Black Friday: Go Forth And Shop


For those ranting about the idolatry and consumerism of Black Friday, I have two things to say.

First, remember that lost people are gonna act lost, so don’t be surprised when they freak out, fight over toys, break in line and cuss you out. That’s what lost people do. If that shocks you, you need to hang out with more lost people.

Second, Christians can be Light, even when shopping. Some of my favorite family memories surround Black Friday. It was a rite of passage for the girls in our family to finally be old enough to go shopping with the “women folk” that day, and I loved spending time with my mom, aunt, and grandmother, shopping and people watching.

Christian shoppers, go, stand in line.
Be pleasant.
Fellowship.
Be a good steward of the money God’s given you by getting some GREAT DEALS.
Buy some toys and clothes for some needy kids while you’re at it.
Be ok with it if you miss out on the doorbuster.
Be kind to the people who are working at 2:30 am and getting cussed out in the process.
If you do see a Christian acting a fool and letting their idolatry of “stuff” hang out for the world to see, then rebuke them in love.
But maybe after you’ve both had some sleep.

And get a grip, 21st C. Pharisees. God knows the heart; don’t assume idolatrous consumerism of all participants. It offends me and I have no intention of even shopping. It offends God because you presume to know the hearts of men, and that’s God’s job.

Happy Black Friday!

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“Before I Was Even Born?!?”


This is the very first book I bought for Arwen. I bought it for her at the Smithsonian while on a school trip, the week before she was born. I’ve never been nervous to travel. In fact, I have a dose of wanderlust in me that can be difficult to contain at times. But this particular week, I was terrified to travel. Terrified because my sister-in-law’s due date was quickly approaching and I did NOT want to be in Washington, DC, while my niece was coming into this world. I called every day to check on progress and effacing and dilation and had back up plans for flying home if needed.

But I made time to buy her a book. And not just any book. An Alphabet book of cool paintings and weird animals. A wicked expensive book because I bought it at the Smithsonian. Her first book.

Tonight I was hanging out with her at her house. She knows I love books as much as she does, and we straighten up her bookshelves and talk about her books and read a few of them every time I go over there. At the bottom of the shelf I found this, and it made me smile thinking about how long it took me to find the first book for the firstborn of the next generation of Masons.

I spent nearly a half hour looking through all the options they had. I read them and thought about which one I wanted to be a family heirloom. I pondered the quality of the books, thought about how it should really be gender neutral so it be enjoyed by all other future kids. It needed to be educational, not just entertaining, special and not hokey, and as theologically sound as a book can be when you’re buying it from the Museum of Natural Science at the Smithsonian. Thus the reason we ended up with a hardback Alphabet book.

As I held the book in my hands, Arwen came and sat in my lap and said, “That’s my animal alphabet book.” I told her, “I know! Did YOU know that it was your very first book?”

“My very first book?” she replied in complete amazement.

“Yes,” I said. “I bought it for you before you were even born.” And I then proceeded to tell her the whole story about being in DC, about taking SO much time to pick out the perfect book, just for her, about the snow storm that threatened to keep up snowed in up in DC, and about how nervous I was that I wasn’t going to get home in time to be there when she was born.

She sat perfectly still (a RARE feat these days) and listened to the whole story. When I finished, I fully expected her to, with all the depth and reflection and appreciation of a two year old, to just ask me to read it to her.

Instead, she looked at the book, looked back up at me and said, “You bought it before I was even born?”

She was absolutely dumbstruck that I thought about her before she was born. Not only that I thought about her, but that I took the time to pick out something just for her.

Before she was born. She was loved. Thought about, planned for. Dreams were dreamed for her. Lives were imagined. Books were bought. She was chosen and loved well before she was born. And she simply couldn’t believe it.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you…”
~Jeremiah 1:5 ESV

She was loved before she was born. But so was I. And so were you. And not just by your family. Before you were born you were loved. You were set apart. You were created with a specific and unique calling. You were chosen. Thought about. Looked over. Anticipated. Before the foundation of the world, the God of the universe knew your name, numbered your days, considered your ways and set them before you. Before you were born.

I am dumbfounded and amazed by that, and sometimes, like Arwen, I simply can’t believe it. But as much as I poured all the love and affection I could muster into that present for that child I had never met and yet loved, God has loved me with an infinite, unending, unwavering love, from before time began.

She was amazed by the love shown to her through a book. I am amazed by the love shown to me through a Book, too.

Grace, Karma, & My Students


Last week I blogged about my first period class laughing at me and my sock monkey hat hair. The next day I read it to them as an example of how a change in perspective can lead to a change in your entire day.

Well, knowing they’d been blogged about was more than they could handle, so they’ve asked me each day since then when I was going to write about them again. Here ya go, sweet kids.

The other morning I had another slightly rough start to my day (this is becoming a theme), and was a bit down as I headed to class after morning carline. As I round the corner to my room, I see my first period in two lines, arms in the air, whooping and cheering like cheerleaders to my starting basketball player.

I’ve never been cheered into class before. Amazing boost to my soul and reminder of one more reason I love my job so much.

But as I smiled and sat down to take roll and start the day, I silently asked the Lord, “What did I do to deserve this?” To which He replied, just as quietly, “Nothing, my child.”

And He took me back over some of the highlights ofmy stellar high school career:

Once, on a below freezing morning, a teacher in a fully lined wool pants suit asked me to remove my sweatpants from underneath my skirt because wearing them was a uniform violation.

With all the respect I could muster for the following statement, I replied, “I’ll take my pants off when you take off yours.”

It did not go well for me.

If you came to class unprepared, you received an Academic Progress Report sent home. Three of them equalled a Saturday school. I collected so many for missing assignments and forgotten folders that my dad once asked me if I realized most people only went to school five days a week. He was convinced I was running for President of Saturday School.

I nearly failed 2nd quarter of freshman English on principle because I thought Jane Eyre was the most ridiculous book I’d ever read and I refused to finish reading it.

I struggled to get any assignment turned in that was both on time and up to my ability, and often received progress reports about living up to my potential.

I got caught smoking cigars in the hot tub at Disney World on my Senior Trip.

I did absolutely nothing to deserve the precious kids who love me and let me love them. I was a middle of the road student with a rebellious streak a country mile wide.

See, that’s the thing about Karma. The world looks at our messed up world around us and KNOWS it’s wrong. The concept of Karma (what goes around comes around) makes sense to the human mind. Scripture even tells us we will reap what we sow.

But grace trumps Karma. Every day.

Grace knows my calling is to pour my life into those kids, to connect with them, to not waste my own pain and problems by using them to help them understand they don’t have to make the mistakes I’ve made. that they can serve the God of grace in their lives right now.

If there’s nothing else in my life I want them to “get,” it’s that we each have a responsibility to listen and to learn and help other make better choices themselves. Christ died to make a way for us to keep the Law that condemns. Knowing what it says is good. Doing what it says is even better, but being who God created you to be is the best of all.

So there, kiddos, I blogged about you. Love and blessings to you all! 😊