Sunday, December 02, 2012

Do Not Be Offended (Part 3)

In Part 1 I talked about what started me thinking about people finding offense where none was intended.
In Part 2 I wrote about a situation where Christians do this very thing during the Christmas season.

“And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace.” – James 3:18

So what do we do when we hear or see “Happy Holidays”? Well, first, let’s figure out if there really is any offense to be taken (and please don’t intentionally be nit picky about a situation to find offense). It’s usually pretty easy to tell and in about 99% percent of the cases (at least in my experience) there are only good intentions at the root of the greeting or farewell.

When we see it in advertising or some other generic type place (such as an end of year thank you some companies mail to their customers or employees) let’s keep things in context. A business which really appreciates its customers and/or employees and wants those customers to continue spending money (or wants their employees to continue to work hard) is not going to intentionally try to offend them. So a “Happy Holidays” in that context is an attempt to be as inclusive as possible without having to deal with the many societal and legal issues which can arise when you ask someone (especially an employee) what religion, if any, they practice.

When it’s on a more personal level, one individual to another, again, please keep things in context. For starters, how well does the person saying “Happy Holidays” really know you? I may talk to the drive thru guy at Taco Bell about once a week, but the only thing he really knows about me is the kind of car I drive, that I like a side of sour cream with my Fiesta Potatoes, and I always say thank you. Also, how many other people does the speaker come in contact with each day? They may just say “Happy Holidays” out of habit (I refer to the Taco Bell drive thru guy again) because they say it so many times each day.

If there is no offense intended, then your reaction can simply be to say Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas (nobody says you can’t say it in response to a “Happy Holiday”) in return.

A person’s insight gives him patience, and his virtue is to overlook an offense.” – Proverbs 19:11

And what do we do on those extremely infrequent occasions where an offense is clearly meant by “Happy Holidays”? I say don’t take the bait. Overlook the “offense” and accept it with grace and love. Respond with grace and love. Now you don’t have to listen to me if you don’t want to, but there are plenty of biblical references to back me up on this:

  • “Do not take revenge or bear a grudge against members of your community, but love your neighbor as yourself: I am Yahweh.” – Leviticus 19:18 (HCSB)
  • “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us.” – Ephesians 4:3-3 (HCSB) 
  • “Don’t pay attention to everything people say, or you may hear your servant cursing you, for you know that many times you yourself have cursed others.” – Ecclesiastes 7:21-22 (HCSB) (other translations have “Do not take to heart all the things that people say. . . “) 
  • Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 (HCSB) (I have also seen the “is not provoked” section written as “takes no offense” but I can’t find a specific translation with that version)
  • “So then, we must pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another.” - Romans 14:19
  • “But I tell you, don’t resist an evil doer. On the contrary, if anyone slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.” – Matthew 5:39 (HCSB)

And those I’ve used previously in this series: Proverbs 10:12, James 3:18, Proverbs 19:11

Clearly, the message here is to love each other. Even those who mean to “offend” us. We are not supposed to keep track of offenses or hold a grudge, or try to get even. We are meant to LOVE and live in peace and patience with each other. Please, during this Christmas season, share the love God gave to us when he sent his Son to earth. Do not take offense at “Happy Holidays”, do not harden any hearts or minds to the love of Jesus by negatively responding to those simple words which are often meant as heartfelt good wishes.

And, Merry Christmas to all. (Even if you don’t believe in Christ, I wish you nothing but peace and joy.)

Do Not Be Offended (Part 2)

(In Part 1 I talked about what started me thinking about people finding offense where none was intended.
In Part 3 I talk about how we can respond to "offenses".)

“In fact, all those who want to live a godly life in Jesus Christ will be persecuted.”  - 2 Timothy 3:12

So the sentiment I started seeing that made me realize Christians were taking offense where none was intended was this:

“It’s not Happy Holidays, it’s Merry Christmas”

When I started seeing this message this Christmas season, the thoughts I was having about taking offense where none was intended suddenly had a whole new meaning. We Christians have been doing this exact thing. For years!

 I know there are people who vehemently believe that the retailers and individuals who use the phrase “Happy Holidays” are intentionally trying to put down or squash Christianity. While there may very well be some instances where that is the case, I don’t believe there is a widespread conspiracy. In fact I believe it’s really more of a recognition that the United States has fulfilled the dream of religious freedom for all people that our founding fathers (and by this I mean the men and women who fled from religious persecution by sailing across an ocean in WIND powered boats) imagined. There are quite a number of holidays and winter festivals (Hanukkah, Ramadan – on occasion, Christmas, a variety of Solstice celebrations/festivals, Kwanzaa, etc.) that take place during the months of December and January.

