Looking Up

You know, I haven’t been able to spend a lot of time at home lately. I feel like I’m always going somewhere after work and on the weekends. It always amazes me though that when I am starting to just feel beat and I’m tired and I start to get cranky, I look up and realize that if I’d been at home I wouldn’t have been in my car at that time in the evening and would completely miss the beauty of the sunset. I know God didn’t paint it just for me, but it sure is a strong reminder that He is right there, smiling down on me.

When I am tired and just want to go to bed, I might not feel like walking the dog before I turn in. When I do though, I’m always amazed at the beauty of the night sky. I wouldn’t have seen all those stars if I had stayed in the house. I would have missed out on that beautiful moon and the warm, spring breeze if I had made someone else do it. (and the doggy kisses too)

The moral of the story, folks is that when life has you down, look up. Always try to find the good and the beautiful in everyday things and it will bring you peace and restore your joy.

I Must Protest

You know, there have been a lot of violent protests recently against police in several cities. I have seen my friends’ opinions about things ranging from support to complete repulsion. I feel like maybe I would like to weigh in now.

I have nothing against protests. It is a healthy way to have your voice heard. It is a way to get the media’s attention and make people listen to you. These protests have happened for decades and have proven to be very effective. In the past, however, these protests were anything but violent. Sure there may be a fist fight here or there, but nothing like a whole town rioting. There have been sit-ins and marches and people who showed up on the capitol steps to voice their concerns. These people I don’t always have to agree with, but I DO respect them.

What is happening right now all over the country is not a protest. What it is, is a temper tantrum and an excuse for thugs to get away with whatever they want. The government may suffer for their actions, which is their supposed intent, but the ones who suffer most are the law-abiding citizens living and working in these areas that are being destroyed. It is nonsense. Think about how many people’s jobs were affected at that drug store that just got burned out. How about this scenario: Your cousin did something to me that really made me mad. I can’t get to your cousin, so I am just going to destroy your house, set it on fire and beat the crap out of you. That makes sense right? I mean, after all, you represent your cousin don’t you? This is the logic being used here and I think almost everyone would agree that the scenario I just presented is wrong. There is just no excuse for this kind of violence.

Now let’s discuss the police actions. I understand the need for a serious investigation, but we need to understand a few things also. There have been countless occasions where the police are punched, kicked, spit at, rammed with another car, SHOT AT, etc. They risk their lives EVERY DAMNED DAY for people they don’t even know. They also do so for a ridiculously low amount of pay. Would you do that? In the line of duty they see a lot of things. I’m sure there are some who become biased and turn into bad seeds. Here’s the thing though, that’s like telling me that I’m a drunkard just because I’m Irish. As a society they are profiling the police for supposedly profiling them. A bit of hypocrisy I would say. Punishing ALL cops for a few bad ones is even more wrong than what they do, because by punishing the people who keep you safe you are, in effect, punishing yourself. Also, you can’t really claim racial profiling in every case. If you live in a primarily black neighborhood, chances are, crimes of opportunity will be done by black perpetrators. That is because that is who lives in that area. Same for whites. If you have a white neighborhood, like Brentwood, you are going to see far more white perpetrators than any other race. It is just logistics.

My point is this: If you are going to protest, do it the right way. Stop bringing your city down by making everyone afraid to go there and giving it a bad reputation. If I thought that the people of a city were prone to violence, as is seen here, I wouldn’t exactly plan my next vacation or business trip there. That hurts the people who work there that would benefit from my spending. So, again, by hurting your community you are just hurting yourself. Stop it. I’m just sayin…

Things I Don’t Understand

  1. If you and your spouse work at the same place, why do you insist on sending calendar invitations for things you are doing on your days off? Are you that busy that you can’t remember that you are having lunch with your wife and kids on Saturday without a pop-up reminder?
  2. If you knock on someone’s door and they don’t answer…why would you assume it is okay to just stick your head in and call their name? Do you suspect something sinister has happened? Are you hoping to catch a glimpse of the person’s office without them in it? Do you care at all that they might be eating their lunch and have shut out the world?
  3. Why does the “duck face” trend continue? Haven’t enough people made fun of this to the point where it is no longer popular?
  4. Why do people feel the need to post scary clowns on Facebook for everyone to see? If you want to scare your friend, email them. I am but an innocent bystander now scarred for life.
  5. Why when it is cold outside does the gas pump take forever to ask you the 20 questions required to buy a tank of gas? There should be a button for requesting a receipt and a car wash. Don’t take 20 minutes to ask me all this stuff. I’m freezing my windshield wipers off out there…I’m just sayin…

Back to Reality

I have to ask you this question: What did you play with growing up? Was it Barbie Dolls? GI Joes? Maybe you liked to dress up kittens and have tea parties. Regardless of what it was you played with the most; do you feel that it affected you personally and your outlook on the world? I, myself, played heavily with Barbie dolls. I also pretended to have a restaurant out back of our house, wherein I would serve grass that had marinated in rain water for several days as soup and I expected that our cats would enjoy this. I sometimes played with my brother’s Matchbox cars (but don’t tell him).

