Saturday, June 23, 2007

FOOD!

Today was a long, tiring, hard day of stripping and waxing floors, so when I got home, I plopped down in my comfortable recliner and turned on the tube while I waited for my dinner to be delivered to me from an overpriced, but tasty steak delivery place. I surfed the channels until I ended up on the Food Network, Tivo would be well aquainted with this channel if I owned it. This evening, one of the regular hosts of a popular show was recounting her recent visit to England and France. It was an enjoyable diversion. The woman is a deep-fried southern woman, but I appreciated her respect for the culture and cuisine of her two host countries. It was funny to hear her speech, dripping with drawl in contrast to the distinct accents of the folks she interacted with. Paula, the Food Network host that to whom I am referring, spent a lot of time on the cuisine and the speciality food shops she visited. Her trip featured many. Now, I know that this was a show on the Food Network, so food was paramount, but I was struck by the fact that food never figured into my ideas of things I would focus on if I were ever to visit those two amazing countries. I am a history buff, so when I think of visiting Europe, I think in terms of history, food is only thought of in terms of what do I need to eat, not what food is here to amaze and delight me. After seeing this show, I plan on altering all my vacation plans to include some exploration of the food delicacies the places I visit have to offer. Right now, I want to take a cheese tasting trip...ANYWHERE. I love cheese.

Bon App├ętit

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Sometimes you just need to scream!!!

I have felt that way often over the last few months. My employees, my partner, my clients, my tenants, my life... ok, I guess you get the point. Life is not fun sometimes, in fact, there have been many times of late that I contemplated moving to the Ozarks and becoming a coon dog. I mean, a coon dog has a pretty good life. I would get free meals, a decent place to live. I'd have a special status in the local community, a place of honor among those men who consider shooting black rim- eyed varmints stuck up a tree a sport. What price would I have to pay for all this? Run around chasing the bandits of the woods until I run them up a tree. If I were a coon dog, that would not even be work, it would be fun!

Of course, then I come to my senses and say, "You'll never be able to be a coon dog, they have four legs and aren't fat." So I sit back and put my trials in perspective. It's then I realize that I have a good life and that life, while it is fun often, is also about trials, frustrations, and pain. They go together, fun and frustration. I also realize that some of the things that drive me to the brink of a primal scream are my fault, or at least partially my fault. I allow things to build to a breaking point, or my actions or inaction, leads others to feel that their behavior, the mind-numbingly frustrating behavior is just peachy-keen. If I want the behavior that sends my brain into overload to stop, I have to make it stop. I also realize that I am guilty of somethings that drive others to the brink and I need to be aware of that and stop that as well.

One final thought fills my head; God is in control of my life and He has a reason for what is happening to me. I need to stop beating my head against the bricks hoping that I won't feel any pain and ask Him what He wants or how He wants me to deal with the situations that I face. How can what I am experiencing and how can how I respond to what I am facing bring glory to Him.

Ok, so I don't need to scream anymore

(pssst. being a coon dog would still be sweet =) )

Friday, June 15, 2007

WORDS HAVE MEANINGS.
Yes, I know that sounds so lame, of course words have meanings, so why start a post with a lame statement? I start this post with that statement because so many people want to use words to scare people into following their political or ideological position. They want to use words incorrectly, disregard what a word actually means just like they disregard the facts.
Let me give you an example of what I am rambling about: AMNESTY. Do you know what it means? Here are a few definitions from various sources:
1). A general pardon granted by a government, especially for political offenses. (The American Heritage dictionary)
2). The act or an instance of forgiving (Houghton Mifflin Thesaurus)
3). In criminal law, a sovereign act of oblivion or forgetfulness (from Greek amnestia, "forgetfulness") granted by a government, especially to a group of persons who are guilty of (usually political) crimes in the past. It is often conditional upon the group's return to obedience and duty within a prescribed period. (Britantica Concise Encyclopedia)
4). The pardon of individuals or categories of people for the violation of law. (U.S. History Encyclopedia)
5). In law, exemption from prosecution for criminal action. (Columbia Encyclopedia)
6). The action of a government by which all persons or certain groups of persons who have committed a criminal offense...are granted immunity from prosecution. (Thomson Gale Law Encyclopedia)
I have used multiple definitions so one could not accuse me of cherry picking the definition. There is one other word that must be defined in connection to amnesty and that is the word 'pardon' Here is what the American Heritage dictionary say 'pardon' means:

  1. To release (a person) from punishment; exempt from penalty: a convicted criminal who was pardoned by the governor.
  2. To let (an offense) pass without punishment
Now that we are clear on the meaning, let me be concise: amnesty means someone is not punished for a criminal activity, they pay no penalty imposed by the government.
I am hearing the word 'amnesty' used in abundance in connection to the immigration bill currently before the US Senate. The problem I see is that the current bill imposes a penalty to anyone currently living in our awesome country illegally today. It also sets up strict guidelines someone here illegally has to follow in order to avoid even more penalties. Yet, I keep hearing that this bill grants amnesty to the 'horrible leaches on our society" that we call illegal immigrants. What the bill proposes, what most of those who support this bill or one very similar is that breaking the immigration law be punished. Both the fellow that walks across our border with no legal right to be here and the native Americans that lure these folks by the hiring them. This bill is many things, and proposes many aspects to the solution for illegal immigration. What it does not offer is amnesty.
So why do some of the very people who have read this bill and know what is proposes keep yelling "Amnesty" They do it to incite decent, law abiding citizens. They scare, threaten, mislead, misquote, and just plain lie.
I welcome honest debate about the flaws and potential failures of this bill, but I say, honest debate. Stop hollaring "Amnesty" This is not amnesty!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

I started to post something here yesterday. I sat staring at the empty box where my profound, witty, insightful, intellectual post was supposed to be rapidly filling up the blank space. All I saw was white, no words, not wit, no insight. I closed the blog and went to bed. I was disappointed at first, then I realized, perhaps, I am not supposed to be witty, insightful, intellectual all the time. Ok, I am not witty, insightful, or intellectual all the time, but I wanted to give that impression. I did not want, actually still do not want a blog crammed with nonsense about the trivial aspects of my life. What I wanted was to be great, to appear great, to be recognized as some really awesome person. Now talk about pride AND self-delusion...lol. Last night gave me a harsh look at a side of me that I don't often see, a side I believe that is not reflective of my true and total personality, but it is a part none the less. I am glad I saw that and now I am glad that I am working on another of the flaws in my person. My daughter makes lists, lots of lists; lists of book she wants to read over vacation, lists of homework assignments and her plan for getting them all done, lists of chores and fun she plans to do on Saturday. I sometimes think she has too many lists, but I think I need to take a cue from her and draw up a few lists myself, ones that deal with areas in my life where I need to be better, areas in my life where God is not glorified.

Ok, I am now taking a rabbit trail, straying slightly from my main point, but this is a good rabbit trail...glorifying God. I always think about glorifying God in connection to either doing things overtly spiritual, like worshiping Him, praying, reading my Bible, witnessing, or to not sinning, not giving in to besetting sins, not being an example of how not to keep the Ten Commandments. Now, before I go on, I am aware that anytime we fall short of the glory of God, we are sinning, but I want to talk about things I do, or we do that do not bring glory to God, and in fact often detract from His glory, but that we don't zoom in on as SIN.
1). I am fat, not slightly overweight, not pleasing plump, not big boned, just plain, nasty fat. Ok, I wear it well, or so I have been told, but the fact remains, I AM FAT. I have thought that I need to lose weight, it would be good for my health, I would have more energy, I could wear cooler clothes, I would be able to do more activities, that I would make my daughters proud of me. The one thing I have never thought about, never considered until just the other day, is that I am not bringing glory to God because I am fat. Now, hear me out. Being skinny, or pretty, or handsome is not what a person needs to be to bring glory to God. God made us all different and His idea of beauty is far from ours. I believe even "ugly" people are beautiful to God. What I am taking about is that I made myself FAT, I am causing harm to His creation. I am saying to those around me that not only do I not care about the wonderful creation that God made, but that God can not do anything to help me bring His temple back to its healthy form. By remaining fat, I am not bringing glory to God.
2). I am in debt, not enough to cause a country to go bankrupt, but in debt. What that means is that I owe people(businesses) money. People either loaned me money, credit cards, items purchased on credit, etc. with the idea that would honor that debt and pay them back or they provided services that I agreed to pay for. I have not, or have not completely. Now, yes, there have been difficulties in my life that caused me financial setbacks, and there have been attempts or are on-going attempts to pay folks back, but I am still in debt. Now, some would say that owing a business money is not a big thing, that businesses expect losses, that they right it off, don't worry about it. I have been off and on working toward reducing my debt, but the reasons again were not right. I want to be able to buy things when I need them, I don't want to keep getting calls from bill collectors, I want to silence my critics who make negative statements about my money skills. These may all be good motivations, but I am a child of God. It is my duty to bring glory to Him and my financial situation is not doing that, in fact, it is really detracting from that. I am basically saying that either God does not care if I honor my obligations, or that He is unable to help me clear up these debts. By staying in debt, I am not bringing glory to God
I could go on and list a few more, but I think you get my point. I and by extension, we need to remember that everything we do is connected to bringing glory to God or not. I often lose sight of that fact which is why I do some of the really dumb things I do. I can't fix this, God can, and so I have started to ask Him to show me all the areas where I am falling short and asking Him to help me change them.
Want to join me? Just ask Him to show you Him and to show you you. You won't like what you see, but if you truly are one of His children and you truly want to bring glory to Him, you will do this. Let's help each other in this. Comment on this post with your struggles, your questions and join together in a choir that fills the heavens with glory to our awesome God.