Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Poem, I Think

I recently had a request to update my blog and I've been thinking in rhythmic patterns lately, so here goes nothing.  I truly am someone who feels it is better to give than to receive and the world at large has lost sight of this all-important virtue.  Christmas is upon us, so don't forget there is always somebody who has it worse than you do, who could use your help, a smile, love, a hug, encouragement, or whatever!  Don't go through life missing out on opportunities to be good to people.  Yeah, that's kinda what the poem is about, even though it seems a bit all over the place.  =)

A Poem, I Think

I made a fist and shook it high,
As I contemplated why…
Hating how the road of life
Had robbed me, oh, so blind…
Of joy and laughter
Smiles and warmth –
As I floundered in despair,
I wondered where old self had gone,
I couldn’t find her anywhere.

I looked inside a bottle,
Then life somehow made sense,
The numbness that would sure wear off,
Brought wrath much more intense.

I looked to trusted loved ones,
But I found myself alone,
Vows of loyalty all forgotten,
Smiling, friendly encouragement – gone.

I tried to purchase my way through…
Mask pain by material gain,
Frivolous moments of weakness…
I now regarded with disdain.

My heart knew just what it needed,
But felt so saddened when…
My expressions of love for His grace,
Were met with condescending grin.

Who can know the heart of man?
Is how the Good Book reads,
Mine now filled with gratitude,
Another day for committing good deeds…

Bestowing love on people,
Is all that I have known,
I’ve only found myself true peace,
Somewhat reaping what was sown…

My heart still yearns for serving,
And that’s what’s been realized,
If there is no purpose to live and serve,
Then I’d really rather die.

I found myself with my family,
They’re all the world to me,
Trying to exemplify,
Better give, than to receive.

I find myself on down the line,
Giving, loving without guise,
The reward gained for my efforts?
Living had become a prize.

If you're lost, you can find yourself giving,
Guaranteed won't be in vain,
For what does a man's soul profit?
If the whole world is his gain?

Thank you for reading!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Envy, Covet, and Jealousy - Oh, my!

I'm trying to stay focused on a bigger payoff than blogging, but I had to make an observation that has nagged at me for some time now.  What is it with people who want the things that you don't even have?  Like, the things you tell them you would like to have or dream of owning some day - those are the things they will suddenly possess and/or seek diligently to acquire.  Am I a bad person that it bugs me?  I have never been the type of person to be upset if somebody owned the same clothing item as me or even purposely bought something because I had it, but this caliber of possessiveness that I feel towards my desirables deserves its own name.  Alas, a name escapes me at the mo'.  I reckon the possessiveness I feel is akin to the same one feels when they share a prospective name for a future/possible child.  All of a sudden, because they said the name out loud, it's theirs and theirs alone.  That is how I feel about the things I dream of with those I trust.  Especially when those I confide my hopes and dreams in suddenly turn up with my hopes on their arms and my dreams on their feets.  (yes, I realize "feets" isn't a word.  Cut me some slack while I vent!)  Get your own hopes and dreams!!  haha!  It's like when you're in high school and you tell your very best girlfriend that you're in LOVE with the awkward, so-so-looking nerd in the corner.  Before then, she'd never noticed said nerd, but next thing you know they're "going around" and couldn't be happier.  How can any, self-respecting "friend" be so inconsiderate??  It boggles one's mind, namely my mind.  Maybe I'm petty, jealous, envious, and covetous.  Perhaps maybe I'm full of self-loathing and critiquing my own shortcomings on the world wide web.  Maybe not.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Will Write for Food...

Well, I wanted all of you lovely cyberific readers to know that I haven't forgotten you or this blog.  As a matter of fact, I have been working on a book that I hope to self-publish very soon.  The names of the innocent will be changed for their protection, but look out!  It's turning out to be very forthcoming and brutally honest and it's main subject is that of unrequited love.  I think it should be required reading for all persons seeking its oft-rewarding yet fickle titillation, but that's just my lofty and deluded opinion.  =)

Meanwhile, I will try to post concise tidbits with which you may satiate your need to read me, but by and large I will be feverishly working on what is sure to be a masterpiece.  (A girl can dream, can't she?)  TTFN

Friday, June 24, 2011

Donkey Rock or BURST!

As summer is set upon us, I can't help but reminisce of lovely summer memories from years past.  For nearly two decades, Youth Camp was the highlight of my summer.  From an early age, it didn't matter where I was going or with whom, I always had a good time.  Youth Camp was the pinnacle of fun in my life at that time.  So many possibilities for adventure and memory-building.  I'm sheepish to admit that I had the presence of mind then to take extra care to savor the goodness.  I tried to memorize every rock on the path to the girls' bathroom.  I knew exactly where to stand in line for church so I could sit on a certain bench, in view of certain other campers.  ;)  I enjoyed a Kit Kat and suicide soda after every service, or sometimes a Mars bar, or a Rocky Road.  There was a giant bonfire most nights after we'd cried our last tear in the altar and many kids used it as an opportunity to practice dating.  Getting "taken to the bonfire" was a big deal.  I had beautiful friends of which had a different suitor every night.  I was usually the third wheel or hanging out with the other unlucky gals.  I'm pretty sure I was never asked to the bonfire by anyone, though I did have a stand-in "date" a couple of years by way of the current boyfriend.  So, that's not a big deal, just life! ha!  It didn't stop me from having fun, like, ever.  One year, there was a flash flood and my cabin was filled with mud to our knees.  We were nicknamed the Mud Hut that year.  We had our tent flaps up (bottom half was wood, top half army-like tent), and we were watching the hail and pouring rain.  Suddenly, what appeared to be mostly water began rushing toward our dwelling.  I jumped off the bunk where I was and my animal instinct kicked in!  I was grabbing belongings and throwing them up on the top bunks as quickly as possible, and my co-campers were doing the same.  It was awesome.  It was a mess, but it was awesome.  The list of memories such as this goes on and on and are funny, intriguing, and endearing.  One of my favorite parts of Youth Camp was waking up each morning.  Elder Morton would get on the PA and start singing in that lovely, funny voice of his.  A couple of my friends and I still sing each other those songs from time to time and you're not doing it right if you're not off-key!  I miss the days when all I had to worry about over the summer was what I was going to wear to Youth Camp and if I would be asked out to the bonfire.  Good times!  Summer time is here again and my spirit is up in that remote wooded area, high above the scorching heat of the valley.  Smelling the pine and the freshwater stream, feeling the occasional breeze drifting by, bringing with it the smell of tater tots and hot dogs.  I wish my son liked it as much as I did, because I would love to have an excuse just to drive up there again.  Great memories will never be forgotten!!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Contemplating One's Self

