Wednesday, October 22, 2014

How can a Christian celebrate Halloween?!?



For a long time, we didn't celebrate Halloween.  Philip's first October 31, we weren't going door to door with the other heathens!  No way!  BECAUSE WE DIDN'T CELEBRATE HALLOWEEN.  BECAUSE WE ARE CHRISTIANS.  I have a picture of him from that day, in a precious little lion costume (complete with adorable tail), firmly held in the arms of my church's youth pastor, who was dressed up in a costume at our church's "Harvest Festival" where there was candy and games.

Wait.  Candy?  Games?  Costumes?  ON OCTOBER 31st?!  That sounds like...HALLOWEEN!

It was a few years before I realized that I and anyone else who thought we were avoiding Halloween by attending Fallapalooza or the Harvest Festival or whatever were all kidding ourselves.  We were firmly entrenched in Halloween.

So what was a Christian Mom to do?  Eschew the church festivities?  Lock our doors and turn off the lights?  I was stumped.  So I researched Halloween.  I searched my heart.  I thought about what Jesus would do.

Remember this oldie but goodie?

Yeah, I know you had one.  If you were a true hardcore
Christian nineties kid like ME, you had one in every color.

What WOULD Jesus do about Halloween?  I don't think he'd hole up at home with the lights off and avoid His neighbors.  I don't think he'd go to church and have a pseudo celebration of Halloween with a lot of like minded people either.  I think He would be out in the community, lavishing love on everyone.  So that's what we decided to do.  

Last year, I opened my trunk and sat with a ton of candy and invitations to my church.  I met so many great people.  I asked them if they were looking for a church and wanted a flier.  I gave them all candy.  I hugged people and saw a bunch of cute costumes and tired parents.  One woman and I talked for a long time.  Do you know how weary most people are?  I know I am sometimes.  Parenting and marriage are hard work.  People have a lot on their plates.  If you don't make yourself available to hear them and meet them where they are, how will they see Jesus and know that He cares for them and will be there for them through good times and bad?  I didn't feel any unrest in my Spirit.  In fact, I felt good about what I was doing with this day- for the first time in a long time.  Thankfully handing out candy didn't turn me into a Satan worshiper.  Whew.

How many people have come to Jesus at a Fall Fun Fest?  I don't know any.  How many people have come to Jesus because someone took the time to get to know them and show Him to them right where they are?  All of us.  And you know where everyone is on Halloween?  Trick or treating.  So that is where I am.

Thankfully this year, our church is holding our Fall celebration on a different day.  I think that's a great way to really reach the community.  I'll be there with bells on.  I certainly don't mean to imply that church celebrations shouldn't happen.  But I don't think they should happen on Halloween night.

So there it is.  How this Christian family embraces and celebrates Halloween.

PS.  Get good candy.  You KNOW Jesus would have the best candy.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Mitrofanoff Appendicovesicostomy Moms...Are You Out There?

I'm taking a break from the usual programming here (whatever that means) to reach out for help from anyone with a Mitrofanoff Appendicovesicostomy.


I need help.  My son had his first APV in 2013.  Shortly after he began gushing urine from his stoma.  So the APV was revised in August 2014.  It has begun gushing again.  It's interfering with his daily life.  I need advice from other APV peeps.  What worked for you?  What caused your leaking?  What fixed your leaking?  Did you find a pad of sorts that would keep you dry?


You can leave a comment or email me at victoriaekeen@gmail.com

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

But I Think It's About Forgiveness...




I sometimes joke that my life would make a good Lifetime movie.  It was one of the ways I avoided dealing with all the STUFF.  The sexual and emotional abuse.  The loneliness.  The bullying.  The disappointment and sometimes despair.  The depression and suicidal thoughts. I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at age 14 and it ravaged my mind and body for years. I was physically and emotionally sick.

I suffered for years with the STUFF and the unforgiveness.    The details of my life are probably for other posts (or never), but are mentioned now for serving the purpose of giving you some background for my journey to forgiveness.

I fought dealing with my issues (and then forgiveness) tooth and nail for years. I felt that I had a right to be upset about things that had happened to me. I struggled with bitterness, betrayal and anger (to name a few things).

I embraced being a victim.  It brought me false comfort.

Until I realized that these things held me back from peace and joy.  I realized it was not about the people who had hurt me.  It was about who I was called to be.  And certainly, my anger was not holding anyone back but myself and those I loved.

Working through the STUFF was a slow journey for a while.

