Tuesday, December 1, 2015

When did we stop growing up?

As I read through the news headlines I can't help but be amazed at how many of them talk about college students being 'victimized' 'traumatized' 'offended' or 'terrorized' by something someone said or did or thought.

Someone is victimized because a church sermon made them feel bad. Students are angry because a professor refuses to cancel an exam so he's forced to resign because black students might feel unsafe attending class. Someone else says remembering important events in our nation's history should be cancelled because someone might be offended. Or people demanding 'safe places' where they can go when they've been 'Triggered'.

These are young adults, mind you. People in their late teens and early to mid 20's who are crying about this or that as if they were 4 year olds who got their feelings hurt by a school yard bully! These are people who are done being children- chronologically- and are supposed to be preparing for life in the real know, the real world where no one cares about your feelings. Where employers will yell at you if you don't do a good job or fire you if you fail to meet expectations. Where someone in a grocery store parking lot won't think anything of poking fun at your oversized rump when they see a package of cookies in your cart. And, sadly, there are still people in this world who take issue with others of a different skin color or nationality...and won't hesitate to let you know it.

Life is hard! Pre-school generally ends at around age 5 and after that you stop behaving as if you were a pre-schooler. It seems like everyone wants to be offended or victimized about something and they'll do anything to go about finding that something.

I'll tell you what...there are things in this life that are much more important than being 'offended' by something that someone said that wasn't really offensive at all. How about being offended by the national debt. That offends me greatly. How about being offended by our elected officials thinking we're too stupid to make our own choices so they have to do it for us.

Or someone who feels 'victimized' by a movie they were made to watch in history class or a book they were made to read in English. How about instead you think about people who are really being victimized? Women and children who are sold into sex slavery. Babies being slaughtered by the thousands every single day because they're seen as inconvenient by a parent who- generally speaking- had sex without being responsible. How about our Veterans who come home and seek medical care from the VA only to be turned away again and again and put on secret waiting lists until they finally die from whatever was ailing them simply because our government doesn't care enough about them to do what's right.

This generation that is now in college who are fussing and making demands because something made them sad or didn't suit their way of thinking, are the same kids that got a trophy just for showing up. The same kids whose parents valued self esteem over self control. The same kids who never got spanked and whose parents were their friends instead of their parents. (again I'm generalizing). These are the same people who are posting selfies constantly online because they are the only ones they think of.

It's time to grow up, America. It's time to remember personal accountability and personal responsibility. It's time to remember that you and I are not the most important people in the world...that there are others who have a harder time and need some help, that there are others who could use some of the attention you're giving yourself. The universe does not revolve around you or me or any one individual on this planet. You are no more important than the next person. You are no more valuable than anyone else. GROW UP!! Think about someone else for a change. Get out of your own head and heart and focus on something outside your box.

If anything I said in this blog post offended anyone and sent them to their safe place...I'm not sorry. I don't regret it and I won't take it back. :) Thank you and have a great day!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Red Christmas cup....

I'm sure you've all heard about the Starbucks holiday cup by now and if you haven't then you're among the lucky ones.

I got to thinking today about all the uproar about this situation and decided I should write my thoughts down and if I can help some angry Christian see things a little different that will be good...and if not...well, I've given you a few minutes to pretend to be working while you're not ;)

So here goes:

If I go to Starbucks it's for a tasty cup of coffee. It's not for a Bible story or a sermon. My faith is not so shallow and/or insecure that it resides in a disposable paper coffee cup. My faith is in my Creator, God, and my Savior, Jesus Christ. I don't need a fancy paper cup to tell me how strong my faith is or to help me celebrate Christmas. The cup isn't even powerful enough to tell me how strong my coffee is.

The designs on the previous cups at Starbucks have been snowmen, snowflakes, holiday ornaments, etc. Not one of those designs, in any way, represented my Jesus and/or the true reason behind the celebration of Christmas.

My daughter works at Starbucks and in the location where she works, they have gift cards that say "MERRY CHRISTMAS" on them. They have Christmas decorations put up. And did you know that Starbucks also has a Christmas blend coffee. Yep, I'm drinking some right now. Says Christmas Blend right across the front of the bag. It doesn't say Xmas or Holiday says CHRISTMAS!

So, am I going to get angry and up in arms  about a red paper cup? No. In my opinion there are much more important things to get angry and up in arms about. How about Christians being denied the right to live their faith in their personally owned businesses? How about Christians being beheaded by ISIS militants? How about hungry children right here in America? How about our  government spending billions of dollars to house and feed Muslim refugees while our own veterans lay cold and homeless in the streets, digging through dumpsters to eat? How about being lied to by the people who are supposed to represent us?

You see, there are things in this life, in this world that beg you to be angry and do something about them, do something to help, to make a difference....a red paper cup is not one of them.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Who are your neighbors?

I know I've touched on this before in previous posts but I've been thinking about this a lot lately, ever since I watched the movie 'Do You Believe?'.

Who are your neighbors? Do you know your neighbors? Do you love your neighbors?