I recall being in an impromptu meeting on a typically long, work-filled Sunday some years ago, and being served with a generous helping of humble pie.  There were many meetings in my life at the time.  Who goes where, when, how, and to what extent - was discussed at great length, much to my chagrin.  Just make a unilateral decision, for crying out loud, and save everyone the trouble of splitting hairs over the deets.  Anyhoot, I try to relieve tension with laughter and I tend to make sarcastic remarks in an effort to extract laughter from a strained situation, much like water from a rock.  I realize it's a losing battle, but I'm compelled to do so anyway.

This meeting was one such instance.  The item being discussed was not something that should have been up for discussion, therefore the meeting participants were irate and combative.  In what I thought would be a tension-relieving moment, I made a remark that ended up changing my entire view of myself.  It was something to the extent of pointing out the heat we will have been made to endure whilst participating in the event being discussed.  The meeting coordinator, stretched to the breaking point and against his typical attitude toward me, snapped at me and told me I complain too much.

Initially, I was embarrassed that he was "mean" to me in front of the others.  Anger then set in for being flagrantly misunderstood.  Then, I reached a stage of epiphany.  Maybe he was right.  What??  I complain too much??  What in heaven's name?  Well, come to find out,  I started to take several steps back from myself and realize he was on to something.  Wow.  What a revelatory time of self-discovery and introspection.

Unfortunately, there are many people who are not lucky enough to have anyone be honest with them in their lives.  They go on through life, blindly offensive and brash, while feeling victimized and self-pitying.  I often wonder why people are quite remiss to take an honest look in the mirror.  It's tough.  I know this.  I've done it, and continue to do it to try to be the best friend, mom, citizen, etc. that I can be.

Many humans, being human and fallible by nature, don't care to know the truth about themselves.  I have tried, in my "career" as friend to all, to be forthright and honest with individuals I feel there is hope for.  Not that it's my place to judge who is and isn't beyond hope, but I don't like to impose my will on others, no matter how right I am.  *big wink*  ha! (One of my many shortcomings being my opinionated nature, hence the blog, people!!) Sadly, many persons choose to remain oblivious to their brash nature, trampling poor souls along their way, and leaving a path of virtual destruction behind them.  They eat the downtrodden for lunch and spit them out.  It's a terrible thing to behold and one can't help but feel pity and shame on their behalf.

In the relationships in my own life, I want to proceed with eyes wide open, taking extra care to consider the opposite POV.  What benefit is there to being obstinate and inflexible with others?  I venture to say there is no benefit derived and, in fact, may find one quite friendless and relationshipless indeed.  Disagreements and misunderstandings are excellent opportunities to gain new perspective on how you are perceived by the people you love in your life.  While it may hurt, don't immediately disregard a harsh word spoken and chalk it up to heat of the moment.  There's something to it.  Promise.

Keep in mind, in every bit of criticism, there is some truth there to be found.  Consider it.  Take the meat and throw away the bones.  Look at yourself, then turn your eyes to Jesus.  That's all any of us can do.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Got a Light?

I find myself precariously perched between blatant disregard for church and religion and the burning desire in my heart to please the Supreme Being, greater than myself or anyone else.  There was a time when it wasn't a question at all.  I loved Jesus and I was going to do whatever, whenever, and however it needed to be done in order to get to see His face at the end of this journey we call "Life".  Unfortunately, a lot of LIFE has happened in the process and I find myself confused, alone, and HOPEless.  (There was a funny uttered today to me that is neither fitting for this post, nor befitting my character to recount in a public setting, but it was funny in regards to HOPE.  Trust me and laugh.)  

When you think there's no more rug left to be ripped from under you, you tempt the powers that be to demonstrate your fallible nature and misgivings.  I've often had the thought, "This is it.  This is rock bottom."  I'm now scared to utter such thoughts or let them cross my mind, whether in a fit of depression and self-loathing or just a plain, ol' pity party, I cannot allow the thought in.  Even though it could really be the case this time.  Maybe, just maybe, there's no where to go but up, as "they" say.  (Whoever "they" are, I have not a clue, but I used to get reprimanded for questioning the existence and validity of "they", so I just go with it now.)

What happens when, like plunging into the depths of the deepest ocean, you can't see up due to the lack of illumination?  I've heard, and am hesitant to express my fear that when you go deep enough into the ocean, you have no clue which way is up and deep sea divers have to learn certain skills to keep them from drowning in such scenarios.  Personally, I'm not a great swimmer, so going deep sea diving terrifies me, as does the fact that one cannot tell where the surface is due to the sun's inability to penetrate those depths.

As humanity plunges ever deeper into the sea of despair, what light is there to guide them back to the surface, to the air that awaits their screaming lungs?  I have seen many such self-proclaimed, alleged "lights" - in the market, at the restaurant, in the bank - and there was no light emanating from them.  I'm ashamed to say I used to be the same.  Few and far between are the "saved" souls that seek to share their love for the truth with others.  They have no clue who I am and when I stare in bewildered awe of their rude, brash aura, they glare at me or turn their noses up in the air.

I don't want to be a part of that number, however, today I was able to witness some heartfelt, inspired, sincere Christianity imparted to me.  Wow.  I wasn't at all expecting that level of concern for my soul, having been mostly "written off" by those who used to say (operative word "say"), they cared for my soul and salvation.  A light.  A light even I could see from the low I have presently sunk to.  I'm intrigued and compelled to give religiosity another look, in moderation, as the Bible says all things should be done.

Sing it with me..."If you've tried everything and everything has failed...TRY...?"

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Scorekeepers: How to Win at Friendship *wink*

Well, before I get into this post, let me say this - I love my friends.  I have learned to surround myself with positive, selfless people who are a joy to be around.  My honest-to-goodness friendships are not the motivation for this post.

