Thursday, December 17, 2009

It Doesn't Come With Meat.... 0,o*


Hummm.... okay, let's start by saying, we've all said, and done, dumb things. Some of 'em we've caught (and corrected) before anyone else points 'em out (or laughs too hard at us) and some just slide right on by, usually because no one wants to be the one to point it out.... like the time a visiting speaker meant to say "context" and, instead, said "kotex". You could hear the brief, aborted and assorted strange noises the women all made as we tried to contain our instant reaction because that poor man never did realize what he'd said.

Then, there was the visiting missionary from Australia who was giving his salvation testimony. He's a very large man, roughly six and a half feet tall, brawny and he was a fighter before God got ahold of him. I don't mean in a ring, I mean in bars. His wife came to the Lord first and a lady from her church would pick her up every service. This (now) dear man told that lady if she ever showed up at his home again (they lived in hi-rise apartments) he'd throw her from the balcony. Well, praise God, he got saved during the week that followed that threat and when that brave lady showed up again to take his wife to church, the man was there to meet her, arms wide as he prepared to tell her he was saved. As he explained it, in fear of her life (she really believed he was going to throw her from the balcony) she took a step back from him.

Now, this great man of God was reenacting this as he was telling us about the event. In doing so, he also took a step back as she would have. In her situation, there was an elevator at her back. In his situation, on the platform of our church, there was a modesty rail that reached to just above his knees. He bumped into it, lost his balance enough that he sat on it, started to rise, realized he still didn't have his balance and abruptly sat back down, then slooooooooowly tipped over backwards. There was a church-wide gasp as he tilted over and landed behind the rail, one foot lying beside the end of it, the other still propped on top.

As we realized the man was laughing, we, too, began to giggle just as the associate pastor went up to help the missionary. Realizing the man was (by now) howling, the AP took a step back.... right into the American flag which sits on our platform. Another church-wide gasp follows as the flag slowly tilts in the other direction and, before the AP can catch it, lands on the keyboard bench (fortunately, it never touched the ground!). By now, the whole place is in an uproar as we howl and gasp for air right along with the missionary. Needless to say, it took a long while before we were able to get back to the point of the sermon.

Now, these are things that happen infrequently (which I'm sure these men are grateful for). Circumstances, a lack of awareness of surroundings or the mouth getting ahead of the brain can all lead to these types of events.

Then, there are the moments that simply prove no brains whatsoever were involved in the making of these incidents.

We all have howlers about dealing with those young people in the food "service" department, bless their hearts!

(aside) I have a friend who firmly believes.... as in tongue firmly in cheek! ....that you can say anything about someone as long as you add "bless their heart" in the sentence (snerk!)

Anyway, as I was saying, we've all dealt with these people. Some of it is set up intentionally, like the time my Uncle Bill was at a Burger King and, when he went to pay for his order, groaned in mock worry and asked the young lady if they accepted out of state cash to which she promptly replied "No, I'm sorry, we don't."

O,o* (I'll let y'all think about that for a few............)

After some back and forth (during which she asked which state and Uncle replied "Arizona.") Uncle Bill finally said "Oh, here! Try this!" and handed her a $5 bill which she took without batting a lash. No, I'm sorry folks, she wasn't playing along. She truly thought Unc had finally found some IN state cash!

My own experiences were at a "Mac's Steak House" (some will get that) and a Jack In the Box...

The Mac's was at LAX, I ordered a sausage and egg McMuffin with cheese and was told that they didn't serve that. After a blank moment in which I'm sure I looked like a deer in headlights (I'd just ordered one at home the other day!) I asked the young lady what kind of McMuffins they did have? She began to list them and when she came to the sausage McMuffins...
Her: "Sausage McMuffin, Egg and Sausage McMuffin, Egg and Sausage McMuffin with cheese..."

Me: "Wait, I'm sorry, would you repeat those last 3 or 4?"
Her: "Sausage McMuffin, Egg and Sausage McMuffin, Egg and Sausage McMuffin with cheese..."
Me: "That's the one I want!"
Her: "Yes ma'am. Anything else?"
Me: "You do know that an Egg and Sausage McMuffin is the same thing as a Sausage and Egg McMuffin, right?"
Her: *** blank look ***

My most recent was at a Jack in the Box here in town. I'd been getting the sour dough breakfast combo (no meat) for several weeks on my way to work and one morning they had a new kid in the drive-thru window. When I placed my order, I heard;

Him: "Do you want bacon or ham with that?"
Me: (blank look at the speaker) Uhm, I wanted the sour dough breakfast combo with no meat."
Him: "Right. Did you want ham or bacon?"
Me: "Uhm... doesn't really matter. I don't want any meat."

Skip to the next day and a new new kid in the window.

Me: "Sour dough breakfast combo, no meat."
Her: "And do you want ham or bacon with that?"
Me: (I'm ready this time) "It doesn't matter, I don't want any meat."
Her: "Oh, it doesn't come with meat! It comes with ham or bacon!"






*blink* *blink* (really.... there's no way to end this, is there!?)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Illustration ~~~ Beginnings


There's more to follow. My Sunday school teacher and her daughter (a pastor's wife in another city) have written a series of stories as a mother/daughter bonding. The characters are Angel, Cherub and God and Cherub is usually having to learn a lesson about what a wonderful, loving, always right, never cruel in any way God we have. I'm working to talk Teacher into publishing these stories and I'm working to update my skills at drawing because I would love to illustrate these (I know you shouldn't assume, but I'm going to assume Teachers' other stories are as wonderful as the one I heard). SO! With her permission, I'll start by putting the story *I* first heard on here. The drawing is a no brainer, it's mine own, so I can post it. This one is "Safe In God's Hands." You'll have to forgive the rough nature of it, but that's precisely what it is, a rough. I'm brushing off (and hopefully sharpening) skills I haven't used in awhile. I've also never used art markers before, so this was something of an experiment. As my skills improve, so will the quality, I promise.
p.s. I'm afraid I may not have made things too clear, and I'm sorry. This illustration is where God is preparing a baby to be born into his new family. I have a bit more work to do because the character, Cherub, thinks this baby isn't ready to go, yet, because "he's not finished, God!" Cherub has a few things to learn about God in this story ;)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Apologist Explains...


Y’know, people today try to use Jesus as an excuse not to act against sin. Don’t speak out against what we know Scripture teaches us about how God hates sin. Jesus was AAAAALL about love, you know! He would never condemn showing love for one another. Why, Jesus even advocated loving one another!

Well, okay, I’ll give you this much. While He was on the Earth, Jesus did not condemn others. John 3:17 tells us “For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.” Later in John, when the adulterous woman was dragged before Jesus by the scheming Pharisees, Jesus did not condemn her. Short version; the Pharisees wanted to be able to call Jesus out over either not following the law of Moses which stated those caught in adultery should be stoned (which means they would accuse Him of not adhering to the Law if He forgave her of her sin) or for not being compassionate enough to forgive her if He did follow the Law of Moses and order her stoned.

Guess they forgot there was a third choice. Jesus pretty much ignores their pious posturing and, stooping down, begins to write in the sands. The Bible doesn’t say what He wrote but He only paused to speak when they kept pestering Him about what to do with the woman. ( John 8:7b) “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” Then He bent down and went back to writing. It was about then they began to pay attention to His writings and, whatever it was, it shut them up in a hurry. In fact, starting with the oldest down to the youngest, they began to leave. I’d really love to know what Jesus wrote. Some scholars think He might have been writing out the name and sin of each man. He could do that, you know. He is God.

When Jesus stood back up, only the startled, frightened woman remained of those that had dragged her in and Jesus asked (John 8:10b) “Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee?” And when she said “No man, Lord.” Then Jesus does the one thing only He can do. He forgave her, then gave her an admonishment; “Neither do I condemn thee; go, and sin no more.” THERE, my friends, is the love of Jesus the World is looking for, but doesn’t understand. Like a loving parent, He forgives her of her sin because, at that time, He was not there to condemn anybody. He’d come to “seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10) But that didn’t mean He ignored sin. He still called people on it, as with this adulterous woman. He flat out told her “go and sin no more.”

Now we’ve got this actor, Ian McKellen, who is openly homosexual, admitting he’s defacing Bibles by ripping out the pages in Leviticus where God condemns homosexuality. Really. And, does he actually believe that this will change Gods’ mind about how He views homosexuality? “Oh, dear. Ian McKellen is openly homosexual and is highly offended by what I’ve written in My Word. I shall have to give a new revelation to someone because (gasp) a truly loving God would just never condemn sin!”

(Oh, no, that wasn’t sarcasm AT ALL!)

If Mr. McKellen wants to be consistent, he needs to remember that Romans chapter one in the New Testament also condemns homosexuality. It starts in Romans 1:22 and goes pretty much to the end of the chapter. Still, even if Mr. McKellan were to start defacing the New Testament as well, it would not change the truth of God. He hates sin (and, like it or not, admit it or not, homosexuality is a sin)!

