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A Perfect Day

Ahh....  A perfect day !    Nowhere to go.   Nothing to do.

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Just me, my Air Conditioner (Best friend ever!), my Recliner (Luv you, buddy!), the Internet (You are my World.), and a bowl of crunchy snacks !

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“What's in the bowl?”, you ask.  Fritos (Dog Breath), Cheetos (Orange stuck in teeth, stained fingers), and French Fried Onions  (Don't judge.  The green beans are just an excuse, and you know it.)

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Once you have given up all hope of ever having sex again,
your Snacking Possibilities widen greatly !!
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Hey, I try to find the silver linings where I can.  Sarcastic Optimism is the closest I can get.   

The Thereness of There

The Thereness of There

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((This isn't all organized, and you're starting in the middle with no background. Just that stream of conciousness writing. And I'm not going to ruin it by fixing it. It's more relatable to everyone if I don't. You'll recognize your own parallel Thereness better if I don't fix it.))

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You just want to be back “home” to Even-Keel. Even-Keel is all you can really hope for. (Especially since I know myself, and I never manage the extra preseverence to get further up to Pretty Darned Good, or THRIVING.) You know there's never “going home again”, like to Mother's Lap Town, Where you don't have to think about doing your hair, because someone else does that. Or the I'm just a kid, I've don't have bills and taxes, and have never heard of retirement, and when those large people talk about Presidential candidates or who shot who and watch the Ball drop and think that Bob Hope is funny, and you're certain you will never be that lame, or that boring, and they seem like Martians - really boring, lame, have-no-fun Martians. Obviously wouldn't know what fun was even if they wanted to have it Martians.

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You know...when They plan the vacations, run the vacations, sneak out of the hotel early to get in a rationed gas line, or two, so they can get you to the amusement park or historical battlefield, and all you have to do is BE on the vacations, and you have the nerve to even grumble about how early “She's” making you get up, and you're jealous that “They” got the bed and you slept in sleeping bags on the floor. And you're too clueless to even imagine that someone would think that you have “Some Nerve”. And you roll your eyes at them in irritation that you have to “Say Cheese” while sitting on one more cannon, in one more historical fort. (“Just take the damned picture already!”)

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That-Place. That place that you can never go back to. That-Place that was so good, that you didn't even have to notice then how good it was. My own little, self-absorbed world. My own little self-absorbed, and-sinlessly-so world! The one that was earlier than when They start rattling it, and you're clinging to self-absorption, and They're saying you're not supposed to be that way.

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I want to be there. I don't have to get back to the bouncing on a lap stage, the totally sinlessly self-absorbed stage. No, I'm not that insistent. I'll settle for “just” the “They're suggesting I'm self-absorbed, but They're so lame and boring that I'm not sure my eyes will stop rolling one day” stage. Yeah, I'm not greedy.... I'll settle for just there. Heck, I might even not grumble the next time they wake me up at 11:45 PM to sit on the floor and watch that stupid ball drop. Isn't that good of me? I feel so warm and generous and proud of myself about that.

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There. I want to be There. I want to be where I'm not a They.

Just quietly wanting it, not desperately wanting it.

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(And that's a step up from where I've been.)

Sins from a Recliner

What conclusion can we draw from this? Which sin rules? How many sins?

It was today's plan to go see the movie Magic Mike, before it left the theatre. Yeah, I'm the only one who has procrastinated this long. Do I get chalk points for resisting lust, but do those get erased because of the procrastinating? And I really wanted it to be today, since there is free popcorn on Tuesdays ! Gluttony, and stingy - or is that frugal? (a virtue) I have now missed the early morning show - Sloth or poor time management (which is poor stewardship). And now getting to that second show would require me getting out of this recliner (sloth again), and off of Facebook without my crops being harvested in my game (addiction = a form of idolatry). If I waited until PM, the movie would be more expensive, and would surely lead me to guilt over spending the money, which would reawaken bitterness over who caused all this post-divorce poverty. (So lump on unforgiveness to my sin pile, along with ingratitude towards God for His continued blessings.)

It is not turning out to be a good day. All this just for wishing to see Matt Bomer smile.

