VideoPlay

Video: Maintaining Friendships Throughout Years

I’m participating in the Say it Face to Face web conversation. In essence, someone asks a question and we respond to those questions via video.

The below video is my response to the question: “How do you maintain your childrens’ friendships through different school phases?”

Do you remember losing touch with good friends throughout your school years? I remember having one best friend in middle school and then totally losing track of her in high school. Mainly because she started hanging out with, er, the “tough” kids and I didn’t want any part of it.

I had a few best friends throughout high school, mainly through the drama department, but the one friend I was the closest to I pushed away. And that was entirely my fault – I was jealous of her and the attention she got from the boys.

I regret that now.

I’ve seen friendships come and go with my boys. For the most part, we’ve been pretty comfortable with the boys’ friends, though there are a few that I cringe every time it’s suggested they get together, simply because I either A. don’t trust them, or B. I’m not exactly sure they are a positive influence on my boys. But I’ve never gotten to the point where I’ve vetoed the friendships simply because they seem to be fizzling out on their own.

Tell me, how successful have you been in maintaining your school friendships? How successful have your children been?

random stuff, Tuesday Stuff

Random Tuesday: Look at Me, I’m the Sahara Desert

randomtuesday

1 Ugh. I have so much to talk about I don’t know where to start.

So, I’ll start where I always start – ME. Because it’s all about ME, don’t cha know. 😉

I’m dry. As in Sahara desert dry. My blog is suffering, big time. I used to have oodles of ideas to write about …. wait, I still have oodles of ideas to write about, but now? I click on New Post and just stare at the stark whiteness. The blinking cursor mesmerizes me. My fingers ache from holding position, just over the keyboard, and just when I’m about to FORCE myself to write something, the sound of a fresh new email dings in the background and I’m eagerly clicking out of the window to tend to my distraction.

I just CAN’T seem to make myself write anything. Even now, it’s taken me about 30 minutes to write these 150 words.

I feel so lackluster. Just …. MEH.

I know what’s wrong with me. I haven’t been reading. As in, AT ALL. I’ve been spending my time either working (which I should be *ahem*), working out, or goofing off online. And by that I mean, wasting an insane amount of time on Twitter, reading blogs, or watching mind-numbing Youtube videos.

Youtube? Is a SERIOUS time suck.

Looking back at my book page – I haven’t read anything since August 8th. WTH?! That’s unacceptable!! The year is nearly over and I’ve read a grand total of 15 books?! NOT COOL! I need to get back to it. I will get back to it. I have to. Because reading is the ying to my yang. It’s the life in my life force. I need to read. I must read.

And let’s not forget that the Fall library book sale is coming up the end of October. I skipped the Spring sale because I seriously have too many books I haven’t read yet but damn it! I’m NOT skipping this sale. The world would cease to exist if I managed to not go to at least ONE book sale per year.

So. Keep an eye on my sidebar over there. And if you don’t see the books change under the “I’m Currently Reading” section, seriously, contact me and chew me a new a-hole.

I feel like I’m fading from reality. I must get back into reading and get back into the world of make believe.

(Yes, I realize that didn’t make sense. Hush).


2 Speaking of books …

I’ve been toying with this idea, on and off, for the past month. What do you all think about doing a book swap? I have no idea how it might work and it’ll probably be rough around the edges until we’ve worked all the kinks out, but I have soooo many books that I MUST get rid of. Oh sure, I could, and DO, use Bookmooch. And I love Bookmooch. But I think I’d prefer to give my books away to someone I KNOW.

As in, you all.

Well, I don’t KNOW you, but you KNOW what I mean, right?

Anyway, let’s give it a try and see how it works. I’m working details out now, so if you have a few books you’d like to swap with someone and you’d like to play along, check back Thursday, October 1st, and we’ll see if we can’t muddle through this together. 🙂


3 The boys get their school pictures taken tomorrow. I both love this time and hate this time.

I love it because I love getting the pictures back and then updating portraits around the house.

