Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Door Into Summer: The Weekly Hodgepodge

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What color is prominent in your home? Are you glad about that or wishing you could cover it up or remove it?

Blue.  Fortunately I like the color since I can't change it.

What's something you'll NEVER do again?

If I can help it, I'll never go another event that I'm only invited to in order to bring someone the inviting party really wanted there.  Over the last several years, I've been involved in several events--most of them weddings--where it was obvious I wasn't wanted.  I was there merely to chauffer someone else who they did want.  I don't think people understand how crappy that is or how worthless that makes a person feel.

Tell us a couple of ways you fit the stereotypes associated with your gender, and a couple of ways you don't.

Are you talking negative stereotype or positive?  Let's start with how I don't fit the stereotype.  As much as I love kids, I'm not obsessed with the "mom" thing.  That's more of a societal dictate that all females over the age of 12 should be aiming for nothing but motherhood.  I might know more about cars and computers than the average female.  I play musical instruments that are definitely not feminine (and I don't play them daintily either). 

How I fit the stereotype?  I like pretty things and want to look pretty even thought I can't most of the time.  I worry too much about other people's feelings and needs to the point that I neglect my own.  Although I spent way too many years stifling and packing down my emotions, my concern is that I'll flip over to the complete opposite and become an emotional basket case.

May is Motorcycle Awareness Month. Have you ever owned a motorcycle? Ever ridden a motorcycle? If the opportunity presented itself would you hop on a motorcycle and go for a ride?

I've never driven or owned a motorcycle, but would like to learn to ride, and possibly purchase one someday.  The couple of  times I was on a motorcycle was when my older brother, Marvel, let me ride on the back of his.  When I was a kid, I thought my brother was the coolest dude on the planet because of his bike.  Both of my Pastors, who I consider pretty cool dudes, ride also.

If someone wanted to understand you, what should they read, watch, and listen to?

They would have to read books by Joyce Meyer and Beth Moore, watch Star Trek:  The Next Generation, and listen to Weird Al Yankovic.


Insert your own random thought here.

I believe God is instigating another major shift in my life for the better.  Please pray for me to know what to do and when to do it.  Good things are on the horizon and I don't want to miss any opportunity for positive change.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

2017 Reading Quest 17

Book:  Beauty for Ashes.
Author: Joyce Meyer

Info:  Copyright 1994: Tulsa: Harrison House Publishing.

Rating (on a scale of 1-4 stars):  ✮✭✭ 

Where Acquired:  Library book sale purchase.

What it's about:  Meyer uses scripture and elements of her own testimony of abuse and recovery to encourage the reader to seek emotional healing.

Favorite Quotes: 

"We human beings pretend for the benefit of others, not wanting them to know about our misery, but we also pretend for ourselves so that we do not have to face and deal with difficult issues." - p. 28.

"God's love is the main factor in our emotional healing....If you can believe that God, Who is so perfect, loves you, then you can believe that you are worth loving."  p. 38.

"In John 16:7 Jesus told His disciples that it was better for them that He go away to be with the Father, because if He did not go, the Comforter could not come.  The Comforter is the Holy Spirit.  In The Amplified Bible version of this verse He is called the Counselor, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener and Standby.  During your recovery process, you will need to experience every facet of the Holy Spirit's ministry." - p 43.

"You cannot go beyond your opinion of yourself--no matter how many good things God may say about you in His Word.  Regardless of all the wonderful plans God may have for your life, none of them will come to pass without your cooperation." - p. 75

"Unless you accept your value and worth by faith through Christ, you will always be insecure and unable to trust those who want to love you." - p. 86

"The pathway to freedom is not necessarily easy.  However, pressing forward toward freedom is definitely easier than staying in bondage." - 151.

What I liked:
  • The author didn't hide behind Christian clich├ęs.  In other words, her answer to everything was not "read the Bible and pray more."  Yes, those are elements to healing, however, she also advises the reader to seek counseling, mentoring, and accountability to go through this painful process.  In that, this is not a self-help book that advocates trying to conquer these deep issues alone.
  • Meyer was very open about her own struggles and the work it took to become free.  She didn't simply say, "Oh, I just prayed and it went away."  Sorry, but it doesn't happen that way for most people.  Not only was her advice biblical, it was also practical.
  • Continuous navel gazing and digging up past hurts ad nauseam was not advised.  I found in my own recovery that this is an area where many get stuck; we keep digging and digging up the past that we spend no joyous time in the present, thus never really recovering...just uncovering.
  • Meyer includes a bibliography for further reading.

