Wednesday, February 24, 2016

I may regret this.

Here's a confession:  Sometimes I type up little rants on my blog, but then I don't publish them.  I feel better just taking some time to put my thoughts down on paper (so to speak) and to get them out of my head and heart.

So, this may happen here, now.   BUT...if you are reading this right now, then I got too brave and pushed the "publish" button.

It's Wednesday, and this Saturday is the South Carolina Democratic Primary.  The Republican primary for the state happened this past Saturday.  (I still don't get why the primaries are held on separate days. It sure seems like a waste of money to open polls on two  different days. But, as we know, the two parties won't compromise on anything,  even primary dates.)   Unless you have been living under a rock, or have sworn off television and other media for lent, you know what is happening out there in the world of politics. 

Here's my take:   But first, reader:    You can "x" out right now and head back to reading something else if you want to go about your merry way.   Really, that's fine.

I warned you.

American people are so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so tired of the meanness, and the lies, and the way the political system doesn't work for them, that they have said...  we will show you!   We will vote for the worst possible person to ever be considered for the office of President to get back at you!! So there! ha!    You who are the out-of-touch party leaders, and candidates, and "news" media people.   Yes - YOU!!    See what we can do???  

So, now what?

Republican party leaders are sweating, and the Democrats are watching in amazement over it all right now. 

But, here's the thing I worry about.   How long will this "game" go on?   Do the people who are voting for Donald Trump and are letting him win because they want to send this message... will they stop?  Will they get what they are doing?    I hope they do, and soon.   Because if nothing changes and Donald becomes the Republican choice...   well,  hum...   um...  I'm totally at a loss!  What will happen to us??  Like I said, this is not a game.

I have written on this blog before about my beliefs.   Yes, you all know I am strong on equal rights, gun control, women's issues, peaceful tolerance, raising the minimum wage, improving education, and putting money into social concerns.   I have done my homework and I have checked where the candidates stand on the issues that are so important to me.  I have made my decision.  I know which of the candidates believe one way, and the ones that don't.   I don't need 6 more months of more campaigning, polls, and media coverage to tell me.  I already know.  

So, I need to ask the people who have put the Trump signs in their yards and have been filling the halls to see him as a celebrity...   WHAT HAPPENS IF HE BECOMES OUR PRESIDENT?

Have you really thought about it?   Have you pictured him dealing with Congress? Picking a Supreme Court appointee?  Have you wondered just how he can ever be diplomatic?  How he will represent our country around the world?  Just how quickly he will decide to push the button for war?   How he really thinks about minorities and the poor?  How he looks at women?  

I am shaking my head (really shaking all over) as I think about it.    A wall will not solve any problem.  A joke will not.  A businessman who has gone bankrupt in the past should not make decisions with our money.  A promise without a plan will do nothing.

Wake up!!!   The message has been heard.    but, it's time to get real now.  It's time to look at the whole picture.   Think about what is going on. 

I have to say, I am thankful we do have a democratic system of checks and balances because if for some reason Trump makes it to the Oval Office, our country has a way to keep going.  You thought the Republicans held President Obama hostage?  Just watch what happens if Trump gets elected.  

So, okay...

If you have read this far, and you are my friend and a Trump supporter, I still love you.   I disagree, and I ask you to re-think your choice.  But, I also realize that we all have free minds and various backgrounds, and different political & economical concerns.  I know a few of you will be mad at me right now over this.  Free world. My blog.  You are welcome to write a post too.

 Hmmm...   should I push the "publish" button?     Should I speak my mind on MY blog, or should I go along my merry way?  

Here goes.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Our faith is not a contest.

I debated whether to write about an issue that our church has been struggling with the past few months, but here goes!   Ever since the US Supreme Court voted and enacted a law allowing same gender marriage, we have had a division in our congregation about whether to allow the marriages to take place in our church, officiated by our pastor.  (The National Lutheran church & synod have left it to individual churches to decide.)

