Spiritually Speaking

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While lying in bed perusing Facebook this morning, I came upon this gem of a post by Greg Trimble entitled “ You Can Make Fun of Me for Being a Mormon if You Want…” I immediately swyped out a response on my Kindle, but upon  reading it later at my desktop, I found it to be wholly inadequate (not to mention filled with typos and structural errors!) in expressing the deeper feelings of my heart on the subject of my faith. So, without further ado, here’s what I meant to say…Images-of-jesus-christ-097-2c

I was raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and had what I thought was a strong testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel, as taught by said church, as a teen. But somewhere around seventeen, I started going off track, and by nineteen I was pretty much there. Looking for the love I didn’t feel I had in my family took me to a place I never imagined I would be. Eventually, it became easier to push faith to the back of my mind than to live with the guilt of my actions.

At 21, I married a great Christian guy (actually, we met just as I was trying to come back to church). We tried to find a middle ground between my LDS faith and his Pentecostal one, but by the time I was 24, pushing 25, it was clear to my both heart and soul, I needed to be back in what I strongly believe to be Christ’s restored church, not biding time in a holding pen. The people I met in the other Christian denominations we tried were generally lovely, kind people (as long as they didn’t know I was a Mormon); I expected nothing less. During my years in their pews, I learned intimately about the beliefs of others and the likenesses (there are so many!) between my “LDS Christianity” and their “mainstream” kind. But despite nodding my head in agreement with many of their teachings, I could never get past the fact that something was missing, at least for me. AChristus2

So, for 16 years after I returned to the faith of my youth, my dear husband and I “split the difference,” alternating Sundays at each other’s church. Although, I am the one that has been more involved in the “other than Sunday” activities of my ward; and I’ve no doubt that was part of the reason both of my girls chose to be baptized in the LDS faith. Sadly, in all of our years together, hubby has chosen to be an only- on-Sunday worshiper (he’s not much of a socializer/ joiner). The fissure that occurred in the church community of his youth (and his family) when he married a heathen like me (“He was such a good boy, until…”), the cold shoulder we’ve received at times from mainstreamers when they learned I was LDS, and the fact that he is a federal law enforcement officer (naturally stand-offish and very distrustful), has made it difficult for hubby to insert himself meaningfully into any church. He prefers the anonymity of being last in and first out. To be sure, you don’t have to answer many personal questions that way, which suits him just fine.

Well, the every-other-Sunday agreement he and I made before the kids came along worked fine for a while, but after Blondie, our oldest daughter, turned twelve, it was once again clear a change need to be made; she was growing up without a firm anchor to either his faith or mine. She was getting nothing out of our compromise, and Brownie, our youngest, was getting even less. After all, it is hard to make connections on any level, especially as a kid, when you only see people every other week; and if you
actually don’t want to talk to anyone, it’s even worse! The change we agreed upon was that my two girls and I would attend our ward full time and he would come with us every other week (a day I jokingly refer to as  his “Outreach Sunday”). On the “off” weeks, he attends his church solo (but due to the lack of his exact flavor of a Pentecostal church locally, he actually attends the Methodist church, which was our middle ground denomination in the early years of our marriage).

Now that we are coming up on five years since we made that last change, it’s gratifying to contrast where we were to where we are. Our compromise isn’t ideal, but it has worked as I had prayed it would. I’ve watched my girls’ connections to both the faith, in general, and Christ, in specific, grow and develop beautifully, as has my own. Because of some rough family issues in my youth, church means “family” to me. It was breaking my heart that my kids weren’t developing that same sense of church members being an extended family, and even worse they had no deep, meaningful understanding of God’s love and Christ’s atoning sacrifice for us. But they are getting it now…especially my Blondie. Her faith, her testimony simply amaze me!large

I’m personally grateful for the testimony that I have of Christ as my Savior and His grace that attends me each and every day as I struggle and thrive in this earthly testing ground. Without my upbringing in the LDS faith, the examples of Christ-like love and direction that have attended me as a direct result of my “Mormonism,” I don’t know if I would be in any church today. My path has not been smooth nor easy, and during long periods, I’ve struggled mightily, due both to my own choices and those of others. I’ve had doubts and questions, some that have been answered well, some that I’ve chosen to “put a pin in” for now, but always I have had faith in Christ. My faith has seen me through the rough patches, created within me a gratitude and joy I could not know without Him, and it gives me a vision of who I really am: the daughter of a King.

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Interested in more reading? Here’s a few that have influenced me:

The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ

The Holy Bible (particularly the KJV version)

The God Who Weeps, Letter to a Doubter, and Crucible of Doubt, Givens

Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus, Spangler and TverbergBOM11

Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, Bushman

Planted: Belief and Belonging in an Age of Doubt, Mason

Shaken Faith Syndrome and Of Faith and Reason, Ash

LDS- Gospel Topics Essays

A Reason For Faith, Hales

The Weight of Glory and Mere Christianity, Lewis

Letters to a Young Mormon, Miller

The Rage Against God, Hitchens

LDS Living

A Different Jesus?Claiming Christ, and The Mormon Faith, Millet

Comparing LDS and Evangelical Beliefs

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I
nterested in commenting? Feel free to do so, but know that I do not engage in arguments about my faith. There are plenty of bloggers and the like that do, but I prefer instead to state our 11th Article of Faith and leave it at that: We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may. 

My Time is Coming Around Again

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This image pretty well sums up how I feel from late August until mid-May every year while my “homeschooled” kids are “in” school. I am decidedly not a super mom. In fact, far more often than I probably should, I feel like a super loser (insert head smack or hug, and the reminder ‘You are doing better than you think you are!’).

To my credit, I can multi-task, to a degree, and I probably do it at least as well as the average mom. I mean I can schedule dental, optical, and medical appointments for myself and three other people; worry incessantly about my children’s future, drive all over kingdom come for my kids and husband, volunteer for Meals on Wheels a few times a month, get the car serviced (sometimes), do or schedule needed house maintenance, go to a weekly scripture group, workout five times a week, make sure my kids are doing their class work (and help, when needed), do the grocery shopping, cook (ahem…), obsess over healthy eating and whether or not my kids have had an adequate number of fruits and vegetables each day, replace or repair worn clothes and shoes, consider writing a budget, clean enough cat hair off of my floors and furniture to make a horde of Tribbles every week, keep up with the news, be “outraged” at the current political climate, ponder life and spiritual things, do monthly service projects, and sleep.
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Additionally,  I even manage to do “enrichment” activities like read non-fiction, watch HGTV shows on Netflix, play Words with Friends, pop on and off of Facebook (as my sanity allows), date my husband, and get a massage once a month (to help deal with all the tension that the above happy list creates in my neck and shoulders).

What I have found I cannot do, however, is write and do family fun. It just doesn’t happen. I’m on the road way too much during the school year to write well…and I suck at using a laptop. It simply isn’t natural for me; a real keyboard is a must.

Oh, and I do kind of get an “F” in maintaining friendships. When my oldest came home for high school, for better or worse, my friendships got sent to the back of the bus.

Alas, we are not all wired to do it all anymore than it is actually possible for all of us to have it all- whatever “all “is. Alright?

Yes, I suppose it is. At least for me. And with that all said, I’m pleased to announce:

Schools-out-for-summer

Mostly.

It is already in the summer plans for me to be doing classes with my thirteen year old: French 1, Geography, a grammar refresher, and we’re starting pre-algebra over again, shoring up important skills before Algebra I comes around. In a change up from what has become our norm in recent years, I get to be the teacher again. Ah, such were the early days of our homeschooling adventure! And for the first time in three years, my seventeen year old will only be doing on-line college courses. All in all my, drive time will be dropping to nearly zero and our daily bouts of eating “elsewhere” will be greatly diminished. So, maybe  instead of “School’s Out!” what I really mean is:

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and

 

 

 

 

Yeah. That’s exactly what I mean. Almost all that my monkeys and I will have to do this summer can happen within a five mile radius of our house. Ahhhhh…..and I can do more than ponder life while careening down the fast lane; I can actually write about it, too. Which makes me feel a little bit like doing this:

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Yipee!!!!!

 

No, Virginia, Christianity Doesn’t Need to Change, People Do

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:While doing a quick “pop on and off” on Facebook the other day, this Matt Walsh repost from a friend caught my eye. I mulled it over for twenty-four hours then decided I would repost it, too. Blogging has been more difficult since my recent uptake in school-related chauffeuring duties, but I felt strongly enough about Walsh’s sentiments to hammer out the longest Facebook post I’ve done in many a moon. When I got done writing, I realized I had essentially written a blog post with very little effort. Duh. It’s amazing how passion about a subject can make composition a breeze. With that, and a bit of extra editing, here it is:

Along with “sex06be951ca0503442ec7e8e44524b011dual atheism” among the supposedly faithful, I truly believe “liberal” Christianity, which has removed all expectations of both physical and spiritual change in those who come to church, is a blight on Christ’s teachings to “Come, Follow Me.” Christ had no difficulty calling sin sin, but I’m amazed that such a large crowd of religious folks these days can’t seem to spit that word out without choking! Without the the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which clearly delineates good from evil, or at least good from bad or incorrect, if you prefer, everything is subjective, open to interpretation; and I don’t believe Christ left that much of His teachings open ended.

Christ did, however, invite all to leave their lifestyles and seek Him. Never once did he say, “Keep doing what you’re doing; just follow those of my teachings that is easiest for you.” Yet that is exactly what far too many ministers, priests, preachers, and the like are telling their congregants, and it matters not a whit whether they say it explicitly or implicitly. “Come as you are, stay as you are; don’t change a bit,” that is the message that is received. And it is a perversion of Christ’s life-altering message and the meaning of His eternal sacrifice on the cross.