Speaking in Tongues – a Prayer Unanswered, or a Gift Bestowed

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I have asked for the gift of tongues twice in my life. Once in high school, when our little Baptist youth group was teaching about it, and once in college.

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The other highschoolers loved me - I had grown up with them.  They weren't trying to prove something to me, and they wouldn't have been able to anyway, since we were such a small group and - I grew up with them.

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There were 3 Christian groups on our college campus.  One was Catholic and attended almost exclusively by Catholics - if for no other reason than the rule of needing to receive the Eucharist, and our other 2 groups didn't have that.  The second group was at least 75% Protestant, with the majority of that being mainstream sects like Methodist, Baptist, etc.  You know... those places with steeples.  We had a few "holy rollers" come in or stay in, but no one spoke in tongues at the meetings and in 4 years of attendance, not much was taught about tongues as we made coleslaw out of our NIVs studying the Bible.  The third group “Agape” was the smallest, and didn't really advertise on campus much, and didn't have a priest or pastor, or even a teacher present as an adult.  That group were the Charismatics, the handraisers, the tongue-speakers, the laying on of healing hands folks.  I think there were even tambourines one time.  I visited that group a few times, as well as the Catholic group.  I had extra time in my evenings and I thought, "If one worship group/bible study was good for me, why not two?"  They weren't unwelcoming, but they pushed those tongues really hard !   Then they committed an error as a group.  They tried to teach me that, since I claimed to be saved but had never spoken in tongues, that the Holy Spirit was not in my heart at all..... ergo - I was not actually saved.  Something like halfway, I guess.  I tried to argue that it says GIFT, not RIGHT TO DEMAND tongues, but they didn't buy it.

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Both times that I asked for this spiritual gift, I had worked really hard inwardly to be in a place where I was earnestly desiring the gift, and ready to use it ONLY in the strict manner that the Bible dictated for this gift.  (As in, never blabbering willy nilly in large churches full of people - for the last two minutes of EVERY praise song - and in the presence of people who were unsaved.  It's the only gift that has rules attached, other than to be really careful if you are a teacher, since you will be held more accountable if you lead someone astray.  There are no "strings attached" or rules to Hospitality or "helps" or service, for example.  
Have at it, at will on those ! )

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But no matter how much I dealt with verses and concepts like James 1:5-8, about doubting, and firmly believed I had mastered not doubting, I still did not receive the gift of tongues.

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5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God,

who gives generously to all without finding fault,

and it will be given to you.

6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt,

because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea,

blown and tossed by the wind.

7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.

8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

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(Yes, I KNOW that passage says "If any of you lacks WISDOM", and not tongues. But I believe it to be perfectly reasonable to expand all the rest of the gist of it to be for more than asking for that one item. No?)

Was this the Spiritual Gift version of the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld ?  No Soup for You !

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I'm now 25 years out of college, and have spent most of that time worshipping (when I went) in places that don't speak in tongues - more from my penchant for loving traditional hymn music than a conscious effort to avoid the package deal that are charismatics. I have, however, quite enjoyed visits to other flavors of worship, and made sure my 2 sons were exposed to virtually all types of Christian groups - with the glaring exception of that sssnake-handling type of Baptists.

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I still don't speak in tongues, and at this time (never say never) I am set on never asking for that gift again.  I can't say it didn't sting that I didn't receive from the Lord this good thing that I earnestly desired, which was supposed to help bring me closer to Him in worship.  I'm not saying I had a huge chip on my shoulder about it, but I can't say there was never a pebble.  Matthew 7:8-10 stung a bit for awhile, but read on.

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8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds;

and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

9“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?

10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?

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I do, or did (until snoring took over), have one gift many others didn't have. Not a "bona fide", capital “S” Spiritual Gift from either of the gift lists, but I used it to worship God and to reach His sheep just the same.  I was a voice major back in college, and a Baptist.  We knows us some hymns.  And we're raised to believe that when the congregation is asked to sing, well.... the congregation is SUPPOSED to sing.  Not mutter and mumble.  It does not say "Make a reluctant mumble to the Lord", but a joyful noise.  And definitely Not slip in 8 minutes late, sipping our flavored Starbucks crappaccinos that they serve out in the other room and are now allowed into what used to be call the Sanctuary. ( Don't get me started on how stupid it is to stack all the 14 minutes of dumbed-down "Praise" music right at the beginning of the service, thereby allowing people to regularly be late and the others bored, and some with their backs and feet screaming to sit DOWN.  Too much pain tends to drive out any chance at "worship" after that 10th minute or so.)

