Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Cosmic FacePalm

If you aren’t a Christian, you can still read this, but it will make very little sense to you. I mean, the words will, obviously, but the concepts presented won’t. Fair warning.

Ah, Marijuana. Mary Jane. Reefer. Pot. No matter what you call it, it is the fantastic substance that has inexplicably managed to find it’s way onto the DEA’s S**t list.

For the record, I think we need to legalize marijuana, if for no other reason than to get the potheads to shut the eff up. That aside, it’s an amazing rotation crop, a phenomenal building material, and an incredibly strong fiber. It is a potential miracle crop; it’s sustainable, fast-growing, and has myriad purposes other than recreational. As far as its recreational use goes, it is by far one of the least dangerous drugs on the market, including tobacco and alcohol. No one ever went into a marijuana-induced rage and tried to kill someone. It hasn’t been conclusively linked to lung cancer, though not for lack of trying on the part of the DEA. Furthermore, as much as the D.A.R.E. programs of the world try to label it as an addictive hallucinogenic, it isn’t. Pot isn’t addictive, for one thing. You may really enjoy smoking it, but nobody ever sat in a room with the shakes because they were withdrawing from pot. It’s also not a hallucinogen, and don’t let anybody tell you it is. Enough of it might alter your perceptions a bit, and if it’s got something weird in it that isn’t pot, you might hallucinate, but strait cannabis? I think not. Doctors in California are prescribing this stuff for headaches. If our medical professionals think it safe enough to give for such frivolous reasons, I think we may be go for legalization.

So now you know where I stand on legalization. You’ll notice, however, that I don’t smoke pot. Ever. For any reason. I have no problem with the drug itself, but, though I enjoy it, I don’t choose to partake. Why, you may ask? For the simple fact that it is illegal.

My belief system, or Christianity, as some would refer to it, includes the mandate from Christ to obey the laws of the land, insomuch as they do not cause you to go against God’s laws. In other words, don’t steal, but if your leader makes it a law to kill Jews, don’t do that either. I don't smoke marijuana, not because I think it's wrong, but because my government has decided to make it illegal.

I had a discussion with a Christian pot-smoker though, in which they justified to me why they still allow themselves to smoke, even though they know the whole “law-of-the-land” rule. The first excuse they hit me with was “Jesus also said not to get tattoos” I sighed and answered, “Jesus didn’t say that. That’s in the Old Testament and it’s a Judaic law. It doesn’t apply to you and me because we aren’t Jewish. Like Kosher.”* He paused for a moment, then said “But our government thinks it’s alright to bomb civilians” For the record, they don’t, but I let it pass and said “If you feel that joining the military would cause you to sin, then by all means, don’t. The mandate was to follow all the laws that do not cause you to sin. God’s law comes first.” After that, he just said “I’m just stating my opinion, and I’ve never been convicted* by the Holy Spirit to stop smoking pot” Our conversation ended there, but I couldn’t help but think that the Holy Spirit shouldn’t need to convict us when something is spelled out for us in God’s word.

This post isn’t really about Marijuana. That’s just the conversation that got me thinking. It made me realize how often I have heard the excuse, “God hasn’t convicted me”. Yea, but, if it’s in the Bible, should he have to? If Christ specifically said, and he did, “Don’t allow yourself to become angry to the point of hatred”*, it’s a sin whether you are specifically convicted of it or not. I’ve heard this logic applied to lying, broken promises, disobedience to parents, ect ect ect, and it doesn’t hold water then, either. You don’t get to sin and then wait, as a naughty child, for daddy to come slap your hand, and then assume, if he doesn’t, that you must be special and the rule doesn’t apply to you. Christ’s teachings apply to everyone who chooses to follow them, and to pick and choose which commands are convenient to you is the very definition of a lukewarm* faith. Don’t get me wrong, I sin too, and often. Much more often than I would care to admit, but here it is. I admit it. Every day, multiple times. I am a bonafide, tried and true sinner. I’m prideful, spiteful, manipulative, and a terrible gossip. The point here is that it would still be wrong of me to beat my husband with a 2X4, even if I didn’t feel convicted afterward. I have a feeling that sometimes God just says “Convict you? But I already convicted you! I gave you the rules, right here in the book! They aren’t even hard rules!*” And then he does a cosmic facepalm and has to sit down for a moment because we humans are just so dumb sometimes.

*For those of you who don’t know, There are three kinds of laws in the Old Testament. There’s the Judaic laws, which deal with cleanliness and Kosher. If you aren’t a Jew, those don’t apply. Then there are Civic laws, which deal with crime and punishment. Unless you’re a Hebrew, those don’t apply either. Then there are moral laws, like the Ten Commandments, the laws against Bestiality, that kind of thing. Those were typically repeated in the New Testament and apply to everyone. We don’t pick and choose these. The wording in the Hebrew and Aramaic is different and helps us differentiate.

