Authenticity as Christians...

I was raised Catholic. As a Catholic, you are taught from a young age that God sees everything. What other people think of you is inconsequential because God sees all. And hell is scary. When I started dating an evangelical Christian in college, I was shocked at how much his mother despised me and thought me unworthy because I wasn't a Christian. Not in her eyes anyway. The worst part for me was that I didn't understand it. I didn't understand what was different or why I wasn't a "Christian."

The longer I've been a Christian, the more annoyed I've become at these "uber Christians" who use strange (to me) ideas on what makes a person a Christian. Here's my definition: "If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9

Here's what I do not believe makes a Christian:
1. Doesn't dance. Um, David danced before the Lord -- naked y'all.
2. Doesn't drink. Jesus's first miracle was turning water into wine.
3. Looks perfect on the outside. "There is none righteous, no, not one." Romans 3:10

I have never fit in that well with "church women" or that culture. I don't craft. I hate potlucks. I don't want to wear a floral dress and I truly believe Proverbs 16:2 -- that God looks at the heart. (All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, But the LORD weighs the motives.) So even if you're doing the right thing with the wrong motives (to get credit for it, to look good to others) it's not counted as righteousness because the Lord knows you did it for yourself -- for ulterior motives.

I get that I'm not everyone's cup of tea -- and that's fine, but one thing I truly try to be is authentic. I really wish more would take off the adornments of Christianity and live by the golden rule. Do you want to be treated like a pawn who needs Jesus? No, because it's like being sold multi-level marketing products. You think you've made a friend and they pull out the hard sales pitch. Just love a person into the fold. Let them know they are worthy simply because God created them to be. Just be a better human. Please.


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I'm sorry I'm on a soapbox, but I've seen too many people in this church "business" get recycled without ever truly repenting for the reason they lost their last Christian position. Okay, rant over. I hope you all had an amazing Easter!


Happy Easter & Fred Astaire

Happy Easter all! I hope your day is glorious and you are finally back together with your loved ones after so long of a celebration. My DIL made prime rib and homemade green bean casserole (as in no canned cream of mushrooms or frozen green beans.) As someone who hates to cook, she is speaking my love language. We celebrated with her family yesterday.

Today, I'm organizing and getting down to basics. While staying at my parents' for two months I realized how little I actually need. So I'm being ruthless on my closet and watching Fred Astaire's first major movie. It's from 1933 and I've never heard of it, but my television records anything with Fred Astaire in it because I have an inexplicable crush on this man. Not Clark Gable, who is also in the movie, but Fred.

Anyway, the movie is "The Dancing Lady" and it's quite a little gem of a film. First off, it's got "The Three Stooges" as stagehands and I actually recognized them. It also stars a young and gorgeous Joan Crawford before she screamed about wire hangers. And then, a very dapper Clark Gable. It also has a great dance number at the end and the blonde wig that Joan wears is actually the same wig that Bette Midler wears in "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" How is that for a strange coincidence. If you get a chance, I recommend it.


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"The Dancing Lady"

On the work front, I'm working on rewriting some older books and getting "The View from Above" available as soon as possible. I'm at the editing stage and really needed my desktop at home. I'll let you know when it's up for preorder. Be sure and sign up for my newsletter at my website: www.KristinBillerbeck.com just in case I get kicked off Facebook for any reason. It seems like my friends are dropping like flies, but I just like to share random pics of my kids and memes, so I may be okay. Love to all, I hope 2021 is a vast improvement from 2020 for you all.


Chris Harrison Canceled -- Sigh

Okay, I'm not watching the Bachelor this season, so I had a really hard time figuring out why Chris Harrison was canceled. Here's what I can figure out. A girl on "The Bachelor" went to an antebellum party in 2018. Which of course means she's racist. (eye roll) Because Chris Harrison stood up for her just being at a costume dress party, now he's racist too. Let's not take into consideration that he's hosted the show for years and never had an issue dealing with any of the different cultures on the show. Now he's racist.

