Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Door Into Summer: The Weekly Hodgepodge


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for the Hodgepodge link-up!
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.



What?

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 clichés.  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.

Takeaway:

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 is...how 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.

Please!

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.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Taking it Off Repeat: The Simple Woman's Daybook

If you would like to join in and post your own Daybook, please head on over to visit Peggy at The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today:  Sunday, May 14, 2017
 

Outside my window  Sunny skies and unseasonably warm temperatures.  The honeysuckle smells glorious.

I am thinking...  too much and stressing myself out.

I am thankful...  For good rest and healthy food to refuel and recharge my body.
 
From the Workshop...  I still have several projects going, but none completed.  Hopefully this week will prove to be a productive one in the Workshop.


I am reading... I recently finished Man's Search For Meaning by Dr. Viktor Frankl.  The author describes the experiences and psychological damage suffered by him and his fellow prisoners in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II.   I'd read it my freshman year of college.  My reaction was much different this time.  OK, I understand intellectually and spiritually the nature of evil and that there exists many sadistic evil people.  However, my soul cannot comprehend that kind of blatant disregard from a fellow human being simply because of racial, religious, or cultural differences.  I know that my own country took the Native American Indian, the African slave and the Japanese immigrant through similar dehumanization, so we in America are not immune.  Yes, all that was before my time, however, don't we have some of this evil disregard going on today?  I still think of the recent footage of that poor elderly man who was gunned down for the world to see.  I think of the young man who murdered nine people who showed him nothing but love and respect.  Yes, these are individual cases and we don't have systematic segregation and government-approved mass killings of "undesirables" in play, however, Frankl's account reminds us that given the right circumstances and the continued choice of our citizens to be ignorant of history, it could happen again.  Heaven forbid!
 
I am learning... Speaking of reading:  Along with other materials, I'm reading Joyce Meyer's book Beauty for Ashes.  This book is teaching me more about myself, my relationship to God, and my relationships with others.  This is not a self-help book written by some psychologist doing an experiment; she's lived through some major abuse in her life and been set free through the power of God.  She points out that there is no other way to freedom.  I hope to be another degree of free by the time I finish reading the book, praying through the issues she beings out, and studying the scripture references she includes.  Yep, it's a goodn'!
 
Favorite quote(s) of the week

"The problem with a self-made man is that he worships his creator." - Pastor Rick Warren

"The prisoner who had lost his faith in the future--his future--was doomed.  With his loss of belief in the future, he also lost his spiritual hold; he let himself decline and be subject to mental and physical decay." - Dr. Viktor Frankl
 
I am looking forward to...  Learning to have a life worth looking forward to.  I know that sounds morbid, but think about where I've come from.  A couple of years ago, I was ready to hang it up and get out of here.  After much prayer, counseling, and soul searching, I want to live.  The only problem is, I don't really know how...yet. I've got my long term things to look forward to, but not sure how to have daily things to look forward to.  More accurately, I'm not sure what is proper to look forward to other than special events.
 
And now for something totally different...

Five minute Friday word of the week:    Should

 


From Facebook:  R. Spoon shared:

From Facebook:  Musical Humor shared:



From Facebook:  A. Crook shared:




















 

Friday, May 5, 2017

Five Minute Friday: "Should"


I had to laugh when I saw this prompt.  Here's why:

I was at the doctor's office yesterday filling out paperwork.  New to the mix is a mental health questionnaire.  Though there wasn't a lot of margin for answer clarity, I answered the questions as honestly as I could.

Big mistake.

Why didn't I just answer "no" to everything?

After I had my vitals taken and got comfortable waiting for the doctor in the examination room, a nurse came in and asked me was I OK.  "Sure," I said.  "O...K," she said as she wagged my paperwork at me.  "I'm just concerned that you're depressed."

First, a disclaimer, the questions are VERY general and don't give the patient a way to explain.  Second, it's not secret that I do deal with depression, but it had been several weeks since I had any such dark thoughts.  As I said, I had no way to explain that.

Anyway...

I had hard time not laughing at the nurse and saying the following:
So you think I'm depressed?  Alrighty, you put me on a scale that weighed me SEVEN pounds heaver than my scale at home.  Your blood pressure monitor took THREE tries before it displayed a reading that was MUCH higher than the one I took a few hours earlier.  I've been on meds that made me sicker than if I hadn't taken them at all.  You put me in a cold room with magazines from 1997 and won't let me pee.  I SHOULD to be depressed!
Have mercy!
----
Prompts provided by Mrs. Kate over at Heading Home.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

101 in 1001 v2

 
 
We all have them; dreams and goals we'd like to accomplish along with fun activities to try.  If you're like me, though, if you don't write them down, they either won't get done or won't be remembered.  So here I am again with another 101 in 1001 list.

In case you're not familiar with the concept, this is a list of 101 activities one wishes to complete in 1001 days (about 2.75 years).  I may not compete them all, or I may complete more than listed (thus the bonus round).  The point is to give myself momentum to continue my life moving in a positive direction, plus have a lot of fun along the way.

So here goes...

In no particular order (unless logically dictated):
Time frame:  January 1, 2017 - September 29, 2019

As I finish each item, I will list its completion date, and blog posts about finished items will appear as a clickable link.