That being said, I will now write on how I perceive some others in society that I may or may not have closely dealt with.  In all levels of relationship, whether it be acquaintance, family, leader, minister, friend, lover, etc. - there are people who fit the bill of scorekeeper.  You know the type.  Their actions are wholly dependent upon the actions of others.  Don't mistake these people for followers.  No.  The people of which I speak keep a tally, of sorts, of their hurts, compliments, triumphs, and other fringe benefits of relationships of all levels and types in their lives.  Truly, it must be an exhausting effort on their part, but I've witnessed this behavior over and over.

There are so many things in life that are "score-worthy", including a meal a gratis, an ill-spoken word, presence at an event, etc.  Certainly you get the idea.  Maybe you have even uttered the words, "Well, they didn't come to my (_________), so I don't feel bad".  These people seek justification for every, single action of theirs, and often their insubordinate children, by citing a higher or similar offense by someone in their same position.  (i.e. another friend, sibling, minister, husband, yada-yada-yada...)  They're always watching.  Always judging.  Always, always, ALWAYS keeping score.  If you give them a card on their birthday, expect nothing more than the same - (not that you should expect anything, which is another post for another day...).  If you happen to let slip you think their misbehaved child is such, expect retribution in kind.

What's really distressing is these people, having this type of "condition" have placed themselves in the unfortunate position which requires them to "buy" their relationships.  Their family is stuck with them, in a lot of ways, so they continue to be family, unless it's an ex-in-law situation.  An unsuspecting, potential relationship will begin and unbeknownst to one side, the other side is keeping track of all wrongdoings, alleged generosities, etc. and will be recalled at a later date.  It's a sad state to be in.

Have you ever been in the position of suddenly finding out you are indebted to someone for something you didn't know they were keeping track of?  Relationships should be equally selfless, generous, loving, and without tallies.  When you keep track of things, anywhere from house visits to birthday gifts to phone calls, it can be tiring and take your focus off of the joy of having the chance to build the relationship in the first place.

Score keeping is symptomatic of a relationship destined for failure, because inevitably, the scorekeeper will find they have "won" a contest only they were playing at and deem their unsuspecting "opponent" a loser.

In the "game" of life, I believe one of my favorite mantras applies very well and that is - "Quitters never win and winners never quit."  That being said, winners are too busy winning to keep score.  Just saying...

Monday, June 6, 2011

Who Cares Who's On First? =)

So, I guess there's some sort of basketball thing going on right now that people care about.  I used to care about basketball.  The Lakers, in fact - but they blew a playoff game and I cried with Fish and got over it.  Completely over it.  No more crazy Laker fan or whatever the heck it is that possesses citizens who appear to be normal and transforms them into opposing-team-fan-beating, beer throwing, foaming-at-the-mouth, shirt-ripping, face-painting fanatics.  I was SO in love with the Lakers, namely Derek Fisher, and I loved to watch all the games.  So much so, that I actually sneaked around to watch the games, though it was pretty much allowed at my local parish at the time.  (Games on TV, okay.  Anything else on TV, not okay.  Whatever.  Not going there today.)  So, there's this Final series of some sorts that has a few people worked up.  What I know about it is the Heat is in it and Lakers fans couldn't be more put out over it.  Really?  People really let these things ruin their days?  Starving children, disease, genocide, natural disasters, and the like plague our planet and people really have time to not only watch these spectacles but to waste inordinate amounts of time fretting over them?  You know, I may not agree with everything I was taught as a child, but I definitely see the upside to ignoring the sporting world as a whole.  Honestly, my days are unaffected by sports, and the only time I get a little bit into them is during the Olympics, when I'm just a plain, ol', proud American.  There are so many joys to marvel at and real sorrows over which to weep, therefore I choose not to let the sporting "gods" dictate to me at any level what my life experience may be.  If you're in such dire need of a distraction, visit your local soup kitchen and donate some time.  Sorry, I can't sympathize with the sports-lovers of the world.  Common sense disallows me from doing such.  Play ball! haha..

Friday, June 3, 2011

Have you seen my anger?

Some days I feel, if I were a cartoon, there would be a perpetual, frowny rain cloud hovering over my cerebral cortex.  It would have random lightning bolts projected from it, striking the unsuspecting and innocent passersby.  Unbeknownst to said passersby, I have had one terrible year or two or three.  The angst and frustration have built at an exponential rate, that is for certain.  I don't mean to be mean.  I don't derive much satisfaction from driving offensively or confronting a "line cutter" in the market, etc.  I'm just an angry individual.

When I'm angry of late and in a fit of rage, it's almost as if I'm not me at all.  I observe the unleashed beast I become in bewilderment.  As a person, I am brash, outspoken, and often mistaken as being upset, but I cannot be accused of being ugly for ugly's sake.  Until now, unfortunately.  I have tried, as an admirer of wisdom and one who hopes to attain some of my own, to ignore my frustrations with myself and my life in an effort to exercise discipline on my emotions.  Emotions.  Those are tricky things.  I have felt things in the last month that I have not experienced to date in my entire existence and I must say, I abhor the actions brought on by these emotions.  The proverbial "can of worms" has not just been opened, but opened and dumped on my head.  I was full of self-loathing before, but now there are no words to describe the things I feel in response to my untamed, untapped anger.

What worries me about my new-found, untapped anger is the management thereof.  I have not ever had anger of this magnitude to contend with before, so I've been caught unawares on multiple occasions of late.  As the rage seems to consume me, piece by piece, I see myself doing things I would never have considered before.  On these occasions, I have enough presence of mind to realize that my behavior is that of people I have no respect for.  I lash out at the people I love and say things I don't mean.  I have even thrown my phone.  Twice.  Maybe this seems like no big deal, but if you know me at all, you know that's extremely contrary to my typical countenance.  Even when I have been very upset in the past, I do not inadvertently or purposely ruin my things.  

Typically I have the uncanny and unsettling ability to remain calm in the face of a stormy situation.  I often think I missed my calling in life to be a counselor of sorts, since I can maintain a certain level of seemingly near disinterest in the situation at hand, no matter how scandalous and to the point of projecting my own peace on the distressed party.

