Monday, September 25, 2017

Disneyworld





My mom and I went to Disney world last week to celebrate my impending 50th Birthday (Yikes!), and for me, a celebration of getting a "real" job!  This was my 3rd time there, my mom's 4th time, so we stuck with things we liked and new things to check out.  It was so hot and humid, I think even more so compared to when we went 31 years ago in July.  It sapped us all our strength.  All I can say is thank goodness for air conditioning!  

These pictures are from the Magic Kingdom nighttime show, where they projected scenes from Disney movies, played music from them, and coordinated the fireworks with it all.  It was amazing.  I was in awe.  As Sheldon says in "The Big Bang Theory," it was pure Disney magic.  

I am always impressed by the Disney parks as the people who work there, for the most part, are friendly and cheerful.  I don't know how they do it in the heat, humidity, screaming kids, and demanding parents.  I think I would commit hari-kari pretty quickly.  And they always do a good job.  They are always committed to safety, reminding parents non-stop about their kids.  When I saw a lost little girl, 4 Disney workers came to her aid and helped her find her family.  I saw lots of adults and children with disabilities, and I am always pleased at how well Disney treats them.  Even though I was stared at right and left all over the place, they are usually little children who don't know any better and whose parents didn't teach them any manners.

I am always impressed how Disney is innovating constantly.  They never sit on their laurels, but continuously are updating, without destroying beloved entertainments.  I still love the Pirates of the Caribbean and It's a Small World ride, and I still love the World Showcase at Epcot.  My newer favorite is the African Safari at Animal Kingdom.  It's like watching National Geographic Wild in real life!

Disney started these parks years ago, when parks were just for kids.  He wanted to create a park that the whole family could enjoy together.  And now look at it, parks all over the world.  

I know some people don't like Disney.  Like Ford, Morgan, Carnegie, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, and other American titans of economy, life as we know it would be drastically different.  They were successful because they knew what people wanted, and they met that need.  This is part of what makes America great, that anyone with a dream, the will, and the ability, can make their dreams come true.  Like my parents, who weren't able to go to college, who started out with no home to call their own, worked hard all their life, made sacrifices, and ensured the safety and welfare of their children.  I can't thank my parents enough for teaching me the values that I hold dear.  I will forever be in their debt.  I love you mom and dad!



Monday, September 18, 2017

It's Official, I'm a Teacher!


After 2 years of college classes, and 1 year of substitute teaching, I am finally and officially a teacher!  I got a very part-time job as an adult ESL teacher, for 9.5 hours a week.  I would have preferred the 19 hours a week position, but the boss wanted to split the position between 2 people.  A part of me feels like, the other teacher is married and has children, this is all I have!  But another part reminds me that I am thankful to have a job teaching the same students I have been volunteering with for the last 8 years.  

I don't know if it has sunk in yet.  Maybe it will if I get more hours.  But whenever I am planning lessons or correcting homework, then I feel official.  I feel pretty important.  I feel pretty good, considering I wasn't sure if I ever would be able to work again someday.  I had tried and failed so much that I was weary of ever trying again.

But I thank God for this opportunity, I would not be here without Him.  And I am thankful for my parents who have provided for me so I can go back to school without debt hanging over my head.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

9-11


It will be the 16th anniversary of the 9-11 terrorist attacks in 5 days.  I hope we never forget this day, where nearly 3,000 innocent people died, thousands more injured, and more dying now due to the after affects of the attacks.  I have read so many books where 9-11 affected the writer, and have seen many documentaries about 9-11.  It has permeated our culture in almost every way.  Yet, we still are fighting this war on terror.  I wonder if we will ever win?  I hate to say it, but I doubt it.

If history is our guide, we have seen Islamic terrorist organizations come and go, and come back again.  Al Queda, the Taliban, Boko Haram, ISIS, the list goes on, depending on time and place.  But their goal is the same, to kill all infidels, and to destroy our world.  That is the gist of it.  

And there is no excuse for it.  Some people blame economy, poverty, lack of education, etc.  But we have seen lone wolf attacks by people who lived here, in America, who had an education.  So that can't be it.  And millions of people around the world live in poverty and have lack of resources, and they don't act out in violence.  So that isn't it.

These groups are just bullies, gangs of thugs that are bent on destruction.  I wonder if they really believe in the fundamentalist Islamic rhetoric, or they are just using it as an excuse.  A convenient way to justify their heinous actions.  They act like a cult, if you don't agree with them, then you are destroyed.  

And it seems to never end.  We chased Al Queda out of Afghanistan, but they just went into Pakistan.  We supposedly chased out the terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan.  But once our troops left, the terrorists were back.  Not a surprise.  Now what do we do?  The same thing?  We know from history that half-assed attempts will never work.  So either we go in full force or leave them to their own devices.  Unfortunately, we have left them, and now look what has happened, they are back, and the people, the regular folks just trying to survive, are paying the price for our negligence.  

