Considering Posts and Comments

It happened again. One of my Facebook friends began a post by saying, “I’m breaking my rule about political posts…” or something to that effect. I’ve done it. You’ve likely done it, too. You post something, or comment on something with the best intention (at least you think so) and then all h___ breaks loose in the comments section. Or, you read something and add your 2 cents to the comment section, and the responses are eye-popping. Whoa. Where did THAT come from?

It has happened so often in the last few months that I am creating my own set of “rules” for Facebook. Please, please – I’m not perfect at this by any means. I’ve made my share of bad shares and posts and comments. I’ve jumped in where it was none of my business. However, I think we can all do better, don’t you? After all, the people on Facebook are called friends.

True friends not only treat each other with kindness and respect, they treat their friend’s friends with kindness and respect, right?



Good stuff, right? Here are a few more personal filters that I am trying to apply.

  1. Before posting or commenting, have I considered my “audience?” I have a pretty big friends list. Sometimes I’m surprised by the comments generated by my posts. Friends will surface that I haven’t heard from in months – maybe ever. Most of us have people on our friends list that come from very different political, religious and philosophical viewpoints than we hold personally. If I’m going to post that comment or link to an article or blog, I need to be aware of how it might come across to the people I call friends and family. Not to say that we must stifle everything we post because it might offend someone. If it passes the THINK test, go ahead. Just be prepared – some friend or family member might disagree. Publicly.
  2. Before posting or commenting, have I considered my motivation? This one is a little tougher and takes some self-awareness.
    Often when I read an article, post or blog, I have a visceral response. My thoughts go something like this,”OH! This is SO good.” Hit share. Do so without thinking.

    “OH! So and so needs to read this!” Hit share. Do so without thinking.

    “OH! This person is such an idiot!” Comment. Do so without thinking.

    “OH! This is lie, or an exaggeration, or just plain stupid.” MUST SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT! (Because after all, I know everything.) COMMENT IN ALL CAPS TO GET MY POINT ACROSS. Do so without thinking.

    “OH! This will convince ____________ that they are: voting for the wrong person/ have the wrong opinion/are stupid/should think just like me.” Post or comment. Do so without thinking.

  3. Here’s my test to see if any of the above are true of me:
    1. Do I feel my blood pressure rising?
    2. Did my lip curl as I typed? (This is a real thing. Pay attention next time you type one of those stinging responses.)
    3. Does this post or comment give the impression that I am smarter or superior than the author of the post or previous comment?
    4. Am I angry?

If any of the above are true, it’s probably time to go read a good book, or pray, or take a walk, or drink a cup of tea, or remember that I am not God. It’s time to picture that real person sitting beside me having a real conversation. It’s time to remember that they are real life, flesh and blood human beings – regardless of their political or religious views.

Let’s be kind to each other, please. Let’s treat each other with love and respect. Pause before you pontificate. Stop before you speak. Take your fingers off the keyboard for a minute before you type. 

Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32 The MESSAGE



My country – indeed the world it seems – is locked in the grip of fear and anger. Black, white, civilian, police officer, Muslim, Christian, LGBT, straight; humans all over the world are weeping, angry, afraid, confused, trying to make sense of the senseless. I’ve read the articles and Tweets, and Facebook posts and the ensuing comments. I’ve watched the news as it has unfolded tonight. And I’ve wept.

There are differences; differences of opinion, worldview, religion, race, and culture. But we have one thing in common. The color red.

Black. Red.
White. Red.
Civilian. Red.
Police Officers. Red.
Muslim. Red.
Christian. Red.
LGBT. Red.
Straight. Red.
Human. Red.

The blood that ran from wounds; the life that ebbed from human beings was all the same. Red.

The life that runs through our veins is red. Every. Single. Living. Person.

For just one moment, can we remember that? Can we remember that we are all made of the same stuff? Can we remember that there are broken hearts of every color, ideology, religion, and orientation who are grieving. Let there be a cry of lament. Let us hold one another in tenderness. Let’s stop talking, and writing for just a moment and grieve. Let us pray for wisdom, unity, peace, understanding and hope. And let us remember the color red.

Sorting It All Out

Out of Sorts

I just finished my second reading of Sarah Bessey’s new book, Out of Sorts: Making Peace with and Evolving Faith. My copy is highlighted and underlined and dog-eared. Out of Sorts, is beauty, challenge, truth, grace, hope and faith, all beautifully chronicled by a young woman whose faith has not only survived the sorting – but thrived in it.

Here’s the thing. My generation (I’m approaching my 60th birthday) did not leave much room for sorting out the quirks, inconsistencies and failures of our shared faith traditions. To doubt or question would be betrayal. Best to just follow the party line and not ask too many questions. But there were questions. There still are. Bessey’s little book is a breath of air, a sigh of relief to those who dare to open that sealed box of questions without fear. Doubt is not the opposite of faith. Certainty is. Out of Sorts allows us the space to look honestly at our doubts and come away with a truer, more genuine faith.