I am quite discontent in the dawning realization that I now have anger with which to contend and no place to compartmentalize it.  My mind and heart are too full with all of the other cares of life and now anger is seeking a footing to take hold.  I don't want to allow it to take hold.  I've had a glimpse of that angry person and I don't care too much for her.  I have to deal with it and soon, but where to place it?  In myself?  Project it onto others?  Blame those I feel are responsible for my anger?  Ideally, I'd like to see this angry person transformed and reinstated to my former, sometimes impatient, but largely controlled self.  Let's just say I need to handle it sooner than later.  Meanwhile, just lay off me, huh?  *sigh*  (See?  Projecting again...  urrrgghhh!!)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Toll Roads - What Gives?

I have become increasingly alarmed at the ever-growing number and changing dynamic of the persons ensconced roadside, panhandling.  Back in "the day", whenever "that" was, beggars used to be generally perceived as junkies, homeless, drunks, and other rejects of society.  Not any more.  One sign roadside recently read "White Man Needs Job".  The person holding the sign was a white woman.  She had a Yorkie with her, which I can't afford, and a young child.  So, where's this "man"??  And why was it necessary to specify the color of his skin?  (Does anybody care about skin color in 2011?)  Two of the cars in front of me and one behind offered this woman money.  Wow.  So, forget credentials,  instead all you need is some cardboard and a Sharpie and you can make more money than a lot of people suffering through this awful economy.  Upon my exodus of the Walmart vehicular receptacle, I spotted another WOMAN (where is our pride, ladies????), with a sign.  It read, "Out of Work - Hungry", but she looked so normal and a bit overweight, I might add!!!  (I realize I have little room to speak, but come on, people!  Give me something I can sympathize...)  I know "out of work" is the new normal in Obamaland, but join the crowd, lady!  I barely afforded my bread and baby food acquired that day and she wants me to just hand her money?  The person in front of me this on particular instance was smart and handed her a bag of McDonald's.  That I can do.  Dad brought us up to be compassionate and generous, so I'm always down to feed a truly hungry person or give them a coat or whatever their need may be.  The really crazy thing is, during Christmas, when generosity is seemingly thrust upon us, I have tried to give blankets and coats to homeless people.  They're skeptical, if not downright rude, just bluntly asking for money instead and rejecting my kindness.  In the words of my man Cee Lo, "FORGET you!"  I want to be a giver, but do NOT take advantage of my good graces and my guilt for being able to afford my LOAF OF BREAD.

So, if you're not on board with giving away your children's allowances to the new "suffering and needy" of the city in which you reside, here's my stellar advice:  Take that money and buy the darkest sunglasses you can, that way when they're staring at you, they can't tell if you're staring back at them or not.  By all means, stare, though.  If we are going to be discourteously requesting monies of hard working, upstanding members of society, then we are not ashamed to be gawked at relentlessly.  Well, it's probably not what Jesus would do, but I do not profess to be His mouthpiece.  For the Lord's take on the subject, go here.

The weather is nice today, so beware of toll roads!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Failure is Not an Option

Try:   to subject to something that tests the powers of endurance
I've been wondering, of late, what in my life defines "trying".  I have "tried" to do many things.  Some have failed spectacularly, others have been an embarrassing debacle, and others still have been, in my own mind's eye, a success.  

There are many things I "try" to do on a regular basis, for instance, losing weight.  I am, for myself, at an unsatisfactory mass level, of which I wish to bring down to a more acceptable level by "trying" to eat right.  I am, currently, "trying" and succeeding at a steady, albeit seemingly glacial pace, to write a book.  Whenever I endeavor to knock a bit of it [the book] off, I seem to encounter endless obstacles, yet my mind flourishes with imaginative, compelling ideas when my computer is a world away and my hands may as well be tied behind my back.  

Whilst pontificating upon the effort I put into life in general and what exactly I have to show for said effort, I have become increasingly dismayed.  Having said that, let me say this - I consider my children to be my greatest successes in life, while not having to "try" too hard for them.  *cough* *cough*  They came about, both of them, as pleasant, beautiful surprises of sorts, and have both brought me so much joy.  

Outside of the fact that I have been blessed with them, I do not feel particularly fulfilled.  Something is missing.  Or someone.  I do not know at this juncture exactly which or what or why.  I do know my lovely friend, Cam, tells me nearly every day to just get after it, whatever "it" may be.  

Today, the laundry list of items I hope to "try" is growing more bloated by the minute.  I will be moved into a new residence by week's end, enrolled in school, and hopefully another five pounds lighter.  My life is about to change drastically because of that word "try", so I'm going to "try" to make the very best of it.  What are you "trying" (or not "trying") today?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Quality or State of Being Friendly

Well, "friends", I've been thinking quite a lot on friends, friendship, and friendliness, and I've come to this conclusion: there are very few, if any, friends left to be had who have any kindly interest or goodwill on a consistent, faithful basis.  It's extremely saddening, to say the least.  Even I have not been a good friend, and perhaps am now reaping what I, myself, have sown.  I've heard it said many times and even have said it myself that, "With friends like these, who needs enemies?"  Some would take the passage of Proverbs 27:5-7 out of context to justify their actions.  Others offer no explanation for their injurious actions (or lack thereof), and wish to still "remain friends".  Honestly, I'd rather have no friends than not know if I can trust and rely on the ones I "have" to be friendly at all times.  Am I so "starved", as the 7th verse states, that I'll take on any "bitter", self-serving, mean-spirited person as a friend?  I've allowed myself to be "guilted" into being nice and come out of those situations feeling empty and unfulfilled.  I often take comfort in the song "No One Ever Cared for Me Like Jesus", as I try my darnedest to not pity my woeful state of being.  Merriam-Webster defines a friend as "one that is not hostile", and hostile is defined as "of or relating to the opposing party".  Aristotle said, "A friend to all is a friend to none."  So, you may have to make a choice.  I have made a choice.  I will still do my very best to be nice to all, even downright accommodating to others, but I fully trust very few.  (The actual number would be shocking to my "friends".)  It's a lonely place to be, having removed the rose-colored glasses and now viewing the entirety of the human race through jaded eyes.  I miss my innocence and abhor those I allowed to rip it from me, piece by piece.  Friendship isn't always convenient and being friendly or amicable toward one seemingly undeserving of such can be downright trying, but I don't think it's too much to ask or expect in return.  Unfortunately, life forces friendships in or out and if you are one who tries to maintain a hold on all friends, tenuous though the grasp may be, you will be exhausted from the effort.  The world of social networking has given many, including myself, a false sense of security, thinking all 290-odd "friends" actually like us.  (Or whatever your number may be...)  I am aware the vast majority on my list don't define friend, but some are outright enemies.  It's time to weed out the ones who hurt me the most, I reckon.  Will they retaliate with reckless gossip and malevolent behavior?  Most likely.  Oh, well, like the rest of the human race, I now will look out for me.  Nobody else is going to do it.  (I'll have my tongue firmly implanted in my cheek for my next post, and I apologize for the ugliness spewed herein, but venting is good for me.)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Drama Queen Demystified

