Things That Made Me Go, “Hmm…” – Week 22

Here it is. The moment you’ve been waiting for ALL WEEK. You’re welcome, Blogosphere. You. Are. Welcome.

  • This happened this week:

I find it fundamentally strange that people are more upset about the hypotheticals regarding a new law in Indiana than they are about 147 Christians being brutally slaughtered in Kenya… for being Christians. What exactly does that say about our priorities as Americans? Seriously… what is the matter with us? Just because we’re protected from such horrors means it doesn’t matter?

  • Here is a video of Prince Harry flying in a World War II Spitfire:

Aside from the fact that “Spitfire” is the single best name for an aircraft ev-ER, here’s what I find annoyingly weird about this whole thing. If you’re going to write a story highlighting the dude’s charity work (The flight was for promotion of the Spitfire scholarship which offers training for wounded servicemen and women… which is AWESOME), then please do so. But does the story need to reflect our obsession with “celebrity” to such an extent that we write the following stupid headlines? “Prince Harry Gleefully Laughs and Cheers During Spitfire Flight” (from People). Or “Watch Prince Harry Whoop with Delight as His Spitfire Rolls in Top Gun Moment” (from the Mirror). “News” like this makes my head hurt, and headlines that use phrases such as “gleefully” and “whoop with delight” make my head hurt even more. Make the story about the charity work, not oohing and ahhing over well-known people acting like normal human beings because… really? Just… STOP.

  • Rotary phones are the bomb. Children who grew up without rotary phones are sad individuals. That being said, watch these sad individuals try to figure out how to text with a rotary phone.

And if you watch it through to the tail end, you’ll get these little gems:

  1. “I wasn’t born in the 40s so…”
  2. “I love old technology. I’m a fan of plastics”
  3. What is a long distance call?  “Letters?”
  • Someone decided to make a chocolate sculpture of Benedict Cumberbatch. First of all… every time I hear that name, I become inexplicably enraged because I can’t figure out if that’s the name of a human being or a dessert or an Anime character or some historical reference to an obscure military battle fought during the Revolutionary War. Benedict Cumberbatch? What is that? That’s totally made up. Right? Like Kim Kardashian’s ass… not even real.
  • This also happened this week:

Oh, Manuela. You are awesome. (I love how she hides behind the sign in horror.)

Okay, kids. That’s all I have for you this week. Over n’ out, good buddies.

But lastly… A Happy Easter to all!

beautiful-religious-easter-pictures-vqdwg8w4

Meeting Grizzly Adams

I met Grizzly Adams today.

At church.

On Palm Sunday.

He smelled.

Being the only female under the age of 70 without a small child attached to her ankle, he naturally made a beeline for me. I don’t think he realized I was almost 10 years older than he was, but then again, who could possibly tell that based on my flawless complexion and hot body? (Okay, that last part was totally for my benefit. The rest of you can disregard that. I’m working on developing a healthy self image, so occasionally I give myself pep talks to make up for the fact that my husband left me for a much less attractive mother of three. See? I told you that pep talk was necessary. ANYhoodles…)

Grizzly lives in the woods without electricity. I’m guessing there’s a lack of running water where he lives too. And maybe a mirror. There’s definitely not a beard trimmer nearby, so there’s probably a lack of scissors too. I don’t think he has a brush… or a comb. And soap might be a scarcity. Actually, I’m just going to go out on a limb and guess that Grizzly lives in a tent. With a backpack. In which he carries all of his belongings. Which are very few.

Most people would have guessed Grizzly was homeless. This is not the case. Actually… it probably is, but you see, when you live where I live, people consciously choose to live in tents without electricity and running water in order to become one with nature. Grizzly is probably just one of many, MANY Grizzlies (the people, not the bears) who live in the forest around town. It’s what people do here. Is it totally weird? Yes, yes it is. Is it pretty commonplace? Yes, yes it is.