Here’s another truth. God did not call us to be cruel or hateful to those who live in sin. He called us to teach the love He has for us in giving His only begotten Son to die for our sins. To teach that Jesus loved us so much, He willingly obeyed His Father, even to dying on the cross (as shameful a death as there was at that time). Yes, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit hate sin. But, the job the Father gave us was not to get into someone’s face and scream at them about their sin. I mean, I would surely want to get to know someone who’s screaming at me, red faced and spit flying, about something I’d done whether I believed it was wrong or not. I just SO enjoy being told how wrong I am, that I’m worthless and that God hates me for what I’m doing so just die, why don’t I, and get it over with?!

Uh huh. That’s surely going to change my mind about how I live.

Aaaaaand that brings me to a group that’s gotten under the skin of a lot of people. Sadly, they give both Christians and, more specifically, Baptists a very bad name. Because of these people, we are an anathema to the unsaved world. They have no desire to get to know the God of people such as they and, by extension, we serve. Who’d want to believe in any kind of being that promoted hate, which is exactly what these people do. I refuse to mention their name since they garner much too much media attention as it is, but they protest EVERYONE and EVERYTHING as being hated by God. God (according to them) hates the Jews. He hates the homosexuals. He hates Catholics. He hates all Baptists (but them). He hates hates hates hates hates…..

Which is the exact, extreme opposite end of the spectrum as those who want to use the “Jesus is Love” excuse for their sins.

Let me be very clear on this. God hates one thing. God. Hates. SIN.

He does not hate the sinner or He would never have sent Jesus to die for our sins. And, we have to be careful of our “holier than thou” attitudes. Our, “I’m not as bad a sinner as ol’ Jane Smith!” Got a news flash for ya’, in the eyes of God, yes you aaaaaaarrrrre! God even compares the sin of gossip as being equal with the sin of murder. And, yes, talking about someone with a “Did you hear what I heard about….” or a falsely sympathetic “Oh, poor John Doe. Did you hear what I heard about what he did!” is gossip. I’m here to tell you, if you can’t say what you’re saying about someone TO someone, it’s gossip, plain and simple, and gossip is as evil as murder. And we’re every one of us guilty of it, even when we don’t think we are.

So, back to our two extremes; the “God Hates You (but not me because I am SO on His good side)” and the “God is love and we have a special understanding so I can do what I want” people …. Uhm…. No. To both of you. Right now, we are living under mercy, not judgment because Gods' judgment is coming at the End of Time (and, no, I don’t think that’s going to be two years from now; I just think the Mayans couldn’t count any higher… plus, hey, most of us thought 2010 was going to be flying cars, space travel and evil computers named “Hal”!)

Extremist number first: we who study God’s Word, both on our own and under God’s Anointed (aka, Preachers, Missionaries, Evangelists), know that the “God Hates Everyone But Me”-ers are wolves in sheeps’ clothing. As I recently pointed out to someone, I don’t think we can ignore them because the unsaved doesn’t distinguish between the so-called “good” Christians and the “bad” ones. We’re all the same to them. Most don’t even know what a Christian really is or that the word actually means “little Christ” (it was a derogatory term when it was first used, by the way... "Well, aren't you just a little Christ!"). We can’t ignore them, but we can’t really “do” anything about them, except pray for God’s intercession; otherwise, it becomes a case of Shakespeare’s “Me thinks [they] doth protest too much!”

Extremist number second: it doesn’t matter if you tear a Bible apart. God’s Word will not change, no matter what those who believe we need “newer, more modern translations” to understand it (and I won’t get on that soap box tonight!) say and/or publish. Eventually, though, someone will come up with a non-offensive, politically correct, gender and “religion” neuter version that will appeal to the masses because it doesn’t point out sin or explain how to live a moral life (according to God’s laws and mercy) or even use the word sin in any context.

It will be three pages long…. Including a page and a half for the Foreword.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Navy SEALS ~ ~ Real Deals vs. Ybw'bv's



So.... I promised I'd be making some comments on the Navy SEALs who rescued Capt. Richard Phillips from the pirates. First comment:

OO-RAH! GO NAVY!

Okay, some of you are going to think I'm some sort of warmongering SEAL-chick fangirl. No. I'm a great supporter of law, whether it's at the civilian level or militarily enforced. Piracy is (gasp) illegal (hence the term piracy... eh?) Pirates have never been the romantic figures movies have turned them into, the Robin Hoods of the High Seas (think Capt. Jack Sparrow or Tyrone Powers in The Black Swan), but they've gotten worse with the advent of modern day weaponry. (it's amazing what's available via the ubiquitous Black Market) And these pirates have even less care for human life than Black Beard or Long John Silver or any of the others out of ancient history.

So, what do governments do? Bow to the demands of these pirates! Give them what they want! Do they get their kidnapped citizens back? Maybe. There's no guarantee.

Really.

We're going to cower before bullies.

Apparently WE are not! Navy SEALs (Sea Air Land for those who don't know) were given the authority to "remove the threat" to Capt. Phillips life if it began to appear his life was in imminent danger. And they did. On choppy seas, in less than ideal conditions (they had to correct for wind as well as the pitch and roll of both ships), with what sounded like one shot, the pirate threat was removed.

Permanently.

Oh, they've shaken their fists and hollered and threatened to treat other American hostages in
an even less friendly manner, but I believe they're too worried about our Special Forces to try anything on Americans any time too soon.

They should be.

I haven't read as much about our other Special Forces as I have the Navy SEALs, but I can say that it takes RIGOROUS training to become a Special Forces member. If you're curious about the Navy SEALs, a good book is "Brave Men, Dark Waters" by Orr Kelly. He takes you to their history as Frog Men, or the UDTs (Underwater Demolition Teams) during WWII, through their initial inception as SEALs to what was the present day at the time the book was written. It's very well written and very interesting and teaches you a lot about these brave, interesting men.

I've been privileged to meet two in my life. One was James "Hoot" Andrews and he was what's known as a Plank Owner of SEAL Team Two (i.e., he was one of the first every SEALs). He was a quiet, non-braggadocious man who was quietly pleased when someone thanked him for his service to his country (which I did... several times.... he deserved it!)

The second man, well, I'm getting old and I don't remember his name. So, how do I know he's a Real Deal and not a ybw'bv? (that's yellow-bellied-wanna-be-vulture... i.e. a fake!) Well, first, you CAN check to find out with the Navy if someone actually graduated BUD/S (that's the preliminary training they MUST go through before becoming a SEAL). Second, Real Deals just have this manner about them... they don't brag... they're very low-key about being a SEAL... and there's this smile they get when you ask questions that says "You can ask, but you'll never get the answer you expect."

Still, there ARE plenty of ybw'bv's out there. Fakes who live like leeches off the character and work of these incredibly brave men. How do you tell the fakes from the Real Deals? There ARE some clues:

1) I mentioned earlier that Real Deals don't brag. They don't brag about the missions they've been on. They don't brag about lives they've rescued. And they certainly don't brag about the lives they've had to take.

2) Ybw'bv's frequently run around in camouflage. I mean, really, how many of you get off of work and run around in your work clothes? Anyone?

3) Ask him his class number. (I know they're currently over 230-something, but I don't have the exact number). But a ybw'bv either won't be able to remember his class number or he'll tell you it's "classified". While it's true a lot of things are classified, the class number isn't one of them. Or, worse, he'll tell you he has so much experience he didn't have to go through BUD/S (horse feathers! no matter what level of "experience" you may have, you don't get to be a SEAL without going through BUD/S first. Period!)

4) Doesn't know the name of his swim buddy from BUD/S or his Drill Instructor (again, horse feathers! nor is it classified!)

5) He brags about his medals or wears them all the time. He may even state he's been awarded the Medal of Honor. I believe I've already mentioned once or twice that a Real Deal doesn't brag. You're more likely to find his medals in a drawer than on his chest unless it's an occasion that demands he wear them.... which is NOT walking down the street.

6) When asked for pointed details about places, names, dates, etc, he will always tell you that such information is top secret and cannot be given out. This is quite true but there is quite a bit a he still will be able to tell you about his tour of duty. They're really big on dodging pointed questions with the ol' "Classified" line.

7) One of the biggest give aways of a Yellow-Bellied-Wanna-Be-Vulture is that he'll tell you he's on Team Six. They ALL want to be on Team Six. Problem. There's not really a Team Six anymore. Team Six was put together by Richard Marchinko in 1981. After some history (read the "Brave Men, Dark Waters" book that I've already mentioned) they were re-formed and renamed 'Naval Special Warfare Development Group' or DEVGRU for short and happens to be a cross-section of all the Special Forces groups, not just the SEALs alone. Ybw'bvs won't usually know this, they're just enamoured with Team Six and it's great reputation and want to impress others.