Note:  This list is subject to change without notice.
  1. Finish this list (Completed 05/04/2017).
  2. Give myself $5 in fun money for each completed item on this list. ($5 so far)
  3. Go shopping and have a fit for myself with the money.
  4. Finish the Bible Correspondence Course I started ages ago.
  5. Fully celebrate at least 5 holidays or special days.
  6. Learn to draw.
  7. Redo my wardrobe
  8. Donate blood at least 5 times.
  9. Get a massage.
  10. Attend a LIVE conference or workshop that is not work related.
  11. Attend a concert.
  12. Make 1000 pairs of baby booties for Sav-A-Life. (108/1000)
  13. Run a 5k in 45 minutes or less.
  14. Complete ARC's 1200 mile challenge. (209 miles so far)
  15. Run a half marathon.
  16. Get into "one-derland"
  17. Get down to my goal weight AND STAY THERE.
  18. Get a new(er) car or truck done the way I want it.
  19. Pay off all my debts and do my debt free scream on the Dave Ramsey Show. In order to do this, I will need to...
  20. ... Pay off Discover Card.
  21. ... Pay off shitty Citi Bank card.
  22. ... Pay off student loan.
  23. After this, complete Dave Ramsey's baby step 3
  24. After this, start on Dave Ramsey's baby step 4
  25. Finish the A-Z Challenge I started 2 years ago.
  26. Buy a good blender.
  27. Learn to make a decent smoothie.
  28. Publish something...even if I have to self publish it.
  29. Go to a University of Alabama football game at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
  30. Go to at least one Marching Southerners reunion.
  31. Work out with someone I admire.
  32. Learn to do pull ups/chin ups/whatever ups.
  33. Redo my business cards.
  34. Try Sushi
  35. Go on a missions trip
  36. Help someone else go on a missions trip
  37. Knit a pair of socks.
  38. Get my ACE fitness certification.
  39. Learn to scrapbook and complete one. If not, make one on Shutterfly--I've never done that either
  40. Get a new computer done the way I want it
  41. Get an external hard drive
  42. Get a new bicycle done the way I want it
  43. Get the accessories to go with it
  44. Stay in a Bed and Breakfast
  45. Stay at the Jacksonville Hampton Inn for Christmas again.
  46. Go on a picnic.
  47. Paint 5 paintings at Paintology 101.  (1/5 completed)
  48. Take a photography class.
  49. Start a podcast.
  50. Learn to use Audacity program.
  51. Take a Bob Ross painting technique class.
  52. Get paid for playing music.
  53. Take a trip on the interstate.
  54. Get paid for writing something.
  55. Get a paid speaking gig.
  56. Get a tattoo.
  57. Visit a friend in another state.
  58. Really learn to make a quilt.
  59. Complete a coloring book.
  60. Create an inspiration notebook.
  61. Read 100 books (22 read so far)
  62. Read at a school for Read Across America again
  63. Start a Bible study.
  64. Bike ride the entire Chief Ladiga Trail again.
  65. Start an online fitness group for people who aren't already fit.
  66. Do a nonconventional sprint level triathlon.
  67. Find lucrative work or a lucrative side hustle.
  68. Get off my blood pressure meds.
  69. Eat cake and ice cream guilt-free for my birthday.
  70. Learn to use Instagram.
  71. 30 days of...projects (some will overlap)
  72. ... out of the gym
  73. ... of self love and care
  74. ... of laughter
  75. ... of happiness
  76. ... of total immersion in God's Word
  77. ... of practicing the presence of God
  78. ... of writing
  79. ... of painting
  80. ... of RAK
  81. ... of letter writing
  82. ... of 10,000 steps
  83. ... photo challenge
  84. ...off the grid
  85. Learn to tie die a shirt.
  86. Cycle 1000 miles (36 /100).
  87. Get re-certified in CPR
  88. Learn calligraphy
  89. Redesign this blog
  90. Redesign my Auntie's Workshop blog
  91. Purchase (and show up for ) 5 sessions with a personal trainer.
  92. Get my own place.
  93. Tip a server $20.
  94. Go berry picking.
  95. Read through the Message Translation of the Bible.
  96. Read through Matthew Henry's Commentary as I read through the Bible.
  97. Create a basket of giveaways for the 2018 Honduras mission trip.
  98. Create a basket of comfort items to give away.
  99. Blog about the completion of the major portions of this list.
  100. Inspire someone to make a list of his own.
  101. Celebrate finishing this list and start a new one.
The Bonus Round:  Bonus bucks for finishing any incomplete item from the last 101 in 1001 that have not been moved to the current list.
  • TBAchieved

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

May the Sneer Be With You: The Weekly Hodgepodge


Join the fun! 
Come on over to 
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Can you tell I'm embracing a Cinco de Mayo theme here this week? Do you like Mexican food? What's your favorite dish? How about on the side-black beans, pinto beans, refried beans, rice? What about heat-mild, medium, hot? Will you celebrate with Mexican food and drink on May 5th aka Cinco de Mayo?

Since I've never been to Mexico, I've never had authentic Mexican food.  I am, however, a big fan of Americanized Mexican food and medium salsa.  We have a restaurant in nearby Jacksonville called Baja California Grill, where the food is scrumptious.  My favorite dish from there is called Pollo Rico:  a sautéed chicken breast surrounded by rice, salad, and a side of guacamole.  My second favorite is their Raquel Salad:  a combination of grilled chicken and steamed vegetables poured over a bed of lettuce.  I'm licking my eyebrows just thinking about it.

