Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Halloween - the LEAST Evil of the Holidays






Halloween season is upon us... which means OMG you're going to hell if you celebrate!

I'm sorry. But I call bullshit.

People look at Halloween as the evil holiday... the day that allows evil into our world. A pagan ritual. A horrible thing. 

Seriously, look at the other holidays we celebrate. Christmas? Pagan. Was actually a time of drunken fun for quite some time. Easter? Pagan. Valentine's day? Worse than pagan... it was a day of sex with a randomly chosen woman, and also of whipping women. Thanksgiving? Yay... we killed most of the native american's and took over their land.

Stop nit-picking and bible thumping unless you know what you're talking about.

Halloween is as evil as you allow it to be. Just as Christmas is as holy as you allow it to be.

For me, Halloween is a time of family and friends and fun. It's a time to spend time with loved ones. It's not a time to worship the devil or a pagan god or sacrifice a child. It's a season to make my yard look cool and spend time making decorations and costumes and watch little kids wander around asking for treats. It's a time to appreciate and celebrate the good things God has given us - those warm fall days before the snow falls, great friends and family, the giggles of little kids, the food finally able to be harvested, and so many other wonderful gifts.

The point of this post is simple - pretty much every holiday we have has roots with either paganism or some other non-christian thing. But it doesn't matter. God knows what is in our heart. If our heart is pure, he doesn't really give a crap if we're celebrating the birth of his son on the wrong day. He doesn't give a crap if we're celebrating the death and resurrection of his son on the wrong day. He doesn't give a crap if we're dressing up in goofy costumes. He doesn't give a crap if we're giving roses to loved ones on Valentine's day.

He gives a crap that we're loving one another and loving him.

And on that note, I'm going to do nighttime prayer and head to bed so I can do more Halloweeny things in the morning. Good night and God bless!


Expectations






Expectations.

Let's face it - we all have them. We expect certain things from certain people. We expect certain results from certain events. We expect our partner to always be honest and always put us first. We expect dates to go a certain way. We expect holidays to be filled with joy. We expect wonderful gifts on Valentine's Day, or our anniversary, or our birthday.

Last night I decided that because I hadn't been home much over the weekend, I was going to spend today with my phone off and have just a day with my husband. We didn't really have any specific plans... just that it would be a day with just the two of us.

I woke up at 7:30 to get the kids up for school, then shut off my phone. My husband was still sleeping, so I laid down in the living room watching tv, waiting for him to wake up. Half hour later, I got a call from my eldest son letting me know he wouldn't be able to come home until later in the day. No offense - but thank God. I'd forgotten he was planning on coming home. I love having him here, but this was a spouse day. Half hour after that, hubby woke up, but wasn't in a happy mood. He wasn't overly cranky - just wasn't in the happy happy joy joy mood I'd expected. Half hour after that, we get a call from the school... daughter's glasses broke yet again. Half hour after that, home health showed up to help with hubby's wound dressings. Half hour later, I had to go to the school to pick up the broken glasses - and then spent two hours with hubby piecing together her lenses, old frames that almost matched the size of said lenses, and a pair of bows from yet another pair of glasses.

It was during that Frankenstein glasses making that my husband said this wasn't how he expected the day to be. He was disappointed. It wasn't even noon, and our special day together had already been interrupted several times.

And it was during that time that it really hit me. I was having a great morning. True... it wasn't what I'd expected. I'm really not even sure what I was expecting. He wasn't even sure. But the day wasn't meeting our expectations, whatever those might have been.

But that really didn't matter. What did matter to me was that we were spending time together. We were laughing together. We were bitching together. We were together.

All too often, we allow our expectations to cloud our experiences. The day didn't go as we wanted. A person didn't act as we expected. An event didn't go how it was supposed to. And we feel let down. We feel depressed or upset or hurt.

We fail to see the good in those moments. We fail to see the beauty. We fail to see the love.

Oddly, the following is what I had been writing last night, but I feel it is appropriate for this post...

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What is true joy?

It’s the first warm day of spring, when things are melting and yet there is still a couple feet of snow on the ground. Walking barefoot through the growing puddles of melting snow.

It’s the later days of spring, when everything has melted but it’s still fairly cold, and sleeping outside in the tent under several layers of blankets.

It’s the first days of summer, with fire pits and swimming in the middle of the night with family.  

It’s summer nights with friends and family, laughing and being silly.  

It’s the first days of fall, standing in the middle of the yard as the leaves float down around you.

It’s the first blizzard, laughing with children as the snow covers us, or trying to find our way home after the entire town experiences a power outage late at night. 

It’s New Year’s Eve, making snow angels at midnight.

It’s that one nice winter day when the snow sticks enough to build snowmen, even if we make those snowmen a little inappropriate.

It’s the hugs in the morning. It’s the fights. It’s the hugs to make up. It’s the late night cries.

It’s sitting in a rocking chair for hours holding a sick child.