Listen, I get where you could call the show racist. It has an awful lot of white people by the numbers. But I just think that word is losing its power. And it shouldn't. Racism is ugly and real. But I don't think this meets the criteria. Was it in poor taste? Perhaps. Do I think that girl who went to this party would hate on race? Probably not. But I assume Chris Harrison wouldn't because of his past behavior -- which seems to count for nothing now. The guy has proven himself to be an upstanding citizen where that issue is concerned.

Sexixm maybe, but racism? Has the show itself dumbed us down and stolen brain cells from the American public? Sure. Have we learned the "fantasy suite" means it's okay to probably sleep with three random people in the course of three days? Absolutely -- don't you dare "slutshame" anyone.

But racism? I mean, other than the show being 97% white since its inception, I don't know why some random chick's antebellum party is an issue. But next time, Chris Harrison is asked about his opinion, I hope he says, "I don't know. I have no opinion." Or better yet, "What does Antebellum mean?"

Opinions get you canceled. And we need Chris Harrison, the American treasure who reminds those of us who can't count to one that it's the final rose!
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Wedding Dress Shopping -- this is not your Mama's dress...

I'm the sparkly, princess, ballgown sort. Well, not anymore, but when I was young and getting married. My dress was typical '80's glam and I still love it. But now, my baby girl is getting married and wow, times have changed.


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(Elle in my dress when she was nine.)

First off, my girl is nothing like me. She's an outdoorswoman who does 14k mountain climbs for fun and her favorite place in the world is Yosemite. She's a hairdresser by training, but a horsewoman by nature. So when she first showed me her wedding dress desires, her future mother-in-law and I gasped at the sight of it and we made her cry.

Honestly, we felt terrible, but it was so unexpected from the sweet Hayley Paige gowns she'd been showing us, we were taken aback. I'm not going to show the gown here in case it's the dress she selects, but she loves this designer and while I see that it's her style, it's very Stevie Nicks and I already survived the 70's. Oh, and she's wearing cowboy boots. I mean, smack my '80's glam in the face, why don't you?


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Anyway, we've made an appointment to see the gown of her dreams (similar to this one -- the Adara) by her favorite designer, Rue de Seine. Elle's future mother-in-law is coming and we'll be scoping out venues in Lake Tahoe depending on Covid rules. We've had a lot of great family times in Lake Tahoe and the kids' grandparents both live in the Sierras. So yay! Wedding planning has begun. I hate that I'm so basic and I'm like those moms on "Say Yes to the Dress" who want to see their girls in ballgowns. I don't really. It's not her style. But I will say I'm glad my daughter-in-law is extra and sparkly. SOMEONE gets it.


I miss being the stupidest person in the room: Stanford Nobel Prize

I grew up in the shadow of Stanford. Before Silicon Valley was Silicon Valley, but it's always been an intellectual haven. I'm used to being the dumbest person in the room with emotional intelligence. It was my superpower. If this video doesn't sum up my life in Silicon Valley -- where the best and brightest do not have common sense, I don't know what does.



Incidentally, Stanford is in Palo Alto, California.


#Netflix fun. #CobraKai #HubieHalloween

My son was here this week so we watched "Hubie Halloween" which is a new Adam Sandler movie on Netflix. It's a throwback to all of his other movies and I for one, loved it. I am not above stupid humor and Adam was born two days after me so all of his music and references are familiar to me. It was enjoyable -- though I would have loved if Kathy Bates was his mother since there were a lot of references to "The Water Boy."

We also started watching "Cobra Kai" which is the characters of "The Karate Kid" all grown up and with more depth. I love how they've made the villain the hero. Truth be told, I was never a Ralph Macchio fan and I can take or leave "The Karate Kid" as a movie. But I love the story from the villain's point of view. It's more interesting. And he's better looking with age on him.


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Anyway, it's back to work this weekend. I had a laptop incident so it's been an expensive week and I'm wishing I wrote faster. I met a songwriter this weekend and it's a truth universally-acknowledged that if you're an artist, the world may not appreciate you as much as if you're a hedge fund manager. That should change. Let's get a new Renaissance going. Fewer hedge fund managers, more art!

