Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Being a Gay Christian in the United Methodist Church. What does it mean for us?!




Over the last few days, across my Facebook page, my news feed has been dominated by post after post regarding the 2019 General Conference of the United Methodist Church.  The United Methodist Church had been meeting this week to decide the future of the UMC and whether or not to uphold previous bans on gay clergy and same-sex weddings.  Today they decided to uphold the previous bans, and for a Christian-lesbian (Yes, you can be both...) it really hurt me for a minute, and I wasn't
alone.

The pain of the LGBTQ folks across the message boards has been so raw, and so real.  You can absolutely feel the pain, sadness and disappointment through the keyboard of the computer.  I've wanted to wrap my arms around so many of the hurt and struggling folks who were on these message boards, but it got me to thinking.....

The worst part of being gay for me has always come in the form of organized religion, and I found the church I attend now, when I was the securest I've ever been in my spiritual journey, but at my lowest point with organized religion.

I will never forget the first Sunday I attended church at Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church.  That day was over 9 years ago.  I rolled into that church expecting to be hated upon entering, but there was something magical happening in that place.  That Sunday, I sat in the 6th row from the front, on the end, just in case I was going to be beat with a Bible and needed a quick escape route.  I came into that church that morning, with a ninja-princess-warrior vibe, and a chip on my shoulder bigger than I had as a hormonal teenager.  I DARED God to try and convince me being in church was a good thing.  In fact, as I sat there in prayer, I sort of shrugged my shoulders, looked upward towards the Heavens, and said:  "You want me here?!  Prove you exist in these walls, because until now I have never felt you in a church.  I need a sign Lord that I can be a lesbian, a Christian, welcome in a church, and I need it to be blatantly obvious..."  (I like to keep my conversations with God super real.)

And then it happened.  This bald man, with skinny jeans and glasses walked out on the stage and started to preach.  I remember holding my breath.  It was as if this man was preaching directly to me.  I can't remember the exact sermon that day, but I can remember Pastor Mike Slaughter saying something like this: "People always want to know my views on homosexuality in this church, and I am going to say it again:  Everyone is welcome here.  Not everyone in this congregation will agree, but if we start looking at one person's sins, then we have to look at everyone's sins, and there is no one here who can say they haven't sinned.  If we single out homosexuality, we also have to single out those people who are divorced, all the way down to those people who have had speeding tickets.  I expect the homosexual members to abide by the same principles in which the heterosexual members do:  I expect them to be faithful in their marriages, tithe 10% and raise their children in the church."

So, I did, and these folks have become my family.  They are the wacky, weird, yet fun relatives that save you at boring holiday functions. Like family, we don't always get along.  We don't all have the same beliefs.  But we have traveled together, served together, laughed together, and cried together.  They have been seen me at my best and at my ugliest.  And therefore, as people are questioning where they are going after this ruling in the UMC, I have decided I am staying right where I have been.

I'm secure in my relationship with God, and my relationship with Him didn't change yesterday because of some ruling at a conference.  My faith is steadfast, He knows my heart, and despite whether a church acknowledges it or not, He made me in His image, exactly how He wanted me to be.  I go to church to enhance my spiritual walk, not for validation.  I serve, because as we all know we do greater things when we're in community, and I'm blessed that my church welcomes everyone.  If you are reading this post and you are struggling with the UMC ruling, I'm going to need you to get up, adjust your crown, and remember exactly whose child you are.  He didn't make you to hate you!

Now get out there and go be the hands and feet of Jesus.
God needs all of HIS children today more than ever.
Like seriously, get up and go right now!
 



 

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Recipe: Simple Liver Dog Treats



We bought a cow to put in our freezer last Spring, and when talking with the butcher about how we wanted our meat cut, I explained to him I wanted whatever by-products I could obtain (heart, kidneys, liver, tail, etc....) as well.  I use these parts of the animal to enhance our dog’s diet and because I like to use as much of the animal as possible.  As we were making room for the winter cow, I realized I needed to hurry and do something with the organ meat I had on hand in order to free up freezer space.

So this weekend’s treat recipe is a simple recipe made out of liver.  Liver is a nutrient-rich organ meat that can provide your pup with protein, Vitamin-A, and is an excellent source of copper, iron, and Omega 3-6 fatty acids.  This recipe is a favorite here with our dogs, and they go nuts for these homemade treats!

For this recipe you will need:

     1 lb. of beef liver (chicken, lamb, or pork will work too.) **
      6-8 cups of chicken broth

1) Rinse liver in cool water.
2) Fill a large pot with the chicken broth, and bring to a boil.
3) Add the liver to the boiling broth and simmer for 30-45 minutes or until done.
4) Allow the liver to cool.
5) Cut liver in 1/2 inch cubes.
6) Spread on greased, foil lined cookie sheet.
7) Bake at 250. F for 2 hours.

Enjoy!

Liver should be stored in the refrigerator for approximately one week, or for about 2 months in the freezer.

Liver should be fed in moderation do the possible overdose of Vitamin A.  If you have any questions about how much liver you can feed your dog, please consult your veterinarian.  


** Do not use deer liver for this recipe.  Where venison is an excellent muscle meat to feed your dog, deer can have “liver flukes” therefore making their liver unsafe for consumption.  



