Saturday, July 22, 2017

To See a Rainbow, There Must First Be Rain

Sometimes you have to watch from around the corner while people endure the most heart wrenching pain imaginable.  And, you are helpless to do anything that can make a difference at all....and so....you watch, you pray, you cry, you do whatever little things you can to help...and you learn.

You learn that during an inexplicable tragedy like the sudden loss of multiple lives, there is really nothing else on earth that really matters.  Petty issues, problems, dysfunction, spats, quarrels, hurt feelings and unkind and unthinking words pretty much pale in comparison.  You relearn that any issues you have with anyone had better be taken care of today....right.now. because that chance could be ripped away from you with no warning and you will be left with a whole lot of "things I wish I'd dones" and "things I wish I'd saids."

You also learn than no one owns the corner at the intersection of Heartbreak and Grief.  We all get to travel through there at varying degrees.  Some of us are merely riding through in someone else's vehicle trying to help, while others of us are driving our own car....and often, we feel incredibly alone even when we are not.
I think it is telling of us as humans how we handle the situations where we are unbelievably raw.  Do we take the time to understand that everyone grieves, suffers, and experiences pain in different ways?  Or do we expect everyone to respond exactly like we do?

It is my belief that we could avoid some of the pitfalls of dealing with grief if we could come to grips with whether our own responses stem from sympathy/compassion or empathy, even though those qualities are related.  While they are related they are also different.  Empathetic people have the ability to take the perspective of and feel the emotions of another person.  Compassion/sympathy takes those feelings and thoughts and works them into the desire to help.  So does this mean that these two qualities are two sides of the same coin?  I think in most cases it does.  We have to be careful not to get stuck in our empathy and not progress on to how we can best help to improve a situation.  Narcissistic people cannot recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others and in my experience some of those people are rabid empaths.  They feel the emotions at the center of the issue but they assume them as their own and it becomes more about them than anyone else.  They are stuck in their own place, never moving forward or helping in any tangible way.

Feelings of grief are like fireflies.  Even when the night has passed where they have burned the brightest, they sometimes flicker at the most inopportune moments in the light of day.  Some of us need to release those feelings in very vocal ways while others of us internalize, and then one day, we are taken to our knees from the overwhelming weight of what we feel.

You see things everyday on television where people say things like "well she/he never even cried."  Maybe not.  Maybe they never did....maybe they simply just died inside.  Speaking personally, I have a bit of a tendency to under-react the closer and bigger things are to me.  When my mom passed away...I was pretty stoic...I was sad, incredibly tired, and more than a little confused.  But probably my behavior wasn't as overtly grief stricken as some might deem appropriate.  Then a month later, a little dog I cared about was killed and I went absolutely to pieces.  It was about the dog....somewhat.  But, it was more about the fact I had squashed down all that agony over mom and once I allowed it oxygen to breathe it roared into a fire I had difficulty dealing with.

I once had to try to explain to someone why they needed to try to realize that while the death of someone was painful to them, they needed to understand their own place inside the pattern.  In this case it was the mother of their friend.  She had treated them incredibly well and they had spent a lot of time around her and they were suffering, and I knew that.  But I explained to them that to allow their feelings to overtake them when there were others closer to the epicenter of the issue would not be very helpful.  That event firstly happened to the woman, then her husband, children, parents and grandparents if they were still living, and siblings,  then extended family members - aunts, uncles, cousins and then friends and acquaintances.  I had to gently remind my own suffering child that while he loved her a lot, he needed to try to stand strong for his friend who had just
lost his mother.  In that moment, he needed to express sympathy and compassion and find a way to help, even though I knew that he absolutely "felt" that pain.  It was not intended to diminish his own feelings but to try to help move him to a place of positive contribution as opposed to rushing into a burning building carrying a can of gasoline.


In the long run, it is my hope that every instance of grief can serve as a catalyst to repairing relationships, healing hurt feelings, and learning to live life a little better day by day.  To come more and more often from a place of kindness and love.  To look more and more to the creator of us all as our ultimate destination on this journey called life which unfortunately is filled with many rest stops called grief.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Moving Mother

It has been a minute since I shared a mom story, but this one popped into my memory today.

After daddy died, Mom spent a while trying to stay in Amarillo, but she just wasn't happy there.  Since I was her only biological child, she wisely decided she should move closer to me.  Plans began to be made as to how to accomplish such a mammoth move.

At that time, my husband worked for a local company here that often had trucks dead heading back to Arkansas and his company generously offered to let us move mom's household stuff in one of those trucks.  We hired about 5 man power guys to pack and load her belongings and we had someone who was also responsible for carting all the stuff to storage that she didn't want to bring right now.

