Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Politics- Zero Dollars and No Sense

I am not a political activist- in fact, I try to avoid politics as much as possible. But there are some things I just don't get about the political world. Things that are explained to us as if they're supposed to make sense, but they just don't.

For instance, politicians:

When running for office, are capable of collecting millions of dollars for mud-slinging campaigns, but when they get elected, have to cut public funding because there's no money?

Tell us that we need to cut spending on schools and summer programs, then wonder why the crime rates are going up for teenagers?

Say that family values are the most important thing to our country/state/province, but support things like birth control in schools, abortion, and teen parenthood programs, all the while cutting funding to families that are struggling just to put good food on the table?

Say they support our schools ideals of healthy eating, yet limits a schools' food budgets to only get foods that are almost negligent of nutritional value? These same politicians also support exercise, but won't fund for extra helpers in the schoolyards so the kids can run around and play safely?

Send billions of dollars overseas to help the hungry and homeless, but cut or stop funding to help Americans who are hungry and homeless? 

Don't make laws supporting 'give and take' trading- we buy from your country, but you also need to buy from our country? Don't they see our money isn't coming back to us?

Support mega farms and genetically modified seeds, when other countries are banning them because of all kinds of health issues, yet penalize our small farmers growing normal crops via taxes and other budget cuts and costs, so they can barely scratch out a living?

Say yes to better health care, but when elected, change the rules of health care so it's harder for the lower classes to attain good health? Remember having to go to one doctor for almost everything, and very rarely needed to go to a specialist? Remember making one trip to the doc for a series of tests, instead of going to a series of appointments to get one test at a time?

I don't know about you, but I think I'd like to see Joe Schmo (or Joann Schmo) as president. One who has business sense, and no political background. Someone who's a good parent and who has worked their way up from the bottom. Someone financially successful. Personally, I think one of the qualifications should be the ability to manage a household budget and a business- because if you can't do that, you have no business being in politics and managing my tax dollars and health care.

 I don't know of many politicians that fit that bill, if any. If I did, you bet I would be at the polls with bells on, cheering that candidate on as much as humanly possible!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Curse of the Parentally Deaf

 Our family has the same routine every day during the week, yet for some reason I have to keep reminding our kids (and sometimes my husband) of things that should have been ingrained in them since birth. But when a parent speaks to their children about things of importance (but not relevant to their immediate personal gain), they become as deaf as stumps. This is what I call being Parentally Deaf.

Let me give you a few examples.

My kids have been packing their lunches for two years now, yet they can't remember to make them until three seconds before they walk out the door. If I don't remind them, they walk out without lunches- then I get a call from the school  asking ever-so-subtlety if I realized that I'm starving my children by not packing them myself.

I stress the need for teamwork, especially when it comes to chores. It should work, but it's like herding cats to get everyone to do their part. I make breakfast. The dinner dishes should have been put in the dishwasher last night so I have room to hand wash dishes as I cook and get breakfast on the table, but the table is neither cleared nor washed. The sink is filled with dishes that were supposed to go into the dishwasher the night before, so I can't do any hand-washing. And of course it's all my fault because I didn't tell them to do their chores- even though I provided a checklist in full view of their peepers, which are only trained to focus on computer or TV screens. (This is why we don't allow the computer or TV on in the mornings.) So I start barking out orders like a drill sergeant, getting everything ready for a breakfast that is about to burn from neglect.

After school they have a 30 minute break before homework, and Lord forbid if I interrupt their show to go over something unimportant like chores they've forgotten, they're sitting on the cat, or the house in on fire. 
What I do get are the most grievous of utterances, breath expelled at such a rate they could replace the Big Bad Wolf, and eyes that roll so far into their heads that I fear they lost their eyeballs somewhere in the backs of their brains. A swat at the back of the head usually returns them back to their sockets, and the whining and gusty breaths usually stop after I abruptly turn off the TV.

