Being Single in A Divorce Filled World: How Does it Affect Single Adults?

Being a midlifer I wondered how single adults are affected by the divorces taking place all around them.  Does it make them fearful of marriage?  Does it make them think marriage is a waste of time?  So I turned to Fitz in The Morning cohost Ellen Tailor to find out, and I love what she had to say and I think you will as well.  PLEASE HIT SHARE BELOW and consider subscribing to my podcast and blog.

 

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Ellen Tailor, Cohost of Fitz in The Morning & Blogger and Fashion Fanatic at What’s Ellen Tailor Wearing.

 

 

No Humor in Someone Losing Their Honey: Divorce of Russell & Ashton Wilson

russell-Wilson-Ashton-Meem-wedding-picWhen the news of Russell and Ashton Wilson filing for divorce was released I was honestly saddened and disappointed.  Not disappointed in them as individuals, but that apparently their marriage is over.  Like the many fans here in Seattle I have enjoyed seeing the pictures of the two of them visiting our local children’s hospital.  I pictured them as having a wonderful marriage full of happiness, faith, and excitement.  Even as a counselor who knows what you see is often not what you get…I allowed myself to put them on a pedestal.  I think a byproduct of moving into midlife as a man is that we get more sentimental about life and even love!  We realize how quickly life goes, and we want to see younger people enjoying every moment of it.

As a radio personality it is expected that I’ll say something comedic or controversial about the situation, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to that point with this situation.  Yes, I know they are both young, they have no children, and they will find love again, but that still doesn’t negate the fact that yet another marriage has failed.  I too filed for divorce when I was in my mid-twenties with no children involved, and it was still a very painful process.  No one is prepared for the friends and family members they lose in that process.  My point being that a divorce is always painful even if it is needed and/or wanted. There is truly life after divorce, but at the moment it is happening the world seems very dark for most.  This is especially true for those who have children, and file for divorce.  They then have to battle depression, anxiety, and the ugly one…guilt.

I simply want those of you who are thinking about getting a divorce to follow the advice my mother gave me at one time.  Do everything you can to save your marriage before walking away from it.  And by trying everything I’m talking about marital counseling, sitting down together and truly listening to what the other wants from the relationship, and being willing to make some changes and compromises.  But with all of that being said remember that you only get one life to live, and you should be happy and be treated with love and compassion.  I would never encourage someone to stay in a relationship where they are miserable, but make sure you can’t find love right where you are before moving on.  I am married to the love of my life, and I’m so glad we stuck together through the difficult times.

 

A Married Lady Considers Leaving for A Facebook Flame: Hear My Advice & Give Yours

Road endsThanks for giving me ten minutes of your time.  I received a BIG question from a listener, and I want to share my answer and hear some of yours!  She is wanting to know if she should have an affair, but before we get to that I want to give you the top 5 things HAPPY couples have in common.

Six Signs Your New Honey isn’t Over Their Ex

heartI recently read an article that listed signs that someone is not over their ex love.  And since many of you have returned back to the dating scene I thought I would share them with you, and then I will briefly give you my thoughts.  So here are the signs your new love interest isn’t over their old one:

  • They talk about them often.
  • They are searching for them online, and checking out their Facebook OFTEN.
  • They keep in touch them.
  • They get annoyed when finding out their old love is dating someone new.
  • It’s been less than three months since their break up.
  • They haven’t ended the relationship with their ex.

I’ve actually read research that says if your partner keeps bringing up and/or talking about someone from work, school, or etc. it is a sign they may be cheating.  In this case we are assuming you aren’t married and just beginning to date.  If they continually talk about their ex then guard your heart, because they likely still have feelings for them  I don’t think this means you have to “ditch” them, but you should be careful.

If they are searching for the ex online or hitting their Facebook on a regular basis then “buyer beware.”  But remember, we are all curious so don’t jump to conclusions if it is just an occasional glance at the social media sites.  Now, if they are constantly in touch with the ex through Facebook, email, and even talking on the phone then I would recommend you tell them to give you a call when they are ready to move on!

The last three in the list above seem obvious, but in case you are like me and a slightly naive lets talk about them.  If your new love interest gets visually upset that their ex is in a new relationship then take three steps back, turn to the right, and make a run for it.  Yes, we all get a little jealous even when we don’t want an ex, but if it goes beyond that then their heart is still on the mend.

