A Question of Faith

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There has been a post looming in my mind for some time. I am not sure what It will be titled, or how it will come together. The only thing I have that is solid is a topic – faith and spirituality.

As any reader of this blog knows I have a lot of faith and I am very much a spiritual person. In this last year all of it was put to the test. Looking back I can’t say I walked away unscathed. My spirituality took a hit. Each night I would go to sleep  in my bed I would pray and cry (if I fell asleep in the recliner I didn’t pray – I slept there a lot).  I must say I began to grow weary of praying, knowing that it would lead to tears because I didn’t know how the events of my life would turn out.

So what changed you ask? The way I feel when I pray. I used to feel like I had this direct line to God. It was a fiercely strong connection. Now, that feels absent. I feel like my prayers are like dandelion fluff and they are going out into the prayer universe.

I feel like this past year I should have a stronger connection to Him. A connection that I could have had, but relied too much on my own capabilities to get through hard times rather than handing it over to God. I just couldn’t let go. I couldn’t let go of the certainty of the anxiety that I felt and let it go into the uncertainty of God.

“The uncertainty of God”, is a powerful phrase. Since when did I start believing that God was uncertain? I don’t, I am sure I don’t. If I don’t, then why did I just say it?

I know that God is out there and I know I can pray. I think the events of this last year have just left me feeling unprotected and vulnerable. I remember after the car accident not being able to take the good things and really appreciate them because I was too focused on the stinking pile of mess that was the rest of my life.

This past weekend I ran into a man who I have known all my life. We used to go to the same church and he was talking to my Mom about retirement and asking her when she was going to retire. My Mom showed hesitancy. (Rightly so, she is very active in her work and she enjoys it and the people. There is no reason for her to quit just yet.) Our friend took one look at her face and said that if it was money that she was worried about, she shouldn’t be.  He proceeded to tell us how that was a concern for him and he had prayed about it. He said that God said to him, “Who do you have faith in, Me or money”?

That is a very powerful question. Who do I have more faith in, God who has seen me through, or myself, who is not all-knowing and all-seeing? Is it even a matter of faith, or is it a matter of trust? I have faith that God is there, but maybe it is just my trust in Him that is failing. The trust that He is really going to avert me from disaster and I won’t have disaster after disaster land on my head again.

The trust of disaster aversion is important. Is it the most important thing? Maybe not, maybe what is more important is the soft place to land after disaster has struck.

That will be something to ponder on tonight after I have prayed….and cried.

Media and Politics

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I have posted on here before of my opinion of news sites and what they choose to post. More often than not I find myself rolling my eyes rather than feeling educated. Today I went in search of Mitt Romney to find out more about his platform and what people are saying.

Was I greeted with Romney news? Sure, after I look past Weinergate: A Tale of a Man, A Camera, and Twitter. The top, not one, two, or three, but FOUR, news stories were about Congressman Weiner and how his Twitter account was hacked and a picture of him in his underwear became Twitter-fare. It might be funny if it weren’t so pathetic.

How is it possible that in this country where we have the greatest informational resources known to man, what comes over the wire is a story of a man who has taken a lewd photo? Now I know some will say that he says he didn’t take it. I will believe as soon I see an elephant fly. The man never denies having not taken a photo like that, and regardless of whether or not he sent it, I believe that it is him. Let his lawyers prove otherwise.

For me this issue calls to mind many questions.

1. As a political figure, why on earth would you take a photo of yourself in your underwear? That is just stupid.

2. Why would anyone take a photo of themselves like that? I get it, long distance relationships create tough times for couples, but after seeing time and again, photos like this surfacing, why take the chance?

3. What does this say about us as Americans that not only are we giving this man the spotlight for an image that, frankly needs only be seen by his wife, but that it has taken over the political sections of news websites over and above a man who has just announced his run for the leader of the free world.

Only in this country could a man, his underpants and Twitter trump the issue of the presidency.

No More Miss Nice Gal

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Nice gals always finish last. Is this true? I don’t know. Some would say that it is not, other would say it is. I say today it feels true.

My brother, mother and I all went in on the same phone plan to save money. I called my carrier and got my brother a free phone – because he wanted one just like mine. I did that for him because I wanted him to have a nice phone and he really liked mine. Then I check the bill. He or someone has racked up nearly 100 dollars in charges such as downloading ringtones – I can’t see my brother downloading Justin Bieber. His ex girlfriend however, I can.