(Protest all you want Sweeties, but when waterbugs the size of Montana start coming to me with written complaints about the unattended messes and are threatening to sue me, someone hasn't been doing their job!)

My kids have found a tactic that they think works better, but they underestimate their parental units. They decide that Mom is too lazy to climb up the stairs fifty times a day to tell them what to do (which is the truth), so they burrow themselves in their bedrooms, hoping that the adage 'out of sight, out of mind' might save them from chores. Many times this does work, (and I get a lot of writing done when it's quiet!), but on occasion they make noise and remind me that they haven't moved out yet. I'm thankful that God has given me the lungs of  a drill sergeant, because I can bellow with the best of them. This is where the deafness factor usually comes into play.

I know they hear me. When I yell, even the cats come running! The neighbors tell me they can hear me though the walls (most of the time it makes them laugh). But my kids? They tell me they don't hear me, but all the movement upstairs come to an immediate halt right after I yell. Don't even try to tell me they didn't hear me- they know. Acknowledgement doesn't usually come until the third bellow, when they usually crack open their door and ask ever-so-innocently if I was calling them.

Unfortunately it's a sporadic deafness- when it comes to whispered adult conversation, candy wrappers, and secrets, their hearing becomes better than a bat, and they stampede down the stairs in a way that would impress elephants, asking questions about what was said, can they have some, and yelling said secrets to the neighbors through the wall. 


I have to admit, being Parentally Deaf has it's advantages though- it makes for great writing material!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Just For Fun- Kitty Capers

My cats were at it again- and this time I captured them on film!

This first set started out as a simple pile of boxes...I was decluttering (again) and tossed them in a pile. Little did I know that someone would take that as an opportunity to play....

Let me introduce my two little characters. This is Boo-Boo:

 And this is Scootch.

And that's my daughter's coat he's laying on....Sigh.
(don't worry- it's fake fur!)

It all started with me hearing a rustling in one of the boxes. A mysterious appendage came creeping over one side of the box....

Then a pair of glowing eyes...

 Someone else heard the ruckus and decided to investigate...

He wasn't the only one- my daughter decided to break out the feather boa fishing rod, and that's all it took to get things in high gear!

Let's just say I now have a broken box, and some scattered debris from the stuff they disheveled from their revelry!

After that, Boo-Boo (now bored) decided to watch some Kitty TV. And what was on was really interesting, if a bit fuzzy....

He wasn't sure what he was seeing, so he asked for a second opinion from Scootch, and both kitties began chattering and swishing their tails so hard they thumped the windowsill like Indian drums...

I don't know if you can see him yet, but there is a critter out there- one who loves to showboat in front of my kitties- even with the windows open!
Shortly after this was taken, the beast took off and the cats tried following him to the back of the house, then the front, all the while running over (and into) anyone that was in their way. Needless to say Mr. Beast will be back again for another exciting episode of Kitty TV - coming soon!

An hour later there was something else to explore. My mom came for a visit, and Scootch found something completely irresistible on my mothers shoes! We know she didn't step in something, so maybe she walked across a catnip patch-
 we'll never know.

Oh WOW...what is that smell??

Maybe from another angle? Oh well, I'll just attack her foot then! ROWR!
(goofy animal!)

The cats followed her all over the house and when she left they were quite perturbed that she didn't leave her shoes behind.

It was a long, hard day (for cats) so they both took a power nap before dinner.

It's stuff like this that makes me want to be a cat- how about you?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Finding Your Passion

It happens to all of us- we think we know what God wants for us, where He wants us to go, and what our goals are, but then we wonder why we're doing something that isn't suited to us, and feel totally lost. We just follow everyone else down the same road we always go- and we can't always find a way out.

As for me, when I get into a rut, my thoughts run much like the internet search engines- I ask myself where I want to go and where God wants me to be, and I get a bazillion different options- much like a rat in a maze the size of a football field. And God doesn't always answer us. He likes us to work things out on our own sometimes- that's how we grow. A pain in the patookus, but there it is.