The last two can be combined, because they are obviously a huge red flag!  If it has been less than three months since your new beau or beauty’s breakup then they aren’t ready to move on just yet. I’m not saying you shouldn’t move forward, but just know you are rolling the dice on getting your heart broke.  And if they are still in a relationship then they are NOT your new love interest…you are their mistress or gigolo!  I know they may be promising you that one day you’ll be together forever, but it’s likely you will be waiting forever for that to happen.  Run like your ass is on fire!

 

The BJ Shea Interview, Part One: Left on A Doorstep @bjshea

bjBJ Shea is a famous morning show Rock Jock who is dearly loved by many so why was he so damn angry all the time?  Well, when you hear about the first…yes only the first 5 years of his life you will understand.  This is truly a powerful story of a man who has transformed his life by getting honest with himself and others. 

I believe BJ’s story is life changing for those who dare to admit that while it seems they are always right and the world is all wrong…that maybe…just maybe some of their problems in life could have something to do with them.  I was one of those people, and I share some of my own “junk” during this interview as well.   

I have a couple of options for you on this interview with BJ.  You can choose between listening to the full 90 minute interview or you can listen to it in 30 minute segments (Parts 1, 2, 3). 

Full 90 Minute Interview: 

Part One, 30 Minutes of Interview: 

How to Stop Emotional Eating & Take Control of Your Health @_KimberlySnyder

I recently posted a blog about my great experience with the Dr. Oz Rapid 2 Week Weight Loss Program, and the number of people who read it were shocking!  Most of us seem to struggle with getting the weight off, and keeping it off.  Well, part of the reason for that may be because when we are stressed, depressed, anxious, or all of the above we grab something to eat.  And when we hit midlife we can be extremely stressed, which makes it even tougher for us to stay healthy.  Kimberly Snyder gives some of us “emotional eaters” some great tips that will help us turn to the right places and/or food when we are feeling a emotional.

By Kimberly Snyder, How to Stop Emotional Eating & Take Control of Your Health (KimberlySnyder.net):

You settle in at your desk after a particularly stressful meeting, but suddenly feel compelled to get back up, walk around, and…grab a donut. You try to stop yourself by staying at your desk or just continuing to walk past the snacks. You may even think you’ve succeeded for a minute, but that nagging feeling returns.

You sigh. You give in, and for a little while, that rush of dopamine you got from the candy makes you feel better. Then you feel worse because you caved, but you don’t know how to stop emotional eating.

Could you be addicted to food?

The Science Behind Food Addiction

If you feel like you’ll never be able to control yourself around certain comfort foods (they’re different for everyone but usually share a few commonalities) because you lack the willpower, I have three bits of good information for you:

  1. It’s not that you lack willpower.
  2. There’s science involved.
  3. You can stop it.

Really, you can.

But first you have to understand what’s going on in your body—and in your brain—when the urge to eat unhealthy foods, especially in large quantities, sets in. And you have to get to the root of the emotions that are playing off of your addiction.

When you search your soul and stay mindful and prepared, you set yourself up for success in kicking your food addiction and emotional eating habits.

What Happens When You Get What You Want: Giving in to Addiction

As with just about any kind of addiction, your brain gets a shock of feel-good dopamine when you eat what you’re craving. You may feel nearly euphoric (thanks to the opioid production that can accompany high levels of fat or sugar intake) for a minute once you finally give in, but the feeling doesn’t last.

emotional eating 6

You’ve probably experienced something similar (don’t worry, I’m not saying you’re addicted to food if you have!) before. Everyone has cravings. You know the feeling you get when you finally satisfy that craving? Imagine that, amplified and much more difficult to satiate.

I found a study that suggests food addiction works in the same way as drug or alcohol addiction. Not only do certain foods seem irresistible and make you feel good for a minute, but it takes more and more of them over time to satiate your craving. That’s why you may not be able to stop at one cookie, one slice of pizza, or a single handful of chips.

The Link Between Food Addiction and Obesity

Sadly, nobody’s craving massive amounts of kale or carrots when they’re dealing with emotional eating or food addiction. It’s always the salty, sweet, or fatty foods that aren’t good for you. These are often referred to as “highly palatable foods.”