I hate it because the boys won’t allow me to dress them up anymore. I used to LOVE picking out their little outfits, combing their hair and making sure they color-coordinated with their backgrounds but now?

I’m lucky if they allow me to breathe the same air as they do. 😀 As a result, their school pictures these past several years have been … uh … less than stellar.

But that’s okay, because they are a good depiction of WHO they are and besides, I now have ammunition to use against them for when they get older. (“See? Momma DOES know best.” *grin*)

This will be Dude’s last year getting his school picture taken AT school. Next year (well, next summer actually), he’ll have fancy-smancy senior pictures taken.

I can’t even believe I just typed that sentence out.

I’ll have to scan all of their school pictures and post them some day. That probably won’t be interesting to anyone but friends and family but it might be fun to physically document how they’ve changed over the years.


4 We took Jazz to the orthodontist yesterday.

They took an x-ray of his teeth and would you believe the stinker STILL has THREE baby teeth?! I was shocked. I was sure he had lost all of them by now. But no, he still needs to lose the teeth between his eye teeth and his molars (the dental assistant gave them an official name, but I can’t think of it right now).

However, all three of them are just hanging there. The roots are gone and it won’t be long before they come out, so Dr. B. thought it would be okay to get the process started and just work around those particular teeth.

When Dr. B. began explaining to us what needed to be done, I was shocked. I honestly didn’t think Jazz needed that much work done. Not like Dude who had too many teeth for his mouth and had MAJOR crowding issues. (Dr. B. pulled up Dude’s before and after pictures — wow. I had forgotten how BAD Dude’s teeth really were. In fact, Kevin compared his mouth to a rodent’s mouth. HA!).

But Jazz’s problem is that his front teeth protrude out – not exactly an overbite, per se, but they stick out far enough to be a concern. Dr. B. also suggested that we might consider extracting a few teeth to make room for the adjustment.

*SIGH*

He suggested we do that with Dude, too. And I said no. I don’t want my sons going through life with holes in their mouth. And I honestly don’t think it’s necessary. Dude …. maybe, given his small mouth. But Jazz? No way. He has the room, the doctor will just have to manipulate his teeth.

Think of it as a challenge, Dr. B.

At any rate, Jazz will go back Monday to begin records. They will take more pictures of his mouth and I’ll fill out mountains of paperwork.

It’s funny because I didn’t realize, until I got home and was inputting Jazz’s appointment into my Outlook, that Dude has an appointment that same time on the same day, too. HA! Talk about killing two birds with one stone! Dude has to go in every few months, just for observation, for the next year (which he’s not happy about). So, it’ll be interesting: I’ll have one child wrapping the process up and one child beginning the process.

They’re predicting that Jazz will have braces for 30 months. This is assuming, of course, that all goes according to plan. That means that Jazz will have braces for most of his high school years. He’s not too happy about that. But after seeing what a DIFFERENCE it’s made to Dude’s self-esteem and confidence to have such straight and pretty teeth, it’s absolutely worth it.

We want to do all we can to help the boys get a good start in life and if we can start by giving them a confident smile, then so be it.

I’m predicting Dr. B. is going to want to put Jazz’s braces on this month and that might not be doable. Jazz has numerous band performances as well as a competition and a festival coming up this month and I don’t want him to be distracted by a painful mouth. So, I might suggest we wait until November to put the braces on – we’ll see how it goes.

At any rate, Dr. B. hasn’t seen the last of me.

Poor guy. 🙂


5 Speaking of band performances:

I just checked the band director’s blog — they have a rehearsal and a dinner this Friday night. And then they have a competition this Saturday.

Next weekend, they have some sort of clinic/dinner thing (not sure what that’s about), and then the weekend after that, we will go to St. Louis for the Bands Of America competition. (I’m looking forward to that).

The weekend after that, we go BACK to St. Louis for a festival and according to the schedule? Jazz’s band doesn’t perform until 8:00 that night, so it will be a loooong day. But again, I’m looking forward to it.