One could look at this as humans being humans, there will always be terrorists, etc.  But I feel for the thousands, if not millions, of people around the world being killed or chased out of their communities, abused and neglected, and living in fear.  They did not choose to be born where they are.  They want to live in a land that is dying.  

It makes me appreciate my little life, such as it is.  I live in the greatest country on God's green earth.  I have freedom of religion and speech.  I have an education.  I have a job.  I have my family.  I have a home.  What more do I need?  


Monday, August 28, 2017

Founding Fathers


Lately there have been calls to rid America of confederate symbols and monuments, including statues of the Confederacy.  I have lived in the North all my life.  These symbols have no effect on me.  I am not an African-American, I did not live in the South.  So I don't believe I have any say in what happens to these symbols.  The ones to make that decision are the ones most affected by them.  

But I have heard calls of destroying the symbols of our Founding Fathers, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.  This I wholeheartedly disagree with.  

Growing up, I had no idea that Washington or Jefferson had slaves.  Honestly, I didn't really care about these long ago presidents.  I called them dead white men, and was tired of hearing about only them in my history classes.  I wanted to learn about world history, what life was like around the world for all people groups.  

About 10 years ago my mom and I went on a tour of historic sites on the East Coast, including Washington, D.C., and Virginia.  We visited Mount Vernon, Washington's home, and Monticello, Jefferson's home.  I knew by then that Jefferson had slaves and had a relationship with a slave.  But I don't think I knew about Washington.  

This was a struggle for me, as by seeing these sites, seeing the battle grounds of Valley Forge, and learning more about the Revolutionary War, I had come to admire these two men.  I couldn't fathom why they were slave owners, I thought they were better than that.  

I don't honestly know what they were like as slave owners.  All I know is that Washington was the general who won the Revolutionary War, and Jefferson was the one who penned the Declaration of Independence.  

This affirms to me, yet again, that most people have good and bad in them.  Washington and Jefferson were good presidents, just had bad thinking when it came to slavery.  Like most other famous people, we cannot simply discard someone because they happen to do something or think something that we don't like.  This doesn't take away the good things they dd.  It's like that saying, "you can't throw the baby out with the bathwater."  

It is so easy nowadays to quickly judge someone, anyone, based on one thing.  But what we don't realize is that people's actions and ideas don't come out of thin air.  They come through experiences, thoughts, emotions, and relationships.  It is too easy to judge someone without thinking what it's like for them.  History has evolved over time, so what we thought was OK back then we know now to be wrong.  

Let us not forget the great accomplishments of our Founding Fathers.  They chose to risk their lives to fight the tyranny of the British government.  They could have taken it easy, and profited from trade with the British.  But they chose to mark their own trail, to beat their own drum.  They chose to take a chance on the impossible, and somehow made it possible.  For that, their monuments should be a testament for all time.  

Monday, August 14, 2017

A Violent Weekend


This was written by the father of a man who on social media had tried to defend his actions at attending a white supremacist rally in Virginia last weekend.  I feel for this man, and his family, who wonder how his son came to develop such racist ideas to think that it is OK to be a part of such racists groups.

I used to live in the Fargo-Moorhead area.  I know racism abounds there. Even though it is a town full of people who vote Democrat.  These same Democrats I know are racist.  

I take offense that these neo-Nazi, white supremacist groups consider themselves Christian.  Nothing they believe in is in the Bible.  They probably have never cracked one open.  I have read, studied, and learned the Bile for years and know that their rhetoric is not Christian.  It is from the fiery pit of hell.

I also take offense that they consider themselves Republican.  My parents are Republican.  They find the violent actions of these groups repugnant.  I know plenty of Republicans that are not racists in any way.  

Needless to say, to see and read about the violence this weekend saddened me. I guess I was living in blissful ignorance thinking that the KKK was no longer an issue.  I guess living in the relatively diverse state of MN I got blissfully ignorant.  I knew there was still trouble in the South, just not to this extent.  It boggles my mind that any one with a knowledge of history and the Bible would join these groups.  Nazis were not Christian either.  In fact, they persecuted Christians, and created their own cult-like religion.  

I am just shocked at the ignorance of these groups.  How neo-Nazis can deny the Holocaust is beyond me.  You can just go all over Europe and see the concentration camps.  Didn't they see those horrible videos in grade school that showed the mass graves of Jewish bodies?  How can they deny it?  

Some people may say it's just human nature.  And maybe it is.  Some people are so brainwashed into their thinking, whatever violent thinking they have, that they don't question it.  They continue to pursue it to the end.  But we don't have to accept it.  We can strive for better.