We had already sourced a great apartment in a really nice neighborhood and location so once her things arrived, mom was soon settled in. 

Several months passed and she let us know that she was ready to have the stuff from storage that she had left behind in Amarillo.  It was right around Thanksgiving time so Roger and I both took off work and told her we would go to Amarillo and get the rest of her stuff. 

Mom assured us that it would all fit in Roger's Chevy truck , so off we went.

We got into Amarillo pretty late so we opted to motel it for a night and hit it hard early the next morning.  November in the panhandle of Texas is usually pretty chilly and that year was no exception but we bravely set out the next morning to the storage complex with our truck, ready to load up and head home.

When we arrived at the storage place, I took the key mom had provided and soon learned it.was.NOT.the.right.key.  So now we have quite a conundrum.  Between Roger's pockets, my purse, the key ring mom had given me, the glove box in the truck and the console we had probably seven sets of keys.  We tried each one of them one by one.  Wonder of miraculous wonders, one of the keys on one of Roger's key rings worked!  How?  I have no idea.  God took pity on us.

We were elated.

It was short lived.

When that storage door rolled up, we were met with a solid wall of Rubbermaid tubs, boxes, barrels, and loose household furniture.  In short, we were about a semi-truck short of the needed equipment to get it all home.

So....off we went to U-Haul to rent a trailer....oh, and have a trailer hitch installed because the one on our truck would not work for the trailer we rented.  That all took the better part of a day.  By now, I can see my husband's patience is starting to fray.

We decided to not continue, but to load up the next day and head home.  So, we spent another night in a motel, something we were not  financially well prepared for at that time.
The next morning was freaking freezing and the wind was blowing straight out of the north at about 50 miles an hour.

We loaded as much in the truck as we could and started filling up the trailer.  Each item that went in to that trailer made me doubt that we would find room for everything in the storage unit.  We were quickly running out of space.  So we decided to double stack the truck and tarp it.

We found a Walmart out in the middle of Nowheresville, literally sitting all by itself out there on the prairie in Amarillo.  We bought a tarp, some rope, a pair of scissors and began the task of securing our load for a long drive back to Arkansas.

Trying to wrestle that tarp in gale force freezing winds could easily become an Olympic event.  Roger finally made me get in the truck because we were both freezing and I know he was probably muttering profane statements regarding my mother....me....Texas....that he didn't want me to hear and take issue with.

So, I'm in the cab of the truck with the heater blowing, teeth chattering, watching to see if he signals for help.  As I'm watching, he lays the scissors down on the edge of the truck bed to secure the tarp with rope and the wind lifts the scissors and blows them OVER the truck.

At that moment, Roger opens the truck door, crawls inside and says "f this, we are going home."  This is not his usual preferred expression....so I knew that the patience had flown and I needed to tread carefully or I might too.

And so we started for Arkansas just in time to travel in a freezing rain storm that ended up laying a solid sheet of ice on the highway.

We must have been quite the sight...flapping tarp, piles of useless junk and pulling a U-Haul.  Each attempt to find a place to eat devolved into pulling into places that had no power due to the ice storm, or simply had no food.

I honestly can't remember how long it took us to get home, but it wasn't a quick or pleasant trip.  But, mom was happy to have her stuff and she was wildly unapologetic about our trials and tribulations to make that happen for her.


Saturday, July 1, 2017

And Now a Word About Bullying

Bullying.  Was this a thing back in the day?  I'm pretty sure at some point in our lives, we have all been technically bullied.  Or......we have been on the pitching side of some pretty nasty behavior to others.  I seem to remember people calling me a loud mouth (that hasn't changed), some even called be a word that rhymes with witch (again, still appropriate), and I was often told I was too skinny (would that I had that problem today, too freckled (those faded...or were eaten by wrinkles), and also that I was just down right ugly (that one hurt because I thought I looked like my mom and I thought she was the most gorgeous thing ever).  But, I also remember in elementary school being part of a nasty little set of "mean girls" who mercilessly picked on a girl someone deemed "less than."  I am to this day not sure why I did that because I actually liked the girl and had spent the night with her a time of two and every now and then, her brother was my boyfriend.  But, I did it and it wasn't until a teacher, my favorite teacher who I thought probably went home at night and unfolded her angel wings, pulled me to her side one day and told me how disappointed she was....in me.

It killed me.

In any case...I don't think bullying is new and I don't think it is worse than it's ever been.  And, I know it is an important subject and of great merit as a teaching moment.  And, I also know that for probably at least 5 years now, it has been front and center of a lot of teaching, preaching and in some cases over reaching.