But how do we get back to where God wants us? We need to start looking at our passions. These are the things that God drives us to do- things we get excited about. It's hard to do a good job with the gifts God gave us if we have no passion- we might as well be zombies!

It took me a while to figure this out (the free ebook Flip The S.W.I.T.C.H. had a lot to do with it), but after a lot of soul searching (and talking to others about what they see) it came down to four things:

Making others laugh
Articulate (making sure I'm understood)
LOVE to talk!

The next thing I did was to write down the possibilities that used all four of these gifts. This is what I came up with:

Skit writer/player
Seminar speaker
Author/writer (for the talking, that would be book signings and radio spots)

Out of all of these, only one requires me to be on my behind. the other four require a major challenge! Why? Because I have serious trouble speaking in front of crowds. After speaking with others who do seminars for a living, I learned that they also fight their fears when speaking in public, so I was not alone. All I had to do was conquer my fear (or at least tame it), which is somewhere between bed-wetting and a near death experience. No biggie.

Yes it was scary, yes there was a fear of failure (not to mention success!), but when it came down to it, I felt I could do any of these things because I was passionate about doing them. And that's all that matters. 

I've done things I liked doing. I've done things because I made money. But I've never done anything business-wise with my passions. Train yourself to use those passions in the business world first, and not let the money be the reason for doing it. If you do, passion will fly merrily out the window. Do it for free at first, get better at it, then the money will come. This is what the other experts have told me when I spoke with them. And since they're the ones with the money and not me (yet!), I'm going to listen!

Try making your own list. Take away all the barriers (oh, I can't do that because of this, my parents/husband/boss wants me to do this instead, etc.) and write down everything you're truly passionate about. What makes you excited when you think about it? What gets your juices flowing? Write it down, and then see what possibilities can be found using as many of them as possible. You might be surprised too!

If you asked me five years ago if I would consider speaking in any form, I would have said 'Not in a million years!' Now? Let's just say I'm looking into options to learn how to speak without fainting or stuttering like a jackhammer. And who knows? Maybe God can use me to teach His lessons through laughter!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Easter Week, or Spring Break?

I still wonder how the school districts can still surprise me, but they do- every single time a holiday comes up.
It used to be Easter Break, but now it's called Spring Break. Spring Break? Isn't that for college kids? Apparently not anymore.

Most of the Christian holidays are renamed now, just to keep someone from being offended. But what about offending the Christians? Apparently no one is  worried about offending us, because we're supposed to be forgiving and wishy-washy- that's just the way we supposedly roll.

Or is it?

Maybe it's just me, but I'm seriously considering becoming a Christian Rebel- breaking out of that jello-mold others seem to put us in, and starting a club to let others know it's not okay to water down our holidays!

I keep hearing from school officials that all aspects of religious beliefs should be respected and presented every time one comes up. Jewish holidays are recognized, Kwanzaa is recognized, as are many others, but when it comes down to Christianity, they celebrate these holidays with Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny- which have absolutely nothing to do with the real reasons we celebrate!

So in a society that is supposed to embrace all cultures, ours is getting squeezed out- by the schools, by the state, and by other religious sects that claim we should all be acknowledged? That doesn't sound like embracing all beliefs to me!

Does the book Animal Farm come to mind?

I'm thinking the pigs (in the book) have gotten too much power. The barn door now has so many addendums that the original ideas for freedom have been lost. In comparison to our constitution, the same changes are happening- and we might end up where the horse did if we don't start standing up for ourselves.

What we need now is to get a big eraser and start re-reading the basics- something here was definitely lost, and we lose more and more each day when we don't speak up. We need to start making some serious noise. Joyful noise. Courageous noise. And a noise that tells them that it's not Winter Break or Spring Break, but it's Christmas and Easter!