In order not to offend anybody (and to not break the bank with the cost of printing ads for all those different holidays) retailers use “Happy Holidays”. Also, it’s not always easy to determine if a person celebrates a particular holiday, especially if you’re in Minnesota bundled up in your winter attire (hat, gloves, heavy coat, scarves, etc), or in your car at the drive thru window. So what’s a person to do? Ask every individual they meet which holiday, if any, they celebrate? That’s ridiculously impractical, so they say Happy Holidays.

Despite the logic of people using the phrase “Happy Holidays”, Christians are still finding offense in it and I don’t understand why. Maybe someone else can explain it to me. During this time that is supposed to be a celebration of the love God showed to us by sending his son to us, shouldn't we be accepting these well wishes with grace and in the spirit in which they are intended?

Don’t get me wrong. I do believe Christians are, and Christianity is, being attacked in very real ways. I just don’t believe the use of “Happy Holidays” is one of those ways. The energy we waste on this topic could be used in much better ways. Also, the negative emotions (hostility, anger, hurt, etc) that emanate from the people who take offense to these words do nothing to share God’s love. In fact, it does the opposite and closes hearts and minds (because in a lot of cases the person who originally said "Happy Holidays" with no ill intent is now hurt/offended that you took it as having ill intent)..

An offended brother is harder to reach than a fortified city, and quarrels are like the bars of a fortress. – Proverbs 18:19 (HCSB)

Is that really what we want to do? Make spreading the word of God’s love and salvation even harder? I can’t speak for anyone else, but as for me and my house, we say heck no!

So what do we do when we hear or see “Happy Holidays”? Well, apparently, I will share my opinions on that in part three. (Seriously, when I started writing this I had no idea I would have so much to say. I just pray that my words and thoughts on this subject are pleasing to God and that He is the one who is inspiring them).

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Do Not Be Offended (Part 1)

Hatred stirs up conflicts, but love covers all offenses.  - Proverbs 10:12 HCSB

A couple of weeks ago I watched a story online about a man who had donated a bag of clothes and shoes to a Goodwill store in Texas. Unbeknownst to the man, his wife had hidden their life savings of $3300 in one of the shoes he had donated. A worker at the Goodwill found the money in the shoe when he started to arrange the items on shelves. The worker reported his find to his manager and they set the money aside, just in case someone came looking for it. A few days later the wife of the man who donated the shoes came into the Goodwill store and was able to claim the money after she answered a few questions.

That’s the way things are supposed to work, right? Somebody finds something that may have been lost and they set it aside so the proper owner can claim it. Yes, that’s the way it’s supposed to work, but we all know this world isn’t perfect and is filled will things/acts/sins that shouldn’t happen. No one was with the Goodwill worker when he found the money and he could have easily just put it in his pocket and no one would have known about it.

But, he didn’t. He did the right thing and in the online comments of this story many people were praising him for his honesty and integrity. One commenter left a message saying “May God bless you for your honesty.”, and another commenter’s response to that message puzzled me and started the gears going in my head. They responded by saying something along the lines of, “Keep God out of this. God has nothing to do with it. How do you know that the person wouldn’t be offended by you asking your God to bless him?”

The response confused me. How could anyone be offended by a heartfelt sentiment of good wishes for their well being? Even if you don’t believe in the God, deity, spirit, concept, etc. that the person is using to express their desire for your well being; you can still accept their sentiment in the spirit in which it was given.  Why would you look for offense where none was intended?

Those were the thoughts and questions going through my head when I started seeing a certain sentiment being shared on the internet. It was a sentiment that I have seen each Christmas season for many years. In fact, I must admit, it is a sentiment that I once believed myself until I did a little research on the history of Christmas (which is a great subject for another post). What is that sentiment?

You’ll have to wait for my next post, because this post is already getting long. . .

(If you haven't figured it out already, don’t worry, I won’t leave you hanging for long. The next post is already written, mostly.)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Hi there!

Hey there! I know, I've been MIA here at the blog, but I'm back. Well, at least I'm trying to be back. In case you're wondering, I've got some good reasons and some not real reasons for why I've been away. So to catch you up with what I've been doing lately I'll just bullet point a few things that have been going on since the last time I blogged.

