Through My Eyes

Wishing I was More of a Fashionista

Here is another obsession of mine lately:

Watching fashion shows on YouTube.

And I’ll be honest, most of the fashions I see I wouldn’t be caught dead in, but there are quire a few pieces in this show that I would actually wear… if I lived on an exotic island and had nothing better to do but attend cocktail parties and exchange fantasies about the hot pool boy.

However, I’m any BUT a fashionista.

I’m comfy in my over-sized t-shirts and swing dresses, thank you very much.

But still, I like to dream. And I not only like to watch fashion shows in YouTube to see what new and ridiculous fashions are being showcased now, but the zombie-like expressions on the models who wear these ridiculous concoctions.

I find that “fashion” becomes more difficult as you get older. I want to wear the hot trendy stuff but let us not forget that I’m old(er) and some of this stuff just looks crazy on me. I LOOK like a woman who is trying too hard.

But in my mind, I’m still mid-30’s so it doesn’t FEEL weird. Just LOOKS odd.

I haven’t given up. I’m still “trying” to find my look but the rate I’m going, I will be 90 before I really find it.

In the meantime, I’m going to live my fashion life through these poor, uncomfortable looking models.

Politics

Celebrities Don’t Care About You – It’s All About Agenda

It always astounds me the number of people who take what celebrities say, or their opinions, as gospel truth. I can guarantee these people could care less about you. It’s about THEIR own agenda or who pays top dollar for them share their opinion.

Let’s get a little perspective, shall we? I PROMISE your brain will not implode if you dare to use it. Ask questions, think it through. Just because someone tells you how to think does not mean you HAVE TO THINK THAT WAY.

This goes for anyone, not just celebrities. Family members, co-workers, even your significant other.

Be smart. Think with your head, not your heart.

It’s called reality.

It’s not always fun, but it’s REAL.

Life

Wrapping up the Holidays

I received nothing for Christmas. Not one gift.

Kevin and I haven’t exchanged Christmas gifts in quite some time.  I’m perfectly fine with this, it’s just … odd, I guess. I mean, when you have to sit and think really hard for something you want, it’s sort of a buzzkill for me. It takes the enjoyment out of it. And I would much rather give a person a gift he/she really wants than just come up with something so I have something to wrap and give him/her on Christmas day.

I realize that gift giving on Christmas changes when you get older. I used to feel so sorry for my mom growing up because though my dad gave her gifts, there weren’t very many of them and I just couldn’t understand how she could be okay with that.

But now that I’m older, I get it. Christmas is about so much more than getting gifts, it’s about giving and spending time with family.

I know that sounds so cliche, but it’s so true. I TRULY love giving gifts. I love the challenge of finding the perfect gift and knowing that what I gave them they will enjoy and appreciate.

At least that’s what I tell myself

I know this time of year is hard on our boys. We used to GO ALL OUT for Christmas. We gave them some really awesome memories. And we used to SPOIL THE CRAP OUT OF THEM. And by that, I mean, there would be twenty gifts for them to open.

Yes. We were THOSE parents. But we only did that a few years before waking up and realizing that was probably sending them the wrong message – it’s about quality, not quantity.

But because we had those awesome Christmases, they came to expect it. Blake seems mature about the holidays now, but I sense that Brandon continues to be disappointed in our gifts. For now all we buy them are things I know they won’t buy on their own – like clothes, underwear, socks, etc. And their stockings consist of health and beauty aides – shampoo, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc. Not exactly earth shattering and not exactly fun to open but I’m confident that when they get their loot home and have stocked shelves and realize how much money they just saved that month by NOT having to buy that stuff, I know they appreciate it.

Since the boys live on their own and make their own money, they can buy whatever they want when it comes to entertainment. Not to mention, their tastes have matured and I have no idea what their even in to nowadays so I wouldn’t have the first clue on what to buy them even if we did go down that road.

We did buy them a “fun” gift this year – a water cooler. WHOA. EARTH SHATTERING I KNOW. But we knew they missed our water cooler and it was my sneaky attempt to tempt them to drink more water. Blake went to Urgent Care this year because he was having trouble peeing. And when he peed, he couldn’t pee very much. My first thought was urinary tract infection. He doesn’t have a PCP, (in fact, none of us do and that’s on my list of things to accomplish in 2018, get a PCP), so he went to Urgent Care.

After waiting around for three hours, they scanned his bladder, empty, and took a urine sample. They sent him home and told him they would call if there was a problem and oh yeah, drink more water.

The same advice I’ve been telling him for years – stop drinking so much soda and drink more water.

They never called so we’re assuming he didn’t have a UTI and he has finally started eating better and drinking more so he hasn’t had an issue since that incident.