Ever been to Mexico? For work or holiday? Love it or no? If you haven't been is this a place you'd like to visit? Can you speak Spanish?

No, I've not had the privilege (or budget) to visit Mexico, but hope to some day.  I used to speak Spanish fairly well, but I've lost a lot of it due to lack of practice.  It frustrates me because we have customers for whom Spanish is their native language and I can't comfortably converse.  That something I would like to work on.

What's one thing you may accomplish this month?

Finishing a lesson in the Bible Correspondence Course I've been working on.  I'm sending my latest test in today and hoping for a good grade.  I got an 88% on my last test and wasn't happy.

If you were mayor of your village, city, or town, what's one thing you'd like to see changed, done away with, revamped, or accomplished? Is serving in public office something you've ever seriously considered?

I don't think I'm cut out for politics.  BUT, If I were mayor of Weaver, Alabama, I'd be more communicative and accessible to my constituents.  I've lived in Weaver for three years now and wouldn't know the mayor if he came up and slapped me in face.   The only encounter I've had with any member of the city council was one person who also "served" the local Lion's Club.  Trust me, that experience didn't give me faith that he was capable of walking across the street, much less helping to run a city's government.  I would also unlock the bathrooms in the city park and set up a system of monitoring to keep the bathrooms clean and vandals out.  In fact, I think that I and the city council members should be first in line to take turns monitoring and cleaning.  I could go into making sure our infrastructure projects aren't halfway done then left untouched for months and months, making sure that Weaver Elementary is included in Read Across America, and stop saying that citizens of who have a Weaver address and pay taxes and utilities to the city of Weaver aren't part of the City of Weaver when the city doesn't want to do something they're supposed to do, but...


What's something that may be popular, but that you just don't get?

A lot of what's being passed around as music.  I know, I sound like an old fart and every generation goes through this, but I'm willing to give new music a shot if there's real musicianship and effort involved.  I don't consider a autotuned voice wailing obscenities accompanied by a $12 drum machine music.



Can't let this week slip by without mentioning Thursday May 4th is Star Wars Day. As in 'May the 4th be with you' ahem. Are you a fan of the Star Wars series? Exactly how much of a fan are you? On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being 'I've seen every film, own the action figures, might have dressed as Darth Vader for Halloween one year', and 1 being, 'what's a Vader?' -where do you land?

Hmm...I'm around a five, I guess.  I thoroughly enjoyed the original trilogy and have no plans to see the newer incarnations.  Plus, I actually like Star Trek better than Star Wars

Scroll back through your blog posts and in three sentences or less tell us the general theme of your fourth blog post. Does it still ring true today? Is it a topic you re-visit on your blog from time to time?

It was a Simple Woman's Daybook done around the time I'd gone to a mind-blowing worship conference with my home church's worship team.  I was in the throws of making some pretty drastic changes in my life--starting the blog being one of them.  I don't regret the changes; I only regret the melancholy that surrounded them.

Insert your own random thought here.

Speaking of changes...

On axiom of life, or as Gretchen Rubin calls them "secrets of adulthood" is to surround oneself with positive people who uplift our lives, rather than naysayers who can never see the bright side of anything.  I've had to do a lot of that this year and it concerns my running.

This was, and still is, to be the year that I do complete more miles than ever.  The most I've ever done was 434 miles back in 2015.  I've already walked/ran more than 200, so I'm on track.  However, at the start of the year, I made the unfortunate mistake of telling someone from our runners club my goals.  She wasn't simply discouraging; she was downright insulting.  She literally sneered at me and said, "A little ambitious, don't you think?"  Then she proceeds to tell me about a friend of hers who has a "bit of a belly," as she calls it, who posts a great deal of miles that she doesn't think is possible for this person.  In so many condescending sentences, she basically told me that I was too fat to meet my goals, and even if I did, she'd tell everyone in the club I was lying.  What am I supposed to do with that?   This kind of elitist attitude makes me question paying $15.00 a year to be a part of a club that doesn't seem to think I'm good enough to be there.  For now, I wisely hid my hurt and I avoid talking to this person about my health goals at all (or much of anything else for that matter).  At the end of the year, I'll seriously reevaluate whether the runner's club is even worth it. 

I'm not even going into what was said to me by the local Black Girls Run group about a different matter that related to running.  Fortunately, getting rid of that catty-minded discouragement only took a mouse click and no loss of funds.

I wish I could start my own group.

Monday, May 1, 2017

2017 Reading Quest 16

BookThe Untapped Power in Praise
 
Author: Kenneth W. Hagin (Ken Hagin Jr.)

Info:  Copyright 1990: Tulsa: Kenneth Hagin Ministries

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

Where Acquired:  Correspondence Course curriculum.

What it's about:  Hagin gives a brief snapshot of the power of the true worship of God.  Using biblical illustrations, he encourages the reader to make praise and worship a part of daily life.

