Dec 172009
 


In preparation for Melton Christmas Picture 2009, Craig asked a friend to take pictures of us in our backyard. When we told Chase it was family picture day, he immediately started crying hysterically. I kid you not. Craig looked at me accusingly and I hung my head and promised both boys that I’d be on my best behavior. We actually had a nice afternoon in the backyard and the end result was some good shots, like this one.



I loved this picture, until I looked closely at myself. LOOK AT MY EYES. Sister and I have this affliction that we used to believe meant that one eye looked smaller than the other in pictures. We only recently admitted that our affliction is actually that one eye IS smaller than the other. In addition to this freaky affliction, my eyes are also two different colors. One greenish, one brownish. People have been nice to me about this situation my whole life until a few weeks ago when Sister and I went to lunch after a day of shopping. The teenage waitress walked over to our table and when I smiled up at her she threw open her annoyingly normal eyes and yelled: OH MY GOD. LOOK AT YOUR EYES! CAN YOU, LIKE SEE OUT OF THOSE THINGS?” I tried to be nice about it because I love Jesus but sister threatened to “kick her in the shin” quite loudly which made me feel better. When I got home and told Craig the story about the mean waitress, he looked surprised. Like WAY TOO surprised. Then he looked at me closely and said “WHOA. Cool.” Seven years, people. He’d never noticed.

Anyway, this was the only picture that could possibly work for our Christmas picture, so I did what I do five times daily…I emailed husband and sister to get their reactions.

I forwarded the above picture without mentioning the eye problem so I wouldn’t bias them.

This was sister’s response:

Sister, it’s wonderful. The kids look fantastic and you look beautiful. A little deformed, but still beautiful.

I thought maybe I’d have better luck with husband. But this was his response:

Honey, eye love the picture. It’s eyedeal.

Jerks.

So I emailed Adrianne, whose is a wiz with photoshop and is always airbrushing herself. I told her that I had an EMERGENCY and could she PLEASE fix my eye so I could send out our Christmas picture without friends thinking they needed to start some sort of foundation for me.

She said Sure Thing.

A few hours later I got this “solution” from Adrianne, along with an explanation that she decided to fix the whole family.



Craig has this picture on his office desk.

He tells people that it was taken to capture the family’s shock after I served an edible lasagna one night.

Adrianne ended up fixing my eye, so now we look like this:


Not too bad. I was happy.

But I felt weird sending out a doctored picture of myself for Christmas, it felt like fibbing. It’s like Popeye (to whom I must be somehow related) said… I yam what I yam and that’s all that I yam. Uneven multi colored eyeballs and all.

So we ditched the whole family picture idea and went with this:

Merry Christmas, Monkees. Eye love you.

Jan 142010
 

“Sometimes heaven is just a different pair of glasses.” Anne Lamott

In religious circles there is a lot of talk about the afterlife, about heaven and hell. This is certainly important to discuss, but when I read scripture, what slaps me in the face is that Jesus (and Buddha and every other spiritual teacher) focuses on the present more than the future. He teaches often about how we turn our earthly existence into heaven or hell based on our choices and perspective, here, today, right now.

Some people understand the “kingdom of God” as a place for “believers” and “the kingdom of hell” as a place for “non-believers.” Maybe. But I also think that those boundaries can’t be hard and fast. Because I believe till the cows come home. But I still find myself, quite often actually, feeling jealous and afraid and suspicious and isolated and angry and hopeless. Which feels a little hellish. And other times I feel loving and fearless and hopeful and connected and generous, which feels quite heavenly. So it seems to me that the kingdom of God and the kingdom of hell might also be places I shift between throughout my day, depending upon my attitude, where my heart is, how I’m looking at the world and at other people. And which kingdom I’m currently in depends on whether I’ve got my Jesus glasses on or not.