And even though the whole episode was worrisome and stressful for him, I’m sort of glad that it happened. Because when his final bill came back from that three hour visit to the Urgent Care where basically nothing was done for him, he realized that taking care of his body is not only important to feel good, but it’s ultimately better on his wallet, too.

His bill was a little over $1,000. Thankfully, he’s on my insurance and it only ended up costing him $84 dollars, but it was a good learning experience that 1. take care of your body so you don’t HAVE to make trips to the doctor/hospital and 2. health care is outrageously EXPENSIVE.

He will, however, need to find new insurance this year. He will turn 26 and it will be time to spread those wings and fly away. It will be interesting to see what his options are. His birthday is in November, so who knows what health insurance will look like in the fall.

Let’s hope his choices are better than OBummer care were.

But as far as gift giving between me and Kevin, it didn’t happen. We have mutually agreed no gifts. Our gift to each other was to book a cruise in April to the Southern Caribbean. I would rather spend nearly two weeks together than open a gift on Christmas day.

(This will make my tenth cruise and Kevin’s 11th cruise. Can you tell we love to cruise? Get yourself a credit card where you build frequent flyer miles to cash in for flights and it’s not nearly as expensive as you might think it is. Just pay your credit card off each month – if you carry a balance, then it’s not really a good deal, now is it).

It really bothers me whenever I see people on Facebook brag that they “got everything they asked for.” I’m sure they are grateful for everything they received but it just hits me wrong when they word it like that. I’m a big YouTuber watcher (yes, that’s a word in my dictionary) and it bothers me to watch “my Christmas haul” types of videos too, but I have to admit, it is interesting to see the types of things that people get for Christmas.

I just feel like, or I guess it validates what everyone thinks, that Christmas is all about the “stuff” and the true meaning is just buried somewhere.

We didn’t do much for New Year’s Eve, we never do, we’re rather chill people. The boys, my nephew, Roy and my parents came over. We played games, ate tacos and stuffed our faces with too much sugar and a tiny bit of alcohol. I tried Pinot Grigio for the first, and last time. It was nasty. I’m not a drinker, but it would be nice to find a wine that doesn’t make me want to throw up in my mouth, just a bit. I’m glad we just bought the small bottles and didn’t waste a ton of money on a big bottle.

I’ve made five resolutions that I’m going to work hard on trying to keep this year: 1. read more and watch less YouTube, 2. get everyone set up with PCP’s, 3. write more ( or in my case – SOMETHING), 4. spend more time with my parents and 5. take long weekends away from work. I feel like this past year has really taken a toll on my body and life is too short to allow work to kill me.

I hope you enjoyed the holidays! I know a small part of me is relieved it’s over and we can all move on to the next chapter/year of our lives.

Politics

The TRUTH About Thanksgiving

Food, football, and…oppression. That’s what Thanksgiving has come to mean to many Americans.

Back in 2007, Seattle public school officials made national news by describing the holiday as a “time of mourning” and a “bitter reminder of 500 years of betrayal.”

This new narrative describes the Pilgrims as arrogant oppressors who fled persecution only to become persecutors themselves, depriving Native Americans of their land and their lives.

But this is wrong on every count.

First of all, the Pilgrims didn’t cross the ocean to flee persecution—or even England. They’d been living for over a decade in Holland, Europe’s most tolerant nation, and a haven for religious dissenters. Free from interference by the Church of England, they feared seduction—not persecution, worrying that their children would be corrupted by the materialistic Dutch culture.

That’s why they risked their dangerous 1620 voyage to a wilderness continent: not because they were running from oppression, but because they were running toward holiness—fulfilling a fateful mission to build an ideal Christian commonwealth.

They initially planned to plant this model society on the wild, wolf-infested island known to natives as Manhattan, but winds and tides blew them 250 miles off course, dumping the Mayflower on the frozen coast of Massachusetts.

See full transcript here, along with references.

I love references. It’s hard to ignore, or dispute, references.

Life

Life Update

Hey.

How are you?

Do not adjust your monitor.

Your eyes are not playing tricks on you.

It’s me.

I’m writing.

And I actually hit publish this time.

Go buy a lottery ticket. (No, don’t buy a lottery ticket, it’s a scam)

So hi. I’m still here. Lurking in the background, peeking over your shoulder, breathing heavily into your ear.

I’m still alive.

Want proof? *sigh* FINE.

This is me and Kevin on our last cruise, this past September. That was our 9th cruise together. (Kevin just got back from his 10th, without me. There is SO MUCH to catch up on!)

We is cute. I know. It’s too much to handle. I’ll give you a moment to absorb the cuteness.

Where did we leave off? What was the last thing I blogged about? …….. Oh yeah, my new car.