One of the arguments frequently heard against “traditional” Christian morality, morality that eschews homosexual or other aberrant behaviors, “shacking-up,” pre-marital-sex, children being regularly conceived and born out of wed-lock, and extramarital affairs, is that it shames and condemns individuals, or rather those claiming to practice this morality shame and condemn; and Christ didn’t do those things- that is completely true. He didn’t, and we definitely shouldn’t. People are weak; mistakes are made; even deliberate actions are taken because humans are quite adept at selecting the wrong path to happiness from time to time. Gratefully, we can repent of our errors; grace and love need to be extended to those who stray. Nevertheless, despite to fact that disciples of Christ during the time of his mortal ministry were expected to get their mess together, or, if you prefer, “Go and sin no more,” we modern day followers, according to so-called “liberal Christians,” are expected to welcome everyone in while they live in, flaunt, and frolic about in their sinful behaviors—and even jump for joy as scriptures are cut and pasted (or just cut) to allow for such lifestyles. Seriously, folks?! The Jesus who said, “If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell” and “He that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me,” is suddenly into moral relativism? I think not.

Christ did say if you want to be my disciple DO as I say. He wasn’t loud or hateful about it (many of us do need to work on our delivery); He never would have put a Scarlet Letter on a woman’s dress or stoned her lover, but He always asked those following Him to seek after better things, to, in fact, BECOME better; choose better, BE better; and bring others up, too. Don’t, however, stay exactly where you are. Why is this so hard for the “enlightened” people of today to understand?

Liberal Catholics in San Francisco want their archbishop removed and replaced with one who holds “their” values (regardless of whether they may be Christ’s values), liberal Mormons want a more “diverse” look to their leaders and demand women get the priesthood (because that matters a whole lot to Christ), and apparently, even agitators in the Churches of Christ want women in the pulpit. A broad swath of liberal “general population” Christians appear to want any part of scripture (the hard parts) with which they disagree to be stricken from the record or ignored (the Nazis rewrote Lutheranism to their purposes, too). Goodness, there is even a group of “pro-choice” religious leaders out there blessing abortion clinics! Isaiah 29:13 comes to mind here, which reads something like this: “They draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”

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Christ was definitely all about Love, and reaching out, pulling people in, loving them through thick and thin, tolerating (which is very, very different from accepting). We all need to love more and love better. BUT in addition to Love, Christ was also about Change, and broken heartsOn Duty 3 003 and contrite spirits; he was about us overcoming our human weaknesses and frailties to rise to a higher plain. Thank heaven for Grace and the Lord’s forgiveness for those of us who fall short (on a daily, or sometimes hourly, basis). Included in that expectation of change was living a sexuality based upon and confined within His laws, God’s laws, not men’s (and women’s) rewriting of those laws to something easier or more palatable for “21st Century morality,” a morality which cares more about shrinking one’s carbon footprint, recycling, LGBT rights, and animal welfare than treating our own bodies as temples. You remember what he did to those who were defiling the temple, right? Man, woman, married– period- that is sexuality His way (or to use the common vernacular, “No huggy, no kissy, til I get a wedding ring”).

In the Book of Mormon there is a section we LDS refer to as “Lehi’s Dream.” In this dream or vision, the prophet Lehi sees a beautiful tree heavy with the delicious fruit of eternal life to which he hopes his family will gravitate and partake, but the path to it is filled with a variety obstacles. One of the difficulties for those seeking the tree is a “great and spacious building” without foundation. It floats, as it were, above the ground and is filled with people in worldly finery who mock and jeer at those seeking the tree; their taunts are meant to shame the faithful and shake them from their true course. Many do fall away from the path, some before they even get started. Others make it further along but step off the path and get lost in mists of darkness; still others make it to the tree, but then step away when they start heeding the idiocy of the onlookers from across the way.

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I think more and more of this tale these days. It is clear that millions of my fellow Christian (and other religiously oriented) brothers and sisters are seeking for a gospel that lets them be comfortable in whatever life or lifestyle they see fit to live. And they are doing so at the expense of those Christians striving to live lives of holiness in this increasingly wicked culture, a culture that doesn’t bat an eye at calling evil good and good evil!  By all appearances, these hip, mainstream, 21st century Christians (though there were plenty of the same ilk in the 20th century, too!) believe that and as long as they go built a Habitat home once a year, feed a homeless dog from time to time, and support liberal ideas of social “justice,” it doesn’t matter that they throw out 80% of Christ’s inconvenient teachings, teachings that require them to work on themselves, not just point fingers at others and say, “Jesus wouldn’t do that!” Yeah, that beam in the eye story works both ways, folks.

Modern social righteousness often differs from the righteousness of the Bible. Someone has said: “A wrong deed is right if the majority of people declare it not to be wrong.” By this principle we can see our standards shifting from year to year according to the popular vote! Divorce was once frowned upon by society, and laws against fornication and adultery were strictly enforced. But now divorce is accepted by society, and fornication is glorified in our literature and films.                                                                                                    –Billy Graham

We are all guilty of looking at another’s sin, but ignoring our own, even liberals who feel they are more loving, more kind, and more tolerant (of some things and some people, maybe). Oddly, the very people who are first to scream, er, um, quote Christ’s “Judge not that ye be not judged,” can be just as, if not more, ugly, hateful, and intolerant of those with whom they disagree as they claim we uptight old Victorians are. How they can not fall to the ground in a stupor from all of the cognitive dissonance is beyond me! Nevertheless, in Revelations we are reminded that as many as God loves, he also chastens and rebukes. “Be zealous,”  John said, “and repent.” That goes for us all, each and every one. We all sin, we just sin differently. Still, the difference lies in being able to accept that there are behaviors and deeds, thoughts and actions, that are, in fact, sinful, and own up it! One can’t possibly repent and change if one feels he has nothing to change.

What would really satisfy us would be a God who said of anything we happened to like doing, ‘What does it matter so long as they are contented?’ We want, in fact, not so much a Father in Heaven as a grandfather in heaven — a senile benevolence who, as they say, ‘liked to see young people enjoying themselves,’ and whose plan for the universe was simply that it might be truly said at the end of each day, ‘a good time was had by all.                                                                                                                                           — C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

Make no mistake, my friends, being a Christian is HARD work, as it should be. We are pulled in many directions by the hyper-happyvholyreligious, the hypo-religious, scriptural interpretations, T.V., social media, newspapers, magazines, movies, and governments. The World in general mocks the precious and the sacred with increasing intensity, enticing people away from God, away from Christ, but being the salt that has lost its savor helps no one! We Christians, we all fail, stumble, trip, fall into traps, act as stumbling blocks for others, mess up, screw up, crash and burn—daily! We can’t keep our mouths shut or our feet out of them, or our fingers off the keyboard. We’re proud, carnal, rude, crude, weak, and horrid- and we know better! Granted, some of our weaknesses, sins or transgressions can be (or seem) terribly hard to overcome. Some problems are definitely tougher than others. True enough, we’re human!

But we’re also wonderful, beautiful, strong, humble, capable, peaceable, loving, kind, spiritual and thoughtful. Indeed, “[We] can do ALL things through Christ which strengtheneth [us].” We are not objects to be acted upon, but agents capable of choosing to act in one way or another- despite our “human nature.” Long ago, all churches taught that our natural man was something to be overcome. Yet now, more and more  church leaders are joining their voices with those of the World in saying, “If you were ‘born that way’ or your way works best for you, run with it! God expects nothing of you.” ALL of us are born with things to overcome. Some of those issues are internal, others are external, but they can be conquered, or at least dealt  or struggled with, if we so choose to do so. Lest we forget, the great Apostle Paul had a thorn in the flesh with which he lived his entire life. Are we better than Paul? Should our walk as Christians be easier than his?

There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. To those who knock it is opened.                                                                                                                                                   C.S. Lewis, “The Great Divorce”

Despite the difficulty, living the Gospel of Christ is a joy and a blessing for those up to the task- or even up to simply trying their best. We are asked to bring our cares to His feet, to bring our failings and frailties to His throne, all that He may make our burdens light, not so He can say, “Nice to see you. Now, go, go, and keep on transgressing my law. Obviously, you know what ‘works best for you‘.” Nope, Jesus’ Hope and Change is a plan that actually works, one that really fundamentally transforms. But it can do none of that as long as we hold on to the world’s morality, not if we turn the meat of His gospel into pablum for babies, not if we only do what “feels good,” labeling sexual purityjesus-kneeling-in-prayer-nelson-82890-gallery before marriage, traditional, God-sanctioned marriage, and marital fidelity (among a whole host of other issues) as old-fashioned or quaint.

Honestly, I doubt dying on the cross felt very good to Christ, not to mention the beating He took before being nailed to it; and I’ve no doubt that bleeding-from-every-pore thing was a bit more than simply uncomfortable, but despite the agony, fear, loneliness, and utter humiliation, He did both anyway, willingly; and He did it all for us. He did it that we might find strength to overcome the world and its teachings; He did it to make it possible for us to conquer our natural man (or woman) by accessing His strength. He did it because we are spiritual creatures created for more than just this earthly realm, to BE more than “just” human. Indeed, according to Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” And if we are to be with our Savior again, after we shuffle off this mortal coil, our vision of us must be as high as His, not as low as the world’s.

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Extra Reading:

Darn that Matt Walsh…the same, but different Read the rest of this entry

Tales From Times Past, pt. 2: Barbie’s Dream and Her House

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Second in my Facebook Recovery Posts (FRP). For the first, and an explanation of exactly what an FRP is, read here.