Anyway, so Grizzly was pretty much homeless. By choice. He told me he spent his days practicing Tai Chi for 2 or 3 hours, and the rest of the time enjoying nature. He talked a lot about hunting, but based on the platefuls of food he was devouring, I couldn’t tell if he killed and ate his critter-like friends or just “communed” with them. He ate dried jalepeno peppers on a daily basis, mainly for the purpose of inflicting pain on himself. He found that the more pain he endured, the more connected to nature he felt… and he felt less hungry. (Honestly, I think he tried eating one of the palm leaves when no one was looking. Either that, or he was just enjoying the smell. Or he was using it to comb his beard. Who could tell?) I would have felt bad for him if I knew it wasn’t of his own choosing. He was choosing to practice his Tai Chi rather than work since work would take him away from his Tai Chi. I got the distinct feeling he wanted to be discovered as the next great survivalist… or at least be a contestant on “Naked and Afraid”. Either way, you couldn’t feel too badly for the guy. He had a cell phone on which he watched Tai Chi videos on YouTube.

So, that’s how my Palm Sunday was. How was yours? Meet any new and interesting people? Or do these kinds of things only happen to me?

First World Problems Are Reason Enough to Be Grateful

So, from the sounds of it, the entire blogosphere is ready to implode with frustration and depression over this ridiculously long winter.

So. Flippin’. Long.

I, for one, should be used to this level of cold and snow. Winters are always ridiculously long here. It’s only February, which means there’s still a good two months of winter left. All of March and most of April are usually snowy, icy, bitter, and gross. (YAY! I have so much to look forward to! And a good deal of psychoanalyzing to get through to figure out why I still live here, and why I always expect different results. Isn’t that the definition of insanity?)

Anyway, yesterday was particularly brutal. Not just for the cold, but for the level of “Meh” it brought with it. As in, “Meh… I don’t even care anymore.” or “Meh. What does it matter anyway?” or “Meh. You’re a dumbass, and I don’t even have the gumption to point it out to you.” By the end of the day, I was all..

(On a totally unrelated topic, I miss Bill. I think we all miss Bill a little bit…)

ANYWAY, in terms of first-world problems, my day had been pretty crappy.

  • TWO subbing jobs were cancelled yesterday. TWO jobs with my absolute favorite class in the entire world. I haven’t seen those kiddos since November. UGH…
  • It was the 5th day in a row of sub-zero temps and bitter wind-chills, making it a balmy -30° Fahrenheit out there. WHAT THE HELL?! Ain’t nobody got patience for this crap…
  • The wind also brought snow with it, making the snow drifts quite a bit deeper than the day before. Which pretty much means we will have snow until JUNE.
  • My coffee date with my bestie was cancelled… for the 3rd time. She’s stuck in the boonies, unable to bi-pass her driveway because of broken pipes and a great deal of flooding. Or so she says…
  • Doing my own taxes is hard.
  • I burned my coffee.
  • Sir Winston coughed up a hairball the size of Cincinnati… right after eating…

*sigh*

But the more I wallowed in my patheticness (You know what? I officially declare that a word. Deal with it.), the more I realized just how pitiful I was being. I mean… seriously, Annie? You suck. Because this is normal life! Look around you! Look at what you have! Look at how much worse it could be! I mean… for starters…

  • You have use of all your limbs, mental faculties, and senses.
  • You have a warm home and roof over your head.
  • You have food to eat.
  • You have friends and family that care about you.
  • You have a job. (Sort of. If people would just TAKE SOME TIME OFF…)
  • You have running water and electricity and heat. (Not everyone has that…)
  • You aren’t at risk for being maimed or murdered because of your religious or political ideologies.
  • You have money to pay bills and have fun and give back.
  • You have time and money and energy for life’s little luxuries.

WHAT ARE YOU COMPLAINING ABOUT?!