Favorite Quotes: 

"The greatest cure known to mankind can be found in praising God. The greatest deliverance known to man is within the reach of every believer on the earth--and it is found in praising God from a sincere heart of love and gratitude. " - p. 2

"Praise is so important to the believer because it provides an avenue to help you stay in faith and to rise above the negative emotions that would try to bring you down into the arena of doubt and unbelief." - p. 51

"Basically, our praise services should reflect our deep reverence for God. Our praise and worship should reflect hearts and lives of people who are excited about their Heavenly Father." p. 55

"Why does praise lift us to new heights in God? Because praise is the language of faith. Praise is the language of victory. Praise is the language of heaven. Praise is the language of believing God with your heart and confessing your faith in Him with your mouth. The Bible says whatever you believe in your heart will eventually come out of your mouth (Matt 12:34).... A positive praise life requires diligence and boldness." - p. 65

"Sad to say, Satan devours too many Christians because they don’t know who they are in Christ and what their rights and privileges are as joint-heirs with Christ. The devil has rocked others to sleep in the cradle of self-complacency; they have become satisfied with what they have and where they are in God." - p 85

What I liked:

This book served as an encouraging reminder that my role as worshipper doesn't end when I leave the doors of the church.  Also, he drives the point home that the privilege of worshipper isn't reserved only to those who sing well or play musical instruments; every believer in Christ is called to worship and praise.

What I didn’t like: 

The book was extremely repetitive.  After chapter three, Hagin rehashes the same points and many of the same scriptures from the previous chapters.  By the time I got to chapter six, I found myself saying over and over, "OK, I get it."

Takeaway: There were some great nuggets of biblical truth in this offering by Hagin.  However, it was sorely lacking and fell flat.  There should have been more in-depth study on the elements of praise, how prayer and praise work together, and more practical instructions than "You should be doing this, so do it...and do it right!"  Even if this book has not been part of a study course, I still would have expected more.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Five Minute Friday: "More"


I started not to attempt this prompt.

In fact, I haven't done a 5 minute Friday in nearly a month.  If the mere suggestion of the prompt ignite negative emotions, I usually don't bother writing. No use bumming y'all out.

So, why am I taking this prompt?

Heck if I know.

Well, actually, I do know.  When I don't respond with my own words and thoughts, the mommy bloggers win. 

Not today, sister!

I'm going to say something that isn't popular...

I WANT MORE!

People are afraid to hear that because they've been brainwashed to think that if someone gets or has more, someone else must have less. That's horse crap!  Only the government and its entities would believe such nonsense!

Yes, I want more:

More fellowship with God and His Word.
More real worship services where the congregation "gets it."
More real friends.
More respect.
More love.
More joy and laughter.
More self-esteem.
More of the abundant life Jesus promised in John 10:10:
The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). [AMP]
More money.  Yes I said it, and I'm not taking it back either.

I've spent a lot of time saying what I want less of.  It's time I asked for the more and receive it.

One of my favorite songs about "more."

----
Prompts provided by Mrs. Kate over at Heading Home.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Down With Mimi: The Weekly Hodgepodge


Join the fun! 
Come on over to 
for the Hodgepodge link-up!
April showers bring May flowers or so the saying goes. Has your April been filled with showers? Do you carry an umbrella, wear a slicker, or make a run for it? Besides rain, what else has filled your April?

We're still recovering from last year's draught, so any rain was welcome.  For the most part, I simply make a run for it.  I've usually got too much to carry to add an umbrella to the pile. 

April was better than March, but it was still too rough a month. 

What's something you could you give a 30-minute presentation on at a moment's notice and with zero preparation?

Beginning crochet. 

Share with us a favorite food memory from childhood.

As a child, I used eating as a coping mechanism, so I don't think I can give a good answer to the question.

What's a song you thought you knew the lyrics to, but later discovered you were wrong?

Are you kidding?  Wrong lyrics are my specialty.  Do you know how long it took me to decipher the line "smoother than a fresh jar of Skippy" in the song Uptown Funk?  When I don't understand the lyrics, I either mumble through or make up something that fits, whether it makes sense or not.

OK, don't be offended, but when I was about four or five and heard the song Amazing Grace for the first time, my mind interpreted the lyrics as such:

Amazing grapes
How sweet the sop
that saved a witch like me.
I was the lost
but now I'm fount
mumble, mumble, I see.

Take that, John Newton! 

According to one travel website, the most overrated tourist attractions in America are- Niagara Falls (NY), Hollywood Walk of Fame (California), Times Square (NYC), Epcot (FL), Seattle Space Needle (WA), and Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market (Boston). How many of these have you seen in person? Did you feel like a tourist? Did you care? Tell us about a place (not on the list) you've visited that might be considered a tourist trap, but you love it anyway.

I've not been to any of these, however, I would love to see them and be as touristy as possible.

Your signature clothing item?

Black pants.  I hardly wear any other color of trousers.

What's an experience you've had you think everyone should experience at least once? Why?

Several:
  • The experience of salvation through Jesus Christ.  Why?  It not only eternally impacts the sweet by and by, but it impacts the rotten here and now.
  • A JSU Marching Southerners Halftime show.  Then you'd know why many of us would rather see the band than the talking heads during televised football games.
  • Seeing the entirety of the Chief Ladiga Trail.  Just gorgeous.
Insert your own random thought here.

Joyce is usually really good at finding celebratory days to focus on during our hodgepodge.  Well, today is Administrative Professionals / Secretaries Day.  I want to give a shout out to all my fellow Administrative Professionals.  Whether anyone else knows it or not, we aren't soulless automatons who type, file our nails, and make coffee all day.  Please don't use Mimi Bobeck from The Drew Carey Show as your secretarial template.  We are much, much more.  I wish more people knew that.

