People Be Crazy!

June 28, 2013

The longer I live, the more I realize just how crazy this fallen world is. We live in a society that sets itself up for pain, heartbreak, and insecurity. We push having as much sex with as many people as possible, married or not, on TV. We show ads with models that look like they’ve been starving themselves and say that we should have bodies like that. People play sports for money and not for the love of the game. We need campaigns to tell us bullying is wrong instead of just knowing that it’s wrong. We have groups fighting for individuals’ rights (minorities, vegans, children, liberals, conservatives, etc.) instead of everyone fighting to take back our human rights. We have rapists running rampant, child abuse everywhere, and molestation in every neighborhood. What happened to morality? Where has common decency gone? The family unit has broken down and a surprising number of children are not coming up with a mom and dad in the same house who love each other and love their children. Kids are seen as meal tickets instead of as priceless gifts. We use people and love things. Something needs to change. A stand needs to be made. I’m for morality and I hope you are too!

Live Right Now!

June 26, 2013

I was almost run over while biking to and from work 3 times Monday. I wasn’t even on a main street, I was in my current neighborhood and the neighborhood I grew up in. It seems people just don’t pay attention to what’s going on right now in front of them. We’re always thinking about anything but what we are doing right now. Talking on cell phones, texting, day dreaming, and making plans for the future (all of which are fine things to do), and never seeing the things going on in the world round us right now. Maybe it’s a good idea to pay attention to the now every so often. Why don’t we start paying attention to what’s going on around us in the now while driving? Maybe I won’t have so many close calls then. Don’t go on auto-pilot. Be sure to enjoy the journey of life, even when the path seems boring and ho-hum. Living in the now is the best way to get the most out of life.

Poetry Monday 6/24/13

June 24, 2013

Today’s poem is for my nephew Connor. He just had his three year old birthday party this past weekend.

Can’t help but love you
Oh, that’s all that we can do
Nothing will take it away
Nothing you can do or say
Oh, you’re growing up fast
Remember, family is the love that lasts

Editor’s Note: It has come to my attention that this could be viewed as me whining and complaining about my church specifically, or the Presbyterian church in general. I’m not. I love the Presbyterian church. In looking at many different denominations throughout the USA I’ve seen this trend and I think it’s dangerous. Also, I’m using the example of the church to bring to light certain issues we tend to have as individuals. Why else would it be an issue in the church other than that the church is made of sinful individuals.

I see a trend of, “this is how we’ve always done it”-itis in many churches. You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? Where some members fight any kind of change because its not what they’re used to or what they prefer. There are two huge problems I see with this mindset. The first is quite simply, it’s incredibly selfish. As a body of believers, we are supposed to be looking out for ways to promote Christ and for one another, not just number one. Secondly, if this is your thought process, even outside of church, how can you ever grow as a person or a church? If you never try anything new, you will only experience the same things over and over again and you can easily become cold to those things you loved at first. Then, you start to resent them and you shut yourself away and become bitter. I’ve seen this happen to people and I’ve seen it happen in churches because nobody wanted to try anything different. I’m a truly reformed Presbyterian, so you know I’m not talking about anything too out there, but, with that said, stagnancy is not the call of the Christian, perseverance is. In order to persevere one must be moving forward. I don’t want to change the Bible to appease the general masses the way some have. I simply think it’s ok to change some things around in worship. It doesn’t need to be the exact same order of worship that you’ve had since the church was formed. The tunes to hymns don’t have to be the same. The instruments used to lead worship and praise God are not what makes the praise heard. In pre-marital counseling, my wife and I were told that we would have different ways of doing things. These differences weren’t right or wrong, just different. I think the church in America could benefit from realizing that different ways of worship aren’t wrong, just different, provided of course, the Scripture is being preached in its entirety.

What are your thoughts on this?

When we are young friendships are easy. Everyone is invited to our birthday parties. As we get older it gets more complicated. People start getting agendas and we lose some of our ability to just be a friend to someone else without ulterior motives. Gaining lifelong friends is a battle. To get a handful of people we really care about and who really care about us is not a forgone conclusion unless we are willing to dig in and fight for it. It takes time and perseverance. I think it’s ridiculous how, in light of all the hours and work that go into a friendship, we will let friendships fall apart without a fight. One person will get angry about something the other person may or may not have done and the other person gets the cold shoulder and is confused and out one friend. I don’t know the best way to deal with this situation. I’m going through it with someone now. The thing that gets me is how this person is ready to cut all ties with me and I don’t even know why. I don’t know what this persons reasons are for now hating me. We used to be very close and I miss that. I’m struggling through this storm trying to figure out my options for how to handle the situation. Something has to be done. If I did something, I think I have the right to know so I can at least apologize and at best try to make it right. Let’s agree our friends at least deserve the benefit of the doubt and a conversation before we decide to write them off.

Do you have any suggestions for how to handle my situation?

Poetry Monday 6/17/13

June 17, 2013

Yesterday was Father’s Day. I got to spend it with my dad and that was wonderful. Saturday, I took his present from my sister and brother-in-law and my wife and me over to our dad and planted it with him (he wanted some blueberry bushes). Then afterwords he and I sat in the grass and talked for a few minutes before going about our various Saturday chores at our respective houses. That was great. Father’s Day was hard for me however because it was supposed to be my first Father’s Day. That’s what this poem is about.

I can’t go a day
Without thinking of the way
We were. Is there something I could say
To take the pain away?

The pain of loving and losing
That’s caused my heart’s bruising
The sorrow of never holding you
Or seeing what you would do.

As Don said to Vincent in that song
“This world wasn’t meant for one as beautiful as you” to come along
They say time makes it better
But I still miss you, so I’m writing you this letter.