* For those non-christians who are reading this and are confused about the use of the term “conviction”, it’s sort of, but not really, the same as a court conviction. Basically it means to feel guilty for what you’ve done, but we believe that the guilt comes from God rather than ourselves.

* This is what I call Rai-phrasing. The passage is in Matthew 5:21-26

* Revelation 3:15-16

* They aren’t really. Don’t steal, don’t kill people, be honest. Basically just stuff most of us know to do anyway.

New Years

Today is the last day, not only of this year, but of a decade. 10 years ago, I was 12 years old, halfway through seventh grade, and, if memory serves, having a party that would result in us finding confetti scattered throughout our home well into my high school years. I thought it was great. My mother never let me have another New Years Party.

Resolutions inevitably come with the new year. January 1st gives us a starting point for everything we want to make better about ourselves. I'm not making any resolutions except "Have more Sex." I think we can all just agree to that one, because really, who doesn't want more sex? Except you single people. You all can just keep it in your pants.
Instead of resolutions, I have the 101 in 1001 plan. You can read all about it here. You won't get updates often, as I am bad at lists and even worse at updating blogs, but it should give you a general idea of my goals. They aren't lofty or anything, and I would add "Be Less Judgey", but I feel like the Judgey thing works for me.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Jesus Hates Trees (and Penguins.)

The movie Avatar came out last weekend, and, like they do with everything that doesn't have a Judeo-Christian theme, the militant Christians are calling foul.

Quick facts about Avatar, in case you live in a cave:

- There is a very strong Environmental theme. The main race is very in-tune and respectful of nature, and their (female) deity manifests herself through a tree. She is not actually a tree, but uses is to communicate to her people (like a burning bush, some would say).

- I would use this bullet to give another quick fact, but basically, that first one is where people are taking issue. It's the same thing that happened with Happy Feet. Apparently Jesus doesn't love Penguins either.

The point here is not (thankfully) the Christian relationship with the media. That's a topic for a whole other blog. My point this time is the stance so many Christians seem to take against Environmentalism. I have, over the last week, seen several facebook posts decrying Environmentalism as a dangerous, terrible idea, full of hypocrisy and dangerous philosophies.

The way I see it though, that doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Granted, Nature WORSHIP is certainly not what God had in mind, but switching to canvas bags?

According to the Genesis account, God created the Heavens and the Earth, and truly, did a stunning job. The natural world is a testament and a witness to the Great Artist. Go to to the Mountains sometime. Or the Desert. Or anywhere. Just go and marvel at what his hands have made. Phenomenal, truly. After creating all that beauty, we come to find out that it's a gift! It's possibly the second greatest present ever given to anyone, ever, and it is given to the next creation: Man. God made the man, breathed air into him, gave him a name, and put him in the Garden of Eden. Why did he put him there? According to Genesis 2:15, to work it and take care of it. The Amplified Bible says "to tend and guard". The point is that God's purpose was clear. The Earth was a gift, but it was up to Adam, and, consequently, Adam's children, to care for it.

Shouldn't we, then, as Christians, be the most environmentally concious? Not in spite of our greater goal, which is the expansion of the Word, but if we truly believe that this earth was a gift, should we not be the first in line for environmentally friendly options, or are we so confident that God does not see how we squander his gifts? That's what it is, in case you have forgotten. It was the first gift, even before the gift of a mate. It has fallen into disrepair at our hands, and yet militant christianity sees no need to repair the damage mankind has done, and even seeks to destroy a movement that has the possibility to restore a fraction of this world's beauty. When God gives, he gives with the understanding that we will be good stewards of what he has provided.

Granted, if the focus of a life is entirely environmental, it could indeed pave the way for nature worship (I guess). But instead of seeing the environmental movement as a threat to the Message and warning against it, could we not use it? Could it not serve as a reminder to God's greatness and a tool for ministry? Are we that unimaginative that we can think of no way to both honor the great commision and be good stewards of what God has given? Come on now.

God gave us this earth, and he gave only one. I believe he will call us home before it falls to shreds, but that isn't the point. We care for it because we appreciate what we have been given and the care we put into the earth is how we show our gratitude to its creator.

I leave you today with this cartoon:

Thursday, December 24, 2009

December 24

We as the followers don't know much. We don't know when Christ was born. We don't know how many Shepherds or Wise Men were present, or even IF the Wise Men were present. We don't know how old Mary was, or who helped the poor pregnant stranger deliver her first child in a cave-barn. And, really, none of that matters.
All we know; All we need to know, is that, a little over 2000 years ago, a baby was born who, whether you believe in his divinity or not, changed the entire course of history in a huge way. It was a birth that marked the beginning of the end to the greatest plan ever conceived, a plan to save the lives of the whole earth.
This is one of my favorite songs. Do we listen? Do you hear the Angels sing? Is this Christmas triumphant? Do we proclaim Christ's birth with the heavenly host. I hope so.