  • Celebrated my Grandma's 90th birthday by going to her birthday party/family reunion.
  • TheHusband and I had our pictures taken by our SIL (Brother3's wife). She's an amazing photographer and we can't wait to see the rest of the pictures.
  • I went through physical therapy for my lower back, and it was AMAZING! I can not say enough great things about my physical therapists or how much the therapy has helped me.
  • I made a super cute gift basket as a thank you to my therapists. (I haven't been able to this kind of "crafting" in quite some time because of the pain in my lower back, so I was super excited to do this. And by "this" I mean you should look at the picture at the bottom of this post).
  • The usual work, work, work thing.
  • I've made a little progress in transforming our guest room into a crafty area for me. This is something I hope to get wrapped up sometime in the next couple of weeks, because as TheHusband pointed out, if it's not done before the start of September it probably won't get done until after Christmas (because of all the work, work, work I have to do at work in the Fall).
  • Been having some CrAzY weird dreams. And just so you know when I say "some" I mean almost every night and when I say "CrAzY weird" I really mean "CrAzY weird sometimes bizarre" dreams. The kind that are intense and both physically and mentally exhausting. There are some days I think I need a nap just to recover from the previous night's sleep, except I have these weirdo dreams when I nap too!
  • And last, but not least, I've been driving TheAnnabelle and TheDexter crazy because that's just fun to do.
Anyway, that's what I've been up to these past few weeks. I have a few ideas rolling around my head for some upcoming posts, in the mean time I will leave you with this:

My technique needs a little work (I'm a little out of practice),
but not to shabby. The basket includes dark chocolate and white
chocolate lollipops, chocolate covered pretzels and
toffee mint chocolate chuck brownies.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

My Reaction to "Middle class trading 'I do' for 'maybe later'"

This article in the Lifestyle section of today's StarTribune has me all fired up, and since I try not to feed the comment trolls on the paper's website (they can be incredibly vicious and cruel) I decided to do a little venting here. Anyone is welcome to comment, as long as you keep the conversation civil.

Honestly, I don't know where to start with this so I'm just going to give a quote from the article and then explain why it bugs the heck out of me. Just to warn you, there are several quotes so this may be a longer post.

"Not feeling that pressure gives me the opportunity to focus on my career and have more great life experiences I might not be able to have if I was in a serious relationship." - Becca Bijoch, 25 (in response to not feeling societal pressure to marry).

Apparently, the ability to have great life experiences stops when you are in a serious relationship. What?!? While it may be more difficult to drop everything at the spur of the moment to take some crazy fun vacation or to switch cities when you are promoted/change jobs it doesn't mean you can't do those things. "Great life experiences" can be even greater because you overcome the challenges and are often even sweeter when you have someone to share them with and reminisce about them with.

"I've got about a million things to dedicate financial resources to before I can even think about buying an engagement ring or paying for a wedding," said Micheal Foley, 32, a website editor in Hudson, Wis. "Taking the best thing in the world -- love -- and turning it into a legal obligation isn't worth ruining your financial future over. I love my girlfriend and I hope to one day give her the wedding she deserves, but not at the expense of our financial well-being afterward."

Mr. Foley (and everyone else waiting to get married until they can afford a wedding), marriage is a lot more than a "legal obligation" and if you could get past the idea of spending tons of cash (so much that you could ruin your financial future) on a lavish wedding perhaps you would see that. If more people would spend the same amount of time/money/energy on looking at what their marriage is going to be like as they spend planning the perfect "wedding", marriages would be so much stronger. (And fewer people would think that their opportunity for great life experiences ends at the alter).

"These are not the 'oopsies,' the 15-year-olds who didn't know any better," said William Doherty, professor of Family Social Science at the University of Minnesota. "It's more like women are saying, 'This guy isn't marriage material, but he's good enough to have a child with, so it wouldn't be the end of the world if I got pregnant.'"

Yes, I commented about this quote on Facebook already, but I think it bears repeating (especially for those of you who can't see what I posted on Facebook. This quote just begs me to ask, really? Is that the message you want to give your kids about their dad? Oh, he wasn't good enough for me but he's okay for you. What the heck?!?

Also, a good friend brought up another good point. She said "Are ladies so spoiled that they think men have to be perfect before they marry them? Men are good enough to give 'em a baby but not anything more? And we accuse men of objectifying women?! Wow." What a great point, Nancy.

One reason is the premium that couples place on maintaining their independence, financially and psychologically.
Many see marriage more as a way to split expenses than pool resources, according to The Marriage Project study. High divorce rates tell them to plan for the worst and to be ready to support themselves if needed. -a quote made in regards to couples who wait to get married because of financial reasons

Why do people spend so much more time and energy on their contingency plans (making sure they can support themselves if the marriage doesn't work out) than they spend on making their marriages work out? I believe that part (not all, but part) of the reason there is such a high rate of divorce is because so many people are planning to fail rather than planning to succeed. Yes, marriage is work, hard work, but if you spend more time preparing to fail you are more than likely going to fail. This is true with just about anything in life.