(I find the term kind of funny since I think fruits, veggies, nuts, and grains are highly palatable. Don’t you?)

Sometimes—but not always—food addiction results in obesity because of the types of food usually involved, which can then lead to additional health problems. You don’t have to be obese to suffer from food addiction. And if you’re carrying around some extra pounds on your frame, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re addicted to food.

Signs that You May Be Addicted to Food

Food addiction goes beyond the occasional craving that you sometimes satisfy. Here are some clues that you may be addicted:

  • Once you satisfy the craving, you still want to eat more.
  • You find yourself needing more and more of the food to satisfy the craving.
  • Your eating habits are getting in the way of your health, your weight loss goals, your relationships, or any other aspect of your life.
  • You find yourself eating when you’re not even hungry.
  • When you try to control your eating habits, you find it extremely challenging.
  • You feel anxious or irritable when you try to cut certain foods from your diet.
  • You eat to affect your mood, not just satiate your hunger.
  • Your eating habits make you feel bad about yourself.

For an in-depth look at food addiction and more help determining if you suffer from it, you can take a look at Yale’s Food Addiction Scale.

What Does That Have to Do with Emotional Eating?

For starters, there’s a whole lot of emotion involved in food addiction! Yes, there are the cravings that seem to be almost physical, but there’s probably a nagging feeling that sets off a binge (it can happen with other types of addiction, too). Maybe you can pinpoint it at the time, maybe you can’t.

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Food addiction and emotional eating can feel a little like an endless cycle at times.

There’s anxiety around not eating the foods you want. You eat them. You feel depressed, guilty, or you hate yourself for giving in. That creates a whole new round of negative emotions and guess what? You want to eat more to soothe them. Vicious, right?

The physical body and the mind are linked together, so it’s no wonder that the physical act of eating can sometimes become a way of dealing with the troubles on your mind.

You can break the cycle.

Your mind and body will still be linked, of course, but they’ll both become fresher and lighter. You know how the Beauty Detox books talk about your digestive system getting all gunked up from toxins? Similar situation here—in your mind.

Yes, it’s hard at first, but: It. Is. Possible.

Keep in mind that just because you give in to emotional eating sometimes, that doesn’t mean you’re addicted to food. The tips I’ll share in a minute will help you avoid emotional eating, too, though, so even if you’ve decided you’re not addicted per se, keep reading.

How to Avoid Emotional Eating

Avoiding emotional eating takes mindfulness and preparation.

Recognize It When It Shows Up

Physical hunger and emotional hunger are two very different thing. When you’re physically hungry, it doesn’t matter if it’s a kale salad or a piece of pizza. You just want to eat something to get the gnawing in your stomach to go away. Emotional eating (and food addiction) usually revolves around something a little more specific than that.

emotional eating 4

Are you really hungry?

You can ask yourself this before you reach for a comfort food or before you reach for the next round of whatever it is you’re eating (so you caved and had a donut…tell yourself you satisfied the craving and then move into one of the other methods for fighting emotional eating, like distraction or writing in a journal). If you’re very specific about what you want (like another donut), it’s probably not physical hunger.

Come up with Healthy Alternatives Before the Urge Strikes

Success relies on planning.

Sweet tooth? Try these recipes. See which one’s your favorite and then make sure you always have them around (or at least the ingredients you need):

Keep some of these in the freezer or fridge so they’re nearby when you want to eat and you want something sweet. Though desserts should still be enjoyed in moderation, at least this way you’re getting whole foods, not unhealthy ingredients from processed foods.

If you tend to go for savory snacks or fatty ones instead, try:

Distract Yourself

At Work:

A short walk may not be your thing. I know on a limited level, when I really wanted to eat some of the sweets in the office, a quick walk through the building wasn’t enough. If anything, I might have found myself walkingtoward the candy bucket. It works for some people, but it was never enough for me.

Granted, at work you’re probably kind of limited on options, but if you have a little bit of freedom to come and go as you like (to a degree), try taking a five to ten minute walk outside in the sunshine. Get on Pinterest (set a timer!) or watch a funny YouTube video (just make sure it’s not one of the 20 minute ones! Keep it short!).