My flakes are frosted over the grown people in this country who are daily whining, crying and having to seek out crayons and play dough because some other grown up "bullied" them.

To my way of thinking the overuse of the "bullying" tactic is basically making it increasingly ineffective in the areas where it should really matter.  Children, the aged, the handicapped, the infirm and the otherwise challenged individuals for whom we should all make a stand.

When a grown man says a female "bullied" him - I cringe.  Maybe I'm not terribly evolved but I mean really dude?  Just how big of a "baby" are you?  I am proud to say that there isn't a single man in my acquaintance who would resort to emasculating himself in this manner.  They would either smile and walk away noting to themselves, that you, dear, are a horrible human being or they would call you out not as a bully but as an awful person, and let the chips fall where they may.  If you were another male, their response would be different and could possibly involve fisticuffs or pistols at 50 paces, but call you a bully?  Nope.  Not even.  They might call you something else, but they would never relinquish that inherent maleness by slapping a "victim of a bully" label on themselves.

When we, as a society, decide to verbally needlepoint trendy buzz words on our feelings pillows, those words lose their meaning and their strength little by little.  Plus, in resorting to always feeling like we are the victims of bullying, we are depriving ourselves of the opportunity to utilize our people skills, our powers of persuasion, our finesse, and our intelligence, heck...in some cases even our attractiveness to the opposite sex.  Yes.  I went there.  But ultimately, we deprive ourselves of the ability to "rise" and show just how tough we are in a crisis.

Can we please save the word "bullying" for the playground
Or for those among us who truly need a strong voice advocating for them against real bullies, real threats, real dangers and real problems.

Merely getting your "feels" hurt or your proverbial panties in a twist just simply isn't enough.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Say What??!

Growing old affords you a lot of things.  You gain some perspective on the importance of issues and lose respect for some other matters that seemed to be a really big deal once upon a time.

Sometimes you lose your hair, sometimes you find you have it suddenly appearing in the most unexpected places.

Often, small tasks like threading a needle, opening a jar, driving after dark or remembering where you left your glasses take on an accelerated degree of importance.

Many years ago, quite a few now that I think about it, I started losing my hearing.  Honestly, most of the time it was kind of enjoyable.  I was able to experience that "selective hearing" that men seem to think they have the market cornered on.

However, the spouse and the kids became increasingly annoyed with my inability to hear them unless they were shouting so I decided to throw them a bone and get something to help.

Hearing aids have come miles and miles since my grandpa's kind.  Now you can wear them and the world truly never knows they are there.  That is a plus.

But, every plus has a minus, or in the case of me and my little helpers, many minuses.

If you get hot and sweaty, they make my ears itch - therefore I often opt out of hearing in those conditions.  Music that is comfortable or only mildly too loud for everyone else can make me feel like I'm being tortured by sound as some form of psychological warfare.

And in a crowd....oh my goodness....if the Tower of Babel sounded anything remotely like the crowd at my recent high school reunion, I'm surprised those people didn't fling themselves from the parapets.

I can hear a little without aids...very little.  And there is no vibrance or vitality in the sound.  It is dull and flat.  My hearing aids bring vitality and color back into sound for me and in small gatherings and one on one they actually make things very enjoyable.

But in large crowds, there is an over abundance of sound.  Everyone talking and laughing all at once and I am hearing all of it.  The couple in the corner, the lady going out of the door, the man telling the funny story.....I'm hearing it.  But not really.  It becomes like wind noise in a speeding car....just sound....lots and lots of sound.

And, something I learned this time was after I leave that crowd, my brain is on sensory overload.  I start working to process what I've heard...or worse....what I might have missed.  Did someone say something to me directly that I didn't hear and now they think I ignored them? (Stuck up snob)   Did I fail to properly express concern or excitement over something I was told? (Rude and uncaring heifer)

The last evening of my reunion, I forgot(?) to wear my hearing aids.  I missed a lot of things the speakers said (I hate that) and I spent a great deal of time trying to make sure I spent a moment of true face to face time with a great many people.

So, if you observed me flitting about like a crazed bumblebee just know that I was absorbing quality sound and words from as many people as I could find that would spend a moment talking to me and making me laugh.  And, remember...that issue isn't going to get one bit better so in 2 years, for the next get together, I may be scheduling private audiences like the Pope.

Say What?????