When I’m wearing my Jesus glasses, I see other people how Jesus sees them. Through my Jesus glasses, it becomes crystal clear that every person is my equal, and so confidence and humility come easy. Through my Jesus glasses, I see, laid out in front of me, ridiculous abundance. Through my Jesus glasses, I see that there is enough, that I am enough, and so is everyone else. When I don’t feel these things, I try to catch myself and find my glasses. Here at Momastery we like to call these Jesus glasses perspectacles. Because here at Momastery we are very, very cheesy and obsessed with puns. Also we like to use words that include everybody, not just Christians.

I used to be very suspicious of other women. I felt it was my duty to prove myself to other women. To defend my imaginary superiority. To hide my imaginary inferiority. I felt like I could never let my guard down, never relax. This was before I found my perspectacles. Now, mostly, instead of perceiving other women as competition, I put on my glasses and I see each woman God places on my path as a gift, an invitation, a resource, sent to teach me something I don’t yet know. Sent to help me heal in a specific way that only she can. Even when it becomes clear that the relationship is not going to work out, that we will have to part ways, she is still a gift because I am learning how to part ways with another child of God lovingly and gracefully. And so I get to practice taking care of myself and others. And I am able to relax. To stop grabbing and hiding. To understand that God sends exactly who we need, 100 percent of the time. This shift took a long time to happen. And it’s semi-permanent. My Jesus glasses still fall off. But now I know that when I find myself tightening up, feeling smaller and scared and defensive, all I have to do is find my glasses, put them on, and the world and other people will look blindingly beautiful again. And I will be able to breathe and be still in the understanding that the world is on my side.

God has sent me hundreds of invitations over the past few months, in the form of the Monkees. He invited one Monkee to the center stage of my heart recently, to help me learn how to look at my own health and body through perspectacles. I have never been an expert at that, but I think I might be finally learning. I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to learn from Erin, that I want to share her with you. Erin has been working her Monkee bottom off for you. She has spent countless hours writing to us about wellness and creating a Monkee cookbook full of recipes that are so simple even I can make them. They are idiot (Glennon) proof. And of course, she’s decided to love us without ulterior motive. She doesn’t want to make any money… she’s making the “wellness books” for free. She is our volunteer Dr. Oz. And what she has to say could be powerful for us, because when a Monkee decides to love others by combining hard work with her specific gift, wellit can cause revolutions, people. IF the receiver’s hearts are open.

Erin will talk to us tomorrow about our feelings about our own bodies. Let’s, once again, get our perspectacles on and see Erin as an invitation to become a little more whole, a little better healed.

I love you Monkees. Have I told you that recently?

Jan 252010
 

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” – James 1:27


Warning: I spent a lot of quiet time with God this weekend. As a result, I’m about to get my preach on. Unsolicited advice is coming your way. So sorry. Really, really sorry. Here goes.

After our first Momastery book club meeting, a discussion followed about how Sister has found her calling, and how many of us are still searching for our own personal calling. I’d like to share some of my thoughts about that.

Here’s the truth, as I see it. If we call ourselves Christians, and we know how to read, we already know our callings. Our callings are to joyfully and tirelessly believe, love, pray, forgive, seek peace, tell the truth, and reach out to touch the poor and the oppressed. Those are our callings. Those are the things that Jesus did. Those are the things He told us to do. Our callings are not a mystery. Our callings are written in the Bible (and the Koran and the Torah and the Bhagavad-Gita) and on our hearts, in black and white and red.

Churches often tell the Biblical story of God calling Isaiah to be his prophet and Isaiah’s beautiful response: “Here I am, Lord! Send Me! ” God and Isaiah’s trust in each other are intriguing, even enviable to us. We think: Man, that Isaiah was so lucky to have been contacted directly by God. To have been chosen. I wish God would make things that clear for me. But the thing is that God didn’t call Isaiah personally. God made a general call. God needed some ground forces to help the poor, and so like He always does, He said “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” Isaiah heard God’s eternal call and cried out “Here I am Lord, Send me!” Isaiah wasn’t singled out, he didn’t receive a Holy Evite… he was quiet and focused enough to hear the words that God has cried since the world began and will continue to cry until the world’s end: Help my suffering people. If you love me, feed my sheep. Isaiah heard and answered. And then he received further instructions, and then his personal gifts were discovered, honed, and used.

