We’re supposed to want to fork it?


Tine Steiss, Creative Commons

A commercial running here in the U.S. of A. is making my tv watching life so much worse.

Worse, even, than the incessant and gnarly political ads.

The product for sale is some sort of frozen, highly processed food.

That in itself is troublesome, what with all the cancer and diabetes running rampant around here.

We’re supposed to want to “fork it.”


In the ad a guy spanks his naughty mac and cheese (or whatever the heck he’s eating).


Then his co-worker applauds the perversion with a gleeful perversion of his own.

Makes my skin crawl.

Reminds me of an episode of Criminal Minds in which two highly disturbed, highly sick individuals living in the same neighborhood find one another and become partners in sadistic crime.

Like some sort of creepy radar.

Someone way back when said, “Sex sells,” and a whole “subliminal seduction” ad genre was born.

Born and grown-up into a hideous adult.

A blatant, perverted, nothing-subliminal-about-it adult.

Well, guess what?

That adult doesn’t sell.

Not to me anyway.

I’d rather eat my own vomit than “fork” anyone’s product.

For a refreshing, edgy, radical change of pace, madison avenue, let’s see if pure, noble and lovely will sell.







life, Light

Compliment, Coffee & Counseling


A few weeks ago I had a dream – actually it was probably the mother-of-a-child-working-on-her-masters-in-counseling-degree’s worst nightmare:  I dreamed that my daughter read a book for one of her classes and discovered that I had done every parenting thing wrong.

So imagine my delight yesterday when my daughter and I returned home after walking our dogs and she said, “You have really healthy REBT.”

“Oh, wow, thanks!,” I replied.   “What’s REBT again?”

“Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy”  (When she said it we both knew it doesn’t make sense to say one has healthy REBT, but you know what she meant.)

“You can tell me about it over coffee,” I said.

While she sipped her vanilla latte and I sipped my chai tea latte, she explained:  Emotionally healthy people have unconditional acceptance of themselves, of others and of life. She gave me some examples.

I asked her what the unhealthy flip side looks like.

She said people who aren’t emotionally healthy become easily rattled.  They must have a problem free life.  If they don’t they think, “This is terrible, I can’t stand it,” and they become anxious.

When we returned home from the coffee shop, she left for class and I googled Rational, Emotive, Behavior Therapy because it has been over 30 years since I was in school and I needed a refresher.   Plus I’m always curious about everything.

So here’s REBT in a nutshell:

According to Albert Ellis, the founder of REBT, how we react to situations is not determined by the situation itself, but by our belief about the situation.  He developed a simple ABC format to explain:

A. Something happens.
B. You have a belief about the situation.
C. You have an emotional reaction to the belief.

A does not cause C, B causes C.

When people react with anxiety, depression, shame, guilt, rage, passive-aggression, acts of violence, self-pity or procrastination it is not because something bad happened, it is because they have one or more of the following faulty beliefs:

1.  I must do well and win the approval of others for my performances or else I am no good.

2.  Other people must treat me considerately, fairly and kindly, and in exactly the way I want them to treat me. If they don’t, they are no good and they deserve to be condemned and punished.

3.  I must get what I want, when I want it; and I must not get what I don’t want. It’s terrible if I don’t get what I want, and I can’t stand it.

The more rigid and demanding the belief, the unhealthier the reaction.

When I was growing up, I noticed a pattern with one of my sisters.  She would make a new friend, put her on a pedestal, talk about her in glowing terms for a week or so, admiring everything she said and did.  Then, when the friend did any little thing that was not in accordance with how my sister believed a perfect person should act, she became angry, upset, rattled, and the friend was suddenly horrible, worthless, cast aside.  NEVER to be forgiven.  She was definitely operating out of faulty belief #2.

I know a woman who can’t quite come to Jesus.  She has toyed with the idea, but she just won’t admit that she needs a Savior.  She has way too much pride for that.  Too much intelligence for that, she has said.

But I think the truth is that she has had too much childhood abuse for that.  I don’t know exactly what she endured.  Perhaps it was not all that much compared to some, but to her it was enough to prepay any sin she would ever commit in her life.  And she has committed plenty of sins.

But she won’t admit it, she won’t say she’s sorry for anything because she seems to believe that the abuse she suffered has earned her a pass.

God owes her.

I think she might be operating out of faulty belief #3.  God, life must be fair, must make sense, must be kind to her.  If it isn’t, then she can behave however she wants.  Doesn’t matter who she hurts.  She just can’t accept that life is unfair – especially to her.