Hark, The Herald Angels Sing
Glory to the Newborn King
Peace on Earth and Mercy Mild
God and Sinners Reconciled
Joyful all Ye Nations Rise
Join the Triumph of the Skies
With Angelic Host Proclaim
Christ is Born in Bethlehem

Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Mappy Christmashannukuwanzaamadan...and Chinese New Year

Every year around December 1st, Christians all over America take up the “It’s Merry Christmas, Not Happy Holidays” banner. I myself was one of those Christians until this year when I made a stunning realization. Much like the Christian war on “The Gays”, the war on “Happy Holidays” is a shining example of the modern church’s ability to shoot itself in the foot. With an assault rifle, probably.
Somewhere around 1982*, corporate America made a startling discovery. Turns out, we had Jews in our country! Jews, and Muslims, and Black People and CHINESE! Obviously this was a terrible oversight on all our parts, which was only compounded when corporate America realized that all of those people celebrate holidays around the same time as Christmas. Hanukuh, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, Chinese New Year. Add to that the fact that the Catholics had somehow turned up to complicate things, and now we had not only those, but Advent and Epiphany! Thank goodness the Canadians never showed up. If we added Boxing Day to the mess, who knows what kind of chaos could have ensued. But I digress. Shortly after the discovery, board meetings were called to determine what to do with this newfound knowledge, and more importantly, the newfound potential for profit. After all, Halmark had done such a fantastic job commercializing Christmas, why couldn’t corporate America do it with all the other Holidays? Plans were made, Graphs were drawn up, and suddenly someone said “But what will we say?” Thus, “Happy Holidays” was born.
“Happy Holidays” is corporate America’s way of being inclusive and to avoid offending, which is their job if they wish to make a profit. Perhaps this is news to many, but there are thousands of families and people who don’t celebrate Christmas, and we can’t be so selfish that we aren’t willing to share the month of December. How can we spread the love and message that was given to us if we are so busy ranting about how we are being stolen from? In case you have all forgotten, this season is not “ours”. Strictly speaking, the Romans had it first, and it was a festival to celebrate one of their many gods. We just borrowed it and changed it around to suit what we needed it to suit. You can’t feel entitlement over something that wasn’t yours to begin with. We celebrate a worthy thing, truly, and there is nothing wrong with celebrating the birth of our savior, but if Christmas is the only time we think about the fact that our world has lost sight of its creator, we are doing something very wrong.
In reality, there is no reason for Christians to expect corporate America to cater to them during the Holiday season, and it’s counter-productive to think so. In fact, why are we getting so concerned about what corporate America is doing anyway? This is a time to think about a birth whose sole purpose was sacrifice, a young woman who accepted a challenge that seemed impossible, and a young man who trusted what he could not see. This season is a celebration of the greatest gift ever given to mankind, and a reminder to all of us to think first of our fellow man. Why have we allowed simple words to eclipse that? The truth is, we live in a world of many people, religions and creeds. Our mission is to spread the word of God, it’s true, but we will not accomplish that if we are expecting the secular world to spread our message for us.
In this, we Christians have, yet again, missed the point. Somehow rhetoric has replaced the message of goodwill, and semantics the message of peace. If you celebrate Christmas, say “Merry Christmas” without fear of offending. If you are Jewish, wish a “Happy Hanukkuh” with joy. If you celebrate nothing, say nothing, but take all wishes in the spirit in which they are meant, without worrying whether their salutation matches yours.
The point, Church, is to stop worrying so much about what comes out of the mouth of your fellow man between December 1st and 31st, and start worrying about your fellow man*. This season, I challenge every Christian to wish all a “Merry Christmas” while showing Christ’s love to the world, and, when greeted with “Happy Holidays” to smile warmly, wish them the same, and think about the gift that makes this holiday so very happy indeed.

* This year is completely made up, as is any account of corporate America’s actions during said year. Duh.
* I don’t much like this sentence. It’s awkward, but hopefully you see the point. Worry about your fellow man as a person, rather than judging him for the words that are coming out of his mouth.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Love Isn't

I write about love a lot. Clearly, it’s because I have love all figured out. Just ask my husband. Actually, don’t ask my husband. He would only laugh at you, and possibly give an eye roll and a sarcastic “I’m sure she does. It’s probably a part of her plan for your life.” Thank you, dear. Don’t you have errands to run?
Love is a lot of things. Patient and kind, for starters. One of the strongest bonds between individuals, for seconders. There is actually a very good description of love that can be found here. Love is a lot of very good things, and if you take the time to really think about all the implications, it isn’t easy, but it is so worth it, if it’s the real thing.
With all the things love is, there are a lot of things that love most certainly isn’t, but that we have somehow been conditioned to believe it is. I’m not sure where we got our many ridiculous delusions about love, but I have a feeling the liberal media and Ann Coulter have something to with it. Possibly Al Qaeda was involved. I’m not really sure.
I digress. Love is a lot of very good things, but love is most certainly not the following:

A Feeling or about Listening to Your Heart – Or a noun, for that matter. The common usage of the word “love” means, basically, a feeling. Infatuation. Attachment. Warm Fuzzies. Now, all of that IS necessary to form the base of a love relationship, but if it is what a relationship is based on, that relationship is set up to fail, simply because feelings are fleeting and fickle. Love, the real kind, the kind that lasts until death, is a verb. It’s something you think about and consciously do. Take a look at the biblical description of love again (if you’re an ath-nostic, Buddhist, Pastafarian or someone else who thinks the Bible is utter nonsense, read it and pretend it wasn’t written by a Christian. Pretend Marx wrote it. He was smart, right?) None of the things mentioned are passive. Kindness, Patience, Selflessness, Honesty, Perseverance. Regardless of your belief system, 90%* of people would agree that these things make up a successful love relationship and they are all active, living choices. There will be days when you wake up and don’t feel all that snuggly toward your significant other. On those days, you still choose to love, and to commit to the person you are with.
Also, I’ve discussed the listening to your heart thing. Don’t do it. Listening exclusively to your emotions in love is a surefire way of ending up with someone you’re crazy about but that isn’t good for you. You have to use your head! That’s why you have a head! Don’t just use your head, though. Marrying someone who is good for you but that you have no emotional attachment to isn’t fair on anyone.

A Battlefield – I’m sure Ms. Benatar would beg to differ, as would anyone who has ever uttered the phrase “You have to fight for love!” Let’s review the idea of a battlefield, shall we? Bloodshed, Massive Casualties, Screaming and Gnashing of teeth. That doesn’t sound like love to me. It sounds like life. And it certainly sounds like the traditional approach to dating. Love is the partnership that gets you through the hard times and battles of life. Not to say you and the person you love won’t have your share of fights and disagreements. Paul and I have our weekly fight every Saturday when my sweet husband sleeps until noon and I wake up at 8AM. All I want is some quality time and all he wants is some quality snoozing. What was I talking about? Oh yes. If your relationship, your love, is a battlefield, why on earth would you want to be involved? Battles are not good. They are not fun. They are damaging, and if you are constantly involved in one, you will find yourself damaged. Now, love is certainly not easy, and yes, you have to fight for it. But you don’t fight against the person you are in love with. The fight is the two of you, together, against layoffs, temptation, your own selfishness and broken water heaters. Life is going to throw you enough curveballs to struggle through together without turning your relationship into a constant battle.

A Pit – You don’t fall in love. “Fall in” implies something you can’t help. Now, it’s true you can’t help who you are attracted to. That’s mostly hormones and endorphins and what not anyway. So, technically, you fall in “like”. What you decide to do with said “like” is up to you. You can walk away immediately and never act on your feelings or you can start a relationship and choose to love them. Now, admittedly, love is complex, and while you can help the “love” aspect, you can’t help the emotional attachments that grow over time when you are with someone. Love is a lot easier to give than to take away. That’s why heartbreak hurts so darn much.

A Math Test – This analogy is iffy at best, but stay with me. If someone is wrong for you, you can’t try harder and make them the right person for you. Actually, maybe love is a math test. You can give the wrong answer over and over, but no matter how big and bold you write it, it will still be the wrong answer. Take this analogy how you will.

A Test of Moral Fortitude – Last one. Five is quite enough. This one baffles me. If your significant other has done you very wrong, I.e. cheated on you, lied to you, belittles you, ect ect ect, sticking around doesn’t prove what a better person you are, it proves you are stupid and possibly have some sick attachment to pain. Staying with someone who hurts you doesn’t make your love stronger or prove that you are the better person. It’s mostly just dumb.

The point is, once you realize that love is none of these things, it may lead you to think about what love really is. (Don’t worry, I have this kind of life-changing effect on people). Love is never easy (Oh, look! Another thing love is not that we think it should be!), but the good kind is worth it, and I dare you to believe that you are worth the good kind of love.

*This statistic is completly made up

Friday, December 4, 2009


Being sick is the worst. The only thing worse than being sick is being sick while taking care of a baby (make that a sick baby, and you may as well just shoot me in the face)Alas, here I am, thanking God that Baby Girl is sleeping soundly upstairs. I trid to get her to nap an hour ago, and that only ended in tears (for both of us, sadly)Luckily, BG's mother is coming home early, and while I smpathize,becaus she is sick too, I have never been more excited to hand off a child and blow out of there like...well, like something that blows out of somewhere very fast. I'm bad at metaphors. Point is, I have never been so impatient with a child than I was today. After all, isn't it me always telling her older brother that she cried because she can't talk, not to be annoying? Today I have ignored that quiet, logical voice, and have allowed a crying baby to move me to tears and begging. Real begging. As if she understands the words "Please stop crying" as anything more than gibberish.

