Who is trying to steal Christ from Christmas? Thursday, Dec 9 2010 


Lately I have noticed several  Facebook groups called “Let’s keep Christ in Christmas”. I have simply been annoyed about this group. It seems that it is mostly geared toward consumerism and also that “people” are not celebrating what Christmas is. From what I gather, some Christians are upset at being wished a happy holiday!!!

How dare people wish you a happy holiday??

Since when does everyone in the United States have to acknowledge the christian definition of Christmas? Last time I checked this was a free country!! It seems that some Christians want to force everyone to celebrate what they do and that everyone should say Merry Christmas. This country is full of people from all over the world with different traditions and customs, we are a nation of blended people. We don’t all celebrate Christmas or do so in the same manner.

As for the consumerism well, this time of year lots of people like to acknowledge the people in their lives and honor them. How ever people do it is their own business. I personally like a well thought out gift and appreciate the time someone took to select something just for me. I’m not a huge fan of buying someone something just because they feel obligated or just because they are family. I find it amusing that there is a complaint about consumerism with some Christians yet they still go out and buy gifts. Whether it’s buying them for a homeless shelter or a kids program, it’s still consumerism.. right? I also like all the websites that popped up when I googled “Keep Christ in Christmas” selling items with that slogan on it.. HAHA, ironic right.. buy this bumper sticker that is against consumerism.

Look! You can’t go around telling people what to say and what to believe. You can only lead them and by leading them, live the life that you believe is best for you. When that is attractive to others, they will watch your lead and then move in closer.

No one is out to steal your baby Jesus, it’s not possible. The meaning of Christmas is in the hearts of those who believe in Christ and no one can ever take away your meaning. Take a look at so many of the symbols used in Christianity… Christians have taken Pagan rituals and symbols and given them a meaning that suits them. So much of Christian heritage and symbolism was adapted from Pagans. Look up some of the history of the symbols and celebrations and you will see.

There are those that go out of their way to exclude or include and I would say live and let live, if a child want’s to do some Christian symbols for art in school.. go ahead, if someone doesn’t celebrate Christmas, wish them a happy holiday or Winter!

My Husband’s Cup Cakes Monday, Oct 4 2010 


Lately my husband has been really busy. He’s getting up a lot earlier because our oldest daughter, Ashlyn, is going to a school our of our zone and he has to drop Ashlyn off at his moms house to catch the bus. Then he’s going to a job that sucks any energy he might have been able to conserve.

He’s got this thing lately about wanting to do everything himself . I offer to assist him with the things he needs to do so I can help him save some of that energy but that’s a no go.

Last night at 7:00 he says, “OK I’m going to go get some cupcake mix and frosting.”. A dust/rain storm had just blown in… and I thought we were settled in for the night except that Ashlyn had to be picked up from her debate at some point. (She’s also on debate and Hally is practicing for the school musical and he has been picking them up after school as well.) Apparently he had promised his Sunday school class he would make them some cupcakes.

I was annoyed, “Why didn’t you let me know you needed cup cake mix and frosting, I was just at the store, I could have gotten them?” His response… “I’ve got it covered.”

So he trots off to the store, gets his mix, comes home, mixes it and pours it in the muffin tin and bakes. While it’s in the oven I ask “Did you put any cupcake papers in the tin first?” His response “Uhhhh, Oh crap!”.

When they finish baking he pulls them out. In the mean time he has picked up the oldest from her debate. After they cool he starts frosting them and after he has frosted about 6 of them, I notice that he hasn’t mixed the funfetti in. “Aren’t you supposed to mix the funfetti in?” He picks up the container to look at the directions and Ashlyn walks in the kitchen and says “You’re supposed to mix that stuff in first.” Christian: “Oh, I just thought you were supposed to pour it on top.” So he mixes the rest in and continues to finish frosting the rest of his naked, paperless cupcakes.

First thing this morning Hally trounces down the stairs to the kitchen, looks at the cup cakes and asks “Are those muffins?”

It’s OK honey, you got it handled.

Why I love Disney Land and Disney World Wednesday, Aug 18 2010 


There are tons of reasons to love Disney Land and Disney World. As a kid I remember my first trip to Disney World in Florida. It was the inaugural year and I was 6 or 7 years old. We had to have tickets for each ride.. haha. I went with my whole family, my parents and 5 siblings. I absolutely loved it.

I went again a few more times at different times in my life. I watched the park grow and the city around it. It’s been wonderful to grow up with that park and I carry so many memories. I have different experiences from each time I went, as a teen I went with my cousins and it was a whole new experience, as an adult and checked out Epcot…each time I went it was a new park.

This year I made my first trek to Disney Land in California. I had a couple of new experiences there. It was the first time I ever went with my own family-3 kids and my husband. It was great to see my son experience it because it was his first visit ever. My husband had taken the girls when they were younger and before we met.