In spite of what you may have read here, I earnestly try to avoid "drama".  I don't even like using that word in reference to stressful life situations and fear it is abused by our society as a whole.  According to the highly reputable site Urban Dictionary (*dripping sarcasm*), "drama" is something girls thrive on.  (I paraphrased because the definition is substantially more offensive and you may read it for yourself by clicking my handy-dandy link!)  I don't think it's just girls any more, though they do bear the brunt of the blame for creating "dramatic" situations.  Men have become substantially more caught up in being "drama queens" as well.  Things grow worse at an exponential rate and it's so easily avoided!  I think that many, many, MANY people bring said "drama" upon themselves.  They will tell you they're victims, but I don't buy it.  So, since anything you read on the Internet (thank you, Al Gore!), is true and verified, I am your guru to provide simple steps to avoiding drama.  This time it's free, next time it'll cost ya'!

1.  Don't use the word "drama" unless you're referring to the latest Clint Eastwood offering.

2.  Stay away from people who use the word "drama", unless (see #1). "A perverse person stirs up conflict..."

3.  Before you begin to partake of another person's "drama" - stop.  Put yourself in that person's shoes.  No matter how perfect you THINK you are and that you would NEVER be in their position, you are wrong.  By repeating it, you may or may not bring added "drama" to an already "dramatic" situation and bring disfavor upon your own head by GOD.  (Most of those things are on a "need to know" basis and YOU don't "need to KNOW"!!)

4.  Refrain from using absolutes.  (never, always, everybody, etc.)  These words make you less believable as a person.  Regardless of what or who you are talking about, Justin Bieber was right - "Never say Never"!

5.  Be flexible so you don't get out of shape, hence the onset of MORE "drama".

6.  Befriend less popular people.  I have found many "unpopular" people are shockingly "drama"-free!  That may sound harsh, but hear me out!  popular=ambitious=competitive=jealous=petty=DRAMA  When you peel the layers, you may be very disappointed as to why that person is "popular".  Or how, rather.

7.  If you find yourself in a disheartened state of mind, keep your list of confidants short, honorable, and trustworthy.  When you hear things repeated, at the very least, you'll know who was responsible.  Whether you confront them or not is dependent on how much "drama" you would like to deal with.

This list is a work in progress, and I'm sure there are many more things to add.  I'm welcome to your comments and suggestions!  For now, try to remain drama-free and enjoy life!  Life really is beautiful.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Real Deal

Read an interesting post on a blog I frequent by a revered author recently, and it got me to thinking on the many forms of "sin".  The word "sinner" is what the crazies on The View would call a "Hot Topic".  Using that word and associating it with another person is akin to being judgmental, and when judgment is reserved for God alone, a fine line to walk.  As I have continued to read the heated debate on that particular post in regards to backsliders, modesty, sinning, etc., I have come to this conclusion - a reprobate mind needs some re-examination.  In Titus 1:16 it says, "They profess to know God; but in works they deny Him, being abominable, and disobedient and unto every good work reprobate."  (the entire passage is very interesting...)  The only definition I ever heard growing up in Pentecostal ranks of "reprobate" was basically that the person was cast out by God and given up on, perhaps even deluded in their beliefs.  That's not the complete definition.  Merriam-Webster says that "reprobate" is [a person] that is morally corrupt.  I realize not all Pentecostals fit into this category, but I'm ever surprised at the ignorance and sheer denial many are in.  First and foremost, you must be obedient to God and His Word.  Next, your pastor.  Problem is, much, much, MUCH focus is given to the physical presentation and pleasing the pastor and ministry, when hearts aren't right, yet God's people refuse to see it.  They're eager to tear down the unfortunate soul who happens to be found living in sin, yet they don't realize that every time they sit down at the table and overeat, they are sinning as well.  Living in a messy, filthy house is a sin.  Watching Hulu when the pastor preaches against TV is a sin.  Unfortunately, these things are trivialized, justified, and kept hidden from view so as to not ruin the perception of them via their outward holiness.  I'm actually the rare sinner that doesn't mind being called by that label, so long as the viewer sees clearly we all do sin and MOST on a regular basis.  Just because gluttony, laziness, and excessive debt aren't addressed on a regular basis from the pulpit doesn't mean God forgot that He abhors these things.  The surface stuff is easy, but God looks on the HEART.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Every, Single Day - I Miss Him

Every year, on this day, the reality of the hole left in my heart punches me in the face.  I don't know why bad things happen to good people.  Perhaps I should have more faith in God, but Dad served God so faithfully and he suffered a slow and painful death.  One of our last conversations, Dad told me he still believed he could be healed and it would be so miraculous and a light for all to see.  He got his healing, in a different way, but so much less miraculous to those of us who have not seen Heaven.  I'm sad tonight.  My life is not what I hoped for, nor what Dad would have wanted, but here I am.  Weeping over my computer.  Disheartened by God's people who put more energy into their dissenting views than winning the lost and winning back people like me.  I want to see this place called Heaven.  I want to see my Dad.  I want to have that last conversation that was robbed from me, as he slipped into a coma his last few days on this Earth.  He would know what to say to put my tormented mind at ease.  He'd say I need to forgive those I have grown to dislike to the point of sheer hatred.  I don't want it said of me that I lost my soul over my offenses.  Thank God for my kids.  They give me the will to wake each morning.  I'm really laying it out there right now and may regret this in the morning, but more than anything I don't want the world to forget my daddy.  He never thought of himself as great, and I think I probably took him for granted while he was with me, but he was great.  If you didn't know him, you missed out on something special.  I'll love you forever, Dad, as long as I am living.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