History is fascinating to me. I love the million, billion interesting and important stories of humanity’s past, to see where we were, what we’ve built, conquered, and accomplished- those are stories I could listen to all day long. However, in a recent Imprimus essay, “History, American Democracy, and the AP Test Controversy,” historian Dr.Wilford McClay laments the dismal state of historical studies today, citing, among other issues, the propensity for modern scholars to divide history into micro-oriented grievance groups and to look at everything of the past, no matter how noble, with a jaundiced eye. In other words, since (and because of) the 60’s we’re only allowed to look at the past and be angry, particularly if we happen to be a minority in any way, shape, or form. I am saddened that this is so, for I am angry. I am angry that I can’t simply “enjoy” our common history anymore because, now, everything is tainted by modern man’s need to Monday morning quarterback.

Case in point: We have amazing historical neighborhoods in Houston, thousands of beautiful lots with stunning homes from the 20’s and 30’s. Be they small craftsman and Tudor-style bungalows or massive mansions on finely manicured lots, these houses, many of which have been either well-maintained or meticulously restored, are quite simply lovely. The era in which they were built, an era that included      The_Public_Enemy_1931_Poster
trans-Atlantic flights, the Stock Market Crash of 1929, the Great Depression, Mae West, James Cagney, Errol Flynn, Bonnie and Clyde, the Olympics of Jessie Owens, and the rise of Adolf Hitler, saw many old conventions fall away and opened the door to both miraculousp5436_p_v7_aa progresses and never before imagined horrors. To some degree, I look back and think of those years as, in Dicken’s words, the best of
times and the worst of times
. And the people who built and lived in those homes saw it all. How cool is that!?

Sadly, that was also the era when Jim Crow reigned, with no small thanks to that progressive demon Woodrow Wilson, mind you. In all likelihood those grand homes had “negro” nannies and servants, and every last one of them rode in the back of the bus, drank from separate water fountains, and sent their kids to “separate but equal” schools. More broadly, children died from diseases we nip in the bud so easily now, there were few social safety nets to help the poor and the destitute, women had little control over their own lives, abuses occurred without laws or law enforcers willing to support the victims of rape or incest, Indians languished on reservations, South Africans were brutally oppressed, Britain ruled India, and Belgium the Congo! Western imperialism was in its heyday!

See how I dip5920_p_v7_aad that? Despite the fact that people talked to one another, neighbors knew and helped each other, movies were unrated, and children got to roam freely, to be children, though at a certain point it was expected that they would put away childish things, marry and start families of their own, because of inequalities everything was awful. Regardless of the fact that the nuclear family was the only norm, children of all colors, were largely born within the bonds of holy matrimony, divorce was uncommon, as was abortion, and people worshiped at church on Sundays, instead of at the mall. But according to those in charge of the academy, we’re not supposed to remember any of the good of those days gone by, only the bad.

As usual, I refuse to comply.


April, 21, 2014

Today, today, I am waxing poetic.

What a good morning I had. Brownie is taking a class at MFAH’s Junior Art School this week. So, everyday at 8 a.m. we’ll be heading to the Hermann Park area for a class that runs from 9-11. This
morning I took a long stroll around the neighborhood, reveling in childish fantasies for the better part of two hours. The ‘hood directly behind the building, which is off of Montrose, is rife with 30’s & 40’s era apartment buildings and quaint homes that have often been converted into apartments. Of course, there are also some newer, sleeker patio homes, with lots of frosted glass, metal trim, and art deco numbers affixed to their facades. The older places just scream “starving artists live here,” while the newer, pricier builds are more demonstrative of the choices common among the young urban singles with high paying jobs. BMWs and Range Rovers were not uncommon sights in those driveways.

Following the homes back a few blocks, the narrow, “mulit-family dwelling” lined streets gave way to a wide, tree-lined boulevard featuring a median divided in half by a long, broad walkway made from terracotta pavers laid in a herringbone pattern. Massive century old oaks sheltered what was Oaks North Blvdessentially a linear park in the middle of row of 1920’s mansions, sitting on lush, well-landscaped lots of four or five acres each (by my estimation). I felt like I had stepped back in time to the Golden Years of Hollywood. All that was needed to complete the image in my mind was a platinum blonde Greta Garbo look-alike outfitted in a designer red silk dress, dripping with furs and jewels being driven up one of the long drives in a silver Rolls Royce by a tuxedo clad chauffeur.

North Boulevard captured my heart & took me back to the days when my family would drive through the equally august Monticello and Westover Hills areas of Ft. Worth “just for fun” on Sundays. For a young girl living in a mobile home with orange shag carpet and vinyl couches out in the sticks, my mind would soar during those drives! Goodness, how I wanted to live in one of those special homes.

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Yours for a mere $3.8 million!

After the mansions, came the more “modest” homes on more “modest” lots. The next block or two had beautiful multi-story villas of Tudor, Spanish, and Craftsman design, and a few of those stylish contemporary homes, too—the ones where it was obvious the original home had been razed to make way for a twenty-first century variation on a theme: contemporary conveniences, sleeker styles, no rusty pipes, knob and tube wiring, or window units, but generally, with a few exceptions, enough charm to fit in with the original models. Yes, my fantasies did just fine there, too.

Further along, the lots got ever smaller, and the houses began to shuffle closer together, as if they were lining up to be photographed and had to squeeze into the camera frame. The appeal of these smaller bungalows did not diminish in relation to their size though. In fact, I loved them even more for their small yards, narrow drive ways, garage apartments, lush greenery, and brightly painted front doors. Not to mention the fact that I might someday actually be able to afford a mortgage on such a property. After

Event this small shack would run you about $600K

Event this small shack would run you about $600K

all, Fantasies are all well and good, but in the end, I’m a realist.

Eventually, I reached a block where the lots gave up on sidewalks, as the front doors were just a few feet from the street. At that point, sidewalks apparently became less important than a tenuous, but necessary finger hold on green space.Sadly, it was at that moment the outside world intruded into my day dreams, just as the street had intruded upon the front yards of these fanciful doll houses. As I glanced a little farther along my path, I recognized the familiar golden arches of Mc Donalds on Kirby; the noise and industry broke the spell the trees had cast upon me, and my imagination could go no further.

But wait! I remembered something very important at that moment: I still had to turn around and go back to get Brownie.

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As an aside, there was something I couldn’t help but laugh about on my walk, strike that, my stroll, today, and that was the sidewalks. They were simply hilarious to me. The few people 007I did encounter in the hour I was out were not walking on the sidewalks, but in the street! The roots on those massive old oak trees had pried up large sections of concrete with the ease, if not the speed, of a 50 ton bulldozer.
Every time I came to a curb cut, I smiled. Seriously, if the idea of a curb cut is to take away the need for one to step-up, or make it possible for a wheel chair bound individual to roll across a street and back onto the safety of the sidewalk, making them was a huge waste of tax payers money. Huge! No grandma or gandpa with any sense of joint preservation would dare attempt to walk anywhere BUT the street! LOL. I’m so grateful I get to walk this area every day this week. But, tomorrow I think I will check out South Boulevard instead.

Progress is a Series of Small Steps in the Right Direction

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The word disciple comes from the Latin meaning “a learner,” and the older I get the more aware I am of that status within myself. When I think of my kids’ approach to life, the term “intellectually curious” is often used when it seems they are engaged and actively seeking answers to their daily questions. Conversely, “lazy” is the term employed to describe them at rest, and I don’t mean during periods of recovery from life; Lazy happens when they opt to fully disengage from everything…and drool on themselves, rather like I used to be with Facebook! In the former mode, it is less difficult to get things done around the house and to get school work accomplished; they are enjoyable and deep, meaningful discussions occur. However, when they are in the latter state, I’m not even sure they can hear, and I sometimes question if they are still breathing!

But we all have those moments, don’t we? ‘Lazy’ is a much easier state to reside within for long periods of time than ‘intellectually curious,’ which is a shame. Looking at society, particularly my own American society, it appears to me as if Lazy is a huge part of what we prefer to be, of what we choose to be, and there is really no good reason for it. Sure, some are afflicted with naturally short attention spans, but most of us have opted to have such. We want to be disengaged. No wonder the world is in the state it is in (although, I wish our legislators and this president would spend more time on social media or binge watching America’s Got Talent reruns rather than finding new ways to meddle in our daily lives!). Perhaps if we all embraced the truth that we were sent here to be or become disciples, perpetual learners, whose job it is to forever be moving forward with our education, particularly of spiritual things, and even more particularly of things (and people) other than ourselves, even when that progress seems terribly incremental, things here on Earth would be better for all.

But, of course, that’s only a dream until we graduate to a higher place. Truly, until such time, I suppose we are doing better than most by simply being aware of our obligation to learn, to progress, to make the most of our finite time on this tiny ball of rock, and to do a little more, serve a little more, study a little more each day.

Some observations on my own improved awareness lately…

Recently, I went to spend a week with my dearest friend in the world, and my youngest daughter came, too. As I desperately needed a break from the kids and the house, I was not pleased to have a tag-along for this much anticipated visit, but she was going in order to give my BFF’s granddaughter, who was there for summer vacation, someone to hang out with. The two pre-teens had known each other in early childhood and the last visit (nine years ago) which threw the girls together for any length of time was anything but restful. I was not hopeful that this outing would be much better. Thankfully, I was very, very wrong. They had a blast, and so did I!

What I learned on this trip:

1) When separated from each other, my kids can be so very different from who they are at home. It was nice to see my girl blossom as a friend, an individual, and a daughter during our short vacation together. Maybe she needed the break just as much as I did.