She currently has the phone. The phone bill is about to go over its minutes. I have tried to get it back, but to no avail. She wont meet me because I am a stranger, even though I wanted to meet in a public place. (She cant meet a stranger but its ok for me to pay her phone bill.) Then we offer to pay for her a cab to go to my brother to drop the phone off but she wont do that because she doesn’t trust cabs. Bottom line it this woman is nuts, a user, and a liar. She also has an extremely vulgar mouth. I can’t remember the last time the f-bomb was used at me, or I was called that word.

I am just hoping to get the phone back from her. If I shut the phone off, then I really have no way to contact her to get it back. She has also threatened to throw it in the Mississippi. Funny she can make it to the river to drop it in but not to the home to drop it off. The genius has said all of this in a text message, so if I ever take her to court I have proof she has destroyed the phone. She claims to not have a car to get to the home so I have given her until 6pm tomorrow to get the phone back to me or I call the police, report it stolen, and call the phone company to shut the service off. Then I will start court proceedings against her for the cost of the phone and the charges to the phone. I have checked it out and I think I can prove it was her who downloaded the ringtones by looking at the calls that took place around the times that the ringtones were downloaded. I can prove a couple, but I have to investigate further. I want to be prepared if I have to go to court.

This nice gal will not be finishing last.

Osama Bin Laden

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Tonight was indeed a historic evening. At about 10 pm I saw the news report the death of Osama Bin Laden. My first reaction was shock. Then came the fear that the news agencies had a false lead. Once I realized that Bin Laden was dead, I could only watch the news in amazement.

Ten years ago this man masterminded the worst attack on American soil our country has seen. He was successful in inciting fear and terror, fear and terror that lasted much longer than the 40 minute gun battle that ended his life.

I am grateful to the forces that eliminated this man. I believe now the people of our country can now begin to properly heal. I think the healing process has already begun of course, but I am sure there had to be that lingering sense of what if in the back of the minds of many Americans. Thanks to the American government that “What if” has now been minimized in a major way.

I have often heard it said that Americans have forgotten 9/11. Anyone who has read this blog knows that in my case it is certainly not true. I also believe that many Americans who have loved ones stationed abroad and at home still remember, as do the family members who have lost loved ones in the war on terror.

Tonight my hope is similar to that of President Obama’s. I hope that our country can come together again, this time not in terror, but in joy, elation, and relief that Bin Laden is no longer a living threat. I hope that as a nation we can ban together under American pride for having gotten rid of a man who represented pure evil.

I also want to say thank you to the individuals who came together to make this mission a success. I want to thank them for giving their nation the gift of a peace of mind that this man is gone. Thank you for your hard work, your bravery and your sacrifices to make this happen.  I also want to thank the soldiers who since 9/11 have died in the effort to rid the world of this man. To those men and women, your sacrifices will not be forgotten. I also want to thank the families of all soldiers for giving up their loved ones so that the rest of this country may feel safe. Thank you for giving up having them at holidays and special occasions and for letting the burden of our freedom rest partly on your shoulders.
Sincerely,

A grateful and proud American citizen

On American Literature…

I am currently taking an American Lit course in school. My God. I had no clue that Americans were so morbid in their writing. Good grief, what the heck? Maybe it has been the selections of the professor, but I am wholly underwhelmed.

We started out with Whitman and Dickinson and worked into Huck Finn. Then it was short stories about race, death, soldiers and PTSD. Then over break it was As I Lay Dying by Faulkner. That book is just horrific.

I have discovered I am an emotional reader. When asked if I liked a story or not,  my first response is not yes or no, or anything about overall themes. I tell people how it made me feel.

To Faulkner: You make me feel disturbed. Your absence of emotion and overabundance of apathy and callousness is disgusting.  I read you and I need a mental vacation and a hot bath.

So WordPress world, is American Lit overall just morbid? Say it isn’t so. If it is, I am adopting British Literature – at least then I can have my Austen.

Blog, what blog?

I can’t hardly believe that it is has been nearly two months since my last post. Where has the time gone? Oh, yeah, that’s right, school. How could I forget school?

To say life has been busy the last few months would be an uderstatement. I feel like everyday there is always three or four things that I should have done that I did not manage to get to do. Blogging is one of them.

You know its funny, no matter what is going on, no matter how crazy things are, blogging is one of the things that I usually want to do.  I am going to have to find a way to make it a priority.

So other than school what’s been going on you ask? Not a whole lot. I have just been trying hard to find the balance between work and school and sleep and having a coffee with friends.