Thursday, June 8, 2017

As I See It

Let's All Have a Little Whine With Poor James

I'm going to drop my thoughts on this subject here instead of just doing a huge Facebook rant.  This way people can be forewarned and steer away if they feel they may be offended or choose to take issue.  I am fine with disagreements regarding my opinions and I welcome you to leave your thoughts....good or bad.  But, please do it as a comment on this blog post as I have grandchildren who see my Facebook page and I would just as soon they not have to realize as such tender ages that the grandmother gets hate mail.

Today in Washington D C, the taxpayers footed the bill for a gigantic nothing burger that proved a whole lot of people right and even more people wrong.  The whole Russia - Trump - Collusion national tour suddenly got all future engagements cancelled and some people had to eat their nothing burger with a lot of egg on top with a side helping of crow.  While Mr. Comey's testimony today debunked a whole lot of the crap we have been suffering through for months on end....I found myself ridiculously disappointed in him as a human being.

The ex-director of the FBI is a physically imposing man.  He stands head and shoulders taller than almost anyone in the room.  He carries himself with an air of confidence mixed with a little swagger which is certainly understandable...for a long time, he was the baddest badass of them all.

The director of the FBI is by definition a person who can cause grown men to tremble in their shoes, women to weep and cling to their children because such a person can lay waste to your life and salt the earth effectively ruining it for as many future generations as you can hope to have.  That person is the ONE person all politicians fear....all business owners fear them as well because the power they wield is so great the potential for utter ruination of an ordinary life is huge.

This past director, at one time, in a former incarnation relentlessly pursued a "Scooter" as a means to get to a very high official in another administration.  In short, his badassery is legendary.

And yet....today this man portrayed himself as a trembling sorority girl who finds herself enduring a blind date with a newly minted frat pledge who is far less attractive than she is.  Even going so far as to write about it in her diary and send it to a "friend" back home so everyone will know how miserable and put upon she was.  When in fact....all she had to do was say no thank you and walk away.

While I don't think some people served any good purpose in trying to mitigate the circumstance by talking about the inexperience and lack of political acumen of our current President...it is somewhat a known factor.  However, Mr. Comey has risen through the political rank and file like a bullet to the top and he KNOWS.  And he knows he knows.  And the President knows the director knows as well.  As a person who works for the American people he has a moral responsibility to the person those people elected to protect not only his own integrity but that of the man who holds that high office.

"Sir, this is an inappropriate meeting that I am uncomfortable with not only for myself but for you, even though, in the past I have requested private meetings with you...this situation is different and we need to make sure we are both protected by having others in the room with us."  It might have made the President mad but at least we could have all looked at that as a righteous move on the director's part.

Throughout his testimony today, he repeatedly made statements like "it was my impression, and I could be wrong" or "I just got the feeling, and maybe I'm wrong" and worse...."I just wasn't brave enough."  At least he stopped short of declaring himself the victim of sexual assault.

Really.

This is the ex-director of the F B freaking I and he was afraid of a 70 year old man who he knows if that  man crosses him he can rain hell fire down on him and all his descendants in Biblical proportions.

I.Don't.Buy.It.

Not for one single second


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Intention



intention  - noun - in-ten-tion:  A determination to act in a certain way: resolve

I think about this word....a lot.  Oddly enough, it also means, "a process or manner of healing of incised wounds."

Hmmmmmm.....maybe wounds inflicted by careless tongues or thoughtless deeds?

Intentions...those things of which the road to hell is paved with.

Then, there are people who "intend".  They intended to call, they intended to offer help, or solace or maybe a kind word.  They intended to apologize.  The intended a lot of things, but something always kept getting in the way, something always stopped them right on the threshold of intention on the way to action.  And, suddenly.....there were no more chances to act.

I find myself, often, learning of a life shaking event and thinking "oh, I intended to tell her/him just how much I enjoy knowing them, or how much I love having them in my life!"  That lack of action of intention leads to REGRET and regret soon gives way to guilt which results in sadness. 

So, if over the course of the coming years, you find yourself on the receiving end of my action and resolve, don't be surprised.  I am resolved to live my life with intention followed up by action.  I don't make resolutions but I fully am committed to intention driven actions.  And, in the process, I'm going to like myself a little more and stop allowing others' lack of action influence my behavior.  I intend to be happy, I intend to be content, I intend to be kind, I intend to do the best thing I know how to do, and I intend to be me.  And my actions will reflect these intentions because I choose not to perish being afraid to open the door of an action driven existence any longer.





Saturday, May 6, 2017

Apology NOT Accepted

I guess I don't completely understand the whole concept of regret, acceptance, accountability, and apology.  Or....I'm just not good at the last part.

I live with tons of regret and I've come to realize that the more regret I have and the more I allow it to break my heart, there are some people who are perfectly willing to allow me to suffer that regret without any means of attempting to fix it.

