Monday, September 26, 2011

Feeling Like A Failure

My former church is in the midst of a sermon series that caught my attention The series is called "Grace And Truth In Tension." The first sermon was "Grace, Truth and the Hypocritical," and yesterday was "Marriage and Divorce." Upcoming sermons are "Homosexuality," "Cohabitation," and "Role Of Religion In Politics." I've listened to the first two sermons online, BECAUSE it caught my attention...and I'll probably listen to the others as well. But yesterday's sermon tore a big hole in my heart, and left me feeling like a major failure. I can't remember the last time I cried like a baby during and after a sermon, or felt like I was doomed to Hell with no hope of any sort. I'm seriously sitting here feeling like I might as well not even TRY anymore...what's the point if I've already screwed things up this much?

You see, I'm twice divorced, and three times married. According to what I heard in listening to this sermon, I shouldn't have gotten the first divorce, and just didn't TRY hard enough to make it work. Failure.....

And then, when I did get the divorce, I should have stayed single, unless I got back together with him. Failure #2.....

At least with the second divorce, the abuse and the drinking on his part made it okay...but I wouldn't have been in that situation if I hadn't married him in the first place. Failure #3....

And let's not forget that marriages #2 and #3 have been "adultery." Failure #4....

So, yeah....I'm having a great's rainy and dark, so I was already depressed, and then I had to go and get on THIS line of thinking. Brilliant idea, kiddo!! :*(

Monday, September 19, 2011

Where I'm From

This post is written from a prompt, provided here:

2.) Where I'm From.

I am from plastic pools in the yard in the summer, wooden sleds down the hill in winter; from RC and Fresca, Chef Boyardee and Lucky Charms; from Barbie dolls and transistor radios.

I am from the house with the big yard and the deck I helped my father build; from the pool table in the basement and the beautiful white bedroom suite. I am from the soft spring breezes and the colorful autumn leaves; from the majestic Ohio River and the gently rolling hills.

I am from the tobacco crops and the fields of green beans; from the potatoes and the tomatoes; from the corn and the cucumbers. I am from the trees I climbed fearlessly, and the swing set where I practiced my acrobatics; from the "hole" where we played with Matchbox cars and the futures we created in our imaginations.

I am from family reunions every year and Sunday afternoons at Granny's; from cousins who were my best friends and playmates, and scary movie marathons on New Year's Eve. I am from Danners and Johnsons, from Wards and Lamberts.

I am from hard workers who gardened and canned, from frugal people who haggled and bargained shopped. I am from patriots who served their country proudly, from moral, ethical people who held to their standards in the face of every temptation.

I am from Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, from the Tooth Fairy and the bogey man. I am from trick or treating for hours, and getting popcorn balls, apples, and even apple cider and donuts from the neighbors. I am from bedtime stories and weekly trips to the library, from valuing education and all types of learning.

I am from church every Sunday, whether you wanted to go or not, from Vacation Bible School and children's choir. I am from youth group and play practice, from confirmation and church camp, from doubt to faith and back again.

I am from Gallipolis, Ohio, but I'm also from Germany, England, Ireland and Scotland. I am from George Washington's brother, and from Queen Elizabeth I's aunt. I am from meatloaf and mashed potatoes, from apple butter and from bread and butter pickles. I am from country gravy and biscuits, from sweet tea that's nearly syrup.

I am from the River Recreation Festival and the Gallia County Fair. I am from the home of Bob Evans and O.O. McIntire. I am from the town of the French Five Hundred, where Lafayette once stayed at the Our House Tavern.. I am from watching the Delta Queen move peacefully down the river, from barges heaped with coal.

I am from two people who married just two months after their first meeting. I am from hard-working country folks who married as teens. I am from equally hard-working "city" folk who married in their early twenties.

I am from pictures in a photo album, from black and white and from color. I am from Christmases and birthdays, from graduations and vacations. I am from putting on my new dress just to have my picture taken on the front porch. I am from slumber parties and birthday cakes, from football games and band contests.

I am from six years as an only child, and from being a big sister to my younger brother. I am from a happy family of four, and from a "broken home." I am from stepparents and stepsiblings, and ever changing family relationships.

I am from failed marriages and finding true love, from a son, two daughters and a young grandson. I am from teaching and writing, from trying to figure out just who I am.

