Monday, December 21, 2009

Wise Ben Stein Words

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are, Christmas trees.

It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, 'Merry Christmas' to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu . If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her 'How could God let something like this happen?' (regarding Hurricane Katrina).. Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, 'I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?'

In light of recent events...terrorist atack, school shotings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said okay.

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves..

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing yet?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

Pass it on if you think it has merit.

If not, then just discard it... no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.

My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully,

Ben Stein

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Verizon I can hear you now

Originally I chose Verizon's blog name because we talk by phone EVERY day several times and day and a lot of the conversation consists of "I can't hear you" or "Can you hear me now." Verizon seemed the perfect option.

Last night she and I had a conversation that I'm still thinking about some 12 hours later. Verizon has this uncanny knack to be able to just KNOW what I need to hear, when I need to hear it and can read my like a book. She says she knows me so well it's almost wrong...she might be right. At any rate, Verizon and I had a completely candid conversation last night and she pointed out a few things that were honestly difficult to swallow but I heard her. Not only did I hear her, I was listening.

It's extremely difficult to let your guard down when, for the last two years or so, you've been required to keep it up as a matter of safety. It's tough to let someone know all there is to know about you and keep it totally real when, to some degree, your daily life is a bit of a farce. A necessary farce, but farce nonetheless.

Verizon pointed out that it is high time I take the rest of my power back. That I worry less on what Ex Knight may or may not do and worry more about living my life to the fullest measure. She cautioned that perhaps being so guarded can likely cost me the thing I want the most. The love of a man who is capable of being the getaway I need. It was a humbling and thought provoking experience to say the least. I am thankful for the relationship Verizon I have so she can put "it" to me whenever it needs to be put and do so in a way that I feel contemplative and inspired.

Keeping my guard up really amounts to fear. What if I let it down, and I get hurt? But, as she pointed out so well, what if I don't and get hurt anyway? Touche my dear Verizon, touche. I went to the scriptures this morning to find a few fear related scriptures and came across something pretty profound, of course I think the answers you find in scriptures are always profound.

Psalms 56:3 says "what time I am afraid, I will trust in thee." Later in verse 11 of this same chapter it says "in God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid of what man can do unto me." I have put my trust in God, but have still been afraid of what Ex Knight can do to me if he finds is the day I move past that fear. And then later, in Psalms 112: 7 it says "he shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord."

It has occurred to me I cannot completely trust my God when I continue to live in fear and be afraid of what "evil tidings" Ex Knight may or may not choose to invoke upon me and mine. The only man in my entire life that has NEVER let me down, hurt me, or left me alone has been my Father in Heaven...from this day forward, I will do my best to demonstrate my trust in Him by going forth, not in fear, but in perfect faith knowing that He knows me and is mindful of my needs and trust Him to meet them even if I have to let my guard down for Him to do it.

Verizon, I can hear you and I am grateful you are speaking. Thank you for all that you are and all that you do in my life.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

When I say getaway

In my previous post, you read all about Spidey and I mentioned in a sidebar how maybe I'd write about what I mean when I say "he" (Spidey or anyone else) has to be my getaway. I woke up with the words about this subject on my heart and in my mind and wanted to take a few minutes to elaborate on this.

Monica's song says shes' "looking for a place to getaway, getaway from all the heartache and pain that life can bring." This is the line that made me realize this is what I want and need in a man. Life is often difficult when it's going smoothly, much more so when it's not. Everyone needs a getaway. In this same song, Monica also talks about sometimes she wishes she was invisible.

I feel like that a lot lately. I'd love to be invisible for just enough time to take care of me. I'm really looking forward to getting away in January to meet Spidey but have been thinking a lot about how important it is to have a getaway place on a daily basis.

Verizon has been my getaway for as long as I can remember. The one person who just loves me no matter what I've said, done, not said, or not done. She's the one person I can show everything I am (good and bad) and who never passes judgment or condemns. We don't always see things the same way, we don't have the same opinions on things, we don't enjoy all the same things, and our lives have taken us very different places but, when my world has fallen out from under me or I'm crumbling from the weight of expectation, I know that I can find refuge in the getaway that is Verizon.