Lastly, sorry ladies, but there never has been (and likely never will be) a female Navy SEAL. Demi Moore and that STUPID! HORRID! FALSITY! of a waste of celluloid called "G.I. Jane" aside (which, btw, is an ARMY nick name, they don't call Navy men or women G.I. anything - idiots!), if a woman tells you she's a Navy SEAL.... laugh her out of the room! Maybe she can beat you up, but that just means she either has a belt in marital arts or several older brothers. It does NOT mean she's a SEAL. Maybe she can shoot, but most women are actually very good shots if they have to be (especially if it comes to defending kith and kin... do NOT threaten our families or you find out why the female of any species has always been considered the most dangerous.)

So... lesson for today? Navy SEALs (and any Special Forces group) are some seriously tough hombres. Do not mess with our U.S. Special Forces.

But, don't try to fake out civilians by pretending to be what you're not. We'll call you on it, laugh in your face and inform the Real Deals where you are. They like to have a .... word .... with a Yellow-Bellied-Wanna-Be-Vulture.

In fact, they enjoy it!

UPDATE!
Just a heads up... if you have a name you want to check out, call the Coronado Naval Amphibious Base at (619) 437-1011.  If they can't answer your question, they can direct you to someone who can!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Why I Prefer The KJV


I'm going to keep this one as short as possible since my last several blogs were long. However, I did promise to state why I prefered the King James for my Bible. Let's start with two simple facts:

1) God is not the author of confusion. He is very straightforward in what He has to say and teach us in His Word.

2) Satan IS the author of confusion. He is also veeeeeeery subtle. If he can draw you in by making it look similar, he will.

What made me decide to blog on this now is the fact that the Tea Lovers' Devotional I was using to help encourage me to study finally blew it. My first problem (which I ignored) was the fact that the author used about 4 or 5 different books with the word "Bible" in the title, as well as the KJV. Here's what I actually learned from this devotional:
1) the author is what I would call a "verse prover". Not someone who proves verses but who looks around through various "versions" to find the verse that says what they want to prove! "See? The "Bible" says...." Sorry, folks, it doesn't work that way! We don't use God's Word to prove what we want to say.

2) the author had some good points to make, but she because of all the "versions" she used, she doesn't appear to have a serious conviction as to her beliefs.


My convictions on the KJV come from Matthew 24:35 "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." God made a promise (through His Son, Jesus) that, no matter what else changed, His Words would never change. Yet, so many of these "versions " have changed the meaning of the very Word of God. Example: John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." Yes, there's a reason on hi-lighted begotten, that word means "born of." In other words, Jesus is the only Son physically born of God. Other "versions" change that word to "one and only". The problem there is two-fold. First, God promises us if we receive the gift of His Son, we become His sons. We're adopted into His family.

John 1:12
12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

1 John 3:1-2
3 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

Gal. 4:4-5
But when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law
5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

So, here the Bible tells us we can become known as "sons" of God. We are adopted into His family. There is also mention in the Old Testament, the book of Job, about the sons of God rejoicing at creation. Scholars tell us the reference there is to angels. Ergo, those "versions" that change John 3:16 to "one and only son" have it wrong.

In the Tea Lovers' Devotional, the author was trying to explain that there are, unfortunately, some "friends" the Christian doesn't need in his or her life. They do not lift you up and will, in fact, drag you down and away from what God wants in your life. She used some perversion (that's the only way to explain it) to quote Prov. 18:24, it said "A man that has too many friends is led to ruin, but there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother."

O.o *
Whaaa-hu-hu-hut?

Prov. 18:24 from the KJV states:
24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

(aside)

I've learned something from my pastor about the "-eth" that is at the end of some words in the Bible. Scholars tell us that "-eth" is in the Present Tense. That means that any word ending in "-eth" is happening now. So, when that verse says "sticketh closer than a brother." it is happening at this very moment. Continually. That's removed from other versions to "update the language." Yet, they've removed a very important meaning to that word.

(back to blog)

So, what God really wants me to learn from Prov. 18:24 is that I must be friendly to have friends (and Jesus is closer than any friend or brother). But, Satan wants to cause confusion. If I had not been as well grounded in the teachings of my pastor, and my own readings, I would have read that perverted verse (the meaning here is "corrupted"), shrugged and gone on my way. And Satan would have planted a doubt in my mind about God's Word. Did God really say that? That's what he did to Eve in the Garden when he asked her about the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Gen. 3:1 "Yea, hath God said....?" In verse 4 he then casts doubt on what God did say "Ye shall not surely die:" With these other perversions out there, he's doing the same thing to us today. "Yea, hath God said....?"


So, I have two questions to ask you:

1) Do you believe the Bible is the INSPIRED Word of God? If your answer to that is "Yes.", then my second question is....

2) What good is INSPIRATION without PRESERVATION? (Matt. 24:35)

Friday, July 31, 2009

Can You SAY That Word? V......


Warning: This blog is for adults only. Please be aware, while I will not be vulgar, I will be blunt and may say things some people may not like.


I'm going to very, very serious with this blog. There are a couple of things that have been bothering me quite a lot these last couple of years, more so in the last six months or so. But it was an article on the Florida Gater's Quarter Back, Tim Tebow, as well as a series of commercials for the Gardasil vaccine, that finally got me to looking into something that seems to affect younger and younger women.

Cervical cancer and STDs.

Let's start with the commercials for Gardasil. Their big push is "Now you have a choice." They're saying this is a vaccine to protect girls and women, ages 9 to 26, from cervical cancer (except if you already have the cancer or if you're pregnant). They play on a mother's fear of her daughter contracting cancer and all that word implies.

What they don't tell you is that the largest factor in contracting cervical cancer is Sexually Transmitted Diseases, especially HPV (human papilloma virus). According to an article on *HealthSquare.com, "Teens are especially at risk for STDs, including HPV and herpes. There are sixty known types of [HPV], but only a few can cause [cervical] cells to become cancerous. Up to 90% of cervical cancers show evidence of HPV infection. (though no all HPV infections turn cancerous.)"

Here's the thing, they are trying to tell us that our kids are going to go out and have sex, no matter what. We've already taught them about condoms (and we see how that's slowed down STDs and teen pregnancy!) so now let's get the girls a vaccine to stop the cervical cancer virus. But, shhh!, don't tell anyone it's really a vaccine against certain sexual viruses! And they're laying it at the parents' door. Especially the mothers. (I certainly don't see any dads in that Gardasil commercial... not that any dad I've ever heard of condones the idea of his daughter having sex in her teens. Shoot! He can barely handle the idea that it will happen when she gets married!) They're trying to guilt-trip mothers into giving their kids a license to have sex. But, that same article on HealthSquare.com also points out that "the developing [cervical] cells of a young woman are more fragile than the mature cervical cells of older women, and more likely to be damaged from the slight abrasions caused by frequent intercourse." (which can lead to abnormal -i.e. cancerous - cervical cell growth) But let's give the girls this shot, pat them on the head and tell them to have sex anyway.

Now they're telling us young teens are performing oral sex and don't think they're having "real" sex. They're what's called a "technical virgin" because they didn't "go all the way" (i.e. have actual, genital intercourse). Right. And studies have proven that you can still get STDs from oral sex. See, you can get STDs from oral sex because bodily fluids are exchanged when the skin of a persons mouth comes into contact with an open lesion or genital warts. Congratulations. You now have a "non-sexually transmitted" STD. (by the way, oral sex is still sex)

I'm sure by now you're asking what all this has to to do with the Florida Gater's Tim Tebow. Well, here's the thing. Tim is an active Christian, a Missionary's son and (gasp) a virgin! Yes, there IS a young man out there who's not afraid to admit he's going to wait until he's married to have sex. When I read this on-line article, there was a "reply to this article" button at the end. Let me tell you, most of the replies were rude, crude, obnoxious, cynical and just plain mean. I'm not going to tell them to you, but a number of "men" (and I use the term loosely) took leave to doubt that a) Tim was really a virgin, but he'd likely have his pick of willing volunteers, now, or b) that he'd (Tim) be able to find a woman in this world who was still a virgin herself (after all, women lie..... what, and men don't? We're human and sinners. We all lie at some point, even if we try not to.) Well, Mr. Cynic (probably a Hollywood producer-wanna-be), let me tell you something. There are still plenty of honest women out there. We just tend to avoid jerks who think we're all liars. No sense in constantly defending ourselves to the unbeliever.

(and here's where I'm about to take a pounding)

The word "virgin" is frowned upon by almost everyone. The secular world, led by Hollywood, makes fun of it (reference the movie "The 40 Year Old Virgin"... I've never seen it, but I hate it!). I have found myself loathe to use the word "virgin" in public , almost resorting to whispering whenever I use the word. The world has turned it into an anathema. They want no part of it since it smacks of morality. (I'm not saying the non-Christians are less moral than me, I know some unsaved people who have very high moral standards). But, one of the responders to the article on Tim Tebow made the comment that people who have sex outside of marriage aren't less moral than so-called Christians, they just have "different morals." O.o* Ahhh.... what?

