Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Do you Grumble and Complain?

We all know someone who seems to complain about EVERYTHING, right?

Too hot, too cold, too nice, too ugly, too fat, too sweet, these complaints drive us crazy. We tend to think these people can never be pleased, and that they aren't happy at all.

Image result for grumpy old person

Perhaps they are not. Perhaps putting others and other things down makes them feel better about themselves. Perhaps they don't think about other's feelings and only their own, thus they are happy.

If your heart, your insides, are low enough that you think bringing others down to your level is a good idea, let me tell you something. Bringing others down doesn't raise you up, it leaves you in a stinking morass of bodies you drowned.

I took my son to the fair. It was hot. The rabbits and poultry were being judged so their barns were closed. It was dusty and he was thirsty. He began to complain about his thirst, then demand a bottle of water. He began to sit down on benches and wait for me to browse. When I moved on, he followed me and began complaining, "Why did you bring me? I didn't want to come!"

I grew frustrated with his whining. "Stop! I don't want to hear it!"

The problem is that this is cyclical. The sense of entitlement, that you deserve to be treated a certain way or have certain things is so pervasive, so ingrained in society that you can't stop doing it. You get roped in and mired down in this way of thinking.

Most people just endure the negative talk wishing for the person to move on, because move on they will, to drag someone else down.

How do you stop grumbling and complaining?

Of course you can start appreciating what you have, but this goes deeper than just counting blessings.
You have to learn to see things from another person's point of view. You have to accept when you are wrong. You have to amend your thinking all the way down to the core of your being where you think you are not worthy.

Let me tell you. You are. You are worthy of good things. Let that sink in.

Image result for you are worthy

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Is Jesus Real to You? Sunday Thoughts

I normally do not comment upon religious or spiritual things except to promote spiritual health. I'm not one to rock boats. Today's question, however, comes with a few caveats.

Is Jesus real to you?

This question was posed to early Methodists, Lutherans, and Wesleyans by John Wesley. He wants your honesty deep within yourself. Yes or no?

Firstly, in a culture that knows ABOUT Him through stories from the Bible - the ark, the apple and the serpent, parting the waters, and the death and resurrection of Jesus - we have a stunted relationship WITH Him.

Many people grow up 'in the church' and never understand in their hearts what it is they hear. They don't feel it. Then all the questions are hedged and routines done just to keep people thinking you are a follower. My little nieces could tell you at two years old "Jesus!" or "God!" as the answer to every question in church. Some feel this is indoctrination, and it is. This practice, whether you find it foul or devout, is common. Yet you can recite, be indoctrinated, and STILL not believe.

Why? Because it takes a fall from pride, admitting you have failed, and allowing yourself to be subservient and lowly to accept that you need God. People have a lot of pride.  They cannot open themselves up to scrutiny. If it's a test, how will it feel to fail?

It feels like taking a pre-test over information you haven't learned yet and then feeling dumb. You come completely unprepared. You feel defeated when you come seeking answers and get questions in response. There is a lot of mystery and vaguely worded scriptures do not always soothe.

Then there are some tough situations we find ourselves in before we seek spiritual guidance. When you bring a belief to the altar and find that others shun you for it, or that you don't get the answer you want, you stop wanting to know more. That feels like having sex before dating. You tried it but it didn't work. You met up, felt some desire, some need, but afterwards you left unfulfilled and full of regrets.

The Church, as a body of people, of sinners, invites you to take a pretty big step - to make a decision to believe and have a relationship with an omnipotent being. No one wants to do that after a let down. Neither do we want to do that without knowing what the reward will be. Is there instant gratification?

So they date their religion, never committing. Yes, a religion is like a marriage. You do have to commit. That is daunting. So you listen and participate, sing and volunteer, ask questions and try to find answers. Sometimes you date forever and people ask you if you are ever going to get married. Sometimes you leave and get back together and leave and get back together.

The second part of this is: How can the world know unless someone explains it to them?

We all learn through teachers. Watching someone take communion and hearing the language isn't enough to understand it. Reading the Bible may help you know the stories, but not enough to understand the meaning in the message.

In the old days, the days of the book of Acts, the early Christians did not have access to books. Having a scroll meant you were rich. Stories were passed by word of mouth. They didn't know ABOUT many things. When a new story came along, they had one chance, while the church leader was still there before he moved on to another village, to make a decision. Someone explained it all to them and they either got it or they didn't.

We are similar, except we are bombarded with information. We have to sift through it daily. We hear lots of stories, opinions, most of them contradictory. How do we know what is true and right? Who do you listen to?

For those who choose to believe that life ends at death, I hope you are able to be spiritually healthy enjoying nature, quiet time, or self-reflection. When you stop believing in Santa, you still get gifts, you just lose that innocent magical wonder. Perhaps the world is just a cynical place and you are one of the few bright spots - be kind, do good, and love others even if they seem unlovable.

Lastly, if Jesus is Real to You, and you have the Holy Spirit, it guides you through scriptures to the answers. You just KNOW things, intents, interpretations, by feeling them. How can I describe it? Your conscious feels similar, and your heart or gut instinct, to the Spirit. There is no other way to put it but it allows you to assimilate the information and just know what is meant. This is not a gift that Santa can give, nor is it instant gratification after accepting and believing. If you believe in alternate dimensions or realms, think about the Spirit as permeating your being. It's around you and in you like air and water vapor. It's just there. It's a 4-D thing in a 3-D world.