It’s dropping to your knees in prayer.

It’s the love after an argument. It’s the tickle fights. It’s the tantrums. It’s the sitting around doing nothing but enjoying the company of another.

It’s helping a loved one who’s sick. It’s sitting with a loved one who’s crying.

It’s bandaging wounds, and paying bills. It’s doing laundry and washing dishes and cooking.

It’s that simple “are you okay?” It’s the hand reaching out to help you up.

It’s the teasing and playing.

It’s the interruptions to a special day. It’s the friend messaging saying “I need you.”

It’s that loving hug from your child the morning after a disagreement. It’s those words of love from a parent. 

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Every moment is what we choose to make it. We can choose to be upset because the day didn't live up to our expectations. Or we can choose to embrace the special moments we're given. 

In my eyes, today was perfect. No... it didn't go as I'd expected. But that's okay. It's better than okay. It was perfect. It was spent (mostly) with just the man I love. Yeah, part of that time was spent fixing glasses, or sleeping, or with my eldest son who did eventually show up, or with a husband who wasn't feeling well for part of the evening, and even with a serious discussion. But it was time spent in love. I'd rather have all that than any kind of expectation I could come up with. 

 


Saturday, June 24, 2017

Puzzle Piece









Before I begin writing, let me first state emphatically that I am not suicidal or depressed. I have simply been watching a good show which has got the wheels in my head spinning…

As much as we hate to admit it, a lot of times, how we feel about ourselves comes from the events and people around us. It comes from our own decisions, as well as the words and actions of others. It’s all a bunch of puzzle pieces.

When someone commits suicide, or attempts it, or even just considers it, we look for that one reason that will answer the question “why?” But it rarely is one reason. It’s a series of reasons. It’s a myriad of puzzle pieces coming together. And the picture those pieces make is dark, bleak, empty. It’s a picture of utter aloneness.

When someone commits suicide, perhaps you’re on one of that person’s puzzle pieces. Perhaps I am. And it usually isn’t intentional. It’s simply a decision we made that seemed harmless at the time. Or perhaps a decision we knew was harmful, but it was really no big deal in the grand scheme of things. It was no big deal to you anyway. Or me. Or those other people. But when the puzzle pieces are all put together, it can be harmful.

Anytime you decide to tell a lie about someone, no matter how insignificant you think it might be…
Anytime you choose to listen to a lie about someone, and believe it…
Anytime you choose to tell someone else what you’ve heard…
You become a puzzle piece of that empty picture.

Anytime you tell someone to just ignore the lies being spread about them…
Anytime you tell that person it’s no big deal…
Anytime you tell that person they’re just over reacting and taking things too personally…
You become a puzzle piece.

Anytime you try to silence someone from speaking out against the lies…
Anytime you accuse the person of just trying to create drama…
Anytime you shut off your phone to avoid the drama…
You become a puzzle piece.

Anytime you ignore the cries…
Anytime you ignore the signs…
Anytime you ignore the pain…
You become a puzzle piece.

Anytime you choose to believe a person’s reputation is truth…
Anytime you choose to believe and think it’s acceptable to proposition someone because of her reputation…
Anytime you choose to believe and think it’s acceptable to grab or smack her ass because of her reputation…
You become a puzzle piece.

Anytime you call her a whore, or bitch…
Anytime you tell her she’s fat, or stupid…
Anytime you insult her character or appearance…
You become a puzzle piece.

Every decision we make in what we choose to say…
Every decision we make in what to believe about another...
Every decision we make in our actions towards another…
Gives us the potential to become a puzzle piece in that empty picture.


I’m not saying we have to be there every minute for every person. I’m saying we need to be aware of how our seemingly insignificant actions can affect someone when we least expect it. I know I have been a puzzle piece before. I know I may be a puzzle piece right now for one or more people. I can only pray to be more aware of this potential, and pray that puzzle of aloneness never gets put together… that I can change things and become a puzzle piece of a brighter picture.


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Why Am I Not Good Enough



A friend of mine shared this video on Facebook not too long ago, and listening to it had me nearly in tears. Why? It is just a 7th grader, reciting a poem she'd written as an end of the school year writing assignment.

But it wasn't just that. It is a 7th grader reciting what most of us feel, even as adults. It is a 7th grader expressing the doubts we, as women, start to feel in our early teens (or younger), and continue to feel as we enter high school, college, and beyond. We want to be accepted and feel we need to dress right, and look right, and be skinny, and have our hair perfect, and talk right, and not be too smart (or too stupid), and hang with the "right" crowd, and well... be anyone other than the person we are.

That's how society is. It's how it's always been.  Whether that society is a school, or a work place, or a church, or a community... we are expected to be more than what God made us. We are told that what God made us to be isn't enough. And we find ourselves continuously wondering "why am I not good enough?"

We wake up and try to cram ourselves into jeans that are a size or two too small, and a bra that lifts our breasts to where they should be and are padded so we appear to be the size we should be. We put on make up to hide those little imperfections. We get frustrated when our hair refuses to be the way it's supposed to be.