It’s … good. I miss my Vibe. My Vibe was the best car I’ve ever had. But this Buick Encore is not bad. It’s a small SUV and I’m a bit disappointed by the smallness. I’m used to having so much room in my Vibe. If OBummer, (also known as Obama), hadn’t come along and messed stuff up so that Pontiac went out of business, I would have TOTALLY bought a newer Vibe, but alas, Democrats happened and that option was taken from me.

*Cue offensive feeling*

I don’t sugar coat it, folks. I’m certainly not a Democrat and I’m no longer a Republican, (what a bunch of pussies), so I guess you could call me a Libertarian. (Don’t tread on me, get out of my bedroom, MY MONEY, back off). So, OF COURSE, this blog will be slanted toward that arena. If you’re easily offended, or can’t swallow the truth, then I’d suggest leaving, now. Cause I don’t mince words and I don’t apologize for my opinions though I do try and stay fair and objective because I’m not a sheeple; I have a brain, I’m not afraid to use it.

Anyhoo …

I’ve put a whopping 4200 miles on my car now. I bought it in February, (March?). I don’t drive much. I don’t really have many places that I drive to. I literally live two miles from the hospital and I’m at the hospital most of the time, so … the Blue Book value on my car will always be clean, I’m predicting.

It’s a BEAUTIFUL Sunday afternoon. It’s a pleasant 50 degrees and I’m trying to talk myself into editing baby shower pictures that I took this past Thursday.

Don’t get excited. Our boys are still single. I’m not a grandma and don’t really think I’ll ever be a grandma, to be perfectly honest. It was a dual baby shower for two nurses that I work with. One is my (new) boss, and the other one is the God send nurse that replaced the CRAP nurse I was forced to work closely with for TWO LONG YEARS.

This new nurse is AWESOME. She is a perfect fit for our dysfunctional and totally OCD team. We had her a few weeks before she told us she was pregnant. Not gonna lie, I was pretty annoyed because DUDE, you just started with us and now you’re going to be on maternity leave for 10 long weeks which means I will have to do two jobs and be the contact person for my doctor and PA until you get back. Because it’s all about me, you see. But to be fair, our nurse, let’s call her T, did tell all of us in her interview that she wanted to have another baby; she just wasn’t prepared to get pregnant quite this fast. But you know, babies have their own time tables.

So, after the shock wore off, we started planning a baby shower. And by “we”, I mean, my freaking awesome PA. This PA’s motto is “GO BIG OR GO HOME.” She never, ever does anything half ass. Whether that’s doing her job or planning a party, she has a way of going above and beyond and making individuals feel very special. It’s a LOT of work for her, but she seems to enjoy it and I know other people enjoy the fruits of her labors.

Coincidentally, another nurse, someone who got promoted to nurse manager, also got pregnant at the same time – they are actually about 5 weeks apart, so naturally, we decided to combine the parties.

It was a GREAT PARTY, again, largely thanks to our PA. (We had the party at her house). Nearly every single person in our clinic showed up, even the doctor I work for. I think that says a lot about our clinic – we have such a great group of people.

I was the photographer. Don’t be impressed, I’m really not that great of a photographer. I simply point and shoot. BOOM. I present my photography skills. And I love taking pictures … I just hate going through them afterwards. I know that sounds weird but I think I’m afraid I’ll be disappointed with the results. If I don’t go through them, then I can go on tricking myself into believing that they will turn out good.

Welcome to my head.

But I need to go through them, people at work are asking about them so I will bite the bullet, open the files and hope my little point/shoot Canon did it’s job.

I’m thinking about doing some podcasts and explaining all of the pictures I have to share with you. I’m SO far behind on sharing vacation pictures and various other things that the thought of typing all of the story behind these photos sort of exhausts me, so we’ll see. I’d like to blog more and I think doing podcasts might be easier than typing stuff. We’ll see. Don’t hold your breath.

To sort of summarize what is happening in my life:

1. Blake turned 25 yesterday. I mean … WHAT?!? One more year and he’ll have to think about buying his own health insurance. It’s sort of scary to think about considering our healthcare is SO messed up right now.

2. We finished our 9th cruise in September. (Already mentioned but worth repeating).

3. I am so happy to report that I’m working with a new, MORE IMPROVED nurse and my job is WAY better than it used to be. I am WAY less stressed. I like my job more, too.

4. Kevin, Roy and Blake just returned from a cruise. It was Roy’s first cruise and I’m quite certain, not his last. He’s already bugging Kevin about booking another one.

5. Yes. Roy still lives across the street in our rental house. It’s annoying, but it … works.

6. Brandon has been busy working on a map for a video game he’s been test playing. In fact, his map has gotten so much attention, the creator of the game has contacted him and has offered him money to test some stuff out. I just hope it’s legit and he’s not being scammed.

