Well, my coworkers learned not to get me started on some things yesterday. Someone said there was a raffle prize for anyone that could tell her what easter eggs symbolize. So I told her they're paganism. Then I went straight into my "easter thing."
Yea, I've got a thing when it comes to Easter. A few years ago, some people shared some facts about some of our well loved traditions revolving around the resurrection of our Lord, and it turns out that, well, they have absolutely nothing to do with Jesus at all. In fact, some of it made my hair stand straight up.
For example, do you know where the term "Easter" comes from? It's derived from "Ishtar" who was the ancient goddess of fertility. This has roots in the Tower of Babel. The name morphed to "Eastre" with the Anglo-Saxons and it drifted into Christian use when the early believers were trying to spread the faith in terms that pagans could understand. They wanted to seperate themselves from the Jewish roots of the faith (because let's face it, people have always been fighting against them) and thought the faith would have a better chance of survival if it aligned more with the "Gentile" than the "Jewish" tradition. It seems to me they would have done better to stick with their roots, but alas what happened, happened. So they taught the pagans about how Christ rose from the dead and gave us eternal life by Christianizing their spring fertility festivals and there you have it - slapping a name on the greatest give God gave that is actually reflective of the root of offences that lead to the flood. Brilliant folks, just brilliant. So pardon me if I prefer to refer to it as Resurrection Sunday than, well, the other word.
And what about Easter Bunnies? Personally, I always thought they were creepy and I wasn't far off the mark. The Easter Bunny is the sexual symbol of fertility for Ishtar. If I get any creepy comments or links from porn sites for this then I will get mean and call out your stupidity on social media, so back off before you start! I'm just stating a fact and not inviting you creepy morons in. Anyway, we all know that rabbits are prolific reproducers and it appears this has been known since the beginning of time.
As for the Easter eggs, the ancient Babalonians believed a great egg fell from heaven into the Euphrates River and Ishtar hatched from it. What? A goddess needs to hatch? Ponder that as you take your kids on the egg hunts this Saturday. Throughout time, eggs have continued to symbolize goddesses of fertility.
Now folks, I'm realistic enough to know that some things simply aren't worth getting worked up over. If you're heart's right and you truly mean well, then God knows it and won't fault you, especially for things you don't know. But knowing all of this, I'm more than a little disturbed by how an event that's the cornerstone of Christian faith is innundated with pagan rituals, some of which are clearly spoken against in The Bible. Even the name we call it has absolutely nothing to do with Christ.
I'm not afraid to come across as a Bible beating igit on this one. We do a lot of things wrong on this holiday, and we need to clean it up. I understand that people could claim ignorance for a long time, but that's not true with the abundance of resources out there to tell you the truth. The Internet is all over the world. One site where I got my information is http://www.hebrewroot.com/pagan_origins_of_easter.htm
. Another great site is http://www.religioustolerance.org/easter1.htm
It's up to you whether you believe me. I know many people don't and can't understand why I'm "being this way." Well folks, I'm "being this way" because I love Jesus and appreciate all He did and all He is. I'm not perfect, but I want to do my best by Him. And I certainly don't want to offend Him by watering down his magnificant sacrifice with rituals of dead (or radically minority) traditions.
So there you have it. I know a lot of people out there are on the gay marriage thing. Well, this is my thing. Celebrations of The Resurrection are pagan and offensive to it's true meaning.
And now I shall step off my soapbox.
I wish you a meaningful comtemplation of your faith during these Holy Days and a joyous celebration of The Resurrection of Christ this Sunday.
As the bewitching season draws upon us with the arrival of Halloween next week, I have to ask: have you ever noticed there are some things that freak people out for no good reason? It always catches you by surprise because it’s stuff you think nothing of, yet people act like you’ve unleashed a doomsday weapon on them. For example, I’ve had people freak out on me over:
1.Coughing or sneezing
. In the south it’s common for people to have sinus and allergy problems (especially in the spring or fall), but do it more than once and people are asking “OH MY GOD ARE YOU SICK?” and threatening quarantines, Lysol attacks, or snapping “can’t you DO something about that?” or “don’t you want to go home?” Ok, and who’s going to do the work while I take a sabbatical in the spring and fall while my bad sinuses are acting up? Yea, that’s what I thought.
