Monthly Archives: March 2015

Religious Freedom & Jesus

Oh friends, it’s interesting once again to be living in Indiana. It’s finally Spring and it is was 26 degrees this morning. Tomorrow’s high is 64 and then it’s supposed to drop back down to 36 for a few days before it gets back to “normal” temps.

But that forecast is actually pretty normal for the beginning of Spring in Indiana.

What has been interesting this last week is this controversial religious freedom bill that has passed through the state Senate and House and is expected to be signed into law by the Governor this week. I will say upfront that I’m not well-versed enough on the bill to comment about whether I agree with it or not. All I’ve read is what has been in the news and part of the actual bill I tried to read last night but couldn’t get past the first two pages of legal verbiage that confused me more than anything. I will also say upfront that I don’t believe people should be denied service because of their sexual preference or their physical appearance.

But what I want to talk about tonight are the responses I’m reading all over social media about the passing of the bill. Most people are outraged. Most people disagree with the bill. Many are kind of freaking out about it. Many are talking about the fiscal ramifications of this bill due to companies, conventions, etc. pulling out of deals with Indiana directly because of this bill.

But more importantly, the response that has bashed my God.

See, my biggest issue with the bill (as I’ve read) is that it’s about RELIGION. It’s not about Jesus. And that’s what I want to stress : IT’S NOT ABOUT JESUS. My God, My Jesus, he didn’t cover his ass with a religious freedom bill so he wouldn’t lose his business by getting sued because he wouldn’t bake a cake for a gay couple’s wedding. He loved his neighbors. Even if he didn’t agree with their actions. He loved them. He ate with them.

He wouldn’t have turned away a young unmarried couple who were expecting a baby together.

He wouldn’t have turned away someone who didn’t believe and act exactly as he did.

He wouldn’t have turned away me. A sinner for so many reasons.

Do you see now that this bill isn’t about my God? It’s about people who are afraid of people who are different. It’s about those who don’t know how to love others well. People who are misguided about what God’s love is and how they should pass it along.

So today I might not be proud of this religious freedom bill, but I will be proud of who I know Jesus to be and how he loved so well. And how he calls us to love just the same. So love well friends. If we love others well, regardless of our differences, everything will work itself out.

And businesses owned by people who don’t love well will fail. Of that I am sure.

Calling foul play on the 2015 NCAA selection committee

Remember when I told you how much we love college basketball and March Madness? Well, tonight I’m calling foul play on the NCAA selection committee.

(And not because IU actually made the tournament. That’s a whole other question in itself. And yes, I am an IU graduate and fan and I even don’t understand how they made it.)

Indiana is known for basketball. It’s a great thing for the state and it’s super fun to be part of. Especially when the championship Final Four takes place in your city and there’s so much fun happening. (Go Indy!!) But what isn’t super fun is when the selection committee puts ALL FIVE Indiana teams in the SAME region. And on top of that, puts them in the same region as Kentucky, the tourney favorite and outright number one team in the nation.

Selection committee following their placement of all 5 Indiana teams in the same Region. With Kentucky: "Yay! We did it! We found another way to make more money!"

Selection committee following their placement of all 5 Indiana teams in the same Region. With Kentucky: “Yay! We did it! We found another way to make more money!”

IU, Purdue, Notre Dame, Valparaiso and Butler – all Indiana schools in the big dance. All seeded in the Midwest region of the bracket. That’s 5 of the 16 teams in the Midwest region being Indiana teams (and 100% of Indiana teams I will remind you). And by the looks of it, not a single one of them will advance to the Final Four (remember, taking place in their own state) unless they beat an undefeated Kentucky team.

You may be thinking “But none of the Indiana teams could make it to the Final Four anyway!” But I think you’re wrong. Notre Dame has only lost 5 games this season, is ranked 11th in the nation and won the ACC title. Notre Dame has a legitimate chance at making it to the Final Four. And how amazing would it be to play in your state?! Just a couple hours south of campus?!

But see, that’s exactly it. While the NCAA doesn’t release financial information about ticket sales and host city revenues from the Final Four tournament, it’s OBVIOUS that having at least one local school in your Final Four is going to bring in less money than if Kentucky and Duke are battling it out in your city. Because those fans have to (AND WILL) drive and stay overnight, eat, drink and play in your city for the ENTIRE weekend. But Notre Dame fans could easily commute for a game or stay with family and friends who live in Indy, drastically decreasing the amount of money spent in Indy and on NCAA merchandise.

What other reason does the selection committee have for putting ALL FIVE INDIANA TEAMS IN THE SAME REGION? And with KENTUCKY? It seems pretty black and white to me.

Or maybe GREEN is a better color comparison…

Sometimes I get stuck in a rut.

Sometimes I get stuck in a rut. It’s often based off of what I think I should be. Or who I think I should be. Or what I think I should do. Or who someone else thinks I should be.

  • I should be skinnier.
  • I should be trendier.
  • I should be Godlier.
  • I should be a better mom.
  • I should be a better housekeeper.
  • I should be a better wife.
  • I should work out more so I can have a hot body. {It’s okay to laugh. I did.}
  • I should play with my kids more.
  • I should not eat that chocolate so I can have a hot body.
  • You’re too conservative. Boring.
  • You should work more.
  • You should work less.
  • You should have a hot body.

I get so tired of who I SHOULD be that I forget about who I AM. And sometimes it’s the smallest little things that bring me back to reality.