Most of us, when asked those questions will instantly think about the people who live next door. But long ago the term 'Next Door Neighbor' came into being because people understood that it wasn't only the people who lived near you that were your neighbors...but the people who live near are more specifically your neighbors next door.

Neighbors are, in fact, anyone you come in contact with at any given time, or as one dictionary put it, Your fellow man. Anyone and everyone is your neighbor.

Jesus said in Matthew 22:39 "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself."

Notice, in that whole verse there is no specifics given as to what a neighbor is. Jesus does not say, "Love your neighbors who think like you." or "Love your neighbors who have the same skin color." or "Love your neighbor who isn't gay." 

Jesus says to Love your neighbor as you love yourself...period. End of sentence. And neighbor meaning your fellow man means every man. Even those you can't stand. Even those who believe completely different than you. Even those who are gay, or black, or white, or Hispanic, or Asian. Even the ones who are Hindus, or Muslims, or Atheists. 

Love your neighbor...period!

How do you love yourself? You do whatever is in your power to make sure you have a roof over your head, food on your table, clothes on your body, and shoes on your feet. You do all you can to make sure you have electricity, a running car, and a job. And you probably try really hard to make sure you have some of the little extras...a cell phone, a TV, Cable, Internet access...etc.

You love yourself by making sure you're provided for. 

So if you see a neighbor- Mr. or Mrs. Other Person besides you- without shoes in the winter, without food, without a have been commanded to love that person as you love yourself. 

You say, "But I'm broke." or "It's the end of the month and I'm really tapped out." Or "I don't have time." 

Do you think Jesus WANTED to die an agonizing death on the cross for you? Don't you think He could have probably found much less horrible things to be doing at that particular time? But no, He didn't make excuses. He loved you- His neighbor- enough to put His own desires, His own life, aside and do what was best for you...can we do any less for our neighbors in need? 

Take some time each day to love a neighbor. Buy a police officer a coffee and offer a smile. Offer an elderly or disabled person a hand unloading their grocery cart into their car. Tell a frustrated mom with screaming kids that it's going to be okay and offer a sympathetic hug or word of encouragement. Loving your neighbor doesn't have to cost a lot or even anything. And if it costs something...God will provide. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

I'm so sad :(

The state of our nation- the attitudes of the people, the fighting, the hate- is so sad. It seems like every single day I see news reports of someone being offended by something and suing someone else. Someone wore something or said something or ate something or believed something and it upset or offended someone else and because someone was offended it became national news and everyone gets up in arms about it. Everyone takes a side so the nation is divided against itself and because of this, it will fall.

We will fall.

A nation divided against itself cannot stand. Abraham Lincoln said that and he was right.

So let's break it down here:

You don't like the color of someone's skin?
My solution: Grow up! It's just skin and the color of one's skin does not make that person good or bad.

You don't like someone's religious ideas?
My solution: You don't have to attend church/temple/etc with them. You can listen respectfully while they share, then you can share while they listen respectfully. You don't have to agree but you also don't have to be hateful or enemies just because you don't agree.

You don't agree with someone's political ideals?
My solution: So what, move on. Disagreeing with someone doesn't mean you hate them (contrary to popular belief) and it also doesn't mean you can't be friends. What a bunch of robot clones we'd all be if everyone looked the same and thought the same and believed the same. Talk about your differences and, who knows, you both might learn something valuable.

Someone said/did/ate/wore something that offended you?
My solution: Get over it. We're all different and no one is going to get through life never having been offended by someone or something. Just because it's not something you would say/do/eat/wear does not mean that the other person was wrong because they said/did/ate/wore what they did. I understand you don't eat bacon for religious reasons, fine, don't eat it...but don't try to stop others from eating it just because you don't. See what I'm saying?

Our world is full of diversity and beauty in all colors, shapes, sizes, ideologies, religions, IQ's and so much more. It was made that way by our Creator for a reason- so we could share and exchange ideas, learn and grow. Our different skin colors make this world beautiful and we've made it a source of contention that's turned into hate.

Let go of your hate. Let go of your contentious feelings about people who are or think different than you. Life is too short to hold onto so much negativity and bitterness so why keep doing it. Why not spread love and receive love instead of hate?

It's up to us, individually, to be the change we want to see in our world. We have to start the ball rolling because it's not going to roll by itself.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Our World is slipping away...

Never before in my life have I witnessed so much hate. So much anger. So much divisiveness. Never before have I felt so helpless and hopeless about the state of our nation. About the heart and soul of this country that used to be so great. 

I was born after the Civil Rights era. I am a child of the 70's and 80's. And while the town I grew up in didn't have many black people living in it during those years, there were a few and they were treated with kindness and respect by the general population. The black kids who attended my schools- I remember them fondly- were treated like any other kid and they were popular and high achieving and sweet. 