My next question is this: Do you feel like what you played with gave you a skewed interpretation of what you were supposed to look like/feel like/be? I braided a lot of Barbie hair. I never had the desire, however, to become a beautician. All that grass I served up to the kitties never made me want to work in food service. The Matchbox cars…I’ve never really wanted to own one like the ones in that collection.

All this arguing on-line about girls not being made to play with Barbie dolls because it gives them a skewed image of self is just nonsense. I never thought, “Oh! I had better look like Barbie if I am going to catch a man.” The point is that kids that age aren’t even really interested in boys yet. They don’t care how they look yet. Teenagers…sure…they care, but a ten year old? Not so much. It is just a doll. A child’s sense of self-worth should come from those around her. She should want to be healthy and eat well because she sees her mom doing that. She should admire her teacher because she is around that person all day long. Kids want to be astronauts and zoo keepers and policemen. They don’t want to be these things because they want to look pretty doing it….they want to be these things because those things interest them. I have a ten year old daughter at home. She plays with Monster High dolls. She hasn’t yet looked in the mirror then said to me, “Mom, why can’t I be blue like Laguna?” Or “How come I don’t have fangs like Draculara?” She has enough sense to know that what she is playing with is a doll. She likes to change their clothes and brush their hair. What does she want to be when she grows up? She wants to be a police detective. I have taught my daughter that she can be whatever she wants if she puts her mind to it. I have never placed her in a category based on gender. There is way too much focus on the dolls themselves and it needs to be redirected at the parents/guardians. If kids are taught by US that these things matter, then to that child they DO matter. Your little girl would never, on her own, look at herself in the mirror and say, “Man…I better cut back on the Girl Scout cookies…I’m getting fat.” No…she had to hear that somewhere. If you point out to her that the Barbie is unrealistic then suddenly Barbie represents something much more than just a cool doll to play with. Whose fault is that? I’m just sayin…

What’s The Problem?

I don’t know what’s wrong with me lately. Let me start by saying I love my church. It is a very unique place where I always feel the presence of God, no matter the reason for my being there. Why then have I been completely reluctant to go there for the last six months? I think about it every Sunday and every Sunday I sleep in. I know I need to be taking my daughter so that she can socialize and make new friends there (she gets Bible teaching all week long at school), but she seems so uncomfortable going to her classes that I don’t make her when we do go. She sits with me. Plus there is a selfish part of me that enjoys her being there.

I can actually pinpoint the moment in time when it happened I think. It was the day they told us that our pastor’s cancer was back and that he was ill. I had prayed so hard for him as so many others in our town had and it was like someone punched me in the gut when I heard the news. Even other churches and entire schools were praying fervently for him. He was a genuinely good man who could teach the Word like nobody I’ve ever encountered. Never did I look at my watch during service and wonder what was for lunch. Never did I try to get out of going because I didn’t feel like it. When we first went there it was with friends and I had come from a big church and really didn’t want to go back down that road. I liked little country churches where you could really get to know people. When I heard him preach though, I just absolutely couldn’t imagine going anywhere else. He never preached “at” you, he taught you. He never made you feel ashamed, he made you feel loved and redeemed. He was no hypocrite either. He practiced exactly what he preached and he was the same person no matter where you saw him (even at the Catfish House). Even my ten year old enjoyed listening to him.

He passed away several months ago. We got the news about him almost at the same time that my parents started going downhill. It was just too much at once.  I didn’t know him on a personal level, but he was my shepherd in a sense. He guided us in God’s Word. I’ve never doubted my faith and I’m probably closer to God now than I have ever been, but the thought of sitting through church service sends waves of panic over me. Can I keep it together? Will they see me cry for no reason? Can I make it through this song without needing to run to the restroom and fix my makeup and blow my nose? Will I be depressed the rest of the day? There is so much stress around that one event now that I avoid it all together. It isn’t that I’m depressed or sad…my heart is literally just broken. I know there is a reason that things happen and that with time it will all make sense, but for now I find myself scratching my head. Probably He is sending us someone fantastic to pick up where Brother David left off. Maybe it happened to spark something in his family’s life that we can’t even see. It isn’t for us to question I suppose, but the human in me still wants answers. The same can be said of my parents. Why now? Why this? And of our cousin that I just learned has Leukemia and my friend whose husband just died of cancer and another friend whose father is going through chemo… I just shake my head in disbelief. It’s all too much. My heart is in pieces.

One day we will have all the answers we need. Until then I suppose we just have to keep living by faith. I will quote my favorite verse here…”Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.”

I guess I’m saying all this to share with others that no matter what you are going through, you are not alone. There are others hurting with you and who are praying for you whether you know it or not. We all just have to be strong together and remember that God is with us. God is good all the time. ALL THE TIME God is good. That is what helps me hang on to what little sanity I have left. I’m just sayin…