Bottom line: Anybody that’s battled sinus and allergy problems their entire life know the difference between overactive antibodies, viruses and infections. Do your part by washing your hands and taking care of yourself and we’ll do our part to be responsible enough to take care not to spread germs around.
. The allergy is merely inconvenient because you have to watch what you eat, but what really makes it difficult is the hysterical reaction you get from others when you disclose it. I’m allergic to pecans, and every year about this time I have to deal with it. One time, a woman actually stopped an entire holiday party with a screaming fit demanding that every item on the buffet had to be checked because “OMG SHE COULD DIE!” after my husband asked if any of the desserts had pecans in them. That was so embarrassing that I decided it might be more helpful for me to carry a tranquilizer dart than an EpiPen to social functions in the future.
Bottom line: My food allergy is my responsibility to deal with and I deal with it. I’m not trying to get attention or asking people to feel sorry for me when I disclose it – I’m trying to take responsibility for my allergy and prevent problems. I'm the only one that needs to adjust to this problem - not you.
3.Having a CWP (Concealed Weapons Permit)
. It’s funny, because people having firearms in the south is pretty common. In fact, it’s safer to assume people are armed around these parts. But let me tell you, people that have problems with guns are not shy about letting you know all about it, and why they have the problem. We learned this one day last summer when Rick was asked for ID to joined a preferred member club at a store (that shall remain nameless) and accidentally pulled out his CWP instead of his drivers license. Oh, the drama. The woman started out by screaming “I DON’T WANT THAT! GET IT AWAY FROM ME!” and proceeded into a fit of how she couldn’t believe anybody could be ok with having a gun near them, that she didn’t like that there
was probably one in the store right now and (*gasp*) pointing at me and screeching “MY GOD SHE PROBABLY HAS A GUN IN HER PURSE!!” Hyperventilation started at that point and a co-worker literally had to hold her and “talk her off a ledge” while I pondered whether I should talk to Hawkeye or Oliver Queen/Green Arrow about how to get and deliver a tranqualizer dart in these recurring freakouts I keep witnessing. Thank goodness the store wasn’t crowded. I wish I were telling a story, but folks, I can’t make this crap up. This really happened.
Bottom Line: People with a CWP have gone through extensive training to exercise their constitutional right to bear arms and are capable of handling firearms properly and responsibly. And furthermore, you should be glad to have them around. Because they aren’t the ones you need to worry about – it’s the bad guys that got them
on the black market and are using them to commit crimes that you need to worry about. Because CWP holders are doing it legally and are registered. The bad guys - well, who knows?
And by the way, I’m not commenting on whether or not I have a gun in my purse.
4.Being married and not having children.
And the longer you’ve been married, the further the jaws drop. People just can’t believe a couple can be married for more than 2 years (or be in their 30’s) and not reproduce. “Are you
kidding? No kids? I mean, where are you at in life?” I’ll tell you where we’re at. It’s at the corner of “all our business” and “none of yours.”
Bottom line: Nobody asked you to justify why you have kids and we aren’t required to justify why we don’t.
Of course, there are a lot of other misconceptions that go with being a childless couple. Let me tell you, people think some crazy things about you when you don’t have kids – but this is best dealt with in a separate blog entry.
I've only recently begun to fly and one thing I have noticed is that people don't seem to understand that air moves at high altitudes just as much - perhaps even more - than it does at ground level. And sometimes, it doesn't do nice things either. The good news is that pilots are well trained and know how to handle it. The bad news is that when the Captain says "we're experiencing a little rough air," it seems the passengers around me hear "IT'S COME TO JESUS TIME! REPENT, BE SAVED, AND BUCKLE YOUR SEATBELTS FOR ALL THE GOOD IT WILL DO BECAUSE YOU WILL SURLY DIE." Well, they acted like that's what they heard, anyway. On the way back from San Francisco people were looking around for their life preservers and Dad and I were laughing saying "good grief, it's just AIR!"