I came across this blog post the other day reminding me that “Not being grateful is not an option.” That pretty much sums it up. In the grand scheme of things, do you know how much we have to be thankful for? Things we take for granted on a daily basis? Things we don’t even realize are a privilege?  We have so much and we’re sitting around wallowing in self-pity. Gross. Sometimes I’m embarrassed by myself.

SO… like it tells us in Proverbs 17:22…

A joyful heart is good medicine,
But a broken spirit dries up the bones.

Let’s be thankful for what we have. Giving thanks brings joy. Having joy brings life.

What do you have to be thankful for today?

Gif Source: i.imgur.com

What’s the Reward?

Goody Two-Shoes.

Lily White.

Straight Laced.

The Good Girl.

Yep. That’s me. I annoy and confuse people with my propensity for doing good.

I’m helpful. I’m kind. I’m patient. I’m loyal. I’m dedicated. I always do the right thing.

Basically, I’m the kind of person people roll their eyes at and avoid because, let’s be honest, who wants to hang out with Little Miss Goody Goody?

The thing people don’t realize is that along with this penchant for being “good” comes the ability to not judge. Truthfully, I couldn’t care less about what you do. If you want to be a bad ass and engage in all kinds of debauchery, go for it. I don’t care. As long as you can make me laugh and carry on an intelligent conversation, we’re cool. It’s just that… all that bad-assery and debauchery? I can’t take part in it.

And when I say, ‘I can’t take part in it’, I don’t mean… “Oh, heavens no! I could never do something morally questionable!”

I mean, it’s literally not in me. The rebellion chip was missing when I was born. I have tried to not do the right thing in the past, and I can’t do it. I don’t know how to. I am innately inclined to be honest, responsible, morally upright, and full of integrity.

If I’m being totally honest… It is SO ANNOYING. I even annoy myself. I look around at people who don’t always do the “right” thing and I think, “Why can’t I do that? I can totally do that… can’t I? I can sleep around with gaggles of random hot men, get drunk and party and not remember what happened the night before, try a little weed, do a little twerking, leave the tags on and return the clothes after wearing them. I can totally do that!” The thing is… I CAN’T. It’s not in my DNA. I don’t want to. I have no desire to.

But WHY?! Why can’t I just be normal and not always good? What’s the reward? What’s my payoff? It’s not like I get further ahead by being good. I don’t reap benefits by always doing the right thing. Sometimes the right thing is a hassle and a headache. Sometimes doing the wrong thing would be so much easier. And what does it matter, anyway? If I do the wrong thing no one’s going to care. Heck, if I did the wrong thing once in a while people would probably like me better. Occasionally, I get pissed that people can be complete ass hats and never have to answer for their behavior, and I never behave like an ass hat and never reap any benefits. How does that work?

And then, just when I’m ready to toss in the towel, and throw caution to the wind, and not recycle, I’m reminded to chill out and keep on keeping on:

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”– Galatians 6:9

Okay, God. I hear you. But this payoff better be good. *sigh*

Gif Source: http://ladyofthehouseolivier.tumblr.com/post/29701686424/what-if-the-song-used-in-the-trailer-isnt-by-scala-and

So… about this whole “Lent” thing…

So, show of hands… how many of you are doing the whole “Lent” thing?

I’m sorry. Let me rephrase that. How many of you are observing Lent? (Not “Lent”, not “thing”, and you can’t really “do” Lent … although if you’re observing it I suppose you are “doing” it, in a round about way. I’m sorry. I’m not Catholic. I don’t really know how these things work or are phrased, and I pretty much just make things up as I go along, so you’ll have to forgive me… or not… maybe you gave up forgiveness for Lent, who knows? Although, I’m fairly certain that would kind of negate the whole idea behind Lent so… forgive me anyway?)

I’m sorry… what were we talking about? My stream of consciousness occasionally diverges into yellow woods from time to time…

Okay. Yes. Lent.