This morning I took the boys to the Children’s Museum for the member’s preview of their new Transformers exhibit. (Which is amazing and fun by the way. You should totally go.) The boys and I had a blast together. And then after a late lunch because we were at the museum for so long, I finally got the boys down for a nap and sat down to relax for the first time all day.

Then I hear Lucas in the bathroom “Mommy, will you wipe me?”

It really is the best part of being a mom, am I right?

So I begrudgingly walk upstairs and wipe his butt and as he’s walking out of the bathroom he turns around, flashes a sweet and sincere smile and simply says “Mommy, I love you.”

Photo credit: Eric Learned

Photo credit: Eric Learned

See there aren’t many times right now in parenthood when I’m super excited to be a mom of four kids ranging in ages from almost 13 to almost 2. (Yes, I have two kids who are entering horribly scary ages AT THE SAME TIME.) It’s hard and tiring and NOT fantastic most of the time. I feel like escaping to something easier more times than I’d prefer to admit.

But here’s the thing: this is real life. Real (often tough) relationships with real people. (Kids are people too, right? I have to remind myself of that a lot.) Living fully in mercy and truth. And I love it. I love my community and the girlfriends who I can turn to when this real life seems too much to handle. Because the alternative to me is just sad. And lonely. And I can’t imagine more sadness or more loneliness than I already feel during rough times. (Like the whole month of stupid February in Indiana.)

So today I remind myself to be happy with who I am, rather than who I should be. Because I’m making a difference and I’m important. And it’s okay to want to add parts of those other things to my life as long as I don’t get lost in them. As long as I hold tight to the truth of who God has created me to be.

And it’s almost Spring. I remind myself that it’s almost Spring and that gives me hope of life again. 🙂

 

Indy + NCAA Final Four = FUN!

It’s March and in my house that means NCAA March Madness is finally here. We love college basketball like crazy. And one of the best parts about living in Indy is that we get to host the Final Four tournament every 4-6 years. Including THIS YEAR! And with the Final Four weekend just a month away, I’m getting excited and thought I’d share with you some fun events already planned for the weekend.mff_2015_logo

  • Slam Dunk & 3-Point Championships : Thursday, April 2nd at 7pm at Hinkle Fieldhouse – Tickets are $16 for ages 13+. Kids ages 3-12: $8. Now in its 27th year, the State Farm College Slam Dunk & 3-Point Championships feature 24 of the best collegiate dunkers and sharpshooters, and will be televised live on ESPN. Purchase tickets HERE. (We’re planning on going! Lucas LOVES this stuff!)
  • Final Four Friday : Friday, April 3rd – FREE. Watch the Final Four teams at Lucas Oil Stadium in one of their final practices before the national semifinal games. Fans who attend will have the opportunity to hear from each head coach after their sessions and engage in on-court promotions. The day concludes with the Reese’s College All Star-Game tipping off at 4:30 p.m. (We’ve been to these free practices in previous years and they are so fun for the kids! But SUPER packed full of people, so get there early if you care about where you sit.)
  • Final Four Fan Fest : Friday, April 3rd through Monday, April 6th at the Convention Center – Tickets are available online through March 15 for $8 – Adults ($10 starting March 16th); $4 – Children ages 3-11, Current College Students with valid ID, Senior Citizens ages 55+ and Military Personnel with valid ID ($5 starting March 16th) and FREE for kids 2 and under. This event is the ultimate pregame destination. It’s an indoor interactive event offering a chance to meet legendary coaches and former college stars at exclusive autograph sessions, sign up for daily youth clinics, and participate in a host of sport activities ranging from basketball to lacrosse to hockey and more. The weekend also boasts a variety of unique entertainment including the annual Final Four Pep Rally featuring the bands and cheerleaders from the four participating NCAA Final Four teams. Purchase tickets HERE.
  • NCAA March Madness Music Festival : Friday, April 3 through Sunday, April 5th : FREE. It’s a three-day outdoor music festival in downtown Indy. Performers haven’t been announced but past performers include Bruce Springsteen, Fun., Dave Mathews Band, Kenny Chesney, Sting, Jimmy Buffet, The Black Keys, Muse, Zac Brown Band, LL Cool J and The Kings of Leon. Details on times and places (and who!) can be found HERE.
  • NCAA Youth Clinics : Saturday, April 4th (doors open at 11 am, starts at noon) – FREE with registration for kids in grades 3-8. The clinics are a community outreach program where kids receive sport instruction from NCAA coaches and student-athletes and get valuable information on fitness, healthy lifestyles and sportsmanship. There are four locations throughout Indy and you can register HERE.
  • Road to the Final Four 5K : Saturday, April 4th (rain or shine) – $25 if you preregister, $30 on site. The event benefits the Coaches vs. Cancer® program, which is a collaborative effort between the American Cancer Society and National Association of Basketball Coaches. The 5K starts at the NCAA Hall of Champions. Register HERE.
  • The Final Four Dribble : Sunday, April 5th – FREE with registration for the first 3,200 kids to sign up. DRIBBLE a basketball through the heart of downtown Indy! Participating kids will receive a T-shirt, basketball and free entry into Final Four Fan Fest (on that day only). Register HERE. (We’re already signed up! Join us!!)

Indianapolis does a GREAT job at hosting sporting events. And the downtown area is beautiful and welcoming. So come downtown to my ‘hood and have some fun with us! We’ll be enjoying some of the events above but we’ll also just be hanging around downtown if the weather’s nice. SO JOIN US! We’re fun. 🙂