I hope that this father's hopes will be fulfilled.  I wonder if the son knows how much grief and sorrow he is causing them.  I wonder if this madness and insanity will ever end.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

I LOVE MN

People ask me why I live in MN if I hate the winters so much.  So here are my reasons:

1.  My family is here.

2. My church is here.

3. I've lived in Cutters Grove for 20 years.

4. I've volunteered and subbed at Anoka Technical College ABE for 8 years, and, Lord willing, am starting a part-time teaching job there starting after labor day!

5. MN State Fair, need I say more?

6. The Mall of America, need I say more again?

7. Duluth and the North Shore.

8. Moorhead, where my parents grew up and I went to college.

9. Minnesota's historic sites and museums.

10. Although they are short, the summers.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Abuse

Lately I have been watching Dr. Phil in the afternoons while I eat supper before I go subbing or volunteering.. I have always liked Dr. Phil, he seems smart without showing off.  Instead, he relates to people where they are at, but doesn't take any crap.  He's honest and will call someone out if need be.  Yet, he is compassionate and has resources for people to help them, from his books to his website.  I've never read his books.  I used to read self-help books, when I needed them, but now it has been years since I read my fill.  

I do want to talk about an initiative that his wife, Robin, has on the website.  Here is the link: http://www.whengeorgiasmiled.org/aspire/

This is a free curriculum about domestic violence, for all interested.  Included on this page is a link to a free app that a victim can use to call for help with one touch of a button.  

I have not looked at either resources, but from watching Dr. Phil off and on for years, I think it would be helpful.  Even in this day and age, domestic abuse is so prevalent, and there seems to be little help for the victims.  Not only that, it affects the whole family, not just the spouse.  Even if the children are not abused, they learn a dysfunctional and damaging way of relating to others.  Like with an addict,  the victims focus on the abuser, neglecting all others in the family.  The victim doesn't mean to, but they are usually so beaten down, whether physically, mentally, or emotionally, that they don't think they can do without the abuser.   

When I see this happen, it breaks my heart.  I have had friends who were in abusive relationships, and I wished I could save them.  I wished I could get them to see that they don't need this person, that they were of infinite worth.  But abuse breaks the spirit.  

So if you are in an abusive relationship, get help!  No one should be abused, no one has the right to abuse you..  

Friday, July 21, 2017

I Hope to Teach


 I have been volunteering teaching adult ESL for 8 years, and have been substitute teaching in Adult Basic Education for 1 year.  I have an ABE certificate and am working on my ABE license.  Now, I am applying for an ESL teaching position where I volunteer.  

For the last 2 weeks, and for at least 1 more week, I have been subbing where I volunteer.  I have been enjoying it so much.  It is a weird feeling for me when I teach.  I sometimes feel like it is not me, but a me that I don't get to see very much. It is a me that feels alive, and feels the power of God flowing through me.  It is the me that has no worries, and no sadness.  It is the me that I always wanted to be.

There is not much else in my life where I feel this way.  Relationships are a challenge, writing is a love/hate thing.  I rarely feel like I am my best self in these things.  And of course, the every day chores  I hate to do.  

But in teaching, I feel joy and peace, and I never want that feeling to end.  It's like a high in a way.  

I hope I get this job. I hope I will be successful at it.  I hope I will continue to feel this way.  

I thank God I finally found something that makes me feel good about myself, and makes me feel like I am making a difference in my little corner of the world.  

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Merged Gospels


This past spring I heard about the Octagon Project.  It is live and virtual reality tours of the Holy Land.  You don't  need a virtual reality system to view them, and you can view them on any computer, smartphone, or tablet.  The link to this website is under the picture above.  The picture is of a Bible that merges the Gospels chronologically.  You can order this Bible on this website, either print or eBook.  I have loved reading it this summer.  In fact, it is my second time, and I want to read it again!  I love how it tells the story of Jesus in order, so that it's like a biography of His life in one big book.  

I have also enjoyed watching some of the videos.  I hope to go to Israel someday.  But I don't want to go with just any tour group.  I could kick myself for not going with my church years ago.  This is the armchair way of seeing the sights of Bible times.  Also, something bad always seems to be happening there.  Which makes me sad, as all these historical sites of such a great historical people, we can't see, or there is so much fighting over who owns what where.  I wonder if it will ever be resolved.  I think most of the people of that region would like it to be resolved.  But it's always those few who have a lot of power but very little ethics to cause so much pain.  It's like they have held the Holy Land hostage for destruction.  

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Independence Day

All Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.


We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

I'm Wrong?


A few weeks ago some people told me I don't always have to be right.  I think I have been told this for many years, but never really listened until now.  

I think I never realized that I did this, that I always argue and tried to correct people.  I mean, I knew, but I didn't realize how much it hurt people.  My family seemed  to tolerate and even laugh, until it got to be too much, even for them.  

For a while there I felt such remorse and regret.  I watch Big Bang Theory and laugh at Sheldon, knowing that I am like him too in some ways.  But TV is not real life.  Real people have feelings.  

