Let’s Talk About Christmas, War, And The Hypocrisy of Obama…

Well, I haven’t taken my tree down yet. It’s not laziness. I really love the beauty of this season, and I’m not ready to let it slip away just yet. Of course, there are other indications of Christmas lingering around my house that aren’t quite as pretty. I have several partially completed Lego projects decorating my dining room table. There’s a model helicopter that hasn’t even been tackled yet. It’s next on the list. And then there are those mysterious stretches of time where my boys have disappeared trying to conquer new Xbox games.

But one of the biggest evidences of the holiday is the wars that are being fought around the house. No, the kids aren’t fighting. Well, at least not that much. I’m talking about all the plastic army guys set up in a variety of battle scenes across our home. Isaiah is obsessed with the little figures so, of course, he got more of them as part of his bounty of gifts. Under his guidance the enemy has been driven back from the ottoman in our family room. The coffee table in our living room was conquered for the greater good of all mankind. There was a particularly brutal battle in the foyer but, I’m happy to report, evil was vanquished and forced out our front door. What a relief.

I love watching his little imagination hard at work. In his mind warriors have a clearly defined mission, and nothing stands in their way. While observing him the other day I couldn’t help but notice how much his play differs from reality. I’ve never once seen him pause in the middle of a battle because he was denied permission from leadership to lay down some pre-assault fire for his approaching chopper headed into the thick of things. I have yet to watch him stage one of his little men in a sitting position simply watching as an insurgent walks away from an IED device he just planted. Any and all raids conducted on the floors and furniture in our home have taken place without any advance warning to the enemy. Isaiah thinks it’s silly to give the bad guys notice.

Unfortunately, here in the real world these kinds of scenarios take place all of the time—often with devastating results. It would appear our esteemed leaders are playing games of war as well…with flesh and blood soldiers. They’ve created a battle strategy that is designed to “win the hearts and minds” of the enemy. No pre-assault fire or raids on villages without giving them notice. Those kinds of behaviors don’t win popularity contests. Because we all know the Taliban is going to one day lay down their arms and say, “I’m sorry. This has all just been a horrible misunderstanding. We didn’t realize how nice all you Americans really were.”

Call me crazy, but I thought all of the training our men and women in uniform received to go out and fight meant they would actually be—wait for it—allowed to go out and fight. Imagine that. I didn’t realize they were a part of the most expensive public relations campaign in the history of the world. Something tells me most of them weren’t privy to this little nugget of information either. Not until they got dropped in the middle of hostile country and were told to play nice with the natives. Or else. Because our leaders are so intent on protecting our image they’re willing to imprison soldiers who don’t follow all their ridiculous, and oftentimes ambiguous, rules of engagement to the letter.

 That’s right, America. There are people sitting in Leavenworth right now who, in the midst of the heat of battle, had the audacity to make a judgment call that didn’t coincide with a rule that was made far away, in a safe space, by pompous leadership sipping on their coffee.

All of these things are infuriating enough on their own. But there is something that makes it all even worse. Has it escaped your notice that our current president is a big fan of drone warfare? And he’s downright proud of all the attacks he’s launched, as evidenced by his recent brag that he’s “really good at killing people.”

In other words the same president who has no problem sending soldiers off to fight in a foreign country with their hands tied by extremely restrictive ROE, because they are supposed to be “winning hearts and minds,” whiles away time in the comfort of the White House launching drones. Drones, I might add, that have killed many innocent civilians. I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that all of the family and friends of those annihilated during these attacks weren’t exactly happy with the United States when they were burying their loved ones. But, apparently, the only hearts and minds that matter are the ones that real soldiers encounter in the real theater of war. Our president is magically immune from this mandate. Just as he is magically immune from that atrocity we all know as ObamaCare. I’m starting to sense a pattern here.

The stench of his hypocrisy is so thick in the air it’s becoming difficult to breathe. Either we are at war or we aren’t. There is a certain kind of peace that can only be experienced when you’ve fought the battle all the way to the bitter end, and there is a clearly defined victor. If we want that peace then, for the love of all that’s right, give our soldiers a fighting chance. Stop trying to make war pretty and palatable to the world. It’s not. It never will be. It’s ugly. It’s brutal.

If we don’t want that peace—if we prefer to play nice with those who despise us—then bring our soldiers home. They weren’t trained to play nice. Make a choice. Stand behind it. No more demanding something from others that you are not willing to give. These aren’t plastic people. Stop playing games, Mr. President. Just stop.