Well, yes, actually, you are less moral; not than me, specifically, but by God's standards. God has the right to tell me/us what my/our morals will be. He has said "NO!" to sex outside of marriage. Period. No debate. No argument. No "But, God, I know you'll understand if I just...." "No" means "No". But Hollywood and the world would rather ignore STDs and all this other "kerfluffle" and concentrate on making the state of virginity a joke. Something to be gotten rid of as quickly as possible! (and laughed at all the while)

Guess what, world? *I* am a 41 year old virgin. If a 19/20-something young man can admit it to a reporter, and be PROUD of it, why should I not? I'm not ugly. I know a lot of non-Christian guys so I could have "taken care of it" at some point, if I'd wanted to. I chose not to (and God helped out a lot, I'm sure. He protects His children!). See, here's the thing about Tim and myself (something, I'm proud to say, that is shared by my sister and several other women and men I know personally), we have an abiding respect for ourselves and others. We do not hold ourselves cheaply. Nor is our self-worth bound up in whether or not we've had sexual relations in the last day, week, month or year. Our self-worth is bound up in God and in His Son, Jesus.

God thought I was worth the life of His Son. Jesus also thought I was worth the price of His life. How amazing is that? And how could I turn my back on such a precious gift by holding my virginity so cheaply as to throw it away on the first man to tell me he really, really liked me. And, if I really, really liked him, I'd do something about it. Young ladies, let me tell you, if a guy really, really DID like you, he wouldn't try to get you to "prove it" to him. HE'D prove it to you by NOT asking for sexual favors. (this works both ways, by the way. There are young women out there determined to tempt a guy into "being her first" because she really "likes" and "respects" him... HOGWASH! Young men, you be just as vigilant as the young ladies!)

This is not to say there are not Christians who haven't gone down the wrong road. Like I said, we're human, we fail. King David failed spectacularly in this area, but God forgave him. Why? Because of the sincere repentance in his heart when confronted with his sin. By the way, that's why David was called a man after God's own heart. God doesn't try to hide David's failings from us. On the contrary, they were many and, well, spectacular. But, time and again, whenever he sinned, big sin, little sin, whatever, David sought the face and heart of God and begged forgiveness. And God forgave him every time. But, He didn't keep David from having to face the results of his sin. That's not how it works. David's sin in the sexual arena was his adultery with Bathsheba. For that sin, they lost the child that was conceived in that illicit union. But, God forgave a truly repentant David and their next son became the greatest king Israel had ever known. Solomon.

Do I think STDs like HIV, HPV, etc., etc. are results of sin? Of course I do. Look at it this way. If every single person on this Earth decided they would no longer be promiscuous but would have one spouse and "keep ye only to him/her till death do ye part", as in have sex with no other person, don't you think all those STDs would eventually disappear? If it's not sexually transmitted from partner to partner to partner, it has nowhere to go! If it has nowhere to go..... then.....

Virginity is not a joke. It's a common sense decision to teach our children. Don't teach them about condoms (they are not that reliable, they sometimes break, they're only latex after all) and don't decide to get them the Gardasil shot. Teach them that God designed sex for a husband and wife, after marriage, only. Teach them that oral sex is still sex. Teach them the Song of Solomon and that sex IS beautiful when it's a husband and wife expressing their love in a physical manner.

Teach them. Or lose them to STDs and cancer.


**by the way, HPV has also been linked to throat cancer. You can read about it here:

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Toe Smooshing Episode II: How Does a Christian Woman Know She Loves God?

Okay, here's the promised second half of Mrs. Teacher's lesson (and my toe smooshedness... not as bad, but still attention getting.)

So, how does a Christian woman know she loves God? Why, you say, she goes to church! Okay. That's one answer. What else?

Uhm... she, uh, I know! She sings in the choir!

Hmm, not what I'm looking for, but another good answer. Anyone else?

O! O! Mr. Kotter! Mr. Kotter! I know! She invites people to church!

Okay, all very good answers, but not quite where this lesson is heading. Ready? Buckle in 'cause here we go!

1. She enjoys spending time with Him (reading the Bible and praying).
She is constantly learning about Him.
She is constantly sharing with others about Him.

2. She enjoys talking with God in prayer
She sets aside a special time in her day for Him, blocks it out completely (others know not to disturb her during this time)
She prays throughout the day because she enjoys talking to Him
She asks for His direction in everything, even the little things (what does He want from her)
She talks to Him about others (where better to go? talking about other to others can so easily become gossip ~ unless you're getting counselling from your pastor, and you know it!)
She confesses her sin (this brings her closer to her Heavenly Father)

3. She enjoys spending time thinking of ways to please God
She gives Him her talent to use, whatever that may be (art, playing an instrument, what about just vacuming the Sanctuary or cleaning the restrooms? whatever it may be!)

4. She enjoys knowing God is with her everywhere
God's love is enduring. He never stops loving us (no matter what)
She doesn't fear God knowing what's going on in her mind (and He always does, doesn't He?)
Psalm 51:10 "Create in me a clean heart, O God: and renew a right spirit within me."

5. She wants to make God happy with her thoughts and actions
She has no desire to sin on purpose!! (we're human, it happens, but don't go looking for it!)
She asks Him to find and fix her motives for sin
She follows Prov. 16:3 "Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established."

6. She believes God should be the most important being in her life.
God > Husband > Family > Church Family > Friends (which are often part of the church)

God should be first in our lives, but this can be very difficult to accomplish because we can see/hear/touch our family and friends. Oft times it is SO much easier to go to them for advice, a shoulder to cry on, a place to vent, because the response is immediate and visible. God can't be seen with the eyes or touched by the hand and our human mind equates that with uncaring. But, He cares very deeply. He feels our hurts and our emotional pains. And He will help, we just have to accept that it's in His perfect time and His perfect will, not our own.

Learning to establish a right relationship with God now, while I'm a single woman, is so very important. If I don't, and God allows me to marry, how can I establish a right relationship with my husband if God is not first and my relationship to Him not right? This is a difficult habit to build. I will admit now that I skipped my Bible last night. I played first, rather than doing what I knew was right first. God got shunted to the side. This is not an easy habit, but it's one I'm determined to build. I want a right relationship with God. I want to give Him my talents and let Him use them, or not, at His choosing (not mine).

So, before coming on-line to play (and blog) tonight, I sat down and had my devotion time. Yes, I read my "Tea Lovers Devotional" by Mrs. Emilie Barnes, again. I'm finding there are some areas that, scripturally, I have to disagree with Mrs. Barnes. Again, I use the KJV, no other "versions" allowed (I will, perhaps, blog as to the "why" of this another time). Tonight, in the chapter titled "That Inner Feeling" Mrs. Barnes (mis)quoted part of Lamentations 2:17. Her follow up advice went something like this (condensed for interests' sake):

"In order to live intuitively one must have some quiet times to read and think." So far, I'm partially with her. I don't know about the "intuitively" part, but we do need to take time to read God's Word and think on it. He tells us to. Even David said "In thy law will I meditate day and night."

Mrs. Barnes went on to say "God has taught me to read, think and dwell upon what my heart knows to be true. I'm more in tune now with the beat of my heart." Then she gives what she calls "Heart Action: Find the calmer pace of your heart and soul. Take time to listen to your heart so you can discover the truths it holds about yourself, your faith and your Creator."

Mrs. Barnes means well, and is headed in the right direction, but it seems more like she's using verses to validate what she wants to say rather than what should be said. Jeremiah 17:9-10 says "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings." According to what scripture teaches us, our hearts are deceitful, wicked, ... who can know it but God? No, if I want to find and learn what I need to know, I need to obey Prov. 16:1-3 that says "The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits. Commit [my] works unto the Lord, and [my] thoughts shall be established."

God wants to establish my thoughts! How amazingly wonderful! He cares enough to want to help me to think right! I must not listen to my own heart when I'm uncertain (my heart may want an ice cream Sundae or to go watch t.v.) but instead I must find that calm, quiet place (even if I have to into a closet and shut the door) and pray for God's guidance, committing my thoughts to Him, then listen to what His heart tells me.

He's never wrong!
**the above picture is by Ms. Cheri Bladholm which she drew as one of several illustrations in the book "Tell Me The Story Of Jesus" by Gil Beers. I used it to remind us, He cares about even the smallest joys (or cares) in our lives. I truly enjoy Ms. Bladholms' work because she draws Jesus as caring and approachable, not distant and ephimeral. May God continue to bless her skills.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Tea and Devotions


I have begun something I'm almost ashamed to have to admit; and, yet, young Christians need to know that even those who have been saved a long time can fall by the way side. I have been, to my shame, a lazy Christian. I grew up in church, I heard the Bible "stories" all my life and could tell you all about Daniel and the Lion's Den or the Three Hebrew Children in the Fiery Furnace; I can talk about King David and how Jesus, the Messiah, is of the direct lineage of David through His mother, Mary.


But.... I don't know my Bible. Therefore, I don't know my heavenly Father.