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Anyway, I rant-ble on.

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So I used this legacy of a few hundred years of Christian music really well when I got a job at an assisted living place - in the Alzheimer's/Dementia section actually. Did you know that their new memories (like lunch) may be long gone, and even their kids' names, but the oldest, longest memories usually stay ?  And music is one of those things like Smells, I think, where it triggers something really Deep.  More than once when I was singing what I KNEW were the old standards and most loved hymns of THEIR era, some of the lowest functioning folks really paid attention, held my hand, started to cry, etc.  (Maybe I was off-key, haha.) There was one lady who had deteriorated below speech level and couldn't even choose plate A or B in front of her for lunch choices.  But one evening, I brought in my trusty old hymnbook from the little home church of my youth and started with the old favorites.  Margaret came over and started singing WITH me !  An aged but clear, on-pitch first soprano, with confidence.  And she even knew more than one verse !  She consulted the book once or twice at the beginning of phrases - she was READING !!  We didn't believe she could speak (and she couldn't) much less read !

Her face was the most beatific thing I will ever see on this side of the clouds !!!

Immediately upon finishing a hymn, she would revert to that annoying little snippet of song I will hear to my dying day - which she sang with every breath of every hour of every shift of mine. Argh !! No words, just ♫dum de dum de's♫. (You could hear it on the way up in the elevator!) Then if I started another hymn, she snapped back into "intelligent" participation again.

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I have also sung one or two off to death.  (Yeah, maybe I was really off-key, yathink?)  My voice being the last thing they ever heard. (My son quipped, “They left in self-defense.”)   And I "brought one back" from unresponsive once - long enough (a few hours) to say goodbye to his son who was there distraught because he was "too late".  No one had revived this old guy Pete for over a full day, and he wasn't even swallowing dripped water, so dying also of dehydration and the fever that brings.  But my first hymn had him blinking and the second one he held my hand.

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Conclusion:  Maybe I'll never speak in tongues in that "traditional" way.   And I don't know if this is WHY God chose not to bless me with that.   But the music really reaches people deeply, and I'll settle for that.   (Now if I could just fix that snoring.  I no longer have a voice that can fill a room, or even last an entire choir rehearsal.  But I can still sing one old lady off to sleep at a time, my hand on the doorknob, quietly leaving unseen and unthanked, most evenings I worked.)

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Hypocrites Against Obama – an unfunny “joke”
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Hypocrites Against Obama joke

I found this joke on Facebook, and it made me really mad.  
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151009833102740&set=a.93334652739.88992.92943557739&type=1&ref=nf

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We all understand to whom this jab is referring. I'm not going to say one thing about politics, or Obama's politics, as I am woefully underqualified.

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I would like to point out one glaring UNfunny in this "joke". Socialist, immigrant, and illegal aside...
It's the MUSLIM part that is SHAMEFUL !   
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Boo to the creator of this post,

and boo to any of YOU who forward it !