2) With the right person, having and being a friend, even a “bestie,” doesn’t require constant contact. My closest, oldest friend, my BFF, the “aunt,” the “sister” to whom my children are bequeathed should any harm come to me and my husband, once lived walking distance from me, then she moved a quick drive away; then a plane flight became the fastest way to get to her door. Two years ago, she moved back within Texas’ borders, and we can be on the others’ couch within three hours, but neither of us make that drive more than once or twice a year. We don’t speak on the phone often either, maybe quarterly, if something important comes up. Neither of us are too keen on that phone thing. She and I email slightly more frequently, when there are things to communicate, but even then our messages are the antithesis of verbose. In truth, I’d love to see her a little more, as for me she’s the big sister I had but never had- the only big sister I have to go to for advice when I can’t think straight, and depending on the day, it seems I have hundreds of questions that only she can answer! In the years we lived close to one another, she helped me out of more than a few jams (and keys locked in cars) when I was a clueless, overwhelmed young mother; she helped me feel almost sane when I was dog paddling in the depths of depression, and she was there for me when my mother died suddenly. She was and is the aunt

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I wanted my kids to have, to trust, to love, and to know they can turn to if I’m not there or they need another ear.

Still, within the last six years I developed a friendship that was everything I thought I had missed out on from my own sisters and friends over the years, even my BFF. Both fortunately and unfortunately, that relationship burned hot and burned out quickly. And when it died, it died hard. While it lasted, it was nice to feel truly wanted and valued as a friend, like I wasn’t only taking, but giving as a friend. It was nice to feel a close sisterhood with another woman and to have someone with whom to do things; in many ways it seemed like everything I’d missed out on with my own sisters or seen in other female friendships was being fulfilled with this woman.

Alas, our relationship became the living breathing example of the old line, “The grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence.” She had to be in constant daily contact ( even when I was on vacation!) to the point it was nearly suffocating. When I complained of the list of things I had to get done, never was, “Maybe we should spend less time together or talk on the phone less frequently,” the answer. No, it was always, “You should give up X,Y, and Z, (but never me).” I knew on the day I announced that I would be homeschooling my youngest the following school year and her reaction was, “But we won’t get to spend as much time together!” things were wrapping up.

In the years that I’ve had to ponder the painful oddities of that relationship, I’ve come to be grateful for the time, short though it may be, that I do get to spend with my dearest friend. Every visit is like coming home again, picking up where we left off. I still have a hundred questions, but I save up the most important ones for our visits, though lots of them go unasked, and that’s okay. When she moved so far away that it took a plane ticket to get to her, I learned, over time, that I really could find many of the big answers myself; I could dig myself out of some ditches, and I could even call my own locksmith. She is that big sister, she is that aunt, but she is not my mother, and I am not five years old. Conversely, neither of us are leeches, sucking the life out of the other, or parasites who require the life force of another for sustenance—or validation. Perhaps some women need friends like that, need to use friends like that, thankfully, I learned I don’t. Our is a friendship of the best kind: the self-sustaining kind that doesn’t fade with time or distance. In other words, it is just what I need.

3) My Uncle Leslie, my mother’s youngest brother, is quite wonderful. In the forty-four years we’ve shared on Earth together, I don’t recall ever having any uninterrupted one-on-one time with him. As he lives within thirty miles of my BFF, and my visit with her was going to last longer than a millisecond, I thought it would be nice to get together; and it was.

Like my grandfather, Leslie has always held a special place in my heart; and perhaps because of the rarity of our visits, which seem to have always been predicated upon baptisms, deaths, births, and family reunions, it has been easy to put him on a pedestal. It didn’t hurt, of course, that his was the only example of what seemed to be an intact, well- functioning nuclear family among my blood relatives, which was something for which I yearned desperately. In his house there were no out of wedlock births or divorces, no drug abuse, extra marital-affairs, sexual abuse, or screaming matches. And Leslie’s family, from what I knew, had no welfare queens or shot gun weddings. His family was always active in the church (not that that makes everything all better, but it doesn’t hurt!), his kids went on to college, married in the temple, served missions, formed cohesive families. In other words, they did all the things I wished my family did, but mostly they just seemed to love one another without reserve. How he and Aunt Linda managed all that when mine couldn’t even figure out the rudiments of society most of the time was baffling.

Similar to the list of questions I always have for my BFF, the list I have for Leslie is at least twice as long. During my sixteen years of motherhood, fourteen of which I myself have been motherless, I have become terribly curious about my mother’s life, the choices she made, the trials she endured, the role my grandparents, aunts, and uncles played in her life, and how they saw her. My visit with Leslie proved a mix of all of those things, and I learned more about him as an individual; I walked away wishing we could make such lunches a weekly event. But regardless of whether we do or don’t ‘do lunch’ again in the future, I am sure that two plus hours we sat together over pizza is going on my short list of “Life’s Best Moments.” Thank you, Uncle Leslie.

Finally, there is this:

4) It is easy to focus on spiritual things when you don’t have to focus on a hundred other things, too. I started a book entitled Walking with the Savior: 365 Days of Miracles by Rena Petterson…three years ago. And never made it past the first two weeks. I restarted it just before my trip, worked on it during the trip, then came home and forgot about it for a week and a half. What is it about the two week ma

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rk that keeps stifling my progress on this 365 day journey? Oh, yes, I remember now: life. Well, I’m trying to get back on track with it. Clearly, I need the time within its pages (which also includes time in my scriptures) just as much as I need food and rest on a daily basis, yet “things” come up. Mostly, though, we simply get lazy (see above), and taking the path of least resistance, as we are want to do, leads to binge watching Netflix or any of a number of truly time-wasting endeavors that carry no celestial significance. How easily we get distracted; how easily we seek for things of lesser “weight” on which to spend our precious time. Very often these days I am reminded of a poem I read aloud during a sacrament talk years ago. It is called “The Devil’s Convention,” and is readily available on a hundred different websites. The unknown author echos many of the same things C.S. Lewis captured in his small but important book The Screwtape Letters, and to a lesser degree in The Great Divorce. It reads as follows:

Satan called a worldwide convention. In his opening address to his evil angels, he said,

“We can’t keep the Christians from going to church. We cannot keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth. We cannot even keep them from forming an intimate, abiding relationship experience in Christ. If they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken. So let them go to their churches; let them have their conservative lifestyles, but steal their time, so they can’t gain that relationship with Jesus Christ. This is what I want you to do angels: Distract them from gaining hold of their Saviour and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day!”

“How shall we do this?” shouted his angels.

“Keep them busy in the non-essentials of life and invent innumerable schemes to occupy their minds,” he answered. “Tempt them to spend, spend, spend, and borrow, borrow, borrow. Persuade the wives to go to work for long hours and the husbands to work 6-7 days each week, 10-12 hours a day so they can afford their empty lifestyles. Keep them from spending time with their children. As their family fragments, soon their home will offer no escape from the pressures of work! Over-stimulate their minds so that they cannot hear that still, small voice. Entice them to play the radio or cassette player whenever they drive. Keep the TV, VCR, CDs, and their PCs going constantly in their home and see to it that every store and restaurant in the world plays non-biblical music constantly. This will jam their minds and break that union with Christ. Fill the coffee tables with magazines and newspapers. Pound their minds with the news 24 hours a day. Invade their driving moments with billboards. Flood their mailboxes with junk mail, mail order catalogues, sweepstakes, and every kind of newsletter and promotional offering free products, services and false hopes. Keep skinny, beautiful models on the magazines so the husbands will believe that external beauty is what is important, and they will become dissatisfied with their wives. Ha! That will fragment those families quickly! Even in their recreation, let them be excessive. Have them return from their recreation exhausted, disquieted and unprepared for the coming week. Do not let them go out in nature to reflect on God’s wonders. Send them to amusement parks, sporting events, concerts, and movies instead. Keep them busy, busy, busy! And when they meet for spiritual fellowship, involve them in gossip and small talk so that they leave with troubled consciences and unsettled emotions. Go ahead, let them be involved in soul winning; but crowd their lives with so many good causes they have no time to seek power from Jesus. Soon they will be working in their own strength, sacrificing their health and family for the good of the cause.”

“It will work! It will work!” his angels cried.

It was quite a convention. The evil angels went eagerly to their assignments causing Christians everywhere to get busier and more rushed, going here and there.

I guess the question is has the devil been successful at his scheme? You be the judge!

Does ‘busy’ nean: B-eing U-nder S-atan’s Y-oke?

so-busyHere’s to hoping you & I find a way to be less B.U.S.Y. this week and more focused on life’s truly important things.

Tales From Times Past, pt. 1: The Importance of Three Simple Words

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So, earlier this week I fired up my old primary Facebook account again. But, unlike my previous breaks from social media, this restart will be short lived, serving only as a precursor to a complete shut down before the weekend is over. Since suspending that account on May 18th, I’ve thought long and hard about the posts that have accumulated under the name of Darling Sam since 2008, and while it would be ideal to just delete every.single.posting from the past seven years and wipe the slate clean, there were a few that sprang to mind that I didn’t want to lose forever. They were important, or sentimental, or something, but most of all they mattered to me. I’m sure there are many more that deserve preservation than I can recall. Alas, I’ve slept since 2008…

With that in mind, I’ll be transferring the selected Facebook Recovery Posts here under the title “Tales From Times Past.” Mostly, I’ll simply post them in their original form with a little background info, but occasionally they’ll get a light polish for the form. Here are my first fruits…

From March 18, 2015: The Car Wreck

My oldest learned a difficult lesson today about staying up late when one has to be up at 5:30 a.m. Trying

My big girl had a rough morning

My big girl had a rough morning

to get this girl to go to bed at night, regardless of the coming day’s events is like pulling teeth. Unfortunately, today her sleep debt came due…and the Buick is no more. Totalled on Gosling Road some where near Rayford. She had driven to and from Seminary this morning with no problem, but the hour between our arrival home and our next trip out for her 9 a.m. Lonestar class allowed her adrenaline to drop & she didn’t tell me she was too drowsy to drive.

 

April 3, 2015: The Day Before Knee Surgery

Ok, time for another nap, but a quick story first.

