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Christmastime is Here

blissfulchicks_crop_christmas

Finally!

Yay for Christmas music and decorations and peppermint mochas from Starbucks!

Yay for Christmas shopping and parties and lights on houses!

Yay for snow, sort of, today! (It didn’t stick but it sure looked pretty coming down.)

Yay for the beginning of Advent and Advent Vespers services on Wednesday nights.

Just yay! ūüôā

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Joke Time: Political Campaign Time*

While walking down the street one day a politician is tragically hit by a truck and dies.

His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the¬† entrance.¬† ‘Welcome to heaven,’ says St. Peter.¬† ‘Before you settle in,¬† it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we’re not sure what to do with you.’
‘No problem, just let me in,’ says the man.
‘Well, I’d like to, but I¬† have orders from higher up. What we’ll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity.’
‘Really, I’ve made up my mind. I want to be in heaven,’¬† says the politician.
‘I’m sorry, but we have our rules.’
And with  that, St. Peter  escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down  to hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course.  In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him.  Everyone is very happy and in evening dress. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people.  They play a  friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and champagne.  Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly & nice guy who has a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are having such  a good time that before he realizes it, it is time to go.
Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises…
The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens on heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him.
‘Now it’s time¬† to visit heaven.’
So, 24 hours pass with the politician joining a group  of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing.  They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by  and St. Peter returns.
‘Well, then, you’ve spent a day in hell and¬† another in heaven. Now choose your eternity.’
The politician reflects for a minute, then he answers: ‘Well, I would never have said it¬† before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but¬† I think I would be better off¬† in hell.’
So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down,  down, down to hell.
Now the doors of¬† the elevator open and he’s in the middle of a barren and burning land covered with¬† waste and garbage.¬† He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from above.¬† The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulder.
‘I don’t understand,’ stammers the politician. ‘Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there’s just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable.¬† What happened?’
The devil looks at him, smiles and says, ‘Yesterday we were campaigning … Today you voted.’
*We heard a version of this at Tokens but we could not determine the writer in researching it for attribution.  If you are the writer of this joke, we will happily attribute it to you.  Just let us know.

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Another Sign of the Season

I wrote earlier this week about things that signify autumn is on it’s way. The weather still hasn’t really shown it but I don’t expect that around here. No, this was in the form of one of my favorite beverages.

Ahh…the Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks! I had my first one of the season on Tuesday and I admit that upon taking the first luscious sip, my face broke into a huge grin and I giggled like a school girl.

Autumn is just so tasty!

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Here’s Your Sign

It seems to me that the best “sign” that an able-minded person can receive from God is the simple fact that God saw fit to endow you with a working brain. If you are of rational mind and reasonable intelligence, I don’t think it’s necessary to try and find “signs” that you are doing the right thing. I don’t mean that we shouldn’t be mindful of God’s will for our lives by being in prayer and study. I think that if you are able to see a situation for what it is whether it’s deciding to take a new job, to move to another city/state/country, to end an abusive relationship, to have more children, to change churches and so on, then you can make that decision without relying on “signs”. Yes, sometimes things happen in our lives that add clarity to those decisions but just because everything falls into place doesn’t necessarily make it a “God thing”. God’s will for our life isn’t a “That was easy!” button. Life itself is a “God thing” and it’s up to us to make something of the life we’ve been given. There are times when everything works out and decisions are easy. And there are times when things will work out but the decision is still very hard.

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Anticipating Summer

School is almost out. And I’m simultaneously looking forward to and dreading summer. Summer can be fun. There are lots of things we get to do during summer that don’t happen at other times. Like: spending hours and hours at the pool; not having to get up early to get ready for school (though GMan has been waking terribly early lately which doesn’t bode well for summer sleeping in time); our annual trip to Camp Manatawny; JBelle will be going to Girl Scout sleep away camp for the first time; Fourth of July party and fireworks; a visit from Granny & Pa!; Sounds baseball games; playing in the hose in the backyard; catching lightning bugs.