The other bad thing about being sick is the pregnancy assumption. There are, as we know, no other reasons for a married woman to be sick other than pregnancy, and so any mention od feeling under the weather is invariably greeted with knowing glances and raised eyebrows. I hope that when the blessed day of pregnancy does arrive, I will simply tell people, rather than leave cryptic clues alluding to my deteriorating health. Also that it doesn't make me feel like this, because this is horrific.

The one good thing about being sick is getting sick on a Friday. Now, this is debatable, especially among circles prone to having actual "plans" on weekends. I do have plans tomorrow, but regardless, I have an entire weekend full of sleeping on the couch and watching Christmas specials stretching out before me, broken only by an obligatory trip to the airport, for which I will make my appearance and then race home. I may not even change out of my pajamas. That'll teach her to fly home when I am sick.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sometimes Breaking up IS the Answer

I heard someone say today that “Breaking up is never the answer” Really? It’s not? EVER? Come on, there are many people I think we could all agree should just throw in the towel. Spencer and Heidi, Tom and Kate. You know who they are. I think, though, that each of us knows people in our own lives who we just wish would throw in the towel. Maybe they are being hurt emotionally. Maybe they are a different person when they are with their significant other, and it’s not a nice person. Maybe they are just wrong for each other, and everyone sees it but them. Whatever the reason, it’s often painful to watch, and gets to a point of eye-rolling obviousness.
This particular blog isn’t going to tell you how to deal with those people. There’s really no way to “deal” with them, as they are deluded, and you can’t fix what refuses to admit it’s broken. (You can, but they struggle, and the parts don’t screw in quite right.). It’s an open letter to every person who is in a relationship they shouldn’t be in. Maybe you can print it out and mail it to them. Maybe you shouldn’t though. My advice, while always close to divinely inspired, is not often well received. Apparently, it tends to come off as “judgey”. Anyways, Oswego.

You say you’re in a relationship. That’s nice. You’re happy, you say? You love him/her so very much, you say? I sincerely doubt the first, as you are locked out of the house with no shoes and it is raining. The second I’ll buy. (You have to be careful with deluded people. They’re skittish. Like deer. You could lose their trust at any moment) Lets come in out of the rain, shall we? My self-righteousness is getting wet.

Now that we’re in, let’s talk. I’ll skip the inane chit chat and cut right to the crux of the matter. I think perhaps you are not so happy as you believe. Now, now, stop arguing and listen. I want what’s best for you, darn it. In all seriousness, here’s the deal. There’s a time to fight for a relationship, and there’s a time to cut and run. Now would be the latter. I figure though, that you won’t hear it from me, so I’ll let you tell you. Your subconscious knows, even if you don’t. Find a quiet place, away from all outside influence (the woods are nice, or a bathroom with a lock), and answer the following questions and consider the following points. Before you start though, get the whole “Listen to your heart” nonsense out of your head. Just because your heart is saying “yes” doesn’t necessarily mean the correct answer is “yes”. Ask any battered woman. Or perhaps that woman who married the Eiffel Tower. Actually, don’t ask her. Just look at her and learn. Love is as much about being smart as it is about being sentimental, possibly more so. You can love someone who is a motivational speaker and who lives in a van down by the river, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that’s not the right person for you. So use your head. So now, we are not listening to our hearts, we are using our heads. Ready, set, go.

1. Relationships should not be a fight
. Yes, relationships are sometimes a struggle, and there will always be things the two of you need to struggle through together, and yes, you will always have the occasional argument. But if every day is a constant battle and struggle to keep from falling to pieces, there is an issue. A relationship that is already crumbling from within is like a tooth that is rotting from the inside with decay. That tooth is coming out regardless. You only have to choose to recognize it and pull it early on or to ignore the problem and wait until it finally rots away on its own. The first will hurt, certainly, but it will hurt only for a while, and then heal. The second (ask anyone who has waited through this situation) hurts not only as the tooth continues to decay, pain increasing more and more every day, but also the subsequent root canal is, I’ve heard, one of the most painful things ever. You see? Relationships are like teeth. Brush and floss.

2. What kind of person are you when you are with your significant other?
No one is perfect, and you will always have faults, but when you are with the wrong person, those faults become magnified. Do you find yourself becoming jealous? Controlling? Angry? Picking fights where there are none, just to fight about something (been there, done that, by the way)? Most importantly, do you like the person you are when you are with this person? Remember, you have only you to answer to at the end of the day, and if you don’t like that person, you’re pretty much sunk for life.