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Writing Updates #Author #Novel #WomensFiction #ChickLit

It's been a long time since I blogged -- not that I ever had much to say, but it's time to let you all know that I am still alive and that I do still exist. I have a new grand puppy and my life in Arizona is...not California. Not the Bay Area.

NEWS FLASH: Arizona is Hot!

Don't get me wrong. I love Arizona. The people are fantastic. My house is adorable. But the weather -- which granted, I knew. I grew up in Redwood City -- which literally has on the town sign "Climate Best by Government Test." Let's just say that Arizona is never going to have that sign unless it's the middle of winter. It's been the longest, hottest summer with the most recorded days over 110 degrees. I mean, did we NEED to set records this summer?

WRITING UPDATE -- SORT OF:

It's not bad enough we are locked up in our houses? Because taking the dog for a walk in the middle of the day in Arizona is not an option. That has made me a little stir-crazy. Enough whining. On a happy note, I am making progress on book two of The Pacific Avenues Series. Book one is "Room at the Top" an Adam Ant song which I post here because it makes me happy and my young readers may not have seen it. And please don't be like my daughter and mock my tastes. She was into "5 Seconds of Summer" so she has no room for making fun of anyone. And I did buy her fourth row seats for "One Direction" before they broke up, so she owes me some respect.



Room at the Top: Five Sisters. Three Moms. One Father. Lots of Dysfunction

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The first book deals with Sophia Campelli. A social worker raised by a single mother who longs to know her father -- until she actually meets him. The second book, "The View from Above" deals with Brinn, a privileged ballerina who isn't as indulged as she seems. I should have a cover for that one soon and preorders will be available by November or December. I'm working on writing faster!

Now I leave you with my son, daughter-in-law and my grandpuppy from their home in San Diego. Wouldn't they make a great book cover? Let me know if y'all have questions. I'm learning how to get my books in new outlets such a libraries and small bookstores. I'll keep you posted on that.

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Do the Right Thing!

I've been without air conditioning since last Wednesday -- in Phoenix! I waited on an American Home Shield Warranty -- only to find out they would cover a part that might last until the next implosion, but I would still have to pay the $1300 in refrigerant costs, even though the fix wouldn't last and that $1300 would all leak out. Forget what that does to the environment!

I hired my own company. I only wish I hadn't waited a week. But it's got me thinking, why doesn't anyone do the right thing anymore? Why is it so hard to just be who you say you are and show up and do the right thing? Doesn't it make people feel good anymore to do the right thing?

When Steve Jobs made engineering about marketing and stock, Silicon Valley was ruined by greed. IMHO. And it's overtaking our nation. How much do you actually need? I can tell you I know people a lot richer than me, and they're not happy. They're driven. They want to buy the next best thing, but that doesn't make for happiness.

We've made it so there is no more middle class in Silicon Valley, which doesn't actually work. Because rich people can't find nannies or waiters or services because no one can afford to be there to perform them. It just makes me wonder if we haven't been given this virus so we might learn what's important in life. Who cares if you have 3 Birkin bags? You can't go anywhere to show them off. And I only want your Ferrari right now if it comes with good air conditioning.

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On a happy note, I did get to spend time with my new grandpuppy in San Diego and she is the best. So much personality and so smart. Ironically, she came from San Jose, near where we used to live. Anyway, I don't have any real answers on this, but I will say I am grateful when people do the right thing. I notice a lot more of it here in Arizona than I did in Silicon Valley and that makes me sad because California has lost its way. And where California goes the rest of the nation follows.

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Also on a happy note, my new floors got were put in by an excellent man of his word and they did an incredible job. Tile is so practical for my in/out lifestyle with the dog in the desert. Speaking of my dog, I haven't seen her for a week so I'm really looking forward to getting her back.

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Judge not, that ye be not judged. -- Rant Ahead on Domestic Abuse in Christian Homes

It has come to my attention that a friend who left her sociopath husband has been judged by other Christian women for her decision.