A few lines from a Keith Green song sum up faulty belief #1 pretty well:

“My son, my son why are you striving?
You can’t add one thing to what’s been done for you.
I did it all while I was dying.
Rest in your faith my peace will come to you.”

The goal of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy is to transform faulty beliefs into unconditional acceptance:

Unconditional self-acceptance:

1. I am a fallible human being; I have my good points and my bad points.
2. There is no reason why I must not have flaws.
3. Despite my good points and my bad points, I am no more worthy and no less worthy than any other human being.

Unconditional other-acceptance:

1. Other people will treat me unfairly from time to time.
2. There is no reason why they must treat me fairly.
3. The people who treat me unfairly are no more worthy and no less worthy than any other human being.

Unconditional life-acceptance:

1. Life doesn’t always work out the way that I’d like it to.
2. There is no reason why life must go the way I want it to.
3. Life is not necessarily pleasant but it is never awful and it is nearly always bearable.

Perhaps my unconditional self-acceptance is the reason I have trouble wallowing in the self-condemnation I wrote about yesterday.  And probably tomorrow.

And to give credit where credit is due, here’s where I got my info:


Not Today

Diego Sideburns, Creative Commons

Diego Sideburns, Creative Commons

I was in my office on the top floor of the converted Victorian house.  I always arrived an hour and a half before the center opened so I could get some uninterrupted work done.  That morning I was engrossed in making plans for our upcoming annual banquet when the client services director arrived.  She came in through the back door and called up the stairs, “Have you been listening to the radio?”

“No, why?”

“A plane just flew into the World Trade Center!”

I raced down the steep staircase and flipped on the tv in one of the counseling rooms.

As we watched the tower collapse, a second plane flew into the second tower.  Suddenly we were aware that the first had been no accident.  We stood there stunned and sick.  The world had gone mad and life would never be the same.

Soon the volunteers started to arrive, and then the clients.  Around noon a young couple came in for a pregnancy test.  They were married but they were not ready, they could not have a baby.  They were in the United States on student visas and they had little money.

Our newest volunteer asked if she could talk with them.  She and her husband had been in a similar situation – young, in college, financially unstable – when she became pregnant with their first child.  She wanted to encourage them that things could work out.  I allowed it.

The client services director and the other volunteers were upset with me.  What if she blows it?  A life hung in the balance.  The new volunteer was a bit rough around the edges and awkward, but she had something to share so I trusted God’s sovereign pairing and went upstairs to my office.  And then I got on my knees and prayed – for the couple, for their baby, for the volunteer counselor, for the world that had gone mad.  And then God spoke.  He said, “Enough.”

“There will be no more killing.  Not today.”

And I knew He meant it.

Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.  Psalm 126:5

I went back downstairs and told the group fretting outside the counseling room that the baby was going to be okay.

One year and one month later, the couple and their darling baby boy were the guests of honor at that year’s annual banquet.

And I made the mistake of serving pork.

This post was inspired by the Christmas ad in this post, and by the comment I left there.

Happy Monday.

life, love

Sweet Little Somethings

Mine is a story of missed opportunity and redemption.  It began one cold winter evening as I stood in the grocery checkout line behind a rather ragamuffin couple.  I watched their items move along the conveyor belt – bread, milk, beer, ice cream, diapers and a few other odds and ends.  As the cashier announced their total, the man realized he had left his wallet at home.  He asked the cashier to please set the items aside and he would be right back.  I remember being a bit concerned that his ice cream might melt in the meantime.

It wasn’t until I was leaving the store with my purchases in hand that the thought hit me, “I could have paid for the ice cream.  And the milk.”  That way they could have at least taken those two items home and put them in the freezer and fridge before coming back for the rest.  Darn my feeble mind.  You can be sure I will be ready the next time.

A few weeks later God gave me a new opportunity.  I was walking into the same grocery store when I noticed an elderly woman struggling to put a walker into the trunk of a car that was pulled up to the curb.  There was an elderly gentleman sitting in the passenger seat with the door open and his legs swung out to the side.  I asked the woman if I could give her a hand as I took the walker from her.  After we successfully tucked the walker into the trunk, the gentleman thanked me for helping out “an old military man”.  I was delighted to hear a bit of his story and to be able to thank him for his brave service.  What a lovely day it turned out to be.

Thank you God for the opportunity to connect with that beautiful couple.  I am still itching to pay for someone’s milk and ice cream, though.