~T.

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Let’s Talk About Duck Dynasty…

Well, I’ve spent the last twenty-four hours dodging the bullets that have been flying over this Phil Robertson situation.  I’m stepping out from behind the tree where I’ve been hiding to enter the fray.

I don’t know what your Facebook newsfeed looks like, but in my little slice of cyber space I can’t help but notice a lot of the shots are being aimed between Christians. Spiritual condescension oozes from statements such as, “With everything going on in our world today…you’re getting riled up about a stupid TV show?”  These words imply that being concerned over the uproar that occurs when a person of faith expresses their beliefs is somehow beneath a “true” Christian. Because we all know all the “real” Christians are out saving people from sexual slavery or feeding the poor. They don’t have time to even notice there is a TV show called Duck Dynasty. Call me crazy, but I thought I could care about the fact that Christianity is constantly being shamed in this country and these other issues.

Not to be outdone there is a “righteously” outraged reply from the other side, “You just sit there and watch our country swirl down the toilet. I’m going to stand up for Christianity!” Ummmm… most of you simply clicked the like button on a Stand With Phil Facebook page.  I don’t know how to break it to you, but with that action you didn’t single handedly save Biblical principles from extinction. To truly carry on the legacy of our faith we have to live it out. You know, in the real world, amidst the everyday grind of life. So stop patting yourself on the back. It looks silly. And you’re going to strain a muscle.

Of course, lots of Scripture is being quoted at one another. Because we are really good at that. As a matter of fact, since I’ve probably made both sides mad at me with this little blog, I had better take cover again. If there is one thing experience has taught me it’s that Christians can be brutal.

Behold, how they loathe one another.

~T.

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Let’s Talk About Christmas Parades…

I know it’s been quiet over here on the blog but, trust me, the actual house with a red door has been anything but silent. The most obnoxious sound that’s been permeating our house has been the hacking produced by a cough. My husband is the only family member who’s been able to escape the germs. So far. Let’s hope his luck continues to hold out.

In spite of sickness slowly working its way from person to person we’ve still managed to enjoy some of the fun this time of year brings. Thanksgiving was an awesome day packed with friends, family, and food. Lots and lots of food. I’ve never been one to let a pesky little thing like the flu prevent me from enjoying stuffing and sweet potatoes. In fact, I enjoyed those yummy dishes five times. In one day. And, no, I don’t feel the least bit bad about the amount of food I ate.

The tree is up, and we’ve started attending the festivities that add so much excitement to the holiday season. Which is why we were at our local Christmas parade earlier today. We live in a small coastal town and this event is one of the highlights of the month of December. It is well-attended, and we wanted to get a good spot, so we put a little planning into making sure we could have a nice view of all the action…creative floats, marching bands, and let’s not forget the hand outs. Around here we take parade goodies to a whole new level of awesomeness. Chilled water bottles, t-shirts, frisbees, beach balls, and candy are a typical take-home haul. Not to mention the children closest to the road get a chance to pet interesting animals like alligators and snakes courtesy of the local Environmental Center.

A picnic was organized, chairs were packed, and we got there well in advance of the 1:00 start time. We set up camp right beside the road about halfway through the parade route. Front row seating. Prime location.

There’s nothing like munching on subs and people watching to help the minutes fly by. We humans are an amusing bunch. I loved seeing all the various versions of family interact as we waited. Of course, there’s some things I didn’t like as much as others. Just as a public service announcement I’m going to inform all you gals out there that shirts should not ever, under any circumstance, be tucked into leggings. They’re not pants. No matter how much you may want them to be. There were enough interesting visuals to keep us occupied, and it wasn’t long before the whole thing was getting ready to begin. We were full. We were happy. We were pumped. We were ready for action.

And then those people came up and plopped their chairs in front of us.

These rude actions made me aware of the fact that we need to have a little discussion about parade etiquette. I can’t believe I live in a world where these words actually have to be said to adults…but here goes…

Rule #1- It is not okay to create your own new version of the front row. Ever. But especially in front of children who’ve prepared for and anticipated the parade. So don’t do it. Just don’t.

Rule # 2- Don’t forget rule number one.