D'Angelo (a marriage and family therapist) put it this way: "Marriage is seen less as a journey and more as a destination. And that concerns me because it is the journey and not the destination."

Okay, so this is a quote that I mostly agree with. I think TheHusband said it better though when he said "Marriage is both the journey AND the destination."

A common thread among those postponing marriage is resistance to settling for less than the ideal.
Today's young adults, raised by ever-bolstering parents, believe they can achieve what they desire if they put forth some effort, Doherty said. They see no reason to lower their expectations just because they haven't found someone who measures up.
I believe the above statement is further evidence of the ever increasing sense of entitlement we, as a society, are teaching to younger generations. There isn't anyone on the planet who is "ideal". We are all flawed human beings with cracks, bad habits, and blemishes. Can we work on those things, absolutely, but if you are waiting for someone who is "ideal" you are going to be waiting a long time. Finding someone who loves and accepts you for you (cracks, bad habits, blemishes and all) is what you should be looking for.

He worries about how easily a desire to marry post-children will be fulfilled, given the logistics of co-mingling their various attachments. -William Doherty, professor of Family Social Science at the University of Minnesota.

Many of the women highlighted in this article indicated a desire to find a husband once their children were older or grown. I too wonder how "easy" this will be for them, especially those who are still looking for the "ideal" person. If they aren't willing to bend and grow with a person now, how much harder will it be for them in 10 to 20 years when they have firmly established life patterns and beliefs? How much more difficult will those marriages be when they have to deal with blending families and traditions?

I'm going to get off my soapbox now. Getting that off my chest has been very good for me, and now I can go spend time with TheHusband without having all that stuff banging around inside my head. Thanks so much for bearing with me, and as I said before, please feel free to leave your comments.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Moments Like These

Last night, as I was sitting in bed reading, I realized I was having one of those moments you just want to hold on to forever.

The house was quiet and TheHusband was already asleep when TheAnnabelle jumped onto the bed and started pawing at the edge of the comforter. She usually acts all tough and hardcore, but in reality she's like everyone else and loves to be loved. I call her our "secret cuddler" because she loves to crawl under the covers and curl up next to us. She usually waits until we are laying down, but last night she just couldn't wait. After I raised the covers for her to crawl under, she worked her way down to my feet, curled herself into a ball between my ankles and started to purr her loud, full body, "I'm so happy with life" purr.

It was nearly 10 o'clock and I wanted to go to sleep myself, but I knew that even with the A/C on, it wouldn't take long for her to get too warm and crawl back out. I decided to read for the 15-20 minutes I thought she would stay.

A few minutes later, after TheAnnabelle's purr had softened into a low steady rhythm, TheDexter jumped onto the nightstand beside me. We had already played our "mousey on a string" game, but he wanted more attention so I rubbed his head. He started purring and proceeded to knead the comforter on my leg. It was obvious he was trying to figure out how to crawl into the bed with us, but he's too timid and won't walk over me so I lifted him haphazardly across my lap and put him in the space between me and TheHusband. As expected, this made him nervous, but surprisingly he decided to stay and made himself comfortable as he stretched himself out, back to back with TheHusband.

That's when it happened, when time slowed down and I felt God's gentle embrace surrounding me. This life, this crazy, painful, joyous, sometimes confusing life may not be exactly what I longed for when I was a child, but it is exactly the life I didn't even know I yearned for.  For a few precious moments I sat there, quietly breathing it all in.

Then TheHusband moved and TheDexter, chicken butt that he is, hurled himself off the end of the bed faster than you can blink. All the commotion disturbed TheAnnabelle and she slithered over my foot and off the side of the bed leaving me to do the only thing I could. I smiled as I lay down to drift slowly off to sleep.

Have you ever had a moment like that?
A moment where you know just how lucky you are to have the life you have?

Monday, June 04, 2012

A Hair-y Dilemma

So, yeah, I went and got a short hair cut and have been LOVING it, because of the whole wash 'n go, no muss no fuss aspect of it. Plus, there's the part where EVERYBODY else seems to love it too (at least that's what they say, and I'm choosing to believe it). I mean from the reactions I've received you would think I hadn't changed my hairstyle in over 20 years. Oh, wait, that's right I haven't. So never mind about the whole "everybody's over-reacting" vibe I was just giving out there.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

Original photo by Robert Linder (

No words can express the debt of gratitude that we, as a country, owe to the men and women who have fought, are fighting, and will fight for the freedoms of this country. The sacrifices they and their families make are incredible and can never be fully understood or repaid.