I think many churches, many denominations, are struggling with it. And, if they aren't yet, they will.   Some churches may not have formally brought it up at meetings as we did, but at some point they will have to take a stance. 

I won't lie.  It was a rough time for us.  We are a family and as with all families, there are different opinions around the table - based on perhaps age, and gender, and personal experience, and faith backgrounds.   Some in our congregation are more literal when it comes to the Bible as the Word of God.  Some believe the Bible is God's guidebook, and the historical writings of prophets and followers of Jesus.  Divinely given. 

I have attended weekly Bible Study for years now and I have loved the exploration of the "Good book."  I have learned that the best way to get into "God's head" is to sit with others, read the Word, and then talk about it.   The Bible is a fluid piece of work, written by many, throughout the early Christian times, sometimes poetic, sometimes story telling, always teaching. It gives us law and love.

I have sat in Bible Study groups with people who think differently than me, but we all gather to learn more.  I don't think I have ever walked out of a session disappointed.  Like any book club (and I have been a member of several over many years) it is through the interpretations and the nuances discovered that help to enlighten us. 

Anyway, back to the same-gender marriage issue:  After months of talking, and some hurtful emails, and even a special ad-hoc committee that formed to help us work through it, we as a congregation voted yesterday on what to do.     The vote was two-fold.  The first part was a vote whether to allow a same-gender marriage to take place in our church facility by our pastor.... and it was narrowly voted down.   Only 4 votes made the difference.   That is how evenly split we are on the issue.  The second vote was to allow our church pastor to officiate at a same-gender marriage outside of the church building (like on the beach, or at a restaurant) and that passed.   I'm not sure what to think of the split vote - except that I am happy it went that way.    I think people on both sides of the issue can feel good.   It's not about winning or losing.  It's about accepting that others believe differently - and that's okay. 

So, again, I debated whether to write about this...  should we keep it hush hush?   What will outsiders think? Will people stay away?   And, then I decided that YES I need to write about it!  Because, the beauty is that I go to a church that allows differences, and allows challenges, and seeks to learn... and that we are ALL believers in Jesus, here to serve Him.   We are people of great faith and love.  We made it through a serious division - and we still care deeply about each other and about our church together.

I am excited about this congregation - a group of people, working together.   Different in many ways.  But, able to accept that we are and to focus on God's grace and love for us.  Even as siblings that occasionally fight around the dinner table, He is a Father that loves us anyway. 

So, here's a commercial for my church:  Come to St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Pawleys Island if you want to be accepted as you are. We are each different, unique, and accepted.  Searching.  Not the same.  Not always agreeing.  But always working to love each other as God has loved us. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

It's February - random acts, winter movies, uplifting moments... and more.

The questions this week are a bit challenging.  My favorite movie with a winter setting?  Do you have one?   Random acts of kindness vs. feeling helpless.  How do you handle them?  Read on.

  1. February 17th is National Random Acts of Kindness Day. It lands on the calendar one day after National Do Something for a Grouch Day (February 16) which somehow feels related. Perhaps the 16th inspired the 17th?

Tell about a time you performed a random act of kindness or were the recipient of one. Will you make an effort to perform a random act of kindness on the 17th? Share details if you're so inclined, and if you have something specific in mind.

Well, I don't do random acts of kindness often enough!  It's obvious because I have to wrack my brain to think of a time.  Oh my.   But, I guess I can consider that I have started picking up the litter on a road not far from me on a regular basis. In a sense I have adopted the road.  It's a beautiful "cut through" road that is wooded and lovely.  But, many people throw trash out of their cars and it has annoyed me for a while now.  So, about a month ago I bought a "trash stick" (the stick with a sharp point on it) and I take big black plastic trash bags out... and I park my car, and walk up and down and gather up all the litter.  It's mostly beer and soda cans and bottles, and fast food bags, cups, etc.  It's obvious that people throw stuff purposely.  I just don't understand it.