The weekend after that, they will be traveling to Columbia, MO for another performance.

And in between all of that, he has Tuesday night rehearsals and three football games.

Whew!

But I’m not complaining. In fact, I think I’m having more fun than he is!


6 And now, if you made it to the bottom of his long-ass post, YAY YOU!!

And as a reward? Here is a slightly psychotic picture of me enjoying one of the many taboo foods I should not eat:

Yum, Ice Cream
(I’m holding a mint drum stick with half of the hard chocolate coating eaten off. It was all I could do to stop eating long enough to snap this photo).

I’m sure your day is complete now.

You’re welcome.

😉

Movie/TV Reviews

Movie Review: Duplicity

I watched this one with Kevin. Which was a mistake to begin with — he’s not exactly the biggest Julia Roberts fan. In fact, he thinks the woman can not only NOT act, she’s homely looking.

Which, ordinarily, I would disagree with him. But in this movie? Well, she DID look a bit homely. And come to think of it? All of her characters ARE the same. Hhmm …

At any rate, he fell asleep about 30 minutes into the movie. And when the movie woke him up later? He walked his sleepy butt into bed and had no interest in watching the rest of it with me.

I should have followed him.

Duplicity

duplicity In essence, this movie is about trust.

And by that I mean, there isn’t any trust. In fact, these characters build a relationship on the fact that they can’t trust each other. It’s both fascinating and disturbing to watch.

Why disturbing? Because it makes me wonder just how many real-life couples out there are in a similar situation.

Julia Roberts’ character, Claire, and Clive Owens’ character, Ray, are CIA agents. They are both highly trained in the art of fooling people – including each other.

The movie’s time line is a bit disjointed. We begin in the present, then jump back a few years, then move forward to the present, then jump back 18 months and so on. At first, I didn’t care for the format, but after a while, I got used to it and looking at the big picture after the fact, I think this yo-yo story-telling method might have been the only way to tell this particular story.

At any rate, I’ve filed it away for future reference for my own stories.

After many years in the spy business, Claire has had enough. She wants to retire and and live the good life on her own terms. Together, her and Ray begin looking for that last “big” job — a job big enough to allow them to retire together.

Together, and yet separately, they find a possible situation. But by the time Ray finds out what Claire is up to, Claire is already knee deep in her undercover role and can’t back out – Ray is forced to wait until Claire can incorporate him into the overall scheme.

And she does, only Ray is on the opposing team. Claire works for one marketing company, Ray works for a competing marketing company and both company’s CEO’s hate each other so much they would love nothing more than to put the other out of business.

Claire’s company discovers a product so big that once it’s marketed and mass produced, it will turn the world upside down and make people desperate to buy it. Nearly half of the movie both teams are scrambling just to find out what the product is. And once the product has been discovered, the other half of the movie they are scrambling trying to keep the product secret on one end, and trying to steal it on the other end.

And in the middle of this series of complicated espionage moves, Claire and Ray are trying to steal it for themselves without letting their companies know what’s going on.

Throughout this entire movie, Claire doesn’t trust Ray and Ray doesn’t trust Claire. And even though you know the relationship shouldn’t work, somehow, it does: they are perfect for each other. And this annoys me, because the characters annoy me and is this movie over yet?

Yes. I confess. I nearly fell asleep. The confusing tricks and secret spy stuff felt watered down and not quite … real. Which sounds stupid considering it was a movie, but I simply couldn’t get into it. I think Claire was too smart and too strong for Ray and I got quite impatient with Ray and his always one step behind Claire antics. I like strong females, as long as they have a bone of humility and that bone? Was not in Claire’s character. I think she came off too brash and uppity.

The ending was unexpected and thoroughly dissatisfying. It was one of those endings where you just blink and say, “That’s it?! They went through all of that for … ?”

I’d give the movie a C- … maybe a C.

Maybe.

If you watched Duplicity, what did you think of it?