May I just say that if you don't live in a home, you have NO idea what is going on. If you have a sweet and tender husband, thank your lucky stars. Be grateful to God for His provision in your life, but do not judge someone who has a different journey. By the way, abusers LOVE Christians and pastors like you. You help him abuse. You help him convince his wife she's crazy and sinful and deserves his punishment. Yay for you!

If you have ever seen the show "Evil Lives Here" about people who live with a sociopath (who is often out killing, raping, etc. while they are at home caring for their families) people will judge the wife on Twitter. "Oh come on, she had to know he was out doing this."

Maybe she did. Maybe she didn't have the power to leave him because of financial abuse, lack of family support and nowhere to go. Maybe her husband has threatened the children if she leaves. In other words, maybe you have no idea what goes on behind closed doors.

In the case of Susan Hamlin, a LAWYER and mother of four (this is not a stupid person's issue, nor a poor one's) she lived an outward life of an upstanding, upper-class family. They attended church and were well-respected in their community. The husband was a powerful defense attorney in Sacramento.

At home? He was mentally and physically torturing his family. He had convinced his kids that their mother had a demon and the other actually confessed to cops that she was sexually abusing her children (she was not) and that she was a high priestess in a satanic cult (she was not.) She did all of this to get free of her husband so her kids would be safe and she would not die. If this family came to church, would you tell her how lucky she was to have such a beautiful family?


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On the outside? This family looked normal. They attended church. But Susan Hamlin was so mentally tortured, she put on the show rather than pay with her husband's fists when she got home later. So again, if you're judging a woman for leaving a marriage because they're "not Christian" maybe you should look within and see who is actually not being Christian.

God does not care more about an abusive marriage than he cares about a soul and this woman was willing to give up her soul to get out of this nightmare she lived in, so as Christians, we really need to ask ourselves if we're saving a marriage or destroying souls. And again, if you have a wonderful Christian husband, please go kiss him and tell him how grateful you are to God, but please keep your mouth shut if you're going to tell a woman she could have done more. You have no idea of which you speak.

Susan Hamlin's full story can be seen below. And FYI, you can see the trauma in her words STILL. Years later as her husband is in jail for torturing his family. His family, however, still lives with the mental destruction he caused. They will never be free. I am very tempted to go right to the source and give her a piece of my mind, but I'm refraining. I'd love to name and shame them, but I won't. I do hope they understand how they are helping an abuser to abuse.



https://www.investigationdiscovery.com/tv-shows/evil-lives-here/full-episodes/trapped-in-hell



#HouseHunting -- Model home envy.

This weekend, my son and his wife were here and we went through all the model homes in the area looking for a starter home. Here's the thing about model homes. When you come home, your place looks like a dump -- no matter how nice it is. You have stuff on the counters, messy tchotchkes, books in the bookshelves, etc. Your house is lived in! Let me state that I love my house. I walked into it last August for about ten minutes and knew it was mine. I told my friends that it was like that movie, "Miracle on 34th Street" and my grandfather wanted me to have that house. Yes, they gave me the look you're probably all giving me right now. (My grandfather died in 2015 at 100-years-old.)

This house did not have my white kitchen. It had a hickory wood kitchen that I knew I could never paint over because my grandfather's voice would be telling me never to cover good wood. It had the same arches that my grandparents' house had (my grandpa built their house.) And it was in Arizona -- where August temps are typically over 110 degrees -- and I hate the heat. But somehow, I knew this was my house, so imagine my surprise when I found out it was sold already. NOOOOO!!! I went home to California dejected, certain I'd never find another home like it, and upset that I'd misunderstood this wasn't my house. There was no Santa cane in the corner.


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Well, the next week the house fell out of escrow and I jumped. But there was another offer and I had to make a decision that day. So after spending ten minutes in this house on my way to Mexico with my friend Colleen and family, I bought a house. Over the phone. In a bidding war.

However, no one had time to redo the flooring when I moved in because it was right before Christmas. So I moved in on someone else's carpet. Which grossed me out, but didn't undo me until I went through the model homes this weekend. Then I knew that it was time to fix the flooring. So that's my goal this week. I'm getting a wood-look tile. And from here on out, I'm letting the kids go househunting on their own so it doesn't cost me too much money.


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