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Nowhere in the constitution or laws does is say that you can't be President of the US if you are a Muslim. Freedom of religion, remember, folks? You certainly have the right to choose to vote for a person with the same religion as you have chosen, and free to vote for someone who has chosen Humanism as their "religion" (Atheists).
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Whether Obama is a Muslim or a Christian is a point that is only for each voter to attach a value to, privately, in their voting booth. This is a country where the next President can be a Wiccan, a Presbyterian, a Mormon, a back-slider, or a Jew. A Satanist, a Witch, an Atheist, a snake-handling Baptist, or (God forbid) even a Catholic. (Kidding!)
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Since it is not against the requirements for/against presidency, to include Muslim in this "joke's" list of slurs is therefore a cousin to RACISM ! It is bigotry every bit as much as devaluing someone outright just for skin color. I had better not see any black/brown/yellow/red/plaid or purple people forwarding this joke. You don't like to be judged as lesser because of skin color, then don't devalue someone for a religion. Hypocrites.
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That leaves just the white people left. You're next. Every white person who is not a mainstream Christian had better not forward this post either. You want to be able to practice your religion without persecution? Are you Mormon, Scientologist, Wiccan, Sikh, Pagan, Atheist, or even some generic New Testament, barely defined, independent, Bible-thumping, tambourine-shaking, non-denominational Christian? If so, then you're surely one of those who is spouting “Freedom Of Religion” all the time. Uh.... doesn't MUSLIM fit into this category? It's not freedom of every religion except that one. If you want to have your religious rights respected, then you can't forward this “joke” either. Hypocrites.
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That leaves just the white, mainstream Christian religions – those with the earliest histories in this country, nothing new-fangled. Catholic and Protestants. (The poor Jews fall somewhere in both groups – Anti-Semitism is both a racial and religious problem.) Let's start with those Catholics.... If you are going to vote/not vote on someone just because of a stated/suspected religion, and you believe that Christianity is the only true religion, and Catholicism is the one true Church in that Christian religion, then none of you should be voting for someone who is not a Christian, and not for any Protestants. One step further..... Since the Catholic Church unequivocally believes life begins at conception and stands firmly against abortion, and the Democratic party fights for the right to kill babies in the womb, then you'd darned well better never have voted for anyone who isn't a Republican ! At any level of politics, since one level often leads to a higher level - city officials, to county to state governor to Congress, to President. Hypocrites.
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So far, you white Catholic pro-lifers can forward this joke, since you're not guilty of hypocrisy over skin racism or other discrimination, and you're the one true religion and all.... but you know that it would be a sin to treat another person this badly. And you know you're supposed to be trying to “save” a person of another religion (Muslim here), not slam them. So maybe you're not a hypocrite, but “just” sinning.
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And so therefore falls the remaining white, mainstream Protestant Christians.
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I have now proven that no one (except illegal immigrants and socialists) should be forwarding this “joke” which is very Unfunny. Shame on you if you do so after me pointing out the problems. It's one thing to do something in ignorance. Ignorance is not a sin in itself, as it simply “without gnosis”. You are now no longer “without knowledge” in the matter of this particular “joke” and I trust that you have enough intelligence to know how to apply it in the future, and will avoid forwarding other discriminating emails, jokes and posts relating to skin color, disabilities, religions, etc.

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And don't shoot the messenger (me). I may be really blunt, but I am not wrong.
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Thanks for the smile, S.P.

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A Facebook friend just said to me,
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"You are an Odd duck and so very precious!  XOXOXO"
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My reply, " KWAQUE !"

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(Thanks for the smile, S.P.)

Grieving is like the receding tide

Grieving is like the receding tide

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I don't know if you've ever spent much time at the beach - a real beach, not the side of a pond or swamp. The "work" of grieving is like the receding tide. At first you don't see any progress, and your "shore" is just buffetted by endless large waves of grief. They toss rocks at you, and slither the sand out from under your feet so you lose your footing. After some time, you begin to notice that not all of the waves are as strong or reach up as high. But you're not so sure. There are still some killer waves, rivalling the strongest ones at the beginning. But fewer of them. A little longer, and most of the waves are weaker, and you can keep your footing, and even risk standing a bit further down the beach. So you take a few small steps (rebuilding your life, often called “moving on”). Now and then another big wave reminds you that you may have stepped a bit too fast or too far. Or maybe you notice that since these mini-tsunamis come far less frequently, you have some ability to adjust and cope with them - to adjust your footing, sucking your feet back out of the quicksand. More time, and there are mostly only weak waves - a surprising large one rarely, but never as big as the maelstrom you were fighting at the start.

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And keep in mind that the ocean is never still/stopped, and you never get to leave the beach. This means: The beach is your life, your walk in life. Ergo, you don't get to leave the beach. The ocean is your love for that missing person, and your sorrow over not having them again, and complicated by any regrets. So don't be surprised, if, even ten years later, even as a grownup, you have a surprising spell over missing your Mommy ! It just means, you still love.