What I didn’t like: 

This book wasn't perfect, however, there was nothing that stood out as unlikeable about the text.


This book is a good starting point for anyone who wishes to be delivered from emotional damage and baggage.

For me, Meyer seems to have the ability to put into words the very attitudes and pains I face, and through the leading of the Holy Spirit, can get to the very heart of how to get well.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Horse Apples: The Weekly Hodgepodge

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May 17th is National Pack Rat Day. Sidebar-should we be celebrating this? Hmmm...Are you a pack rat? Even if you're not a full fledged pack rat, most people have one thing or another they struggle to part with. Tell us what's yours.

I used to be, but not now.  The problem I have now do I put this tactfully...I tend to be a collector of stuff other people don't want.  However, I've learned to pass on anything I don't want or can't use.

What are two things you know you should know how to do, but you don't?

Drive on the interstate and change a tire.  I've seen them both done, but have never successfully done either one.

Do you crave sugar? Do you add sugar to your coffee and/or tea? Do you use artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes? When dining out is dessert a given? Are you someone who has slain the sugar dragon, and if so tell us how you did it.

Sugar is my frenemy.  It's horrible for me, but I do crave it.  My sugar usage has (thankfully) diminished greatly over the years.  I used to drink sugar sweetened soft drinks like water and so much sugar to my tea and coffee that you could pour it over your pancakes.  Not to mention all the sugar laden foods I used to stuff my face with.  Now, I only drink a soft drink when my tummy is upset.  I do consume unsweetened tea (I know my fellow Southerners are weeping in their hankies right now) and coffee with half and half (I'll only drink it black if there's a famine).  I found that with soft drinks, it's not the sugar I really want; it's the bubbles.  I drink flavored sparkling water instead and am completely satisfied.  As far as artificial sweeteners go, I can't tolerate any of them.  Saccharin tastes horrid (plus it kills lab rats), I'm allergic to Aspartame (plus chewing a beer can would taste better), and Splenda (sucralose, sorbitol, sugar alcohol, etc) chains me to the potty, so, no thank you.  I haven't totally conquered sugar, but I attempt to make any indulgence worth it.  In other words, if I want it badly enough, I don't want to waste it on things that taste mediocre.  I'd rather have something rich and creamy like ice cream or good cheesecake than to waste the craving on candy or snack cakes.

Y'all are making me hungry.

What's a trend it took a while for you to come round to, but now you can't imagine living without?

Smart phones.  If not for my niece insisting on (and paying for) a phone for me, I'd still be completely satisfied with using my flip phone--what I call my "Verizon ghetto phone."  My attitude was...well, and still is...what do I want a smart phone for when I have a computer that does all that?  I just need something that makes phone calls.  I'm not engrossed in my phone, but the extra features have definitely come in handy.  I've looked up recipes while grocery shopping.  I've run scripture references while at church or Bible study.  I've use a fitness app to track my mileage.  I use it listen to music and read.  Good thing since if I'm at home, I can't make a phone call with it!  Thanks, T-Mobile!

What's a song that reminds you of a specific incident in your life? Please elaborate.

The Horse by Cliff Nobles.  I know, I know, it looks like I'm cheating on the question because this is my high school's fight song.  BUT it does remind me of a specific incident.  During homecoming week of my senior year of high school, the marching band was given permission to go to the bottom floor of each building and play the fight song.  We enjoyed it, the student enjoyed it.  The teachers?  Well, some enjoyed it while some were scared peeless by the sudden rush of loud music.  One teacher in particular, who will remain nameless because she might read my blog, was very distraught and thought the repeated opening and slamming of her classroom door would drown us out or make us go away.

It didn't.

Go Eagles!

Insert your own random thought here.

WARNING:  This is going to take a hot minute, so you might want to take a pee break before proceeding.