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Even a few deep breaths, eyes closed, may do the trick (put on some headphones or go hide in the bathroom if your desk area’s not quiet enough). Emotional eating is inspired by stress, and if you can learn tomanage that stress, you’re so much closer to avoiding that junk food you really don’t want to eat.

If the treats you’re craving aren’t in the break room, you could go in there and make yourself a cup of tea. Keep a few bags of your favorite flavor at your desk.

At Home:

At home, you have a number of options:

  • Walk the dog.
  • Look up fitness classes you can take and have a list somewhere in your house so you can easily get up and attend one you love if it’s available at the time.
  • Do a quick yoga sequence (Kim has some on YouTube!).
  • Write, even if it’s just a note to someone you love.
  • Call a friend.
  • Clean a room in your house.
  • Dance out the stress with your favorite music blasting.
  • Meditate.
  • Take a nap.

Dive into Your Feelings with a Journal

I don’t suffer from food addiction, but I have been overcome by occasional bouts of emotional eating in the past. I know the guilt and general feeling of, “What just happened and why did I do that?” that replace those good feelings that the dopamine provides.

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Journaling is your best friend. You may be feeling a little skeptical. I was. I thought I didn’t have time. I thought I wouldn’t learn anything I didn’t already know. After all, it was all in my head already, right?

Sometimes you have to write things down to see what you really think or feel, though. Have you ever tried to knit or crochet? Tug on that one string and you begin to unravel the skein and turn it into something useable. Try to use the whole skein at once and you get nowhere.

Writing is like that. You’re forced to take a little at a time and digest it.Then comes the next bit, and you’re able to work through whatever’s bothering you in much more manageable pieces.

It’s also like talking to a friend without having to unload on someone else (I know some people don’t like to do that, and if you’re not even sure what’s bothering you, it may be intimidating to just start talking with an actual person).

Journaling is private, it’s cheap, and it’s totally worth it. It also doesn’t hinder your weight loss or health goals.

Think you don’t have time to sit down and write? Think about what you would be doing instead. Would you be in front of the television with a box of cookies or ice cream? Even one show is 30 minutes and that’s plenty of time to get a good start.

The goal is to get to the core cause of the emotions that are making you want to eat unhealthy things, especially when you’re not even hungry.

Tiny Buddha has amazing tips for using a journal to heal and thrive. Too Much on Her Plate takes a slightly different approach and talks about using a food journal not to record every little bite you eat, but how you feel before, during, and after eating.

You Won’t Be Perfect Overnight, and That Is Okay!

Anything worth doing takes thought, mindfulness, dedication, and work. Learning how to stop emotional eating and take your life and health back into your own hands is no exception. You won’t be perfect overnight. Don’t expect to be. It’s okay.

We’re all works in progress. If we’re not dealing with food addiction and emotional eating, it’s something else. Maybe it’s stress. Maybe it’s staying mindful and present at all (or most) times. No one is perfect, but we can all strive to become our best selves.

Love yourself. Appreciate yourself. Accept yourself, whether you’ve successfully avoided a prime emotional eating opportunity or you had a slip-up. Vow to continue with your goals no matter what, and it will get easier.

Do you suffer from food addiction or emotional eating? Do you have any tips of your own to share? If not, which of the tips above do you think you’ll be trying soon?

The post How to Stop Emotional Eating and Take Control of Your Healthappeared first on kimberlysnyder.

Why Giving A Sh#! Could Be Ruining Your Life

tomI’ve always loved the expression, “I just don’t give a shit.”  In my professional opinion it’s a sign you are getting healthier and happier when you are saying it several times a day!  In fact, I bet you have found yourself admiring those who you believe simply don’t give a shit.  And that is my hope and prayer for you today my blessed friends.  I want you to increase the amount of times you don’t give a shit in life.  It will make you a much happier person, and this is especially true when you can say I don’t give a shit:

  • What others think about me.
  • What others say about me.
  • What others think I should do.
  • What others think I should believe.
  • What others will think of this decision.
  • What others will think about the way I look.