@ Verizon: I love you. You aren't a piece of my ARE my world. Thank you for always believing in me, even when I've been unable to believe in myself. Thank you for taking the time and effort to know me the way you do. Of all the gifts my Heavenly Father has blessed me with, you are one of the ones I cherish most.

Verizon is a newlywed and her and Abernathy have been friends almost as long as we have. We have had a few conversations about him recently and it occurred to me that Abernathy is her getaway. Because he is so secure in who he is, it allows her to be secure in who she is with him. And, no matter what happens in Verizon's world, she can turn to Abernathy and just be. He's seen her at her worst and his love inspires her to be her best. When everything is wrong in her world, or when everything is right, Verizon has found that "soft place to land" Dr. Phil talks about in Abernathy. With him, she isn't someone's employee, someone's mom, someone's friend, someone's daughter, someone's sister, someone's homie, someone's BFF, someone's anything...she is just HER...good or bad she just is.

The man I want in my life has to be my getaway at the end of every day. The one who's arms I can fall into and just BE with no expectation, no judgment, no pressure, no demands. To some degree, he'll have to be a male version of Verizon and allow me to continue showing myself to him, when I want to be invisible to everyone else. For this man, I will unlock the doors to my heart and freely give all of it and all of me.

Friday, December 18, 2009

What if Spidey makes my senses tingle?

Have you ever asked for something without fully intending to have it handed to you? Have you ever sought something you weren't sure you were ready for once you got it? Or maybe the thing you've always wanted continues to evade you and is constantly just out of reach? Even still, perhaps you've prayed and prayed for something but God has needed you to learn a lesson or two or twenty-five before indulging your desire; maybe His answer to your desire is even no. I'm the only this has happened to ever right?!? No, ok good I might have been worried for a minute.

Recently an Internet "flirt" turned into an email and that email turned into conversations and those conversations have turned into a lot of potential. That potential, if lived up to, has the ability to be life changing. Just knowing that is enough to scare me and yet the more I get to know the man I call Spidey, the more I want to know all there is to know about him.

Early in my life I heard a quote that goes something along the lines of "I refuse to have a battle of wit with an unarmed person," and I have found myself having to reflect on this comment often since. At the risk of sounding arrogant, this fact remains: VERY few people can match my wit...let alone beat it. I've met very few women who can do it, and no man has ever been able to come close...that is until now.

After a few email exchanges and lots of coaching from B Cubed, I finally give Spidey a call (you'll get why I call him Spidey later in this blog). Unfortunately, the intense pain I've been in from my car wreck have made him and I having "real" bilateral conversations a little bit of a challenge, but about a week ago we had the first of what I hope proves to be numerous engaging phone calls. It was during this call that his Masked Marauder identity revealed itself. Let me explain:

Having wanted to be a journalist, I was in mid interview with him. I asked the question "what is your biggest fear," and he gave me a very impressive and deep answer. I felt so shallow because mine isn't anything as is quite simply arachnids. Yes folks, this chick is insanely terrified of spiders, even those lil mini red ones that are so teeny you almost need a microscope to see them move and daddy long legs too and everything in between.

Spidey took my fear and wit and combined the two to create something NO ONE has ever been able to accomplish and in the end, served my behind to me on a diamond encrusted platter. When hearing my ridiculous fear (yes I know it IS ridiculous but it's mine and I own it) he went on to tell the most elaborate story I've probably ever heard as it relates to spiders.

Below is a brief (it lasted probably the better part of 15 - 20 minutes) summary of some of that story:

Spidey: I'm gonna help you conquer your fear when you get out here. I'll get you totally nice and relaxed and then, when you aren't looking, I'll just put one of my tarantulas on you.

Me: (thinking OMW is this guy SERIOUS) Ummmm...good luck with that because when I notice it on me, I'm likely going to scream.

Spidey: No no, you don't want to do that because then he'll get scared and bite you. He's not poisonous but it still hurts.