I am from everything that has ever existed.

Monday, September 12, 2011

"Brat Bans"

Watching Dr. Phil this morning (darned George and Cindy Anthony interview postponed to tomorrow due to US Open coverage in some time slots and markets!), and felt compelled to comment on some of these instances.

1) Woman arrested because her baby was cooing too loudly in the library.
She played a tape of the sound of her son....and I'm sorry, but he WAS too loud for a library. I would have just taken the child out without creating a ruckus. Honestly, if at all possible, I wouldn't TAKE a baby to the library.

2) Man who tapped 4 yr old on the cheek because she was being disruptive in Walmart and got arrested for it.
GOOD! Let me tell you, if anyone had put a hand on one of my children we BOTH would have gotten arrested before it was over. If you have a problem with a child's behavior, say something to the parent first. If that doesn't solve the problem, go to security, or the manager. It's totally inappropriate for a total stranger to decide when and how to discipline someone else's child.

3) Woman kicked off plane because child keep saying "Bye bye airplane" over and over.
She was trying to keep him occupied, playing a "peekaboo" type game with him....closing the window so he couldn't see the airplane next to them, so he'd say "Bye bye airplane," then opening the window up again and making him laugh. None of the other passengers complained, in fact they stuck up for her when the flight attendant gave her a rough time. One passenger even got off the plane with her and helped her and her son to get home. The flight attendant needed to suck it up and not be such a least he wasn't screaming at the top of his lungs!

4) Pennsylvania restaurant banning all children under 6.
More power to them! There are some restaurants where children that young DON'T belong, plain and simple. If more parents would teach their children how to behave in a public place, rather than treating them as though they are entitled to scream, yell, run around the room, and generally disturb all the other patrons, then maybe something like this wouldn't be necessary.

When my children were young, we practiced good table manners in the privacy of our own home. We would have "fancy dinners" on occasion, as well, to teach them which fork/spoon to use, etc. So whenever we took them out in public to eat, at a restaurant which was age appropriate for them at that time, they knew how to behave--and they knew that if they didn't, we would pick up and leave, no exceptions.

So, in short, yes, I do agree there are some places/circumstances where it's inappropriate for small children to be present. However, in the vast majority of cases, the solution is for the PARENTS to take charge, to set limits, to actually discipline their children.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9-11 thoughts

This is going to get me some more nasty comments, I'm sure, but I'm tough enough to deal. With the direction my life has been taking, you'll find me opening my mouth and speaking up for what I believe a lot more often. We never know when we might not get another chance, so I'm DONE sitting back and keeping quiet.

The simple fact is, I'm OVER the days and days of television coverage every September. Yes, it was a horrible day in the history of our country. Yes, it was tragic that so many people died in such a major terrorist attack, and in the aftermath, AND that people continue to die every day because of it. But, in my opinion, what we've done for the last ten years is continue to pick the scab off the wound, rather than allowing for healing.

I started thinking about this post on Friday, when I was listening to a conversation on HLN about "should we teach our children about 9-11 in school?" Do we ask if we should teach them about the Revolutionary War, or the Civil War, or the World Wars, or Vietnam---or are they just presented as part of our history, in a factual manner? Why should this one event be any different?

One parent in that discussion said that parents should have to sign permission slips to allow their children to learn about it...and that parents should have the option of being there in the classroom with their child when it was taught. I saw some pretty gruesome pictures when I learned about The Holocaust, and heard some pretty graphic stories--but no one ever suggested that we needed our parents there to hold our hands to get us through it. Why is this historic event any different?

EVERY generation has it's own defining event, and it changes those who live through it. But those changes, in my opinion, should be for the better. They should be changes in the way we value our freedom, and protect it, and revere it....changes in the way we respond to our neighbors.....the list goes on and on. But what I see with 9-11 is a lot of division: whether it's from those who believe all Muslims are terrorists, or from those who believe the entire incident was an inside job, or even, dare I admit it, from those of us who believe it's time to look at the FUTURE.

Let the lynchings begin. :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Books I've Read In September 2011

1) You'll Never Nanny In This Town Again: The True Adventures Of A Hollywood Nanny, by Suzanne Hansen
Hilarious and addictive, this chronicle of a small-town girl’s stint as a celebrity nanny reveals what really happens in the diaper trenches of Hollywood.