Friday, April 21, 2017

G is for Garlic Ginger, and Good Stir Fry [A-Z Blog Challenge 2015]


 
Experiments From Auntie's Test Kitchen
 
Intro  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

                                                                                                                    
 
G is for Garlic, Ginger, and Good Stir Fry
 
 
Ok, I felt I needed to redeem myself from the last stir fry disaster (letter P above) by sharing my favorite "go to" recipe.  Unlike my experiment, this stir fry is quite tasty, plus, it's really hard to mess up.
 
Ingredients:
  • Chicken breast cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • Your favorite fresh vegetables, diced, or, what I use, frozen vegetable mixes.  My favorites are Great Value's Broccoli Stir Fry and Sugar Snap Pea Stir Fry
  • A clove of garlic, minced...well, I don't know how to mince it correctly.  I smack it with the knife and cut it up like the cooking shows tell you, but I don't ever get as fine a mince as they do on TV.  So, we'll call it "finely chopped."
  • Your favorite spices to your taste.  I use rubbed sage, Italian seasoning mix, ground ginger, and salt.
  • About 1/4 cup Teriyaki Sauce (maybe).  Sorry, I'm southern and we don't measure stuff in our own recipes.  It's kind of like how we make potato salad--we mix ingredients until it "looks right."
  • A couple of tablespoons olive oil or sesame oil.  Tastes good with either one.

Instructions:
  • Heat your oil on high (or whatever works on your stove) in a wok or skillet.  Add the garlic and cook until it just starts to brown.  DON'T BURN IT OR THE WHOLE DISH WILL BE NASTY!  Been there, done that, ate it anyway.  If you burn it, wash the pot and start over.
  • Lower the heat slightly. Add the cut up chicken, toss it in the oil and garlic.  Add your spices.  After the chicken starts to cook (it starts to turn from pink to white on the outside) add the teriyaki sauce.  Completely cook the chicken.  This takes maybe 10-15 minutes.
  • Add the frozen vegetables.  Toss them with the sauce and chicken.  If it doesn't look quite right, add a little more spice and sauce.  Cook the vegetables to your desired doneness.
  • Serve over rice, quinoa (whatever the heck that is), noodles, or my preference, "as is."
Looks better than that last mess I made, doesn't it?

Thursday, April 20, 2017

2017 Reading Quest 15

BookIf I Ever Get Back to Georgia, I'm Gonna Nail My Feet to the Ground.
 
Author: Lewis Grizzard

Info:  Copyright 1990: New York: Villard Books

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

Where Acquired:  Library check out.

What it's about:   Grizzard recounts his newspaper career.  His initial love for newspapers as a child led to a long career of editing, sports writing, and eventually being a world famous newspaper columnist.

Favorite Quotes: 

"I'm always amazed at how angry readers get at columnists.  If Carl Rowan or William Safire or Richard Reeves writes an opinion, that's his prerogative.  I might say to myself, 'Carl Rowan must have drunk some bad buttermilk when he wrote this.' or ' What on earth was William Safire trying to say?'  But I don't ever get mad at them and call down to the paper and threaten to cancel my subscription.  Disagreeing  with a columnist is a lot of fun.  A good columnist will stir debate and reaction."

"The story went that once he [Bill Monday] was going to do the Harvard-Yale game back in the 30's on nationwide radio.  The night before the game, he was having dinner with Harvard officials.  At one point Monday, a Georgia alumnus and son of the south, was asked 'Mr. Monday, who will you be pulling for tomorrow, Yale or fair Harvard?'  Monday thought for a moment, then replied, "Neither one.  You're both a bunch of damn Yankees and I wish there was a way you both could lose.'"

"Can my husband [Norm Van Broklin, then recently fired coach of the Atlanta Falcons] be happy on the farm?" Mrs. Van Brocklin asked back, "Let me put it this way; pecan trees don't drop touchdown passes."

What I liked:

Reading this account is partially a trip through my childhood.  Grizzard, an avid baseball fan, lived during the Braves' move from Milwaukee to Atlanta.  During the height of his sports writing/editing career, he saw Hank Aaron break Babe Ruth's homerun record while enduring the plethora of horrid Braves seasons.  My dad and I watched the Braves lose week after week from the late 70's through the early 90's.  It's a shame he passed away the year before the Braves actually won the World Series. 

Like Grizzard, I used to love newspapers.  I'm not so fond of them now and I'm not sure Lewis Grizzard would be very fond of them either.  I'm also a big fan of typewriters; Grizzard never used a computer.  Bless his heart.

What I didn’t like: 
  • The profanity.  Usually Grizzard writes in what I call "drunk uncle cussing," which, in the grand scheme of things, isn't so bad.  However, he admits to using more intense profanity in this work because his mother wasn't alive to read it.  He should have stuck with the drunk uncle cussing.
  • His time at the Chicago Sun Times really angered me.   Though not politically correct to say so, Grizzard was right.  Read it; you'll see what I mean.
Takeaway: I laughed and cried my way through Grizzard's tale.  The laughing was for obvious reasons.  The crying?  Well, that takes a little bit of explanation.  See, my Bachelor's degree is in Mass Communication.  Upon my 1995 graduation, I had dreams of writing for a living.  Here I am 22 years post graduation and I'm a chunky monkey working at a fitness facility and writing a mediocre blog read by an average of 36 people (thanks for reading, by the way).  Grizzard's story reminded me of my dead dream and made me want to find a way to resurrect it.