7. Now I wish I could get Blake interested in doing something for his future. He can’t work for Kevin forever. I lose sleep over this issue.

8. I can’t believe the political chaos this country is going through right now. People are so easily offended and I feel like up is down, and down is up. I’m afraid it will not get better though as the bible says it will only get worse. Brace for impact.

9. I am completely hooked on Sims 4. And now that the Dogs/Cats expansion pack is out, I’m OBSESSED. And get this, I don’t even like animals that much. *insert collective gasp*

10. My youngest nephew on my side of the family just got married and is getting ready to be a father. I’m hoping our two boys see this and recognize that life is literally passing them by. Getting old is scary enough, it’s really scary when you’re alone.

11. I’m a year older. I won’t say how old but I’m just past that half century mark. It’s so WEIRD getting older because I look at myself and feel like I’m 30 but other days my body feels every bit my age.

12. Kevin and Roy are renting shelves and now have a booth at an antiques’ shop. They both LOVE going to yard sales and finding great deals and I’m not opposed to that idea, but I AM opposed to buying junk just because it’s a good deal and then not having a place to put it. Now, they can buy junk and try and resell it for a profit. They’ve already made $50. Not a bad start!

13. The boys, Roy and my oldest nephew, (the boys are now living with him – did I mention the boys moved into a three-bedroom apartment and love their space so much more??) come over every Sunday night for dinners. Yes, it’s a free meal to them, but it’s nice to get together and see them. I always envisioned them doing this when they got out on their own. Hopefully, if/when they find significant others they still want to continue the “tradition.”

14. Thank God we are not hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year. We did it last year. We had a garage party. Yet another story I need to tell you.

15. Kevin’s parents sold their house and are now living in an RV full time. It’s been quite an adjustment and I think they are loving it so far. But winter is approaching and they are talking about driving to Texas for the winter. The problem? My father-in-law shouldn’t be driving at all, let alone an RV. Not sure how that is going to shake out.

16. Did I mention I like my job again?

17. Kevin is BLASTING his guitar right now. He’s been building amplifiers as a hobby and he’s testing one out right now. He’s in his office, which is a screened-in porch that he converted to his office, so the sliding glass door is closed but he’s being so loud, my ears are ringing. I hope the neighbors can’t hear him.

Time to go. I have a Baked Pasta in the oven, (see recipe below – my sister-in-law made it when Kevin had his motorcycle accident back in 2010 and we’ve been hooked ever since, the boys will end up taking the leftovers home) and the boys will be over soon for our Sunday night dinner.

Thanks for reading!

Baked Pasta

1 (16 oz) package of dry pasta (I use Penne)
1-2 lbs of ground chuck (less fat)
2 (28 oz) jars of spaghetti sauce
6 oz sliced provolone cheese
1 1/2 cups of sour cream
6 oz mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta 9 minutes in a large pot of salted water. Combine cooked meat and spaghetti sauce and simmer 15 mimnutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a lightly greased baking dish, place about one half of the pasta into the dish, top with a layer of provlone and mozzarella. Spread half of the spaghetti sauce mixture and layer all of the sour cream. Cover with remaining half of pasta, remaining half of provolone and mozzarella, and remaining half of sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Serve with garlic bread. YUM!

Life

Encore, Encore!

Let’s talk about something non-work related …

I bought a new car! It’s a 2017 Buick Encore in a pretty blue color.

me-car2

I never pictured myself with a blue car but when I saw this one, it just spoke to me.

Side note: Who thinks this looks like a skate? Or a blue potato on wheels?

Yes. We traded my Pontiac Vibe in. We really had no intention of going that route. This happens to us every time we start talking about making any sorts of big changes … it just sort of happens and when it happens, it happens QUICKLY.

My Vibe was 10 years old with only 68,000 miles on it. I’ll let that sink in a moment. That’s only about 7,000 miles per year! That’s what happens when you live 2 miles from work. And I work so much, I never go anywhere BUT work so … yeah, it was CLEAN.

My Vibe was not acting up or giving us any problems. It’s been a very good car. It’s just been ten years and we thought we should probably trade it in before it lost any more in value. Though honestly, I would have been fine driving it another five/ten years – it was a good car!!

So. We started looking. I always tell Kevin, let’s not look unless we’re serious because then we get excited and before you know it, we have a new car.

Kevin found the Hybrid CMAX. We had been talking about buying a Hybrid but the last time I drove a Hybrid was ten years ago when we were looking for a car. And back then, they were just WEIRD. I test drove a Hybrid Ford Escape and I could never tell if the thing was still running or not; it freaked me out. So we scratched that idea then ran across the Vibe. I knew, immediately, I loved the Vibe. It just felt right. And then good old Uncle Sam had to stick his big nose into things and Pontiac went out of business.