I finally thought to myself, "It isn't about being right, it's about being loving."  And I have to keep reminding myself of this.  Because it is so easy to act like I know everything.  I forget that sometimes people don't like that and they might feel hurt.  The last thing I ever wanted to do is hurt people's feelings.  Then I find out I have.  And it broke my heart.

So here I am telling the world that I have this problem.  I will probably always have this problem.  But as they say, knowledge is the first step.  Now I know, I can hopefully become more aware of it.  It is so easy for things to come out of my mouth before I think. I much prefer to write.  Too bad we can't edit our speaking.  


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Wonder Woman


I have been waiting as long as I can remember for a Wonder Woman movie.  I was a huge fan of the Wonder Woman TV show as a child, and I even dressed as Wonder Woman one Halloween.  I wanted to be Wonder Woman.  I wanted to fly through the air and beat up the boys who made fun of me at school.  I wanted to be powerful like Wonder Woman, and not have these disabilities that made me have scary surgeries and painful treatments.

I saw this movie last week and I loved it.  It was so wonderfully made, and it represented well the power of women.  Finally, women have a hero for them, one that stands on her own, and not just a sidekick of a male superhero.  

I may have waited too long for this.  But it is better late than never, where I am on the cusp of finishing half of a century of life, I finally get my wish.  I get a beautiful superhero that can leap tall buildings, deflect speeding bullets, and wield a sword like a knight.  

FINALLY.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Father's Day


My dad admires Henry Ford so much that he has a room full of Ford memorabilia in his basement.  So even though this is not a Father's Day quote, this is something that I see in my dad.  For he strives not to get attention, but to see how his best looks.  

My dad is also a patriotic man.  I rarely see him cry, but as we were watching "Saving Private Ryan" the other day, he cried.  He always cries at the playing of "Taps" too.  He didn't get into the military because of his bad back, but he wanted to.  

Being a father and a husband are the most important things to him.  He has never been much of a demonstrative man, and he has always been a man of few words.  His words aren't cheap.  But he is a man of principle.  He lives by his conscience, whether it is popular or not.  He doesn't care what others think.  

He is the smartest man I know.  Smarts don't come from a degree.  It comes from using your brain.  And he has and always does.  

I have always admired him, and looked up to him.  He is a humble man, not one to toot his horn.  He doesn't brag, but has a quiet dignity that brings respect.  

I am so very thankful for my dad.  For his wisdom and foresight to provide for us, then, now, and in the future.  I am thankful for a dad I can trust to be honest and real.  What you see is what you get.

I have learned a lot from this man.  He taught me what matters.  He is not perfect, no person is.  But he is the person I needed.  He demonstrates his love and commitment through his actions, which speak much louder than words.
So I hope you have a very happy Father's Day, dad.  I love you.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

See Something, Say Something


I saw this sign in the subways of NYC, where I went with my family a few weeks ago.  For some reason, it stuck with me.  Maybe I felt responsible as I was guiding my family through the mazes of the subway system.  Maybe it was because it was the day after flying into JFK and hearing this being said over the loudspeaker numerous times.  Nevertheless, it stuck with me.

Later that week my mom and I were in a Starbucks when I happened to see an unattended bag.  I remembered this sign and how in the airports they tell you to report an unattended bag.  I showed it to my mom and she pointed me to two police officers nearby.  I went to them and directed them to the bag, of which another unattended bag appeared.  I told my mom let's get out of here, envisioning a horrible explosion ready to take place. As we were at the door, five men walked by us,. two holding those same bags.  The police officers had asked if those bags belonged to anyone, but I don't know what happened between that and the men leaving.  They didn't look happy though, and so as not to appear non-PC, they looked mighty suspicious to me.

I don't really know what those men were doing there, or what was in their bags.  But I knew I was in a city that has suffered the worst attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor, and I wasn't going to take any chances.  

Sometimes I feel so helpless about the war on terror.  I want to do something but all I can think of is to pray.  Not that that isn't effectual.  But in WWII, every one participated in some way.  Everyone was involved in the war effort.  Now most of us aren't.  We go about our every day lives barely noticing anymore any attacks anywhere.  Even when Manchester was hit on Monday, I didn't see anything about it until later that evening, and it had happened earlier in the day.  Why so late?  Why was there no breaking news?  Have we become so apathetic and complacent that we don't even notice anymore?  

I think we can all do our part, we can all join in the war effort.  First thing to admit is that there is a war, a war between good and evil.  A war against those who practice extremist Islamic jihad.  If we can't call it what it is, we have already lost the battle.

We have to make a stand for what's right, and against evil.  Evil that throws homosexuals off of buildings, evil that straps bombs on children, evil that closes all schools except for madrassas.  Evil that takes away a woman's identity and makes her a slave, evil that destroys all works of art, and evil that eliminates any source of joy and peace.  