This book was published just four years before the author's death.  I wonder what Grizzard's writings would have looked like had he lived.  Have mercy!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

2017 Reading Quest 14

BookThe Spirit of Christ 

Author: Andrew Murray

Info:  Copyright 2015: New York: Scriptura Press (Originally published in 1888)

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

Where Acquired:  Free Kindle book.

What it's about:   The Holy Spirit--the third person of the Holy Trinity of God--yet many believers really don't know exactly what His role is in their lives.  Murray takes the reader on a voyage through the Bible to teach the principles of walking on the Spirit.

Favorite Quotes: 

"In our preaching and in our practice, He does not hold that place of prominence which He has in God's plan and in His promises. While our creed on the Holy Spirit is orthodox and scriptural, His presence and power the life of believers, in the ministry of the word, in the witness of the Church to the world, is not what the word promises or God's plan requires." - Location 56

"To worship is man's highest glory. He was created for fellowship with God:  of that fellowship worship is the sublimest [sic] expression.  All the exercises of the religious life; meditation and prayer, love and faith, surrender and obedience, all culminate in worship." - Location 291

"Most Holy God!  we confess with shame how much our worship has been in the power and the will of the flesh.  By this we have dishonored Thee, and grieved Thy Spirit, and brought infinite loss to our own souls.  O God! forgive and save us from this sin.  Teach us, we pray Thee, never, never to attempt to worship Thee but in Spirit and in Truth." - Location 365

"We must not simply rest content with the faith that trusts in the cross and its pardon; we must seek to know the New Life, the Life of Glory and Power Divine in human nature, of which the Spirit of the glorified Jesus is meant to be the Witness and the Bearer." - Location 504

"To cease from all hope in the flesh and the law is the entrance into the liberty of the Spirit." - Location 1660

"May my whole heart be so filled with the longing for Christ's honor, and His love for the lost, that my life may become one unutterable cry for the coming of Thy Kingdom. Amen." - Location 1854

What I Liked:
  • Murray does not take the subject of the Holy Spirit through a denominational (or non-denominational) filter.  He simply takes the Scriptures and expounds on them in light of other biblical passages.
  • This book gives much instruction, yet reads like both a devotional and a prayer journal. He writes both poetically and intelligently.
What I didn’t like: 
  • The Kindle version has no real page numbers.
  • Murray quotes many scriptures, but doesn't always reference them.
  • My main criticism of the work isn't a problem with the author himself or the book itself, but with the publisher and editors (or lack thereof).  There are tons of typographical errors, missing words, punctuation placed on the wrong place or left out, the use of the number 0 instead of a capital O in places, plus other errors in editing that distracts the reader from the subject matter.  Yes, it was a free download, however, just because it's Christian and free doesn't mean it should be done in a lackadaisical manner.  By the way, I purchased a book from the same company and it was edited just as badly.  I tried to find information on the publisher to possibly get some clarification or give some assistance, but apparently, the company doesn't exist anymore, or is some grassroots project with no physical address or internet presence.  Oh well, I tried.
Takeaway: This will definitely be reread for years to come, flaws and all.  There's too much information and spiritual instruction to get it all in one sitting.

Monday, April 17, 2017

2017 Reading Quest 13

BookThe Adventures of Captain Underpants:  An Epic Novel.

Author: Dav Pilkey

Info:  Copyright 2000: New York: Scholastic

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

Where Acquired:  Library check out.

Category:  Impulse Read. 

What it's about:   Best friends George and Harold are the misfits of their fourth-grade class.  When not suffering through academia, their favorite activity (other than stirring up trouble) is creating their own comic book heroes.  One of their favorites is Captain Underpants, an unlikely superhero bedecked in a cape and tighty-whities with very little in the way of defensive weaponry.  Through a set of unfortunate (or fortunate) events, George and Harold turn their overbearing principal, Mr. Krupp, into their superhero.  Full of unlikely (not to mention ridiculous) adventures, this is a fun story for young readers...well, and older readers if you have a silly side like I do.

What I Liked:
  • In all its immature silliness, the book was pretty funny with hilarious illustrations to boot.
  • It was a short fun read that only took about an hour to finish.
What I didn’t like: 
  •  Nothing I can think of.  This book isn't serious, so not a lot of analytics going on here.
Takeaway:  Nothing serious, just some great laughs from a fun story that got me through my day.  I just might read the rest of the series later.

Friday, April 14, 2017

2017 Reading Quest 12

BookEsther Ried's Awakening. Alternate title:  Esther Ried.

Author: Isabella MacDonald Alden.  Also sold under her pen name:  Pansy.

Info:  Copyright 1995: Wheaton, IL:  Living Books (Originally published in 1870)

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

Category:  Glorious Reread.

What it's about:   Nineteen year old Esther Ried has grown bored with the daily grind of serving in her mother's boarding house.  Worse yet, she has bored of Christianity and anything having to do with religion.  Surprisingly she gets an opportunity to spend a few weeks away in New York to attend her cousin's wedding and Esther thinks she's finally free.  However, this time away proves to bring her freedom of another kind.