3. Do you want to be like this forever?
The minor things? Those will come and go, and even if they don’t, they can be dealt with, because they are minor. But what about the big things, especially the big problems? Does one of you have trust issues? Is the other overly-controlling? An overactive temper? A tendency to belittle you to make themselves feel better? These big issues are things that may (and probably will) be with you for the rest of your life. Not to say that people cannot change, but deep-seated issues haunt people, even people who have overcome them. If there are huge glaring problems now that you have been unable to work through with this person, or if one of you is unwilling to change, it may be time to be done. You have to decide if its worth it. Keep this is mind. A bad relationship eventually reaches a point where it turns toxic, and at that point, there is nothing worth salvaging other than your sanity and emotional well-being.

4. Why are you here?
This is possibly the most important question, and the one that requires the most honesty with yourself. Are you sticking around because, even with all the problems, you are comfortable? Is it the security of knowing that you are with someone? Are you terrified of being single? If your answer sounds flimsy, even to you, it may not be good enough. So many people, once a relationship has lost what made it good, stick around because they are afraid of what waits in the dreaded boat labeled “SINGLE”. I promise, though, that boat isn’t so bad. You find out a lot about yourself, and meet a lot of really cool people on that boat. God uses that boat to work on you and make you into who he would have you be (I know, Mrs. Overbearing talking about God working. I am not perfect either, and I talk a good game, but really, all I want is for you to be happy, because I love you, darn it). Don’t be so afraid of being single that you miss opportunities you could have if you would just jump off. I was so afraid of being single that I held onto a relationship six months after I knew it was over. Turns out, God had better planned for both of us, we just had to let go. God always has better, if you let him give it to you.

Here's the deal, my friend. In the end, you can know you are with the wrong person, but it takes courage to admit it, desire better, and walk away. That part is scary, it's hard, and it's heartbreaking. You will probably cry, you will think life will never get better, and you will be tempted to call "just to talk". Don't. This causes only pain and anger. Allow yourself to heal. Allow THEM to heal. Give your heart time to stop hurting and learn to live life single. Erase them from Myspace and Facebook, delete the number from your phone, get rid of all the pictures, gifts and memorabilia. Healing starts when you stop opening the wound.

The End. Hopefully, they will live happily ever after, though, we hope, not with one another.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

If your marriage isn't sacred. don't blame the Gays

Are you sitting down? You should be. It’s about to get intense. Here’s the thing. I’m a conservative. I’m a Southern Baptist. I voted for McCain. I’m Pro-Gay Marriage.

See? I told you it was intense.