No One Was Searching For Them (Ez. 34:6)

Had an interesting conversation today with another "lost sheep" and have had a lot rolling around in my mind since then.  We experienced very similar circumstances and have trouble understanding the "Christianity" in it.  There are so many instances in the Bible, one specifically found in chapter 34 of Ezekiel, where God exhorts the "shepherds" or what we have come to know in the 21st century as the "ministry" in regards to caring for his sheep.  (Or the lack thereof, in my particular instance, and that of the other partaker in this exchange.)  And how many countless others?  When I was in church, I was of the opinion that the "backslider" was wrong no matter what, therefore no feelings of theirs warranted any merit or gravity.  I've even heard those who were "lost" and not sought after, that just made up in their mind to come back on their own, make up excuses for the lack of seeking on their minister's part.  None of this is called into question ever.  It's taboo and if you're even thinking of questioning why, you're immediately considered in the wrong, blacklisted and ostracized by whomever lends a sympathetic ear to the minister seeking to justify their lack of caring.  I have found that questioning usually ignites obnoxious, arrogant belligerence amongst "the called" claiming to strive to live as Jesus would, and no answer is ever given.  How many hurting souls are sprinting towards eternity, wondering where all the years of love and dedication to their shepherd and the flock got them?  Annihilated.  Excommunicated.  Forgotten.  Sentenced to the life of a leper without fair trial, only judgment.  The numbers are countless, yet the "redeemed" will say that if those "lost" really love the Lord, it won't matter.  I disagree and hope they're never on the other side of the fence to see for themselves.  "Thus says the Lord GOD: 'Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them.'"  Ezekiel 34:10  Those aren't my words, and I highly recommend the entire chapter for reading, so you may see for yourself I'm not taking a grain of sand to build a sand castle.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Title Entitlement

Growing up, we were taught to employ titles when addressing people of position, adults, teachers, etc.  This, I think, was a throwback of sorts to times past when kids were actually taught and expected to respect their elders.  There's a fine line that the use of a title walks today because the title bearer is still just human.  I do agree that, in some instances, the lack of a title breeds a familiarity that shouldn't be allowed in a more formal setting and "dumbs down" the respect level of the title bearer.  However, these "title bearers" [sometimes] hold dear to their titles and I have witnessed, over the years, the downfall of many of them.  I'm embarrassed for those in the ranks of "ministry" of many organizations that demand to be addressed in a certain manner, presuming they're deserving of the respect the title entails.  Some of them are obnoxious, belligerent sowers of discord and gossipers, yet call them by their name and you're in "the wrong".  What a farce.  No wonder so many people discount these organizations as cults and their people as hypocrites.  Are we not all sinners saved by grace?  What about the humility spoken of so often in the Scriptures?  Does humility and "title entitlement" go hand in hand?  I think not.  In fact, "title entitlement" goes hand in hand with pride, which God hates.  (BTW, I also think the whole trend of familial title use in non-familial relationships is still "dumbing down" the respect level of these presumptuous believers.)  In the end, it's not your title that will save you anyway and, in fact, may be your undoing.  Be careful, because that person you just belittled via your title demands could be the person who would help you up after a fall. Just call me Chris.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Preface (writing a book in bits and pieces could take a while...)

The message came out of nowhere and at first, Dugan was taken aback, for he knew interaction or business of any kind with the witch doctor would be dealt with harshly, perhaps even costing him his very life.  However, the witch doctor's initial call was alluring and seductive, and he entertained it for what he thought would be a harmless moment - just long enough to briefly contemplate the proposition.  The few unlucky individuals he knew to have had any relationship with the witch doctor had all turned completely mad for want of the goods offered, then withdrawn without notice or explanation at the doctor's discretion.  Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, there would be no cure in the elixir offered up by the doctor, yet Dugan found himself completely devoid of the willpower to fight or question the doctor's motives, for he felt he had tried literally everything else.  After the witch doctor made several requests to assist via a messenger, Dugan finally accepted the offer, in hopes of some or any relief.  Now, the doctor did not see it fit to come in person, rather sending the goods to Dugan by way of the messenger.  Dugan was immediately disappointed at how little relief was potentially offered, after all his weighty deliberation, when the messenger placed the tiny vial of elixir in his ever-weakening hand.  His hand, sweaty from anticipation and clammy with fever, nearly lost hold of the vial while trying to unstopper it, and his heart was nearly beating outside of his chest, for he had finally come to the point of which he knew there would be no return to the former self.  If he drank the contents of the tiny vial, he knew he would be hooked.  He knew it wouldn't, in the long run, do him any good.  He knew he could lose everything if the people discovered his dreadful transaction.  None of the small amount of logic remaining in him could will him to forsake his contract with the dreadful doctor once the enticing aroma from the vial was unleashed on his senses.  Never had he smelled anything so lovely, as he drank in the combined scents of lavender and jasmine, with a hint of cedar wood.  He would have to deal with the consequences later, because he now had all but lost total control of what had once been a sound mind and good conscience, stripped bare by his ravaging illness.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Love the Mouse

Well, I have had some heavy posts of late, so I thought I'd lighten things up a bit today!  I've got Disneyland on the brain today.  We'll be going to Disneyland Saturday and Sunday (in the rain, no less), with some family.  It's going to be awesome, with a capital "F".  Disneyland Resort is something special in the rain.  One particular rainy DL experience comes to mind as I plan for some rain-soaked hilarity...  It's been several years back and I went with a group of people from my church.  It was RAINING hard!  We all promptly bought Mickey slickers because our umbrellas were not adequate protection from the torrential downpour.  The crowd was light and festive because you just have to take rain at DL with a grain of salt, or else you'll be frustrated!  We wandered around the park, riding everything we passed and stopping in many of the shops. Much to my surprise, the big coaster, California Screamin', was still open and taking "Screamers"!  Wow!  Couldn't pass up that opportunity and I'm, oh, so glad!  We screamed and laughed and were pelted so very hard by the rain as we sped around the track that our faces were numb!  We were so soaked, it wasn't until we were pulling back into the depot that I realized I had drooled on myself from all the laughter.  What a great Disney moment.  Right up there with my first ever ride on Dumbo coinciding with my daughter's first-ever ride on  the same.  Good times.  You should try it!  (I'll be posting a new story I'm working on in segments soon, so please follow my blog so you don't miss a thing!)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Romans 14

"Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters..."  Nobody says it quite like God does.  God, in His infinite wisdom, mercy, and perfection, would have His people love one another and all people, for that matter.  I've had the privilege of being friends from widely varied walks of life and I try to remain true to my friends, no matter the changes they experience in their own lives.  It's sad to me that so few Christians can say the same.  I'm amazed that there are people who consider themselves to be of God so MUCH so that they have to separate themselves from other factions of like-minded faithful due to politics, clout, and "disputable matters".  They don't want to take in all the scriptures on mercy and long suffering, rather honing in on one or two, when taken out of context and abused, can be made to say whatever the speaker wants it to.  These people so vehemently defend their ignorance that they've become absolutely unteachable.  They'll defend their self-righteous, arrogant point of view and those like them right to the gates of hellfire.  I was shunned last night.  Not only was I shunned, I was slammed by the Shunner, based on gossip and mistruths the Shunner had heard from other "respectable, saved" people.  It's okay to gossip.  Oh, yeah, it's not gossip if the gossiper is somebody you respect.  Also, you (the victim), should ignore the gossip, gossiper, and the pursuant damage to your psyche, reputation, and faith because you aren't living right by their standards, so you're wrong no matter what.  Ever heard of the old heads and tails game - "heads I win, tails you lose"?  That's the name of their game.  I wonder how many souls have been won by this self-proclaimed child of God?  Is the number proportionate to the number of years they've been "saved"?  Is it higher than the number of people they've run off with their tactless mouth?  Yeah, I'm being judgmental, but I don't profess to be a great Christian.  I'm nobody, but at least I know it.  They'll know it when their long sleeves and floor-skimming skirts are stripped away and all that's left is their heart.  It'll be too late then.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Why Are You Running Late?

Are you in a rush?  Are you hurrying to get somewhere right this second, but you thought you'd take a second to read a (favorite) blog?  Are you always rushing off to get somewhere?  Have you ever stopped to think sometimes why exactly you are in a rush?  Some people rush and they have no reason for it at all, except that they want to, in their finite mind's eye, be first.  Others rush because they set hopelessly high expectations on themselves that no human being could possibly attain and they're constantly frustrated when they fail.  Others, still, rush because they have absolutely no concept of how to properly manage their time to do the few tasks on their agenda. What could we accomplish in our lives if we managed our time a little better?  People all over the planet are accomplishing stupendous fetes on a daily basis, attaining new heights of greatness, all because instead of wasting time, they actually got up and used some (or all), of the time they were given wisely.  Some people just have little victories every day, due to the hardships of life, but they're getting a lot done compared to the Average Joe.  Still, they are diligent and do the best they can with what they have.  If we could learn to slow down enough to get a lot done, I think we'd be a step or two ahead of most.  Just being content with your place in line at the grocery store is a huge head-start on time managed properly, not to mention no tailgating that poor soul in front of you on the freeway - which is bred of impatience, bred of perpetual tardiness, bred of lack of skill to properly manage time.  Time will tell, and in the end, be all our undoing, but what to do in the meantime?  I desire greatness.  Heck, I'll even settle for mediocre.  Never mind, I'll get to it right after my nap.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Blessings, Disguised as Inconvenience

I'm a bad parent.  Now, before you go all sympathetic on me, hear me out, because I'm not seeking any unwarranted back-pats or compliments, rather just stating a self-aware fact.  I've done things as a parent I'm not proud of.  I haven't always put my kids first.  Usually, it's unintentional, but aren't "unintentions" truly intended on some subconscious level?  I'm also a bad dieter.  Terrible, in fact, to the point that I had my stomach re-assembled so I could lose weight.  Does that mean that I now give up?  On either count?  No.  I sit here, typing my little heart out, all the while desperately trying to ignore the soft loaf of wheat bread crying out to me from the counter to be toasted and slathered in butter.  I will continue to attempt to ignore the siren call of its wheaty goodness, but sometimes I lose.  The same is true in my parenting.  I don't win every battle of setting myself aside for the good of my kids.  Oh, yes, I'll justify my actions with the "me time" conundrum or the "rebellion calls for punishment" verdict.  All the while, my humanity tells me I'm being inconvenienced, so I ignore common sense, ethics, and good morals because it isn't convenient.  I don't always do what's best for me, though, and I think that at least my son, who is able to speak for himself at this stage in his young manhood, would testify to that.  I often witness parents who are obviously inconvenienced, and find myself in their same predicament.  For example, Disneyland is a happy place, right?  Well, if you're able to ignore everyone else's humanity, it is.  Otherwise, you can witness inconvenienced parents and unhappy children by the thousands, join their miserable number, and leave unhappy and very unfulfilled.  Some of my happiest Disneyland moments were when I did what my son wanted to do, often to the detriment of my equilibrium, but they were happy times, resulting in the fondest of memories.  I'm cutting my thought short because I'm getting long-winded in my old age, but to summarize, what can we do today for our kids that may seem inconvenient now, but reap huge rewards later?  (They are forever keeping score, because they're KIDS!)  I've cut out my own work for me.  Have a great day!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Art of Self-Preservation and How Little Talent it Requires