When Oregon native Suzanne Hansen becomes a live-in nanny to the children of Hollywood ├╝ber-agent Michael Ovitz, she thinks she’s found the job of her dreams. But Hansen’s behind-the-scenes access soon gets her much more than she bargained for: working twenty-four hours a day, juggling the shifting demands of the Hollywood elite, and struggling to comprehend wealth unimaginable to most Americans, not to mention dealing with the expected tantrums and the unexpected tense–and intense–atmosphere in the house where she lives with her employers.

When the thankless drudgery takes its toll and Hansen finally quits, her boss threatens to blackball her from ever nannying in Hollywood again. Discouraged but determined, Hansen manages to land gigs with Debra Winger and then Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman. Attentive, welcoming parents with a relaxed attitude toward celebrity–looks like Hansen’s fallen into a real-life happy ending. But the round-the-clock workdays continue, rubbing some of the glitter off L.A. living, and Hansen’s not sure how much longer she can pretend to be Mary Poppins.
Even bosses who treat her like family can’t help as she struggles to find meaning in her work while living in a town that seems to lack respect for nannies and everyone else who comes in the employee’s entrance–but without whom many showbiz households would grind to a halt.

Peppering her own journey with true stories and high drama experienced by other nannies to the stars, Hansen offers an intriguing, entertaining mix of tales from the cribs of the rich and famous. You’ll Never Nanny in This Town Again is a treat for everyone who is fascinated by the skewed priorities of Tinseltown, for anyone who has wondered how high-wattage supermoms do it all, and for readers who love peeking behind the curtains of celebrity, all of whom will devour this unparalleled–and unabashedly true–account of one girl’s tour of duty as Hollywood’s hired help.

2) The Duggars: 20 and Counting!: Raising One of America's Largest Families--How They Do It, by Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar
This practical, positive book reveals the many parenting strategies that Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar use as they preside over America’s best-known mega-family. Each time a new baby arrives, the press from around the world clamors for interviews and information. Visitors are amazed to find seventeen (baby number eighteen is due January 1, 2009) well-groomed, well-behaved, well-schooled children in a home that focuses on family, financial responsibility, fun—and must importantly, faith.

Readers will learn about the Duggars’ marriage—how they communicate effectively, make family decisions, and find quality time alone. They’ll discover how the Duggars manage to educate all their children at home, while providing experiences that go beyond the family walls, through vacations and educational trips. And they’ll see how the Duggar family manages their finances and lives debt-free—even when they built their own 7,000-square-foot house.

Answering the oft asked question—How can I do with one or two children what you do with seventeen?—Jim Bob and Michelle reveal how they create a warm and welcoming home filled with what Michelle calls “serene chaos.

3) Traveling With Pomegranates: A Mother And Daughter Journey To The Sacred Places Of Greece, Turkey And France, by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor

Sue Monk Kidd has touched the hearts of millions of readers with her beloved novels and acclaimed nonfiction. Now, in this wise and engrossing dual memoir, she and her daughter, Ann, chronicle their travels together through Greece and France at a time when each was on a quest to redefine herself and rediscover each other.

As Sue struggles to enlarge a vision of swarming bees into a novel, and Ann ponders the classic question of what to do with her life, this modern-day Demeter and Persephone explore an array of inspiring figures and sacred sites. They also give voice to that most protean of human connections: the bond of mothers and daughters.

4) The Fairy Godmother (Tales Of The Five Hundred Kingdoms), by Mercedes Lackey

In the land of Five Hundred Kingdoms, if you can't carry out your legendary role, life is no fairy tale . . .

Elena Klovis was supposed to be her kingdom's Cinderella -- until an accident of fate left her with a completely inappropriate prince! Determined not to remain with her stepfamily, Elena set out to get a new job -- and ended up becoming the Fairy Godmother for the land.

But "Breaking with Tradition" was no easy matter. True, she didn't have to sleep in the chimney, but she had to deal with arrogant, stuffed-shirt princes who kept trying to rise above their place in the tale. In fact, one of them was so ornery that Elena could do nothing but change him into a donkey.