I have been disgusted by the amount of trash all around these parts for awhile, and I felt I could not complain about it without at least doing my own "little bit" to help the situation. 

On the official Random Acts day I WILL try and do something! 

2.What's the most uplifting or encouraging thing you see happening in the world right now? You may have to dig deep for this one.

Wow. I love this question because we so often focus on the negative things... and TV feeds us so much bad news all the time.  

Right now, I love the "Stayhumbleandkind" movement that Tim McGraw has started.  He has a song on his new album called "Stay Humble and Kind" and therefore he is now asking people to send in videos of others who do things in life while staying humble and kind.  He showcases the people/videos on his social media.

Looking at the bigger world-wide picture, I will say that the countries (mostly in Europe) that have opened their arms to the refugees coming in from the Middle East is uplifting to see.  I know this is a rather big campaign topic right now here in the states, but I truly can not see how anyone can not be compassionate to those who have had to flee their homes, communities, their countries, due to war. I am reading a book right now called "Nightingale" (by Kristen Hannah) and it's about the brave people who hid Jews in France during WW2, and those who helped downed pilots sneak safely out of German territory.  Oh, yes, there's a love story blended in... but it's an exception history read.  

3. Black olives, black currants, black grapes, black beans, blackberries, Oreos...your favorite food the color of night? Your least favorite on the list?

Of the foods above, I will say I like black beans the most.  I love southwestern and Mexican food.  Of course I love Oreos too, but I try not to eat them.   My least favorite?  I don't think I have ever had a black current... so I will go with it. 

4. A while back I read (here) a list of twelve things you should do before you turn 50. They were-

travel when you have the chance, take care of your skin, learn a foreign language, make exercise a habit, leave a toxic situation, stop caring what others think about you, stop worrying, volunteer, spend time with your grandparents, pledge to work less, learn to cook an amazing dish, and seize an opportunity as it arises

What do you think of the list? What would you add or remove and why? If you're over 50, have you done all 12? If you're not yet 50, have you done any at all? What's on the list that you haven't done, but would like to do?

Since I am almost a decade over 50, I think a few things might be too late for me!  lol  During my years before turning 50 I did learn to make exercise somewhat of a habit, and I did my share of traveling.    I'm not sure about spending more time with my grandparents.  They are all deceased now.   I didn't get to spend much time with them when they were still living because I was caring for my children, and living across the United States from them. 

I think before 50 is a hard time in life to think of oneself in general.  Jobs, family life, etc. eat up many, many hours... so to learn a new language might be pretty difficult.  I think as a nation we all need to make volunteering more a part of every day though. So, I like that it is on the list.

5. Besides the classic Christmas flicks, what's your favorite film where winter plays a part in the setting?  

My favorite movies do not have a winter setting.  I love "The Sound of Music,"  "Wuthering Heights," "Bull Durham,"  "The Wedding Date,"....  oh!!  How about "Doctor Zhivago"?   I love that movie!  And it certain has some very cold, wintry scenes of Russia.  

6.When did you last feel helpless, and what did you do about it?

I think anytime a loved one is sick you feel helpless.  Or, if you have had a friend who has lost a loved one.  I have had both experiences.  It's frustrating because you want to do something, or say something, to better the situation.  But,  sometimes you just can't make it "go away" and that is definitely a helpless feeling.   You just pray, and wait.

7. Share a favorite proverb. 

 It's on a plaque above my bathroom mirror.  "Forget your age and live your life."   I don't know if it's really a proverb.  But, I find it helpful!


8. Insert your own random thought here. 

I missed "The Bachelor" Monday because I watched the Grammy Awards.  I thought some Grammy moments were wonderful...I especially loved the Lionel Ritchie tribute and then seeing him get up and sing along.  I wished more would have been done to remember Glenn Frey.   I liked Carrie Underwood and Sam Hunt's duet.   Also Chris Stapleton and Bonnie Raitt... honoring BB King.   I felt bad for Adele because she was struggling with the bad sound.  And Taylor Swift was disappointing with her opening number.    Did you have a favorite?? 