I was truly sad. I loved Pontiac cars and I would have totally bought a new Vibe, if they were available.

But since that wasn’t an option, we thought the CMAX looked nice. We went to Ford and test drove it. It’s a super nice car. And the Hybrid feature has improved so I didn’t feel quite as freaked out by the lack of motor noise/feel. The dashboard was HUGE. I guess that’s where they had to make room for the battery. It’s very high tech. The CMAX we drove already had 25,000 highway miles on it and it was a 2016. But considering I really don’t drive that much, the 25,000 miles didn’t really bother us that much. But we wanted to keep looking so we continued looking online. We came across the Encore and made an appointment to test drive it.

I loved the Encore right off the bat. It has a fancy-smancy touch screen that syncs to your phone and it comes with Sirius XM radio and Onstar / WiFi hotspot options.

It’s so cool, because if someone texts me while I’m driving, then that person gets an auto reply along the lines of, “I’m sorry, but I’m driving right now, I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.” In fact, my doctor text me the other morning and got that auto reply. I told him when I saw him at work, “I see my car has been talking to you.” HA!

However, it’s also distracting and you have to train yourself not to stare at the screen whilst your driving. However, if someone calls me, then I can just press a button with my thumb on the steering wheel and answer the phone without taking my eyes off the road. Which is pretty cool!

So. We both love the car and go into the dealership to talk numbers. Since we saw the car online, they had a $5,000 off the sales price promotion. So now we needed to find out what they would give us for our car. We actually happened to buy my Vibe from this same dealership so we were hoping for a good deal. They came back with a dollar amount. I wasn’t surprised but Kevin pushed a little more and they gave us a little more. Looking back, we should have just kept the car and sold it, we would have gotten more money for it, but ultimately, neither one of us wanted to mess with putting in an ad, having people look at it, securing payment, etc., so we agreed. With the $5,000 off and our trade-in, we ended up paying a lot less for the Encore than we did for the Vibe ten years ago so we were happy with the price.

They had us approved and out the door before we even knew what was happening. It was easy, WAY TOO EASY. In fact, they sold us the car and took possession of my Vibe all without the title. Kevin went to the safe deposit box the next day and got the title. I thought that was awful trusting of them to do the transaction without the title in hand, but I guess since we were repeat customers they felt like they could trust us. That and our credit score was crazy good. 🙂

I’m loving this car so far. It has a few things that I’m not crazy about, it sort of hesitates whenever I take my foot off the brake and before I accelerate. The brakes are also super sensitive. And it’s not as big as the Vibe was as far as the storage compartment. Oh, and it doesn’t get as good of gas mileage as my Vibe did, but overall, I’m happy with it. Kevin and I are talking about driving down to Padre Island sometime in September for our vacation this year. We’ll see. We are foregoing the cruise this year – we are saving our frequent flyer miles to cash in next year for our two week Mediterranean cruise.

It doesn’t have a key. It’s just a push button ignition. At first, this bothered me but I’m quickly getting used to it. I don’t have to dig my keys out of my purse whenever I approach the vehicle. As long as the key fob is a certain distance from the car, all you have to do is grab the door handle, push this button and it automatically unlocks. When you start it, you just put your foot on the brake and push the button. You push it again to turn it off.

I hope this car is just as good as the Vibe was because I’ll be driving it for at least ten years. Who knows what cars will be like then!

Abundant Life, Life

Christians Rejoice, There is a Life-Size Noah’s Ark

Have you guys heard about the life-size Noah’s Ark??

If not, watch this:

ark-beyond-lake

I LOVE that there is potential for more Christian-based structures/museums/educational opportunities in their future.  I just pray it happens.

And honestly, fellow Christians out there, we need to pray for this to not only happen, but to stay open. Because if you take the time to read some of the Facebook comments, or watch videos about this project either for/against it, they will make you both sad and alarm you.

The sheer hatred for this project is astounding, though not surprising, I suppose. Would the backlash be as severe if this was a Muslim-type structure? Why is Christianity such a BAD thing to so many people?

Because the Bible said this was going to happen. Are you really surprised? Christians and Christianity will only continue to grow more and more unpopular – this is exactly what happened in Noah’s day and age. And this is exactly WHY God flooded the Earth – to get rid of the evil and start over again. Only, we won’t start over with a flood, it will be Jesus Christ coming back to save us from ourselves.

In the meantime, there will be hatred. There will be insanely opinionated people who will try their best to make you feel stupid for believing in God, who will attempt to spout all sorts of nonsense about alternative beliefs and how they are so much smarter and believable than Christianity.