Friendships trounced.  Family ties undone.  Devastation wrought.  Merriam-Webster defines self-preservation as such: preservation of oneself from destruction or harm OR a natural or instinctive tendency to act so as to preserve one's own existence.  I was thinking about self-preservation and its implications in my life as well as the lives of every other person on this giant, blue orb today and had so many questions and thoughts.  It is true, we are all of us born straightaway with the instinct to "preserve...[our]...own existence", however, as Newton said, there will be an "equal and opposite reaction".  In most instances, somebody will most certainly get hurt, least of all the preservasionist him/herself.  Throughout history, there are numerous examples of self-preservationists that are infamous on the grandest scale.  What about all of us seemingly insignificant self-preservationists?  Are our actions, though not likely to be recalled in historicity, still proving to be selfish on the grandest scale to those reaping the consequences?  At an early age, we begin to learn the ways of self-preservation via lying, cheating, and stealing - just to name a couple of the top offenders.  These things will, as children, save us from getting punished by a parent, or perhaps manifest in ill-gotten gains.  The consequence upon discovery of our transgression would be, in most instances, equal to the crime and delivered solely to the incriminated.  As adults, the implications of committing any of those "crimes" against your friends or family, (whether inadvertently or not), in an effort to self-preserve, are substantially larger and infinitely more devastating.  How can any relationship survive in the face of said selfish and childish behavior?    And what would have been preserved?  Pride?  Dignity?  Good conscience?  Without prejudice, time and truth prevail, and all of those things are invariably stripped away, leaving you.  Alone.  If you are a proponent and lover of truth and seeker of wisdom, you will not distress.  I'm so overcome with conviction at these thoughts swimming in my small mind, so I put them out there to share.  If I've overwhelmed you, please check back another time for more light-hearted chatter on Disneyland or my babies.  Today, I weep.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Judge Not...

Have you ever heard something about someone that changed your perception of that person?  Have you ever spoken something you knew was a conflagration of the truth?  How about repeating something that would be a blend of all things harmful, hurtful, and ugly, just because you're privy to a version of the truth?  Perhaps inserting yourself into an affair that reached a "DRAMA"tic apex?  I try to refrain from this sort of fray, because I believe my time is better spent focusing on my family, doing good, and working on my [many] shortcomings.  That's not to say I haven't been party, whether inadvertently or not, to some such situations.  I often find that gossip or hurtful things have been spoken to me before I'm even able to stop the words coming out of the destructive mouth.  Sometimes I have been curious to know the pain or "drama" (I HATE that word...), others have been enduring.  My curiosity was ill-advised at the time and regrettable still by me.  I'd rather not know.  Not knowing that you're who you are makes me like you (just a little bit) more.  I look at most people with fear, knowing very few have enough honor to try to remain above the sloth of humanity or the willpower to fight their fleshly, selfish desires.  In reading the 22nd chapter of Proverbs this morning, in addition to Isaiah 54 (thankfully recommended by my sister, a wise and good disciple), I realized this -  We are all dirt.  None better than the next, just less talked about because nobody cares about tearing some down because there's nothing to envy or be jealous about.  We all have our pettiness and trivialities that cause us moments of foolishness, HOWEVER that doesn't have to be our entire character.  You choose what comes out of your mouth, and by so doing, choosing how you are perceived, how well you are liked, and how many honest-to-goodness friends you really have.  I feel sheepish even posting this, because I'm nobody.  I'll be the first to tell you, I'm nothing.  No good.  Completely and utterly devoid and incapable of righteousness on my own.  Still, let me give you one more, all-important passage of scripture.  In Matthew, chapter 7, the Bible says, "2For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?"  I am just getting some things off my chest.  If I've offended you, maybe some introspection is in fine order.  I know that's what I'm doing.  I'm going to change the world, but I'll start with me and let God handle the rest.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Music, How I Love Thee!

Watching the Grammys as I type to all 7 of my avid, voracious readers, and soaking it in as if it's all for me. Music is such an amazing thing.  Take the piano, which I happen to know a little about, and let's examine its many applications tonight.  Stage for a be-cat-suited Gwyneth Paltrow, accompaniment to Rihanna (played by none other than my man, Adam Levine), re-imagined as a pipe organ head garden by Gaga, and skillfully performed upon by THE Bruno Mars - the piano can be summed up in one word - versatile.  No, that's not it.  Ummm...  Thesaurus.... thesaurus.... ridonkulous.  Oh, that's not a word?  Well, anyway, it's so awesome how a piano or any number of interesting instruments (I once saw a missionary preaching for my dad play a SAW), can form a cohesive sound that becomes a composition, that becomes art.  I love it all.  Especially impressed with Eminem tonight and Katy Perry's sorta on-key performance, which hasn't been a norm for her from what I've seen.  I'm never disappointed in Gaga's extensive costuming/staging/gimmickry.  Mick Jagger just did a set and I'm sure we'll be going out with a bang, but no matter what it is, I'll love it...and envy people who can make a decent, if not lucrative living creating "it".  Music.  Love it.

BTW - if Barbra Streisand could just kick it up a notch, I'd be grateful.  Potty break!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Nobody is Voting, so...

I'm thinking a trip to Disneyland is in order very soon.  I received a really wonderful present from my son, Logan, for Christmas about Disneyland.  If you love Disneyland or just like to learn random things, this book is a must have!  For those of you who perhaps don't frequent Disneyland as often as those of us who are blessed to live in its vicinity, you may not know that small world is now featuring a show nightly that is akin to the awesome lighting show usually featured just during the holidays.  I'll be viewing it for the first time this weekend, so I'll be posting my thoughts and hopefully some pictures!  I would like to be challenged to accomplish something exciting and new on each visit, so if you have any suggestions for my Disney excursions, please post in my comments!

Monday, February 7, 2011

What's Up With That?

Having become fully ensconced in the world of social networking, I completely and utterly neglected my blog for the past year and a half.  For those of my wonderful friends and family who don't "do" FB, this is for you!  Reagan is getting GINORMOUS and has such a funny personality.  Mom moved back close by, so I will be soon submitting a picture and resume for both kids to some talent agencies I was referred to by my cousin.  I'm really excited, as I think both of my kids are particularly good looking and have lots of potential.  Where does Mom (Grandma Mary), come into the picture?  Well, we need her land yacht to take us to auditions, should the need arise, not to mention she's been a huge help already with the kids so I can have a few moments of solitude.  Also, I'm going to be teaching piano again here shortly.  I'm planning on renting a practice room at Oak Valley Piano in Redlands, across from Citrus Plaza, and I will be specializing in beginner pianists and gospel music expansion.  Please send me a message if you or someone you know is interested so I can reserve your spot!  I'll soon begin to expound on topics from here to there and everywhere in-between, so please subscribe so you don't miss a thing!  Looking forward to writing to my heart's content...