I would have brought you up with care
And loved you, and taught you to share.
I’d have protected you when I should
And given you the best advice I could.

They tell me, “your time will come,”
But right now it feels like I’m done.
So much love still for you
I just don’t know what to do.

First, I need to apologize for Wednesday. I’m sorry for not adding any content. This week has been overwhelmingly busy and I just didn’t plan out my time for writing very well. On that note, I thought it might be interesting to look at the idea of pausing and doing over.

Life gets busy. When we’re in school we think, “when I’m an adult I won’t be nearly as busy.” Too bad it’s not true. I’ve done nothing but get busier, older, more tired, and less free time as I’ve gotten a full time job, married, and a house. There is always something on the list. It’s never done. Just when you think you’ve cleared everything off, BAM, something else shows up. Now I’m even on several committees at church and even a co-chair of one. Life gets crazy. It’s insane how much stuff we cram into our schedules. Sometimes it seems we could really use a pause button or even a do-over button. I know I can’t be the only one who feels this way. Sometimes I think we just need to set our lists and schedules aside and take a break. We need to re-charge and we shouldn’t feel guilty about it. The problem is everyone makes us feel bad about taking time for ourselves. Well, here’s you permission to take a break and not feel guilty. If anyone tells you otherwise, just show them this and say that you have permission.

Poetry Monday 6/10/13

June 10, 2013

The world isn’t ending
Or so they say
I guess it’s me pretending
That I feel that way

It seems the bad things happen
And no good will ever come
In this world of men
This hapless place I’m from

They all say it gets better
Easier over time
But as I send this letter
I see this broken heart of mine

If you missed part one you can read it right here

I know you’ve been waiting to see what other stereotypes I don’t fit, but before I get into that, I want to make it clear these are my preferences and I firmly believe people have the right to enjoy and do whatever they want, within the laws. That being said, here are the other two things that might blow your mind.

1. I don’t like grits. That’s right, the staple of southern foods. I don’t like the texture. It just feels wrong in my mouth and I don’t like the taste. I’ve tried the flavored ones and I’ve tried different consultancies of them. I just don’t like grits.

THIS IS THE BIG ONE. BE PREPARED.

2. I don’t like football, or really watching any sport on TV. I know I’m in the heart of the SEC, but I’ve never been into college or professional sports on TV. I enjoy going to baseball games or basketball games or even soccer games. I just don’t like watching them on TV. I don’t really even like going to football games. I simply don’t enjoy it at all. I don’t really know what it is, but before you say that I’m too delicate for it or that it’s too rough of a sport, I enjoy rugby and hockey, so it’s neither of those reasons. I just don’t see the point of it. I enjoy the experience of going to live games for most sports, but I don’t want to spend my at home time watching it. If you think I’m weird for not scheduling my life around sports, that’s your right, but I think it’s weird to plan your life around play-offs and Draft times, and that’s my right. We can get along. Most of my friends LOVE sports. I don’t. One isn’t better than the other, we’re just different, and that’s ok.

Today I want to talk about meeting expectations and how I never quite fit the bill when people learn I’m from the south. I don’t really meet the status quo for your typical southern gent.

Let me share a little about myself, not because I’m narcissistic, though some may say I am, but simply to set the stage. I was born in central Mississippi, and I’ve lived my whole life here. I know what it means to be a southerner. I know all the stereotypes and I’ve seen many of them lived out. I’m a gentleman, because my mom raised me to be so and because it’s the right way to behave. I’m polite, I say please and thank you, and I use ma’am and sir when addressing people I’m not close with or I respect. Some may say I’m a little too much of a stickler for manners, but that’s just the way I am. So, with that explained, let me share what I don’t enjoy and/or do that the stereotypical southerner enjoys and/or does. I don’t think these things are wrong to enjoy, I just think hope there are maybe other southerners who are like me and I want to let them know its ok to be different.

Brace yourself. Some of these might crush you worldview.

1. I don’t like sweet tea. This may be a shock to almost everyone in the world, but I just don’t like it at all. I think it tastes nasty. I’d much rather have a cold coke or even a beer (more on beer to come). In the winter I’ll take hot tea, but sweet tea just tastes disgusting to me.

2. My accent doesn’t fit someone born and raised in Mississippi. I had speech problems when I was young and had speech therapy. Apparently this effected my accent because people always think I’m from somewhere else. They never pick the south. If I’m at home, they think I’m from up north. If I’m in the north they think I’m from out west, if I’m out west they think I’m from some other part of the west. You get the idea. They know I’m not from wherever I am (even when I’m at home and I am from there) but I’m never from the south.

3. I don’t like NASCAR or monster trucks. I mean, I’m sure they have their place, but it not on my TV or taking up my time. I just don’t care for it.

4. I don’t like miller, bud, or coors. Don’t get me wrong, I like beer, I just don’t like that nasty stuff. I mean, I even drank Pabst Blue Ribbon (and still do on occasion) when I was in college, but bud, miller, and coors, that’s all disgusting. I won’t type what I really think about it because I wouldn’t allow anyone under age 30 to read that, but I won’t drink that stuff unless I have to…like gunpoint kind of have to.

5. I don’t like pig (with the exceptions of breakfast pig, you know, bacon and sausage). Apparently everyone from the south is supposed to like ham and pork chops. I don’t. I just really don’t like any kind of pig except where noted above. I think it tastes tough, almost bland, and always has a hint of mireyness (it’s a word now), almost rotten flavor to it.

There are two more to come in part two on Friday. They’re BIG. REALLY BIG! I just think my difference from the stereotype is too much to handle in one sitting. Hope to see you Friday for the conclusion.

On another note...

This is about my struggle to confront my fears of changing my direction all for a better life.

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