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(These are my own words.  A Massachusetts girl!   Not Cape Cod, but I grew up across the street from a little beach.)
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Love to all, Glynis Sylvia 

Troubles Only For a Time

Troubles Only For a Time

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Last Wednesday, I was upset because I got an email notification from Hulu.com that several vitally important shows were about to expire from my queue - without me having time to watch them ! Six episodes of HOARDERS would be gone forever if I didn't make a major change in my Castleville-addicted lifestyle ! (a Facebook game)

And then the fiasco with the broken recliner (which is also my bed), and the horror of me being trapped forever in the extra room (because I got the chair stuck in the doorway sideways), while in my ugly granny panties (not the leopard print C string that Donna Ford keeps recommending for just such emergencies). Wondering if I would die from lack of water, before I starved off enough blubber to heave myself over the chair stuck in the doorway and out to freedom.

Then when my son, James, finally returned my lovely new van back from the second time he's borrowed it for fun vacations (some strange word I think he's just made up), he tells me, "Mom, something's wrong with your car..."

Well all that luckily Distracted me from the Abject Horror of living a Hoarder-free life for awhile.
(BTW, both of those things, while phrased with humor, are major troubles in my life of poverty, and should take half a year or more to recover from.)
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But God is good to me !
Evil and adversity do not prosper for long in my life. My universe is restored again.
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Yes, the chair is still busted, and I haven't even gotten the car back yet and am stranded here...... but (silver lining) a new email assures me that there are EIGHT fresh HOARDER episodes just waiting in my queue for when I get tired of Gordon Ramsey's very restrictive vocabulary of cuss words and finish up with Hell's Kitchen - seasons 1,2,3,4,5,....
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(Note to readers: It is to be understood that this is Not a disrespecting of the role of The Almighty in my life, but a flagrant use of sarcastic humor against myself, stemming from a real relationship with Him, and posted so that the reader will know that I DO know what true values are, and that, yes, I am pathetic. So don't flame me. I post my pathetic-ness for your amusement.)

How I Spent My 4th of July

How I spent my 4th of July


I did NOT have a good day today ! It wasn't even 10 o'clock before my day turned into a major crap-storm. I hadn't even gotten out of "bed" yet and it was disastrous. First of all, in case you missed it earlier, I don't even own a bed. I have a really bad back, so I live and sleep in the same recliner - a motorized lift chair type. (I don't need the old lady lifting part, but they are infinitely adjustable, and just a button to press. I usually can't reach the levers on normal recliners. I guess they just don't care about short people.)

I was moving around, waking up this morning, and the back of the chair made an ominous CRACK ! And the back part just went slack back there. So I had to start out my day by putting my back out to FLING my fat self UPHILL to get out of the chair. (Do I look like a person who does many uphill situps?) My new chair is "toast" (meaning really broken). Now I have to figure out how to send it back to the factory to hopefully fix it. The chair is only a year old, and was $1300, so I'm really upset !!! This was supposed to last me until death, hopefully.

Luckily, when I got the new one, I refused to listen to my son and throw out the still working old one (which I inherited from a dead old lady), and it was in the storage room. So I had to muscle the two chairs all around my apartment by myself - remember, this is the lady with the really bad back who can't even be erect in a regular chair for a few hours and hasn't lain down in a few years. These chairs are as heavy as a couch, because of the motors, but hard to grip onto, because of the moving parts.

Got the second one wedged in the door, on its side, and stuck. I was there, imagining myself stuck for a few days in the spare room, no food or water, and just in my undies (Big, ugly, cotton granny panties, and barefoot, with a raggedy, stretched out, ancient tank top on). I'm thinking, PLEASE don't make me have to open a window and holler out for HELP !! (Why couldn't I be wearing my sexy leopard print C string, right?)

I literally sat down in the room I was stranded in, dripping with sweat, ... ( I mean "glistening". My mother always said, "Horses sweat, men perspire, and ladies glisten."), chest heaving ... And thought I would never get over that chair stuck in the doorway, not without breaking it. The chair was on its side, to get it to go around the corner. What would be the sense of breaking the second chair, right? And I thought to myself, James is going to come back from Up North with my minivan, but not for 2 or 3 days. And I don't even have my cellphone in this room with me, what am I going to do?


*looks around the room for some container to pee in, because I'm not going to do what the cat does when she gets locked in this room by mistake....