I had an additional experience there that I thought was just wonderful and this is when it hit me. My oldest daughter bought a “Goofy” hat and wore it both days in the park. On our last night there when we were in line for our last ride… Space Mountain (my fav) and Ashlyn spotted another girl wearing the same hat. When they got close to each other as the line wrapped around Ashlyn said to the girl “hey, I like your hat!” and the girl giggled and said “Thanks!”. This girl was covered in clothing head to toe and was wearing a hijab. I loved that this girl was wearing traditional cultural dress and a Goofy hat!

That got me thinking about the many people I had seen those 2 days at the park. I had seen people in saris, I had seen many nationalities, I met a cute gay couple… I’m sure there was some of everyone there. I’m sure there were several religions represented there, there were many nations represented there, there were people from all walks of life right there in the same park.

That’s not totally unique, there are other situations where this occurs… there are lots of places where this can happen. What I believe is unique though, is that they all had the same agenda.

What is the agenda of everyone at a Disney park? To have fun! Disney is for everyone, anyone can have a good time there. I saw babies, I saw grandparent in wheel chairs, I saw teens, newlyweds, long time couples: the whole gamut.  Everyone’s goal is to have a great time!

Here is the other observation I made – No one cared about where people were from, what religion they were, what sexual orientation they were, or what they were wearing. They were all fixated on a good time. No one was rude or mean or belligerent. No one had anything negative to say to other people at the park who were “different” from themselves.

I believe that people are more the same than they are different. There really isn’t much that divides us and we all want the same things in live essentially.

What if the entire world were like Disney Land or Disney World? What if we all just set out to have a good time, enjoy our families and friends, what if we were kind to everyone around us? What would the world be like?

Just sayin”

What was Moses thinking? Tuesday, Jun 1 2010 


I often hear friends talk about their desire to serve or lead. They feel they would like to teach or lead but then I hear them say to me “Who am I do to this?”. I have even said those words in the past.

Even Moses doubted his greatness …. Exodus 3:11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

It’s funny that we, as creations of God, do this. What is it that makes us think we are not good enough. I believe that sometimes that is the message many take away from sermons and studies. “I’m not good enough”. The lessons in the Bible are not to make us feel bad and unworthy but rather, to show that there are many a regular every day man (or woman) who served in a big way. These people did not have pre-requisites spelled out by God… they did not always have a degree in theology or take leadership classes or speaking classes. These were every day people and often times, the least or marginalized or smallest of the bunch.

For most of us seeking Gods will, it’s right in front of us usually. If you have a passion or a flame that burns on a certain issue or some thought you can’t get rid of on changing the world (or your bit of the world) then that’s probably what you should be doing. There’s no clay tablet with your destiny on it, there’s no burning bush… The drive that you have is what you should be doing.

God didn’t create human beings to think negatively. We need to be confident in who we are because of our origins, creation in God’s image. We are created for greatness and we are created to think ” Who am I NOT to be doing this?”. Our thinking has become backward. We are great because that’s what God made humans to be, our experiences (that funny thing called life) is what qualifies us, we are not created for doubt but to life a rich and full life giving to others and serving others. In doing that… well.. it’s where the blessings come in.

That is the sort of legacy we need to leave for this earth.

In verse 12 God says to Moses…. “I will be with you.” What more do you need to pursue that passion? You don’t need to be sanctioned by a pastor or a choir leader or teacher in your church, you already have it.. it’s been given to you by God and no one trumps that.

So… if there is something you desire to do, if there is someone you desire to be, know that you have already been commissioned and don’t need any persons permission to be the person you desire to be.

Originally posted at http://robintramblecommunity.ning.com

A Military Burial and Funeral Thursday, May 6 2010 


On 16 March 2010 my Dad, Robert D. Butler Sr., passed away. He was 78 years old and had served in the military for 22 years. He was in the Korean War and the Vietnam War. My Dad was very comfortable with the military and was very successful and had many accomplishments.

When he passed away, my Mom made sure he got the Military casket with the flags on the sides and had a military burial with the gun ceremony. When you grow up in a military family (because if one is in the military, pretty much all of you are.. you are at the beck and call of the US service and you move where and when they say) there are some ceremonies that you become accustomed to, flag raising ceremony, brass band concerts, presenting of the colors, taps and so forth. Those events breed familiarity. Wherever you go in the US and you observe or participate in one of these events, it feels like home.

I knew that one day he would have a military burial. It wasn’t at a military cemetery, we have a family cemetery in Florida… almost in Georgia. It’s at the old “Butler” place that’s been in my dads family for over 100 years.

When we arrived I saw the casket draped in the American Flag. (more…)

The least of my Brothers Wednesday, Mar 3 2010 


I was at a grocery store yesterday that attracts a lot of seniors. Some are very friendly and love to chat in line. I had such a lady behind me in line yesterday. She was all too happy and proud to tell me that her son and his family left for Turkey and that he’s a minister there. She proceeded to tell me that all her sons are ministers (or working on ministry degrees) and that her husband is a retired minister as well.