See. So simple. Two easy steps and you’re fit for the public parade experience. Please, mull these rules over. Give them your best effort. And if you still find it difficult to conduct yourself in a manner worthy of polite society may I suggest the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. From the perfect view provided by your couch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Let’s Talk About All Of Those Children You Keep Having…

Okay, while we are talking about child related topics let me just jump onto a new little hobby horse of mine. Thank you to everyone who comes up to me and comments on my “lovely family.” I agree. My guys are pretty awesome. You can stop there. The next question that usually follows is, “When are you going to start trying for a little girl?” And I don’t want to hear that.  It just makes my head hurt.

First of all, that question implies that somehow our family is incomplete because we haven’t given birth to a girl. Or that our ridiculous reproductive organs are somehow defective because they only make boy babies.

Second of all, do you really want me to answer that question? Really? I have decided— just for kicks – the next time that little jab is sent my way I’m going to respond with the following statement. “Well, I’m in the mood for some really rocking sex right now. Excuse me and my husband. Since you seem to think it’s so necessary for us to have a baby girl we’ll be in that closet right over there trying our best to make one.”

I know, in my lifetime, I’ve probably made some comments about family dynamics to someone. And I want to go on the record right now with an apology.  If you’ve ever heard any such nonsense uttered from my mouth I am so sorry. Some wisdom does come with age. Thank goodness.

The point of how offensive we can be when making statements on these kinds of issues was driven home to me not so very long ago when I sat in a room and listened as someone talked about a couple who was mourning the loss of their unborn child. This couple already had several children, and I guess the person speaking felt their family was complete as it was, because she said, “I think God is trying to tell them something. Leave well enough alone.”

And I literally felt those words all the way to my soul. They took my breath. She was implying that God—who is the Giver of Life and loves children—was sitting up in heaven saying, “Your family is big enough, idiot! Since you can’t seem to figure that out on your own I’m going to kill the child you are carrying.”

Where exactly is this official handbook that describes what the perfect family looks like? I mean, it must exist. We all are quoting passages from it every chance we can get. Well, we were. Not me. Not anymore.

Here’s my new official policy on this matter. When you announce you are pregnant I am going to celebrate like crazy with you. When you announce it’s a boy…or a girl…I’m going to celebrate like crazy with you. When you decide you are done having kids you don’t have to announce it…since it’s not really my business. I’m just the girl standing on the sidelines celebrating life and all the different shapes, sizes, and genders that make up the beauty of family.

 

 

 

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Let’s Talk About Beating Your Children With Plumbing Parts…

Anyone out there in the world of Facebook has probably seen a news piece floating around in which the death of a young girl at the hands of her parents is described. They have been found guilty of murder. According to the article the parents were using the book “To Train Up A Child” by Michael and Debi Pearl as the guidelines for their parenting style. It went on to say several other deaths have been linked to the book.  

Of course, I had to do a little digging. What I found was alarming to say the least. Not only did I find that other children have died, I also discovered multiple articles by moms who were expressing regret over the fact that they used the book as a manual for child rearing. There were some pretty blood-chilling stories told of spankings that went on for hours with plumbing line. Let’s make one thing perfectly clear—these women were not horrible people who sat around all day drinking alcohol while thinking of ways to torture their children. They genuinely felt they were doing what was best. They wanted to raise their little ones up to be thriving adults who took a productive place in society. And the book told them how to do that. Or so they thought.

Look, I love to read. I love that we live in a day and age where there are so many resources at our finger tips to help us with a variety of issues…including parenting. I love that there are people who take the job of parenting so seriously they try to discover ways to do it better. But—here’s the deal—we cannot abandon our common sense when we are culling through the big, wide world of information.

And, while I’m talking, I’m going to go ahead and specifically call out Christians. I’ve heard a lot of preaching and teaching over my years inside religious circles about the need for avoiding trends. We are to be “set apart.” Well, let me just say, we start our own trends inside the church walls that are just as dangerous as anything any secular entity could spew out. This book is one such trend.  It has gotten passed around the church by the thousands. I know, because someone handed one to me. I read it, and promptly dismissed it.  I assumed others would as well. But, if my research is any indication, they haven’t.

Apparently, as a whole, we’ve excused extreme parts of the book by saying, “But it also has so much good.”   Any doubts are tucked away. We’ve become so very well versed in the rhetoric of not judging we’ve kept our thoughts to ourselves.

I’ve seen this type of behavior up close and personal.  As a teenager I once sat in a church service and listened to an evangelist talk about beating his children with a PVC pipe because, “God told him that was how he should dispense discipline.”  No one called him out. He wasn’t asked to leave. There was no intervention on behalf of his children.  Nope, he finished preaching the revival. And everyone just sat there and listened to him spew out his evil. This actually happens pretty frequently. People pull out the “God told me” card and everyone around suddenly becomes scared to death to speak up.  Throwing the name of God into a conversation takes it to a whole new level.