I accept a lot of things about myself.  I know I am selfish, I am VERY opinionated and not afraid to let it fly (which causes me no small amount of that word REGRET.)  I am stubborn, willful, and at times down right mean spirited.  Sometimes the realization of those points occurs to me while I am spewing that thing called OPINION.  I am not always a nice person....I'd like to be....I try to be, but I fail more often than not.  On the flip side of the tarnished penny of "ME", is the fact I love too easily and expect that because I love someone - warts and all, they will return that favor.  I also come to a point of forgiveness pretty quickly and once I do I start trying to make amends.

I find it interesting that it takes more than just you to wreck a relationship, but one often finds themselves trying to "fix" what is broken all by themselves.

When you ask for forgiveness for your part in a strained relationship and you are met with a bullet list of all the things you did to cause the rift with no acceptance on the part of the other individual regarding their contributing role, what do you do?  The last thing that I want to do is get caught up in a circular argument when it is apparent that the other person sees nothing wrong in what they have said or done.  Instead, they only want to paint themselves as the victim in the situation which almost leads you to ask "what will it take for you to get over this, feel better about this or move on?"

And when that conversation just stops with no conclusion....then what?

I fully think that if someone apologizes to you....you owe them either the acceptance of that apology or you need to simply say "I don't accept your apology."  To leave someone hanging without knowing if they should continue to try to mend a fence or simply dust off their shoes and move on is pretty dehumanizing.  And....I am also finding that it is almost impossible for someone to just open up enough to "own" their part of a situation.  Is it really that painful to admit that yes, you might have played a role in the disagreement as well?

I guess I am greatly blessed and infinitely lucky that I am a firm believer in the forgiveness of God because I know he sees my heart all the way through the layers of black and grey and finds the small little red beating part and gives me the benefit of the doubt.  Over the course of the past 6 or 7 years, I have inflicted on myself much to atone for and I have genuinely tried to begin that process only to find people who will not accept it, reject it or own any degree of it.

I'm pretty sure my "Apology Tour" has come to a close.  I've owned my behavior, regretted my words and actions, acknowledged the need for healing and attempted to accomplish it.  I've put my balls into the other courts and it remains with the other players to decide if they want to play them or let them lay there.  But, I will continue to be #sorry.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

I'm A'gin It!

Here is my feeling about the whole Stephan Colbert issue, not that anyone cares, but I always like to have my opinions on record.  I enjoy the private hate mail.

First of all, I have a hard time with people who think they are the be all, is all for the whole world and seem to be more impressed with themselves than they are the impact they have on others.  People who star in their own movies rarely exist in a reality I recognize.  Therefore, they simply cease to have any direct impression on me.

The things this questionable self appointed comedian had to say recently weren't funny, weren't helpful, weren't respectful of anyone and created nothing positive at all.  And in fact, he merely served to amp up the hate and negativity a lot of us are striving to put behind us.  But there will always be those who enjoy a fire so much, they can't help but run up and throw their little cans of gasoline on the blaze to make it bigger and burn brighter and they don't care about the after party.....at.all.

I know there is a huge cry for him to be fired and while I don't disagree that there should be some accountability for his actions, I don't believe this is the best course.  I think for conservatives to resort to the tactics we observe from the radicalized left and the snowflakes in the land, is the wrong course of action.

I believe we should hold ourselves to a much higher standard that the examples being played out for us in the media every day..

What Mr. Colbert and his network deserve to have happen is for people like me to simply slip out the door and not watch another thing they put forth.  Advertisers should merely say, "we've decided not to advertise with you in the future" and offer no explanation....just leave and take your money with you.

At some point....someone will review the timeline for falling ratings and diminishing revenue and trace it back to the root of its beginning and at that point they have the opportunity to continue down the path they've set their feet upon, or embark on a new journey.

That would be an interesting thing to follow, as so far it hasn't happened with certain factions of the political arena or the news.  They just don't get it and they keep thinking they can strong arm us into not knowing or feeling what we know and feel.  It isn't going to happen.  We are smarter, better informed, better researchers and far more driven than they give us credit for but instead of listening.....they continue to grind the same grist in the mill.

I say, let Colbert hoist himself on his own petard....let him spin on his own whirlygig and eventually stew in his own juice.  I don't have time for him....he simply doesn't matter enough for me to give him fuel for his own personal little blaze which will eventually become his own roast.

And that's the way I sees it!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Oh No They Didn't



It has taken me a while to write about this.  Mainly because I wanted to make sure that the person involved had truly moved on and was no longer bothered by it.