Here’s the deal, Monkees. I feel like Jesus could use a few new publicists. I think He might prefer the Christian Church to feel less like a country club or marketing blitz and more like a 12 step program in an ER. (Hello, Welcome to church! My name is Glennon and I’m a jerk, so I need Jesus. You look like you’re hurting, how can I help you heal?) I think a lot of us feel the same way. We feel like there’s something off with the version of Christianity that seems to be more concerned with guarding “rights” than the defenseless. We don’t want to be Christians who judge, exclude, hide, or use fancy words that make people feel left out. We don’t want to be Christians who believe God cares more about politics and power than poverty and disease. We don’t want to be Christians who accept Jesus and then assume our work is done. We know what type of Christians we don’t want to be. So now it becomes important to ask “what type of Christians DO we want to be? What is the point of Christianity anyway?”

Jesus said the point is REVOLUTION. Jesus said that the point is unlearning everything the world has taught us about what’s safe and what’s “normal.” Jesus said the point is to joyfully and tirelessly, love, forgive, seek peace, tell the truth, and reach out and touch the poor and the oppressed. Jesus said the point is that when you become a Christian, your work has just begun.

This can feel like a hell of a lot more to add to our already overflowing plates. But if our plates are too full to say “Here I am!” to God’s calls, then we might consider clearing our plates and starting over. Because we don’t have to do God’s things TOO. We have to do God’s things ONLY. That’s why Jesus said “my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” When we decide that we only want to do His work, and nothing else, our lives become clearer and lighter. Everything starts to make sense. Whenever I feel stressed, I stop and ask myself, is this something worthy of stress? Because there are things that are, and there are things that aren’t. And when the things we are doing are God’s things, the stress feels different. It feels less like “Oh My God, I’m powerless and small” and more like “My God. I am more powerful than I could have possible imagined.” His burden is light. And it’s so freaking exciting. Maybe the burdens we’re carrying now are too heavy. Maybe they’re boring. Maybe some of them are the wrong burdens. Maybe we should drop them and pick up God’s burdens instead, together.

A few weeks ago, I had a little vision. I was brushing my teeth and a picture popped into my head of me and my three children, sitting on a picnic blanket in the middle of a forest. I left the extra food and water with Chase and ran back to the car to get something. But I got lost in the woods. And I was gone for days. And by the time I returned to them, Amanda had died of starvation. I looked at Chase and he still had piles of food behind his back. I fell to the ground and pounded the dirt and wailed and said “Why, Chase Why? Why didn’t you FEED YOUR SISTER?” And Chase said, “Mommy, you gave the extra food to ME.”

And I thought: Oh My God. That’s it. This Earth is just a little picnic blanket that God’s left us on for a short while. And I’m afraid that when God comes back, if we have extra while our neighbors are dying, He is going to say, “What happened? I left enough for all of you. I gave extra to you because I trusted you to share.”

Monkees- I have myself a little dream. I want us to start a project together. I want us to find someone, somewhere, who is taking really good care of orphans and could use some help from us. I want us to come together and pool some of our time, talent, prayers, dough, and raw Mama Bear Monkee Passion. I want a group of Monkees to reach out to a group of children who’ve lost their parents, and I want us to care for them. Not just throw money at them, but care for them, pray for them, get to know them, love them, for the long haul. I want us to get to know each other and God better through the process. I want to have Monkee slumber parties at which sweatpants are mandatory and make-up is banned and we eat (organic) Cheetos and pizza and dream up dreams for the children and plan ways to make those dreams come true. We have all wondered if this Momastery love, this Monkee Revolution is “real.” Yeah, it’s real. It becomes real today.

Will you join me? Will you answer God’s call with me? Will you jump up with me and the Monkees and say “HERE I AM, LORD! SEND ME!”





P.S. Also, will you comment and tell us if you know any organization that you have personal contacts with and might be a good match for us? We’d like to find an organization that focuses on orphan care, doesn’t already have a lot of support, and will allow us to partner with them in many ways. We have a team of Monkees chomping at the bit to start researching your ideas.