It also feels clean, fresh, and new. Like pure happiness, there is a cool breath that enters your lungs and sweeps out the bad and leaves behind the good. It's almost like being in love. If you can accept that as instant gratification, then that's what it is. A fleeting feeling. It's like the high of doing good things to help others. It's not pride in yourself, it's knowing you were a good person.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Making the Most of Summer

I've been told that I haven't blogged in a while an I need to. Firstly, here's why: - 6 free short stories and their shiny new covers! - New author interviews, articles, and pleas for your help. - Support me and my co-author's writing endeavors! - vote for our short story to make it into an anthology!

I've been entering lots of writing contests, too. There are still 2 entries out waiting for rejections. :P

Soon I have to get back into my classroom and transform it for a new school year full of new challenges. I'm taking my summer break and LOVING the most out of it!

People ask me, 'do you have any big summer plans?' Well no, and while we sort of wanted to go to Holiday World this summer, which is like a 200 dollar day trip, we've had 2,000 dollars in medical bills to pay with 3 more on the way of an unknown amount.

Yes, with insurance. Except for the dog's heartworm treatment, we do not have pet insurance.

Blessings though, there was a time when 2,000 dollars would have been the end for us. We continue to struggle, yes, but it is not completely insurmountable. We will crawl out from under this and be okay.

But let's not dwell on the numbers, rather, let's look at us being healthy and making the most of our days.

Sunday the weather was perfect for a swim. Afterward I made a fire in the fire pit and there were no biting bugs, a cool breeze, and partly cloudy skies. It was perfection.

While I woke up with a headache today, I could sleep in. That small luxury alone is a huge blessing. I could read a book in comfort and not even get dressed. I could take a bubble bath or a nap. This is the kind of day I dream about having during the school year when I'm working and the weather changes and I feel crummy but I have to go to work and deal with my students also feeling crummy.

Before that happens, I want to use up the coupons in my wallet. I have all these little free food coupons I was gifted before I left school to places I don't normally go. Let's try something new! It could be a week of 'never leave your city' or 'staycation' trips where I and the boys pretend to be tourists in our own town. If they would go for that.

I want to keep having mini dates with hubby. Even though I sometimes complain that we never go where I want to go because we can't afford it, or he wouldn't enjoy it so I can't enjoy something I would have otherwise enjoyed (like parades, air shows, zip lining, or theme parks), I still enjoy talking to him about our book series, going to places, and being with him. He tells me that he takes me places just to be with me. If I can't go to Monday night Trivia, even though everyone else there is either his family or his friends, he says he won't go without me. I need a friend to go with me to some of those other places that he won't.

I want to paint a picture and color an adult coloring book page.

I want to read a bunch of books in my library. I'm reading Game of Thrones right now.

I want to work my butt off writing. Things are getting rejected, things are getting accepted. I'm making tons of new writer friends on Twitter and getting some awesome words down on "paper" every day.

Some days I wax poetic:
Hold onto me 
and I'll hold onto you. 

 If I feel your grip 
slacken a little in mine 

 My grip will fail 
We'll both drift off into space

Angry, Baby
It's an angry day 
dream in anger 
Frustrations fall on deaf ears 

It's an angry month 
nightmares reign 
Timelines don't sync up 

Been an angry year 
Money spent 
Hopes faded to dark 

What comes after anger? 
Bring on the numbness

Or haiku:
Our story book ends 
Dusk rainbow soft before night 
New story begins

Sometimes I ponder myself and my values:
You say there is freedom in not tweeting what you were gonna say, but I shudder to think that you are dishonest with me. I get that some things are better left unsaid, but if it would change the course of history for the better, even brutal honesty has its place.

Sometimes I go back to high school:
I watched you open your locker from across the hall. You pulled out my note, started to unfold it. Your buddy jumped on your shoulder and you silently slid it into your pocket. My heart beats 'keep reading', 'keep reading' as I walk to class.

Sometimes I raise the temperature:
At a loss for words, your dripping chest emerges from the hot tub. "Join me?" Slowly, I strip off my clothes and take your hand to step into the bubbles, my temperature rising with more heat inside that out.

The offer dangled before him like the apple of Eve's sin. He wanted so badly to taste it, but hadn't yet decided which he would regret more, having done it, or having not. His head said turn away, but his body lusted forward. His heart was torn.

Beneath the brim of his black fedora, two brown eyes smoldered. My breath caught in my chest. A slow smile crept across my mouth as a blush colored my cheeks and I forced my eyes down. "You like my hat?" I wanted to fling myself at him and connect my lips with his.

Sometimes I'm random:
The plane began a tail spin, dropping out of the sky. My heart dropped with it as the pilot ejected. News media claimed the pilot was fine, but I looked at the bruised face attached to the hand I held in the army hospital, willing him to wake.

Gazing in wonder at your tiny fingers and tiny toes, thinking about how people congratulate me for making you, but you were not made by me. You are beautiful, full of hope and promise. I did nothing but carry you and I will carry you for the rest of your life.

Puckering up is lips in thought, he cocked his little head, then declared, "It means you have to say you're sorry?" 
"While you should apologize for a mistake, it means you have to try again." 
"Kids have it. Adults don't."

And then I dream:
I saw you and I found my feet flying towards you, huge smile bringing tears. First I hugged you, held you, felt your warmth and strength as some tears leaked out. I sniffed and blinked, backing up to look in wonder at your face. Was this real?