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I did muster up the energy to try again with the stuck chair, and finally got it out the door. But it occurred to me that either my neighbors (in all directions) were gone for the day, or deaf.... or they must think I was really having a wild sex time in there. All that screaming and grunting....

No! No!  Yes!  Unh!  UNH !  Argh!  Y e s,  yes,  oh YESSSS..... FINALLY !!! (puff, puff, puff).”

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Anyway, stop laughing at me, and please pray that I can get that chair repaired, and that it won't be terribly expensive.

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Oh, I missed a point. About an hour after getting back into my chair (the old one, and SO thankful for it), there comes the most horrific and LONG lightning. Many claps of thunder, and really LONG rolling thunder. I've never heard one thunder that lasted so long - like 20 seconds or so !

So then the power goes out ! Remember..... it's a MOTORIZED chair ! FABulous !!!
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The Train Verse

The Train Verse

There's an important verse in the Bible that every parent should know. I've been surprised lately how many “Christian” mothers I've bumped into who've never heard of it.

Maybe the churches around here in Michigan aren't sermonizing on this one, or not lately. Maybe these mothers went back out to the lobby to get another Starbucks crappaccino and another donut instead of listening to the sermon. Maybe the removal of hymns from churches, and the substitution of a full FIFTEEN minutes of really boring, really talentless, really INANE music, repeated seven times in a vain attempt to infuse the five-word, three-chord drivel with some degree of meaning has left the minister with little time to develop a sermon in the first place. Maybe everyone's deaf because of the hyperactive drummer, banging away with the back of the drumsticks for added volume, yet set behind a plexiglass shield to keep him from thumping the rest of the talentless rock band off the stage (And yet they then defeat the purpose of the plexiglass wall by giving the drummer his own microphone! Uh.....?).

Anyway, I call it “The Train Verse”. It's Proverbs 22:6 and it says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

This verse is very comforting on the one hand, and quite discouraging on the other. It's quite discouraging to realize that it takes YEARS to get a child to learn some concepts. It seems silly to start teaching a child to clean up his toys or his room or to do learn household chores as a small child, when his motor skills aren't even fully developed, when his attention span is so short, when he's surely going to produce an inadequate result, and when you're going to have to take the extra time to redo the entire chore anyway. Seems like a smarter idea just to do the jobs yourself and wait until the child is older and will learn these lessons much more quickly. Ahhhhh....but there's the rub. Things are not as they “seem”. If you wait until later on, until that child can easily accomplish a task he doesn't want to do (which is any and every task except play or watching TV), he will simply refuse to do it! What he has learned in the meantime, as he was growing, was not just fine motor skills and a longer attention span, he has learned “attitude”. You have to start kids out very young with the idea that they are part of a family, and a family is a TEAM. And everyone on a team has jobs to do. And everyone has jobs to do that they don't like or want to do. That's just LIFE. You'd better get them started on the household chores very young, while they think it's FUN to imitate Mommy or Daddy (meaning while they're stupid), while they're willing to work for just praise and smiles, and maybe a cookie. If you wait until later on, they'll try to coerce you to PAY them to do just what is their own part in the team, never mind something above and beyond. And they refuse to work for minimum wage. They get an incredibly GRANDIOSE idea of what their UNSKILLED labor is worth. And not long after, they have a really hard time accepting the disgusting tasks and poor pay that come with their first part-time jobs.

So this verse is discouraging because it implies that you will be training and teaching, and teaching and nagging for YEARS before you see the payoff. Parenthood should steal the slogan from the Marines - “The toughest job you'll ever love.” And the stakes are so high! It's such a long term investment – and the returns don't show up for at least TWO DECADES ! And you don't really know if you're being effective until it's too late.

And going into it, you need to have the mindset that your kids will only absorb and accept HALF of what you teach them. So you'd better choose your teachings carefully, live carefully out in the open (because they're watching), and not waste any time. If you teach/say one thing, but live lazily on some moral, they're going to only accept (obey/take to heart) HALF of what they see, and you just showed them you only believe HALF of what you taught. That leaves one quarter of that moral or ethic. Ooops !