Bottom line: Ok, I understand how it can be tough to remain logical when you're bouncing around in a pressurized tube at 30,000 feet like you're in a clothes dryer but please - you expect people to trust that you know how to do your job right? Well, trust the Captain and Co-Captain to do theirs. And besides, I've been in turbulence twice and I'm not dead. Not that I know of, anyway. So as long as you're not trying to fly through the Frankenstorm
, don't worry about it.
I have to say, I don't get it. Why do these things freak people out? I don't know. Maybe I missed a memo somewhere, as the saying goes. Or maybe I'm just one of those freaks that doesn't know well enough when I should be spazzing out.
That's all today. I hope you've enjoyed this fun look at the zany things that make me go hmm. Happy Friday tomorrow and I hope you have a great weekend.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s almost here: Christmas, the most magical time of the year. Weeks of planning, coordination, and frantic planning are about to come to their purpose as that blessed date finally arrives.
As we come upon Christmas, I’d like to urge all of you to remember the reason for the season. It’s so easy to get caught up in full schedules, gift buying, parties, family, friends, food and fun that we forget WHY we’re celebrating. It isn’t about gifts, decorations, meals, or Santa. It’s about the most wonderful gift that humanity has been given: Christ, our King who brings our salvation.
We talk about family, friends and church. These are wonderful gifts, but remember that the core of why we celebrate is the personal victory that Christ gave us when he died on the cross and defeated Satan for once and for all. It’s our responsibility to claim that victory and the free Grace of God that is offered with it. Nobody can do it for us. This is a free gift offered to each and every one of us and we alone must claim it. This is a time to give thanks for it. Remember that we join together to give thanks to Christ for coming into this world. We give gifts to one another as symbols of the wonderful gift of Salvation that Christ has given to us. We celebrate because we know that we’re free from the devastating consequences of sin on our soul and know we have eternal life.
I know the days ahead are full, but please take some quiet time to reflect on the reason for all of the activity in the coming days. Otherwise, it becomes another item on the “to do” list. Christ deserves better than that.
It isn’t about putting on the “perfect holiday.” It’s about celebrating the “perfect gift” that we have, now and always, throughout all of eternity. Thanks be to God.
I think we all understand that life is a journey. We are continually striving to become better than we are, and as such there will always be bigger goals to reach for and bigger dreams to attain. Every milestone we reach, every dream we achieve, every new discovery we make, will change us. Although the core of who we are remains constant, we should continue to grow and learn with each experience. Our roles and functions many change, but who we are deep in our soul won’t. This is why it’s so important to strive for authenticity and to find your true purpose. The only way to make the journey successfully is to know who you are deep inside, and to know where you’re going.
We’ve often heard it said that Christ should be the foundation of your life, and this is true. Remember, though, what a foundation is for – we’re supposed to build on it! Each of us were created to live in this world for a reason, and our job is to build ourselves up to be the best we can be based on this solid foundation. We’re supposed to construct rising layers and to build up ourselves and our presence in the world. If Christ is the foundation, then I believe it stands to reason that being authentic and honestly knowing ourselves is the ground floor. Everything else builds up from here and depends on the support of the layers beneath it. Christ gives us our spiritual roots, and knowing ourselves helps us to serve the world in the best way possible.
I truly believe that we can’t relate to other people and perform to the best of our ability if we don’t know ourselves. How can we? How can you get along with others if you don’t know yourself? How can you do your best when you don’t know where your talents and abilities lie? How can you form solid relationships with other people if you can’t be honest with yourself? How can you succeed when you can’t accept reality? You may be rooted in Christ, but you can still get stuck in horrible ruts if you don’t take the next step to knowing yourself and to find contentment in what God made you to be.