We changed up topics a bit to travel. She was telling me about some place that they visited that was lovely only… there were too many pan handlers. The tour guide told her that these pan handlers were perfectly able to work and chose to be pan handlers instead. Then she said “I’m not giving any of my money to those pan handlers!”.

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Jesus’ Feet Wednesday, Feb 24 2010 


Jesus washed the feet of the disciples. Mary washed the feet of Jesus. Neither event was all about Jesus.

I wrote that on my Facebook wall today and someone asked me what it meant.. others mentioned they had not thought about that before. Usually one will read or hear about one story or the other. People know that Jesus washed the feet of the disciples and people know that Mary washed his feet with her hair and used her finest oils.

I have never heard any pastor talk about the 2 in the same sermon or in a discussion group. They are usually talked about in separate contexts. Rarely together which I find unusual. They are similar events. They are about servant hood. At one event, Jesus is the servant and at the other event he is being served. I find that important to look at.

We as women spend a lot of time serving. I think that many of us think of ourselves more as Mary. Giving our finest and our all to others. We might think that Jesus washing the disciples feet was a symbolic gesture of how we should serve each other. Both of these events are symbolic but what does it mean that these events were not all about Jesus.

Jesus was not isolated. He had a profound impact on those around him as a teacher and a leader. As a leader he cannot expect others to do what he himself is not willing to do. He also was willing to accept the service of others when they desired to serve him.

I have spent much of my life serving others; my family, friends, co workers… yet for a long time I didn’t feel that people should serve me… but then here’s Jesus who is willing to be at both ends of service.

When you are always serving, your cup will always be empty. When you do not accept the service of others, you will have nothing to give to others it’s inevitable that you will crash and burn. On the other hand, when you are willing to let others serve you and you do not serve others yourself, your cup will be overflowing and the excess will go to waste. It does not take much effort to serve others generally. There are times when it’s truly a sacrifice to serve others.

I have a friend who is always serving others. She has 4 daughters and a husband and 2 dogs. She serves in her community and ministries. She looks for marginalized people to serve. Yet she rarely does much for herself so today I decided to treat her to a pedicure. I could tell she felt a bit uneasy being served by the manicurist but it was something I wanted to do for her because she does so much for me and others. It was great to be able to spend time with her with no interrupting kids or friends.

Not only did I get to spend time with her, and she got a relaxing pedicure which she very much deserved, but it helped to support a local business. In this economy there are people who are having difficulties. The service involved many people. I enjoyed a pedicure, my friend enjoyed one, we got some quality time together, I got to see my other friend who owns the business and I got to put 2 of her employees to work at an otherwise dead time of day. It’s win-win. It feels good to serve, it feels good to receive service and it’s great to have support.

Our lives need a healthy balance of service… both ways.. serving and being served.

Rob Bell Drops Like Stars Sunday, Feb 21 2010 


Last night my husband and I, along with some friends from our Emergent group, went to see Rob Bell in Phoenix… well the Tempe Arts Center. As great as he sounds in his books, he’s even that much better live. He’s such a real guy.

I personally like that he made a lot of Fine Art references. That appeals to me as an artist, he was speaking my language. The word that spoke to me was the word….

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I’m being UnReasonable! Thursday, Feb 18 2010 


I listened to my mentor today talk about being unreasonable…. NOT ridiculous but unreasonable.  It’s like doing hard things. Setting the standard then finding a way to meet it.

When I was younger, I was very unreasonable. I was a C- student who went to college. It’s unreasonable for a C- student to go to college but I didn’t worry about that. I wanted to go and found a place that would take a C- student and I went. When I was in high school, we had an exchange trip. 30 students from my high school got to go for a week to a school in another part of the country and go to high school there and then we hosted the students that hosted us. C- students didn’t get chosen to do this… it was all A and B students but I didn’t care. I wanted to go and I was unreasonable until I got myself selected to go and loved it.

One spring break while I was in college, I had a friend who had a $200.00 ticket to England and she offered to sell it to me. I wanted to go! I didn’t have $200.00 but that didn’t stop me. My family didn’t have a whole lot of money. I had just paid for a ticket that winter break to go to England. I could barely make the money to pay for college and supplies. That didn’t stop me. I was unreasonable and was determined. I asked around for ideas. I knew I didn’t know anyone who could lend me $200.00  or 2 people who could lend me $100.00 bucks…. but what my friends pointed out to me was that I knew 200 people who could give me $1. So, I was unreasonable and asked 200 people for a dollar. In the end I got $225.00

Back then I was relentless. So when I heard my mentor talk about being unreasonable I had to take a trip back in time. (more…)

Why are Americans getting fat? Wednesday, Feb 17 2010 


I have noticed over the last couple of decades that Americans as a general population have gotten bigger with each decade. I started noticing this in the 90’s when I went to the beach. (more…)

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