Until recently, this hasn't bothered me too much. I could teach Sunday school (I can only be glad God promised His Word would not return unto Him void) and I would feel the pinch of the Holy Spirit from time to time as I would point out how God wants His children to live, but I was able to rationalize it away or ignore it or procrastinate it into oblivion.


How wrong of me.


I don't teach Sunday school right now, and this is a good thing because I'm going to Sunday school. And, BOY, has God used my teacher recently. My toes have been turned into MUSH from her recent lessons and the Holy Spirits gentle stomping (remember, in the Old Testament, He came to Elija, not in the thunder or the wind, but in a still, small voice). Mrs. Teacher has been giving us lessons entitled "What's On YOUR Plate?" Yes, that's a deliberate play on the credit card commercial. The first lesson I remember well, she gave each lady two paper plates, a tissue, a Q-tip and a cookie. Then, she had us take one plate and lick it.

Then kiss it.

Then blow our noses on the tissue and wipe it on the plate.

Then clean our ears and wipe it on the plate.

Then put it on the floor and step all over it.

Then, she told us to take the cookie, put it on either the clean or dirty plate, and offer it to the lady on our left.... O_o*


Yes, we all chose the clean plate!


But, her point was, our lives are like those dirty plates. We have to "clean" them daily by confessing our sins to the Father. I missed the next couple of lessons due to being out of town, but I know she's been working on grounding us in Prov. 16:3 "Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established." as well as Matt. 22:37-38 "Jesus sayeth unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and greatest commandment."


I found myself asking me... do I? Do I love Him with ALL my heart, with ALL my soul, with ALL my mind? And I have to answer, no. I don't.


But, then, I can say, praise God that He's a loving and patient God. That He hasn't given up on me, yet. And that He's given me a wonderful woman like Mrs. Teacher who is willing to be used of Him to get His point across.


So, to the Toe Smooshing Episode, Part I:

Two Sundays ago, the lesson was on Sweet Christian Women (i.e. the type of Christian who's just there for the "feel good" part of God's love):


Her Bible Reading:

1. She likes the "empty calories" of God's Word, not the "protein" (i.e., just the "stories", not the lessons God has for her) (owie!)

2. She'll read the Bible quickly, but get nothing from it (just reads because "she should")

3. She "forgets" to read her Bible because she "gets it at church" (ouch!)


Her Prayer Life:

1. She doesn't take time to talk to God (just, "thankyoulordamen!") (smoosh!)

2. She puts it off until later (eep!)

3. She doesn't think she's unspiritual, but she doesn't care enough to put any effort into her/my relationship with God (Mrs. Teacher says to substitute "me, my, I" for all the points.... erg!)


Her Love for God:
1. Is good until she doesn't like what His Word has to say (Mark 4:16-17 - obedience)

2. Is iffy when obeying the law (well, it's just a few miles over the speed limit, no one will know I did [insert sin here] etc.)

3. Her fiscal responsibility/stewardship to God (Prov. 16:3!!!) (don't stop tithing because it doesn't seem like it should work! OBEY God's commands.)


Health:

A "Sweet Christian" blames God for whatever goes wrong rather than allowing Him to go through it with her. She doesn't have enough of a relationship with her heavenly Father to know He's right there, no matter what, and wants her to lean on Him.


Right after this lesson, I found a devotional called "The Tea Lover's Devotional" by Emilie Barnes. I'm enjoying it, and it's helping me read my Bible (I have to because Mrs. Barnes doesn't use just the KJV, and I do) but it's making me think, too. This is good. God wants me to think. In one devotional Mrs. Barnes titles "The Humble Shall Hear" she is pointing out how we need to make our praise to God public so that the unsaved can see and hear and know that God is good. And I agree...


Except...


The entire little chapter is about praising Him for all the good things in our lives. And we should. Every good thing comes from God. But, we should also praise God for the bad things that happen.


Yes, I said that. So did King David and, if ever anyone had low, low, low points in his life, it was King David. Yet almost the entire book of Psalms is praise to God, even for the seemingly bad things that occured in his life (the rest is a plea for cleansing from his sins "create in me a clean heart") In the New Testament, I Thess. 5:16-18 says "Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."


Rejoicing, praying and praising God go hand in hand in all situations. If the unsaved see me praise God only for the good, what good have I done?


(next post ~ Toe Smooshing Episode II: How Does A Christian Woman Know She Loves God?)

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Stones Would ...Cry Out!


There's a verse in the Bible, the book of Luke, that talks about the stones praising Jesus. Let me set the scene before I quote; Jesus has just begun His final trip to Jerusalem riding on the colt of an ass and the people are praising Him. OF COURSE the Pharisees are way upset about this (when are they not upset about anything to do with Jesus... or that He has ~ or hasn't ~ done?). Here are the verses from Luke:

Luke 19:37-40 (KJV)
37 And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;
38 Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.
39 And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.
40 And he answered and said unto them,
I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

I've always thought that would be SO cool to hear... the very stones themselves praising the King of Kings. Well, turns out that we have begun to hold our peace when it comes to praising Him. And, it turns out, all of creation sings His praise in more ways than we knew. Now, that IS cool!

I enjoy going to a particular web site that shows amazing photos of deep space. Sadly, everything is from a non-Christian perspective so everything is pro-evolution. However, they are scientists and they do learn some interesting facts that, in my mind, merely corroborate what the Bible already teaches (not that they will ever admit it!)

~Actually, "they" will denegrate, flagellate and decry anyone who's opinion of science rests on what the Bible teaches. OBVIOUSLY we are uneducated, mentally lazy and too narrow minded to accept "accredited facts" as they've been taught evolution to be. Yes, I know they do THIS for a fact, it happened to me. A Jewish evolutionist tore me a new one when I dared to state I couldn't be swayed to evolution because I believed what the Bible taught in Genesis 1:1. After some back-and-forth (no, I never lost my temper) in which I quoted the Old Testament (and HE mis-quoted several modern sayings... yes, I politely corrected him) I was told I'd "lost the argument because I'd mentioned Nazi's first" (there's an "unwritten law" called "Godwin's Law" that, if you're losing an argument and call someone a Nazi, you've lost... how-some-ever, I didn't call
him a Nazi, I was using the Nuremburg trials in an example I was quoting to him... and he couldn't even get "Godwin's Law" correct, he called it something entirely else - snerk!) It never occurs to them that, when the monkey thinks it's learned where the banana is, it'll keep going back even when the banana-well runs dry!~ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin%27s_law (in case you want to read about Godwin's Law)


So, back to the part about the stones - in specific - and creation - in general - singing praises. On this web-site I love so much, scientists have learned that, not only does the Earth "hum", but black holes emit musical tones. Yes, they do, only the human ear will never hear the music of black holes because their tone is 57 octaves below middle C. Wow! So, let me quote a couple of the articles I've read about Earth's music and the music of Black Holes:

(condensed from the article "Source of Earth's Hum Revealed, Space Symphony Possible" by Robert Roy Britt and published on Space.com 26 March 2000)
Competing with the natural emissions from stars and other celestial objects, our Earth sings like a canary -- it drones on in a constant hum of a gazillion notes.
In recent years scientists have used seismographs to sort out these subsurface sound waves from earthquakes (all seismic waves are, essentially, the in-ground equivalent of sound waves). But what causes the hum, which researchers call the background-free oscillation, has been a mystery. [aside: refer to Luke 19:40 to solve said mystery]
The apparent answer, revealed in the March 24 issue of the journal Science, is as surprising as the hum itself.
Kiwamu Nishida of the University of Tokyo's Earthquake Research Institute has, along with colleagues, analyzed 10 years of seismic data and tied the seismic waves to similar oscillations in the atmosphere.
Inaudible sound waves in the lower atmosphere push and pull on the ground, the researchers say, creating coupled "sound" waves, or seismic waves, inside Earth. The initial source, as yet not determined, could be changes in atmospheric pressure. The researchers also did not rule out possible oceanic sources, such as pounding waves, as the cause of Earth's hum.
The strange-but-true solution was first proposed in 1997 by Naoki Kobayashi, a theorist at the Tokyo Institute of Technology and co-author of the new paper.

(condensed from the article "Black Hole Strikes Deepest Musical Note Ever Heard" by Robert Roy Britt.... prolific, ain't he?.... published on Space.com 09 September 2003)
Astronomers have detected the deepest note ever generated in the cosmos, a B-flat flying through space like a ripple on an invisible pond. No human will actually hear the note, because it is 57 octaves below the keys in the middle of a piano.
The detection was made with NASA's
Chandra X-ray Observatory and announced at a press conference today.
The sound waves appear to be heating gas in the Perseus galaxy cluster, some 250 million light-years away, potentially solving a longstanding mystery about why the gas surrounding this cluster and others does not chill out as existing theory predicts.
The gas is apparently dancing excitedly to the eons-long drone of a deep B-flat.
Black hole music
Astronomers were not surprised to find the supermassive black hole making a strong sub-bass sound. Though these greatest known matter sinks are by nature dark and invisible, they create bright and chaotic environments in which many forms of radiation -- from radio waves to visible light to X-rays -- have been recorded. These electromagnetic waves all travel at the speed of light.
Sound waves are similar, but they travel far more slowly and are more physical in nature. Sound you hear, for example, can be produced by the visible compression and expansion of a stereo speaker. The waves physically compress the stuff through which they move, be it air, water, or hot interstellar gas.
Musical production appears to be ubiquitous in Nature. Scientists often call it flicker noise, and it has also been detected in the X-ray outputs of magnetic fields within our solar system. Even Earth
hums its own tune. Musical analogies are found in everything from seascapes to brainwaves.