Abundant Life

Teaching: Truth Matters – Part One

Every Sunday I provide videos and valuable links to the Truth or Tradition teachings. We’ve been following the Truth or Tradition teachings for many years now and they have truly blessed our family. We have found peace and happiness through our beliefs and we walk confidently for God. My hope, by passing on this information to you, is that what you find here, or on the Truth or Tradition website, will guide you to a better, more blessed and abundant life.

If you would like to read my views on religion and how we got started with the ministry, you can read this.

Let’s get started:

“What is truth?” That is the question Pontius Pilate asked rhetorically as he turned away from the battered and bloody man standing before him, The Man who was, and still is, the Answer to that question.

In today’s world (especially Europe, but also the USA to a lesser but still very significant extent), the very concept of truth itself is being dismissed by many who are caught up in “postmodern” thinking. This mindset holds that “truth” is only a construction by the culture or the individual, so that what may be true for one is not true for another. Thus, truth is relative. Necessarily, the meaning of words is not fixed, but a function of interpretation, so that each person can construct his own meanings for them. Adhering to that fallacy leads only to external chaos and internal emptiness.

What is truth? An English dictionary says: “That which is in accordance with fact or reality; that which actually is.” In Scripture, the Greek word translated “truth” is aletheia, which means “the revealed reality, or the essence, of something.” That is, what you see is what you get.

The answer to the question posed by Pilate, and all others in the course of human history who have asked it, is two-fold: doctrinal and practical, or propositional and relational. Jesus gave us both sides of the answer by saying, “Your word is truth” (John 17:17) and, “I am the truth” (John 14:6).

Choosing to give mankind His written Word as the blueprint for life, and to give His Son, the living Word, as an example of how to live it, God designed truth to first be grasped by the human mind. But He desires that it go deeper than that, and be held in the human heart, as per Psalm 51:6: “Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.”

God wants people to be true, that is, that the truth within is evidenced by one’s words and deeds. “Dear children, let us not love [only] with words or tongue but with actions and in truth (1 John 3:18). The following verse contains a remarkable phrase: “This then is how we know that we belong to the truth… (1 John 3:19a). God’s goal for each of His children is that we belong to the truth. That means that we are held by it, as it were. It “owns” us because we have freely given our hearts to it.

Ephesians 4:15 is perhaps God’s most poignant plea as to how He wants us to relate to the truth. Unfortunately, it is mistranslated in nearly every Bible version, as follows: “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.” In the Greek text, there is no verb for “speaking.” The grammatical construction appears only one other place in the Bible (Gal. 4:16—“Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?”), and is more accurately (though awkwardly in English) translated “…truthing it…” Again, God’s goal is that we live the truth.

Of course, each person has the choice to relate to the truth otherwise, as Scripture makes clear. Some people “refuse to love the truth” (2 Thess. 2:10); some “distort the truth” (Acts 20:30); and some “suppress the truth” (Rom. 1:18). The good news is: “We cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth” (2 Cor. 13:8). And that is our goal on this website—to do something for the truth, to advance it into people’s hearts.

In Matthew 15:1-9 / Mark 7:1-13, Jesus contrasted truth with “tradition.” Replying to the hypocritical Jewish religious leaders who criticized his disciples for failing to adhere to one of the many extraneous requirements they had added to God’s Word, he said: “Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition.”

What is “tradition”? That word is translated from paradosis, which appears 13 times in the Greek text. It simply means “delivering over from one to another.” The context determines whether what was delivered was truth or whether it was the ideas of men that oppose the truth. Ten times it is used in the latter sense, and three times it is used in a positive sense, referring to true “teachings” (NIV) passed on by Paul to others.

As Jesus said, what originates from the minds of men and contradicts the truth “nullifies” the Word of God. That means that believing error does not bring one the benefits of believing truth, and may well bring consequences instead. We can deduce the same thing from John 8:31 and 32: “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” What is the converse to that? Wouldn’t it be that believing error puts you in bondage to some degree? Yes, and that is how “tradition” nullifies truth. Truth works in life, traditions don’t.