And those are just a few of the “don’t give a shits” I could think of at this moment.  So if you can think of others please feel free to add them below in the comment section!  It is when we give a shit about other’s opinion(s) of us that we can be lead into a world of hypocrisy, and even more detrimental…a world where we fail to be ourselves.

I don’t want you to think I am saying we should treat others poorly or be arrogant.  I simply want to encourage you to stop…stop giving a shit what everyone else thinks.  There are always times in life where we need to mold our behavior to fit the expectations of others, because it is the way we stay employed, get through school, and generally succeed in life.  However, it should not be a way of life.  If conforming to the expectations of others is something we are doing more often than not then it can lead to depression and anxiety.

I’ll be honest with you by admitting this is still a tough one for me.  In fact, I think it is very difficult for those of us that were raised in the world of legalistic Christianity.  I actually noticed one of my pastor friends using the LMBO on Facebook, because he didn’t want to offend anyone by even using the initial for the word “ass” in LMAO.  I can’t tell you the number of pastors and Christians I’ve known who told me they won’t drink a beer or glass of wine in a restaurant where they may see someone they know, and then they may say, “But if I go out-of-town I will!”  You probably have to be from the south to understand the logic in that completely illogical way of thinking.  But regardless of our religious beliefs we all have a group of people we tend to conform and perform for don’t we?  And if we aren’t careful we can go through life performing and conforming, which means we are never truly being ourselves.  So my challenge to you today is to stop performing and conforming, and that my friends will be very…transforming.

PLEASE SHARE WITH OTHERS BY CLICKING ONE OF THE BUTTONS BELOW, and please stop giving a shit!

6 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Marrying or Moving In with Someone with Children

step kidsI am at that age where I meet a lot of people who are getting remarried.  And when you get remarried in your 30s or 40s there is a very good chance you will getting a package deal.  In other words, your new hubby or honey will have children.  As I’ve told you before I was very lucky in that Amy’s child was only 3 when we got married, which made it much easier than if she had been a teenager.  And she and I quickly bonded, I love her, and I consider her to be mine all mine!  However, I’m sorry to say that is very rare.  I have lost track of the number of people I have counseled or simply had conversations with that had very bad experiences with step-children.  And quite honestly after hearing many of their stories I felt sorry for them.  As we all know, kids can be cruel…especially to a step-parent.  But there are also some stories that I hear, and I want to say, “Your expectations for the children are way too high.”  And there have been times I have asked, “You really don’t like those kids do you?”  And they look at me like I’m a horrible person, because of course they love the children…their children for goodness sake!  They don’t want to admit they simply don’t like their new spouse’s children, because they believe it will make them look like a bad person.  

I’m going to say something that may upset you, and I want to be honest in saying I have no research to back it up.  This statement is based solely on my observations over the last 20 years of working with people, and while it sounds sexist and judgmental I assure you that’s not my intention.  Here it goes…I believe it’s much easier and likely for a man to accept another man’s child than for a woman to accept another woman’s child.  Yes, I’m bluntly saying I believe it is easier for a man to love and accept children from his new wife’s previous marriage, than it is for women to bond with, love, and accept his children from a previous marriage.  Now here is the good news for some of you.  This is almost a moot point if the children are grown and out of the home.  And when I say out…I mean out-out.  As in they ain’t moving back in, and they will rarely be dragging their ass through your front door!  However, if they are still in the home then “buyer beware!”

I’ve come up with a few questions that I believe people need to ask their selves before dating or marrying someone with children, and this is especially true for women.  And ladies I’m not being critical of you, and please understand your answers to the following questions don’t make you a bad person!  I hope you will share some of your thoughts in the comment section below, but here are some of my questions that I would like for you to ask yourself:

1)  Will you expect your spouse’s children to obey your rules?

  • You may say, “Well of course.”  And I would say, “I don’t blame you”, but guess what?  The rules they have at their other home may be very different from those that you have for them.  And they are kids who might very well do what they want to do.  So how will you handle that?  Will you explode, negotiate, or run for the hills?

2)  Will you expect your spouse’s children to follow your religious or moral code?

  • Do you attend church every week, and think they should as well?  How different is your ethical code from theirs?

3)  Will you expect your spouse to agree to the forms of disciple you believe are appropriate?