I humbly say thank you to the men, women, and families who sacrifice so much for so many. May God be with you all.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Today's prompt from San Diego Momma challenges us to write a story or poem based on the picture picture below and includes the word "empty".

Photo credit: clarita from

She sits almost silently on the shore.
Her arms wrap tightly around her knees.
Her toes buried in the moist cool sand
Unconsciously, she hums a gentle melody,
closes her eyes and turns to the sun
as if absorbed in worship.

She refills her empty soul with the scent
of pine trees, the sound of water lapping
against the canoe, and the warmth of sunshine
on her skin before slowly rising
to make her return to "real" life
on the other side of the lake.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Need a New Do. . . The Reveal

So have I made you all wait long enough to reveal the new hairstyle I went with? No? Okay, well then I'll just have to give you a little filler. Hee Hee.

Last Thursday TheHusband and I celebrated our 10th anniversary by going to MOA (the Mall of America, for those of you who aren't in or from MN). We had been planning this outing for several weeks, but on Thursday morning we decided we would leave the house a bit earlier than originally planned so we could make a stop at Fantastic Sams to get my hair chopped. We arrived before they unlocked doors and were happy to see our favorite stylist was working.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ten Years Ago, A Letter to My Husband

Dear Husband,

Today I woke up a different person from who I was on this morning ten years ago. The 26 year old version of me was too distracted by the last minute details of that day's events to consider the days, months, and years that lay ahead. She bounced around the church hanging pew bows, setting out chocolate flower centerpieces, and worrying about the cake being delivered late. I am happy to say that she was, in fact, very grateful for the day itself. Having been in a car accident the day before, she was very much aware of how blessed she was to be able to worry about pew bows, centerpieces, and late cakes. What she didn't know was exactly how blessed she was.

Over the past ten years you, my dearest love, have taught that 26 year old version of me many things (some of which she thought she knew, but didn't really). Here are just a few of those things:

  • First and foremost, I have learned that marriage is work, hard work, but oh so worth it when both of us are working together. 
  • Love is many things, including a choice. We've had our rough patches. Times when we could have easily walked away, but chose not to. I am so glad we chose to work through those rough times. They have made our marriage and friendship stronger and deeper.
  • I am weaker than I thought. It may sound crazy, but that is a very good thing. I don't have to take on the world by myself, it's okay to not only need help but to ask for it. In fact, in a weird way, it actually makes a person stronger.
  • Sometimes, a lot of times, it is the small things that make the biggest difference. While the AS has imposed some physical limitations on me and I'm not able to help nearly as much as I would like, you constantly show me that the little things I can do to help you (like typing your notes for your Sunday morning classes) are still helpful in BIG ways.

There are so many other things I could list, but we have plans for today and I just don't have time to type them all up. Please know, as we celebrate our first 10 years of marriage, that I am so very thankful for God blessing my life by putting you in it. He could not have gifted me a better friend or husband to make the journey's of this life with. The 26 year old me didn't know that, but I do, and I can't wait to wake up next to you on all the days, months, and years ahead of us.

I love you.

*head bump*

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Need a new do. . .

The state of my hair has been quite bothersome to me for awhile now. Currently, my hair is about 1/2 to 3/4 down my back and it needs to go. Don't get me wrong. I love long hair and the ability to whip it up into a ponytail, but let's face the facts here. I wear my hair in a ponytail (or ponytail variation) about 95% of the time and I really dislike the maintenance factor (especially with the frequent pain issues in my hands). So, I'm looking for a new, short, do!

Pictured below are a few options. (Please ignore the hair color, it was the closest approximation to my own color but not quite). I'm looking on feedback regarding the cut and maintenance of these styles, which is where you all come in. Please feel free to leave feedback in the comments. Keep in mind that I'm looking for a wash & go, no muss no fuss look. Sometime this weekend I'll be going from long to short.


Or if anyone has other HELPFUL suggestions, just let me know (a link to specific example would be great).

Monday, May 14, 2012

MN or MT

I get some of the strangest phone calls at work some days. The winner of today's eye-roll award goes to the pleasant woman with the slightly southern accent. I had answered the phone in my normal manner and politely told her that the person (PersonX) she was looking for didn't work for our company on this campus.