Mrs. Joyce asked about trends.  One that I'm glad to see is the Little Free Library (LFL).  In case you're not familiar with LFLs, they are creative boxes placed in both private and public spaces for the purpose of sharing books.  Individuals may choose a book and either bring it back after reading it, or swap it for another.  We have several in our area, and they're great.  Quite frankly, I've not met anyone who didn't like them.

Until now.

In a blog post/article here, "researchers" from Toronto have slammed these little gems as "an example of 'neoliberal politics at street level', rather than a charming component of the sharing movement."

What the Sam Hill does that even mean?

Little Free Library in
Weaver, Alabama
It's now full of books provided
by the community.
In this piece of horse manure overarching tripe, these dipsticks poor uninformed souls make a lot of ASSumptions I'd like to address:
  • The concept was developed in the United States and they are from Canada.  I think they're just jealous that they didn't think of the idea themselves.  One of the "researchers" is a librarian--so the piece is already a bit suspect.
  • They assume that to have the LFL, a person must purchase the building kits and pay to use the name.  Yes, Little Free Library is a copyrighted name, however, a person doesn't have to pay for a charter or even use the name to have their own.  Also, the building kits are not a mandate.  If you go on the company's Facebook page, you'll enjoy many creative LFTs that are cleverly homemade.  Besides, what's really wrong with spending a couple hundred bucks for a charter and building kit if you want one?  Then the authors go into some nonsense about the "corporatization of a grassroots phenomenon."  So?!  Do they honestly expect for the organization to provide everything for free?  Oh wait, they're from Canada where the government supoosedly provides things for "free," so yes, they do.  Guys, this isn't a government organization; they are staffed by volunteers and can't just give away what they don't have.  Building materials, shipping, and maintaining and promoting the organization costs money.  Logic, Spock, logic!
  • They assume that LFLs are only placed by the rich in upper class, predominantly white neighborhoods where books are plentiful.  If you read the article, you'll notice that they only looked at Toronto and Calgary and nowhere in the United States.  I'm not a researcher, but I know locations.  The LFLs I've seen are in public spaces used by every demographic and sponsored by non-profit organizations like the United Way.  One in particular is right in front of my workplace.  I've seen well-to-do families of all races add and remove books.  I've witnessed impoverished families of varying ethnicities excited about the children getting to read books they've not seen before.  I've even seen those who are homeless choose a book and find comfort in it.  This isn't a rich vs. poor thing.  This is sharing the love of reading and the commonality of the power of reading.
  • They imply that LFLs have the potential harm public libraries.  How?  Name me one public library that has every book ever published?  To me, this is an extension of the public library.  Plus, (and this is the only political sentence I'm writing), in the US, our government is threatening to cut funding to public libraries (a huge mistake if they do).  For the love of Mike, we need something to keep people reading!
  • Most importantly, they offer no alternative solution.  Yeah, that helps a lot, thanks.  By the way, I wonder how many books they donate to the poor?  Hmmm...just a thought.
My conclusion?  These people would complain about anything and turn it into a socioeconomic war just to keep strife and division active because they don't have anything better to do.  Their whole argument is pointless, not to mention tacky.

Hey, they could have been reading instead of writing this mess.

Why the rant?  If you've read my blog for any amount of time, you know I love to read.  That wasn't always the case.  When I was younger, my eyesight was a lot worse and reading was physically painful.  As a child, audio books provided by a library service for the visually impaired were a great help to keep me interested in reading.  As an adult, both reading and listening to books is still quite enjoyable.  I know the power of both the spoken and written word and I'm very passionate about encouraging others to maintain and extend their education.  I taught preschool for many years and in my present job observe many children go through the YMCA's afterschool and summer programs;  I know how much influence good books possess.  However, teachers and librarians can only do so much.  Parents need to instill a love of reading in their children, as well as in themselves.  I know for a fact that many children, despite programs like Success by Six and Dolly Parton's Imagination Library (I wonder what croakings of doom they would have about this one), many parents still don't see the value of reading to their children and too many adults stop reading after leaving an academic environment that requires it.  From what I can see, this program bridges some of that gap.  Please don't let propaganda like this turn it into yet another political division point...or a reason to stay ignorant.


Would it be mean if I said these Canucks need to stick with hockey and leave the rest of us alone?

OK, rant over, I'm going to go enjoy a book now.  See y'all next time.