East Of Eden

"A curious mix of the relevant and reverential"

East Of Eden

Merry Christmas from Linus (and me).





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All I want for Christmas is...

Zoe making a FaceTime call to Tante Kandi.
When I tell people Z's favorite  hobby is playing with electronics like my iPad, remotes, keyboards and cell phones, people usually laugh it off as "Mommy exaggeration."  After spending a couple hours with the kid, during which she grabs ahold of their cell, goes online and starts taking pictures, they quickly realize there's no flourish to my tales.
At just 17 months, Z is totally at home with video calls, musical apps and touch screens in a way that the late Steve Jobs probably didn't even expect (or maybe he did, the genius!). And it's not just my baby who's tablet-crazed. Turns out, kids all over are hoping to unwrap tech over traditional toys today. From...
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This Christmas.

Yesterday started off tough. I had a headache most of the day and then got my period. The icing on my crap cake was the ache of missing Jos.

K, being both my Knight and Sunshine saved the day. He played counselor, comedian and waiter. By the evening, after a nap, I was up and we opened gifts, drank sorrel and ate a delicious dinner prepared by mother-in-law. This Christmas... was good.


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My nose is big, uh-uh, I'm not ashamed.

No shhhh-ing necessary. The obvious can be said aloud. I've got a big nose.
"You've got a bird nose." So my prominent nostrils were described by my college boyfriend, L.J. Upon registering the look of hurt in my eyes, he also added, "And I have a pig nose. So?"
It was a level of bluntness I wasn't prepared to hear. My heart felt like it was going to burst.

It's not like he was the first person to say I have a schnoze. I knew it. I often complained of it's large size.I fantasized all through high school of getting a rhinoplasty (As an aside, they had to call it that? RHINOplasty? Way to make it just that much worse.). Even family members told me I had drawn the genetic short stick in this area. My grandmother...

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Relationship meme fail.

Saw this meme liked by a friend on Facebook and immediately did a double-take. What the hizzy does it even mean? It sounds almost right, but is horribly, stupidly wrong. Why on earth would I want a guy who promises nothing? *Nothing*?!? Not friendship, honesty, loyalty, love, respect or fidelity? And what does trying to give me everything mean? I don't need everything. I don't want everything. Except friendship, honesty, loyalty, love, respect and fidelity. But that phrase doesn't really work photoshopped over a random, heavily edited picture of a couple to be shared a quadrillion times.

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Interviewing kids in a tragedy... for what?

Caught this segment from On The Media with WABC-NY's Bill Ritter and was... repulsed? Disgusted? I'm not even sure how to describe my reaction. Listen for yourself:


On the day of the Newtown tragedy, I flipped on the TV to CNN and watched clips of chubby faced elementary students attempting to describe the sound of gunshots. Mics were stuck in their faces, and they were usually standing in front of their shell-shocked parents. It felt voyeuristic and intrusive. Yes, they were witnesses, but their accounts added very little detail, no substantive information. It did up the emotional ante, which of course leads to higher ratings. When K got home, he immediately flipped the TV off. I'm glad he did.

Although I have watched...

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True it is that covetousness is rich, modesty starves.*

I was raised Pentecostal, of the holy-roller variety that placed great emphasis on modesty, particularly (dang near exclusively) on women. Pants on women were a no-no, but at times accepted for modesty reasons (with the classic, fugly sweats under skirt combo). I managed to hold fast to my jeans because I think my parents honestly didn't agree with the rule, and also, I weighed 100 pounds when I finished high school. In other words, my teeny tiny self was deemed to not be a temptation, no matter what I wore.

I've been thinking of these types of modesty standards a lot lately. In a spate of unrelated stories across the interwebs, people are warring about the supposed indecency of bare legs, peek-a-boobs and the booty's contour in Juicy...

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Be My Guest: Redefining Tolerance

 My handsome, bro, Joe.



The following guest post comes from my brother, Joseph Flemming. Enjoy!