She was obviously a product rep who was determined to follow up on a lead. She explained that PersonX was the campus marketing director for the dining service on the Missoula campus, and asked if I was sure she didn't work for us. Here's how the rest of our conversation went:

ME: "Missoula? Minnesota? I've never heard of a Missoula, Minnesota, but there is one in Montana."
Product Rep: "Oh, well I don't know about that. It's spelled M-I-S-S-O-U-L-A, and the information we have is that PersonX is the marketing director."
ME: "And it says that she's in Missoula, Minnesota?" (I'm wracking my brain at this point, because while I know I haven't heard the name of every city in Minnesota I'm also pretty sure there isn't a Missoula).
Product Rep: "It says Missoula, MT"
Me: "Wait, what? Did you just say M-T?"
Product Rep: "Yes, M-T"
Me: "That's Montana" (I try to say this in the nicest possible way I can, because darn it, there goes another 5 minutes of my life that I'll never get back.)
Product Rep: "hmm" (pause while I hear the clicking of keys) "So it is. Well, that's what happened" (she laughs) "Thanks so much sweetie, that was very helpful. You have a great day!"
Me: "You're welcome and good luck."

After I get off the phone I turn around and jokingly ask the room if anyone can tell me the abbreviation for Minnesota. A co-worker scoffingly asked if I was serious (my voice was apparently not dripping with enough sarcasm). Upon hearing that I was, in fact, serious he replies with the expected "M-N". To which I replied "Good. I was just checking to see if anyone here thought it might possibly be M-T".

"M-T" he says thoughtfully, "I don't think there's any state that's abbreviated that way." It was at this point that my forehead was once again introduced to my desk.

So, in the spirit of learning, I offer up a small Social Studies/Geography lesson for anyone who may be confused:

MT = Montana          MN = Minnesota

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Sum, Sum, Summertime.

Summer is almost here. In fact it seems as if summer has been trying to show up early this year. Sure the past couple weeks haven't been the greatest meteorologically speaking, but today was amazing! And that's coming from the girl who forgot to take her breakfast to work because she didn't get much sleep last night due to a kitty who would not shut up about wanting someone to play with. (Seriously, TheDexter, three a.m. is NOT a good time for mama to play the mousie game.)

Any-who, since it's almost summer and since one of Mama Kat's writing prompts this week was to "list your top 10 favorite things about summer growing up", I thought I'd take a walk down memory lane. First, a warning, I don't know that I'd consider myself done growing up yet, so I'm just going to limit myself to the time period before my family moved away from the farm and into "town". And now, without further ado and in no particular order:

Monday, May 07, 2012

Best Advice Ever

In an attempt to spend at least a little time writing each day, I will be participating in various writing prompts/challenges/etc. I will be linking this post up with Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop.

Today's Prompt: Share a lesson you learned from your Mother that still sticks with you to this day.

Today's result:

When I was in high school she was talking to someone about kids and curfews. Now I can't for the life of me remember who she was talking to, but we'll call her Mom X.

Mom X said something about being exhausted because she had to stay up to make sure her kid(s) made it home by their curfew. My mom replied that she wouldn't know about that because she didn't stay up to make sure my brothers or I got home on time. Mom X was flabbergasted at the response and wondered how my mom could possibly do that.

My mom, the woman who had seven children to look after, simply replied, "I trust my kids to be home on time and if they aren't, for whatever reason, I'm probably going to need all the energy I can have to deal with the situation."

Now I don't have kids, nor do I plan on having them, but my mom's words have stayed with me over the years. Her rational can be applied to a myriad of situations where one might be worrying about future events. Simply trust that you've done your best, and don't waste energy worrying about something that may never happen, because you'll need that energy IF it does happen.

Best life lesson, ever.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Sunday, May 06, 2012

The Last Time. . .

In an attempt to spend at least a little time writing each day, I will be participating in various writing prompts/challenges/etc. Today I am linking up with The Lightning and The Lightning Bug.

Today's Prompt: Flicker of Inspiration Linkup #49: The Last Time

Today's result:

The last time I heard his voice was at my surprise birthday party. I had turned 30 a week and a few days before and my mother-in-law had invited my family to her house to celebrate. I wasn't surprised by the party, but I was surprised he had come. My father was an introvert, a trait he passed on to me, and the fact he had traveled four hours to a near strangers house was slightly shocking. 

What wasn't shocking was how he positioned himself off to the side, nearly in a corner, of the living room. The chair he chose was between the entry way and the door to the kitchen. Typical of his nature, there was no chance for anyone to sit next to him.