Still, her practical nature couldn't let him roam the country, so she brought the donkey -- er, the prince! -- home to her cottage to teach him some lessons. All the while keeping in mind that breaking with tradition can land everyone into a kettle of fish -- sometimes literally!

And so begins a whole new tale . . .

5) One Good Knight (Tales Of The Five Hundred Kingdoms), by Mercedes Lackey

Another story sparkling with wit and humor from New York Times bestselling author Mercedes Lackey.

Traditionally, marauding dragons are soothed only by a virgin sacrifice. And so practical-minded Princess Andromeda -- with the encouragement of her mother's court -- reluctantly volunteers to do her duty, asking only for a sword to defend herself. Well, her offer is accepted, but the weapon isn't forthcoming, and so Andromeda faces the dragon alone.

Until a Champion arrives to save her -- sort of. Sir George doesn't quite defeat the dragon, but as Andromeda finishes rescuing herself she discovers that beneath the Good Knight's well-meaning though inexperienced heroics lies a further tale . . .

Still, Andromeda can't leave her seacoast country in further jeopardy from the dragon's return, and so she and . . . er . . . George join to search for the dragon's lair. But even -- especially -- in the Five Hundred Kingdoms bucking with Tradition isn't easy. It takes the strongest of wills, more than a hint of stubbornness, quick thinking and a refusal to give up, no matter what happens along the way.

Somehow, though, none of this was taught in princess school . . .

6) Heaven Is For Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story Of His Trip To Heaven And Back, by Todd Burpo

A young boy emerges from life-saving surgery with remarkable stories of his visit to heaven.

Heaven Is for Real is the true story of the four-year old son of a small town Nebraska pastor who during emergency surgery slips from consciousness and enters heaven. He survives and begins talking about being able to look down and see the doctor operating and his dad praying in the waiting room. The family didn't know what to believe but soon the evidence was clear.

Colton said he met his miscarried sister, whom no one had told him about, and his great grandfather who died 30 years before Colton was born, then shared impossible-to-know details about each. He describes the horse that only Jesus could ride, about how "reaaally big" God and his chair are, and how the Holy Spirit "shoots down power" from heaven to help us.

Told by the father, but often in Colton's own words, the disarmingly simple message is heaven is a real place, Jesus really loves children, and be ready, there is a coming last battle.

7) Dragon's Oath (House of Night Novella #1), by P.C. Cast

The first in an enthralling new mini-series of novellas from the #1 bestselling authors of the House of Night, Dragon’s Oath tells the story behind the House of Night’s formidable fencing instructor – the love that will transform him, and the promise that will haunt him

In early 19th century England, long before he’s a professor at the Tulsa House of Night, Bryan Lankford is a troublesome yet talented human teen who thinks he can get away with anything… until his father, a wealthy nobleman, has finally had enough, and banishes him to America. When Bryan is Marked on the docks and given the choice between the London House of Night and the dragon-prowed ship to America, he chooses the Dragon – and a brand new fate.

Becoming a Fledgling may be exciting, but it opens a door to a dangerous world.... In 1830’s St. Louis, the Gateway to the West, Dragon Lankford becomes a Sword Master, and soon realizes there are both frightening challenges and beautiful perks. Like Anastasia, the captivating young Professor of Spells and Rituals at the Tower Grove House of Night, who really should have nothing to do with a fledgling…

But when a dark power threatens, Dragon is caught in its focus. Though his uncanny fighting skills make him a powerful fledgling, is he strong enough to ward off evil, while protecting Anastasia as well? Will his choices save her—or destroy them all?

8) Fortune's Fool (Tales Of The Five Hundred Kingdoms, Book 3), by Mercedes Lackey
The seventh daughter of the Sea King, Ekaterina is more than a pampered princess—she's also the family spy. Which makes her the perfect emissary to check out interesting happenings in the neighboring kingdom…and nothing interests her more than Sasha, the seventh son of the king of Belrus. Ekaterina suspects he's far from the fool people think him. But before she can find out what lies beneath his facade, she is kidnapped!

Trapped in a castle at the mercy of a possessive Jinn, Ekaterina knows her chances of being found are slim. Now fortune, a fool and a paper bird are the only things she can count on—along with her own clever mind and intrepid heart.…

Total Year To Date: 43
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