Here’s the thing about gay marriage. Actually, here’s the thing about marriage in general. Marriage is not a constitutional right, so get that idea out of your head right this moment. Marriage, for all intents and purposes under the law, is a legal partnership between two consenting adults (Yes, I agree to limiting the definition of marriage to two, and only two, adults. Let’s not get silly. We’ve all seen the wonders of polygamy.) Yes, a marriage is entered into with love and trust and emotional attachment and all those other wonderful, gushy things, but my marriage contract doesn’t mention any of that. My marriage contract, as far as I can see, is a legal document. I had to swear an oath…raise my right hand and repeat after the clerk of courts, even.
Marriage (again, under the law only) provides couples with protection in the event of the death of a spouse, tax exemptions, the ability to share insurance, adopt children, ect ect ect. There is literally NO reason to exclude a citizen of the United States from something that is given to the rest of us over something that is, at it’s base, a purely moral, and mostly religious issue. It seems to me that this resembles the miscegenation laws a bit too much. Remember? When a black woman and a white man (or vice-versa) could not marry because of the color of their skin? Or even, and this is a bit of a stretch, but go with me, the fight in the early 1900’s that secured the vote for women. Men beat these women in the streets because they found it morally reprehensible that women would want to take a hand in their nation’s politics. American History is littered with inequality based on the argument of morality and tradition.
It is not enough anymore to deny marriage to certain individuals based on the beliefs of the religion you practice. I mean really. If a national law allowing gay marriage did pass, how would churches feel if they were then required to marry homosexuals? You would hear pastors in pulpits across America screaming “Separation of Church and State!” Government and Religion in our country are not meant to mix, as much for the Church’s protection as for the Government’s. The Government can make no law restricting or dictating the practices of any religion, and Churches cannot expect Congress to uphold a practice that is discriminatory simply because it goes against the words of the Bible.
So what is the Church to do? Well, for one, if you find homosexual behavior morally reprehensible, don’t marry them in your church. Simple. There are at least 200 churches, notaries and justices of the peace in Jacksonville ALONE. Homosexual couples aren’t going to be offended that you won’t marry them.
Sidetrack! Actually, I can't say that. Maybe they will be offended, but homosexuals who would be offended, listen up. No church is, or should be, required to do anything that goes against their moral code, and you can't be offended every time someone disagrees with you, that would be exausting, and also pointless. In fact, how much integrity can a religious institution have that will go against what they truly believe in order to be politically correct and earn the few dollars that an officiation fee would bring? Come on, No one is required to agree with anyone else, and really, if they find your behavior morally reprehensible, why would you want them to marry you anyway? Remember that the fact that someone doesn't agree with you doesn't make them judgemental. It makes the different.
Where was I? Ah yes, churches that won't marry homosexuals on moral grounds, and homosexuals who may or may not, but shouldn't be offended. Point is, there are other officiation options. Also, Church, listen up for a minute, because this is important. Isn’t our goal to win souls to Christ? How good a job are we doing by telling homosexuals “Jesus Loves You! We Love You! But we don’t want to have the same rights under the law that we have, because Jesus says you don't deserve them. Sooooryyyyy” What makes the church think that outlawing gay marriage will somehow achieve the goal of winning people to Christ, which is, I thought, supposed to be our primary focus?
“But Rai! What about the sanctity of marriage?!”
What about it? If your marriage isn’t sacred, don’t blame the Gays. Maybe you need to look at your own life and decide what’s going on to make your marriage less than sacred. The governemt doesn't make a marriage sacred. A marriage is sacred because of what it means to the two induviduals entering into it, not because of how the government defines it. If your marriage suddenly loses sanctity because Gay Gary and Lezzie Linda* are allowed to marry their respective partners, it can't have been that sacred to begin with.
“But Rai! Don’t you believe what the Bible says about Homosexuality?!” Actually, I do. I don’t approve of the lifestyles of my homosexual friends. There. I said it. But, to be fair, I don’t approve of the lifestyles of a lot of my heterosexual friends. I’m judgey that way. (Ask me about my plan for your life. I dare you) That doesn’t mean I’m going to ask them to turn in their voter registration cards and social security numbers until they’re ready to ascribe to my version of morality. I love them, because that’s what Jesus told me I'm supposed to do, and I leave the legislation to offer equality to everyone, because that's what it's supposed to do.
Point is, we have to stop seeing the law as a way to push the religious agenda. The law is there to protect the citizens of our country, and to provide equality for as many as is possible. It is not there to evangilize, to win to Christ, or to proselitize. That's OUR job, and if we're expecting the law to do it for us, we are being lazy.

*I apologize for the use of Gay Gary and Lezzie Linda. They are close friends and said it would be ok.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


I have two daddies. Not in a California, Vote-Yes-On-Prop-8 kind of way. In a complicated sort of way.

The father I've known my whole life, Victor, is an amazing man. I am proud of him, and take every opportunity to allow the words "Air Traffic Controller of the Year, 1993" to escape my mouth. See? I just did it again. He met my mother when I was only 18 months old, and married her when I was 2. This man did not have to be the father he was to me. He loved me unconditionally, never favored my sister, who was his daugter biologically, and cried as he walked me down the aisle at my wedding. I was always and forever his little girl, bloodlines be damned.

My biological father, of whom I have very few pictures, and none in digital form, was Chris Walls. My mother's high school sweetheart, and a man who, I've heard, was incredibly amazed with his little girl. The Lord called him home when I was 19 days shy of my first birthday. I have virtually no memories, and those I do have could very well be invented memories born from pictures I've seen and stories I've heard. I have a copy of Alice in Wonderland, his favorite book, with a note from my grandmother telling me so. I have a copy of Treasure Island with the name "Christopher Walls" written inside. I have a photo album that shows me the orgins of faces I make, smiles I've seen in the mirror, and hair that gives me trouble on a daily basis. It is an interesting feeling, to have a father one has never met. There is no sense of grief, persay, becasue one cannot grieve for what one has never known. There is, however, a sense of loss, or, more appropriatly, of a missing piece that I will never get to know. I feel almost cheated out of meeting this man. So many people, my mother, my grandmother, my aunts and uncles and cousins, have memories of him, while I, his daughter, have none. It is like only knowing half of where you come from, while the other half is clouded in mystery.

It is a complicated emotion. I love my father more than anything in this world, and I would not trade him. How does one grieve the lost peices of her heritage while not undermining the love she has for the man who raised her? I have asked myself if I would trade what I have for the ability to know Chris, but quickly abandoned the question because I realized it's pointless. Whether I would or not is irrelevant. I have been dealt this hand, and nothing changes it, whether I would will it or not.

His death cannot, because of my age at the time, pain me, although as I have grown older, there has come an unfamiliar ache and occasional, unexplainable tears when I thnk of this man who gave me parts of who I am and was then called away so suddenly.