  • How do you think discipline can be handled, and what will you do if your spouse doesn’t discipline behavior you believe should be disciplined?

4)  Will you expect your spouse’s children to follow your rules of cleanliness and structure?

  • So are you one of those people who thinks everything has its place, and when you say dinner is at 6:00 you don’t mean 6:15?  When you find your stepchild’s room a mess, or their stinky shoes in the middle of your living room floor how will you handle it?

5)  Will you expect your spouse to defend you when there is a disagreement between you and one of his or her children?

  • When I do premarital counseling I usually say the following, “Remember, he (she) can talk bad about their momma, but you can’t.”  The same is true for your future spouse’s children.  They know their kids aren’t perfect, and there will be times they are ready to explode in anger, but they don’t want to hear you talk smack about their kids.  So if you want to avoid the “You never take my side” argument it will take you choosing your words and especially adjectives carefully.

6:  Would you trust your children to be home alone with your spouse’s children?

  • I don’t think I need to say much more about this question, but if your child will be home with his new step-brother or sister would you be concerned?

If you will notice, 5 out of the 6 questions have the word “expect” in them, and when it comes to marriage…lots of expectations can lead to lots of problems!  We can all have hopes, but expectation often times really mean “this is a must.”  Again, the answers to the above questions don’t mean you are a good or bad person.  They are simply intended for you to be honest with yourself and your significant other.

My wife Amy literally said to me, “If you would have had children when we met then I wouldn’t have gone out with you.”  She absolutely loves children, and is the best mother I could have ever asked to have for our children, but she knew she wouldn’t do well with weekend visits from another woman’s kids.  I would encourage you to take these questions to your future spouse, and go over them together.  And whatever you do…before you walk down the aisle spend a lot of time with the children in family type settings.  Play games together and go on trips together if you can afford to do so.  Get way past the honeymoon phase of a relationship before you say those two very powerful words “I do.”  Because you aren’t just saying “I do marry you.”  You are also saying, “I marry you and them.”  And just a side note…when I officiate a wedding the word “expect” is no where to be found in the vows.

Please share this on your Facebook/Twitter, and post your comments below.  Almost 40,000 people have read this blog and they could use YOUR advice.

 

 

I’m Coming Out of The Closet!

weddingringesequalitysamesexmarriage2World Vision sure stirred the religious pot over the last couple of weeks!  In case you missed it, they made a public statement that they would lift their ban on hiring those in a same-sex marriage.  It was a very bold statement and move by a Christian organization, and many of us here in the Northwest applauded them.  However, it wasn’t long until some very prominent evangelical leaders openly condemned them, and several thousand donors cancelled their child sponsorships over the new policy.  A few days later World Vision realized they were going to lose a substantial amount of funding, and released the following statement:

“We listened to [our] friends, we listened to their counsel. They tried to point out in loving ways that the conduct policy change was simply not consistent … with the authority of Scripture and how we apply Scripture to our lives,” said Stearns. “We did inadequate consultation with our supporters. If I could have a do-over on one thing, I would have done much more consultation with Christian leaders.”

“What we are affirming today is there are certain beliefs that are so core to our Trinitarian faith that we must take a strong stand on those beliefs, We cannot defer to a small minority of churches and denominations that have taken a different position.”

“Yes, we will certainly defer on many issues that are not so central to our understanding of the Christian faith, but on the authority of Scripture in our organization’s work [and employee conduct] … and on marriage as an institution ordained by God between a man and a woman—those are age-old and fundamental Christian beliefs. We cannot defer on things that are that central to the faith.”

I wish that I could say that this is all surprising to me, but unfortunately I understand the fundamentalist world much too well.  This is going to come as a shock to some of you, but growing up in the Baptist church I heard one or two people talk poorly about gay people.  In fact, I was taught that God opened up a big ole can of whoop-ass on a city because of all the homosexuality.  By the time I was a teenager I was fairly fond of boobies so I was extremely thankful that I was not going to be burned to a crisp for being a “lover of my own kind.” And since I didn’t know of any openly gay people it wasn’t something I spent much time thinking about.  And then I met Steven!

