
Come on and talk to me now
Hey, what you got to hide?
I get angry too
Well I'm a lot like you
When you're standing at the crossroads
And don't know which path to choose
Let me come along
'cause even if you're wrong

I'll stand by you
I'll stand by you
Won't let nobody hurt you
I'll stand by you
Take me in, into your darkest hour
And I'll never desert you
I'll stand by you

And when...
When the night falls on you, baby
You're feeling all alone
You won't be on your own

I'll stand by you
I'll stand by you
Won't let nobody hurt you

I'll stand by you
Take me in, into your darkest hour
And I'll never desert you
I'll stand by you
I'll stand by you
Won't let nobody hurt you
I'll stand by you
Won't let nobody hurt you
I'll stand by you

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A Quick Thought

Tonight I was reading through my Facebook feed which is normal behavior for me.  I started reading through the posts and came across one from a friend of mine that had a ton of comments.  The topic was gay marriage.  I read through each comment.  There were posts supporting both sides.  A few people were yelling (you know-typing in all caps) at each other.  They called each other racist, which had nothing to do with the post.  From them, things got a little ridiculous, but the other comments were really good.  I finally responded (of course you know I can't keep my mouth shut!)  I thought I would copy those thoughts into my blog just in case anyone cared what I thought about it! So here you go:

So I wasn't going to weigh in, but you (I've left the names out) know me well enough to know that I can rarely keep my mouth shut so here's my two cents...I'll start by saying that I am a "born again Christian" and I believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. I also believe that God gives us free will to live our lives and I am thankful for His grace each and every day that is given to me freely so that I can remain in relationship with Him even when I screw up beyond belief. I am not gay, I haven't cheated on my husband of 19 years, nor have I owned slaves. I have however sinned by saying things that don't always lift people up, I've gossiped before (*not a reference to my recent life change!), I weigh 80 pounds more than I should (not a particularly popular sin with lots of pastors here in the south!) and I've certainly had hateful thoughts before. I love all people - gay, straight, black, white, whatever and I hope that you two know me well enough to know that is true! I believe that everyone was/is created equally, but what we choose to do with our lives and how we choose to live is completely up to us. I believe that there are many things in popular culture that go against God's will, but I believe that His grace is enough to cover anything. Now onto the topic at hand...I think where most Christians get it wrong is that the government isn't here to legislate morality. I don't want them to legislate morality for me or anyone else. Here in the Bible belt I think it can often be difficult for some people to look into the future and see the possibility of a time when the "morality" that may be legislated may require Christians to do things that go against the very core of our beliefs. (A Biblical example of this would be Daniel.) Prayer in school falls into this category. Lots of Christians have strong opinions that public prayer should be allowed in school. My question to them would be, "What if the teacher is Muslim or Buddhist or Hindu or even a Satanist? (We are ignorant to think that can't be.) Would you want those prayers to be made public in school? Is that what you would want your children to hear?" I think the answer would be a resounding "NO!" yet when morality is legislated this is one of the many issues that we will be forced to deal with. I want to live in a country that allows me to worship as I please. To do this, we must also allow others to worship as they please. God will be the judge. No matter how legal or illegal something is, God gets the final say in it all. I feel no threat on my traditional marriage by those who are gay that want to be married. I have lots of gay friends, whether they are legally married, in a civil union together, live together, etc. makes no difference as to whether it is a sin or not. Being married doesn't make it any more or less of a sin. 

I would love to read your comments if you feel like sharing!  

I'll be blogging again soon!  I have some stuff I want to say about a few things - as usual!!!