So what is contentment? It’s accepting the reality of where you are and working to strive for better. Life certainly isn’t perfect, and sometimes it can take you to dark places. This is the ugly underside of reality in an imperfect world. Life is going to hurt from time to time, and we may be completely dissatisfied with where we are. I certainly understand. I mentioned that I went through major changes in my personal and work life in 2010 and believe me, that was a special kind of hell. For many months I literally had no peace no matter where I went because battles raged all around me. Change is tough. It was hard enough to face two major transitions, but add to that the fact that change makes people very nervous and irritable and you understand what I mean by facing battles on every front.
How did I make it through? First, I believed in the promises that the Lord knows His plans for me and they are for good (Jeremiah 29:11) and that all things work together for good for those who love Christ and are called to His purpose (Romans 8:28). These promises, from the foundation of my faith, gave me the courage to stand up and take charge of my life. I claimed my life as my own and acknowledged that, although I couldn’t help the changes or control them, I certainly had a right to work them for the best. I sought advice from others I trusted, took advantage of every opportunity, and kept my eyes on the goal of coming through these transitions to building a life that was better than the one I had before. I wasn’t happy with my life, but I found contentment in knowing that the Lord was leading me through a transition that was taking me to a better life. I can honestly say that my life is better today than it was two years ago, and I’m grateful for that. It wasn’t easy – it fact, it was brutally painful in spirit– but I feel I’ve come out wiser and with knowledge and experience that will guide me through whatever comes next.
I believe this story shows that contentment doesn’t mean that things are perfect. As I said, we live in an imperfect world, and if you reserve your happiness for that magic day when it all comes together then you won’t be happy a day in your life. Contentment means accepting reality. It means resting in the Lord. It means being true to yourself. It means doing the very best you can in everything you do. And I do believe that is the secret to joy. It’s not an elated happiness or a dopamine high, but rather a sense of peace in doing the best you can with what the Lord has given you.
I think we owe it to everybody: God, ourselves and the world, to be authentic. After all, we are all part of the Body of Christ. We do His work in the world now. Isn’t that a job worth offering your absolute best for?
I recently heard a sermon on BBN about how the Book of Nehemiah shows 4 ways the devil trys to stop people from doing God's will. They are derision, discouragement, destruction and division. I think this is pretty accurate. After all, God doesn't attack us. He usually changes our circumstances and/or prompts a change of mind and heart within us if the intervention is Holy and an effort to put us on a right path. I believe my story from yesterday's entry showed this at work. There were no attacks in that situation; simply changing circumstances which eventually lead me to a change of heart. Certainly I could have continued to pursue an advanced degree in a different program, but the experience shifted my desires to other areas. In fact, I felt strongly prompted to pursue writing after this incident and I had an experience last year that showed all 4 of these steps at work to divert me from what I felt prompted to do.
In April 2010 I had an idea for an apocolyptic sci-fi thriller novel. I had just completed the manuscript for Anywhere But Here, and frankly I was surprised to have an idea for another novel so soon after completing one. I'm usually exhausted and novel ideas come, at best, every 2-3 years. I was excited to already have another potential project, so I immediately dug in and began writing the first chapter of this new piece. Frankly, it was the only excitement I had in the area of writing. I hadn't had anything published in over three years, and a contract that I was offered a year earlier fell through when the publisher filed for bankruptcy (see discouragement and destruction at work). This lack of success had caused enthusiasm to wane over my writing, and people that had been so excited when I published Battleground Earth in 2004 had now dismissed my writing as nothing more than a "nice little hobby" (see derision at work). Through this dry period I did pray about whether it was a sign to stop writing and move on, but the ideas kept coming and I continued to feel compelled and prompted to continue writing, even if the stories never made it any further than my hard drive.
My progress didn't make it past the first chapter, though, because I got tendinitis in my right wrist. It took about 8 weeks to heal. During that time I had to keep my typing to a minimum. I prayed and felt that I should use the time to research and further develop this novel. In fact, I decided to use the entire summer for this task and to enter this novel idea in the 2010 National Novel Writing Month challenge for 2010. That gave me 5 months to research, brainstorm, outline, and prepare to write the rough draft of the novel, and it would finally give me a chance to enter this writing challenge that I'd had my eye on and thought about entering for many years.