I was in my first semester of seminary, and working for a large radio company when I met Steven.  And he is one of those gay men that didn’t come out of the closet quietly…he ran out of it screaming “I am gay hear me roar.”  In fact, we were on the same radio show together, and he went by “Big Gay Steven.”  Did I mention this was in TEXAS?  I have to admit that I was a little scared of him at first.  He was purposefully flamboyant, and because he knew I was studying to be a minister he enjoyed watching me squirm.  He would often ask me for a hug, and ask me if I thought “queers would go to hell?”  As time went by something very strange happened…I began to consider Steven a dear friend.  And in the process I also learned a great deal.  One of the most important things I learned was that who someone finds sexually attractive is not a choice.

For the last few years I have lived in the pacific northwest where I have had the privilege of getting to know many who are gay.  I almost used the phrase “gay community”, but they are not part of a gay community…they are part of the community.  They are wonderful folks that love their partners, their children, and believe it or not…some actually love Jesus! And I personally believe that Jesus loves them as well.  The heartbreak in the World Vision story is the fact that there are Christians and Christian “leaders” who are using their power to bully an organization into discriminating against a part of our community.

Let this sink in for a moment…people withdrew their financial support of starving and sick children, because World Vision said they would consider hiring those in a same-sex marriage.  World Vision didn’t say they condoned same-sex marriage or a homosexual lifestyle they simply said they would not discriminate against them, and that caused people to get angry, lash out, and withdraw support.  I can’t help but wonder if the same thing happened years ago when companies stated that they would begin hiring certain minority groups. I hope those who disagree with World Vision will take the “high road” and still continue to support the children who need it.

Now, let me end by telling you why I’m writing this on my blog that is supposed to focus on midlife issues.  It’s because I have reached the point in my life where I have decided to be me.  For too many years I said what I thought others wanted me to say, did what I thought others wanted me to do, and followed belief systems that were handed to me by others. And I allowed that to keep me from stepping forward and showing my love and support for those who are gay.  So I want to come out of my closet, and openly express my support for a group of people who for far too long were forced into the closet.  My wife Amy is truly the love of my life, and I can’t imagine someone saying to me, “Tony because of my religious beliefs I can’t allow you to get married, and share your life together.”  It would crush my spirit to live in a world that didn’t allow me to share my life with someone that I love.  I don’t think we all have to share the same belief system, but we should all be able to share our life with those we love.

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The Movie Noah: Don’t Miss The Point By Drowning in The Flood of Criticism.

leadI’m going to go see the movie Noah this week, and I’m honestly not looking forward to it.  I’m not big on going to movies based on Biblical stories, and I’m not completely sure why.  For example, I never went to see “The Passion of The Christ.”  I’ve read the Biblical account several times, and to watch that kind of pain inflicted on someone doesn’t appeal to me whatsoever.  And the story of Noah is equally gruesome.  It actually may be more so, because death by drowning couldn’t possibly be a pleasant experience, and I don’t want to spoil the movie for some of you, but a few people and animals are killed by a flood!

Within minutes of the first person seeing the film there was a FLOOD of Facebook posts criticizing the story for not being Biblically based.  Surely I’m not the only one that knew that Director Darren Aronofsky would take a few creative liberties?  And I can’t say that I blame him, because there are a lot of unanswered questions from the Biblical account.  And honestly there are a few (not many) discrepancies in the Biblical account of the flood.  So how was Aronofsky supposed to fill in those blanks?  Please don’t think I’m trying to prove a point one way or another here, but let me give you some of the questions that many “unbelievers” have about the story of Noah.  And ask yourself how you would have answered the cynics throughout the film:

Genesis 7:6 Noah was six hundred years old when the flood water’s came on the earth. And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood.

  • Eight Bronze-Age humans over 500-years-old built a watercraft the size of a football stadium with only felled trees and pitch?