I call myself blessed. Two men loved this little girl, and two men formed who she would become. God has given me a blessing in this, if sometimes a bittersweet one.

If any of his family read this, I would ask for your memories. I have none of my own that would allow me to know him, and if you have them, I would accept with utmost gratitude. I also hope that my ability to be candid does not offend or anger. It has taken me a long time to find the ability to put these thoughts into words, and my ability to write far outdoes my ability to speak.

If you have memories that I can borrow, email me

Friday, November 13, 2009

Stranger Danger

I am a nanny, currently. For the past three years, I worked at a childcare center, and worked in every age group offered. Before that, I babysat...and babysat..and babysat. I devoured texts on children, on child development, on child psychology, ect ect ect. My AA is in education, and I will be getting my CDA next year. Clearly, children are my forte, and I adore them.
Which is why it suprises people that I detest the Stranger Danger program. Detest it.
Stranger Danger doesn't have an actual website, but McGuff has the basic idea here

Don't get me wrong, Stranger Danger teaches good enough concepts. Don't talk to strangers, never take candy or a puppy from someone you don't know, Always stay with a group ect ect ect. But there are some major flaws in the program.

The first problem with Stranger Danger is that it tells children what to do to NOT get abducted, but not what to do IF it happens. A child doesn't have to talk to a stranger to be abducted. Someone who wants to abduct a child isn't going to be detered by the fact that their target won't speak to them. If an adult wants to grab a child, they are going to, and Stranger Danger doesn't teach what to do if you are grabbed by someone. It kind of leaves kids hanging at the end. "Don't talk to strangers, but if that doesn't work, you're SOL" There are three completions to the concepts Stranger Danger teaches
The program is on to the right idea, because it does tell kids to run and to yell. Getting closer, Stranger Danger. Telling a child to run is well and good. Telling them HOW to run is better. An adult is almost always going to be faster than a child, but a child who knows how and where to run has a better chance.
Rule #1: Run fast, toward the nearest house, store or building, and NEVER EVER look back. When you get to a house or building, POUND on the door and scream that you need help. Screaming while you run is helpful.
Looking back slows you down, and if you're being pursued, seconds count. I don't recomend telling a child that last part. Don't look back is enough.

Secondly, it tells children to yell. Tell me, adults, if you see a child struggling with an adult, screaming his lungs out, what will your immediate thought be? Not kidnapping, that's for sure. A child struggling with an adult, screaming? That's a temper tantrum.

Rule #2:Scream words.
"You're not my Daddy!" "I need Help!" and "Amber Alert!" alert people to the fact that there is a problem, especially in a crowded place, like a mall, where there is security.

Thirdly, Stranger Danger never tells kids to get violent! Isn't the first rule of rape that if you fight back, most rapists will leave you be (I don't know how true that is, but that's what we were always told)? Even with no martial arts training, a child can inflict damage and pain when they need to.
Rule #3: Kick, Punch, Hit, Pinch, Bite. You won't get in trouble later

Even with those glaring holes, the biggest problem with Stranger Danger is that it teaches kids to safegaurd against something that, in all liklihood, will never happen to them. Stranger sbductions account for a miniscule percentage of all abductions. In 2001, 3200 to 4600 children were abducted by non-family members, and 62% of those were stranger abductions. Keep in mind, that means that 38% of these children were kidnapped by someone they knew. In contrast 183,200 to 354,100 children were kidnapped by FAMILY MEMBERS, and most of these by parents. This means that, in 2001, 1.09% of all abducted children were abducted by strangers. The other 99% were abducted by someone they knew, and probably trusted, and the vast majority of those were by parents.
You can't safeguard against parent abduction (well, you can, but that goes into choosing a spouse and such, and that's completly a topic for another day), but you can make sure your children know to never go anywhere, with anyone, even their best friends mom, unless you have approved it first. You can make sure they know that they never have a reason to be alone with an adult unless you have told them it is going to happen. This is a sticky situation, but one that can be dealt with.

Rule #1: Let your kids know that you will let them know if someone besides you is supposed to pick them up, drop them off, or take them anywhere.

Rule #2: Have a password or a passcard that must be told to or presented to your child if there i an emergency and you cannot pick them up. Change the password any time it is used. Older children do well with this, because they can remember that the password changes. Younger children would do well with a laminated passcard that simply says "I Can Pick Up Billy!". The Adult must get the card from you and give it to your child to let them know they really are allowed to pick up your child.

Rule #3: Have open communication with your child. Tell them that no adult should ever tell them to keep a secret from you. Make sure they know the parts of their body that no one is allowed to touch without their permission, and make sure they know that they can always tell you if they feel like something happened that shouldn't have.

You cannot completly safeguard against kidnapping, but you can take actions, beyond Stranger Danger, to ensure that your child knows how to activly avoid abduction.