I tentatively call the tendinitis a destruction attack on me. I say "tentatively" because I am aware that the tendinitis was caused by typing at work all day and then coming home and typing at night to write Anywhere But Here, so the injury was a result of actions that I knowingly and willingly took.It was just the timing of the injury and the fact that my left wrist wasn't hurt at all that made me suspicious.
I proceeded with my plan and come November 1, 2010 I was ready to start on the novel. I was fully healed and had plenty of notes ready to go. I made great progress for the first few days. I was going through a major life transition at the time from major changes in my personal and professional life, but I felt that I was on a right path. In fact, writing Splinter for NaNo felt like a claim of independence; like a way of saying this is my life and I'm taking it and putting it together my way. It was a personal victory for me.
Unfortunately, the devil had his last punch to pack, and he gave me a wallop right when I didn't need it. It was at that time that other people in my life decided that they had a whole lot of problems with all of these changes, and it was time to do something about it. Tempers exploded and I saw sides of people that I had known for years that had never come out. They weren't angry at me, but since the change was centered around me then I was viewed as the linchpin of it all, and they saw me as the one to "make things right." They were mad at circumstances, mad at situations, and yes, mad at one another. I tried to soothe them, but tempers raged on. I even pointed out, as gently as I could, that they were reacting violently to things that usually didn't bother them, or were minor irritations. Occasionally they would stop, look stunned, say "you're right, that's wierd," then proceed to keep screaming about everything wrong with the world. Most of the time, they said I was crazy and needed to do something about things NOW. (See division at work.)
Once again, I prayed about the situation and this time, I had what can only be called a divine inspiration: Don't worry about anything else; just finish that rough draft as quickly as possible. Ignore everything else until it's done and deal with people once you get this story, which has been percolating in your head for months, out of the brain and onto the hard drive. Until then, reality can wait.
That's exactly what I did. I quit socializing, cleared my calendar, only did the bare essentials, and pounded away at that manuscript in every free minute I could squeeze out of my days. I amazed myself by finishing a 51,000 word first draft of Splinter by November 15.
A funny thing happened when I cautiously re-emerged back to reality. World War 3 hadn't broken out, and nobody had killed anybody else. In fact, all those tempers quieted. Most of them slunk away in silence, but a few did express shock and dismay at their behavior. They couldn't believe they had reacted so violently to things that were nothing more than minor irriations and didn't understand. I knew exactly what it was. Satan lit them with some hell fire to stop me, but when I wasn't there to burn then it was useless so he took it from them. I could have easily stayed angry at them and cast blame and judgement, but I realized it as an attack of division and didn't want to allow it to succeed on any level. It was hard, but I made an active decision to forgive and let it go.
I'd like to say that the devil just went away after that, but the truth is that I faced similar attacks every single time I worked on Splinter. Every rewrite, every edit, every proofread it happened. People saying they couldn't believe I was still at it when I clearly wasn't going to get published again. Illness, computer problems and yes, those tempers did flare back up every single time. But you know what? I prayed for protection, I persevered, and with the Lord's grace and help, I finished the manuscript last month. It's in the submittal process now and I pray that protection and help continue to bring it to publication.
Another thing did happen in the wake of all of this. I was offered e-book contracts for Blurry and Anywhere But Here, finally ending a 4 year publication dry spell. I also got several flash fiction pieces and a couple of short stories posted online, and that success gave me the confidence to self publish two more pieces: Quarantine, a suspense novellette, and Resonance, a horror long story. Thanks be to God that the opportunities offered by e-publishing took me from “a nice little hobby” to being an Independent Author!
The point of this story is to show that you will come up against opposition when you try to do God's will by finding your authentic self, but the rewards of perseverence are great. Prayer is absolutely essential - in fact, it's key. I think you see in my tale that prayer is how I channeled the Lord's power into my life. Through it, He provided me with wisdom, healing and protection. I can tell you for a fact that if He will do it for me, He will do it for everybody. God is no respector of persons. If you love and trust Him, He will provide, protect and comfort you.