My husband, a veteran and disabled with two knee replacements, has struggled with the fact that he feels he no longer has a purpose in life....spelled J O B.  I think a lot of us don't realize just how much self worth is attributed by being gainfully employed - particularly to men.  It is really difficult when that desire to remain productive has a qualifier of "things you really shouldn't do with two metal knees."  Few people truly understand that doesn't inhibit your interest in doing something and yet even more people will ask that person to do the very things they shouldn't.  First rule of artificial knees - don't kneel and for God's sake don't spend a lot of time ascending and descending ladders.  Now when construction was your "go to" skill when the world went crazy and you lost your "using your thinker" job, that makes for a frustrated man.

Because of my hearing trouble, I enlisted the help of the Arkansas Rehabilitation Department who were very helpful in burning the underbrush of job search and helping me find something possible.  Therefore, when Roger truly decided he wanted to a) do something other than build crap for me and b) make a little money doing it, we went to ARD again.
Recently, they hooked Roger up with an online training program that would teach you in a 3 week 8 hour a day on line class how to provide customer service.  (Think of those people you get when your garage door opener won't work - or you can't find the battery compartment in your whoozits).  Well, this seemed good....work from home, kind of technical....Yay!  Plus, they were very veteran friendly.

BUT NOT!

Based on this program, we invested in a new laptop with Windows 10 - (trust me, if you aren't familiar with this operating system, you better get on board NOW), we invested in a second monitor, a microphone headset and had already called our internet provider to have our internet speed bumped up with ethernet because we were deemed "inadequate."

Class began, and a whole lot of time was spent with the trainer not being able to access their own teaching modules, trying to figure things out, etc.  And yet....Roger persisted staying sat in a chair for hours on end, waiting for them to get their stuff back on line after crashing, etc.  Then, two and half days into training as he was trying to move into a new module, his credentials quit working.  He tried repeatedly to log in and got nowhere until he received a message telling him someone would be calling him shortly.

He waited two hours and finally they called and told him his computer skills weren't adequate for what they required.  Please know that in all the preliminary talks regarding this "job" they did not mention you had to be proficient in Windows 10 or what your internet speed needed to be.  Just internet connectivity and basic computer skills were required.

So, in essence, after spending a bunch of money and 2 1/2 days of his time he was "fired" from a training program.  That helps a person's ego now doesn't it?

Roger is one of those people who just goes silent and deep with things like this.  However, I am one of those people who goes nuclear and loud.  The first thing I did was call the ARD and tell them what happened as they provide those online training programs with a lot of their people which translates into a lot of $ for those companies.  I rattled every cage in every zoo I could find.

Now, the training program wants to have him back in the program, but we think no.  It's kind of like being newly married and coming home the day after the honeymoon, to find your spouse has run off with the mailman - the trust is broken, plus we don't think we can afford them.
I am absolutely happy with the knowledge that the ARD probably has made their ears bleed with their disapproval over how this was handled and that they are also further armed with a lot of information they did not have prior to this event.

Hopefully, there are still people out there who look at people who are "mostly retired" but still productive, honest, dependable, smart, and willing that will say to themselves "hey, I don't need a full time body....but I could use a guy like that 10 or 15 hours a week."  And hopefully, there are even more people out there willing to go to bat for those men and women who still want to say "I work to pay my bills and take care of my family" - even if that family is only a bunch of little brown dogs.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Cherry Picking

There have been many instances lately of “cherry picking” in an attempt to spin a narrative in one direction or another. To use an image to lend credence to a particular argument either for or against a situation, event, or person. To my way of thinking, we, as thinking humans must be vigilant in our efforts not to be victims of “cherry pickers.”

I guess the first time I was aware of “cherry picking” outside of the agricultural aspect was when I found the desire of some to “cherry pick” the Bible to either pound me over the head with one phrase plucked out of the millions between the cover of that holy book or use one to legitimize someone’s own behavior. It taught me to take a phrase, read it in context, and then cross reference it with other phrases that might be related to it and then determine for myself how I felt about it.

I’ve now been on this earth 67 years and in my time, I’ve been some places and I’ve done some things. I have a pretty vast array of knowledge and little of it has been experienced in an educational forum. Most of my knowledge has come from living, working, and doing ordinary life and quite often I find I actually DO know a thing or two about a thing or two.