Please note:  ontheurbanfarm.blogspot.com or anyone associated with this site, assumes no responsibility or liability for any consequences resulting directly or indirectly from any action or inaction taken as a result of following information contained or derived from this site or in any linked material.  Attempting to try any recipes is at the sole discretion of the reader.  The content on this blog is provided for information and entertainment purposes only.



Thursday, February 14, 2019

Valentine's Day Skeptics




I've always been guilty of being a cynic when it came to Valentine's Day.  It has never mattered if I was in a long term committed relationship, or as single as a Pringle, my stance on Valentine's Day has always been the same: "It's a Hallmark holiday.  Save your money, and don't but my anything.  A card is just fine, and actually it's too much...."

What I realize now is that Valentine's Day is all about love, and in a world where hate, and negativity seem to be the new norm, we could all use more love!

So today, instead of running from Cupid and his arrows, what if we run towards him with our arms open wide, ready to receive love, and more importantly give love?

Today I encourage all of the Valentine's Day skeptics to go into the world celebrating the love you have for your significant other, family, friends. and anyone else who crosses your path.  If you have the chance today, spread love.

Treat that stranger to a cup of coffee.
Buy the roses.
Hold the door.
Hire the baby-sitter.
Thank the people who matter the most to you.
Eat dessert first.
Proclaim your love loudly.

Whatever you do, do it out of love, and spread kindness like glitter today.
Make it rain!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Happy Birthday to My Nurse!



Today is The Nurse's birthday, and as I reflect, I'm reminded just how much I love her.

To know my Nurse is to know a strong, fierce, talented, independent woman, with a wicked sense of humor and infectious laugh.  She has the tenacity of a lion, the heart of a lamb, and the mouth of a sailor.

Truthfully, I could talk about her all day, and all night, and still never run out of things to say about her.  Too many words become meaningless though, so I will just leave it at: She's the most amazing woman I have ever met, and I can't imagine not having her in my life.

Happy Birthday to the love of my life, to the woman who holds my heart, and rocks my world.

I love you forever and always.....  


Sunday, February 3, 2019

Recipe: Ander's Apple Cheddar Dog Treats


I have a confession to make:  I don't cook with ease.  What I mean is, I am not a natural in the kitchen, therefore, I follow a recipe to the tee.  I've been working on my fear of mistakes in the kitchen, but I have noticed I find myself being freer when I'm cooking for the dogs.  When it comes to dog treats or food, I am a rock star!  Check out these amazing dog treats I made yesterday.  The pups LOVED them!


Ander's Apple Cheddar Dog Treats:

1/2 cup natural applesauce, no sugar added
1/2 cup honey
1 egg
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups of  enriched white flour or whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. backing soda
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder (Wonderful antioxidant!)
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 medium-sized apple, peeled, chopped and cored
1/4 cup unsalted walnuts, chopped

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients.  With a teaspoon, drop the dough onto greased cookie sheet, allowing about 1 inch between each treat.  Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.  Cookies should be firm to the touch.  Let cookies sit 2 hours to harden.

Makes approximately 40 treats.

Remember, because there are no preservatives in these treats, store in an air tight container for up to one week.  Freeze if going to keep for a longer period.

Enjoy!



Please note:  ontheurbanfarm.blogspot.com or anyone associated with this site, assumes no responsibility or liability for any consequences resulting directly or indirectly from any action or inaction taken as a result of following information contained or derived from this site or in any linked material.  Attempting to try any recipes is at the sole discretion of the reader.  The content on this blog is provided for information and entertainment purposes only.


Saturday, February 2, 2019

Woodland Creature's Grocery Fund



Saturday night The Nurse and I were driving home, and as we approached our driveway, 5 deer sauntered out into the road and in front of our car.  We both immediately got as excited as kids seeing Santa for the first time, pointing and giddy.  We finally saw the deer that have been making their rounds through our yard!

Right now it's common for deer to expand their "home radius" as food is scarce and they have to range wider in order to survive, and with the below freezing temperatures and snow we've had recently, these critters have been working overtime trying to find a meal.

We decided this week to set up a feeding station for the deer, and the other critters that eat from beneath our bird feeders.  It has taken them a few days, but this morning when I went out, there were deer, raccoon, rabbits, and skunk tracks all over!  Hopefully our donation to the woodland creature's grocery-fund helps them through these rough months.

May they will return the favor by helping me with my laundry or housework, just like on those Disney movies?!

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Polar Vortex and Keeping Warm



The Polar Vortex is upon is here in the Midwest and to say it's been bitterly cold would be an understatement.  It's so cold outside that it hurts to breathe and if you're outside for even a few minutes your fingers are numb and you can't feel your face.  This morning, as my feet hit the snow, I expected it to be the usual soft snow, but instead it crunched under my feet, too cold to even give to my body weight.  

I was most worried about Chloe this morning.  The barn temperature runs about 10 degrees higher than the outside temperature, which isn't too warm when the outside temperature is -9 degrees!

I shouldn't have been worried though.  
As soon as I got to the barn, I was greeted by a hungry horse demanding breakfast, and she was warm as toast under her insulated blanket.  

There are very few joys in life as blissful as the sounds and smells of  a horse contentedly eating, even when it's below freezing outside....