Summer can also be a drag. Like: sunburn; mosquitoes; I hear that we will have to contend with cicadas at some point which will probably cut into our pool time; extreme heat. Our children are at the ages now where they really get on each other’s nerves and there is A LOT of bickering and telling on and general aggravating that happens on a daily basis. Our children also have this insatiable need to know “what are we doing now/next/today/tonight/tomorrow/5 weeks from now”! or “where are we going now/next/today/tonight/tomorrow/5 weeks from now”! I’m trying to get myself prepared for the inevitable. I’m working on a “calendar” of summer days and activities (currently it resides in my brain which is a scary and dangerous place for planning such as this). About all I’ve come up with is that we will be at the pool 3 days a week, one day will be “field trip” day and the other day will be “stay at home and do nothing and don’t bother Mommy because if you do you’ll be sorry” day. Sounds good, huh?

Oh, and Frozen Fridays. I’m really looking forward to Frozen Fridays which will actually start this Friday! What are Frozen Fridays you ask? Nashville has several delicious and unique ice cream stores, many of which I’ve never even tried but I’ve heard a lot about them. Places like Las Paletas, Bobbie’s Dairy Dip, and Pied Piper Creamery that are locally owned and operated and then places like Dippin’ Dots, Cold Stone Creamery and Maggie Moos that are chain restaurants. Every other Friday we’ll go to one of these shoppes and get ice cream. On the other Fridays, we’ll have homemade ice cream! DB bought an ice cream maker several weeks ago. So far, we’ve only made chocolate (which was delicious!) and we’re looking forward to trying new recipes and concoctions in our ice cream maker.

I guess all in all, there is more to look forward to than to dread so…I’ll brace myself and say, “Bring on Summer!”

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Peaceful

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Edgy

I set out to write something provocative and edgy this morning.

Somewhere along the way it turned to mush.

I’ve never had an edge, so it’s not like I lost it.

Instead, I need to find one.

Wanted: the edge I never had.

Assuming: it comes with the courage to use it.

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How Arthur Changed My Life

Yes, Arthur, originally created by Marc Brown as a book series and now a popular children’s television program on PBS. Here’s how it happened. I’m sitting in the living room with GMan sipping my coffee and trying to wake-up (I’ve a bit of allergy/head cold thing going on). GMan’s watching Arthur and today’s episode is how one of the characters (the kid with the horns, can’t remember his name) discovers Blues music and is introduced to Koko Taylor by someone in their town. And I’m like Koko who? Yeah, that’s right, up until this morning I didn’t really know who Koko Taylor is. ::Hangs head in shame:: Turns out I’m familiar with her music as she’s recorded lots of well known Blues tracks (I’m a Woman, Wang Dang Doodle, Mother Nature, etc, etc).

After the episode was over, I went to the computer, pulled up iTunes and searched for Koko Taylor. I download the Deluxe Edition: Koko Taylor which was released in 2002 (a greatest hits kind of album). Oh, my! This is such amazing music! I’ve always liked the Blues but I’ve never had any albums or followed any particular musician. My life is forever changed y’all! I love this album. I love Koko! Koko, where’ve ya been all my life?

Arthur: educational for children and adults. Who knew?

Well, I’m off to find Taj Mahal music, too. Another artist featured on today’s Arthur.

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Answers for “Not a Meme”

First, I’ll address some of the answers that were said about me. Tanya & Lisa not only got my middle name right but they spelled it correctly, too! (I can’t even spell right sometimes!) Tanya was the only one to get my eye color right. Sheryl & Brenda both hit the nail on the head with the “desert island” question. I think Sheryl was the most correct on the “favorite thing to do” question, though Mack’s answer was a close second! The answers regarding “special talent” were interesting! Everyone correctly answered the “how did we meet”, “sibling” and “how many children” questions. For all intent and purposes, everyone answered the “favorite type of music” question correctly as well.