Blondie went from being a very emotional, exhausting, high energy child to a calmer, more introspective, less emotional kid in what seems like the blink of an eye. Because of this massive shift, it is often hard to read her. She so hates to display emotions or lead on as to how she is feeling, particularly if said feelings seem to display a vulnerability or demonstrate a lack of self confidence. Even in expressing her fears, she refers to talking to me or her dad as making her feelings “public,” like we’re both just part of the ugly masses. Getting to the quick with her in regards to the wreck has been very hard- on her and us. She feels regret and remorse, but she has yet to go through through the “public” sobbing and wearing of sack cloth that hubby and I would have…appreciated or expected. Her “I’m sorries” have felt very forced.

Well, last night, as I was trying to get in the tub to relax before bed, she had several tasks she need me to do for her. She and two of her BFFs have been planning to go to Matsuri, which is like a Comic Con, but it is centered around Anime, and of course they must dress up, I mean Cos Play. Little Miss was trying to pull the rest of her mess together between 10 & 11 last night…at the same time I was trying to rest & hubby & I were having a little “Come to Jesus” meeting with our youngest.

By the time the meeting had broken up, Blondie wanted her turn. So, I helped, though it hurt. As she was leaving my bedroom, she turned back around and said, ” You deserve a hug.” I asked if that was just permission for me to hug her, or if she was actually doing the hugging (never happens). She assured me, she was hugging. I almost fell over. To top it all off, as she was leaving I said, ‘I love you,’ just as TJ and I do nightly. In reply, she actually said, ” I love you, too!” When I asked her to repeat that into a voice recorder, she laughed and walked away.

In all seriousness, as I don’t think she has told me she loves me in over four years (maybe five), that moment with her was the best present I’ve had in a long while. Sniff…

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When “Better” is the Enemy of “Good (enough)”

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When I opened my eyes after my daughter wrecked our car in March, one of my very first thoughts as I struggled to catch my breath and orient to the situation at hand was, “Seven more days. In seven more days, I will feel better (than I do now).” Every seven days for the next couple of months, I moved the bar, trying to give my sidelined self something to reach for, to hope for, and to push back the depression that not being able to exercise brought on.

The more weeks that passed, the further out the goal became, mostly out of necessity. Though my physical progress felt incremental, it was at least fairly steady; I was regaining some strength, some flexibility, some balance, even if the pain had not fully subsided. Still, after seventy days of twice a week physical therapy and copious workouts on my own, the sure knowledge I had (I think I’m a little too in tune with my body sometimes) that the surgery had failed to repair my bum knee made mental progress difficult. Truly, I felt that for all the improvements I could see, it was all for naught if the meniscus was compromised.

On July thirteenth, nearly four months after the wreck, I received MRI confirmation that my meniscus was still torn, that the first surgery had failed, as I suspected, and I cried. A lot. “Why me?” pou0_1187t, pout. “Surgery…again (3rd in a year),” sniff, sniff. “Fine, cut me open again, if it means I can get back on the road!” I was so tired of waiting, tired of sitting life out, and tired of being less active than I was accustomed to being. Nevertheless, in my mind, I started the “X-more-days” thing all over again. And for two weeks after that visit in July, I focused on my surgery day, August eleventh, and went to the gym on a near daily basis, trying to rebuild my atrophied muscles in preparation for more bench time. My head was and has been wrapped around the belief, the Grand Idea, that surgery will make everything “all better.” I’ll be made whole again by my surgeon’s tools. Right?

Well, a funny thing happened at the gym Saturday before last: I started thinking. It got even more funny when I went for a walk that evening because I thought some more. Shortly thereafter, a sentence popped into my head: “ I don’t have to do this.” At that point, I stopped thinking and began reasoning, pondering this idea of surgery as a panacea to my knee problems (of the moment). When I reasoned still more and allowed myself to entertain an option for living that didn’t include surgery right now, this wonderful, spiritually enlightening thing occurred. I ceased worrying so much about surgery, even about being made “whole” (as if at 44 with knees that have bothered me in one way or another since my teen years, my knees have ever been perfect!), and began to concern myself with what I could do now, despite the meniscus tear. After all, I have been getting stronger, walking more, doing more. Despite the pain and the limitations I have in that knee, I am improving. That lightning bolt of wisdom and the peace that ensued was exactly what I needed to shift my paradigm away from an injury mindset to one of contentment and clarity. It was truly, unmistakably a God send that put my mind at ease for the first time in months; and I couldn’t be more grateful or feel more blessed for it.

Come Monday morning, it took all I had not to just call my surgeon’s office and cancel the upcoming surgery without discussion, but  I controlled myself and made an appointment with him instead. In preparation for our visit later in the week, I created a list of questions to ask. At the top of the list was, “Will this surgery really get me back on the road or will it set me back more?” Other questions included, “Can I do a half marathon without a medial meniscus (or with a torn one) and what can I realistically expect from surgery?” During the course of our chat, my surgeon noted two things after I told him of my epiphany the previous weekend: 1) “I was hoping this was the conclusion you would have come to at out last appointment;” and 2) “Better is the enemy of good.” Hmmm, another lightning bolt of wisdom from God’s mind (via my surgeon’s mouth) to my ears.

He was SO cute in 1984! Why didn't he stop then?

He was SO cute in 1984! Why didn’t he stop while he was ahead?

Dr. J expounded on that last statement by observing that he often sees people trying to make things that are good, or good “enough,” better, but far too often they fail to consider the consequences of their actions in the context of their body’s and technology’s limitations. Surgery doesn’t always improve things, it can simply make things a different kind of “not perfect”…like Michael Jackson! Point taken; surgery is on hold. Reconsideration at Thanksgiving.

Rather like a child learning a tough lesson in delayed gratification, I have finally accepted, even embraced, that I can go much further than seven days, or even seven weeks, before feeling “better.” I can be okay with the wait; I can be patient in this “affliction,” and be productive, too. No need to just bide my time any longer. Unlike after the wreck, today I can appreciate the reality that surgery may or may not improve my knee. Truthfully, it could make things much worse. There are no guarantees either way. I lost sight of that for a while, but I’ve got it now.Happy

So, in the mean time I’m at the gym almost daily, pushing myself a little more at each session. Even if I’m wincing as I go, I’m dragging my muscles out of atrophy and into hypertrophy. And it’s O.K. I’ve even started trying to racewalk on the treadmill, and my knee is tolerating it well. In fact, I just printed off the Couch to 5K program. The long and the short of this post is it’s time to stop pouting and get myself back into form. Hopefully, my meniscus won’t be too much of a hindrance. But if it is, well…that’s a post for another day. Onward and upward, my friends!

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According to the site “The Spirit of Water,” the lotus flower symbolizes harmony, spiritual illumination and unlimited potential. The lotus is a water lily which rises from the sludge of muddy waters. It reinforces the concept of resurrection. Use as a reminder that “this, too, shall pass.” It symbolizes forgiveness, gratitude and compassion and invites a balance between humility and pride.

A Dead Lion Gets Wall to Wall News, but Dead Babies Get Only a Blip?

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In my village in Zimbabwe, surrounded by wildlife conservation areas, no lion has ever been beloved, or granted an affectionate nickname. They are objects of terror. —Goodwell Nzou


Kate Steinle is murdered in San Francisco as a result of an immoral, unlawful immigration policy, and undercover videos reveal that Planned Parenthood, the nation’s leading abortion provider, is likely trafficking in the remains of aborted babies, and unlawfully changing its abortion procedures to obtain the best possible “specimens” for resale on the tissue/organ market. The same people outraged over Cecil are silent about the death of Kate and the unborn.

Anger reveals a lot about a person’s values and their priorities. In the case of Cecil, Kate and Planned Parenthood, it is evident many liberals/progressives in this country, especially in the major media, regard the death of a lion as more outrage-worthy than the death of an American woman and countless unborn Americans.
Brian Fahy & Garrett Fahy


I tried to imagine if there could be any valid reason for a wild cat to become the biggest news item in the world. On a day when another undercover video revealed Planned Parenthood dismembering murdered children for profit, I strained to think if there might be some justification for ignoring the harvesting of human beings in favor of obsessing over a large feline in Africa. 

I thought maybe the lion had cured cancer, or sprouted wings and flown into space, or stood on its hind legs and recited the Gettysburg Address. Surely, these developments would vindicate the disproportionate amount of attention it was receiving. But I quickly found out that the lion, from Zimbabwe, had done no such thing. Apparently, all it did was die.

Of course, lots of people died yesterday too, especially in Zimbabwe. Across the planet, human travesties continued to unfold – Christians were slaughtered in the Middle East, political prisoners were tortured and executed in North Korea and Iran, Americans fell prey to crime and violence spilling over our southern border, and about 3,000 human children were butchered in abortion clinics, some of which were then dissected and sold on the black market – but this one unfortunate beast in a forest 9,000 miles away trumped all of these. Human victims would have to wait yet another day to be noticed by our culture. Their plight just couldn’t compete with a cute, fuzzy mammal.— Matt Walsh


But the issue isn’t whether abortion is legal. Abortion has been legal for decades. That’s not going to change.

This is something else again: Reducing human life to a commodity, subject to market whims, where the “procedure” (meaning abortion) is altered so that the fetal organs may be kept intact, to be bartered and sold.

You can say that it’s not human life. And many do. But in this case, using euphemisms is a shield. I suppose we can convince ourselves that the research “materiel” is not human, until of course, you see a lab tech with tweezers pick up a tiny limb.

And though many avoid the implications of this, it just might be that there is a cost, to all of us, even as we shut our eyes.