This is not what I signed up for as an American.  But just waiting for the government to fix it, or just depending on our armed forces to win it, is too much for them to bear.  I may not be able to do much, but I can

SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Mother's Day


I owe all that I am and hope to be to my angel mother also.  I do also feel this way about God and my dad, but yesterday was Mother's Day, and I want to thank her for that.

Last night I watched a show about how a mother advocated for her daughter, and fought for her to get whatever she needed.  Sometimes the enemy is too big, and the mother has to step in to speak for their children.  And that is what a mother is supposed to do.

My mom spoke up for me with doctors, schools, and rude parents with ruder kids. People might not have liked her for it, but a mother does that when her child is suffering and needs her help.  A mother fights for her children.  And my mom did, and still does, even to this day.  

I am thankful my mom taught me to be strong myself.  There will always be people who don't like me for what ever reason, and who will not help me with what ever I may need.  Sometimes my family and I are on our own, against a world that doesn't want people like me around.  

True, there are some good people out there, and true, I am not an easy one to deal with.  But when it come to a child with a disability, a mother has to always be ready for a fight.  And a mother has to teach her child to advocate for themselves.  She also taught me to advocate for others, to be a voice for those who have none.

She taught me that life doesn't have to be the way it is.  We can fight for right.  We can fight for justice.  Sometimes we won't get it, but unless we try, we will never know.  

Thank you Mom, for all you have done for me.  I love you.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

9-11 Museum and Memorial

My family and I finally made the journey to NYC, admonishing my father to not fall off any more tractors!  We did the usual Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Central Park, Rockefeller Square, and Times Square.  But the one place that moved me to take pictures and now to write, was the 9-11 Museum and Memorial.  Please note that I can't find info on the pictures I took, so I am going on memory.  I encourage every American to see this stirring museum themselves.  


This was the last pillar standing in the attacks.  The numbers are those who perished in each first responder departments.
                                    


These are the survivor's stairs, where hundreds of people were able to escape the towers.








 On the left is part of the TV and radio antennae from the towers.

On the right is an elevator motor from the towers.  






On the left is a marker that was made after the first WTC attack in 1993.  On the right is a set of many girders that melted and bent from the heat and the collapse.   











On the left is a window from a plane.  On the right is a fire truck that was at the scene. 








After the attacks, there were missing posters all over the city.  The right is a quote to remember those who lost their lives on this horrendous day.  "No day shall ever erase you from the memory of time,"  from Virgil. 





These are the memorial pools.  The towers fell on these very sites.  All the names of the victims engraved around the pools.  






My pictures do not do the museum justice, and these are just a few of the remnants found there.  I hope that as in the Holocaust, we will never forget.  This is my generation's Pearl Harbor, and we must never waiver from the duty to remember those who lost their lives on that fateful day.  And we must never forget.


Monday, April 24, 2017

I Believe in God


This past weekend my church started a new series that you can see in the picture about.  If you would like to watch the sermon, click on the words below the picture.  

This is a timely series as a new movie is out called, "The Case for Christ," which is based on a book by the same name, written by a once atheist journalist who came to belief.  I've read the book myself and highly recommend it.

The sermon was good as always, as I had already worked out in my mind and heart why I believe.  The pastor talked about how there seems to be a dichotomy between science and religion.  But I think both can co-exist.  I do think that evolution has a place, as we can see that animals and humans adapt to their surroundings over time and space.  But I do believe we are not evolved from animals.  The proof for me is our sense of morality and theory of mind.  Theory of mind is our conscious thinking.  We know we are thinking about our thoughts, feelings, values, etc.  Animals don't have a sense of morality, they act on instinct.  They do have thoughts and feelings, but not like we do.  It's hard for me to explain.  People might think I don't love animals because of this.  But it is my love for animals that contribute to this. It is not fair to humanize animals, expecting from them what they are not able to give us.  Yes, they are far more intelligent than we give them credit for, but as I've said, their thinking is different than ours.  They don't think about God, eternity, etc.  It is because we are higher than animals that we are commanded to take care of them and respect them.  It does not mean that we can use them for our own purposes, or to make them more human.  

But I digress.  One more pint about science.  Even if the big bang were true, what caused the big bang?  Eventually you have to admit that something or someone created the circumstances for that to happen.  Noting exists out of a vacuum.  Therefore, I believe God created the world and all that is in it.

This makes all life have value.  At the turn of the century (1900), eugenics was very popular, which was based on evolution.  Eugenics is the belief of a superior race overcoming an inferior one.  This fit nicely with the Nazi's goal of creating a pure race and eliminating what they perceived as inferior.  There is no value in individual life in this theory.  On the other hand, being created by God gives value to all people and things.  Personally, I like this as I would have no value in the eugenics theory.  My life would not matter, and if not eliminated, as least not given the chance to pass on my progeny.