Train up a child in the way he will go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

The encouraging part is that SOMEday, your child/young adult will return to the good that you taught him, but only when he's ready. Not greatly encouraging, to my taste. That leaves me with lots of time to worry about what bad consequences my kid has to slog through along the way, before he realizes I wasn't the IDIOT he thought I was. Before he realizes that “old fashioned” might just be “best fashioned”. Before he proves me right and starts tightening up his own life because he has to live it in front of his own young kids and be an example to them – and that they will only accept HALF of what he's teaching them – so he'd better start out WAY on top. (Dear God, PLEASE help me to keep my big mouth shut when this occurs, or at the very least please keep me from laughing right in his face !)

My sons are now just turned 24, and an old 21. A year ago, I was walking around vacillating between elation and pride to defeat and despair. Depending on the child, depending on the month, depending on the moral or topic or lesson, it seemed I had either been victorious in getting through to them, or an abysmal failure. OK, I exaggerate. I've been doing the parenting checkup along the way, and gauging their progress, and they are not “abysmally failing” in any area. But there have been some areas in which this Mom, who has been “parenting for excellence” as I call it, has not been satisfied with the visible results. (Far too many parents nowadays are satisfied with doing just an OK job. They are “parenting for adequacy”; they are adequate parents – or less. I abhor bratty kids and I wouldn't even settle for “OK” kids. I want exceptional citizens, exceptional husbands, and fantastic fathers.  And if it's a truism that they will only adopt half of your morals or what you teach them, my task was daunting indeed. I had to start out at 202 % !

But having been at this for 23 long years, I was really getting discouraged. I kept looking at that verse, that promise of God's - “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Even history bears out the truth of this verse. Nearly all kids come back from the rebellion of their teenage years to a more settled life of morals, ethics, and sanity once they become fully adults. Sooner or later. But that was the worst part of the verse ! It wasn't that I didn't trust God to fulfill this promise, it's that “and when he is OLD” part.

My burning question was.... HOW OLD ??!!???

How long do I “just wait and see” if a trait has been absorbed, or when do I decide the kid still needs some more training? When does continued teaching cross over into nagging? And you CAN'T ask your kid this question ! He'll say, “before the first time you ever tell me! You're Always nagging!” And then he'll get to use his favorite word, the only three syllable word he can spell since learning it in middle school – You're so “ANNOYING” ! (As if they have a right to never be annoyed !  If I could steal a phrase from my mother's generation - “If I had a penny for every time he annoyed ME, I'd be a rich man!”)

So........ HOW OLD ??? I found out from a psychiatrist, who had a number of extra medical degrees that medical studies have shown that the human brain is not fully finished maturing – in the most important matters like “consequences of your actions” - until age TWENTY-FIVE !!  So there you have it. The very FIRST milestone by which you can set your sights to gauge this Bible verse. And probably NOT coincidentally, age 25 is when that whopping price they pay for their car insurance as a reckless Young Driver falls off. So automobile statistics echo the findings of these medical studies – that at age 25, our kids will finally have “grown a brain” ! Culturally, this also corresponds to when a large percentage of them have finished their secondary education (code word for continued adolescence accompanied by large quantities of alcohol and stupidity), gotten married and just started having kids. Statistically, parents who wait until this age to have kids are shown to be better, more committed parents than their teenaged or young 20-ish counterparts. Parenting is a really rough, expensive, all-consuming job, and one should really try to avoid entering into this state before one is himself fully grown up. Duh.

So, you Readers with younger children...... Just keep that verse in mind. I was walking around for years with it as a mantra ! Proverbs ----“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Learn the verse in its entirety, though, and don't take any shortcuts. Just because some folks call it the “Train Verse”, no fair turning the verse into some “Little Engine That Could” chanting. You remember that old children's book? “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.” That is WAY too easy to switch into defeatist things like:

I thought I could, I thought I could.”

I thought HE could. I thought he could.

He never will. He never will.

I'll kill him now. I'll kill them BOTH.

Kindergarten, Kindergarten – which, once passed, you realize you have to set your goals further out, and start chanting,

Senior Prom, by Senior Prom” (If they don't learn this by the Senior Prom, I'll kill them both....)

Last note: A child with a confirmed “GENIUS IQ” does NOT make the train ride any easier, or shorter. Trust me. Just more frustrating, if anything.

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