To which I say? YOU’RE WASTING YOUR BREATH. Go spew your ugly, hate-filled vile words to someone who cares what you think, because I don’t. You don’t like this Ark Encounter project? DON’T GO. You want to build a monument, or some historical project museum to your spaghetti monster or god(s), be my guest. It’s still a free country (somewhat). Will I like it? No. Will I care? No. You want to bow down to false idols and kiss Satan’s ass, I guess that’s your prerogative.

And how SAD would your life be if you DIDN’T believe in a higher power or have some hope to look forward to? I can’t even imagine how lost some people feel without Jesus Christ in their hearts.

But personally, I’m REJOICING in the fact that fellow Christians had the guts to build something like this and you bet your sweet tea we will go at some point. I’m tempted to wait until they build the Temple of Babylon and the other structures mentioned in the above video, but then again, I’m afraid that if I wait too long, something will fall through and they will be forced to close Noah’s Ark. I think it would be a fun road trip though – it’s eight hours East of where we live – doable but it will definitely take some planning.

Here are some interesting facts about the structure and hypotheses on how it might have logistically worked out.

I also found it highly interesting that the creator of the Ark Encounter, Ken Ham, invited Bill Nye “the Science Guy” in for a tour and together, with their own film crews, toured the Ark and had “lively” discussions/debates with lots of “regular” folks along for the ride. I bet that was interesting as all get out. Because if you’re truly looking for the truth, then you NEED to hear all sides of an issue before coming to a foregone/logical conclusion. And maybe Mr. Ham didn’t do a good enough job of convincing some folks there about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, or then again, maybe he was able to save some lost souls, who knows, but I love the fact that two sides of an issue came together, spoke their piece and there was no violence, just mutual respect for the other person’s beliefs.

I wish that would happen more often in our country, but it’s all about shutting each other up – it’s all about “free speech” and “free thinking” even though if you don’t believe the same as the people who spout this nonsense then they work very hard to belittle you and sometimes, use physical violence to bully you and silence you and your beliefs.

Yeah. That’s what “free speech” and “free thinking” is all about. It’s free as long as you think like they do, otherwise, SHUT UP, PEASANT. *snort*

There’s also a Creation Museum about 45 minutes from the Ark Encounter. If/when we go, I would like to visit that museum, too.

I LOVE that this type of stuff exists in our country, especially nowadays when Christianity has been whipped so many times in the past decade. It gives me hope that maybe it’s not as bad as the lop-sided media portrays it and that there are still believers out there not afraid to stand up and be Soldiers for Christ.

May God bless everyone, both believers and non-believers, and if you’re not a Christian, I challenge you to visit these places, find out what Christianity is about then make up your own mind – don’t listen to the naysayers and the lop-sided media, God created your mind and granted you the gift of free will, exercise those gifts and decide for yourself.

Life

God Bless What’s Left of America

(This post was actually published July 4th last year, but it bears repeating).

We have our American Flag hanging outside our house and I can’t help but wonder, will someone report us? Will someone in our neighborhood be offended that we proudly display our American Flag?

To which I reply: Tough shit.

I’m so SICK of people being offended by everything nowadays.

Get over it.

People are offended because some whack-job worshiped a confederate flag and was high on anti-psychotic drugs and shot a bunch of people in a church (notice I said PEOPLE – we’re all PEOPLE, color is irrelevant), and now the confederate flag offends people so we’re going to go completely berserk and obliterate every last trace of the confederate flag from the face of the Earth.

Idiots. The confederate flag didn’t MAKE that nut-job shoot those people, it was simply a trigger for his crazy delusions. What if his trigger had been a black cat? Would we suddenly want to eradicate black cats from existence? If you need to be “offended” by someone, be “offended” by the act and the person who committed the act, not an inanimate object.

Geez louise people …

You have the right to dislike the confederate flag – I’m not crazy about that flag, either. I think it represents a sad, mixed-up time in our history. I have never understood people who buy that flag and then proudly display it. Why? Do they wish they could go back to those times? Well too bad, it’s not happening. We learned our lesson the first time. Right?

Right??

offendedBut I’m not offended if they choose to fly it. It’s their right to do so. And it does serve to remind of us of the mistakes we made during that time period. This isn’t about me and my feelings, it’s about other people’s CHOICE to make bad decisions.

People need to grow a backbone and stop being such emotional cry babies.

The only thing I think of when I see that flag is slavery. And how that’s bad. And I’m truly perplexed that we thought, at one time in our history, that having one set of human beings serve another set of human beings was somehow acceptable. And then I roll my eyes and shrug my shoulders. I wonder more about the people behind these “offenses” than about anything else. People are idiots. What are you going to do?