Throughout the party his mood slowly turned from slightly cranky (a result of the four hour car ride) to downright cantankerous. While his chosen spot allowed him to keep an eye on everything going on in the room, it also planted him in the middle of the main flow of traffic which caused problems for his hearing device of choice. Unable to make out an specific conversation taking place in the room, and unwilling to move to a different chair, he finally retreated to the car in the driveway so he could have a good grump.

The rest of my family soon noticed his retreat and packed up to leave. Disappointed, I walked them to the car and watched them pull away without saying goodbye to him. A week and a few days later, he was gone. I sometimes wonder if our parting that day would have been different if I had known it would be the last time.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Putting Pencil to Paper

In an attempt to spend at least a little time writing each day, I will be participating in various writing prompts/challenges/etc. Today I am linking up with The One-Minute Writer.

Today’s prompt: Together

Today's result:

The wrinkled couple silently sits on a bench, while staring in different directions. You can tell they have been together for a lifetime by the way their gnarled fingers mesh between them. 

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Torn about Spirit Airlines' Decision

If you are unaware of what my title refers to, here is a link for you to read & watch a little bit about the issue. A quick summary would be that Spirit Airlines (an airline I've honestly never heard of) decided to enforce its NO REFUNDS policy when Mr. Jerry Meekins (a 76 year old Vietnam veteran) requested a refund of the $179 plane ticket he had purchased two weeks prior. Mr. Meekins requested the refund after his doctor told him not to fly because of his deteriorating health (Mr. Meekins has terminal esophageal cancer).

Before I explain why I am torn about this situation, let me say that I have the utmost respect for anyone who has served in the United States' armed forces. The sacrifices they and their families make to defend the values this country was founded on are enormous and can never be compensated for.

That being said, I wonder if there would be such a brew-ha-ha over this if Mr. Meekins wasn't a veteran. How would people feel if he was an ex-con, a dead beat dad, or a 20-something kid who has never had a job and lives in his parent's basement? Would the outrage people are feeling be as strong if Mr. Meekins weren't terminally ill? These are just some of the questions I have been asking myself since first hearing about this situation.

As a person who gets to enforce a "No Refunds" policy, I totally understand the airline's stance. Once you make an exception for one person it opens the door for having to make an exception for every person. In order to be fair you can't take it on a case by case basis (which is what Mr. Meekins has stated he wants to the airline to change their policy to), because everyone's situation is special and unique and deserving. Where would you draw the line, and how soon would that "line" become the basis for lawsuits of favoritism or special treatment?

Now here's where I'm torn. I actually have a heart. Anytime somebody calls me to ask for an exception to our No Refund policy because of their unique situation (which, sadly, are not actually so unique), my heart breaks a bit because I have to tell them no. Sometimes, the situations they describe are achingly familiar because I've been through them myself, which makes it even more difficult.

Anyway, I'm torn over this. While I certainly wish Spirit Airlines could have given Mr. Meekins a refund, I feel like the company has now been backed into a corner which leaves them little room to handle this situation more compassionately, without feeding into the popular belief that if a person makes a big enough stink they can get whatever they want (which is rant for another time).

And now you can all hate me. Just keep it civil in the comments, because if you get to "hateful" TheHusband will start to rule them with an iron fist (and by that I mean moderating the comments with the "ban-hammer").

Sunday, April 29, 2012

My Crafting Conundrum

I love to craft. For me it's a great way to relax, unwind, and get rid of stress. Sadly, I haven't been doing much crafting lately. Really, it's been several years since I've spent any significant amount of crafting and several months since I've done ANY crafting at all. Which means I should really give up my title as being the "Craft Queen" (a title bestowed on me by a friend).

It's not that I haven't wanted to craft, or that I haven't had any ideas (because OH the IDEAS!). I think the biggest reason I haven't been crafting is because my current crafting area (and the majority of my crafting supplies) is located in the basement. When we first moved into our current abode, I thought this would be a great place for my crafting area. It was quiet, I could keep the cats away from my projects, and there was plenty of space.

However, even with those great things going for the area, it hasn't turned out to be a great place for me to actually craft in. The area isn't a "finished" area so it can get quite dusty, it's rather dark with bad lighting (a drawback on two levels: poor working light and not conducive to creativity), and bad air flow (which is how I almost killed myself & the cats one day). The biggest drawback though, is that it's all the way down in the basement. This wasn't an issue when we first set up the area, but since then I was diagnosed with spondylitis which can leave me quite worn out at times and can make it difficult for me to go up and down stairs (a problem if I need/want things from the first or second floor and I'm in the basement).

Friday, March 23, 2012

Life as a Dinosaur: B-9, It's better than bingo!