At some other point in the story Spidey says something about how his female tarantula laid eggs in his neighbors head and no one realized till they hatched and on and on and on. Suffice it to say, If I had hair on my arms it would be standing straight up, my chest was heaving, my palms sweating, my stomach in knots, goosebumps, etc. In short I was having a lil bit of an anxiety attack and then this happened:

Spidey: Actually I've got one sitting right here on my chest I'm petting him and playing with him right now. He's pretty cool you'll like him (I'm thinking uh yeah don't bet your life on that). OW...OW OW he just bit me!

Me: (imagines the color draining out of my face like water out of a bathtub)

Spidey: I'm just kidding but I totally had you going didn't I?

And that ladies and gents...he COMPLETELY did. He had me going...I fell for it all hook line and sinker. A couple of times during his spidey tail I thought he was fibbin' and pulling my leg. I asked a question I thought would trip him up if he was teasing; he never missed a beat.

WELL DONE SPIDEY!!!! Your quick wit and ability to make me laugh are big selling points. Even if it took a creepy story for you to fully demonstrate your capabilities. You are off to a great start.

But wait there's isn't just his wit.

I've told Spidey several times that the potential for me to fall for him is there, but I'm not "there" yet. He's cute, he's witty, he's had enough similar experiences to be able to completely relate to most of mine, he can be pretty charming, he's a lot of things actually. I must admit I am totally captivated by his presence in my life and want to know all there is to know about him. I can't think of too many things he could tell me that would send me heading for the hills either.

I've often told my loved ones I am looking for a man who is willing to charge in on his galloping steed to "rescue" me but who also understands that I don't need him to save me because I can save myself. Yesterday I think it was, maybe the night before, Verizon made a judgment call that allowed me to come to the realization that Spidey could certainly be such a man as this and now that I have, I'm not sure where to go from here.

He makes me laugh, he's witty, he's cute, he's smart, he's engaging...AND he knows the precise moment in which to ride in and save the day...maybe this is too good to be true.

How did he ride in you ask? He called me when I was in the middle of a moment and successfully steered me right out of it, allowing me to feel better and filling me with hope. The words he chose to use and the counsel he provided still ring in my ears right now as I type this blog.

Sidebar: After listening to Monica's "Getaway" repeatedly, I've finally learned EXACTLY what I want and need in a short, "he" has to be the getaway. Maybe I'll write another entry on what I mean by that later. We'll see I guess.

And now, back to the story.

I was a little miffed with Verizon for letting him know I was having a moment. It's not easy being vulnerable and I was very vulnerable during this moment of mine, but he guided me through it so beautifully it could have almost been art. It's been a long time since a man (barring those related to me) has ever been so concerned about me. This concern both amazes and alarms me all at the same time and part of me wants to throw up barriers and run.

To speak (well type actually) totally honest it's like this. Spidey has an enormous amount of potential to be "the man" versus just a man. And, while I'm not sure he'll live up to that potential (because not everyone does), I find myself more afraid of what if he does? I've prayed for such a man as this for a long time, and now that he might be on the horizon, I'm just not sure. I think I'm honestly afraid...ok no I KNOW that I am honestly afraid of what happens to me if he does live up to his potential. My fear and insecurities are screaming at me to run far and fast and yet I just don't seem to be able to walk away.

I've loved and lost a few different times now. I spent 10 years married to a man who didn't deserve to have me for even one, I've given my heart to people who've done nothing but rip it out of me and feed it to me for breakfast and I've learned to guard and protect it something fierce. I'm afraid those walls could inhibit forward progress in my current situation. I mean if I don't give Spidey my heart he will never be able to break it right? Though I used to wear my heart on my sleeve, those days are long past. I refuse to give my heart (let alone soul) to anyone who doesn't see the value of having it. I'm so afraid of being hurt again, I think I'd almost rather keep my heart secure in it's own fortress than share it with anyone and yet Spidey has me interested enough to consider sharing it with him.

I don't want my baggage (let's face it, whether we'll admit it or not, we ALL have baggage), fear and past heartache to rob me of future promise, but sometimes I honestly feel so powerless to stop it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained I know. At the same time though...the best way to keep my heart in tact is to refrain from giving it to anyone ever again. Keeping my heart so guarded though has left me feeling alone more than I'd like and I don't think I want to feel that way any longer.