Right now we are on spring break. Well, that is what the school calls it anyway. My lit teacher is calling it the week she doesn’t have to teach. I have so much work to do for that class, its not even funny. Not to mention the 12 page paper that I have to research and the two page paper I have to write.

The one project that I am really jazzed about it the 12 page research paper. It is for my Civil War course. I am focusing on the message that the government sent to the women about sacrifice and how that idea of the irreplaceable value of women was indeed replacable at the end of the war when suddenly the contributions of the women were forgotten and they were seen as greedy money-suckers when they came to collect their husband’s pension.

In fact this Friday I will be heading up to the state capitol to do some more research on the subject. It’s about an hour and a half away, so that will make for a nice drive. Mom said that she would go with me. I am glad, because another pair of researching eyes will definitely come in handy.

I know that the material is out there, it will just require some digging. I wont have long to dig, but I will do my best. Then it will be back home to finish As I Lay Dying.

Widows and As I Lay Dying, nothing like a happy and cheerful spring break!

My name is not Bitch.

I have done a few posts on manners and respect. I find that once again this topic is something I am revisiting in my life.

A friend of mine whom I have not seen in the last 20 years reconnected with me before the holidays. I am thrilled about this. I never thought I would have the opportunity to ever speak or see him again and to know now that I can text him whenever I want is just fantastic.

Over the last two decades though, things changed in both our worlds. I know this because he called me one day and as a greeting said “Hey bitch”. Now I know full well that it was not meant in the derogatory sense. I get it. I have seen this done before. However, its not behavior that I condone.

I am not his female dog, nor am I anyone’s female dog.  In the best sense this word means whining female. I am not that either. I am first and foremost a woman and a lady. As such I demand the respect that comes with both of those words.

I have self respect. I am not going to let anyone refer to me as something less than what I am. I had a father who did that for years. He would put me down as nothing more than an ignorant child or a mouthy teen. In most cases it was not warranted as I was just expressing my ideas of the world and how I felt I should be treated in it.

I am not saying I want people to kiss the ground I walk on, heck no. What I am saying is answering the phone to hear the name of a garden tool, or a female canine, being used in place of my own is not acceptable behavior.

So, as inquiring minds want to know, did I say something? Heck yes. I said that that behavior was not acceptable that I do not let any man not even the ones I am closest to speak to me that way and I was not going to give him that chance either. I am a lady and as such I deserve that respect.

Did it work? Yes, for a few conversations, then it was back to it. To which I reminded this person that those words were still not acceptable. Will it work from this point on? I hope so. If not, we will be having another conversation.

What I want to know, is how did this get started?  Who was the woman that said it was acceptable for them to be called a bitch? I do know some females who see empowerment in that word, that it means they  using their feminine role to “act like a man”. They say if a man is successful he is honored and if a woman does the same, she is a bitch, so they look at it as a compliment.

To me, pure and simple, its not. Call me confident, call me sexy, call me smart, call me ballsy and brave, but don’t call me a bitch.

Clearing it all out..

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It’s a new year and time to haul out the old to make way for a fresh start. As you can read at my new blog here, I have gone through and de-cluttered my make up. At first it was a bit of a shock  to have it that cleaned out, but now it is so nice to open the cabinet and not see 50,000 products.

I did the same with my medicine cabinet. I tossed out any medicine that was expired or an expiration date that could not be found. Then I attacked the under the sink cabinet and drawers. I got rid of cleaning products and expired rubbing alcohol and peroxide. Next came the hair brushes, combs, and hair ties. I tossed everything stretched out or near broken and put all of my brushed and combs in one bin, headbands, bobby pins and clips in another. Then came the hair elastics. I had no clue what to do with them until I saw a cardboard jewelry box that a Christmas gift came in. It was perfect, just the size I need. Now I can just reach in and put them out instead pulling out tangled bits, bobs, hair ties and loose hair.For the smaller hair ties I am going to get a cardboard ring box to store them.

The second drawer houses my hair dryer, curling iron, extra bath poofs, and the all important pedicure supplies. I keep my nail polishes in my medicine cabinet, but there isn’t enough room to house my files and clips and such in that. So I swapped the basket that used to house my jumble of hair ties with my pedicure supplies. It works much better. Its larger and I can see in it much easier without rooting about for a nail clipper.

Now feeling all productive and accomplished, I went to my jewelry. I organized the studs from the danglies and put my long inexpensive necklaces on a hanging tie rack that I keep on  hook that hangs on my closet door. I put my nicer necklaces on the hooks inside my jewelry chest. I threw out any broken jewelry that wasn’t worth getting fixed. Each piece that I do want repaired went into tiny ziploc bags and now they are all ready to go to the jewelers.