What I Liked:
  • Though this book was written in the 19th century, the text doesn't present situations too vague or outdated to understand.
  • Not every Christian character in the book was some poor, ignorant vagrant.  There were characters who represented various socioeconomic strata.
  • The evangelistic and redemptive nature of the story was appealing.  The intelligent and creative method in which is was presented was refreshing.
What I didn’t like: 
  • Esther's younger sister, Sadie, bless her heart, is quite intelligent, but has no common sense.  Many of her interactions were frustrating to read, plus she was for all intents and purposes useless to her family in times of need.
  • I think Esther's mother should have done more to ease some of her burden.  She seemed very hard on Esther, but lax in her discipline with her other children (thus Sadie's uselessness) I also believe that she should have put her family's needs first in many situations where she was conspicuously absent. 
  • A couple of the characters had similar names and I often got them confused. 
Takeaway:  I first read this book in the mid 1990's at a time when my faith had grown cold and stale.  I had recently graduated from college--a very draining process--and hadn't consistently darkened the door of a church for far too long.  As I engrossed myself in this tale, I saw how Esther's spiritual plight could have been my own.  At the time, her attitude frightfully matched my dark mood.  At the conclusion of the novel, I felt encouraged.  It motivated me to get back in the Word and begin the process of renewal. 

The book meant so much to me that I reread it every couple of years.  Like The Shack, Esther Ried's Awakening doesn't tell me how to live; it encourages me to seek the One Who is life.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

2017 Reading Quest 11

BookBad Feminist:  Essays.

Author: Roxane Gay

Info:  Copyright 2014:  New York:  Harper Collins

Where acquired:  Library check out.

Rating (on a scale of 1-4 stars): 

What it's about:  Bad Feminist is a collection of essays chronicling the author's experience with feminism.  She tackles such subjects as rape culture, popular music, television, and literature.

Favorite Quotes:

"We need to get to a place where we discuss privilege by way of observation and acknowledgement rather than accusation." - p. 19

On religious systematic misogyny:  "I am also reminded that women, more often than not, are the recipient of God's intentions and must also bear the burden of those intentions." - p. 99

On the objectifying of women and attitudes about obesity: "In the last Dear Fat People letter [in the novel Skinny by Diana Spechler] Gray writes, 'You wonder why we hate you?  You are the visible manifestation of the parts of ourselves we hide.' There is truth in that too.  Fat people wear their shit on the outside, with sagging breasts and swollen ankles and heavy thighs.  Unlike a heroin addict who might be able to cover track marks with long sleeves, a fat person cannot hide the fact that something has gone awry.  Fat people have secrets, and you may not know what those secrets are, but they can be plainly seen." - pp. 119-120

"Some statistics loom so pervasively they have become myths.  For example, a commonly recited 'fact' is that more black men end up in jail than attend college.  Ivory A. Toldson, a professor at Howard University, refuts this statement, noting in a series on black education for The Root that 'today there are approximately 600,000 more black men in college than in jail, and the best research evidence suggest that the line was never true to begin with.'" - p. 247

Takeaway:

OK, You might want to take a potty break and get a beverage before diving into this.

A caveat before I begin:  I've endeavored to make all of my reviews as open and honest as possible.  Also, I usually avoid politically charged themes or arguments in my blog because they go nowhere.  Everyone who agrees with me would keep reading, while those opposed would cut me off and never again read any of my work, no matter how innocuous.  However, because this book is fraught with politically charged themes, I must touch on them or my review won't be honest.

I relish books that make me think.  I loathe books that do nothing but make me angry enough to want to throw said book (or said electronic reading device) across the room.  There is enough anger, both warranted and unnecessary, choking the life out of so many people.  I am in no way interested in adding to the fire.  So, my job here is to wade through the minefield with honesty and decorum.

I have so got a stomach ache right now.

First, a simple question, could someone tell me where the humor is supposed to be?  In descriptions of this book, the essays were called "funny and insightful." There's nothing funny about this book. 

We'll get to the "insightful" part in a minute.

Second, let's look at the basic definition of feminist.  A feminist is
A person who supports feminism which is the advocacy of women's rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.

Nowhere in that definition does it say that the feminist must be female, black, open to any and all sexual orientations, no wealthier than middle class, feminist but anti feminine, pro abortion, and anti male.  However, this, plus more, is Gay's definition, in addition, she feels that she (or others of her particular race and persuasions) is the only one qualified to tell the feminist story. I don't even qualify.  Yes, I'm black a black woman, but I'm not of her various qualifying persuasions.  In that, she is a bad feminist.

In graduate school, I studied both a course in women's literature and history.  Yes, I know it was almost 20 years ago, but I do remember some of it.  In the beginnings of the women's movement, this basic definition was what feminism was about:  voting rights, equal pay, equal protection under the law, property rights, and battling to eradicate systematic misogyny.  Quite frankly, anyone in this day and age who doesn't believe in those things is a doofus and needs to crawl back to the cave and stay there.

In the 20th century, that definition was severely skewed to the things I listed above.  The author is a victim of that skewing.  In that, she is not a bad modern feminist.