With great tenderness, Bessey sorts through theology, the way we read the Bible, the Church, friendship and community, the Holy Spirit, grief, justice and calling and more. The most compelling thing about this book is not that we need to sort out our evolving faith, (and whose faith isn’t evolving, really?) but that at the end of the sorting, there is so much beauty, truth and grace to be found.

In a day when it seems popular to write scathing critiques about the state of the Church, Christian faith and practice, Sarah Bessey’s gentle expose highlights the beauty of our faith without ignoring our flaws. Bessey says,

“After the fury, after the rebellion, after the wrestling, after the weighing and the sifting and the casting off and putting on, after the contemplation and the wilderness–after the sorting–comes the end of the striving and then comes rest.”

And, after all that, there is Jesus.


My 60th Year

Classic 55

Yes – it’s true. My birthday this year is a big one. 30 was kind of a joke, even though my friends made a HUGE deal of it complete with black armbands and styrofoam gravestones that said, “RIP Vicki’s Youth.” 40 was actually fun and funny. When the number 40 flashes in strands of Christmas lights in front of a crowd of hundreds of people – you just have to roll with it. 50 was uneventful. Actually, I liked the 50s. I finally felt confident (mostly) and really, truly grown up. In my 50s, I went back to school and earned a Masters Degree. In my 50s I had the courage to walk away from my comfort zone and into something new. But I’m 3/4 of the way through my 60th year and I have to admit, this one is bothering me a bit. I guess that’s why I reacted so strongly to a devotional I read earlier this month. Here’s what I wrote in my journal that morning.

“I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I just read an Ann Voskamp devotional about cherishing what we have now, and not missing moments of grace. In it, she talked about taking her “white-haired” Mama to the beach on her birthday, and how she might only have a decade left with her, and how much she will miss her when she’s gone. So, I’m thinking her mom might be in her 80s or something. Then she writes that her mom is 61. SIXTY-ONE!!!! Gaaaah! Are you kidding me? Is that the way my kids see me at 59? One foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel? For pity sakes.

But – I have a confession to make. We had dinner with long time friends the other night. We’ve been friends since our kids were little, well over 30 years. We talked and laughed about retirement and getting older. As I left, the thought DID cross my mind – I wonder who will leave us first? How many more lively dinners, camping trips, lunch dates and celebrations do we have until one of us breathes our last?

So – I’ll begrudgingly give voice to Ann’s conclusion.

The way to experience unlimited elation may be to imagine unexpected limitations. Imagine losing sight and open your eyes to a brighter light. No water, and the next cold glass becomes desert rain. Envision life without the loveliness of those you love — and you see how much you love.

So – I guess I’ll embrace those I love, and not take one more day for granted. To the man who’s 90 year old mother lies paralyzed in a hospital bed because of a stoke, I say, thank God for those days well past four score and ten. To the mom and dad who sit by the bedside of a critically ill four year old waiting to see what the days and years ahead will hold, I say, hold him, tell him you love him, thank God for the way he has brightened your life and trust God that he will live to see his 60th birthday. To to the 30 year old mom with breast cancer, I say, squeeze the very most out of every single day. Believe that you will see your son grow up. To all of us who tend to treat life like it was an inexhaustible commodity, I say, wake up. The days are speeding by. Don’t miss the grace each day holds. Start that new business, make friends with your neighbors, volunteer at that homeless shelter, tell your redemption story, read stories to your kids and grandkids, wrestle and run and play, celebrate each day. Let the glory of Jesus Christ be reflected in every moment of your everyday life. And above all, live a life of love.

Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love.

Love you!

I just listened in on the last bit of a phone conversation between my husband and one of our sons. The reason for the phone call was the latest hunting report, so there was lots of laughter and a little advice. The conversation ended with the admonition to be careful and then the words, “Love you!” I could tell from the pause, that the son responded in kind.

I got to thinking about that little phrase, how often I use it, to end a text, a phone call, a conversation with a dear friend or loved one. Then suddenly I remembered how conversations with my Dad ended – particularly in his later years. Dad was part of the greatest generation. Words did not come easy for him. There was much love and affection in our home, but from Dad, it was reserved. I’d go so far as to say he was shy about it. Dad was raised by a stern, conservative, hard-working father. His mother died when he was six years old. It was to Dad’s credit that he learned to be affectionate and to say what he felt.

When I would say goodbye to my Dad, whether on the phone or in person, I would say, “Love you, Dad.” and he always responded in the same way. His voice changed – softened, and he said slowly and clearly, “I love you too, sis.” No quick, “Love you!” from Dad. He always said it in a way that made sure I knew he meant every word.

I’m not sure why that memory surfaced tonight. Maybe it was the conversation between a father and son. Maybe that, and the song that keeps playing over and over in my head and heart,

You’re a good, good father
It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are
And I’m loved by you,
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am

When I hear the Father say, “I love you.” It’s not a quick, “Love you!” I hear it the way my Dad would have said it.