Genesis6:19 You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you.
Answers In Genesis posits that Noah gathered “kinds” of animals and not all “species,” an estimated 16,000 pairs, which raises a few animal-related questions:

  • How, exactly, did eight extreme senior citizens load, manage and care for 32,000 animals?
  • What about specialized diets (bamboo for the giant panda, meat for the carnivores, fresh vegetation for the herbivores)?
  • Who cleaned each stall and shoveled the tons of daily excrement through the huge ark’s single window?
  • How did they separate the predator and prey animals? Did the lion lay with the lamb?
  • How do you explain the acquisition and loading of animals not indigenous to the Middle East (many separated by oceans), like the polar bear, the sloth, the crocodile, the fruit bat, the anaconda, etc? And how did the penguins and other cold-climate creatures survive in the blistering desert heat?
  • Wouldn’t freshwater rains from the sky have made the saltwater deadly to ocean marine life? And wouldn’t saltwater have proven equally toxic to all freshwater fish? If water boiled up from beneath the earth’s crust, wouldn’t water temperature changes in the delicate ecosystem have also had a deadly effect?
  • Dinosaurs on the ark. Did they exit the boat and THEN get hit by a comet?

Genesis 7:19-20 {the waters} They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than twenty feet.

  • This would require steady, planet-wide rainfall at the rate of 6 inches per minute, 360 inches an hour, for 40 days and 40 nights, covering Mount   Everest under 22 feet of water. How, exactly, did Noah measure this for the record? Where has all of the water gone since? And why is there no legitimate geological evidence of a global flood?

Genesis 8:8 Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground.

  • Why did Noah require a dove to find land (Genesis 8) if he and God were on speaking terms in Genesis 6?

Genesis 8:15-16 Then God said to Noah, “Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives. Bring out every kind of living creature that is with you—the birds, the animals, and all the creatures that move along the ground—so they can multiply on the earth and be fruitful and increase in number on it.”

  • When the ark landed, what did the carnivores eat? All other animal life had been drowned. And vegetation would’ve also been wiped out in the flood, so what did the herbivores eat to survive?

Genesis 9:1 Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.

  • 8 people of middle-eastern descent practiced incest to produce over 5,000 of today’s ethnic groups in only a few hundred generations?

Genesis 9:20 Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent.

  • The only guy worth saving spent his latter days drunk and naked ?  MY SIDE NOTE:  If you spent that much time with your family in an enclosed Carnival Cruise on crack wouldn’t you start drinking?  

Source:  The Thinking Atheist 

Those are just some of the questions that needed to be answered to make the movie.  Now, if you believe in an all-powerful God then you would say, “Well I’m not sure how He did it, but he was able to do it.”  And that is fine, but again…if you make a movie you have to somehow give people a visual. I believe that we also have to understand that this movie appears to take from a small variety of ancient stories about a worldwide flood, such as The Epic of Gilgamesh.  I am by no means an expert on mythology so I looked up the similarities between the story of Noah and The Epic of Gilgamesh and found the following table:

 

GENESIS

GILGAMESH

Extent of flood Global Global
Cause Man’s wickedness Man’s sins
Intended for whom? All mankind One city & all mankind
Sender Yahweh Assembly of “gods”
Name of hero Noah Utnapishtim
Hero’s character Righteous Righteous
Means of announcement Direct from God In a dream
Ordered to build boat? Yes Yes
Did hero complain? Yes Yes
Height of boat Several stories (3) Several stories (6)
Compartments inside? Many Many
Doors One One
Windows At least one At least one
Outside coating Pitch Pitch
Shape of boat Rectangular Square
Human passengers Family members only Family & few others
Other passengers All species of animals All species of animals
Means of flood Ground water & heavy rain Heavy rain
Duration of flood Long (40 days & nights plus) Short (6 days & nights)
Test to find land Release of birds Release of birds
Types of birds Raven & three doves Dove, swallow, raven
Ark landing spot Mountain — Mt. Ararat Mountain — Mt. Nisir
Sacrificed after flood? Yes, by Noah Yes, by Utnapishtim
Blessed after flood? Yes Yes

So my point today is to simply say that we may need to be somewhat sympathetic to the writers and directors of “Noah”, because it isn’t an easy story to tell.  And I found many sources that said that some of the staff and possibly the directors are atheist.  So I don’t think they approached this movie in a way that most Christians had hoped.  The point I hope we can all walk away with is that as human beings we are given the responsibility to love each other, and to take care of the earth we have been given.  If we choose to continue on the path we are currently on then thousands or millions of years from now there will be another tragic story to be told about the destruction of the earth and most of mankind. However, this time God will not be the one to take the blame.

The Adventures of Fanny P.

...because life is just one big adventure...

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