Have a safe, warmer week.  Come on Spring!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Love, love, love - it's the Hodgepodge!

It's time for another Hodgepodge set of questions. This week it's all about love because Valentine's Day is just a few days away.  I love that Joyce does the Hodgepodge each week and I love answering the questions.  I invite you to join in.  

1. Create an acrostic using the word LOVE. If you're unsure what an acrostic is click here. 

Letting go
Out in the open
Voicing myself


Leave all behind
Open a new door.
Venture out and give it a try!
Enjoy what life has to offer.

2. Does love really conquer all? Why or why not?

I think it can.  At least I want to think it can.   I think having love for others can conquer much of the world's ills.  If we have "agape" love for our fellowman then we would realize we are all here together, and that we should work for a happy, peaceful time on earth.   (Love for oneself is important too, but it's "ego" driven at times. I know we have to love ourself...  but, giving love away is best!)

"Make love, not war."  "Love makes the world go 'round."  "Love lifts us Higher!"   "Love your neighbor as yourself."   

"The greatest thing you will ever learn is just to love and be loved in return."  - Moulin Rouge (one of my favorite movies about love! - See Question 4 below.)

3. Tell us about a time recently, where you really put your heart into something.

I have written about this project before, but I really put my heart into the baby layette baskets I put together and deliver to our local hospital.  For me, it is truly a "labor of love" (play on words... baskets for the young mothers who have just labored! ha)  I so enjoy collecting the items, and washing the clothes, and then organizing and decorating the baskets.  I add a personal note, and I deliver the baskets.

If you have any items you might like to donate, send me an email.  I am always looking for new/nearly new onesies, newborn outfits, receiving blankets, bibs, booties, etc.  I also include baby wipes, diapers, etc.  I need small stuffed toys/animals too.

4. What's your favorite fictional love story?

Immediately I thought of "Wuthering Heights!"   I have always loved the story of Cathy and Heathcliff!  I love the book, but I also love the various movie versions.   Timothy Dalton played a wonderful Heathcliff... if you haven't seen him in the role, rent that version of "Wuthering Heights"!  Ahh....  the love among the Moors!

5. Do you generally wear your heart on your sleeve, or keep your cards close to the vest?

I tend to be a "what you see is what you get" type.  I don't hide feelings well.  But, saying that, I am  not overly demonstrative and I am not "gushy" with expressing love.  I am not 'over the top.' (I think my hubby will concur.)  But, as I have aged I have learned it's good to hear when you are loved, and it is certainly nice to express it too!

6. What food says love to you? Why?

Well, when my hubby suggests we go out for a Mexican meal I know he loves me!  It's not his "food of choice" at all, but I simply love tacos, nachos, and all things covered with quacamole and sour cream!  So, when he goes with me out to eat at a Mexican restaurant he goes truly because he loves me!  Isn't he sweet?  

7. When were you last 'tickled pink' over something? Explain.

I was 'tickled pink' from a couple of unexpected Christmas gifts that were bought because they were given from people who know me so well.   My one daughter got me earrings made from flute keys!    My other daughter often finds and gives me things to do with pugs... and I always love them!!   The Christmas before last my hubby got me a little garden sculpture of two frogs sitting on a is talking on his cellphone, the other is reading a book and enjoying wine.   I was "tickled pink" over the way they were just like us!   Thoughtful.  Cute.   That's what I like! 

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

Since this post, and this week is all about love...  I will continue the theme.  Well, in a way!  Do you watch "The Bachelor?"  What do you think?  Will Ben find love??   I don't know but the ladies seem pretty crazy!  And what's with swimming with the pigs?  That was REALLY WEIRD!!  Has anybody done that when visiting the Bahamas?  I never heard of it before.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Monday morning quarterbacking

Hello everyone.  Have you had enough football now?