Anyway, back to the American flag and our country.

I can’t get into this 4th of July. What, exactly, are we celebrating? Our freedoms? Our freedom to do what, exactly? Abide by the rules? Live under a supreme dictator or a group of tenured lawyers who have been given the right to make our decisions for us?

Freedom to “ignore its own laws and tear its Constitution to pieces?”

Freedom “to dismantle the institution of marriage in favor of legitimizing sexual perversion?”

What, exactly, are we celebrating nowadays? Our freedoms are slowly being taken away with each passing law and government decree.

If so, what’s so great about being great? Where is the optimism in that miserable greatness? Where is the hope for the future if moral bankruptcy, selfishness, confusion, stupidity, deviancy and failure are “great”?

This is why I’m surprised liberals are still out burning American flags. What are they upset about? This country has been reshaped in their image. They won the culture, the government, academia, the media, even the churches. This is their America. They own it. Yet they aren’t satisfied because liberalism, like its father Satan, is intent only on destruction and consumption. It will never be satiated.

You might say most of the examples I provided have to do with America’s people, not America herself. But the distinction is irrelevant because a democracy is only as great as its people. Meanwhile, our government is corrupt and feckless, and our political leaders are cowardly and self-serving. Yes, the Constitution is great, but it’s still just a set of laws. If laws are ignored, they might as well not exist. The Bill of Rights can’t make us great if we don’t follow it, just like your running shoes can’t make you fit if you don’t put them on and go for a jog.

So in what way is America great at the moment? Are we a moral beacon for the world now? Where is the rest of the world supposed to locate that shining light of moral clarity? Is it somewhere buried under the dead children and the perversion and the porn and the divorce and the drugs and the disease and the dependency and the Nanny State socialism? What about leadership in government, or education, or the home? Is American culture great in these respect

No, America Is Not a Great Nation. Not anymore.

I dare you to read Matt Walsh’s entire article. Read it completely through and tell me you don’t disagree. This country is slowly being flushed down the crapper. With every flush, we compromise another belief and/or ideal. Like a stone sculptor, decency is being chipped away, slowly, oh so slowly, and then suddenly, we see the finished product and wonder, what happened? How did we get here? What happened?

Like sleep walkers, we are suddenly shaken awake.

We got here by being outraged over the confederate flag. We got here by being distracted by Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner. We got here by not paying attention to what our educational system is doing to our children. We got here by being too busy playing with the newest and coolest electronic gadgets. We got here by putting all of our energies and time into being offended by the stupidest, most insignificant things.

It’s like people don’t WANT to really know what’s going on. It’s like people purposefully look the other direction in order NOT to see and/or deal with the bigger issues. Because talking about big changes is too uncomfortable, it’s too hard. And now we’ve reached a point of no return – can you IMAGINE trying to cut benefits to people who now solely rely on the nanny state to take care of them? Can you IMAGINE overhauling an education system so that we get back to teaching children and not indoctrinating children?

We’ve dug our grave, it’s time to lie in it.

Why should we celebrate the mess we created?

I think Matt summarizes this hopelessness best:

Here’s what I do know, and here’s the hopeful part: Our priority has to be our families and our souls. The fate of the country or the globe has not been put entirely, or even mostly, in our individual hands. But we have profound jurisdiction over the fate of our families, the spiritual state of our children, whether our households serve the Lord, and whether we serve the Lord. That’s our hope for the future. Right there.

We can find greatness if we strive for holiness. We have to. We are entering an age where only the great Christians will spiritually survive. It’s a scary time, but if we heed the call to holiness, we can find immense joy. That’s what I want for my children, though I fear for them quite a bit these days. I can’t imagine what this country will look like in 30 or 40 years. Maybe things will have turned around, but honestly I really doubt it. So all I can do is hold them close, try to be a better father to them and a better husband to my wife, and equip them as best I can for what comes next.

I believe strongly that real persecution awaits us down the road. I think my children will face hostility and opposition and maybe even violence on a level I haven’t yet seen. We are heading into very challenging times, but if we keep our families together and our hearts with God, we’ll be OK. No matter what happens, we’ll be OK. And, by extension, if we pour ourselves into our families and into our faith, we might be able to rescue this culture and this country from the clutches of progressive annihilation. It won’t happen quickly, and I don’t know if it will happen at all, but I know there’s a chance. America is not lost completely. Not yet.

So find strength in the Lord. Love your spouse and your children like Christ loves the Church. Be a leader in your home. Be willing to sacrifice everything for your family. Be unwilling to sacrifice your soul for anything. Confront the reality of our current state and accept that you will be asked to endure a lot of pain and persecution. Pray. Remember what America was. Remember who God is. Remember who you are and why you’re here and that you were put here in this time for a reason.