If you still want to play along, go here (don’t cheat!) My answers are “after the jump”.

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Enough is enough

180px-opus_blue.jpg¬†¬†This is one of those subjects that I don’t¬†know what¬†to write because I have no¬†business talking about it.¬† So, I am just going to start writing out my thoughts because I need them all in one place so that maybe¬†I can draw some conclusion from them.¬†

I have been doing a lot of thinking about the concept of “enough” lately, specifically in regard to the way we live.¬† This is such a broad subject and I can’t pull it apart to get at the pieces to examine.¬† This is probably going to be the worst blog post in the history of blogs, so bear with if you have the stomach for it.¬†

What does it mean to live simply?¬† To live with enough to live adequately.¬† Now I am not talking about basic survivalship, like a mud hut somewhere and living “off the land”.¬† I am trying to think about real life in the context of where¬†and how we live as Americans.¬† Now, I understand that¬†the U.S. is a rare bubble in a world of poverty and pain.¬† As a friend of mine put it recently, “You know we live in Disneyland, don’t you?”¬†¬†He and I were talking about something completely different, but the image is still the same.¬† We act as though¬†the way we live in the U.S. is normal, but it is more like living every day in Disneyland.¬† Reality is across the ocean and south of the border.¬†¬†Reality is that 40% of humanity lives in abject squalor.¬† Reality is that thousands of people die every day from starvation and thirst.¬† Reality is that a car,¬†a steady supply of food, a roof, clean running water, electricity, etc. are all luxuries.¬†¬†I am not an advocate for wringing our hands in guilt for the¬†wealth, luxury,¬†and power that the U.S. has.¬† On the contrary, I look at the United States of America as a rare gift that is worth¬†protecting, preserving, and using for the sake of good in the world.¬†¬†By the way, I am not talking about the government of the U.S., I am talking about the whole thing from the people, wealth, knowledge, culture, attitudes, running water, electricity, etc. that make up what we are as Americans.¬† The loss or potential loss of this precious gift is what I¬†assail and what I lament on occasion in this¬†(and my previous) blog.

How does one have any sense of reality while living in Disneyland?¬† There is an old saying “to whom much is given, much is expected”.¬† It’s based on a bible verse (Luke 12:48), but I think it has come to mean more than it was written to mean.¬† Everyone is born into this world¬†with some degree of talent, wealth, influence, etc. or the capability to obtain such things.¬† To me, it boils down to¬†how one utilizes those¬†attributes and things for the betterment of humanity.¬† To put it more in touch with reality rather than idealism,¬†to live simply I must utilize my wealth, intelligence, wits,¬†possessions, vocation, etc.¬†for the betterment of my family,¬†my community, and for those that do not have access to the attributes and things to which I have access.¬†¬†For me, only by doing that can¬†I have a chance to¬†comprehend¬†and perhaps change the reality that most people experience.¬†

When is¬†enough “enough” for an individual or small community of Americans?¬† Do we unplug from society and commiserate with the impoverished 40%?¬† Do we insulate ourselves from the riff-raff in self-imposed seclusion?¬† Do we simply throw up our hands and give up?¬† I¬†think the answer lies somewhere in the goal of improving the reality of people in the world.¬†¬†I think it is incumbent upon every American to offer a hand up to those¬†that are¬†below some minimum threshold of what we think reality should be for humanity.¬† Is that minimum threshold clean drinking water,¬†electricity, a steady supply of food, some combination of¬†certain things, etc?¬† I don’t have an answer to that¬†question, but it is something we should ponder as a society.¬† Americans already do quite a bit toward this end, but the goal is not reached yet.¬† Would you be willing to sacrifice¬†some of¬†your wealth for the sake of someone (or many people) to have that minimum threshold of what it means to be human?¬† Are we capable, as a society of free people, to share a small portion of the rare gift we have been given as Americans?

Your thoughts are welcome.   

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