We love each other because he loved us first. 1 John 4:19

Green Tomatoes

My Dad grew the most amazing gardens. We had fresh vegetables all summer long and ate the produce that Mom and Grandma canned throughout the winter months. Gardens are awesome. I’ve always thought it would be fun to try my hand at gardening, but our house in Chehalis was in the woods with a yard that was not very conducive for gardening. I managed to grow a few pots of flowers, but never anything edible.

Three years ago, we moved to a sunny little neighborhood mostly void of trees, with a yard that had a perfect spot for a garden. Still, we were gone a lot during the summer and I never got that garden started. But this year, I was determined to grow something. I tried starting with seeds, but that was a dismal failure. So, I went to a nursery and bought plants; lettuce, tomatoes and basil, and I planted them in containers.

lettuce basil


As you can see, the lettuce and basil are growing like crazy. I simply stuck those plants in some dirt, made sure they got enough water and did my best to keep the pests from eating them, and they grew! Gardening success! I’ve already harvested lots of yumminess from both and they just keep growing. If you want to have nearly instant gratification, grow lettuce and basil. (From nursery starts of course!)

The tomatoes are doing fine, too, but the gratification is not nearly so instantaneous. I am impatiently waiting for the harvest.


Green tomatoes

These were supposed to be cherry tomatoes, too. Ooops. Somebody goofed.

cherry tomatoes

Super Sweet 100s.


I can hardly wait for those few orangey-red orbs to ripen. And the green ones? Good grief they are taking forever to ripen! I have visions of sun ripened cherry tomatoes (the ones on the right) with fresh basil and mozzarella, drizzled with a balsamic reduction. And salsa. And BLTs. Ooo, I can almost taste it. But. Not. Yet.

Not yet. Like green tomatoes, there are some things that I have planted in my life that seem to be taking a painfully long time to yield a harvest. If possible, I may be even more impatient about those things than I am about my tomatoes. I want to see that fulfillment of the hopes and dreams the Spirit has planted in my heart. I want affirmative answers to my prayers. Now. Instead, I have green tomatoes and I wonder if they will ever ripen. And so I wait, confident that there will be a harvest.

Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.
Psalm 5:3



A Blessed Life

Proverbs 20:7 NLT


The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them.

Integrity. You can see the results in a person’s life, but what gives a life stability and strength is the structure that can’t be seen. From the outside, my Dad was a simple, quiet, humble man who loved his family, worked hard and did what was right. But much like an ice berg – where only 10 % is visible – the invisible part of his life was where his integrity originated. Dad’s inner life was rock solid. His faith in Jesus Christ – unwavering. My family is blessed because my Dad lived a life of integrity.

The word blessed is hard to define. Sometimes the word is translated “happy.” But, much like integrity – it’s easier to see the effects of the blessed life than it is to assign words to define it. As I thought about Dad’s life and how it blessed me and my family, I thought of some ways that are easy to identify, but hard to define.

We were blessed to have a home that was absent of strife and anger. We were blessed to live a simple and uncomplicated life. We were blessed by having one mom and one dad who loved each other faithfully for nearly 63 years. We were blessed by a Dad who kept his promises, one we could always, always depend on. We were blessed to have a Dad who loved us unconditionally. We were blessed by a godly Dad who demonstrated true humility and sacrifice; who thought of others first and understood that true happiness comes when you place the needs and happiness of those you love before your own temporary happiness.

That is a blessed life.

Some people have difficulty with the concept of God as Father. A harsh, abusive, or absent earthly father would certainly make it hard to see God as a good and loving Father. I was truly blessed to have had a father who demonstrated every day, the character of God as loving, kind and good. It’s easy for me to view God that way, because that’s the kind of Dad I had. Dad’s life of integrity not only blessed our family, but his quiet, yet observable testimony blessed many others as well. Dad’s life was the epitome of the saying, “Actions speak louder than words.”

It might be easy to assume that Dad was just a good man, or that he lived the way he did because he was just naturally good. He was one of the good guys, but Dad understood that his own goodness would never get him very far. Very early in his life, Dad trusted Christ as his Savior and Lord and began to allow Christ’s goodness to grow in his life. The seeds of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control, were planted in Dad’s life and grew to maturity. It wasn’t Dad’s goodness that made him such a good man – it was Christ’s.

Zig Ziglar said,

Honesty and integrity are absolutely essential for success in life – all areas of life. The really good news is that anyone can develop both honesty and integrity.”

My Dad showed us that you don’t need to be flashy or loud, or talented, or charismatic or outgoing; you don’t need to be a preacher or a teacher to have influence. You just need to live out your faith in a way that is observable.

Dads, do you want to bless your children? Cultivate a life of integrity.

Head shot

In honor of my Dad.
Leon D. “Shorty” Ames