I never imagined that I would see a time when 'Race' relations would be dragged so far backward as they have been recently. I put the '' around race because in my eyes we're all of the same race- the human one. Why on earth- especially in this day and age- anyone would even care what color someone else's skin is, I have no idea. Why is this once again an issue? Why are people tearing up cities, burning businesses, attacking police officers, and throwing around the race card? Why? Why are 40% of our nations prisoners black when only 13% of our nations entire population is black? Is this because black people are being targeted by the police and arrested more often than white people? Or is it because black people are breaking the law more often and so get arrested more often? One group of people will see it one way, another group will see it another despite what the actual facts are. 

What it comes down to is respect. Kindness. And most of all, as Jesus said, Love. It comes down to love. Are we loving our fellow man, no matter what  color he/she is? Are we respecting them? Are we helping them we're they're down? Are we teaching them about the love of God? It shouldn't matter what color they are. It shouldn't matter what color we are. God created each and every single one of us with a purpose. He created us to love our neighbors. He created us to serve Him and in doing so, lead others to Him. 

Are we doing that? Or are we too busy comparing skin colors? Are we too busy turning our backs on those who need us the most because they look different or act different or came from somewhere different? 

Mark 12:31 Jesus himself said, "The second is this, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' There is no other commandment greater than these." 

Love God first and everyone else second. Your neighbor is not just the person who lives next door. Your neighbor is anyone you come in contact with. Anyone in your neighborhood, your community, your town. And when you travel, those around you are your neighbors! Love everyone as you love yourself! 

I'm not just talking to white people here. I'm talking to black people too and Hispanic people, Middle Eastern people, Asian people...ALL PEOPLE!

If we could all just practice loving those around us, this world would be so much better for everyone- yourself included.  

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Don't sell your vote!

Hello my loyal and faithful readers. I'm so glad you're here because I have a challenge for you, a task of utmost importance.

We're entering another election cycle, hard to believe but it's true. Those running are already campaigning in mighty ways, traveling around the nation and shouting their agendas from the roof tops (so to speak). And it's only going to get more intense until the actual elections take place. In my own state of Kentucky we're electing a new governor this cycle. Several people are running so we'll have our primaries in May. Presidential elections won't take place until November next year but already we have many hats in the ring. So here's my challenge to you:

If you're not already, please educate yourself. Research, study, and get informed about the people who are running. What do they believe? What are their political ideas and ideals? What does their track record look like? What have they done for this nation that has helped or hurt the people? What are their accomplishments and/or failures? Does this person's values match your own? Whittle it down until you find a candidate that you can be proud to vote for.

Please, please, please do not vote for someone just because you like their gender, skin color, or hair style! Don't vote for someone because you think they're cute! Do not vote for someone because they claim they can save you $2500/year on your health insurance, because chances are high that they're lying to you!

Don't believe campaign promises, look at what they've already done that impresses or concerns you. Our nation is in a bad place right now because people are not truly informed before they vote and it's hurting everyone.

Next, after you've educated yourself, help someone else get educated too. Don't let the people you love vote uninformed. Point them in the right direction to find the information they need to find a candidate that they can feel good about giving their vote to.

You see, our vote is priceless. It's value, when used properly, is worth more than gold. To the right person, you give your vote with careful thought and consideration, knowing that it's going to achieve good things for you and your country. However, if you sell your vote for skin color, gender, or 'hand outs' then your vote  becomes worthless and cheap. Please, let your vote count for something valuable. Don't sell your vote.

Pass it on! Vote informed!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Two Empty Chairs

At the high school that my children have all attended there's a beautiful tradition they practice on graduation night. If a child in that graduating class passes away before graduation, on the chair where that child would have sat is placed a graduation cap and gown, along with a red rose, to remember and honor the ones we've lost.

I've been to many high school graduations at different schools and have never seen this bitter sweet tradition practiced at any school but this one. And I'm sad to say that as of today, my youngest child's graduation next year will have two empty chairs. Two young men within 2 months, have been taken too soon. Two families grief stricken. Many young people who were friends, hearts broken. A community shaken.

Two empty chairs.

I didn't know these young men but my children all did. My youngest has attended school with them since sixth grade. My best friend's son was close friends with both boys...and he is devastated.

Burying children seems so wrong to me. It seems to go against the natural order of how things should be. But I suppose that the natural order hasn't existed since Adam and Eve first sinned. Our world is rocked daily, sometimes hourly, with events that go against God's natural order.

Because Satan rules this world right now so the natural order has been suspended. Children die before their parents, evil seems to reign supreme, disasters of all kinds strike our planet with brutal intensity. Good has become a novelty to be reported on because it's so rare.

So I'm here, reporting something good that will come out of something tragic and heartbreaking. A community will rally together once more in the space of just a few weeks, to uplift and support a grief stricken family. We'll grieve together for another young life lost. We'll pray for peace and comfort for this precious family who has lost one of their young ones. We'll unite in the face of tragedy and create something beautiful in the aftermath...again. Because that's what we do here in Ballard  County, Kentucky.

Two empty chairs to remember and celebrate the lives that were. Two empty chairs to let the families know we've not forgotten their children. Two empty chairs to remind us how very precious life is every single day.