The giant leaps came when I had kids, and they started to get older.  By the time Philip was a toddler, I knew it was time to get to work HARD on these issues. I didn't know where else to start but to pray.  I prayed to get to the place of true freedom and forgiveness.  I prayed for love to enter my heart for those who had hurt me.  I needed the bitterness gone.  For me.  For my family.  For the future.

My husband John once pointed out to me that the Lord's prayer says something that we oftentimes overlook..."Forgive me my trespasses as I forgive those who trespass against me." He said that most of us just want to be forgiven but we don't think about the fact that we have probably asked to be forgiven AS WE FORGIVE OTHERS. Ouch. If God were to forgive me the way I used to forgive others, I would be in a sad situation.


One day, I came to the realization that God loved the people who hurt me as much as He loved Philip or Gracie.  That thought knocked me to the ground the first time.  He loves me even when I hurt others.  The worst things I have ever done were not too much for Him.  He forgave me.  I asked God to show me how to love others the way He loves them.

I had to get rid of my thirst for revenge.  I had to trust that God is just, and has my best interests at heart.  I could not bring about this vengeance anyhow.  If I was working on justice or revenge, I could not be working on my peace at the same time.

I started actively praying for those who had hurt me.  I felt victory for the first time.  I slowly moved from a victim mentality to a victor mentality.


Nothing bad comes from forgiveness.  It is something that when done, brings good things like peace and restoration.  Joy.  For you.  For your family.  Don't let anyone tell you forgiveness is for the weak.  It is for the brave and the strong.

It is not something I have complete victory over.  Sometimes I will catch myself in a truly nasty thought towards someone.  Then I know that I have let my guard down and have not forgiven.  I try to make it right immediately.  I am on a constant path to peace and forgiveness.  Sometimes forgiveness has to happen fifteen times a day.

Don't be mistaken; forgiveness does not mean access.  It is important to remember this.  You can forgive someone and still realize that they are unsafe, and should not be part of your life.  Forgiveness does not mean forgetting. It doesn't mean being a target or a doormat.

Forgiveness means dwelling on the good in your life and not the bad in your past.  It means releasing someone's hold on your life because that will bring freedom and peace.



Monday, September 1, 2014

Amazing opportunity during September!



Joining Mary Kay is one of the best decisions I've ever made.  The minute I signed up, I was surrounded by women who provided me and my family with support during my son's many hospital visits.  They hardly knew me, but they took care of us when they knew there was a need.  Not only that, but I have the opportunity to make money, and my skin is looking better than ever!  My favorite product right now is the TimeWise Repair Volu-Fill Deep Wrinkle Filler because LOOK at the results I got after just ONE application!


Join or shop here today!


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Sobering Moment Between an Atheist and Me (a Christian)

For all you pearl clutchers, there is nudity AND profanity in the following post.  Usually I eschew both, but I am hoping that others will be similarly shocked into deep thought by the image like I was.

I heard a story once (internet legend? true? either way, the point got to me) of a pastor who opened his sermon with the following quote:

"I have three things I'd like to say today. First, while you were sleeping last night, 30,000 kids died of starvation or diseases related to malnutrition. Second, most of you don't give a shit. What's worse is that you're more upset with the fact that I said shit than the fact that 30,000 kids died last night."

Wow.  That hit home.  I am known as a bit of a goody two shoes (though I might be veering from that a little, which is a whole other blog post.)  I have not looked at Christianity the same way since.

This photo that a self proclaimed atheist posted to Twitter took my breath away.  I was trying to get recs for a church to visit while visiting family this summer out of state.  I don't know the person who posted this, personally, but it was a very personal moment for me.


I don't think money is bad.  I don't think God cries because I have a super schmancy 2011 Ford instead of a beat up Pinto.  But I do think I and the church at large are all ignoring major issues in favor of majoring on minors and sitting comfortably.  No longer am I okay with giving to ministries where the leaders live in multi million dollar homes and take their jets on 'missions trips' to London, Paris and other fancy locations while staying silent on issues that REALLY, REALLY matter and avoiding poverty stricken mission fields.  Yes, salvation is so, SO important.  But how can someone think of receiving Jesus when their body is shutting down from something preventable?  This is why I am such an advocate of feeding programs and other ministries that take care of practical physical needs as well as the spiritual ones.

This is really how the world sees the Church.  It's heartbreaking.  What can we do about it?  Not just to change the perceptions but to change our actions from the inside?