I suspect that Spidey has his own fears and insecurities. He wouldn't be human if he didn't. Prayerfully, neither one of us will allow those fears and insecurities to get in the way of the potential though. And, while not everyone lives up to their potential, I sit here hoping Spidey will. Only time will tell I guess and I have plenty of that.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Can I getaway?

As you know, I'm totally and completely audio powered. Music speaks to me when often nothing and no one else can. Lately I've been going through some stuff...not bad or good, just stuff. Life often comes at me hard and fast and sometimes it gets REALLY difficult to endure. I am privileged to have a vast support system all over the world; one of the biggest supports is my sistuh from anutha mutha that I call Verizon.

Yesterday Verizon and I were talking via Yahoo Instant Messenger and she shared with me some lyrics to this song that brought tears to her eyes and made her think of me. I read the lyrics and was amazed at how well I could relate to them, but didn't have time to watch the video she sent me a link to until later last night.

The first time I watched the video, tears poured down my face for no reason and every reason all at the same time. I have been listening to this song ever is having an interesting effect on my heart and emotions right now. If ever a song could adequately depict that "private" place I'm in most of the time...this song is it. Now that private place is public I guess.

Monica, the artist, says "so much on my shoulders and so much on my mind seems no one can help me. I think I just need some time. Sometimes I wish I could hideaway, looking for a place to getaway getaway from all the heartache and pain that life can bring. I really don't want to sound like I can't hold my ground but everybody needs some time that they can getaway. Sometimes I wish I was invisible cuz then no one would know where I am to ask me for anything. Cuz I've given so much of me when is it time for me to receive cuz Monica has her needs, who's gonna look out for me?"

This is SOOOOOOOOO powerful for me. I often feel like I have so many people who expect so much from me there is no way I can ever possibly hope to deliver. I am, of course, just one person. The feeling of not being able to deliver often brings about some personal insecurities, fears and worries. Sadly, I don't have the opportunity to just "getaway" very fact, it's something I almost never do. I guess I just feel too needed by too many people all the time and often I fail to take care of myself emotionally or physically in the process. Yes, sometimes I honestly do wish I was invisible.

Monica goes on to say, "you know I'm not Superwoman and I'm not made of steel. I try my best to handle all I have to do and it's not as easy as it seems and to think this was my dream. Now for everything I have I'm grateful, but sometimes I wanna getaway." One of my all time favorite songs is actually called "Superwoman" but it's sung by Karyn White and refers to a relationship between a woman and her man. Must be something about me and "superwoman".

I often feel like I'm expected to be Superwoman all the time. It was expected of me during my childhood, during college, during my marriage, and even more so now I think. I often feel like I'm so busy being all things to all people and at the end of the day there's no one standing here being anything, let alone "everything" to me. It's a difficult place to find yourself in over and over and over again.

Yes, I can hold my ground. I get a lot of feedback on how beautifully I'm doing it, but as I listen to this song over and over it has occurred to me that maybe just maybe I don't always want to have to hold this ground. Instead, maybe I just want someone to hold it all for me. And yes, I know that this is exactly what the Savior does for us but that knowledge often does little to help ease the burden of the "alone" I feel and carry on a regular basis.

Notice I said...alone and not lonely. I am surrounded by people I love (whom also love me) so I seldom feel lonely but there are more days than I'd like to mention where I feel alone. Even after reading my scriptures, even after pleading with my Heavenly Father, even after talking to Verizon or my sister or my Besties.

Like Monica, I need a getaway. A place I can get away from all the demands placed upon me as a single, working, student and parent. A place I can run to escape the heartache and pain that often comes with my present circumstance. A place I can go to escape the demands of school, be unavailable to anything and anyone for work, and get a reprieve from child rearing. A place I can just be the woman I've become and not the kids' mom and the boss and the computer diva and the creative genius (clients have actually called me this) and the and. A place where there are no expectations and I can just BE. A place I can go where someone else will hold the ground and for a change and I can just walk on it.

If you know of such place, please let me know. To hear Monica's beautiful voice sing words that speak from and to my heart, please click the play button on the media player below.