The other day I was watching CBS "This Morning" and the special guest was Pastor Rick Warren. At first I wasn't really paying attention, he was celebrating the tenth anniversary of his seminal book "The Purpose Driven Life", a book which I thumbed through at a friend’s suggestion but never really got into. So folding the clothes, I continued to breeze in and out of what was happening on screen until I noticed that Charlie Rose was starting to press Warren on the subject of gay marriage. Rose was very insistent on getting a clear answer from Warren, presumably to make Warren state a hard line definitive viewpoint on the...

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To those who made us (briefly) look.



Do you remember Kony 2012? Kind of? What about creepy Tanning Mom, who once again made New Jersey look like the capital of Oompa Loompa Land, along with The Situation and Snooki? No? That's okay, the main reason I remember her is because I am a life long Jersey resident. Undoubtedly, you have to remember *the* highlight of this year's Republican National Convention. Not Mittens or his lovely wife, not Ryan or Condi, but Clint Eastwood's infamous empty chair. If for some reason you don't and would like to check out more of this year's top fifteen minutes of fame honorees, click here for Time's list.

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God made him do it, and other fails

My friend Kandi tagged me on Facebook in a video of Fox News host Mike Huckabee discussing the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. Here it is:

Mike Huckabee's Incredible Response to Newtown Shooting - Where was God? from anberlin_fan on GodTube.

What shames me is that in claiming the name of Jesus I immediately become associated with some of the most judgmental people: Evangelicals in the hands of an angry God.

People like Fred Phelps and his Westboro clan.

Or James Dobson, who said the Newtown, CT., massacre is the result of Americans turning their backs on God.  Pay back for gay marriage as it were.

 I think we have turned our back on the scripture and on God almighty and I think he has allowed judgment to fall...
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Innocents Loss


Friday started off very well for me. The best day I had all week, actually. I spent so much of Sunday and Monday crying over Jos... the continual realizations that I would never have any of her fresh baked Christmas cookies or watch "A Charlie Brown Christmas" with her seemed too much.

But by Friday, I actually managed grocery shopping, some Wii exercise time, cleaning and baked chicken and sweet potatoes for dinner. I was finally feeling something like me when I clicked on the Facebook app and learned of the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy.


Max Lindenman shared of his experience with Facebook in the wake of the shooting:

I wasn’t home when news of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School first hit the online...
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"First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in the baby carriage."

Since K and I can check off the first two, we have been bombarded with questions regarding that last one. Questions, startling statements and outright demands (my grandmother really would like to have another great-grand, even though she already has 15!). I have been questioned so many times about the not-so-impending bundle of joy that I no longer can laugh it off. Or even smile. I think my expression is downright evil now since most people immediately try to retract it upon catching a glimpse of my outraged visage.

I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be so aggravated by the topic if I hadn't started hearing the questions about 6 weeks after tying the knot. I suspect a number of people believed I was already knocked up when we were married on...

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Walking Through The Valley of the Shadow

Fear will blind you from the light. Faith will reveal it.

"When the Lord knows that good health is necessary for our soul's welfare, He sends it to us; and when we need sickness, He sends that too. Sickness makes us discover who we are." St. Teresa of Avila

I was on the phone with my old friend Kandi yesterday, discussing the latest turn in my health problems. I had yet another MRI scheduled for the evening, pre-Admission testing for tomorrow, leading up to a nerve biopsy that will take place on Monday the 5th. She admitted while she had never experienced anything like what's going on with me health wise, she had gone through much emotional and personal pain over the past year. I said, "You know it seems every 5 years or so, something...
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A Requiem Before The Sepia Stain

"She was a drug abuser, a talent wasted... took her own life, pissed on her fortune and pissed away her beauty.

I know. God, Whitney knew. She said it 10 years ago to Diane Sawyer: "I am my own worst enemy.... pray for my soul... pray for strength."

BUT... I mourn anyway. Not in spite of the countless other "quiet" deaths that have occurred lately. No, in ADDITION to them. I lost a godsister a few days ago myself. But my heart still mourns. If you don't care, God bless. That still won't change the sadness.