Everything has a cost. Avoidance most of all. – John Kass


Were it not for having to be in the car this week driving Blondie to a class in the arts district, I might have completely missed the outrage over Cecil, a lion, dying. It is a terrible story, which I hope ends with us all finding out that the doctor responsible for the animal’s death was indeed misled by unscrupulous guides, and that he had no knowledge that what he was doing by killing Ol’ Cecil was wrong, at least in the legal sense. However, I think it is a pathetic and distressing thing that more people are incensed and frothing at the mouth over a dead LION, than are about the dismembering of dead human babies by Planned Parenthood. Seriously, 24/7 news about a lion, but the abortion clinic stuff is on page twelve of the classifieds?

Really now, “come, let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18), You who pretend to care for humanity; you who probably call yourself “humanists;” you who likely claim to have a special interest in human rights: You! How can You sit by and ignore the death of millions of babies, some of whom are having their remains carved up and sold off like cattle in a stockyard? Disturbingly, it seems You care more about a wild beast with fangs and claws than a defenseless human baby; surely, your moral compass broke years ago. Don’t human lives, particularly innocent infants’ lives “matter” more than a single lion’s life? Strike that. ANY animal’s life? How screwed up are we as a society, as humanity, when Cecil’s death creates more fervor than babies bodies being desecrated, being treated as garbage, labeled as medical “waste” because a woman’s so-called right is to engage in infanticide? Is it also Planned Parenthood’s right to profit from it? I’ve little doubt You decry the Military-Industrial Complex and Big Pharma, but what about the Abortion Industry? Make no mistake, You, there is indeed such a thing. Oy! It makes my head spin and my soul ache to realize how far off the mark we have veered.

Concerning abortion, please, know, I do not consider myself to be any sort of Pro-Life “activist,” though I find IMG_1521restricting abortions as much as possible (while still keeping them accessible) to be an important fight to have. Abortion is not health care, nor has it anything to do with women’s sexual freedoms. What about freedom should give women the right to decide well beyond the point of “fetal” viability, or it’s ability to feel pain, for that matter, whether another human being lives or dies?

I am blessed with two teen-aged daughters, sixteen and almost thirteen, and have always held that if anything happened to them, particularly rape or incest, where one of them found themselves with child at a tender age, abortion would not be off the table. I believe it is cruel to expect a young girl to carry on with a pregnancy when she is not emotionally or physically prepared for such an event; pregnancy can be difficult enough on those of us beyond our middle and high school years. 

Nevertheless, I can understand that there are reasons for some to seek an abortion, but if it is to occur, is twenty weeks not PLENTY of time to make that decision (though twelve is even better)? After that, folks, it should be for the long haul. How can that even be in dispute? There are LOTS of families out there who would love to adopt, and lots of reasons to choose adoption, particularly if one is on the back side of puberty. “Late term” abortions, otherwise known as partial- birth abortions, are nothing short of butchery. To believe otherwise is to be willfully blind, delusional, and devoid of reason regarding the reality of what is being done to these poor babies. It is cruelty in it’s most vile form (though I’m sure you feel similarly about the death penalty). When that innocent child could thrive outside of its mother’s body, but we leave the choice of infanticide, of killing a healthy, viable infant, in the hands of someone who is quite likely mentally unstable, we, as a society, are sick. Irredeemable, even. 

But still, let’s keep worrying about a lion, why don’t we? After all, “Lion Lives Matter.” At least, to some misguided souls, they matter a great deal more than innocent human ones; and theirs are the voices that scream the loudest these days.


Below is the text from an article from writer Heather Wilhelm, which I think sums this ridiculousness up quite well:

One of the joys of the digital age, at least to many, is the thrill of discovering a new World’s Most Despicable Person. You know the drill: First, some poor sap says or does something dumb or politically incorrect. Next, mobs of wild-eyed, unhinged keyboard cops swoop in to judge, shame, excoriate, and issue over-the-top condemnations. Finally, if they’re lucky, the Mean Typing League might even manage to destroy a life or a reputation or a business or two, not to mention everyone’s general faith in humanity.

After performing this ritual cleansing, one assumes, those involved feel slightly better about themselves. This sense of inner peace and superiority has not yet been scientifically measured, but it lasts, alas, for only a few fleeting days. That’s when it’s time to find a new World’s Most Despicable Person.

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Heather Wilhelm

This week, that person is Dr. Walter James Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota with the unfortunate habit of paying copious amounts of money to kill large, exotic animals around the globe. Earlier in July, as the world discovered this week, Palmer messed with the wrong large, exotic animal: Cecil the Lion, one of Africa’s most beloved and famous lions, a favorite of wildlife researchers, and the “star attraction” of Zimbabwe’s Hwagne National Park.

I, like most of humanity, had never heard of Cecil the Lion until this week—thanks to the Internet, he now has approximately five million devoted new best friends, who had also, oddly, never heard of him until now—but there are several videos of him circulating online. He seems like a nice enough lion, I guess, if you like sexist oppressor male kings of the jungle.

I kid, I kid! Sort of. Alas, the truth about Cecil’s links to the patriarchy is all on YouTube for the world to see: the roaring and biting at those born without male privilege; the casual, utter disregard for female lion self-esteem; the skulking around like a half-hungry Marlon Brando trapped in a Mafia pizza parlor. This is because he was a wild animal, of course, and not a cartoon character. Regardless, let’s move on.

Real lions doing real lion-like things

Real lions doing real lion-like things

Cecil lived on nationally protected land in Zimbabwe, but Dr. Palmer’s apparently shady and unscrupulous guides—for whom he paid a whopping $54,000—lured the unsuspecting lion off his nature preserve. There, Palmer shot him with a crossbow. That didn’t do the trick, so a fatal rifle shot came next, but only after tracking the wounded, suffering lion for nearly 40 hours. This was followed by the beheading and skinning of poor Cecil, who certainly didn’t deserve such a cruel fate, but who also, just as a friendly, safety-related reminder, would probably happily eat you in a casual and relaxed fashion if he had the chance.

This week, Cecil’s story exploded, inciting batten-down-the-hatches outrage. Animal rights group PETA, for instance, declared that Dr. Palmer should be “extradited, charged, and preferably hanged” for killing such a beloved creature. In a heated op-ed, former CNN host Piers Morgan proposed a new sport, “Big Human Hunting,” in which he would kill Dr. Palmer with a crossbow, torture him, and skin him alive, which sounds normal if you just had a brain transplant from, say, Jeffrey Dahmer.

Actress Debra Messing argued for revoking Dr. Palmer’s citizenship; Sharon Osborne, who is married to a man who once bit the head off a bat, called for the eradication of Palmer’s home, business, and money. On Tuesday night, an emotional Jimmy Kimmel questioned Dr. Palmer’s erectile abilities before a chortling television audience, called him “vomitous” and “the most hated man in America who never advertised Jell-O pudding on television,” and then helpfully noted that we probably shouldn’t “start a witch hunt for the guy.” Oh. Okay. We’ll just ignore those first parts, broadcast to millions!

Baby-development-month-by-month

A baby, not a blob of tissue. You had a choice, shouldn’t he?

Dr. Palmer, meanwhile, is in hiding. His business is closed, piled with threats and hate mail. Cecil’s killing, the embattled dentist declared in a statement, was a terrible mistake: “I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt.” This may or may not be true; Dr. Palmer may or may not be an unsavory and unethical character. It’s a sad situation; we’ll have to wait and see. One thing, however, seems indisputable: The world is, as is its eternal wont—and here I shall quote an eminent showbiz bat-biter—going off the rails on a crazy train.

Paying $54,000 to kill a wild, beautiful animal seems like a strange and questionable hobby at best; at worst, it seems downright cruel. On the other hand, some conservationists applaud the practice, at least when it’s done legally. What’s telling, however, is that the great Cecil conflagration of 2015 occurred on the same day undercover operatives released the third in a series of graphic, disturbing Planned Parenthood videos. This video, unlike the former two, featured body parts. Tiny body parts. Detailed, well formed, and unmistakably human.

But never mind. Let’s talk about Cecil, a lion that has emerged as a benevolent, finely

This is NOT the lion you're crying over

This is NOT the lion you’re crying over

sketched cartoon creature in the global moral imagination, setting our hyperactive but wildly misfiring outrage meter into a wild, chaotic spin. He’s a lot more fun to think about than unborn baby humans, apparently. The villains in his case are certainly more dramatically drawn. And really: Who doesn’t like cartoons better than reality?

Heather Wilhelm is a writer based in Austin,Texas. Her work can be found at http://www.heatherwilhelm.com/ and her Twitter handle is @heatherwilhelm.


Extra credit reading:
Matt Walsh always has some good thoughts on the issue of abortion, too.
Feminists for Life (I found this group several years back while researching a paper about “feminism”- who knew such a group ever existed?!
A Lion’s Share of Misplaced Outrage, by Brian Fahy & Garrett Fahy
~ It’s a Lion, Dennis Prager
~ What’s the Cost of Avoiding the Planned Parenthood Videos? by John Kass

~ In Zimbabwe, We Don’t Cry for Lions by Goodwell Nzou

 

Things I Just Don’t Understand…

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Every once in a while I have to do a “politics dump,” a commentary of current political events, with back up from some of my favorite Conservative or Libertarian thinkers. On Facebook I would have just posted link after link, day after day, but in the blogging world, I prefer this format as I find it to be more productive, constructive, and concise.

In this post I have chosen a few quotes from Victor Davis Hansen and Jonah Goldberg to punctuate my thoughts. The articles from which the quotes were drawn are linked somewhere below.


  • Yup, it’s ALL about “Choice.” Well, maybe for some, but obviously not the abortion industry. Could we PLEASE have a real, honest discussion about what abortion is after 20 weeks? It is murder, pure and simple. How is it I’m supposed to fret over the owls, whales, caribou, snail darters, dogs, cats, and tree frogs, but human babies are verboten, or at least passè? How can people that are often SO adamant about animals and trees care so very little for their own kind?