When the Apostle Paul wrote his letters to the various churches, he had much to say about how they should conduct themselves and how they should structure worship. My whole life I had a BIG problem with the “let your women keep silent in churches…” statement. Then I took about 5 years of Disciple classes and found that phrase had been much “cherry picked” to enforce a doctrine of some more recently developed religions. If you read Paul’s letters you find that he wrote letters to those churches in much the way I would write letters to my children. I would frame my words and instructions to them based on 1) my relationship with them as individuals and 2) what I viewed their individual problems to be. In other words, I wouldn’t tell a child that had 2 jobs and carried a full load of college courses that they needed to stop being unmotivated and get busy. As I understand it, the women Paul referred to were recent converts to Christianity and therefore quite excited and enthusiastic. They were previously pagan and therefore had not yet been “civilized.” They were disrupting the proceedings, making it impossible for anyone to receive the blessings of being taught.

And, now we are in the instant gratification real time world where we know what is happening every single second every where in the world. Television, radio, iPads…pods, cell phones and computer streaming afford us the opportunity to see and hear for ourselves what is transpiring around us. Therefore, we have to be even more careful about not falling prey to a random, “cherry picked” quote, phrase, or image.

When there are 50 photographers rapid firing cameras the chance of them recording an awkward, uncomfortable or unfortunate image is enormous. People are human beings and you can’t be human and not have an off moment. Try it sometime. Let someone sit in your home with you and just document every second and see what the images say about YOU. And then imagine if that person documenting your day liked you….or worse….didn’t like you. And they needed to enforce their feelings about you using images to lend a reality to the words they were going to write. If they didn’t like you, they would write their piece and use the most unflattering image at their disposal.

We see this every day and this is the reason I try to see, hear and watch as much as I can about the events of the day for myself. I like to draw my own conclusions and here they are.

1) Interchanges between husbands and wives are not always touchy feelie. Sometimes, they hold hands, sometimes they walk side by side without touching, sometimes they greet each other with a show of affection and sometimes they barely interact at all. You can’t read their relationship from any single event.

2) Meetings between world leaders have many tense moments, they also have moments of levity as well as respectful dignity. When there is a language barrier, the awkward factor is going to amp up quite a lot due to the lag time in translation being delivered and heard. Don’t speculate on what you think is being disrespectful until you know personally what it is like to have to listen to someone speak a language you don’t understand and wait for that to be translated and delivered to your ear and then processed by your brain.

3) People thrust into new situations are often very uncomfortable until they get their legs under them enough to understand the ins and outs of where they find themselves. Picture yourself in a new job….how comfortable were you on your first day as opposed to a year down the road. I am a pretty good “secretary” but just having a grasp of what that term defines does not mean that I don’t spend more than a few days feeling overwhelmed in a new job, a new building, around new people, and trying to fit into a new protocol that is inherent to that business and the work environment they have put in place. Being a secretary for the governor of a state would be much different than being the secretary of the pastor of a church.

4) Maybe we all need to be less concerned with the actions, body language, and images being tossed around ad nauseam and take a few beats to judge. Watch what they show you, but watch it in connection to the event as a whole and maybe go out there in the vast super highway of internet exposure and look for some things that don’t support that viewpoint and weigh them for yourself.
Unfortunately, most of us just stick to the team of “cherry pickers” we agree with and we discount the “cherry pickers” in the other field. Maybe we need to remember that all the cherries need to be harvested and it takes all the pickers to get it done.

Monday, January 30, 2017

As I See It



This has been pricking the back of my brain for quite a while now.  It has taken me a minute to work out how to reconcile my conflicting feelings on this issue.
In the wake of a tempest tossed sea of campaigning, elections, outrage, elation,  emotional breakdowns, snowflake meltdowns, celebrity cuckoo birds, and downright insanity - I've often found myself off balance.  Wondering.....how do I feel about this, or that, or this again.
But lately, with all the back and forth regarding immigrants I've had to seriously concentrate on trying to get a handle on my own personal position.

Yes, we are a nation of immigrants, a huge melting pot of humanity who fled their countries of origin for a whole host of reasons.  But, one of those reasons was NOT  to pretend to  assimilate into life here with the express purpose of bringing down the country we came to for comfort.  We maintained our individual heritages and yet managed to come together under a single identity - that of Americans.
And let us remember, it was a different time...there were no airplanes, no automatic weapons, no cell phones, or pressure cookers to be blown up.  If you had a problem with someone, and let's face it, we did - you took up the weapon of the day and fought it out.  Someone always won, someone always lost.  Sometimes we were better for the struggle, sometimes not, but when the bag was shaken up and spilled out again, we all spilled out as Americans and sometimes we had things happen to us that polarized us in that identity, horrible tragedies that broke our hearts, but not our backbones.

In our beginning days of nation building, there were ideological differences which often led to  dastardly cowardly acts of sedition or assassination for which many were summarily hung, even women.  We had no problem taking care of our own knitting.