Morality exists, whether we want to admit it or not.  Most of us believe that murder and abuse are wrong.  We have laws to punish those who do this.  We may disagree on other actions that may or may not be explicitly wrong, but that doesn't mean we do away with all morality. Most religions have a sense of right or wrong.  These religions form the basis of governments around the world.  Communism is anti-religious.  No one life has value.  All are for the country.  No one has rights.  No one can exercise free will.  

It is true that religion sometimes has caused harm, like in the Crusades or the Inquisition, but those are caused by people, not religion.  Religion does good.  It brought the plight of the poor, disabled, and mentally ill to the forefront.  It stopped slavery.  It brought the civil rights movement.  My point is, again, you can't throw all of something away because of the few bad people that would use anything to take power from the people.  

My beliefs have been developed over years of study.  I don't just believe what others tell me, I want to find out through research and study.  God gave me a brain, He expects me to use it.  The more I study about Him, the more I am convinced He is real.  History, science, and literature tells me so.  

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Easter


The Easter message and music was just what I needed in my miserable estate of having a flu/cold/virus.  I was coughing so much I was unable to sing, so I just sat during the worship, sucking on a cough drop and sweating profusely while having a coughing fit.  

If you click on the words below the picture above, you can watch the sermon as well.  Along with that are discussion questions that i thought would share with you how I would answer them.

They asked about my hope.  I thought to myself, I don't just have hope, I know Jesus is real, and He lives!  That is what I hang my hopes on, for nothing else is as perfect as His love for me.  True, I have family and friends and pets that love me, but we are all human, we all hurt each other from time to time, and it is really not fair to totally depend on a human or thing for everything.  I made that mistake with Chocolate.  

I do believe I have been transformed by Jesus.  I know sometimes I don't show it, which I regret.  But I know in my heart and mind and soul, that I have peace, real peace, that comes from knowing Him.  Not only that, I have true contentment that I am blessed, and I have a good life.  It is not perfect, no life is, we all have problems.  But I know I am not alone, ever,  He is with me always.

Finally, they asked about relationships.  My relationship with God is, I think, growing deeper each day, as I read His word and pray.  I must confess I still get depressed and anxious.  Living with a mental illness, like a disability, is something you never get rid of.  You just learn to live with it, like whatever weaknesses a person may have.  Through that,  I can believe that God can bring something good out of it, which He has, like my writing, and my support group.  My relationships with others tend to fluctuate over time.  When I was away at college, I had a great group of friends that I still keep in contact with to this day.  Now I am home, and my friends are married with dependents, I have my family that I am close to.  So I think God has always provided me with others that I can talk to, have fun with, and help when needed.  

So there is my hope.  And in retrospect, I can see that following Christ has been the best thing for me.  I have hope, I have peace, and I have love.  What more do I need?  The rest is just gravy!

Monday, April 3, 2017

The Zookeeper's Wife


I just finished reading this excellent book, and the movie is now out in theaters, although I will probably not see it as it involves animals dying, which always sends me over the edge emotionally.  

It is a true story of a zoo keeping family in Warsaw, Poland that helped the Underground and hid Jews during WWII.  I had read a book a few weeks back about what happened to the Poles during WWII, and now I have read this.  Before these books, I had no idea of what happened in Poland, except for the Nazis' taking all the Jews from the Ghetto in Warsaw.  I wondered why I have not heard of these things until now.  I never realized the whole impact of WWII upon the European populace.  I suppose no one, but God, will ever fully know the impact.

The Nazis seemed to have an obsession with not only creating a pure race, but also a pure world, with nature and animals included.  At least what they considered pure.  So when they came to the zoo, they took the breeds they wanted to breed to its original state, and killed the rest of the animals.  

They came in and changed the floral and fauna, desiring to turn Poland into a pure German/Aryan country.  Thus, not only were Jews carted off to the camps and crematoriums, all the intelligentsia and political figures were killed.  They came in and destroyed Warsaw, obliterating it to ruins.  

Why did they hate the Poles so?  From what I can gather, and I may be wrong, Germany had considered the land Poland was on German, and it was right between Germany and Russia.  The Nazis had intention to invade Russia all along, but they had to take over Poland.  Russia wanted Poland too, so they agreed to divvy up Poland between the two parties, until Germany reneged on the deal.  I am surprised that Russia was stupid enough to trust Germany, considering they were just as ruthless.  

The Polish Underground was the greatest one in Europe, well organized and well managed.  They helped each other out, hiding Jews from one place to another.  They left animals at the zoo, know the family would care for their pets.  The Poles helped the Jews transform their appearance so they wouldn't look Jewish, but German, or at least Polish, coloring hair, teaching mannerisms, even cosmetic surgery.  