It’s Time to Defund Planned Parenthood;Shameful: Planned Parenthood’s Weak Response; The Nazis, Medical Research and Planned Parenthood


The recent disclosures about Planned Parenthood likewise infuriated the fed-up base. Again, they were not incensed just at the callous and sick way supposed humanitarians at Planned Parenthood talked of slicing up fetal tissue and selling organs, but at the hypocrisy of it all. At a time liberals are Trotskyzing our past to damn to memory any ancient historical figure who owned slaves or practiced racism, how does Planned Parenthood’s godhead Margaret Sanger, the racist eugenicist and promoter of abortion to curb minority populations, get a pass?

Liberals lecture about “set457181-222196tled science” and adherence to logic instead of myth and folklore. But they also insist on talking of fetuses as non-human organisms, even as they concede both that fetuses in the womb possess viable — and marketable — human tissues and that developing babies at 22 months are now viable outside the womb.

For those who bandy about words like troglodyte, it is quite Neanderthal, in the scientific sense, to believe that a baby is not a living, viable organism until it emerges from the birth canal. For a movement that talks of caring and compassion, it is hard to write a script more cruel and callous than that of the Planned Parenthood talking heads referencing a Lamborghini or a “less crunchy” abortion technique or the macabre house of horrors of the abortionist and convicted murderer Dr. Gosnell. As for the supposed questionable ethics of catching Planned Parenthood with ruse and stealthy tape, no one seemed to object over secretly taping at a private gathering Mitt Romney’s unfortunate quip about the “47 percent,” much less did liberals object to four decades of 60 Minutes ambush-style, secret-video reporting.- VDH



So: We live in a world where Bobby Jindal is a fake Indian, but it’s racist to say an older white woman isn’t a real one (the correct term being “Native American,” of course). Nimages (7)ikki Haley is a villain for “suppressing” her Indian roots, but Senator Ted Cruz is a fraud for touting his Cuban roots. (Cruz was recently grilled by Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin about how authentically Cuban he really is. At least Halperin later apologized.)  -JG


  • When the Catholic leader goes Hitler on Catholicism (do some research on how Hitler perverted the Lutheran church in the run up to WWII)…
What the....?!

What the….?!

The Pope and the Hammer and Sickle
So….Jesus was a Communist now? How do these leftists, including this pope, turn a blind eye to the butchery that has occurred at the hands of Communists since 1917? Che, Mao, Castro, Mao, Stalin- great heroes and humanitarians we should all look up to, but Capitalism is evil? Can one simply compare the economies and standard of living between the people of North and South Korea, not to mention the way each government treats its own people, to debunk this blind ideology? Makes me very glad I’m not Catholic these days. I’d have a hard time taking this pope as God’s mouthpiece.


  • I’m never ceased to be amazed by the hypocrisy of the media and the Democrats and all they have infiltrated. Why does High Faulutin’ Person X (R) get so much media and is often forced into hiding, resignation or prison, but High Faulutin’ Person Y (D) get invites to the White House?

    Once upon a time my husband was an FBI agent. He went through Quantico in 1995 with this guy. He wasn’t terribly impressed with him then and has no use for him now; he seems to be quite a scumbag.

    Dennis Hastert is being targeted for suspect withdraws, but my husband can’t get prosecutors to touch cases this small when it is TAX PAYER money being wasted or stolen? Priorities, priorities…

    Ted Stevens gets taken down, only later the injustice comes out. Harry Reid brags about being a lying scumbag.

    Yet… Al Sharpton? Charlie Rangel? Obamacare lies? Planned Parenthood (see above)? Hillary Clinton? Just to point out a few….


We’re actually making a deal with these crazies, not requiring the return of hostages, and giving them a butt load of money? Oh, yeah, and essentially telling the American people they (through their representatives) have no say so because the approval of the U.N. means more to this president than we do. How long until the election? Can any of this damage be undone?



The conservative base is tired of illegal immigration. Their furor peaked with the horrific killing of Kate Steinle by a seven-time convicted felon and five-time deported illegal alien.  They are baffled that one apparently exempt and privileged ethnic group can arbitrarily decide to ignore federal law. They are irate that they are lectured about their supposed racism from an open-borders movement predicated on La Raza-like ethnic chauvinism. They do not want to hear about nativism from a lobby that so often at rallies waves the flag of the country that none of the protesters seems to wish to return to, a country whose authoritarianism is romanticized as much as their host country is faulted for its magnanimity. Call this what you will, but emotion over neglecting federal law is much less worrisome than cool calculation over violating it.- VDH


  • I grew up in Texas, but have NEVER liked the Confederate flag. In my memory, I never saw anything positive about it, didn’t romanticize the antebellum era, didn’t think blacks should be kept “in their place.” However, when a white guy goes bonkers in South Carolina, ostensibly because hated blacks (and had more than a few screws lose), it’s necessary to question everything about him, dig up a few choice tid-bits that “prove” how racist America is today (not a single change in 50 years!? Really?), seek to destroy any symbol that he may have wrapped himself in…oh, yeah, and cry about a lack of gun control?  But when Muslims commit murder on U.S. soil or kill people over seas, CLEARLY because of their twisted, butcher-the-infidels mindset, we are supposed to delve into their backgrounds to discover what great people they “really” were, find ways to blame ourselves, boost them up, and cover their sins with in a thick veil flag-salute-silhouetteof political correctness? Wow, talk about a screwed up set of priorities. Ditto goes for crimes committed by illegals. Could we please focus on cutting the heart out of radical Islam and facing up to the fact that some people who shouldn’t be here in the first place do bad things and should be held responsible for their actions before we fret over a piece of cloth from a by-gone era? For all of their harping on the beauty of “diversity,” all I see is division in the ranks and making excuses for evil…well, for some…as long as they aren’t white!Honor Heritage with the RIGHT Flag; America, NOT Dylann Roof Should be ForgivenDo the Right Thing, Mr. President — Lower the Flag (Why did this actually take more time to decide to do than lighting up the White House like a rainbow?); The President’s Looking Glass Islamic World; America, One Nation Indivisible Why Does the Left Treat Islamic Terrorism with More Nuance Than the Confederate Flag?

In the last half-century, Americans have increasingly tended to emphasize race and tribe in promoting “diversity,” rather than seeking to strengthen the more tenuous notion of unity with their fellow citizens. We have forgotten that human nature is fond of division and must work at setting aside superficial tribal affinities to unite on the basis of core values and ideas.

Symbols, flags, organizations, and phrases that emphasize racial difference and ethnic pride are no longer just fossilized notions from the 1960s; they are growing fissures in the American mosaic that now threaten to split the country apart — fueling the suspicion of less liberal and more homogeneous nations that the great American experiment will finally unwind as expected.- VDH

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Chasing the Right Likes: Focusing Inward In Order to Focus Upward

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Back in May, just as I was planning my summer hiatus from Facebook, the article Chasing the Right Likes from Joshua Becker caught my eye. It came around at roughly the same time as the blog post by Jamie Martin that I referenced in my first posting: To the Mama Who Feels Like She Never Gets Enough Done (My Productivity Secret). Both commentaries have stuck with me these past few months and have greatly influenced my decision to exit Facebook on a more-or-less permanent basis.

Jamie got me thinking about what I truly need to spend all of my time and energy on- and it’s not worrying 24/7 about politics, or laughing at every meme, or seeing what everyone and their dog is up to everyday.single.moment.of.the.day, or trying to decode some people’s cryptic messages or passive examiner-size-woman-at-computeraggressive rants, or get sucked into their whining (mine included, ditto, ditto, ditto). I need to worry about my house, my kids, my pets, my husband, my house: my stuff. And I desperately need to get out of the “Oh, I have to post this!” mind set; the rewiring of the brain that occurs with social media abuse is simply horrific!

However, Joshua made me rethink the psychology of social media all together. In fact, he made me realize it is not a healthy place, at least not for me. Why, you may ask? The answer is simple enough: pride. One need only take a spin around “reality” T.V., Facebook, Twitter, or even the closest busy department store parking lot for evidence of society’s hyper-inflated self-importance. It is almost painful to see how full of ourselves we are. Selfies on the hour, every hour, posts about every meal, thought, gym visit, and bodily function; vanity plates, monster trucks and custom cars that scream “LOOK AT ME!”; clothes (or a lack thereof) that do the same; booming music vibrating the ground, annoying drivers or neighbors a block away, all because we are just so darned important that every one must want, no, need to see what we are doing or admire who we are.

According to Dictionary.com, pride is (among other things) a noun meaning:

1. a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.

2. the state or feeling of being proud.

3. a becoming or dignified sense of what is due to oneself or one’s position or character; self-respect; self-esteem.

4. pleasure or satisfaction taken in something done by or belonging to oneself or believed to reflect credit upon oneself: civic pride.

Pride is rightly listed among the Seven Deadly Sins, and Pride is essentially what set off the “War in Heaven,” which led to the fall of Lucifer, a.k.a. Satan, who in turn took a third of the hosts of heaven with him. The after effects of this terrible rebellion have been reverberating in our terrestrial sphere since the dawn of man and are evidenced throughout the millennia in story after story of human history.9a163183b432e70510fe1d2958e068c8 Holy scripture is replete with illustrations of man’s hubris, as is secular literature, and at no point does pride produce a favorable result. In the cosmic scheme of things, it may be possible for pride to be a positive thing, but… for the most part it is not, for the most part it is quite destructive to the self, the soul, and society as a whole.