Here are some of my thoughts on the Super Bowl gala and game, and other events of the last week.

* First, I am proud of the Carolina Panthers for the amazing season and the months of excitement they gave the people of North and South Carolina! 

* I think the Panthers got caught up in the hoopla too much.  First time around for many of the players.  Hard to stay humble.  Hard to be focused.  More Broncos were seasoned and handled it well.   That one call early in the game that went against the Panthers on the pass catch/fail started the downward spiral. 

* Talk about going from a major up to a major down.  Saturday night:  Cam is named NFL Player of the year!  Rivera is Coach of the year!!   Sunday night: Cam can't throw a pass.  Word has it the Broncos players enjoyed putting it in Cam's face during the game.  "Dab this!" 

* It was nice to see Peyton go out on top the way he did.  I do really like him.  Who doesn't?  He's classy - and I love his commercials!  It was also great to see all the Super Bowl MVP's over the years introduced during pre-game! Although - really, the booing from the crowd for some of them was uncalled for. 

* Commercial favorites?   I loved the Ryan Reynolds one.  Of course!! I loved the extended Super Bowl babies commercials. The shorter version didn't make sense.   Some ads were strange and made me question that the companies spent all that money for them..  What was the pug - monkey - baby??  Creepy.   And Turkish Airlines?  I'm still confused about all the movie stuff. 

* Lady Gaga killed it!  She has certainly changed her image! And, she has proven herself with her singing ability.

* Halftime:  I thought it was okay.  It's was nice to watch Chris Martin.  My husband enjoyed watching Beyonce.  We both loved watching Bruno!!

I love watching football and am sad to see another season end.  Cam didn't handle his press conference well.  But, really, he was so dejected, and upset with himself.  The reporters were annoying.  Why make the losing QB hold a press conference?  Just seems mean.   He needs to grow up and be humbled a bit, and this may have done it.

On to other things...

It was another interesting week in the life of my church.   I'm not going to get into details...because, really...  isn't church the place to have acceptance, and love, and tolerance, and peace?    But we live in the real world and we have differences of opinion and real hurts there.  

Politics:  oh no.  The New Hampshire primary is tomorrow, and then the candidates all come racing down here to South Carolina.  I really plan on keeping my TV off, and will do my best to stay away from the mud-slinging.  There is so much wrong with our political system.  So much wrong with the way we narrow down the presidential candidates.  I am still amazed how much time and money goes into the Iowa caucus night.  All for flipping a coin in some places?  Really?

I love my Fitbit, and it has caused me to increase my physical activity - and that's a good thing... until I overdid it somehow and have now hurt my foot!  Too much walking?  I don't know.   Now I can't do anything without some foot pain.  Dang.  Not happy.   So, should I wrap it and take Aleve and forge ahead?    I'm going to try that today.

The rain stopped!  We didn't get snow (yeah!!) but we got lots and lots of rain and wind.   I really want to get outdoors today.     The sun is out.... it's a new Monday - a new week ahead! 

Time to get started!   See you tomorrow for the Hodgepodge.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Favorites! Senses, canned food, necklines, homes.

1. Describe love using all five senses.
Love is like...a bite of a warm chocolate brownie. 
                  ...a whiff of fresh linens folded in the closet.
                  ...hearing a favorite country song sung live by the performer.
                  ...feeling my pugs snuggled up close on the sofa. 
                 ...seeing one of my daughters walk through the door.
2. February is Canned Food Month. What's your favorite food that comes straight from a can?

I use canned artichoke for an artichoke-parm cheese-mayo dip.  Perfect on Triscuits!  I rarely use other veggies right out of a can.  But, I open a can of soup every so often.  Campbell's Tomato soup, made with milk, and some crunched up crackers- now that is a perfect lunch!  It's a favorite!