One more thing to note is the phrase, “the truth,” which appears about 85 times in Scripture. The qualifying article “the” means that there is no other truth. The Word of God is the truth, and thus, in regard to any particular verse, there is one, and only one, true meaning, the meaning intended by the Author. It is up to us to learn and utilize the inherent keys to the Word’s interpretation to arrive at that true meaning.

You can find the original article here.

If you have any questions, or would like to learn more about God’s wonderful message, please visit the Truth or Tradition website. You can also keep track of the ministry through their Facebook page, their YouTube Channel, or follow them on Twitter.

Thanks for reading.

(Comments have been turned off. The information is here, it’s up to you to accept, or deny, it).

More from Write From Karen

Movie/TV Reviews

Movie Review: Sunshine Cleaning

As some of you know, I don’t watch TV. In fact, I RARELY watch TV (though I have gotten into the habit of watching “The O’Reilly Factor” every night. WAIT! Come back! Don’t judge me on the fact that I like Fox News!).

But I do watch a lot of DVD’s.

On the treadmill.

Because I figure, hey, why not throw in a little exercise with my brainless activity?

I watch a lot of movies this way and without Kevin. My husband doesn’t have a lot of patience for most movies and prefers documentaries which … *YAWN*. So, watching movies on the treadmill works great for me.

I’d like to start keeping track of some of these movies. Mainly because I forget what I’ve watched and tend to rent them again (why yes, I AM that lame). But also because a lot of times, there was an aspect of the movie that struck a chord with me and I’d like to remember it for future reference.

You know, in case I ever get the urge to write a story based on that premise. (Said with some sarcasm because *snort* like that ever happens).

Sunshine Cleaning

sunshine-cleaning The biggest reason this movie appealed to me was because Amy Adams was in it. I loved her in “Enchanted” and just think she’s the cutest little actress.

And though I wasn’t expecting her to BE that character from “Enchanted,” I was still shocked – this was definitely a vastly different role for her.

I rarely agree with what critics say – and I mean rarely, but there was one observation that I thought summed the movie up perfectly, “Funny and gently heartbreaking.” Says Vanity Fair.

And that’s exactly what it was.

The premise behind the movie is Amy’s character, Rose, is a single mom trying to make ends meet. She works as a maid and though it doesn’t make her a lot of money and she doesn’t exactly enjoy it, she’s good at it.

The father of her son, an old high-school flame, is a cop and suggests she get into the cleaning up after a crime scene business. He convinces her she could make a lot more money doing it and it’s not much different than what she’s currently doing. Not to mention, not a lot of people have the stomach for it, so she could probably always find work.

So, Rose talks her sister, Norah, into starting the business with her. The girls are pretty amusing when they first start out because they have no idea what they’re doing and they walk into some pretty grisly scenes. But after a while, they get the hang of it and Rose discovers that she actually likes doing it. Not because of WHAT she does, but for what she CONTRIBUTES to the situation — She helps people physically move past their personal tragedies.

In addition to the job, Rose is forced to deal with her past — with the father of her child, with her father, with her emotionally-messed up sister, and with her old high school “friends.” She’s a woman who is stuck between wanting to live her life and not being able to let go of her past.

I think the biggest message behind this movie was the fact that though it’s important to address the past, it’s equally important not to LIVE in the past. And that it’s okay to like off-the-wall people and things because life is not about trying to assimilate and blend in, but to embrace the differences.

I’d give it a C+.

If you’ve seen “Sunshine Cleaning,” what did you think about of it?

Photo Story Friday

Photo Story Friday: My Old Man

For those that don’t know, this is my husband, Kevin. Yes, he’s older than I am .,. by four years. 😀

Dressed as an Old Man

This was back when he and I worked at the bank together (’88/’89). That’s where we met.

It was Halloween and everyone dressed up. I, along with two other girls that worked the lobby with me, dressed up as one of the Three Blind Mice.