In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis observed that a “proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you’re looking down, you can’t see something that is above you.” Additionally, Lewis noted that the “natural man,” or what we might call human nature is “something that wants to be petted and admired, to take advantage of other lives, to exploit the whole universe.” How very true that is. Does that not explain the diseased state of the modern mind? We want to be admired, even by, and perhaps especially by, those we don’t know intimately? Isn’t it clear that man is so enamored with his ability to construct philosophies which exclude Nature or God, reconstruct scripture and society, devise experiments, and develop innovative idols to worship that he forgets to look up to the One who made this fragile, finite life possible?

In Herodotus’ The Histories, the master narrator tells the story of the ancient Lydian ruler Croesus who, while hosting the distinguished Athenian teacher Solon, came to ask of the well-traveled man, “Who is the happiest man you have ever seen?” Knowing Croesus was seeking to be flattered because of his wealth and the vastness of his conquests, Solon refused to feed the leader’s ego, and answered with tales of several men he’d known who’d not been particularly affluent or prominent, but who had had strong families, accomplished noble things in their lives, and died heroically while serving others.

Croesus was baffled by Solon’s selections and demanded to know exactly what his criterion for happiness were, especially considering the bliss that was apparent in Croesus’ own life. How could Solon have possibly failed to include Croesus? The shrewd instructor, seeing an opportunity to impart a bit of wisdom to the arrogant king, responded calmly,

Great wealth can make man no happier than moderate means, unless he has the luck to continue in prosperity to the end (death).  Many rich men have been unfortunate, and many with a modest competence have had good luck…Whoever has the greatest number of the good things I have mentioned (sound body, health, freedom from trouble, fine children, and good looks), and keeps them to the end, and dies a peaceful death, that man, Croesus, deserves in my opinion to be called happy. Look to the end…often God gives man a glimpse of happiness, and then utterly ruins him.

Croesus wasn’t satisfied with this answer, and he failed to glean the lesson learned Solon was seeking to impart. In the end, he was utterly ruined. His pride led him to lose all that he had amassed, including his beloved heir and the entirety of his kingdom. The man had everything anyone could want, save the praise of one man. How many of us seek after the same thing? We have everything we could possibly need, and very likely much of what want, but we still crave more. And we allow that drive to consume us, whether we’re conscious of it or not. I have come to see that the failure to enjoy the moment we are in without first thinking, “I can’t wait to post this,” is part and parcel of that unconscious lust.

In the days and weeks since my car accident and in the time I’ve been off of social media, I’ve had lots of time to think on these particular issues. Unfortunately, I’ve come to the conclusion (though I have been 83c0777a3ca6a31d425b84a3078c3eac4768e9dc03c694e9395b3cc8af5f110afairly aware of this character fault for more than a few decades now) that I am one pride-filled little lady. While I don’t believe God “let” that wreck happen or “caused” the “Nancy Kerrigan-ing” of my knee, the time that I’ve spent sidelined has been a God send (mostly).

Seriously, folks, I’m not so blind to my own faults to have missed the Napoleon complex, a.k.a “small dog syndrome,” to which I am prone. Nor have I missed the internal burn I feel at times to be recognized. In his post Chasing the Right Likes, Joshua tells the sweet story of an orphan girl seeking the attention of her house mother. His conclusion is that many of us continue to seek that attention well beyond when it is normal or healthy; and for some, even many, social media only enables these childish desires to flourish.

Women’s “Lib,” at least the modern incarnation of that movement, is not something of which I’m particularly fond. Actually, it would be more accurate to say I detest much of what is considered 4becc80bcd522e2337dadf2c7d7666b9“feminism,” particularly the way the left-wing politicos have practiced it since the 1960’s. A few strong, truly independent women who were a part of the feminist past do stand out to me, however. Sadly, theirs are not the voices we hear so prominently today.

Rose Wilder Lane, the daughter of well-know pioneer Laura Ingalls Wilder, is one such woman. A pioneer herself, Lane is often considered the mother of twentieth century Libertarianism. In her fictionalized autobiography on Lane entitled A Wilder Rose, Susan Witting Albert has Lane speculating on the origin of the relational difficulties between mother and daughter.

Indeed, it has often seemed to me that in those days (childhood)— except for a brief golden hour after supper and before bed— I had no mother, for she had no time to give me attention or affection, and I was left to ask for it or beg for it or even misbehave for it, which earned instead her sharp anger and my sullen guilt. Then, I thought this lack of mothering was my own particular privation, and I resented it and pitied myself. Now, I know that many children do not receive the mother-love they need and that they keep on needing and wanting it for a long, long time, perhaps all their lives. Do I? Do I do what I do for her now because of the lack, the emptiness I felt then? I don’t know. Perhaps. Perhaps.

I know how she feels, or rather felt. My own maternal relationship often seemed as if I was trying to navigate waters filled sharks and shrieking eels in an attempt to get the “mother-love” I craved. I’m sure there were times my mother felt as if she were suffocating under the weight of my desire for her time and praise. What she could give or was willing to give me as a child didn’t satisfy my thirst to be “noticed.” I ached to have her all to myself, but my plans for us were always interrupted by someone or something else, like a sibling, a grandchild, work, divorce, dating, remarriage….

Still, there came a time when I was a senior in high school and Mom had foot surgery. She was off from work, recuperating at home for six long weeks. By that time it was just she and I, and much like the Harry Chapin song “Cat’s In the Cradle,”  I think she suddenly comprehended  just how little contact we had with each other (and how little influence she had over me). She sought to remedy it forthwith, but it was too late. I resented her efforts to manipulate me into staying home and being a nursemaid. There was my job, church, school, friends, a boyfriend…nothing that included her. Later, in my mid-20’s I recall she came to my workplace to request the use of my car for a two or three day solo road trip; I was frustrated by her request and refused. She observed that my coolness towards her at that moment could stem from nothing more than her reticence toward me in my childhood. “I wasn’t there for you, and now you’re not here for me.”  Spot on, Mom. Brilliant.

Marriage, twenty years, two kids, depression, and her death later, and I’ve learned much about the internal and external struggles Mom had; they were legion. I needed desperately for her to talk to me, to explain who she was to me so I could comprehend her, understand the choices she made- especially 10876bfa7e09bf75034a2dddaf98afc3those that directly affected me- but that wasn’t in her make-up, not for me anyway, the baby of the brood. This lack of meaningful communication made it exceedingly difficult for us to love each other on terms that the other could truly feel. Instead, we, two little Napoleons, mother and daughter, fought with each other from atop our mighty steeds, deeply wounding but never toppling the other.

Before she passed, Mom and I found a small, rocky patch of earth on which to meet, but there was not time enough to work through our problems. I persisted in never feeling I’d had “enough” of her, starving, in the most pathetic of ways, to hear her praise me, to put my “accomplishments” on a pedestal above those of my siblings, to admit that I was all that I thought I was, to open up to me… and to apologize for not being the mom I’d needed early on. Talking past each other was a hard habit to break. The last candid picture I have of her came from Christmas 2001, a month before her death. She is holding my oldest, who was a toddler then, and I can see the tension in Mom’s jaw; I know it was because of me.

Much of what separated us in the five years between that day the parking lot at work and the frantic phone call from a sister-in-law telling me that Mom had died suddenly, was nothing more or less than Pride. We were both so full of “it,” and I was certainly not going to be the one to lose grip on the controls.

Pride is a deadly cancer. It is a gateway sin that leads to a host of other human weaknesses. In fact, it could be said that every other sin is, in essence, a manifestation of pride. This sin has many faces. It leads some to revel in their own perceived self-worth, accomplishments, talents, wealth, or position. They count these blessings as evidence of being “chosen,” “superior,” or “more righteous” than others. This is the sin of “Thank God I am more special than you.” Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Internally, Facebook is no different a struggle for me. “Look at me!” “Praise me!” “Like me!” “Affirm me!” Me, me, me. I, I , I. I don’t want to be a part of that anymore! No one needs me to link all of my apps to Facebook so that the world may know how far or fast I walked today (Fitbit, Map my Run), what I ate or how much weight I’ve lost (MyFitnessPal), what I’m reading (Goodreads), or what I just purchased (Amazon, Groupon). We each have our own worries, why do you really care about mine? Does it make us feel better to know some one has it worse? Or does it make us feel superior to know how good we are, comparatively, you know? Does it make us feel intelligent and astute to “correct” our friends’ views or comments (or grammar)?  Who really wants to hear me whine about my monthly migraine 50322206cycle or annual cold or bum knee? Do I really need eighty-five “Get well soon” posts to make me feel better?  I’ll bet your pets are just as cute as mine, your garden as pretty, and your neighbors just as annoying. Do you really want to give me feedback about a child who won’t listen? Are yours any better? And it goes on and on. Doesn’t it all just turn into a demand for attention that we should have gotten over decades ago? Doesn’t feeding one another’s egos just make us all into a bunch of meth addicts, craving more strokes, more likes, more approval?

Granted, there are wonderful, positive uses for social media, such as keeping in contact with old friends and family, especially when we are separated from those we love, genealogy, seeking for community services, asking for help without having to get on the phone (I hate the phone), sharing positive, uplifting messages, and supporting friends in pain, just to name a few. But, to those who are prone to addictive behaviors, social media can become poison to the soul and just another vehicle for unhealthy behaviours, such as attention seeking. Pride destroys all that could be good, twisting an opportunity to communicate into a Tower of Babel. Galatians 6:3 reads, “For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. Indeed, there is much we do to deceive ourselves down here. In an attempt to be something by man’s measure, we puff ourselves up and forget that the only measuring stick that matters is God’s. I hope to do better by Him in the future.

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Thoughts? Feel free, the three of you who may see this, to add your own sentiments. I promise not to get too uppity to know I have a reader or two. 😉


Some good reads on the subject:

Pride and the Priesthood        Beware of Pride     Cleansing the Inner Vessel     The Great Sin

The Great Divorce