So, this was a long trip to get to my point....and there are several.
     Immigrants - yes, we are.  Except for indigenous American Indians, we all came here from somewhere else.  But, we came escaping a myriad of problems, ideological differences, civil war, famine, and oppression to find something better.  We didn't come here to reconstruct America into that which we had fled from.  And, by and large we did not come here to kill the other people we found here.  Yes, yes, I know we have a bad history with the Indians and that is regrettable at best, they were doing the only thing they knew how to do which was wage war on encroachers and we responded in kind and what we allowed to happen to them was horrific and to me is one of the greatest embarrassments our nation has to bear.
     The Statue of Liberty - lately there has been much said about the message on the statue of Liberty as our government's duty toward the world.  While the message is lofty, soaring and full of hope and promise it was a gift to the United States from France.  Gifted to a nation of immigrants who had successfully assimilated themselves into a great nation.  This message was not part of our Constitution.  Our government has an explicit duty to protect and defend our citizens from all enemies both foreign and domestic.  I have absolutely NO issue with anyone who desires to live here and share in the beauty of our country, but they have to become our countrymen.  They cannot come here with the desire burning in their hearts and minds that we are a part of some holy war they are weaponized against.
     The President - like them or hate them, no matter who sits in the chair in the oval office IS the President of everyone who calls themselves an American.  If you cannot respect the office of President as a citizen then you should move elsewhere.  Does this mean I believe you should rubber stamp their behavior?  Absolutely not, we should hold our leaders accountable.  ALL.OF.THEM.    And to purposely introduce incendiary language into our country where the President is concerned should be actionable.  Do you have any idea the amount of chaos and danger we would all be in if someone assassinated our President?  Some of us remember the assassination of Kennedy which ushered in LBJ who was unapologetic in his grand scheme to re-enslave the black voters by making them dependent on the government which would in turn bring about the control of the Democratic party for the next century.  Don't take my word for it.....look it up for yourself.   Our current Democratic party is not the party of our great grandparents.  And those people who pretend to be Republicans (RHINOs) are the lowest form of a political entity I can imagine.  Republicans In Name Only accomplish nothing for the party they supposedly represent and are in fact little more than the sneaky little pea shooters for the opposition.
     Walls/Fences - We, as a thinking people, know that borders, walls, fences, enclosures, or whatever type of non-encroachment word you like to use.......are freaking necessary.  If they weren't we would all be living in tents with no possessions.  We fence in our school children.  Why?  To protect them, both from them wandering off or someone else wandering in.  We fence in our criminals.  Why?  To protect the citizenry from further acts of the violence they've proven themselves capable of.  We fence in our livestock.  Why?  Because they are an asset and mostly not bright and they can't be trusted to remain where they should.  We fence our yards.  Why?  To protect our pets, our children, and our assets.  The borders of a country....any country....should be such that we can be watchful of the influx of people who do not wish us well. 
     Love everybody - well this is a great and lofty thought founded in Christianity which seems to now be used as both an uplifting message and a means of punishment as well.  Don't speak to me of "we are better than this" when some of us are worried about RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISTS  (yes, I said the words) are pouring into our country when we ignore the thousands of our own children in foster care, refusing to even do something as simple as help to support those over burdened foster parents with meals, or diapers, or anything else.  And God forbid we shake up our easy little home life by fostering or adopting!  I truly believe there are people in this country who would take in a Syrian refugee before they would open their home to a hurting child.  I am as compassionate a person as you could hope to find, but I believe in fixing "US" before we presume to fix anyone else.  Let us place as high a value on our elderly, our babies, our veterans, our people with disabilities, and our students as we say we value everyone else.  Each person who comes into this country who does not assimilate by becoming a citizen, learning the language, and becoming gainfully employed is a dead drain on the battery of life for every other person here.  Our infrastructure simply cannot withstand any more people who simply want to move to  American but not contribute to the American way of life.  And those people are a potential threat to us all.  And the hypocrisy of Liberal Christians who have fallen silent about the thousands of Christians being slaughtered overseas is mind boggling.
And, there are millions of fine vocal Americans who believe that they have the right to sit on their widening backsides and allow someone else to take care of them.  Many of them have had difficulty finding jobs and have given up....but they should be the first of us standing and applauding the effort to create more jobs in America rather than complaining about how we are alienating other nations.  Haven't you figured it out yet?  Other nations, with the exception of a few (Israel comes to mind) don't give a flying fig about America and are waiting for us to fall so they can pick clean the bones of what was once a mighty nation.