So.... everything has some sort of musical intonation or beat (I know, there are those who are "tone deaf", but science has even stated the human heart has a musical sound as it works). I could go to other sources and articles about the "music" in all of Nature, but I think the point has been made. Nature sings, in her own peculiar way, the praises of, and to, the King of Kings.

Why aren't we?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Music.... of the Night?


Okay.... so, I've tweaked my blog page (cool!), I've played with my Bamboo Fun tablet (double cool!), now I need to work on my writing....


Not necessarily on here, tho'. I've committed myself to our song leader that I want to write next year's Easter cantata for our choir.

0_o*

Have I lost my mind!? Maybe I should just go have myself committed! To Ward B!!!


I'm very much afraid that, if I do manage to pull this off and write the darn thing, I may be in for a lynching. See, the choir members will have to LEARN SPEAKING PARTS!!! That's right, No Narrator!! Well, yes, a Narrator, but ONLY for brief bits. I want monologues for Mary the mother of Jesus (me bestest bud's done been recruited for that, already! She should be used to being volunteered, she was in the Army, after all! HAHAHAHA!), Mary the sister of Lazarus, Mary from whom seven demons were cast out, Peter and Paul. Oh! And one more that has to do with.... well, THAT one's going to be the last monologue. Won't be an apostle or one of Jesus' contemporaries, either. Hmm... maybe.... o.0 Now I have to think about that!!

See what I mean! Committed!! AUGH!

And I still have to get the music to go with it. I don't want anything our pianist has to play ('nother story.... and one that will never be told) or put any pressure on her, but I don't want anything too difficult, either. Our choir's good, but we could NOT pull off Handle's Messiah! So I'm reduced to scouring for music that's on a CD that's still a split trac so we can have the singing to learn from and the music for the actual night....


Well, that's what song leaders are for.... to Lead The Way to the Music! HAHA!!! He don' know it, yet, but he done BEEN recruited, too!! HAHA!


Now... where are those committal papers?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Back to Stupid!


Today's lack of intelligence should no longer surprise me but, for some reason, it does!

How many of you have read in the paper or seen on the news the story about a woman who's just finished buckling her young child into his car seat and turns to climb into the driver's seat only to find herself facing a wild-eyed man intent on car-jacking her vehicle, child and all? Show of hands?

With that in mind, how many of you would willingly leave your child, untended, in a running (supposedly locked) vehicle while you run into the store (or wherever)... just for a minute!? Show of hands?

I reeeeeally hope none of you raised your hand.

This last couple of weeks, I've seen two different women who've left their YOUNG kids, untended, in a running vehicle. That is SO stupid on SO MANY levels!!! Let's start with the obvious one I've already mentioned, car jacking.

Mom goes into the grocery store, reassuring her 5 year old that she'll only be gone a minute (she's parked on the SIDE of the building, by the way, where NO ONE can see the SUV!) and asking him to watch his baby brother. She'll leave the car running so it won't get too hot inside this black painted Suburban (it's 98 in the shade, today) and be riiiiiiight back! But, Mom doesn't count on the long lines inside.... or maybe it's a broken register.... or maybe they're training a new cashier and she's slower than molasses in January.... oooooor, well, you've got the point. Best laid plans and all that.

Now, put yourself in the place of a desperate man, running from the law, who sees a running vehicle (actually, running from the law or not, a car thief is gonna go for the running vehicle). You hurry over only to find the doors locked. No prob! YOU have SKILLS! Not ones Mother Theresa would approve of, to be sure, but you know how to pop that lock in no time flat! But, what's this? Kids? A 5 year old and a baby? Eh, so what? They certainly won't get in the way of you "borrowing" the vehicle. Really, what can they do besides cry? So, while Mom's dealing with unexpected delays inside, you take off with the car - AND kids - outside. Whole operation takes something less than two minutes.

And, my, isn't Mom surprised to find her vehicle and kids gone? Oh! WHAT to DO? Call the police, sure. Now, explain "But, I only left them for a minute, officer! I was coming right back out and the doors were locked!"

Ok, but, that so seldom happens. Really, what are the odds, you say? Well, I'll admit, I don't have the statistics on that, and, yeah, I was left in the car on occasion as a kid, but here's the difference; crime wasn't as bad as it is today and I wasn't five years old! I was a pre-teen or teen! My parents never left me alone in a vehicle when I was a child. Well, not after my Dad turned his back on me as a toddler (when they didn't have seat belt laws). Which brings me to another reason - albeit less scary one - for not leaving your kids alone in a running vehicle. My Dad was parked in a driveway, and had stepped out of the car to talk to someone. He shut the door to keep me in because I was known for running off and getting into things. Apparently, shutting me in the car only kept me from running off, not from getting into things. I figured out in short order how to get that car out of park and into gear. Never did that again! Nossir!

Leaving your kids alone in a car is just *stupid*, folks! Car jackings aside, kids play around with things. Even (maybe especially) with things they're not supposed to. They've watched Mom & Dad drive, they've seen them move that stick from one place to another, they want to try it. True, car companies have made it more difficult to move a car from park into gear by fixing it so you have to have a foot on the brake before it will move, but that doesn't mean it can't be done. A bump at the right - or wrong - angle and it can happen. Are people so lazy (and stupid, don't forget stupid) that they'd really rather risk a child's life than worry about having to unbuckle them from a car seat, hold their hand or carrier, or set up a stroller (depending on age) all because it'll make their "short trip" to the store too long? If that's the case, leave the kid at home with the other parent - or a sitter - while you run your errands. Your childs' life is NOT worth the gamble you're taking!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Opinions

So, today I learned that not everyone's opinion is the same as mine.

O.o* (blink * blink)

Wait!
What?

I tho't everyone felt and thought and believed and behaved the same as me!? How can someone's opinion differ from mine?!

And, to add insult to injury, he was critiquing my writing! (pout) I gather that, even tho' he's a Vet, my poems are "divisive rhetoric" and I need to "tone it down."

Well, this country was founded on the ideology of freedom of speech, so I can't fault him. He has as much right to his opinion as I do to mine. (by the way, he also feels there's too much ideology and we need to move away from it toward more truth....)

Wait.

What?

I was actually quite nice (I'm so proud of me!) and managed to politely point out that ideology and truth don't need to be mutually exclusive. I told him I appreciated he had a different opinion from mine, that this country was founded on the belief we all had the right to have, practise and freely speak about our opinions (no, you may NOT practise your opinion up in my face! thank you!) Civility while expressing our opinions would be nice, but isn't always to be expected. I know, that sounds rather cynical, but that's what sin has done in this world. We all tend to believe everyone's entitled to our opinion. (or, as one t-shirt I saw put it, "If I'd wanted your opinion, I'd have given it to you!")

See, this man, too, is a Vet. I have to respect him for that, alone. And, no, I don't believe every soldier agrees with every last thing he's told to do. I believe our men (and women, I know) all have opinions about every war they were told to fight. Every battle they had to face. I don't expect every one of them agreed with what and how they were told they would do. But, they did it. I respect them for that. And I love them for the fact they stood there and did their best (and still do) to stop the Mad Man.

Apparently this little contretemps over my writing came about from the essay/monologue, of which I published a copy of in my previous entry here, "A Warriors' Voice". I'm not sure if the essay itself provoked him, my assumption that I was speaking for ALL Warriors (I never would, as I told him, I've never been in the military, so I don't know the military mind... and I did add a disclaimer in my essay that I would never BE so presumptuous) or what, but apparently, somewhere in there (or maybe one of my poems, I'm not sure) I also left out American Indians and what they contributed to our military (not that I ever specified culture... I know a naturalized citizen who joined the Army and fought for his adopted country with great pride!)

Well, as I stated at the start, this country was founded on the belief that we're allowed to think how we want, speak how we want and to freely express ourselves. So, I'll let Mr. Opinion state what he thinks, and I'll try to be respectful of it even if I think he's wrong. (well, it was my work, y'know!)

A Warriors' Voice


Okay, I'm going to be a bit lazy tonight. I do have things I want to say about the SEALs who took out the pirates (GO SEALs!!! ~ Yes, I'm very pro-military!), but I don't have it all the way I want it, yet. I'm working out the wording and the point (when I write, I usually put pen to paper and, literally, go with the flow). So, until then, I am posting this.... well, I guess you'd call it an essay. It's from my writing.com page and it's not meant in any way to speak for a Warrior. It's simply my take on what a Warrior might say, given the opportunity. But, decide for yourselves:

A Warriors' Voice

Look at me.