So like countless others I admire, but were gone abruptly- Billie Holiday, Marvin Gaye, Biggie, Sam Cooke, Tammi Terrell, Aaliyah, John Lennon, Left Eye, Amy Winehouse, Selena, Tupac, Michael Jackson- I'll add Whitney. I hope...
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Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda


I read through this article at The Daily Mail by Claudia Connell, and I sighed. Very hard.

There is much, much sadness, and too much regret. I admire her honesty, but seriously question why she'd serve up herself as a cautionary tale to partying, sex-sans-strings singletons in the way she does.

She repeatedly references "Sex & The City", and as a big fan, I immediately thought of Carrie's questioning exclamation, "Am I a masochist or something?"

Connell is in her forties, never married and childless. She writes of being:

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When the bough breaks...

I've received so many great messages of support, I will forever be grateful. Even the simple "I'm here for you" texts have buoyed my spirit.

It's a struggle. My mood shifts not just day to day, but moment to moment. My mood is schizophrenic.

Tears and laughs and blank stares.

I was reading a post at Bad Catholic and a paragraph stood out:

This may be why the sudden death of a loved one is so unbelievable, so vomit-inducing, so utterly rejected by the human mind. The one we have loved, the one we have treated as a self, has died. It follows that we, a known self, in a very real way, experience a death within that death. (When Michael Jackson died it felt far different. He was an other to me.)


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Requiescat in pace, Brittany Jeffers

Ever meet someone once and immediately clicked with them? At Jos' Memorial Service, a sweet young lady named Meaghan came up to me and said she had met Jos by chance in a supermarket. They instantly connected. They wound up having a few more run-ins, and decided they should actually meet up. Then Hurricane Sandy happened, and their date never happened. But on the strength of those handful of brief meetings, Meaghan felt she had made a good friend (incidentally, so did Jos; she mentioned her the last two times we hung out).

In the last six weeks, I made a similar connection with a bright girl named Brittany Jeffers. We never actually met.

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You'll shoot your eye out, Kid

What's your favorite Christmas movie? It might tell a bit more about you then just your taste in holiday films. Dr. James Emery White writes:

A couple of years ago a film crew from our church hit the streets of Charlotte, N.C., to produce a “person on the street” video asking people, “What comes to your mind when you think of the Christmas story?”
Number one answer?

“The movie.”

Yep, the 1983 “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid” tale from 1940s Indiana of a 9-year-old boy’s desire for a Red-Ryder Carbon-Action 200-Shot Range Model Air Rifle BB gun (and, lest we forget, with a compass in the stock).

An intriguing editorial in TIME magazine at around the same time noted how A Christmas Story had become the quintessential American film...
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"Jesus is my Boyfriend"

My stepmother Kathy playing at my brother's wedding in October.

Great post at Musings of a Hardlining Moderate about schmoopy Contemporary Christian Music:

I’m fond of the criticism that too many worship songs today fit the “Jesus is my boyfriend” genre. It’s no longer a matter of narcissitic, trite lyrics chalked full of superficial reflections with questionable theological implications. As Southpark rightly lampooned, many of our worship songs are now almost completely indistinguishable from any other love song, both in content and tone. They seriously make it sound as if we want to cuddle with Jesus, kiss Jesus, and make love to Jesus. In more gentle terms, N.T. Wright has called them “teenage love songs” about “falling in love with...
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Do you remember the Black Bart Simpson

Oddly enough, I do. Why? I'm not sure. For some reason, stuff from the early 90s stuck in my brain in a way Geometry never did. Anyway, from Uproxx:

What's the worst TV-related Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa (?) gift you've ever received? While you're thinking about which aunt gave you a signed copy of Dharma & Greg season three on VHS (Jenna Elfman's signature hurt the resale value), here's my answer: back in the early 1990s, when the only thing I knew about The Simpsons was that Bart Simpson did the Bartman, one of my uncles gave me a t-shirt with Homer and Marge's only son on it. But something was off — he didn't look like the Bart that had a rep for being rude. He was black.
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