Though written well, this book is a cacophony of schizophrenic contradictions:
  • The author bristles at the use of the term "sexual assault" instead of "rape."  At the same time she substitutes the term "reproductive rights" for "abortion rights" or the right to destroy the product of reproduction.  I find this a deplorable misnomer.  As she says, call it what it is.
  • The use of profanity.  This isn't even drunk uncle cussing; it goes deeper than that.  No, I'm not a prude, but I'm not very tolerant of the F word or crass descriptions of sexual organs and their use.  Yet, she is offended by the N-word, except, of course, when it is used by blacks about each other.
  • Her inference that she "doesn't believe in safety" betrays the fact that she does believe in safety for whom she deems worthy to be safe, ie: black women and no one else.
  • She spends several (and I mean several) chapters on racism.  What does this have to do with feminism again?  Well, let me rephrase that, she spends several chapters on the racism of whites toward all other races of humans.  Now, correct me if I'm wrong--and I'm not--but if a person of color hates, shuns, or otherwise demeans a Caucasian simply because his skin is white, does that not constitute racism?  Does Auntie need to pull out her dictionary again?  Gay only sees one brand of racism.  I also took great umbrage at her assumption that all Southern white people are racists.  I want to tell her "Dear heart, I'm only a couple of years older than you.  I've lived in the South all my life.  In Alabama, no less--the "Heart of Dixie," the home of George C. Wallace, the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, the attack on the Freedom Riders.  My parents lived the Jim Crow South; they didn't read about it in a book.  My older siblings were growing up right in the heart of the civil rights movement.  I've only had an extremely minute fraction of what my parents and older siblings went through.  We have all seen horrific things done by both whites and black in the name of 'I hate your skin.'   I work, attend church, and am friends with many kind, gracious, God fearing, whites and blacks who don't have a racist bone in their body.  Most of the overt racism I see comes from blacks toward whites, and, ridiculously, towards other blacks who are lighter or darker than they.  You, my dear, know nothing. Oh, a side note, my mother was (and still is) a domestic worker--and a darn good one, so you might want to watch what you say about 'maids' around me."
  • For the author, there are no good people, well if they are white or men, or worse; white men.  There is no possibility of change or redemption of anyone.  I guess you would think that if you "used to believe in God," but don't now.  She wants to see change, but doesn't believe that everyone has to change.    No matter how much progress is made, she keeps saying it isn't good enough.  Gay even goes as far as to assert that the suggestion that blacks stop tearing up their own neighborhoods, black men stop making babies they don't want and leaving the mothers to raise alone, get a job,  and stay out of jail is somehow kowtowing to "the politics of respectability."  Since when is being a productive citizen of any color (ie: not acting like a jackass) a political linchpin?  This chick is twisted.
  • Gay goes into the whole "privilege" apology thing, and I blow my stack...again."
  • She spends the last two chapters of the book completely contradicting everything she just wrote in the previous chapters.  Kind of a "do as I write, not as I do" hypocrisy.  Really? 
  • There is so much other crap visceral drivel that I don't have time, space, or blood pressure medicine to go into.  I think you get the idea.  It's a crying shame too. Annie had read and enjoyed the book and recommended it to me.  We generally like the same books, even if for different reasons.  So, it was disappointing that I dislike this work so much.
I need about 12 Ibuprofen right now.

Like Women, Food, and God, a book I read a couple of years ago, this book was misnamed.  Instead of Bad Feminist: Essays, it should have been called Bad Feminist Essays.  There is a difference.

Monday, April 10, 2017

2017 Reading Quest 10

BookThe Shack.

Author: William Paul Young

Info:  Copyright 2007:  Newbury Park, CA:  Windblown Media

Where acquired: Audio library check out.

Rating (on a scale of 1-4 stars):  ✮✭✭  1/2

Category:  This one falls under two categories:  "Everybody's Reading it" and "Nobody Admits to Reading it."

What it's about:  Mackenzie Phillips, ultra religious, but having no viable relationship with God, encounters tragedy that brings him face-to-face with the Almighty. 

I'm going to dispense with my normal review format and cut to the chase.

When I heard of this book years ago, all I heard was the negativity surrounding it.  I had plenty to read, so I could safely avoid it.  This year, I decided that other people's fears and prejudices weren't going to color my judgment about reading it.  Understand, this was before I even knew about the movie based on the book that was coming out.  Annie, my sister-in-blog and fellow reviewer, joined me in reading this tome.  During out discussions, we were both mystified by all the venom surrounding it.

First, many who had disparaging comments about the book had never read it; they were simply repeating what they heard from brother or sister do-dad.  I've begun to take the Dave Ramsey approach to books:  Never take advice from the firms I've Heard and They Said.  Like my experience with such over hyped books as Crazy Love and One Thousand Gifts, I took a chance of possibly disliking, or not understanding the book.  Unlike the aforementioned works, I liked this book.

Second, it is not wise to get one's Gospel theology from a work of fiction.  That wasn't the point of the book.  Like the beloved Chronicles of Narnia series (which everybody practically pees in their pants over, but I have yet to understand or get all the way through), this work is an allegory--a story one may glean meaning from.  Were some of the images and statements unscriptural?  Yes.  Were there things about the book I didn't like?  Yes.  So what?  Most of the Christian themed books I've read fall into that category.  I felt that the imagery was spectacular and the story was told beautifully.  Once I got into it, I couldn't stop reading.  BUT do I get instruction for how to live my Christian life from The Shack?  Absolutely not.  It is a story--not a Bible study.

Third, I believe the problem with this book is not what was written, or how, but how others presented it.  Annie and I discussed how in some circles, if someone's child passes away, everyone wants to flock to LifeWay and buy this book for them to read.  That's rather heartless and takes no effort in real relationship building.  I can't fathom that this is what the author intended--at least I hope not.

What I gleaned from this novel is that our relationship with God isn't based on religion; it is based on a beautiful relationship.  Not a new concept, but vibrantly played out in the words of the author  No, I don't believe I'll ever have the privilege of such a vivid vision of the Almighty until I cast of this mortal coil and stand face to face with Jesus.  Then, it will be no vision; it will be the real thing.