No, look me in the eyes.

Don’t pretend you don't see or hear me. You had a question. I heard you ask it and because of that I’m the one who gets to answer so don’t stand there and ignore me, don’t avert your eyes and don’t pretend to care when you don’t understand what these crosses really stand for.

Not yet, you don’t.

But you will.

You wanted to know why we chose to join the military. Why we chose to fight. Why we chose to go to a far away country and, I believe your words were, "invade it." That’s what got my attention, what got all our attention.

That one little word.

Invade.

As if we chose to go to war. As if war is our fault. It isn’t. I don’t care which war you’re asking about, none of the wars were our fault. But, there were actions that required an answer. A firm, decisive, line-drawn-in-the-sand answer. The enemy didn’t quite believe that line was real, so he not only stepped over it he tried to obliterate it and anyone near it in the process.

Oh, yes, there’s an enemy and it isn’t me or my fellow Warriors. We’re not the ones who killed women and children in the name of “purification of the human race.” We’re not the ones who strapped bombs to the bodies of our youth and sent them out to kill themselves in the name of some god who hates us because we don’t believe in him.

We’re the ones who kept those killers from these shores.

You watch the news and you see what they want you to but you miss the good things we do.

The toys we hand out.

The medicines we dispense.

The smiles and hugs freely given.

The games played with children who don’t get to play much anymore.

The child cuddled because the Madman shot and killed her entire family and she’s sobbing for a mother she doesn’t understand won’t ever again come to hold her.

That’s what the media doesn’t show you. That’s what we fought and still fight for.

You still don’t get it, do you? Maybe I, we did our jobs a little too well. Because we chose to fight the Madman, we’ve been able to keep him from our shores… well, mostly. You’ve suffered some deprivation, you’ve grieved over lives lost, but you haven’t really suffered.

Not really.

Yes, I get to say that to you. I get to say that because I and my fellow Warriors have suffered. Suffered to keep the Madman away from you. In heat, cold, rain, snow, whether we were sick or well, hurt or whole. It didn’t matter. Wherever he was or is we’ll go there to fight him.

But, it’s not just for you we fight. Sure, we want him to stay far, far away from the homes of our loved ones. Even from those who hate us for the job we chose to do. But, we also fight for the innocents. You’re not the only ones who should be free from senseless death and genocide. You’re not the only ones whose children should feel free to run the streets and scream with laughter instead of fear.

Do you see, now? Do you understand, yet?

We didn’t “invade” anywhere for personal gain but, rather, to liberate those under the oppressive heel of tyranny. The places we’ve gone, the lives that were lost, it was a choice we made. One we knew might mean our deaths.

One that did mean my death.

But, it was a choice that needed to be made. One I would make all over again, even knowing the suffering I’ll go through when I’m shot. Even knowing the emotional pain my family will have to live with, I’d make that choice again.

We all would.

You see, because we made that choice, and even though our families grieved and grieve for us still, they are Free.

They cried when they received word that we’d died in battle.

But they received it in Freedom.

They cried and held each other as they watched our coffins lowered into the ground, the graves marked by these simple white crosses.

But they clung together, and in Freedom.

Our families have not been separated and interred in prison camps or forced into slave labor or killed simply because they didn’t fit the Madman’s imagined “perfect” human because we chose to defend that Line-In-The-Sand against the Madman.

It’s a hard choice. It’s made harder still by those who call us “war criminals” simply because we stand up to the school-yard bully. That’s exactly what he is, too. A bully. He runs and hides when we step up to defend that Line. He won’t face us in honest battle. But, instead of crying out against the Madman, we are denigrated for trying to stop him and protect you. It makes a hard job harder still.

Especially for our loved ones.

You certainly don’t want to hear that someone's told your family you are a "tool of the military industrial complex" or a "warmongering psychopath brute," do you? Yet, so many of you do just that to ours. You upset our parents and spouses who already worry about us. You scare our children into thinking we’re blood-thirsty monsters. We’re fighting to keep you free, too, you know.

Instead of calling us names and deriding our choice to defend your freedom, think about what would happen if we weren’t there.

Think about what would happen if the Madman won because we gave up.

Think about the Freedom you have and then imagine it gone if you didn’t have us to defend it.

Defend it with our blood.

Defend it with our very lives.

Now…

Now…

Now you can cry.

But, don’t cry for us.

We chose this life that we knew might mean death.

No, don’t cry for us.

Cry for those who still don’t understand these crosses.

Cry for those who refuse to see we fight because we love you more than ourselves.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Stoopid Is As Stoopid Does...

Anyone here want to admit to being stupid? Show of hands? Anyone?

Well, I'm certainly not going to shy away from admitting I am, ON OCCASION, stupid. Not an unlearned, ignorant type of stupid. Nor the, WON'T learn type of stupid, either. I mean "stupid" in the mildest form of its definition. As in, "Wow! Didn't see that coming!" It happens to all of us. We get blind-sided from time to time by things, even people, we didn't expect it from. Even the "Okay, I SO screwed that up! I can't believe how stupid I am!" kind of stupidity strikes us all from time to time. Every one of us has moments we'd like to take back and, like a kid in grade school, shout "Do Over!" Or, for those of us from the VCR-era, hit the Rewind/Erase button of life!

But, there are people out there who work off the assumption that everyone else is stupid and they are brilliant. People who con others out of time, money, even property. The really good ones, you never see it coming and don't even know it's happened until it's too late. They're that good. Even when something starts to set off that little "this is not right" alarm in your brain, they can effortlessly charm and/or explain it away in a manner that seems plausible. Well, plausible until after the fact, when we look back on it and wonder why we fell for it in the first place.

My favorite type of con artist is the one you can see coming a mile away. Problem is, they're few and far between. And usually found on the internet in your e-mail. Yes, the ever exciting 'YOU HAVE WON OUR ONLINE LOTTERY PROMO!' e-mail just landed in my box not 30 minutes ago. Oh, there's a couple others I love, too. There's the "I am a bank official at a bank in (insert African nation of choice) and I want to ask you to help me move millions of (so called) unclaimed dollars out of here before the government takes it all away!" Or, perhaps, they got your name by talking to an official at an Embassy party while they were in New York (a doctor I worked for actually got that one in snail-mail). Oh! And what about the man dying in a hospital (the last one was in London, England!) and he wants to send me his millions of Pounds to dispense to various charities so his wicked, shiftless relatives don't get their hands on it! I actually played with this one a bit. I mean, honestly, folks, why would any SANE person offer to send an ABSOLUTE STRANGER money of any type, let alone millions!? I asked Mr. English Citizen why he didn't go to his lawyer and have him, oh, say, write up a will? I'm sure they have wills in England, same as here in America. I'm sure the law states a will has to be complied with in England, same as here in America. The law's funny that way. You're supposed to obey it, y'know?

Anyway, I took leave in my reply to Mr. EC to doubt he was actually in a hospital, never mind a millionaire. I actually got back a picture of some man of vaguely Arabic decent sitting on some sort of bench/stool in a hospital gown, a small table holding a lap top on it and various tubes looking like they were running up his nose and into his arm. He was really quite wired up. I was impressed. For a con, they were working this one hard. Thought they'd found a live one, I guess. I offered to gladly give them my bank information to transfer those millions of Pounds as soon as they could send me that promised percentage, up front, so I'd know they were legitimate because, if they were NOT legitimate, I was going to turn them over to.... well, I think I made up some scary sounding branch of the FBI that I was going to send it to. For some reason, I never heard from Mr. EC again.... O.o* (innocent Bambi-eyes)

**quick aside.... if you ever do decide to play with one of these idiots... which I don't really recommend, it just shows they've reached a legit e-mail, but IF YOU DO!... tell them you want them to route it to a special account you've set up just for this money since, obviously you don't want the government of (insert favorite African nation) finding it, let alone the US government's IRS since they'll just want to tax it. They can just transfer it to The West Bank of The Mississippi under the name Buddy Yu bin Touk. That's another one that gets them to leave you alone (hahahaaaahahahahaha!)
...okay, back to our story in progress**

These sort of internet cons continue because there is a plethora of stupid people .... no, let me re-type that.... STUPID PEOPLE! out there. People who truely believe that someone in a foreign country dug around until they, *gasp*, found them and that person just knows they are writing to an honest and upright person, God bless you! (as if invoking God's name somehow makes the e-mail legit!?!) I'd say "Use some good old common horse sense, folks!" but sense isn't so common anymore, stupid horse-brained masses!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Poetry

Okay, time for the Minstral to flex her abilities.

I love our military. I have no way to express that except to shake the hand of every Vet I meet and tell him (or her) "Thank You." But, how do you thank a man who chose to put himself in Harm's way for people he didn't know? How do you tell a man you appreciate the sacrifices he and his brothers (not to mention his family back home) made in the battle for freedom? Especially when so many FOOLS today want to decry that very sacrifice. Want to heap criticisms on our Warriors. Oh, man! They had SO better not EVER do that to a Warrior, retired or active, in front of me. It's entirely possible I'll be brought to trial for murder with their body as evidence! (grrrr!)