Let me tell you something about Lent: I know absolutely zip, zero, zilch about it. Seriously. Unless you grow up Catholic, Anglican, Episcopalian (Which, by the way, are those two interchangeable? Are they like, one in the same?) Lutheran, Presbyterian or Methodist, you don’t even get a basic crash course in Lent. I always thought it was something “those people” did. (And when I say “those people” I mean people talked about them in hushed, solemn tones knowing they were sinners destined to burn in hell for all of eternity. Did I mention the church I grew up in was slightly crazy? Did I mention some Evangelical/Petacostal/Charismatic churches are not entirely accepting of other denominations? Because… all of the above.) Anyway, so I basically grew up knowing nothing about Lent, and figuring it was some crazy custom the crazy-traditional churches had cooked up for the heck of it.

So, it wasn’t until I had started working at a Catholic school that I was first exposed to the wonders of the Lenten season.

But what exactly is Lent? Well according to Catholic.org

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption.

And then Ash Wednesday is followed by Palm Sunday which is followed by Holy week which is followed by Holy Thursday which is followed by Good Friday and then everything is all wrapped up on Easter Sunday. Whew! Did you get all that? If not, read it again, because I’m not repeating myself.

ANYWAY, other than some quick mention about the beginning of the Lenten season, a short observation of Palm Sunday and Good Friday, and then a big to-do on Easter Sunday… the whole Lenten season wasn’t really emphasized in the church I grew up in. So, when I was teaching at a Catholic School it was really fascinating for me to be a part of this huge celebration. (Which is totally weird because you would think being adherents of the same religion we would share the same celebrations and customs, but apparently not.) I loved everything about the Lenten season. Mainly because it really got me thinking about the Easter season and what it’s all about. The tradition, the pomp and circumstance, and the celebration of the Lenten season was refreshing, exciting and inspiring. And throughout all of it, all I could think was, “Why don’t ALL churches do this?! This is fan-freaking-TASTIC!” (Apparently, I am a very enthusiastic Christian…) It was completely new to me and I thought it was great.

Fast forward a couple of years when I am no longer working at a Catholic school and my attendance at church has been few and far between (Not because I don’t love Jesus… but because getting out of bed that early on a SUNDAY in the midst of this much snow and cold is probably not going to happen. Yeah… no.) and I actually MISS the observation of Lent. I know! Who knew?!

For me, the Lenten season was important because it took the focus off yourself and put it on concerns of deeper significance. It was a time for reflection and re-evaluation; a time for taking stock of our lives and figuring out what’s really important; a time for being less selfish and being more self-less. Rather than going to church and hearing some warm-fuzzy, feel-good sermon about “Jesus loves you”, it forced you to stop, think and re-assess your life. So, even though I’m not traditionally a Lenten observer, this year I really would really like to be.

The thing is… I’m not exactly sure how it works. Do I give up something for Lent? (Short answer: Yes.) How long do I give it up for? (Short answer: 40 Days.) Does it have to be food or beverage related (Short answer: Not necessarily) because… I really love my food and beverage. (Really, Annie? Way to go on the whole “self-less” thing…) Since Lent officially started yesterday, I should really get cracking on this. Also, I need to find something to “give up”… something that will help me to reflect and re-evaluate… not something frivolous and silly, like I’m making a personal challenge or bet with myself. And lastly, the more I research about Lent, the more I find that many Protestant churches are strictly opposed to it, as they view it as a “means of salvation”, which is not what Lent-observing churches profess to believe at all…

Anyway… thoughts on the whole season of Lent? Are you giving anything up? If so, what? Are you opposed to the observation of Lent? If so, why? Seriously, I’d love to hear some thoughts on the matter. I find it all endlessly fascinating.


Some excellent information regarding Lent:

Are you doing the job you’ve been called to do?

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”  — Ephesians 2:10

I came across that verse the other night and for some reason, even though I’ve read it many times before, it stopped me in my tracks.