Look, I generally hate blanket statements when it comes to parenting, but I’m getting ready to make some here. If you are using pieces of plumbing to discipline your children you are doing it wrong. Period. If you are depriving your children of food to discipline them you are doing it wrong. Period. I don’t care what some whack job says using the name of God. And, no, I don’t care about all of the other things they may be saying that are good. Just a little tip for anyone trying to give me advice. You will lose my attention right about the time you veer over into Crazyville.

People, we have to stop latching onto anything and everything that comes along.  We must learn to think for ourselves. We must know the Bible so we can discern who is misusing its principles. Yes, I understand that this takes time and effort on our parts. But there are just some things you can’t afford to get wrong.

~T.

P.S. To any woman who has went to the Pearls website and asked their advice about what to do when your spouse abuses you. They’re wrong. Leave. Now.  I know God hates divorce. You want to know what else He hates? Women being killed by their husbands.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Let’s Talk About STD’s…

I fill a lot of roles in my everyday life. One of them is caregiver. One day a week I look after an elderly woman. I really enjoy my job. It is fulfilling and provides me with a very flexible schedule so I can focus on the most important positions in my world…wife and momma.

And there is another perk that comes with my employment. It provides me with new learning opportunities. For instance, just a few days ago I took my little lady to the doctor. The whole experience was very interesting. And, maybe, just a little traumatizing. When we first got there we were greeted with this sign.

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Now, I’ve got four boys. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time in a variety of medical settings. But I didn’t know it was illegal to tap on the small sliding glass door that separates the office staff from the waiting room. Looking back I’m pretty sure I’ve probably broken this law at some point. That’s just me. I get a good ole’ case of crazy going on from time to time and do risky things like knocking on partitions.

But my education was just beginning. You see, we were there to see an infectious disease physician. Silly, naïve me. I thought most of the people who went there were struggling with things like an infected wound on their arm…which is why we were there. Turns out that’s not the case. One look at all the pamphlets lying around let me know the biggest problem this particular office dealt with was STD’s. Yes, I’m going to admit it, I began eyeing everyone sitting around me with curiosity.

It got worse. Soon we were escorted back to an exam room. They had pamphlets there as well. But they weren’t content to stop there. A large poster plastered the wall filled with pictures of the impact of STD’s on the body. Graphic. Detailed. Pictures. I’m not completely out of the loop. I know what sexually transmitted diseases are. I’ve read about them. I’ve heard about them. But I’ve never seen them. Not like that. Male and female genitalia were on full display. Extremely disfigured genitalia. The best comparison I can offer you is ground hamburger oozing yellow pus. Yes, that’s what it looked like. Are you sufficiently grossed out yet? Good. So was I. And I hate to suffer alone. Now I was extremely uncomfortable. And just really, really wanting to take a bath in pure bleach. I literally felt the germs crawling off of the chairs and onto my body.

But there’s more. You know how your children get a prize on the way out of the door after a visit to the doctor? Here you got to choose something as well. From a large bowl you could pick from a variety of condoms. Because, clearly, that’s what people who have private parts resembling the meat section of the grocery store need. More sex.

For the rest of the day, in between washing my hands every three minutes, I did a lot thinking.

A little research into the topic quickly showed that STD’s are on the rise with twenty million new cases being diagnosed every year. A whole bunch of people have went out looking to discover the beauty of sexual freedom. Instead, what they’ve found out there in the murky world of random hook-ups is very ugly. And I do mean ugly. Trust me, I’ve seen the pictures.

But, never fear, my fellow citizens, our government has plans to increase the amount of funding they are putting into Pregnancy/STD/ HIV prevention. The hundreds of millions of dollars they already spend just aren’t enough. Throw more money at the problem and it will get better. I mean, that’s not worked up to this point, but it’s not any indication it won’t work in the future. See, don’t you feel better knowing Washington is handling this issue? And, don’t forget, they also have laws in place that prevent us from touching glass partitions in waiting rooms as well. It just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside when I think of all the ways they are looking out for us.