I know it's discouraging to find you'll have to fight the devil to be who you were made to be, but the fact is that you're going to fight him no matter what you do. Satan will taunt you whether you do what he wants or not, so you might as well claim Christ's victory and piss off the devil every chance you get. Because face it: With Satan you can't win, but with Christ you can't lose. That is the most universal truth there is.
Thanks for sticking with me through 2 life tales. I hope that my experiences have given you insight for your own life and perhaps inspiration for dealing with situations that you face. Take care and keep fighting the good fight.
Next time: Personality Quirks - What's Sin, What's There For a Reason.
I’ve heard many interpretations of Jesus’ parable of the wheat and the weeds. This is the one about the farmer
that planted wheat, an enemy planted weeds amongst the wheat, and the farmer told the slaves to let them grow together and at harvest they’d gather both, separate the wheat from the weeds, and burn the weeds. Most center on evil being uprooted and dealt with in the end days, but about a year ago, our pastor gave this parable a new ring. He said another way to look at it would be to consider the annoyances and irritations that the devil puts in your life to divert you from your purpose in God. If you live by faith and try to walk in the will of the Lord, the devil is going to attack you. The attacks are the weeds that trip you up, annoy you, and cause you to stumble.
I think this is interesting. What’s more interesting is that it seems these weeds are variations on the same things, over and over again. For example, we all have annoying people in our lives, but have you noticed that the annoying people around you seem to share the exact same problem? I’m a magnet for jealous, petty people, and always have been. I remember Mom having to sit me down and explain what jealousy was when I
was 7 years old – that’s right, when I was a mere kid in grammar school – because a girl got mad at me because she thought my dress was prettier than hers. And so it has gone, right up until now, and probably will until the day I die. It seems there’s always at least one person trying to get up in my business, then getting mad because they feel I’m “not staying in my place.” One goes away, and two more just like them will come along. I even had an episode where the next petty person was firmly entrenching themselves BEFORE the last
one was gone for good.
It’s not just me. Rick (my husband) is a magnet for selfish, mean people. I have truly seen Satan in some of the people he’s had to deal with. There have even been cases where third parties told me “that person is mentally ill or demonically possessed. I’ve never seen such meanness in a single human being.” Oh, but Rick has, over and over.
I’ve seen it in others too. Mom is a magnet for insecure, needy people. I had a friend that could draw the most
arrogant people you’ve ever seen – oh, how much they thought of themselves! I had another friend that was a glue trap for users and abusers. She got stabbed in the back so many times that I thought she must have a massive knife collection, and that was just in the few years we worked together. Another friend is a jerk magnet. Igits just flock to her.
Now what’s the common denominator here? Simple – it’s that the weeds in each of these lives are the exact opposite of what they are. I’m a live and let live type. I don’t nose in peoples’ business or get jealous because I’m usually too busy with my own life.
Rick is the kindest, most helpful person around.
Mom is extremely independent.
The arrogance magnet is a humble person with a strong faith that all works out in the end.
The one stabbed in the back is one of the most giving people I’ve ever known.
The jerk magnet is a sincere, level headed woman.
You know, it reminds me of what Lex Luthor said to Clark Kent in the series finale of Smallville: “A man is defined by his enemies.” That might sound dramatic, but it’s also true. Look at the thorns you attract and I’ll bet you’ll see in inverse image of yourself.
Yes, those weeds are there and always will be. This is one of the many challenges we face in life on this rock called Earth. Some have said it’s the sandpaper that rubs off our rough edges. If so, then we are also the sandpaper that rubs off their rough edges. So scratch, scratch folks.
Just remember that you aren’t alone. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by nonsense designed to divert. We
all have those weeds. The secret is to learn what you can and stay on course. If you keep moving, they can’t stifle you. And after all, it’s hard to wrap weed roots around a moving target!