Kevin whittled down some fake hair to make his goatee and mustache, painted streaks of gray in the fake hair as well as his own hair and his eyebrows and went dressed as an older gentleman.

In fact, he was SO convincing, that the older lady customers that came through that day hit on him!

HAHA!

It was hilarious and we gave him such a hard time.

I can’t help but wonder if this is how he’ll look when he’s actually old(er).

If so? RAWR.

Life

The Rug Has Been Yanked Out From Under Us

This is a post I’ve wanted to write for quite some time, but for a variety of reasons, I was not allowed to write. This issue has been weighing heavily on my mind and heart for a while and pretty much all I’ve been able to think about.

I’m not even sure how to begin other than to just jump in and say, we’re now part of that growing unemployment rate.

I’ll have to be impossibly vague about this news, of course, but suffice it to say, my husband’s company is on the verge of some big-time restructuring changes.

I’ve suspected we were heading down this path for quite some time, but the company made it public yesterday.

I’m angry, scared, determined, apprehensive, and bitter. And that bitterness is directed toward the government. Because this current administration? Is directly responsible for this turn of events.

And I will leave it at that. If I say anything more, it’ll end up being a political rant and I just don’t want to go down that road right now. It’s pointless. What’s done is done.

All we can do at this point in time is damage control.

But through the myriad of emotions tumbling through my confusion right now, I’m especially humbled. It’s so easy to take life for granted, to always assume that one’s job will be there. That there will always be a steady trickle of money coming in.

And then suddenly, it’s all gone. A force, outside our control, has ripped that security from our hands. That’s so incredibly frustrating.

My heart goes out to all of my husband’s constituents. This is not a good time to lose one’s job. It’s never a good time to lose one’s job. But with unemployment in the double digits and the holidays coming up, it’s just bad timing.

I’ve never been fired. I’ve never been in this situation where one day I have a job, and the next, I don’t. So I can’t fully appreciate what these poor people are thinking or going through right now. I can’t imagine what the conversations were about at the dinner table last night but I can tell you, we’ll be fine.

This will be an adjustment for us, but our hardship will be NOTHING like the struggle so many other people are being forced to endure right now.

But whatever happens, we’ll be fine.

I know this because first and foremost, I trust God. He has never failed us – EVER. He will help us help ourselves. We will move on. It’s scary, suddenly having that rug yanked out from under us, but we’ll survive largely because we have God watching our backs.

Secondly, our lives are a bit more flexible right now. I can, and most certainly will, get a job in the very near future. Dude is now eligible to get his driver’s license, so he can help out with Jazz’s extra-curricular activities, if needed. Dude is also old enough to get a job, but I’d prefer that be a last resort as I’d rather have the boy concentrate on his studies right now.

But still, it’s a viable option. And I like options.

And Kevin? Is choosing to look at this turn of events as a way of possibly doing something different with his life. It’s an opportunity to pursue other interests, to try new things. And I’m excited for him. I want him to be happy and content in whatever he decides to do. And I will support him 150%.

This change is both exciting and terrifying at the same time.

I’m not a big fan of change. I like things slow, steady and predictable. There’s control in that stability. When things change, the control shifts and we’re suddenly left flailing our arms on the precipice of a new adventure. And though I’ve never been one to back away from a new challenge, I’m not exactly a person who LOOKS for those challenges either.

We told the boys what was going on last night. They weren’t really freaked out, but then again, I’m not sure they really understand what’s happening. I mean, they KNOW what’s happening, it’s just, I don’t think they really understand how this will impact our family.

Financially, we’ll be okay. We don’t have a lot of debt and this has been a good excuse to talk to the boys about the importance of paying things off and not having a lot of debt to begin with. But we’ll still be tightening our belts and watching every penny – even more so than usual. But again, we’re choosing to focus on the positive and not the negative.

Of course I say this now, let’s see what happens six months from now.

So, like soooo many other Americans, we’re now in the same unemployed boat. Let’s hope the vessel can safely hold all of us until we hit land once again.