Or, here’s a thought, why should the government be involved at all? Maybe we can just fix this whole mess ourselves by refusing to jump into the sack with anything and everything that moves. Maybe we could abstain. Maybe we could even give marriage a try. I mean a real try. You know, where both parties are actually invested and committed. I know, I know, any talk of a life time of intimacy with one person is scoffed off as impossible or only experienced by those who are repressed in the bedroom. But I read those kinds of statements from all of the sexually “liberated” crowd and simply smile. It is possible to have a great sex life with one person on a long term basis. You want to know how I know that? Because I have one. It turns out this works in my favor for a variety of reasons. Not only do I get to enjoy some pretty awesome sex with my husband, I get to avoid having my girl parts look like they have suffered an alien invasion. That’s what I call a win-win.

Personal responsibility. What a concept.

~T.

 

 

 

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Judging You For Judging Me…

Okay, World, I’ve been watching you watching me. I have to say, it’s pretty interesting. My social media page is filled with a variety of things. It is a real reflection of what is going on inside of my very blonde head. Scary, I know. Some people probably get whiplash when they watch me jump from topic to topic. I don’t blame them. I’ve given myself a headache from time to time.

Witty sayings from my kids are a big hit. People find my four boys amusing. As do I. Right up until I don’t. Which is usually somewhere around the time one of them is doing something life-threatening. I have had to actually say the words, “Please, stop antagonizing the alligator at the pond.” You would think some things go without saying. Apparently not.

I’m not gonna lie—I was pretty happy with all the “likes” I received when I posted a picture of me in my wedding dress twenty years after the fact. Yes, it still fits. I kind of like that quite a bit myself. Of course, given the fact that I’m forever keeping up with the shenanigans of the previously mentioned kiddos, it’s really not that hard to pull off.

My commentary about celebrity culture is pretty popular. I tend to be sarcastic. Particularly about this subject matter.  It isn’t hard to do when you are throwing out names like Kardashian.

Even my religious postings go over fairly well. I’ll be the first to say that’s probably because I haven’t launched into any deep theological discussions. But, still, my faith is out there on full display. And I’ve never been attacked for it. Yet.

The one area where things get a little dicey is politics. I’ve gotten some flak. Sometimes it’s direct. A few intense conversations have occurred from time to time. Sometimes it’s indirect. It usually goes something like this. I post about the atrocity of Obamacare and the next thing I know snarky little comments pop up in my newsfeed  insinuating people should keep their political views off of Facebook. As uncomfortable as in your face confrontation can be at times I far prefer it to these sneaky little jabs. You know why? Because all of this talk about the need for silence when the topic turns to politics bothers me. A lot.

Yes, I’ve seen y’all  judging me. You want to know something? I’m judging you for judging me.  You’re darn straight I’ve been posting about the Affordable Care Act. Which, incidentally, is not affordable at all. And I’m not just talking about money here. The price this country is going to pay for this despicable piece of legislation is astronomical. More than I can even begin to comprehend. That we are not all screaming from the rooftops is appalling. And this is only one topic of many about which we should be knowledgeable and vocal. That you are neither of these things is offensive to me.  The fact that you are calling me out for doing what we should all be doing is even more offensive.

For the most part we Americans have the remarkable ability to ignore all of the horrors that are occurring. The truth is my social media world is pretty small in the great scheme of things. But if this is happening in my little Facebook bubble then it’s probably happening everywhere. And I can’t help but wonder if that’s how we got into this whole mess in the first place. How can we be so willingly blind?

Just for kicks I once did a little research on the word apathy, and I found some interesting statements on Wikipedia. “Apathy is described as a result of the individual feeling they do not possess the level of skill required to confront a challenge. It may also be a result of perceiving no challenge at all…they have learned helplessness.”

Learned helplessness. These words strike deep.

This country of ours was founded by the people, for the people. We really do hold the power here. But many have become overwhelmed by the corruption in our government, and have chosen to lay their power down. It turns out freedom requires a heck of a lot of hard work. And we’ve got celebrity sex tapes to discuss. We can’t be bothered with the challenges of responsible citizenship.

Even worse—with all the rhetoric being thrown around about tolerance and being politically correct—the vision of many others has become blurred to the harsh truths about the world in which we live. We perceive no challenge at all. Reality check. Just because we refuse to acknowledge our enemy does not make him our friend. It just makes us clueless.

The good thing about learned behaviors is they can be unlearned. Maybe you don’t care that I’m judging you.  But I’m not the only one passing down a verdict on your actions…or rather your inactions. History will judge you as well. And it’s not going to be gentle.

~T.

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