Several of the men in my church were in the military. One was in Pearl Harbor that fateful December 7th. He shouldn't have been, he was just transfering through and was supposed to leave on Monday... the 8th.... He'll talk about that day, tell you of his memories, but his aging, nearly blind eyes will fill with tears as he sees again the horrors Japan visited on our sleeping country. I don't remember his name, but almost immediatly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, a Japanese General is recorded as having said "I fear we have woken a sleeping giant and filled him with a terrible purpose." He was so right. And that purpose was fed by the fierce heart of our Warriors. Even one of my cousins was in the Air Force. I don't know exactly what he did, he just smiles whenever he's asked. I know he was in Afghanastan at one point. (during the first Bush administration, I believe) Then there's the men who are in Special Forces. Wow. And our Marines? (in dress uniform, double wow!..... okay, okay, I'll behave) No, seriously, in any branch, these are people dedicated not only to the preservation of peace (even more than the cops mentioned in my previous post, they'd love to lay down their arms), they are also ready for war. They know it will come. They're the ones willing to stand up to the school-yard bully and tell him he's not allowed to cross that line! And, if he does? They're the ones there to meet him. He's NOT going to get near their familes! No way!

So.... how do you thank them? A simple handshake just doesn't seem like enough, yet I've been humbled when I've said my Thank You to Vets and seen them tear up because Just. One. Person. Cared. And their proud, loving families have, too. Don't decry them. Think about them. Think about what they do. What they're willing to do.
Think about how it would really be if they weren't there.
Think about what THEY gave, and give.
Think about their love....


No Greater Love....

As I stare in awe and wonder
At this flag before my eyes,
I see within its glowing depths
Those who fought for Freedom's prize:
The heart to win, the will to fight,
The choice to stand for God and right.
I see the men who knew me not
Yet, for my freedom, fiercely fought.
Of cold and sickness, fear and pain,
Endured all that we might gain.
As I stand in awe and wonder
And I think on Freedom's past
And think of all the battles fought
That Liberty might last:
I hear the cry of soliders lost,
To save my life they paid the cost.
I hear the thunder, battles fierce,
I hear the sobs the heart to pierce.
A mother's loss, a country's gain,
How hard the heart feels not the pain?
As I watch this flag above
And think upon a Warrior's love,
Giving all for Freedom's gain,
Counting not the cost or pain.
Standing fast tho' heart should break,
His friends-at-arms he'll not forsake.
The Warrior's heart will ne'er give in,
For Freedom's sake he'll fight to win.
Proud, this flag shows Warriors' love,
He gave his all for me and you.
It's proof? The stripes of boldest red.
He fought for those he never knew!
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend." John 15:13

© Copyright 2003 Pam Sears (UN: condorsfan at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Cops have rights, too!

I'll confess, I tho't of several other equally appropriate titles for this ("Dumb Criminals Make Cops' Job Easier" or "Dumb Citizens Make Cops' Job Harder"... can you tell who's side I'm on, here?) but we'll stick with the simple. Yes, Cops have rights, too. They uphold the law for us and they have the right to:

1) our gratitude: they keep the criminals, dumb or not, off the streets
2) our thanks: see reason one, plus all the other things they do that DON'T have to do with upholding the law. Say, for instance, the charities they work with and for to help children or battered women.
3) our help: how can we help them? BY STAYING OUT OF THE WAY!! And by not castigating them when they DO their job!
...most important, they have the right to:
4) go home, in one piece, to their familes every time their shift ends.

I get SO TIRED of these imbeciles who criticize cops for doing their jobs. Do cops make mistakes? Sure. So do you and I. Are there bad cops out there? Of course, but there are bad apples in EVERY barrel! You can't point a finger at someone without three pointing back at yourself. Remember that! A few years ago, I saw an idiot holding up a sign stating that the cops had murdered her brother. What the sign DIDN'T say was what the brother may have done to get himself shot by an officer doing his job. With rare exception, cops would rather NOT have to pull their guns, let alone pull the trigger. It's a huge responsibility to carry a weapon, knowing that you may have to injure someone, or even end their life to preserve your own or someone elses. Gun owners will jokingly state that "Gun Control Is Hitting Where You're Aiming"; but, it's more than that. Gun control is knowing you CAN use the gun, but choosing NOT to unless you're forced.

Okay, a few examples. Last month in my city, there was an officer involved shooting. Allow me to set the scene:
It's mid-afternoon on a Sunday, a church service has just let out and adults and children are milling about in the parking lot fellowshipping after the service. They notice a young man, a teen, in the parking lot of a drive-thru across the street and someone notices the kid has a knife.

Okay, time out, I don't know about you, but I see someone - even across the street - carrying a knife in plain view, I'm going to chase all the kids BACK INSIDE THE CHURCH and lock the doors before I call the cops. Just common sense, folks (which, apparently, isn't so common any more!) Our church had a similar incident about six months ago. The police were searching for a man in our church's neighborhood whom they'd exchanged gun fire with. What did our pastor do? He made sure the kids were locked in the basement for Sunday school, the doors to the upstairs access were locked and that several of our bigger, stronger men were on guard duty in the lobby. In short, he did everything he could to ensure our safety until we were given the all clear by the police. COMMON SENSE!

Okay, time in:
People at this church call the police about this young man and one group flags down a female officer, pointing the youth out. Now, the group that flags her down happens to be in the same parking lot as the knife-carrying youth. She's out of her car by now, sees who the citizen is pointing to and tell the kid to stop and drop his knife. Apparently this kid was either on something he shouldn't have been, or off something he should have been on. Whichever, he was dumb enough to bring a knife to a gun fight. Witness accounts say he threw his knife at her and the citizen who'd flagged her down, rather than drop his knife. Some try to say he lobbed it over her head, but others state she had to duck. As far as I'm concerned, this kid just assaulted a police officer. With a very sharp, potentially deadly weapon. She slowly approaches the teen now that he's no longer sporting a weapon, her gun drawn and tells him to lie on the ground.

But, Stupid isn't done. Instead of obeying the nice officer with the big gun, he reaches into a pocket and pulls out a second knife, unfolding it to use as a weapon, and takes several steps in her direction. I don't know about you, but someone with an edged weapon starts walking toward me, and I have a gun, I'm going to stop him by shooting him. I'd rather NOT take the chance that I'll be seriously injured, or worse, by trying to disarm him in a hand-to-hand fight. Especially if he's hopped up on something. Apparently this officer agrees with me because she shot him.

However, she didn't kill him. She merely wounded him. Deliberate or not, the teen survived with only a bullet hole to show for his stupidity. What does this officer have? Well, her life, thankfully. But not, apparently, the gratitude of those who called for assistance in the first place. The man who flagged her down and pointed the boy out says (and I quote) "We didn't call the police to do what they did [shoot the suspect]. They'd hoped officers could talk to the teen about what was troubling him." (word for word from the paper) The officer was also criticized by those in the church parking lot across the street for shooting because there were children outside. WHY WERE THEY OUTSIDE WHEN A CRAZY MAN WITH A KNIFE WAS PRESENT?!?

I've learned a few things, recently, about how the human mind responds to a physical threat. Joe Average Citizen takes 6 seconds to realize there's even a threat. It takes us another 3 to 6 seconds to RESPOND to that threat. At the other end of the spectrum is Joe Special Forces who has been trained to analyze, recognize and begin responding to a threat within those first 6 seconds. Somewhere in the middle is Joe Cop. He doesn't respond as fast as Joe Special Forces (unless he was one), but he DOES respond a lot faster than Joe Average Citizen. A threat we might not even recognize, or recognize fast enough, is assessed, the level of danger is determined and the officer responds accordingly.

People who criticize an officer for what they deem their "shoot first, ask questions later" attitude don't understand the threat officers have to live with on a daily basis. They don't just chase speeders or bank robbers. They go after gang members, rapists, murders, people who commit unspeakably violent acts without a care because they can. Except, there's this group of committed people who say, "No. You can't." They stand there and say "The Law says that's not allowed. And, I won't allow you to do it." They could get killed for making that choice. Worse, they could be permanently injured and/or maimed for making that stand. But, do we thank them?
No.
Should we?
Oh, yes!
If not for them, anarchy would reign. People would die for simply looking at someone wrong. Thieves would steal even more than they do now (those who have been the victim of robbery know the feeling of violation and helplessness... that would be increased by a factor of 10 squared if not for the police)

I believe this officer acted correctly. The teen, by throwing his first knife at them, threatened both her life and that of the citizen next to her. He threatened her life even further by pulling out a second knife before he was shot. Nowhere in any of the accounts was it stated she simply went cowboy and started firing away. She made a fast, but informed decision that this teen was not going to respond to normal commands and was, in fact, going to cause harm. Smart woman.

Live woman.