Monday's surgery went off almost without a hitch. I say almost because apparently Bert was larger than anticipated and had entrenched himself in my abdomen for the long haul. It took the surgeon an extra half hour to pry him out, but she was victorious in the end and both Bert and Ernie ended up taking a trip to the lab for biopsy.

Late Tuesday afternoon, the surgeon called with the biopsy results. Both cysts are benign. This was not unexpected, but having the answer for sure is a relief. The surgeon also stated that she had seen signs of endometriosis during the surgery. We'll talk with her more about that when I go back for my post-op exam in a week or so.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Life As a Dinosaur: Introducing Bert & Ernie

It's been awhile since I last updated, but that's because I've been dealing with some new health issues. These issues aren't directly related to the AS, but they do affect it and how it's treated (to a degree).

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

This is what happens . . .

when I get new snow boots.

If you look really closely through the crack in the fence (on the right), you can kind of see a little snow.

That's right, after holding out for several years, last winter's snow fall had me giving up on the cute boots I had and looking for something a little heavier duty. (Oh, okay, so it also didn't help that the boots I was wearing last year should have been replaced the year before and were letting in all kinds of moisture through the cracks and such. But that is totally beside the point.)

Back when the first snow fell in late November, I started really looking for boots. Well, that first snow fall melted away pretty quickly, but I was sure it was only a matter of days (a couple weeks at most) that there would be much much more snow to replace it. I soon found a pair that would be great, except they were a teensy tiny one size too small. I bought them anyway, thinking that once the lining got matted down a little they would be okay. However, TheHusband wasn't having any of that kind of thinking. He went to two more stores just to find the right size. (Yeah, he's a keeper!)

Only thing is, since he went to all that effort, I've worn the boots a total of three (3) times. And I didn't really need to, I just wanted to. Last year around this time I was posting things like this or this (in Feb), but this year there's hardly any snow at all. When driving up to my mom's for Christmas, it felt more like we were going to visit for Thanksgiving (it's much more common to have a brown Thanksgiving that it is to have a brown Christmas).

I'm not complaining (much). After the brutality of last winter, it's kind of nice to have a reprieve. I would kind of like to be able to use my new boots though.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Thoughts on Forgiveness (part 2)

Part 1: Recently Watched: "Forgiving Dr. Mengele"

After watching the documentary "Forgiving Dr.Mengele", my heart and my brain really went into overdrive pondering the idea of forgiveness. As a Christian, it is a subject that I have heard about all my life. Mostly in regards to how Jesus died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins and the sins off all mankind. It is  also something that I struggle with when it comes to forgiving those wrongs (perceived or real) that have been done against me.

What really got my heart riled up were some of the comments that others made about forgiveness after Eva Kor publicly forgave Dr. Mengele (the camp doctor at Auschwitz prison camp, who performed horrific experiments on the prisoners there, including Eva and twin sister). These comments included:

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Recently Watched: Forgiving Dr. Mengele (a documentary)

I recently watched the documentary "Forgiving Dr. Mengele". The documentary is about Eva Mozes Kor who not only survived the horrific experience of being in Auschwitz concentration camp during the Holocaust, but managed to do so despite being part of Josef Mengele's cruel experiments on twins.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Hello 2012

I've seen a lot of people stating how horrible the year 2011 was for them, and how glad they are that it's over. And to each of these people I really hope that this next year treats them better. Personally though, I can't complain. Sure, last winter really kicked my behind because of the cold and snow, and a person who was very dear to me went to meet Jesus, but those things are just a part of life. I am ever so grateful for so many things that happened (or didn't) in the year 2011 and I'm choosing to embrace those things and to discard the negative (no use dwelling on them).

Now on to 2012! I'm not really a person who makes New Year's Resolutions, but if I were I would resolve to be a happier and healthier person. Here are a few of the things I'll be working on over the next several months to help make that happen:

1. Stop letting the spondylitis control so much of what I do. Sure, I'm an introvert by nature but this past year has been ridiculous and I'm D.O.N.E. with it. Most days my body is going to hurt regardless of what I do, so I'll be doing more of the stuff I want to do and less worrying about how my body will react.

2. Pursue more of my creative ideas. I have a bunch of ideas rattling around my head and it's getting crowded in there! It's time I start clearing things out by seeing if those ideas can amount to anything.

3. Spend more time with God. That means getting back to reading my bible and spending more time in devotions and prayer. Spending my time like that has always helped me focus on what's important and allowed me to get rid of a lot of negative "stuff".

Each year is another year to learn about ourselves and others. I am grateful for the lessons 2011 had for me and look forward to learning more in 2012.

Happy New Year, everyone!
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