I guess Germany was mad that they lost so miserably after WWI that they wanted to punish the world.  Not all of Germany, of course, but when the Nazis came into power, they were  a murderous mob bent on destruction.  It is amazing to me how people can hate others so much that they indiscriminately kill, maim, or destroy.  

I can see why they have the EU.  They just don't want to go through that again.  And yet, there is a rise in neo-Nazism and antisemitism in Europe.  I don't get that.  Every where you go there is a museum about WWII and what happened.  Why would they want to go through that again?  Why would they deny something that is so obvious?  Are these people so brainwashed like in a cult that they just can't see what is in front of them?  It boggles the mind.

I don't suppose these questions can be easily answered, as we see this type of systemic destructive thinking and behavior all over the world, from gangs and cults, terrorists and extremists.  These systems give individuals a sense of power that they think they don't have.  And their solution is violence.  


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

To Walk Invisible


This past Sunday the PBS TV channel broadcasted this movie about the Bronte sisters.  I didn't know much about them, but that one wrote Jane Eyre, one of my most favorite novels, and another sister who wrote Wuthering Heights, which I did not like so much.

The three sisters never married, and lived at home with their reverend father and alcoholic brother.  The brother tried to make it as a writer but failed.  The sisters, ever mindful of their brother, used gender neutral nom de plumes partly not to upset their brother, but also partly because they lived in a place and time where women generally were not encouraged to work, and publishers didn't believe they could write.

My favorite sister is Charlotte, the short one, who wrote Jane Eyre.  She was a feisty and independent spirit, who expected a lot of herself and others.  She knew full well what people thought of her, short and homely and not capable of not much of anything, but her book was the most successful of all the sisters, and is still widely read today.  

She reminded me of me.  I think when people look at me and listen to me, they don't think much.  But I know I am capable of so much more than they think.  I may not have a book widely published, but I do have a Master's degree, and I still write, even though I will probably not ever be famous.  Even so, I still have a voice, and still plan to use it, like these sisters.  

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Eagle Brook Church


This coming weekend, the Anoka campus will open its doors for the first time.  I am excited about it, as I have been going to this church, in other locations, for about 6 months now, and it is so cool to me that it will be right next door to me.  Little did I know that the old K-Mart that closed down a few years ago, would become the answer to my prayers, in more ways than one.

After the changes at Church of the Open Door happened that I was not happy about, I searched about for  a new church home.  I had heard of this place for years, but never wanted to check it out as I was quite happy at Open Door for about 20 years.  But now with the unwanted changes, I decided to check it out last summer.

And I was glad.  I felt at home right away, and a sense of relief, and peace.  For so long I had not gone to Open Door, for various reasons, and I actually missed going to church.  I used to hate church growing up, I thought it was meaningless.  But after I chose to follow Jesus, I found a church that I liked.  Now I was on the search again.  Thankfully, the search didn't last as long as 20 years ago.

Not only that, ever since I moved here to my own place, I had been praying for my neighbors, along with others.  I hate to admit that I get impatient with God in answering my prayers.  But when I heard Eagle Brook was building a church in my own backyard, I was ecstatic!  I couldn't believe it, how much closer could God get?  

I am trying to learn patience these days.  Sometimes I can get pretty good at it, but sometimes my moods swing, or someone irritates me and I lose it.  I guess for me, it is a day by day process. I am trying to learn to be at peace no matter what, and to be patient.  To remember that God has answered my many prayers over the years, and He has watched out for me for many years.  

Even so, I sometimes forget, or get impatient and want my way.  But I must remember that it usually works if I just give it to God and let Him do things His way.  If I take over, I usually muck it up.  But if I let Him takeover, He is faithful and will never leave me nor forsake me.  Amen.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Daylight Savings


This is what happens to me every year.  My sleep gets all screwed up.  It's amazing to me how one hour can affect me so much, but it does.  I don't know if it's depression, anxiety, or hormones.  But it is quite irritating and I question every time why we have to do this.  

So this week I have no idea what to write about.  I have plenty of what to complain about, but I don't want this blog to be a forum for complaints.  Especially when I think about how blessed I am to live in this place and this time.

So, what would you like me to write about? I need ideas!  Thanks!





Monday, March 6, 2017

Sudan


This is a picture of South Sudanese women getting food from Samaritan's Purse.  I had read on my BBC app last week that the people of South Sudan were facing starvation at epic rates.  

It never seems to end for the Sudanese.  Ten, twenty years ago they were embroiled in a civil war between the Arabic Muslim north and the African Christian south.  The lost boys of the south were coming in droves to all over the world in the hopes of a better life, after losing everything they had ever known because of the militia in the north.  I had read a book about one that wound up in Fargo, ND, of all places.  I had seen short pieces about them on news programs.  Our world was so different from them.  I couldn't imagine what it would be like.  