God bless what’s left of America.

And may God have mercy on your soul.

Amen.

Life, Parenting

Meeting Internet Friends

meeting-internet-friend

So here’s the thing, meeting people online, forming friendships/relationships, is not as weird or uncommon as it used to be.

Speaking as an older person, (ahem), I really can’t imagine doing that nowadays though I’m certainly not against it – in fact, back in the day when I used to read a lot of mommy blogs, I seriously thought I would attend some blog conferences and thought it would be fun to meet some of the people I had been reading online in real life.

I never did it though because ultimately, I didn’t care enough to follow through. I was curious, not serious.

But our boys, who have grown up online and who can’t imagine life without the Internet, are a different breed. It’s now the norm to meet friends online, in chat rooms, in forums, or recognize screen names from games.

I can’t confirm this, but I think that both boys, at one point or another, had online girlfriends though they never met them, to my knowledge.

I can always tell when Blake gets attached to someone online. His mood is happy, uplifting, he jokes around and laughs a lot.

And then I can always tell when something happens online, whether someone has disappointed him, or made him angry, or he has lost a friendship/relationship because he falls into a deep depression. He mopes around and sleeps A LOT. It always concerns me a bit when he sleeps so much – I know that’s his way of trying to get away from whatever is upsetting him. But I suppose we all have our ways of coping with unpleasant things.

Brandon is not like that. He doesn’t internalize as much as Blake does. When someone disappoints him, he just gets angry. I can’t imagine where he gets that trait from.

Brandon has a lot of online friends. In fact, he met one the other day and I found this out when I saw his friend’s post on Facebook.

The guy that Brandon met comments on his Facebook account. And I don’t know, I always assumed the guy was someone that Brandon went to school with. It never dawned on me that he was an online friend. When I saw the post on Facebook of Brandon meeting this friend, I was shocked.

I asked Brandon about the meet up when he and Blake came over for Sunday dinner. He said this friend was traveling back from Texas with his parents when they decided to stop in our hometown and meet Brandon. They met at a restaurant. Brandon said his parents even bought him dinner, which I thought was terribly nice of them to do.

Brandon and this guy have been online friends for about 6 years. After I got over my initial shock, I then freaked out a bit. I mean,  you hear all sorts of horror stories about weird people impersonating kids, or serial killers stalking their next victims and well … you just pray that never happens to your kids. But I guess they can Skype each other now and they can see it’s not an old man in his 60’s sitting around in his underwear.

(But they could always hire a kid, I guess).

Brandon also bought tickets to go to Vegas in October. By himself. He is going to some Final Fantasy conference and he’s meeting up with some online friends there, too. In fact, the latest word is, they are all going in on renting a condo for several days. Bran is supposed to be coming over this next week so we can help him book a flight. And I definitely have more questions about this condo, where it is, how much it costs, etc.

I know what you’re thinking – FREAK OUT MOMMA MOMENT. However, I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, NO WAY ARE YOU GOING TO VEGAS. But on the other hand, he’s 21 and if he’s willing to venture out on his own, well, I can’t stop him. In fact, I’m sort of proud of him for biting the bullet and stepping out of his comfort zone. Nearly all of Kevin’s sisters’ kids have traveled the world, in fact, one of my nieces is in Spain right now living with missionaries for the summer, I think my kid can handle going to Vegas.

I’m trying very hard to be cool about this. I would rather he come to me and tell me these things than hide them from me. At least if he talks to me, I can help him prepare for the trip and give him advice on how to be safe while there.

Blake is talking about going to Japan to meet a friend next year. I have no idea if he’ll ever do it but he’s been thinking about doing this for a few years now. (I wonder if that was why he was interested in taking Japanese class in high school – it all makes sense now!)

Of course, we would help him plan. He already has a passport (which reminds me, we need to renew Brandon’s passport. His expired at five years instead of the ten for me, Kevin and Blake, because Brandon was too young to qualify for a ten-year passport at the time). I’m pretty sure I’ll be way more freaked out with Blake going to Japan.

As in, OUT OF THE COUNTRY, PEOPLE.

But we’ll cross that bridge if/when we get there.

We are also working on setting the boys up for a credit card. All they have now are debit cards and well, we all know how risky debit cards are. Besides, they need to start building credit and now is a good time to start.

I’m betting, if the girlfriend thing ever happens for either of our sons, it will be through the Internet. And in a lot of ways, I think it’s better that way. At least that way, they can focus more on her personality as opposed to the physical side of things.

Like it or not, online relationships are real and they are happening, whether we approve of it or not. We might as well get on board.