We go out into society pasting on the smile we don't feel, holding back the tears or anger or frustrations that would make us look weak or like we're "just female." We tuck away our true talents, fearing we'll be judged or ridiculed. We try to be the quiet docile creatures we're expected to be. We try to be the pure yet tempting creatures we're supposed to be. We try to appear "better" than we are so that others will accept us and love us.

We fail to realize that we are perfect just as we are. Just as God made us.

We fail to realize that because we're told or shown repeatedly that we are not perfect just as we are.

We fail to realize that because we see time and again people leaving us, or ignoring us, or persecuting us, because of who we are.

And...

We fail to realize that because we are so focused on the whole of society rather than God and those God placed in our lives who love us unconditionally...

Maybe it's only one or two people... but we all have someone whom has seen us when we first wake up - our hair in disarray, wearing the same pj's we've worn for a week straight, no make-up on. We all have someone whom has seen us break down crying, our eyes puffy and red. Someone who's seen us get angry and punch things, or go off on a rampage - sometimes for no reason whatsoever. Someone who's seen us secretly painting, or writing, or dancing, or singing, or stealing our child's algebra book because we like math, or working on computers, or fixing cars, or whatever it is that we have the love and talent to do. Someone who's seen us secretly watching weird movies, or reading the Bible, or whatever it is we enjoy doing.

Someone who loves us because of those things. Someone who loves us because of who we truly are... not because of who we try to be.

Someone who loves us as God loves us. Someone who loves us because they know that who we are is who God made, and God does not make mistakes.

Hold onto those people. Believe those people. And learn to see yourself as they see you - as the wonderful and perfect person God created.

You are good enough.


Saturday, May 13, 2017

Celebrate those God Gave You

Before I start this post, let me apologize for the typos. When I was a teen, I used to practice typing with my toes in case I lost use of my hands.... but never once did it occur to me that the temporary loss of one itty bitty finger would stunt my ability to type. Or do a lot of things.

ANYWAY....

In two hours, it will be mother's day. A day that many mothers will pretty much expect to be catered too. "Hey! I popped out a baby! Celebrate me!"

Don't get me wrong.... There really isn't anything wrong with wanting to be recognized one day a year. But for me, this is more of a reminder to me... not that I should be celebrated or recognized, but that the people who made me who I am should be celebrated and recognized.

So....

To my mothers...

Marlene (it really feels weird calling you by your name).... I don't think you will ever fully understand the impact you made on me. God truly did have a hand in bringing you into my life. You didn't just teach me how to be a mother, you taught me there are selfless people out there. You showed me who I want to be. I have never met anyone who opens not just their door, but also their heart, to someone in need. I havent lived with you in over 20 years, but you still are the person I try to be like. The person I want to be like. The most giving and loving person I know.

Sandy (and, also feels really weird calling you by your name).... You didn't really question me coming into your home. Your son loved me, and so you accepted me. But you went way beyond that. You have stayed up countless times just listening. You taught me how to be a mother. You let me cry, and gave me relief from the stresses of parenting when I needed it, and have always been an incredible strength and teacher. I have 6 incredible children.... and I have you to thank for how great they are. You are an amazing mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and just an amazing woman in general.


To my children....

It wouldn't be mother's day without you :p  Seriously, you guys shouldn't be getting me gifts. I should be doing that for you. You each already are my gifts. Whether you were the first, the last, or one of the in-betweens, you guys all raised me - not the other way around. Every day, every moment, every injury, every crisis, every success of yours shaped me. I can never express enough how much each of you mean to me. Each in your own way. Different, but equally important.

But.... while I do say equally important... I do have to point out one specifically, just because it is mother's day....

Cassie...

As my first, I screwed up a lot with you. It was a lot of trial and error....and error....and error.... But I cannot even find the words right now to say how insanely proud I am of you. Of all my memories of you growing up, I do have to admit that my most vivid memory is when you made ME grow. When you told me you were pregnant. When you made the decision to give your boy up for adoption, When you came to me with those two portfolios asking me to help. When you let me be there during his birth.... and during your intense pain at having to let another couple leave with him. You are my hero. You are the BEST mother I have ever known.

 I do also have to give credit to Kari because of all I just said....

You dont just have my grandson as your child, you also accepted my daughter and have let her be a part of your family.  Colin has a terrific mom. God couldnt have given him any better. God couldnt have given Cassie any better.

And.... One last one I have to add....

Jenn... you dont have children of your own.... but you are an amazing mom to so many. There's a reason we all ask you to be a God-mama.... its because we know how giving and loving and perfect you are. I am so blessed to have you as a friend, as the god mother of one of my kids, and just to have you in my life.

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Happy Mother's Day to everyone. I hope you are all able to see this day as a reminder of the wonderful women in your life... the ones who made you who you are today.



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