3. A principal in a UK school recently sent home a letter to parents requesting they (the parents!) dress appropriately when escorting their children to/from school (basically saying please don't wear your pajamas) You can read the letter here. It's gotten a lot of publicity, both positive and negative. Your thoughts? And do/did you ever make the school run (or hit Starbucks, Walmart, etc) in your pjs?

I don't have a problem with the letter at all.  I do think we have gotten maybe a tad too relaxed in our wardrobe choices!  When I was driving my girls to school (dropping them off - not escorting them in), I always threw on some sweats before leaving the house. I never wore pj's in the car.  What if I had car trouble on the way there or back?  

4. Crew neck, V-neck, turtleneck, scoop neck...which is most prevalent in your wardrobe?

Oh boy.  I am pretty particular about my necklines!  I strongly dislike turtlenecks - for several reasons.  One, they are often tight and stifling.  My body temperature seems to vary too much in a day to wear them.  Two, they are hard to get on and off and can ruin my hair "style" I might have attempted.  Three, they emphasize a double-chin...and yes, I have one.

Scoop necks are okay as long as they are not up high and binding.  I'm not a fan of a regular t-shirt for the reason they are sometimes snug.  Not flattering.

My favorite is the V-neck.  Especially for t-shirts and casual tops. I am not "overly-endowed" so wearing a V is never too showy, if you know what I mean.    I live in a climate where if I need to cover my neck for warmth I just grab a scarf.  I'm a big fan of scarves!

5. I read here recently a list of four things to avoid so you wake up happier. They were late night snacks, hitting the snooze button, social media just before bed/upon waking, checking emails. 

Are you guilty of any of these behaviors? Which on that list do you need to work harder at avoiding?

I am not a late night snacker. And, thankfully, I don't need to set an alarm all that often.  So, if any from the list is a problem for me, it is social media.  I'm addicted to it and every once in awhile I read something or get into a conversation that turns negative.

But, generally, I am really good at turning off anything that is on mind when I crawl into bed.  I sleep well and wake happy.

6. Share something you remember about a house you lived in as a child? Of all the homes you lived in as a child, which did you love best? 

As a child?  I assume Joyce, our leader, is referring to any home I lived in with my family, until I went off on my own.  I lived in a few houses growing up.  My favorite?  Hmmm.   I remember the house on Thorne Road in Cleveland Heights, and then the one on Crescent Circle in Bucyrus, Ohio the best.  I was in my teens when I lived in them.   I loved the Crescent Court home because it was a bi-level.  You walked in the front door and went up half a flight of stairs, or down half a flight.   My parents' bedroom was down.  My bedroom was up.  I guess I liked the "independence" then.  By that time my older siblings were away so I had the upstairs to myself most of the time.  The home was in a small town so I was given quite a bit of freedom there.  Back in those days it seemed like a pretty safe place to live. 

7.Your favorite movie based on a true story? 

Oh my goodness!  Too many movies to list all of them.  I like movies that are about real people and real events that have made an impact for the better.   Recently I liked "Selma".   Perhaps not quite the same magnitude of importance was the movie "Joy." I saw it a couple of weeks ago and I found it interesting and I loved the step back in time to that era.

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

I always struggle with having a random thought here. Should it be something happening in the news... or perhaps something much more frivilous??   How about one of each?

I am thankful the Iowa caucus is over.  But, now my home state of South Carolina is coming up - after New Hampshire.  Our primary is in the third week of February.  Heaven help us all.  We are about to be invaded by all the candidates and their road signs and ads.

I have some Hershey kisses leftover from Christmas.   Why do I walk by the pantry door and feel the need to grab a couple all the time?   Maybe I need to give up sweets again for Lent.

Have a great start to February everyone!  Poor Puxatawney Phil didn't see his shadow... so winter is supposed to be short this year. I sure hope that fat rodent is right!!