I made a female friend from Sudan when I was going to college at the U of MN.  She had been imprisoned for protesting the actions of the northern militia, but now she lives here.  I didn't know much about her, except about the imprisonment and how she had malaria multiple times.  I knew that she suffered discrimination at the U, despite it's supposed acceptance of all peoples.  I knew myself that the U was not accepting.  But that is a story for another day.

Now I am reading a fictional novel that takes place in South Sudan, and how there is war there.  Atrocities being committed by hateful men, against women and children.  I already knew this was happening.  Even though a supposed peace deal was signed a few years ago, it fell apart pretty quickly.  I know the South has natural riches that everyone wants, and that everyone is killing for.  Apparently it is worth millions of lives, according to the murderers.  

Most of Africa, if not all, was colonized by a European country.  By the time the second World War was over, most were out, or at least on the way out, of all the countries that they had colonized so long ago, all over the world.  

It was a race to get the most of the natural resources.  Then they just abandoned the people, when they could no longer afford to rule over them.  The people were left behind, with a broken country and a wasted land.  

Wars have been happening ever since.  

I don't know what the answer is.  People can say all kinds of trite things about it.  But there are no easy answers, no easy solutions.  

I wonder if this will ever be resolved in my lifetime.  I feel like I am world away here, safely in my apartment, typing on my computer.  

How easy we have it.  We know where our food is coming from, we don't have to worry about being massacred.  We have a government and militia that protects us.  I try to remember this when I feel sorry for myself.  I live such an easy life.  

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Anger


"21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Romans 7

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1"

Last week I was a very angry person.  I lost patience with people, and said judgemental words about them.  Sometimes it is so easy to lose my patence, and idt is so easy to judge others.

I can blame my hormones, or others that seem incompetent, but as I was reminded at church this past weekend, I have to take responsibility for my actions.  I can't blame my hormones or others.

I want to be patient, I want to be compassionate.  But it is hard sometimes.  But I was reminded that it is human to think this way, and it is only by the Holy Spirit can I overcome this habit.  But at least I do want to let go of anger.  

Romans 8:1 is my favorite verse.  It reminds me that I am not alone, and I am not forever condemned.  Jesus has given me a new body, a new mind, and a new heart.  I don't have to live this way.  I can rise above it, with Him.  
The first step is to acknowledge my actions, and take responsibility for them.  The next is to trust God to help me overcome it.  It will probably take a lifetime, as some habits are easier to overcome than others.  And we go through periods of life where habits are easier to stop than in other seasons of life.  

But I am not doomed.  I am no longer condemned.  

If you would like to see the sermon that I heard that helped me, here is the link: https://eaglebrookchurch.com/media-resources/weekend-messages/the-struggle-is-real/

Monday, February 20, 2017

President's Day


I don't know if anyone noticed, but during Obama's administration, there were never protests about how he is not our president, there were no accusations of fake news, and the media fawned over him and his family and rarely said anything bad about him.

Let's set the record straight.  Fake news have been around since the fall of man.  It's a fancy word for a lie.  Our president is our president whether we voted for him or not.  And I thought family members were supposed to be protected from verbal assaults.  Finally, there is such a double standard between the parties.  When Trump was accused of sexual assaults during the campaign, what about the many similar accusations about Clinton?  

No party, religion, or other group of people have a monopoly on fake news, or on being all good or all bad.  Everyone (most) has some good and some bad. Judgement should be applied across the board, not just against people we don't like.  

And fake news to one may be truth to another.  Sometimes it seems that if someone doesn't like something, they can cry fake news.  What they are doing taking something out of context.  They are twisting something to fit their already set agenda.  

Okay, I think I've said what I have wanted to say but have yet figured out how to do so.  So what do I do?  
First, when I am on Facebook and I don't like what someone is sharing, but I still want to be friends with them, I click on the top right arrow of their posting, and it will ask me if I want to hide all posting from said website.  

Second, I try to get my news from various news media that balance each either out.  I have my local fox news app, USA Today app, and the BBC app.  So I have local, national, and international news.  I like USA today as it does have opposing views sometimes.  And I like the BBC app as it is well known for news and journalism, and it informs me about  what is going on in the world.  But I recommend that people find what works for them, for this is one of our rights, a free press.  

Third, I remember that our country is the only one of it's kind in the world.  We are a republic with the rule of law, which is based on our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  And we have checks and balances, such as three branches of government, two main parties, and two houses of congress.  We have the same structures in all our states, and each type of government, whether local, state, or federal, have specific responsibilities with boundaries set in.  

So no matter who is in the White House or the Capitol, these most important documents keep things in check.  It's not a perfect system, but no system is.  But I think it is a good one, and I am darn glad I was born in this country, where I have freedom of religion and freedom of speech.  Whether people like it or not, I am independent, and damn glad to be that way!  God bless America!