Motivated I attacked the three junk drawers in my bedroom. Junk drawers are amazing. For me they are the last refuge of an item before the garbage. If I don’t exactly where something should go or I don’t have a place for  it, or I am not quite sure if I need it or not, in the drawer it goes. In my attempt to de-clutter I went from three drawers of “stuff” to one organized drawer and two empty drawers.

That was yesterday, today I am working on the office. Lord have mercy. How does paperwork accumulate like that? My shredder is going to be working overtime to be sure. I just want to dump everything. I have books on bookcases and I am just packing them away. I want to keep them, I just don’t want to see them. One day I will have a space for them, today is just not that day.

I am ready for it all to be cleared out. That is the light at the end of the tunnel in this project and its not very far off. It will get cleared out, one piece at a time!

Re-evaluting the Recession and the Joneses.

Financially the last few years have  been taking a toll on everyone. I find it interesting that even though I hear people saying things are getting better, I am still hearing about serious layoffs and a large number of people out of work.

This year, this holiday season to be specific, I am seeing some changes from last year, positive changes. There seems to be a calmer sense among the people this holiday season. I am not sure of the cause. I was in Target not too long ago and there was not the mad panic that I have felt in years previous. People are buying, to be sure but not like I have seen since before the big R, but still, the dollars are racking up.

It makes me wonder if people haven’t just sort of accepted the state of affairs. Are people feeling more comfortable in saying “I can’t afford (insert gift here)?” If so is it because they know, odds are their neighbors are going through the same thing? Have we as a society really started to say, let me find another way to show you how much I care instead of spending money? Are we saying it’s ok to not do the hog-wild thing because no one expects extravagances this Christmas and because we aren’t expected to keep up with it?

Part of me can’t help but wonder if cutting back won’t in some ways make this a better holiday season. To not have to worry about what fabulous thing to find someone, to have an even larger pool of debt come January. To have acceptance of how things are and to be open in it, instead of looking at everyone else and wishing how things could be.

Lately I have been getting into all things vintage. From plates to purses, I am just enamored. One thing I have noticed, everything was smaller back in the day. People got by on much much less. It’s not easy to find a vintage purse to fit my modern needs. Women just didn’t carry all the stuff we do now.

That is a theme that fits well in this modern time, getting by on less. If this recession continues, I wonder what further strides as a society we will be making towards simplicity?

Defining success

What is success? For as many different kinds of people, there are there are that many kinds of success. For some, it’s getting out of bed, for others its making that unnecessary extra million.

Success is a question that has been on my mind the last few days. What makes me successful? A few months ago I would have said getting A’s, working as hard as I can and getting through each day.

Today, my view-point is different.

Today, I see success as doing the best I can. My best may not always be an A. It might be *gasp* a B! A few weeks ago I had some anxiety hit, HARD. I took every measure I could to handle it, but unfortunately, a mental meltdown did occur. The stress of everything was just too much and I could not deal with it all.

This was unreal to me. How could I not deal with all of this? I have dealt with difficult things in my life before and have come out without having a total breakdown. What was different this time?

Somewhere along the way, I lost my balance. I even, I think, lost some faith. I knew I wasnt praying as much. Not that God wasn’t still my homie, I just didn’t have time. There were too many other things to think about. I shut out all things in favor of school and work.  In short, I was a flamin’ hot mess. I was on fire people.

Now that I have gone through that, I can look back and say, I never want to be there again. It was awful. So how am I going to do that? Good question, and I don’t know that I have the whole answer yet.

I think it just going to start with baby steps, doing one thing at a time. Taking time to break, breathe, and for heaven’s sakes to just BE.

I am seeing a school counselor to help me get back on track. We have been meeting for a while now and she has really helped me to see the light in a lot of ways. I don’t know how I got so lucky to find her the first time out, but I did, and I am so grateful.

I am meditating. Thanks to a friend who showed me Meditation Oasis on iTunes, I am using those podcasts to help unwind, and put some cash in my emotional bank.

Does this mean I am not scared or anxious anymore? Nope. It just means I am dealing with it as I can and when I have to. Well, that’s the goal anyway. It’s hard, I won’t lie.

I can see progress. I am not waking up in the middle of a panic attack, nor am I having tremendous bouts of tears. For me, that is my success. Today, that is how I define success.