His workmanship.

Created for good works.

Prepared beforehand.

That we should walk in them.

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of reading about God’s purpose for our lives – the idea that He has created each one of us so specifically and so uniquely for particular jobs that He wants us to do. Not Tom, or Dick, or Sally. But us. No one else can do the jobs that have been assigned to us.

You might think that Tom or Dick or Sally are more qualified for the job. Tom is better educated on the subject matter. Dick has the right personality and disposition for the work. Sally has the resources and connections to do it. But God doesn’t really care about Tom’s education, Dick’s disposition, and Sally’s resources. He called you to do the work. You with all your flaws, your failings, your ineptness. YOU. No substitutions will do.

You know that thing you’ve had burning in you since you were young? That passion? That interest? That innate ability? That’s your heart’s desire. God put it in you for a reason. He knew the roadblocks you would encounter. He knew the fear and self-doubt that might plague you. He knew the push-back you would face from other people. He knew all this beforehand… and yet He still gave you the job. And He’ll give you the resources and the tools you need to do it. But you have to do it. No one else will do.

But we get busy. And we get distracted. And we have bills to pay and mouths to feed and laundry to wash and jobs to go to and a society to contribute to and… there’s every reason in the world to shrug off your “real” job – your dream, your passion, your heart’s desire. You don’t have time! You’ve already made a life for yourself. And okay, so maybe it’s not fulfilling, and maybe you’re kind of miserable, and if you’re being honest, you’d do things differently the second time around. But now you’re here and you can’t go back and quite frankly… there just isn’t time to. Move on. Don’t look back. Make the best of it.

And yet… that heart’s desire still nags at you, yearning for fulfillment. That passion continues to burn. Those dreams refuse to die. And no matter how you try to silence it and ignore it, it won’t go away. Why won’t it just go away?!

Because that job you were made to do… won’t get done unless you do it. God won’t just throw a replacement at that job, and hope for the best. Your replacement won’t reach the people you will reach. Your replacement won’t touch the hearts you will touch. Your replacement won’t make the difference you will make. Why? Because you are the only one who can do the thing that you’ve been called to do.

God prepared the good works that we have been called to do beforehand. He picked you out of all other applicants to do that specific job.  He’ll give you what you need to fulfill the job requirements. He just needs you to accept the job offer.

Straight Up Apathy

I really, genuinely hate how apathetic we are about world events.

If it doesn’t affect our pocket book or our daily routine, we just don’t care. What does it matter? Our perfect little lives contained in our perfect little bubbles are still picture perfect, so we go about our daily lives and shrug our shoulders and shake our heads and make empty comments like, “What a shame…”. Because does it really matter? It doesn’t affect us directly. Let’s move on. Hey, have you heard about the new season of “Downton Abbey”?

No. Just… no. Because it does matter and it does affect us. 12 people lost their lives in France because they dared to practice free speech. They drew a few pictures, pushed a few envelopes, offended a few people… and now they’re dead because of it. How does that not affect us? Do we not practice free speech every time we hit that “publish” button? Do we not voice our opinions and thoughts, and exchange ideas and beliefs on a daily basis? And yet, we don’t care when others are murdered for doing the exact same thing?

That’s just straight up apathy, people.

Maybe it’s because our right to free speech is so taken for granted. It’s something we’ve always done. It’s not some new, trendy movement that everyone is Pinning about. It is what it is. What’s the big deal?

The big deal is that the right to speak your mind and voice your beliefs should not be taken for granted. It’s an amazing privilege not everyone has and it’s being threatened by people who don’t believe you have a right to speak your mind and voice your beliefs. And should you be brazen enough to speak your mind and voice your beliefs… let’s hope you’re not murdered for it.

What happened in France is happening all over the world. It’s not okay. Our rights are being threatened. But from the looks of it, we’re perfectly okay with that.

Cartoon by Jean Jullien

Cartoon by Jean Jullien